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Links 10/12/2010: Mandriva Wallpaper Contest, Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) Near $50.00

Posted in News Roundup at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Geeks.com Gives Full Refund When New Ubuntu Distribution Breaks Netbook

      Adam ordered an older netbook from geeks.com. When it arrived, the wireless Internet didn’t work, so he upgraded the version of Ubuntu Linux from 8.04 to 10.04. This just broke almost everything else on the computer. He returned the netbook to geeks.com, but didn’t expect them to offer a full refund of the purchase price and shipping — which goes against the stated return policy.

      A few weeks ago I bought a netbook laptop as a special from geeks.com. It was $199.95 plus $9.95 shipping — total of $209.50. It was an off brand and an older model, but would suit my needs…if it worked. It came installed with Ubuntu linux 8.04, a version that was two years out of date.

    • 20% CAGR for GNU/Linux

      W3Schools.com has released their Browser OS shares for November. GNU/Linux is at 5% starting from 2.6% in November 2003. That is 13.3% CAGR in share over 7 years. In those years the number of PCs has increased 7% per annum (10% CAGR of shipments – 3% deaths) so the number of PCs received/installed of GNU/Linux has increased 20% per annum.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 2 Episode 23

      In this episode: The KDE team rebrands KOffice into the Calligra Suite. OpenSUSE unveils a rolling release version of its distribution and Google’s Chrome OS has been delayed until next year. This time, we remember our discoveries, and ask whether next year might really be the year of Linux on the desktop. Also, would you like to be part of the team?

    • Chrome OS – All the Advantages of Thin Clients and No Need for a Server

      Thin clients have many advantages. One barrier to adoption has been that one needs special knowledge to set up a server to run them. Even with the availability of GNU/Linux installers that create a server, one needs to know stuff about networking or configuration to change or add things to the system.


      * Skolelinux
      * Ubuntu, from the “alternate” CD
      * Debian GNU/Linux, using the package manager, APT
      * EdUbuntu

  • Google

    • Google announces first Chrome OS notebook, beta testing program

      Google announced more details about its web-centric Chrome OS operating system, including a new 12.1-inch “Cr-48″ reference notebook that will be provided to beta testers. The first commercial Chrome OS notebooks will ship in mid-2011 from Acer and Samsung, and will be available with free cellular connectivity provided by Verizon, the company added.

    • The Five Best Chrome Webapps That Aren’t Just Bookmarks

      To be honest, there’s a lot in the Chrome web store that is underwhelming; many apps are essentially links to popular webapps. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it does still provide a place for you to search out and find good webapps for what you need, and many of today’s webapps are pretty fantastic thanks to new technologies like HTML5. Once you find them, however, you’re left with something pretty similar to a custom start page from the likes of myfav.es—or just Chrome’s new tab page, but more customized. If you’re looking for the Chrome web store to provide something that isn’t already in your bookmarks bar, these five apps are sure to impress.

    • Chrome 8 shines

      Also built into Chrome 8 is support for the forthcoming Chome Web Apps store. The store, which is still to be launched, will allow users to download paid-for and free applications for the Chrome browser.

      Synchronisation has been improved as well and all settings can be accessed from the Google Dashboard, with links to the Google Dashboard provided in the Chrome browser’s Options dialogue box.

      Performance wise, Google says that Chrome 8 should perform two to three times faster on most platforms than the version 7 release.

    • Chrome’s new “Crankshaft” optimises JavaScript at runtime

      Optimisation only makes sense if the code in question is used a lot – this seems to be the philosophy followed by the compilers of the latest incarnation of Google’s free V8 JavaScript Engine. The new “Crankshaft” compilation infrastructure for V8 uses runtime information to see which parts of the code would benefit the most from optimisation. The developers say that the technique is mainly useful in large JavaScript programs; short scripts, such as those used by the SunSpider benchmark, do not benefit much.

    • Useful extensions for Google chrome | Week49
    • I signed up to be a beta tester of the new Google Chrome notebook

      I signed up to be a beta tester of the new Google Chrome notebook

    • Chrome OS Notebooks Will Be Windows-proof

      The Chrome OS Notebook appears to be a rather basic system that’s almost the perfect definition of a netbook. Like the early netbooks, the Cr-48 runs a non-Windows operating system and its primary purpose is to run a browser.

      While Chrome OS aims to make things quite a bit more user-friendly compared to the early day 7-inch netbooks, there is always going to be the case where a user will ask where the start button is to find solitaire.

    • Google Shows Off Android ‘Honeycomb’ Tablet

      Google Mobile Platform vice president Andy Rubin literally arrived with a bag full of tricks at the D: Get Into Mobile Conference, showing publicly for the very first time an Android “Honeycomb” tablet.

      The roughly 10-inch Motorola device was sleek, black, thin, and sported an Android interface unlike any we’ve seen before. There was a very clean homepage, but the app page looked almost Apple iPad-like. Plus, when Rubin brought up the Gmail app, it looked almost exactly like Gmail on the iPad.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • [Neary:] Curing “Shy Developer Syndrome”

        It is one thing to have engineers answer questions when they have the knowledge to do so. It is another thing to have them submit their plans and patches to a community forum and have them exposed under the harsh light of peer review.

        On more than one occasion, I have heard a hiring manager say that he didn’t have time to have a developer go through peer review of specs or patches – after all, he was hired because he was competent to do the job, and what are we paying him for if he’s going to be second-guessed by “the community”? After a first job or internship, peer review is more an exception than the rule for professional software developers (regrettably, I might add).

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon to Bring Christmas Surprise

      The holidays are upon us and many are running around trying to get loved ones shiny boxes to open Christmas morning. Oftentimes, Linux users get a cute plush penguin or a cool book. But sometimes surprises come from the most unexpected places.

      This is what will happen this year, only now it’s no longer a surprise. Despite being guilty of letting the cat out of the bag, Sabayon is planning a Christmastime Gaming Edition release. Fabio Erculiani, Sabayon founder and lead developer, said, “We can show the world that Linux is a valuable, performant Gaming platform.” This is sure to include a long menu of popular games native for Linux and demonstration versions for several commercial offerings.


      So, be sure to hit the hay early Christmas Eve so Santa can leave your shiny new Gaming Edition under your keyboard.

    • Linux New Media Awards 2011: Readers Choose Your Favorite Linux Distribution

      Readers are asked to decide who deserves to win the 2011 Linux New Media Award for Favorite Linux Distribution.

    • Reviews

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Enter Mandriva’s Wallpaper Contest

        As with previous version, Mandriva is holding a contest to bulk up its wallpaper choices in the upcoming release, Mandriva 2010.2. This is the second update to 2010 Spring due out around Christmas. This time though, you get to vote for which you like best. But hurry, contest ends December 16.

    • Red Hat Family

      • UBS AG (NYSE: UBS) Boosts Price Target on Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) to $50.00

        Equities research analysts at UBS AG (NYSE: UBS) boosted their price target on shares of Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) from $44.00 to $50.00 in a research note to clients and investors on Wednesday. The analysts currently have a “buy” rating on the stock.

      • Red Hat gets rating boost from RBC Capital Markets

        Linux software developer Red Hat Inc.’s stock could rise 20 percent over the next year on better-than-expected revenue, an RBC Capital Markets analyst predicted Wednesday.

      • Red Hat rises on upbeat report
      • Red Hat Releases Next-Gen Business Rules Management System

        Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions, has announced the next generation Business Rules Management System, JBoss Enterprise BRMS 5.1, as part of its open source middleware portfolio, JBoss Enterprise Middleware.

        In a release, the Company said that JBoss Enterprise BRMS is an open source business rules management system that enables active decisions with easy business rules development, access and change management. This functionality allows businesses to quickly change the rules and active decisions that underpin enterprise applications to respond to market dynamics and competitive positioning.

      • Notable Analyst Rating Changes by SGW: Red Hat, Dominion Resources, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., Netflix

        The 52-week range of the stock is $26.51-$49. An analyst at RBC Capital upgraded shares of Red Hat from Sector Perform to Outperform this morning. The firm also boosted its pricetarget by nearly 43% from $40 to $57.

      • Red Hat Joins Brief Filed with U.S. Supreme Court Opposing Expansion of Standard for Inducing Patent Infringement

        Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions, announced that it joined in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking correction of the standard for inducing patent infringement.

        According to a release, the “friend of the court,” or amicus brief, submitted by Red Hat and others seeks reversal of a lower court decision that threatens to expand patent litigation. The brief argues that the law requires that only those who actually know of the specific patent at issue and know that it covers the alleged infringing activity can be found liable.

    • Debian Family

      • Testing MEPIS 11 Alpha 4!

        It certainly is faster compared to Mepis 8.5 on my old desktop box, which by the way does not allow pretty effects regardless of the distro I use.

      • The new Debian wallpaper just rolled onto my Squeeze desktop

        The desktop-base package just updated on my Debian Squeeze desktop, and it brought with it the new wallpaper for the distribution’s soon-to-be-stable release. What do you think? (Click the image for the full 1366×768 view).

      • Debian Squeeze updates gdm3 today, and goofy spaceship theme is on the login screen too

        I wrote yesterday about the “whimsical spaceship” (that’s a good name, don’t you think?) theme coming to the Debian Squeeze desktop and Grub screen and wondering why the login screen still was so Lennyish.

        Today a new gdm3 package rolled into Squeeze, and once it installed (I’ve been using Aptitude on the command line to do the updates) I logged out and saw yet more spaceship whimsy.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10: A Couple of Gripes

          To be sure, every release of Ubuntu — just like every other operating system out there, open-source or proprietary — has its bugs, some of them quite serious. Ubuntu 10.10 is not a standout in this respect.

        • Ubuntu Certification: 101

          The Ubuntu Certification Programme has been around for a while. I think now is a good time to start sharing more on this activity with the community and invite participation. We have created a wiki with the following content to start the conversation.

        • Ubuntu One Music Supports AirPlay on iPhone

          Ubuntu One Music has now support for iPhone’s new AirPlay technology, which allows users to stream audio, video and image files stored in your Ubuntu One account directly to your Applet TV, stereo device, or any other AirPlay-compatible hardware. The AirPlay technology was made available by Apple via the new iOS 4.2 software update.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10: A Perfect 10?

            Recently I said that Ubuntu 10.10 is really not a compelling upgrade. Linux Mint 10, though it’s based off of 10.10, is (in my opinion) worth the trouble. Like 10.10, Linux Mint 10 is not a revolutionary update, but the changes here are not focused on the Canonical services.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 1.8 Billion ARM CPUs

      That’s how many one FAB, TSMC, might produce in 2011. TSMC expects to produce about 1.8 million wafers for Qualcomm in 2011 and each wafer can hold about 1000 ARM CPUs. These CPUs will go into iPads, smart-phones, smart-thingies, and a variety of personal computers, few of which will run that other OS, certainly not “7″.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • I’ll Take Gingerbread and Honeycomb Over Fruit

          Thankfully, Google has started the release process for their latest and greatest Android version — Gingerbread. I’m looking forward to installing CyanogenMod’s spin of 2.3 as soon as it’s available. The big frustration for me, however, is that Gingerbread turned out not to be the tablet killing OS we all hoped for. Oh sure, there are some Android tablets available, but until Google allows regular access to the Marketplace, tablets running Android are going to be a kludge.

        • Is Rubin’s 300,000-Androids-a-Day Tweet on Target?

          There’s no doubt that Androids are swarming, but 300,000 activations a day, as Google VP of Engineering Andy Rubin tweeted? “Seems like a stretch,” said Frost & Sullivan analyst Michael Jude, who added the figure “may represent the number of phones being shipped from manufacturers, many of which end up in warehouses rather than in people’s pockets.”

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud 1.1 update released today will “reinvent the computing experience”

        The Jolicloud team have today announced their intention to release Jolicloud 1.1 for download later today with updates rolling out to current Jolicloud users during this week. Click through for more details…

        The message from today’s announcement is clear – with Jolicloud 1.1 the French developer is offering its users an experience one step ahead of what Google, Apple and Microsoft are announcing. “While everybody talks about HTML5 as the future, we deliver it today, now and for everyone,” explains the blog post. “But here is the trick, you should not be forced to buy an expensive device to benefit of these technologies. With Jolicloud, you just need to recycle any computer.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ex-Goldman Programmer Found Guilty in Code Theft

    Mr. Marino contended Mr. Aleynikov simply made a mistake in trying to download open-source code from Goldman, but didn’t steal proprietary information from the investment bank. He said Mr. Aleynikov made no efforts to sell the information he took and didn’t share it with Teza.

  • OStatic’s Superguide to Free, Open Source Tools

    On a regular basis, we at OStatic round up our ongoing collections of open source resources, tutorials, reviews and project tours. These educational toolkits are a big part of the learning mission we try to preserve at the site. We regularly collect the best Firefox extensions, free online books on open source topics, free tools for developers, resources for working with and enjoying online video and audio, Linux tutorials, and much more. In this post, you’ll find an updated set of more than 45 collections and resources. Hopefully, you’ll find something to learn from here, and the good news is that everything found in this post is free.

  • LibreOffice 3.3 RC1 is released ! With Installation instructions -Fedora, LinuxMint, Ubuntu & Debian | PPA Ubuntu

    LibreOffice RC1 is released, this new beta release comes to fix some known issues, now the Linux and MacOSX builds are English builds with the possiblity to install language packs. Find bellow the release notes in details, also the installation instructions for Fedora, Debian, LinuxMint and Ubuntu.

  • opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM Update

    opentaps In The Cloud with Amazon EC2

    Want to get up and running quickly and easily on enterprise-class open source ERP and CRM?

    Want to run it on demand on world class infrastructure and pay by the hour?

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • WebSockets disabled in Firefox 4

        Due to a vulnerability in the design of the WebSocket protocol, the Mozilla Foundation has decided to disable support for this protocol in the forthcoming Firefox 4 Beta 8 release. The vulnerability in the code for transparent proxies can potentially be exploited to poison the proxy cache and inject manipulated pages.

      • Firefox 3.6.13 Update Available

        Just like promised Mozilla has delivered an update to the stable branch of the Firefox web browser. The update, which is released on the same day as the Mozilla Thunderbird update, fixes several security and stability issues in the web browser, making it a recommended update for all Firefox 3.6.12 and earlier users. Firefox 3.6.13 is currently in distribution to wordlwide mirror servers to ensure that updating Firefox users will not experience lags or slowdowns during the rush once the update has been announced officially.
        The official update notification can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, it is hard to say at this point.

      • Mozilla’s new CEO explains his love-hate relationship with Google

        Browser-maker Mozilla still has a tricky relationship with Google, judging from statements made last night by its new chief executive, Gary Kovacs.

        Reporters had a chance to ask Kovacs a few questions at the Mozilla open house yesterday, when the company invited us into its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters to preview some of the new features in its Firefox browser. The gathering came just a day after Google held its own press event, where it announced some improvements to its Chrome Web browser, as well as a pilot program for Chrome OS, its netbook operating system that’s built around Chrome.

  • Databases

    • MariaDB 5.1.53 And 5.2.4 Released

      This past Monday updates in both the 5.1 and 5.2 series of MariaDB were released. It’s a pretty big deal, as some issues have been solved that affect a large number of users. You should read the release notes for MariaDB 5.1.53 and for MariaDB 5.2.4 as well as the release announcement. The annoucement contains download links from worldwide mirrors.

  • Oracle

    • Apache is being forced into a Java Fork

      Everyone who follows Java knew that the Apache Software Foundation was going to resign from its nominal Java Community Process leadership position. Apache had given fair-warning that it was not going to rubber-stamp Oracle’s Java plans in November. Then, when Oracle rolled over Apache and Google’s objections to its Java plans in December, the scene was set for Apache to leave and, eventually, force a Java code fork.

      There’s a long story behind why Apache, a four-time JCP “Member of the Year” is going with its own Java-related plans. The story actually doesn’t start with Oracle, but with how Sun handled the “open-sourcing” of Java in 2006.

    • Oracle Prepping for Server OS Domination

      Oracle is planning to take over the world. Or, at the very least, the server OS world. That’s the logical conclusion to reach after hearing the recent comments of Larry Ellison, Oracle’s bombastic CEO. “Solaris is clearly the No. 1 Unix, and we’re working very hard at making Oracle Enterprise Linux the number one Linux,” InfoWorld reported he said at a company event last week.


      When it comes to security, the upgraded Unix server OS will include secure boot, so applications and data are secure as they start. The OS will also enforce role-based root access and encrypt ZFS datasets to provide extra security to stored data.

  • CMS

    • Navigating the open source CMS selection process

      The popularity of open source content management systems, and the number of open source CMS options have grown exponentially in the last three years. However, it has become increasingly difficult for users to separate the good from the bad, in a market where–irony of ironies–even proprietary options are trying to look more like open source projects in order to get buyers’ attention.

  • Business

  • Project Releases

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Want to present your thesis? Please be compatible with Windows

      Last week I had a weird experience. I went to the Department of Communications and Social Research of the Faculty of Communication Sciences of La Sapienza, the first and biggest University in Rome. The reason I went there was to attend the presentation of the Italian Manifesto for Open Government, on which I’ll report soon in another article. The promoters of the Manifesto spent the whole morning explaining in detail all its ten articles, including the fourth and fifth that strongly assert the importance of opening public data, that is publishing them without restrictions in open file formats.

    • A nail in Flash’s coffin: YouTube is running an HTML5 Beta

      Even though Adobe won’t produce a Flash Player for Linux on PowerPC, it still maintains the player for Mac OS X on PowerPC. Nice for the Mac users, shitty for the Linux users.

      Aside from all of that. Why should video — a growing component of information-delivery on the Web — be funneled through Flash?

      Luckily HTML5 is there to save us from all of this. Once it’s totally rolled out, video will come into Web pages through standard tagging that enabled web browsers understand, and the video will be presented in codecs that are already part of that browser’s collection of viewable formats.

      And if/when the biggest video site around, and that would be YouTube, dumps Flash for HTML5, look the #$$ out.

    • Upgrading China’s ITC Standards Strategy

      To my mind, the biggest variable that will determine whether China will reap the largest benefits from its participation in global ICT standards activities will be whether it decides to only participate in the traditional “Big I” standards organizations, or whether it will also fully engage in participating in, and more importantly founding, standards development and promotional consortia. Least effective of all will be continuing to form inward-looking consortia limited to domestic companies. From this route I can see only institutionalizing antagonism, standards wars, and lost opportunities.


  • Ghosts of Unix past, part 4: High-maintenance designs
  • Security

  • Cablegate

    • Ron Paul Vigorously Defends WikiLeaks

      Distancing himself from Republican Party orthodoxy (as he’s prone to doing), Texas Congressman Ron Paul gave a rousing speech on the U.S. House floor in support of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. “Why is the hostility directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our governments failure to protect classified information?” asked Paul. He went on to compare WikiLeaks to the Pentagon Papers, explaining how both exposed American wars that were based on “lies.” He also asked his colleagues which events caused more deaths, “Lying us into war, or the release of the WikiLeaks papers?”

    • Un-Civil War on the Internet

      The nominal trigger for this was the denial of service to WikiLeaks by PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, supposedly for “illegal activities” although the USA has stated that the USA has not charged WikiLeaks with any illegal activity. PayPal was caught in a lie that it claimed PayPal had received a letter advising them of illegal activities by WikiLeaks. In fact, PayPal and other such services are only too glad to serve businesses such as porn and gambling regardless of their legality. Thus many see this action as a smoke-screen.

    • The Stupidity of Locking Up Assange

      The stupidity of locking up a guy who voluntarily turns himself in to a police station and refusing him bail on questionable charges as a flight-risk is beyond belief. His lawyers have been unable to communicate with the Swedish prosecutors for months and yet the court in the UK took the matter seriously. This is clearly a case of judicial harassment and the UK legal system is being jerked around by the Swedish authorities.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Save as WWF? No, thanks!

      In spite of all this, as of December 3rd, 2010, the official “Save as WWF, Save a Tree” website says that this “green” format…is only usable with some version of Mac OS, will soon be usable with some versions of Windows… but no mention of Linux, which is the most environmentally conscious operating system around.

Clip of the Day

Operation Payback – Anonymous Message About ACTA Laws, Internet Censorship and Copyright

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 10/12/2010: Google Chrome Notebook, Canonical Hires Kernel Developers

Posted in News Roundup at 2:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Brazilian Ministry of Education Plans Mandriva Deployment

      The Brazilian government education authority is set to deploy Intel-powered classmate PCs running Mandriva.

      Mandriva is partnering with Positivo to deliver this large-scale, low-cost, open source solution for educational use in Brazil. Including hardware, operating system and other software applications, the per-student cost is estimated to be approximately US $200.

  • Google

    • Google previews Chrome OS: Cloud computing, but without touch

      An operating system reduced to and optimised for the web browser – that’s the idea behind Google’s Chrome OS. While, at first glance, this doesn’t promise to be of much use, Google has incorporated technologies in Chrome OS which allow users to work without an internet connection and to install certain types of apps that can be used when offline. However, Google isn’t planning to present an alternative to Android, at least for now, touch screen tablets and smartphones are not supported.

    • Google Chrome notebook unboxing photos and first impressions

      Today was Google Day in the Stokes household, as the same FedEx truck brought both a Nexus S and Google’s newly announced Cr-48 Chrome OS notebook. Below are some unboxing photos and very quick hands-on impressions of the unit.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: An analysis of Linux kernel development

      With the next kernel version, Ext4 will reach new levels of performance and use a trick to increase its storage media formatting speed. Other new features include a discard function that is interesting for slow-trimming SSDs, the “Rados Block Device” for cluster devices, bug fixes and optimisations to Btrfs.

    • Hurry! Win a $50 Gift Card to Linux.com Store.
    • Self-Assessment Checklist: First Impressions After Release

      The Linux Foundation’s Open Compliance Program published its compliance self-assessment checklist on November 1 right on schedule. My blog last month, Self-Assessment Checklist: A Measuring Stick for Open Compliance Efforts | The Linux Foundation, described the organization and goals of the checklist. Over 500 company downloads at Self-Assessment Compliance Checklist | The Linux Foundation later, initial feedback has been gratifyingly positive. I’d like to share with you some observations based on comments received so far.

    • Stable kernel updates
    • Graphics Stack

      • Improving Video Streaming With GTK+ 3D Surfaces

        Within the open-source world, code examples and documentation can be particularly important in ensuring a lower barrier to participation. One developer, Jose Commins, has worked on creating demos, such as how to use OpenGL within GTK+. One of his projects is GtkGLApp, but now he’s working on a new one involving real-time video streaming to GTK+ 3D surfaces.

  • Applications

    • Happy Birthday Scribus

      It is hard to believe Scribus is almost an adolescent. Just yesterday, Scribus turned ten years old, with the first bits of code written by Franz Schmid in December 2000. A few months later, it was linked on Freshmeat and then, well… it kind of had a life of its own. I googled DTP and Linux and stumbled across the link to Franz’ home pages. Of course it would not compile… (User error on my part.)

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Linux Game Publishing Is Back Online

        Now it’s a matter of whether they can regain customer confidence seeing as this completely brought down their Digital Rights Management platform for most of this time, among other problems and damaging reputations. I guess we will have to see what their unannounced titles end up being.

      • Another Humble Indie Bundle Is Coming

        Earlier this year there was the “Humble Indie Bundle” where anyone could purchase a set of four Indie computer games (that are Linux compatible) for any price they wanted. The games included World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru, and Penumbra Overture. This ended up being such a success with the game developers that they ended up open-sourcing the games after raising quite a bit of money off this bundled deal. Now it appears the developers are working on a second Humble Indie Bundle.

  • Distributions

    • FSFLA’s petition for Canaima GNU/Linux to be Free

      The Venezuelan Presidential Decree 3390, specifically in articles 2 and 7, explains and backs up the reasons why the Venezuelan state should develop a Free Software distribution. Canaima GNU/Linux is this distribution, so it ought to be a Free distribution, without parts that threaten its users’ freedoms.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat mulls offers to relocate corporate HQ

        Red Hat has offers on the table from multiple cities and developers, including some who are willing to build a new office tower for the Raleigh-based company if it decides to move its corporate headquarters, according to multiple sources.

        Raleigh faces keen competition for Red Hat, which sources said is looking for as much as 300,000 square feet of space. Red Hat currently occupies well under 200,000 square feet in two buildings on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Workstation review

        Verdict: Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux 6 Desktop and Workstation operating systems are a real option for enterprise deployment. We had no problems setting up the applications bundled in with version 6. The only driver/inhibitor for corporate rollout is how savvy firms’ workforces are with Linux, and the depth of Microsoft infrastructure they already have in place.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Canonical Hiring More Kernel Developers

          According to a recent email exchange departing COO Matt Assay stated that Canonical has 400 employees right now. In addition to this there are about 50 open positions on Ubuntu Jobs.

        • Orta Theme Gets An Ubuntu PPA (And A New Version)!

          Orta theme finally got a PPA so it’s now easily to install and update.

          Before adding the PPA, make sure you have removed any previous instance of the theme!

        • Ubuntu Certified Hardware

          Canonical maintains a list of hardware that is certified for Ubuntu. Victor Palau, Platform Services Manager at Canonical wrote a blog post about Ubuntu certification which caused me to wonder if my Dell, XPS M1330 laptop, running Ubuntu 10.10 was Ubuntu certified. Below are the screenshots and steps I took to find the answer that question.

        • Ubuntu to Drop GDM for LightDM

          Currently in the Natty Blueprints there is a blueprint to drop GDM (Gnome Display Manager) for LightDM a new multi-platform Display Manager.

        • Launchpad Finally Gets PPA Usage Stats; Might Also Get A PPA “Heat” Metric

          The Launchpad API was updated yesterday, finally bringing PPA statistics. For now, the stats can only be accessed by using a Python script, but they will probably be implemented on the actual website soon, especially since Mark Shuttleworth is also interested in these stats.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Andy Rubin: over 300,000 Android phones activated daily

          Cast your mind back to the ancient time that was this August and you’ll recall Eric Schmidt telling you, with no lack of pride, that 200,000 Android phones were being sold each and every day. Skip past Steve Jobs’ snide remarks about what’s included in that tally, and fast-forward to today, where Andy Rubin is blowing minds with the latest, very nicely rounded, total: 300,000 daily activations.

        • Google Instant now available in 40 new countries

          Last month’s beta launch of Google’s new “Instant” mobile search tool was a sadly US-only affair. But that’s been rectified today, with Google putting its predictive system onto smartphones in another 40 countries and 28 languages. You need Android 2.2 to make it work, though.

        • Android: 300,000 Activations a Day

          That’s right folks, Andy Rubin has tweeted his second tweet. Our “Early Adopter Platform” has been growing like gangbusters. We all knew that Android was growing but this is pretty phenomenal growth. I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around the numbers. That means that there are 2.1 million activations a week. That’s amazing. As you can see below, over the course of the last 8 quarters Android has shipped a disproportionately large number of units compared to our unfriendly fruit competition.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola Tab Running Android 3.0 Honeycomb Makes A Buzz

        With Christmas almost here, manufacturers and developers are doing their best to keep the public interested in their work, even if they’re not announcing products that are going to come out this year. This is why Android Chief Andy Rubin teased fans with a Motorola Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet set for a release date sometime in 2011. Although exact release dates haven’t been announced yet, some technical specs have been made public and if they are going to be implemented as presented, the tab seems to be out of a new and better generation.

Free Software/Open Source

  • ’10 CG Shorts You Must See’

    3D World Magazine features ’10 CG Shorts You Must See’. Big Buck Bunny is on it!

  • California’s safety codes are now open source!
  • Events

    • GPG Keysigning at FOSS.in 2010

      I will be attending the FOSS.in event from December 15-17 in Bangalore, India.
      As part of the Fedora participation at the FOSS.in, I will be running a GPG keysigning party.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird 3.1.7 and 3.0.11 Updates Are Here

        Thunderbird 3.1.7 and Thunderbird 3.0.11 updates are now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux for free download from www.GetThunderbird.com. These releases fix several problems with large email folders stored on the user’s computer as well as several fixes to improve performance, stability and security.

  • Oracle

    • The ASF Resigns From the JCP Executive Committee

      The Apache Software Foundation has resigned its seat on the Java SE/EE Executive Committee. Apache has served on the EC for the past 10 years, winning the JCP “Member of the Year” award 4 times, and recently was ratified for another term with support from 95% of the voting community. Further, the project communities of the ASF, home to Apache Tomcat, Ant, Xerces, Geronimo, Velocity and nearly a 100 mainstay java components have implemented countless JSRs and serve on and contribute to many of the JCPs technical expert groups.

    • Apache resigns from Java community

      Protesting what it perceives as Oracle’s undue control of Java, the Apache Software Foundation has resigned its seat from the Java SE/EE Executive Committee, the organization announced Wednesday.

      “The commercial concerns of a single entity, Oracle, will continue to seriously interfere with and bias the transparent governance of the ecosystem,” an unsigned blog entry from the foundation states.

    • Apache quits Java governance group in protest of Oracle abuses

      The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) announced today that it is resigning from the executive committee of the Java Community Process (JCP), the governance body responsible for managing standards related to the Java programming language. The move is a response to Oracle’s ongoing failure to comply with the intellectual property policies established by the JCP.

      The heart of the issue is that Apache can’t certify that its open source Java implementation—called Harmony—conforms with the Java language standards because Oracle refuses to supply the necessary test suites under a suitably open license. Oracle’s position on the issue falls afoul of JCP policies, which stipulate that standards and other relevant materials must be freely redistributable and made available under terms that are conducive to enabling third-party open source implementations.

  • CMS

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Whatever Happened to the EU Interoperability Policy?

      As readers of this blog will know, interoperability is a key issue in Europe at the moment. We are still waiting for the imminent version 2 of the European Interoperability Framework, where we will find out whether true restriction-free open standards will be recommended, on deeply-flawed ones based on FRAND licensing that for practical purposes exclude many free software projects.


      Aside from the fact that open source doesn’t seem to have been given a fair chance in this procurement process, there is also the matter of transparency. As far as I can tell, there are precious few details available about what exactly is in this 189 million Euro mega-contract. At a time when governments across the world are rightly beginning to open up all stages of procurement for public scrutiny, the EU’s old-fashioned “trust us, you little people don’t need to know the details” attitude is not just outdated and misguided, but positively insulting. After all, we are not only paying for all this proprietary software, but also footing the bill for the not inconsiderable salaries enjoyed by members of the European Commission.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • CERN Library releases its book catalog into the public domain via CC0, and other bibliographic data news

      CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research that is home to the Large Hadron Collider and birthplace of the web, has released its book catalog into the public domain using the CC0 public domain dedication. This is not the first time that CERN has used CC tools to open its resources; earlier this year, CERN released the first results of the Large Hadron Collider experiments under CC licenses. In addition, CERN is a strong supporter of CC, having given corporate support at the “creator” level, and is currently featured as a CC Superhero in the campaign, where you can join them in the fight for openness and innovation!

    • Promote Free Culture
    • Open Data

      • Open Data and Public Sector Debt

        The volume of public domestic debt issued in developing countries has grown substantially in recent years, but consistent data on the domestic debt of developing countries have not been generally available until now. As part of the Open Data Initiative, the World Bank is launching an online, quarterly, Public Sector Debt database developed in partnership with the IMF, which will allow researchers and policymakers to explore questions about debt management in a comprehensive manner. The database promotes consistency and comparability across countries by standardizing the treatment of public sector debt, valuation methods, and debt instruments, and by identifying, where possible, the debt of central, state, and local governments as well as extra-budgetary agencies and funds.


  • Seemona Sumasar spent months behind bars after ex orchestrated elaborate frame-up to silence her

    A Queens businesswoman has been to hell and back and it all started when she accused a former boyfriend of rape and, prosecutors say, he framed her for armed robbery.

    Seemona Sumasar, 35, spent nearly seven months in jail for a crime she never committed, the Nassau County district attorney now admits.

  • Inside Saudi Arabia’s party scene

    As a general rule, I will click on any WikiLeaks cable titled “Underground Party Scene in Jeddah.” And this account of a Halloween party at a prince’s residence in the coastal Saudi city does not disappoint.

  • WikiLeaks cables: Saudi princes throw parties boasting drink, drugs and sex
  • De Trop! French Is The Official Language For 2012 Olympics

    Stone the crows! Or, rather, sacre bleu: the Telegraph has obtained a copy of the Olympic “technical manuals”, the IOC’s guidelines for hosting the Games, which reveal, amongst other stringent requirements, that the main language for 2012 will be the sexy tongue spoken by our Gallic neighbours, with English finishing in second place.

  • Scratch the Salvation Army off your charity lists, everyone

    I used to always give my spare change to the Salvation Army at this time of year — there they were, ringing their bell outside the grocery store, so sure, I’d give a little. That changed when I learned about their anti-gay policies, though…and now there’s another reason to spurn the Salvation Army.

  • Salvation Army Statement on Toy Donation and Distribution
  • OAP poisoned police with sandwiches

    Food safety officials said 70-year-old Muriel Morris received a four-month jail term, suspended for a year, and was ordered to pay £16,482.70p in costs.

    Birmingham City Council, which prosecuted Morris for four breaches of food hygiene law, launched an investigation into the poisoning outbreak after nine officers were taken to hospital during an English Defence League demonstration near New Street station in July 2009.

  • AMD, Intel, PC builders plan to drop VGA by 2015

    AMD, Dell, Intel, Lenovo, Samsung and LG on Wednesday said they plan on focusing on putting digital DisplayPort and HDMI connections into their computer products. They hope to drop analog VGA and LVDS connections in AMD- and Intel-based products by 2015, the chipmakers said. VGA technology is over 20 years old, uses up more power, and supports lower resolutions and less colors than the digital alternatives.

  • The Best, Most Disgruntled Ink Cartridge Description You’ll Ever Read

    I don’t know the name of the man responsible for the product description of Remanufactured HP 300 – (CC640EE) Black, but I do know that he’s an anonymous hero. Just a sample from the above:

    Do you know what? I really can’t be bothered with writing these description anymore, it’s a printer cartridge! What am I supposed to write really??? It’s a cartridge that prints ink on to paper, you could print some work stuff or a colouring in page for the kids that they’ll half do and then leave laying around on the floor or a poster of the horrible Jonas Bothers for your teen daughter hoping that she might stop listening to there [sic] pathetic attempt of music so much.

    And so on.

  • Czechs Blasted for Asylum “Arousal” Test

    The European Union’s human rights agency has criticized the Czech government for using a “sexual arousal” test to determine whether applicants who seek asylum on the basis of sexual orientation are genuinely gay.

    According to the BBC, the Fundamental Rights Agency said the Czech Republic was the only E.U. country that continues to use the test, which could violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

  • A New Nursing Home Population: The Young
  • I’m Having Unexplained Coordination Issues

    Those who speak to me on Identi.ca and IRC may have noticed more typos than usual from me in the last day or so; this is why. Please take this into account. When I write static pieces like blog posts I always check and fix my typos, “live” chats such as IRC and Identi.ca don’t get the same retouching. It’s taken quite a while to type this post.

  • Core expands into network vulnerability testing

    With the latest release of its flagship Core Impact Pro, Core Security Technologies has expanded its application penetration testing software to scan and test network devices as well.

    Core Impact Pro version 11, released this week, also includes improved tools for scanning Web applications as well.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Walmart Partners with DHS on “If You See Something, Say Something” Campaign

      Janet Napolitano, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that retailing giant Walmart has joined the agency’s “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign.

    • Flower arranger forced to resign after refusing criminal record check

      Annabel Hayter, the 64 year old chairwoman of Gloucester Cathedral’s Flower Guild, has been forced to resign from her post as a result of her refusal to submit to a criminal record check. As a result of her stance, five other elderly flower arrangers have also resigned in protest.

    • TSA subjects India’s US ambassador to public grope because of her sari

      The TSA is refusing to apologize to India’s ambassador to the USA, who was flagged for an extended public grope because she was wearing a sari.

    • Exposed: TSA’s X-rated scanner fraud

      Physicists who led the development of today’s most sophisticated medical imaging technology believe the federal government’s X-rated airport x-ray scanners are useless. Leon Kaufman and Joseph W. Carlson, both former professors of physics at the University of California-San Francisco have been described as the “scientific genius” behind the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines used in hospitals. The pair turned their considerable experience to investigate what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is using to virtually undress millions of American travelers.

    • Security Theatre [IMG]
    • Thousands Of Students Gather In London

      Thousands of students have gathered ahead of a march on Parliament as MPs prepare to vote on trebling university tuition fees.

    • Cleared, the father accused of leading Ryanair jet revolt

      Unable to get water for his two children and frustrated at the lack of information from staff, Mr Wilkie tried to disembark, followed by 30 fellow passengers.

      After being persuaded to stay, however, the rebels were stunned when police arrived and arrested their ‘ringleader’ for causing a security alert on a flight.

      In court, Mr Wilkie, 36, admitted the charge. But a Scottish sheriff refused to punish him after receiving dozens of letters from passengers supporting him. Instead, the sheriff called on Ryanair to apologise for its ‘ridiculous’ behaviour.

    • Chinese hackers ‘slurped 50 MB of US gov email’

      The Chinese government may have used its access to Microsoft source code to develop attacks that exploited weaknesses in the Windows operating system, according to a US diplomatic memo recently published by Wikileaks.

  • Cablegate

    • DNS Provider Mistakenly Caught in WikiLeaks Saga Now Supports the Group

      A DNS provider that suffered backlash last week after it was wrongly identified as supplying and then dropping DNS service to WikiLeaks has decided to support the secret-spilling site, offering DNS service to two domains distributing WikiLeaks content.

      EasyDNS, a Canadian firm, was attacked last Friday after media outlets mistakenly reported it had terminated its service for WikiLeaks. The company sent an e-mail to customers Thursday morning letting them know that it had begun providing DNS service for WikiLeaks.ch and WikiLeaks.nl, two of the primary domain names WikiLeaks relocated to after WikiLeaks.org stopped resolving.

      “We’ve already done the time, we might as well do the crime,” Mark Jeftovic, president and CEO of EasyDNS, told Threat Level about his decision.

      DNS service providers translate human-friendly domain names to IP addresses, so when someone types www.Amazon.com into their browser, for example, they’re properly connected to, the address of the host.

    • The crux of the WikiLeaks debate

      WNYC’s Brian Lehrer has spent the last week hosting one WikiLeaks critic after the next on his program, and it seems rather clear that he, too, is a fairly emphatic critic of the group and its founder, Julian Assange.

    • Why Wikileaks Will Never Be Closed Or Blocked

      Last weekend, rather than read stories about the US diplomatic cables that Wikileaks has released, I decided to read them directly myself. In doing so, I better understood why no one — certainly not the US State Department — is going to shove those cables back into the darkness.

    • Save Julian Assange: Don’t outlaw WikiLeaks!
    • Assange’s Poison Pill

      I am in the process of downloading a file that contains all the unedited cables that Wikileaks has obtained. You can do the same by downloading this link using a program like Vuze. This is a 1.4GB file so it may take a while. As far as I know it is not illegal to download it as it is not copyright material. In any case it is probably not illegal because you cannot read whatever it is that you are downloaded as it is encrypted. What this file is is a Poison Pill. Assange goes, this file is open for humanity to see.

      I am downloading this file for two reasons. One is because I believe that if it was so easy for Wikileaks to obtain this information whoever our enemies are probably have it as well. Secondly because while I had mixed feelings on what Julian Assange was doing, I am so disgusted about how Western democracies are reacting towards a person who has not been formally accused of any crime that I think it’s time to stand by Wikileaks to defend freedom of the press.

    • Julian Assange cast as common enemy as US left and right unite

      The outcry against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is intensifying in the US, drawing a rare degree of consensus from politicians and pundits who have collectively cast him in the role of a common enemy.

      In the past few days the calls for action against Assange have grown steadily louder and more shrill, with leading Republicans labelling him a terrorist, and top liberal Democratic politicians, albeit in more moderate language, also calling for his prosecution.

    • Why Julian Assange Is 2010 Person Of The Year

      He said he wouldn’t mind prison. Julian Assange sort of looked forward to it, even. He’d read a nice, long book in peace. And he’d get to sleep in the same bed for the first time in years.

      Assange got his wish when he surrendered to British authorities Tuesday. He is charged with allegedly sexually assaulting two women during a lecture stop in Stockholm this August. The first court appearance was predictably messy. He refused to be photographed, finger-printed, or DNA swabbed. And that was before the judge asked Assange for his current address. He gave some post office at first. Then some place in Australia he hadn’t visited in four years.

      To be fair, you can’t really ask Julian Assange where he lives. He moved 34 times by the age of 14. A quarter century later, he is even more nomadic. The most connected man in the world lives a rootless existence. He says he resides in airports and has virtually no material possessions, save for his Australian passport and a laptop.

    • Assange Lawyers Prepare for U.S. Spying Indictment

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the man behind the publication of more than a 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables, could soon be facing spying charges in the U.S. related to the Espionage Act, Assange’s lawyer said today.

    • England: Reliability And Longevity Of UK-US Relationship Confirmed
    • Pro-Wikileaks hacker group’s DDoS tool downloads top 40,000

      Imperva, the web security specialist, has reported that the tool released by the Anonymous Hacker Group for would-be Wikileaks protesters has been downloaded over 40,000 times, with the majority of downloads occurring in the US.


      Amichai Schulman, chief technology officer at Imperva, said, “The tool was originally developed as an open-source network stress-testing tool. It was recently tweaked to include a central command-and-control module.

    • wikileaks samba
    • Wikileaks donations going well despite Visa, Mastercard shutdown

      After both Visa and Mastercard stopped allowing donations to the whistle-blowing website, DataCell started helping people to donate directly by bank transfer. “The credit card companies are just not a part of the transactions. There are just as many donations as before, if not more, but they are just transferred direct,” Sigurvinsson told DV. “We have assisted some 2,000 people with that just today.”


      DataCell has indicated that it intends to start legal proceedings against both Mastercard and Visa in Europe and Sigurvinsson says the company has received a lot of offers from lawyers wanting to take the case on for free. He said that the company’s own lawyers have written formal letters to the credit card giants and that other volunteer lawyers will arrive today to discuss strategy.

    • Assange supporters rally in Brisbane

      About 100 protesters have rallied in Brisbane in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      Assange remains in custody in the United Kingdom, facing extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual assault.

      Rally organiser Jessica Payne says the Federal Government is trying to stifle the democratic right to freedom of information.

    • Pro-WikiLeaks protest rally draws 1200 supporters in Sydney

      HUNDREDS of people have taken to Australia’s city streets to pledge their support for detained WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Shell, Operation Payback and Assange for the Nobel prize – as it happened

      7.52am: MasterCard, Visa, the Swedish prosecution authority, Joe Lieberman, Sarah Palin, PayPal, Twitter, PostFinance, Amazon and EveryDNS.net. It is an very eclectic mix, but their websites are all under attack, or threat of attack, by supporters of WikiLeaks.

    • Bye bye PayPal

      Paypal has been reported closing Wikileaks’ account through which it obtained donations. This is unacceptable and arbitrary. This is derogatory towards the associations and the thousands of common people who cared enough of their Freedom of Speech to spend money on this. This is why I have decided that if they don’t want Wikileaks’ money, they do not want mine either, and I have closed my account with them.


      Meanwhile, as also Visa and Mastercard have been reported fiddling with Wikileaks’ account without having received any court order compelling them to do so — and this is tantamount to stealing other people’s money if they have blocked incoming payments — I have decided that in protest they will not have the chunk of my not irrelevant Chrsitmas shopping, as I will only use other payments means. If they don’t listent to people’s voice, they will listen the language of money.

    • EasyDNS to host Wikileaks

      At my company, we use EasyDNS to do our external DNS hosting (building a real, high availability DNS server infrastructure is outside of the scope of our financial resources, so we have them do it for us), and I’ve always been very happy with their service.

    • Check Out The Greatest Hits Of Operation Payback, The Hackers That Took Down Mastercard
    • Editorial – Statement on DDOS attacks

      Wikileaks is aware that several government agencies and corporations, including the Swedish prosecutor, Mastercard, PayPal and State.gov have come under cyber-attack in recent days, and have often been driven offline as a result.

      The attacks are of a similar nature to those received – and endured – by the Wikileaks website over the past week, since the publication of the first of 250,000 US Embassy Cables.

      These denial of service attacks are believed to have originated from an internet gathering known as Anonymous. This group is not affiliated with Wikileaks. There has been no contact between any Wikileaks staffer and anyone at Anonymous. Wikileaks has not received any prior notice of any of Anonymous’ actions.

      Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said: “We neither condemn nor applaud these attacks. We believe they are a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets.”

    • U.N. rights chief slams China, defends Assange

      Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, pressed China to release this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, expressing hope that China will “come to recognize” the positive contribution the pro-democracy activist can make on Chinese society.

      In a rare, wide-ranging press conference in Geneva, Pillay presented the U.N.’s strongest public criticism of China’s imprisonment of Liu, who is serving an 11-year jail sentence for drafting the pro-democracy Charter 08 manifesto. Pillay also scolded China for placing Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest “that in my view is in contravention of Chinese national law.”

    • China cracks down on activists ahead of Liu Xiaobo Nobel prize ceremony

      China today launched its most prolonged and severe crackdown on activists and dissidents in recent years ahead of tomorrow’s Nobel peace prize ceremony honouring the jailed writer Liu Xiaobo.

    • What If There Were An Application For Dot Wikileaks?

      What would happen if the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the domain name system oversight body, received an application for a .wikileaks top level domain name (TLD) next year, under its new system of opening up the internet for domains? It could make an interesting example of how well the complex system to apply for new TLDs works and how much political intervention is possible in the system. At the 39th ICANN meeting in Cartagena, Colombia this week, the self-regulatory body is trying to finalise issues in the published Final Applicant Guidebook – and it is governments and trademark owners that are calling for more time and more procedures.

      The hot issue discussed by the worldwide internet community, the witch-hunt against Wikileaks by commercial service providers in the US and various countries, is no topic for the private DNS self-governance body, according to ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom. “We have not been approached by governments on this,” Beckstrom said in answer to questions from Intellectual Property Watch at an ICANN press conference.

    • Radio Berkman 171: Wikileaks and the Information Wars

      So today we pull together some of the brightest minds at the Berkman Center to talk about Wikileaks, with Jonathan Zittrain and Lawrence Lessig moderating.

    • WikiLeaks, Free Speech and National Security

      EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston joins Declan McCullagh, chief political correspondent for CNET, Niles Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, and and Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and author of “The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern” in a discussion on “Wikileaks, Free Speech and National Security.”

    • UN rights boss concerned at targeting of WikiLeaks

      U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced concern on Thursday at reports of pressure being exerted on private companies to halt financial or Internet services for WikiLeaks.

    • “Anonymous” Posts Video Describing “Operation Payback” In Defense Of WikiLeaks

      For those unfamiliar with the depths of Internet sub-culture, “Anonymous” is a hard concept to understand. Simply put they are an anonymous crowdsourced set of vigilantes responsible for puling off some of the most newsworthy stunts in Internet history. But past projects like punking Scientology of flooding YouTube with porn fail in comparison to their recent attempts to disrupt the established entities who they deem to have alligned with the wrong side of justice over the WikiLeaks story. Now, in eerie and awesome fashion, a new video has been posted that describes their agenda in the most historic terms.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Oil giants squeeze Chávez as Venezuela struggles

      Venezuela’s tottering economy is forcing Hugo Chávez to make deals with foreign corporations to save his socialist revolution from going broke.

      The Venezuelan president has courted European, American and Asian companies in behind-the-scenes negotiations that highlight a severe financial crunch in his government.

      Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, is the engine of the economy but buckled when given an ultimatum by its Italian counterpart and has scrambled to attract foreign partners, according to confidential US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.

    • MultiBox.be mirrors WikiLeaks

      Freedom of speech isn’t a privilege, I posted a little while back.

      It’s a right, I said, and that includes having free access to everything which involves us, concerns us and affects us.

    • Russian Premier Putin Criticizes U.S. Over WikiLeaks Arrest

      Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin criticized the U.S. over the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

    • Dutch cops arrest Operation Payback suspect
    • Holder Says U.S. Probes WikiLeaks-Related Web Attacks

      The U.S. Justice Department is examining cyber attacks that have been blamed on WikiLeaks supporters, Attorney General Eric Holder said.

      “We are aware of the incidents,” Holder said at a news conference in Washington today. “We are looking into them.”

      Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, speaking at the news conference with Holder, said the U.S. is coordinating with the “private sector” on cyber issues. Separately, a Department of Homeland Security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the agency is working with companies to limit damages from the attacks.

    • DDoS: How to take down WikiLeaks, MasterCard or any other Web site

      I can’t tell you who’s attacked first WikiLeaks and more recently MasterCard, PayPal, and Visa with Distributed Denial of service (DDoS) assaults , but I can tell you it wasn’t hard. It wasn’t even, as such things go, that bad. Just ask Google if you want to know what a real DDoS attack is like.

    • Is Twitter Playing Whack-a-Mole With Pro-Wikileaks Hacktivist Accounts?

      Distributed denial of service attacks, of the kind pro-Wikileaks hacktivists have been aiming at PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard, are not particularly complex to pull off.

    • “Some Questions To Consider” Ron Paul Defends WikiLeaks “Killing The Messenger For Bad News”
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Brazilian farmers are unlikely climate heroes

      Here is the good news from Cancún. Brazil, so often demonised for its destruction of the Amazon rainforest, is turning over a new leaf. In the past year it has transformed a sketchy promise made in Copenhagen to cut emissions to 36 to 39 per cent below business-as-usual by 2020 into a detailed science-based plan. And much of the work will be done by the industry most responsible for trashing the Amazon – cattle ranching and commercial agriculture.

      World-wide, agriculture is directly responsible for roughly 15 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions – a figure that does not include emissions from the deforestation is causes. Yet the climate talks in Cancún, Mexico, have so far failed to address this industry’s contribution to global warming. Against all odds, Brazil is now bidding to go from the bad boy of forestry and agriculture to their poster child.

    • Blue whale’s gigantic mouthful measured

      A blue whale’s mouth cavity is so vast and stretchy that it can engulf a volume of water equivalent to its own body mass, say scientists.

      The whales – the largest animals on the planet – filter the krill they eat from these huge watery mouthfuls.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Ex-ministers face Commons ban in lobbying row

      Three former Labour ministers face being barred from Parliament after being rebuked for breaching lobbying rules.

      The Standards and Privileges Committee ordered ex-defence secretary Geoff Hoon to apologise and said his Commons pass should be suspended for five years.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The link between free WiFi and the future of roaming

      The next stage of the digital revolution is clearly the combination of mobile internet, cloud computing and billions of sensors to deliver a new generation of “smart” services. These technologies really will be a passport to a better way of living. But Europe will end up playing the second league of these markets if we don’t make good use of open platforms and standards to drive up competition. If we do embrace openness – the systematic use of generic and standardised technologies to create a level but elevated playing field to trigger cutting-edge innovation on top – I think we will be well placed to capitalise on our current leadership in mobiles, telecom, hardware and embedded software. And that means Europeans will take a bigger role in internet innovation.

    • Chairman Genachowski’s Next Net Neutrality Proposal: What to Watch For

      EFF has been monitoring the net neutrality debate with an eye to two main concerns, both stemming from our conviction that however laudable the goal of neutrality–and it is a laudable goal–the regulatory and legislative paths that get us there must not amount to a “Trojan horse” that we’ll all regret:

      First, we have a well-founded fear of an open-ended grant of authority to the FCC to regulate the Internet, and attendant worries, especially about regulations that could create barriers to entry for the next generation of garage innovators.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • “Read all about it!” Court rules web is permanent, newspapers are ephemeral

      Grisbrook had provided photographs for MGN for a number of years, without a written contract, being paid when his photographs were used. MGN archived the photographs it used; any subsequent use by MGN entitled the photographer to a further fee. It was conceded that Grisbrook licensed MGN to use his photos in this way while retaining copyright in them, though there was some dispute as to how far this licence extended. In particular, did it extend to the use of Grisbrook’s works on MGN’s websites?

    • Copyrights

      • Record Labels Dismiss Lawsuit Against Porn Company

        The record industry has dropped its lawsuit against a porn company accused of featuring copyrighted music in its videos. The dismissal may be the result of a confidential settlement, although neither side will comment on the case.

        RK Netmedia, which describes itself as the “World’s Best Reality Porn Website,” hires adult actors who perform sexual acts at exclusive nightclubs and parties. As the actors “perform” their lewd acts, popular recordings from artists like Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson and Katy Perry provide the soundtrack accompaniment. Videos are allegedly named after songs, and actors are encouraged to lip-sync to the lyrics.

      • No harm, no foul? P2P user says $1.5M award should be zeroed out

        Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the first US citizen to take her file-sharing lawsuit all the way to a verdict, has been hit with three separate damage awards: $222,000, $1.92 million, and recently $1.5 million. The judge has made clear that these figures are absurd; after the second trial, he declared $54,000 the most that he could possibly allow.

      • Consumer Focus claims legally naïve are being abused in an anti-consumer copyright court system

        Consumer Focus has entered the debate on the proposed reform of the Patents County Court (PCC). The PCC, soon to be renamed the Intellectual Property County Court, handles most small and medium-sized non-criminal copyright infringement claims.

      • Irish ISP offers free music, “four strikes” to subscribers

        Here’s the good news for Ireland’s millions of music lovers. Eircom, one of the country’s biggest ISPs, has launched a new streaming music service free of any additional charges to its subscribers. Eircom’s MusicHub will offer four million music tracks to the company’s customers without any restrictions or advertising (sorry Ars readers, unless you currently reside in the Republic of Ireland, you probably won’t be able to connect to that link).

      • Copyheart: Encouraging People To Copy

        Occasional Techdirt contributor Nina Paley, who has pointed out some problems with Creative Commons in the past, is pushing an interesting solution: the Copyheart. It’s not a huge license or anything like Creative Commons, but just a basic suggestion: where you might normally put a © symbol, instead put a ♥ — and perhaps an explanation.

      • 3D, Simultaneous Release Don’t Prevent Piracy, Paramount COO Says

        He identified a four-pronged strategy of consumer awareness, fine-tuning business models, technology and legislation to fight online piracy. However, a campaign to raise consumer awareness on online piracy might take decades, which he likened to anti-smoking or drunk driving.

      • Digital Garage ♥ CC

        Digital Garage, long time friend and supporter of CC, has just donated $100,000 to our annual campaign! According to Joi Ito, Digital Garage Co-Founder and Board Member and CC CEO – “Digital Garage considers Creative Commons to be a key piece of infrastructure for our global society. As a cutting-edge business that invests in internet companies and incubators that help facilitate this global society, it’s imperative that Creative Commons remains as strong as possible.”

      • CC’s Contribution to Welfare, Field-by-Field: The Separate Contribution to Art

        Last time on the CC blog I was sharing my thoughts about the evaluation of CC’s contribution to Collaboration and Sharing. There was a part there in which I was making the point that it is an impact which is distinctly challenging for estimation. Well, my full hearted belief that that analysis is, in fact, the pinnacle of prospective hardships can explain why when I first came to engage with CC’s contribution to the field of art, I was feeling lighthearted. After all, most of the characteristics which made sharing and collaboration such a tough domain to gauge, are not properties of art. So, I can begin by reporting that it was definitely light-minded to be lighthearted; the contribution to art is a completely independent pandora’s box.

Clip of the Day

Videos in The Board

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 9/12/2010: Up to Another 1.5 Million GNU/Linux Laptops in Brazil, Mageia Gets Official Logo, Dell and Red Hat Grow Closer

Posted in News Roundup at 7:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Brazil plans large GNU/Linux deployment

    The number of PCs deployed is likely to be as much as 1.5 million, making it one of the biggest deployments of GNU/Linux.

  • Linux without a command line. Is it possible?

    I have to admit. I do like the command line and one of my favourite programs is Tilda. A drop down shell which allows me to run commands quicker than any mouse happy click lover. More often than not I run a quick command to do file operations, system operations and remote connections. It’s not pretty, all text and no fancy eye candy but it gets the job done, fast.

    However, many proponents of proprietary operating systems ridicule us Linux lovers for our command line commando ways and maintain that it is not possible to use Linux without having to write a command line or two. I have always said pshaw to that and two seconds later found myself immersed in a bash shell. I put it down to my habits and choice of Linux (Gentoo) as well as knowing too much for my own good :)


    So I have at least proven to myself, eaten my own dog food :) that Linux can be used in exactly the same way most people use other operating systems without having to fire up a command line. This was done not on a normal run of the mill pc either. This was done on exotic hardware which if there was going to be a problem, there would have been a problem.

  • TV show promoting Linux in schools!

    We have an opportunity to introduce a mainstream TV audience to the great stuff that Linux can do in schools, but we need 25 Linux enthusiasts to commit to show up in order to accomplish it.

    I just spoke with a program manager for a TV show called ABC 7 Live. They are interested in having supporters of Linux in schools (and particularly Partimus.org) attend a show. The show airs daily from 3 pm to 4 pm. I need a list of 25 people who will attend. I need the list by Thursday, 12/9/10 at 3 pm. You must be on the list to be admitted to the studio. I am coordinating the list, so please be sure to email me to get on the list. You can email me at einfeldt a t gmail dot com. You can watch shows from the archive here


    They have had famous people like Mark Zuckerberg on this show.

  • Linux: Tux Goes to Church

    Of course that “free” system is Linux. Usually some local system builder will be glad to build systems and preload Linux for a church. That same local system builder can likely provide support if asked. Any Linux distribution could serve as a good base on which a church could build its IT operations. On the desktop I would still recommend Mandriva despite its roller coaster history. Mandriva is a very easy to learn, user-friendly Linux distribution. It has easy GUI tools in the Mandriva Control Center to help the Linux novice get started with setup of a Linux system. At this point I would recommend the Gnome desktop for end-users coming from Microsoft that need a full-blown GUI to be comfortable. Once KDE 4.x is back to being at least as good as KDE 3.5.10 I may recommend that again. But I do not recommend KDE at this point.

  • Server

    • Digging Into The Top500

      The Top500 is the favorite punching bag of many people in HPC. My beef is not with the Top500, it is with all those who make it out to be something it is not. In my opinion, it is good historical record of those machines that can run a single benchmark. There is of course certain bragging rights for landing on the Top500 and it may help people justify an expensive pile of hardware. I suppose getting your system listed on a web page is good thing™, but there are those who have real work to get done and can brag about minor things like application throughput, optimization, and utilization.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • Google Chrome OS: what you need to know

      The long-awaited Chrome OS is finally here, and the first Chrome notebooks are winging their way to happy beta testers as you read this.

      So is it the operating system reinvented, or just a nifty way to squeeze more speed out of laptops?

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Canonical Donates Server to KDE

        KDE is a growing community with growing needs. The KDE Sysadmin team works hard to keep up, but lately the servers have been coming under some strain.

        To help ease the situation, Canonical has donated a new server for the KDE Sysadmins to use. The server, named kundong, features an impressive 8 CPU cores, 6 GB of memory, and a 130 GB disk with space for several more disks as needed. It is hosted in Canonical’s data center in central London.

      • 7 Ways to Beautify Your KDE 4 Desktop

        Part of the big hype over the release of KDE 4 was its new and improved eye candy, mostly due to the Plasma workspace. Those who liked the changes, loved the new KDE from the beginning. Those who did not are still complaining about it. But like any good desktop environment, you are by no means stuck with the default look. In fact, KDE offers more easily customizable features than any other. What follows are 7 ways to get the desktop look you dreamed about when you were a child.

      • KDE 4.6 Beta: Finding New Directions

        Many of the changes in the beta are of interest mainly to developers and not directly observable to casual users, although the changes may affect development in future releases.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • 13 Breathtaking Conky Configurations You Should See!

        Though we used to talk a lot about Ubuntu desktop eyecandy, Conky is something we never really discussed at all. Conky Ubuntu Lucid theme was the only exception, which is by far the most easy to install Conky theme I have ever used. So as to settle the Conky drought once and for all, here we feature one of the best collection of Conky configurations available.

      • Cheese webcam gets some crazy new effects

        Take a peek at some crazy new video effects coming to the Cheese webcam tool in this video by GNOME developers Daniel Siegel & Andreas Nilsson.

    • Xfce

  • Distributions

    • ‘Tis the Season for Rolling Releases

      Yes, there must be something about this time of year that has made tongues more likely to wag and Linux bloggers more likely to think about daily updates. How else to explain the recent rash of rumors and discussions on the topic of release schedules for certain popular Linux distros?

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Has an Official Logo

        After months of careful consideration, lots of contributions, and a set process, the Mageia project has decided upon a logo. Some may find it a bit understated, while other may find it offensive. In any case, the new bubbling cauldron is it.

        There were so many beautiful entries in contention for the new face of Mageia, but this simple design prevailed. The winning entry was submitted by Olivier Faurax. He says of the winning logo, “The cauldron with bubbles could imply magic – not really a theme to attract most potential users. Or it could refer to the development process – a sort of inside joke, which wouldn’t be understood by most without explanation.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst to Speak at Economy Forum “The Road to Prosperity: Jobs for the Next Generation”
      • Red Hat: Making a Move, Up 2.6% (RHT)

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is one of today’s notable stocks on the rise, up 2.6% to $48.15.

      • Dell and Red Hat Strengthen their Partnership with RHEL 6.0

        Dell is proud to announce the launch of OEM support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 (RHEL 6) which is certified on 9G, 10G, and 11G Dell servers and is an excellent complement to Dell’s open standards-based strategy. RHEL 6 provides customers with a proven, scalable, manageable and reliable open standards-based operating system that delivers even more compelling reasons for customers to migrate off of proprietary, UNIX-based systems.

      • Red Hat Delivers New JBoss Business Rules Management System

        JBoss Enterprise BRMS 5.1 is the latest piece of the Red Hat open-source middleware portfolio, JBoss Enterprise Middleware, and the first new release of the JBoss BRMS since May 2009. The new release brings additional authoring and management tools for use by business analysts and developers, said Pierre Fricke, director of product line management for middleware at Red Hat, in an interview with eWEEK.

      • Fedora

        • Distro Hoppin`: Fedora 14

          I found Laughlin to be the most stable and solid version of Fedora I’ve tried in years.

        • Why automatically push to rawhide?

          One of the things that bothers me about Fedora development is that things automatically end up anywhere after being built. I’m a big believer in having to do something to put software in the hands of users, even if they are running a development distribution, and even if they should “be able to fix whatever breaks”. Today, if you build something in rawhide, it’ll land on user machines tomorrow (in the default case). This applies especially if you do a “known good” build and then do “just one more” before the early morning hours when the mirrors get updated with today’s version.

    • Debian Family

      • Making the Switch to Linux: Some Debian-based Recommendations

        Two years ago today my family made the switch from Windows to Ubuntu. This wasn’t an overnight decision, and it wasn’t without complications. At the time we only had one desktop in our home (now we have a couple of laptops as well) and I intended to set it up to dual-boot. Unfortunately, what I didn’t know was that the version of BIOS on the desktop didn’t recognize USB connections, so it wouldn’t respond to keystrokes from the USB keyboard. And no, there was no other type of port available. By late that evening a couple of years ago we were set up with Ubuntu 8.10 fully installed on our family desktop. Although I did install Windows in Virtualbox for my son’s games, other than that we’ve been an Ubuntu-only household since then.

      • SimplyMEPIS 11.0 Alpha TEST 4 Uploaded for Testing

        Alpha 4 is available. This is a test release not a production release. It is intended for MEPIS Testers only. The ISO files are: SimplyMEPIS-DVD-TEST_10.9.82_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-DVD-TEST_10.9.82_64.iso

      • Debian Project News – December 8th, 2010

        A new update for Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 “Lenny” has been released. Due to an issue with the preparation, the linux-2.6 packages included in this point release do not incorporate the security fixes released in DSA 2110-1. DSA 2126-1, which has just been released, includes the updates from both DSA 2110-1 and the linux-2.6 packages from this point release. All other recent security updates have been added as well as some fixes for critical issues. New CD and DVD images as well as update CDs and DVDs are available.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Video Of Current Unity

          Today I recorded a short screencast that showcases some of the excellent work going into Unity and that is available in the Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal developer version of Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu Unity Desktop Review

          A few days ago I decided to upgrade my desktop Ubuntu OS from 10.10(Maverick Meerkat) to 11.04(Natty Narwal) Alpha 1. Previous experience upgrading to such an early alpha release told me that this would be very risky and likely I would have to re-install back to the stable release. But after the lengthy upgrade process was completed(took a few hours because I had Gnome, KDE, and LXDE desktop environments previously installed), I successfully rebooted and was greeted with the familiar GDM login screen.

        • Looking at Ubuntu Brainstorm: Idea #25801

          The Ubuntu Technical Board is currently conducting a review of the top ten Brainstorm issues users have raised about Ubuntu, and Matt asked me to investigate Idea #25801: Help the user understand when closing a window does not terminate the app. In other words, figure out to signal to the user that an application will continue to run after all of its windows have been closed.

          This is more than a good idea, it’s an important gap in the usability of most of the desktop operating systems in widespread use today.

          It’s also come up in our user testing: Charline’s research on Unity identified a lack of feedback to users and she observed the same absence of good feedback in the Rythmbox interface, where Rhythmbox can continue running in the background, playing music, with no windows visible.

        • Ubuntu Certified To Linux Standard Base 4.0

          All the leading commercial Linux companies are certified to Linux Standard Base 4.0 (LSB 4.0), including Canonical, Kylin, Linpus, Mandriva, Neoshine, Novell, Oracle, Red Flag and Red Hat.

          The Linux Foundation has also released a beta of the LSB 4.1 and is soliciting feedback from the public. The official release of LSB 4.1 is expected in January. The LSB delivers interoperability between applications and the Linux operating system, allowing application developers to target multiple versions of Linux with just one software package. It also allows Linux vendors to demonstrate to their customers that they meet a common set of industry standards and that they work together as an industry on advancing Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Kinect-powered helicopter is completely autonomous

      Yes, this helicopter has a Kinect on board, one that’s connected to a Linux box.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Android Doesn’t Create Value For Us: Nokia

          Prepare yourself for an all new Nokia experience in 2011. Nokia’s Director of Design Strategy Marko Ahtisaari said that Nokia is planning to launch devices based on a completely new approach to its UI and will be built on Meego. But, Ahtisaari did not not to give any details about the devices which are awaiting us. Ahtisaari revealed this at the LeWeb conference in Paris.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Technology To Aid The Disabled

    The technology that drives the ‘wheel’ Mehta, an ex-employee of Siemens AG, is a vociferous supporter of open source platforms. He developed the tool, christened ‘Arpit’s Wheel’, using simple computing hardware and FOSS (free and open-source software) tools and frameworks, which later bagged him the Manthan Award in 2008 in the e-inclusion category.

  • Oracle

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD snapshots available: 8.2 and 9.0

      Kris Moore has announced two snapshots of PC-BSD work-in-progress: version 8.2 and 9.0. Any feedback (positive and/or constructive) is welcome on the Testing Mailinglist.


  • A personal blog post for December – Xmas is almost here!

    Firstly, my thoughts are with my online friend (and co-host of Techbytes) Gordon, who’s under the weather at the moment and hope for a speedy recovery, certainly if he is absent from the show its going to leave a gap which will be noticeable to all the kind people who tell us they enjoy listening. If Gordon is absent I hope you will stick with us until he returns.

  • 2010 Gift Guide for Storage Geeks
  • SME Server: Simple. Mature. Enterprise.
  • U.S. Arrests Online Seller Who Scared Customers

    The merchant, Vitaly Borker, 34, who operates a Web site called decormyeyes.com, was charged with one count each of mail fraud, wire fraud, making interstate threats and cyberstalking. The mail fraud and wire fraud charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The stalking and interstate threats charges carry a maximum sentence of five years.

  • DIY fabrication hits a new price point (maybe…)

    Pretty much every geek who has ever drawn breath lusts after a “Star Trek”-style replicator. The advent of 3D printing and CNC machines, such as the MakerBot, have started to make that dream a reality. They offer the DIY enthusiast the ability to create pretty much anything their minds can imagine (and render in a CAD program). But for all but the most devoted hardware hackers, the current price points — between $800 and $1,000 for 3D printers, around $600 for a CNC machine — are a little too high for comfort.

  • EXCLUSIVE: New Lawsuit Seeks to Expose Truth Behind ‘Catfish’
  • Science

    • Secret Space Plane Finally Lands; Twin Preps for Launch

      After 225 days in orbit the Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane touched down Friday at 1:16 a.m. local time at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. It was only the second fully automated re-entry and runway landing in the history of space flight. The Soviets achieved the first in 1988 with the robotic prototype of their Buran Space Shuttle clone.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Foie Gras: a Disease, Not a Delicacy

      It persuaded British department store Harvey Nichols to remove foie gras from its fancy restaurant menu.s

    • Roger Moore Wins Foie Gras Battle With Top British Store

      James Bond star Sir Roger Moore is celebrating after persuading bosses at a British department store to remove foie gras from their fancy restaurant menu.

      Harvey Nichols chiefs were urged to take action by the former 007 actor as part of his campaign against the delicacy on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Let’s Stop Panicking Over Half-Assed Terrorists Already

      Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab couldn’t manage to blow up a plane over Detroit last Christmas, kicking off a year’s worth of high-profile terror-fails. But that hasn’t stopped the U.S. government from freaking out — putting naked scanners in airports and groping passengers. Overreactions like that compelled one of its senior-most counterterrorism officials yesterday to implore the public not to hand al-Qaeda victories from the jaws of defeat.

    • US spooks illegally check your credit cards

      SPIES WORKING FOR THE JUNTA of revolting British colonialists in the Americas have started illegally monitoring credit cards.

      According to documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act, federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations. They have done all this without the nicety of getting a court order.

    • Some Sanity From Those In Power In The US Government, Concerning TSA Security & Wikileaks

      Similarly, Wired has an article highlighting how Michael Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, is speaking more reasonably about anti-terrorism efforts and security as well, noting (as we have in the past) that “perfect security” is an impossible goal that is, itself, damaging to security.

      He points out that the US appears to be playing right into Al Qaeda’s hands by playing up each failed terrorist attempt and then overreacting to it, noting that (like internet trolls), a better response might be to just ignore them publicly, while continuing to do things quietly on the back end to protect the country.

    • The War on Cameras

      Reinoehl denied the request, but Allison’s promise to record the proceedings apparently came through loud and clear. Just after he walked through the courthouse door the next day, Allison says Crawford County Circuit Court Judge Kimbara Harrell asked him whether he had a tape recorder in his pocket. He said yes. Harrell then asked him if it was turned on. Allison said it was. Harrell then informed the defendant that he was in violation of the Illinois wiretapping law, which makes it a Class 1 felony to record someone without his consent. “You violated my right to privacy,” the judge said.

    • A nude awakening — TSA and privacy

      The odds of dying on an airplane as a result of a terrorist hijacking are less than 1 in 25 million — which, for all intents and purposes, is effectively zero — according to Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    • UK govt demands an end to evidence-based drug policy

      A new proposal from the UK government will remove scientists from the advisory council that analyzes and makes recommendations on drug policy, and allow the home secretary to ignore the committee altogether and ban any substance for a year regardless of scientific evidence or advice.

    • “Going commando” on the TSA, redux: a kilt-wearer speaks

      So the big Thanksgiving airport opt-out opted-in after all. Widespread “regimental” kilt-wearing never materialized. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers were, by and large, spared a plague of True Scotsmen.

    • Homeland Security Gets Walmart To Tell You To Inform On Your Neighbors

      Sometimes you just wonder what folks in our government are thinking half the time. The latest is that Homeland Security, when it’s not busy seizing domains of hip hop blogs, is apparently on a campaign to enlist shoppers at Walmarts in a somewhat creepy attempt to get people to spy on their neighbors. The program is officially called “If You See Something, Say Something” which could be shortened to “Inform on Your Neighbors” if DHS is looking for efficiency.

  • Cablegate

    • Pakistani media publish fake WikiLeaks cables attacking India

      They read like the most extraordinary revelations. Citing the WikiLeaks cables, major Pakistani newspapers this morning carried stories that purported to detail eye-popping American assessments of India’s military and civilian leaders.

      According to the reports, US diplomats described senior Indian generals as vain, egotistical and genocidal; they said India’s government is secretly allied with Hindu fundamentalists; and they claimed Indian spies are covertly supporting Islamist militants in Pakistan’s tribal belt and Balochistan.

    • WikiLeaks supporters disrupt Visa and MasterCard sites in ‘Operation Payback’
    • UN rights boss concerned at targeting of WikiLeaks
    • Russia’s Putin raps West over Assange arrest
    • Why do I Support Wikileaks? Because I live in Africa!

      Living on a continent with such a chequered history of very repressive governments, I am fully aware of the importance of access to information by the everyday people.

    • Inside the mind of Julian Assange of Wikileaks!
    • Lieberman Introduces New Censorship Bill In Kneejerk Response To Wikileaks
    • Focus on the policy, not Wikileaks

      We may never know the whole story behind the recent publication of sensitive U.S. government documents by the Wikileaks organization, but we certainly can draw some important conclusions from the reaction of so many in government and media.

      At its core, the Wikileaks controversy serves as a diversion from the real issue of what our foreign policy should be. But the mainstream media, along with neoconservatives from both political parties, insist on asking the wrong question. When presented with embarrassing disclosures about U.S. spying and meddling, the policy that requires so much spying and meddling is not questioned. Instead, the media focus on how so much sensitive information could have been leaked, or how authorities might prosecute the publishers of such information.

    • Columbia University Reverses Anti-WikiLeaks Guidance

      Days after Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) caused an uproar by warning its students against linking to WikiLeaks or discussing the secret-spilling website’s latest cache of diplomatic cables online, the prestigious training ground for future diplomats has changed tack and embraced free speech.

      Last week, the SIPA Office of Career Services sent an e-mail to students saying that an alumnus who works at the U.S. State Department had recommended that current students not tweet or post links to WikiLeaks, which is in the process of releasing 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables — many of them classified — because doing so could hurt their career prospects in government service.

    • How US Copyright Expansionism Created The Infrastructure That Now Stymies US Gov’t In Stopping Wikileaks

      Glyn Moody points us to a blog post by Brendan Scott that lays out the basic fact that the distributed distribution tools that Wikileaks now relies on were mainly developed in response to constant copyright expansionism at the behest of the US government (on behalf of the entertainment industry).

    • Visa & MasterCard: KKK Is A-OK, But Wikileaks Is Wicked

      As Charles Arthur points out, the Ku Klux Klan’s website points you to a site that takes both MasterCard and Visa — suggesting the pure arbitrariness of both credit card companies’ decision here. It’s a bad idea when firms start making decisions for political reasons. There are all sorts of companies out there that take credit cards to support objectionable (to many) activities. Is it really the credit card companies’ job to pick and choose who they find objectionable to work with — and if so, what basis does it use for saying “KKK is okay, but Wikileaks is not”?

    • WikiLeaks cables: Pfizer used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout

      The world’s biggest pharmaceutical company hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in order to persuade him to drop legal action over a controversial drug trial involving children with meningitis, according to a leaked US embassy cable.

      Pfizer was sued by the Nigerian state and federal authorities, who claimed that children were harmed by a new antibiotic, Trovan, during the trial, which took place in the middle of a meningitis epidemic of unprecedented scale in Kano in the north of Nigeria in 1996.

    • Information is the Antidote to Fear: Wikileaks, the Law, and You

      Between the federal criminal investigation into Wikileaks, Senator Joe Lieberman’s calls for companies to stop providing support for Wikileaks and his suggestion that the New York Times itself should be criminally investigated, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed calling for prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and even the suggestion by some that he should be assassinated, a lot of people are scared and confused.

      Will I break the law if I host or mirror the US diplomatic cables that have been published by Wikileaks? If I view or download them? If I write a news story based on them? These are just a few of the questions we’ve been getting here at EFF, particularly in light of many US companies’ apparent fear to do any business with Wikileaks (with a few notable exceptions).

    • Wikipedia Editors Delete Article Listing WikiLeaks Mirror Sites

      Ever since whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks began its latest round of document releases, it has found opposition and support in various places. It has hopped around from server to server, had its bank account closed, watched as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard all shut down donations to the site, and even had an anonymous group of hackers retaliate in WikiLeaks’ name. One thing that keeps WikiLeaks going, however, is the simple fact that it has hundreds of mirror sites in different languages and locales.

      One such listing of these sites hosted on name-in-kind service Wikipedia has been deleted by the collaborative encyclopedia’s editors. Should we cry “Foul!” or is the deletion just more business as usual for the site?

    • NYT Reporter Defends Publishing WikiLeaks Cables

      Sanger is one of the Times reporters who sifted through the leaked WikiLeaks documents and has since written several articles about what the documents reveal about President Obama’s approach to diplomacy with Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, China and other nations.

      He explains that the newspaper’s editors and its lawyers had lengthy and deliberate conversations before deciding to publish some of the cables.

    • US State Department: ‘Assange must return stolen cables’

      US State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley has called for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to return the leaked US embassy cables, claiming they are “stolen property”.

    • Wikileaked: a foreign policy journal devoted to the Wikileaks releases

      Wikileaked is a new foreign policy journal that covers nothing but the stories emerging from Wikileaks’s leaks, including the latest batch of #cablegate leaks.

  • Finance

    • Running Backwards in the US Economy

      Oil is at 90 dollars a barrel. The governments of Europe, Japan, and the United States are saturated with debt. House prices in the US are falling again, and there’s no job growth in America. Put it all together, and for some reason, many are still imagining that we’re in an economic recovery.

      Today’s horrid jobs report contained some shock value in the sense that it missed expectations. But the novelty of a 39K print misses the larger point that, for a large population like the US, even a print of 100K or 125K would still be very bad news.

    • Take Action: Crack Down on the Wall Street Casino!
    • Ben Bernanke’s Secret Global Bank

      Thanks to tremendous public pressure and the recently-passed Wall Street reform bill, the U.S. Federal Reserve was forced to reveal the details of its emergency bailout of the financial sector for the first time yesterday. From a quick review of the data now available on the Federal Reserve website, we can see that the Fed took an expansive internationalist view of its role, prompting U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) to ask: “Has the Federal Reserve Become the Central Bank of the world?”


      Private foreign banks also received billions from the Fed in exchange for mortgage backed securities (MBS). The Fed created its MBS program in November 2008 and eventually paid out $1.25 trillion. These facts were known. What we did not know was that approximately half of these purchases were from overseas financial firms, including billions from Barclays Capital (U.K.), Credit Suisse (Switzerland), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Royal Bank of Scotland (England), UBS (Switzerland) and Nomura Securities (Japan). The numbers are huge. Duetsche Bank sold some $290 billion worth of MBS to the Fed.

    • Labor uses jobless to lean on Congress to extend unemployment benefits

      The AFL-CIO pressed lawmakers to extend a “lifeline” to unemployed workers by extending benefits for out-of-work Americans.

      The labor group pressed Congress to approve another extension of unemployment benefits by featuring a video depicting jobless workers.

      “Congress is debating whether to restore this survival aid,” the video says. “This is not a debate. The choice is clear.”

      The unemployment benefits expired Nov. 30 and have lapsed since then. Such a situation has played out several times this year due to legislative wrangling.

    • How to Balance the Budget Without Raising Taxes

      A value-added tax, a soda tax, a gas tax, banning earmarks, freezing a portion of federal spending at “pre-stimulus” levels – there’s no shortage of ideas being thrown out to fix the country’s disastrous balance sheet, which threatens not just near-term economic recovery but the possibility of long-term growth. Like last week’s report from the president’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, most of the current plans to fix the country’s finances rely more on increases in revenues than on cuts in spending. In part due to its heavy reliance on revenue hikes, the commission, charged with balancing the budget by 2020, failed to win enough votes of its own members to present its recommendations to Congress.

    • A Leaner Leviathan

      Before it began its work eight months ago, one of the main knocks against the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was that it could do no more than recommend changes to Congress. In the end, it could not even do that, falling three votes shy of the 14 needed to officially submit its plan for congressional consideration.

      Still, the commission’s report, which was endorsed on Friday by a bipartisan majority of 11 out of its 18 members, is well worth a look. In addition to suggesting some much-needed reforms, including changes to the budget process and simplification of the tax code, it clearly shows, despite its talk of “painful” choices, that eliminating the federal deficit and reining in the national debt does not require radical change. Which is too bad, because even if Congress implemented every cut suggested by the report, the federal government would still be far too big, rife with programs that are unnecessary, unconstitutional, or both.

    • Money For Nothing: Wall Street Borrowed From Fed At 0.0078 Percent

      For the lucky few on Wall Street, the Federal Reserve sure was sweet.

      Nine firms — five of them foreign — were able to borrow between $5.2 billion and $6.2 billion in U.S. government securities, which effectively act like cash on Wall Street, for four-week intervals while paying one-time fees that amounted to the minuscule rate of 0.0078 percent.

      That is not a typo.

      On 33 separate transactions, the lucky nine were able to borrow billions as part of a crisis-era Fed program that lent the securities, known as Treasuries, for 28-day chunks to the now-18 firms known as primary dealers that are empowered to trade with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The program, called the Term Securities Lending Facility, ensured that the firms had cash on hand to lend, invest and trade.

    • What Is Wrong With Cutting Taxes?

      I suggest you talk to the Greeks (now in the International Monetary Fund’s emergency ward) or the Portuguese (who are headed in that direction.) For that matter, listen to any policymaker in the European Union – they are all focused on bringing down deficits in a credible manner. And watch the European financial markets – people there are doubting and testing the fiscal credibility of all governments throughout the euro zone.

      In fact, try persuading any responsible policy analyst anywhere in the world outside the United States that cutting taxes in the United States from current levels will boost growth so much that the cut will pay for itself” and end up reducing or at least controlling the fiscal deficit (the proposition of the Laffer Curve). You will be met great skepticism.

    • Washington Rule Makers Out of the Shadows

      Federal rule makers, long the neglected stepchildren of Washington bureaucrats, suddenly find themselves at the center of power as they scramble to work out details of hundreds of sweeping financial and health care regulations that will ultimately affect most Americans.

    • AIG files plan to pay off debt to New York Fed, prepare for Treasury stock swap

      Regardless, officials seem increasingly certain that taxpayers will recoup their investment in AIG – an outcome that seemed highly unlikely last year, when the total government commitment to the troubled company peaked at more than $180 billion.

    • TARP Repayment and Legalized Counterfeiting

      The news outlets that insisted Congress approve TARP or world will end have been anxiously touting the prospect of repayments and possible profits for the taxpayers from one-time basket cases like Citigroup and AIG. It is worth noting that the question of the government showing a profit or loss on its loans to these companies has little to do with whether the bailout was a net benefit to taxpayers.

    • NY trustee seeks $1B from 7 international banks

      Seven global banking institutions enabled disgraced financier Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme by “creating and offering derivative investment products linked to various Madoff feeder funds,” a court-appointed trustee alleged Wednesday.

    • WH warns tax defeat could trigger new recession

      Raising the direst alarm yet, the Obama administration warned fellow Democrats on Wednesday that if they defeat the big tax-cut compromise detested by many liberals, they could jolt the nation back into recession.

    • State budgets and finances

      Spending Remains Lower than Pre-Recession Levels State general fund spending is forecast to rise 5.3 percent in fiscal 2011 as 35 states enacted a fiscal 2011 budget with general fund spending levels above those of fiscal 2010. However, declines of 7.3 percent and 3.8 percent in state general fund spending in fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2009 respectively mean that state general fund spending remains nearly $42 billion, or 6.2 percent below its fiscal 2008 level. The fiscal 2010 general fund spending decline of 7.3 percent is the largest decline in state spending in the history of this report. See chart below.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CPJ, OPC Need to Focus on Embattled U.S. Journalists

      A banquet of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) grossed $1.47 million at the Waldorf-Astoria Nov. 23 with the profits going to oppressed reporters and their families throughout the world.

      It is a noble effort supported by many blue chip corporate and media companies. Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, chaired the banquet. It was held on the first anniversary of the massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists, in the Philippines. A video commemorated the tragedy.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Russian Press And Pakistani Courts Apparently Have More Respect For Free Speech Than Joe Lieberman

      The first, via Glyn Moody is a long and interesting opinion piece in Pravda, of all places, pointing out the hypocrisy of the US government’s response to Wikileaks and comparing it to the government’s response to the release of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent. It also runs through a nice history of the US’s back-and-forth battle with free speech issues, such as with the Alien & Sedition Acts and the McCarthy era. It also highlights how the Wikileaks’ release shows evidence of the US government covering up all sorts of politically motivated acts.

    • Facebook revamp gives away even more info, warn pros

      The redesigned profile, launched earlier this week and due to be rolled out gradually over coming weeks, is designed to encourage punters to expose even more information about their day to day lives to the dominant social networking site, net security firm Sophos cautions.

    • Popular Websites Sniff Browser History, Researchers Find
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Smoked turkey company alleges that competitor infringed copyright in directions

      Happy Thanksgiving. I’m grateful for your continued support and interest in Internet Cases. It truly is a pleasure to write these posts and to get your feedback and engagement. And it’s also a pleasure to bring you news of this ultra-timely new copyright lawsuit.

    • Theft scribe picked for Intellectual Property review

      Five advisers have been appointed to Ian Hargreaves’ review into intellectual property growth, the IPO announced yesterday. Two of the choices may cause consternation among creators’ rights representatives.

      One is Scottish legal academic James Boyle, founding board member of Creative Commons, and co-author of two rabble-rousing comic books. One portrays Lawrence Lessig as the Statue of Liberty, the other Theft: Musical Borrowing from Plato to Hip-Hop, due to be published next year, portrays copyright holders as totalitarians.

    • Imitation is the highest form of flattery

      Looks like someone liked our authentic Ristretto for iPad so much that they decided to copy it. This email was forwarded to us by a customer in Norway. Can any of you translate it for us? Our best guess is that this product is made in somewhere in Asia (not Norway) though we don’t know for certain. Are we mad? Not really. We’re too busy designing the next generation of laptop bags — the copycats will just have to keep up with us.

    • The Dangers of COICA

      The entertainment industry’s newest legal tactic, the “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act,” (COICA), sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy, has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. While Senator Ron Wyden exercised his right to place a hold on pending legislation — which will stop the bill from traveling to the Senate floor immediately — proponents of COICA can (and most assuredly will) reintroduce the measure the next time Congress convenes in 2011.

    • Susan G. Komen Foundation Elbows Out Charities Over Use Of The Word ‘Cure’
    • Even IP Lawyer Trade Group Thinks Viacom Is Wrong About Its DMCA Interpretation

      As you might imagine, I rarely agree with the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) on its positions. While there are plenty of “IP” lawyers who I know well and talk to frequently — many of whom seem to agree with my position on things — it’s no secret that the belief that “IP is all good” and “more IP is better” tends to be a bit more common among such practitioners than the views in the other direction. In fact, if you asked me, I would have just assumed that the AIPLA was 100% behind Viacom in its lawsuit against Youtube/Google. So, consider me quite surprised that the main part of the AIPLA’s amicus brief in Viacom’s appeal of the YouTube case is actually siding with YouTube and saying that Viacom’s argument (as we’ve said) goes way too far.

    • Copyrights

      • State of the indy music industry looks rosy, so why all the doom-and-gloom about music?

        In other words, the music industry today is much less winner-take-all, with the benefits diffused to a larger pool of artists at the expense of the few who did so well under the old system. This is what I mean when I say a good copyright system is one that encourages the broadest-possible engagement in culture: more music, from more musicians, reaching more people, at more price-points, in more formats. It’s a win for free expression and for art, but it’s a loss for some artists and the institutions that supported them.

        I don’t celebrate those losses: it’s terrible to think of people who loved and lived for music losing their jobs (most of the people at labels aren’t greedy tools deciding to sue 40,000 music fans; greedy tool-dom is confined to a few powerful decisionmakers). It’s sad to think of the tiny pool of musicians who did so well taking a loss (though before we weep for them too much, remember that yesterday’s winners are well situated to get even richer from merch, performance and licensing, even without the archaic recorded music industry and its shiny bits of plastic).

      • Piracy Is Over Like The Web Is Dead

        This, of course, is pure nonsense. That isn’t the way royalties with modern day recording contracts work. Through the magic of recording label accounting, the average musician makes roughly $23 for every $1000 in music sold — and that’s only if they actually recoup, which is difficult to do, thanks to the way the record labels account for things. For those of you who share my math skills and don’t want to reach for a calculator, that’s barely 2%. Some of that result stems from necessary things the bands may need to spend on: managers, lawyers, taxes. But a good deal of it also comes from neat little, and sometimes recoupable, charges from the record label, things like independent radio promotion, tour support, roughly fifty percent of the music video costs, etc. Other times, the record labels flatout don’t pay the royalties from truly successful albums. Bottom line is, at the end of the day, record labels make money off of selling music, musicians do not.

      • Google Won’t Recommend Most Popular Searches If It Thinks It Might Sorta Have Something To Do With Piracy

        In the last few months, there’s been a growing movement by the entertainment industry to blame Google for “piracy.” One of the favorite talking points is the claim that Google is “profiting from piracy,” by linking people to sites that point people to unauthorized infringing copies of content, and then placing ads on those sites. Of course, this ignores the fact that the standard “pirate” out there isn’t exactly the sort of person who goes around clicking on ads either — and is probably a hell of a lot more likely to ignore the ads entirely or use something like Adblock. Either way, it seems like Google has decided to try to end this argument for the industry by announcing some basic changes in how it deals with copyright complaints.

      • New Zealand leak: US-style copyright rules are a bad deal

        Michael Geist writes in with new leaks relating to the New Zealand government’s deep skepticism about US pressure to change its copyright law. The US wants New Zealand to add protection for “technical protection measures” (also called TPMs, DRM, or digital locks). This would follow the US law that makes it illegal to jailbreak an iPad, rip a DVD, or move your Kindle or Sony ebooks to competing devices (interestingly, the US copyright office just suspended the restriction on jailbreaking iPhones for three years, having concluded that the US law that’s being pushed in NZ does more harm than good).

      • ACS:Law Take Alleged File-Sharers To Court – But Fail On a Grand Scale

        Andrew Crossley, owner of the now infamous anti-piracy lawfirm ACS:Law, has always insisted that he has no fear of taking contested file-sharing cases to court. Now it has emerged that he recently tried to get a court to issue default judgments against individuals who offered no defense, but the hearing failed on so many levels its difficult to know where to start. Nevertheless, we’ll have a go.

      • Judge to copyright troll: get lost
      • EFF Demands Copyright Troll Pay for Suing Democratic Underground

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation is demanding that the newspaper lawsuit factory Righthaven pay the EFF’s costs for its successful defense of the website Democratic Underground from one of Righthaven’s many copyright lawsuits.

      • MPAA to universities: curb piracy or lose federal funding

        The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has decided to mimic the efforts of its music industry counterpart and put pressure on universities to curb student piracy. The organization notified its partners this week that it would begin sending out letters to college and university presidents in the US “calling their attention” to the anti-infringement provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA). The letter—copied to the campus CIOs—asks universities to cut off infringing students or face potentially crippling consequences.

      • Righthaven now working with Media News, sues over Denver Post column

        Las Vegas-based newspaper copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC is now doing business with Media News Group and has sued a blogger for alleged copyright infringement involving a column from the Media News-owned Denver Post.

        An attorney for Righthaven filed the suit Thursday in federal court in Charleston, S.C. This appears to be the first lawsuit Righthaven has filed in a federal court outside of Nevada, where since March it has filed 179 copyright infringement lawsuits.

Clip of the Day

Big Explosion in Blender

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 9/12/2010: KDE SC 4.6 Beta 2, GCC 4.5.2 Release Candidate

Posted in News Roundup at 10:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Google

    • Not All Chrome Glisters

      Because Chrome OS is open source, it has been available for people to explore for some time, which means that it’s not really possible for any elements of it to be a surprise, rather deflating any attempt to launch it in the traditional sense. But in yesterday’s, er, confirmation, there were a number of new announcements separate from the underlying operating system.

  • Kernel Space

    • Speeding Up The Linux Kernel With Transparent Hugepage Support

      Last month we reported on the 200 line Linux kernel patch that does wonders for improving the desktop responsiveness of the system. There was certainly much interest (over 100,000 views to both of our YouTube videos demonstrating the change) but this patch really didn’t speed up the system per se but rather improved the desktop interactivity and reduced latency by creating task-groups per TTY so that the processes had more equal access to the CPU. There is though an entirely different patch-set now beginning to generate interest among early adopters that does improve the kernel performance itself in compute and memory intensive applications and it’s the Transparent Hugepage Support patch-set. Here are our initial tests of the latest kernel patches that will hopefully be finding their way into the mainline Linux kernel soon.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Comments On Its Linux Driver Architecture

        What Andy basically said is that they do have some plans for “larger scale architectural projects”, but there isn’t anything specific to mention or when we might see such changes. Some of these larger projects for the proprietary NVIDIA driver include improving video memory usage, rendering synchronization, and improving the window system interacitvity. Though due to the size of the NVIDIA Linux team, they are uncertain when such advancements may arrive.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE’s KOffice Forks Internally As The Calligra Suite

        The KDE community has announced the formation of the Calligra Suite, as a “continuation of the KOffice project” to reflect the larger KOffice package rather than just being an office and productivity suite. Calligra is meant to breath new life into the contained KDE programs after an unresolvable dispute by KOffice developers.

        Making up KDE’s Calligra Suite are productivity, management, and graphics applications. On the productivity side this includes Words (formerly KWord), Tables (formerly KSpread), Stage (formerly KPresenter), Flow (formerly Kivio), and Kexi. Calligra’s management application is Plan to replace KPlato and on the graphics side there is Krita and Karbon.

      • KDE Software Compilation 4.6 Beta 2

        Two weeks after the Thanksgiving Day release of KDE SC 4.6 Beta 1, the second beta is now here for this desktop environment update to be officially released next month. KDE SC 4.6 Beta 2 has fixed nearly 1,200 bugs while more than 1,300 bugs were reported in the past two weeks.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Unity: An Ancient African Word Meaning ‘Rocking’

          This is Unity running, and a recent addition is intellihide in the launcher. This is where the launcher will only show if a window is not obscuring it (just like in GNOME Do). As such, in the screenshot above we can see the launcher as Gwibber is a smaller window, but if I maximize Gwibber so it takes up the full space of the desktop, the launcher slides into the left of the screen so I can access the Gwibber window easily. To then access the launcher I just hover over the Ubuntu button and it slides into view. It looks and feels really fast and sleek. :-)

        • Mock up: Application overview in Unity

          Could Unity’s application over-view look better for Natty?

          Discussions currently taking place on the Ayatana mailing list certainly think so and the mock-up below is one such proposed solution.

        • Events are like Signals

          What do I mean by a Signal? If you’ve done any programming in Qt, GTK+ or even just used D-Bus you’ll probably already know exactly what I mean. They’re pretty much like good old fashioned UNIX signals too, except that they’re not predefined. If you’ve done programming in ObjectiveC, the analog is Notifications.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Corporate change: Contributing to open source

    About five years ago I was hired by a software company that specialized in database security. Some of our software was used to protect databases in military assets and major banks. But a lot of development was very remote from top-secret weapons or classified information. For example, we wrote a small command line utility for driving virtual machines for integration testing. It helped us eradicate failures during installs and upgrades. Was I going to have to write that again at my next job? How could I share it with my friends working at other organizations?

  • The State of Open Source

    This month’s Computing Now theme compiles a variety of articles that show the many current faces of open source. “Choosing an Open Source Software License in Commercial Context: A Managerial Perspective” provides some useful perspectives on how an enterprise should be aware of and properly use open source licensing (for both the components it might use in developing software and the release of software it produces). “Security in Open Source Web Content Management Systems” is an excellent overview (and reminder) about keeping up with plugging the known exploits in commonly used open source CMS tools. Don’t let the title of “Open Source Software Considerations for Law Enforcement” stop you from discovering principles, concepts, constraints, and ultimate uses of open source that are applicable to any organization. “Open Source Data Collection in the Developing World” is a wonderful article about an actual (and very influential) use of the Google Open Data Kit in saving lives in Africa. It might provide inspiration on how to solve data collection challenges you may be facing. If you’re looking for a strong overview of open source use outside of the US, “A Comparative Analysis of Open Source Software Usage in Germany, Brazil, and India” will give you a solid perspective on how three leading nations are employing open source in government, business, and education. “Commodification of Industrial Software: A Case for Open Source” provides some interesting theories, concepts, case studies, and visual models on how to properly value and employ open source in various business contexts. Lastly, “A Stage Model of Evolution for Open Source Software” discusses the 3 generations of open source evolution through the maturity curve (IEEE login is required to view the full text of this article). In addition to these articles, we’re providing a few links to open source sites to extend your research and learning on open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Who is Eating IE’s Lunch?

        When Chrome was launched, everybody termed it as Firefox killer (after all, Google used to fund Firefox development). But then, IE turns out to be the biggest loser. I decided to share Pluggd.in’s browser usage statistics and compared the current data with last year’s data (December 2009).

      • Please Participate in the “State of Mozilla” Survey

        Recently we posted our annual “State of Mozilla” which describes what we have been working on and plans for the immediate future. I want to make sure that the plans laid out in the State of Mozilla reflect and inspire the people who identify themselves with Mozilla and our mission. I am asking that you help me make sure of this.

  • Oracle

    • JCP Executive Committee loses independent Java expert

      Tim Peierls, one of two independent Java experts on the Java Community Process (JCP) Executive Committee (EC), has announced his resignation from the standardisation body. His decision to resign was taken shortly after the committee rubber stamped Oracle’s plans for the forthcoming Java 6 and Java 7. Peierls’ vote was one of three to oppose Oracle’s proposal. Google, the Apache Software Foundation and Peierls all voted against, in response to Oracle imposing restrictions on the availability of Test Compatibility Kits (TCKs) for Java.

  • Education

    • Why can’t Penguins enter Federica square?

      In 2008 the Linux User Group of Naples had already defined Free Software in the Federico II University “a missed opportunity”, because “students are forced to buy expensive proprietary software and… there are online service like the ESIS exam booking website that are only accessible with Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer… A partial compensation is given by the academic tradition of the CSI (the University ICT service) of adopting Free Software for the main University services” (Note from Marco: that’s good, even if in November 2010 the CSI still called “Free Software” what is simply gratis proprietary software from Microsoft, while we all know that Free is about freedom, not price).

      In 2010, according to a press release issued on March 13th, 2009 “inside the Federica Campus visitors are free to stroll around the tridimensional spaces of the virtual University”.

    • Jeff Mao and Bob McIntire from the Maine Department of Education: Open Education and Policy

      Maine has been a leader in adopting educational technology in support of its students. In 2002, through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), the state began providing laptops to all students in grades 7-8 in a one-to-one laptop program. In 2009, Maine expanded the project to high school students. The one-to-one laptops paved the way for open education initiatives like Vital Signs, empowering students to conduct their own field research in collaboration with local scientists, and make that research available online. Recently, Maine has been engaged in some interesting and innovative projects around OER as a result of federal grant funds. For this installment of our series on open education and policy, we spoke with Jeff Mao and Bob McIntire from the Maine Department of Education. Jeff is Learning Technology Policy Director at MLTI, and Bob works for the Department’s Adult & Community Education team.

  • Project Releases

    • GCC 4.5.2 Is Near With A Release Candidate

      While GCC 4.6 is nearing release, Ubuntu 11.04, Fedora 15, and other H1’2011 Linux distributions will continue shipping with GCC 4.5, which was released in April and so far has been succeeded by just one point release. A second point release, GCC 4.5.2, is however being prepared for release shortly.

    • Python 3.2 eases concurrent development

      The next version of the widely used Python programming language will offer greater support for writing multithreaded applications, a challenging duty for an increasing number of programmers in this age of multicore processors.

      This week, the developers behind Python have released the first beta version of the 3.2 version of the language. For this version, they have concentrated on bug fixes and general improvements while maintaining the language syntax and semantics defined in Python 3.0.

    • Java SE 7 and SE 8 specs move forward amid protest

      Official specifications for upcoming releases of Java have been approved by an executive committee of the JCP (Java Committee Process), although the votes were not unanimous.

  • Programming

    • Software CEOs talking fluent dork: its the developers, stupid. New Kingmakers

      Apart from conflating Ruby on Rails the development framework with Ruby the programming language, something which many Ruby developers hate, but which its easy to slip into (so easy i slipped into it yesterday) Benioff was clearly not talking the language of the line of business, but rather of technology.


  • The Internet’s IPv4’s Clock is Ticking Down

    We all know that the Internet’s supply of Ipv4 addresses is running ever lower. What you may not know is that IPv4 exhaustion, when we’re completely out of available IPv4 addresses, is approaching even faster than the experts expected.

  • Verizon launches IPv6 transition services

    Verizon’s professional services arm has introduced a service to convert networks to IPv6, anticipating that large organizations will soon need help with such projects.

  • Kindle for the Web: Sounds Like…The Web, Only For a Fee

    Amazon’s Kindle books will soon be readable as content embedded on Web pages and Web page publishers will be able to land affiliate fees for Kindle books they sell to their own audiences, the company announced today.

    You too can now pay $9.99 to read text on a Web page, in Amazon’s proprietary format, with the graphically limited format of a printed text-only book of yore. Sure, your bookmarks and notes will carry over from the Web pages you’re reading on to other devices – but could that possibly be enough to warrant paying for Web-embedded eBooks? I don’t think so. Once it hits the Web, premium content is only sellable because of scarcity or a superior user experience. I don’t see either of those being true in this case.

  • Chinese Nobel boycott divides EU’s ‘inner circle’

    EU candidate country Serbia and four other nations on the Union’s periphery – Ukraine, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco – have disappointed the European Commission by deciding to boycott a ceremony awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

  • Pew Research: 8% of US adult Internet users are on Twitter, 2% use it daily

    In “the first-ever survey reading from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project that exclusively examines Twitter users,” the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has found that 8% of US adults that use the Internet use Twitter.

    The survey found that Twitter users are more likely to be young (18-29), African-American or Latino (“twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users”) and are twice as likely to be urbanites. Women and college-educated are also slightly more likely than average to be using Twitter.

  • Science

    • Republican Congressmen Crowdsource Attack on Science

      Under the guise of keeping federal spending under control, Republican congressmen have launched yet another attack on the basic scientific research that could lead to useful, potentially job-creating discoveries.

      House majority leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) announced last week that the YouCut Citizen Review, a crowdsourcing tool for identifying “wasteful spending that should be cut,” would make its very first target the National Science Foundation.

      One would expect science-targeting politicians to have learned caution from Sarah Palin’s fruit-fly debacle, in which the 2008 vice presidential candidate mocked the methodology of research into neurological disorders like Down syndrome and autism, both of which afflict members of her family.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Over a million EU citizens finally have their say on GM crops

      Can you imagine how it feels to cross the finishing line of a marathon race… the smile, the thrill, the excitement, the urge to hug the fellows athletes, and also the exhaustion, the feeling of just sitting down to take several breaths before articulating a word? Well, this is exactly how I feel because we just finished an amazing race to get 1 million people calling for safe food and stopping genetically modified (GM) crops in the EU. But this is not your average petition. For the first time we’re using our citizens rights under the EU Lisbon Treaty.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • ‘Witness Management’ training for Special Constables

      The most interesting thing I learned that day was that if we had to hit anyone with an asp (a metal extendable baton which is more commonly used than the side-handled batons) it was best to do it as hard as possible on the first occasion, as repeated strikes “look bad on YouTube”.

    • Khloe Kardashian: TSA Screenings Are Like ‘Raping You in Public’

      She’s not the only bargain basement celebrity to seek some sort of currency from the whole TSA body scanning thing. Former Baywatch meat model Donna D’errico claims she was subjected to a full-body scan simply because she is attractive, and that agents were laughing and whispering as she went through. Which, if that happened, it is awful and those employees should be fired. If D’errico is just exaggerating for an excuse to bring attention to how pretty she is, well she was fired by the court of public opinion many years ago, so who really cares.

    • FBI plant banned by mosque – because he was too extreme

      The spying game wasn’t all it was cracked up to be for Craig Monteilh, a convicted criminal recruited by the FBI to investigate the march of radical Islam into Southern California. His endless talk of violent “jihad” so alarmed worshippers at the local mosque, that they took out a restraining order against him.

    • Met Requests For Oyster Data At Record Levels

      The number of requests from the Metropolitan Police for Oyster data have reached new highs this year, according to the Green Party. As any good tinfoil-hatter knows, this data can be used to track an individual’s movements and while it’s great for catching criminals and those seemingly omnipresent terrorists, concerns have been raised over the passing of sensitive data.

  • Cablegate

    • PayPal Releases Funds to WikiLeaks as Supporters Strike Back

      The release of funds follows a number of denial-of-service attacks earlier this week that were aimed at the document-leaking site’s providers. Most of the providers are now refusing to work with WikiLeaks after the U.S. government accused it of being in possession of documents that were provided in violation of U.S. law.

    • Facebook and Twitter Slam the Door on Would-Be WikiLeaks Avengers

      Both Facebook and Twitter have closed accounts corresponding to Anonymous, a formerly 4chan-linked group organizing a string of DDoS attacks on organizations that refuse to work with WikiLeaks.

    • Wikileaks Has Committed No Crime

      Since August, when Wikileaks first published 91,000 classified documents relating to the Afghanistan War, and in October, when they published approximately 400,000 more relating to the War in Iraq, many conservative commentators have been clamoring for the Justice Department to prosecute Wikileaks for publishing classified information.

      But in the United States, generally publishing classified information is not a crime.

    • I am Julian Assange

      I want information so that I can hold my government accountable. If my country acts improperly and in my name, I want the proof. I want to know if there actually is no evidence proving weapons of mass destruction. I want to know if America is working with Israel to overthrow Iran’s leadership. I want data that has not been spun by reporters that work for publishers and broadcasters with political and business goals that conflict with the facts. I want to know.
      I am Julian Assange because I know unfettered information is valuable to democracy and a peaceful world. I can make the best decisions with the most knowledge. I can vote for the best candidates. I can support the smartest policies to help my country and the world. I am not naïve; I know that not every operation can be transparent but I have a right to know its outcome and how it has affected my country and me.
      I do not believe Julian Assange has done anything wrong. The cables that have been published have all been printed in newspapers and redacted to protect individuals at risk. I do not want my country to prosecute a man whose actions are changing the way we get information and how we make critical decisions. I now know that my president and my country’s military have not been honest about the war in Afghanistan. I know that my country has killed civilians and that we have refused to acknowledge our mistakes. I have learned that our allies are secretly consorting with our enemies.

    • 4chan rushes to WikiLeaks’ defense, forces Swiss banking site offline
    • Tom Flanagan and Ezra Levant

      Also calling for an assassination? Mr. Evangelical, Mike Huckabee! Oh, and of course Sarah Palin.

    • Why WikiLeaks Is Winning Its Info War

      There was a time when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s voluntary surrender to the British authorities might have put an end to the crisis created by the Internet provocateur’s dissemination of tens of thousands of state secrets. But in the upside-down world of transnational crowdsourcing unleashed by WikiLeaks, in which thousands of activists around the globe can be rallied to defend and extend its work, Assange’s arrest is a win, not a loss, for his organization.

    • PayPal Busted for Bogus Wikileaks Excuse

      Facing a booing crowd in Europe, a PayPal executive tried to explain why his company blocked donations to Wikileaks. He cited a letter from the State Department calling the secrets-sharing site illegal. Sadly for him, no such letter exists.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Lockerbie bomber freed after Gaddafi’s ‘thuggish’ threats

      The British government’s deep fears that Libya would take “harsh and immediate” action against UK interests if the convicted Lockerbie bomber died in a Scottish prison are revealed in secret US embassy cables which show London’s full support for the early release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

      Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, made explicit and “thuggish” threats to halt all trade deals with Britain and harass embassy staff if Megrahi remained in jail, the cables show. At the same time “a parade of treats” was offered by Libya to the Scottish devolved administration if it agreed to let him go, though the cable says they were turned down.

    • Libya made threats to U.K. over Lockerbie bomber: WikiLeaks

      Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi threatened to cut trade with Britain and warned of “enormous repercussions” if the Lockerbie bomber died in jail, Britain’s Guardian newspaper said on Wednesday, citing U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

    • Meet The New Public Face Of WikiLeaks: Kristinn Hrafnsson

      But there’s a second spokesperson for WikiLeaks who has been coming into the spotlight over the last few months: Icelandic investigative journalist and WikiLeaks staffer Kristinn Hrafnsson. Hrafnsson has been working with the whistleblowing group since April, and as Assange has become more reclusive and had his travel restricted by legal threats, Hrafnsson has become an increasingly visible spokesperson.

    • Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy; “To destroy this invisible government”
    • Defend WikiLeaks or lose free speech

      Journalists cover wars by not taking sides. But when the war is on free speech itself, neutrality is no longer an option.

      The WikiLeaks releases are a pivotal moment in the future of journalism. They raise any number of ethical and legal issues for journalists, but one is becoming paramount.

      As I said last week, and feel obliged to say again today, our government — and its allies, willing or coerced, in foreign governments and corporations — are waging a powerful war against freedom of speech.

    • IRONY: “You’re either with us, or you’re with WikiLeaks”

      Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the intrepid young reporters working for The Washington Post when they broke the Watergate scandal which brought down the Nixon administration.

    • The Internet Society on the Wikileaks issue

      This further underscores that the removal of a domain is an ineffective tool to suppress communication, merely serving to undermine the integrity of the global Internet and its operation.

    • Diplomatic Source Code

      What Wikileaks has done is provide us with plenty of examples where the political and corporate elite will do anything and everything to maintain the status quo. We see various suspicious compiled binary announcements from companies who claim to spot “Wikileaks broke the terms and conditions of our product or service”. What we do not see is the source code, which many rightly suspect to include calls from US officials threatening everything from tax audits, blacklists from governmentt circles and contracts, being painted as “unpatriotic” to lose them money from “patriotic” consumers and so on. Those same companies like to claim on one had that they do not judge their clients, while several have deemed Wikileaks guilty without any trial. Both Mastercard and Visa happily allow the KKK as customers, but not Wikileaks for example.

      Given how governments and corporations are desperately trying to silence and smear Wikileaks, it simply adds fuel to the fire, it spreads the motivation of free thinking people around the world to stand up and defend what Wikileaks is doing against it’s detractors. Whilst I do not agree 100% with everything Wikileaks put out, I am 100% behind the need for them and others like them to exist. They are playing the role that the news outlets are supposed to play and all too often fail miserably at.

    • Canadian firm caught up in Wiki wars
    • They got the wrong person

      Then there are many war criminals who ought to be in jail and who are not. Most prominent of these are Bush, Blair, Cheney, Straw and their crew.

    • True to its word, WikiLeaks releases more cables despite founder’s arrest

      WikiLeaks shrugged off the jailing of its founder by publishing a new tranche of secret diplomatic cables on Wednesday, heaping more embarrassment on the United States and some of its closest allies.

      After Julian Assange spent his first night behind bars as a remand prisoner in London, his website revealed Washington had branded Australia’s ex-premier Kevin Rudd as a “mistake-prone control freak” and that the British government was relieved when its Scottish counterparts freed the Lockerbie bomber.

    • Does WikiLeaks damage the brand image of wikis?

      Instead, I want to explore the impact that the WikiLeaks brand name is having/will have on brands closely identifying with the word “wiki”, and analyze whether WikiLeaks will impact the acceptance of collaboration and transparency initiatives within corporations.

    • Are we starting a full-out war on the Internet?

      I watch my friends root for the attackers and think this is the way wars always begin. The “fighting the good fight” spirit. Let’s go over there and show them who we are. Let’s make a symbolic statement. By the time the war is underway, we won’t remember any of that. We will wonder how we could have been so naive to think that war was something wonderful or glorious. People don’t necessarily think of wars being fought on the net and over the net, but new technology comes to war all the time, and one side often doesn’t understand.

    • What Is LOIC?

      LOIC (“Low Orbit Ion Cannon”) is an application developed by 4Chan-affiliated hackers designed to—when used en masse by thousands of anonymous users—launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on websites. Like Visa.com and Mastercard.com, for instance.

    • Pundit calls for development of magical anti-Wikileaks computer virus

      It’s hard to even begin to summarize coverage on Wikileaks-related stuff today. But if you read one thing, read Marc Thiessen’s fresh item at the Washington Post.

    • PayPal VP On Blocking WikiLeaks: State Department Said It Was Illegal

      Bedier also said that PayPal’s decision was influenced by the fact that the State Department deemed WikiLeaks illegal in a letter sent on November 27th, a statement that was not followed up on by Yiannopoulos. It is still unclear what exact US laws WikiLeaks is breaking.

    • Woman felt threatened by Flanagan email

      A Toronto woman says she felt threatened by an email she says she got from a former Stephen Harper adviser concerning WikiLeaks.

      Janet Reymond says she was “outraged” after Tom Flanagan recently suggested the founder of WikiLeaks should be killed.

      Flanagan, now a University of Calgary professor, has since apologized, but Calgary police are investigating the comment.

    • Feds hint at charges for WikiLeaks’ Assange

      The U.S. government indicated today that WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange could be in legal jeopardy for disclosing classified information because he is “not a journalist.”

      When asked whether “traditional media” organizations that republish secret documents could be prosecuted, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that the administration applauds “the role of journalists in your daily pursuits.”

    • Join EFF in Standing up Against Internet Censorship

      Over the past few weeks, we here at EFF have watched as whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has fueled an emotionally charged debate about the secrecy of government information and the people’s right to know. We have welcomed this debate, and the fact that there have been myriad views is the embodiment of the freedom of expression upon which this country was founded.

    • WikiLeaks: Moving Target

      If nothing else, the massive amounts of traffic they are attracting, and the efforts of actors unknown to shut them down, have created a unique laboratory for studying Internet resilience.

    • US declares Wikileaks off-limits to government researchers

      The US government is clamping down on scientists’ ability to discuss and surf freely as part of its response to the release of classified cables by Wikileaks.

      Today at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, moderators who run an environmental science discussion group called Coral-List have begun deleting any posts that make reference to Wikileak documents. On Friday, at Fermilab in Chicago, access to Wikileaks was blocked by the IT department to “help prevent someone from inadvertently downloading a classified document to a machine on our network” The same day at NASA, employees were told not to use their computers to download information from Wikileaks.

    • ‘Dangerous precedent’ set over Wikileaks ban
    • Why Wouldn’t Google Mirror Wikileaks?

      Consider: Your mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.” You thumbed your nose at Wall Street, and you proved them wrong. You’ve stood up to the entire media industry by purchasing YouTube and defending fair use in the face of extraordinary pressure. You’ve done the same with the political and economic giant that is China*. And you’re hanging the entirety of your defense against European monopoly charges on the premise of free speech.

      So why not take a bold step, and stand with Wikileaks? The world’s largest Internet company taking a clear stand would be huge news, and it’d call the bloviating bluff of all the politicians acting out of fear of embarrassment, or worse. The Wikileaks story may well be, as pointed out by many, the most important and defining story of the Internet age.

    • How State Dept. Knowingly Put People At Risk

      Below is the text of the U.S. State Department’s letter to Wikileaks’ attorney – which includes/groups Wikileaks’ founder (or the well known of its founders) Julian Assange, together with his attorney Jennifer Robinson. The mere act of treating attorney and client together as one (guilty) party, according to international law, is subject itself to legal ramifications. Good job State Department. You’re nothing if not consistent – and we know this from the cables don’t we?

    • Silencing Wikileaks is silencing the press

      Silencing Mastercard.com with pingfloods or malware isn’t going to do much to advance the cause of liberating those who would be silenced. But what exactly should be done? Normally I’d dismiss tweets describing this as “the world’s first great infowar” as hyperbole. But this time, everything really does feel unprecedented.

    • Wikileaks FAQ

      According to the Associated Press, Wikileaks gave four news organizations (Le Monde, El Pais, The Guardian and Der Spiegel) all 251,287 classified documents.

    • Report: Wikileaks cables show Texas company “helped pimp little boys to stoned Afghan cops”

      In the Houston Press, an extensive blog post untangling an alarming story from the state department cables: “another horrific taxpayer-funded sex scandal for DynCorp, the private security contractor tasked with training the Afghan police,” and apparent proof that the company procured male children for bacha bazi (“boy-play”) parties.

    • Berkeley Considers Honoring Private Suspected In WikiLeaks Case

      Berkeley City Council members are considering a resolution that would declare the Army private suspected of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks a hero and call for his release.

      The council is expected to vote on the resolution in support of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is being held in a military brig, on Tuesday.

      It has already been approved by the city’s Peace and Justice Commission.

      Bob Meola, the peace and justice commissioner who authored the resolution, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that Manning is a patriot and should get a medal.

    • Julian Assange extradition attempt an uphill struggle, says specialist

      A former extradition specialist for the Crown Prosecution Service today predicted it would be “very difficult” for Sweden to get the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, sent back to face sexual assault allegations.

      Raj Joshi, a former head of the European and International Division at the CPS, said Sweden’s lack of a formal criminal charge against Assange increased his lawyers’ chances of success in blocking the extradition attempt.

      Assange’s lawyers are scheduled to visit him tomorrow in prison for the first time since he was jailed on remand yesterday after Sweden requested his extradition.

    • So WikiLeaks Is Evil For Releasing Documents… But DynCorp Gets A Pass For Pimping Young Boys To Afghan Cops?

      One refrain we keep hearing against Wikileaks is that the cable releases aren’t really “whistleblowing,” because they’re not really revealing anything. However, it seems like each day there’s another big revelation of rather horrible things being done (and covered up) by the US government. The latest, pointed out by Boing Boing, involves a report from a cable that US-based private security contractor DynCorp, who was hired by the US to train Afghani police, was apparently supplying drugs and young boys for a sort of sex party.

      The details are horrifying. The Afghani interior minister apparently went to US officials to warn them that reporters were sniffing around this story, and urged them to try to kill the story. He specifically warned that this would look bad if the connection to DynCorp was made clear (he called them “foreign mentors”). Apparently, US diplomats told him not to worry, and the eventual story was in fact watered down greatly (until now, of course) calling the whole thing a “tribal dance,” rather than a party where young boys wear “scanty women’s clothes” and “dance seductively” before being “auctioned off to the highest bidder” for sex.

    • Assange accuser may have ceased

      Anna Ardin, one of the two complainants in the rape and sexual assault case against WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, has left Sweden, and may have ceased actively co-operating with the Swedish prosecution service and her own lawyer, sources in Sweden told Crikey today.

    • Why Leaks Are Scary

      Leaks hurt. Truth hurts, too. But always bother to check who it hurts the most. Therein lies the answer regarding the ethics of a leak.

    • WikiLeaks

      1. Encryption isn’t the issue here. Of course the cables were encrypted, for transmission. Then they were received and decrypted, and — so it seems — put into an archive on SIPRNet, where lots of people had access to them.

      2. Secrets are only as secure as the least trusted person who knows them. The more people who know a secret, the more likely it is to be made public.

      3. I’m not surprised that these cables were available to so many people. We know that access control is hard, and that it’s impossible to know beforehand what information someone will need to do their job. What is surprising is that there wasn’t any audit logs kept about who accessed all these cables. That seems like a no-brainer.

    • UN rapporteur says Assange shouldn’t be prosecuted

      The United Nations representative for freedom of opinion and expression says he is now working on a new report on free speech and the internet.

      Frank La Rue says he doesn’t think that the United States Government will be able to make a case against Julian Assange. But he warns it would set a very bad example for free speech if it did take action against him.

    • Lawyers demand protection for Assange

      THE Australian lawyer for WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange has written to Attorney-General Robert McClelland asking him to take formal action against prominent North American figures calling for Mr Assange to be harmed.

    • Parsing the impact of Anonymous

      The current chapter in the WikiLeaks saga has finally forced me to come out of my blogging semi-retirement! While I’m still trying to make sense of everything that has happened in the last ten days, here are some analytical notes on Anonymous and the challenges facing the Obama administratio as it mulls an appropriate response to WikiLeaks.

      The impact of the recent wave of cyber-attacks launched by Anonymous on a handful of companies that dropped WikiLeaks as their client – Amazon, EveryDNS, MasterCard, Visa and others – is hard to gauge. I’m certain these attacks won’t make any of these firms to reconside, strike peace with WikiLeaks, and offer them some vouchers in compensation. But could the attacks serve as a deterrent to other firms that have been considering dropping WikiLeaks?

    • Stop the crackdown on WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks has not been charged with a crime related to the release of documents, yet the site’s access to the Internet has been disrupted and major efforts are underway to block credit card processing of donations to keep the site running.

      Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called WikiLeaks a terrorist organization. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a leading Democrat, has proposed that Julian Assange be prosecuted under the Espionage Act — potentially setting a precedent that could expose any journalist working on national security to a credible threat of imprisonment.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate pledges are 9 gigatonnes short

      The “gigatonne gap” looms large as UN climate talks in Cancún, Mexico, enter their final days without new commitments from big polluters to cut their carbon dioxide emissions. A five to nine-gigatonne gap, to be precise. That is the gap between what has been pledged and what is needed to avoid dangerous global warming.

      To keep the world on track to cap global warming at under 2 °C by mid-century, rising CO2 emissions should be kept below 44 gigatonnes a year in 2020, more than a third higher than today. But the UN Environment Programme warned here today that current national pledges would leave 2020 emissions anywhere between 5 and 9 gigatonnes too high.

  • Finance

    • Want To Know Why Visa & Mastercard Cut Off Wikileaks? Because Its Latest Leak Was About Them…

      Visa’s slogan used to be “Everywhere you want to be,” but apparently one place it did not want to be was on Wikileaks. We’ve already covered how both Visa and MasterCard cut off Wikileaks quite quickly, with MasterCard even going so far as to claim that it did so because of illegal activity by Wikileaks — despite no charges or convictions for any actual illegal activity.

    • Daily Show: The Big Bank Theory

      Americans outsmart themselves with fancy security measures to the point where their money is committing suicide on the press.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Hyperlink libel fears heard by top court

      “Hyperlinks are vital to the expression and use of the internet,” said Harvey Delaney, one of two lawyers representing the respondent in the case, B.C. resident Jon Newton.

    • Brazil’s largest newspaper sues independent blog and begins a new era of censorship

      As we saw during Obama’s election and in others all over Europe, the internet also developed an important role during the 2010 presidential campaign in Brazil, which culminated in the election of President Lula’s candidate Dilma Roussef. While most blogs gave support to left-wing candidate Roussef, most TV networks, radios, newspapers and magazines took the side of the José Serra and his strong political-religious-didactic conservative coalition (who ended up losing the election). If there were any questions about the importance of the internet in Brazil, it is undeniable as of November 24th 2009, when Lula gave, to blogs only, the first online interview in the history of the Brazilian presidency, in a demonstration of respect for the important contrast that they had created against the traditional press.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Google To Make Video Services More Annoying After Buying DRM Company?

      You would think that the folks over at Google would know by now what a joke DRM is — especially after the company’s disastrous foray into server-based DRM on its original Google Video platform that required users to “check in” before they could watch videos they thought they had “purchased.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Wikileaks Cable Shows US Involvement in Swedish Anti-Piracy Efforts

        A yet to be released cable from the US Embassy in Stockholm will reveal that the United States Government was very concerned about file-sharing related issues in Sweden. The US Embassy actively worked with the Swedish authorities to reduce file-sharing related threats, which included The Pirate Bay which was raided in 2006 following US pressure.

      • ACS:Law come unstuck

        Default judgment is a speedy way for claimants to obtain judgment without a trial. In most cases a defendant served with a claim form and particulars of claim is supposed to acknowledge service and then file a defence. If not acknowledgement or defence is forthcoming the claimant can ask the court to give it judgment in default.

        This is where ACS:Law start to come unstuck. In 3 of the cases a defence had been filed in court. So default judgment does not apply. In a further 3 of the cases there was no evidence on the court file that the claim form and particulars of claim had been served on the defendant. It is ordinarily the court’s job to serve these documents, but there’s no presumption that it has. In my practice I have come across situations where some administrative mistake has been made and the court has failed to do so. Whatever the reason, it is bad practice to issue requests for default judgment without checking with the court that no defence has been filed. A slap on the wrist for ACS:Law in my view. As the judge said “The requests for judgment should never have been filed.”

      • Truly Decentralized BitTorrent Downloading Has Finally Arrived

        BitTorrent is a great technology to share files both quickly and efficiently, but like all other P2P-technologies it has an Achilles’ heel. The download process relies in part on central servers that can crash or go offline for a variety of reasons. To address this vulnerability the first truly decentralized BitTorrent/P2P client has been developed, meaning that no central trackers, or even BitTorrent search engines are required to download movies, software and music.

      • MPAA Reminding Universities They Need To Crack Down On File Sharing — Leaves Out How It Lied To Get The Law Passed

        Back in 2008, we wrote about how the MPAA convinced Congress to pass legislation to make colleges and universities responsible for reducing copyright infringement on campus or lose federal funding. The law was really a trial run of sorts — an attempt to see how this could work for making ISPs responsible. Of course, in order to get the law passed, the MPAA flat out lied. It made up numbers, saying that 44% of “losses” from file sharing came from college campuses. This number was so ridiculously wrong that the MPAA later claimed “human error” before saying the number was really 15%. But even that was dubious — and when the GAO asked the MPAA to support these numbers, the MPAA refused to provide the data. Pretty telling.

Clip of the Day

Rooted NOOKcolor with FDroid / FOSS

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 8/12/2010: GNU/Linux Hits 5% Market Share in W3schools, Tour of Diaspora

Posted in News Roundup at 6:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • W3schools: Linux hits 5% OS market share in November

    According to their visitor stats Linux now commands 5% of the Operating System market – the first time it has ever reached this milestone since w3schools records began seven years ago.

    This figure compounds the previous three months which saw Linux got from a market-share high of 4.9% in August only to fall back to 4.6% in September.

  • Linux and Windows Integration

    Some good advantages that I found in Virtual Box are the following:

    VirtualBox 3 is a desktop virtual machine application using a “Type 2″ hypervisor that requires a compatible host operating system (Linux, Windows, Macintosh, or OpenSolaris) and computer hardware based on x86 or AMD64/Intel64 to function
    The installation of Virtual Box is pretty straightforward, but there are a few issues that I will describe later.
    You can easily install many different Operating systems and the performance is pretty good. You can read a list of the supported Operating Systems at virtualbox.org/
    Creating a VM is fast and easy, thanks to a VM creation wizard that takes you step-by-step through creating your guest VM.

  • Userful Corporation: Introducing the $59 Linux Desktop Computer — Userful MultiSeat

    Userful Corporation, the global leader in Linux desktop virtualization, has released Userful MultiSeat 4.0, software which turns one Linux computer into 11 high performance independent computer stations using standard USB devices such as the HP t100, Wyse E01, MCT MWS 8820, and DisplayLink devices. Userful MultiSeat enables schools and businesses to deploy more than twice as many computers for the same cost, while enabling up to 11 users to use different applications at the same time from one host computer, each with their own monitor, keyboard, and mouse. At just $59 per seat (education pricing), Userful MultiSeat is the lowest cost computing solution available with the features and performance of a full desktop computer.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • An update on Chrome, the Web Store and Chrome OS

      On the Chrome team, we’re constantly amazed by the speed of innovation on the web. We designed Chrome to make the web shine, and we hope our upcoming efforts will help support this vibrant ecosystem even more. By making the web faster, helping people discover great apps, and making computers more fun to use, the next year of computing should be even more exciting than the last one.

    • A New Crankshaft for V8
    • Google unveils Cr-48, the first Chrome OS laptop

      We’ve had plenty of pre-knowledge on this, but surprisingly this is our first actual glimpse of Google’s new unbranded “Cr-48,” the very first Chrome OS laptop. Google will distribute the laptop through its Chrome OS Pilot Program, in a sort of public beta.

    • Hands on with Google’s Chrome Web Store

      Google launched the Chrome Web Store yesterday during a press briefing, during which the search giant also demonstrated its upcoming Chrome OS platform. The Web Store allows users to “install” Web applications, making them easily accessible from Chrome’s new tab page.

    • 10 Things We Want to See in Chrome OS

      If the target is netbooks, as Google execs have implied, then good luck to Google: The market unanimously rejected a non-market-leading OS when Linux netbooks were offered a couple years ago and quickly updated to run Windows XP. And Chrome OS is basically the Chrome browser running atop a Google-customized version of Linux. For those who simply want to browse the Web, watch online videos, and perhaps do a bit of work on documents, there’s no reason why a lightweight Web-centric OS shouldn’t be welcomed.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Announces Certifications to Linux Standard Base 4.0 and Public Beta 4.1

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that all the leading commercial Linux companies are certified to Linux Standard Base 4.0 (LSB 4.0), including Canonical, Kylin, Linpus, Mandriva, Neoshine, Novell, Oracle, Red Flag and Red Hat.

      The Linux Foundation has also released a beta of the LSB 4.1 and is soliciting feedback from the public. The official release of LSB 4.1 is expected in January. For more details, please visit: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/en/LSB_4.1_Beta.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Amarok 2.4 Beta 1 Brings A Basket Of Features

        Highlights of Amarok 2.4 include trans-coding support, a brand-new (completely rewritten) music collection scanner, support for writing back tags to music files (such as the album art covers, number of play counts, etc), a mass-tagging user-interface provided by Musicbrainz, Apple iPod Touch 3G support, compatibility with other newer media players / music devices, a new applet for guitar and bass tab information, and other new applets and improvements.

      • Amarok 2.4 Beta 1 “Closer” Released
      • A week in the life of a KDE e.V. board member

        Diplomacy. The board of KDE e.V. is one of the few groups of people in KDE, which is formally elected. Thanks to German association law, which is the governing law for our organization, this is a very solid, well-founded, democratic process. So the board is well legitimated to represent KDE. This comes with responsibility, as sometimes the board is asked for official decisions and guidance. Today we had to deal with one of these requests. These issues are not always easy to handle. While they certainly are one of the more challenging parts of the board work, I think they are also one of the more important parts. Having the board to handle these issues allows the community to get things moving, where it would be much harder without officially legitimated people.

      • digiKam Tricks 1.3 Released

        Readers who already purchased the book will receive the new version free of charge.

      • a rose by any other name

        I’m going to share my thoughts on Calligra in this blog entry, but I am not a member of the Calligra team. I do follow the mailing lists, and have spoken to several of the people involved over the last year about the various situations. This affords me a somewhat special viewpoint: I’m fairly aware of what’s been going on, but not directly involved.

      • Calligra, past, present, future, a few answers
      • calligra
      • K* == bad

        KDE must have grown so big and old that it became unpopular to be associated with it. At least I cannot help having this sentiment after observing a couple of sub-projects trying hard to not be tied to KDE too closely.

      • KDE — and proud of it!

        I think Harri somehow made a mistake in his recent blog on K* == Bad. The Calligra community isn’t moving away from KDE at all. We’re also not pre-empting the KDE move to git — we’re using the excellent KDE infrastructure for hosting git projects. Not only that, but KO GmbH, the company founded by some KOffice community members, actually sponsored the conversion of KOffice from subversion to git. And we’re sponsoring the conversion of the KDE kdelibs and kdebase module as well. And Marijn, the Calligra Tables maintainer, he is also maintaining the KDE kdelibs packages for MeeGo.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Getting Things GNOME – Useful Tool to Get Things Done!

        Getting Things Gnome(GTG) is a nice and simple tool to organize and manage your tasks and time efficiently. GTG uses a very handy text edition system for task creation and edition. The task editor can automatically recognize metadata such as tags and subtasks only by the use of a very simple syntax.

      • GNOME 3 T-shirt Contest

        Could you translate your love/excitement/anticipation for GNOME 3.0 into a kick-ass T-shirt design? Want to win money in the process?

    • Xfce

      • Xfce 4.8.0 on Track for January Release

        Xfce, the little desktop that could, is steadily progressing toward its January release with several developmental builds. Xfce 4.6.2 was released last May and since the project has been working hard on its next release branch which will incorporate major changes to the core as well as several new features. The latest snapshot was recently released featuring a long list of improvements.

  • Distributions

    • Interview with Vilhelm von Ehrenheim

      Picked Gentoo to play for and won Robot Fight Night, so $400 US was donated to the Gentoo Foundation to pay for Gentoo Development and Services, etc.

    • Three middleweights

      Truth is, for every distro I find or that is suggested, I get two more suggestions for distros I wouldn’t put on a Pentium III, let alone on a lowly 120Mhz Pentium.

    • TurnKey Linux—High On Steroids

      What happens when your online team asks for a Drupal or WordPress server, or you require a file server for your branch office really quickly? The answer is that you rush to your Web browser, and start doing Google searches for how-tos, or juggle your ISO collection of distros, spins and remixes.

    • Red Hat Family

      • New Scientific Linux 6 Alpha Is Out

        Whatever the one I downloaded and installed dated 15th October 2010 was, apparently Alpha 1 was just released to the SL servers a few days ago on 03 December. Here’s a link to a short README for release notes. It also says that an improved SL 6 Alpha 2 is to be expected exactly a week later on Friday 10 December.

      • How Red Hat democratized our corporate citizenship program

        Community contribution has long been an important topic at Red Hat.

      • ‘Tis the Season to Celebrate the Open Source Way

        We’re in the holiday spirit at Red Hat and celebrating the best way we know how – the open source way! Open source is not only a superior model for software development which has helped Red Hat grow its business, it’s also a great way to leverage the power of collective philanthropy. Red Hat associates in the United States have put this power of collective philanthropy to work in selecting a charity for the company’s annual holiday donation.

      • Red Hat: more reliable than Microsoft, apparently…

        With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 now cutting its way into the enterprise-calibre open source operating systems space, there is much to talk about as the terms security and virtualisation are increasingly used to highlight its key new features.

        It has been almost eight years since the first release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat says it has experienced no major changes to the ABI (application binary interface) or API (application programming interface) that might otherwise affect application compatibility since the Release Candidate stage was announced a few months back.

      • Red Hat Enhances Active Decision Management with Launch of Next Generation Business Rules Management System
      • Red Hat: Morgan Stanley Says Buy On Improving Cash Flow

        Shares of Linux distributor Red Hat (RHT) are up 72 cents, or 1.5%, at $47.64 after Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt this morning raised his rating on the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight following a meeting with the company’s CFO, Charlie Peters.

      • Street upgrade sends Red Hat to 52-week high

        Shares in Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) jumped to a 52-week high of $49 Tuesday after Wall Street analyst firm Morgan Stanley upgraded its stock.

        Red Hat closed Monday at $46.92 but opened Tuesday at $47.52.

      • And Then There Was One: Red Hat

        There are only days left until 2010 is done, and this year is one that anyone interested in open source should remember for a long time, because it was the year that every single U.S. public company focused on open source lost its independence, except one: Red Hat. With the news of Novell’s sale still fresh, and with Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems fading in the rear view mirror, it’s easy to forget that Novell and Sun were both once-mighty commercial open source-focused companies that are only shells of themselves now. Meanwhile, Red hat marches on to quarter after quarter of financial success with its own open source strategy. What has Red Hat done right?

      • Fedora

        • Goodbye Fedora 12

          The Fedora 12 (Constantine) operating system reached end of life on December 2nd, 2010. This means that, starting four days ago, users of Fedora 12 no longer receive security/critical fixes and software updates. Therefore, all Fedora 12 users are urged to upgrade to the most recent version, Fedora 14, as soon as possible.

    • Debian Family

      • State of the Debian-Ubuntu relationship

        In Lucas’s eyes, the success of Ubuntu creates new problems.

      • Inappropriate use of the Debian logo?

        The point here is the swirl is not trademark…

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Unity Applications View Mockups
        • Official Ubuntu Advertising Team is Now Alive and Kicking, Needs Your Support!

          Official Ubuntu Advertising Team is now alive and kicking. The team is focused on advertising and sharing the love of Ubuntu with others through various mediums. The project strives to produce professional quality advertisements and promotions and deliver them to the general public. And the support of awesome Ubuntu user community is the inevitable part.

        • Unity Linux 2010.02 Includes an Updated Branching Tool

          Unity Linux 2010.02 has been released. It’s the second snapshot of the 2010 build and comes with a number of updated packages from the previous two releases as well as improvements to the “mklivecd” and “unity-installer” tools.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10 review

            Verdict: 5/5
            All in all, Linux Mint 10 is a very likeable release. It doesn’t introduce any new features, but a slew of tiny yet important tweaks improve the overall usability of the system, making it the best alternative to Ubuntu. While Linux Mint 10 doesn’t introduce any new features, it sports a few refinements and improvements that make this distro a real pleasure to use.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Smart 3G router runs Linux

      Opengear has begun shipping a line of “smart” Linux-based cellular routers. The ACM5004-G routers support remote management via 3G, offering console server functionality and control of devices with serial, USB, Ethernet and digital I/O interfaces.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Big Buck Bunny Trailer Sighting on Google Nexus S Page!

          Big Buck Bunny is one among the three Blender Foundation produced open movies, others being Elephant’s Dream and Sintel[watch them all]. And the webpage for Google’s very own Android 2.3 powered Nexus S Phone shows the Big Buck Bunny trailer to illustrate the ‘Entertainment on the Go’ section!

Free Software/Open Source

  • McNealy to Ellison: How to duck death by open source

    Having sold Sun to billionaire yacht-racer Ellison, McNealy is now doing unpaid work. He advises startups for no salary or retainer, he sits on the board of Curriki [5] — a project he created to deliver free, open source educational materials for kids in the US up to college age — and he speaks at the odd event, such as last month’s PostgreSQL West 2010, where I caught up with him.

  • maddog the catalyst

    I am proud that a few words of mine helped to start an open source development center in Soweto, Africa (one year later I found out about this), and I am proud that a talk I gave in 1999 inspired Mark Spencer to make Asterisk a FOSS project (discovered this in 2001). I am proud that I helped get Linus an Alpha processor and encouraged him to make Linux a 64-bit operating system (three-year payback on this one), and I am proud of the many students and FOSS developers and advocates that I have helped along the way. I still receive letters from students I have not seen for thirty years, as well as newer students.

  • Web Browsers

    • If Web Browsers Were Celebrities..

      Now, here is something interesting for you all. The following infographic lists your favorite browsers with interesting ‘character’ description.

    • Mozilla

      • Open This Story in a New Tab

        Considering the virtual reams of data we generate for companies like Facebook every day, they give us awful little in return. While they sell the information to third parties or use it to display targeted advertisements, we’re left with a largely anecdotal understanding of Internet habits. We can install programs to track our personal Internet usage, but it’s difficult to place these individual habits in a broader context. I may spend two hours a day surfing around, but how does that compare to my peers? Enter Firefox, the open-source project that happens to be the world’s second-most-popular browser.*

      • Firefox 4 offers silent add-on updates

        Firefox 4 will automatically update the browser’s extensions, a Mozilla interface designer said Sunday.

  • Oracle

    • Apache loses Java showdown vote to Oracle

      The Reg has learned that with 75 per cent of qualifying Java Community Process (JCP) members having voted on whether to ratify Oracle’s proposed roadmap for Java 7 and 8, Oracle’s plan has been accepted.

  • CMS

    • Screenshot Tour of Diaspora, the Open-Source Social Network

      With all the bad press surrounding Facebook this past year, a lot of us are looking for a good alternative. That’s the need the new, open-source, user-controled social network Diaspora aims to fill. Here’s what it looks like so far.


    • €189m European Commission sofware deal

      The European Commission’s (EC) largest ever software contract is in “direct contradiction” of EU guidelines, according to campaign group Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).

      The EC signed the €189m SACHA II software framework deal last week, as revealed by Computerweekly.com.

      But the deal contravenes numerous EU rules and guidelines calling persistently to implement non-proprietary computer systems, said the FSFE

      FSFE president Karsten Gerloff said in a statement that by striking such deals “the Commission is digging itself deeper into the vendor lock-in hole,” when it should be seeking to be more independent of vendors and making great use of open software and open standards.

      The FSFE said SACHA II contradicted European competition rules by discriminating in favour of proprietary software vendors.

      The contract also ignored the EC’s Digital Agenda, which called in May for IT systems to be “open and interoperable”, said the FSFE.

  • Project Releases

    • Bye-Bye Test Profiles & Suites; Hi OpenBenchmarking.org

      For those not tracking the Phorogit code of the Phoronix Test Suite, all of the test profiles and test suites living within our open-source benchmarking software have been removed. All 130+ test profiles and ~50 test suites have been dropped, as they’re no longer living within the benchmarking package.

  • Government

    • [Richard Stallman to] Dear President Elect Rousseff and the Citizens of Brazil

      Then, after establishing a levy for the sake “compensation”, establish a second additional levy (equal or greater in amount) for supporting authors and artists. The wasteful, misdirected plan for “compensation” should not be a replacement for the useful, efficient plan. So implement the useful, efficient plan that supports artists directly, because that is good for society, and implement the “compensation” required by the WTO but only so long as the WTO retains the power to impose it.

    • Federal Government Adopting Open Source for Data Center Consolidation

      Open-source software is growing in popularity as government IT managers are selecting open-source stacks as part of their data center consolidation strategy.


  • Silicon Valley’s Talent War

    As soon as top employees exit the doors of their high profile company, you can bet that other Silicon Valley tech companies are already clamoring to snatch up these valued industry professionals. Here is how they are taking the talent from one another, who’s winning and who’s losing.

  • Is Facebook the new Apple?

    This brings me to the question, is Facebook the new Apple? With unrelenting press coverage and a desire by some bloggers to see everything get killed by Facebook, are we witnessing a new ‘cult of Facebook’ in the making?

  • Google eBooks 404 page tips spear to Twitter, would make Ahab proud
  • Oracle talks up Solaris 11 Unix release
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • A victory for common sense

      The Commissioner this morning has issued a statement confirming that parents ought to be free to photograph their children in nativity plays without the fear of being told to desist by school staff worried about violating the Data Protection Act.

    • WikiLeaks’ Revelations that Bush and Obama Put Pressure on Germany and Spain Not to Investigate US Torture

      In the relatively small number of US diplomatic cables released to date by WikiLeaks, from its cache of 251,287 documents, the most disturbing revelations concerning the “War on Terror” deal with the pressure that the Bush administration exerted on Germany in 2007, regarding the planned prosecution of thirteen CIA agents involved in the rendition and torture of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen seized as a result of mistaken identity, and the pressure that the Obama administration exerted on the Spanish government in 2009, to derail a criminal investigation into the role played by six senior Bush administration lawyers in establishing the policies that governed the interrogation — and torture — of prisoners seized in the “War on Terror.”

      Neither of these developments had been reported prior to the release of the cables by WikiLeaks, and they are therefore extremely significant in establishing how long Bush administration officials were involved in fending off torture investigations overseas, and how eagerly Obama administration officials took up this role.

    • Targeted Killing: “A Unique and Extraordinary Case”

      “A unique and extraordinary case” is how a federal judge described our lawsuit, with the Center for Constitutional Rights, challenging the Obama administration’s targeted killing policy.

      We brought the case on behalf of Nasser Al-Aulaqi, whose U.S. citizen son, Anwar Al-Aulaqi, has been put on a secret hit list by the government. In a decision issued today, the judge emphasized that the case raises critically important questions, including whether “the Executive [can] order the assassination of a U.S. citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization.” The court nevertheless dismissed the case on the basis of “standing” — ruling that our client does not have the right to represent the interests of his son — and on the grounds that the case raises “political questions” that are not subject to judicial review. He did not rule on the merits of the case.

      The ramifications of the court’s decision are breathtaking.

    • As The Feds Seize Domains, More Attention Paid To How Law Enforcement Regularly Abuses Asset Seizures

      Given our serious concerns over the legality of Homeland Security’s domain name seizures, one thing we keep hearing from supporters of the effort is that asset seizures are “nothing new” and happen all of the time. We’ve already discussed how that’s not exactly true — and how pre-trial seizures are supposed to be focused on situations where evidence might get destroyed. But it’s even worse than that. It appears that law enforcement has a long, and rather dubious, history of greatly abusing the ability to seize property for their own benefit.

    • Tony Blair summoned back to Iraq inquiry to be quizzed over new evidence

      Tony Blair is to be summoned back to the official inquiry into the Iraq invasion in light of damaging and conflicting evidence revealed since he appeared as a witness earlier this year.

      Blair will give evidence between 18 January and 4 February next year along with Admiral Lord Boyce, the former chief of the defence staff, and Jack Straw, the former foreign secretary. Three successive cabinet secretaries who operated at the heart of Whitehall will also be called.

    • How the Oligarchs Took Over America

      There is a war underway. I’m not talking about Washington’s bloody misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, but a war within our own borders. It’s a war fought on the airwaves, on television and radio and over the Internet, a war of words and images, of half-truth, innuendo, and raging lies. I’m talking about a political war, pitting liberals against conservatives, Democrats against Republicans. I’m talking about a spending war, fueled by stealthy front groups and deep-pocketed anonymous donors. It’s a war that’s poised to topple what’s left of American democracy.

    • Someone Should Tell The State Dept That The State Dept Is Hosting World Press Freedom Day

      Apparently all of the folks with an ounce of PR sense in the State Department were busy responding to Wikileaks issues. That’s about the only explanation I can come up with for why the State Department still decided to push forward with its announcement that it will be hosting UNESCO’s ‘World Press Freedom Day’ next May, right as it’s been attacking Wikileaks left and right for showing how a free press really works.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange has made us all safer

      Every one of us owes a debt to Julian Assange. Thanks to him, we now know that our governments are pursuing policies that place you and your family in considerably greater danger. It’s only because of his leaks that we know the US government has secretly launched war on yet another Muslim country, sanctioned torture, kidnapped innocent people from the streets of free countries and intimidated the police into hushing it up, and covered up the killing of 15,000 civilians – five times the number killed on 9/11. Each one of these acts has increased the number of jihadis. We can only change these policies if we know about them – and Assange has given us the black-and-white proof.

      Each of the wikileaks revelations has been carefully weighed to ensure there is a public interest in disclosing it. Of the more than 250,000 documents they hold, they have released fewer than 1000 – and each of those has had the names of informants, or any information that could place anyone at risk, removed. The information they have released covers areas where our governments are defying the will of their own citizens, and hiding the proof from them.

    • WikiLeaks cables: US ‘lobbied Russia on behalf of Visa and MasterCard’

      A state department cable released this afternoon by WikiLeaks reveals that US diplomats intervened to try to amend a draft law going through Russia’s Duma. Their explicit aim was to ensure the new law did not “disadvantage” the two US firms, the cable states.

      The revelation comes a day after Visa – apparently acting under intense pressure from Washington – announced it was suspending all payments to WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website. Visa was following MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon, all of which have severed ties with the site and its founder Julian Assange in the last few days.

      The companies have justified their decision to stop donations on the grounds that WikiLeaks is acting “illegally”. Each has quickly become the target of sustained online revenge attacks by disgruntled hackers, with mastercard.com paralysed today.

    • Trans: My day with Internet War pt. 1/?

      More mirrors were being created, and in the evening we could count up to something like 84 of them in the mirror list, it was quite a lot to keep track of. To do this they, just as I would have, started a pad where you could help to list and sort all mirrors. It started in ietherpad but they only allow 16 people in a pad at the time, normally that’s a lot. In this case it was peanuts. It was moved over to Mozillas open pad, and from what I’ve read even they got a taste of the DDoS to kill Wikileaks. The list was moved over to Tumblr, and from what I’ve seen they have not had any problems with attacks yet.

    • Australia says U.S, not WikiLeaks founder, responsible for leaks

      “Mr Assange is not himself responsible for the unauthorized release of 250,000 documents from the U.S. diplomatic communications network,” Rudd told Reuters in an interview.

    • Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosures

      The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

      WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments.

    • How the U.S. can now extradite Assange

      Now that Julian Assange is in custody of British authorities on a warrant for alleged sex crimes in Sweden, Obama administration officials may well be working behind the scenes to secure his extradition to the United States, an international criminal law expert tells Salon.

      Assange has not been charged with a crime in the United States — though it’s possible that there is an arrest warrant or indictment under seal. The Obama Justice Department has repeatedly suggested that it is going after Assange, though officials have not said what law they believe Assange has broken (and experts say that making any case against him could prove difficult).

    • Wikileaks under attack: the definitive timeline

      On Sunday 28 November Wikileaks began releasing the first of its 250,000 leaked US embassy cables. Almost immediately, a hacking attack known as a “DDOS” – distributed denial of service – attack tried to knock it off the net. These are the attacks that have followed in the succeeding days.

    • Discernement

      In fact there’s two ways to understand what the Wikileaks cables’disclosure reveal. One is the factual disclosure of actions, affairs, skeletons in the closet, various projects and information that enlightens the perception of the US Government on worldwide topics. You can feed anti-Western sentiment or anti-american feelings with this material, but frankly it’s not like these two memes would be fading away anytime soon without the leaks. Another one is the notion that all of a sudden transparency will fix the state of the world, starting with America. Transparency helps, but some things have to remain buried for a long time, some things are not meant to be disclosed. And talking about transparency, we should not be anymore naive and demand that the same kind of information be disclosed from countries like Iran or North Korea: I’m sure it would highlight another well-known reality: that US or democratic countries are not just no worse, but are in fact much better than these countries (some people are ready to absolve them from their wrongdoings on various grounds).

    • Don’t shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths
    • Lieberman: New York Times may be investigated for espionage
    • Ellsberg: “EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”

      The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

      WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments.

    • War on Wikileaks: Narratives that distract from the truth

      The ongoing story related to the release of over a quarter of a million US diplomatic cables is a good example of the workings of the global media, an industry tasked with the formation of public opinion in the world.

      The picture emerging is consistent – an industry whose primary task is truth is instead dominated by bias, distortion, misinformation and propaganda. But Wikileaks is a movement that is difficult to suppress.

      The pattern of misinformation was, of course, put into perspective by the handful of media reporting accurately on the story. Newspapers like the Guardian in the UK and Der Spiegel in Germany are doing a tremendous job of laying out the facts, as is the community-based US broadcast network Democracy Now by providing historical and social context to the information contained in the leaks.

      Yet, these are not the media with the largest audiences.

      Those audiences are commanded by the TV networks, and it is there that the misinformation is at its greatest. Instead of informed debate, audiences are getting distracting narratives. The result is a public misinformed on the purpose and impact of Wikileaks and its efforts.

      The consolidation of global media, its ownership in the hands of a few multinational conglomerates, has been well documented. The dominance of government and corporate interests on the public agenda is not a surprise. The ongoing media coverage in the West on the release of US diplomatic cables offers a glimpse into media complicity in the unfettered advancement of the neoliberal agenda around the world and its impact on environmental degradation, human rights and social justice.

      From demonising Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange to linking Wikileaks with terrorism, networks such as CNN are doing a very good job of towing the US government line. By consistently attacking the credibility of Wikileaks, they attempt to marginalise and cast doubt on the facts of the story.

    • Why Wikileaks is Labeled a “Terrorist Organization,” and the Mainstream Press is Not

      Wikileaks is a threat. We’ve heard it incessantly, from Democrats and Republicans, the State Department and Paypal. Some have gone so far as to call the open-publishing project a “terrorist organization.”

      It’s true. Wikileaks is a threat. But it is not for any of the flimsy reasons we’ve been hearing.

      The true threat of Wikileaks, and the reason it is being labeled a terrorist organization by both politicians and, disturbingly, some journalists, is not the content of its documents but the premise of its work.

      Wikileaks is a “threat” because it challenges the secrecy, control and power upon which all mainstream media outlets and authoritarian regimes depend.

    • Exposed [IMG]
    • PayPal admits US pressure over WikiLeaks account freeze

      PayPal today admitted it suspended payments to WikiLeaks after an intervention from the US State Department.

      The site’s vice-president of platform, Osama Bedier, told an internet conference the site had decided to freeze WikiLeaks’s account on 4 December after government representatives said it was engaged in illegal activity.

      “State Dept told us these were illegal activities. It was straightforward,” he told the LeWeb conference in Paris, adding: “We … comply with regulations around the world, making sure that we protect our brand.”

    • News in respect to Wikileaks

      Since yesterday around 22:30 CET Visa and Mastercard payments are being rejected on our donation system. We have received a suspension notice stating that Visa Europe has ordered our payment processor to suspend payments and undertake due diligence investigation in order to pretect the Visa brand ensure neither the payment processor nor Visa Europe is running legal risks by facilitating payments for the funding of the Wikileaks website. For the same reasons the payment processor has suspended the payments of Mastercard.

      The suspension period will be one week with effect from 8 December 2010 Danish local time. The suspension period may be prolonged.

      DataCell ehf who facilitates those payments towards Wikileaks has decided to take up immediate legal actions to make donations possible again. We can not believe Wikileaks would even create scratch at the brand name of Visa. The suspension of payments towards Wikileaks is a violation of the agreements with their customers. Visa users have explicitly expressed their will to send their donations to Wikileaks and Visa is not fulfilling this wish. It will probably hurt their brand much much more to block payments towards Wikileaks than to have them occur. Visa customers are contacting us in masses to confirm that they really donate and they are not happy about Visa rejecting them. It is obvious that Visa is under political pressure to close us down. We strongly believe a world class company such as Visa should not get involved by politics and just simply do their business where they are good at. Transferring money. They have no problem transferring money for other businesses such as gambling sites, pornography services and the like so why a donation to a Website which is holding up for human rights should be morally any worse than that is outside of my understanding.

    • The Reaction of Governments to Wikileaks Should Scare the Hell Out of You

      The contents of the leaks are not the main issue; in fact, they are at most an interesting bonus and occasionally a dangerous distraction. No less a personage than Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, no admirer of Wikileaks, has stated that the practical impact of the leaks in terms of security and compromised diplomacy is negligible. He goes on to make the point that countries don’t do business with the US on the basis of ideals but rather as a result of self interest. Your mileage may vary, but I believe it’s safe to take his word as an intelligence veteran charged directly with national defense over the flatulent posturing of elected leaders whose need for a good target to harangue often takes precedence over the facts of the matter.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Saudis proposed Arab force to invade Lebanon

      Saudi Arabia proposed creating an Arab force backed by US and Nato air and sea power to intervene in Lebanon two years ago and destroy Iranian-backed Hezbollah, according to a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

    • No Bail

      I’m pleased to report that Tom Flanagan has been charged for calling for the assassination of Julian Assange on CBC. All manner of threats have been leveled at Julian Assange, including a threat to kidnap his son.

    • ‘Anonymous’ sets sights on WikiLeaks opponents

      Organizers of “Anonymous,” the group behind cyber attacks on Mastercard.com and other websites, vowed Wednesday to extend their campaign to anyone with an “anti-WikiLeaks agenda.”

      In an online chat with Agence France-Presse, organizers of “Anonymous” said thousands of volunteers were taking part in their defense of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, whom they described as a “free-speech martyr.”

    • Did Assange’s Accusers Want STD Testing?

      The two Swedish women who accuse WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sexual misconduct were at first not seeking to bring charges against him. They just wanted to track him down and persuade him to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, according to several people in contact with his entourage at the time.

      So, several unnamed people who were “in contact” with “Assange’s entourage” told Mark Hosenball that they knew the true motives of Julian Assange’s accusers. Who are these people and how do they claim to know what was going on in the minds of these women?

      But let’s assume that these women didn’t initially want to press charges. That doesn’t necessarily damage their credibility.

      According to the story, the two women only went to the police for help after they tried and failed to get Assange to submit to STI tests. The cops passed their stories along to a prosecutor, who decided that the women were describing sexual assaults and issued a warrant to arrest Assange on rape charges. The warrant was dropped the next day, but the case was later resurrected.

    • Second as Farce

      The furor over Wikileaks has become Theatre of the Absurd.

    • Rape claims, WikiLeaks and internet freedom
    • Is Twitter Censoring Wikileaks?
    • Exclusive: Sarah Palin Under Cyber-Attack from Wikileaks Supporters in ‘Operation Payback’

      The website and personal credit card information of former Gov. Sarah Palin were cyber-attacked today by Wikileaks supporters, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate tells ABC News in an email.

      Hackers in London apparently affiliated with “Operation Payback” – a group of supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks – have tried to shut down SarahPac and have disrupted Sarah and Todd Palin’s personal credit card accounts.

    • STATEMENT: “We will not be gagged”

      “We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship. Today Visa joined Mastercard, Paypal, Amazon, EveryDNS and others in cutting off their links.

      “Wikileaks is still online. The full site is duplicated in more than 500 locations. Every day, the cables are loaded more than 50 million times.

    • PayPal says it stopped Wikileaks payments on US letter

      PayPal has said that its decision to stop people from using its service to make donations to Wikileaks was made after a letter from the US government.

    • Twitter Appears to Censor Wikileaks-Related Trends
    • Wikileaks: Stop the crackdown
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Mountain gorilla numbers soar

      The number of mountain gorillas living in the Virunga Massif in central Africa has soared by 26.3% since 2003, according to a new census. The increase in numbers from 380 to 480 individuals is thanks to “immense” efforts to reduce poaching and disease, scientists said – but should not be read as a sign that the fight to save the highly endangered species is over.

      The 450-square-kilometre Virunga Massif is composed of three national parks: the Volcanoes national park in Rwanda – made famous by the film about the conservationist Dian Fossey, Gorillas in the Mist – the Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda and Parc National des Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the census, which was conducted in March and April this year, its gorilla population is growing at a rate of 3.7% a year.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Shell’s grip on Nigerian state revealed

      The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians’ every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.

      The company’s top executive in Nigeria told US diplomats that Shell had seconded employees to every relevant department and so knew “everything that was being done in those ministries”. She boasted that the Nigerian government had “forgotten” about the extent of Shell’s infiltration and were unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.

      The cache of secret dispatches from Washington’s embassies in Africa also revealed that the Anglo-Dutch oil firm swapped intelligence with the US, in one case providing US diplomats with the names of Nigerian politicians it suspected of supporting militant activity, and requesting information from the US on whether the militants had acquired anti-aircraft missiles.

  • Finance

    • 10 reasons to shun stocks till banks crash

      Do not buy stocks. Not for retirement. Not in the coming decade. Don’t. Huge risks.

    • Goldman Sachs Lures Big New York Prosecutor In House

      The path from prosecutor to private sector is well-trodden.

      But David Markowitz, of the New York Attorney General’s office, is making the leap in rather spectacular fashion. The 40-year-old lawyer is leaving the NYAG’s team, where he presided over some of the most high-profile cases against financial firms, to work as an associate general counsel at Goldman Sachs, one of the most maligned on Wall Street in recent years.

      At Goldman he will be a senior member of the litigation and regulatory proceedings group, which works on a broad variety of matters, said a spokesman for Goldman. “We are pleased that Mr. Markowitz is joining the company,” he said.

    • Obama struggles to keep Dems from killing tax cuts

      Obama went on national TV to give a ringing defense of his compromise, declaring it the necessary price for heading off a tax increase that neither taxpayers nor the weak economy could stand and for gaining more months of unemployment payments for millions of jobless workers.

    • BofA unit agrees to pay $137M in muni bond case

      The SEC said the division paid “kickbacks” to bidding agents who collect proposals for government business. In exchange, the bank received information about what other firms were bidding.

    • Just How Stimulating Is the New Tax Cut-Jobless Benefit Deal?
    • Facing frustration from Democrats, Obama defends tax cuts deal

      A defensive President Obama cast himself Tuesday as the guardian of middle-class Americans and the unemployed, saying sharply that he had to strike a deal with Senate Republicans over the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy in order to protect the fragile economic recovery.

    • What the Tax Deal Means for You

      The political posturing may not be entirely over, but President Obama and Congress have reached a tentative agreement to temporarily extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, including the wealthiest taxpayers.

      Besides extending the tax cuts, President Obama made several other concessions to the Republicans, including raising the estate tax exemption to $5 million. Republicans, meanwhile, agreed to extend jobless aid to the long-term unemployed.

    • What the Fed Is Still Owed by Wall Street

      The Federal Reserve has a story and is sticking to it: We didn’t lose taxpayer money, and we won’t.

      But several emergency programs and credit lines still exist, and the path to profitability on them remains uncertain.

      Hedge funds, pension funds and other investors have some $25 billion in outstanding loans from the Fed, some backed by subprime consumer debt. The central bank’s books are stocked with $66 billion of securities related to Bear Stearns and the American International Group, and the troubled insurer also owes $20 billion on a Fed credit line.

    • How the White House cut its deal and lost its base

      If you look at the numbers alone, the tax cut deal looks to have robbed Republicans blind. The GOP got around $95 billion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and $30 billion in estate tax cuts. Democrats got $120 billion in payroll-tax cuts, $40 billion in refundable tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and education tax credits), $56 billion in unemployment insurance, and, depending on how you count it, about $180 billion (two-year cost) or $30 billion (10-year cost) in new tax incentives for businesses to invest.

    • A Hint of Good Job Market News

      Last Friday’s jobs report was disappointing, but a new data released today suggest that all hope is not lost.

      American job openings increased to 3.4 million in October from 3 million in September, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. That is the fastest increase in six months.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Apple, Google Asked to Pay Up for Network Upgrades as Data Clog Bandwidth

      Google Inc., Apple Inc., and Facebook Inc. need to pitch in to help pay for the billions of dollars of network investments needed for their bandwidth-hogging services, European phone operators say.

      As mobile and Web companies add videos, music and games, operators including France Telecom SA, Telecom Italia SpA and Vodafone Group Plc want a new deal that would require content providers like Apple and Google to pay fees linked to usage.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Leaked State Department Cable Shows ‘Behind The Scenes’ US Embassy Involvement In Swedish Copyright Issues

        It’s long been common knowledge that US diplomats have had a heavy hand in other country’s copyright laws but, with the Wikileaks release of State Department cables, we’re finally seeing some actually confirmation of that. We’ve already covered the US’s involvement in Spain’s proposed copyright changes and now a Swedish television station claims to have a cable (not yet released by Wikileaks) that shows heavy “behind the scenes” involvement by the US Embassy in Swedish copyright law.

      • Why WikiLeaks Is Good for America

        A truly free press — one unfettered by concerns of nationalism — is apparently a terrifying problem for elected governments and tyrannies alike.

      • Associated Press Chairman Signs Up For Righthaven, Begins Suing Bloggers

        Well, well, well. Remember back when the Associated Press threatened bloggers for quoting snippets of AP articles? Is the organization considering dipping its toes in the Righthaven waters? The Las Vegas Sun reports that Righthaven has signed up Media News as a client and has sued a blogger on behalf of the Denver Post, after the blogger apparently reposted a Denver Post column by Mike Rosen (with a link and credit). This is interesting for a few different reasons. First, it was just a few weeks ago that the Denver Post published a cryptic “reminder” about copyright that had a bunch of people scratching their heads. I had thought about mentioning it at the time, but it seemed so utterly lacking in context, that there wasn’t much to say. I guess the Righthaven lawsuit provides context.

Clip of the Day

Blender 2.5: Animation

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 8/12/2010: Google Linux Announcement, Linux 2.6.37 RC5, PlayStation Phone to Use Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Myth Busted #5: Ubuntu is linux, linux is all white text on a black screen, don’t give me that!

    Heck, even installing it is just a few clicks of the mouse. Easier then Windows, in fact ( no serial keys! ).

    I’m calling this false, but I’d like to qualify that, saying that learning the terminal is objectively a great thing to do.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Episode 152: Meditations about too much Light

      Then I get a bit into setting up the toolbox in GIMP 2.7 and show how to manage the docks after the “landing zones” have become invisible. And of course there is the challenge!

  • Google

    • The Chrome Web Store Is Now Live

      You’ve read about it many times, you’ve seen lots of screenshots but it was just a product of the future. Well, this time I’m not going to tell you anything except: Chrome Web Store is now live, so check it out for yourself.

    • Acer And Samsung To Launch Chrome OS Notebooks In Mid 2011

      Google held a conference today in which they’ve demoed Chrome OS which is said to be extremely speedy, have ultra-fast setup, built-in Verizon connectivity, multiple users support, easy security and application updates as well as Citrix Receiver applications (Citrix Receiver allows businesses to deploy desktop applications, such as Microsoft Excel).

      But that’s not all! Google also announced that Acer and Samsung will launch Chrome OS netbooks in mid 2011, with other manufacturers to closely follow. Further more, Google launched the Chrome OS Pilot Program in which a Chrome OS netbook (“CR-48″) will be used for testing. A limited number of these CR-48 netbooks are available right away – you can apply for one already by either submitting a video on YouTube or by filling out THIS form.

    • Linux Desktop and Google in 2011

      When was the last time we stood back and just marveled at how far Linux has come in the server, desktop and embedded spaces? Might seem a bit cliché to some, yet no one can argue that Linux’s progress has been truly remarkable.

      Sparing you the “this is the year of the Linux desktop” type statement once again, I’d like to turn your attention to where I believe Linux is headed in 2011 and beyond. Considering some of the amazing milestones that have already been met, it’ll be interesting to see if Linux can maintain its forward momentum.

      Linux in 2010 held its own in the world of embedded systems, saw some successes in the server space in the enterprise world, and gained significant achievements in the desktop space as well.

      So what could 2011 and beyond possibly hold in store for Linux enthusiasts?

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.37-rc5

      And even if it does turn out that I could do the release early, as you say, I don’t really think anybody wants the merge window over the holidays. So practically speaking I think we’ll end up with a quiet holiday, with the 2.6.37 release happening early January.

    • Linux kernel with long-term support

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced plans to provide minor patches and bug fixes only for the current Stable Series of the Linux kernel. Selected older kernel versions will, in future, be maintained as “Long-term” releases. The kernel developer said he hopes that this approach will help the community and developers focus on the current versions rather than waste their time with old kernel versions. The Long-term kernels are to follow the same rules as the Stable Series kernels.

    • Kernel Log: An analysis of Linux kernel development

      A new edition of a study by the Linux Foundation explains the Linux kernel development process and includes various statistics that demonstrate the kernel’s growth rate. It also analyses how much is contributed to the kernel’s development by which developers and companies.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.9.3 May Come Next Week

        Assuming no regressions are to be found in this xorg-server 1.9.3 release candidate (tagged as v1.9.2.902), Jeremy intends to issue the official 1.9.3 point release in one week’s time.

      • An Open ATI Driver Developer Brings 802.11n To B43

        Rafał Miłecki, the Polish free software developer who previously spearheaded bringing power management to the ATI KMS Linux driver via a number of patches late last year and into this year, has been working on another project. No, it’s not with regard to the open-source Linux graphics stack (unfortunately), but it’s on the B43 Linux wireless driver. Rafał has brought support for Broadcom’s 802.11n hardware to the B43 driver.

      • working t410s intel/nvidia basic switching

        So I have a T410s with an LVDS panel and switchable graphics between intel and nvidia. I’ve gotten the basic switching support just like we have on the intel/amd combination.

        The code is a start towards generic nvidia/nvidia and intel/nvidia switching but its missing some bits. The MUX switch on some GPUs relies on passing a parameter to the WMI function that we aren’t passing, luckily the lenovo doesn’t need this parameter at the moment so it works fine. Other laptops in this range may require the parameter.

      • The First X.Org Server 1.10 Snapshot Brings Some Fun

        Following the hiatus last week with the X.Org Server 1.10 merge window being kept open to allow time for finishing up RandR 1.4 with per-CRTC pixmaps and then NVIDIA pushing for fence sync support in this release, the work has now settled and the merge window has closed. Keith Packard has also announced the first development snapshot of X.Org Server 1.10.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Advanced calculator runner

        since this is my first post on the Planet, I’ll shortly introduce myself and my activities in KDE. My name is Matteo and I am the maintainer of the Qalculate plasmoid and runner since SC 4.5. I am also the founder and maintainer of Cirkuit, a KDE app to produce publication-ready graphics using different backends (TikZ, Circuit Macros, Gnuplot).

      • The end of KOffice, the end of KDE? (headline trolling)
    • GNOME Desktop

    • Xfce

      • Xfce 4.8pre2 Released

        We are pleased to announce the second preview release of Xfce 4.8. This release marks the beginning of the string freeze. From today on until the final release, strings may no longer be changed in the master branch of Xfce core components. This will help translators to prepare their translations for the final release scheduled on January 16th, 2011.

  • Distributions

    • Two Cents for Distributions

      Every Linux enthusiast has their own take on choosing the right Linux distribution (or Linux “flavor”). Discussions regarding the distributions can be as heated as the classic Linux-Mac-Windows argument. However, everyone has their own right to put forward their opinions whether it’s the new guy who still believes Windows 7 rules or a Linux veteran of unsurpassed Terminal command skills.

    • Choosing the right Linux distribution is key to success

      This past week, I had a frustrating reminder of a lesson I learned long ago…but let slip away out of either arrogance or stubbornness. That lesson is that choosing the right distribution is the first (and most important) key to success when deploying the Linux operating system.

      Yes, we all have our favorite distribution, but sometimes that favorite distribution simply will not do the trick and a different flavor must be used.

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Moving from Gentoo to Ubuntu for a while

          With much teasing or coaxing from Ax, I’ve installed Ubuntu Linux on my Toshiba P20, replacing the installation of Gentoo Linux on it. Have I stopped being a Gentoo User? No. I’m just on hold for the moment.

        • Ubuntu Unity launcher won’t be ‘moveable’

          There’s no need to panic though. The launcher already supports an auto-hide function (although one would also love to see an intellihide option too) and users will be free, of course, to use Docky, AWN, aDesk Bar or an other form of dock alongisde the Unity launcher.

        • Ubuntu One now supports iOS-based AirPlay music streaming
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Quick Look: Ultimate Edition 2.8 Gamers

            Ultimate Edition 2.8 Gamers is a nice way of slicing UE up into a gaming-friendly version. The developers have done a pretty good job putting the emphasis on gaming while not really short-changing the user too much on non-gaming applications. I found it quite possible to use UE 2.8 Gamers as a regular distro when not playing games.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google demos Chrome OS, launches pilot program

          Google says that the number of Chrome users has climbed to 120 million, growing significantly over the past year. Chrome’s emphasis on speed was cited as one of the most significant factors driving its popularity. Performance will continue to be one of the defining priorities of Chrome development as Google works to make the browser a compelling application platform.

        • First look: Android 2.3 Gingerbread tour in screenshots

          Android 2.3, codenamed Gingerbread, was revealed by Google this morning. It will ship first on the upcoming Nexus S smartphone, which was built by Google in collaboration with Samsung. According to an Android developer, we will likely see it rolled out as an update for Nexus One handsets in the next few weeks. We look forward to doing a full review when it arrives on devices, but we decided to get an early look via the SDK.

        • PlayStation Phone video surfaces running Android Gingerbread

          The new video shows a device that looks much like the one from the previous images: a Sony Ericsson phone with a sliding keyboard much like the PSPGo and a touchscreen interface. Based on the phone’s display, the video was taken on Thursday, December 2 and the model has been codenamed “zeus.” It also features the Android OS, as rumored, running the upcoming “Gingerbread” version of the software. And while the video doesn’t show any actual games playing, the device does has a PlayStation icon, which leads to a very XMB-style interface.

        • Video And Screenshots Of Android 3.0′s Surprise Appearance

          The video of Andy Rubin’s talk at the Dive Into Mobile event is up, and you can watch the juicy bit above, where he takes out the prototype Motorola tablet and toys with it for all to see, demonstrating the new Google Maps and “accidentally” teasing video chat capability and some other things.

          The pad looks bigger than 7″, the size we heard about, but I can’t swear to it. If I had to take a guess at the screen resolution, I’d go with 8-9″ at 1024×600. It looks thin and rather unadorned right now, but this likely isn’t the final industrial design, so let’s just not worry too much about that. He seemed proud that it had no buttons on it, though, so I’m guessing that’s final.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • 5 netbook-optimized desktop interfaces for Linux and BSD distributions

        They are presented here in alphabetical order.

      • Netbook Operating Systems

        KDE’s Plasma netbook packs the power of KDE applications. The interface is sleek, simple and attractive. There’s a wealth of KDE add-ons available and ‘live’ applications can be pinned to ‘Page One’. Personally, I may not use any of the add-ons, but I am likely to use the KDE netbook interface as the default. I find that the full-screen mode for applications minimises distractions, especially when reading or viewing media. I have always liked the full-screen interface of Sugar (OLPC).

        Switching between application windows was the hardest with KDE. It would be nice if it was as easy as on Sugar—at the press of a function key.

        Currently, I expect to keep each of the three installed, and keep them updated. Maybe, after a year, one will become my definite favourite.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 4 Reasons to Try LibreOffice

    The Document Foundation on Sunday announced the availability of the first release candidate of LibreOffice, marking the approach of the first stable version of the brand-new open source productivity suite.

  • Oracle

    • VirtualBox 4.0 Beta 1 Brings Major Changes

      It was more than six months ago that Oracle released Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2, formerly known as Sun’s VirtualBox, as their most recent major update. Oracle now, however, is readying a very major VM VirtualBox 4.0 update. Today they have released the first public beta of Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 and it brings many new features along with some changes that may prove to be another disappointing step by Oracle in alienating the open-source community.


    • European Commission’s software contract is a rough deal for Europe

      The European Commission will spend EUR 189 million on proprietary software over the next six years, in direct contradiction to its own decisions and guidelines. The Commission last week announced a six-year framework contract to acquire a wide range of mostly proprietary software and related services1.

      “This is a rough deal for Europe”, says Karsten Gerloff, President of Free Software Foundation Europe. “Instead of coming up with a strategy to take advantage of Free Software and become independent from vendors, the Commission is digging itself deeper into the vendor lock-in hole.”

  • Project Releases

    • [ANNOUNCE] Git

      In addition to the usual fixes, this release also includes support for the new “add.ignoreErrors” name given to the existing “add.ignore-errors” configuration variable.

  • Licensing

    • Copyleft, copyright, copywhat?

      Copleft is a property of some licenses that uses the right to authorize derivative works as a tool to control the license(s) under which such a derivative must be relicensed. For instance, the GNU GPL only permits larger works to be redistributed under the GNU GPL. No exceptions. One can argue how far this limitation can legally go and what is the border between “derivative work” and “collection of independent works”. While this distinction is clear for literary works, in software there are a lot of variants — one of which is “dynamic linking” — that make things far more complex and less cleancut. Because of this, I prefer to leave the matter unresolved and proceed under the assumption that “derivative” here is really a derivative, whatever that means.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • China urges gov’ts to support emergency six-party talks

    China on Tuesday reiterated the importance and urgency of resuming the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, urging the parties to support China’s proposal for emergency consultations among chief negotiators.

    “The development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula has proven the importance and urgency of resuming the six-party talks,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu at a regular press briefing.

  • Groupon’s Rise and eBay’s Decline
  • Alarm for Microsoft, Google bags govt deals

    Google Inc has won a share of a federal government contract that the company hopes will give it a boost over Microsoft Corp as they race to convert government agencies to cloud computing.

    The US General Services Administration awarded a five-year, $6.7 million contract last week to Unisys Corp, with Google as a subcontractor — a relatively small dollar amount but an important initial foothold.

  • The Vatican is a software pirate

    HIS HOLINESS Pope Benedictus XVI, Pontifex Maximus and Dominus Apostolicus can now at the words “P2P Pirate” to his list of official titles.

    The Pope was one of 774,651 people caught by the insecurity outfit Avast’s sweep of illegal use of its software.

  • China Beats Out Finland for Top Marks in Education

    The rise of China as an economic and political juggernaut has become a familiar refrain, but now there’s another area in which the Chinese are suddenly emerging as a world power: education.

    In the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) comparative survey of the academic performance of 15-year-olds around the world — an authoritative study released every three years — Chinese teenagers from Shanghai far outscored their international peers in all three subject matters that were tested last year: reading, math and science.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • “Going commando” on the TSA

      On November 11, the relentlessly upbeat Transportation Security Administration (TSA) blog discussed the newly “enhanced” airport security pat-downs that would soon be coming to a groin near you. “It just makes good security sense,” said TSA’s “Blogger Bob.” His commenters did not concur.

      “The next time I fly, I’m wearing my trusty kilt,” said one—and we’re assuming that he’s a true Scotsman.

      This was an idea too good not to receive wider exposure (no pun intended), and it was naturally soon paired with the idea of a “National Opt-Out Day” to take place this week on November 24, the day before Thanksgiving. The idea is for a mass opt-out of the new AIT body scanners that can see through clothes, with participants choosing instead to have the more invasive pat-down.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks: US Senator Joe Lieberman suggests New York Times could be investigated

      A leading US senator suggested tonight that the New York Times and other news organisations publishing the US embassy cables being released by WikiLeaks could be investigated for breaking American espionage laws.

      Joe Lieberman, the chair of the Senate homeland security committee, told Fox News: “To me the New York Times has committed at least an act of, at best, bad citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime is a matter of discussion for the justice department.”

    • WikiLeaks climate change cables: what do you think?

      It was like watching a vast army advance. As I read the WikiLeaks cables, the strategy became clear. The US decides what is in its interests, then sets its massed ranks of diplomats around the globe to work.

      Demarchés, statements of what the US wants, are delivered in person and pledges of support gathered. Only the strongest resist: a major developing power like Brazil or a rich and secure nation like Norway might bridle, but I saw dozens of cables from tiny nations immediately acceding to US demands.

    • Assange: WikiLeaks ‘fearlessly publishing facts’

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defends the publication of secret U.S. documents in an editorial published online early Wednesday by The Australian newspaper.

      WikiLeaks is serving a vital purpose, Assange wrote, “fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.”

    • Twitter Not Blocking Wikileaks As A Trending Topic… But Won’t Comment On Possibility Of Shutting Down Account

      There was a rumor going around that perhaps Twitter was censoring “wikileaks” as a trending topic. In response, Twitter has denied this, saying that it’s simply untrue — but at the same time the company has refused to comment on whether or not it will allow Wikileaks to keep its Twitter account.

    • Open your post boxes – the next step for Wikileaks submission/publication?

      Ah, is this reason enough to cancel my Maestro card subscription? And start living life with cash only? Or should I just get another debit/credit card? Hm, I wonder what VISA’s opinion is regarding Wikileaks.

    • Defend WikiLeaks – Boycott Amazon

      A spontaneous movement to boycott Amazon.com, the online retailer, has taken off in response to the company’s decision to kick WikiLeaks off its servers. We at Antiwar.com unequivocally endorse this effort. In spite of attempts by some to claim the company was subjected to a threat “at gunpoint,” in reality, no one put a gun to Amazon’s head. They were more than happy to join the attack on WikiLeaks, as their statement made all too clear:

      “There have been reports that a government inquiry prompted us not to serve WikiLeaks any longer. That is inaccurate.

      “There have also been reports that it was prompted by massive DDOS attacks. That too is inaccurate. There were indeed large-scale DDOS attacks, but they were successfully defended against.

      “Amazon Web Services (AWS) rents computer infrastructure on a self-service basis. AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. There were several parts they were violating. … It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy. Human rights organizations have in fact written to WikiLeaks asking them to exercise caution and not release the names or identities of human rights defenders who might be persecuted by their governments.”

      “We’ve been running AWS for over four years and have hundreds of thousands of customers storing all kinds of data on AWS. Some of this data is controversial, and that’s perfectly fine. But, when companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere.”

    • WikiLeaks Defector Plans Tell-All Book

      Julian Assange and WikiLeaks may soon learn what it feels like to have their secrets put on public display. In January of 2011, German former WikiLeaks staffer Daniel Domscheit-Berg plans to publish a book detailing multiple years inside the controversial whistle-blower organization.

    • WikiLeaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg reveals Julian Assange’s siege mentality

      In an interview with The Times the German defector gave a blistering insider’s insight into the workings of WikiLeaks, which appears to operate as secretly as the institutions that it infiltrates.

    • 2010-12-10: WikiLeaks support rally in Sydney this Friday [Update 1]

      Supporters of the website Wikileaks will mobilise on Friday (10/12/10) to protest against the backlash it has faced for its release of more than 250,000 US government cables.

    • WikiLeaks Comic [IMG]
    • WikiLeaks censorship in France [IMG]
    • Aussie web hosts shy away from Wikileaks

      Wikileaks has been dumped by Amazon and mirrored across the globe as it attempts to spread its whistleblowing message to the masses. But would any web-hosting company in Australia consent to play host to Wikileaks? The answer, so far, appears to be “probably not”.

      Several large Australian web-hosting companies said today they would be unlikely to host the Wikileaks repository if asked to by a customer, for a number of reasons.

    • `The truth will always win’ – Julian Assange writes

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange wrote this Op-Ed for The Australian today:

      Key lines:

      * WikiLeaks is fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.

      * The dark days of corruption in the Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.

      * (My idea is) to use internet technologies in new ways to report the truth.

      * People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars.

      * The Gillard government (Australia) is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn’t want the truth revealed.

    • The arrest of Julian Assange: as it happened
    • Assange Arrested Because Of “Radical Feminist” Bitches
    • Russia’s ‘one-man Wikileaks’ uncovers massive gas company fraud

      In Russia, the findings of a young whistleblower lawyer concerning the rampant corruption of major state-affiliated companies have made much bigger waves than the recent tsunami of Wikileaks revelations.

      34-year-old Moscow lawyer Alexey Navalny could be nicknamed the “one-man Wikileaks”. His website is dedicated to uncovering and publishing incidents of high-level corporate corruption, with revelations concerning Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom, leading Russian oil company Rosneft and Russian bank VTP, among others.

    • Julian Assange refused bail over rape allegations

      Assange appeared in court in blue suit with a white shirt. Asked to give an address he replied: “PO Box 4080.” When the question was asked again, he said: “Do you want it for correspondence or for some other reason?” Later, the WikiLeaks founder, who was accompanied by officials from the Australian high commission, gave an address in his native Australia.

  • Finance

    • Obama facing tough sell in own party on tax deal

      President Barack Obama still has work to do to sell the tax package he negotiated with Republicans to Democrats in Congress.

      House Democratic leaders say the package is tilted too much in favor of the wealthy, putting Obama on the defensive for striking a deal that is picking up support among GOP lawmakers and business groups.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • “The most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history.”

      —André Marin, Ontario’s Ombudsman, speaking at a press conference today about the G20—specifically, the provincial government’s introduction and mishandling of Regulation 233/10 under the Public Works Protection Act, and what it led to. In his report [PDF], Caught in the Act, Marin writes that the regulation and Act gave “extravagant police authority….to arbitrarily arrest and detain people and to engage in unreasonable searches and seizures.”

    • Facebook: We won’t block WikiLeaks, for now

      The biggest social-networking site in the world broke with many of its online brethren today when it issued a statement saying that it will not ban content from a “fan page” associated with WikiLeaks, the controversial repository of leaked confidential documents whose founder, Julian Assange, is currently on the run.

    • Censoring @WikiLeaks Over #CableGate: First EveryDNS, Then Amazon, PayPal and Now Twitter
    • Tunisia Blocks Wikileaks & Everyone Referencing it Tunisia Blocks Any Leaks – Wikileaks

      Just as the stories are starting to get interesting, the Tunisian authorities block Wikileaks and every other form of leaks that mention Tunisia based on cables from the whistleblower site.

      Soon after the cables surfaced activists around the world started creating websites to tackle specific topics and countries drawing from the plethora of information the cables provide. Tunisian activists didn’t waste time, Tunileaks was born.

      Tunileaks was created by Nawaat to offer a central place for Tunisians and everyone one else interested in discussing and unraveling information related to the Tunisian government found in the US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM (or Vuvuzelas)

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • US Copyright Group Drops Cases Against Thousands of BitTorrent Users

        The US Copyright Group (USCG) campaign to turn piracy into profit is starting to fall apart. Today, the anti-piracy lawyers dropped 97% of the alleged BitTorrent file-sharers from the Far Cry case because of a lack of jurisdiction. This setback seriously limits the profitability of the law firm’s business model, and is a clear victory for thousands of people who were pressured to pay expensive settlements.

      • Newsday Drops Its Paywall For ‘At Least One Month’

        Remember how excited Cablevision was about putting up that paywall for Newsday, the newspaper that it owned? While the company claimed that the purpose of the paywall was really all about keeping Cablevision customers from deserting in favor of Verizon, it was still rather stunning to find out after three months, the company had secured a grand total of 35 paywall subscribers who weren’t just grandfathered in as Cablevision TV subscribers.

      • ISPs Free To Continue Deleting Evidence Against File-Sharers

        Sweden’s highest court has rejected an application by an anti-piracy group which would force an ISP to hand over the identity of a file-sharing site operator. Antipiratbyrån wants TeliaSonera to reveal who is behind the SweTorrents BitTorrent tracker but the ISP has refused and taken its case all the way to the Supreme Court. That Court has now decided that the final decision lies with the European Court.

      • Q&A: Why money doesn’t motivate file-sharers

        Piracy is so difficult to battle because file-sharers are motivated by altruism and not financial gain, according to one academic.

Clip of the Day

XGL Debian GNU/Linux

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 7/12/2010: Mandriva Win in Brazil, Huawei Joins Linux Foundation, and CyanogenMod 6.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Failure

    Out on the web, M$ has an army of astroturfers proclaiming that GNU/Linux has less than 1% share of desktops and that “best practice” is to scrap working computers every few years and that a whole organization must run that other OS just because some particular application runs only on that other OS. These lies, repeated often enough, are believed by uncritical thinkers despite the obvious flaws in reasoning. Critical thinkers can find plenty of evidence that GNU/Linux runs on 5-10% of PCs, more in some places like Brazil where most barriers to adoption are gone. That share has been achieved with very little advertising except sharing by individuals. As new architectures like ARM and tablets come on the market and XP is killed, GNU/Linux will have a decent share of PCs and M$ will have failed utterly in its dream of a licence for each PC for its OS.

  • Ubuntu 10.10 vs. Mac OS X 10.6.5: A Competitive Race

    From the 24 tests shown via the Phoronix Test Suite, Ubuntu 10.10 ruled when it came to the OpenGL performance, it was mixed between the two operating systems when looking at the OpenCL computational performance, and with the CPU-bound tests it was often mixed as to whether Mac OS X or Ubuntu was superior, but it seemed Ubuntu did do better when it came to more of the multi-threaded benchmarks.

  • Brazilian Ministry of Education plan large deployment with Mandriva Linux on Intel-powered classmate PCs by Positivo

    The Brazilian government education authority has selected Intel-powered classmate PCs running Mandriva Linux for educational use nationwide. Mandriva is working with the hardware manufacturer partner Positivo, to deliver this open source solution which will help teachers to improve students’ education. Also, this will be one of the world biggest organized deployment of Linux, with potential to get to 1.5 Million units, and confirms Linux as a key, cost-effective alternative PC operating system. The hardware, operating system and software is targeted to have a per student cost around USD $200.

    The Intel-powered classmate PC is a small and rugged, fully functional mobile PC, specially designed by Intel for primary students in emerging markets. Brazil will be one of the first countries to deploy Intel-powered classmate PCs in their schools to such a large scale. The Brazilian government’s decision to choose as Intel Learning Series solutions running Mandriva Linux on a classmate PCs reaffirms Linux as the preferred operating system for the global education market with Mandriva as the Linux education market leader.

  • Open Ballot: will 2011 be the year of Linux on the desktop?

    OK, so it’s a bit of a clichéd question, but with the awesome developments that have taken place in the Linux world over the last year, it’s worth asking again. Will 2011 – finally – be the year that Linux makes serious inroads into the desktop space? Are all the pieces in place to mount a major assault on Microsoft and Apple? Or are we barking up the wrong tree, and we should be looking to the mobile space with Android and Chrome OS for Linux’s future?

  • Google

    • The Three Differences between Chrome OS and Android

      Google said at the start that “Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the Web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems.” Google hasn’t always been on message with this.

      Google also took its time getting even a Chrome beta out the door. Now that Chrome OS is about to be unveiled, we know that it is going to be Google’s “desktop” operating system, while Android is for smart phones and tablets.

    • Tomorrow Network Computing WIll be Re-born

      Thin clients are in demand for virtual desktops of all kinds, even “cloud” computing. Tomorrow, Google is expected to reveal an operating system on a device with the system intended to function mostly on the cloud.

    • Pre-launch Chrome OS hands-on; analysis and screenshots

      Tomorrow, December 7, Google is expected to launch its new netbook-and-tablet cloud-based operating system, Chrome OS. It’s also entirely possible that Google will simply show off the much-hyped Chrome Web Store. The event was only announced December 3, and it’s extremely unlikely that Google would rush the launch of something huge and consumer-facing.

  • Kernel Space

    • Huawei Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Huawei, a leader in providing next-generation telecommunications network solutions for operators around the world, has become its newest member.

      Being recognized as one of the world’s most innovative companies, Huawei is using Linux to develop network equipment and devices and sees its Linux Foundation membership as an opportunity to collaborate with a worldwide network of developers, users and vendors to advance that work.

    • Thank you for …

      Apparently childhood in the Torvalds family is a tough affair. There’s this constant nagging worry about the parents caring enough that the kids are being fed. Only to be occasionally overshadowed by the terror of dead pets being flushed.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Desktop edition

        Now that I have spent some time with RHEL 6 I have to say that, over-all, it’s a good release. It’s solid, polished and comes backed by a great support infrastructure. Home users may be put off by the smaller repository, older packages or, for that matter, the price tag. Businesses though, Red Hat’s target customers, should be very happy with this release.

    • Debian Family

      • This Week in Debian Episode 11

        Interview with Asheesh Laroia, a member of the Debian Mentor Community.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Yet another way to enjoy Ubuntu One music streaming: the home entertainment experience!
        • Ubuntu One gets Apple AirPlay friendly; stream from your cloud to your stereo
        • Why It Matters

          What I found particularly touching about this story was a poem that Manuèla wrote about her experience of joining the Ubuntu community:

          I came in a community named Ubuntu.
          Unsure if I was good enough to help with anything
          Not really knowing where I ended up.
          There came a blanket of warmth and cordiality to me.
          Caring, social and tolerancity.
          I did not know what came over me
          It was like i was coming home after a long journey
          And warmly was received by family.

        • Get Started Hacking On Unity Bitesize Bugs

          Today I want to talk about bug fixing. Tomorrow Jorge will be starting a weekly Bitesize Bug Campaign in which he will highlight a set of bitesize Unity bugs, that is bugs that only require small and simple fixes (and are ideal for new Unity developers), and work with the community to get those bugs fixed. This campaign is similar to the papercuts effort in that these bugs are rough edges that need sanding off. Jorge will highlight a new set of bugs each week, and he will also highlight those rock stars who contribute these improvements to Unity.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Bodhi Linux Is A Fast, Minimalistic Enlightenment (E17) Linux Distribution Based On Ubuntu

            The default Bodhi Linux theme looks very geekish, using black and green which at first I thought it would be annoying but I quickly got used to it and further more I ended up loving it by the time I’ve finished writing this post. Don’t worry though, it can be easily changed if you don’t like it from the Enlightenment menu.

            Even though it is minimalistic, Bodhi Linux tries to cover every little aspect to make your desktop experience enjoyable. And for everything else, the new online software center (which should be available soon – read on for more info) will allow you to install any extra packages you may need to further tweak or enhance Bodhi with minimum effort.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • CyanogenMod 6.1 released

          Version 6.1 of the CyanogenMod Android distribution has been released.

        • Android 2.3 SDK Officially Released

          Today’s a Google day. The company, after announcing before the weekend that they had a couple of announcements ready to go for Monday, has officially pulled the curtain off their latest version of the Android mobile Operating System, Android 2.3. Its’ better known as Gingerbread, and for those in the development community who have been waiting to get your hands on it, the time is now.

        • Android 2.3 Platform and Updated SDK Tools

          For a complete overview of what’s new in the platform, see the Android 2.3 Platform Highlights.

        • Google serves hot Gingerbread, unveils Android 2.3 and Nexus S

          Google has revealed Android 2.3, codenamed Gingerbread, a new version of its popular mobile platform. It introduces a handful of modest user interface enhancements—such as a more refined touchscreen keyboard—and brings some noteworthy performance improvements that are largely intended to boost Android gaming.

          Alongside the release of Android 2.3, Google has also announced plans to launch the Nexus S, a new smartphone that was developed in collaboration with Samsung. Much like Google’s Nexus One, the new phone in the Nexus series will be available unlocked with a pure Google experience. The unlocked version will be sold at Best Buy for $529 without subsidy, and T-Mobile will be selling it on contract for $199.

        • VMware to virtualize Android smartphones for business users

          VMware is teaming with LG to sell Android smartphones that are virtualized, allowing a single phone to run two operating systems, one for business use and one for personal use.

        • Gingerbread keyboard code includes Playstation buttons

          In a bit of awesome news, the android.view.KeyEvent class (that’s geek speak for keyboard controls in the code) in Android 2.3 has been updated to include support for what looks like Playstation phone controls.

    • Tablets

      • Google’s Rubin shows off unannounced Android tablet

        A 3D version of Google Maps will accompany a Motorola tablet running Honeycomb, the next version of Google’s Android, according to Google’s Andy Rubin.

        Rubin showed off the unreleased prototype tablet at the opening session of D: Dive Into Mobile in San Francisco today, the same day that the company announced plans to ship Gingerbread, Android version 2.3. Honeycomb and the Motorola tablet will arrive at some point next year, Rubin said, showing off the Google Maps application and eliciting more than one “oooh” from the crowd of mobile professionals.

Free Software/Open Source

  • LibreOffice development extends to Brazil

    The Document Foundation welcomes the new BrOffice Centre of Excellence for Free Software, a software development project recently announced by BrOffice, Itaipu Binacional and the Itaipu Technological Park Foundation. The main software lab, based in Foz do Iguacu, will contribute to the development of LibreOffice (BrOffice in Brazil), and other free software projects. The activity is forecast to start in the first quarter of 2011.

  • Google Wave accepted into Apache Incubator

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has announced that Google’s Wave communication platform has been accepted into the Apache Incubator – a proposal to migrate portions of the code base to the ASF was posted to the Apache Incubator wiki last month by Google and Novell employees, as well as several independent developers. The Apache Incubator is the place where potential future Apache projects can be submitted to the open source organisation for consideration. In a post on the Apache mailing list, Google’s Dan Peterson says that the the vote to accept Wave into the incubator was “overwhelmingly positive”.

  • BP oil spill investigation stranded after drilling firm refuses software access

    The investigation into BP’s disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill has hit the buffers after a drilling technology firm refused to hand over access to fundamental software used on the rig.

    National Oilwell Varco rejected US government demands to provide access to its proprietary HiTech application, which was relied upon by BP engineers to determine the presence of dangerous hydrocarbons in the well during the drilling. It said that handing over the code would mislead the investigation.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • The Risks of Cloud: Lessons from Wikileaks

      I commented on Friday about the weakness that responses to Wikileaks have exposed in cloud computing, whatever your view of Wikileaks itself. While there are strong incentives to host critical infrastructure in the cloud or using web services, we saw last week both Amazon Web Services and PayPal – flagship brands in cloud computing and web commercial services respectively – suddenly toss customers off their services without judicial review, useful explanation or workable recourse. I’m sure they breached none of their own (voluminous) agreements. We saw other, less well-known companies (Tableau, EveryDNS) follow suit too, and even a Swiss bank finding a handy loophole. We also saw the US Department of Homeland Security start to seize domain names – this time at least by sending a court order to Verisign, albeit sealed, but without useful explanation or workable recourse. I sense we will see more of this happening.

  • Education

    • Open Source Knowledge will save schools from expensive lock-in

      I want to see e-readers and epub succeed in schools but I fear restrictive practices will threaten their adoption. The future may lay with EPUB and the Open Education Resources project (OER)


      Many others have noticed the problem of providing ‘school-knowledge’ for all. To many, including me, it should be free and free of restrictions in distribution. The Open Source model so well known to us in the software world is making inroads in the proprietary education system.

      The Open Education Resources project embraces the likes of Wikipedia, WikiEducator and Open Text Books. The once hopeful project known as the National Digital Resource Bank seems unfortunately to have foundered (too expensive?) and is currently off line.

    • Keynote by Twitter: following the action at Big Ideas Fest 2010

      Sugata Mitra is the founder of Hole in the Wall experiment, which inspired the writing of Slumdog Millionaire. On the same day he keynoted at Big Ideas Fest, a story about his Self-Organized Learning Environments hit Slashdot.


    • An appeal from Peter Brown

      This year, the FSF will also be undertaking a series of new public advocacy campaigns to advance awareness for free software. This, our first series of general GNU/Linux adoption campaigns, is possible only because we now have fully free distributions utilizing a kernel, Linux-Libre, that has removed all the nonfree code normally present in Linux. And it is only possible because our new hardware endorsement program will make it increasingly possible to find hardware that respects our freedom.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Eurostat Hackday, 16th December 2010

      Who’s behind it?

      The Eurostat Hackday is currently being organised by:

      * DERI
      * LATC
      * LOD2
      * The Open Knowledge Foundation
      * Planet Data

    • Opendataday & the International Hackathon: What happened. What happens next.

      As many of you know, 5 weeks I had a conversation with a group of open data geeks (like me, likely like you) in Ottawa and Sao Paulo and we agreed to see if we could prompt an international opendata hackathon. At the time we thought there would be our three cities and maybe three of four more. At no point did we think that there would be 1000s of people in over 73 cities on 5 continents who would dedicate the time and energy to helping foster both a local and international community of open data hackers, advocates and citizens. Nor did we know that the wonderful people like those with Random Hacks of Kindness would embrace us and help make this event such a success.

    • Creating a context for creativity


  • TSMC gearing up for 28nm production in 2011

    TSMC has many clients for its 28nm process, including Xilinx, Altera, Nvidia, AMD and Qualcomm, and has attained tape-out for 71 IC products. The 28nm production capacity will be fully utilized by the end of 2011, TSMC noted.

  • Grooveshark Interface Receives an HTML5 Boost!

    As if you don’t know this already, Grooveshark is an online music broadcasting application.

  • Can we transport food like Internet data? Foodtubes says yes

    Much of the world’s food supply is transported via an inefficient, polluting, and dangerous system of highways and trucks. The overwhelming share of the fuel used to move food powers cumbersome vehicles, only eight percent is really needed to transport the cargoes themselves to supermarkets, according to one estimate.

    So what’s the alternative? Move the whole system underground and set up a “transport industry Internet,” says the United Kingdom based Foodtubes Project, a consortium of academics, project planners, and engineers. Siphon veggies, corn flakes, and cans of baked beans about in high-speed capsules (one by two meters) traveling through dedicated pipelines lodged below our cities. And why not? That’s the way we transport water, oil, gas, and sewage, isn’t it?

  • What the mobile revolution means for enterprise IT
  • Nvidia wants to pack more cores in tablets, smartphones

    Nvidia is looking to pack more CPU cores into mobile devices like smartphones and tablets as a way to improve performance while preserving battery life.

    Most of the mobile devices today contain single-core processors, which are not enough to handle new mobile applications such as 3D gaming and video, the company said in a whitepaper published this week.

  • Science

    • Professing While Female

      On one level the answer is simple: it comes from our mastery of our subject matter – it comes from our knowledge and training. In that sense, anybody with a Ph.D. who walks into a classroom should have authority. But we know that’s not the case. There are many professors who have to work very hard to establish themselves as authority figures. Some reasons for this have to do with personalities, level of confidence, and other personal attributes. But that doesn’t explain why, for certain groups of professors, their authority is not a “given” and it is not assumed. To believe that it is ignores the connection between individuals and their experience with (or lack of) privilege as members of particular groups. So, yes, we walk into the classroom as individuals who have mastery over our field, but a growing number of us also walk into the classroom as members of under-privileged and/or under-represented groups.

    • New bacterium found dissolving the Titanic

      The good news: scientists have discovered a completely new type of bacterium that could help with the disposal of old ships and oil rigs. The bad news: it’s eating the Titanic.

    • MIT: Light speed now a bottleneck in fastest networks

      With global networks carrying complex time-sensitive data, the speed of light is actually becoming a significant source of latency, researchers have found.

      While today’s fiber optics-based networks can shuttle data around the world at the speed of light — momentarily slowed only by routing and switching — the vast geographic distances data has to travel can be a factor of delay, especially when the information itself is generated so quickly by computers and is useful only within a very short time period. At least one industry, finance, is starting to chafe at this limit.

    • Huge Magnetic Filament Erupts on the Sun

      The mega-filament collapsed in a gorgeous cascade of hot plasma between noon and 2 p.m. EST. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a beautiful movie of the eruption (above). The explosion does not appear to be aimed at Earth, so we shouldn’t expect any magnetic storms or satellite troubles.

      The loop of hot plasma has been snaking around the sun’s southeast limb since Dec. 4, and appears to be growing by the hour. When SDO saw it on Dec. 4, the filament was more than 250,000 miles long, about 30 times the diameter of the Earth. In the image below, taken at about 12:30 p.m. EST on Dec. 6, the loop of charged plasma stretches more than 435,000 miles, the full radius of the sun.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dwindling biodiversity raises disease risk in humans, study finds

      Dwindling biodiversity could cause more humans to contract infectious diseases such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus, according to scientists who have reviewed the results of 24 separate studies.

      Biodiversity hotspots must be protected to prevent the transmission of dangerous diseases from increasing, they warn.

    • Cuban medics a big force on Haiti cholera frontline

      They don’t send out press releases, don’t have public information officers and their contacts are not widely publicized by the huge international humanitarian operation helping cholera-hit Haiti.

  • Security

    • Chinese DNS Tampering A Big Threat To Internet Security
    • Visited porn? Web browser flaw secretly bares all
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • The sad case of the ISP and the supersecret password

      The key on the CPE worked fine for my Linux netbook and an iPhone, but not a Windows 7 laptop. So he said he would change it, and suggested, nay insisted upon… 0123456789. We protested. No, he said, people wouldn’t guess it (I’m not making this up, by the way). We refused.


      Cue much palaver testing various keys on various devices, but eventually we found something that would work on everything: a WEP key with few letters mixed in. Great. Now, on the issue of the 0-9, this engineer told us many Windows Vista/7 PCs have Wi-Fi password issues, and the ISP’s standard Huawei home gateway is partly to blame, and he therefore usually sets customers’ security to 0123456789.

      Hence the depression. In the context of the Digital Economy Act, if this is the norm, we can look forward to an awful lot of court cases.

    • Is the United States really under threat?

      The full-body scanners and intrusive pat-downs that are fast becoming the norm at US airports – just in time for Thanksgiving! – do at least provide the answer to what should be done with Osama bin Laden if he’s ever captured: Rotate him in perpetuity through this security hell, “groin checks” and all.

      He’ll crumple fast and wonder that 19 young guys in four planes could so warp the nervous system of the world’s most powerful nation that it has empowered zealous bureaucrats to trample on the liberties for which Americans give thanks this week.


      Anyone who has watched TSA agents spending 10 minutes patting down 80-year-old grandmothers, or seen dismayed youths being ordered back into the scanner booth by agents connected wirelessly to other invisible agents gazing at images of these people in a state of near-nakedness, has to ask: What form of group madness is it that forsakes judgment and discernment for process run amok? I don’t doubt the patriotism of the Americans involved in keeping the country safe, nor do I discount the threat, but I am sure of this: The unfettered growth of the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA represent a greater long-term threat to the prosperity, character and wellbeing of the United States than a few madmen in the valleys of Waziristan or the voids of Yemen.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Obama and GOPers Worked Together to Kill Bush Torture Probe

      In its first months in office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush administration officials facing criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist suspects. A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department—one of the 251,287 cables obtained by WikiLeaks—details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution.

    • How the Bush administration tortured medical ethics

      By co-opting doctors to supervise waterboarding, George Bush subverted their sacred oath to give himself legal cover

    • IFJ Condemns Criminal Charges Against Magazine Reporter in India

      The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns the criminal proceedings launched against K.K. Shahina, a reporter with the weekly news magazine Tehelka in India, after a story of hers appeared to cast doubt at the prosecution of a prominent Islamic cleric and political figure on terrorism charges.

      Shahina’s story appeared in an issue of Tehelka dated December 4, released a week prior to the cover date. It is available online and is based on interviews with key witnesses cited in the case made by police in Karnataka state in southern India against Abdul Nasar Mahdani, an Islamic cleric who heads the Peoples’ Democratic Party, active mainly in the neighbouring state of Kerala.

    • The terrorists have accomplished their mission

      Today I read that the TSA will now tell children that groping them is a game. Terrorists, through a series of acts in one day 9 years ago, are now causing our children to be sexually molested when we travel. Having a stranger touch your genitals is not a game unless you are both consenting adults.

      We need to grow up, crawl out from underneath the bed, trust each other and fight back. We need to carry our fingernail clippers and our knives on the airplane again. We need to give up the charade that we can be stripped of everything that can be a weapon. We need to fight back with intelligence, not fear. Invest all the money that is going into scanners and use it to fight terrorists not travelers.

      Remove TSA from the airport process. Let airlines decide how to run security for their flights and let travelers vote with their money for the type of security they want.

    • FBI Sent Informant Into Mosque To Find Terrorists… Mosque Gets Restraining Order And Reports Him To The FBI

      A few weeks back, we wrote about the FBI celebrating that they stopped a terrorist plot that appeared to have been mostly planned by the FBI itself — basically encouraging one guy, who had no actual terrorist connections, to think he was a part of a terrorist plot where none actually existed… and then arresting the guy. As we noted at the time, we knew of at least two other very similar stories, where US law enforcement appeared to set up people in such a manner.

    • WikiLeaks Will Release “Poison Pill” of Secret Documents If They’re Shut Down

      Anticipating the US attempts to block it though, WikiLeaks has taken the precaution of posting a big, 1.4-gigabyte file encrypted with a 256-digit key said to be unbreakable.

      Titled “insurance.aes256″, the file was big enough to contain all the US cables said to be in WikiLeaks’s possession.

  • Cablegate

    • Assange Accuser Worked with US-Funded, CIA-Tied Anti-Castro Group

      Yesterday Alexander Cockburn reminded us of the news Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett broke at Counterpunch in September. Julian Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden has a significant history of work with anti-Castro groups, at least one of which is US funded and openly supported by a former CIA agent convicted in the mass murder of seventy three Cubans on an airliner he was involved in blowing up.

      Anna Ardin (the official complainant) is often described by the media as a “leftist”. She has ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups. She published her anti-Castro diatribes (see here and here) in the Swedish-language publication Revista de Asignaturas Cubanas put out by Misceláneas de Cuba. From Oslo, Professor Michael Seltzer points out that this periodical is the product of a well-financed anti-Castro organization in Sweden. He further notes that the group is connected with Union Liberal Cubana led by Carlos Alberto Montaner whose CIA ties were exposed here.

      Quelle surprise, no? Shamir and Bennett went on to write about Ardin’s history in Cuba with a US funded group openly supported by a real terrorist: Luis Posada Carriles.

    • WikiLeaks cables expose Pakistan nuclear fears

      US and UK diplomats warn of terrorists getting hold of fissile material and of Pakistan-India nuclear exchange

    • WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists
    • WikiLeaks cables condemn Russia as ‘mafia state’
    • WikiLeaks cables: CIA drew up UN spying wishlist for diplomats
    • WikiLeaks cables: Berlusconi ‘profited from secret deals’ with Putin
    • WikiLeaks Reveals Iran’s Secret, Worldwide Arms Hunt

      Guns and ammo from Turkey. Missile components from Germany. Guidance systems from China. Iran is on a global, clandestine mission to acquire weapons and weapons technologies of all sorts, diplomatic cables released Sunday by WikiLeaks reveal. And the Tehran regime is using a series of front companies in its attempt to assemble the arsenal.

    • Vast Hacking by a China Fearful of the Web
    • The Wikileaks Copyright Cables: Confirmations Not Revelations

      Last weekend, I posted that I suspected the KIPR tag on U.S. diplomatic cables being released by Wikileaks represented cables involving intellectual property issues. Sure enough, the first batch of KIPR cables have been released in Spain, confirming U.S. pressure on that country to reform its copyright laws. The release – which come from El Pais – has generated considerable commentary with BoingBoing proclaiming that it reveals that the U.S. wrote Spain’s proposed copyright law. That headline led others to speculate what the remaining KIPR cables might reveal, particularly the 65 Canadian ones (there are also 84 WIPO tagged cables and nearly 2,500 KIPR tagged cables overall). There has been one release on copyright law in France, with officials discussing U.S. industry support for its three-strikes approach.

    • Online activists fighting to keep WikiLeaks alive

      WikiLeaks is being propped up by a barrage of mirror sites created by activists following moves by Amazon to stop hosting its site and Domain Name System provider EveryDNS.net to cut off its DNS services, according to The New York Times. Such mirrors can replicate an entire Web site, ensuring that all content and documents remain online and accessible even if WikiLeaks’ own site is taken down.

      But some of WikiLeaks supporters are adopting a more hostile tone. On Saturday PayPal restricted access to WikiLeaks’ account to prevent fund raisers from donating money to help the site. In return, the PayPal blog page that announced the decision to shut off WikiLeaks’ account was taken offline for around eight hours last night by a distributed denial- of-service (DDoS) attack.

      Experts at Panda Labs pointed to a statement from the “hacktivist” group Anonymous, which said that the PayPal blog would be the target of its first DDoS counterattack on behalf of WikiLeaks. Panda also cited comments from a Twitter account named AnonyWatcher, which released several statements related to the attack.

    • Wikileaks’ Swiss bank account seized

      It’s the latest financial hit against Wikileaks, which earlier saw its PayPal account suspended. Wikileaks own statement in the matter said that the account, with some $41,000, was seized after the bank found that Assange, “as a homeless refugee attempting to gain residency in Switzerland, had used his lawyer’s address in Geneva for the bank’s correspondence.”

    • Safety minister not following ‘gossip’ on WikiLeaks releases

      Public Safety Minister Vic Toews appeared unconcerned or unaware Monday of the WikiLeaks release of a list of sites and resources in Canada identified by the United States as critical to that country in the event of attack, natural disaster or other emergency.

      “I don’t follow gossip very much so I don’t really know the impact of WikiLeaks, but I can assure you that the security agencies in Canada are following it very closely and to the extent that I need to be involved and address those issues, they will brief me on the issues,” Toews said in response to questions from an audience after delivering a speech in Ottawa Monday.

    • Live with the WikiLeakable world or shut down the net. It’s your choice
    • Loose Ties make WikiLeaks Strong

      Tom Flanagan thought assassinating Julian Assange was reasonable.

    • Neutralizing DNS attack on Wikileaks.

      We are succeeding in adding the Wikileaks censorship issue in the public agenda. Perhaps the time has come to propose a boycott against those companies who are suspending the services which support Wikileaks activity?. Please, think about that.

    • And so this is Christmas

      It’s thanks mainly to Julian Assange and Wikileaks that people around the world finally have a little insight into the brutality and venality of US foreign policy. Assanges’ quest to let people all over the world know the truth and his refusal to stand mute in the face of duplicity and injustice deserve our praise. Moral courage of that calibre is rarely seen nowadays, and people need to know what is really happening and why. If he didn’t publish these documents you can bet we would never have known the truths they contain.

    • When WikiLeaks Meets US Policy

      As I write this, much of the international media is consumed with WikiLeaks’ gradual publication of a quarter-million US diplomatic reports. Why? Well first off, everyone likes to be let in on a secret, and if that secret involves acronyms like CIA, RAW, MI6, or ISI, the sexiness quotient skyrockets. That’s more or less just human nature. But the reports also provide grist for media publications—especially European ones—always eager to spread some dirt about the Americans. London’s Guardian, Madrid’s El Pais and Paris’s Le Monde were fairly salivating as the documents’ release date approached, and wrote with near-orgasmic prose once publication began. Their behaviour, too, was more or less predictable.

    • UK manufacturing ‘powering ahead’

      Meanwhile, business group CBI has called manufacturing the “unsung hero” of the UK economy.

    • Transparency: The New Source of Power

      Government should be transparent by default, secret by necessity. Of course, it is not. Too much of government is secret. Why? Because those who hold secrets hold power.

      Now WikiLeaks has punctured that power. Whether or not it ever reveals another document — and we can be certain that it will — Wikileaks has made us all aware that no secret is safe. If something is known by one person, it can be known by the world.

    • Hundreds of WikiLeaks Mirror Sites Appear

      Since several major Internet companies cut off services to WikiLeaks in recent days, activists have created hundreds of mirror sites, Web sites that host exact copies of another site’s content, making censorship difficult.

    • WikiLeaks Cables Show a China Obsessed With, Afraid of the Internet

      One cable reads, “A well-placed contact claims that the Chinese government coordinated the recent intrusions of Google systems. According to our contact, the closely held operations were directed at the Politburo Standing Committee level.”

    • Things Fall Apart; the Centre Cannot Hold

      One of the many fascinating aspects of the Wikileaks #cablegate saga is that, unusually, computer technology plays a central rather than peripheral role in all this. And not just any old computer technology, but specifically aspects that are key to the open source world.

    • Senators unveil anti-WikiLeaks bill

      Sens. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) introduced a bill Thursday aimed at stopping WikiLeaks by making it illegal to publish the names of military or intelligence community informants.

      Ensign accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his “cronies” of hindering America’s war efforts and creating a “hit list” for U.S. enemies by outing intelligence sources.

    • MasterCard pulls plug on WikiLeaks payments

      MasterCard is pulling the plug on payments to WikiLeaks, a move that will dry up another source of funds for the embattled document-sharing Web site, CNET has learned.

    • Not such wicked leaks

      The WikiLeaks affair has twofold value. On the one hand, it turns out to be a bogus scandal, a scandal that only appears to be a scandal against the backdrop of the hypocrisy governing relations between the state, the citizenry and the press. On the other hand, it heralds a sea change in international communication – and prefigures a regressive future of “crabwise” progress.

    • Julian Assange Defense Fund frozen.

      The Swiss Bank Post Finance today issues a press release stating that it had frozen Julian Assange’s defense fund and personal assets (31K EUR) after reviewing him as a “high profile” individual.

    • WikiLeaks: British Police Arrest Assange
    • Assange arrested in London on Swedish warrant

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested Tuesday in London on a Swedish warrant, London’s Metropolitan Police said.

    • Aussie web hosts shy away from Wikileaks

      Wikileaks has been dumped by Amazon and mirrored across the globe as it attempts to spread its whistleblowing message to the masses. But would any web-hosting company in Australia consent to play host to Wikileaks? The answer, so far, appears to be “probably not”.

      Several large Australian web-hosting companies said today they would be unlikely to host the Wikileaks repository if asked to by a customer, for a number of reasons.

      Bulletproof Networks has earned a reputation for stability and reliability with its customers. The Australian company hosts several large Australian sites which attract record amounts of traffic — and sometimes controversy.

    • Don’t Look, Don’t Read: Government Warns Its Workers Away From WikiLeaks Documents

      In a classic case of shutting the barn door after the horse has left, the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to view the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization.

    • Massive Release of Raw WikiLeaks Files Threatened

      Julian Assange’s lawyer has warned that supporters of the WikiLeaks founder will unleash a “thermonuclear device” of government files containing the names of spies, sources and informants if he’s killed or brought to trial.

      Assange, the 39-year-old Australian who has most recently embarrassed the U.S. by leaking hundreds of previously secret diplomatic dispatches over the past week, has dubbed the unfiltered cache of documents his “insurance” policy. The 1.5-gigabyte file, which has been distributed to tens of thousands of fellow hackers and open-government campaigners around the world, is encrypted with a 256-digit key, reports The Sunday Times. Experts interviewed by the paper said that even powerful military computers can’t crack the encryption without the key.

    • Just a quickie on Assange/Wikileaks/Journalists/etc

      I’m tired of people saying that Assange/wikileaks ‘leaked’ the info. People from inside these agencies/companies do the leaking. Assange/wikileaks just reports it. All they want to do is kill the messenger.

    • WikiLeaks: Intel threatened to move Russian jobs to India

      In State Department cable published by WikiLeaks, the Moscow Embassy describes how Intel bypassed Russia’s tough crypto import regulations

    • WikiLeaks’ One True Home Is Twitter, But For How Long?

      With Amazon, Paypal and EveryDNS.net dissolving their relationships to WikiLeaks, leaving it without a stable home and a way to make money, Twitter currently serves as the only solid ground the Internet whistleblower has to stand on. This has left many wondering whether or not Twitter will eventually take down the @wikileaks account if put under enough pressure, from lawmakers or otherwise.

    • Hiccup to Wiki snail mail amid all the fuss

      PSSST. Want to share a secret? Here is the place to send it. But be quick. This postbox to contact WikiLeaks in Australia is about to shut down.

      Australia Post insists its sudden decision to close the University of Melbourne Post Office has nothing to do with the fact that Box 4080 is the Australian postal address for submissions to the whistleblower website.

    • Wikileaks and the Long Haul

      The Unites States is — or should be — subject to the rule of law, which makes the extra-judicial pursuit of Wikileaks especially nauseating. (Calls for Julian’s assassination are even more nauseating.) It may be that what Julian has done is a crime. (I know him casually, but not well enough to vouch for his motivations, nor am I a lawyer.) In that case, the right answer is to bring the case to a trial.

      IIn the US, however, the government has a “heavy burden” for engaging in prior restraint of even secret documents, an established principle since New York Times Co. vs. The United States*, when the Times published the Pentagon Papers. If we want a different answer for Wikileaks, we need a different legal framework first.

      Though I don’t like Senator Joseph Lieberman’s proposed SHIELD law (Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination*), I do like the fact that it is a law, and not an extra-legal avenue (of which Senator Lieberman is also guilty.*) I also like the fact that the SHIELD Law makes it clear what’s at stake: the law proposes new restraints on publishers, and would apply to the New York Times and The Guardian as it well as to Wikileaks. (As Matthew Ingram points out, “Like it or not, Wikileaks is a media entity.”*) SHIELD amounts to an attempt to reverse parts of New York Times Co. vs. The United States.

    • Supporting Assange – change your profile pic everywhere
    • Khodorkovsky lawyers: WikiLeaks show administration privately understands ‘real’ Russia
    • CableGate, Copyright Expansionism and Stopping to Think

      I wonder whether it has occurred to the US Government that copyright is the reason it is so hard to shut off the cablegate cables. Not directly, indirectly through technology evolution in response to regulatory change. Ever since the mid 90s the copyright industry has had the practical effect of energetically evolving new and better means of disseminating information.

    • Want to help ensure democracy but don’t know what to do? Try this…
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Cancún climate talks in danger of collapse over Kyoto continuation

      The UN climate talks in Cancún were in danger of collapse last night after many Latin American countries said that they would leave if a crucial negotiating document, due to be released tomorrow, did not continue to commit rich countries to emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.

      The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (Alba) group of nine Latin American countries – who claim they are backed by African, Arab countries and other developing nations – said they were not prepared to see an end to the treaty that legally requires all of its signatories to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Cancún climate change summit: China’s journey from Copenhagen
    • Cancún climate change conference: Row over EU climate loans policy
    • Don’t consign us to history, plead island states at Cancún
    • 72 months and counting …
    • Clever Ugandans Turn Kampala’s Trash Into Fuel

      Without a proper waste collection and management system, such nocturnal enterprises are not unusual in Uganda. These days, however, the two men turn rubbish into fuel. The friends have honed a technique to produce what Kyagulanyi calls “non-fossil fuel”, made from refuse such as plastic bottles, polythene bags and organic waste.

    • Obama: No more offshore drilling in Gulf of Mexico until 2017

      The Obama administration reversed its decision to expand offshore drilling today, saying it had learned a lesson from the BP oil disaster.

    • Dick Cheney to be charged in Nigeria corruption case

      Nigeria’s anti-corruption police said today that they will charge former US vice-president Dick Cheney over a $180m bribery case involving energy firm Halliburton.The announcement follows a probe into the construction of a liquefied natural gas plant in the conflict-ridden Niger Delta.

    • Climate change could push staple food prices up 130% – study
    • A million trees for England: but who gets them?
    • Has the Japanese Whaling Fleet Surrendered?

      Could the whale wars be over? Things are looking very good in that direction! The whalers may be close to capitulation.

      It is December 1st, at least on the Japanese and Australian side of the International Date Line, but the Japanese whaling fleet remains in port.

      For years I have said that Sea Shepherd goes down to the Southern Ocean stronger than the year before, and the Japanese ships go down weaker. They may be weaker than we thought. They may be ready to call it quits. The illegal Japanese whaling fleet may be on the brink of surrendering, at least for this year.

    • That’s a bunch of garbage: China generates 30.6% of the world’s trash

      Aw man, and we were doing so good with those plastic bags….dang it. But yes, according to Global Entrepreneur magazine, China creates 30.6% of the world’s waste or an unbelievable 150 million tons every year.

    • Global survey ranks Canada ‘very poor’ on climate change fight

      A global survey that looks at international efforts to address climate change has yet again ranked Canada near the bottom — just as the country’s top environment officials leave for a United Nations conference on the issue.

      The sixth annual list compiled by 190 climate experts around the world placed Canada 54th out of 57 countries, ahead of only Australia, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia.

    • Italy bans plastic shopping bags

      Italy is moving ahead with a plans to ban the production and distribution of non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags starting January 1, its environment minister told ANSA this week.

      “There is no going back”, said Stefania Prestigiacomo, stressing that “producers had enough time to prepare themselves for this change”. The government’s plans to ban plastic bags, first drawn up in 2007, originally foresaw an end to their use starting from January 2010 before a one-year extension was granted. A campaign is being planned to inform citizens about the ban and about environmentally friendly alternatives, said Prestigiacomo. The environment minister is certain that the ban will have a positive effect.

  • Finance

    • Japan’s banking crisis led to 20 years of stagnation. Is there a lesson there for us?

      This is the Japan you might remember from 80s television: all those documentaries about the far east’s new economic powerhouse and consumerist paradise, and Clive James snarking his way through clips from perplexing gameshows. As the dog wigs show, that side of the country still exists. And yet, in the intervening 20 years something big happened to Japan, something that places it in the heart of the debate over what Britain’s economy might look like over the years ahead. Decades before the British were bandying the term about, Japan suffered a major banking crisis – and it still hasn’t recovered.

    • The party of the rich, by the rich, for the rich

      Rarely has the true face of the modern Republican party in America been exposed so obviously.

      Just a day after President Barack Obama met with Republican leaders and came out talking of a new era of co-operation, Republican senators united around Mitch McConnell to sign a letter declaring they would pass no legislation without movement on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

      That legislation they are willing to scupper includes extending unemployment benefits for millions of jobless Americans, still suffering the terrible hangover of the Great Recession. The tax cuts the Republicans are really fired up over will benefit only the top 2% of Americans.

      To put it even more simply: Republican leaders are happy to go virtually on strike in order to win a tax cut worth billions of dollars for America’s most wealthy people (which includes themselves and many of their top campaign donors). At the same time, they are willing to deny help to America’s most vulnerable; standing by as once middle-class people lose their homes as their benefits disappear.

    • Ben Bernanke’s Secret Global Bank

      Thanks to tremendous public pressure and the recently-passed Wall Street reform bill, the U.S. Federal Reserve was forced to reveal the details of its emergency bailout of the financial sector for the first time yesterday. From a quick review of the data now available on the Federal Reserve website, we can see that the Fed took an expansive internationalist view of its role, prompting U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) to ask: “Has the Federal Reserve Become the Central Bank of the world?”

      When AIG was bailed out out in Sept. 2008 and immediately passed on huge sums to overseas counterparties, including Société Générale (France) and Deutsche Bank (Germany), there was a public uproar. The Fed data out today confirms what many suspected. This back-door bailout of foreign banks was just the tip of the iceberg. The Fed data covers 13 programs amounting to some $3.3 trillion in loans. We could only look at a few, but in every program examined, foreign banks were huge beneficiaries of a taxpayer-funded lifeline.

    • So That’s Where the Money Went

      Such is the message from the massive document drop the Federal Reserve made last week. The Dodd-Frank law forced the Fed to disclose the recipients of $3.3 trillion from emergency lending programs put in place during the crisis days of 2008, so the taxpayers who paid for those rescue efforts now know whom they were helping.

      Not that we should expect to receive any thank-you notes from these institutions for rescuing them from themselves.

    • Fed made $9 trillion in emergency overnight loans

      The Federal Reserve made $9 trillion in overnight loans to major banks and Wall Street firms during the financial crisis, according to newly revealed data released Wednesday.

      The loans were made through a special loan program set up by the Fed in the wake of the Bear Stearns collapse in March 2008 to keep the nation’s bond markets trading normally.

    • [OTE85] On the Edge with Greg Hunter
    • What Jamie Dimon Won’t Tell You: His Big Bank Would Be Dangerously Leveraged

      There is one problem, however. Basel may have asked the right question, but it did not come up with the right answers, mainly because it allows banks to remain dangerously leveraged, setting equity requirements way too low. This fact is not understood because the debate on capital regulation has been mired with a cloud of confusion, and filled with un-substantiated assertions by bankers and others. As a result, the issues appear much more mysterious and complicated than they actually are.

      After a massive and incredibly costly financial crisis, we seem to have financial system that is a more consolidated, more powerful, more profitable and, yes, as fragile and dangerous as we had before the crisis. How did this happen and what can we do?

    • Obama hails SKorea trade as victory for US workers

      President Barack Obama on Saturday praised a newly sealed trade deal with South Korea as a landmark agreement that promises to boost the domestic auto industry and support tens of thousands of American jobs.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Right Wing Continues to Push “Socialist Pilgrims” Myth

      But that hasn’t stopped the Right from propagating the myth that the failures of “socialism” forced them to embrace capitalism.

    • A Mashup. The Real Story of Lobbying

      Last week, when the American League of Lobbyists announced a new PR offensive to help change the public perception of the profession, including this video, we just couldn’t contain ourselves. Their Lobbying-as-American-as-Mom-and-Apple-Pie PR effort deserved a classic Internet video mashup – one, that in Sunlight-style involves “data jamming” – telling the real story of how lobbyists work to control the Washington agenda…

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Wikileaks and the Control of the Internet

      WikiLeaks has become the symbol of disturbing information that can’t be stopped. Recent declarations and actions against the organization clearly expose the will of governments to control the Internet. From now on, it seems that both sides are fighting a battle that could be one of the most important that we must wage for the future of our democracies. On one side, those who would like to put the Internet under control, through administrative or privatized censorship, in order to remain in power. On the other, citizens of the word at large ready build networked societies in which the sharing of knowledge, freedom of expression and the increased transparency allowed for by the Internet must be protected and strengthened at all costs.

      It is essential to debate about how the leak of the diplomatic cables is organized, drop by drop, by WikiLeaks, and about the security of the individuals mentioned in the documents, in particular to be able to detect the false rhetorics being spread about them: The cables weren’t “stolen” by WikiLeaks. It received them like newsrooms usually receive anonymous brown paper envelopes full of documents. It also sought to minimize the harm to innocents’ lives through the erasure of their names prior to publication.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The IP implications of 3D printing

      In the April 2010 issue of SCRIPTed, there is a very interesting article by Simon Bradshaw, Adrian Bowyer and Patrick Haufe entitled “The Intellectual Property Implications of Low-Cost 3D Printing“.

    • IP Dragon Book Review: Poorly Made In China

      Counterfeit Culture is one of my favourite chapters. It includes an unforgettable scene about Bernie who is managing the China business for Johnson Carter and wants a breakdown of the ingredients King Chemical uses when it is manufacturing their soaps and shampoos and Sister, who is the co-owner of King Chemical: “Sister said that she was not compelled to provide a breakdown. The details were their trade secrets, she insisted.
      This infuriated Bernie. “The product line came from my sample set. What trade secret? It’s my fucking product!”

      Mr Midler dryly determined: “the factory was claiming intellectual property rights over its copying methods.”

    • Copyrights

      • ICANN had no role in seizing torrent domains

        As you may have read, the US government “seized” a bunch of domain names that were hosting sites allegedly involved in piracy and counterfeit goods over the Thanksgiving weekend.

        Over 80 domains, all of them in the .com namespace, had their DNS settings reconfigured to point them to a scary-looking notice from the Department of Homeland Security’s ICE division.

      • Why I put my work into the public domain

        One reason is compatibility. My primary goals include being used in soundtracks and mashups, so I needed licensing that allowed my work to be incorporated into as many other works as possible. Public domain is the only universal. The only license for creative works that is used widely enough to be considered a standard is a Creative Commons non-commercial license (like this one), but they are deliberately incompatible with many works.

      • Killing Music
      • University of Michigan Library adds 700k bibliographic records to the public domain via CC0

        In addition to changing their default licensing policy from CC BY-NC to CC BY, the University of Michigan has enabled even greater sharing and reuse by releasing more than half a million bibliographic records into the public domain using the CC0 public domain dedication. Following on the heels of the British Library, who just released three million bibliographic records into the public domain, the University of Michigan Library has offered their Open Access bibliographic records for download, which, as of November 17, 2010, contains 684,597 records.

      • Letter from featured Superhero Andrew Rens, former Lead for CC South Africa

        I’m delighted to introduce Andrew Rens, one of our exceptional CC Superheroes, who will tell you in his own words why he supports Creative Commons and why you should too. Rens, the founding legal lead of Creative Commons South Africa – a volunteer position he held from 2003 to 2009 – possesses particularly adept superpowers when it comes to facing tough issues around intellectual property and education in Africa. Here is his story.

      • Kids Detained By Police On Suspicion of Running Torrent Sites

        As part of an investigation running for more than a year, police in Iceland have been trying to track down individuals who run file-sharing sites and those who added large amounts of content to them. This week, teenagers as young as 15 had quite a surprise when police raided several locations across the country.

      • US Copyright Czar: Expect More Domain Censorship

        The US “IP Czar,” Victoria Espinel, said at a conference this week that Homeland Security’s seizure of a bunch of domain names was apparently just the beginning of a larger plan to go after such folks. Espinel has been making the rounds over the past few months, working to get various companies to voluntarily start censoring websites in this manner, even without the COICA bill being in place. This isn’t really a surprise. Espinel has stated in the past that her job is to focus on the enforcement side of copyright law, so it’s no surprise she’s supportive of such seizures.

      • Ministry of Sound abandon file sharing dragnet

        BT today told the press that Ministry of Sound have abandoned their attempts to get the details of thousands of alleged filesharers under a “Norwich Pharmacal Order” (NPO).

      • Copyright reform is on the EU Commission’s agenda

        Kroes is calling for two very important reforms. The first is pan-EU copyright licenses. This would allow simpler trade in legitimate copyright works. iTunes, for example, has never provided services to many EU states, because getting licenses is too complicated.

        The second reform is about allowing the use of the vast swathes of music, books, films and photos where the copyright owners have long since disappeared, generally because they have died, and it is unclear where their relatives might be. These are called “orphan works”. While the best solution would be shorter copyright terms, there are other possible solutions.

      • iCopyright Sues AP… Saying It Didn’t Promote The ‘Pay Up To Quote 5 Words’ Service

        You may recall, a couple of years back, the Associated Press got a ton of negative attention for threatening bloggers who “quote too much” of AP articles. Soon after that, we were among those who noticed that the AP had a deal with a company called iCopyright, which seemed to suggest that “fair use” quotes were limited to four words or less. After that, rates started at $12.50 to quote five words. The AP later came out and said that this was entirely different, but to this date has never adequately explained when its deal with iCopyright applies and when it does not. This got some attention earlier this year, when the cheeky folks at Woot mocked the AP over this after the AP quoted Woot’s CEO from his blog. Separately, some others noticed that the iCopyright system on the AP’s site was so screwed up that you could just put in any text you wanted and “license” it — even if it wasn’t the AP’s to license.

      • ACTA

        • Vast Hacking by a China Fearful of the Web

          You can request legal access to ACTA related documents from the Council. Either documents are available through the register or for the confidential ones just fill out a form with your address and mention the requested document numbers. The Council will either enable public access to the documents and sent you a pdf or deny your request and state reasons for that or they sent you a crippled, a redacted version. If your request is refused you can file a confirmatory application and when that is denied again, you can go to court or complain at the EU ombudsman. In the case of ACTA the confidentiality at the Council was so rigid. Many first applications were rejected which is quite unusual.

Clip of the Day

Inside Wikileaks – UK

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 6/12/2010: Xfce 4.8 is Coming, Google Chrome 8.0 for GNU/Linux Released

Posted in News Roundup at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • 19 Percent of Linux Kernel Development by Independent Contributors aka Passionate People!

      In the third annual report about Linux kernel authorship by Linux Foundation, a number of interesting statistics popped up. Among the most important statistics is the one showing the level of contributions from different entities that include big corporates and individuals.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.9.3 May Come Next Week

        Apple’s Jeremy Huddleston has announced the second release candidate for the forthcoming X.Org Server 1.9.3 point release. This point release in the stable 1.9 series delivers on more bug-fixes, with a handful of them for Apple’s XQuartz, which is important especially as it looks the 1.9 series will be used by Mac OS X 10.7.

      • RandR 1.4 Brings Per-CRTC Pixmaps; NVIDIA Support?

        Intel’s Keith Packard wrote a few emails to the X.Org developers over the night commenting on his per-CRTC pixmap implementation for RandR 1.4 in xorg-server 1.10. For those unfamiliar, this support basically provies, “multiple scan-out buffers which applications can create and assign to arbitrary collections of CRTCs. These pixmaps can be associated with a window for use with OpenGL or drawn to directly.” This feature really becomes useful when dealing with display setups where the screen layout exceeds the maximum size of the rendering/scan-out engines, provides the abilities for integrating compositing and project transformation into one step, and eliminating visual artifacts during screen rotation.

      • Questions Arise Over NVIDIA’s Fence Sync Support

        Red Hat’s Owen Taylor started out by asking about a broad overview on NVIDIA’s Fence Sync, seeing as he is the maintainer of Mutter, the GNOME 3.0 compositing window manager that uses Clutter. “There’s already a lot of magic voodoo dances around both Damage and Texture-From-Pixmap, what extra incantations does this add to the picture?” Owen further noted, “I can understand each individual step of the magic voodoo dance, but when I go away from the individual problems and come back 6 months later, I have to work it all out again. And there’s a strong sense that only particular code paths that actually are in use are tested and anything else probably doesn’t work, at least on some drivers.”

      • NVIDIA’s Working On A New Driver Architecture?

        We have sent over an email to NVIDIA to try to get more information on this new driver architecture. Seeing as NVIDIA’s proprietary Linux driver shares a common code-base with their Windows driver and also their FreeBSD/Solaris support, it does lead us to believe that such a new architecture would continue to be shared across all platforms.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • On misleading media

          The recent article about Fedora moving to Unity is a good example. The author very well understands the title to be nowhere near accurate and yet persists on it even though all the comments so far have pointed out this problem. Calling it a blog does not excuse one for a professional stand point to write crap.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • How to give away computers with Ubuntu and Edubuntu

          Just in time for the holidays; your guide to giving away computers with Ubuntu and Edubuntu or your favorite *buntu. In the past few weeks I’ve been contacted by several organisations who are giving away computers pre-loaded with different versions of Ubuntu. Their stories need to be shared as they are doing some amazing work built upon all your great work in Ubuntu. So here’s a quick guide to how you can help spread Ubuntu and really make a difference in people’s lives all over the world.

        • Linaro boosts Linux on mobile

          Linaro is important because it is not simply a software project but also a hardware one. With major players such as ARM on-board Linaro is also looking at creating hardware platforms optimised for a Linux operating system. ARM is a key player in the mobile computing space, to date being most active in the mobile phone sector but rapidly moving into the larger-form factor tablet and netbook market.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Impressions from the 12th Realtime Linux Workshop in Nairobi

      A rather small crowd of researchers, kernel developers and industry experts found their way to the 12th Real-Time Linux WorkShop (RTLWS) hosted at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. The small showing was not a big surprise, but it also did not make the workshop any less interesting.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • SCALE 9x: Is your paper submitted?

      Less than two weeks left for SCALE Call for Papers; Sponsors start lining up for event. As everyone’s sights are set on the December holidays, the Southern California Linux Expo reminds those who plan to submit papers for SCALE 9X to get them in before the deadline, which is a little over a week away. The deadline for the SCALE 9x Call for Papers is Dec. 13, with notification of acceptance being sent to speakers by Dec. 27.

  • Web Browsers

    • Google Chrome 8.0 Stable for Linux Released

      Just in time for the holidays, the Google Chrome developers at Google proudly announced last evening (December 2nd) the stable release and immediate availability for download of the Google Chrome 8.0.552.215 web browser for Linux, Windows and Macintosh platforms.

    • Google releases Chrome 8.0 stable

      Previously only available in the Beta channel, Google has released version 8 of the Chrome web browser into the stable channel. This major update is the first version capable of using the upcoming web store and includes a built-in PDF viewer that’s sandboxed to help prevent attackers from exploiting security vulnerabilities in the plug-in. A sandboxed Adobe Flash Player plug-in has been integrated into the Development (Dev) channel version of the browser, so that too should appear in the stable release in due time.


    • 3-D Fun with GNU Octave

      I HAD worries that GNU Octave would not support some of the advanced graphing functionality of MATLAB, but with the help of tools like gnuplot, Octave stays on par in this game (bar some OpenGL enhancements). Much to my surprise, the 3-D charting and graphing software in GNU Octave. Here are some visualisations of cardiac images I work with.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF TC Creates Advanced Document Collaboration Subcommittee

      The OASIS ODF Technical Committee voted a couple of weeks ago to create a new subcommittee, on “Advanced Document Collaboration”. Robin LaFontaine, from DeltaXML will chair the subcommittee.

      Since the entire ODF TC is quite large now (almost 20 active members attend each meeting) it is impossible to do a technical “deep dive” on every topic in our meetings. So when a particular specification domain requires sustained attention for a period of time, we can create a subcommittee, to allow interested TC members to study and draft specification enhancements. We’ve done this several times before. For example, the Accessibility SC developed the accessibility enhancements for ODF 1.1. And the Formula and Metadata subcommittees drafted those key parts of ODF 1.2. I hope that this new SC will be equally successful in their work.


  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Pirate Parties Supply Wikileaks With Much Needed Servers

      While most traditional political parties are wary of supporting the actions of whistleblower site Wikileaks, Pirate Parties around the world have made it very clear whose side they are on. Just before the weekend Wikileaks moved to a Pirate Party owned domain, and today a conglomerate of Pirate Parties have just announced that they are now providing the site with several much needed mirror servers.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Barack Obama is a bigger danger
    • Supporting Wikileaks

      TODAY I decided to step up with my support of Wikileaks, which I perceive as a test case for free speech and Internet freedom regardless or irrespective of the impact of what they are doing.

    • Twitter Appears to Censor Wikileaks-Related Trends

      I’m (was?) a Twitter user. This past week I found it utterly weird that none of the words #wikileaks, #cablegate, #cables, #Assange were actually “trending”. I even tweeted about this 5 days ago. Today, my fears of secret censorship are coming true. It appears that Twitter is censoring all these words, so they don’t appear in the (much-used) Twitter “trends” list.

      It has done so for a whole week, and continues to do so. The only related trend today that currently trends in a few countries is the much less popular #imwikileaks, which shows us that Twitter’s filter engine simply hasn’t added that keyword too in their filter, YET!

    • On WikiLeaks

      To those looking for a response in advance of this, I will simply reiterate the two points of our core values that are particularly germane to the matter: first, we support open government, which is certainly an end furthered by WikiLeaks’ actions, but we also believe in the importance of protecting individual privacy, which has been compromised by a number of releases to date. Reconciling these two positions, already somewhat at odds, with the question of WikiLeaks will be the task of our membership in the days to come.

      Finally, allow me to apologize for the lack of promptness in this regard. Democracy, as you are no doubt aware, is a horrendously inefficient system of governance, but it is the only one that can achieve worthwhile results.

    • State Department To Columbia University Students: DO NOT Discuss WikiLeaks On Facebook, Twitter
    • Would you be a WikiLeaks paypal?
    • WikiLeaks founder: U of C professor Flanagan’s comments criminal

      Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman says Tom Flanagan’s remarks that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be assassinated are “simply not acceptable,” even if they weren’t serious.

      Dimitri Soudas commented Friday after Assange said the prime minister’s former adviser and others “should be charged with incitement to commit murder.”

    • Julian Assange under investigation by police in Australia

      Julian Assange is being investigated by Australian police to establish whether he has broken any of the country’s laws and is liable to prosecution there, foreign minister Kevin Rudd said today.

    • NSW Supreme Court solicitor Peter Kemp: Letter to Australian Prime Minister

      …Julian Assange has almost certainly committed no crime under Australian law in relation to his involvement in Wikileaks.

    • NGOs Issue Joint Appeal on Behalf of Refugees Held Hostage in Sinai Desert

      Agenzia Habeshia, EveryOne Group, Human Rights Concern Eritrea and Christian Solidarity Worldwide today sent a joint appeal to the UN, the EU, the British, the Italian and the Egyptian governments for urgent intervention in the plight of refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia who are currently held hostage in the Sinai Desert by Bedouin people traffickers.

      Hundreds of refugees from the Horn of Africa have been held for months on the outskirts of a town in Sinai in purpose-built containers, where people traffickers are demanding payment of up to US$8,000 per person for their release, though the hostages had already paid US$2,000 for passage to Israel.

    • Twitter Joke Trial: the journey to the High Court begins

      On Thursday 2 December 2010 the papers were filed at Court for an application for an appeal of my client Paul Chambers to the High Court. In a perhaps ironic twist, the receiving court – Doncaster Crown Court – was closed because of snow.

      The appeal is formally called an “Appeal by Case Stated”. These are appeals to the High Court on points of law. The Court will now have 21 days to consider the application: the decision should be just before Christmas. If granted, then there will be a High Court hearing early in the new year. However, if the application is not successful, then Paul has the option of a judicial review of that refusal, where the High Court can order that permision be granted.

    • Like It or Not, WikiLeaks is a Media Entity

      The past week has seen plenty of ink spilled — virtual and otherwise — about WikiLeaks and its mercurial front-man, Julian Assange, and the pressure they have come under from the U.S. government and companies such as Amazon and PayPal, both of which have blocked WikiLeaks from using their services. Why should we care about any of this? Because more than anything else, WikiLeaks is a publisher — a new kind of publisher, but a publisher nonetheless — and that makes this a freedom of the press issue. Like it or not, WikiLeaks is fundamentally a journalistic entity, and as such it deserves our protection.

    • The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange

      Julian Assange and Pfc Bradley Manning have done a huge public service by making hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents available on Wikileaks — and, predictably, no one is grateful. Manning, a former army intelligence analyst in Iraq, faces up to 52 years in prison. He is currently being held in solitary confinement at a military base in Quantico, Virginia, where he is not allowed to see his parents or other outside visitors.

    • The Blueprint

      You see, this is the first time anything like Wikileaks has been attempted. Yes, there have been leaks prior to this, but never before have hyperdistribution and cryptoanarchism come to the service of the whistleblower. This is a new thing, and as well thought out as Wikileaks might be, it isn’t perfect. How could it be? It’s untried, and untested. Or was. Now that contact with the enemy has been made – the state with all its powers – it has become clear where Wikileaks has been found wanting. Wikileaks needs a distributed network of servers that are too broad and too diffuse to be attacked. Wikileaks needs an alternative to the Domain Name Service. And Wikileaks needs a funding mechanism which can not be choked off by the actions of any other actor.

      We’ve been here before. This is 1999, the company is Napster, and the angry party is the recording industry. It took them a while to strangle the beast, but they did finally manage to choke all the life out of it – for all the good it did them. Within days after the death of Napster, Gnutella came around, and righted all the wrongs of Napster: decentralized where Napster was centralized; pervasive and increasingly invisible. Gnutella created the ‘darknet’ for filesharing which has permanently crippled the recording and film industries. The failure of Napster was the blueprint for Gnutella.

    • No sympathy for evil companies, Amazon and PayPal. Go back to the bookstore and pay cash.
    • How PayPal screws open source projects

      Some of our users might know that we have been accepting donations to support us in developing TortoiseSVN for a few years now. We used PayPal to achieve this, as do many other open source projects and even some closed source but free-of-cost projects.

      Even the biggest hoster of open source projects, sourceforge.net, has a special feature built into their project pages where every project can activate such “donate” buttons, and that too is handled by PayPal.

      Now imagine my surprise when I got an email from PayPal last Wednesday with the subject “PayPal appeal denied”. Because I never had to appeal anything with my PayPal account. Reading through that email I discovered that my account was blocked because they’ve decided that I’m not allowed to receive donations.

    • WikiLeaks reveals how far the US has fallen in its principles

      The German man in question, Khaled El-Masri, was an innocent who had a misfortune to have the same name as a terrorist suspect. He was illegally kidnapped, imprisoned in Afghanistan, interrogated and tortured.

      For over a year. His family had no idea what had happened to him. He had no chance to defend himself, to seek legal representation, every human right he had was taken from him. He had to go on a hunger strike for 27 days before he was able to force a meeting with a prison official and a CIA official. And this was taking place after they’d already found out that his passport was genuine and that he was innocent.

    • #iamwikileaks Mirror #wikileaks, but do it a litte more safely…
    • WikiLeaks: Internet backlash follows US pressure against whistleblowing site

      American pressure to dissuade companies in the US from supporting the WikiLeaks website has led to an online backlash in which individuals are redirecting parts of their own sites to its Swedish internet host.

      Since early on Friday morning, it has been impossible to reach WikiLeaks by typing wikileaks.org into a web browser because everyDNS, which would redirect queries for the string “wikileaks.org” to that machine address, removed its support for Wikileaks, claiming that it had broken its terms of service by being the target of a huge hacker attack.

    • Digital McCarthyism

      The campaign against WikiLeaks is a clear move to censor political material on the Internet and, potentially, on other media. The first moves made by lawmakers such as Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, have no legal foundation and yet have succeeded with Amazon and PayPal. What has followed is shockingly repressive and obscurantist. The Library of Congress blocked access to WikiLeaks across its computer systems, including reading rooms, and Columbia University students aspiring for diplomatic careers have been advised not to comment on, or link to, the whistleblower website’s revelations. It is doubly tragic that such concerted attacks are securing support from countries with a progressive legacy such as France. The intolerant response to WikiLeaks is a potential threat to all media and must be fought. Senator Lieberman and other lawmakers have introduced legislation that proposes to make the publication of an intelligence source a federal crime. Already, U.S. law allows the shutting down of some Internet domains managed in that country on grounds of infringement of copyright. The threat to the publication of inconvenient material, even with responsible redactions, is all too real.

    • Prove my aide is Russian spy, says MP Mike Hancock

      A British MP whose parliamentary aide was arrested over claims she is a Russian spy has challenged the security services to “prove their point now”.

      Lib Dem Mike Hancock said Katia Zatuliveter, 25, had nothing to hide, he backed her 100%, and would appeal.

    • [Elizabeth May (Green Party Leader in Canada) on Wikileaks]

      It is a witch-hunt against Wikileaks, while largely ignoring the content of what was exposed.

    • TMI, WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks is a website started by freedom-of-information activist and former hacker Julian Assange. On November 28, WikiLeaks sent a massive cache of government documents to five news organizations. You can’t see the leaks on its own site at the moment, as it’s currently suffering from a massive denial of service attack that has the site closed for business at the moment, although there is a mirror site in Switzerland where you can see the “Cablegate” documents. These documents are diplomatic cables that Private First Class Bradley Manning downloaded at an army base in Iraq between November 2009 and April 2010. Manning then passed them on to Assange.

    • New WikiLeaks website now available in UAE

      As of late afternoon, wikileaks.ch was freely accessible to UAE consumers using etisalat lines. Earlier in the day, users reported browser inconsistencies, with the site available to those using Firefox but not to those using Internet Explorer.

    • Complaint filed over call to assassinate WikiLeaks founder

      A B.C. lawyer has filed a complaint with the Vancouver police, urging them to investigate whether Tom Flanagan, a former campaign manager for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, broke the law when he said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be assassinated.

      Gail Davidson, a co-founder of the group Lawyers Against the War, wrote in the complaint that, on Nov. 30, Flanagan “counselled and/or incited the assassination of Julian Assange contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada,” while commenting on the CBC program Power & Politics.

    • Twitter is censoring the discussion of #Wikileaks

      Twitter, the very popular 140 character social networking site, has a feature called “Trends” and is supposed to capture what the most popular topics of discussion are, at any given time. When people “Tweet” about a given topic, they can insert what is called a hash tag into their Tweet. For example, if I wanted to Tweet about Richard Feynman, and I wanted other people interested in Richard Feynman to be able to find it, I could put something like “#Feynman” within my post. Twitter would then automatically categorize this post under “Feynman” and voila, people can search for it on Twitter. This is how “Trends” are calculated. If say, within a given time span of perhaps 10 minutes, a million people put the tag #Christmas into their tweets, and this would be a very popular Twitter topic and should make it into the “Trends” list. Simple enough.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • FTC Is In Talks With Adobe About The ‘Flash Problem’

      So-called Flash cookies—chunks of data embedded in the Adobe Flash Player on internet users’ browsers that can’t be eliminated with standard privacy controls—have been on the radar of privacy advocates since last year. But the FTC made it clear today that it’s now starting to take a more active role in addressing what it referred to as the “Flash problem.”

    • Wayne Crookes vs Jon Newton

      Tomorrow I’ll travel by land, sea and air the length of Canada to sit in a room full of strangers.

      One of them, a man named Wayne Crookes, wants me to pay him what will be, if he gets his way, an inordinate amount of money for something I haven’t done.

      Others of them, a panel of legal experts chosen for their wisdom and knowledge of Canada’s archaic defamation laws, will decide if that’s going to happen.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • curiouser and curiouser: more on the metaphysics of copyright

        Those who wish to justify copyright as something more or other than an intrusion into the rights of owners of things must then advance an account of the objects of copyright, and in doing so explain how such an account can make sense in one or more of the accounts of ideas and things so far advanced. To date they have failed to do so.

      • Viacom’s Dangerous Appeal Brief in Viacom v. YouTube

        Viacom would like the court to carve out an exception to the DMCA, essentially reinterpreting the law so that YouTube no longer qualifies for the DMCA’s safe harbor immunity. It’s, to me, a really dangerous document, in that it suggest in effect a system whereby fair use is technically impossible or so difficult and expensive to make use of that no average guy will do so. It argues that YouTube’s refusal to implement a technology-based filtering system Viacom likes, Audible Magic, to prescreen uploaded video places YouTube outside the protection of the DMCA. It also argues that you can be guilty of direct infringement if you benefit financially from infringement, even if you don’t specifically know it’s happening.

      • Joi Ito: The web needs copyright tools

        Joi Ito, 44, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist with a particular interest in the world wide web, was an early investor in Twitter, Technorati, Flickr and Last.fm. He grew up in Japan and the US; he once owned a nightclub in Tokyo and worked as a DJ in Chicago. Time magazine hailed him as a member of the “cyber-elite” in 1997 and two years ago Businessweek named him “one of the 25 most influential people on the web”. Ito has a special interest in issues of copyright in the digital sphere and is CEO of the organisation Creative Commons. He is now based in Dubai.

Clip of the Day

Sony Ericsson ZEUS – Z1-PlayStation Phone (spy)

Credit: TinyOgg

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