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Links 25/11/2010: LPC, Happypenguin.org Back Online

Posted in News Roundup at 1:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Boxee Box Review

      The Boxee has been built with a simple goal in mind. Its creators say that “a lot of your favorite shows and movies are already available on the Internet. Boxee is a device that finds them and puts them on your TV. It’s easy to use and even better, there’s no monthly fee”. That’s the phrase that can be found on Boxee’s homepage. Boxee has been an early player that has generated a lot of buzz in the “Media Center” circle. The project has started as a software platform that can be installed on a PC, Mac or Linux computer. The main downside of that is that this becomes a fairly expensive proposition. The Boxee Box was brought to market to provide a hardware platform capable of running the Boxee software – for $199. Try to beat that by building your own computer. Now the question is: how does it perform, and how can it help you today? Let’s take a look.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • LPC: Life after X

        Keith Packard has probably done more work to put the X Window System onto our desks than just about anybody else. With some 25 years of history, X has had a good run, but nothing is forever. Is that run coming to an end, and what might come after? In his Linux Plumbers Conference talk, Keith claimed to have no control over how things might go, but he did have some ideas. Those ideas add up to an interesting vision of our graphical future.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Trinity Like Whoa

        Packages are offered for Ubuntu, and as such I decided to grab the Ubuntu Minimal ISO. Booting the CD, I chose to go with a command line installation. The installer finished without fuss. Rebooting into my minimalistic environment, I went ahead and grabbed my favorite editor (ne – the nice editor; apt-get install ne). You need to add the Trinity Ubuntu repositories to your sources.list, which isn’t difficult at all.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 24th October 2010

        Migrating the WYSIWYG Editor to WebKit in Blogilo. Twitter Lists support in Choqok. More work on KAccessible. KTorrent gains support for the Magnet protocol. Work in KRFB to allow more than one RFB server run at once. Better Valgrind 3.6.0 compatibility in KCacheGrind. Important progress on the Perl KDE bindings.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Being US-centric does not serve GNOME Foundation well

        The GNOME Foundation has been forced to change the rules for a design contest it is holding after one of its members objected to the exclusion of certain countries.

        The contest, to design a new T-shirt, initially excluded people living in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, and Myanmar (Burma).

        Those living in areas which are restricted by US export controls and sanctions were also not allowed to participate.

        Developer Baptiste Mille-Mathias pointed out the hypocrisy of these rules, stating, “GNOME being based on people and openness, I wonder how a Free Software & Non-profit organisation would comply with such US embargo related laws.

      • 7like GNoMenu theme: Ambiance meets windows

        Whilst I’m not traditionally a GnoMenu fan even I can’t help but drool over ~Blitz-Bomb‘s 7Like theme for it.

        Fusing elements of Ambiance with well-worn aspects of Windows 7′s start menu the theme has a whole lot to like in it.

      • Faenza Icon Theme Undergoes Major Upgrade, Tons of New Icons Included

        Beloved Faenza icon theme undergoes a major upgrade. Lots of new icons are included and improved Firefox and Google Chrome icons are absolutely beautiful IMO.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Watch for Shares of Red Hat (RHT) to Approach Resistance at $43.87

        SmarTrend has detected shares of Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) have bullishly opened above the pivot of $42.50 today and have reached the first resistance level of $43.05.

      • Fedora

        • Fuduntu 14.5 – Subtle improvements

          A lot of refinements have been put into place behind the scenes including adding the BFS scheduler, and making the deadline IO scheduler default. I have also added a recent tweak that should improve availability and response time of a Fuduntu computer while users are compiling software, or doing other CPU intensive tasks in terminals.

        • Xen Dom0 Support May Come Back To Fedora

          Besides the kernel side of things, there’s also work to be done in ensuring Fedora’s virtualization utilities (libvirt, virt-manager, etc) are still in good shape for Xen and that there’s an easy way to enable the Xen kernel support from GRUB without manually editing the boot-loader’s configuration file.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • My current “What to do after installing Ubuntu?” script

          This script is obviously a work in progress. I already have some ideas to enhance it, but since it has already saved me significant hassle (and typing!) when installing new Ubuntu instances, I thought I’d share it.

        • Shuttleworth’s Ubuntu makes like Space Shuttle

          It looks like astronaut and tech magnate Mark Shuttleworth’s investment in the Ubuntu commercial Linux distribution is about to pay off. Ubuntu is taking off like a rocket, and the sale of Novell to Attachmate plus the higher prices Red Hat is charging for its Enterprise Linux 6 are probably going to fuel Ubuntu’s adoption even more in the data centers of the world.

          The third Long Term Support release, Ubuntu 10.04, came out in April and seems to have been a turning point for the Ubuntu distribution. With that release, Canonical demonstrated that it could tame the Debian variant of Linux and put together a polished desktop and server operating system with commercial-grade support options like those available through Red Hat and Novell. On the server front, the server variant of the 10.04 LTS release had all of the new or impending x64 processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices baked into it as well as a fully integrated variant of the Eucalyptus cloud framework for creating cloudy infrastructure for applications to romp around.

        • Ubuntu One — good or bad?

          But ok, I installed all required packages and it connected. Synced Tomboy notes from desktop and Conboy ones from my Nokia N900 so now I have them in sync (without a way to select which one I want where but that’s limit of apps). Then I decided to make use from synchronization of contacts. And here the fun begins… My phone is not supported by Funambol (syncml backend used by Ubuntu One) so sorry — all I can use is one bug on LaunchPad.

        • Ubuntu sticking to six-month development cycle

          While Google has successfully (so far) moved to a rapid release cycle for its Chrome browser, it’s hard to see this working very well for an entire Linux distribution. It might work for some packages that sit on top of the distro (like Firefox) but it just won’t work for the whole OS. This is especially true in the enterprise market where Canonical is trying to get a foothold. A rolling release cycle would not go over well on the server side. It wouldn’t work too well for OEMs, either. A rolling cycle for development is one thing, but as Canonical tries to capture bigger deals it’s a non-starter for any of the OEMs and ISVs that Canonical works with.

        • Canonical welcomes new partners following latest Ubuntu 10.10 release

          Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, announced today the signing of several significant partnerships following the release last month of Ubuntu 10.10.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • New Linux Mint 10 – Will you be lured into trying it?

            Battling to be classified as the most reliable open source operating system is the Linux Mint team, which apparently has put its plans to action by leveraging its existing and most popular product the Linux Mint and in turn has brought out a new and updated version of the same – Linux Mint 10 a.k.a. “Julia”. Considered the 2nd runner-up in the open source OS industry, Linux Mint 10 follows the lead of Ubuntu and Fedora who have dominated the open source market with products like Ubuntu 10.10 and Fedora Project.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny module includes 1.2GHz CPU, Wi-Fi

      Anders Electronics announced a diminutive COM (computer on module) featuring Marvell’s 1.2GHz Armada 510 CPU. The Linux-ready CM-A510 offers functionality including 1GB of DDR3 memory, up to 512MB of flash storage, a camera interface, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and onboard Wi-Fi, the company says.

    • Tablets

      • Seven- and 10-inch tablets run Android 2.1 on 1GHz chips

        Internet Connectivity and Networking (ICAN) has launched both a seven-inch and a 10-inch tablet running Android 2.1 on a 1GHz processor. The $400 ICAN! 7 and $500 ICAN! 10 ship with 16GB of internal storage, plus SD expansion, Wi-Fi, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, dual USB 2.0 ports, and HDMI ports, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome Toolbox Places Useful Features At Your Fingertips

      Have you ever encountered the situation where you have plenty of tabs open in your browser and one of them is blasting out loud advertisement video? Yes, I know, it is very irritating, especially when you don’t know which tab contains the annoying video and you have to flick through all the tabs to locate (and stop) the ad. With Chrome Toolbox, you can now easily mute all the tabs with a single click.

  • SaaS

    • To the Clouds with Linux — But Who Controls It?

      According to my research, Google Docs is considered proprietary software even though saved items are kept on Linux-based storage. This demonstrates that Google is all too happy to utilize Linux for storage, yet it’s also not against using proprietary software when it meets its needs.

      The odd part to this is that Google happens to be a huge supporter of various open source projects, often with no direct benefit for itself. The reasoning can go either way. One possibility is that Google wants to legitimately give back to the open source ecosystem that enabled it to succeed in the first place. The other possibility is that Google simply loves the great PR of being seen as the good guys.

    • 50 Open Source Apps You Can Use in the Cloud

      The cloud computing boom has brought a surge of opportunity to the open source world. Open source developers and users are taking advantage of these opportunities in three key ways.

      First, many open source applications are now available on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis. For open source project owners, hosting apps in the cloud offers a new revenue stream. And for users, it means access to excellent programs and support without the need to maintain their own hardware or hire additional support personnel.

  • Databases

    • French social security now run on PostgreSQL and Red Hat Linux

      According to a report from the Open Source Observatory and Repository for European public administrations (OSOR), France’s social security system, the Caisse Nationale d’Allocations Familiales (CNAF), is now using the open source PostgreSQL database management system (DBMS). The IT firm Bull is assisting CNAF and says that the PostgreSQL system is currently running nearly one billion SQL queries each day on Red Hat Linux servers.

  • CMS

    • The 6 Best Social Media Plugins for WordPress

      Social media: love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore it. During the past few years, social media — along with Facebook and Twitter — have grown by leaps and bounds in popularity. If you have a personal or professional blog, you are already part of the social media universe. A great way to increase the popularity of your blog is by using other forms of social media to promote it. WordPress has many plugins to help you with this endeavor.

  • Business

  • Government


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Doctors’ Orders

      The government’s war on medical “price fixing” squelches speech without helping consumers.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • View from America: We do not consent

      In new efforts to protect citisens against domestic and international terrorism, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented body scanners at airports nationwide. In addition to metal detectors, these machines capture 3-D images of potential passengers and transmit the photos to agents responsible for analytics. Originally, the TSA claimed the “scanned images cannot be stored or recorded” but this claim has since been debunked.

    • Strip search with a difference: passenger arrested after stripping to avoid pat down

      Amid the furore over airport security, Sam Wolanyk had a plan to avoid his second intrusive pat down in a week … he stripped off.

      But Mr Wolanyk, who had previously campaigned for the right to openly carry guns, was arrested.

      He stripped to his underwear at San Diego International Airport but refused a body scan and pat-down search because “it was obvious that my underwear left nothing to the imagination.”.

    • Busybodies down the ages
    • Your risks and rights with TSA’s ‘enhanced’ screening (FAQ)
    • Traveller re-enters USA without passing through a pornoscanner or having his genitals touched

      Matt returned from Paris to Cincinnati, where he was given the choice of a pornoscanner or a bit of the old nutsack-fondling from the TSA. Instead, Matt insisted that it was his right as an American with a passport who was n ot suspected of any wrongdoing to enter his country. The TSA told him the airport cops would arrest him if he didn’t comply. The airport cops told him it was up to the TSA and clearly didn’t appreciate being made to do someone else’s dirty work. In the end, he was escorted out of the airport without having to submit to either procedure. He recorded much of the encounter on with his iPhone’s audio recorder, too.

    • TSA Chief Apologizes to Airline Passenger Soaked in Urine After Pat-Down

      An airline passenger outfitted with a urine bag for medical reasons had to sit through his flight soaked in urine after a TSA agent dislodged his bag during an aggressive security pat-down. Nearly a month later, he finally received an apology from TSA chief John Pistole.

    • Newspapers Say: Shut Up And Get Scanned And Groped

      Matt Welch has a nice post over at Reason, highlighting numerous editorials from some big time newspapers mocking people who are concerned about the TSA’s naked scans and/or groping procedures, beginning with the LA Times’ perfectly obnoxious shut up and be scanned. Most of the editorials take on the typical apologists’ line that “this is what we need to do to be secure.” This can be summarized by the claim in the Spokesman-Review, entitled “Discomfort a small price for security on airplanes.”

    • Audit Faults TSA’s Training of Airport Screeners as Rushed, Poorly Supervised

      Flying for Thanksgiving? Whether you plan to submit patriotically to a naked body scan, or opt instead for the full security grope, you can at least rest assured that the 43,000 Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) handling airport screening have benefited from the most rigorous and up-to-date training the U.S. government can provide.

    • What John Pistole means when he talks about “enhanced” TSA checkpoints

      In this video, YouTube user SpinRemover adds subtitles to TSA boss John Pistole’s now-infamous Anderson Cooper interview, translating bureaucratese into plain English.

    • Viral ‘pornoscan’ protest challenges TSA
    • Protect Your Data During U.S. Border Searches
    • Are Air Travelers Criminal Suspects?

      The growing revolt against invasive TSA practices is encouraging to Americans who are fed up with federal government encroachment in their lives. In the case of air travelers, this encroachment is quite literally physical. But a deep-seated libertarian impulse still exists within the American people, and opposition to the new TSA full body scanner and groping searches is gathering momentum.

      I introduced legislation last week that is based on a very simple principle: federal agents should be subject to the same laws as ordinary citizens. If you would face criminal prosecution or a lawsuit for groping someone, exposing them to unwelcome radiation, causing them emotional distress, or violating indecency laws, then TSA agents should similarly face sanctions for their actions.

    • Does the TSA Ever Catch Terrorists?

      It’s hard to say. The TSA was unable to provide any comprehensive data covering all nine years of its existence on short notice, but it does publicize incidents on a weekly basis: From Nov. 8 to Nov. 14, for example, agents found six “artfully concealed prohibited items” and 11 firearms at checkpoints, and they arrested six passengers after investigations of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents. (Those figures are close to the weekly average.) It’s not clear, however, whether any of these incidents represent attempted acts of terrorism or whether they were honest accidents. (Whoops, forgot I had that meat cleaver on me! Or, I had no idea flares weren’t allowed!)

    • Pilot Sues TSA Over Intrusive Searches
    • Pilot Sues TSA Over Intrusive Searches

      We already discussed Pistole’s testimony and why he’s actually lying. Contrary to what Pistole claims (and Altman bought without checking), the vast majority of people getting on planes in US airports are going through neither full body scans or “an uncomfortably thorough pat-down.” Most people are still just going through traditional metal detectors. Even in the airports that have the backscatter naked image scanners, most passengers still just go through traditional metal detectors. Claiming that all passengers now go through either the backscatter scans or get a thorough pat-down is a lie.


      Altman may be right that people are overreacting but he didn’t help by simply repeating the claims of Pistole and a weak poll, when both have already been proven to be misleading at best and downright false at worst. Perhaps instead of rushing to mock “the internet” and its mythical “ephemeral obsessions,” Altman could have taken some time to actually research the issue and to inform people of the details rather than just repeating the misleading claims from the TSA. That’s the kind of thing that would actually build up trust in the press, rather than disdain for the press.

    • TSA confiscates heavily-armed soldiers’ nail-clippers
    • Revolt: Orlando airport to drop TSA as security screeners

      The bad news: It’s not Orlando International but the much smaller Orlando Sanford International, which serves such popular destinations as Allentown, Pennsylvania, Youngstown, Ohio, and of course Iceland. So if you’re thinking about taking your next vacation in Reykjavik, rest easy — hopefully there’ll be no junk-touching for you.

    • California official warns against inappropriate pat-downs

      This comes on the heels of word – as shared in Alan Levin’s story in USA TODAY – that TSA Administrator John Pistole has told a Senate committee in Washington that more invasive pat-downs are necessary. The developments come in the wake of public outcry over the search techniques.

    • TSA Enhanced Pat Downs : The Screeners Point Of View
    • ‘It only cost $4,200 and was run by less than six brothers’: Al Qaeda’s gloats at ‘bargain’ printer bomb plane plot

      ‘This branch of Al Qaeda is very lethal and I believe them — in terms of what they say they’re trying to do (to attack the United States),’ Mullen told CNN television’s State of the Union programme.

      The United States already stepped up airline passenger security after a Nigerian man tried to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit last December. AQAP had also claimed responsibility for that.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Police to get greater web censorship powers

      Police will effectively get more powers to censor websites under proposals being developed by Nominet, the company that controls the .uk domain registry.

      Following lobbying by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Nominet wants to change the terms and conditions under which domain names are owned so that it can revoke them more easily in response to requests from law enforcement agencies.

    • Why Voting For COICA Is A Vote For Censorship

      While I have no illusion that most of those who made such comments will ever come back and read this, it is important to make this point clearly, for those who are interested. There are many, many serious problems with the way COICA is written, but this post will highlight why it is a bill for censorship, and how it opens the door to wider censorship of speech online.

    • Why Didn’t Google Or Comcast Protect The Identity Of Anonymous Church Blogger Who Was Outed?

      Paul Levy wanted to know the answer to another question: why did both Google and Comcast cough up this guy’s identifying information without even giving him a chance to quash the subpoenas. He asked both companies and the answer he got is, basically, that they immediately cough up info if it’s a criminal subpoena rather than a civil one…

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • FCC boss: net neutrality “will happen”… someday… really

      “I have heard a lot of ‘chatter’ from the communications bar, Wall Street analysts and reporters, just in the past 72 hours,” noted Federal Communications Commissioner Robert M. McDowell during a talk before the Federalist Society on Monday. “This morning, speculation abounds.”

      McDowell was referring to the ample quantity of buzz out in Capitol Hill-land over whether the FCC is actually going to issue net neutrality rules in the near future.

      “Let me say at the outset that, as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, appointed by two presidents and unanimously confirmed by the Senate each time,” he added. “I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen… or when… or even if.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • SAP ordered to pay Oracle $1.3bn
    • London Underground Told To Cut Back Legal Expenses… So It’s Suing A Restaurant Called The Underground

      Via Annie Mole (actually via IanVisits), we find this fun juxtaposition of two recent stories about the London Underground. Apparently, the organization that runs the famed London subway system has massively increased its legal spending — tripling it in the last five years.

    • Copycat logos are pitting high schools and colleges in a trademark turf war

      During the 2008 presidential campaign, CNN anchorman Lou Dobbs hosted his evening broadcast from the gymnasium of Freedom-South Riding High in Loudoun County. Painted on the wall was the school’s official logo – a black and gold eagle with wings spread open and flashing its talons.

    • Gibson Sues Everyone Over Paper Jamz Paper Guitars, Specifically Goes After eBay

      Eric Goldman points us to the news that the (notoriously litigious) Gibson guitar company is suing a whole bunch of companies for selling the new “Paper Jamz” paper multi-touch guitars. If you haven’t seen these things, they’re basically a “paper” (really plastic) guitar with a capacitive multi-touch surface that plays music in response to your touch. Here’s a video demonstrating the thing in action:

    • The Well-Pilfered Clavier

      This punkish intellectual property scofflaw was Johann Sebastian Bach, master of the baroque style, spiritual father of modern Western music, literal father of a family of musicians, and inspiration to working creators everywhere. He was also —maybe not coincidentally—a serial user of other people’s work. According to one legend, as a child Bach would jailbreak and copy music his family had locked away. Later, he came into his own as a composer in part by taking a large body of work by Antonio Vivaldi and transposing it for the keyboard.

    • Wyden Threatens To Block Online IP Bill

      Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Thursday threatened to block legislation aimed at curbing piracy and counterfeiting on foreign Web sites, saying the bill is a heavy-handed solution to the problem.

      “It seems to me the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act as written today, is the wrong medicine,” Wyden, the chairman of the Finance International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness Subcommittee, said during a hearing on international trade and the digital economy. “Deploying this statute to combat online copyright and infringement seems almost like a bunker buster cluster bomb when really what you need is a precision-guided missile.”

      Wyden said that unless changes are made to the bill, introduced by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to ensure it “no longer makes the global online marketplace more hazardous to consumers and American Internet companies, I’m going to do everything I can to take the necessary steps to stop it from passing the U.S. Senate.”

    • United Brands sues Anheuser-Busch for too-similar can design

      United Brands Co., maker of Joose flavored malt beverage and beer products, has filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement, copyright infringement, unfair competition and related claims, against Anheuser-Busch Inc. and its competing flavored malt beverage called Tilt. United Brands has sold Joose since 2006 and is seeking to protect the brand integrity of Dragon Joose, one of its popular versions of Joose.

    • US Risks Not Getting FIFA World Cup… Because It Won’t Give FIFA Special Copyright Powers

      The US bid committee hasn’t secured a commitment from the US government that it will give FIFA the right to act as its own copyright cops and takeover the legal system so it can do things like criminalize wearing orange clothes. As the full FIFA report (PDF) puts it: “However, as the required guarantees, undertakings and confirmations are not given as part of Government Guarantee No. 6 (Protection and Exploitation of Commercial Rights) and mere reference is made to existing general intellectual property laws in the USA, FIFA’s rights protection programme cannot be ensured.”

    • Copyrights

      • EMI Seeks to Bar EFF From Cloud-Music Case

        Billion-dollar record label EMI has asked a New York City federal judge to bar a non-profit legal rights group from filing a friend-of-the-court brief in a closely watched internet copyright case that could have broad implications for the future of cloud computing.

        EMI says the brief filed last week by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups supporting MP3tunes’s argument that it’s not responsible for what music its users store on its servers should be barred because it is “a pure advocacy piece, not a ‘friend of the court.’” Amicus curiae briefs are often filed by interest groups and the government in cases that could set major precedents, in order to illustrate the broader ramifications of the case.

      • “Copyright owners better off in a regime that allows downloading from illegal sources”

        This striking headline comes from a note received from Vivien Rörsch (De Brauw), on two recent and equally striking Dutch decisions handed down last week by the Court of Appeal of The Hague: in the two separate cases the court ruled that, since downloading from illegal sources for private use was permitted under Dutch law, this was to the copyright owner’s advantage.

      • Broadcasters take live streaming sites to court

        Major broadcast networks are taking two online video streaming services to court in order to keep them from streaming free over-the-air broadcasts to customers. Both companies, FilmOn and Ivi, contend they should have the right to stream the content under a compulsory license attached to some forms of content in the US Copyright Act. The networks contend that the companies are “unjustly profiting” off of networks’ programming.

        ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC filed separate suits against FilmOn and Ivi in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York. A judge is considering a temporary restraining order against FilmOn while a similar hearing for a restraining order against Ivi is expected in the next few weeks.

      • Solicitors face tribunal over internet copyright claims

        Two lawyers who chased people over illegally copied porn films and computer games are to appear before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for trying to use their positions of trust to take “unfair advantage of other persons”.

        Davenport Lyons partners David Gore (who has represented Sting and Jonathan Dimbleby) and Brian Millar (who has since left the London firm), allegedly sent more than 6,000 letters to web users threatening legal action in what critics called a “bounty hunter” operation. But the data used by Davenport Lyons showed only who paid the internet bills, not who downloaded the content. On an unsecured Wi-Fi connection, that could be anyone.

      • Threatened by a copyright lawyer?

        So far the US Copyright Group (USCG) has sued more than 16,000 people this year for sharing movies online. It has sued them anonymously based on their IP addresses, but has not managed to get most of their names and addresses yet.

        However as Ars Technica points out, it has yet to take anyone to court.

        Apparently when an ISP looks up the subscriber name associated with an IP address, USCG doesn’t immediately add their name to a lawsuit. Instead, like other law firms trying the same trick, it sends out a settlement letter, asking the person to pay a few thousand dollars in order not to be sued.

      • eMusic’s Rift With Indie Labels

        As eMusic prepares to add 250,000 songs from Universal Music Group’s catalogue to its sizeable online music store—and make a major overhaul to its subscription pricing scheme—it appears to be having a falling-out with a large group of independent record labels. Those failed negotiations suggest that the digital-music service may not be able to strike licensing deals that satisfy both large and small music labels.

      • Lawyer wants “Goliath verdict” against RIAA in abuse trial

        While the RIAA has stopped its mass litigation campaign against file-swappers, cases in progress persist. Tanya Andersen’s is one of the oddest and most intriguing, and it’s set to proceed to trial against the RIAA next year on charges of “abuse of the judicial process.”

      • Judge In Porn Piracy Case Is Keeping a Big Secret

        Earlier this month, adult entertainment studio West Coast Prods sued 9,729 anonymous individuals for allegedly pirating the porn film Teen Anal Nightmare 2—setting an unofficial record for lumping numerous copyright defendants into a single case.

        In the past year, targeting John Does en masse has become a popular technique in the war against piracy, and we’ll have more insight on the porn industry’s adoption of these mass lawsuits in an upcoming print issue of THR. But the West Coast Prods case is noteworthy for a reason other than its sheer size — those who want to see the legal documents are out of luck.

      • MPAA Boss Defends Censorships With Blatantly False Claims

        Lovely misleading way to open the piece. In fact, many of the sites the MPAA has declared as “rogue” are nothing more than online forums. Some of them, yes, do involve people pointing each other to where they might obtain unauthorized copies of movies, but it’s overly dramatic (though, hardly Oscar-worthy) to claim that the only purpose they serve is to profit from “the stolen and counterfeited goods and ideas of others.”

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat – What’s New?

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 25/11/2010: Jolicloud (GNU/Linux) in the UK, KDE 4.6 Previews Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Professional Institute Announces New Affiliate in Greece

    “LPI seeks out and recruits organizations worldwide to become our Master Affiliates who have significant knowledge of the IT industry and the regional Linux and Open Source ecosystem where they operate. In this regard, GREEKLUG is an ideal partner for us as they have one of the oldest Linux computer labs in Greece and the necessary academic partnerships and human resources to promote the growth of LPI Certification,” said Jim Lacey, president and CEO of the Linux Professional Institute.

  • Desktop

    • The desktop market share

      It is due to the web analytic market share counters that the myth of “Linux is 1% of the market share” persists. We present three reasons below.
      1. Totally off-the grid systems do not get counted.

      * 1,494,500 deployed by One Laptop Per Child.
      * Red Hat Enterprise Linux desktops, SuSE Enterprise Linux Desktop, or Ubuntu desktops on corporate or government networks behind a firewall.
      * Appliance deployments like cash registers.

      2. Nor do research institutions and Universities get properly counted.

      For example, Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science uses Fedora on the desktop but it does not show up in Fedora’s update statistics. Why? The version of Fedora is so heavily customized to the environment that it needs its own update mechanism. None the less, with 26,307,719 unique ip addresses getting Fedora updates, Fedora alone must have have greater than 1% desktop market share.
      3. I agree with Caitlyn Martin, with all of the netbook sales, something is not adding up.

      A commenter asked for a 2009 and a 2010 market share report for netbooks. Here is one from November 2009 reporting 1/3 Linux market share. Regretfully, I have nothing for 2010 since the scoop is that netbooks are losing market share overall to iPad tablets. Never fear Linux Fans, The Android Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″ tablet has only been out for a month and has been selling nicely. By the way, Microsoft still lacks a significant market share in tablets.

      We won’t stand for the lies behind the 1% myth any more.

      We as non-Microsoft users need to stand up and say what we are using. If you use GNU/Linux, I urge you to participate in the Dudalibre “We > 1%” campaign. It takes one minute to say which distro you use.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • ZFS For Linux Is Now Available To The Public!

      For those with some extra time this holiday week in the United States, perhaps you want to try out the ZFS file-system on Linux? As was said this week when publishing ZFS benchmarks on Linux using the native kernel module developed by LLNL/KQ Infotech, the public release of this kernel module wasn’t going to happen until the first week of January. Fortunately, we have been successful in overwhelming KQ Infotech with lots of interested users, so they have decided to go ahead and make the current beta ZFS Linux module available to the general public.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A replacement for X finally!

        The good old X Server is finally getting a replacement. Wayland will provide a replacement but can co-exists along side X Server for compatibility and features. It will also reduce the complexity today where for 3D effect, we are running Compiz.

        The X architecture has been around for a decades now. It has gone through many iterations and improvements, however it still suffers from complexities and performance issues. These become bigger challenges when you are working on smaller devices such as phones, where X becomes an over head.

      • Karsk: Make Finding Software/Driver Optimizations Easier

        When publishing ATI Gallium3D benchmarks this week that compared the performance of the Radeon HD 4870 and Radeon HD 5770 graphics cards with this next-generation driver architecture to the classic open-source Mesa driver and AMD’s high-performance proprietary Catalyst driver, the results were what one would mostly expect.

  • Applications

    • 3 FOSS PIM Apps, 3 Personality Quirks

      Even when dealing in FOSS, choosing a personal information manager is sometimes a matter of deciding which app’s personality issues you find least bothersome. KOrganizer is a complete organizer, but its menus and user interface often comes off as crowded. Getting Things Gnome has powerful features, but task windows are size-limited. And Chandler Note to Self’s intriguing offering is limited by its difficulty to install.

    • Foobnix 0.2.2 Comes With Lots Of Changes, Ubuntu PPA

      Foobnix, a very interesting music player we’ve wrote about a while back (check out that post for a complete review) has been updated to version 0.2.2 and also it finally got an Ubuntu PPA.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Black Friday Sale !

        For those of you outside the United States (like myself), Black Friday is the day after the American Thanksgiving holiday that marks the first official shopping day of Christmas. It is the day when retailers offer all kinds of incredible sales opportunities that they hope will put them in the black for the year (enabling them to finish the year with a profit).

      • LGP Is Partially Back Online; More Unforeseen Issues

        It’s been seven weeks since LGP’s server disaster where their single server with a single disk with lackluster backup capabilities suffered a massive failure. The disk suffered from firmware corruption, chemical degradation, and file-system damage, among other problems, and located on this drive were LGP’s web-sites, their online store, and their entire Digital Rights Management implementation for the games they ported to Linux. Fortunately, their services are starting to come back online.

      • Open Ballot: does a lack of games hold Linux back?

        After getting sucked into Osmos last night when he should have been doing something far more useful, Andrew got to thinking about games on Linux. Osmos is beautiful, intelligent and original, but our neighbours on PC Format would likely scoff at anything less than the latest Assassin’s Creed or Counterstrike iteration.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Experts Needed for EU Research Project

        The EU research project, ALERT, is looking for KDE experts to assist research on free and open source software collaboration processes. The goal of the ALERT project is to develop methods and tools that improve FLOSS coordination by maintaining awareness of community activities through real-time, personalized, context-aware notification. KDE provides one use case for applying and evaluating these methods and tools.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • State of the Debian-Ubuntu relationship

        The Debian-Ubuntu relationships used to be a hot topic, but that’s no longer the case thanks to regular efforts made on both sides. Conflicts between individuals still happen, but there are multiple places where they can be reported and discussed (#debian-ubuntu channel, Derivatives Front Desk at derivatives@debian.org on the Debian side or debian@ubuntu.com on the Ubuntu side). Documentation and infrastructure are in place to make it easier for volunteers to do the right thing.

        Despite all those process improvements, the best results still come out when people build personal relationships by discussing what they are doing. It often leads to tight cooperation, up to commit rights to the source repositories. Regular contacts help build a real sense of cooperation that no automated process can ever hope to achieve.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu is ‘not changing to a rolling release’

          So there we have it: Ubuntu is not about to roll into instability but keeping up with the software Joneses may yet become that little bit easier.

        • Launchpad edge site deprecated

          I previously posted about our continuous deployment efforts in Launchpad. Since then the project has come a long way. We can deploy to nearly all our services without downtime. The remaining services are a bit trickier – but we are working on them.

        • Script To Automatically Apply the “200 Lines Kernel Patch” Alternative In Ubuntu

          The script was initially in Spanish, but I’ve translated it into English and I’ve also corrected 3 small errors which caused the script not to work.

        • Unity Place People – Day 3

          Sorry that I took a couple of days off to deal with other obligations, however I am back and hacking.

          If you missed the last 2 days of Unity Place People adventure please take a look at:

          1. Unity Place People – Day 1
          2. Unity Place People – Day 2

          What’s new:

          1. Get Folks and Zeitgeist to play along allowing sorting results using Zeitgeist (Favorite/Most/Recent)
          2. Find a nice grouping for the all section

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Asus announces eReader-notepad hybrid

      The Eee Note will run the Linux operating system and will include a headphone jack, voice recording and a built-in camera.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Meet MeeGo

          Android might get all the headlines, but MeeGo, the little Linux that could, may yet become an important Linux for your phones, netbooks, tablets, and cars.

      • Android

        • Documentation of the W3C Cheat Sheet on Android
        • Rovio’s Angry Birds won’t fly on slow Android devices

          Rovio recently brought Angry Birds to the Android platform, but the popular (and oddly addictive) physics game is suffering performance problems on certain handsets with slow processors. In a blog entry published on Thursday, the company announced plans for a new “lightweight” version that will work better on legacy hardware.

        • What Android Is

          What happened was, for our recent South American tour I wanted an Android architecture overview graphic. I ran across, among the Android SDK documentation, a page entitled What is Android?, and it’s perfectly OK. Except for, I really disliked the picture — on purely aesthetic grounds, just not my kind of lettering and gradients and layouts — so I decided to make another one.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu-ready netbook moves to dual-core Atom

        System76 is shipping a new version of its Ubuntu Linux-ready Starling Netbook equipped with a dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor, starting at $384. Meanwhile the company has begun shipping to the U.K, and is contemplating developing a tablet PC.

      • Jolicloud beats Chrome OS

        The next big thing in consumer computing is the cloud-based operating system. The most anticipated of these is Google’s Chrome OS, a Linux-based OS meant to be ideal for netbooks and tablet-like devices.

        While Google makes promises about a release date for Chrome OS, others are already moving into this space.

        One of the first is Jolicloud, which has already released a version 1.0 edition, is readying version 1.1 and has already announced a Jolicloud-based netbook in the UK. The so-called “Jolibook” will run version 1.1 of the cloud software.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Wave to become Apache project

    Community interest in continuing the development of Google’s Wave communication platform has led to a proposal to migrate portions of the code base to the Apache Software Foundation (OSM). The proposal was posted to the Apache Incubator wiki by Google and Novell employees, as well as several independent developers. The Apache Incubator is the place where potential future Apache projects can be submitted to the open source organisation for consideration.

  • Copyright assignment – a little commercial perspective

    Gather the pitchforks and light the torches. Hordes of marketing men are gathering, intent on invading the free and open source software village armed with copyright assignment policies and turning everyone into mindless corporate contributors. As Michael Meeks (via LWN.net) has warned there is “‘a sustained marketing drive coming’ to push the copyright-assignment agenda” As you read this very post, faceless marketing drones are calling your bosses, spreading pernicious lies about the necessity of copyright assignment policies.

  • Technology Innovation categories

    In this new category we’re looking for examples of technology that is open source. This could be a publishing platform, a hardware toolset, a peer-to-peer communications service or software development tools. Well known examples of this could include Firefox or WordPress – but which developers are creating the next generation of open source tools which will transform the way we interact with the web?

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • FR: Open source database new engine of France’s social security

      The open source database management system (DBMS) Postgresql is the new engine for France’s Caisse Nationale d’Allocations Familiales (CNAF). The organisation, responsible in 2009 for some 69 billion Euro in benefits distributed to 11 million claimants, earlier this year replaced its proprietary DBMS with the open source alternativ

  • Oracle

  • CMS

    • WordPress Global Translator Plugin

      Global Translator is a free and open source WordPress Plugin which is able to automatically translate your blog in 48 different languages:
      Italian, Korean, Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), Portuguese, English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Greek, Dutch, Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Catalan, Filipino, Hebrew, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Albanian, Estonian, Galician, Maltese, Thai, Turkish, Hungarian, Belarus,Irish, Icelandic, Macedonian, Malay, Persian.

    • Open-source social network Diaspora goes live

      Diaspora, a widely anticipated social network site built on open-source code, has cracked open its doors for business today, at least for a handful of invited participants.

      “Every week, we’ll invite more people,” stated the developers behind the project, in a blog item posted Tuesday announcing the alpha release of the service. “By taking these baby steps, we’ll be able to quickly identify performance problems and iterate on features as quickly as possible.”

    • Is Diaspora too late
  • Education

    • Cooperative principles can be applied in school settings

      Most schools today involve rows of students seated at desks, looking toward a teacher. That teacher, who is the focus of all the students, holds the power in the classroom, but has little power to make structural changes within the school system. The educational system in the United States right now is set up to teach kids how to follow directions—and it’s not doing that very well, either. Our students learn how to break the rules and not get caught. Our schools teach kids ways to negotiate power so that they are able to achieve some sort of reward or avoid punishment, but never to be in power. Conformity and submission to authority are clear strategies for success in the public school system. Students see clear examples of “power over” and “power under,” but rarely “power with.” Our schools are educating for empire.

      By not teaching children how to think critically, and not allowing students or teachers meaningful control over school environments or curriculum, our schools train workers who do not question authority in jobs or on battlefields. If students are unable to operate successfully in this system, they are often funneled into the prison industrial system. This connection between prisons and schools is becoming more and more transparent. Just last February a seventh grade girl in New York was arrested and taken directly to jail for writing on her desk in marker. The means by which schools operate are authoritarian and oppressive. Youth in schools do not experience a right of due process and are one of the only populations within the U.S. who to not have access to this right. There is no innocent-until-proven-guilty option in the principle’s office. This system invites little to no feedback from and does not empower those upon which it acts, whether students or teachers.

  • Business

    • Control Points and Steering Mechanisms in Open Source Software Projects

      Most commercial software today depends on open source software. The commercial software might be using an underlying open source platform, or it might be incorporating open source components, or it might be provided as a commercial open source product itself. Whichever the case, the software firm behind the commercial software needs to ensure that its interests are met by the open source software projects it depends on. This article shows how commercial software firms manage or steer open source software projects to meet their business needs.

  • Project Releases

    • Libre Office Beta 3 released

      The third beta of the OpenOffice.org fork ‘LibreOffice’ saw release this week.

    • Moodle 2.0 is now available!

      Well, after about two and a half years of work by hundreds of people, I’m proud to say that we have a Moodle 2.0 ready for you to download.

      All the functional QA tests have passed, all the 3873 unit tests are passing, and enough people think it’s finished, so it must be finished. smile The last step was to take the (now traditional) Moodle version photo of my kids for this news post, which I did today.

  • Government

    • Italian Parliament Migration Plan goes on

      The Italian chamber of deputies on the 22th of September 2010 approved unanimously a motion to move on with the adoption of open standards in order to make office suite migrations a reality.

    • PL: Poznań city’s e-Government platform built on open source components

      The administration of the Polish city of Poznań is using many open source tools, allowing it to offer a variety of e-government services to its citizens, civil workers and politicians. “Free and open source software, open access and open standards allow us to create open government services.”

      Examples include the streaming audio of city council sessions, using the Ogg Vorbis open standard. The city also offers websites that combine city maps with city planning and providing public Internet access points. Using open source furthermore allows Poznan’s citizens to submit information to the Municipal police, in combination with digital maps.

    • Italian Left Leader signs Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft

      Nichi Vendola is president both of south-eastern italian region Puglia and of the Italian left party Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (SEL or “Left, Ecology, Freedom” in English).

      Free Software is software that can save lots of public money. Even moms like Free Software like Linux, partly because it can be used without problems even by some disabled children. Besides, Free Software is such a good idea that European Parliament representatives of all colors like it !.

      On its own website, SEL says “we believe that for a modern party speaking of copyleft, Free Software and Net Neutrality is as necessary as speaking of jobs, environment, economy and civil rights”. Among the more than 100 political candidates supporting Free Software at the latest regional elections in Italy there were several SEL representatives. The Florence section of SEL even presented a motion to promote Free Software in Florence http://www.sinistraeliberta.eu/articoli/sel-per-il-software-libero-al-comune-di-firenze] in January 2010.

  • Licensing

    • Viewsonic and the GPL

      Somebody linked me to this reddit story about the fact that Viewsonic appear to be engaging in the currently fashionable trend of shipping Android devices without providing any source. This one’s more interesting though, in that Viewsonic appear to be entirely happy to publicly state that they have no intention of following their license obligations. I’ve pulled the kernel image for the device and confirmed that it contains code that’s not present in the generic Android Tegra tree, so I don’t think they have a leg to stand on here.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Amazon #1 Bestseller, “Machine of Death,” goes Creative Commons

      In addition, some of the individual stories are released under the CC BY-NC-SA license, which allows you to translate and adapt the work as long as you abide by the noncommercial condition and release the derivative under the same license. Podcasts are also being created for all the stories, with three stories up so far.

    • Open Data

      • Foreign Transparency Policies the US Government Could Learn From

        There is always progress to be made and the presumption to make data public and online (with teeth!) is an important cultural shift we hope to see soon. Just last week the United Kingdom took an unprecedented step to publicize all government spending over 25,0000 pounds. As governments around the world tighten their belts we think making the books fully transparent will allow citizens to be better informed about where their tax dollars go and how to move forward. Here in the US there is the Data.gov site (which could be greatly improved) and we are encouraged that the culture is shifting as we see folks like the United Nations, the World Bank, Russia, Spain, Finland, Australia and many others hopping on board.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Harvard Divinity School Faculty Votes for Open Access Policy

        The faculty of Harvard Divinity School (HDS) voted, in a meeting on November 15, to allow Harvard University to make electronic versions of their current scholarly articles available to the public. With the vote for open access, the Divinity School faculty joined five other Harvard schools in a commitment to disseminate faculty research and scholarship as widely as possible.

        “While open access has grown more quickly in the sciences, the movement is of vital importance in all fields of scholarly inquiry,” said Laura Wood, librarian of Andover-Harvard Theological Library at HDS. “The HDS faculty has taken an important step—both practically and philosophically—toward broader dissemination of their scholarship.”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF usergroup started

      An excellent example of governments working together on open standards like ODF: the Dutch government program ‘The Netherlands Open In Connection’ started a Dutch ODF usergroup while Fedict, the Belgian Federal Public Service ICT, publishes an ODF news letter in Dutch and French.


  • Search Insurgents Pair Up Against Spam … and Google

    On the one side, there’s Blekko, which debuted Nov. 1 after spending three years in development, using nearly $25 million in venture capital from some of Silicon Valley’s top investors to build a full-scale search infrastructure. Less than a month after the public launch, Blekko is attracting a million queries a day to its slashtag search system. Its algorithm searches only pre-approved sites in seven areas, including health, personal finance, cars and travel.

  • Armed lawmaker stopped by police in Highland Park

    A state representative said it was a misunderstanding when he parked his car in the Planned Parenthood lot in Highland Park and was later stopped by St. Paul police because of the revolver he was carrying near his waistband.

    Thomas Hackbarth, 58, was stopped in his car on Nov. 16 after a security guard saw him with a gun in the parking lot about 5 p.m., an hour after the clinic closed. Police ordered him out of his car at gunpoint and handcuffed and questioned him before taking his gun and letting him go.

  • Catching Up

    This post rolls a few things into one in a kinda catchup way, since I’ve been a little lax in blogging and releasing screencasts recently. First thing to mention is that I appeared on the TechBytes audiocast with Roy and Tim as a guest speaking about Linux Mint and enjoyed it so much that I am now a regular co-host on the show. So far I’ve appeared on 5 shows.

  • Intel Is Dead on the Desktop, Says ARM Co-Founder

    Intel is doomed, Hermann Hauser has claimed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal . If you don’t know who Hauser is, he happens to be one of the co-founders of ARM–possibly Intel’s most dangerous foe in the semiconductor marketplace, when also-rans like AMD and VIA are removed from the equation.

  • Alan Turing’s papers fail to sell

    SCIENTIFIC PAPERS written over 50 years ago by the brilliant British mathematician, cryptologist and computer scientist Alan Turing failed to meet their reserve at auction.

    The papers were set to be at the heart of a bidding war when they were auctioned at Christie’s yesterday, however they failed to meet their apparently lofty reserve. This means that the campaign to keep the papers at Bletchley Park has a second chance at success.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Tom the Dancing Bug: A Security Issue at the Office
    • TSA Gestapo Empire

      It doesn’t take a bureaucrat long to create an empire. John Pistole, the FBI agent who took over the Transportation Security Administration on July 1 told USA Today 16 days later that protecting trains and subways from terrorist attacks will be as high a priority for him as air travel.

      It is difficult to imagine New Yorkers being porno-screened and sexually groped on crowed subway platforms or showing up an hour or two in advance for clearance for a 15 minute subway ride, but once bureaucrats get the bit in their teeth they take absurdity to its logical conclusion. Buses will be next, although it is even more difficult to imagine open air bus stops turned into security zones with screeners and gropers inspecting passengers before they board.

    • Happy Opt-Out Thanksgiving

      There has been a call for people who are flying to be with family for Thanksgiving tomorrow to opt out of the BS Scanner process in protest. We’ll have to see what happens but there are a couple of comments I read on boingboing that bear repeating, so I wanted to include them here. And because boingboing (unlike, say, CBC) publishes under a Creative Commons License I can happily and legally reprint the words of others.

    • Pornoscanner CEO flew with Obama to India
    • Several Readers Ask The Same Question:

      And reader Benjamin Wang emails:

      A disgusting thought, but I’ve never seen a TSA screener change gloves. It would be interesting to send in a HAZMAT team to test several sets of gloves and see what’s on them. And publicize the results.

      Remember: The gloves are for their protection. Not yours.

    • Before the Junk Jokes: Airport Security Cartoons
    • Human Rights and the TSA

      At best, the “BS Scanners” are an invasion of privacy, at worst, a serious health risk.

      Clearly what is being done to citizens by the TSA contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    • Presenting… Sing Along With Airport Security!
    • TSA outrage critical mass: Angry White Guy Syndrome

      Since 9/11, disenfranchised groups have been trying to get traction about our eroding civil rights while traveling, without much luck. That’s why I was delighted to see angry white guys finally reach the tipping point. They are even more potent a force in creating a media frenzy than Missing White Woman Syndrome. Now that white guys are being objectified, scrutinized, touched, and considered guilty until proven innocent, they are finally getting a taste of what an encounter with authority can be like for other groups on a daily basis, and not just when traveling. Welcome to our world, dudes!

    • Common Sense and Security: Body Scanners, Accountability, and $2.4 Billion Worth of Security Theater

      The Transportation Security Administration is feeling public heat these days over its combination of whole-body-image scanners and heavy-handed pat-down searches, and deservedly so.

      There’s no question that reform is needed to curtail TSA’s excesses. We especially applaud the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s efforts to increase public awareness about the body scanners. But will the heat now being generated produce the kind of light we really need?

      Consider, for instance, the all-too-common response that we need to
      accept the indignity and invasiveness of the body scanners and pat-down searches in order to be safer. That response assumes that body scanners actually make us safer — a dubious assumption that we explore below.

    • Hartsfield TSA worker allegedly abducts, assaults woman

      A TSA employee based at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport tried to kill himself after allegedly abducting a woman, sexually assaulting her then giving her a suicide note to deliver.

    • Students stage day of protests over tuition fee rises

      Police have dispersed the final student demonstrators in central London after a day of protests against higher tuition fees and university cuts.

      Police said 17 people were injured, including two officers as protesters were contained on Whitehall.

      There have also been occupations in at least 12 universities, including Oxford University’s Bodleian Library.

    • Insanity! Teacher Bans Students From Bringing Pencils To School

      This is yet another example of zero tolerance policy taken to an absurd level. Who knew that pencils were “materials to build weapons?” Are the school officials going to remove every last stone, rock and pebble from the school grounds, because they are materials to start a war?

    • Student demos in Twitter age: no leaders, only chatter

      After two chaotic student protests in the space of a fortnight, the question police will be asking is: who are the new rebel leaders? The unfortunate answer for them is that there are none.

      Unlike student movements of the 1960s and 1970s, actions developed organically, with social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, providing an ideal platform for grassroots organisation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • The Microfinance Fallacy

      The impending collapse of the microcredit sector in India, in the context of lender and farmer suicides, makes it imperative to review the critiques of the model.

    • A Description of the Inequality that Goldman Sachs Helps Perpetuate

      I especially like the quote below from Tasini’s book (emphasis mine):

      If you want to wring your hands about the bigger government deficit, don’t go pointing the finger at the president or Congress. Instead, you can thank Goldman Sachs, Angelo Mozilo, Robert Rubin and the rest of the smart boys who built a financial system that was a mix of a floating casino, Ponzi scheme and Fool’s Gold paradise—all patched together by lies, deceit and a healthy dose of massive public indoctrination of the wonders of the “free market”.

    • Goldman Sachs Investor Buffett Thanks “Uncle Sam” for Bailout

      The peoples’ oligarch Warren Buffett just wrote a thank you letter to “Uncle Sam” published in the New York Times. It is the height of cynicism. (Image)

      Buffett has a carefully crafted public image as a brilliant but people-friendly master of investments. We hear about his regular table at an Omaha diner where he conducts business (just plain Warren) and we see his occasional public stands for reasonable policies like the inheritance tax.

    • If you work for Goldman Sachs…

      You can cause a Subprime-Mortgage-backed Securities Meltdown that demolished financial markets worldwide, and took down countries, like Iceland directly and Greece indirectly, but since you work at Goldman you get a bonus.

      * Goldman Sachs was AIG’s biggest customer. Meaning, Goldman Sachs double-dipped on the bailout money. Goldman Sachs playing in Subprime fueled AIG’s demise.

      If you work for Goldman Sachs…

      You may be CEO when the Subprime Mess is brewing in the pot, but you can always move over to the US Treasury to mop up when the pot boils over the counter and onto the floor. Goldman Sachs, as the #1 recipient of the Wall Street $700 billion bailout, saw fit to thank the American Taxpayers by giving out more bonus money than the year before.

    • What Good Is Wall Street?

      A few months ago, I came across an announcement that Citigroup, the parent company of Citibank, was to be honored, along with its chief executive, Vikram Pandit, for “Advancing the Field of Asset Building in America.” This seemed akin to, say, saluting BP for services to the environment or praising Facebook for its commitment to privacy. During the past decade, Citi has become synonymous with financial misjudgment, reckless lending, and gargantuan losses: what might be termed asset denuding rather than asset building. In late 2008, the sprawling firm might well have collapsed but for a government bailout. Even today the U.S. taxpayer is Citigroup’s largest shareholder.

    • Chinese inflation and European defaults

      Its official – Spain and Portugal will need to be bailed out soon. How do I know? In one of my favorite TV shows, Yes Minister, the all-knowing civil servant Sir Humphrey explains to cabinet minister Jim Hacker that you can never be certain that something will happen until the government denies it.

    • Why the Euro Will Survive the Crisis

      Europe is gripped by a sense of alarm, now that Ireland has become the second euro-zone country to ask for a bailout. Pessimists claim that the crisis means the euro is finished. But that scenario is unrealistic — in reality, there is little to suggest that the common currency is about to disintegrate.

      The mood in Europe is currently one of alarm — yet again. First, the EU’s member states had to pull Greece back from the precipice of bankruptcy. And now they are having to save Ireland from financial ruin.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Al Franken Asks Justice Dept. To Investigate Comcast

      Minnesota senator Al Franken is doing what he can to throw a wrench into the merger between cable giant Comcast and NBC, the network he once called home during his years on Saturday Night Live. Yesterday, he asked the Justice Department to investigate whether or not Comcast violated anti-trust laws when it announced who would fill the top positions in the acquired company, even though the deal has yet to get DOJ approval.

    • Palin: ‘Obviously, We’ve Got To Stand With Our North Korean Allies’

      In recent days, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has hinted in her clearest language yet that she is seriously considering a run for the presidency in 2012. Many observers have argued that Palin could never win because of her embarrassing lack of expertise, knowledge, or interest in foreign policy. Her appearance on Fox News host Glenn Beck’s radio show today, captured by Oliver Willis, suggests they may be right:

      CO-HOST: How would you handle a situation like the one that just developed in North Korea? [...]

      PALIN: But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies. We’re bound to by treaty –

      CO-HOST: South Korean.

      PALIN: Eh, Yeah. And we’re also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Digital Weapons Help Dissidents Punch Holes in China’s Great Firewall

      It was Huang’s first experience with prison, but not with Communist Party repression. When he was an electrical engineering student at Shanghai’s Fudan University in the 1980s, Huang marched in the pro-democracy protests that roiled China. But the heady days in the streets came to a bloody end when the government sent tanks into Tiananmen Square. Huang wasn’t arrested, but some of his acquaintances disappeared. And he was shocked by the way the government’s ensuing propaganda barrage convinced many Chinese that the protesting students were themselves to blame for the bloodshed. Disillusioned, Huang left China, got his graduate degree at the University of Toronto, and moved to Silicon Valley in 1992. He spent most of the 1990s quietly living the immigrant-American dream, starting a family and building a career. Along the way, he also became one of the Bay Area’s hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners, leading study sessions and group exercises. So when Beijing launched its crackdown on the sect, it felt to Huang like 1989 all over again: The government was brutalizing a peaceful movement while painting its adherents as dangerous criminals. This time, he was determined to fight back. His aborted trip to China and frightening weeks in jail only left him more resolute. “My experience told me that the persecution was more severe than what we can imagine,” Huang says in accented English. “I felt I needed to do something.”

    • First Data Protection Act fines issued by commissioner

      A county council that faxed details of a child sex abuse case to a member of the public is to be fined £100,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act.

      Hertfordshire County Council is one of two bodies fined by the Information Commissioner – both have apologised.

    • MP calls for pornography ‘opt-in’ to protect children

      Internet providers should create an “opt-in” system to prevent children gaining access to pornography, a Conservative MP has said.

      Claire Perry wants age-checks to be attached to all such material to reduce exposure to it.

    • First Monetary Penalties issued by ICO for serious Data Breaches

      Today saw the ICO announce the first use of its new powers granted in April 2010 – the new monetary penalty (essentially a fine to you and I) for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998 (the Act). For many years data protection lawyers have waited for this moment to happen, as no longer is business going to be hit by adverse publicity it can potentially be hit very firmly on the bottom line. Whilst the fines are no where near are severe as that which can be handed down under the Competition Law regime (up to 10% of a businesses annual turn over), any loss of income in the current climate (as well as any competitive edge that your business did have pre breach) is a worry and concern.

    • EFF’s Guide to Protecting Electronic Devices and Data at the U.S. Border

      Amid recent reports that security researchers have experienced difficulties at the United States border after traveling abroad, we realized that it’s been awhile since we last discussed how to safeguard electronic devices and digital information during border searches. So just in time for holiday travel and the 27th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, here’s EFF’s guide for protecting your devices and sensitive data at the United States border.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The False Link Between Locks and Levies

      The Bill C-32 legislative committee meets for the first time tomorrow with hearings likely to begin later this week. The digital lock provisions will undoubtedly be a major focus of discussion with all three opposition parties calling for changes to the current approach. Industry lobby groups will continue their effort to keep the C-32 lock provisions, one of the world’s most restrictive implementations of anti-circumvention legislation, unchanged.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Mallick: Corporate crimes and digital misdemeanors

        When copyright Bill C-32 passes, I will automatically become a criminal.

        I suspect the bill will pass in its current form because it was written in a state of hysteria about people downloading things without paying for them, which is like total stealing, and American corporations are leaning on foreign governments to put a stop to it. If there was ever a Canadian prime minister more attentive to the corporate needs of the United (failing) States, it’s Stephen Harper.

      • Dutch Artist Unions Call Government to Legalize File-Sharing

        A strong coalition of two Dutch artists unions and the local consumer watchdog have submitted a proposal to permanently legalize file-sharing of music and movies. In exchange, the parties call for a levy on MP3-players and other devices that can play and record movies and music. In the future, this has to be changed to a general levy on Internet subscriptions.

      • Hurt Locker Makers Sue Lawyer Who Helped ‘BitTorrent’ Defendants

        Graham Syfert, the lawyer who offered self-help to alleged BitTorrent downloaders of films such as Far Cry and The Hurt Locker, has been sued by the makers of the latter movie. On behalf of Voltage Pictures, the US Copyright Group (USCG) is seeking sanctions against Syfert and demand $5000 for the ‘work’ the self-help forms have caused them. in reponse, Syfert has requested sanctions against the plaintiffs because their filing is “completely insane.”

      • Big Music attacks PC Mag, ignores RIAA, MPAA

        How’s this for supreme irony?

        The RIAA and MPAA recently published chapter-and-verse outlines of exactly where to find alleged ‘piracy’ purveyors not only online, but also off.

        p2pnet ran both items in full, singly and together.

        Shortly after the Big 4 record labels, Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music used the US court system to shut down Limewire, PC Magazine posted an article suggesting six alternative P2P services and torrent trackers, saying “all of these services should be used for legal downloads, of course”.

        According to Billboard, totally ignoring the detailed RIAA and MPAA contributions, a coterie of Big Music acolytes claimed, “The harm done to the creative community when people are encouraged to steal our music is immeasurable. Disclaimer or no, when you offer a list of alternative P2P sites to LimeWire – and include more of the serial offenders — PC Magazine is slyly encouraging people to steal more music … ”

      • Pirate Parties Use Influence To Halt Anonymous’ Operation Payback

        In a letter to those coordinating Operation Payback, the series of DDoS attacks carried out against pro-copyright outfits since September, the UK and US Pirate Party are calling for an end to hostilities. They reason that the continuation of the operation plays into the hands of organizations that wish to “pervert” copyright law for personal gain and hampers the progress of those seeking copyright reform through legitimate means.

      • Winnipeg North first Canadian battleground for Pirate Party

        A 25-year-old Winnipeg businessman is the first Pirate Party of Canada candidate to run for federal election.

        Jeff Coleman, a former ESL teacher who owns a design and 3-D company, is running in the upcoming federal by-election on November 29 in Winnipeg North.

        His plan: to take to the streets of his home riding to engage voters in issues that surround the digital age.

      • ACTA

        • EU Parliament approves once-secret ACTA copyright treaty

          After 11 rounds of international negotiations, the final text of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has overcome its biggest hurdle yet when it was welcomed as a step in the right direction by the European Parliament, which voted 331-294, with 11 members abstaining, to approve the measure.

          Although the Parliament has called for some reassurances from the European Commission, the vote means that in principle the final legal text can now be agreed to by the Commission at a meeting in Sydney from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3. Under the Lisbon Treaty, Members of the European Parliament were required to give their consent to the measure and there were fears right up until the vote that they might halt the deal altogether.

        • ACTA – injunction powers going beyond those provided for in the EU acquis

          Given that, by laying down the thresholds for injunctions, the EU acquis has struck a delicate balance between enforcement and fundamental rights safeguards, how will the Commission ensure that these safeguards under the current EU acquis are maintained?

        • European Parliament fails citizens over ACTA

          At 331 to 294 it was close, but the EPP and ECR (UK Conservatives) between them have backed the rights-holder industries and failed citizens.

          Within the past hour, in a very tense vote, the European Parliament has adopted a weak and industry-favourable resolution, which supports the cover-ups that we have seen over ACTA and fails to address the issue within it. This has happened despite the efforts and hard work of many MEPs who oppose ACTA to obtain a stronger resolution.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Government meddling is a danger to the Internet

          As reported by V3, a survey commissioned by the Internet Society found that 39 per cent of web users polled reckoned that meddling governments pose the greatest danger to the Internet.

          While no specifics were listed, rushed through legislation like Mandelson’s Digital Economy Act and attempts to turn ISPs into Internet police have created a culture of fear. That can’t help in a world where governments are acting as pawns of the big media companies and genuinely fear the open nature of the Internet.

        • Matthew Norman: Bring back Westminster’s Barbra Streisand

Clip of the Day

Enable Wacom Tablet In GIMP – Fedora 13

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 24/11/2010: Avatar Reveals Reliance on GNU/Linux, Acer Distributes More Android

Posted in News Roundup at 11:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A Point That Deserves Illuminating: Linux Is Not “I-Cant-Believe-Its-Not-Windows!”

    The difference between consumer needs and producer needs appear to be clearly understood everywhere else. You don’t sell a forklift to a soccer mom, and you don’t force a warehouse worker to try to drag pallets of boxes around in an SUV. I could go on with more examples, right? Everybody grasps the concept that the needs of a consumer and a producer are different?

  • Desktop

    • Handing out Ubuntu CDs

      Better late than never, this Saturday Ubuntu Denmark finally got around to hand out Ubuntu 10.10 CDs in a mall in Aarhus.

      It’s been more than a year since we did it the last time, and the LoCo team had undergone some fundamentally changes in the meantime, and has been quite inactive. So the event was of great importance – not only to the spread of Ubuntu, but to the local community in general as well.

      The day was quite a success. We handed out about 120-130 CD’s which we’ve received from Canonical in the 6 hours we were there, and, just as importantly, showed the Ubuntu name and brand to thousands of people. I also think we “recruited” a lot of people to attend our bi-monthly Ubuntu meetups, where people can get technical help, listen to presentations and contributing to Ubuntu.

  • Server

    • Avatar: behind the scenes at Weta Digital

      In its work Weta uses several different software programs to create its special effects. The company uses PCs running Linux and most animation is done using Maya. To complement this, the company created its own software including Mari, which is used to “skin” characters and monsters using scans of rubber molds taken from actors. Mari lets animators use skin like a brush to coat each of their figures.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Free as in Freedom: Episode 0×03: i Don’t Store

      Karen and Bradley discuss the debates regarding Apple’s online store restrictions that make it impossible to distribute GPL’d software via Apple’s store. Then, they discuss question the usefulness of the term “Open Core”

  • Ballnux

    • 10 reasons I’m dumping my iPad for a Galaxy Tab

      Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is a 7-inch tablet that looks a lot like an overgrown Galaxy S phone, without the phone functionality. It debuted in the U.S. this month and will be available from all four major U.S. wireless carriers. (Note: Versions of the device sold outside the U.S. do have phone functionality; this is a limitation imposed by the U.S. carriers.) Reviews ranged from glowing (”It’s a Tablet. It’s Gorgeous. It’s Costly“) to scathing (”A Pocketable Train Wreck“).

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • VIA Graphics Still Lack Any Real Linux Progress

        While other hardware vendors are constantly improving their open-source support, this isn’t the case for all vendors. VIA’s open-source Linux support is still in very bad shape — two and a half years after they had envisioned themselves becoming open-source friendly.

      • Vandalizing Open-Source Drivers?

        While the RadeonHD driver is no longer actively developed, obviously this can come across as offensive to those who vigorously worked on this open-source Linux driver. More importantly though it puts into question the security of the FreeDesktop.org infrastructure. It took three weeks to spot as the Git notification email was not sent to the appropriate mailing list. Luc has already written to the mailing list.

      • Intel Windows vs. Linux GPU Performance Q4’2010

        The most demanding OpenGL test in this article is Nexuiz and here the Mesa 7.10-devel + Linux 2.6.37 kernel DRM struggled to compete with the proper Intel Windows 7 driver. On average, the Windows 7 driver was 56% faster than the open-source Mesa driver was and the gap widened at the higher resolutions.

        The latest Intel/Mesa driver code on Linux has resulted in some performance improvements and has made it more competitive with their Windows graphics driver, but still we are finding the Intel Linux performance to be at a loss in the more demanding test environments. The Intel Windows stack is also compatible with more games and OpenGL applications than the Mesa-based Linux solution. It will be interesting to see how the Intel Sandy Bridge performance compares between Microsoft Windows and Linux once released early next year.

      • If You Forgot, S3 Graphics Does Linux Drivers Too

        Last night when checking to see if VIA has made any open-source / Linux progress that went unnoticed (they haven’t), that also led me to see what S3 Graphics is up to these days. S3 Graphics doesn’t back any open-source driver strategy and they don’t have many GPUs on the market, but their binary Linux driver claims to support OpenGL 3, VDPAU, and even kernel mode-setting since last year.

      • Understanding the Necessity of Wayland

        Questioning the necessity for Wayland and the wiseness of the choice has become a phenomena, especially after Mark Shuttleworth annouced Ubuntu’s plans to eventually switch to Wayland. Following I will provide a concise reasoning why we want Wayland. At the end there are some more links for further reading.

      • Nvidia upgrades toolkit for GPU programming
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Enlightenment… Now Running On Refrigerators

      The Enlightenment Libraries haven’t even hit version 1.0 yet (though they’re getting close and in beta right now), but these libraries and other parts of Enlightenment are already in production use. Besides Samsung getting in bed with Enlightenment for their smart-phone Linux OS, this open-source software is now appearing in… refrigerators.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Question: Why Use a Blogging Client?

        Yeouch. Hell, I’ve done everything I could to get Firefox to save space, and yet… ouch ouch ouch. Blogilo wins this one, even before you remove the toolbox.

        The reasons are obvious. WordPress.com suffers all the weaknesses of trying to make an application out of a document-layouting language, while Blogilo benefits from the full power of modern-day desktop application toolkits: this is evidenced by the fact that, despite not having enough room for the Visual Editor tab’s toolbar, the toolkit knows how to properly manage that situation (hide some buttons at the end). Moreover, because you only ever open Blogilo to actually post something to your blog, that’s all it has to display: web interfaces also need tools and navigation for visiting your blog, managing comments, visiting other people’s blogs, managing your account, managing media etcetera, and that stuff scoffs space. The website looks, feels and works like… you guessed it – a website. On the other side of the fence, the desktop client looks, feels and works more like a document creator, which is good – since the focus is on the document and not the rest of the interface.

      • Calendar Systems in 4.6

        So what’s new in 4.6 for Calendar Systems? Well, not much visible really. I had hoped to have the astronomical calendars (Chinese, Islamic, etc) done for 4.6, but I’m still in requirements gathering for that so it’s bumped to 4.7. Instead I’ve done some stuff to make date localization easy. If you’re looking for bling, you may as well skip to the next post (I’m sure someone has some nice Lenovo eye-candy to show off :-), but if you’re an app coder tired of how awkward date localization can be then stick around.

      • multihead saga continues

        I received no testing feedback from my last blog entry about multihead improvements for Plasma Desktop, which underscores the challenges we face with multihead support very nicely.

        In any case, today I went through plasma-desktop and moved all the relevant code over to the new solution and committed all the changes to trunk. In theory this should improve plasma-desktop on multihead even further, with things like moving panels around with the mouse working as expected and what not.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gtk3 vs HTML5

        The code is not really clean enough for public consumption yet, and a bunch of features are missing. However, its now at the stage where it can be demoed and evaluated.

      • Gnome Shell Automatic Workspaces Mockup (Tiled View Follow-Up)

        A while back we’ve told you about an interesting Unity mockup for managing multiple workspaces that automatically creates the workspaces and always keeps an empty workspace so you don’t have to create the workspaces yourself (and you always have the number of workspaces that you actually need).

        Unfortunately, Mark Shuttleworth didn’t like the idea (at least the way it was described back then) so it seems like we won’t have this in Unity. But on the other hand, it looks like we’ll have it in Gnome Shell (not exactly the same, but the same concept is being used). Read on!

      • Lucidity theme for Linux adds pastel elegance to the desktop

        Lucidity theme. Chances are you’ve seen it in a screenshot at some point in your life.

        The official blurb states that Lucidity is ‘set of themes which are smooth and subtle, while also being fairly high in contrast, and in which interactive elements are noticeable and responsive in order to deliver a lucid experience.’

  • Distributions

    • Fav Distro (Nov ’10)
    • Reviews

      • Stage 2 of The Linux Experience: Bodhi

        A while ago I noted that I have been exploring Lilliput, trying out a few of the lightweight distros that have been proliferating lately. A brand new one named Bodhi is currently being developed, and Susan Linton gave an alpha version of it a brief review on her OStatic blog under the title Just Another Ubuntu-based Distro or Something More. I gave Bodhi a try (just from the LiveCD so far), and I must say I definitely see it as Something More, a significantly new approach to providing a kit for making The Distro You Always Wanted.


        My own impression is that Bodhi, by the time it reaches final release, could easily turn out to be a nearly ideal distro for someone who has come recently to Linux with no prior IT experience, but who has begun to show an interest in doing something more than simply using a ready-made OS.

    • New Releases

      • Tiny Core Linux 3.3 released

        Tiny Core lead developer Robert Shingledecker has announced the release of version 3.3 of Tiny Core Linux. Based on the Linux kernel, Tiny Core Linux 3.3 features updates to the Fast Light Toolkit (FLTK), such as a new integrated file manager and a minimal editor under System tools.

      • SimplyMepis Celebrates 8th Anniversary with Release

        Warren Woodford, founder of MEPIS, has announced the release of SimplyMepis 11.0 Alpha 3 just in time to mark the eighth anniversary of MEPIS on November 21. SimplyMepis usually takes quite a while to cook and no final release date has been given.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat: Cowen Says Hold; A Buyout’s Unlikely

        A day after the second-biggest Linux vendor, Novell (NOVL), was offered $2.2 billion to merge, Cowen & Co.’s Gregg Moskowitz initiated coverage of the biggest, Red Hat (RHT), with a Neutral rating, writing that while Red Hat’s business is rebounding, its stock is rich and some of its opportunities are not as verdant as they once were.

        Red Hat has been very successful at turning users of the free Linux operating system into paying customers who receive support and upgrades on a subscription basis, creating a nice annuity revenue stream.

      • Fedora

        • I’m getting ever so close to pulling the trigger on a Fedora 13-to-14 upgrade

          I’m planning to make the move from Fedora 13 to 14. I’ve been running the Xfce spin for months now and have mostly enjoyed it. I still have Fedora 15′s release day plus one month of patches for Fedora 13 coming my way, but given that F14 isn’t a “landmark” release, I’m feeling more comfortable than usual in contemplating the upgrade.

        • I’m running preupgrade right now to move from Fedora 13 to 14

          I decided to start early today and attempt the Fedora 13-to-14 upgrade on my main “production” laptop.

        • Fedora 14 review

          Gareth Halfacree takes a look at the final release of Fedora 14, and sees if the Red Hat-based distro has what it takes to conquer the desktop market…


          There’s a lot to recommend Fedora 14, from its well thought out security features to the wide variety of development tools available. An excellent installer caters to both end-users and power-users, but there are some issues with outdated software and SELinux that prevent us recommending it as a day-to-day OS for less technical users.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Becoming A Rolling Release Distro?!?

          According to Ostatic, Mark Shuttleworth, said that Ubuntu will likely be moving from its current six-month release schedule to daily updates which would make Ubuntu a rolling-release Linux distribution.

        • Ubuntu to Become a Rolling Release

          Mark Shuttleworth recently told reporters that Ubuntu will likely be moving from its current six-month release schedule to daily updates. A step of this nature would help Ubuntu keep up with the rapidly changing and increasing complex software and hardware landscape. This is especially true as Ubuntu finds itself on more mobile and smartphone devices.

        • ‘Ubuntu Invaders’ wallpaper is retro win
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Quick Look: Pinguy OS 10.10

            Pinguy OS 10.10 falls somewhere between Linux Mint 10 and Ultimate Edition 2.8 in terms of features and software. While it’s not as well known as some of these other distros, it’s definitely worth a look if you crave more than generic Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Multiple Twitter reports of people saying Android 2.3 Gingerbread now available on the Google Nexus One

          Do a search for “Gingerbread” on Twitter and prepare to be jealous at the mass of people who are reporting that Google just pushed an update to their Nexus One with the latest version of the Android operating system. We’ve written about Gingerbread before, many times, but here’s pretty much all you need to know about why you should be excited:

          NFC (Near Field Communication) support is coming, meaning that you’ll soon be able to tap on payment terminals when picking up your daily cup of coffee and croissant from the café. You’ll also be able to tap objects and get more information about them, from anything to pulling up a line of text, to a website, to initiating playback of a video. The best feature, at least for all the social butterflies out there, will be tap to exchange contact information. No more business cards!

        • Android dethrones Symbian as the most popular smartphone OS in Asia

          Last month we told you that Android became the No. 1 smartphone platform in the US, and now it’s time to take a look at how things are going in Asia.

          Well, Google’s OS has done the same thing: it’s now the most popular smartpohne OS in Asia, too – at least according to market research company GfK.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Going for gold

        The One Laptop Per Child project begun in 2008 has turned out as badly as most said it would, including the many millions of baht spent on buying the toy-like portable computers involved; a study from Chiang Mai University’s engineering faculty confirmed that students issued the cute little machines failed to improve their school performances as OLPC advocates insisted would happen; on the other hand, their marks didn’t get worse, either, perhaps because most of the students had access to real computers at home; schools in the pilot project for free computers _ the OLPC machines are just like real computers only crippled _ live in Lampang, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Rayong and Nakhon Si Thammarat; lecturer Anand Sripitakkiat, who introduced the study, said students needed a new type of classroom atmosphere more than a small, free notebook; he added that students in a regular school with old-fashioned teaching systems would likely not benefit no matter what computer access he had.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sky.com Open Source Software

    I turned on my TV this morning to check the news before going to work to be greeted by a message informing me that my sky satellite box had been updated overnight and was now using some opensource software with a reference to this website for further information and instructions on how to obtain the software either by download or cd-rom.

  • Open Source has won precisely because we no longer notice it

    Open source has won. Oh, how time flies. When I started writing in Database in May 2003, my first column was about how the ICT Ministry had got the budget PC programme all wrong. ICT Minister Surapong had announced his great success at negotiating the inclusion of Windows XP and Office XP at just 1,500 baht, a 90 percent discount. He saw it as success. I saw it as capitulation.

    Back then, Thailand had a chance to lead the world in breaking the Microsoft addiction. Instead, we capitulated. Would it be considered a success to negotiate a 90 percent discount on cocaine?

    In those days, Thailand was on the map in the open source movement. Mark Shuttleworth, head honcho of Ubuntu Linux and the world’s second space tourist, came here a number of times to talk about how Ubuntu on the desktop was ready and talk with the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa) on a number of things that did not end well.

    Back then, we had Microsoft’s Ballmer liking Linux to Communism. We had the Evil Empire sowing doubts about anyone allowing any GPL code in an organisation, telling its clients that it would spread like a tumour and that every piece of intellectual property it came in touch with would suddenly be property of the great unwashed masses.

    No matter. Fast forward seven years and Linux has won. Open source is everywhere. The business model is well understood and no longer something for ultra-leftwing activists.

  • Three things to not forget to make LibreOffice (and ODF) succeed

    The OpenDocument Format (ODF) is an international standard for office documents like texts, presentations and spreadsheets. ODF is already widely adopted worldwide. Using ODF for all your office documents is by far the easiest, safest and most realistic way today to really free yourself from the cocain-like nature of Microsoft Office file formats. The fact that using secret file formats instead of ODF is what actually maintains the Microsoft monopoly in desktop computing is proved even by a Microsoft job offer.

  • New: OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 6 (build OOO330m16) available
  • OverView Zoomy presentations with OpenGL
  • Sky preaches benefits of open source

    Sky boxes across the country have surprised their owners with a message about the benefits of open source software – apparently in a bid to head off a legal tussle from free software fans.

    Sky+ HD boxes, used to receive the subscription-based satellite TV service, have tonight been flashing up a message when they are first switched on pointing their users at a page on Sky’s website about the values and benefits of open source software.

  • Open source feats to be proud of

    When Rob O’Callahan moved home to New Zealand five years ago, there was a feeling of pride in this country’s small open source community at his achievements.

    Like many of our top computer science students, O’Callahan had gone overseas to further his education.

  • Graphics

    • 10 Incredible Wallpapers Made Using GIMP

      GIMP needs no introduction. GIMP is the Open Source answer for Adobe Photoshop, well, almost. We had already featured brilliant wallpapers made using Inkscape and now things are taking a ‘GIMP’ turn. Here is a nice and simple collection of wallpapers made using GIMP.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Panorama: Tab Candy Evolved

        I am happy to announce that Tab Candy is coming to Firefox 4. Starting today, Tab Candy will be called Firefox Panorama and be available as a feature in Firefox betas. Head to the Firefox 4 feature list, or watch the video below, to learn how to organize your tabs into groups and reclaim your browsing experience from clutter and information overload.

  • SaaS

    • ownCloud 1.1 released

      I´m really happy with this release. Not only because we have a lot of new features and bugfixes but also because the ownCloud development team is growing and more and more people are contributing to ownCloud.
      I gave several presentation about ownCloud in the last few month and I´m trilled by the positive reactions I get. People really seams to like to idea behind ownCloud.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Doesn’t Get Open Source

      Kohsuke Kawaguchi, the creator of the Hudson Open Source project woke up Monday morning and discovered he was no longer able to access the Source Code Repository to make commits. Oracle had decided to shut it down, as they are shutting down many projects in java.net to try to move it to their own infrastructure. Not only that, but the mailing lists were shut down as well. They said not to worry, they will have it up in a week.

  • CMS

    • Diaspora private alpha just released

      For those who have been patiently waiting, the first round of Diaspora alpha invites has been distributed. They’re planning to first bring in those who contributed via Kickstarter way back when this all began. Next those on their mailing list will start receiving their invites.

      Their stated goal with this rollout method is to “quickly identify performance problems and iterate on features as quickly as possible.” That sounds a lot like the open source “release early, release often” methodology. But it also sounds a lot like the Google method of slowly bringing in new users through invites. And while that wasn’t so bad for GMail, it was a miserable failure for a Google project far more analogous to Diaspora–Wave. And we all know how well that’s gone.

    • Private Alpha Invites Going Out Today
    • Is it Too Late For an Open Source Challenge to Facebook?

      “Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the web,” Berners-Lee said in a Scientific American journal article. As Network World reports, Berners-Lee even singled out Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster as examples of what he means.

      We have made the point many times that the problem with the large, popular social networks is that they are walled gardens. At the last OSCON conference, today’s popular social networking services were compared to the closed systems of the 1990s. In those days, it wasn’t uncommon to, say, need to be on MCI Mail or CompuServe to be able to send another person on one of those services a message. They were closed e-mail systems. People didn’t tolerate that, and the current argument is that they won’t tolerate walled gardens among social networking services either.

    • Open-source Social Network Diaspora Goes Live

      Diaspora, a widely anticipated social network site built on open-source code, has cracked open its doors for business today, at least for a handful of invited participants.

  • BSD

    • Released: FreeNAS 8 (Beta)

      Warner Losh, of iXsystems, announced last week the availability of FreeNAS 8. Since there were some issues with the initial beta, ensure you’re downloading the latest version (r5605).


    • Fellowship Interview with Brian Gough

      Brian Gough is one of the core developers of the GNU Scientific Library, which he has been contributing to for many years. He runs Network Theory Ltd., which publishes Freely licensed printed manuals and tutorials for Free Software projects, such as GCC, Perl, Python and PostgreSQL. He lives in Guildford in the United Kingdom, and regularly attends Free Software conferences and meetings.

  • Government

    • Open Data Good, Open Source Bad?

      Last Friday, I went along to what I thought would be a pretty routine press conference about open data – just the latest in a continuing drip-feed of announcements in this area from the UK government. I was soon disabused.

      One hint was the fact that I ended up sitting one chair away from Sir Tim Berners-Lee – and that the intervening chair was occupied by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General; another clue was provided by the short but personalised video that David Cameron knocked up for the occasion.

    • US government moves towards cloud computing
    • Massachusetts Posts Pharma Payments to Health Providers

      This week, Massachusetts became the first state to post an online database of payments from drug and medical device companies to the state’s health care providers. The searchable database covers reports from more than 280 companies and subsidiaries.

      The new database, detailed on Monday by the Boston Globe — one of our Dollars for Docs partners — is a result of a 2008 state law regulating industry conduct. The database lists nearly $36 million spent from July through December of 2009 for speaking, consulting, food, educational programs, marketing studies and charitable donations.

    • Open Data: If British Conservatives get it right, the French…

      This is a pretty stunning press release from Access Info Europe concerning the French government’s response to the open data movement. Statist government’s were always going to struggle with the internet and open data… but this shows just how bad things can get.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Stories of people & projects using Creative Commons in education, government, and data

      The significance of Creative Commons and its licenses is often overlooked, embedded as it is into the fabric of sharing culture on the web. The current superhero campaign attempts to bring CC’s role to the forefront, by highlighting people and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to this culture. But there are many more excellent stories of people and projects employing our CC licenses for educational, humanitarian, scientific, artistic, and just plain interesting uses. Some of these are currently reflected in our Case Studies on the wiki, but there’s a lot of work left to be done in making these more accessible and useful to the rest of the world.

    • Meet our board members: Molly Van Houweling

      When Molly Van Houweling ran Creative Commons back in 2001, she was the only staff member, working out of a small office on the third floor of the Stanford law school building. Her work there was mundane but critical: taking off from the pivotal meeting among the founders at the Harvard Berkman Center earlier that year, the once-advisee of Larry Lessig was doing paperwork and drafting the legal language that would become the foundation of Creative Commons.

    • Apply for the 2011 Google Policy Fellowship with Creative Commons
    • Open Data

      • The World Bank Launches a New, Open Access, Digital Collection

        A new online, open access, collection of all World Development Reports since 1978 was launched today by the World Bank. The Complete World Development Report Online, which allows users to easily access and search across these World Bank annual flagship publications, is free and open to the public and may be accessed at http://wdronline.worldbank.org


  • Quit Bothering Superman, Judge Tells LAPD
  • Indian Media Where Art Thou on Media Scandal

    A shadow has been cast over the Indian media — the bastion of the nation’s democracy. A telecom and political scandal rocking the country has now sucked in top journalists but the media coverage of this new twist is timid — a simple Google search shows that.

  • Indian journalists accused of secretly helping politicians, businesses

    India’s fiercely competitive and hungry free press has become the rising nation’s watchdog, unearthing a long list of banking scandals, real-estate scams and most recently, extensive government corruption during the international Commonwealth Games.

    But in recent days, Indian journalists have been accused of wrongdoing, including having inappropriate conversations with a corporate lobbyist and acting more like power brokers in recordings released as part of an investigation into an audacious multibillion swindle – considered the biggest scandal to hit the new India.

  • What’s An Internet Monopolist? A Reply to Professor Wu

    Wu’s claim is that the modern “information monopolies” will be socially harmful. Consider the first quote above. These firms do not earn and keep their share by satisfying consumer demand from active consumers with preferences; it is “surrendered” by forces beyond the consumers’ control. And with the second, why would we be concerned about time limits if these concentrated markets (again, let’s assume arguendo the market definitions Wu has in mind for now) were generating competitive results?

  • Coulson’s imminent departure is just the beginning

    Andy Coulson will resign as Downing Street communications director within the next few weeks. When the moment comes, his powerful but embarrassed friends will breathe a sigh of relief. They want it to be the end of the phone hacking scandal. It is just the beginning.

    For, as any investigative journalist will tell you, it’s always the cover up that sinks you. Senior executives have been clinging onto the line that “Clive Goodman was a rogue reporter” like it was a life belt on the Titanic. The unanswered questions are pouring in.

    There is a police investigation and at least three court cases. There are two Parliamentary enquiries on top of a damning report by the media select committee. There are whistleblowers. Insiders are breaking ranks, beginning to talk. Shareholders are asking questions. Coulson may be on his way, but the story won’t go away, despite hardly being reported in some of the best-selling newspapers.

  • Google donates $100,000 to Bletchley Park to save Turing Papers in Auction Google gives $100,000 to Bletchley Park

    A report on Twitter is saying that Google has donated $100,000 to Bletchley Park to help them in their campaign to buy mathematician Alan Turing’s papers which are to be auctioned at Christies today.

  • Sarkozy calls journalists paedophiles

    Nicolas Sarkozy is on a pre-election charm offensive to show how calm and polite he is and draw a line under past outbursts, such as when he told a visitor to the Paris agricultural show: “Sod off, prick.”

    But the jumpy French president is still finding it hard to keep a lid on his verbal assaults. During an off-the-record briefing at the Nato summit, Sarkozy lost his cool when asked about the “Karachigate” corruption scandal, which threatens to engulf him personally, calling the journalists questioning him “paedophiles”.

  • Time Flies
  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Domino’s Effect

      Cheap, mass-produced pies from Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Little Caesars, and Domino’s have infiltrated our planet, making these companies very rich and billions of people too poor to afford a single slice. Is your appetite part of the problem?

    • Conversation With Frederick Kaufman

      Fred Kaufman has written about American food culture and other subjects for Harper’s Magazine, the New Yorker, Gourmet, Gastronomica, and the New York Times Magazine among others. Periodically Fred sits down with Adventures to discuss his latest gastro work.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • A Waste of Money and Time

      A short history of airport security: We screen for guns and bombs, so the terrorists use box cutters. We confiscate box cutters and corkscrews, so they put explosives in their sneakers. We screen footwear, so they try to use liquids. We confiscate liquids, so they put PETN bombs in their underwear. We roll out full-body scanners, even though they wouldn’t have caught the Underwear Bomber, so they put a bomb in a printer cartridge. We ban printer cartridges over 16 ounces — the level of magical thinking here is amazing — and they’re going to do something else.


      Of course not. Airport security is the last line of defense, and it’s not a very good one. What works is investigation and intelligence: security that works regardless of the terrorist tactic or target. Yes, the target matters too; all this airport security is only effective if the terrorists target airports. If they decide to bomb crowded shopping malls instead, we’ve wasted our money.


      Neither the full-body scanners or the enhanced pat-downs are making anyone safer. They’re more a result of politicians and government appointees capitulating to a public that demands that “something must be done,” even when nothing should be done; and a government bureaucracy that is more concerned about the security of their careers if they fail to secure against the last attack than what happens if they fail anticipate the next one.

    • TSA’s Nude Scanners, Former Homeland Security Head Chertoff, and How Our Government Works

      How our government works:
      1) Get a position in the government.
      2) Hype up some scare and advocate a solution to it
      3) Sell/convince the government on your proposed solution, leave your government position, and partner up with the company that provides that same solution.
      4) Sit back and enjoy your new money.

      Michael Chertoff, while he was the Head of Homeland Security under Bush, advocated and pushed for installation and implementation of these new full-body scanners at our airports. Once he was out of “public service”, Chertoff’s consulting company (Read: Lobbying Company) landed as a client (Surprise!), Rapsican, the company that makes the scanners

    • Of The #TSA and the 4th Amendment

      It seems amazing to me that people are not considering the big picture. We’ve got UAVs and satellites using infrared to track who sleeps in our homes at night. We’ve got TSA taking nude photos and giving hand jobs before we get onto airplanes. We’ve got insane “zero-tolerance” policies in our schools. Now think about what happens when some Congressmember convinces his/her peers that these resources should be deployed against people who wear thong underwear or who believe in a creator or who voted for Ronald Reagan.

    • Don’t TSA me, bro: Boing Boing open thread, and new rules for those who refuse patdown
    • Canadian airport, port workers soon may have to take it all off

      Canada’s border guards could soon get new powers to strip search employees in airport and ports across Canada in a bid to crack down on the smuggling of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine.

      CBSA officers also would be allowed to frisk employees and to use various types of scanners and detectors to examine goods in their possession.

      The proposed regulations, which do not have to be passed by Parliament, are in a CBSA posting in the Canada Gazette. Interested parties have 30 days to give feedback.

    • Adam Savage: TSA saw my junk, missed 12″ razor blades

      The TSA isn’t the most respected of governmental agencies right now, but at least it comes by the poor reputation honestly. The lack of standards, inconsistent application of searches and policies, and occasional rude agent all combine to make flying an unpleasant experience. It’s often derided as “security theater,” which describes the experience of Mythbuster Adam Savage before a recent flight.

      Savage was put through the full-body scanner, and while he joked that it made his penis feel small, no one seemed to notice the items he was carrying on his person. The video tells the rest of the story.

    • The Twitter Joke Trial carries on

      Paul Chambers has announced that he is seeking to go to the High Court to challenge his conviction under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.

      He has instructed me to put the challenge together and I have, in turn, instructed Ben Emmerson QC, the leading human rights and criminal law barrister. The barristers who fought the Crown Court appeal — Stephen Ferguson and Sarah Przybylska — continue to be involved. There has been legal help from a number of other firms and individuals. This is a case which has attracted a great deal of support and offers of practical assistance.

      Why? After all, it was just a £350 fine (although now with prosecution costs, Paul is being asked to pay £2,600). And there has been no custodial sentence.

      But the case continues to cause concern about and widespread ridicule of the English criminal justice system. Writers as accomplished as Graham Linehan, Charlie Brooker, and Nick Cohen have brilliantly exposed the misconceived and illiberal nature of this prosecution and of the upheld conviction. And, although neither Paul nor I have encouraged the “#IAmSpartacus” movement (I personally prefer the use of the Betjeman line about dropping bombs on Slough), it is perhaps significant that Paul’s original tweet or variations of it seems now to have been tweeted over 18,000 times. However, it appears that only Paul will incur criminal liability for the words in question.

    • A Celebration of Street Photography, as Anti-Terror Backlash Fades

      It may seem absurd, but since 2005 that scenario or something like it was playing out with surprising regularity on public streets in Britain, where draconian anti-terror legislation declared photographers “suspicious” merely for carrying camera equipment.

      At its height, a tweed-wearing photographer was branded a terrorist by a London Tube worker, police deleted a young Austrian tourist’s photos “to prevent terrorism,” an Italian student was arrested for filming in London’s financial district, and an architectural historian was detained for photographing a building designed by his grandfather.

  • Finance

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Kuwait DSLR Camera Ban Now in Effect

      The image you see could get it’s photographer in serious legal trouble in Kuwait after authorities there have banned the use of DSLRs in public places unless you’re part of the press. Which is just ridiculous.

    • Today’s Lesson: Make Facebook Angry, And They’ll Censor You Into Oblivion

      Facebook is well on its way to becoming the most popular way that people share links, photos, and other content with their friends. For many sites it’s becoming a powerful new driver of traffic — get people to ‘Like’ your stuff, and Facebook’s network effects will expose it to dozens of their friends.

      Just make sure not to do something that might make Facebook angry. Otherwise it might nuke every link to your site, choking off this river of traffic that you’ve worked so hard to build.

      That’s the message Facebook sent today with its censorship of links to Lamebook, a humor site that posts lewd conversations spotted on the social network. Facebook has confirmed that it is automatically blocking all links to Lamebook and that it has also removed the company’s ‘Fan’ page. Not because the content was offensive, mind you, but because Facebook doesn’t like Lamebook.

    • Analysis: US alien tort law – A sword of international law blunted

      Human rights activists may no longer be able to raise actions against companies in US courts
      The US court decision came as a bombshell. Corporate liability is not recognised under international law and therefore multinational corporations are no longer susceptible to human rights claims filed by victims living outside US borders.

    • Just one in 750 patients invited to take part sign up to Government’s online records programme

      A service set up to enable millions of patients to email their GPs and access their Summary Care Records online has proved to be unwanted by the vast majority of potential users, according to a major new study.

    • EFF Urges Supreme Court to Block Government Overreach in State Secret Contract Dispute

      EFF and the plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit over a notorious case of illegal government spying urged the U.S. Supreme Court last week to reject a government attempt to have the Court address constitutional questions about the state secrets privilege in a contract dispute case involving the privilege.

      The state secrets privilege is a doctrine that allows the Executive to block evidence from being presented in a court on the grounds that national security requires the information to remain secret, and it’s been employed in both of EFF’s ongoing lawsuits over illegal domestic surveillance. Another lawsuit that’s had long-running battles over state secrets questions is Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama, and we joined together with the Al Haramain plaintiffs in an amicus brief filed in this case: General Dynamics Corporation v. United States.

    • Google Street View Lovers Egg Blurred German Houses

      Privacy lovers in Germany have egg on their house faces, thanks to a crew of Google-loving vigilantes. Google launched Street View in Germany last month, but allowed those uncomfortable with the service to blur their homes. About 3% of Germans opted to do so.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The Witcher 2 devs threaten pirates with fines, legal action

      Independent developers are having a tough time when it comes to dealing with piracy and DRM. If you include DRM, people complain. If you don’t, people pirate your game. It happened to World of Goo and it happened to Machinarium. But CD Projekt, the developer behind the upcoming The Witcher 2, has an idea about how to fight back: legal action.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A general public license for seeds?

      Background excerpted from a paper by Jack Kloppenburg:

      “The specific mechanism Michaels goes on to propose is a “General Public License for Plant Germplasm (GPLPG)” that is explicitly modeled on the GPL developed by the FOSS movement for software…”

    • IP in the comics
    • Copyrights

      • Judge to Righthaven: Show why lawsuit shouldn’t be dismissed

        A federal judge in Las Vegas is examining whether another Righthaven online copyright infringement lawsuit should be dismissed on fair use grounds.

        Righthaven LLC is the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s copyright enforcement partner that since March has sued at least 172 website operators and bloggers throughout North America in federal court in Las Vegas, charging material from the Review-Journal was posted on their sites without authorization.

      • Judge Asks Righthaven To Explain Why Reposting Isn’t Fair Use… Even When Defendant Didn’t Claim Fair Use

        In yet another sign that things may not be looking so good for copyright lawsuit machine Righthaven, a judge has asked Righthaven to explain why a non-profit organization reposting an article isn’t fair use. There are two reasons why this is interesting. First, to date, most of the “fair use” claims in Righthaven cases have involved sites posting snippets of articles, rather than the full articles (Righthaven has recently said it will only sue for full articles going forward). However, this is a full article, and the judge is still considering whether or not it’s fair use. As we’ve noted in the past, there are certainly cases where using the entirety of a work still constitutes fair use, and this may be one of them.

      • What do we want copyright to do?

        A recurring question in discussions of digital copyright is how creators and their investors (that is, labels, movie studios, publishers, etc) will earn a living in the digital era.

        But though I’ve had that question posed to me thousands of times, no one has ever said which creators and which investors are to earn a living, and what constitutes “a living”.

        Copyright is in tremendous flux at the moment; governments all over the world are considering what their copyright systems should look like in the 21st century, and it’s probably a good idea to nail down what we want copyright to do. Otherwise the question “Is copyright working?” becomes as meaningless as “How long is a piece of string?”

      • Theft! A History of Music—Part 1: Plato and all that jazz

        Why did Plato argue that remixing should be banned by the state? What threats did jazz and rock ‘n roll pose? And what does all of that mean for the conflicts between artists and copyright today?

        Those are the questions Jennifer Jenkins, James Boyle, and Keith Aoki answer in layman-friendly language in Theft! A History of Music, a graphic novel expected next spring. The three have a previous comic book, Bound by Law, which (like Theft!) attempts to translate complex legal concepts to make them accessible to a wider audience through a friendlier format.

      • Some Common Sense at Bill C-32 Committee Hearings

        Sarah Schmidt is reporting that the C-32 Legislative Committee will meet only for four hours a week, not the 16 hours suggested by the Government members. This means that that the Bill cannot get through the House of Commons until well into next year.

      • Six Key Answers to Copyright Bill Questions

        1.Will Bill C-32 give education institutions the right to engage in massive uncompensated copying?

        No. The inclusion of education as a fair dealing category will not mean that any educational copying will be free. It will only mean that educational copying will be eligible for analysis under a six-part test developed by the Supreme Court of Canada to determine whether the copying qualifies as fair dealing. The changes in Bill C-32 are more modest than often claimed as they merely fill some gaps in the existing list of fair dealing categories.

      • ACTA

        • Common resolution on ACTA in EP proposed by Socialist, Green and Liberal groups
        • ACTA: Will The EU Parliament Give Up its Power?

          After last week’s release of the final version of the ACTA text, the European Parliament is about to adopt a resolution preparing the upcoming ratification process, during a plenary session scheduled tomorrow. This vote must be an opportunity for European lawmakers to restate their opposition to this agreement, which is bound to spread internationally some of the most extremist provisions regarding the civil and criminal enforcement of copyright, trademarks and patents. Disturbingly, the conservative EPP group tabled an isolated resolution, which gives up on the Parliament’s prerogatives.

Clip of the Day

MeeGo installation Process On a Dell Mini 1012|Booredatwork

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 23/11/2010: New OS Benchmarks, Scientific Study Into Free Software in Finland

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Reasons to Be Thankful in Linux Land

    “I’m thankful for Android phones providing real competition for iPhones — and keeping Windows Phones at bay,” Slashdot blogger yagu exclaimed over a fresh Peppermint Penguin, for example.

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu-ready netbook moves to dual-core Atom

      System76 is shipping a new version of its Ubuntu Linux-ready Starling Netbook equipped with a dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor, starting at $384. Meanwhile the company has begun shipping to the U.K, and is contemplating developing a tablet PC.

    • Victory declared in Brazil over Windows XP

      Rumblings from Brazil suggest that the mighty Microsoft may have lost out in a landmark Windows licence row.

      A post on Techrights.org, said to be from Dr Roy Schestowitz, claims that a lowly consumer has gone to the small claims court in Brazil over not wanting to pay for a licence for Windows XP. And they’ve won.

    • Linux on the Lenovo S10-3s: Scorecard

      - PCLinuxOS 2010.10: The clear winner in this case. This was the only Linux distribution which loaded on the Lenovo S10-3s without any problem, and on which absolutely everything I have tested works – CPU, graphics, wired/wireless/bluetooth networking, touchpad (including buttons and tapping), camera, Fn-keys for brightness and sound, and everything else. This will be the distribution I will be primarily using on this netbook.” rel=”nofollow”>Linux on the Lenovo S10-3s: Scorecard (Rap Sheet?)

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Running The Native ZFS Linux Kernel Module, Plus Benchmarks

      In August we delivered the news that Linux was soon to receive a native ZFS Linux kernel module. The Sun (now Oracle) ZFS file-system has long been sought after for Linux, though less now since Btrfs has emerged, but incompatibilities between the CDDL and GPL licenses have barred such support from entering the mainline Linux kernel. There has been ZFS-FUSE to run the ZFS file-system in user-space, but it comes with slow performance. There has also been work by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in porting ZFS to Linux as a native Linux kernel module. This LLNL ZFS work though is incomplete but still progressing due to a US Department of Energy contract. It is though via this work that developers in India at KQ Infotech have made working a Linux kernel module for ZFS. In this article are some new details on KQ Infotech’s ZFS kernel module and our results from testing out the ZFS file-system on Linux.


      In terms of our ZFS on Linux benchmarks, if you have desired this Sun-created file-system on Linux, hopefully it is not because of the performance expectations for this file-system. As these results illustrate, this ZFS file-system implementation for Linux is not superior to the Linux popular file-systems like EXT4, Btrfs, and XFS. There are a few areas where the ZFS Linux disk performance was competitive, but overall it was noticeably slower than the big three Linux file-systems in a common single disk configuration. That though is not to say ZFS on Linux will be useless as the performance is at least acceptable and clearly superior to that of ZFS-FUSE. More importantly, there are a number of technical merits to the ZFS file-system that makes it one of the most interesting file-systems around.

      When KQ Infotech releases these ZFS packages to the public in January and rebases them against a later version of ZFS/Zpool, we will publish more benchmarks.

    • New Benchmarks Of OpenSolaris, BSD & Linux

      Earlier today we put out benchmarks of ZFS on Linux via a native kernel module that will be made publicly available to bring this Sun/Oracle file-system over to more Linux users. Now though as a bonus we happen to have new benchmarks of the latest OpenSolaris-based distributions, including OpenSolaris, OpenIndiana, and Augustiner-Schweinshaxe, compared to PC-BSD, Fedora, and Ubuntu.


      PC-BSD 8.1 pulled out another win. This time it was with LZMA compression where it ran in front of the Linux operating systems and well in front of the OpenSolaris alternatives.

      There you have it, the performance of the latest OpenSolaris distributions against PC-BSD/FreeBSD and two of the most popular Linux distributions. The Fedora and Ubuntu operating systems won most of the tests, but there were a few leads for PC-BSD while the OpenSolaris operating systems just one won test (Local Adaptive Thresholding via GraphicsMagick) at least for our benchmarking selection and workload. If you are using an OpenSolaris-based operating system hopefully you are not using it for a performance critical environment but rather to take advantage of its technical features like DTrace, ZFS (though that is becoming moot with its availability on PC-BSD/FreeBSD and even Linux), etc.

    • A set of stable kernel updates
    • The kernel column #94 by Jon Masters

      This month saw the final release of kernel 2.6.36, and the closing of the following ‘merge window’ for new features to be merged into what will become the 2.6.37 kernel (more details about the latter in a moment). The 2.6.36 kernel features concurrency-managed workqueues, preliminary support for the fanotify mechanism discussed here in the past, final merging of the AppArmor security system used by some distributions for many years, and support for a new architecture, among many dozens of other significant improvements. The new kernel received patches from over 1,100 engineers for a total of nearly 11,000 changesets (collections of related changes to various kernel files) overall.

    • Graphics Stack

      • XvMC With iDCT Now Working On Gallium3D

        A month ago there was the surprising work done by Christian König to bring XvMC and VDPAU support to the open-source ATI Radeon “R600g” Gallium3D driver for the Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000/5000 series graphics cards. The XvMC state tracker with Gallium3D began working shortly thereafter for accelerating XvMC using shaders with this ATI Gallium3D driver, however, iDCT support was not implemented. Christian though has now added support for inverse discrete cosine transforms to this X-Video Motion Compensation code for Gallium3D.

      • No KMS? No Mesa? Run Wayland Off A Linux Framebuffer!

        Besides needing to get the various tool-kits and other libraries ported to run atop the Wayland Display Server, another requirement limiting the adoption of this X11 Server alternative so far has been the specialized graphics requirements. From the beginning, Wayland was designed for GPU drivers that support kernel mode-setting (KMS), Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) buffers, and OpenGL ES, among some other smaller requirements. Originally only the Intel Linux driver would work, but since then the various branches needed to support Wayland have been merged to their mainline code-bases and it’s possible to run Wayland with the open-source ATI Radeon and Nouveau drivers too. But those using the proprietary ATI or NVIDIA drivers have not been able to run Wayland nor those people utilizing the VESA driver or any of the other obscure graphics drivers that lack any of the needed GPU driver capabilities. This though has now changed as it’s been proved possible that Wayland in fact can run off a Linux frame-buffer.

      • Benchmarks Of AMD’s Newest Gallium3D Graphics Driver

        While we have already published two exciting articles today looking at the native ZFS file-system for Linux and also new benchmarks of OpenSolaris / BSD / Linux, here’s a third article for the day. We might as well test our new Phoronix serving infrastructure while already having excess load today due to Slashdot, etc (it’s good practice for OpenBenchmarking.org), so here are benchmarks of AMD’s newest Gallium3D driver compared to their classic open-source Mesa driver and also their proprietary Catalyst driver. Oh yeah, a fourth article is also in the queue for today or the very near future when AMD has a major Linux driver announcement to share.


        The performance though of these open-source ATI drivers is still years behind that of the Catalyst driver, but at least there is open-source support and for these less demanding games, it is able to produce a playable experience. With the Gallium3D-based drivers there are also other interesting possibilities that emerge with state trackers, XvMC video playback via shaders, etc. It will also be exciting if the Radeon HD 6000 series open-source acceleration support is built upon the success of this R600g driver. The Gallium3D driver performance will also improve once the latest color tiling and page-flipping patches have been merged, which should happen soon. Another article is planned at this time looking at the Radeon page-flipping performance as it may bring sizable performance boosts.

      • Wayland License Changing To LGPLv2

        Wayland has experienced a surge in development activities from new developers since it was announced Ubuntu will deploy the Wayland Display Server with patches coming in from various developers that address issues from bugs to letting it run on a Linux frame-buffer. Wayland up to this point has been licensed under the MIT / GPLv2 code licenses (depending upon the component), but Kristian Høgsberg has now decided to change the licenses before it’s too late and complicated.

      • Open-Source AMD Fusion Driver For Ontario Released

        While we are still waiting on open-source support for the AMD Radeon HD 6000 series of graphics cards that were released last month, today AMD is releasing their initial open-source support for their Ontario hardware. AMD’s Ontario is their low-powered Fusion processor designed for use in netbooks and other such devices. This dual-core chip with integrated Radeon HD 6250 graphics is only starting to ship now, but the open-source support for this first AMD Fusion chip is now available to Linux users, complete with 3D support.

      • Wayland VS X – Some Perspectives

        As with most things only time will tell if Ubuntu’s (and Fedora’s) transition to Wayland will be a success (or a death sentence) for the respective distros. In the mean time want to give Wayland a try? Well, currently it is barely functional and only works on a limited amount of hardware. That means, in addition to all the concerns above, a good deal of time, funding, and man power is going to have to be invested in Wayland just to make the project functional for a desktop operating system such as Ubuntu.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • ARM for Kubuntu and KDE

        Recently the Kubuntu developers received a donation of some terrific Genesi Efika MX devices featuring an ARM CPU.

        Some of them will be devoted to Kubuntu related porting work with regards to the ARM CPU, and others to continuously test build KDE trunk. Getting a KDE buildbot for ARM is very important because most KDE developers do not have access to an ARM device (or they would not want to test building their software on it, because it would be tediously slow), so we try our best to provide KDE the means to get notified about changes that are not compatible with the ARM architecture, so that it can be fixed.

      • Join the KDE translation team

        This is a reminder that the various KDE Translation teams are always looking for new contributors, so if you always wanted to contribute to KDE but did not know how to do it, this is your chance, join the KDE Translation team!

      • Presentation by Sebastian Kügler

        Sebastian Kügler, Release Manager of KDE and member of the Board holds a lecture about managing a reference community for the Commons such as the KDE. He will also tackle how to manage code contributed by big communities and how to manage a community itself.

      • How a “Welded-to KDE3.5 User” Began a Move to KDE4.4 – Part 1

        In this first part of a two part guest editorial and tutorial Dr. Tony Young (an Australian Mycologist by trade) shares his trials, tribulations, successes and disappointments in working with the new version of KDE. As a long time KDE 3.5 user he decided to see if he could get KDE 4.4 to look, feel and work the way he was used to KDE 3.5 working. Hang on everyone, its going to be a bumpy ride..

      • Bangarang – What the dilly yo?!

        Anyway, it’s been a while since I last blogged about Bangarang development so I figured I should share a little (or long) insight into what to expect for the 2.0 release with a few screenshots to help explain.

        Before anything else, I need to mention that Stefan has been totally kick-ass with just about everything he’s tackled. He is the only other longer term coding contributor to the project and there’s absolutely no way I could list all the stuff he’s worked on, but I’ll mention a few: Lot’s of work on DVD support including subtitles, angles and audio channel support; Excellent star rating renderer that’s used all through out Bangarang; Shortcuts support and configuration; Filter support on the media list and playlist views; Tons of bug fixing, improvements and cleanup.

      • KDE Part of Google Code-in

        This year, KDE is delighted to have been chosen to take part in Google Code-in. Following the success of Google Summer of Code in previous years, Google Code-in is a new program to encourage pre-university students to contribute to free software communities. Like other participating organizations, KDE has provided a list of tasks that can be completed in short timeframes ranging from a few hours to a few days, whether they be simple bug fixes, documentation tasks or outreach projects and more.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Tiled View: New Gnome Shell Mockup

        A new Gnome Shell mockup shows how the old Gnome Shell behavior (which is actually still the current Gnome Shell behavior) and the new Overview-Layout Gnome Shell branch can work together…

      • GNOME Control Center in GNOME 3

        Last week I sat down and implemented some of the gnome-control-center mockups for GNOME 3.

      • 10 Cool Screenlets for Ubuntu GNOME

        If you haven’t used Screenlets in your Ubuntu yet, it is an excellent application to experiment with. And hundreds of useful third party user contributed screenlets are available for free. Here is a quick review of some of the best user contributed screenlets available for Ubuntu GNOME.

      • Shell’s Tiled View

        Not so long after Florian cleaned up the overview-relayout branch to accommodate the visual tweaks initiated by Allan, here we are again to move the target a bit (engineers love me).

        Initially shell exposed two views. A tiled view for an overview of your workspaces (something we can’t expect majority will want to manage). A linear view that presents application windows for easier switching (and dropping documents on). Exposing the mode switch to the user wasn’t good design and even if we presented the tiled view only when rearranging windows or selections of windows across workspaces, it felt like too much of an odd case.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • FreeDiams v0.5.0 released

        FreeDiams is a drug prescribing assistant that manages drug-drug interactions, patients allergies, intolerances and high quality printing. FreeDiams is a free and open source application, GPLv3.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • The most important updates in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
      • Red Hat Near the 50 Day

        New York, November 22nd (TradersHuddle.com) – Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) closed the trading day at $41.87 close to its 50 day moving average currently set at $40.62. Red Hat’s price action is just above this important support level translating into a trading opportunity.

      • Fedora

        • switching from Mandriva to Fedora

          Well… all good things must come to an end, and so — very regretfully, I should add — I parted ways with Mandriva. I’d been a Mandrake user since ’99 or so, and a die hard fan and evangelist since not long after.

          Today I switched my work(horse) desktop from MDV to Fedora. The upgrade went amazingly smoothly, partly because ever since I started using git, almost everything I have except “documents” is in git; all I really did was restore my repos, my mail, and a “workdata” directory that contained all the ODT/ODP/ODS junk. A few commands here and there and it’s all set. Pidgin, FF, TB, all setup exactly as they were before.

    • Debian Family

      • Useful but Unknown Unix Tools: netsele netselect
      • Brief Updates: Firebird 3, Iceweasel 4.0 beta, google code-in and DPL interview

        * An initial development snapshot of Firebird 3 is packaged and available from Debian Experimental. More information.

      • Will Debian 6 be Easier to Install?

        A new Debian release is coming… someday. One of the key components of the Debian 6.0 release, also known as “Squeeze,” is the Debian Installer, which entered beta at the end of October. Debian’s installer has improved, but still needs a bit of work before it can be considered user-friendly.

        Long before there was an Ubuntu, or even a Stormix, I was a devout Slackware user and kept hearing wonderful things about Debian. But almost every person I talked to cautioned that the installation was painful. As it turns out, it wasn’t that bad — at least, I didn’t find it any harder to install than Slackware and I was quickly sold on APT.

      • Bye Bye Ubuntu… Hello Debian

        Sorry for the delay in posting everyone. I needed a little time off to make an informed choice as to which distro I was going to switch over to. I haven’t been happy with Canonical in the past few months. Its pushing forward with Unity, Ubuntu One, and other such proprietary products.

      • How Ubuntu builds up on Debian

        I have been asked how Ubuntu relates to Debian, and how packages flow from one to the other. So here’s my attempt at clarifying the whole picture.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Cloud Screencasts Volunteers

          Interested in Ubuntu cloud community ? Want to help ? Awesome! here is your chance

        • An Interview With zkriesse

          This week we have zkriesse in the interview series. In my opinion, zkriesse is one of the Ubuntu community members who may not be well known, but certainly keeps things going as smoothly as possible. He’s involved in a great number of things, including the Ubuntu Beginners Team.

        • Patch Pilot Programme starts today

          we all know how important code review is for Ubuntu. It’s not only about spotting mistakes, but also about teaching new contributors how things are done. There’s always been busier times when we fell back in terms of code review and times where we did better.

        • Weekly Ubuntu Cloud Meeting And Q+A

          As many of you will know, Ahmed Kamal is one of the horsemen, and he is focusing his community building skills on creating a rocking Ubuntu Cloud community. We have awesome technology for harnessing public, private. and personal clouds, and Ahmed is here to build a community of both users and contributors.

        • Planet Ubuntu Facelift

          Planet Ubuntu has had a facelift and its taken on the same theme as the other Ubuntu properties. Looks great!

        • Kinect + Ubuntu = Jedi. Obviously.

          YouTuber yankeyan shows off real-time lightsaber (Yes, lightsaber) tracking and rendering using nothing more than Kinect and Ubuntu.

        • Debian Project News – November 22nd, 2010

          Release Manager Neil McGovern gave an update for the upcoming Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” stable release. As “Squeeze is almost in its final form” he calls for upgrade and installation tests (see also the separate announcement for that). He also notes that even (experienced) users who have no systems available for installation or upgrade tests can help by triaging installation reports and upgrade reports, or propose text for the release notes.

        • Ubuntu Software Center Slowly Turning Around, Adds More Paid Applications!

          Ubuntu Software Center is getting updates almost everyday. The latest one brings in more paid applications into Ubuntu Software Center. And it’s good to see Canonical slowly waking up to one of its most important revenue making opportunity.

        • Canonical’s new partnerships for Ubuntu: A challenge in the enterprise space?

          Shortly after Ubuntu 10.10 was released Canonical managed to shore up some pretty hefty partners. Seven new partnerships, to be exact, and these sponsors all seem to point to one thing: enterprise. When you read through the list (patience now) it becomes very clear that Canonical has yet another trick up its sleeve.

        • Ubuntu’s Shuttleworth lands luxury NY crash pad

          Canonical owner and former cosmonaut Mark Shuttleworth has found a new landing pad.

          Ubuntu king Mark Shuttleworth has bought a condo in Manhattan’s Superior Ink building for a record $31.5m, according to the New York Post.

          Other residents of Superior Ink – a 68-unit, 17-floor building – include actress Hilary Swank, fashion designer Marc Jacobs, and Showtime CEO Matthew Blank.

        • The Up-and-Comer

          Owners include [...] South African Internet billionaire Mark Shuttleworth

        • Ubuntu Core Developer Team Gets New Members

          Emmet HIKORY has announced on the Ubuntu Developers mailing list that Ken VanDine (kenvandine) and Alessio Treglia (quadrispro) have become one of the Ubuntu Core Developers.

        • How Ubuntu Transformed From A Project To A Product [Updated]

          Ubuntu is one of the much loved GNU/Linux based operating systems. It has created a cult around it. But what is Ubuntu — a product or a project?

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Cortex-A9 SoC targets 1080p-ready Android devices

      Amlogic has begun sampling a new system-on-chip (SoC) that combines a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, an ARM Mali-400 GPU, and Amlogic’s proprietary HD video decoding engine. Targeting next-generation consumer electronics running Linux and Android 2.2, the AML8726-M supports full 1080p HD video capabilities and a range of connectivity options, says the company.

    • SOHO NAS servers tap 1.6GHz Armada 300 SoCs

      The TS-x19P+ NAS servers provide file sharing, backup, and UPnP-compliant media streaming between PCs, Macs, Linux, and UNIX-based computers, says Qnap. The devices ship with version 3.3 of Qnap’s Linux-based Turbo NAS firmware (see farther below).

    • Phones

      • Palm webOS ‘Enyo’ framework paves the way for tablets and larger phones (video)

        Don’t expect HP’s webOS 2.0 to be tied to an HVGA screen for long — come “early 2011,” the company will introduce a number of “really interesting new form factors,” including tablets and phones. That was the message driven home at Palm’s Developer Day this year, according to PreCentral’s Dieter Bohn, and the software that’s going to make that shift possible is a little something called Enyo.

      • Is Mobile Making Linux Menus Obsolete?

        Are menus starting to disappear from the Linux desktop? A survey of the alternatives suggests that, at the very least, menus seem to be evolving out of recognition in response to modern trends, particularly the effort to make workstation and laptop desktops more like mobile interfaces. Ask usability experts, and the unexamined assumption is that the classic menu needs improvement — although whether users feel that way seems less clear.

        Ten years ago, desktop menus were straightforward. They listed most of the desktop applications, with sub-menus spilling across the desktop to help organize them. The most extreme case is the famous — or infamous — Debian menu, which descends four or five sub-levels, but contains every application installed on the system, if only you had the patience to keep searching. The Debian menu remains popular with some users today, including me.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud Netbook Goes On Sale At Amazon For £280

        French company Jolicloud has finally started to sell its Jolibook netbook courtesy of Amazon but direct from Taiwanese manufacturer Vye.

        Amazon says that the device will usually be delivered (for free) within one to three months which might cause some potential customers to think twice.

      • Chrome OS netbooks postponed until 2011

        Google CEO Eric Schmidt revealed that the company’s cloud-oriented Chrome Operating System for netbooks has been delayed for several months. Google won’t say why, but analysts speculate that the Linux-based Chrome OS may have been delayed due to the huge success of the search giant’s own Android OS as well as the Apple iPad.

    • Tablets

      • Worst gadget ever? Ars reviews a $99 Android tablet

        Usage time is even worse. We “used” the device as best we could for as long as possible, and the battery usually only gave us an hour or less before dying out. (Yes, there were times when we got less than an hour from a full charge.) This was usually with WiFi on, though as we noted in the Usage section, just because the device says WiFi is on doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.

      • Black Friday 2010 Linux Tablet Deals

        One item on my shopping list this holiday season is a Linux based tablet device. I decided to check the Sunday ad section and put together this list of Black Friday 2010 Linux Tablet Deals.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Guest Post: How the Cloud is Driving Application Integration Up the Stack

    Microsoft defined the building blocks for 90% of all presentations people create in a bad way (Powerpoint, anyone?), but that is not my point. My point is Microsoft focused on the tools customers need to solve problems because that is what they sell. The less of a standard there is, the better the conventional software market works. Enter the Cloud. Fantastic! All of a sudden standard data makes sense for vendors.

  • Community is Not Crowdsourcing

    I was watching a presentation about business intelligence by one of my fellow faculty members the other day, and as one of his examples for the crowd of undergrads, he cited last year’s developer contest conducted by Netflix to build a better algorithm for their users’ movie preferences.

    The contest, long over, awarded US$1 million to the team that could “substantially improve the accuracy of predictions about how much someone is going to enjoy a movie based on their movie preferences.”

  • Telling the open source story – Part 1

    As open source software becomes more mainstream, it’s easy to forget how amazing it is. Countless individuals, donating their time and sharing their brainpower, work to build a shared infrastructure on which the world’s computing is done. Amazing. Even more amazing, in survey after survey, the big reason open source contributors give for their participation is that it’s “fun.” Even more amazing than that is the rate at which this technology improves because people are having fun building it.

  • 2010 Packt Open Source Award winners announced

    Packt Publishing has announced the winners of its inaugural Open Source Awards. According to Packt, the aim of the contest is to “encourage, support, recognize and reward Open Source projects”. Awards were presented in six software categories: Open Source CMS, Hall of Fame CMS, Most Promising Open Source Project, Open Source JavaScript Libraries, Open Source E-Commerce Applications and Open Source Graphics Software.

  • Open source: It’s not all or nothing

    Too often open source software is portrayed as an all-or-nothing option. In reality a mixed environment is the first step to a successful migration.

    Free and open source software is famously versatile. Think of just about any piece of software your business uses and chances are there is an open source alternative. And if there isn’t then there probably will be within the year.

    Being so versatile open source software can be used in almost any situation, from desktop applications to cloud computing servers, which can often entice businesses down the path of a wholesale open source migration. The savings, flexibility and versatility of open source software are simply too good to miss out on. There are, however, risks in suddenly switching all of your systems over to open source software and a gradual, mixed-environment approach is often a better way to go about it.

  • LibreOffice/OOo

    • FI: Scientific study into migration proves value of open source

      Finland’s ministry of Justice, its state legal aid offices, the court houses, the probation services and its prisons offer scientific proof of the advantages of open source and open standards. Martti Karjalainen, who studied one of Europe’s largest open source transitions, concludes that a large-scale migration to an open source office suite is feasible, resulting in substantial benefits, including cost savings.

    • Steering Committee starts blog

      to support our open and transparent approach, the Steering Committee of The Document Foundation has opened up a blog at


      It will be used by members of the Steering Committee and their deputies to share news and insight about our progress with the Foundation and about the future developments of LibreOffice. The blog enhances the public Steering Committee phone conferences [1], the public marketing phone conferences [2] as well as the public Steering Committee discussion list [3] and makes the work of the Foundation even more transparent.

  • Web Browsers

    • Why browser speed benchmarks are meaningless

      Anyhow, Javascript benchmarking is all nice and well, but it has nothing to do with reality. For all practical purposes, you can have guinea pig powering your browser. Stop wasting your time worrying and caring about nonsense and focus on important things, like browser W3C compliance and stability. Now, you’re talking business.

    • Mozilla

      • learn about Chinese Internet at the Sinica Podcast

        For those of you on Planet Mozilla who are interested in learning more about China and trends in the Chinese Internet, I’d like to recommend the Sinica Podcast. There’s a lot of great websites out there covering China but not many good podcasts. This one is the best, imo (at least in English.)

      • Firefox 4 Beta 7 – how it should look on Linux

        Yesterday we mentioned that Firefox 4 Beta for Linux now boasts a ‘menu’ button rather than a menu bar. Whilst it’s undoubtedly welcome it doesn’t look as good as it could – nor should.

      • Design Jam London #1: 50 design enthusiasts. 9 hours. 1 challenge.

        Design Jams challenge teams to solve a design challenge within a day. All in all come to think of it – it is a pretty intense time-frame within a highly concentrated environment!
        The general format of the day comprised of:

        * a welcome talk outlining the format of the day
        * an introduction of the days design challenge topic
        * team formation with a maximum of five (5) per team
        * x3 design phases & x2 presentation slots

      • Mozilla – Putting On The Brave Face As Decline Sets In?

        The big outlets are reporting that the revenues to Mozilla were up for 2009, 34 percent higher than for the 2008 year. The chairman for Mozilla has stated that Mozilla is an underdog, however, possibly to soften the blows when the results for 2010 come in.

  • Education

  • Healthcare

  • BSD

    • Raiders of the lost OpenBSD

      When looking at OpenBSD and evaluating it, I think it’s important to keep in mind what the project’s goals are. This isn’t a project trying to make a great desktop OS (though I have talked with people who happily use OpenBSD on their desktops) and it’s not making the most powerful server system. The OpenBSD team is interested in producing correct, secure code and they do that. Fortunately their work boils over into other areas of the open source world — OpenSSH being an excellent example. The operating system is small and simple, resulting in low-resource requirements and a responsive environment. I don’t think that many people would accuse OpenBSD of being intuitive, but the community does have sound documentation and the project’s processes are very open. These characteristics make OpenBSD not only a good firewall or server, but also a great teaching tool. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys building their system from the ground up, OpenBSD is a suitable place to begin. My only complaint while trying out the new release was in regards to hardware. I wasn’t able to get OpenBSD running in VirtualBox, nor on my laptop and, so far, I don’t have sound on my desktop. Otherwise it was a good adventure and I applaud the developers for producing another solid release.

    • NetBSD 5.1 feature update arrives

      The NetBSD development team has announced the arrival of the first feature update to the 5.0 release branch, NetBSD 5.1. According to the developers, the major release includes a variety of critical security and bug fixes, as well as better hardware support and new features.


  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Open Source and the Federal Budget Squeeze, Part 2

      “The United States government is the world’s largest purchaser of information technology, with an annual IT budget over (US)$80 billion,” Federal CIO Vivek Kundra told the World Economic Forum in early November.

      Just fractions of that amount are attractive to vendors, for whatever IT specialty they offer — including open source solutions.

      “We don’t really focus on an overall market figure, since open source can’t be described as a monolithic entity. We prefer to emphasize the value it creates in a specific application,” Gunnar Hellekson, chief technology strategist at Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), told LinuxInsider.

  • Licensing

    • Fusion Garage GPL update

      Fusion Garage have put up a website containing the source code for the kernel, bootloader and some miscellaneous tools (including their recovery system). As far as I can tell (by inspection – I haven’t tried building binaries) it corresponds to what they were distributing, which is excellent. On the other hand, that’s all the source they’ve provided.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • MEPs to twitter their way into new communication

      People are increasingly using social media as a way to communicate with the members of the European Parliament and MEPs seem convinced that Twitter is the way to go, a new public affairs survey has found.

    • E-petitions website shelved

      David Cameron often speaks about openness in government, but a Downing Street innovation to encourage greater public participation has been quietly shelved. Officially, the infamous No 10 e-petitions website, launched by the previous government, is under review.

      Senior Whitehall sources insist it will not return, however, partly because of the negative publicity it generated. Online petitions were used to embarrass Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Shortly after the site’s debut, 1.6 million people signed a petition demanding an end to road pricing, and nearly 100,000 used it to demand Brown’s resignation in April last year. “[Cameron's communications chief] Andy Coulson does not want to see a repeat of that,” said a Whitehall insider.

    • Coalition shelves plans to protect public sector whistleblowers

      The coalition appears to have shelved plans to introduce new protections for public sector workers who blow the whistle on dangerous, corrupt or incompetent practices, the Guardian has learned.

      A promise to protect whistleblowers in the public sector was one of a series in the coalition’s plans designed to make government more transparent. It follows concerns that people have been too afraid to speak up when things are going wrong in government, schools, hospitals or social services, for fear of later being penalised.

    • The British National Bibliography – wow! Try it out

      And very importantly we now know what the scale is. Let’s say we have 20 million possible books (a very rough guess as books in major libraries are counted with a tape measure). A gigatriple. This shouldn’t frighten us today. The main thing is that the web is scaling up for RDF and there are many potential suppliers and providers.

    • Open Data

      • LUCERO : The Open University + JISC Open Data; mouthwatering

        In short, The OU (with the active and welcome involvement of JISC) is exposing its data (which could be anything, but think staff details, courses, research interests, I think) as Linked Open Data. I’ll post some snippets and then say why I think this is critical.

      • The British Library releases 3 million bibliographic records into the public domain using CC0

        The British Library has released three million records from the British National Bibliography into the public domain using the CC0 public domain waiver. The British National Bibliography contains data on publishing activity from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland since 1950. JISC OpenBibliography has made this set downloadable at CKAN; in addition, the Internet Archive also offers the data for download.

      • Free Data Services

        As part of its work to open its metadata to wider use beyond the traditional library community, the British Library is making copies of its main catalogue and British National Bibliography datasets available for research purposes. Files are initially being made available in RDF/XML (see sample) and are distributed under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication licence.

    • Open Access/Content

      • How open access to research benefits us all

        There are two distinct paths followed to provide open access, though they do occasionally intersect. The “Green” road is where authors provide access to their published work through self-archiving (on a personal website or a public or institutional repository). This path is readily accepted by a larger number of academics, because it enables them to publish in many highly prestigious journals that are not open access, while also providing their work to the general public.

        According to a study by Muluken W. Alemayehu, at the University of Oslo 32 out of 45 professors surveyed “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the scholarly research results from the university should be available to the public in an institutional repository, 12 were “neutral” on the idea, and only one disagreed. Of the 45, 31 were previously unaware of the concept of an institutional repository, and of those 22 were from among the 32 who agreed with making the research available there. Five respondents were interested in adding other types of content to the repository but not their scholarly articles, citing conflicts with the publishers and other concerns.

      • Considering the benefits of Open Access

        Open Access is an aspect of free culture that I have not fully evaluated yet. I want to be able to take a position on the subject, should the question come up, so this week I’m making a concerted effort to understand what Open Access (capitalized) is, what its major tenets and who its major supporters are. I don’t want to take a knee-jerk reaction to it and say “I think free software is ethical, therefore open access is ethical.” That’s a little short-sighted. Furthermore, although I agree with certain arguments from open access immediately (scientists should make their data and source code available), I certainly don’t want to ally myself with a movement that I don’t understand. People could end up thinking I want to take away their jobs, and that might not be true.


  • Oxford Academics: Web Not To Blame For Newspapers’ Slide

    The book challenges the conventional wisdom that the internet has undermined business models by claiming there is no correlation between internet usage and newspaper profitability.

    The work, commissioned by the Oxford-based Reuters (NYSE: TRI) Institute for the Study of Journalism, examined newspaper industries in several countries, including the US, UK, Germany and Brazil.

  • Putting paid to bribery

    Our lead story this week, on Dentons suing its former India head Gauri Advani following the allegation of a bribe (something she strongly denies) and costs of a subsequent court case, is a preview of the future for law firms.

  • Turkey rejects EU’s Cyprus offer to open talks on new chapters

    Despite mounting pressure from the European Union to open its ports and airports to the Greek half of Cyprus, Turkey will not be doing so until a settlement on the divided island is reached, a senior state official has said.

    Turkey strongly believes that the EU has not been constructive in its efforts for a permanent solution on the island and has rejected out of hand a proposal to open two more chapters of negotiation if Turkey complies with the EU’s demand. Turkey started its accession talks in 2005, but progress has been slow, largely because of the dispute over Cyprus. Turkey refuses to open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus, urging the EU to first end the isolation of Turkish Cyprus as it promised back in 2004, following a referendum on a UN reunification plan in both parts of the island — accepted by the Turkish Cypriots and rejected by the Greek Cypriots.

  • Science

    • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist Tells the Tale of the World’s First Computer

      Who invented the computer? For anyone who has made a pilgrimage to the University of Pennsylvania and seen the shrine to the ENIAC, the answer may seem obvious: John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert Jr., who led Penn’s engineering team in the 1940s. As it says on the plaque, the giant machine made of 17,468 vacuum tubes was the “first electronic large-scale, general-purpose digital computer.” But notice all the qualifying adjectives. Does this mean there was a smaller digital computer that actually came first?

    • Europe’s new astronauts graduate

      The European Space Agency’s (Esa) new intake of astronauts have completed their basic training.

      The six individuals – two Italians, a German, a Frenchman, a Dane and a Briton – received their graduation certificates at a special ceremony in Cologne, Germany.

      They are the first group of candidates Esa has put through a training programme of its own design.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • President Obama, After Traveling With Naked Scanner CEO, Defends Naked Scans

      No surprise there. Of course, what he didn’t mention is that he just got done traveling with the CEO of OSI, the parent company of Rapiscan, the makers of the main naked scanner that is being purchased and put into all these airports. Apparently, OSI CEO, Deepak Chopra (no, not the new agey guy), “was selected to accompany US President, Barack Obama, to Mumbai and attended the US India Business Entrepreneurship meeting…”

    • President Obama: TSA Pat-Downs “An Inconvenience For All Of Us,” Except Me

      With all the “junk-touching” and pat-downs required by new TSA rules that arrived just in time for the holidays, it was inevitable that at the first possible opportunity some intrepid reporter would bring the subject up to President Obama. Taking questions at a NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, the President attempted to explain the logic behind the pat-downs, but prefaced his reasoning with a disclaimer that he has never and will likely never experience such a thing.

    • TSA has met the enemy — and they are us

      How did an agency created to protect the public become the target of so much public scorn?

      After nine years of funneling travelers into ever longer lines with orders to have shoes off, sippy cups empty and laptops out for inspection, the most surprising thing about increasingly heated frustration with the federal Transportation Security Administration may be that it took so long to boil over.

    • Scientist: X-ray scanners deliver “20 times the average dose that is typically quoted by TSA.”

      U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, a scientist and the Chairman of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, says the “TSA’s current obsession with fielding body imaging technology is misguided, counterproductive, and potentially dangerous.”

    • TSA’s double standard

      Late last week, the Transportation Security Administration, bowing to controversy and the threat of lawsuits, ruled that airline pilots will no longer be subject to the backscatter body scanners and invasive pat-downs at TSA airport checkpoints.

      For pilots like myself this is good news, though at least for the time being we remain subject to the rest of the checkpoint inspection, including the X-raying of luggage and the metal detector walk-through. Eventually, we are told, the implementation of so-called CrewPASS will allow us to skirt the checkpoint more or less entirely.

      Not everybody agrees that air crews deserve this special treatment. That’s not an unreasonable point of view, and I don’t disagree with it, necessarily. As security experts like Bruce Schneier point out, if you are going to screen at all, it is important to screen everybody, lest the system become overly complicated and prone to exploitable loopholes.

    • WikiLeaks Announces Release 7x the Size of the Iraq War Logs

      WikiLeaks has announced an important release on its Twitter account, claiming it’ll be seven times bigger than the Iraq war logs, which are widely considered to be the biggest military leak in history.

      “Next release is 7x the size of the Iraq War Logs. intense pressure over it for months. Keep us strong” was the message posted to the Wikileaks Twitter account earlier today.

      The message was followed by an even bolder statement two hours later: “The coming months will see a new world, where global history is redefined.”

    • Paul Chambers has decided today to proceed with High Court challenge

      Our client Paul Chambers has decided today to proceed with a High Court challenge to his conviction under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003. Paul was convicted on 10 May 2010 by Doncaster Magistrates’ Court and his appeal was turned down by Doncaster Crown Court on 11 November 2010.

    • San Diego Airport Says Recording TSA Gropings Is An Arrestible Offense?

      We already covered the guy who was arrested after stripping down for the TSA, highlighting how one of the charges was his failure to complete the security procedure (after stripping down, he pointed out there was no need for a pat down…). However, there was a second charge that was even more troubling that actually deserves a separate post, which is that he was also charged with “illegally recording the San Diego Airport Authority.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Carbon emissions set to be highest in history

      Emissions of man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are roaring ahead again after a smaller-than-expected dip due to the worldwide recession. Scientists are forecasting that CO2 emissions from burning coal, oil and gas will reach their highest in history this year.

      Levels of the man-made greenhouse gas being dumped into the atmosphere have never been higher and are once again accelerating. Scientists have revised their figures on global CO2 emissions, showing that levels fell by just 1.3 per cent in 2009 – less than half of what was expected. This year they are likely to increase by more than 3 per cent, greater than the average annual increase for the last decade.

  • Finance

    • If I Were a Billionaire…

      If I was a billionaire, I wouldn’t believe what I’m about to write. Firstly, because my training, and especially my experience of getting richer in a growth based economy would have taught me that these ‘perfect storms’ when resource/financial bottlenecks supposedly loomed, historically worked out to be opportunities that spiked my digital wealth and incremental social power. Secondly, if I were a billionaire I wouldn’t believe what Im about to write because all my peers, advisors and friends would tell me that it’s caca. And lastly I wouldn’t believe what Im about to write as the implications would be too threatening, at least on the surface, to comprehend let alone integrate into my world view. All the same, if I were a billionaire, based on my understanding of our particular juncture of history, likely on the verge of transitioning away from marker claims back to real capital, here is what I would do….

    • What $200,000 in Student Debt Looks Like

      The average 2009 college grad had $24,000 in student loan debt. But in today’s debt-wracked world, some have it much worse. Meet one of the outliers: 23 years old, more than $200,000 in student loans, begging for help.

    • ALBA trade office opens in Havana

      “Based on the daily knowledge of our needs, we can speed up exchanges between our countries,” Gracia said.

    • Corporate Welfare

      Corporate welfare is a term describing a government’s bestowal of money grants, tax breaks, or other special favorable treatment on corporations or selected corporations.

      The term compares corporate subsidies and welfare payments to the poor, and implies that corporations are much less needy of such treatment than the poor.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Lessons to Be Learned From Paulo Freire as Education Is Being Taken Over by the Mega Rich

      At a time when memory is being erased and the political relevance of education is dismissed in the language of measurement and quantification, it is all the more important to remember the legacy and work of Paulo Freire. Freire is one of the most important educators of the 20th century and is considered one of the most important theorists of “critical pedagogy” – the educational movement guided by both passion and principle to help students develop a consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies, empower the imagination, connect knowledge and truth to power and learn to read both the word and the world as part of a broader struggle for agency, justice and democracy. His groundbreaking book, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” has sold more than a million copies and is deservedly being commemorated this year – the 40th anniversary of its appearance in English translation – after having exerted its influence over generations of teachers and intellectuals in the Americas and abroad.

      Since the 1980s, there have been too few intellectuals on the North American educational scene who have matched Freire’s theoretical rigor, civic courage and sense of moral responsibility. And his example is more important now than ever before: with institutions of public and higher education increasingly under siege by a host of neoliberal and conservative forces, it is imperative for educators to acknowledge Freire’s understanding of the empowering and democratic potential of education. Critical pedagogy currently offers the very best, perhaps the only, chance for young people to develop and assert a sense of their rights and responsibilities to participate in governing, and not simply being governed by prevailing ideological and material forces.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • BBC’s Panorama claims Islamic schools teach antisemitism and homophobia

      Children in Islamic schools are being taught antisemitic and homophobic views from textbooks, the BBC’s Panorama will claim tonight.

    • Data Security And Privacy Laws Missing In India

      Have you ever noticed that projects like Aadhar, national intelligence grid (Natgrid), crime and criminal tracking network & systems (CCTNS), etc have some common features? The first is that they all have great potentials to violate civil liberties of Indians like privacy rights. Another common feature is that all of them are projects related to law and order and intelligence gathering, irrespective what government claims, thus promoting the e-surveillance capabilities of India.

    • EFF Discusses the Future of Internet Privacy at UN Internet Governance Forum

      EFF recently participated in the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Vilnius, Lithuania, advocating for the respect of citizens’ fundamental rights online. The IGF is an experimental and influential multi-stakeholder policy forum convened by the United Nations Secretary General in 2006, where civil society, industry, the technical community, and decision makers discuss key aspects of Internet governance issues on an equal footing. The informal nature of the IGF is designed to promote the full and frank exchange of ideas on important Internet policy issues without the knock-down-and-dragged-out conflicts that characterize other international fora where recommendations or binding treaties are made. This year, IGF brought together over 1,400 participants from around the world. Videos and transcripts of all the official meetings are now online and make for interesting viewing.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Vaizey insists he favours net neutrality – and agrees with Berners-Lee

      The communications minister, Ed Vaizey, has insisted to the Guardian that he is in favour of net neutrality, and that his speech on the subject has been misinterpreted.

      Ed Vaizey, who last week gave a speech on the internet and regulation (PDF) to an FT conference, told the Guardian that “I say ‘don’t block input’ [to the internet]. It’s my first principle.” He added that he thought people who criticise him for abandoning net neutrality haven’t read his speech: “I say the same as Berners-Lee.”

    • The rights and wrongs of digital books

      There is one bright spot in all this, though. Amazon’s business model offers us the clearest possible demonstration that we should not allow the law to treat the products of creative expression in the same way as we do physical property.

      The idea of “intellectual property” deliberately conflates the two and allows politicians to pretend that laws about physical property should extend to digital downloads. We need to challenge this unjustifiable elision if we are to think seriously about copyright and business models in the age of electronics.

    • Cooks Source Magazine Ignites Copyright Firestorm; Magazine Ceases Publishing

      The saga of Illadore (Monica Gaudio) and Cooks Source Magazine (Judith Griggs) draws to an end, with the closing of Cooks Source Magazine.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The State of The Music Industry and the Delegitimization of Artists: Pt. 6 – The Hills are Alive…

        Now for the glass half full perspective. Music is special. It speaks to us all. We all want to hear a great song and share the ones we love with others. We are fans of music and we value it. We spend money and/or time hunting for and listening to music that moves us.

        Despite all the challenges, mischaracterizations and confusion, the music industry is finally beginning to reach its full potential.

        More people in the world are choosing to hear and engage with more music and more artists then ever before. More music is being used in the ever-expanding video outlets of TV, Webisodes, Films, YouTube, Video Games and other User Generated Content websites.

      • MP3Tunes safe harbor challenge a legal test for cloud storage

        A key test of digital copyright law will soon be heard in New York federal court over whether online music storage services and search engines can be held liable when users upload copyrighted material. The outcome could have far-reaching implications for so-called “cloud-based” services, which allow users to store their content on remote servers accessible via the Internet.

        Among the key issues is the “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which protects Internet service providers like Google, Yahoo and Facebook from copyright liability if they promptly remove infringing content upon notification. Last Tuesday several influential digital rights groups filed a brief supporting the defendant in the case, MP3Tunes, urging the court to uphold the “safe harbor” provision, lest online innovation be stifled.

      • Jauchzet: Bach’s Organ Music Free Online

        It’s another model that would be good to see utilised elsewhere, ideally with the results being put into the public domain.

      • “Copyright owners better off in a regime that allows downloading from illegal sources”

        This striking headline comes from a note received from Vivien Rörsch (De Brauw), on two recent and equally striking Dutch decisions handed down last week by the Court of Appeal of The Hague: in the two separate cases the court ruled that, since downloading from illegal sources for private use was permitted under Dutch law, this was to the copyright owner’s advantage.

      • States subsidising Hollywood: bad idea

        According to Hollywood’s MPAA and various associated spin outfits, the US economy would be in tatters were it not for the major movie companies.

        So state subsidies are essential, say Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios, and Warner Bros Entertainment

        But that’s not the case, says a new report, drawing a furious retort from an MPAA talking head.

      • ACTA

        • Why ACTA is a Doomed

          ACTA will make copyright law less fair and even more unreasonable. The inevitable consequence will be that people will respect its laws even less, and feel even more justified in doing so. And so we have a paradox: the more that ACTA is put into practice, the more it will weaken the edifice it was supposed to buttress.

        • FFII expression of concerns with ACTA

          Contrary to Commission statements, ACTA is inconsistent with the EU acquis. Moreover, by still including patents and harsh criminal measures, ACTA threatens legitimate businesses as detailed below. We urge the European Parliament to exclude patents from the scope of ACTA and to obtain the opinion of the Court of Justice as to whether ACTA is compatible with the Treaties.

          ACTA is inconsistent with the EU acquis. The most explicit example regards Council Regulation (EC) No. 1383/2003 concerning customs action against goods suspected of infringing certain intellectual property rights (BMR). With regards to trademark goods, the BMR is limited to counterfeit goods. ACTA’s border measures section is, with regards to trademark goods, not limited to counterfeit goods. This has implications on access to medicine. [1] A second example regards damages. ACTA’s damages (suggested retail price) are higher than the acquis, the EU Enforcement Directive sets damages as lost profit or royalties. [2] Especially in combination with the Union patent, which will make litigation more profitable, we may see, in the ICT sector, the same patent litigation battlefield in Europe as in the United States. This will be harmful for European SMEs. [3] We believe an independent assessment on the relationship between ACTA and the EU acquis is needed.

Clip of the Day

Ron Paul: Why Sacrifice our Liberties for the Illusion of Perfect Safety?

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 22/11/2010: Venezuelan Government Distributes Another 350,000 GNU/Linux Laptops, Firefox 4.0 for GNU/Linux Gets Unified Menu

Posted in News Roundup at 7:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Bringing Up Hardware First In Linux, Then Windows

    After reading the Linux 2.6.37-rc3 release announcement on the Linux kernel mailing list, another interesting thread was found and it’s about getting hardware vendors to do their initial hardware bring-up under Linux prior to any Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS X support. A number of reasons are provided why hardware vendors should support their hardware first under Linux and also why they should foster open-source drivers along with its challenges.

  • M$ Needs GNU/Linux

    Don’t re-install that other OS. Pave it over with GNU/Linux and be free of malware. I recommend OEMs distribute GNU/Linux installation CDs with their machines to improve customer satisfaction.

  • Venezuelan Government Begins Distribution of 350,000 Laptop Computers to School Children

    The laptop computers run on the open source operating system Linux, and the educational programs and software included in them is designed by Venezuelan engineers at the Ministry of Education and the National Center for Information Technology (CNTI).

  • Server

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Trickle-Up Effect

      The announcement of a royal wedding is a cause for excitement among loyal subjects, but it’s also an opportunity for assorted tea-towel vendors, commemorative plate makers and many other people to make a great deal of money off the back of it.

      And so it is with enterprise server operating systems. Last week’s release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.0 generated much excitement from its loyal customers. Many of Red Hat’s partners are hoping the release will provide them with an opportunity to make a great deal of money off the back of it, too. Although the RHEL 6.0 server OS includes numerous significant new features — a new hybrid 2.6.32 kernel; support for more cores and memory; better reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) capabilities; the ext4 file system by default; and so more — it was hard to discern that from the clamor of Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) hardware partners preparing to make money by selling more of their lovely server boxes and associated services.

    • 6 Secure Linux Wi-Fi Authentication Servers
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Why Samsung’s Bada Could Win Big

      Tomi Ahonen always shares interesting data in his quarterly updates on the smartphone space, and his latest offering includes this little nugget: Samsung’s Bada OS claimed 1.3 million users, or 2 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, during the third quarter.

    • Samsung Galaxy Tab review

      In terms of form factor, chassis design and manufacturing, the Galaxy Tab is a winning formula. Sadly, Samsung’s lacklustre attitude towards widgets, and Google’s non-existent efforts for the form factor at large, makes for a lukewarm user experience. Make no mistake – it has real potential, but £552 is a whopping deposit to put down in the hope of future fixes.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Now Supports Overclocking Your GPU

        While the Nouveau driver may not yet have a stable Gallium3D or DDX driver release nor does it have capabilities like stabilized power management or OpenGL 3.x, if you want to overclock your NVIDIA graphics card with this open-source driver, you can now do so today. Martin Peres who has been working on Nouveau power management support and timing management, has produced a patch to support custom clock manipulation of the NVIDIA graphics card’s core clock, memory clock, and shader clock speeds. The voltages can also be manipulated too whether you are manually overclocking or underclocking your GPU with this Linux kernel DRM driver.


        While some may not like the abilities to control the graphics card in a way that can potentially overheat or kill your graphics card, Martin wants this patch merged (it would go into the Linux 2.6.38 kernel) if there are no major objections.

      • An Update On The OpenGL 3 Support In Mesa

        While the Mesa software stack has made some steps towards supporting OpenGL 3.x, this free software library used by open-source graphics drivers is still a ways from supporting this industry graphics API thats years old and has already been surpassed by OpenGL 4.x. There hasn’t been too much major progress lately on GL3 support, but some think it could be achieved next year. When there is OpenGL 3.0 support in Mesa, it will be released as Mesa 8.0. Regardless, the OpenGL 3 status document for Mesa has been updated.

      • Thank You, Linus

        He’s writing about the surge in DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) modifications which include mistakes, regressions and duplications and make debugging and analyzing faults much more difficult. This is sound practice: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). It takes patience and discipline to keep things simple. Linus asks developers to reflect on what they do wrong and improve. Good for him. I have compiled/built the 2.6.34 and 2.6.36 Linux kernels hoping that the black screens would go away but still they persist.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Documentation Update

      I’ve taken over the Gentoo Documentation Project as the project manager. I’ve been the de facto lead for a long time now, since previous manager Xavier Neys has been MIA for a couple of years.

      I’m pretty much the only person that updates the English documentation these days. We have a constant flow of pending updates, revisions, and reviews — the job is too big for one person, especially if that person also has to wear the “operational” and “strategic” manager hats. So we need committed, skilled volunteers to do some of the work!

    • Reviews

      • grml, the No-Frills Linux Rescue CD–USB

        You want a good end-user live CD? Go with Knoppix. You want an admin’s toolbox with minimal fluff and maximum usability? Go with grml, a Debian-based live CD/USB that packs in more than 1,700 applications and utilities.


        grml is not for everybody, but it’s handy to have around as a rescue CD, or as a set of portable admin tools when you’re on the road. For example, if you happen to be heading home for the holidays and want to be able to repurpose (or fix) the family computer rather than carrying your laptop.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Reporting bugs in Fedora 14

          Reporting bugs used to be a hassle that few really wanted to bother with. The user would have to try to obtain a stack trace of the buggy software and then copy/paste that stack track into a a web-based bug reporting, email the trace, or install a tool like Bug Buddy.

          Included with recent Fedora operating system releases is a bug reporting tool like no other. The tool is called ABRT (Automatic Bug Reporting Tool) and it is one of the easiest tools you will ever experience for bug reporting.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Aims For Government-Ready Security

          During Red Hat’s official launch event for their new Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL 6) release, executives from the company focused heavily on new performance gains. While performance and scalability are key elements of RHEL 6, so too is security.

          With RHEL 6, Red Hat is debuting a number of new features into its enterprise Linux, including new virtual security services as well as the System Security Services Daemon. Security services aren’t the only area of RHEL 6 built for security, as all RHEL 6 packages now benefit from a new 4096-bit RSA hardware signing key as well.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Squeeze Approaches

        It’s not a particularly smooth upgrade as the firmware blobs for some drivers are not included by default because they are not Free Software and there are big changes in udev that prevents use of the new kernel with the old udev. Still it takes much less time and fewer reboots than the restoration I used to install “7″ yesterday and the performance is magnificent.

      • Apt-Fast Accelerates Your Apt-Get Download Speeds

        If you have ever wished for a much more faster software downloads in Ubuntu, well, apt-fast could possibly make your wishes come true. Apt-fast is a simple bash script that accelerates apt-get download speeds coinsiderably.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Canonical Boosting Linux Kernel Contribution

          Canonical has been criticized for not contributing enough to the Linux broader Linux ecosystem. A report in 2009 didn’t mention Canonical anywhere in their list of top kernel contributors [source]. Instead Canonical’s strategy has and still continues to focus on adding polish to the desktop.

          But last week Canonical put up a new two new job offers for kernel developers . The two new positions don’t equate to a huge boost in kernel contributions. Yet, it does mean a few more bugs fixed every release cycle. These developers will mostly be working with the upstream Linux community to improve key parts of the Ubuntu experience.

        • Some simple Natty sound menu updates

          Caution: Don’t get overly excited. We’re not even at Natty Alpha 1 yet so the updates below will change over the coming months.

        • Is Ubuntu running off a cliff?

          Recently, it was hinted/announced that Gnome would be dropped as Ubuntu’s default desktop, and x.org dropped as the x server. The mint Distro has forked itself to produce a pure Debian distro, which was what Ubuntu was supposed to be (sort of) when I signed up for it, which I take to be a reaction by the minters of Mint to Ubuntu’s increasing non-Debian-ness. At the same time Ubuntu is trying to be all forward moving and stuff, yet it is unable for some reason to provide non GPL but free and legal drivers so that when Ubuntu is installed on grandma’s laptop in an environment where there is no plug-in LAN, the user is SOL and has to do what to most is tricky hacking stuff just to get a single, simple switch thrown so their computer will work (same with some video drivers).

        • Tensions Between Ubuntu, Fedora Mount Over New Website
        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Embedded Linux platform ships for MIPS multicore SoCs

      Mentor Graphics is shipping a version of its Mentor Embedded Linux development platform supporting networking applications developed on NetLogic Microsystems’ MIPS-based multicore, multithreaded system-on-chips (SoCs). The Mentor platform, which is available in a free “Essentials” version as well as a commercial version, supports the XLR and XLS families today, with support for the newer XLP processors planned shortly.

    • Phones

      • Nokia’s former MeeGo chief confirms new role as Senior VP of webOS at HP

        Ari Jaaksi, the former head of MeeGo Devices at Nokia, has confirmed reports from last month identifying HP as his new employer. According to the latest update to his LinkedIn profile, Ari is now enjoying the mild temperatures of the San Francisco Bay Area and does indeed hold the title of Senior Vice President at Hewlett-Packard.

      • Android

        • Next Android Version Includes E-Wallet for Real World Purchases

          Google’s newest iteration of its Android phone OS will include a wallet that lets you use your phone to make payments by tapping it against a cash register, CEO Eric Schmidt revealed Monday.

          “This could eventually replace credit cards,” Schmidt said.

        • Hands-on: Motorola’s Droid Pro wins as a business smartphone

          The iPhone’s great and all — it’s got a first-class ecosystem, lots of apps and great audio/video. But until 2008, if you wanted a phone phone, the Treo was the bee’s knees. It wasn’t so hot with music, movies or games, but it was brilliant at what it was supposed to do — let you make phone calls, send texts and e-mails, and create schedules and notes. It even synced with your computer. You could even buy one unlocked, so you could make calls anywhere in the world. In fact, until the old Palm blew up, nothing touched it.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Constructive Cambodian

    Besides computer technology and culture, open source extends its influence to areas such as education, health and science and journalism, along with arts, digital content and more. As a way of illustration, open source software, which is different from the commercial software one has to pay for, was built on the concept of making everything free for all the people.

    The source code of open source software is “published and made available to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute the source code without paying royalties or fees”, wikipedia states.

    Open source code evolves through community cooperation in a collaborative manner in which software developers from all over the world come together online and develop a code to make any programme better.

    These communities are also comprised of very large companies which believe in free access to free software for everyone. Where does the idea come from? In fact, open source existed even before computers when it was called the spirits of sharing.

    At Foss Asia 2010, I learned that open source software technology has been taken to a new level in Vietnam, where many people have turned to open source programmes for use rather than the commercial software that many cannot afford.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4.0 For Linux Finally Gets A Unified Menu

        Even though the Mozilla developers initially said they wouldn’t do it, here it is: Firefox 4.0 (nightly build) finally gets an unified menu button. But not the way it’s integrated in Windows (in the titlebar), but next to the tabs.

      • Petition To Bring The Old Firefox Status Bar Functionality Back

        Firefox users who are currently running version 3 of the browser will experience many different changes in the currently developed version 4 of the Internet browser. As always, some changes are welcome by almost every user, while others cause controversy, or in this case a petition to not go ahead with the change.

      • Mozilla Plans A “Mobile Device Independent” App Store

        Mozilla wants to make it big in the Mobile world and has revealed it’s plans about an unique mobile app store in it’s annual report – “The State of Mozilla” which was released recently. Mozilla has already brought the desktop Firefox experience to mobile devices long back as the Fennec browser which was initially launched for the Maemo platform on Nokia N900. We have also told you about the new Fennec for android.

      • F1 – New Firefox Extension to Share Links Fast and Easy

        Mozilla Labs has always been a really interesting place to explore. They created ripples across the web by showcasing brilliant Seabird Mozilla Concept Phone a month ago. Now here is another quite useful Firefox extension to share links fast and neat by Mozilla Labs.

  • Databases

    • A report from OpenSQLCamp

      What do you get when you put together 80 to 100 hard-core database geeks from ten different open source databases for a weekend? OpenSQLCamp, which was held most recently at MIT. Begun three years ago, OpenSQLCamp is a semi-annual unconference for open source database hackers to meet and collaborate on ideas and theories in the industry. It’s held at various locations alternately in Europe and the United States, and organized and run by volunteers. This year’s conference was organized by Sheeri Cabral, a MySQL community leader who works for PalominoDB.

    • How To Set Up An Active/Passive PostgreSQL Cluster With Pacemaker, Corosync, And DRBD (CentOS 5.5)
  • Oracle

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Bikera, a simple public transportation concept
    • Abundance and the Generative Logic of the Commons
    • Open Source Jihad

      Given this successful demonstration attack, we should expect to se many more attacks that employ systems disruption in the future as open source jihadis adopt the method.

    • Exploring Art Data 3

      First of all we’ll need the data. That’s available from data.gov.uk under the new CC-BY compatible Crown Copyright here. It’s in XLS format, which R doesn’t load on GNU/Linux, but we can convert that to comma-separated values using OpenOffice.org Calc.

    • Open Data

      • Government suppliers may be ordered to open up data

        Private companies may be required to open up data and make their activities answerable to Freedom of Information (FoI) law when they are contracted to work for the public sector.

        A Cabinet Office Review of the proposal, a Liberal Democrat manifesto pledge, is being conducted by Nigel Shadbolt of Southampton University for the Cabinet Office transparency board and local public data panel.


  • Erasing A “Friend”: An Examination of “Friends” On the Internet

    I remove people from Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks on a daily basis — not by choice, but because there is too much information — but I never thought of the consequences. I always just assumed that there is an understanding between people in the digital age. But one day changed everything for me: I had removed someone who didn’t take it so lightly, and he made me feel guilt and pain that I had not felt since high school. What was I becoming?

    He was nice to me. He engaged me in conversation, retweeted articles that I posted, and joined in on conversations that really got me thinking. It seemed like a genuine connection. Sounds like the perfect online friend, right? Well, there was something off.

  • The Twagic Tweets of Twitter

    I’m on eight lists so far. Lists went into a flurry of activity for about two weeks after they announced the feature, and then nothing has happened with lists since. Some lists flatter me – Skypost109-Bloggers describes itself as “Blogs I try to keep track of, funny yet right down snarky at times.” Hey, thanks, now I know I’m hitting the mark I was going for. Others are disparaging – BoycottBoys is for “BoycottNovell shills and minions.” I guess I must be one of those simply because I use Linux, and so does Roy, Q.E.D.!

  • If Twitter removed the 140 character limit from DM’s. Would we have an email killer? Twitter. A potential email killer?

    As many of you will be aware of, Facebook recently revamped its email-killing messaging product claiming it’s not an email killer but if it were to one day kill email they’d be ok with that. Facebook messages is essentially a unified inbox combining email, SMS, chat and Facebook messages into one. Personally, having now tried it, I think it leaves a lot to be desired but lets assume for a moment Zuckerberg is onto something and the future of messaging is no email addresses, no subjects, but conversation like messages…is twitter essentially a couple of minor feature tweaks away from it?

  • This Video Will Blow Your Mind (Probably)
  • Generation misled by the great lie

    WHEN US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Melbourne this month a youth forum was held where she prefaced her answers with comments such as “that’s a great question” and “that’s another terrific question”.

    So now generation Y gets validation for simply asking a question? Is this what we’ve come to?

    The same logic applies with Twitter feeds that scroll across the television during ABC1′s Q&A: “Great question.”

  • Government shines light on spending over £25,000

    A £26,000 bill for training Cabinet Office staff to have “difficult conversations” is among revelations of Whitehall spending since the election.

    Details of about £80bn of spending on items over £25,000 have been published online as part of what ministers call their “transparency agenda”.

  • Dispute Over Dead Sea Scrolls Leads to a Jail Sentence

    A man convicted of impersonating a New York University scholar in a debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls was sentenced on Thursday to six months in jail and five years’ probation.

  • Science

    • Into the abyss: The diving suit that turns men into fish

      Humans have proven themselves remarkably adept at learning to do what other animals can do naturally. We have taught ourselves to fly like birds, climb like monkeys and burrow like moles. But the one animal that has always proven beyond our reach is the fish.

      The invention of scuba diving has allowed us to breathe underwater but only at very shallow depths.

    • Space observatories find baby black hole

      Evidence for a 30 year old black hole has been uncovered by an armada of space orbiting observatories, including NASA’s Chandra and Swift satellites, ESA’s XMM-Newton and the German ROSAT observatory

    • The U.S. Approach to Supercomputing May Be a Dead End

      Regardless, those machines are running up against the limits of current technology in terms of operations per watt. Incremental improvements can be wrung from further shrinking of the “process technology” — literally, the size of the individual features on the chip, which is now approaching 22 nanometers in the lab.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Furrygirl’s sexy stripdown protest in Seattle airport mocking TSA security theater (NSFW video)

      Self-described pornographer, sex worker, and sex blogger Furrygirl (Twitter, blog) opted for a patdown instead of the pornoscanners at the TSA checkpoint at the airport in Seattle, citing health concerns about radiation emitted by new devices.

      To protest the TSA’s invasive new “enhanced” screening procedures, she stripped down to see-thru, sexy underwear prior to her “grope-up,” and videoblogged the whole thing (well, what the camera could capture from its vantage point on the little tray traveling down the conveyor belt).

    • TSA pulls pants off 71 y/o man with knee implant
    • Young Boy Strip Searched By TSA
    • TSA security groping leaves 61-year-old bladder cancer survivor soaked in own urine

      61-year-old Thomas Sawyer is a retired special education teacher, and a survivor of bladder cancer. He says he was “absolutely humiliated,” broke down in tears and soaked in his own urine, after a degrading and invasive TSA “pat-down” at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on November 7 caused his urostomy bag to rupture.

    • Girl Talk and Intellectual Property

      Conservatives — and especially libertarians — seem like a cheap date on this issue. You’d think libertarians would have been in the forefront of objecting to governmental intrusions into our lives at the behest of a special interest — let alone the creation of a new class of quasicriminals, defined as more or less everyone who entered high school after 1996, who can be investigated and prosecuted whenever the government or some member of industry decides that they are too troublesome.

      But no. For a lot of libertarians, judging by the comments to David’s post, all the RIAA has to do is call its new government-created entitlement a form of property, and, presto bingo, it’s sacrosanct.

      Come to think of it, maybe I can persuade readers here that TSA’s new enhanced security measures are just fine — as long as we enforce the rules by giving all the passengers on the plane a “property” right not to travel with people who refuse body imaging and enhanced patdowns. Instead of relying on oppressive government regulation, we’d just let the passengers collect millions in “statutory damages” from noncompliant travelers.

    • Israel troops get suspended sentence on Gaza abuse

      An Israeli court-martial handed down suspended prison sentences on Sunday to two former soldiers who forced a Palestinian boy to search for suspected booby-traps during the Gaza Strip war, the military said.

    • TSA Investigating ‘Don’t Touch My Junk’ Passenger

      The TSA has launched an investigation of a passenger in San Diego who left the airport after opting out of an invasive body scan and criticizing the proposed alternative pat-down.

    • NSFW: Sarah Palin – How’s That Promotey, Embargoey Stuff Workin’ Out for Ya?

      On Thursday, I suggested that Sarah Palin’s kids’ ill-judged behaviour on Facebook could be traced back to their mother’s attitude towards online critics.

      The post garnered a range of considered and thoughtful responses from commenters, ranging from warnings that I should expect to be shot, to the suggestion that (I quote) “PAUL CARR PROBABLY ABORTED I.E. MURDERED ALL OF HIS OWN ILLEGITIMATE SONS & DAUGHTERS.” One helpful commenter even suggested I “go home and talk to [my] children. Tell them your a traitor to your country and your fellow Americans” – which, given I’m a Brit, was somewhat wrong-headed and, given I apparently killed all of my children, was remarkably insensitive.

    • No Art Please, You’re Not British

      But the problem is really deeper than this simple loss of these earnings. What is really disturbing is the crass way the UK Borders Agency equates artistic creation with work: if you act as an artist – even if you are not paid – you are theoretically doing something that should have a price on it. This is really part and parcel of the thinking that everything should be copyrighted and patented – that you can’t do stuff for free, or simply give away your intellectual creations.

    • The Banalization of Torture

      teps toward the banalization of torture. On Monday night, it was former President George W. Bush on television, acknowledging his personal responsibility for ordering the waterboarding of Al Qaeda suspects in CIA custody.

      On Tuesday, it was the Department of Justice, announcing that Acting US Attorney John Durham would not pursue criminal charges for the CIA’s destruction of videotapes showing the abusive interrogation of terrorism suspects.

    • All-Seeing Airport Scanners Sparking Litigation and Protests

      That decision may soon get answered in court. Yesterday, two airline pilots filed a federal suit alleging that airport scanners and aggressive pat-down procedures constitute unreasonable searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

      The new security measures force travelers to decide “between the lesser of two evils: submit to a virtual strip search, or suffer the indignity of allowing an unknown officer to literally place his or her hands in your pants,” according to the suit, filed by law firm Drinker Biddle and The Rutherford Institute.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Protecting Europe’s last remaining lowland forest

      The last remaining European lowland forest can be found at the junction of two countries: Poland and Belarus. The Białowieska Forest is all that remains of an ancient forest that once stretched between the Ural Mountains and Spain. A lowland forest refers to forest growing at low elevations, typically having many tiers of canopy, growing taller and more diverse than forest at higher elevations. The value of the Białowieska lowland forest has been recognized by UNESCO, which has included it in The World Heritage list. Today the eight thousand-year-old ecosystem has been shrunk to 800 square kilometres, out of which the Belarusian part is a National Park and the remaining 17% lies within Polish borders. Every year in the Polish part of the forest 100,000 trees were cut down, meaning the whole ecosystem was gradually being destroyed. Thanks to a Greenpeace Poland campaign this extraordinary region stands a better chance of being preserved.

    • Nothing but paper tigers in Indonesia? If APP has its way.

      Greenpeace published a report in July showing how the last wild Sumatran tigers are threatened with extinction by the practices of Indonesia’s biggest pulp and paper producer, Asia Pulp and Paper, (APP). We thought that was reason enough to give APP a ‘Golden Chainsaw Award’ to mark the International Pulp and Paper Awards in Brussels. No applause please.

  • Finance

    • Estonian Economist Suggests Abandoning Cash
    • How Are the Kids? Unemployed, Underwater, and Sinking

      Currently, even after a slight boost in jobs growth, unemployment for 18-24 year olds stands at 24.7%. For 20-24 year olds, it hovers at 15.2%. These conservative estimates, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics U3 measure, do not reflect the number of marginally attached or discouraged young workers feeling the lag from a nearly moribund job market.

    • Trying to Put a Price on Bank Errors

      KUDOS to the Congressional Oversight Panel for publishing a thoughtful and thorough report last week on the mortgage documentation mess. It argued that, yes, in fact, these paperwork problems may have significant implications for banks, investors and the stability of the financial system.

    • A Forecast That Obama Could Love

      ou might not think so, given the flow of news lately. His foreign policy has met with limited success, at best. And, back home, unemployment is mired at 9.6 percent. Earlier this month, in a major political blow, Democrats lost more than 60 seats and control of the House of Representatives.

      So what is there for Mr. Obama and his supporters to cheer about?

      Try this: Based on the facts at hand right now, Mr. Obama is likely to win the 2012 election in a landslide. That, at least, is the prediction of Ray C. Fair, a Yale economist and an expert on econometrics and on the relationship of economics and politics.

    • Silent partners

      Two years after the economy careened to the brink of Armageddon, a key question remains: How did so many smart economists miss the financial crisis?

      Was it too much math, and not enough focus on real-world problems, as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has argued? Or did economists simply put too much faith in the power and wisdom of markets, and ignore the flaws that ultimately led to them to crash?

      Two University of Massachusetts researchers suggest another possibility: The vision of economists may have been clouded by their own financial interests.

    • Irish Bailout approved by EU and IMF

      The amount of the aid still hasn’t been determined. Apparently the loans will be from the IMF, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), and possibly from the UK and Sweden directly.

    • Welcome to the Casino

      Two of our finest business journalists have written a thorough account of the origins of the financial crisis of 2008. More than offering just a backward look, it helps explain the most troubling business headlines of the moment, as well as those that are certain to come. For starters, there is the unfolding foreclosure-paperwork fiasco. Next up will be a clash over whether big banks should be forced to take back billions of dollars in contaminated mortgages they sold. Down the road, we will no doubt confront the danger of the next asset bubble inflating as a result of the Federal Reserve’s use of extreme monetary policy to stimulate the economy. These continuing and future problems are all symptoms of a larger syndrome whose origins Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera ably chronicle in “All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis.”

    • Report: Feds conducting big insider trading probe

      Federal authorities are examining whether multiple insider-trading rings reaped illegal profits totaling tens of millions of dollars, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter.

    • Barack Obama: The Federal Reserve is Laundering Money

      Well done, amusing and informative in an easy to understand way. Why printing more money, now called “quantitative easing” is really a way of laundering money. Watch and listen.

    • Stein: Goldman Sachs’ power ‘phenomenal’

      Actor, economist and conservative commentator Ben Stein describes Goldman Sachs’ “phenomenal” power to discourage scrutiny of the Wall Street banking titan’s role in the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE2) plan to print money and buy $600 billion in Treasury bonds.

    • Throw Goldman Sachs Off Campus

      Goldman Sachs is a criminal money factory with a vast network of alumni who occupy the most powerful positions in the financial-regulatory world, effectively protecting the bank from any economic threat — governmental or otherwise — such that the bank is free to suck every bit of profit out of every corner of American life, regardless of collateral damage, like an impossibly large vacuum cleaner whose belly fills not with dirt and hair destined for the garbage, but dollars and cents destined for the already bulging pockets of the upper-class. This we can all agree on.

    • The Newest Millionaires- Goldman Sachs names 110 New Partners
    • Goldman Sachs Changes 110 People’s Lives

      In a basement at 200 West late last night, Lloyd Blankfein named the firm’s new partners. Blindfolded and naked, they pledged their devotion to the firm and promised to share in its huge-ass profits. At the stroke of midnight, as a baby seal barked in the corner, they were inducted into the Brotherhood of the Sach. If you see one of the following people on the street, setting off metal detectors within a 5 mile radius with the gold rods in their pants, ask them if they need anything– be it a mint, a fluffer, a mouth to stuff and discard bills in denominations of less than 100 in or a body to walk across so they needn’t dirty their shoes by letting them touch the street. And for god’s sake, BOW DOWN– you are in the presence of greatness.

    • Goldman Sachs just won’t learn when it comes to bankers’ pay

      The “great vampire squid”, as Rolling Stone magazine branded the financial services powerhouse, is investment banking’s torch-bearer and standard-setter.

      Goldman can legitmately be blamed for the latest backlash against the banks. In July last year – with western economies in recession, workers losing their jobs in droves, house prices plummeting, and governments trying to fend off the threat of a 1930s depression – Goldman set aside $6.65bn for staff pay and bonuses for just three months work.

      On top of the $4.71bn allocated from the first quarter, the bumper second quarter pay round put staff on course for a record $900,000 (£540,000) each in 2009. Goldman bosses hadn’t just missed global sentiment, they hadn’t even bothered to take its pulse.

    • Report: U.S. to lift lid on ‘pervasive insider trading’

      U.S. officials are preparing insider trading charges against a host of financial players, including investment bankers and hedge fund managers, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.

    • How Did Goldman Sachs Know That The Housing Market Was About To Collapse?

      A five-month McClatchy Newspaper investigation reveals how Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs peddled billions of dollars in shaky securities tied to subprime mortgages on unsuspecting pension funds, insurance companies and other investors, then dumped its risky investments and placed secret bets against the housing market right before the mortgage bubble burst. Somehow, among Wall Street investment firms, only Goldman Sachs knew that the housing market was about to crash! Is it merely a coincidence that Goldman Sachs President and CEO Henry (“Hank”) Paulson happened to be serving as US Treasury Department Secretary while this was going on????

    • Goldman In Insider Trading Probe?

      News leaked out today that the feds will soon be herding a whole pen full of Wall Street firms into court on insider trading charges, including, reportedly, our old friends Goldman, Sachs.

      The basic charge here is that investment banks and other firms were leaking insider info about things like mergers to closely-allied hedge funds, who in turn placed the requisite bets on or against the companies in question.

    • No Life Insurance for Bull Riders

      If an ETF is comprised of large cap stocks like Microsoft and Dell, that’s fine, but if the index is composed of smaller companies like the Russell 2000 index, those companies with very few shares outstanding are in for a wild ride. One ETF, IWM-Russell 2000, is the largest shareholder for more than 800 of the companies in that index. If the ETF goes up then the ETF has to buy more shares of the underlying securities or issue more shares of the ETF, itself. If the ETF goes down then it may have to sell shares. And none of this has anything to do with the fundamentals of those particular underlying stocks.

    • Legal twist forces foreclosure redos

      Zepheniah Taylor lost his Dorchester three-decker to foreclosure two times in 17 months. Now the 59-year-old grandfather has returned home to stay. The scenario, once implausible, is becoming more common in the crazed and fast-changing world of foreclosures.

    • SEC: Hedge funds must open up their books
    • U.S. in Vast Insider Trading Probe
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Competition Bureau Takes Action Against Rogers Over Misleading Advertising

      After a two month investigation, the Competition Bureau has begun legal proceedings against Rogers Communications Inc. to stop what the Bureau has concluded is misleading advertising of Rogers’ Chatr discount cell phone and text service.

    • FDIC Sues Bryan Cave Over Bank Records

      The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sued Bryan Cave in federal court in Atlanta on Tuesday, charging the firm with failing to hand over records related to the collapse last month of Overland Park, Kan.-based Hillcrest Bank.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • NHS.uk allowing Google, Facebook, and others to track you

      The NHS is allowing Google, Facebook, and others to track your http://www.nhs.uk/ browsing habits, regardless of the fact that people use the page to seek medical advice. It was recently pointed out to me that the NHS Choices website’s social features include the Facebook Like button (see e.g. the page on Testicular Cancer). Due to the fact that the standard method of Facebook Like button deployment is intrusive to say the least, I thought I would look into identifying which third party companies have been given permission to track users on NHS Choices, and my results are rather disconcerting.

    • Google’s wi-fi data to be deleted

      The UK’s information commissioner has said that wi-fi data accidentally collected by Google’s Street View cars will be deleted “as soon as possible”.

      Deputy information commissioner David Smith told the BBC that there would be no further enquiries into the matter.

    • Chinese woman jailed over Twitter post

      A woman in China has been sentenced to a year in a labour camp after posting a message on the social networking website Twitter.

    • Class Accuses Media Giants of Hacking Cell Phones to Create ‘Zombie Databases’

      Ringleader Digital, an advertising company “hacked the mobile phones of millions of consumers” to create a database of customers’ demographic information for the benefit of major media networks such as Fox News and CNN, according to a federal class action.

    • Election won by Mandela ‘rigged by opposition’

      The South Africa election which spelt the end of apartheid and brought Nelson Mandela to power was marred by vote tampering in favour of the white regime and ANC detractors, it has emerged.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Why iambik doesn’t use DRM

      We decided early on not to use digital rights management (DRM) at iambik audiobooks. Here is our explanation, adapted from what we sent to partner publishers who asked us about it. (*see below for a definition of DRM).

    • Bill C-32 and the Environment
    • US to free some federal spectrum for wireless broadband use

      In its zeal to provide more spectrum to the mobile broadband sector, the United States government will tap into its own considerable spectrum holdings, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced on Monday.

    • FCC Chief Genachowski on Net Neutrality: Trust Me

      FCC chairman Julius Genachowski now finds himself caught between unfulfilled promises made to the tech community to keep the internet open, and a Republican Congress ready to portray any new rules on broadband ISPs as heavy-handed, economy-killing regulation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Image rights: England v Germany and Philip Woolas’s mug

        Now of course the designs were offensive — in the sense that someone could be offended by them — that really was the idea. If there were a law against being offensive Private Eye could never be published. Spreadshirt’s Terms and Conditions say nothing to forbid offensive material; nor could the designs possibly seen as discriminatory (except perhaps against MP’s who lose election courts) or glorifying violence. What of the “legal regulations” that Spreadshirt thought might be infringed.


        It seems to me that neither of the mugs could possibly be defamatory (“Phillip Woolarse” doesn’t come close), no-one coudl think that the mugs implied that Mr Woolas endorsed the Wardman Wire or that they were really the same business as him. The photographs were taken from election leaflets, criticised by the election court, and so are hardly an invasion of Mr Woolas’s privacy and, arguably, they are “art” and so defensible against a Data Protection Act 1998 claim.

        So much for England, but spreadshirt is German based. Now as an English lawyer, I known next to nothing about German law, but as I understand it the German KunstUrhG (law on the copyright of works of visual arts and photography) recognises a right known as Recht am eigenen Bild, usually glossed as “right in their own image” which I will refer to as “image right”. Section 22 of the KunstUrhG prohibits the distribution or public exhibition of the image of an individual without that individual’s consent. A right to control over the use of one’s image is also derived from Article 2 of the German Basic Law.

      • Man Fined For Publishing Links To Legal Sports Broadcast

        A man who linked to two hockey games streamed live by broadcaster Canal Plus has been found guilty of copyright infringement. The 32 year-old found unprotected direct URL links to the games on the channel’s official website which would ordinarily cost money to view. A District Court decided that publishing those links on his forum amounted to an infringement of copyright.

      • Actors reading Copyright fiction from a script + a fact based alternative position

        In theory these actors were talking about Canadian copyright and the modifications proposed in C-32, but you couldn’t tell that from listening. They got nearly everything wrong in understanding current Canadian law and the modifications.

        They were reading fiction from a script, just as they do in their regular jobs.

        The script they were handed by ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) clearly said to push for an extension of the private copying levy to devices, without clarifying that the private copying regime only applies to recorded music. It has nothing to do with television, the medium that these two actors work in. It was clear from the interview that they were not even aware of that basic fact.

      • French deal may break deadlock between Google and publishers
      • Content is ‘made available’ in jurisdiction where server is located, rules High Court

        “I have come to the conclusion that the better view is that the act of making available to the public by online transmission is committed and committed only where the transmission takes place,” said Mr Justice Floyd. “It is true that the placing of data on a server in one state can make the data available to the public of another state but that does not mean that the party who has made the data available has committed the act of making available by transmission in the State of reception. I consider that the better construction of the provisions is that the act only occurs in the state of transmission.”

        The Court based its reasoning in part on laws that cover similar ground in the satellite broadcasting industry.

      • Copyright troll Righthaven retreats on infringement suit

        As the holiday season approaches, the Righthaven law firm has opted to give peace a chance. The scan-for-content-and-sue outfit has extended an olive branch to one of its latest targets—the Democratic Underground web site. Like the law firm’s previous victims, DU posted some text from Righthaven’s main client, the Las Vegas Review Journal, and was consequently sued for cash under the claim of copyright infringement.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Government services to be online-only

          Britons will be forced to apply online for government services such as student loans, driving licences, passports and benefits under cost-cutting plans to be unveiled this week.

          Officials say getting rid of all paper applications could save billions of pounds. They insist that vulnerable groups will be able to fill in forms digitally at their local post offices.

          The plans are likely to infuriate millions of people. Around 27% of households still have no internet connection at home and six million people aged over 65 have never used the web.

        • Digital Society vs. Digital Economy Act

          And that, of course, is a bit of a problem when the ultimate sanction of the Digital Economy Act is to block people’s access (even if the government tries to deny that it will “disconnect” people – it amounts to the same thing, whatever the words.) If, as this suggests and I think is right, the Internet becomes an absolutely indispensable means of exercising key rights (like being able to communicate with the government) then it inevitably makes taking those rights away even more problematic.

Clip of the Day

My TSA Stripdown: Nov 21 at Seatac

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 21/11/2010: KDE 4.5 and KDE SC 4.7 Plans, Fedora Elections

Posted in News Roundup at 8:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Audio Blog #4

      This entry is mostly about my further experiences with AROS (Amiga Research Operating System) along with some more thoughts about Plan 9 and the Zaurus. 16 minutes in duration.

    • Linux Outlaws 177 – The Orgasmatron (Eyebrow Control Was My Idea)

      On Linux Outlaws this week: Symbian and MeeGo talk, System76 shipping to the UK, Fab rants on a stupid Fedora decision, open source Kinect drivers and much more….

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Short Video Tour Of The Wayland Display Server

        There’s been a lot of talk lately about the Wayland Display Server since it was announced Ubuntu is going to deploy their Unity Desktop atop Wayland. The new Wayland mailing list has become lively with end-users and developers and there’s more people now trying out this experimental lightweight display server that leverages OpenGL ES, kernel mode-setting, and the Graphics Execution Manager, among other recent Linux graphics technologies. Most people though still haven’t seen or used Wayland, but here’s a short video showing it off.

      • NVIDIA CUDA 3.2 Toolkit Released

        While NVIDIA should soon be releasing a new Linux graphics driver beta, for those of you interested in NVIDIA’s Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) rather than — or as a complement to — OpenCL, there is a new tool-kit release. CUDA 3.2 is now available this week. CUDA 3.2 brings a number of new features to the NVIDIA GPGPU table.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • OpenGL ES For KWin In KDE SC 4.7 Is Taking Shape

        For KDE SC 4.7, Martin has also been working on OpenGL ES 2.0 support for KWin so that it could be used by mobile devices, such as those running MeeGo. OpenGL ES 2.0 is also supported by Mesa and Gallium3D and the proprietary drivers too, due to the web presence of OpenGL ES 2.0.

      • KDE 4 Look Part 3: A Week of KDE 4.5

        So I’ve used KDE for about a work week. During that time I’ve pretty much gone to using the KDE versions of all my programs except Konqueror. I’m not sure if the Fedora 14 version of Konqueror is the one with Webkit, but last time I used Konqueror with KHTML it was mucking up a bunch of web pages including my blog. So I stuck with Google Chrome, which is what i use on Gnome, LXDE (Lubuntu on my laptop), and on my Windows 7 install. (Also, I stuck with gPodder for podcasts because that’s working perfectly) So how did it go? First of all, I love the stock screenshot tool in KDE, KSnapshot. I love that lets me choose full screen, region, window under cursor, and section of Window. With Gnome I hit print screen and then I have to edit the png in the GIMP. So it gives me less work for my Linux-related blogging.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Should You Sell Red Hat Right Now?

        Red Hat has failed only two of the quick tests that would make it a sell. Does that mean you should hold your Red Hat shares? Not necessarily. Just keep your eye on these trends over the coming quarters.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora elections – vote!

          The F15 election period has just begun! If you are a Fedora contributor (i.e. you have a FAS account and at least one non-CLA group) please take the time to cast your vote before 2010-11-28 23:59:59 UTC.

        • Fedora 14 Updates

          Today, I opened up a terminal, issued the su command, and typed in my root password on my Fedora 14 laptop. I then issued the “yum update” command to install all of the latest Fedora 14 updates. I am running Fedora 14 on a 64-bit Toshiba Satellite L675 laptop. Fedora 14 runs extremely well on it with the exception of no wifi drivers, and the touchpad’s response is a little bit subpar. There is also an issue with audio recording/input. I cannot record from my microphone in Audacity. There is an incredible lag/failure in audio recording. When I do try to record, on playback, most of what I recorded is missing.

    • Debian Family

      • Following Debian via microblogging
      • 11.0 Alpha 3 Released to Testers on MEPIS Anniversary

        It was 8 years ago today that the MEPIS Linux project started when Warren Woodford decided to build a version of Linux that would be easy to try from CD, easy to install from the live environment, and easy for everyone to use. Over the years there have been reports of SimplyMEPIS being the first OS of one year old children, and also the first OS of 90 year old adults.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Unity Place People – Day 2

          Most of the difficulties are due to my love for python and the simplicity. However I am learning a lot while hacking this. Tomorrow I will write a short tutorial on how to work with Unity. And Monday I will try to write one how to work with Folks.

        • Plymouth manager lets you change boot theme, resolution in Ubuntu

          Features include: -

          * Enable/disable Plymouth
          * Set splash resolution
          * Fixing errant errors
          * Choosing/creating new themes

        • Choose the Best Server for your Ubuntu updates & SC

          There are many download servers and mirror server, for ubuntu packages and updates, in this world. A default server will be set for your software sources according to your location. This server need not be the best and fastest server available for you.

          You can choose the best server available and set it as the download server for your software source in Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • On Design Contests in FLOSS

    It seems to be somewhat popular to hold a contest, if a FLOSS project needs a (new) logo or other seemingly singular asset.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Attention Localizers, big changes ahead for SUMO

        A new KB means that we have a lot of new strings in the UI — more than 2000 words in all. You can find the new strings in Verbatim, our new tool for all UI localization. It’s a lot of words, but fear not: up to 50% of the strings were ported over, so if you’ve localized those in the past you don’t have to do it again. When we moved them we marked them as fuzzy, so you can decide for yourself whether you want to accept them or change them.

      • Analyze Your Search Behavior

        With Prospector, we are interested in improving searches in the browser including those searches that you make through websites. To better understand how people do various types of searches, we have put together a new experiment to help you report back with your findings.

        This experiment is slightly different from our previous experiments like Speak Words or Find Suggest. It is more of a study where you can take a look at your own data and come up with your own ideas of how searches can be improved.

      • Firefox 4 Nightlies finally adds ‘menu’ button

        The long-awaited ‘Firefox’ menu button has arrived in the latest nightly Linux builds – for now.

  • Oracle

    • Unpacking the Oracle and AWS Rumor

      I wasn’t at Defrag, but the whispers there made their way back to me quickly. My policy is to ignore these, because the probability of any single rumor being accurate is, in my experience, slight.

      But given that we’re now fielding multiple inquiries about it, let me say that like my colleague I do not believe Amazon intends to sell its Web Services division to Oracle.

      It is unclear where the rumor originated. Amazon is apparently reading intent into it, and it’s easy to understand why. A substantial portion of Amazon’s developer adoption and goodwill is driven by the accessible economics it established for the industry. Given Oracle’s history and its recent behavior with respect to MySQL, widely circulated rumors of an acquisition could introduce uncertainty about the longer term economics of AWS. Which is undesirable from the perspective of Amazon, clearly. And just as clearly, potentially desirable for one or more of its competitors.

    • LibreOffice Is Taking Shape With Third Beta

      It’s been less than two months since the Document Foundation announced that it was launching its own “fork” of the OpenOffice.org productivity software suite, but already its new LibreOffice alternative is beginning to take shape.

    • The Renaissance of the Renaissance Project?

      Forgive the title above; but these past days we started to receive more and more questions about the OpenOffice.org Renaissance Project and whether we would continue its works and implement its changes. I think this calls for some clarification. The LibreOffice Project led by the Document Foundation is the successor of the OpenOffice.org only insofar as the OpenOffice.org project’s community (Oracle excepted) has decided to give itself a new and more promising beginning. It does not mean, however, that we have to bear with the legacy of the OpenOffice.org code base or technical legacy forever. We made clear recently that we would bring some radical changes not just to the code itself, but also to the way we had been working as a community of the OpenOffice.org project before. And the Renaissance Project stands right in the middle of this mix of continuity and changes; after all, not everything inside OpenOffice.org needs to be thrown away.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Overy 0.1

        I’ m finally making some progress on one of my 2010 goals – making a Lego robot that can take CD’s and feed them to my computer to rip.


        I’ve spent quite some time writing an accurate CD ripper for Linux, and I want to have all my audio CD’s in correct digital bytes on a computer, so I can use the files to transcode to whatever format is useful for whatever player I’ll have.

      • hack a day: Global Village Construction Set

        The Global Village Construction Set is an open hardware initiative aimed at sharing tool-building knowledge.


  • USB – Satan’s Data Connection

    Evangelical Christians in Brazil have apparently banned the use of USB connections after claiming the technology is the mark of Satan-worshippers (Hat tip: Fernando Frias). Apparently the revelation came after the evangelists noticed that the USB symbol resembles a trident. Presumably they’re not great fans of Britain’s ballistic missiles either.

  • Vikings brought first native American to Europe

    An Amerindian woman may have been the first native American to set foot on European soil, brought to Iceland by the Vikings several centuries before Christopher Columbus set foot on the Americas in 1492.

  • Arm readies processing cores for 64-bit computing

    Arm’s next generation of processors will support 64-bit computing, opening the way to more memory-intensive applications

  • Nokia research lab builds touchscreen made of ice
  • Why Microsoft is Acorn and Symbian is the new CP/M

    DOS, of course, ousted CP/M – the OS which was considered a shoo-in for the desktop platform of choice, regardless of who made the hardware. And it’s in the role of CP/M that we find Symbian lurking: technically superior in many ways, but with a management that was unable to change fast enough to keep up with the new kids on the block who jumped in before anyone had noticed there was a gap.

    Not that Symbian is the only one who’s been pushed aside – with Android taking Microsoft’s spot that pushes Redmond’s offering elsewhere: roughly into the place where Acorn once stood. Having achieved early success, with the BBC Micro, Acorn created a new platform with huge optimism. That platform, the RISC-based Archimedes, had many nice features but never really caught on.

  • Science

    • 3,000-Year-Old Conch Trumpets Play Again

      Now you can hear a marine-inspired melody from before the time of the Little Mermaid’s hot crustacean band. Acoustic scientists put their lips to ancient conch shells to figure out how humans used these trumpets 3,000 years ago. The well-preserved, ornately decorated shells found at a pre-Inca religious site in Peru offered researchers a rare opportunity to jam on primeval instruments.

    • Have we found the universe that existed before the Big Bang?

      The current cosmological consensus is that the universe began 13.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang. But a legendary physicist says he’s found the first evidence of an eternal, cyclic cosmos.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The Mayor Of London On George W. Bush, War Criminal

      Boris Johnson is a total Tory and an old friend from college days. In a piece in the conservative Daily Telegraph, he advises George W. Bush not to bring his book tour to Britain, because he could face arrest as a war criminal…

    • Warning: cellos, paintbrushes, sketchpads and cameras on UK Borders Agency’s list of suspicious items

      A Cellist was held at Heathrow Airport and questioned for 8 hours this week. A terrorist suspect? False passport? Drug smuggling? If only it was so dramatic and spectacular. Her crime was coming to the UK with her cello, to participate in musicology conference organised by the School of Music at the University of Leeds and it was for this reason that Kristin Ostling was deported back to Chicago. What was UK Borders Agency (UKBA) thinking? That she would sell her cello to earn some cash, or do a spot of moonlighting at some secretive classical music gig, while she was here?

    • Re-tweeting the revolution

      The war on terror is over. We lost.


      Nowhere is this illustrated more starkly than in the case of Paul Chambers.

      In the snowy depths of January 2010 Paul sent a message of frustration to his Twitter friends when he discovered the weather could affect his travel plans: “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together or I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”

    • TSA airport screeners gone wild in San Diego- again

      In what can only be described as TSA handlers gone wild, the San Diego Harbor Police arrested an area resident for refusal to complete the screening/security process yesterday. This is the same airport that created the TSA security catch phrase “don’t touch my junk.” John Tyner of San Diego started the airport screening firestorm last week as Americans head into the busiest travel week of the year in the United States.

      This time the defendant, Sam Wolanyk says he was asked to pass through the 3-D x-ray machine. When Wolanyk refused, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel told him he would have to be patted down before he could pass through and board his airplane.

    • DHS airport spooks stalk star hacker

      Last weekend, as US-based security researcher Moxie Marlinspike snoozed during a layover at the Frankfurt Airport, he awoke to a scene straight out of a Franz Kafka novel.

      “Some dude shows up with a picture of me on his cell phone, and he’s just looking through the crowd at the gate until he finds me,” Marlinspike told The Register. “He takes me away [and says] ‘I have some questions for you that you have to answer.’”

      Eventually, the man, who identified himself as an employee of the American Consulate, permitted Marlinspike to fly home, but only after the man made a phone call to an unnamed person in Washington, DC. For Marlinspike — who as a frequent traveler had already been repeatedly subjected to secondary searches and some ominous comments from his inquisitors — the incident kicked off a series of escalating confrontations with federal officials.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Twitter gaffe: US embassy announces ‘crazy bad’ Beijing air pollution

      Since the US embassy in Beijing began tweeting hourly pollution reports last year, I – along with many other smog watchers – have been horrified at the frequency of “bad” and “hazardous” readings.

      But this week, the depth and murkiness of the haze was so appalling that the automated system briefly entered the realm of black comedy with a “crazy bad” analysis of our air.

  • Finance

    • Wasting a good crisis

      I’ve been reading Fintan O’Toole’s new book about the Irish banking catastrophe. As in his previous book — Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger — the analysis of why the disaster happened is spot-on: the Republic has had a dysfunctional political culture ever since it was founded, and the dysfunctionality became pathological over the last three decades. O’Toole thinks that the only way of ensuring a decent future for the country is radically to re-think the governance of the state, and he’s right.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Beware of the Lobby Cleaner!!

      With just under a week to go to end of the voting for the EU Worst Lobbying Award, some of the nominees have started receiving visits from the infamous Brussels “Lobby-Cleaner”.

    • TaxPayers’ Alliance seeks advice from Tea Party movement leaders

      The TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group has taken advice from leaders of the prominent right wing Tea Party movement in a bid to galvanise anti-government sentiment.


      Last month tens of thousands of politically conservative Americans turned out to support Glenn Beck, a right wing broadcaster, and Mrs Palin at a highly controversial Washington rally to honour the US military.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • All ‘Bout Children and DNA databases

      Terri Dowty from Action on Rights for Children (ARCH) and Dr Helen Wallace from GeneWatch UK, two exceptional campaigners on civil liberties, will be talking about children’s databases and the National DNA Database (NDNAD) at a free event organised by No2ID this Monday 22nd November, 7pm in the Bertrand Russell Room, Conway Hall (25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL).

    • New Facebook Messaging Continues to Block Some Links

      Facebook’s “modern messaging system” may make it convenient to seamlessly move between instant messaging and a Facebook.com e-mail account, but not if you are sharing a link to a file sharing site.

      Facebook began blocking BitTorrent link-sharing on Facebook walls and news feeds last spring, and also started blocking private messages between users that included a link to torrents on the Pirate Bay.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Ed Vaizey: ‘My overriding priority is an open internet’

      From Google to web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, there is a global consensus that commercial clout should not be allowed to buy preferential treatment on the web -internet service providers, nearly all luminaries agree, should be punished if they allow companies to buy an enhanced service not available to smaller competitors.

      But the whole nature of that so-called “net neutrality” principle was, according to some vocal campaigners, abandoned by the British Government on Wednesday. In a speech entitled “The Open Internet” Communications Minister Ed Vaizey was said to have opened the floodgates for, say, Sky to provide a broadband service that prioritised its TV catch-up services and made those of the BBC practically unwatchable.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Expansion Through Misinformation Has Gone On A Long Time… And It Involved Pimps & Ferrets

        Anyway, Alan Wexellat points us to the news that Anderson has now redone the paper as a book, and has released Pimps and Ferrets: Copyright and Culture in the United States under a Creative Commons license. He’s using a non-commercial license, which we just discussed has some problems, but it really is a tremendously worthwhile read. It basically shows that, as we see today, many people don’t really understand the purpose and intent behind copyright — and that includes some of the folks in charge of making the law. That allowed some special interests to co-opt the process and expand copyright to their own benefit. Sound familiar? Well, history seems to repeat itself…

      • Pirate Parties Use Influence To Halt Anonymous’ Operation Payback

        In a letter to those coordinating Operation Payback, the series of DDoS attacks carried out against pro-copyright outfits since September, the UK and US Pirate Party are calling for an end to hostilities. They reason that the continuation of the operation plays into the hands of organizations that wish to “pervert” copyright law for personal gain and hampers the progress of those seeking copyright reform through legitimate means.

      • John Does Win Big In Far Cry Case

        The copyright trolling campaign in the United States may not be coming to a grinding halt, but it looks like it may come to a sluggish crawl. In an order issued today in the Achte/Neunte (aka Far Cry) vs Does 1-4,577 case – Judge Rosemary Collyer granted and denied in part the US Copyright Group’s request for an extension to serve all defendants to five years.

      • Time Warner Balks At Subpoenas In Mass Copyright Suits

        Lawyers from Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) have intervened in a few mass-copyright lawsuits recently, saying they’ve been overwhelmed by the tactics of one Washington, D.C., area law firm, Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver. Since January, lawyers from that firm have sued more than 10,000 “John Does” in nine separate lawsuits, alleging that those users have broken copyright law by sharing movies over BitTorrent sites. The firm has requested names and contact info for all 10,000, a task that falls to ISPs like Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) to carry out.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA turns out to be a damp squib

          Good news everyone. Remember that international multilateral secret agreement everyone was worried about? It turns out that we do not really have to worry that much about it any more. The newest draft text of the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has now been published, and it turns out that most of the controversial issues have been removed, reduced, or diluted, producing a text that will not change too much in various countries.

        • ACTA: damp squid or mutant octopus?

          My friend and colleague the Technoloma claims that ACTA has turned out to be a damp squid. He and I are in agreement on many issues, but this is an issue on which we come to different conclusions.

          The reason that technollama gives for concluding: “at the moment it seems like the worst has been taken out of the agreement” is that the agreement as it now stands, and as technollama reads it, does not require statutory damages for copyright infringement, nor do the indisputably worrying intermediary liability provisions require 3 strikes style policing from Internet service providers.

          However from the perspective of developing countries, a perspective which I’d expect technollama to understand and value, these are not have and have not been the primary problems with ACTA.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 21/11/2010: systemd and Mandriva Status Updates

Posted in News Roundup at 2:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Gentoo penguin born in Australia

    An Australian aquarium has welcomed the birth of the first baby Gentoo penguin chick born in the country.

  • The biggest hurdle in FOSS/GNU/Linux adaptation

    Let me put my voice on the biggest hurdle in FOSS adaptation.
    This hurdle is “Proprietary Hardware Drivers”
    In India we recently established a “Open Standard Policy”.It is the great success of FOSS communities and our leaders.
    In the same way we need to have a policy on Hardware selling. This policy must specify that “Anything which Govt is buying must have a Open Specification of their Driver.”

  • Unity Linux 2010_02 Is Powered by Linux kernel

    Unity Linux 2010_02 has been released two days ago, on November 17th, and it includes a new kernel, the latest Enlightenment 17 environment, and many fixes or enhancements. Unity Linux 2010_02 is dubbed Unite17.

  • How We Choose Political Candidates and Software.

    The majority of them showed various degrees of surprise or disbelief until I actually re-themed their Linux boxes on the fly.

  • Desktop

    • How to choose a Linux laptop

      With the many choices and factors to consider, choosing a laptop of any kind can be a considerable challenge. Choosing one for use with Linux, however, brings its own special set of considerations, since it’s not yet always a plug-and-play world for the open source operating system.

      Linux is typically not fussy about hardware–that, indeed, is one of its most endearing advantages. Some hardware, however, still doesn’t work well with Linux, due primarily to a persistent lack of the right drivers.

      Still, there are more laptop choices today than ever before for the Linux user. Here are some guidelines for choosing the one that’s right for you.

  • Server

    • IBM tops Green500 list

      While China can take pride in topping the list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, IBM has been given another recognition: building the world’s most energy-efficient supercomputer.

    • NASA’s supercomputing team: Science, not glory, is top priority

      NASA’s biggest supercomputer seems to have gotten a little smaller. Ranked the sixth-most powerful HPC cluster in the world by the June 2010 Top 500 supercomputers list, NASA’s Pleiades fell to 11th place in the most recent rankingreleased this week.

    • A Linux server OS that’s fiddly but tweakable

      ClearOS is the new name for Point Clark Network’s ClarkConnect, which was a commercial server distro, released in 2000, with a limited free version. Now, though, Point Clark has restructured and the distro is managed by ClearConnect, which has made it free and open source. The result is that what was the top-of-the-range Enterprise edition is now free for everyone – with some small caveats, which we’ll cover later.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • SystemD Has New Shutdown Logic, Gives Everyone CGroups

      Fedora 14 was set to be the first major distribution shipping SystemD to replace SysVinit, but that ended up getting pushed back to the Fedora 15 release that will now come in May of 2011. Fortunately, for the developers behind Fedora and SystemD, this means the init replacement daemon will be in much better shape for its premiere. Lennart Poettering, the original developer of SystemD, has written about some of the recent improvements.

    • systemd for Administrators, Part IV
    • systemd Status Update

      It has been a while since my last status update on systemd. Here’s another short, incomprehensive status update on what we worked on for systemd since then.

      * Fedora F15 (Rawhide) now includes a split up /etc/init.d/rc.sysinit (Bill Nottingham). This allows us to keep only a minimal compatibility set of shell scripts around, and boot otherwise a system without any shell scripts at all. In fact, shell scripts during early boot are only used in exceptional cases, i.e. when you enabled autoswapping (bad idea anyway), when a full SELinux relabel is necessary, during the first boot after initialization, if you have static kernel modules to load (which are not configured via the systemd-native way to do that), if you boot from a read-only NFS server, or when you rely on LVM/RAID/Multipath. If nothing of this applies to you can easily disable these parts of early boot and save several seconds on boot. How to do this I will describe in a later blog story.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The First NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 Linux Benchmark

        Earlier this month NVIDIA rolled out the GeForce GTX 580 graphics card as their fastest GPU to date with 512 CUDA cores, a 772MHz core clock, 1544MHz processor clock, 1536MB of 2GHz GDDR5 memory, and support for three-way SLI. The GeForce GTX 580 with its GF110 core is based upon a refined version of the Fermi architecture and is certainly a step-up from the GeForce GTX 480 that launched just earlier this year. For those curious how this NVIDIA graphics card performs under Linux, here’s the first benchmark and it’s compared to the Windows driver performance too.

      • Linus: What’s Wrong With The Whole DRM Crowd?

        Linus is known for an occasional colorful email and in the past has had a number of issues with code in the DRM sub-system, such as calling the initial Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) push by Intel as being untested crap. It was also via Linus that Nouveau unexpectedly got merged into the mainline kernel. With this 2.6.37 DRM bug-fix pull (mailing list thread), Linus has become once again frustrated. This time it’s over the DRM code being messy, useless re-basing of Git trees, large amounts of DRM code always being changed later in the release cycles, and pulling “random crap” into tree.

      • Mee too … the 200 line kernel wonder patch

        Since yesterday I’ve been running with the sched: automated per tty task groups patch and the 2.6.37-rc2 kernel and it has really breathed new life into my old and trusty IBM X61s. The difference is really very significant almost like magic as everybody else noted too:) Yay!

      • The First NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 Linux Benchmark

        Earlier this month NVIDIA rolled out the GeForce GTX 580 graphics card as their fastest GPU to date with 512 CUDA cores, a 772MHz core clock, 1544MHz processor clock, 1536MB of 2GHz GDDR5 memory, and support for three-way SLI. The GeForce GTX 580 with its GF110 core is based upon a refined version of the Fermi architecture and is certainly a step-up from the GeForce GTX 480 that launched just earlier this year. For those curious how this NVIDIA graphics card performs under Linux, here’s the first benchmark and it’s compared to the Windows driver performance too.

      • Xorg or Wayland: Color me disinterested

        Not for any dislike of Ubuntu, or distrust for the direction it is moving. You might call me old-fashioned, if only because the clicky buttony thingy doesn’t really turn me on. I’ll take a traditional desktop, any day.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • multihead plasma desktop needs YOU!

        Multihead, where there is more than one physical screen and one X server per physical screen (not to be confused with xinerama, xrandr, mergefb, etc.), and Plasma Desktop is getting into a rather usable state thanks to testing and feedback from users with those systems that goes beyond “it doesn’t work”. Thanks to the digging and debugging work of several individuals, my “coding in the blind” has produced finally produced useful results as of the 4.5.3 release. There are still some KWin issues, apparently, but plasma-desktop is pretty well there.

      • KDE 4 Look Part 2: Amarok 2.3.2 in KDE 4.5 and Fedora 14

        There was a time when I thought Amarok was the best music player on Linux. I even used to run it in Gnome as you can see from this 2005 screenshot. In that first link you can read me gushing over Amarok 1.4. I loved all the integrated technologies, especially the metadata juggling Amarok did. The first few Amarok 2.x releases with the KDE 4 libraries were complete crap. They were ugly and were missing nearly all of Amarok’s features. (Mirroring the complaints people were having about KDE 4 at the time) When I took a look at Amarok and KDE 4.4 in October I said I would take another look at Amarok.

      • A Matter of Control: The State of Input Device Support in KDE

        If you look at the various changes from KDE 3 to KDE 4, two major trends emerge: unification and abstraction. Plasma, for example, unifies the various parts of the desktop and panel. Solid provides an abstraction layer that hides the details of device management from applications, while Phonon does the same for multimedia. Akonadi does both, providing a unified system for handling PIM data and creating an abstraction layer so PIM front-ends don’t need to be concerned with the source or nature of the data they display. And of course the success of KDE 4 is not due solely to these trends, it is also due to developers sitting down and ironing out the current state of the tools in KDE, where they fail, where they work, where they should be, and how we can get them there.

      • Help KDE.org defeat the wall of text.

        Everybody knows that effective design is very important to any succesful interface – be it an application, a website, a product, or a physical structure. There are lots of reasons behind this, but the one I’m going to talk about today is how design combats the most dreaded wall of text, of which KDE.org is a victim.

      • Feature Guide for 4.6 Releases

        Early next year, KDE will release new versions of the Plasma workspaces, many of our applications and the KDE Platform that makes the rest possible. You may remember that for our 4.4 releases we had a feature guide that gave a nice visual description of the new features. This helps existing and potential users of KDE software see what is cool in the new releases and gets picked up by other news outlets. Getting your app or feature into this guide is a Good Thing.

      • Dolphin Improvements for KDE SC 4.6

        As usual after the KDE feature freeze, I’d like to give an overview which improvements have been done in Dolphin for the next KDE SC.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Faenza Icon Theme 0.8 Brings Lots Of New Icons, Reworked Icons For Chrome, Firefox And More

        The well known Faenza Icon theme was updated today (version 0.8), bringing icons for some applications which were missing such as: adobe air, deadbeef, devede, devhelp, dia, facebook, flickr, frostwire, glade, gnucash, gnumeric, homebank, jdownloader, kupfer, netbeans, openbravo, openerp, openshot, phatch, picasa, qtcreator, radiotray, soundconverter, terminator, vim, wordpress, wxbanker, xbmc and xournal.

  • Distributions

    • A young and pretty Linux server OS that takes a bit of work

      Zentyal 2 is something a little bit different, although it too has changed its name recently: version 1 was called e-Box. A decade younger than its rivals, it is based on Ubuntu, but its developers skip the normal semi-annual releases, and only use the Long Term Support ones that Canonical releases every other year. E-Box version 1 was based on Ubuntu 8.04 and version 2, now called Zentyal, uses Ubuntu 10.04.1.

    • Gentoo Family

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Gtk Lightweight Desktops: Xfce & LXDE Special Edition

        The staff of The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine is proud to announce the release of the Gtk Lightweight Desktops: Xfce & LXDE Special Edition. This issue of the magazine is a compilation of all of the Xfce and LXDE articles that the magazine has ran over the past eight months, and will help serve as a reference source for any users wanting to use these lightweight, but mighty, desktop environments.

      • PCLinuxOS to Get a 64-bit Version

        Reynolds said that he has finished building the first 1000 packages. First he “upgraded gcc to 4.5.1, glibc 2.12.1, xorg 1.9.x then started rebuilding the libraries.” Once those are complete he’ll begin on the desktop packages. Unfortunately, there is no estimated time for release because there are still about 12,600 more packages to go before making ISOs and testing.

      • Some funky fresh news on Mandriva Linux

        Things are starting to look really nice now, cooker activity seems to have gotten back to previous levels and even then some and interest from new contributors seems to have increased as well, really nice to see!

    • Red Hat Family

      • RHEL6 from an Ubuntu Server Developer’s Perspective

        Myself being an Ubuntu Core Developer on the Ubuntu Server, I thought it prudent to take an honest look at RHEL6, and capture a few new notes here, complimenting Red Hat on their new release, noting some differences between Ubuntu and RHEL, and perhaps inspiring a few lessons we could learn in Ubuntu.

      • Forget 200 lines, Red Hat speeds up Linux with 4 lines of code

        Speeding up Linux, doesn’t necessarily have to be a gargantuan task and it doesn’t have to be done by Linus Torvalds either.

      • Red Hat broadens scope of open-source academic program

        Open-source software provider Red Hat is expanding its outreach efforts at universities and colleges. The company is a member of the Teaching Open Source community, and via its sponsorship of POSSE (Professors’ Open Source Summer Experience) workshops, it has facilitated the education of professors in how to best launch and incorporate open source into degree programs.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Installation User Experience Improvements & Syslinux

          For F15 then, we’ve got some nice polish on the pre-install experience in place. So it’s time to go back to the install experience and try to get some solid polish there.

        • Fedora 14 Laughlin – Could be better!

          Fedora, the controversial distro. On one hand, it’s alpha-beta-zeta-jones quality, with the latest technologies that make you bleed, hence the term, the bleeding edge of technology. On the other, it’s a distro that revolves around the concept of free software. Ubuntu is like that too, only more pragmatic, so much in fact that the latest edition actually gives you the choice of sullying your distribution with evil proprietary software during the installation. Fedora remains the bastion of stubbornness and reduced usability.


          Several hours after running autoten against the slow repositories and fixing the nerdy default settings, Fedora was ready for work, with codecs, office suite, music players, and other common programs. So yes, to sum it up, Fedora is the open-source Windows 7. And that’s not a compliment of the highest order. Worst of all, Fedora 14 Laughlin dashes any hopes for Ubuntu refugees come the spring, due to Unity nonsense.

    • Debian Family

      • Release Critical Bug report for Week 46
      • Galbraith Latency Patch Now in MEPIS 11.0 Alpha

        The Mike Galbraith latency patch, which is said to improve desktop performance by an order of magnitude, has been backported by Warren to the 2.6.36 kernel, and released for the SimplyMEPIS 11.0 alpha test cycle.

      • SimplyMEPIS 8th Anniversary Release
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Unity Place People

          I am trying to get used to Vala and Unity.

          So I am hacking up a little Unity Place for People…

          Right now it doesn’t do much but get the contacts from your Zeitgeist history and sort them. Over the weekend I will try to get it to play nicely with libfolks. Once that is done I will be working even closer with DX, Zeitgeist, Telepathy, John Lea and Jorge Castro to make things rock and more usable for everyone.

        • Canonical Software Partners release business software for Ubuntu

          If you use Ubuntu in your company, you’re already familiar with its many advantages for businesses. But guess what? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, as they say.

        • Changes to the One Hundred Paper Cuts project for the Natty cycle

          During the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, Florida, we discussed how we wanted to continue the project this cycle. This session resulted in some changes to the requirements of what constitutes a valid paper cut.

        • Canonical Works to Clarify the Ubuntu Brand

          The effort to clarify the Ubuntu brand, then, even if it appears to be only a semi-official endeavor undertaken by a Canonical employee, is an important step in convincing observers that Ubuntu’s assorted products are to be taken seriously. Whether the observers will be convinced, of course, remains to be seen.

        • New Ubuntu Patch Pilot Scheme

          When someone is new to Ubuntu and they want to get started helping to package bug fixes and software, they engage in the Sponsorship Process. In a nutshell, you get the source code for the package, apply the fix (or create the fix yourself), and then because you don’t have upload access, you ask another Ubuntu developer to review your work. This act of reviewing work is known as sponsoring, and it is something we have sometimes struggled as a project to keep up with – there are often many contributions that need sponsoring, but not enough volunteers in the existing developer community to review these contributions.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Just Another Ubuntu-based Distro or Something More

            Jeff Hoogland, professed Linux Geek, has grown frustrated at the lack of inclusion of his favorite window environment in modern distributions. He said only Austrumi and PCLinuxOS offer a recent release with E17. So, instead of waiting for someone else to do it, he just developed one with E17 Beta himself. But is this just another “ho hum” moment or should you give this new effort a shot?

          • 12 Ubuntu Derivatives You Should Consider

            Though less well-known, Pinguy is also another very nice Ubuntu-based distribution for Linux beginners. It features numerous user-friendly enhancements, out-of-the-box support for multimedia codecs and browser plugins, a heavily tweaked GNOME user interface and a careful selection of popular desktop applications for many common computing tasks.

          • Pinguy OS Review
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Unlocked Palm Pre 2 available in U.S.

        An unlocked version of Hewlett-Packard’s Palm Pre 2 smartphone is now available in the U.S. via Palm.com and HP’s SMB channels for $449. The upgraded 1GHz Pre 2 runs the new version 2.0 of the Linux-based WebOS operating system.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Initial look at MeeGo Netbook, a minimalistic computer interface

          This week in MeeGo Conference all attendees received Lenovo S10-3t IdeaPad convertible netbook/tablet computers from Intel and Nokia. For many of us this was the first time we’re actually using MeeGo on a device, and so I thought to post some notes on how it feels.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • litl in the Event Boxes

        litl is now donating two webbooks, one for each GNOME event box. We’ve already shipped one for the North American box. I’m still waiting for the European box to be found before sending the other one. The litl OS is fully based on the GNOME platform using GObject, GLib, Clutter, GTK+, Gjs, GStreamer, and others. The webbook is a good example of the strength of GNOME’s platform. We hope this is a useful addition to the event boxes. Enjoy!

      • Jolicloud’s Jolibook Netbook Hitting Stores

        Jolicloud, the self-proclaimed “perfect OS for netbooks,” has been making headlines for a while with their consumer-focused, and frankly very cute Jolibook netbook. Word all around the web is that it is available today in the UK

      • A Shiny New Lenovo Ideapad S10-3s

        - PCLinuxOS 2010.10: Everything works! Hooray, La-la-la-la, it just works, everything from top to bottom, right out of the box!

Free Software/Open Source

  • LibreOffice Is Taking Shape With Third Beta

    It’s been less than two months since the Document Foundation announced that it was launching its own “fork” of the OpenOffice.org productivity software suite, but already its new LibreOffice alternative is beginning to take shape.

  • Documenting and challenging community misogyny

    One of the most uncomfortable items in the timelines is the most recent. Summarized simply as “Sexual assault at ApacheCon,” it refers to what allegedly happened to Noirin Shirley, an Apache board member, a couple of weeks ago.

    What is unusual about the incident is not — unfortunately — that it simply happened. Shirley undoubtedly speaks for many women when she writes, “It’s not the first time something like this has happened to me, at all. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me at a tech conference.”

    However, what is unusual is that this time Shirley not only reported the incident to the police, but also blogged about it and named names. “I’m tired of the sense that some idiot can ruin my day and never have to answer for it. I’m tired of the fear. I’m tired of people who think I should wear something different. I’m tired of people who think I should avoid having a beer in case my vigilance lapses for a moment. I’m tired of people who say that guys can’t read me right and I have to read them, and avoid giving the wrong impression.”

    Shirley showed exemplary courage in her actions, and many people said as much. Yet an alarming number of people attacked her instead, suggesting that the assault was her fault, because of how she dressed or acted.

  • Web Browsers

    • A Closer Look at the Next Generation Address Bars

      I decided to fire up four popular browsers and snag some screenshots of how each of them present a site’s URL to you. In my tests I used pre-release versions of each browser because, for the most part, these heavily represent what we should see released over the coming months. Of course the appearance can always change before the final version makes it out-the-door, but this is a better representation of how each company is attacking the address bar appearance today… and not a year ago. This particularly applies to Opera who just revamped their address bar in their latest Beta release.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox vs. Explorer: Which is better?

        …finally won me over.

      • I Love Thunderbird 3.x

        Anyway, this version of Lightning works like a champ. I did have to modify the install.rdf to allow for a minimum version of TB 3.0, because that’s the version in my Slackware repos right now. I’m happy now! I use Lightning to plan my life. I would have been seriously disappointed if I couldn’t have gotten it to work eventually. I pretty much got T-bird 3 to behave the way I wanted it to, also. I think I’ll be able to get used to it. It’s a bit different from T-bird 2, but not that much. Check out figure 1 for a screenie of my T-bird 3 on Slackware.

      • Mozilla re-assesses its mission

        Following the publication of Mozilla’s audited financial statements for 2009, Mitchell Baker, Chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation, has taken the opportunity to re-examine Mozilla’s mission, its successes, opportunities and challenges.

      • Firefox 4 UI update brings snazzy, new alert pop-ups

        Lest you think blogger Long Zheng is all about Microsoft apps, our Australian friend has a keen eye on all kinds of bleeding-edge software. — including Firefox 4. Today he noticed a change in the Firefox 4 nightly build — sexier, semi-translucent alert dialogs, complete with a blur effect to obscure the webpage content in the background.

      • Mozilla Plans Open App Store

        The Mozilla Foundation has released a sort of non-profit’s annual report, “The State of Mozilla,” which provides a glimpse under the covers of the popular browser and e-mail provider.

  • Oracle

  • CMS

  • Education

    • EPIC FAIL: the sorry state of web education in schools

      Some highlights from Anna’s talk:

      * Younger students often have nowhere to turn if they want to learn web design or development. Serious training often isn’t available until the post-secondary level — despite the fact that the most talented developers (like Anna herself) start early. Matt Mullenweg, for example, created WordPress.com before he could legally drink. And Anna’s colleagues launched their own online business (UploadRobots.com) while still in the fifth grade.

  • Project Releases

    • Claws Mail Release Notes

      Claws Mail is a GTK+ based, user-friendly, lightweight, and fast email client.

    • Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 “Iveland” Alpha 2 Is Here

      Again, this work includes graphing improvements, system tables, HTTPS connection support, statistics reporting, and mobile / ARM-based benchmarking support for the Nokia N900 smart-phone and other ARM tablets running Linux operating systems.

  • Licensing

    • Sigh.

      The flood of generic Chinese Android devices with no source code makes it very easy to think that GPL adherence is something that’s only problematic with devices sourced from countries with poor records in IP enforcement. In reality, it’s a problem everywhere. Barnes and Noble are a US company and the contractors for the Nook were based in Canada. They’re aware enough to include the GPL notice in their documentation, but not concerned enough to make sure that they actually posses the source code that they’re legally obliged to provide.

    • Software Freedom and the GNU GPL

      The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) is perhaps one of the easiest software licenses to both understand and use. Yet, in part due to corporate astroturfing campaigns of deliberate disinformation, it and the concept of software freedom is often also misunderstood.

      The GNU GPL as a license says nothing about how you use GNU GPL software that you receive. There are no terms or conditions that say how many copies of such software you can have, how many computers (seats) you may run it on, or how you modify it and combine it with other software. This is because the GNU GPL is neither a contract nor a “use” license, but rather a pure copyright license, and hence does not in any way interfere with how you may use software that you receive. It’s only condition is that if you do redistribute the software to others, that you do so under the same terms you received, nothing more.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • University of Michigan Library enables broader sharing and reuse with change to CC BY

      The University of Michigan Library now offers content on its website under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. This announcement is significant because the Library had been using the more restrictive Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) license. By switching to the Attribution license, the Library has granted more permissions to use, share, and repurpose its research and technology guides, video tutorials, toolkits, copyright education materials, bibliographies, and other resources.

    • ☂ Essays Now Creative Commons Licensed
    • Creative Commons reporting from the International Open Government Data Conference
    • On the limits of openness I: the digital humanities and the computational turn to data-driven scholarship

      The digital humanities can be broadly understood as embracing all those scholarly activities in the humanities that involve writing about digital media and technology, and being engaged in processes of digital media production, practice and analysis. For example, developing new media theory, creating interactive electronic archives and literature, building online databases and wikis, producing virtual art galleries and museums, or exploring how various technologies reshape teaching and research. Yet this field – or, better, constellation of fields – is neither unified nor self-identical. If anything, the digital humanities are comprised of a wide range of often conflicting attitudes, approaches and practices that are being negotiated and employed in a variety of different contexts.

    • Creative Commons retiring the Public Domain dedication

      I strongly believe in not re-inventing the wheel, not only in the technical parts but also in licensing, this is why I use and promote Creative Commons licenses (despite their flaws) and this is why I supported using the Creative Commons definition of Public Domain for projects like the Open Clip Art Library. And it worked well for a while.Until Creative Commons was unhappy with the Public Domain dedication, probably not branded enough for their taste and for their need for attention, and “invented” a replacement, CC0, which was received not as warmly as they hoped.


  • Geek Gen X
  • Take a Tiny First Step Toward Controlling Your Internet Addressing Destiny

    Greetings. ICANN is preparing to inflict hundreds, and then thousands, of new top-level domains (TLDs) onto the global community of Internet users, which will serve mainly to sow confusion among consumers, and award vast monetary treasures to the tiny set of entities poised to rake in the dough as the masters of the existing domain name system (see: It’s Time to Stop ICANN’s Top-Level Domain (TLD) Lunacy!).

  • Science

    • ‘Alien’ planet detected circling dying star

      Astronomers claim to have discovered the first planet originating from outside our galaxy.

      The Jupiter-like planet, they say, is part of a solar system which once belonged to a dwarf galaxy.

    • Snapshot from Space

      [An aurora borealis, as seen from the International Space Station. The wicker-looking thing floating in the middle is a solar array from the space station. Image via astronaut Douglas Wheelock/AP]

    • Astronomy Picture of the Day
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Biowatch concerned about monopolisation of SA seed industry

      Biowatch South Africa, an NGO involved in promoting biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods, raised serious concerns about consolidation and emerging monopolies in the South African seed industry with the Competition Commission of South Africa in Pretoria today.

      The hearings were initiated by the Competition Commission to investigate concerns raised about a proposed merger between Pannar Seeds, the largest remaining South African seed company, and Pioneer Hi-Bred, a US-held seed company, part of DuPont Incorporated.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Cancer surviving flight attendant forced to remove prosthetic breast during pat-down

      A Charlotte-area flight attendant and cancer survivor contacted WBTV after she says she was forced to show her prosthetic breast during a pat-down.

      Cathy Bossi lives in south Charlotte and has been a flight attendant for the past 32 years, working the past 28 for U.S. Airways.

    • Why Congress Isn’t So Concerned With TSA Nude Scans & Gropes: They Get To Skip Them

      The NY Times notes that Speaker of the House John Boehner (who does regularly fly commercial) got to walk right by security and go directly to the gate.

    • No Security Pat-Downs for Boehner

      Representative John A. Boehner, soon to be the Speaker of the House, has pledged to fly commercial airlines back to his home district in Ohio. But that does not mean that he will be subjected to the hassles of ordinary passengers, including the controversial security pat-downs.

      As he left Washington on Friday, Mr. Boehner headed across the Potomac River to Reagan National Airport, which was bustling with afternoon travelers. But there was no waiting in line for Mr. Boehner, who was escorted around the metal detectors and body scanners, and taken directly to the gate.

      Mr. Boehner, who was wearing a casual yellow sweater and tan slacks, carried his own bags and smiled pleasantly at passengers who were leaving the security checkpoint inside the airport terminal. It was unclear whether any passengers waiting in the security line, including Representative Allen Boyd, a Florida Democrat who lost his re-election bid, saw Mr. Boehner.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • For EPA regulations, benefits consistently exceed costs

      Research shows that the benefits of environmental regulations consistently exceed costs, in part because they end up costing far less than both industry and the EPA predict.
      When EPA promulgates regulations, industry often expresses concern that the regulations will cause extreme economic hardship. Now this argument is being made regarding EPA regulation of carbon pollution using existing legal authorities like the Clean Air Act.

  • Finance

    • Group Calls For Citizens Arrest Of John Paulson

      A group of corporate pranksters called The Yes Men is pranking again: This time, one of their targets is hedge fund manager John Paulson. The group is calling for a citizen’s arrest of Paulson, based on his large holdings of AngloAshnati Gold stock—as pointed out by Lawrence Delevingne in his article today for Absolute Return + Alpha.

    • Why U.S. IT jobs aren’t coming back
    • Government spending: Britain’s reliance on private firms revealed

      The scale of the country’s reliance on private companies to power the state is revealed today as the government takes the historic step of publishing its accounts for the first time.

      The disclosure of the majority of payments made by government departments over the first five months after the election reveals Whitehall’s struggle to wean itself off high-cost contracts – and a burgeoning industry emerging around the coalition’s reforms.

    • Chinese state firms Jan.-Oct. profits up 45% to 1.6 trillion yuan

      The Ministry of Finance published today the operation results of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) for the first ten months of the year. Robust growth was recorded in profits, revenues and taxes.

      SOEs (excluding state-owned financial institutions) made 1.63 trillion yuan of profits this year by October, marking a remarkable growth of 44.8 percent year on year. Their business revenue went up by 34 percent to 24.5 trillion yuan. The tax payable reached 2 trillion yuan, 27 percent higher than the same period of last year.

    • Alibaba’s Big Plan for Mobile Internet

      Recently, I have been studying the mobile internet sector in China closely, and I have talked to most of the major players. Many people told me Alibaba is a player I should watch out for.

      Although currently Alibaba Group has no substantial mobile business, it has huge ambition in the mobile internet sector, and has been quietly acquiring assets.

    • Brazil now wants to be China, in a good way

      That said, I think it would be a good trend if Brazil started trying to compete with China on low end manufacturing. They probably aren’t going to get anywhere near China’s economies of scale, but they could quite quickly move up the technical latter, and provide knock-on benefits for several regional economies. It’s also always good to diversify out of finance and commodities as much as possible.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 489 – How the West Wasn’t Won: Powell’s Water-based States

      But other interests were at work; the railway companies lobbied for large-scale settlement and agricultural development. Counter-expertise for Powell’s point of view was provided by professor Cyrus Thomas, who claimed that ‘rain follows the plough’. That theory was thoroughly disproved by the Dust Bowl of the 1920s and 1930s, which caused tremendous hardship among the pioneers attracted to farm the arid regions, and led many of them to migrate even further West.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Senate panel approves website shut-down bill

      The bill, with 17 Senate co-sponsors, is unlikely to pass through the House of Representatives this year, with only a few working days left in the congressional session. After the newly elected Congress meets in January, Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and Judiciary Committee chairman, would have to reintroduce it in the Senate.

    • The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet

      * Patrick J. Leahy — Vermont
      * Herb Kohl — Wisconsin
      * Jeff Sessions — Alabama
      * Dianne Feinstein — California
      * Orrin G. Hatch — Utah
      * Russ Feingold — Wisconsin
      * Chuck Grassley — Iowa
      * Arlen Specter — Pennsylvania
      * Jon Kyl — Arizona
      * Chuck Schumer — New York
      * Lindsey Graham — South Carolina
      * Dick Durbin — Illinois
      * John Cornyn — Texas
      * Benjamin L. Cardin — Maryland
      * Tom Coburn — Oklahoma
      * Sheldon Whitehouse — Rhode Island
      * Amy Klobuchar — Minnesota
      * Al Franken — Minnesota
      * Chris Coons — Delaware

    • Senator Threatens to Block Online Copyright Bill

      Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said late Thursday that he would seek to block the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, or COICA, from passing through the full Senate, unless the legislation is changed. Earlier Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 19-0 to approve the bill and send it to the full Senate.

    • Senator: Web censorship bill a “bunker-busting cluster bomb”

      The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA, S.3804) sets up a system through which the US government can blacklist a pirate website from the Domain Name System, ban credit card companies from processing US payments to the site, and forbid online ad networks from working with the site. It passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 19-0 this week, but it’s never going to pass the Senate before the end of the current Congress.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Internet neutrality?

      With the global hunger for communications constantly growing, problems of traffic management and possible data congestion are inevitably surfacing, inducing some internet providers to impose restrictions on data traffic and online services provided. Does this signal the end of the open, neutral internet? Industry players, consumer associations and regulators met MEPs for a “net neutrality” to discuss quality of service, transparency of terms and conditions and anticompetitive behaviour.

    • Tortoise For Sale

      With net neutrality being an ongoing debate, another angle has just hit me as being open to abuse. The fear people have is about the well known, rich corporate sites being able to pay the ISPs for extra bandwidth, making those sites load quicker for their visitors. Those who can’t afford to pay are left quite literally on the slow lane. Start ups doing anything bandwidth intensive don’t stand a chance. What happens if Company A pays extra to restrict the bandwidth of Company B?

      Imagine if Google paid extra to ensure that all visitors on AT&T who went to Yahoo got served at dial up speeds. That would affect people’s perception of Yahoo negatively and they wouldn’t know why, therefore it’d help Yahoo’s competitors, including Google. Yahoo would then need to cough up money to AT&T to counter the effect, that’s assuming they track it down to the fact that they’re being hobbled by a deal between Google and AT&T. If they do pay up, what are Google paying extra for?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Law and the GeoWeb, a workshop on IP and geographic data in the internet era sponsored by Creative Commons and the United States Geological Survey

      A workshop on “Intellectual Property and Geographic Data in the Internet Era” sponsored by Creative Commons and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in conjunction with the annual meeting of AAG, April 11, 2011, Seattle, Washington. The workshop will be held at the campus of Microsoft Research, and will be streamed live on the Internet.

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-P2P solicitors get a hearing

        SELF-REGULATION of UK lawyers seems to be a very slow affair that is often overtaken by events.

        Before ACS:Law made a name for itself by suing alleged file-swappers in the UK, another legal outfit, Davenport Lyons tried it.

        Two partners from Davenport Lyons, David Gore and Brian Miller were accused of “proceeding recklessly” by demanding cash from thousands of people based upon only an IP address.

        In March the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) decided to look into the case and now has finally decided to have a hearing on 31 May, 2011.

      • UK Court Says Making Available Online Only Happens Where The Server Is Located

        So, here’s the question that some people asked: if you only make the work available, but there is no evidence that a copy was made, then was the copyright infringed? After all, no reproduction was made. No copy was distributed. So, where’s the infringement? Supporters of saying that merely “making available” is infringing claimed that it was the equivalent of distributing because you had effectively offered it up for distribution or reproduction.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA includes confusingly similar trade mark goods

          onfusingly similar trade mark goods. This is bad for access to essential medicines.

          In an answer to a parliamentary question, the EU Commission wrote: “b) on the inappropriate seizures of medicines on the strength of mere allegations that trademarks are similar – the introduction of the concept of “confusingly similar trademark is proposed by one of the ACTA partners but not supported by any of the other;”

          But ACTA lacks a clear footnote like footnote 27 in the EU – Korea free trade agreement, limiting “goods infringing an intellectual property right” to “(a) counterfeit goods (…)”.

          ACTA’s criminal measures are limited to counterfeit goods (as far as trademarks are concerned). Some of the civil trademark measures are limited to counterfeit goods. But ACTA’s Chapter 2 section 3 on border measures is not limited to counterfeit goods. ACTA’s border measures regard suspect goods (art 2.X.1, page 10), and the test is whether the suspect goods infringe an intellectual property right (article 2.10, page 11).

Clip of the Day

Partnering with Red Hat: Virtualization and Cloud

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 19/11/2010: GNOME Outreach Program for Women, Rainbow 0.2

Posted in News Roundup at 4:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Supercomputing Top500 brews discontent

      Like Hollywood’s Academy Awards, the Top500 list of supercomputers is dutifully watched by high-performance computing (HPC) participants and observers, even as they vocally doubt its fidelity to excellence.

      “The Top 500 [uses] an artificial problem — it doesn’t measure about 80 percent of the workloads” that are usually run on supercomputers, said John Hengeveld, director of technical compute marketing for Intel’s Data Center Group, speaking on the sidelines of the Supercomputer 2010 conference this week. “It is not a representative benchmark for the industry.”

  • Kernel Space

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Nepomuk is not fast, is instant!

        Everybody that has been a KDE user for the last 2 years knows Nepomuk and its bad reputation, maybe it was desired in the past, but no more. This morning I decided to get my Nepomuk up and running again, and I have to say that it is impresive! just take a look at this video…

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome 2.32.1 released – Here’s looking to 3.x!

        I’ve always loved the Gnome Desktop Environment – and it’s certainly loved by many others.

        After its first release in 1999 it’s certainly come a long way. I have flirted over the years with a few other DE’s (mostly light weight ones) though I always came back to the Gnome, maybe it’s because what I have chalked up the most time with it and therefore feel most at home. One thing is for certain, I never liked KDE and the specs of my PC really never required me to look at a lighter DE out of a necessity.

      • GNOME Outreach Program for Women plans

        This is my first post after I was added to Planet GNOME (although some of my very old posts have already been displayed on the planet), so, hello planet readers!

        I will be part of GNOME Outreach Program for Women working on Cheese and I will have Thiago Souza Santos as a mentor. I’m really happy about this opportunity. I would like to thank GNOME Foundation, Google and Collabora for sponsoring this, Marina for organizing it and Daniel Siegel for helping me through application and giving me the great ideas to work on.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Android

        • Woz: Android will eventually beat the iPhone [Update]
        • Steve Wozniak: Android will be the dominant smartphone platform
        • Did Google Arm Its Own Enemies With Android?

          Google was surely celebrating recently when Gartner reported that Android handsets outshipped Apple’s iPhone by close to a 2:1 margin. Given Apple’s head start in the market, it certainly is an impressive feat. But Google may regret the strategic choices that have led to this victory over Apple. To achieve the “win,” Google may have unwittingly created and trained a mercenary army of hardware manufacturers, willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder—whether that be Google, Baidu or Bing.

          There is no doubt that Google understands the importance of the mobile web. A large part of Google’s future will rely on advertising revenue driven by mobile devices, which is likely a key reason why Google decided to go into competition with its one-time ally, Apple.

        • It’s Gonna Be an Android World and We’ll Just Live in It

          While it’s been dawning on us for some time that Android is a beast, each day seems to bring new confirmation that the monster shows no signs of letting up. Android mobile ad impressions drew even with iOS for the first time, according to Millennial Media (PDF). The largest independent ad network said Android OS is tied with iOS with a 37 percent share of ad impressions. That’s a big change from last month, when iOS represented 46 percent of impressions while Android grabbed 29 percent.

        • Did Google Arm Its Own Enemies With Android?

          Google was surely celebrating recently when Gartner reported that Android handsets outshipped Apple’s iPhone by close to a 2:1 margin. Given Apple’s head start in the market, it certainly is an impressive feat. But Google may regret the strategic choices that have led to this victory over Apple. To achieve the “win,” Google may have unwittingly created and trained a mercenary army of hardware manufacturers, willing to sell themselves to the highest bidder—whether that be Google, Baidu or Bing.

          There is no doubt that Google understands the importance of the mobile web. A large part of Google’s future will rely on advertising revenue driven by mobile devices, which is likely a key reason why Google decided to go into competition with its one-time ally, Apple.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free Software Parable

    “What’s in this food?”

    “You’ll like it. Just eat it.”

    “I want to know what’s in it.”

    “That is none of your business. It’s healthy. Eat it.”

    “Healthy? By whose standards?”

    “Our standards. Trust us.”

    “I trust my judgement, not yours. I demand to know what I’m putting in my body. I paid for the food. It belongs to me. I will analyze it myself.”

    “We have patents on the chemicals, machines, and processes that made the food. We have copyrights on the formulas and algorithms needed to make the food. You cannot examine it without our consent, which we do not give.”

  • Open source ‘community’ doesn’t exist

    Unfortunately, this is a sub-culture that won’t go away. The result is that there’s no real community, and this is because ‘community’ is too loose a term to describe the many different kinds of people who use open source software.

    It’s a word that may help the open source propaganda machine, but it doesn’t help the sustainability and growth of free software. There is no such thing as a single, homogeneous Linux group.

    It’s a term that implies a shared goal and some kind of kinship, when there is none. It’s a term that implies cooperation and cohesion, when there’s just too much conflict and disagreement for this to happen.

    Instead, there are disparate groups of individuals, businesses and enterprises, as with any other operating system.

    Each group may contain those noble elements of kindness that have helped to make Linux such a success, but to describe the entire collection as a community is wrong.

  • Open thread: How do you describe open source to the uninitiated?

    It happens all the time. You’re at a party, someone asks about your work, and yet again, you have about 45 seconds to describe one of the greatest innovations in human history.

    There’s the public utility metaphor. The shared infrastructure “like a bridge or a road” idea. Waterworks. Rural electric co-op’s.The car with the hood welded shut. The Wikipedia analogy. The scholarly tradition. Libraries. The scientific method. Bucket brigades, quilting bees, and barn raisings. Seed banks and sustainable agriculture.

  • First user test data synchronization between CiviCRM and Oracle transaction system at De Goede Woning

    For our project at De Goede Woning we have been developing a data synchronization process between CiviCRM and their main transaction system in Oracle (comparable with an ERP). Some data for a contact (first name, middle name, last name, gender and birth date), phones, emails and addresses will be common between the two, so a change, create or delete in CiviCRM will have to be synchronized with the main transaction system and vice versa.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rainbow 0.2 is here!

        In the spirit of releasing early and releasing often – we are proud to bring you version 0.2 of Rainbow – an experimental Firefox add-on from Mozilla Labs that exposes audio and video recording capabilities to web pages.

      • Mozilla Open Data Visualization Contest – Data is Now Available!

        Two weeks ago the Mozilla Metrics Team, together with Mozilla Labs and the growing Mozilla Research Initiative, announced our first Open Data Visualization Competition. Today, we are excited to release the data sets for this competition!

      • Mozilla Open Data Visualization Competition – Data is Now Live!

        Two weeks ago Mozilla Labs, together with Mozilla Metrics team and the growing Mozilla Research Initiative, announced our first Open Data Visualization Competition. Today, we are excited to release the data sets for this competition!

        These data sets come from Mozilla’s own open data program, Test Pilot. Test Pilot is a user research platform that collects structured user data through Firefox. Currently, over 1 million Firefox users from all over the world participate in Test Pilot studies, which aim to explore how people use their web browser and the Internet in general

      • Mozilla Open Data Visualization Contest – Data is Now Available!

        Two weeks ago the Mozilla Metrics Team, together with Mozilla Labs and the growing Mozilla Research Initiative, announced our first Open Data Visualization Competition. Today, we are excited to release the data sets for this competition!

      • Community interviews: Tom Ellins (TMZ)

        At Mozilla we have an amazingly strong community that really makes up the core of the project. However, the incredible work of our core contributors is often not visible to the rest of our community. At SUMO we want to change that. Inspired by Matthew Helmke’s great interview series, we started to interview different members of our SUMO community to give you a glimpse into their life and work. In this installment we will hear from Tom Ellins, also known as tmz on IRC. Tom is a long time contributor, helping countless of Firefox users in live chat sessions.

      • The State of Mozilla

        Total assets as of December 31, 2009 were $143 million compared with $116 million at the end of 2008, an increase of 23 percent. Unrestricted net assets at the end of 2009 were $120 million compared with $94 million in 2008, a 28 percent increase. The restricted assets remain the same as last year: a “tax reserve fund” established in 2005 for a portion of the revenue the Mozilla Foundation received that year from the search engine providers. As noted last year, the IRS has opened an audit of the Mozilla Foundation. We do not yet have a good feel for how long this process will take or the overall scope of what will be involved.

      • State of Mozilla and 2009 Financial Statements
      • Mozilla Labs Night “Gaming Special” – Agent 008 Ball Presentation

        October’s Mozilla Labs Night “Gaming Special meetup was a fun and informative evening to learn more about how to build games with Open Web technologies. One of the speakers at the event was Kevin Moore from Pixel Lab. Here is the video we captured of him talking about Agent 008 Ball, an HTML5-based game.

  • SaaS

    • Cloud Computing 101, p2

      A different categorization of clouds is private vs public. Private simply means that the cloud infrastructure is built in-house behind the firewall. For example you could turn your corporate datacenter into a private cloud. The benefits being, you gain better efficiency and datacenter utilization across different departments as well as being able to provide an elastic and fast response to your enterprise’s departmental IT needs. Should you want to start playing with a private cloud solution, Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud is a good start.

  • Databases

    • Comparing MySQL and Postgres 9.0 Replication

      Replication is one of the most popular features used in RDBMS’s today.


      As was previously stated, for many application use cases, both Oracle’s MySQL and PostgreSQL replication will be an equally good choice. The best way to determine which is right for you is to download both and put each through a comprehensive evaluation.

  • Education

    • Frontiers in Education: A recap

      A number of folks from the Teaching Open Source community had a panel at the Frontiers in Education 2010 conference, which is attended by college and university professors interested in improving engineering education. The panel’s main thesis was that participating in FOSS communities was one way to give students a better educational experience.

  • Licensing

    • Contributor Agreements Say Your Contribution Is Unwelcome

      The conversation around LWN’s coverage of Michael Meeks’ talk at the Linux Plumbers Conference (sadly paywalled until now but available today and worth reading all the way through) provoked interesting comments. The subject of the discussion is LibreOffice and the code ownership issues which provoked the fork.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Law, the internet and society

      Changes in law and technology, largely invisible to the general public and widely misunderstood by policymakers in the public and private sectors, are having a fundamental impact on our society. The aim of this unit is to provide an appreciation of how the internet paved the way for an explosion of innovation. You will explore some of the changes in the law and internet technology that have resulted from the reaction to that innovation. You will also consider the implications of these changes for society.

    • Open Data

      • Developers

        The blockers are:

        * closed public data
        * procurement
        * change

        Developers are indeed talented, and worthy of enormous academic respect – such as people reserve for scientists or those people on CSI. And yes, there are some developers who are so excited and driven by their talent that they will more than happily talk for hours, or work for a while – for free – explaining why they love their subject and how they could revolutionise the way the world works. Just as there are those who know how to code and do that as a day job, are brilliant and talented but it is a job and no more, and those who push and grow their talent to become super-developers, world-renowned futurologists and/or billionaires.

      • The British Library’s National Bibliography is Open! Join in the party.

        Open Streetmap has 250,000 volunteers. There are already lots of volunteers creating openly accessible bibliographic entries [1].

        How many books do YOU have on your shelves? Are they in the catalogue? Let us know if this excites you.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Tippr Proposes “Open Deal Format”, A Standard For The Group Buying Industry

      Tippr, which provides white-label services for group buying, is proposing a new potential technology standard for the group buying industry today, dubbed the “Open Deal Format” or ODF. The company is inviting interested parties, which include group buying service providers, publishers and social networks, to a meeting in Seattle next month.


  • Twitter’s @Ev: Ad Money Good, Facebook Blocking Bad

    Twitter’s Evan Williams reminded the Valley Wednesday that Google isn’t the only company being stymied by Facebook’s stranglehold on user identity.

    Journalist John Battelle publicly asked Williams if Facebook would ever import Twitter’s firehose of data.

    Williams shot back, “You’ll have to ask Mark that. You missed your opportunity,” referring to Batelle’s interview with Zuckerberg just 24 hours earlier on the same stage in San Francisco at the Web 2.0 Summit conference.

  • Twitter Calculates Reputation Scores for Each User
  • Twitter Has A (Secret) Reputation Score For Every User

    Whoah. Onstage at Web 2.0 Summit, Twitter founder Evan Williams revealed, when asked by interviewer John Battelle “How do you pick ‘Who to Follow’?,” that Twitter has a private reputation score for every user.

    According to Williams, Twitter’s “science and math people” have systems which gauge who you follow and who the people you follow follow and try to find ‘Who to Follow’ relevance in that overlap. He didn’t make it clear how individual user reputation score was measured.

  • A Look at the Kind Heart of One of the Most Influential Communities on the Internet

    Reddit.com, the popular news aggregator and social media site owned by Condé Nast Digital, has become quite a powerhouse of social and cultural clout in recent years. Founded in 2005 by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, the site was originally intended to be much like other social news forums. Contributors submit links to stories, or they can post original content. Other users then comment on the stories, and discussion ensues.

  • O’Brien: A dark trend runs through this year’s Web 2.0 tech summit

    The names of the culprits are familiar, and include Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.com. Each has assumed a dominant position in their respective markets — mobile, search, social networking, e-commerce — and are focused on how to defend their turf while infiltrating their rivals’ territory.

    We, the consumers, are caught in the crossfire. We’re likely to see fewer new products (like Twitter) and more services aimed mainly at locking us into the new Internet titans (I’d count Facebook’s new message service in this category).

  • Have we lost common sense over social networking sites?

    When Bill NyeBill Nye popularly know as Science Guy collapsed, witnesses tweets. Bill Nye, collapsed on stage before reaching the podium at a presentation at the University of Southern California, witnesses instead of coming to his aid pulls out their electronics and tweets it.

    Have we became so infatuated with electronics and the social networks until we forget common sense, helping someone in trouble?

    Reports show Twitter revealed a virtual play-by-play account of the incident. One student wrote, “Bill Nye tripped on his computer cord while speaking at USC, was out for abt 5 secs, got back up, spoke w/ slurred speech and fainted.”

  • Fox News outs Beatles as ‘Manchester’s favorite mopheads’

    FoxNews.com has got its knickers in a twist about the birthplace of some pop band called the Beatles.

  • Top Trends of 2010: Content Farms

    The Web has always rewarded quantity more than quality, but over 2010 this truism became even more pronounced with the growth of Content Farms. These are companies which create thousands of pieces of content per day. Much of it is in the form of how-to articles and is often referred to as “evergreen” informational content, because it’s relevant for much longer than news.

  • Will China’s 1999 Moment Bail-Out Some Valley VCs?

    Yes, China is taking over the world. Or at least the Internet.

  • How China swallowed 15% of ‘Net traffic for 18 minutes

    In a 300+ page report (PDF) today, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission provided the US Congress with a detailed overview of what’s been happening in China—including a curious incident in which 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic suddenly passed through Chinese servers on the way to its destination.

  • China denies ‘hijacking’ internet traffic

    US report claims Chinese telecoms company had access to 15% of global traffic, including military emails, for 18 minutes

  • Some numbers from the Sita Distribution Project
  • Some Stats on Sina Weibo

    Sina’s popular Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo (Weibo means microblogging in Chinese) is becoming one of the most exciting product to Sina, and also to China’s app developers. In first China Weibo Developer Conference held in this Tuesday, over 2000 people attended it.

  • Science

    • Squealing on My Bacteria and Virus Overlords

      I hope I don’t get into trouble squealing on my bacteria and virus overlords. For reasons I will show later, I think that bacteria and viruses control our bodies even more than our brains do.

      Consider first that bacteria make up between 2 and 9 pounds of our body weight. This number doesn’t fluctuate that much.

      Viruses fluctuate more. When you have a cold, obviously there are more viruses than when you don’t. So we can’t say exactly how many pounds viruses add to this equation.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • How to Fly Without Airport Security!

      The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have recently imposed new methods of inspecting travelers. These new methods include full body scans and intrusive pat-downs that some liken to being molested or groped. If a traveler refuses to have high resolution nude images taken of their body, their second option is to be inappropriately touched. This new groping technique includes children, the elderly, the injured, and even pilots. These rules and the TSA’s methods have made air travel a painful reminder that George Orwell’s 1984 was only off by 26 years or so.

    • TSA plans modest changes to ‘virtual strip searches’

      An Internet-fueled backlash against air traveler screening is growing amid signs that the Transportation Security Agency will consider slight changes to its controversial new procedures.

      TSA administrator John Pistole said today that the agency will be “announcing some new policies” in the “near future” that will change the screening process for pilots, who have protested being forced to choose between a “virtual strip search” or an invasive pat-down a few minutes before they’re handed the controls of a 975,000-pound kerosene-fueled missile in the form of a jumbo jet. (See our previous coverage.)

    • The TSA: Stupid, Owned, or Complicit?

      I have long been in Bruce Schneier’s camp, thinking that the TSA is a joke: nothing but security theater.

    • White House Says Child Soldiers Are Ok, If They Fight Terrorists

      The phenomenon of child soldiers, like genocide, slavery and torture, seems like one of those crimes that no nation could legitimately defend. Yet the Obama administration just decided to leave countless kids stranded on some of the world’s bloodiest battlegrounds.


      A thumbs-up for child soldiers from the pen of President Obama? Whitehouse spokesperson P.J. Crowley explained it was a strategic decision to ease the 2008 law. The rationale is that on balance, it’s more effective for the U.S. to keep providing military assistance that will help countries gradually evolve out of the practice of marshaling kids to the battlefield, rather than isolating them.

    • Lawsuit: Airport search indecent

      An Amarillo woman is suing the federal government for intentional infliction of emotional distress after Transportation Security Administration agents allegedly humiliated the woman when her breasts were publicly exposed during an “extended search” two years ago at a Corpus Christi airport.

    • Another TSA Outrage

      It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. Of course, the weapons weren’t loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs.

      The TSA personnel at the airport seriously considered making us unload all of the baggage from the SECURE cargo hold to have it reinspected. Keep in mind, this cargo had been unpacked, inspected piece by piece by U.S. Customs officials, resealed and had bomb-sniffing dogs give it a one-hour run through. After two hours of sitting in this holding area, the TSA decided not to reinspect our Cargo–just to inspect us again: Soldiers on the way home from war, who had already been inspected, reinspected and kept in a SECURE holding area for 2 hours. Ok, whatever. So we lined up to go through security AGAIN.

      This is probably another good time to remind you all that all of us were carrying actual assault rifles, and some of us were also carrying pistols.

      So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers.

    • ‘Naked’ scanners fooled by creased clothing

      Controversial “naked” body scanners currently being tested at Hamburg’s airport are constantly malfunctioning due to folds in passengers’ clothing, broadcaster NDR reported on Tuesday.

    • Jimmy Wales: “If I Had Some Information, The Last Thing I Would Do Is Send It To Wikileaks”

      There is definitely some bad blood between Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Wikileaks, the controversial organization which posted thousands of pages of classified Iraqi War documents. On the Charlie Rose last night, towards the end of his interview, Wales says, “If I had some information, the last thing I would ever do with it is send it to Wiikileaks.”

      He prefaced that remark by noting that he has “mixed feelings about Wikileaks.” People with information about wrongdoing in open societies should have the opportunity to make that information public. His concern is the way that Wikileaks chose to do that without regard for the safety of people “who are not the wrongdoers.” ” I think they should be slower in releasing things,” he says.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Oil shock warning to government from UK business

      An industry taskforce has called on the government to act to protect the UK economy against a new threat of rising oil prices.

      A consortium of British business, including retailers Kingfisher and transport group, Stagecoach, say the UK must prepare for the next oil shock.

    • New Zealand Orcas Captured Surfing in Gigantic Waves

      The newest Giant Swell that arrived to the shores of New Zealand Brought unlikely visitors.

      The Orca Whales came into the waves along the coast and rode them like a veteran surfer.

    • Feds’ Transgenic-Salmon Review Ignores Big Picture

      When the Food and Drug Administration announces the fate of the AquAdvantage salmon, the first genetically modified (GM) animal ever considered for commercial consumption, they may have considered only a fraction of their decision’s consequences.

      So far the FDA has focused on whether or not the salmon are safe to eat or might escape and breed with wild fish. They haven’t yet considered how GM salmon could affect, for better or worse, public dietary habits or the fallout of a boom in fish farming.

  • Finance

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • MPAA Dismisses COICA Free Speech Concerns

      MPAA chief Bob Pisano wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in today’s TheHill.com, evangelizing the highly suspect legislation “The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act”. Slyck has covered the potential perils of the COICA, as have many other pro-democracy organizations (such as the EFF), as the details of a potential Internet and free speech filter come to the United States.

      The big problem with COICA is that it gives tremendous amounts of power to the US Attorney General to shut websites down with little more than filing a complaint with the local district court that has jurisdiction over the registrar’s address. Sure, there’s some judicial review, but how often will the courts disagree with the Department of Justice when they wave the banner of copyright infringement? We just don’t know, which makes this bill all the more frightening.

    • Judiciary Committee Approves Internet Censorship Bill
    • MPAA Boss Defends Censorships With Blatantly False Claims

      What the First Amendment does protect is speech. The law does already allow takedowns of infringing content. But COICA goes beyond that. Rather than — as the First Amendment requires — narrowly tailoring any takedown or injunction to the actual infringing content, it orders the entire site taken down prior to any trial. That’s a classic situation of prior restraint, where the specifically infringing content is not specified and narrowly taken down. Instead, it’s using a shotgun to try to remove a bandaid.

    • Wyden Threatens To Block Online IP Bill

      Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Thursday threatened to block legislation aimed at curbing piracy and counterfeiting on foreign Web sites, saying the bill is a heavy-handed solution to the problem.

      “It seems to me the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act as written today, is the wrong medicine,” Wyden, the chairman of the Finance International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness Subcommittee, said during a hearing on international trade and the digital economy. “Deploying this statute to combat online copyright and infringement seems almost like a bunker buster cluster bomb when really what you need is a precision-guided missile.”

    • Giving Every Person A Voice

      When I started blogging back in 2003, I would tell everyone how awesome it was. A common refrain back then was “not everyone should have a printing press.” I didn’t agree then and I don’t agree now. Everyone should have a printing press and should use it as often as they see fit. Through things like RSS and Twitter’s follow model, we can subscribe to the voices we want to hear regularly. And through things like reblog and retweet, the voices we don’t subscribe to can get into our readers, dashboards, and timelines.

    • Long Live the Web

      The Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our continued prosperity—and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs defending

    • Guest post: Clegg re-affirms his commitment to Civil Liberties

      In a keynote speech at the Political Studies Association/Hansard Society Annual Lecture on Tuesday evening, Nick Clegg spoke of the protection of civil liberties as being one of the core elements of the modern British Constitution.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • UK regulator Ofcom lobbies Brussels against net neutrality

      Lobbyists from the UK regulator Ofcom have been active in the European Parliament, against net neutrality. How can this be consistent with their role as regulator, and their duty to promote the ability of citizens to access and distribute content, applications and services?

      According to sources in the European Parliament, lobbyists from Ofcom have been calling in person on MEPs recently to discuss the issue of net neutrality. In particular, it is understood that Ofcom opposes a principle of net neutrality being built into EU law.

    • Internet Neutrality Principle
    • The Next Front: Net Neutrality

      There was good news for Digital Britain last week when the High Court agreed to review the Digital Economy Act following a petition by BT and TalkTalk. After the legislation was rushed through Parliament in the wash-up this spring and seemed to be moving inexorably toward enforcement, this was an encouraging development for those of us who believe that the Act’s copyright infringement provisions are both disproportionate and detrimental to technological innovation in the UK. Enforcement of the Act will now be delayed for at least a few months (rumour has it that Ofcom will even delay publication of its Initial Obligations Code, which was expected in the last few weeks, until after the judicial review process has taken place), and depending on the outcome of the review it’s very possible that the whole Act will have to go back to Parliament and, with our and others’ pressure, receive due consideration this time around.

    • Peter Gabriel joins voices backing net neutrality in UK

      The UK government’s plans to abandon net neutrality threaten British business startups and if taken up elsewhere could undermine democracy, says Peter Gabriel, the influential musician and technology entrepreneur who has backed a number of successful internet companies.

      “I feel very strongly about it,” said Gabriel, who has invested in a number of companies, including Bath-based The Filter and On Demand Distribution (OD2). “Freedom of access [to information online] is going to be an important battleground. It’s vital to a free and open democracy: [net neutrality] serves everybody.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • James Murdoch: Hoping All Media Businesses Act Like Pay TV

      The more the interview went on, the more I realized that Murdoch appears to view much of the media world through that lens, and seems to saying that, in the end, the media world will end up like a giant pay TV system, with a big subscription. I think this is more wishful thinking, rather than where the internet is actually heading, and treating the internet that way will almost certainly result in failure — such as with his paywall experiments.

    • Copyrights

      • Legal Attack on Internet Music Storage Threatens ‘Safe Harbor’ Rules for Online Businesses

        New York – In a legal battle over Internet music storage that could impact innovation and free expression on the Internet, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Public Knowledge, and other public interest groups asked a federal judge in an amicus brief Tuesday to protect the “safe harbor” rules for online content in EMI v. MP3Tunes.

      • p2pnet talks with Operation Payback

        In a world where there’s no honour or pride, where lies, bribes and deceit are the normal tools of daily business and politics, an assembly of Anonymous netizens is saying We’ve had enough.

        Under the Operation Payback banner, they launched a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the the US Copyright Office, Hollywood’s MPAA, Big Music’s RIAA and BPI and other ‘trade’ groups, and the jackal-like lawyers using copyright to extort ordinary people.

      • Anti-Piracy Lawyers Knew They Targeted Innocent Victims

        Davenport Lyons, the law firm which pioneered the lucrative file-sharing pay-up-or-else scheme in the UK, will head off to Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal proceedings next year. According to details just made available, among other things Davenport Lyons partners were responsible for knowingly targeting the innocent and relied on unreliable evidence in doing so.

      • Canadian Heritage Minister inadvertently damns his own copyright bill

        Michael Geist sez, “Canadian Heritage James Moore appeared on public television yesterday to defend his copyright bill and to oppose a new levy system. In doing so, he made the case for why the digital lock provisions in the bill are so problematic. According to Moore: ‘When I buy a movie, I’ve paid for the movie. To ask me to pay for it a second time through another device – and to assume that I’m doing illegal copying, to assume that I’m being a pirate, to assume that I’m thieving from people because I happen to own an MP3 player or a BluRay player or a laptop, I think treats consumers unfairly.’

        “While Moore was thinking of the prospect of additional payments through a levy, the words apply equally to the digital lock provisions that make it an infringement for consumers to circumvent locks in order to watch the movie they’ve purchased on a second device. In fact, in some instances – for example, DVDs with non-North American region codes – it involves infringement for merely trying to access the content for the first time.”

      • Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore on How Copyright Can Treat Consumers Unfairly

        According to Moore:

        When I buy a movie, I’ve paid for the movie. To ask me to pay for it a second time through another device – and to assume that I’m doing illegal copying, to assume that I’m being a pirate, to assume that I’m thieving from people because I happen to own an MP3 player or a BluRay player or a laptop, I think treats consumers unfairly.

      • ACTA

        • A Peek Inside the EU’s Digital Inner Circle

          Another area I explored with Whelan was ACTA. Although this didn’t come under the Digital Agenda umbrella directly, it obviously has major implications for it. Not surprisingly, he offered the standard EC line that ACTA won’t require any changes in EU laws, and it’s true that some of the more peremptory language in the drafts has been replaced by phrases that give more leeway to the signatories. But he did point out that there are several copyright initiatives underway or imminent whose thinking may well be influenced by ACTA, so we will need to make sure plenty of input is provided when these are announced.

Clip of the Day

Partnering with Red Hat: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

Credit: TinyOgg

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