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


Links 9/2/2011: Android 2.4 to Ship, IBM/Oracle in Java Leadership

Posted in News Roundup at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Did Open Source Companies Miss Their Channel Opportunity?

    First, what went wrong? Let’s rewind to 2009, when Synnex and Red Hat launched the Open Source Channel Alliance (OSCA) and Tech Data launched the Open Tech effort. The situation looked so darn promising, especially as open source ERP, CRM and groupware companies worked to promote their wares through the OSCA and Open Tech.

  • Events

    • LCA: IP address exhaustion and the end of the open net

      Geoff Huston is the Chief Scientist at the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre. His frank linux.conf.au 2011 keynote took a rather different tack than Vint Cerf’s talk did the day before. According to Geoff, Vint is “a professional optimist.” Geoff was not even slightly optimistic; he sees a difficult period coming for the net; unless things happen impossibly quickly, the open net that we often take for granted may be gone forevermore.

    • Introduction to Forensics – A Report from Southwest Drupal Summit

      Kyle argued that the best first step is to immediately pull the plug on the box. Do not diagnose the situation and do not shut the machine down gracefully. We use journaling file systems for a reason and the machine will probably be rebuilt from scratch, so the danger of corrupted data from killing the power is small. Once the machine is off, you should image the compromised drive with something like ‘dd’ and make a copy of the image to do your work on to protect you from accidentally contaminating the evidence.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • IBM/Oracle To Share Java Leadership: More Bylaws to Read

      I know bylaws are boring, but let me show you just a couple of highlights that, to me, show that while Oracle and IBM will be sharing leadership, albeit not equally weighted, the community isn’t inside the real loop, not yet anyway. This is draft 7 of the bylaws, so it’s not carved in stone. That doesn’t happen until March 3, after which it gets voted on by “OpenJDK Community members for ratification via an appropriate democratic process”, according to Mark Reinhold, the OpenJDK Lead. So please allow me to point out some bugs.

    • Oracle Opposes Google’s Motion to Compel

      I’m thinking what Oracle will argue at the hearing is that all Androids of necessity do infringe and that Google is guilty of “active and willful” inducement, and so for that reason it doesn’t have to point to a specific instance of direct infringement. In any case, this is what it looks like the hearing will be about on the topic of requirements for Oracle to disclose specific acts. Everything will depend, I would say, on whether Google can demonstrate that some Android products are so different from the others that they can’t possibly infringe or that if they do infringe, they do so in such a variety of different ways that they can’t prepare a defense unless Oracle gives them a map with at least some X’s on it, or that the patents represent an insignificant part of the products even if they are infringing and Androids have lots of noninfringing uses, that Oracle is, in effect, trying to shut down the wheels of commerce. And the one weakness that really could matter is whether Gingerbread doesn’t turn out to be like the others. If that is what Oracle determines, then its entire argument falls, I think. Then the 7 Android products are representative of nothing except Oracle’s need to get specific about all seven, distinguished from Gingerbread. All means all, and if Gingerbread doesn’t infringe, there is no ‘all’ in this picture.

    • Oracle and IBM to share open-source Java leadership

      Oracle has agreed to share governance of the OpenJDK Java community with IBM, in a move that demonstrates considerable good will, according to one analyst.

      The company has created a series of bylaws outlining the way the governance will be structured, with Oracle appointing itself chairman and the OpenJDK lead, and IBM taking the role of vice chairman.

    • Oracle and Java: Mobile dev FAIL dooms Ellison’s future

      Nor is Java helped any by the political infighting that has plagued its development over the last few years. Sun had its share of detractors for its (mis)management of Java, but the ire reserved for Oracle’s manhandling of Java and its Java Community Process takes the criticism to a new level.

  • Government

    • European Patent: FSFE urges European Parliament to wait for legal advice

      Free Software Foundation Europe is asking the Members of the European Parliament to wait for legal advice before voting on a unitary patent for Europe. While a proposal is on the Parliament’s agenda for the coming week, a legal opinion by the European Court of Justice is expected later this month.

      “Software patents hurt innovation and are an unnecessary burden on European software developers,” says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. “Legislators need to take charge and make sure the patent system contributes to the public good. As the European Patent Organisation has acknowledged, this is a decision that cannot be left to bureaucrats and the judiciary.”

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Ghana- Of Port Corruption and the Use of Technology

    There’s a lot of talk in Ghana about the latest release by the nation’s most famous underground investigative reporter about massive corruption at the state port in Tema. Personally, I am not so much interested in the story as I am about why we allow such things to happen easily in this day and age.

    A cursory look at procedures at the harbor, and indeed in almost all spheres of our public institutions, one thing that stands out is how lagging behind we are in terms of automation. Shuffling papers about, moving from office to office, signature after signature, all means one thing- more human involvement.

  • Fiat Has Big Hopes for its Tiny Car

    Fifty-four years ago, Italy’s Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino produced a car the size of a large coffee table. It was three meters long, powered by a 479-cc engine and about as quick off the line as a riding lawnmower. It produced 13 horsepower, or roughly as much as a modern portable electric generator. America laughed — you could cram a 500 into the trunk of a ‘57 Cadillac, and crashing one was certain death — but the rest of the world just went ahead and bought the silly thing. Three-and-a-half million times.

  • Silvio Berlusconi threatens constitutional war over sex trial moves

    Silvio Berlusconi has raised the spectre of a full-scale constitutional showdown in Italy after prosecutors in Milan asked for him to be put on trial immediately, charged with sex-related offences.

    Italy’s prime minister accused them of breaking the law and going against parliament. Soon afterwards his chief ally, Umberto Bossi of the Northern League, said the indictment request marked the start of a “total war” between Italy’s judiciary and its legislature.

  • Open Letter To PC Makers: Ditch The Bloatware, Now!

    This is the final straw. This is the line in the sand. This is the year that companies have to wise up and realize that they’re destroying the experience of the very machines that they try to market so vigorously over their competitor’s products. We’re talking about bloatware, and it’s an issue that we simply cannot remain silent on any longer. It’s a very, very real problem, and it has been for years. But we always assumed that things would improve as the “fad” faded. Sadly, we assumed wrong. The fad hasn’t faded, and dare we say, things have become even less bearable over time.

  • Colorado Springs school bans kid who takes THC lozenges for neuro condition from attending because of “internal possession”
  • Will Governments Get To Veto New Web Domains Like .Gay?

    The non-profit organization that assigns IP addresses and related internet names, ICANN, will be rolling out a system offering new “top-level domains” over the course of 2011 and 2012. That means web sites could end in almost anything—from brand names like .coke or .ford to place names like .chicago or .nyc. And the Obama administration is pushing for giving the world’s governments veto powers over those new top-level domains which could create flash points over new domain names such as .gay. The proposal by the U.S. government, which comes as the Egyptian government was able to essentially shut off internet access for several days, has gotten some negative reaction.

  • Science

    • Now George W. Bush Wants to “Miseducate” Public School Principals

      The Bush/Obama plan of blaming teachers and principals for economic injustice will not improve education.

      As BuzzFlash has noted before, certainly there are public schoolteachers and principals who probably are not up to snuff. But we’ve also criticized the notion that public schools in poor urban and rural areas should miraculously be able to compensate for chronic conditions of communities with poverty and violence – and very few jobs.

      Because, as we’ve observed, there is not a national educational crisis. There is a problem with schools that are located in areas of limited economic means.

      Blaming principals and teachers in a war on public education in poor areas is a diversionary tactic from addressing the real problem: economic injustice and inequality.

    • Shuttle operator may propose commercial flights

      Starting as soon as 2013, after construction of a new external tank, the lead operator of NASA’s shuttle fleet proposes to fly twice a year with Atlantis and Endeavour at a cost of under $1.5 billion a year.

    • NASA’s Ares 1 to Be Reborn as the Liberty Commercial Launcher

      When President Barack Obama canceled the Constellation space exploration program, it was thought the Ares 1, the much-maligned planned rocket that would have launched the Orion into low Earth orbit, was dead and gone.

      However, it looks like ATK, the aerospace firm that manufactures solid rocket boosters for NASA, has entered into a joint venture with Astrium, the European firm that builds the Ariane V to build a commercial version of the Ares 1.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Environmental Causes of Cancer

      idea that most cancer is caused by environmental factors is becoming mainstream.

      A report by the President’s Cancer Panel, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now was published in April 2010 This latest annual report, for 2008–2009, was written by Suzanne H. Reuben for the cancer panel and published by the National Cancer Institute.

      The facts about cancer are dismal. As the report says, about 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives, and some 21 percent will die of it. In 2009 approximately 1.5 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed, and about 562,000 died of it.

    • China’s poor treated to fake rice made from plastic: report

      China’s history with food safety is a rocky one, but even in the annals of robbery and abuse, this will go down in infamy.

      Various reports in Singapore media have said that Chinese companies are mass producing fake rice made, in part, out of plastic, according to one online publication Very Vietnam.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egyptian Protests Expose Fraudulent U.S. “Spreading Democracy” Meme

      The Egyptian people have exposed the great myth that prevails in the sphere of United States’ foreign policy, namely that U.S. foreign policy elites are concerned with “spreading democracy.”

      That is because, as Hampshire College’s Michael Klare has written, since 1945, the United States has maintained a foreign policy that is centered around “blood and oil.” The foreign policy establishment often uses “democracy spreading” as a public relations platitude because it sounds much better than saying, “We went to war for oil.” But caring about democracy goes out the window when one truly scrutinizes U.S. foreign policy through a critical lens. Sourcewatch calls this phenomenon Big Oil, Big Lies.

    • Rumsfeld’s Memoir: Known and Unknown and Untrue

      In his new book, deftly titled Known and Unknown, former Defense Secreatry Donald Rumsfeld insists that he and the Bush-Cheney crew did not purposefully misrepresent the WMD case for the Iraq war: “The President did not lie. The Vice President did not lie. Tenet did not lie. Rice did not lie. I did not lie. The Congress did not lie. The far less dramatic truth is that we were wrong.” He does acknowledge that he made a “few misstatements,” referring specifically only to one: when he declared early in the war, “We know where they [the WMDs] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”

    • Nixon and Bob Haldeman on Donald Rumsfeld

      President Nixon and Bob Haldeman∇ discuss Donald Rumsfeld, observing admiringly that he’s “tough enough” and a “ruthless little bastard.”

    • Feds investigating Church of Scientology for human trafficking: report

      The FBI has reportedly launched a sweeping probe into the controversial Church of Scientology for allegedly being involved in human trafficking.

      The investigation includes the cult’s mysterious leader David Miscavige, a close friend of actor Tom Cruise who was also best man at his wedding.

      The allegations are that Miscavige allegedly doled out regular beatings to members, The New Yorker reported in its current issue, which hit newsstands this morning.

    • The Reagan Myth Continues to Grow

      Many people forget that Reagan was divisive for the country and won almost no support among African-Americans. Conservatives also fail to acknowledge that Reagan raised taxes throughout his presidency, including one tax hike that at the time was the biggest in American history. Reagan’s legacy is one of unprecedented federal budget deficits fueled by tax cuts made at the same time the federal budget grew due to massive increases in military spending.

    • Funny How None Of The Bills About Extending The Patriot Act Seem To Kill Off The Pieces So Regularly Abused

      We’ve already discussed how it appears that Congress is set to extend the Patriot Act with little debate yet again, despite the growing evidence of rather massive abuses of the law by law enforcement officials, with little to no evidence that the law has actually helped. As it stands now, in the Senate there are apparently three competing versions of the extension, and not a single proposal that would actually cut off the highly controversial sections that allow for spying on Americans with little to no oversight.

      The three Senate bills kick off with one from Senator Patrick Leahy, which would extend the various provisions until the end of 2013, but would also include a tiny bit more oversight.

    • Robot X-47B stealth bomber test flight
    • Surprise: House Did NOT Automatically Extend The Patriot Act

      Turns out the conventional wisdom was wrong. The House could not conjure up enough votes to pass the extension. While a majority did vote for it, the rules required a 2/3 vote to pass and supporters of the extension fell 13 votes short — getting 277 in favor and 148 against. You can check out the roll call for the 148 Reps who didn’t just roll over.

    • Trial begins in shooting that started as trash-talking

      “He was struggling,” DeLuca testified. “He kept saying, ‘I have a permit to carry.’ “

  • Cablegate

    • Brit Perspectives on the Way Forward in Afghanistan

      In October 1 and 2 meetings with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral Stavridis, and ISAF Commander General McChrystal, Prime Minister Brown, Foreign Secretary Miliband and other senior UK officials underscored HMG’s commitment to the allied mission in Afghanistan. They are eager for U.S. leadership to chart a clear course of future strategy in Afghanistan, including a desired end state, as soon as possible. In the British view, U.S. leadership is essential to keeping the coalition in place. Empowering the Afghan security forces to play a greater role is a top British priority. The British interlocutors stressed that continued willingness of the UK public to tolerate casualties depends upon the perception that the coalition has a strategy for success Afghanistan. They agreed that the fight against extremism in Pakistan is closely linked to the outcome in Afghanistan. In his meeting with McChrystal, Conservative Party leader David Cameron similarly stressed the importance of U.S. leadership and expressed support for continued, sustained effort.

    • U.S. Chamber Attacks FCIC as “Job-Killing” Wikileakers

      This is what the Chamber fears most of all, the FCIC’s planned release of those reckless, imprudent and downright ugly emails from the masters of the universe crowing about how well they do their jobs — fleecing America.

    • Times Editor Alarmed By Prospect of WikiLeaks Prosecution

      New York Times executive editor Bill Keller may not regard Julian Assange as a journalistic peer, but he made clear Thursday that he doesn’t think the WikiLeaks founder should face criminal prosecution in the United States.

      Keller joined his counterpart from Britain’s Guardian newspaper and a prominent Harvard Law School professor on a panel at Columbia University to discuss WikiLeaks, the secret-spilling website that has been publishing U.S. diplomatic cables and battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

      “It’s very hard to conceive of a prosecution of Julian Assange that wouldn’t stretch the law in a way that would be applicable to us,” said Keller. “Whatever one thinks of Julian Assange, certainly American journalists, and other journalists, should feel a sense of alarm at any legal action that tends to punish Assange for doing essentially what journalists do. That is to say, any use of the law to criminalize the publication of secrets.”

    • WikiLeaks: Suleiman told Israel he would ‘cleanse’ Sinai of arms runners to Gaza

      The news is more evidence of the close ties between Israel, the United States and Mr Suleiman, who is tipped to replace Hosni Mubarak as Egypt’s president.

      The close relationship has emerged from American diplomatic cables leaked to the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph.

    • WikiLeaks: Egyptian ‘torturers’ trained by FBI

      The US provided officers from the Egyptian secret police with training at the FBI, despite allegations that they routinely tortured detainees and suppressed political opposition.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • EU Parliament wants stricter rules for recycling electro-waste

      The European Parliament announced Thursday a proposal for stricter rules on regulating electronic waste, as it grapples with the problems its reliance on imported commodities presents to member economies.

      Millions of tons of electronic devices are discarded each year, and many contain one or more of the 14 elements the European Union has said are in critical supply. Those elements include magnesium, graphite, cobalt, gallium and germanium.

    • Scientists Found Chemical Dispersants Lingering in Gulf Long After Oil Flow Stopped

      Chemical compounds from the oil dispersants applied to the Gulf of Mexico didn’t break down as expected, according to a study released this week. Scientists found the compounds lingering for months in the deep waters of the Gulf, long after BP’s oil had stopped spewing.

      “The results indicate that an important component of the chemical dispersant injected into the oil in the deep ocean remained there, and resisted rapid biodegradation,” said scientist David Valentine of U.C. Santa Barbara, one of the investigators in the study.

    • Fracking Companies Injected 32M Gallons of Diesel, House Probe Finds

      Drilling service companies have injected at least 32 million gallons of diesel fuel underground as part of a controversial drilling technique, a Democratic congressional investigation has found.

    • New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US

      A new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude.

      Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day – more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.

    • The Kochs’ Climate Change Denial Media Machine

      A network of bloggers, pundits, think tanks and foundations get funding from the Kochs, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has received over $700,000, and the libertarian Cato Institute, which has received $13 million from the Kochs since 1998. The Manhattan Institute received $1.5 million, Americans for Prosperity has gotten $5.5 million, the Pacific Research Institute has gotten $1.2 million and the Federalist Society $2 million.

    • 7.5 million ha of Indonesian forest slated for clearing

      7.5 million hectares of natural forest will escape Indonesia’s planned moratorium on new forestry concessions, according to a new report from Greenomics Indonesia, an activist group.

      Under its billion dollar forest conservation partnership with Norway, Indonesia committed to establish a moratorium on new concessions in forest areas and peatlands beginning January 1, 2011. But Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has yet to sign the decree due to debate over the details of what types of forest will be exempted. Presently two versions of the decree are circulating. The one drafted by the country’s REDD+ Taskforce, chaired by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, is considerably stronger than one prepared by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Hatta Rajasa.

    • WikiLeaks cable: Saudi oil estimates may have been exaggerated

      Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves may have been grossly overestimated and its capacity to continue pumping at current capacity exaggerated, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable sent from the kingdom in 2007.

      The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks and published in the British newspaper The Guardian, cited the views of Sadad al-Husseini, who had been in charge of exploration and production at the Saudi state-owned company Aramco for 12 years until 2004.

    • Activist Communique: Save the Beaver Pond Forest

      With the rising of the morning sun on February 8, 2011, activists held what could be described as a ceremony of protection for the Beaver Pond Forest as they encircled the cutting machines that have been tearing into the South Marsh Highlands to protect the land from developers; and in turn, protecting we two-legged (humans) from having to commit such destruction.

    • Young Activist Faces 10 Years in Prison After Trying to Save Public Lands From Oil and Gas Companies

      On Friday, December 19, 2008, Tim DeChristopher participated in a public auction. As the Bush administration moved to auction off 77 parcels of federal land totaling 150,000 acres for oil and gas drilling, DeChristopher, a student at the University of Utah at the time, bid $1.7 million for 14 parcels totaling 22,000 acres of land, although he did not have the funds to pay for it.

  • Finance

    • Effort Afoot in Vermont to Abolish Corporate Personhood

      One year after the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations have the same rights as people, movements are underway around the U.S. to reverse the new protections granted by the country’s highest court. Vermont State Senator Virginia Lyons has introduced the country’s first anti-corporate personhood resolution which proposes amending the U.S. Constitution to specify that “corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States.”

    • Crack Down On Fraudclosure!
    • Fraudclosure: Will State AGs Step Up to Their Moment in History?

      Rumor has it that the 50-state attorneys general investigation into the Fraudclosure scandal is wrapping up. It’s time for a backbone check. Will the state attorneys general just ask the big banks and service providers to turn over a chunk of change from seemingly bottomless pockets? (This strategy was pursued by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) with little impact). Or will Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller take the lead in wrestling a real settlement out of the banks, so that families hammered by unemployment and underemployment can stay in their homes?

    • Elizabeth Warren 2.0
    • Banksters Back in the Black: JPMorgan Chase

      Earnings and bonus reports are rolling in and the big, bailed-out banks are back in the black. In 2010, total compensation and benefits at publicly traded Wall Street banks and securities firms hit a record of $135 billion — up almost six percent from 2009 according to the Wall Street Journal. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon may take home the biggest bonus check, an eye-popping $17 million.

    • Revealed: Banks to profit from Big Society

      In the latest attempt to save the floundering Big Society, David Cameron announced today that “the big society bank will be taking £200m from Britain’s banks to put into the voluntary sector.”

    • Biggest Scam in World History Exposed

      The greatest scam in history has been exposed — and has largely been ignored by the media. In fact, it’s still going on.

      The specifics of a secret taxpayer funded “backdoor bailout” organized by unelected bankers have been revealed. The data release revealed “emergency lending programs” that doled out $12.3 trillion in taxpayer money ($16 trillion according to Dr. Ron Paul) — and Congress didn’t know any of the details.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • India’s Biggest Press Scandal Censored by India’s Press Barons

      The year 2010 saw Indian journalists, their associations and unions hold more conferences and seminars on one professional issue than any other. And it wasn’t the Wage Board or the Radia tapes. Hundreds of journalists across the country attended these meetings. Dozens stood up and spoke of their own experiences of the subject. Of how it demoralized them and ruined their profession. Yet, the main topic of their discussion found no mention the next day in the very newspapers, magazines or channels they work for.

      Sometimes, the fact of the meeting being held, perhaps as an event attended by a High Court judge, was reported. But the subject discussed was not. In newspapers and channels choking with stories on corruption, this is the one you’re least likely to see. The media are their own worst censors when it comes to reporting on ‘Paid News.’

    • Taco Bell fights beef charges with ‘truth’ ads, may countersue

      Back in 2006, an E.coli outbreak at Taco Bells sickened dozens of people in six states. Then, in early 2007, a videotape of rats running rampant at a Taco Bell/KFC in New York City went viral. It took Taco Bell months to recover from this one-two image punch.

    • Anti-Abortion Groups Step Up Campaign Against Planned Parenthood

      “We were profoundly shocked when we viewed the videotape,” Phyllis Kinsler, chief executive of the agency’s central New Jersey branch, said in a statement. Ms. Kinsler said the tape “depicted an employee of one of our health centers behaving in a repugnant manner that is inconsistent with our standards of care and is completely unacceptable.”

      Stuart Schear, vice president for communications of the national federation, said in an interview on Wednesday that Planned Parenthood had “zero tolerance” for unethical behavior and that the behavior filmed in the video was “very isolated.”

    • Ad Change Underlines Influence of N.F.L.

      Unveiled by Toyota in November, the television commercial highlighted the carmaker’s decision to share crash research with scientists studying football concussions, and was an explicit reminder of football’s recent controversies regarding concussions.

      So explicit, it turns out, that the N.F.L. demanded that Toyota alter the 30 second commercial, and Toyota promptly did.

  • Censorship

    • Judge’s order bans jury pamphlets, sparking free-speech debate


      A court order signed this week prohibits the distribution of pamphlets or leaflets meant to influence jurors outside the Orange and Osceola courthouses.

      The administrative order, signed by Chief Judge Belvin Perry on Monday, has sparked a fresh free-speech debate that could lead to legal challenges, questioning whether the order amounts to a “prior restraint” or a form of censorship.

    • ‘The King’s Speech’ Threatened With Legal Action Over ‘No Animals Harmed’ Claim (Updated)

      The King’s Speech may have a new speech impediment on its path to the Academy Awards.

      The American Humane Association has contacted producers of the film and is threatening legal action over the use of phrase, “No animals were harmed,” in the end credits.

      The public advocacy group has a trademark on this phrase and over the years, has leveraged its rights so as to be involved in film productions and certify that no “animal actors” get harmed or killed in studio films. The organization typically demands advanced copies of scripts and daily call sheets to review and also requires on-set access whenever animals are used.

      The AHA says it was never invited to monitor The King’s Speech, however, and so it demands that The Weinstein Co., which is distributing the highly-praised film, remove the assurance to movie-goers that no animals were harmed during the production.

  • Privacy

    • In Europe, a Right to Be Forgotten Trumps the Memory of the Internet

      A quarter-century after coming to the United States, Franz Werro still thinks like a European. The 54-year-old Georgetown law professor, born and raised in Switzerland, is troubled when ads in French automatically pop up on his American laptop. The computer assumes that’s what he wants. We live naked on the Internet, Werro knows, in a brave new world where our data lives forever. Google your name, and you’ll stumble onto drunken photos from college, a misguided quote given to a reporter five years ago, court records, ancient 1 a.m. blog comments, that outdated Friendster profile … the list goes on, a river of data creating a profile of who you are for anyone searching online: friend, merchant, or potential future employer. Werro’s American students rarely mind.

    • Facebook Faces Privacy Questions From Congressmen

      Two Congressmen have sent a letter to Facebook requesting information about plans to share users’ mobile phone and address information with developers.

  • Civil Rights

    • EFF, ACLU Challenge Feds’ WikiLeaks Twitter Probe

      Two civil liberties groups representing a former WikiLeaks associate have filed a motion challenging the government’s attempt to obtain her Twitter records, as well as the records of two others associated with the secret-spilling website. The groups also filed motions to unseal records in the case.

      The case involves Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament, as well as WikiLeaks’ U.S. representative Jacob Appelbaum, and Dutch businessman and activist Rop Gonggrijp. Jonsdottir and Gonggrijp helped WikiLeaks prepare a classified U.S. Army video that the site published last April.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • FCC Net Neutrality is a Regulatory ‘Trojan Horse,’ EFF Says

      The Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality decision opens the FCC to “boundless authority to regulate the internet for whatever it sees fit,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning.

      The civil rights group says the FCC’s action in December, which was based on shaky legal authority, creates a paradox of epic proportions. The EFF favors net neutrality but worries whether the means justify the ends.

      “We’re wholly in favor of net neutrality in practice, but a finding of ancillary jurisdiction here would give the FCC pretty much boundless authority to regulate the internet for whatever it sees fit. And that kind of unrestrained authority makes us nervous about follow-on initiatives like broadcast flags and indecency campaigns,” Abigail Phillips, an EFF staff attorney, wrote on the group’s blog Thursday.

      And the paradox grows.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog Copyright Claim: A Dog That Wouldn’t Hunt

      Today, balloon dogs everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief: SF’s Park Life store/gallery announced that artist Jeff Koons has dropped legal action against the sale of its balloon dog-shaped bookends.

      In a story that migrated from The Bay Citizen to the New York Times, eventually reaching the San Francisco Chronicle, the NY-based artist, famous for his appropriation of pop culture, was roundly mocked for sending a cease-and-desist to the Richmond District store and the Toronto manufacturer of the bookends.

    • The Justice Department and the RIAA/MPAA
    • Sarah Palin, daughter Bristol seek to register trademarks on their names
    • Copyrights

      • MPAA threatens to disconnect Google from the Internet

        Over the last few months, Google has received more than 100 copyright infringement warnings from MPAA-affiliated movies studios: most are directed at users of Google’s public Wi-Fi service but others are meant for Google employees. The MPAA is thus warning the search giant that it might get disconnected from the Internet.

        “Copyright infringement also violates your ISP’s terms of service and could lead to limitation or suspension of your Internet service. You should take immediate action to prevent your Internet account from being used for illegal activities,” the movie companies write in various letters, according to TorrentFreak. Although the copyright holders use strong language, these notices are nothing simply warnings, and typically do not lead to legal action.

      • Lessons from the Texas Downloading Dismissal – Why Due Process Matters

        Apparently out of the blue, a copyright lawsuit filed in federal court in Dallas by a German pornographer against 670 anonymous Internet users, who were charged with infringing the copyright in the film by making it available for download, has been dismissed. The back story holds lessons for judges confronted with demands to discover the identify of anonymous Internet users.

      • Music Publisher Discovers A Song In Its Catalog Has Been Heavily Sampled For Decades… Sues Everyone

        Rather than just suing those behind the Heavy’s song, Drive In has basically gone on a legal rampage. It sued pretty much everyone even loosely connected with the song. So, it sued the label… but also the ad agency that put together the ad, the NFL for having the commercial during the Super Bowl and CBS for airing the ad. Apparently that lawsuit was settled, which is too bad, as it seems like many of those parties could push back on the claims.

      • Homeland Security Tries And Fails To Explain Why Seized Domains Are Different From Google

        Moe then asks Hayes if he links to a site that has infringing content from his Public Radio blog, will ICE shut down the site. And Hayes makes a really weird remark that makes no sense, sayings that if Moe “gets advertising funds from a site that provides unauthorized content” then he might have to shut them down. But that’s something new. We’ve seen no assertions or evidence that the sites that have been take down received ads from the other sites that were hosting the content. Is Hayes totally making stuff up now? It sounds like Hayes doesn’t even understand what he’s talking about.

        Finally, Moe asks: if a site links and embeds to all the same content, but does not profit from it (i.e., does not have advertising), is it criminal? Hayes totally punts and says he’d have to check the law. Yes, really. So the guy is not an expert on the technology and admits he’s not an expert on the law in question. So what is he an expert in and why is he leading these questionable seizures?

        On a separate note, it’s nice to see that Homeland Security is willing to chat with the press again after telling us that it will not speak about these issues because it’s an “ongoing investigation before court.” Apparently, Homeland Security was also lying to me (though, we knew that already).

      • Star Wars Is A Remix
      • Meet Evan Stone, P2P pirate hunter

        Evan Stone is not the devil; indeed, the antipiracy lawyer sees himself on the side of the angels. But his crusade against the Satanic forces of BitTorrent has been, by his own admission, a pitched battle in which he is vastly outnumbered. He describes his work as “charging hell with a bucket of water.”

      • Righthaven Goes After Pajamas Media, Despite DMCA Agent & Strong Fair Use Case

        It’s been a little while since we covered what newspaper copyright troll Righthaven was up to, but Eric Goldman alerts us to one recent legal filing from the operation that raises some questions. Historically, Righthaven has been careful to avoid websites that have registered a DMCA agent, knowing that under the DMCA it’s supposed to issue a takedown notice before suing. However, this case, in going after the successful blog network Pajamas Media, appears to ignore the fact that Pajamas Media has registered.

      • In Praise Of Piracy

        Although it pains me to say this, it’s the pirates who are on the right side of history. Empires built on barbed wire inevitably collapse, and the sooner the better; while this one reigns, it perpetuates yesterday’s regimes, and squelches innovation and progress. Is piracy wrong? Yes, but that’s the wrong question. The right question is, which is worse: widespread piracy, or the endless and futile attempt to preserve DRM everywhere? So long live the pirates. Those jerks. Please don’t make me say it again.

      • MPAA sues Hotfile, battle for cloud begins

        File-hosting service Hotfile has made a business out of offering a stash box for people to store their pirated movies, the Motion Picture Association of America claims in its suit against Hotfile.

      • MPAA Files Surprisingly Weak Billion Dollar Lawsuit Against Hotfile

        Hotfile, one of a number of cyberlockers out there, has been in the news increasingly lately, as various entertainment industry firms have been attacking it as one of the more popular cyberlockers. It appears that the MPAA and its whole content protection staff finally decided to go beyond complaining and actually sue Hotfile, asking (of course) for the maximum $150,000 in statutory damages for each infringing file it found on Hotfile.

      • IP Czar Report Hits On All The Lobbyist Talking Points; Warns Of More Draconian Copyright Laws To Come

        We had serious questions from the beginning about Senator Patrick Leahy’s “ProIP” bill, which was pushed very strongly by the lobbying group, the US Chamber of Commerce, using widely debunked stats to claim that there needed to be an “IP Enforcement Coordinator” in the White House. Yet, as we explained, such a position makes absolutely no sense. Even “pro intellectual property” folks noted that the law was anything but “pro intellectual property.” Instead it was pro-legacy business structure. So giving a role in the White House to someone whose sole job is to protect legacy business models is the very definition of regulatory capture. And while the IP Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, has been kind enough to personally reach out to us multiple times since taking on the job, in the end she still sees her role to be protecting legacy industry jobs, rather than (as the Constitution requires) making sure that intellectual property promotes the progress.

      • Russian media combats false piracy prosecutions

        Some good news out of Samara. As we’ve reported previously, trumped-up piracy accusations have been frequently used in Russia to intimidate independent media. Sergei Kurt-Adzhiyev, a Russian editor, has spent years fighting piracy prosecutions against himself and his publications in the region. This week, he was declared not guilty. Russia’s Finance Ministry was ordered to pay him 450,000 rubles or $15,200 for the false charge of using pirated software.

      • Copyright in a Free (gratis) World

        The big idea: I’m spending 628% more time on copyrighted content that is being given away than content I’m paying for. Much of it is ad-supported, but much of that ad money never ends up in the pocket of the artist: most content creators on youtube, reddit, 9gag, devour, or blogs never profit off of their creations.

      • Digital Economy (UK)/ACS:OutLaw

        • ACS:Law Judgment Has Serious Implications for Digital Economy Act

          Yesterday, Judge Birss QC at the Patents County Court delivered his judgment in the copyright infringement hearing which featured ACS:Law, copyright troll client MediaCAT and 27 alleged file-sharers. While Birss was damning of the process from start to finish, some of key issues he raised could have serious implications for the UK’s Digital Economy Act.

          The battle against ACS:Law, MediaCAT and other companies previously involved in developing the so-called Speculative Invoicing model in the UK, has been fought on many fronts. A key group that has championed the rights of the innocent caught in the dragnet, and indeed introduced the term ‘Speculative Invoicing’ to the legal landscape, is BeingThreatened.com. This compact and highly resourceful team have worked tirelessly to protect innocent members of the public from the predatory tactics we have read so much about lately.

        • With ACS:Law And MediaCAT Shutting Down, What Does It Mean For US Copyright Group?

          It certainly looks like DGW has been a bit more careful with its strategy than ACS:Law (where it really seemed like Andrew Crossley got in way over his head), but it certainly should be a warning sign to all those law firms who think this sort of shakedown play is easy money.

        • ACS:Law and overstated proof

          Yesterday afternoon saw the latest twist in the protracted story of ACS:Law. They have been engaged in a campaign to intimidate and extort money from thousands of people with little evidence and even less proper due process. Last week, with their flimsy cases facing scrutiny in court, ACS:Law wound themselves up, disappearing in a puff of smoke like cartoon villains. But Judge Birss, of the Patents County Court, insisted that the cases must continue.

          And so the case drags on. But aside from one law firm’s nefarious practice, it offers us important lessons for the way copyright enforcement works. In particular there are implications for that flagship but very flawed legislation aimed at reducing file-sharing in the UK, the Digital Economy Act. It is important to say that these lessons have nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of copyright infringement. They have everything to do with basic principles of justice and due process. If you are accused of doing something wrong, you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise by sufficient evidence. You would expect there to be reasonable ways to defend yourself. Punishments should follow this kind of process.

        • ACS:Law told file-sharing case must continue by court

          Now a judge had criticised the firm for its methods.

          “I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court,” said Judge Colin Birss at the Patents County Court in London.

Clip of the Day

Debian 6 “Squeeze” First Look, Impressions and History Lesson

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 9/2/2011: LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award, GNOME 2.91.6, Linux 2.6.38 RC4

Posted in News Roundup at 9:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 2010 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award Winners

    Server Distribution of the Year – Debian (29.35%)
    Desktop Distribution of the Year – Ubuntu (28.56%)
    Security/Forensic/Rescue Distribution of the Year – BackTrack (36.87%)
    Mobile Distribution of the Year – Android (76.82%)
    Database of the Year – MySQL (51.76%)
    NoSQL Database of the Year – Cassandra (27.40%)
    Office Suite of the Year – OpenOffice.org (55.74%)
    Browser of the Year – Firefox (55.52%)
    Desktop Environment of the Year – Gnome (45.06%)
    Window Manager of the Year – Compiz (26.43%)
    Messaging App of the Year – Pidgin (43.85%)
    Virtualization Product of the Year – VirtualBox (59.16%)
    Audio Media Player Application of the Year – Amarok (28.34%)
    Audio Authoring Application of the Year – Audacity (74.58%)
    Video Media Player Application of the Year – VLC (58.79%)
    Video Authoring Application of the Year – FFmpeg (26.70%)
    Multimedia Utility of the Year – GStreamer (31.95%)
    Graphics Application of the Year – GIMP (66.98%)
    Network Security Application of the Year – Wireshark (32.90%)
    Host Security Application of the Year – SELinux (38.46%)
    Network Monitoring Application of the Year – Nagios (61.76%)
    IDE/Web Development Editor of the Year – Eclipse (24.55%)
    Text Editor of the Year – vim (35.88%)
    File Manager of the Year – Nautilus (31.42%)
    Open Source Game of the Year – Battle for Wesnoth (22.70%)
    Programming Language of the Year – Python (26.56%)
    Revision Control System of the Year – git (50.56%)
    Backup Application of the Year – rsync (47.42%)
    Open Source CMS/Blogging platform – WordPress (45.18%)
    Configuration Management Tool of the Year – Puppet (46.67%)
    Open Source Web Framework of the Year – Django (33.33%)

  • Samsung’s Cool Cameras For Linux Users

    When you plug the camera or insert the memory stick into the PC running GNU/Linux operating systems like Ubuntu, it gives you the option to open it with Shotwell, a built-in image viewer. You can also edit your images using powerful software like GIMP.

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Virtualization

      LTSP is available in Debian GNU/Linux and several other distros.

      X has limitations in video throughput and security but it is the lowest cost solution where these issues are minor as in many libraries and computer labs.

    • Confessions of a Linux user
  • Server

    • U.S. commissions beefy IBM supercomputer

      The 10-petaflop performance far outstrips what is commonly thought of as today’s most powerful supercomputer, the recently built Tianjin National Supercomputer Center’s Tianhe-1A system, which benchmarked a performance of 2.67 petaflops for the last Top500 twice-annual ranking of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

  • Ballnux

    • Dual-screen Android phone offers multiple viewing modes

      Sprint and Kyocera Communications are readying the first dual-touchscreen Android smartphone. Equipped with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor running Android 2.2, the Kyocera Echo offers dual 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreens that can be combined to form a single 4.7-inch display, or can be split — with apps running either independently or in an “optimized” mode with complementary functions.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Debian Linux 6 and the Trinity Desktop

        One very good thing about the TrinityDE Kmail, trash compaction WORKS! For all the YEARS I have been using Kmail, I had to delete the /bob/Mail/trash file by hand, “touch trash” to recreate it, just because every time I would try “compact trash folder” Kmail would give the awful message, “for security reasons, compaction has been turned off for trash.”

        Several months of spam, attachments, family photographs and Debian-User mailing list digests can create multi-hundred-megabyte trash files. The fact that compacting the trash file has been enabled is the first new thing in TrinityDE that I am exceedingly happy about.

        Let’s hope that the continued development of TrinityDE, as shown by that seemingly small change, is on an evolutionary basis, rather than the revolutionary fervor that caused the need for TrinityDE to be founded in the first place.

      • Software Review: The KDE 4.6 Desktop Environment

        New for 4.6 is a window decoration called Oxygen-GTK, which is designed to make apps created using the GTK toolkit look better in the Qt-based KDE environment. Not something I’m likely to use, but a nice touch that a lot of folks have been waiting for.

      • What is Kamoso

        A lot of people has been asking me (or complaining) what is Kamoso and what we intend to do with it, so I’ve decided to use a blog post to explain it.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 2.91.6 released!
      • Gnome 3: tab scrolling, and some other remarks

        In general, things are shaping up nicely. I was pleasantly surprised that I had no 3D driver issues any more on either of my two laptops (using the free intel and radeon drivers). Some things are not ready for prime time, such as dconf-editor that doesn’t provide a search option and doesn’t wrap long description labels, thereby forcing the window width to ridiculous proportions (bug 641292).

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Sabayon Linux 5.5 SpinBase and CoreCDX Released
      • Sabayon Linux 5.5 CoreCDX and SpinBase Editions Released

        After the release of Sabayon Linux 5.5, the development team proudly announced today, February 8th, the immediate availability for download of the CoreCDX and SpinBase editions of their popular Sabayon Linux operating system.

        Sabayon Linux 5.5 SpinBase and CoreCDX editions are designed for Linux experts and advanced users that want to set up a home server or create their very own operating system, based on Sabayon.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Opens Call for Nominations for Fifth Annual Innovation Awards

        Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions, announced that nominations are open for its fifth annual Red Hat Innovation awards, which will be presented at the Red Hat Summit and JBoss World, taking place May 3-6, in Boston.

      • Nominations Open For Red Hat Certified Professional Of The Year Awards
      • Stocks Rumor Of The Day: LORL, RHT, JNPR and HTZ

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) shares have came off day’s low on Tuesday on rumors that the company could be an acquisition target. RHT calls are seeing interest following renewed M&A speculation. So far today 7.6K total calls have traded vs 220 total puts.

      • Options Brief: Red Hat, Inc. (RHT)

        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) are higher on the session by 1.16%, trading at $44.62.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Performance Leadership

        Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization made solid progress during 2010. We delivered Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2 and the first release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops. We announced that several enterprise clouds, such as IBM’s, would be built on our virtualization platform. And we announced a string of customer wins. Along with these advances came widespread acknowledgment from the press and analyst communities that Red Hat’s virtualization portfolio was becoming established as a potent force in the market. Now, keeping up the momentum, we’re kicking off 2011 with a pair of leading virtualization performance results.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” released

        The installation process for Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 has been improved in various ways, including easier selection of language and keyboard settings, and partitioning of logical volumes, RAID and encrypted systems. Support has also been added for the ext4 and Btrfs filesystems and — on the kFreeBSD architecture — the Zettabyte filesystem (ZFS). The installation system for Debian GNU/Linux is now available in 70 languages.

      • Upgrade Debian Lenny To Squeeze In A Few Simple Steps

        One rather old laptop and one server were the test objects for this howto. Both systems do not have any RAID devices and use a simple partition scheme from a default basic Lenny install. If your setup deviates much from this, it’s highly recommended to read all details of the Debian Release Notes before you continue. Be warned. All commands are run as root and Debian recommends to use apt-get for the Squeeze upgrade process.

      • Debian Is No Longer Just A Linux Distribution

        Did you know that Debian supports diverse hardware ranging from Intel 32-bit and 64-bit architecture, Motorola/IBM PowerPC, Sun/Oracle Sparc, MIPS (big-endian & little-endian), Intel Itanium, IBM S/390, and ARM EABI ? That is a total of 9 architectures.

      • Debian “Squeeze” makes key progress toward being a fully free distribution

        With last Saturday’s “Squeeze” release, Debian took an important step towards being a fully free distribution and ensuring freedom for its users.

        Most GNU/Linux distributions directly or virtually include proprietary software. To promote development and use of totally free distros, the FSF publishes precise criteria for GNU/Linux distributions to fully respect users’ freedom.

      • Debian Cleanup Tip #2: Get rid of obsolete packages

        Last week, we learned to remove useless configuration files. This week, we’re going to take care of obsolete packages.

      • 5 Key Things to Know About Debian 6.0 ‘Squeeze’

        Squeeze is the nickname of the latest Debian release (version 6.0). A new release of the well known and widely used Linux distro is a big deal. Ubuntu fans may be used to installing a new version what seems like every few minutes, but Debian moves to an altogether slower beat. Everything in a new release is thoroughly tried and tested, which explains why the last version — Debian 5.0 “Lenny” — debuted almost exactly two years ago.

      • CrunchBang 10 “Statler” r20110207

        Unless you have been living under a rock, you will almost certainly be aware that Debian 6 “Squeeze” was released over the weekend of the 5th & 6th of February ’11. This is great news for Debian and great news for CrunchBang.

        CrunchBang 10 “Statler” has been in development since early last year. The first alpha release came out in March ’10 and several development builds have followed whilst Debian Squeeze remained in testing. Now that Squeeze has migrated from testing to stable, CrunchBang Statler will also adopt the stable moniker.

      • Distribution Release: CrunchBang Linux 10 R20110207
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • You’re Invited: This Week’s Ubuntu Bug Day – LibreOffice and OpenOffice

          Robert Roth announces this week’s Ubuntu Bug Day on the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list. If you are interested in helping “squash” some LibreOffice and OpenOffice bugs in Ubuntu then you are invited to help the Ubuntu BugSquad.

        • Next Ubuntu Developer Summit to be held in Budapest, Hungary

          Once every 6 months the Ubuntu developers meet at a summit to discuss and plan the upcoming release of Ubuntu. The Ubuntu Developer Summit hence attracts a large number of developers, enthusiasts and users every time it is conducted.

        • 5 New Features in Ubuntu 11.04

          On April 2011 , Canonical is going to release the latest avatar of Ubuntu , 11.04,codenamed ‘Natty Narwhal’ .Last release of ubuntu was ubuntu 10.10,codenamed ‘Maverick Meerkat’.There are lots of visible improvement in ubuntu 11.04 Alpha I.Lets see the new changes which are going to happen in ubuntu 11.04.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Amicable Antidisestablishmentarianism

            Ubuntu Studio Fun Fact #0:
            Ubuntu Studio shares the same repository as vanilla Ubuntu. Crazy, huh?

            Ubuntu Studio Fun Fact #1:
            The Ubuntu Studio developers don’t general code much. This means you don’t have to have mad coding skills to help with Ubuntu Studio development; generally I suggest that tenacity, inquisitiveness, and initiative will serve you well.

          • Lubuntu Screencast: Metapackages in detail

            In this screencast I show metapackages in more detail and explain the differences between them and normal packages.

          • Lubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 Released, Removes Cheese And Xarchive

            Lubuntu 11.04 alpha 2 was released today with a bit of a delay due to some issues with the hardware on the computer that generates the ISO.

            There aren’t major changes since alpha 1 except for two default packages which have been removed: Cheese is no longer in the default Lubuntu 11.04 install and Xarchive has been replaced with file-roller.

          • Pinguy OS 10.10.1 quick review – even more mainstream than Mint?

            Pros: Pinguy’s maker has scoured the open source world to find amazing apps and tweaks. It’s one of the sexiest and most functional desktops we’ve seen
            Cons: The desktop and application drop-downs are ultra busy, which risks confounding the less tech-savvy user. The ISO is well over 1GB

          • Review: Peppermint Ice Linux

            These days, if a desktop-focussed Linux distribution wants to stand out from the pack of Ubuntu-wannabes it either needs to be especially slick or offer something a little bit different to the norm. Peppermint Ice falls into the latter category: It’s a Debian-derived (via Ubuntu), lightweight Linux distro that’s designed for netbooks and has a strong focus on Web applications.

            Peppermint Ice’s main claim to fame is its use of a ‘site-specific browser’ (SSB), dubbed Ice, which is based on Google’s Chromium browser. Peppermint One, a fraternal distro from the same developers, uses Mozilla’s Prism (a project that, according Mozilla Labs’ projects page, is now not being actively developed). An SSB is a stripped-down browser that lets Web-based applications and services be treated in a somewhat similar fashion to a standard application: instead of navigating to a site using your browser, you can simply click on an icon on your desktop/applications menu/taskbar and an independent browser session is launched for that application (with none of the usual toolbars and menus you find in a normal browser session).


            Kernel: 2.6.35-22-generic
            Window manager: Openbox
            Desktop: LXDE
            Based on: Ubuntu
            System requirements: i386 or derivative processor; 192MB RAM, 4GB hard drive space
            Package management: APT

          • Linux Mint 10 And My Experiment With Oracle VM VirtualBox

            My overall experience with Linux Mint 10 continues to be positive.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Smartphones ‘out sell’ PCs for first time

        Linux has taken off like crazy on smartphones in the form of Android.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Dalvik ported to MeeGo, promising instant Android app compatibility

          Myriad Group AG today announced a Dalvik virtual machine claimed to let Android apps run on non-Android platforms. Myriad posted a video showing “Myriad Alien Dalvik” running Android apps on a Nokia N900, and said the software will be available for MeeGo later this year.

        • Intels MWC ‘Media Alert’ Gives us Clues on MeeGo Activities.

          I’ve already posted about what I think will and won’t be part of Intels activity at Mobile World Congress next week and a recent ‘media alert’ sent to me by email confirms my thoughts that this is largely a software event for Intel. It’s all about completing the MeeGo stack from hardware to app store and that means:

          * Moorestown platform – Demonstrating MeeGo and battery life advances.
          * MeeGo 1.2 – Demonstrating multi-touch and other core components.
          * UI layers written in Qt – Compelling demonstrations (probably created by Wind River)
          * AppUp store (probably Beta) launch.

        • NewsFlow Moves to Dark Side with 1.1 Beta Release

          Taking a small break from coding TwimGo and adding some features to NewsFlow application. NewsFlow is a Google Reader client written in QML and JavaScript. It runs on Nokia N900 and Symbian^3 devices such as N8 or E7.

        • kojacker
        • Myriad Announce Alien Dalvik enabling Android Apps to Run on MeeGo / Maemo

          Myriad this morning announced ‘Alien Dalvik’ bringing Android applications to non-Android devices, allowing OEMs, operators and application stores to leverage the Android eco-system across a much wider range of mobile devices. Android applications run completely unmodified and with no loss of performance on non- Android platforms. This launch opens up the Android experience to new audiences as it enables them to deploy Android applications across multiple device operating systems, all without compromising performance which is made possible by a very tight integration of the Android runtime and the use of Myriad Dalvik Turbo technology. Myriad is a member of the Open Handset Alliance.

        • A TouchArea for QML

          For the last few weeks we have been working on a comfortable way to expose raw touch data to QML. The solution we came up with is called TouchArea and is a QML plugin that should be usable from Qt 4.7. The TouchArea is useful whenever you want to track touch points directly in QML, either by using property bindings or trough javascript event functions. This might for example be useful for touch input based games and for recognizing very basic custom gestures directly in javascript.

        • Linpus to Showcase MeeGo-Based Tablet Solution at MWC. Our Sneak Peek Video Now!

          Linpus, a company that has been working on Linux distributions for netbooks for a number of years under their ‘Linpus Lite’ brand have been invited to MWC to demonstrate their current offering in the MeeGo and Qt booths. The solution is targeted at manufacturers of netbooks and tablets based on MeeGo. Like MeeGo, the Linpus solution will be a ‘base’ on which to build on through contractual work by Linpus. We’ve seen a tablet UI before but this is more than that.

      • Android

        • Dalvik Spreads Android Apps

          The Dalvik virtual machine is being ported to other platforms other than Android/Linux. This makes it trivial for Android apps to run on GNU/Linux and to spread to x86 systems. I love it.

        • Dell Streak 7 needs Android 3, better battery, says review

          Dell’s seven-inch Dell Streak 7 tablet boasts a fairly affordable price, plus a powerful dual-core Tegra 2 processor that delivers zippy performance. However, it needs Android 3.0, better battery life, and an improved screen and camera to keep up with the fast-running competition, says this eWEEK review.

        • The Case for Android on Linux

          Like most office workers, my day is generally split up into two phases. The second phase, where I spend 90% of my time, is spent switching between the 3 or 4 primary applications I need to use to get my work done.

          For this kind of activity Linux (and indeed any GUI based OS created in the last decade) works well, because the focus of desktop operating systems is on allowing you simultaneously to run a small number of monolithic applications that perform a specific job.

        • INSIDE Secure Brings True NFC Hardware Independence to Google Android “Gingerbread”
    • Sub-notebooks

      • Netbooks all set to begin a new innings with Chrome OS

        The original netbook concept was that of sub 100 laptop running Linux providing quick access to web apps. The Linux based 7-inch Asus Eee PC was the first mainstream of that type, which shot to fame in 2007. Subsequently Intel and Microsoft intervened with tailored processors and trimmed-down Windows, which blurred the distinction between a notebook and a netbook. Although manufacturers have added more features, the netbook has gradually lost its meaning, size, function and price point, and is now losing its popularity as well.

    • Tablets

      • Preview of Linpus Linux OS for touchscreen tablets

        Linpus has been developing light-weight Linux-based operating systems for netbooks and tablets for the last few years. Now the company is getting ready to show off its latest tablet solution at Mobile World Congress, and Chippy from CarryPad has posted a preview video.

        The OS is based on MeeGo Linux, but this version has been optimized for touchscreen tablets, with a nice big on-screen keyboard, rather speedy screen rotation, and an Android-like home screen with support for animated desktop backgrounds, widgets, and easy access to an app launcher.

        The software is designed to play well with low power Intel Atom chips, and in the demo video you can see the OS boot in just 14 seconds on a tablet with an Atom processor.

      • Linpus Lite tablet-optimized Linux OS gets hands-on treatment (video)

        While tablet hardware is capable of running a full desktop OS, the experience often leaves something to be desired. Most desktop OSes are still designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse, and you’re not likely to attach either to a tablet while you’re riding a bus to work.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Ada Initiative launches
  • Ada Initiative Supports Women in Open Source, Counters Sexism

    Both Aurora and Gardiner have been active in FOSS women’s groups for over a decade. However, the catalyst for the Ada Initiative was the hostile responses to Noirin Shirley’s account of being sexually assaulted at ApacheCon in November 2010. The incident led to Aurora, Gardiner, and other members of the Geek Feminism blog to draft sample anti-harassment policies for conferences, and eventually to Aurora quitting her work as a full-time kernel developer at Red Hat to focus on the issues involved.

  • The Ada Initiative launch announcement

    The Ada Initiative is a new non-profit organization dedicated to increasing participation of women in open technology and culture, which includes open source software, Wikipedia and other open data, and open social media. Co-founders Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora have 10 years experience in open source software, open social media, and women in computing activism with groups like Geek Feminism, Systers, and LinuxChix.

  • Is Open Source Good For Security?

    I still regularly hear people asking about open source and security. The usual question goes along the lines of “surely if the source is out in the open bad guys can do bad things”. The implication is that keeping the source code secret aids security and having it public degrades security.

    Now, I’d not suggest that open source possesses some form of magic that always delivers more security – Alec Muffett recently debunked that idea here on CWUK. But I’ve two stories I watched unfold that support the assertion it can help make security better, in the context of a properly-functioning community.


    The world of open source is full of cases where openness of information and process allow properly-functioning open-by-rule communities to address security issues fast. This is the real meaning of the idea that open source is good for security; no magic, just symbiosis.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Tries to Help News Media Figure Out the Web

        Newspapers and other traditional media outlets get a lot of flak for not being more forward-thinking when it comes to what they do on the web or on mobile devices. And it’s true that many are stuck in the past — happy to continue plastering their websites with content shoveled from their print or offline operations. But even those who would like to be more creative often don’t have the resources to do so, since they usually have few (if any) staff with the programming and technology chops. Now the Knight Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation have joined forces to try and give media outlets some help in that area, by creating a fellowship program that will “embed” data and web-oriented journalists and developers in newsrooms as a way of sparking some creativity.

      • Introducing Wiki Wednesdays

        The Mozilla Developer Network web site has a ton of documentation. A lot of it is really good. However, we have a significant number of articles that could use some help from the experts. To that end, we’re introducing Wiki Wednesday. Each Wednesday, we’ll post a very short list of articles that need technical help. The list will be posted here on the Hacks blog, as well as to the relevant Mozilla developer mailing lists.

      • Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta, now including “Do Not Track” capabilities

        The latest Firefox 4 Beta is now available to download and test. We’ve continued our work to improve performance and stability, while also implementing a “Do Not Track” privacy feature to provide more control over online behavioral tracking.

  • SaaS

    • The Internet kill switch idea is already hurting cloud computing

      Pending federal legislation called the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, aka Senate bill 3480, would grant the president of the United States the power to cut Internet access in a declared emergency, including blocking the Web for as many as 30 days, through a new agency to be called the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications. This concept was introduced last year, and it returned to the forefront this week when the S.3480 bill passed in its committee on the same day Egypt’s Internet connection was shut down to curtail widespread government protests.

    • VMware preps link between public, private clouds

      Providing a vital link between internal and external clouds, VMware plans to release in March an adapter for moving virtual machines between a hosted service offering and an organization’s own internal systems, the company announced Tuesday.

    • The Diaspora that wasn’t, and the way into the walled gardens.

      Just about every person involved with Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (referred from here-on as FLOSS) recognizes the problems with Facebook: it’s a walled garden, sharing of personal information is opt-out (assuming you can find it), questionable practices regarding tracking for advertisements, questions of ownership of data, and so on. Even more folks recognize that Facebook is the 800lb gorilla in the room (What does an 800lb gorilla do? Anything it wants). What is less apparent is what the appropriate FLOSS response to Facebook should be.

      Diaspora is one of those responses. They’re not necessarily the only response (there are others) but I think it’s indicative of the wrong sort of response to this problem. The biggest problem with Diaspora today is it solves the wrong problem. Diaspora is essentially a clone of Facebook with all of the privacy controls brought to the forefront. While this is indeed one of the problems with Facebook, the solution in Diaspora is misguided in thinking this is the only problem with Facebook. If Facebook were to adopt Diaspora’s privacy controls, there would still be problems with Facebook. Diaspora’s approach is fundamentally flawed. Unfortunately, they have enough mindshare from their campaign to get started that folks may think this is the best that the FLOSS community can do. They may settle for what Diaspora offers. That is absolutely not what FLOSS should do.

      One thing that FLOSS gets right is open protocols. Identi.ca, for all of it’s warts as a community, gets that the problem with Twitter isn’t that we need to have access to the code (although that is one problem). The problem with Twitter is that it too is a walled garden. In order to communicate with anyone on Twitter, I must have an account on Twitter. Identi.ca (and the underlying software, Status.net) gets this right by allowing federation using OStatus. Federation via OStatus allows me to set up a Status.net instance wherever I choose, and allows me to follow folks on other Status.net instances. It’s a brilliant approach, and I hope it gains more momentum. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have enough momentum right now to make Twitter adopt it. And why should Twitter expend their energies to adopt OStatus? After all, they’re the ones with the larger community.

  • Databases

    • CouchOne and Membase merge as Couchbase

      NoSQL specialists CouchOne and Membase Inc have announced that they are merging to create a company that offes a more comprehensive range of NoSQL technology, named Couchbase. CouchOne’s expertise lies in CouchDB, the database created by CouchOne’s founder, Damien Katz. CouchDB is a widely deployed open source distributed/synchronising document database used by the BBC, CERN and Apple. Membase’s speciality is the distributed key-value memory cached database of the same name which offers high throughput for many web applications; it is used by companies such as AOL and Zynga.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Google open sources Contracts for Java

      Google has announced the open sourcing, under the LGPL, of Contracts for Java (cofoja), which implements a technique popularised by the Eiffel programming language. Design, or Programming, by Contract is a technique where the interfaces of software modules include contracts consisting of preconditions, postconditions and invariant expressions.

    • More ratings, please

      Given the interest in my earlier article about a scorecard for open source and my own rough-and-ready benchmark proposal, I’d be interested in seeing how well the benchmark works at rating a variety of open source projects. If you’re familiar enough with a project to be willing to have your name associated with rating it, please complete the table below in the same style as my own evaluation of OpenJDK.

    • Oracle and IBM to share open-source Java leadership

      Oracle has agreed to share governance of the OpenJDK Java community with IBM, in a move that demonstrates considerable good will, according to one analyst.

      The company has created a series of bylaws outlining the way the governance will be structured, with Oracle appointing itself chairman and the OpenJDK lead, and IBM taking the role of vice chairman.

  • CMS

    • Tesla Motors using Drupal

      Tesla went public last year; it is the first American automaker to go public since Ford Motor’s IPO more than 50 years ago.

  • Business

    • Competitive Benefits Drive Businesses to Open Source

      Vendors of proprietary software are fond of warning potential customers that open source software isn’t ready for business, typically citing subpar features or a higher total cost of ownership (TCO).

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Openwashing – Press Pass

        Having worked with many companies over the years on going open source (see our report “Going Open Source”), many of them are just not cognizant ahead of time of the missteps that can be made. There’s so much arm-chair lawyering in open source (trade mark, assigning IP, patents, etc.) that it’s easy to overlook or simply not realize how much legal-thinking going open source requires. And if you do something wrong there, then once someone wants to accuse you of not being “real open source,” they can go after that fine print. Of course, as Oracle’s recent trade mark based flap over Hudson shows, those fears can be real: just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you, as they say.


    • Interview with Richard Stallman (2011)

      Stallman: To qualify as a free distribution, Debian would have to remove the references to its nonfree and contrib sections from its free packages and from its servers. (Many contrib packages serve solely to help install nonfree programs distributed separately from Debian.)

  • Project Releases

    • VMware releases Zimbra 7

      VMware has released the Zimbra Collaboration Server 7.0, the email and groupware solution spun out of the Zimbra Collaboration Suite after VMware took over Zimbra from Yahoo a year ago. This is the first product in the Zimbra 7 family; customers can now also download beta versions of Zimbra Desktop 7 and Zimbra Appliance 7.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • New Hampshire Opens its State’s Legislative Data

        In the past few days, New Hampshire’s General Court, as the state legislature is officially known, started releasing data on legislation and legislators in nerd-friendly, “pipe-separated” files, uploaded daily. In non-geek speak, this means the data is presented in a way that any competent web developer can easily process for use in an application or a researcher can feed into a database system to explore.


  • Juror will appeal order to turn over Facebook posts

    A California attorney representing a juror required to divulge the contents of his Facebook account says he will file an appeal of the court order tomorrow.

    Ken Rosenfeld, a Sacramento criminal defense attorney, told CNET that forcing jurors to turn over private correspondence in the form of Facebook posts “would be catastrophic in terms of free speech, justice, and the jury system itself.”

  • HP accuses Cisco of diverting data center standard

    Networking rivals HP and Cisco have abandoned their common ground in data center switching, with HP accusing Cisco of diverting an IEEE standard and Cisco insisting that customers drove the change.

    At issue are two as-yet unratified standards in the IEEE for data center switching that were being defined in concert but are now diverging. IEEE 802.1Qbg and 802.1Qbh were intended to work closely together to enable physical switches to offload much of the network-intensive processing from virtual switches on blade servers and NICs. A year ago, Cisco and HP were driving the effort in a rare show of unity.

  • Rediscovering WWII’s female ‘computers’

    In all the interviews and conversations, it hadn’t come up. To the sisters, it was just a job they’d held a long time ago, when they were teens with a talent for numbers.

    To filmmaker LeAnn Erickson, it was history rediscovered.

    It was 2003 and Erickson was interviewing sisters Shirley Blumberg Melvin and Doris Blumberg Polsky for her documentary, “Neighbor Ladies,” about a woman-owned real estate agency that helped to peacefully integrate a Philadelphia neighborhood. The twins, long-retired by then, reluctantly mentioned a different sort of job they’d held during World War II: Female “computers.”

  • HuffPo Blogger Revolt!

    It’s not exactly upheaval, but there are rumblings at The Huffington Post. Now that HuffPo bloggers know how much the liberal’s Drudge Report is worth—$315 M.—and how much cash their boss Arianna Huffington made off its sale to AOL—~$100 M.

  • ReactOS – Open-Source Windows Clone Software To Seriously Look Forward To

    ReactOS is an effort to provide a Windows NT-like architecture that is compatible with existing drivers and applications. An easy way to look at it would be to say that it is a clone of the Windows OS (which is closed-source so it’s not possible to really clone it), when in reality, it’s an alternative to the Windows OS, with the difference that it’s a collaborative open-source project and it’s in its infancy. While the team behind ReactOS has been heavily developing this young operating system for over a decade, it is still in the alpha stage. However, there is a number of reasons that make ReactOS worth a look.

  • 5 Things I Love Most About MS Windows

    numero cinco – I love MS Windows because it has more users than Charlie Sheen has drunken girlfriends; which serves to paint a LARGE target on it rather than on my actual operating system (Linux). Hackers and spammers are wise. They use Linux on their own systems and target the operating system that gives them the biggest bang for the byte. Thanks to Microsoft for being my shield.

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Egypt Protests – Cellphone Radiation – Ken Nordine

      Cellphone Radiation – In our Middle Hour; a documentary called A Precautionary Tale.

      We’ve all seen them, those ubiquitous cell phone towers atop, office buildings schools, apartments.

      We know they emit a certain kind of radiation but are they dangerous?

      In an apartment in the west end of Toronto, tenants living with the towers began complaining about health problems.

      Were the towers to blame?

      Producer John Chipman in a special one-hour report looks at both sides of a heated and controversial subject.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt: End-Game

      Apparently possible foreign medical treatment may be involved in the end-game in Egypt, “What to do with Mubarak?”. The protestors want him out ASAP and medical treatment may be a good cover for exile. It is much less likely that a dictator can tweak the strings of power remotely. The end-game may morph into “What to do with the vice-president?”

      Apparently, much of the leadership of the current regime are filthy-rich and have domiciles around the world. They may all leave one night and Egypt could wake up to an Animal Farm situation. In spite of the protestors’ apparent lack of a leader/point-man, the regime could implode if the current leadership leaves. Most opinions are that the military can ensure stability while Egypt reorganizes itself.

    • Egypt: 2011-2-8

      # 20 lawyers have drawn up charges claiming corruption/conversion of money by Mubarak’s buddies ($billions),
      # Mubarak has ordered a committee formed to revise the constitution he wrote,
      # the Google guy who started a page on Facebook that may have been the catalyst for a lot of the protests was freed,
      # the government has promised not to prosecute the millions of protestors, and
      # the numbers and kinds of protestors keeps growing.

    • US Patriot Act is unconstitutional

      The US Congress is moving to renew the USA PATRIOT Act, a controversial anti-terrorism law. The major provisions of the bill will expire soon, forcing the Congress to entertain the measure once again.

      The US Senate is in a hurry extend the extension of the Act, so much so many want to dismiss any discuss and debate on the topic. Similarly, the US House is set to vote at any time to extend the law’s provisions until December 8, 2011.

    • Brutal Beating Reveals Ongoing Reign of Terror in L.A. County Jails

      The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department today launched an internal investigation after Esther Lim, a jail monitor for the ACLU of Southern California, submitted a sworn statement in federal court yesterday recounting the details of a brutal beating she witnessed of an inmate in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. Twin Towers is one of the several facilities that make up the Los Angeles County jail system.

    • Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) Highlights

      During last Tuesday’s ‘Million Man March’ and Friday’s ‘Day of Departure’ rallies, the swirling clamour of car horns, famously characteristic of Liberation Square’s soundscape, fell silent, as human cries for freedom, change and justice floated through the air.

    • Will Cuba Be The Next Egypt?

      Developments in Egypt over the last two weeks brought Cuba to my mind. Why does a similar rebellion against five decades of repression there still appear to be a far-off dream? Part of the answer is in the relationship between the Castro brothers—Fidel and Raúl—and the generals. The rest is explained by the regime’s significantly more repressive model. In the art of dictatorship, Hosni Mubarak is a piker.

    • Cubans Are Neither Arabs Nor Muslims

      This isn’t to reject or alienate those who, from abroad, across the internet and social networks are calling for a people’s uprising or a general strike in Cuba. It’s a question of reality.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices

      The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

      The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.

    • Dinner with Julian

      On Wednesday the 9th of February 2011 from 6.30pm GMT people from all around the world will commence dining with their friends in a unified effort to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of speech.

  • Finance

    • IMF raises spectre of civil wars as global inequalities worsen

      The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that “dangerous” imbalances have emerged that threaten to derail global recovery and stoke tensions that may ultimately set off civil wars in deeply unequal countries.

    • Donors pledge $120 million aid for Belarus opposition

      Poland — which has been accused by Lukashenko of trying to topple him — announced it was doubling its aid to groups including the independent media, earmarking some 10 million euros.

      The funds cover the operating costs of the Warsaw-based Belast TV, the only Belarussian-language station broadcasting in Belarus which is not controlled by the authorities there.

      US officials said Washington was increasing aid by a third to 15 million dollars, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt announced seven million euros for independent Belarussian media, and Germany pledged 6.6 million euros.

      The Warsaw meeting came just days after the EU and United States slapped a new raft of sanctions — including a travel ban and asset freeze — on Lukashenko and 157 associates.

      Belarus has been defiant, with its foreign ministry on Tuesday calling the moves against its leaders “unjustified” and threatening to take reciprocal steps.

    • Corruption and Inequality Begin at Home

      The U.S. media seems to have found a new language for the economy. There’s been talk of “solidarity” and even “class war,” and a focus on corruption and inequality like we haven’t seen in who knows how long.

      The only problem? They’re talking about Egypt.

      “It’s quite clear that entire domains in the economy were dominated by a few people,” a British professor of Middle Eastern Studies told the New York Times Monday. The reporter notes “Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt has long functioned as a state where wealth bought political power and political power bought great wealth.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Journalist’s spoof exposes Romanian MPs’ greed

      More than a hundred Romanian parliamentarians responded to an SMS invitation from a fake businessman from the United Arab Emirates who proposed them “a deal”. Only later did they realise they had been fooled by a journalist.

      Daily newspaper ‘Romania Libera’, which set up the spoof, has published a full list of the greedy parliamentarians.

  • Privacy

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Don’t fear the foreign reaper

      When Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts, a U.S. private equity firm, thought about buying Bell Canada a few years ago, someone – I can’t remember who – criticized the deal by saying he didn’t want decisions about Canadian telecom made in Manhattan board rooms. That’s about as dumb an argument as I’ve ever heard because when it comes to telecom companies, we’re talking about the pipes – whether they’re wires or wireless – that stuff travels through. It’s like complaining about how the decisions regarding the computers we use or the televisions we watch are being made in California and Tokyo board rooms. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who owns the pipes the stuff goes through. All that’s important is that we get the stuff, preferably faster and cheaper.

    • CRTC to review billing practices for wholesale Internet services

      The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today launched, of its own initiative, a proceeding to review its decisions on billing practices that would have applied to the residential customers of Small Internet service providers (Small ISPs).

    • No Cap on UBB Reading: Lots of Coverage of Caps and Competition

      The current controversy over usage based billing, the CRTC, and Internet data caps has generated a wide range of commentary and articles over the past few days.

    • Internet usage debate, Part 2: $8B to keep pace

      The controversy around usage-based billing (UBB) continues to swirl, and at the centre are third-party wholesale Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who are driving the debate — and very often the myths as well.

    • Bell’s Sunny Broadband Claims

      The NetIndex report ranks Canada 36th in the world for residential speed. Moreover, the shift away from the OECD to the G20 has the effect of excluding many developed countries with faster and cheaper broadband than Canada (while bringing in large, developing world economies that unsurprisingly rank below Canada on these issues). While there is probably a report somewhere that validates the claim, the consensus is that Canada is not a leader.

    • Bell admits errors tracking clients’ Internet usage

      Bell Canada has admitted to problems tracking Internet use for some customers.

      This is embarrassing, given the company’s insistence on usage-based billing for its own clients and for other clients of other Internet service providers that rent its network.

  • DRM

    • Sony Lawyers Expand Dragnet, Targeting Anybody Posting PlayStation 3 Hack

      Sony is threatening to sue anybody posting or “distributing” the first full-fledged jailbreak code for the 4-year-old PlayStation 3 gaming console.

      What’s more, the company is demanding that a federal judge order Google to surrender the IP addresses and other identifying information (.pdf) of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video on a private YouTube page. The game maker is also demanding that Twitter provide the identities of a host of hackers who first unveiled a limited version of the hack in December.

    • Sony lawyers now targeting anyone who posts PlayStation 3 hack

      Sony is threatening to sue anybody posting or “distributing” the first full-fledged jailbreak code for the 4-year-old PlayStation 3 gaming console.

      What’s more, the company is demanding that a federal judge order Google to surrender the IP addresses and other identifying information (PDF) of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video on a private YouTube page. The game maker is also demanding that Twitter provide the identities of a host of hackers who first unveiled a limited version of the hack in December.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • EU trade deal could cost Canadian drug plans billions

      Generics cost roughly 25 to 50 per cent of the equivalent brand-name drug.

    • If You Don’t Offer Legit Versions, Is It That Big A Surprise That People Want Unauthorized Copies?

      Sage Freehaven points us to an amusing, but telling, customer service chat between a guy in the UK who wanted to buy the latest version of RosettaStone’s Vietnamese language program, and a RosettaStone customer service rep. The guy’s main concern is that it appears an older version is available in the UK, but he wants the newer version, which the company refuses to ship to the UK, even though it’s been out elsewhere for a long time. He then asks if the company will give a free upgrade when it finally launches the newer version in the UK, and the customer service rep has no idea.

    • Copyrights

      • White House will propose new digital copyright laws

        The Obama administration has drafted new proposals to curb Internet piracy and other forms of intellectual property infringement that it says it will send to the U.S. Congress “in the very near future.”

        It’s also applauding a controversial copyright treaty known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, saying it will “aid right-holders and the U.S. government to combat infringement” once it enters into effect.

      • The Future of UK Copyright

        As you may have noticed, the topic of “IP” – “intellectual property” – seems increasingly to the fore these days. Actually, that’s not really a new trend: as this helpful ngram shows, there has been a really rapid uptake of the term since the 1980s. But promoting the supposed virtues and use of “IP” ever-more widely has turned into something of a bandwagon for politicians who want to be seen to be doing something, and for those who want to assert their intellectual monopolies more strongly.

        On the patent front, there is a simplistic assumption that more of them being filed and granted means more innovation, so by increasing the number of patents, innovation, too, will magically be boosted and everyone will be better-off (the EU is the latest to espouse this Innovation for Idiots approach.)

        But it’s not just patents where maximalists are pushing the “more is better” line. The term of copyright, too, has been extended again and again over the last few decades, even though there is no evidence that this massive withholding of content from the immediate public domain does anything to inspire greater production of new material (which is what copyright is supposed to encourage.)

      • Music Royalty Society Collects Money For Fake Artists, Bathroom Equipment and Food

        Music royalty outfits are experts at not only gathering funds from anyone who dares to play music in public, but also at generating adverse publicity. Known for pressurizing anyone from charities to the police, their activities are often viewed with disbelief. Now a Belgian TV show has had a closer look at one of them, and ended up paying royalties for a whole host of artists that don’t exist, bathroom equipment and chinese food.

        If you play music in public, sometimes even if you play it in relative privacy, music royalty societies want you to pay them money. It’s big business. The UK’s Performing Right Society (PRS) collects around £650 million every year and isn’t scared to flex its muscles when people aren’t paying. Got a business where staff listen to radio and a passing member of the public hears it? You owe them money. PRS have even taken the police to court for playing music in police stations.

      • Slammed By Judge, ACS:Law Not Allowed To Drop File-Sharing Cases

        Today, despite the apparent closure of both anti-piracy law firm ACS:Law and its copyright troll partner MediaCAT, the Patents Country Court began yet another hearing to announce how more than two dozen previously filed cases should be handled. Judge Birss QC slammed the scheme operated by the pair and denied them the opportunity to drop the cases.

        In a statement read out in the Patents County Court earlier this month, ACS:Law owner Andrew Crossley announced that he had quit the file-sharing claims business. Last week TorrentFreak discovered that he had completely closed down his business, along with his client MediaCAT who had also ceased trading. Nevertheless, the companies still have unfinished business – they can’t run away that easily.

      • Spotify To Launch in the US Soon, For Real This Time

        It feels like we’ve been hearing the same song and dance regarding Spotify’s US launch for months now. It’s always just over the horizon. An email sent to All Things D is at least tacit confirmation that a launch is imminent. The message was sent to the few Us users of Spotify test accounts to let them know they’re going to have to start paying up. The email also said that a US launch was coming “over the coming months”. Well, at least they didn’t say years.

      • ACTA

        • Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) Highlights

          ACTA is an international agreement hammered out by a handful of countries (led by the US, including Canada) that requires signatories to create civil and criminal law to give force and effect to ACTA.
          ACTA is intended as a global standard to ‘protect’ against intellectual property and counterfeit products, containing very specific discussion about digital information.

Clip of the Day

James Randi’s Challenge to Homeopathy Manufacturers and Retail Pharmacies

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 8/2/2011: Linux, Food for the Hungry Uses GNU/Linux, Mint 10 KDE is Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 3:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Tragedy of ‘Microsoft Trained Brain Syndrome’

    MTBS doesn’t affect only Microsoft users, consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack asserted. “The saying used to be that ‘no one ever got fired for buying IBM,’” he noted. “People have a tendency to stick with what they consider safe, and it takes something large to force a change.”

  • Events

    • There’s Less Than Three Weeks Left To SCALE
    • Register now: General Hugh Shelton webcast, February 16

      Join us Feb. 16 when we host General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and now Chairman of the Board of Directors of Red Hat, in the next Open Your World Forum webcast.

    • OSCON 2011 Call for Participation

      Speaking the language of open, O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention wants to foster conversations about the technology work that you do. Open Source, FOSS, free like beer, free like a puppy or free like a bird–share what engages you. Submit original session and tutorial ideas that share your excitement.

    • Camp KDE 2011 & Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit

      The KDE developers have announced Camp KDE 2011 which will be held at the Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco, California, on 4 and 5 April. The Camp will be immediately followed by the Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit which takes place on 6 and 7 April at the same location.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux longterm has been released
    • Linux longterm kernel release
    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R300g / R600g Unify Their Vertex Buffer Manager

        Hitting the Mesa tree this weekend were messages of “r600g: use the new vertex buffer manager” and “r300g: use the new vertex buffer manager.”

        However, before getting too excited, this is not a radically new vertex buffer manager for these two ATI Gallium3D drivers that support the spectrum of Radeon GPUs. R300g is responsible for ATI R300 ASICs up through the ATI Radeon X1000 (R500) GPUs. R600g currently covers the R600 (Radeon HD 2000 series) through the latest Radeon HD 6000 (Northern Islands) and Fusion (Ontario) chipsets.

      • X.Org Server 1.9.4 Released; 1.9.5 Expected

        Before ending out last week, Jeremy Huddleston released X.Org Server 1.9.4. At least one more release, X.Org Server 1.9.5, is also expected before this branch is retired in favor of X Server 1.10, which will be released in the coming weeks.

        X.Org Server 1.9.4 isn’t too exciting as it just pulls in about two dozen bug-fixes. There’s a couple fixes to EXA, DRI2, EDID, and RandR, but nothing too noteworthy. A bulk of the fixes are by Jeremy himself for XQuartz.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Drawing up a roadmap

        When we drew up the roadmap for the GIMP for versions 2.0 and 2.2 in 2003, we committed some of these mistakes. By observing some projects like Inkscape (which has a history of excellent roadmapping) and learning from our mistakes, I came up with a different method which we applied to the WengoPhone from OpenWengo in 2006, and which served us well (until the project became QuteCom, at least). Here are some of the techniques I learned, which I hope will be useful to others.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Is PCLinuxOS on the Ropes?

        PCLinuxOS has suffered from its share of issues over the years. With difficulties ranging from personnel shake-ups to hosting problems, it seems developing and managing a Linux distribution can be challenging work. Perhaps sometimes it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

        PCLinuxOS is a popular distribution, at one time wildly so and rivaled Ubuntu for the top spot on Distrowatch.com’s Page Hit Ranking. It has fiercely loyal users that stand ready to defend it all across the Linux landscape. And even though it has suffered major issues over the years, it still remains popular and firmly entrenched in the top 10 of Distrowatch PHR.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s Management Is Creating Value

        Warren Buffett’s partner, Charlie Munger, once said, “I think I’ve been in the top 5% of my age cohort all my life in understanding the power of incentives, and all my life I’ve underestimated it. And never a year passes but I get some surprise that pushes my limit a little farther.”

        When corporate boards use bad incentives for management’s pay, disaster often ensues. (Think Lehman Brothers.) Incentives based on singular metrics such as revenue growth, EBITDA, ROE, or earning per share are easily manipulated and gamed. Fortunately, there is a better way: EVA momentum.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0 is out, Wheezy kicks off

        The best part of the release for us — the developers — is that wheezy is now open for development and we can work on new features for the next release. ;-)

      • Debian Linux was important: Will it continue to be?

        Not everyone, to no surprise, agrees with me. My buddy Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier wrote, “Debian has never been a user-friendly distribution, or one that was really targeted at a mainstream audience. Debian 6.0 continues a long tradition of shipping a brand-new stable release that is already outdated, with little to appeal to new users.”

        Really? That’s not how I see it. Debian has always tried to stay true to its Social Contract, but it community of developers have also strived to make it a popular distribution as well. To quote from Debian 6.0’s news release, “Debian once again stays true to its goal of being the universal operating system. It sounds to me like they want both old and new users.

      • Debian Squeeze Wallpapers
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • do you think bug search should match target names?

          We have a small quandry on the Launchpad development team at the moment. As bug 268508 discusses, when one searches for a bug on Launchpad we do a substring search on the names of bug targets.

        • Canonical And Cisco Welcome OpenStack’s Bexar Releases

          Canonical and Cisco join the open-source OpenStack federated cloud initiative as new releases arrive

          OpenStack has announced the release of updates, codenamed Bexar, to its Compute and Object Storage cloud implementations. The OpenStack open-source cloud project has also recruited four new members, including Cisco and Canonical.

          The addition of influential members like Cisco and Canonical alongside Extreme Networks and Grid Dynamics has added breadth to the OpenStack community, founded by Rackspace Hosting and NASA. The membership now numbers 50, including AMD, Citrix, Dell and Intel.

        • Why Food for the Hungry runs Ubuntu

          John: Tell me a little about Food for the Hungry and what you do there.

          Rick: Food for the Hungry is a Christian relief and development organization. We go in to relief situations — maybe there has been a natural disaster or war — and provide life-sustaining needs: food, shelter, whatever the need may be. For example, the recent earthquake in Haiti. But the other part of what we do is the sustained, long-term development on the community level. The idea is to work with leaders and churches to better take care of themselves rather than relying on outside organizations for support.

        • Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition & The Official Ubuntu Book, 5th Edition
        • A diversity statement for Ubuntu

          The Ubuntu website states that “we aim to make Ubuntu a wonderful place to participate”. We developed the Ubuntu Code of Conduct to set a standard for participants to accept each other in the spirit of cooperation, and have improved it over time to state these principles more clearly.

          It is implicit in our philosophy that these and other Ubuntu values should hold equally true for everyone. I would like to propose that we upgrade this to an explicit statement on behalf of the project.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Mint 10 KDE approved for RC release

            Both 32-bit and 64-bit ISO images were approved. The Linux Mint 10 KDE Edition, featuring KDE 4.6, will be publicly available this week as an RC release.

          • Ikey Doherty full-time on Linux Mint

            I’m happy to announce that Ikey Doherty is joining the paid-staff and will be working full time on Linux Mint, starting from today.

            Ikey started getting involved with the project as an IRC operator. He later joined the development team and participated in many sub-projects, bringing improvements to some of the tools developed for Linux Mint, fixing bugs and designing new features for Linux Mint 10. He played a major role in the design and the implementation of the Backup Manager and the Debian Live Installer and his full presence within Linux Mint will have a significant impact on its development.

          • Ubuntu based Penetration Testing Distribution – Blackbuntu

            Blackbuntu is distribution for penetration testing which was specially designed for security training students and practitioners of information security.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • TwimGo

          TwimGo is a Twitter client for Maemo, Symbian and MeeGo devices. It containes all the basic functionality like home, mentions, favourites etc. timelines, search, lists, trends. You can also easily open links and search mentioned hashtags. TwitPic and yFrog photo preview is shown in tweet details.

      • Android

        • Google opens Android web store

          USERS of phones running Google’s Android operating system are getting more ways to browse and buy apps for playing games, reading the news and other tasks.

          The internet search leader has announced its Android Market Web store open for business.

          The store lets users choose apps through a Web browser and have them installed remotely to their smart phones and tablets.

        • Motorola’s Android Tablet Locks Wi-Fi until 3G Service Purchased

          But, really: You have to activate Verizon Wireless service, even if you then cancel it, to unlock Wi-Fi? Big misstep. It’s along the lines of that common scene in a car dealership when you’re about to sign the papers, and the sales regretfully informs you that his manager won’t sell the car without the underbody rust inhibitor treatment.

        • Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Superbowl video, for a 13 February launch

          MOBILE PHONE MAKER Sony Ericsson splashed an advert during yesterday’s Superbowl game in the US to show off its Xperia Play, that is, the Playstation smartphone.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Your open source management approach: Red Team or Blue Team?

    When I hear people in the technology industry talk about the benefits of open source software, one of things they mention often is their belief that open source software “gets better faster” than traditional software (David Wheeler has done a nice job collecting many of the proof points around the benefits of open source software here). While the speed of innovation in open source is in part due to the power of Linus’s Law (“Given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow”), I believe it also has a lot to do with the way open source projects are managed.

  • Open source app store

    Apps are the big thing in technology right now. Any company that has an operating system but doesn’t have a dedicated app store is doing it wrong.

    Traditionally app stores were limited to mobile devices such as the iPod and Android platform but now it looks likely that Linux vendors will also jump on the app store train to spur greater adoption of desktop Linux.

    Historically, installing applications on Linux was viewed as cumbersome, compounded by the fact that many Linux distributions used their own formats for packaging applications.

  • Open source as an alternative “study abroad” experience?

    Multiple benefits accrue to those who spend significant time in open source, and a significant proportion of students see the experience as an important part of their college years. You’re likely to have fun. But if you’re also thinking about open source as a way to gain a critical career advantage, read on. You’ll find that all contribution experiences are not created equal in the minds of employers.

    Employers are looking for graduates who can communicate well with others, both in person and in writing. They know the importance of cross-cultural understanding and an appreciation for different points of view. They gravitate toward students who demonstrate maturity, initiative, and creativity. All of these assets can be demonstrated through participation in open source communities, but it’s going to be much harder to set yourself apart if you’ve taken the easy route.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chromium and Firefox: a comparision

      - It is very stable. I have not seen it crash for over a year now.
      - With AdBlock Plus by Wladimir Palant, I can easily get rid of ads as well as unwanted iframes, images etc.
      - With Ghostery, I can easily get rid of tracking sited too.

    • Mozilla

      • Community Town Hall Asia meeting – Feb. 8th

        We have participants from: Sri Lanka, India, S. Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

        We do NOT have participants from Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore at this time.

      • First Transmediale Open Web Award

        Mozilla is moving is beyond software, looking for ways to bring open technologies and culture into new areas like art, media and education. We recently sponsored the Open Web Award as part of the Transmediale art festival in Berlin, Germany, combining digital art and the open web. With our new Mozilla Drumbeat initiative, we are engaging creators globally to shape the future of the web.

      • Home Dash: Try The New Mozilla Labs Experimental Addon For Firefox 4

        Home Dash is an experimental Firefox 4.0 extension that remove the conventional Firefox user interface items (location bar, search bar, the tabs) and provides a dashboard with search functionality which you can use to find your top sites, tabs, history or do a web search. It’s like using Firefox in full-screen, but without the actual full-screen (weird, I know, but you’ll understand exactly what I mean after watching the video).

      • Game On Spotlight: Bar Fight

        Well, we’re Steve and Oliver Baker – a father and son team from the UK, now living and working in Texas. We’re long-time 3D graphics enthusiasts and amateur games writers. Linux folk may remember Tux the Penguin – A Quest for Herring which we created back in 1997 when Oliver was just 7 years old – it was the first ever 3D game for Linux. Back then graphics cards could draw just a few hundred triangles and the artistic demands were minimal at best. TuxKart was a much better game – that came along in 1999 and was to be found on most Linux distro’s for years afterwards. Fast-forward to August 2010; we’d been watching the progress of WebGL and decided to try to write some online games using it. Because we intend to fund the web site using advertising revenue alone, we can’t afford a massive server farm to host the games. So we needed to come up with games with low server demands. Turn-based games fit the bill quite well because the server code can sleep while players are deciding what to do. Thus was born “TuBaGames.net” (TUrn BAsed GAMES for the NET). Our vision – though constantly subject to redirection – is that we will have a large library of games, in which players can compete in, and are ranked. The BarFight serves as a lobby in which people can hang out and let off some steam. We have some interesting ways of publicizing matches and making high-ranked games the “must see attraction”; so stick around and see how far TuBaGames will go.

      • Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership Announced

        We are excited to announce the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership, a Mozilla Drumbeat project supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Journalism Program.

      • Firefox 4 beta 11 slated for release tomorrow

        The 11th beta of Firefox 4 is expected to be released tomorrow, Feb. 8, one lead developer announced.

        In an update posted this evening, chief developer Christian Legnitto said the time has come for the next-to-last beta of Firefox4.

      • Mozilla embracing Chrome’s fast-rev ethos

        Mozilla has a new plan for Firefox in 2011: Turn the crank faster.

        The organization is set to deliver Firefox 4 in coming weeks. And according to a draft Firefox roadmap, Mike Beltzner, Mozilla’s director of Firefox, proposed releasing versions 5, 6, and 7 in 2011, too. This fast-release ethos, pioneered in the browser world by Google’s Chrome, means smaller changes arrive more frequently.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • [LibreOffice] Release Party in Munich

      …Release-Party on Friday, February 11th, in Munich.

    • Review: Hands on LibreOffice 3.3

      The Document Foundation released the first new version of its LibreOffice suite on January 25th, and it was far too tempting not to grab a copy and run it through its paces. And while there are a few new features of note, this is still pretty much OpenOffice.org, with all the attendant advantages and foibles.

    • Oracle offers file management package for cloud

      Hoping to service the growing market for cloud computing systems, Oracle has packaged two file management software programs into a single integrated offering, called the Oracle Cloud File System, the company announced Monday.

    • ‘Mark-of-the-Beast’ bug topples Java apps

      A bug in Oracle’s Java programming framework causes computers to freeze when they encounter certain numerical values with large numbers of decimal places, a flaw that makes websites susceptible to highly efficient denial-of-service attacks.

      The vulnerability in the latest version of Java is similar to a flaw discovered last month that plagued the PHP language. It is trigged when applications attempt to process values such as 2.2250738585072011e-308. Systems running both Windows- and Linux-based apps that try to assign the value to a “double” variable succumb to an infinite loop that consumes 100 percent of their CPU’s resources.

    • Fix for JDK Double.parseDouble infinite loop
    • Oracle v. Google: Food Fight in Discovery Already – Hearing Feb. 9 – Updated 2Xs

      Believe it or not, there is already a discovery dispute in Oracle v. Google. And I’m really glad, because that’s the only way we can find out what has been going in discovery. What we find out now is that both parties have served the other with interrogatories, and neither is happy with the other’s answers, so both are writing letters to the judge, calling them motions to compel. We get to see Google’s answers to Oracle’s interrogatories, and that really fleshes out Google’s position for me.

      Oracle, though, feels that there’s not enough flesh on the bones, not enough for them to prepare for depositions, so Oracle filed a motion to compel [PDF] in the form of a letter to Judge William Alsup, the presiding judge, on February 1, seeking to force Google to supplement its responses to interrogatories. But Google feels that it can’t do any better until Oracle provides more specificity, so it then sent a couple of letters to the judge also, one responding [PDF] to the issues raised by Oracle’s motion to compel and a second a motion to compel [PDF], telling the judge that Oracle has failed to fulfill its obligations in discovery and that “the parties have reached an impasse regarding the adequacy of Oracle’s Patent Local Rule 3-1 disclosures, and we request the Court’s assistance in resolving the issues about which the parties disagree.”

  • Government

    • European Parliament starts free software user group

      One member of the European Parliament and a handful of their advisors and assistants started a free software group last Saturday, aiming to increase the use of free and open source software in the European Parliament’s IT infrastructure. The user group is open to all who works in the European Parliament, including staff and assistants working in political groups.

      The European Parliament Free Software User Group (Epfsug) is an initiative from MEP Indrek Tarand (The Greens) from Estonia. “We will assist all MEPs and their staff who are interested in using free software in the European Parliament,” explains Erik Josefsson, who advises the European Greens on Internet policies. In the long run, the group wants to increase the amount of free and open source software used in the IT infrastructure of the EP.

    • US Intelligence Agency: Linux Help Wanted

      In a just released “report card” on the use of open source technology at the federal level, the Defense Department received the highest rating — 82 percent — from Open Source for America. “The Department is looking to adopt transparent policies and procedures in line with President Obama’s Open Government Directive,” said Daniel Risacher, associate director of enterprise services and integration at DoD.

    • European Commission extends Windows contract, Linux activists are angry

      As recent reports show, the European Commission has decided to extend its software contract with Microsoft. The $66.8 million deal has generated large controversies and has been extended with Fujitsu as a reseller on the 8th of December instead of February. The Directorate of Informatics of the European Commission, also known as Digit, decided to renew the contract the very day after the FSFE (Free Software Foundation Europe) began a campaign directed against any deal based on closed-source software.

    • Administrative Court in Lille Finds for Open Source

      My French partner, Sandrine Rambaud, brought to my attention a decision dated December 29, 2010, that leveled the playing field for open source vendors: the Administrative Court of Lille, France cancelled a public procurement procedure because the procedure excluded the possibility of proposing open source software in bid responses. Instead, the municipalities that put out the bid expressly required bidders to propose an Oracle database and Business Objects environments for the generation of reports.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open letter to President Dilma Rousseff

      This is an open letter to President Dilma Rousseff signed by international organizations, academics and activists in support of the work of the Brazilian society and government for the cultural commons

    • Get Your Limited Edition “Share” Shirt!

      We are thrilled to announce a limited edition shirt designed by the creative folks at Imaginary Foundation. The shirt speaks to the power of shared knowledge and creativity, and can be yours for $30 in the CC Store.

      This is a great way to show your support for CC’s mission to realize the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research, education, full participation in culture, and driving a new era of development, growth, and productivity.

    • How can we promote the public domain?

      A few weeks back we ran a small workshop in Berlin for Public Domain Day 2011. It was attended by a mix of artists, scholars, legal experts, technologists, and passers by.

    • Open Access/Content/Attribution

      • give credit where credit is due.

        The problem: Creative Commons licensed content is awesome, but attributing it properly can be difficult and confusing. The first rule for re-using openly licensed content is that you have to properly attribute the creator. There are specific requirements for what needs to go into that attribution, but those requirements can be confusing and hard to find.


        Open Attribute is a Mozilla Drumbeat project born at the “Learning, Freedom and the Web” Festival in Barcelona. A team of volunteers from all over the world has been collaborating to design, build and now distribute Open Attribute. Special Thanks to those who have worked so hard to make this a reality!

      • Open Attribute, a simple way to attribute CC-licensed works on the web

        Open Attribute, “a suite of tools that makes it ridiculously simple for anyone to copy and paste the correct attribution for any CC licensed work,” launched today with browser add-ons for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. The add-ons “query the metadata around a CC-licensed object and produce a properly formatted attribution that users can copy and paste wherever they need to.”

    • Open Hardware

      • Open hardware can yield dividends

        His experiments have yielded unexpected dividends – soon, under the label Freetronics, several products built using the Arduino as a base, will start appearing on the shelves of Jaycar Electronics, a popular store in Australia.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Launches Web and TV Interest Group

      At the occasion of the Web and TV Workshop in Berlin, W3C announces the creation of a new Web and TV Interest Group. The new group’s mission is to provide a forum for Web and TV technical discussions, to review existing work, as well as the relationship between services on the Web and TV services, and to identify requirements and potential solutions to ensure that the Web will function well with TV. See the group’s charter for more information. Learn more about Web and TV at W3C.


  • Multiculturalism has failed in Britain, PM says

    State multiculturalism has failed and left young Muslims vulnerable to radicalisation, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Saturday, arguing for a more active policy to heal divisions and promote Western values.

    Cameron, in a speech to a security conference in Munich, argued that Britain and other European nations need to “wake up to what is happening in our countries” as well as tackling terrorism through military operations overseas.

  • Elizabeth May’s office destroyed after truck crashes through wall

    Green party Leader Elizabeth May’s office in Saanich, B.C., has been destroyed after a truck crashed into the building.

  • Councillor Geoff Lilley arrested over comment claims

    A COUNCILLOR arrested by police after complaints about comments posted on an internet forum says he is looking forward to his day in court.

    Geoff Lilley, an independent Hartlepool borough councillor, spent eight hours in custody before he was released on bail.

    It is understood the former bus driver made remarks about fellow councillor Marjorie James, who represents Labour in the Owton ward.

    The grandfather, who represents the Greatham ward, said he had been to a routine council planning committee meeting on Friday morning when his wife left him a message on his phone saying police wanted to speak to him.

  • Consumers in emerging markets using multi SIM cards for cheaper calls

    In the Western world where mobile phone contracts are relatively inexpensive, mobile phone users are accustomed to using just one SIM card to power all their mobile communications; however, in places like the Middle East, Africa, Asia and India, mobile users are snapping up phones with multiple SIM facilities so they can make cheaper calls.

    “We are already seeing triple SIM card devices being launched and this multi SIM behavior looks set to grow as a phenomenon, especially amongst the newer and more emerging markets,” commented GfK Global Telco marketing director, Aaron Rattue in a study released on February 3.

  • DEC founder Ken Olsen is dead
  • Science

    • Astrology is a science: Bombay HC

      Astrology has been debunked by most world scientists including India’s renowned physicist Prof. Yash Pal. However, it is “science” in India.

      The Bombay High Court reaffirmed this on Thursday when it dismissed a PIL that had challenged astrology as science.

    • Print Previews and the Future of Slicing

      Simon Kirkby has created this marvelous script for previewing GCode that uses Blender 2.5′s scripting system to create a duplicate of the object within Blender as paths. I think my favorite thing is that he leveraged the animation system so that you can slide the bar at the bottom of the screen (which changes which frame of the animation you’re viewing) to allow the user to see the object at different times during the build. Awesome.

    • Tiny device could transform mobile communications, says its creator

      Mobile phone base stations no bigger than a golf ball could help to bridge the digital divide and bring mobile broadband to distant areas both in the developing and developed world, the networking company Alcatel-Lucent has claimed.

      The company said on Monday that its new technology, which shrinks many of the functions of a standard base station down to a few chips which fit in a cube it calls “lightRadio”, would mean that mobile networks could run their systems with lower power demands and half the cost overall, while broadening deployment.

    • Humble water flea packs giant genetic punch

      The humble water flea might be diminutive in size but it packs a big genetic punch.

      Just a few millimetres across, Daphnia pulex is the first crustacean to have its genome sequenced. With 30,907 genes, it has more than any other species sequenced so far, including nearly 5000 more than humans.

  • Security

    • Third of EU is crap at web security
    • Monday’s security advisories
    • USB Autorun Attacks Against Linux
    • USB autorun attacks against Linux

      Many people think that Linux is immune to the type of Autorun attacks that have plagued Windows systems with malware over the years. However, there have been many advances in the usability of Linux as a desktop OS – including the addition of features that can allow Autorun attacks.

    • Anon pwns HBGary Federal UPDATED w/PRESS RELEASE

      Yesterday, I posted a press release noting that the Financial Times article that appeared yesterday and which drew on input from HBGary Federal employee Aaron Barr was laughably inaccurate. An hour ago, Anon seized control of the internet security firm’s website, defaced its pages, acquired 60,000 company e-mails, deleted backup files, seized Barr’s Twitter account, and took down the founder’s website rootkit.com. Anonymous also acquired this document, which HBGary was set to provide to the FBI at a scheduled meeting tomorrow.

    • Anonymous v. Computer Insecurity Expert Aaron Barr – Updated

      Everyone has heard of Anonymous. A lot of people think that Anonymous is a bunch of dangerous anarchistic radicals. They are right. Anonymous is a bunch of dangerous anarchistic radicals. They believe in the most perverted concept ever invented. Ethics.

      Let’s take the most recent attack. Aaron Barr of HBGary Federal had claimed that he had infiltrated Anonymous. And that he had learned who the leaders were.

      Now Anonymous is rumored to have gotten it’s start in /b on 4chan. Like a lot of writers interested in the phenomenon, I’ve spent a fair bit of time in /b, trying to understand the culture. One thing I learned immediately. Anonymous doesn’t have leaders.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • South Sudan votes for independence by a landslide

      South Sudan voted overwhelmingly to declare independence in final results of a referendum announced on Monday, opening the door to Africa’s newest state and a fresh period of uncertainty for the fractured region.


      The referendum is the climax of a 2005 north-south peace accord that set out to end Africa’s longest civil war and instil democracy in a country that straddles the continent’s Arab-sub Saharan divide.

    • The Revolution Will Not Be Televised — It Will Be Remixed!
    • Bush, Rumsfeld and Iraq: Is the Real Reason for the Invasion Finally Emerging?
    • John McCain on Egypt

      At the Munich Security Conference, Arizona senator John McCain delivered remarks on the protests in Egypt. “I believe the events in Egypt and elsewhere call for a new look at our approach to undemocratic governments everywhere, especially in the broader Middle East,” McCain said, clearly suggesting that the Obama administration should reconsider its policies. “Make no mistake, what is happening in Egypt is nothing short of a revolution, and it should put other undemocratic governments on notice that their presumed stability is a false stability.”

    • U.S. has secret tools to force internet on dictators

      When Hosni Mubarak shut down Egypt’s internet and cellphone communications, it seemed that all U.S. officials could do was ask him politely to change his mind.

      But the American military does have a second set of options, if it ever wants to force connectivity on a country against its ruler’s wishes.

  • Cablegate

    • In break with U.S., Ottawa backs gradual handover in Egypt

      The Harper government has endorsed the go-slow transition plan set out by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, signalling that Mideast stability and peace with Israel are its paramount concerns while other Western nations push for faster change.

    • Australia and US sign secret satellite spy deal

      AUSTRALIA and the United States have begun a partnership to share top-secret intelligence from spy satellites as Australia moves to acquire its own satellite to boost surveillance of Asia and the Pacific.

    • The WikiLeaks Roundtable
    • Canadian: Pirates have links to Somali government, terrorist organizations

      Two months after Somali pirates made their debut in the international spotlight by hijacking the MV Faina, a ship filled to the brim with Ukranian tanks and weapons, the U.S. government sent a cable from London with alleged details about the piracy circuit, recounted during a debriefing with a Canadian captain who had recently escorted an aid ship ashore: “there is clear evidence of collusion between Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and pirates in Somali waters and links between pirates and terrorist networks,” a November 2008 cable claims.

    • WikiLeaks Finds New Source Of Funding: T-Shirts And Tote Bags

      Running the world’s most controversial website on charity alone isn’t easy. So WikiLeaks is trying out a new source of funding: good, old-fashioned capitalism.

    • The age of the WikiLeaks-style vigilante geek is over

      Now that the dust over the US embassy cables is beginning to settle, WikiLeaks finds itself at a crossroads. To effectively continue its war on government secrecy, it will need to make fundamental adjustments to how it operates – with no guarantees that the new, more mainstream WikiLeaks will be in much demand.

      Its other option is to sidestep its transparency work, delegate it to more nimble and decentralised WikiLeaks-clones, and focus on solving a problem that is likely to be a determining factor in the success of this nascent global transparency movement. It’s only by making the publishing of leaked materials insusceptible to the whims of corporate intermediaries such as Amazon or PayPal as well as by increasing its resilience against cyber attacks and other forms of political and legal pressure that this movement can succeed. In other words, Julian Assange’s other option is to dedicate himself to campaigning on freedom of expression issues, with the explicit goal of creating technical infrastructure that would allow the next generation of WikiLeaks-clones to remain uncensorable.

    • Air Force legal office: All of our members’ families can be prosecuted for reading WikiLeaks

      Almost anyone in the United States, and especially soldiers or the families of US Air Force members, could be under the threat of prosecution by the military, according to a recent “guidance” document issued by the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) public affairs office.

      The advisory took on new significance Monday as Julian Assange, founder of the secrets peddling website, was in a British court to argue against his extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning in relation to allegations of sexual assault and impropriety.

    • UK Guardian journalist ‘expelled from Russia’

      A British journalist who reported on Wikileaks cables containing criticism of Russia’s leadership says he has been expelled from the country.

      The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent Luke Harding had reported on US cables describing Russia under Vladimir Putin as a “virtual mafia state”.

      He said he was stopped from re-entering Russia at the weekend and sent back to the UK. Russia has not yet commented.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • China Moves to Strengthen Grip Over Supply of Rare-Earth Metals

      China is building strategic reserves in rare-earth metals, an effort that could give Beijing increased power to influence global prices and supplies in a sector it already dominates.

    • Scientists Successfully Use Sedation to Help Disentangle North Atlantic Right Whale

      Scientists from NOAA Fisheries Service and its state and nonprofit partners successfully used at-sea chemical sedation to help cut the remaining ropes from a young North Atlantic right whale on January 15 off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Fla. The sedative given to the whale allowed the disentanglement team to safely approach the animal and remove 50 feet of rope which was wrapped through its mouth and around its flippers.

      This is only the second time a free-swimming whale has been successfully sedated to enable disentanglement efforts. The first time a whale was successfully sedated and disentangled was in March 2009 off the coast of Florida.

    • Arctic fish catch vastly underreported (by hundreds of thousands of metric tons) for 5 decades

      From 1950 to 2006 the United Nation Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO) estimated that 12,700 metric tons of fish were caught in the Arctic, giving the impression that the Arctic was a still-pristine ecosystem, remaining underexploited by the world’s fisheries. However, a recent study by the University of British Colombia Fisheries Center and Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences throws cold water on this widespread belief. According to the study, published in Polar Biology, the total Arctic catch from 1950 to 2006 is likely to have been nearly a million metric tons, almost 75 times the FAO’s official record.

  • Finance

    • Scientology founder’s tenets drive Pinellas title company, under fire for rapid document processing

      In 2009, a low-profile Pinellas County company drew unwelcome attention in a growing national controversy over home foreclosures.

      Employees of Nationwide Title Clearing, a leading processor of mortgage-related documents for banks, loan servicers and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., were under fire for signing paperwork as “vice president” of various banks although they actually worked for NTC.

      The assembly-line process in which workers scrawled their names or initials on hundreds of documents at a time — typically without reading them — helped prompt the term “robo-signing.” Critics said robo-signing raised questions about the accuracy of documents and the legality of thousands of foreclosure cases.

  • Privacy

    • Did the Internet Kill Privacy?

      The pictures were exactly what you’d expect from a European summer vacation: Cafes in Italy and Spain, the Guinness brewery in Ireland. So 24-year-old Ashley Payne, a public high school English teacher in Georgia, was not prepared for what happened when her principal asked to see her in August 2009.

      “He just asked me, ‘Do you have a Facebook page?’” Payne said. “And you know, I’m confused as to why I am being asked this, but I said, ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘Do you have any pictures of yourself up there with alcohol?’”

      In fact, the picture that concerned the principal – showing Payne holding a glass of wine and a mug of beer – was on her Facebook page. There was also a reference to a local trivia contest with a profanity in its title.

  • Civil Rights

    • Caught: Is This Man A Shill For CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala?

      Chinese netizens recently discovered what they suspect to be a shill or plant (identified above) in the audience of the annual CCTV New Year’s Gala (aka Spring Festival Gala) television program broadcast on the eve of Chinese New Year. How?

      They’ve spotted him on camera in the audience at every show since 2001!

      This discovery, including screen captures and timestamps of each time he appears) seems to have been first posted on the popular Chinese internet discussion forum Tianya. It soon spread to other popular forums and portal websites such as Mop and NetEase, all receiving pages and pages of netizen comments.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Cartoon about UBB
    • UBB is Bad

      It’s not over yet.

      Regulating Canada into the last century will not help our digital economy survive in this one.
      We need to Stop Usage Based Billing before it starts.

    • Explaining confusion around Usage Based Billing

      Reading people’s tweets about this subject, I felt the need to clarify the situation around Usage Based Billing (UBB). There are people on the sidelines, who are saying things like “what’s so bad about UBB”. The same people also argue that companies such as Bell and Rogers have invested large amounts of dollars therefore they need to recoup their costs by implementing UBB. They appear to fear that if we don’t pay up our networks will get “clogged up” and will therefore end up with slow internet service. This is simply propaganda in my opinion.

    • Verizon to start bandwidth throttling top 5 percent bandwidth users

      IF YOU’RE A HEAVY bandwidth users with Verizon you might want to re-think your choice of network, as the company has issued some changes to its data usage policies as of today that allows them to throttle the top five percent of its users. On top this, the cellular network operator has decided that streaming media uses up too much of its bandwidth and will from now on transcode all streaming video passing through its network.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Piracy/Counterfeit Bait and Switch

      As I’ve noted before, one of the tricks used in the current ACTA negotiations is to blur the lines between counterfeiting and piracy, and to switch between the two whenever it suits the argument. So it’s no surprise that a conference bringing together many intellectual monopoly maximalists, the grandly-titled “Global Congress Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy”, used the same trick.


      Significantly, as the speaker seeks to address “civil society concerns with ACTA”, he does not mention the fact that ISPs will be forced to become agents of intellectual monopolists, or the knock-on loss of privacy that will result, or the chilling effect this will have on free speech. That’s because he has no answer to these very serious criticisms of ACTA, which has been pushed through largely by exploiting the deliberate confusion between counterfeiting, with its undoubted analogue risks, and digital piracy, which has none.

    • Copyright as a Fundamentalist Religion

      An advantage of doing a lot of original research on copyright, and the history of copyright in particular, is that you start seeing very strong parallels to previous power struggles in society. I frequently say in my keynotes that there is nothing new under the sun.

      What is happening now with the copyright industry vs. the people is practically identical to what happened when the printing press was introduced and the Catholic Church declared war on the self-educated people. In both cases, it is not really about religion or law, but about the very simple principle that people are people and that powerful people will use their power to keep their power.

    • Copyrights

      • David Guetta: ‘Music should be free’

        “I have never been very nervous about online pir­acy,” the Daily Star quotes him as saying.

        “Sometimes you have to give away content, even if it isn’t bringing you money. It doesn’t have to be music, it can be videos, images and so on.”

      • Arrr! The Music Pirates Are Still Here

        A new study that surfaced last week came to the incomprehensible conclusion that two thirds of all BitTorrent traffic is likely to be related to copyright infringement. Even more shocking, it seemed to suggest that music piracy on public BitTorrent trackers is a thing of the past. But is this really the case? We’re afraid we have to disappoint the music industry once more.

        A few days ago the piracy research firm Envisional published an elaborate study into (unlawful) file-sharing traffic on the Internet. Commissioned by NBC Universal the researchers combined older Internet traffic estimates with their own research on the use of various file-sharing platforms.

      • RIP: Not a ‘Remix’ Manifesto, a Moratorium

        So lets get into it. The first flag in the video is the very definition of ‘remix’ – “to combine or edit existing materials to produce something new.” The filmmaker claims that the word “rose to prominence late last century during the hey day of hip-hop” which he says was the first popular form to incorporate samples from existing recordings. While there is some truth in this, it is extremely misleading and wrong in its implications. His definition is not one of a remix, but rather a definition of collage. Perhaps if he replaced the word remix with the word collage throughout the piece it would have held more weight (maybe not), but because he didn’t it leaves the whole piece open for harsh criticism.

      • ACTA

        • EU Academics Opinion on ACTA Criticized by European Trade Negotiator at EC Stakeholders Meeting – Deadline for Signing Is Today

          An opinion on ACTA drafted by European academics identifies the most critical aspects of ACTA and shows how it clashes both with EU law and with the enforcement provisions of the TRIPS Agreement. FFII reports that EU trade negotiator Pedro Velasco Martins has lashed out at the letter, saying that “ACTA does not require the introduction of any modification of EU legislation and will not require any legislative implementation in Europe,” and that the professors should know better.

        • De Gucht responds to MEP Françoise Castex. Says ACTA is binding agreement, consistent with EU ‘acquis’

          Commissioner Karl De Gucht of DG-Trade has responded to a November 3, 2010 MEP question by Françoise Castex, regarding the binding nature of ACTA (See below for copy of the Castex question). De Gucht says the ACTA is “a binding international agreement on all its parties, as defined and subject to the rules of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.” De Gucht does not say, one way or the other, that ACTA is consistent with US law, and he acknowledges that ACTA will likely require changes in criminal statutes for some EU member countries, but says these provisions were negotiated by the Member States themselves, and are not subject to EU jurisdiction.

Clip of the Day

Inkscape + Spiro

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 8/2/2011: Xfce Foundation e.V. Launched, Firefox 7 Expected in 2011

Posted in News Roundup at 1:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux gets work done!

    So instead of wasting time I went straight to a method which I knew would work. I booted the computer using a Linux Parted Magic CD. This ran straight from ram so was super fast and freed up the CD drive for other uses. I mounted the hard disks via the graphical mount manager then copied the files via the graphical file manager and had no problems whatsoever.

  • Do not be a Nerd!

    This is important to know, because if you are a nerd and you want to be an entrepreneur, you are in trouble.

  • Server

    • Johannesburg Stock Exchange to move to Linux

      The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has announced that it is moving to an all Linux based trading platform when it relocates to Johannesburg. The JSE currently operates out of London and runs on the TradElect platform which is based on Microsoft .Net and SQL Server 2000. It plans to move to MilleniumIT’s Millennium Exchange platform by the first half of 2012.

  • Applications

    • Shotwell – First date was a ruin, second date was nice
    • Top 5 Linux DVD RIP Software

      Please note that most of the following programs can rip encrypted DVDs, as long as you have libdvdcss2 installed as described here.

    • Sabayon KForensics Available

      As of February 7th 2011, the KDE edition of Sabayon Forensics is available, see link for info and mirrors. Same tools as the GForensic, but in the KDE desktop environment. The forensic spins are based on the Daily KDE and Gnome x86 editions. Kpkglist can be viewed to see the packages on the Kforensics iso.

    • 6 Linux Groupware Servers

      The Linux/FOSS world offers a wealth of excellent Linux-based groupware server choices, suitable for small shops to giant enterprises. Eric Geier rounds up six to get you started.

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Linux Distro: Linux Console

      The strangely named Linux Console seems to be designed to work equally well as a Live distribution and as a permanent installation. It offers an LXDE based desktop alongside a collection of standard applications. It could be used as a typical desktop Linux distro, but I have a feeling that it could see some use as a front-end in appliance type set-ups that need to be a bit more of a typical desktop layout than some of the kiosk or media player distributions. However, I’m not absolutely sure what the aim of this distro actually is.

    • Reviews

      • Free time experiments: GhostBSD, Zorin OS4, Mandriva 2011 TP

        I have to say that I loved Zorin OS 4 and I agree, it’s a wonderful distro. My concern is that it is an Ubuntu derivative. Please do not misinterpret me; I’m not an Ubuntu hater. I’m only thinking about what srlinuxx commented: with the new moves that Ubuntu is taking, its derivatives might have a hard time (Read the comment on Tuxmachines). It would be sad to lose a project like Zorin.

      • Reviews: First impressions of Saline OS 1.0

        When I began this review Saline 1.0 had just been released and, as I concluded my trial, I noticed Saline 1.1 was already available. I haven’t tried it yet, at least not from scratch (I have applied all pending updates), but the release announcement claims fixes have been made to the Update script, which will hopefully fix my biggest complaint. Saline is a pretty good Xfce distro; it’s fast and comes backed with a large collection of software on a stable Debian base.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Linux shakedown: Testing both GNOME 3 and Fedora 15

          The good folks at the Fedora Project decided to do something very intelligent – they released a candidate of Fedora 15 along with what will be the new default desktop – GNOME 3 for testing purposes. I decided to download the special GNOME 3 test ISO image and shake it down to see what happens. I have to say, I was fairly surprised at what greeted me. Not only had GNOME 3 undergone some changes since I last used it, but the release, as a whole, was in very good shape for such an early candidate.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux

        Free Software versus non-free software is still as relevant an issue as it ever was. The monopoly is not quite dead. Businesses are still suing each other over ideas. A distro that leaves itself open to this attack by competitors is not long for this world. When Ubuntu is nothing but a crater in a courtroom because M$ and its partners have sued it into oblivion Debian GNU/Linux will still be going strong and so will its partners. GNU/Linux is taking a bite out of M$’s bottom line and when that bite is big enough, M$ will fire all of its guns and it will bring to bear all of the “intellectual property” guns of all its partners including hardware manufacturers. A distro that is making money and not staying true to the principles of Free Software will be toast.

        The non-free binary blobs in device drivers is not irrelevant.

      • Sweet Six: Falling In Love With Debian, Again

        Debian used to be my favorite distro, just before I made a switch to Ubuntu. The reason was fair and simple – I wanted latest packages. Over time I realized I need stability more than newest packages.

      • Why Debian matters more than ever

        Debian has never been a user-friendly distribution, or one that was really targeted at a mainstream audience. Debian 6.0 continues a long tradition of shipping a brand-new stable release that is already outdated, with little to appeal to new users. This was true more than 10 years ago when a Vancouver-based startup tried offering a prettified Debian with a simple GUI installer called Storm Linux. Stormix failed, but many others tried and finally Canonical has had a measure of success popularizing Debian with Ubuntu.

      • First look: Debian 6.0 Squeeze

        Debian 6.0, alias Squeeze, has been nearly two years in development. The new version is the first completely free Stable Release – and also the first Debian distribution that not only has the Linux kernel, but also the FreeBSD kernel.

      • Joining the fray: Why Debian matters

        Debian never gets the credit it deserves by the wider public, and that may be OK with them; or not. Personally, I think this is a tragedy — my first distro in 2006 was Debian, and while I went to Ubuntu and then to Fedora, Debian was the one where I started. If you started with Ubuntu, you really started with Debian.

      • Debian Squeeze: an Overview

        Debian was, in a sense, my first distro. I actually started out with Ubuntu, but it’s extreme bugginess quickly sent me in search of alternatives. I settled on Debian, and used it’s stable branch (first Etch, then Lenny) exclusively for three years. More recently I’ve switched over to Slackware and Arch, but a new release of Debian stable is still something I get excited about, so when Debian 6.0 (Squeeze) hit the streets late last week I installed it on a VM and took it for a test-drive.


        Debian is now shipping with a completely free kernel…

      • Richard Stallman: Re: The “Free” Kernel In Debian Squeeze

        It sounds like the new Debian version of Linux will recommend specific nonfree firmware programs, which is undesirable.

        I talked with Alexandre a few months ago, and we decided to change the way Linux Libre deals with outside nonfree firmware.

        The current practice is to change the code to fail instead of trying to load any firmware.

        The change is to obfuscate the names of the firmware files in the Linux source code. That way, if a user tracks down what firmware to install and installs it under the name that the code wants, it will.
        But Linux Libre will still not suggest installation of the nonfree firmware file to handle a particular device.

        In either case, it is possible to run the nonfree software. Free software has no way to stop users from doing something, since users an change it.

        Alexandre, how is progress on this?

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Constructors

          At the Honeycomb event today, I was immensely pleased to hear both Andy Rubin and Chris Yerga shout-out to the engineers; Andy followed up on Twitter.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Alternatives to Google

    Is it feasible to drop Google for a period of time in exchange for unfettered open source alternatives?

    When I first pondered the notion of such an idea, I figured I must be losing my mind. Drop Google? The search giant, regardless of how well-intentioned it may be, has an octopus-like hold on the Internet – its tentacles are everywhere.

    Oddly enough, though, it turned out to be easier than I expected. Let’s look at the mindset, software choices and habit changes needed to make this idea doable.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 2011 Roadmap Updated, Expect Firefox 7 in 2011

        News made the round at the end of January that Mozilla had plans to accelerate the development of the Firefox web browser by releasing major version updates more frequently.

      • Firefox 4, 5, 6 and 7 to be released before the end of 2011

        Firefox’s official roadmap has been updated, and boy are there some interesting changes afoot. Most notably, Firefox 7 will ship in 2011. The second biggy, and the main focus of Firefox development in 2011, is to make sure there is no more than 50ms between any user interaction and feedback from the browser.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is it time to refer to mitochondria as bacteria?

      In the article Pallen argues for giving mitochondria their own family w/in bacteria. I think that would be a good idea as they are really just a highly reduced form of bacteria. We give endosymbionts, even those with tiny genomes, their own groups. So why note organelles that are derived from bacteria? After all – phylogenetically they are bacteria.

    • Don’t let them “Shirley Sherrod” Planned Parenthood

      The rightwing smear machine that took down Shirley Sherrod, Van Jones and ACORN is at it again. This time they are going after Planned Parenthood.

    • First Study of Dispersants in Gulf Spill Suggests a Prolonged Deepwater Fate

      To combat last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 800,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were injected directly into the oil and gas flow coming out of the wellhead nearly one mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, as scientists begin to assess how well the strategy worked at breaking up oil droplets, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) chemist Elizabeth B. Kujawinski and her colleagues report that a major component of the dispersant itself was contained within an oil-gas-laden plume in the deep ocean and had still not degraded some three months after it was applied.

      While the results suggest the dispersant did mingle with the oil and gas flowing from the mile-deep wellhead, they also raise questions about what impact the deep-water residue of oil and dispersant—which some say has its own toxic effects—might have had on environment and marine life in the Gulf.

  • Security

    • FLAMING RETORT – Cooling the friction when Linux meets anti-virus
    • Scareware: How Crime Pays

      Scareware is fraudulent software that uses deceptive advertising to trick users into believing they’re infected with some variety of malware, then convinces them to pay money to protect themselves. The infection isn’t real, and the software they buy is fake, too. It’s all a scam.

    • $100 Bribe to Ticket Agent Allows Unknown Package to Fly on JetBlues

      Although millions of dollars are spent on airline security each year in the United States, it only took $100.00 for a JetBlue ticket agent to allow a unknown package to go onto a flight, coming from an unknown person.

      On November 19, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was at Charlotte Douglas Airport testing out JetBlue’s security. Their goal was to try and get an unaccompanied package onto a flight headed to Boston and unfortunately, they succeeded. An undercover TSA agent told a JetBlue ticket agent that he needed to get a package to Boston that day and would pay the agent $100.00 for helping. The agent took the $100, put it in his pocket and proceeded to follow the unknown person’s instructions. The ticket agent chose a passenger’s name at random, which just happened to be an unaccompanied minor, and the package went through the screening process with no problems. Although the package was harmless, the TSA pulled the package just before being loaded onto the aircraft.

    • The Moscow Attack and Airport Security

      The Jan. 24 bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport killed 35 people and injured more than 160. The attack occurred at approximately 4:40 p.m. as passengers from several arriving international flights were leaving the airport after clearing immigration and customs. The attacker (or attackers; reports are still conflicting over whether the attack was conducted by a man or a man and a woman together) entered the international arrivals hall of the airport, a part of the facility that is outside the secure area and that is commonly packed with crowds of relatives and taxi and limo drivers waiting to meet travelers.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Deputies: Fla. man stabbed because he was Muslim

      Authorities say a Florida man is accused of stabbing another man in the neck after learning he was Muslim during a discussion about religion.

    • John Ivison: Security Perimeter could make Canada a very different place

      In his excellent new paper: “Now for the Hard Part: Renewing the Canadian-American Partnership,” former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson offered some advice for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on the eve of his departure for Washington to sign a new perimeter security deal with President Barack Obama.

      He quoted Daniel Burnham, the great Chicago architect, who once said: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” Mr. Robertson suggested that Mr. Harper should think big.

    • Reagan: Killer, Coward, Con-man

      You’re not going to like this. You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. But in this case, someone’s got to.

      On the 100th Anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, as we suffer a week of Reagan-kitcheria and pukey peons, let us remember:

      Reagan was a con-man. Reagan was a coward. Reagan was a killer.

      In 1987, I found myself stuck in a crappy little town in Nicaragua named Chaguitillo. The people were kind enough, though hungry, except for one surly young man. His wife had just died of tuberculosis.

    • Berlusconi and Murdoch: Two Fascists Peas in the Pod?
    • Bush to face torture case whenever abroad: activists

      Activists vowed on Monday that former U.S. President George W. Bush will face a torture case against him wherever he travels outside the United States.

      Human rights groups had planned to lodge a Swiss criminal case against Bush on Monday, before his address to a Jewish charity in Geneva on February 12. Organisers canceled his speech last weekend, invoking security concerns.

    • George Bush issued travel warning by human rights organisations

      Human rights groups have vowed to track George W Bush round the world after their success in forcing him to cancel a trip to Switzerland amid concerns over protests and a threatened arrest warrant.

      Katherine Gallagher, a lawyer with the New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights, said: “The reach of the convention against torture is wide. This case is prepared and will be waiting for him wherever he travels next.

      “Torturers, even if they are former presidents of the United States, must be held to account and prosecuted.”

    • Extrajudicial Killing in Egypt

      [T]here are estimates of up to 300 deaths as a result of the protests and reactions.

    • Corruption in Egypt

      The violence/repression in Egypt is not just about power or ideology, it is about corruption.
      “The wealth of Ahmed Ezz, the former NDP Organisation Secretary, is estimated to be 18 billion Egyptian pounds;

      The wealth of former Housing Minister Ahmed al-Maghraby is estimated to be more than 11 billion Egyptian pounds;

      The wealth of former Minister of Tourism Zuhair Garrana is estimated to be 13 billion Egyptian pounds;

      The wealth of former Minister of Trade and Industry, Rashid Mohamed Rashid, is estimated to be 12 billion Egyptian pounds;

    • Egyptian Government Must Release International Human Rights Observers, Stop Crackdown on Civil Society

      We are happy to report that our Amnesty staffers have been released! Thank you so much for your incredible outpouring of support.

    • Senators decry link between Egypt, ‘kill switch’ bill

      Three U.S. senators who want to give the president emergency powers over the Internet are protesting comparisons with the “kill switch” highlighted by Egypt’s Net disconnection.

      In a statement yesterday, the politicians said their intent was to allow the president “to protect the U.S. from external cyber attacks,” not to shut down the Internet, and announced that they would revise their legislation to explicitly prohibit that from happening.

    • WikiLeaks: Israel’s secret hotline to the man tipped to replace Mubarak

      As a key figure working for Middle East peace, he once suggested that Israeli troops would be “welcome” to invade Egypt to stop weapons being smuggled to Hamas terrorists in neighbouring Gaza.

      The details, which emerged in secret files obtained by WikiLeaks and passed to The Daily Telegraph, come after Mr Suleiman began talks with opposition groups on the future for Egypt’s government.

      On Saturday, Mr Suleiman won the backing of Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to lead the “transition” to democracy after two weeks of demonstrations calling for President Mubarak to resign.

  • Cablegate

    • Political Instability

      A recent political trauma occurred in January at the Churchill Club WikiLeaks event. The featured speaker was Daniel Ellsberg, a an old lion of the left, and boy was he ever convincing. I realized that I was listening to someone apparently positioned several leagues left of where I see myself, and admiring every word. Just one example: his pointing out, in terms that made anger unavoidable, the Obama administration’s refusal to prosecute anyone for the widespread torture conducted by its predecessors (both direct and via extraordinary rendition, which is what they call it when you hand your political prisoners over to Arab autocracies for them to do the dirty); and simultaneous willingness to unleash the Justice Department against whistleblowers and leakers.


      EGIS Chief Omar Soliman told Ambassador and
      a visiting Codel led by Senator George Voinovich December 31
      that he is optimistic progress will be made on
      Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. However, Soliman was
      concerned with continuing Israeli criticism of Egyptian
      anti-smuggling efforts. He was worried that the Egyptians
      would not be able to work out an arrangement with the
      Israelis for Hajj pilgrims to return to Gaza. On Iran,
      Soliman said that the USG’s release of the National
      Intelligence Estimate had altered the calculus through which
      Arab states are interacting with Iran. On Iraq argued that
      the Iraqi government needed to amend its constitution and
      that Prime Minister Malaki should not deal with the Iraqi
      people in a “sectarian way.”


      Egyptian-Israeli communications have suffered because of Egypt’s management of the Gaza border, its contacts with Hamas and the impact of both issues on Congressional action to impose conditions on Egypt’s FMF. The Israelis charge that Cairo is soft on Hamas and not just tolerating, but complicit in smuggling. The Egyptians insist that they are doing their best to stem smuggling and claim national interests, including security, require them to sustain communications with Hamas. They also blame Israel for the Congressional debate over conditioning USD 200 million of FMF on improvements in Gaza border security, and call this a “hostile act.” The Egyptians are so aggrieved that they now welcome U.S. mediation in their discussions with the Israelis. Each side appears seriously to misjudge the other’s national security and political interests at stake over Gaza/Hamas, and much else. We believe our offer to help get things back on track by joining Egyptian-Israeli border security discussions should remain on the table. The offer alone may help repair the seriously strained Egyptian-Israeli bilateral dialogue and thereby enable more cooperation.

    • 05CAIRO8938,

      Thank you for including Cairo in your travel to the Middle East. Your visit presents an opportunity to review and upgrade our law enforcement/intelligence cooperation with the Egyptians. The CIA already has a strong and growing relationship with the Egyptian Intelligence Service (EGIS). We would like the FBI to establish a similarly robust and productive partnership with the State Security Investigative Service. The Ministry does not yet recognize the benefit for their side of enhanced ties with the FBI. But leaders like Omar Soliman and especially President Mubarak, with whom we hope you will be able to meet, have the vision and influence to overcome these reservations. On our side, we should be ready with concrete proposals to kick start new levels of practical cooperation. Exchange of forensic and biometric data and associated upgrades of Egypt’s capabilities in this field could provide a good beginning.


      Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s August 23 visit to Egypt was a success, according to MOD Arab Affairs Adviser David Hacham. Barak’s meetings with President Mubarak, Intelligence Minister Soliman, and Defense Minister Tantawi focused on reviving negotiations for the release of Corporal Shalit, the Israeli assessment of the Tahdiya (Calming) with Hamas in Gaza, and Egypt’s anti-smuggling efforts. Hacham said the Israelis were “shocked” by President Mubarak’s aged appearance; their most substantive exchanges were with Soliman. Hacham said Iran was also on the agenda, with the Israeli and Egyptian sides agreeing they had a common strategic interest in containing Iran’s regional ambitions. Our sense is that the Israeli-Egyptian relationship is gradually improving since the beginning of the Tahdiya in June. Barak and MOD in particular are committed to maintaining a strategic relationship with Egypt. MFA Director General Abramovich reportedly also is planning to visit Egypt next week to meet Foreign Minister Abul Gheit.


      Deputy Assistant Secretary Rob Danin and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Mark Kimmitt met November 6 with Israel Security Agency (ISA) Director Yuval Diskin to discuss relations with Egypt regarding the Gaza border. Diskin said the ISA had provided detailed information on smuggling networks, but the Egyptians had failed to take action. Concern about Congressional moves to link Egyptian aid to Gaza smuggling has prompted new bilateral discussions, and Diskin indicated some flexibility on Sinai troop levels in return for serious cooperation on this issue. Diskin contended that Egypt generally seeks to avoid conflict with Hamas and Bedouin tribes, and tolerates their activities outside Egyptian borders. He also suggested that the central government has weakened in recent years, and has less control over security officials in Sinai. The ISA asked for U.S. support in efforts to establish direct ties with security services within the Egyptian Ministry of Interior. Diskin provided specific details on smuggling from Egypt, and warned that trained personnel returning from Syria and Iran were of even greater concern.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Swimming accessories presented to Russian Governor for a swim in the Neva River

      This morning Greenpeace activists brought a very unusual gift to the Governor of St. Petersburg – a set of swimming accessories: beach towel, air bed, diving pipe, underwater mask, flippers and beach umbrella. Also attached to the gift was a set of measures on what needs to be done to make the Neva River clean and safe for swimming.

      Two weeks ago the Governor of St. Petersburg Mrs. Valentina Matvienko announced that in 2012 the Neva River and the Gulf of Finland waters will be so clean that it will be possible to swim there. But unfortunately without adequate measures from state and business only a miracle can make the Governor’s dream come true in such a short period of time.

    • The Koch Brothers’ Vast Right-Wing Media Conspiracy

      Last June, Glenn Beck paused in the middle of a rant about the economy and climate on his television show for an important, if rather unexpected, aside. “I want to thank Charles Koch for this information,” he said. Beck’s statement was totally without context, thrown in amid jabs at Al Gore and endorsements of the free market. Months later, it came to light that he recently had been a guest of honor at a semiannual confab sponsored by fossil-fuel billionaire Charles Koch and his brother, David, an event the pair hosts to connect conservative think tanks, politicos, and media types like Beck.

      Koch Industries, a Kansas-based company founded in 1940 by father Fred Koch, is the second largest privately held company in America. Charles and David Koch are tied as the fifth wealthiest people in the nation, worth a combined $43 billion. Their money comes through a variety of business interests—ranching, mining, oil refining, and production of paper products, fertilizer, and chemicals. It would be an understatement to say that they have much at stake when it comes to efforts to cut climate-changing emissions.

  • Finance

    • Ontario beer too expensive, Tory leader says

      Ontario’s opposition Progressive Conservatives are considering lowering beer prices in the province if they win power in the fall election, aiming to reduce the cost of living.

      PC party leader Tim Hudak left the door open to a return to “a buck a beer” — or $24 per case of 24 beers — in a scrum with reporters Monday. While Hudak wouldn’t commit to the policy change, he said rising beer prices “are just one of the many things that hitting Ontario families in the pocket.”

    • Why Obama and the chamber are getting friendlier

      There was a lot of hype surrounding Barack Obama’s speech at the Chamber of Commerce today, but not much reason for it. The speech was an articulation of the agenda that the White House has already laid out. Indeed, Obama previewed as much at the beginning of the address. “I’m here in the interest of being more neighborly,” he said. Not in the interest of announcing a new policy, or telling some tough truths, or cutting a deal. In the interest of being neighborly. “Maybe we would have gotten off on a better foot if I had brought over a fruitcake when we first moved in.”

    • Obama to CEOs: Ask what you can do for America

      Echoing John F. Kennedy, President Barack Obama prodded business leaders Monday to “ask yourselves what you can do for America,” not just for company bottom lines, even as he sought to smooth his uneasy relations with the nation’s corporate executives.

    • Republicans call for swift action to weaken Fannie and Freddie

      Republicans are calling on Washington to begin winding down mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the first step in a longer-term plan to get the federal government out of the housing business.

    • By one measure, federal taxes lowest since 1950

      Actually, as a share of the nation’s economy, Uncle Sam’s take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way.

      And for the third straight year, American families and businesses will pay less in federal taxes than they did under former President George W. Bush, thanks to a weak economy and a growing number of tax breaks for the wealthy and poor alike.

    • FDIC seeks delay in bonuses for top bank execs

      Federal regulators are proposing that top executives at large financial firms wait at least three years to be paid half of their annual bonuses, a move designed to cut down on risky financial transactions.

    • “To Blame Wall Street For the Financial Meltdown Is Absurd”

      The absurdity here is that we have created Too Big To Fail banks (and insurance companies) and that we are allowing them to become Too Big To Save – while our political elite blithely looks the other way.

    • Wall Street needs stricter regulations

      Wall Street is known for big bonuses — the kind of bonuses that let investment bankers make more in a day than many people make in a year. But the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is looking to combat that a little. Regulators have proposed a rule that, if approved, will force financial firms like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs to defer at least half of bonuses for top executives for three years. The FDIC hopes that, by making these institutions defer payment over longer periods of time, it will force them to more closely analyze their executives’ long-term performances, thereby deterring them from making impulsive, high-risk trades or investments. While the FDIC’s intentions are noble, there are some flaws in this plan that need to be patched up if they want it to work successfully.

    • Finance: Shadow boxes

      Reaching for a metaphor to depict where the next crisis in the global financial system might emanate from, Larry Summers invokes the futile fortifications built by France along its eastern border between the world wars to deter invasion.

    • Fraudclosure: Will State AGs Step Up to Their Moment in History?

      Rumor has it that the 50-state attorneys general investigation into the Fraudclosure scandal is wrapping up. It’s time for a backbone check. Will the state attorneys general just ask the big banks and service providers to turn over a chunk of change from seemingly bottomless pockets? (This strategy was pursued by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) with little impact). Or will Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller take the lead in wrestling a real settlement out of the banks, so that families hammered by unemployment and underemployment can stay in their homes?

    • Organized Labor in the Crosshairs

      First you had a French company, Roquette Freres, announcing to its Keokuk, Iowa, employees that management had decided to unilaterally cut benefits and slash wages by $4 per hours, despite the fact that its Keokuk corn milling plant was profitable and its workers loyal and efficient.

      When the BCTGM (Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers) Local 48G’s 240 members balked at what they saw as plain, old-fashioned extortion, the immediately company locked them out. No talking, no compromising, no willingness to move. They locked the doors on them.

    • To us, it’s an obscure shift of tax law. To the City, it’s the heist of the century

      ‘I would love to see tax reductions,” David Cameron told the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend, “but when you’re borrowing 11% of your GDP, it’s not possible to make significant net tax cuts. It just isn’t.” Oh no? Then how come he’s planning the biggest and crudest corporate tax cut in living memory?

      If you’ve heard nothing of it, you’re in good company. The obscure adjustments the government is planning to the tax acts of 1988 and 2009 have been missed by almost everyone – and are, anyway, almost impossible to understand without expert help. But as soon as you grasp the implications, you realise that a kind of corporate coup d’etat is taking place.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • AriannaOL

      The only thing that makes me nervous is hearing Arianna talk with Kara Swisher about the center. No, Arianna, don’t heed the siren call of the view from nowhere! But I can’t believe that’s possible for her. Arianna’s not going to be buying Glenn Beck. Arianna must be Arianna.

      One wonders why big, old media companies didn’t buy Huffington Post. The better question is why they never started their own HuffPos. Only one did: The Guardian.

  • Censorship

    • Online Media Fight Internet Clampdown

      A government plan to control online media has sparked widespread protest from journalists and lawmakers who say the move is a sign of the ruling party’s desperation as it prepares for a “do or die” general election.

      The plan, announced mid-January, is to apply strict publication laws to online news media for “national security” reasons.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Super Bowl’s Homeless Problem

      In December, the Dallas City Council outlawed panhandling in the city’s most prominent tourist areas, including several zones where big Super Bowl events are planned. For several weeks, the the city has been removing homeless people from the areas as it spruces them up for football fans. Anyone who sticks around to ask for handouts from all the high rollers and corporate junketers who’ll be passing through could be fined up to $500.

    • Rights group: PA banning freedom of expression

      Palestinian rights group on Thursday warned of deteriorating freedom of expression in the West Bank, as the PA banned “unlicensed assembly” in response to rallies in solidarity with Egyptians.

    • Resolution Calling to Amend the Constitution Banning Corporate Personhood Introduced in Vermont

      “Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires,” wrote Stevens.

    • Noam Chomsky (Part 2): “This Is The Most Remarkable Regional Uprising That I Can Remember”

      In recent weeks, popular uprisings in the Arab world have led to the ouster of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the imminent end of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, a new Jordanian government, and a pledge by Yemen’s longtime dictator to leave office at the end of his term. We spoke to MIT Professor Noam Chomsky on Wednesday’s live program about the situation in Egypt, and then continued the interview for another 50 minutes after the show to further discuss what these popular uprisings mean for the future of the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in the region, how U.S. fear of the Muslim Brotherhood is really fear of democracy in the Arab world, and what the Egyptian protests mean for people in the United States.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • U.S. Has Secret Tools to Force Internet on Dictators

      When Hosni Mubarak shut down Egypt’s internet and cellphone communications, it seemed that all U.S. officials could do was ask him politely to change his mind. But the American military does have a second set of options, if it ever wants to force connectivity on a country against its ruler’s wishes.

    • ‘CRTC’s faulty UBB foundation’

      The controversy over the CRTC’s usage based billing decisions took centre stage yesterday with an Industry Committee hearing and comments from politicians from all parties.

      After Industry Minister Tony Clement earlier advised that the government would send the CRTC back to the drawing board on UBB if the Commission did not do so itself, Chair Konrad von Finckenstein told the Industry Committee that the CRTC was delaying implementation of the decision by at least 60 days and that it would review it to “verify” that it protects consumers, ensures that heavy Internet users pay for their “excess use” and that small ISPs retain maximum flexibility. Yet immediately after the hearing, Clement told reporters that “regardless of the outcome of that review the ruling will not be implemented.”

    • Clearing up the confusion over the caps

      Caps on Internet service — referred to as usage-based billing (UBB) — took the political world by storm this week. More than 350,000 Canadians signed a petition calling for an end to the common practice, and the government indicated it would order the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to reconsider its decision to allow large Internet providers such as Bell to implement UBB when it sells wholesale access to smaller providers.

      On Thursday, CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein told a House of Commons committee that the commission will do just that.

    • Geist: The real reason we pay so much for Internet

      Last week, public concern with Internet bandwidth caps hit a fever pitch as hundreds of thousands of Canadians signed petitions against Internet provider practices of “metering” Internet use.

      The government responded with a commitment to order the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to revisit the issue. Hours later, the CRTC announced that it would delay implementation of the decision by 60 days and review it with fresh eyes and an open mind.

      While addressing the CRTC decision is a good start, Canadians will be disappointed — some even surprised — to learn that Internet “metering” is already almost uniformly in place. The “caps” are the existing and common provider limits on usage, above which you are billed extra. They are unlikely to disappear anytime soon, what ever the CRTC decides after its review.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto

      In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation’s 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America’s organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it’s time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.


      The main reason, however, why Whole Foods is pleading for coexistence with Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and the rest of the biotech bullies, is that they desperately want the controversy surrounding genetically engineered foods and crops to go away. Why? Because they know, just as we do, that 2/3 of WFM’s $9 billion annual sales is derived from so-called “natural” processed foods and animal products that are contaminated with GMOs. We and our allies have tested their so-called “natural” products (no doubt WFM’s lab has too) containing non-organic corn and soy, and guess what: they’re all contaminated with GMOs, in contrast to their certified organic products, which are basically free of GMOs, or else contain barely detectable trace amounts.

Clip of the Day

Android Honeycomb Intro Animation

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 7/2/2011: FOSDEM 2011 Closing, GNOME 3 Test Day

Posted in News Roundup at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • # Going Linux: Feb 05: #128 – Listener Feedback

      Android, Ubuntu, Slackware, Mint, Puppy… we talk about them all in this episode. Tom tries some cool new stuff. The pragmatic Larry returns… and rants again. (Well, a mini-rant.) We discuss video issues, wireless issues, gPodder/iPod issues, and much, much more. Two cool software picks and two cool Linux events. Listen to get 40% off your registration for the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 9X) Larry will be speaking. Listen to the end to get a 40% discount off of your registration. Below is a link to the details of his talk.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Yet Another VIA Linux Driver Has Arrived

        VIA’s small Linux development community is badly fragmented; there is yet another group of developers creating their own VIA driver. I wish it was a joke, seeing as there are already a number of drivers for the same VIA chipsets and none of them are feature complete or in really great condition, but a new driver has been released. This time the new driver comes from the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) crew and it’s just being dubbed xf86-video-chrome. Not only though is there yet another X.Org driver, but it’s bringing its own kernel DRM.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • FOSDEM 2011 Group Picture

      Here’s this year’s crossdesktop group picture of FOSDEM, featuring all your favourite developers that attended FOSDEM (and me)! \o/

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KWin and the unmanageable combinations of drivers

        This week I once more noticed the biggest problem of KWin development: the differences between the multiple drivers. Since Monday KWin uses a new OpenGL 2 based coding path as default. The code was mostly written on one of my systems with the nouveau driver and regression testing was mostly done on my second system using fglrx which only supports the “legacy” old coding path by default but can be forced to the new one (but too slow for productive usage).

        Around Wednesday notmart reported that the code is broken on NVIDIA proprietary driver. As I had developed on nouveau I had not tested with the blob. So I had to switch the driver again and could confirm the regression (after fixing: it was clearly our bug and not NVIDIA’s). The regression occurred in a code path which seems to be only executed with the NVIDIA blob. It took me hours to figure out what is causing the bug and how to fix it. And it illustrates the big problem in KWin development: without an NVIDIA card and the driver I would not have been able to fix it and I doubt that anyone not knowing the code would have been able to fix it.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Cairo Dock 2.3 Gets Zeitgeist Integration (Sezen-Like Applet)

        Cairo Dock 2.3 (currently in beta) got a cool new feature that lets you easily browse recent files such as documents, audio and video files, websites and so on thanks to Zeitgeist. The new applet also has a search and looks a lot like Sezen.

      • GNOME 3 Test Day

        On Wednesday evening, Fedora Desktop hackers were frantically building GNOME 2.91.6 into rawhide, including a number of rebuilds against newer versions of GTK+, and beta testing Live CD images to make sure they were usable.

        On Thursday morning (European time), ISO images were being uploaded by the our favourite QA insomniac. Quite a few people came to test the Live CD, and many bugs were filed.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Distro Hoppin`: iGolaware Linux 2.0

        There are some OSes out there that make you feel like /home right from the Live environment. I feel obliged to inform you that, for me, iGolaware is one of those and if I will seem a bit biased towards it, you’ll know why. :D I’ll try not to, but hey, just in case, there’s my disclaimer. It’s the first time I’ve heard about this distribution so I had zero expectations. OK, I’m lying, I was expecting a sloppy remix of Ubuntu, a distro that was simply made out of boredom and had no future ahead of it. But surprise, surprise, iGolaware is quite a serious project included in the portfolio of quite a serious IT consulting/solutions-provider startup in Netherlands.


        It sure does! It even makes ME purr! Look, at the end of the day, it’s still an Ubuntu-based distro so most of the credit should go to Ubuntu or even Debian, but iGolaware’s developers did such a wonderful job of customizing the OS for home/office use that I can’t help recommending it to any computer user, be they experienced or total newbies.

    • Debian Family

      • Diskless Debian GNU/kFreeBSD HOWTO

        It was completely non-obvious; In some cases I had to figure it out by reading kFreeBSD source code; I write it down here so it’s not forgotten ;-)

      • Debian6.0 Squeeze is released! With Screenshots Tour
      • Congratulations Debian!
      • The new Debian Linux: Irrelevant?

        True, more and more companies are open-sourcing their drivers, such as Broadcom, the Wi-Fi device original equipment manufacturers (OEM). The real driver for this hasn’t been free software fans demanding drivers, but Linux-friendly OEMs like Dell demanding open-source drivers.

        By doing this, all Debian is doing with this move is satisfying its existing free software base and alienating possible new users. In a similar vein, Debian is continuing the farce of using Iceweasel 3.5.16, an unbranded version of Firefox, and Icedove 3.0.11, an unbranded version of Thunderbird because Mozilla, Firefox and Thunderbird’s parent organization, won’t let Debian, or its users. muck with these programs trademarked names and logos.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Designing Ubuntu

          When I joined Canonical back in 2006 as the Ubuntu community manager, the focus was simple: to deliver the latest and greatest open source software in a simple and integrated fashion.

          To achieve this, we made sure Ubuntu came with a large number of upstream projects. Some were underlying tools, such as the Linux kernel and the X display server, and some more user-facing, such as the Gnome platform and its suite of applications.

          The Ubuntu team always had its nose to the ground looking for the next big thing that it could bring to users, often investing in pieces of development that would satisfy needs that weren’t yet met. One example was the Jockey tool, which helps you install additional drivers if your hardware needs them.

          Back in 2008, Mark Shuttleworth called me over to his desk to share some thoughts about something he referred to as “awesome attention management”. Around that time, Matthew Paul Thomas, a well-respected user-interface design specialist, had been working on a new project with him.

        • Ubuntu One: Ubuntu’s cloud platform and its benefits explained

          The money behind the world’s slickest Linux distribution has to come from somewhere, and increasingly that’s Canonical’s online platform: Ubuntu One. But what’s in it for you?

          If there’s one thing that now sets Ubuntu apart from other Linux distributions, it’s not that it has a strong emphasis on desktop ease of use, or even that it’s garnered such a large following. It’s that Canonical is trying to find ways to turn a completely free desktop operating system into a profitable enterprise. Other companies leverage Linux for profit too – Red Hat and Novell come to mind – but they do so by selling support to corporate clients. No-one has really tried to monetise the desktop.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Kubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 released

            It may not be getting Unity nor the attention its purple/orange brother is receiving, but that doesn’t mean nothing interesting is happening with Kubuntu.


            As we covered gracefully before, KDE 4.6 was release bringing with it improvements to the Plasma workspaces and to a basket full of applications.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android App To Send / Receive SMS Messages (And More) Using Your Computer: AndroidPC [Linux, Windows, Mac]
        • Super Cool Android 3.0 Powered Motorola XOOM Video Ad

          If this is not futuristic, what is? Watch this absolutely stunning advertisement featuring all new Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” powered Motorola XOOM tablet.

        • Honeycomb promises to hot up tablet PC race

          Earlier this week, Google unveiled its Android 3.0 operating system code-named ‘Honeycomb.’ It has since received positive buzz across online geek forums for what many see as the open source operating system that will help Android Tablet PCs challenge Apple’s iPad, the undisputed market leader now, which runs on its proprietary operating system.


          Huge leap

          The predominant verdict is that not only has Honeycomb been a huge leap over the previous versions of Android OS, which, to be fair, have been designed for smartphones running on much lower specifications. It also comes across as a good introduction to the Android ecosystem, in ease of use. It also supports multi-tasking, among many other new experiences.

Free Software/Open Source

  • F-O-S-S Explained

    3. Free and Open-Source Software : When a software combines the above two features, the same can be said to fall under the category of FOSS. Wikipedia : Its a software that is liberally licensed to grant the right of users to use, study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code.

    So, on the closing note a free software is more about “freedom” rather than zero-price.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Nice browser, but that name …

      That’s xxxterm, and before you go all wide-eyed and start thinking this application is intended to appeal to your biological urges, I can assure you it’s very legit. (Unless you tell it to do otherwise.)

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 9 on Linux

        In the course of my real work, I’ve had the opportunity to try out various combinations of Linux and Chrome on some of my lab systems, just to see how it all works together. I’ve installed Chrome on two versions of Linux; RHEL 6 and Fedora 14.

        Chrome was installed on RHEL 6 using the bog-standard Google-supplied RPM. I originally installed Chrome version 8 in this manner. What I noticed and certainly appreciated about Chrome on RHEL 6 is that Chrome ‘inserted’ itself into the regular software update structure of RHEL 6. Now, every time a new release is pushed out, the update icon lights up on the panel, and when I click on it, Chrome updates are installed just like they are under Windows. The installation under Fedora 14 is through the regular repositories, and updates come along with all the other Fedora updates. Again, smooth, simple, and clean.

    • Mozilla

      • Migrating HBase: In the Trenches

        We recently had a situation where we needed to copy a lot of HBase data while migrating from our old datacenter to our new one. The old cluster was running Cloudera’s CDH2 with HBase 0.20.6 and the new one is running CDH3b3. Usually I would use Hadoop’s distcp utility for such a job. As it turned out we were unable to use distcp while HBase was still running on the source cluster. Part of the reason for this is that the HFTP will throw XML errors due to HBase modifying files (particularly the case if HBase removes a directory). And to transfer our entire dataset at the time was going to take well over a day. This presented a serious problem because we couldn’t accept that kind of downtime. We were also about 75% full in the source cluster so doing HBase export was out as well. Thus I created a utility called Backup.

      • Firefox 4 Beta 12 Builds Released. Are We There Yet?

        The original plan called for seven betas. Then it was extended to nine and we are currently close to Beta 12. It may not be the last beta. Mozilla, are we there yet?

  • Business

    • Free Software, Paid Support

      I have always found the free software approach to be instructive. There are many forms of creative expression out there and most of them involve a paid model. But there is a very vibrant community of software developers that build things and then make them available to anyone who want to use them for free. The key is that they don’t offer any ongoing support or maintenance.


    • Antifeatures at the Free Technology Academy

      In addition to lecturing for two courses at MIT this term, I recently had the pleasure of giving a lecture on antifeatures at the Free Technology Academy — a program which offers Masters courses over the Internet. Quite a few of the FTA courses are about free software, free knowledge, and related topics!

    • Software freedom crusader Richard Stallman on European tour

      Dr Richard Stallman, the global crusader for the freedoms of computer users, will be embarking on a lecture tour during February and March.

      Organised and supported by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the tour will include nine lectures across Britain, and in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris.

      Dr Richard Stallman said: “With software there are two cases: either the users control the program or the program controls the users. The first is free software, and the other is proprietary software.”

  • Government

    • Affirmative action in procurement for open standards and FLOSS

      The Dutch action plan Netherlands Open in Connection intends to give a direction for public sector buyers to adopt a positive policy and strategy towards open standards and Free and open source software. This policy seems to indicate a preferred position on open source products, however it actually gives no guarantee that providers of free and open source software will get the opportunity to make an offer. First there should be a so called ‘level playing field’ for the suppliers. In an empirical study carried out between January and June 2010 the following question is answered: does European procurement law give a fair chance to vendors of FLOSS software? This study shows that despite of the desired affirmative action for open source products, in almost half (47.5%) of the tenders there is still a preference for closed source vendors or products. This preference inevitably results in not giving vendors of FLOSS software a fair chance to win the bid.

    • EU institutes’ vendor lock-in no example to other administrations

      The European institutions’ use of proprietary office applications and proprietary document formats is keeping others in the EU from increasing their use of open source software, according to public administrations in Finland, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

      “There still is not the ‘big name’ weight of some EU institution that would really shake the civil service out of their conservative viewpoint”, says Mark Wright, city councillor for the Bristol in the United Kingdom.

      The lack of a role-model is a serious problem for municipalities, says Rüdiger Czieschla, head of IT at the German city of Freiburg. “The EU’s attitude is not a shining example to lower administrations like us. We are left alone by the EU and by national agencies, and this weakens open source initiatives.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Editor-to-Reader Ratios on Wikipedia

      It’s been reported for some time now that the number of active editors on Wikipedia (usually defined as people who have edited at least 5 times in a given month) peaked in 2007 and has been mostly stable since then. A graph of the total number of active editors in every month since Wikipedia’s founding is shown below. The graph shows the aggregate numbers for all language Wikipedias. English Wikipedia is the largest component of this and is generally more variable. That said, very similar patterns exist for most larger languages.

    • Rentalship Is The New Ownership in the Networked Age

      Now that collaborative spirit is spreading to all sorts of other industries as ubiquitous internet connections bring us together in creative new ways. The peer-to-peer model has lately moved from auction houses and online classifieds to car-sharing, jewelery lending, even online banking — and each time it’s cutting out a traditional incumbent.


  • India On Verge of ”Cultural Ecocide’ Says Scholar

    Sheldon Pollock, a renowned scholar of Sanskrit and Indian literary history, warned that in literary terms, India is on the verge of becoming a country as brand-new as America. He gave the keynote speech opening the Jaipur Literature Festival Friday morning. ‘It is now entirely legitimate to ask, if dismaying and disturbing, if within two generations there will be anyone in India who will have the capacity of reading Indian literature produced before 1800,’ he said. ‘I have a feeling that that number is slowly approaching a statistical zero.’

  • Science

    • JPEG canaries: exposing on-the-fly recompression

      Many photo-sharing websites decompress and compress uploaded images, to enforce particular compression parameters. This recompression degrades quality. Some web proxies can also recompress images/videos, to give the impression of a faster connection.

    • Physics gets more personal: new video abstracts in New Journal of Physics

      New Journal of Physics (NJP) has today announced the launch of video abstracts as a new integrated content stream that will give all authors the opportunity to go beyond the constraints of the written article to personally present the importance of their work to the journal’s global audience.

    • Tweeting the lab

      I’ve been interested for some time in capturing information and the context in which that information is created in the lab. The question of how to build an efficient and useable laboratory recording system is fundamentally one of how much information is necessary to record and how much of that can be recorded while bothering the researcher themselves as little as possible.

    • Help Make This Wild Braille Watch A Reality
    • New Mexico Bill Seeks to Protect Anti-Science Education

      educators in New Mexico want to teach evolution or climate change as a “controversial scientific topic,” a new bill seeks to protect them from punishment.

      House Bill 302, as it’s called, states that public school teachers who want to teach “scientific weaknesses” about “controversial scientific topics” including evolution, climate change, human cloning and — ambiguously — “other scientific topics” may do so without fear of reprimand. The legislation was introduced to the New Mexico House of Representatives on Feb. 1 by Republican Rep. Thomas A. Anderson.

  • Security

    • Security Hacks
    • WSJ: Hackers Penetrate NASDAQ Computers

      Over the past year, hackers have repeatedly penetrated the computers at NASDAQ, reports the Wall Street Journal. Federal investigators are trying to identify the hackers and their purpose.

      However, the trading platform wasn’t compromised, people familiar with the matter told WSJ.

      Investigators think unlawful financial gain, theft of trade secrets or a national-security threat designed to damage the exchange could be reasons for the penetrations.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Tunisia’s Revolution Continues

      Even though Tunisia’s dictator for 23 years, President Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali has been forced to flee the country and is currently a fugitive from an Interpol international arrest warrant with his assets frozen in Tunisia and Europe, the very difficult task of thoroughly rooting out the old regime and building a new Tunisia continues.

      While many are still troubled by the fact that long time Ben Ali crony Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi remains the head of government, there haven’t been many street protests in recent days. After a major government reshuffle purged it of Ben Ali loyalists, most people seem to have adopted a wait and see attitude and started to get back to normal life.

    • Student Murdered, 11 Shot at Omega Psi Phi House Party at Youngstown State University

      Two men opened fire after an argument occurred at an Omega Psi Phi fraternity house in Youngstown, Ohio this weekend. The two men shot multiple rounds into a crowd of people, killing a student and critically injuring a 17-year old with a head wound. The student who was killed was shot while trying to break the two disputing groups apart. The university said six of the injured were students.

      The murder victim was 25-year old Jamail E. Johnson of Youngstown. Most of the 11 injured were shot in the foot. The men were arrested and charged with aggravated murder, shooting into a home, and felonious assault, according to Chief Jimmy Hughes of the Youngstown Police Department.

    • A tense calm grips Egypt

      After 11 days of unrest – some days violent, others jubilant – Egyptian protesters are determined to stay the course.

    • In Tunisia, Women Play Equal Role In Revolution

      Female voices rang out loud and clear during massive protests that brought down the authoritarian rule of Tunisian President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

      Women in Tunisia are unique in the Arab world for enjoying near equality with men. And they are anxious to maintain their status.

    • Financial Times reveals Anonymous hierarchy

      And in an astounding revelation, a closing statement from the group-that’s-not-a-group admits a famous Canadian vocalist is one of its founders.

    • Anonymous Hackers Pay Back FBI Snitch with 50,000 Leaked Emails

      Right now you can download a 4.7 gigabyte file full of about 50,000 emails stolen from a computer security expert named Aaron Barr. That’s what happens when you cross the hacking collective Anonymous.

      Hackers from Anonymous, best-known for attacks on Scientology and Wikileaks detractors, trashed Barr’s online life Sunday evening after learning he planned to meet with the FBI tomorrow and hand over information he’d gathered about them. They defaced the website of HBGary Federal, the D.C.-based computer security firm Barr works for. Then they took over Barr’s Twitter account, tweeting his social security number and a file containing 50,000 HBGary company emails. They even claim to have wiped his iPad.

      Barr became a target of Anonymous after he appeared in a Financial Times article this weekend claiming he’d “penetrated” the group, identifying members by watching their chats and analyzing social networking profiles.

    • SIX Cops Beating The Crap Out Of Underage Teen Caught On Video
    • G20 abuse: What about the others?

      Toronto Police Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani is back in the news with the announcement that he is now charged with assaulting not one, but two, protesters during the G20 summit.

      It would be a mistake, though, to think this means the authorities have got to the bottom of all that went wrong on Toronto’s streets that weekend last June. Andalib-Goortani stands alone in having been charged, but the weight of all the allegations of police brutality do not rest on his shoulders. There were others: we have all seen the videos and photographs.

    • Egypt protests – Monday 7 February

      9.41am:CloseLink to this update: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/feb/07/egypt-protests-live-updates?CMP=twt_gu#block-9 The German papers are full of speculation today that Mubarak might seek exile in Germany, writes Helen Pidd, our Berlin correspondent.

    • Did Bush Cancel Trip to Switzerland to Avoid Possible Torture Inquiry? Looks That Way.

      Just days before George W. Bush’s scheduled arrival to Geneva, the former United States President decided to cancel his trip. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) sent the following statement:

      “CCR, with the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), have spent weeks preparing a 2,500 page torture case against Bush that would have been filed on Monday, February 7 – the anniversary of the day, nine years ago, when Bush decided the Geneva Conventions didn’t apply to ‘enemy combatants.’ Bush was due to be in Geneva on the 12th, and his presence on Swiss territory is required for the prosecutor to take action.

    • Egyptian police use Facebook and Twitter to track down protesters’ names before ’rounding them up’

      Sitting on an upturned bread basket with her knees pulled up to her chest, a petite young woman looked out over Tahrir Square early yesterday morning and weighed up whether she should stay or leave.

      Gabrielle, 25, is a French-Egyptian property lawyer, one of the thousands of young protesters who have remained at the focal point of Egypt’s uprising since it began 13 days ago. Exhausted, she yearns to return to the comfortable home she shares with her younger sisters and anxious parents – also lawyers – in the upmarket Cairo suburb of Heliopolis ten miles away. She dreamt last night of a hot bath and fresh clothes.

      Laughing wearily, she says: ‘See, I am the colours of the Egyptian flag.’ She points to her black jeans, white shirt – and the blood on her sleeve.

    • Have you tried turning it off and on again? – Ministry of Love
    • Golden mirrors

      Someone out there does not want these five images to be shown on the internet. They allegedly deal with Mr. Mubarak’s gold assets abroad, and were posted by Wael Abbas (@waelabbas on Twitter), whose blog came to be under attack. Telecomix does not care about the content of these pictures, we are not in the position to verify or investigate into their authenticity. We just try to make sure the Internet never goes down. The more these pictures are attacked by denial of service attacks, the more we will copy them to new locations. This is the mission and purpose of the Streisand project.

  • Cablegate

    • Latin America – Clinton probes Russia’s relationship with Cuba and Venezuela

      A few months after becoming U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton instructed embassy officials in Havana and Moscow to assess the state of the bilateral relationships of Russia with Cuba and Venezuela. In a cable from April 2009 (09STATE40419) Clinton asks questions intended to determine whether Russia prefers Caracas over Havana, whether Raul Castro is any “easier or harder to work with” than Fidel, and if the Russians had any plans to establish a military presence in Cuba.

    • Yemen – Yemen President Takes Marching Orders From U.S. Embassy

      New cables released by Wikileaks show that the Yemeni government held 28 Yemeni citizens in prison on behalf of the United States, despite the fact that a Yemeni government investigation showed that “there was no evidence they were involved in terrorist acts.”

    • Pilger, Wilkie, Burnside to defend WikiLeaks

      As momentous events in Egypt demonstrate, much of the world is calling to account an “old order”. These are exciting times for the possibilities of real change in the way our societies are run.

      One of the catalysts of the “people power” we see on our TV screens is the extraordinary disclosure of secret information that tells us how wars begin and governments manipulate and deceive in our name.

      In the tradition of courageous investigative journalism, WikiLeaks has blown the whistles that alert us to these injustices and lies, serving a basic democratic need.

    • Leaked cables reveal anger at regime may make Libya the next Arab domino to fall

      THE violence and corruption of members of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s family have made Libya a gangster state with a worse record of governance than Egypt or Tunisia, according to leaked US diplomatic cables.

      The documents reveal previously undisclosed details of how family greed, rivalry and extremism have complicated British and US efforts to normalise relations with Libya since it decided to abandon nuclear weapons and renounce terrorism. Gaddafi’s children plunder the country’s oil revenues, run a kleptocracy and operate a reign of terror that has created simmering hatred and resentment among the people, according to the cables released by WikiLeaks.

    • US Behind Swedish Internet Surveillance: Cablegate

      The US pushed Sweden to introduce laws that kept IP addresses and other data of Internet users for a longer period of time as part of a larger agenda to go after people who share files online, according to several diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks.

      In a March 2009 cable from the US State Department, the US embassy pushed the Swedish Justice Minister to present a six-step action plan that would let police know who was behind any Internet protocol (IP) addresses sharing files, that included shutting off the Internet connection of an accused party.

    • Suleiman ‘panned’ Egypt opposition

      Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s recently appointed vice-president, has previously harshly criticised Egypt’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood in his communications with US officials, according to leaked US diplomatic cables.

      The revelations came as Suleiman met opposition leaders, including the Muslim Brotherhood, on Sunday in an bid to end a political crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in opposition to Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president.

    • Omar Suleiman ‘Demonized’ Muslim Brotherhood: WikiLeaks

      Egypt’s new vice president, Omar Suleiman, has long sought to demonize the opposition Muslim Brotherhood in his contacts with skeptical U.S. officials, leaked diplomatic cables show, raising questions whether he can act as an honest broker in the country’s political crisis.

      U.S. Embassy messages from the anti-secrecy WikiLeaks cache of 250,000 State Department documents, which Reuters independently reviewed, also report that the former intelligence chief accused the Brotherhood of spawning armed extremists and warned in 2008 that if Iran ever backed the banned Islamist group, Tehran would become “our enemy.”

    • Congressman requests visit with WikiLeaks suspect

      A U.S. lawmaker said he requested Friday a visit with the Army soldier accused of leaking classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.

      “I am concerned about reports of his treatment while in custody that describe alarming abuses of his constitutional rights and his physical health,” Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

    • Drop the Case Against Assange

      It is time for the United States to drop the case against WikiLeaks. Pressing forward with efforts to prosecute an Internet publisher at home while standing up for an open Internet in Egypt and the world at large is an increasingly tenuous position. The WikiLeaks case endangers the reputation of the United States as a defender of free speech and an open Internet globally, while forcing the Obama administration to take uncomfortable constitutional positions better suited to the Nixon administration. The importance of this issue is hard to overstate: At a time when the Internet is increasingly recognized as a medium of global resistance to authoritarian rule and when protestors in Tahrir square are holding up signs that say “Thank you, Facebook!”, the Obama administration and the United States must make sure that they stand on the right side.

    • Ransom paid for Canadian diplomats: leaked cable

      A leaked U.S. State Department cable suggests a ransom was paid for the release of two Canadian diplomats taken hostage in Niger two years ago.

      The May 2009 cable released by online whistleblower WikiLeaks says a Libyan official told the U.S. ambassador in Tripoli that two Canadian officials were released “in return for a ransom payment.”

    • WikiLeaks cables: Thailand’s royal pet

      An experienced diplomat should be able to greet anyone from a king to a despot, but nothing could prepare one US ambassador for the experience of meeting a military officer that happened to be a poodle.

    • Cables: UK dismissive of ‘numbskull’ Zardari

      Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables reveal that British officials initially considered Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari a “numbskull” who would not last long in office.

      In cables from 2008 released Saturday by the WikiLeaks website, British government officials offered a pessimistic assessment of Pakistan’s prospects as it battled financial turmoil and Taliban and al-Qaida violence.


      The Government of Cuba (GOC) appears to be
      seriously considering removing, or at least restricting, its
      national ration card system (libreta), one of the main
      pillars, along with education and healthcare, of Cuba’s
      socialist state. The libreta is also one of the GOC’s more
      effective tools to micro-manage nearly every aspect of its
      citizens’ lives. Facing a serious financial crunch and low
      productivity, the GOC officially put all subsidies on the
      table in President Raul Castro’s August 1 speech to the
      National Assembly (Reftel). The experiment to end free
      workplace lunches is the latest sign, along with the
      distribution of idle land, the right to fix one’s own house,
      introducing a merit-based pay system, permission to work more
      than one job, and general encouragement of discussion on how
      to solve local problems, that the GOC is preparing Cubans to
      do officially what many already do unofficially: fend for
      themselves. The next question is how far is the GOC willing
      to expand the private sector in order to fill the gap.


      Amidst a flurry of activity starting with Raul
      Castro’s July 26 speech and ending with the August 1 National
      Assembly, Raul and his ministers painted a desperate picture
      of the Cuban economy. The Government of Cuba (GOC) lowered
      its GDP growth projection for the second time in three months
      and Raul promised to cut expenditures to bring them in line
      with expected revenue. The GOC approved measures to address
      the “tense financial situation,” without offering any
      details, and predicted an equally difficult 2010.
      Expectations for any meaningful reform have been delayed
      along with the Sixth Party Congress (Ref A). Instead, we can
      expect the GOC to continue to offer only marginal steps
      (forward and backward) including Raul’s latest suggestions to
      improve the productivity of Cuban land by farming with oxen
      instead of tractors and sending young communists out to plant
      trees. Meanwhile, it remains too early to tell if or when
      earlier reforms, such as the leasing of idle farm land, may
      impact Cuba’s bottom line.


      The combination of new warnings of potential
      blackouts, serious liquidity issues, and potential (if not
      already) reduced financial support from Venezuela has sparked
      rumors on the street and in the international media that Cuba
      may be headed toward another “Special Period”. The reality
      is that Cuba and Cubans are not as vulnerable as they were in
      1989 before the end of Soviet subsidies. However, the Cuban
      economy remains remarkably dependent on external markets and
      access to credit. While the level of foreign reserves is a
      well guarded secret, some analysts and USINT contacts believe
      the GOC could run out of cash later this year without a
      significant change of course. Energy austerity measures
      officially began on June 1, starting with state companies and
      then potentially moving to households. We expect a reduction
      in non-fuel imports as a next step.


      The Baghdad Zoo has reportedly become the most popular destination for family outings in Baghdad. Attendance increased dramatically in 2007, and continues to rise. The Zoo Director told visiting poloff on February 11 that approximately 8,000 people visit the Zoo every weekend, with families and couples comprising the majority of its customers. The Chief Veterinarian noted, however, that most visitors come from surrounding neighborhoods; residents of more distant districts, including all six outlying qadas, remain averse to taking a risky trip across Baghdad. He also reported that, since 2003, local schools have stopped sending student groups to the Zoo — a regular practice before the war began. Nonetheless, Baghdadis increasingly seek out the Zoo’s tranquility and calm, as well as its special features — including the daily slaughter of two donkeys to feed the lions, and exotic fish with an image of the Iraqi flag etched permanently into their scales. The Baghdad Amanat, the local EPRT, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and ITAO have all devoted resources to the reconstruction and renovation of the Zoo.


      The UK is considering granting authorization to the British Embassy in Beirut to meet with Lebanese Minister of Labor Mohammad Fneish, a member of Hizballah, and other Hizballah party officials, FCO Levant Group Head Benjamin Saoul and Cabinet Office Desk Officer Brian Jones told us separately September 2 in response to ref A.


      As Gordon Brown lurches from political disaster to disaster, Westminster is abuzz with speculation about whether he will be replaced as Prime Minister and Labour Parxty leader, and, if so, by whom.


      Various elements of the Foreign Office have expressed confusion about USG policy on a potential peacekeeping operation in Somalia. According to their account, the USG, in various fora, have advocated for the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to survey options for potential participants in a multinational force, for maritime escorts for World Food Program (WFP) humanitarian shipments as part of a larger PKO, and for a “blue hatted” maritime mission that incorporates security responsibilities on land. The UK sees these various initiatives as uncoordinated and disjointed. HMG would like a more wholistic approach to a Somalia PKO. That said, the UK does not have its own clear position on the way forward on peacekeeping operations in Somalia. Internal HMG discussions generally focus on priorities.


      FCO Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia Director Michael Davenport told DCM that HMG was conducting “parallel exercises” involving Cabinet, Intelligence and Foreign Office principals, designed to give PM Brown a clearer picture of Russian foreign policy making processes and recommendations for dealing with Moscow. He said the paper(s) will underline that the UK sees recent Russian foreign policy actions as a “continuum” in Moscow’s goal to maintain influence in its “near abroad,” but that many of the tactics employed have been “hit and miss,” leading to an uncoordinated, opportunistic approach. The paper will therefore recommend “hard-headed, robust when necessary,” engagement with Russia, coordinated among NATO and EU allies.


      British officials are eager to apply additional pressure on Iran’s nuclear program. They are pursuing domestic and multilateral options, including possibly broadening the category of products requiring export licenses, imposing EU sanctions on additional Iranian banks, and testing their new legal powers to impose measures on weapons of mass destruction proliferators. Cabinet and Foreign Office continue to press the more cautious HM Treasury to use all the tools at their disposal. According to the British, other EU Member states fear the U.S. is preparing to take commercial advantage of a new relationship with Iran, and subsequently, are slowing the EU sanctions process.


      FCO Deputy Head Security Policy Chris Holtby (strictly protect) confirmed that HMG is satisfied with the progress in establishment of Operational Headquarters (OHQ) in Northwood UK, and afloat Force Headquarters (FHQ) for the EU counter-piracy mission “Atalanta.” Holtby admitted that Greece had not been the UK’s first choice for head of FHQ, but partitioning the year long mandate into three periods, with Spain and Holland in charge for the final two thirds of the operation, would ensure mission integrity and continuity. The current schedule calls for the operational plan to be presented to EU Member States on November 25th, followed by mission launch on December 8th. Holtby noted that this deployment will allow for an overlap with NATO operations in the waters off the Horn, which are scheduled to terminate on December 20. Thus far the UK is satisfied with NATO/EU cooperation and coordination in the run-up to Atalanta.


      BBC Persian TV launched its well-resourced broadcast operations January 14. Both anti-regime exiles and the Tehran regime continue to attack BBC’s objectivity. The BBC’s effort is a long-term one aimed at attracting Farsi-speaking audiences in Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan; broadcasts will be unhindered by jamming. BBC Persian TV has no office in Tehran, but has in recent months recruited many young journalists directly from Iran for its London staff, and will rely heavily on internet contributors for footage from inside the country. One BBC executive’s public comments, possibly intending to curry favor with Iranian authorities, claimed for BBC Persian TV a level of credibility and objectivity he argued compares favorably with VOA Persian TV’s work.


      In a meeting with Iran Watcher (poloff) August 11, Will Gelling, Tom Burn and Rachel Martinek of the FCO’s Iran office shared lessons learned from the detention of British sailors by Iran in 2007 and more recently the arrest of nine local staff members from the British Embassy in Tehran. They also provided an update on the status of their senior locally engaged political analyst, XXXXXXXXXXXX, currently one of dozens of subjects of a show trial underway in Tehran. A legal analysis provided to the UK Embassy in Tehran by XXXXXXXXXXXX (strictly protect) has been sent via classified e-mail to NEA/IR.


      Prime Minister Brown continues to press hard for international adoption of a Tobin Tax, despite being aware of U.S. opposition to the tax. He has raised this issue – and bonuses – on several occasions directly with the Ambassador, and said that he saw cooperation on financial services and Afghanistan as the critical elements of U.S.-UK relationship. Brown first highlighted the Tobin Tax at the November G-20 Ministerial in St. Andrews, and subsequently told Ambassador that he was disappointed that Treasury Secretary Geithner publicly refused to support the UK position. The political opposition in the UK also is questioning the lack of U.S. support. The PM is using the issue for domestic political gain but also for reasons of “social justice.” The UK may feel emboldened on this issue, given French Foreign Minister Kouchner’s proposal at COP-15 for an international tax on financial services for programs for poverty reduction and climate change, and would likely criticize the U.S. if there were no further international movement on this issue.


      The UK fully agrees with and adheres to the EU policy of no contact with any Hamas element. The recent UK terrorism finance re-designation of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-din Qassam Brigades was internal housekeeping, and not meant to distinguish between Hamas’ political and military wings. The British government has asked the U.S. for additional information in its review of the UK charity Interpal’s relationship with Hamas, as it continues to receive pressure from the Muslim charity and its supporters following UK banks’ decision in late 2008 to restrict financial services to Interpal.

    • Yemen – Yemen President Handpicked Winning Contractor

      Dubai Ports International (DPI), a company based in the United Arab Emirates, won a 35-year concession worth $500 million to operate and develop the Aden Port and Aden Container Terminal, because of the direct intervention of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president of Yemen who has ruled the country since 1978.

    • Jordan – Jordanian budget spent on “bloated” civil service and a military “patronage system”

      Over 80 percent of Jordan’s budget is spent on a “bloated” civil service and a military “patronage system” that includes support to the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, according to new cables released by Wikileaks, even through the country is in the middle of an economic crisis.

      The Jordanian government alsotold U.S. diplomats that despite “increased calls by opposition groups and non-governmental figures to explain its Afghanistan assistance and end its security cooperation with the United States … Mash’al Al Zaben, Chief of Staff for Strategy, stated that Jordan would stay in Afghanistan until the last U.S. soldier came home.”

    • WikiLeaks, Revolution, and the Lost Cojones of American Journalism

      This cravenness represents one of American journalism’s darkest hours…

    • Simon’s Speech from the February 6 Demonstration

      They, like the Pirate Party, are part of a new politics coming out of the rapid proliferation of information technologies. We want to reinvent our democracy, revolutionise our institutions and democratise access to politics. We want to break media monopolies. We recognise the failings of representative democracy, and we want to open our governments and make them transparent, make them more accountable. We want to make our democracy more direct. We are the Party of the youth, of a generation that understands the importance and centrality of access to information, knowledge and culture to our lives.

    • ‘US will want Assange extradited for crimes they’re inventing now’
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World’s Worst Oil-Related Disaster? Chevron Faces $118 BIllion Fine in Ecuadorian Lawsuit

      Tens of thousands of Ecuadorian citizens have accused Chevron (NYSE: CVX) of committing the “world’s worst oil-related disaster” in an environmental damages lawsuit they have filed against the energy giant.

      In the case, the plantiff, levies that Chevron, which ran several oil fields in Ecuador until 1992, intentionally disposed billions of gallons of toxic waste into waters and streams. The residents also claim the company spilled thousands of barrels of oil, constructed and abandoned 900 toxic waste pits, and destroyed oil spill records. As a result of these severe hazards to human health and the environment, Chevron could be found liable for as much as US$113 billion in damages.

    • David Suzuki: It will take more than rebranding to make tar sands oil “ethical”

      Ripping a page—or the cover— from fellow Conservative and former tobacco industry lobbyist Ezra Levant’s book, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his new environment minister, Peter Kent, have taken to referring to the product of the Alberta tar sands as “ethical oil”.

      The Prime Minister and Mr. Levant go back a long way. It was Mr. Levant who reluctantly stepped aside as the Alliance candidate in Calgary Southwest so that Mr. Harper could run in a by-election there in 2002. But the “ethical oil” argument they promote has holes as big as the ones in the ground around Fort McMurray.

    • Janez Potočnik European Commissioner for Environment Don’t waste waste! Visit to UMICORE precious metal recycling plant and INDAVER sorting plant Hoboken & Willebroeck, 19 January 2011

      First – Because the mobile phone in your pocket has within it many precious substances that would have to be sourced through more primary extraction if we didn’t recover them. 40 mobile phones contain about one gram of gold. You would have to move and treat on average one tonne of ore, often using toxic substances such as cyanide, to get the same amount from primary extraction;

  • Finance

    • 1% of Big Society is a good thing

      Much has been made of volunteering in the Coalition Big Society. Probably best described as confusion on how it is funded through plundered ‘dormant’ bank accounts, to how we are all supposed to find the time to volunteer to run this country whilst the politicians work out a way to pay back money “we” have borrowed. Culminating in a relieved glee that even the dude assigned to voluntarily oversee this, Lord Wei, couldn’t hack it and was off to make some cash and spend time in the real world.

    • BofA to Pay $410 Million in Overdraft Fee Case

      Bank of America has agreed to pay $410 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging the bank charged excessive overdraft fees.

      The suit is one of several filed against several banks from plaintiffs in 14 states, which were consolidated in a federal court in Florida. Other banks named in related suits include Wells Fargo and Citibank.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • How Google removed the muzzle on Twitter in Egypt

      Even before his first day on the job at Google, Ujjwal Singh was trying to figure out how to use his passion for the spoken word and the company’s technological prowess to help Egyptians bypass government efforts to muzzle the massive protests there.

  • Civil Rights

    • Spying On Surfing: Why We Need a “Do Not Track” List

      The new model of Internet advertising scares the heck out of us. It’s called behavioral targeting. What that amounts to, in a nutshell, is following you around the web from site to site recording your movements and using that record to sell you personalized ads. All those ads that pop up on the side of articles on your favorite websites like ESPN.com or NYTimes.com are often not provided by those sites, they are from third parties that you’ve never heard of, with names like Lotame Solutions Inc. Using a variety of techniques, those companies are tracking where you go throughout the web.

    • Research problem: measuring the safety of the Tor network

      We need a better understanding of how much anonymity the Tor network provides against a partial network adversary who observes and/or operates some of the network. Specifically, we want to understand the chances that this class of adversary can observe a user’s traffic coming into the network and also the corresponding traffic exiting the network.

      Most of our graphs historically have looked at the total number of relays over time. But this simple scalar doesn’t take into account relay capacity, exit policies, geographic or network location, etc.

    • Test Vidalia & Tor Browser Bundles with libevent2
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • UBB NOT Overturned

      Various members of the government have said Usage Based Billing will be overturned.

      After the CRTC review.
      The CRTC says that Bell has requested an extension for implementation of UBB. Bell? Pardon me?

      Bell asked for UBB and has fought for it. Why an extension? Suddenly they don’t want this massive price increase?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Reverse class-action? It’s the latest tactic in the P2P wars

        Imagine yourself as a lawyer who would like nothing better than to sue a few thousand people for some of the raunchiest pornography ever inflicted upon the world. You face a problem: when you sue individuals in federal court, where copyright suits are brought, you have to file suit in whichever District Court the defendant resides in. Who has the time and money to bring cases all over the country?

        So you try your luck anyway, only to have federal judges smack you down and force the dismissal of most of your cases on “personal jurisdiction” grounds. This stings, and you retreat to your lair.

      • How To Stop Domain Names Being Seized By The US Government

        As the United States authorities continue with their domain name seizure policy, file-sharing, streaming and link site operators around the world are looking for ways to mitigate this aggressive action. To this end, an Internet engineer and website operator has put together a guide that might just help site owners avoid a whole heap of inconvenience in the future.

      • MPAA Snags Google Downloading Torrents, Threatens to Disconnect

        In recent months Google has received dozens of copyright infringement warnings from MPAA-affiliated movies studios. While most of these notices are directed at users of Google’s public Wi-Fi service, a few also appear to be directed at employees at Google’s headquarters. The movie studios are not happy and are warning the search giant that it might get disconnected from the Internet.

      • Police Arrest Five In Operation To Shut Down Popular File-Sharing Forum

        According to a report from Greek police, one of the country’s most popular Internet forums with hundreds of thousands of members has been closed down following accusations of copyright infringement. In an operation which involved INTERPOL, five individuals were arrested with claims they had made 230,000 euros from advertising and membership fees.

      • Japanese Government Study Shows Anime ‘Piracy’ Could Boosts Sales

        Just as a whole bunch of folks have been sued in one of these mass copyright infringement shakedown lawsuits over sharing of Funimation anime, it seems worth pointing out that a new Japanese government study on the impact of unauthorized file sharing of anime has concluded that unauthorized copies of anime often appear to increase DVD sales.

Clip of the Day

Free Software Song en español

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 7/2/2011: Johannesburg Stock Exchange Moves to GNU/Linux, Honeycomb in the News

Posted in News Roundup at 1:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • JSE’s new, faster trading system

      The new system would operate from Johannesburg, instead of London where it is currently based.

      There had been a “handful” of incidents where the JSE had to stop trading, due to problems with “international connectivity”.

    • NASA backed open cloud platform rev’d, tapped by Ubuntu

      Open source cloud computing platform OpenStack — backed by NASA and Rackspace — announced a second release codenamed “Bexar,” offering stability enhancements, IPv6 support, internationalization, and more hypervisors. Meanwhile, Canonical will bundle OpenStack in its upcoming Ubuntu Linux 11.04, and announced a separate cloud-related deal with OpenStack partner Dell.

  • Ballnux

    • T-Mobile unveils Galaxy S 4G phone and LG G-Slate tablet

      T-Mobile offered new details on the Samsung Galaxy S 4G, as well as LG’s G-Slate Android 3.0-based tablet, both tuned to the carrier’s HSPA+ 4G network. The Galaxy S 4G brings the familiar 1GHz, four-inch Galaxy S design to 4G, while the G-Slate runs on an Nvidia Tegra 2, offering 3D capabilities and an unusual 8.9-inch size.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME From KDE vs KDE From GNOME

      The bottom line is, there need not be a strict choice between GNOME and KDE. Both are compatible with one another and can run alongside one another in the very same session.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” released in Linux, FreeBSD flavors

        Here’s some good news for all you Debian fans: Debian 6.0 (Squeeze) has now been released.

        And it’s not just Linux users who should take note. For the first time, alongside Debian GNU/Linux (that’s right, that’s Debian’s official name, and they get the “GNU”), Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is introduced as a “technology preview.”

        Debian GNU/kFreeBSD will port both a 32- and 64-bit PC version of the FreeBSD kernel into the Debian userspace, making them the first Debian release without a Linux kernel. The Debian Project is serious about the technology preview label, though: these FreeBSD-based versions will have limited advanced desktop features.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Get your own open source touchscreen device for $69

      It’s really easy to go out and spend a few hundred dollars buying yourself a personal media player (PMP). But why not build your own instead, save some money, and have a completely open platform to experiment on?

    • Capgemini to deploy Atom-based smart grid monitor

      Neither Capgemini or Intel mentions the operating system, although Intel says it offers “an open software API.” That sure sounds like Linux to us, and it could be either Moblin or its heir, MeeGo, both of which are supported by the Z6xx.

    • Sensor-oriented ARM9 SBC speeds up, gains I/O

      Phidgets is shipping a faster, more I/O-rich version of its Debian Linux-based single board computer (SBC) for sensing and control applications. The PhidgetSBC2 cranks up its ARM9-based Samsung SC32410 processor to 400MHz, boosts flash memory to 512MB, and increases USB connectivity to six ports, while still offering an Ethernet port, Wi-Fi adapter, and integrated PhidgetInterfaceKit 8/8/8 I/O board.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Honeycomb will Make Android King of Enterprise, So Says Aaron Levie

          Mister Aaron Levie is the chief executive of enterprise cloud storage company Box.net, and he’s been so bold and so kind as to say that Google’s Android will soon be the winner in the enterprise tablet race. Why not iPad? Why not the upcoming tablet from RIM, BlackBerry PlayBook? Because Android is an open system, Levie says Android’s tablet operating system version 3.0 Honeycomb will bring with it an avalanche of enterprise applications for Android tablets. Levie notes that with this more open development ecosystem there comes more support for enterprise apps and a bigger IT community creating applications for Android.

        • Google Searches for Mobile-App Experts

          Google Inc. plans to hire dozens of software developers to create applications for smartphones and other mobile devices, people familiar with the matter said, a new strategy aimed partly at helping Google counter Apple Inc. in one of high tech’s hottest sectors.

        • Android: We’re Number One!

          No surprise here – we’ve all seen exactly this scenario play out before, and this result was absolutely predictable.

        • Is there a line between what is and isn’t Android on Android-derived or compatible devices?

          Android’s open source nature has been a large factor of the mobile OS’s success. Although Google generally partners with a single vendor to create a point product for each Android release (Samsung’s Nexus S for the recent Gingerbread release or Motorola’s Xoom for the upcoming Honeycomb release), the company eventually release each Android version as open source for other manufacturers to implement (and potentially modify) as they see fit, often with input from various carriers that will sell the result handsets or tablets.

        • Honeycomb’s Holography: Hope or Hooey?

          Google’s new version of Android, Honeycomb, promises many new features, among them a holographic interface and 3D capabilities. However, those terms are sometimes thrown around rather loosely to mean many different things. What should users expect to see in the display when when they boot up a Honeycomb tablet for the first time?

        • Android Adds Web Wing in Market Renovation

          Google has added some new features and capabilities to the Android Market, one of the biggest sources of apps for the mobile platform. Users can now shop via a Web store accessible through any browser. Once a purchase has been made, the app is immediately pushed to the device registered under the user’s account. Also new for Android apps is in-app purchasing, another potential moneymaker for developers.

        • Google demos tablet-only Honeycomb, launches Android Market Webstore

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla releases new Firefox 4 beta for mobile devices

        Mozilla developers released another Firefox 4 test version — this time for mobile devices — as they chip away at beta 11.

        The updated Firefox 4 beta for for Google’s Android and Nokia’s Maemo devices, which was released today, is said to be faster than the native Android browser.

  • SaaS

    • Eucalyptus Systems Expands to Asia

      Eucalyptus Systems, creators of the leading independent cloud platform, today announced that it has opened a corporate office in Beijing, China. Eucalyptus China will be managed by Claude Zhou Qun, a seasoned open source and technology industry veteran who was most recently the CEO of Great OpenSource/Turbolinux in China. Mr. Zhou Qun is responsible for managing the rapid expansion of Eucalyptus in China to meet the strong and growing demand for cloud computing solutions in this region.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Cloud Computing Dominates Digium Asterisk World

      Perhaps Digium is set to talk far more about the cloud at this week’s Asterisk World conference. Check the conference agenda and you’ll potentially see multiple experts — including Digium Community Director Bryan Johns — weighing in on the cloud discussion. Johns provided a preview of his Asterisk cloud views in a recent blog post. I wonder if Digium CEO Danny Windham will also weigh in during his conference keynote?

    • Semi-Open Source

      • EMC lets go of Greenplum Community Edition

        EMC’s Greenplum data warehousing appliance and database division has a new Community Edition of its eponymous parallel database. The Community Edition replaces the single-node edition of the database, which was not as useful for companies trying to create parallel databases for warehouses and business analytics.

        It also has some new features that will eventually make their way into the commercial version.

  • Government


  • The MIME guys: How two Internet gurus changed e-mail forever
  • Health/Nutrition

    • GM crops to be allowed into Britain under controversial EU plans

      Genetically modified crops will be allowed to enter the UK food chain without the need for regulatory clearance for the first time under controversial plans expected to be approved this week.

      The Observer understands that the UK intends to back EU plans permitting the importing of animal feed containing traces of unauthorised GM crops in a move that has alarmed environmental groups.

  • Security

    • Whitelisting vs. Blacklisting

      Turns out that many people do. Apple’s control over its apps hasn’t seemed to hurt iPhone sales, and Facebook’s control over its apps hasn’t seemed to affect Facebook’s user numbers. And honestly, quite a few of us would have had an easier time over the Christmas holidays if we could have implemented a whitelist on the computers of our less-technical relatives.

      For these two reasons, I think the whitelist model will continue to make inroads into our general purpose computers. And those of us who want control over our own environments will fight back — perhaps with a whitelist we maintain personally, but more probably with a blacklist.

    • Nasdaq Acknowledges Security Breach

      Nasdaq acknowledged Saturday it has been the victim of hackers and said it has notified customers about the problem.

      The statement by Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. came on the heels of a report in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal that said unidentified hackers had repeatedly breached the company’s computer network in the past year.

    • DDoS Attacks and the Law

      DDoS attacks are almost certainly against the law, with a maximum punishment of ten years in prison. One merely needs to act with the intention of taking down a website, however temporarily for the law to apply. Even distributing tools to use in DDoS attacks can be an offence.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • EGYPT: Footage allegedly shows Google exec being detained

      Al Jazeera has posted footage on its website that purportedly shows Egyptian plainclothes officers dragging Google executive Wael Ghonim away to detention.

      The video, posted on YouTube, shows a group of four men following a crowd of young men on the street, then grabbing one who resembles Ghonim, holding his arms, turning him around and hauling him off down the street in the opposite direction.

    • Kettling At The G20 – How Come Charges Were Dropped Against Those Kettled?

      Kettling is a police procedure used to control crowds. It’s named after the common kitchen appliance, one contains boiling water, the other contains violent crowds. At least that is the theory that the police have been putting forth.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch brothers now at heart of GOP power

      The billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch no longer sit outside Washington’s political establishment, isolated by their uncompromising conservatism. Instead, they are now at the center of Republican power, a change most evident in the new makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

      Wichita-based Koch Industries and its employees formed the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the panel, ahead of giants like Exxon Mobil, contributing $279,500 to 22 of the committee’s 31 Republicans, and $32,000 to five Democrats.

  • Finance

    • How Goldman Sachs Created ‘Shitty’ CDOs, Sold Them To AIG, Forced AIG Into Bankruptcy, Got A $20 Billion Bailout, Paid Themselves Billions In Bonuses, And Watched As Tim Geithner Covered It All Up

      Here’s what you need to take from this: Goldman put together crappy CDO’s, bought Credit Default Swap protection (insurance) from AIG, pushed AIG into bankruptcy by making claims on the insurance, and then got paid — not by AIG — but by the TAXPAYER.

    • Stock-Hedging Lets Bankers Skirt Efforts to Overhaul Pay

      Intent on fixing a banking system that contributed heavily to the recent financial crisis, lawmakers and regulators pushed Wall Street to overhaul its pay practices. Big banks responded by shifting more compensation into stock, a move intended to align employees’ interests more closely with those of investors and discourage excessive risk-taking.

      But it turns out that executives have a way to get around those best-laid plans. Using complex investment transactions, they can limit the downside on their holdings, or even profit, as other shareholders are suffering.

    • Reagan’s True Legacy: Terminating the American Dream

      As Ronald Reagan supporters celebrate his 100th birthday on Feb. 6, it’s astounding how not only the right wing has inflated and distorted his legacy, but most of the so-called liberal media as well.

      The inconvenient truth about how Reagan won his first term had nothing to do with his superior game plan but the fact that you had to be crazy to re-elect Jimmy Carter. Carter’s reaction to the repressive Iranian regime that took Americans hostage for 444 days was simultaneously wimpy and self-righteous, implying that our gas-guzzling greed had led to the crisis along with finger-wagging us to turn down our thermostats and drive smaller cars.

      On the other hand, while Reagan intolerance for repression apparently scared Iran’s leadership enough to release the hostages shortly after he was elected, his subsequent deregulatory legacy has left our country in economic ruin.

    • The Kindling of Change

      As The New York Times headline declared earlier this week, “Jobs and Age Reign As Factors in Mideast Uprisings.” And the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy has used levels of democracy to identify countries at risk around the world.

      These are solid measures, but I would add spending on essentials like food (there is nothing like food insecurity to spur agita), income inequality and burgeoning Internet usage (because the Internet has been crucial to the organization of recent uprisings).

      Seen through that prism, Tunisia and Egypt look a lot alike, and Algeria, Iran, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen look ominously similar.

  • Civil Rights

    • A Frightening Week

      My business interests are based on the availability of the wired and wireless Internet to everyone all over the world. Our firm has been active in working with the US government to make sure that continues to be the case in our country. We support net neutrality rules and oppose legislation such as COICA and the Internet Kill Switch.

      But my business interests pale in comparison to my interests as a citizen of this world. When I think about being in a country that has no internet, no mobile phone service, and no international news on TV, it scares me.

      I suppose I am a “cyberutopian” at heart as Evgeny Morozov calls us. I believe in the power of technology, particularly communications technology powered by the internet, to make the world better, safer, and more open and free.

      This past week has shown that the cyberutopian view is naive and that those who are not interested in a better, safer, more open and free world will use technology to further their interests too.

      So this has been a frightening week and one that shows that the fight for human rights all over the world will not be delivered a decisive win via the internet.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Are These Rumors, Or Are They Malicious Attacks?

      Konrad von Finckenstein caused a firestorm with the recent CRTC decision on Usage Based Billing. A firestorm so bad, it could cost the Conservative Party the next election.To their credit, the Conservatives reacted quickly when they realized that there really was a problem. And while the other parties will try to take advantage of the situation, claiming that they responded first, they are no better. There have been a lot of people warning all of the political parties for several years about the problem. None of the parties responded until this week. None.

    • Geist: The real reason we pay so much for Internet

      Last week, public concern with Internet bandwidth caps hit a fever pitch as hundreds of thousands of Canadians signed petitions against Internet provider practices of “metering” Internet use.

      The government responded with a commitment to order the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to revisit the issue. Hours later, the CRTC announced that it would delay implementation of the decision by 60 days and review it with fresh eyes and an open mind.

      While addressing the CRTC decision is a good start, Canadians will be disappointed — some even surprised — to learn that Internet “metering” is already almost uniformly in place. The “caps” are the existing and common provider limits on usage, above which you are billed extra. They are unlikely to disappear anytime soon, what ever the CRTC decides after its review.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Troll Gives Up in Porn-Downloading Case

        Dallas, TX – An adult video company has dropped its flawed lawsuit accusing hundreds of Internet users of illegally downloading pornography. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Citizen (PC) are counsel for the anonymous defendants at the request of the court.

      • More than 100,000 People Have Been Sued for Sharing Movies in Past Year
      • Firm stops pursuing net pirates

        MediaCAT, a firm which has sent thousands of letters to alleged illegal file-sharers in the UK, has ceased trading, according to its law firm.

        It follows the resignation of Andrew Crossley, who heads the law firm that pursued alleged file-sharers on its behalf.

        Mr Crossley resigned during a court hearing, brought against 27 alleged illegal file-sharers.

      • Digital Economy (UK)/HADOPI

        • Ofcom to review aspects of Digital Economy Act

          It’s good news. The web blocking provisions do need serious attention as they would be a real mistake – extremely expensive and complex to run, and likely to cut off legitimate expression and access to knowledge and culture as much as seriously harmful piracy.

Clip of the Day

Getting started with apps for the Chrome Web Store

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 6/2/2011: Wine 1.3.13 Released, Camp KDE 2011 Announced, Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Operating systems that time forgot

    Today’s IT world is dominated by Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android and a handful of other operating systems – but what about in years gone by? We look back at five operating systems that enjoyed their own (often brief) limelight before fading away.

  • Desktop

    • Don’t give Linux to your mother

      Therefore, do not give Linux to your mother or father. They might end up loving it, learning what they never could and, worst of all, putting an unsuspecting technician accustomed to Windows to shame.

  • Kernel Space

    • ALSA 1.0.24 Has Arrived, Bringing Better Linux Audio

      ALSA 1.0.23 was released in April 2010 as a major update to the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture, but it’s finally been outdone by ALSA 1.0.24. The ALSA 1.0.24 update is also very significant and delivers on quite a number of sound card / audio processor driver improvements.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Camp KDE 2011 Announced

        We are excited to announce Camp KDE 2011 which will be held April 4 and 5, 2011 in San Francisco, California at the Hotel Kabuki. Camp KDE is co-located this year with the Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit which takes place April 6 and 7.

        Held annually in the United States, Camp KDE provides a regional opportunity for KDE contributors and enthusiasts to gather and share their KDE experiences. Co-location with the Collaboration Summit will allow Camp KDE attendees a unique opportunity to learn from and share their experiences with members of many other successful open source software projects.

      • … if you thought 4.6.0 was good

        One thing we already know is that we feel we’re on the “right” track with activities now and will spend a significant investment of our resources in 4.7 to fleshing them out further.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • 64-bit really does matter

      I can’t say when commercial games will break 3 or 4 GB, but it’s coming.

    • New Releases

      • VENENUX 0.8.2
      • ArchBang 2011.02 is out in the wild!

        From now on, there will be no codename

      • SalixLive Fluxbox edition 13.1.2 has been released!

        SalixLive Fluxbox 13.1.2 is now ready and completes the collection of Salix Live CD 13.1.2 series.

        As in the Salix Fluxbox standard edition, the Live CD edition offers a functional, reliable and responsive desktop environment that is fully equipped with modern and powerful tools, while its minimalistic Window Manager is designed to stay completely out of the way.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Two days till Debian Squeeze goes Stable

        I’ve had this handy countdown graphic on Click for the past couple of weeks. Not that Debian is in the habit of setting release dates, but this particular image came about after the project itself announced that Feb. 5 or 6, 2011 would be the target date(s).

      • ReleasePartySqueeze
      • Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” released

        After 24 months of constant development, the Debian Project is proud to present its new stable version 6.0 (code name “Squeeze”). Debian 6.0 is a free operating system, coming for the first time in two flavours. Alongside Debian GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is introduced with this version as a “technology preview”.

      • Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” Released, Updated Website

        After two years of development, Debian 6.0 is released. It comes with your choice of KDE, GNOME, Xfce, LXDE, and lots of your favorite applications. Debian runs on all sorts of computers including 32-bit PCs, 64-bit PCs, PowerPC, SPARC, MIPS, Intel Itanium, and ARM processors. This release also includes two new Debian GNU/kFreDebian versions.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Canonical embraces LAMP stack of the heavens

          OpenStack – the open source “infrastructure cloud” project founded by Rackspace and NASA – has released a second version of its platform codenamed Bexar.

          Bexar includes updates to both halves of the project: OpenStack Compute, for serving up on-demand access to readily scalable processing power, and OpenStack Storage, a similarly scalable storage platform.

        • Multidimensional Ubuntu

          A good looking 3D interface is a primary focus of the new Ubuntu desktop (Natty Narwhal) but Canonical has assured that a 2D fall-back will be available

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Thin clients move to Ubuntu-based distro

      Computer Lab International (CLI) released a new Ubuntu-based Linux operating system for its MT2300 and ST6800 thin clients, which use Via Eden C7 processors clocked to 500MHz and 1.6GHz, respectively. The OS features Firefox, the CLI Device Manager, plus support for RDP, Citrix ICA 11, host terminal emulations, VNC client/server, and VMWare View4, the company says.

    • Linux-based home NAS devices use as little as seven Watts

      Qnap Systems announced additions to its Linux-based Turbo NAS family of network attached storage devices for the home/SOHO market. The TS-x12 lineup includes the four-drive (up to 8TB) TS-412, the two-bay TS-212, plus the single-drive TS-112, each providing a 1.2GHz Marvell 6281 processor, 256MB of DDR2 memory, plus gigabit Ethernet and USB connectivity.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Application Lifecycle Management

    Our customer was looking for centralized SCM, where all the revision control functions take place on a shared server, so we didn’t go through evaluations around which is the best approach (distributed or centralized).

    We easily jumped to the conclusion that Subversion could be a better option than CVS, given CVS status and known open issues, then we used SOS Open Source tools to look deeper into the Subversion project.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome 9 is released! Top 5 features in the new chrome browser

      Google finally released Google chrome 9 stable, 2 weeks later than it’s promised release-date. We have summarized top 5 must-try features in google-chrome-logothe new chrome!

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 9 goes stable with WebGL and Chrome Instant

        WebGL is a relatively new standard that emerged in 2009 with the support of the Khronos group. It provides a set of JavaScript APIs that wrap the functionality of OpenGL ES, allowing developers to render 3D graphics in the Canvas element. Mozilla and Apple have also adopted the standard and have their own increasingly mature implementations. Google officially supports WebGL with hardware-accelerated rendering in Chrome 9. To take the feature for a spin, you can try out some of the WebGL demos at the Chrome Experiments website.

    • Mozilla

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Think Microsoft Office Is Your Only Hosted Exchange Option?

      The LibreOffice 3.3 solution is available in more than 30 languages, and offers strong support for standards such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Open XML, Open Document Format, and PDF. This open source software also enjoys the support of a large global community.

      The interface in the LibreOffice 3.3 is familiar to Microsoft Office, but is also easy to personalize according to tastes. It will work on the go, but does not offer as much as other platforms in terms of cloud, mobile and collaboration capabilities.

    • New Partnership with ForgeRock

      Yesterday was a great day in for us – our first new partner for 2011 was announced. Many people in the UK and in the international Open Source Community will be familiar with Simon Phipps , and his new work with new company ForgeRock.


    • New High Priority Project: PowerVR drivers

      We’ve added a new project to our High Priority Projects list: Writing free software drivers capable of 3D acceleration for the PowerVR engine.

    • GNU/Hurd in 2010

      A year of the Hurd: 2010.

      Originally published in GNU Status Reports: January 2011.

      From Olaf Buddenhagen, Arne Babenhauserheide, Thomas Schwinge: Yeah, that’s quite right: the GNU Hurd project is still alive!

  • Government

    • UK appoints Government-wide CIO

      The UK Cabinet Office has appointed a new government-wide CIO and is on the hunt for a an ICT director to drive open source and open standards within the public sector.

  • Licensing

    • New cloud applications drive popularity of the AGPL license

      Diaspora, the hottest new open source project, is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License or AGPL. So are two other new, popular cloud applications, RapidFTR and ownCloud. Add to that popular forges Launchpad and Gitorious. According to Black Duck data, the number of AGPL projects grew 74% in 2010. The numbers and profiles of AGPL-licensed projects are becoming significant. So what is this AGPL thing and what does it mean to you?

  • Standards/Consortia

    • FERC Told There Is No ‘Sufficient Consensus’ on NIST Standards

      The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) identified an initial set of five standards that it sent for consideration by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Technical Conference (FERC) for adoption as part of its Smart Grid Interoperability Roadmap. However, panelists at the FERC Technical Conference held today reported unanimously that the standards are not ready for adoption by the Commission.


  • Court bans man with low IQ from having sex

    A man with a low IQ has been banned from having sex by a High Court judge who admitted the case raised questions about “civil liberties and personal autonomy”.

  • U.S. team to attempt land speed record for steam-powered vehicles

    Steam-engined vehicles are quaint, retro and obsolete … right? Well, maybe not. The current land speed record for a steam-powered vehicle currently sits at 148 mph (238 km/h), set by the British car Inspiration team in 2009. Now, Chuk Williams’ U.S. Land Steam Record (USLSR) Team is hoping to steal that title in its LSR Streamliner, powered by a heat-regenerative external combustion Cyclone engine – an engine that could someday find common use in production automobiles.

  • Autocompleting the Vendors
  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Afghan who collapsed in shower, died was to be held indefinitely

      The New York based Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented detainess in lawsuits seeking their release, reacted angrily to the death, blaming President Barack Obama for a policy that allows their continued detention there without charges.

    • Bush’s Swiss visit off after complaints on torture

      Former U.S. President George W. Bush, under fire from human rights group over allegations of ordering torture, has canceled a visit to Switzerland where he was to address a Jewish charity gala.

      Bush was to be the keynote speaker at Keren Hayesod’s annual dinner on February 12 in Geneva. But pressure has been building on the Swiss government to arrest him and open a criminal investigation if he enters the Alpine country.

    • It Ain’t Just Mubarak — 7 of the Worst Dictators the U.S. Is Backing to the Hilt

      Embattled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, whose regime has received billions in U.S. aid, has been in the global media spotlight of late. He’s long been “our bastard,” but he’s not alone.

      Let’s take a look at the other dictators from around the planet who are fortunate enough to be on Uncle Sam’s good side.

    • Stillborn Revolution: A Cautionary Tale

      The events in Egypt cannot help but remind me of Portugal. Here, there, and everywhere, now and before, the United States of America, as always, is petrified of anything genuinely progressive or socialist, or even too democratic, for that carries the danger of allowing god-knows what kind of non-America-believer taking office. Honduras 2009, Haiti 2004, Venezuela 2002, Ecuador 2000, Bulgaria 1990, Nicaragua 1990 … dozens more … anything, anyone, if there’s a choice, even a dictator, a torturer, is better.

    • Hacktivists target Egypt and Yemen regimes

      Hacktivists from the online group Anonymous have turned their attention to Yemen as part of their battle for greater net freedoms.

      The website of President Ali Abdullah Saleh has become inaccessible as Yemenis stage anti-government protests.

    • Egypt 2011-2-4

      The plan seems to be to continue the protests until Mubarak departs.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks cables: millions in overseas aid to Africa was embezzled

      The true scale of the theft of overseas aid money by corrupt foreign regimes is disclosed in leaked documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph. Tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been pocketed by their ministers and officials, much of it used to buy luxury goods.

    • WikiLeaks: Ron Paul Explains What Baghdad Embassy Cable Reveals

      One of the crown jewels of secret pre-Gulf War negotiations was unveiled tonight when the notorious Glaspie Memo, or as it is now known 90BAGHDAD4237, was released by WikiLeaks.

      The cable, whose official title was “Saddam’s Message of Friendship to President Bush” details the meeting between US Ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein on July 25, 1990, just a week before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

      The meeting has long been a matter of speculation, as it had long been speculated that comments by Glaspie had led Saddam to believe that the United States was giving them the green light to invade Kuwait if diplomacy failed.

      The memo reveals indeed Hussein expressing concern about the Bush Administration’s position on Iraq owing to its participation in military exercises with the United Arab Emirates and pledges to “defend its allies” in the region. He complained the US pledges were making Kuwait and the UAE refuse to negotiate with Iraq. He also expressed concern about negative media coverage in the US, which Ambassador Glaspie assured him did not reflect US policy and singled out a Diane Sawyer report on “nuclear bomb triggers” for condemnation.

      Rather Glaspie assured Saddam of Bush’s friendship and expressed support for the negotiations being set up by Hosni Mubarak for the weekend of July 28-30. She also explicitly said the United States took no position on the border dispute between Iraq and Kuwait, though the summary also mentions that she made clear the US wanted the move solved peacefully. Hussein assured that no action would be taken against Kuwait if the negotiations showed some progress, which seemed to suit the US at the time.

      But the talks didn’t accomplish anything and by August 2 Iraq was invading Kuwait. Within hours the mutual friendship was completely torn up and US officials were railing against Iraq. A few months later the US invaded for the first time, sparking invasions, decades of enmity, sanctions which killed massive numbers of Iraqi civilians and, eventually, a full US occupation which continues to this day.

    • Secret correspondence shows British helped Libya secure Megrahi release

      Secret documents show that British ministers arranged to meet their Libyan counterparts to give them advice on how Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi could be freed.

      The revelation appears to contradict the previous Labour government’s claims that it did not “interfere” in the proceedings, and that the decision to free the convicted terrorist was taken by the Scottish government alone.

  • Finance

    • Millionaire bankers’ message to Britain: We’re all right, Jack

      After umpteen calls for restraint by ministers, weighing the public relations impact, and consulting colleagues and advisers, Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond has made his most difficult decision. The multi-millionaire is set to accept a £9m bonus, one of the largest in the world, and will be followed by the bosses of the other major banks. This shows that they are all in something together, even if it’s not what the rest of us are in.

      Mr Diamond canvassed close City friends before deciding to take the bumper bonus which he fears will reignite the row over bankers pay. Sources close to him said: “Bob’s been in a real dilemma as he can’t stand this country’s culture of banker-bashing and finds our attitude to bonuses extraordinary. But he is also aware of public opinion, so sounded out people about whether he should turn down his bonus again for the third year, take less or give some to charity.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Indian students in US radio-tagged; angry govt says remove it

      More than a dozen Indian students from among hundreds who have been scammed by a dodgy university in California have been radio-tagged with tracking devices in an action New Delhi described as “unwarranted,” and asked to be removed even as angry community activists said it is a violation of their rights and dignity.

      Authorities from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who interrogated scores of Indian students who were evidently conned by the sham Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, California, left radio-tracking devices on the ankles of several victims. The students said officials told them the devices, fitted with GPS technology, were meant to keep track of their movements while the administration examined their cases.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • NDP. Stop The Meter
    • If Anything Needs a Review, It Is The CRTC Itself

      After watching yesterdays sitting of the Industry Committee with the CRTC in the hot seat answering questions about the UBB debacle one can only conclude the the people charged with making these decisions about it are woefully inept at being able to do so.

      CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein told the Industry Committee that they were delaying implementation of UBB for 60 days so that they can once again review the situation after a large public outcry and requests for delay from two of the initial applicants for UBB itself, one of which being Bell Canada.

    • Ottawa’s Globalive decision overturned by court
    • UBB? Oh, it stands for Unbelievable Business Baloney

      When the government surprisingly listened to a public outcry this week and ordered the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to review its recent decision on Internet-billing issue, a lot of people were left wondering what just happened.

      Perhaps the primary concern I’ve heard expressed – and the most understandable on a human level – is that if we’re not vigilant, “bandwidth hogs,” a group of monstrous e-gluttons, will waste all of our precious Internet with their ravenous downloading, surfing and streaming of what we should all assume to be content of questionable taste.

    • The CRTC and friends

      Just a couple of comments on the proposed CRTC cash-grab for Internet usage.

      First, I find it troubling that the media is constantly referring to this proposed metering of Internet usage as having “Internet users” up in arms. The use of the term Internet users like we are some kind of subset of society comparable to “smokers” is extremely deceiving. Everyone, today is an “Internet user.” From the telecommuter earning his or her living on the Internet, to the journalist confirming facts for a story, to the grandmother who uses Facebook to stay in touch. The Internet has become part of the fabric of all of our lives. Internet user is us.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Hulu chief attacks traditional TV businesses

        Jason Kilar, the chief executive of Hulu is heading for a showdown with News Corp, Walt Disney and NBC Universal, the media companies that own the online video site, after he criticised their traditional television business model.

      • Free Music Can Pay as Well as Paid Music, YouTube Says

        As record labels, digital music stores, and music subscription services continue their struggle to convince music fans to pay for music, Google’s YouTube — itself a major repository of recorded music — claims that giving away music for free generates as much money for copyright holders as charging for it, with profound implications for freemium digital music services such as Spotify and the much-rumored Google music service.

Clip of the Day

WikiLeaks: Ron Paul Explains What Baghdad Embassy Cable Reveals

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 5/2/2011: GNOME 3.0 and Android 3.0 Honeycomb Are Nearly Here

Posted in News Roundup at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 5 Things I Hate Most About Linux

    * coming in at #5 is the fact that using the GNU/Linux operating system causes me great distress due to the guilt of not having paid $300+ to purchase this operating system in a very earth-unfriendly, made-in-China package from my local Bloat Buy retail software outlet.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • What makes IBM’s Watson run?

      It’s looking pretty good for Watson, IBM’s Linux-powered computer cluster, as IBM engineers get it ready for its mid-February showdown with Jeopardy’s all-time champs, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Watson has already won a practice round and Bodog, the online gambling company and odds-maker has made Watson the favorite at 5/6. Even if Watson doesn’t win, the mere fact that it can compete at this level is amazing.

    • Does SAN Make Tape Backups Obsolete?

      It’s time to toss tape in favor of SAN for reliable backup and restore solutions. Don’t forget to update your resume on your way out to the dumpster with those tapes. Right?

    • Open source to bust up Cisco Borg collective?

      Vyatta has been aspiring to topple Cisco from its throne for several years. Based on Cisco’s most recent earnings, it doesn’t seem to be working. At all.

      It’s not for lack of trying, or for a lack of chutzpah. Vyatta chief execuive Kelly Herrell has been putting an expiration date on Cisco’s fortunes since the small open-source startup was formed, but to little effect.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.37: Scalability Improvements Abound

      Another major feature that was added to btrfs in 2.6.37 was asynchronous snapshot creation. The benefit of this features is that you don’t have to wait for a new snapshot to be committed to the disk. You can use this feature by adding “async” to the “btrfs subvolume snapshot” command.

      Believe it or not, the asynchronous snapshot creation capability was added primarily with ceph in mind. Remember that ceph was added a few kernel versions ago and is a distributed parallel file system that is still under heavy development. Ceph uses btrfs as the underlying file system (Ceph can arguably be called a meta file system since it is file system on top of a file system). There is more on Ceph itself later in this article.

      A somewhat minor feature that was added to btrfs in the recently released 2.6.37 kernel is the ability to delete sub-volumes by unprivileged users. However, the user can only delete the sub-volume if they have “write” and “execute” permission on the sub-volume root inode. Otherwise they don’t have permission to delete it. The option “-o user_subvol_rm_allowed” can be used during the mounting of btrfs to enable this option.

    • Custom Kernels on Debian

      Today, while reading through the Ubuntu Alpha 2 release notes I noticed that it ships with kernel 2.6.38-rc2, and that it also contains the famous ‘200 line patch‘ that improves desktop performance on high loads. I wanted in on that, but the newest pre-built Debian kernels are on 2.6.37. I thought that I might as well see how much work it is to install a vanilla kernel these days, and as it turns out, it’s incredibly easy.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE 4.6 review

        - KDE 4.6 has some delights in terms of graphics. The new wallpaper by Nuno is really cool. There are icons for compiled html files (chm) and also for portable compiled format(pcf) files. There is a new pointing cursor too.

      • Activities – A change in workflow?

        Ever since the introduction of the activity concept in KDE Plasma Workspaces, it has caused confusion to many people. To spread some inspiration I wrote a blog post some time ago with examples of how I used activities. It ended up being one of my most popular posts, which was somewhat unexpected. This seemed to suggest that many still didn’t know what to use activities for.

      • Konstruktor: back and alive!

        I’ve been very busy doing my full time job for last two years. Along with my job, I was slowly working on my project called KLDraw (and then Klotz) in my spare time.

        Many things have changed. I renamed it Konstruktor (yeah, I know that was an awkward decision), refined UI and rewrote the rendering code from the scratch. Now I believe this one is almost feature complete and comparable to major LDraw-based CADs out there (MLCad, LeoCAD, Bricksmith, …)

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 2nd January 2011
    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3.0: Making the same mistakes as KDE 4.0?

        Just like KDE 4, GNOME 3 tries to explore some new innovative desktop stuff, but just like KDE 4 in its first versions, it feels extremely unpolished and very unfinished, resulting in a rather cumbersome experience.

      • Split-pane feature of Nautilus

        Nautilus is the default file manager for GNOME Desktop environment. Its a wonderful tool if used to its fullest. Recently, a friend of mine told me a pretty good feature of nautilus – the split-pane. If you guys have ever used gnome commander or midnight commander you would know what I am talking about.

      • FOSDEM – New version of GNOME 3 live image

        And for FOSDEM, I’ve updated GNOME 3 live cd/usb image to version 0.0.3 : its adds more packages (including empathy), update some components to more recent version (although you won’t have the latest 2.91.6 GNOME 3 pre-release, since it was a little too late to get it in time for FOSDEM).

      • GNOME 3 approaches completion

        The GNOME project has released development version 2.91.6 of GNOME. This is the fourth development release on the way to GNOME 3.0, which the developers currently plan to release on 4 April; before that, they intend to release two betas and a release candidate (RC). In their release email, the developers indicate that the completed version is slowly coming into view; they also say that they have made many major improvements to the shell, to the Control Center and to various other GNOME components.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Bodhi Linux: Enlightened Ubuntu

        If you are looking for a distribution to showcase the Enlightenment desktop environment, you can not go wrong with Bohdi Linux. With the foundation of Ubuntu 10.04 and E17, it’s made for speed, stability, and user-friendliness.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Atalanta buys big chunk of Red Hat

        According to LionShares.com, ASM has bought nearly 4.4 million shares of the Raleigh software company — or 2.3 percent of the outstanding shares, a stake worth $189 million as of the close of trading Thursday. LionShares, which tracks ownership stakes in public companies, lists the source of its information as a 13 F Form filed Dec. 31, 2010. LionShares does not list ASM as having had a prior stake in Red Hat.

      • Fedora

        • Beyond FUDCon: Faces, Features and Future of Fedora

          The North American Fedora User and Developer Conference (FUDCon) was held on Arizona State University campus in Tempe Arizona from January 29 -31, 2011 and proved to be the largest FUDCon to date with over 200 people pre-registered to attend and final attendance numbers estimated around 175 people.

        • Fudcon 2011: Day 3

          Monday, the final day of Fudcon came early as usual. :) I had a nice breakfast in the hotel and chatted with serveral Fedora folks, then headed off to the Venue. We were in the student union building with a number of rooms on the second floor. We did a bit of waiting on various people, and setting up laptops and work areas, then started back in on the Fedora Governance hackfest. We didn’t get too far into that before I slipped out to meet up with Jesse Keating and other Rel-Eng folks to go over processes on restarting signing servers and other updates tasks. I slipped back into the Governance talk after that, but it wasn’t long until we decided to just break for lunch and see about presenting what we had so far as a ‘Here is what we have now, how can we make it better’ type document.

    • Debian Family

      • Whats new in Debian Squeeze?

        For many, what differentiates Ubuntu from Debian is its Graphical installer. With the release of Debian Squeeze, Debian introduces a new graphical installer giving a clear signal that it also wants user friendliness. This is a clear sign that Debian has interest in home users too. Until now, Debian which is famous for its “stability”, was mainly used by sys admins and “power” users. This article looks at some of the “striking” features of the new Debian release codenamed Squeeze.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 2 Review, Screenshots

          This is a welcome development. Unity now lists the installed applications in the above format. Though it looks good, it not very user friendly yet. There are no categories as we saw in GNOME Shell before and it is not very stable as well. Still requires a lot of work.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’ Alpha 2 Released – Overview and Screenshots

          Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’ has been released. With Ubuntu 11.04 the new Unity interface has become default for Desktop version as well.

        • Canonical brings Ubuntu to the OpenStack Cloud

          Historically, Canonical has been allied with the other popular open-source cloud stack, Eucalyptus since it began working in clouds. Indeed, Canonical, in partnership with Dell, has just launched a private cloud server package using the Eucalyptus cloud platform.

          Be that as it may, Canonical’s Cloud Solutions Lead, Nick Barcet, announced that Canonical was including the latest OpenStack software release, Bexar “in the repositories for Ubuntu 11.04 as well as officially joining the community. We have been engaged with the OpenStack community informally for some time. Some Canonical alumni have been key to driving the OpenStack initiative over in Rackspace and there has been a very healthy dialogue between the two projects with strong attendance at UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit) and at the OpenStack conferences by engineers in both camps.”

        • OpenStack Expands with Glance, Ubuntu and Cisco

          The OpenStack open source cloud computing platform is out today with a new release codenamed Bexar, introducing new cloud computing and storage technologies. Bexar provides support for IPv6 as well as the ability to have unlimited storage. The Bexar release also includes preliminary support for Glance – a new technology that will enable cloud image discovery and delivery.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 Has Support for Sandy Bridge
        • About our recent upgrade and…downtime

          Hi, I’m Phil. I work in the Online Services group at Canonical in the Operations and Foundations group. We work on keeping Ubuntu One up and humming along and improving its core technologies.

          I wanted to take a moment and apologize for the extension of our planned downtime on Tuesday morning. I was unable to anticipate the problem and since it happened roughly 3/4 of the way through the total process it wasn’t possible to roll back and restore the service in its previous state.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Kubuntu Natty Alpha 2 Released
          • Lubuntu Screencast: Metapackages

            In this screencast I talk about metapackages and give you brief explaination of what it is. Then I also show you as an example the removal of ace-of-penguins which triggers the removal of the lubuntu-desktop metapackage.

          • Linux Mint And My First 45 Days Reviewed

            So how has the experience been for me? It has actually been easy. Easy because I have found that my requirements for Linux or Windows is actually minimal and requires the basic softwares that either came with Mint, or that I upgrade and installed myself. The software I added were the additional applications for Open Office, GnuCash to replace Quickbooks, Google Earth and a few games to entertain myself when boredom strikes.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The Tiny Hackable Linux Pogoplug Pro

      The Pogoplug Pro is one of three plug-computer devices offered from CloudEngines. It is the only one of the three to include built-in WiFi. In all other aspects it’s virtually identical to the original Pogoplug with the exception of color (black for the Pro, pink for the original). Simplicity is the theme for all Pogoplugs coupled with easy access. CloudEngines includes their My.Pogoplug.com service to provide access to your Pogoplug device from any desktop computer (Linux, Mac OS X and Windows) and a wide range of mobile devices (Android, Blackberry, iPad and iPhone ).

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google says Honeycomb will not come to smartphones

          Google has officially announced that Honeycomb will not be coming to Android based smartphones. Android 3.0 Honeycomb was specifically made for Tablets according to a Google spokesperson. Although, certain features that are present on Honeycomb will become available over time on Android smartphones. Google has not offered any information to what features will be ported over specifically.

        • Google launches Android Market on the web

          Originally, Google’s presentation yesterday at its headquarters in Mountain View, California, was expected to revolve mainly around Honeycomb, the tablet version of Android. However, the real news was about Android app’s: firstly, Android Market is now also available on the web; secondly, Android users will be able to buy content from within their apps – via “in-app” purchases.

        • Android 3.0 Honeycomb: Google’s big mobile play

          Google developers yesterday released Android 3.0, the latest version of the company’s mobile operating system. This release of Android (Honeycomb) could well be one of the most important for Google which is gunning for a share of the tablet PC market in addition to the cellphone market share it has already captured.

        • Disney Lays Out Its Plan for Android [VIDEO]
    • Sub-notebooks

      • The Cr-48 and Chrome OS: Google’s vision of the net

        The hardware itself is quite nice at a first glance. This machine is not a netbook; it is a small notebook device which clearly has taken some inspiration from Apple’s hardware. Except, of course, that Apple’s machines are not jet black, with no logos or markings of any type. It exudes a sort of Clarke-ian “2001 monolith” feel. There’s an Intel Atom dual-core processor, 2GB of memory, and a 16GB solid-state drive. The silence of the device is quite pleasing; also pleasing is the built-in 3G modem with 100MB/month of free traffic by way of Verizon (which, unsurprisingly, is more than prepared to sell you more bandwidth once that runs out). Other connectivity includes WiFi and Bluetooth (though there appears to be no way to use the latter); there is no wired Ethernet port. There’s a single USB port, an audio port, a monitor port, and what appears to be an SD card reader. Battery life is said to be about eight hours. Despite the small disk, it’s a slick piece of hardware.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Creator of Instant Messaging Protocol to Launch App Platform for Your Life

    Jeremie Miller is a revered figure among developers, best known for building XMPP, the open source protocol that powers most of the Instant Messaging apps in the world. Now Miller has raised funds and is building a team that will develop software aimed directly at the future of the web.

  • Rainbird: The Way Twitter Counts Tweets In Realtime (Which Will Be Open Sourced)

    It’s fairly technical, but also pretty easy to follow along with. If you’re at all interested in how Twitter acquires, stores, and uses the massive amount of data they deal with, you should check it out. It also gives a glimpse into their Promoted Tweet analytics package (which looks quite nice).

  • Governance Issues May Bedevil Open Source Projects

    In fact, a new survey of 1,500 IT people conducted by Sonatype, a provider of open source project management software for application development, finds that almost half of them have standardized on some form of open source software, while another 26 percent said they make frequent use of it.

  • Events

    • SCALE 9x Schedule Firms Up
    • Southern California Linux Expo Schedule Firms Up

      The 9th Annual Southern California Linux Expo is less than four weeks away. This Expo is shaping up to be the best SCALE ever, with five tracks of quality presenters, over 80 exhibitors, and more content than it’s ever had.

      The 9th Annual Southern California Linux Expo is less than four weeks away. This Expo is shaping up to be the best SCALE ever, with five tracks of quality presenters, over 80 exhibitors, and more content than it’s ever had.

    • SCALE 9X across the snowy horizon

      Slammed by a blizzard, surrounded by bored kids, and achingly tired of what Winter has brought me this year, it’s enough to make me say, “Calgon, take me away!”

      Er, metaphorically speaking, of course.

      Still, there is some well-deserved relief in sight: this year, after a rather long hiatus, I will be attending the ninth edition of the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) in the has-to-warmer-than-Indiana city of Los Angeles.

  • Web Browsers

    • [Midori 0.3.0] Thousand and one bug fixes

      Thousand and one bug fixes, that’s what this release turned out to be. A long run of tweaks in various places rather than short and explosive. Kudos to Paweł for his great work, notably with bookmark import and export, including Netscape HTML import, and a new infobar prompting to install userscripts and -styles if the User Addons extension is activated.

    • virtual globe in the browser

      Latest stable version of Chrome 9 now has built-in support for WebGL. Hopefully this would increase the amount of people trying out various cool 3-D stuff, from the infamous Aquarium demo to the fancy Jelly Fish animation, and many others.

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 9 now final with Web Store, Instant and WebGL

        Google today posted a finished, stable version of Chrome 9. The update is the first non-beta to have the Chrome Web Store built-in and lets anyone in the US reach it through a new browser tab. The store packages apps in a way that Flash, HTML5 or other code behaves more like a conventional app download or sale with a list of installed apps to match.

      • Hack Chrome, Win $20,000 76
    • Mozilla

      • Is Upcoming Firefox 4 inspired by Google Chrome?

        Firefox button & Application’s Tab: The Firefox 4 beta has a Firefox button where all the menu items are constituted. The Firefox website also introduces an app tab that will house your most viewed pages (on installing and running Firefox 4 beta I could not find it).

      • An interesting way to determine if you are logged into social web sites

        Do you remember the trick how to find out that you went to certain web sites by analysing link colour (now patched in Firefox)? There is much your browser tells about you if you just create a few HTML elements.

      • Design Jam London #2: An ‘Open Design’ initiative supported by Mozilla Labs & City University London

        Event Details

        Date: 26 February 2011 (Saturday)
        Time: 08:30 – 18:00
        Venue: University City London, Northampton Square – WC1V 6NX

      • An Overview of the AMO Review Process
      • Firefox Extension Options Menu Add-On

        Many Firefox extensions come with an options page to customize their behavior, interface or functionality. These pages are sometimes accessible through context menus if an icon of the extension is displayed in the Firefox interface. Most of the time however no direct options access is available which means that users have to open the Firefox add-on manager to open the options of the extension there. This is not the most user friendly way, especially if the options need to be accessed regularly.

      • Mozilla font rendering fix

        As a Ubuntu user you may notice Mozilla applications do not obey the Gnome appearance settings with respect to the font rendering.

      • quora answer #2: drm in webm

        WebM is the VP8 video codec and the Vorbis audio codec packaged in the Matroska-like WebM container. It is not the job of the codecs or the container to perform digital rights management.

  • SaaS

    • OpenStack vs. Eucalyptus: Cloud Rivals or Friends?

      At first glance, OpenStack is an open source platform for service providers and Eucalyptus is an open source platform for private clouds. But if you listen closely to vendors in the market, some folks think OpenStack and Eucalyptus will wind up competing for the hearts and minds of cloud integrators and service providers.

    • an interview with Fred Lloyd (AA7BQ), publisher of QRZ.com

      The original software was custom written in C. Later we moved to Informix and then to MySQL. Today most of the programming is done in Perl, with some PHP.

  • Databases

    • Here are the notes on Installing node.js module for firebird and testing it on Amazon EC2

      Here are the notes on Installing node.js module for firebird and creating a simple http service derived from the module examples…

    • MariaDB Can’t Be Sold Like MySQL: Exclusive Interview

      The recent spat between Oracle and the Hudson project, which ended up in a fork of the project with re-naming, made us think what future holds for MySQL which seems to be the only FOSS project left to be hit by Oracle. The sword may come down anytime. So, we set out to see how well MariaDB is doing, a database created by no one else but the creator of MySQL. MariaDB is backed by the company Monty Program Ab founded by the creator of MySQL. Here is an exclusive interview with Colin Charles, Chief Evangelist, MariaDB, Monty Program Ab & Rasmus Johansson, COO, Monty Program Ab.

  • Oracle/Java/LO

    • Rating OpenJDK Governance
    • Is OpenJDK Open-By-Rule?

      When I published my Open-By-Rule Benchmark earlier this week, I promised that I would test it against the new proposed governance for the OpenJDK community, a project started by Sun under my co-direction as a home for open source development of a GPL-licensed version of the Java platform.

      For various reasons, the OpenJDK governance was never fully defined and the entire subject has been silent for over a year.

    • LibreOffice Faenza Icons

      By default, Faenza uses the OpenOffice icons for LibreOffice. But if you’re using LibreOffice, you may want some custom Faenza icons for it – there are no official icons yet but Funnyguy has created some beautiful Faenza Libreoffice icons which you can download via Gnome Look.

    • What an office suite should look like

      And so be it. We’ve seen what the office suite market has to offer. Frankly, it’s all good, but not good enough. We’re haunted by the ghosts of the past, the typewriters of the 80s and the engineers of the 70s, who used to rack up their telemetry readings on impact printers. Office suites are big, bloated, counterintuitive, and inefficient. Even the best and most modern products today fall short of the mark. A few manage a moment of brilliance, like Google Docs, Lotus Symphony and OOo4Kids, but then it goes bonkerous from there.

      The most important change required in the modern office suite is the change of mind. We must get rid of the legacy monkey effect and work on making productivity software productive. We must focus on shedding away the 90% crud that pollutes the office programs, make them lean and mean, make them more smartly integrated with rich media, enforce mandatory styling, improve visibility and design.

      Browser-like tabs, drag and drop features, instant graphics, all of these sound trivial considering what we have out there, but none of these features have yet reached the domain of the office suite. This has to change – and soon.

      Well that’s all. I’ve done my rant – and shared my sagacious ideas. If you feel like you have something useful to contribute, do feel free to mail me using your office suite mail program. We need to talk about those too, but that’s a different article altogether.

  • CMS

    • A Debian blog created with FlatPress

      After writing my entry on CMS and blog software that doesn’t require a database, one of the commenters recommended FlatPress.

      It’s not just the name (a play on WordPress, on the off-off-off chance that you missed that particular bit of wordplay). OK, a lot of it is the name. By way of explanation, it’s called FlatPress because it stores its data in “flat” files and not in a database, such as the MySQL that powers the back end of WordPress and innumerable other content-management platforms.


      Another thing: While a WordPress.org blog can be moved from one site to another (between URLs on one hosting provider, or to an entirely different web server), moving a FlatPress blog is even easier. You just grab the directory, then move it (via FTP, or the console if you have access) where you want it. Update the URL of your web site in the FlatPress admin area and you’re good to go.

    • If you have access to a web server, create a simple, database-free blog in 5 minutes with FlatPress
    • Dries Buytaert talks Drupal and leadership in open source

      Drupal creator and project lead, Dries Buytaert, speaks passionately about the company he began as a hobby during his college days, with the business reach of Buytaert now extending into software company Acquia and Mollom.

      Computerworld Australia caught up with Buytaert while he was in Australia for the first DrupalDownunder 2011 conference held last month in Brisbane, with the developer addressing claims that Drupal is a complex content management system (CMS) that becomes unmanageable once it is customised.

  • Healthcare

    • Feds eye open source model for medical data systems

      On a mission to modernize, the US government is eyeing an Internet-based healthcare system for easy sharing of health related data between doctors, medical institutions and patients.

      As part of this initiative, the government hopes to move all medical records online where doctors can quickly and securely access them.

  • BSD

    • Available: PC-BSD 8.2-RC3

      Following the release of FreeBSD 8.2-RC3, the third Release Candidate for PC-BSD 8.2 was announced today by Kris Moore, Lead Developer of PC-BSD.


    • Nominations open for the Free Software Awards

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project have announced that they are now accepting nominations for this year’s Free Software Awards. The annual awards recognise an individual and one project for their contributions to the progress and development of free software.

  • Project Releases

    • OpenSSH 5.8 released

      OpenSSH is a 100% complete SSH protocol version 1.3, 1.5 and 2.0 implementation and includes sftp client and server support.

  • Government

    • Only one-third of agencies pass the Federal Open Technology Report Card

      Open Source for America (OSFA) recently published a report card on open technology and open government across several U.S. federal government departments and agencies. The results: One-third of agencies received a passing grade. OSFA, a coalition launched in July 2009 to encourage U.S. federal government support of and participation in open source projects and technologies, worked with government departments and agencies to develop the methodology and rate each group. (According to OSFA, 2010 marked the first year federal government agencies were operating under the Directive and Open Government Plans.)

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • OpenStreetMap’s point of no return

        The new license – the Open Database License (ODBL) – is well understood. The ODBL is an attempt to stretch European-style database rights to the point where they cover the database worldwide. To that end, the ODBL is explicitly written as a contract – a crucial difference from most free licenses, which try to avoid contract law entirely. The ODBL must take this approach because the OpenStreetMap database, being primarily factual in nature, is not easily covered by copyright. A license which relied strictly upon copyright law would risk being unenforceable in much of the world.


  • Don’t Panic! It’s only the Internet running out of Addresses
  • The Birther Plan To Block Obama’s Reelection

    Last week, Arizona state Rep. Judy Burges, a Republican, introduced a bill that would bar presidential candidates who do not prove they were born in the United States from appearing on the ballot in the Grand Canyon state. And state Rep. Chad Campbell, the top Democrat in the GOP-controlled Arizona House of Representatives, tells Mother Jones that the bill is likely to pass. It was introduced with 25 co-sponsors in the House and 16 co-sponsors in the state Senate; the measure needs 31 votes in the House and 16 in the Senate for approval. “Will it matter?” asks Campbell. “We’ve started a tradition here of passing legislation that is political grandstanding or that sets up litigation.”

  • Forget mandatory voting. Canada should be paying people to go to the polls

    From the Second World War until the end of the 20th century, roughly 75 percent of eligible voters consistently cast ballots in federal elections. During the Jean Chrétien era, however, that number began to drop and has been declining ever since.

  • The Distributed Party Of ‘We’ Is Already In Control

    I tend not to be much of a believer in political “parties.” They always seem to get lost in groupthink around what’s best for “the party,” rather than what’s best, period. I even tend to have issues with groups like The Pirate Party. While I support many of the ideals and concepts within the party’s platform, I don’t agree with everything they have to say, and still think the use of “pirate” in the name, while attention grabbing and perhaps useful in the short-term, is quite limiting long-term. And yet, I’m certainly intrigued by a lot of what’s been happening over the past few months, in terms of somewhat ad hoc groups coming together and protesting things they just know are not right. While I still don’t agree with the denial of service tactics of “Anonymous” and its Operation Payback, I’ve been saying for a while that this really is a moment when centralized top-down legacy systems are coming into conflict with distributed, decentralized, bottom-up systems — and not understanding them at all.

  • A Supreme Conflict of Interest

    Did these two men, Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, have a shocking and undisclosed conflict of interest when they ruled on the Citizens United case — which opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate political spending?

  • Daily Mail and Sun accused of contempt over online photos

    The attorney general today accused the Daily Mail and Sun of contempt of court over photographs published online showing a murder trial defendant “posing with a gun”.

    In what are believed to be the first cases of their kind relating to the internet, Dominic Grieve is asking the high court to punish the publishers of the Daily Mail and the Sun for displaying the pictures on their websites.

    The cases arise out of the Sheffield crown court trial in 2009 of Ryan Ward, who was eventually convicted of murdering car mechanic Craig Wass by hitting him over the head with a brick.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Will climate change burst the global ‘food bubble’?

      The world is in the midst of a “food bubble” that could burst at any time: that’s the conclusion of the eminent environmentalist Lester Brown, who I met yesterday to discuss his latest book.

      He argues we are “one bad harvest away from chaos” and that “food has become the weak link in our civilisation”. Here’s my summary of his reasoning.

  • Security

    • Mailing list application Majordomo reveals file content
    • Security updates for Friday
    • How to Hack an ATM

      Turning automated teller machines into your personal piggy bank is easy—alarmingly easy. That’s the message of Barnaby Jack, a software-cracking whiz turned digital-security researcher. He has demonstrated his hacking prowess at events like DefCon, coaxing ATMs into spitting out wads of cash in less than a minute using scripting know-how, a few simple tools, and some Googling. Here’s his method.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt 2011-2-3

      Global response has been clear with advice to have change to democracy sooner or later. The violence has persuaded moderates that only violence will effect change. The anti-Mubarak protestors realize that if they withdraw they will be hunted down and subdued. Their main hope for the future is to win the mini-civil war. Everyone seems to want to avoid a global civil war but Mubarak and his supporters are not yet persuaded that change must come soon.

    • Canadians in shadow of death in Iran

      In October, 2008, Saeed Malekpour’s new life in Canada looked as golden as the sunlight on the autumn foliage.

      With a degree in metallurgical engineering from a prestigious Iranian university he was happily settled in Ontario and about to enroll in a master’s program at University of Victoria.

    • Get Involved: The Case of Saeed Malekpour, Canadian Resident Sentenced to Death
    • The Case of Saeed Malekpour: Web Developer Jailed Since 2008 (Updated 12/13/10)
    • Israeli forces raid Silwan, attempted arrest of Adnan Ghaith’s son

      Israeli special forces police raided Silwan today at dawn, storming several homes, including that of banished al-Bustan Popular Committee member Adnan Ghaith.

    • Palestinian human rights activist jailed in Israel

      Amnesty International has urged the Israeli authorities to end their harassment of Palestinian human rights activists after a well-known campaigner in Haifa was jailed for nine years and given an additional one-year suspended sentence earlier today.

      Ameer Makhoul, a longstanding Palestinian activist, was convicted on various counts of having contact with enemies of Israel and espionage after a plea bargain agreement at his trial. He was originally charged with an even more serious offence, “assisting an enemy in war”, which could have carried a life sentence, but that was dropped by the prosecution when he agreed to a plea bargain.

    • 18 Israeli & American Jewish Groups Strongly Oppose Court`s Failure to Stop Israeli Govt & JNF from Wiping Out Bedouin Village

      18 Israeli and American Jewish groups: Strongly oppose Beer Sheva District Court¡¯s failure to grant a permanent injunction preventing Israeli Government and Jewish National Fund (JNF) bulldozers from resuming work to plant a JNF forest over Negev Bedouin village of Al-Arakib

    • Mubarak is on his way out. But the regime is still very much in power

      Hosni Mubarak is finally on his way out. But the regime he presided over for 30 years is still very much in power and will remain so until a new order can be established, optimally through free and fair elections. That represents an enormous challenge.

    • Egypt protesters react angrily to Mubarak’s televised address

      The crowd had rigged up a huge screen to show al-Jazeera. Mubarak’s speech was broadcast live. As he announced that he would not be standing for another term, the rally exploded in anger.

      The screen was pelted with bottles and the cry “Irhal, irhal” went up repeatedly: “Leave, leave”. It was taken up by the hundred thousand people who thronged Tahrir Square. At one point demonstrators held up their shoes to the screen – an insulting gesture in Arab culture.

    • Harsh Interrogations of Children Escalate in Nabi Saleh

      14 year old Islam Tamimi was arrested in a night raid on Sunday 23 January 2011 and subjected to psychological torture in order to extract dictated false testimony that will be used to incriminate and prosecute villagers in Nabi Saleh.

    • TSA tests new body scanning system in Las Vegas

      Federal aviation officials are giving airport scanners another try. This time, they are not looking as closely under traveler’s clothes.

      The Transportation Security Administration on Tuesday began testing a new, more modest body scanning system at three airports. They hope it will assuage critics’ concerns that the nearly 500 full-body scanners at 78 airports reveal too much.

      “We believe it addresses the privacy issues that have been raised,” TSA chief John Pistole said at a news conference at Reagan National Airport in Washington, one of the airports testing the technology.

    • Forget Your “Junk”—The TSA Wants to Feel Up Your Mind

      IF YOU’RE UNHAPPY with the choice between having the Transportation Security Administration “porno-scanning” you or touching your junk, this might also freak you out: The TSA is trying to read your mind. Since June 2003, it’s been monitoring travelers’ facial expressions and body language for signs that they might be hiding something. As of March 2010, the TSA’s Screening Passengers by Observational Techniques (SPOT) program had 3,000 “behavior detection officers” in more than 150 airports. Their job is to strike up conversations with passengers at security checkpoints, checking for what one TSA official describes as “behaviors that show you’re trying to get away with something you shouldn’t be doing.” People who don’t display “normal airport behavior” may be stopped for questioning.

    • How Much Should We Spend on National Defense?

      On 4 August 1822, James Madison wrote a letter to W.T. Barry about the importance of popular education and, by inference, the importance of the relationship of the First Amendment to the task of holding an elected government accountable for its actions. He concluded his opening paragraph, setting the tone for the entire letter, by saying, “A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

      Nowhere is the farce and tragedy feared by James Madison more evident than in the national debate over if, or how much, the defense budget should be cut back as part of our efforts to reduce the deficit. With the defense budget at war with Social Security, Medicare, and needed discretionary spending in education, investments in infrastructure, and elsewhere, it is a tragedy that must be undone if we are to protect our middle class way of life.

    • No more free passes for Egypt and other Arab autocracies

      Bargains with the devil never end well. For decades, successive U.S. administrations have embraced autocratic, repressive regimes in the Arab world – and now, as we see in the bloody streets of Cairo, it’s time to pay the price.

      Officials in Washington could do little more than watch helplessly Wednesday as goon squads loyal to dictator Hosni Mubarak made a violent attempt to drive pro-democracy protesters out of Tahrir Square. Before learning of the deadly raid, White House chief of staff Bill Daley gave this honest assessment: “We don’t control this. And even though we like to think at times that we can control everything in the world . . . it truly is not up to us.”

    • Egypt Officials Seek to Nudge Mubarak Out

      The country’s newly named vice president, Omar Suleiman, and other top military leaders were discussing steps to limit Mr. Mubarak’s decision-making authority and possibly remove him from the presidential palace in Cairo — though not to strip him of his presidency immediately, Egyptian and American officials said. A transitional government headed by Mr. Suleiman would then negotiate with opposition figures to amend Egypt’s Constitution and begin a process of democratic changes.

    • The Dictator’s Speech

      What a relief it must be just to hear it, though. The streets are alive with human voices. Such speech is messy and conflict-ridden. You can hear, right now, on the streets of Cairo or Suez or Alexandria, as many opinions about what is going on, or what people want, or what has been done wrong, as you can find people. There is a chaos of speech, since the speech coming from civil society is always chaotic. It has none of the clarity of intent that would come from the speech of a competent dictator. It is the bubbling forth of a million unfiltered desires. And yet, it all manages to coalesce, for the moment, around one clear message. We want, everyone says, the end of the reign of Hosni Mubarak. We won’t take the dictation anymore. We want to speak again.

    • Disappearances up the ante in Tahrir Square

      He was almost too shaken by sobs to speak, this thin-shouldered man with missing teeth. Finally he was able to choke out the words: “I am afraid my son is dead.”

      At 16, the boy, Rabiyeh, was his father’s life and pride. Now he is missing, one of hundreds of people unaccounted for since the start of the 11-day-old rebellion against President Hosni Mubarak. Their loved ones fear they have been ensnared by Egypt’s vast security apparatus, a shadowy world from which many never emerge.

      Egypt’s disappeared haunt the collective consciousness; they are an emblem of life in a modern police state. The uprising convulsing the country is in part a reaction to sweeping police powers of three decades running, a key enforcement mechanism of Mubarak’s authoritarian rule.

    • Egyptian Mob Burns Al Jazeera’s Cairo Office

      Al Jazeera’s office in Cairo was stormed and burned today, the most dramatic evidence yet that Egyptian authorities are desperate to shut down the network widely praised for revealing the size and reach of the demonstrations.

    • Egyptian Government Intrudes on Mobile Operators

      Vodafone Group PLC and France Télécom SA, facing heat for complying with the Egyptian government’s order to pull the plug on their networks last week, said Thursday that Egypt’s government forced its way onto their mobile networks to send text messages directly to the country’s people.

    • Yemeni protesters turn out for ‘day of rage’

      By early morning, the number of anti-government activists in Sana’a had reached more than 20,000, the biggest crowd since a wave of protests hit the Arabian Peninsula state two weeks ago, inspired by demonstrations that toppled Tunisia’s ruler and threaten Egypt’s president.

    • Mubarak: ‘If I Resign Today There Will Be Chaos’ [Ed: another propaganda piece from ABC, calling hired thugs "supporters"]

      I asked President Mubarak about the violence that his supporters launched against the anti-government protesters in Liberation Square.

    • Egyptian bloggers to follow on Twitter
    • Gladwell Still Missing the Point About Social Media and Activism

      Although the topic of social media’s role in events in Tunisia and Egypt has been the focus of much commentary from observers such as Ethan Zuckerman and Jillian York of Global Voices Online, and also from Foreign Policy magazine columnist and author Evgeny Morozov, the response from Gladwell was all of about 200 words long. In a somewhat defensive tone, he suggested that if Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong had made his famous statement about how “power grows from the barrel of a gun” today, everyone would obsess over whether he made it on Twitter or Facebook or his Tumblr blog.

    • Expulsion and Explosion: How Leaving the Internet Fueled Our Revolution

      Ten days ago, I was re-tweeting anti-Mubarak sentiments and signing up for his tongue-in-cheek Farewell Party event on Facebook. I had no idea that the ideas expressed on these sites would ignite a whole country and lead all hell to break loose. Make no mistake: Facebook and Twitter helped connect thousands of frustrated Egyptians and united them under the single goal of overthrowing the regime. By underestimating a bunch of privileged, opinionated and fed-up vanguards, the Egyptian regime overlooked their impact on the rest of the people, and didn’t guess that crowds of middle- and lower-class Egyptians would follow their lead and unshackle the system’s long, strong grip.

      But when the ruling system realized the magnitude of what’s happening, they took no chances. Our entire communication system was shut down; Egyptian websites disappeared from the global Internet. Cell phones were no longer working. Same goes for texting, Internet, and Blackberry services. I first tried proxy sites or attempting an emergency calls, but there was no way around it — the services where shut down and we were walking in complete darkness. I had no idea what my family was up to, if any of my friends were caught or beaten by the police, and if we were regrouping again to go out and continue our demonstrations. Not to mention that I couldn’t watch Colbert take jabs at Mubarak. Getting to see my country being satirized alongside Glenn Beck gives me a sense of pop culture camaraderie that I find immensely comforting.

      But cutting us out from the rest of the world, from ourselves even, didn’t dismantle the revolt. If anything, it removed distraction and gave us a singular mission to accomplish. It was also seen as a desperate measure, one that could only be committed by a withering regime, and it empowered us.

    • Obama seeks quick Egypt handover

      Barack Obama has urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak “to make the right decision” to end weeks of unrest, and reiterated a call for an orderly transition of power “that begins now”.

    • Pro-Democracy Movements Are A “Virus”?!

      “McCain Calls Middle East Pro-Democracy Movement A ‘Virus’.”

      Remember how, when we invaded Iraq, democracy was supposed to bust out all over in the middle east — and that was a good thing?

      Well guess what: democracy is busting out all over in the middle east — and that’s a bad thing!

    • Guantanamo death highlights U.S. detention policy

      A 48-year-old Afghan citizen and Guantanamo detainee, Awal Gul, died on Tuesday of an apparent heart attack. Gul, a father of 18 children, had been kept in a cage by the U.S. for more than 9 years — since late 2001 when he was abducted in Afghanistan — without ever having been charged with a crime. While the U.S. claims he was a Taliban commander, Gul has long insisted that he quit the Taliban a year before the 9/11 attack because, as his lawyer put it, “he was disgusted by the Taliban’s growing penchant for corruption and abuse.” His death means those conflicting claims will never be resolved; said his lawyer: “it is shame that the government will finally fly him home not in handcuffs and a hood, but in a casket.” This episode illustrates that the U.S. Government’s detention policy — still — amounts to imposing life sentences on people without bothering to prove they did anything wrong.

    • When Did We Become The Ones We Weren’t?

      The current events in Egypt leave me very uncomfortable. Not the pro-democracy demonstrations — I support that in soul, mind and action — but the fact that the repressive regime is using surveillance technology developed by Western companies, mandated by Western authorities.

      I’m a Cold War kid. I remember the 1980s and grew up in a different world from today. Above all, international policy and everyday life alike was colored by the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

    • America loses another ally as Yemen’s President quits

      The President of Yemen, one of America’s foremost allies in the “war on terror”, has become the latest leader in the Middle East to announce he will be stepping down as he seeks to calm anger and stave off the street protests which have gripped Egypt and Tunisia.

    • Anonymous launches Operation Yemen

      Cyber activists affiliated with Anonymous have launched a digital campaign against websites operated by the government of Yemen.

      The latest round of DDoS attacks was initiated just days after the group participated in an online campaign against the Egyptian government to show solidarity with protestors across the strife-ridden country. 

    • Egypt’s military-industrial complex

      In early January 2010, Bob Livingston, a former chairman of the appropriations committee in the US House of Representatives, flew to Cairo accompanied by William Miner, one of his staff. The two men were granted meetings with US Ambassador Margaret Scobey, as well as Major General FC “Pink” Williams, the defence attaché and director of the US Office of Military Cooperation in Egypt. Livingston and Miner were lobbyists employed by the government of Egypt, helping them to open doors to senior officers in the US government. Records of their meetings, required under law, were recently published by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington, DC watchdog group.

      Although the names of those who attended the meetings have to be made public, the details of what was discussed are confidential. I called Miner to ask him about their meetings, but he referred me to Karim Haggag, the spokesman for the Egyptian embassy in Washington, who did not respond. Miner did confirm that he was a retired Navy pilot who had worked for clients like the Egyptian government, as well as several military contractors.

    • Cable illuminates why Yemenis engaged in “Day of Rage” [UPDATE]

      While Egyptians continue to maintain their uprising against President Hosni Mubarak with a “Day of Departure” today, it is worth looking at what happened in Yemen yesterday. An opposition coalition of Yemenis mobilized in defiance of a plea from President Ali Abdullah Saleh to not protest, rally or engage in any sit-ins, and held their own “Day of Rage.”

      The protests were considered to be the largest anti-government demonstration that Saleh has “faced in his 32-year rule.” The Guardian reported protesters chanted, “Together we fight against poverty, corruption and injustice.” Given what has been happening in Egypt, the protesters hoped to mobilize in their Tahrir Square, but the government “beat them” to the Square and sent “hundreds of tribesmen to camp out there overnight.”

      Protesters called for Saleh to “form a new government” and “let the Yemeni people decide who will rule them in clean, fair elections.”

    • What Mubarak must do before he resigns

      Egyptians have paid a heavy price the past three decades and an even steeper one since this revolution started. Let’s end Mubarak’s rule the right way so we can start building a better future.

  • Cablegate

    • Bradley Manning is UK citizen and needs protection, government told

      The British government is under pressure to take up the case of Bradley Manning, the soldier being held in a maximum security military prison in Virginia on suspicion of having passed a massive trove of US state secrets to WikiLeaks, on the grounds that he is a UK citizen.

      Amnesty International called on the government to intervene on Manning’s behalf and demand that the conditions of his detention, which the organisation calls “harsh and punitive”, are in line with international standards.

    • Gillard continues to get it wrong on Assange

      The latest statements by Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, as to her Government’s lack of responsibility concerning WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, continue to reflect a misunderstanding of key issues concerning Mr Assange, the Australian citizen facing extradition proceedings from the United Kingdom to Sweden, and the actions of the WikiLeaks organisation.

    • Paper Cut: NYT dumps WikiLeaks after cashing in on nobel cause
    • The Times Washes Away Julian Assange

      It is no secret that Bill Keller, the editor of the New York Times, detests Julian Assange. It is no secret because the New York Times Magazine just published Keller’s extraordinary account of his dealings with Assange, the whole point of which was that Keller detests Assange — and so, by virtue of his enmity, can allow himself the luxury of claiming ethical distance from him. Sure, Keller had to work with Assange and WikiLeaks in order to be in on the release of leaked documents and diplomatic cables, along with The Guardian and Der Spiegel and Le Monde. But that doesn’t mean he had to like it, and that certainly doesn’t mean he came away from the experience feeling unsullied. Indeed, although Keller’s piece at first promised the kind of editorial hand-wringing familiar to any devoted reader of the Paper of Record, what it ended up delivering instead was a hand-washing, an act typically private but this time carried out in public, with ad hominem attack serving as an antibacterial ointment. Imagine what the Bishop of Wittenberg might have written had he been forced to collaborate with Martin Luther on the posting of the 95 Theses, and you’ll get an idea of the tone that Bill Keller takes in writing about Julian Assange. He’ll do it — but he’ll reserve the right to hold his nose.

    • Fireside: NY Times Are Cowards
    • ‘Our time has come’ Assange tells rally

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says the era of the internet generation has arrived and he’ll continue to expose “abusive organisations”.

      Speaking in a recorded message to a public meeting in Melbourne on Friday, Mr Assange said can’t wait to be back in his home town and called on Australians concerned about his plight to take action.

    • UPDATE on Bloomberg reports about FBI contractor and WikiLeaks

      On January 20, WL Central reported “Bloomberg discloses FBI Contractor admits to Spying on Swedish”.

      Yesterday, Bloomberg reporter Michael Riley ‘re-drafts’ his flawed article as a magazine story in Bloomberg Business Week.

    • WikiLeaks cables: MI6 warns of new suicide bomb wave

      British-born radicals who undergo terrorist training and become “suicide operatives” will leave the authorities “hard pressed” to prevent an attack, according to a top counterterrorism official at the Secret Intelligence Service.

      The problem of home-grown terrorists is officially expected to blight Britain for years to come and “will not go away anytime soon”.

    • WikiLeaks cables: British Muslims travelling to Somalia for ‘jihadi tourism’

      The United Nations special envoy to Somalia was so worried about rebels linked to al-Qaeda that he urged the United States to launch targeted strikes against extremists in the region.

      But to the frustration of the Americans, Britain was slow to grasp the scale of the threat from Somalia, despite warnings that the largely lawless country was an “incubator” for terrorism.

      MI5 now believes jihadists from the al-Shabaab movement in Somalia represent a significant threat to Britain. Jonathan Evans, the director-general of MI5, publicly warned of the threat last year.

    • WikiLeaks cables: The British counter-terror programme that ‘fails to stop extremists’

      However, it has been accused of alienating and stigmatising Muslims and wasting taxpayers’ money funding groups that failed to deliver on the Government’s aims.

    • New York Times & Guardian Editors Will Support Assange if Prosecuted

      The New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller and Guardian Editor in Chief Alan Rusbridger say they will stand with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange if prosecution is brought against him.

      At a Thursday night panel, hosted by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism on the future of WikiLeaks and its effects on journalism, Jack Goldsmith, a prominent Harvard law professor and former assistant attorney general, said there is an “enormous amount of political pressure” to bring charges against Assange by the U.S. Department of Justice. At first, Goldsmith expressed the difficulty of extraditing Assange to the U.S. He then noted the many legal hurdles the department faces because, in the legal sense, Assange would be characterized as a journalist and defended as such.

    • Viva Cubaleaks!

      The translator’s note quoted here is at the foot of a post by Yoani Sánchez (right) on her current Generation Y blog. It refers to the video, La ciber policia en Cuba, below.

      “Given the length of this video I don’t think we will be able to prepare a translation”, it says, going on, “The gist of it is a detailed explanation of how Yoani and other dissident bloggers are classified by the [Cuban] government as counterrevolutionary enemies controlled from the U.S. and Spain.

    • Wikileaks Dissed and Distanced by the New York Times and the Guardian

      Bill Keller, editor of the New York Times, and Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, assured the Columbia University audience last night that two of the main stream media are unimpressed with Wikileaks and Julian Assange. And that the main benefits of initiatives like Wikileaks will come from legacy journalism processing raw data into material the public can trust.

      Luridly misnamed, “Wikileaks: the Inside Story,” the event and the panel’s comments were remarkably over-managed and decorous. Held in Columbia’s great domed hall, Low Library, control of the audience and recording was firm as if threats of bodily harm and theft of conventional wisdom underlay the performance. Despite this security theater, what was said by the interlocutor, Emily Bell, a former Guardian employee now at Columbia, and the three panelists — Keller, Rusbridger and Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor — was as dumb and boring as it could get, slightly enlivened by slurs against Julian Assange which elicited titters from the audience as if packed with MSM insiders and aspirants.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Ex-SAS officers hired as ‘human bait’ by foreign shipping firms

      British special forces veterans are in particular demand as ship guards because owners believe the Royal Navy will intervene to rescue them – and free their vessels – in the event of a hijacking.

      The revelation will increase concerns that the Royal Navy is being forced to act as an international police force because other navies are failing to pull their weight off the Horn of Africa.

      The US was alerted to the tactic in a cable sent from the American embassy in Tokyo in June 2009, which reported on loopholes in the security cover provided by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to ships carrying Japanese cargo through waters off Somalia. Because only two escort ships were available, some cargo firms instead employed “services offered by a British crisis consultant firm” to protect their vessels.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Nigeria pressured UK to drop charges against politician

      Nigeria’s attorney general attempted to blackmail British officials into abandoning the corruption case against Mr Ibori…

    • WikiLeaks cables: We can’t control Duchess of York, David Miliband told angry Turks

      Mr Miliband, foreign secretary at the time, told his Turkish counterpart that the Duchess could not “be controlled” as he tried to build bridges following the exposé of neglect in Turkish orphanages.

      The Duchess disguised herself with a black wig and headscarf to film secretly inside state-run institutions in Turkey for the ITV1 film Duchess and Daughters: Their Secret Mission, in 2008. The Turkish government was incensed, accusing the Duchess of a politically-motivated “smear campaign” aimed at ruining Turkey’s hopes of joining the European Union. In an attempt to placate the Turks, Mr Miliband invited the country’s foreign minister, Ali Babacan, to his constituency home in South Shields.

    • Julian Assange Speaks
    • WikiLeaks cables: Gordon Brown ‘forced to scrap plan for snap election’

      Gordon Brown abandoned plans for a snap general election in May, 2009, after the row over smear emails sent by his press aide, according to cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

    • WikiLeaks cables: US agrees to tell Russia Britain’s nuclear secrets

      Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week.

      Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.

      The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website.

    • WikiLeaks cables: how America spied on the Foreign Office

      The disclosure casts a new light on the so-called “special relationship” between Britain and America, which has come under strain amid apparent indifference from the Obama administration towards Britain.

      Leaked diplomatic cables show that within weeks of the appointment of Ivan Lewis as a junior foreign minister in 2009, US officials were briefing the office of Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, about rumours that he was depressed and had a reputation as a bully.

    • Terror camps still operating on Indo-Pak border: WikiLeaks

      Terror training camps, though not directly run by the Pakistan government, continue to operate along India-Pakistan border creating potential for conflict with India and instability in the region, according to secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

    • US lawmaker wants to see alleged WikiLeaks source

      A US lawmaker deeply critical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan asked the Pentagon on Friday to let him visit an imprisoned soldier held on suspicion of leaking secrets to WikiLeaks.

      Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich made the request in a letter to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates that echoed charges from rights groups that the soldier, Bradley Manning, has been held in unduly severe conditions.

      “As you know, I am concerned about reports of his treatment while in custody that describe alarming abuses of his constitutional rights and his physical health,” Kucinich wrote.

    • Cong. Ron Paul: Classified Cable Proves US Ok’d Saddam’s Kuwait Invasion

      There would have been no reason for Saddam Hussein not to take this assurance at face value. The U.S. was quite supportive of his invasion and war of aggression against Iran in the 1980s. With this approval from the U.S. Government, it wasn’t surprising that the invasion occurred. The shock and surprise was how quickly the tables were turned and our friend, Saddam Hussein, all of a sudden became Hitler personified.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Giant Pipeline Carrying Dirty Oil From Canada to Texas. What Could Go Wrong?

      Last year was quite a year for oil and gas disasters. In addition to the BP blowout, there was a leak on BP’s TransAlaska pipeline, a million-gallon oil spill in Michigan, and a gas explosion that destroyed 37 homes and killed eight people in California. So it would seem like a lousy time for a Canadian company to propose building a pipeline, the Keystone XL, right through the middle of the continent—especially one that may be unnecessary and that even some oil companies think is overpriced.

    • The small print behind African land grabs

      Invest in land, goes the old saw, they’re not making it any more. And, as we have reported, many rich countries and companies are doing just that in the developing world. Partly it’s about making money, partly it’s about securing food in a world where that commodity is looking harder to come by.

      So are the deals being struck for millions of hectares, particularly in Africa, transparent and fair? A fascinating glimpse of the normally secret contracts is delivered in a report by the International Institute for Environment and Development’s Lorenzo Cotula, called Land deals in Africa: What is in the contracts?

    • BP attempts to clean up Gulf via Twitter

      BP America’s Twitter missives remind me of Saddam’s old information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf – spouting propaganda that paints an image of a Gulf where everything is just fine and dandy. But all you need do is actually read many of the stories they’re linking to in their entirety – or dig a little deeper – and a different picture emerges.

    • A Giant Pipeline Carrying Dirty Oil From Canada to Texas. What Could Go Wrong?

      Last year was quite a year for oil and gas disasters. In addition to the BP blowout, there was a leak on BP’s TransAlaska pipeline, a million-gallon oil spill in Michigan, and a gas explosion that destroyed 37 homes and killed eight people in California. So it would seem like a lousy time for a Canadian company to propose building a pipeline, the Keystone XL, right through the middle of the continent—especially one that may be unnecessary and that even some oil companies think is overpriced.

    • EU fisheries commissioner pledges to end ‘nightmare of discards’

      No more fish will be thrown away by fleets in European seas under reforms soon to be presented to ministers, the EU commissioner for fisheries pledged today, in response to a high-profile campaign to end the wasteful practice of discards.

      Instead, fishermen will have to land their entire catch – whether the fish are saleable or not. “We can’t go on like this, with this nightmare of discards,” Maria Damanaki, the EU fisheries commissioner, told the Guardian. “We need a new policy.”

    • Leading health groups oppose Upton’s proposal to block EPA’s clean air safeguards

      House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton is ignoring Americans’ support for the health protections from pollution and pushing a proposal that would allow power plants and other big plants to dump unlimited amounts of dangerous carbon pollution into our air. As I mentioned earlier this week, the nation’s leading public health experts and organizations recognize carbon and other greenhouse pollution as a serious health threat.

    • China to impose green tax on heavy polluters

      China is to impose an environmental tax on heavy polluters under an ambitious cleanup strategy being finalised in Beijing, according to experts familiar with the programme.

      The tax will be included alongside the world’s most ambitious renewable energy scheme and fresh efforts to fight smog when the government unveils the biggest, greenest five-year plan in China’s modern history next month.

      After three decades of filthy growth, the measures are designed to pull the country from the environmental mire and make it a leader in the low-carbon economy. But sceptics question whether the policy will have any more success than previous failed efforts to overcome the nexus of corrupt officials and rule-dodging factory bosses.

  • Finance

    • Doesn’t Anyone Talk About Unemployment Claims Anymore?

      It doesn’t seem that the business press is paying any attention to the data on unemployment claims put out by the Labor Department each week. These reports used to generally earn a small story or mention in a larger story on the release of other economic data.

    • Unemployment falls to 9 pct., nearly 2-year low

      The unemployment rate is sinking at the fastest pace in half a century because a surprisingly large number of people say they’re finding work.

    • Bernanke dismisses inflation concerns, says unemployment turnaround will take years

      The economy is poised to grow more rapidly this year, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Thursday, dismissing fears that rising fuel prices will trigger broad-based inflation. But he emphasized that it will still take several years before the unemployment rate comes down to normal levels.

    • Madoff trustee: JP Morgan execs warned of fraud

      E-mails and other internal documents show that executives at JPMorgan Chase were complicit in Bernard Madoff’s massive fraud, lawyers seeking to recover funds for his victims said Thursday.

    • S.E.C. Charges 6 in Insider Trading Cases

      The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges of insider trading against six people associated with expert network firms after criminal cases brought earlier by the Justice Department against the same group.

      The S.E.C. charges that four consultants leaked privileged information about companies like Advanced Micro Devices, Apple and Dell to hedge fund managers and others eager to get an edge in the markets. The investors earned about $6 million in illicit gains from the tips, the complaint said.

    • Did the Fed Cause Unrest in the Arab World?
    • What’s next for tax code? Geithner discusses overhaul with wide range of groups

      Timothy F. Geithner can’t seem to talk enough these days about corporate tax reform. From D.C. to Davos, the Treasury secretary has chatted up chief executives and academics, bankers and labor groups, Republicans and Democrats, all in the name of fixing a tax code that most everyone agrees could use a major overhaul.


      Since the beginning of the year, Geithner has taken the temperature of a wide range of groups with an interest in changing the corporate tax code. There have been meetings with executives from Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil and Caterpillar; with think tanks as disparate as the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the liberal Citizens for Tax Justice; with advocacy groups such as the Business Roundtable and the AFL-CIO; and even with Bill Bradley, the former New Jersey senator who helped engineer the last major overhaul of the tax system in 1986.

    • The Great British austerity experiment

      Three months ago, I noted that the United States might benefit from the pain being suffered by the citizens of the United Kingdom. The reason was the new coalition government’s commitment to prosperity through austerity. As predicted, this looks very much like a path to pain and stagnation, not healthy growth.

    • South Sudan Should Not be Born Into Debt

      The nearly unanimous South Sudanese referendum result announced over the weekend is likely to lead to independence for a southern state by July. But it only marks one step along the road to true sovereignty for this oppressed and impoverished people. As south Sudan’s oil wealth has been used to enrich elites in the North for decades, so it is now being viewed with hungry eyes by the US and its allies.

      The debt which is inherited by this new state is likely to play a key element in attempts to assert control on south Sudan from the outside. The Sudanese government in Khartoum currently has a debt of $35 billion, large parts of which stretch back to the 1970s and ’80s when the regime of General Nimeiry was propped up by the US. $20 billion of this debt represents interest, following years of default by the Bashir regime.

    • EU on the brink – of integration

      European Union leaders are meeting tonight in yet another attempt to silence the doubters and the sceptics who have spent much of the past six months predicting the collapse of the single currency and possibly even the beginning of the end of the union itself. But this summit is not gathering amid the traditional chorus of derision from the bond market vigilantes and euro doomsayers. Quite suddenly the prevailing wisdom is that, far from disintegrating, the euro area may be on the brink of much closer integration.

    • Financial firm fined $25M for hiding software glitch that cost investors $217M

      An investment fund that hid flaws in a computer application that set the fund’s strategy for making trades has agreed to pay a $25 million SEC fine and pay back $217 million in losses suffered by investors because of the problem.

      AXA Rosenburg Group caught a coding error last April, but the employees who found it tried to keep others from finding out and failed to report it to higher-ups, the company says, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.

  • Civil Rights

    • Turkish human rights activist Pinar Selek faces third trial

      Pinar Selek’s third trial is slated to begin on February 9, after over a decade of legal proceedings.

      “The fact that the trial is still going on after 12 years and two acquittals contravenes human rights,” Helene Fautre, vice president of the European-Turkish Group at the European parliament, told Deutsche Welle.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Britain wants international rules on cyberspace

      Britain, worried about a growing threat from cyber espionage and cyber crime, offered Friday to host an international conference to tackle such issues.

      Foreign Secretary William Hague, speaking at a security conference in Germany, revealed details of recent attacks on British government and defense industry computers to underline the threat from cyber spying.

      He also cited how the Egyptian government had tried to shut down the Internet, mobile phone networks and broadcasters during mass protests against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

    • The CRTC’s Faulty UBB Foundation: Why There is Reason to Doubt the Review

      There were other moments that should give even ardent CRTC supporters pause – the notion that IPTV should not count against the cap because it isn’t an Internet service (it may not run on the Internet for every provider but the potential to harm competitive offerings is enormous) and the sense that the discount pricing on UBB was based on little more than guesswork. But the lasting image is of a Commission that has genuinely bought into the storyline that the foundational principle for UBB is to ensure “fundamental fairness” by avoiding the subsidizing “heavy users” and guarding against network congestion.

    • Responsibly against Internet Throttling *and* UBB

      That’s one of the things I struggled to address when I started this blog. But it gets worse. Bell doesn’t use the words of jargon the same way other ISPs in other parts of the world do.

      Let’s look at “throttling”:

      * This is How Throttling works,
      * Throttling PROVES that the Internet is NOT congested, and
      * C: Deep Packet Inspection.

      The short version is that Bell’s version of “throttling” consists of deliberately impeding traffic, which actually artificially inflates bandwidth consumption. Worse, they use DPI to discriminate against specific traffic. When you add UBB to throttling, the result looks very much like fraud. Which is why the American ISP Comcast was slapped down by the FCC when they did it.

    • Canada still wants to “discipline the use of the Internet”

      Unlike the parrot in the famous Monty Python sketch, it appears that metered Internet billing in Canada is not quite dead after all. Speaking at a House of Commons hearing today, the head of Canada’s telecoms regulator made it clear that metered billing rules would indeed be delayed—but they could well reappear.

      Konrad von Finckenstein, head of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), said that he has heard the “evident concern expressed by Canadians” about metered billing rules. Those rules would allow the dominant DSL provider, Bell Canada, to impose usage-based billing on the small indie ISPs that use parts of its network to offer service.

    • UBB Choice? Smoke and Mirrors

      Now that various politicians of every stripe seem to have weighed in on UBB, and the announcement that it will be overturned has been made, the UBB front is quieting.

      There has been shock and surprise that Bell requested a delay in UBB implementation. Of course it makes perfect sense… it will have died down in a couple of months. Will the same level of consumer outrage be there? We’ll have to see. Bell has been playing politics in Canada since it was formed by an Act of Parliament.

      The lack of care for consumers as a crucial Internet stakeholder was apparent in that the CRTC allows the regulated Industry a three month appeal process, yet Implementation of UBB (including notification) to consumers was a single month.

    • Handing Control of the Internet to Governments: Bad Idea

      Responding to the desire of thousands of entrepreneurs and communities for alternatives to .com, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has finally concluded that we should expand the domain name space. We can have web sites or email addresses with hundreds of new top level domain extensions, like .music, .berlin or .facebook, or new top level domains in Chinese, Arabic, Russian and dozens of other languages.

      The policy decisions required to make expansion possible proved to be contentious. It took six years to achieve some level of agreement among the diverse groups involved. We thought we were in the end game of that process. But last week, a leaked document from the U.S. Department of Commerce showed that a crucial geopolitical battle is just beginning.

    • Canadians Flatly Reject Usage Based Billing for Internet Access

      Canadians are decidedly opposed to a recent decision that could change the way customers are charged for Internet access, a new Angus Reid / Toronto Star poll has found.

      In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,024 Canadian adults, three-in-four respondents (76%) disagree with the recent decision from the Canada Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which recently ruled that Internet service providers should adopt “usage-based billing”.

  • DRM

    • More Malware From Sony

      That’s what Sony has put into their latest update of PlayStation 3. 3.56 is reported to contain a rootkit permitting running software on the Playstation without the owner’s consent. That’s Malware and Sony should smarten up. They are already in court over the removal of “Other OS” capability and have a judge on their side to clean up the Internet for blocking the return of “Other OS”.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Future Of Music Coalition Looks To Catalog Artist Revenue Streams

        The Future of Music Coalition, who has put together a big list of revenue streams for musicians, as a tool for getting them to think about alternative business model opportunities, is now trying to take that idea even further.

      • ACS:Law and MediaCAT Completely Shut Down Both Their Businesses

        Hot on the heels of the recent announcement in court that ACS:Law will stop chasing alleged file-sharers, comes an even more dramatic development. According to a document seen by TorrentFreak, both ACS:Law and their copyright troll client MediaCAT have just completely shut down their businesses. The news comes just days before a senior judge is due to hand down a ruling on the pair’s activities.

        In a statement handed to the Patents County Court earlier this month, ACS:Law owner Andrew Crossley delivered some good news for once. The anti-piracy business had all got too much for Crossley – he would now stop chasing alleged file-sharers.

      • Senator Wyden Asks WTF Is Up With Homeland Security Domain Seizures

        We’ve been talking a lot about Senator Ron Wyden lately, as he appears to be one of the few folks left in Washington DC who seem to actually care about overreaching efforts by law enforcement — especially in the area of copyright. We’ve talked about his efforts to block COICA, question ACTA and require more oversight on government spying. He’s also not been shy about standing up for what he believes in, even when corporate interests start pressuring him, such as his eloquent response to companies who urged him to support censorship via COICA.


        He basically seems to hit on all of the key points, so it’ll be interesting to see how Holder and Morton reply, but given their existing responses in various speeches, it’s not hard to predict that they’ll sidestep most of these questions, and go with something along the lines of “infringement bad! danger danger!” Either way, kudos (again) to Senator Wyden for being one of the few politicians left who really does appear to care about free speech and due process.

      • Ron Wyden questions sports site take-down

        Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) says the federal government’s take-down of websites that provided access to sporting and other copyrighted events may have silenced free speech and denied the websites due process, according to a letter he sent to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday.

        In the letter, Wyden asked the administration to explain the reasoning and strategy behind the agencies’ seizure of domain names of websites that allegedly violate copyright laws. The federal government seized the Web addresses of 10 websites accused of illegally providing access to copyrighted sporting and pay-per-view events this week. A similar campaign in November resulted in authorities taking down 82 sites.

      • Big Cable fed up with endless P2P porn subpoenas

        The big ISPs, especially Comcast and Time Warner Cable, have intervened for months in massive file-sharing lawsuits, telling judges that they simply can’t drop all of their activity for law enforcement in order to spend weeks doing IP address lookups on behalf of pornographers. And, when the ISPs get the chance to make their arguments before judges, they routinely go beyond complaints about the workload and challenge the very basis of the mass lawsuits.

      • Everything is a Remix Part 2
      • C-32 committee meeting 10 thoughts

        The suggestion is that current Canadian copyright law is allowing massive destruction of value, and major changes are needed. Nearly all the things which are brought up as examples are things like unauthorized P2P filesharing of music which is already illegal in Canada. It was illegal before, and it will be illegal (with less penalties for non-commercial cases) after.

        The suggestion is that Fair Dealings needs to be expanded to legalize things which Canadians were already doing such as time shifting using VCR’s. While it is great to legalize the common use of technology that is now being sent to landfill, it doesn’t legalize the same activities using current digital technology. The proposals are so complex that most people won’t understand them, and this will lead to increased inadvertent infringement. Canadians believe the lobbiests when they are told that Canadian law is “weaker” than US law, and simply don’t believe you when you try to tell them that activities which are perfectly legal under US Fair Use are illegal under Canadian copyright law. A law that is unnecessarily and excessively complex as to not possibly be understood can’t possibly be “obeyed” by average Canadians.

      • Why the Music Industry Must Change Its Strategy to Reach Digital Natives

        This digitization process put you, the audience, in control. It turns out that the consumer’s perceived value of music was dictated by scarcity or availability: Either you paid what the retailer asked or you didn’t get the music. With Napster and CD burning, high quality copies were available to everyone. But what does digital music strategy now need to do to in order to get out of it’s current stall?

      • ACTA

        • Wikileaks ACTA cables confirm it was a screwjob for the global poor

          Quadrature du Net’s repository of #cablegate cables related to ACTA, the secretive copyright treaty reveal that governments all over the world were pissed off that the USA and Japan wouldn’t let them discuss the treaty with their citizens and industry.

          More importantly, they explicitly confirm that the reason that ACTA was negotiated in secret among rich countries was that this was seen as the most expeditious way of getting a super-extreme copyright agreement passed with a minimum of fuss, and that all the poor countries who were excluded from the negotiation would later be coerced into agreeing to it.

        • ACTA: ‘prime role of the US’. WikiLeaks.

          The after-shocks of WikiLeaks Cablegate continue to reverberate around the world, the most recent place to feel them being the US, which is now having its role held up in the harsh light of public disclosure.

          La Quadrature du Net says it gained exclusive access to the WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables centering on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which would, “bypass democratic processes” to enforce a “fundamentally irrelevant regulatory regime, that would put an end to Net neutrality”.

        • Leaked State Department Cables Confirm That ACTA Was Designed To Pressure Developing Nations

          The site La Quadrature Du Net has a rather comprehensive look at a series of leaked State Department cables that confirm what many people said from the beginning about ACTA: that it was designed by US special interests as an “end run” around existing international intellectual property groups, since those groups had actually started listening to the concerns of many other nations about how overly strict intellectual property laws were stifling innovation, economic growth and were, at times, a threat to human safety.

Clip of the Day

Julian Assange speech at WikiLeaks Public Meeting in Melbourne

Credit: TinyOgg

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts