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Links 8/10/2010: More GNU/Linux at Dell, Wine 1.2.1, Firefox 4 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 7:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Professional Institute Certification adopted by Public Schools in Spain

    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization (http://www.lpi.org), announced with its affiliate organization LPI-Spain (http://www.lpi.org.es/) that a program in public schools in Spain to promote Linux education and certification has achieved successful results in its first six months of operation. This public education initiative with Proyecto Universidad Empresa (PUE) has recruited close to 20 training partners. PUE is Spain’s leading agency in the development of IT training and certification and provides academic programs for such major IT organizations as Microsoft, Cisco and Sun.

  • ‘Linspotting’ – Linux ad spoofs Trainspotting

    If you’re familiar with the British cult film ‘Trainspotting‘ then be the following advert for Linux by Caroline Pimenta is sure to amuse.

    Parodying the 1996 aforementioned film via the use synonymous visual and audio cues, Linspotting is a well made and incredibly funny short that will have you smirking throughout.

  • Why Microsoft Buying Adobe Threatens Desktop Linux

    All of the above aside, what I found most interesting is the fact that no one has been able to put together another side benefit for Microsoft — owning Flash adds a new hurdle to desktop Linux adoption. Remember that Adobe deals with more than Photoshop and other desktop software applications. They also provide Flash to users of all three major desktop platforms.

  • Desktop

    • Dell likely to be first vendor to launch Ubuntu Light netbooks, say notebook makers

      Canonical on October 7 announced its latest Ubuntu 10.10 operating system and Ubuntu Light for netbooks, and noted that consumers should be able to see Ubuntu Light-featured netbooks appearing in the channel within a month. Taiwan notebook makers expect Dell to be the first brand vendor to launch related netbooks, as among all notebook vendors, Dell currently has the biggest number of PC products that are pre-installed with Ubuntu. However, Canonical declined to comment on the speculation.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Sprint’s Galaxy Tab rumored at $399 with contract

      Those of you who have been waiting for some glimmer of hope in the tablet wars will be pleased to hear the latest rumor on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. A source tipped off Boy Genius Report that the Sprint version of the Tab will go on sale November 14 (better late than never).

    • HTC Explodes – GNU/Linux Invades the Monopoly

      What TFA doesn’t say is that most of those units will be Android and 40 million people converted to GNU/Linux by a single manufacturer is M$’s worst nightmare.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Gallium3D / LLVMpipe With LLVM 2.8

        While LLVM 2.8 was just released, we have been curious to see how the latest Low-Level Virtual Machine compiler code affects the performance of the LLVMpipe driver. This is the Gallium3D graphics driver that lives in Mesa and leverages the unique modular LLVM compiler to efficiently handle processing the graphics rendering workload on a modern CPU as a much faster alternative to that of their legacy software rasterizer. To see how much of a performance impact – for better or worse – that LLVM 2.8 has on this open-source software driver we tested it when being built with LLVM 2.6, 2.7, and the 2.8 SVN code.

      • Multi-Touch For The X.Org Synaptics Driver

        Takashi Iwai of Novell/SuSE has just published a series of 18 patches for the X.Org Synaptics input driver that primarily provides multi-touch support.

      • Multi-touch at UDS-N in Orlando, October 25th-29th

        Ubuntu is not just a community; it’s also part of a community. Part of many communities, in fact — very large and thriving ones. The obvious candidates come to mind: Linux, GNOME, KDE, GTK, Qt, the massive collection of upstream applications. But there are more and subtler ones.

        All the work that Ivanka and the Design team have done over the past year and a half has brought open source software into a new place with regard to aesthetics and how to make our applications more appealing to people across the globe, folks who don’t have the same engineering-based perspective on software that we have. This is hugely important and I personally feel that I owe the Design team a HUGE debt of gratitude for what they are doing for something I hold dear to my heart: open source software.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Almost 9 Distros in Almost 6 Minutes

      Ubuntu has gotten the spotlight recently here at Linux Journal, but this week Shawn shows us a handful of other Linux distributions.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 Linux Boosts Security with OpenSCAP

          Security is always a primary concern for enterprise IT managers, with a constant need to ensure that systems are kept updated and properly configured to prevent exploits. A new tool debuting in the upcoming Red Hat-sponsored Fedora 14 Linux release could prove a key ingredient in enabling properly secured systems.

          Fedora 14 is set to include a technology called OpenSCAP, an open source implementation of the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) framework for creating a standardized approach for maintaining secure systems. The new system builds on numerous other technologies and systems in an effort to enable IT organizations to ensure a standardized approach to security.

    • Debian Family

      • Preview: Debian 6 “Sqeeze” (Part 1: GNOME)

        Trying to forecast when the next version of Debian will be released is like trying to figure out whether or not it will snow the next day in Washington DC in winter; it’s an exercise in futility. That said, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Debian 6 “Squeeze” will be released soon. Why? I’m testing the new Debian live images which were first released a week ago (and are daily builds — this one is the 2010 October 3 build); before that, the most recent live image available was of version 6 “Sqeeze” alpha 2. Now that they’re doing daily builds, I figure that it’s not too long until we see the official release.


        The desktop isn’t much different from the live DVD (though, thankfully, the boot menu background is just as nice as in the live DVD; in the past, the installed boot menu would just be plain text on a black background, while the live DVD would have a much prettier boot menu). I used 1 GB of my 25 GB virtual hard disk for swap space and 4 GB for the root, which thankfully was and is enough. RAM usage of 100 MB is even better than the live DVD for obvious reasons. All the applications present in the live DVD are present post-installation.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu One Indicator Applet

          Ubuntu One started with an applet back on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala but it was later removed with the intention of making Ubuntu One as unobstrusive as possible. But that brought a problem: now there is no easy way of knowing the Ubuntu One sync status.

          For this reason, Roman has created an Ubuntu One indicator applet which can display the file synchronization status, available space and it can also be used to disconnect Ubuntu One.

        • Elementary Firefox Theme 3.0, Released, Looks Amazing!

          If something looks out of place, it means you’ll have to customize the toolbars and re-arrange the elements exactly like in the above screenshot (that’s pretty easy).

        • Lubuntu 10.10 CD cover

          The new Ubuntu 10.10 CD cases we revealed with you a few days back are certainly worthy of praise but lets not forget ‘the spin that’s never in’ Lubuntu 10.10 and it’s own CD wallet effort which, as with Ubuntu’s design, takes cues from its default desktop appearance.

        • Brand Refresh of manpages.ubuntu.com
        • Ubuntu One Mobile, now with music streaming, is here!

          It’s finally here. Ubuntu One users can now add music streaming to the long list of things that we offer. This is a big step for us and our goal of creating useful services around your content.

          We have to thank the Android beta testers who provided great feedback, identified important bugs and streamed enough songs to their phones to help us identify ways that we should improve our infrastructure.

        • My new proposal for improving governance.

          I get a bunch of questions and mails from people who want to do great things.

        • This week in design – 8 October 2010

          Away from cool assets being produced we have been focussed this week on the release and by now the beautiful linux desktop you early adopters are already looking at is hopefully starting to feel like home. We can’t wait to hear what you think and hope that you love using Maverick.

        • 12 Reasons to Try Ubuntu 10.10 Now

          As Ubuntu 10.10, or “Maverick Meerkat,” hits the streets this Sunday, it’s a pretty safe bet that legions of existing Ubuntu users will be updating to the new release. After all, it looks to be Canonical’s most user-friendly Ubuntu Linux yet, and many of the new features promise to be must-haves.

        • Check if your next computer is Ubuntu compatible

          When the fear of hardware incompatibilities puts you off buying a new computer be sure to run your intended purchase through Canonical’s ‘Ubuntu Certification’ website.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • The Kubuntu Wishlist
          • Xubuntu 10.10 RC 1 Mini Review

            I found this software to be interesting and solid enough, even in test form, to install on my laptop computer and found it to be nearly ready for release, with just a few relatively minor issues still needing to be corrected. I like this software and I am likely to experiment with it quite often.

          • Linux Mint 9 review

            Finally, this version of Linux Mint 9 comes with three years of support. Now, we’re more than capable of supporting ourselves on Linux, but this will make Linux Mint 9 more interesting to new users or original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) considering offering a desktop Linux already installed on their PCs.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tablets

      • Dixons jumps on tablet bandwagon

        Dixons has announced that it will be flogging two self-branded Android tablets in the run-up to Christmas, which could make the electrical retailer the first outfit to have its own cheap and cheerful prodable PCs on the shelves.

        Dixons, which is the parent company of PC World and Curry’s, says the Advent Amico and Avent Vega will “bring tablet computing to the masses” and with prices starting at £130 it may just have a point.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mulva going open source
  • Open-Source As An Alternative To Commercial Software
  • Software Evolution Storylines

    I plan to make the code open source. It is only a matter of time. A research paper on this technique will be presented at SoftVis 2010.

  • Geert Lovink keynote: “After the Critique of Free and Open: Alternative Platforms and Revenue Models”

    Geert Lovink’s keynote, “After the Critique of Free and Open,” focused on the practical aspects of a free culture, and a need for the movement to shift from making legal demands and instead focus on the platforms and revenue models that could support the kind of culture we’re striving towards.

  • Why and How Indian govt can get huge benefits from Free Software/Open Source

    This article is written very late. So much late that government has wasted a huge amount of tax-payers money just for buying licenses to use few software which could have been produced by Indian Government itself. We still has time to save huge money wastage money by public and Government.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla releases Firefox 4 beta for Maemo and Android

        Mozilla’s efforts to scale down the Firefox browser and make it work on mobile devices took another step forward today with the release of Firefox 4 beta for Maemo and Android. On Android, the browser’s performance is still not competitive with that of the platform’s native WebKit-based browser, but the gap is starting to close.

        Firefox’s large disk footprint is also still problematic on Android, especially on devices like the Nexus One that have limited internal storage capacity. A fresh installation of Firefox on Android uses roughly 30MB of storage space. The first time it starts, it unpacks another 14MB, which takes about 15 seconds. Subsequent startups are faster, typically taking between 2 and 4 seconds.

      • Firefox 4 beta review

        Firefox is catching up to Internet Explorer in terms of market share, having already passed it in features years ago, but Google Chrome is nipping at its heels. Can Firefox 4 restore its glory?

  • Oracle

    • ‘LibreOffice’ Is Good News for OpenOffice

      Given Oracle’s recent decision to pull the plug on OpenSolaris, there has been considerable concern over the past few months about the future of the OpenOffice.org productivity software suite.

    • OpenOffice.org’s 10th Anniversary: The Difference a Decade Makes

      October 13, 2010 marks the tenth anniversary of the OpenOffice.org project. It’s a significant landmark, both for me personally and for free software in general.

      For me, OpenOffice.org was the wedge I used to find a niche in computer journalism. In the early years of the millennium, few people were writing about OpenOffice.org. Almost by accident, I started comparing it with Microsoft Office, and writing How-Tos in my spare time. Before I knew it, I was writing full-time. For a while, I was worried that I would be too closely identified with OpenOffice.org to sell stories on any other subject, but, with that worry long behind me, today I can thank (or blame) OpenOffice.org for what I am today.

    • Do you agree with LibreOffice fork?

      While this is no doubt true, it is also true that being under Oracle’s directions would slow the project, as far as could be seen from the reactions, and how patches to the next release are being treated in Oracle.

    • Oracle v Google: the open source perspective

      I spoke with James Governor, another Redmonk analyst and firm believer in the virtues of open source. Lending weight to Stephen’s position, he says: “If Google wins then it is open season on open source. If Oracle wins, then who else do they sue? Everyone? It would be the biggest stock price driver Oracle has ever acquired. ” If you think Stephen and James are correct then Google has to win.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • An open Open University course on openness

      Like Tony I think the OU has been a bit slow to start creating truly open courses – I’m partly to blame since I suggested doing one a couple of years back and then didn’t do anything. Before that Ray Corrigan simply released his course as openly, but that was withdrawn to make way for OpenLearn. We’ve had some good study skills courses from the library and Tony has dabbled with it, but I think those have largely been the release of course material. This is the first time we are running the course in the open I think (please correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t want to undermine someone’s else’s claim).

  • Government

    • German CIO caves in on open source

      First of all I don’t think it suits the dignity of a public office to endorse the commercial agenda of a vendor in a press release. The mere consideration of a cloud operator from third countries for a critical Federal information infrastructure seems insane unless the Ministry of the Interior believes it is appropriate to grant access to their colleagues from these third countries. I strongly doubt so but you never know. The European Commission for instance even outsources critical parts of their staff selection process to third country operators.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Mobile phone mashups: Imitation becomes innovation in China

      The open source solution

      If you exclude the copying of trademarks and logos and just look at the actual technology, innovations, and design, China essentially represents a free and thriving market of open source goods. Some safety regulation and oversight of the shanzhai phones is certainly needed, but overall there is no doubt that both the shanzhai developers and the Chinese people benefit greatly from this open mashup of an industry.

      In many ways, it’s like the American fashion industry—full of outrageous concepts, profit for designers, and something for every taste and every budget. The highest-end designers in both industries may well suffer some profit loss from those who imitate them, but let’s be honest. They’re doing just fine. (And to be frank, they’re also doing just as much imitating.)

      If the United States wants a fighting chance to keep a place in the global consumer electronics industry, it’s time to loosen up the legal reigns on intellectual property.

    • Poll: Kids say their friends share too much online

      The poll, conducted by Zogby International for Common Sense Media, also found that a majority of parents want Congress to update online privacy laws for children and teens, and that both parents and teens want online companies to get their permission before using their personal information for marketing.

    • Open Data

      • Our current consultations

        The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched its consultation on the Data sharing code of practice.


        This code explains how the Data Protection Act 1998 applies to the sharing of personal data. It also provides good practice advice that will be relevant to all organisations that share personal data.

      • October 8: Opening Research on Open Source, Carlo Daffara

        It was an interesting meeting, with some peculiarities: first of all the recognition that there are relatively few people working in the field; I think that we can count the publishing participants in such a group to be less than 100, substantially less than those working in other related fields. The other aspect is, that despite the relative friendliness among all of us, most researchers still have to collect data and process it on their own.

    • Open Hardware

      • The moral imperative for open-source hardware.

        Consider, for example, the machines in airports that check your bags for explosives. What, exactly, do they look for? How do they report their findings? What else might explain a chemical they consider evidence of explosives? Answering these questions requires access to the design of the machine, its software and its hardware. Without its “source”, you might be denied boarding on a flight, even arrested, because of the behavior of a device you have no possibility to examine.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Digital Standards Organization publishes “standards for standards”

      In 2007, the Digistan workgroup started designing a framework for grass-roots development of free and open digital standards. Today Digistan publishes its first specification, COSS, and a reference implementation in the form of a pre-configured wiki.

      Digistan founding member Alberto Barrionuevo explains the reasons for COSS: we wanted to offer small teams a fast, cheap, and flexible way to develop their specifications into free and open standards. Setting up a foundation is an important step in a software standard’s history, but it’s a large step that most small teams can’t make.

      COSS is a fully-distributed peer-to-peer model. André Rebentisch, who helped build the Digital Standards Organization and COSS, says: each contributor makes a unilateral grant, allowing others to use their work under specific conditions. Those conditions include the right to branch and merge, which is radical for specifications but a much appreciated freedom in the free software community.

    • W3C Says HTML5 Isn’t Ready for the Web

      As an official from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) told reporters today, “There is already a lot of excitement for HTML5, but it’s a little too early to deploy it because we’re running into interoperability issues.” Particularly when it comes to video content, different devices and different browsers aren’t handling HTML5 consistently.

      “I don’t think it’s ready for production yet,” the official continued. “The real problem is can we make it work across browsers, and at the moment, that is not the case.”

      HTML5, which was hatched by the non-W3C Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group in 2004, should be fully approved within two or three years. Until then, officials say Flash and Silverlight are still going to remain approved and viable web technologies.


  • Saving Identica and StatusNet?

    Marketing accounts, with names like scooterforsale, cheapwidebeltsanders, mastercrafttablesawspowertools, bestbuyfinancialcalculator, ad nauseum, seem to make up more than half of the members of any Identica group. They often don’t actually spam the group (though sometimes they do, and eventually get removed), but they make it hard to look through the genuine group members. This is a pity, as the “group” function is one of the features that sets StatusNet apart.

  • Reflections On My First AGM

    The idea of using some free service, then contributing back to it is the FOSS ideal too. Of course not everyone who uses FOSS software will give something back, and nor should they be forced to. But plenty will in their own way. I use Drupal and Linux Mint enough that I want to give something back to those projects. I see value in what both projects are doing and want to help them somehow. Does this mean I code? No. But coding is only one way to give something back. I help out new users in the Linux Mint IRC channel, I am planning to do instruction and demonstration screencasts for both Linux Mint and Drupal. I evangelise and blog about both.

  • Congress passes bill to make Internet, smartphones accessible for blind, deaf

    Specifically, the legislation allows blind consumers to choose from a broader selection of cellphones with speech software that calls out phone numbers and cues users on how to surf the Internet. It makes new TV shows that are captioned available online with closed-captioning. TV remote controls would have a button that makes it easier to get closed-captioning.

  • Blogging, empowerment, and the “adjacent possible”

    Clay Shirky, for instance, has focused, with great verve and insight, on how the Web enables us to form groups quickly and easily, and how that in turn is reshaping society. In his book Cognitive Surplus, Shirky identifies a spectrum of values stretching from personal to communal to public to civic. The spectrum, he writes, “describes the degree of value created for participants versus nonparticipants. With personal sharing, most or all of the value goes to the participants, while at the other end of the spectrum, attempts at civic sharing are specifically designed to generate real change in the society the participants are embedded in.”

  • Google News Starts Testing A Social Layer: Twitter

    There’s a lot of speculation about Google’s upcoming stab at social (take 15, or so, for those keeping track at home). The most recent talk has Google adding a social layer to all of their properties to tie them all together. One such property is actually already trying out such a layer — but it’s a social layer run by Twitter.

  • NKorean official confirms Kim Jong Un as leader

    A top North Korean official confirmed Friday to broadcaster APTN that Kim Jong Il’s youngest son will succeed him as the next leader of the reclusive communist nation.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Brazil battles spread of ‘mad soy disease’

      Now “mad soy disease”, is troubling farmers and scientists in Brazil, where it causes yield losses of up to 40%, and is expanding out of its stronghold in the north of the country. And, like its bovine namesake, it is incurable.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Friday
    • Spammers Using SHY Character to Hide Malicious URLs

      Spammers have jumped on the little-used soft hyphen (or SHY character) to fool URL filtering devices. According to researchers at Symantec Corp., spammers are larding up URLs for sites they promote with the soft hyphen character, which many browsers ignore.

      Spammers aren’t shy about jumping humans flexible cognitive abilities to slip past the notice of spam filters (H3rb41 V14gr4, anyone?). They’re also ever-alert to flaws or inconsistencies in the way that browsers render text to allow them to slip pitches URLs by programs designed to spot unwanted solicitations, phishing attempts and more.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • European Parliament Balks at US Data Deals

      Representatives of US security agencies want further concessions from the EU to ensure free access to police computers, bank transfers and airline passenger data in the fight against terror. But members of the European Parliament have said they will resist the moves.

      Washington’s army of diplomats in Europe has been taking on one country at a time. Germany stood at the top of the list and, initially, surrendered without even a whimper to the American demands. In 2008, the federal government in Berlin signed an agreement pushed by Washington allowing American officials wide-ranging access to the databases of German security agencies. It was only after leaders in Hamburg raised their objections to the deal that it was, temporarily, stalled in the Bundesrat, Germany’s upper legislative chamber, which represents the interests of the states. The city-state has since withdrawn its objections after securing minor concessions on data protection provisions in the document, and the treaty is now set to be approved.

    • Policing in the 21st Century: the role of transparency in Big Society

      In her speech at the Conservative Party Conference on 5 October, Theresa May placed great emphasis on the coalition’s vision for the future of policing in the UK. This vision has two core elements: to restore democratic accountability and to dramatically increase effectiveness through localism, innovation and a removal of bureaucratic constraints. For policing this represents among the most significant reforms since Robert Peel inaugurated the institution in 1829. In a wider context these elements lie at the very heart the Prime Minister’s ‘radical’ agenda for government (see statements on localism).

    • Philly officers in 25th District probe were not sting targets

      Investigators who set up a sting operation Monday had hoped to snare two corrupt Philadelphia police officers suspected of robbing drug dealers – just not the two who fell into the trap.

      The 25th District officers arrested Monday, Sean Alivera and his partner, Christopher Luciano, were not the initial targets of the investigation and were not previously suspected of wrongdoing, sources familiar with the case said.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Tune in to the live whale song network

      Just 2 minutes ago, a sperm whale swam by about 4 kilometres south of Cassis on the French Mediterranean coast. From my desk in London, I heard its whistle. Thanks to a new website, so can you.

      The LIDO (Listening to the Deep Ocean Environment) site offers a live feed to 10 hydrophones sprinkled around European waters, and one in Canada. Several more are scheduled to come soon in Canada and in Asia.

    • Dr. Ryan N. Maue’s 2010 Global Tropical Cyclone Activity Update

      While the North Atlantic has seen 15 tropical storms / hurricanes of various intensity, the Pacific basin as a whole is at historical lows! In the Western North Pacific stretching from Guam to Japan and the Philippines and China, the current ACE value of 48 is the lowest seen since reliable records became available (1945) and is 78% below normal*. The next lowest was an ACE of 78 in 1998. See figure below for visual evidence of the past 40-years of tropical cyclone activity.

    • Turtle Watching in Dominica
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Private health lobby out in force at Tory conference

      “Grassroots” think tank favoured by Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has strong links to the private health insurance industry

      2020Health, the centre right think tank with close links to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is out in force at this week’s Conservative Party conference. It is chaired by the CEO of a huge global network of health insurers, at the same time as arguing for a greater role for the private health sector.

    • Map of online ad market, US
  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Chinese dissident wins Nobel Peace Prize

      The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to Liu Xiaobo, a leading Chinese dissident who is serving an 11-year prison term after repeatedly calling for human rights and democratization, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced.

      Liu was sentenced in 2009 for inciting subversion of state power. He is the co-author of Charter 08, a call for political reform and human rights, and was an adviser to the student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

    • China’s Liu leads Kohl, EU in Peace Nobel race: TV

      Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is the leading candidate to win the Nobel Peace Prize with the European Union and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl also among the contenders, Norway’s main television networks said on Thursday.

    • The peace prize in the digital age

      In April 2009, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo published an op-ed praising the internet for bringing about ‘the awakening of ideas among the Chinese’.

      Just two months later Liu, who had previously been imprisoned for participation in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, was charged with inciting subversion of state power and sentenced to eleven years in prison plus two years deprivation of political rights.

    • China blanks Nobel Peace prize searches
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The BBC: an open and shut case of corporate schizophrenia?

      I just wonder how they can square that call for openness with their ‘confidential’ response to the Ofcom consultation on attaching DRM digital locks to the BBC HD signal? The BBC’s secret response was a key cornerstone of Ofcom’s approval the BBC’s application to add DRM restrictions to their HD signal.

      Just a small request, since I know how things work in large organisations and it is entirely possible that they don’t know each other – could someone at the BBC please introduce the team who drafted the demand for openness and net neutrality to the team who drafted the demand for DRM on BBC and Freeview HD? I do firmly believe the unwielding advance and malignant growth of bureaucracy leads to endemic corporate schizophrenia in all large organisations but it can be cathartic to at least give the individuals caught up in it an opportunity to defend their positions.

    • If the Internet Ain’t Dead Yet, It Soon Will Be

      It appears Wired may have gotten it right that the Internet is “dead,” but for the wrong reasons. Just as the information, communications and technology (“ICT”) industries are poised to deliver more mobility, faster speeds, greater control and a whole new range of service options such as software as a service or cloud computing, we see stories that (1) the Obama administration is going to “try to make it easier to wiretap the Internet” (as the New York Times put it), (2) Congress is considering legislation that would give the President authority to “shut down” the Internet, (3) countries like India and Saudi Arabia are requiring Blackberry maker Research in Motion to provide the government access to encrypted communications, and (4) Craiglist is forced to shut down its adult content section.

      Individually, each of these actions may have some merit (or not), but collectively they suggest that the “wild, wild west” days of the Internet are behind us. It was inevitable that as the Internet gained in popularity and became an engine of commerce there would be calls for the government to assert more control. And certainly spam, phishing, hacking, and other cyber threats are real problems that may require government action. Indeed, researchers who are analyzing the Stuxnet virus are concluding that cyber threats have just taken an exponential leap from criminal to truly dangerous. It is inevitable that governments are going to respond to Stuxnet with a new round of measures in the name of “national security.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cadbury Trademarks The Color Purple, and they’re not alone
    • Copyrights

      • Police Arrest Operator of Mulve Downloading App

        Last month, a relatively new music downloading application burst onto the scene. Mulve carried no music of its own, but instead allowed users to make their own searches and download material from servers owned by Russia’s biggest social networking site. This week Mulve disappeared unexpectedly but for good reason. Without any warning, the UK police arrested its operator.

      • Having a ball

        The longest, loudest boom is in live music. Between 1999 and 2009 concert-ticket sales in America tripled in value, from $1.5 billion to $4.6 billion (see chart 1). Ticket sales wobbled in America during the summer of 2010, but that was partly because some big-selling acts took a break. One of the most reliable earners, Bono, U2’s singer, was put out of action when he injured his back in May.

      • Copied pleadings show there’s no honor among antipiracy lawyers

        On September 29, Chicago divorce lawyer John Steele filed a case far outside his usual realm of family law and custody dispute; he represented First Time Videos, LLC, which an attached declaration calls “a leading producer and distributor of adult entertainment content within the transsexual niche.” Internet users had been sharing First Time Videos’ porn through BitTorrent—but what did Steele know of BitTorrent or file-swapping litigation?

      • CBC Bans Use of Creative Commons Music on Podcasts

        The producers of the popular CBC radio show Spark have revealed (see the comments) that the public broadcaster has banned programs from using Creative Commons licenced music on podcasts.

      • CBC agreement with talent agency prohibits use of Creative Commons music

        According to a comment from a CBC producer on a message board, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has banned the use of Creative Commons licensed music from its podcasts. Apparently, this goes “against some of the details in collective agreements [the CBC] hold with certain talent agencies.”

      • The Myth Of The “Lost Sale”

        Markets set the price, not the rights holders. If you have an item that you choose to price at £100 but nobody is willing to pay £100 for it, is it worth £100? No, it’s only worth what people will pay for it. If that means nobody is willing to pay your asking price for the latest reheat of yet another in a long line of factory pressed boy bands doing an album full of covers, then they are not worth the price you’re asking. If people are only interested when it’s free of cost, then that should also send a message of how much they’re willing to pay for your product.

        It’s not all about cost either. Plenty of people will pay for stuff they can get free if they see value in it. Plenty of independent musicians, writers and artists are bypassing the rich corporate middlemen and going straight to their fans. Plenty of fans are perfectly happy to buy “proper” copies of their favourite books or albums because they know their money is going to reward those who created the stuff they love. Even if they get the electronic version free of charge, they still want to donate a few pounds or dollars here and there, or help publicise a new release or tour.

      • US anti-P2P law firms sue more in 2010 than RIAA ever did

        In the UK, the Information Commissioner is investigating data security at an anti-piracy law firm, the country’s ISPs have started challenging the legitimacy of the entire detection process in court, and members of the House of Lords rage about “legal blackmail.” But here in the US, the antipiracy lawyers are just getting warmed up. Indeed, we might reasonably see 2010 as the Year of the Settlement Letter.

        Here’s how it works: a law firm drums up business, signing on copyright holders—mostly movie producers—as clients. The clients are charged nothing, instead getting a percentage of whatever revenue the law firm can collect by going after those sharing the film online.

      • CRAMER PELMONT – 2 day u-turn? and what of the others?

        Here’s something else to consider, could it be the “average” user sat behind their computer screen as a hobby has managed to stop the legal profession? It certainly seems that way to me and the law firms involved have certainly not had an easy time of it, challenged by, not some legal monster, but the average person. What ever happens in the future, one things for sure, it would make a great movie and really shows that whilst corporations can use the net as a powerful sales tool, the same internet can turn just as quickly and bring even the large firm to their knees.

      • Art Builds Upon Art: Nina Paley’s New Video

        From the maker of Sita Sings the Blues comes a new short film that artistically delivers a simple message: “All creative work builds on what came before.” Using artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nina Paley draws the visual conclusion that art borrows and remixes – that nothing is really out of the box. This argument resonates for some.

      • Musician Mourns aXXo’s Absence, Defends Piracy

        Drama struck parts of the BitTorrent community last year when the popular DVD ripper aXXo shared his last torrent with his millions of followers. At the height of his stardom aXXo suddenly went silent. Thousands have meanwhile begged for his return, and this week they’re joined by Norwegian musician Binärpilot, who has dedicated a track to aXXo on his latest album.

      • ACTA

        • Notes on the October 7, 2010 USTR NGO briefing on ACTA

          Today, USTR held a nearly 2-hour public briefing on the new version of the ACTA text. USTR representatives present included Stan McCoy, Kira Alvarez, and Rachel Bae. Stan and Kira did most of the talking at the meeting.

        • Brazil strikes deal rich against counterfeiting

          O Brasil atacou ontem o acordo assinado entre 40 países ricos que estabelece o primeiro tratado internacional para criminalizar o comércio, a produção eo fornecimento de produtos e remédios falsificados. Brazil has attacked the agreement signed yesterday between 40 rich countries establishing the first international treaty to outlaw the trade, production and delivery of products and counterfeit medicines. Para atrair a adesão do Brasil e da China, europeus e americanos flexibilizaram a versão final do documento, retirando do texto a obrigação do confisco de medicamentos genéricos nas fronteiras. To attract membership from Brazil and China, European and American eased the final version of the document, removing the obligation of the text of the confiscation of generic drugs across borders. Os dois países, porém, rejeitam o acordo. Both countries, however, reject the agreement.

          O Estado revelou ontem que, após três anos de negociações, Europa, EUA e outros países ricos haviam chegado a um acordo para tentar reduzir o comércio de produtos e remédios falsos – um mercado de US$ 250 bilhões, controlado por organizações criminosas. The state revealed yesterday that after three years of negotiations, Europe, U.S. and other wealthy countries had reached an agreement to try to reduce the trade in fake medicines and products – a market capitalization of $ 250 billion controlled by criminal organizations. Os países emergentes, no entanto, tomaram o acordo como uma verdadeira declaração de guerra: dizem que não foram incluídos nas negociações e argumentam que as medidas são direcionadas contra eles. Emerging countries, however, took the deal as a declaration of war: they were not included in the negotiations and argue that the measures are directed against them.

        • Copyright Criminal measures in ACTA

          The negotiating parties published the ACTA text. ACTA criminalises newspapers revealing a document, office workers forwarding a file and downloaders; whistle blowers and weblog authors revealing documents in the public interest and remixers and others sharing a file if there is an advantage.

          The EU is not competent to negotiate criminal measures in ACTA. The Presidency of the Council, representing the Member States, negotiated the criminal measures. It is unclear where this competence should come from. The EU has exclusive competence on trade agreements, the Council is not competent to harmonise criminal measures any more.

Clip of the Day

All Creative Work Is Derivative

Links 8/10/2010: Linux Tablet Price Goes Down Under $200, Fedora 14 Beta Preview

Posted in News Roundup at 3:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Case # 2010-5052271. Here be Scum

    Their TV was stolen as well and they will be able to use their computer for entertainment until they can get another television.


    If you are interested in helping me get these folks a year’s Internet connection, let me know via email…helios at fixedbylinux dott kom. We’re also looking for a TV card that will work well in Linux. If possible, we could use some local help in setting up a mythTV box. This way, the computer can replace a television.

  • Legacy hardware for new age code-monkeys

    If you’re stuck with a dated machine in Austin, Texas, just call on your friendly neighbourhood Ken Starks (and the entire HeliOS team). Ken doesn’t just put old hardware to good educational use, he upgrades the machine thanks to (tax-deductible) monetary donations.

  • Desktop

    • Planning to Migrate to Linux? BEWARE!!!

      1. Your computer may become dull or stop working:
      Windows is a happy, efficient world where computers respond promptly and just work. They work and work even when you don’t know. They work as zombies and botnets, sending spam mail (in the best of the cases) for some hacker out there who rightfully earned control over them. Just last year, there was an estimate of twelve million zombies. That is four times the whole population of a small country like mine. Imagine! A whole country made of zombies!!! That is a happy country! Windows is a happy world in which you (if you’re a hacker) command and computers react. They react promptly to Trojans, worms and malware of all forms under the sun. If you install Linux and use it as your main OS, your computer may stop reacting to the Trojans, worms and malware that took cyber-criminals a lot of time and effort to design. Of course, if you engage into irresponsible security behavior, your PC may still be responsive to them, but not as it was with Windows. Are you sure you want a dull computer like that? Who wants a computer that fails to respond to malware by default? What? Your computer has never been part of a botnet, you say? Are you sure? Then, why is it that some users complain that their PCs still download updates regardless of their preferences? They are part of the biggest botnet in the world, that’s why!

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME and KDE 2011 Desktop Summit dates confirmed

      Supported locally by the TSB Innovation Agency Berlin GmbH and the Berlin Senate, the 2011 event is expected to bring together more than one thousand core contributors, open source leaders and various representatives from government, education and corporate environments. In addition to simply co-locating the events, as they did in 2009, GNOME Foundation board Member Vincent Untz says he hopes the projects can “actually plan a combined schedule in 2011 so KDE and GNOME contributors have every opportunity to work with and learn from each other.” Both of the projects say they hope the event will be the largest to date.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The Marvel of Marble

        Many might be thinking about Google Earth as a similar, probably more popular application that offers similar features, and they wouldn’t be far from the truth. Of course, there are differences in what each offers, but most importantly, Marble is and encourages the use of open source software and maps.

  • Distributions

    • In two flavors: AntiX at 150Mhz, 32Mb

      A long time ago I tried Feather Linux, came back to it a week ago, and found it just as useful even on a machine with considerably weaker guts.

      I have a similar experience to report … more or less … from AntiX, in its full M8.5 rendition and from the base version.

      I tried both, using the X60s as a surrogate and once again writing the system across USB1.1 for the complete, JWM-driven desktop and the lighter variant.

    • Wanted: Acer Aspire 5551 seeks distro

      Still on the list of distros to test are Archbang and Sabayon. What are your thoughts? Which distro works for you? Any tips on the above issues? Keep them coming.

    • Reviews

      • BLAG Review

        It came preset with a microblog and a blogging client, for example. Basically BLAG is a cool distro if you’re not into debian/ubuntu based distros, but still want something easy to use. You do have to watch out for nonfree, like I said, but that’s probably going to be cleared up by the stable release.

      • Distro Hoppin`: Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.0

        I was more than pleasantly surprised with how gracefully Trisquel managed to bury my preconception about 100% free OSes being more of a creed, a philosophy than a practical operating environment, either at work or at home. Add that functionality to a polished, professional look and you have a project that is worthy of admiration and anticipation for future releases.

      • Arch Linux 2010.05 [Review]

        Arch Linux lets you be in control of your own system. But as always, with great power comes great responsibility. We will only recommend Arch Linux to those who have used Linux for quite a while, and have used from the console as well. If you want to download a Linux distro which installs a fully functional graphical environment ready for use, then Arch Linux is NOT for you. Arch Linux is for those who want to configure and set up their system with an intimate understanding and control over each aspect. If you are someone who wants to jump into Linux with both feet, and learn by possibly screwing up their system, Arch Linux is perfect for you.

      • Tiny Core: Ultralight DIY distribution

        When reviewing a lightweight distribution, the term Swiss Army knife is sometimes employed to indicate that it’s packed with features despite a diminutive size. However, at 11MB for the ISO, Tiny Core is more of a blank-slate distribution, as when booted from a CDROM or a USB stick, it presents the user with a simple desktop consisting merely of a task launcher and a package manager. It contains some good ideas and it’s already perfectly usable, but I think it needs a few more refinements in order to become great.

        Tiny Core can be installed to a HD like a traditional distribution but the process is relatively complicated and not the main focus. Instead, a typical Tiny Core installation would be portable and booted from a device such as a memory stick. The end result is a kiosk-like environment.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat and the Cloud

        These days I’ve talked with Red Hat about their Cloud strategy. It was an interesting and, in some areas, somewhat surprising conversation. It is not that surprising that Red Hat doesn’t focus on becoming an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider themselves, e.g. directly competing with Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure and other environments isn’t on their agenda at that point of time. Red Hat focuses on providing the technology some of these provides (not Microsoft, for sure) require – but not mainly the very big ones, but all the others like Telcos, large MSPs (Managed Service Providers), and so on.

      • Analyst affirms Red Hat a ‘sell’
      • Red Hat Getting Killed (RHT)
      • Option Pros Looking for a Big Move in Red Hat (RHT)

        Heavy volume in both puts and calls suggests that traders are expecting a big move but are unsure of direction.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 beta review

          All in all, Fedora 14 is shaping up quite nicely. Although it’s unlikely that Fedora 14 will sway existing Ubuntu or openSUSE users, the new release offers enough to keep developers and power users alike happy.

        • Fedora 14 Well On Its Way to a Desktop Near You

          Red Hat’s Fedora remains one of the most popular and versatile Linux distributions available today. In fact, it has few equals. And Fedora 14, which is due for final release November 2, saw its one and only beta release on September 28 with some exciting feature previews. Being based on Linux 2.6.35, that was released on August 1 and received its latest stable update on September 29, it will offer goodies like Btrfs direct input/output, better power management, expanded video and Ethernet hardware support, and memory cache de-fragmentation. Of particular interest to Red Hat and Fedora developers and users are the improvements in KVM virtualization, which include enhancements of the timer and emulator code that result in higher performance as well as improvements in performance tracing and monitoring.

    • Debian Family

      • Simply Mepis 8.5 challenge: the first four days

        To sum up, my experience as a Mandriva user handling Mepis is satisfactory up to this point. SimplyMepis is not simply a disappointment. I think that it rivals Mandriva in its KDE handling…maybe a simplified experience than the one I am used to with Mandriva, but Mepis had given me little to complain about.

        What’s next? The following days I will try a multimedia class. This will let me assess the video display and the sound quality.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • What Will Be Talked About At The Ubuntu 11.04 Summit

          Besides talking about performance at the Ubuntu Developer Summit later this month in Orlando for Ubuntu 11.04, there will also be discussions and tracks for hardware compatibility, Ubuntu as the project and community, application selections and defaults, how to empower application developers, cloud infrastructure, and multimedia.

          The tentative blueprints for what is to be talked about at the development summit for Ubuntu 11.04 is laid out on Launchpad. Some of the tracks that interest us for this Natty Narwhal summit are listed below.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 final ready to roll

          Canonical’s Ubuntu project announced the release candidate for Ubuntu 10.10 (“Maverick Meerkat”), with the final stable version ready for download this Sunday, 10/10/10. In addition to a revamped Software Centre, a new sound app, and a Netbook Edition overhauled with Canonical’s “Unity” UI stack, Meerkat’s final will feature new fonts and an Android-compatible Ubuntu One Mobile service.

        • The new Ubuntu is netbook and Windows friendly

          When you think of Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux, what do you think of? Well, you probably think of a smooth, easy to use desktop Linux. You also wouldn’t be surprised to know that it came designed to work and play well with netbooks. I bet you would be surprised to know though that part of it, Ubuntu One, the personal cloud service for Ubuntu users, will soon work with Android, iPhone, and Windows.

        • How to get Free ubuntu 10.10 CD (Maverick Meerkat)

          The ShipIt service can be used by users with low-bandwidth…


          The costs involved with providing access to Ubuntu for those unfortunate to get access to the swift and easy online downloads are great.

        • Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

          After over a year’s worth of feedback from users like you and a clear view of where we want to take Ubuntu One in the future, we’ve just made some changes to the Ubuntu One service offering and pricing plans.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 to feature Windows, iPhone & Android syncing…

          Maverick Meerkat Ubuntu One users will be able to sync contacts and stream music direct to their iPhone or Android smartphone via a free app. The Ubuntu One Mobile service will cost $3.99 per month, but will be offered free if you choose to subscribe Canonical’s 20GB (or more) Ubuntu One paid subscription service.

        • Ubuntu Linux upgraded for netbooks, desktops, and servers

          Canonical on Thursday took the official wraps off Ubuntu 10.10, the latest version of its Linux-based operating system, and confirmed that it will be available for download starting on Sunday.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • My new #! CrunchBang desktop

            Here’s the current looks of my CrunchBang 10 “Statler” Alpha 2 desktop. Simple and dark.
            Openbox is great, but once you start customizing it, you keep finding all those little things you can change, adjust etc. …few hours later… you have a nearly perfect desktop. And then you start again….

          • Differences Between Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, etc.

            Gobuntu is an Ubuntu derivative that is intended for users with a level of ability as developers and system developers, who intend to make their own free software distribution based on Ubuntu. In accordance with the disasarnya user segment, only the Ubuntu open source software provides non-restricted in Gobuntu and include full source for all firmware, drivers, and applications that are installed in it. The purpose of the inclusion of full source is clear, namely to give an opportunity for developers to modify and redistribute the program results.

            Gobuntu require the same hardware specifications with Ubuntu (min. 4 GB hard disk capacity), and also available in two architectures, the PC 32-bit and 64-bit.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux dev platform takes on embedded multimedia UIs

      Timesys has expanded its LinuxLink development platform for embedded Linux devices to offer a subscription for higher-level multimedia and interface functions. The LinuxLink Rich Multimedia User Interfaces (Rich MUI) subscription incorporates the Qt framework, GStreamer, and many other components, initially targeting Texas Instruments’ DaVinci, OMAP, and Sitara system-on-chips, as well as Freescale’s i.MX51, says the company.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • CherryPal Announces 7-Inch Android 2.1 Tablet with Sub-$200 Price Tag

        CherryPal has announced their new 7-inch Android 2.1-powered CherryPad today. Rather than setting their sites on the iPad and trying to take it on, CherryPal sees more benefit in the low-cost tablet space. Priced at only $188 per unit, the CherrpPad features an 800MHz processor, 256MB RAM, 2GB Flash memory, microSD card reader, and an 800×480 resolution screen. Other details include WiFi support (802.11 b/g), USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack, speakers, and a microphone. The 3200mAh battery is said to provide around 6-8 hours runtime. Full press release after the break.Anyone interested in sub-$200 Android tablet? Worth dropping the money on one while waiting for a tablet from the bigger players?

Free Software/Open Source

  • Interview with Hugh McGuire, Founder of Librivox.org

    There were some philosophical reasons, and some practical reasons for the creation of LibriVox, which “launched” in August 2005. On the philosophical side, I was fascinated by Richard Stallman and the free software movement, both in methodology and in ethic. I was equally excited by Lessig’s work with the Creative Commons movement and the idea of protecting public domain, including projects such as Michael Hart’s Project Gutenberg. Brewster Kahle’s vision at the Internet Archive of Universal Access to All Human Knowledge was another piece of the puzzle, as was Wikipedia, the most visible non-software open source project around at the time. Finally blogging and podcasting revealed the possibility that anyone could make media and deliver it to the world. It was a potent cocktail.

  • Get More Out Of Your Home Wireless Setup With Open Source Apps

    Want better performance out of your home Wi-Fi setup? Most of us are now so dependent on Wi-Fi around the house that we do want that, but not everybody realizes that there are open source tools that can help improve your wireless experience. Since we last covered them here, dd-wrt and Tomato have both come to support for more routers and added functionality. They’re open source firmware replacements for the intelligence built into routers, and they can juice your wireless performance and extend your range, in addition to other features.

  • Events

    • My day @ SVIT

      Today I was at Swami Vivekananda Institute of Technology to take a session regarding installation of GNU/Linux and System Administration. The distribution I have selected is Ubuntu 10.10, Since it is widely popular and easy for the beginners. I was remembering the time when I had to install GNU/Linux with a great effort. Now its as simple as installing a windows :-) The students were enthusiastic to learn every bit of it. The seminar was part of a two day Industrial Training Workshop conducted by Swecha a free software organisation.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Update on Statistics Problem

        Last week we blogged about a problem with add-on downloads going to the wrong subdomain and said that counts would be repaired soon.

      • Firefox in Thailand – 2010 update

        15.25% on Firefox (from Mozilla’s internal data, 83% on Firefox 3.6, 13% on Firefox 3.5, yes I know that does not add up to 100%)

      • Crowdsourcing Project – Team 1 & 3 / Phase 2
      • Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo is Now Available

        Our first Firefox 4 beta for mobile is now available to download and test. It’s built on the same technology platform as Firefox for the desktop and optimized for browsing on a mobile phone. Firefox beta for mobile comes with many of your favorite Firefox desktop features like Firefox Sync, Add-ons and the Awesome Bar.

      • Ars examines Chrome and Firefox bookmark sync protocols

        In a recent announcement, Xmarks revealed that it can no longer afford to continue operating its popular cross-browser bookmark synchronization service. Although Xmarks attracted a significant audience of users, the company was never able to build a sustainable business around the software. Xmarks cofounder Todd Agulnick says that the lights are scheduled to go out in 90 days unless the company can come up with a successful freemium strategy or a buyer emerges.

      • Refreshing the Firefox Search Bar
  • Databases

    • Thank you, everyone behind MySQL AB!

      MySQL AB opened the doors for learning to know many brilliant minds. Co-chairing a GPLv3 Committee with HP senior counsel Scott K. Peterson, I experienced Software Freedom Law Center’s Eben Moglen first-hand. Through a combination of intelligence and diplomacy, he tamed a conference-call-ful of the seniormost US corporate counsels, who all bought into Eben’s plans for the next generation of free software licenses. In 2005, I supported Florian Müller’s successful efforts to (at least for a while) save the EU from the software patents. I think Eben, Florian and I all agree swpats are obsolete legal tools, used to protect incumbent players against having to innovate. Sadly, Eben and Florian have since had some disagreements. Speaking of brilliant minds, the SAP negotiations in 2002 and 2003, and MySQL AB’s subsequent relationship with SAP AG, introduced us to people like Shai Agassi and Rudi Munz. Other memorable events was introducing MySQL Conference guest speakers, such as Guy Kawasaki and Mark Shuttleworth. I left the stage for Mark and his Ubuntu presentation on a MySQL conference by cheering him with “Поехали!” (Poyechale, Off we go!), a retired cosmonaut as he is.

  • CMS

    • eBay deploys Joomla for analytics portal

      Bypassing a number of commercial portal packages, eBay has started using the Joomla open source content management software as a framework to provide its employees with analytic tools, the online auction giant said.

      The Joomla Web framework will be used to stage a set of internal analysis tools for the company’s 16,400 employees. The company claims that it runs the largest commercial data warehouse in the world, and this software will provide a base for a set of eBay-built extensions to analyze some of this data.

    • Examiner.com Execs Push for Quality, Refute ‘Content Farm’ Tag

      Tell me how the integration with NowPublic has gone at Examiner.com?

      Rick Blair: We purchased NowPublic about this time last year, and we’ve used their platform to launch our Drupal 7 platform, or Examiner 2.0, which is the largest consumer-facing Drupal platform in the United States. Everything’s gone quite well. We have the normal slip-ups that you have with any technology platform where you’re serving over 20 million readers a month, and 60 million page views a month. We just released a new publishing tool for our writers, and within a week, 75 percent of them are working with it and are happy with it.

    • Teach.gov using Drupal

      The U.S. Department of Education just launched a new micro-site built on Drupal: teach.gov. At teach.gov you can learn what it’s like to be a teacher and get the tools you need to launch your own career in education.

    • University of Washington at Tacoma adopts Drupal

      I recently got an e-mail from a member of the UW Tacoma web team, who explained that they migrated to Drupal from a home-grown system running on IIS and mostly based in ColdFusion. Their system often required manual editing of HTML for even the simplest of content updates, and synchronizing between development and live versions of the site was (as we all know) an ever present problem.

  • Education

    • A K12 Educator’s Guide to Open Source Software

      There’s a very cool project I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work on, this coming month. It’s pretty exciting to me, because it involves introducing elementary school children to free & open source software, particularly creative tools such as my dearly beloved Inkscape and Gimp.


  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • Open Source Software Licenses

      In this article we are going to talk about the open system/open source software licenses.As most of you are aware(if not please read and understand)how those licenses intend to do then apply them as you like.So lets meet those licenses that made an impact on open source development.Being an GNU/Linux consultant my one of the prime job to explain the licensing issue to my clients so they can understand what they adopt into their infrastructure.And as my second role as an GNU/Linux administrator I am very curious about the licensing factor to implements something into the production base.So what I will suggest please give yourself sometime and go through the below mentioned licenses to accustomed yourself better for deployment.

    • New Open Compliance Resources Now Available

      When we launched the Open Compliance Program in August at LinuxCon, we committed to providing additional free educational material. At launch, we had three info-packed papers you could view here or at our publications page.

      I’m pleased to report the fourth paper in the series is now available. “A Glimpse Into Recommended Practices in a FOSS Compliance Management Process” by Ibrahim Haddad can be found here.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Wikisource for Manuscript Transcription
    • The Next Social Networking JuggernauT

      Here’s a restatement of the opportunity to turn Facebook into the equivalent of AltaVista/Yahoo of social networking:

      * Software that makes grouping easy… from initial recruitment, first member recognition, rules for behavior, enforcement, goals, and reward allocation. Everything you need to build a group that operates as a club, a tribe, or a company.
      * Open MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) functionality. Basically, a set of functionality that enables people to build their own games on the network. As in: You get points for…. Your quest is.. Your reward is…. This gets even more interesting if you believe, as I do, that all real world social networks (like the global economy) are just poorly written MMGs (massively multiplayer games) with obscure/hidden/rigged rules.

  • Programming


  • Zuckerpunched! Maybe those tech nerds aren’t so harmless

    But perhaps most distressing for the Internet mogul must have been the leaking of the script for The Social Network, a $60-million movie based on Zuckerberg’s early years as an undergrad hacker at Harvard University, on the Web.

    Why would it be distressing for a young Internet visionary to be lionized in a big-budget Hollywood biopic? Because the script – which I managed to peruse this week – is unflattering at best and a public-relations disaster at worst for one of the world’s most eminent supergeeks. It’s also a fantastic read.

    Zuckerberg is said to be distinctly unpleased. He reportedly cancelled his birthday celebration in the Caribbean last weekend in order to hold a series of emergency meetings in California to discuss how to rehabilitate Facebook’s (and by extension his own) tarnished image. According to The Times of London, the software genius told colleagues that he wants to establish himself as “a good guy.”

    But it’s hard to imagine how he’s going to do that once The Social Network is given wide release this fall.

  • It’s not easy being Justin Bieber [lnxwalt140: "A man called Justin Bieber got kicked out of Facebook and other networks for sharing the name with the teen idol"]
  • Why the Internet Isn’t Making Us Stupid
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • PATCO riders undergo search

      A swarm of DRPA police officers, uniformed screeners from the federal Transportation Security Administration and an explosives-sniffing K-9 greeted commuters at the Lindenwold PATCO station Tuesday morning, the first of what will be routine random searches of riders, their bags and vehicles.

      After a lazy three-day weekend, the commotion took Kevin Greczyn, a regular PATCO commuter into Philadelphia, by surprise.

    • Burma activists say hands up for democracy

      Two years ago Aye Min Soe was known the world over, star of Oscar-nominated documentary Burma VJ, the shot-in-secret story of Burma’s 2007 Saffron Revolution. Today, the former political prisoner leads an anonymous existence, stateless, penniless and vulnerable, on the Thai-Burma border. Mired between UN and Thai government bureaucracy, his application for refugee status has stalled. He has no documentation allowing him to be in Thailand, he cannot work, and is regularly threatened with deportation back to Burma.

    • Germany Shocked by ‘Disproportionate’ Police Action in Stuttgart

      A hardline police operation against demonstrators protesting against a new railway station project in Stuttgart has shocked Germany, after more than 100 people were injured by tear gas and water cannon. German commentators argue that the police went overboard and warn of more violence to come.

      The controversial Stuttgart 21 railway project has been the focus of increasing protests in recent months. But Thursday seemed to mark a turning point as the conflict between the authorities and protesters escalated dramatically.

    • Don’t Post Pictures of an FBI Tracking Device You Find on a Car to the Internet

      On Monday, a guy in California posted pictures of an FBI tracking device his friend found on his car to the social news site Reddit. Tuesday afternoon the FBI showed up at his friend’s house and demanded it back.


      It’s amusing how the tables were turned on the FBI on this one as the surveiller became the surveilled. But next time, don’t help the creeps out by posting evidence of their shoddy work to the Internet.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Business is changing the landscape of the climate battleground

      Over in California the vested interests are less hidden. On the one hand you have the oil industry who have been bankrolling a campaign to get rid of climate legislation, that would otherwise begin introducing caps on emissions and challenging targets for renewables in 2012. The infamous Koch brothers, who have no direct interests in California, have also weighed in because this is the new battle ground: what happens in California will ripple out across the States. There is a big fightback from other businesses and fortunately California is home to a burgeoning clean tech industry and to Silicon Valley where, as well as ruling the digital world, companies like Google have been ploughing their millions into trying to solve big problems like climate change.

    • Brazil election sees breakthrough for Greens and environmental agenda

      Environmental campaigners and Green party activists heralded a breakthrough today after a former rubber-tapper from the Brazilian Amazon who rose to be a world-famous rainforest defender became the central figure in the second round of the country’s presidential election.

    • Human waste turned into renewable gas to power homes

      Next time you flush the toilet, you could be doing your bit for green energy. After being stored for 18 days, human waste will from today be returning to homes in the form of renewable gas.

  • Finance

    • U.S. bank industry entering new crisis: analyst

      The U.S. banking industry is entering a new crisis where operating costs are rising dramatically due to foreclosures and defaults, a well-known analyst said Wednesday afternoon.

      “We are less than one-quarter of the way through the foreclosure process,” said Christopher Whalen, managing director at Institutional Risk Analytics at an American Enterprise Institute event.

    • The great American suburb gives way to rising poverty

      The American suburb is no longer the getaway from the city core that it used to be. Amid the loss of millions of jobs in the recession, home foreclosures and eroding wealth, poverty rates are rising in the U.S. suburbs, the Brookings Institution said in a study today.

    • Prospects for US economy either ‘fairly bad’ or ‘very bad’, warns Goldman Sachs

      Signs that the economic recovery is flat or dipping has pushed the dollar to record lows against the yen while gold continues to climb. Last week, controversial star hedge fund manager John Paulson predicted that gold would rise a further $1,100 to $2,400 an ounce – and could go as high as $4,000.

    • Ohio Attorney General Sues Ally Financial Over Alleged Foreclosure Fraud, First In A Possible Wave Of Lawsuits

      Ohio’s attorney general is suing Ally Financial Inc. and its GMAC Mortgage division, alleging the company violated state fraud laws in handling foreclosure cases.

    • Deutsche Bank Names Goldman’s Kuppenheimer Co-Head of Equity Structuring

      Deutsche Bank AG hired Greg Kuppenheimer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as a managing director and co-head of equity structuring for North America, at least the third senior-level hire from its U.S. rival in two months.

    • Goldman Sachs Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Two CDO Securities

      A financial fraud lawsuit has been filed against Goldman Sachs over its Hudson Mezzanine securities, claiming that the company created collateralized debt obligation (CDO) securities that were doomed to fail so that it could profit from short positions it had taken on the funds.

    • Why did Merrill Lynch Fail? “Goldman Sachs Envy,” Says New Book

      The death of Merrill Lynch in a 2008 fire sale was tied to a key flaw at the brokerage: jealousy of crosstown rival Goldman Sachs, according to an excerpt of a new book, “All the Devils Are Here,” slated to be published next month.

    • Goldman Sachs May Be Losing Influence in Washington

      When it comes to visibility and influence, Goldman Sachs is as noticeable on Pennsylvania Avenue as it is on Wall Street. But that may be changing, as a result of the firm’s recent legal and public relations problems.

    • Dollar set for sharp decline, Goldman forecasts

      The investment bank expects the dollar to drop to $1.79 against the pound in six months and $1.85 in 12 months. Sterling closed at $1.5891 in London yesterday. The euro won’t be spared either, with the dollar’s slump forcing it to $1.50 six months from now and $1.55 in a year’s time.

    • SEC meets with Goldman Sachs, Wall Street CEOs behind closed doors

      Yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) met with top brass at Goldman Sachs at the Willard Hotel to discuss implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform. So what happened? We wish we could tell you. When The Examiner called the SEC to ask for comment or for any notes from the meeting, they said that they would not comment and could neither confirm nor deny a meeting with Goldman. “But we know it happened,” I told the press officer. “No comment.”

    • German bank sues Goldman Sachs over toxic mortgage losses

      Goldman Sachs was in the firing line today after a German bank slapped it with a $37 million (£23.3 million) legal action over losses on a toxic mortgage product it sold before the credit crunch.

      German state-owned bank Landesbank Baden-Württemberg is suing Goldman and asset manager Trust Company of the West, according to documents filed in a Manhattan court.

    • Goldman Sachs International’s First Half Profit Falls by 53%

      Goldman Sachs International, the London-based unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said first-half profit fell 53 percent after the European sovereign debt crisis cut deal making.

      Net income dropped to $944 million in the six months ended June 30 from $2.01 billion in the first half of 2009, the firm said in a statement on its website. Goldman Sachs said trading profit at its European arm fell to $4.42 billion, 40 percent lower than the year-earlier figure.

    • German Bank Sues Goldman, TCW Over CDO Losses

      Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg has sued Goldman Sachs and Société Générale unit TCW Group over the German bank’s $37 million loss from an investment in a collateralized debt obligation.

    • Who Gets the Cash: Goldman Execs or Stockholders?

      In that bearish view, maybe Goldman’s single-digit p/e and double-digit earnings yield are actually warnings signs of worse times to come, rather than a clue that the stock is super-cheap.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • China’s Fifty Cent Party for Internet Propaganda

      China is not the only country in the world to employ cyber police. However, the scale of China’s efforts is staggering. The social media now comprises the dominant online activity for the Chinese. Currently, user-generated content provides the greatest component of China’s online content. Noticing these trends two years ago, President Hu called on the CCP’s members to “assert supremacy over online public opinion, raise the level and study the art of online guidance and actively use new technologies to increase the strength of positive propaganda.” After Hu’s speech, the State Council advertised for “comrades of good ideological and political character, high capability and familiarity with the Internet to form teams of Web commentators… who can employ methods and language Web users can accept to actively guide online public opinion.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Syria accuses teenage blogger of spying for a foreign power

      Syria has accused a young woman blogger of spying for a foreign power after human rights watchdogs raised her case as an example of unjustified restrictions on freedom of expression.

    • Is your private phone number on Facebook? Probably. And so are your friends’

      Uploads from iPhones using the Facebook app will push all your contacts onto Facebook’s servers – where they’ll be matched against any and everyone. Worried at all?

    • Interview with Chiranuch Premchaiporn of Thai Netizen Network

      Chiranuch Premchaiporn, known as Jiew, is the Director and webmaster of Prachatai, an alternative Thai news website, and is a founding member of the digital rights group Thai Netizen Network. News of her arrest upon her return from an Internet freedom conference spread quickly – a blog and #freejiew tag, a legal fund, news and opinion articles, condemnation by human rights institutions, a journalists’ campaign, and critical analysis of the case and the Computer Crime Act under which she was charged. Now out on bail, Jiew now has two criminal charges against her, for which she faces a possibility of an 82-year sentence.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ASCAP Tells Artists It’s Cutting Their Payments As It Brags To The Press How Much More Money It’s Collecting

        ASCAP feels like the gift that keeps on giving to those of us covering it. If you’re an artist… not so much. We’ve covered many examples of how ASCAP’s aggressive efforts to shut down venues from hosting up-and-coming singers is harming local musicians. And, we’ve also pointed out how they use a system to overpay large acts at the expense of small acts. Now it’s getting even worse. Just as ASCAP is attacking groups like Creative Commons, EFF and Public Knowledge — who help artists find more ways to take control over their own careers, it’s also cutting back on payments to many of its artists:

        ASCAP cut payments to some members of it’s ASCAPlus program by 20-30%. “Unfortunately, because of the fiscal climate, less money was available this year for the award program,” ASCAP said in a letter to those receiving checks.

      • MPAA: Piracy Will Always Be With Us

        In a rare interview session two of the MPAA’s top executives gave an interesting insight into the movie industry’s view on copyright in the digital age and the anti-piracy hunt that accompanies it. The pair say that their organization will continue to fight against copyright infringements, but admit that piracy will never be completely defeated.

      • Copyright Abuse in Ohio Governor Election

        With just weeks to go before Ohio votes on its next governor, the contest has devolved into a copyright squabble that is keeping a political video off YouTube on the basis of a bogus copyright claim.

        A couple of days ago, Congressman John Kasich put out a commercial that featured a man dressed as a steelworker discussing Governor Ted Strickland’s record. It turns out that the steelworker depicted in the commercial wasn’t an actual steelworker, but paid actor Chip Redden.

      • ACTA

        • Global Copyright Accord Is Scaled Back After Google Led Push for Changes

          A counterfeiting agreement aimed at stepping up international enforcement of copyright protections has been scaled back after objections from Internet content providers led by Google Inc.

          The text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which would set joint rules for cracking down on the pirating of copyrighted materials, was released today by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. The deal would be the first major trade accord reached under President Barack Obama.

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu 10.04 Basics

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 7/10/2010: Software Freedom Law Show Ends, Canonical Won’t Complain to EU About Microsoft Bundling

Posted in News Roundup at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux New Media AG Launches English Language LPI Training Portal
  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Episode 0×00: Goodbye and Ahoy Hoy

      Bradley and Karen announced that the Software Freedom Law Show is over. Karen and Bradley announced a new show, called Free as in Freedom, that will not be unaffiliated with any specific organization (although Bradley and Karen keep all their various affiliations themselves. :).

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Linux Program To Overclock Your AMD CPUs

        Announced by one of the members in our forums is a new open-source program called TurionPowerControl. The TurionPowerControl program supports both under-volting and over-clocking of AMD CPUs. Currently supported by this program are AMD K8L (11h) and K10 (10h) CPUs, which includes the Turion RM, Turion ZM, Phenom, Phenom II, and Athlon II brands. Originally the developer just designed this tool to support the mobile Turion processors for under-volting, but support was added for these desktop CPUs too. The K8L support is considered the best at this point while the K10 support is still a work in progress.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Software Compilation 4.5.2 Released

        The KDE team has just announced the maintenance release to the KDE 4.5 Software Compilation. KDE SC 4.5.2 is a minor update, focusing on bug fixing and updated translations.

        KDE SC 4.5.2 is the second in a series of monthly bug fixing releases to the KDE Software Compilation 4.5 series and it brings various translation updates and improvements. Everyone should update their existing KDE SC machines running version 4.5.1 or earlier (see a short tutorial below).

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Trisquel 4.0 LTS

        Pros: Comes with free software only; based on Ubuntu. Easy to install and manage.

        Cons: Lacks potentially useful proprietary software.

        Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.

        Summary: Trisquel is best suited to those who truly want a free software only system. Others with a less political point of view might be better suited using alternative distros instead.

        Rating: 4/5

    • New Releases

      • Salix KDE Edition 13.1.1beta5

        Salix team has announced the release of a KDE flavor of Salix, featuring KDE 4.4.3. The OpenOffice.org suite is included and the corresponding locale packages depending on the installation mode can be download after installation from the”Office” submenu cliking on the “Get openoffice” option.

    • Debian Family

      • New branch on Debian?

        Today I have read a post from Raphael Hertzog, taking about the possibility of a new Debian branch to be created.

        Debian already has three branches for those not familiar with it, O.K. maybe four branches.

        * Old-Stable
        * Stable
        * Testing
        * Unstable

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Bruce Byfield on ‘Ubuntu’s real contribution to free software’

          He points out that Ubuntu isn’t Red Hat, and that while the latter contributes to desktop development despite not having much of a dog in that fight (commercially speaking), Ubuntu is really pushing for more desktop users and a better desktop experience.

        • Public Ubuntu Font Family PPA For Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx And 9.10 Karmic Koala

          Like I said, the PPA currently holds packages of the Ubuntu Font Family for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx and Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala but on request, I can also upload packages for Ubuntu Jaunty (do we have readers still using Jaunty?).

        • Ubuntu: we won’t moan to EU about Microsoft

          The company behind the Ubuntu Linux distro says it has no plans to follow Opera’s lead and file a complaint against Microsoft to the EU.

          As Canonical prepares to make Ubuntu 10.10 available for download this Sunday, the company claims the latest version of the OS is the most consumer-friendly release to date.

          Yet, Ubuntu continues to struggle against the immense marketing muscle of Microsoft in the consumer market. Even high-profile supporter Dell has dropped Ubuntu machines from its website in recent months, while continuing to remind visitors that “Dell recommends Windows 7″ at the top of every PC page.

        • Latest Ubuntu Version Puts Focus on Consumers and Mobile

          Canonical today announced the upcoming availability of Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop and Netbook Editions for download on Sunday, October 10.

          Focused on home and mobile computing users, Ubuntu 10.10 introduces an array of online and offline applications to Ubuntu Desktop Edition with a particular focus on the personal cloud. Ubuntu Netbook Edition users will experience an all-new desktop interface called ‘Unity’ — specifically tuned for smaller screens and computing on the move.

        • On First Experiences

          Everybody agrees how important the Out-Of-Box experience is for a product. If the users’ first experience with any kind of product is frustrating it is very likely that they’ll return it and never look back.

          On Operating Systems, usually, this first experience is turning on the computer and reply to some basic questions. For all the major OS like Windows or Mac OS, the software comes preinstalled in the computer. For many users, therefore, that’s the computer itself: something that you turn on and it starts working.

          For Linux is quite different. Despite the efforts that some companies (including Canonical) are doing in order to be easier and easier to buy a computer with a Linux distribution preinstalled, nowadays, the first experience a user has with Linux is, most of the times, a CD and an installation process. Well, if you then want to have one of the best first Linux experiences ever, wait until Sunday and install the brand new Ubuntu 10.10.

        • Latest Ubuntu 10.10 Server Edition makes cloud deployment easier than ever

          Canonical today announced the upcoming availability of Ubuntu 10.10 Server Edition for download on Sunday, October 10 — making it easier to configure, update and run both in development and deployment environments of public clouds.

          “With Ubuntu 10.10 Server Edition we continue to make Ubuntu the default open-source choice for cloud computing,” said Neil Levine, VP of Corporate Services at Canonical. “We are adding features and functions that extend our lead in the public cloud and bridge the gap to hybrid and local computing environments. The infrastructure layer is the enabler of cloud computing and Ubuntu 10.10 is leading the way to put open source at the heart of those efforts.”

        • Is Ubuntu 10.10 yet another chance to ditch Windows?

          But then there’s Ubuntu. There are plenty of other Linux distributions with the whole FREE thing going for them, but Ubuntu is fast, powerful, easy, flexible, and particularly well-suited to education. And the release candidate for the latest versions of Ubuntu and Edubuntu (their education-centered version of Ubuntu) is just plain awesome. Unless you’re 100% wedded (for either religious or technical reasons) to Windows or OS X, it’s hard not to like Ubuntu//Edubuntu with their huge array of free software, snappy performance, elegant interface, fast installations, and ultra-fast boot times.

          As if that weren’t enough, there’s a robust server version, a newly-redesigned netbook/tablet-optimized interface, 32- and 64-bit support, and the chance to support a great community-driven, quintessential 21st-century project. Whether you need a web server, an LDAP server, a snappy interface for those netbooks running Windows XP Home, or a desktop upgrade from Windows XP without the price of Windows 7, Ubuntu can provide not only a viable alternative, but a really competitive OS.

        • Ubuntu Linux upgraded for netbooks, desktops, and servers

          Expanding its efforts to bring Linux to the desktop, Canonical on Thursday is announcing upcoming availability of upgrades to Ubuntu Linux for desktop computers and netbooks, featuring interface and application installation improvements.

          The server version of the Ubuntu will be upgraded as well, with features tuned for cloud computing.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • What Google Did Right with Android

          In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Alan Murray, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he still saw a big role for Google in traditional search, but he recognized that applications were changing the game on the Web. He explained that when it came to mobile, Google was placing its bet on open systems and open platforms.

          That’s why Google decided to open-source Android. By making it free, Google got instant entree into the burgeoning mobile market by enabling a developer community to create these apps very rapidly. At the same time, it got multiple carriers and handset makers involved.

        • Android Paid Apps Now Live In India
        • Google TV partners, features unveiled

          Google announced some major content partners for its Google TV platform and revealed some more information on the Android-and Intel Atom-based IPTV platform. New Google TV content partners include Turner Broadcasting, NBC Universal, HBO, Twitter, and Amazon.com, says the company.

        • Android Powered Motorola Bravo

          BRAVO offers the power of Android, an 800 MHz processor and a large screen all in a compact design. The device features a 3.7-inch full WVGA touch screen experience, enhanced Web-browsing and entertainment while on the go.

    • Tablets

      • iPad Killers?

        The Android devices can also target some of the iPad’s weaknesses. While the iPad is an impressive piece of kit, it isn’t without its flaws. And the biggest omission, without doubt, is the lack of Flash video support for web browsing – something that isn’t likely to be addressed by Apple, according to Steve Jobs: “Sometimes you have to pick the things that look like the right horses to ride going forward. And Flash looks like a technology that had its day and is waning. And HTML5 looks like the technology that is really on the ascendancy right now.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Build Your Own Liquid Galaxy With Google Earth

    Google has open sourced yet another project – Liquid Galaxy, the Google Earth environment composed of eight 55-inch LCD screens showing Google Earth in a unified, surround view.

  • OPEN SOURCE GOD: 480+ Open Source Applications

    Open source software is booming: here we round up over 480 open source applications for you to use or build upon.

    Feel free to add more apps in the comments. And don’t forget to subscribe to Mashable for the latest web news and resources. Also see the other entries in this series: ONLINE PRODUCTIVITY GOD, WORDPRESS GOD, ONLINE MEDIA GOD and FIREFOX GOD.

  • Three Forks in the Road for FOSS

    “LibreOffice is the result of Oracle’s (or Larry’s) failure to be open about FLOSS strategy,” said blogger Robert Pogson. “FLOSS being distributed is about sharing.” The OpenOffice.org community “saw how OpenSolaris was left to wither and took pre-emptive measures. The steps needed to be taken anyway. … There was not a large enough group of developers contributing to be healthy.”

  • Twitter reveals new search architecture to handle billions of queries per day

    Twitter has finally left the old Summize architecture out to dry (it started working on the new architecture 6 months ago), and instead has built the new search on the open source Lucene platform…

  • Democracy requires Free Software

    Throughout history technology has influenced society. Reading, writing, arithmetic, agriculture, printing and radio are all examples of developments that changed the way we interact through trade, art and science. The most important cultural technology of the 21st century is software. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is committed to ensuring that people in our society have the right to shape this technology as they see fit.

    Today it is impossible to imagine daily life without software. The majority of us can’t spend a single day without using it. People use software in the workplace, on laptops, and on mobile phones. Software is also found in less obvious places however: in trains, cars, televisions, washing-machines, fridges, and many other devices. None of these devices could function without software. Without software we couldn’t write e-mails, make phone calls, go shopping, or travel as we are accustomed to. Software is our society’s central tool.

  • Events

    • #possesa day 3 – let me fix your Ubuntu, Michael

      Day 3 of POSSE is where the actual nwork in Open Source communities takes the front of the stage. So we discussed which projects to pick on, what to do. This lead to a more general discussion on South Africa and Open Source. What can we do, what is needed? We captured everything in a nice looking whiteboard – a true collaborative work!

    • Blender Conference 2010 speaker line-up

      The Blender Foundation has announced the speakers for the Blender Conference 2010. They include several well-known Blenderheads such as members from the Durian team, Andrew Price, Jonathan Williamson, Nathan Letwory and Mike Pan.

    • Back to the Future Again: 2020 FLOSS 3.0

      Yesterday I wrote about my experiences last week at the Open World Forum. As I noted, the two-day event closed with the presentation of the latest edition of the 2020 FLOSS Roadmap. Even though I’d not been to the Open World Forum before, I have written about the two previous versions of the Roadmap (still available.)

  • Web Browsers

    • Ars examines Chrome and Firefox bookmark sync protocols

      When I started working on this article, my goal was to unravel the bookmark sync APIs so that I could start making my own client applications and possibly roll my own custom cross-browser solution to fill the need left by Xmarks. What I discovered is that such an undertaking isn’t really within the realm of weekend projects at this point. The APIs just aren’t there yet. It’s important to remember that both the Chrome and Firefox synchronization services are still under development and will likely be more supportive of interoperability in the future as they mature.

  • Databases

    • Amazon Announces Read Replicas To Scale MySQL Deployments

      Amazon Web Services has announced Read Replicas, a new feature for Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) that the company claims makes it even easier to scale MySQL database deployments to meet the performance demands of high-traffic web applications.

  • Oracle

    • Fork You, Oracle!

      LibreOffice is off to a great start already, and I think it will be a harbinger of even greater things to come. If you want to check out LibreOffice, you can download a beta version of it right now. There are versions out for Linux (32 bit and 64 bit), as well as Windows and Mac versions. You can even download the source code if you want.

      Hopefully we’ll start to see LibreOffice appear in various Linux distros soon, so it’ll be even easier to get it. I look forward to seeing it available for every distro I review on Desktop Linux Reviews. The sooner that Oracle and OpenOffice.org are history, the better off we’ll all be.

  • BSD


    • The LilyPond Report #21

      This short, informal opinion column is about the GNU LilyPond project: its team, its world, its community. It is not meant to be an exhaustive documentation resource. Reader comments are, of course, welcome (see at the bottom of this page).

  • Project Releases

    • Firebird 2.5 (final) released
    • PLplot Release 5.9.7
    • CUBRID 3.0 Stable has arrived!

      We are proud to announce the final stable release for CUBRID 3.0! We have been working very hard to bring this most advanced and bug-free version of CUBRID Database System. We highly encourage everyone upgrading from previous versions to CUBRID 3.0.

    • GNU uCommon 4.0 and beyond social key verification

      I finally got around to doing a 4.0 release of the GNU uCommon library over this past weekend while away for family reasons. This was however mostly to clean up the API. What I am thinking of and I am working on is moving beyond Phil Zimmermann’s ZRTP to create a more general purpose foundation for secure communication sessions that is applicable to automated communication tasks as well as to realtime communication.

  • Government

    • What are we supposed to do with citizen inquiries such as this?

      Wed, May 20, 2009 at 9:55 AM
      subject OET questions.

      I am just inquiring as to whether as part of the budget cutting process, the State of Minnesota has considered a transition to OpenOffice.

      I am wondering how many Microsoft Licenses are currently being paid for?

      What are the total costs of these licenses?

      How many of these licenses are for Microsoft Office?

      What the total costs of these licenses are?

      How many new licenses OET plans to be purchasing during the new budget cycle?

      Whether the state of Minnesota has considered making a transition to OoO?

      It appears to have saved the French police some money, has such an option been considered in Minnesota?

  • Openness/Sharing

    • NSF Data Sharing Policy Released

      The National Science Foundation has released its revised NSF Data Sharing Policy. As of January 18, 2011, NSF proposals must include a two-page (or less) “Data Management Plan” in accordance with the Grant Proposal Guide, chapter II.C.2.j (see below excerpt).

    • Content management and the open source way with CEO of NIXTY, Part 2

      We have consulted with many open education experts. Many of them see the value in NIXTY and have helped us spread the word to others. We are very fortunate to have several experts on our Open Education Advisory Board (forthcoming announcement soon).

    • Open Data

      • Transport data roaming

        When I’m writing code I’m quite regularly distracted by what-ifs… For instance: what if I’m on a train towards Spain and I boarded in Belgium. As I have a smartphone with an application installed (let’s call it BeTrains for iRail) which gives me real-time information on my trajectory, I don’t want BeTrains to be useless once I cross the border. BeTrains should automatically switch to the trainsystem of that country.

        This seems like a pretty good and easy-done concept. However we want to do it the right way: we don’t want other application developers to deal with the same hassle of implementing each country for which it wants to work for. We don’t even want to think about that. Every country should have the same standard for bringing its data to the public. To do this for the EU is a nice start since in Europe transport data is open by law.

      • Open transport data

        As we want ta achieve open data roaming, and as we’re keen on open standards, we were wondering if the UK has something like a standard for open transport data. If not this should become a European discussion and maybe a consortium should be started. We want to implement a standard that works for different types of vehicles (trains, boats, metros, buses, …), is real-time (we want to report delays, changes of platform, …) and that works internationaly (a client in Spain should not change its code to work with Belgian transport schemes).


  • .Ly Domains At Risk As Libyan Government Shuts Down Site Without Warning

    The domain Vb.ly was revoked and the site taken offline by NIC.ly, the “domain registry and controlling body for the Libyan domain space ‘.ly’”, writes Vb.ly co-founder Ben Metcalfe on his blog, explaining that his site was found to fall “outside of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.”

  • Serious.ly Dangerous Situation for Bit.ly and Other .ly Domains

    According to Ben Metcalfe, the Libyan government is cracking down on their .ly domain space. On September 23rd, NIC.ly (the domain registry and controlling body for the Libyan domain space .ly) deleted the ‘vb.ly’ domain with no notice or warning. This domain was co-owned by Ben and his partner @violetblue. You’ve probably seen the .ly domain used most prominently by Bit.ly, but it’s also used by a plethora of other services like Hootsuite (ht.ly and ow.ly) and Ad.ly.

  • Citizen journalists? Spreading like a cold

    Ido not believe in “citizen journalism.”

    Yes, I know that’s heresy. Yes, I know the old model has changed: the monologue is now a dialogue. Yes, I know ordinary people with cellphone cameras now “report” newsworthy events and bloggers are indispensable to the national dialogue.

    Yet I remain convinced that, with exceptions, citizen journalism is to journalism as pornography is to a Martin Scorsese film; while they may employ similar tools — i.e., camera, lighting — they aspire to different results.

    So I’ve had it up to here with people calling James O’Keefe III a journalist.

    Last year, you may recall, O’Keefe was lauded by political conservatives for “investigative journalism” that helped bring down ACORN, the financially-troubled group whose sinister works included advocating for poor and middle-income people. O’Keefe, in a hidden camera sting, posed as a pimp and filmed some of the organization’s employees advising him on how to facilitate his supposed illicit business. It made him the toast of the blogosphere and earned him the admiration of Fox News. A resolution honoring him was even introduced in the House of Representatives.

  • E-Car Scheme to Tackle City’s Permanent Congestion

    The French capital is notorious for its traffic jams. Now the mayor of Paris has come up with a bold new plan to rid his city of tens of thousands of cars. If he pulls it off, the e-car sharing scheme may become a trailblazer for other congested cities around the world.

  • Games: Why Zynga’s Success Makes Game Designers Gloomy

    A specter is haunting gaming… the specter of FarmVille. Every day, tens of millions of Facebook users surf over to the lo-res virtual world to milk cows, send magic eggs to their friends, and shell out real money for limited-edition Swiss chard seeds. The game, which has 75 million regular players, is made by developer Zynga, which also makes Cafè World and Mafia Wars. Zynga just scored a $100 million to $200 million investment from Google. But some traditional game developers think the rise of Zynga is a sign of the end of days—at least in terms of game-making. We asked some skeptics to explain their concerns; you decide for yourself whether this is the game-pocolypse.

  • After firefighters watched home burn, Obion County expands subscription-only fire service to more towns

    As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, South Fulton Fire Department firefighters from Obion, Tennessee, last week stood by and watched as a family’s home burned down because their services were available by subscription only, and the family had not paid the $75 fee. Immediately, right-wing writers at the conservative movement’s bulkhead magazine, The National Review, leapt to the defense of the county and argued in support of the notion that firefighting should not be a public service available to all, regardless of ability to pay.

  • Roman helmet sold for £2m

    In just three minutes at a Christie’s auction, the most hauntingly beautiful face to emerge from the British soil in more than a century slid out of the grasp of the museum desperate to acquire it when the Roman helmet was sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for £2m – dramatically higher than the highest pre-sale estimate of £300,000.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Human impact on world’s rivers ‘threatens water security of 5 billion’

      The world’s rivers are so badly affected by human activity that the water security of almost 5 billion people, and the survival of thousands of aquatic species, are threatened, scientists warned .

      The study, conducted by institutions across the globe, is the first to simultaneously look at all types of human intervention on freshwater – from dams and reservoirs to irrigation and pollution. It paints a devastating picture of a world whose rivers are in serious decline.

    • Putting a price on biodiversity – what are species worth?
    • North America’s risky race to exploit oil sands and shales

      The 2,500-mile route has quickly become an essential supply line for the energy industry. With astonishing speed, U.S. oil companies, Canadian pipeline builders, and investors from all over the globe are spending huge sums in an economically promising and ecologically risky race to open the next era of hydrocarbon development. As domestic U.S. pools of conventional oil and gas dwindle, energy companies are increasingly turning to “unconventional” fossil fuel reserves contained in the carbon rich-sands and deep shales of Canada, the Great Plains, and the Rocky Mountain West.

  • Finance

    • We’ve got to stamp out modern slavery

      The re-emergence of slavery on ships off West Africa is profoundly shocking but it is not a surprise. Last week slavery its modern form came to light in cases of forced labour uncovered on trawlers fishing for the European market. In a haunting echo of the 18th century triangular trade, west African workers were found off the coast of Sierra Leone on board boats where they lived and worked in ships’ holds with less than a metre of head height, sometimes for 18 hours a day for no pay, packed like sardines to sleep in spaces too small to stand up, with their documents taken from them and no means of escape.

    • Middle-Aged Columnists Think America Is In Decline. Big Surprise.

      Government debt is not the same thing as individual debt. The collective pursuit of new pleasures and luxuries can create economic benefits that have no real individual equivalent. Attempts to impose stringent discipline on behavior on a national scale can backfire spectacularly. But the psychological impulse to see the country in decline leads writers again and again to neglect these differences, and to cast the story of a huge, complex nation as a simple individual morality play.

    • Iceland’s politicians forced to flee from angry protesters

      Protesters took to the streets of Reykjavik today, forcing MPs to run away from the people they represent as renewed anger about the impact of the financial crisis erupted in Iceland.

    • Trapped in the eurozone

      Only a brave person, or an appropriately paid official, would be optimistic about the future of the eurozone at present. Austerity has spread and there is a risk of long-term stagnation with high unemployment across Europe. Social tensions are on the rise, and frictions among member states will probably intensify. A taste of things to come was given by the marches and strikes organised by trade unions across the continent this week.

    • On Eve of President’s Export Council Meeting, Report Shows U.S. Export Growth Lags With Free Trade Agreement Partners

      A new report from Public Citizen reveals that the growth of U.S. exports to nations with which the United States does not have Free Trade Agreements (FTA) has outpaced the growth of exports to the 17 U.S. FTA partners, with both services and goods FTA exports lagging. This comes as the corporate interests that dominate private sector representation on the President’s Export Council, which meets Thursday, have reframed their support for more NAFTA-style trade pacts as critical to promoting the president’s goal of doubling exports over the next five years to create two million new American jobs.

    • China warns EU off yuan pressure

      Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has warned the European Union against pressurising China on its currency policy.

      In a speech to top EU officials, Mr Wen said a big change in the value of the yuan could cause “social and economic turbulence” in China.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Taxpayers Funding Pro-Pesticide PR Campaign

      The Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF), a California trade association, wants you to have less information about pesticide residues on the fruits and vegetables you buy. That’s not too surprising; since the Alliance represents more than 50 large produce growers and marketers and the suppliers who sell them pesticides and fertilizer.

      What is surprising is that taxpayers are now on the hook to fund the group’s pro-agrichemical PR campaign.

    • Taxpayers Fund Pro-Pesticide PR Campaign

      A California group that represents large produce growers, marketers and the suppliers who sell them pesticides and fertilizer, is getting $180,000 in federal funds for a PR campaign to combat critics of the pesticide industry.

    • News Corp Gives $1 Million to U.S. Chamber of Commerce

      News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, has donated $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the powerful business lobbying group that was recently accused of tax fraud and money laundering by two national watchdog groups.

    • News Corp. gave $1 million to pro-GOP group

      News Corp., the parent company of Fox News, contributed $1 million this summer to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the business lobby that has been running an aggressive campaign in support of the Republican effort to retake Congress, a source close to the company told POLITICO.

      It was the second $1 million contribution the company has made this election cycle to a GOP-aligned group. In late June it gave that amount to the Republican Governors Association.

    • Tell the DOJ: Investigate the Chamber of Commerce’s campaign spending

      The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the poster child for corporate corruption of our electoral system.

      This year alone the Chamber has pledged to spend $75 million on ads attacking candidates who don’t meekly bow down to the biggest and wealthiest corporate interests.

    • Strange Brew From the Republican Governors Association

      The television ads, set in what appears to be a normal Wisconsin bar, posit that the bar’s patrons are split about whether Barrett’s tenure as mayor of Milwaukee is worse because of “more taxes!” or “less jobs!” The ad accuses Barrett, a Democrat, of losing jobs as Mayor of the City of Milwaukee, implicitly endorsing his opponent, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, a Republican for Wisconsin governor.

    • Fake News Invasion

      Fake news is invading our airwaves, and the Federal Communications Commission is standing idly by as it happens. In an age when consumers can mute and fast-forward commercial breaks, advertisers are looking for ways to sell you products where you’re least expecting it: Embedded into your local news.

      A recent Los Angeles Times exposé revealed that paid spokespeople are hawking their wares on local news stations during what appears to viewers as genuine news segments. The stations never identify the spokespeople as paid shills for companies, but rather present them as experts. They’re misleading viewers, and they’re getting away with it.

      This week, Free Press filed a letter asking the FCC to take action to put an end to fake news. The letter urges the FCC to investigate new instances of fake news, conclude its review of pending complaints and put new rules on the books that would require stricter and more prominent disclosure of paid spots.

    • Pick your poison: Beer distributors oppose Prop. 19

      The folks who deliver beer and other beverages to liquor stores have joined the fight against legalizing marijuana in California.

      On Sept. 7, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors gave $10,000 to a committee opposing Proposition 19, the measure that would change state law to legalize pot and allow it to be taxed and regulated.

      The California Police Chiefs Association has given the most to the Proposition 19 opposition with a contribution of $30,000, according to Cal-Access, a website operated by the secretary of state’s office.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • No takers on digital Olympic radio station

      Despite being given six months to respond, it seems no one is interested in running a digital-only radio station during the London Olympics – so Ofcom has shelved the idea.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACS:Law part three – the private data police

        It’s a recipe for disaster. The law regulating internet surveillance is a shambles and there’s a growing army of unregulated private firms watching our actions and gathering evidence against those who share music and video online.

      • Porn BitTorrent Lawsuits Run into Serious Problem – Lawsuits Must be Filed Individually

        You know, there’s this funny issue called joinder – which in essence means that additional defendants can be added to a single complaint. This has been a hot button issue in the Far Cry and Steam Experiment lawsuits, where Judge Rosemary Collyer is currently pondering whether to order the US Copyright Group to file each lawsuit independently. Considering that the Far Cry lawsuit currently has over 4,000 defendants clinging to one complaint, a ruling in favor of the John Does could have a detrimental effect on the USCG’s effort to create an alternative revenue stream.

        Beside the USCG lawsuits, which mainly focuses on small, independent producers creating mediocre movies (yet wondering why they don’t sell), there is another genre of file-sharing lawsuits against those supposedly sharing adult movies. Following the same playbook as ACS:Law, Gallant Macmillan, and the USCG, a law firm called Steele Law has filed nearly 1,400 lawsuits against suspected porn file-sharers. One of their clients is First Time Videos, LLC, and as luck would have it, they might be the first time losers.

      • French ISP Refuses to Send Out Hadopi File-Sharing Warnings

        During the last week, French Internet users have been starting to receive letters as part of the graduated warning system built in to the controversial Hadopi anti-piracy legislation. The email warnings are being sent by Hadopi via France’s ISPs. But even at this early stage at least one ISP is refusing to forward them to their customers prompting complaints from rivals that they are seeking to achieve a competitive advantage.

      • ACTA

        • Final ACTA puts Europe under more pressure for graduated response

          The US may have failed to export the DMCA, but ACTA will put Europe under more pressure to implement graduated response measures. In the wake of the Telecoms Package, it seeks to re-inforce the copyright provisions in the Package, and to squeeze the EU position a little further. The test is for the European Parliament to once again stand up for citizens rights.

        • Repression or Enlightenment?

          Just how powerful do you want corporations to get? To be at least equal to, and ideally superior to, human beings? To have control over mankind’s culture? To have control over mankind’s technology? To be so enriched and empowered that they have control over ‘democratically elected’ governments and tax funded infrastructure and services?

        • Mexico votes to dump ACTA as it stands

          ACTA is a desperate step taken by the heavily-industrialised, planet-killing nations to clamp down on copyright, trademark and patent issues, in recognition of the fact they don’t really make much any more, yet still expect to live in the lap of luxury by shuffling bits of e-paper about.

          The Mexican Senate hasn’t rejected ACTA per se but passed a non-binding resolution that seeks to reject international agreements cooked up in secret.

          The resolution, promoted by Senator Carlos Sotelo from the PRD party, was passed unanimously, according to openacta.org.

        • ACTA Ultra-Lite: The U.S. Cave on the Internet Chapter Complete

          The approach on ISP liability is largely unchanged from the last leaked draft and involve two provisions.

        • ACTA Anti-Piracy Treaty Not As Horrible as Feared
        • ACTA Analysis: You Can’t Craft A Reasonable Agreement When You Leave Out Stakeholders

          So… what’s in the actual document? We’ll go through a few different reviews that highlight some of the differences in the document, and where many of the problem areas are. Michael Geist points out that the anti-circumvention stuff that sought to effectively export the US’s draconian DMCA anti-circumvention clause has been greatly watered down and provides much more flexibility in how countries set their anti-circumvention plans. It’s still ridiculous that anti-circumvention is in this thing, but at least it’s not as bad as it was, and it leaves open the possibility of setting up anti-circumvention rules that recognize fair use (unlike the DMCA currently). This seems like a clear case where the US caved to other parties.

          On injunctions and damages, there still appear to be serious problems with the text, and seem to go beyond current TRIPS requirements, and at certain points appear contrary to US law (despite claims from US officials that no changes to US law will be required). Once again, it’s a case where ACTA tries to export the enforcement side but ignores the safe harbors and consumer protections. On injunctions, for example, TRIPS has some key protections for those who infringe unknowingly or for totally non-commercial use.

Clip of the Day

Linux Native Game: Hive Rise

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 7/10/2010: Linux 2.6.36 RC7, More Android Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 2:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • SMB2

    I have better options, however. My shop is mostly GNU/Linux so I can use NFS or SMB as I need and SSHfs, too. I really do not need the printing capabilities of SMB. I have CUPS. I do not need a particular driver for every printer in my place because they mostly use PostScript or something for which I have a translator. I did use SMB for sharing reports last semester when some teachers had XP but this year all the teachers in high school use GNU/Linux so it is no longer necessary for interoperability.

  • Fujitsu brings fast-boot Linux to the infotainment domain

    Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe has announced the implementation of a new Linux fast-boot technology in Fujitsu’s MB86R0x-SoC devices, known as the ‘Jade’ family. Based on Fujitsu’s proprietary 90nm CMOS process technology, ‘Jade’ devices are, according to the vendor, optimized for applications requiring high CPU performance combined with sophisticated 2D/3D graphics. They feature the ARM926EJ-S, a fully synthesizable processor with a Jazelle technology (Java Acceleration) enhanced 32-bit RISC CPU, 16kB instruction cache, 16kB data cache, 16kB ITCM, 16kB DTCM and a memory management unit (MMU).

  • Desktop

    • 10 misconceptions that are holding Linux back

      I hear it all the time: “Linux can’t do this or Linux can’t do that”… or: “You have to jump through a million hoops to get something simple to work in Linux.” The litany of FUD and myth is as deep as Bill Gates’ pockets. But it’s not the cornucopia of un-truths that concerns me, it’s the certainty of the people who spout them. So I figured I would take a moment to dispel these issues before anyone else can spread their vicious tone further. Not all of these issues are known as deal-breakers. But as a whole, they could easily combine to keep anyone from jumping on the Linux bandwagon.

    • The Network Computer is Alive and Well, Phil

      As I write I have 8 students in the lab all logged into the terminal server and the system rocks. No one feels they are getting second-rate service. It beats anything they have seen in a thick client. Keeping the thick client may do two things better than thin clients: prop up the monopoly and show video. Some of us use televisions/projectors for that and some of us do other work than writing reviews of movies at work.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel Development 3rd Ed
    • Linux 2.6.36-rc7

      So I decided to break my a-week-is-eight-days rut, and actually release -rc7 after a proper seven-day week instead. Wo-oo!

      And yes, that’s probably as exciting as it gets, which is just fine by me. This should be the last -rc, I’m not seeing any reason to keep delaying a real release. There was still more changes to drivers/gpu/drm than I really would have hoped for, but they all look harmless and good. Famous last words.

    • The Linux 2.6.36-rc7 Kernel Does Make It Out

      As was anticipated seven days ago when releasing the Linux 2.6.36-rc6 kernel, there is a Linux 2.6.36-rc7 kernel to come and it’s just been released. The good news is that Linus Torvalds believes this will be the last release candidate before the Linux 2.6.36 kernel is officially released.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Divergence Theme Pack is sure to put the awe in anyone’s jaw

        Imagine logging into your Ubuntu desktop and being greeted by the slick tones of the themes below.

        Well, it’s easy to achieve thanks to designer ~jurialmunkey who has packaged them up into one ‘mega-pack’ for easy download and installation.

      • Stormy’s Update: October 4, 2010

        Had a GNOME advisory board meeting where we updated them on all the things going on and asked them for feedback. We had discussions about hackfests and events (including plans for the Desktop Summit 2011), the Outreach Program for Women, 2011 budget planning and GNOME a11y. The advisory board meets once a month; let me know if you have suggestions for meeting topics.

  • Distributions

    • October Linux fest

      October traditionally kicks off the year-end release festival for Linux users. Almost all of the major distributions have a new version in its final stages of development and ready to be launched into public. Among these are Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSuse.

    • Reviews

      • Slax 6.1.2 [Review]

        Slax is a popular Slackware-based Linux distro which excels as as Live OS to carry around on a pendrive or bootable disc. It rightly calls itself a “Pocket Operating System”.

        Slax has an extremely modular design which makes it incredibly easy to install applications, even before the OS is installed! The Slax website offers an online interface for customizing your distro before downloading it and burning it to a disc / putting it on a pendrive. Through the online interface you can customize your distro adding and removing software packages to get exactly the combination you want. Once you are done customizing, your custom build can be downloaded as a tar file or an iso file.

    • Debian Family

      • Who is using Debian?
      • A Gaming Mouse Vendor That Has Linux Drivers

        Today I have read a post from Raphael Hertzog, taking about the possibility of a new Debian branch to be created. Debian already has three branches for those not familiar with it, O.K. maybe four branches. More here

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu One update gives you more bang for your buck

          Speaking on the Ubuntu One Blog Canonicals’ Matt Griffin outlined the numerous changes, which see a ‘modular’ approach to account upgrading, with users able to add 20GB blocks of space for only $2.99 a month.

        • 6 Awesome User Contributed Videos From Ubuntu Artwork “Maverick Movies” Website

          A month ago, Mark Shuttleworth announced a dedicated page for user contributed videos covering various aspects of the upcoming Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”. And similar to the user contributed Ubuntu Artwork wallpaper pool at Flickr, the movie section is also getting a lot of attention from the users. Here is a nice collection of videos from the original submissions.

        • Screenshot Tour: Our Favorite New Features in Ubuntu 10.10

          Shotwell is better at importing and organizing photos than its predecessor, F-Spot, but only by a little. It’s much easier on the eyes, and better at recognizing cameras and storage devices, but if you’re particular about how you organize your photos, you’ll likely bump heads with Shotwell’s designers. Our recommendation, and that of many commenters? Install gThumb instead.

        • Ubuntu and the Challenge of Design

          It’s October, and that means it’s time for a new Ubuntu release. This year, it’s the big 10.10, the Maverick Meerkat, and on the surface, it’s a beautiful piece of work. The new default theme is sublime, muted, a pleasure on the eyes, and the new Canonical designed font, also named “Ubuntu” is likewise beautiful. In most respects, it seems that Ubuntu is making good on the promise of Mark Shuttleworth to raise the bar for desktop Linux from simply stable and usable to art.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • HP won’t license WebOS, says exec

        HP will not license WebOS to rival smartphone and tablet vendors, the head of the company’s PCs and gadgets division has said.

        Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference yesterday, Todd Bradley, executive VP of HP’s Personal Systems Group, emphatically said the company will not make the operating system, acquired when HP bought Palm, available to anyone else.

        We’re not surprised. Palm’s decision in the 1990s to spin off its operating system operation as PalmSource – it became PalmOne – muddied the then-strong Palm brand and arguably hindered both companies’ development.

      • Android

        • £180 7in Android tablet launched

          Another day, another 7in Android tablet. This one’s from Disgo and follows the usual pattern.

          So we have a 7in, 480 x 800 touchscreen; Android 2.1; 1GHz ARM CPU – an iMap X200 – 256MB of memory; 2GB of storage which can be augmented with Micro SD cards; 802.11n Wi-Fi; a pair of mini USB ports; 3.5mm headphone socket; and a mini HDMI port.

        • Next fashions budget 10in Android tablet

          The £180 gadget packs in 8GB of Flash storage, a 1GHz ARM processor, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connectivity, one or two USB ports depending on which spec list you read, a Micro SD card slot, and a headphone socket.

        • Verizon’s new Mot Android line-up includes biz-ready Droid Pro

          Motorola announced two Android phones for Verizon Wireless: the business-oriented, QWERTY-enabled Droid Pro, featuring Android 2.2 running on a 1GHz processor, plus a more modest three-inch “Citrus” phone. Meanwhile, Motorola announced a three-inch QWERTY slider with Android 2.1 called the Spice, and says that plans are going forward to split the company in 1Q 2011.

        • Google close to accepting PayPal for Android Market purchases

          PayPal the popular online money exchange website that’s used in many online retailers and eBay, may soon be coming to the Android Market. Word is that come October 26 at PayPal’s developer conference in San Francisco, we may hear an announcement of such a deal being implemented.

        • LG holds back Android tablet for Gingerbread

          LG has delayed the release of its anticipated Android-based tablet having decided that the current version of the Google OS isn’t up to snuff when it comes to such devices.

          “We plan to introduce a tablet that runs on the most reliable Android version,” a company spokesman told the Reuters newsagency today. “We are in talks with Google to decide on the most suitable version for our tablet and that is not Froyo 2.2.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • LibreOffice intense coding activity

    Now a week after the announce of The Documentation Foundation and LibreOffice, I found some time to show you that amazing activity we had during that first week. I created a small script to merge all the logs of the LibreOffice git repositories. Then I gave this log to gource in order to produce a nice video. I really hope this activity will continue and boost the project!

  • Another Win for Open Source Software

    Out of 279 machines, 147 have had OpenOffice.org installed on them.

  • 50 Open Source Tools to Make Your Life Easier

    The open source community is vibrant, continually growing, and just loves to create applications and tools to make lives easier. Here are 50 of our favorite open source apps that help us do everything from managing pictures on our computer to learning about Jupiter and Mars.

  • Evaluating Open Source Participation by Email Traffic

    Dalibor Topic was the one to give me this idea, though I’m not sure if he’d remember the tweet. He was, however, the one who pointed me at MarkMail‘s archive of open source list traffic, which I’d seen before, using a by domain constraint, which I hadn’t. The idea is simple: MarkMail maintains a searchable index of the mailing lists for a number of open source projects (these, specifically). As a means of demonstrating the value of its MarkLogic Server, it parses the individual messages into XML and renders them queryable according to specific dimensions.

  • Has open source come of age?

    With the ongoing public sector push for increased use of open source and the unexpected (in some quarters) detailed roadmap for open source mobile platform Java ME by proprietor Oracle recently, it could be argued that open source software has finally come of age.

    And as Matt Aslett of open source analyst firm The 451 Group said: “It looks as though scepticism about open source, at government level in particular, has finally been overcome. This is because people are starting to get their head around the licensing models.”

    The open source license models differ from tradition paid for proprietary licenses in that although they are free they may contain general restrictions of use. There are around 70 different types of license in total. Approved open source licenses are those approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). Most open source vendors or foundations will provide guidance on licenses where it is required.

  • Events

    • Sendmail author to keynote at LCA 2011

      The original author of the mail transport agent Sendmail, Eric Allman, has been confirmed as one of the keynote speakers at the Australian national Linux conference in 2011.

    • FOSS.in CFP closing soon
    • NZ Open Source Awards Finalists Announced

      The New Zealand Open Source Awards has announced its finalist list. The judges were impressed by the high calibre of candidates and how far many of the companies and projects had come in the past two years. Entries for the ‘Open Source Use in Business’ Award were particularly strong.

      This year there are 31 finalists across eight categories.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

  • Funding

    • Warning to Open Source Projects: Know Your Rights with PayPal

      People who work on open source projects are clearly not motivated solely by money. However, with every project there are associated operating costs, which is just a fact of life. Many open source projects use PayPal to accept donations from grateful users who could not contribute otherwise, such as in the form of development or testing. That being said, it has come to our attention that one of our projects here, TortoiseSVN, is no longer allowed to use PayPal to accept donations for their project.

  • Government

    • A $Billion Here, A $Billion There

      I expect, if carried out, this report would really increase use of GNU/Linux and thin clients in government. Use the latest tech in the server rooms to minimize maintenance and energy consumption and the most economical fanless thin clients on desktops to take a big chunk out of captital cost, maintenance and energy consumption in offices.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: multidisciplinary hymn to diversity, openness and creativity

      Science writer Steven Johnson’s latest book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation is, in some ways, a classic Johnson book: drawing from diverse sources across many disciplines, Johnson recounts historical scientific breakthroughs and draws from them parallels to modern technology, particularly networked computers and the way that they shape the societies around them.

    • Open source journalism vs. crowdsourcing

      Where is crowdsourcing at in 2010? How is crowdsourcing different from open source journalism, and which is appropriate for what types of stories? This is listing of links to try and illustrate the differences and similarities between crowdsourcing and open source journalism. How you structure a project with many participants will have a significant impact on the end results.

    • Open Data

      • Re-Using FOI – the Conservatives claim FOI for business

        It seems that our new Government has little patience with these concerns. They are proposing to amend the FOI Act “to ensure that all data released through FOI must be in a reusable and machine readable format, available to everyone and able to be exploited for social and commercial purposes”. Fair enough, but let’s hope they consider any reasonable concerns from public authorities and address them in their new amendments.

      • Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda Unlocking the full value of scientific data Formal presentation of the report “Riding the Wave: How Europe can gain from the raising tide of scientific data Brussels, 6th October 2010

        As your say in your report, we are all experiencing the “rising tide of information” today. This growth of scientific data gives us an ever-growing power to understand our world and address key societal challenges. It provides for a radically new perspective on the way science is conducted.

        Science has always been based on exchange of information and intense interactions between researchers. Today, thanks to the availability of global communication networks, we profit from truly global and massive scientific collaborations.

        Your presentation was not limited to the aspects of access, storage and preservation of the exponentially increasing volume of scientific data. While these are difficult challenges in their own right, I am glad that your vision goes beyond that. You say we should make scientific data available as an open infrastructure of a new kind on which science, entrepreneurship, civic initiative and government can thrive.

      • Facebook Launches Download Your Information

        What does it do? It “zips up your information, emails you when the files are ready, and then [allows] you [to] download them.” Facebook will actually move all of your data into a single file, making the download very, very simple.

      • [2b2k] Smithsonian Commons

        The Smithsonian Commons would make publicly available digital content and information drawn from the magnificent Smithsonian collections, allowing visitors to interact with it, repost it, add to it, and mash it up. It begins with being able to find everything about, say Theodore Roosevelt, that is currently dispersed across multiple connections and museums: photos, books, the original Teddy bear, recordings of the TR campaign song, a commemorative medal, a car named after him, contemporary paintings of his exploits, the chaps he wore on his ranch…But Michael is actually most enthusiastic about the “network effects” that can accrue to knowledge when you let lots of people add what they know, either on the Commons site itself or out across the whole linked Internet.

      • Government data will be machine readable, Maude pledges

        Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude told the Conservative party conference in Birmingham that the Freedom of Information Act will be amended so that all data released through FoI must be in a reusable and machine readable format.

        The change in the law will mean that FoI data is “available to everyone and able to be exploited for social and commercial purposes”, he said on 3 October 2010.

  • Programming


  • IEEE wants to reduce Ethernet energy use

    THE IEEE has ratified the energy-aware P802.3az standard, which promises to cut down on energy waste when running networked devices.

  • Larry Ellison comes out fighting against HP Apotheker ‘madness’

    Oracle boss Larry Ellison was uncharacteristically lost for words, after Hewlett-Packard hired ex SAP CEO Leo Apotheker as its new chief late last week. But the silence didn’t last long.

  • Larry Ellison ‘Speechless’ Over New CEO of H-P
  • Texas Memory puts out a 10TB 10GB/sec storage server

    This is probably not the news you want to read if you have just splashed out the cash on a solid state drive. Texas Memory Solutions, a firm that flogs gear to multinational companies and the military, has upgraded its 10TB flashed based storage area network (SAN), dubbed the Ramsan 630.

  • Western Digital will ship 3TB drives
  • Western Digital gearing up to sell 3TB drives
  • Publishers’ crazy e-book prices

    When America’s book publishers wrested control of e-book prices from Amazon earlier this year, I expected two results. First, prices would go up. Second, I’d buy fewer new Kindle books. I got that part right.

    What I didn’t expect, however, was that publishers would be so incredibly foolish as to start raising e-book prices to the point that they were close to, and in a few cases above, the hardcover prices. Here’s a non-literary term for this policy: nuts.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Man vindicated for videotaping his own traffic stop

      Motorcyclist Anthony Graber was charged with illegal wiretapping for recording plainclothes state trooper J.D. Uhler jumping from his unmarked sedan and drawing his gun — and waiting a good five seconds before identifying himself as a police officer. The tape was shot with a conspicuous, helmet-mounted camera that captured the video and audio of the confrontation.

    • Pentagon out to ‘destroy’ Wikileaks, founder says

      “I need to express the seriousness of the attack against this media organization,” he said according to the AFP. “The Pentagon has demanded… that we destroy, totally destroy, our previous publications, including that Afghan publication. The Pentagon is trying to get up an espionage case and destroy our organization.”

    • Wikileaks’ Assange to reenter the fray

      The Pentagon has warned that Assange may release an additional 15,000 documents that are even more explosive than the first batch. The status of those plans is unclear.

    • RIM can’t meet government demands

      IN PERHAPS the longest delay to an asked question ever, a co-CEO at Research in Motion (RIM) has finally told nosey governments everywhere that it can’t give them its encryption keys.

      The Indian government wants them, as do the UAE and the US, and the UK doesn’t care, since it can probably demand them with its RIP Act anyway, but apparently, the keys aren’t RIM’s to give.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • RBS swings axe at another 500

      State-owned Royal Bank of Scotland is cutting another 500 jobs from its investment banking division.

      The bank was unable to say if IT jobs would be hit.

      The bank is already looking for 1,000 to leave its technology services division. Negotiations with staff and unions are still ongoing but insiders have told The Register that voluntary redundancies alone are unlikely to cover the losses.

    • 27 Signs That The Standard Of Living For America’s Middle Class Is Dropping Like A Rock

      If you still have a job and you can put food on the table and you still have a warm house to come home to, then you should consider yourself to be very fortunate. The truth is that every single month hundreds of thousands more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty. The statistics that you are about to read are incredibly sobering. Household incomes are down from coast to coast. Enrollment in government anti-poverty programs sets new records month after month after month. Home ownership is down, personal bankruptcies are way up and there are not nearly enough jobs to go around. Meanwhile, the price of basics such as food and health care continue to skyrocket. Don’t be fooled by a rising stock market or by record bonuses on Wall Street. The U.S. economy is not getting better. After World War II, the great American economic machine built the largest and most vigorous middle class in the history of the world, but now America’s middle class is disintegrating at a blinding pace.

    • Bank Fraud FINALLY In the Limelight

      I have not been the first to report on this as I have been busy reading all of the other reports on this topic. PANDORA’S BOX HAS FINALLY BEEN OPENED.

      This “robo- signer” fraud is only the tip of the iceberg that ICE Legal (no pun intended) in Royal Palm Beach, Florida (Palm Beach County) discovered during “discovery”. His deposition caused GMAC (ALLY Bank) to halt foreclosures in 23 states. This action was then followed by JP Morgan Chase and as of this past Friday, Bank of America. I am sure we will see many other of our major banks follow suit as this practice of submitting fraudulent documents to the courts is wide-spread.

      While this news is finally showing how banks are committing fraud in our courts by submitting fraudulent Affidavits attesting to personal knowledge of each foreclosure case and mortgage account, I believe, is only the beginning.

    • Rogue Trader at Société Générale Gets 3 Years

      When a French judge on Tuesday sentenced Jérôme Kerviel, the former Société Générale trader, to three years in prison and ordered him to repay €4.9 billion in restitution to the bank, the collective gasp from the courtroom clearly signaled that the question of who bears responsibility for banks’ aggressive risk-taking in the build-up to the global financial crisis is far from resolved.

    • Amid backlash and budget deficits, government workers’ pensions are targets

      Public employees are facing a backlash that has intensified with the nation’s economic woes, union leaders say, because of their good job security, generous health-care and pension benefits, and right to retire long before most private-sector workers.

    • Foreclosure Furor Rises; Many Call for a Freeze

      The uproar over bad conduct by mortgage lenders intensified Tuesday, as lawmakers in Washington requested a federal investigation and the attorney general in Texas joined a chorus of state law enforcement figures calling for freezes on all foreclosures.

    • Calif. lawmakers want foreclosure investigation

      More than 30 House members from California are calling on federal regulators to investigate whether mortgage companies broke the law by using paperwork that may have contained errors.

    • Bank bailout supporters struggling for re-electio

      The government’s giant bank bailout may well have averted a second Great Depression, economists say, but a lot of voters aren’t buying it. Support for the program is turning into a kiss of death for many in Congress.

      Longtime Republican lawmakers – tarred by their votes for the emergency aid to banks, insurance and auto companies – have been sent packing in primaries. Fresh political attack ads are lambasting candidates from both parties for supporting the $700 billion package that Republican President George W. Bush pushed through Congress at the height of the financial crisis in October 2008.

    • Treasury cuts bailout price tag to $50 billion

      The $700 billion financial bailout will cost about $50 billion, the Treasury Department said Tuesday.

    • What the Justice Department’s Credit Card Suit Means for You

      If you’re a little confused about how or if your life will change thanks to the Justice Department’s payment card announcement on Monday, you’re not alone. So let’s review what we know and engage in some mild speculation.

      The government simultaneously filed suit against — and revealed a settlement with — Visa and MasterCard. As a result, merchants are now free to offer consumers incentives to use certain Visas or MasterCards that cost the merchants less to accept than other Visas and MasterCards.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Google’s CEO: ‘The Laws Are Written by Lobbyists’

      “The average American doesn’t realize how much of the laws are written by lobbyists” to protect incumbent interests, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Atlantic editor James Bennet at the Washington Ideas Forum. “It’s shocking how the system actually works.”

      In a wide-ranging interview that spanned human nature, the future of machines, and how Google could have helped the stimulus, Schmidt said technology could “completely change the way government works.”

      “Washington is an incumbent protection machine,” Schmidt said. “Technology is fundamentally disruptive.” Mobile phones and personal technology, for example, could be used to record the bills that members of Congress actually read and then determine what stimulus funds were successfully spent.

    • [Satire] American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist To Push Interests In Congress

      Citing a desire to gain influence in Washington, the American people confirmed Friday that they have hired high-powered D.C. lobbyist Jack Weldon of the firm Patton Boggs to help advance their agenda in Congress.

      Known among Beltway insiders for his ability to sway public policy on behalf of massive corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, Monsanto, and AT&T, Weldon, 53, is expected to use his vast network of political connections to give his new client a voice in the legislative process.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Who’s your smartphone been talking to?

      More and more people are carrying computers enabled with geo-location technology, says Christopher Parsons in his Technology, Thoughts, and Trinkets

      They are?

      They are.

      And they’re calling home without you knowing.

    • Facebook Moves Closer to EFF Bill of Privacy Rights

      Today Facebook announced three new features that help move the social networking giant closer to satisfying EFF’s Bill of Privacy Rights for Social Networking. While EFF continues to have outstanding issues with Facebook, we greatly appreciate these important steps toward giving Facebook users more transparency and control when it comes to how the information they post to Facebook is shared, and more power to take their Facebook data with them if they ever choose to leave the service. While Facebook has taken some good steps here, and we recognize that this is just the first iteration of the new features, we do have several additional recommendations, noted below. We will continue to dialogue with Facebook on these issues.

    • The government wants to sniff the hell out of your…

      The government wants to sniff the hell out of your electronic presence. Phone companies wants to sue you to hell over texting and media sharing. Brave new world huh. So why bother with all this tech and web business? Might as well surrender it to the politicians so they can shove it into their skeleton closets to keep it safe. Sad really to see how a beautiful invention as the web elicits so much fear in people. They feel the need to control it.

    • Quebec Court Enforces Facebook’s Billion Dollar Spam Award

      A Quebec court has enforced a billion dollar award that Facebook obtained against Adam Guerbuez, a Montreal-based spammer. Facebook was awarded US$843 million by a court in California in 2008 and the social network proceeded to ask the Quebec court to enforce the judgment. The court granted the request, ordering Guerbuez to pay Facebook C$1,068.928,721.46. It also ordered Guerbuez to stop all Facebook related activity, including creating, maintaining or using a Facebook account or profile.

    • COICA amended, still threatens Internet security

      Responding to a cacophony of opposing voices, citing free expression and global governance concerns, the proposed Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) has been slowed down for now. COICA is now scheduled to be taken up during the lame duck session following the November elections, which makes this “intergalacticly bad idea” still very dangerous. For those legislators who won’t be returning there is nothing to lose, they might as well placate the well-funded and powerful intellectual property lobby behind it.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • BT takes the nation’s broadband pulse

      BT claims that this will identify “hot spots” where the demand for fibre is high. BT will have brought fibre broadband within reach of four million premises by the end of 2010, but it wants to connect to 12 million more households.

    • House Democrats Shelve Net Neutrality Proposal

      House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, who shelved the proposal late on Wednesday in the face of Republican opposition, said, ‘If Congress can’t act, the FCC must,’ and called this development ‘a loss for consumers.’

    • US net neutrality bill blocked
    • Why the ease of circumventing locks doesn’t matter.

      In the case of “digital locks” discussed in the context of copyright, this is understood by the most prominent proponents. They state that they need legal protection for these digital locks precisely because they recognise how easy it is for them to be circumvented.

      I believe that these digital locks are more controversial than analog locks because some people, not understanding digital technology, want to treat digital locks entirely different than they would treat physical locks they can see and understand.

      Take that lock on your home. Politicians aren’t saying it should be illegal for you to unlock your own home, or illegal to change the locks on your own home. Whether it is illegal to circumvent the lock is directly tied to who owns the thing that is locked. We don’t have laws that protect the lock separate from the reason for circumventing the lock: we have laws against trespass, against property damage, and against theft.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACS:Law gets a threatening letter in the post

        BULLYING LAW FIRM ACS:Law could be receiving a few threatening letters of its own after its security breach at the hands of Internet vigilante group 4Chan.

        The fallout from the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against ACS:Law’s website has gone far beyond just punting the firm’s website offline. After the attack, the website came back online with a 350MB file containing emails and a list of over 5,000 Sky Broadband customers that the firm has claimed illegally downloaded pornography.

        It is this file that looks to have placed ACS:Law in trouble with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The regulatory body primarily deals with the Data Protection Act, though it also concerns itself with various other privacy and information laws, and earlier this year was given the power to investigate and issue fines of up to £500,000 for such a breach of the Data Protection Act.

      • ACS:Law’s mocking of 4chan could cost it £500k

        Off-the-cuff bravado aimed at internet pranksters has led to what must already rank as one of the worst ever data leaks, by the anti-filesharing solicitors ACS:Law.

        The personal details of thousands of ISP customers accused of unlawfully sharing pornography, as well as video games, are now freely available online. The sensitivity of such data makes the leak a particularly serious matter under the Data Protection Act.

      • A law firm tries to replace ACS:Law

        Gallant Macmillan works in much the same way as ACS:Law, sending out threatening letters to those who it believes are the owners of IP addresses it alleges to have been involved in copyright infringement.

        Simon Gallant told the BBC that while his firm’s process is “contentious”, it is “aware of all the concerns people have raised”. After seeing what happened to ACS:Law, it’s probably Mr Gallant who should be concerned.

      • Another law firm gets DDoSed off the Internet

        Gallant Macmillan had vowed to continue the controversial methods, instigated by Davenport Lyons and then ACS:Law, of mass mailing threatening letters to alleged copyright infringers. It is due to appear at the High Court today and demand that Plusnet hand over hundreds of customer records in order for Gallant Macmillan to send them a load of junk mail asking for money. Given the current state of its website, we presume that Gallant Macmillan won’t be asking to receive the records by email.

      • Anti-piracy lawyers caught pirating each other’s work

        Andrew Crossly from ACS:Law claims that the firm contacted him for help, which he provided, but instead of just using his templates as a guide, Tilly, Bailey and Irvine began to use them as their own without consent.

      • Ministry of Sound floored by Anonymous
      • HP’s firewalling saves students from ACS:Law

        IFFY LAW FIRMS that send out junk mail to those it accuses of alleged copyright infringement have more than just 4Chan to worry about, as HP announced its latest network security software.

        The firm produces Tipping Point, a suite of security applications for its enterprise customers and claims that its Application Digital Vaccine (AppDV) has helped Leeds University students avoid getting letters from law firms alleging copyright infringement. AppDV is essentially firewalling and content filtering software that comes with a bunch of pre-configured filters from HP.

      • http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1735972/sky-acs-law

        AFTER TURNING OVER shedloads of its customers’ personal data to the so-called ‘anti-piracy’ law firm ACS:Law, ISP Sky has pulled the plug on co-operating with the outfit.

      • UK ISPs Profit From Coughing Up Customer Data
      • KISS frontman on P2P: “Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars.”

        The bassist and businessman behind the legendary rock band KISS was on hand at the MIPCOM convention in Cannes, France on Tuesday. And Gene Simmons had a message for aspiring entertainers everywhere: sue first, think later.

        “Make sure your brand is protected,” Simmons warned during a panel discussion. “Make sure there are no incursions. Be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars. Don’t let anybody cross that line.”

      • How The MPAA Is Using The Law To Protect Its Business Model

        In what appears to be another shocking attempt to constrain and limit the functioning of the internet, US lawmakers are currently pushing an MPAA-backed bill that threatens to block American internet users from accessing sites that are deemed to be ‘dedicated to piracy’.

        What bill S. 3804 aims to do is twofold: first, for a site based in the US, it would force any US-based registrar (i.e. the people who hand out domain names) to shut a site down if it appears to be dedicated to piracy. And secondly, for sites not in America, it would insist that ISP’s block the domain from their traffic.

      • Nollywood: is better distribution the remedy for piracy?

        Filmmakers know they’re going to need to recover costs by selling the first 50,000 copies. As a result, some are releasing their films in two, three or four parts, hoping to sell an initial 50,000 copies of each. A few days after the film has been released, the film is likely to start appearing either as a pirated copy, or as part of a compilation. Compilations, one of our participants told us, are generally produced in China and can include up to 100 low-quality films on a DVD.

        For whatever underlying reasons, the Yoruba-language film world – where the average film sells 50-100,000 copies – seems to have better distribution systems. Original films are produced in larger runs and often meet market demand before unauthorized copies enter the market. This may be a function of the fact that the Yoruba-language film industry preceded the English/pidgin market and has had more time to work through financing and distribution issues.

      • US Intelligence Agencies Angry At France Over Three Strikes; Worried It Will Drive Encryption Usage

        You may recall that, in the fight over the Digital Economy Act in the UK, those who were against the three strikes proposal had an unexpected ally: law enforcement. They were specifically worried that a three strikes plan would lead to more people using encryption, which would make it harder to spy on everyone.

        It looks like the same thing happened in France. With Hadopi now underway and sending out its first warning letters, the news is leaking out that US intelligence agencies, like the NSA, “yelled” at the French government over the plan, for the same reason. They know that a three strikes law will only increase encryption usage, making it more difficult to spy on people.

      • Copyright killing culture. Old news.

        We’ve got loads and loads of music and movies stored away, and the people who have those recordings typically have no incentive to go to the efforts necessary to preserve them because they don’t own the copyright and often can’t even determine who does. But it’s even worse than the fact the people (libraries, individuals, corporations, etc.) don’t have the promise of being able to sell the recordings. They even fear that copying the recordings so that they are stored on media that aren’t deteriorating can alone get them in trouble. As Dubber points out in quoting a recent San Francisco Chronicle story:

        Did you ever imagine you could be held liable for copyright infringement for storing your music collection on your hard drive, downloading photos from the Internet or forwarding news articles to your friends?

        If you did not get the copyright owner’s permission for these actions, you could be violating the law. It sounds absurd, but copyright owners have the right to control reproductions of their works and claim statutory damages even when a use does not harm the market for their works.

      • Falling off the edge of a flat world?

        Information (citations and quotes from emails and past publications) listed in the blogs is presented out of context and outrageous interpretations, twisted arguments and a catalogue of wholly untrue statements are made regarding myself (lack of capabilities and honesty in research process), my work (lack of research history in areas I consult on), and my relations with my contractors and academic colleagues/co-authors (dubious hiring process and the suggestion that we are somewhat ‘activists’).

      • ACTA

        • Near-Final ACTA Text is a Counterfeit of Democracy

          The ACTA negotiators have just released a near-final version of this anti-counterfeiting agreement. It is still very dangerous. The release of this text should not give the illusion of transparency by hiding the fact that the whole negotiation process was carried on out of public scrutiny. Moreover, ACTA could profoundly alter the Internet ecosystem by turning technical intermediaries into a copyright police of the Net.

        • ACTA text shows US caved in on Internet provisions

          Talk about a cave-in. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been three years in the making, and at one point included language advocating “three strikes” regimes, ordering ISPs to develop anti-piracy plans, promoting tough DRM anticircumvention language, setting up a “takedown” notification system, and “secondary liability” for device makers. Europeans were demanding protection for their geographic marks (Champagne, etc). Other countries wanted patents in the mix.

          That’s all gone in today’s release of the “near-final” ACTA text (PDF). US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, whose office negotiated the US side of the deal, issued a statement this morning about the “tremendous progress in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy,” but the real story here is the tremendous climbdown by US negotiators, who have largely failed in their attempts to push the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) onto the rest of the world.

        • ACTA Analysis: You Can’t Craft A Reasonable Agreement When You Leave Out Stakeholders


          So… what’s in the actual document? We’ll go through a few different reviews that highlight some of the differences in the document, and where many of the problem areas are. Michael Geist points out that the anti-circumvention stuff that sought to effectively export the US’s draconian DMCA anti-circumvention clause has been greatly watered down and provides much more flexibility in how countries set their anti-circumvention plans. It’s still ridiculous that anti-circumvention is in this thing, but at least it’s not as bad as it was, and it leaves open the possibility of setting up anti-circumvention rules that recognize fair use (unlike the DMCA currently). This seems like a clear case where the US caved to other parties.

        • Public Knowledge Statement on Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

          Earlier today, the text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was released. You can read it here.

          The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

          “The final text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) should be seen as a qualified victory for those who want to protect the digital rights of consumers around the world. Some of the most egregious provisions from earlier drafts have been removed on topics ranging from digital protection measures to the liability of intermediaries like Internet Service Providers and search engines. The agreement would give more flexibility to the signatories than did previous versions.

          “We can attribute these changes in part to the willingness of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to open the ACTA discussions to public-interest groups in a way that had not been done before. We appreciate the inclusiveness USTR has shown in the negotiations.

Clip of the Day

Google’s Summer of Code Classes & Open Source Software Discussion | Mass High Tech

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 6/10/2010: Skype for Android, KDE 4.5.2, LLVM 2.8 Are available

Posted in News Roundup at 11:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Lenovo set to ship over 1 million Ubuntu PCs in China in 2010

      As we approach the release of Ubuntu 10.10, Jon Melamut vice president of sales and product management at Canonical has released this bomb shell: Lenovo is shipping over 1 million Ubuntu PCs in China in 2010. This may seem like a small number but just six months ago Canonical claimed to have just twelve million users worldwide. In 2008, the total number was 8 million. This new number comes from a single manufacturer: Lenovo. The total number of Ubuntu PCs shipping worldwide from others including Dell is unknown.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau With Mesa 7.9 Is Better, But Still Slow

        Not only have we been busy testing Mesa 7.9 with the Intel and ATI/AMD drivers along with the Gallium3D drivers (including LLVMpipe), but the Nouveau driver that continues to be developed by the open-source community for NVIDIA GPUs received a fresh round of tests too. Our first published benchmarks of the Nouveau Gallium3D driver were back in February when it was nearing a decent state in terms of supported features and stability. Its DRM also finally entered the mainline Linux kernel earlier this year thereby allowing many Linux distributions to now use the Nouveau KMS driver even though not many have yet adopted the Gallium3D driver for OpenGL acceleration. We delivered updated Gallium3D benchmarks in June with the latest Mesa code at that point, but since then there was the integration of a new GLSL compiler into Mesa and many Nouveau changes, so here are our most recent OpenGL benchmarks from this open-source NVIDIA driver.

      • Is this the end of the line for ATI Mobility Radeon 4200 HD video in Linux?
  • Applications

    • Proprietary

      • Skype now available for Android phones

        You’ve been asking us for it – and now it’s here. Skype is now available on a wide range of Android phones, so you can save money and stay in touch when you’re out and about. Visit skype.com/m on your phone to download, or read on to find out what’s inside.

    • Games

      • A Gaming Mouse Vendor That Has Linux Drivers

        While Razer and Logitech manufacturer some terrific mice for computer gamers along with other gaming peripherals, they unfortunately do not provide any official Linux support. There have been community projects like Lomoco for supporting Logitech’s extra mouse features under Linux and RazerTool for supporting some Razer mice, but without any full-featured support from the vendor. The smaller gaming peripheral vendors like Mionix are also no better at providing Linux support, but there is now at least one new vendor supporting such efforts.

  • Desktop Environments

    • The 2011 Desktop Summit Is At Berlin’s Humboldt

      Back in July we reported that there would be a 2011 Desktop Summit, a joint conference between the GNOME and KDE developers via combining their GUADEC and Akademy events, respectively, to one location at one time. There was a 2009 Desktop Summit held in the same fashion, but up until now all we knew is that there would be a 2011 Desktop Summit in Berlin during August, but the details were yet to be announced. Now we have the details for this open-source event.

    • Welcome to the second Desktop Summit
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Community Ships October Updates Versioned 4.5.2

        Today, KDE has released a series of updates to the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces, the KDE Applications and the KDE Platform. This update is the second in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.5 series. 4.5.2 brings bugfixes and translation updates on top of KDE SC 4.5 series and is a recommended update for everyone running 4.5.1 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. KDE SC 4 is already translated into more than 55 languages, with more to come.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Why I choose CentOS

        For those of you who know me or read this little blog of mine know I am a CentOS user and it is by choice. Now I am often asked why I use CentOS, most people say its too old, or doesn’t keep up with the trends. Some people just ask why I use a enterprise distro. Well I thought I would put my thoughts out there on why I use CentOS and some of my experiences so far with it.

        I often hear people say that CentOS is too old, well its setup for stability and security, not the latest trends or bleeding edge software. While some may see this as a downside I see it as a very positive upside. I for one am a very busy person, with seven kids and a wife, I often times have alot on my plate and never enough time to do everything. So the fact that CentOS is stable and rock solid is a gigantic plus for me as I don’t have to worry about running updates on my machine. They have been tested and proven to work before they are released. So I know when I update, things are not going to be broken. You cannot go a week without seeing a blog post by someone saying they updated said distro and X stopped working or some other application turned out to be broken or some other such thing. I really cannot afford to be tinkering around fixing things everytime a new round of updates come out. Like I said I am very busy and when I get a chance to sit here I want to work on my projects not google all night for fixes to things that someone else has broken. It always puts a smile on my face to come home and walk in my office and my machines are purring away just waiting for me to get to work.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Newest Google Android Cell Phone Contains Unexpected ‘Feature’ — A Malicious Root Kit.

          Yesterday, some T-Mobile stores began selling its newest mobile device, the G2, an Android-based smart phone originally slated for an October 6 release while AT&T is slated to release it later in the year. This device truly is representative of the next generation of mobile devices. The hardware capabilities surpass the abilities of most available netbook computers, including the ability to play High Definition video seamlessly. Unfortunately, the G2 also comes with built-in hardware that restricts what software a device owner might wish to install.

    • Tablets

      • Hacked iPad Runs Google Chrome OS

        The iPad has been hacked numerous times to run pieces of code never meant for the device, such as Flash or even Windows 95, but so far, the hacks were limited in term of added capabilities. A coder who downloaded the Chrome OS source code on the chromiumos.org website managed to tweak the source of the Google operating system to work on an iPad, and compiled it. The result? A Chrome OS powered iPad, a hack that most engineers in Cupertino must be cringing about.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Numbers @ The Document Foundation

    One full week has gone by since the announcement of The Document Foundation, and we would like to share some numbers with the people who have decided to follow us since the first day.

    The beta of LibreOffice has been downloaded over 80.000 times. The infrastructure has expanded dramatically from 25 to 45 working mirrors in 25 countries (in every continent), including islands in the Pacific Ocean. This number is close to half the mirrors achieved by OpenOffice.org during ten years of history of the project.

  • Strong support for the first week of The Document Foundation (official PR)

    One full week has gone by since the announcement of The Document Foundation, and we would like to share some numbers with the people who have decided to follow us since the first day.

    The beta of LibreOffice has been downloaded over 80.000 times. The infrastructure has expanded dramatically from 25 to 45 working mirrors in 25 countries (in every continent), including islands in the Pacific Ocean. This number is close to half the mirrors achieved by OpenOffice.org during ten years of history of the project.

  • Blind Inventors Develop Free Software to Enable the Blind to Use Computers

    For many blind people, computers are inaccessible. It can cost upwards of $1000 to purchase “screen reader” software, but two blind computer programmers have solved this problem.


    To date, there have been over 50,000 downloads. With the number of blind and low vision Australians expected to double to 600,000 in ten years’ time (according to Vision Australia), NVDA has the potential to impact a significant number of lives.

  • LLVM 2.8 Released With Feature-Complete Clang C++

    Chris Lattner has just announced the release of version 2.8 of LLVM, the Low-Level Virtual Machine. LLVM 2.8 is only being released about six months after the release of LLVM 2.7, but it boasts many notable changes, including the Clang compiler offering feature-complete C++ support against the ISO C++ 1998 and 2003 standards.

  • LLVM 2.8 is available
  • Five questions about open innovation, open source, and NASA with Molly Dix of RTI

    A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Molly Dix and Jeff Cope, who run the Open Innovation Advisory Services group at RTI. For those not familiar with RTI, it is one of the world’s preeminent research institutes, founded by a group of scientists in 1958 and now employing almost 3000 people helping businesses and governments in more than 40 countries around the world.

  • Mathematica and Free Software

    Mathematica is at version 7 at the time of writing, seemingly on the verge of version 8, and there is yet to be any release of source code. As an aside, while Maple does not give the source code to its kernel, it does give some source code for functions that were written in Maple itself, sans any comments or documentation.


    Wolfram taking legal action for the announcement and description of a mathematical proof: a note.

  • Events

    • The World of the Open World Forum

      Last week I went along to the Open World Forum in Paris. By that, I don’t mean to imply I just bowled along there on the off-chance it might be a groovy place to be. I went there because I had been asked to chair a round-table discussion on the subject of “Open Democracy”, about which more anon (disclosure: the conference organisers paid the majority of my travel and hotel costs as a result).


      Alongside these relatively short talks, there were some more substantial tracks, including one that I attended called “Open BRIC – Digital leadership: shaping the future.” As well as representatives from the traditional BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – there was also someone from Tunisia.


      I was more aware of what had been happening in the other BRIC countries. As you might expect, both Brazil and India emerged as real hotspots of free software, but China remains as inscrutable as ever (to me at least – anyone know of any good sites about free software there?). The Chinese representative on the panel outlined a number of impressive initiatives, but it was still hard to gauge the importance of open source in his country, and how widely it is used.

    • FOSS.IN/2010: Call for Participation

      FOSS.IN is a 10 year old series of annual events that focuses on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) development and contribution, especially from India. From a “small, regional event”, it has grown to a large, well attended international conference, whose participants often represent a “Who is Who” of the FOSS world. You can find out more about the event at http://foss.in.

  • Government

    • The French faith in open source

      “We just shipped a study for the European Union on the future of software in Europe. Each year the EU gives help to the Information Technology (IT) community – 1.2 billion Euros just last year. (About $1.6 billion.)

      Why? “Software and IT is becoming more of the added value on everything you build. It was 20% of the value of the airplane, now it’s 30%. It’s 20% of the value in an auto.” It’s an immense cost that needs to be shared, he said, even with American competitors. “Airbus has put all their Java into Eclipse. They are encouraging Boeing to join their community.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Announcing the Crowdsortium

      Welcome to the crowds crowd…the Crowdsortium. Within each business we face new challanges as growth and evolution occur. This is where the Crowdsortium comes in. As a group we take what we know best, crowdsourcing, and use this to ask questions, create solutions and form the best practices.

    • Sharing: Crossing the Digital-Analogue Divide

      As those of us deeply immersed in the cultures of openness and sharing know, engaging in these activities is almost literally effortless: it takes probably a few seconds to share a link, a thought or a picture. It might take a few minutes for a blog post, and a few hours for Wikipedia article, but the barriers are still low.

      And the rewards are high. Even simple “thank yous” from complete strangers (on Twitter or identi.ca, say) are immensely gratifying. Indeed, I’d be willing to bet that there are some serious hormonal consequences of getting this kind of feedback. For they are sufficiently pleasant that you tend to carry on sharing, and probably more intensely, in part to get that special buzz they engender.

    • Open Data

      • ‘Open Development’ Signals New Direction for World Bank Group

        Six months ago, the World Bank Group was widely praised for opening its vault of development data for all to use. As leaders gather for the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings this week, the Bank is deepening its commitment to an ‘open development’ agenda that is swiftly moving the institution in a new direction.

      • How Governments misunderstand the risks of Open Data

        The fact is, most governments already have the necessary policy infrastructure for managing the overwhelming majority of risks concerning open data. Your government likely has provisions dealing with privacy – if applied to open data this should address these concerns. Your government likely has provisions for dealing with confidential and security related issues – if applied to open data this should address these concerns. Finally, your government(s) likely has a legal system that outlines what is, and is not legal – when it comes to the use of open data, this legal system is in effect.

    • Open Access/Content

      • PLoS Biology Launches New Education Series

        Educators, like researchers, face enormous pressure to keep up with the rapid pace of scientific discovery. But educators must also find compelling ways to communicate the latest scientific findings to their students.

        To help biology teachers find – and share – the best teaching tools, resources, and methods, PLoS Biology is launching a new series of articles on education. The Education Series combines open education – which freely shares teaching methods, initiatives, and materials – with open access publishing to present innovative approaches to teaching critical concepts, developments, and methods in biology. It will cover fundamental areas of biology, from evolution and ecology to cell biology and biochemistry, and take full advantage of Web-based open-access research and multimedia tools to create an interactive, dynamic resource to further understanding of fundamental questions in biology and of current methods to investigate them.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF Ingredients

      I think you will enjoy this graphic. Click for a larger view. This is a chart of all of the standards that ODF 1.2 refers to, what we standards geeks call “normative references”. A normative reference takes definitions and requirements from one standard and uses it, by reference, in another. It is a form of reuse, reusing the domain analysis, specification and review work that went into creating the other standard. Each reference is color coded and grouped by the organization that owns the referenced standard, W3C, IETF, ISO, etc., and placed on a time line according to when that standard was published


  • Advertisers Bailing On Murdoch’s Paywalls As The Company Won’t Reveal How Many People See Ads

    A few weeks back, we pointed to reports suggesting that Rupert Murdoch’s paywall experiments with The Times and Sunday Times in London were a disaster, as nearly everyone — readers, journalists, advertisers and publicists — were bailing on the publications.

  • The Difference Between Ideas And Execution — And What’s Missing From ‘The Social Network’

    [A]s Lessig notes, in the movie, a totally different portrait is painted. One where execution is meaningless, and only ideas and lawyers seem to matter:

    In Sorkin’s world–which is to say Hollywood, where lawyers attempt to control every last scrap of culture–this framing makes sense. But as I watched this film, as a law professor, and someone who has tried as best I can to understand the new world now living in Silicon Valley, the only people that I felt embarrassed for were the lawyers. The total and absolute absurdity of the world where the engines of a federal lawsuit get cranked up to adjudicate the hurt feelings (because “our idea was stolen!”) of entitled Harvard undergraduates is completely missed by Sorkin. We can’t know enough from the film to know whether there was actually any substantial legal claim here. Sorkin has been upfront about the fact that there are fabrications aplenty lacing the story. But from the story as told, we certainly know enough to know that any legal system that would allow these kids to extort $65 million from the most successful business this century should be ashamed of itself. Did Zuckerberg breach his contract? Maybe, for which the damages are more like $650, not $65 million. Did he steal a trade secret? Absolutely not. Did he steal any other “property”? Absolutely not–the code for Facebook was his, and the “idea” of a social network is not a patent. It wasn’t justice that gave the twins $65 million; it was the fear of a random and inefficient system of law. That system is a tax on innovation and creativity. That tax is the real villain here, not the innovator it burdened.

  • Online Communities 2
  • Science

    • Oliver Sacks: Why I’m a resident alien

      FOR his 76th birthday, Oliver Sacks received an ounce of osmium, the densest natural element in the periodic table. “I like density, and it’s the only really blue metal, it’s rather beautiful,” he says. The year before he got a “nice rod of rhenium” and the year before that it was a piece of tungsten.

      You may have worked out that the gifts were chosen because the place they occupy in the periodic table corresponded to his age. Sacks’s office in downtown Manhattan, New York, is littered with samples of elements. “I like to have some of my metals around me all the time,” he says. It is an impressive collection, though perhaps a little unexpected for a man who is famous for his amazing collection of case histories in neurology.

  • Security

    • The .ly domain space to be considered unsafe

      The domain was seized by the Libyan domain registry for reasons which seemed to be kept obscure until we escalated the issue. We eventually discovered that the domain has been seized because the content of our website, in their opinion, fell outside of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.

    • Trouble In Clever Domain Land: Bit.ly And Others Risk Losing Theirs Swift.ly

      Bit.ly, HootSuite (with its Ow.ly service), Ad.ly and perhaps even Smel.ly could well be at risk of having their domain names sudden.ly taken away by the Libyan government.

      Ben Metcalfe blogs that his domain name vb.ly was recently seized by NIC.ly (the domain registry and controlling body for the Libyan domain space) because the content of his website, at least in their opinion, was in violation of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.

    • Putting Unique Codes on Objects to Detect Counterfeiting

      To defeat the system, the counterfeiter has to copy the bar codes. If the stores selling to customers are in on the scam, it can be the same code. If not, there have to be sufficient different bar codes that the store doesn’t detect duplications. Presumably, numbers that are known to have been copied are added to the database, so the counterfeiters need to keep updating their codes. And presumably the codes are cryptographically hard to predict, so the only way to keep updating them is to look at legitimate products.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Hungary man-made disaster puts Danube countries on alert

      A ruptured reservoir of sludge near an alumina plant in Hungary is threatening the Danube, the largest river in the EU. The government of Hungary has declared the state of emergency, while Danube countries remain on alert. EurActiv’s network reports.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Who Owns The Media? The 6 Monolithic Corporations That Control Almost Everything We Watch, Hear And Read

      Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. Most Americans don’t really seem to care about who owns the media. But they should. The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month. In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something. Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.

    • Weatherseal Ignore TPS Memberships

      I did register a complaint with the TPS, I have also called Weatherseal to demand they remove me from a list I should never have been on. They claim to have done so, but time will tell. My thinking is that if you have enough proof that a call actually took place, they have very little choice but to honour it. This is why I am listing the details of the call here.

      Who: Jack McDonald

      Where: 08458 638308

      When: Wed 6th Oct 2010 @ 13:57

      Within around 30mins of that call, my complaint was registered with the TPS, and I’d phoned Weatherseal on 0800 041 041 to get my number removed. I did notice that the top result in Google for “weatherseal scotland” was a blog called “The Shit Companies Blog”. Considering the reason I was looking for Weatherseal’s information this amused me. I also noticed various companies listings didn’t have contact information for Weatherseal, thankfully Yell.com did.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Council of Europe Commits To Network Neutrality On The Internet

      A Declaration on network neutrality has ben adopted by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers which underlines its commitment to network neutrality on the Internet and insists that any exceptions to this principle would need to be justified by overriding public interest.

      Users should have the greatest possible access to Internet-based content, applications and services of their choice, whether or not they are offered free of charge, using suitable devices of their choice, the Committee says. It also declares that a competitive and dynamic environment may encourage innovation, increasing network availability and performance, and lowering costs, and can promote the free circulation of a wide range of content and services on the Internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The October 2, 2010 version of the ACTA text
    • Mexican Senate Unanimously Votes To Remove Mexico From ACTA Negotations

      While the resolution claims that it needs to ratify any such agreements, I don’t know if that’s the case. In the US, for example, the administration will avoid needing Senate approval (which it needs for treaties) by designating it as an “executive agreement” instead of a “treaty.” Of course, if you talk to legal scholars, they point out that the only real difference is that an executive agreement doesn’t need to be approved by the Senate. I have no idea if Mexico has a similar setup. Also, this is just a “non-binding resolution,” so may not mean much in the long run. However, it is nice to see that some actual politicians are equally disturbed over how the ACTA negotiations took place and the fact that some final agreement is just being dumped on politicians at the last minute.

    • ACTA Ultra-Lite: The U.S. Cave on the Internet Chapter Complete

      One of the biggest stories over the three year negotiation of ACTA has been the willingness of the U.S. to cave on the Internet provisions. When it first proposed the chapter, the U.S. was seeking new intermediary liability requirements with three strikes and you’re out used as an example of an appropriate policy as well as language that attempted to create a global DMCA. The draft released today is a far cry from that proposal with the intermediary liability provisions largely removed and the DMCA digital lock provisions much closer to the WIPO Internet treaty model. In its place, is a chapter that is best viewed as ACTA Ultra-Lite. For Canadians, this is crucial since it now leaves an ACTA that is far more flexible than even Bill C-32. In fact, the Canadian copyright bill now exceeds the requirements under ACTA and could be amended in a manner that will allow for greater balance on digital locks and still be ACTA compliant.

    • Copyrights

Clip of the Day

Jan Nieuwenhuizen – “An Introduction to Lilypond”

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 5/10/2010: Marvell Gives OLPC $5.6 Million

Posted in News Roundup at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Some Statistics about My Linux Box

    So, in conclusion I must say I am very satisfied with my migration. It was much less painful than I expected and much more rewarding, too. Of course, there’s still a lot to learn, but I’m going one step at a time.

  • Warning Themes – Interesting Concept to Make “Being Root Scary” for Newbie Linux Users
  • Linux Gazette October 2010 (#179)

    # Mailbag
    # 2-Cent Tips
    # Talkback
    # News Bytes, by Deividson Luiz Okopnik and Howard Dyckoff
    # Henry’s Techno-Musings: User Interfaces, by Henry Grebler
    # Away Mission – PayPal Innovate, by Howard Dyckoff
    # A Nightmare on Tape Drive, by Henry Grebler
    # Making Your Network Transparent, by Ben Okopnik


  • 5 Operating Systems Making Big Waves This Week

    Fedora 14 “Laughlin” beta was released last week, introducing Red Hat’s SPICE virtual desktop infrastructure, ipmiutil — which adds features including Serial-over-LAN and identity LED management, and a preview of systemd, a replacement for SysVinit that acts as a system and session manager and that will ultimately allow faster boot times.

  • LPI and My First International Proctoring “Job”

    One of the contributions that I have lent to LPI, and of which I am very proud, is the constant drum beat about making LPI multinational. From the very beginning I remember talking about the issues in various countries around the world in terms of language, costs of certification and ease of finding and taking the tests.

    As in other interactions with LPI, I acknowledge that others also spoke and were concerned about these issues, but for me they were the heart-blood. Either LPI was going to be an international organization with an international certification, or it would be ineffective for the needs of Linux and FOSS.


    I had been to Brazil before 2002, and even before 1999. Two years after I had met Linus Torvalds and a few months after Red Hat Software’s Alpha Linux distribution was first distributed, I was flown to Sao Paulo in 1996 to speak at the University of Sao Paulo (USP), and saw my first Beowulf high-performance computing system running Linux at that university. USP had 160 PCs hooked together to do real-time computer graphics of “Toy Story” quality. While others were using Beowulf clusters to render animation frames over time, USP was doing it in real time. USP was also using their Beowulf to shorten the time needed to analyze a mammogram for cancer from close to a day to a few minutes. And finally they were using Linux to help manage remote Windows systems. “When the windows systems do not boot we tell the user to boot Linux, then we FTP a new copy of Windows onto their system. Is this a legitimate use of Linux?” asked the school’s president. I told him that every use of Linux was a legitimate use of Linux.

  • Desktop

Free Software/Open Source

  • Subsonic – OpenSource Web Based Media Streamer for Windows, Mac and Linux

    Subsonic is a free, opensource, web-based media streamer, providing ubiquitous access to your music. Listen to your favorite music where ever you are and you can even share your songs with friends and family usnig Subsonic online media streaming service.

  • ★ Rehost And Carry On

    The community around OpenESB is actually fairly active, and they (or, as it includes ForgeRock where I now work, perhaps I should say “we”) want OpenESB to stay around. But what do you do if the project is hosted somewhere under the control of a disinterested party? There’s no huge crime or disagreement to “justify” a fork, but on the other hand any new plans really will need the source and the community presence hosted in a way that allows the interested parties can change and improve things without having to wait for weeks to get replies to requests and risk having them declined if they are deemed inconvenient.

  • An open source of inspiration

    “The creative lot at agencies have a different lifestyle and attitude. They used to come into the office at 5 pm and start their work. I could not digest that but I learned quite a bit from that experience.” That was the time IBM was looking for talent from outside the IT framework. The Big Blue was scouting for personnel from varied backdrops. “I felt like giving it a shot and I did. I got selected and was made to undergo training for three months. I distinctly remember me wanting to drop out that training. Something inside me told me that this was not my scene. A lot of jargon was thrown at me and I felt I was not able to comprehend them. The I remembered my advertising days. Advertising has a few jargons and I could master them with time. So I decided to stay back and complete the training.”

    The training did wonders to him as a professional and he realised the importance of working in an organised, process oriented environment. “The 10 years at IBM were great. It taught me everything. I found the work place challenging my abilities everyday. It is at IBM that he developed the reputation of a business leader with demonstrated ability to tackle tough business and management challenges. People around Sandeep say that he has an innate ability to inspire people, and lead through vision and logic.

    At IBM, he transformed an ailing Unix business, while aiding the development of the Linux market across Asean markets, and led significant business transformation for IBM…

  • 10 great free desktop productivity tools that aren’t OpenOffice.org

    But apart from OpenOffice.org, what else is there? I dug into my own program folders and searched the far corners of the Web to come up with a cache of free and open source productivity applications for a range of desktop productivity tasks: word processing, page layout, graphics editing, illustration, task management, and more. Some of these tools are worthy substitutes for expensive commercial counterparts.

  • Simon Phipps unbound

    After 10 years at Sun, half of them as the company’s chief voice on open source, he was one of the first out the door when Oracle’s tentacles closed in. This has liberated him to say what he feels, rather than just what he is allowed to say. It has given him the fire of a good Baptist preacher.

  • Contributing to an open source project

    You don’t have to be a software developer to contribute to an open source project – there are all sorts of ways you can get involved, whether you are experienced or a newcomer, technically minded or otherwise inclined.

  • October Project of the Month: jEdit

    When it comes to open source text editors, it’s hard to find a programmer who hasn’t heard of jEdit. Under development for more than 10 years, it’s a perennial favorite of developers, writers, bloggers, and casual users alike. As Project Leader Björn “Vampire” Kautler succinctly puts it, “It is simply is the best text editor out there, that can be easily customized and extended to eternity and is cross-platform. It supports syntax highlighting of over 200 languages.”

  • Events

    • #possesa – day 2 – patching, translating, concentration

      So what did we do? I kicked off the day with explaining the galaxy that is Open Source and Free Software. the multitude of projects, the different governance models, how to find out about maturity and sustainability. I showed gource in action -. I love the visualization of open source projects over time that it generates.

      We then went to our first round of checkount – build – modify – commit using git, which was fun and rewarding. People could actually learn how stuff works with immediate results.

    • Web Browsers

      • Internet Explorer falls below 50 percent global marketshare, Chrome usage triples

        Internet Explorer falls below 50 percent global marketshare, Chrome usage triples
        Oh, IE, it pains us to do this to you. You who once so mightily won in the battle against Netscape Navigator now seem to be losing your war against a battalion of upstarts, relatively fresh faces like Firefox and Chrome. According to StatCounter, IE’s global usage stats have fallen to 49.87 percent, a fraction of a tick beneath half. Firefox makes up the lion share of the rest, at 31.5 percent, while Chrome usage tripled since last year, up to 11.54 percent. Two years ago IE had two thirds of the global market locked down, and even if Internet Explorer 9 is the best thing since ActiveX, well, we just don’t see the tide of this battle turning without MS calling in some serious reinforcements.

      • Internet Explorer Falls Below 50% Global Market Share. Chrome on the rise

        In Europe, IE market share has fallen to 40.26% in September this year from 46.44% in September last year. While in North America IE is still above 50% at 52.3% followed by Firefox at 27.21% and Chrome at 9.87%. The rise of Google Chrome in North America has also been impressive and in June it overtook Safari for the first time.

  • SaaS

    • ABC “Unofficially” Partners with Twitter-Alternative StatusNet

      ABC News Radio and StatusNet, the open-source microblogging service that serves as the foundation for identi.ca, have “unofficially” partnered to unveil a newswire for the radio service.

      While the partnership may not be “official”, it is yet another vote of confidence in the Twitter-alternative and the open Web.

      According to Dan Patterson, the digital platform manager for ABC News Radio, the partnership is not yet official because the two companies haven’t done the “lawyerly dance”, among other things. In his explanation of why ABC chose to work with StatusNet, Patterson writes a mini-treatise for an open, distributed Internet.

  • Oracle/OOo/Java

    • Oracle ready to go solo with OpenOffice
    • The future of OpenOffice.org
    • Your Office is Saved — OpenOffice.org Forked!
    • OpenOffice is dead, long live LibreOffice

      So excuse the headline on this blog, but OpenOffice is not dead per se. It will continue to live out its existence breathing in the air on planet Oracle. The suite itself is mature, stable and works cross-platform, so there should be no major reason to worry about its future growth and well-being.

    • The OpenOffice fork is officially here

      It’s not that Oracle wishes ill of The Document Foundation and its take on OpenOffice, LibreOffice. Oracle just isn’t going to be having anything to do with it.

      When The Document Foundation released the beta of LibreOffice, the group wanted to speed up the rate of changes to the notoriously slow OpenOffice office suite software project and make significant improvements to OpenOffice, such as adding Microsoft OpenXML format compatibility to the program. This suggestion received support from all the major open-source and Linux powers: Red Hat, Novell, and Ubuntu. Even Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, announced that they’d place LibreOffice in next spring’s update of Ubuntu.

    • Google asks court to dismiss Oracle’s Android lawsuit
    • Java: The Unipolar Moment
    • Mixed reactions from attendees about JavaOne

      JavaOne seemed to be near extinction last year, but Oracle’s acquisition of Sun revived it. We talked with some notable attendees to see how the conference went.

    • ☆ New ventures: OpenDJ, FossAlliance

      If it sounds familiar, it may be becuase it is based on the OpenDS project Sun used to work on. My old colleague Ludovic Poitou has joined ForgeRock to look after it for us, and I am keen to see a co-developer community grow around it in addition to the substantial deployer community that is now free to migrate from OpenDS to OpenDJ. There’s plenty more about it in the press release and FAQ.

    • ZFS gains data encryption

      Seven years after developers started working on ZFS, crypto functions have been added to the file system. The functions will probably be part of the forthcoming Solaris Express 2010. While no implementation details are available so far, a blog post talks about “support for encrypted ZFS datasets,” which points towards an encryption of the entire file system. The ZFS crypto project’s web site lists targets such as a per-dataset policy for enabling algorithms and key lengths as well as an encrypted swap area.


    • The black perl -Sabayon 5.4 is released! Screenshot Tour

      As can be seen in today’s announcement, today is my first day as full-time Executive Director at the Software Freedom Conservancy. For four years, I have worked part-time on nights, weekends, and lunch times to keep Conservancy running and to implement and administer the services that Conservancy provides to its member projects. It’s actual quite a relief to now have full-time attention available to carry out this important work.

    • GNU Telephony Statement on new Internet Surveillance Laws

      Good morning my relations. Today is not such a great day. In the United States the Obama administration is actively seeking a new law to legally mandate the forced introduction of insecure back doors and support for mass surveillance into all communication systems. Specifically targeted are Internet VoIP and messaging systems.

      Speaking on behalf of the GNU Telephony project, we do intend to openly defy such a law should it actually come to pass, so I want to be very clear on this statement. It is not simply that we will choose to publicly defy the imposition of such an illegitimate law, but that we will explicitly continue to publicly develop and distribute free software (that is software that offers the freedom to use, inspect, and modify) enabling secure peer-to-peer communication privacy through encryption that is made available directly to anyone worldwide. Clearly such software is especially needed in those places, such as in the United States, where basic human freedoms and dignity seem most threatened.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Author Don Tapscott on the growing influence of public participation

      Watching television at his Boston home in January this year, Patrick Meier, a director of the crowdsourcing internet platform Ushahidi saw early reports that a devastating earthquake had caused massive damage to Haiti. Within 40 minutes, he was working with a colleague to set up a dedicated Haiti-focused website, and in less than an hour the site was gathering intelligence from people on the ground.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Despite Rumors, MIT OpenCourseWare Insists “No Paywall”

        With both private and public schools facing budget issues in tough economic times, it’s no surprise perhaps to hear a university employee say that the school is re-evaluating distance learning opportunities. But when an MIT employee made a statement to that effect at the OECD’s Institutional Management in Higher Education earlier last month, some media outlets erroneously reported it as an indication that MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) was considering implementing a paywall.

  • Programming

    • JQuery set to tackle mobile Web development

      Countless developers use jQuery software tools today to provide advanced Web sites and to ease the difficulties of spanning multiple browsers.

      Starting in about two weeks, though, they will start being able to extend their reach to the fast-growing world of the mobile Web as well. That’s when Mozilla plans to release the alpha version of jQuery Mobile, jQuery founder John Resig told attendees of the Future of Web Apps conference here Tuesday.


  • JPEGs with Alpha Channels?!?

    I wanted a reasonably sized photographic image with a 24-bit alpha channel. So I used a JPEG for what JPEGs are good for and a PNG for what PNGs are good for…

    I combined them using an HTML5 canvas element and then inserted into the DOM. The results look the same as using a normal 24-bit PNG but are one-half to one-sixth the size. In one case we got a 573KB 24-bit PNG down to a 49KB JPEG with a 4KB PNG alpha-mask!

  • The real cost of free

    Last week, my fellow Guardian columnist Helienne Lindvall published a piece headlined The cost of free, in which she called it “ironic” that “advocates of free online content” (including me) “charge hefty fees to speak at events”.

    Lindvall says she spoke to someone who approached an agency I once worked with to hire me for a lecture and was quoted $10,000-$20,000 (£6,300-£12,700) to speak at a college and $25,000 to speak at a conference. Lindvall goes on to talk about the fees commanded by other speakers, including Wired editor Chris Anderson, author of a book called “Free” (which I reviewed here in July 2009), Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde and marketing expert Seth Godin. In Lindvall’s view, all of us are part of a united ideology that exhorts artists to give their work away for free, but we don’t practice what we preach because we charge so much for our time.

    It’s unfortunate that Lindvall didn’t bother to check her facts. I haven’t been represented by the agency she referenced for several years, and in any event, no one has ever paid me $25,000 to appear at any event. Indeed, the vast majority of lectures I give are free (see here for the past six months’ talks and their associated fees – out of approximately 95 talks I’ve given in the past six months, only 11 were paid, and the highest paid of those was £300). Furthermore, I don’t use an agency for the majority of my bookings (mostly I book myself – I’ve only had one agency booking in the past two years). I’m not sure who the unfortunate conference organiser Lindvall spoke to was – Lindvall has not identified her source – but I’m astonished that this person managed to dig up the old agency, since it’s not in the first 400 Google results for “Cory Doctorow”.

  • 911: Can you hear me now?
  • Cell Phone Service Coming to NYC Subway Stations by End of 2011

    Looks like NYC subway stations are getting cell phone service earlier than expected: Six stations—Along 14th St., and at 23rd St. and 8th Ave.—should be wired by the end of 2011. It will be both convenient and annoying.

  • Google Apps Now In A New York State Of Mind

    Google sees the adoption of Google Apps at schools and colleges as vital to the growth of the productivity suite; an outlook that Microsoft also seems to emulate as well. The strategy makes sense; not only do educational institutions represent a huge market for Google Apps and other productivity suites, but schools and colleges are where many people get trained, start relying on, and form brand allegiances to productivity apps. Today, New York is the fifth U.S. state to adopt “Google Apps,” joining Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, and Maryland.

  • Science

    • Medical Nobel goes to developer of IVF

      The 2010 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine goes to British researcher Robert Edwards for pioneering in vitro fertilization, or IVF, a process that has led to roughly 4 million births since it was first successfully done in 1978.

    • Air pollution appears to foster diabetes

      A pair of new studies — one in the United States, another in Germany — reports strong evidence that diabetes rates climb with increasing air pollution in the form of of tiny airborne particles.

      “Although previous studies had hinted at this possibility, the data were mostly from small studies or from animals exposed to high levels of particulate matter,” notes Aruni Bhatnagar, a cardiovascular researcher at the University of Louisville in Kentucky who did not take part in either study. He says the new data provide important and more rigorous evidence that real-world pollution may be tampering with blood sugar control in a large and growing number of people.

    • Breaking the noise barrier: Enter the phonon computer

      In 2001, Pat Gelsinger, then the chief technology officer of Intel, made a striking prediction about the future of microchips. If current design trends continue, he said, microchips will be running at 30 gigahertz by the end of the decade. However, he added, at this speed they will be generating more heat per cubic centimetre than a nuclear reactor.

      Sure enough, by 2003, Intel and other chip-makers had found that their plans for faster processors were running into trouble. For a chip to speed up, its transistors need to be shrunk, but smaller transistors must consume less power or they overheat. With chip-makers unable to keep to the reduced heat budget, the race for faster chips hit a wall (see diagram).

    • Meet RatCar, a Japanese Robot Car Controlled By a Rat’s Brain

      Robots are a major part of the cultural fabric of Japan; they’re performing weddings, buying groceries and keeping people company. A team of researchers at the University of Tokyo is taking this robotic cultural immersion a step further — they’re making animal-robot hybrids. Sort of.

      RatCar is a brain-machine interface that uses a rat’s brain signals to control a motorized robot. The rat hangs in the air, and the robot does what the rat’s limbs would do. It’s far from the only brain-robot locomotion contraption, but it’s arguably one of the strangest.

    • Nobel Honors Work on Ultra-Thin Carbon Film

      Two Russian-born scientists working in Britain won the prize for investigating the strange properties of graphene, a form of carbon one atom thick.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Hull man guilty of snooping on hundreds of medical records

      A Hull man has been given a suspended sentence for looking at hundreds of women’s medical records.

      Dale Trever, 22, was working for Hull Primary Care Trust as a “care data quality facilitator” when he accessed medical records of 413 female patients. The court was told he accessed records 597 times.

      He started his snooping when a female work colleague turned him down for a date, the East Riding Mail reports.

    • France arrests nine in anti-terror raids

      A French official told AFP that police had seized weapons “including a Kalashnikov (rifle) and a pump-action shotgun, as well as ammunition” in Tuesday’s raids.

    • Even Mahatma Gandhi was against ID cards

      About a century ago, Gandhiji started the world famous ‘Satyagraha’ in order to oppose the identification scheme of the government in South Africa. Hundred years later, India is repeating a similar programme under the pretext of unique ID numbers

      As the old saying goes, ‘Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it’. It seems that both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and ultimately the Indian government have overlooked history and even the Mahatma’s views while going ahead with the ambitious and expensive unique identification number (UIDN) programme.

    • The perils of ‘Aadhaar’

      An elaborate charade has begun with the rolling out of the first Aadhaar unique identity (UID) numbers by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi in a tribal district of Maharashtra. The 12-digit number for each citizen is supposed to achieve pilferage-free delivery of services to the underprivileged.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Cuccinelli attempts to criminalize all of climate science — with Post Normal logic & fervor

      The Tea-Party crowd, the hardcore anti-science extremists, can’t stomach the scientific reality that mutiple independent studies back Mann’s core finding Hockey Stick: Recent global warming is unprecedented in magnitude and speed and cause. And so Cuccinelli goes after Mann and the University of Virginia once again. His new case is infinitely weaker but his fervor has reached OCD levels.

    • [stop climate change]

      It’s called the “10/10/10 Global Work Party.” The goal of the day is to send a message to our political leaders: If we can get to work, you can get to work too — on the legislation and the treaties that will protect this planet for our children and grandchildren.

    • One in five plant species face extinction

      One in five of the world’s plant species – the basis of all life on earth – are at risk of extinction, according to a landmark study published today.

      At first glance, the 20% figure looks far better than the previous official estimate of almost three-quarters, but the announcement is being greeted with deep concern.

    • Oil: Can Ecuador see past the black stuff?

      One of the most extraordinary people I have met in 10 days of travelling around Peru and Ecuador has been Alberto Acosta. He’s head of Ecuador’s leading research group now, but until 2007 was the second most powerful man in the country after the president, Rafael Correa. He was not only charged with masterminding the new constitution but was head of the assembly, or parliament, a founder of the ruling political party and minister of energy of the country that depends on oil.

      But Acosta will go down in my memory as the world’s only serving oil minister to have ever proposed leaving some of a country’s black stuff in the ground. That’s like Dracula renouncing blood, or a sports minister saying it’s better to play hide and seek than football. It just does not happen.

    • Greenpeace banned from intercepting oil-drilling ship

      Greenpeace has been banned from intercepting a deep sea oil-drilling ship after the protest group sent “wave after wave” of swimmers into the north Atlantic to stop the vessel from reaching its drilling site.

      The US oil giant Chevron was granted a wide-ranging interdict, or injunction, by judges in Edinburgh today, ordering Greenpeace to stop any further direct action preventing the Stena Carron from reaching its destination or impeding its “lawful business”.

    • Modern-day slavery: horrific conditions on board ships catching fish for Europe

      When environmental campaigners began tracking a hi-tech South Korean trawler off the coast of West Africa, they were looking for proof of illegal fishing of dwindling African stocks. What they uncovered was an altogether different kind of travesty: human degradation so extreme it echoed the slavery they thought had been abolished more than a century ago.

      “It was horrendous,” said Duncan Copeland, a senior campaigner at the Environmental Justice Foundation, who boarded the South Korean-flagged trawler at the end of 2008 with naval forces from Sierra Leone.

    • Prop 23 battle heats up in California as Schwarzenegger comes out fighting

      California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has come out fighting for his green legacy, going on the attack against the oil companies and rightwing groups bankrolling a campaign to suspend AB32, a landmark environmental law.

  • Finance

    • Fear and Favor

      I mean that literally. As Politico recently pointed out, every major contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination who isn’t currently holding office and isn’t named Mitt Romney is now a paid contributor to Fox News. Now, media moguls have often promoted the careers and campaigns of politicians they believe will serve their interests. But directly cutting checks to political favorites takes it to a whole new level of blatancy.

      Arguably, this shouldn’t be surprising. Modern American conservatism is, in large part, a movement shaped by billionaires and their bank accounts, and assured paychecks for the ideologically loyal are an important part of the system. Scientists willing to deny the existence of man-made climate change, economists willing to declare that tax cuts for the rich are essential to growth, strategic thinkers willing to provide rationales for wars of choice, lawyers willing to provide defenses of torture, all can count on support from a network of organizations that may seem independent on the surface but are largely financed by a handful of ultrawealthy families.

      And these organizations have long provided havens for conservative political figures not currently in office. Thus when Senator Rick Santorum was defeated in 2006, he got a new job as head of the America’s Enemies program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a think tank that has received funding from the usual sources: the Koch brothers, the Coors family, and so on.

    • How Fake Money Saved Brazil

      This is a story about how an economist and his buddies tricked the people of Brazil into saving the country from rampant inflation. They had a crazy, unlikely plan, and it worked.

      Twenty years ago, Brazil’s inflation rate hit 80 percent per month. At that rate, if eggs cost $1 one day, they’ll cost $2 a month later. If it keeps up for a year, they’ll cost $1,000.

    • Do You Understand Taxation?

      California, if you didn’t know, has one of the highest tax rates in the nation. On top of federal rates that can reach 39% of each additional dollar, California takes up to 11% of each additional dollar. This means that top earners pay half of their marginal income (the part above a certain amount) in income taxes. At 50% of each additional dollar going to taxes, it is no wonder that people devote such tremendous effort to tax avoidance schemes. To do anything else wouldn’t be sensible.

    • Anglo Irish bank bailout to hit €30bn

      The full cost of the 2008 banking crisis in Ireland will be laid bare tomorrow when the republic’s government is expected to admit that bailing out Anglo Irish Bank will cost at least €30bn (£25.9bn) – equivalent to a fifth of the country’s national output.

    • Foreclosure funny business

      Virtually everyone has had the experience of being forced to pay a late fee or a bank penalty because of some fine-print provision that we overlooked. Sometimes, begging by good customers can win forbearance, but usually we are held to the written terms of the contract, no matter how buried or convoluted the clause in question may be.

      That is the way it works for the rest of us, but apparently this is not the way the banks do business, at least when those at the other end of the contract are ordinary homeowners. As a number of news reports have shown in recent weeks, banks have been carrying through foreclosures at a breakneck pace and freely ignoring the legal niceties required under the law, such as demonstrating clear ownership to the property being foreclosed.

    • Money transfers could face anti-terrorism scrutiny

      The proposal is a long-delayed response to the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which specified reforms to better organize the intelligence community and to avoid a repeat of the 20S01 attacks. The law required that the Treasury secretary issue regulations requiring financial institutions to report cross-border transfers if deemed necessary to combat terrorist financing.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • DRM and us

      Many of these strategies are already being employed and Doctorow enumerates several: 40,000 people in the US sued by the record industry; mandatory DRM requirements for several digital distribution channels negotiated by Sony, Apple, Audible, and others; three strikes rule in effect in France that disconnects anyone (and their family) from the internet for “unsubstantiated accusations of infringement”; efforts by Viacom to prevent Google and other companies from allowing anyone to “upload content to the internet without reviewing its copyright status in advance.” This last one seems particularly intrusive and Big Brotherly to me because what Viacom wants is for a court “to order Google to make all user-uploaded content public so that Viacom can check it doesn’t infringe copyright – it thinks that its need to look at my videos is greater than my need to, say, flag a video of my two-year-old in the bath as private and visible only to me and her grandparents.” The incredible arrogance of Viacom is that it wants to court to validate the presumption that everything posted on YouTube and similar sites violates copyrights. So, for example, if this came to pass, would a video of someone watching an NFL game on a network be a copyright violation if it included in the video the actual broadcast in the background? What if you post a video of someone dancing to music? Would the presumption be that the music was pirated? Such a ruling, Doctorow says, “would shutter every message board, Twitter, social networking service, blog, and mailing list in a second.” If he’s correct, the impact on culture, society, daily life would be immeasurable.

    • ISPs begin fighting IP lookup requests in wake of data leak

      UK Internet providers have now banded together to challenge anti-P2P law firms who try to turn thousands of IP addresses into customer names—and a London court will hear their objections to the entire process.

      The ISPs were burned last month when a massive e-mail leak from the top anti-P2P firm in the UK, ACS Law, exposed their own spreadsheets of customer names matched to the pornographic films they allegedly downloaded. The revelation of this embarrassing (and unproven) behavior was compounded by the fact that several of the ISPs were taking no security precautions, instead e-mailing their Excel spreadsheets unencrypted and without passwords.

    • BSkyB to challenge requests for customer information from ACS:Law

      BSkyB, one of the UK’s largest broadband providers, has said it will no longer cooperate with the requests of controversial solicitors’ firm ACS:Law and that it will challenge them in court, after around 8,000 of its customers had their personal information leaked online.

    • Should ISPs cut off bot-infected users?

      Contractually, the ISP would be reasonably justified in cutting off a user from the internet, as bot infection would be contrary to the terms of the ISP’s acceptable-use policy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • BT seeks moratorium on internet piracy cases

      BT is seeking a moratorium on legal applications to obtain details of its customers who are alleged to have illegally shared files online.

      The firm outlined its stance following a high-profile data breach at London law firm ACS:Law last week.

      The leak saw thousands of customers’ details from various ISPs – including BT-owned PlusNet – published online.

    • ISPs set to fight future IP data disclosure in the UK

      On the back of the ACS:Law debacle, there has been a lot of interest in the way in which firms like ACS:Law and Davenport Lyons obtained customer information from internet service providers linking IP addresses to broadband account holders. The information was obtained in English courts through what is known as a Norwich Pharmacal order (NPO, named after the case in which it was first established). This order allows a potential claimant to ask for a third party to disclose the identity of an unidentified defendant.

    • UK ISPs Successfully Resist File-Sharing Data Handover

      In the High Court today, UK ISPs BT and Plusnet refused to hand over subscriber data to lawyers acting for independent record label, Ministry of Sound. Their objections followed the catastrophic subscriber data leak from ACS:Law two weeks ago. The hearing was adjourned until January 2011.

    • Copyrights

      • Find and Reuse Images: Painless Attribution

        Finding CC licensed images and using them properly is something many people seem to struggle with: finding them can be straight-forward, but many sites don’t provide copy and paste reuse code that complies with the license. Xpert, a project of University of Nottingham, has launched an image search tool that helps with this. Xpert Attribution tool searches Wikimedia Commons and Flickr and provides an easy way to get the image with the attribution information overlaid, or (even better, in my opinion) with RDFa suitable for embedding. I’ve combined the two below (downloading the image with attribution, and adding the structured-data enriched embed code below it).

      • IMDb Relents And Allows BitTorrent Movie The Tunnel a Listing

        The creators of the BitTorrent-only movie The Tunnel are celebrating today. After being refused an IMDb listing on several occasions, the makers wrote an open letter to the Amazon-owned company which was featured in dozens of news articles. Today, the horror movie, which was funded by people buying individual frames of the production, has been accepted into the IMDb databases.

      • Well Covered

        When we rolled out Hudson for CC code last month, I already knew that I wanted to have test coverage reporting. There’s simply no reason not to: it provides a way to understand how complete your tests are, and when combined with branch testing, gives you an easy way to figure out what tests need to be written (or where to target your test writing efforts).

      • Join the Legion of CC Superheroes!

        A legion of Creative Commons (CC) Superheroes is already at work, using our amazing tools to save people from failed sharing all over the planet. GlaxoSmithKline, a major pharmaceutical company, recently released its entire malarial data set using CC tools, speeding the urgent search for new medicines to tackle the devastating disease. Online communities at Flickr, SoundCloud, and Vimeo are making creative works available for anyone in the world to use freely and legally through license adoption. Publisher Pratham Books has begun to CC license more and more of the textbooks it provides to 14 million children in India, lifting them from a future of poverty and miseducation. When the earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, Google and Wired used CC tools to keep information widely available to relief workers, journalists, and governments worldwide.

      • Minecraft’s Developer Making $350,000 Per Day

        Now Jay sends in some news that continues to build on the legend of Minecraft, pointing to a story claiming that Persson is making $350,000 per day. With alpha software, and without going after “pirates” who are supposedly destroying the industry. Yeah. Apparently, he’s selling a copy every 3 seconds. And he’s done all this with no distribution. No retail deals. Just creating a really good game, getting people interested in it, not treating them like criminals, and giving them a reason to buy.

      • US Seeks Comments on Internet Access and Copyright

        The Internet Policy Task Force of the United States Commerce Department today issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment from any interested stakeholders – including rights holders, internet service providers, and consumers – on the “protection of copyrighted works online and the relationship between copyright law and innovation in the internet economy.”

      • Neeru Khosla

        Textbooks are like dinosaurs: clunky, archaic, and not readily available. That’s why Neeru Khosla founded CK12 Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to lowering the cost of educational materials and making them more freely accessible around the world. Khosla recruited teachers from all over America to help write CK12 textbooks and published all the material under Creative Commons licenses.

      • Open Source Animated Movie Shows What Can Be Done Today

        For years, one of the points we’ve raised in answering the movie industry’s $200 million challenge to us (i.e., “how do you keep making $200 million movies?”) is that, in part, it’s asking the wrong question. No one asks “how do we keep making $10,000 computers?” Instead, they look for ways to make them cheaper (and better, at the same time). But in the world of Hollywood accounting, there’s little incentive to make cheaper movies (sometimes the incentive goes the other way). And, we keep showing how the world is reaching a place where it’s cheaper and cheaper to make good movies. We’ve pointed out nice examples of people making high quality movies for next to nothing. The idea is not that movies should be made for nothing, but that the technology is making it so that movies can be made for less. In fact, with two of the examples of cheap movie making we’ve highlighted, the makers later went on to score deals to do higher end movies for more reasonable budgets.


        The technology keeps getting better and the cost to do such high quality work keeps decreasing. This movie did cost $550,000 to make — involving a 14-person team. But, that’s a hell of a lot less than it would have cost not so long ago for anything of this level of quality.

      • ACTA

        • US, EU settle food fight in anti-counterfeit pact

          The United States and European Union have reached a compromise over the use of prestigious geographical food names like Champagne and Parma, clearing one of the last obstacles to an international pact to battle the growing trade in counterfeit goods.

        • Lawmakers call for halt to ACTA deal

          Reports that negotiations on the controversial agreement have ended alarmed MEPs, who have called on the Commission to explain the matter as soon as possible.

        • ACTA: Sorting Through The Spin

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has always been the exception to the general rule for international negotiations – closed participation rather than open, secretive rather than transparent – so it should come as no surprise that the negotiations have come to an end in an unusual manner. The only thing that is absolutely clear is that there will be no further rounds of negotiation as the latest round in Japan is being described as the final round of talks. Other than that, the conclusion seems open to considerable speculation and spin.

          From the U.S. perspective, the negotiations are done and ACTA is nearly a reality. USTR Ambassador Ron Kirk has been quoted as saying that there are solutions to even the toughest issues and that nearly all parties have agreed to them. Another U.S. official admitted that there were still as many as six issues without agreement, including two on border measures and another from the Internet chapter. The EU has been even less supportive, with an official quoted as saying “we’ve come a long way but we must still close the remaining gaps without which there will be no agreement.” Moreover, several European Parliament Members are already calling for a halt to the deal. Meanwhile, Japanese officials have acknowledged that there are issues that require further discussion back home and that “in that sense we haven’t gotten agreement.”

        • EU Parliamentarians move to block anti-counterfeiting pact

          Four members of the European Parliament on Tuesday called for the international anti-counterfeiting trade agreement (ACTA) to be halted.

          The news comes after reports that the controversial accord had been “concluded” in Japan on Friday. The MEPs, Greek Socialist Stavros Lambrinidis, French Socialist Francoise Castex, Czech center-right Zuzana Roithova and German Socialist Alexander Alvaro, have long argued for the negotiations to be more transparent and were outraged that the U.S. prevented the E.U. from publishing the proposed agreement earlier this year.

Clip of the Day

Andy Wingo – “GNU in the Cloud”

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 4/10/2010: Codenames Needed for Fedora 15 , Linux-based Palm ‘Mansion’ Rumoured

Posted in News Roundup at 7:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Penguins Old, Penguins New, Penguins Battered and Penguins Blue

    The canton, in fact, “should fire those and hire more flexible people,” Pogson suggested. “Seriously, why would an employer tolerate insubordination? There are thousands of people ready, willing and able to work with GNU/Linux.

    “If GNU/Linux gives the canton the efficiency and performance it needs, why should employees be allowed to say, ‘No’?” he added. “That would not be tolerated in any place where I have worked.”

    At Pogson’s current employer, “we brought in GNU/Linux with little fanfare, just swapping it for dead/dying XP machines, and there has been no fuss at all,” he noted. “Why are the canton’s employees different — or is that just hype by the media to sell papers?”

  • 20 Reasons Linux Will Boom in a Post-Recession World

    1) Total cost of ownership – Despite what the marketing material from select proprietary software companies might like you to believe, the software provided by proprietary vendors comes at a cost. There’s something to be said for having the ability to control the cost of your data and the software that runs it.

    By using Linux, one can be assured that the future of any projects enabled by this open source solution will be in firm control of those who are running the controls. No faceless company is going to come along and suddenly change the rules as to how you run your projects or how their software can be used. With Linux based options in your arsenal, you’re in control of your data. From beginning to end, you have control over how much or how little your company spends on Linux solutions.
    2) Updates are automatic – For many desktop Linux users, it’s something that we often take for granted. When we go to update our desktop operating system, we also have the option to update the software installed on our system as well…automatically. 1

  • Linux Magazine Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

    Prize drawing for a free 10-year subscription — Linux Magazine celebrates its 10-year anniversary with the November 2010 issue, which includes a free archive DVD with a complete library of all previous issues.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Geek Time with Ric Wheeler

        Ric Wheeler is the File System Group Manager at Red Hat, and Jeremy Allison caught up with him at LinuxCon in Sao Paulo, Brazil earlier this month. Ric tells Jeremy how he got into file system development as a grad student, then how he progressed into building storage arrays, eventually becoming a Linux advocate. From there, Jeremy and Ric talk about the direction that Linux is headed and the future of desktop computing. At the very end of the video, you can even hear about Ric’s brush with Hollywood!

  • Applications

    • CloudSN: Google Reader, Identi.ca, Facebook Or Any RSS Feed Notifier (And More) With Messaging Menu Integration

      CloudSN (Cloud Services Notifications) is an application similar to Specto (which is not maintained anymore): it can display notifications when you have new emails (POP3 and IMAP), new Identi.ca messages, Google Reader unread items or it can watch any RSS feed for changes. It used to also work with Twitter but since Twitter introduced OAuth for all apps, CloudSN stopped working with Twitter (hopefully it will be fixed soon).

    • Improve Your Linux Desktop Experience with a Dock

      One of the best features of Linux is its flexibility, and nowhere is that more obvious than the desktop. Your Linux desktop can have the look and feel of any desktop environment you want. One reason for this flexibility is the ability to add and remove small applications to better the desktop experience, like desktop docks Cairo-Dock and Avant Window Navigator.

    • DockBarX Gets Closer To Version 0.40 Stable (DockBarX 0.39.8 aka 0.40 RC, Released)

      DockBarX is a taskbar with grouping and group manipulation which works as an applet for both the GNOME Panel and Avant Window Navigator. DockBarX 0.39.8 (codename 0.40 release candidate) has just been released, bringing 2 changes:

      * The tooltip for pinned programs with no open windows shows name and description now, just as normal Gnome launchers do.
      * The width of the window list frame is slightly smaller.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Addictive Linux Game ‘Steel Storm’ Released

        Arcade shooter game Steel Storm Episode 1 version 1.0 is released which was only available as beta until now. The game is quite addictive with fast paced action that wants you to annihilate hordes of enemies . Episode 1 is available as free download for Linux, Mac and Windows users.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Give a helping hand to a fellow Linux user in need

        This is a bit atypical for OMG! Ubuntu! but this morning Bryen Yuko Yunashko, also known as suseROCKS, reported that he was robbed for many valuable gadgets during his travels in Europe. As a user Bryan has dedicated much of his life to raising awareness of accessibility in technology, and this theft has robbed him not only of valuable data but of the tools he uses to increase his quality of life given his disability.

  • Distributions

    • Open Ballot: is Graham Morrison wrong?

      Our kid Graham has had a rough time of it on the internet recently. His article for our sister site TechRadar, “The trouble with Linux: there’s too much choice”, sparked off a few flamewars. Most notably, Caitlyn Martin over on the O’Reilly blog delivered a no-minced-words response: “Are you intimidated by breakfast cereal?”.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Can Debian offer a Constantly Usable Testing distribution?

        The rolling distribution is certainly a good idea but the rules governing it must be designed to avoid any conflict with the process of releasing a stable distribution. Lastly, the mere existence of rolling would finally fix the marketing problem plaguing testing: the name “rolling” does not suggest that the software is not yet ready for prime time.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Palm planning keyboard-less ‘Mansion’ with 800 x 480 screen?

        This one is still very much a rumor, but PreCentral is reporting that it’s heard from a “very reliable tipster” who says that Palm is prepping a new phone codenamed “Mansion,” which may or may not be the same device that recently turned up in a certification database under the name P102.

      • Android

        • Amazon building its own Android App Market?

          The current Android Market — actually Markets, since several carriers have customized it to their own ends — have a long way to go to match the customer and seller experience of iOs. Amazon knows ecommerce better than just about anybody, and the kind of collective intelligence filtering they brought to books would be a big leap forward for app discovery. But I’d caution developers eager to get their apps in front of more buyers via an Amazon store to carefully review the terms and conditions to make sure they’re entering a relationship with a retailing behemoth like Amazon with both eyes open.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Wipeout! Google Wave’s inevitable crash

    Well, it seems that Google Wave isn’t quite dead yet after all. Turns out, they’re open sourcing a bit more of the project and asking for collaboration. (Ok, someone to take over.)

  • Minix 3.1.8 Release

    We would like to thank our Google Summer of Code students for their hard work this summer. Thanks also to Google for generously supporting our students while they hacked on MINIX. We are also grateful to the MINIX community for all your contributions and feedback. We hope you enjoy the new release.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Google releases first Chrome 7 beta

      The Google Chrome development team has released Chrome 7.0.517.24, the first beta of version 7 of the company’s WebKit-based web browser. Formerly only available in the Chrome developer channel (a.k.a. the Dev channel), the first Chrome 7 beta resolves a number of bugs that lead to crashes in the Dev channel release and introduces several changes and new features.

  • Databases

    • Firebird 2.5 Released 4-Oct-2010

      The primary goal for Firebird 2.5 was to establish the basics for a new threading architecture that is almost entirely common to the Superserver, Classic and Embedded models, taking in lower level synchronization and thread safety generally.

  • Business

    • (Finally) Meeting Mr. Open Source Business

      I spoke with Augustin ten years ago when I was writing Rebel Code, but until today, I had never met him. So it was good to do so, and to catch up with the many interesting things he has been doing in the world of open source business recently.

      Things soon went downhill at VA Linux after those amazing times a decade ago. The dotcom meltdown meant that people stopped buying VA Linux’s boxes almost overnight: revenue went from $60 million a quarter to $15 million in six months. So Augustin set about restructuring the company, turning it from one based around hardware, to one based around the Web. For when it was flush with money, VA Linux had acquired a number of leading sites, including Slashdot, Sourceforge and Freshmeat. These formed the core of a business with $40 million annual revenue – rather a come-down from the $240 million the hardware business had been bringing in just a little while before.

      One side effect of this slimming down was that Augustin had effectively made himself redundant. He joined some friends who had set up the venture capital firm Azure Capital Partners. The idea was that Augustin would help them invest in exciting new open source companies. During this time he formulated his view – novel then, but hardly earth-shattering in retrospect – that the next wave of open source companies would be at the application level.

    • Alfresco Community 3.4 arrives

      Alfresco has issued version 3.4 of its open source enterprise content management system (CMS). The latest release is aimed at making it easier for users to collaborate and and share their content as quickly and easily as possible. Discussing the release, Alfresco Software CTO John Newton said that, “The demand for collaboration and social sharing around enterprise content is rising – and content that was once meant just for the intranet is now being re-purposed for the public web, external portals or even to destination sites across the web”.

  • BSD


    • Software Freedom Conservancy Appoints Full-Time Executive Director

      Today, the Software Freedom Conservancy, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which provides Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects with fiscal sponsorship, asset stewardship, license enforcement and license compliance services, announced the appointment of Bradley M. Kuhn as its full-time Executive Director.

    • Free Software Foundation Turns 25

      The original license was written by Stallman. Stallman had subsequently written a large number of GNU tools, but the license was his most important contribution.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Silke Helfrich on the commons and the upcoming International Commons Conference

      As more and more of the world’s population has gained access to the Internet so a growing number of free and open movements have appeared — including the free and open source software movements, free culture, creative commons, open access and open data.

    • Open Data

      • Rethinking Freedom of Information Requests: from Bugzilla to AccessZilla

        During the panel I noted that, if we are interested in improving response times for Freedom of Information (FOI) requests (or, in Canada, Access to Information (ATIP) requests) why doesn’t the Office of the Information Commissioner use a bugzilla type software to track requests?

      • Govt to make FoI data machine readable

        The government is to change the law so that all data released under the Freedom of Information Act will be fully accessible to computers.

        Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude told the Conservative party conference in Birmingham that the Freedom of Information Act will be amended so that all data released through FoI must be in a reusable and machine readable format.

      • A Taxonomy of Data Science

        Data science is clearly a blend of the hackers’ arts (primarily in steps “O” and “S” above); statistics and machine learning (primarily steps “E” and “M” above); and the expertise in mathematics and the domain of the data for the analysis to be interpretable (that is, one needs to understand the domain in which the data were generated, but also the mathematical operations performed during the “learning” and “optimization”). It requires creative decisions and open-mindedness in a scientific context.

        Our next post addresses how one goes about learning these skills, that is: “what does a data science curriculum look like?”

    • Open Access/Content

      • Opening Up Technology in Service of Teaching

        Electronic content and digital interactivity are everywhere – except in most public school classrooms. How can schools and teachers take advantage of technology to help students excel? What do teachers really need?

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Five Things You Need to Know About HTML5

      It’s open standard. The good news with HTML5’s standards is they are open and free of patents. For example, WebKit, which keeps a library of open-source software, provides a free layout engine that can be used to create browsers or ­applications. “You won’t have IBM (IBM) knocking at your door, saying, ‘You’re using our patents,’” says Le Hégaret. This also means you’re not dependent on one vendor’s tools, as with Adobe Flash or Microsoft (MSFT) Silverlight.


  • SBA suspends major contractor GTSI from government work

    Federal officials on Friday suspended one of the nation’s largest government contractors from receiving new work, alleging that the Northern Virginia company inappropriately went through other firms to gain access to contracts set aside for small companies.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration’s action imperils hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for GTSI Corp., a top-50 contractor that has relied on the Pentagon and the rest of the federal government for more than 90 percent of its sales in recent years.

    At issue is work GTSI did as a subcontractor for small businesses serving as the prime contractors on government contracts.

  • Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson on Where Ideas Come From

    Say the word “inventor” and most people think of a solitary genius toiling in a basement. But two ambitious new books on the history of innovation—by Steven Johnson and Kevin Kelly, both longtime wired contributors—argue that great discoveries typically spring not from individual minds but from the hive mind. In Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, Johnson draws on seven centuries of scientific and technological progress, from Gutenberg to GPS, to show what sorts of environments nurture ingenuity. He finds that great creative milieus, whether MIT or Los Alamos, New York City or the World Wide Web, are like coral reefs—teeming, diverse colonies of creators who interact with and influence one another.

  • IBM Explores Water Management Market

    Divining a possible new market in municipal water management systems, IBM has set up a pilot project in Dubuque, Iowa, to investigate whether cities could both save money and conserve water by monitoring citizens’ usage more closely.

    In this project, over 300 home dwellers have been issued smart water meters that wirelessly transit their water usage back to IBM data center, on a periodic basis. The citizens can check into a secure Web site, run by IBM, to see how much water they use, and when the it is being used during the day. The idea is that by studying water usage habits, citizens may be able to tell if they have hidden leaks.

  • Investor Peter Thiel asks Silicon Valley: Where’s the innovation?


    In an interview with TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacy, Thiel, 42, argued that the high-tech gold rush that has skyrocketed valuations for Internet companies represents a sharp disconnect from the economic malaise that has blanketed much of the world, stagnating median wages and living conditions for most people just 30 miles outside of Silicon Valley.

  • Science

    • Scientists find potentially habitable planet near Earth

      A team of planet hunters led by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington has announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet (three times the mass of Earth) orbiting a nearby star at a distance that places it squarely in the middle of the star’s “habitable zone,” where liquid water could exist on the planet’s surface. If confirmed, this would be the most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered and the first strong case for a potentially habitable one.

    • History of hardware tessellation

      With the introduction of Shader Model 5.0 hardware and the API support provided by OpenGL 4.0 made GPU based geometry tessellation a first class citizen in the latest graphics applications. While the official support from all the commodity graphics card vendors and the relevant APIs are quite recent news, little to no people know that hardware tessellation has a long history in the world of consumer graphics cards. In this article I would like to present a brief introduction to tessellation and discuss about its evolution that resulted in what we can see in the latest technology demos and game titles.

  • From My Personal Blog

    • Science Blogging

      I found it gratifying back in the days around 2006 when people in my scientific field knew me in conferences because of my blogs and wanted to hang out with me because of these. The readership grew steadily as long as I kept writing. PZ Myers sees the same type of trend and Techrights, where I wrote over 11,000 posts, is the same. Perhaps I will resume posting in blog form about science later this month or next month. As always, I will separate my professional life, my personal life, and my hobbies (the 4 blogs I run will provide this separation).

    • One of My Favourite Documentaries: BBC Dissecting the True Evils of PR

      The programme is broken down into several episodes, each delivered in parts due to time limits in YouTube. Here is the first part of the four episodes.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • The Cyberwar Echo Chamber

      On Wednesday, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn III discussed the military’s cybersecurity strategy after meetings at NATO and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. “Like air, sea, land and space, we’re going to have to treat cyberspace as an arena where we need to defend our networks and to be able to operate freely,” he said.

      The rhetoric sounds uncannily familiar to what retired CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden told infosec professionals at the annual security conference Black Hat in July. “Cyber is a domain like land, sea, air, and space,” he said.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • FBI ignores DoJ report, raids activists, arrests Time Person of the Year
    • Reddit user flames Flickr photographer; Flickr photographer threatens copyright lawsuit

      A Reddit user who posted meanspirited remarks about a Flickr user’s photo was called a jerk by the photographer. To get back, the critic posted a tiny thumbnail of the Flickr image (which is licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike) to Reddit along with a complaint about his treatment.

    • Wikipedia co-founder slams Wikileaks

      The co-founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, on Tuesday slammed whistleblower WikiLeaks over its release of Afghan war documents which he said could “get people killed”.

      Wales also expressed irritation over the website’s use of the term “Wiki” in its name, which refers to a site that allows different users to collaborate and make contributions.

      “I would distance myself from WikiLeaks, I wish they wouldn’t use the name, they are not a Wiki. A big way they got famous in the first place was by using the word Wiki, which was unfortunate in my view,” he said at a business conference in Kuala Lumpur.

    • Teller accused of texting robber during bank heist

      Technology is such an enabler. Even when it comes, allegedly, to robbing a bank.

      For police in Arlington, Texas, believe they have rumbled an inside job of a bank robbery by stumbling on the cell phone of one of the bank’s tellers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Bearing witness to the human cost of water pollution

      As part of our work to witness and expose water pollution problems around China, Greenpeace campaigners and photographer Lu Guang visited several areas along the Yangtze River that have been severely affected by industrial water pollution.

    • Global Warming Aids and Frustrates Archaeologists

      The discoveries are providing new insights into the behavior of our ancestors – but they come at a price. So rapid is the rise in global temperatures, and so great is the rate of disintegration of the world’s glaciers, that archaeologists risk losing precious relics freed from the icy tombs. Wood rots in a few years once freed from ice while rarer feathers used on arrows, wool or leather, crumble to dust in days unless stored in a freezer. As a result, archaeologists are racing against time to find and save these newly exposed wonders.

    • Oil on the bottom of the Gulf

      Here aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, we are continuing our three-month science mission in the Gulf of Mexico. We are floating about five miles north of the Deepwater Horizon well site, in water that would have been covered with oil a few months ago, where thousands of gallons of oil were skimmed and burned on the surface while an armada of boats and planes delivered daily bombardment with chemical dispersants that sunk the oil back underwater into the path of any unlucky sea creatures nearby.

    • Where’s all the oil gone?

      While the water samples taken from way down deep during the trip are off to the lab to get analyzed, the immediate, measurable data obtained by Rainer tells us this; that there’s a clear indication of an oxygen deficiency in the Gulf’s waters, in an area stretching from around the Deepwater Horizon disaster site to 300 miles (500km) to the west. The infamous plume still exists – perhaps not visibly, but the essence of it is still there.

    • Man caught with uranium in Purulia

      A criminal with alleged links to gangs across the country and even Afghanistan was nabbed in Purulia with nearly 1 kg of uranium on Sunday. The market value of the radioactive element is said to be about $7 million.

    • A global network of marine reserves can restore the world’s oceans to health

      Our oceans are an absolute marvel – but they are also in a deep, deep crisis. If we don’t act fast, our oceans will continue to deteriorate and vital food sources and essential functions provided to our planet and its people by the oceans could be lost forever. Since healthy oceans underpin our very survival, Greenpeace is today releasing an “Emergency Oceans Rescue Plan” aimed at world leaders, which sets out the best way to save our oceans- something that can and should be done at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which takes place later this month in Japan.

  • Finance

    • Bank of America halts foreclosures in 23 states

      Bank of America is delaying foreclosures in 23 states as it examines whether it rushed the foreclosure process for thousands of homeowners without reading the documents.

      The move adds the nation’s largest bank to a growing list of mortgage companies whose employees signed documents in foreclosure cases without verifying the information in them.

    • FTC Report Will Detail Ways To Help Journalism Survive

      FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said Wednesday that his agency hopes to release a report by the end of the year that would detail proposals for helping journalism survive but said one idea that is unlikely to be included is a call for taxing electronic devices to subsidize newspapers and other media platforms.


      He added that “government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers and [any proposal] should be platform neutral.”

    • IMF admits that the West is stuck in near depression

      The IMF report – “Will It Hurt? Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Consolidation” – implicitly argues that austerity will do more damage than so far admitted.

      Normally, tightening of 1pc of GDP in one country leads to a 0.5pc loss of growth after two years. It is another story when half the globe is in trouble and tightening in lockstep. Lost growth would be double if interest rates are already zero, and if everybody cuts spending at once.

    • Rich Germans demand to pay more in taxes.

      You read that correctly. Some of Germany’s wealthy are demanding that they pay a “Rich man’s tax” They feel that simply contributing to charity is not enough, they feel that they should pay more to support society, because they can. They say they have more money than they need.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation Fires Back At Righthaven

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation is joining the fight against Righthaven, a company that has been widely criticized for suing a string of news sites that use content belonging to its clients, including, notably, the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The EFF is now defending Democratic Underground, a political site which Righthaven sued last month for using a five-sentence excerpt of a Review-Journal article without permission. The Las Vegas Sun, which has closely been following Righthaven’s moves, says it’s the first time that Righthaven has been hit with a counterclaim.

    • ‘Pre-crime’ Comes to the HR Dept.

      In the Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report, police belonging to a special Pre-crime unit arrest people for crimes they would do in the future. It’s science fiction, and it will probably never happen in our lifetimes.

      However, the pre-crime concept is coming very soon to the world of Human Resources (HR) and employee management.

      A Santa Barbara, Calif., startup called Social Intelligence data-mines the social networks to help companies decide if they really want to hire you.

      While background checks, which mainly look for a criminal record, and even credit checks have become more common, Social Intelligence is the first company that I’m aware of that systematically trolls social networks for evidence of bad character.

      Using automation software that slogs through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs, and “thousands of other sources,” the company develops a report on the “real you” — not the carefully crafted you in your resume. The service is called Social Intelligence Hiring. The company promises a 48-hour turn-around.

    • Doctors caught revealing secret patient information in Facebook posts

      DOCTORS have been disclosing sensitive medical information – and even mocking patients – on Facebook.

      The NSW Medical Board has cautioned one doctor for making “flippant and derogatory” comments, and warned others to “think twice” before disclosing patient details on social networking sites.

    • Illinois Mayor Claims Anonymous Bloggers No Different Than 9/11 Terrorists; Says Anonymity Is A First Amendment Challenge

      And so, the mayor of Mokena gets a history lesson on the First Amendment from the press that the First Amendment enables. There’s something nice about that, though, you would have hoped the history lesson would have come sooner.

    • Blocked for two years, then taken down in just 30 minutes – a disastrous result of Internet Blocking policy

      Internet blocking is advocated as an allegedly effective measure against the proliferation of child abuse images. Countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark have been using this technology for years. But a practical test by the German Working Group against Access Blocking and Censorship (AK Zensur) in cooperation with European civil rights advocacy groups has shown: Internet blocking does not fight abuse, in practice it only serves to conceal the failures of politics and police. Websites can remain on blocking lists for years even though they have either been deleted or could be deleted easily and quickly.

      How is this possible, and what could be done against illegal sites? Answers are given by a new analysis of current blocking lists from Sweden and Denmark by the Working Group against Access Blocking and Censorship. The group developed software to select, categorise and geo-locate 167 blocked Internet domains as a representative sample of websites blocked in Denmark at the time of the investigation. “The result is a smack in the face of law enforcement authorities”, says Alvar Freude of the Working Group. “Of the 167 listed sites, only three contained material that could be regarded as child pornography.” Two of these three sites had been blocked in Denmark since 2008, and these are, or least were, blocked in Sweden, Norway and Finland as well. These sites were therefore known for at least two years in several countries, and apparently law enforcement authorities did nothing to try and get this illegal content removed.

    • RIAA Claims That If COICA Isn’t Passed, Americans Are ‘Put At Risk’

      With the Senate trying to rush through COICA, the online censorship bill that ignores history and appears to violate both the principles of the First Amendment and due process, a bunch of concerned citizens have been speaking out against the bill, and asking the Senate not to rush it through without at least holding hearings about the massive problems with the bill.

    • What Else Might COICA Be Used To Censor
    • Even Without COICA, White House Asking Registrars To Voluntarily Censor ‘Infringing’ Sites

      While there’s been increasing attention paid to the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA), the proposed law that would allow the government to require ISPs and registrars to block access to websites deemed to be “dedicated to infringing activities,” it looks like the White House (which we had thought was against censoring the internet) appears to be working on a backup plan in case COICA doesn’t pass.

    • Quebec Carnival hires lawyers to protect Bonhomme

      Quebec City’s Winter Carnival has hired lawyers to defend its beloved Bonhomme Carnaval, whose iconic image is gracing newsstands across the country this week after Maclean’s magazine used it to illustrate an explosive cover story about corruption in la belle province.

      “For the past 57 years, the Carnival has invested considerable energy and resources into protecting Bonhomme Carnaval’s outstanding reputation,” said the event’s CEO Jean Pelletier in a statement released Monday afternoon. “We are therefore examining the options available to us to enforce our intellectual property rights.”

    • Your Comments: The Maclean’s cover with Bonhomme Carnaval
    • DoT rejects BlackBerry’s email decoding solution

      The BlackBerry security jinx is unlikely to be resolved soon. The telecom department has rejected the interception solution offered by Canada’s Research In Motion (RIM) for its secure corporate email service. What’s more is that it has spurned RIM’s technical solution for decoding all chat communication on the popular BlackBerry Messenger service, which contradicts the home ministry’s recent clean chit to the Canadian smartphone maker’s interception solution for its messaging service.

    • Wiretapping the Internet

      Taking a cue from the authoritarian regimes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, American law-enforcement and intelligence agencies are seeking to re-engineer the Internet and other digital communications networks to make them easier to spy on.

      In the week since the plan became public, it has been roundly condemned by civil liberties groups and security experts — and rightly so. While the proposal described in Monday’s New York Times probably won’t do much to hinder sophisticated criminals or terrorists, it does threaten to undermine the security of global communications and stifle technological innovation.

    • Opting out of behavioral ad tracking may get easier

      A number of major advertising associations have banded together to announce a self-regulatory program that would allow users to opt out of ad tracking. The program revolves around the awkwardly named “Advertising Option Icon”—an icon that websites could place on their site that would allow users to get more information on why they’re being targeted for ads and let them control their data collection.

      The program is based on an industry report from July 2009 titled Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising, which focuses on education, transparency, and consumer control when it comes to targeted ads. The participating organizations include the Association of National Advertisers, Direct Marketing Association, the Better Business Bureau, Interactive Advertising Bureau, and Network Advertising Initiative. And, lest you assume this is a small effort, these trade groups represent some 5,000 other companies when it comes to advertising on the Web, so they have some pull.

    • Introducing the PCI Hug It Out Podcast Series [EFF donations]
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Films and the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010

        One of the key objectives of the Indian Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010, is to protect the authors of underlying works in films (such as scriptwriters, lyricists and music composers) from exploitation by effecting extensive structural changes in the Copyright Act, 1957, and, consequently, in India’s film and music industry. The amendments proposed in the 2010 Bill cover a range of subjects including exhaustion, the regulation of copyright contracts and the role of copyright societies.

      • Launch: From “Radical Extremism” to” Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda
      • Inside the finances of the UK “legal blackmail” copyright enforcement company

        Ars Technica’s Nate Anderson continues his excellent reporting on British law firm ACS:Law, a much-derided firm that sends threatening copyright letters on behalf of pornographers. ACS suffered an Anonymous denial of service attack in September, and inadvertently dumped its entire email repository, which is now available for download all over the net. Today, Anderson digs into ACS’s finances — how much it makes, what it expects to make, and how much paper it goes through printing threatening letters to mail to poorly researched accused infringers.

      • Sarah Novotny joins OSCON for 2011


        The O’Reilly Open Source Convention will be returning to Portland, Oregon, July 25-29, 2011.

      • R-J owner faces counterclaim in copyright lawsuit campaign

        The owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has for the first time been hit with a counterclaim over its online copyright infringement lawsuit campaign, with attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation accusing the newspaper of entering a “sham” relationship with the Review-Journal’s copyright enforcement partner Righthaven LLC — and accusing Righthaven of copyright fraud.

      • Would IMDB Really Not List A Film Because It Was Distributed Via BitTorrent?


        The explanation that it’s because of the BitTorrent release is pure speculation. Another article, from TorrentFreak provides some more details, with notes of rejection from IMDB. They claim that the movie needs to be associated with a production company that has a history of releasing movies, in order to get listed at this early stage. However, Tedeschi notes that this is a real production house that has released movies in the past, all of which have been listed in IMDB. The only thing that he sees that’s different is the planned BitTorrent release.

      • LA Times’ Propaganda Piece Claims Piracy Hurts Filmmakers Without Any Actual Evidence

        The article also highlights a filmmaker, Ellen Seidler, who complains about spending hours a day sending emails to file sharing sites, demanding they take down her film. Just think how much better she could be doing if she spent that same time connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy.

        What a waste of space by the LA Times, who shouldn’t be misleading people like this with bogus articles. It’s articles that portray these people as victims, due to their own lack of business initiative, that does real harm to filmmakers. If, instead, the LA Times focused on smart filmmakers who are in the same situation as Carter and Seidler, but instead embraced it and are making real money because of it, they’d be helping. Instead, they’re just making more of a mess.

      • If The Major Record Labels Tried To Adopt The ‘Radiohead’ Model…
      • No court order for Gallant Macmillan today!

        In the meantime one has to wonder, if BTplc had expressed concerns in the past, why is it only now they get an adjournment? Could it be that in not only damaging ACS:Law, the recent email leaks have also damaged the system which some wished to seek revenue from? and now Gallant Macmillan has been put on hold, what of Ministry of Sound? their site is still appears to be down. How much damage to their reputation with its potential customers has been done? From some forums, I’m seeing quite alot.


        Torrent Freak is currently reporting a comedy spoof of a certain historical figure finding out about he leak at ACS:Law. You can find that here: http://torrentfreak.com/acslaws-anti-piracy-downfall-sends-hitler-crazy-101004/

      • ACTA

        • The ACTA deal – are they faking it?

          ACTA negotiators claim a deal has been done, but is it really a counterfeit? How is it that a deal is successfully concluded when there are matters still outstanding? It would seem that the European Commission statement of a “successful” conclusion of ACTA is somewhat pre-emptive.

        • Vrijschrift: ACTA’s secrecy is illegal

          The Dutch foundation Vrijschrift requested publication of ACTA documents. The request was denied. Vrijschrift filed an objection, below a translation:

          1. Many provisions in ACTA are mandatory: “Each Party shall”. Substantially, often they regard legislation, eg “Each Party shall provide for criminal procedures and penalties to be applied at (…)”. There is a binding relationship between ACTA and legislation.

        • ACTA W5

          Participating in ACTA

          mouse ears on the world: text says ACTA ATTACKS INTERNET

          * Australia
          * Canada,
          * the European Union
          * Japan
          * South Korea
          * Mexico
          * New Zealand
          * Switzerland
          * United States

          American Flag hangs down

          ACTA came with heavy duty Non-Disclosure penalties. Which is why most if not all of the elected representatives of the participating governments were kept in the dark about what was even on the table. This includes elected representatives of the American Government. If they were made privvy to the negotiations, they were legally restrained from talking about it. Not very democratic, eh?

        • Did ACTA pass?

          The fact that ACTA did NOT go as planned probably means they will fight harder to achieve their goals in different ways. Canada is likely to get more “special treatment” since we’ve provided a hot bed of opposition. The fact that ACTA has not passed probably means that there will be an even stronger push to get the dreadful Bill C-32 passed.

        • Upcoming Comic Book By Law Professors Compares ACTA To 1984
        • ACTA: No More Negotiating Rounds Planned; Latest Text To Be Released

          The round of negotiations in Tokyo last week on the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will be the last in the several-year long process to come to a final agreement, negotiators have said. The latest text – along with highlighted issue areas on which certain countries still have reservations – will be released before the end of the week, negotiators told Intellectual Property Watch.

          The most critical outstanding issue is scope, especially on border measures, a Japanese negotiator told Intellectual Property Watch today. There was a “certain convergence” but “further examination was needed in some capitals,” the negotiator said. “In that sense we haven’t gotten agreement” yet.

Clip of the Day

Juan Pedro Bolivar – “GNU Psycosynth”

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 4/10/2010: DebConf10 Report, ODF is Green

Posted in News Roundup at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • FOSS Community Orientation?

    * Yellow: Production Orientation
    * Pink: Marketing Orientation
    * Green: FOSS Community Orientation

  • Wasteful Technology Habits – Think Before You Buy

    OpenOffice meets the needs of easily 95% of home users (and a good deal of those that use office software at work) and most of those people using an, often times illegal, version of Photoshop would be able to accomplish the exact same tasks using the legally free GIMP. Beyond this beginning Linux distros such as Linux Mint or Pinguy OS easily fulfill all the desktop computing needs of your average user.

    With all of this in mind, why don’t you see Linux, OpenOffice, or GIMP on the shelf at your local computer store? Simple:

    There is no money in it for the retailer.

  • Draft of the ANLoc FOSS localisation manual

    Today is international translation day! As part of the African Network for Localisation (ANLoc), I have been writing a book on the localisation of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

  • Events

    • IRILL Days 2010: detailed program
    • Free Software and the Playing Field

      In only a few years, Free Software has evolved from being a niche phenomenon into an increasingly mature mainstream movement. Despite the commonplace understanding as Free Software as one of the driving forces of tomorrow’s information technologies, the surrounding political and economic environment has often not yet kept up. As the founder and first president of the Free Software Foundation Europe, as well as CEO of a Free Software enterprise, the speaker has unique insight into political and economic aspects that keep favouring proprietary technologies until the current day despite the assurances to the contrary by some. From his personal experience, Georg Greve will give some real life examples of how Free Software companies work and interact with partners and customers, and how a truly level playing field would be constructed.

  • Web Browsers

    • Desktop dictatorship: Corporate Australia still prefers IE

      That’s a sizable chunk, when you realise that total global average daily users of Firefox at the same time was about 114 million. In short, roughly 1.5 percent of total Firefox users globally are Australian. And the number is growing. As at August 2009, there were 1.6 million average Australian daily users of Firefox. That figure was much smaller — 1.2 million — in August 2008. In other words, although IE is still the dominant force, Firefox is a strong challenger, with Chrome and then Safari coming up behind.

      IBM CIO Godbee compares his company’s adoption of Firefox to the way that the similarly open source Linux operating system gained traction on servers around the world over the past several decades since it was first released.

      “Over a period of time it has been organic,” he says. “And suddenly there is it is, on a wide scale.”

  • Databases

    • Road to MariaDB 5.2: Virtual Columns

      MariaDB 5.2 is almost here. The gamma release (think “RC”) was released on 28 Sep and the stable release will follow just as soon as the developers are happy with it.

  • Project Releases

    • FireBreath 1.2 released

      FireBreath is licensed under a dual license structure; this means you can choose which of two licenses to use it under. FireBreath can be used under the New BSD license or the GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1.

    • ForgeRock Releases OpenDJ
  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Is ODF Green?

      Green IT is concerned with approaches to information technology that reduce the environmental impact from the manufacture, use and disposal of computers and peripherals. Occasionally I am asked whether Open Document Format (ODF) has any relationship to “Green IT”. This is an interesting question, and the fact that the question is asked at all suggests that Green IT goals are increasing playing a central role in decision making.

      When an organization migrates from Microsoft Office and their binary file formats (DOC/XSL/PPT) and moves to ODF, they will immediately notice that ODF documents are much smaller than the corresponding Microsoft format documents. This is a benefit of the ZIP compression applied to the contents of ODF documents. It also reflects that fact that Microsoft-format documents, especially ones that have been edited and saved many times, tend to accumulate unused blocks in the file, blocks which are not used, but still bloat the file’s storage.


      So in summary, yes, a move to ODF will cause your documents to be far smaller than they were before, and that has advantages in terms of storage and bandwidth consumption. But let’s be honest, when it comes to disk storage and bandwidth documents are not your biggest problem. Graphics and video are far larger.


  • Editor’s Note: Do Boobytrapped Websites Capture Readers?

    Compounding the problem is decreasing quality and quantity of original material and increasing torrents of swill from content farms, recycling the same shallow junk over and over merely to provide a framework to hang yet more ads on, and then SEO-gaming for all they’re worth. Thanks, I so love it when the first page of a Google search is link farms and content farm crapola.

    Consider supporting sites you enjoy, if they accept reader subscriptions or donations. For example, Groklaw and LWN.net serve up some of the best, most in-depth articles anywhere. Groklaw runs no ads, and LWN.net relies on subscriptions to help them keeps the ads to a minimum. As always, it comes down to the Golden Rule– the one with the gold makes the rules. Me, I don’t even want to live in a world controlled by marketers. Though I fear we are already mostly there.

  • Science

    • US Government To Operate Fab Labs?

      They want to establish “at least one Fab Lab per every 700,000 individuals in the United States in the first ten years of its operation”. Um, our simplistic arithmetic shows this would be 438 Fab Labs, based on 307,006,550 residents (from July 2009) divided by 700,000. Many cities would have several Fab Labs, if this scheme works. Oh, and the population is likely to grow a tad by ten year’s time.

    • Anti-antibiotics: Bugs, drugs and bureaucrats

      For certain kinds of bacteria, we have reached the end of the line. No new antibiotics have been developed for decades, and some superbugs are now resistant to all those we have. There is no one solution to the problem of antibiotic resistance, but we desperately need new antibiotics.

      Far from helping, though, drug regulatory agencies are discouraging the development of new antibiotics, say those who met in London last week to discuss solutions to the problem of antibiotic resistance, at a conference organised by the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. New Scientist finds out what is going on.

      Why are regulators coming under fire?

      They are making it ever harder and more costly to get new antibiotics approved. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came in for the most criticism.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Conversation With Frederick Kaufman

      Could Del Monte, Heinz, Unilever and Walmart become the deciders on stainability? In “What’s New for Dinner,” Frederick Kaufman writes about the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, an attempt by large companies to measure the environmental impact of the seed-to-shelf life cycle of any produce-based product.

    • Say hello to mechanically separated chicken!

      Basically, the entire chicken is smashed and pressed through a sieve–bones, eyes, guts, and all. it comes out looking like this.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Miliband retains Labour line on DNA and CCTV

      Ed Miliband, giving his first speech to the Labour party conference on 28 September 2010, said of civil liberties, “too often we seemed casual about them”.

      “I won’t let the Tories or the Liberals take ownership of the British tradition of liberty,” he said. “I want our party to reclaim that tradition.”

    • We would be better off without the vetting and barring scheme

      As a report published yesterday by the Civitas think tank makes clear, this is a dangerous approach. The idea behind the Vetting and Barring Scheme is flawed and remodelling it will make no difference. The scheme was introduced to make children safer after the murders of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells in Soham in 2002 exposed the flaws in vetting their killer Ian Huntley. Yet it is more likely to put our children in greater jeopardy, while at the same time poisoning their relationship with adults.

    • Police to trial while-you-wait DNA tests

      Police will soon have the means to grab someone’s genetic sample and run it through the national DNA database while waiting in the street, if early trials by military industrial giant Lockheed Martin are successful.

    • Supermarket tells Norwich toddler – take your hood off

      A Norwich two-year-old was asked to take down the hood of his anorak when entering a city convenience store – for security reasons.

    • £470,00 Norfolk speed camera may never be used

      Yesterday Norfolk County Council confirmed that the camera has never been used and as a result no tickets have been issued.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 10:10′s Boom video: you can’t control the debate any more

      10:10’s climate change murder video has caused much offence, but one thing nobody is questioning is their inability to control the material, or the debate.

      The instant negative reaction from most of the climate change campaign community after its release yesterday morning, prompted the video to be quickly pulled from 10:10’s own website, but it was even more quickly reposted by people wishing to continue to comment.

      Wisely, in their apology statement yesterday evening 10:10 said they are not going to try to control how people use the video now it is in the wild, for instance via copyright take-downs.

  • Finance

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Social Mores At Work: Sigur Ros Calls Out Commercials With ‘Similar’ Music
    • Well then; All’s right with the world
    • Copyrights

      • Sintel Open Movie Released and It’s Absolutely Beautiful!

        This 15 minute film has been realized in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute, by an international team of artists and developers. Also, several crucial technical and creative targets have been realized online, by developers and artists and teams all over the world.

      • Ministry of Sound Silenced By Huge DDoS Attack

        Today, lawyers Gallant Macmillan will attend the High Court in London in an attempt to persuade a senior judge to order the handover of hundreds more identities of people accused of file-sharing. To mark this occasion, Operation Payback decided to hit the London law firm but after they tried to nullify the planned DDoS attack, Anonymous hit their client instead. Many hours later, Ministry of Sound is still out of business online.

      • Historic audio at risk, thanks to bad copyright laws

        The Library of Congress has released a sobering new report on the state of digital audio preservation in the United States. The Library’s National Recording Preservation Board concludes that most of the nation’s audio libraries are ill-equipped to handle the complex array of streams and digital formats by which music and other recorded sounds are released today.

        “It is relatively easy to recognize the importance of recorded sound from decades ago,” the survey notes. “What is not so evident is that older recordings actually have better prospects to survive another 150 years than recordings made last week using digital technologies.”

      • ACTA

        • ACTA is No Done Deal!

          The spokesperson for the Trade European Commissioner has announced Saturday October 2nd, that all parties have reached an agreement on ACTA. This is one more example of how the secrecy of this negotiation permits all manoeuvres to deceive citizens and Members of Parliaments. La Quadrature du Net calls all European citizens to alert their MEPs and National MPs about the need to monitor closely the rest of this negotiation and prepare to reject its by-product.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

Clip of the Day

Neal Walfield – “GNU Hurd”

Credit: TinyOgg

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