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Links 17/9/2010: Software Freedom Day, Firefox 4 Preview Raves

Posted in News Roundup at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • 4 Ways to Give Desktop Linux a Test-Drive

      That desktop Linux offers myriad compelling advantages for business users is no longer the subject of much debate. All that remains for many Windows users is to give it a try.

    • Have Courage, Linux Noobs

      Using Linux is “almost natural, but you still need to poke around to be really fluent — just as in any OS with a lot of features,” Pogson added.

      “I have exposed Grade 1 kids to GNU /Linux GNOME desktops, and after they learned to click a mouse they were off to the races,” he recounted. “They were the only humans able to max out that terminal server.”

  • Server

    • Should Red Hat Be Worried About Amazon Linux AMI?

      Red Hat is facing another competition from Amazon on form of Linux AMI. Amazon has announced the availability of the Amazon Linux AMI.

      The Amazon Linux AMI is a supported and maintained Linux image provided by Amazon Web Services for use on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). “It is designed to provide a stable, secure, and high performance execution environment for applications running on Amazon EC2,” claims Evangelist Jeff Barr in his blog post.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Why Broadcom’s Release May be More Significant than Just Code

        On September 9 the news of Broadcom’s release of the code for some of its wireless Ethernet chip sets sent shockwaves throughout the Linux community. Broadcom owners, as well as distribution developers have a reason to celebrate.

        In the past, Broadcom owners had to resort to NDISwrapper or rely upon the limited reversed engineered drivers. Neither was optimal. The release of the code by Broadcom should eventually mean a much better Wi-Fi experience for owners of systems with Broadcom chip sets. But for those that like to read between the lines there may also be a deeper significance to this move.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The future of KDE instant messaging is happening now

        Kopete was initially very innovative, at least in its goals: to communicate with people, while leaving the IM network as a channel. We brought the concepts of “metacontacts” (bad naming), but basically you say people in your contact list, no matter if they were available on MSN, ICQ, or both.

        Today I have a telephone with internet 24/7 in my pocket and I can IM on the bus. I don’t choose IM networks as a soccer team, but rely on them because I have friends on various of them. Just like I use twitter for “geeky stuff” while Facebook is a more “relaxed” environment.

      • Edit Your Films In Ubuntu, Use New Kdenlive

        Ubuntu is one of the most popular, powerful and useful operating systems of the world. While Mac is locked to Apple machines and Windows is expensive and vulnerable to viruses and attacks, Ubuntu is the only operating systems which has all the merits — its highly secure, free of cost and can run on Apple machines as well.

  • Distributions

    • Fat or thin, it’s your choice.

      The point here is that, no matter what Linux distribution you start from, you can make it do anything, be anything or look like anything. If wished you can take an Ubuntu installation and have it look, feel and perform like a Fedora distribution. Or you can take a Fedora installation and have it as slim and trim as Puppy Linux.

    • Looking at Fedora 14 and Ubuntu 10.10

      Both releases seem to be shaping up well, if very differently — as befitting the focus of the distributions and projects. Ubuntu 10.10 is a polished consumer OS that is well-suited for users who are new to Linux, or just prefer a desktop system that’s easy to use. Fedora’s developer-centric approach makes for an OS that is easy enough to use, but better suited for developers or experienced users who want to tinker with technologies before they make an official appearance in RHEL and other distributions. Ubuntu, on the other hand, is the end result of development rather than the beginning. Many of the changes in 10.10, e.g. the Ubuntu One improvements and the application indicators, are unlikely to show up in other distributions (excepting, perhaps, Linux Mint).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat looks out of area for HQ-size space

        Red Hat Inc., one of the Triangle’s high-profile companies, is scouting for sites in other states where officials may also be wooing the open-source software developer to move its headquarters from Raleigh.

      • Smartrend’S Candlestick Scanner Detects Bearish Engulfing Pattern For Red Hat (RHT)

        SmarTrend issued an Uptrend alert on shares of Red Hat on August 23, 2010 at $33.03 per share (13.4% return since that call). This bearish candle pattern may point to a reversal of the previously called Uptrend.

      • Fedora

        • Momonga Linux 7 review

          Momonga is a Linux distribution based on Fedora. It is a community-developed distribution with roots in Japan (the name is derived from a species of flying squirrel found in Europe and parts of Asia). Like Fedora, it is a multi-purpose distribution, a Free distribution, with a script that makes it easy to build and install non-free applications

    • Debian Family

      • Squeeze in a jam?

        I put this down to being a complete noob, and reinstalled Lenny. Later I learnt that the upgrade has to be staged- certain packages have to be updated before doing a full upgrade, otherwise the upgrade falls down.
        Recently I saw a post on the Debian forum which suggested that an upgrade was now a relatively simple process- involving just a kernel upgrade before a full upgrade, so I thought I’d give it a go.

      • Ubuntu 10.10 – Wallpaper, and a few notes

        In the process of doing some other things, I have just noticed that those who thought the “Barf Bag” wallpaper that showed up in Ubuntu 10.10 Beta was just a “placeholder” were probably correct.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo Developer Day – Day 2 at IDF

          Sunil Saxena spent some time reviewing the MeeGo Architecture, along with our current thoughts on how we plan to define MeeGo compliance. The MeeGo compliance spec is still being developed, so now is a good time to review it and provide feedback.

          Bill Pearson was the next presenter talking about AppUp and the Intel AppUp Developer Program, which helps developers focus on what matters: platform sexiness, making money, getting recognition, and low friction deployment, while Intel helps with boring things like validation. Developers can create applications or components that they can sell to other developers. In addition to revenue from selling applications, the Million Dollar Development Fund provides additional incentives. Robust analytics are also available on the developer dashboards, to learn more about how your application is selling.

          Rajiv Ranganath gave us an overview of Qt, which has over 350,000 commercial and open source developers.

        • Day 1: Intel AppUp Elements 2010
        • Day 2: Intel AppUp Elements 2010
      • Android

        • Android lockdown: Thanks Linus

          The current lockdown of Linux based devices (including Android phones, TiVo, and many many consumer devices) is due, simply, to the Linux developers’ unwillingness to update their code to the GPLv3 license. We* contribute to Linux, Linux is taken for use in Android (and remains Open and Free), and then the phone manufacturers take our work and lock it up and sell it to us with reduced functionality. Big thanks, manufacturers.

        • Android Continues to Gobble Up Smartphone Share
    • Tablets

      • High-end Avaya Android-powered Table PC Unveiled

        Avaya, an enterprise communications systems company, just announced a high-end table PC that is primarily designed for business conferencing. Called the Avaya Flare, the device has an Intel Atom processor and runs Android operating system. It is said to make use of Avaya unified communications software utilizing a new interface called Flare User Experience and features Aura Conferencing and the Linux-based Avaya Aura Messaging software.

      • ViewSonic and Samsung tablets are U.S.-bound

        Viewsonic demonstrated a 10.1-inch, Android 2.2 “G-Tablet” that’s bound for U.S. sales, powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2. Meanwhile, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless say they’ll offer the Android 2.2-based Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet this fall.

      • Asus U35JC review

        OS Tested: Ubuntu 10.04.1

Free Software/Open Source

  • How do you find and choose free software?

    So you’ve got your GNU/Linux based box. You’ve installed the base system and you’re good to go. Welcome to the world of freedom. But then what? How do you determine what packages to install. How do you decide which of the alternatives to go with?

  • A Quick Look at OpenIndiana

    OpenSolaris is dead, but OpenIndiana lives on. Just a few weeks after Oracle made it clear that OpenSolaris was dead as a doornail, the Illumos and OpenIndiana folks have a distribution ready for the OpenSolaris community that’s been left in a lurch by Oracle.

    The code dropped on Tuesday, so I haven’t had a lot of time to muck with OpenIndiana yet. I spent a few hours with the live CD and installed it into VMware.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 update moves link previews to awesome bar

        Clearly, the status bar’s days are numbered. Even Internet Explorer 9 has removed the bottom-dwelling bar in favor of inline tooltips.

        Now, in the latest updates to Firefox 4, Mozilla’s browser has moved status bar link previews to the right-hand side of the Awesome Bar. Hover a link, and the destination URL appears in soft, gray text. Sure, it looks OK when you’re currently viewing a page with a nice, short URL — but what about on something like an Amazon product page? Take the jump to see!

      • Firefox 4 Preview – Foxy, sharp and fast!

        I think Firefox 4 is a very smart product. It looks better than 3.6 overall, tabs on top or without them, it feels faster, it has lots of useful features, and it’s got the Web 2.0 bling bling. Linux beta lags a step behind, but that’s understandable. Performance is good in all aspects, with major improvements in responsiveness. Memory consumption is fairly modest. Firefox 4 is a pleasant addition to the browser arsenal.

        Firefox 4 is a plenty of good, old stuff and a sprinkling of new to make you feel young and excited again. Mozilla, good job. Even the revolutionary stuff is done with style and moderation to make a hot-headed conservative like me smile. You should look forward to the next release. Firefox 4 is going to be a superb browser.

      • Mozilla releases Thunderbird updates

        One day after it released updates for its Firefox web browser, the Mozilla Project has issued versions 3.1.4 and 3.0.8 of Thunderbird, the latest stable and legacy branch updates of its popular open source email client. According to the developers, the latest maintenance updates improve the applications overall stability and address several user experience concerns found in the previous stable branch release.

      • Mozilla releases new “Kraken” browser benchmark

        Mozilla software engineer Rob Sayre has announced the release of “Kraken”, a new browser benchmark. The developer says that unlike other browser benchmarks, such as SunSpider, V8 and Dromaeo, Kraken focuses on realistic workloads and on forward-looking applications.

  • CMS

  • Business


    • Celebrate Software Freedom Day with the LibrePlanet community

      Saturday, September 18th is Software Freedom Day, a worldwide celebration of user freedom. It’s a great opportunity not only to introduce new people to free software, but to connect with other free software activists in your area or online.

      But what about the day after? How can we sustain these links? How can we make sure that people in your area who hear about free software can find a local community to connect with?

    • want to work on Bazaar?

      Now we’re looking for a very good software engineer to join the Bazaar team at Canonical, working both on the core tool itself and on how it’s used by Ubuntu developers.

    • A month of the Hurd: Media Appearances, procfs, Arch Hurd.

      Finally, amongst other bug fixing and other development work by the usual suspects, we had a short review of what the current Hurd contributors still need to use a GNU/Hurd system for most of their day-to-day tasks. This may help to prioritize the development efforts.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Developing films the open source way

      In a world where movies are produced on budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars, at a time when studios expect a huge return on their investment, in an industry where the opening weekend can make or break a film–one man refuses to live by society’s (or the movie industry’s) rules. One man is willing to put it all on the line and do something different. Something daring. Something… free.


      The key idea to take away here is freedom: freedom of the consumer to see what they’re paying for before they spend their money. This empowers the viewer, letting them control where they spend their money. Rather than spending their money up front before watching a film, they can see the work for free. As a result, more people are likely to watch the film, or listen to the music.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Power to the PC: How to Select a Computer Power Supply
  • Security/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Kaufman Says `Something Rotten’ in Commodity Markets: Video

      Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) — Frederick Kaufman, a professor at College of Staten Island, Alexia Howard, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Dennis DeLaughter, the owner of Progressive Farm Marketing Inc., and Alex Wittenberg, a partner at Oliver Wyman, talk about agricultural futures and commodity markets. They speak with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.” (This is an excerpt. Source: Bloomberg)

    • Setting the Agenda

      That’s what journalists are supposed to do: Set the agenda. Rarely, however, do we get the headlines. But last night, on Bloomberg TV, the Food Bubble came through . . .

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The Internet Freedom Fallacy and the Arab Digital activism

      This article focuses on grassroots digital activism in the Arab world and the risks of what seems to be an inevitable collusion with U.S foreign policy and interests. It sums up the most important elements of the conversation I have been having for the last 2 years with many actors involved in defending online free speech and the use of technology for social and political change. While the main focus is Arab digital activism, I have made sure to include similar concerns raised by activists and online free speech advocates from other parts of the world, such as China, Thailand, and Iran.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Red tape snarls rural Internet firm

      Ottawa tells Peace Region ISP that it’s not Canadian enough for new slice of spectrum

    • Tens of thousands could be priced out of broadband after Government announcement on file sharing code

      Up to £500m will be taken out of the UK economy according to the Government’s announcement today about the cost sharing for the letter writing regime following the Digital Economy Act. The BIS cost order confirms the 75/25 split of costs between rightholders and ISPs.

      ISPs will of course pass on these costs to their customers. According to the Government’s own estimates that means that up to 96,000 individuals will not be able to afford an internet connection anymore.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • BSA’s Latest Study on Piracy and Economic Benefits “Shockingly Misleading”

      When IT Business’s Brian Jackson asked me for a comment, I noted that such estimates were notoriously speculative (see Glyn Moody on this) and that the BSA would do far better to tell us how much Canada has gained from its recent significant reductions in piracy. Last year, the BSA said the Canadian rate dropped by three percent to 29%, the biggest drop among developed countries and – the BSA noted – an all-time low. In fact, since 2006 the BSA says that there has been a five percent drop in Canada. Has that created thousands of new jobs and generated billions in new revenues and taxes?

    • IP as a joke
    • Lars Johnson Has Goats on His Roof and a Stable of Lawyers to Prove It

      Having Trademarked the Ungulate Look, Restaurateur Butts Heads With Imitators

    • Copyrights

      • Millions at Stake in Education Copyright Battle

        Negotiating with individual authors or publishers for the rights to a single work may be cumbersome, but so too are the proposed reporting requirements. Moreover, individual negotiations hold the advantage of potential costs savings for students and ensuring that the actual authors receive full compensation for the use of their works. In other words, win-win-win for authors, teachers, and students.

      • An Explanation Of My Views On Copyright Part Four – The Sky Is Falling

        Going back to the section on Digital Locks, let’s assume that Bill C-32 passes into law with no changes. So Randy Bachman releases a new compact disc, and the Record Label uses TPM/DRM on it. The way the law is currently written, Randy Bachman could not legally break the TPM/DRM, even if he owns the copyright. Even worse, he wouldn’t be legally able to break the TPM/DRM if he owned the Record Label, and the compact disc pressing plant. You might argue that he shouldn’t need to, as he’d still have the masters, but accidents have happened before, and masters have been lost. Even if Randy controlled every step of the chain, legally he can’t break the TPM/DRM he decided to use. Does this make sense?

Clip of the Day

Microsoft Propaganda Film

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 17/9/2010: The ZFS Linux Module, XDS Toulouse Reports

Posted in News Roundup at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish




  • Desktop

    • The 1% Linux Market-Share Myth: Who Cares?!

      If you have paid attention to virtually any IT news site over the past few weeks, you’ve likely noticed an argument between several blogs. The topic is in regards to whether or not Linux actually has 1% market-share. This argument has been debunked and counter-debunked as of late, and no side seems to be gaining any traction in this debate. My view? I couldn’t possibly care less. Neither side between the Windows and Linux camps will ever be able to post accurate adoption numbers, and they never will.

    • Only design can save Linux

      Linux needs to be saved? Of course not, but: Linux adoption is often criticized because it’s not popular amongst the common users, anyway, most sysadmins will tell you that they’re using Linux on their servers. Linux (or Unix-like) servers are running very succesfully all around the world.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • The ZFS Linux Module Goes Into Closed Beta

      We reported last month that a native ZFS module was coming to Linux and would be released in mid-September. Rather than using ZFS-FUSE that runs the Sun/Oracle ZFS file-system under the FUSE module so that it lives outside the Linux kernel (and runs rather slowly as our benchmarks show), this new ZFS module is native to Linux and open-source but due to the CDDL license it’s being distributed as a module and will not be included in the mainline Linux kernel. This module has now entered a closed beta testing process.

      KQ Infotech has been working on this native ZFS module that in turn is based on the work of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. KQ Infotech has now announced their ZFS work with a few details on their Linux kernel module and to apply to be part of the beta testing process.

    • Die-hard bug bytes Linux kernel for second time (Register)
    • Die-hard bug bytes Linux kernel for second time

      The oversight means that untrusted users with, say, limited SSH access have a trivial means to gain unfettered access to pretty much any 64-bit installation. Consider, too, that the bug has been allowed to fester in the kernel for years and was already fixed once before and we think a measured WTF is in order.

    • Hole in Linux kernel provides root rights

      A vulnerability in the 32-bit compatibility mode of the current Linux kernel (and previous versions) for 64-bit systems can be exploited to escalate privileges. For instance, attackers can break into a system and exploit a hole in the web server to get complete root (also known as superuser) rights or permissions for a victim’s system.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Few Notes From Day 2 Of XDS Toulouse

        More details will come later along with the audio/video recordings that ended out the X.Org Developers’ Summit in Toulouse, but here are a few random bits from so far today:

        - For those that have become interested in coming up with a new logo for X.Org, Alan Coopersmith issued this mailing list message today. Coming up with a new logo for the X.Org Foundation has been on their agenda for many years, but now it may finally materialize thanks to Phoronix readers.

      • Luc Calls For A Dead Linux Desktop If Keith Gets His Way

        Back in February at FOSDEM in Brussels, Luc made a presentation on modularizing Mesa and DRI drivers, which ended up in a very heated discussion but ultimately his ideas fell on deaf ears. With X.Org Server 1.10, Keith Packard of Intel has expressed interest in merging the drivers back into the server, or in other words de-modularizing the X.Org Server after it was modularized a few years ago as being a feature.

      • Bringing D-Bus Into The Linux Kernel

        Alban Crequy, a Maemo developer, for the past several weeks have been working on bringing D-Bus directly into the Linux kernel. Why? Huge performance improvements.

        Alban’s kernel D-Bus work is based upon the previous work of Ian Molton did for Collabora with KDbus for prototyping a kernel implementation so that D-Bus cuts down the number of required context switches that are needed compared to running the D-Bus daemon in user-space.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • rekonq: KDE’s Webkit Browser Continues To Come Of Age

        As many of you no doubt know, and a few might not, rekonq is KDE’s Webkit-based browser. Under heavy development for a while now, we can see this super-fast browser coming of age in a hurry. For users of Linux Mint 9, the version in the repositories mirrors that of what was installed by default on Kubuntu 10.04 Lucid – 0.4.0.

      • In Search of the Perfect KDE4 Distro – Disqualifiers

        This was just a short update to the series – KDE4 still has a lot of good points, and computer users learn to live with the flaws in their chosen desktop environment.

      • Okular: Universal Document Viewer For KDE 4

        One of the new applications introduced with KDE 4 was Okular. KDE 3 had a PDF viewer named KPDF, but Okular aims to be a complete document viewing solution, supporting many different file types. Okular is fast-loading and works in any operating system and desktop environment that can run KDE applications.

    • GNOME Desktop/Novell

      • Interviews from GUADEC, Part 5

        This week we have the last video in Jeremy Allison’s series of interviews from his trip to GUADEC, the GNOME conference. In this video, he talks to Michael Meeks, early GNOME hacker and OpenOffice.org developer. Jeremy and Michael talk about collaboration, malware, and how Michael started his involvement with GNOME. For those who are new to open source, Michael gives tips for those who want to get involved in the GNOME community, developer and non-developer alike. For non-developers, Jeremy also gives translations of geek-speak throughout.

      • OSC2010 Sneak Peaks – Vincent Untz: Explaining GNOME 3
      • Fundamental Round Gnome Theme 2.1 Adds 6 Color Schemes

        Johan has updated his beautiful Fundamental Round 2 theme which we featured in our “5 Beautiful Elementary-ish Gnome Themes” post. The new version – 2.1 – comes with 6 color schemes, each with and without Nautilus breadcrumbs.

  • Distributions

    • Security advisories for Friday
    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Why Red Hat should fear Amazon Linux

        While Red Hat’s leadership in the enterprise Linux market is without question, the cloud tells a different story altogether. Red Hat’s cloud strategy has thus far focused too narrowly on customer retention, opening significant opportunities for Ubuntu to gain traction in the cloud — and gain traction it has, according to EC2 cloud market statistics.

      • RedHat gets cloud-evangelical

        We caught up with Gordon Haff, Red Hat’s Cloud Evangelist, on the floor of VMworld last week and grabbed a short interview with him. In the discussion, we touch upon what the cloud really is, and where it makes the most sense in terms of enterprise use.

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint based on Debian installation screenshots
      • Look out Ubuntu, look out Arch: Linux Mint Debian

        Ubuntu, look out: This one offers more, and eats up less. And Arch, look out, because this one can do much the same, with a lot less time spent setting up.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • This week in design – 17 September 2010
        • Canonical partners with AMI, Dell & Intel

          Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company is meeting with engineers and product managers from many top device and computer manufacturers in Taipei, Taiwan on September 24, 2010.

          The commercial sponsor of Ubuntu will be hosting its second annual Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) at the Ubuntu Hardware Summit. Companies confirmed as attending include: American Megatrends Inc. (AMI), Phoenix, Compal, Dell, Foxconn, Intel, MSI, Marvell, and Quanta. In other words many of the leading PC, laptop, and tablet players will be there to learn about how to work with Ubuntu on boot time optimizations, hardware enablement, debugging, multi-touch, networking and more.

        • Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat Review + Screenshots Tour

          For Ubuntu enthusiasts, you should know that the next iteration of Ubuntu – Maverick Meerkat is set to release on 10 Oct 2010. For those who are keen to find out what’s new in this release, here is the full review (and screenshots) of Ubuntu Maverick.

          This review was done on Ubuntu Maverick beta. While most of the features should be finalized, the artwork might still change prior to the final release.

          When you run the LiveCD, it will first boot up and show you the option to choose “Test Ubuntu” or Install Ubuntu. In the past, this is usually done before it boots, but now, it has been moved to after the boot.

        • Ubuntu Software Center on Cranky Geeks

          As many of you know I enjoy listening to podcasts during my commute to and from work. One that I regularly listen to is Cranky Geeks featuring John C. Dvorak and guests. It’s also no secret that I’m a massive fan of Ubuntu. So today was a double-whammy when Ubuntu got a mention on the show.

        • Nautilus Review in Ubuntu 10.10 Beta

          There is always a lot of debate whether which file manager is the ‘best’ for the Linux desktop. Some would argue for Dolphin because they are KDE users, or Dolphin because it’s KDE but also offers a more simplistic interface, other prefer GNOME and use Nautilus, and still, some will like Krusader because of the many features or PCManFM for it’s simplicity, or Midnight Commander due to its TUI interface. So, even though you may have heard this many times before, I’m going to repeat: the best application for a specific user is the one which fits him better and helps him get the work done, in an easy fashion.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 moves towards completion

          Some of the features we are seeing in Maverick are, as usual, newer versions of applications. This release potentially has a larger jump in versions, as Lucid synchronised and merged from Debian Testing; but Maverick reverted to the usual practice of importing from Debian Unstable, which has higher version numbers. One of the surprises that came out of Debconf (the Debian conference) was the announcement of their feature freeze, which meant that Debian stabilisations commenced mid-cycle for Maverick in preparation for their next stable release.

        • More on Canonical’s Contributions

          Shuttleworth continues to list how hard the Ubuntu team works for the idea of free software and how important their work is. He points to the Papercuts Project, which formed to simplify the interface and fix as many bugs as possible. He mentions their cutting-edge design department and how they (and he) are shaping the desktops of tomorrow. He points out that Ubuntu is where the action is.

          In conclusion, Shuttleworth again praises projects from each corner of the community and urges members not to argue with each other because that is counterproductive.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Could Euro Carriers Be Planning Their Own OS?

          An interesting piece in the Mobile Business Briefing points to the possibility that European carriers like Orange, T-Mobile, and Vodafone could be working together to build their own OS, possibly following the China Mobile model of creating their own flavor of Android far-removed from the official Google code.

        • StatusNet for Android Available in the App Market

          I’m happy to announce that the StatusNet client for Android recently hit the App Market for Android systems. I think it’s a really nice piece of software. I’m proud that the hard work of our great development team — especially Zach Copley who’s led our client development, Brion Vibber who’s worked on the client platform, as well as Sam Doherty’s excellent UI design — has paid off so well.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola Planning a Tablet Device for Early 2011, Jha Says

        Motorola Inc., maker of the Droid smartphone, is aiming to introduce a tablet device early next year to challenge Apple Inc.’s iPad, said Co-Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Jha.

        “Just as Droid was competitive I think with iPhone, we want to make sure that any tablet that we deliver is competitive in the marketplace,” Jha said yesterday at a technology conference hosted by Deutsche Bank AG in San Francisco. “We will only deliver that when that occurs. Hopefully that’s early next year.”

      • Augen brings $190 Android netbook to Kmart

        Following up on its $150 Android-powered tablet called GenTouch78, Augen has now brought a netbook with Android to Kmart and priced it at $190. The 10.2-inch device has a 1024×600 display and uses Android 2.1, which should now be legally sanctioned rather than a pirated copy. Processing is kept light even relative to smartphones with an 800MHz, ARM11-based chip and 256MB of RAM.

      • Philippine government to make $75 tablet PC for schoolchildren

        Unlike the iPad, Galaxy Tab and Kindle, the XO-1 is not a touchscreen device and runs on the free operating system Linux.

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenIndiana project first screenshots
  • On Writing, Funding, and Distributing Software to Activists Against Authoritarian Regimes

    Writing software to protect political activists against censorship and surveillance is a tricky business. If those activists are living under the kind of authoritarian regimes where a loss of privacy may lead to the loss of life or liberty, we need to tread especially cautiously.

    A great deal of post-mortem analysis is occurring at the moment after the collapse of the Haystack project. Haystack was a censorship-circumvention project that began as a real-time response to Iranian election protests last year. The code received significant levels of media coverage, but never reached the levels of technical maturity and security that are necessary to protect the lives of activists in countries like Iran (or many other places, for that matter).

    This post isn’t going to get into the debate about the social processes that gave Haystack the kind of attention and deployment that it received, before it had been properly reviewed and tested. Instead, we want to emphasize something else: it remains possible to write software that makes activists living under authoritarian regimes safer. But the developers, funders, and distributors of that software need to remember that it isn’t easy, and need to go about it the right way.

  • FLOSS Manuals Continues to Deliver Great Documentation

    Every so often, we here at OStatic compile guidance resources for popular open source platforms and applications, and one of our favorite ongoing projects for producing documentation is FLOSS Manuals. It’s an ambitious effort to produce free, online guides for open source software that we initially covered in this post. FLOSS Manuals is an excellent learning and reference resource for titles such as OpenOffice, Firefox, Audacity, Blender, Inkscape and more. There are now quite a few titles available there that are worth taking note of, and that you can get for free. Here is our updated guide to the site.

  • Events

    • Eclipse Summit Europe 2010 program published

      The Eclipse Foundation has published the program for this year’s Eclipse Summit Europe (ESE), which will take place from the 2nd to the 4th of November in Ludwigsburg, Germany. This fifth annual summit will feature several workshops, lectures and demonstrations.

  • Web Browsers

    • Five Web Browsers: Which is the Fastest?

      Given that I benchmark PC hardware on what seems like a daily basis, benchmarking a slew of Web browsers felt both strange and familiar at the same time. After all, the process of benchmarking isn’t far different, and interestingly, it was actually kind of enjoyable. It’s interesting to see just how vastly different the performance is in various areas from browser to browser, and unless you actually see results on “paper”, you may not ever realize the differences.

      It’s clear that Opera is the big winner here, topping both of our performance tests, and also scoring a perfect 100/100 in Acid3. Google’s Chrome comes in a close second, and after that, there are large gaps between the others. Safari performed quite well also though, especially with regards to Acid3 and Peacekeeper (though it still was only half of Chrome and Opera in the latter).

      Firefox 4 is good competition also though. Its Mozilla Kraken results topped the charts, and its Acid3 results are closing in on perfect. Plus, it also closes the gap with Safari in Peacekeeper, but again, it still comes nowhere close to Chrome and Opera. Those two browsers are the ones to beat right now, it goes without saying.

    • Mozilla

  • Oracle

    • A Rebuttal to “Goodbye, OpenOffice. Nice Knowing You.”

      First of all, he made some very good points. Many people expect software to just work right out of the box. They expect the spell checker to just work, for example. Unfortunately, proprietary software has bred a certain laziness and culture of dependency in people, in my opinion. If you use a piece of proprietary software such as Microsoft Office, the proprietor will always be there to hold your hand. They hope that you decide to stay locked in to their product so that the state of dependency continues from cradle to grave so that they perpetually profit from you. This is the point that I think that Mr. Yegulalp may have missed. The whole point of free software is that if you find an inadequacy in a piece of software, you have the freedom to change it yourself!

  • CMS

  • Diaspora

    • Code for open-source Facebook littered with landmines

      Four New York University students who raised a bundle of cash to build a privacy-preserving alternative to Facebook sure have their work cut out for them.

      The release of pre-alpha source code for their Diaspora social Website was only a few hours old on Wednesday when hackers began identifying flaws they said could seriously compromise the security of those who used it. Among other things, the mistakes make it possible to hijack accounts, friend users without their permission, and delete their photos.
      Click here to find out more!

      “The bottom line is currently there is nothing that you cannot do to someone’s Diaspora account, absolutely nothing,” said Patrick McKenzie, owner of Bingo Card Creator, a software company in Ogaki, Japan.

    • A Brief Look at What Diaspora Will Do
    • Diaspora review – first experiences UPDATED

      So this is the first developer release! Can’t wait for alpha, beta & stable releases!

    • Facebook Competitor Diaspora Revealed: Sparse, But Clean; Source Code Released

      A post has just gone up on Diaspora’s blog revealing what the project actually looks like for the first time. While it’s not yet ready to be released to the public, the open-source social networking project is giving the world a glimpse of what it looks like today and also releasing the project code, as promised.

    • Diaspora puts out Developer Release — source code is here!
  • BSD

    • FreeBSD’s Summer Highlights

      FreeBSD is a modern open source operating system for servers, desktops, and embedded systems, based on over 30 years of continuous development. The FreeBSD Project has participated as a mentoring organization in Google Summer of Code each year since the program’s inception in 2005. This year, FreeBSD mentored 18 students with a final success rate of 89%. The cumulative total over 6 years has been 117 students improving FreeBSD. This participation in the program has brought many new features into FreeBSD, several new long-term committers to the project, and many of the former students have by now joined some of the mentors as colleagues at their respective companies.


    • Celebrate Software Freedom Day

      All around the world people will be celebrating Software Freedom Day on Saturday. The idea is of course to both celebrate and raise awareness of Free Open Source Software issues.

      I believe the first software freeing license was the GNU General Public License

      Free Software Foundation is probably the heart of the Free Software movement which is defined by Richard Stallman’s Four Freedoms.

  • Government

    • Cenatic report: “Europe leading in development and use of open source”

      Europe is leading in the development and adoption of open source, according to a report by Cenatic, Spain’s national competence centre on this type of software, published yesterday at an IT conference in Palma de Mallorca. “Government support is key for the adoption of open source.”

      Government IT policies that promote open source have made Germany, France and Spain the three countries were open source software is used the most, Cenatic writes in its report “Informe sobre el Panorama Internacional del Software de Fuentes Abiertas. 2010″ (International overview on Open Source Software, 2010). The report is currently only available in Spanish.

    • Government ‘committed’ to open source

      Open source software will be favoured where there are no significant cost differences between open source and proprietary solutions, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said.

      Responding to a parliamentary question, Maude said the Cabinet Office and the Office of Government Commerce are working on ‘guidance for procures’, which specifically covers open source software.

    • Government favours ‘flexible’ open-source software

      Francis Maude has said that when costs are similar, the government will buy open-source rather than proprietary software.

      In a parliamentary written answer on Tuesday, the Cabinet Office minister said that even where there are no significant overall cost differences between open and proprietary products, open source will be selected “on the basis of its additional inherent flexibility”.

  • Licensing

    • Managing Open Source: New Tools and Techniques

      Open source has now become ubiquitous, yet management of its use remains uneven. The recent Forrester Research report at LinuxCon notes that 2010 was the year of using open source to improve business process execution speed and company growth. The adoption of open source has decreased in importance because open source is now so widely adopted.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open chocolate: Saving $800 million through collaboration

      Triple yields of cocoa crops. New lives for 6.5 million poor farmers on small farms in developing nations. More sustainable chocolate for you. Those are the goals of a collaborative team crossing public and private organizations that has been working to improve the cocoa growing process to benefit the world’s cocoa farmers and help lead us to a more sustainable world cocoa supply.

      They’ve also finished three years ahead of schedule. And after only a little over two years of work unlocking the Theobroma cacao genome, the team didn’t call the patent office. Instead, they released their first findings into the public domain. They say that by opening it up to the public, it will help breeders grow more robust, higher yielding, and drought- and disease-resistant trees.

  • Programming

    • Programming Lessons From Linux Geeks in the Trenches

      Before learning such lessons, “I was always frustrated and rarely accomplished much,” Masover admitted. “I would instead rail about the state of languages, frameworks, OSes, and so on.

      “Now, while my Ruby scripts aren’t as fast as if I’d done them in C, and my C programs aren’t as elegant as if I’d done them in Ruby, and I haven’t come up with the perfect language that’s the best of both worlds … the fact that I can live with that means that I do actually have C programs, Ruby programs, Java programs, and so on, instead of no programs,” he pointed out.

      Dziuba “makes a good argument for not just jumping to new technologies that are supposed to make things easier,” Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack opined. “People are always looking for the magic ‘make my app regardless of my programming ability’ switch, and there just isn’t one.”

    • GTK Impression – Making Sense of Metacity

      Metacity is a window manager for the Gnome desktop. By window manager I mean it controls the placement and appearance of windows on the desktop. A window may be described as the header, footer, and borders which contain content. Metacity does not format content, that job belongs to GTK.

      During the Lucid development cycle the decision was made to change the placement of the Metacity window control buttons which resulted in many folks expressing their opinion pro and con. The desire was to free up space on the right for new functions expected to arrive in subsequent releases and these themes adhere to this design.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Google’s Chief on Social, Mobile and Conflict

    He described another rivalry — the one between Google and Apple over mobile phones — as different than the one with Facebook. By increasing competition, that rivalry benefits both companies and both can do well, he said.

  • Science

    • Lies, damn lies and Chinese science

      Zhang Wuben is a 47-year-old nutritional therapist from Beijing, whose best-known claim, elaborated in his book Cure the Diseases You Get from Eating by Eating, is that consuming half a kilogram of mung beans every day can cure diabetes and short-sightedness, while eating five times that amount improves a patient’s chances of surviving various cancers. A frequent guest on television talk shows, his clinic was so popular that regular 300-yuan (£29) consultations, which lasted ten minutes, were booked up until 2012. Patients who wanted a fast-track service could pay 5,000 yuan (£483) for an emergency appointment with the health guru.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Security a Concern as HTML5 Gains Traction

      From animated logos to Web videos for hip, independent bands, HTML5 is getting buzz and gaining traction. But concerns about the security of features in the new version of the Web’s lingua franca persist.
      Every technology innovation has its coming out party, and Google Inc.’s recent “dancing balls” logo experiment was widely interpreted as a high-impact debut for the next version of HTML, dubbed HTML5. But web security experts are warning that the sprawling new Web standard may favor functionality over security, enabling a new generation of powerful Web based attacks.

    • Most common SSH passwords revealed

      New computer users are often criticized for weak username and password combinations which can create significant security vulnerabilities in any organization.

      Many companies have even imposed strict password policies which may include regular forced password changes, automated password generation and ‘strong password’ validation before accepting a new password.

      While strict password policies may work well in theory, their value is often undone by something as simple as a post-it pasted on a computer screen to help an employee remember his newly generated strong password.

  • Finance

    • Wall Street Ends Mixed as Data Reflects a Sluggish Recovery

      Stock prices were little changed on Thursday as investors reacted cautiously to data suggesting that the recovery remained halting.

      The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s survey of regional business conditions showed that manufacturing activity was nearly flat in September, while claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a two-month low but still remained high.

      The mildly reassuring data reduced investors’ expectations that the Federal Reserve, which meets on Tuesday, would renew quantitative easing in the form of large debt purchases aimed at stimulating the economy.

    • Basel rules for riskiest trading could further raise bank’s capital requirements

      The measures also stand to shape the behavior of bank executives in undetermined ways, with some analysts suggesting the rules could lead to steep price hikes for some business and consumer services or push financial firms to pump more cash into government bonds and other low-risk investments.

    • Elizabeth Warren: The Right Appointment At The Right Time

      Some of Ms. Warren’s supporters think this move is something of a half-measure – they would have preferred a conventional nomination, with all the fanfare of a classic confirmation battle in the Senate. There is something to be said for that, but the interim appointment route is by far the best way forward for three reasons.

    • Senate GOP looks to compromise in tax debate

      Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and his House counterpart, Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), are locked in a standoff with President Obama over the fate of tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 during the Bush administration. Those cuts, scheduled to expire at the end of this year unless Congress acts, lowered the tax burden for every taxpayer – but helped to drive the federal deficit to record levels.

    • Obama to name consumer advocate to new post Friday

      President Barack Obama is naming Elizabeth Warren a special adviser to oversee creation of a new consumer protection bureau, dodging a fight with Senate Republicans who view her as too critical of Wall Street to be confirmed as the agency’s chief.

    • Secret funds flow into races

      Ever since the 1973 Federal Election Campaign Act passed, public disclosure of the money used to influence elections has been a cardinal rule of U.S. politics.

      Voters’ right to know who is behind the money spent trying to sway them was firmly established by the Supreme Court’s 1976 decision in Buckley v. Valeo, which upheld the constitutionality of campaign finance disclosure laws.

    • SEC eyes new rules on banks’ debt-level disclosure

      Federal regulators are set to propose new rules that could make it harder for financial firms to disguise their level of debt.

      The expanded disclosure requirements would apply to banks’ practice of temporarily trimming their debt at the end of quarters to make their financial statements appear stronger. The practice is legal but regulators say it can give investors a distorted picture of a bank’s debt and level of risk.

    • White House defends stimulus, highlights projects

      Rehabilitating New York’s Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Cutting a new highway through Nelsonville, Ohio. Building a trio of battery factories in Michigan.

      In a report being released Friday by Vice President Joe Biden, the White House pushes back against criticism of its $814 billion stimulus program and highlights 100 projects that it says are creating jobs and growing the economy.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Canada “Fox News North” Campaign — Attempted Sabotage, Avaaz Responds

      Yesterday Avaaz experienced an attack on our “Stop ‘Fox News North’” petition consisting of fraudulent sign-ups of targeted individuals.

      There is evidence of a deliberate and illegal effort designed to discredit Avaaz and violate an important form of democratic expression for Canadian citizens. If this is confirmed we will request a full investigation, and help to bring the perpetrators to justice.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Afghan women join fight for election

      Despite death threats and intimidation a record number of women are contesting seats in this month’s Afghan parliamentary elections. But Channel 4 News International Editor Lindsey Hilsum, who travelled to Bamyan earlier this year, says women there still live in fear of the Taliban.

    • California Ban on Violent Videogames Violates First Amendment

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) urged the United States Supreme Court Friday to protect the free speech rights of videogame creators and users, asking the justices to uphold a ruling throwing out unconstitutional restrictions on violent videogames.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Internet must remain neutral, says Sir Tim Berners-Lee


      Mobile operators and internet service providers must not be allowed to break the principle of “net neutrality” – that there should be no favouritism for connecting to certain sites online – Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, warned today.

      He also said that low-cost mobile phones with a data connection were essential to ensure that the 80% of people who are not yet connected to the web could benefit from its ability to bring new information.

      Berners-Lee suggested that concerns over privacy and the sharing of personal data will mean that businesses will have to improve their ability to segment the use of user-specific data such as addresses and where people are using their phones.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Significance of the Huge European Warez Scene Raids

      At the behest of Belgian authorities, two weeks ago police around Europe conduced coordinated raids on so-called Warez Scene topsites. Hailed as some of the most important raids of their type in recent memory, the action generated hundreds of headlines. But just how significant were the raids? To find out that, first we should look at how the Scene is organized.

    • British Library plans for a digital future

      “If we in the UK are going to safeguard our intellectual heritage and ensure it can be used by future generations of researchers, it is essential that we make a step-change in the amount of digital content that we collect, store and make accessible for the long term,” she said.

    • Copyrights

      • Stallman calls for file-sharing to be legalised

        Stallman was giving a talk at the RMIT University in Melbourne today on “Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks”, one of the lectures he is giving during a six-week stay in Australia.

        At the end of his talk, Stallman auctioned what he called “an adorable GNU” (pic below) – a soft toy – saying, “if you have a penguin (the Linux mascot) at home, you need a GNU because the penguin is useless without the GNU.” This was a dig at people who refuse to acknowledge the contribution the GNU Project has made to GNU/Linux distributions.

        Stallman said file-sharing should be made legal to allow people to share files on a non-commercial basis as they had done during earlier eras.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 17/9/2010: Fedora Moves to Upstart, Hybrid Tablets Running Linux Introduced

Posted in News Roundup at 8:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • AWS Adds New Linux Amazon Machine Image
    • That Other OS Goes to the Back of the Bus

      Not one of the top-ten most reliable server-hosting outfits is running that other OS in this month’s Netcraft survey. 8 of the top ten run GNU/Linux and two run FreeBSD. The top site running that other OS is 15th. Only 4 in the top 42 use that other OS and 3 2003 sites are ahead of one 2008 site. Come on, M$, can’t you do any better than that?

  • Kernel Space

    • Plugable Open Source Hardware Samples Program

      If you’re a developer with a history submitting patches for Linux or other platforms, please submit your request for Plugable sample hardware here. Because we’ll have only a trickle of each type over device over time, an important part of this is having some idea of what prior driver development contributions you’ve made. We’ll try to focus on matching hardware to the developers most likely to be able to contribute improvements in that area.

    • Nexenta 3.0 Benchmarked Against PC-BSD, OpenSolaris, Ubuntu

      With the release of Nexenta Core Platform 3.0 a few weeks back we decided to run some benchmarks of this operating system against PC-BSD 8.1, OpenSolaris b134, and Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS. For those unfamiliar with Nexenta Core Platform, it is an operating system that combines the OpenSolaris kernel with a GNU user-land provided by the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS “Hardy Heron” package repository, complete with apt-get support for easy package installation.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R600 Gallium3D Driver Continues Advancing

        While most of the open-source Linux graphics drivers are currently in Toulouse for the 2010 X.Org Developers’ Summit, David Airlie of Red Hat Australia is not among those in attendance. He, however, is continuing to work on one of his latest efforts in conjunction with AMD: R600g, or the ATI R600/700/Evergreen Gallium3D driver. In the latest batch of Git commits to Mesa there is now a number of new features implemented.

      • The RadeonHD Driver Would Be Three Today

        Three years ago from today marked the introduction of the RadeonHD driver, the first open-source X.Org driver for the ATI Radeon X1000 (R500) and Radeon HD 2000 (R600) series graphics cards. This driver came as part of AMD’s open-source strategy (the strategy’s third birthday was celebrated earlier this month) and with loads of public documentation for their ATI graphics processors. The RadeonHD driver was developed by Novell’s X team from Nürnberg with support from AMD, but sadly it will not be celebrating its third birthday today since the RadeonHD driver was killed off.

      • Mesa 7.4 Through Mesa 7.9 Benchmarks With Intel Graphics

        Over the next few weeks there are a number of new Phoronix benchmarks to be published concerning the performance of Mesa 7.9 for both the Mesa classic and Gallium3D drivers from the different GPU vendors. Included in those tests will be new Intel Mesa benchmarks of their only officially supported 3D driver using one of the Arrandale processors, but for those currently missing out on the X Developers’ Summit in Toulouse or PhoronixFest at Oktoberfest, here’s a bonus article. For this extra round of benchmarking, we took one of the original Intel Atom benchmarks with i945 graphics and ran it with every major Mesa release since Mesa 7.4.

      • What Parts Of X.Org Should Be Killed With Fire?

        Originally at the X.Org Developers’ Summit here in Toulouse this week there was going to be a talk entitled “Kill It With Fire” where Corbin Simpson (mostly known for his work on the ATI R300 Gallium3D driver) was going to be speaking about what drivers or parts of X.Org should be eliminated from the stack. This talk though is no longer occurring, in part as Corbin is no longer in attendance; he washed his US passport in the laundry.

      • AMD Catalyst 10.9 For Linux Released

        AMD has just released their monthly proprietary Linux driver update, which this month puts it at Catalyst 10.9. The only new “feature” of AMD Catalyst 10.9 for Linux is early support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 (RHEL6), but there are some bug-fixes.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Video editor Kdenlive 0.7.8 offers improved colour correction

        The new version of the KDE video editing application, Kdenlive 0.7.8, is now available to download. The developers have added twenty eight new features and corrected over a ninety seven bugs and errors from the previous version. Among the new features of the release are improved tools for colour correction and a better UI for effects, which allows users to adjust some transitions and effects directly. Users can now easily apply effects to a whole track and more reverse transitions are available.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Still a commander: Red Hat’s new chairman

        Since leaving the military eight years ago, retired Army Gen. Hugh Shelton has taught, led seminars and served on corporate boards.

        Recently named chairman of Raleigh-based software developer Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), Shelton says moving from the military to the business world involves a different uniform but not a change in strategy.

      • Seven Bear Stocks In Technology, Media And Telecommunications

        RHT’s current stock price is in the band of $38.01 and $38.79, compared to 52 week band of $24.73 and $39.08. However, I calculate its intrinsic stock value to be less than $25. Moreover, in terms of ROE, it is among the worst performers among its peers.

      • KVM supports live migration without shared storage

        Red Hat will soon offer a new utility for live migration of virtual machines that doesn’t require shared storage. The protocol could drive virtualization into new environments such as public cloud computing, where shared storage is not always available, observers said.

      • Fedora

        • Back to the open ati driver and kernel 2.6.33 in Fedora 13

          Out of the three kernels present in my Fedora 13 installation (one 2.6.33, two 2.6.34), my quest to gain a usable display (i.e. not blurry/out of sync) had me replacing the stock, open-source ati driver with ATI’s own proprietary Catalyst fglrx driver.

          With the ati driver I could get perfect video in 2.6.33 but only the aforementioned blurriness in both 2.6.34 kernels (and I do have a bug open on the matter). Plopping radeon.modeset=0 into the Grub2-generated boot line had no effect.

        • Fedora 14 to use Upstart not systemd

          The Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo) has decided to use Upstart instead of systemd as the standard init system for the Fedora 14 Linux distribution, which is expected to be released in November. Systemd, an alternative to SysV Init and Upstart, released in late April and used in the alpha of Fedora 14, is now scheduled to become part of the standard system in Fedora 15. Among the reasons for this decision are some problems testers recently found during the systemd test day.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Community-related services downtime
        • Archive frozen for preparation of Ubuntu 10.10
        • Ubuntu One Evolves for Maverick

          Ubuntu One, Canonical’s file-sharing service that has until now been little more than a Dropbox copycat, has evolved for Maverick Meerkat in ways that finally help set it apart from its competitors. Here’s a look at some of the updates to the service, and what they infer about Canonical’s longterm plans.

          Traditionally, Ubuntu One has done little more than allow users to store data in the cloud and automatically sync it between different computers. Ubuntu 10.04 added a few new features to the service, like syncing Firefox bookmarks, but in general there’s been little to distinguish Ubuntu One from competitors like Dropbox–other than the latter’s cross-platform support, which Ubuntu One lacked until now.

        • Opsera teams up with Canonical for Opsview on Ubuntu

          Opsera, vendor of the open source network and application monitoring platform Opsview, have announced that they are partnering with Canonical to provide Opsview through Canonical’s partner repositories. Opsera say that Ubuntu Server Edition is now its Linux platform of choice for running Opsview Enterprise Edition, the commercially supported version of Opsview Community.

        • Canonical Announces Provisional Ubuntu Developer Summit Tracks

          To be confirmed, along with more announced, in coming weeks, the tracks were made available today on the newly-launched UDS site, http://uds.ubuntu.com/. The site is a destination for information about the event for the key participants in Ubuntu’s development, from Canonical engineers and community members to ISVs and partners.

        • Ubuntu: It Just Works

          It seems just like yesterday, the launch of Lucid Lynx, the latest Ubuntu 6-monthly offering. In fact, it was at the end of April. I know this from the name 10.04.

          At first, I wasn’t convinced. The window control buttons moving to the left, to make way for the windicators, the new dark theme, new logo.

          But it worked, better than ever before. It took me an hour to install everything from scratch, including all the software I use.

        • Gmail Notification For Ubuntu
        • Ubuntu May ‘See’ and React to the Physical World

          Rather, with the aid of hardware sensors such as cameras, Ubuntu could “see” and respond to users’ whole-body movements, recognizing when they are and aren’t there and reacting accordingly.

          “We thought about how Ubuntu could behave if it was more aware of its physical context,” wrote developer Christian Giordano on Tuesday in a company blog. “Not only detecting the tilt of the device (like iPhone apps) but also analyzing the user’s presence.”

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Ubuntu-10.04-Saner-Defaults-Remix

            I am proud to announce the Beta release of the Ubuntu-Saner-Defaults-Remix! This is Ubuntu 10.04.1 with a some default applications replaced with saner choices and some other saner default settings and theme changes were also made. This is all being done to maximize usability and user friendliness in regard to the average user (new or potential linux user.) Further, all updates through September 3, 2010 have been applied.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Always Innovating Smart Book includes more modular gear

        The Smart Book is powered by an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU though clock speeds aren’t revealed. A custom user interface comes standard, though it can run on Ubuntu Linux or else Google’s Chromium or Android. An 8GB microSDHC memory card is bundled for storage, as is a 2GB USB flash drive. Otherwise present is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and the capability to output 720p videos onto external displays. Four USB ports exist on the main body, and the tablet portion has an integrated accelerometer.

      • Always Innovating’s Smart Book the “Swiss Army Knife” of netbooks

        Always Innovating’s Smart Book may just be the most flexible mobile device yet. It takes the current netbook you know and love and breaks it down into pieces, allowing you to take what you need or use as few or as many pieces as you need.

    • Tablets

      • Hack Turns $170 Media Viewer Into Tablet

        The Infocast has enough hardware chops and a Linux-based operating system to transform it into a kind of a tablet. Some electronics hackers have tweaked it to run a Webkit-based browser and use the device’s native capability to run apps. It’s no iPad, but the hack is intriguing.

      • It’s a MID, a tablet, a netbook, even an external display!

        Always Innovating says its new “Mini Book” mobile internet device rides piggyback on a “Smart Book” tablet, which in turn can be plugged into a keyboard to become a netbook. Built using the 1GHz Texas Instruments DaVinci DM3730 processor, the modular, hackable devices are further claimed to switch between Android, Ubuntu, Chrome OS, and AIOS Linux distros at the touch of a button.

      • Doctors Will Use Dell Streak Tablets When Treating Patients

        At 5-inches, the Streak is a lot more portable than the iPad—but still not quite as pocket-friendly (lab coat-friendly?) as the iPhone. Nonetheless, that’s where Dell wants to place its tablets, ramming it with a healthcare software app.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Russian Soda Commercial by ARt DDs [with Blender]
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird 3.1.4 and 3.0.8 updates now available for download

        Thunderbird 3.1.4 and 3.0.8 are now available as free downloads for Windows, Mac, and Linux from http://getthunderbird.com/. As always, we recommend that users keep up to date with the latest stability and support versions of Thunderbird, and encourage all our users to upgrade to the very latest version.

  • CMS

    • Open source Facebook replacement Diaspora drops first alpha

      The Diaspora project—an attempt to make an open source, peer-to-peer replacement for Facebook with a focus on privacy—has reached its first major milestone. The first developer alpha is now available for download and review, and the group is now accepting code contributions from the open source community at large.

      Diaspora was born of the frustration with Facebook’s central control over user-supplied data and an increasing propensity to play loose with users’ privacy. “Diaspora aims to be a distributed network, where totally separate computers connect to each other directly, and will let us connect without surrendering our privacy,” project co-founder Maxwell Salzberg wrote in April.

  • Semi-Open Source

    • Mule software connects with the cloud

      As a lightweight Java-based ESB, Mule allows an organization to create and connect a set of services across a network. MuleSoft, which offers a commercially supported version of the software, claims that Mule is the most widely used open-source ESB, with more than 2,500 enterprise users, including DHL and Honeywell.


  • Openness/Sharing

    • First rice, then wheat – now cocoa genome unravelled

      Instead of patenting the genome, they have placed it online for anyone to use for free. They say that its discovery will allow breeders who use traditional methods to grow hardier, more productive and disease-resistant trees.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • 10 HTML5 Video Players

      Yes, we couldn’t resist the HTML5 temptation and decided to highlight this trending topic on our blog too. Tremendous media buzz that was caused by the latest version of hyper text markup language is really unique even for modern informational society. Anyways we think that mostly you know the core of this issue with not-supporting Flash video on some popular devices and sudden success of HTML5 video players.


  • How Thoughtful Of The BBC

    The BBC are due to renegotiate the TV licence fee in a couple of years. I’d expect this “generous” offer to freeze the fee for a year to be a cynical attempt to earn Brownie points for those negotiations. They will spin this for all it’s worth in attempt to squeeze more out of already hard up viewers. All of this while playing the victim on cutbacks. As usual the BBC play the “unbiased, trusted and independent” card while lobbying to maintain their own gravy train.

  • Software RAID Comes Out of the Closet

    For a decade software RAID has been downplayed as a poor substitute for the “real thing” and was only for fools and cheapskates like me. Software RAID with GNU/Linux has been one of the chief differentiators between the typical PC with that other OS and GNU/Linux terminal servers I have been using for 7 years now to increase performance for very little cost. The idea is that one uses “normal” storage-device interfaces and stitches data together in RAM to do RAID. I normally use RAID 1 so the CPU overhead is minimal. DMA on the interface chips does the transferring and the data is instantly ready for use. For RAID 5 and 6 there is some parity checking that consumes CPU cycles.

  • Nearly 139 million digital cameras to be shipped globally in 2010, says Digitimes Research
  • Science

    • China creates first directly solar powered air conditioner

      In Dezhou, China, Shandong Vicot Air Conditioning Co., Ltd unveiled the worlds first directly solar powered air conditioner. The unit was revealed at the World Solar-Powered Air Conditioning Development Forum which was hosted in Dezhou.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How Peru’s wells are being sucked dry by British love of asparagus

      Asparagus grown in Peru and sold in the UK is commonly held up as a symbol of unacceptable food miles, but a report has raised an even more urgent problem: its water footprint.

      The study, by the development charity Progressio, has found that industrial production of asparagus in Peru’s Ica valley is depleting the area’s water resources so fast that smaller farmers and local families are finding wells running dry. Water to the main city in the valley is also under threat, it says. It warns that the export of the luxury vegetable, much of it to British supermarkets, is unsustainable in its current form.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World Bank invests record sums in coal

      Record sums were invested last year in coal power – the most carbon intensive form of energy on the planet – by the World Bank, despite international commitments to slash the carbon emissions blamed for climate change.

      The World Bank said this week that a total of US$3.4bn (£2.2bn) – or a quarter of all funding for energy projects – was spent in the year to June 2010 helping to build new coal-fired power stations, including the controversial Medupi plant in South Africa. Over the same period the bank also spent $1bn (£640m) on looking and drilling for oil and gas.

    • Republican hopefuls deny global warming

      All but one of the 48 Republican hopefuls for the Senate mid-term elections in November deny the existence of climate change or oppose action on global warming, according to a report released today.

      The strong Republican front against established science includes entrenched Senate leaders as well as the new wave of radical conservatives endorsed by the Tea Party activists, says a report by the Centre for American Progress.

      As election season gets under way, Tea Party favourites such as Joe Miller, who caused the biggest upset of the primaries when he defeated the Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski in Alaska last month, have been upfront about their doubts on climate science. “We haven’t heard there’s manmade global warming,” Miller told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

  • Finance

    • The true cost of the Iraq war: $3 trillion and beyond

      Writing in these pages in early 2008, we put the total cost to the United States of the Iraq war at $3 trillion. This price tag dwarfed previous estimates, including the Bush administration’s 2003 projections of a $50 billion to $60 billion war.

      But today, as the United States ends combat in Iraq, it appears that our $3 trillion estimate (which accounted for both government expenses and the war’s broader impact on the U.S. economy) was, if anything, too low. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans has proved higher than we expected.

    • Source: Obama to announce Warren Friday

      President Barack Obama will use a midday appearance Friday to announce Elizabeth Warren’s new role with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — giving her the title assistant to the president and special adviser to the Treasury Secretary, an administration official tells POLITICO.

    • China’s holdings of Treasury debt post slight gain

      The debt figures are being closely watched at a time when the U.S. government is running record annual deficits. A drop in foreign demand could lead to higher interest rates in the United States.

      Japan, the second largest holder of U.S. Treasury bonds and notes, increased its holdings 2.2 percent to $821 billion. Britain, which holds the No. 3 spot, saw a 3.3 percent increase in holdings to $374.3 billion.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • ACLU Settles Student-Cell-Phone-Search Lawsuit With Northeast Pennsylvania School District

      The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania announced today that it has settled a lawsuit filed in May alleging that the Tunkhannock Area School District (Wyoming County) illegally searched a student’s cell phone, punished her for storing semi-nude pictures of herself on the device, and then referred her case for criminal prosecution to the district attorney’s office. Under the settlement, the school district denied any liability or wrongdoing but agreed to pay the student and her lawyers $33,000 to resolve the dispute. The student’s claims against the District Attorney’s Office were not settled and will proceed through litigation.

    • Sarah Palin Revisited: Why Terms of Use Shouldn’t Be Enforced Through Computer Crime Law

      Last week, we questioned whether Sarah Palin may have violated Facebook’s terms of use by using a ghostwriter to update her profile. We also criticized Facebook’s attempts to enforce those terms with state and federal computer crime laws — which carry both civil and criminal penalties — in Facebook v. Power Ventures.

      As we explained, it’s dangerous for a website to claim that users who breach its terms of use also violate computer crime law. Facebook users can easily make uncontroversial choices that nevertheless violate the plain meaning of Facebook’s terms. Furthermore, Facebook shouldn’t have the discretion to criminalize certain behavior just by forbidding it in terms of use.

    • Lawsuit targets advertiser over sneaky HTML5 pseudo-cookies

      A New York-based mobile-web advertising company was hit Wednesday with a proposed class action lawsuit over its use of an HTML5 trick to track iPhone and iPad users across a number of websites, in what is believed to be the first privacy lawsuit of its kind in the mobile space.

    • How US sanctions made Haystack

      There seems to be no end to the Haystack Affair. Who knew that this whole “Internet freedom” business was so ugly? Perhaps, it comes with the location: there must be a reason why Washington beats any other city in the world in terms of how many/how often its residents search for that very term on Google.

      I’m glad that The Economist picked it up, along with many others. I’m still waiting for The Guardian to do something about their akward award to Austin Heap. (That award is deeply symbolic of what happens to good editorial judgement when newspapers are forced to run conferences and make money on things that their marketing departments don’t know how to vet.)

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Intel: Leaked HDCP copy protection code is legit

      Intel has confirmed that code posted to the Internet earlier this week is the master key that is part of an Intel-created standard used to make sure only authorized devices are playing copyright-protected movies.

      “We can use it to generate valid device keys that do interoperate with the (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) protocol,” Intel spokesman Tom Waldrop told CNET today.

    • HDTV Code Crack Is Real, Intel Confirms
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • John Doe Strikes Back: New Developments in the US Copyright Group (“Hurt Locker”) Cases

        After months of dragnet litigation and intimidation, some of the thousands of “John Doe” Defendants targeted in mass copyright lawsuits filed in the District of Columbia are fighting back in earnest.

        The lawsuits are the brainchild of a Washington, D.C., law firm calling itself the “U.S. Copyright Group” (USCG). USCG investigators have identified IP addresses they allege are associated with the unauthorized uploading and downloading of independent films, including “Far Cry” and “The Hurt Locker.” Using those addresses, USCG has filed several “John Doe” lawsuits in D.C., implicating well over 14,000 individuals, and has issued subpoenas to ISPs seeking the identities of the subscribers associated with those IP addresses.

      • ACTA

        • When the Camembert tops democratic governance

          A European Parliament majority accepted a written declaration on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which iterates the calls to European Commissioner Karel de Gucht for more legislative transparency.

          In a speech before the European Parliament Commissioner Karel De Gucht threatened the United States to leave negotiations when geographical indications would be “discriminated”, that is excluded from the scope of the negotiations on ACTA. Geographical indications cover, for instance, camembert de Normandie, parmesan cheese or champagne, and other marks of origin. The United States oppose their inclusion in ACTA. The United States also aim to keep the negotiated ACTA draft text confidential.

Clip of the Day

Richard stallman San iGNUcio

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 16/9/2010: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD Now With Graphical Installer, Linux-based ViewPad in India

Posted in News Roundup at 2:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 2 Episode 17

      In this episode: We each predict a news story that may or may not have happened over the last seven days. Play the final results of our ‘build a game’ challenge, and we ask, is it finally time to do away with the command-line?

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Newbie In X; Creating X.Org Documentation

        Matt Dew, a self-proclaimed “X newbie”, just finished talking about his experiences as just entering the world of X.Org development and hopes to contribute to the X.Org world by gathering up and improving X.Org documentation.

        As most know who have ever investigated X.Org, traditionally the documentation covering the software stack has been rather fragmented or even nonexistent in many places. This lack of reliable X.Org documentation can lead to a steep learning curve for new developers and can be a deterrent when coupled with the fact X.Org is complicated, but Matt hopes to work towards addressing this longstanding problem by rounding up the existing documentation from various sources and then eventually to write documentation for the missing pieces (particularly the newer areas, but also for areas like libdrm).

      • Recapping The New X.Org Development Process

        Scheduling issues had plagued X.Org Server development for the past few years: to the point that even delivering a point release had come more than a year late and major X Server releases were never delivered on time. This though has fortunately changed.

        With X.Org Server 1.8 though it was proposed to make some fundamental development changes and better refining the X.Org development process to be more like the Linux kernel — though not the same — where there is an official release manager, timed releases, and a defined process for requesting changes/patches be pulled into a given release. Since that point, the X.Org Server has basically been released on time. X.Org Server 1.9 was released on time just last month.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Zipping along

        Yet another gameplay detail has been added recently, namely slipstreaming. When a kart drives behind another one for a while, and then moves out of the slipstream, it recieves a speed boost and can then overtake the kart in front.

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Review: Motorola Charm

          Lastly, the cheap look of the screen will be a major problem for anyone who has used an HVGA or WVGA resolution device in the past The solid keyboard is excellent and will work for many. Truly great. Unfortunately, though, for most the Charm will fail at being what it promises, and that is a good entry-level smartphone. Instead, it appears to be something else all-together: an Android feature phone.

        • Avaya Announces Android-Powered ‘Desktop Video Device’
        • Can We Have This Phone Too Here in Africa?

          Meet the ZTE Racer, an Android 2.1 powered ultra low cost smartphone currently available in the UK.

    • Tablets

      • Mixed messages from Google: is Android ready for tablets?

        It’s possible that Android 3.0 will bring solutions to some of these problems. There are already rumors circulating that it will boost tablet support and be better suited for non-phone form factors. If Google’s compatibility program can evolve to function as effectively for new devices as it has for smartphones, we could see Google’s little robot show up in a lot more places.

      • Android Powered ViewPad Coming To India

        ViewSonic became at star at IFA 2010 with the release of its ViewPad 7. Powered by Android 2.2, the world’s most ‘advanced’ and ‘powerful’ mobile operating system, ViewPad 7 enables users to conduct video-conferencing, social networking, and enjoying AV entertainment, realizing their dreams of achieving a fun and diversified digital lifestyle. ViewSonic India is planning to launch this product in Indian market very soon.

        “ViewSonic‘s ViewPad 7 is so far the best android that has attracted the whole world. With the showcasing of the ViewPad 7 we in ViewSonic maintain our commitment towards the best IT innovations. We are expecting to launch ViewPad 7 in India in a very short time and hope we will get a great response from the Indian consumers who had always been very keen to the most hi-tech inventions,” says Gautam Ghosh, Country Manager, ViewSonic Technologies India PVT LTD.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Strategy, Tactics, and why companies are free to not contribute.

    Yesterday Julie Bort wrote in the NetworkWorld site an interesting post called “Cisco doesn’t contribute nearly enough to open source”, where she contends that “”[despite its] .. proclaims it responsible for a half percent of the contributions to the Linux kernel (0.5%). In reality, Cisco has been a near non-entity as an open source contributor”. Of course the author is right in its claims – the amount of contributed code to the Linux kernel is substantial but very “vertical”, and specific to the needs of Cisco as a Linux adopter.

    Which is a perfectly sensible thing to do.

    The problem of “contribution” comes up and again in many discussions on open source and business adoption of OSS; it is, in fact, a source of major debate why participation is low, and what can be done to improve it. It is my opinion that there are some barriers to OSS contribution – namely, internal IPR policies, lack of understanding of how participation can be helpful and not just a gift to competitors, and more. On the other hand, two points should be made to complement this view: the first is that some companies contribute in ways that are difficult to measure, and the second is that sometimes companies have no economic reasons to do so.

  • OpenIndiana project first screenshots

    The first development release, oi_147, is now available for download! It is available in 3 download formats – a Live DVD with a graphical installer which installs a full desktop environment, a Text installer CD which installs a minimal server install, and the Automated Installer ISO which allows performing a custom install via XML files.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla fixes startup bug, Firefox auto-updates are go!

        It certainly didn’t take long for Mozilla to jump to the pump and address a very-recently-announced bug affecting automatic updates to Firefox 3.6.9 and 3.5.11. A patch has been pushed, and users can now allow auto-update to do its thing without fear of winding up with a browser which won’t start properly.

      • Firefox 4 ditching status bar?

        If you’re using the latest Firefox 4 beta you may have noticed a few new visual changes…

      • GNU IceCat 3.6.9 released

        GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Mozilla Firefox browser.

  • Databases

    • Italian Bucap Picks Ingres Database

      Bucap S.p.A., a provider of outsourced document archiving and management services, has selected Ingres Database as its database of choice for its data management solution.

      “Prior to Ingres, all information managed by Bucap could be retrieved locally and remotely by our employees, but due to the complexity and low reliability of the system, most of the queries were done through manual retrieval and physical mailing or faxing the document to the customer,” said Ruggero Rinaldi, General Manager at Bucap. “Bucap wanted to offer a better quality and up-to-date service to its customers and therefore created a service portal enabling customers to access all of their documentation. Ingres best responded to our economical and technical requirements and the decision has been supported by the enhanced performance, features, and ability to leverage an open source product.”

    • SciDB: Relational daddy answers Google, Hadoop, NoSQL
  • Oracle

    • Oracle and OpenJDK

      Oracle will work with the OpenJDK code base and the OpenJDK community like Sun did. We will continue to develop the JDK in the open under a GPL license. We welcome the cooperation and contribution of any member of the community – individuals as well as organizations – who would like to be part of moving the most widely used software platform forward.

    • Oracle sticks to Sun’s open source strategy for Java

      Oracle is seemingly trying to calm down the discussion about the focus of Java programming language development and open source. The business software and database vendor is drawing people’s attention to the events and announcements during next week’s JavaOne event, which will take place at the same time as Oracle’s OpenWorld in-house tradeshow. In a recent announcement, Henrik Ståhl, Senior Director of product management for the Java Platform Group at Oracle, said that Oracle will have the same approach as Sun did with the OpenJDK code base and its community.

    • OpenOffice.org: Interactions Between Programs

      Some people insist that OpenOffice.org should be called an office application instead of an office suite. The distinction that they are trying to make is that the programs in OpenOffice.org share a common code base, instead of being separate programs that are simply bundled together, the way that Microsoft Office’s are.

      This distinction means that the complete OpenOffice.org is much smaller than any version of MS Office (and that you don’t save nearly the space you expect by installing only the components you actually use). It also means that many dialogs are identical in different programs, which makes them easier to learn. And, most important of all, it means that the separate programs can easily interact with one another.

  • CMS

    • Facebook alternative Diaspora rolls out first code

      Developers have been given their first glimpse of a community-funded and open alternative to Facebook.

      Diaspora describes itself as a “privacy-aware, personally-controlled” social network.

      It was conceived earlier this year by four US students during a period when Facebook came under fire for its privacy settings.

    • Diaspora fail

      I understand that people wanted to pick one of those quick development frameworks, I myself like them quite a lot, but they are exactly the wrong thing for this kind of app: WordPress is so successful cause it runs everywhere. And you gotta realize that those frameworks help you get a prototype running fast, but in the end you end up dropping most parts of the framework anyways cause of specific needs for features they don’t cover.

    • Diaspora, Dependencies and the Devil
  • BSD

    • Getting Started With FreeBSD 8.1

      FreeBSD is a UNIX-like OS that has been around since 1993. If you’re familiar with Linux or other UNIXes, you have most of the knowledge required to try it out, but you will also notice a few differences. Those familiar with the underpinnings of Mac OSX know that it, too, is based on BSD.

      FreeBSD isn’t as popular as the better-known Linux distros, but it has a strong reputation for reliability and robustness, and it’s still in active development. For my first foray into FreeBSD, I tried out the latest stable version (8.1), which was released mid-July.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • STAKEHOLDER DAY – My big idea for the Digital Agenda

      What is your big idea for the Digital Agenda, Europe’s new strategy for digital economy? What can you do to make a part of the Digital Agenda happen? The new strategy was published in May and it is now time to discuss how to put it into practice.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • GROUND LAB Part 1: Practical prototyping and the history of technological development

      GROUND LAB is a research and development company focused on designing and fabricating prototypes and solutions for a wide range of clients, ranging from large organizations like UNICEF to smaller NGOs, conservationists and artists. To prototype and build solutions for these varied challenges requires a high degree of flexible problem solving techniques, skills and solutions, which has led us toward using an open source business model and tools.

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Do Open Educational Resources Increase Efficiency?

        One of the questions people often ask about Open Educational Resources is “do they really increase efficiency?” Creative Commons has worked with many OER innovators, and their stories indicate that it does. We thought it would be useful to gather pointers to some of these examples. Please read on, and leave a comment with other great examples of how CC-enabled OER can increase efficiency for teachers, students and self-learners. Note of course that increasing efficiency is only one benefit of OER.


  • IBM announces process for power management
  • Science

    • NASA looks at horizontal, railgun-like rocket launcher

      NASA is looking hard at a way to blast spacecraft horizontally down an electrified track or gas-powered sled and into space hitting speeds of about Mach 10. The craft would then return and land on a runway by the launch site.

      The rail launcher, known Advanced Space Launch System is one of a few new launch systems a team of engineers from Kennedy Space Center and several other NASA centers are looking at that would use existing cutting-edge technologies to offer the space agency a next generation launcher to the stars, NASA stated.

    • Boeing Aims to Fly Passengers to Space on New Capsule

      Aerospace heavyweight Boeing has teamed up with a private spaceflight marketing firm to sell passenger seats for future flights in its new space capsule.

      Under the agreement, the Virginia-based Space Adventures will market passenger seats on commercial flights aboard the Boeing Crew Space Transportation-100 spacecraft, currently being designed to travel to the International Space Station as well as other future private space stations.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Tax inspectors get police-like powers to tackle tax evaders

      The inspectors can now turn up at people’s homes or businesses unannounced and examine their records if they believe not enough tax has been paid.

    • Fears over CCTV use in York schools

      HALF of York’s secondary schools have been filming pupils on CCTV without telling parents, sparking condemnation from privacy campaigners.

    • 300 homes in Gloucestershire are going to have their rubbish analysed

      Council chiefs have caused controversy by revealing plans to sift through random bins to see if the city’s residents are meeting strict recycling rules.

    • Leave. It. Alone.

      From 42 days to control orders, they were a model of illjudged and overbearing persistence. And so to today, during the report stage debate of the Identity Documents Bill – which is set to scrap the hated ID card once and for all – Big Brother Watch favourite Meg Hillier was moaning:

      “When something is bought in good faith there needs to be some recompense for the individual. We recognise, reluctantly, that both parties in this Government have a mandate to get rid of ID cards… but this issue is very important.”

      And promptly introduced a motion to force the Government to pay back £30 to the misguided individuals who signed-up to a lifetime of living on a database.

    • Entire US-Mexico border to be guarded by Predator Drones: Europe to follow suit?

      Starting in September, the entire 2,000-mile US-Mexico border will be monitored by drones, the Christian Science Monitor has reported.

    • Entire US-Mexico border to be guarded by Predator drones

      The launch of a fourth Predator drone Wednesday will mean the entire US-Mexico border is now patrolled by the unmanned aircraft.

    • Falsely Arrested Woman Told She Should Thank The Police For Realizing Their Error

      We’ve seen all sorts of stories about identity fraud and how it really is a pretty horrible crime — one where the victims are often left entirely on their own to unravel the resulting mess. However, there are times where things get even more ridiculous. Mitch Wagner points us to a case where a woman who had her identity used by a petty crook/coke addict was picked up by the police, believing she was the scammer, leading to this victim of identity fraud being jailed, strip-searched and de-loused, until she finally convinced police to look at a photo of the actual crook. Even then, they kept her in jail for an additional 24-hours.

    • Torture Tort Terror

      During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama criticized the Bush administration for its excessive secrecy, noting that it had “invoked a legal tool known as the ‘state secrets’ privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.” Obama also promised to end “extraordinary rendition,” a practice through which “we outsource our torture to other countries.”

    • The Tea Party and the Value of Craziness

      Here’s my first impression of the tea party movement: It’s a rabidly right-wing phenomenon with a shaky grasp of history, a strain of intolerance and xenophobia, a paranoia about Barack Obama, and an unhealthy reverence for Fox News. Any movement that doesn’t firmly exclude Birchers, birthers, and Islamaphobes is not a movement for me.

    • I’ll have the oolong, with a splash of open source

      Jonathan Rauch wrote in the National Journal Saturday on the “radical decentralization” of the tea party. A “Tea Party Patriots coordinator and co-founder” talks about it this way:

      “I use the term open-source politics. This is an open source movement…. The movement as a whole is smart.”

      No doubt, this has and will continue to be a bandwagon meme equating decentralization automatically with open source and by extension some form of novelty. Rauch, to his credit, focuses more on the decentralization aspect and acknowledges the “yes and no” answer to the novelty question.

    • The Tea Party Movement: Open-Source Politics
    • South African police hunt Twittering speedcam spy

      Police in Johannesburg are investigating a man who’s been using Twitter to warn motorists about speed traps and other police activity.

      PigSpotter, as he calls himself, has now agreed to stop tweeting the location of road blocks but vowed to continue posting speed trap information. He also posts traffic congestion reports, and info about out of action traffic lights and accidents.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ACE, Climate Education, and the Issue of Energy Execs

      In July of 2008, a new nonprofit organization, the “Alliance for Climate Education, Inc.” (ACE), Inc., zoomed onto the scene and suddenly became a huge player in the much-overlooked field of climate education. ACE offers high schools free multimedia assemblies on climate change that utilize “cutting-edge animation, music and video.” In short, this is not the usual low-budget presentation that school assemblies are known for.

      On the surface, ACE’s effort seems laudable, but questions remain about the messages is ACE is crafting with its free access to the nation’s youth on school time. ACE’s featured web content on BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which has since been removed (after our initial criticism of it), did not even mention “BP,” although it conceded the unimpeachable fact that the spill is a “disaster.” ACE also featured positive images connected to the disaster such as a swimming dolphin and a rescued pelican, alongside a clean-up worker and a photo of the well fire being extinguished.

    • Huge fish kill – a common sight in Louisiana

      Summer dead zones are common in the Gulf of Mexico, caused by the large amounts of fertiliser that get flushed down the Mississippi river, which triggers a dramatic drop in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water. Researchers have been concerned that microbes breaking down the oil from the BP spill might exacerbate this year’s dead zone and have been closely monitoring oxygen levels in the Gulf.

    • UK national assessment of preparedness for climate disruption says action needed now

      How well prepared is the UK for climate change? asks the title of a report released today by the Adaptation Subcommittee of the Committee on Climate Change established under the UK Climate Change Act of 2008.

  • Finance

    • High Class Addiction
    • Bailed-Out Banks Finance Predatory Payday Lenders

      American taxpayers bailed out the big banks. Now many of those banks are returning the favor by extending credit to payday lenders who sucker consumers into a spiraling debt trap.

      That is the claim in a new report published this week by National People’s Action (NPA), the Chicago-based community organization. The report, called Predators’ Creditors, names Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase as some of the biggest lenders to the booming payday loan industry.

    • Goldman Sachs Sued Over Alleged Gender Discrimination

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was sued by three former female employees who claim they faced discrimination in pay and fewer opportunities for promotion than men at the firm.

      “The violations of its female employees’ rights are systemic, are based upon companywide policies and practices, and are the result of unchecked gender bias that pervades Goldman Sachs’s corporate culture,” the women said today in a complaint in federal court in Manhattan.

    • One Less Privacy Intrusion: Bill to End Pre-Employment Credit Checks

      Will the Equal Employment for All Act make it out of the House Committee on Financial Services when Congress reconvenes this fall? The bill, HR 3149, would make it illegal for employers to use the personal and private credit reports of American job applicants when making hiring decisions for most positions.

      Bad credit means no job and no job means bad credit. Second chances in Hollywood and professional sports occur every day, but the rest of America is locked down in a modern-day debtors’ prison run by credit bureaus and ruled by corporate greed. A two-class America of the elite and the poor is becoming more and more a reality, thanks in part to the continuing practice of pre-employment credit checks.

    • Max Keiser Interviews Stoneleigh, and A Nation Under The Gutting Knife

      15 Shocking Poverty Statistics That Are Skyrocketing As The American Middle Class Continues To Be Slowly Wiped Out

      1. Approximately 45 million Americans were living in poverty in 2009.
      2. According to the Associated Press, experts believe that 2009 saw the largest single year increase in the U.S. poverty rate since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.
      3. The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • EU breakthrough on lobby register

      UK Liberal Democrat MEP Diana Wallis, who is representing the Parliament in talks with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, said Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere had asked the Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives to “review” plans to establish a single register for all three institutions at the close of the General Affairs Council on 13 September.

      “If this materialises, it will represent a welcome evolution in the Council’s position,” said Wallis.

      Talks on establishing a joint lobby register between the Commission and the Parliament resumed in May without the Council’s involvement.

    • G.O.P. Allies Drive Ad Spending Disparity

      Outside groups supporting Republican candidates in House and Senate races across the country have been swamping their Democratic-leaning counterparts on television since early August as the midterm election season has begun heating up.

    • A New Name for High-Fructose Corn Syrup

      The Corn Refiners Association, which represents firms that make the syrup, has been trying to improve the image of the much maligned sweetener with ad campaigns promoting it as a natural ingredient made from corn. Now, the group has petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration to start calling the ingredient “corn sugar,” arguing that a name change is the only way to clear up consumer confusion about the product.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Sarah Palin Revisited: Why Terms of Use Shouldn’t Be Enforced Through Computer Crime Law

      Last week, we questioned whether Sarah Palin may have violated Facebook’s terms of use by using a ghostwriter to update her profile. We also criticized Facebook’s attempts to enforce those terms with state and federal computer crime laws — which carry both civil and criminal penalties — in Facebook v. Power Ventures.

      As we explained, it’s dangerous for a website to claim that users who breach its terms of use also violate computer crime law. Facebook users can easily make uncontroversial choices that nevertheless violate the plain meaning of Facebook’s terms. Furthermore, Facebook shouldn’t have the discretion to criminalize certain behavior just by forbidding it in terms of use.

    • Is online privacy dead?

      There are many reasons why you should be concerned about online privacy. Stalking on the internet can lead to unwanted offline encounters, blackmail, fraud, cyber-bullying, and personal details, which you’d rather not have the world know about, falling into the wrong hands.

    • IP address-tracing software breached data protection law

      The Swiss Federal Court has ruled that software which identified the internet protocol (IP) address of unauthorised music uploaders broke data protection law.

    • Is US prudishness ruining the internet?

      Is US dominance of the internet – and particularly of the social networking space – leading to the export of US prudery across the globe? Or is the growing debate on international censorship a little more complicated?

      As Becky Dwyer, a US citizen and, as member of CAAN Scotland, a campaigner for less censorship in the UK put it: “Isn’t this more about American Corporations forcing conformity upon private individuals rather than ‘American’ values?”

      First off, examples of US social networking sites coming down hard on subscribers who fail to toe the line set by Ts & Cs are widespread.

    • Appeals Court Guts Landmark Computer-Privacy Ruling

      Bowing to the Obama administration, a federal appeals court Monday gutted its own decision that had dramatically narrowed the government’s search-and-seizure powers in the digital age.

      The 9-2 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nullifies Miranda-style guidelines the court promulgated last year that were designed to protect Fourth Amendment privacy rights during court-authorized computer searches. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, as solicitor general last year, had urged the court to reverse itself amid complaints that federal prosecutions were being complicated, and computer searches were grinding to a halt, because of the detailed guidelines.

      The original ruling required the government to cull specific data described in the search warrant, rather than copy entire hard drives. When that’s not possible, the feds were advised to use an independent third party under the court’s supervision, whose job it would be to comb through the files for the specific information, and provide it, and nothing else, to the government. The ruling said judges should “deny the warrant altogether” if the government does not consent to such a plan in data-search cases.

    • FCC asked to block Skechers cartoon series

      An advocacy group on Tuesday asked the Federal Communications Commission to block a soon-to-debut TV cartoon show starring characters first created to market Skechers footwear to children.

      Unless banned, the group said, the show could pave the way for Ronald McDonald, Tony the Tiger and other iconic cartoon pitchmen to become stars of their own series — potentially inundating children’s television with what amounted to full-length commercials.

    • Singel-Minded: Craigslist Took One for the Open Internet

      Despite having the law on its side Craigslist took down its Adult Services section at the end of August, replacing it with the word Censored. It did so without fanfare — and still no explanation. But the small change marked a big capitulation to a gaggle of state attorneys general and anti–child-trafficking groups who have been hounding the free classifieds listing service for years, casting Craigslist as an online pimp.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Understanding the HDCP Master Key Leak

      On Monday, somebody posted online an array of numbers which purports to be the secret master key used by HDCP, a video encryption standard used in consumer electronics devices such as DVD players and TVs. I don’t know if the key is genuine, but let’s assume for the sake of discussion that it is. What does the leak imply for HDCP’s security? And what does the leak mean for the industry, and for consumers?

      HDCP is used to protect high-def digital video signals “on the wire,” for example on the cable connecting your DVD player to your TV. HDCP is supposed to do two things: it encrypts the content so that it can’t be captured off the wire, and it allows each endpoint to verify that the other endpoint is an HDCP-licensed device. From a security standpoint, the key step in HDCP is the initial handshake, which establishes a shared secret key that will be used to encrypt communications between the two devices, and at the same time allows each device to verify that the other one is licensed.


      The impact of HDCP’s failure on consumers will probably be minor. The main practical effect of HDCP has been to create one more way in which your electronics could fail to work properly with your TV. This is unlikely to change. Mainstream electronics makers will probably continue to take HDCP licenses and to use HDCP as they are now. There might be some differences at the margin, where manufacturers feel they can take a few more liberties to make things work for their customers. HDCP has been less a security system than a tool for shaping the consumer electronics market, and that is unlikely to change.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Ron Coleman on ‘Returning balance to the IP equation’

      Ron Coleman writes an essay well worth reading on how trademark law has morphed into perverse measures at the hands of IP attorneys and big businesses looking to protect their turf in response to overall changes in the IP landscape.

    • District Court Smacks Down Tiffany (Yet Again) In Fight With eBay Over Counterfeit Items

      The case isn’t quite over yet, as Tiffany keeps appealing various aspects of it, but it certainly doesn’t look good for Tiffany — but does appear very good for anyone who believes in the principles of properly applying liability to those who did the actions, rather than the “easy target” third party (even in the absence of official safe harbors).

    • Ohio State Abuses Trademark Law to Suppress a Fan Magazine and Website

      In today’s Washington Post, John Feinstein captures an important truth about college sports –- the print headline of his column is: “Greed is the most powerful tradition in college football.” (In the online addition, the headline described greed as “the new tradition”). Whether new or longstanding, a tradition of greed is typified by a dangerous decision issued this week by a federal judge in Columbus, Ohio, in which Ohio State University was able to use trademark law to suppress a fan web site and magazine devoted to its sports teams, established by a commercial publisher.

    • Lego Hit With A Brick In Trademark Case
    • Copyrights

      • EU liberals join Sarkozysts in online repression

        The Gallo report on copyright enforcement -from the pro-Sarkozy MEP, Marielle Gallo- will be voted on Wednesday, September 22nd in the European Parliament. Surprisingly, the Liberal ALDE group has tabled its own alternative resolution, a bad and almost equally repressive text. Under blatant influence of the producers and publishers’ lobbies, this political move from the liberals actually aims at facilitating the vote of the original Gallo report.

      • Confessions Of A Convicted RIAA Victim Joel Tenenbaum

        Boston student Joel Tenenbaum is the poster child of an entire generation of downloaders, and one of the few people to stand up against the RIAA instead of signing off on a settlement. This decision proved to be a costly one for Tenenbaum, who now has to pay $67,500 in damages to the record labels for sharing 7 songs. In an interview he now looks back at recent years.

      • P2P investigations now illegal in Switzerland

        Switzerland, a longtime haven for all kinds of financial shenanigans, has just expanded its reputation for “discretion” to cover file-sharing as well. That’s the conclusion of Logistep AG, anyway, as a Swiss court has just gutted its P2P surveillance business with a ruling that says gathering even publicly available information is illegal.

      • What’s the law around aggregating news online? A Harvard Law report on the risks and the best practices
      • Canadian Recording Industry Claims That Canadian Copyright Proposal Is A $5k License To Infringe

        It’s difficult to think of a sentence that shows anyone more out of touch than that. Would anyone really want to pay $5,000 (not an insignificant sum by any means) for purely a non-commercial compulsory license? Whenever various compulsory licenses have been discussed, they’ve usually been in the range of $5/month or so. To pretend that anyone will just pay up $5,000 for non-commercial copying is just silly.

Clip of the Day

The Linux Foundation Video Site:: Why Linux IS Better than…

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 16/9/2010: Compiz 0.9.2, 64-bit Adobe Trash GNU/Linux Support, PlayOnLinux 3.8.1, Diaspora Public

Posted in News Roundup at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A Future So Bright

    One of the catalysts for my excitement is a slide that was presented during an Ohio LinuxFest presentation from HP’s Phil Robb: “This is the Year of the Irrelevance of the Desktop.” Robb presented a slide which displayed just how far computing has come, and just how far it will go, with Linux riding the wave.


    Until we get to today, with a projected 10 billion-plus mobile consumer devices (the LF slide appears to have a typo, but the original Morgan Stanley study has 10 billion). These mobile consumer devices include:

    * Car electronics
    * Mobile video
    * Home entertainment
    * Games
    * Wireless home appliances
    * Smartphones
    * Kindle
    * Tablets
    * MP3
    * Cellphone PDS

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • LinuxCon Brazil: Q&A with Linus and Andrew

      Linus Torvalds rarely makes appearances at conferences, and it’s even less common for him to get up in front of the crowd and speak. He made an exception for LinuxCon Brazil, though, where he and Andrew Morton appeared in a question and answer session led by Linux Foundation director Jim Zemlin. The resulting conversation covered many aspects of kernel development, its processes, and its history.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 7.8.3 Release Candidate 1 Is Here

        While Mesa 7.9 is just around the corner with a great number of new features and other improvements to this open-source graphics stack used by Linux and other operating systems, those being bound to releases that are proven stable will still be leaving with Mesa 7.8 until Mesa 7.9.1 or 7.9.2 is released later in the year. But for those stable users, there’s also Mesa 7.8.3 that will soon be released.

      • Power Management Patches For Nouveau, Finally

        Martin Peres is a French developer now working on the Nouveau driver and in particular has been focusing on developing the power management architecture based upon the reverse-engineering work of other Nouveau developers. This morning before leaving for XDS in Toulouse he announced his Nouveau power management work that includes support for parsing the NVIDIA BIOS for the necessary power management bits (with the NV40 to NV96 ASICs) and then voltage and clock settings for the NVIDIA graphics cards.

      • Where Wayland May First Appear In Use By A Distro

        It turns out that Wayland may end up finding itself deployed within MeeGo Touch. In fact, it sounds like there is already a prototype of MeeGo Touch + Wayland done by Kristian at Intel. Though this isn’t to be confused with the MeeGo netbook edition or even Nokia’s version of MeeGo Touch for their hand-held devices as they have the decision of using Wayland or continuing to run an X.Org Server.

      • X.Org Is Looking For A New Logo

        XDS 2010 has just begun in Toulouse, France. Well, besides yesterday’s pre-event where we were discussing Wayland and other topics. At the moment just the X.Org Foundation itself is being discussed.

        There is an audio feed of the event that I am recording directly from the microphone feeds and those will be published on Phoronix in the coming days. I will also be recording videos of select talks in HD, but it will be from an integrated microphone source.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Choice is Messy (Free Software Likes It That Way)

      The latest version of this argument is Graham Morrison’s article, “The trouble with Linux: There’s too much choice.” Morrison writes that the amount of choice is “often overwhelming, needlessly complicated and an easy excuse for change. Choice goes hand-in-hand with redundancy and duplicated effort.”

      Morrison goes on to suggest that, on the one hand, if the community doesn’t make a decision to standardize, then it will lose the choice because others — presumably, businesses and distros — will make the choice for them. On the other hand, by giving up a little unnecessary choice, “we’ll have gained a whole lot more choice where it’s important: the freedom to run secure, safe and supported software on whatever platform we choose.”

    • Tiny Core Linux 3.1 is released-It is the world’s smallest desktop distribution with an 11 MB live CD

      Team Tiny Core has released Tiny Core 3.1 the world’s smallest desktop distribution – an 11 MB live CD, the major theme for this release is the introduction of on demand icons. This allows for more options to have even faster boot times with the easy access to less often used application extensions. Much improved internationalization support and other upgrades and enhancements have been performed throught the system.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat tops list of hottest IT security certifications

        The fastest-growing infosec certification is Red Hat’s. Launched in 2006, this certification is aimed at senior network administrators and is designed to prove that a person has deep skills related to running Red Hat Enterprise Linux in a secure fashion.

        “Between this time last year and today, the number of people who have passed [the Red Hat Certified Security Specialist] exam has grown by 70%,” says Randy Russell, director of certification at Red Hat. “Clearly, something is happening with this particular credential.”

      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Selected by Qualcomm as a Strategic Virtualization Platform

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Qualcomm Incorporated has adopted Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization as a key virtualization platform for its production workloads.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Updates, Code Names, Back Ports, Screenshots, and Derived

        For users who would like to know what an application will look like before they install it, there is a service at screenshots.debian.net. Most screenshots are uploaded by developers, but others can contribute as well. Visit screenshots.debian.net to peruse current screenshots or to sign up to upload.

      • First impressions of Linux Mint Debian — I’m more than a little intrigued

        So Linux Mint Debian is a project I’ll definitely be watching. If a Mint distro based on Debian Testing proves to be a success, I wonder if the Mint team’s next move will be a distribution based on Debian Stable (though it looks like you can easily make your Mint Debian install stick with Squeeze rather than post-Squeeze Testing). An easy-to-use, multimedia-ready version of Debian Stable would be a great addition to the free, open-source OS ecosphere.

        Linux Mint Debian is good enough that it almost (but not quite) makes me willing to give up data encryption in the installer. However, a check of the Mint forums leads me to believe that an encryption option may be coming to Mint Debian. That could very well seal the proverbial deal. How’s that for an endorsement?

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Four Years And The Chasm

          Six years ago I believe that Ubuntu changed desktop Linux. Of course, this had nothing to do with me. I wasn’t involved back then; it was the fantastic work of the original gangstas such as Mark Shuttleworth, Matt Zimmerman, Robert Collins, Scott James Remnant, Jeff Waugh, Benjamin Mako Hill and others who got this train on the rails. They all have my unending respect: they took the fantastic and inspiring rock that is Debian and they built on it to create something different. It was fresh faced, innovative, and had a wicked-cool tan. It inspired me to use and advocate Ubuntu, and ultimately see if I could fit in in a world populated by such original gangstas. Fortunately, the original gangstas was rather nice and welcoming gangstas…

        • Testing Gnash 0.8.8 On Ubuntu

          Late last month, the GNU Gnash project released version 0.8.8 of its open-source flash player, which touts much better compatibility than its predecessors with popular Flash-centric sites, like YouTube. But how well does Gnash 0.8.8 actually work on Ubuntu? We botched up a virtual machine in order to find out.

        • Canonical’s Experiments With Hardware Sensors, Life Beyond Keyboards and TouchScreens

          Advent of Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Kinect, Apple iPhone and the likes changed quite a lot of things. The first thing they destroyed was the perception that, computer controls are all about keyboards and touchscreens. As we are all aware now, there are a bunch of hardware sensors which, with the help of state of the art software, could do such wonderful stuff which we haven’t even thought about before.

        • Want to go to UDS Narwhal?
        • Enjoying the new community wallpapers
        • Ubuntu 10.10 Has a Brand New Wallpaper
        • Ubuntu 10.10 Nautilus Elementary PPA Updated, Comes With ClutterView, Embedded Terminal By Default
        • How far are we porting Ubuntu One to windows?
        • Ubuntu Pay is open for translations

          We are pleased to announce that Ubuntu Pay, the new payment service that allows you to buy commercial software (by means of the Ubuntu Software Centre) or subscriptions to services like Ubuntu One (in the near future), is ready to start accepting translations from the community.

        • Unity Netbook Interface Debuts for Ubuntu 10.10

          There are some aspects of Unity which I’m not crazy about. For one, it can feel pretty laggy when performing certain tasks, a problem that might be mitigated by providing better pronounced feedback to the user when clicking buttons.

          I also really wish there were a way to auto-hide the panel on the left of the screen, or even remove it altogether. Granted, the most valuable pixels on my netbook’s tiny 1024×600 display are the vertical ones, but horizontal real estate is not in unlimited supply either, and the space eaten up by the launchers can be problematic–especially since many websites these days are designed for a minimum width of 1024 pixels.

          In general, Unity has shaped up nicely, and offers netbook users an interface that’s both pretty and functional–especially on touchscreen devices. But like most worldly things, it has flaws, which we hope will be addressed for future Ubuntu releases.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Novatel MiFi 2352 review

      This highly versatile 3G mobile broadband gadget puts a personal Wi-Fi hotspot in your pocket, but watch for scorch marks on your wallet…

    • Phones

      • Palm webOS 2.0 preview video hits the wilds

        First things first — before you jump on past the break and mash play, mute your speakers. Mute. As in, off. Alrighty, now that you’re prepared, you’ve got two minutes and 14 seconds of teasing just a click away, as some sure-to-be-yelled-at developer has leaked a sneak peak into the wide, mysterious world of webOS 2.0.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Palm Design VP Joins Nokia as VP of MeeGo UX

          Peter Skillman brings interface knowledge to burgeoning open source platform.

          Peter Skillman, design VP at Palm has defected to Nokia where he will lend his user interface knowledge to MeeGo. Skill worked directly on Palm’s webOS, which while never a top-seller, has definitely earned high marks for its design presentation.

      • Android

        • Avaya Announces Android-Powered ‘Desktop Video Device’

          Earlier this morning Avaya unveiled a new lineup of business class products and service that include the Android-based Avaya Desktop Video Device. With a sizable 11.6” HD touch screen, HD camera, and dual-mic support, the device provides real-time enterprise communication and collaboration.

    • Tablets

      • Asus Linux-based Eee Tablet to cost £190

        Asus plans to launch its long awaited Eee Tablet with an 8-inch LCD touchscreen in October for around $300 (£190), though prices vary by market.


        The Eee Tablet will run a Linux OS, but not Google’s Android mobile operating system, which has long been the rumour. The Linux distribution on board was developed by Asustek, said Jerry Shen, CEO of Asustek, speaking with reporters after the conference.

      • 10 Latest Android-Powered Tablet PCs – Can Any of These Take on the iPad?

        Archos Internet Tablets – Can you say master of tablet PCs? Not quite done with the Archos 5, Archos 7, and Archos 8 released in September of last year and June this year, the French company last month unveiled its latest offerings in what is getting to be a long list of Archos Android-powered tablets. The five (yes, you read that right – 5) tablet devices all come with the Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’, accelerometers, touch screens in varying sizes, and cameras, to name just a few of their features. The Archos fab five take on the first five slots of this list.

        1. Archos 28
        With a 2.8-inch resistive touch screen, this midget is apparently the smallest of the lot but there’s still a lot you can do with its 4G of storage, Wi-Fi capability, and a new Archos music application that supports a variety of video and music formats. Browsing on such a diminutive touch screen could still be inhibiting for a lot of people though but at a starting price of $99, it would still spark some interest especially for those who want to browse on the go but don’t want to shell out too much.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

  • CMS

    • Live from New York, it’s finally Diaspora night! (Sort of.)

      The consumer-ready alpha is still a few weeks away, but today Diaspora released the developer code as promised. Be patient, though–looks like joindiaspora.com is a little slammed. Skip over to GitHub if you want the code.

      And even if you’re not a developer, you can see the first screenshots. You might notice it looks familiar, if you’re not one of the (handful of) people who quit Facebook back in the beginning of the summer.

    • Developer Release

      Today we are releasing the source code for Diaspora. This is now a community project and development is open to anyone with the technical expertise who shares the vision of a social network that puts users in control. From now on we will be working closely with the community on improving and solidifying Diaspora.

      We began the summer a list of technologies, and a few bold claims and the goal to make an intrinsically more private social network. The overwhelming response that we elicited made us realize that technology woudn’t be enough. Even the most powerful, granular set of dropdowns and checkboxes will never give people control over where their content is going, let alone give them ownership of their digital self.

  • Healthcare

    • Jesse Dylan, Bob Dylan’s Son, Invigorates Open Source Health Care With Lybba

      Jesse Dylan’s story is an amazing one. His son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune inflammation of the intestines which causes chronic pain, vomiting, and other symptoms. Dylan found it to be extremely difficult to find reliable clinical data on Crohn’s disease online or through any other medium, so he founded the Lybba project. The goal of Lybba is to create an online central repository of medical information, a “Wikipedia” for the health care industry. Lybba is a non-profit organization that is committed to transforming health care using the principles of the open source movement.


    • Should public administrations promote private products, services and companies?

      Thinkers lending on the side of software neutrality organized a Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software Advertising On Government Websites. Zealous members of this community actually went to spend some time to find examples of government websites promoting a product from a private company, such as the website of the French Ministry of Education. This is embarrassing.

      A well-known bias in procurement approach is to ask for a “BMW” or an “IBM” when we need a car or a computer. Open and competitive procurement means that buyers are giving a fair chance to everyone capable to offer a “solution”. Brands have value, but why should a public administration pay for brand use (would this be a good use of taxpayer money)? Isn’t a generic service satisfying enough if is does the same thing? Even when the product is free of charge, there is still a benefit for a vendor (brand owner) in terms of exposure, promotion, and implicit endorsement when their product is being advertised by a large and well-known organization. Should free of charge products, and others, be examined in light of alternatives before leaning toward one particular solution?

  • Government

    • Romania to develop national open source IT policy

      The government of Romania is considering to develop an IT strategy to increase public administration’s use of open source, ICT Minister Valerian Vreme said Tuesday in a press conference.

      “We will work on a strategy on the use of open source software. There are other European countries, such as France and Germany, which extensively use this type of software”, Vreme was quoted by Ziarul Financiar, a financial newspaper.

      Increasing the use of open source is one of several options to reduce government spending that were announced by Vreme on Tuesday.

  • Licensing

    • A licensing change for syslog-ng

      Over ten years ago, the development of syslog-ng started out as a purely GPL project, but required copyright transfer for contributed patches. Similar to other projects, for example MySQL, this aimed to keep the codebase under a single copyright, leaving the possibility open for future relicensing and proprietary versions.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Innovation the McKinsey way

      I don’t know why but this cynical example from Jacques Bughin (McKinsey & Company) on open innovation is not supposed to be fun:

      When recently Fiat has called its fans to give ideas and feedback on new Fiat 500, no less than 170,000 designs have been proposed graciously, together with 1,000 accessories. No IP, no wage, but there’s a feeling for contributing fans that their opinion matter,

      It is a concept from the news papers business, the letters to the editors. Free content – and from an editorial perspective “improvement of newspaper-reader relations”.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The ODF Podcast 002: Jos van den Oever and Inge Wallin

      On September 3rd OASIS ODF Adoption TC member Rob Weir sat down KDE community members Jos van den Oever (left) and Inge Wallin (right), in Budapest at the OpenOffice.org Conference, to discuss a range of topics, including the design philosphy of KOffice, its use of ODF 1.2′s new RDF metadata capabilities and the Nepomuk social semantic desktop project. You can listen to this interview in our second episode of the ODF Podcast.

    • Sorry you asked.


  • Displaylink does 2560 x 1600 video over USB3

    DISPLAYLINK HAD a beta version of their monitor over USB3 hardware running on the floor of IDF this year, and some other goodies too. Just because USB3 is on the horizon doesn’t mean USB2 devices are standing still.

  • Stupid California Police Warn Parents of Pedobear, the ‘Pedophile Mascot’ (Updated)

    The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, who can’t be bothered to look up Pedobear’s extensive Wikipedia entry, issued a very serious warning about Pedobear last week, as seen in the news report above.

  • E-voting system failures lead to call for public clearinghouse
  • Free climbing a tower higher than the Empire State Building
  • The Future Collision of 3D Printer Manufacturers

    However, the RepRaps won’t lead to a mass revolution either, at least not yet. They are simply far to complex for most people to own and operate. Today’s 3D print operators are much like the barnstorming pilots of the 20th century, who sit ready with wrenches to tune and repair their 3D printer. Yes, they’re inexpensive, but our Mom would never be able to use them.

  • Science

  • Finance

    • Credit card writedowns increase in August

      The improvements in the unpaid credit card balances that banks gave up trying to collect stalled in August.

    • Man Who Wrecked the Economy Says Stimulus Didn’t Work
    • Industrial production rises 0.2 percent in August

      Production at U.S. factories grew in August for the 12th time in 14 months, but at a slower rate than earlier this year as consumers spent cautiously.

    • Goldman Sachs Goes Republican

      The latest data from the Washington D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics shows that Goldman has doled out roughly $914,000 to Republican candidates compared to about $776,000 to Democrats in this year’s election cycle.

      “I think that Wall Street and other large donors have become not too much unlike the electorate at large – sort of willing to change,” said Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report, one of the nation’s leading non-partisan political handicappers.

    • ‘Goldman Conspiracy’ helps China defeat U.S.

      Goldman’s “ultimate goal is hunting and killing China,” warns Li Delin, the Chinese author of “The Goldman Sachs Conspiracy,” a bestseller in China.

      Li is not as visually dramatic as Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone picture of Goldman as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” But Li’s Chinese readers love his “Goldman Sachs knows when to go for your neck” like a “Manchurian tiger.”

    • 3 Women Claim Bias at Goldman

      Three former female employees at Goldman Sachs sued the investment bank on Wednesday, contending that the firm discriminates systematically against women.

    • Lehman sues to recover credit swap payments

      Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is trying to recover more than $3 billion from banks, insurers and other financial services companies that it claims it lost when its bankruptcy filing in 2008 caused its priority payment status to be modified.

    • Gov’t: Banks should share Fannie, Freddie costs

      The nation’s largest banks have an obligation to pay some of the cost for bailing out mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because they sold them bad mortgages, a government regulator said Wednesday.

      Edward DeMarco, the acting director for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said the banks this summer have refused to take back $11 billion in bad loans sold to the two government-controlled companies, in written testimony submitted for a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday. A third of those requests have been outstanding for at least three months.

    • EU proposes tougher rules for financial markets

      The European Union’s executive on Wednesday proposed tougher curbs on financial market practices seen to have contributed to the global market crisis that drove the world’s largest economies into recession.

    • Yes, tax cuts increase the deficit

      There are a couple of weird arguments that come up when you talk about tax cuts. One is that “tax cuts do not cause deficits. Spending does.” This is pretty easy to test: If we cut taxes this year but leave spending unchanged, will anything happen to deficits next year? The answer, of course, is yes. They will go up. Fast.

    • Is Walking Away from Your Mortgage ‘Acceptable’?

      While there has been much debate about the ethics of walking away from a burdensome mortgage, the majority of Americans still believe such behavior is unacceptable, according to a report from Pew Research Center.

      On the other hand, more than a third (36 percent) say the practice is at least sometimes acceptable.

    • U.S. Adopts Tougher Stance on China

      The Obama administration is moving to take a harder stance on the Chinese government’s trade and currency policies, with anger toward China rising in both political parties ahead of midterm elections.

      Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, in separate hearings before House and Senate panels, plans to acknowledge on Thursday that China has kept the value of its currency, the renminbi, artificially low to help its exports and has largely failed to improve the situation as it promised to do in June.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • No Fishing

      Last week, we teamed up with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) to bring a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) policy that allows agents to search, copy and detain travelers’ laptops (and cell phones and cameras and other electronic devices) at the border without any reason to believe that the search will turn up evidence of wrongdoing. These tactics amount to electronic fishing expeditions into the constitutionally protected materials on an innocent traveler’s electronic device.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Click video: Apple wants to get in bed with newspaper business

      I filmed a video of my comments on today’s San Jose Mercury News story about Apple wanting to get into the newspaper business by selling subscriptions on its iPad and other devices and keeping 30 percent of the subscription revenue and 40 percent of the advertising revenue.

    • Copyrights

      • Cdn Music Industry Assoc Chair: Format Shifting, User Generated Content Keep Piracy Sites Going

        Similarly, the user generated content provision allows Canadians to make non-commercial new works that incorporate other copyrighted works. This provision – dubbed by many as the YouTube provision for supporting popular online mashups – has nothing to do with piracy. It is remarkable to find the chair of a leading industry association now claiming that these provisions support websites that promote piracy. In fact, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore had a better description for these kinds of claims – radically extreme.

      • Third Time’s The Charm?

        After signing its intention to conform its copyright act to World Intellectual Property Organization standards 11 years ago, the Canadian government has introduced Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, to fulfill that mandate.

        But after the failure of two previous attempts — Bill C-60 and Bill C-61 both died on the vine due to unexpected election calls — some are warning the same fate could befall the CMA, especially since federal conservatives remain in charge and could be toppled by the opposition at any time.

        Many private and public Canadian music industry interests wouldn’t mind seeing the CMA — in its present form — defeated, maintaining that the proposed copyright reform falls far short of assisting the very creators the bill is designed to protect.

      • ACTA

        • Another reason for ACTA caution: U.S. rightsholders as government pawns

          Last Sunday, Clifford Levy in the New York Times published a disturbing and eye-opening account of selective crackdowns by the Russian government against alleged pirates of Microsoft products who also happened to be vocal environmental activists. The day after the story’s publication, Microsoft changed its policy, stating (as reported again by Mr. Levy) that it will now “provid[e] a blanket software license to advocacy groups and media outlets,” so that there will be no question about whether certain computers are running licensed software or not. Though they will “be automatically covered by it, without having to apply,” I’m wondering what exactly will qualify as an “advocacy group” or “media outlet,” and how and when those determinations will be made — e.g., before, or after, a seizure has occurred?

Clip of the Day

Ruby on Rails vs PHP – Commercial #6 of 9

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 15/9/2010: Linux Mint Coverage, Best Buy Uses Drupal

Posted in News Roundup at 7:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Your Startup Should Be Involved in Open Source

    Oftentimes, when you hear the arguments for “Why open source?”, they are aimed at convincing companies to use open source software. But the other piece of the argument is, of course, an argument for why your company should build open source – why it should develop its technology in a community-driven, open sourced way.

    Along those lines, Peter Friese, head of mobile development at Itemis recently wrote an article arguing “Why Your Next App Should Be Open Sourced.”

  • Open source, helping the children of the future.

    Fortunately open source software has reached the point where it has become mainstream. Companies are buying other companies purely for their open source components. Other open source programs are extremely popular and grabberments, educational institutions and more businesses than ever before are seriously considering or using open source software. However, you may be thinking, what does this have to do with our children?

  • The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long…
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • What’s next for Firefox on Linux?

        Growth over the last year has been static, and things are about to get worse. A competing open source browser has been able to go from zero to 7% market share, and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.

  • Oracle

    • OpenSolaris spork ready for download

      It is not quite ready for primetime, but with the announcement of OpenIndiana, a so-called spork of Oracle’s OpenSolaris Unix distribution, the server world is getting a familiar, re-opened, and community-developed operating system aimed specifically at data center workloads.

      Alasdair Lumsden owns a hosting company in London called EveryCity Managed Hosting, and his customers are deployed on Solaris 10, which was made freely available with security patches when it was announced nearly six years ago by Sun Microsystems. The company has 50 servers supporting 250 Solaris containers – not exactly a hyperscale customer by some standards – but Lumsden has been an enthusiastic supporter of the OpenSolaris project and did his part in the community as he built a business running Solaris on x64 servers.

    • Is Oracle poised to effectively end open source software?

      The preferable approach, and the safest approach, to protecting innovation in the field of software development from the chilling effects of patent claims will always be to eliminate the dangerous practice of software patents altogether. It is important to oppose software patents at every turn, and for those of us in the United States to try to get the USPTO to stop issuing patents for software, if you care about healthy innovation in the software industry in general and open source software in particular.

  • CMS

    • Best Buy using Drupal

      Best Buy, one of the biggest retailers of consumer electronics in the United States is using Drupal for their mobile magazine website: http://www.bestbuymobile.com/. Best Buy earns 50 billion USD in revenues and has over 180,000 employees. Needless to say, this is a big enterprise adopting Drupal.

    • Deleted Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Accounts!

      I kept my account on identi.ca, the open source version of Twitter. When there are Open Source solutions for the broader problem of social networking, I’ll install them.

  • Education/Libraries

    • Will Librarians Leave Facebook for Diaspora?

      Librarians uncomfortable with the erosion of privacy on Facebook can now turn to a new social network called Diaspora, a personal Web server that stores shared information securely.


  • Government

    • Australian e-tax software unjust: Stallman

      E-tax is software provided by the Australian Taxation Office to conduct tax returns online. The office has been under fire for a number of years for not making a version of the software function on Linux or Apple Mac systems.

      However, this wasn’t the reason Stallman called the product “unjust”. His reasoning for this term was that it is not “free” software.

      Stallman feels strongly about freedom and wanted to be very clear on the distinction between free software and open source.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • The Most Powerful Colors in the World
  • Science

    • South Africa Develops Nanotech ‘Tea Bag’ To Filter Water for Pennies (video)

      Provide people cheap access to clean water and you could save billions of lives. South Africa may use tea bags to do just that. Researchers at Stellenbosch University’s Water Institute have developed a new water filtration system that uses activated carbon and nanofibers to quickly filter out pathogens. The carbon and nanofibers are placed in common tea bags and then fitted into a bottle. Fill the bottle with dubious water, install a filter, and drink. It’s that easy. According to SciDev Net, the ultimate price for these ‘tea bag’ nanfiber filters will be around half a cent (USD) each and be able to handle around 1 L before being replaced. A super cheap, portable, easy to use system to purify water? Sounds amazing. Watch developer (and SU dean) Eugene Cloete describe the project in the video below. You know a scientist believes in a product when he’s willing to test it on himself in front of a camera.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Privacy and Safety Questions Loom Over Federal Program to Track Preschoolers

      The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU-NC) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are calling for answers to critical privacy and safety questions that loom over a controversial federal program to track preschoolers with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips at George Miller III Head Start program in Richmond, California.

      In an open letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Department, ACLU-NC and EFF are asking officials to disclose what technical and security measures are used by the system to safeguard the privacy and safety of preschoolers, as well as what data is collected, how long it is retained, and who has access to the information. The letter also calls on officials to publicly address why and how the government decided to track Head Start students, and if the government plans to expand such tracking.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Cor blimey! British ISPs must fund P2P copyright crackdown

          For months now, the brightest minds in the UK—well, the brightest minds in the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, anyway—have been pondering a thorny question: who should pay for all the warning letters that will soon be winging their way by e-mail and post to (suspected) P2P users? Today, we learned the answer (PDF): rightsholders will pick up 75 percent of the tab, but ISPs will pay the rest.

          Under the Digital Economy Act, passed earlier this year, the UK gave its courts the power to order complete blocks on websites, required ISPs to start sending P2P warning letters from copyright holders, and opened the door to throttling and Internet disconnection for repeat infringement at some future date.

Clip of the Day

Vlmc demo #2

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 15/9/2010: More MeeGo Wins, DEAct Debate Reactivated

Posted in News Roundup at 2:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Windows 7 vs Ubuntu 10.04

    Despite the bombastic predictions of open-source advocates, and a short-lived spell as the default netbook operating system, Linux remains at the very margins of mainstream computing. Even among PC Pro’s technically literate readership, only 4% are running a Linux OS, according to the visitor stats for this website.

    However, something rather extraordinary is happening in the Linux world. Amid all the distros that have come and gone over the years, one finally has the potential, the momentum and the commercial backing to at least challenge the Windows hegemony.

  • Cracking Linux on the Desktop – A Proposal

    I have been touting the security of Linux on the desktop for several years now. But a question from Artremis on my article Open Source: FOSS Security Updates vs Microsoft Patch Day has me thinking about how to attempt to prove that. I know one “cannot prove a negative”, barring odd philosophical views from odd philosophers on that. But I think we in the FOSS Linux community can do more than just talk.

  • Ballnux

    • HTC Desire Z and Desire HD are Official, Available October in Asia and Europe

      As if the smash success that was the original wasn’t enough, HTC has made official the Desire Z and Desire HD. Both handsets feature aluminum construction but each offer something unique. The HTC Desire HD — which has been floating around as the HTC Ace in leaked screen shots — features a 4.3-inch 480×800 SLCD display, 8MP camera and dual flash capable of 720p HD video capture, and Android 2.2 with a new HTC Sense. This monster packs some hefty specs including a 1GHz processor, 1.5GB of internal storage, and 768MB of RAM. The phone features radio support for HSPA/CDMA and quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE.

    • HTC launches the Desire HD: an EVO for the rest of world
  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat helps NC State open the Garage doors for entrepreneurial action

        The Garage doors are opening for entrepreneurs at North Carolina State University thanks to support from open source software firm Red Hat and the NC State Entrepreneurial Initiative.

        The “Garage,” is a facility for students engaged in entrepreneurial endeavors and provides curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to empower students, whatever their discipline, as entrepreneurial thinkers, doers and leaders.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Founder: Ubuntu’s contribution goes beyond the code tree

          He’s got a point. I remember the excitement generated a few years back when Michael Dell publicly applauded the Ubuntu desktop and Dell’s decision to preload Ubuntu on select PCs. Now that deal per se was not a big success, but it shifted perception about the potential of Linux on the desktop in a far more signifiant way than Red Hat or Novell ever did.

          Both Canonical’s Ubuntu and Google’s Android are open source Linux projects that have advanced the cause of Linux, even if the implementations have stirred controversy within the open source community. That has to be good for open source.

        • Ubuntu 10.10′s Free Culture showcase selections

          The selected video and audio tracks for this cycles Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase initiative have been uploaded to Maverick.

        • New Way To Get The New Official Ubuntu Font Family
        • What I do

          Fortunately for me, my work in Canonical enabling Ubuntu to work on PCs fulfils this passion of mine. My daily work normally involves me looking at obscure firmware issues in PC BIOSs and figuring out what is wrong and how to address and fix the problem.

          Without fixing these issues, quite a few machines would just not function correctly for various reasons. My work involves fixing issues such as Suspend/Resume and Hibernate/Resume hangs, or looking at why hardware is not quite configured correctly after boot or resume. Unfortunately buggy firmware does happen quite frequently and leads to all sorts of weird issues. Hotkeys, LCD backlights, wake alarms, fan controls, thermal trip points and even CPU configuration can be affected by BIOS or ACPI bugs. All these need fixing, so it keeps me busy!

        • Thoughts on upstreams

          Last month I gave a presentation on the interaction between Android and kernel upstream at Linuxcon. The video for that is now available here (requires registration). Contrary to stories you may have heard, I do not dropkick anyone through a window.

          There’s some parallels between the Android/upstream scenario and Canonical’s approach to upstream. Mark wrote a lengthy defence of Canonical’s focus on components that they feel need development, while not putting development effort into things they feel are good enough already. That’s pretty consistent with the discussions I had with him at the Ubuntu development meeting in Oxford over six years ago. Back then the focus was on taking all the excellent software that already existed and concentrating on providing it as a single polished and integrated product. It was successful – what’s easy to forget now is that the first release of Ubuntu was massively more usable out of the box than any other Linux distribution available at the time, and it’s absolutely undeniable that its release spurred increased efforts on the part of competitors. But I don’t think the same focus is being applied any more.


          Canonical would be perceived as much better team players if there was an indication of their long-term plan in terms of Unity and the Ayatana projects and getting that code into mainline Gnome and integrating with the Gnome shell. It’s completely unsurprising that they’re viewed with distrust until that happens.

        • copyright assignments gone wild, or why i can not join Canonical’s contributor agreement program

          When it comes to organizations involved in tending to Free software projects, I personally take a view that is probably deeply colored by my previous life experiences in business. Which is to say, it’s probably a bit boring, conservative and balances out my raging enthusiasm for community.

          In my opinion, there is a responsibility for such organizations to identify, define and manage risks related to the responsibility of oversight of what is a very valuable item: the intellectual and creative work embodied in the software products. This is ignored only at great risk to the software, its users and those responsible for the continued development of the software. As a whole, the Free software ecosystem fails more than it succeeds in this, though it is getting better every year.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Sound applet buttons now respect your theme
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Pandora tops 1000 boxes

      English-built, open source games console Pandora has shipped its thousandth unit – not bad considering every one is hand made by geeks in Newcastle.

      The Pandora isn’t just a games console: running a tweaked Ångström Linux it can manage Open Office and Firefox too, all using open source hardware and software in a box the size of a Nintendo DS. Even the fact that it costs twice as much as a DS hasn’t stopped 1000 people buying one.

    • Chinese ARMs

      The Chinese, like me, prefer low cost and efficient IT. Hence their love of GNU/Linux and home-grown chips. There is news that a new dual core ARM CPU has been integrated into the SoC (System on a Chip) design with 1.6gHz and 2gHz speeds.

    • CompactPCI SBC offers eight-core QorIQ SoC

      Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES) announced a Linux-ready, conduction- or air-cooled 3U cPCI single-board computer (SBC) based on Freescale’s 1.5GHz, eight-core QorIQ P4080 system-on-chip (SoC). The XPedite5430 is equipped with up to 8GB of DDR3-1333 SDRAM, 16GB of NAND flash, PCI Express or Serial RapidIO expansion, plus gigabit Ethernet, serial, and USB connectivity.

    • NAS devices move up to Intel Atom D525

      The two-drive TS-259 Pro+ (4TB), four-drive TS-459 Pro+ (8TB), five-drive TS-559 Pro+ (10TB), and six-drive TS-659 Pro+ (12TB) all ship with 1GB RAM, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, iSCSI support, and newly updated Linux-based firmware.

    • Intel shows off Google TV devices as Boxee Box switches to Atom

      At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), Intel showed off Atom-based Google TV devices from Sony and Logitech. Meanwhile, Google confirmed Google TV is on schedule, and D-Link switched its Linux-based Boxee Box set-top box (STB) from an Nvidia Tegra 2 to the same Intel Atom CE4100 chipset used by the Google TV devices.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo in with a “chance” against mobile OS rivals

          The open-source mobile operating system is the result of a tie-up between the two tech giants, bringing together Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin. It’s designed for tablets, netbooks and handsets as well as televisions and in-car systems.

        • WeTab Tablet with Open Source MeeGo OS – WOW!

          The MeeGo operating system is an open source Linux project, which is a combination of Intel’s Moblin project and Nokia’s Naemo project. It is able to provide flexible UI and application environments, allows you to do practically anything with it, and supports all popular file formats. It also manages to do this while working with a number of graphical and processor optimisations, meaning it is not only extremely open but also very fast.

        • Splashtop fast-boot tech opens up with new MeeGo version

          DeviceVM previewed a new MeeGo-based version of its Splashtop instant-on distribution at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), effectively opening up the technology to Linux developers. The distribution is already being made available to OEMs, with end user upgrades available in the first half of 2011, says the company.

        • First MeeGo set-top box emerges

          At an Intel Developer Forum (IDF) keynote, Amino demonstrated a new MeeGo-ready set-top box (STB) while discussing its contributions to MeeGo’s Connected TV reference platform. Due to ship in the fourth quarter, the Freedom STB is equipped with Intel’s Atom CE4100 SoC, supports IPTV and traditional broadcast services, and offers both Adobe Flash 10.1 and Microsoft Silverlight.

      • Android

        • Application security moving to center stage on mobile platforms

          Google’s Android platform is the elephant in the room. While open and completely community driven, there are thousands of applications running on Android that are closed source. To protect those applications, Google released its Licensing Service.

          Google’s Licensing Service, which is still in the infancy stages, is a great offering to the development community when it comes to copy protection. Yet, the Licensing Service is easily defeated, depending on how it is implemented.

        • Verizon moves in on Google’s turf again with V CAST Apps

          Verizon appears to be moving further away from Android’s Google and open source core premise this week as it has begun to ask for submissions to its own app store, expected to debut as early as next week. The carrier appears to be following a similar structure to that of Apple, where apps must go through an approval process and revenues are split between Verizon and the developer.

        • Android: Opening A Pandora’s Box of Licensing

          This is a problem that will get worse, not better, as open source moves ever-closer to the heart of consumer electronics, and as more large-scale projects start to put together open source components with many different licences. Android shows how powerful that can be – and the kind of challenges it brings with it. Now that this digital Pandora’s box has been opened, the open source community needs to start thinking about how to manage the consequences in a more structured, scalable way.

        • Seven-inch tablet runs Android on Tegra 2

          Amazon.com opened pre-order sales for a $370, seven-inch, Android 2.2 tablet from Stream TV Network. The eLocity A7 tablet is equipped with a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2, 512MB RAM, 4GB of flash memory, and offers a seven-inch capacitive display, an HDMI port for 1080p output, plus Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and a 1.3-megapixel webcam, says Amazon.

        • Android May Paddle Samsung Canoe Into Turbulent Web TV Waters

          Yoon Boo Keun, head of Samsung’s TV business line, reportedly said the company is reviewing whether to use Android, an OS more commonly found in various smartphones, in a new line of TV sets.

          Samsung is working on an operating system that can be used for both mobile phones and television, Yoon apparently revealed.

          The Korean electronics could be stepping into a confusing market — it has its own Bada mobile phone OS and also makes Android smartphones. Further, it has just revealed an Android-based tablet, the Galaxy Tab.

        • T-Mobile’s G2 Hurtles Onto Smartphone Scene

          T-Mobile officially unveiled its G2 smartphone, the successor to the world’s first Android-powered mobile phone, touting its faster Web-browsing experience and direct integration with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) services.

          The G2, which is designed specifically for T-Mobile’s new HSPA+ network, features downloads at “4G speeds,” according to T-Mobile. The network is expected to reach more than 100 million Americans in 55 major cities across the country when the smartphone becomes available later this month.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Your Open-Source Smartphone May Actually Be Free

    Of course, in TechCrunch’s world, there’s only two mobile platforms out there. It’s probably too hard to keep track of three. And yes, Symbian as well as MeeGo are open-source platforms. We’ll give TechCrunch a little bit of slack and presume they ignored this fact to get their link bait right.

  • Liferay awards 2010 Partner of the Year to CIGNEX

    Liferay, provider of the leading open source portal solution, today announced it has awarded CIGNEX, the global Platinum partner of Liferay, the Partner of the Year for 2010. This announcement was made at the Liferay West Coast Symposium held at Anaheim, CA on September 8 & 9.

  • CIGNEX and Liferay to extend Liferay Training to customers in Middle East and Africa
  • Verizon Deploys Open Source Database Perst Lite for Field Technicians with BlackBerrys
  • Truly, Free Software For Your Personal and Professional Life

    Just because it say’s “Free” doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Arizona Reporter examines four relevant Open Source applications that reduce overall operating costs for small and large businesses alike.

  • Appeals Court Stops Re-selling of Software

    To get another perspective on the Vernor vs Autodesk case we went to Groklaw. Groklaw is one of the best sources for legal information about the computer industry. The founder of Groklaw, P.J. Jones, has been correct about computer law case outcomes more times than not.

  • Vernor v. AutoDesk – Vacated (first sale) and remanded (copyright misuse)

    There is a ruling [PDF] from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Vernor v. Autodesk, and some of you will hate it.

  • Maven maker Sonatype gets new CEO and $11.6M funding

    Sonatype, the start-up founded by the original author of the open source Maven build and project management software, has announced that it has a new CEO and is receiving $11.6M funding. Maven is an Apache Software Foundation project which is supported by Sonatype.

  • Open Source Groupware Comes to Japan

    Open-Xchange, provider of business-class open source collaboration software, announced today an exclusive distribution agreement with Next IT for hosted and on-premises Open-Xchange products in Japan.

  • CONNECT Open Source Advocates to Gather

    CONNECT includes one or more open source applications for each of the components, plus some private vendor tools such as IBM/Initiate Systems’ master patient index software.

  • Upcoming Event: The Open Source Enterprise

    Free, open-source software (FOSS) is finally a trusted solution in the enterprise, but primarily only in infrastructure layers. The promise of a completely open-source enterprise is nigh, but the nagging question remains: Will it work as a business for the technology industry? New business models are now appearing that bridge the old world of enterprise software with the promise and customizations of open source.

  • Dell comes clean on open source

    While only half a dozen people were affected there is a matter of principle at stake. Companies making use of (GPL) open source enter into a legal agreement to share their developments, so it was important that Dell complied.

  • Global open source alliance to deliver an enterprise monitoring stack

    Opsview, the open source network and application monitoring vendor, today announced it has teamed up with Canonical, the Ubuntu service provider, to help drive the enterprise adoption of Opsview Enterprise with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition. Opsview has grown rapidly within the managed service provider and financial services space; key strategic verticals for Canonical.

  • My Jakarta: Yudha Yogasara, Computer Security and Open-Source Activist

    I’m a college student, a panelist at IT seminars, a tutor at IT workshops, a writer, a moderator and the founder of a few hacker community forums, the head of KPLI — Kelompok Pengguna Linux [Linux User Group] – Tangerang.

    And I do work on some IT projects that I can’t mention here.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla suspends Firefox updates

        The flaw appears to have been introduced in Firefox versions 3.5.12 and 3.6.9, released last week, with the Bugzilla bug-tracking system showing a large number of reported crashes from clients across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.


        While a report over on ComputerWorld suggests that the updates have started flowing once again as of early this morning, there has so far been no official word from Mozilla on whether the root cause of the problem has been addressed.

  • SaaS

    • Cloud.com joins HP AllianceONE program

      Open-source cloud infrastructure provider Cloud.com has announced a big win in the enterprise market: a partnership with HP that will bring Cloud.com into the AllianceONE programme.

    • Cloudera: All Your Big Data Are Belong to Us

      Where Cloudera shines, however, is in taking these different contributions and making Hadoop relevant for enterprise IT, where data mining has waxed and waned over the years. Part of the “waning” has come through the cost and complexity of the systems used to mine corporate data.

    • Yahoo spins cloud web around competitors

      With regard to continually refining its consumer products, Yahoo is working with developers through its open source initiative Hadoop, which is the company’s analytics and data warehousing framework, to constantly improve its compute capabilities, said the executive. The Hadoop framework was made available to the open source community last June and, since then, Yahoo has contributed about 70 percent of all code written, he added.

    • OpenStack sets some Texas-sized deadlines

      OpenStack, the open source cloud project built around a Rackspace API, has set some deadlines for development milestones.

      The most important date is October 21.

      That’s the day for delivering the company’s first release, dubbed Austin. This will be followed by a development conference scheduled for November 9-12 in San Antonio. (Nachos for everyone!)

    • Open source in the clouds and in the debates
    • On innovation and participation

      What makes the Hadoop and NoSQL movements is that their growth is driven less by the itches of the associated vendors than it is the itches of the users/developers. Indeed we see vendors in these markets being led by existing users/developers in trying to figure out the opportunities for commercialization.

  • Databases

    • Xeround scales MySQL for the cloud

      Xeround is based on an in-memory database and has been tested in a number of telco production environments, according to CEO Razi Sharir. The software utilizes virtual partitions where data partitions are decoupled–or abstracted–from physical resources. These virtual partitions hold copies of both the data and the indexes, in order to ensure high availability and performance.

      Despite the ubiquity of open-source MySQL, the database has in the past suffered from scaling issues, which has often led developers down one of two paths: using a NoSQL database to front-end applications; and/or sharding, a process that splits the database into smaller chunks, but requires a high-degree of user sophistication.

  • Oracle

    • Friday Blogosphere Watch: Java and Open Source Industry Vets’ Blogs

      Next, is the blog of Bruce Perens, original author of the “Open Source Definition” and a founder of the Open Source Initiative, the Linux Standard Base, and Software in the Public Interest. The insightful Perens jumped back into blogging after a fairly long absence with some useful posts on the Oracle lawsuit, the Mark Hurd firing and other issues.

    • No News Is NOT Good News

      What do I expect from JavaOne 2010? Well, I am hoping that Oracle will finally put rumours to rest regarding its stance on Open Source. I hope that its plans for Java will include a faster and more open process in defining and releasing improvements to the language and the technology.

      I am hoping that JavaFX will finally get the much needed marketing funds to get developers, as well as device manufacturers, e.g., mobile phones and TVs, to start developing and deploying apps.
      Sun announced the Java Application Store, I hope that this will be released for the global market, rather than for a select few.

    • Illumos Foundation launches OpenIndiana

      OpenIndiana aims to be binary and package compatible with Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express and to act as a “free drop in replacement” for OpenSolaris. The developers compare their development model to the way CentOS project is based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) source. OpenIndiana combines the official OpenSolaris source with free, open source software from the community, such as the XNV X Window System, the Sun Freeware Collection (SFW), the Java Desktop System (JDS), the IPS packaging system and the Caiman installer.

  • Education

    • Curriki Hosts Educational Video Library by Khan Academy
    • Lowering the Price of Higher Education, Here & Now

      Additionally, the cost of developing courses can also be significantly reduced with open source technology. Currently, every university develops its own courses, one of the most costly aspects of running an academic institution. Why do we need so many professors developing courses at so many universities? Just as we share materials online, we must also share talent. If we enlist the top minds in every discipline to create quality courses and then distribute them via open source technology, we can drastically reduce education costs, lessening the economic burden on students.

  • Healthcare

    • EU/GL: International Team Develops Open Source Hospital Information System

      The developers, including specialists from Brazil, Germany, Greece and France, aim to build a system that will manage electronic medical records, hospital information and health information. Its services include prescriptions, billing, patient information, managing epidemiological and statistical data and management of medical stock. The entire project is published using the GNU General Public Licence (GPL), an open source licence.

  • Business


    • Loads of info at Software Freedom day

      This Sunday sees Tauranga’s very own Software Freedom Day event.

      The event – an open day to promote free software and free software concepts – is part of a worldwide celebration.

      Organised by the BOP Linux User Group supported by TechnologyWise, the open day will feature volunteers showing visitors the extent of open source software and its capabilities.

      Internationally, the goal of Software Freedom Day is to educate the worldwide public about the benefits of using high quality Free and Open Source Software in education, in government, at home, and in business.

  • Government

    • Open Technology Foundation denied AGIMO support

      A spokesman from the Department of Finance and Deregulation explained that while open source was “in wide use across the Australian Government”, AGIMO took a neutral position on open source.

      “Based on the Committee’s decision, AGIMO formally declined South Australia’s request to be involved in the OTF,” she told iTnews.

      “AGIMO has a policy of informed neutrality regarding open source software with value for money across the total cost of ownership of the software being the overriding principle for its use.”

      But Bryan King of the SA Office of the CIO yesterday told delegates at the open source OSSPAC conference that “open source for Government hasn’t made any major penetration”.

    • What is the advantage of using free-of-charge software in state institutions?

      Communications Minister Valerian Vreme, appointed in this position at the beginning of the month, says he is considering devising a strategy to introduce free-of-charge open-source software, which would see a decline in contracts between the state and software producers, but would mean cost savings for the government.


      Vreme (47), who worked for over ten years in IT in the private sector, says first interoperability rules will be set, in order for an institution that uses open-source software to be able to communicate with one that is not using such software. Open-source software, such as the OpenOffice suite, the Linux operating system, and the Firefox browser, is free-of-charge, and can be an alternative to Microsoft’s Windows and Office, produced by the world’s biggest software company.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Yum. Open-source home-made algae.
    • Digital textbooks may end price hikes

      They say open source material puts the information in the hands of students and professors.

      “It gives students the choice as to how much they want to spend,” said Saul Adelman, a finance professor at Miami who had used open source books in his Risk Management class. “I’m concerned about book prices. That’s why I explored this option.”

    • FOSS4G-Barcelona: Open Source Geospatial Software Still Much in Demand

      It was the hard-edged professional, with either a product to push or a geospatial project searching for a solution, who attended this year’s FOSS4G. Perhaps more than any other descriptor I can think of, the word “mature” best defines the state of the free and open source geospatial software industry today. One has to look no further than companies like OpenGeo to realize these are legit outfits, with shrink-wrap software solutions capable of managing geospatial data and applications, from top to bottom, for all but perhaps the largest of users, such as the U.S. Dept. of Defense. Open source GIS software is here to stay, and it’s making big inroads into private and governmental users by the looks of the vendors and attendees at FOSS4G.

    • OpenGeo Releases Training Courses under Creative Commons
    • Are you building a community or a club?

      I’ve never been much for clubs. When I was young, I made a lousy cub scout. I wasn’t a real “joiner” in high school or college either (just enough to get by) and I still don’t get actively involved in many professional associations today.

    • Crowdsourcing Project Hopes to Make Short Work of Transcribing Bentham

      Thousands of unpublished pages of Jeremy Bentham’s manuscripts are ready for transcription with a new crowdsourcing program from University College London’s Transcribe Bentham project.

      Researchers at UCL are counting on Bentham enthusiasts around the globe to help transcribe and digitize thousands of handwritten pages of the influential philosopher’s work. The university has about 40,000 untranscribed pages of Bentham in its collection. It photographed 4,500 pages for the initial phase of the project—accessible through the Transcribe Bentham Web site—and is calling on Bentham scholars, armchair philosophers, or almost anyone with an Internet connection to turn the handwritten prose into machine-readable type.

    • Research Data: Who will share what, with whom, when, and why?

      The deluge of scientific research data has excited the general public, as well as the scientific community, with the possibilities for better understanding of scientific problems, from climate to culture. For data to be available, researchers must be willing and able to share them. The policies of governments, funding agencies, journals, and university tenure and promotion committees also influence how, when, and whether research data are shared. Data are complex objects. Their purposes and the methods by which they are produced vary widely across scientific fields, as do the criteria for sharing them. To address these challenges, it is necessary to examine the arguments for sharing data and how those arguments match the motivations and interests of the scientific community and the public. Four arguments are examined: to make the results of publicly funded data available to the public, to enable others to ask new questions of extant data, to advance the state of science, and to reproduce research. Libraries need to consider their role in the face of each of these arguments, and what expertise and systems they require for data curation.

    • Open Data

      • Who Runs London?: New Guide Facilitates Transparency

        The ‘Who Runs London?’ guide illustrates the web of ministries, assemblies, agencies and councils that together run London in a visual diagram (see example below). Additional information about each organization, including their key relationships and websites, is provided in a brief glossary on the last page. It is finally possible for a lay person to quickly distinguish between, for example, the Olympic Delivery Authority, Olympic Board and the Olympic Park Legacy Company, as well as establish what they do and who they answer to in the wider context of the capital’s governance. This sort of transparency is essential if these organizations are to be held up to public scrutiny and to public account.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Tim Berners-Lee calls for free internet worldwide

        The inventor of the Web has called for everyone to have access to his creation for free.

        Tim Berners-Lee said that he would like to see everybody given a low-bandwidth connection “by default”.

        He said the web could be instrumental in giving people access to critical services such as healthcare.

        Currently, he said, just one-fifth of the world’s population has access to the web.

        “What about the other 80%?” he asked the audience at the Nokia World conference in London.

  • Programming

    • poll: deleting directories containing unversioned files

      What would you like to have happen? My feeling is that there should be a configuration option to choose the policy, and we should perhaps eventually distinguish “junk” (safe to delete) from “precious”, as Baz and GNU Arch did.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Robotics needs a W3C

      That’s because, unlike most Japanese robots, which are either purpose-built or one-offs, and unlike iRobot (which despite its name is a cleaner and military contracting company), the PR2 is built from an open source software base, with modular hardware.

      Willow Garage is not the only open source base on which to build a robot. Urbi went open source last month, with a C++ library and an API. CARMEN is Carnegie-Mellon’s open source robotics toolkit. Orocos also offers an open source platform for robotic control.


  • “Dear Twitter: Stop Screwing Over Your Developers”

    Elhange is an open source developer, which seems to be a big part of the problem. Twitter doesn’t want certain parts of developer’s code to be out in the public. For an open developer, that’s impossible to prevent.

  • Luck: 9.5 minutes of sudden death averted
  • MIPS Technology Challenges ARM’s Cell Phone Chip Design Monopoly

    MIPS Technologies’ (MIPS) stock has skyrocketed recently as it lays the groundwork to challenge ARM (ARMH), the dominant player in cell phone chip design. Savvy investors see the small Silicon Valley company as an emerging threat to ARM, the Cambridge, England firm that licenses the processor designs used in nearly all the leading mobile phones.

  • Security/Aggression

    • ‘Mate crime’ fears for people with learning disabilities

      Steven Hoskin had strong feelings about his killers. They had abused, exploited and humiliated him over a year, taking his money, treating him as their slave and making him wear his own dog’s collar and lead. Eventually, having forced him to swallow 70 painkillers, they took him to the top of a railway viaduct and made him hang from the railings as one member of the gang, a girl aged 16, stamped on his hands until he fell 30 metres to his death.

    • What Happened to Our Facebook Page with 10,000+ Supporters?

      For those of you following along on facebook.com/savebradley (over 10,000 friends!) you might notice that the URL leads to a dead page. The page can now be found at https://www.facebook.com/pages/savebradley/114129961964452?ref=ts You’ll notice that the page, with over 10,300 supporters, is rather quiet. That’s because the Bradley Manning Support Network’s administrative rights to the page have been revoked due to a “violation of the terms of service.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Astroturfing the scientific databases: spamming the lobster eye

      The Encyclopedia of Life is a cool tool which is a sort of wikification of taxonomy — it allows a large number of contributors to add descriptions of species with the goal of eventually documenting all 1.8 million known species in a single searchable source. Look at the page for my experimental animal, Danio rerio; lots of information in a standard format with links and references. Thumbs up!

      However, there’s a problem here: the sources. To organize that much data, a large mob of contributors are needed, and that means some fairly open policies to allow contributors have been instituted, and that in turn means that there will be parasites on they system. And a reader sent me an example of a doozy.


      I know, this is a truism: don’t trust the Net of Lies, learn to vet your sources, watch out for anything on the net. But it looks to me like the Turkish creationists have been waging a successful astroturf campaign to infiltrate sources that we would normally regard as pretty good, and are thereby corrupting sources even more. It also allows them to pass casual review because their articles are very widely sourced.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Wikileaks, Craigslist and turning the Web analog

      These same Internet values are reflected in the open source movement. Links need to be free, access needs to be unlimited, for open source to maximize its potential. Worrying about the politics of contributors or users is a waste of brain cells.

    • Documents show Homeland Security tracks anti-drill groups in Pa.

      According to recently leaked documents, the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security has been tracking anti-gas drilling groups and their meetings — including a public screening of the film “Gasland,” a documentary about the environmental hazards of natural gas drilling.

      The office has included the information in its weekly intelligence bulletins sent to law enforcement agencies.

      The bulletins are also sent to gas companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

    • Help us to prevent Internet filters in Europe!

      The debate on Internet filters reaches the hot phase now on EU level, as discussions begin in the EU parliament. It is now urgently necessary to make ourselves heard. We cannot lean back now and complain later.

    • Developers pull plug on anti-censorship tool for Iranians

      A program designed to make Iranian internet users safe from government peeking has been pulled by its creators because, er, it opens up their identities to anyone that cares to take a look.

      The program, called Haystack, is designed to hide traffic to and from the internet at large inside what looks like connections to innocuous sites. The Haystack client connects to the company’s servers, which in turn talk to websites on behalf of its users.

    • EFF Says Violating Company Policies Is Not a Computer Crime

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged a federal appeals court Tuesday to dismiss charges that would turn any employee use of company computers in violation of corporate policy into a federal crime.

      In U.S. v. Nosal, an ex-employee is being prosecuted on the claim that he induced current company employees to use their legitimate credentials to access the company’s proprietary database and provide him with information, in violation of corporate computer-use policy. The government claims that the violation of this private policy constitutes a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Following a decision issued just last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the District Court ruled against the government, holding that violations of corporate policy are not equivalent to violations of federal computer crime law. The government appealed to the 9th Circuit.

    • Revised Opinion in Privacy Case Blurs Clear Limits to Digital Search and Seizure

      Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit issued an unfortunate revised opinion in United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing Inc., a case featuring blatantly unconstitutional government action. As the court put it:

      “This case is about a federal investigation into steroid use by professional baseball players. More generally, however, it’s about the procedures and safeguards that federal courts must observe in issuing and administering search warrants and subpoenas for electronically stored information.”

      One shocking example: the government seized and reviewed the drug testing records for hundreds of players in Major League Baseball—and many other people—even though the judicially authorized warrant was limited to the records of the ten players for whom the government had probable cause.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • These Are Not The Addroids You Are Looking For

      George Lucas likes lawsuits. He also really likes the word “Droid“, which Lucasfilm holds the rights to (yes, Verizon actually licenses the word “Droid” for its handsets). In fact, Lucas likes the word so much that he (or at least, his law firm) will threaten to sue you for using it as the name of your company — even the letters DROID make up just part of your company name.

      That’s what Matt Cooper found out this week, when Lucasfilm’s lawyers sent him a cease and desist notice demanding that he change the name of his company, Addroid. Cooper says the new startup is an HTML5-based ad serving platform (hence the ad part of the name), and because it’s digital advertising he thought that a tie to the techie word “android” would be appropriate. In other words, the name stems from the word Android — not the abbreviated “Droid” that Lucas is so fond of.

    • Kroes wants to include developing countries in Internet governance

      Since emerging economies will soon have more web users than the EU and US combined, Internet governance should also be extended to the developing world, Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said at the opening session of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Vilnius yesterday (14 September).

      “Public authorities across the world must now be able, on an equal footing, to effectively carry out their roles and responsibilities when international public policy issues are at stake,” Kroes said, welcoming the fact that ICANN, the organisation coordinating Internet IP addresses, was now reviewing its working methods to include more representatives from the developing world in ‘advisory committees’.

    • Copyrights

      • The 9th circuit gives and it takes away

        Think Congress will take it up? I don’t either. Which means that, while the RIAA has to cut musicians in for more of the cash they bring in, they now have the right to raid your local library and blow all their digital media off the shelves.

      • Red Alert on Net Freedoms! MEPs shall Reject the Gallo Report

        The Gallo report on strengthening copyright enforcement will be voted in the European Parliament on Wednesday, September 22nd. Even if non-legislative, this dangerous text relies on biased figures pushed by producers and publishers’ lobbies to call for an extension of repression. It opens the door to the creation of private copyright police of the Net. All EU citizen can act to help the Members of the European Parliament out of the blind repressive path, and adopt an alternative resolution -more constructive and protective of consumers- instead of the Gallo report.

      • Help fund free culture
      • Spotify closing in on 10 million users across Europe

        How big is Spotify? 10 million users big. Well, it’s about to break that milestone anyway.

        The company is holding a party in London later this month “to celebrate reaching 10 million users across Europe”, according to an invite sent out to press and partners.

      • When You Realize That Copyright Law Violates Free Speech Rights, You Begin To Recognize The Problems…

        Copyright law and free speech are fundamentally in conflict. It bears repeating, because most of those pushing for things like ACTA simply do not recognize this simple fact — and when they then try to export the expression suppressing parts of copyright law without the all important exceptions and guarantees of free speech, it should come as no surprise, at all, that governments use the law the US pushed on them to suppress speech and dissent. What is not acceptable is for US policy makers to continue to ignore this key point.

      • How piracy works.

        I won’t bother analyzing why people copy games and other digital media, as that’s really a moot point. We’ve got an amazingly effective way of distributing culture that is extremely beneficial for humanity, but it clashes with our current economical models. Piracy will win in the long run. It has to. The alternative is too scary.

      • Jack-Booted Thugs and Copyright Enforcement

        The New York Times article goes on to explain that the raid on the environmental group is only a recent example of a growing pattern: “Across Russia, the security services have carried out dozens of similar raids against outspoken advocacy groups or opposition newspapers in recent years.” For those familiar with the hard line copyright maximalist position — which holds that all copyright infringement should be swiftly prosecuted with harsh penalties regardless of the context — it was sadly unsurprising. (This risk is one reason that NGOs around the world choose free and open source tools that avoid the risk of copyright claims altogether.)

      • ACTA

        • ACTA serves up a rejected Telecoms Package clause

          How far will ISPs be held liable for infringement of intellectual property rights under ACTA? On close examination in the EU context, we also come up against another question: is ACTA re-writing the weak “compromise” on Internet users rights that was rejected by the European Parliament in the Telecoms Package?

          In previous drafts of ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), liability for ISPs in enforcing copyright on the Internet was clearly stated. In the latest leaked draft of 25 August 2010, it appears to have been deleted. At least the substantive text requiring countries to implement a liability provision is not there.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • UK government hands £500M copyright enforcement and censorship tab to nation’s Internet users

          The UK government’s Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills has concluded its consultation on how to pay for all the new copyright enforcement built into the Digital Economy Act.

          The DEA is a sweeping, punishing copyright law that the former Labour government crammed through Parliament without debate in a closed-door, poorly attended vote hours before it called the next election (which it lost). The Act requires ISPs to send letter to their customers warning them that an entertainment company has accused them of infringing copyright (if this fails to reduce national levels of infringement by 70% in 18 months — which it will fail to do — ISPs will then be required to disconnect entire families from the Internet on the unsubstantiated accusation of a rightsholder).

        • DEAPPG

          DEAPPG is an all party parliamentary group based in Portcullis House, Westminster. The group was started by Eric Joyce MP in May 2010 in response to the DE Act (and conversations in social media eg Twitter #DEAct)

Clip of the Day

Broadcom Open Source! Linux Mint 9 Fluxbox and Debian, Tablet News, Magic Trackpad on Ubuntu

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 15/9/2010: WeTab With Linux is Coming, Pandora Linux-based Handheld Sells Out

Posted in News Roundup at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Why Linux Is Poised for Domination

    Could 2010 be Linux’ breakout year? Linux is already making huge waves in mobile computing, with the rise of the Android operating system, the momentum behind Meego, a bevy of Linux-powered netbooks, and an army of Linux-toting tablets on the horizon. With Web-based computing becoming the norm, flexible and robust Linux could finally become the OS of choice for device manufacturers.

  • New CSP Program Launched by Linux Professional Institute

    Now you can advance your proficiency in free and open source software solutions as the Linux Professional Institute (LPI (News – Alert)) has launched a brand new program for it service organizations and other technical solutions providers.

  • Canvas Specs: Audience Measurement, Web Apps, Linux On-Board

    “Devices shall be built using the Linux operating system with either glibc or uClibc” (libraries of the C language).

  • Interview Of The Week: Man With An IT Mission

    All new projects would involve GNU/Linux based operating systems. “The state has a successful history of GNU/Linux adaptation, and has a near cent-percent success rate,” observes Dr. Ajay Kumar. “We avoid proprietary software as much as possible. However some applications need legacy software, which are proprietary. In such cases, we are forced to use proprietary softwares,” he admits.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Good News for Linux Users From Broadcom

      Make no mistake: Broadcom didn’t open source this driver to support peace, love and Linux. Companies who have included their drivers in the mainline Linux kernel do so because it benefits them. Once the driver is included in the mainline, the maintenance costs associated with keeping up with kernel changes drop considerably. Also, as Katherine points out, they undertook this work because they see a market and realize that many of their competitors, like Intel, have been enjoying an advantage their open-ness affords them.

    • Strace — The Sysadmin’s Microscope

      Sometimes as a sysadmin the logfiles just don’t cut it, and to solve a problem you need to know what’s really going on. That’s when I turn to strace — the system-call tracer.

      A system call, or syscall, is where a program crosses the boundary between user code and the kernel. Fortunately for us using strace, that boundary is where almost everything interesting happens in a typical program.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Clementine Is a Simple, Amarok-Inspired Music Player for All Platforms
      • do plasma widgets dream of krita wallpapers?

        It’s really impressive how good Krita is getting these days. A look through the Krita showcase demonstrates quite admirably what someone can do with it. What strikes me most while looking through those images is how not all of them look like they were done with a computer, but could just as easily be scans of natural media artwork.

        I have Plasma on the brain, however, so of course I immediately jumped into thinking about what this could mean from a Plasma perspective. Yes, I’m aware that any connection between a great natural media painting app and a component framework for building primary user interfaces is probably not immediately obvious. No, I wasn’t thinking about how to use Plasmoids in Krita, either.

      • plasma documentation writing, friday and saturday

        How will it work? Each attendee can pick the Plasmoid or aspect of Plasma Desktop of their choice, announce their intentions in the irc channel and then start writing about it. You’ll have the support of KDE people to answers technical questions, proof-read and help with wiki-fu as needed. Personally, I’ll be working on documenting the new Activies features and user interface.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • SystemRescueCd 1.6.0 Has Been Released
      • SystemRescueCd 1.6.0 released

        The SystemRescueCd developer and Partimage author François Dupoux has released version 1.6.0 of the SystemRescueCd Linux distribution. Based on the Gentoo LiveCD and using Xfce as its default desktop, the SystemRescueCd is configured as a tool kit for administering or repairing an operating system and recovering data after a system crash. Supported file systems include Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4, ReiserFS, XFS, JFS, VFAT, NTFS, ISO9660 and Btrfs.

      • Tiny Core Linux 3.1 released

        Tiny Core lead developer Robert Shingledecker has released version 3.1 of Tiny Core Linux. Tiny Core is a minimal Linux distribution that weighs in at just over 11 MB in size. The “tiny frugal” desktop distribution features the BusyBox tool collection and a minimal graphics system based on Tiny X and JWM. The core can run entirely in RAM, allowing for very quick booting. With the help of online repositories, Tiny Core Linux can be expanded to include additional applications.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Shuttleworth answers Ubuntu Linux’s critics

          I might add, which Shuttleworth didn’t spell out, that if you need help to do anything with Linux, you’re more likely to find online help on how to do it on Ubuntu than openSUSE, Fedora, Debian, or any other Linux. Ubuntu’s popularity combined with that attitude of helping everyday users get the most from Linux has made it the go-to Linux for users who want and need a helping hand.

        • Upgrading to Ubuntu Lucid

          Notwithstanding these moments of suspense, the upgrade was surprisingly trouble-free. My applications work just as they did before. My scanner and printer both work as well, and because Lucid kept my desktop settings, my windows control buttons are on the right side, and not on the left where Lucid puts them by default.

          All in all, it’s worth going the upgrade route because the longer installation time is more than offset by the time you save from not having to reinstall programs and tweaking your system all over again. In my case, that could mean a savings of a day or more.

        • Save Money for Other College Costs with a Used Laptop and Ubuntu

          CrunchGear, TechCrunch’s hardware-focused sister site, makes a compelling argument for buying a “janky old computer” off Craigslist or from another source, then simply loading it up with Ubuntu and classifying it as a simple work/email/Facebook/MP3 machine.

        • Founder: Ubuntu’s contribution goes beyond the code tree

          Ubuntu creator Mark Shuttleworth shot back against detractors today, pointing out that his project has made Linux more marketable and successful on the desktop.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Tools For Professional Photographers

    If you are a professional photographer or an aspiring one, then the article Photography with Open Source / Linux will be a great help for you. This article written by Nathan Willis delves deep into the various tools that aid you to create photographic masterpieces.

  • Events

    • Draft Document Educonf 2010
    • FOSS.in turns 10

      Bangalore’s premiere Linux event, FOSS.IN, turns 10 this year. What started out as Linux Bangalore in 2001, organised by a group of hackers and Linux technology enthusiasts from the Bangalore Linux Users Group, is today a well-attended conference. In 2004, it was re-christened as FOSS.in.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Five Features to Look Forward to in Firefox 4.0

        Firefox 4.0 is still a bit away from final release, but the time to think about switching is now. The Mozilla Project is releasing Firefox 4.0 beta 6 this week, and the current builds are really good. Why switch? I’ll give you five excellent reasons to jump on the 4.0 train today.

        One of the great things about open source development is that you don’t have to wait for the final product to ship to get your hands on it. Case in point, I’ve been running development builds of the Firefox 4.0 series off and on for weeks. You can too, if you don’t mind some rapid changes and possible instability.

  • SaaS

    • German researchers accelerate Hadoop

      At the VLDB conference in Singapore, researchers from Saarland University have presented the results of the Hadoop++ project which aims to accelerate the distributed computing framework Hadoop when performing analytical queries. The technique involves plugging a kind of query planner into Hadoop using hooks provided for the purpose.

  • Oracle

  • Healthcare

    • A Wikipedia/Linux for global healthcare information?

      The open source movement already has produced innovations like online encyclopedia Wikipedia and the Linux operating system.

      By creating a free or “open” platform that allows people to share and analyze information, the system can tap the collective intelligence of the world to improve technology and solve global problems.

      In other words, 6 billion brains are better than one.


    • More Than 60 Schools in Kaohsiung City Signed the Software Freedom Manifesto

      Principals from more than 60 elementary, junior high, and senior high schools of Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, signed a “Software Freedom Manifesto” at the invitation of the city’s Education Bureau on Sep 9 Thursday morning in a press conference. Also announced in the conference are the the upcoming events of International Conference on Open Source (ICOS), and the “mother tongue tux usb key” workshops designed for the growing population of Vietnamese mothers in Taiwan.

  • Licensing

    • Linux developer in solo bid to enforce GPL

      Red Hat employee Matthew Garrett says he has written to the US Customs about the fact that Fusion Garage, the maker of the Joojoo tablet, has not provided him with the source code for the operating system that runs the device.

      Garrett sent the letter based on advice offered by former Linux Journal publisher Don Marti on a web forum.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Attention Companies: Your Users Are Your Competitors

      “I can design with tools as good as those that the car companies use, that Intel uses. It’s just cheap software that lets me design, simulate and test,” he said. “Communication costs are also dropping because of the Internet. That lets users actually undertake bigger problems because each one does a chunk of the work. I can do part of Linux. You can do another part of Linux.”

  • Programming

    • Cloud-based source code host adds Git

      Git, he said, is becoming popular because of its association with Linux and its speed, said Marion. Git was authored by Linux founder Linus Torvalds, Marion noted.

    • Smalltalk web framework Seaside reaches version 3.0

      The developers of the Seaside web framework for Smalltalk have announced version 3.0. What had originally begun as development work for a 2.9 version turned out to be such a significant change that the developers say it justified relabelling the release a 3.0. They believe Seaside 3.0 to be a “solid foundation for the foreseeable development” of the Smalltalk web framework.


  • Road deaths among children spiralling in poorest nations, says report

    More schoolchildren are daily being killed by traffic on the highways of the world’s poorest nations than by deadly infectious diseases such as Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, prompting campaigners to call for a UN-backed target to halt the spiralling numbers of traffic fatalities by 2015.

  • New Release of Oracle Secure Global Desktop Now Available

    Applications and desktops that run on Windows, Oracle Solaris, Oracle Enterprise Linux, and other UNIX and Linux versions are supported, as well as mainframe and midrange applications.

  • Security/Aggression

    • I Am Detained By The Feds For Not Answering Questions

      I was detained last night by federal authorities at San Francisco International Airport for refusing to answer questions about why I had travelled outside the United States.

      The end result is that, after waiting for about half an hour and refusing to answer further questions, I was released – because U.S. citizens who have produced proof of citizenship and a written customs declaration are not obligated to answer questions.

    • Worse than Gary McKinnon
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Economic Sense: Why Don’t People Have Any?

      First of all, I’m not calling anyone out to put them down. I have had a long time to think about these topics. I’ve been in the workforce for over thirty years now, including a long period in which I earned the absolute minimum or close to it (in some cases more, in some cases less).

      I earned two associate’s degrees (one of which was in business administration), on bachelor’s degree (business administration), and one master’s degree (information technology) during that time. This means that I have typically had years more education than my bosses. But most of the time, this had little impact on my bottom line.

      During this time, I’ve been a voracious reader with a desire to know and understand what and how and why in things related to business and the economy (and computers, but that’s a different article).

      No matter what your instructor tells you, you have to look deeper. Look at real world data. Very often, what you’ve heard is factually wrong. When I was sitting around with business school classmates who commiserated about the low quality of applicants, I could tell them directly that they chose the worst applicants out of the bunch, because many times I had been one of those they chose not to hire.

      There are very many personal and group decisions that should be made with an understanding of economic principles. It is a pity that so few people ever learn them.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Haystack vs How The Internet Works
    • More on Internet Intellectuals and the Haystack Affair

      So the Haystack Affair (is there a Wikipedia page named after this already?) continues generating food for thought for those of us working at the intersection of free expression, Internet censorship, and media development.

      Yesterday I blogged about what the Haystack Affair suggested about the responsibility of “Internet intellectuals”. Ethan Zuckerman, who was one of the intellectuals I singled out in that post, eloquently responded to my criticism on his blog.

      “I’ve not published on Haystack for a very simple reason: I haven’t been able to conduct a proper evaluation of either the tool or the protocols behind it,” wrote Ethan.

    • Google Confirms Firing Engineer For Privacy Violations

      Google released a statement confirming it fired teen-stalking engineer David Barksdale for “breaking Google’s strict internal privacy policies,” as Gawker first reported earlier today. Our original exclusive, about Barksdale spying on minors’ Google Voice and Talk accounts, has been updated.

    • Censorship resistance attacks and counterattacks

      Related to the recent Haystack hubbub, here’s a basic overview of censorship resistance tools, of which Haystack was an example (unfortunately a fairly broken one).

    • Anti-censorship program Haystack withdrawn

      Software created to help Iranians escape government control of the web has been withdrawn over security fears.

      Haystack was designed to help people in the country communicate via the web without revealing their identity.

    • GCreep: Google Engineer Stalked Teens, Spied on Chats (Updated)

      David Barksdale, a 27-year-old former Google engineer, repeatedly took advantage of his position as a member of an elite technical group at the company to access users’ accounts, violating the privacy of at least four minors during his employment, we’ve learned. Barksdale met the kids through a technology group in the Seattle area while working as a Site Reliability Engineer at Google’s Kirkland, Wash. office. He was fired in July 2010 after his actions were reported to the company. [Update: Google has confirmed the security breach. An update appears below.]

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • HDCP ‘master key’ supposedly released, unlocks HDTV copy protection permanently

      Just as the MPAA is preparing to offer movies to customers at home while they’re still in theaters by limiting playback to DRM-protected digital outputs only, the HDCP protocol they rely on may have been cracked wide open. All devices that support HDCP, like Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and displays with HDMI inputs, have their own set of keys to encrypt and decrypt protected data and if keys for a particular device are compromised, they can be revoked by content released in the future which will then refuse to play. Now, posts have been floating around on Twitter about a supposed “master key” which renders that protection unusable since it allows anyone to create their own source and sink keys.

    • Make your voice heard on Net neutrality!

      Make you voice heard by responding to the European Commission’s public consultation on Net neutrality! The more citizens and NGOs submit their own responses to the questionnaire, the more chance we have to collectively weigh in the EU policy-making process to ensure that the Internet remains a free and open communications architecture. You have until September 30th to send your submission and tell the Commission to protect the Internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Piracy Bill – Has Ed Vaizey actually considered this issue at all?

          The Telegraph is reporting today on how the Digital Economy Act will be met in order to tackle online piracy or copyright infrigement. You can read the Telegraphs article here. People may remember that its proposed that alleged infringers of copyright are sent a number of warning letters before sanctions and eventually a ban is put on their connection.


          Now maybe here Mr Vaizey is making a joke that I don’t get. If the ISP is to pick up the tab for 25% of the costs for this “enforcement” where does he think the money will come from if not passed onto the customer? Whilst that may be fair for the repeated copyright infringer, how is that fair on me or anyone else who thinks that the material “infringed upon” is not even worth a download for “free” and on the rare occasion when they are interested in a title, actually goes out and buys it? – I think far from help enforce an anti-piracy message, many people will just say “stuff it, Im footing the bill, I may as well jump in too”. Just like in my view, the person who came up with the idea of knock off Nigel, when you get people who really don’t know the subject trying to solve it, you only end up looking silly when it backfires. (For those that don’t know, Knock off Nigel was an ad campaign against piracy, that turned into a cult classic and even gave piracy a little kudos)

        • Rights-holders bear brunt of costs of chasing pirates

          Rights-holders will bear the brunt of the costs for tackling copyright infringers, the UK government has said.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg

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