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Links 15/1/2011: 1-Second Linux Boot, Firefox 4 Beta 9

Posted in News Roundup at 1:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Transferring Linux over the network.

    It finally happened. I managed to get my hands on a superseded workstation that had been replaced by a newer model. This workstation also had a brother of the same model in which the motherboard had failed. So I did what any good Borg would do and mashed the two together to make one monster, multi-cpu, fat ram beastie. The only thing left to do was install Linux on it.


    Lo and behold! Everything worked! Of course due to some different hardware some files had to be tweaked but that was a minor task compared to installing from scratch and having to set up everything again.

  • Welcome to the 2010 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards
  • I’m Not A Linux Geek.

    Granted, since running Linux, I’ve learned more about my computer, its hardware, and the way the OS works. But this would be the same if I ran Windows or Mac.

  • The Writer’s PC

    None the less, I was confident that I could build a working machine from an 11 year old 600MHz Celeron with 256MB of RAM.

    I started by downloading the latest Debian Squeeze Beta from here.

    I should say here that even though it’s officially a Testing release, it is , I have found, more stable than many final distributions.

  • Desktop

    • Lawyers Can Leave Windows for Linux OS – Ubuntu

      Most lawyers are managing most processes online or in standard office applications. In fact, when you get on a different operating system like Mac OS X or Ubuntu, you will find FireFox and suddenly experience a feeling of familiarity. With most of your daily work online, transitioning from Internet Explorer to FireFox or Chrome will take no time at all to adjust to and you can immediately proceed with business as usual.

      As for office applications, Oracle’s freely downloadable OpenOffice 3.2 (comes installed on Ubuntu) is compatible with Microsoft Office files and comes with a word processor, spreadsheet application, presentation creator (compatible with MS PowerPoint), and OpenOffice Draw, a more functional desktop publishing tool than Microsoft Publisher (not compatible with MS Publisher formats). OpenOffice is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, so you could download it on your Windows computer before committing to it on a Linux installation. We actually switched to OpenOffice four years ago and have not looked back, with only a few of our computers still running Microsoft Office. [3]

  • Server

    • I, for one, welcome our Linux Penguin, Jeopardy Overlords

      There’s nothing surprising about that. The fastest of fast computers have long used Linux In the latest TOP 500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, 459 of the Top 500 supercomputers were running Linux.

      Watson is made up of ten racks of IBM POWER 750 servers running Linux, and has 15Terabytes of RAM; 2,880 3.55GHz POWER7 processor cores and operates at 80 Teraflops. You’re not going to find one of these at your local Best Buy.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • RFC: An Overview of the Linux Integrity Subsystem
    • Upstreaming your code – a primer

      This document describes what steps chip vendors need to take to successfully upstream their code into the mainline Linux kernel.

    • ULatencyD Enters The Linux World

      Daniel Poelzleithner has announced to the Linux kernel world his new project named ulatencyd. The focus of ulatencyd is to provide a script-able daemon to dynamically adjust Linux scheduling parameters and other aspects of the Linux kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA OpenCL Linux Benchmarks

        In testing of OpenBenchmarking.org and preparations for the release of Phoronix Test Suite 3.0-Iveland at the end of February from SCALE, a lot of benchmarks have been happening to test the various analytical features and other new capabilities of this open benchmarking platform. In fact, it is really an overwhelming amount of benchmarks; the power capacity in my office is maxed out as benchmark after benchmark and system after system there is all sorts of test scenarios being looked upon. The benchmarks coming out on Phoronix.com over the past two months have just been barely scratching the surface of what has been going into the OpenBenchmarking.org system. Recently a lot of OpenCL compute benchmarks were pumped in, and since we have only published a few OpenCL Linux benchmarks — OpenCL on Linux vs. Mac OS X and OpenCL NVIDIA vs. ATI on Linux — here’s some more in this article.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Different Desktop Environments on Linux

      There are a TON of things that happen when you install an OS, but you only see the graphical parts of it, the “graphical user interface” or GUI. Obviously, if that’s the main thing your seeing, its fairly important to you on every level. Linux however, took this whole concept a step further, and established several “flavors” of GUI for your desktop on your Linux OS. Wikipedia describes a desktop environment as just that: A Desktop Environment (DE) commonly refers to a style of graphical user interface (GUI) derived from the desktop metaphor that is seen on most modern personal computers.

    • The super new compiz debugging tool

      The tool activates in two ways: Firstly, it handles any signals that would cause compiz to die and spews all information in that case. It then uses some neat tricks the kernel team taught me to re-flag the signal again without our handler installed so that apport can catch it and grab the output we just spewed out. Secondly, if you hit some weird issue (like incorrect menu stacking, or something similar) you can just hit Control-Super-Shift-? and compiz will also begin spewing as much information as possible and feed that to apport so you can just file a bug directly.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Burns Supper and KDE Release Party

        Me and Colin and Tomas are having a Burns supper at my place in Edinburgh to celebrate 4.6, let me know if you want to come

      • Random Ideas for a revolutionized Amarok Icon

        I like the icon, but I am sure that more could be done with it.

      • Revolution Music Player

        Taking after what great work Amarok has done over the years, it has come to my attention the different changes that Amarok has gone through. Now, with their current version 2.3.1 I am left wondering about what more could be done with the graphical interface. Amarok has wonderful technologies underneath as a music player. Amarok is also neatly connected to KDE widgets that display information for just about anything.

      • Opinion: Why KDE is People, Not Software

        A little over a year ago, an article was published on the Dot titled ‘Repositioning the KDE Brand’. The article publicized the outcome of a process within KDE to make sense of the relationship between the community and its products, and to reach a durable solution regarding the terms that should be used to refer to both.

      • Bug Statistics for KWin 4.6 Cycle

        Once again I used Bugzilla to get some statistics on how many bugs are opened, closed in KWin during the last development cycle (statistics are from Final Tagging 4.5 till today). Overall 437 new bugs have been reported and 425 bugs have been “closed”. Many thanks again to the bug day – without it the numbers would look worse. So this means that each day 2.4 bugs are reported. Assuming that we spent 10 minutes on each bug (in general Thomas Lübking and I are reading and responding to each bug comment), we spent 8 days just on bug managing. That sounds reasonable, but is very bad as it’s time spent managing and not fixing the bugs. This can be seen in the table below.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • 2D Unity To Be Available As An Option In Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal [Screenshots]

        “Does Natty’s Unity require proprietary graphics card drivers?” was a question posted on AskUbuntu and who better to answer this question then Mark Suttleworth himself (who apparently is quite an active AskUbuntu user)? Mark answered that there will be a a 2D implementation of Unity, available in 11.04 as an option and posted a link to further info and screenshots but unfortunately the link cannot be accessed anymore.

      • A collection of nice themes for Gnome and Ubuntu | 01-10

        This a nice collection of themes for Gnome

      • GNOME T-Shirt Design Contest Extended

        There were a few periods where the submission form was broken and your entry may not have been submitted. If you would like to confirm we have received your entry, please email Paul Cutler to inquire. We apologize for the inconvenience.

      • Wallpaper Community Pack #1

        * GNOME:Ayatana will have a small Artwork Package by the Community, I’m currently contacting Kmurat to check if he can change the licence on this artwork piece (with over 20.000 downloads on gnome-art) so I can use it for distribution. Currently it’s licensed as CC BY-NC-ND, in which the NC can be probably a problem. Let’s wait a couple of days and see… Either way for those who asked for the source of this wallpaper, click on the image above.

      • Backgrounds in The Board

        When I started writing The Board, I was quite pragmatic about the appearance of the app. I used my limited Gimp and Inkscape skills to produce the UI theme images and grabbed some free background images from internet.

  • Distributions

    • The Gentoo Service Station

      If you have a really ancient Gentoo install that needs to be updated to this decade, or you managed to horribly break things, or you want a lesson in Python programming, or you want a vServer running Gentoo, or you want to play a game of chess, or … well, if in doubt just ask, we’ll most likely do it. Conventional or unconventional, as long as no law is broken and no damsel in distress left hanging it can be arranged.

    • 7 Best Network Security Linux Distributions

      Here are some of the best Linux distributions (in no particular order) specially made for securing computer networks…

    • The ’69 Dart of Software

      The first was a blog post by an Emery Fletcher which paints Ubuntu as the be-all and end-all of Linux implementation. While I am eternally grateful for Ubuntu’s efforts in promoting Linux in the general public (even if it is to the point of putting itself first and FOSS second, but I digress) and while the blog presents an interesting point about Linux implementation, it’s hard to determine whether this blog item suffers from anything more than mere myopia.

      Current versions of Debian, OpenSUSE and Fedora are all as user-friendly as the current version of Ubuntu, but that does not enter into the equation in this blog. That’s unfortunate, too, because what both Fedora and OpenSUSE — with its new Studio spin — have done consistently with each upgrade have been remarkable. Mr. Fletcher may be lacking some perspective — think about where Ubuntu would be without the contributions to kernel development (warning: that link is a PDF file, courtesy of the Linux Foundation) and desktop development without the three distros mentioned at the beginning of the previous sentence — a harrowingly depressing thought, indeed.

    • Reviews

    • New Releases

      • Parted Magic 5.9 Is Available for Download

        Patrick Verner announced a couple of days ago, on January 12th, the immediate availability for download of the Parted Magic 5.9 Linux distribution for partitioning tasks. The new release is just a maintenance version that updates two programs and fixes various booting issues.

        The new Parted Magic 5.9 has been released just three weeks after Parted Magic 5.8 was announced on December 28th. It fixes an important booting issue with the for the DVD/CD version. It also fixes some issues with the Save Session function.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Pulse 2 version 1.3.0

        Mandriva announces the release Mandriva Pulse 2 version 1.3.0 which had been in beta since March 2010.
        Mandriva Pulse 2 is a solution for the management of workstations, mobile computers and servers, designed to help users manage their information systems, notably in heterogenous environments.

    • Red Hat Family

      • What do you want to see ? CentOS 5.6 or CentOS 6.0 ?

        As you probably know (if you are interested in the Enterprise Linux market), Red Hat released earlier today 5.6 . So automatically some CentOS QA team members started to discuss about that in the appropriate IRC channel. As CentOS 6.0 isn’t (yet) released nor ready, the discussion was about putting 5.6 build & release as priority number one or not.

      • Linux ecosystem spins around Red Hat

        And then there’s Red Hat, king of the Linux and open-source crowd. It’s also sitting at a fortuitous moment in software history, when the industry is shifting to the cloud, which is essentially an open-source phenomenon in terms of its composition.

        In fact, Red Hat has become so essential to enterprise infrastructure, that even competitors like Salesforce build on Red Hat technologies.

      • What’s new in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6

        Used for more than a year in a number of desktop distributions, such as Fedora and Ubuntu, Ext4 offers a number of advantages, such as more efficient storage with the use of extents, faster checks of file systems than in Ext3, more robust journaling and support for large file systems.

      • Fedora and Derivatives

        • Blag 139k alpha avialable

          After 5 days of hard work, finally an iso is avialable for blag i686. I’ll upload the x86_64 version later today.

        • Live from Fedora Moonbase Alpha, part 3.

          Quite a while ago, I wrote about the dead-simple process for setting up a microphone with Fedora’s PulseAudio sound system. That was part 2 in a series that was meant to discuss creating a better podcast. At the time, I meant to follow up with a piece on how to do some audio sweetening to make your recording sound better to your listeners. Unfortunately, life and work got in the way, and I didn’t get to part 3 — so here it is, hopefully better late than never.

          Thanks to John Poelstra for inspiring me to write this. We had a nice conversation about audio the other day, and I figured it would be worthwhile to capture some of what we spoke about, but also to explain better some of the concepts I tried to pass on to John but perhaps didn’t do it well.

        • Fedora Board Proposes Project Goals

          Fedora Board members have been working for quite some time to etch their vision and long-term goals for the Fedora project in stone. A Vision statement came together last year, but more specific goals were still desired. Well, after a lot of discussion some long-term goals have been proposed.

    • Debian Family

      • Changes to the Debian Mozilla team APT archive

        I made some changes as to how packages from the Debian Mozilla team that can’t yet be distributed in the Debian archives are distributed to users.

      • Invitation to the January 18th Debian-NYC Novice Night

        Novice Nights are Debian-NYC’s meetings for everyone. If you would like to install Debian, come on by. If you would like help with configuring or making Debian do what you need, we can do that too. If you want to hang out with Debianistas to pick up tips and tricks, come on by. We can also provide some help with other derivatives of Debian, such as Ubuntu.

      • Debian Project News – January 14th, 2011

        The first release candidate of the installer for Debian Squeeze was released on January 12. Many fixes are included in this release of the installer, along with new improvements: better OS and partition detection, new supported hardware, etc.

      • Debian Squeeze RC1 is released! | With Screenshots Tour
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Earth Sunrise Is A Gorgeous Plymouth Theme For Ubuntu / Linux Mint
        • Why democracy will die

          Back in October there was the very controversial news that Canonical would be replacing the GNOME Shell with their own Unity project as the default desktop shell for Ubuntu 11.04 and going forward. The original version and specification for Ubuntu Unity (and as found in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook) required 3D acceleration and would use Compiz as its compositing window manager. For those without the necessary graphics drivers to support the functionality, Canonical’s plan for Ubuntu was to have it fall-back to the traditional GNOME desktop and inform the user of their sad graphics support. However, now Canonical’s developing a 2D version of Unity for such scenarios.

        • Unity 2D (Qt) Now Available in A PPA For Ubuntu 10.10 And 11.04 [Video]

          I’ve tried Unity Qt in VirtualBox and I must say I am impressed: it’s not identical to Unity 3D but it’s A LOT faster! Further more, because Unity 2D seems to have more elements from Ubuntu 10.10 then 11.04 (even though some new stuff from 11.04 is there), it already has Dash (the application launcher / file browser) – something that’s currently missing in Unity 3D in Ubuntu 11.04.

        • Eva’s Great Guide to Ubuntu – Part 6

          Summary of part 6

          A. External monitor with NVidia
          B. Printers
          C. Useful Ubuntu and Linux links
          D. Ubuntu branding
          E. Final thoughts

        • Ubuntu To Launch Developer Portal

          In what is probably a long over due move: Ubuntu is putting together a developer portal. This portal includes the basics of making applications on Ubuntu, everything from which IDEs to use to publishing your applications in the software centre is covered.

        • Ubuntu 11.10 To Be Called Oscillating Ocelot?

          This was tweeted by Matthew Paul Thomas, who works for Canonical as an interface designer for Ubuntu. But until I hear it from Shuttleworth or as an official announcement, I will continue to support Orgasmic Okapi.

        • Ubuntu Tweak 0.5.11: bug fixed release for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty

          Yet another bug fixed release is coming, but it is for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty only. If you don’t use Natty, you can just ignore it.

        • Ubuntu Hardware Issues Poll – Results

          Proving from this information, half of the voters still find issues with critical pieces of hardware – graphics cards, wireless cards, printers, and scanners. We shouldn’t be focusing our efforts on making the desktop look nice when you can’t even effectively use the desktop because of hardware support fallacies.

        • 2D Unity To Be Available As An Option In Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal [Screenshots]

          “Does Natty’s Unity require proprietary graphics card drivers?” was a question posted on AskUbuntu and who better to answer this question then Mark Suttleworth himself (who apparently is quite an active AskUbuntu user)? Mark answered that there will be a a 2D implementation of Unity, available in 11.04 as an option and posted a link to further info and screenshots but unfortunately the link cannot be accessed anymore.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 to get 2D Unity option
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint Debian Edition 10: Rolling Release Nirvana

            We first looked at Linux Mint Debian Edition when it was released in September of last year. Just before Christmas, the Mint team released a new spin of the Debian Edition with features from Linux Mint 10 that’s better than ever.

            The first release of LMDE was a bit of an experiment. I think the Mint team wanted to see how much interest there was in a Debian-based release rather than Ubuntu-based. Answer? A lot. Or at least enough to merit a second take.


            For Linux enthusiasts who like Debian but feel it could use a few additional touches, LMDE10 is exceptional.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 1 second Linux boot!
    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • EPUB E-Rook Reader

          Eugeniy Meshcheryakov has released an E-Book Reader optimized for Nokia N900 with support for EPUB file format. The reader has library functionality, e-books on the device are automatically discovered using Maemo services.

        • Video: Cool as fek: Nokia N900 + MeeGo 1.1.8 + Xbox Media Centre (XMBC!)

          Now think about hooking this up to your TV, connecting it via BT remote, perhaps even an IR remote since it does have an IR app and IR receiver. BAM – pocketable media centre. This would be soooo great on a MeeGo phone or any MeeGo tablet.

      • Android

        • Tablet Battle to Heat Up, Prices to Fall in 2011

          Last week’s Consumer Electronics Show was indisputably dominated by tablets. Almost a year since Apple redefined portable computing with its iPad, competitors launched attempts to cut the Cupertino company’s lead. Taken together, the announcements at CES provide a much clearer picture of the likely evolution of the tablet market in 2011 and provide consumers a few tips on what to look for and when to buy.

    • Tablets

      • Microsoft’s Tablet Strategy and How Linux Compares

        Linux already works on ARM, and virtually every other architecture. Linux was designed for architecture portability and because it’s open, companies like Intel and IBM can work on optimizing the code for their platforms. This is one reason there is so much cross-architecture support.

      • Shogo, the tablet you can control, extend and hack

        Ability to install the software you want based on GNU/Linux in order to run Qt, C++ and HTML applications (See the developer documentation and forums)

      • A new Android tablet aimed at education

        A Canadian startup called mySpark Technologies is creating an Android tablet that sports a dual-core 1Ghz processor, and it’s aimed at educational institutions.

        The tablet slated to launch mid 2011, was solely designed with students and teachers in mind, and it will integrate with campus stores and libraries allowing students to download content and digital textbooks. Hopefully, at a dramatically discounted price.

      • CES 2011: A Tale of an Android Onslaught

        When you look at the wide range of tablets announced at CES, you have to try to break it down by differentiators. The first category is existing tablets running Android 2.2. This would include the Samsung Galaxy, which will soon have both a WiFi-only and a 4G-LTE model available. Then there is a group of devices that will release in the near future with Android 3.0. On the low end of the scale are any number of low-cost devices aimed at the price conscious consumer.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source distributors beyond the Thunderdome

    Besides, as previously noted, we do not dispute that the open source distributor approach will survive, or suggest that Red Hat will be the last man standing. But we do question whether any other vendors will achieve or better the scale achieved by Red Hat.

  • Report: Use savings of open source to develop new tools

    Public administrations should use the savings they realise by their use of generic free and open source applications, to pay for development of specialised IT solutions. “These resources could be used to pay for highly specialised tasks that are too special to attract the attention of the open source community. It will encourage the software companies that operate in this sector.”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • New Cassandra comes with big data support

      Latest version of Apache’s open source distributed database can pack two billion columns into a row, which could be useful to big data cloud computing projects

  • Oracle

    • Libre Office VS Open Office – Looks And Stability

      Given time, the code bases may diverge, but at present, they are so close that there isn’t any substanial difference.

    • OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 RC9 arrives

      While Oracle had already released Oracle Open Office 3.3 in mid-December, the OpenOffice.org developers have only just issued the ninth release candidate for OpenOffice.org 3.3.0, the next major release of the Oracle owned open source office suite. According to the OpenOffice.org Wiki, this release candidate is expected to be the final development preview before the final version arrives. However, a final release date has yet to be confirmed.

    • The localization process changed into a continuous process

      The OpenOffice.org process has been changed into a continuous process which allows to provide l10n turnarounds cycles at every milestone. This process was presented at the OOoConf In Budapest: http://www.ooocon.org/index.php/ooocon/2010/paper/view/207 and is the outcome of Gregor Hartmann, Ivo Hinkelmann and Rafaella Braconi working on the so called “Continuous L10n” project.

  • CMS

    • A First Look At Diaspora – The Open Social Network

      Some people love Facebook, others hate it, and many have a little of both. It can be a great way to keep in contact with old friends and relatives, but it’s also a great way for third parties to harvest loads of free data that may not be used the way you want. Plenty of social sites have popped up over the years in the hopes of dethroning Facebook, but not many have had the goods, or really provided much that would entice a user to switch.

  • Education

    • An Education in Open Source

      The school relies on a text-to-speech program that allows teachers to scan a book and create audio files for students to listen to and take notes on. WordQ, SpeakQ, and Kurzweil Educational Systems’ Kurzweil 3000 lack open source licenses. However, Oracle’s free and open source OpenOffice.org provides word prediction, one of the features provided by the proprietary alternative, WordQ.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • pfSense development in 2011

      Recently I contacted lead developers of different FreeBSD based projects and asked them about their development plans and ideas for 2011. Yesterday we looked at PC-BSD, let’s now see what the pfSense developers have in store.

      As most of you will be aware, pfSense is a free, open source customised version of FreeBSD tailored for use as a firewall and router. In addition to being a powerful, flexible firewalling and routing platform, it includes a long list of related features and a package system allowing further expandability without adding bloat and potential security vulnerabilities to the base distribution.

    • FreeBSD Foundation requesting project proposals (2011)

      The FreeBSD Foundation has requested proposals for potential funding. If you have any ideas how you can FreeBSD can be improved in 2011, why not submit you idea. In case you have no ideas but don’t mind getting paid for FreeBSD Development, have a look at the FreeBSD list of projects and ideas for volunteers.


  • Government

    • Open Source for America releases Federal Open Technology Report Card

      The results are in for U.S. agencies’ use of open source, thanks to a scorecard released today by Open Source for America. The Departments of Defense and Energy had the highest scores, largely due to the fact that they have “published agency-created software code as open source and provide clear guidance identifying open source as a permitted procurement option.”

      The survey of the federal departments included questions regarding public budgets, use of social media, and open source technologies practices. The Executive Summary states, “[t]he use of open formats, open source software, and open standards enables the government to make data freely available to the public for a variety of purposes, as well as to create programs that are more efficient and consumer-driven.”

    • Open Source for America Delivers Federal Report Card

      Ever since its inception, Open Source for America (OSFA) has had lofty goals and has been backed by some very heavy hitting people. Red Hat, Jaspersoft, Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth, The Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin and many other companies and people back the organization, which is primarily aimed at encouraging the use of open source software at the U.S. Federal level. Now, the folks behind Open Source for America have published a Federal Open Technology Report Card that “evaluates key indicators of open government and open technologies developed through online crowd sourcing and refined metrics outlined by the OSFA leadership committee.” The report card includes questions and responses regarding public budgets, use of social media, and open source technology practices.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • European Commission Plans for All-Out War Against Sharing

      The European Commission just launched a new consulation on its disastrously dogmatic report on IPRED, a directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, adopted by the EU in 2004. The report — whose logic is similar to ACTA — is based on an analysis of the application of IPRED. It calls for the massive filtering of the Internet to tackle file-sharing: according to the Commission, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should “cooperate” in the war against sharing to avoid the threat of litigation.

    • Open Data

      • Public Data Corporation: How Open, and How Public?

        Judging by the phrasing of that, it seems that the government hasn’t yet learned that open data is not an end itself, or something that can be bolted on to traditional government. It is actually part of a wider move towards a more transparent, collaborative form of democracy – and that implies seeking input from anyone interested before making major decisions. That’s particularly important for a body that calls itself the Public Data Corporation: we need to know just how open, and just how public it will really be.

      • What’s that coming over the hill, is it… the Public Data Corporation?

        A couple of days ago, there was a brief announcement from the UK Government of plans for a new Public Data Corporation, which would “bring together Government bodies and data into one organisation”.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Your Rave with OpenLase

        Without a doubt, Laser Projectors are a great way to project large, bright images on any surface you can imagine. With a high enough quality projector and software package, excellent images and visualizations can be displayed in real time. [marcan], of the openkinect project, decided that there were not any open source laser projection packages out there that suited his wants or needs, so logically he decided to write his own. Because home-made laser projectors often use the audio out port of a PC, building the framework on top of the JACK unix sound software to control the hardware made perfect sense. OpenLase includes plugins for audio visualizations, 2D and 3D gaming, as well as converting video streams into laser format in real time.

  • Programming

    • Is Hand-Coding Becoming Obsolete?

      Increasingly, software developers are turning to a new approach for rapidly building robust database applications without programming — application generators. Today’s business environment demands managers find ways to do more with less, and application generation allows for building applications quickly and efficiently.

    • Why You Can’t Hire Great Perl Programmers

      It’s difficult to find great developers in almost any language, unless your language community is so small that it’s self-selecting against people just in it for a paycheck. (Even in that case, the truly great developers who know Haskell or Smalltalk or Common Lisp tend not to be in want of work for long.)

      In another sense, it’s difficult to hire great Perl developers because it’s so very easy to become a mediocre Perl developer. Despite the repeated myth that Perl 5 is difficult to learn, it’s not. It’s shockingly easy to learn just enough Perl 5 to build a working system. If you remember the mid to late ’90s at all, think back to all of the tiny little form scripts that you could FTP into a cgi-bin directory. Most weren’t worth using, due to various limitations, but real people learned just enough Perl 5 to write them.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The march of WebM

      On Tuesday Google announced that it would be withdrawing support for the video standard h.264 from its Chrome browser in two months’ time. Back in June 2009 we covered the contortions that Google had gone through to use the open source video codec FFmpeg in Chrome to decode embedded videos without risking the wrath of the the owners of that standard, the MPEG LA h.264 patent pool. Essentially Google used FFmpeg but did not acquire a licence from the patent pool for FFmpeg itself, but instead for its Chrome browser. This was a cunning move but at the time it annoyed some around the open web standards community who felt – with some justification – that Google’s move was something of an ‘I’m alright Jack’ statement to the rest of them. Representatives of the Mozilla project who produce Firefox scalded Google on public lists, as reported in that previous post.


  • EU Report Warns of “Digital Dark Age” if Digitization of Cultural Heritage Left to Private Sector

    The European Union says its member states must do more to digitize Europe’s cultural heritage and not simply leave that work to the private sector. To do otherwise, suggests a recently commissioned report, could steer Europe away from a digital Renaissance and “into a digital dark age.”

  • Google Buys eBook Technologies – Possible Plans Leaked

    A company by the name of eBook Technologies has recently become part of the internet monster known as Google. ebook Technologies is aimed towards supplying “intelligent” reading devices and licenses technologies that enable publishing to be completely automated as well as control over content distribution.

  • Runet: Why the Russian internet doesn’t need the West

    Last month I visited Moscow to help chair the country’s first English speaking technology conference (TechCrunch Moscow) and was pleasantly surprised to discover a very self-contained and self-sufficient industry.

    The US technology giants, such as Google and Facebook, have a presence in the country, but unlike the majority of territories they have entered around the world, they have failed to dominate; Russian companies reign across search, social networking, digital media and email services.

  • Internet 2010 in numbers
  • What to Do When You Find Something Cool on the Internet: A Flowchart
  • First thoughts on Tunisia and the role of the Internet

    News from Tunisia looks good. For better or worse, many of us will be pondering the role that the Internet played or didn’t play in the events of the Jasmine Revolution. Below are some preliminary reflections, which, if you know me well, are likely to change by the end of next week!

    One thing to keep in mind is that revolutions will continue and Twitter won’t go away anytime soon. So, it’s reasonable to assume that there WILL be some new-media activity for any social or political turmoil. But correlation, as well all know, doesn’t always mean causation.

  • Tweeting tyrants out of Tunisia: the global Internet at its best

    Even yesterday, it would have been too much to say that blogger, tweeters, Facebook users, Anonymous, and Wikileaks had “brought down” the Tunisian government, but with today’s news that the country’s president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fled the country, it becomes a more plausible claim to make.

    Of course there was more to such demonstrations than some new technology. An individual act of desperation set off the last month of rioting, as a college-educated young man set himself on fire after police confiscated his unlicensed fruit and vegetable cart. Tunisia’s high unemployment rate, rampant corruption, and rising food prices added to the anger at Ben Ali’s 20+ year rule.

  • One tweet *can* change the world

    Knowing that I wanted to do more to help people in the developing world, I took Karl up on his challenge immediately—lending $100 to a group of women in Bolivia who wanted to start small businesses selling groceries.

    And I felt remarkable.

  • Science

    • Bright star on January 2011 evenings? It’s the planet Jupiter

      Do you see a bright ’star’ in the south to southwest sky at early evening on these January evenings? You’re really seeing a planet, Jupiter.

    • Science: Ugly fonts aid content memorization

      Having difficulty getting your message across? Try an uglier font.

      Perhaps because people learn better when it’s a struggle to do so, content written in difficult-to-read fonts is more readily remembered than content rendered in visually pleasing fonts, a group of researchers has found.

      Their seemingly counter-intuitive findings could interest computer user-interface specialists wishing to maximize the impact of their designs.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The Unexpected Return of ‘Duck and Cover’

      A terrorist bomb is likely to be relatively small — possibly only a fraction of the Hiroshima bomb’s explosive power — and likely exploded at ground level. This means that the area totally destroyed by the explosion is likely to be much smaller than the area exposed to lesser damage or to fallout radiation (this nuclear weapons effects calculator from the Federation of Atomic Scientists will let you see the effect of different sized bombs burst at different heights). Because of this, Homeland Security people in the Obama Administration have been encouraging a duck-and-cover approach, followed by advice to “shelter in place” against fallout rather than trying to evacuate the area.

  • Cablegate

    • The First WikiLeaks Revolution?

      Tunisians didn’t need any more reasons to protest when they took to the streets these past weeks — food prices were rising, corruption was rampant, and unemployment was staggering. But we might also count Tunisia as the first time that WikiLeaks pushed people over the brink. These protests are also about the country’s utter lack of freedom of expression — including when it comes to WikiLeaks.

    • Confinement Conditions Update

      Due to the lack of response from the confinement facility, the defense, pursuant to the provisions of Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 305(g), filed a request earlier today with the Garrison Commander to direct the release of PFC Bradley Manning from pretrial confinement. This request is based upon the fact that the confinement conditions currently being endured by PFC Manning are more rigorous than necessary to guarantee his presence at trial, and that the concerns raised by the government at the time of pretrial confinement are no longer applicable. Further steps to address PFC Manning’s confinement conditions will be taken, if necessary.

    • Song for Bradley Manning
    • NRC, RTL access 3,000 Wikileaks cables from The Hague

      Iran, Geert Wilders and the joint strike fighter are among the subjects covered in some 3,000 diplomatic cables from US officials in The Hague to Washington, the NRC reports on Friday.

      The NRC and RTL news were given access to the cables – part of the 250,000 cable Wikileaks collection – by Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten using a back door route.

    • A Media Intervention for Wikileaks

      EFF staff activist Rainey Reitman will be talking about the rights of online publishers and the perils of censorship during an outdoor rally for Wikileaks. This event is part of the global days of action called for by Wikileaks activists. There will be outdoor art projects as well as speakers.

    • Blacklisting WikiLeaks

      Peter King, Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, wants WikiLeaks placed on the Treasury Department’s blacklist in order to “strangle (its) viability,” by threatening, if not strangling, the viability of any person or company that dares to engage in any economic transaction with WikiLeaks or Assange. Conducting business, or providing any economic assistance to a blacklisted entity, even unknowingly, no matter how trivial, is a violation of federal law, for which you too may be blacklisted, losing access to all your property and interests in the U.S. (I’ve written previously about the blacklists here and here.)

      King is especially incensed that an American publisher, Knopf, has entered into a book deal with Assange (who is reportedly receiving over a million dollars for his memoir); and if he is now blacklisted, you could conceivably break the law merely by buying his book, or contributing to a WikiLeaks defense fund. In other words, King is not simply targeting Assange and Wikileaks; he is targeting all of us — every American citizen and company. In his view, even a paying consumer of information and ideas from WIkiLeaks or Assange is collaborating in terrorism.


      Blacklisting is enabled by a network of federal statutes and executive orders, which requires study to begin to understand. (I doubt many members of Congress can explain it.) Complicated, obscure, and arbitrary, with an incredibly wide reach, this is a legal regime practically designed to be abused. It represents the politicization of law, for which both parties are responsible; and it’s a lot more tyrannical than health care reform.

    • John Pilger’s Investigation Into the War on WikiLeaks and His Interview With Julian Assange

      The attacks on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are a response to an information revolution that threatens old power orders in politics and journalism. The incitement to murder trumpeted by public figures in the United States, together with attempts by the Obama administration to corrupt the law and send Assange to a hell-hole prison for the rest of his life, are the reactions of a rapacious system exposed as never before.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • US environmental agency revokes mine’s permit for mountaintop removal

      The Obama administration has vetoed one of the biggest coal projects in the US in a historic decision against the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining.

      The Environmental Protection Agency said it was revoking the permit granted to the Spruce Number One mine in West Virginia, which would have involved blasting the tops off mountains over more than 2,200 acres, because it would inflict “unacceptable” damage to surrounding valleys and streams.

    • Japanese team confident of cloning a mammoth

      Previous attempts to clone the mammoth have failed because nuclei in the cells were too badly damaged by ice crystals. But in 2008, Japanese scientists succeeded in cloning a mouse from cells which had been frozen for 16 years, raising hopes for the resurrection of the mammoth.

    • Borneo indigenous leaders arrested

      Police in Sarawak, in the Malaysian part of Borneo, have arrested two indigenous leaders for possession of ‘seditious materials’.

      The offices of the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) were raided and its secretary, Nicholas Mujah, arrested along with two others, while indigenous lawyer Abun Sui Anyit was arrested at a Sarawak airport last Thursday. The two men were held separately and questioned, then released on bail. Abun Sui Anyit was called for further questioning by police yesterday.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Interception Modernisation Programme

      That this House expresses its deep concern about the Government’s proposal, contained within the Strategic Defence and Security Review, to develop an interception modernisation programme; notes that such a programme would include a proposal to store every email, webpage visit and telephone call made in the UK for an unspecified period; further notes that the Home Office has previously estimated that sucha database would cost in the region of 2 billion to develop; believes that the development of an interception modernisation programme raises serious privacy, data storage and access concerns; and calls on the Government to issue a full public consultation on its proposals as soon as possible.

    • Facebook, the Control Revolution, and the Failure of Applied Modern Cryptography

      Fast forward to 2011, and the world is vastly more centralized than it ever was. Almost everyone’s most intimate conversations are held by four companies. And one company knows basically everything about everyone under 25.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net Neutrality: Why It Matters

      The discussion about Net Neutrality continues to heat up. Over at LifeHacker, they asked “What Would You Miss Most if the Net Wasn’t Neutral Anymore?” One user responded with a comment that compared Cable TV to the Internet. Either I failed to understand his sarcasm, or he’s totally missing the point.

      Until recently, your cable company was just a transporter of someone else’s data — the TV networks. You paid extra for extra channels, which is fine with me, as your cable company is then paying the TV producers for the content. If paying my ISP meant all sites were then free to access, that might even be fine. But it won’t be, I’ll still be paying Netflix and my ISP.

    • The costly anti-piracy lesson Sony failed to learn from Microsoft

      Sony is in the news right now. It has taken several security researchers to court, after they released code circumventing the company’s digital rights management (DRM) technology. Unfortunately for Sony, this problem could have largely been avoided had it learned from Microsoft’s lessons.

    • The .wwf format in practice

      These were the reactions I got:

      1. My girlfriend wasn’t even able to open it, because the MIME-type wasn’t known in her Vista installation.
      2. I p*ssed off a very expensive consultant at work who ordered me to send a printable version or I’d have to look for another assignment.
      3. A colleague of mine who prints virtually everything sent it to another nerd colleague of mine who returned a printable version of the document using my “cracking” pages.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Megaupload to Copyright Critics: If We’re “Rogue” So is Google

        Says that Google is “probably hosts the world’s largest index of pirated content” and yet the site is “non-rogue,” and that we don’t blame Microsoft because people use its OS to transfer and “consume pirated content on a massive scale every day.”

      • Deep Linking Could Be Infringement In Germany If Website Puts Even Ridiculous Weak Attempts To Block It

        We’ve pointed out numerous problems with anti-circumvention rules, which make it infringement to break pretty much any attempt at circumventing any type of content protection measures (even if not to infringe on the copyright). Sometimes courts realize how silly this is, such as a ruling from a few years ago in Europe, which noted that it’s silly to consider such anti-circumvention rules reasonable if the technical protection measures are not considered “effective.” In other words, if your protection scheme is laughable, it’s silly to make it infringement to get around it. Apparently not all the courts in Europe have gotten this message yet. An anonymous reader points us to a case from a few months back in Germany, in which the court said that deep linking to content that had ridiculously weak measures to block deep-linking is still infringing (that link is a not so great Google translation of the original German — though, the submitter gave a more complete explanation).

Clip of the Day

Watch President Obama’s Full Speech at Tucson Memorial

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 15/1/2011: RHEL 5.6 Released, Debian 6.0 is Near

Posted in News Roundup at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Extensive Benchmarks Of Amazon’s EC2 Compute Cloud Performance

      Last month we delivered our first benchmarks of the Amazon EC2 Cloud, but those initial tests were limited to just a few of their cloud computing instances due to failures with the Ubuntu EC2 operating system on their other compute instances. Earlier this month we then showed how the Amazon EC2 Micro was comparable to a Nokia N900 and Intel Atom, but now we have a more exhaustive comparison complete of all major Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud types.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 3 Episode 1

      In this episode: Firefox overtakes Internet Explorer in Europe while Android overtakes iPhone in the US, and TransGaming transforms Cedega into the GameTree Developer Program. Discover our new section and hear your own opinions in our Open Ballot.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • ULatencyD Enters The Linux World

      Daniel Poelzleithner has announced to the Linux kernel world his new project named ulatencyd. The focus of ulatencyd is to provide a script-able daemon to dynamically adjust Linux scheduling parameters and other aspects of the Linux kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Shell 2.91.5 released

        GNOME Shell provides core user interface functions for the GNOME 3 desktop, like switching to windows and launching applications. GNOME Shell takes advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware and introduces innovative user interface concepts to provide a visually attractive and easy to use experience.

      • GNOME 3.0 Is Getting Very Close

        Vincent Untz has announced the first GNOME release of 2011, which is one of the final development snapshots leading up to the long-awaited release of GNOME 3.0.

        GNOME 2.91.5 is today’s development release after the 2.91.4 release was previously skipped from making it out there due to blocking bugs during a collision with the holidays.

    • Xfce

  • Distributions

    • REMnux: Linux distribution for reverse-engineering malware

      REMnux is a lightweight Linux distribution for assisting malware analysts in reverse-engineering malicious software.

      REMnux is designed for running services that are useful to emulate within an isolated laboratory environment when performing behavioral malware analysis.

    • Reviews

      • Arch Linux is Tops In the Server Room

        For a straightforward, lightweight, command-line based Linux — whether a server, an older desktop or laptop, or if you just want to learn the Linux command-line better — it’s hard to beat Arch Linux.

    • Red Hat Family

      • RHEL 5.6 is released

        Today Red Hat has released RHEL5.6 after a beta period of ~2 months. There is no official announcement (yet), so the release highlights are unknown. Probably they are the same like the beta version.

    • Debian Family

      • Getting closer to the Squeeze release

        The Debian Installer team has announced the Debian Installer 6.0 Release Candidate 1 release. Read about all the changes and improvements at their announcement.

      • Debian Installer 6.0 Release Candidate 1 published

        This release candidate includes the new SpaceFun artwork for Squeeze. You can preview this artwork on the wiki page and watch a video of it in action.

      • Debian Installer 6.0 Release Candidate 1 release
      • Debian 6.0 Is Getting Ready With An RC Installer
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu rocks up in Google science fair video

          Google recently-announced an online science fair for 13-18 year-olds, tasked with finding the next ‘Sergey Brin’.

        • Canonical Announces Ubuntu Developer Relations Advocate Role

          Canonical underlined its focus on attracting partners and commercial software developers to the Ubuntu platform when it announced the creation of a “developer relations advocate” position. Here’s the scoop, and what it says about Ubuntu and Canonical in the long term.

          The announcement, posted on Canonical’s website by vice president of business development Steve George, describes the role of the developer relations advocate as “evangelizing the platform and assisting developers as they develop software for Ubuntu.”

          George also emphasized third-party commercial code, rather than contributions to Ubuntu itself, as the main point of interest for the new position: “Our focus is on commercial software developers since we believe that it’s important to create a sustainable ecosystem around the platform.”

        • New Ubuntu Translations Videocast tomorrow

          Ladies and gents, I’m pleased to announce the next Ubuntu Translations videocast tomorrow from Dallas, Texas, where this week we are holding the Canonical Platform Rally for the next version of Ubuntu, the Natty Narwhal.

        • Ubuntu developers talk reviews and ratings in the Software Centre

          Ubuntu Software Centre developer Michael Vogt and designer Matthew Paul Thomas tour ratings and reviews in Ubuntu 11.04 in this latest instalment of ‘Ubuntu developer diaries’.

        • Bright, light and beautiful!

          That’s what we want the Ubuntu desktops in Natty to feel like. We’re changing things a little bit for the coming release too. We’ll still feature some fantastic photography sourced from our Flickr group but this time we’re reserving at least 3 places for non photographic wallpapers, so things that are rendered or drawn.

        • Natty to include ’3 non-photographic’ wallpapers

          Ubuntu 11.04 is to ship with ‘at least 3′ non-photographic wallpapers, a move many designers within the community have been longing for.

        • Can We Appropriate Design?

          This is all good. However, the issue is not restricted to our Ubuntu developers. We should not forget that, in the wider opensource community, many developers do not have access to the Canonical, or any other, design team or to anyone with solid design training. They are the developers who work on their own free time and produce amazing software. They have to wing design. Many wish they could access such skills to help beautify and enhance the user experience of their products. These contributors deserve our support.

        • Firefox application menu coming along….
        • Flavours and Variants

          • First Ever Release of Elementary OS “Jupiter” Imminent, Available for Pre Order Now!

            Elementary project refined Linux desktop like no other. And now, the much anticipated Elementary OS codenamed Jupiter is all set to have its first ever official release. The official tagline goes like this – “Its gonna be huge”. Considering the sheer amount of changes and improvements Elementary OS is going to bring with it, the release of “Jupiter” is going to be huge indeed!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 1 second Linux boot to Qt!

      At the end of last year, to demonstrate my company’s swiftBoot service, I put together a rather impressive demo. Using a Renesas MS7724 development board I was able to achieve a one second cold Linux boot to a Qt application. Here’s the demo…

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Uninstall Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Install MeeGo OS On Nexus S Device

          The XDA developers are too quick to bring these hacks. Here they wo with another one. Stroughtonsmith named hacker has successfully ported MeeGo operating system on Google Nexus S smartphone. The developer used rootfs images on the internal memory to boot Meego on Nexus S without flashing the phone.

          For those who are unaware of this, MeeGo is an open source Linux based operating system designed to target mobile devices, notebooks, tablets, embedded systems etc. MeeGo was aimed to merge the features and work of Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin.

        • My First Android Phone

          Several days ago, I bought my new cellphone, which is an Android device. It is Moto Quench XT502, only available for China Mainland. But you can find out XT5 is the same with XT502. As we know, All the cellphones need to be modified something as Chinese edition. Google Services have to be removed in China and added some localized applications due to the relationship between government and Google.

      • Android

    • Tablets

      • CES 2011 roundup: tablet strategies, chip strategies, 3D TV, smart TV, and MIAs

        What a lot of tablets. Around 80 were launched, almost all of them running Android. Motorola wowed the show by announcing its 10-inch (1280×800) Xoom, which will run Android 3.0 (aka “Honeycomb”). You couldn’t actually see it running Honeycomb, though; all the stand had was a sort of video demonstration running on the device. Battery life? Price? Ship date? “Competitive”, “competitive” and “aiming for Q1″.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-sourcing Kafka, LinkedIn’s distributed message queue

    We are pleased to open-source another piece of infrastructure software developed at LinkedIn, Kafka, a persistent, efficient, distributed message queue. Kafka is primarily intended for tracking various activity events generated on LinkedIn’s website, such as pageviews, keywords typed in a search query, ads presented, etc. Those activity events are critical for monitoring user engagement as well as improving relevancy in various other products. Each day, a substantially large number of such events are generated. Therefore, we need a solution that’s scalable and incurs low overhead.

  • Ex Microsoft marketing honcho targets tall apparel

    But Tindall says it really wasn’t a hard choice. “Some of the better products for ecommerce are open source,” he said. “When you work at a company like Microsoft, it’s all about scale and that played into my decision of what software to use – how could I drive scale without a huge infrastructure? And one of the great things is how well these programs work with search engine optimization.

  • Events

    • The Linux Foundation Announces 2011 Event Schedule; Book Early for Special Discounts

      In addition to announcing its event schedule, the Linux Foundation is also opening its Call for Presentations for all of the 2011 events and being offered are special promotions to book their registration for LinuxCon North America and Europe early. Also The Linux Foundation is offering a special promotional discounted registration fee of $200 USD is for the first 50 people who register for each event. The Linux Foundation encourages interested people to register now as those special discounts and promotions will go quickly.

    • Linux Foundation: Events for 2011 include new LinuxCon Europe

      The Linux Foundation has published its 2011 event schedule and confirmed that its premier Linux conference, LinuxCon, is coming to Europe this year. LinuxCon Europe will take place from the 26th to the 28th of October in Prague, Czech Republic. Amanda McPherson, Linux Foundation VP of Marketing and Developer Programs said “As we approach the 20th anniversary of Linux and the operating system experiences increasing adoption throughout Europe, it is only fitting that we host LinuxCon where Linux originally took root”.

      The Foundation has also announced the Call for Presentations for its entire 2011 event line-up – this includes its LinuxCon conferences in North America, Japan, Brazil and Europe, as well as other events focusing on embedded Linux in both North America and Europe. Following the announcement in October of last year that the Linux Foundation and the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) would be merged, the Foundation will organise and host the Embedded Linux Conferences (ELC) in North America and Europe.

    • Open Database Camp 2011 in Sardinia: Combining duty and pleasure

      The Europen edition of the Open Database Camp 2011 will take place in Sardinia, hosted by the Sardinia Technology Park, a local scientific and business institution with international links.

    • A flood update from linux.conf.au
  • Web Browsers

    • Can Google and Mozilla dethrone H.264 on the Web?

      Good news today for open Web proponents: Google has announced it be pushing WebM and Theora for the HTML5 video element in Chrome as well as the open source Chromium project. Potentially bad news for the majority of the Web, which is going to have to ride out a years-long standards format war. Again.

      Here’s the scoop so far in a nutshell. Once upon a time, the HTML5 video element was going to specify what format(s) should be supported by the browser, and the leading contender was Theora. Then that changed to a comment that it would be “helpful” if browser vendors could all support the same codecs, but “no known codecs… satisfy all the current players.” Here “players” refers to the vendors participating in the spec.

    • Google and H.264 – Far From Hypocritical

      A large number of commentors on the Google blog said that the move was unjustified “because H.264 is now free”. This is a complex topic that it’s hard to explain concisely. But as I said last August, H.264 is not the kind of Free that matters. The MPEG-LA patent consortium taxes the H.264 standard so that the patent holders don’t have to get their hands dirty or be identified as information highwaymen, and their fee waiver delivers some flexibility to some people.

    • Last Week, IE Was The Top Browser On TechCrunch. Wait, What?

      You might not think that’s a big deal considering that IE is still by a fairly large margin the most-used browser overall. But as long as we’ve been keeping track of stats for TechCrunch, it has never been the top browser here. In fact, it has been number four for quite some time. And it’s normally about five percentage points behind number three: Safari. So for it to surge to number one is a real oddity.

      So what happened?

      One word: AOL.

      We’ve written about this before; being on AOL’s homepage can lead to a massive surge in traffic depending on where you’re featured. And if we’ve learned one thing from our new parent, it’s that its users love IE. I mean, really love IE. Digging further into the data, almost all of them were using IE (with nearly none using Chrome).

      Read into that what you will. The aging giant, etc. But clearly much of the rest of the web is going the other way.

    • Why Google Isn’t Evil (Today, at Least)

      If open source projects like WebM and Mozilla – and the open Web – are the big winners here, the loser is clearly the H.264 codec that Google is no longer supporting in Chrome. Until now, H.264 has been the undisputed standard for video on the Web – and off it: it’s widely used in many video consumer devices.

      In fact, it’s so widely used that Google’s move might seem quixotic. Even though WebM and Theora codecs are freely available, while H.264 requires a licence (free for some but not all uses), surely most content developers and hardware manufacturers will remain locked in to H.264 just by virtue of its overwhelming market share?

      Well, that might have been a persuasive argument a year, or even six months ago, but things are moving rapidly in this area. Chief among the developments are the rise of Firefox and – in particular – Google’s own Chrome. As I noted last week, Firefox now holds a major chunk of the brower market, particularly in Europe, while Chrome is growing very rapidly there and elsewhere. Put their market share together and you have a very strong argument for Web sites to offer content using the WebM technology that both will be favouring.

    • Google kills H.264 in Chrome

      And to conclude, my favorite of the commentary. Simon Phipps tells everyone to relax, calling “this bold move…another step towards an end to the Flash monopoly on rich media” (Google and H.264 – Far From Hypocritical).

    • Mozilla

      • Game On Submissions: Now Closed!

        Thanks to all who entered the Mozilla Labs Game On 2010 competition – submissions are now closed. Come back Wednesday, January 12th to see the entries and vote for the community favorite!

      • Mozilla Open Data Competition – Announcing The Winners!

        Back in November, Mozilla Labs and the Metrics Team together launched the first Mozilla Open Data Visualization Competition. While we set out to discover creative visual answers to the open question, “How do people use Firefox,” we really didn’t know what level of participation to expect from the Mozilla and data analysis communities. In fact, we were overwhelmed by both the number and quality of submissions – so much so that we had to give ourselves an extra few days to thoroughly review them all!

      • Firefox 4 T-shirt Design Challenge

        The goal of this challenge is to create a unique design that captures the essence of Firefox 4. The winning design will be printed as the official Firefox 4 launch t-shirt, a limited edition item featured in the Mozilla store and distributed to thousands of fans and contributors around the world. It will also be highlighted across key web properties like mozilla.com, the Creative Collective homepage, the Mozilla blog, our Facebook page, and more.

      • The why of HTML5 for games development – the introductory talk at #gameon10

        Yesterday I went to London’s Old Street to talk about HTML5 and the web at the Mozilla Labs Gaming Special. Here are the slides, the audio and my extensive notes of what I had to say.

      • IndexedDB in Firefox 4

        Mozilla is pleased to announce support for IndexedDB in the upcoming Firefox 4 Beta 9 and recent trunk nightlies. IndexedDB allows web apps to store large amounts of data on your local system (with your explicit permission, of course) for fast offline retrieval at a later time. We’re hoping that webmail, TV listings, and online purchase history will one day be as convenient to access offline as they are online.

      • Let’s Play Some Games!

        We built the Game On Gallery so that people who use the Web everyday can access and enjoy your games. Starting today, registered users of the Game On website can vote on their choice for the winner of the Community Choice prize category. Over the next couple weeks, our expert judges will be selecting winners for the other prize categories. Winners will be announced the first week of February.

      • Mozilla Exec: Firefox 4 Will Arrive in February

        Firefox 4 is nearly ready for release, a recent post on Mozilla’s developer mailing list suggests.

      • Firefox beta getting new database standard

        The ninth beta version of Firefox, due imminently, is set to get support for a standard called IndexedDB that provides a database interface useful for offline data storage and other tasks needing information on a browser’s computer.

        “IndexedDB allows Web apps to store large amounts of data on your local system (with your explicit permission, of course) for fast offline retrieval at a later time. We’re hoping that Web mail, TV listings, and online purchase history will one day be as convenient to access offline as they are online,” Ben Turner, who develops IndexedDB for Mozilla’s browser, said yesterday in a blog post.

      • Firefox Four Isn’t Going To Kick Ass – It’s Already Kicking Ass!

        But it’s fast. Very fast. It’s more stable (I’m one of those idiots who likes having a hundred tabs open at once…) It’s nice.

  • Oracle

    • Hudson/Jenkins – some more context and thoughts

      Andrew Bayer just posted a blog post on Hudson-labs.org with a proposal for renaming the Hudson project to “Jenkins”. Since Kohsuke Kawaguchi, founder of and lead contributor to the Hudson project, is part of CloudBees, and I’ve helped Andrew and Kohsuke bounce ideas, I wanted to share some more context and thoughts.

      Each and every Open Source project has its own DNA, its own philosophy that gets established over time. Born in 2004, Hudson has had plenty of time to find its cruising altitude. Yet, after Kohsuke left ORCL, ORCL decided they didn’t necessarily liked the way the project was handled and asked for some changes to take place.

  • Education

    • Remixing Euclid

      When we talk about geometry, the vast majority of us are actually talking about what mathematicians now call, more precisely, Euclidean geometry. And why do they call it Euclidean geometry? Because the Greek mathematician Euclid laid out its foundations in a manuscript about 2400 years ago, and mathematicians have been nodding their heads in agreement ever since.

      Euclid’s Elements made its way from Alexandria to Athens, to Rome, to Baghdad, back to Europe, and around the globe. In days gone by, one could not be considered properly educated without having studied Euclid. Until the 20th Century, Elements was the second most printed book in the world, ahead of Shakespeare and behind only the Bible. It is said that country lawyer Abe Lincoln carried a copy from town to town so that he could study its proofs by candlelight. Einstein called it “the holy little geometry book”.

  • Project Releases

    • LibreOffice 3.3 Release Candidate 3 available

      The Document Foundation is happy to announce the third release candidate of LibreOffice 3.3. This release candidate is not intended for production use! The final release of LibreOffice 3.3, for production use, will be available soon.

  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Calculating Alcohol By Volume in Python on Android

      Wow, I just managed to combine three of my favourite things in a single title! Recently, I’ve been getting further into home brewing, with a book I received as a Christmas present (Home Brewed Beers and Stouts, by C.J.J. Berry). Since I’d never actually measured the Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of my beer I decided to write some Python code to automate the process. The simple modules I came up with work from the command line and also on Android phones via SL4A, which makes them very useful when doing quick measurements.

    • Too Busy
  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Document Foundation joins OpenDoc Society

      OpenDoc Society, the global association that promotes best practices for office applications, today announced that The Document Foundation has become an organizational member. The Document Foundation joins other companies, Open Source communities, public sector organizations and not-for-profits that are already members organizations of OpenDoc Society, such as Cap Gemini, Google, IBM, CWI and the Netherlands Department of Defense. OpenDoc Society brings together individuals and organizations with a stake or interest in the openness and future of documents, to learn from each other and share knowledge and best practices about core technologies, available tools, policy issues, transition strategies, legal aspects and of course the latest innovations.


  • Witches Use Spells To Protest New Taxes

    Solace for world leaders trying to enforce painful austerity measures: At least you’re not running Romania.

    Angry witches are using cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the president and government who are forcing them to pay taxes. Also in the eye of the taxman are fortune tellers, who should have seen it coming.

  • View SketchUp models in your hand with augmented reality

    Augmented Reality is a concept that has a lot of potential in the coming years. In particular, technologies like Layar could prove to be very useful as the GPS accuracy and the underlying dataset continue to get more accurate.

  • Delusions Aside, the Net’s Potential Is Real

    Evgeny Morozov’s new book, The Net Delusion, is an important contribution; its publication has been widely welcomed as an important correction to cyber-utopianism, and greeted with laudatory reviews. I found myself agreeing with the majority of its arguments.

    But I write here neither to praise nor bury the book, but to engage it critically. Morozov challenges the intellectual laziness that characterizes so many analyses of the Internet’s impact, which do tend to be on the utopian side. That is well, but just as cyber-utopianism is fashionable in some circles, it’s equally fashionable in others to pooh-pooh the fundamentally transformative impact of the Internet, denying it any great world-historical importance. To some intellectuals, the mundanity of human sociality exposed through the Internet deserves to be mocked, and people’s sincere attempts to express their identity and convictions through online methods are derided as meaningless “slactivism.”

  • NYC’s Computer-System Cash-Dump Disaster

    The anonymous author alleged that the project was hopelessly corrupt and out of control and had been for years. The writer, who claimed to have been employed on the project, went on to name three people he alleged were responsible for that corruption.

    The commenter accused a consultant, Mark Mazer, of being “the most crooked person on the team,” and said consultant Scott Berger was building a home in Florida at city expense.

  • World IPv6 Day Is June 8. Should You Care?

    Most web workers have probably heard that “the Internet is running out of addresses.” In response, The Internet Society, together with such major players as Facebook, has announced World IPv6 Day. What will this mean for web workers, businesses and individuals?

  • World IPv6 Day has Facebook, Google & Yahoo Support
  • Court: Medical residents not students

    Settling a 20-year legal battle between teaching hospitals and the federal tax collector and saving the Treasury some $700 million a year in future revenue, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that medical students who have become doctors in training as residents are not students under federal tax law, and thus are subject to federal taxes to cover Social Security and Medicare (so-called FICA taxes). The decision, however, will mean that the taxes are due only on residents’ stipends paid after April 1, 2005. Earlier payments are being refunded by the Treasury’s own choice (see this news release). Justice Elena Kagan did not take part in the decision.

  • How Physical Media Can Still Have a Future

    It has become common wisdom that retail stores that carry physical media – CDs, books, movies in particular – are, to use the scientific term, “toast”.

  • Publishing industry may be headed for another e-jolt

    A device coming from a Rhode Island company this spring promises to shake the publishing industry in the same way CD burners shook the music industry and forever changed copyright laws in the early 1990s.

    ION Audio’s Book Saver looks like a miniature overhead projector combined with a cradle and can scan a 200-page novel in less than 15 minutes.

  • AOL’s New Problem: Mike Arrington

    When AOL bought TechCrunch last September, the first question on everyone’s lips was, “How long could Mike Arrington possibly last as an AOL employee?”

    Yesterday, four months after the deal, we may have begun to learn the answer to that question. On Tuesday evening, for no apparent reason, Arrington threw public punches at AOL’s crown-jewel technology blog, Engadget, and Engadget’s editor, Joshua Topolsky.

  • Fox Shoots Hunter

    The man said he wounded the fox with a shot by a double-barrel gun and tried to finish off the animal with a blow by the gun’s butt. But the fox, which attempted to fight back, hit the trigger with a paw, causing the gun to fire.

  • Science

    • This robot exoskeleton will let you walk again for $1,500 a month

      And the the elderly and disabled will walk again! Thanks to robots of course, specifically a system called “Hybrid Assistive Limb”, shortened to HAL and created by Japanese company Cyberdyne. The powered robot exoskeleton moves in response to nerve signals in a human’s legs. Users only need to “think” and the robot legs will move for them. Think of the legs like an incredibly advanced Segway that is actually sensing your nervous system. The HAL suit is available to hospitals and clinics in Japan to rent for about $1,500 per month.

    • A Googol of Genomes?

      Earlier this week we took a look back at 2010 and offered our projections for the coming year in personal genomics. Topic #1, just as it was last year: the $1,000 genome.

      In hindsight, it might have been ill-advised to offer predictions about the near-term future of genome sequencing during the same week in which one of the year’s major industry conferences (the JP Morgan annual Healthcare Conference) is taking place.

    • White House commissions report on 3-D printers
    • MIT pioneers ad hoc network-bottleneck breaker

      Two researchers may have found a way to greatly reduce traffic bottlenecks that could take place in ad hoc networks. Such work may be essential for the future development of sensor networks, they say.

      Keren Censor-Hillel, a postdoctoral research student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and Hadas Shachnai, an associate professor of computer science at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, presented their work last week at the 2011 Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, held by the Association of Computing Machinery and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

    • Seminal UK computer Edsac to be recreated

      Edsac, the UK’s first fully operational general-purpose computer, is to be recreated at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Promoting Anorexia: An Interview With Kenneth Tong. This Was No Hoax

      Women should “get thin or die trying,” and you can “never start too young.” It is better for a girl to “risk [her] life dieting than be sub-par by being a plus-size.” Remember: “Hunger hurts but starving works.” When an ultra-wealthy but forgotten former British reality show Big Brother contestant called Kenneth Tong started Tweeting these sentiments — and worse — a fortnight ago, a Twitter-storm broke. Everyone from Rihanna to Gordon Ramsay told their followers he was a dangerous fool, but Tong gathered tens of thousands of young girls who followed him. He became the most discussed subject on Twitter in the world for three days. His message? “The words lunch, breakfast, and dinner should now mean nothing to you, you have eaten enough for a lifetime. Stop. You are disgusting.”

      Then Tong claimed it was all a hoax — just an hour after I interviewed him. In our long discussion he passionately defended every word he had said, but when I told him that his arguments could kill young girls and expose him to serious legal liability, he visibly began to panic. When I spoke to him on the phone later in the day, after his ‘revelation’, he said “it was dangerous ground we were treading on, I can see that now” and begged me not to publish his comments. So I don’t believe it was a hoax at all — but that he was finally scared off by the legal implications of what he was saying and doing. You can judge for yourself.

    • Open source returns integrity to science

      Imagine it is 1912, but that the Titanic is fitted with an underwater radar system. Imagine that it senses an iceberg so large that even the captain can understand that by the law of conservation of momentum, the ship will be stopped in its path. Should the captain use the radar information to inform the decision to alter course, or should the captain ignore it because radar is merely an invention of science therefore prone to exaggeration and false findings?

      The New Yorker Magazine has just published an immensely popular article titled “The Truth Wears Off — Is there something wrong with the scientific method?” The article reports several examples of scientific findings that appeared to be significant when first published, but when tested over time, demonstrate weaker and weaker results. Zyprexa is a second-generation anti-depressant that showed great promise in clinical trials in the nineteen-nineties. By 2001, Zyprexa earned more revenue than Prozac, and it remains Eli Lilly’s top-selling drug.

    • Is self-policing enough to stop NHS records being viewed in India?

      It’s remarkable that SBS isn’t even bigger than it is. When the public sector net debt is about £950bn, why don’t most NHS trusts pay their staff through the SBS shared services model? Why don’t many more trusts give SBS their back-office processing work?

      Steria says that SBS will save the NHS £224m over 10 years. It should be more, a point made by John Neilson, SBS’s managing director.


      Media controversy as NHS work is carried out in India

      But the media has raised questions about whether any NHS work that involves medical records or appointments should be handled in India, where legislation covering data protection is not as it is in the UK.

  • Europe

    • Liberal MEPs initiate Hungarian Presidency boycott

      MEPs from the European Parliament’s liberal ALDE group have called for the venue of a meeting to be changed from Budapest to Brussels, as a sign of protest against a controversial media law recently adopted in Hungary, the country holding the rotating EU presidency.

    • Response to Commissioner Barnier on EU’s refusal to support right to read

      We were therefore disappointed to see that the Commission insists that a non-binding, “soft” “WIPO Recommendation” would be the best sort of international legal instrument to provide for the transfer of accessible books between countries.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • N.Y. Republican wants to outlaw guns near officials, judges

      New York Rep. Peter King, chairman of House Homeland Security Committee, will introduce a bill to ban carrying a gun within 1,000 feet of a member of Congress and federal judges. The measure will also apply to carrying weapons near the president or vice president.

      King announced the measure at a press conference today with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who heads a gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and who is backing the bill. King’s move may indicate there may be gaining momentum for some sort of gun-control measures in the wake of the Tucson shooting.

    • Law passed to ban picketing at Tucson funerals
    • Police raid ‘cannabis factory’ and discover it’s home for guinea pigs

      The squad rushed in after a force helicopter picked up a ‘hotspot’ on Pam Hardcastle’s property, thinking it betrayed a lighting system used to grow the drug.

      But all they found was a heater for Simon and Kenny, the pets of Ms Hardcastle’s ten-year-old son, Jack.

      ‘When I opened it up and they saw the guinea pigs, they didn’t say anything,’ said the 42-year-old primary school worker.

    • The Devil Wears Underwear

      We don’t buy this justification easily. We prod and poke until we get to the truth. So why when it comes to our own harassment and humiliating experiences in the name of “security” do we accept it and shut up?

      As female journalists working in this region we constantly find ourselves putting clothes on to please Hamas and taking them off to please the Israelis.

    • Palin: Violent Rhetoric Doesn’t Inspire Violence — But Criticism Of Violent Rhetoric Does

      So, according to Sarah Palin, violent rhetoric plays no role in inspiring violent acts — but criticism of violent acts incites “hatred and violence.”

    • Israel keeps Palestinian ‘Gandhi’ imprisoned

      Amnesty International has condemned an Israeli military appeal court’s decision to extend the prison sentence of a Palestinian non-violent activist, convicted over his involvement in organizing protests in the occupied West Bank.

      Abdallah Abu Rahma, head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in, had his sentence extended from 12 months to 16 months by the Israeli Military Court of Appeals at Ofer in the West Bank on Tuesday, after the prosecution argued that his initial sentence was too lenient.

    • Latin America: For a solidarity `Marshall Plan’ with the Cuban Revolution!; Un Plan Marshall para Cuba

      Cuba is currently faced with a crucial dilemma: either it updates, revises and reconstructs its economic model or it runs the risk of succumbing to the combined pressures created by its own errors and the aggression of the US embargo. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as all of those in Africa and Asia, cannot remain indifferent towards this situation or limit themselves to contemplating how the revolution delivered this decisive battle without any assistance other than their own strength.

    • Former CIA Asset Luis Posada Goes to Trial

      On January 10 one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history will go on trial in a small courtroom in El Paso, Texas. This is not the venue the Obama administration has finally selected to prosecute the perpetrators of 9/11; it is where the reputed godfather of Cuban exile violence, Luis Posada Carriles, may finally face a modicum of accountability for his many crimes.

    • Kinder Surprise egg seized at U.S. border

      A cross-border kerfuffle over a popular chocolate treat nearly cost a Winnipeg woman a $300 fine and saddled her with a bureaucratic headache.

      Lind Bird was recently stopped at the U.S. border and selected for a random search of her vehicle. She was warned she could have faced a fine after the customs official found — and seized — her $2 Kinder Surprise egg as illegal contraband.

    • The Sun Never Sets on the PATRIOT Act

      A year ago, the protracted wrangling in Congress over the re-authorization of several expiring provisions of the PATRIOT ACT made plenty of headlines. Most observers expected the sunsetting powers to be extended, but civil libertarians hoped serious and sorely needed reforms might be part of the package. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees held multiple hearings on the topic, and an array of competing reform and reauthorization bills (PDF) were proposed, adding extra safeguards (of varying stringency) to the greatly expanded surveillance powers Congress had approved in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

    • So anyway, those guns, Professor Spafford…

      But even with that said, to pretend that guns are somehow “safe” because they kill fewer people than cars only indicates that the debate has ceased to be a debate; instead it’s reached the religious level, where idees fixes have completely taken over the minds of adherents and detractors alike, and cannot be budged without the most enormous effort of will. To ask gun adherents to imagine an America without the Second Amendment is like asking a Christian to imagine a world without their imaginary God. From what I’ve seen, there’s a relatively large overlap there. Which ought to give pause for thought. Dogma is dangerous wherever it’s found.

    • Dad’s arrest in sex case results in $1.8M settlement

      More than three years after police in West Bloomfield arrested a man and accused him of raping his autistic daughter, the township’s insurance carrier has agreed to pay his family and attorney $1.8 million to settle a wrongful-arrest suit.

    • It takes a village to raise a child

      It is an acknowledged trend of modern-day life that young people want to be older, even as it is an undeniable trend that older people want to become younger.

    • Tonight we are all Tunisians

      Over the last few days we have seen some of the bravest people facing down some of the worst.

      Armed with nothing more than a revolutionary heart and hopes of a better future they gathered and protested as government forces aimed their weapons and fired live rounds in to the crowds.

      But the ammunition and the underlying threats of arrest and torture meant absolutely nothing to the masses – for they had simply lost their fear.

  • Cablegate

    • Q&A: Birgitta Jonsdottir on Wikileaks and Twitter

      Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic MP, writer, artist, activist and former Wikileaks collaborator, spoke to the Globe and Mail’s editorial board on Tuesday. She is in Toronto to kick off the 2011 Samara/Massey journalism seminars. (Samara is a charitable organization that studies citizen engagement with Canadian democracy.)

    • 2 p.m.: Live videostream of Icelandic MP and former WikiLeaks volunteer Birgitta Jonsdottir

      It’s not news that WikiLeaks and some of its supporters often find themselves in the hot seat. The website deals in publishing documents and videos that have embarrassed politicians and countries around the world. Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir was an active volunteer for WikiLeaks, and played a central role in publishing the “Collateral Murder” video. Last week she learned that prosecutors investigating the disclosure of thousands of classified government documents by WikiLeaks were doing a little anti-secrecy lobbying of their own.

    • Assange lawyers fear death sentence

      Julian Assange’s lawyers will argue he faces the threat of the death penalty in the United States if he is handed over to Swedish authorities following next month’s extradition hearing.

      Mr Assange’s legal team released a skeleton report of their case for the February 7-8 extradition hearing in London following Mr Assange’s brief court appearance on Tuesday morning.

      In it, Mr Assange’s legal team said it expected the Swedes to “bow to US pressure and/or rely naively on diplomatic assurances from the USA that Mr Assange would not be mistreated.”

      Swedish prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Mr Assange following accusations of sexual offences against two women in Sweden during a trip last August.

    • WikiLeaks Twitter spying may break EU privacy law

      A group of European MPs will today push EU bosses to say if the US government breached European privacy laws by snooping on Twitter users with links to whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks.

      The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) will today pose an oral question to the European Commission, seeking clarification from the US on a subpoena demanding the micro-blogging site hand over users’ account details.

    • European politicos protest DOJ WikiLeaks-Twitter probe

      An influential group of European politicians is protesting the U.S. government’s attempt to pry WikiLeaks-related information out of Twitter, saying that EU privacy rules may have been violated.

    • Speedy Trial Update

      On 9 January 2011, the defense filed a demand for speedy trial with the Government. PFC Manning has been in pretrial confinement since 29 May 2010. Since 12 July 2010, the case has been on Government requested excludable delay under R.C.M. 707(c). This delay request by the Government was approved by the court-martial convening authority.

    • Assange: WikiLeaks To Speed Release of Leaked Docs

      WikiLeaks will step up its publication schedule of secret documents, founder Julian Assange announced Tuesday, promising more revelations based on the group’s stash of confidential U.S. embassy cables and other leaks.

    • ACNIS launches new research resource project

      In addition, the database also has a separate section devoted entirely to the compilation and classification of all relevant “WikiLeaks” documents, updated and sorted as they are released.

    • WikiLeaks set to turn spotlight on Beijing

      It will publish documents that will embarrass the Chinese government, according to a supporter of the whistle-blowing website.

      Gavin McFadyen, a London-based television producer who has collaborated with WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, said yesterday critics of the website were wrong to say it was obsessed with embarrassing the US government rather than exposing more repressive regimes.

    • Can’t hide love for WikiLeaks

      I recently put the proposition, to a senior frontbencher in Federal Parliament, that the WikiLeaks horse had bolted, and that shutting down Julian Assange could not reverse a fundamental shift in the balance of power towards the citizens and away from the institutions that govern them.

      His response was: ”The Catholic Church shut down Galileo for a hundred years. I think we can shut down Julian Assange.”
      Advertisement: Story continues below

      I now find myself in the uncomfortable position, as a fairly unreconstructed conservative, of being in furious agreement with the Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young. I make no judgment on the merits of the Swedish extradition proceedings that Assange is defending in London. I do regret that this unquestionably gutsy Queenslander is being required to take on the entire global ”establishment” with one hand tied behind his back.

    • How propaganda poisons the mind – and our discourse

      Last week, on January 3, The Guardian published a scathing Op-Ed by James Richardson blaming WikiLeaks for endangering the life of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the democratic opposition in Zimbabwe. Richardson — a GOP operative, contributor to RedState.com, and a for-hire corporate spokesman — pointed to a cable published by WikiLeaks in which American diplomats revealed that Tsvangirai, while publicly opposing American sanctions on his country, had privately urged their continuation as a means of weakening the Mugabe regime: an act likely to be deemed to be treasonous in that country, for obvious reasons. By publishing this cable, “WikiLeaks may have committed its own collateral murder,” Richardson wrote. He added: “WikiLeaks ought to leave international relations to those who understand it – at least to those who understand the value of a life.”

    • Exclusive interview: Julian Assange on Murdoch, Manning and the threat from China

      The contents of these files are unknown, but, according to Assange, “They speak more of the same truth to power.” It is not just government that should be worried about the content of these files, however. “There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp,” he says.

    • GoDaddy is OK with killjulianassange.com
    • Wikileaks volunteer detained and searched (again) by US agents

      Jacob Appelbaum, a security researcher, Tor developer, and volunteer with Wikileaks, reported today on his Twitter feed that he was detained, searched, and questioned by the US Customs and Border Patrol agents at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on January 10, upon re-entering the US after a vacation in Iceland.


      • It’s very frustrating that I have to put so much consideration into talking about the kind of harassment that I am subjected to in airports.

      • I was detained, searched, and CPB did attempt to question me about the nature of my vacation upon landing in Seattle.

      • The CPB specifically wanted laptops and cell phones and were visibly unhappy when they discovered nothing of the sort.

    • Wikileaks: The first full-scale pitched battle between Government and the Open Web

      The whole Wikileaks saga has revealed both strengths and weaknesses. The most obvious choke point is that governments were able to exert political pressure on domain hosts to force them to find a pretext to throw Wikileaks off their servers and so Assange and his colleagues had to play a game of cat and mouse, relocating Wikileaks on different servers. The countervailing strength was and is that they could do this but there is always the danger that the plots will dry up, so to speak, and this whistle-blowing website will run out of hosting space as the American Government pressurises companies and countries to deny it refuge. However, it is a matter of record that it has over five hundred mirrors and closing them all down would be a big task.


      What the Wikileaks story is really about is a clash of world views, about how we handle and process information and who controls it. The political establishments are like Europe before the Reformation and the invention of printing, like businesses trying to impose an outmoded model on top of technologies which threaten to overwhelm them.

    • Icelandic MP Says It’s Our Duty to Fight For WikiLeaks

      Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic parliament and an early supporter of WikiLeaks, said that despite having had a falling out with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over his role in the organization, she is willing to “stand up and stick my neck out for him” and defend the document-leaking entity against attacks by the U.S. government and others, because doing so is her duty. “We must all stand behind WikiLeaks and defend freedom of information and freedom of speech,” Jónsdóttir said in a presentation at the University of Toronto on Tuesday night, in which she also called on media outlets to support the organization. Jónsdóttir also said “even if they chop the head off WikiLeaks, a thousand more heads will come out.”

    • WikiLeaks condemns US embargo move

      WikiLeaks today condemned calls from the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security to “strangle the viability” of WikiLeaks by placing the publisher and its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, on a US “enemies list” normally reserved for terrorists and dictators.

      Placement on the US “Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List” would criminalize US companies who deal with WikiLeaks or its editor. “The U.S. government simply cannot continue its ineffective piecemeal approach of responding in the aftermath of Wikileaks’ damage,” King wrote in a letter to the Secretary of the US Treasury, Geithner. “The U.S. government should be making every effort to strangle the viability of Assange’s organization.”

    • A Whale Of A Cable – Whaling In Norway

      Yet despite a small market and low profits for the meat, the government of Norway has not shown any willingness to let go of whaling.

    • WikiLeaks gives $15,000 to soldier’s defense fund

      A legal defense fund for the US soldier suspected of leaking secret US documents to WikiLeaks said Thursday it has received a 15,000 dollars contribution from the website.

      US Army private Bradley Manning, 23, has been held in a military brig in Virginia since July on suspicion of leaking secret US military documents and State Department cables to WikiLeaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • EU economic governance: Commission sets the yearly priorities for EU growth

      Europe has a comprehensive plan to respond to the crisis and to speed up Europe’s economic growth. It now needs to focus its efforts in a coordinated manner and with an eye on priorities. That is what the Commission is presenting today. The Annual Growth Survey charts a clear direction on where Europe should be heading in the next year, with ten pressing actions focussed on macro-economic stability and fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and growth-enhancing measures. The Annual Growth Survey is the start of the first “European Semester” which changes the way governments shape their economic and fiscal policies. Once agreed by the European Council, Member states will reflect these recommendations in both their policies and national budgets. For the first time ever, Member States and Commission will therefore jointly discuss macro-economic stability, structural reforms and boosting growth measures in a comprehensive way.

    • Memorandum of Understanding with China in the IT & C

      Cu această ocazie, cele două părți vor semna un Memorandum de înțelegere care va permite cooperarea consolidată și schimburi de experiență în sectorul TIC, date fiind capacităţile şi oportunităţile României și Chinei în acest domeniu. On this occasion, the two sides will sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will enable closer cooperation and exchanges of experience in the ICT sector, given the capabilities and opportunities for Romania and China in this field.

    • Spinning Unemployment in a Collapsing Empire

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday that the economy gained only 103,000 new jobs in December–not enough to keep up with population growth–but the rate of unemployment (U.3) fell from 9.8% to 9.4%. If you are confused by the report, you are among the many.

      In truth, what fell was not the number of unemployed people but the number of unemployed people who are actively looking for work. Those who have become discouraged and have ceased looking for work are not considered to be in the work force and are not counted as unemployed in the U.3 measure. The unemployment rate fell because discouraged workers increased, not because employment rose.

    • The rise (and fall) of the global elite

      In my opinion, the oligarchs and their minions give themselves far too much credit for their success. It may be true that they are clever, industrious, and hard-working, but so too are con men, embezzlers, and a goodly number of thieves and other criminals. Is it clever and industrious to appropriate for oneself (by force, intimidation, bribery, or manipulation), resources that are by nature the birthright of all (“the commons”), or to use one’s “insider” position to abuse a public trust? Far too many fortunes have been made that way.

      The Atlantic article concludes “The lesson of history is that, in the long run, super-elites have two ways to survive: by suppressing dissent or by sharing their wealth. It is obvious which of these would be the better outcome for America, and the world. Let us hope the plutocrats aren’t already too isolated to recognize this.”

  • Murdoch

    • Don’t let Murdoch and Hunt stitch it up

      The BBC have just revealed that Ofcom thinks there are big problems with Murdoch’s BSkyB power grab. Their report says the Competition Commission needs to be involved.

    • MySpace Confirms Sale Rumors

      News Corp. is seriously considering hanging a “For Sale” sign on its MySpace social networking real estate, the beleaguered company’s CEO confirmed on Wednesday.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • BlackBerry maker agrees to Indonesian net filters

      BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion is to implement internet pornography filters in Indonesia after being threatened with a blackout for its 2 million users in the country.

    • UK and EU ISPs Bash European Proposals to Force Blocking of Child Abuse Sites

      The European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) has called on the European Parliament to consider permanently removing internet based child sexual abuse content at source, which would be instead of forcing EU and UK ISPs into merely filtering out (blocking) such material. The latter would only provide a merely cosmetic appearance of having done something useful and is easily circumvented.

      EuroISPA believes that removing abuse material at source is the “only” effective “technical measure” that can actually work. It proceeds to state that the alternative use of blocking still allows the content to remain online and available for use by those who present a real danger to children.

    • Missing China activist Gao Zhisheng ‘tortured’

      One of China’s most prominent human rights activists, Gao Zhisheng, has told of his torture by police during more than a year in secret detention.

      The lawyer told the Associated Press he was stripped naked, beaten and pistol-whipped until he feared for his life.

    • Web blocking discussions in European Parliament reach critical stage

      The European Parliament is currently at a crucial stage in the discussions on the European Commission’s proposals on web blocking. The MEP in charge, Roberta Angelilli, has presented her draft report, other parliamentarians have until 20 January to propose other amendments and an “orientation vote” which will informally set Parliament policy on issues of general agreement will take place on 3 February.

      Despite the fact that the original proposal was made by the Commission in March 2009, the level of debate has not developed to any great extent after almost two years of discussion. The fact that the Commission failed to provide any evidence from countries that already block websites has not had any positive impact whatsoever. The fact that blocking is increasingly irrelevant due to the use of P2P and hacked servers instead of static “blockable” websites or the fact that blocking will give criminals immediate warning that they have been detected are of no particular importance in the debate. Indeed, even the actual purpose of blocking – accidental access, deliberate access or something else – is not an issue which has been discussed in any detail.

    • EFF urges US tech companies to aid Tunisian protests

      Civil unrest in Tunisia prompted by government censorship of internet access and freedom of expression continues to spiral out of control this week as the nation’s officials find even more ways to stifle citizens’ pleas for support. Now, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) has begun rallying support from American technology companies to aid Tunisian residents in making their voices heard.

    • Accuracy, nuance big casualties in latest War on Piracy salvo

      Another day, another antipiracy study (or “study”) from a self-interested party. What’s new? This time, one of the named targets is fighting back, alleging “defamation” and reserving the right to sue the study’s authors.

      The study comes from MarkMonitor, a company in the business of selling its brand protection services to companies concerned about intellectual property theft and counterfeiting online. The study is tough to take seriously, since it really just amounts to assembling a list of 100 websites and then grabbing traffic data on them from Alexa.

    • Use of Derogatory Word for Gays in a Song Breaches Broadcast Codes, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

      The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the broadcast of the unedited version of the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits on CHOZ-FM (OZ FM, Newfoundland). The CBSC concluded that the presence of the word “faggot” in the song contravened the Human Rights Clauses of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.

    • France wants to put Internet regulation on the G8 agenda

      A senior French official has called for a new report on online terrorism and pedophilia. French Internet advocates dismissed renewed demands for regulation, pointing to critiques of controversial anti-piracy law.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • T-Mobile: how massive do you like your fail?

      I don’t know whether the company really holds its customers in that sort of disdain, even though I’ve seen plenty of evidence over the years that it can do. It could just be industry-defining massive stupidity, matched with rancid greed. But I know how it feels – and I know that T-Mobile has done itself a great deal of damage. Could I recommend anyone move to T-Mobile? I could at the beginning of the week. I can’t now.

    • MetroPCS: Net Neutrality Violator

      A terrible new service plan from MetroPCS — the fifth-largest mobile phone carrier — is the latest round in the phone industry’s war against Net Neutrality.

    • T-Mobile UK Does A U-Turn On Its New Data Caps: Now For New Subs Only

      Some major back-pedalling over at T-Mobile in the UK this afternoon, and a major win for its customers. The company has said that its new policy, reducing all fair usage data caps to 500 megabytes, will now only apply to new and upgrading customers, not existing subscribers. When T-Mobile had originally announced the changes on Monday, it said it “affects everyone.” But over the last few days, that policy resulted in an avalanche of angry comments on sites like Twitter and threats of a mass exodus of users.

    • New group formed for Net Neutrality!

      The giant Internet Service Providers such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon seek to:

      1. Abolish the flat service fee. This means that you will pay for the amount of time you spend on the Net and the amount of data you download. For example, you will be charged for downloading a video from You Tube. If you don’t have much money to spend, you will have less access to information than a person who has more money.

      2. Make website operators pay for bandwidth. This means that companies with deep pockets like Fox and MSNBC will connect quickly whereas small website operators who can’t afford the high costs will operate “in the slow lane.” The Net result will be an Internet that will become much like cable TV. You will get only the information that the big media companies (and their governmental affiliates) want you to get. You will get a lot less, and you will pay a lot more for less.

    • Sony goes after George Hotz

      That’s from George Hotz, aka Geohot, here.He’s been hit by corporate MAFIAA mobster Sony.

    • Sony Sues Geohot Over PS3 Jailbreak

      Geohot has updated his site again telling people that Sony has filed lawsuits against both him and the fail0verflow german team for jailbreaking PS 3 and allowing packages to be installed.

    • Dodgy salesmen?

      Think again! You’re not actually buying something. You’re licensing the use of an ebook. You can’t buy a licence. You pay a fee, they share some of their rights with you. This is a massive, massive difference between the physical books sold today, and ebooks. An ebook is not your property, it remains, at all times, Amazon’s property.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jeff Koons claims to own all balloon dogs

      Lawyers representing Jeff Koons, the pop artist known for remixing common objects and other peoples’ art, have demanded that San Francisco’s Park Life stop selling book-ends that look like balloon dogs. Koons’s lawyers argue that since Koons once produced a set of iconic statues of balloon dogs, all representations of balloon dogs are henceforth Koons’s exclusive purview, and anyone who makes or sells a balloon dog infringes on Koons’s copyright.

    • Microsoft seeks to block Apple ‘App Store’ trademark

      Microsoft has said that it has asked US officials to block Apple’s attempt to trademark the words “App Store”.

      Apple submitted an application for the phrase – used for its iPhone, iPad and Macintosh download services – in 2008.

    • Copyrights

      • Cyberlockers Take Over File-Sharing Lead From BitTorrent Sites

        In terms of visitor traffic Cyberlockers have taken over the file-sharing lead from BitTorrent sites. This trend has been developing over the last few years and has accelerated in recent months to a position where the number of one-click hosting sites that are larger than The Pirate Bay in terms of traffic has grown to five. All signs indicate that file-storage services are becoming the new sharing standard.

      • Band Discovers Leaked Song… And Its Response Is To Release A Better Version For Free

        We’ve talked in the past about how there are all sorts of ways that bands and musicians can react to the fact that their music has leaked out into the world (and, yes, it will leak out). There’s a range of strategies from calling your fans “thieves” and getting angry, all the way to a much more fan-friendly approach. Time and and time again it appears that taking the fan-friendly approach seems work much better. The latest example of a band taking a much more fan friendly approach is Eisley, who had one of their new songs debut on a podcast, and people got so into it that they cut it out of the podcast recording and even started playing it on the radio. Rather than freak out about it, the band was happy about it.

      • Chinese Crackdown On Piracy Enters The Digital Domain

        Since late last year there have been rumblings that China would soon carry out another crackdown on piracy. During the last week reports suggested that the country’s actions were mainly in the physical domain but now, alongside reports that 4,000 people have been arrested, it seems China is conducting both a music and video piracy purge. More than 200 sites are under orders to remove music and some of the country’s leading video sites are deleting illicit content and cuddling up to Hollywood.

      • It Begins: Content Execs Prepare To Lobby Again

        Didn’t we predict that the government’s new intellectual property review would see a replay of all the entrenched dogma that was flung in Digital Britain’s direction?

        The UK music industry was on Wednesday due to discuss what view it should submit to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills’ (BIS) review of “how the intellectual property system can better drive growth and innovation”, commissioned from Professor Ian Hargreaves in November, MusicWeek reports…

      • Israeli Court Enforces for the First Time a Creative Commons License

        A court in Israel found that taking CC-licensed pictures from Flickr and publishing them in a book violated the copyright in each and every picture separately. (Source: www.law.co.il, including a link to the decision in Hebrew).

        The facts are trivial: Plaintiffs, amateur photographers, uploaded their pictures to Flickr under a CC attribution, non-commercial, no-derivative license. Defendant, a commercial publisher, published the pictures both in a physical format (a book) and some of them also on its website.

      • California Continues Protecting Hollywood: Imposes Greater Fines On Infringement Based On Faulty Reasoning

        The BSA’s numbers are even more ridiculous than the IPI’s and have been debunked over and over again. Even the company that put together the numbers for the BSA had admitted that the BSA clearly exaggerates what they mean. For example, the BSA still insists on using a 1:1 unauthorized copy = lost sale argument, which anyone with an ounce of common sense knows is laughable.

      • The Unacceptable Face of Copyright

        Open access is about making copies of publicly-funded research available freely online. This stems from the belief that (a) having paid for it, the public has a right to see it and (b) a general view that access to knowledge should not be restricted to those that can pay for it (not least because it is precisely those that *cannot* pay who need it most).

        Against that background, and of the growing success of open access in bringing knowledge to the developing countries, this is disgusting:
        From 4 January Elsevier Journals withdrew access in Bangladesh to 1610 of its publications, including the Lancet stable of journals, which had been available through the World Health Organization’s Health Inter-Network for Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) programme. HINARI was set up in 2002 to enable not for profit institutions in developing countries to gain access online to more than 7000 biomedical and health titles either free or at very low cost.

        Springer has withdrawn 588 of its journals from the programme in Bangladesh and Lippincott Williams and Wilkins 299 journals. The American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Animal Science have withdrawn access to, respectively, two and three of their journals.


        I do wonder how the well-paid fat-cats running these huge publishing conglomerates (disclosure: I once worked for part of Reed-Elsevier, so I have some experience of these things) look at themselves in the mirror after making decisions like this.

      • Highly Flawed ‘Piracy’ Report Used To Support Positions That Are Unrelated

        Last year, we pointed out that Steven Tepp, who worked at the US Copyright Office at the time, and was heavily involved in pushing for ACTA (and downplaying the legitimate concerns of ACTA critics), jumped ship to the private US Chamber of Commerce, which has been one of the stronger supporters of such bad laws. The Chamber of Commerce, which is basically a lobbying organization for some of the world’s biggest businesses, has a history of making up absolutely ridiculous claims about intellectual property, so it’s really not a surprise that it would hire Tepp, who did the same thing from within the government.


        As for the actual report that Tepp was commenting on, it doesn’t actually say what Tepp says it says. You can read the details of the report (pdf) here. It’s almost laughably weak in its methodology. Nowhere does it support any of Tepp’s claims — and you would think that a journalist wouldn’t quote a biased commenter making claims that have nothing to do with the report in question. Specifically, the MarkMonitor report simply looked at some sites that are used for infringement, then assumed that they were used entirely for infringing purposes, and then used Alexa ratings (perhaps the least credible measuring system out there) and simply added up all visits, and seemed to suggest that this was all for infringement. When it came to pharmaceuticals, the researchers did not appear to make much of an attempt to determine which offerings were really gray market importers of generic drugs, as opposed to counterfeits. Instead, it just made some assumptions based on the sites themselves.

Clip of the Day

Tuxguitar on Gentoo Linux

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 13/1/2011: Survey Shows That Android Outpaces iOS, Windows at 1%

Posted in News Roundup at 5:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Intel reveals revolutionary way to play with Legos

    The biggest thing Intel brought to the CES table this year was undeniably its Sandy Bridge processor, but the electronics manufacturer also introduced a new way to play with Legos. Using an Intel Core i7 processor and Gentoo Linux, Intel programmers are bringing the digital world of toys into the physical one.

  • Quiz Time: How Well Do You Know Your Linux?

    InfoWorld has put together a Linux IQ test to see just how learned you are vis-à-vis the free-and-open-source operating system that makes the world go ’round. (You do know that Android is based on Linux, right?) Let’s see how well you do!

  • Server

    • London Stock Exchange delayed Linux system to launch Feb. 14

      The new system runs a Linux-based matching engine, understood to be developed around Red Hat software. In November the exchange hired 81 additional open source staff to cope with the changes to the system, which operates in a C++ environment. It replaces a Microsoft .Net system, built by Accenture.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Wonder patch merged, improved AMD and Intel graphic support

      For Linux 2.6.38, the kernel developers have integrated the much-discussed patch which considerably improves the response time of Linux desktops in certain situations. The AMD developers have extended their open source graphics drivers to support various Radeon HD 6000 graphics chips. A discussion was sparked by the tricky situation surrounding the graphics drivers for Intel’s new processors.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Open-Source ATI Driver Is Becoming A Lot Faster

        Now that the kernel mode-setting page-flipping for the ATI Radeon DRM kernel module has been merged into the Linux 2.6.38 kernel and the respective bits have been set in the xf86-video-ati DDX, we’re in the process of running new open-source ATI graphics benchmarks under Linux. Our initial results (included in this article) show these latest improvements to cause some major performance boosts for the open-source ATI driver as it nears the level of performance of the proprietary Catalyst driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • When Will You Join the Game?

        There are many good reasons to support KDE with a regular financial contribution – it enables KDE e.V. to have a predictable and stable income. That can be used to plan support for contributors and events that help speed up development of KDE software, enhance our promotion efforts and help grow our community. However, our contributors and users are scattered throughout the world and have many different backgrounds and their reasons for contributing are likely to be just as diverse. We caught up with our 125th supporting member, Paul Eggleton to ask him why he Joined the Game.

      • KDE Commit-Digest – Issue 160 – 5th December 2010
  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • The Arch Way

        You’ll find far less hand-holding on the Arch Forums than some of the other distro’s forums, and for good reason. Arch has one of the most informative, user-friendly wiki’s out there. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT ask a question in the forums or on IRC without searching the wiki and the forums first. If you can’t find a solution by searching, include all appropriate log files and as much information as possible in your request. Look at some of the current posts marked “Solved” in the Arch Forums for examples.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6 now out – EXT4 now fully supported

        Red Hat is out today with the GA release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6 (RHEL).

        After the big launch of RHEL 6 last year though, there isn’t a whole lot to be excited about in the latest 5.x release. That said RHEL 5.x users that aren’t in a position to move to RHEL 6 will likely be very happy with the update.

        Each incremental update of RHEL always brings with it additional driver and bug fixes, which make them important for users.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Leaves iOS Behind in Millennial Ad Impressions

          Android has surged past iOS in ad impressions on Millennial’s ad network for the first time, breaking a two-month tie that suggested a possible lull in the growth of Google’s mobile platform. Android now represents 46 percent of ad impressions in December, compared to 32 percent for iOS after the two OSes were tied at 38 percent in November. Millennial said Android has also widened its lead in ad revenue from applications with 55 percent compared to 39 percent for iOS.

        • Creamy new Android 2.4 release due in May, say reports

          Google will announce Android 2.4 “Ice Cream” in May, adding fuel to the theory that version 3.0 will fork Android, say reports. Meanwhile, Samsung is rumored to be prepping a “Vibrant 4G” phone for T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network featuring 21Mbps downloads, Samsung and IBM are teaming up on mobile R&D, and the Google Goggles app gets a marketing-focused upgrade, says eWEEK.

        • Xoom stands out in a CES sea of Android tablet dreck

          The vast majority of the tablets, however, use the Linux-based Android. At BetaNews, Joe Wilcox quotes a Caris & Co estimate at the start of the show stating that some 69 tablets were expected to be shown or announced. CNET, meanwhile, says the number was more like 75.

        • Two MIPS-based Android smartphones unveiled

          At CES last week, MIPS Technologies, demonstrated a number of MIPS-based Android mobile devices, including two smartphones and several tablets. MIPS also announced that Chinese semiconductor firm Ingenic — whose MIPS-based processors power Velocity’s Cruz Android tablets, has licensed the MIPS32 architecture to develop one of the new Android smartphones — while an Action Semiconductor MIPS SoC powers the other.

        • Samsung to sell Google TV Blu-ray player, companion box

          Samsung Electronics has shown off a Google TV-based Blu-ray player and companion box at CES, due to ship later this year. Meanwhile, Vizio unveiled two HDTVs running the Android- and Intel Atom-based Google TV stack, including a 56-inch model.

        • Verizon showcases 4G Android phones from HTC, LG, and Motorola

          Verizon Wireless capped off a week of Android-based smartphone introductions with two new 4G LTE-ready, 4.3-inch models: HTC’s ThunderBolt and LG’s Revolution. The phones will compete on Verizon with Motorola’s similarly 4.3-inch Droid Bionic, announced earlier this week, which ups the ante with a dual-core, Nvidia Tegra-2 processor.

Free Software/Open Source

  • HasGeek, will code

    Around mid-2010, Jonnalagadda started HasGeek, a firm that works for the open source community, and helps support it. He explains: “We have a lot of good software developers in India. They may contribute to open source. But very few Indian projects are able to make it big and retain the lead.”

  • Is there still a place for the open source “maverick”…?

    One almost starts to question whether open source has been so heavily influenced by its commercial cousins that the true open source maverick will be left struggling to find a voice. So is there still a place for the OSS ‘garage band’ software start up?

    Yes – of course there is. But how can we be sure?

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Google’s Pursuit of Open Video Standards is Coming to a Head

      We’ve made the point many times that one open source browsers–with Firefox and Chrome leading the way–are setting the pace in browser innovation, but as open source browsers run neck-and-neck, and still compete with Internet Explorer, are we in danger of seeing fragmented standards? On The Chromium Blog this week, Google officials wrote that they are putting more muscle behind the VP8 open source video codec, and that future versions of Chrome will support the WebM Project and Ogg Theora codecs. The upshot: Google is moving steadily away from supporting H.264 video, and that may eventually have a big impact on web publishers and device manufacturers.

    • What’s in Store for 2011: A Few Predictions

      We built RedMonk Analytics to track developer behaviors, and what it is telling us at present is that Firefox and IE both are losing share amongst developer populations to Chrome. Chrome is highly performant, but also benefiting from significant marketing investment (e.g. billboards, site sponsorships) and related product development (e.g. Chrome Web Store). The conclusion from this data is that Chrome will eclipse Firefox from a marketshare standpoint (speaking specifically of developers, not the wider market where Firefox is sustainably ahead), likely within a quarter.

      But having tested the 4.0 version of Firefox for several weeks, it’s clear that Mozilla’s browser is responding to the evolutionary threat. Firefox 4.0 is faster and less stale from a user interface perspective, but more importantly differentiated via features like Panorama.

      The 4.0 release is unlikely to be sufficient in preventing Chrome from assuming the top spot among developer browser usage, but it is likely to arrest the free fall. Expect Chrome and Firefox to be heavily competitive in 2011.

    • Linux, Cloud and Appliances: Five Predictions for 2011

      1. Virtual appliances become a stepping stone to the cloud: Software vendors eager to offer on-demand application services find a simple solution that doesn’t require the time and expense of re-architecting applications. Enter virtual appliances, which are already being used by software vendors like VMware, IBM and SAP. The need for simpler deployment and the demand for cloud-based options are driving major ISV interest in virtual appliances, which are optimized, pre-configured virtual workloads. In 2011, 25 major ISVs will use virtual appliances as a fast and painless way to meet the demand for cloud-based application delivery (SaaS), and Linux will be a key enabler of this approach.

  • Databases

  • Healthcare

    • OpenEMR Get’s a Face Lift!

      A company, EHR Live, has updated the interface to provide a more visually appealing interface that makes OpenEMR marketable in today’s marketplace.

  • Funding

    • PHP Fog Raises $1.8M, Looks Like Heroku of PHP

      PHP Fog has raised $1.8 million for its PaaS cloud targeting PHP developers. Madrona Venture Group, First Round Capital and Founders Co-op are the named investors in this round. PHP Fog is the brainchild of veteran developer Lucas Carlson, who was the lead engineer for music-on-demand service Mog and wrote Ruby Cookbook for O’Reilly Media. A PHP PaaS offering certainly should attract users, even if PHP Fog isn’t the only one at that dance.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Russia goes open source

      Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin has paved the way for organizations all over the world by initiating a cost cut. Putin has ordered his federal decision makers to phase out proprietary software-Windows-and adopt free solutions-Linux-by 2015.

  • Licensing

    • Pushing the limits of the GPL

      But he was not prepared for the storm that erupted once this news was posted on Slashdot, referencing a post by an open source developer, Philip Paradis. A respondent to the post on Paradis’ blog pointed out some lines of code which were believed to be from the original mtr and which, could, therefore mean that Manac was violating the GPL.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Over 50% of web users now support HTML5 Video

      This is a 66% growth in HTML5 video user support since December of 2009. With the expected release of Internet Explorer 9 in the near future, 2011 could see a major increase in websites adopting HTML5 video as their primary playback method.

      Of browsers that support HTML5 video, Mozilla’s Firefox is the clear leader, with Google’s Chrome in second place. Much of the growth in HTML5 video support can be attributed to Chrome’s success in stealing market share from Internet Explore over the last year.


  • Blind woman’s website victory to be appealed

    Government lawyers had argued there was no discrimination because those same services are provided in other formats, such as on the phone, in person or by mail.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • When did it become illegal to be a Leftist in Israel?

      In the Israel of 2011, it’s no longer legitimate to belong to the left. It’s illegitimate to campaign for human rights or to oppose the occupation or to investigate war crimes. Such actions earn Israelis a mark of shame. A land-stealing settler is a Zionist; a warmongering right-winger is a patriot; an inciting rabbi is a spiritual leader; a racist who expels foreigners is a loyal citizen. Only the leftist is a traitor.

    • Ending Bush’s big lie on Guantánamo

      During the Bush administration’s “war on terror”, it was important to dehumanise the men held at Guantánamo, to give life to the myth that the prison held “the worst of the worst” terrorists, picked up on the battlefields of Afghanistan.

    • Tunisia: 11 die in new clashes after weeks of unrest

      At least 11 people have died in new clashes with security forces in Tunisia after four weeks of unrest, it was reported today. The interior ministry said eight people were killed over the weekend in the western towns of Thala and Kasserine. Rioting against joblessness and other social ills has scarred many cities in the country since 17 December, when a 26-year-old graduate set himself on fire when police confiscated his fruits and vegetables for selling without a permit.Mobs have since attacked public buildings and the local office of the party of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

    • Aftershocks: Welcome to Haiti’s Reconstruction Hell

      When Alina happened upon a group of men—too many to count—raping a girl in the squalid Port-au-Prince camp where she and other quake victims lived, she couldn’t just stand there. Maybe it was because she has three daughters of her own; maybe it was some altruistic instinct. And the 58-year-old was successful, in a way, in that when she tried to intervene, the men decided to rape her instead, hitting her ribs with a gun, threatening to shoot her, firing shots in the air to keep other people from getting ideas of making trouble as they kept her on the ground and forced themselves inside her until she felt something tear, as they saw that she was bleeding and decided to go on, and on, and on. When it was over, Alina lay on the ground hemorrhaging and aching, alone. The men were gone, but no one dared to help her for fear of being killed.

    • Haiti’s election: a travesty of democracy
    • Haiti Election Recount Report Reveals Massive Irregularities Beyond Those Noticed by the OAS and CEP
  • Cablegate

    • Iceland summons US envoy over WikiLeaks probe

      The American ambassador to Reykjavik has been summoned to explain why U.S. investigators are trying to access the private details of an Icelandic lawmaker’s online activity as they try to build a criminal case against WikiLeaks.

      Revelations that the U.S. Justice Department obtained a court order to examine data held by Twitter Inc. on Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic parliamentarian who sits on the country’s Foreign Affairs Committee, immediately caused consternation in the tiny North Atlantic nation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Mark Kennedy: A journey from undercover cop to ‘bona fide’ activist

      He turned up with long hair, tattoos and an insatiable appetite for climbing trees. Few people suspected anything odd of the man who introduced himself as Mark Stone on a dairy farm turned spiritual sanctuary in North Yorkshire.

      He had come alone on 12 August 2003, in the middle of a heatwave, for a gathering of environmental activists known as Earth First.

    • Undercover officer spied on green activists

      A police officer who for seven years lived deep undercover at the heart of the environmental protest movement, travelling to 22 countries gleaning information and playing a frontline role in some of the most high-profile confrontations, has quit the Met, telling his friends that what he did was wrong.

      PC Mark Kennedy, a Metropolitan police officer, infiltrated dozens of protest groups including anti-racist campaigners and anarchists, a Guardian investigation reveals.

    • Environmental activists demand inquiry into undercover officer’s role

      Six environmental activists who faced charges of trying to take over a power station called today for an inquiry into the role of an undercover police officer, who is accused of helping to plan and pay for the invasion.

      The trial of the six, who denied conspiring to break into Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, collapsed today, after details began to emerge about the role played by PC Mark Kennedy, an undercover police officer.

    • Lawyer Mike Schwarz’s statement on Mark Kennedy and the Ratcliffe trial

      On Easter Monday 2009 over 400 police officers were involved in a raid at Iona school in Nottingham, which led to 114 arrests. I represented 113 of those arrested. The 114th we now know was PC Kennedy, an undercover police officer. Six of my clients were due to face a long trial starting today.

    • I can’t forgive Mark Kennedy’s betrayal of activists

      Along with many others, I was sickened when I discovered that the man I knew as a fellow activist, Mark Kennedy, was in fact an undercover police officer who had been spying on us since 2003. Yet my feelings were nothing compared with those who were close to him. The betrayal and loss they are feeling is a real grief – the equivalent of someone you love dying. I went through this myself a few years ago when one of my best friends, Martin Hogbin, was exposed as a BAE spy. I denied the facts for a long time simply because the truth was too difficult. I still miss my friend, miss the good times, miss him seeing my son grow up; I don’t think this feeling will ever go away.

    • Methane from BP oil spill eaten by microbes

      The huge quantities of methane gas that bubbled out of BP’s broken well in the Gulf of Mexico were eaten up almost entirely by undersea microbes by the end of August, a new study reports today.

      Other scientists cautioned that much oil remained on the ocean floor, where it has penetrated deep into the sediment, as well as in fragile marshlands. Oil is still turning up in tar balls on beaches and in fishermen’s nets.

    • BP Disaster was “Avoidable”

      The commission also concludes that the government’s efforts to prevent disasters like this were inadequate. “As this narrative suggests, the Macondo blowout was the product of several individual missteps and oversights by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean, which government regulators lacked the authority, the necessary resources, and the technical expertise to prevent,” it states.

    • Glacier shrinkage will hit European Alps hardest, study claims

      Glaciers in the European Alps could shrink by 75% by the end of the century, according to new research into the expected impact of global warming.

      The study, published in the journal Nature: Geoscience, concludes that, globally, mountain glaciers and ice caps are projected to lose 15-27% of their volume by 2100, although the extent of the damage varies widely. The analysis suggests glaciers in the Alps and New Zealand will shrink by more than 70% but shrinkage is predicted to reach about 10% in Greenland and high-mountain Asia.

    • Obama: Not So Wild About Wildlife

      By the time he left office, President George W. Bush wasn’t exactly known as a friend of endangered wildlife. Over eight years, his administration protected 62 species of domestic animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act. By contrast, Bill Clinton had declared 522 species endangered during his two terms. (See chart below.) On average, Bush added eight new species to the list annually, the slowest pace of any president since Richard Nixon signed the ESA into law in 1973.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CRTC Proposes to Change Standard for Broadcasting False or Misleading News

      The CRTC last week quietly proposed a significant change to the rules on false or misleading news broadcasts on radio or television. The law currently provides that a broadcast licensee “shall not broadcast any false or misleading news.” The CRTC is proposing to amend the law with respect to television and radio by lowering the standard to “any news that the licensee knows is false or misleading and that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.” In other words, it would perfectly permissible for a broadcaster to air false or misleading news, provided that it not endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.

    • Ringing Up Support for the Bell – CTV Deal

      The deadline for interventions into the forthcoming CRTC hearing on the Bell – CTV merger passed earlier this week with hundreds of submissions from across the country. Many cultural groups focused solely on the proposed benefits package associated with the transaction (e.g. Directors Guild of Canada, Alberta Motion Pictures Industry Association, the Documentary Organization of Canada) but there are many others rallying to support the deal.

    • Bloomberg’s New Conflict Of Interest?

      Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has a lot on his plate: He’s mayor of America’s largest city, owner of one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing news organizations and patron of a $1.75 billion charitable foundation. Critics have repeatedly accused him of blurring the lines between those roles. Is he doing it again with Bloomberg View, his new opinion operation?

      David Shipley and Jamie Rubin, the co-executive editors of the new service, will technically be employees of Bloomberg LP, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be necessarily be working in the financial-news-and-data giant’s offices on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. At least part of the time, they’ll be based in the Upper East Side offices of the Bloomberg Family Foundation, located on Madison Avenue and 78th Street

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Proposed Hungarian Media Law Would Threaten Freedom

      New legislation currently under consideration by the Hungarian Parliament is the latest government initiative that poses a threat to press freedom, according to Freedom House. Among other things, the measure would impose fines on private media organizations for “unbalanced” news coverage.

    • Hungary’s democratic ‘dictator in the making’ takes centre stage in Europe

      Amid the mock-gothic gilt and stained glass of Hungary’s elaborate parliament on the banks of the Danube, Viktor Orbán oozed charm, humour, and resolve. “I won. We won,” he bragged. “We democrats won our battle.”

    • Obama’s “Trusted Internet ID” Scheme Announcements: Reading Between the Lines

      But a lack of evil and stupidity does not eliminate short-sightedness,
      foolishness, and priorities run dangerously amok.

      The path to Internet-enabled perdition, like the spiritual path to
      another well-known rhetorical locale very much to be avoided, can be
      paved with seemingly good intentions nonetheless.

    • Only religious thugs love blasphemy laws

      If they were not the hypocrites they appeared, but honourable men, who wanted to help all minorities and not only Muslims, they must now accept that Salmaan Taseer was butchered for protecting Pakistan’s religious minorities from its own blasphemy law.

    • The New Radicals in Congress

      Perhaps it is not the American Muslim community that harbors growing numbers of people threatening the core principles of our country. Perhaps such threats can more readily be found in certain dark corners of the hearing rooms of the House of Representatives. If we take constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties (that is the Bill of Rights) to be among the core pillars of the American way of life, then how should we judge Peter King’s intent and actions? Are they radical or not? And if they are, then we should all join with those American Muslims who are raising their voices against King and his machinations.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • #BlockedUpNorth : Everything that is Geoblocked in Canada

      Yesterday I tweeted a request for folks to help me compile a list of all the things that are geoblocked in Canada. within minutes, #BlockedUpNorth became a Trending Topic- one of the top ten Twitter conversation topics in Canada. I was genuinely shocked by how aware Canadians are about geoblocking- and how angry!

    • Download limits only a symptom of the problem
    • US prof taunts Sony lawyers over Geohot PS3 hack

      A US professor of computer science is prodding electronics giant Sony with the stupid stick by hosting a copy of the PS3′s private key on his univeristy’s web servers.

      Professor David S Touretzky, who specialises in robotics and has been known to try to replicate the spacial awareness of rats in his spare time, has poked his head above the parapet as Sony’s lumbering legal team grinds into action in an attempt to stop people spilling its secrets.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Supreme Court Will Lead Tech Law in 2011

      Later this year, the court will hear at least one case that examines the scope of the Copyright Act’s fair dealing provision. At issue is whether “research” within fair dealing can be extended to song previews that are made available on sites like iTunes where a consumer can freely listen to roughly 30 seconds of a song.

      The Copyright Board of Canada ruled in 2007 that a broad and liberal interpretation of fair dealing meant that it could be included since the preview was effectively consumer research on whether to purchase the song. The Federal Court of Appeal affirmed the Copyright Board’s interpretation last May, opening the door to many other consumer research possibilities under the current fair dealing provision.

    • Administration’s Korea FTA Numbers Need a Factcheck

      Back in August we debunked the administration’s Korea FTA stats, but the Obama administration has continued to tout these bogus figures. Regarding the alleged $11 billion rise in exports, the crux of the issue is that the factsheet is quoting the wrong section of the USITC report (the administration is citing Table 2.2 on page 2-8 of the report). The USITC study predicts that U.S. exports will increase by only about $4.8-5.3 billion, as Table 2.3 on page 2-14 of the report indicates. In addition, the study predicts that U.S. imports will increase by $5.1-5.7 billion due to the Korea FTA. This large increase in imports completely wipes out the benefits of the increase in exports and turns the predicted effect into a net negative.

      The $10-11 billion figure that the administration is citing is merely the change in the U.S. bilateral exports to Korea itself, which tells only part of the story. As the USITC study acknowledges, bilateral tariff reductions induce significant “trade diversion” effects, which means that implementation of the Korea FTA will “rob” from the volume of U.S. exports that currently go to third countries and shift those exports to Korea, leading to little net increase in U.S. exports. The diversion occurs because many exporters of U.S. goods will stop exporting their goods to other countries like Germany and instead start exporting to Korea, just because the tariff that they face for exporting to Korea is lower than the tariff that they face when trying to export elsewhere. The shift in the destination of exports alone does not increase U.S. economic output or employment. Only net export gains matter for American workers.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 13/1/2011: ‘Operation Linux’ in Spain, Ubuntu and Dell Unite, Red Hat Expands

Posted in News Roundup at 2:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Intel: That Other OS is a Slow Dog

    With the biggest “partner” of Wintel criticizing the developments of the mother-ship, how long can the Wintel monopoly last? Intel will find that GNU/Linux runs well on Intel as on ARM and Intel will find it profitable to be partner of GNU/Linux. It’s all good.

  • Spain grovels to penguins over ‘Linux’ anti-terror plot

    The Spanish Ministry of the Interior has expressed its regret that an international crackdown on IT masterminds inside the violent Basque separatist group ETA was dubbed “Operation Linux”.

    Apparently, penguin-loving outfits are complaining that the antiterrorist operation sullies their good name.

  • Server

    • Ubuntu and Dell join in a cloud alliance

      Dubbed the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), it will be available from Dell this week as the Dell Canonical UEC Solution. We hope that it does not mean that the servers will be all wet.

    • Mark Shuttleworth on UEC and OpenStack

      Mark Shuttleworth, the ever gracious founder of Ubuntu, stopped by Dell this morning to talk to various folks about various subjects. I was able to grab some time with him between meetings and get his thoughts on a few topics.

    • It’s Official: Ubuntu Will Embrace the Cloud–Flexibly

      Shuttleworth said that he is encouraged to see standardization taking place in the cloud computing space, and clearly remains positive about both OpenStack and Eucalyptus. Clearly, Shuttleworth also likes the idea of open cloud standards.

    • Replacing Microsoft Exchange Server with an open source alternative

      Ubuntu 10.04 LTS 64-bit (Server version is supported, desktop version will also work but not supported by Zimbra.) This tutorial uses Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop System.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 3 Episode 1 – Overtaking Manoeuvres

      In this episode: Firefox overtakes Internet Explorer in Europe while Android overtakes iPhone in the US, and TransGaming transforms Cedega into the GameTree Developer Program. Discover our new section and hear your own opinions in our Open Ballot.

  • Kernel Space

    • Qualcomm buys Atheros – good luck with that

      Some “older” Linux distributions don’t even recognize it. And it’s not that new, I understand. In both OpenBSD and FreeBSD I have to “conjure” it to life by setting the media type. Otherwise it stays dark.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Amarok and digiKam on Windows

        I know that some people bemoan the fact that these precious Linux jewels are now available for Windows users. They think that it lessens the need for people to move to Linux. However, I think that Linux is still a better OS for most people.

      • Publish Photos on a WordPress Blog from digiKam

        While digiKam doesn’t allow you to publish photos directly to a WordPress blog, you can work around this limitation. Enable the Post by Email feature on your WordPress blog, and you can use the SendImages Kipi plugin in digiKam to email photos directly to your blog.

        To make this workaround work, you have to prepare your WordPress blog first. If you host your blog on WordPress.com, navigate to Dashboard | My Blogs and press the Enable button to activate the Post by Email feature. This will automatically generate a unique email address where you send your photos.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Local incentives worth $15M keep Red Hat HQ in NC

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) will keep its corporate headquarters in Wake County and add more than 500 jobs in the next five years, officials said Monday.

      • Business Digest: Red Hat spurns Austin, others to keep headquarters in N.C.; Federal Reserve pays record $78.4 billion to U.S. government
      • Red Hat spurns others, keeping headquarters in NC

        Red Hat Inc. has decided to keep its trademark fedora hanging in North Carolina, declining the overtures of other states Monday as it announced it will build its next corporate headquarters in the Raleigh area and create more than 500 new jobs over the next decade.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14—I’m Smiling About Laughlin

          I was initially a KDE user, but for a long time, I’ve been using GNOME on Ubuntu. This is because there has always been some serious bug or the other in KDE, ever since the team overhauled the desktop. I have waited with eager anticipation for a bug-free KDE and a distro that would serve it in a nice package, but have had no luck. Even when KDE became usable again with version 4.3, no distro did it right. But when Fedora released version 14 on 2nd November, I had an uncanny feeling that this would be the distro I was waiting for. Yes, it was!

          However, what bowled me over first was not KDE—it was the new Fedora website. Never have I seen such an outstanding presentation of free and open source software, or of an operating system, done so meticulously.

    • Debian Family

      • Quick Look: Linux Mint Debian Edition 201101

        I did a full review earlier of Linux Mint Debian Edition and loved it. Now there’s an update to it and I couldn’t resist doing a quick look. If you aren’t familiar with the Debian version of Linux Mint, you’re in for a real treat. LMDE has quickly become my favorite Linux distribution. It’s a great blend of Debian and Linux Mint.


        As I noted above, I really enjoy Linux Mint Debian Edition. It really has become my distro of choice, for now. It combines the power of Debian with all of the Linux Mint tools & features. Of course, I will still continue to distrohop because you never know when another distro could tickle your fancy just a bit more.

      • First Beta of SimplyMEPIS 11.0 Is Available for Testing
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Gentoo Linux sucks

          I can recommend Ubuntu. But I cannot recommend Gentoo. Why? Because all of this trouble and downtime was caused by an update. An update that Portage did at some point earlier. It was part of a whole system update. If the system had never been rebooted, I would still not know it. I would have no clue that the thing would not have booted up in the event of a power failure or whatever.

        • A Look at Ubuntu from the Other Side

          And that’s the problem. Linux was created by geeks, grown and nurtured by geeks, and unless something is done fairly soon to change the presentation and the image, it will remain a system for geeks. The only one doing very much about that at this moment is Mark Shuttleworth, who has invested his fortune, his time, and his vision to create SOMETHING that can present a real challenge to the Windows hegemony.

        • Ubuntu’s Cloud-Init Promotes Customization in the Cloud

          And Canonical’s emphasis on customization is an important point. So far, much of the hype surrounding the cloud has centered on the efficiency, ease of deployment and accessibility of cloud-based machines, with relatively little attention afforded to the extent to which users can customize software running in the cloud. cloud-init’s chief selling point, meanwhile, is the customizability it guarantees for Ubuntu-based cloud images.

          In this sense, Canonical’s strategy for the cloud seems to stand out in unique ways. Whether it will pay off remains to be seen, but this is a topic to watch closely as the cloud develops.

        • How About Something Similar to Ubuntu Control Center in Default Ubuntu?

          Ubuntu Control Center is a nice simple application to sort things out easily and intuitively in Ubuntu. It is originally inspired from Mandriva Control Center and aims to centralize and organize the main configuration tools available in Ubuntu.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10 Reviewed – Part #2 – It Is Only Getting Better

            In my quest to make Linux Mint 10 by sole operating system, I needed to bring over two contact lists into Mozilla Thunderbird, which is the default email software installed with Mint 10. I have been using Mozilla Thunderbird on my Windows 7 system and I found that I like T-bird very much. I exported both of my contact lists from Outlook 2007 and T-Bird and copied the files over as .csv format. Before importing the files, I opened both and trimmed down the majority of fields, since I just wanted the names and email addresses of my contacts. The import went well and after merging both contact lists, I had the names and email addresses I needed.

          • MoonOS 4 ‘Neake’ Review

            MoonOS, an Ubuntu based Linux distro, recently hit version 4, codenamed “Neake”. This last release certainly marks a turning point for MoonOS, for it includes several drastic changes that set it appart from previous releases and even from other Linux distributions.

          • Review: CrunchBang (“#!”) Linux 10 “Statler” Openbox r20110105

            I’ve had a couple of encounters with #! before, starting with this review of version 9.04.01 and including this review of version 10 “Statler” Openbox (Alpha 2). I was pleasantly surprised by the features and minimalistic beauty of version 9.04.01, and I was later slightly let down by the relative lack of polish and removal of some features in version 10 (Alpha 2). Now, the #! developers have come out with a (actually, two) post-alpha release(s) of version 10 “Statler”.

          • Puppy Linux 5.2 Is Compatible With Ubuntu 10.04

            Barry Kauler, the father of Puppy Linux, announced earlier today, January 6th, the immediate availability of Puppy Linux 5.2, a major version that is compatible with the popular Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) operating system.

            Puppy Linux 5.2 features lots of updated and improved applications, the new Quickset dialog to easily setup your system (language/locale and keyboard settings, timezone, video resolution), Browser Installer, Browser-Default, Quickpet, improved Puppy Package Manager, and a lot more for you to discover.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android runs down iPhone in the Smartphone Races

          Yes, Apple’s iPhone is popular, and yes it looks like Verizon is finally going to release an iPhone, but Android phones have turned out to be even more popular.

        • Android vs. iPhone: The GPL Question

          Well, now we know. You can’t sell software using the General Public License (GPL) on the Apple App Store& because it conflicts with its Terms of Service (ToS) . The popular VLC media player, was the first major GPLed software to be pulled from Apple’s App Store, it won’t be the last. But, what about Google’s Android Market? I asked the experts and they tell me that, in general, GPL developers can offer their wares on Android.

        • Get Started with Android application development using Linux and Android SDK

          In year 2007 The Open Handset Alliance was formed, which includes Google and other 33 companies. The aim of The Open Handset Alliance is to bring innovation into mobile devices and thus giving consumers a much better user experience.

          At the same time, mobile application developers are given an opportunity to freely participate in Android application development using alliance’s Android Software Development Kit ( SDK ) which is released through Google’s developer website. Developers are therefore, free to develop any Android application they see fit and are free to market it to all Android mobile phone owners. This article will consist of four main sections:

          1. Installation of Eclipse IDE, Oracle Java JRE, Android SDK and Android Developer Tool (ADT) a special Eclipse plug-in
          2. Setting up Eclipse IDE with Android SDK and Android Developer Tool
          3. Writing a simple Android Application: “Hello Android”
          4. Testing Android application using Android Virtual Device

        • Opinion: Android 3.0 is the star of CES

          Honeycomb, Android 3.0, is the star of CES so far.

        • GTVHacker dev team wins cash bounty for first Google TV hack

          The GTVHacker dev team has won a cash bounty for being the first to successfully root and enable third-party application support on a Google TV device before Google – Google will reportedly be bringing support for Android applications to the platform some time later this year. According to developer Howard Harte, who originally announced the bounty at the end of November last year, the GTVHacker team used a hardware hack, adding serial console support to the UART1 header on the Logitech Revue, to enable root and install third-party apps on Google TV.

        • Cisco demos Linux-based IPTV platform, promises 4G Android tablet

          Cisco Systems unveiled a suite of Linux-based “Videoscape” IPTV hardware and software that blends TV and web content a la Google TV. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless plans to ship 4G LTE versions of Cisco’s Android-based, enterprise-focused Cius tablet and Linux-based ISR routers.

    • Tablets

      • CES wrap: let the battle of the tablets commence

        Not that tablets makers will have an easy ride. As the plethora of models on display show, for every Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, Dell Streak 7 and Asus Eee Pad Slider, there are countless no-name offerings. Of these a fair few are poor, some good, but all run the same operating system with the same UI, sport the same ports, and have the same basic look.

      • Notebook vendors show no interest in Oak Trail

        Intel’s Oak Trail platform consists of a Lincroft-based processor and Whitney Point chipset, targeting mainly tablet PCs and netbooks and is able to support any operating systems available on the market including Android.

      • Dell unveils seven-inch tablet and unlocked Android phone

        Dell announced a seven-inch Android 2.2 tablet called the Streak 7, featuring a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, dual cameras, and compatibility with T-Mobile’s 4G-like HSPA+ network. The company also announced an unlocked, GSM-ready “Dell Venue” smartphone that runs Android 2.2 on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, with a 4.1-inch AMOLED display and eight-megapixel camera.

Free Software/Open Source

  • In Russia, Source Opens You!

    While the United States seemed to move from a possible OpenID login to more of a “secure” intranet approach, Russia has moved from commercial software to open source. The two moves may not seem to have much in common, but they do. Control.

    Under the banner of security, the U.S. has announced the creation of a “verified” ID program that looks for all the world like a walled, or at least fenced, section of the Internet. Russia has moved to open source not out of a philosophical belief in free software, but out of fear of American software hegemony.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Programming

    • What PHP Desperately Needs

      There is one thing PHP desperately needs — an easy to use built-in web server. Every semester, as I face a new room full of hopeful newbies, I deal with one of the major pain points of PHP development — that PHP is worthless without a web server. I end up spending valuable time talking about Apache, when I should be talking about PHP.

    • Review: Pragmatic Guide to Subversion

      I use Subversion in my day job as a technical writer for a software company. I use Ubuntu (9.10 Karmic Koala) and connect to the subversion repository via the shell. This is pretty much how the book was written, so all of the commands and tasks really fit my personal situation. Not only that, but the level of complexity (or lack thereof, if you’re a total subversion guru) is right at my level.

    • Komodo IDE “Best Python IDE”; Winner of InfoWorld Technology of the Year Award

      We are excited to announce that ActiveState is the proud recipient of an InfoWorld Technology of the Year Award! Komodo IDE has been named Best Python IDE, coming out on top against nine other Python IDEs tested. Komodo specifically got top points for ease of installation, documentation and ease of use–things that we pride ourselves on as well.


  • Application Development: Skype, NYSE Error Top List of 13 Big Programming Failures of 2010
  • AMD heading in right direction on ARM but too slow, say Taiwan notebook makers

    AMD starting to develop display processors to support ARM architectures is correct in terms of marketability and market potential, but its pace is too slow compared with Nvidia’s success with Tegra 2, according to Taiwan-based notebook makers.

  • The 1000 Core Processor
  • Haiti suffers after ‘year of indecision’: Oxfam

    Indecision by Haiti’s government and international donors’ single-minded pursuit of their own goals have crippled progress in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, a highly critical Oxfam report says.

    “This has been a year of indecision and it has put Haiti’s recovery on hold,” said Roland Van Hauwermeiren, country director for the aid agency in Haiti.

  • US may support throwing out disputed Haitian vote

    The Obama administration said Friday it could support throwing out the disputed results of Haiti’s first-round presidential election if that step is proposed by a panel of experts examining the vote.

  • One year after the earthquake, foreign help is actually hurting Haiti

    The international response to the earthquake that struck Haiti nearly a year ago was immediate and massive. The devastation was massive as well: The quake killed more than 200,000 people, injured more than 300,000, destroyed more than 250,000 homes and displaced more than 1.5 million people, 1 million of whom are still living in makeshift shelters in hundreds of camps.

  • Wayne Gray Loses Appeal

    The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled [PDF] that Novell under the 1995 APA transferred to Santa Cruz “only the UNIXWARE product business and the portion of the UNIX source-code business that Novell retained following the Licensing Agreement — which did not include the UNIX trademark”, which went to X/Open.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • A Funeral is a Private Thing

      Christina Taylor Green’s life has been ripped away from her. Her family and community will be devastated by the loss of this beautiful nine year old child. They need the opportunity to grieve in peace.

      There is nothing stopping protesters from holding their own public memorial service, or rally. Then it would be an appropriate public thing.

      Protesting at a private funeral can do is to further harm the people who are already harmed, exploiting the tragedy. Some people seek to do that. Even though it harms the public good.

      Human society allows government the facility to enact laws so that it can support the public good. And sometimes it happens that governments do just that.

    • The ‘Media Mafia’ and Government ‘Truths’ – #rape #VAW #military

      We are still being fed “The Governments version of the TRUTH” about incidents in Iraq. Sadly today’s “Media Mafia” seems to be content to let Big Brother control the flow of information.

      A full one-third of women veterans report rape or attempted rape during their time in the military. The investigation into these incidents are often more like a cover-up story than a fully transparent investigation. A good example of the cloaked “government truth” type of investigation is illustrated by what happened in Pfc LaVena Johnson’s case.

    • French Jewish Activist Detained at Ben-Gurion, Denied Entry

      I have just come back to France this Wednesday afternoon 22 December after being expelled in the middle of the night by the Israeli government, after being interrogated for 30 hours, detained and an attempt to forcefully ship me into planes, before I was able to meet with a female lawyer and warn the French Consulate.

    • ‘Virtual house arrest’ to go but control orders for terrorists will stay

      Nick Clegg today promised to end virtual house arrest, contained in the current anti-terror control orders regime, but for the first time admitted that the government will retain restrictions for a small group of terror suspects who cannot be prosecuted in the British courts.

      The former Labour home secretary John Reid, a supporter of control orders, said it was clear the deputy prime minister was backing off from plans to abolish the central thrust of the measures.

    • Freedom of expression in Israel is a hollow pretension

      Israel is sliding down a slippery slope. A country that imprisons its Jonathan Pollaks will end up with jails filled with ‘opponents of the regime.’

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Gulf oil spill: BP set to avoid gross negligence charge

      The wrecked Deepwater Horizon rig, ablaze 50 miles off Louisiana last week, is spilling an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day in what may be the US worst environmental disaster. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

      BP is more likely to escape the potentially ruinous charge of gross negligence, according to City analysts, after a powerful US commission blamed “systemic” causes for the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

      Barack Obama’s national commission released part of its final report into the disaster last night on Wednesday night. The report, to be published next week, could influence several other parallel investigations into the spill that are yet to finish.

    • WikiLeaks: Secret whaling deal plotted by US and Japan

      Japan and the US proposed to investigate and act against international anti-whaling activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as part of a political deal to reduce whaling in Antarctic waters.

      Four confidential cables from the US embassy in Tokyo and the state department in Washington, released by WikiLeaks, show US and Japanese diplomats secretly negotiating a compromise agreement ahead of a key meeting last year of the International Whaling Commission, the body that regulates international whaling.

      The American proposal would have forced Japan to reduce the number of whales that Japan killed each year in the Antarctic whale sanctuary in return for the legal right to hunt other whales off its own coasts. In addition, the US proposed to ratify laws that would “guarantee security in the seas” – a reference to acting against groups such as Sea Shepherd that have tried to physically stop whaling.

    • Dirty Business film debunks ‘clean coal’ myth

      Dirty Business, the new documentary from the Centre for Investigative Journalism, began its nationwide screening tour last night in Berkeley, California, with the aim of debunking the myth of “clean coal” and kick-starting a debate on the future of energy in the US.

      The film shows scarred mountains, abandoned family homes on remote hillsides, water courses toxic with sludge, respiratory fatalities and children whose growth has been stunted by pollution as some of the side effects of coal extraction and the power stations that burn it. And, of course, it shows the effect of coal combustion on global temperatures.

    • Beware Drill Baby Drill

      Gasoline prices are rising, averaging 41 cents higher a gallon than last year, so once again we are hearing the familiar refrain that this means we need to drill more.

    • Nuclear Waste Dump Is Bad News for Texans

      A federal judge’s decision today to allow a state agency to move forward with a plan to open a Texas dump to radioactive waste from at least 36 states is bad news for Texans.

      After a lengthy hearing, Judge Sam Sparks of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas voided a Dec. 30 temporary restraining order issued by a state court in Austin. That order would have kept the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (TLLRWDCC) from voting Tuesday on a plan to allow a low-level waste dump near Andrews Texas to take radioactive waste from 36 or more states.

    • Commission Lets 36 States Dump Nuke Waste In Texas
  • Finance

    • Economics and Goldman Sachs

      I believe that economic theory is merely a construct of “man” (not woman) and that there are alternative views of economics (all purporting to be an answer to something or other) but these concerns are not necessarily mutally exclusive. Man makes the theory; man makes the rules that govern the theory; and man changes the rules as he sees fit. Economics is not scientifically based in the way that the theory of evolution is. If it were (scientifically based) it would take into account the economic value of a woman who stays home and looks after her children. In fact, a good economy would pay that woman a living wage.

      I do not think it matters if the average person like me thinks that if the deficit is huge that future generations will have to pay more taxes or that my check to pay my health care taxes is actually torn up by the government when they receive it. In fact, I get a great deal of satisfaction thinking that I am paying my health care expenses through the earnings from my own labor and by paying my taxes. I am also, incidentally, helping society as a whole as my tax dollars will assist those less well off to receive health care too. It is my commitment as a citizen of my country.

    • AP analysis: Jobs crisis pushes up economic stress

      Higher unemployment and foreclosure rates, especially in South Atlantic and Mountain states, raised the nation’s economic stress in November, according to The Associated Press’ monthly analysis.

    • German economy surged by 3.6 percent in 2010
    • It’s Time to Stop Criticizing Bankers, Barclays Chief Says
    • Another guilty plea in crackdown on research firms

      Federal prosecutors portrayed a California financial research firm as an incubator for insider trading as an eighth person connected to the company pleaded guilty Tuesday to securities fraud charges.

    • Big banks brace for curbs

      Big banks and other financial players are gearing up for new regulations in the next few weeks on the “Volcker rule” that are designed to curb “proprietary trading” by banks using their own cash without depriving the financial system of needed capital.

    • Under Fire, Goldman Sachs Reveals New Information On Lucrative Trading Activities

      In recent months, as Goldman has fended off widespread accusations that it has become the leading example of the gambling culture permeating Wall Street — placing bets for its own profit rather than engaging in old-fashioned banking services — the company has insisted that trading made up no more than one-tenth of its revenues.

      During a conference call last year, the firm’s chief financial officer, David Viniar, described the company’s private trades as comprising “10-ish type of percent” of its total revenues.

    • Wealthy treated themselves during the holidays

      The rich treated themselves like royalty this holiday season. That spun the holidays into gold for Tiffany & Co. and other high-end retailers.

      Wealthier shoppers traded up to more expensive gold and diamond jewelry from silver charms. Designer clothing and purses were back.

    • Obama reshuffles inner circle to take on Republicans

      Barack Obama has begun a major overhaul of his inner circle, lending the White House a more business-friendly face with the appointment of an outsider banker, William Daley, as his chief of staff.

      Daley continues the heavy Chicago bent of Obama’s White House. He is the son of the late Richard Daley, who was mayor of Chicago for two decades, and brother of the even longer-serving outgoing current mayor of Chicago, also Richard.

    • America’s union-bashing backlash

      Unlike bankers, US labour unions had nothing to do with the economic crisis – yet they’re the ones now being scapegoated

    • Obama Signals Break with Wall Street – Appoints JPMorgan Exec and Goldman Adviser to Top Jobs

      Today, with unemployment in almost the double digits and foreclosure unabated, President Obama decided that America needed more of the same. The President announced the appointment of JPMorgan Executive William M. Daley as White House Chief of Staff, replacing Rahm Emanuel. Tomorrow, news reports indicate that he will announce that Goldman Sachs adviser Gene B. Sperling will be appointed head of the National Economic Council, replacing Larry Summers.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Ruling lets California police search your phone without a warrant

      If you get arrested in California, better hope there are no incriminating texts or e-mails or sensitive data stored on your phone.

      On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that police in that state can search the contents of an arrested person’s cell phone.

      Citing U.S. Supreme Court precedents, the ruling contends that “The loss of privacy upon arrest extends beyond the arrestee’s body to include ‘personal property … immediately associated with the person of the arrestee’ at the time of arrest.”

    • My hero: Irom Chanu Sharmila

      Seeing her frail figure, looking much older than her 38 years, one wonders “Why is she doing this?” This is a lost battle, because the state is stronger than she is. She could be India’s Aung San Suu Ki – but because India is a “democracy”, not a dictatorship, hers will never be an international cause célèbre. Irom Sharmila lives in Manipur, in the north-east, and has been on a fast-unto-death for the past decade as a protest against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. AFSPA was imposed in Manipur decades ago as a bulwark against insurgency.

    • Venezuela extends media regulations to Internet

      Venezuelan lawmakers on Monday imposed broadcast-type regulations on the Internet, barring some types of online messages under measures that opponents say are a threat to freedom speech.

      President Hugo Chavez’s allies in the National Assembly approved the revised “Social Responsibility Law,” which extends rules for broadcast media to the Internet.

    • Venezuela parliament pushes through host of new laws
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Sony finally responds to Fail0verflow PS3 “root key” hack

      It seems that Sony executives either hadn’t been paying attention to the reports, or simply discounted them as another easily-corrected security hole, as they had not released any type of statement regarding the discovery until today.

      After reading the statement that Sony provided to Edge Magazine, it appears that it is more likely the latter scenario.

    • Sony sues over PS3 key, firmware

      It looks like Sony has found its much-needed solution to the recent breaking of the DRM key in its PlayStation 3 console, and it’s not very technical: the company has filed suit against those responsible for highlighting its security ineptitude.

    • Silly Suit

      We have seen a lot of wasted energy in the legal system over the years but Sony takes the cake. They are suing folks who revealed Sony’s utterly inept use of encryption to lock down the PlayStation3. They also sought an injunction blocking release/distribution of the encryption key that was found by reverse engineering. On the farm, we called that closing the gate after the horse had left.

    • Sony takes legal action against PS3 hackers

      This apparently allows unauthorised parties to decompile, modify and renew the signature of the PS3′s firmware. It allegedly also allows any type of software to be signed for non-modified PS3 consoles, which causes this software to be recognised as legal and enables it to be played back on such consoles. The first PS3 games that were copied illegally, based on the hack, have allegedly already appeared and are circulating. The motion says that this has caused SCEA considerable economic damage and loss, although no figure was stipulated.

    • Sony v. Hotz Begins
    • Signed homebrew software for the Playstation 3

      Also known as GeoHot, George Hotz, familiar to many from his iPhone and Playstation 3 hacks, has released source code for a piece of software which can allegedly be used to sign homebrew programs so that they will run on Sony’s Playstation 3. The code is reported to run under the current PS3 firmware version, version 3.55, modified using jailbreak software (direct download), also released by Hotz.

    • No peace for the “Save As WWF” campaign

      So maybe that is the only, real reason why “Save as WWF” is so touchy: the people they are trying to dismiss as one handful of software-obsessed nerds only gave even more reasons why this whole campaign was a bad idea from the start. Let’s just admit it and go on (but using, of course, Free Software to reduce the environmental impact of computing!).

Clip of the Day

“Jailbroken” PS3 3.55 with Homebrew

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 12/1/2011: Mageia Joins OIN, Key Developer Leaves Canonical, MeeGo Spreads

Posted in News Roundup at 11:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Wonder patch merged, improved AMD and Intel graphic support

      For Linux 2.6.38, the kernel developers have integrated the much-discussed patch which considerably improves the response time of Linux desktops in certain situations. The AMD developers have extended their open source graphics drivers to support various Radeon HD 6000 graphics chips. A discussion was sparked by the tricky situation surrounding the graphics drivers for Intel’s new processors.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The VIA Kernel Mode-Setting Code Progresses

        While VIA defenestrated its open-source Linux graphics driver strategy, there has been some recent work under-way on providing a GEM/TTM + KMS driver for VIA’s integrated graphics processors by the community. In particular, this work is being done by James Simmons, the former Google Summer of Code student developer who was working on 3Dfx kernel mode-setting support a few months back.

      • Page-Flipping Is Flipped On In The ATI DDX Driver

        With the Linux 2.6.38 kernel DRM update having been pulled into the mainline tree last night by Linus Torvalds, AMD’s Alex Deucher pushed the page-flipping support from the DDX X.Org driver side into the mainline xf86-video-ati tree.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Windows Team Releases Updated KDE Applications

        Be aware that some of the software may be unstable on Windows, but chances are good that you might find yourself quite comfortable in using some of these applications.

      • 9 reasons why you should switch to KDE 4.5

        There are two kinds of Linux users in the world – those who use Gnome and those who dislike KDE.

        You can’t blame them – to call KDE releases so far a disaster would be something of an understatement – but the tide has now turned.

        Over 16,000 bug fixes and 1,700 new features later, the KDE developer unveiled KDE 4.5. The release has started popping up in many Linux distros, and it looks and feels stunning.

  • Distributions

    • For an Old or Slow PC, Try Puppy Linux 5.2

      Perhaps the best part of all, of course, is that–as with most Linux distributions–there’s no commitment involved in trying it out. Particularly if you have old hardware lying around, it will be worth your while to take Puppy Linux for a tour.

    • Sabayon in Linux Format #141

      I have been waiting for this day for so long! Great to see it finally happen! Thank you to everyone who has donated and may our path to world domination continue.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Alpha 0 Still on Track for January Release, Joins OIN

        Initial release of Mandriva fork Mageia is still on track for release later this month. Numerous preparations continue behind the scenes to facilitate this highly anticipated release.

        A previous report of an earlier packagers’ meeting outlined some of the procedures and personnel in place and still needed to begin the process of building Mageia software. Hardware and temporary hosting was secured and the build system was being implemented. In a more recent blog posting, Mageia representatives stated that “packaging tasks have been launched.” While the build system isn’t fully operational, the first 40 packages are expected in the coming days as letters describing the SVN upload process, which is ready, have been sent. Mentors are being paired with new developers who did not previously have an account so they can begin their work as well.

    • Red Hat Family

      • U.S. Administration’s ‘Technology Neutrality’ Announcement Welcome News

        On January 7, the Administration issued a succinct, clear message to Executive Branch IT leaders: Don’t discriminate between proprietary and open source solutions when it currently spends almost $80 billion dollars to buy information technology (IT). In fact, in its message on Technology Neutrality, it goes even further, urging agencies to “analyze alternatives that include proprietary, open source, and mixed source technologies. This allows the Government to pursue the best strategy to meet its particular needs.”

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

        Editors’ rating:

        8.2 out of 10

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Leaving Canonical

          Sadly I never kept that original e-mail, but I tried to replicate it from memory for Canonical’s 5th birthday:

          Dear Friend,

          How are you and your family hope fine?

          I am Mark SHUTTLEWORTH, from the great country of SOUTH AFRICA.

          Due to good fortune mine in business, I have come into money of the sum $575,000,000 (US).

          I would like to with you discuss BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY, and solicit your confidentiality in this transaction.

          Pleased to discuss by phone at your earliest convenience.

        • Ubuntu developers talk Unity – and why it’s going to rock in Natty [Video]

          Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon discuss Unity, the new desktop environment for Ubuntu with David Barth, one of the key developers behind the interface on everyone’s lips.

        • Ubuntu’s Unity Desktop: Tragically Ironic Product Name

          Nor is Unity a complete departure from GNOME. As Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon emphasizes, “Ubuntu is a GNOME distribution, we ship the GNOME stack, we will continue to ship GNOME apps, and we optimize Ubuntu for GNOME. The only difference is that Unity is a different shell for GNOME.” If anything, Shuttleworth insists, Unity is part of the diversity that “makes GNOME stronger.” Users will even be able to select another GNOME-based interface if they prefer.

        • AskUbuntu reaches 6000 questions – 13000 answers – 8000 users – 60000 votes

          3 months after the successful launch as permanent Q&A site in our new Ubuntu design, we have reached the 6000 question threshold. Those 6000 questions have been asked and answered to 91% almost 14000 answers by 8600 users. 60000 votes have been cast for the questions and answers.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Elementary OS ‘Jupiter’ now available to pre-order

            The first release of elementary OS – a new Ubuntu-based operating from the elementary-project – has been made available for pre-order ahead of its March release date.

          • Linux OEM ZaReason Adds Support for Trisquel OS

            Given that ZaReason already offers a variety of different Linux distributions — including the big names like Fedora and Ubuntu — as OS options, it’s not too surprising to see Trisquel added to the lineup. What is worth noting, however, is that Ubuntu-based Trisquel stands out as a brand of Linux whose main mission is to remain 100 percent free of “binary blobs” and other bits of proprietary software that most mainstream Linux distributions use, often because they’re essential for supporting certain hardware.

          • wattOS R3 Is Based on Ubuntu 10.10

            wattOS R3 has been released. The lightweight Linux distro is now based on the latest Ubuntu 10.10 and also comes with updated packages for most of its core applications.

            Some changes include a new lightweight music player, foobnix, and a new photo editor, Fotoxx. The usual selection of LXDE, OpenBox and PCManFM continues to be the basis of wattOS.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nexus S hacked to run Ubuntu Linux
      • In 2011 Mobile Broadband Will Surpass Wired Broadband

        The world will see one billion mobile broadband subscribers this year, doubling from the 500 million mobile web users in 2010, according to Ericsson, a provider of global telecom equipment. An increasing rate of smartphone adoption is the key driver, although connected laptops, tablets, USB data sticks and mobile hotspots will also add to the mobile subscriber numbers to a lesser extent. By the end of 2011, Ericsson estimates 400 million mobile broadband subscribers will be from the Asia-Pacific region, while Western Europe and North America will follow with 200 million each.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Hands on: MeeGo netbook review

          While we’ve seen MeeGo running on devices such as the Nokia N900, we haven’t had a play with it on a netbook – until now. Here it’s running on an MSI unit.

        • MaeModder N900 Application created by Dany-69.

          Here is one brilliant application created by Dany-69. You can download it from the Maemo.Org. It’s called MaeModder and basically one can modify a whole bunch of things on your N900 with very little effort. In a way Dany-69 has made modding your N900 a lot less stressful because beforehand one would need to run a lot of scripts via the x-terminal window. There will still be a lot of people who prefer to run scripts (myself included), but this application makes life a lot easier.

        • Intel demos MeeGo/Android dual boot and dual core tablet

          This slate would be the first MeeGo/Android dual boot and dual core tablet and that it can also boot with Winodws 7.

        • The smartphone wars: Verizon gets iPhone

          Other analysts have pointed out that, now that AT&T has lost its exclusive, they’ll certainly be promoting Android phones more.

      • Android

        • New Versions of Android Support Hardware Barometers, the Motorola Xoom has One Inside

          The list of sensors and gizmos and odds and ends inside of mobile devices keeps growing, and the latest addition might have you scratching your head in terms of usefulness. It looks like Android 2.3 and higher supports a hardware barometer, and the Motorola Xoom tablet with Honeycomb (3.0) features one inside. The use isn’t immediately clear, but let’s speculate.

        • First Glimpses of Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” [Video]

          Android 3.0 is not just another version of Android like the recently released Android 2.3 “Gingerbread”. Instead, Android 3.0 codenamed “Honeycomb” is built from scratch to suit the needs of devices with bigger screen sizes, tablets to be specific(in the current context). Google officially previewed Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. And from the initial looks of it, Android 3.0 powered tablets are going to be spectacular. Here is nice little video preview of Android 3.0.

        • Android at CES: strong growth as platform jumps to new devices

          Google didn’t have a booth of its own at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year in Las Vegas, but signs of the search giant’s broad reach were apparent throughout the event. It seems as if practically every major consumer electronics company has adopted Google’s Android mobile operating system in some capacity.

        • F4A 1.3 released

          F4A 1.3 is now avaiable for download, with two significant updated (unrEVOked 3.32 and AlphaRev 1.8), plus some other under-the-hood tweaks.

        • Motorola Mobility CES 2011 Press Event
    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • The advantages of free software

    People outside the free software movement frequently ask about the practical advantages of free software. It is a curious question.

  • Seven Cool Open Source Projects for Defenders

    These are numbered for reference and not for priority.

    1. Charles Smutz recently announced his Ruminate IDS, whose goal is to “demonstrate the feasibility and value of flexible and scalable analysis of objects transferred through the network.” Charles is also author of the Vortex prohect, a “a near real time IDS and network surveillance engine for TCP stream data.”

    2. Doug Burks just released a new version of SecurityOnion, an Ubuntu-based live CD to facilitate network security monitoring. You’ll find many of the tools on this list in SO and I expect those missing will be included at some point!

    3. Over at Berkeley, development of the Bro IDS project is kicking into high gear with Seth Hall’s new role as a full-time developer. We miss you Seth!


  • An open platform for innovation

    During the ‘Integration’ phase, source code and assets from various contributors are integrated into a deployable build which is then tested as a single unit. Issues are logged, fixed, and retested, all in the open source platform. The ‘Implementation and Improvement’ phase closes the loop and provides feedback to the entire lifecycle.

  • Web Browsers

    • HTML Video Codec Support in Chrome

      Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.

    • 10 Web browsers for the Linux operating system

      How I rank ‘em

      From best to worst, this is how I rank the above browsers:

      1. Google Chrome (actually Chromium)
      2. Konqueror
      3. Firefox
      4. Arora
      5. Opera
      6. Lynx
      7. Midori
      8. NetSurf
      9. Dooble
      10. Epiphany

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS

    • Why I’m Having Second Thoughts About The Wisdom Of The Cloud

      More seriously though, I’ve been growing increasingly alarmed by stories like this: the US government subpoenaing Twitter (and reportedly Gmail and Facebook) users over their support of Wikileaks. The casual use of subpoenas, including against foreign citizens is worrying enough – the New York Times says over 50,000 “national security letters” are sent each year – but even more concerning is the fact that often these subpoenas are sealed, preventing the companies from notifying the users they affect.

      It used to be that if the US government wanted access to documents or letters in my possession they’d have to subpoena me directly. As a foreign citizen there are all sorts of ways I could fight the request – and it was at least my choice whether to do so. As someone living in the US I also had the whole weight of the 4th Amendment on my side. Now, with everything in the cloud, the decision whether to hand over my personal information is almost entirely out of my hands. And unless, as happened with Twitter, the company storing my data decides to fight for openness on my behalf, there’s every possibility that I won’t even hear about the request until it’s too late. That’s just not how things should work in a free society.

  • Oracle

    • Hudson’s future

      Since the java.net migration problems, Oracle and representatives from the Hudson community have been involved in talks on the future of the project in a number of areas. The Hudson representatives have been myself, Kohsuke Kawaguchi, and Sacha Labourey (CEO of CloudBees and Kohsuke’s boss), who was brought in to help provide experience with discussions on a corporate/executive level which neither Kohsuke nor I have, with Alan Harder and R. Tyler Croy advising on the side.


      First, we rename the project – the choice for a new name is Jenkins, which we think evokes the same sort of English butler feel as Hudson. We’ve already registered domains, Twitter users, etc for the new name, and have done our best to verify that there are no existing trademarks which would conflict with it. Kohsuke will be registering the trademark for Jenkins in his name, with the intent of transferring ownership of the trademark to the umbrella of the Software Freedom Conservancy once the Jenkins project has been admitted to it (which, I should add, is very much our plan, hopefully in their next round of new projects in a few months – we’ve already had preliminary contacts with SFC). We still invite Oracle to remain involved with the project, on equal terms with all other contributors, and hope they’ll take us up on this invitation.

    • All good things (opensolaris) must come to an end

      Over the next few months I saw the community start to grow at a decent pace. The first opensolaris books (OpenSolaris Bible and Pro Opensolaris) were published, Solaris internals was updated to take Solaris 10 and opensolaris into account and every major trade magazine was writing something about opensolaris. Additionally, our local OpenSolaris users group was starting to grow in size, and I was beginning to make a number of good friends in the community. All of these things got me crazy excited about the opensolaris community, and I wanted to jump in and start helping out any way I could.

  • Education

    • Blender for high school kids in Cincinnati

      The Cincinnati Enquirer reports on a workshop by the Virtual Reality Education Pathfinder (VREP) programme. VREP is an educational initiative to teach high school students how to use virtual reality.

  • Business

    • Dimdim Lives up to its Name

      This looks like a really foolish move by Salesforce. If we have learned anything in the last 15 years, it is that having an enthusiastic, vibrant community behind a product brings all kinds of benefits in terms of feedback, bug-fixing, marketing and so on. To throw that away, as Salesforce seems to be doing, is shortsighted and retrogressive – even Microsoft is moving to embrace free software and its communities.

      It also tends to confirm my suspicion that Salesforce is not actually a modern software company, despite its claim to be in the currently-trendy category of “enterprise cloud computing company”. It’s more of an old-style, closed-source, command-and-control outfit that happens to deliver its wares over the Internet. I’d be interested to know if it supports/contributes to any open source at all – I can’t think of or find anything (anyone else know?)

      I suspect that in the light of the company’s recent indifference towards its community, culminating in this sale and the abandonment of the free software version altogether, Dimdim will become a by-word for how not to build a sustainable business around open source. At least they chose a good name…

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD development in 2011

      As you all know, PC-BSD is a free, open-source operating system based on rock-solid FreeBSD, focusing on ease-of-use and and double-click package installation (PBI). The PC-BSD project is now part of iXsystems, a company that builds storage solutions, pre-configured servers, and customised servers utilizing open source hardware and software.

      Today Kris Moore, the project’s founder, announced PC-BSD 8.2RC1 and with regards to his plans for 2011 he writes:

      “For 8.2, it is mainly a release to include the latest FreeBSD 8.2 / KDE 4.5.4. Also some
      bug fixes are present for advanced partitioning, letting the user select between MBR/GPT,
      and easily toggle between UFS+S/ZFS.

    • Available: PC-BSD 8.2-RC1

      The PC-BSD Team has announced the availability of the first Release Candidate for PC-BSD 8.2.

      Version 8.2-RC1 contains a number of enhancements, improvements, and bug fixes in response to previous 8.2 testing snapshots. Some of the notable changes are:

      * Updated to FreeBSD 8.2-RC1
      * Fixed issue detecting the proper video card driver
      * Fixed some crashes when adding new users / groups
      * Added /sbin/nologin as a shell choice in the user manager
      * Let created users have a homedir of /nonexistant via the GUI
      * Fix customizing desktop languages when using a () in the description

  • Project Releases

    • Run Mule, Run! Mule 3.1 is out

      The Mule team is very pleased to announce the general availability of Mule ESB 3.1. This release packs a lot of new shiny awesomeness.

    • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache Cassandra 0.7

      The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 150 Open Source projects and initiatives, today announced Apache Cassandra v0.7, the highly-scalable, second generation Open Source distributed database.

  • Programming

    • Introducing Orion

      Sometime later today some very exciting new code is going to show up in the e4 git repository at Eclipse. “Orion” is a brand new adventure for Eclipse, and one which we hope will interest and excite a whole new community: web developers.

      Orion is not a set of Java plug-ins which run in the existing Java IDE. It is browser-based open tool integration platform which is entirely focused on developing for the web, in the web. Tools are written in JavaScript and run in the browser. Unlike other attempts at creating browser-based development tools, this is not an IDE running in a single tab. Links work and can be shared. You can open a file in a new tab. Great care has been taken to provide a web experience for development.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • People of HTML5 – Remy Sharp

      HTML5 needs spokespeople to work. There are a lot of people out there who took on this role, and here at Mozilla we thought it is a good idea to introduce some of them to you with a series of interviews and short videos. The format is simple – we send the experts 10 questions to answer and then do a quick video interview to let them introduce themselves and ask for more detail on some of their answers.

    • Will Microsoft Remove DOC Format Support?

      The following chart shows the percentage of documents on the web that are in OOXML format, as a percentage of all MS Office documents. Note carefully the scale of the chart. It is peaking at less than 3%. So 97+% of the Microsoft Office documents on the web today are in the legacy binary formats, even four years after Office 2007 was released.


      Of course, for any given organization these numbers may vary. Some are 100% on the XML formats. Some are 0% on them. If you look at just “gov” internet domains, the percentage today is only 0.7%. If you look at only “edu” domains, the number is 4.5%. No doubt, within organizations, non-public work documents might have a different distribution. But clearly the large number of existing legacy binary documents on government web sites alone is sufficient to prove my point. DOC is not going away.

      I call “FUD” on this one.

    • Use and Relevance of Web 2.0 Resources for Researchers

      Funded by the Research Information Network (RIN), the aim of this project is to investigate the extent to which Web 2.0 tools represent useful means of communicating, sharing and disseminating research ideas and outputs for researchers across different disciplines, with a view to exploring implications for the future of scholarly communications.


  • Real Help for your Network’s IPv6 Transition
  • Liberals, Conservatives to sign protocol setting up Centre-Right Alliance on Monday

    Leaders of the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) and Conservative Party (PC) Crin Antonescu and Daniel Constantin respectively on Monday will sign a protocol by which the two parties set up the Centre-Right Alliance (ACD), which they might register in court that very day.

  • Correct, don’t delete, that erroneous tweet

    Over the weekend many news organizations reported, erroneously, that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was dead. These reports don’t seem to have originated on Twitter. But many spread there — and now they’re occasioning a round of head-scratching over how to handle retractions and corrections in this new communications format.


    This might be a useful tactic to curtail the spread of bad info. But it still flattens the record a bit, since the original message’s timestamp (and possibly other contextual data) would vanish.

  • Scraping for Journalism: A Guide for Collecting Data
  • Over 77 Percent of Lifehacker Readers Say Google’s Search Results are Less Useful Lately

    We asked readers last week whether what influential bloggers said was true—that Google was losing the war against search result spam. Your response? More than three quarters found Google prone to spam, with one-third tagging the decline as significant.

  • [Web Marketing] Fungal Marketing: Why Faking Viral Marketing Is A Mistake

    I saw this link pop up on Twitter today. Now, Syed is a great guy, and he works hard to make money and to teach others how to make money, but sometimes, even he is wrong.

    To start with, go to WPBeginner.com and read his article. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    Did you see it? He’s talking about creating a viral campaign. A viral campaign is not created. It takes off on its own. It is like an infection that hops from person to person. So every article you read about creating viral campaigns is automatically wrong. What they are talking about is a fungal campaign.

    What is a fungal campaign, you may ask. A fungal campaign is based around trying to create an infection, the way that rubbing your wet athlete’s foot infected toes on my wet feet is your attempt to infect me. Commonly, a fungal campaign will use youth-oriented imagery, fonts, and graphics. It will go to great pains to try to conceal its pushy character, but as you can read in the article, the idea behind it is that friend A will inadvertently help push friend B, who will inadvertently help push friend C. In the article, the topic is the Facebook “like” button and its privacy-invading feature of telling one’s “friends” where you clicked the button.

  • Science

    • 2011 Personal Genomics Preview: It’s Déjà Vu…

      At the same time, as we’ve written previously, the goal is not inexpensive genomics, but personal genomics. What matters is not how much it costs to generate a genome sequence (i.e., raw data), but what you can do with that genome once you have it. Thus, genomics is only personal once both the data and the interpretation are individually tailored.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Machinations of Plastic Surgeons

      Plastic surgery may look pretty good to us who are unbeautiful. Maybe plastic surgery is a conduit to a pleasant, superficial life. But what lies behind the dark doors of that profession?

      There is no undo button on plastic surgery. If you get an operation you might have some scars. If you try to undo the operation you might look the same as you started only with two operations worth of scars.

      That’s looking at it from your perspective. Perhaps there’s an undo button from the surgeon’s perspective. There just might be but it’s macabre. I don’t believe I’m the first to think of this. I believe many surgeons have thought of what I’m going to relay. And the human species being what it is, it’s even probable that some surgeon has acted on the idea.

    • Restricting sale of cold medicine creates lucrative black market

      This is a big win for law enforcement and the prison industry. Look for even more restrictive cold medicine laws in the future.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Man or mouse? Keith Vaz should demand urgent reform of the UK Border Agency

      ‘Much of the delay in concluding asylum and other immigration cases stems from poor quality decision-making when the application is initially considered,’ says Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee whose latest report on the UK Border Agency’s work is published today.

      Two cheers for Vaz and the HASC! It might be three if only they were clearer and more forceful in their criticism of an agency whose deficiencies are systemic and rooted in a culture characterised by denial and deceit.

      The automatic disbelief that greets asylum seekers from their first moment of arrival, coupled with a shocking disregard for human rights, compounded by the lack of legal services that might check official incompetence have created a Kafkaesque nightmare for vulnerable people who come to these shores seeking sanctuary.

    • MP says she was misquoted over DNA test call

      Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy has rejected reports in the weekend press that she had “led calls” for the DNA testing of the entire 1-million-resident-strong Bristol area.

      A reporter on the Sunday Express, where the story originated, also wrote that McCarthy had said that men should be singled out for testing.
      Click here to find out more!

      This resulted in a barrage of online criticism, with questions raised about the practicality of such a measure, its impact on civil liberties, as well its target. Yesterday, Avon and Somerset police told El Reg that they were not considering such measures at this moment in time.

    • Inexplicable edits on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page; comment justifying 9-year-old victim’s death not deleted

      UPDATE: I just got an email from some fellow Dems I work with who are wondering if this was satire. I have no idea. If it is, then it shows as big a lapse in judgment as the Palin Facebook page comment that I posted here.

      I put this out on Twitter yesterday, but it’s worth a post, too. Please run over and read all of it, but essentially, it’s a remarkable post about the speed with which only certain comments were deleted from Sarah Palin’s Facebook page:

      A commenter posted the following at 18:12:

      “It’s ok. Christina Taylor Green was probably going to end up a left wing bleeding heart liberal anyway. Hey, as ‘they’ say, what would you do if you had the chance to kill Hitler as a kid? Exactly.”

    • Unconventional Wisdom

      Hardly anyone has seriously scrutinized either the priorities or the spending patterns of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its junior partner, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), since their hurried creation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Sure, they get criticized plenty. But year in, year out, they continue to grow faster and cost more — presumably because Americans think they are being protected from terrorism by all that spending. Yet there is no evidence whatsoever that the agencies are making Americans any safer.


      Terrorists have been stopped since 2001 and plots prevented, but always by other means. After the Nigerian “underwear bomber” of Christmas Day 2009 was foiled, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed “the system worked” — but the bomber was caught by a passenger, not the feds. Richard Reid, the 2001 shoe bomber, was undone by an alert stewardess who smelled something funny. The 2006 Heathrow Airport plot was uncovered by an intelligence tip. Al Qaeda’s recent attempt to explode cargo planes was caught by a human intelligence source, not an X-ray machine. Yet the TSA responds to these events by placing restrictions on shoes, liquids, and now perhaps printer cartridges.

    • Who killed the whistle-blower bill?

      It is ironic that a major anti-secrecy reform was thwarted by a single senator’s secret “hold” just before Congress adjourned in December. Perhaps some good will come of this double-edged attack on the public’s right to know — if it sparks reform.

      The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act — which would have offered expanded protection for federal employees against retaliation for reporting waste, fraud and abuse — had passed unanimously, first in the Senate and then a week later, on Dec. 22, in the House. The White House had made an unrestrained effort to deliver on this campaign pledge. It was supported by more than 400 organizations of all political stripes, with 80 million members. The National Taxpayers Union announced that support for the act would receive the highest priority on its legislative scorecard. Republicans had just changed the political landscape with election victories based on a mantra of cracking down against deficits, fraud, waste and abuse — the point of whistle-blower laws. Congress was poised to give the taxpayers a major legislative Christmas present.

      So what happened?

    • Which Senator Secretly Sabotaged the Popular Whistleblower Protection Bill?

      After the lame duck session of Congress ended a few days before Christmas, watchdog groups were disappointed to learn that a bill expanding protections for government whistleblowers died in the Senate.

      The bill was a product of a 12-year lobbying effort and had bipartisan support. An earlier form of it had passed the Senate unanimously, and it passed in the House after undergoing some changes. When the bill went back to the Senate for a final vote, a lone senator put an anonymous hold on the bill, effectively killing it. Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project explains how the manuever worked…

  • Cablegate

    • The Misuse of Responsible Disclosure

      The private sector has now jumped on board with respect to using the term “responsible disclosure”. Media and US officials attacked wikkileaks for the lack of “responsible disclosure” when the site started releasing US diplomatic cables.

    • Wikileaks Calls for Sarah Palin’s Arrest

      The official Twitter account for Wikileaks has posted a press release this evening drawing a comparison between the controversial rhetoric from public figures that some believe contributed to the attempted assassination on Saturday of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the even more explicit calls from public officials for violence against Wikileaks spokesperson Julien Assange and others. The organization called for public figures making such calls to violence to be arrested and charged with crimes.

    • Wikileaks Press Release

      “WikiLeaks: treat incitement seriously or expect more Gabrielle Gifford killing sprees.”

      Wikileaks today offered sympathy and condolences to the victims of the Tucson shooting together with best wishes for the recovery of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords, a democrat from Arizona’s 8th district, was the target of a shooting spree at a Jan 8 political event in which six others were killed.

      Tucson Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, leading the investigation into the Gifford shooting, said that “vitriolic rhetoric” intended to “inflame the public on a daily basis … has [an] impact on people, especially who are unbalanced personalities to begin with.” Dupnik also observed that officials and media personalities engaging in violent rhetoric “have to consider that they have some responsibility when incidents like this occur and may occur in the future.”

    • Soldier’s inhumane imprisonment

      Pfc. Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst suspected of providing documents to WikiLeaks, can’t reasonably complain that the military has him in custody. But the conditions under which he is being held at the Marine detention center at Quantico, Va., are so harsh as to suggest he is being punished for conduct of which he hasn’t been convicted.

      Manning has been charged with unlawfully downloading classified information and transmitting it “with reason to believe that the information could cause injury to the United States.” He has been incarcerated at Quantico for five months and has yet to receive the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing.


      Some see Manning as a whistle-blower who deserves leniency for exposing official duplicity; others believe that, like anyone who engages in civil disobedience, Manning, if guilty, should accept punishment for his actions. But regardless of one’s view of his alleged conduct, the conditions under which he is being held are indefensible.

    • Cablegate Coloring Book
    • Julian Assange due in court over extradition case

      Robertson said Assange’s legal team is collecting evidence from further witnesses in Sweden, but the judge said the Swedish authorities are likely to take the view that the extradition warrant will stand nevertheless.

      Media interest in Assange remained as journalists from around the world filled 100 seats in the court and an annex connected by video link. High profile supporters of Assange who turned up today included Bianca Jagger, Jemima Khan and Gavin MacFadyen, director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

    • WikiLeaks volunteer hires lawyers in Twitter fight

      An ex-WikiLeaks volunteer has hired American lawyers to oppose the U.S. government’s efforts to obtain the contents of her Twitter account, CNET has learned.

      Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic parliament who helped with WikiLeaks’ release of a classified U.S. military video, is being represented by the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    • Death Threat Domain Names

      The disturbed young woman who registered the julianassangemustdie.com domain name is Melissa Clouthier (@MelissaTweets) acording to her Twitter Profile:

      Frazzled mom, alternative health doc, conservative libertarian blogger, columnist, podcaster, radio host, iPhone & Mac lover, fantasy reading geek, #TCOT”

      As a mother myself, I have difficulty understanding a mind set that would allow a mother to advocate killing anyone. Is this not also a criminal offense?

    • WikiLeaks: Julian Assange ‘faces execution or Guantánamo detention’

      Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, could be at “real risk” of the death penalty or detention in Guantánamo Bay if he is extradited to Sweden on accusations of rape and sexual assault, his lawyers claim.

      In a skeleton summary of their defence against attempts by the Swedish director of public prosecutions to extradite him, released today, Assange’s legal team argue that there is a similar likelihood that the US would subsequently seek his extradition “and/or illegal rendition”, “where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantánamo Bay or elsewhere”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Hugh’s fish fight takes Tesco to task

      Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is feeling pretty optimistic this afternoon. His Fish Fight campaign has scored a major victory the day before the first TV programme highlighting it is broadcast; Tesco has announced plans to switch to 100% pole and line caught fish for its own brand canned tuna.

    • Boycotting bluefin isn’t enough — time to turn on the siren

      Critics of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas often say that the acronym ICCAT might better stand for the “International Conspiracy to Catch All Tuna.” At its most recent meeting, ICCAT lived up to that derisive nickname by setting 2011 catch levels for Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) at basically the same levels as 2010 — 12,900 tons, down from 13,500 – despite the pleas of conservation scientists and the bluefin’s place on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List” of endangered or critically endangered species (Western stock and Eastern stock).

    • Australian Flood Disaster Intensifies with the Worst to Come

      From the Sunshine Coast 150km north of Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, an extraordinary week of drenching rains refuses to let up. Thunder and lightning buffet me as I write at 4:30pm on Tuesday January 11. It has been like this all day. The unthinkable is happening.

      Unprecedented and fatal flash floods at Toowoomba on the top of the mountain range west of Brisbane is like the first domino for what is unfolding. Then came Grantham and the death toll this morning was officially 9 drowned and 66 missing. But “the missing” is hard statistic to deal with since the weather and the water levels prohibited attempts at discovery all day.

    • Using Google Earth to Monitor Mining in Tibet 3: Example of Gyama

      Go further upstream and you will find this frightening sight. Huge areas covering several mountains have been drilled to prospect minerals here. I hope I am wrong but this is most likely the Qulong Copper Deposit, which was reported by the China Geological Survey in 2009 to contain at least 9 million tonnes of copper, plus molybdenum and silver. The Gyama mine, by comparison, has proven reserves of 2.2 million tonnes of copper. According to the International Mining, February 2010 issue (page 40): “In copper, the most famous deposit is Qulong, according to Chen Renyi and Xue Yingxi of the China Geological Survey. They say “With proved reserves of nearly 9 Mt, Qulong will soon be the largest copper deposit in China, and the perspective reserves are over 14-18 Mt.””

    • Mongolia’s wilderness threatened by mining boom

      Tim was almost certainly talking about the Oyu Tolgoi mine, or “Turquoise Hill,” a copper and gold ore deposit in Southern Mongolia that’s larger than the state of Florida. Oyu Tolgoi is the world’s largest mining exploration project, a joint venture between a Canadian company named Ivanhoe and the Mongolian government, with significant financing from Chilean mining giant Rio Tinto. Together, they plan to invest $5 billion into operations in the next few years, making Oyu Tolgoi the largest foreign investment in Mongolian history. Over the forecast 65-year lifespan of the mine, its revenues are expected to become a third of Mongolia’s gross domestic product. It’s a big deal, and the discovery of it and a wealth of untapped deposits of coal, gold, silver, tin, uranium, and “rare earth minerals” used in most of today’s advanced electronics has mining-industry shills proclaiming Mongolia the next “Saudi Arabia of insert-name-of-precious-metal-here.”

      Despite projections that the mining boom is expected to triple or quadruple the size of Mongolia’s economy in the next five years, times are tough for most Mongolians, and the relationship between the country’s great natural resources and the wealth of its people is still to be determined. The United Nations estimates that 27 percent of Mongolia’s urban population lives below the poverty line. In rural areas, nearly fifty percent of people live in poverty. During the past decade, a series of unusually severe zuds – storms that turn winter snow cover into solid ice, causing the mass starvation of livestock – has had a devastating effect on a country where a quarter of the people make their living (or attempt to make their living) raising livestock.

    • Pollutocrat Kochs sue: Claim that Koch Industries believes in global warming damaged our reputation

      Pollution machine Koch Industries is taking to court to defend its reputation as a cesspool of global warming denial. Brad Johnson has the bizarre story.

      The right-wing carbon industry giant, owned by Tea Party billionaires David and Charles Koch, has filed a lawsuit in Utah to punish anonymous pranksters who claimed on the company’s behalf that it was discontinuing funding to climate denial front groups.

  • Finance

    • Vancouver’s Red Army

      The Great Depression hit Vancouver like a hammer. The city already suffered chronic high unemployment owing to the seasonal nature of BC’s resource-based economy, and even in the supposedly prosperous 1920s, Vancouver was known as a “Mecca for the unemployed.” After the economic collapse, people who couldn’t find work at home drifted to Terminal City in unprecedented numbers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Welcome to the new Fact Checker

      * This is a fact-checking operation, not an opinion-checking operation. We are interested only in verifiable facts, though on occasion we may examine the roots of political rhetoric.

      * · We will focus our attention and resources on the issues that are most important to voters. We cannot nitpick every detail of every speech.

      * · We will stick to the facts of the issue under examination and are unmoved by ad hominem attacks. The identity or political ties of the person or organization making a charge is irrelevant: all that matters is whether their facts are accurate or inaccurate.

      * · We will adopt a “reasonable man” standard for reaching conclusions. We do not demand 100 percent proof.

      * · We will strive to be dispassionate and non-partisan, drawing attention to inaccurate statements on both left and right.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Canada ‘dead last’ in freedom-of-information laws

      When Stephen Harper and his Conservatives first took the reins of government in 2006, it was on an “explicit promise to reform the Access to Information Act dramatically”, says the Canadian Press.

    • Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda Hungary’s new media law Open Hearing on Freedom of the Press in Hungary European Parliament, Brussels 11 January 2011

      As I wrote to the Hungarian authorities in my letter of 23 December, the recently adopted Hungarian Media Act raises specific concerns regarding its compliance with the EU Audiovisual and Media Services (AVMS) Directive and, more generally, regarding the respect for the fundamental media freedoms such as freedom of expression and media pluralism.

      Since then, the Commission has been active. I went to Budapest already last Thursday to discuss with the competent minister. The Commission President raised the Media law with Prime Minister Orban the following day.

      A large number of commentators have alleged that the Hungarian Media Law risks jeopardizing fundamental rights in a number of ways:

      * by requiring registration of all media, including online media such as forums, blogs and so on;
      * by requiring all media to engage in balanced coverage of national and European events;
      * by making the Media Authority subject to political control through the appointment process.

    • This is Hungary’s real democratic revolution, says MEP

      Schöpflin believes there was no real overhaul in Hungarian politics after the fall of Communism in 1989, and said Fidesz had a “once-in-a-generation – perhaps once-in-a-century – opportunity to recast the entire system of political, social and economic governance”.


      He accused the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), in power from 1994-1998 and 2002-2010, of governing as though the one-party rule of the communist days still existed.

    • La Quadrature du Net on Censorship

      Internet blocking is a form of unacceptable censorship, and I believe it will do far more harm than good. Censorship inevitably does. But it’s a thorny issue, particularly when it comes done to some heinous perpetrators. It may seem like a good idea, but blocking a domain does not pull the plug, it simply turns out the light.

    • Arizona enacts funeral protest legislation

      Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed emergency legislation Tuesday that bars protests within 300 feet of a funeral and within an hour from its beginning or end.

      Earlier in the day, the state legislature passed the measure, which targets a Kansas church whose members announced they plan to picket the funerals of the victims of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson.

      “Such despicable acts of emotional terrorism will not be tolerated in the State of Arizona,” Brewer said in a statement announcing she had signed the bill. “This legislation will assure that the victims of Saturday’s tragic shooting in Tucson will be laid to rest in peace with the full dignity and respect that they deserve.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Canadian ISP: Overage Fees “Not Meant to Recover Costs”

      Matt Stein, vice-president of network services for Primus, calls overage fees an “economic disincentive for internet use” since the charges levied by Bell Canada are “many, many, many times what it costs to actually deliver it.”

      Last May, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) gave Bell Canada, Canada’s largest telephone and telecommunications company, the green light to proceed with the “economic Internet traffic management practice (ITMP),” i.e. consumption-based billing, and there’s a growing consensus that the plan has nothing to do with recovering costs from excessive usage, and rather everything to do with disincentivizing Internet usage.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Supreme Court: Record Labels Must Face Digital Music Antitrust Suit

        Record labels finally will have to face an antitrust lawsuit that dates back to the early days of digital music, thanks to a Supreme Court order today. The high court declined to hear an appeal from the four major recorded music labels, asking the high court to throw out a lawsuit that claims the labels broke antitrust laws when they set a “wholesale price floor” of about 70 cents per track for two digital music stores that they created almost a decade ago, Pressplay and MusicNet.

      • Why Filesharing Companies Are Starting to Lobby Washington [INTERVIEW]

        RapidShare, the file-hosting giant, recently hired a Washington lobbying firm to combat legislative attempts to place penalties on companies that don’t adequately protect domestic copyright. This is its first attempt at adding U.S. legislative muscle to its ongoing copyright fights – which most recently included Atari’s failed bid to combat RapidShare in a German court.

      • “Exploit now, pay later”: music labels finally pay artists

        The dispute concerns something called “pending lists” maintained privately by the major labels. Since 1988, it has become increasingly common for the labels to simply issue CDs (often compilation albums) without actually locking down the copyright permission and pay arrangements with the music’s creators. Instead, the music is offered for sale, the labels collect the money, and they put the songwriters on the “pending list” to clear up the details later.

        But in many cases, there was no “later.” The pending lists have climbed to around CAN$50 million in money that was due to artists but never paid out, something that the musicians describe as a “systematic ‘exploit now, pay later, if at all’ approach.”

      • Privacy and intellectual property: how far should the law reach to protect copyright

        Those interested might also be interested these blogs about studies on online copyright enforcement vs data protection/privacy in UK, Netherlands and Poland and in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

Clip of the Day

Bill O’Reilly Enraged Over Giffords & Right Wing Rhetoric Ties

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 11/1/2011: To Russia With Linux Love, London Stock Exchange Move to GNU/Linux is Complete

Posted in News Roundup at 5:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Russian Linux: The Push Continues

    We’ve talked about the concept of national Linux distributions before, and the Russians are a nation that has engaged in previous attempts to standardize on Linux. Recently, Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, made an announcement of a renewed effort towards open source adoption on a massive, despite the previous failures.

    Armchair pundits have had to make do with translated versions of the report and of the announcement, but what seems clear is that under the new plan Russian institutions will undergo a transition to open source software between 2011 and 2015.

  • To Russia With Love

    A few days ago the Russian government announced that they were going to transition the government to using Free Software by 2015, starting as early as mid-2011.

    In reality, this transition started much earlier. It was in 1997 that I first went to Moscow and attended a Unix Expo, helping to staff the Digital Equipment Corporation booth and giving two talks, one on Digital Unix and one on Alpha Linux. There amidst two-story trade show exhibits were little stands selling distributions of Slackware, Yggdrasil and even “white box” Linux workstations. Copies of the Linux Journal adorned shelves in the exhibit hall.

  • Linux.conf.au on track despite floods

    Linux.conf.au 2011, set for 24 January through to 29 January, is to be held at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) situated on the banks of the Brisbane River.

    Shaun Nykvist, director of Linux.conf.au, told ZDNet Australia today that the buildings intended for use at the conference are well above the level of the Brisbane River.

  • Desktop

    • The Long Slog Toward Advancement Of Linux

      We’ve reached a point where the expectations — and the stakes — are higher now than they’ve ever been. And bad interfaces, are, well, bad. It’s often unpleasant to watch as someone makes the sausage, but in this case it can go a ways toward explaining how this technology is developing.

  • Server

    • London Stock Exchange delayed Linux system finally launches on 14 February

      The London Stock Exchange’s delayed Linux-based trading system has finally been given a go-live date of 14 February, for the exchange’s main cash markets.

      The LSE also confirmed speculation that it had to work on greatly increasing the Millennium Exchange system’s capacity in order to cope with high volume trading.

  • Kernel Space

    • GoAhead Software joins the Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation has announced that GoAhead Software has become its newest member. Based in Bellevue, Washington, GoAhead Software is a global commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions specialist targeting network equipment manufacturers. Discussing the announcement, GoAhead Sales and Marketing Senior VP Bill Yaman said, “Linux has become the primary operating system in the telecommunications market. An increasing number of our customers use it in their network equipment and systems.”

    • The DRM Brings Some Fun To The Linux 2.6.38 Kernel

      David Airlie has just called upon Linus to pull in his DRM tree for the Linux 2.6.38 kernel. With this being the first 2.6.38 DRM pull request and with the merge window still open, this code brings in a fair amount of exciting work.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Some Good & Bad News For The Nouveau Driver

        With our big AMD Linux GPU / driver comparison we found its open-source Gallium3D driver to be noticeably faster than the classic Mesa DRI driver across an array of Radeon hardware from multiple generations. However, the official Catalyst driver was multiple times faster (roughly 5.18x faster) than the Gallium3D driver, not to mention its lack of proper support for OpenGL 3/4, VA-API/VDPAU/XvBA video playback, and many other features only found within the proprietary Catalyst driver. Now though it is time to see how the Gallium3D Nouveau performance compares to that of NVIDIA’s proprietary Linux driver across different GeForce graphics cards.

      • An overview of graphic card manufacturers and how well they work with Ubuntu

        We’ve been getting some requests recently about what is the best make of graphics card to buy for use with Ubuntu, and although we aren’t a benchmarking site, and so can’t recommend specific models, what we can do is give people a brief overview of the current state of graphics drivers (both open and closed) from the different manufacturers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Patrick Spendrin

        Last week KDE 4.5.4 was released for Windows. It was a late Christmas present from the KDE on Windows team and we were immediately interested in learning more about the project. In the first interview of the “Platforms” series, Pau Garcia i Quiles talks with Patrick Spendrin, the current release manager of KDE on Windows and asks, well, everything.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Sounds in The Board

        So far, voice recording in GNOME has been an obscure feature because the sound recorder app is not easily accessible and it doesn’t provide a convenient way to organize and access your voice memos. The Board makes it extremely simple to record voice memos. No need to care about saving files or anything. You can easily label your tapes for later reference. Just add a sound element and start recording!

  • Distributions

    • LucidWorks Enterprise

      I’ve spent several days playing with LucidWorks Enterprise and I have to say I am impressed with what I have seen thus far. The system requirements are low, the system is flexible and fast and there are lots of example scripts for developers who wish to expand on the functionality. The documentation is well put together, the admin GUI is easy to use and the end-user interface is familiar. Aside from stepping out of the GUI to change the admin password, I found the whole experience to be smooth and friendly. LWE is built from open source components and, in my opinion, offers an excellent solution for organizations who need to keep track of large numbers of documents in a wide range of formats. If you have any interest in search technology, I recommend you give it a try.

    • Sabayon Forensics Face Lift

      I’m glad to see their is interest in the project and I’m constantly working with it and testing it to make sure things are working. I see I need to switch slocate out for mlocate since slocate went bye bye from portage. I suspect it will from Sabayon soon also. The KDE version is something I need to get back to. I was able to create and test a KDE version, but there are issues with KDE and the menus getting updated. Some of the programs were missing from the menu. Of course they worked from konsole, but that’s kinda lame. I need to try it again with the latest KDE version and see if it is better. The problem is, I am swamped. Life is very stressful for me at the moment as I try to get to the surface for a fresh breath of air. My full time job is in the toilet and I need to make the right decision as what to do with that. I just wish things didn’t have to revolve around the mighty dollar, which isn’t even mighty at all in reality.

    • Reviews

      • Arch Linux is More Awesome Than I Previously Thought

        To conclude, I wish I could suggest Arch Linux to Linux newcomers instead of these ‘buntu, mint stuff. It’s a quite easy to learn and use. You just should not be afraid to use command line. The process of installing and configuring all parts of your operating system might be a bit time-consuming yet it’s a very rewarding and valuable experience. Just give it a go!

      • Quick Thoughts on Puppy Linux and Puppy 5.2

        I also want to add that Puppy 5.1.1 and 5.2 uses some of Ubuntu’s binaries. This in some way makes it easier and more compatible to make .pet packages out of Ubuntu’s packages (.deb). If I have this wrong please correct me!

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat to keep headquarters in Triangle, add jobs

        Gov. Bev Perdue is expected to announce Monday that Red Hat will keep its corporate headquarters in the Research Triangle area and add jobs, sources tell WRAL and WRAL.com.

      • 2011 Sees Red Hat’s Push for Better Cloud Deployment, Management

        As 2011 begins, Red Hat Inc. is mapping out details for how its acquisition of Makara will fuel the next generation of open source options for cloud computing. Makera, a provider of deployment and management solutions for cloud-based apps, will simplify app deployment and management, according to Red Hat execs.

        Makara’s technologies will accelerate the build-out of Red Hat’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution as part of its Cloud Foundations portfolio. Makara provides tools to deploy, manage, monitor and scale applications on both private or public clouds. Red Hat will integrate Makara’s tools and Cloud Application Platform with JBoss Enterprise Middleware.

      • Mickos and Eucalyptus lock arms with Red Hat

        Marten Mickos – the former MySQL boss who now runs build-your-own-cloud startup Eucalyptus Systems – has hitched his new wagon to Red Hat. In more ways than one.

        Last month, Mickos and company announced a pact with Red Hat that will see Eucalyptus embrace the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) hypervisor as well as the Red Hat’s deltacloud project, an open source effort to provide a common API for all “infrastructure clouds”. Eucalyptus Systems is the commercial outfit that sprung up around the open source Eucalyptus platform, a means of building infrastructure clouds behind the corporate firewall.

      • Homegrown Red Hat to keep headquarters in NC

        Red Hat has decided to keep its trademark fedora hanging in North Carolina.

        The Linux software developer announced Monday it would keep its corporate headquarters in Wake County and create 540 new jobs over the next decade as it expands current operations and targets new technology.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora ARM on the Toshiba AC100 Smart Book

          I finally sat down on the weekend to try and get some OS other than Android running on the Toshiba AC100 I bought off ebay on a whim. The AC100 doesn’t look that different to your average 10.1 inch netbook except its extremely thin and and light and on the inside it has a Nvidia Tegra 2 SoC based on the dual core ARM Cortex A9. My initial plan was to get Ubuntu running on due to the instructions about doing that to be found on the net. After doing some reading and while part way through the process I decided that I would try Paul Whalen’s Fedora 13 ARM rootfs instead as the process of creating a linux rootfs is similar across all distributions! There’s still quite a way to go.

        • Why Kororaa is (now) derived from Fedora

          You might be wondering why I chose to derive Kororaa from Fedora.

    • Debian Family

      • Boot Issues Plague SimplyMepis 11 Development

        All during this SimplyMEPIS 11 development cycle boot problems have stopped many users from testing. Unfortunately, and probably the root of problem, is that this occurs for only some of the users with little hardware in common. To compound the issue, the boot issues haven’t been caused by the same reason to the same people each release either. With so much variation, it can be very difficult to nail down corrections.

      • Ubuntu Developer Manager Quitting To Join Google

        Scott James Remnant, the Ubuntu Developer Manager is quitting Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu to join Google. Remnant is known for authoring the new Upstart initialization system and the popular Planet weblog aggregation system. In addition to his work on Ubuntu, Scott served as a long-time Debian developer where he maintained libtool, the dpkg package management system, and several other important packages. Scott resigned from Debian in 2006.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Quickly Tutorial for Natty: DIY Media Player

          I started working on a chapter for the Ubuntu Developers’ Manual. The chapter will be on how to use media in your apps. That chapter will cover:

          * Playing a system sound
          * Showing an picture
          * Playing a sound file
          * Playing a video
          * Playing from a web cam
          * Composing media

        • Developer Interviews: Ahmed Kamal
        • Nexus S Boots Ubuntu

          There’s no doubt at this point that the Nexus S from Samsung, which out of the box runs Android’s latest version of Android (2.3), is a versatile device. We’ve already seen the handset boot up MeeGo, and now the developer is at it again. This time, though, we’ve got Ubuntu loading up on the device. The XDA developer forum member, stroughtonsmith — or Steven Troughton-Smith– has gone through the same method of bringing MeeGo to the device, but focusing his attention on Ubuntu this time around.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Edubuntu Linux Ubuntu education 10.04 32Bit review Lucid Lynx Screencast

            Screencast tutorial style examination Edubuntu Linux 32Bit 10.04 DVD Lucid Lynx is an operating system of education that is part of the official Ubuntu Linux derivative. It is Ubuntu, the most popular system Debian Linux-based operating an excellent choice for computing needs of children, students, parents, teachers, and schools. I show you all the features of this software free of awesome computing. original video production by www.OSGUI.com Tech Show.

          • Linux Mint 10 Reviewed – Part #1

            I must admit that it has been just about 12 months since I had last tested a Linux distribution. During my past experiences, I normally uninstalled whatever distribution I tried, because I either had issues getting a wireless connection or was unable to print to my HP laser Jet via a print server. Either of these is a deal breaker for me. I also spent way too much time trying to configure either the wireless connection or printer and basically just gave up. I won’t bore you with the installation details, since you have one of three choices. You can install as a standalone OS, dual-boot [this was what I opted to do} , or run as a Live CD.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 14″ Nufront Newton with the Dual Core Cortex A9 [Video]
    • 10″ Nufront Newton with the Dual Core Cortex A9 [Video]
    • Kinect-Like Open-Source Devices For the PC

      Additionally, “[Tamir Berliner] said the company was making the source code for the PrimeSensor available to give developers the freedom to play around with it. “It will all be open source so you can take it and port it to any device,” he said.

    • D-Link Boxee Box review – is Internet TV finally a reality?

      The promise of a hardware companion for the popular open source media centre Boxee has interested us since its original announcement. Let’s see how the final product stacks up against expectations…

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Nexus S Gets MeeGo Install [PLUS How-To Included]

          Pros, this is a heads up. If you’re into the whole installing of one OS on a competing brand’s hardware, this news is for you. It seems that some folks including XDA Developers Forum member stroughtonsmith (aka our friend Steven Troughton-Smith,) and a crack team of other smarties have booted MeeGo unto their Nexus S phones from a rootfs image on their internal memory.

        • Install MeeGo on Nexus S [How to]
      • Android

        • Its the Motorola’s Atrix 4G vs iPhone 4

          Motorola has managed to come up with a very good concept. Its essentially a very powerful phone, which can be converted into a PC or a netbook. This will provide a serious competition to the iPhone4 and also provide a single device which can double up as a PC or a netbook.

        • Android Update Latest – Edition 427

          Rejoice newer myTouch users! Months after original myTouch owners had their Froyo delivered, T-Mobile has just announced that the myTouch 1.2 (3.5mm headphone jack version) and the myTouch Fender LE are the next in line for the tasty treat. MyTouch Slide users still have to wait a little bit longer, though, due to two specific issues.

        • Trend Micro shows Android SMS blocking app

          Android is a long way from being overrun with security threats but that hasn’t stopped Trend Micro getting its retaliation in early with a new security app for the platform.

          Trend’s Mobile Security for Android features a number of layers of security, mobile users might or might not deem necessary for the modest $3.99 (£2.50) fee.

        • CES 2011: Hulu For Android Announced At The Samsung Press Event

          Last summer, Hulu announced the “Plus” subscription service bringing premium content to mobile devices such as the iPhone 4 and iPad. Unfortunately, the millions of Android users, which just passed the total number of iPhone U.S. subscribers according to comScore, were left out in the cold. At the Samsung CES 2011 Press Conference, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar brought some good news announcing that Hulu Plus was heading to Android phones.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola Xoom tablet available for pre-order from Handtec

        The Xoom is listed as “due in soon,” with the obvious caveat that we don’t know what Handtec’s concept of soon is. As previously reported the information that we received from Motorola indicated a February launch with a tentative circle around Valentine’s Day. Assuming that launch date holds we’ll probably be seeing more of the usual suspects putting up pre-order pages soon enough so unless you are particularly anxious to be first in line or have a special place in your heart for Handtec you should be safe to wait.

      • On GPL Compliance, Android Tablets Get an ‘F’

        There seems to be no stopping the current avalanche of Android tablets — just look through the CES announcements for a not-so-small sampling — and that’s undoubtedly a good thing for Linux.

        A shadow was recently cast upon that otherwise sunny landscape, however, in the form of a report examining said tablets’ GPL compliance.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Interviewing Glyn Moody: why we should worry about our own digital Freedom.

    I think there are two major classes of threat to freedom: one that has been present for many years now, and the other that is relatively new.

    The first is from intellectual monopolies – copyright and patents – or rather, attempts to preserve their power in a world of digital abundance. That’s not possible, of course, which is why we have Draconian legislation like the DMCA, and the increasingly-insane fines awarded against people for sharing copyright material online.


    The other threat has been accelerated by Wikileaks, but was not caused by it: the introduction of online censorship by nations that have traditionally prided themselves on their support for free speech. In some ways this is even more dangerous than ACTA, since the latter is bound to fail. However, governments are very adept at dressing up repressive measures as “necessary” to protect someone from something – us from “terror”, or children from paedophiles etc.

    But of course the powers that they arrogate to themselves never stop there: they are gradually used and abused for a far wider range of cases. Unless people fight back now against these moves – which, incidentally, mean that the West loses what little moral leverage it has when criticising countries like China – I think that things could get very bad here.

  • Open source’s commodity conundrum

    Matt Asay’s recent article in The Register If you open source an old market, are you doomed to fail? highlights the need for open source specialist vendors to innovate, as well as commoditize.

    This is an issue that has been discussed regularly by CAOS practice – most recently in our Control and Community report into open source software-related business strategies.

  • The Web is the biggest open source success of all

    The open source movement is a popular one, and it’s certainly made its mark on the software landscape. But where has it made its biggest mark? What is the most successful open source endeavor of all time?

    Actually, when you see it as a whole, isn’t the Web the biggest open source success of them all?


    Most of the programming and scripting languages used on the Web, like PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, are open source projects.

  • Top 20 Open Source Applications to Cut Business Costs

    In this economy, employees who can save their employers money are highly regarded and will potentially be in line for advancement. Using open source technology is one great way to help your company cut down on costs across the board.

    In this article, I’ll share twenty great open source applications that can help save your employer some money.

  • The limits of evangelism

    The most receptive audience, I usually find, are activists. The idea that you should take control of your computing seems a natural extension of beliefs to people who already believe that you should take control of your government by getting involved, or of your environment by recycling and encouraging green technology solutions.

    Yet, even here, difficulties arise. For the most part, activists are not technically oriented, and are as accepting of proprietary lock-in as anyone else. The idea that they should apply the beliefs that they operate by in the rest of their lives to their computing is new to most of them. Here and there, you may find a Green Party that has a pro-FOSS policy, or a Pirate Party whose ideas may echo those found in FOSS, but such groups are rarely in any position to promote — let alone enforce — FOSS ideas.

  • Design simplicity is an important element of open source security

    Open source software offers a great many potential security benefits. Few, if any, of them offer any guarantees, but the potential is often realized as a strong probability of greater security. The power of dilettantism, also known as the principle of “many eyes”, is of particular interest when considering the complexity of your software design.

  • Team Creates Open Source Data-Scraping Toolkit for Journalists

    When online investigative journal ProPublica wanted to figure out just how much doctors are being paid by pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs, reporters Dan Nguyen, Charles Ornstein, and Tracy Weber naturally turned to the internet for research. They quickly realized that, though the data exists on the Web, fashioning it into a comprehensive and useable format was nothing short of headache-inducing. Rather than give up, the journalists created their own data-scraping software using open source tools.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Help us test the new Developer Tools

        Developer Tools is the area of the site that deals with submission and management of hosted add-ons, and is among the most complicated parts of AMO. Our rewrite brings these tools into our new codebase, which should result in faster performance and better cache invalidation, a common annoyance over the years.

      • Firefox is Now the Most Popular Browser in Europe!

        In line with the predictions we had here before, IE has not only fallen below 50% market share for the first time ever, it has now become the second most popular browser in Europe. Firefox has taken the lead and is now the most popular browser in the whole of Europe. Is that what you call as the great circle of life?

      • Youtube Music Player For Firefox

        One of the best options on today’s Internet to listen to a song, any song for that matter, is to search for that song on Youtube. Chance is there is at least one video with that song on the video portal. Some web users use Youtube more or less exclusively to listen to music.

        The Firefox add-on Youtube Music Player tries to make this more comfortable to those users by offering them comfortable features such as playlists and an external player.

        The extension supports multiple playlists which can be played, created and edited directly in the browser. Several controls are added to the browser which some users may not like.

  • SaaS

    • The New Linux: OpenStack aims for the heavens

      Whereas Rackspace offers public compute and storage services, NASA is building its own private cloud, known as Nebula. This was originally built atop Eucalyptus, another open-source platform. But according to NASA chief technology officer Chris Kemp, Eucalyptus didn’t scale as well as NASA hoped, and it wasn’t as open as the agency would have liked.

  • Databases

  • Oracle

    • Inside Track: Oracle has Kicked Lustre to the Curb

      Companies usually wind down the week before Christmas, so you don’t usually see them make a lot of strategic moves or announcements. And so it was with some marked astonishment that I received an anonymous tip that Oracle ceased development of Lustre right before the holidays. Not out of a job quite yet, Lustre engineers have reportedly been encouraged to apply for other positions within the company.

  • CMS

    • U.S. House of Representatives using Drupal

      The House worked with a number of Drupal experts for this project, including Acquia, Phase2 Technology and Ingalls Information Security. The team developed, validated, and delivered the Drupal 7 platform that will be used by both individual House Member sites and Committee sites. Here are some examples of recently deployed sites (a complete list can be found at http://house.gov/house/news.shtml): http://sewell.house.gov, http://hanabusa.house.gov/, http://womack.house.gov/.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • When open-source projects go commercial

        So, the question is: Are commercial open-source software and Free and Open Source Software at odds with each other, or is the relationship more symbiotic?

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 8.2-RC1 Available for Download

      The RC1 release brings with a number of enhancements, improvements, and bug fixes in response to previous 8.2 testing snapshots. Here are the changelog as shown in the website:

      * Updated to FreeBSD 8.2-RC1
      * Fixed issue detecting the proper video card driver
      * Fixed some crashes when adding new users / groups
      * Added /sbin/nologin as a shell choice in the user manager
      * Let created users have a homedir of /nonexistant via the GUI
      * Fix customizing desktop languages when using a () in the description

  • Project Releases

    • Joomla Reorganized, Modernized

      This new version of Joomla, version 1.6, has been in development for about three years, said Ryan Ozimek, president of Open Source Matters, a not-for-profit organization providing legal and financial support to the Joomla project. The project has about 80 volunteer programmers, including 10 who manage the code-base.

    • XBMC 10.0 Goes to 11

      The XBMC project released version 10.0 of its integrated media center software just before the holidays, and if you haven’t test-driven it in a while, do yourself a favor and grab the new build now.

  • Licensing

    • New Blocking Activity from Iran

      Over the past 48 hours it seems the Great Persian Firewall is updating to attempt to block a number of circumvention tools, including Tor. Iranians and their diaspora have been reporting to us that Tor, Hot Spot Shield, UltraSurf, and Freegate are all experiencing connectivity problems from inside Iran to the outside world.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source film making with Todd Harris

      Canadian documentary filmmaker Todd Harris gets up close and personal with the communities he films. He is especially attracted to stories that involve an underdog fighting for justice against government and corporate interests, where he can cover a side of the conflict that is usually untouched by mainstream media. Until a few years ago, he restricted himself to issues that were particular to Canada. Now he plans to extend his research into the international realm.

      I first noticed Todd two years ago at the infamous Dump Site 41 protest in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario, Canada, as he casually surfed the crowd, sometimes talking, sometimes filming. But it wasn’t until his film aired at Georgian College one blustery night in December 2010 that I realized who he was.

    • FCC Launches Open Internet Apps Challenge

      The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has launched an Open Internet apps challenge, inviting the public to produce research and create apps that empower consumers to monitor and protect Internet openness.

    • Open Data

      • A Cosy Cabinet Office Cover-Up

        For schmoozing between 2004 and 2006, “departments should cite the cost threshold” (an exemption from disclosure if it would take more than 3.5 days to find the information). Since departments are required by the civil service code to keep registers of hospitality and the Cabinet Office could not foresee departments’ time costs, this was always a deceitful and arguably illegal ploy.

        It duly hit a snag when an official in the Department for Work and Pensions reported an official in his bosses’ private office having “collected this [information] from hospitality logs where they exist without exceeding the disspropriate (sic) cost limit. I therefore cannot see how we can cite this exemption,” even though, said the official, “I am sure that [redacted name] would not want to break ranks.” All other departments simply said what the Cabinet Office had told them to, almost certainly untruthfully.

        There then seem to have been attempts to persuade officials in the DWP to relent and tell a porkie, a frustrated internal Cabinet Office email reporting the DWP official as “adamant that he won’t say disproportionate cost as he’s looked into it”. A Yes Minister-style compromise was eventually agreed: the response to Private Eye would simply ignore the excuse – but not provide the information anyway.

      • OpenStreetMap State of the Map 2011: call for papers

        The OpenStreetMap (OSM) Project’s next State Of The Map conference will take place from 9 to 11 September 2011, in Denver, Colorado. Founded in August of 2004 by Steve Coast, OpenStreetMap is an open source project that is building free online maps, not based on any copyright or licensed map data.

    • Open Access/Content

      • State of Washington to Offer Online Materials as Texts

        It’s a question that students, and a growing number of their professors, are asking: Why require students to buy expensive textbooks every year, when the Internet is awash in information, much of it free? After all, the words of Plato have not changed in the past 2,000 years, nor has basic algebra.

  • Programming

    • TIOBE language index: Python is the programming language of 2010

      Of the languages listed in the TIOBE index, Python was the fastest growing programming language of 2010. The scripting language was therefore crowned language of the year in the January edition of the index of popular programming languages. Objective-C, used to develop iPhone and iPad apps, had long been the favourite to take the award, but its popularity appears to have dwindled a little in recent months. Its growth rate of 1.6% was only enough for the runner-up spot behind Python (+1.81%).


  • FDA eyes regulation of wireless networks at clinics, hospitals

    As more hospitals and clinics plug patient monitoring equipment and other devices into traditional data networks, the closer the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) comes to regulating the networks as medical devices.

    Currently, most hospitals and clinics manage medical devices on discrete networks to better ensure the safety and security of those systems. But there is a trend toward consolidation, particularly onto wireless networks, for easier management.

  • We’re about to find out if companies mean what’s in their mission statements

    Manonamission.blogspot.com is a great collection of corporate mission statements. I recently used its search function to find examples of companies that prominently and publicly state something close to “people are our most important asset.” Here’s a partial list: Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Land O’ Lakes, Danaher, Archer Daniels Midland, Valero, Performance Food Group, Norfolk Southern, and Border’s Group. And here’s a group of companies that similarly value “empowerment:” Caremark, Sara Lee, Heinz, Dow Chemical, GE, and Alcoa.

  • A young 21st century socialist speaks out

    Why does a comfortably middle-class youth in Australia, such as myself, profess his political views to be socialist in orientation? Surely, many would think, for what reason would I advocate for such a radical position? It’s simple, really. Socialism is a political representation of my value system as it currently exists.

  • Vision: Research Shows People Are Often Selfless — Government Should Cultivate the Giving Instinct

    Most of our thinking about how to influence human behavior — how to get people to pay taxes, to obey laws, to not steal from each other — rests on the model of homo economicus.

  • Breastfeeding mom gets apology from clothing store

    Children’s clothing store Orchestra has apologized to a 36-year-old mother who was recently told to stop breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter at its Montreal location.

    In a letter dated Jan. 7, the president of the company’s Canadian arm, Jean-Claude Yana, apologizes for the actions of a “new” employee who told Shannon Smith and another nursing mother, “you can’t breastfeed in the store.” After protesting, Ms. Smith said she left feeling upset and uncomfortable.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Tombstone Politics

      If it turns out that a poisonous variant of free speech is partially to blame for the shootings in Tucson, we will most certainly be struck by the fact that Gabrielle Giffords was seen last week in Congress, reading part of the Constitution that allows an American citizen to say just about anything.

      But as Rep. Giffords herself also pointed out, in March when she was a target because of her vote on health care reform, free speech does have a cost.

      “We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list,” said Giffords. “Crosshairs of a gunsight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences.”

      Giffords had already felt a blunt edge of opponents’ rage — a window in her Tucson office was shattered after she voted to expand health care for other Americans.

    • #Anonymous: Here to help you with YOUR Revolution [not an endorsement, just for information]
    • Stand for freedom. Stand with Anonymous
    • ‘Political Radicalization in US Unworthy of a Democratic State’

      The shootings over the weekend of a US congresswoman and 19 others in Arizona prompts German commentators to urge the Americans to tone down the rhetoric and take a step back. Some say Europeans, too, could learn a lesson from the violence in Tucson.

    • ID cards were EVEN WORSE than we thought – and the Home Office hid the evidence

      In a story covered very well in a witty post by our friends over at TechEye, it has emerged that the Home Office hid the parlous state of its Identity Card Scheme from the public – it withheld publication of a report by the project’s oversight board in the run up to the 2010 general election (when, you’ll remember, some sort of card remained Labour policy).

      Disgracefully, the Home Office only slipped out the final report of the Independent Scheme Advisory Panel (ISAP) this week, more than a year after it was written, after the scheme had finally bitten the dust under the Coalition.

    • Royal car attack: Report suggests new policing approach

      Police should look beyond the available intelligence and take a broader view of potential threats, a report into an attack on a car carrying the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall has said.

    • When the Messiah comes, Israel will deport him

      When the Messiah comes, the first sign will be a gag order. A coded report on a high-profile news website will be made to disappear. It will reappear on a blog from Seattle, and then in The Guardian.

      The government will put off responding, eventually issuing a statement ascribed to sources in Jerusalem and reading “We have no knowledge of this.” The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit, quoting an unnamed senior military official, states that there is no evidence that a Messiah of any kind has come. It will later soften the denial, saying it is checking the report and directing reporters to the Defense Ministry, which turfs them to the Prime Minister’s Office, which cannot be reached for comment.

  • Cablegate

    • Operation Mahatma

      This has never happened before, never been heard before and never been told before. People across the oceans are complaining that they are consistently having a common dream. In their dreams they see an around 90 year’s old person who identifies himself as Mahatma Gandhi and ask the people to convey his message to President Barack Obama. He says that Barack Obama who calls himself a follower of Mahatma Gandhi needs to be told that his actions against whistleblowers specially in the case of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Wikileaks and participation in wars across the globe do not go along with the basic philosophy of truth, non-violence and freedom for which Mahatma Gandhi sacrificed his live. Mahatma also briefs people a message that he wants to be delivered to the President. When people argue how they would contact the President, he replies as “just pass the message, just pass the torch to the next deserving person and the torch would definitely reach where darkness exists”. Mahatma also said that he wanted the message to be delivered before January 30th (i.e. his death anniversary) People say they are disturbed by this consistent dream they are having and have decided to come together to serve this common cause. We have decided to pass the torch as fast as we can so that it reaches the destination as soon as possible. Mahatma also asked us to be non violent, democratic and peaceful in our endeavor.

    • Defending Manning and Assange

      I have no doubt at all, if I put out the same documents now, they would call me a terrorist, because that’s the bad thing now.

    • WikiLeaks Won’t Publish Bank Documents Immediately, Tribune Says

      Assange said he might base himself in Switzerland or Australia, and that WikiLeaks has been losing more than 600,000 Swiss francs ($622,000) a week since releasing a collection of diplomatic cables, the newspaper said. He also said he hasn’t made a request for political asylum in Switzerland, and declined to say if he would, according to the Tribune.

    • Capital’s war against WikiLeaks

      Can the leak phenonomen sustain the continued assault by the corporate sector to prevail in the first ever cyber-war?

    • Guardian Books to publish: WIKILEAKS: Inside Julian Assange’s war on secrecy

      Guardian Books today confirmed the publication next month of WIKILEAKS: Inside Julian Assange’s war on secrecy.

      With rights having already been sold in eight territories*, WIKILEAKS: Inside Julian Assange’s war on secrecy, is the first in-depth account of the WikiLeaks phenomenon. From the website’s launch in 2006, to the latest developments in this epoch-defining drama, it exposes the real story behind the headlines, a compelling and revelatory account that brings the reader right up to the present time.

      The authors, top Guardian journalists led by David Leigh, Investigations Editor, and Luke Harding, Moscow correspondent, have been at the heart of the Guardian’s coverage of the biggest leak of secret information in history. Working alongside the Guardian’s New York correspondent, Ed Pilkington, they have had unprecedented access to all the major players, from diplomats and politicians to the former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg and Julian Assange himself.

    • Swiss banker who helped WikiLeaks faces trial

      Elmer’s release of files from the Swiss-based bank Julius Baer’s offshore operations in the Cayman Islands prompted a U.S. judge to temporarily shut down WikiLeaks in 2008. The order was lifted following complaints from free speech groups and media organizations.

    • Uncomfortable Lessons from the Reaction to WikiLeaks, Huffington Post

      Amid the sound and fury of the reaction to WikiLeaks, something is missing. Whether hostile or supportive, politicians and commentators on all sides have managed to miss the real point. The contents of the leaked cables should demand a deep reflection on our foreign policy. That this has not happened tells a sorry story about our very democracy.

      On the right, and indeed center, the reaction has been hysteria. Politicians have lined up to decry the threat to US national security and even American lives, without offering a shred of evidence to confirm this claim.

    • Twitter’s Response to WikiLeaks Subpoena Should Be the Industry Standard

      Twitter introduced a new feature last month without telling anyone about it, and the rest of the tech world should take note and come up with their own version of it.

      Twitter beta-tested a spine.

    • WRT killjulianassange.com, killassange.com and godaddy

      [UPDATE 2011-01-11 11:44 CET: Seems the domain julianassangemustdie.com has been deleted by its owner. See Godaddy WHOIS entry]
      [UPDATE 2011-01-11 11:33 CET: Seems killjulianassange is down ATM. Could be simple change though.]
      [UPDATE: I send an updated mail with the doamin julianassangemustdie.com added and clarified some aspects. New version reproduced here, old version archived in this same post.

      I have just sent this mail to abuse@godaddy.com and urge you to do the same…

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Australian toxic waste export stopped just in time

      Greenpeace and a broad swath of civil society groups in Australia and Europe have successfully prevented solvents and explosives maker Orica from sailing tonnes of extremely harmful chemical waste from Australia to Denmark for incineration. In response to massive public pressure, the Danish Government announced on December 23, 2010 that they wouldn’t accept the shipment after all – just 24 hours before it was due to be loaded with the toxic waste in Australia.

    • Big fish, little appetite

      More sarcasm came over coffee in the form of a photograph splashed over many a frontpage the world over: the giant bluefin on a cart in Tokyo. The headlines said it was such a remarkable feat, a business coup at almost US$400,000 for a 342kg endangered bluefin tuna.

    • Peak Coal: the Olduvai perspective

      Peak Coal. Some folks have begun eagerly researching this topic and writing about its timing, now that talk of Peak Oil is all around. The different outlooks on how and when the peak will occur are disparate, ranging from next year to a time many decades in the future. This post tries to view this debate in a different, wider perspective, and deals with the following issues:

      * Applying the Hubbert Method to Coal;
      * Looking at Ultimate Reserves for Coal;
      * Coal and its place in the Olduvai picture;
      * Implications for stakeholders;

    • www.againstinternetsurveillance.org

      Thank you for visiting www.againstinternetsurveillance.org. I created this website because I value my own privacy and believe that every internet user in the world is entitled to their own privacy also. I am an American citizen and it is my opinion that the overwhelming majority of internet users are having their civil rights violated by private companies every day. On this website I have information that will A) broaden knowledge of internet surveillance that takes place each and every day, right under your noses, and B) help you, the internet user and citizen, browse the internet safely and effectively. Honestly, it really does not take a lot to accomplish both of these things and it is my hope that with this website I can spread the word and create a world of more informed citizens who are able to browse the internet safely and effectively.

  • Finance

    • Explaining the Fed – as a Cartoon
    • Obama Appoints Ultimate Wall Street Insiders to Top Posts … Again

      Obama is replacing his chief economic adviser – Larry Summers – with Gene Sperling.

      Sperling is currently a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and is now being appointed as Obama’s chief economic adviser. He’s been there before: Sperling will hold the exact same post he held under Bill Clinton – National Economic Adviser to Clinton and director of the National Economic Council.

      In that post, Sperling was principal negotiator with Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers in finalizing the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act Financial Modernization Bill which repealed Glass-Steagal.

    • Goldman’s Shady Facebook Deal

      Former Goldman Sachs managing director Nomi Prins says Goldman’s $500 million Facebook deal is every bit as risky for investors as the subprime debt deals that blew up the economy.

      Facebook and Goldman Sachs unleashed a tech investing mania this week compared far and wide with the euphoric 1990s dot-com run-up. By arranging a $500 million private investment, at a staggering $50 billion valuation, Goldman at once delayed a Facebook public offering (now expected in 2012), prompted a likely LinkedIn IPO, and thrilled its clients, who clamored for a piece of Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth.

    • South Africa’s entry into BRIC to reshape world economy

      After a year of hard work, South Africa has formally joined with the four major emerging powers that form the BRIC cooperation mechanism. South African media said it is an important milestone, signifying South Africa is becoming a major emerging economy in the world.

      The prime motivation for South Africa’s entry into BRIC — short for Brazil, Russia, India and China — is to create conditions for the country’s economic development. Before the outbreak of the international financial crisis, South Africa had experienced the fastest economic growth since 1994, with the economy growing at a rate of more than 5 percent for three consecutive years. But the financial crisis drastically slowed economic growth and pushed unemployment higher.

    • Why reducing employment rights won’t boost employment

      Today’s Telegraph reports that David Cameron hopes relaxed employment laws will help to boost the private sector and encourage firms to take on thousands of new workers.

      The theory appears to be that if it’s easier to sack and mistreat workers then employers will be more likely to create jobs.

      But, as last year’s comprehensive TUC research (undertaken by Landman Economics) showed, this assumption is false.

      Macro and micro evidence from across the globe shows that there is no significant relationship between employment levels and employment protection legislation and that countries with very different levels of regulation have equal levels of success in generating employment.

    • Pressure Mounts for Portugal Bailout

      Germany and France want to push Portugal to seek a bailout from the EU’s rescue fund in order to stop the debt crisis from spreading to countries like Spain and Belgium, according to reports from SPIEGEL and Reuters. Portugal on Sunday denied any such pressure, but the euro is falling on fears of contagion.

    • Wall Street Desperately Trying to Kill Law That Could Curb Obscene CEO Pay

      Now those lobbyists are pushing hard to undo their mistake — and progressives, led by AFL-CIO president Rich Trumka, are pushing back.

      The winner won’t be clear until later this year when the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal watchdog agency over Wall Street, releases the final regulations that will enforce the Dodd-Frank legislation.

    • Goldman Sachs Subprime Mortgage Meltdown and Financial Crisis

      Goldman Sachs Subprime Mortgage Meltdown and Financial Crisis The investigation, being conducted with the Securities and Exchange Commission, comes as Wall Street and major banks around the world are attracting scrutiny from regulators who are looking at transactions that occurred in the run-up to the subprime mortgage meltdown and financial crisis. The source said the investigation includes mortgage-bond deals, that it is in an early stage, and that it might not necessarily lead to criminal charges against all of the firms.

    • Is Goldman Sachs subversive?

      The last few months I’ve been busy trying to ignore the minutia of the daily media and look at the big picture. I was listening to this interview with 4 conservatives talking about how the economy works and questioning whether these politicians and policy makers are actually subversives (!).

      Imagine my surprise when our good friends Goldman Sachs is mentioned by Mike Norman who says that Goldman understands that “government deficits add to savings”(around 24 minutes into the interview).

    • Goldman Sachs to Fine-Tune Its Practices

      Goldman Sachs, after a nine-month review of its business practices, has concluded its operations need only a fine-tuning, not a complete overhaul.

      The Wall Street investment bank, which has been criticized for putting its own interests ahead of those of clients, plans to detail new rules on disclosure and financial reporting on Tuesday, as suggested by the study. The rules are aimed at bolstering internal controls, improving transparency and burnishing its reputation.

    • $2.6 Billion to Cover Bad Loans: It’s a Start

      BANK investors cheered the announcement last week that Bank of America would pay $2.6 billion to buy back mortgages it had improperly sold during the housing bubble to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the beleaguered mortgage finance giants. It seemed a sweet deal for the bank, whose Countrywide Home Loans unit had peddled tens of billions of dollars in risky loans to the taxpayer-owned companies.

    • Pentagon Must ‘Buy American,’ Barring Chinese Solar Panels

      The military authorization law signed by President Obama on Friday contains a little-noticed “Buy American” provision for the Defense Department purchases of solar panels — a provision that is likely to dismay Chinese officials as President Hu Jintao prepares to visit the United States next week.

    • 7 Public Pension Plans Challenge Foreclosure Processes

      A coalition of seven major public pension systems called on the boards of directors of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C), JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) to immediately undertake independent examinations of the banks’ mortgage and foreclosure practices.

      Led by New York City Comptroller John C. Liu on behalf of the five NYC Pension Funds, the coalition also includes the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, the Illinois State Board of Investment, the Illinois State Universities Retirement System, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the North Carolina Retirement Systems, and the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund.

    • Mortgage modifications daunting for homeowners

      Laverl “Nick” Nicholson used to look out of his kitchen window at the weeping willows that mark the burial place of two of his daughters. Then a debilitating car wreck left him unable to pay the $220,000 he owed on his northwestern Montana home.

      He tried for a year and a half to lower his mortgage payments through a loan modification, but the government-insured loan that he took out three years ago came with restrictions. The best the bank could offer him was a reduction of $124 per month, leaving Nicholson with a $1,585 payment that he still couldn’t afford.

    • Farewell Sheriff Volcker

      Earlier this week, I had a few choice comments in Colin Barr’s Fortune column about Volcker’s retirement…

    • Profits are Booming. Why Aren’t Jobs?

      To gaze upon the world of American corporations is to see a sunny place of terrific profits and princely bonuses. American businesses reported that third-quarter profits in 2010 rose at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion, the steepest annual surge since officials began tracking such matters 60 years ago. It was the seventh consecutive quarter in which corporate profits climbed.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Stop web blocking

      At the beginning of February 2011, the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament will hold its first crucial vote on whether mandatory EU-wide web blocking should be introduced – time is running out.

    • WebUpd8 Can Be Accessed From Turkey Again

      About a month ago, custom domain Blogger blogs have been blocked in Turkey by mandate of the Turkish Government and since WebUpd8 is hosted on Blogger, it couldn’t be accessed from Turkey.

    • Net Censorship Comes Before the EU Parliament

      Last Spring, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, presented a proposal for a directive to combat child exploitation. Unfortunately, this very important and sensitive matter is used to introduce dangerous provisions regarding Internet blocking, which could pave the way for a wider censorship of the Internet in Europe. The EU Parliament must absolutely reject this Trojan horse and uphold the fundamental rights of EU citizens.

    • Consumers “have to accept US snooping” on web services

      A lawyer has played down the significance of the Twitter data mining sparked by the US’s clampdown on WikiLeaks, saying that anyone using sites hosted in the United States had to accept that their data could be made available to authorities.

      The US security forces have come under fire after it emerged that officials had subpoenaed Twitter demanding it released information from five accounts in connection with its WikiLeaks probe – including the account details of an Icelandic MP and a Dutch computer programmer.

      The move has sparked outrage among civil liberty campaigners, and the Icelandic government has called for an explanation of the situation, but the basic concept of sovereign states accessing data hosted on their territory is well documented.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The Netflix Effect: Results From A Revealing Study in Canada

      Credit Suisse media analyst Spencer Wang and team just released the results of their video-streaming study dubbed “Project Canada,” conducted to assess the affect of broadband consumption based pricing (CBP) on Internet-delivered video from an “over-the-top” non-cable or telco service (e.g., Netflix). The U.S. does not have consumption-based pricing, in which you pay more as you use more, but it has been rolled out widely in Canada since 2008. The investment bank wanted to see what the affect of this pricing is on broadband usage and the TV bill. It tested Netflix Canada streaming service for one month over Rogers cable system.

    • Book piracy: Less DRM, more data

      As digital book publishing continues to expand at a rapid pace to meet reader demands, piracy rears its head at the forefront of many a discussion in publisher circles. Many publishers respond to the perceived threat with strict digital rights management (DRM) software. But is this the best solution? And does it even provide protection from piracy?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Record Labels To Pay For Copyright Infringement

        Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., EMI Music Canada Inc., Universal Music Canada Inc. and Warner Music Canada Co. have agreed to pay songwriters and music publishers $47.5 million in damages for copyright infringement and overdue royalties to settle a class action lawsuit. ‘The 2008 class action alleges that the record companies “exploited” music owners by reproducing and selling in excess of 300,000 song titles without securing licenses from the copyright owners and/or without paying the associated royalty payments. The record companies knowingly did so and kept a so-called “pending list” of unlicensed reproductions, setting aside $50 million for the issue, if it ever arose, court filings suggest.

      • Canadian Recording Industry To Pay $45 Million To Settle Class Action Over Copyright Infringement

        The four major record labels that comprise the Canadian Recording Industry Association – EMI Music Canada Inc., Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., Universal Music Canada Inc. and Warner Music Canada Co. – have agreed to pay $45 million to settle one of the largest copyright class action lawsuits in Canadian history. The settlement comes after years of fruitless efforts to get the industry to pay for works it used without permission.

      • EMI, Music Labels Rejected by High Court in Appeal of Song-Pricing Lawsuit

        The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the country’s four largest music labels, refusing to block a suit accusing them of conspiring to fix Internet song prices.

        Units of Sony Corp., Vivendi SA, Warner Music Group Corp. and EMI Group Ltd. argued unsuccessfully that the allegations in the consumer complaint aren’t sufficient to suggest the companies engaged in misconduct. A federal appeals court in New York said the allegations were enough for the case to go forward, and the Supreme Court today left that ruling intact.

        The suit centers on MusicNet and pressplay, two services the music companies started in 2001 to sell songs online. The complaint alleges the services charged unreasonably high rates – - a combined $240 per year in subscription fees — and imposed unwarranted restrictions, barring customers from transferring songs to iPods and other portable digital music players.

      • Corporate Copyright Scofflaws 0009 – Pending List Action Settled

        The largest copyright pirates are the large corporations, particularly in the content distribution business. Yes, those companies who scream the loudest that their customers are ‘pirating’ movies, songs, books, etc. In this series, we are going to look at cases where these companies have engaged in large scale copyright infringement, or in other ways have been ripping off artists.

      • More Music Sold Than Ever Before, Despite Piracy

        Last week the BPI released their overview of 2010 sales volumes in the UK. As always, their press release was filled with claims that piracy is ruining their industry and most mainstream media was quick to republish this propaganda. However, we can use the very same data to show that more music is being sold than ever before, and argue that piracy is likely to have had very little impact.

      • Supreme Court won’t review music download antitrust case

        The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a ruling that reinstated an antitrust lawsuit alleging major record labels conspired to fix prices and terms under which music would be sold over the Internet.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • TalkTalk told govt has no plans to scrap DEA

          The coalition is not looking to repeal the controversial act.

          The government has again said it has no plans to repeal the Digital Economy Act (DEA), despite complaints from BT and TalkTalk.

          These two broadband providers have been granted the right to a judicial review of the piece of legislation, with each insisting it infringes the basic rights and freedoms of internet users in the way it seeks to clamp down on illegal filesharing.

        • Spinners, scaremongers and songsters

          The maximalist lobby has now shifted its attention internationally. Pushing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was its global summer project, and the Open Rights Group’s latest FOI requests show the BPI pushing the new UK government to lobby the European Union on its behalf.

          The UK is still waiting to see what will be done with the Digital Economy Act. The Lib Dems have called for its repeal; BT and TalkTalk have won the right to a judicial review of the Act; Ofcom is struggling to ready a legitimate and fair ‘Initial Obligations Code’ through which the Digital Economy Act is expected to be enforced.

          This Act, as ever, remains infuriatingly unpredictable. Stay tuned.

Clip of the Day

gNewSense 2.3 deltah i386 GNU Libre version of Ubuntu Linux Review Tutorial

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 10/1/2011: Multi-touch on GNU/Linux, Linux 2.6.37 Already Built for Distros

Posted in News Roundup at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Buying a cheap laptop without Windows: Is it worth it?

    ‘The low-end laptop market in particular is so hard fought that manufacturers will grab for any dollars they can save,’ explains Elmar Geese, chairman of the Linux association in Berlin. In place of Windows, the laptops come either without an operating system or use a pre-installed variant of the typically no-cost alternative operating system Linux.

    For the user, that means a bit of extra work and acclimation. Simply installing Windows from the old computer is generally not an option. Most Windows installations are tied by license to the computer with which they were sold.

  • Multi-touch madness: Ubuntu table PC [Video]

    CES 2011 saw a veritable armoury of Ubuntu powered devices all ready to make a serious impact amongst competitors.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 184 – Thankruptcy

      In the first Linux Outlaws for 2011: Our listeners make it possible for Dan to fly to FOSDEM, the PS3 is resoundingly cracked, Google open sources Eclipse tools, Paul Allen sues the world again and Vladimir Putin orders Russia to adopt free software.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 2.6.37 Is Available for Download

      Eariler today, January 5th, none other than Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, proudly announced the release of Linux kernel 2.6.37.

      Among the new features includes in Linux kernel 2.6.37 we can mention support for PPP over the IPv4 protocol, lots of enhancements to various important file systems, such as EXT4, XFS and Btrfs, support for I/O throttling, Perf probe improvements, and a Ceph-based network block device.

    • Linux 2.6.37 Kernel Promises to Unlock OS
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Quarterly Report – GNOME Foundation

        First of all, the GNOME Foundation board of directors would like to express a huge thank you to all you volunteers who help to make the GNOME community possible. To all those who use the GNOME desktop and understand the value of free software on the desktop, it is you that makes the GNOME community both rich and rewarding. Thank you to our advisory board members and sponsors for providing much valued direction for the community.

      • How to make your favourite GTK+ theme ‘borderless’
  • Distributions

    • Five tips for choosing the right Linux distribution

      I have, on a number of occasions, stressed to new Linux users how crucial the right distribution is. Choosing the distribution that suits your needs is the single most important key to success when attempting to migrate from another operating system. But how do you know which one to choose out of the hundreds of variations? Believe it or not, there are some key questions to ask yourself when making this decision. It has been my goal for more than a decade to help prospective Linux users make the plunge with ease and success. Let’s see if I can do the same for you with these five tips.

    • The best Linux distros you’ve never heard of

      Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. Before this wisdom dawned on the Linux community, Red Hat, Debian and Slackware had spawned several dozen distros. Some died a single-release death, but a lot survived and a vibrant community grew around them.

      That, along with all the distros designed to meet specific needs, means there’s a lot of variety in the Linux world. While community is key to a good desktop distro, it also needs thorough documentation on wikis and blogs, and ample support.

    • What You Can Expect From a Linux Distribution

      There are some things that you can expect with a new installation of a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu or Fedora that you would not get with an OS such as Windows 7 or OS /X.

    • Linux Mint 9 LXDE: The Experiment Begins

      I got a call from one of my amateur radio associates who wanted help reinstalling the OS on his old Compaq desktop. I offered to download a distro for him to try. I only installed the first: Linux Mint 9 LXDE. And therein lies a (short) tale.

    • Skolelinux interview: Arnt Ove Gregersen

      Inspired by the round of interviews that Raphael Hertzog has started with people in the Debian project, I wanted to do the same with people in the Skolelinux project . The hope is that those who every day helps to promote free software in schools and develop a Linux distribution designed specifically for skolebruk may be better known and perhaps inspire many to contribute to the Skolelinux project.

      First is the newly elected leader of the association FRISK that organizes the development of the Skolelinux distribution.

    • One More Look at Pinguy – on Netbooks This Time

      I’ve had ten days or so to look at Pinguy now, so I want to write a sort of “wrap-up” for my own purposes at this time. I will not be using it as the default or preferred distribution on any of my systems, because there are a few too many things about it that I don’t care for. The biggest of those is the fact that it is heavily dependent on Mono, for the “docky” package and a few others. By the time I extract mono and the packages that depend on it, I’m left with something that is certainly no better than Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS or SimplyMEPIS. That is not to say that it isn’t a very good and very interesting distribution, and those who do not have moral or philosophical objections to Mono could very well find it extremely attractive. However, another area where I think it falls short is netbook support, so that is what I will examine here.

    • Reviews

      • Pardus 2011 RC, impressions from a common user

        Linux is commonly de-famed as an operating system for computer gurus and, in the Linux world, many people believe that the only user-friendly distribution that exists is named after African fauna. However, there is a very nice Linux distribution that, despite being relatively unknown (as it comes from Turkey), can spare users many a headache: Pardus 2011.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • January 2011 Issue of The PCLinuxOS Magazine Released

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the January 2011 issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editors Andrew Strick and Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved.

      • Drupal 7 is Officially Here!

        Drupal 7 will be the most user-friendly version of Drupal yet as a result of tremendous amounts of work overhauling the user interface to create a far more intuitive user experience. Among the goals of this redesign was to minimize the notorious Drupal learning curve and make Drupal site building more accessible to a larger number of people.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • F-ing around on the Web

          This discussion started when someone related a story where a person approached the storyteller and mistook a Fedora button on a backpack for a Facebook button. I thought it was fairly innocuous at the time — yeah, they’re both F’s, but still, you have to be kind of — oh, I don’t know — lacking some basic observational skills to confuse the two.

    • Debian Family

      • Is the Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” Release Upon Us?

        The long anticipated and oft delayed Debian Squeeze just might be ready for release. Last year those in the know predicted that Squeeze could be ready by Christmas 2010. Well, that time period recently passed, but eagle eye Sid users have just seen another clue that Debian developers might be preparing for release.

      • Mintifying Debian

        Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) has finally got a 64-bit version. And it’s pretty good, actually. In fact, that’s the distro I am going to recommend to GNU/Linux newbies from now on. It has all the advantages of Linux Mint Ubuntu Edition (LMUE) such as being simple and GUI-oriented and having most things working out of the box, but less bloated and with Debian’s superior stability (yes, even if it is based on the testing branch) and performance.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • When Real Phones are Objects of Change

        The real value of a mobile phone is not the shiny icons that comes with it, but it’s ability to transform lives, add value to the lives of the less fortunate. The following videos show when real phones, not expensive iPhones or Androids, but very low cost phones, help transform lives.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Install Kubuntu Mobile on the N900

          The N900 has a Texas Instruments OMAP3 microprocessor with an ARM Cortex-A8 core. Unlike all of the Nokia models which preceded it – 770, N800 and N810 – the N900 has full phone functionality (quad-band GSM and 3G UMTS/HSDPA). It is quite interesting therefore to get Ubuntu running on it. Be aware though that Kubuntu Mobile is *not* yet ready to replace Maemo on an N900. Unless of course you really know what you are doing or even better you really know what you are doing and want to help out – either upstream or with the actual distro itself. Our current target is to have Kubuntu Mobile fully working on the N900 in time for the 11.04 Natty release.

        • Nexus S + MeeGo

          So, looks like the Nexus S can run MeeGo too :o) have a custom kernel going and booted the OS from a rootfs image on the internal memory (didn’t have to flash!), but as you can see the display output is fscked (maybe due to the AMOLED?) and the touchscreen isn’t working either.

      • Android

        • Hands-on: Motorola’s Atrix Android phone leads secret double life as a netbook

          Motorola unveiled its new Android-based Atrix 4G smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week in Las Vegas. The device has extremely impressive hardware specifications and a strong feature set, but its most compelling characteristic is the ability to provide a desktop-like computing experience when it is docked in a unique netbook shell.

        • Android-based Headphones? What?

          We always joke about how Android can and will be used for any and every thing – who doesn’t want to look forward to rooting toasters and microwaves for whatever reason? This year more than ever, we’re seeing more of these whacky combinations. This time, Nox Audio has introduced an Android-based set of headphones – dubbed the Admiral Touch.

        • Dolphin Browser Mini V1.0 for Android Released Today!

          Back a week or so ago when you saw us running through the leaked Honeycomb Music player, you may have noticed a couple of aquatic sea creatures popping up on a list of possible options for searching for a music track: Dolphin Browser HD and Dolphin Browser Mini. Both of these apps are super fantastic web browsers, and today the mini version comes out of Beta for a full release. This lovely little lady is officially titled Dolphin Browser Mini V1.0, it’s free, and it’s available in Android Marketplace now!

        • Sony hopes for Smartphone success – A guess at Xperia

          The combination of the Android platform and the gaming catalogue of Sony seems like a good idea, but then consider the titles already available on Android and ask, is the average Android Smartphone user wanting a pull out keypad?

        • Asus spins Android 3.0 tablet, two convertibles

          Asus unveiled three Android based tablet devices running Android 3.0, due to ship this spring. The tablets include a Snapdragon-based, 7.1-inch “Eee Pad MeMo” tablet, and two 10.1-inch keyboard convertible tablets running on dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processors: the Eee Pad Slider, which offers a slide up design, and an Eee Pad Transformer with a fold-up, detachable design.

          The Asus (Asustech) tablet announcements were tipped last week via a leaked Asus video and other reports, but with minimal details. Specs are still pretty basic, but one stands out loud and clear: Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).

    • Sub-notebooks/OLPC

      • Marvell-powered OLPC XO 1.75 only draws two watts of power, finally charges via hand crank

        Other than the fresh ARM CPU, the new model is identical to the previous versions — it has an outdoor readable PixelQi display, Flash storage, a rubber keyboard, and runs Sugar OS.

      • Marvell Confirms OLPC Tablet For First Half Of 2012

        A spokesperson for Marvell Technologies has confirmed that the OLPC tablet, which is known as the XO-3, will be available in the first half of 2012.

        Speaking to ITProPortal.com, Reuben Caron said that the device would move away from the current VIA Nano processor architecture to adopt a Marvell system-on-chip, the Armada 610. Swapping the x86-based Nano to the Marvell ARM-based architecture, will cut power consumption to around 1W during use.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Dreaming of an Open-Source CES 2012

    To be sure, we did see plenty of Android innovations in the smartphone and tablet realms, in particular–more, in fact, than I’ve been able to keep track of. But Android is only partly open, of course, and–as it was recently noted–most Android tablet devices fail miserably at complying with the GNU Public License.

  • Is there still a place for the open source “maverick”…?

    Commercialisation in the open source space appears to be spreading downwards by virtue of the big vendors’ OSS interests at the moment doesn’t it? Yes Oracle is publicly pushing certain open initiatives (at the same time as it is severing others), yes Microsoft has been very vocal on open interoperability with the likes of Novell and others of late — but the weight of the “paid for services and management” element of open source has become more visible than ever during this past year.

  • We Love Open Source, We Believe that Work is About Way More Than Just Making Money

    Envato is a startup based out of Australia with people around the world and sites serving pages every second. We started in a living room in 2006 and have been steadily working to build our company into a world-class contender. Our background is creative, we love open source, we believe that work is about way more than just making money, and we’re totally committed to making products that are awesome!

    Our mission is to help people to earn and to learn, online. We operate marketplaces where hundreds of thousands of people buy and sell digital goods every day, and a network of educational blogs where millions learn creative skills.

  • 10 open source applications for Windows

    10 – Gimp

    Although it is obvious, no list of open source software would be complete without Gimp. The Gimp is an image editing tool that looks and works like Photoshop but doesn’t cost a cent. If you’re a professional graphic artist you probably already use Photoshop, but for the rest of us Gimp does more than enough to meet our daily image editing needs. Which is not to say it is underpowered. It’s not. If you take the time to learn all of Gimp you could be producing professional-quality graphics in no time.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox : The all new Mozilla Firefox beta 8 to top the browser league

        Firefox 4 beta rain continues full throttle. Only 1 week after 5th beta version Beta 6 released.

        Beta 6 did not have any extra changes apart from getting rid of few bugs that the previous beta release embraced. One of the most important of these bugs was the problem of crashing that windows users encountered.

        Majority of us thought that Mozilla would only bring out another beta release and then announce the final release. However now that Mozilla Firefox beta 8 is out that Firefox is going to guarantee its place at the high end of the browser league.

  • Education

    • School’s in for open source advocates

      An impression that schools and even tertiary institutions are not producing the software developers New Zealand needs has led Wellington open-source specialist Catalyst IT to pilot an “Academy”.

      This aims to give a limited number of school students a basic grounding in ICT and some experience of real program development.

      The Academy’s initial intake comprises 17 students from nine Wellington schools. They will spend the latter two weeks of January at Catalyst attending classroom-style workshops and applying what they have learnt to some real open-source projects.

      “We do place an emphasis on encouraging young women into IT careers, and we’re please to have eight female students participating,” says Catalyst director Mike O’Connor.

      The students will learn some of the basics of IT, including how to set up a development machine and how to participate in an open-source project. They will be working on some of Catalyst’s own projects, using an environment including PHP and MySQL on Linux – which Catalyst describes as “the sort of software that got Facebook off the ground.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • “Open” UK Rail Data: Media Coverage & Broken Appeals Process

        While my web app was completely free, contained no adverts, existed solely as a public service to commuters and was written carefully to follow NRE’s instructions on querying their service, National Rail Enquiries assert I was using the data illegally.

      • Canada ranks last in freedom of information: study

        A new study ranks Canada dead last in an international comparison of freedom-of-information laws — a hard fall after many years being judged a global model in openness.

        The study by a pair of British academics looked at the effectiveness of freedom-of-information laws in five parliamentary democracies: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Canada.

    • Open Access/Content

      • There is no such thing as an „open access commons“: Open Access is a rule

        Hence, the term „open access commons“ leads to confusion and misunderstandings, since it can easily be construed as an open-access common pool resource as described by Garrett Hardin who coined the famous metaphor of the Tragedy of the Commons („Imagine a pasture open to all…“). This metaphor is deeeeeply rooted in (neo-)classical political economics and in people’s minds. Despite it’s numerous analytical errors.

      • How Amsterdam was wired for open access fiber

        The city of Amsterdam has been involved for several years in building Citynet, a partnership between the city and two private investors to wire 40,000 Amsterdam buildings with fiber. And it’s not just fiber, it’s open access fiber—any ISP can sign up to use the infrastructure and deliver ultra-fast Internet access.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Dive into 2010

      My big accomplishment of 2010 was finishing the first edition of Dive Into HTML5 and working with O’Reilly to publish it on paper as HTML5: Up & Running (as well as several downloadable DRM-free formats). I also accomplished a few minor personal things, but in this post I’m going to focus on the book.


  • European Nationalisms: Forestalling an E.U. Central State?

    Ask a European if the E.U. government could ever consolidate power from the state governments and you would probably get a “nope (or nein, or non), we identity with our respective countries.” The problem is, such attachments can change. Europeans would do well to look at the first hundred or so years of the U.S. to get a sense of how the E.U., too, could change.

  • If you have lofty ambitions for your legacy, head for the attic

    The inescapable fact of life is that we die. Yea, even Facebookers: one estimate puts the number of US Facebook users who die annually at around 375,000. What happens to all those photographs and wall-posts and status updates? Will their authors have given their password to someone close to them? Or taken out an account with Entrustet, which will enable them to specify which of their digital assets will be preserved and which destroyed?

    Again, the answer is: probably not. Some people may not be all that bothered by the thought that no personal records of them will endure.

    But many of us would regard it as intolerable. Think of the pleasure we get from old family photographs or the delight that comes from clearing out an attic and finding boxes of love letters, school reports, our first exercise books and old appointment diaries. The contemporary versions of these personal documents are mostly stored either on obsolescent PC hard drives or on the servers of internet companies, protected by a password.

  • Digital Detox – Mother banned the net for 6 months…and sells a book.

    Setting aside my views on a journalist putting her family through a temporary ban of the internet and writing a book, I think this highlights perfectly the commonly held view that in someway the Internet is bad. The Internet is not bad, it’s some services/products that make it so. There is no “Digital Detox” since the Internet can be an excellent learning tool and a great social experience, it’s called responsible parenting and instead of banning something, maybe a better approach to parenting is to encourage ones children into other interests (both on and off-line) rather than letting them getting totally engrossed in an online world then taking it away.

  • Twitter isn’t the new Cronkite – it needs the new Cronkite(s)

    The conflicting reports upset many people, blaming Twitter/reporters/people sharing the news that they messed up. That, to me, wasn’t the case – news organizations were doing their best to get the story as straight as quickly as possible, and many on Twitter were also doing their best to constantly pass on the correct and most up-to-date information. In fact, if anything, it reminded me that news of John F. Kennedy’s assassination was handled in quite a similar fashion by Cronkite – trying to sort through all of the conflicting reports as an anxious world watched in the real-time of the day.

  • Facebook hype will fade

    At the very same moment, Facebook’s only real competitor –NewsCorps’ waning social networking site, MySpace — is shedding employees and expenses, most likely in hopes of a fire sale.

    But appearances can be deceiving. In fact, as I read the situation, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of Facebook. These aren’t the symptoms of a company that is winning, but one that is cashing out.

    Indeed, 11 years ago this week, when AOL announced its $350 billion merger with Time Warner, I was asked to write an OpEd for the New York Times explaining what the deal between old and new media companies really meant. I said that AOL was cashing in its over-valued dotcom stock in order to purchase a stake in a “real” media company with movie studios, theme parks and even cable. In short, the deal meant AOL knew their reign was over.

    The Times didn’t run the piece. Of course, the merger turned out to be a disaster: AOL’s revenue stream was reduced to a trickle as net users ventured out onto the Web directly.

    Likewise, Rupert Murdoch’s 2005 purchase of MySpace for $580 million coincided pretty much exactly with the website’s peak of popularity. People blamed corporate ownership for the social network’s demise, but the cycle had already begun.

  • Pearls Before Swine

    However, after listening to my two illustrations, my friend shook his head and said that I was going about it the wrong way. Using my numbers of 15 minutes a day lost for 1.25 billion people currently using desktops, it means that for a world economy it is like 39,062,500 people had died due to software bugs and poor service. “This”, he said sadly, “is about half the number of people that died in World War II, but unlike the number of World War II dead, this number keeps growing.”

  • Science

    • The supersize skyline: Why 2011 will be the year architecture takes a giant leap upwards

      Brute bigness will be a defining feature of architecture in 2011. The way large buildings occupy space, and even the way architecture will become the threshold to outer space (thanks to Norman Foster and Richard Branson) has put supersizing firmly on the menu.

      Last year, the hot news was that the vilified ex-banker Fred “the Shred” Goodwin was going to turn the Edinburgh-based practice RMJM into a Godzilla of world architecture. But now we learn that the equally hard to pronounce Aecom has acquired more than 30 practices and, with a jumbo-pack of 1,488 architects, has become the biggest practice in the world, after a mere 20 years in the business.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • PalinPAC Site Puts Cross-Hairs On Dems
    • Palin controversy after Giffords shooting

      The shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has prompted an outpouring of sympathy from politicians, including Sarah Palin.

      In the hours after the shooting Saturday, Palin issued a statement in which she expressed her “sincere condolences” to the family of Giffords and the other victims.

    • Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as “human shields”

      Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.

      From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

    • Privacy In The United States – Or The Total Lack Thereof

      Today we found out that the Department of Justice is conducting a secret investigation (you can download the document in PDF format here). One of the targets of that investigation is a member of the Icelandic Parliament, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, and the only reason she is aware that Twitter was served the subpoena, is that Twitter actually had the guts to argue the subpoena in court, and get permission from the judge to tell her about it!

    • G20 protesters demand Blair quit

      It’s been seven months since the surreal G20 weekend that saw nearly 1,000 citizens arrested, most of them unjustly, but answers and accountability seem to be nowhere in sight.

      And some Torontonians are now demanding the city’s top cop, who was at the helm of the debacle, do the honourable thing and resign.

      “Hey-hey, ho-ho, Bill Blair has got to go!” roared a throng of protesters in front of Toronto Police Headquarters Saturday afternoon.

    • Judge orders police, SIU to hand over Adam Nobody records

      A judge has ordered Toronto police and the special investigations unit to produce all records pertaining to two officers investigated in the alleged beating of G20 protester Adam Nobody.

      On Friday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Clark ordered the two organizations to hand over by Jan. 31 all their material, “however recorded, arising indirectly from the complaint by Adam Nobody” in which either Det.-Consts. Luke Watson or Todd Storey are mentioned.

    • John Burns’ “ministering angels” and “liberators”

      In this week’s New Yorker, Peter Maass — who was in Iraq covering the war at the time — examines the iconic, manufactured toppling of the Saddam statue in Baghdad’s Firdos Square, an event the American media relentlessly exploited in April, 2003, to propagandize citizens into believing that Iraqis were gleeful over the U.S. invasion and that the war was a smashing success. Acknowledging that the episode demonstrated that American troops had taken over the center of Baghdad, Maas nonetheless explains that “everything else the toppling was said to represent during repeated replays on television — victory for America, the end of the war, joy throughout Iraq — was a disservice to the truth.”

      Working jointly with ProPublica on this investigation, Maass describes the hidden, indispensable role the U.S. military played in that event — which has long been known — though he convincingly argues that the primary culprit in this propaganda effort was the Americans media. That is who did more than anyone to wildly distort this event. As usual, the Watchdog Press not only happily ingests and trumpets pro-government propaganda, but does so even more enthusiastically and uncritically than government spokespeople themselves.

    • Jo Yeates murder case: MP backs DNA testing

      Police have said they received new leads after questioning people at a number of locations around Bristol on Friday night, but have not yet indicated if they are considering a mass DNA screening.

    • Special Public Podcast: Intv w Rebecca Mansour

      Rebecca Mansour joins me for a 30-minute special podcast addressing the horror in Arizona today, and the obscene efforts by many of the left to politicize mass murder by a clearly deranged individual.

    • Philosophy of an alleged killer?

      Jared Lee Loughner has now been formally charged for the Saturday afternoon shooting in Tucson, AZ. Many tips are showing this may have been a premeditated event with clues leading up to it.

      In a series of disjointed thoughts, videos on a YouTube account registered to a Jared Lee Loughner of Tucson, AZ, take aim at the national government and refer to a “new currency.”

    • Israel demolishes historic hotel

      Bulldozers have demolished a hotel in east Jerusalem to make way for a new Israeli settlement, the latest in a wave of new buildings globally seen as an obstacle to the now stalled peace process.

      The Shepherd Hotel was razed by three Israeli bulldozers, early on Sunday, as part of a plan to build a new settlement of 20 units in the heart of the occupied city.

  • Cablegate

    • Iceland blasts US demand for lawmaker’s details in WikiLeaks probe

      Icelandic politicians have blasted US demands for Twitter to hand over a member of parliament’s account details. Birgitta Jonsdottir faces investigation as one of several people connected to the website WikiLeaks.

      Politicians in Iceland have hit out at a US request for Twitter to hand over details of a member of the country’s parliament because of her connections with WikiLeaks.

      A subpoena for parliamentary representative Birgitta Jonsdottir’s details was issued as part of an investigation involving several individuals associated with the whistle-blowing website.

    • Thoughts on the DOJ wikileaks/twitter court order

      4. Twitter. The bigger story here, IMHO, far more interesting than the government request for wikileaks related info, is the fact that Twitter has gone out of its way to fight for its users’ privacy. The company went to court, and was successful in asking the judge to unseal the order (something it is not required to do), and then promptly notified its users, so that they could seek to quash the order. Twitter could have quite easily complied with the order, and would have had zero legal liability for doing so. In fact, many other Internet companies routinely hand over their users’ data in response to government requests, and never take steps to either have the orders unsealed, or give their users notice and thus an opportunity to fight the order.

    • Wikileaks” MP: American Authorities are Desperate

      Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Member of Althingi for the Movement, says that the request for information about her from the web-service Twitter shows how desperate the American government has become by trying to dig up personal information on MPs in other countries. She says on pressan.is that she has received a thousand e-mails and dozens of phone calls.

    • Feds subpoena Twitter seeking info on ex-WikiLeaks volunteer

      Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is suspected of leaking the Army video to WikiLeaks earlier this year. In chats with former hacker Adrian Lamo, who turned him in to authorities, Manning indicated that he had first contacted WikiLeaks sometime in late November 2009. This corresponds with the time period mentioned in the government’s request for Jonsdottir’s tweet history.

      Jonsdottir was instrumental in getting the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative passed in Iceland’s parliament that supports creating legislation to make Iceland a legal haven for journalists and media outlets.

    • RE:Twitter Subpoena

      Society finds itself at a crossroads. In our increasingly connected world, many seem to think that our constitutional rights are fit for reevaluation. As was demonstrated by Jessica Yellin’s performance on CNN, even some journalists seem to think that is now a crime to publish confidential information, ignorant not only of the important role that documents such as the Pentagon Papers have had in shaping modern government, but also of the First Amendment.

    • Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Talks Palin Cross Hairs
    • Iceland summons US envoy over WikiLeaks probe

      The American ambassador to Reykjavik has been summoned to explain why U.S. investigators are trying to access the private details of an Icelandic lawmaker’s online activity as they try to build a criminal case against WikiLeaks.

    • US subpoenas Wikileaks tweets, and why this could affect you

      The order asks specifically for names of those attached to selected accounts, user and screen names, and any registered mailing or postal addresses. It also asks for email addresses, credit card details where possible, and even content relating to connected mobile phones.

    • WikiLeaks demands Google and Facebook unseal US subpoenas

      WikiLeaks has demanded that Google and Facebook reveal the contents of any US subpoenas they may have received after it emerged that a court in Virginia had ordered Twitter to secretly hand over details of accounts on the micro-blogging site by five figures associated with the group, including Julian Assange.

    • Iceland summons US envoy over demand for MP’s Twitter details
  • Finance

    • Rob Ford: Government is for the Wealthy

      Who needs sound public policy, when we can depend on the generosity and largesse of the elite? Who needs a social welfare system, when we have charitable giving from the wealthy? This attitude permeates virtually all elements of the Fords’ policy approach — whether then–mayoral candidate Ford’s offer to personally help buy street drugs for a sick constituent, his belief that an arts and culture plan can be replaced by selling tickets to galas, or the belief (articulated at a Latino-organized mayoral debate) that youth-oriented social programs could be replaced by football teams and cheerleading squads.

    • David Cameron warns RBS over bonuses

      Royal Bank of Scotland should not be “leading the way” when it came to bankers’ bonuses, the prime minister, David Cameron, said today.

      However, Cameron warned against “banker-bashing”, saying it was too easy to make banks the scapegoats for the recession.

      His comments came after it was reported that the RBS chief executive, Stephen Hester, will take home an estimated £6.8m in bonuses, salary and other payments this year.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Tunisia’s bitter cyberwar

      Anonymous has joined with Tunisian activists to call for end to the government’s stifling of online dissent.

    • Tunisia: “Please tell the world Kasserine is dying!”

      Tunisian netizens are working around the clock to show the rest of the world the ongoing carnage in their country. What started as a protest against unemployment when a 26-year-old Tunisian man set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid last month has ignited the country, sparking a wave of protests across it.

    • Timothy Leary on the Culture of Secrecy

      Secrecy is the original sin. The fig leaf in the Garden of Eden. The basic crime against love. The issue is fundamental. What a blessing that Watergate has been uncovered to teach us the primary lesson. The purpose of life is to receive, synthesize and transmit energy. Communication-fusion is the goal of life. Any star can tell you that. Communication is love. Secrecy, withholding the signal, hoarding, hiding, covering up the light is motivated by shame and fear, symptoms of the inability to love. Secrecy means that you think love is shameful and bad. Or that your nakedness is ugly. Or that you hide unloving, hostile feelings. Seeds of paranoia and distrust.

    • Obama wants Internet IDs for the masses

      The US Commerce Department is reportedly preparing to assume authority over a nascent cybsecurity initiative that would create a unique Internet ID for American citizens and residents.

      According to White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, the department is “the absolute perfect spot in the US government” to build an online “identity ecosystem.”

      However, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke insisted that the initiative would not result in the mandatory assignment of a national ID card.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright comes a cropper in the digital age

        Copyright law is subject to international variations. In Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan, the term of copyright runs for 50 years after the author’s death; in the Yemen it’s 30. In the UK, which has a fairly standard ruling (complicated occasionally by EU directives), copyright applies for 70 years from the death of the author. In America, the copyright term is also 70 years, but this only applies to works published since 1978.

        Even so, in the age of “free content”, not everyone accepts these norms. In California, there’s a radical movement that regards copyright law (of all kinds) as a grotesque – even sinister – restriction on the unfettered traffic of knowledge. Led by James Boyle, author of Shamans, Software and Spleens: Law and the Construction of the Information Society, the Free Culture Movement wants to toss copyright legislation into the dustbin of history.

      • Busting Out of Musical Lockdown

Clip of the Day

CBC Explains Usage Based Billing

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 9/1/2011: OLPC With ARM and Fedora on Two Watts, Mac Asay Claimed Disrespectful of Freedom

Posted in News Roundup at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • The GPL/LGPL App Store For Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, and Solaris

      What if someone ported a graphical version of Apt and/or Yum to the two proprietary operating systems, and used to it distribute GPL/LGPL applications? There would be certain costs involved, but by using the original projects repositories, the costs could be limited. This is the sort of project that the Free Software Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation would both have strong philosophical reasons to back. And there’s no reason that it couldn’t cover both Desktop and Server applications.

    • ‘MusicMe’ media player forced to change name, goes Tolkien

      The change, the result of a trademark dispute with a European company, led to the the developers turning their ears towards the linguistic worlds of Tolkien for some inspiration.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • GameTree Linux Is Trying To Be Its Own Steam-Like Platform

        This morning we reported on the soft announcement that TransGaming would be replacing Cedega with something known as GameTree Linux. Not much information was available at the time, just that it was built upon Cedega technology, would replace the subscription-based Cedega Gaming Service, and would be distributed as a free program. Now though a few more details have come to light.

        TransGaming hopes to rejuvenate itself by offering GameTree as a centralized game distribution/management platform for Linux PCs and like systems, including set-top and mobile devices. Basically it’s set to be similar to Valve’s Steam Content Delivery Platform or the new alternative, Desura. Steam is still coming to Linux with the Source Engine, which will immediately jump to the front, and Desura is also looking at possibly offering a Linux client too of its digital distribution system.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Party Time!

        It has been several months now since the previous set of major releases by KDE and it is time for some more! KDE’s Plasma workspaces and the KDE Platform will all reach version 4.6 on 26 January and many of KDE’s application teams will also be unveiling new versions of their software on that day.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Magic scheduler patch coming to your Natty desktop?

          The bad news is that it is currently default off, so unless Ubuntu changes that default this enhancement remains hands off for Natty users out of the box even if 2.6.38 makes it into Natty (PPA solutions likely to become available though).

        • Five ‘new’ screenlets for Ubuntu: Gmail, Clock and more

          Screenlets, the desktop widget framework for Linux, was once the apple of eye-candy fans everywhere. Sadly over the last few years a lack of development and direction has lead to the project falling out of favour with users.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Live from CES 2011: Pelagicore demonstratws Genivi Meego cross platform in-car solution

          Rob Wray, from mp3Car, speaks with Mikael Soderberg, from Pelagicore, to discuss two new vehicle hardware setups.

          First, the ARM processor of the Beagleboard C4 is paired with a daughterboard from Pelagicore to enable easy communication with systems in the vehicle including the MOST, CAN, & LIN protocols. AM/FM radio integration, Bluetooth and power management capabilities are also integrated.

    • Sub-notebooks/OLPC

      • OLPC on Two Watts

        Finally, OLPC has realized that ARM uses less power than x86… They are producing XO-1.75 that can be recharged with a couple of hours on the crank. Still, their price is about $165, too high for many of its target-users. I expect by next year they could be within the original $100 range. The next model, XO-3 should run for 1 watt.

      • XO-1.75 Laptop Innovation: OLPC Goes ARM and Touchscreen!

        Edward McNierney, chief technology officer of One Laptop Per Child showed off the XO-1.75 XO laptop at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to ComputerWorld. The XO-1.75 has two innovations:

        1. The XO-1.75 is the first OLPC laptop to use ARM chips, an 1GHz Armada 610 chip from Marvell Technology, reducing power consumption by half – to just 2-watts
        2. The XO-1.75 will have a 8.9-inch touchscreen, so children can use their fingers instead of a jumpy mouse or delicate keyboard to interact with the XO

      • Rise of ebooks threatening children’s traditional Google skills

        Academics are worried that the surge in popularity of ebook readers could lead to a catastrophic loss of children’s basic Google search skills. According to a report published today, a whole generation is becoming seduced by the convenience and reliability of ‘books’ available on their Kindles and iPads, meaning that many have only the vaguest understanding of the learning methods used by their parents.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Matt Asay Does Not Get Freedom

    According to Matt Asay setting the world Free amounts to “losing”. My pet market is the desktop. It may be a mature market but forever there will be a market for personal computing where individuals partake of creating, finding, modifying, storing and presenting information. Freedom in that market is important for billions of humans and their software and hardware. How is freeing that market losing? It is lazy business that insists on operating in a growing market only. Real businesses that work for a living can succeed in a mature market.

  • Apache to steward NASA-built middleware

    The Apache Software Foundation is extending its breadth of open-source software projects to include a package of data-management middleware developed by NASA.

    The Apache Object-Oriented Data Technology (OODT), first developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, is now an Apache Top Level Project, the organization announced Wednesday.

  • SaaS

    • Clouds and Freedom

      RMS warns that clouds (Software As A Service) can be non-free. SaaS can essentially subvert Free Software by exploiting Free Software but because software is not distributed, cloud services are exempt from freeing the modified source code. For example, Google, which uses and contributes a lot to Free Software, does not reveal its code for search, kernel tweaks etc. So, using Google’s services switches us to using what is essentially non-free software, all the modifications Google has made to Free Software but has not been forced to reveal by the GPL.

  • Business

  • Government

    • A Walled Wide Web for Nervous Autocrats

      At the end of 2010, the “open-source” software movement, whose activists tend to be fringe academics and ponytailed computer geeks, found an unusual ally: the Russian government. Vladimir Putin signed a 20-page executive order requiring all public institutions in Russia to replace proprietary software, developed by companies like Microsoft and Adobe, with free open-source alternatives by 2015.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • House.Resource.Org

      For the past 5 years, I’ve haunted the halls of the U.S. Congress with a geeky ask: broadcast-quality video from all congressional hearings should be posted on the Internet. I gave a tech talk at Google, drew up business plans (pdf) to start a new nonprofit, enlisted the help (pdf) of the Public Printer, and harassed my friends in the mainstream media and my friends working for the former Speaker (pdf).

      My motivation has been a deeply felt belief that one should not have to live inside the Washington, D.C. beltway in order to observe the proceedings of the U.S. Congress. No matter what our political beliefs, no matter how much we disagree on the issues, we must all agree that the business of the Congress is the business of the People. Today, that means that business must be conducted so that it is visible on the Internet.

    • Open Access/Content

      • PLoS ONE: now the world’s largest journal?

        This post explores data strongly suggesting that open access journal PLoS ONE is now the world’s largest journal. According to Pete Binfield (personal correspondence), in 2010 PLoS One published 6,749 articles. Based on listserv discussions in 2008, the world’s largest journals at that date were PHYS REV B (5782 articles) and APPL PHYS LETT (5449 articles). As of today, a search for 2010 articles at the APS website yields 6,206 articles. A search for 2010 articles for APPL PHYS LETT in IEEE’s xPLore service yields 4,381 articles.

    • Open Hardware


  • Why Inequality Matters

    The U.S. social and economic landscape is rapidly changing. Inequalities in wealth, which began an upward ascent back in the 1980s, accelerated in the 1990s. Now they are flying off the charts, thanks first to the tax cuts ushered in by Bush II and second to Obama’s recent continuation of those tax cuts, plus more, which have the effect of taking from the working class and poor in order to give to the rich.

  • The State of IPv6 in Canada

    Two weeks we published this article, in which we looked at the status of IPv6 deployment worldwide. We saw that by looking at the number of networks (Autonomous Systems) that announce both IPv4 and IPv6 prefixes, the global IPv6 deployment rate is around 8%.

  • The Web Is a Customer Service Medium
  • 5 Satirists Attacked by People Who Totally Missed the Point

    One editorial note before we begin: The Onion and South Park are not on this list. Both are fine practitioners of satire, but I couldn’t find an example from them that fit neatly into our theme. After all, morons who actually believe Onion stories to be true usually just get outraged by the events rather than hating the paper. South Park has certainly pissed people off, but those who were angered were typically the people being satirized. When South Park satirized Islamic militants for threatening death at the depiction of Allah, and then received death threats from Islamic militants, no one missed the point.

    These following satirists, however, were confronted by those who simply didn’t get it.

  • Science

    • Study reveals secret ingredient in religion makes people happier

      An article published early this month in American Sociological Review confirms what many in the religious community have known for some time: participation in religious organizations may lead to a more satisfying life.

      Active church-goers report they are more satisfied with their lives than those who do not regularly visit churches.

      This sense of satisfaction comes more from the interactions that church-goers share than the actual theological activities and discussions that occur at churches, the article says.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Repeal health care? Give up your own first!

      For 2 years, GOP leaders in Congress fought tooth and nail to oppose health care reform. They did their best to keep tens of millions without coverage, decrying any effort to help citizens as “socialist,” “fascist” or some other equally baffling “ist.”

      And incredibly, now that they are the majority, their first act will be to vote to repeal health care reform that gives affordable care to 32 million Americans.

    • Fluoride levels in water too high, U.S. agency says

      Fluoride in drinking water — credited with dramatically cutting cavities and tooth decay — may now be too much of a good thing. Getting too much of it causes spots on some kids’ teeth.

      A reported increase in the spotting problem is one reason the federal government will announce Friday it plans to lower the recommended levels for fluoride in water supplies — the first such change in nearly 50 years.

  • Security

    • Mobile security outrage: private details accessible on net

      THE personal details of millions of Vodafone customers, including their names, home addresses, driver’s licence numbers and credit card details, have been publicly available on the internet in what is being described as an ”unbelievable” lapse in security by the mobile phone giant.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • OAS Diplomat’s Words Rattle Haiti’s Occupation Regime

      As the one-year anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake approaches, a brutally frank account of the plight of its people has been delivered by a highly placed diplomat. Ricardo Seitenfus, the representative to Haiti of the Organization of American States, delivered a hard-hitting assessment of the foreign role in that country in an interview published in the December 20 edition of the Swiss daily Le Temps. i

      The interview also appeared in the right-wing, Haitian daily, Le Nouvelliste. For his words, he was immediately recalled from his posting.

    • Knesset approves investigation of Israeli human rights groups

      Commission of inquiry into groups monitoring activities of the Israeli military in occupied West Bank denounced as ‘McCarthyite’

    • Bil’in protester dies after inhaling tear gas

      A Palestinian woman died Saturday morning after suffering intense tear-gas inhalation during an anti-wall rally in Bil’in on Friday, medics said.

    • Soldiers raid house of Beit Ummar popular committee member

      Soldiers from the Karmei Tzur settlement/military base invaded a civilian house this afternoon in Beit Ummar using live ammunition and sound bombs. During the raid, woman and children were injured as the soldiers harassed one of the Popular Committee leaders of the village.

    • Israel-bound submarines banned from testing in Norway’s waters

      Israel-bound submarines will no longer be allowed to undergo tests in Norwegian territory, as part of the country’s ban on security exports to Israel, Norway has informed a German shipbuilder.

    • Shin Bet grills Haaretz reporter Uri Blau over leaked IDF papers

      Blau returns to Israel from London this week after signing an agreement with judicial authorities committing him to present himself for questioning.

    • Florida Professor Arrested for Having a “Suspicious” Bagel on a Plane

      A Florida professor was arrested and removed from a plane Monday after his fellow passengers alerted crew members they thought he had a suspicious package in the overhead compartment.

      That “suspicious package” turned out to be keys, a bagel with cream cheese and a hat.

      Ognjen Milatovic, 35, was flying from Boston to Washington D.C. on US Airways when he was escorted off the plane for disorderly conduct following the incident.

    • Habib to sue US and Egypt over torture case

      FORMER Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib will use the money received from an out-of-court settlement with the federal government to start an international lawsuit against the US and Egyptian governments.

      Mr Habib, who reached an agreement last month in which he received a secret sum in exchange for absolving the government of liability in his torture case, says he has fresh evidence, including film footage.

    • Politics of Fear

      Put things into perspective. In the 1970s, hardly a day went by in Britain without the threat of bombing campaigns by the Provisional IRA. Reacting to the 7 February 1991 Downing Street IRA attack, British Prime Minister John Major said coolly, “I think we had better start again, somewhere else.” Somehow Britain survived without the paranoia and fear characteristic of our time. Today, the extensive security apparatus in place cannot even tolerate a joke sent over Twitter. Paul Chambers was arrested for the tweet: ‘Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!’, which was deemed to constitute a bomb threat to Doncaster Sheffield’s airport in the UK.

    • U.S. teenager tortured in Kuwait and barred re-entry into the U.S.

      Gulet Mohamed is an 18-year-old American citizen whose family is Somalian. His parents moved with him to the U.S. when he was 2 or 3 years old, and he has lived in the U.S. ever since. In March, 2009, he went to study Arabic and Islam in Yemen (in Sana’a, the nation’s capital), and, after several weeks, left (at his mother’s urging) and went to visit his mother’s family in Somalia, staying with his uncle there for several months. Roughly one year ago, he left Somalia and traveled to Kuwait to stay with other family members who live there. Like many teenagers who reach early adulthood, he was motivated in his travels by a desire to see the world, to study, and to get to know his family’s ancestral homeland and his faraway relatives.

    • Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot in Arizona, was on Palin’s infamous “target” map (Updated)

      Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was among the estimated 15 or more victims of a shooting outside a Safeway store in Tucson, Arizona within the past hour. So far, 15 are reported wounded, 6 dead. Details are still coming in, but what has been reported so far: she was “shot point blank in the head,” the assailant(s) fired some 15 or more shots into the crowd, and this took place at a “town hall” sort of event during where Giffords was speaking to her constituents. One shooter is reported to be alive and in custody.

    • Giffords Opponent, Jesse Kelly, Held June Event to “Shoot a Fully Automatic M16″ to “Get on Target” and “Remove Gabrielle Giffords”
    • Judge John Roll Dead: Killed In Arizona Shooting

      Arizona Central talked to Gonzales in 2009 after Roll allowed a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit to proceed against a local rancher. The case was filed by illegal immigrants and drew the ire of local talk radio hosts, who “spurred audiences into making threats.”

  • Cablegate

    • Bradley Manning, Solitary Confinement and Selective Outrage

      A few of the writers who champion Manning have, to be fair, mentioned in passing the widespread use of solitary confinement in the United States. A very few have gone further: One powerful piece by Lynn Parramore on New Deal 2.0, for example, uses the Manning case as an opportunity to document and denounce the brutal realities of solitary confinement. She urges readers to “remember the thousands of people being tortured in American prisons, including Bradley Manning, and let us send our own message back to our government: We are Americans…Most assuredly, we will not accept torture in our name. Not of the accused. Not of the mentally ill. Not even of convicted criminals.”

    • Icelandic MP fights US demand for her Twitter account details

      A member of parliament in Iceland who is also a former WikiLeaks volunteer says the US justice department has ordered Twitter to hand over her private messages.

      Birgitta Jonsdottir, an MP for the Movement in Iceland, said last night on Twitter that the “USA government wants to know about all my tweets and more since november 1st 2009. Do they realize I am a member of parliament in Iceland?”

    • The Best of Cablegate: Instances Where Public Discourse Benefited from the Leaks

      Since late November, the whistleblower website Wikileaks has been in the process of releasing in waves over 250,000 leaked United States diplomatic cables. Known as “Cablegate,” this is the largest publication of confidential documents by any organization. (Catch up on Wikileaks developments by reviewing EFF’s page on this issue).

    • Icelandic MP fights US demand for her Twitter account details

      A member of parliament in Iceland who is also a former WikiLeaks volunteer says the US justice department has ordered Twitter to hand over her private messages.

      Birgitta Jonsdottir, an MP for the Movement in Iceland, said last night on Twitter that the “USA government wants to know about all my tweets and more since november 1st 2009. Do they realize I am a member of parliament in Iceland?”

      She said she was starting a legal fight to stop the US getting hold of her messages, after being told by Twitter that a subpoena had been issued. She wrote: “department of justice are requesting twitter to provide the info – I got 10 days to stop it via legal process before twitter hands it over.”

    • DOJ subpoenas Twitter records of several WikiLeaks volunteers

      Last night, Birgitta Jónsdóttir — a former WikiLeaks volunteer and current member of the Icelandic Parliament — announced (on Twitter) that she had been notified by Twitter that the DOJ had served a Subpoena demanding information “about all my tweets and more since November 1st 2009.” Several news outlets, including The Guardian, wrote about Jónsdóttir’s announcement.

      What hasn’t been reported is that the Subpoena served on Twitter — which is actually an Order from a federal court that the DOJ requested — seeks the same information for numerous other individuals currently or formerly associated with WikiLeaks, including Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrijp, and Julian Assange. It also seeks the same information for Bradley Manning and for WikiLeaks’ Twitter account.

    • DOJ sends order to Twitter for Wikileaks-related account info

      The U.S. Justice Department has obtained a court order directing Twitter to turn over information about the accounts of activists with ties to Wikileaks, including an Icelandic politician, a legendary Dutch hacker, and a U.S. computer programmer.

      Birgitta Jónsdóttir, one of 63 members of Iceland’s national parliament, said this afternoon that Twitter notified her of the order’s existence and told her she has 10 days to oppose the request for information about activity on her account since November 1, 2009.

    • US DOJ subpoenas my twitter account info

      It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling to know that somewhere, far away, people are thinking about you. Last night I received this rather interesting e-mail from twitter…

    • Twitter Informs Users Of DOJ WikiLeaks Court Order, Didn’t Have To

      The US Department of Justice has served Twitter with a 2703(d) court order to reveal information about accounts related to people associated with WikiLeaks.

    • Julian Assange hires PR team

      He’s appointed London public relations firm Borkowski, owned by master publicist Mark Borkowski – which has a four-member team dealing with media enquiries about him – and an online weekly media conference to deliver messages from him and WikiLeaks.

    • WikiLeaks demands Google and Facebook unseal US subpoenas

      WikiLeaks has demanded that Google and Facebook reveal the contents of any US subpoenas they may have received after it emerged that a court in Virginia had ordered Twitter to secretly hand over details of accounts on the micro-blogging site by five figures associated with the group, including Julian Assange.

      Amid strong evidence that a US grand jury has begun a wide-ranging trawl for details of what networks and accounts WikiLeaks used to communicate with Bradley Manning, the US serviceman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of sensitive government cables, some of those named in the subpoena said they would fight disclosure.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Bees in freefall as study shows sharp US decline

      The abundance of four common species of bumblebee in the US has dropped by 96% in just the past few decades, according to the most comprehensive national census of the insects. Scientists said the alarming decline, which could have devastating implications for the pollination of both wild and farmed plants, was likely to be a result of disease and low genetic diversity in bee populations.

    • Forest of Dean protesters fight big woodland selloff

      There’s been nothing quite like it in the ancient Forest of Dean since the last time a Conservative government tried to privatise Britain’s largest oak forest.

    • India’s hidden climate change catastrophe

      Naryamaswamy Naik went to the cupboard and took out a tin of pesticide. Then he stood before his wife and children and drank it. “I don’t know how much he had borrowed. I asked him, but he wouldn’t say,” Sugali Nagamma said, her tiny grandson playing at her feet. “I’d tell him: don’t worry, we can sell the salt from our table.”

      Ms Nagamma, 41, showed us a picture of her husband – good-looking with an Elvis-style hairdo – on the day they married a quarter of a century ago. “He’d been unhappy for a month, but that day he was in a heavy depression. I tried to take the tin away from him but I couldn’t. He died in front of us. The head of the family died in front of his wife and children – can you imagine?”

    • Sustainable fish customers ‘duped’ by Marine Stewardship Council

      The body which certifies that fish have been caught sustainably has been accused of “duping” consumers by giving its eco-label to fisheries where stocks are tumbling.

      The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) manages the labelling system that tells consumers which species of fish they can buy safe in the knowledge they aren’t destroying stocks.

    • Huge bluefin tuna fetches record price in Tokyo, but whale is left on the shelf

      At a market in central Tokyo this week, a bluefin tuna the size of five Japanese men fetched £250,000 at auction. It was partly a show of New Year ostentation but proof, too, that Japan has not lost its appetite for an endangered species.

      Whales, however, are no longer so popular. At refrigerated stores across the country, thousands of tonnes of whalemeat lies unsold.

    • Scientists say dolphins should be treated as ‘non-human persons’

      Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.

      Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence.

  • Finance

    • A Profound and Jarring Disconnect

      According to the latest poll conducted by CBS “60 Minutes” and the magazine Vanity Fair, 61 percent of Americans want to raise taxes on the wealthy as the primary way to cut the budget. The same poll finds that the second most popular first choice for cutting the nation’s budget deficit, at 20 percent, is cutting the military budget. That is, 81 percent of us–four out of five–would cut the deficit by taxing the rich and/or slashing military spending.

    • World food prices enter ‘danger territory’ to reach record high

      Soaring prices of sugar, grain and oilseed drove world food prices to a record in December, surpassing the levels of 2008 when the cost of food sparked riots around the world, and prompting warnings of prices being in “danger territory”.

      An index compiled monthly by the United Nations surpassed its previous monthly high – June 2008 – in December to reach the highest level since records began in 1990. Published by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the index tracks the prices of a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, and has risen for six consecutive months.

    • Hungary’s new media law puts EU presidency in doubt

      Hungary is due to assum the six-month rotating presidency of the EU on Jan 1, the same day that the government plans to reintroduce state censorship for all media.

      But several European nations have voiced concerns over the sweeping new laws, taking the unusual step of publicly criticising a fellow EU member.

    • Bank charges 200,000 customers twice

      Hundreds of thousands of people may have been charged twice by taxpayer-backed Lloyds TSB for items they bought with their credit and debit cards on Hogmanay, it has emerged.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Amazon withdraws ebook explaining how to manipulate its sales rankings

      The author of an ebook that gives details on how easily Amazon’s bestseller rankings can be manipulated has accused the online retail giant of “hypocrisy” after the title was temporarily removed from the website over the new year.

      In The Day the Kindle Died, Thomas Hertog claims it is possible to get your own book to the number one bestseller spot in its category on Amazon simply by posting fake reviews, voting on them favourably and downloading copies of the Kindle ebook yourself.

    • A pharisee on the Hungarian Presidency

      Everyone is fast to make judgements about Hungary although no translation of the Hungarian law was available, just the angry curses of Hungarian civil society groups and the laughter of rapper Ice-T, the first “victim” of their “illiberal” media regulation

    • Three Baha’is, jailed for humanitarian work, begin fourth year in detention

      Despite compelling evidence that they never committed a crime, three Iranian Baha’is today begin their fourth year in captivity.

    • Arm Release 1.4.1

      Hi all. A new release of arm is available, including enhancements targeted at performance and cross platform compatibility.

    • Free Binayak Sen Campaign Appeal for food materials to feed the Homeless

      The month-long initiative is meant to help homeless citizens of Delhi to tide over the coldest part of the winter with additional nutrition. Many homeless people die every year in Delhi and other parts of northern India due to severe malnutrition during winter months.

      The initiative is part of a larger campaign calling for the immediate release of Dr Sen, who has was unjustly sentenced on 24 December 2010 by a local court in Chhattisgarh to life imprisonment for ‘sedition’ and ‘conspiracy’.

    • Classifying The Unclassifiable: R18+ And The Bigger Picture

      “It has become increasingly clear,” claimed Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor, in a statement released last month, “that the system of classification in Australia needs to be modernised so it is able to accommodate developments in technology now and in the future.”

    • Hungary’s new media law shows contempt for democracy, the separation of powers and core European ideals

      “Europe whole and free” owes a great debt to the decision by a courageous Hungarian government to open its frontiers to Austria in the summer of 1989, allowing thousands of East German refugees to escape. Twenty-one years later, and just as it takes over the rotating European presidency, Hungary is a frontrunner once more. The difference is that this time it appears determined to reverse its course. And the risk is that it might take Europe with it.

      Normally, the six-month EU presidency is a staid and low-key affair, all the more since the creation of a full-time European President and a foreign-policy czar by the Lisbon Treaty just over a year ago. Few Europeans even noticed that Belgium, Hungary’s predecessor, didn’t have a government for the duration of its tenure. But that is clearly too tame for the pugnacious government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Budapest chose to open the year with a display of political fireworks, featuring two showstopping zingers: a set of new laws restraining the media, and a “crisis tax” on investors.

    • UK Library: Cryptome Blocked for “Criminal Activity”

      We are sorry for any inconvenience caused. Webpages may contain pornographic, racist, violent or unlawful material. However, this may not be the case. Some file types are also blocked in order to protect users of the network. Please check that you are not breaking this agreement, as your internet session may be cancelled. If you are trying to view or access unlawful material, sites or images, it may be reported to the police.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Biggest Ever BitTorrent Piracy Settlement is Intriguing

        After being tracked as the original uploader of at least six pornographic movies to various torrent sites, an East Coast man found himself in the middle of a lawsuit last month. Then, just four days later, it was all over. Without putting up any kind of a fight he agreed to pay a record settlement of $250,000. Unusual? You bet. But the devil, as they say, is in the detail.

      • Soundcities Lets You Remix the World

        The British painter and video artist “Stanza,” has spent a couple of decades traveling around the world. Every place he’d stop, he’d grab audio tape (then digital recordings) of the sounds of that place. In 2000, he started posting sound-maps online and in 2004 he made the database available. Now, Soundcities is an extensive, open-source sound and mapping site that users can freely take from and contribute to. There are even on-site mixing decks to allow anyone with a computer to remix the world.

      • RIAA Admits P2P Not Solely to Blame for Decreased Music Sales

        Says that “comparing sales numbers only reveals part of the story,” and notes that in 2010 the music market “saw enormous growth” in online streaming music services like Vevo and Pandora where music fans don’t make any music purchases at all.

        The music industry has long made it seem that P2P is solely to blame for the overall decline in legal music purchases, but by its own recent admission this isn’t true, there are many more reasons why revenues are still in decline.

      • Breaking: Multiple Activists and Members of the Pirate Party Arrested

        ZeroPaid has just learned that multiple web activists and members of the Pirate Party have been arrested in the midst of free speech protests in Tunisia recently. The arrests come as the war over free speech heating up in the country.

        In the midst of the Tunisian government crackdown on online dissent, multiple members of the Pirate Party, along with free speech activists within the country, have been arrested. Al Jazeera recently profiled the online wars detailing some activists being hit with phishing sites, hacking and government censorship.

Clip of the Day

OLPC XO-1.75, ARM Marvell Armada 610 version of the XO Laptop!

Credit: TinyOgg

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