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Links 22/12/2010: Kno is Out, Tiny Core Linux 3.4 is Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Kno Starts Shipping Tomorrow

    The monster 14.1″ screens set it apart from every other tablet on the market, and the customized Ubuntu OS makes it potentially more versatile as well.

  • Server

    • ARM makes its attack on the server market official

      ARM Holdings has officially acknowledged its plans to take on Intel in the server market. However, CEO Warren East is quoted as adding that ARM licensees won’t begin to erode Intel’s market share until 2014.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Oh Hey, X.Org 7.6 Is Finally Released For Christmas!

        The past few days I’ve been wondering whether or not X.Org 7.6 would make it out in 2010 or not. After all, this X.Org katamari update was supposed to be here in August after X.Org 7.5 was released in October of 2009 and the 7.6 release was delayed to November. The release of X.Org 7.6 didn’t come in November, but there was one release candidate but not much information since. This afternoon, however, Alan Coopersmith has announced the final release.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Introducing K16 and the Future of KDE

        Where will KDE be in five years? To answer this question, we plan to bring together visionaries, strategists, planners, out-of-the-box-thinkers, realists, dreamers, doers, creators, leaders, coders from the KDE community and everybody else who is interested in discussing the future of KDE and picturing what it will be.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Ailurus – the Gnome pimp

        Tweaking your desktop into a semblance of beauty and style has always been the ultimate goal of any self-proclaimed geek, be they Windows users or Linuxoids. However, in general, Windows people had it easier; they just downloaded this or that tweaking program and had their desktop transition from a beast into a beauty within seconds. Linux users always had it much harder, especially Gnome people. KDE shows pretty much any setting there is, but Gnome hides them. Either you’re handy with gconf on the command line or you use gconf-editor, which feels somewhat like a registry editor, but it was never really trivial. Well, now you have Ailurus.


        Ailurus is definitely a welcome addition in the arsenal of average users who do not fancy taming their system via the command line. It offers convenience and ease of use, with a relatively high degree of safety. However, as always, you need to be careful when changing the behavior of programs and system utilities, lest they bite your hiny, and hard.

        If you’re looking for improving your Gnome desktop in a simple, quick way, without too much fuss, if you’re looking for extra comfort and new programs, then Ailurus seems like the program you want. That would be all, ladies and gentlefolks!

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Tiny Core Linux 3.4 arrives

        Tiny Core lead developer Robert Shingledecker has released version 3.4 of Tiny Core Linux. Based on the Linux kernel, Tiny Core Linux 3.4 features a variety of updates, including additional options in the mount tool (mnttool).

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Myopia Continues Among Users

          Notice a pattern yet? For some reason that seems to escape most people, Ubuntu “owns” the Linux headlines with very few exceptions. Obviously Chrome OS and Android are in the top news headlines as well, however generally it’s Ubuntu that shows up as most popular in open source news these days.

        • Review: ZaReason Strata Pro 15 Laptop

          So, will I buy one (well, the 13″ version) for myself? My daily computing life is spent between my super powerful desktop and my little netbook. My desktop is used for work, virtualized installs, major image manipulation with inkscape and photo editing with the gimp. My netbook works well as a “sit on the couch and IRC + internet + email + minimal hacking” machine, which is much of what I do in my off-work hours. That said, I do have a hole in my computing world which influenced borrowing this laptop in the first place – nothing to really show off Ubuntu on for customers or at Ubuntu events, nothing to burn CDs on at events, and I have to admit that it would be nice to have a second machine with virtualized hardware so my development machines were more portable. We’ll see where my needs and budget lead me.

        • Unity Bitesize Progress Report for 20 December
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud: Cloud enabled and not just for netbooks

        There’s a Linux distribution for every occasion and the main purpose of Jolicloud is to present a web enabled GUI for netbooks and similar devices. I’m going to take a look at a preview release of the forthcoming 1.1 version. Under the hood, it’s based on the Ubuntu long term service release (10.04), and the front end is handled by a combination of the Chromium web browser and a full screen user interface that eschews overlapping windows.

        Netbooks are the obvious target of this distribution, and by default, it’s setup as a browser for website and cloud based applications. However, it’s easy to expand, and I think this could be a distribution with a lot of uses. It’s possible to add applications, and it can also be installed on any hardware that standard Ubuntu can including desktop PCs. Even better, as well as focussing on convenience, it’s easy to use, meaning that it might be a good platform for people who aren’t very good at using computers.

      • Cloud Livin’ – A JoliCloud Chrome Experiment

        A review off the cuff? It feels more distraction free than normal. Since the browser is the heart of the OS, I’m only focused on my tabs and nothing else. No dock, no start button, no nagging updates, no clutter on the screen. It’s actually refreshing.

Free Software/Open Source

  • AirPlay running on XBMC Linux box

    AirPlay. It’s not just for Apple products anymore. The video you see on the next page shows an XBMC install on a Ubuntu Linux box running an AirPlay client service. As with the AirPlayer solution I wrote for the Mac, the XBMC application advertises on Bonjour and can be played to directly from the built-in iOS video menus.

  • Events

    • Linux shows name dates, ask for papers

      O’Reilly has opened up a call for participation for its Open Source Convention (OSCON) 2011, to be held on July 25-29 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Meanwhile, the Linux Foundation’s Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) announced that its Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) will be held April 11-13 in San Francisco.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Backs Up the “Do Not Track” Feature

        Day by day, concern about internet related privacy is growing. We’re all aware of it, which is why; a lot of companies are moving around to let people bear a better experience in the online world. In this context, Mozilla has made promises to let people cloak their internet activities on the basis of their new feature: Do Not Track.

      • Mozilla CEO: ‘Do Not Track’ Option Will Be In Firefox 4

        When Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz called for better online privacy protection earlier this month, he acknowledged that browser companies have an important role to play, especially in order to implement a “Do Not Track” browser setting. “We’ll give them some time,” said Leibowitz. “But we’d like to see them work a lot faster.”

  • SaaS

    • Stallman’s Cloudburst: Prudence or Paranoia?

      On the other hand: “It is not easy to tell if RMS is putting on a show or if he really believes his own words,” suggested amicus_curious. “The Google cloud and Chrome OS have little to fear from Stallman’s disdain.”

      Then again: “He’s absolutely right,” wrote blossiekins among more than 100 comments on The Guardian. “‘Cloud’ computing … encourages people to be lazy and uninformed about their data and what happens to it.

      “Google isn’t a big cuddly bunny that wants to look after all your data for you cos it’s nice; it wants to look after your data for you because it gives them more metrics,” blossiekins added. “And as the piece spells out, the risks of that are quite chilling.”

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 8.2-BETA1 Released

      The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team has released FreeBSD 8.2 Beta 1 and 7.4 Beta 1of its popular free UNIX derivative. The first betas will be followed by two release candidates. The final versions of FreeBSD 7.4 and FreeBSD 8.2 are scheduled for the 24th of January.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Last minute open giving ideas

      Whether or not you’re among the throngs hurriedly trying to get everything wrapped before the end of the week, it’s a good time to consider some end-of-the-year giving. So why not send some money towards open projects?

  • Programming

    • The Importance of Being Tested

      When I began work on Upstart, one of the earliest decisions I made was to make sure the code was very-well covered by a comprehensive test suite. I’d been working with Robert Collins a lot in the previous couple of years and he is very much an advocate of practices such as Extreme Programming (XP) and Agile Development; especially the discipline of Test Driven Development.


  • 5 Biggest Tech Winners for 2010

    By name, they are ARM Holdings (130.58% growth), Salesforce (127.47%), VMware (113.98%), Informatica (86.9%) and Red Hat (71.95%).

  • Stephen Harper treats Canadians like imbeciles

    What Canadians are now demanding is a leader that inspires hope and optimism. Who challenges us to bridge divides. Who believes that leadership at home and abroad can appeal to our aspirations, not stokes our fears. Who brings us together to accomplish great things. Who will strive to achieve the true promise and potential we know in our hearts is Canada’s destiny.

  • Do-Not-Call List Undermined By Loopholes in the Law
  • CRTC announces that Bell Canada has paid a $1.3 million penalty for violating the National Do Not Call List Rules
  • Science

    • Team prototypes instant genome test

      Scientists from Imperial College London have prototyped a tool that they say could ultimately sequence a person’s genome in minutes, at a fraction of the cost of current techniques.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Student fees protests: who started the violence?

      Protesters and student groups, on the other hand, insisted the policing had been heavy-handed and disproportionate, arguing that the kettling for hours of thousands of people within a freezing Parliament Square was certain to cause frustration that would boil into anger.

    • New Orleans police officers convicted over Katrina killing

      A former New Orleans police officer has been convicted of fatally shooting a man in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and another officer was convicted of burning the man’s body in a case that exposed one of the ugliest chapters in the police department’s troubled history.

    • Israel faces tougher line from EU after former heads call for Palestinian state

      Twenty-six European grandees have urged the EU to adopt a tougher stance towards Israel including taking “concrete measures” and exacting “consequences” over continued settlement building on occupied land, which they say is illegal under international law.

    • 50 municipal rabbis: Don’t rent flats to Arabs

      The statement quotes a variety of halachic passages referring to the issue and notes that in some cases persons renting apartments to non-Jews could be ostracized.

    • Rummy’s Ruminations

      The Unknown
      As we know,
      There are known knowns.
      There are things we know we know.
      We also know
      There are known unknowns.
      That is to say
      We know there are some things
      We do not know.
      But there are also unknown unknowns,
      The ones we don’t know
      We don’t know.

      —Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

  • Cablegate

    • Watch How WikiLeaks’ Mirrors Spread Around the World [Google Earth]

      When WikiLeaks began its release of more than 250,00 classified diplomatic cables late last month, its domain name – wikileaks.org – was the first thing to go. In the week that followed, however, a slew of mirror sites popped up, and Harvard-based developer Laurence Muller gave us a look at the global effort to keep WikiLeaks standing. Muller took the list of WikiLeaks mirrors, determined their locations, and plotted the points on Google Earth.

    • Apple attacks WikiLeaks, yanks iPhone app from app store

      Only a few days after its release, the unofficial WikiLeaks iPhone application has been removed from Apple’s App Store.

      For $1.99, the app offered access to documents on the WikiLeaks website and the @wikileaks twitter feed.

      When clicking on the app’s link, the app store returns with the message, “Your request could not be completed. The item you requested is not available in the US store.”

      Details for the WikiLeaks app can still be seen in Google’s cache.

      Tech Crunch noted that while the secrets website and founder Julian Assange are controversial, the app didn’t seem to violate Apple’s terms of service (TOS).

      Developer Igor Barinov confirmed that the app had been removed from the store.

    • WikiLeaks cables: China ‘fed up’ with Burma’s footdragging on reforms
    • WikiLeaks cables: You ask, we search

      French presidential hopeful, Ségolène Royal, told US diplomats French arrogance was partly to blame for Paris’s lost bid to host the 2012 Olympic games. The games were awarded to London after a closely contested vote that saw both Tony Blair then French president Jacques Chirac fly to Singapore in July 2005 to make their case to delegates.

      A confidential cable dated 17 February 2006 from the US ambassador to Paris concerning a recent meeting with Royal said she had suggested, he wrote, a need “to find France’s place in the world” with the French government showing less arrogance in how it speaks to the world. The latter factor, she suggested, had played a role in the defeat of France’s 2012 Olympics candidacy, he wrote.

    • The Implications of Charging Assange for Conspiracy to Leak [Updated]

      I’m not so sure this path avoids awkward questions. Charging Assange as a conspirator to Manning’s leak might distinguish the Times in the wikileaks case. But it would not distinguish the Times and scores of other media outlets in the many cases in which reporters successfully solicit and arrange to receive classified information and documents directly from government officials. Prosecution of Assange on this theory would therefore raise awkward questions about why DOJ does not bring charges against the American media for soliciting classified information on a regular basis. It would be a fateful step for traditional press freedoms in the United States. Indeed, unless I am missing something, it seems that a successful prosecution of Assange for conspiracy to leak would have broader and more corrosive implications for press freedoms than a successful prosecution under the ambiguity-riddled Espionage Act. In any event, I do not see how going the “conspiracy to leak” route is a press-protecting move.

    • House Judiciary chairman: WikiLeaks did not commit a crime

      There was an interesting development in the WikiLeaks saga on Thursday. You probably didn’t hear about it over the weekend because the fawning corporate media was too busy comparing the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

      The chairman of the House judiciary committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) stuck up for WikiLeaks on Thursday according to The Raw Story. Conyers made the argument that the controversial and unpopular actions of the whistleblower website are protected under free speech.

    • Reporter, Greg Palast describes BP abuses in Azerbaijan

      What I didn’t know was that WikiLeaks was about to release a State Department memo which referred to a small piece of this BP game. Rather than go to Azerbaijan to check the facts, the Wiki newspapers called BP in London for comment.

    • Czech version of Wikileaks will turn to The Pirate Bay for help

      It appears that the Czech Pirate Party’s attempt to set up its own Wikileaks site isn’t going as smoothly as the group hoped. The CPP (Ceska piratska strana) announced the inauguration of its “PirateLeaks” information service earlier this month, to be officially launched on Tuesday. But now the organization says that there will be some delays due to security issues.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NAB still using misinformation to defeat low-power radio expansion

      The National Association of Broadcasters has never been a friend to low-power community radio. Back in 2000, when the FCC first created the service, the NAB did everything it could to try and keep it from becoming a reality. While the broadcast lobby failed to stop it outright, the NAB did succeed in getting Congress to significantly curtail LPFM with a last-minute attachment to an omnibus budget bill passed in December of that year. One of the weapons the NAB used was a bogus CD that purported to demonstrate harmful interference caused by low-power stations, that was later disproved by an independent report ordered by Congress.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • North Bergen Internet shock jock Hal Turner sentenced to 33 months in prison

      At his trials the government confirmed that Turner did work for and with federal agencies, but that he went too far with his hate-filled remarks.

    • Anti-porn plan threatens sites like WikiLeaks

      Supporters of the open internet have reacted angrily to Government plans to block pornography on the web, claiming it is the first step towards online censorship. Taken to its extreme, they warn that it could lead to sites like WikiLeaks being blocked for political reasons.

    • Hungarian parliament passes controversial law to oversee media

      Lawmakers in Hungary have given a controversial new body powers to oversee public news production and levy high fines on private media that break rules on political reporting.

      The Hungarian parliament passed the law establishing the National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) on Monday evening, according to the Hungarian national news agency MTI.

    • Viviane Reding takes on US over data privacy rights in anti-terror campaign

      The EU justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, has confronted Washington over data protection rights in the fight against terror, accusing the US of being interested only in accessing European citizens’ bank records and flight schedules but not in protecting their rights while doing so.

    • Venezuela tightens Internet regulation

      Venezuela’s parliament approved tighter regulation of the Internet on Monday in the latest of a package of laws to entrench President Hugo Chavez’s socialist “revolution” before a new Assembly is sworn-in next month.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Vint Cerf, US Congresswoman Oppose Net Regulation
    • Net Neutrality as Diplomacy

      Citizens and their digital packets deserve much the same treatment as they traverse the global Internet. Just as states expect to conduct their official business on foreign soil without interference, so citizens should be able to lead digitally mediated—and increasingly distributed—lives without fear that their links to their online selves can be arbitrarily abridged or surveilled by their Internet Service Providers or any other party. Just as the sanctity of the embassy and la valise diplomatique is vital to the practice of international diplomacy, the ability of our personal bits to travel about the net unhindered is central to the lives we increasingly live online.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • US Ambassador To The UN: Protecting Patents & Copyrights More Important Than Development

      The US’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Betty E. King, recently gave a press conference in Geneva to talk about a variety of issues. What caught our attention, not surprisingly, was the discussion on intellectual property issues, which seemed to raise a lot more questions than it answered. Towards the end of her talk, she basically complained about WIPO, and how various developing countries are hijacking WIPO to focus on “development,” at the expense of things like patents and copyright. She says that she, and the US government, are pro development, but not if it comes at the expense of patents and copyrights.

    • Copyrights

      • Sorting Through The Spin: The Liberals and the iTax

        The issue of Liberal support for an “iTax” hit a fever pitch this week with competing releases – the Liberals stating they are against it and the Conservatives releasing a radio ad that says the Liberals support such reforms. That led some to ask for evidence to sort out the competing claims. This post is an attempt to do that.

      • “Anything you can do, we can do better?” Ireland joins the copyright review queue

        It’s not just the Brits who have decided to reassess their IP rules in the not-quite-so-new-any-more internet age: the Irish are doing it too. In “Firms hampered by failure to keep law up to date with internet age”, eminent scholar and lawyer TJ McIntyre argues in the Irish Times that much of the Irish law governing the internet is archaic, restrictive and hampers growth, which explains why the Taoiseach (Irish for ‘prime minister’ or, the Kat understands, an old Erse term for ‘man who graciously accepts the credit when things work out but gets first choice at blaming someone else when things don’t’) has announced his support for a review of European and Irish copyright law, stating [and does this sound familiar, anyone?] “it is time to review our copyright legislation, and examine the balance between the rights holder and the consumer, to ensure that our innovative companies operating in the digital environment are not disadvantaged against competitors”.

      • Ok Go Explains There Are Lots Of Ways To Make Money If You Can Get Fans

        Over the last few years, we’ve covered many of the moves by the band Ok Go — to build up a fanbase often with the help of amazingly viral videos, ditch their major record label (EMI), and explore new business model opportunities. In the last few days, two different members of Ok Go explained a bit more of the band’s thinking in two separate places, and both are worth reading.

      • Cultural Heritage rights in the age of digital copyright

        On December, 10th the COMMUNIA WG3 gathered in Istanbul for the final workshop, with the aim of producing a set of recommendations about cultural heritage and the public domain.

        I am not a lawyer, so I took a chance to learn about the marked differences between access rights and property rights. More than that, it became soon clear that Cultural Heritage rights (CHR) only exist in certain EU member states (e.g. Italy, Greece) while in others there are no such rights.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Pandora – One vid per day 27: GINGE – Playing WIZ and gp2x Games

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 21/12/2010: Unigine OilRush on GNU/Linux, WordPress Company Makes ~$10 Million in Revenue

Posted in News Roundup at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • REVIEW: Zero Ballistics – Tank warfare for Linux!

        An observation was made recently that Linux was experiencing a wealth of new (and established titles) being made availabe or updated. This to me is a testament of the rising popularity of the Linux desktop (and subsequent demand for gaming).

        That debate though can wait until another day, as I have downloaded a copy of the latest version of Zero Ballistics, a generic Linux binary which is available now!

      • Here’s A Video Of Unigine OilRush On Linux

        Following yesterday’s holiday surprise and this morning’s exclusive preview of Unigine OilRush, we now have up an in-game video recording we made today of this forthcoming real-time strategy game.

        As said in today’s initial review of Unigine’s first game (for Linux, Windows, and PlayStation 3 platforms), in the coming weeks Unigine Corp will begin with pre-orders of the game and that will allow the public to gain access to the game’s beta. We just happened to get rare access to their latest development build that was used this weekend in Russia for their focus group testing.

      • Linux Gaming: Native vs. Wine vs. Windows 7 Performance

        From this first round of 2010 Wine vs. Ubuntu vs. Windows 7 testing it is tough to draw any conclusions. About the only conclusion to draw would be that you cannot draw any definitive conclusions about the Wine performance compared to the native performance on either Linux or Windows. With some of the least-demanding OpenGL games is where the performance under Wine took the biggest hit compared to Ubuntu 10.10 and Windows 7.


        With Unigine Sanctuary and Unigine Tropics, the results were identical between Ubuntu, Windows 7, and Wine 1.2.1/1.3.9.

      • Warsow 0.6 Released With 6 New Maps, “Capture The Flag” Gametype

        Yet another game got a new version just in time for the holidays: Warsow – a futuristic cartoon-like first-person shooter – 0.6 was released yesterday featuring 6 new maps and a new gametype: the well known “Capture the Flag”.

  • Distributions

    • A look at LinuxConsole 1.0.2010

      The LinuxConsole distribution was my dark horse of 2009. It was a small, French Linux distro which managed to be compact, fast and included an interesting approach to software management. Aside from some translation quirks in the distro’s text, I found it to be an enjoyable system to use. Fast forward about a year and I received a few e-mails informing me that a new LinuxConsole release was up on their website. This version, labelled 1.0.2010, was made available in mid-November and boasts improved module management and a new desktop in the form of LXDE. The project’s website maintains a fairly simple layout with a black & white theme and six translations (Dutch, English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese). There is a small forum for requesting support, reporting bugs and making suggestions. There is a link to frequently asked questions on the menu, but at time of writing it throws up an error saying the page could not be found. The site has links providing access to the project’s source code, a download page and a link to additional modules in a section of the site called the Jukebox.


      Having played with LinuxConsole for a week, I find that it’s an interesting approach, but it probably isn’t a good choice for home users. At least not installed locally. As a light live CD it performs well, but the requirement of downloading Firefox each time the live disc boots puts a speed bump in the road. My biggest issue was with hardware support. It’s not often Linux refuses to run properly on both of my test machines leaving me to wonder where the problems lies and, to date, I haven’t had time to track down the issue. I think the idea of a small distro with an ISO builder and add-on modules is a good one, but this release just didn’t work gracefully for me.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat reaches for clouds with interesting Eucalyptus deal

        The pairing is also interesting since Eucalyptus Systems has long worked closely with Ubuntu Linux distributor Canonical, which relies on the open source Eucalyptus software for its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. While Canonical has not presented much of a threat to Red Hat and its RHEL in the overall enterprise server market, the same cannot be said for cloud computing, where Canonical was first to address cloud computing users and also benefits from the popularity of Ubuntu in both public and private clouds and among developers. So it will be intersting to see whether Eucalyptus Systems’ partnership with Red Hat has any impact on Canonical’s own partnership with Eucalyptus Systems or use of Eucalyptus software.

      • Red Hat reduces cost and complexity of building portal sites with JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform 5.1

        Today Red Hat is announcing the general availability of JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform 5.1 to it’s subscribers and partners via the Red Hat Customer Portal on December 22. With an intuitive, easy to manage user interface and a proven core infrastructure, JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform enables organizations to quickly build dynamic websites in a highly reusable way. Continuing the momentum from the JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform 5.0 release earlier this year, this new release incorporates numerous enhancements based directly upon feedback from customers who have already begun deploying the new JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform architecture. Key among these enhancements is the addition of support for WSRP 2.0 (Web Services for Remote Portlets) standards, improved integration with back-end directories, improved performance and broader certification for web browsers.

    • Debian Family

      • 5 reasons why Debian Unstable does not deserve its name

        1. It contains mainly stable versions of the software

        Yes, you read it right. Unstable is not full of development versions of the various software. It happens on some software but then it’s usually a conscious decision of the maintainer who believes that this specific version is already better than the previous one.

        The packages in sid are supposed to migrate to testing, the place where the next Debian stable release is prepared. So maintainers are advised to only upload stuff that is of release quality, the rest should be uploaded to experimental instead.

      • 5 Reasons why Debian Unstable is Not for End-Users

        Debian unstable is not conceived as a product for end-users, and for very good reasons. There seems to be some misunderstanding and people trying to push end-users to use unstable. This blog post tries to address the claims raised and put them into proper light.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Software Leaders to Advise Linaro

      Following completion of its first major release in November, Linaro announces the expansion of its ecosystem to include Advisory Partners Canonical, GENIVI, HP, LiMo Foundation and MontaVista Software all of whom are involved in building complex Linux based software. The Advisors will help to guide the Linaro Technical Steering Committee (TSC) on critical industry needs, facilitating the alignment of requirements.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The perfect distro for the Acer Aspire One?

        During this review, Ive looked at Kuki 2.8 (399mb download) , Jolicloud 1.1 (696mb download), #!CBL 10 (644mb download), Puppy 5.11 (129mb download), Salix 13.1 (670mb download), Peppermint Ice (latest Spin 429mb download). But the first question I had was – I wonder who’s idea it was to think that this machine loaded with XP is viable? If we believe Microsoft hype, Windows 7 is shipping on everything today and allegedly its suitable for “everything” but if XP (which was released around 2001) strains the specs of a piece of hardware released about 6 years later, then I shudder to consider the performance Windows 7 will give on even more recent netbooks.

    • Tablets

      • China-based white-box tablet PCs among Amazon top 20 selling models

        China-based white-box vendors Zenithink’s 10-inch tablet PC ePad and Anhub’s 7-inch model have ranked among the top 20 selling tablet PCs on Amazon, according to retail channels in Taiwan.

      • Intel’s Atom to ship in over 35 tablets next year

        Intel has been trying to cut itself a slice of the mobile market for years, and it seems the company is finally making some headway. During a conference yesterday, Intel CEO Paul Otellini revealed that the company’s Atom platform will ship in over 35 tablets starting early next year. The chipmaker has partnered with more than a dozen manufacturers who will launch slates running Windows, Android as well as Intel’s own MeeGo operating system.

      • Apple iPad to Lead Android in Tablet Market in 2012

        Google Android tablets will comprise 39 percent of the tablet market by 2012, nearing Apple’s 44 percent iPad share. The trend mirrors how Android handsets are catching the iPhone.

Free Software/Open Source


  • Pakistan Shuts the Door on Transparency

    On Sunday, Asian News International quoted Malik in a story accusing TI Pakistan, Transparency International’s local affiliate, of acting like a “detective agency.” Malik also made a not-so-veiled threat to kick the group out of the country.

  • Drugmaker Lays Off 1,700 Via Conference Call Ahead Of Holidays

    A.R., a Sanofi-Aventis sales representative in California who wished to remain anonymous, as her contract forbids publicly disparaging the company, said she and her coworkers each received one of the two mass emails the company sent out that Tuesday morning. Both emails contained a code, an 800-number and a call time, either 8:00 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. The employees who were instructed to call in at the earlier time were told they could keep their jobs, but the 1,700 employees who called in at 8:30 a.m. weren’t so lucky: They were laid off by a voice on the other line that told them to stop working immediately, and had no opportunity for question or comment.

  • Innovation Mandate: American Students Score ‘C’ In Math And Science

    There was widespread agreement among the 45 or 50 people we interviewed for our Innovation Mandate series of coverage that the U.S. needs to pay more attention to technical education and/or training to prepare tomorrow’s workforce. That’s not to say they all see eye to eye on this issue, however. Some called for more funding; others for a whole new approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) principles and skills; others for getting companies to carry more of the burden through employee training and learning programs.

  • 2010′s biggest stories: What’s your pick?
  • Fear

    At the conclusion of this message: “Spamhaus continues to warn Wikileaks readers to make sure they are viewing and downloading documents only from an official Wikileaks mirror site. We’re not saying ‘don’t go to Wikileaks’ we’re saying ‘Use the wikileaks.ch server instead.’” Here is Spamhaus’s full warning.

  • Facebook vs Twitter: By The Numbers [Infographic]
  • We can save Delicious, but probably not in the way you think

    I left Yahoo over two years ago, but prior to that I spent three years running product for Delicious. Since then I’ve remained a loyal user and supporter. To this day I keep in touch with former Delicious colleagues and consider many to be friends. And though I’ve felt that Delicious has been frustratingly slow to evolve in recent years, I’ve always wished the best for the product and the remaining team members.

  • Senate panel ban seen as double standard

    Gordon R. England’s appointment to a top Pentagon post in 2006 came at a high price. The Senate committee overseeing his confirmation demanded that he give up lucrative stocks and options he held in companies that do business with the military.

    England said he took a big hit on his taxes and lost out on more than $1 million in potential profits that year when he divested himself of interests in companies that included General Dynamics.

    If he had been a senator, he would not have had to sell anything.

  • Science’s Breakthrough of the Year: The First Quantum Machine

    Until this year, all human-made objects have moved according to the laws of classical mechanics. Back in March, however, a group of researchers designed a gadget that moves in ways that can only be described by quantum mechanics — the set of rules that governs the behavior of tiny things like molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. In recognition of the conceptual ground their experiment breaks, the ingenuity behind it and its many potential applications, Science has called this discovery the most significant scientific advance of 2010.

  • IBM

    • Innovation in an Age of Austerity

      Given the current economic conditions in the UK, the US and a number of other countries, there is increased pressure to develop effective methods to measure the impact of research and innovation investments on the economy. He raised a number of critical questions. How do you best measure such an impact – at an individual project; at a larger group like a lab, department or university; or at the national level? Will such economic measurements lead to an over-emphasis on some disciplines at the expense of others?

    • Open innovation: some initial thoughts

      While it is true that some in the open source community propose that all software be 100% free and unfettered forever, there are others that focus more on the core idea that sharing is good but what people do with the software after that is up to them.

      Therefore if you are in another business that is considering working with people or a community outside your organization, be aware that there are many models for openness. Do the research on which is most appropriate for what you plan to do and how you want to engage.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • All mass arrests during COP15 last year declared illegal by Copenhagen City Court

      The City Court of Copenhagen ruled today that the all the mass arrests during the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009 were illigal and the police have to pay 9.000 DKK in damages to the protestors, who have complaint so far. The verdict declares that all the preventive arrests from the 11th to the 16th of december 2009 were illegal, and so the actions of the police during the COP15 is not accepted by the court.

    • G20 conspiracy charges dropped against activist

      While out on bail on G20 conspiracy charges, accused ringleader Jaroslava Avila was allowed to attend university classes, but had to have her class schedule with her just in case police asked.

      House arrest limited almost everything the 23-year-old did.

      She couldn’t use a cellphone and, except for attending school, could only go out when accompanied by someone over 18 — and if she had a note from her mother. And she couldn’t participate in any public demonstrations.

    • Public Money May Fund European Arms: “a hugely misdirected allocation of taxpayers’ money”

      Arms traders are seeking to convince the European Union that publicly-funded scientific research grants should help develop weapons for future wars.

    • Washington subway police to begin random bag checks

      Officers will start random bag inspections on the sprawling Washington subway system, the Washington Metro Transit Police said on Thursday, a week after a man was arrested for making bomb threats to the rail system.

      Metrorail police officers plan to randomly select bags before passengers enter subway stations and they will swab them or have an explosives-sniffing dog check the bags, according to the Metro police.

    • Monitoring America

      Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

      The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

      The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.

  • Cablegate

    • US embassy cables: Wiki witch-hunt

      More insidious than that was the complacent yawn emanating from from sections of the liberal commentariat for which freedom of information is a given. So what’s new about the Gulf Arab Sunnis wanting America or Israel to bomb Iran, or Colonel Gaddafi’s taste for blonde Ukrainian nurses, or Nicolas Sarkozy being described as mercurial and authoritarian, they sneer. Maybe for them, nothing is new. Would that we all could be so wise. But for large areas of the world which do not have the luxury of being able to criticise their governments, the revelations about the private thoughts of their own leaders are important.

      The yawners from Primrose Hill or inside the Beltway forget that when WikiLeaks exposed high-level corruption in Kenya, toxic waste in Africa and all manner of nefarious deeds in the former Soviet bloc, they applauded it. They hailed the whistleblowers as brave democrats. But when the alleged leaker comes from within their own ranks – in this case a 23-year-old US military intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, who now faces 52 years in prison – then it is a different matter: it is treason, a threat to national security. Close WikiLeaks down, run it off the internet, the cry goes up. All it takes is one call from Joe Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate committee on homeland security, and internet hosting providers buckle at the knees. Yesterday the French joined in. Viewed from China, which has been lectured for censoring the internet, this reaction must seem … very Chinese. Let’s face it. In these cold December days, there is nothing more warming than a witch-hunt.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Conservatives promised to run ‘pro-American regime’

      Conservative party politicians lined up before the general election to promise that they would run a “pro-American regime” and buy more arms from the US if they came to power this year, the leaked American embassy cables show.

    • Why I Love WikiLeaks
    • WikiLeaks cables reveal how US manipulated climate accord
    • WikiLeaks: The man who kicked the hornet’s nest
    • Wikileaks are not terrorists [PDF]
    • Brad Manning Has Rights!

      Charged but not convicted of any crime, American PFC Brad Manning is being held largely incommunicado at Quantico, without bedding or permission to exercise in his cell. He is purposely deprived of human contact. His current treatment – based on unproven charges – is far harsher than the treatment and sentences of four famous and convicted US federal-level spies.

      Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen was arrested in early 2001, and charged with selling secrets to the Soviets during the preceding two decades. Upon arrest, Hanssen confessed and was able to hire as an attorney the extremely competent Plato Cacheris, who negotiated a plea bargain. After an entire career spent profiting from the sale of classified information to the Soviets and later the Russian Federation, he is held at Supermax in isolation. Well, not exactly like Brad Manning – Hanssen has bedding, books, and exercise.

    • China pays Nepal police to catch Tibet refugees: WikiLeaks

      China pays Nepalese police to arrest Tibetan refugees as they cross over the border to escape persecution, according to US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.

      One cable, sent by an unnamed officer at the New Delhi embassy in February, quoted a source saying that China “rewards (Nepali forces) by providing financial incentives to officers who hand over Tibetans attempting to exit China.”

      “Beijing has asked Kathmandu to step up patrols… and make it more difficult for Tibetans to enter Nepal,” one of the embassy’s sources said in a cable released Sunday.

    • Cablegate: The Game
    • SNL: Julian Assange Hacks Into Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘Person Of The Year’ Thank-You Message

      Julian Assange has been maligned in the press, thrown in jail, had his name dragged through the mud, but now he has a real reason to be furious with the United States:

      Time chose Mark Zuckerberg as ‘Person of the Year’ over him!

    • ‘WikiLeaks Is Annoying, But Not a Threat’

      De Maizière: WikiLeaks is irritating and annoying for Germany, but not a threat. From an international perspective, I see their actions as totally irresponsible. One might also ask, however, if a government is acting intelligently when it organizes its entire diplomatic correspondence on a network that can be accessed by 2.5 million people. I have my doubts, though, about total transparency being a basic human right. Governments also have to be able to communicate confidentially. Confidentiality and transparency are not mutually exclusive, but rather two sides of the same coin.

      SPIEGEL: WikiLeaks is ultimately part of the system of checks and balances that exist in a democratic society. What do you see as the difference between it and media players such as SPIEGEL?

      De Maizière: The media do not demand total access and total transparency. They are delighted, of course, when they get hold of classified documents. But journalists would not argue on the basis of political theory that there should be no more government secrets whatsoever. That is not even what SPIEGEL advocates — but WikiLeaks does, and that is wrong. I think it is disquieting that those who live in a shadowy cyber world, of all people, demand total transparency from others.

    • Secrecy conference: In countries like Romania and Cambodia, illegal leaks can be transparency’s only hope

      While, in the United States, WikiLeaks has caused a furor for its journalism-by-data-dump, similar leaks abroad are a major source of reporting on government operations — occasionally providing the only transparency available, as journalists struggle against secretive governments, corrupt media, and threatened or actual violence. At the first morning panel of the Nieman Foundation’s secrecy and journalism conference, international reporters and editors drew connections and contrasts between the situation here and abroad.
      When media is part of the problem

      Stefan Candea, a Nieman Fellow and founder of the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, was 11 when communist rule collapsed in his home country, ending 50 years of media as propaganda tool. Today, however, the media is still far from being without fear or favor.

    • WikiLeaks finds friends with Pirate Party of Canada

      Other Canadians have chosen to support the controversial WikiLeaks Web site by providing hosting services and mirror sites, but now Elections Canada will have to decide if a federal political party can host the site. The Canadian government is involved in some of the recent diplomatic cables released in the latest batch of leaks to news organizations and the Internet at large.

    • Feds Seek Computer Firewall to Block WikiLeaks ‘Pollution’

      Among the more striking aspects of the still unfolding WikiLeaks controversy are government demands that their workers — and even federal contractors — refrain from reading leaked classified documents, even though they are in the public domain.

      Now, according to one network security company, the government wants to install a system that can block unclassified computers from accessing WikiLeaks documents no matter where they originate.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Indonesia’s Billion-Dollar Climate Experiment

      His definition of success is simple: lower emissions. But when I asked whether the government would reconsider concessions such as the one near Sungai Tohor, Kuntoro turned vague. “It all depends on where the concession is,” he said. “We are going to limit development on peat land; there are a number of factors that we have to consider before making a decision to review or not to review.” He would not elaborate.

    • Coral reefs ‘could disappear in our children’s lifetime’

      Over the past decades, there have dozens of articles in the media describing dire futures for coral reefs. In the 1960s and ’70s, we were informed that many reefs were being consumed by a voracious coral predator, the crown-of-thorns starfish. In the 1980s and ’90s, although these starfish still reared their thorny heads from time to time, the principal threats had moved on — to sediment runoff, nutrients, overfishing, and general habitat destruction.

    • Cancún: From mangrove paradise to polluted megasprawl

      He fears that climate change and accompanying sea level rises, together with more frequent storm surges, will devastate the reef completely, and lead to more damage on land. This year has seen major coral bleaching along much of the reef as sea tenmperatures rose to some of their highest-ever temperatures. Scientists expect wholesale die-offs in the future.

    • Wild chimps make their own ‘dolls’

      That’s remarkable in itself, but Sonya Kahlenberg of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and Richard Wrangham of Harvard University, found that juvenile chimps in this population play with sticks like children play with dolls, cradling them and even making nests for them to sleep in at night – and they found that the behaviour is more common in females.

  • Finance

    • How the Oligarchs Took America

      The right wing won the opening battle. In the 2010 midterm elections, shadowy outside organizations (who didn’t have to disclose their donors until well after Election Day, if at all) backing Republican candidates doled out $190 million, outspending their adversaries by a more than two-to-one margin, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. American Action Network, operated by Republican consultant Fred Malek and former Republican Senator Norm Coleman, spent $26 million; the US Chamber of Commerce plunked down $33 million; and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS shelled out a combined $38.6 million. Their investments in conservative candidates across the country paid off: the 62 House seats and six Senate seats claimed by Republicans were the most in the postwar era—literally, a historic victory.

    • Iceland exits recession

      Iceland’s decision two years ago to force bondholders to pay for the banking system’s collapse appeared to pay off after official figures showed the country exited recession in the third quarter.

      The Icelandic economy, which contracted for seven consecutive quarters until the summer, grew by 1.2% in the three months to the end of September.

    • The deficit hawks’ scare stories

      First, they got the Fed to bail out Wall Street banks with taxpayer dollars. Now they want us to believe it’s time to cut vital spending

    • Spencer Bachus finally gets his chairmanship

      It’s taken 18 years of accumulating seniority, backbench toiling on policy issues large and small, generous cam­paign donations to fellow Republi­cans and a GOP takeover of the U.S. House, but Rep. Spencer Bachus will finally get the gavel he’s always wanted.

    • New Committee Chair Gets Ready to Serve — the Banks
    • Will Cutting Taxes for the Rich Really Create Jobs?

      The White House and many Congressional Democrats recently caved to Republicans in a deal extending all of the Bush tax cuts for two years in exchange for a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits. The deal reverses stated opposition by many Democrats to an extension of tax cuts for the top income bracket, with 25% of the savings from the deal going to benefit the richest 1% of Americans. While Democrats who supported the bill claimed to do so begrudgingly, the plan has many avid supporters who justify its lopsided benefits by insisting that tax cuts for the rich and for businesses create jobs and benefit the economy. This is a big myth.

    • Regulatory Capture: What the Experts Have Found

      I thought it might be useful to begin constructing a compendium of quotes from various economists and political scientists who have studied the regulatory process throughout history and identified regulatory capture or client politics as a major problem.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why is a former Greenpeace activist siding with Indonesia’s logging industry?

      In 1971 he was a young, idealistic PhD student with an afro and a Sgt Pepper moustache, fiercely opposed to US plans to test H-bombs in the Aleutian islands. He was chosen to join the inaugural voyage of a small group called The Don’t Make a Wave Committee. It planned to sail an old halibut boat to the test site. The crew renamed the boat the Greenpeace. When the committee changed its clunky title, it took the same name.

      Moore became one of Greenpeace’s most articulate and effective spokespeople, leading campaigns against nuclear warships, whaling and seal clubbing. He became head of the Greenpeace Foundation, which later turned into Greenpeace Canada, and he was a director of Greenpeace International. Then, in the 80s, it all went horribly wrong. Moore claims he fell out with Greenpeace over scientific issues. Greenpeace maintains that he left after his autocratic style lost him the votes he needed to stay on the board. In either case, in 1986 he left Greenpeace and started a fish-farming business on Vancouver Island. In 1991 he wound it up after the price of salmon halved. Moore then made two moves that came to define his later career. He joined the board of the Forest Alliance of British Columbia, a group set up by logging companies to fight the greens trying to prevent the clear-cutting of ancient forests; and he set up the first of his consultancy businesses. In 2001 he founded Greenspirit Strategies with two of the public relations experts he had worked with at the Forest Alliance.

    • Tea Party Nation President Says It ‘Makes A Lot Of Sense’ To Restrict Voting Only To Property Owners

      Every week, the Tea Party Nation hosts a weekly radio program, calling itself a “home for conservatives.” Two weeks ago, Tea Party Nation President Judson Phillips hosted the program and discussed changes that he felt should be made to voting rights in the United States. He explained that the founders of the country originally put “certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote.” He continued, “One of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you’re a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners”…

    • Poll Finds Fox News Viewers Significantly Misinformed

      A poll conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org has found that the higher amounts of money flowing to the 2010 elections led to a more poorly informed public. The poll, titled “Misinformation and the 2010 Election: A Study of the U.S. Electorate,” was the first conducted after a national election since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission, which freed corporations and unions to spend unlimited money to influence U.S. elections.

    • Honduras’ PR Coup

      Wikileaks has recently published documents suggesting that PR spin helped determine the final outcome of the June 2009 Honduran coup. At the same time that a July 2009 diplomatic cable from the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras to top government officials confirmed that the Honduran president’s removal was illegal, professional lobbyists and political communicators were beginning a PR blitz, eventually managing to manipulate America into believing the coup was a constitutional act.

  • UK

    • Cabinet Office claims major savings on ICT

      The Cabinet Office has said that freezes on ICT and other spending have saved £500m since May.

      The department said it saved altogether £1bn through “efficiency and reform measures”, with half the sum saved through moratoria on ICT, consulting, recruitment, marketing and property spending.


      There is a certain familiarity to the words used by Bob Ainsworth, the former Labour Home Office and latterly Defence Minister, who has announced his conversion to the belief that possession of all drugs should be decriminalised.

    • Lord Chief Justice allows Twitter in court
  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Mark Zuckerberg is TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year? Where’s the “dislike” button?

      Unfortunately, the terms under which he claims to have done this set a terrible precedent for our future — for our control over the software we use to interact with each other, for control over our data, and for our privacy. The damage is not limited to Facebook users. Because so many sites — including TIME — use Facebook’s user-tracking “Like” button, Zuckerberg is able to collect information about people who aren’t even users of his site. These are precedents which hurt our ability to freely connect with each other.

    • Web filtering: Why a Great British Firewall will be useless

      Ed Vaizey, the Communications Minister, said yesterday that he wants UK internet service providers to filter sexually explicit content. By default, your internet connection would be restricted to only allow appropriate sites – unless you call your ISP and ask them to turn the filter off.

      There are many reasons why this is a bad idea.

      First, how do you define “explicit content”? Private web filtering companies have been struggling with that problem for years. Should advice pages for teenagers that have frank discussions about sex and sexual health be filtered?

      Then there’s the issue of free speech – sooner or later, someone will try to use this filter to block politically sensitive sites. Claire Perry, MP for Devizes, gave the most telling quote: “We just want to make sure our children aren’t stumbling across things we don’t want them to see.”

    • Is a UN Internet takeover looming? Not quite

      Perhaps you saw or heard the headlines last Friday or over the weekend: the United Nations could take over the Internet! (Or, as the Drudge Report put it, “UN PLANS INTERNET REGULATION.”) This, you may not be surprised to learn, isn’t quite accurate. A UN working group is currently talking about what, if anything, it could do to improve the operation of its Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a group devoted to dialogue but possessing no decision-making powers. But some are making plans to give the UN far more power.

    • Censorship – Won’t someone think of the adults?

      The Government, doubtless with the most honourable of intentions – for they are, all of them, honourable men – has decided that pressure should be put upon the UK’s internet suppliers to filter out pornography, to protect the children of the nation, amidst concern that British children are becoming too sexualised, too young.

      It’s, frankly, hard to know where to start with this absolutely insane, illiberal and impractical proposal. Let’s first start with the idea. Filtering of child porn works so well (in terms of stopping people seeing it; I doubt it does anything at all to stop actual child abuse), the theory goes. Some children see porn on the internet, and children seeing porn is a bad thing, so the filtering should be extended to all pornography, and anyone who wants to see porn should have to ‘opt in’ if they wish to have an uncensored (I’m sure the government would prefer the word “unfiltered”) internet connection.

    • Internet porn block ‘not possible’ say ISPs

      Government plans to block pornography “at source” are unlikely to prove effective, say ISPs.

      The proposal to cut off access to pornographic material was floated by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey in an interview with the Sunday Times.

      The government is talking to ISPs to set up a meeting at which the proposal will be discussed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • State Department Spending Millions To ‘Train’ Foreign Judges About ‘Intellectual Property’

      The State Department has put out a press release announcing that it has approved spending $3.36 million next year to “train” foreign judges and other law enforcement officials about “intellectual property.” There are 15 different projects, which all come down to various training programs for judges, police, law enforcement in how to kowtow to American industry in dealing with infringement of copyrights, trademarks and patents.

    • Copyrights

      • Another Big Win Against Mass Copyright Lawsuits

        If you follow Slyck with any consistency, you’ve no doubt followed the extensive John and Jane Doe lawsuits clawing their ways through US court. These campaigns were designed similarly to the old way the RIAA used to do business; obtain thousands of suspected file-sharer’s IP addresses and send pre-litigation letters demanding monetary settlement. More often than not, people complied. The RIAA stopped doing business this way, but others took up the mantle.

      • How do you solve a problem like copyright?

        A few weeks ago Cooks Source, a small for-profit magazine, published a piece on medieval apple pie recipes by Monica Gaudio. They had picked up the piece from a website Gaudio had published it on and neglected to inform her that they were using her writing, or to compensate her. When the writer complained, the Cook’s Source editor responded with the claim that everything published on the Internet is in the public domain.

        The story caused what seemed the entire Internet to descend on Cooks Source and pretty much put them out of business. Of course, the editor’s assertion, that content published on the Internet is in the public domain, is manifestly untrue – it displays a profound lack of understanding of copyright law. And yet, chances are at least some of the people who were so outraged by the editor’s behaviour and comments are perhaps not quite so observant of copyright law when it comes to other matters, say the downloading of music and movies. The story illustrates some complex questions on the thorny relationship between copyright and digital content.

      • Major File-Sharing Sites Go Dark To Protest Anti-Download Law

        A coalition of file-sharing sites are voluntarily taking themselves offline to protest against the likely passing of new legislation tomorrow. The sites, which together are believed to generate up to 70% of Spain’s Internet traffic, will display a black page warning that if the so-called Sinde Act is approved, their sites could disappear forever. Earlier this month, cables leaked by Wikileaks showed that Spain had bowed to US pressure to introduce the law.

      • TorrentFlux.com is for sale!
      • On cookbooks, orphans, and out-of-print books
      • Homeland Security’s ‘Evidence’ For Domain Seizures Also Included Songs Sent By Labels

        We’ve already covered some of the serious problems with the “affidavit” filed by Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit, highlighting confusion about both how the internet works and the law itself. The affidavit was written by a recent college grad who appears to have little experience in the subject matter. What we had seen so far was only a partial version of the affidavit, covering the reasons for seizing Torrent Finder’s domain

      • DHS Seized Domains Based On Bad Evidence

        Four of them involved hiphop-related blogs — including ones that hiphop stars like Kanye West and others used to promote their own works, and the last one was a meta search engine that simply aggregated other search engines. Weeks went by without the owners of those sites even being told why their domains were seized, but the affidavit for the seizure of those five sites has recently come out, and it’s full of all sorts of problems. Not only was it put together by a recent college graduate, who claimed that merely linking to news and blog posts about file sharing constituted evidence of copyright infringement, it listed as evidence of infringement songs that labels specifically sent these blogs to promote. Also, what becomes clear is that the MPAA was instrumental in ‘guiding’ ICE’s rookie agent in going after these sites, as that appeared to be the only outside expertise relied on in determining if these sites should be seized.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA: Original Expectations and Future Implications

          On 15 November, a group of forty mostly industrialised countries released the text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). This article looks at the treaty’s possible implications for the global intellectual property system, as well as its backers and the developing countries hostile to it.

          One way to determine the significance of ACTA is to assess whether it has lived up to the expectations expressed by the parties in 2007-2008 when it came first under consideration.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg


Links 20/12/2010: Red Hat Upgraded, Net Neutrality in Great Danger

Posted in News Roundup at 12:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Thanks partner! A year of pair programming

      With the above setup I just use my usual coding environment, which is emacs plus a bunch of GNU screen sessions in a gnome-terminal.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Clutter Picks Up An EvDev Input Back-End, Helps Wayland

        Development work towards the major Clutter 1.6 stable release has been progressing nicely within the Clutter 1.5 development branch. These recent development snapshots have brought performance improvements, a GLSL generation back-end, greater usage of OpenGL FBOs, new API functionality, and even a Clutter Wayland back-end. A new development release of Clutter (v1.5.10) is now here and it brings an evdev input back-end.

        What good is an evdev input back-end for Clutter? Well, this provides support for input devices on Linux when using EGL-based back-ends rather than just a traditional X Server, etc.

  • Applications

    • DockBarX Theme Pack For Avant Window Navigator / Faenza Users

      “DBX big dock” pack is a DockBarX theme package especially created for those that use DockBarX with Avant Window Navigator and comes with updated “Unite” themes (Unite_v and Unite_h) with new blink attenton effects as well as versions for these themes without backgrounds and bigger icons for Faenza icon theme users (the themes are called Faenza_Unite_v and Faenza_Unite_h). The pack also includes a mod of the DockBarX “dock” theme with nice colors and attention effects.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Upstream vs. Downstream—Clash of Visual Identities

      In the past eight years or so, Gnome Desktop enjoyed more or less small yet steady improvements that have brought it to where it is now—IMHO one of the best desktop environments. However, along with the side push from the over-hyped release of KDE4, there has been a growing number of people who wished for a major change, instead of steady improvement. Their efforts are to be realized in GNOME 3 which will most likely be in Fedora 15. Let alone, for now, the tiny problem that this messes up my workflow in a way that it is much less efficient albeit much more eye-candy-ish. That’s not the point of today’s post. Today I want to focus on the problem of visual identity.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Install XBMC Media Center 10 on Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat and LinuxMint 10 Julia | PPA repository

          XBMC 10 “Dharma” is released, this new release comes with many new features and support to many new media formats, now XBMC play all of the current media formats available, including the new WebM/VP8 codec that is the latest buzz. Hardware acceleration has been added in windows (Vista or 7) via DXVA2, CrystalHD has been added for all platforms (best supported in OSX and Linux), VDPAU support has been improved in Linux, and VAAPI support has been added for the hardware that supports it in Linux. This new version comes also with 11 different skins , all with distinct looks and personalities. There are far too many improvements to list here, so check out the changelog for a full list.

Free Software/Open Source


  • Tweet revenge: Italians bombard EU summit wall with Silvio Berlusconi insults
  • Ukraine Yulia PM Tymoshenko charged with misusing funds

    The Ukrainian opposition leader, Yulia Tymoshenko, has been charged with misusing state funds while serving as prime minister, her spokeswoman says.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • The Swedish Pimpocracy

      Many intelligent women (including the European group Women Against Rape and one of my favorite bloggers, Furry Girl) recognize the pursuit of Julian Assange for what it is: A politically-motivated persecution of a man who embarrassed several of the most powerful governments on Earth, using rape as an excuse in order to win the support of silly, gullible women (including, apparently, a number of the staff at Jezebel). As Katrin Axelsson points out in the linked Women Against Rape article, this is no different from the old Southern practice of lynching uppity black men for looking at white women. It’s not a defense of women, but rather an exploitation.

    • Daniel Ellsberg on Bradley Manning

      Explaining the parallels between WikiLeaks and the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg compares himself to Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange to the New York Times.

    • WikiLeaks: the emperor wears no clothes

      Sites have been removed by their hosting companies, servers seized by police or other governmental authorities, take-down requests issued under the rule of law: none of these prevented information spreading.

      But the issues run deeper than this. As former US president Thomas Jefferson once stated, “information is the currency of democracy”. Democracy – the rule of the people – as currently understood and practiced is, and has long been, severely restricted.

      Power is abused in our name by governments and transnational corporations around the world: they fight illegal wars; abuse and kill people; pillage property and planet. The powerful accumulate wealth and force the majority – the rest of us – to pay for it: with our health, our freedom, our time, our money and with our lives. For a long time, we have been deceived about the reasons for this: it is our right for the truth to be known. Without that right, democracy cannot and does not exist. The current assault on WikiLeaks is yet another instance of democracy-hating by elites.

    • WikiLOCs

      Libraries are institutions with important values regarding information. They have their codes of ethics, which are derived from the broad field of information ethics and varies between countries.

      35 Countries have official professional codes of ethics for libraries and the US is of course one of them, with American Library Association (ALA) codes of ethics.

    • Wikileaks and 21st Century Statecraft

      Back in more innocent times, in January of this year, Hillary Clinton gave a speech at the Newseum (a 250,000-square foot monument to media complacency) in which she introduced the concept of “21st Century Statecraft” – a term referring to the recent State Department push for the use of social and new media for diplomatic and geopolitical ends. In this speech she affirmed the US’s commitment to the “principles of internet freedom”, a new Human Right for the 21st Century. Clinton waxed lyrical about the ethical, financial, political and practical reasons why freedom of access and use of the internet should be considered an absolute right – noting that America “stand[s] for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas”. The State Department, it seemed, was committed to a comprehensive and open approach to online freedom and engagement, a new stance for a government which had hitherto tended towards a more iterative approach to interaction with the modern world.

    • Assange in respect for himself

      Assange offense to tabloid reporters sleazy questions.

    • Cartoon: Thanks a Bunch, WikiLeaks
  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Netizens Force Fang Binxing, Father of the GFW, Off of Sina Microblog

      On Monday morning, Fang Binxing, the President of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications who is known as the “father of the Great Firewall,” opened a Sina Microblog account. Within the first three hours, over 3818 netizens followed him, and despite rapid deleting of comments to his posts by Sina editors, many comments still appeared, the vast majority of which made fun of or cursed him. At 12:55 pm Beijing time, about three hours after it opened, his original tweets and all the comments disappeared.

    • All internet porn will be blocked to protect children, under UK government plan

      THE UK Government is to combat the early sexualization of children by blocking internet pornography unless parents request it, it was revealed today.

      The move is intended to ensure that children are not exposed to sex as a routine by-product of the internet. It follows warnings about the hidden damage being done to children by sex sites.

      The biggest broadband providers, including BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, are being called to a meeting next month by Ed Vaizey, the communications minister, and will be asked to change how pornography gets into homes.

    • Broadband firms urged to block sex websites to protect children

      Internet service providers are to be asked by the government to tighten up on website pornography to try to combat the early sexualisation of children.

      Ministers believe broadband providers should consider automatically blocking sex sites, with individuals being required to opt in to receive them, rather than opt out and use the available computer parental controls.

    • Belarus: Gmail, Twitter, LiveJournal, Facebook and other Sites Blocked
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Editorial: A UN Controlled Internet Should Never Happen

      When I first heard about UN members wanting to regulate the internet, the first thing that popped in to my mind was, “will never work”. However, the second thing that came to my mind was that even if control was successful, one name – Galileo, the famous astronomer of the late 1500s to early 1600s.

      Galileo put forth a theory that said that the Earth was not the center of the universe. The prevailing theory at that point in history was that the Earth, not the sun, was at the center of the universe. Unfortunately for Galileo, this drew controversy from the church and he came under significant pressure to denounce his theories.

    • Deep Packet Inspection Firms Trying To Turn Net Neutrality Satire Into Reality

      This, of course, implies that ISPs are somehow unfairly carrying the burden of the services people access online. It may sound nice, but the problem is that it’s almost entirely false. Individuals pay for their own bandwidth, and companies pay for their bandwidth. What the ISPs are hoping to do is to effectively double and triple charge both sides in an effort to squeeze even more money out of the system than they already do. What’s ignored is that broadband services are already quite profitable, and they’re already getting paid for this stuff. What’s really happening is that — just as content providers “overvalue” their content, this story is about ISPs overvaluing their own contribution, and wanting a larger piece of the pie concerning money made online. What they ignore is that the reason there are so many useful services online, that make it worthwhile to buy internet access in the first place, is because of the lack of such tollbooths.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The politics of downloading

        But some years ago I was in this position with what I consider one of the top television programmes of all time. Aaron Sorkin’s ‘ The West Wing’. Scheduling in the UK (on Channel 4 and its cable channels) meant one season was being broadcast at the same time as the succeeding one and, very clearly, not only would watching both spoiler me without any external interaction, but we were also somewhat behind my friends in the USA and elsewhere who, like myself, were deep in discussion about the series’ storylines and arc.

        So I torrented it to catch up.

        And, whilst I admit that fact let me also add that I bought the DVD box sets for every season as soon as they became available (as well as re-watching it on UK television once it arrived here). No studio or artist lost out, indeed they profited over and above what they would have received had I solely watched it on the local services. I could also keep up with discussion online about the story arc of the show at the time it was happening. Even now I have an annual ‘re-watch all seven seasons from the start’.

        And The West Wing isn’t the only show this applies too. Buffy, Angel, Dark Angel, Firefly, and others too have seen me buy the DVDs once they are available.

        So I’m left wondering what the answer is. Where a television programme is going to be available to me and everyone else in the country to watch for free, is there any actual financial loss incurred by anyone if I were to download it ahead of broadcast?

      • The New Rock-Star Paradigm

        Succeeding in the music business isn’t just about selling albums anymore. The lead singer of OK Go on how to make it without a record label (treadmill videos help)

      • MPAA/RIAA Lobbied Extensively In Favor of Domain Seizures

        The recent action by US authorities against so-called rogue websites comes on the heels of significant lobbying efforts by two well known anti-piracy groups. In the last quarter the MPAA and RIAA together spent a total of $1.8 million on lobby efforts in Washington. Public records reveal that the industry groups focused heavily on legislation and authorities involved in domain name seizures.

Clip of the Day

Assange in respect for himself

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 20/12/2010: PCLinuxOS 2010.12, Mandriva 2010.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Add-On Developers Get Add-on SDK 1.0b1

        If you are a developer working on Firefox add-ons, here is good news for you. The Jetpack team has announced the release of Add-on SDK 1.0b1.

        Add-on SDK 1.0b1 helps add-on developers in many ways as it “combines tools for creating, testing, and packaging add-ons with a set of high-level APIs that make it simple to access pages, tabs, and other browser features.”

  • CMS

    • Diaspora

      Diaspora is a open source, distributed social networking software. The joindiaspora site is an instance that the primary authors of the code are running in order to help them fix issues before publishing a stable release (capacity and otherwise). So, after poking around on it for a few days, a few thoughts:

      On the good side:

      * Nice to see that everything is https all the time
      * “Aspects” are cool. It’s basically a grouping of your friends. You can add friends to multiple aspects, create new aspects called whatever you like, etc. Then you can share something with just one or several aspects, or everything. It allows you to narrow things nicely if you want to only send something to close friends or co-workers
      * The facebook connection at least works. I was able to share something to the world and it showed up on my facebook account. There’s a twitter connection as well
      * There is a ‘export all my stuff as xml’ and ‘export all my photos’ function. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to work currently, but it’s nice to be able to have the option to move all your data to another ‘seed’ (diaspora instance) and have everything keep working.
      * There’s a checkbox to determine if you show up in searches or not, and one for email when people add comments, etc

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Clause Escape

    During Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings last summer, Sen. Tom Coburn asked her whether a law requiring Americans to eat their fruits and vegetables could be justified as an exercise of the federal government’s constitutional authority to “regulate commerce…among the several states.” Kagan’s stubborn resistance to answering Coburn’s question suggested it was not as wacky as it may have seemed.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Defense Ministry: South Korea starts live-fire drill

      South Korea’s planned live-fire military exercises started Monday afternoon, the country’s ministry of defense said.

      North Korea has said the drill could ignite a war and has promised to respond militarily, but has also agreed to a series of actions after former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson urged the North to not take an aggressive response.

    • ‘Israeli War Crimes’ signs to go on Metro buses

      “Israeli War Crimes,” the enormous advertisement reads. “Your tax dollars at work.”

      To the right of the image is a group of children — one little boy stares out at the viewer, the others gawk at a demolished building, all rebar and crumbled concrete.

      It’s an ad you’ll be seeing soon on a handful of Metro buses in downtown Seattle.

    • New anti-terrorist measures unveiled
    • Baywatch actress ‘singled out for body scan’

      Donna D’Errico, who also modelled for Playboy, believes she was deliberately targeted by TSA security officials because of her figure and career as a swimsuit pin up.

      “It is my personal belief that they pulled me aside because they thought I was attractive,” she told AOL Weird News.

    • Privacy watchdog to investigate treatment of travellers at airports

      Canada’s privacy watchdog has launched a sweeping audit to find out whether the federal government is doing enough to protect the privacy of air travellers, given the heightened focus on national security.

      Jennifer Stoddart, newly reappointed as the country’s privacy commissioner for a three-year term, has devoted many hours in recent years to taking on online giants Facebook and Google. Stoddart said “identity management” for citizens and consumers in the online world remains a priority — but so do national-security issues.

    • FBI memo raises Barbie child pornography fears
    • Air Force Is Through With Predator Drones

      Wave a tear-stained handkerchief for the drone that changed the face of air war: The Air Force won’t buy any more Predators. The Reaper drone is about to be in full effect.

  • Cablegate

    • Biden: US seeks to halt WikiLeaks

      Vice President Joe Biden says the Justice Department is looking at what the U.S. can do to stop more document releases from WikiLeaks.

      Biden says he won’t comment on that process, but has strong words about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (ah-SAHNJ’).

      Biden says if Assange conspired to get classified documents with a member of the U.S. military, then “that’s fundamentally different” than if a reporter were given classified material by a source.

    • MEPs debate Wikileaks case

      Spanish MEP Raül Romeva i Rueda (Greens/EFA) told the House that Assange revealed the truth and that should be protected.

    • Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks

      Karl Rove’s help for Sweden as it assists the Obama administration’s prosecution against WikiLeaks could be the latest example of the adage, “Politics makes strange bedfellows.”

      Rove has advised Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt for the past two years after resigning as Bush White House political advisor in mid-2007. Rove’s resignation followed the scandalous Bush mid-term political purge of nine of the nation’s 93 powerful U.S. attorneys.

    • ENISA statement on Wikileaks events

      The Agency today issues the following brief analysis of the information security events regarding Wikileaks.

    • WikiLeaks and the liberal mind

      The release by WikiLeaks of US government cables is a sheer triumph for transparency.

    • WikiLeaks vs The Machine

      Shiar Youssef, a spokesman for the UK pressure group Corporate Watch, called the withdrawal of corporate support for WikiLeaks “pretty disgusting”.

    • [ORG on] Wikileaks: stand up for free speech

      Companies including Amazon and PayPal have pulled the plug on Wikileaks, under direct pressure from the US government. As such, the US government is engaged in a campaign to suppress critical comment and free speech. They have a right to take the leaker to court, and no doubt will do so: but direct and personal political intervention to remove websites is highly dangerous.

      These companies now hold the keys to our ability to exercise our freedom of expression. This is a greater responsibility than playing nice with outraged politicians. Corporations should be insisting on the due process of law.

    • Daniel Ellsberg on Colbert Report: Julian Assange is Not a Criminal Under the Laws of the United States
    • Ellsberg on “Countdown With Olbmermann”: Leak the Pentagon Papers of Iraq and Afghanistan Through WikiLeaks
    • Naomi Wolf on rape, justice and Julian Assange
    • Anonymous and Operation Payback

      It’s unclear how Anonymous, or those represented by the Anon News post, want to proceed but certainly, moves such as the one perpetrated (word used advisedly) by whoever hacked Gawker, don’t help anyone.

      But without the direct actions taken by Operation Payback supporters, and Assange, we’d still be where we were a couple of years ago.

      Where do we go from here?

      The only way is up, and providing the fuel are the people behind both groups, disparate as they may seem to be.

    • Columbia j-school staff: WikiLeaks prosecution ‘will set a dangerous precedent’

      Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism faculty and officers tell President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder that “while we hold varying opinions of Wikileaks’ methods and decisions, we all believe that in publishing diplomatic cables Wikileaks is engaging in journalistic activity protected by the First Amendment” and that “as a historical matter, government overreaction to publication of leaked material in the press has always been more damaging to American democracy than the leaks themselves.”

    • Our Leaky World

      WikiLeaks is only the beginning.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Myth of Peak Oil Demand and the Example of Loma Prieta

      The demand-shift response to the Quake of ’89 is actually a helpful narrative to understand larger demand-shifts now taking place in the global oil markets. And, the story also helps to clarify the primacy of supply, and how demand is only inelastic up to certain barriers. Yes, it’s true that Bay area drivers used many highways and roadways that were affected in the quake: right up until the time they collapsed. The expense of replacing those highways however, and the opportunity for other transport solutions obviated a full resurrection in the years following the temblor. In the same way that this transportation demand was never fully rebuilt but shifted elsewhere to other solutions, the OECD bloc of Japan, Europe, and the United States have been downshifting their own demand for oil the past decade as oil prices have marched higher, shifting oil supply to other parts of the world. This ongoing earthquake, if you will, of relentlessly higher oil prices keeps removing tranches of oil demand from here in the OECD. And it’s never been rebuilt. This process been underway for at least five years, and shows no sign of reversing.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs pay out $111million in bonuses despite taking billions in bailout money

      The bonuses were agreed in 2008 months before Goldman took $10billion of U.S. bailout money, but due to technicalities there is no way to stop the bank from paying them out.
      Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein will receive a bonus of $24million this year Goldman Sachs President and COO Gary Cohn will receive a bonus of $24million this year Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein (left) and President and COO Gary Cohn (right) will each receive a bonus of $24million this year Goldman’s largesse comes as America’s economy struggles to recover from financial meltdown caused by risky bank lending.

    • Opening the Bag of Mortgage Tricks

      ALL the revelations this year about dubious practices in the mortgage servicing arena — think robo-signers and forged signatures — have rightly raised borrowers’ fears that companies handling their loans may not be operating on the up and up.

    • No joy for many Madoff victims, despite settlement

      The news that some of Bernard Madoff’s victims could be getting half their money back was of little comfort to Richard and Cynthia Friedman, and others who saw their life savings erased in the mammoth fraud.

      Just days earlier, the Long Island couple learned that Richard’s 85-year-old mother was one of hundreds of longtime Madoff clients sued in recent weeks for millions by the trustee handling the case.

      “He is going after innocent people,” Cynthia Friedman said of the trustee, Irving Picard.

    • 1 arrested, 2 sentenced in mortgage fraud scheme

      The Woodbridge company, Total Realty Management, was formed in the mid-2000s by real estate agents Mark Dain and Mark Jalajel. The company marketed vacant pieces of land in the Carolinas as investment properties to be bought with no money down and no payments for two years.

      Buyers said that Dain and Jalajel told them the properties could be flipped quickly for easy profit and that the modest salaries of a schoolteacher or a delicatessen worker, who were already paying a home mortgage, were not a problem.

    • Hiring a Lawyer for Loan-Modification Help

      STRUGGLING homeowners can sometimes benefit from hiring a lawyer to try to modify a mortgage or avert foreclosure, but avoiding scam artists and sketchy practices requires vigilance.

    • Coal, Gold, and the Australian Dollar
    • No Economic Recovery In California

      If we take a look at California employment, for example, we see that there is in fact no economic recovery taking place in the nation’s largest state. None of the jobs lost in the financial crisis and recession have been replaced. Worse, that California’s employed population is now running at levels last seen ten years ago, means that the unemployment rate itself is very high, and is not coming down. Well, California like the rest of the United States has a bigger population now than ten years ago.

    • Mudslinging Comes Full Circle for House Oversight’s Darrell Issa [Old]

      Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has been receiving a lot of media attention for his gadfly role as ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Since the Obama administration took office, he’s aggressively pursued investigations against favorite GOP targets like ACORN and alleged wrongdoing by the administration in trying to keep Rep. Joe Sestak out of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate race. Last week, he released a report entitled, “How the White House Public Relations Campaign on the Oil Spill is Harming the Actual Clean-up.”

    • Darrell Issa plans hundreds of hearings [Old]

      California Rep. Darrell Issa is already eyeing a massive expansion of oversight for next year, including hundreds of hearings; creating new subcommittees; and launching fresh investigations into the bank bailout, the stimulus and, potentially, health care reform.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • ‘The Internet Is Not a Lawless Place’

      Germany on Wednesday unveiled plans to beef up Internet privacy after a public outcry over Google’s Street View service. The new law would allow people to opt out from tracking services as well as ban services that combine data to create comprehensive profiles of individuals. German media on Thursday are critical of the plans, asking if they go far enough.

    • Court Rebuffs Obama on Warrantless Cell-Site Tracking

      A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected the Obama administration’s contention that the government is never required to get a court warrant to obtain cell-site information that mobile-phone carriers retain on their customers.


      The most significant and recent decision came Tuesday, when a different federal appeals court said for the first time the government must obtain a court warrant for an internet service provider to grant the authorities access to a suspect’s e-mail.

      The case that concluded Wednesday concerns historical cell-site location information, which carriers usually retain for about 18 months. The data identifies the cell tower the customer was connected to at the beginning of a call and at the end of the call — and is often used in criminal prosecutions and investigations.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net neutrality rules: coming December 21

      That last comment refers to the brouhaha over Comcast’s demand for cash to deliver cached Netflix traffic to its subscribers, and its fight with Zoom Telephonics over cable modem testing (we’ll have a story on that battle soon).

      Also on the FCC agenda for December: a Notice of Inquiry on how to bring texting, photos, and video to 911 services.

    • How does a 5c download turn into a €2.60 download across an invisible border?

      That is not the case now, I am simply not satisfied with current levels of competition and prices. For example, retail data roaming prices have not matched falls in wholesale prices in 2010. In fact the average prices makes consumers’ eyes water. Frankly this is a nightmare for businesspeople, for tourists, for young people in particular.

    • Broadband prices dropping around the world, but not US

      A new study suggests that the United States could do better when it comes to home ISP prices. The Technology Policy Institute’s latest survey of the global high speed Internet market finds that US residential broadband subscription rates have “remained fairly stable” over the last three years, rising by just two percent.

      That’s good, of course, since they didn’t go way up. But residential broadband prices have fallen in most other countries, the paper notes—in some instances by as much as 40 percent.

    • Another Reminder That You Don’t Own Your eBooks: Amazon Removing More eBooks You ‘Bought’ From Archives

      It still appears that the books themselves are no longer for sale. That’s Amazon’s prerogative, of course, but the lack of explanation still seems pretty weak — especially after supposedly defending not being about censorship. Also, there is no explanation of just what kind of technical “glitch” this was. Considering the trouble the company got into for deleting books in the past, you would think this would have been more carefully reviewed. Finally, the fact that it took nearly a week and numerous high profile media mentions to get Amazon to respond to questions from the authors is pretty weak customer service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why Are Rosetta Stone & Google Hiding Details In Court Case… And Why Is The Judge Allowing It?

      Paul Levy has been staying on top of a rather important aspect of the ongoing Rosetta Stone/Google lawsuit over whether or not Google is liable for trademark infringement over keywords ads that might point to counterfeit copies of Rosetta Stone software. So far, Rosetta Stone has lost badly and it seems likely that will continue. However, what caught Levy’s attention is that in the appeal, both sides worked out an agreement to file certain aspects of their briefs “under seal” thus hiding from the public large segments of the facts related to this case that will surely set an important precedent one way or the other. That’s hugely problematic and Levy complained about it. Both companies agreed to unseal their briefs, though Google has not yet done so, and Rosetta Stone only did so at the last minute, leaving little to no time for potential amici to make use of the unredacted filings in making their own arguments. However, once Rosetta Stone’s brief was released unredacted, it was quickly realized that the redacted sections had no reasons for the redactions in the first place, as they did not contain confidential information at all.

    • What do we pay our embassies for?

      According to some of the documents posted on Wikileaks, to lobby, nudge, pressure, threaten … (I let you pick the right one) foreign governments into adopting stricter “IP” laws, in order to “protect” our “strategic interests” in their countries.

    • What Has Gotten Into The Water Over At IPWatchdog.com?

      Quinn himself admits: “I know that over the last several years I have not been one to want to jump up and down over the problems created by patent trolls…”

      I hope that this will mark the opening of a more constructive dialogue. If these posts of his are any indication, then we actually share the same broad goal of maximizing innovation. Before now, I honestly wasn’t sure he placed that goal as the prime directive.

    • Patents and copyrights worsen natural monopolies

      David Leonhardt reviews a new book, titled THE MASTER SWITCH The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu link here. The theme of the book is that “History shows a typical progression of information technologies from somebody’s hobby to somebody’s industry; from jury-rigged contraption to slick production marvel; from a freely accessible channel to one strictly controlled by a single corporation or cartel from open to closed system.”

    • MPAA Shuts Down 29 BitTorrent and NZB Sites

      The MPAA and their colleagues in The Netherlands appear to have shut down more than two dozen BitTorrent, Usenet and other file-sharing sites today. Accused of linking to movies, music, TV shows and games, at least one domain appears to be redirecting to the website of Dutch anti-piracy outfit, BREIN.

    • Copyrights

      • Motion Picture Association seeks to force BT to block film downloading site

        According to the Guardian, the Motion Picture Association filed an injunction against BT yesterday. The injunction requests that BT block access to a website called Newzbin2 because it links to other websites who host pirated copies of television shows and films for free download.

      • Pirates Overwhelmingly Endorse AV

        This week, members of Pirate Party UK have been voting on whether the party should officially endorse a ‘Yes’ vote in the May Referendum on changing the electoral system to AV.

      • Record Labels Win Case Against Website Selling 25-Cent Beatles Songs

        A federal judge has ruled on summary judgment that BlueBeat.com is liable for violating copyrights in thousands of songs. In making the decision, the judge had swatted away one of the stranger defenses to infringement of sound recordings.

        Last year, BlueBeat made headlines for selling tracks for 25 cents and streaming songs for free. Most notably, the company was one of the only venues at the time that offered for sale digital tracks from The Beatles — and the only U.S.-based company that claimed to do so legally.

      • George Clinton Sues Black Eyed Peas Over Song Sample

        George Clinton has filed a copyright lawsuit against members of the Black Eyed Peas, UMG Recordings and Cherry Lane Music for allegedly sampling his song (Not Just) Knee Deep on a Grammy-award nominated album.

        According to the complaint, filed on Friday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Clinton’s song wound up in remixes of the Black Eyed Peas’ Shut Up, first released in 2003.

      • Owners Of Hiphop Blogs Seized By Homeland Security Still Haven’t Been Told Why

        The saga of the domains seized by Homeland Security’s Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) group continues to get more and more bizarre. We’d already noted that among the domains seized were a bunch of hiphop blogs that artists and record labels regularly used to promote their works and that at least the search engine Torrent-Finder was planning to fight back. As we noted at the time, it seemed like the blogs would have a much stronger case, as there’s pretty clear First Amendment problems with the governments’ actions.

      • Righthaven’s New Target, Lowcountry912, is in Core First Amendment Territory

        The post that got Lowcountry912 in trouble was a repost (now removed) of a September 23, 2010 column from Denver Post columnist Mike Rosen that was styled as an open letter to Tea Partyers.

      • Author Tries Honest Approach To File Sharers: Not Upset, But If You Want To Support Me, Here’s How

        While I’m not convinced this strategy is as sustainable as focusing on giving people real scarce reasons to buy, it’s still nice to see more folks not reacting in angry ways that tend to only make the problem worse.

      • ACTA

      • Canada

        • FACT CHECK: Ministers Moore and Clement on the Private Copying Levy

          Performers are calling on Industry Minister Tony Clement and Heritage Minister James Moore to stop spreading misinformation about the proposed extension of the private copying levy and using artists’ rights to compensation as a crass political tool. The Ministers held a press conference today in Ottawa where they repeated a number of outright falsehoods regarding the private copying levy.

        • Liberals Stake Out Positions on Bill C-32
        • ITBusiness.ca’s top 5 videos of 2010

          ITBusiness caught Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore describing copyright reform critics as “radical extremists” that were acting “babyish” in an address to business leaders at the Toronto Board of Trade.

Clip of the Day

Violent clashes erupt in Italy after Berlusconi survives no-confidence vote

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 19/12/2010: Alien Arena 2011, Trisquel 4.5

Posted in News Roundup at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Realtek gigabit network performance in Linux sucks

    Recently I have been doing a lot of network file transfers between a few PCs but the very slow transfer speed of a 100Mbps connection has been making things too time consuming.

  • Bank of America Rep Responds To No Linux Support

    In a nutshell, it is asking BOA online banking users to agree that they are using specific hardware and software to do said banking. As you can see in the graphic above, Linux users are not included.

    Go figure…

  • Desktop

    • Linux in a University Workshop

      Interestingly enough, the teachers who initially had problems locating Microsoft Word on Windows XP had no problem finding and using OpenOffice Writer.

  • Google

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • How To Compile The Kernel In Ubuntu, The Easy Way [Video]

      So you want to compile and maybe even apply a patch to the kernel but you’ve always thought that’s too difficult? Well, it isn’t, thanks to KernelCheck, a program that automatically compiles and installs the latest Kernel for Debian based Linux distributions (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, etc.).

    • [ANNOUNCE] Linux
    • Graphics Stack

      • new x.org multitouch patchset posted

        So, I’ve been working on multitouch on and off the past few months (which have included a solid ten weeks of holiday), but have finally posted the third patch series, which I think should be pretty close to final, to the list today.

      • VIA Fails With KMS/3D, But Has Yet Another X Driver

        One year ago VIA came out with their Linux TODO list, which was disappointing. This list had a VIA TTM/GEM memory manager module for Q2’2010, a kernel mode-setting driver in the works for H2’2010, and a Gallium3D driver in-development for Q4’2010. Even meeting this TODO list would be bad as the support most Linux customers are after (3D and KMS to a lesser extent) would not be arriving until three years after VIA announced this newest Linux strategy. But, VIA has failed miserably in accomplishing any of these mile-stones for KMS and open-source 3D acceleration support. Though resulting in VIA’s Linux community being fragmented even more, new VIA X.Org (DDX) drivers seem to keep popping up. If there wasn’t already enough of these not-fully-working and rarely-touched open-source drivers, another VIA Chrome X.Org driver has been started recently that’s a fork of another open-source VIA driver.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • My Five Favorite Not-Usual Linux Distros

      Yes, “my bestest distros!” is a overworked topic, but it’s fun and Ubuntu is not on this list.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu’s Natty release

          It’s still a few months off but the next release of Ubuntu Linux could be an important one

          New versions of Ubuntu Linux are released every six months and most of these are incremental steps forward as Ubuntu tries to evolve into a mainstream desktop operating system. Some have been more exciting than others but on the whole these six-monthly releases are more evolutionary than revolutionary.

        • 2010 was the year of Ubuntu, but can it last?

          A prediction in 2009 that Ubuntu usage was going to grow in the face of Red Hat’s Linux operating system dominance could easily have been laughed off. Yet that’s exactly what Ubuntu has been able to pull off, thanks in part to developers and growing adoption of cloud computing.


          According to the 2010 Eclipse survey, Ubuntu usage on the developer desktop had increased to 18.3 percent, from 14.5 percent in 2009. Additionally, Ubuntu usage on deployment servers at 12.6 percent usage narrowly beat out Red Hat’s 12.5 percent usage.

        • Why I run Ubuntu and not something else

          At the end of the day, it’s all about choice. These are my choices, and my opinions. If you think that OSX or Windows7 works better than Ubuntu for a set of functionality that you find essential, then by all means, as a supporter or Freedom I think there is nothing more important than you being able to make the decision to run whatever you want to run. I may be quite incredulous and lack complete understanding that you could feel that way – but go for it.

          As for me, I am a Free Software Hacker, I run Ubuntu, and I have no motivation or intention to run anything different.

        • CADuntu (2D CAD Drawing Tool) Becomes LibreCAD, Gets Ubuntu PPA

          CADuntu is a 2D CAD drawing tool based on the community edition of QCad ported to Qt4 and works natively on OSX, Windows and Linux.

          Starting today, CADuntu has a new name: LibreCAD and it can easily be installed in Ubuntu, getting a PPA for Lucid, Maverick and Natty. Even though LibreCAD is quite new (and still in beta), it is already available in several languages and gives a real GPL solution to read/modify/create CAD files.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Jolicloud 1.1 – Very good, but impolite

            Let’s wrap it up. First of, Jolicloud 1.1 is an improvement over the previous version in pretty much every single aspect, from hardware support and performance via good looks and style to a smoother, more polished overall experience. No crazy bugs, no errors, good support for pretty much anything you need to do.

            Second of, a few negative points: too much social stuff and non-intuitive navigation through menus, the curse of the cloud usage model. If these can be fixed somehow, Jolicloud would probably be the most mature netbook distro out there. Compared to the competition, it seems smarter than MeeGo and Chrome OS, but it’s still one step behind Ubuntu Netbook Remix, the 10.04 working edition, not the toy Unity-flavored Maverick.


            I think it deserves 7/10. Very good product, recommended, just ignore the useless social follow me follow you stuff and whatnot. Go out with your friends to a pub, it’s more interesting.

          • Trisquel 4.5 development release, crowd funding and holiday presents

            After the very successful release of our latest LTS edition -more than 17.000 direct downloads so far!- we are already working on the next one. Trisquel 4.5 STS Slaine will be based on Ubuntu 10.10, and the first beta images -installable live CD- are ready for download. You can follow the development in the wiki.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Fixing the Web with the help of the open source community

    Steve Lee from Full Measure brokered an introduction – as part of his OSS Watch support activities provided to ATBar – to the folks at Southampton University who are developing the ATbar (formerly funded by TechDis). The development team of Sebastian Skuse, Dr Mike Wald and E A Draffan from the Learning Societies Lab at Southampton, have collaborated with Fix the Web to create a special Fix the Web button on the toolbar, not only making the reporting process as fast as possible, but also opening up the project to the 2 million current users of the toolbar.

  • Announcing apache-extras.org

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has had a profound influence on everything I’ve worked on over the last decade, and a new partnership with them is a great opportunity for saying “thanks” and giving back. Today we’re announcing the launch of apache-extras.org. Much like our launch of eclipselabs.org earlier this year, we’re creating a separate instance of Project Hosting specifically for ASF-related projects to congregate around.

  • Open Source Adds Functionality and Saves Money [PDF]
  • Events

    • Open Source Think Tank 2011

      Olliance Group is organizing the 6th Annual Spring Edition of the Open Source Think Tank, that will be held April 7–9, 2011 in Sonoma, CA at the Sonoma Mission Inn.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

  • Healthcare

    • Health-reform advocates have little to fear from judge’s ruling

      U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, a George W. Bush appointee (and part-owner of a Republican campaign-consulting firm that fought the health-care overhaul legislation), has, as expected, ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional. So why are reform advocates so unexpectedly pleased?

      There are two reasons, but first, let’s put this into context. Hudson’s ruling is the third from a district court so far. Previously, Judge Norman Moon found the mandate constitutional, and so did Judge George Steeh. Steeh and Norman were Clinton appointees, which is to say that the rulings have been proceeding along predictably partisan lines.

  • BSD

    • Developer defends claims of backdoors in OpenBSD

      The former OpenBSD developer who has caused a stir by claiming that the FBI had, through certain other OpenBSD developers, planted backdoors in its cryptographic code, says he raised the matter only to encourage a source code audit of the OpenBSD project.

  • Project Releases

    • XBMC 10.0 Officially Released

      Just as expected, XBMC 10.0 “Dharma” has been officially released. New features of XBMC 10 include a unified add-on framework and a lot of features related to this work for providing new functionality, initial gesture support for the XBMC GUI Engine, improved mouse support, Broadcom Crystal HD decoding support, native support for unencrypted Blu-ray playback, support for Google WebM, and so much more.

  • Licensing

    • Gnu Juris Penguinus

      Lawyers are probably the last to know this, but there is a parallel universe of computer technology out there, a universe that, so far, has had little intersection with the law. Free and Open Source Software — or FOSS – the stuff that runs much of the Web, the Internet, growing segments of telecommunications, commerce and the military — is a type of computer code that is both “free” in the monetary sense and “free” in the sense of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Although only a tiny percentage of personal computers run Free and Open Source Software in the U.S., it has already taken root in legal systems in Asia, Europe and South America.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Wonderful news from the OpenVizsla project

      Last month, I blogged about OpenVizsla, a Kickstarter project aimed at raising funds to create an open, hackable USB protocol sniffer (a great boon to reverse engineers trying to write libraries for proprietary music players, cameras, game peripherals, etc).

    • Open Access/Content

      • Should I publish Open Access?

        We are in a prisoner’s dilemma. It’s clear that universal Open Access is superior for humanity in general (except for shareholders of some companies who will start to miss out). But there is no easy smooth path there. Change puts greater financial pressure on all players.

  • Programming

    • On Why Open Source Developers Run Mac OS X

      This is all just food for thought, not a judgement against any form of desktop or usage pattern. For reference, I am still running Ubuntu on my desktop, and being wildly unproductive on the tasks I want to finish.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • A Call to Support a New Public-Private Partnership In U.S. Standards Development

      On December 8, the U.S. National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) issued a public Request for Information on behalf of the recently formed Sub-Committee on Standards of the National Council of Research and Technology. The titular goal of the RFI is to assist the Sub-Committee in assessing the “Effectiveness of Federal Agency Participation in Standardization in Select Technology Sectors.” Although the publication of the RFI gave rise to not a single article in the press, this event was none the less extremely consequential.

      Why consequential? To begin with, one could count on one hand the occasions upon which the federal government has undertaken an assessment of the efficacy of the ill-defined public-private partnership that constitutes the U.S. standards development infrastructure. And yet, since the passage of the Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, the government has by law put almost all of its standards-related eggs in that single basket.

    • Google explores the human body with HTML5

      Google showed off the app at the WebGL Camp. WebGL is a cross-platform low-level 3D graphics API that is designed to bring plugin-free 3D to the web. It uses the HTML5 Canvas element and does not require Flash, Java or other graphical plugins to run.


  • Google Gets $10M from Jordan – Why You Should Care? Why Google Investing in Jordan is Big

    Google has recently landed a USD $10 million investment from the Jordanian government in online advertisement & training to be spent over the next 3 years to advertise and promote Jordan as a destination for tourists and investors.

    The deal also holds in it folds a reciprocal investment on Google’s part, where the search giant plans on investing at least %25 of that amount back into the local Jordanian tech scene.

  • Yahoo Just Killed… Consumer Confidence In Them

    It has been fairly amazing to watch this Yahoo “sunsetting” news over the past 48 hours. It seemed to go from a bad leak, to huge backlash, to PR disaster, to confusion, to worse PR disaster. Now Yahoo, by way of Delicious (the most prominent service being “sunset”), has responded by lashing out at all the press for the coverage of the fiasco. Danny Sullivan just did a great job of ripping them a new one for this nonsense misdirection. But the issue actually goes much deeper.

  • 7 Flickr alternatives, just in case…
  • 6 Solid Alternatives to Delicious 6 Solid Alternatives to Delicious

    1. Google Bookmarks is one of the most popular bookmarking tools that is incredibly easy to use. It lets you sort by date and title and organize your bookmarks into lists.

    2. Pinboard.in, while not free like the others ($6.98) is one of the most popular bookmarking sites out there, in which users are guaranteed to never lose their data.

    3. Diigo is better known as “social bookmarking 2.0″ because it’s both a collaborative research tool and a knowledge-sharing community and social content site.

  • Student who conned his way into Harvard says sorry

    In the end, Adam Wheeler, a 24-year-old who conned his way into Harvard and benefited from more than $40,000 (£26,000) in grants and prizes, flew too close to the sun. Not content with having bragged his way into one of the world’s most prestigious universities, he felt driven to apply – equally fraudulently – for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships.

  • The Authoritarians [Old]

    This book was written in 2006, halfway through George W. Bush’s second term as president. A great deal was wrong with America then, and I thought the research on authoritarian personalities could explain a lot of it. Since then a new administration has been elected, and although it has had to deal with a very serious economic crisis brought on by others, it is taking steps to correct some of what is wrong.

    However, the forces that largely caused the problems have remained on the scene, and are more active today than ever before. As I try to show in the “Comment on the Tea Party Movement” (link to the left), the research findings in this book apply at least as strongly to America today as they did four years ago. Indeed, the events of 2009 and 2010 have confirmed conclusion after conclusion in The Authoritarians. I wrote in 2006 that the authoritarians in America were not going to go away if they lost the 2008 election, that they would be infuriated if a new president tried to carry out his mandate. That has certainly been the case.

  • World’s Most Litigious Man Suing Guinness Book of World Records?

    Jonathan Lee Riches’ rambling lawsuit against the record-holding institution and several others is just the latest in his growing stash of outrageous court filings against everyone from New England Patriot’s coach Bill Belichick to Martha Stewart.

  • Murphy Report reveals Vatican protected sex abuser

    The Vatican wanted an Irish priest to serve 10 years in a monastery for abusing children rather than force him out of the Catholic Church, a report has revealed.

  • Is your operating system a girl?

    The urge to anthropomorphise our computers and software can be irresistible, especially when systems run slow, or are difficult to manage.

    The operating system on a computer, say Microsoft Windows XP or Linux, is the interface you look at every day.

  • Science

    • Solstice Lunar Eclipse

      The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST). At that time, Earth’s shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the “bite” to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes.

    • Let’s see the 2010 winter solstice lunar eclipse!
    • Ukraine Plans to Open Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Site to Tourism Next Year

      If the typical beach vacation – the one where you spend several days on the beach reading bad fiction and soaking up sun – has lost its allure, the Ukraine would like to make a suggestion: come soak up radiation and some real human drama at Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history. Starting in 2011, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant site and the surrounding “exclusion zone” will be opened to tourists for the first time since the plant’s reactor No. 4 exploded on April 26, 1986, blanketing the area in radiation.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Italian opposition asks: Who led Rome riots?

      Yesterday, groups of masked and hooded demonstrators rampaged through the capital attacking police, smashing windows, setting fire to vehicles and throwing up barricades.


      One of the participants in this week’s rioting was photographed hurling a dustbin at members of the revenue guard and wielding a long shovel. But in other shots, he appears to be standing with the guards raising a truncheon in one hand and holding a pair of handcuffs in the other.

    • US Government Talks The Talk On Privacy & Civil Liberties, But Isn’t Walking The Walk

      The federal government very often seems to say one thing when it comes to privacy and civil liberties, while doing exactly the opposite. The Commerce Department has come out with a new report calling for a Privacy Policy Office that will look at commercial use of personal information, to make sure that privacy is protected. At the same time, President Obama has nominated Jim Dempsey to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which is supposed to “review the civil liberties impact of anti-terrorism policies and programs.” There are few people who I think would be better for the job. For a while now, Dempsey has been president for public policy of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a group that has fought, quite strongly, for civil liberties in the technology arena. Apparently, President Bush also nominated Dempsey for the same board… but the Senate never bothered to confirm him (or anyone that Bush nominated for the board).

    • G20 Summit just one of 2010′s pressing legal issues

      3. The convictions and sentencing of Aqsa Parvez’s father and her brother should send a chilling message that honour killings are murder pure and simple. In a world where some parents and brothers seek to control their children and sisters as if they were mere chattels we need to send a strong message. Life sentences with no chance of parole for 18 years should show our repugnance for these killings. There’s no honour in these cowardly acts.

    • Anti-austerity protesters clash with police in Athens

      Ships remained docked at ports, hospitals were working with a skeleton staff and ministries were shut down as civil servants and private sector workers stayed away.

      There was no television or radio news as journalists were on strike.

    • G20 case studies: 400 official complaints, little satisfaction

      Geoffrey Bercarich was beaten by police. Sean Salvati was strip searched and left naked in a cell. Swathi Sekhar saw a teenager pepper sprayed so badly he was left twitching on the ground.

    • Quick Note on G20 court proceedings – officer testimony coming soon

      Yesterday I attended court at 2201 Finch to set a trial date for a client arrested on a G20 matter. These administrative appearances are occurring in courtroom #205 and are now mixed-in with regular “practice court” proceedings. There is a separate Crown present to deal with G20 proceedings from the “guns & gangs” unit. These appearances occur on Fridays. This court is presided over by a Judge. In most cases these adminstrative appearances would be presided over by a Justice of the Peace.


      This will be very interesting as it will be the first time, to my knowledge, police officers will be making statements in the public domain about their G20 experiences.

    • Rights groups ask Spain court to open probe into Bush-era ‘torture’

      The other officials named in the complaint are David Addington, former counsel to, and chief of staff for, former vice president Dick Cheney, Douglas Feith, former under secretary of defense for policy, former attorney general Alberto Gonzales and former Defense Department general counsel William Haynes.

  • Cablegate

    • Open letter to President Obama and General Attorney Holder regarding possible criminal prosecution against Julian Assange

      Reporters Without Borders, an international press freedom organization, would like to share with you its concern about reports that the Department of Justice is preparing a possible criminal prosecution against Julian Assange and other people who work at WikiLeaks.

      We regard the publication of classified information by WikiLeaks and five associated newspapers as a journalistic activity protected by the First Amendment. Prosecuting WikiLeaks’ founders and other people linked to the website would seriously damage media freedom in the United States and impede the work of journalists who cover sensitive subjects.

    • Join 30,000 Others: Protect the First Amendment — Don’t let them outlaw WikiLeaks!
    • WikiLeaks Supporters Rally in San Francisco

      But the original demonstration was set for noon Thursday at the Powell Street BART station — so, opting to go low-tech, MacKerel, a self-described “organizer,” stood around at the station with a sign informing all who cared to look of the change of plans.

    • San Francisco activists denounce WikiLeaks crackdown

      A small group of protesters gathered outside the British Consulate in San Francisco’s financial district Dec. 16 to speak out against the recent crackdown on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is out on bail after being imprisoned for nine days by British authorities.

    • WikiLeaks flashmob: San Francisco stands up for online free speech
    • Stars and Stripes ombudsman defends right to WikiLeaks access

      Thankfully, unlike his colleagues in the Air Force, Prendergast can still access sites like the New York Times and FP that report on the cables. Overall, the Pentagon and the State Department’s efforts to keep their employees from knowing the things that the rest of us can read in the paper every day has to be one of the most baffling responses to the WikiLeaks debacle.

    • Wikileaks/Cablegate: Guardian reports Cuba banned Michael Moore’s “Sicko” for fear of public backlash (UPDATE)

      UPDATE: Michael Moore responds here. In short, he says Sicko was not banned in Cuba, and describes the cable referenced below as “[A] stunning look at the Orwellian nature of how bureaucrats for the State spin their lies and try to recreate reality.” A spokesperson from Moore’s production company tells Boing Boing, “The online references are clear, it really did play on national Cuban TV, and it really is still playing on a Cuba website.”

    • ¡Viva WikiLeaks! SiCKO Was Not Banned in Cuba
    • Details of rape, sexual assault allegations against Wikileaks’ Assange leaked to Guardian

      The previously unpublished police documents provide “the first complete account of the allegations against the WikiLeaks founder,” and include the phrase “the worst sex ever.”

    • Lawmakers Discuss Constitutional Issues Raised by WikiLeaks

      Officials in Washington, DC and abroad have widely condemned the publishing of secret documents by the WikiLeaks website. With its latest document dispatches in November, the site initiated the simultaneous publishing of State Department confidential cables with foreign embassies in the New York Times and four European newspapers.

      Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee said in a Fox News interview that WikiLeaks should be prosecuted for violating the Espionage Act. Regarding the New York Times and other news outlets, Lieberman added “whether they have committed a crime is a matter of discussion for the justice department.”

    • Wikileaks: Barriers to possible US Assange prosecution

      The US government will face significant legal and diplomatic hurdles if it attempts to prosecute Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in connection with the massive internet dump of secret US documents, legal scholars, defence lawyers and former prosecutors say.

    • Who is Behind Wikileaks?

      Progressive organizations have praised the Wikileaks endeavor. Our own website Global Research has provided extensive coverage of the Wikileaks project.

      The leaks are heralded as an immeasurable victory against corporate media censorship.

      But there is more than meets the eye.

      Even prior to the launching of the project, the mainstream media had contacted Wikileaks.

    • Fairfax got its facts wrong reporting from WikiLeaks cable

      MARK Arbib says he is disappointed with the “serious factual errors” made by Fairfax in its reporting of WikiLeaks cables that alleged he was a US informer.

      The Labor powerbroker and federal Sports Minister decided to break his silence about an article – headlined “Yank in the ranks”- which highlighted his position as a “protected” source for the US embassy after Fairfax finally posted online the cable it had used as the basis for the newspaper article.

    • Hellhole [older, regarding Wikileaks-related jailings]

      Children provide the clearest demonstration of this fact, although it was slow to be accepted. Well into the nineteen-fifties, psychologists were encouraging parents to give children less attention and affection, in order to encourage independence. Then Harry Harlow, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, produced a series of influential studies involving baby rhesus monkeys.

    • Freed on bail – but US steps up efforts to charge Assange with conspiracy

      US authorities have stepped up their efforts to prosecute Julian Assange by offering Bradley Manning, the American soldier allegedly responsible for leaking hundreds of thousands of government documents, the possibility of a plea bargain if he names the Wiki-Leaks founder as a fellow conspirator.

      The development follows claims by Mr Assange’s supporters that a grand jury has been secretly empanelled in northern Virginia to consider indicting the WikiLeaks chief. But the US Justice Department has refused to comment on any grand jury activity.

    • Socrates – a man for our times [linked for the quote below]

      Socrates was, I think, a scapegoat for Athens’s disappointment. When the city was feeling strong, the quirky philosopher could be tolerated. But, overrun by its enemies, starving, and with the ideology of democracy itself in question, the Athenians took a more fundamentalist view. A confident society can ask questions of itself; when it is fragile, it fears them. Socrates’s famous aphorism “the unexamined life is not worth living” was, by the time of his trial, clearly beginning to jar.

    • Spamhaus under DDOS from AnonOps (Wikileaks.info)
    • A Typical Day for PFC Bradley Manning

      PFC Manning is currently being held in maximum custody. Since arriving at the Quantico Confinement Facility in July of 2010, he has been held under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch.

      His cell is approximately six feet wide and twelve feet in length.

      The cell has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet.

      The guards at the confinement facility are professional. At no time have they tried to bully, harass, or embarrass PFC Manning. Given the nature of their job, however, they do not engage in conversation with PFC Manning.

    • Bail for Assange

      And yet none of this is as disturbing as the report, in today’s Times, that the Justice Department is trying to come up with some theory that will allow them to prosecute Assange for espionage. The idea is that he would count as what the Times calls “a conspirator in the leak” if the government could show that he had spoken to Bradley Manning, the soldier alleged to have taken the files, before everything was downloaded and gave him “a secure server” to put it on. Can someone explain how that is different from a reporter cultivating a government source—for years, maybe—and then, when he wants to hand you something, designating a certain P.O. Box or flower pot or hole in a tree for him to leave it in or under? Glenn Greenwald is right in saying that this is a really alarming theory that could be used against any number of journalists, including ones at this magazine. And, given how lax the security around the files seems to have been, it doesn’t even strike one as the most practical spot to focus on, if the Obama Administration’s aim is truly to secure secrets whose release might cause some actual harm to our national security (as opposed to embarrassment to our government, which is not at all the same thing). The Times says that Administration officials said that one rationale was that this would “make an example” of Assange. An example, exactly, of what?

  • Finance

    • A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives

      Indeed, the derivatives market today reminds some experts of the Nasdaq stock market in the 1990s. Back then, the Justice Department discovered that Nasdaq market makers were secretly colluding to protect their own profits. Following that scandal, reforms and electronic trading systems cut Nasdaq stock trading costs to 1/20th of their former level — an enormous savings for investors.

    • Goldman: We Didn’t Topple Bear Stearns

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. told a U.S. panel examining the financial crisis that the company wasn’t responsible for toppling two Bear Stearns & Co. hedge funds in early 2007.

      In dozens of pages of documents submitted to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Goldman detailed its valuation of mortgage securities underwritten by the New York company, some of which were held in two Bear hedge funds managed by Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin.

    • Goldman Sachs admits its software manipulates economy!

      Goldman Sachs admitted that its software manipulates the economy for insider profits. European & American state aid is interlocked into the International Bank of Settlements, which is tied to World Bank, which is tied into the IMF, which is like all things: Tied into Goldman Sachs!

    • Here’s What We Now Know About Goldman’s Connection To The Fed

      Deception in the financial markets is not always costly, but it is rarely remunerative. Investors cannot afford to ignore this tendency.

      Recent disclosures from the Federal Reserve reveal that honesty was one of the earliest casualties of the 2008 financial crisis. These disclosures contain a number of juicy tidbits, like the fact that Goldman Sachs received tens of billions of dollars in direct and indirect succor from the Fed.

    • In-Depth Look – Goldman Sachs To Kick Off Financial Earnings – Bloomberg
    • SEC Subpoenas Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citi, BofA and Wells Fargo Over Foreclosures

      The SEC subpoenaed Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo last week over their processes during the early stages of securitizing home loans, Reuters reported.

      The SEC wants to know more about so-called “master servicers” – firms that specialize in administering the selection and maintenance of the huge pool of home loans that are packaged together for every mortgage-backed bond.

    • Oil rises above $88 as US dollar weakens

      Oil prices rose above $88 a barrel Friday in Asia as a weaker U.S. dollar made crude cheaper for investors with other currencies.

    • EU leaders bid farewell to euro’s horrible year

      European Union leaders capped the euro’s year of pain with renewed resolve to protect their battered common currency. But even after their seventh summit in a chaotic year, markets failed to take heed, leaving the leaders baffled. Again.

    • Leading indicators jump 1.1 percent in November

      A gauge of future economic activity rose in November, at the fastest pace since March, suggesting the economy will strengthen early next year.

    • Obama to blink first on Social Security

      The tax deal negotiated by President Barack Obama and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is just the first part of a multistage drama that is likely to further divide and weaken Democrats.

    • Liberal concerns delay House vote on tax-cut deal

      A liberal uprising over House procedures on Thursday was delaying a final vote on a far-reaching tax compromise brokered by the White House and Republican leaders.

    • US and China announce series of trade agreements

      The Obama administration said Wednesday that two days of talks with a high-level delegation from China produced results that should benefit U.S. companies ranging from manufacturers of computer software and wind turbines to beef producers.

    • New Interchange Proposals Debut From the Federal Reserve

      The financial sector does two things: it provides a medium of exchange for buyers and sellers (cash, checks, credit cards, money orders, etc.) and a matcher for borrowers and lenders. It is wholly appropriate that interchange fees, fees that are some of the highest in the world and increasing, be subject to regulation, as this medium of exchange function drives all the other parts of the economy. In the same way that checks are regulated by the Federal Reserve, debit cards, the 21st century equivalent of checks, should have the same regulation to encourage them to trade at par.

    • Markets slip on European debt woes despite EU deal

      World markets mostly fell Friday as a sharp downgrade of Irish debt highlighted how an EU deal to avoid future debt crises is not relieving the region’s immediate market turmoil.

    • Fancy ATM skips the folding cash, spits out gold

      Shoppers who are looking for something sparkly to put under the Christmas tree can skip the jewelry and go straight to the source: an ATM that dispenses shiny 24-carat gold bars and coins.

      A German company installed the machine Friday at an upscale mall in Boca Raton, a South Florida paradise of palm trees, pink buildings and wealthy retirees.

    • The Wall Street Tax Debate That Never Was

      This tax “reform” bill is as stunning for what it ignores as for what it proposes.

      Many people have rightly criticized the bill’s lavish tax breaks for the super-rich, especially the needless estate tax cuts that will benefit only America’s wealthiest 6,600 families. We’ve also been wringing our hands over the way this bill only worsens our hugely distorted distribution of income and wealth. Even Ben Bernanke is worried: The income gap, he said recently, is “creating two societies. And it’s based very much, I think, on educational differences.”

    • How ‘British’ companies dodge hundreds of millions in tax

      The familiar blue-and-white logo above more than 2,500 High Street shops remains as it has for decades. The chain of chemists started by John Boot 161 years ago continues to dish out medicines and sell everything from cold remedies to corn pads.

      Boots, surely, is a quintessentially British business. It was founded in Nottingham, where its headquarters remain. Although it merged with pan-European pharmacy business Alliance UniChem in 2006 to become Alliance Boots, it is still outwardly British, a national corporate treasure.

    • WikiLeaks tweets Bank of America response

      WikiLeaks asked customers to close accounts with Bank of America after the Charlotte bank said it wouldn’t process payments intended for the anti-secrecy organization.

      The Observer reported Friday evening that Bank of America was joining other financial institutions in declining to process payments intended for WikiLeaks. Soon after, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to the story and encouraged supporters to make donations.

      In a later tweet, WikiLeaks asked “all people who love freedom close out their accounts at Bank of America.” After that, the group sent this message: “Does your business do business with Bank of America? Our advise is to place your funds somewhere safer.”

      A Bank of America spokesman on Saturday declined to comment further about WikiLeaks.

    • Bank of America says it won’t process payments intended for WikiLeaks

      Bank of America Corp. said Friday evening that it was joining other financial institutions in declining to process payments intended for WikiLeaks.

      “Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by MasterCard, PayPal, Visa Europe and others and will not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks,” the bank said in a statement.

      “This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments.”

    • Trapped in Bank of America Hell

      Are you one of the lucky ones? Have a good job, live in a nice neighborhood, enjoy your cozy home? Think foreclosure only impacts the reckless or the unemployed?

      Think again.

      George Mahoney worked and saved and built his cozy colonial-style home in Lynnfield, Massachusetts in 1981. There, he and his wife raised three lovely daughters. For many years, the Mahoneys paid down their relatively small mortgage with their local bank — a division of Bank of America (BofA). In 2007, they took out a second mortgage to help a daughter start a small business. Two wage earners, a great credit record — the loan was a breeze. That was when the trouble began.

    • Bank of America now refusing to process payments believed to be for Wikileaks

      MasterCard, Visa Europe, PayPal and now Bank of America. Add another to the list of financial businesses that are now refusing to process payments directed toward Wikileaks support. The bank chooses an interesting way of stating its actions, based on what we’re reading from The Kansas City Star, saying that it will refuse payments that it believes to be supporting Wikileaks.

    • U.S. arrests 4 in widening insider trading probe

      Four people were arrested on charges of leaking secrets about technology companies to hedge funds, including details about Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iPad ahead of its launch, in a widening U.S. probe into insider trading.

    • New Insider-Trading Arrests Point Federal Prosecutors Toward Hedge Funds

      The arrests of three technology company workers who allegedly sold secrets about Apple Inc., Dell Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. signal the U.S. may be closing in on the hedge funds that paid for their expertise.

      The men, who worked at AMD, Flextronics International Ltd. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., were arrested yesterday on securities fraud and conspiracy charges for a scheme that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said operated from 2008 to early 2010.

    • FBI: Executives at Dell, AMD sold inside information

      Four executives at publicly traded technology companies have been arrested on charges they sold inside information about their employers, sometimes for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      The executives allegedly pocketed hefty consulting fees for selling data to Primary Global, a Mountain View, California, market research company. Primary Global recruits experts from a number of industries, including the technology sector, to provide information about trends that it then sells to money managers. But according to the U.S. Department of Justice, one of the firm’s salesmen — James Fleishman — crossed the line and sold insider information to hedge funds.

    • Yet Again, In Insider-Trading Case, It’s All About the Wiretaps

      Wiretaps. It’s really all about the wiretaps.

      As the big insider-trading case launched out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan unfolds, that much is becoming ever so clear. To make their case, federal prosecutors are relying heavily on tapes of recorded phone calls.

      And some of the results, at least those alleged by the government, are rather vivid. Click here for a story on some of the possible evidence unveiled on Thursday, by Dow Jones Newswires reporter Liz Moyer. Click here for the latest story on Thursday’s arrests; here for the criminal complaint.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Fox News: Drowning in global warming lies

      Did you hear the latest outrage about Fox News?

      A memo was leaked from Fox News’ managing editor, Bill Sammon, instructing Fox journalists never to report on global warming without IMMEDIATELY questioning the prevailing scientific consensus.

      We all know that Fox News is biased and not a legitimate news organization. But Fox News tries to deflect criticism by distinguishing between its “straight news” reporting and its commentary.

    • FOXLEAKS: Fox boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science
    • Stenographers to power: time to squeak up or be squashed

      Something similar is going on now with WikiLeaks. The American public is being softened up for another Administration ‘coup’. The Fox News poll suggests that this time it’ll be even easier to pull it off.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • UN mulls internet regulation options

      The United Nations is considering whether to set up an inter-governmental working group to harmonise global efforts by policy makers to regulate the internet.

      Establishment of such a group has the backing of several countries, spearheaded by Brazil.

    • Knowledge is Power: Facebook’s Exceptional Approach to Vulnerability Disclosure

      It’s no surprise to EFF members that the Internet is full of security flaws, some of them severe. Yet many Internet companies try to deal with these problems internally, or not at all. They don’t encourage outsiders to report flaws discovered when using or testing a website, and may even be hostile toward those who reveal facts they don’t want to hear. Well-meaning Internet users are often afraid to tell companies about security flaws they’ve found — they don’t know whether they’ll get hearty thanks or slapped with a lawsuit or even criminal prosecution. This tension is unfortunate, because when companies learn what needs to be fixed, their services will be better and their users safer.

    • Your Apps Are Watching You

      Few devices know more personal details about people than the smartphones in their pockets: phone numbers, current location, often the owner’s real name—even a unique ID number that can never be changed or turned off.

      These phones don’t keep secrets. They are sharing this personal data widely and regularly, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.

    • YouTube invokes terrorism policy

      The social networking site YouTube, a subsidiary of California-based Google, says it will let users decide if videos posted on YouTube promote terrorism.

      Lawmakers have long wanted the company to pre-screen militant speeches and propaganda videos, but the company wants to protect First Amendment rights, the Los Angeles Times reported.

    • YouTube is letting users decide on terrorism-related videos

      Reporting from Washington —
      Nudity. Sexual activity. Animal abuse. All are reasons YouTube users can flag a video for removal from the website. Add a new category: promotes terrorism.

      YouTube and its parent company, Google, have been criticized by lawmakers for refusing to prescreen militant speeches and propaganda videos that have been cited in more than a dozen terrorism investigations over the last five years.

      But rather than submit to policies that many argue would amount to an erosion of 1st Amendment rights, particularly in an open-access environment such as the Internet, YouTube is taking a decidedly more democratic path — let the customers decide.

    • Facebook Wrestles With Free Speech and Civility

      Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, likes to say that his Web site brings people together, helping to make the world a better place. But Facebook isn’t a utopia, and when it comes up short, Dave Willner tries to clean up.

    • YouTube Allows Users to Flag Terrorism Videos

      Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., told the Times that the new flagging option was a “good first step.”

    • Sixth Circuit Rules that E-Mail Protected by the Fourth Amendment Warrant Requirement
    • http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/facebook-crimes-soar-over-100000-in-five-years-16022
    • Facebook Crimes Soar Over 100,000 In Five Years

      Over the past five years, while Facebook has grown dramatically, it has been linked to an astonishing number of crimes, according to a report in y the Daily Mail.

      Facebook was linked to over 100,000 crimes in the UK, according to high-ranking police officers in 16 forces, who responded to Freedom of Information Act requests from the Mail. Since January this year, 7,545 calls from the public expressed concerns with the social networking site. The figures mark a substantial increase from the 1,411 calls received in 2005 when Facebook’s popularity first began to grow.

    • U.S. Seeks Web Privacy ‘Bill of Rights’

      In a reversal of the federal government’s hands-off approach to Internet privacy regulation over the past decade, the Obama administration said Americans should have a “privacy bill of rights” to help regulate the commercial collection of consumer data online.

    • Smithsonian’s decision to remove a controversial video makes censorship a hot topic

      When the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery removed a video by the late David Wojnarowicz from its exhibition “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” two weeks ago, it had no idea that giving in to a protest — by Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and incoming House Speaker John Boehner — would become bigger news than an entire exhibit devoted to analyzing society’s “changing attitudes toward sexuality, desire and romantic attachment.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • BitTorrent Domain Exodus Continues As Torrentz Dumps .COM

      The Internet’s second biggest BitTorrent site is dumping its .COM domain. In an apparent response to the US Government’s Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement recent seizures of domain names, the site moved to a new home. Despite being only a meta-search engine, Torrentz.com appears to be taking no chances with an immediate .EU domain migration.

    • “The Master Switch”: Is the Internet due for a takeover?

      Tim Wu’s “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” has been out for a few weeks now and has already become one of those books that prognosticators and opinionators feel obliged to respond to. It’s also a substantial and well-written account of the five major communications industries that have shaped the world as we know it: telephony, radio, movies, television and the Internet. Wu believes that all of these industries have moved through cycles of diversity and consolidation, and that if we think the Internet is immune to a takeover by some massive monopoly promising a more perfect (and more profitable) experience for users (and itself), then we should look to history, and think again.

      For Internet pundits (whether amateur or professional), Wu’s book is required reading, but the average citizen may find it even more revelatory and rewarding. Maybe you know a little bit about the rise and fall of the studio system in Hollywood, or you get misty-eyed over the crazy but creative early years of radio, before major broadcasting networks took over. Anyone past the age of 30 probably has at least a hazy memory of Ma Bell being smashed into Baby Bells by the Department of Justice in 1984, and may even be aware that some people still regard this as a crying shame. And, of course, you all know that the Internet is radically, uncontrollably decentralized by virtue of its very structure: It was designed to survive a nuclear war, right?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Recalling The Great Canadian Penny Perturbation of 2007

      Now how about protecting the Canadian taxpayer from abuse of non-existent IP rights, needless legal expenditures, and the wasting of a lot of peoples’ time?

    • `Gray Market’ Ruling Favoring Swatch Affirmed as Supreme Court Splits 4-4

      The U.S. Supreme Court divided evenly in a clash over the multibillion-dollar “gray market,” leaving intact a ruling that lets manufacturers use copyright laws to keep some products out of U.S. discount stores.

      The 4-4 high court split, which doesn’t set a nationwide precedent, upholds a federal appeals court decision favoring Swatch Group AG’s Omega unit in a dispute with Costco Wholesale Corp. over discounted Seamaster watches.

    • Court Upholds Ban on World of Warcraft Bot

      The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Glider bot, which automatically kills enemies and performs other Warcraft functions while you’re away from your computer, is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act provision banning the marketing of products that circumvent a technological measure that “effectively controls access to a copyrighted work.”

    • Court Reverses Copyright Ruling for WoW Creators

      The 9th Circuit on Tuesday partially vacated a $6.5 million judgment and an injunction against a programmer who created software that helps World of Warcraft players advance quickly to the higher levels of the popular online role-playing game.
      The federal appeals court in Seattle said that Michael Donnelly did not violate copyright law by selling his Glider software, which allows a player to automatically move through World of Warcraft’s (WoW) early levels. But the court did find that Donnelly’s company, MDY Industries, violated part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
      A district court will now determine Donnelly’s personal liability.
      Blizzard Entertainment, which created WoW in 2004, claims that Glider interferes with its contracts, and that gamers who use Glider may pay fewer subscription fees since they get through the 70 levels in fewer weeks than manual players.

    • Owning Culture

      As books follow music and video onto the internet, Dylan Horrocks warns that the law may end up stealing the rights of both writers and readers

      A spectre is haunting the world of publishers and authors – the spectre of the ebook. The iPad, Kindle, Google Book Search, digital piracy – if the prophets of doom are to be believed, these new technological developments herald the imminent death of all we hold dear: books, writing and civilisation itself. In reality, of course, we simply don’t know what these new technologies will mean in the long run. Perhaps it’s that very uncertainty that has us so worried. Some of us are already mourning the smell of paper, the spidery cracks along an old book’s spine, dog-eared pages and marginal notes.


      From this, I learned the central problem with how copyright works: it’s treated as a form of property. And like any property, it can be bought, sold or stolen. And as often as not, it ends up in the hands of corporations whose sole purpose is to exploit their property portfolio for maximum profit. Even when the author still ‘owns’ the copyright, he or she may be obliged to license the management of that property to a syndicate or publisher, who will often behave like a ruthless slum landlord, doing their best to fleece both the author and their readers.

    • Copyrights

      • Not-So-Gentle Persuasion: US Bullies Spain into Proposed Website Blocking Law

        It’s no secret that the US government has used its annual Special 301 Report to intimidate other countries into adopting more stringent copyright and patent laws by singling out particular countries for their “bad” intellectual property policies, and naming them on a tiered set of “watch lists”. Listing results in heightened political pressure and in some cases, the potential for trade sanctions, which encourages foreign trading partners to change their laws to mirror those in the US. But now some of the cables provided by WikiLeaks to Spanish newspaper El Pais confirm that the US government has pushed other countries to adopt measures that go beyond US law, unleashing the fury of Spanish Internet users.

        A set of cables reported on by El Pais make clear that the US government played a key role in Spain’s controversial website blocking law – the 2009 Sustainable Economy Bill, which the Spanish government is now trying to sneak it through a Committee in a pre-holiday session on 21st December. (Spanish readers, please see Action you can take below).

      • WordPress Accused Of Copyright Infringement For Its Famed ‘Hello Dolly’ Sample Plugin

        If you’ve ever installed or used the ultra-popular blogging platform software WordPress, you’re quite familiar with the Hello Dolly plugin that is part of the default install. If it’s enabled, then you get a short lyric from the song in the corner of the admin-only dashboard. It was basically just a fun simple plugin, mostly used to demonstrate the plugin functionality of WordPress.

      • Copyright defense restricted (Final update 12:13 p.m.)

        Dividing 4-4, the Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court’s denial of a discount retailer’s right to buy overseas a consumer item that is protected by copyright — in this case, a Swiss watch — and then bring it back into the U.S. for re-sale without the copyright owner’s consent. Such an even split among the Justices has the effect of upholding the lower court decision at issue, without setting a nationwide precedent. The division came about since Justice Elena Kagan was recused from the case – Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega S.A. (08-1423). The case involved the so-called “first-sale doctrine” in copyright law. In new orders issued Monday, the Court granted no further cases.

      • Harvard shocker: Crimson rails against piracy, endorses university ‘three strikes’ penalty

Clip of the Day

Peter Brown interviewed by Jeremy Allison

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 18/12/2010: Linux 2.6.37 RC6, Android 2.3 Source Code Out

Posted in News Roundup at 8:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • PS3 Jailbreak Now Legal In Spain

    deek writes “Spanish gamer site NicaGamerz.com have reported that it’s now legal to sell the PS3 Jailbreak modchip in Spain (Google translation of Spanish original). According to the article, one reason for the legal ruling is because Sony removed the ability to run GNU/Linux on the console. One can only wonder if Sony will soon rush out a firmware update that will re-enable the OtherOS feature, and appeal the court decision. Oh the irony of that thought. The legal ruling was made on the 13th December (Google translation). There are only 5 days to appeal, starting from that date.”

  • Google

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.37-rc6

      It’s been a bit over a week since -rc5, and now -rc6 is out. It was slightly delayed by the fact that I was traveling without a laptop, and while I was able to track things and read email, I didn’t do actual pulls for most of last week.

    • Kernel prepatch 2.6.37-rc6
    • The kernel and the C library as a single project

      The kernel has historically been developed independently of anything that runs in user space. The well-defined kernel ABI, built around the POSIX standard, has allowed for a nearly absolute separation between the kernel and the rest of the system. Linux is nearly unique, however, in its division of kernel and user-space development. Proprietary operating systems have always been managed as a single project encompassing both user and kernel space; other free systems (the BSDs, for example) are run that way as well. Might Linux ever take a more integrated approach?

    • System call fuzzing continued.
    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 2010 Driver Year In Review

        At the end of each year for the past five years we have delivered “year in review” articles looking at the performance of NVIDIA’s (and ATI/AMD’s) proprietary Linux drivers. Both in terms of new features introduced during the year in their driver updates and benchmarking the driver releases to see how the performance has evolved over twelve months. With 2010 coming to an end, it is time for this year’s driver reviews. We are starting this year seeing how the NVIDIA performance has matured in 2010.

      • X.Org Multi-Touch Nears Completion

        X Input 2.1 Multi-Touch is the new solution rather than Canonical’s proposed X Gesture Extension. Nokia developers are already working on supporting the new multi-touch capabilities within the Qt tool-kit and there is a GTK multi-touch branch on the GNOME side, but it’s currently based upon an earlier specification of X multi-touch.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Cardapio Gets An Avant Window Navigator Applet

        Cardapio is a simple menu for the GNOME desktop that comes with a lot of useful plugins. It can launch applications, run a command, pin items, search through your Firefox bookmarks or Ubuntu Software Center, includes a file search and full text search and more.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Experimental packages for Symbian development on Linux

          A while back we wrote about how you could do development for Symbian in Linux. However, the process was complicated and required a lot of manual setup. We have now taken the concept one step further and we now have prepackaged environments, complete with compiler, libraries and all you need to start developing!

          I’m obligated to report our disclaimer though: These packages are completely unsupported by Nokia. They are provided on a “best effort” basis only, and are not guaranteed to work correctly on your system! Also note that the packages are not guaranteed to receive updates, and in the future the same functionality may be delivered in a different format, for example through the Qt SDK.

      • Android

        • Chumby for Android Now in the Market

          Some of you may have heard of Chumby devices, personal Internet/media devices that strive to be a one-stop shop for all the information that you may want including social networks, news, video, music and games. There are Chumby apps covering most everything you want to consume. Chumby is moving to put their content hub on as many devices as possible and now it’s Android’s turn to come to the party. Their aim is “taking the best parts of the Internet and delivering them in a friendly, always-on, always-fresh format.”

        • Android 2.3 Gingerbread’s source code now available

          Want to dig through 2.3 and see what all the fuss is about for yourself? Well, you’re in luck, because Gingerbread has just hit the Android Open Source Project’s repository, which means you can set up your machine to download the code. It’s great news for hardware companies that don’t care to get Google’s certification to include Android Market access — but it’s also great news for casual and serious hackers alike who are looking to craft some seriously wild, wacky custom ROMs. So, what are you waiting for? Get to it, folks.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Netflix completes the open source giving cycle

    McEntee continues by talking about the passion shared by the contributors of a project, and not just the people employed by Netflix. Drupal founder and Acquia CTO, Dries Buytaert, often refers to this as “an itch to scratch.” McEntee mentions open source helps address common problems with sustainable solutions that reduce the work of many by sharing a common fix to a problem:

    “The great thing about a good open source project that solves a shared challenge is that it develops it’s own momentum and it is sustained for a long time by a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement.”

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • A quick look at MySQL 5.5 GA

      I first have to acknowledge that I have not been able to follow the MySQL 5.5 development as closely as I would have wanted during the last 2 years as most of the planning of MySQL 6.0, 5.4 and 5.5 has happened behind closed doors, without insight for the community. The commits have been open, until recently, but it’s not easy to follow what is happening just based on the commits. I am sure that I am missing below some of the important features in 5.5 and forgetting to acknowledge some of the people that have done great work on 5.5.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Open Office 3.3 Released Too
    • Oracle Releases MySQL 5.5 With Many Improvements

      One of the open-source projects that Oracle is keeping around from Sun Microsystems is MySQL and just in time for the holidays they have put out the MySQL 5.5 release. The general availability release of MySQL 5.5 brings many new features to this popular database server.

    • Oracle butts into online collaboration space with Cloud Office

      Move over Google and Microsoft: Oracle wants to get in on the cloud productivity scene too. The company has announced Oracle Cloud Office, which will allow users to create and edit documents collaboratively in the browser without having to rely on desktop software.

    • Oracle Ends The Week With VirtualBox 4 Beta 4

      Oracle’s been on a wild ride the past few days. Besides Oracle’s second quarter earnings having beaten their own expectations and that of the street, they’ve been releasing updates this week to a number of their Sun-acquired open-source projects. MySQL 5.5 was finally released, Open Office 3.3 made it out (along with a new web-based Oracle Cloud Office product), and their German counterparts have been releasing VirtualBox beta releases like mad.

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD backdoor claims: bugs found during code audit

      OpenBSD project head Theo de Raadt told iTWire: “We’ve been auditing since the mail came in! We have already found two bugs in our cryptographic code. We are assessing the impact. We are also assessing the ‘archeological’ aspects of this..”

    • Did the FBI Plant Backdoors in OpenBSD?

      I doubt this is true. One, it’s a very risky thing to do. And two, there are more than enough exploitable security vulnerabilities in a piece of code that large. Finding and exploiting them is a much better strategy than planting them. But maybe someone at the FBI is that dumb.


    • 172 public institutions removed non-free advertisement

      Only one month after the letters for the PDFreaders campaign of FSFE were sent, 172 public institutions have removed advertisements for proprietary PDF readers from their websites. Particularly outstanding were the responses from Croatia, Russia and Slovenia. In Croatia almost all reported institutions deleted the advertisement. Half of those contacted in Russia and Slovenia fulfilled FSFE’s request.

    • GCC and LLVM – What’s in a licence?

      GCC, the ultimate portable compiler, otherwise known as the GNU Compiler Collection, has been around since 1987. LLVM, first came onto the scene seven years ago in the form of a paper entitled “Architecture for a Next-Generation GCC”, which was presented to the 2003 Annual GCC Developers Summit by Chris Lattner and Vikram Adve.

      LLVM was conceived as a modular version of GCC, and has had some success as a more malleable alternative to GCC.

    • Geek Time with Peter Brown

      • A brief history of the free software movement (0:14)
      • The difference between open source and free software (4:12),
      • The importance of specifying “GNU/Linux” when referring to the first fully free operating system (7:42),
      • Linux Libre, a fully free kernel distribution, including the drivers (12:29)
      • The Free Software Foundation’s hardware endorsement program, Respects Your Freedom (13:54)
      • Unexpected places that free software is appearing around the world (18:42)
      • Peter’s career with the Free Software Foundation (20:50).
      • Ways that non-programmers can get involved and support the free software movement (26:23)

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Australian Bureau of Statistics plans open source census

      The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is ramping up for a massive change to its use of data standards, with plans to move to open source formats from next year.

      The 2011 Census of Population and Housing is expected to become the first dry run of the bureau’s implementation of XML-based Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) formats, with the ABS directing software developer Space-Time Research to utilise the standards for both input and output of all data collected next year.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 10 Hypotheses About Abundance and the Commons

      This is hardly news by now. New technologies have made possible a global digital infrastructure, which, in turn, has given rise to a new information economy. This economy has one obvious feature: the abundance of free or low-cost information and knowledge. With few exceptions, I usually find a needed piece of information, skill or knowhow – if it is public knowledge – on Wikipedia, YouTube, a blog, a Web site, or a mailing list somewhere.

      Disturbing issues remain, such as inappropriate content, unaffordability, exclusion, embedded value systems, toxic production and e-wastes. But if we are looking for abundance, the Internet definitely has it. To turn this wealth of information into wisdom though, users have to pick true from false, grain from chaff.

    • Happy Birthday CC! “Building on the Past” creator re-releases video under CC BY and explains why

      In 2004, designer and animator Justin Cone created “Building on the Past” as part of our Moving Images Contest and won. Justin originally made the video, which demonstrated Creative Commons’ mission in two minutes, available under CC BY-NC. At the encouragement of Wikieducator’s Wayne Macintosh, Justin decided to re-release “Building on the Past” under the most open CC license, CC Attribution (CC BY) and made a short video explaining why (also under CC BY). Both videos are featured in Creative Commons unplugged, a part of Wikieducator’s Open content licensing 4 educators workshop (a work in progress).

    • Authenticity and the Commons
    • Open your world forum: transcript of the Bob Sutton webcast
    • Why I and you should avoid NC licences

      I understand the sentiments and have shared them in the past. In fact I started this blog as CC-NC, but then moved to CC-BY (we may have lost that in the current blog-move but rest assured this blog is CC-BY).

    • Open Data

      • Exploring European Energy Data

        Today was the Eurostat Hackday, where coders and designers in several European cities gathered to dig into the Eurostat data, the biggest source of statistical information about Europe and European member states. We met at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in London, who very kindly agreed to host us for the day.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • European Interoperability Framework – a new beginning?

      The most controversial document in the history of the European Commission’s IT policy is out. EIF is here, wrapped in the Communication “Towards interoperability for European public services”, and including the new feature European Interoperability Strategy (EIS), arguably a higher strategic take on the same topic.

      Leaving EIS aside for a moment, the EIF controversy has been around IPR, defining open standards and about the proper terminology around standardization deliverables. Today, as the document finally emerges, what is the verdict?

    • W3C establishes mobile app etiquette for developers

      In an effort to make mobile applications easier to use, the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has established a set of guidelines for developers to keep in mind when creating their Web-standards based applications.

      Minimize network traffic, keep user needs in mind, optimize response timesm and keep the apps flexible, the guidance document advises programmers, offering specific tips of how to accomplish all of these tasks using HTML5, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), Javascript, and other Web standards.

    • OpenIndiana Build 148 Arrives

      For those interested in Solaris/OpenSolaris, the Illumos-based OpenIndiana operating system has just pushed out their second set of ISOs that are based upon Solaris Nevada Build 148.

      Previously their early-look ISOs were still based upon Build 147, but now the developers have pulled in the b148 work and other changes.

    • Google releases beta 3D graphics API for JavaScript

      Google has moved to a beta phase with its WebGL 3D graphics API for JavaScript, the company said on Thursday.

      Featured in the Google Chrome beta channel, WebGL is based on OpenGL ES 2.0 API for embedded, accelerated 3D graphics. WebGL brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser without installing additional software, Google said. “WebGL is a 3D graphics API for JavaScript that developers can use to create fully 3D Web apps,” said Kenneth Russell, of the Google  Chromium Team, in a blog post.


  • A Return of Radical Politics?

    In this old post, Broken Government: A Return of Radical Politics at Freedom Democrats, I opined about an impending return of radicalism in American politics. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that this radicalism will be borne out of the American descent into the “censorship regime.” The censorship regime is information control, and in the US, this regime is the marriage of Digital Copyright and the National security State. This marriage creates a input-output positive feedback loop of economic/political rent-seeking so pernicious that you end up with something resembling Richard Stallman’s Right to Read Dystopia, wherein reading becomes a licensing and security classification privilege.

  • Parliament gives go ahead to citizens’ petitions

    The European Commission will soon have to consider drafting new EU laws if it is asked to do so by at least one million people, after the European Parliament yesterday (15 December) gave the green light to a regulation on implementing the European Citizens’ Initiative.

  • Ed Miliband rebukes Bob Ainsworth over ‘legalise drugs’ call

    Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said today that the legalisation of drugs would send out “the wrong message” to young people as he distanced himself from a Labour backbencher’s calls for a “grown-up debate” on the issue.

  • ‘Her Morning Elegance’ Artists Create Elegant Reason To Buy

    So far it’s been viewed over 16 million times on Youtube. How does an artist convert all of that popularity into cash? In this case, by offering a limited edition of ONE print of every single frame of the movie, signed and numbered, for sale. According to the gallery website, 335 prints have sold so far, leaving 1761 available out of 2096 total.

  • Captain Beefheart dies aged 69

    Avant-garde musician and visual artist Don Van Vliet, who performed under the name Captain Beefheart, has died aged 69.

  • High Court orders writ to be served via Twitter

    The High Court ordered its first injunction via Twitter on Thursday, saying the social website and micro-blogging service was the best way to reach an anonymous Tweeter who had been impersonating someone.

  • How To Talk Like a Corporate Tool
  • MP queries Hargreaves review

    An MP has tabled a parliamentary question to find out how BIS arrived at its panel of advisors for the Hargreaves Review. Five experts are advising the former FT journalist with his six-month review into “IP and Growth”. But two in particular – campaigning professor James Boyle and former web monkey Tom Loosemore – have raised concerns as they lack business experience, and have a history of hostility to creator’s rights.

  • Smithsonian Celebrates COBOL’s 50th Anniversary With New Site

    One of the oldest programming languages, COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) turned 50 this past week. On December 6, 1960, COBOL was first used on two different makes of computers, proving that compatibility across systems could be achieved. To celebrate the anniversary, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History built out a new section of their website dedicated to documenting the language’s history; a related exhibit will open at the museum this spring.

  • Obama in Good Shape for 2012 Despite Current Woes, Poll Finds

    His party got hammered in the midterm election, he’s taking heat from fellow Democrats for compromising with Republicans on taxes, and his job approval levels are hovering around 45 percent, but a new survey concludes President Obama’s prospects for re-election in 2012 are fairly strong. Conversely, Sarah Palin’s numbers continue to be weak.

  • Is Yahoo Shutting Down Del.icio.us? [Update: Del.icio.us Responds]

    For a couple of days now, we’ve been hearing rumors that the Yahoo layoffs included the entire Delicious team. Now Former Yahoo employee and Upcoming founder Andy Baio has tweeted out the above Yahoo! product team meeting slide that seems to show that Yahoo! is either closing or merging the social bookmarking service as well as Upcoming, Fire Eagle, MyBlogLog and others.

  • R.I.P. Delicious: You Were So Beautiful to Me

    It’s a loss not just for the many people who used Delicious to archive links of interest to them around the web, it’s a loss for the future – for what could have been. Five years later, people are just beginning to appreciate the value of passively published user activity data made available for analysis, personalization and more. That could have been you, Delicious.

  • Goodbye, AltaVista. I Loved You Once, But I’m Happy to See You Die

    If you were going to compose a list of the ten greatest technology products ever, it would be a plausible contender. If you were compiling a list of the ten greatest Web services and didn’t include it, I’d tell you your list was wrong.


    In fact, I hope that Yahoo’s mercy killing starts a trend. AOL, how about doing away with the sad jokes that are CompuServe and Netscape in their current forms?

  • Yahoo Trying To Unload Del.icio.us, Not Shut It Down

    Yahoo says that while Delicious doesn’t have a “strategic fit” at the company, it will not be shutting the service down entirely for now. In fact, it looks like Yahoo is going to find a new home for Delicious (a.k.a. sell).

  • Delicious, Yahoo! Buzz, MyBlogLog, AltaVista all face axe
  • Beijing issues stark warning on EU-China relations

    Just days after the EU openly criticised China for boycotting the Nobel Peace Prize, the Chinese ambassador in Brussels slammed EU policymakers for being unable to “shut their mouths”.

  • West Papua: from morning star to mourning

    Instead of raising the Morning Star flag, ForDem asked people to observe December 1 as a day of mourning, fasting, prayer and to boycott Indonesian owned and run shops. Benny Giay, Moderator of the Kingmi Church, the largest indigenous church in West Papua, and member of ForDem says, “We are fasting, praying and wearing black to mourn the death of democracy in West Papua and to mourn Papuans killed by the Indonesian security forces.”

  • EU Summit Twitter Wall Trial Goes Awry As Berlusconi Bashers Flood #EUCO Stream

    Using Tweetwall Pro, a way for event organizers to feed live tweets onto screens, an experiment in the atrium of the EU summit building in Brussels held yesterday didn’t quite proceed as planned. The live tweet stream, which was displayed on multiple plasma TVs throughout the building, was abruptly shut down after Italian Twitter users hijacked the #euco stream with anti-Berlusconi messages, calling the politician a mafioso and a pedophile.

  • The future of publishing is writable
  • Google debuts text analysis tools
  • Dear Yahoo

    Many of us have relied on Delicious for years and have thousands of bookmarks organized on it. Please consider opening Delicious up to the open source community to keep it going.

  • Science

    • Towards a scientific concept of free will as a biological trait: spontaneous actions and decision-making in invertebrates

      Until the advent of modern neuroscience, free will used to be a theological and a metaphysical concept, debated with little reference to brain function. Today, with ever increasing understanding of neurons, circuits and cognition, this concept has become outdated and any metaphysical account of free will is rightfully rejected. The consequence is not, however, that we become mindless automata responding predictably to external stimuli.

    • Search for microscopic black hole signatures at the Large Hadron Collider

      The CMS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has completed a search for microscopic black holes produced in high-energy proton-proton collisions. No evidence for their production was found and their production has been excluded up to a black hole mass of 3.5-4.5 TeV (1012 electron volts) in a variety of theoretical models.

    • DIY Biotech Hacker Space Opens in NYC

      On the top floor of an old bank converted into an artist collective, just past prop design for Bjork’s next music video, the do-it-yourself biotechnology revolution has begun.

      A cadre of science entrepreneurs recently opened Genspace, the world’s first government-compliant community biotech laboratory. The bedroom-sized facility was two years in the making and, for a $100-per-month membership, anyone can use the space for whatever experiments they dream up.

    • Could we detect trees on other planets?

      It sounds like a zen koan. If a tree on an alien world falls, would we notice? Christopher Doughty of the University of Oxford and Adam Wolf of Princeton University think we just might.

      They say the shadows cast by trees would change the amount of light a planet reflects as it orbits its star. When the planet is behind its star as seen from Earth – as the moon is during its full phase – the trees would cast little visible shadow, while at other points in its orbit the shadows would grow longer from Earth’s perspective. Future telescopes should be able to search for these changes in brightness, they say.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is Gulf seafood really safe to eat?

      The Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper (LMRK) has released results from seafood sampling trips conducted along a broad area of the Louisiana coast since August. The results show significant levels of petroleum in a number of species — though the contamination was not apparent by sight or smell.

      For examples, levels of total petroleum hydrocarbons in flounder and speckled trout caught in St. Bernard Parish on Aug. 12 were 21,575 milligrams per kilogram, while oysters caught in Plaquemines Parish on Aug. 3 showed levels at 12,500 mg/kg. Petroleum levels found in fiddler crabs and periwinkles harvested from Terrebonne Parish on Aug. 19 were 6,916 mg/kg.

  • China

  • Security

    • How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords
    • Security advisories for Friday
    • Amazon’s Mechanical Turk used increasingly for spam
    • Security in 2020

      In 2020—­10 years from now­—Moore’s Law predicts that computers will be 100 times more powerful. That’ll change things in ways we can’t know, but we do know that human nature never changes. Cory Doctorow rightly pointed out that all complex ecosystems have parasites. Society’s traditional parasites are criminals, but a broader definition makes more sense here. As we users lose control of those systems and IT providers gain control for their own purposes, the definition of “parasite” will shift. Whether they’re criminals trying to drain your bank account, movie watchers trying to bypass whatever copy protection studios are using to protect their profits, or Facebook users trying to use the service without giving up their privacy or being forced to watch ads, parasites will continue to try to take advantage of IT systems. They’ll exist, just as they always have existed, and­ like today­ security is going to have a hard time keeping up with them.

    • Software flaws don’t negate “many eyes” in open source

      The allegations from Greg Perry regarding backdoors allegedly placed within OpenBSD about a decade ago seem to be shifting more and more into the realm of fantasy as each day goes by.

      To date, Perry has not responded to my inquiry regarding his Dec. 11 e-mail to OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt, nor to my knowledge has he responded publicly anywhere else. Meanwhile, the two (or three, depending on how you count it) people named in Perry’s message to de Raadt as parties to this supposed backdoor activity, Scott Lowe and Jason Wright, have denied their involvement–the latter within the same [openbsd-tech] thread that started all this.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Brutality at a Private Prison

      Guards at a privately run prison in Arizona stripped, beat and kicked inmates and threatened to kill them, banged their heads on tables while they were handcuffed, and “the warden himself” joined in threatening their families, 18 inmates say in state court.

    • Ontario Ombudsman Releases G20 Report “Caught In The Act”

      The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services quietly promoted the use of a likely illegal regulation to grant police “extravagant” powers on the eve of the G20 summit, Ontario Ombudsman André Marin says in his latest report.

    • The Media, the police and protest: now both sides of the story can be reported

      At the student fees protest in London last week, a young man with cerebral palsy was allegedly twice hauled from his wheelchair and dragged across the ground by police officers. Footage of the incident soon appeared on the internet, while the man, a 20-year-old activist and blogger named Jody McIntyre, was invited onto BBC News to recount his ordeal. “Did you shout anything provocative, or throw anything that would of induced the police to do that to you?” he was asked by the presenter, Ben Brown. “There’s a suggestion that you were rolling towards the police in your wheelchair, is that true?” McIntyre kept his calm and replied. “Do you really think a person with cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair, can pose a threat to a police officer who is armed with weapons?”

    • Let’s Be Careful About Calling This a Cyber-War

      Terms like “cyber-war” have been used a lot in the wake of the recent denial-of-service attacks on MasterCard, Visa and other entities that cut off support for WikiLeaks. But do these attacks really qualify? An analysis by network security firm Arbor Networks suggests that they don’t, and that what we have seen from the group Anonymous and “Operation Payback” is more like vandalism or civil disobedience. And we should be careful about tossing around terms like cyber-war — some believe the government is just itching to find an excuse to adopt unprecedented Internet monitoring powers, and cyber-war would be just the ticket.

    • Number of police in Canada on the rise

      The number of police officers in Canada has reached its highest point since 1981, with a strength of approximately 69,000 members.

      Canadian police forces added 2,000 members in the first four months of 2010 according to data released by Statistics Canada.

    • Police Brutality in Frankfurt

      No charges, no reasons, no explanation. Just random act of violence.

    • Audit reveals no irregularities, just political meddling at rights agency

      A confidential forensic audit into an embattled federal human-rights agency bolsters the arguments of opposition critics who accuse the Harper government of trying to limit the organization’s work in the Middle East with groups that do not meet Ottawa’s pro-Israel outlook.

    • TSA misses enormous, loaded .40 calibre handgun in carry-on bag

      A man who flew out of Houston’s George Bush airport discovered a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag after landing; he’d forgotten he was carrying it and the eagle-eyed TSA screeners were too busy ogling his penis to spot the loaded gun in the nearly empty bag from which he’d dutifully removed his laptop.

    • UK government to impose Orwellian-style surveillance

      The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is pushing ahead with plans to allow Britain’s security services and police to spy on the activities of every citizen who uses a phone or the Internet. The secret services and police will have unlimited powers to track every single phone call, email, text message and website visit made by anybody in the UK.

      The plans were contained within last month’s “Strategic Defence and Security Review” in which the government stated, “We will introduce a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications within the appropriate legal framework.”

    • Law prof and cop agree: never ever ever ever ever ever ever talk to the cops about a crime, even if you’re innocent

      In a brilliant pair of videos, , Prof. James Duane of the Regent University School of Law and Officer George Bruch of the Virginia Beach Police Department present a forceful case for never, ever, ever speaking to the police without your lawyer present. Ever. Never, never, never.

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks Julian Assange Latest Interview 17 December 2010 1.14pm
    • Kroes: WikiLeaks will increase government transparency

      The WikiLeaks disclosure of US diplomatic cables highlights the need to secure networks and individuals from hackers, EU digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has said.

    • Julian Assange: WikiLeaks faces ‘very aggressive’ investigation by US

      WikiLeaks faces a “very aggressive” and secretive investigation by US authorities stung by a perceived loss of face following the release of thousands of secret American diplomatic cables, the organisation’s founder, Julian Assange, said today.


      He said he believed it was “80% likely” that the US authorities were seeking to prepare an attempt to have him extradited there to face charges of espionage.

      He added that he was reliant on public opinion to rein in “a superpower that does not appear to be following the rule of law”.

      “I would say that there is a very aggressive investigation, that a lot of face has been lost by some people, and some people have careers to make by pursuing famous cases, but that is actually something that needs monitoring,” he said.

      He criticised the way Swedish authorities have sought to have him extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault – the reason he was held in jail for 10 days.

    • Wikileaks Cablegate: The EU Files
    • The Anonymous WikiLeaks protests are a mass demo against control

      No – the proper comparison is with the crowds that descended last week on Topshop stores. They didn’t break into the stores or take any goods from them, but they sure caused a nuisance for the owner, Philip Green. I wouldn’t like it one bit if my store (supposing I had one) were the target of a large protest. Amazon and MasterCard don’t like it either, and their clients were probably annoyed. Those who hoped to buy at Topshop on the day of the protest may have been annoyed too.

      The internet cannot function if websites are frequently blocked by crowds, just as a city cannot function if its streets are constantly full by protesters. But before you advocate a crackdown on internet protests, consider what they are protesting: on the internet, users have no rights. As the WikiLeaks case has demonstrated, what we do online, we do on sufferance.

      In the physical world, we have the right to print and sell books. Anyone trying to stop us would need to go to court. That right is weak in the UK (consider superinjunctions), but at least it exists. However, to set up a website we need the co-operation of a domain name company, an ISP, and often a hosting company, any of which can be pressured to cut us off. In the US, no law explicitly establishes this precarity. Rather, it is embodied in contracts that we have allowed those companies to establish as normal. It is as if we all lived in rented rooms and landlords could evict anyone at a moment’s notice.

      Reading, too, is done on sufferance. In the physical world, you can buy a book with cash, and you own it. You are free to give, lend or sell it to someone else. You are also free to keep it. However, in the virtual world, e-readers have digital handcuffs to stop you from giving, lending or selling a book, as well as licences forbidding that. Last year, Amazon used a back door in its e-reader to remotely delete thousands of copies of 1984, by George Orwell. The Ministry of Truth has been privatised.

    • U.S. Tries to Build Case for Conspiracy by WikiLeaks

      Justice Department officials are trying to find out whether Mr. Assange encouraged or even helped the analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, to extract classified military and State Department files from a government computer system. If he did so, they believe they could charge him as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.

      Among materials prosecutors are studying is an online chat log in which Private Manning is said to claim that he had been directly communicating with Mr. Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service as the soldier was downloading government files. Private Manning is also said to have claimed that Mr. Assange gave him access to a dedicated server for uploading some of them to WikiLeaks.

    • Human Rights Watch letter to President Barack Obama

      We write to express our concern at the prospect that the US government would employ espionage laws against WikiLeaks or its founder for the release of US State Department cables. Regardless of how one views the intentions, wisdom or strict legality of the WikiLeaks release, we believe that resorting to prosecution will degrade freedom of expression for all media, researchers and reporters, and set a terrible precedent that will be eagerly grasped by other governments, particularly those with a record of trying to muzzle legitimate political reporting.

    • John Pilger: Global Support for WikiLeaks is “Rebellion” Against U.S. Militarism, Secrecy
    • Accused WikiLeaker Bradley Manning’s Torture by Isolation

      Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking sensitive material to WikiLeaks, has been held for seven months in what Glenn Greenwald reports are “inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions.”

      Greenwald argues that Manning is being punished without first being convicted, and he speculates that the treatment is meant to intimidate and discourage other would-be whistle-blowers.

    • New WikiLeaks cables detail BP blowout in Azerbaijan 1.5 years before Gulf disaster

      The Guardian reports that a new set of leaked US documents show “striking resemblances between BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster and a little-reported giant gas leak in Azerbaijan experienced by the UK firm 18 months beforehand.”

    • US builds case against Assange [days old]
    • House Judiciary panel convenes Thursday to explore legal attack on Wikileaks [days old]
    • Wikileaks: Julian Assange re-enters Wandsworth Prison (photo) [days old]
    • Openleaks? Brusselsleaks? Tradeleaks? The market’s getting crowded

      The whistleblowing website Wikileaks has company – suddenly, a lot of it. In the past week alone three new sites have sprung up offering to act as conduits for leaks – though with varying amounts of believability. Openleaks, Brusselsleaks and a new one launched overnight in Australia called “Tradeleaks” are all trying to garner the trust of internet users with stories to tell.

    • The Aesthetic Face(s) of Anonymous

      As an anthropologist of the digital I tend not to treat digital media as exceptional, except when it comes to the few exceptions that seem to rub up against our traditional categories and methodological tools. Anonymous, the online entity that has recently erupted full force engaging in wave after wave of protest following the Wikileaks drama, seems to be one such exception.

    • McDermott, O’Melveny Partners Testify Before WikiLeaks House Panel

      A House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday on WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act featured two witnesses from Am Law 100 firms: Abbe Lowell, head of the white-collar defense practice at McDermott Will & Emery, and Kenneth Wainsten, a former national security adviser now at O’Melveny & Myers.

    • Latin America – Prophetic memo about Honduras predicted “difficult” year for Zelaya one year before coup

      A year before popularly elected President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya of Honduras was overthrown in a coup, Charles Ford, the U.S. ambassador in Tegucigalpa, sent a memo (LINK) to Washington that stated: “The last year and a half of the Zelaya Administration will be, in my view, extraordinarily difficult for our bilateral relationship.”

    • Human rights organizations around the world condemn Wikileaks censorship

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Katitza Rodriguez has rounded up the responses of many human rights organizations around the world to the commercial and governmental attacks on Wikileaks.

    • Courtroom sketches of Julian Assange

      But at no point did he let photographers into the courtroom, leaving the work of producing visual reportage to sketch artists. Working under enormous pressure to produce professional results quickly, courtroom artists are the field surgeons of the art world, able to work miracles in bare minutes. And yet the results are often, it must be said … odd. So far three such sketches of Mr. Assange are extant.

    • Wikileaks Watch: Julian Assange is to be freed on bail (Plus bonus Downfall parody)
    • Opinion: Wise up about Wikileaks

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called the latest Wikileaks/Bradley Manning revelations “very irresponsible, thoughtless acts that put at risk the lives of innocent people all over the world.” Mike Huckabee stated that anything less than execution is too kind a penalty. Sarah Palin said of Julian Assange, the front-man of the Wikileaks ensemble, “He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands … Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?”

      This past summer I wrote to The Tech with my thoughts on the release, encouraging MIT students to be careful with supporting Bradley Manning or Julian Assange. I was skeptical of Assange’s motives and abilities to handle the job of truth’s caretaker. I saw many people who I felt were missing the point and who took sides without properly understanding the issue.

      I feel that way again, though not for the same reason. Now, I’m suddenly bemused at the reaction both from the Democrats and the Conservative peanut gallery, who have rallied to condemn both Manning and Assange, and somehow compare the pair to terrorists.

      Don’t get me wrong; I get the whole ‘putting people’s lives at risk’ thing. The first leak, which was too undiscerning in redacting the names of informants in Afghanistan, seemed the most imprudent. It’s only now, after the latest release — which seems to have much more diplomatic bickering and much fewer strategy reports — that the anti-Wikileaks fervor is galvanized. Only now is Wikileaks having its servers pulled and Paypal account dropped. Only now do Clinton, Huckabee, and Palin seem to care.

    • Angry Assange back online

      The head of the whistle-blowing website said his time in a south London jail had only made him more determined to continue his secret-spilling work.

    • Forgetting Bradley Manning

      Julian Assange of WikiLeaks is out on bail—apparently headed for the 10-bedroom home of British former army officer Vaughan Smith, described by the Guardian as a rightwing libertarian. Assange’s lawyer joked that it would not be so much “house arrest as manor arrest” while he fights extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

      There’s no manor for Bradey Manning. As Glenn Greenwald noted yesterday, the alleged leaker of much of the WikiLeaks information–including the “Collateral Murder” video showing soldiers shooting Iraqi civilians—has been sitting in solitary confinement for seven months under torture conditions.

    • Bradley Manning’s Life Behind Bars

      Bradley Manning, who allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, turns 23 in jail Friday. The Daily Beast’s Denver Nicks, in an exclusive interview with Manning’s attorney, reports on his solitary confinement, what he’s reading (from George W. Bush to Howard Zinn), and his legal strategy.

    • US Is Apparently Torturing Bradley Manning, Despite No Trial And No Conviction

      I knew Manning had been arrested and was being held somewhere, but Glenn Greenwald is now covering how he is being tortured, despite the fact he has not been tried. He has been held in intensive solitary confinement, meaning he spends 23 hours of the day in total isolation. He has not even been given a pillow or sheets for his bed. As Greenwald highlights, there is widespread agreement that such prolonged solitary confinement is well beyond the standard level of torture, is forbidden in many modern civilizations, and leads to long term psychological issues for those who go through it.

    • Cory Doctorow talks about DOS-attacks, Wikileaks and the power of protest

      Cory Doctorow gave a lightning fast presentation at the Future Internet Conference Week. Afterwards he sat down with us, and gave us his thoughts about Wikileaks and the tactics of a DOS-attack.

    • Cablegate vs Wikileaks and the new porn

      I’ve been trying trying to play around with a graphic to show the difference between the wikileaks driven cablegate and the pentagon papers (ah to live in an era before the suffix gate appeared everywhere).

    • Wikileaks Cables Amok

      The people from WL said that they will redact some of the names in order to remove personal identifiable information but in fact they have removed full paragraphs that although they could be a little bit embarrassing for US diplomacy they do not put anybody at risk.

      For example:

      - There were 13 cables deleted from WL cablegate site (e.g.: #09LONDON1385).

      - At least 11 cables were slightly redacted (e.g.: #07PARIS322).

      - 138 cables published by Lebanese Al-Akhbar paper but not yet put into WL.

      - 33 cables disclosed by the British paper The Guardian but not yet in WL.

    • Red Cross: India tortured detainees in Kashmir

      Of all the shoes we’ve been waiting to see drop in as the cables slowly — slowly — trickle out of the WikiLeaks vault, few seemed as inevitable as India. Considering the country’s intractable standoff with Pakistan, domestic and border conflicts, politically sensitive (for the United States, at least) economic rise, and place in Asia’s delicate new balance of power, the odds of someone in the New Delhi embassy writing something headline-worthy seemed to be — oh, about 100 percent.

    • Lawmakers and Legal Experts Call For Restraint in Wikileaks Hearing

      The House Judiciary Committee held a surprisingly subdued hearing this morning on the legal and constitutional issues surrounding Wikileaks’ publication activities. Committee members repeatedly emphasized the importance of protecting First Amendment rights and cautioned against overreaction to Wikileaks. The seven legal experts called to testify agreed, almost all of them noting that:

      * Excessive government secrecy is a serious problem that needs to be fixed,
      * It’s critically important to protect freedom of expression and the press, and
      * The government should be extremely cautious about pursuing any prosecutions under the Espionage Act or any legislation that would expand that law, which is already poorly written and could easily be applied in ways that would be unconstitutional.

    • French minister praises WikiLeaks boss Assange

      French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Thursday she found WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange an interesting person “determined to support freedom of expression.”

      Assange has drawn anger from politicians around the world, including France, for his website’s release of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables.

    • Bill Keller: WikiLeaks isn’t my kind of news org, but they have evolved

      Keller also detailed the process by which The New York Times vetted and processed the vast amounts of information, saying that the Times and other news organizations had now finished publishing all the major stories based on the documents they expected to write.

      * “The first thing we would do is talk with the lawyers about if there’s a legal problem with using this material and, if so, is there a way around it.”
      * The Times then vetted the cables with reporters familiar with similar secret documents and quickly decided the trove was genuine.
      * The Times’ computer-assisted reporting team dumped the database into a searchable format, bringing in reporters and professionals to search for interesting keywords to begin reporting. “No news organization claims to have read all of those documents,” he said.
      * Reporters then dove into and developed deeper stories based on the cables, occasionally sharing interesting segments with their colleagues overseas.
      * The New York Times performed “common sense” redactions on the material, removing names of low-level informants and other sensitive material
      * The New York Times took its redactions to the U.S. government, occasionally taking feedback and redacting information it felt would needlessly endanger lives.

      “We then basically agreed on a schedule where day one would be Pakistan day and day two would be Russia day, something like that,” Keller said. “We rolled out on that schedule, and we agreed to give WikiLeaks the documents we intended to publish on each day’s stories, with our redactions.”

      Throughout it all, however, Keller said the Times kept a very clear view of what WikiLeaks was and was not in its reporting. “What I have said from the very beginning of this is WikiLeaks is a source, not a partner. The Guardian was kind of a partner in this, because we swapped data and thoughts back and forth saying, ‘Hey, look at this table.’ There was none of that back and forth with WikiLeaks.”

    • Julian Assange: WikiLeaks faces ‘very aggressive’ investigation by US

      WikiLeaks faces a “very aggressive” and secretive investigation by US authorities stung by a perceived loss of face following the release of thousands of secret American diplomatic cables, the organisation’s founder, Julian Assange, said today.

      Speaking to reporters outside Ellingham Hall, the Norfolk house at which he is staying on bail following his release from prison, Assange said WikiLeaks faced “what appears to be an illegal investigation … certain people who are alleged to be affiliated to us have been detained, followed around, had their computers seized and so on”.

    • Kettling Wikileaks

      Calling these protests DDoS, or distributed denial of service, attacks is misleading, too. A DDoS attack is done with thousands of “zombie” computers. Typically, somebody breaks the security of those computers (often with a virus) and takes remote control of them, then rigs them up as a “botnet” to do in unison whatever he directs (in this case, to overload a server). The Anonymous protesters’ computers are not zombies; presumably they are being individually operated.

    • Some truth about Comcast – WikiLeaks style

      Ever wonder what Comcast’s connections to the Internet look like? In the tradition of WikiLeaks, someone stumbled upon these graphs of their TATA links. For reference, TATA is the only other IP transit provider to Comcast after Level (3). Comcast is a customer of TATA and pays them to provide them with access to the Internet.

    • Assange: Text messages show rape charges were ‘set up’

      “There are intercepted SMS messages between the women and each other and their friends that I’m told represents a set up,” Assange, who spoke from Suffolk, UK, said on ABC’s Good Morning America. “Those SMS messages the Swedish prosecutor has refused to release and in fact stated that my lawyer, who was shown the messages by the police, is gagged from speaking about them.”

      He continued:

      In their representations to the courts here over three separate court dates, the Swedish government stated that it didn’t need to provide a single piece of evidence to the court, in fact didn’t provide a single piece of evidence to back up its allegations. We’re not just talking about evidence in terms of physical objects, we’re talking not even a single word of the allegations themselves.

    • Julian Assange furore deepens as new details emerge of sex crime allegations

      Today Larry Flynt, the founder of American sex magazine Hustler, announced that he would give $50,000 (£32,000) to the Assange defence fund, calling him a “hero” who deserved a “ticker-tape parade”. Flynt’s support was not for WikiLeaks itself, but because he thought the rape charges a nonsense.

    • [Wikileaks] Video
    • US criticises court that may decide on Julian Assange extradition, WikiLeaks cables show

      US officials regard European human rights standards as an “irritant”, secret cables show, and have strongly objected to the safeguards which could protect WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from extradition.

      In a confidential cable from the US embassy in Strasbourg, US consul general Vincent Carver criticised the Council of Europe, the most authoritative human-rights body for European countries, for its stance against extraditions to America, as well as secret renditions and prisons used to hold terrorist suspects.

    • 10 days in Sweden: the full allegations against Julian Assange

      Documents seen by the Guardian reveal for the first time the full details of the allegations of rape and sexual assault that have led to extradition hearings against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.

      The case against Assange, which has been the subject of intense speculation and dispute in mainstream media and on the internet, is laid out in police material held in Stockholm to which the Guardian received unauthorised access.

    • Where Assange was

      Something for Vaughan Smith’s Suffolk Manor.

    • How to donate to Bradley Manning’s defense

      1,454 individuals have donated a total $98,358! Another 111 supporters have given $11,953 directly to Bradley’s legal trust account. (Updated: 5pm PST Dec. 13, 2010)

      Bradley Manning’s total legal defense will cost about $100,000. We have transferred $62,000 towards that expense so far, are in the process making additional transfers, and are committed to funding the total needed. The defense fund also supports international public outreach and activities.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Cut greenhouse gas emissions or polar bears doomed, report says

      Biologist Andrew Derocher has seen plenty of dead polar bears over the years, but the recent death of two extremely thin cubs in Wapusk National Park near Churchill, Man., was almost too sad for him to watch.

    • Feds sue companies behind BP oil disaster as extent of damages continues to emerge (video)

      The Department of Justice announced yesterday that it was suing BP and eight other defendants for their roles in the oil rig disaster that claimed the lives of 11 workers and spilled 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

    • JBI, Inc. Plastic2Oil Process Commences Commercial Operation

      Today, JBI, Inc. (JBI) (OTCQX:JBII) announces that it has entered into a formal Consent Order with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 9, which will allow the Company to immediately run its Plastic2Oil process commercially and begin construction of an additional processor at its Niagara Falls, New York P2O facility.

    • Justice Department Sues BP, Others Over Gulf Spill

      The Justice Department on Wednesday sued BP and eight other companies in the Gulf oil spill disaster in an effort to recover billions of dollars from the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.

      The Obama administration’s lawsuit asks that the companies be held liable without limitation under the Oil Pollution Act for all removal costs and damages caused by the spill, including damages to natural resources. The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.

    • United States sues BP over Gulf oil disaster

      The Obama administration has sued BP and several of its partners in the oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, potentially exposing them to billions in legal costs.

      The action, filed in a New Orleans court yesterday, accuses them of violating safety regulations, and seeks unlimited damages to cover the costs of cleaning up the oil, the losses suffered by local businesses, and the damage done to the environment. “I’ve seen the devastation that this oil spill caused throughout the region, to individuals and to families, to communities and to businesses, to coastlines, to wetlands, as well as to wildlife,” the attorney general, Eric Holder, told reporters.

    • Louisiana oyster beds hit after BP oil spill

      Economic uncertainty is something the fishermen of the Gulf of Mexico know all too well. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is traditionally their busiest season. But this year most of the oysters are dead.

  • Finance

    • Wall Street’s Sneaky New Way to Make Bank from Struggling Homeowners

      When Florida retiree Gladys Walker fell behind in paying taxes on her modest Pompano Beach home, she had no idea one of America’s biggest banks and a major Wall Street hedge fund engaged in frenzied bidding for the right to collect her debt–all $768.25 of it.

    • Matt Taibbi’s Great Squid Hunt

      The epic failure of America’s financial system in 2008 was, among other things, a sobering gloss on the American romance with technical expertise. The tidal onrush of securitized debt that kept the housing bubble afloat was more than the simple byproduct of decades of deregulation in the nation’s financial sector; it was also the handiwork of a new generation of market analysts known as the Quants. These ingenious souls harnessed arcane financial instruments like collateralized debt obligations (CDO) and credit default swaps (CDS) to magically scrub bad housing debt of all apparent risk as it was traded up the Wall Street food chain.

    • Is America the sick man of the globe?
    • The Republican language police

      At the Huffington Post, Shahien Nasripour takes the story one step further, reporting that last week, the four Republican commissioners voted to ban the words “shadow banking,” “Wall Street,” “interconnected” and “deregulation” from the entire panel’s final report.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Business leaders given government advisory roles

      They include Andrew Witty, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline; Sara Weller, boss of Argos; and Sam Laidlaw, head of Centrica.

      In total, 31 private, public and not-for-profit sector leaders are being appointed to departmental boards.

      As non-executive directors they will scrutinise how departments are run.

    • Lib Dems call by-election early

      The Liberal Democrats will today bring forward the date of their first big electoral test since joining the Coalition Government.

      The party is planning to take the highly unusual step officially calling the by-election in Phil Woolas’ former seat of Oldham East and Saddleworth on January 13.

    • Read the audit Rights & Democracy doesn’t want you to see

      The foreign affairs committee of the House of Commons was set to meet behind closed doors on Thursday afternoon to discuss a confidential audit into embattled federal agency Rights & Democracy.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Administrative Net Censorship adopted in France; Pedophiles unworried

      The French Parliament adopted article 4 of the LOPPSI law, which establishes the administrative filtering of the Net through the Trojan horse of “child protection”. Such a scheme will allow for the generalised censorship of Internet content while doing nothing to stop pedophiles and child pornography. The rejection of judiciary supervision clearly illustrates the will of the executive branch to control the Internet.

    • Council text on web blocking – breaking the law to fight crime

      The Council of Justice Ministers adopted a text on web blocking at its recent meeting in Brussels on 2-3 December 2010. The Belgian Presidency, for domestic reasons, felt obliged to adopt a text during its term of office. As a result, the outcome is a hastily cobbled together text that makes little legal sense and whose main value is to finally betray the real meaning behind the proposal.

    • Amazon’s latest Kindle deletion: erotic, incest-themed fiction

      “I want to be clear that while the subject of incest may not appeal to some, there is no underage contact in any of my work, and I make that either explicitly clear in all my stories or I state it up front in the book’s disclaimer,” Kitt wrote in a blog post. “I don’t condone or support actual incest, just as someone who writes mysteries about serial killers wouldn’t condone killing.”

    • The French Government Can Now Censor the Internet

      A new episode in French internet legislation — French ministers have passed a bill (original in French) allowing the government to add any website to a black list, which access providers will have to enforce.

    • Season’s Greetings from EFF’s International Team
    • Google refuses Connecticut attorney general’s request for data

      Google Inc. has declined to meet a deadline set by Connecticut’s top prosecutor to provide detailed records on any information it may have collected from unsecured wireless networks in his state while taking photographs for its Street View feature.

    • Statement by Minister Cannon on Iran’s Continued Imprisonment of Bahá’í and Other Prisoners

      The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the Government of Iran’s continuing imprisonment of seven Bahá’í community leaders and the ongoing denial of legal rights to other Iranians:

      “I note with regret the reports that Iranian authorities are continuing the imprisonment of the seven Bahá’í community leaders whose 10-year sentence was announced in September 2010.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • City of Vancouver Calls Out CRTC on Behalf of its Residents

      The City of Vancouver today passed a groundbreaking motion in opposition to usage-based Internet billing, calling on the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to disallow financial penalties for ‘too much’ Internet use.

    • Governments shouldn’t have a monopoly on Internet governance

      The beauty of the Internet is that it’s not controlled by any one group. Its governance is bottoms-up—with academics, non-profits, companies and governments all working to improve this technological wonder of the modern world. This model has not only made the Internet very open—a testbed for innovation by anyone, anywhere—it’s also prevented vested interests from taking control.

    • Homeland Security Presents ‘Evidence’ For Domain Seizures; Proves It Knows Little About The Internet – Or The Law

      Earlier this week, we noted how the owners of the various hiphop blogs and Torrent-Finder, the torrent search engine, that were seized by Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) group still hadn’t been provided the details on why their domains were seized. However, that’s no longer the case. A partial affidavit and the seizure warrant for those sites has been released, and it highlights how ridiculously clueless Homeland Security is on this issue (you can read the whole thing at the bottom of this post). What’s troubling isn’t just that the folks who made the decision to seize these domain names don’t seem to know what they’re talking about, but that they seem to have relied almost exclusively on the MPAA for their (lack of) knowledge on the subject at hand.

    • Facebook and Social networking: Tim Berners-Lee closes the stable door after the horse has bolted

      Since I started using computers and since I abandoned the choppy waters of Windows for the safe harbour of FOSS, the internet has experienced huge change and rapid growth. Better web browsers, file sharing, iPhones, iPads and other touch screen tablets too. The one thing that has not changed much though is that GNU/Linux always seems to breast the tape second. It seems fated to forever be behind the curve. I can live with that as long as I’m using my software my way. Free and open. However, that has implications for freedom and privacy that I don’t like living with—and neither does Tim Berners-Lee. Specifically, he has been venting about those very things in respect of social networks and how they threaten that freedom and privacy.

    • Mobile Carriers Dream of Charging per Page

      Just a week before the FCC holds a vote on whether to apply fairness rules to some of the nation’s internet service providers, two companies that sell their services to the country’s largest cellular companies showed off a different vision of the future: one where you’ll have to pay extra to watch YouTube or use Facebook.

      The companies, Allot Communications and Openet — suppliers to large wireless companies including AT&T and Verizon — showed off a new product in a web seminar Tuesday, which included a PowerPoint presentation (1.5-MB .pdf) that was sent to Wired by a trusted source.

    • Sen. Hutchison moves to block funds for FCC on net neutrality rules

      Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), ranking member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee filed an amendment to an appropriations bill aimed at preventing the Federal Communications Commission from adopting net neutrality regulation.

    • BPI (British IFPI) call to block the ‘Net

      In the wake of yesterday’s Wikileaks drama, a call by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for Internet blocking to support music copyright, has gone almost unnoticed. But the BPI’s call is a siren warning that the freedom of the Internet is intensely under threat.

    • UN considers panel of governments to set policies for policing the Internet

      A United Nations task force formed last week said it was considering the creation of a new inter-governmental working group to help further international cooperation on policies to police the Internet.

      The discussion was undertaken to “enhance” and extend the work of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a UN-sponsored organization that makes recommendations on how governments should deal with the Internet. The IGF’s mandate is due to expire soon, so members of the UN’s Commission on Science and Technology for Development Bureau took up the issue and formed a task force to determine what the new IGF should look like.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Just Sue Them! Nike Went After One End User For Ordering Chinese Counterfeit Trainers Via The Internet

      Nike International Limited (Bermuda), Nike European Operations Netherlands BV and Nike UK Limited sued Mr E. Bateman for buying counterfeit trainers via the internet, in the England and Wales Patent County Court (served August 26, 2010 and heard October 11, 2010).

    • Sustainability, Openness and P2P Production in the World of Fashion


      Chapter 1: A path towards networked artisans (by Bertram Niessen)

      Chapter 2: Studying the structure of the fashion system (by Oleg Koefoed and Lise Skov)

      Chapter 3: Open Source, p2p, social innovation and clothing (by Bertram Niessen)

      Chapter 4: Sustainability in fashion (by Oleg Koefoed and Lise Skov)

    • US Ambassador: Over-Focus On Development “Will Kill” WIPO

      The World Intellectual Property Organization is headed in a controversial direction, and a focus on development at the expense of protection of intellectual property rights will mean the end of the agency, the United States Ambassador Betty King said yesterday.

      “If we get to a system where the protections of patents are abrogated in the name of development, then we certainly will kill that organization,” she said, referring to WIPO. “So I worry very much about that.”

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA, Pharma Demanding US Push Other Countries To Have Significantly More Draconian IP Laws Than The US

        The constant push to expand government granted monopoly privileges for those who benefit most from them never ceases. It seems like every other day or so, we hear about US lobbyists for those industries pushing for greater legal support around the globe. The latest is with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement that the USTR is currently negotiating. The MPAA wrote a letter, which was co-signed by the major pharmaceutical trade group and the US Chamber of Commerce, pushing for the agreement to include rules that go well beyond current US copyright and patent laws.

      • How Much Does File-Sharing REALLY Cost Record Companies?

        In October, a federal judge ruled for record companies in their lawsuit against Lime Wire, issuing an injunction and delivering tough language on the file-sharing service’s copyright infringement.

        The case is about to move to a jury trial that will determine what damages are owed by Lime Wire to the labels, but before that happens, record companies are going to experience some pain, thanks to a decision on Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman.

        In the lawsuit, the music companies are seeking more than $1 billion in statutory damages, so Lime Wire asked the judge to make the labels prove lost profits.

        In response, the labels offered to show “gross revenue” on the infringing works.

      • Dutch Anti-Piracy Group, With MPAA’s Help, Able To Grab 29 US-Hosted Domains… With No Trial Or Notice

        Now that the US government appears to be endorsing the idea of simply seizing domain names without notice to the proprietors of those domains, it appears that others are doing the same as well. TorrentFreak reports that the Dutch anti-piracy group, BREIN, with help from the MPAA, has been able to get 29 different domain names — all hosted in the US — to point to BREIN’s homepage instead. The owners of those domains were apparently given no notice and no recourse. It sounds like most of the sites did not host any content but linked to potentially infringing content.

      • More People Calling US Copyright Group’s Bluff

        Mass copyright lawsuit filer US Copyright Group (really, DC law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver) has been claiming for a while that it really, really was going to file lawsuits against the thousands of folks they’ve sued in the specific jurisdictions where they’re located — though many have questioned whether or not it would really do this, since it would be quite expensive and DGW is a tiny, tiny law firm.

      • Record Labels Blame Google For Piracy, Hint At Censorship

        The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK’s main recording industry trade body, came out with guns blazing against Google today. BPI says that search engines like Google are as popular as P2P applications as a source for illegal downloads. The music industry is pressing Google and others to censor their search results in favor of ‘legal’ music services.

      • Judge Blocks Copyright Trolls in Porn-Downloading Lawsuits

        In a big victory in the fight against copyright trolls, a judge in West Virginia has blocked an attempt to unmask accused file sharers in seven predatory lawsuits involving the alleged illegal downloading of pornography. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), working with Charles J. Kaiser of Phillips, Gardill, Kaiser & Altmeyer, PLLC, filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing that the film companies were abusing the law in an attempt to pressure settlements.

        In these cases — as in many others across the country — the owners of the adult movies filed mass lawsuits based on single counts of copyright infringement stemming from the downloading of a pornographic film, and improperly lumped hundreds of defendants together regardless of where the IP addresses indicate the defendants live. The motivation behind these cases appears to be to leverage the risk of embarrassment associated with pornography to coerce settlement payments despite serious problems with the underlying claims.

      • Conservative ad against the Coalition’s iPod tax
      • Warner Brothers Won’t Fight ‘Yogi Bear’ Video Parody

        A video parody of “Yogi Bear” that’s much darker than your average episode of that vintage Hanna-Barbera cartoon – not to mention the coming Warner Brothers film adaptation – isn’t a viral marketing campaign gone awry. But the studio said on Monday that it wouldn’t try to take down the Web satire, either.

      • Warner Bros. Smarter Than The Average Studio? Won’t Fight Yogi Bear Parody

        So, kudos to Warner Bros. for not overreacting. It’s sad that it still needs to be highlighted when some of these firms don’t overreact, but hopefully it means they’re learning.

      • Canadian Association of Broadcasters Reacts to Liberal Party Stance to Abandon Local Radio Artisans in Favour of Foreign Record Labels

        Today’s announcement by the Liberal Party of Canada outlining their proposed amendments to Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, fails to recognize the significant role local radio plays in supporting Canadian music artists and local communities across Canada.

      • Warning over digital music and film purchases

        Consumers who buy digital music, films and computer software do not have the same legal protection as people buying CDs or DVDs, a consumer watchdog warned today.

        Consumer Focus said digital products are not considered “tangible goods”, so while consumers on the high street are protected by the Sale of Goods Act if their purchase is not of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose or as described, people buying digital goods online are not protected.

      • ArcticStartup Should Be Taxed For Copyright Purposes, Just In Case

        Last night I came home to read some news that Finland is considering adding a copyright tariff on external hard drives. A similar tariff is added to all different empty media, in this case empty CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes and so on. Now, the Finnish parliament is discussing the possibility of adding this tariff to all external hard drives. It’s plain stupidity that will offer artists comfort for a year or so, before it begins to both hurt them and businesses selling hard disks.


        Update (17th December, 12.30 GMT): The correct compensation prices are 5 euros for hard drives between 250Gb and 950Gb and 10 euros for hard drives above 950 Gb all the way until 3 Tb. So you’d be best off getting a large 3Tb hard disk where there is no compensation included.

      • Judge kills massive P2P porn lawsuit, kneecaps copyright troll

        Only 10 days after a federal judge in Washington, DC sharply limited the US Copyright Group’s mass file-sharing lawsuits there, a federal judge in West Virginia has come down even harder on another set of mass lawsuits. Ken Ford, the lawyer behind the Adult Copyright Company, has just had his business model chopped off at the knees; not only did Judge John Preston Bailey dismiss every defendant but one in Ford’s mass lawsuits, he also demanded that each case be filed separately and that Ford only submit IP addresses likely to map to West Virginia Internet users.

      • More copyright lawsuits filed over Review-Journal ‘death ray’ graphic

        Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC, as expected, continues to crank out copyright infringement lawsuits over the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vdara “death ray” graphic.

        The latest website operators and contributors sued this week in U.S. District Court for Nevada, accused of posting the graphic online without authorization, were:

        • Eric Lipman, identified by Righthaven as a guest blogger for the website legalblogwatch.typepad.com.

        • An entity called Justmeans, along with Martin Smith and Andrea Brennen, allegedly associated with the website justmeans.com.

      • Judge In Limewire Case Wants To Explore How Much File Sharing Really Costs Record Labels

        It’s not entirely clear, from there, how each side will go about showing damages, but it is interesting that the plan seems to be to look for empirical evidence to determine actual damages. I’m really surprised by this — since my understanding was that with statutory rates, the whole idea was that the copyright holder never had to bother proving any actual damage (something I disagree with — but it’s what I thought the law said…). Either way, it certainly would be nice if there were some reasonable data to work with, so this should be worth following.

      • ACTA

        • USTR’s Request for Comments on ACTA

          USTR has issued a request for comments on ACTA. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2011. The notice gives very little guidance regarding the issues the USTR would like addressed in the comments.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • BPI Effectively Admits That Digital Economy Act Was Useless

          This past year was a banner year for BPI. The UK market has bucked the trend in pretty much every other part of the world and has seen recorded music sales growing, while its overall music industry (if you count how much money musicians actually make — beyond just recorded music sales) has been growing for quite some time. Even with all of that, BPI was able to push through the incredibly draconian Digital Economy Act in the UK via questionable means.

          So BPI should be thrilled, right? In the midst of a recession, and a massive decline in recorded music sales everywhere else in the world, it was able to buck that trend even before it got this new law passed.

          But no, to BPI, absolutely everything is about “piracy.” It’s put out a new report whining that “piracy” is still increasing and saying it’s all Google’s fault. Of course, this isn’t a surprise as BPI has been trying to set Google up for a lawsuit.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg


Links 17/12/2010: Mentor Graphics Joins Linux Foundation, Linux 2.6.37 Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Have yourself a very Linux Christmas

    Whether you cut your teeth downloading Linux 0.x source code or you want to give Linux a try for the first time, we’ve got presents for you.

    What do you get for the Linux lover in your life? Or, for that matter, a would-be Linux user or someone you want to talk into giving Linux a try? Well, here are some of my suggestions. Got some of your own? Share them in the comments.

  • Best Gifts For the Linux Geek, Make Your Own Railgun, and More

    Tis the season! Linux is the gift that keeps on giving; here is a roundup of my suggestions for treating yourself, your loved ones, or other people with Linux and geeky goodness.

  • How’d Ya Do That?

    Since moving over to Linux, I’ve been using the graphics applications the come with this wonderful OS. And I use them exclusively to produce all my cartoon features. The Gimp (photo editing) and Scribus (Desktop publishing), especially, do a great job in helping me create my cartoon features for newspapers and other print publications.

  • Free Software turns DisplayLink docking stations into Linux client PCs

    DisplayLink, maker of graphics-over-USB solutions, has partnered with Canadian company Userful to turn Displaylink-powered docking stations into Linux-driven CPU-less client PCs.

  • Experiences with (very) rare Linux crashing, upgrades

    The CentOS upgrade process refreshed all of the binaries on the system including the kernel and the system booted up and was up and running in no time. No tweaking or adjustments were needed at all. This is one of the most amazing things about Linux is that the upgrade process can be so straightforward and so effective. Great great stuff here. I am so used to seeing upgrades in Windows and other software fail miserably.

  • Desktop

    • A Windows User Installs Ubuntu Linux

      Maybe I’ll look back and wonder why I didn’t try Ubuntu sooner. So far, it appears to be a great solution for older computers.

    • Serious games, KDE and Co

      I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say that they would use Linux if only it had xxx programs. I have also lost count of the number of times I have heard vendors say that it is not economically viable to produce programs for such a small user base. Both parties have a valid point but no solution. The solution is easy to say but hard to implement.

      The solution is. Either the user base must increase and kick start the vendors or the vendors must build up the user base with the offering of so called “killer apps”. Theoretically, either one of those solutions could work. The hard part is doing what is needed to make one of those choices a reality.

    • Windows 7 and the Linux desktop (PART 1)

      Anyways, as I am sure you know by now, I choose Linux Mint 10 and the Linux desktop in general over Windows 7, and it certainly is not just because I expected better from the latter.

    • The Next New Year of Linux on the Desktop: 2011?

      Those of us who have been part of the FOSS community for more than, oh, say 10 minutes, are no doubt already familiar with the recurring “Year of Linux on the Desktop” debate.

      It’s a topic that comes up again and again in the Linux blogosphere, typically fueled by some new success or promising advance in our favorite desktop operating system.

      The question — or questions, really — center on whether Linux has “arrived” on the desktop already, whether it’s on the verge of doing so, whether it might possibility get there at some point in the undefined future, and so on. You get the idea.

      Well, guess what? It’s baaa-ack.

    • AUSkey finally gets open source support

      Starting today, Linux users will be able to take advantage of the government’s AUSkey authentication software after months of waiting.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • Nothing but ‘Net: hands-on with the Cr-48 Chrome OS laptop

      Google’s ‘Net-centric Chrome OS platform challenges conventional notions about what constitutes an operating system. It puts the cloud front and center, eschewing the familiar desktop paradigm and native applications in favor of a browser-only environment. It’s an audacious and intriguing experiment, but it’s not clear yet if it will resonate with a mainstream audience.

      To get a feel for how Google’s new platform works in the field, we spent a few days testing the Cr-48, an experimental laptop prototype that runs an early version of Chrome OS. Although the software is still under development and not yet mature enough to support an authoritative conclusion about the platform’s potential, we have assembled some observations based on our experiences.

  • Kernel Space

    • Official open source driver for Kinect
    • Mentor Graphics Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Mentor Graphics (NASDAQ: MENT) is its newest member.

      Mentor Graphics was founded nearly 30 years ago and today is a leading supplier of products and services that assist in the embedded design of chips and boards, as well as embedded operating systems, applications and drivers.

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.37 (Part 3) – Network and storage hardware

      Numerous changes to the network and storage code are to increase processing speed and improve the system’s hardware support. Among the new additions are a PPTP stack, various drivers for Wi-Fi hardware by Atheros, Broadcom and Realtek, and code for hard disks with a logical sector size of 4 Kbytes.

    • The Linux 2.6.37 Kernel Nears Completion

      With it being just over a week since the release of Linux 2.6.37-rc5, Linus Torvalds has this evening put out Linux 2.6.37-rc6. This seventh release candidate to the Linux 2.6.37 kernel is just packing regression fixes as it nears completion

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Support GNOME by shopping at Amazon this Xmas

        With Xmas almost here you’re likely to find yourself edging near the starting line titled ‘the mad rush for last-minute gifts‘.

        If you’re going to be busy on Amazon over the festive period don’t forget to use the GNOME referral links. Using these cost you nothing and they work just like normal amazon links, but instead of the shopping giant getting every cent of your cash a small slice goes to help keep the wonderful folks at GNOME all warm and fuzzy.

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon on a Acer Aspire Netbook

      I just bought an Acer Aspire One D255 Netbook with the intention of testing out Sabayon, and seeing how our distro stacks up against Win7 and other Linux distributions geared towards netbooks.

      I intentionally bought a lightweight, cheap netbook so I could gauge the experience other people might have if they decide to experiment with their netbooks. The crippled Windows 7 Starter edition that ships on many of these less expensive netbooks may prompt people to check out alternatives.

    • Easy Linux for Your Grandparents

      In the January 2011 Computer Power User magazine there is a review of a new Ubuntu derivative designed for novice computer users to run Linux on their desktop, Pinguy OS.


      Of course, I do have to question the basic concept behind this new distribution – Who is it really for? As the developer states, the idea was to build a simple to use operating system with everything a typical user would want built-in. Is the typical user someone who already runs Linux and likes the simplicity of not having to do all the legwork to get the OS up and running or is this the answer to the desktop Linux question; can my grandma use this?

    • Top 10 Distribution Developments in 2010

      Millions of Linux-based ARM client computers have shipped this year in the form of Android phones and tablets, and Canonical and other companies have seen the wisdom in supporting ARM for netbooks. You won’t find a lot of netbooks or desktop-type systems with ARM on the shelves right now, but I suspect 2011 will change that.

    • Interview with Doudoulinux’s creator.

      A: DoudouLinux is a young project that was launched this summer after 2-3 years of experiments. We want to provide a child OS for standard computers and our model for ease of use is gaming consoles. Indeed gaming consoles are just computers so why should standard computers be much more complicated to use? Additionally as it is based on Linux, DoudouLinux is not this kind of empty OS that are sold in supermarkets neither. Some people would have advertised for DoudouLinux as “The kid OS for human beings” [NDR Ubuntu like] but I chose “The computer they prefer” ;) .

    • Bodhi 0.1.3 Released

      This 0.1.3 release is a bit larger than previous versions, coming in at 385 megs (still under our 400 meg goal).

    • Reviews

      • Pardus Corporate 2 beta

        Pardus Corporate 2 is the corporate (professional) edition of Pardus, the Linux distribution developed and maintained by the National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology (UEKAE), Turkey. This is the first beta, released on December 13. The final release will be made available on February 16, 2011 (see the release schedule). This article presents a cursory review of this beta release, and because the re-designed management tools in Pardus Corporate will also feature on Pardus 2011, this (review) will also give you a pretty good idea of what to expect on Pardus 2011, which is slated to be released on January 20, 2011.


        The final stable release of Pardus Corporate is at least two months away, and I think that is time enough for the developers to add the following features:

        * Full disk encryption support in YALI, similar to Fedora’s implementation. By the way, the next snapshot release of PC-BSD 9, will feature disk encryption support in the installer in a similar fashion.
        * The firewall rule creation process could use a few more options
        * Ability to search across tabs in the Package Manager.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Flash 2010 Christmas Sale

        Now here’s a special Christmas present for all of you Linux enthusiasts out there, as Mandriva announced the availability of its portable USB Mandriva Flash Drive. It is based on the KDE4 Edition of the Mandriva Linux 2010 distribution (released on July 8th, 2010) and it’s available as an 8GB USB flash drive.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat to pay $20 million

        Software company Red Hat has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a 6-year-old class action suit that accused it of deceiving investors by falsifying its finances.

      • Red Hat’s New Strategies For Enterprise And SMB

        Red Hat has devised a two pronged channel strategy to address customers in the enterprise and the SMB segments in India. The strategy is essentially a part of Red Hat’s plans for RHEL 6 that was released last month.

        To target the large enterprise, the vendor is expanding partnerships with its advanced business partners (ABPs).

      • Serious games, KDE and Co
      • Fedora

        • [opinion] Fedora needs an architect

          I read yet another thread about Fedora randomly changing the way UNIX has done things forever (the specific thread was on /dev/shm mount options) and it reminded me that I’ve been saying for a while that Fedora urgently needs an architect. FESCo should appoint a person as their technical representative who speaks for overall system architecture concerns. The person in this role should actively seek out compatibility or integration problems but should also be a “go to” person for concerns that arise in the interests of distribution cohesion. Sure, they should be accountable, etc. but the idea that everything should be filed in some ticket and wait a week for FESCo to debate it is both the reason these things don’t get filed (because you can’t file every tiny annoyance) and also the reason why we have these long mailing list threads in the interim.

        • Fedora 14 KDE

          Pros: Comes with KDE 4.5; good selection of software.

          Cons: Install routine is a bit odd and could use a tweak or two; software management is good but not quite as good as Linux Mint’s or the Ubuntu Software Center.

          Suitable For: Intermediate and advanced Linux users, particularly those who prefer or require the KDE desktop.

          Summary: Fedora 14 KDE is a good choice for experienced Linux users that prefer the KDE desktop environment.

          Rating: 3.5/5

        • Red Hat Dictates Fedora 15 Wallpaper

          The whole purpose of using the upstream GNOME 3 wallpaper for Fedora 15 was because Fedora 15 will be the first distribution to feature GNOME 3 in its entirety as default. But as the conversation continued it came out that there is still a slight chance it would not ready for Fedora 15. In any case, GNOME 2 would be provided as a choice and fallback for those without sufficient hardware. So do they use the GNOME 3 wallpaper for GNOME 2 too?

          From there the conversation was joined by other team members very much against having to use the GNOME 3 wallpaper either as a basis for all the artwork or just as the GNOME 3 background because it breaks consistency. Alternative choices and default for other spins were also discussed.

        • Fedora Board Meeting, 13 December 2010
    • Debian Family

      • Debian Squeeze Kernel to be Completely Free

        Debian developers have been working overtime to remove any of the proprietary drivers from their kernel that shipped with 4.0 and 5.0. Many users appreciate this firmware to convert bricks to useful hardware, but the Debian project strives to remain committed to their guidelines. One states that any code used must allow redistribution of it and its source code. Another says that any code must allow modification. Most closed-source code restricts or prohibits both of these. The press release said, “We hereby reaffirm Free Software as one of our priorities, as documented in the Debian Social Contract.”

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Changing how we track Launchpad’s bugs, questions and blueprints

          From today, all Launchpad bugs, code, questions and blueprints are tracked under the one launchpad project.

          We’ve already moved everything from the individual projects over to the parent launchpad project. All you need do differently is search/file bugs, questions and blueprints under that parent Launchpad project, rather than Rosetta, for example.

        • The future of Ubuntu

          Traditionally Ubuntu has been known for providing the world with a stable, friendly and usable GNU/Linux desktop while Fedora has been known for launching cutting edge technologies which might not be very mature at the point of release. Hence hardcore hackers swear by the likes of Fedora and Debian while casual users loved Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu as Intended. My Experience Of Using the ‘Default’ Ubuntu

          Like many so-called “power users”, the first thing I do after installing Linux is customize it. I set it to my preferred desktop settings, applications and configuration because I know what I like, and I normally go to great lengths to get it just right. Recently, after setting up a new Ubuntu Maverick install for my wife, I began to wonder what it would be like to run a system on the defaults. To try things their way – to use Ubuntu’s desktop settings, Ubuntu’s preferred applications and configuration. This meant I could not install any of my favorite applications (Chrome, VLC, Exaile…) if Ubuntu already provided an equivalent (Firefox, Totem, Rhythmbox…). How did it turn out? Frustrating, but with some surprising results. (Note: This is not your usual Ubuntu review, but my miscellaneous ramblings, and some praises. Read on for details.)

        • Ubuntu Up and Running Book Review

          With all that said, I would stay give this a book a “would recommend” as it is very detailed, and can go a long way in taking the interested reader from being interested in Ubuntu, to reasonably well versed in Ubuntu.
          The chapter covering the command line is thorough and clear. In fact, I learned a few things that I didn’t about using some CLI tools installed in Ubuntu.
          I look forward to future versions of this book covering newer versions of Ubuntu, and hopefully, through the Blogger Review program, is touched up in some of its rough edges.

        • Bored of your homepage? Try this bright Ubuntu-ized one instead

          Created by spideofdesign on deviant art the theme is bold, minimal and works just like a regular google search page – just a bit prettier.

        • It’s Been a Crazy Year

          So here I am, the official manager of the Canonical Ubuntu Server team (and acting manager of Foundations and Security)…..wow….up ’til now, I’ve been pretty client focused…..now I have to switch gears to the server workspace?…..backfill two positions?…..figure out our cloud infrastructure stack?….hell, figure out cloud!……what the %$#! did I just get myself into!!!!

        • Myth Busted #6: Ubuntu is only for n00bs and not for serious linux users ( n00buntu )

          Ubuntu is n00b friendly, yes. We work to help new and non-technical users going with Ubuntu, yes. We like n00bs, yes.

          However, we’re just as much complected GNU/Linux as anyone else, if you want it to be. In fact, tons of Ubuntu Developers love using tweeked systems, and we’d never “disable” that for ourselves!

          This myth is mostly false, and I say mostly, because we try to not let anyone act like they’re better then anyone else for using our distro.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • World’s first dual-core smartphone debuts in Korea

          LG Electronics announced an Android 2.2-powered handset claimed to be the world’s first dual-core smartphone, due for a release in Korea next month. The Optimus 2X is built around a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and offers a four-inch WVGA display, an eight-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.3-megapixel webcam facing front, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Donates Java Tools Source Code

    Google on Wednesday plans to make a substantial contribution to the open source community: It’s giving over $5 million worth of code and intellectual property associated with two Java Eclipse products, WindowsBuilder and Code Pro Profiler, to the Eclipse Foundation.

    The company acquired WindowsBuilder, a Java GUI design program for Eclipse, and Code Pro Profiler, a Java performance analysis tool, when it purchased Java development tool maker Instantiations in August. After offering Instantiations software for free in September, Google received many requests from Java developers to “take it to the next level,” said Eric Clayberg, software engineering manager for Google Developer Tools and former co-founder and VP of product development at Instantiations.

  • Vietnam slow in applying open source software

    Vietnam has been developing open source software for the last 10 years, but it has witnessed no considerable progress so far, according to the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC).

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • Oracle releases Open Office 3.3 and MySQL 5.5

      Since taking over Sun Microsystems, Oracle’s posturing has led many to believe that the open source projects MySQL and Open Office are set for the closed source scrapheap. Both MySQL 5.5 and Open Office 3.3 are the first major releases since the takeover. Somewhat surprisingly, Oracle is stressing the continuing free software character and free availability of both of these important open source products.

      Oracle’s Cloud Office mirrors moves by Microsoft and Google, both of which offer cloud based office suites. Cloud Office is essentially a web based office suite, offering users the opportunity to work on documents using their web browser. Oracle cites interoperability between Microsoft Office and Open Office, though anyone with experience will know that the difference between such claims and reality can be large.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 6.20 released

      Drupal 6.20, a maintenance release fixing issues reported through the bug tracking system, is now available for download. There are no security fixes in this release. Upgrading your existing Drupal 6 sites is recommended.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 9 installer preview

      KDE 4 will still be the default desktop environment, but you will be able to choose from GNOME, LXDE, Xfce.

    • OpenBSD backdoor claims denied

      The claims were made by Gregory Perry, a former OpenBSD developer who now heads a company in Florida named GoVirtual Education; it offers VMWare training.

      In an email to the head of the OpenBSD project, Theo de Raadt, Perry accused a couple of people by name of implementing the backdoors.

    • OpenBSD backdoor claims: bugs found during code audit

      De Raadt decided to go public with the mail, posting it to the openbsd-tech mailing list, along with his own comments.

      In that post, among other statements, he said: “The mail came in privately from a person I have not talked to for nearly 10 years. I refuse to become part of such a conspiracy, and will not be talking to Gregory Perry about this. Therefore I am making it public so that (a) those who use the code can audit it for these problems, (b) those that are angry at the story can take other actions, (c) if it is not true, those who are being accused can defend themselves.”

  • Project Releases

    • Paludis 0.56.1 Released

      Paludis 0.56.1 has been released:

      * We now show the number of skipped and failed packages in “x of y” output.
      * We now run pkg_pretend even if certain confirmations are required.
      * Various minor bug fixes and documentation tweaks.

  • Government

    • EU group to map advantages of public administrations using open source

      A consortium of public administrations in eleven EU member states, IT innovation centres, and the university of Sheffield have started a project to increase awareness on the advantages of free and open source software. It specifically wants to provide guidelines to those administrations that are less familiar with this type of software.

    • Is 2011 the year of open source in the public sector?

      Speaking shortly before Christmas, cabinet office minister Francis Maude reiterated the importance of open source software for future government contracts. Speaking to a delegation of large IT suppliers, including BT, Cap Gemini, Hewlett Packard and IBM, Maude pulled no punches, stating:

      “The days of the mega IT contracts are over, we will need you to rethink the way you approach projects, making them smaller, off the shelf and open source where possible.”

      The speech, at a supplier summit in London, broke no new ground, but it is the clearest indication yet that the coalition government is committed to pre-election pledges from both parties to level the playing field for both open source and smaller IT suppliers in providing IT goods and services to the public sector.

    • European Citizen Initiative powered by Open Source software

      The European Parliament wants to ensure that software used for the European Citizen’s Initiative (1 mio signatures for initialising European laws) is open source, adopted today…

  • Programming

    • Git Joins the Software Freedom Conservancy

      Today, the Software Freedom Conservancy welcomes Git as its newest member. Git joins twenty-three other Conservancy members, who receive the benefit of aggregated non-profit status available to all Conservancy member projects.


  • 5 Best Websites With Awesome Christmas Wallpaper For Your Desktop

    It’s that time of the year again. There’s snow on the ground, you’ve got your holiday shopping done (right?), and everybody’s in a festive mood. Personally, I’m looking forward to kicking back with the family and watching Christmas Vacation, as well as catching some holiday bowl games.

  • Science

    • Periodic table to get atomic weight update

      The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights will update the atomic weights for 10 elements on the periodic table.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange has committed no crime in Australia: AFP

      Neither WikiLeaks not its founder Julian Assange has committed any crime in Australia over the leaking of official United States government documents, the Australian Federal Police announced this afternoon.

      This comes despite Prime Minister Julia Gillard labelling the actions of the group “illegal” two weeks ago.

    • Dear Government of Sweden …

      So imagine our surprise when all of a sudden you decided to go after one Julian Assange on sexual assault charges. Well, sort of: first you charged him. Then after investigating it, you dropped the most serious charges and rescinded the arrest warrant.

      Then a conservative MP put pressure on you and, lo and behold, you did a 180 and reopened the Assange investigation. Except you still didn’t charge him with anything. You just wanted him for “questioning.” So you — you who have sat by and let thousands of Swedish women be raped while letting their rapists go scott-free — you decided it was now time to crack down on one man — the one man the American government wants arrested, jailed or (depending on which politician or pundit you listen to) executed. You just happened to go after him, on one possible “count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape (third degree).” And while thousands of Swedish rapists roam free, you instigated a huge international manhunt on Interpol for this Julian Assange!

      What anti-rape crusaders you’ve become, Swedish government! Women in Sweden must suddenly feel safer?

    • Crime and Punishment

      “The lawyer said the only correspondence his client had received was a note telling him that a copy of Time magazine sent to him had been destroyed because the cover bore his photograph.”

    • EC’s IT chief hits out at open source hypocrisy claims

Clip of the Day

Athlete Robot: Sprint Running (1st video)

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 16/12/2010: Debian 6.0 With Free Linux Kernel, Linux at Electronics Show

Posted in News Roundup at 8:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Google

    • Ubuntu running on a Chrome CR-48 notebook

      Google’s Chrome OS notebook, the not-so-snappily titled CR-48, has been demoed running Ubuntu Desktop edition.

      The procedure for getting Ubuntu up and running on the device is by no means as simple you’d think, requiring the use of another Linux machine on hand ‘with chroot set up for Chromium OS development.’

    • Chrome OS discoveries

      Speaking of partitions, it has twelve! The first is the “state” partition that stores all of your local data. Interesting to note is that all of your Chrome data (history, passwords, etc) is encrypted with eCryptfs and is mounted on login, so if someone were to steal your notebook you’d still be safe.

    • Chrome is Ready for Business

      Since we launched the Chromium project over two years ago, we’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from IT administrators who want to manage and configure Google Chrome. Of course, we were eager to do what we could to help them get Chrome deployed inside their organizations.

      Today, after talking directly to administrators and testing the features extensively with other organizations, we believe the first set of features is ready for prime-time. Both Chrome and Chromium are now manageable through Group Policy objects on Windows, plist/MCX configuration on Mac, and special JSON configuration files on Linux. We polished up the NTLM and Kerberos protocol support, and created a list of supported policies and administrative templates to help administrators deploy. For users needing access to older web applications not yet qualified for Chrome, we also developed Chrome Frame, an Internet Explorer (TM) plug-in that provides Chrome-quality rendering for the broader Web, while defaulting to host rendering for any web applications that still require IE.

    • Chrome is Ready for Business

      When we announced that Chrome is now used by over 120 million users and showed off some of its latest features last week, we saw a tremendous amount of excitement from both users and businesses. Many businesses asked how they can get the benefits of increased security, speed and the modern browser capabilities that Chrome offers with the configurability and customizations they need.

    • Chrome OS: Please Don’t Open the Hood

      By now, you may have seen the latest promo for the upcoming Chrome notebook. Advocating the advantages of the cloud-based Chrome OS, the video is mildly amusing and largely irrelevant — a case at least as strong could be made for preferring locally-installed applications, and I suspect that what people really want to see are close-ups of Chrome OS.

      However, those close-ups can be harder to see than you might expect. Since Google is not releasing any official downloads, you need to either compile your own code, or to sort through the unofficial releases until you find one that is not only reasonably current, but whose source also seems trustworthy. After struggling to determine if you have the latest version and learning how to convert it for a virtualization tool like VirtualBox, you might conclude that the easiest way to satisfy your curiosity about Chrome OS is to apply for the Chrome Netbook Pilot Program in the hopes of receiving a test machine.

    • RMS and Trust

      RMS has been a stalwart promoter of Free Software. His take on cloud computing is that it is “worse than stupidity”. In principle, he is right; trusting someone is worse than stupidity but we humans do it all the time. Not trusting anyone is paranoia. It is possible to use IT in the real world while being paranoid but a lot less gets done, networking, for instance. We should not trust our firewalls but we do. We trust other drivers to follow the rules of the road when that trust is obviously misplaced but the reward of getting from A to B is greater than the slight risk of a collision.

  • Kernel Space

    • Stable kernel
    • Multi-Core Scaling In A KVM Virtualized Environment

      Earlier this week we published benchmarks comparing Oracle VM VirtualBox to Linux KVM and the Linux system host performance. Some of the feedback from individuals said that it was a bad idea using the Intel Core i7 “Gulftown” with all twelve of its CPU threads available to the hardware-virtualized guest since virtualization technologies are bad in dealing with multiple virtual CPUs. But is this really the case? With not being able to find any concrete benchmarks in that area, we carried out another set of tests to see how well the Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine scales against the host as the number of CPU cores available to each is increased. It can be both good and bad for Linux virtualization.

    • The Linux Kernel’s Impact on the Desktop User Experience

      It’s a cliché that most computer users care more about bells and whistles than how software performs “under the hood.” And while there may be some truth in such a view, it’s also clear that the backend affects users in important ways, whether they realize it or not. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at some recently introduced features in the Linux kernel, and what they mean for the desktop user experience.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 260.19.26 Linux Driver Released

        Two weeks after NVIDIA had put out their unannounced 260.19.21 Linux driver, they have returned to the web and have officially released the NVIDIA 260.19.26 graphics driver for Linux x86/x86_64 along with Solaris and FreeBSD operating systems.

        The NVIDIA 260.19.29 driver adds support for new NVIDIA GPUs, fixes a bug that causes some OpenGL applications to become unresponsive, adds support for NVIDIA 3D Vision Pro, and adds a new 3D Vision Pro configuration file option to the xorg.conf.

      • X Server 1.9.3 Has Now Arrived

        Coming just as anticipated, Apple’s Jeremy Huddleston has announced the release of X.Org Server 1.9.3. This is the third maintenance release in the 1.9 series, which was originally introduced in August.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Review: Amarok 2.4 Beta 1 Looks Very Promising

        The first Amarok 2.4 beta, codenamed “Closer”, was released just a few days ago, on December 7, and it looks very promising. It comes with quite long list of new features, improvements and bug fixes, and among the top highlights are a collection scanner rewritten from scratch, option to transcode tracks when dragging and dropping them to the local collection, support for iPod Touch 3G devices, writing statistics and covers directly in files. These are not all though.


        All in all, this release could just be one of the most exceptional releases in a long time, and it’s only a beta yet.

  • Distributions

    • Spotlight on Linux: ZevenOS-Neptune 1.9.1

      ZevenOS is frequently described as Linux with a BeOS touch.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Eucalyptus Systems Partners with Red Hat to Deliver Open Cloud Solutions

        Eucalyptus Systems, creators of the Eucalyptus private cloud platform, today announced a partnership with Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, to offer the freedom of cross-cloud compatibility and expanded customer choice in the cloud. The two companies are collaborating to provide Eucalyptus support for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Eucalyptus compatibility with the Apache Deltacloud application programming interface (API). These technology integrations will enable enterprises to easily transform Red Hat virtualized environments into a secure Eucalyptus private cloud, while increasing cloud interoperability and customer freedom through Deltacloud. End users will gain the ability to run applications and workloads on Eucalyptus or on public clouds supported by Deltacloud.

      • Red Hat buddies up in the cloud with Eucalyptus

        Eucalyptus Systems has struck a partnership with Red Hat that should ultimately ease the deployment of Eucalyptus private cloud platform on Red Hat software.

        With this new arrangement, Eucalyptus Systems engineers, with the help of Red Hat engineers, will make Eucalyptus easily accessible through Red Hat’s Deltacloud, which is a set of overlay APIs designed to facilitate cloud platform interoperability.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux At The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show

      So far the Linux presence at CES 2011 looks to be mostly in the form of Android and other Linux-based operating systems appearing on new tablets and other mobile devices. Though there should be the assortment of usual companies innovating atop of open-source software / Linux, like SplashTop and others. There will also be the release of Intel’s Sandy Bridge, which already has open-source Linux support, among other PC hardware happenings at this event.

    • Linaro signs up HP and Canonical to give advice

      Linaro added HP, Canonical, the Limo Foundation, Montavista and GENIVI to its already impressive roster of industry partners. The fab five have become advisors to the organisation, which includes Linux heavyweights, IBM and Texas Instruments (TI).

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Three UK launches new unlimited smartphone data plan

          That’s a pretty bold claim. Three’s One Plan currently lets you have the likes of the HTC Desire HD for £35 per month if you fancy having a go at testing these new claims. The company’s site still has the 1GB allowance attached to its plans, mind, so make sure you check your small print before signing up to anything.

        • Android Update Latest – Edition 401

          We were contacted by a representative this afternoon regarding thealleged NOOKcolor updatedue in January. As we feared, the news was too good to be true. The NOOKcolor isnot getting the Android Marketas part of any update, nor has one been announced for January. We heard at launch time that B&N were going to offer their own apps and distribution model for users and that is still the case. However, don’t look for access to the 100,000 strong library that handsets currently enjoy.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Building Government 2.0 Through Collaborative Software Development

    uzzwords, these concepts, utilized by open source communities and projects such as Linux, Apache and Subversion, are driving tremendous value when applied to internal government development efforts. Specifically, community-driven collaborative development builds better software in shorter timeframes, allowing agencies to do more with less.

  • WindowBuilder becomes new open source project with major code contribution to Eclipse Foundation

    When Google acquired Instantiations in August 2010, everyone knew about our Java Eclipse products. Shortly after we joined, we talked about how best to help developers now that we are part of Google. We have always wanted to get these tools in more developers’ hands. So, back in September we decided to give them away for free! The community response has been fantastic. With that done, we asked ourselves, how could we make a good thing even better? How about by open sourcing the code and creating two new Eclipse projects!

  • EU-funded Open Source Initiatives: NESSI’s Missing Deliverables

    NESSI, is the “European Technology Platforms” – i.e. industry-led consortia considered by the EU relevant discussion partners to discuss how to achieve Europe’s future growth, competitiveness and sustainability objectives – and its declared strategic objective was to support the evolution from software to services. Not suprisingly open source was supposed to play a major role, but things went differently.

  • Ushahidi 2010: A Year of Growth

    In 2010 the Ushahidi community managed to shift the way information flows in this world, just a little bit, and these repercussions will be felt for a long time to come. This year has been an exciting year for the Ushahidi organization, with major upgrades in the platform(s), greater visibility globally and amazing deployments around the world.

  • 56 Open Source Replacements for Popular Web Development and Design Tools

    Open source Web development tools have come a long way. The open source community offers a huge array of applications that are useful to Web developers and designers. In many cases, these open source tools are even more widely used than their closed source counterparts. And some open source Web tools don’t even have any real closed source competitors.

    As these tools mature, it’s becoming more and more difficult to sort them into categories. Some blogging platforms are robust enough to build an entire site. Content management systems often have some features you usually find in Web app development frameworks, and text editors begin to look more and more like full integrated development environments (IDEs).

  • Navigating the open source CMS selection process
  • Navigating the open source CMS selection process (Part 2)

    As the number of open source content management products on the market has grown, choosing a system has become more difficult for discerning IT and marketing shops. Much of the product confusion stems from the various open source licensing and business models out in the market; but once a company chooses a product which aligns with its licensing needs, there are other things to consider.

  • Netflix touts open source, ignores Linux

    Last week’s post from Netflix on its use of open source has gotten a lot of coverage from the tech press. Too bad nobody’s called the video giant out on its hypocrisy: They benefit greatly from open source, but really don’t care to let their customers do the same.

  • Bitcoin – Open Source Virtual Currency Project that Could Become the Gold Standard of Digital Currency

    Bitcoin is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency project. Peer-to-peer (P2P) in this context means that there is no central authority to issue new money or keep track of transactions. Instead, these tasks are managed collectively by the nodes of the network. This is one important open source project that holds a lot promises for the future.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Defining clouds, web services, and other remote computing

      SaaS has proven popular for programmers. In 1999, a company named VA Linux created a site called SourceForge with the classic SaaS goal of centralizing the administration of computer systems and taking that burden off programmers’ hands. A programmer could upload his program there and, as is typical for free software and open source, accept code contributions from anyone else who chose to download the program.

      VA Linux at that time made its money selling computers that ran the GNU/Linux operating system. It set up SourceForge as a donation to the free software community, to facilitate the creation of more free software and therefore foster greater use of Linux. Eventually the hardware business dried up, so SourceForge became the center of the company’s business: corporate history anticipated cloud computing history.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 Beta 3 Arrives Quickly
    • New front opened in legal dispute over Java licensing

      The Swiss Myriad Group and Oracle are each suing each other. Myriad is accusing Oracle of charging unreasonable licensing fees for HotSpot Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Oracle in turn alleges that the mobile software specialist has made unauthorised use of Java trademarks. It’s also accusing Myriad of failing to adhere to licensing requirements.

      Myriad is demanding at least $120 million in damages – a sum made up of $20 million the company has paid in licensing fees since 2004 and $100 million the company’s customers are alleged to have overpaid.

    • Oracle Announces Oracle Cloud Office and Oracle Open Office 3.3

      Oracle today introduced Oracle Cloud Office and Open Office 3.3, two complete, open standards-based office productivity suites for the desktop, web and mobile devices – helping users significantly improve productivity, reduce costs and achieve greater innovation across the enterprise.
      Based on the Open Document Format (ODF) and open web standards, Oracle Office enables users to share files on any system as it is compatible with both legacy Microsoft Office documents and modern web 2.0 publishing.

    • Oracle angles MySQL for Web apps

      With the release of MySQL version 5.5, Oracle is marketing the open-source database for Web application duties, while targeting its namesake Oracle database for enterprise applications.

      “We see them as being very distinct for different use cases,” said Monica Kumar, Oracle senior director of product marketing.

  • Education

    • Berkman Center Announces Digital Public Library Planning Initiative

      The Berkman Center for Internet and Society today announced that it will host a research and planning initiative for a “Digital Public Library of America.” With funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Berkman will convene a large and diverse group of stakeholders in a planning program to define the scope, architecture, costs and administration for a proposed Digital Public Library of America.

    • Seven things I would change about my schooling
    • Supplemental Priorities for Discretionary Grant Programs

      Open Educational Resources

      Comment: Many commenters supported including a reference to open educational resources in proposed Priority 13 (new Priority 16). Two commenters recommended revising the definition of this term to include language that makes clear that resources released under an intellectual property license should permit sharing, accessing, repurposing (including for commercial purposes), and collaborating with others.

      Discussion: We appreciate the commenters’ support for including open educational resources in proposed Priority 13 (new Priority 16). We believe that the proposed definition of open educational resources includes the characteristics of open educational resources that the commenters recommended including in the definition and, therefore, do not believe it is necessary to change the definition in the manner recommended by the commenter.

      Changes: None.

  • Funding

    • CrisisCommons Gets Funded $1.2 Million for Crisis Response 2.0

      The disaster response network CrisisCommons announced today that it has been funded to the tune of $1.2 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. CrisisCommons is the organization behind scores of CrisisCamps in locations around the world, informal gatherings where technologists have developed mobile, data, analysis, mapping and other tools to use in response to crisis.

  • BSD

    • Allegations regarding OpenBSD IPSEC
    • The FBI Paid OpenBSD Developers For Backdoors?

      OpenBSD’s Theo de Raadt brought to light via an email from Gregory Perry, the former CTO of NETSEC, that the FBI paid several open-source developers to compromise the IPSEC stack. “the FBI implemented a number of backdoors and side channel key leaking mechanisms into the OCF, for the express purpose of monitoring the site to site VPN encryption system implemented by EOUSA, the parent organization to the FBI. Jason Wright and several other developers were responsible for those backdoors, and you would be well advised to review any and all code commits by Wright as well as the other developers he worked with originating from NETSEC.”

    • Can Open Source Be Trusted?

      This serious stuff – not just because it means that open source code may have been unwittingly complicit in who knows how many acts of surveillance, but because it calls into question the basic development model of open source, which places a high value on trust. If it is confirmed that hackers put a backdoor in open source code for money – and some doubts have already been expressed – then that will cast some doubt on that principle.

      Moreover, if eventually such backdoors are found, it will raise questions about the whole “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” philosophy. It’s true that backdoors aren’t exactly bugs, but there is still the issue of how something this serious – if confirmed – could lay undetected for a decade.

    • OpenBSD/FBI allegations denied by named participants

      Amidst startling accusations revealed by OpenBSD founder and lead developer Theo de Raadt today that 10 years ago the US Federal Bureau of Investigations paid developers to insert security holes into OpenBSD code, some confusion about the accusations has already emerged, with one named party strongly denying any involvement.

    • Former contractor says FBI put back door in OpenBSD

      A former government contractor says that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation installed a number of back doors into the encryption software used by the OpenBSD operating system.

      The allegations were made public Tuesday by Theo de Raadt, the lead developer in the OpenBSD project. DeRaadt posted an email sent by the former contractor, Gregory Perry, so that the matter could be publicly scrutinized.


    • Good Free Software related books as a present

      After my last year’s blog entry on Free Software books for friends I received new recommendations for this year.

    • Waiting for the rapture

      As soon as I post this blog entry, I’m going to log on to PayPal and make a small donation to the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation can sometimes be too inflexible, and it often starts far more than it can properly continue, but it’s still the closest thing the community has to an organization that has stayed focused on its basic goal. For that reason, I think I’m overdue to show support — even though I’m a Canadian, and won’t be able to write off a donation to a non-profit that’s registered only in the United States.

  • Project Releases

    • Lightspark 0.4.5 Flash Player Released

      Lightspark, one of the most recent yet most promising free software projects to provide an open-source Adobe Flash/SWF player and plug-in, just had its 0.4.5 milestone hit. Lightspark 0.4.5 is the release that brings its new advanced graphics engine for greater GPU acceleration by leveraging OpenGL and Cairo more heavily.

    • PacketFence 2.0 released
  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Google Invests in P2P Carsharing Service RelayRides

      Yesterday, The New York Times reported that Google invested an undisclosed sum in RelayRides, a service that let’s members rent their cars to other members. The traditional model of carsharing, exemplified by Zipcar, allows members to rent from a company which owns and manages a fleet.

    • Announcing $10k matching giving challenge from Tucows!

      We just received the exciting news that Tucows, a company that started offering free downloads of shareware and freeware on the Internet in 1993, will take part in a matching challenge of up to $10,000. This means that whatever you donate right now will automatically be doubled. We need your help to meet their challenge and turn $10,000 into $20,000 for CC.

    • Celebrating Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary on six continents

      In one month, Wikipedia will observe its 10th anniversary. On and around January 15th 2011, we will celebrate with volunteers, donors, and other supporters on six continents. From the launch of a new outreach project in Kenya to a film screening in Tel Aviv, there are currently 65 events of all kinds you can attend.

      The complete list of anniversary activities can be found at ten.wikipedia.org, the public collaboration space where we’re cataloging everything the Wikipedia community is doing to commemorate our first decade. Most events are free to attend or very low cost. All are open to participation by anyone who wants to join in reflecting on our collective accomplishments and goals for the future.

    • A New “Experiential” Gift Bazaar Could Lead to a Happier City

      “Sharing experiences with friends and family trumps getting stuff,” said Carey. “It takes you out of your day-to-day life.”

    • Creative Commons files comments in U.S. Department of Commerce’s Inquiry on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Internet Economy

      Creative Commons has filed comments in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Inquiry on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Internet Economy. The Department received nearly 900 submissions over the comment period, which ended December 10.

    • All That We Share – A Field Guide to the Commons
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Parliament pushes open standards to increase public engagement

      Parliament has adopted a policy to use open technology standards to increase public participation in political debate.

      The Parliamentary Information Communication and Technology office (Pict) policy is part of proposed plan to distribute broadcasts of parliamentary debates in a form that people can embed in their own websites, in a similar manner to the way YouTube allows video content to be displayed on blogs and other sites.


  • The extraordinary story behind Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours
  • CBC approves budget; cuts expected

    The CBC’s board of directors, faced with a possible $200-million shortfall, approved on Tuesday a budget for the coming year that includes deep cuts.

  • US Response To Massive Decline In Foreign Travelers: Keep Crazy Policies, But Set Up Ad Campaign

    Sometimes it feels like the US government likes to take incompetence to new levels. It should come as little surprise that foreign tourism to the US is way down. Basically ever since the Patriot Act, visiting the US has become a huge pain for foreign tourists, and with our lovely new “we see you naked or we touch your private parts” strategy for airline passengers (thank you, TSA), it appears that things are getting even worse. So, if you’re the US government, how do you respond? Do you start thinking about modifying such policies to make visiting the US less unwelcoming? Do you start thinking about more effective, but less insulting security procedures? Do you start looking at why those foreign tourists are staying away in droves? The answer appears to be no, no and no.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Security Alert: Backdoor found in HP modular storage arrays

      It’s critical for any small business to be able to rely on the hardware they pay for to do the job without a ton of maintenance. Many small businesses don’t even pay a full time IT guy, much less keep up to date on the latest in security flaws that are found. They rely on companies like HP, who offer complete solutions in security, warranty, and maintenance to handle a lot of their day to day activities. So, what happens when relying on a solution like this results in ignoring a great big security hole that was created by the very group protecting you?

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • How Can Anyone Defend Kissinger Now?

      Here’s what should now happen, and let’s see if it does. Henry Kissinger should have the door shut in his face by every decent person and should be shamed, ostracized, and excluded. No more dinners in his honor; no more respectful audiences for his absurdly overpriced public appearances; no more smirking photographs with hostesses and celebrities; no more soliciting of his worthless opinions by sycophantic editors and producers. One could have demanded this at almost any time during the years since his role as the only unindicted conspirator in the Nixon/Watergate gang, and since the exposure of his war crimes and crimes against humanity in Indochina, Chile, Argentina, Cyprus, East Timor, and several other places.

    • G20 law could be history next year

      The “secret” law used by police to search and arrest during the June G20 summit in Toronto is so anachronistic that Ontario is the last province in Canada to have such legislation.

      That’s why the Liberal government is eager to receive former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry’s review of the 1939 Public Works Protection Act and move on his advice, says Community Safety Minister Jim Bradley.

      “He’s got a very wide scope to look at the law. My expectation is he will make recommendations about how to amend the act or replace it altogether,” Bradley said in an interview Monday.

    • Glad Hand: Excuse Me, Your Baton is in My Face
    • Vindication for G20 protesters

      In the aftermath of the G20 fiasco here last summer, one thing Torontonians agreed on was that such summits should be held in isolated venues — on military bases, on ocean-going vessels, on melting glaciers — anywhere but where lots of people reside.

      But beyond being upset with the expense and disorder that weekend, many Torontonians (and city council) sided with the police, assuming that the arrest of 1,105 people must have somehow been justified, given the rampage of a small group through the downtown core.

    • Walkom: Why Ottawa’s new border scheme is such a loser

      The latest government attempt to create a common security perimeter around North America is another bad deal for Canada.

    • Canadian Senate Passes Mandatory Minimums for Five Marijuana Plants

      The Canadian Senate Friday passed the Conservative government’s crime bill, S-10, which institutes mandatory minimum sentences for a number of non-violent drug offenses, including a six-month sentence for growing five pot plants. The bill now heads to the House of Commons for hearings and a vote.

    • Tomgram: Engelhardt, The United States of Fear
    • Afghan Ultraviolence: Petraeus Triples Air War
  • Cablegate

    • UN rights boss concerned at targeting of WikiLeaks
    • If you rule by code you will fall by code: the philosophy of Wikileaks

      Humans are animals of protocol. Our behavior is determined by rules – conscious and not. Until recently, the protocol was an instrument of hegemonic power: the rule-ing elites were makers and masters of the protocols that were used to control the people. The writing and policing of protocol was reserved for the elite.

      The Internet today is the place through which humanity is coming to realise that liberty will require that we – the collective we – take control of the building and re-design of protocol. Wikileaks is a real milestone in that process. The word “Wikileaks” has two components, each important. “Leaks”: the hermetically sealed circles of power, those that once seemed as solid as rock, are liquifying and losing their aura. “Wiki”: each and all of us can contribute to the process of active demystification of protocol.

    • The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention

      Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months — and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait — under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture. Interviews with several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning’s detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt. Brian Villiard) who confirmed much of what they conveyed, establishes that the accused leaker is subjected to detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries.


      Manning is barred from communicating with any reporters, even indirectly, so nothing he has said can be quoted here. But David House, a 23-year-old MIT researcher who befriended Manning after his detention (and then had his laptops, camera and cellphone seized by Homeland Security when entering the U.S.) is one of the few people to have visited Manning several times at Quantico. He describes palpable changes in Manning’s physical appearance and behavior just over the course of the several months that he’s been visiting him. Like most individuals held in severe isolation, Manning sleeps much of the day, is particularly frustrated by the petty, vindictive denial of a pillow or sheets, and suffers from less and less outdoor time as part of his one-hour daily removal from his cage.

    • Wikileaks [cartoon]
    • WikiLeaks: Anonymous takes down Swedish prosecution website

      The Swedish prosecutor’s website crashed late yesterday, moments after the authority announced its intention to fight the decision to grant WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange bail in the UK.

    • Battling Wikileaks And The Art Of War

      Anyone who has studied tactics, for battle or otherwise, knows Sun Tzu’s legendary work, The Art Of War. Or at least they should. In reviewing what the first chapter of that work teaches about the five factors a battling faction must consider when endeavoring to battle, you have to scratch your head and wonder if the United States government might need a refresher course.

    • Spamhaus’ False Allegations Against wikileaks.info

      We find it very disturbing that Spamhaus labels a site as dangerous without even checking if there is any malware on it. We monitor the wikileaks.info site and we can guarantee that there is no malware on it. We do not know who else is hosted with Heihachi Ltd and it is none of our business. They provide reliable hosting to us. That’s it.

    • Wikileaks Mirrors

      Wikileaks is currently mirrored on 2194 sites…

    • What the State Fears Most: Information

      The battle has always been between the state and market, or man’s ability to circumvent the tentacles of government through economic progress. Until only very recently, man has been at a technological disadvantage. The ability to evade book burnings amounted to the ability to hide the book. The end of censorship in Germany, for example, came only with the end of the Nazi regime.[2]

      Presently, our ability to attain knowledge is threatened because said knowledge represents a threat to the state — not to “national security,” as is claimed, but to the legitimacy of the state itself. Julian Assange, through WikiLeaks, has made available to society a vast collection of information that undermines the state’s legitimacy. Assange cracked the government’s veil of benignity and brought into question the state’s tactics. His website undermines its moral authority.

      The threat posed by Assange is underscored by the government’s seemingly disproportionate response. Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, successfully used the power of the state to shut down part of WikiLeaks.[3] He did so by threatening to sanction Amazon, which at the time hosted that part of Assange’s operation.

    • A Look at DDoS Net Activism

      That said, I’ve personally gone back and forth about how I feel about DDoS. It is important to note that this is being used as a means for young people to have their voice heard in a political climate which otherwise ignores or labels them as “politically insensitive.” While they have now demonstrated that this is not true, I really can’t find justification for making a criminal of a 16 year old net activist.

      The young man, known by the nick Jeroenz0r, had been participating in DDoS activism, along with the rest of Anonymous Operation Payback activists, ”to protect anonymity and freedom of speech.”

    • China and its Double-edged Cyber-sword

      A recent batch of WikiLeaks cables led Der Spiegel and The New York Times to print front-page stories on China’s cyber-espionage capabilities Dec. 4 and 5. While China’s offensive capabilities on the Internet are widely recognized, the country is discovering the other edge of the sword.

      China is no doubt facing a paradox as it tries to manipulate and confront the growing capabilities of Internet users. Recent arrests of Chinese hackers and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pronouncements suggest that China fears that its own computer experts, nationalist hackers and social media could turn against the government. While the exact cause of Beijing’s new focus on network security is unclear, it comes at a time when other countries are developing their own defenses against cyber attacks and hot topics like Stuxnet and WikiLeaks are generating new concerns about Internet security.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted bail: live updates

      Julian Assange walks out of the High Court with a hand raised.

      It’s great to smell the fresh air of London again.

    • Wikileaks And A Changing World – Updated

      While the professional diplomats come through with their reputation in good order, their political masters do not. The American political class comes across as two-faced, accusing China of human rights abuses, while committing their own human rights abuses, accusing other regimes of secrecy, and losing their temper when their own secrets are exposed.

      Let’s take Defense Secretary Robert Gates who called Assange’s arrest on a Swedish warrant for having unprotected sex with two women Good News. And that’s the Gospel Truth (Gospel is a derivative of Old English gōd-spell [1] (rarely godspel), meaning “good news” or “glad tidings”). Exactly why would an ex-Eagle Scout say something like this? Possibly he’s not Eagle Scout material any more.

      How about the orders that diplomats act as spies? Everyone understands that diplomats report what they see. That’s part of their job. But ordering them to collect credit card numbers and DNA on United Nations staff? Hillary Clinton should be ashamed. Heck, Hillary Clinton should step down from her post as Secretary of State.

      And then we’ve got politicians calling Amazon, complaining that Amazon was hosting Wikileaks, and Amazon pulling the plug. We have the U.S. Government interfering with the .ORG domain system. The U.S. Military is now blocking serving members from the New York Times website (possibly the first time that an American government institution has blocked online access to an American newspaper).

      The Washington Elite look petty.

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange freed on bail

      The founder of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has vowed “to continue my work and to protest my innocence” after being freed on bail.

    • A bit of 1771, an alternative Babbage quote, Roosevelt, Kennedy and Reagan.

      Andrew McAfee has come out quite strongly against wikileaks and Assange’s principles and motives in particular. We disagree.

      However, like Andrew, I’m a fan of computer and political history and I often use ancient quotes to make an argument. This post will be no different, and I may ramble a bit.

      Andrew quotes Babbage,

      I’ll outsource my answer to the legendary Victorian computer pioneer Charles Babbage: “On two occasions I have been asked, ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”

    • WikiLeaks: Swedish government ‘hid’ anti-terror operations with America from Parliament

      The secret cables, seen by The Daily Telegraph, disclose how Swedish officials wanted discussions about anti-terrorism operations kept from public scrutiny.

      They describe how officials from the Swedish Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a “strong degree of satisfaction with current informal information sharing arrangements” with the American government.

    • Lord Chief Justice wants debate on Twitter use in court

      The Lord Chief Justice says he will be seeking the input of the media on the question of whether tweeting from court should be allowed.

    • US: Don’t Prosecute WikiLeaks Founder

      The US government should not prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for releasing classified US State Department cables as this would imperil media freedom everywhere, Human Rights Watch said in a letter today to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. Human Rights Watch urged the US government to reject overbroad interpretations of national security that clash with the freedom of expression guarantees of the US Constitution and international law.

      “This is a signature moment for freedom of expression and information in both the US and abroad,” said Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Prosecuting WikiLeaks for publishing leaked documents would set a terrible precedent that will be eagerly grasped by other governments, particularly those with a record of trying to muzzle legitimate political reporting.”

    • How Unusual Would Assange’s Extradition to Sweden Be?

      But I’ve been wondering how often Swedish officials go to the effort to get people in Assange’s position extradited.

    • Julian Assange bail decision made by UK authorities, not Sweden

      The decision to have Julian Assange sent to a London jail and kept there was taken by the British authorities and not by prosecutors in Sweden, as previously thought, the Guardian has learned.

      The Crown Prosecution Service will go to the high court tomorrow to seek the reversal of a decision to free the WikiLeaks founder on bail, made yesterday by a judge at City of Westminster magistrates court.

      It had been widely thought Sweden had made the decision to oppose bail, with the CPS acting merely as its representative. But today the Swedish prosecutor’s office told the Guardian it had “not got a view at all on bail” and that Britain had made the decision to oppose bail.

    • Statement on Wikileaks and the Implications for Companies

      Recent decisions by some technology companies to restrict access to or sever ties with Wikileaks highlight the difficulties companies face when governments attempt to restrict controversial information.

    • House Judiciary Committee to Hold WikiLeaks Hearing Tomorrow

      The full House Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing on the Espionage Act and legal and constitutional issues raised by WikiLeaks tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. EST. You can watch the hearing live here. We’ll also be tweeting our impressions throughout the morning.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Exclusive: How BP Drafted Brussels’ Climate Legislation

      Lobbyists for BP and other energy firms drafted climate change legislation that secured a nine billion euro subsidy from taxpayers, internal documents reveal.

      The sum covers the entire cost of new technology for cutting carbon emissions from ‘dirty’ coal-fired power stations, saving energy firms from having to pay for it themselves.

    • Foxgate: Leaked email reveals Fox News boss Bill Sammon ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science

      This morning, MediaMatters released the bombshell e-mail “sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon … less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was ‘on track to be the warmest [decade] on record.‘ ”

      Well, okay, this would be a bombshell email coming from any other news organization in the world (see Howell Raines: “Why has our profession … helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt?”) So maybe the only bombshell is that Sammon was foolish enough to put this egregious Fox News policy into an email.

      UPDATE: Al Gore blogs, “Fox News has consistently delivered false and misleading information to its viewers about the climate crisis. The leaked emails now suggest that this bias comes directly from the executives responsible for their news coverage.”

    • Ghana joins ranks of oil producers

      Ghana set to become Africa’s seventh largest oil producer with the president promising ‘benefits for all’.

  • China

    • China Expands Its Influence in Europe

      China is seizing on Europe’s debt problems to expand its influence on the continent with large-scale investments and purchases of government bonds issued by highly-indebted states. The strategy could push Europe into the same financial dependency on China that is posing a dilemma for the US.

    • Riding red tracks

      On an epic journey through China, Andre Vltchek was stunned by the quality of public transport. Here, he argues socialist central planning is to thank – and that other countries should take note.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • On Canadian Facts, Fiction, Lobbyists and Levies

      Ministers Clement and Moore did the right thing yesterday by saying that no means no.

      The levy lobbyists did the wrong thing by denying the incontrovertible truth.

      It is absolutely false – as ACTRA boldly states that:

      “The $75 dollar figure is pure fiction. The CPCC has not put a price on the levy.”

    • Lobbyist hired to head key congressional committee

      Gary Andres, a lobbyist for Dutko Worldwide, has been hired by incoming chairman Fred Upton to be the staff director for the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

      The Energy & Commerce Committee is one of the central committees in the House and Andres’ former clients are going to be involved in many of the most contentious debates that the committee will engage in over the next two years.

      In 2010 Andres represented health care groups including the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform and UnitedHealth Corp., technology titan Google, General Motors, FedEx Corp., HSBC, Union Pacific Corp. and the National Ground Water Association.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Constructive Direct Action Against Censorship

      What, then, can digital activists do to protect speech on the internet? Fortunately, there are a bunch of technical projects dedicated to reducing centralization in the internet infrastructure. Some are in the idea stage, some are up and running, and some are in-between. All of them could use help: development, documentation, security review, server infrastructure, testing, and evangelizing. EFF urges technologists of all stripes and skill levels to work on potential solutions to the centralization problem.

    • Wikileaks: U.S. Air force blocks more than 25 news sites that published secret cables

      I cannot recall a media blackout this massive ever having been implemented on a US military computer network. This is unprecedented.

      Reuters: “The U.S. Air Force has blocked employees from visiting media websites carrying leaked WikiLeaks documents, including The New York Times and the Guardian, a spokesman said on Tuesday.”

    • Crown Prosecution Service Delays Ruling on BT and Phorm UK Privacy Invasions

      The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has once again delayed plans to rule on whether or not to charge either Phorm and or BT over the broadband ISPs secret 2006/2007 trials of Phorm’s technology, which tracked customers private website visits (not unlike Spyware) for use in targeted advertising campaigns; this was done without end-users consent.

    • U.S. Air Force blocks NYT, Guardian over WikiLeaks

      The U.S. Air Force has blocked employees from visiting media websites carrying leaked WikiLeaks documents, including The New York Times and the Guardian, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

      Major Toni Tones, a spokeswoman at Air Force Space Command in Colorado, said the command had blocked employees whose computers are connected to the Air Force network from accessing at least 25 websites that have posted WikiLeaks documents.

    • TIME magazine must Zuck my leaks…

      Just ignoring all the facts about censorship,copyrights-killer and an outrageos privacy violator, TIME magazine is “proud” to announce Mark Zuckerberg as Person of the Year 2010 by connecting half billion facebookers, What the fuck!?

    • EFF Location Privacy Victory at Third Circuit Stands, With Implications Far Beyond Your Cell Phone

      In EFF’s second major privacy victory in as many days, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals today denied the government’s request that it reconsider its September decision regarding government access to cell phone company records that reveal your past locations. That means the court’s original opinion — holding that federal magistrates have the discretion to require the government to get a search warrant based on probable cause before obtaining cell phone location records — is now the settled law of the Third Circuit, assuming the government doesn’t seek review by the Supreme Court. Importantly, this victory won’t just provide greater protection for the privacy of your cell phone records but for all other communications records that the government currently obtains without warrants.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Court: You do not own that copy of WoW you bought

      The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a previous ruling that those who bought and played World of Warcraft did not actually own the software, but were merely licensing the game, per the included End User Licensing Agreement.

    • Copyrights

      • Mass antipiracy suits looks less certain

        The chances that independent filmmakers and porn studios can find a cost effective way to sue thousands of alleged film pirates appears less likely with each passing day.

      • French “Three-Strikes” Warnings Far Below Music Industry Hopes

        This past October France’s “Creation and Internet” law formally went into effect and it seems that it has yet to warn as many suspected file-sharers as the music industry had hoped.

        The “Creation and Internet” law is the the controversial “three-strikes” measure to fight P2P in that country that was first proposed back in June of 2008. It was formally passed last September, but not after first before being ruled unconstitutional over the fact that an agency (HADOPI), and not a judge, was allowed to disconnect people from the Internet.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Digital Economy Act suffers wireless broadband set back

          A British judge has ruled that running an unsecured wireless broadband connection is not equivalent to facilitating illegal file sharing.

          It is believed to be the first time a judge has ruled on this element of the Digital Economy Act which the previous Labour Government was widely accused of rushing through in its last week of power. The Act was designed to allow ISPs to seek ‘technical measures’ (including, ultimately, disconnection) to prevent illegal file sharing.

        • UK Software Industry Breaks Out Lawyers to Challenge Digital Economy Act Debate

          The UK Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), a not-for-profit group that campaigns for the legitimate use of software, has said that it plans to involve its “lawyers in the thought processes to link with the debate” on the controversial Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA).

Clip of the Day

Julian Assange Speaks After Release on Bail

Credit: TinyOgg

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