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Links 4/2/2011: GNOME 3.0 Laptop Debate, Unified Packaging Arguments

Posted in News Roundup at 10:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Is the Linux Desktop Distribution war over?

      Linux is dominating servers and supercomputers, but as a desktop operating system it has not taken off yet for mainstream, non technically advanced, users. Not least because there is still very few if any hardware designed with the Linux desktop devices in mind.

      Counting desktop market share by browser user agent strings (the identifiers given by the browser to web servers) is difficult because Linux users are fragmented into many different desktops and browsers so many counts put a lot of Linux users into unknown. However, even where the count is sympathetic to Linux by trawling through the user agents manually, it does not increase that much. W3 Schools currently gives Linux 5%, the stats from Wikimedia’s own servers’ currently gives 2.28%.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • New Version Of VIA DRM TTM/GEM Patches

      Thanks to James Simmons, an independent developer in the open-source community, last month a patch was published that adds TTM/GEM memory management support to the VIA DRM Linux kernel driver. This was after VIA basically admitted defeat for their Linux / open-source strategy. Over the weekend the second version of this TTM/GEM patch was published by James.

    • Graphics Stack

      • An Initial Version Of LunarGLASS-LLVM For Mesa

        In October of last year there was a proposal by LunarG, a small consulting company focusing upon Gallium3D and Mesa that was formed by some of the original Tungsten Graphics crew, to create a common kernel and shader compiler stack. This stack would utilize LLVM (the Low-Level Virtual Machine) for optimizations This work was published as LunarGLASS and there is now a specification and initial implementation of it for Mesa.

      • A Major Open-Source ATI Linux Driver Update

        For the Radeon HD 5000/6000 and Fusion hardware there’s also open-source 3D support available that lives within the Mesa stack. Ideally you should be using the Gallium3D “R600g” driver for the best and fastest open-source ATI driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • digiKam Tricks 1.7 Released

        The digiKam Tricks book version 1.7 is now available at Amazon US and UK. Here is what’s new in this release…

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Use the Force!

        As you may know, a little ribellion is rampaging in GNOME. Some people (mostly “simple” users) are complaining against GNOME contributors (mostly developers and designers) about properties and preferences available on new Power panel in System Settings. Probably this will not be the only one change that will shock you. Do you want another example? Well, in GNOME 3.0 you’ll have to place an image file in ~/Pictures if you want to use it as background¹ or use Set as Background feature provided, for instance, by Image Viewer.

      • Cheese decoration design contest

        Think you can do better? Do you want your design to be chosen and seen by all Cheese users, bringing fame, fortune and complete bliss into your life?

      • Automatic suspend when closing the lid

        Without giving the user a visibile option to disable automatic suspend, with teaching users to really on this inherent unreliable feature (applications shall be permitted to inhibit suspend!), I really wonder if GNOME has put money aside to compensate users killing their notebooks with broken automatic suspend.

      • GNOME Shell Review – It’s Starting to Look Good Already

        GNOME is among the most widely used Linux desktop environments out there, if not *the* most widely used one. GNOME Shell is the latest incarnation of GNOME which is still undergoing heavy development. Months ago, we captured the evolution of GNOME Shell in detail and I think its time for another major GNOME Shell review.

      • New resize borders

        Part of my work at Canonical involves implementing new ways to make the existing user interface beautiful, usable and accessible at the same time. One of the things that has been done recently in the theme was to make the window border size quite small, so that you don’t have large visually distracting borders on your application.

      • GNOME 3.0 Laptop Change Frustrates Some Users

        On a GNOME 2.x desktop if you are a laptop owner you can control what happens when you close your laptop’s lid from the power management preferences whether to suspend the system or simply blank the screen. With GNOME 3.0, when you close your laptop’s lid, the system will suspend and there will be no user-interface for changing this policy. It’s a design decision for the GNOME 3.0 desktop.

      • Dell releases OpenManage 6.4 for Ubuntu

        In the spring of 2010, members of the Ubuntu development team worked with Dell to build and test OpenManage 6.3 for Ubuntu. Several of our engineers took several weeks working with Dell Linux engineers to build out a process for ensuring:
        - all of the dependencies were met,
        - helped get the Dell Linux team up to speed on the Ubuntu packaging policy,
        - provided assistance during the build process,
        - and reviewed the packages when they were built.
        This effort resulted in the release in late July 2010 of Dell OpenManage 6.3 for Ubuntu.

  • Distributions

    • A Single Packager to Rule Them All

      Second, the whole idea of a Linux app store is revolting. In what universe do the talking heads live? If it is indeed our own universe, they should all be fired. At first, you say to yourself that this is just for Linux n00bz and the casual market. This app store thing is not for those of us who have self respect and can make our own decisions regarding software. However, before long, most major distributions will be using this app store. Over time, developers will urge the talking heads to come up with a universal package management system. This will greatly reduce development costs and time to market. All in all, this sounds great. But at the point where we have a single package management system, why would I choose Ubuntu over Debian or Fedora? Why would I choose either of them over Mandriva? I get the same packages, the same security vulnerabilities, and the same kernel config. Why do I care?

    • A single fear to ruin them all

      We must fight consolidation!

      When industries consolidate, we, the consumer of these industries products loose out. The reduced competition in the market place causes inevitable rises in prices and eventually leads to monopoly situations. So, the theory goes, if in my gut I need to fight off consolidation, then I must be fair and fight any attempt to unify the code used for Linux/FreeDesktops.

      The problem with this sentiment is that it’s wrong. When an industry consolidates it’s combining production and reducing market sellers. When multiple system distributions opt to use the same package management software, they are adopting a standard. In fact for free and open source this is more a kin to another industry deciding to take up a mechanical free and industry agreed standard.

    • Reviews

      • Pardus 2011 Review

        Just a few weeks back the fabulous Turkish distro Pardus released its latest creation, Pardus 2011. It’s been quite a while since the last release went live (You may want to check out my review of Pardus 2009 HERE) and the list of upcoming features/enhancements was long and exciting, so I was eager to give Pardus 2011 a spin.


        Pardus 2011 is an interesting release with many great things about it. Given the terrific work that was put in place for Pardus 2009, I must admit I was expecting even better. I guess I was expecting tighter branding integration, more modern features in PISI and YALI and a more solid and consistent customization of the KDE desktop.

      • Crunchbang Statler Review

        A few Years ago, I was given an old amd 800mghz machine which was deemed to “slow” to run xp with service pack 3. I tried a few distro’s on it and had settled with Wolvix. But shortly after that, a new distro with a weird name,”#! crunchbang”, was introduced on distrowatch. This distro touted an unknown (to me) environment called Openbox. Openbox was supposed to be a lightweight system, and was based on Ubuntu -which i had used before. Like many others, I downloaded it sometime in Nov 2008. After about 10 minutes playing with the live CD, I just had to install it. Shortly thereafter I had this #! OS installed, with it’s plain interface and dark theme, but it ran beautifully! It was quick on my old machine, and everything “just worked!I remember finding a friendly Forum there, One that turned out to be one of the greatest community forums I have ever been a part of. I still remember My first post on the #! forums, nothing I installed would appear on the menu. I knew that this must be a problem, somehow overlooked by the developer, So I posted my concerns. I was answered by corenominal (AKA Phillip Newborough) himself. He explained to me how to enter new menu items by hand. Being answered by the developer himself, showed me from the start, just how special this Distro was. During the course of the next year, I leaned from him and many others, on that forum, what I now realize has totally destroyed my happy-go-lucky computer life, and started me down the road of endless tweaking and hacking of any system I use… thanks Guys!


        Build your own! Don’t know how do all this? Join the forums and theres a wealth of information there.

      • A Week with Pinguy – The Slick Ubuntu Remix

        It’s the usability changes that make Pinguy worth using.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Where’s My Mageia ISO?

        According to a new blog post, bootstrapping has been going on. As anyone who has ever built a Gentoo system knows, bootstrapping is building your new system so you can build your new system. In the case of Gentoo, users would download a pre-built build system, the package manager, and the Portage tree. Then one would use that to re-build each of packages needed to comprise the toolchain. Once GCC, make, and friends are built and installed anew, then one can begin building other packages such as the kernel, the X server, and so on.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) CEO & President James M Whitehurst sells 4,902 Shares

        CEO & President of Red Hat Inc. (RHT) James M Whitehurst sells 4,902 shares of RHT on 02/02/2011 at an average price of $42.5 a share.

        Red Hat Inc has a market cap of $8.11 billion; its shares were traded at around $42.58 with a P/E ratio of 74.7 and P/S ratio of 10.9. Red Hat Inc had an annual average earning growth of 22.7% over the past 5 years.

    • Debian Family

      • People behind Debian: Mike Hommey, Firefox/Iceweasel maintainer

        For as long as I have known Mike, he’s been maintaining one of the largest (and most widely used) package: Iceweasel, Debian’s default web browser. It’s effectively Mozilla’s Firefox although it has been renamed to avoid some rules enforced by Mozilla’s trademark policy. But we might see Firefox back in Debian… read on to know Mike’s plans.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Private cloud “in a box” from Dell

          It just got a lot easier, and faster, to get a cloud in the house. Simply buy a starting cloud from Dell, and add to it as you need it to grow. You’ll get a reference architecture of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud on Dell’s cloud-focused, dense PowerEdge C servers, fully supported, with professional services if you need to stretch it in your own unique direction and want a little help.

        • Linaro 11.05 Alpha-2 Released
        • UEC on Dell Servers is out – What a journey!

          So, for those of you whom have put their head in the soil for the last 24 hours, I have big news: UEC on Dell Servers, Standard Edition, is out! The press pick up on our PR has been great, which is in-line with the reports I have got from our attendance at Dell FRS last week.

          Anyway, it’s been a very interesting project where not only we have learned to work with Dell, but also with each other as this involved quite a few teams within Canonical: Platform, OEM, IS, ISD, Corporate Services, Marketing, Legal.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 Released
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 released
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 2, Released [Screenshots And Video]

          Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal alpha 2 has just been released and as usual, we’ll do a recap of all the new features since alpha 1.

        • Canonical joins the OpenStack community

          OpenStack today have made a number of announcements about the Bexar release of their cloud stack and we were delighted to be able to confirm its inclusion in the repositories for Ubuntu 11.04 as well as officially joining the community. We have been engaged with the OpenStack community informally for some time. Some Canonical alumni have been key to driving the OpenStack initiative over in Rackspace and there has been a very healthy dialogue between the two projects with strong attendance at UDS and at the OpenStack conferences by engineers in both camps.

        • Ubuntu’s Unity Interface: You Might Not Hate It After All

          I was unhappy — appalled, even — when I read in Fall 2010 that Ubuntu 11.04 would be ditching GNOME in favor of the Unity desktop environment. But after testing the development version of the next Ubuntu release, I have to admit I’m growing less skeptical of Unity’s prospects.

        • Unity: Makes me want to push the Ubuntu desktop. Once again!

          Well, I will make this one short: I have promoted GNU/Linux since 1997. Since Ubuntu came in the picture I am more and more confident about introducing people to the free software world and offering them a nice experience. The last years I have really just been very satisfied with what I have and not been so keen on promoting it beyond the people that really want to try it. Unity is changing that!

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Nokia takes its MeeGo theme code offline, likely preparing custom UI

          It has been almost a year since Intel and Nokia began converging their respective mobile Linux platforms to create the MeeGo project. The effort has attracted interest among hardware vendors, but hasn’t quite reached the stage where it is ready for mainstream consumer devices. A growing body of evidence suggests that the wait might soon be over.

          Nokia had hoped to deliver its first MeeGo-based product in the fourth quarter of 2010, but pushed back the launch into 2011. Nokia’s MeeGo debut device was originally expected to be the rumored N9 handset, but the subsequent flow of conflicting rumors and leaks has left little in the way of clarity, leaving broad speculation in their wake.

        • Introducing: Project Bretzn

          The following information is from Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen who i’ve met at the MeeGo Conference in Dublin where he mentioned the outline of this project. It is certainly good to see it in writing and in the flesh.

      • Android

        • The Android 3.0 Fragments API

          An important goal for Android 3.0 is to make it easier for developers to write applications that can scale across a variety of screen sizes…

        • Android expected to surge in Thailand

          According to True Corp assistant to the president and CEO, Papon Ratanachaikanont, Thailand had the largest amount of iPhones shipped to any country in Southeast Asia in December last year. This momentum, however, is likely to be disrupted due to the uprise of budget Android smartphones coming out this year.

        • Blogger Gets an Android App

          Blogger, the Google-owned blogging platform, announced today that it finally has an Android app. The funny part, of course, is that Android is Google’s smartphone platform and Blogger has had an iPhone app since September 2009.

        • Is there a line between what is and isn’t Android on Android-derived or compatible devices?

          Android’s open source nature has been a large factor of the mobile OS’s success. Although Google generally partners with a single vendor to create a point product for each Android release (Samsung’s Nexus S for the recent Gingerbread release or Motorola’s Xoom for the upcoming Honeycomb release), the company eventually release each Android version as open source for other manufacturers to implement (and potentially modify) as they see fit, often with input from various carriers that will sell the result handsets or tablets.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Publication of Fourth Issue – International Free and Open Source Software Law Review

    The Editorial Committee is delighted to announce issue four of the ‘International Free and Open Source Software Law Review’ (IFOSS L. Rev.) is now available. IFOSSL. Rev. is a peer-reviewed biannual legal review dedicated to analysis and debate around Free and Open Source Software legal issues.

  • Web Browsers

    • The 5 Browsers That Annoy Me The Least

      This is possibly going to change once Firefox 4 comes out of beta, because from what I’m seeing, it’s got a pile of stuff that needs to be fixed and tweaked right out of the box before it’s even close to usable in my opinion. Way more than the current version of Firefox has anyway.

    • Chrome

      • A dash of speed, 3D and apps

        WebGL is a new technology which brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser. With WebGL in Chrome, you can experience rich 3D experiences right inside the browser with no need for additional software. Curious about the three-dimensional possibilities? Try out these demos to experience the power of WebGL in the latest stable version of Chrome.

      • AskUbuntu has Gone through the 10,000 Users Threshold

        Here some more statistics from askubuntu.com:

        # of questions: 7350
        # of answers: 16044
        # of comments: 25406
        # of votes: 72233
        # of badges: 15426
        # of users: 10005

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Prism goes Chromeless

        Back in 2007, Mozilla launched the Prism effort to create web applications that could run on the desktop. Essentially Prism offered users a way to run a browser loaded to a specific web application.

        After a couple of years of active development, Prism development stalled in February of 2010 and there have been no updates about the project or its releases — until now. Prism could run as an add-on for Firefox (but only 3.6.x and not 4), and as such Firefox 4 Beta users have been missing out on what I believe to be – a fantastic Mozilla technology.


        Chromeless is much more than what Prism was though – it offers the promise of a more optimized and customized browser that could potentially make a browser application much better.

      • New Android Firefox beta beats default browser in JS benchmark

        Mozilla has announced the availability of a new Firefox Mobile 4 beta release for Android and Maemo. The new version brings significant performance improvements, further reduces the browser’s installation footprint, and introduces experimental support for reflowing text after zooming.

        We tested the beta release with Android 2.2 on a Nexus One handset. The latest improvements make Firefox fully competitive on Google’s mobile operating system, offering an excellent user experience and a number of compelling advantages over the platform’s default Web browser.

      • Crowdsourcing Project: Thoughts & Proposals for the Open Web Library channel
      • Game On Winners: Level Up the Open Web

        The Mozilla Labs Game On open Web game development competition is Game Over- for now! The votes are in, the winners are chosen, and we’re fresh out of quarters.

  • Oracle/Java/LO

    • IcedTea Project Goes To The Web

      This is the first official release of IcedTea-Web (v1.0) provides the IcedTea NP plug-in and a Java Web Start implementation via the javaws binary, which is based upon NetX. There’s also a preview of the itweb-settings tool, which provides a graphical user-interface for controlling settings of NetX and the IcedTea web plug-in.

    • Oracle drafts OpenJDK bylaws

      Oracle has issued a set of draft bylaws that it hopes will guide the process of developing its preferred open-source version of the Java programming language, the OpenJDK.

      The goal of the governance document is to encourage “members to act in an open, transparent, and meritocratic manner,” the bylaws state. OpenJDK is the open-source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition.

    • OpenOffice.org vs. LibreOffice

      Comparing the two releases, you have to conclude that, while LibreOffice developers were not too proud to borrow OpenOffice.org code, OpenOffice.org developers saw no reason to do likewise in return.

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.x Developer Snapshot (build DEV300m99) available

      DEV300 is the development codeline for upcoming OOo 3.x releases.

  • CMS

    • Drupal goes print: Drupal Watchdog

      I first met Jeremy Andrews through KernelTrap, a website that reports about everything that’s happening in the Linux kernel world. It has been one of my favorite web sites. Back in 2001, KernelTrap ran on PostNuke, but I managed to convince Jeremy to switch to Drupal. He learned so much about Drupal in the process, the he quit his day job and started his own Drupal business, Tag1 Consulting.

      Now Jeremy is launching Drupal Watchdog, the first print magazine dedicated to Drupal.

  • Education

    • CC News: $2 billion fund available for open education

      The U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Education announced a new education fund that will grant $2 billion to create open educational resources (OER) materials for career training programs in community colleges. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT) will invest $2 billion over the next four years into grants that will “provide community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs.” What’s more, the full program announcement (PDF) states that all the resources created using these funds must be released under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. The first round of funding will be $500 million over the next year. Applications to the solicitation are now open, and will be due April 21, 2011. Read what our incoming CEO, Cathy Casserly, has to say at the full post.

  • Business

    • ECM vendor OpenText moves into BPM with Metastorm buy

      Enterprise content management vendor OpenText said Wednesday that it is purchasing business process management software provider Metastorm for $182 million.

      With OpenText’s technologies and larger infrastructure, Metastorm will be able to offer its customers a deeper range of functionality as well as a greater global sales reach, said Metastorm CEO Robert Farrell in a statement.

    • Semi-Open Source

      • How to Spot Openwashing

        Take NASA’s experience with Eucalyptus Systems as an example. NASA’s Chris Kemp told The Register that the space agency had concerns that Eucalyptus’s open source private cloud computing solution couldn’t scale to meet the agency’s needs. NASA engineers tried to contribute some new code to Eucalyptus to make it more scalable, but Eucalyptus rejected the contributions because they conflicted with code available in a closed source version it sold.

        The source code that NASA was using was available, fulfilling at least one definition of the term “open source.” But it wasn’t open for contributions from outside and Eucalyptus served as a gatekeeper for the product. Eucalyptus didn’t mislead customers – it was upfront about the existence of its proprietary offerings – but by some standards its product wasn’t open. Eucalyptus has recently made moves towards being a more open company.


    • Freedom to Read, Freedom to Write: Celebrating Document Freedom Day 2011

      Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) invites individuals, community groups and institutions to celebrate the Document Freedom Day (DFD) on March 30th. DFD is a global day to celebrate Open Standards and open document formats and its importance. Open Standards ensure the freedom to access your data, and the freedom to build Free Software to write and read data in specific formats.


  • The Coolest Locksmith Shop in New York City

    Chances are, you’ve noticed Greenwich Locksmiths in your travels through the West Village. It occupies a small storefront just south of Commerce Street on one of the stranger parcels of land in Manhattan…

  • Chained to their desks: prisoners will staff call centre within Indian jail

    For a man serving a life sentence for murder, Pradeep Deburma has a slightly unlikely dream: to work in a call centre like hundreds of thousands of other young ambitious Indians. Even more improbably, he has every chance of realising it while still behind bars.

  • Flickr wipes out wrong account–then reconstitutes it

    Flickr accidentally deleted a member’s account–comments, favorites, and thousands of photos–but now has given the photographer a 25-year Pro-level subscription and all his photos back.

  • Software bugs [Dilbert cartoon]
  • Entrepreneurs Who Create Value vs. Entrepreneurs Who Lock Up Value

    Lots of stock manipulation charges followed Vanderbilt around, and he almost lost his fortune to a competitor named Daniel Drew, in a fight over the Erie Railroad. The New York Times likened Vanderbilt to medieval robber barons, who as gatekeepers, or actually more of a protection racket, would charge merchants for being allowed to operate on their land without getting robbed and beaten. Robber barons didn’t do anything but charge for something they could do. Historian John Steele Gordon did some work trying to find references to medieval robber barons anytime before the 1850 reference to Vanderbilt, and came up empty. It fit a narrative, though, so the Times went with it, but there may never have been such a creature as a robber baron. With that reference, an expression was born that is still being used today.

  • Science

    • Charlie Sheen, the Lady of Loulan, and Alternative Pasts in the PRC today

      Given the sensitivities involved, it was kind of miraculous that China last year allowed the mummies to travel to the United States as part of a three-museum exhibition tour. For years, foreign researchers were strictly forbidden from taking even tissue samples from the mummies out of China, and the mummies remained closely guarded until Victor Mair smuggled some tissue out of China in the 1990s when an unnamed Chinese researcher slipped him a sample during one of Professor Mair’s visits to Urumqi. That was then, this is now and the mummies were exhibited (more or less) without incident in California and Texas.

      Now comes word that Chinese government representatives have requested that many of the artifacts, including the mummies, be pulled from the tour’s last stop at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The exact reasons are unclear, and attempts by the New York Times and AP to get a clarification from a Chinese Embassy in the midst of celebrating the Lunar New Year proved unsuccessful.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Amish raw milk black market

      Two people have died in the last 10 years from drinking unpasteurized milk. Twelve states have banned it. (By comparison, between two and twelve children die every year playing high school football. When will high school football be banned?)

    • Human BSE blood test moves a step closer

      Scientists believe they are a step nearer to developing a reliable blood test for variant CJD, the human form of BSE and say their prototype is 100,000 times more sensitive than any previous attempt.

      A team from the government-funded Medical Research Council(MRC) based at University College London, found the infectious prion agents associated with the disease in the blood of 15 of 21 samples from people known to have had vCJD and says it has detected infection in blood spiked with vCJD to within one part per 10m.

    • Will reading your doctor’s notes make you healthier?

      Dr. Delbanco suspects having access to these notes “will make patients more actively involved in their care, better educated about their illnesses, and better able to detect and prevent medical errors.”

    • Supermarkets force abattoirs to fit CCTV after secret film exposes abuse

      Footage captured by Animal Aid, which was revealed by the Guardian last year, included a sheep being thrown into a pen, another being carried in a wheelbarrow, a pig being kicked, another being hit in the face with a shackle hook, and animals being improperly stunned.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt street battles: How Cairo’s Tahrir Square turned into a war zone overnight

      Egypt’s Army was absent during hours of fighting Wednesday night in which the antigovernment protesters were able hold off attacks from supporters of President Hosni Mubarak.

    • Egypt: Al Jazeera video shows police running over protesters (warning: graphic content)

      In the Al Jazeera video clip embedded above, an Egyptian police vehicle runs over protesters in the street, and appears to crush at least one demonstrator to death.

    • Egypt: journalists targeted at Hilton hotel in Cairo

      After reporters claimed a Hilton property in Cairo was cooperating with Egyptian security forces to harass and detain journalists, the hotel chain today confirmed in a statement that it has asked correspondents to stop filming there.

      A number of western news staff have based their operations at the Ramses Hilton in Cairo, and according to reports circulating today, it was from this property that equipment belonging to BBC News reporters was seized.

    • Egypt: CNN’s Anderson Cooper beat up by pro-Mubarak thugs
    • Gangs Hunt Journalists and Rights Workers

      Journalists covering the revolt against President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt have found themselves the targets of widespread anger and suspicion in an apparently coordinated campaign that is intended to stifle the flow of news that could further undermine the government.

    • Egypt Protests: Anti-Mubarak vs Pro-Mubarak Riots
    • Calls for weekend protests in Syria

      Calls for protests in Syria are spreading on social media websites, following popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

      Organisers say protests will be staged in front of the parliament in the capital, Damascus, on Friday and Saturday, and at Syrian embassies across the world.

    • Algeria to lift emergency powers

      President says country’s 19-year state of emergency will be lifted in near future in apparent bid to stave off unrest.

    • Grabbing at straws in Cairo

      WikiLeaks seems to have rediscovered the news cycle, releasing seven cables from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo as the Egyptian government crackdown on protesters and journalists turned ugly Thursday.

    • Egypt: The viral vlog of Asmaa Mahfouz that helped spark an uprising

      26-year-old Asmaa Mahfouz of Egypt recorded this video on January 18th, uploaded it to YouTube, and shared it on her Facebook. Within days, the video went viral within Egypt and beyond.

    • Egypt: protests were safe space for women until they turned violent today
    • Police offered me money to join pro Mubarak Protests

      To be honest, I want to tell you something. I am unemployed, and I have a relative who works with the police who offered me money to join the pro-Mubarak protests. Frankly, I took the money and went and I know that they are all police men or those who are benefitting from the National Party, and who want the regime to stay in power. I want to let you in on the secret: they are giving money to police or to soldiers and asking them to demonstrate for Mubarak, and to bring anyone else they know so that it appears that Mubarak has lots of supporters.

    • Egypt uprising can be repeated here, warns Marina

      Urging Malaysians and leaders everywhere to take lessons from the events in Tunisia and Egypt, the daughter of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned that such explosion of anger could also be repeated in Malaysia.


      Marina said the unprecendented protests can be attributed to a rising educated population which does not commensurate creation of better jobs and income.

    • Inside the anti-kettling HQ

      Cairo, it wasn’t. But at about a quarter to four last Saturday afternoon, on a crowded backstreet in central London, something happened outside the Egyptian embassy that deserves at least a footnote in the annals of protest history. A crowd of students weren’t kettled.

      In the context of recent British protests, this was a near-miracle. At each of the previous four major student protests in London since the Millbank riot on 10 November, police have kettled – or, in their terminology, “contained” – thousands of protesters, preventing them from leaving an area for several hours, and often from accessing basic amenities such as food, water and toilets.

    • Sukey – peaceful protest App without any mobile phone network Communications Data or Traffic Data anonymity

      Some University College London students and others, have been trying out their Web 2.0 skillz by producing a smartphone App and Location Based Services web map called Sukey, in support of the student / anarchist protests, which are nominally about the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition Government financial cutbacks, due to the appalling state of the economy, which was ruined by the incompetence of the previous Labour government.

    • Game over: The chance for democracy in Egypt is lost

      While much of American media has termed the events unfolding in Egypt today as “clashes between pro-government and opposition groups,” this is not in fact what’s happening on the street. The so-called “pro-government” forces are actually Mubarak’s cleverly orchestrated goon squads dressed up as pro-Mubarak demonstrators to attack the protesters in Midan Tahrir, with the Army appearing to be a neutral force. The opposition, largely cognizant of the dirty game being played against it, nevertheless has had little choice but to call for protection against the regime’s thugs by the regime itself, i.e., the military. And so Mubarak begins to show us just how clever and experienced he truly is. The game is, thus, more or less over.


      The president and the military, have, in sum, outsmarted the opposition and, for that matter, the Obama administration. They skillfully retained the acceptability and even popularity of the Army, while instilling widespread fear and anxiety in the population and an accompanying longing for a return to normalcy. When it became clear last week that the Ministry of Interior’s crowd-control forces were adding to rather than containing the popular upsurge, they were suddenly and mysteriously removed from the street. Simultaneously, by releasing a symbolic few prisoners from jail; by having plainclothes Ministry of Interior thugs engage in some vandalism and looting (probably including that in the Egyptian National Museum); and by extensively portraying on government television an alleged widespread breakdown of law and order, the regime cleverly elicited the population’s desire for security. While some of that desire was filled by vigilante action, it remained clear that the military was looked to as the real protector of personal security and the nation as a whole. Army units in the streets were under clear orders to show their sympathy with the people.


      The Obama administration, having already thrown its weight behind the military, if not Mubarak personally, thereby facilitating the outcome just described, can be expected to redouble its already bad gamble. Fearing once again that the regime might be toppled, it will lean on the Europeans, the Saudis, and others to come to Egypt’s aid. The final nail will be driven into the coffin of the failed democratic transition in Egypt. It will be back to business as usual with a repressive, U.S.-backed military regime, only now the opposition will be much more radical and probably yet more Islamist. The historic opportunity to have a democratic Egypt led by those with whom the U.S., Europe, and even Israel could do business will have been lost, maybe forever. Uncle Sam will have to eat yet more humble pie, served up by the dictator who has just been insulting him.

    • Mubarak Reveals a Brutal Plan to Hold Power

      The Egyptian army, which had vowed not to use force against the protesters, stood by passively as thousands of pro-government thugs who were bused in bludgeoned their way into the peaceful anti-government crowd on Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Violent chaos and gunfire raged throughout Wednesday night, leaving hundreds wounded and at least four dead, according to local media reports.

    • The Song of the Nonaligned Nile

      The United States, whose hallowed creation myth styles America as the quintessential child of revolution, has for decades navigated the insupportable irony of denying others their own political parturition through the ideological conflation of freedom with stability. From Nicaragua to Iran, this deployment has served as a discursive validation for a host of violent counterinsurgency tactics ranging from outright political assassination and imperial warfare to the surreptitious funneling of funding and weapons to embedded confederates whose anitrevolutionary agendas serve American geopolitical interests at strategic moments.

    • Yemen next: 20,000 on streets in ‘day of rage’

      More than 20,000 Yemenis filled the streets of Sanaa on Thursday for a “day of rage” rally, demanding a change in government and saying President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s offer to step down in 2013 was not enough.

    • Iran intensifies rate of ‘rubber-stamp’ executions

      With international eyes locked on Egypt, Iran has dramatically stepped up the number of executions of dissidents and others — hanging 67 so far this year.

    • Bangladesh clerics arrested after girl whipped to death

      Police in Bangladesh have arrested four Islamic clerics after a teenage girl accused of having a relationship with a married man was whipped to death.

      The clerics were accused of ordering Mosammet Hena, 14, to receive 100 lashes in a fatwa, or religious edict, at a village in south-western Shariatpur district, the area’s police chief, AKM Shahidur Rahman, said. The area is 35 miles from the capital, Dhaka.

    • Robert Fisk: Blood and fear in Cairo’s streets as Mubarak’s men crack down on protests

      “President” Hosni Mubarak’s counter-revolution smashed into his opponents yesterday in a barrage of stones, cudgels, iron bars and clubs, an all-day battle in the very centre of the capital he claims to rule between tens of thousands of young men, both – and here lies the most dangerous of all weapons – brandishing in each other’s faces the banner of Egypt. It was vicious and ruthless and bloody and well planned, a final vindication of all Mubarak’s critics and a shameful indictment of the Obamas and Clintons who failed to denounce this faithful ally of America and Israel.

      The fighting around me in the square called Tahrir was so terrible that we could smell the blood. The men and women who are demanding the end of Mubarak’s 30-year dictatorship – and I saw young women in scarves and long skirts on their knees, breaking up the paving stones as rocks fell around them – fought back with an immense courage which later turned into a kind of terrible cruelty.

    • Vodafone: Egypt forced us to send text messages

      Egyptian authorities forced Vodafone to broadcast pro-government text messages during the protests that have rocked the country, the U.K.-based mobile company said Thursday.

      Micro-blogging site Twitter has been buzzing with screen grabs from Vodafone’s Egyptian customers showing text messages sent over the course of the demonstrations against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-old regime.

    • New York Times Journalists Arrested In Egypt: Report

      Hadeel Al-Shalchi, a Middle East correspondent for the wire service, tweeted on Thursday that “2 visiting NYT journos been arrested.” Al-Shalchi then tweeted that the journalists have been taken into “protective custody” by the military.

    • Really Bad Week: Egypt Edition

      While the political earthquake rumbling through the Middle East began in Tunisia, when the people took to the streets in Egypt, unrest became a trend rather than an isolated event. In addition, Egypt’s unique role among states in the region — historically and due to the size of its population — amplified the importance of the demonstrations that have filled the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and the rest of the country for this past week.


      Here are the 10 people (outside Egypt and Tunisia) most unsettled by the past week’s developments.

    • Rantings of a Sandmonkey: Egypt Right Now!

      Due to problems related to traffic and attacks (many from IPs in Saudi Arabia), the blog Rantings of a Sandmonkey (hosted on Freedom’s Zone server … an affiliate of Hyscience), one of Egypt” top bloggers and activists, has been temporarily suspended until the problems can be resolved (hopefully by this evening). Before Sandmonkey was suspended, his last post, dated Thursday, 3 February 2011, was posted below.

    • Everybody Loved Hosni

      For 30 years the world welcomed Egypt’s president — they shook his hand and looked the other way. But the time for photo ops is likely over.

    • Burma picks junta insider as president

      Burma’s new parliament has elected a notorious military man and former prime minister as its new president.

      Notorious army general Thein Sein was one of those who resigned from the military last year to participate in Burma’s landmark elections and to form a so-called civilian parliament.

    • Swedish television reporter missing in Egypt

      A Swedish television reporter was reported missing Thursday while on assignment in Egypt, Swedish public broadcaster SVT said.

      Bert Sundstrom, one of four SVT reporters covering the protests in Cairo, has not been heard from since mid-afternoon Thursday.


      Swedish diplomats in Cairo have not been able to establish Sundstrom’s whereabouts either.

    • Egypt protests: the view from the Middle East

      In an effort to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the seismic events in Egypt and the shockwaves they are sending through the region, the Guardian has teamed up with leading European newspapers Der Spiegel and Le Monde. In the coming days we will be exploring ways to share our reporting from the region, so that you can read dispatches from their highly respected correspondents alongside reports from our own team on the ground. Kicking off this collaboration here are a series of audio reports from correspondents for the three papers in Cairo, Sana’a, Tunis and Beirut.

    • We’ve compiled a list of all the journalist who have been in some way threatened, attacked or detained while reporting in Egypt…

      We’ve compiled a list of all the journalist who have been in some way threatened, attacked or detained while reporting in Egypt. When you put it all into one list, it is a rather large number in such a short period of time. (UPDATED – send us more stories if you get them)

    • Mubarak intensifies press attacks with assaults, detentions

      Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak unleashed an unprecedented and systematic attack on international media today as his supporters assaulted reporters in the streets while security forces began obstructing and detaining journalists covering the unrest that threatens to topple his government.

      “This is a dark day for Egypt and a dark day for journalism,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “The systematic and sustained attacks documented by CPJ leave no doubt that a government-orchestrated effort to target the media and suppress the news is well under way. With this turn of events, Egypt is seeking to create an information vacuum that puts it in the company of the world’s worst oppressors, countries such as Burma, Iran and Cuba.

    • Syria: Gang Attacks Peaceful Demonstrators; Police Look On

      Syria’s government should immediately cease its intimidation and harassment of demonstrators expressing solidarity with pro-democracy campaigners in Egypt, Human Rights Watch said today. With calls on Facebook and Twitter for large protests in Syria on February 4, 2011, Human Rights Watch urged Syria’s authorities to respect the right of Syrians to assemble peacefully.

    • “Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.” Thomas Jefferson

      It would only take to anounce prosecutions by international criminal court in The Hague, the freezing of foreign accounts from people within the government and from President Hosni Mubarak, some strong statements from the UN, a Security Council meating, whatever… So that Hosni Mubarak releases the pressure on peaceful demonstrators. It would only take tough talk from U.S. counterparts of the Egyptian army so that it finally takes action to protect the peacefull demostrators. You’re doing anything like that and meanwhile, people are dying, by stones, knives and swords or Molotov cocktails.

      It is not enough to claim you condemn “those who use or promote violence” without naming them. To say that the transition process should begin “immediately”. You must demand the immediate departure of Hosni Mubarak and his government. Chaos is a poor excuse that the example tunisia discredits. By your guilty inaction, you discourage people from politics. In the future we will all pay the price of your inaction. You first.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Dragonfly wings inspire micro wind turbine design

      THE way a dragonfly remains stable in flight is being mimicked to develop micro wind turbines that can withstand gale-force winds.

      Micro wind turbines have to work well in light winds but must avoid spinning too fast when a storm hits, otherwise their generator is overwhelmed. To get round this problem, large turbines use either specially designed blades that stall at high speeds or computerised systems that sense wind speed and adjust the angle of the blade in response. This technology is too expensive for use with micro-scale turbines, though, because they don’t produce enough electricity to offset the cost. That’s where dragonflies come in.

    • EU urged to overhaul fishing policy

      The commission is in the process of reviewing the CFP, with a view to introducing reforms in two years. The EU is the world’s fourth biggest producer of fish, both wild and farmed.

  • Finance

    • S.E.C. Hurt by Disarray in Its Books

      But what if the company were the S.E.C. itself?

      Since the commission began producing audited statements in 2004, the Government Accountability Office has faulted its reporting almost every year. Last November, the G.A.O. said that the commission’s books were in such disarray that it had failed at some of the agency’s most fundamental tasks: accurately tracking income from fines, filing fees and the return of ill-gotten profits.

      “A reasonable possibility exists that a material misstatement of S.E.C.’s financial statements would not be prevented, or detected and corrected on a timely basis,” the auditor concluded.

      The auditor did not accuse the S.E.C. of cooking its books, and the mistakes were corrected before its latest financial statements were completed. But the fact that basic accounting continually bedevils the agency responsible for guaranteeing the soundness of American financial markets could prove especially awkward just as the S.E.C. is saying it desperately needs money to increase its regulatory power.

    • Glenn Beck gold company on how to profit from Egypt unrest
    • Financial Crisis: The Greatest Hits

      On regulation: We do not accept the view that regulators lacked the power to protect the financial system. They had ample power in many arenas and they chose not to use it. To give just three examples: the Securities and Exchange Commission could have required more capital and halted risky practices at the big investment banks. It did not. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and other regulators could have clamped down on Citigroup’s excesses in the run-up to the crisis. They did not. Policy makers and regulators could have stopped the runaway mortgage securitization train. They did not.

    • Don’t Believe Goldman Sachs, The U.S. Economy Has Endured 3 ‘Lost Decades’

      But one problem with all this soothing talk: As millions of ordinary people can readily attest, we are already deep into a Lost Decade and then some. Rescuing ourselves from this era of diminished expectations is going to require far more than disseminating rosy projections about this year’s stock market while touting the innate power of American business. It demands a serious-minded plan to get people back to work so we can wean ourselves off the investment fantasies propagated by Goldman and its Wall Street cohorts.

      A brief consideration of reality comes in handy here. The U.S. economy slipped officially into recession in December 2007 and remained there until June of 2009, not for nothing earning the moniker “the Great Recession.” During those 19 brutal months, the economy lost a net 7.3 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the year and a half since, the economy has gained back a grand total of 72,000 jobs — not even half what most economists say we need in a single month just to absorb new entrants to the labor force.

    • Commons leader attacks MPs’ expenses watchdog as latest claims are published

      Sir George Young, the leader of the house of Commons, today delivered a devastating critique of the expenses watchdog as it published the latest tranche of claims, naming and shaming 125 MPs who had claims rejected.

      The list includes the ministers Ed Davey, Ed Vaizey Maria Miller and Peter Luff and Labour grandees, among them Jack Straw and Harriet Harman.

    • Ex-MP Jim Devine ‘requested receipt for no work’

      A former Labour MP accused of faking expenses asked a stationery company to confirm he had paid for orders when he never did so, a court has heard.

      Jim Devine allegedly requested that invoices be stamped to say money had been “received with thanks” before the orders were paid for.

  • Censorship

    • ISPs and Vaizey set to bump heads over default porn filter

      A meeting on Monday between Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey and representatives of UK ISPs could be a game-changing moment for the way in which we are all allowed to use the internet. At stake is the seemingly academic question of whether PCs should arrive with adult filters turned off – the current default – or on.

      Presently web users can go online and surf wherever they fancy, from flower-arranging to extreme dogging, with next to no distinction made between the two. The filters-on position would require individuals to take a conscious decision to access “adult” content.

    • Austria planning an internet kill-switch

      Austria is working on creating a big red button which will turn off both the internet and mobile networks. The idea is to keep the country safe should there be some sort of cyberwar within the borders of the EU, keeping Austria safe from nasty viruses and acts of sabotage.

      The Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria admitted to Futurezone.at it is working on the plans, while a bloke from private sector CERT.at denied anyone had such a thing in mind, ever.

  • Privacy

    • EU Commission proposes new directive on storing air passenger details

      Details of passengers on every flight within the European Union will be passed to destination countries under European Commission proposals published today.

      The Commission has proposed a Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive ordering airlines to send the information it holds on its passengers to authorities in the destination country as a matter of course.

      The US, Canada and Australia already require PNR data to be sent to them before planes can land, but the Directive would for the first time force the sending of data for every internal EU flight.

    • As International Privacy Day is Celebrated, Governments Continue to Chip Away at Privacy Rights

      Last Friday, privacy advocates and government officials in countries across the world celebrated the 5th annual International Privacy Day — even as individual privacy is threatened by surveillance proposals and security breaches worldwide. This day commemorates the first legally binding international agreement on data protection – the Council of Europe’s Convention 108- which was opened for signature on January 28th, 1981. Last week’s celebration marked the 30th anniversary of Convention 108, which has served as a foundation for many countries’ national data protection laws. It is an opportunity to raise public awareness about privacy threats and to urge governments to protect citizen’s privacy rights.

    • ICO Deputy exposes Data Protection law wish list

      Last Friday, data protection day, was commemorated with a meeting organised by the Ministry of Justice in Whitehall. At that meeting, David Smith, the Deputy Information Commissioner (DIC), reviewed the Information Commissioner’s wish list of changes to data protection law. This blog reports on the content of that list.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Protecting your Internet traffic in volatile times

      We’re glad that the Internet Service Providers in Egypt are announcing their routes to the world and have rejoined the Internet. We are concerned because it is possible that traffic crossing the Egyptian border is being recorded and possibly saved for future use. Correctly using Tor to and from Egyptian destinations will keep your traffic anonymous.


      Thanks to some funding from Avaaz, we’ve also begun experimenting with ways to make Tor perform better on satellite and mesh networks.

    • UBB: Still Misunderstood

      Richard French thinks the problem is that the Government is overturning the regulator.

      The sad fact is that Mr.French would have a lot more credibility if he wasn’t parroting the oft cited bogus argument about “heavy users.”

      Like the CRTC, Richard French doesn’t understand the problem in getting expert advice from the special Interest Group the CRTC is supposed to be regulate.

    • Canada’s Internet rescued from weak and pathetic regulator

      Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement has told the press that he will overturn the decision to allow “usage-based billing” with which the CRTC (Canada’s telcoms regulator) gifted the telcoms industry.

    • Greens Reject CRTC’s Usage-Based Billing Decision

      The Green Party of Canada urges the Minister of Industry to reverse the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) January 25th decision, and to fully review all related rulings. The CRTC’s decision abandoned Canadians in favour of big business by allowing large Canadian ISPs to charge gross overage fees. By limiting the pricing options of smaller ISPs using their network, the CRTC has effectively crippled small businesses who provide valuable Internet services to thousands of Canadians.

    • Read the CRTC chairman’s speech on Internet billing
    • Counterpoint: Net users will pay a lot more

      First, it is true that Bell, Telus, Rogers, etc., have invested billions in their infrastructure. Where did they get those billions? Well, in the case of the phone companies, they have enjoyed a monopoly in their markets for over 100 years and Canadian residents had no other option but to purchase telephony services from them. The same thing applies to the cable companies, but for a shorter period of time. You have to buy your cable from the incumbent provider. Therefore, these large dollars of investment came from Canadian consumers who had no choice. The Canadian government set out a policy, as did most forward-thinking countries, that required these incumbents to provide access to other companies to foster competition. These services were always supposed to be based on cost plus a reasonable markup.

    • Brazilian Telecom Authority Claims Sharing WiFi Is A Criminal Offense

      Marcos points us to a story coming out of Brazil, where a guy who had an internet connection with WiFi, and agreed to share that connection with two neighbors is now facing two to four years in jail (Google translation of the original).

    • Usage Based Billing Showdown

      Von Finckenstein also stated in committee that he would review the decision for 60 days, but may end up coming up with the same result. On the Government side of things, Industry Minister Tony Clement stated on CBC’s Power and Politics, that if the CRTC comes up with the same decision, that the CRTC would face a cabinet ready to overturn it. Clement also reacted to Von Finckenstein’s comments on regular internet users subsidizing “heavy users”. Clement stated those comments do not make sense towards government policy on market choice, and that the CRTC is in conflict with government policy on their decision. Clement was extremely strong in his words stating that new internet fee’s that were to kick in on this decision March 1st, 2011 will NOT happen. So the saga continues.

  • DRM

    • The louder you scream…

      An existing digital restriction comes back for a second attack. We have three ideas for action to take against the streaming media giants.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Full Affidavit On Latest Seizures Again Suggests Homeland Security Is Twisting The Law

        The biggest problem is that Homeland Security seems to suggest — without a hint of doubt — that merely linking to infringing content is criminal copyright infringement. That is a huge stretch. The affidavit appears to make it clear that it believes that these sites are guilty of direct criminal copyright infringement, rather than any sort of contributory copyright infringement. As we’ve discussed in the past, the courts have tended to say that embedding and linking can be contributory infringement, but not direct infringement. Homeland Security and ICE may be in for a bit of legal trouble trying to prove that embedding is direct infringement.

      • Homeland Security Domain Seizures Raise More Questions: Is Embedding A Video Criminal Infringement?

        Just as with last time Homeland Security’s Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) group seized a bunch of domain names, the deeper you look into what sites were targeted, the more questions are raised about how ICE seems to interpret the law in its own unique manner. Lots of people do this, but usually they’re not the federal government with the ability to simply seize property with no adversarial hearing and no concern for either due process or the First Amendment.

        For example, it appears that a bunch of the domains seized this week were focused on sports streaming. Of course, this all seemed to come down on Super Bowl week, so we’re almost surprised that ICE didn’t announce the seizures from the NFL’s headquarters, like they did at Disney’s headquarters last summer. Among the other sites seized (beyond the ones we mentioned yesterday) are Channelsurfing.net, Firstrow.net, Atdhe.net and Ilemi.com. At this point, we’ve now seen Homeland Security seize .com, .org and .net domain names.

      • Free Internet Porn Isn’t Unfair Competition To Pay Sites: Appeals Court

        Thus, Redtube.com has caused “many millions of dollars of damages to proprietors of adult entertainment websites,” including those of the plaintiff in this instance, one Kevin Cammarata of Los Angeles, California. This, he charged, was a violation of California’s Unfair Practices Act.

      • Internet Piracy Boosts Anime Sales, Study Concludes

        A prestigious economics think-tank of the Japanese Government has published a study which concludes that online piracy of anime shows actually increases sales of DVDs. The conclusion stands in sharp contrast with the entertainment industry’s claims that ‘illicit’ downloading is leading to billions of dollars in losses worldwide. It also puts the increased anti-piracy efforts of the anime industry in doubt.

      • iPad is a devil’s deal for publishers

        Apple’s approach to magazine and newspaper subscriptions and third-party e-book sales stink of the kind of practices that got Microsoft into trouble with trustbusters on two continents during the late 1990s and early 2000s. A year ago, publishers embraced iPad as the savior of their industry. Now iPad looks like a devil’s deal instead.

        Trouble started three days ago, when Sony said that Apple rejected its Reader software from the App Store in a policy change. Apple responded that there is no policy change. Oh? Well, if there is no overt policy change, it is effectively one of enforcement. Either way, the demands Apple is placing on publishers is too much, and arguably being made from a monopoly position. Essentially, the company wants sales to go through the App Store, which would compel the likes of Amazon and Sony to sell e-books indirectly through Apple and would prohibit magazine and newspaper publishers from offering existing subscribers the benefits of iPad editions without paying more.

      • ACTA

        • (Secret) US cables reveal: ACTA was far too secret

          US government cables published by WikiLeaks show us that it wasn’t just “the usual blogger-circles” (as the US Embassy in Sweden called them) complaining about the secrecy of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

          French digital rights group La Quadrature du Net has compiled a list of relevant WikiLeaks cables regarding ACTA. In one, a top intellectual property official in Italy told the US that “the level of confidentiality in these ACTA negotiations has been set at a higher level than is customary for non-security agreements.” He added that it was “impossible for member states to conduct necessary consultations with IPR stakeholders and legislatures under this level of confidentiality.”

      • Digital Economy (UK)

Clip of the Day

First Look at Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 2

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 3/2/2011: PCLinuxOS Magazine Issue for February 2011, CentOS 6 Interview

Posted in News Roundup at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Conversion Tales From the Land of Linux

      “I’ve converted my wife to Linux,” asserted Eric Mesa among the 100 or so comments that soon appeared on the topic. “Installed Ubuntu on her computer. She is OK with Linux 90% of the time. But that 10% of the time when she isn’t — she hates it.”

  • Kernel Space

    • Finding the Fastest Filesystem, 2011 Edition

      In my previous report about journaling filesystem benchmarking using dbench, I observed that a properly-tuned system using XFS, with the deadline I/O scheduler, beat both Linux’s ext3 and IBM’s JFS. A lot has changed in the three years since I posted that report, so it’s time to do a new round of tests. Many bug fixes, improved kernel lock management, and two new filesystem (btrfs and ext4) bring some new configurations to test.

  • Applications

    • The Five Best Open Source Calendar Servers for Linux

      Finding Linux-based calendar clients, like Evolution or Mozilla Lightning, is easy — but what about the server-side software? You’ll find some great calendar servers for Linux, if you know where to look. From light-weight to heavy duty, Cosmo to Darwin, we’ve picked five of the best open source calendar servers for Linux for you to try.

      Calendaring software has come a long way on the client side in recent years; the Linux desktop has a healthy selection of apps to choose from, including Evolution, Mozilla Lightning, and KOrganizer. But, at the same time, much of their usefulness really stems from the popularity of the server-side calendar sharing protocols, iCalendar and CalDAV. Niche sites like Remember The Milk and big online service providers like Yahoo and Google have made shared calendars common place. Anyone can publish a calendar feed, confident that everyone on the Web can subscribe to it on the OS and device of their choosing and stay up-to-date.

    • Instructionals/Technical

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • February 2011 issue of The PCLinuxOS Magazine Released

        In the February 2011 issue:
        * e17: System Panel, Part 2
        * e17 Accessories: ePDF & ePhoto
        * Short Story: WWW Collapse
        * Scribus, Part 2: Starting The Project
        * SSH: An Easier-Than-You-Thought Tutorial
        * Calibre: A High Caliber Ebook Tool
        * DVB Streaming In PCLinuxOS
        * Computer Languages A to Z: Vala & Visual Basic
        * Firefox Add-ons: FireFTP
        * Customize Your LXDE Right Click Menu
        * Game Zone: DOD:S & Steam Tips For Dual Booters
        * WindowMaker On PCLinuxOS: Introduction
        * PCLinuxOS Artists Win First, Second Place
        * And much more!

    • Red Hat Family

      • CentOS 6: interview with Karanbir Singh

        Q: Could you summarize the most important new features we have to expect in CentOS 6?

        A: There are quite a few interesting things coming up. A newer base kernel with some enhancements in performance and management tools, a newer virtualisation layer, newer ruby and python stacks with lots of developer oriented features and packages. Overall more modern and much improved desktop experience etc. Stay tuned for the release!”

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu and Me, Happy Together.

          All right, this is what I started to write about in the first place. I really enjoyed using Ubuntu on my server. I sat up in the living room SSHed or VNCed into the server, exploring stuff, installing new programs, finding out what I could do. It was great, but VNC is VNC. I set up VirtualBox on my PC and ran it from there as well. After a couple of weeks of doing both, I decided to make the jump to a full dual boot Ubuntu system. That’s what I did over this past weekend. It went very smoothly.

        • Exclusive Interview With Ubuntu Rock Star Jono Bacon

          Swapnil: How and when did you start using GNU/Linux? Which was your first OS?
          Jono: I got started using Slackware 96 when my brother introduced me to it. This then transitioned into me using Red Hat, then Mandrake, then Debian, and finally Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • DreamPlug: Tiny Linux Computer That Looks Like A Power Plug

      Wouldn’t you want a teeny tiny computer with no video card? Well if you do, then you can be very happy because the DreamPlug will start shipping later this month. The DreamPlug is a small computer that almost looks like a power plug.

    • Tiny x86 module runs Linux

      Datasound Laboratories (DSL) announced a compact “embedded controller” based on a 300MHz DM&P Vortex86SX CPU. The Icop VSX-6117 is just 3.14 x 1.96 inches, uses only 320mA at 5V, includes 128MB of soldered-on DDR2 memory and 2GB of flash storage, has a 10/100 Ethernet port, and includes EIDE and x-ISA expansion, according to the company.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu Netbook review

        I was using Ubuntu Netbook Remix on my EeePC at last year’s FOSDEM, dual-booting with Mac OS X. Since Ubuntu 10.04 it’s been renamed Ubuntu Netbook Edition, so time for a reinstall and new road test.


        The great thing about a swiss army knife is that it has every tool you could possibly need. The problem with a swiss army knife is it has every tool you could possibly need. So, on to the next netbook distribution.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source game counterfeited in Mac App Store

    The developers at game software house Wolfire have found that the Lugaru HD game, which they open sourced last May, has appeared in what they describe as a counterfeit version on the Mac App Store. The developers have noted the appearance of a £1.19 game named Lugaru on the Mac App Store where Wolfire sells Lugaru HD for £5.99.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Yet another delay hangs over release of Firefox 4

        Mozilla is bracing itself for yet more beta releases and possibly another delay of its Firefox 4 browser.

        The open-source web tool outfit pushed out a 10th test build of Firefox 4 last week. It has now confirmed that two more betas will definitely follow before a Release Candidate version of the browser lands.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle writes new OpenJDK rules

      Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle has announced on his blog that he, with the assistance of John Duimovich and Jason Gartner of IBM, Mike Milinkovich of Eclipse, Prof. Doug Lea of SUNY Oswego, and Adam Messinger of Oracle, has been drafting a set of OpenJDK community rules, or bye-laws, by which the community will operate. He says the draft document will soon be published for public comment.


  • FiveFingers Blocks Right Finger — Just Asking For Middle One

    Klein’s analysis is dead on. I just went and checked myself. First, this a really stupid programming decision — blocking all right-clicks on a website for all sorts of legitimate purposes (such as opening in a new tab, as I frequently do) seems like tremendous overkill. But, more importantly, as Klein points out, all this does is serve to piss people off while doing absolutely nothing to stop the action they think they’re trying to stop. Finally, making a statement about the public domain, just because someone right-clicked is also extreme. None of it makes sense, and all it really serves to do is piss off legitimate users.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks cables: planned US missile shield blind to nuclear weapons

      A 2007 briefing by General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the US Missile Defence Agency, disclosed that the radar system would be unable to detect long-range missiles in the launch phase because it could only see in a straight line, not over the horizon.

      By the time the radar “saw” the missile, it would be too late to launch an interceptor in time to stop it striking its target.

      The Czech radar system was the lynch-pin of George Bush’s “son of star wars” missile defence plans, ostensibly intended to intercept missiles launched from North Korea and Iran.

    • WikiLeaks cables: British firms made millions from trading with Iranians

      America put enormous pressure on the British government to block deals for aircraft and ships that it feared would be used to transport nuclear materials.

      One of the companies causing most concern was the London-based Balli Group, of which Lord Lamont, the former chancellor, is a non-executive director.

  • Civil Rights

    • Consultations begin on new media ethics code

      New guidelines on the duties and responsibilities of old and new media providers are being prepared by the Council of Europe.

      The recommendations would provide “practical guidance” on how Council of Europe standards, developed for traditional forms of mass communication, could apply to new media outlets.

      Governments, faced by a rapidly changing media landscape, will be encouraged to sign up to these recommendations, Jan Kleijssen, the Director of Standard Setting, told a 27 January UNESCO conference on media ethics and self regulation.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • What is a fair price for Internet service?

      For the last month Digital Home has been lit up with readers from across Canada who are venting their anger over the ever increasing cost of Internet service and new charges for usage-based billing (commonly called UBB).

      Clearly, no one wants to pay more for internet service, but at some point the price of just about everything goes up. So recently I decided to investigate whether the spate of price increases were justified and fair.


      The fact that Bell is able to sell 40 GB of data to wholesalers for $4.25 and still make a profit demonstrates that the true cost of data transfer is well below the 10.5 cents per gigabyte they are charging wholesalers. One TPIA provider agreed the 3 cents per gigabyte figure is probably close to the true cost.

      So why are Internet service providers charging consumers $1 or more per gigabyte of data used beyond their respective data caps? That’s a good question.

      Bell will charge you an additional $2 per gigabyte to a maximum of $60 a month up to 300GB. After 300 GB, you’ll pay a $1 a gigabyte. Shaw is charging $2.00 per GB on its popular high-speed package while Rogers is charging a whopping $5 per gigabyte on its Ultra Lite plan and $2 per GB on its popular 10 Megabits per second service.

    • Usage-based Internet billing: a global comparison

      Only two out of 30 countries surveyed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) offer their citizens no Internet subscriptions with unlimited downloads.

      Canada is one of them.

      The other is Australia, but that is beside the point. The point, rather, is simply to broaden the context of the usage-based billing (UBB) debate beyond just the Canadian market; to consider just how common it is for every Internet service provider (ISP) in a given country to impose limits on the amount of data their customers can consume each much.

    • CRTC must reverse internet usage ruling: Clement
    • Verizon To Throttle Heavy Users To Maintain Network Quality

      Essentially, if you download a lot, your speed will be cut at various peak times. They’re calling it VZOptimization, a delightfully Orwellian term.

  • DRM

    • PS3 Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 slapped with strict DRM

      Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 has no sort of online play at all. None. There is co-op, but only offline. There is no reason for you to be online if you’re playing the game. Unless you want the stupid thing to work, of course. Capcom requires your PlayStation 3 to be online to play Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, the same requirement that everyone hated in Final Fight—a game that at least had online play.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Movie-industry study: Unauthorized video sharing shrinks if viewers have legal options

        The study in question was commissioned by NBC Universal (though that company, as of Saturday a Comcast-controlled operation, makes no mention of it on its site) and conducted by Envisional, a research firm based in Cambridge, England. Envisional surveyed a variety of file-sharing sites and services, from BitTorrent to Usenet streams, and came up with some numbers that can’t make anybody in Hollywood happy.

      • BitTorrent Lawsuits: The Red-Light Cameras of the Internet

        The 1993 sci-fi action movie Demolition Man depicted a future without violence or disorder. They achieved this, in part, by using technology to automate penalties for rule-breaking.

        In one memorable scene, Sylvester Stallone’s character discovers that every time he uses profanity, a nearby machine automatically issues a citation. When he needs paper, he casually leans toward the machine and lets loose a string of salty expletives until he’s got a neat stack of tickets.

      • Where have all the music pirates gone?

        The percentage obviously depends on just where you place your cutoff. The Pirate Bay’s overall top 100, for instance, has 10 recent albums in its list (the rest is almost exclusively video content). Still, the disparity in the numbers are eye-popping; pirates want movies more than music, and by a significant margin.

      • Subscription Porn Site SLAPPed Down After Suing RedTube For Undermining Its Business Model

        We’ve joked in the past about how many of the complaints we see from companies about new, more innovative competitors, is that they somehow represent “felony interference of a business model.” Some companies, it seems, like to believe that if they have a successful business model, any new competitor that changes the market around must be doing so illegally. Eric Goldman points us to just such a lawsuit in California, where the proprietor of a subscription based porn website sued RedTube, one of many, many porn-focused free streaming video sites, and many of RedTube’s advertisers, arguing unfair competition. Basically, the argument was that by setting up a website and offering these porn videos for free, while making money on the advertising, RedTube was effectively “dumping” its product on the market below cost in order to harm the market and make money elsewhere.

      • Feds Blitz Sports Piracy Websites Ahead Of Super Bowl XLV

        Look out, Pittsburgh Steal-ers: The domains of at least five websites notorious for carrying illegal feeds of live sporting events were seized by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement just days before the Super Bowl, the biggest TV event of the year in the United States.

      • Senator: domain name seizures “alarmingly unprecedented”

        Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has 10 tough questions for the department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), all of which can be more easily summed up in a single, blunter question: what the hell are you guys doing over there?

        Wyden’s displeasure is over ICE’s Operation In Our Sites, the controversial program that began seizing Internet domain names last year, and just grabbed several more sports-related domains this week. The seizures are all signed off on by a federal judge, but the affected parties get no warning and no chance to first challenge the claim that they are running illegal businesses. In fact, in yesterday’s takedown, ICE grabbed the domain Rojadirecta.org, a site that links to live sports on the Web and has twice been declared legal by Spanish courts.

      • ACTA

        • WikiLeaks Cables Shine Light on ACTA History

          La Quadrature du Net obtained exclusive access to the WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Although they only give a partial account of the history of this secretly-negotiated agreement, these cables shed an interesting light on the coming into being of ACTA. They show the prime role of the US in the advent of this extremist imposition of violent sanctions against citizens and their fundamental rights. The cables expose the stakes and debates surrounding the participation of developing countries, as well as the evolution of the position of European Union during the negotiations.

Clip of the Day

28th Jan. 2011 – Storyful – Kasr Al Nile Bridge clashes Egypt Egyptian Clashes Police Cairo Mubarak

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 3/2/2011: Enea Joins Linux Foundation, GNOME 3 in Headlines

Posted in News Roundup at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Why Linux is a perfect fit for charities and non-profits

    I have a friend who works for an art therapy institute that is run by the city I live in. That foundation has taken donations for quite some time, is (obviously) not for profit, and all of their computers are Linux computers. Why? It doesn’t hurt that their sole IT staff member is a big Linux fan (and understands how the FOSS operating system can help the organization in more ways than just budgetary). But after chatting with this friend for a while about his job, I understand very clearly how Linux and open source can really benefit charities and non-profit organizations.

  • 10 Windows annoyances (that Linux doesn’t have)

    3: Mysterious slowdowns
    Quick: Think about the last time your Windows computer mysteriously slowed down. What eventually was the cause? Fragmentation? Virus? Malware? Operating system hogging too much resource? Or were you ever even able to discern the problem? With Linux, those slowdowns (especially of the mysterious types) are next to nil. This is especially true on a Linux server.

  • Linux with badram Saves the Day!

    So, if you are looking at some misbehaving RAM in your own PC consider using the badram patch before you toss out otherwise good RAM. Of course if you are not using Linux I suppose you will just have to throw out that flakey RAM and buy new RAM … or you can send it to me. :)

  • Server

    • New York City getting data centers under one roof

      New York City is working with IBM to migrate more than a dozen city agencies into a consolidated and modern data center environment, in an effort to provide a unified shared set of services to a broad range of city entities, according to NYC officials.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Enea Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Enea is its newest member.

      Enea is a leading supplier of highly reliable operating systems and multicore software technology. A longtime supplier of Linux software and consulting services, the company expects to expand its efforts by providing both stand-alone Linux development environments and integrated, heterogeneous solutions blending Linux, realtime operating systems (RTOS) and hypervisor technology to support multi-core processors that are pushing the limits on performance in the areas of telecom, mobile, medical and automotive, among others.

    • Graphics Stack

      • New Version Of VIA DRM TTM/GEM Patches

        Thanks to James Simmons, an independent developer in the open-source community, last month a patch was published that adds TTM/GEM memory management support to the VIA DRM Linux kernel driver. This was after VIA basically admitted defeat for their Linux / open-source strategy. Over the weekend the second version of this TTM/GEM patch was published by James.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE 4.6 Review: It’s Full Of Awesomeness

        In general Plasma feels snappy and fast. Even on my desktop computer, I used to notice a slight lag in effects such as the shelf widget icon highlighting. Those are now lightning fast. The same applies to just about every other plasma and KWin effect.

      • Disillusioned by the Community

        If you truly want to know what KDE 4.6 is like, you need to go with a KDE specific distribution like Mandriva and ride that cutting edge.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Is GNOME 3 going to melt your laptop?

        In GNOME 3.0, we’re defaulting to suspending the computer when the user shuts the lid, and not providing any preferences combobox to change this. This is what the UI designers for GNOME 3.0 want, and is probably a step in the right direction. We really can’t keep working around bugs in the kernel with extra UI controls.

      • GNOME3 Power Settings

        Richard Hughes recently posted about the recent GNOME3 Power Settings design that got a lot of people (myself included) hot and bothered. As I said in my comment, I think that a lot of people prefer that their laptop stay on when the lid is closed. There are clearly other who, like myself, would prefer to maintain the normal behaviour when an external monitor is plugged in.


        While Nirbheek’s version looks decidedly prettier, I think the meaning of the icons is not absolutely obvious. This might be solvable by some explanatory text above and mouse-overs.

      • Will I be prevented to close my laptop lid with GNOME 3?

        I tried to comment on Richard’s post but for some reason my comment is still awaiting moderation 1h later while 4 new ones have been posted so I’ll comment here too.

      • Fedora GNOME 3 Test Day #1 coming tomorrow
      • Slingshot: A New Launcher Created By The Elementary Team

        Besides Slingshot, the video above might also be revealing the Elementary OS look – an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that will be released in March. The video is not that great but for now I couldn’t get Slingshot to work myself.

      • The emerging Elementary experience

        Today saw ‘Slingshot’ – a new application launcher project headed up by the elementary team – leak in to the wild. But just what is it and what does it form part of?

  • Distributions

    • Freedom or Ease of Use? A Note on Torvalds’ Strange Remarks

      I’ve just stumbled upon a disappointing interview with Linus Torvalds which left me utterly confused about Mr. Torvalds views on GNU/Linux distributions. He is certainly a prominent figure and I always look up to him but I think he is much misunderstood about the goal of distros and especially about the role of Debian.


      I’m pretty much still a GNU/Linux newbie(5-months of experience at the outside); yet when I’m tying to choose a distro I look for those that are more about freedom and choice rather than prettier interfaces. If Mr. Torvalds want to praise a particular distro I think there are much better ways to make his point rather than making controversial remarks about respectable distros.

    • Why I Use Gentoo: Development Environment

      Since Gentoo is a source-based distribution, packages are compiled directly on the user’s computer.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • A Technology Preview Of Mandriva 2011

        Mandriva 2011 migrates over to using RPM5, utilizes systemd, now supports NetworkManager, provides KDE 4.6.0, and has other key improvements. Some of the main packages include Firefox 4.0, X.Org Server 1.9, the Linux 2.6.37 kernel, and Clementine 0.6.

    • Debian Family

      • No Debian for the Clueless

        At any rate, Debian is not for newbies who don’t have someone to hold their hand.

      • A down-under talk on the role of Debian, A.D. 2011

        I’m back from LCA 2011, which I’ve attended to share some thoughts about the role that Debian plays in the Free Software ecosystem, 18 years after its inception (yes, we are that old^Welder).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Unity Shortcuts, let’s document them…
        • Ubuntu Weekly Q&A Sessions Announced

          According to the Ubuntu wiki pages there will be a weekly question and answer series to be lead by manager of the community leaders and Canonical managers.

        • Nelson Continues Importing Ubuntu to openSUSE

          Nelson Marques began by importing Ubuntu Indicator Applets to openSUSE, he said, to make openSUSE more familiar to his fellow countrymen that are more accustomed to Ubuntu. Well, that soon led to Unity. Now he’s importing Synapse.

        • Bugs in Ubuntu Pre-releases

          Every time there’s an Ubuntu release or pre-release is tested, it is logged on the Ubuntu QA team ISO tracker.

        • Interview with Silvia Bindelli

          SB: My first contact with the Ubuntu Community was through the Ubuntu-Women Group, in late 2007. I joined it since I was so happy with this Operating System I was willing to give my contribution to spread its use. I knew the percentage of women using it was really low, and I thought this is mainly due to a certain “ignorance”: it’s hard to use a software you don’t know, or you have a lot of prejudices about. Joining this group I was willing to give my contribution to promote Ubuntu, starting from women. Far later, through this group I got in touch with Flavia Weisghizzi, the first (and still the only!) Italian female Ubuntu member. She introduced me to the Italian Loco Team, which I belong to since December 2010.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Peppermint OS – Uninspiring

            Peppermint OS is a Ubuntu, or rather, Lubuntu derivate, focused on cloud computing. The distribution is supposed to be very lightweight, running the simple yet should-be elegant Openbox desktop, which you’ve encountered in my Crunchbang review, while providing users with the wonders and marvels of the cloud.


            Overall, there’s nothing wrong with Peppermint. It’s a decent distro, within the self-set limitations. That said, it does not escape the lethal trap of boredom. Peppermint is not exciting. It does not make you gasp or growl with pleasure.

            Then, you will be annoyed by its repertoire of programs. Not only does it not suit everyone, it contains several programs broken by geographical design. There’s also the tricky question of whether you want your stuff in the cloud. The programs are not really useful for daily use, unless you’re only into music and streaming video and chatting to your imaginary friends. Throw in an archaic theme, and you get a bland, uninspiring desktop.

            If you’re looking for cloud stuff, try gOS or maybe Jolicloud. If you’re looking for lightweight alternatives, you may want to check Crunchbang or Vector Linux. As it is, Peppermint needs a serious overhaul to become fresh and useful, especially considering its mission statement. That would be all for today.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Stream Music To Your Android Device Using MPD And MPDroid

          MPDroid is a really cool Android application (MPD client) that not only lets you control MPD remotely, but also lets you stream music to your Android device. Here’s how to set it up.

        • Google releases Android 3.0 SDK preview, Honeycomb details revealed

          Today Google released a non-final preview of the Android 3.0 SDK to allow developers to test their applications with the upcoming tablet OS, inherit the new “Holographic” theme, and work on providing alternative layouts for extra large screens. The Android Developers Blog notes that applications developed with the Android 3.0 Platform Preview cannot be published on Android Market, but they will be releasing a final SDK in the coming weeks.

        • Honeycomb is here: Google unveils Android 3.0, new Web-based Market

          Google held a special event this morning to launch Android 3.0, codenamed Honeycomb. The latest version of Google’s mobile operating system introduces a new user interface for tablet devices and brings a number of other compelling features such as pervasive hardware accelerated rendering and stronger support for multicore processors.

        • New Merchandising and Billing Features on Android Market

          Following on last week’s announcement of the Android 3.0 Preview SDK, I’d like to share some more good news with you about three important new features on Android Market.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Selenium Joins the Software Freedom Conservancy

    Today, the Software Freedom Conservancy welcomes Selenium as its newest member. Selenium joins twenty-five other Conservancy members, who receive the benefit of aggregated non-profit status available to all Conservancy member projects.

  • VideoLAN project celebrates 10 years of open source

    The VideoLAN project has announced that it is celebrating its tenth anniversary of open source as 1 February marks the tenth anniversary of the organisation’s switch to the GPL license. To celebrate, the developers will be posting ten days of “surprises, ideas and stories” to the 10 years of open source events page – the first day provides a history of the VideoLAN project.

  • Quora’s Technology Examined

    # Components Of Quora
    # What’s Cooking Under That Hood?

    * The Search-Box
    * Webnode2 And LiveNode
    * Amazon Web Services
    o Ubuntu Linux
    o Static Content
    * HAProxy Load-Balancing
    * Nginx
    * Pylons And Paste
    * Python
    * Thrift
    * Tornado
    * Long Polling (Comet)
    * MySQL
    * Memcached
    * Git

  • Top 10 free open source tools for network admins

    Routing issues, slow network applications, DNS resolution problems — a network administrator has to deal with a host of network nuisances on a daily basis. How do you survive when you’re constantly under the gun to fix the problems? Like any other professional, you need a solid set of tools.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice: Meet the New Office, (Almost) Same as the Old Office

      What’s the difference between OpenOffice and the new LibreOffice? Not much. What I found was a small list of improvements and embellishments. I expect this list will grow and the LibreOffice project grows. Like OpenOffice, LibreOffice suite is not perfect. Some functions seem to slow performance a bit. But I can say the same things about OpenOffice, which I have used for years.

  • BSD


  • Government

    • Open Source Procurement: Copyrights

      As I wrote last month concerning indemnity, I constantly encounter both governments and companies claiming they have policies permitting or even favouring open source software. Yet there’s still a huge amount of proprietary software being procured by them.

      A policy alone is not enough. To implement it, legacy procurement rules have to be changed, especially in government. While these rules may provide both protection and value for procurement of products and services the enterprise has seen before, they typically discriminate against new approaches. Legacy procurement rules stifle innovation.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • GreenXchange, a commons for the global commons, turns one

      You might already know about GreenXchange. It’s a specialized sort of commons specifically for innovations (or yet to be applied innovations) for environmental sustainability. For now, that means an on-line space to post patents and supporting materials under one of three pledges.

      Where many are familiar with Creative Commons providing the legal structures and tools to help people transparently promise to others restrictions or non-restrictions on using content like text or visuals, GreenXchange facilitates the sharing of patents by businesses and other holders in a similar, tailored way. And, in fact, Creative Commons is a partner.

    • Telling the open source story – Part 2

      A: The original work with Wikipedia was undertaken as a partnership between my studio and Sea Change Strategies and Fenton Communication. We were asked to assist with the 2009 fundraising campaign.

      I was drawn to Wikipedia because I believe it’s the best example of the Internet’s amazing potential–people cooperating to share knowledge and build something for all of us to share. Wikipedia is an amazing tool, but maybe even more powerful as an idea.

    • [BPR01] Dumbo Gets Mad – Elephants At The Door LP

      We’re thrilled and proud to announce the debut LP by Dumbo Gets Mad and our first physical release!

    • Open Data

      • Open Shakespeare Annotation Sprint

        This weekend we’re holding the first Open Shakespeare Annotation Sprint — participate and help change criticism forever! We’ll be getting together online and in-person to collaborate on critically annotating a complete Shakespeare play with all our work being open.

    • Open Access/Content

      • DOIs are not copyright! What about Bibliographic Data?

        I do not need to waste any more time on it. I can do something else with my time. I do not need to live in fear of the lawyer’s letter. We can add DOIs into OpenBibliography!

        By contrast I spend much of my time in wasted attempts to get clear factual answers from publishers. I’ve been waiting for 4 years from one on data. I’ve been in intense discussion with another about text-mining of data for 18 months. They’ve now relayed it to their legal team. I wait with expectation.


  • Outplacement cowboys screw the recently unemployed

    The WSJ reports on the slipshod cowboys who’ve rushed in to fill the demand for “outplacement firms” who are meant to help laid-off employees find a better job. Some of these firms assign their “coaches” 15 clients per day, send out amateurish, typo-laden job applications on behalf of job-seekers (without their knowledge, signing their names to the cover letters, no less), and generally make a piss-poor hash out of their charges’ future employment prospects. Laid-off workers are wising up and asking their former employers for cash instead of “counselling.”

  • No more IPv4 addresses

    The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigned two of the remaining blocks of IPv4 addresses – each containing 16.7 million addresses – to the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) on Tuesday, as predicted.

  • How IPv6 will work as IPv4 wanes

    As I write, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (Iana) has just allocated the IPv4 prefixes 39/8 and 106/8 to the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Registry (Apnic). Ordinarily, another couple of blocks of IPv4 address space disappearing off the shelf isn’t headline news. This time, it’s different.

  • Supreme Court welcomes tweeters

    The UK Supreme Court has released guidance on the use of “live text-based communications” from the court. Put simply, tweeting will be allowed in most instances.

    The UK’s highest court of appeal has sensibly said that since its cases do not involve interaction with witnesses or jurors, subject to limited exceptions “any member of a legal team or member of the public is free to use text-based communications from court, providing (i) these are silent; and (ii) there is no disruption to the proceedings in court“.

    The guidance also emphasises that WiFi is available throughout the building, just to make broadcasting those live text-based communications that bit easier.

  • Science

    • Cosmos At Least 250x Bigger Than Visible Universe, Say Cosmologists

      When we look out into the Universe, the stuff we can see must be close enough for light to have reached us since the Universe began. The universe is about 14 billion years old, so at first glance it’s easy to think that we cannot see things more than 14 billion light years away.

      That’s not quite right, however. Because the Universe is expanding, the most distant visible things are much further away than that. In fact, the photons in the cosmic microwave background have travelled a cool 45 billion light years to get here. That makes the visible universe some 90 billion light years across.

    • Data Shows Disastrous GPS Jamming from FCC-Approved Broadcaster

      Representatives of the GPS industry presented to members of the Federal Communications Commission clear, strong laboratory evidence of interference with the GPS signal by a proposed new broadcaster on January 19 of this year. The teleconference and subsequent written results of the testing apparently did not dissuade FCC International Bureau Chief Mindel De La Torre from authorizing Lightsquared to proceed with ancillary terrestrial component operations, installing up to 40,000 high-power transmitters close to the GPS frequency, across the United States.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Massive Health: Raised Money, Spending On New Hires

      This blog post is by my cofounder Sutha Kamal, who is Massive Health’s fearless CEO. He is by the smarter of the two of us. He has previously sat on the other side of the VC table and most recently was the acting-CTO for Fjord, which is the mobile design firm responsible for making the a lot of the mobile experiences you have every day as good as they are. As a side note, the best gift I’ve ever received is having the funds we raised for Massive hit our bank account on the day I turned 27.

  • Security

    • UK Hacker Faces Jail After Stealing Virtual Poker Chips

      A computer hacker from the UK has admitted stealing $12 milion worth of poker chips from social gaming site Zynga. Ashley Mitchell of Paignton transferred 400 billion virtual chips into his account and sold them on the black market at a rate of £430 per billion – which meant he stood to make around £184,000, having already made £53,000 when he was arrested.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt unrest: Barack Obama urges power transition now

      US President Barack Obama has said an orderly political transition “must begin now” in Egypt and lead to free and fair elections.

      His statement followed the announcement by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak that he would not stand for re-election.

    • Bill would require all S.D. citizens to buy a gun

      Five South Dakota lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require any adult 21 or older to buy a firearm “sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense.”

      The bill, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2012, would give people six months to acquire a firearm after turning 21. The provision does not apply to people who are barred from owning a firearm.

    • Google executive, Wael Ghonim, vanishes in Cairo; family desperate after Twitter account goes silent
    • Egypt: Connected to revolution

      Instead, Egypt may simply have reached a tipping point. Its citizens, having witnessed the events in Tunisia, came to realize they were no longer atomized and uncoordinated in the face of a police state. They could self-organize, connect with one another, share stories and videos, organize meetings and protests. In short, they could tell their own narratives to one another, outside the government’s control.

      These stories can be powerful.

      In Egypt, a video of an unknown protester being shot and carried away has generated a significant viewership. In Iran, the video of Neda Agha-Soltan dying from a gunshot wound transformed her into a symbol. In Tunisia, videos of protestors being shot also helped mobilize the public.


      The events in Egypt are a testament to the opportunity of the times we live in. Connectivity is changing our world, making us more powerful individually and collectively. But ultimately, if we wish to champion freedom and openness abroad — to serve as the best possible example for countries like Egypt — we must be prepared to do so at home.

    • Mandatory Name Tags Remain For Toronto Coppers

      Apparently the Toronto Police Association had appealed the rule forcing police officers to wear name tags while working, and now has lost the appeal. The Toronto Police Association is the union that represents police officers working for the Toronto Police Services.

    • Awakening Freedom’s Allies: Thoughts on Egypt, Youth Bulges and Economic Growth

      There has been much concern recently that some observers have overstated the role of the Internet in promoting freedom and democracy around the world. Evgeny Morozov rightly points out that “Tweets don’t overthrow governments; people do,” noting that social networking sites can be both helpful and harmful to activists operating from inside authoritarian regimes. Morozov points out that secret police increasingly gather incriminating evidence by scanning the photos and videos uploaded to Flickr and YouTube by protesters and their Western sympathizers. “They might even serve as an early warning system for authoritarian rulers,” he says.

    • The View From Tahrir

      In my area of Tahrir, the thugs were armed with machetes, straight razors, clubs and stones. And they all had the same chants, the same slogans and the same hostility to journalists. They clearly had been organized and briefed. So the idea that this is some spontaneous outpouring of pro-Mubarak supporters, both in Cairo and in Alexandria, who happen to end up clashing with other side — that is preposterous. It’s difficult to know what is happening, and I’m only one observer, but to me these seem to be organized thugs sent in to crack heads, chase out journalists, intimidate the pro-democracy forces and perhaps create a pretext for an even harsher crackdown.

      I have no idea whether this tactic will work. But the idea that President Mubarak should make the case that he is necessary for Egypt’s stability by unleashing violence and chaos on his nation’s youth — it’s a sad and shameful end to his career. And I hope that the international community will firmly denounce this kind of brutality apparently organized by the government.

    • As an Israeli, I want the Egyptians to win

      I want our neighbors, the people of Egypt, to show us how it’s done. I want you to show us the last thing we expected to see. Because it is only when we see our best consensus assessments proven dead wrong, when the wholly unanticipated stuns us, when the inconceivable turns overnight into the inevitable, that change comes to this place.


      Israelis were not always slow learners. It may be difficult to imagine this now, with a government here whose only actions, apart from the normal commerce of corruption, are taken in the service of inaction.

      The race to concoct laws to legitimize repression and inequality, the deep kowtowing to buy off the settlers and the ultra-Orthodox – all of it is fundamentally aimed at cementing in office an unpopular, unwieldy government whose only campaign platform, at this point, is that any alternative would be worse.

    • Blocking Internet cost Egypt at least $90M, says OECD

      The Egyptian government’s five-day block of Internet services cost the national economy at least US$90 million, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Thursday.

      The Paris-based organization said telecommunications and Internet services account for between 3 percent and 4 percent of Egypt’s GDP, so the daily loss amounted to around US$18 million.

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • 11 percent of American homes are vacant — UPDATED
    • The Rise of the New Global Elite

      This widening gap between the rich and non-rich has been evident for years. In a 2005 report to investors, for instance, three analysts at Citigroup advised that “the World is dividing into two blocs—the Plutonomy and the rest”:

      In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.

      Before the recession, it was relatively easy to ignore this concentration of wealth among an elite few. The wondrous inventions of the modern economy—Google, Amazon, the iPhone—broadly improved the lives of middle-class consumers, even as they made a tiny subset of entrepreneurs hugely wealthy. And the less-wondrous inventions—particularly the explosion of subprime credit—helped mask the rise of income inequality for many of those whose earnings were stagnant.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Killing the Internet Not Just a Problem in Egypt

      It’s very much an American concern, in that a US-based company seems to be the maker of the Internet off-switch. As Tim Karr of Free Press notes, the US company Narus was founded in 1997 by Israeli security experts. Based in Sunnyvale California, Narus has devised what business fans call a “social media sleuth.”

    • Kill The Internet ‘Kill Switch’

      Censorship: Virtually the first thing an authoritative Egyptian government did to quell dissent was to shut down its Internet. So why are we debating a bill to give our government the same power?

      In George Orwell’s classic “1984,” the control of information and its flow was critical to Big Brother’s maintaining his grip on the people and manipulating their passions. Authoritarian governments and dictators worldwide know that lesson well.

      The ability to see how others live and to exchange ideas is a catalyst to dissent and unrest. The ability to choke off that flow is a necessity for authoritarian governments. The Internet and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have helped fuel democratic movements from our own Tea Party to the Iranian dissidents.

    • UPDATED: Egypt lifts blockade on Internet service

      (Update 2, 9:36 a.m.: I’m reading some reports indicating that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, the original targets of the Egyptian government, are still being blocked.)

    • Egypt, Net Neutrality, and the Ethics of Internet Suicide

      Governments like this don’t explain how they do these things, so it’s unclear exactly how this might have happened. Sending Egyptian police around to manually smash everyone’s routers wouldn’t have been practical. Nor would the government have the ability to simply shut down all addresses with an .eg domain, which they do not own. But the government does own the country’s two major ISPs. In all likelihood, reports GigaOM’s Bobby Johnson, officials closed down the major routers which direct traffic over the border, shutting the country out from the world, and switched off routers at individual ISPs to prevent access for most users inside.

    • I’m being sued by Benihana

      I’ve personally been threatened with lawsuits a number of times before, I know another popular blog recently got threatened with a lawsuit from a restaurant as well and I am sure there must be other bloggers who at one point in time have also been threatened. If blogs were recognized like newspapers or magazines we would all be protected from lawsuits like this but at the moment we aren’t. I find this unfair and if I end up losing this case what will it mean to all the other bloggers? Should bloggers be afraid to say anything negative about a company? Should all our posts just be happy happy joy joy?

    • Letter to Secretary Clinton One Year After Historic Internet Speech

      One year ago, in a groundbreaking speech, you declared the “freedom to connect” to be a Fifth Freedom, as important to human liberty as the Four Freedoms Franklin D. Roosevelt championed 70 years ago this month. The Internet will be what we make of it, you said, and you challenged governments and companies alike to ensure that a person’ s access to information and opinion does not depend on where she lives. At the time of your speech, Google was skirmishing with Chinese authorities over its ability to offer its search services uncensored. They were not the only company experiencing government-initiated interruptions of service. Turkey had blocked YouTube on and off since 2007. Iran had blocked Twitter just before its June 2009 presidential elections. And now Egypt has taken the extreme step of cutting off all Internet and telecommunications access in the country in the midst of pro-democracy protests against the Mubarak government.

      As you rightly pointed out, “[t]his issue is about more than claiming the moral high ground. It really comes down to the trust between firms and their customers. Consumers everywhere want to have confidence that the Internet companies they rely on will provide comprehensive search results and act as responsible stewards of their own personal information. Firms that earn that confidence of those countries and basically provide that kind of service will prosper in the global marketplace.” You challenged companies-particularly American companies-to lead the way: “censorship should not be in any way accepted by any company from anywhere. And … American companies need to make a principled stand. This needs to be part of our national brand.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB (Canada)

    • Clement Confirms Plans to Overturn UBB Decision

      Industry Minister Tony Clement has confirmed that the government intends to overturn the CRTC’s usage based billing decision.

    • CRTC will rescind ‘unlimited use’ Internet decision – or Ottawa will overturn it

      The Harper government will overturn the CRTC’s decision that effectively ends “unlimited use” Internet plans if the regulator doesn’t rescind the decision itself.

    • The Cost of Bandwidth: Canada versus the World

      Usage based bUsage based billing (UBB) was recently introduced as “an economic Internet traffic management practice (ITMP) whose purpose is to manage Internet traffic on an incumbent carrier’s facilities.” (CRTC 2011-44) illing (UBB) was recently introduced as “an economic Internet traffic management practice (ITMP) whose purpose is to manage Internet traffic on an incumbent carrier’s facilities.” (CRTC 2011-44)

    • Grandfathered UBB

      If there is a legitimate reason to increase the cost, we should all have to pay it.

      But there isn’t.

      Since I’ve been writing the Stop Usage Based Billing blog I have yet to hear a single reasonable justification for imposition of UBB.

      In fact, I have learned that usage costs almost nothing. Less than a penny a GIGABYTE. The same gigabyte of bandwidth that will now cost some Canadians DOLLARS.
      The real cost of the Internet is in the Infrastructure. Canadians have been paying very high rates for mediocre service. For a long time. We have already more than paid for state of the art infrastructure with plenty of profit left over, but it has not been implemented by Canada’s Internet Carriers.

    • Metered Bandwidth Isn’t About Stopping The Bandwidth Hogs; It’s About Preserving Old Media Business Models

      For years, we’ve spoken about why metered broadband stifles innovation, by adding serious additional mental transaction costs and limits to anything you do online. If you look at the history of various online services, you know that AOL didn’t really catch on until it went to a flat-rate plan from an older metered (by time) plan.


      Not only does it stifle basic innovation, but it also protects the legacy media/entertainment industry and their business models.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Another copyright troll throws in the towel
      • Copyright Troll Gives Up in Porn-Downloading Case

        Mick Haig Productions dropped the case just 48 hours after EFF and PC demanded that it withdraw subpoenas Mick Haig’s lawyer apparently issued while the question of whether the court should allow the subpoenas at all was still under consideration by the court.

      • The Awkwardness Of Cutting Out The Middleman

        We’ve talked in the past about the idea of musicians doing “house concerts” or in-home shows (all the way back to 2003), highlighting how folks like Jill Sobule successfully offered up the opportunity for fans to pay $5,000 to have her perform at their home. She had a handful of fans take her up on this offer and said they went great.

      • NBC Universal Study Shows That It’s Hollywood’s Own Damn Fault So Much Content Is ‘Pirated’

        All week people have been submitting variations on the news that a study commissioned by NBC Universal, and promoted by the MPAA, shows that 24% of web traffic involves “piracy.” If you look through the actual methodology, done by research firm Envisional, there are all sorts of problems with it, including the fact that they seem to bootstrap these findings based on research done by others. Another problem is that the source Envisional used, the PublicBT tracker, does not include many of the legal BitTorrent uses, meaning that they may have significantly undercounted legal usage.


        So, the real lesson of this study is that the large amount of unauthorized access in movies online is the MPAA and NBC Universal’s own damn fault for failing to adapt and to offer legitimate services to the market when they want it. Thanks for sharing that information with the world…

      • Will Homeland Security Domain Seizures Lead To Exodus From US Controlled Domains?

        With Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) group now seizing domain names of perfectly legitimate foreign companies, one of the “defenses” of this action is that what those sites do may violate US laws (the lack of an actual court deciding this is conveniently overlooked, but we’ll let that slide for now) and thus since the domains are managed by US-based registrars, it’s technically property in the US, and thus open to seizure.

      • ICO drops BT, ACS Law probe

        The Information Commissioner’s Office has ended an investigation against BT for handing over customer information to file-sharing-chaser law firm ACS:Law, which then leaked online.

        ACS:Law’s speciality is sending letters to suspected file-sharers threatening them with expensive legal action unless they send the law firm money for supposed copyright infringement.

      • Will the Music Industry Ever Learn From Its Mistakes?

        EMI’s sad story shows that it’s suffering the same problems as the wider music business: It went into the networked era as a huge and well-known brand with a roster of big name artists and ownership of incredible catalogue of recordings. It was home to acts like the Beatles and Coldplay, and was the owner of iconic brands like Parlophone and Virgin. Yet despite its natural advantages it had built up over the years, it fell to pieces in the face of changing consumer behavior and aggressive new distribution models enabled by the Internet. Outpaced, outgunned and outmaneuvered, it has now handed its success over to the likes of Apple and its future to a bank that’s trying to hawk it to the highest bidder.

      • EMI: under new management

        As anyone who’s bothering to follow the death throes of Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music probably already knows, Britain’s EMI now has a new owner.

        And no, it isn’t Canada’s Edgard Bronfman jr.

        Not yet, anyway.

        “Guy Hands mistook his banker for a friend”, said p2pnet late last year, quoting a Telegraph headline to the then “latest installment in the EMI is Up Shit Creek drama”.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

Clip of the Day

Wikimedia – nice people

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 2/2/2011: Kineo Android Tablet, Puppet for the Enterprise

Posted in News Roundup at 7:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Help a Needy Child get a Linux Powered Computer just by Clicking Your Mouse

      The donated computers are powered by a Linux based operating system and the latest open source educational software. Technology is essentially in this day and age for a child to be able to exceed at school – I can say with 100% certainty that I would not be the person I am today without the access to computers I had from an early age. I was lucky enough to be raised in a family that could afford such technologies – not every child is so lucky.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Some great Linux Enlightenment distros for your consideration… and a last word about bacon

      But getting back to Linux, one of the best and maybe worst things about Gnu/Linux-based operating systems (distros) is the insane amount of choice that one has about the GUI (Graphical User Interface) and which desktop environment/window manager you can use to interact with your system. There are hundreds of Linux distros available that cost nothing to download and use to run your computer with. And there are many choices of GUI managers you can use. The most popular distros come with GNOME, KDE, XFCE, Openbox, LXDE, and Fluxbox. The last four here mentioned are becoming more popular because they are more light-weight (use less system resources, less RAM, so they work great on older computers/netbooks than GNOME or KDE). But there’s also another one that’s been around for a while called Enlightenment. For the past few years it seems like there hasn’t been much development going on with the Enlightenment Project, but recently I’ve seen a few new distros and some well-established ones that use the Enlightenment desktop. The version now in use, E-17, is pretty neat because it is very light on system resources, yet has a beautiful look (eye-candy) and is quick and responsive on a variety of hardware.

    • Enlightenment Foundation Libraries Reach 1.0 Release
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Notes from RH: Virtual Experience

        Yesterday I followed the online event Virtual Experience, presented by Red Hat.

        The event was presented in 4 main areas :Red Hat Enterprise 6, Cloud Computing, Virtualization and Jboss, for an idea of the sessions available take a look here.

    • Debian Family

      • Where do App Stores come from?

        In the beginning there was the command-line

        App stores have their roots in the package management systems employed by operating systems such as Debian. Debian is a distribution of Linux founded in 1993 by Ian Murdock.

        While Debian may not have been the first operating system to make use of a package management system connected to software repositories, it went on the become one of the most widely adopted.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • IP phone offers detachable Android 2.2 tablet

      Japanese telecom supplier Nakayo Telecommunications is preparing a videoconferencing-enabled IP phone that includes a removable seven-inch Android 2.2 tablet. The unnamed device features an 800 x 600 touchscreen, a camera, Wi-Fi, a microSD slot, and a USB port, according to the company.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • MeeGo tablets, netbooks arriving in second quarter, says report

          MeeGo-based tablets and netbooks will start shipping in the second quarter, shortly after the release of MeeGo 1.2, says an industry report. Meanwhile, the Linux Foundation (LF) announced three new MeeGo training courses, along with three Android related courses — the first LF courses offered for either mobile Linux operating system.

        • Android

          • Kineo Android tablet launched today – first educ. tablet

            Brainchild unveiled their new Android tablet at the Florida Educational Technology Conference today. The Kineo is targeted at primary and middle school students, and it’s based on a 7″ screen (800×480), with an 800MHz CPU, 2GB Flash, HDMI out, and Wifi.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Blender on sale in alleged violation of GPL

    A press release from the Blender Foundation reports that two web sites have appeared selling re-branded versions of Blender. Allegedly in violation of the GPL, these sites, 3DMagix and IllusionMage, intentionally hide the origins of the software, change or remove credits and licensing and apparently even suggest the software on offer is a cracked version of Autodesk 3ds Max.

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/LibreOffice

    • Review: LibreOffice beats OpenOffice.org by a whisker

      The new LibreOffice open-source office suite “proves that forking isn’t always the kiss of death,” says this eWEEK review. New features in the Linux-ready release — including wider document format support, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) import into Draw and Writer, enhanced presentation support, and an improved “save as” feature — should give OpenOffice some robust competition.

      In the open source movement, the forking of a project is often a contentious matter, and can lead to the demise or mothballing of the applications that spawn from the original software. In many ways, it’s a “nuclear option,” as developers choose their allegiances and take their skills with them.

    • The New Features in LibreOffice 3.3
  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Puppet Labs Goes for the Enterprise

        Puppet Labs is now officially a software company. The data center management technology company introduced Puppet for the Enterprise this week. The software is a major advancement for the company. It reflects on the cloud management space that is growing fast in concert with the move to virtualization, the need for data center efficiencies and automatic provisioning.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Buzek Turns Into Ace Tweeter

    Mr. Buzek has 4,413 followers on Twitter, and has used the social-networking tool to publicize the Parliament’s stance amid the vast Brussels bureaucracy. This grabbed attention this week in particular, as the political turmoil in Tunisia and Egypt came to a head, and the EU imposed sanctions on Belarus.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Latin Americans ‘Guinea Pigs’ for Foreign Clinical Trials

      Leonor, a Mexican citizen, took part in a 2006 clinical trial of a drug to treat kidney disease, designed by a transnational pharmaceutical company.

      “A friend of mine who is a nurse told me about the trial and I decided to take part,” Leonor, a 30-year-old saleswoman who has kidney problems, told IPS. “I was given regular doses of the medicine for several weeks, and they said it worked.”

      Her story is just one among many as clinical trials are increasingly taking place in countries like Mexico and Brazil, for reasons that range from cheaper costs to less rigorous oversight.

    • EPA Proposes Stronger Protections for People in Pesticide Experiments

      It will be harder for the chemical industry to use people as test subjects in pesticide research sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, based on an expanded “human testing rule” unveiled late Wednesday.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh to quit in 2013

      Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said he will not seek to extend his presidency when his current term expires in 2013.

      Mr Saleh, who has been in power for three decades, also pledged that he would not pass on power to his son.

    • Police officer charged with second assault at G20

      A Toronto police officer now faces a second assault charge in connection with last summer’s G20 protests.

      The Toronto Police Service said Wednesday that the latest charge followed a complaint received by the office of the Independent Police Review Director.

    • Buzek’s opening remarks on the Southern neighbourhood

      The President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, opened today’s plenary session with a statement on the situation in the Southern neighbourhood of the EU, particularly in Tunisia and Egypt.

    • Egypt: Litany of Abuses Fueled Protesters’ Fury

      In Egypt, where protestors continued to demonstrate Tuesday for the eighth day in a row, the use of torture by law enforcement officials over the past two decades has contributed to the growing unrest, rights groups say.

      In a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the international advocacy group claims the practice is endemic and often practiced with impunity.

    • Who’s the most shaken up by Egypt’s uprising?

      While the political earthquake rumbling through the Middle East began in Tunisia, when the people took to the streets in Egypt, unrest became a trend rather than an isolated event. In addition, Egypt’s unique role among states in the region — historically and due to the size of its population — amplified the importance of the demonstrations that have filled the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and the rest of the country for this past week.

      Even before President Mubarak’s decision to end his 30-year rule, Egypt’s crisis had earned the undivided attention of leaders across the Middle East. King Abdullah of Jordan’s sacking of his cabinet and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s announcement that he too was not going to seek to extend his three-decade-long tenure in office indicated that both men recognized the fuse that was lit in North Africa was connected to stacks of dynamite on which they were sitting.

    • Leading Egyptian Facebook Activist Arrested, Friends Say

      n Egyptian Facebook activist and leader of the group known as the April 6 Youth has been arrested in Cairo, friends told Wired.com Wednesday in e-mails.

      Ahmed Maher, 30, gained prominence in 2008 as one of the co-founders of the April 6 Youth, a solidarity group launched to support protests. Organizing mostly online, especially on Facebook, it is a carefully decentralized network of activists, who have used the tools of social media to broadcast grievances with the Mubarak regime, mobilize support, evade the government’s ubiquitous security forces, and, now, help to bring the Mubarak regime to its knees.

    • TSA Tests New Technology For Airport Body Scanners

      The U.S. government Tuesday began testing new airport screening technology that does not generate an image of a person’s body, in an effort to address concerns raised by privacy and civil liberties organizations, National Journal reported.

      The use of whole-body scanning machines at airports has been controversial largely because the machines create an image of a person’s body without clothes. The Transportation Security Administration has said the machines give airport screeners the best chance of finding hidden objects on travelers.

    • No Military Immunity

      America’s bloated defense budget is ripe for cutting.

    • Oversight Chief: Show Me Your FOIA Requests
  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

      A Norwegian lawmaker has nominated WikiLeaks for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, stating that the secret-spilling website is one of the most important contributors to freedom of speech in the 21st century.

      Lawmaker Snorre Valen said that by disclosing information about corruption, human rights abuses and war crimes, WikiLeaks is a “natural contender” for the peace prize.

    • UK firm’s partner ‘wanted Peru to curb priests in mine conflict areas’

      The US and Canadian ambassadors, who hosted a summit of foreign mining executives in Peru in August 2005, requested specific examples of “anti-mining” teachers and bishops “who engage in inappropriate activities” to take to government and church leaders, the cable claimed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch Industries: The 100-Million ton Carbon Gorilla

      Koch Industries, the private company of the billionaire Koch brothers, is one of the primary sources of carbon pollution in the United States. However, the actual emissions profile of the diversified giant, with its oil and gas, chemicals, cattle, forestry, and synthetics holdings, is unknown, because of the lack of mandatory carbon reporting in the United States.

    • It’s Still Just 1971 for Solar

      If you could take a time machine back to 1971 and tell people about today’s computing environment you would not be believed.

      Back then computer networking was brand new. The first Intel microprocessor was months from release. The first e-mail had yet to be sent.

      Yet the vocabulary of what was to come already existed. Bob Metcalfe was writing about what he would call Ethernet. Both TI and Intel were in business. Hobbyists were dreaming of turning components into computers they could call their own.

    • Australia Cyclone Yasi roars into Queensland coast

      Rick Threlfall of the Bureau of Meteorology in Brisbane said local residents can expect several more hours of destructive winds

      Fierce winds and driving rains brought by the most powerful storm ever to hit Queensland are lashing northern coastal areas of the Australian state.

    • Trade talks could wreck climate change measures, campaigners warn

      Trade talks between Europe and Canada could leave the door open to companies suing states for losses incurred by efforts to fight climate change, campaigners claimed today.

      The warning, backed by an MEP and a law expert, came as 10 protesters unsuccessfully attempted to talk to the Canadian energy minister, Ron Liepert, this morning during a visit to London for a meeting with Lord Howell, the UK minister for the Commonwealth.

    • Photos released in campaign to save uncontacted Amazonian tribe

      Some of the most detailed pictures ever taken of an uncontacted Amazonian tribe have been released by the Brazilian government. They show a thriving, healthy community with machetes, baskets full of manioc and papaya from their gardens.

    • Indian steel plant gets go-ahead despite fierce opposition

      India’s biggest direct foreign investment project – a huge and controversial steel plant – got the go ahead from the Indian environment ministry today despite years of fierce opposition from local campaigners who claim that the lives of tens of thousands of villagers will be destroyed along with swathes of forest and coastline.

    • Forest Chumps

      It took the previous Conservative government 13 years to propose a sell-off as unpopular as this one. The privatisation of the railways was opposed by 85% of British voters(1), and helped to derail John Major’s administration in 1997. Cameron’s plan to flog the public forest estate, presented to the nation after eight months in office, is opposed by 84% of the public(2). So much for his brilliant political instincts. And yet, stupid and destructive as this sell-off promises to be, it’s just a stone’s throw from something really interesting.

      The one good thing about this rotten government is that it recognises – in theory, though apparently not in practice – that there are more than two options for the ownership of common resources. Previous governments – both Conservative and Labour – have presented our choices in crude terms: an asset of benefit to the public can either be owned by the state or sold to businesses and private citizens. Both parties have asserted absolute ownership of resources in which we all have an interest. In order to privatise something, you must first claim that the government and the government alone owns it and has the right to decide who gets it and how it will be used. In this respect the Conservatives have championed state power just as fervently as Labour has.

    • Google under fire for dumping paper ad

      GOOGLE has been accused of stifling free speech after it banned an ad attacking a paper manufacturer over its environmental record.

      The Wilderness Society paid to have its ad on Google promoting a boycott against a paper manufacturer that uses wood sourced from Australian old growth forests.

    • Barrasso’s EPA Assault

      Barrasso’s bill, “Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act,” would block federal regulations under the Clean Air Act, but also the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. In case you’re keeping track, that’s just about all of the most important environmental laws currently on the books.

    • Chamber Calls Obama’s Clean Energy Plan “Ridiculously Premature”

      So much for everyone linking arms and walking together toward a clean energy future. A week after President Obama called for setting a goal of drawing 80 percent of electricity from “clean” energy sources by 2035, the US Chamber of Commerce sent a message back in his direction: fat chance.

      The Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy held a press conference on Tuesday to roll out its energy plans for the year. Endorsement of a clean energy standard—even one that includes nuclear power, natural gas, and “clean coal” in the mix, as Obama’s does—was not part of it. The Chamber has been a major opponent of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but the group signaled Tuesday that it is also going to fight Obama’s much scaled-back version of an energy plan as well.

    • Fracking With Diesel

      The 2005 Bush-Cheney Energy Policy Act famously exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. But it made one small exception: diesel fuel. The Policy Act states that the term “underground injection,” as it relates to the Safe Drinking Water Act, “excludes the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities [italics added].” But a congressional investigation has found that oil and gas service companies used tens of millions of gallons of diesel fuel in fracking operations between 2005 and 2009, thus violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. Hydraulic fracturing is a method of drilling that injects large volumes of water, chemicals, and sand underground at high pressure to break open rock formations and release stores of natural gas. In some cases, however, water based fluids are less effective and diesel fuel or other hydrocarbons may be used.

  • Finance

    • Britons to spend first five months paying tax

      Tax Freedom Day is the day when Britons begin working for themselves rather than the taxman and falls on May 30 in 2011, compared to May 27 this year, the Adam Smith Institute revealed.

      The main reason for the three extra days is the rise in Value Added Tax, which increases from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent on January 4.

      Tom Clougherty, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, described Britons as being “desperately overtaxed”.

    • No Criminal Charges: All 50 States Ready To Settle Foreclosure Fraud Probe Of Largest Banks

      The five largest loan servicers, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, may be the first to settle with all 50 state attorneys general probing foreclosure fraud, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said.

    • Impoverished Indian families caught in deadly spiral of microfinance debt

      The morning routine in Palivelupa village, 100 miles north-east of Hyderabad in central India, has been established for years. Once the buffalo are taken to the fields, the tea made and the children sent to school, the women meet under the big neem tree and wait for the debt collectors.

      Until recently, Rama Peadda Boiana, a 29-year-old farmer’s wife, labourer and mother of three, was in charge. “She was hardworking and clever,” Boiana’s sister-in-law, Taj Mani, told the Guardian. “That is why she ran the group.”

    • A Real Jaw Dropper at the Federal Reserve

      So, in many respects, details that the Fed was forced to divulge on Wednesday about the $3.3 trillion in emergency loans that until now were totally kept from public scrutiny, marked the beginning, not the end, of lifting the veil of secrecy at the Fed.

      After years of stonewalling by the Fed, the American people are finally learning the incredible and jaw-dropping details of the Fed’s multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and corporate America. As a result of this disclosure, other members of Congress and I will be taking a very extensive look at all aspects of how the Federal Reserve functions and how we can make our financial institutions more responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans and small businesses.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Only People Can Vote — Only People Should Finance Campaigns

      In this country, each person has one vote, no matter whether you are rich or poor. And it is illegal to buy or sell a person’s vote. So why do we allow electoral influence to be bought and sold? Why has politics in America become a commodity in an economic marketplace, where the richest corporations, business associations, unions, and individuals can buy enormous leverage on the outcome of our elections?

    • Scalia Teaches First of Bachmann’s Constitutional Mythology Workshops

      Yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia traveled to the Capitol to teach a class about the Constitution to members of Congress, led by controversial Tea Party caucus chairwoman Michele Bachmann. Justice Scalia’s participation in Bachmann’s Constitution school has prompted a heated debate about the proper relationship between Supreme Court justices and political leaders. But the real debate that should be raging is not about judicial ethics, but about the dubious vision of the Constitution that Scalia and leaders of the Tea Party will be discussing.

    • What About Free and Fair Elections in the US?

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reflected your sentiments when she commented on the Egyptian uprising with the words “We want to see free and fair elections.”

      But in the District of Columbia, where you and Secretary Clinton reside, there are no “free and fair elections” for electing representatives with full voting rights to Congress. There is only the continual disenfranchisement –unique to all other national capital cities in purported democracies—for the hundreds of thousands of voting age citizens in the District of Columbia.

      You stated that the United States “will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people.” Presumably that includes the right to have members of Parliament, with full voting rights, elected by the Egyptian voters.

      Although you declared in the 2008 election that you supported voting rights for the District –at the least one voting member of the House of Representatives if not two voting Senators—but you used little if any of your political capital or the bully pulpit and muscle to get even the most modest measure through Congress.

  • Censorship

    • The Egyptian Internet is restored

      In essence, that really is what the government did. There was no need for any fancy networking tuning. The Egyptian officials just called up the Egyptian ISPs and told them to switch their core-routers and Domain Name Service (DNS) servers on at about 11 AM local time, 5 AM U.S. Eastern time and within half-an-hour, most of the Egyptian Internet and its associated Web sites was back up again. As Dr. Craig Labovitz, chief scientist for Arbor Networks, a network security company, told me. “All major Web sites and providers now appear reachable again.”

    • For the Smithsonian’s Sake, Clough Should Step Down

      But in late November, Clough chose to instantly buckle under pressure from a right-wing media storm and remove a work of art from the exhibit. Clough’s decision was made, it seems, with very little input from the Portrait Gallery’s staff or the Smithsonian’s board, and without any formal avenue for public discussion. Instead, he listened to the reactionary politics of a far-right news source, extremist religious right leader Bill Donohue, and two newly elevated congressional leaders who had not even seen the exhibit but were eager to pander to their base by opening a new front in the culture wars.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Unpacking The Policy Issues Behind Bandwidth Caps & Usage Based Billing

      The Stop the Meter Internet petition now has over 200,000 signatories and is growing fast, which may help explain why UBB has emerged as a political hot potato. The NDP was the first to raise it as a political issue, followed yesterday by a response from Industry Minister Tony Clement (who promised to study the decision carefully “to ensure that competition, innovation, and consumers were all fairly considered”) and the Liberals, who called on the government to reverse the CRTC decision.

    • The Government’s Review of Usage Based Billing: What Should Come Next

      Yesterday was a remarkable day for those following the usage based billing and bandwidth cap issue. In the span of 24 hours, an unlikely political consensus emerged that left little doubt that – at a minimum – the CRTC’s UBB decision will be reconsidered. Prime Minister Harper expressed his concern with the decision, Industry Minister Tony Clement hinted at overturning the decision, and both the Liberals and NDP expressed strong support for overturning the decision. Groups like the Canadian Network Operators Consortium, which represent dozens of independent ISPs, wrote to Clement to call for cabinet to reconsider all the CRTC’s UBB decisions and even the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses wrote to express its concern about the impact on Canadian small businesses. An Industry Committee hearing on UBB will apparently begin on Thursday.

    • AT&T faces lawsuit over billing

      AT&T is facing a lawsuit over one Californian’s data bill that could blossom into a costly class-action case, the plaintiff’s attorneys said.

      In court documents in a suit filed on behalf of AT&T customer Patrick Hendricks attorneys wrote, “A significant portion of the data revenues were inflated by AT&T’s rigged billing system for data transactions,” Beta News reported Tuesday.

  • DRM

    • Newest PS3 firmware hacked in less than 24 hours

      Hackers say they unlocked the latest firmware for the PlayStation 3 game console, less than 24 hours after Sony released it in a desperate attempt to stuff the jailbreaking genie back in the bottle.

      Sony announced the release of Version 3.56 on Wednesday. That same day, game console hacker Youness Alaoui, aka KaKaRoToKS, tweeted that he had released the tools to unpack the files, allowing him to uncover the new version’s signing keys.

    • Hacker Challenging Court Order to Surrender Computer Gear to Sony

      The lawyer representing a hacker who published the first major PlayStation 3 jailbreak on the internet said Sunday he would challenge a federal judge’s order requiring his client surrender his computer gear to console-maker Sony.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK Music Lobbyist Says Rethinking Fair Use Is ‘Intellectual Masturbation’

        We’ve talked a few times about how the UK is going through yet another copyright rethink with a key focus (among others) on whether or not the country needs more expansive fair use rules within copyright. While we’ve seen similar discussions happen (and be ignored) in the UK, the good news is that the panel investigating this issue seems to include some really knowledgeable folks on the subject. Of course, it appears that some of the established interests aren’t so thrilled about all of this.

      • Homeland Security Seizes Spanish Domain Name That Had Already Been Declared Legal

        It appears that Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division, and their incredibly sloppy domain seizure operations, have moved on to the next phase — as was promised by both ICE boss, John Morton, and IP Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel. The timing on this one is particularly bizarre — and politically stupid.

        That’s because the the domain seizure is for the Spanish streaming site Rojadirecta. Yes, ICE seized the domain name of a foreign company. And it gets worse. Rojadirecta is not just some fly-by-night operation run out of someone’s basement or something. It’s run by a legitimate company in Spain, and the site’s legality has been tested in the Spanish courts… and the site was declared legal. The court noted that since Rojadirecta does not host any material itself, it does not infringe.

      • Mass Copyright Lawsuit Lawyer Petulantly Drops Lawsuit After Called Out For Apparent Ethics Violations

        One of the lawyers who has been at the forefront of filing many of those massive P2P infringement cases for porn producers, with the intent of getting people to pay up “pre-settlement” fees to avoid an actual trial (and being accused publicly of downloading porn), Evan Stone, keeps running into problems. Stone, who apparently only became a lawyer a few months ago, seems to have pushed his luck in yet another case, not expecting lawyers on the other side who might recognize what was going on. However, Public Citizen and the EFF, acting as lawyers for those being sued, discovered that Stone had sent subpoenas to ISPs seeking the identity of file sharers even though the judge in the case had not yet determined if such subpoenas would be allowed.

Clip of the Day

1989 Tiananmen Square Protests

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 2/2/2011: Linux 2.6.38 RC3, Greek Elementary Schools Embrace GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 11:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Penetration into Entertainment Accessories

    Today Linux is running most set-top boxes, media streamers, routers, synthesizers and keyboards. Linux is what runs the show at the London Stock Exchange as well as entertains travelers on innumerable airlines.

  • Desktop

    • Click a Link – We Get Money….Maybe.

      Most of the grants available to us are for equipment. I think what I find most ironic is the push to give us computer equipment for our office and logistic operations.

  • Server

    • Zarafa Shows Open Source Momentum at FOSDEM 2011
    • Dell Releases Ubuntu-powered Cloud Servers

      Dell is marketing the servers to organizations developing applications to run on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Organizations could use the servers to test the applications locally before uploading them to Amazon’s paid service. The servers have a preconfigured testing and development environment. Eucalyptus duplicates the AWS APIs (application programming interfaces).

      Partnering with Canonical allowed Dell to deliver an infrastructure-as-a-service product in an integrated package and based on open standards, said Andy Rhodes, executive director of marketing for Dell’s data center solutions division, in a statement.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Free as in Freedom: Episode 0×08: Strictly Commercial

      Bradley and Karen discuss non-commercial-only commons licenses, particularly the CC-By-NC license, and how they compare to Free Culture and Free Software licenses, and why some authors pick NC licenses instead of Free Culture/Software ones.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel prepatch 2.6.38-rc3
    • The Linux 2.6.38-rc3 Kernel Arrives

      After Linus released an early Linux 2.6.38-rc2 kernel due to the 2011 Linux.Conf.Au, Linus has released the Linux 2.6.38-rc3 kernel while developers are returning from this Australian conference.

    • Kernel Log: Consistent names for network interfaces

      Future distributions will use a consistent, predictable scheme to name network interfaces, using names such as “em1″ and “pci2#1″ instead of “eth0″ and “eth1″ to provide more transparency for server administrators. As various new kernels have recently been introduced, the Kernel Log will provide an overview of the most important Stable and Longterm kernel series.

    • Video: Lessons Learned from 13 Years of LWN

      Jon Corbet gave a presentation about the lessons he has learned running Linux Weekly News for 13 years.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Tiling Is Being Worked On For The Open Evergreen Driver

        While the Radeon HD 6000 series is AMD’s latest generation of graphics processor, and has initial open-source support available as of earlier this month, the open-source Linux GPU driver support isn’t yet complete for the older Radeon HD 5000 “Evergreen” series and generations even older than that. One of the features that has been lacking for Evergreen is tiling support within the ATI Gallium3D “R600g” driver for the HD 5000 series while it is available for the R600 ASICs and earlier. Evergreen tiling support though is now being worked on, which should deliver a performance boost once fully implemented for this hardware.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • [KOffice] Views and a Conversion

        Back in July I blogged about the maturity of KWord. Or, more accurately, the lack of that. I attacked the problem head-on of why KWord is not really used for serious work. In this blog I want to revist the issue and show the progress made since then.

        First, a little look back. Since the KOffice2.0 release now 2 years ago we made various releases with the 2.3.1 release being the most recent. The amount of features added and bugs fixed in each release is nothing short of amazing. Yet, the most heard complaints are of simple issues. Things that stop even the least demanding users from using it daily. In my last blog I suggested user profiles in the form of personas as means to focus on a solution. And this has had some good effects!

      • More Details Emerge On The Bretzn Project
      • KDE SC 4.6.0 in Gentoo

        I’m pleased to announce the availability of KDE SC 4.6.0 to another distro.

      • KDE 4.6 Review | LAS | s1504
    • GNOME Desktop

      • Clutter 1.6 & GTK+ 2.24 Tool-Kits Released

        There’s good news in the land of GNOME tool-kits this week. In preparation for the release of GNOME 3.0, GTK+ 2.24 as well as Clutter 1.6.0 have been officially released.

        GTK+ 2.24 is the last stable GTK2 release in that series with all of the exciting work now going into GTK3, which will also be officially released soon. GTK+ 2.24 is the last stable update but it will continue to be maintained and receive bug-fixes. GTK+ 2.24 isn’t too exciting but is a step to help in porting applications to GTK3 while still being source and binary compatible with earlier GTK2 releases.

      • Glade learns some new tricks

        Today’s release of Glade 3.9.2 was brought to you in a large part by our hero Juan Pablo Ugarte the Magnificent (and the crowd goes wild !)

      • Attack Of The Clones Is A Very Interesting, Unique GTK/Metacity Theme

        Attack Of The Clones is yet another theme created by JurialMunkey (who is also behind Divergence IV: A New Hope) that features a unique Metacity theme and a very interesting combination of light and dark colors.

      • Gnome-Shell gets a Live CD

        GNOME-Shell is very nearly upon us – but it’s been an absolute age since I last played with it myself (been knee deep in Natty, folks!).

      • Easily Test Gnome Shell Using A Live CD!

        Testing Gnome Shell just got a whole lot easier! There are now live CD Gnome Shell (Gnome 3) ISO files available for both Fedora and openSUSE – you don’t have to install them, all you have to do is write the ISO files onto an USB stick or CD, boot and enjoy Gnome Shell.

      • GTK+ 3.0, GNOME Shell, Mutter Near Final

        In preparation for the GNOME 2.91.6 release tomorrow, many GNOME modules are being checked in, including new versions of the GTK+ 3.0 tool-kit, the GNOME Shell, and the Mutter window manager.

        While GTK+ 2.24 is now final, version 3.0 is still being worked on but is almost done. GTK+ 2.99.3 is the new release and it also comes with one last ABI break before going gold. GTK+ 3.0 is expected to be declared stable next week.

      • The Board 0.1.1

        I decided to use the classic odd-unstable/even-stable style of versioning.

  • Distributions

    • In Pursuit of a Minimal and Useful Unix

      Ubuntu is the most useful flavor of Unix available today. It has drivers for most hardware you’re likely to encounter, including wireless cards and camera memory sticks. Installation is a breeze, there are tons of ports, and tutorials for anything involving a terminal and an incantation of shell commands. There’s some bloat: Solitaire, instant messagers, OpenOffice, but most apps that ship with Ubuntu have their uses.

    • Gentoo – The Pros and Cons

      I’ve recently been getting back into Gentoo Linux, running it in a virtual machine and for some reason I actually understand it better this time around.

      I have used Gentoo before, without truly understanding what I was doing, but now, after using other distros Gentoo actually makes sense. However, it still is a rather unique distro, with its own way of doing things, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Allow me to outline a few.

    • Reviews

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Improving Diversity At UDS

          The Ubuntu Developer Summit is our twice-yearly event in which the Ubuntu community gets together to discuss, design, and plan the work for the next release of Ubuntu. It is an important staple in the Ubuntu calendar, and we meet next in May in Budapest, Hungary.

        • Main frozen for Natty Alpha 2

          Two days out from the expected release of Natty Alpha 2, the milestone freeze is now in effect. Please take care that any packages that you upload to main between now and the Alpha 2 release will help us in the goal of a high quality and timely alpha, and hold any disruptive or unnecessary uploads until after the alpha is out.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Openmoko Community Update

        The Openmoko Community Update for February 1 has been released with news of new Openmoko hardware. “GTA04 is a project by the long time distributor and hw developer, German company Golden Delicious. The name is loaned from Openmoko project because of the spiritual continuation – GTA01 was the codename for Neo1973, GTA02 was the Neo FreeRunner, and GTA03 was the canceled successor product. Besides offering improved versions of Neo FreeRunner (better battery life, better audio output), they’ve a complete replacement board planned to fit an existing Neo FreeRunner case and use the existing display.”

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Sojourner – FOSDEM conference browser

          Sojourner by Will Thompson allows you to browse the schedule for FOSDEM 2011, one of the biggest free and open source software conferences in Europe. You can browse by time, by category or by room, and star interesting talks to help locate them later.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Open-By-Rule Governance Benchmark

    What does authentic open source community governance look like? An open source community will involve many people gathering for their own independent reasons around a free software commons with source code licensed under an OSI-approved open source license. But there’s more to software freedom than just the license. The key question any potential co-developer will want to ask is “what is the governance” – on what terms are people participating?

  • Top ten reasons why I won’t use your open source project

    Here’s our top ten list of things you can do to promote your Open Source project, or ten reasons I don’t fork your project.

  • Why a Distro-Provided OpenSSH is Better than a Third-Party OpenSSH

    Recently one of our customers sent us marketing materials from one of our competitors. One thing that stuck out was the positioning that their version of a critical system component used in *NIX OpenSSH is better than the vendor-provided OpenSSH (from Red Hat, for example). As a former systems engineer responsible for many *NIX systems, this raises a red flag and here’s why.

  • What are the top ten open source projects? OpenLogic’s support view.

    According to OpenLogic the top ten projects by support are:

    * JBoss Application Server
    * Tomcat
    * Apache HTTP Server
    * Hibernate
    * Core Spring Framework
    * Struts
    * MySQL Community Server
    * Subversion
    * Ant
    * Log4j

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Little-known wonders in Chrome, IE & Firefox

      Firefox 4, the Beta version of which can be downloaded by anyone, by default gives screen shots of the eight most frequented sites you’ve visited.

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • What’s up with SUMO – Jan. 29

        The big things this week:

        * Army of Awesome is now localizable. If you are interested in seeing Army of Awesome in your language, contact Kadir: atopa (at) mozilla (dot) com
        * Top 19 articles + templates will be ready for localization by Thursday.
        * Mobile ready SUMO coming soon. Here’s the demo site shown in the video.

      • Home Dash Faster in your Language with 3

        Following up on the initial release of Home Dash last week, Home Dash 3 adds initial localization support for Spanish, German and Chinese.

      • Last Day to Vote: Game On Community Choice Award

        Today is the last day to VOTE for the Game On Community Choice Award. Take a few minutes to rate the sheer awesomeness of these games. We will be announcing the winner of the Community Choice award on Thursday, February 3, along with all the other prize winners. We will also be randomly selecting three lucky voters and send you a special-edition Mozilla Labs Game On swag pack!

      • Mozilla Firefox L10N Evening – London

        Tuesday, February 08, 2011 from 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM (GMT)

      • Python scoping: understanding LEGB
      • Contributor Engagement Asia town hall meeting planning

        As 2011 starts, I am happy to be working with a newly created team, Contributor Engagement, to help Mozilla communities in Asia contribute to Mozilla. Team-mates of mine, Mary Colvig and David Boswell and William Quiviger have all blogged recently about our new team and efforts.

        To that end, we are scheduling a ‘town hall meeting’ for Asian Mozilla community members next week, either Monday, February 7th, Tuesday, February 8th, or Wednesday, February 9th. This meeting would be a conference call and IRC chat to discuss contribution at Mozilla — what you enjoy about it, what could be improved, what tools you could use to make it easier to contribute to Mozilla, updates + happenings with Mozilla and so on. To start, we’d like to give an overview of the new team, share some very early 2011 plans and most importantly, get some feedback.

  • SaaS

    • Yahoo! commits to Apache Hadoop, drops Yahoo! Hadoop

      Yahoo! has announced that it is dropping its own distribution of Hadoop and plans to work more closely with the Apache Hadoop community. The Yahoo! distribution had been a vehicle for Yahoo! to experiment with and release its own work on the distributed computing and storage framework, but this appears to have been to the detriment of Apache’s Hadoop. “Unfortunately, Apache is no longer the obvious place to go for Hadoop releases” said Eric Baldeschwieler, Yahoo’s VP of Software Engineering, adding that Yahoo has always been committed to open sourcing its work. After reviewing the company’s options, Yahoo has decided to focus on working with the Apache Hadoop community and to be prepared to compromise on how it achieves its development goals.

    • What would make cloud computing truly free and open?

      The various trends known as cloud computing have spawned serious critiques about vendors’ reliability, security, privacy, and liability. This talk melds cloud computing with the principles of free and open source software to find solutions or mitigating factors for many of these concerns. Although other proposals have been aired for cloud standards, open clouds, open source licensing, loosening data, and others gestures toward customer control, this talk goes a step or two beyond them to suggest a more comprehensive architectural approach.

  • Oracle

    • Java Hangs When Converting 2.2250738585072012e-308

      This number is supposed to convert to 0x1p-1022, which is DBL_MIN; instead, Java gets stuck on 0×0.fffffffffffffp-1022, the largest subnormal double-precision floating-point number.

    • Oracle writes new OpenJDK rules

      Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle has announced on his blog that he, with the assistance of John Duimovich and Jason Gartner of IBM, Mike Milinkovich of Eclipse, Prof. Doug Lea of SUNY Oswego, and Adam Messinger of Oracle, has been drafting a set of OpenJDK community rules, or bye-laws, by which the community will operate. He says the draft document will soon be published for public comment.

    • Open-source forkers declare Oracle independence
    • LibreOffice Debuts, Beating OpenOffice.org by a Whisker

      LibreOffice 3.3 is as polished as one might expect in a project that, for all its novelty, has many years of development work behind it.


    • New Country Coordinators for Italy and the UK

      Giacomo Poderi and Sam Tuke are the new Country Coordinators for the Italian and British Country Teams respectively.

      Giacomo Poderi, team member since 2006 and former Deputy Coordinator, is the new Coordinator of the Italian Country Team. The priority goals for the Italian team, under Giacomo’s coordination, will be to create links between FSFE’s work at the European level with the work done by the many groups, associations and activists in Italy in favour of Free Software. To promote participation, increase visibility and networking with other Italian activists, the team will use collaborative projects promoted by FSFE such as the PDFreaders campaign and the forthcoming DFD ’11. At the same time, the team will provide its help to the projects promoted by the groups of the Italian Free Software movement.

    • reddit joins the Free Software Foundation! Help us design an ad for FSF.

      reddit, like many of you, supports the work of the Free Software Foundation to promote and protect computer user freedom, and fight against threats such as software patents and DRM. In order to show our support, we’ve joined the FSF as a corporate patron, joining the likes of Google, IBM and Hewlett Packard in our dedication to the cause.

      To celebrate this, we’ve teamed up with the FSF to help design a new logo for their associate membership program. Associate members make up the vast majority of funding for the FSF, and associate members are computer users who, like us, acknowledge and appreciate the importance of free software and the work being done by the FSF. When you join the FSF associate membership program, you join a society of ethical computer users, who value freedom and support efforts to stamp out DRM and software patents. In addition, associate members receive some cool benefits from the FSF:

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • PL: ‘Ninety percent op public administrations use open source’

      Ninety percent of the public administrations in Poland is using open source software in one way or another, according to the results of a survey carried out in 2010. However: “The uptake of open source is relatively low. It is not evenly spread over servers and desktops.”

    • European Commission consults on the modernisation of the European Public Procurement Market

      Public procurement accounts for roughly 17% of the EU’s GDP. In times of tight budgets and economic difficulties in many Member States, public procurement policy must ensure the most efficient use of public funds, with a view to supporting growth and job creation. This would require flexible and user-friendly tools that make transparent and competitive contract awards as easy as possible for European public authorities and their suppliers. With these objectives in mind, the European Commission has today launched a consultation. This open debate with interested parties will focus on the modernisation of the rules, tools and methods for public procurement to deliver better on these goals. The deadline for responses to the Green Paper is 18 April 2011.

    • GR: Open source and free Linux system for teachers and pupils at elementary schools

      Sxolinux, the Greek open and free Linux system for pupils constitutes an effort to create a computer laboratory at elementary schools.

      This kind of software allows the use of old and disused systems whose owners would easily give them for recycling. Therefore, with donations of material and with five days of volunteer work, a computer lab was set up. The creator of the distribution used for the Greek sxolinux is Dimitris Kalamaras.

    • Govt open-source group nears critical mass

      Proposed by the South Australian Government’s chief information officer back in 2009, the Open Technology Foundation (OTF) aims to educate and support an open and level playing field for the adoption of open technology in governments across Australia, spearheaded by Steve Schmid, the foundation’s strategic planner.


      Schmid even wants to take the OTF to the world, with support already coming in from New Zealand governments.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Six ways to build a solid community

      There’s no guarantee that anyone can build and sustain a community. But there are certainly elements that most successful communities share, and that’s what we’ve tried to present here.

    • Committee announce new inquiry into peer review

      The Committee has today launched an inquiry into peer review. The committee invites evidence on the operation and effectiveness of the peer review process used to examine and validate scientific results and papers prior to publication.

    • Open Data

      • CC and data[bases]: huge in 2011, what you can do

        You may have heard that data is huge — changing the way science is done, enabling new kinds of consumer and business applications, furthering citizen involvement and government transparency, spawning a new class of software for processing big data and new interdisciplinary class of “data scientists” to help utilize all this data — not to mention metadata (data about data), linked data and the semantic web — there’s a whole lot of data, there’s more every day, and it’s potentially extremely valuable.

      • Art Open Data

        The following guest post is by Rob Myers, artist, hacker, writer, and member of the OKF Working Groups on Open Data in the Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

        Art Open Data is Open Data that concerns art institutions, art history, the art market, or artworks. Using this data, we can examine art history and contemporary art in powerful new ways.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware


  • British firms face bribery blacklist, warns corruption watchdog

    British companies may face international blacklisting as a result of the government’s attempts to water down the Bribery Act, the chairman of an international anti-corruption watchdog warned.

    Prof Mark Pieth said that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was obviously “disappointed and concerned” at the prospect of further obstruction in implementing the act, passed by the last Labour government after long delays and that patience was “running out fast” among other industrialised nations.

  • Why work?

    Even though both eBay and Walmart sell huge volumes of retail products, eBay does it in a way that gives much more freedom to its sellers than Walmart sales clerks have. Is it more fun to be an eBay seller than a Walmart clerk? I suspect it often is. And I suspect that eBay sellers—on average—probably bring more energy, creativity, and dedication to their work than a typical Walmart clerk.

    Another way of thinking about how to make work fun is to look at some of the most fun activities around—games—and try to use the same features that make games fun to make work more fun. Almost 30 years ago, in my Ph.D. thesis, I used this strategy to suggest how to make education more fun by incorporating features of highly motivating video games. And, surprisingly, the framework I developed then still applies—with some adaptation—to making work fun today.

    The framework highlights three important features of highly motivating environments like video games: challenge, fantasy, and curiosity.

    Challenging environments are those where you are always confronting challenges that are on the edge of your capabilities—not too easy and not too difficult. It may seem strange to use this example, but I just saw the movie The Hurt Locker, and one of the main characters in the movie was essentially addicted to the life-threatening challenge of disarming dangerous bombs in Iraq. Was his job fun? Most people probably wouldn’t think so, but for him the challenge made his job almost like a game, and he brought huge amounts of dedication to doing his work.

  • Two /8s allocated to APNIC from IANA

    The information in this announcement is to enable the Internet community to update network configurations, such as routing filters, where required.

    APNIC received the following IPv4 address blocks from IANA in February 2011 and will be making allocations from these ranges in the near future:

    * 39/8
    * 106/8


    APNIC reiterates that IPv6 is the only means available for the sustained ongoing growth of the Internet, and urges all Members of the Internet industry to move quickly towards its deployment.

  • Science

    • Antenna decision makes waves

      Procedural transparency is at issue as a US agency transfers a high-precision radio dish to an international partner.

    • Japan’s space agency teams up with fishing net maker to collect space debris

      The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Nitto Seimo Co aim to tackle the increasingly hazardous problem of debris damaging space shuttles and satellites.

      The new system involves launching a satellite attached to a thin metal net spanning several kilometers into space, before the net is detached and begins to capture space waste while orbiting earth.

    • Cracking the Scratch Lottery Code

      As a trained statistician with degrees from MIT and Stanford University, Srivastava was intrigued by the technical problem posed by the lottery ticket. In fact, it reminded him a lot of his day job, which involves consulting for mining and oil companies. A typical assignment for Srivastava goes like this: A mining company has multiple samples from a potential gold mine. Each sample gives a different estimate of the amount of mineral underground. “My job is to make sense of those results,” he says. “The numbers might seem random, as if the gold has just been scattered, but they’re actually not random at all. There are fundamental geologic forces that created those numbers. If I know the forces, I can decipher the samples. I can figure out how much gold is underground.”

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Anonymous takes down Berlusconi’s site

      Now Italy, run by the Silvio Berlusconi Mafia, has experienced the first tremors, heralded on January 23 when Anonymous gave warning of things to come.

    • Stop trying to balance liberty with security

      From the countless amendments and additions to the Counter Terrorism Act to the ever-expanding Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, there’s no doubting that British anti-terrorist legislation since 9/11 now constitutes a mightily oppressive edifice.

    • Report: Ryanair’s booking system is insecure

      Economy airline Ryanair’s online booking system allows for flight amendments and the addition of extra services for their associated fees. According to a report by Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel (German language link), it’s easy for an outsider to gain access to the system using just a reservation number or email address along with the flight date as well as the departure and destination airports.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt report from Human Rights Watch: “Impunity for Torture Fuels Days of Rage”

      A report released by Human Rights Watch documents how Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government effectively condones police abuse by failing to ensure that law enforcement officers who are accused of torture are investigated and criminally prosecuted. HRW describes torture as “an endemic problem in Egypt.” According to HRW, ending police abuse—and the cycle of impunity for those crimes—is a driving element behind the massive popular demonstrations in Egypt this past week.

    • What’s Happening in Egypt, the Action Movie Explainer: “Raiders of the Lost Mubarak”

      After she realized many people couldn’t wrap their heads around what was going on in Egypt, Furrygirl decided to turn to Hollywood staples and made this Raiders of the Lost Ark mashup version which explains things pretty clearly.

    • Egypt: “Your Weapons Are on Cairo’s Streets, America”
    • Egypt protesters vow to step up pressure

      Tens of thousands of people have gathered in central Cairo for a seventh day of protest.

      As pressure mounts on President Hosni Mubarak to step down, police have been ordered back to the streets to positions they abandoned on Friday.

    • Egypt protests reinvigorating opposition in Iran

      Protests in Egypt calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak have also reinvigorated Iran’s opposition, triggering calls to regroup.”

    • Egyptian Protests Inspire Opposition in Iran

      Egypt’s uprising has captivated the Arab world, but in Iran—fresh from its own outpouring of antigovernment unrest—backers of the regime and supporters of the beleaguered opposition are competing for credit for inspiring the demonstrations in Cairo.

    • Hidden Behind Egypt’s Uprising, Sudan Protests

      Once the success of the protests in Tunisia reminded the world that governments can be changed by a wide spectrum of people and not a political cadre or religious group or opposition politician but the people themselves, those people went to town prodding and testing for weakness.

      The people of Algeria, Libya, even Yemen were seen on the streets. But Sudan seems to be hidden behind the Egyptian flare up. Now, crisis mapping shows how deep and widespread the discontent is in that country.

    • Causes and contexts: Arab Twitter revolutions and the origins of the First World War

      Take the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia over the past few weeks. Communications technology and social networks have been present, both on the streets, among the protagonists.

      Did Facebook cause the revolution? Is it a Twitter revolution? These are partly silly questions, partly interesting ideas to follow through. Historians will soon enough, why shouldn’t we?

    • Incredible: Watch volunteers translate Egyptian phone messages in real-time

      To further this aim, a number of volunteers outside of Egypt (you know, where the Internet still works) have decided to collaborate online to get those voicemails – which are mainly in Arabic – translated into English.

    • Live From Egypt: The Rebellion Grows Stronger
    • Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues

      It is morning again in Cairo as I post this. The curfew ended at 8:00am and the people of Egypt enter the seventh day of their history making struggle. A famous poem by the early 20th century Tunisian poet Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi, “To the Tyrants of the World” [hear it on NPR] has become a rallying cry in both Tunisia and Egypt.

    • Some weekend work that will (hopefully) enable more Egyptians to be heard

      We worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company we acquired last week, to make this idea a reality. It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.

    • Report: Torture in Egypt rampant amid impunity for security forces

      The words are those of one Egyptian speaking to Human Rights Watch – and alleging torture by Egypt’s security services against his fellow detainees.

      Another man, a 22-year-old taxi-driver, told HRW last year about his detention by Egyptian police: “They had whips and hit me on the legs, on the bottom of my feet, and on my back. When they took me down, they brought a black electric device and applied electro-shocks four or five times to my arms until it started smoking.”

    • Haroon Moghul on Why the Egyptian Revolution is not Islamist

      Egypt’s “secular” dictator, who didn’t meddle too far into his people’s religious life — he was no Shah, and no Ben Ali — hasn’t created a sharp cultural divide in his country (the economic one is something else altogether). So why would Egyptians need, want, or stress, an Islamic Revolution?

    • China quick to label Egypt uprising as “chaotic”

      We all know the line abut Tiananmen Square, that we can only thank God the CCP saved China from chaos by cracking down on the protesters by whatever means necessary. This argument was carried to another extreme in the case of Russia, where the rapid switch to democracy plunged the nation into chaos. Every schoolchild in China knows about that. And now Egypt. Seems like whenever a dictatorship is threatened, the CCP feels the need to desperately convince its citizens that change equals chaos.

    • The ‘Italian Job’ and Other Highlights From U.S.’s Rendition Program With Egypt

      Among the many aspects of the U.S.-Egypt relationship, few have been as controversial as the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, where the agency frequently handed over suspected terrorists to foreign governments with histories of torture and illegal detention.

    • The Egypt Crisis in a Global Context: A Special Report

      Let’s begin by considering the regime. In 1952, Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser staged a military coup that displaced the Egyptian monarchy, civilian officers in the military, and British influence in Egypt. Nasser created a government based on military power as the major stabilizing and progressive force in Egypt. His revolution was secular and socialist. In short, it was a statist regime dominated by the military. On Nasser’s death, Anwar Sadat replaced him. On Sadat’s assassination, Hosni Mubarak replaced him. Both of these men came from the military as Nasser did. However their foreign policy might have differed from Nasser’s, the regime remained intact.

    • Looters included undercover Egyptian police, hospitals tell Human Rights Watch

      Human Rights Watch confirmed several cases of undercover police loyal to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime committing acts of violence and looting in an attempt to stoke fear of instability as demonstrations grew stronger Tuesday against the autocratic leader.

      Peter Bouckaert, the emergency director at Human Rights Watch, said hospitals confirmed that they received several wounded looters shot by the army carrying police identification cards. They also found several cases of looters and vandals in Cairo and Alexandria with police identification cards. He added that it was “unexplainable” that thousands of prisoners escaped from prisons over the weekend.

    • Fight On

      The first new song here in a while. I don’t even know if this will still be relevant by the time you hear it but I had to release it anyway. Like the rest of us around the world I’ve been watching the events in Egypt on the news. The people are calling for the end of a dictatorship and the birth of a new age of democracy.

    • Watched Mubarak Making His Statement

      Actually he doesn’t get it at all. His speech would have made sense if it had been given thirty years ago. Now, well, he just sounds lost.

      The entire speech is about what he is going to do. The problem is that the Egyptian public wants only one thing, for him to leave.

    • Anderson Cooper ‘punched in the head’ 10 times by pro-Mubarak thugs

      CNN’s Anderson Cooper said Wednesday that he and his crew were violently attacked by pro-Mubarak forces as they tried to make their way through the streets of Cairo.

      “Anderson Cooper punched 10 times in the head as pro-Mubarak mob surrounds him and his crew at Cairo rally,” Maan News Agency’s George Hale tweeted.

      Cooper described his ordeal on CNN’s American Morning.

    • DNA collection from arrestees starts Tuesday in North Carolina

      Tuesday marks the first day of a new law that allows law enforcement to take DNA from arrestees, not just those convicted of a crime.

      The new state law begins February 1 and requires officers to take DNA samples from anyone charged with assault on handicapped persons, stalking, or any felony.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange awarded Sydney peace medal

      In the estimation of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Australian Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stands alongside the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela.

      As he outrages and embarrasses world leaders by leaking secret US diplomatic cables – and continues to face down allegations of sex offences – Mr Assange has been chosen by the foundation to receive a rare gold medal for peace with justice.

    • Open Letter To The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Re Julian Assange.

      It is pleasing that you would welcome him back to Australia but your statement that the government cannot do anything to assist him in that regard is not strictly correct and springs from a factual error in you saying “They are charges and they’ve got to be worked through proper process.” Prime Minister, in brief these are the relevant facts and applicable law:

      1) Mr Assange has not ever been charged by Sweden or anybody else.
      2) The Swedish authorities have initiated an extradition process which is contrary to the European Arrest Warrant (“EAW”) system in that they want him back in Sweden for the purposes of investigation, not explicitly to charge him.
      3) The EAW is a fast track extradition process between EU member states brought into effect to allow decisions to be made between EU judicial systems, not between politicians.

    • Plea over WikiLeaks jail ‘Briton’

      The Government has been urged to intervene in the case of a soldier held in a US jail on suspicion of passing state secrets to WikiLeaks – on the grounds that he is part-British.

      Bradley Manning, a private in the US Army, went to school in Haverfordwest, Wales, where his mother still lives.

      He has been accused of passing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables to the whistleblowing website.

    • Amnesty urges UK to intervene in Manning case

      Amnesty International called on British authorities to intervene Tuesday in the case of the Army private accused of leaking material to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks amid claims that he is an American-British dual national.

      Pfc. Bradley Manning has been held at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia since last summer under conditions which his supporters describe as punitive. Manning’s case has attracted sustained attention in Britain in part because his mother is Welsh, but some supporters now claim that the 23-year-old holds British citizenship.

    • Lionel Barber’s Hugh Cudlipp lecture: the full text

      Let me now turn to more current sources of controversy, notably the WikiLeaks phenomenon and the phone-hacking scandal. While each is very different and each raises important questions for public policy, there is a single common thread: the transformational power of technology which is rendering media laws and practice obsolete.

      First, a few words on the WikiLeaks affair. The two industrial scale data-dumps included vivid, if partial US military dispatches from the front-line in Afghanistan and Iraq followed by 250,000 classfied diplomatic cables from US embassies around the world. Set alongside each other, they look like the scoops of the century. But as both Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian and Bill Keller, editor of the New York Times, have recounted: managing the story and Mr Assange was far from straightforward.

      Keller describes Assange as a character out of a Stieg Larsson novel who was “elusive, manipulative, volatile and ultimately openly hostile to the New York Times and Guardian.” That will not surprise too many journalists accustomed to dealing with tricky sources, but in this case, other equally challenging ethical, legal and practical problems presented themselves.

      These included how to deal with a US government committed to protecting classified information; how to conduct a cross-border investigation encompassing other media organisations; and how to disentangle the newsworthy and compelling from tens of thousands of computer-stored data. In this respect, the Daily Telegraph’s handling of its Westminster expenses scoop, while still a formidable logistical challenge, tends to pale by comparison.

    • Assange’s lawyer says FOI inspired WikiLeaks

      Poor regulation across many of the world’s freedom of information systems formed part of Julian Assange’s inspiration to establish WikiLeaks, the Australian’s lawyer says.

      The 39-year-old is currently under US criminal investigation over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret military reports and diplomatic cables released.

    • The Witch Hunt Against Assange Is Turning into an Extremely Dangerous Assault on Journalism Itself

      Whatever the unusual aspects of the case, the Obama administration’s reported plan to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for conspiring with Army Pvt. Bradley Manning to obtain U.S. secrets strikes at the heart of investigative journalism on national security scandals.

    • Army Leaks Hit Piece on Bradley Manning

      Last night’s DoD press conference on Bradley Manning was a bizarre affair. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell was snappish, hectoring and ill-prepared. They were clearly thrown when Jim Miklaszewski reported that the Quantico brig commander acted inappropriately in putting Manning on suicide watch, and the journalists present greeted Morrell’s excuses with extreme skepticism.

    • Egypt – Cable from Imprisoned Egyptian Opposition Leader: Defend Democracy “for the friendship of peoples live forever”

      Ayman Nour, one of the senior leaders of the Egyptian opposition who is currently organizing a coalition to create an interim government, wrote an eloquent letter from prison in 2006 to then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, in which he implored the U.S. not to stand by and ignore his plight, according to a new cable released by Wikileaks.

    • Egypt – U.S. intelligence collaboration with Omar Suleiman “most successful”

      New cables released by Wikileaks reveal that the U.S. government has been quietly anticipating as well as cultivating Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian spy chief, as the top candidate to take over the country should anything happen to President Hosni Mubarak. On Saturday, this expectation was proved correct when Mubarak named Suleiman to the post of vice-president making him the first in line to assume power.

      An intelligence official who trained at the U.S. Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg, Suleiman became head of the spy agency in 1993 which brought him into close contact with the Central Intelligence Agency. Recently he took up a more public role as chief Egyptian interlocuter with Israel to discuss the peace process with Hamas and Fatah, the rival Palestinian factions.

    • WikiLeaks files reveal ‘cold, callous and brutal’ behaviour of ministers

      A mother who lost her daughter in the Lockerbie attack has condemned the “cold, callous and brutal” behaviour of British ministers after WikiLeaks documents revealed how they secretly advised Libya on securing the successful early release of the bomber.

    • WikiLeaks: FBI hunts the 9/11 gang that got away

      Secret documents reveal that the three Qatari men conducted surveillance on the targets, provided “support” to the plotters and had tickets for a flight to Washington on the eve of the atrocities.

      The suspected terrorists flew from London to New York on a British Airways flight three weeks before the attacks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • SPCA investigates slaughter of 100 Whistler sled dogs

      The “execution-style” mass cull of 100 sled dogs owned by Whistler-based Outdoor Adventures has sparked an SPCA investigation into allegations of animal cruelty, outrage from animal welfare groups and suspension by Tourism Whistler of reservations for dog sledding excursions by the company.

    • Brazilian president’s promises crumble under weight of Belo Monte dam

      Brazil’s new president, Dilma Rousseff, has never been popular among environmentalists.

      Since the early days of predecessor Luis Inácio Lula da Silva’s presidency, when she occupied the post of minister of mining and energy, many activists have seen her as a leader with an old-fashioned view of development. Something like “economic growth is priority number one, no matter if some hectares of Amazon rainforest has to be chopped down”.

      The animosity increased even more after Rousseff was promoted, in 2005, to the ministry of internal affairs – the post that paved her way to the presidency. With the second most important job in the republic, she was responsible for coordinating the government action plan, the Plano de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC) – the “plan of growth acceleration”.

    • Vedanta fights back over Indian hill tribe’s sacred mountain

      FTSE 100 mining giant Vedanta is challenging a ban on mining the sacred mountain of India’s Dongria Kondh tribe. The Orissa High Court will hear the case on Wednesday 2 February.

      The Dongria Kondh, whose plight has been compared to the fictional Na’vi in Hollywood blockbuster Avatar, won an historic victory against Vedanta last year. India’s Environment Ministry blocked Vedanta’s multimillion-dollar bid to create an open-pit bauxite mine on the Dongria’s sacred mountain, stating that Vedanta had shown ‘blatant disregard for the rights of the tribal groups.’

    • Masters: Extremely dangerous Tropical Cyclone Yasi bears down on flooded Queensland, Australia

      Of course it remains An amazing, though clearly little-known, scientific fact that we get more snow storms in warm years. See also Another terrific ABC News story — on the role global warming is playing in extreme winter weather.

    • Chimpanzee mother learns her infant has died (video)
    • Italian hunting in the dock after 35 people killed in four months

      It is not just birds, rabbits and wild boar who meet a sticky end in the Italian hunting season.

      According to statistics published today, 35 people have also been killed in the past four months, and another 74 injured. Italy’s anti-hunting league, the LAC, said all but one were hunters killed accidentally by their shooting companions.

  • Finance

    • AIB sues Oracle over ‘wasted expenditure’

      ALLIED IRISH Banks is suing two related international companies, claiming some €84 million spent by it on a new retail banking software system was “wasted expenditure”.

      The bank claims Oracle’s Flexcube product was “beset with serious technical problems” from the outset in 2007 and only some 3,000 customers out of an expected five million were switched over to it in a three-year period. In March 2010, work on implementing the Flexcube product ceased.

    • Manufacturing surges to record high

      Purchasing managers’ index data for January shows activity grew at the fastest rate in the survey’s 19-year history, and highlights strong inflation which could make an interest rate rise more likely

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Probably Not The Best Time To Introduce Legislation That Can Be Described As Having An ‘Internet Kill Switch’

      We’ve already discussed how, contrary to the claims of some, there really isn’t an attempt to create “an internet kill switch” in the US. There is a (admittedly bad) proposal concerning how the US would respond in the event of some sort of “cyber attack.” The proposal itself would allow the government to mandate how certain “critical infrastructure” pieces of the internet should respond in the event of such an attack.

    • Egypt’s Internet blackout gets even blacker

      On Friday we reported that almost all Egyptian Internet connectivity had been cut off. Routes to the company’s major ISPs had been dropped from global routing tables, leaving no way to send traffic to the country. At the time, one ISP, Noor Group, remained connected.

    • Ham Radio Not a Viable Option for Egypt

      The Egyptian government has ordered the shutdown of all ISPs (Internet service providers) as well as some cell phone services. The move appears aimed at disrupting protestors, who have been demonstrating across the country since last week. They are calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

  • Civil Rights

    • Egyptian Actions Highlight Dangers in U.S. Cybersecurity Proposals

      The Egyptian regime’s shutdown of the Internet in an attempt to preserve its political power highlights the dangers of any government having unchecked power over our Internet infrastructure, and puts a fine point on the risks to democracy posed by recent Congressional proposals to give the President a broad mandate to dictate how our internet service providers respond to cyber-emergencies.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Statement from the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry

      Today, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, issued the following statement regarding usage-based billing:

      “On Tuesday, January 25, 2011, the CRTC announced its decision to allow wholesale and retail internet service providers to charge customers for exceeding the monthly usage of data transfer permitted with their broadband Internet package. This will mean, for the first time, that many smaller and regional internet service providers will be required to move to a system of usage-based billing for their customers.

    • Reverse internet billing decision, Liberals say

      A CRTC decision that will force small internet service providers to restrict the internet service plans available to their customers should be reversed by the federal government, the federal Liberal Party says.

    • Usage-Based Billing Hits Canada: Say Goodbye To Internet Innovation

      O, Canada, what have you done? The country’s Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the CRTC, has passed sweeping new regulations that will force Internet Service Providers to switch to so-called usage-based billing—metered pricing, in less flowery language. That means ISPs there will charge customers by the gigabyte for Internet access, and that’s on top of a flat service fee. There’s nothing particularly new about metered pricing, but the fact that it’s being implemented on a country-wide basis surely merits a quick discussion.

    • Canadians Angry About Usage Based Billing

      Why is this important? Well, these limits or caps that ISP’s have put into place will effect Canadian jobs, and businesses not just consumers wallets. As almost anyone who follows the business side of the tech industry knows, everything is moving towards cloud computing. Basically what cloud computing means, is that any digital product you buy, view, or back up will be done via Internet only. From streaming video like Netflix, to music stored in virtual music lockers, to companies throwing their backups on secure servers over the net. Cloud Computing will significantly impact on the amount of bandwidth Canadians use as hard drives slowly become obsolete.

    • Open letter to Minister Clement concerning CRTC

      On behalf of the 107,000 members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), I am writing to express our strong concern with a recent decision of the CRTC regarding usage based billing for internet services (CRTC2011-44). The effect of this decision, should cabinet not overturn it, would be significant for small businesses in Canada, particularly as they come out of the recent recession. The vast majority of smaller firms rely on reasonably priced internet services to help them run their operations.

  • DRM

    • ORG calls for DRM evidence

      We know that there has been plenty of under-the-radar harm caused to ordinary consumers by ‘Digital Rights Management’ (DRM) over the past years. And we wouldn’t want that left out of the Review’s evidence base. It might be seeing the service you bought content on disappear, making your purchased music or films useless. Perhaps you bought an iPod or other music player and discovered too late that the format of your legally purchased music collection wasn’t supported. It might be that you bought music or film on one platform and found that unnecessarily restricted your subsequent choices about where to watch it, listen to it, or read it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • My Submission to The Legislative Committee on Bill C-32 (CC32)

        Culture grows through sharing. It used to be Canadians bemoaned the lack of a Canadian “identity.” This cultural void was certainly tied in to the limited exposure Canadians had to our own culture since a few corporations controlled all of our culture.

        Today’s combination of hardware, software, media devices, and the Internet makes it possible for creators to create and distribute our work directly to our audience. The new technology has been an incredible boon to both creators and consumers.

        The independent Canadian music industry is ushering in an incredible golden age, in spite of the CD levy which penalizes independent creators. Canadians are leading the world with Independent music production and distribution. And nobody is looking for a “Canadian Identity” anymore since Canadian culture is thriving– through sharing– on the Internet. For the first time in more than half a century, Canadian musicians don’t have to sign away the rights to their music to get recorded and distributed.

      • Copyright is a Monopoly! (And isn’t like normal property)

        The equation of ‘intellectual property’ (IP) such as copyright with (traditional “real”) property is frequently made, especially by those advocating its extension. However, this equation is fundamentally erroneous and results in very serious misapprehension of the nature and effect of IP. In particular, patents and copyright confer monopolies in a way that ownership of real property does not.

      • Hadopi Wants To Kick People Offline For Watching Unauthorized Streams As Well

        There’s no indication given as to how Hadopi or anyone else would actually be able to find out who was watching streamed content, short of seizing log files. But, won’t it be great when you can lose your internet connection, because your friends pointed you to a video on YouTube that wasn’t properly licensed?

      • How shall the artists get paid?

        There will never be a shortage of culture. We have created since the day we learned to put red paint on the inside of cave walls. There is more culture available than ever, much thanks to the Internet.

        There are millions more people who want to live off creating culture than the demand will bear. Most create for different motivations than money. You will have no hard time finding a professional broker or accountant who picks up their guitar as they come home from work to relax a bit, but show me a professional rock guitarist who picks out the financial ledgers for some relaxation in their spare time? In financial terms, there is an oversupply of creators. Always has been.

        When the printing press and libraries arrived, the middlemen proclaimed the death of culture. History repeats itself. Let’s get rid of the middlemen, limit their monopolies, and let the artists and culture flourish.

      • U.S. Resume Controversial File-Sharing Domain Seizures (Updated)

        US authorities have seized the domain of the hugely popular sports streaming and P2P download site Rojadirecta. The site, which is one of the most visited sites on the Internet, lost its .org domain which now redirects to a notice from DOJ/ICE. Rojadirecta is an unusual target because two courts in Spain have ruled that the site operates legally, and other than the .org domain the site has no links to the US.

      • 670 Alleged File-Sharers Off The Hook As BitTorrent Case Dismissed

        Last year, an adult movie producer filed suit against 670 individuals who it claimed had infringed copyright on an obscure title. Now the entire case, which was presented by lawyer Evan Stone, has been dismissed. The plaintiffs were scathing about the court-appointed EFF attorneys, describing them as defenders of piracy. The case was dismissed with prejudice, which means that each of the John Doe defendants are completely off the hook.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • UK Government to reassess website blocking piracy measures

          The government has asked the UK’s media regulator Ofcom to review part of the anti-piracy law from the Digital Economy Act to assess if the measures put in place are actually workable and consider the practicality of blocking websites that infringe copyright.

          The government introduced new rulings as part of its crackdown on individuals accused of copyright infringement but after a campaign on the Your Freedom website, a site that allows users to nominate laws they would like to see the government get rid of, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said “the government will look at whether we have the right tools for the job in addressing the problem of online copyright infringement”.

        • Digital Economy Act Costs – an unlawful Prisoners Dilemma

          On 17 January 2010, the draft Online Infringement of Copyright (Initial Obligations) (Sharing of Costs) Order 2011 was laid before parliament. It is the first substantive item of secondary legislation made under the Digital Economy Act 2010 and concerns about the simplest thing possible: how much copyright owners and ISP’s will have to pay under the Initial Obligations Code (IOC). Despite its simplicity it has been misdrafted and it may also be unlawful.

        • DE Act: should Parliament pass flawed ISP costs order?

          The European Commission questions whether the DE Act cost-sharing is allowable under EU law. And Ofcom suggests that ISPs could give credit vouchers to the rights-holders if they send fewer warning notices than they forecast.

Clip of the Day

Egypt Protest Cairo – Sky News

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 1/2/2011: Android 3 Comes, World’s First 3-D Phone Runs Android

Posted in News Roundup at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Keyboard PCs

    The full-sized keyboard makes this a better tool for those who can and do type on the web or locally. That’s most of us, folks. The one I particularly like in specs is a small cheap computer, $99 including GNU/Linux.

  • Post-Christmas Review: Tech Toys and GNU/Linux Compatibility

    Well, Christmas 2010 is over, and all the little tech toy devices have been connected, installed, and played with (or returned to the store from whence they came if they didn’t clear those hurdles). This year was an amazing success. Three major computer-linked devices worked on the first try without a hiccup. And I have to at least say a word or two about Mattel’s new Computer Engineer Barbie — a purchase I must admit was a little silly, but my daughter does play with it.

  • Desktop

    • Where is the Linux Desktop’s Aim?

      By a very definition, it seems that working for the Linux desktop is like shooting darts in the dark. Obviously, one would not be able to see where the dart goes, neither if you are hitting the target. However you are definitively hitting something, but you do not seem to know what.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Consistent names for network interfaces

      Future distributions will use a consistent, predictable scheme to name network interfaces, using names such as “em1″ and “pci2#1″ instead of “eth0″ and “eth1″ to provide more transparency for server administrators. As various new kernels have recently been introduced, the Kernel Log will provide an overview of the most important Stable and Longterm kernel series.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE at FOSDEM Next Weekend
      • KDevelop 4.2 Supports Latest KDE Releases

        Only three months after the last feature release, the KDevelop hackers are proud and happy to announce the release of KDevelop 4.2. As usual, we also make available updated versions of the KDevelop PHP plugins.

      • KRunner Position Trick

        First, launch system settings and open Window Behavior. Second, switch to the Window Rules control module, and click ‘New…’. Third, click ‘Detect Window Properties’, click the krunner applet window, and click ‘OK’. Finally, go to Geometry, check Position, choose force, click ‘OK’ and click ‘Apply’. Tada, all done.

      • KDE 4.6 For Fedora 14 Is Here

        KDE, the sexiest, desktop environment has reached version 4.6, which brings some cool features. However it’s a bit hard to get your hands on it while it’s still hot, especially on the distro of your choice.

        Fedora is one of the most popular GNU/Linux distros and there is no point in keeping Fedora users, who enjoy the luxury of bleeding edge software, away from 4.6. Rex Dieter has created unofficial builds of KDE 4.6 for Fedora 14 for the daredevil types.

      • Fedora Goes to the Dogs – Hot Dogs That Is

        There has been some contention over the upcoming artwork for Fedora 15 this cycle, but no on saw this coming. Most either predicted that the upstream GNOME 3 background would be the basis for the whole of Fedora 15′s artwork, or GNOME 3 would be a bit out of place with the rest of the overall theme. Perhaps as a reaction to this controversy, Lumens said, “Recent releases have focused on artwork that is too abstract, too focused on looking shiny. While the result look professional, it lacks a certain sense of the absurd. I propose creating a complete set of Hot Dog themed artwork that is used by default.”

      • Trying to love KDE 4.6
      • Bretzn results released into the wild

        Apart from being a tasty Bavarian bread-snack, Bretzn is a code-name for a collection of technology aimed at solving a problem which has existed in software development for a very long time: “How do you get your applications to your users?”

      • Bring Your KDE Application to the Masses with Bretzn
  • Distributions

    • ArchBang Linux 2011.01 brings new look

      The ArchBang project has released the 2011.01 edition of its ArchBang Linux distribution, code named “Symbiosis”. Like Arch Linux, upon which it is based, ArchBang is a simple and lightweight Linux distribution for i686 and x86-64 platforms aimed at Linux users who want to create “their own ideal environment” and install only what they need. However, ArchBang uses the minimalistic Openbox window manager with support for its pseudo-tiling functions.

    • Reviews

      • Pardus 2011

        I was very happy to see the inclusion of LibreOffice in this release.

    • New Releases

      • Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: Linux Distribution Releases to Watch in 2011

        Owing to its open licensing and decentralized style of development, there’s never a shortage of new Linux-based operating systems releases poised for release. Looking ahead at the rest of 2011, eWEEK Labs has compiled a list of Linux distribution releases worth watching for in the months ahead.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Strengthens its Focus in India with Executive Appointments

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that it has strengthened its India operations with two key executive appointments, further reaffirming its commitment to deliver innovation to enable Indian businesses, telcos and government agencies to take advantage of the current shifts in the datacenter around virtualization and cloud computing. Red Hat appointed Anuj Kumar as the new Country General Manager and Jagjit Singh Arora as Director, Enterprise Sales.

      • Red Hat Brings New Executives On Board

        Red Hat has strengthened its India operations with the appointment of Anuj Kumar as the new Country General Manager and Jagjit Singh Arora as Director, Enterprise Sales.

    • Debian Family

      • Countdown to Debian Squeeze

        There’s lots of great software in Squeeze. I just touch the tip of the iceberg with 1630 packages on this notebook out of 28K+ in the repository. Some of my favourites are LyX, LibreOffice, GIMP, InkScape, vlc, Dia and mplayer on the desktop and Apache, MySQL and PHP on the server. For making my own software I use vim, FreePascal and BASH usually. So much software. So little time.

      • Cross Platform Application Installer Meeting Could Mark A Milestone: Debian Project Leader

        While initiative likes Free Desktop have gone a long way to produce cross-distribution standards, per-distribution packaging policies still differ and in that differences we find the distinguishing traits of individual distributions. Losing those difference will not necessarily be good for Free Software, so I think that a single “App Store” might still be a red herring.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Natty Alpha 2 Coming Feb 3

          Ubuntu 11.04 aka Natty Narwhal is going to be a rocking and ‘rock-solid’ release as we can see from the work going on behind the ‘open’ doors. Apart from few bugging things like making Mono-based Banshee as the default music player, Natty is going to be a ‘revolutionary’ (if I can borrow the over-used adjective from Apple PR team) release.

        • Main frozen for Natty Alpha-2
        • Technology hero

          Since 2004, there have been 13 releases of Ubuntu, maintaining for the most part Shuttleworth’s target of a new version every six months. In that time, Ubuntu has become easier to use and more visually appealing, two attributes that were generally absent in early Linux distributions.

          To me, Shuttleworth is a technology hero because he has used his considerable talent to help develop, maintain and popularize a Linux-based operating system that is second to none in terms of stability, security and ease of use, and made it available to everyone free of charge. I began using Ubuntu in 2006 and have never felt the need to go back to Windows, and today, the only thing I still use my Macbook for extensively is Keynote, Apple’s presentation software, which still blows away anything available on Linux today.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • MadBox 10.10 Review – An Ubuntu Based Openbox Distro

            MadBox is a relatively new Ubuntu-based Openbox distribution. It tries to cater to CrunchBang (“#!”) Linux users who want an Ubuntu-based Openbox distribution (as #! switched to a Debian base almost a year ago), as well as to users who want a fast and lightweight OS or one that will work on a slower computer without sacrificing polish.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Get Pinch And Zoom Feature On Your NOOKcolor

      Linux powered eBook reader NOOkcolor gets pinch and zoom functionality in the browser through a firmware upgrade.

    • Phones

      • Sound of Footsteps

        Smartphones sold about as many units as the world shipped other personal computers in 2010Q4. One-third of those smartphones were shipped with Android/Linux.

      • Android

        • Release of Android 3 Tomorrow

          Android 3 is having a coming-out party tomorrow. Having achieved 22% share of tablet PCs with Android 2, a smart phone release, Android’s share should go critical with the availability of Android 3. Several manufacturers have delayed releasing new product until Android 3 was final and one has released new product with 2 with an upgrade to 3 promised.

        • Want to learn how to program on Android?

          Tomorrow, February 1st, the Linux Foundation, the non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, will be announcing six new training courses dedicated to the development of Linux-based mobile operating systems Android and MeeGo.

        • Want To Become Android Programmer?
        • Android enthusiasts hack Honeycomb to run on Nook Color

          The unofficial port of Honeycomb to the Nook is still at a relatively early stage of development, but it already has working support for hardware-accelerated rendering on the Nook hardware. This is a highly significant revelation because it demonstrates the potential suitability of Honeycomb for lower-end devices.

        • Keep Your Android Phones, Ubuntu Netbooks Safe With Prey

          Prey, the popular free and open source software which allows tracking lost mobile devices, has hit version 0.5.2. If you are concerned about losing your phone or netbook, you would want to get Prey protection for your mobile devices.

        • Linux Becomes The Leading Mobile Operating System: Courtesy Android

          Android was by far the largest smart phone platform in the US market in Q4 2010, with shipments of 12.1 million units – nearly three times those of RIM’s BlackBerry devices. Windows Phone 7 devices appeared too late in the quarter to take full advantage of holiday season purchasing. As a result, Microsoft lost share in the United States, from 8% in Q4 2009 to 5% in Q4 2010.

        • World’s First 3D Phone Will Run On…Linux, Android

          At this year’s Mobile World Congress, LG will unveil the Optimus 3D, the world’s first 3D smartphone offering consumers a full 3D experience right in the palm of their hands.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Attacks on FLOSS

    We have seen it all:

    * astroturfing all over the web,
    * trolls specializing in FLOSS, trying to make Freedom seem a flaw,
    * pronouncements from high and low that FLOSS is patent-encumbered or is a copy of non-free software, and
    * serious attacks on the infrastructure of FLOSS, and
    * European Commission decides to renew M$’s contract for 36K PCs…

  • Don’t fear the fork: How DVCS aids open source development

    Every once in a while, some extremely popular open source project faces what is generally regarded as one of the most painful, frightening experiences for such a project and its user community: the fork. An argument can be made that divergent evolution for purposes of specialization — such as when Knoppix burst onto the scene, based on Debian but customized for use as a LiveCD — is not a “true” fork. A fork, one might argue, is only what happens when the codebase is copied and taken in a slightly different direction because it is intended to replace (or at least compete with) the original project due to disputes between people who have different visions for it, rather than being intended to complement it by filling an otherwise empty niche.

  • 3DMagix and IllusionMage, scam or open source leeches?

    The companies IllusionMage and 3Dmagix resell via their websites Blender under their own name. Both websites are probably managed by the same person or company.

  • Where 3 times 3 is 8.

    OOo is truly the most powerful and user-friendly office application suite out of those three tested in this overview: OpenOffice.org, KOffice and GNOME Office. It has all-round functionality which can be used by everyone who is comfortable with Microsoft Office products. Migration from MS office to OOo is not an issue at all.

  • Events

  • Oracle

  • CMS

    • CMS and blog software without databases

      I was reading the Splitbrain.org blog, which I quite like by the way, and when I see a blog that I like, both content-wise and design/execution-wise, I try to figure out whether or not the software behind it is WordPress, Movable Type, Drupal, etc.

      Well, it turns out that Splitbrain.org is done with DokuWiki, which is a wiki platform that doesn’t rely on a database, with all the data stored in regular files on the server.

      I like simplicity.

      DokuWiki isn’t exactly a blogging platform, but you can turn it into one with plugins.

  • Healthcare

    • VA wants help modernizing health records system

      The Veterans Affairs Department is looking for expert help in developing an open source software model for modernization of its long-standing VistA (Veterans Health Information and Systems and Technology Architecture) health records system.

  • Business

    • Can Open Source Make ERP Better?

      Derek Singleton at SoftwareAdvice.com has written an interesting article entitled Can Open Source ERP Succeed? He brought up some of the hurdles for the adoption of open source ERP software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Intel warns of $1bn cost of chip fix

        The chipmaker Intel has halted shipments of hardware incorporating its new “Sandy Bridge” processors and says it will have to spend a total of $1bn (£600m) fixing a fault, delaying hundreds of new PC models for up to three months and potentially stifling growth in the personal computer market.

        Launched early in January, the Sandy Bridge chip combines standard processing and graphics units on a single die. But Intel said today it had found flaws in a support chip, called Cougar Point, which would have led to failures over time in connections to hard drives and DVDs.


  • New homes burn faster

    It’s never been more dangerous to be a firefighter.

    Our homes and the stuff inside them are nearly six times more flammable than they were 30 years ago.

    What that means for firefighters is the amount of time they can safely be inside a house on fire has dropped from about 17 minutes to three minutes or less.

  • Salvation Army under fire over tycoon’s profits bonanza

    The Salvation Army is facing calls to explain how it allowed a private businessman to build a multimillion-pound personal fortune with profits from its charitable clothes recycling scheme intended to be used for good causes.

  • Newspaper Reporter Talks About Criminal Complaint Filed By Sheriff

    The Shelby County Sheriff has prepared a criminal complaint against a newspaper reporter for asking him questions.

    Embattled Sheriff Dean Kimpel, who was already under fire for allegations of sexual assault, is now accusing a writer from the Sidney Daily News of telecommunications harassment.

  • Flickr Accidentally Deletes a User’s 4,000 Photos and Can’t Get Them Back

    Major, major stumble from Flickr today—a Zurich-based photoblogger says Flickr deleted his account by mistake and lost his 4,000 photos.

  • Science

    • How to read a paper

      This is a tricky problem to solve on a handheld device, or indeed anywhere. There is a press release on the Lancaster University website explaining that this device has been studied and found to work. I asked for details. The methods and results of this study are secret. No paper has been submitted for publication.

    • Training teachers to take on the creationism/evolution battle

      In a recent issue of Science, Berkman and Plutzer focus much of their article on that 60 percent of cautious teachers who, for one reason or the other, fail to fully support evolution. The authors propose that it is possible to persuade those timid teachers to become advocates of evolution, as the teachers do not exhibit strong conservative markers like believing that the universe is only 10,000 years old. Berkman and Plutzer suggest that the main cause of the problem is that these teachers lack confidence in their grasp of evolutionary biology.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Ayn Rand and the VIP-DIPers

      Despite persistent rumors, Rand Paul was not named in honor of influential conservative thinker, Ayn Rand. His name is Randall.

      It’s good he was not named for Ayn Rand because her real name was Alisa Zinovievna Rosenbaum which she changed honoring her Rand typewriter.

      Miss Rand, famously a believer in rugged individualism and personal responsibility, was a strong defender of self-interest. She was a staunch opponent of government programs from the New Deal and Social Security to the Great Society and Medicare.

    • Federal judge says healthcare law is unconstitutional

      A federal judge in Florida dealt President Obama’s healthcare overhaul a sweeping blow Monday, ruling the law unconstitutional because of its requirement that Americans have health insurance starting in 2014.

    • Minnesota issues list of toxic chemicals in children’s products

      The Minnesota Department of Health identified the presence of lead, cadmium, Bisphenol A and six other toxic chemicals in children’s products, such as jewelry and textiles. Advocacy group Healthy Legacy urged government agencies to require companies to disclose if such chemicals are present in their products.

  • Security

    • Amazon.com Security Flaw Accepts Passwords That Are Close, But Not Exact

      For example, if your password is “Password,” Amazon.com will also let you log in with “PASSWORD,” “password,” “passwordpassword,” and “password12345.”

      Wired has been able to confirm the flaw, which was first reported on Reddit. It appears to affect only older Amazon.com accounts, which have not had their passwords changed in the past several years.

      Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Police use CS spray on tax protesters

      Tax avoidance protesters needed hospital treatment today after police used CS spray to break up a demonstration on Oxford Street in central London.

      Hundreds of people staged peaceful sit-ins at high street stores around the country as part of the latest UK Uncut day of action, designed to highlight companies it says are avoiding millions of pounds in tax.

    • Guardian Davos journalist’s sinister encounter with the Swiss riot police

      My day began listening to George Osborne debate the fragility of the global economy. It ended sitting on the floor of a freezing underground car park, hands bound behind my back, in the custody of Swiss riot police.

      A peculiar ordeal in ostensibly the world’s most peaceful nation began when, leaving Davos after four days covering the World Economic Forumsummit, my taxi to the Swiss resort’s railway station got clogged in traffic caused by an anti-capitalist demonstration. I hopped out and walked past a line of police to reach a platform where an uneasy mixture of demonstrators, skiers in full gear and WEF delegates were milling around. There were a few yells and chants – and the tinkling of glass being broken somewhere nearby.

    • The imperial war presidency

      Progressive groups have made so much noise cheering for the elimination of this or that weapon, that the overall increase in the military budget each year has been missed, just as it will be missed by any casual viewer of this week’s speech. But a group of hundreds of prominent activists, authors, and academics has recently released a statement outlining Obama’s militarist record and committing to oppose his candidacy for the Democratic nomination next year unless he changes course.

      Nearly two thirds of US citizens believe that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced. Since he became president, Obama has had three opportunities to work with Congress to reduce military spending, but instead, has championed increases in that spending each time, despite the fact that this spending represents a clear threat to the economic future of our country.

    • Jordan protests: King Abdullah names Marouf Bakhit PM

      King Abdullah of Jordan has dismissed his cabinet and appointed a new prime minister amid large street protests.

      New PM Marouf Bakhit has been charged with carrying out “true political reforms”, but the Islamist opposition rejected the appointment.

  • Cablegate

    • Protect Your Friends — Protect Julian Assange

      Prof. James Duane, of the Regent University School of Law, explains how stating even a harmless fact to the police can enable them to convict you of a crime that you did not commit. (The second part too.) I didn’t refer to these on video.google.com because you need to run non-free/libre Javascript code to view the videos there, even if you use the free Gnash player instead of Adobe’s nonfree player which implements digital handcuffs.)

      During the present witch hunt, it’s worse. Innocent-seeming information they get from you could give them the opportunity to convict you or your friends, and Assange, even if you had nothing to do with the leak and neither did they.

      Suppose that federal agents believe that Bradley Manning knew J. R. Gensym. Suppose they find out that you met J. R. Gensym. They could try to pressure you into testifying that you helped Julian Assange communicate with J. R. Gensym and Bradley Manning (even if you didn’t). With that testimony, they can condemn Assange to a life of solitary confinement. Whatever they threaten you with, it won’t be as bad as the shame of knowing you were their tool to destroy Assange.

      If they don’t see a good way to use you against Assange, they might try to use your friends or acquaintances instead.

    • WikiLeaks And The Double Edge Of “Internet Freedom”

      Those new facts and accountability, as driven home by WikiLeaks’ information bombshells from the Afghan War Diaries to Cablegate over the past year, cut both ways. And no one has felt those cuts more strongly than the State Department itself.

      That paradox of U.S. Internet freedom policy has long been on the radar of Evgeny Morozov, the visiting scholar in the Liberation Technology Program at Stanford University. His new book The Net Delusion, published this month, takes on the State Department’s simplistic rhetoric on the Internet and authoritarianism, arguing that dismantling dictatorships around the world is a far more complex affair than piping in uncensored bandwidth.

    • Wikileaks: Libyan ‘frogman’ sent to train in Rome couldn’t swim

      One of the dispatches from Feb 17 2009 and titled “The frogman who couldn’t swim: a co-operation cautionary tale”, recounts how the Italian Government funded a Libyan to attend “a training program in Rome on underwater explosives detection and demolition”.

      It continues: “After several days of classroom instruction, the candidates – it was a regional course and included students from several countries – were taken to the pool for their first practical session in the water.

      “The instructor directed the students to don their masks and regulators and enter the deep end of the pool; however, after several minutes, the Libyan student had still not entered the water.

    • WikiLeaks: 9/11 gang with pilot uniforms fled to London

      Pilots’ uniforms, laptops, a smashed mobile phone and lists of air crew names were hardly typical holiday luggage, but nor did the hotel workers feel it was enough to merit calling the police.

      But the day after the guests checked out of the hotel, their odd behaviour suddenly seemed to make sense, to the horror of those who had witnessed it.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Papier-mache milk bottle arrives in UK supermarkets

      But now, inspired by a papier-mache balloon that his son made at school, Martin Myerscough believes he has come up with the answer. The GreenBottle, which looks remarkably like the conventional two-litre plastic bottles on supermarket shelves, comprises a sturdy paper shell with a plastic liner to keep the milk fresh.

  • Finance

    • Fresh Rules on Banks Could lead to More Crisis: Goldman President

      The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos saw Goldman Sachs President, Gary Cohn issuing a warning against the initiative to implement fresh regulations on banks. Such a step, said he, could lead to the next crisis by pushing risky activities towards hedge funds and other lightly supervised entities.

      The Goldman Sachs executive also criticized the regulators for their focus on traditional institutions.

    • Treasuries climb as official says Obama to seek spending freeze

      Demand for Treasuries as refuge eased as Al Arabiya television reported that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will announce plans to step down at the end of his term, renewing demand for higher-yielding assets such as stocks. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory data came three days before the Labor Department is forecast to report that the U.S. added jobs for a for a second consecutive month in January.

    • The Paradox of Corporate Taxes

      But Carnival’s biggest government benefit of all may be the price it pays for many of those services. Over the last five years, the company has paid total corporate taxes — federal, state, local and foreign — equal to only 1.1 percent of its cumulative $11.3 billion in profits. Thanks to an obscure loophole in the tax code, Carnival can legally avoid most taxes.

    • Citigroup Takes Over EMI

      Citigroup has taken over EMI, the British music label of the Beatles and Radiohead, under a restructuring of its debt, EMI announced on Tuesday.

    • Who Are the Biggest Corporate Welfare Queens?

      Tonight’s Open Thread: Who are the biggest recipients of Corporate Welfare?

    • Factory activity grows, hiring outlook brightens
    • Egypt’s Economy Is Near Paralysis

      International companies closed plants and sent workers home or out of the country; food staples went undelivered to stores; and banks remained closed during a week when many Egyptians, who are routinely paid monthly, would receive their paychecks.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Media Fights Propaganda Masked as News

      A coalition of journalist and civic organizations is waging a campaign to rid the Taiwan media of government propaganda masquerading as news, and signs are that the campaign has taken “the first steps” towards victory.

      The coalition said it will continue protesting government’s practice of “news buying” and the sharp rise in “embedded advertising” by agencies of the People’s Republic of China.

      In mid-January, Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan amended the Budget Law to prohibit the use of government funds to “buy” news. The government also issued an executive order requiring that official policy explanations in media “be identified as advertisements and news as news.”

  • Censorship

    • China micro-blogging sites censor ‘Egypt’
    • Parents Sue Expert Witness Who Made Fake Child-Porn of Their Kids

      An Ohio lawyer who serves as an expert witness in child pornography cases might be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in civil damages for Photoshopping courtroom exhibits of children having sex.

      Attorney Dean Boland purchased innocent pictures of four juvenile girls from a Canadian stock-image website, and then digitally modified them to make it appear as if the children were engaged in sexual conduct. Boland was an expert witness for the defense in half-a-dozen child porn cases, and he made the mock-ups to punctuate his argument that child pornography laws are unconstitutionally overbroad because they could be applied to faked photos.

    • The Terminator vs. the Constitution

      Does a zombie count as “an image of a human being”? What about an android or a shape-shifting alien? If his arm regenerates when you hack it off, does that still amount to “maiming”? Are you “killing” him if he comes back to life after you incinerate him with a flamethrower?

  • Privacy

    • Major privacy study signals a worrying increase in surveillance across Europe

      The UK improves its privacy performance since 2007 but France is catching up as Europe’s “worst surveillance society”

      A landmark EU-wide study of national privacy safeguards published today shows a decline in privacy protection across Europe and a steep increase in state surveillance over the lives of individuals.

    • Senator Calls for Privacy Protections for Device Location

      The increasing ability of mobile service providers to track customer locations raises “serious issues” for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, Wyden added. “This is a policy area where the law has not kept up with the times,” he said.

  • Civil Rights

    • Buzek on the developments in Egypt

      The entire world is watching what is happening in Egypt tonight and will hold the authorities accountable for any inappropriate use of force or any innocent death.

      In a democratic country, where the rule of law prevails, citizens are allowed to move freely, to talk to each other and to communicate with the rest of the world.

    • Egypt Lies I Read on Twitter: Debunking Rumors and Misinformation on the #Jan25 Uprising

      I’ll be honest, my Arabic isn’t perfect. But from what friends tell me, it makes no direct reference to looting. It does however, encourage security forces to go about in civilian attire and harass protesters.

    • Internet Freedom: CDT Statement on Egypt’s Internet Shutdown

      The Center for Democracy & Technology took position in response to the news that Egypt had cut Internet access and mobile services, below their press release.

    • Photographers: You’re Now Officially Free To Shoot In Public Places And Outside Federal Buildings
    • Is the Fourth Amendment Relevant in a Technological Age?

      This work will be a chapter in a forthcoming book in The Future of the Constitution series, edited by Jeffrey Rosen and Benjamin Wittes and published by the Brookings Institute. Over the past 200 years, the Fourth Amendment’s guarantees have been construed largely in the context of what might be called “physical searches” – entry into a house or car; a stop and frisk of a person on the street; or rifling through a person’s private papers. But today, with the introduction of devices that can see through walls and clothes, monitor public thoroughfares twenty-four hours a day, and access millions of records in seconds, police are relying much more heavily on what might be called “virtual searches,” investigative techniques that do not require physical access to premises, people, papers or effects and that can often be carried out covertly from far away. The Supreme Court’s current Fourth Amendment jurisprudence – specifically, its “knowing exposure,” “general public use,” “contraband-specific,” “assumption of risk” and “special needs” doctrines – has both failed to anticipate this development and continued to ignore it. This article describes this jurisprudence and how it can foster law enforcement abuse, mission creep, mistaken seizures and physical searches, and an oppressive atmosphere even for the innocent. It then outlines a more technologically-sensitive Fourth Amendment framework.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Ottawa enters dispute over higher Internet feesOttawa enters dispute over higher Internet fees

      The Harper government is stepping into a contentious debate over just how much Canadians should pay for Internet service, as Industry Minister Tony Clement says he will review a federal regulator’s decision that will raise prices for consumers and businesses.

      As people access increasing numbers of documents, video, software and other large files through the Internet, major communications providers such as Shaw Communications Inc. and BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada unit have begun to regulate how much their customers can download – charging them extra when they exceed monthly limits. Many consumers have responded by turning to smaller Internet providers that lease space on networks such as Bell’s and offer popular “unlimited” plans without such caps.

  • DRM

    • Hotz Will Ask Judge to Reconsider TRO Order – Updated

      Wired’s David Kravetz reports that George Hotz’s lawyers plan to ask US District Court Judge Susan Illston to reconsider her recent temporary restraining order and the requirement to surrender all his computers and peripherals and retrieve from the Internet any information he put there about hacking Sony’s Playstation 3 to allow running unsigned code and to restore OtherOS functionality.

    • Sony Trying To Play Whac-A-Mole Over PS3 Hack
    • Official PS3 firmware v3.56 has a rootkit
    • One Of The Earliest Computer Viruses Was Really DRM Gone Wrong

      Author William Gibson has a nice little opinion piece claiming that we’ve now hit the 25th anniversary of “digital vandalism” in the form of computer viruses. I’m pretty sure he’s wrong about that, as just a few years back there were all those news reports about how Rich Skrenta (who later went on to found the Open Directory Project, Topix and Blekko) created the first widespread computer virus in Elk Cloner back in 1982. That said, Elk Cloner was more of a prank. The virus Gibson is talking about was more malicious, in that it locked up files. So, if Gibson’s point is that this was the first malicious virus, perhaps that’s more accurate (though, I would imagine there are some other claims to the throne).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Snail-like politics and the digital age

        If ever there was an unwanted stepchild of government policy, surely copyright reform would be it. But not for the expected reason — that, on paper anyway, it’s a subject that bores elected officials to tears.

        Quite the opposite, actually. Over the past two years, copyright reform has become a lightning rod that few politicians seem to want to touch.

        It’s not surprising therefore that the DVD-watching, internet-downloading world — from consumer advocates to artists and entertainment industry lobbyists alike — are frustrated with how slowly the legislative committee hearings on Canada’s proposed new copyright law, Bill C-32, have been going.

      • Hulu Owners Looking To Make Hulu Even More Useless

        It’s been almost two years since we suggested it might be impossible for Hulu to survive, given that it was in a bit of a “rock and a hard place” situation. The only way for it to really succeed long-term online was to disrupt the existing TV business. Because, if it didn’t do that, others could and would kill Hulu. However, Hulu is owned by the existing TV business, and that means the company can’t do what it needs to do.

      • Francis Ford Coppola, copyfighter

        In this interview with The 99%, Francis Ford Coppola says some extremely thought-provoking and sensible things about creativity, mastery, copyright, the business of the arts, collaboration, and life.

      • MPAA, BREIN take down more torrent sites; Internet barely notices

        At least 51 torrent sites have been taken down this month thanks to joint efforts by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its dutch counterpart BREIN—12 in the US and 39 in the Netherlands. The two groups say they were able to work with the sites’ hosting providers to take them offline, though the names of the affected sites have not been released.

      • iTunes films break copyright laws

        Russian films are being made available through Apple’s iTunes service without the consent of the copyright holders, the BBC has learned.

        The popular films, dating from the Soviet era, are being made available to download as smartphone apps.

      • Porn industry goes after filesharers

        DOWNLOADING pornography over Bittorrent looks to be the easiest way of finding yourself fingered by lawyers for filesharing.

        A chap who wants to remain anonymous has collated publically available data on US cases against alleged filesharers during the period from 8 January 2010 through 21 January 2011. Some of the plaintiffs include such silver screen luminaries as Dogfart Productions, New Sensations and Hard Drive Productions.

      • Just Under 100,000 Sued In Mass Copyright Infringement Suits Since Start Of 2010

        We’ve been covering the mass copyright infringement lawsuits being filed in the US over the past year or so. Most of them aren’t designed with the idea of actually taking anyone to court, but mainly to threaten people into “settling” (i.e., paying up) to avoid the lawsuit. A “concerned citizen” hoping to remain anonymous has taken the time to put together an amazingly detailed spreadsheet cataloging all of these lawsuits. He claims that he will continue to keep it updated. One stunning point from the data? Between January 1, 2010 and now, 99,924 “John Does” have been sued in this manner. If I don’t hurry up and publish this post, I imagine we’ll have already passed 100,000.

      • ACTA

        • Triangulation 2: Michael Geist

          Columnist and law professor at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Michael Geist, who exposed the details of ACTA to the public, is this week’s guest.

        • ACTA: Negotiations May Be Done, But Debate Continues

          Next week, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will begin hearings on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The hearing are long overdue as many other countries have held hearings or other consultations on the agreement. The ACTA hearings come just as the issue heats up around the world:

          * An ACTA analysis conducted by European law professors that concludes the agreement is not fully consistent with EU law.

Clip of the Day

Police attack praying Egyptians

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 1/2/2011: Android Leaps to #1 Spot; Git 1.7.4, Bangarang 2.0 Released; Fudcon 2011 Reports

Posted in News Roundup at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Open source group preps Linux computer for Lunar X-Prize glory

    A group of Australian and New Zealander open source space enthusiasts collectively called Lunar Numbat is contributing Linux-based technology to the White Label Space team and its attempt to win Google’s $20 million Lunar X-Prize.

  • A monospace font beauty pageant

    I got a note the other day from Sam Block about the Tamsyn font, which is a beautiful little arrangement in a nice array of small point sizes.


    But I think I’ll stick with Terminus for now. If Tamsyn picks up line-drawing characters I might jump ship, but for now this is the best for me.

  • Desktop

    • Why We Insist on Linux on the Desktop

      The title to this article could just as easily have been, “Why We Don’t Use Windows.”

      Besides being inflammatory,…well, that’s reason enough.

      Far be it from me to ever publish anything controversial.

      The fact remains, we do insist on installing Linux with every computer we give away.

  • Server

    • Three Excellent Linux Router Distros + 1 BSD

      Special purpose appliance distributions are one of the things that Linux does extremely well. You can find any number of task-specific appliances from either Turnkey Linux or on the VMware Virtual Appliance marketplace. Another option is to roll your own with a service like Novell’s SUSE Studio. In this article we’ll take a look at four different specialized distributions targeted at the job of an Internet firewall or traffic router. Our list of candidates for this job includes Clear OS, m0n0wall, Untangle and Vyatta. We’ll give you a quick introduction to each along with some context to help steer you in the direction that makes the most sense for your application. Each one has its own set of features and distinctive, and we’ll try to highlight those for you.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • 2 Million Galaxy Tabs Sold? Not Quite, Consumer Purchases Much Lower

      Samsung has been known to fudge the reality of their sales figures a bit, quoting units shipped to retailers as units “sold.” This is nothing new or all that suspicious; the implication is that if retailers are buying up items like the Samsung Galaxy Tab at a rate of 2 million units in the first four months after launch the Android tablet must be moving quite well from shelves. Not so, it turns out.

  • Kernel Space

    • Git 1.7.4
    • An Update On Reiser4 For The Mainline Linux Kernel

      In November of 2009 we reported that the Reiser4 file-system may go into the mainline Linux kernel in late 2010. We’re now into 2011 with the merge window having closed earlier this month for the Linux 2.6.38 kernel and there’s no sign of this open-source file-system designed to succeed the popular ReiserFS. So what gives? Well, we have another update from its lead developer.

    • Kernel Switcher Arrives | GDM/KDM/LXDM Support

      This is beta yet and if you have any ideas to implement, feel free to drop us a line. This is going to make our rolling release better. We will keep you posted of future changes of course.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Review: KDE 4.6

        A couple days ago, KDE 4.6 was released for the world to enjoy.


        Overall, I’m quite disappointed with KDE 4.6; more precisely, I’m disappointed with how it treated me today.

      • User Revolts

        That, I suspect, is why some users continue to be unreconciled with current KDE development. Technically, the innovations in KDE in the fourth release series are brilliant; they include easily changed multiple icon sets, enhanced searching and improvements to virtual desktops.

        But the only trouble is, a sizable chunk of users didn’t care about these improvements. For one thing, such improvements take time to learn, and may require the changing of old habits.

        Even more, importantly, though, the discontented users saw no need for these extra features and the slightly different ways of working and thinking that the extras imply. They were content with what they had, and many probably didn’t use many of the features that they already had.

      • Finding the unloved, 2011, part I

        So this is your chance to get involved and get maaany kudos for helping out in one of those areas. If you think your skills could fit or if you are just interested what those tasks would involve just take the necessary step and use the contact details.
        Do us a favour and let’s reduce this list to zero!

      • Bangarang 2.0 Released

        I’m happy to announce the release of Bangarang 2.0.

      • KDE 4.6 to be included in Linux Mint 10 KDE

        I know many people have been waiting for the KDE edition of Linux Mint 10 for a while now. This edition includes KDE 4.5.5 and both its 32-bit and 64-bit ISO were successfully tested about a week ago. After a discussion with Boo, we decided to upgrade KDE to the recently released 4.6 version. Because of the importance of this upgrade, the current ISOs are being rejected and the release will have to go through another cycle of testing again.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3 live CD / USB test image

        to help as many people as possible to test the (not yet released) GNOME-Shell (and GNOME 3), I’ve been working on a test image, which can be easily burned on any CD or dump on USB sticks, without the hassle of compiling the entire GNOME 3 stack with (the excellent) jhbuild.

  • Distributions

    • Linux and the Great App Store Agenda

      Are Linux’s current package managers really just overly complex clunkers, especially in a the age of App Stores and quick, no-brainer software installations? OpenDesktop.org’s Frank Karlitschek has called for a nice, cross-distro application installer system for Linux, and his supporters say it’s about time. Critics, however, point to many unified standards in the Linux world that have tried and failed in the past.

    • New Releases

      • Computer Lab International Announces New Linux Operating System

        Computer Lab International (CLI), a leading provider of thin client technology, today announced a new Ubuntu based thin client optimized operating system, adding to CLI’s specialized product portfolio. The goal was to develop a highly efficient Linux offering that is simple and flexible, while still providing strong performance.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva 2011 Delayed Due to Major Changes

        The Mandriva 2011 Technology Preview showcases some of the planned features of Mandriva 2011 currently available in Cooker and the upcoming Alpha. This includes native systemd, Networkmanager support, KDE 4.6.0, Linux 2.6.37, Firefox 4 beta 10, X.org X Server 1.9, Clementine 0.6 and lots of software updates. Most significantly, today’s preview introduces the new ISO image version.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Open source policy pleases Red Hat, Linux Australia

        Open source organisations Red Hat and Linux Australia have both welcomed the Federal Government’s revised approach to dealing with open source software, which will see a more active approach taken to the technology than that used in the past.

        Withdrawing from its 2005 declared position of “informed neutrality” on open source, late last week the Federal Government announced government agencies would have to consider open source software equally alongside proprietary software when buying products worth more than $80,000.

      • LCA Talk on Video

        I won’t spare you the video of my talk about systemd at linux.conf.au 2011 in Brisbane, Australia last week…

      • Red Hat Training Garners Top Results in IDC Analysis

        Red Hat training and certifications are highly respected across the industry as enterprises, governments and other organizations continue turning to open source to meet mission-critical IT needs. With the growth of open source, it’s becoming increasingly important for organizations to have a workforce that is trained and savvy in open source solutions.

      • Red Hat debuts deal registration

        Open-source software vendor Red Hat has launched a deal registration initiative for its Advanced and Premier partners in the UK.

        The rebate scheme will see partners rewarded with a financial incentive for each Red Hat product they sell to customers registered in the programme.

      • Fedora

        • GNOME 3 Test Day #1: Come try the new hotness

          Of course, GNOME 3 is one of the big new features of Fedora 15 – and the free software desktop in general. Fedora will be running three Test Days to aid in the final polishing and stabilization of the GNOME 3 release, and make sure Fedora 15 provides a good desktop experience. This is a great opportunity to help both GNOME and Fedora development and help make sure you can work effectively in GNOME 3 when it lands on your desktop. Even though these are Fedora events, you don’t have to run Fedora to join in, and since GNOME 3 will land in all the distributions soon, the testing will be just as valuable to your distribution: all the feedback will go to the GNOME developers for the benefit of all distributions. The first Test Day is this Thursday, 2011-02-03. You can participate just by visiting the wiki page, and following through the instructions you find there – it’s really easy! There will be other testers, Fedora QA team members and GNOME developers in the IRC channel – #fedora-test-day on Freenode IRC – all day long to help out and discuss issues with. If you don’t know how to use IRC, no problem – you can use WebIRC. If you click that link it will open the IRC channel (which is like a chat room) in a web page in any good browser.

        • FUDcon Tempe Day 1
        • Fudcon 2011: Day 2
        • FUDcon Tempe Day 2
        • An anthropologist’s view of an open source community

          In the first session of FUDCon talks this past weekend, Diana Harrelson reported on her anthropological study of the Fedora community, which she used to find ways to sustain and grow an open source development community. She studied the group from the Fedora 12 launch through the Fedora 13 development cycle while she was a master’s candidate at the University of North Texas. (She now has that degree and is working towards a PhD in human computer interaction.) Here’s are a few of her findings, much of which certainly apply across open source communities, not just to Fedora.

    • Debian Family

      • Oldest bug closed ever

        A few days ago, I closed two bugs in the #17xxx range and I found that pretty cool already. But a few hours ago, I closed #6734, which is the oldest bug I ever closed! It took more than 14 years for somebody to reply, oops…

      • Debian Project News – January 31st, 2011

        Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” to be released this weekend

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Developer Day!

          A long awaited blog post about the Ubuntu Developer Day. Jorge has been saying ‘PICS OR IT DIDNT HAPPEN!’ for a while now. Anyway, I got all the pictures today morning finally. I don’t remember how I first heard of Ubuntu Developer Day, but I remember registering within minutes of it being announced. I got a text the previous night reminding me that the registrations would start at 8:15 am and the sessions would start at 9 am.

        • AskUbuntu reaches 7000 questions – 15000 answers – 9800 users – 70000 votes

          Less than 4 months after the successful launch as permanent Q&A site in our new Ubuntu design, we have reached the 7000 question threshold. Those 7000 questions have been asked and answered to 90% more than 15000 answers by 9800 users. 70000 votes have been cast for the questions and answers.

        • Unity Places Files/Applications Is Back, Changes To Ubuntu Classic Desktop [Natty Updates]

          For now they are quite buggy and don’t always populate with apps/files, their icons are missing and so on, but this is the initial Unity-Places-Files and Unity-Places-Applications in Ubuntu 11.04 so they should receive a lot of updates until Ubuntu 11.04 is out.

        • Create Your Own Ubuntu Packages with GiftWrap

          Most applications that you want on your Linux desktop are available as ready-made binaries. Distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora have become popular enough that most package developers have started shipping their packages as rpms and debs. However, there’s always that one package that you want to install on your computer that is only available as a source release. For advanced users, installing a source release of an application is not a big problem. But, for novices it can be quite a daunting task. Also if you need to install the app in question on several computers it is easier to use a deb or rpm release.

        • File and Application places land in Ubuntu 11.04

          A new release of Ubuntu 11.04′s Unity Application places and File places has landed in the Natty repository today.

        • Ubuntu Aims to Make Open-Source Development ‘Personal’

          The ongoing Ubuntu Manual project is one facet of the broader campaign to promote Ubuntu development, while Canonical’s recent creation of a position for a “Developer Relations Advocate” represents a concrete commitment on the part of the company to engaging more independent contributions to the operating system. The portal at http://developer.ubuntu.com, which remains under construction, also caters to Ubuntu contributors.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10, Ubuntu 10.10, and Kubuntu 10.10

            Linux Mint has this nice new feature (to me at least) that has it start the installation while the user enters installation options such as user details, location, etc. The menus and graphics (including icons and window decorators) are stunning. Setting up dual-head in Ubuntu without proprietary drivers was easy, in Kubuntu it’s still not as easy (getting twinview). Overall, since both share the very same base (even same packages for the most part, except those which are preinstalled), comparison in this case ought to rely on what’s above the hood, mostly user experience.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Turn your old laptop into a photo frame

      Erik Pettersson has taken a 14-inch ThinkPad T42 running Ubuntu, switched on remote control software VNC, taken out all the unnecessary bits and pieces, and mounted it within an Ikea frame.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • First look: Honeycomb APIs power tablet-friendly Android apps

          Android 3.0, codenamed Honeycomb, introduces a completely new user interface suitable for tablet devices. Google has also extended the platform’s APIs so that third-party developers can make their applications work better on large form factors.

          The Android 3.0 SDK preview, which was released last week, offers an early look at some of the new features available to developers. We’ve been scouring the documentation and looking at the source code examples to see how all the pieces fit together. In this article, we will give you a concise overview of several key new features.


          We would normally provide links to the code examples described above. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t published the Android 3.0 documentation or code samples on the official Android reference website yet, but they can be obtained by downloading the SDK.

        • Canalys: Android overtakes Symbian as world’s best-selling smartphone platform in Q4 2010

          One day somebody will write a book called “The rise and rise of Android” and this moment will be highlighted in bold. Canalys’ latest smartphone sales figures show that Android phone makers managed to shift a cool 33.3 million handsets in the last quarter — more than any other smartphone platform out there, including the previous leader, Symbian, which sold 31 million units.

        • Google’s Android becomes the world’s leading smart phone platform

          In Q4 2010, volumes of Google OS-based smart phones (Android, OMS and Tapas) were again boosted by strong performances from a number of vendors, notably LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC, whose volumes across these platforms grew 4,127%, 1,474%, 709% and 371% respectively year-on-year. HTC and Samsung together accounted for nearly 45% of Google OS-based handset shipments.

        • STATS: Android is now “the world’s leading smartphone platform”

          It’s time for Google’s Android team to crack open a bottle of organic carbonated California apple juice, as the latest stats from market research outfit Canalys have Android as the number one smartphone platform around the world.

        • Brainchild Shows Off Kineo: Android Tablet with a Focus on Education

          Today at the Florida Educational Technology Conference Brainchild unveiled their new Android tablet, the Kineo. The Kineo features a 7-inch 800×480 touchscreen, 800MHz CPU, and 2GB of storage. Wi-Fi and HDMI out round out a tablet that would otherwise be forgettable if it wasn’t for a special focus on primary and middle school education. The Kineo is designed to be distributed in the classroom, and in addition to educational applications sports some pretty solid security features to prevent students from accessing unapproved content.

        • Android captures 22 per cent of the tablet market

          THE OPEN SOURCE Android operating system from Google was loaded onto 22 per cent of tablet devices sold in the last quarter of 2010.

          Figures from research outfit Strategy Analytics showed that 9.7 million tablets were sold in the final three months of 2010 and that Android was loaded on 2.1 million of those devices. The figures also showed what everyone already knew, that Apple’s Ipad still commands a healthy lead in the tablet market, taking over 75 per cent of sales in the last quarter of 2010. However things are not looking all that great for Apple, according to the market research firm.

        • Prediction: In Two Years, Apple Will Have Less Than 50 Percent of the Tablet Market

          With tablets running the Google mobile OS beginning to proliferate now, those days of Apple’s easy dominace of the market are winding down. Shipments of Android devices in the quarter, for example, leapt to 2.1 million units from about 100,000. “Apple’s volumes will continue to go up, but market share will inevitably go down,” Strategy Analytics’ director Neil Mawston told Bloomberg . “Even at $500 retail, based on some of the research we’ve done, that’s probably two or three times more than what most mass market consumers are expecting to pay….If you were to ask me in two years time will Apple have less than 50 percent of the global tablet market, I think that’s a certainty.”

        • Android Tablet Sales Narrow The iPad’s Lead (UPDATE)

          Android’s gains on the iPad may not have been as significant as Strategy Analytics initially reported in Business Week. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung shipped two million Samsung Galaxy Tabs, rather than having sold two million devices. The WSJ transcript includes an exchange with a Samsung exec, who when pressed on an earnings call, said that actual sales were “quite small.”

        • Researchers enable mesh WiFi networking for Android smartphones

          An Australian research group from Flinders University has found a way to apply WiFi mesh networking onto the Android operating system, allowing phones to act as access points over radio waves to transmit voice calls as data. While the system currently only works between phones relatively close together, the researchers hope the use of transmitters will extend the service to remote areas for emergency use.

        • Tablets: Apple Loses 20 Percent Market Share To Android In Just One Quarter

          Someone at Samsung must have been a little red-faced today, when the mobile giant got called on how it reported its figures for the Galaxy Tab. What was originally portrayed as two million units sold turned out to actually be only two million devices shipped—a big difference in terms of how many of those devices were actually getting into the hands of consumers. Yet some would argue that the number of shipped devices can be an adequate enough gauge of market demand. If so, Android has made some incredible headway into this still-new market—with volumes growing 2,000 percent sequentially—even if Apple’s iPad is still on top with a 75 percent market share.

        • Netgear CEO says ‘closed’ Apple is doomed

          Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ insistence on a closed iOS platform is dragging his company down, dooming it to be overtaken by Google Android, according to the chairman and CEO of… Netgear.

          “Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away, then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to open up the platform,” Netgear co-founder Patrick Lo told a Sydney, Australia, gathering on Monday, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

          “Ultimately a closed system just can’t go that far …” he said. “If they continue to close it and let Android continue to creep up then it’s pretty difficult as I see it.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Definitions: media, freedom, web.

    The kind of freedom I am talking about: The openendedness of digital things. Bulding things we can build on.

    Loosely, I’m talking about software freedom here. In 1986, Richard Stallman declared that software should have four freedoms. Paraphrased they are: the freedom to use, study, remix and share. While many people don’t buy into the four freedoms per se, the basic ideas are widely accepted. Some rough approximation of use / study / remix / share is what most people mean when they say ‘free’ or ‘open’ in relation to technology.

    Freedom in this sense is useful conceptual frame that not only helps us understand the web but may also give us tools to reinvent the media of the past. It’s use / study / remix / share that make the web openended. The same frame offers a useful set of design tools as we start to reinvent media more widely.

  • 12 open source books

    Open source is very dedicated to sharing information, comparing and learning, then in this article i will recommend some readings of open books that you can download, read and if you want print freely.

  • Open-source software on the menu for FOSS Fair

    Students interested in learning more about free and open-source software can sign up for the Feb. 12 FOSS Fair.

    Red Hat is sponsoring the Free and Open Source Software Fair. Students on campus utilize open software on a daily basis at computer labs that allow them to use certain programs to complete assignments. The FOSS Fair is an initiative to educate others about the open source community through discussion.

    Jack Neely, a Linux specialist with the Office of Information Technology and this year’s FOSS Fair Organizer, said the event is supposed to be a fun, informal affair for attendees.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • MDN doc sprint was a huge success

        More than 30 contributors from at least a dozen countries, touching approximately 300 documentation pages.

        Those are the results from the documentation sprint that started Friday, January 28 at 14:00 UTC. While the sprint was scheduled to end at midnight UTC on Saturday, some participants were still making updates on Sunday.

      • Mozilla slips ‘Do Not Track’ header into Firefox nightlies

        Mozilla has uploaded a working prototype of its “Do Not Track” http header into the Firefox nightly builds.

        Anyone interested in testing the header can do so by downloading a pre-beta version of Firefox, but it won’t have any real effect until websites and advertisers chose to recognize the thing.

      • Why Firefox 4 Will Never Pass The Acid3 Test

        Mozilla has responded to complaints that Firefox 4 is not scoring 100/100 points in Ian Hickson’s Acid 3 web standard compliance test. Firefox 4 stands at 97/100 and is unlikely to improve its score.

  • Oracle

    • Looking Ahead to Java SE 7 and 8: A Discussion with Oracle’s Java Language Architect, Brian Goetz

      We caught up with Oracle’s Java Language Architect, Brian Goetz, to get his thoughts on concurrency, Java SE 7 and 8, developments in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and more.

    • Re-booting OpenJDK governance

      After IBM and then Apple joined the OpenJDK Community it became clear that it was time to revive the effort to create a written set of rules by which the Community will operate.

      I’m happy to report that, since last November, I’ve been doing just that: Drafting a set of Community Bylaws in collaboration with John Duimovich and Jason Gartner of IBM, Mike Milinkovich of Eclipse, Prof. Doug Lea of SUNY Oswego, and Adam Messinger of Oracle.

  • Project Releases

    • Version 5.50 of the Nmap network scanner released

      After more than a year of development, the Insecure.org developers have released version 5.50 of Nmap, their popular open source network scanner and mapper. According to the developers, the primary focus of this second stable update since Nmap 5.00 is the Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE); this “has allowed Nmap to expand up the protocol stack and take network discovery to the next level”.

    • Teiid 7.3 Final Released

      We are pleased to announce Teiid 7.3 is now available.

  • Government

    • EC prefers open source for new IT systems deployed by contractors

      The European Commission prefers to use open source software for the development of new information systems if it plans to deploy these outside of its own datacenters and premises. That is one of the new commitments in the EC’s policy on open source, that was published on 15 December.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • The road to individual voter registration will be paved with data sharing

        An electoral services officer there told me how officers used to loudly proclaim how registering to vote wouldn’t lead to the data being shared with tax, immigration or any other parts of government. Now that’s all gone, the officer said, and in the small print on the back of the form you are told that it is (quite legally) shared across local and central government, as well as with credit agencies, of course.

      • Open Public Data: Then What? – Part 2

        One may believe that one of the three scenarios for the future of Open Public Data that I discussed in my previous post is more likely than the other. The problem is, why? What actions, decisions, or conditions, are more likely to get us going along one road rather than the other? Can we go wrong on one count, and right on another? I believe we have hardly begun to figure that out.


  • Free Metro Can’t Stop Making Money

    But it would not surprise me in the least if it made the best part of £30m in its last financial year and, quite possibly, even more.

    An executive at one of its publishing partners told me yesterday that she thought it might “north of that”, adding: “It’s had one helluva year.”

    Though Metro’s managing director, Steve Auckland, is tight-lipped about the figures, he is more than welcome to talk about the rising fortunes of the free paper that is ranked third in terms of national daily circulation (after The Sun and the Daily Mail) with an ABC-audited distribution of 1.38m copies a day.

  • Science

    • Making quantum memory from an almost-classical system

      It’s an understatement to say that quantum computing is a hot topic in physics right now, and we’ve seen many demonstrations of qubits and toy computers—or, rather, registers—performing example computations. If you were slightly cynical, you might note that quantum implementations of algorithms, which are supposed to run faster than in classical computing, are all very, very slow. But that’s how research goes.

    • Google Docs and LaTeX

      Google Docs is a great way to collaborate on documents and for a lot of people can probably replace large, expensive office suites with a free, online solution. When I first started using the service, the features were pretty basic. I noticed today that there was a link to a list of new features. A couple of these were particularly interesting. Since some of these features have been around for a while without me noticing, I thought it might be worth a blog post.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt: The Epic Fail of the New York Times’ Op-Ed Page

      Remarkably, the New York Times still (as of Jan. 30) has not run a single regular column or guest column focused on Egypt since the protests against the Mubarak dictatorship arose over the past week. This epic negligence and evasiveness speaks volumes about the poverty of public discourse in America. As the free will of editors and columnists from our national paper coincides with Mubarak’s censorship, we are witnessing further confirmation of what Chris Hedges has called “the death of the liberal class.”

      The Obama administration appears to have been caught totally flat-footed by Tunisia and Egypt. It has struggled to articulate a coherent position: first remarking that the Egyptian government is stable and that Mubarak is not a dictator; then urging restraint on all sides before finally advocating democracy and free and fair elections — though refusing to point out that this cannot be achieved until Mubarak and hand-picked successors leave the scene.

    • G20 Defendant Alex Hundert Released from Prison, Actions of Crown Widely Condemned

      After having spent three consecutive months in jail without trial, G20 defendant Alex Hundert was released from the Toronto West Detention Centre on January 24th.

      His release came after he signed a plea bargain with the Crown that he was guilty of being in breach of his “no protest condition” for being present during one portion of the panel at Ryerson University. The plea found him not guilty of breach for speaking on a panel at Laurier University, nor did the plea establish that speaking on a panel was equivalent to a public demonstration.

    • Exclusive: Tunisia Internet Chief Gives Inside Look at Cyber Uprising

      When Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s dictatorship began unraveling here last month amid violent street protests, Tunisia’s internet administrators saw a massive spike in the number of sites placed on government block lists. But, in contrast to the embattled Egyptian government, the Ben Ali regime never ordered internet and cellphone communications shut off or slowed down, the head of the Tunisian Internet Agency says.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Global fish consumption at record high: UN

      Global fish consumption has hit a record high, an increase largely attributable to a booming fish-farm industry, a UN report says.

      In a report released Monday, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said the global per capita consumption of fish reached a “new all-time high” in 2008.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • A News Corp. Digital History Lesson For The Daily

      My enduring image from that time is of Murdoch himself, his hand bandaged and in a sling following a sailing accident on Larry Ellison’s boat. The iGuide team was gathered in a standing circle at our trendy downtown Manhattan offices as Murdoch rallied the troops in his gruff Australian accent. Everything was going great, he assured us, and Ellison was coming on board to help foot the bill for our extravagant operation. But, in the end Ellison, wasn’t in—and maybe six weeks later we were all out.

  • Censorship

  • Civil Rights

    • EFF Uncovers Widespread FBI Intelligence Violations

      EFF has uncovered widespread violations stemming from FBI intelligence investigations from 2001 – 2008. In a report released today, EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau’s intelligence investigation practices, suggesting that FBI intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed.

    • Republican Congressman Proposes Tracking Freedom of Information Act Requests

      Representative Darrell Issa calls it a way to promote transparency: a request for the names of hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, business executives, journalists and others who have requested copies of federal government documents in recent years.

    • Know Your Rights: What To Do If You’re Stopped By Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI

      - You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
      - You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
      - If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
      - You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
      - Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.

    • 2010 — the Uyghur Human Rights Year in Review

      At the conclusion of 2009, the outlook for Uyghur human rights looked very bleak indeed. In December of that year, 20 Uyghur asylum seekers were deported from Cambodia under intense Chinese pressure. The deportation capped off a year of human rights reversals in East Turkestan (also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) that stemmed from an outbreak of unrest in the regional capital of Urumchi on July 5. In the following months mass detentions, reports of torture, enforced disappearances, trials that fell short of international standards and swift executions marked a period of extreme difficulty for the Uyghur people. Although 2010 brought the reestablishment of Internet and international communications, as well as the removal of the unpopular Party Secretary Wang Lequan, there were few indications that the economic and social issues underlying the 2009 unrest were being addressed.

    • Supreme Court to revisit DNA retention

      The UK is still to put an end to the breach identified by the ECtHR, the obligation of cessation. Back in 2008, in Don’t delay: Delete your DNA today, I suggested that no legislative change was necessary to comply with this obligation, a simple amendment to the Association of Chief of Police Officers (ACPO) regulations would have sufficed. The police took no such action and still retain, for an indefinite period, DNA of as many individuals – innocent and guilty alike – as they can collect.

    • Brazilian Communications Agency Moves Towards Surveillance Superpowers

      January is the month when the Brazilian version of the popular TV show Big Brother returns to the air. For three months, a bunch of people are locked inside a house and their lives are broadcast 24/7. A TV show premised on nonstop surveillance might sound like fun to some people, but it is disturbing when governments engage in similar practices. The Brazilian national communications agency (aka Anatel) announced a few days ago a plan to implement 24/7 surveillance over the more than 203 million cell phones in the country.

    • EU Commission Pushes For Private “Cooperation” Against Our Freedoms

      Since 2009, the EU Commission has been convening regular meetings at the Internal Market Directorate General. This working group supervised by Margot Froehlinger involves Internet Service Providers and the copyright industries. The goal is clear: to require ISPs to police their networks and online services so as to “decentralize” the war on sharing through so-called self-regulation.

      Last September, PCINpact leaked internal documents showing that network-based filtering methods had been considered as a way to prevent people from sharing cultural goods on peer-to-peer networks. Other items of discussion includes the unauthorized collection and processing personal data on file-sharers as a way to identify and, eventually, punish them. Such “cooperation” could therefore result in access restrictions being imposed on alleged infringers as “HADOPI-style”, extra-judicial sanctions.

    • 3 Projects to Create a Government-less Internet

      In Cory Doctorow’s young adult novel Little Brother, the protagonist starts a wireless ad-hoc network, called X-Net, in response to a government crack-down on civil liberties. The characters use gaming systems with mesh networking equipment built-in to share files, exchange message and make plans.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Canadians Just Became World’s Biggest Internet Losers

      YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, iPad. . . and whatever else is about to take the world by storm, making all of those digital breakthroughs seem old news. Surely it’s obvious by now that Canadians are going to be better off if we foster digital media creativity, rather than leaving it to people in other countries.

      But tell that to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the body supposedly responsible for regulating electronic media for our well-being. The CRTC has decided to allow Bell and other big telecom companies to change the way Canadians are billed for Internet access. Metering, or usage-based billing (UBB), will mean that service providers can charge per byte in addition to their basic access charges.

    • My UBB complaint to Canada’s Competition Bureau.

      Instead of lodging a general complaint about usage-based billing I thought I’d make mine a bit more personal. Read on to see what I mean…

    • Cash, please! A Nordic change of heart on net neutrality

      Telenor, one of the largest Internet providers in Norway, used to love net neutrality; back in 2009, it voluntarily signed on to a net neutrality code of conduct. So imagine Norwegian surprise this week when Telenor bosses went public with their hope to charge sites like YouTube and state broadcaster NRK.

      In an interview with the business daily Dagens Næringsliv, a Telenor exec made the usual case: YouTube uses too much traffic and it needs to compensate ISPs for it.

  • DRM

    • Wal-Mart DRM reminder: The nightmare returns

      This afternoon, an e-mail popped into my inbox that–at first glance–looked ripe for immediate deletion.


      Of course, I suppose it’s nice that Wal-Mart has the courtesy to remind its customers how they can still listen to that music (and continues to provide support). Still, the e-mail serves as a brutal slap in the face as to how far off the music industry was just a few short years ago.

    • The PS3 Hack Injunction Shows The Problems Of Judges Who Don’t Understand Technology

      Furthermore, the judge has ordered Hotz to “retrieve the code” that has been distributed. Yes, think about that for a second. Retrieve the code. As if it were a dog that went out for a saunter. You don’t “retrieve” code once it’s out there on the internet. It doesn’t go away. You would think that anyone alive during the whole AACS debacle would recognize the pointlessness of trying to suppress released code that is already of great public interest.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • P2P Site Operator Appears in French File-Sharing “Show Trial”

        The owner of a file-sharing site active more than 5 years ago went on trial today in the French capital, Paris. Vincent Valade is accused by entertainment companies of profiting heavily from the unauthorized distribution of more than 7,000 movies. If convicted he faces up to 3 years in jail, 300,000 euros in fines and compensation settlements running to millions of euros.

      • Copyright is a Limitation of Property Rights

        Copyright is not a property right. It is a limitation of property rights. Copyright is a government-sanctioned private monopoly that limits what people may do with things they have legitimately bought.

        When I buy a chair, I hand over money and I get the chair and a receipt. This chair has been mass-produced from master data at some sort of plant. After money has changed hands, this particular chair is mine. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. I have bought one of many identical copies. The receipt proves it.

      • Ironic That Xerox Wants Laws To Break The Copying Machine On The Internet

        We’ve already discussed the list of companies that have come out in favor of censoring the internet via domain name seizures and laws like COICA which extend the ability to censor the web through breaking the basic DNS system.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Rights Holders Alliance To Defend Digital Economy Act

          A coalition of rights holders including the Premier League and trade bodies representing the music, film and TV industries is lining up to intervene against internet service providers in the judicial review of legislation to tackle illegal downloading.

          The Premier League and eight other organisations, including the Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact), the Motion Picture Association and music industry body the BPI, have been given permission by the high court to defend the Digital Economy Act’s provisions for policing internet piracy.

Clip of the Day

Building Web Applications with Java EE 6

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 31/1/2011: London Stock Exchange Report Cyberattack, Fudcon 2011 Starts

Posted in News Roundup at 4:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Don’t Let ‘Microsoft Trained Brain Syndrome’ Happen to You

    Windows users have many, many reasons to consider switching to Linux, as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions already. For many, however, there’s one big, fat obstacle standing in the way: “Microsoft Trained Brain Syndrome.”

    That’s right: It’s the simple fact that most of us “grew up” on Microsoft products and so have trouble imagining any other way of doing things.

  • Welcome to Linux city

    Which is why I would like to welcome you to Linux city. This city is not a new one it has been and still is being built up. The best thing about this city is that it’s supporting structure is so simple, yet so strong that the largest computer cities ever built, ie. the worlds fastest supercomputers, use Linux.

  • Desktop

    • PirateBox: an “artistic provocation” in lunchbox form

      Inside the PirateBox sits a Free Agent Dockstar, an Asus WL330GE wireless router, and a SanDisk 16GB flash drive. The software, including Debian Linux and the DD-WRT open-source router firmware, is all free. The total build cost is under $100, not counting the lunchbox enclosure and the optional battery pack (the PirateBox can alternately run on AC power).

  • Server

    • Network attacks (allegedly) ravage London Stock Exchange

      The London Stock Exchange and one of its counterparts in the US are investigating attacks that hit their networks last year and were intended to disrupt their operations, The Times reported on Monday.

      Officials for the LSE are investigating a possible breach of the open-source trading system last year that may have led to the wild Flash Crash last summer. On August 24, the share prices of five companies collapsed, prompting the exchange to shut down trading early. BT alone lost £968 million in market value in the SNAFU. Up to now, officials have blamed the crash on incorrect prices entered on a large number of stock orders.

    • London Stock Exchange under attack during Linux switch

      The London Stock Exchange’s new open source trading system may have been hacked last year, according to a report.

      The alleged attack came as the LSE began the switch over to the Linux-based systems, according to the dates referred to in the Times newspaper.

      The continued threat of cyber attack has resulted in the LSE keeping a close dialogue with British security services, which this year branded cyber attacks as one of the biggest threats to the country.

    • London Stock Exchange ‘under major cyberattack’ during Linux switch
  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel C Extras in a Linux Driver

      Enthused by how Pugs impressed their professor in the last class, Shweta wanted to do so too. And there was already an opportunity: finding out where the output of printk had gone. So, as soon as she entered the lab, she grabbed the best system, logged in, and began work. Knowing her professor well, she knew that he would have given a hint in the class itself. Recalling what had been taught, she remembered the error output demonstration from “insmod vfat.ko” — running dmesg | tail. She immediately tried that, and found the printk output there.

    • Linus Torvalds Never Imagined the Current Linux Ecosystem

      In open source, the idea that the endgame for a project won’t necessarily closely resemble the origin is a given, not a surprise. It’s part of the point of open source. If you look at what’s going on the Linux scene now, you see this concept being played out all around.

  • Applications

    • WordNet+Artha: A great Linux thesaurus combo

      I am a writer. I write loads of technical documentation as well as novels (check out my fiction on Smashwords and Autumnal Press). Because of my trade I am always seeking out tools to aid in my own process. And although the web has made everything so much easier, it is still good to have a few dedicated tools around to make everything easier.WordNet+Artha: A great Linux thesaurus combo

    • A Linux Compiler Deathmatch: GCC, LLVM, DragonEgg, Open64, Etc…

      Started by one of our readers more than a week ago was a compiler deathmatch for comparing the performance of GCC, LLVM Clang, PCC (the Portable C Compiler), TCC (Tiny C Compiler), and Intel’s C Compiler under Arch Linux. This user did not stop there with compiling these different x86_64 code compilers, but he also went on to look at the compiler performance with different compiler flags, among other options. The results are definitely worth looking at and here are some more.


      Overall these results are not too surprising compared to our previous Linux compiler benchmarks. Though with the addition of the Open64 compiler we see that in a number of benchmarks its able to produce incredibly fast binaries that are dramatically faster than those produced by GCC. We’ll be monitoring Open64 more closely, but for now be sure to also see the original compiler deathmatch thread with those separate test results, including of compiler tuning options.

    • Preview of Simplicity an Upcoming XBMC Skin from the Creators of Shade!

      Shade is my absolute preferred skin for XBMC Media Center (and is to be featured in my upcoming XBMC Install, Setup and Configuration Guide for Linux Mint and Ubuntu). It combines the best features and views as popular skins (as well as some found nowhere else!) like Alaska, Confluence, and Aeon (and their mods and variants) while having a higher level of polish and professional aesthetic over the lot. (This conclusion has been researched and reached first hand over many hours of trying and configuring the various skins as well as demonstrating for others and getting their opinions on the aesthetics and appeals of the various skins.)

    • Proprietary

      • Linux Remote Support Software – Bomgar

        Do you use both windows and Linux? Wish you could remote into Windows from Linux and to other Linux distributions? Well, you can. Just like when using a Remote Desktop Connection between Microsoft platforms (or remoting between Linux machines), you can bring up the desktop of the other platform. You can click around the desktop and run applications just as if you were sitting in front of the computer.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Linux Games Icon Pack

        A reader has put together an icon pack for various popular Linux games (thanks SeanW!):


      • The Legend of Edgar 0.76

        The Legend of Edgar has been updated to 0.76:

        * Fixed a crash when killing a centurion
        * Corrected the makefile version number
        * The fish in the Left Tower no longer become stuck if the player falls in the water
        * Fixed a bug when the player becomes frozen in ice
        * Fixed a bug where the player could not turn into a Slime if standing on the ground
        * Added Spanish translation

      • 35 Great Open Web Games

        Game On 2010 is Mozilla Labs‘ first international gaming competition. Game On is all about games built, delivered and played on the open Web and the browser.

      • Entanglement – Browser based HTML5 fun!

        Ive always maintained that there is a market for those simple, addictive games on any platform. You might be waiting for a download to finish, an email to come through or a message to pop up in IRC. Whatever it is though there are always a few minutes of void to fill and this is where the traditional “little game” comes into its own. On the Linux desktop I think users are sick to death of solitaire or mine sweeper and Entanglement fills that slot nicely.

  • Desktop Environments

    • How to save your Linux screen space

      You probably already know that a tiling window manager is one of the alternatives often provided by distributions alongside the standard Gnome or KDE desktops.

      Instead of floating windows, with their ability to move anywhere, and stacked applications that overlap one another, a tiling window manager locks applications to the display, splitting as necessary to run applications side by side. When you run enough applications together, your desktop can start to look like a tiled bathroom, which is presumably why they’re called tiling window managers.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Sabayon 5.5 KDE

        Sabayon uses KDE 4.5.5, though it is possible to start using KDE 4.6 (which was released a few days ago and which I hope to review relatively soon) through updates. No part of KDE ever crashed, which is great news. I think it’s safe to say that the issues I had with Sabayon 5.4 KDE were due to VirtualBox, not due to either Sabayon or KDE.

      • Reviews: First impressions of Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3.1

        Having tried Chakra I find myself in a bit of a reviewer’s dilemma. The reason I tried Chakra was I had people telling me it was stable, despite the alpha branding, and that it was a wonderful fast, reliable, usable system. My experience was quite the opposite. Chakra failed to remain stable enough to launch applications, or sometimes even to finish booting, on my desktop machine. The installer either refused to complete or would crash, the Bundle application didn’t work and the project lacked documentation in a key area. I was further put off by emoticons on the website and in my status messages. I realize these are hobbyists and Chakra isn’t a professional distro, but I’m wary about handing my hard drive over to a product that writes messages akin to those found in the average Twitter feed. On the other hand, any criticism I can aim at Chakra can be swept aside with the project’s “alpha” designation. The project plainly warns it’s still in the early development stages and one should be prepared for bugs, crashes and hasmtericide. It’s probably best to wait until Chakra is pronounced stable before giving it a try.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fudcon 2011 day 1

          Today started way too early (after going to sleep late). Breakfast was in the hotel food area. I had a nice chat with Dave Malcolm about python and packages and so forth, then off to the main event.

          Lots of folks in the main opening talk. Lots and lots of barcamp pitches. Max wearing not one, but _two_ silly hats. A nice “state of Fedora” from Jared. Then over to the barcamp area where I had a nice chat with jlaska about AutoQA. I wish we had a better way to get people involved there, but it’s hard. I suggested a few new tests and suggested it might be easier to get folks interested once some of the tests are actually active.

        • Fedora FUDcon Tempe: Meet the Anaconda Team

          David Cantrell and Chris Lumens started the session by going around the room and introducing everyone on the team. They talked a bit about their storage testing framework (Chris did a separate session on this), and how Anaconda is pretty hard to get started with as a contributor, but the testing framework is an easy way to get involved – submit test. This can be even more helpful than submitting code patches and the test system is easy to contribute to. I didn’t catch how exactly / where to submit tests though; I didn’t catch Chris’ session on that.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0: Stability and Power to the People

        Debian official releases are more rare than releases of other distributions, but tend to matter less to users. Judging by the second release candidate, Debian 6.0 will be no exception. In other words, the new release should deliver the usual ultra-reliability, and serve as a solid basis not only for Debian itself, but also the countless other distros that will depend upon it, including Ubuntu and Linux Mint.


        With this support, the installer can offer an impressive set of choices for those who want them. Packages can be selected according to the intended function of the installation — for instance, desktop environment, or file server or laptop. While dropping ReiserFS, partitioning includes both a choice of ext2, ext3, ext4, btrfs, JFS and XFS filesystems (sensibly defaulting to ext 3 as the best combination of mature features and stability), and multiple partitions (either placing /home on a separate partition, or sub-dividing a drive into root, /home /usr, /var, and /temp partitions.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • 11 Killer Features That Make Ubuntu 11.04 Worth the Wait

          Ubuntu 11.04 dubbed Natty Narwhal will bring some major changes to the traditional Ubuntu desktop. As the conventional desktop gets a major overhaul, the spanking new Unity interface is busy preparing itself to replace the time-honored Gnome interface. Furthermore, some well-known default applications are getting replaced by newer and more feature-laden ones. While many users have welcomed these changes with open arms, a few disapproving nods have raised doubts over their success. Nevertheless, Ubuntu 11.04, which releases on 28th April 2011, promises to bring a burst of freshness to the Linux desktop along with a slew of new users.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Thinkpad T410 and Kubuntu

            Laptop refresh time is here, thanks Canonical. Faced with the prospect of finding a computer to spend a grand on I took the bus trip to Fry’s in Dallas. Fry’s is a large computer supermarket, I don’t recommend it for the cafeteria but they do have a large selection of laptops to browse. The staff are annoyingly keen to help you, until you start asking about the finer details of processor ranges and mention Ubuntu. All their laptops have glossy screens, a phenomenon I do not understand.


            Pleasingly Linux just works. Wifi is fine. Compositing great (Intel i915). Suspend is all good. External video works. Volume buttons works. Only wee issue is that mute button turns off hardware and software mute, but if software is already mute then it turns it mute off and hardware mute on.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Why Apple Fears Honeycomb

          Unless you miraculously found a way to live under a rock on the moon for the past 25 years, you’ve had a pretty good chance of seeing the Apple Macintosh 1984 commercial [below], the one directed by Ridley Scott, the one with the woman running through hallways of automatons ultimately to toss a hammer through a screen, smashing an image of Big Brother. This commercial was made to announce the release of the Macintosh personal computer. Today we’ve been treated to an ad spot made by Motorola to promote their upcoming tablet computer XOOM, featuring the new Google Android mobile operating system Android 3.0 Honeycomb, made specifically for tablets – this commercial directly targets the 1984 commercial for Apple Macintosh. Yesterday a massive article by creative director Steve Hayden detailed his work on and knowledge of the 1984 commercial, celebrating its excellence.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • 2011: The Year of Women in FOSS

    Is it the be-all and end-all to ending sexism in FOSS? No. Is there a significant way to go in gaining gender equality, both in attitude and practice? Yes. Do you hate it as much as I do when people answer their own questions? I hope so.

  • The True Spirit of Open Source

    When people talk about the merits of Open Source software vs closed source/proprietary software, one of the most common advantages listed for open source is “you have the source, you can modify it, you can change it”. This is my worst favorite argument, and I even catch our own sales guys saying it now and then when they’re prepping for a presentation they’re giving. This is a great argument in some instances. But I hear it being used in a lot of situations where it doesn’t apply. For example, without a lot of coding experience and time, a network administrator can’t modify or change something like Snort. So why market Snort to them that way? It doesn’t apply. I’ve got a different opinion of what being “open source” does for the network admin (or security admin, if the company in question makes that distinction), and I recently got a chance to experience exactly this in real life.

  • Patrons vexed by glitches in new library software

    The King County Library System’s switch to nonproprietary software put the system at the forefront of a national movement to free libraries from the poor service and high costs some feel they are getting from commercial vendors.

  • Events

    • Pesce sorry for raunchy pics at Linux.conf.au

      Sydney-based writer and futurist Mark Pesce has apologised for using sexy images during his keynote address at the annual Linux.conf.au (LCA) open source conference in Brisbane last week.

    • ABLEconf CfP extended two weeks for FUDcon

      While ABLEconf has already recieved many great proposals, it overlooked FUDcon: Tempe 2011 taking place the week after the close of ABLEconf’s Call for Presentations. For this reason, ABLEconf is extending the Call for Presentations two weeks: until Saturday, February 6th, 2011.

    • Linux Professional Institute Hosts Exam Labs at SCALE and Indiana Linux Fest

      The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization, announced promotional exam labs for their Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) at SCALE 9x (Los Angeles, California: February 27, 2011) and Indiana Linux Fest (Indianapolis, Indiana: March 27, 2011).

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google pushes ahead with Chrome 10

        Google is clearly going to continue its headlong dash into the browser market in 2011, having just released version 10 of its Chrome browser. Just last month users were getting used to the stable release of Chrome 8 and already version 10 is popping up in the development channel.

    • Mozilla

      • 12 Thunderbird Addons You Shouldn’t Be Without

        I have seen many people and companies shy away from Microsoft products recently. Whether they are moving to a Mac or just want to save costs initially. There are a host of freeware products out there to fit your needs.

      • Mozilla pays out US$40,000 for web bugs

        Mozilla, developers of the popular Firefox web browser, has paid out US$40,000 in the past month for bugs on its websites and in its apps.

        Last month, the open-source developer said it would extend its bug bounty program beyond its Firefox browser to include other web tools.

      • Mozilla sprints to improve developer documentation

        For the last six plus months, Mozilla developers have been focused on building Firefox 4. That’s not the only effort that Mozilla is now sprinting to complete, developer documentation at the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) is now also being completed.

        Instead of a ‘code sprint’, MDN is having a doc sprint – starting Jan 28th and running for 34 hours until Jan 29th.


    • GNUPlot—Plotting is fun

      While strings and pages of data seem cryptic, a plot reveals the entire data flow at a glance. Interpretation suddenly seems much easier. Understanding that maze of numbers is just a glance away. Scientists, mathematicians, engineers, statisticians etc. rely heavily on plots. While OriginLab, an expensive commercial plotting software, is heavily used among university researchers or those blessed with bulging purses, GNUPlot doesn’t lag behind, and is much used by scientists at the IITs, IIScs and universities. In fact, knowledge and skill in GNUPlot is one of the requirements for some of the posts for Senior Research Fellow at the IITs!

  • Government

    • Open source access unchanged under revised Oz law

      Enterprises or individuals that purchase software which uses open source components are entitled to demand access to the relevant source code despite recent changes to the law, according to Australian technology laywer Brendan Scott.

      In mid-2010, Scott completed an analysis of the now-superseded Trade Practices Act for Linux Australia, and concluded that consumers were entitled to demand access to source code used in any hardware or software products under that act.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Al Jazeera Offers Up Egypt Coverage To Anyone Who Wants To Use It Under Creative Commons License

      If you’ve been following the goings on in Egypt over the past week, it’s likely that you at least saw some of Al Jazeera’s rather comprehensive coverage. The Egyptian government was so annoyed by the coverage that it “shut down” Al Jazeera’s Egyptian offices (and Egyptian politicians are calling for trying Al Jazeera correspondents as “traitors”). Of course, it’s worth pointing out that most of us in the US have no options for watching Al Jazeera via a regular TV channel either, since almost no US TV companies are willing to carry the channel.


  • Processor Architecture, Linux, and the Future

    Twice in the past week I have gotten into discussions with friends about the topic of processor architecture. One of these discussions was about the cell processor. The cell processor is a Power-PC based, micro-processor that was designed to bridge the gap between traditional 64bit processors and GPUs. The second discussion was about another type of processor architecture most of us use everyday – the ARM processor (as of 2007 an approximated 98% of mobile phones use an ARM chip).

    The topics of the discussions were fairly similar – why is it with all these other architectures have to offer x86/64bit processors still dominate our desktop computers? Cell processors are incredibly powerful and ARM chips use an extremely low amount of energy for the processing power they provide.

  • Clarence Thomas should be INDICTED

    Violations are punishable by a fine and 5 to 8 years in prison. Thomas could be charged with separate counts for each year he falsely stated that his wife had no “Non Investment Income”

    The Department of Justice publishes a handbook to provide guidance to prosecutors.

  • Science

    • Biometric Recognition Systems Not as Infallible as Many Believe

      Popular movies and TV shows often portray advanced fingerprint, voice, or retina recognition systems as a foolproof means of identification. In fact, governments increasingly are looking to biometric technologies as a better way to track terrorists at borders. And some companies have started using biometrics to control access to buildings or information. What does the scientific evidence say about the effectiveness of these systems for security or surveillance?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dutch parliament to be lobbied to legalise all ‘recreational’ drugs

      The petition is being promoted by the Netherlands Drugs Policy Foundation, and has high-profile support from former EU commissioner Fritz Bolkestein and former deputy prime minister and scientist Dr Els Borst-Eilers.

      It is a sign of the economic times in the Netherlands that the argument in favour of legalising drugs has moved from one of principled opposition to prohibition to one which highlights potential savings to the state of about €20 billion a year.

    • Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness

      The insurgency against the DSM-5 (the APA has decided to shed the Roman numerals) has now spread far beyond just Allen Frances. Psychiatrists at the top of their specialties, clinicians at prominent hospitals, and even some contributors to the new edition have expressed deep reservations about it.

    • Opinion: depleted uranium, child cancer and denial

      It was recently reported that doctors had advised women in Fallujah not to give birth. There are many medical reasons for infertility which might shatter the dreams of a young woman. It is not difficult to imagine how heartbreaking it must be for a woman who is advised that she can never bear children.

  • Security

    • Anonymous: a net gain for liberty

      This Thursday, as thousands of Anonymous activists continued their two-week campaign of assistance to the successful revolution in Tunisia and the nascent pro-democracy uprisings in Egypt and Algeria, the governments of the US and UK scored a victory of their own, with the arrest of three teenagers and two young adults who are accused of participating in distributed denial of service attacks, or DDoS, against the websites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The Sri Lankan army is selling vegetables

      The Sri Lankan military is getting a makeover. Now that the war with the Tamil Tigers is over it is time to wash off the stains and spruce up. Military personnel may be spotted painting public buildings or engaged in projects to beautify Colombo, with defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa personally overseeing the transformation and development of the city.

    • Cabinet should have been told of attorney general’s doubts, Iraq inquiry hears

      Civil service head Gus O’Donnell suggests Tony Blair breached ministerial code by not providing full text of legal advice

    • Chinese dissident Wu Yuren faces ‘fake’ charge of assaulting police

      A dissident artist accused of assaulting police told a court in Beijing that the case was “all fake”, his wife said today.

      Wu Yuren denies obstructing public service with violence and says it was officers who assaulted him when he went to a police station to report stolen property last May. His companion that day has said he heard Wu screaming in pain after police dragged him away.

    • It’s time for parents to stand with their children at the student protests

      Major student protests are planned tomorrow in Manchester and London and already police are warning that they plan to increase the severity of their tactics. I was at two of the protests at the end of last year, and the change in tactics was striking. Whereas on the 10 November demonstration no one was hurt, on 9 December there were large numbers of protester casualties – and a smaller but still significant number of less severe police injuries. The casualties seemed to be a direct result of the change in police tactics. If these now become even more extreme, there will no doubt be more violence and more people hurt. On the 9 December protest my son, Alfie Meadows, received life-threatening injuries in an incident that is now the subject of an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation.

    • Civil Society Demands End to State of Emergency

      The lifting of the state of emergency that has been in force in Algeria for nearly 20 years has emerged as a rallying point for groups united for democratic change.

    • The New Islamic Republic of Iraq

      Last week, the Iraqi government shut down social clubs that serve alcohol in Baghdad, enraging the educated class who demonstrated against the extreme Islamic-inspired order. Today, Iraqis woke up to hear a far worse order; the Iraqi Ministry of Education has banned theater and music classes in Baghdad’s Fine Arts Institute, and ordered the removal of statues showcased at the entrance of the institute without explaining the move.

    • Facebook Owned 42% of Egyptian Web Traffic Before Blackout

      How important a role did Facebook play in the popular revolution that swept Egypt last week? According to data from security firm zScaler: it was very important. Fully 42% of the country’s Web surfing on January 27, the day before Egypt’s main ISPs abruptly severed ties to the Internet.

      Activity on Egyptian Web servers monitored by zScaler surged by 68% on January 26th as the popular protests against the government of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak gained steam, as Egyptians looked for news coverage of the protests and leveraged Facebook and other platforms to spread the word about civil actions. Data from zScaler shows that traffic to social networking sites account for around 39% of all Web surfing on January 27th, while traffic to news sites accounted for another 27% of overall Web surfing activity.

    • Why Military Spending Remains Untouchable

      In defense circles, “cutting” the Pentagon budget has once again become a topic of conversation. Americans should not confuse that talk with reality. Any cuts exacted will at most reduce the rate of growth. The essential facts remain: U.S. military outlays today equal that of every other nation on the planet combined, a situation without precedent in modern history.

    • Lebanon’s return to Syria-backed rule is likely to keep Hezbollah in check

      The toppling of the pro-western March 14 alliance in Lebanon by its pro-Syrian adversaries – including Hezbollah – has led to a worldwide media scare. Many western news organisations portrayed it as some sort of Islamist takeover.

      Even the BBC reported that the “Hezbollah nominee”, Najib Mikati, won the most votes to succeed Saad Hariri as prime minister. Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News went further in that direction, reporting: “Hezbollah gain control of Lebanese government”.

      The fact is that they are all missing the point. Syria, and not Hezbollah, won control of Lebanon’s government. In the past year, many articles have shown Syria recovering its political weight, and the latest developments in Lebanon are testimony to this.

    • We’ve waited for this revolution for years. Other despots should quail

      And Arabs from the Mashreq to the Maghreb are watching, egging on those protesters to topple Hosni Mubarak who has ruled Egypt for 30 years, because they know if he goes, all the other old men will follow, those who have smothered their countries with one hand and robbed them blind with the other. Mubarak is the Berlin Wall. “Down, down with Hosni Mubarak,” resonates through the whole region.

    • The Aljazeera Scandal

      Recently, the Turkish flotilla scandal centered around the question: was it a good idea for commandos to slide down ropes onto the ship, or should another form of attack have been adopted? Almost nobody asked: should Gaza have been blockaded in the first place? Wasn’t it smarter to start talking with Hamas? Was it a good idea to attack a Turkish ship on the high sees?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • No, clean energy is not a substitute for climate change

      I was going to let this go after my last post, but it keeps coming up in email and on Twitter: “Obama talked about clean energy. Isn’t that the same as talking about climate change?” Add to that the characteristically smug posts from Innoventioneers congratulating themselves on winning the future, and it looks like I need to take one more run at this.

    • Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated

      The United States is poised to bet its energy future on natural gas as a clean, plentiful fuel that can supplant coal and oil. But new research by the Environmental Protection Agency—and a growing understanding of the pollution associated with the full “life cycle” of gas production—is casting doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change.

  • Finance

    • Face of Mideast unrest: young and hungry for jobs

      Just days before fleeing Tunisia, the embattled leader went on national television to promise 300,000 new jobs over two years.

      Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak did much the same Saturday as riots gripped Cairo and other cities: offering more economic opportunities in a country where half the people live on less than $2 a day.

    • A Bank Crisis Whodunit, With Laughs and Tears

      TRULY startling revelations were few in the voluminous report, published last Thursday by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on the origins of the financial panic. This is hardly a shock, given the flood-the-zone coverage and analysis of the crisis since it erupted four years ago.

    • Goldman Sachs Gives Blankfein a Big Raise

      Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, had a rough 2010. But at least he got a raise: his bonus increased by $3.6 million, according to a regulatory filing.

      The company’s board granted restricted stock valued at $12.6 million to Mr. Blankfein and other senior executives, including Gary D. Cohn, the president. The board also approved a new annual base salary of $2 million for its chief executive, up from $600,000. Mr. Cohn and others will see their base salaries increase to $1.85 million, according to the filing on Friday.

    • Goldman Sachs’s Josh Birnbaum

      Josh Birnbaum’s “Prepared Remarks of Ex-Goldman Sachs Executive Joshua Birnbaum” for the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (April 27, 2010) can be found on Dealbook here.

    • Cutting the Corporate Income Tax

      I listened to the State of the Union speech. What I heard, though, was not President Obama’s string of irritating platitudes, but the sound of a nation bent on self-destruction.

      I don’t say this lightly. Intellectuals have been talking about the fall of the new Rome for decades, and mostly it has been hyperbolic nonsense. This time feels different. It even makes the darkest days of the Bush-Cheney administration seem like some distant, bygone utopia.

      The reason for this change is the emergence of two extremely powerful groups that have not the slightest interest in any notion of the public good and are willing to put all of it in jeopardy to satisfy the shortest of short-term interests.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NYT Promotes Destructive Myths About Aristide

      Ginger Thompson wrote in the New York Times on January 19 that former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide “rose to power as a champion of Haiti’s poor but became notorious for his violent crackdowns of political dissent.” [1]
      The “political dissent” that Thompson refers to is a campaign that included murderous raids into Haiti by rebels comprised of former soldiers and death squad leaders. The rebels were given a safe haven and a base for operations in the Dominican Republic. They were audacious enough to mount an assault on Haiti’s National Palace in December of 2001. After a gun battle, they were chased back into the Dominican Republic. The rebels were led by Guy Philippe and Jodel Chamblain, a man responsible for the deaths and torture of thousands of people during Haiti’s military rule of 1991-1994 (after the first US backed coup ousted Aristide in 1991). [2]

  • Censorship

  • Civil Rights

    • Save Hungary’s Archive

      A proposed law may lead to the destruction of Hungarian secret police documents preserved by the Historical Archives of Hungarian State Security

      In what serves as a very disturbing development for anyone with an interest in Hungary’s Cold War history, the Hungarian government is preparing to enact a new law which may lead to the blatant, politically-motivated sanitization of the country’s communist past. Allegedly out of a concern for privacy rights, citizens who were spied upon or observed by the previous regime’s state security officers may now not only ask to view their files at the Archives of Hungarian State Security in Budapest, but may also remove these preserved archival documents from the reading room, take them home and have them destroyed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • NewsBytes: Google, Bittorrent, ACS:Law and Sony’s Android app.

        There has been numerous reports on the attempts by ACS:Law to drop its 26 outstanding cases whilst they are still under scrutiny by Judge Birss. Andrew Crossley appears to have more than a few issues to deal with after perusing what many call “speculative invoicing” in respect of alleged unlawful file sharing. Firstly he has to contend with a reported group action of harassment in respect of the letters he sent out to those alleged to be sharing copyrighted material, secondly he has Judge Birss scrutinizing the cases he is trying to drop, making some rather damning comments on how both Andrew Crossley and Media-cat have conducted these cases. Next he has the information commissioner looking at the ACS:Law email leak, that whilst Mr Crossley claims was as a result of hacking, its reported that whilst a Ddos attack brought his site down, it was incompetence of an admin that exposed the ACS:law emails to the world. All this and Mr Crossley has to yet again answer to the SRA at a later date as a result of numerous complaints he has received. Let’s not also forget any other cases that may be brought against him by disgruntled recipients of his letter campaign.

Clip of the Day

Linus Torvalds, Linux and GNU/Linux

Credit: TinyOgg

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