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Links 7/11/2010: GNOME Boston Summit 2010, GNOME 3 Adds New Font

Posted in News Roundup at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Playing DVDs in GNU/Linux

      So, I installed the Debian package from unofficial.debian-maintainers.org and voila! It worked. Perhaps Monday if I cannot get the anti-virus working again on the XP machine GNU/Linux will go on in its place.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Community

    • A hell of a time

      It’s not the first time something like this has happened to me, at all. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me at a tech conference. But it is the first time I’ve spoken out about it in this way, because I’m tired of the sense that some idiot can ruin my day and never have to answer for it. I’m tired of the fear. I’m tired of people who think I should wear something different. I’m tired of people who think I should avoid having a beer in case my vigilance lapses for a moment. I’m tired of people who say that guys can’t read me right and I have to read them, and avoid giving the wrong impression.

      But I don’t give the wrong impression, and it’s simply not true that guys can’t read me right. I don’t want to be assaulted, and the vast majority of guys read that just fine. It is not my job to avoid getting assaulted. It is everyone else’s job to avoid assaulting me. Dozens of guys succeeded at that job, across the week. In the pub, in the stairwell, on the MARTA, in my bedroom.

    • Sexual assault at Southeast LinuxFest

      On Friday, June 11, 2010 at Southeast LinuxFest near the end of the party, a man made uninvited sexual remarks to one of the women in attendance. When she hurried off to tell one of the organizers, he approached a different woman from behind, put his arms around her, and attempted to force a kiss on her without permission.

    • Listening to Our Better Angels
    • commonality and community

      Today many communities, including both KDE and Ubuntu, have codes of conduct that are culturally relevant and which emphasizes mechanisms of respect as part of their core tenets. In fact, they tend to be documentary of the existing cultural norms and expectations rather than prescriptive. For OpenRespect to add to that conversation and bring real additional value, it needs to be similarly documentary rather than perscriptive and what it should describe, at least in my opinion, is what it takes to bridge between communities.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux kernel performance is as good as ever, benchmarks show

      Phoronix has published the results of benchmarks performed on 26 Linux kernels dating back five years, from Linux 2.6.12 to a pre-release version of the upcoming Linux 2.6.37. Despite the addition of numerous features over the years, the results show remarkable consistency.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mark’s Announcement Sparks New Wayland Activity

        Mark Shuttleworth’s announcement this week that Ubuntu will eventually dump the X.Org Server for Wayland has resulted in a great deal of media coverage for this emerging display server project that up until now was really only talked about and covered by Phoronix from the point in 2008 when we introduced the world to Wayland. While there’s still many months of work ahead before all of the pieces of the Linux desktop stack will be ready for a Wayland Display Server by default, it seems many people are already taking a look at Wayland.

      • Ubuntu embraces Unity and Wayland. Or, GNU/Linux is exciting again

        After installing Ubuntu 10.10, I had a strange feeling I was seeing something that was already old. Yes, Ubuntu is a fantastic desktop system, and yes it’s better than Windows. But today, in 2010, that’s almost a given. And that’s not enough. The IT world is changing, and PCs themselves as a whole are getting old. The mass is moving towards tablets, mobiles machines, and netbooks. Ubuntu, the way it is today, might be the best choice in a dinosaur world. I can’t read Mark Shuttleworth’s mind, but I can only guess this is exactly what he felt when he decided to switch to Unity (for the UI) and Wayland (for the graphics architecture). Let me explain what all of this means.

      • Intel Gets Ready With New X.Org Driver For Sandy Bridge

        Intel is gearing up to release their xf86-video-intel 2.14 DDX driver in the coming weeks, which will be their quarterly open-source X.Org driver update for their Intel IGPs. In preparations for this release and the forthcoming release candidates, Intel’s Carl Worth has tagged the xf86-video-intel 2.13.901 driver in Git, which is an intermediate development snapshot.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • The Board’s Infrastructure

        In preparation for the first tarball release of The Board, I thought it would be a good time to start setting up some minimal tools for collaboration. In practice, this means generally using GNOME’s infrastructure.

      • GNOME Project Announces Outreach Program for Women Interns

        The GNOME project is proud to announce the participants of the Outreach Program for Women internships. Thanks to generous sponsors, Google, Collabora and the GNOME Foundation, GNOME was able to accept eight really strong candidates. These eight women from North America, South America and Asia will be working on GNOME technologies from December 15, 2010 to March 15, 2011.

        “Google actively encourages students to get involved in software development through free software,” says Cat Allman, Program Manager at the Open Source Programs Office at Google. “Google is proud to help support this innovative global program for technical women and GNOME.”

      • GNOME Boston Summit 2010 kicks off
      • GNOME 3 gets a new font [download]

        The font, a ‘Humanist sans-serif’ family titled ‘Cantarell’, isn’t actually that new* – it’s already available as one of Google’s ‘web fonts’.

  • Distributions

    • gentoo-dev – Hardened is planning on restructuring its profiles
    • Reviews

      • Sabayon 5.4 E17 review

        Sabayon 5.4 E17 is one of several “Experimental Spins” of Sabayon Linux released just this week. It is based on E17, version 0.17 of Enlightenment, a multi-platform stacking window manager and desktop environment. This is the first time in more than two years that I have reviewed a distribution using the Enlightenment desktop environment. It was still under heavy development then, and I thought it was about time I took another look at it.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Debian Family

      • The first beta of the Debian Installer 6.0 has been released

        The Debian Installer team has announced the first beta release of the installer for Debian GNU/Linux Squeeze. This release is dedicated to Frans Pop who recently passed away.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • elementary mail app Postler comes to Launchpad

          It’s been a wee while since I last spoke about the elementary mail application ‘Postler’ but, in the last few days, the project has finally come to Launchpad.

        • New Ubiquity slide-show for Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

          The Ubuntu Ubiquity Slideshow is a project which uses Webkit that provides a slideshow when you install Ubuntu.

        • My Thoughts On Ubuntu’s Decision to Dump X Server

          I personally look forward to a future where 80% of the computers in the world run some GNU/Linux distribution. 10% will run an Apple OS and 10% will run Windows. If you think that this is madness, please come back and revisit this article in about 2022 when this will be the reality. This article will still be here :)

        • FOLLOW-UP: General Disillusionment with Ubuntu

          Given all this, I wonder what will happen to Linux Mint and other derivatives of Ubuntu after this. In fact, now that we know that Canonical’s future plan is to ship Unity or an evolution of it based on Wayland as the default environment in Ubuntu, what will happen to the official derivatives, like Kubuntu and Xubuntu? Will Canonical actually put effort into helping migrate KDE and Xfce onto Wayland from X/11, or will they just be left out to rot? I’m anxious to see what comes of all this in the coming years.

        • Wayland or Waylaid?

          X is a great thing for schools, permitting thin clients and all kinds of teacher-tricks to work well in classrooms and labratories. Unfortunately there are not many details available. A major difference between X and Wayland is that the compositor will be in-line between the client applications and the kernel. That’s a rational improvement in performance but the picture does not show what happens to networking and it would seem that VNC or RDP might be plugged in as a hack.

        • [Joke] Ubuntu Drops CLI for DOS Prompt

          But you ain’t seen nothing yet, folks. Mark Shuttleworth called me personally earlier today to let me know that Ubuntu has decided to drop its terminals (all of them) for a generic DOS prompt.

        • Why your desktop still matters

          I was surprised by the passion generated by my blog entry last week about Ubuntu’s decision to replace GNOME with its own Unity desktop. Apparently, contrary to the pundits and usability experts, users have strong feelings about their interfaces of choice. But, when I stop to think, I should have expected that. For many free software users, the choice of desktop is still a deeply personal matter.

        • Why Would You Want To Do That?

          This is a good time to ask this, because Ubuntu just announced that it’s ditching the X Windows display server in favor of Wayland. And at the same time ditching Gnome in favor of Unity. And this decision is being made by people who think like Eleven is Louder, who simply trumpet things like “X11 is unmaintainable. It’s also quite large.” (- compared to what?) and then compares it to Windows: “it’s not quite as advanced as Quartz or Windows’ GUI layer.” – Bzzzzt! Wrong answer! That’s all I’ve been hearing since the day I installed my first tar.gz is “We gotta turn Linux into I-Cant-Believe-Its-Not-Windows(TM)! WindowsWindowsWindows!” and the people saying that have been nothing but wrong every single time.

          So, at some point in the future (I’ll be back to say I told you so) I’m anticipate that I’ll be hearing a lot of wailing and grief-driven rending of garments over not having X11 and Gnome any more when 99% of everything in Ubuntu is coded to the X11/Gnome world. And suddenly the rest of you will get a sip of the cider I’ve been pounding for years.

          The countdown has begun.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Comparing Netbook Desktops – Part 3, Jolicloud

        In summary I would say that Jolicloud is a very nice netbook operating system, I like it considerably more than Ubuntu Unity. It it likely to get even better with the upcoming 1.1 release. I could easily recommend it to others, and in fact I may do exactly that for those who are currently running Ubuntu Netbook Edition pre-10.10 release, and who want to upgrade without changing to Ubuntu Unity.

      • So I bought a netbook – Asus eeePC

        Overall, eeePC is snappy and revvy when running UNR Lucid, taking fairly minimal resources. Even for someone who dislike low-end machines, I find the performance to be extremely good, including network speed.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source’s worst enemy is itself not Microsoft/SAS/SAP/Oracle

    The decision of quality open source makers to offer their software at bargain basement prices even to enterprise customers who are used to pay prices many times more-pricing is the reason open source software is taking a long time to command respect in enterprise software.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Creating the new SUMO Knowledge Base: From zero to code

        When we launched SUMO back in the days of Firefox 2, our TikiWiki based software was a great choice. But by the beginning of 2010 it became clear to us that we’d need something new to be able to keep up with our ever growing community of Firefox users, so we decided to write a completely new support system (named Kitsune) from scratch. Over the spring and summer we released new Contributor Forums, a new Search module and the support Questions App. The next major piece that we’ll release at the end of the month, is our new Knowledge Base.

      • Find Words Smarter with Word Suggestions

        In our first Prospector experiment, Speak Words, we helped Firefox learn what words you might want to type into the Awesome Bar. We have taken that idea to help you find words in your open tab in our latest experiment.

  • Licensing

    • Legal support to free and open source software projects

      The non-profit Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC), which recently formalised its presence in the country by opening an office in New Delhi, has set up a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) defence centre.

      Founded in 2005 in the United States, the SFLC provides legal representation and other services to protect FOSS in the legal domain. Since its inception, it has legally supported and taken up the cause of many major free software and open source projects and organisations, including the Free Software Foundation (FSF), the Apache Software Foundation, the Drupal and the Gnome Foundation.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Open Source Way:Creating and nurturing communities of contributors

      The Open Source Way shows how to (and how not to) engage the community members that influence your projects – it distills years of knowledge our community members have gained while running open source projects.

    • Open Data

      • Spaghetti Open Data: a little thing that feels right

        A few weeks ago, after a happy hour in Rome, people started spontaneously to share links on Italian open data and tools to crunch them with. With a few others, I thought it would be nice to collect these links in one place, a sort of one stop shop for people interested in transparency not just in theory, but in the practice of extracting information from public data. One thing led to another, and today Spaghetti Open Data is born. We aggregated 32 databases; not bad when you consider that data.gov, with all the firepower of the Obama administration, had 47 at launch.

  • Programming

    • Moving beyond the ‘Java is dead’ hype

      While Java’s future appears far less unclear than news reports may suggest, IT decision makers should still evaluate Java alternatives in the enterprise.

      Why? Because few of today’s new college graduates consider themselves simply “Java developers.” Rather, they are familiar with multiple programming languages. Many even moonlight with PHP or Node.js. By allowing developers to use those skills for certain enterprise projects, IT decision makers could help accelerate application delivery.

      Plus, increased technology competition within your IT department ensures that technology ecosystems, such as Java, Node.js, and .Net, and the vendors in those ecosystems don’t become complacent or ignore innovation occurring in another ecosystem.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Growth Of HTML5 Video

      At the start of the year, only 10% of all web video was available in HTML5 format. Today, 54% of all web video is.


  • GameBoy Emulation in JavaScript
  • Downwind faster than the wind: Blackbird sets a record

    In 2007, MAKE projects editor Paul Spinrad sent me a link to a YouTube video of a wind-powered cart, made by a Floridian named Jack Goodman, that seemed to be able travel directly downwind faster than the wind. How could a wind-powered cart outrun a tailwind, we wondered? Intrigued, Paul and I asked contributing editor Charles Platt to repeat the experiment and report on the results for MAKE.

  • Neelie Kroes European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda A digital world of opportunities Forum d’Avignon – Les rencontres internationales de la culture, de l’économie et des médias Avignon, 5th November 2010
  • Science

    • Transparent Conductive Material Could Lead to Power-Generating Windows

      Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory have fabricated transparent thin films capable of absorbing light and generating electric charge over a relatively large area. The material, described in the journal Chemistry of Materials, could be used to develop transparent solar panels or even windows that absorb solar energy to generate electricity.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Americans less healthy than English, but live as long or longer, study finds

      Older Americans are less healthy than their English counterparts, but they live as long or even longer than their English peers, according to a new study by researchers from the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London.

      Researchers found that while Americans aged 55 to 64 have higher rates of chronic diseases than their peers in England, they died at about the same rate. And Americans age 65 and older — while still sicker than their English peers — had a lower death rate than similar people in England, according to findings published in the journal Demography.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Wikileaks says US must open up
    • Flag of the Sovereign State of WikiLeaks
    • Torturing the Whistle Blowers: The Case of Vance and Ertel in Iraq, Substantiated by Wikileaks’ Iraq War Logs

      Full credit for this story goes to Ishtar Enana, an Iraqi citizen journalist and blogger who has undertaken the monumental task of translating the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs into Arabic. Through her in depth digging through the logs, Ishtar reported (here, here, and here) that she found evidence in the war logs to substantiate the case brought forth in 2007 against Donald Rumsfeld by two American “security contractors” employed in Iraq. The two, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, were abducted and imprisoned by U.S. forces, where they experienced a range of American torture and abuse along with Iraqi inmates. The suspicion was that they were whistle blowers concealing a greater amount of information than they had revealed, and all rights were denied to them. Very little about this case has been previously publicized, this one being one of the leading accounts (a few more at the bottom).

      As Vance and Ertel make clear in their lawsuit, in 2006 they were “indefinitely detained without due process of law in a United States military compound located on foreign soil. They were not charged with any crime, nor had they committed any crime” (p. 1). They were denied access to an attorney and were subjected to abuse. They specifically point to Donald Rumsfeld for instituting a series of unconstitutional policies that would deprive anyone deemed to be an “enemy combatant,” even if American, any of the rights inherent to due process.

    • Our Big, Fat, Invisible Wars

      Appearing on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, the president joined a small pantheon of acting and former heads of state like Pervez Musharraf, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Evo Morales and Bill Clinton to sit down for some casual conversation peppered with quips and yuks.

      After almost a full minute of wildly enthusiastic applause from an audience that probably still has their “HOPE” bumper stickers, the president took a seat across from Stewart for a mostly jovial back-and-forth in which Obama spoke about health care reform, financial regulatory reform, insurance premiums, the misuse of the filibuster, negative campaign ads, stabilizing the stock market, staggering job losses and a fragile economy that marked what he called “the two toughest years of any time since the Great Depression.”

      And, yet, there was one subject that was never discussed, not even in passing, during the 25-minute interview. That’s right – you guessed it – the $1.1 trillion invisible campaign issue, America’s pernicious nine-year-old War on Terror (oh yeah, the war … ).

    • BART cop Mehserle gets 2 years (minimum possible sentence) for shooting unarmed man in the back

      A judge in Los Angeles today sentenced 28-year-old Johannes Mehserle (shown at left), former BART transit officer, to two years in prison for shooting an unarmed man on an Oakland train platform. Oscar Grant, 22 years old, (shown at right) died.

  • Finance

    • Obama’s Problem Simply Defined: It Was the Banks

      Obama must break his devil’s pact with the banks in order to succeed.

      Bruce Bartlett says it was a failure to focus. Paul Krugman says it was a failure of nerve. Nancy Pelosi says it was the economy’s failure. Barack Obama says it was his own failure — to explain that he was, in fact, focused on the economy.

      As Krugman rightly stipulates, Monday-morning quarterbacks should say exactly what different play they would have called. Paul’s answer is that the stimulus package should have been bigger. No disagreement: I was one voice calling for a much larger program back when. Yet this answer is not sufficient.

      The original sin of Obama’s presidency was to assign economic policy to a closed circle of bank-friendly economists and Bush carryovers. Larry Summers. Timothy Geithner. Ben Bernanke. These men had no personal commitment to the goal of an early recovery, no stake in the Democratic Party, no interest in the larger success of Barack Obama. Their primary goal, instead, was and remains to protect their own past decisions and their own professional futures.

    • Long-term jobless ‘could face compulsory manual labour’

      Long-term benefit claimants could be forced to do compulsory manual labour under proposals being put forward by the government, it has emerged.

      Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is set to outline plans for four-week placements doing jobs like gardening and litter clearing.

    • Erie debt collection company sued; accused of using bogus “hearings” and fake “courtroom” to collect from consumers

      Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that a consumer protection lawsuit has been filed against an Erie debt collection company accused of using deceptive tactics to mislead, confuse or coerce consumers – including the use of bogus “hearings” allegedly held in a company office that was decorated to look like a courtroom.

    • Open or Shut Cases? Banks Asking to Keep Theft Trials Private

      November could be an interesting month for investment banks trying to keep the intricacies of their lucrative high-frequency trading businesses behind closed doors.

      Two criminal trials are scheduled to begin later this month in which former traders are accused of stealing the proprietary computer code used to execute the lightning fast trades at Societe Generale and Goldman Sachs.

      (For LB readers who are unfamiliar, high-frequency trading is a system where banks can profit by using computers to buy and sell securities at extremely fast speeds.)

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation

      There is an easy way for a mediocre politician to grab headlines: upset the Israel lobby. Karel de Gucht, the European commissioner for trade, discovered this to his cost in September when asked about Middle East “peace” talks on the Flemish radio station VRT.

      Deviating from the official EU script, de Gucht rated the chances of the Obama administration resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict as extremely low. After describing the Zionist lobby as the “best organised” in US politics and inferring that it was a major obstacle to progress, he expressed a view about how Jews in general perceive Israel. “There is indeed a belief – it’s difficult to describe it otherwise – among most Jews that they are right,” he said. “And a belief is something that’s difficult to counter with rational arguments.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Facebook eyes mobile domination

      “While I think Facebook does a good job on this issue, I worry that third parties might accidentally disclose information inappropriately,” said Larry Magid, co-founder of ConnectSafely.org.

    • Google and Facebook to face tougher EU privacy rules
    • The Conflict Between a “Right to Be Forgotten” & Speech / Press Freedoms

      Two brief comments on this. First, it should be apparent that any “right to be forgotten” conflicts mightily with free speech rights and press freedom. As I discussed at greater length in this review of Solove’s Understanding Privacy as well as my essay on “Two Paradoxes of Privacy Regulation,” the problem with enshrining expansive privacy “rights” into law is that it means there will need to be stricter limits placed on speech and press freedoms.

    • German Street View error lets iPhone users see hidden images

      Google is facing fresh complaints over Street View in Germany, after technical problems caused some properties to be visible rather than blurred in a preview of the service launched earlier this week.

    • Google bars data from Facebook as rivalry heats up

      Google Inc will begin blocking Facebook and other Web services from accessing its users’ information, highlighting an intensifying rivalry between the two Internet giants.

    • The government shouldn’t hang on Google’s every word

      A former No 10 insider told me on Thursday that David Cameron’s offices are like a drop-in centre for passing technologists: Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google, can barely avoid bumping into senior people from Facebook or Microsoft as the prime minister’s people try to marry the “big society” with big technology.

    • Google’s $8.5 million Buzz settlement a go

      Google announced that it has received preliminary approval for its $8.5 million settlement of a class action brought against Google Buzz, the Gmail add-on that tried to turn the company’s online email service into a social networking tool.

    • EFF Party in San Francisco!

      On November 8th, Cory Doctorow, John Perry Barlow, and numerous other digital luminaries will be gathering at the Minna Gallery in San Francisco for the EFF’s Pioneer Awards Party. Cory is going to be the MC and — when not featured on XKCD blogging from a ballon in a red cape and goggles…

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • ISPs on net neutrality: TV networks are the real villains

      The FCC has—finally, mercifully—closed up its net neutrality docket. ISPs, Web companies, and public interest groups hustled to turn in last-minute filings yesterday, most showing a naked self-interest that was bracing to behold: Netflix want guaranteed bandwidth for its over-the-top services, cable operators went after the wireless industry, and the wireless industry just came right out and made the argument that Wall Street wouldn’t like net neutrality rules and therefore they shouldn’t be imposed on it.

      But the most intriguing (and one of the most self-serving) arguments came courtesy of Time Warner Cable: the real threat to “neutrality” and the “open Internet” comes not from ISPs but from broadcasters like FOX. Perhaps the FCC would like to go after broadcasters who try to strong arm the cable industry into better deals?

    • [Canada] Why Did the CRTC approve Usage Based Billing?

      That said, the most powerful reason I began this blog was that I simply could not believe that Usage Based Billing could be approved by the CRTC because it is such an incredibly bad deal for Canada since:

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Major League Baseball Claims Dodgers Still Own Trademark On Brooklyn Logo, Despite Leaving Town 53 Years Ago

      Of course, this ignores the bigger point, which is that the Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1957 and haven’t used the logo since then. On top of that, it’s not at all clear that the Dodger’s original trademarked logo would cover food at all. And, of course, it’s not as if anyone (moron in a hurry or not) would rush by the Brooklyn Burger restaurant and think “gee, the Dodgers have opened a restaurant!” The whole thing feels like yet another (in a long line of) intellectual property overreaches by Major League Baseball.

    • Copyrights

      • Lifting of blogger’s story triggers online furor

        The tale of writer Monica Gaudio hit the Web on Wednesday after she reported that her story, “A Tale of Two Tarts,” was apparently lifted and published by the print magazine Cooks Source with her byline, but without her knowledge or any compensation. After tracking down the editor at the magazine, Gaudio asked for an apology on Facebook and in the magazine, as well as a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism.

      • Labels file First Circuit brief in Joel Tenenbaum case; ex-SG Paul Clement joins team

        The record label plaintiffs filed their appellate brief in the First Circuit this week, seeking to reinstate the $675,000 copyright infringement award against Joel Tenenbaum that the district court held was unconstitutionally excessive and reduced to $67,500.

      • Ray Beckerman Talks to Copygrounds

        We were fortunate to get a chance to speak with New York attorney Ray Beckerman recently on the topic of P2P litigation. Mr. Beckerman is well known for his analysis and commentary on the RIAA litigation campaign and was nice enough to answer some of our questions.

      • Radio Berkman 166: An Innocent Infringer?
      • Terra Firma may be on shaky ground as EMI case concludes

        When Guy Hands – the multimillionaire private equity baron, founder of buyout shop Terra Firma, owner of historic music group EMI – made his explosive decision to sue Citigroup, he sought out one of America’s highest-profile corporate litigators, David Boies, to run his case.

      • EMI Trial Judge Slams Lawyers for Hands

        Mr. Hands, the high-profile British financier who is the chairman of Terra Firma Capital Partners, is represented by David Boies, one of the country’s most highly regarded trial lawyers. Terra Firma has sued Citigroup, accusing the bank of lying during the EMI auction and tricking him into buying the ailing music company.


        A spokeswoman for Boies Schiller declined to comment on the episode. It hasn’t been a good 48 hours for Mr. Hands. Late Wednesday, a ruling by Judge Rakoff has effectively limited Citigroup’s exposure in the case to $2 billion from the more than $6 billion Mr. Hands originally sought.

Clip of the Day

Gentoo minimal install in 10 Minutes REALTIME

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 6/11/2010: New Mandriva Cooker Manager, X.Org vs Ubuntu 11.04 Debate

Posted in News Roundup at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Weekly Enterprise Linux Recap

    Fedora 14 was formally released this week. Of note for enterprise users is the availability of Fedora 14 on Amazon’s EC2 cloud. According to Katherine Noyes at ComputerWorld, “Systems administrators can now try out the leading-edge features of Fedora 14 in the cloud, providing a sneak preview at what may come to downstream distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in the future.” More from Noyes’ write up here. Jack Wallen of Linux.com gave us his two cents on Fedora 14 in a preview in late September.

    The 6th Annual ZendCon/PHP Conference took place this week in Santa Clara, Ca. At the event, Zend announced a new platform aimed at increasing enterprise PHP adoption in the cloud. Sean Michael Kerner, who has been covering Zend for some time and knows the company well, has a detailed writeup on the news.

  • What Microsoft Linux Would Mean

    They say that power corrupts, but who cares? The corrupt have power and don’t seem to mind. Because we will now be the powerful and nobody will dare to question us. It is only the peons that worry about trivialities like corruption. Once you have power you are above the fray. You can pay off politicians. You can change laws. You can force your will on lesser individuals.

  • Desktop

    • Really Old PCs

      With XP on these machines multiply all times by a factor of two or so. Using GNU/Linux extends the life of a decent PC by that kind of factor. It’s a no-brainer. We save $100 or more on licences per PC and need half or fewer PCs in a decade to get the job done, that’s like $200 per PC in use over a decade, or $20 per year per PC, about the size of my whole IT budget… The Register has an article on this topic. The authour touts saving by staying modern. I say put modern software on the old PC and it becomes like new.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 173 – GPL Black Ops

      This week on the show: Banshee becomes Ubuntu’s default music player, more Unity discussions, is Microsoft dropping Silverlight?, a VLC developer being censored by peers as he tries to defend the GPL and much more…

  • Google

    • Should you adopt Google’s open source project to speed Web applications?

      A Google-led open source project and a related commercial content delivery network (CDN) offering from Cotendo are trying to simplify the task of improving Web application performance.

    • Google Soups Up Apache With New Speed Module

      Apache HTTP Server users can make use of Google’s latest tool, mod_pagespeed, to automatically optimize their websites’ speed. The module automates optimizations that are usually somewhat troublesome to do manually, like making changes to pages built by CMS, recompressing images when its HTML context changes, and extending cache lifetime.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Google Code-in – KDE is in!

        KDE has been chosen as one of 20 organisations to mentor students for Google Code-in this year. Wohoooooo. We’re looking forward to working with a bunch of 13 to 18 year olds :) Let’s see how they’ll rock our world. And the most awesome thing: It’s not just about code this time but also documentation, outreach, quality assurance, research, training, translation and user interface.

        We’ve been collecting task ideas in the wiki. These tasks need to be transfered into Melange (the webapp that is used for GSoC and Code-In) now. So if you proposed a task there I’ll email you shortly with instructions. If you do have an idea that so far is not in the wiki and you’re willing to mentor it then please email kde-soc-mentor-owner at kde.org with the details.

      • Introduction to digiKam

        digiKam is an open source application that combines photo editing and management features. digiKam may not be as polished as commercial tools like Lightroom or Aperture, but behind its unassuming appearance hides an impressive collection of genuinely useful tools. The application offers photographers functionality that covers the entire photographic workflow: from importing and organizing photos to batch processing and sharing them. Being an open source application, digiKam has a vibrant community of users and developers which produce a steady stream of digiKam releases that sport bug fixes and new features.

      • Comparing Netbook Desktops – Part 2, KDE Plasma Netbook

        It is important to note first that with KDE, you don’t have to decide in advance whether you want a “standard” desktop or a “notebook” desktop, because the KDE distribution includes both. You can switch between them with about four mouse-clicks at any time. In fact, you don’t even have to choose a particular distribution to get the Plasma Netbook desktop, because it will be available in any distribution that has a current version of KDE. I am using PCLinuxOS 2010 on my Samsung N150 Plus for the screen shots that follow here, but I could just as easily have used Fedora 14, Kubuntu 10.10 or the latest Milestone of openSuSE. The main reason that I am using PCLinuxOS here is that it already has KDE 4.5.3 included (and I have a bit of a personal preference for it anyway).

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Meet the GNOME Outreach Program for Women interns!

        Today, the GNOME project announced eight participants of the Outreach Program for Women internships! The internships will take place between December 15, 2010 and March 15, 2011. In the next few weeks, we’ll add the participants’ blogs to Planet GNOME, so that they can introduce themselves as well as write weekly updates about their work. Say “hi” to them on their blogs or when you see them on IRC. Also, if you are at the Boston Summit this weekend, say “hi” to Tiffany and Eugenia who will be attending it too.

      • Mockup for Integrated Music Playback in Nautilus

        Just browsing through DeviantART, I found this mockup by vincentpsp2 that integrates music control and playback in Nautilus itself.

  • Distributions

    • Why I Prefer Debian to RHEL: Top 5 Reasons

      Needless to say, Debian revolves circles around RHEL when it comes to boot speed and system responsiveness, with a lesser memory footprint.

    • Reviews

      • Review: SalixOS 13.1.2 KDE

        Ever heard of SalixOS? Well, it’s only the best (hands-down?) Slackware based Operating System! There are other competitors; Zenwalk, Vector Linux, and my own nFluxOS Slackware -current build. However; only SalixOS is 100% compatible with Slackware 13.1, all the other’s differ in many respects, as both Vector and Zenwalk have drifted a bit to their own identities, which is why SalixOS was created in the first place. Quoted from Wikipedia SalixOS article, “Salix OS was originally initiated by some ex-members/contributors/developer of Zenwalk project who wanted to come back to a closer compatibility with Slackware as well as to the FOSS truly cooperative & open philosophy.”

      • Pardus 2011 on the way with new goodies

        Pardus Linux, a popular independent distribution funded and developed by the Scientific & Technological Research Council of Turkey, will be releasing version 2011 in the coming weeks and with it lots of nice updates and improvements.


        Keep your eyes open for the final release announcement, which is estimated to be toward the end of November.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • New Mandriva’s cooker manager

        Mandriva’s cooker has a new manager : Eugeni Dodonov. Eugeni is well known in the community, a very active Mandriva’s contributor, an activist of free software in Brasil, and also a doctor in computer science. So he has all qualities to be the new manager of cooker. He will soon expose his own views on cooker to the community.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 – A very smooth release!

          As an experiment I am using Fedora 14 exclusively on my Samsung R510 laptop and I am pleased to say the battery life puts Ubuntu to shame.

        • Fedora 14 – A Take On Its New Features

          Proprietary drivers from AMD and NVIDIA are omitted from the default Fedora package.

        • Casting My Vote for Fedora 14

          The release of Fedora 14 is more than just a collection of bits and bytes on a DVD – it shows that the “open source way” is alive and well. Fedora is a large and thriving community, and I’d like to take the opportunity to recognize the individuals that put time and effort into making Fedora what it is today. Fedora is not just programmers — Fedora literally has an army of developers, packagers, designers, marketers, ambassadors, translators, testers and writers from all walks of life that come together to build a new release approximately every six months. Red Hat’s proud to help sponsor the work that goes into Fedora, in part because open source projects like Fedora form the foundation of Red Hat’s commercial offerings. Fedora’s work allows Red Hat to bring its products to market more rapidly, and to get early feedback on emerging technologies. At the same time, Fedora is yet another way for Red Hat to give back to the open source community, by providing a platform for transparent collaboration and innovation that anyone can join.

        • Fusion Linux 14 – Distro Review

          This version comes in a hefty 1.6gigabyte download, a bit large compared to the 700megabyte CD sized distros such as Linux Mint, but not too much larger than Pinguy and Zorin. The first thing you will notice when booting up Fusion (and I did a double take when I first saw it) is that their icon is a hotdog with legs…

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Making Our World More Respectful

          I am getting a little tired of the bickering in Open Source. Don’t get me wrong, I love full, frank and colorful discourse and debate, and I believe that innovation thrives on the exchange of ideas and different perspectives. Unfortunately, it seems that respectful debate and discussion has been increasingly replaced with rudeness, abrupt perspectives that are ill-researched, and the kind of behavior that people may exhibit online but would never exhibit if the same conversation happened in real life. To be clear: this is not about people who disagree with me or the projects I am associated with, there are many people who offer disagreements and alternative perspectives politely, constructively and are willing to engage in a discussion — this concern instead reflects those who are more interested in angry rhetoric rather that constructive, informed debate.


          I believe that the Open Source and Free Software community is the greatest community in the world, and it is populated by the greatest people in the world. Over the years I have seen incredible levels of generosity shared in our community, and a real feeling of family and looking after each other. Some of the people I would most vehemently disagree with, I consider some of my greatest friends, and many others are the same. I believe this openness to ideas and sharing perspectives is valuable, but I do think we need to confront some of the disrespectful discourse that is happening.

          Any ideas on how we can do this?

        • LoCo Lint Feature — File an issue for the LoCo Council ( Quickly! )
        • Linux beyond X: Shuttleworth contemplates Wayland

          Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth wrote a blog post this week contemplating the possibility of making Ubuntu’s new Unity shell work on the Wayland display system, with the aim of eventually shipping Wayland as Ubuntu’s standard display manager. A transition of such enormous scope isn’t going to happen in the near future, but it certainly can’t hurt to start thinking about it now.

        • Ubuntu’s risky leap: Unity on Wayland

          Today Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced on his blog that the Ubuntu distribution will move away from the traditional X.org display environment to Wayland a more modern alternative.

        • The X.Org Plans In Ubuntu 11.04, Again

          While we may see Canonical use Wayland beginning with Ubuntu 11.10, there’s still the Ubuntu 11.04 release coming out before that we have to look forward to with the new Unity desktop interface. Here’s some of the key X.Org details for Ubuntu 11.04, a.k.a. the Natty Narwhal.

          Last month we already provided a peek into the Ubuntu 11.04 X.Org stack that covered nearly all of the same details (along with the other Ubuntu 11.04 X discussions) we are about to share, the information has been finally communicated officially by Canonical’s Bryce Harrington.

        • Ubuntu Linux moving to Wayland from X is a Natty move

          Instead, Shuttleworth wants to move to the Wayland system — which in my mind is an interesting move. Wayland is new (not a bad thing) and lacks the stability and maturity of X. That said it also lacks the decades-old baggage that comes with X.

        • After Gnome Shell, Ubuntu Ditches X Server

          One of the reasons for Mark to choose Wayland seems to be Canonical’s ongoing crusade to polish Ubuntu at the level of perfection. Wayland’s started goal is ‘every frame is perfect, by which I mean that applications will be able to control the rendering enough that we’ll never see tearing, lag, redrawing or flicker’.

        • Is Canonical’s Unity Move Divisive?

          Last week, Mark Shuttleworth announced that the default desktop for Ubuntu 11.04 would be the Canonical-developed Unity desktop. It’s not a fork, but it does raise a number of issues about Canonical’s direction and the future of GNOME.

          The issue in a nutshell? GNOME 3.0 is on the horizon and with it comes a new interface called GNOME Shell. Canonical have been on the fence with GNOME Shell, and have been developing a UI called Unity for their netbook remix. At the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) last week, they formally announced what quite a few people suspected — that they’d not be taking up GNOME Shell and would instead use Unity.

        • Ubuntu To Ditch X For Wayland

          Well the surprises just keeps mounting. After shocking everyone with the announcement that Ubuntu 11.04 will have Unity on the desktop instead of GNOME Shell, Mark Shuttleworth announced another possibly bigger change – Unity is going to use Wayland display server instead of X.

        • Seeing the light

          To be clear – I think this is great. Wayland’s a neat technology and it’s good to see someone push ahead with seeing if it can be used on a practical scale; it’s great to see Canonical being the ones doing it. I just find it funny in the context of all those posts I read every day about how Fedora is silly for banging on about software freedom all the time and not shipping proprietary graphics drivers, and how Ubuntu gets it right by shipping proprietary drivers (and not caring about those silly open source drivers that don’t work right).

        • Is Shuttleworth Crazy, Brave, or Smart?

          Up until yesterday MeeGo was the only future user because Wayland is still quite limited in terms of compatible hardware and software as well as the lack of 3D acceleration demanded by Unity. Fortunately, the move to Wayland isn’t slated for 11.04 and may not even be ready for 11.10. In fact, it may have to be pushed back even further. It will have to be until this major conflict is resolved.

        • Thinking About X

          X11 is unmaintainable. It’s also quite large. Aside from both of those problems, it’s not quite as advanced as Quartz or Windows’ GUI layer. What this amounts to is a constantly growing size. People want to have the features and visuals of the two leading competitors, but they want to use Linux/UNIX. This means an increase in the number of modules, or dirty hacks to existing modules. While X has become modular over time, it hasn’t really trimmed down at all. If you want a good looking interface to ship with your distribution or hardware product, you have quite a bit of overhead. More and more each year, people are talking about X11 alternatives. Several have been started. None have really come to fruition.

        • Huge Ubuntu Changes to Come (Unity review)

          Ubuntu 11.04 is quickly positioning itself as the most ambitious release to date, incorporating changes that can very much redefine the way we understand the formerly brown Linux distro. I am sure it won’t be an easy ride at first, but even if Natty Narwhal is not an example of reliability, it may be the first step towards an even brighter future.

        • Why Ubuntu Linux Is a Good Business Choice

          One of those choices is Ubuntu Linux, a greatly enhanced Debian-based Linux distribution that installs easily, has the familiar Windows look and feel, and operates well on older hardware (expensive upgrade not required). Linux fans tout the positive attributes, often at high decibel levels, of Ubuntu Linux, which is perhaps the world’s most popular Linux distribution. But, is it business worthy?

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Nokia Z500 MeeGo tablet leaked on Ovi Store?

          A Nokia tablet running MeeGo has been churning through the rumor mills since early summer. Speculation, however, began as soon as Nokia and Intel joined forces on the open source OS back in February.

        • Initial Findings: MeeGo 1.1 Netbook vs. Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook

          Intel and Nokia last week rolled out MeeGo 1.1, which is now officially available for Intel Atom netbooks, the N900 handset, and in-vehicle “infotainment” systems. The netbook spin of MeeGo 1.1 is out there to compete with the likes of Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition, which was released just shy of a month ago. While nothing radically has changed with MeeGo 1.1 compared to the initial MeeGo 1.0 release from earlier this year, the software stack is updated so for the past few days we have begun conducting a performance comparison between MeeGo 1.1 and Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook. Here are some of our initial findings.

      • Android

        • T-Mobile Comet review

          It runs stock Android 2.2. A regional variation of the Huawei Ideos, it was designed with help from Google. Oh, and yeah, it’s one of the first T-Mobile devices to feature WiFi hotspot support. Is your interest sufficiently piqued? Read on.

        • Four Android Apps to Use for Daily Reading

          I do a lot of reading. In fact, I can spend around two hours a day reading a mixture of text and audiobooks. In addition to books, I also like to read various news and blog sites. In this article, I will feature the apps I use to accomplish my daily reading on my Android device, an HTC Evo.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Awesome Army is Awesome

        Using the new Army of Awesome page is fun (and awesome)! This is a quick run-through of how easy it is to use.

      • Hands-on: latest Firefox Mobile beta is svelte and smooth

        Mozilla is planning to continue its focus on performance improvements in future versions. The developers want to add hardware accelerated rendering and make scrolling even smoother. Another goal is to add support for the HTML5 video element.

  • SaaS

    • Yahoo! invites world of boffins into 4,000-node Hadoop cluster

      The company’s M45 cluster — a Hadoop setup spanning 4,000 processors and 1.5-petabyte of disk space inside a data center at Yahoo!’s Sunnyvale headquarters —– was originally launched in 2007, and is now available for Big Data research at eight universities across the country. Other participants include founding member Carnegie Mellon, plus the The University of California at Berkeley, Cornell University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

    • Cloud Computing 101
  • Oracle

    • The Forking OpenOffice Community Bodes Well For Users

      As PCMag.com notes, the productivity suite application arena, which it dubs “Office clones” is getting more complicated by the minute. The other day, Susan noted that the latest version of the OpenOffice suite, version 3.3, is upon us but she wondered if it might be the last. After all, OpenOffice.org developers are handing in their resignations (just look at some of them here), and many people are unhappy that Oracle now functions as steward of the project. We noted the discord back in August, and expressed concerns about Oracle’s intentions all the way back in April. But is PCMag correct that the current situation is just a complicated mess? Perhaps there is a silver lining of the type that one only sees in the world of open source.

  • Education

    • Introducing students to the world of open source: Day 1

      From Blake Ross to Linus Torvalds, students are credited with major achievements in the open source community. But that’s not the picture Yuvi Masory painted as he sat across the table from me at an OpenHatch meetup in Philadelphia.

      “My lab is hiring,” he explained. “We need students with programming experience and who can find answers to questions. But the students at Penn have never even heard of IRC. They’ve never contributed to open source.”

  • Business

    • The Business Value of Open Source Software

      I’ve been organising events for Open Source in Ireland for a while now, and I’ve always wanted to see more government organisations get behind them and also come along. I started talking to Dave Scanlon about this and he has gotten on board and gotten Enterprise Ireland to organise an event for Irish business to learn more about Open Source, it’s benefits, uses and how they can use, compete and excel using it.

    • 10 Reasons Open Source Is Good for Business

      With the many business and government organizations that now use open source software such as Linux, it’s becoming increasingly clear that price is not the only advantage such software holds. If it were, companies that adopted it during the Great Recession would surely have switched back to the expensive proprietary stuff as soon as conditions began to ease, and that’s clearly not the case.

  • Funding

    • Devil’s dollars drive open source

      The vast majority of software isn’t written by “open-source companies.” It’s written by proprietary software companies or by non-software companies, like financial services firms, who write software to satisfy internal needs.

    • Open Source: Money versus Mindshare

      This morning I read with interest the musings of He Who Will Forever Blog (aka Matt Asay) on the topic of how proprietary software and the money that comes with it will always be forever entwined with open source (and, by extension, free) software.

      I’ve got to say, I don’t see where he’s wrong about this.

      Granted, Asay’s being a bit provocative, and certainly the so-pithy-you-will-bleed headline writers at The Register help that provocation along. In the article, Asay calls it how he sees it: that the “vast majority of software isn’t written by ‘open-source companies.’ It’s written by proprietary software companies or by non-software companies, like financial services firms, who write software to satisfy internal needs.”


      I think, no matter how you try to hold up the open source model as a unique way of doing business, companies that use open source are still working in a market driven by other factors and dominated by proprietary vendors who can use better funding to achieve what successful open source companies can do with better mindshare.


    • Gnash Supporters Offer Cash for Open-Source Flash Player

      For VAR’s, this should serve as a reminder not to discount the importance of ordinary individuals in the open-source world. Commercial investment may be crucial to the momentum of larger projects, such as Firefox, OpenOffice or the major Linux distributions. But the Gnash contest shows that some users are willing to pay substantial amounts of actual cash to support smaller open-source endeavors as well. And it’s in these tiny projects, which remain off the map of the mainstream software world, where some of the greatest value may lie.

    • GCC 4.5 unmasking and etc.

      I was hoping to get GCC 4.5 unmasked much sooner than this, but I somehow got wrangled into running the field end of a big survey project at work and as a result I’ve been pretty much living out of a motel since mid-August. The good news is that thanks to the efforts of many very helpful people who aren’t me, the last major packages that needed fixing are taken care of and we’re finally ready to drop 4.5.1 into ~arch this weekend.

  • Project Releases

    • Blender 2.55 Released

      The Blender Foundation has just released Blender 2.55, a bug fix release with over 340 fixes!

    • Blender 2.5 Beta 3 released

      After more than 7 weeks of development, the Blender developers have announced the arrival of the latest beta for what will become version 2.6 of their open source 3D content creation suite. Blender 2.55 Beta, the third beta of the 2.5 series, includes several changes and addresses more than 340 bugs found in the previous development release.

  • Licensing

    • Weekend Project: Get to Know Your Source Code with FOSSology

      FOSSology was originally built as an internal tool at HP, to help engineers follow the large company’s IT governance policies when working with open source software written elsewhere. Even if your company or project isn’t as big as HP, any time you blend code from different authors or want to borrow a routine from another open source project, it can get tricky to maintain all the rules. Certain licenses are compatible to combine in one executable, while others need to be separate processes. If you customize an open source application for internal use, you may also need to keep track of authorship — even more so if you send patches upstream.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Colleges Experimenting With Bulk-Buying E-Textbooks… And Forcing Students To Pay Up

    We’ve pointed out in the past how the college textbook market is ripe for disruption. You have a market where books are ridiculously overpriced by publishers, knowing that students are often compelled to purchase the product. As book prices have continued to rise, apparently some universities are experimenting with bulk buying licenses to ebook textbooks and simply charging the students a fee.

  • Application Inflation

    He doubts that any university could deliver an experience that matches the story it tells the world beyond its gates. “People like to promote a vision of what makes them unique, but it’s just wishful thinking,” he says. “It was a great education—I’m glad I went there. But I don’t think it ever lived up to its ideal. And maybe that’s the value of an education. It helps you realize the limits of an ideal.”

  • One on One: Vivek Kundra, U.S. Chief Information Officer

    Vivek Kundra is the chief information officer of the United States. His job is to help shape the use of technology in government and build tools to help the public navigate the incredible amount of data and information available.

  • Science

    • Electric current to the brain ‘boosts maths ability’

      Applying a tiny electrical current to the brain could make you better at learning maths, according to Oxford University scientists.

      They found that targeting a part of the brain called the parietal lobe improved the ability of volunteers to solve numerical problems.

      They hope the discovery could help people with dyscalculia, who may struggle with numbers.

    • Superhero-Style Spacesuits Could Provide Vital Compression For Astronauts

      This new Spiderman-style suit may not win astronauts a spot in the fashion hall of fame, but it could help keep their bones intact during long spaceflights. Described in a new paper, prototype tests of the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit, being developed by a research team at MIT’s Man-Vehicle Laboratory, show that the suit simulates the effects of gravity on the human body, which could solve one of the biggest obstacles to future human space travel.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Toronto cops who removed their name-tags during the G20 to avoid identification will be docked a day’s pay

      About 90 cops will be docked a day’s pay for illegally removing their nametags during the G20 crackdown in Toronto. Toronto police chief Bill Blair said that the officers removed their badges so that they couldn’t be identified. This is part of a general pattern of illegal behavior during the Toronto G20, including arrests for violating a nonexitent law, extended detention in cuffs without adequate heating or toilet facilities, misleading press statements about seized weapons, and arresting a protestor who was blowing soap-bubbles.

    • Why newspapers make you stupid

      The maze of documents and media observations on the recent release of 400,000 classified Iraq war documents on Wikileaks ignites so many questions. But one can’t help but notice the many subtle and not-so-subtle diverging perspectives within the media agencies reporting the story.

    • Iraqi torture known to Danish Ministry

      According to reports released by WikiLeaks last week, Danish officials continued to hand over detainees to Iraqi authorities until 2005, despite reports of torture in the country’s prisons dating back to 2003.

    • Blood on Our Hands

      In early March 2006, Donald Rumsfeld called a Pentagon news conference to declare Iraq peaceful — and to say that U.S. reporters in Baghdad were liars for reporting otherwise.

      Contrary to the jumble of “exaggerated” reporting from Baghdad, the then-secretary of defense said at the Washington press briefing, Iraq was experiencing no such thing as the explosion of sectarian violence that myself and many of my fellow journalists in Baghdad were covering in the aftermath of a fateful February 2006 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra.

    • WikiLeaks: U.S. must probe alleged abuse
    • Shockingly Unshocking: More Wikileaks Competitors Pop Up

      Just recently, we noted that the attempts by Wikileaks critics to try to “shut down” the site (or physically harm its leaders) were misguided, because it wouldn’t take long for other sites to step up and offer the same functionality.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Jim Prentice Resigns His Post As Environment Minister

      As most of you know, I used to work in the environmental industry. There are a lot of machines out there which have catalytic converter cores that I helped to design. I know a lot about the science involved, including what vehicle emissions do to people.


      And then today Jim Prentice resigned his post as Environment Minister.

  • Finance

    • Additional Lists About Goldman Sachs
    • Sealed Courtroom Sought in High-Speed–Trading Code-Theft Case

      Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have asked a judge to seal the courtroom in an upcoming corporate-espionage trial to protect the secret of Goldman Sachs’ controversial high-speed trading software.

      Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York asked the judge last week to close the courtroom (.pdf) for portions of testimony involving the company’s proprietary software, and to seal exhibits and transcripts pertaining to the company’s trade secrets.


      Prosecutors wrote that if information about the investment bank’s software were made public “the very purpose of this trade-secret prosecution would be defeated and other victims of trade-secret thefts would be discouraged from reporting those crimes.” The Wall Street Journal reported first about the motion to seal.

      In their motion, prosecutors also asked that evidence and arguments about the nation’s financial crisis not relevant to the case be excluded from the trial.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • People have “right to be forgotten” online, says EU

      The European Commission wants to strengthen data protection rules to give more power to consumers – including the right to be forgotten online.

      In a seemingly contradictory statement, the commission set out its strategy for strengthening data protection while at the same time making data more freely available.

      “The protection of personal data is a fundamental right,” said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

    • EFF Welcomes New Activist Rainey Reitman

      EFF is pleased to announce our newest staff activist: Rainey Reitman. Rainey will be working with the rest of our activism team to fight for privacy, free speech, and innovation on the Internet and other technologies.

    • Lawsuit Settled After Cop Revealed Anonymous Blogger To His Church, Then Destroyed Records To ‘Protect Civil Rights’

      Gabriel Tane alerts us to an interesting story about online anonymity coming out of Jacksonville, Florida. Apparently, a member of the First Baptist Church there had been writing a blog that was critical of the church leadership. A local sheriff’s detective, Robert Hinson, who was (in addition to being a sheriff’s detective) a member of the same church, a provider of security to the church, a deacon at the church and a member of the church’s “disciplinary committee,” used his position in the sheriff’s office to open an official investigation into the blog, and was able to get Stephen Siegel, an assistant state attorney to issue a subpoena to reveal the blogger.

    • Should the Law that Protects Against Upskirt Filming Protect Against TSA Body Scanners?

      The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is pushing on with its lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security over the TSA’s whole-body imaging scanners. The privacy group filed the suit in July asking for an emergency stay of the controversial program. The federal appeals court denied the request for a stay, but did allow the lawsuit to proceed. EPIC filed its opening brief this week, alleging that the machines’ ability to take nakey scans of us violates the Fourth Amendment, the Privacy Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act, among others.

    • Facing Up to the Generational Privacy Divide

      Last week hundreds of privacy regulators, corporate officers, and activists gathered in Jerusalem, Israel for the annual Data Protection and Privacy Commissioner Conference. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the conference theme focused on the perception of a growing privacy divide between generations, with older and younger demographics seemingly adopting sharply different views on the importance of privacy.

      Many acknowledged that longstanding privacy norms are being increasingly challenged by the massive popularity of social networks that encourage users to share information that in a previous generation would have never been made publicly available for all the world to see. Moreover, rapid technological change and the continuous evolution of online sites and services create enormous difficulty for regulators unaccustomed to moving at Internet speed.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • ‘Net pioneers: Open Internet should be separate

      The U.S. Federal Communications Commission should allow for an open Internet separate from specialized services that may prioritize IP traffic, a group of Internet and technology pioneers recommended.

      The document, filed in response to an FCC request for public comments on proposed network neutrality rules, steers clear of recommending what rules should apply to the open Internet. But the distinctions between the open Internet and specialized Internet Protocol services, if allowed, need to be “defined clearly,” the group of 32 Internet experts said in comments to the FCC.

    • Sorry, Net Neutrality Simply Was Not An Important Issue In This Year’s Election

      This one is just amusing. Scott Cleland, who works for the big broadband companies as a professional propagandist, and has a long history of making absolutely ridiculous claims in order to support their positions, apparently got a bit of traction from the non-thinking press, after he started pushing the message that all of the Democrats who signed a “pledge” to support network neutrality from the group the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) lost in the recent election. So, suddenly, it sounds like a referendum on net neutrality with the people saying they’re against it. Verizon was so excited about this that it even Tweeted about it and various folks in the press parroted the claim without really looking into the details. Even CNN wrote an article about it, suggesting this was the “final nail in the coffin for net neutrality.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Now That Apple Has A Trademark On ‘There’s An App For That,’ Will It Sue Sesame Street?

      You may recall that, last year, Apple got quite upset at Verizon Wireless for running commercials that parodied Apple’s “there’s an app for that” tagline, with “there’s a map for that,” which tried to highlight the better coverage found on Verizon Wireless’ network. Well, last month, Apple was officially awarded the trademark for “there’s an app for that,” so now we can wait to see who Steve Jobs decides to sue.

    • 70 MEPs Call On EU To Support “Right To Read” Treaty At WIPO

      A cross-party coalition of 70 MEPs have called upon the European Commission and EU member states to support a legally binding international Treaty for the Visually impaired. They challenge the present EU position that only proposes a voluntary “joint recommendation” that is weak, very complex and lacking any legal force.

      This Friday an EU Council “working group” meets to discuss this question and to establish a common EU position before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that meets next week in Geneva. Presently, most of the world’s visually impaired and print-disabled people only have access to less than 1% of the books being published. This situation is considered by many as a “book famine”.

    • Is There Anything Lamer Than Facebook Threatening Lamebook With Trademark Infringement?

      We’ve noted lately that Facebook has become excessively aggressive when it comes to trademark law and challenging websites that use either “face” or “book” in ways that are somewhat similar. Apparently, one recent target of a cease-and-desist threat was Lamebook.com, one of the more popular of a few websites that post images of silly and ridiculous posts, comments and photos on Facebook.

    • Copyrights

      • UK copyright laws to be reviewed, announces Cameron

        Britain’s intellectual property laws are to be reviewed to “make them fit for the internet age,” Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.


        ‘Fair use’

        He said: “The service they provide depends on taking a snapshot of all the content on the internet at any one time and they feel our copyright system is not as friendly to this sort of innovation as it is in the United States.

        “Over there, they have what are called ‘fair-use’ provisions, which some people believe gives companies more breathing space to create new products and services.

        “So I can announce today that we are reviewing our IP laws, to see if we can make them fit for the internet age. I want to encourage the sort of creative innovation that exists in America.”

      • UK Plans To Review Copyright Laws (Yet Again), With Eye Towards Fair Use

        This all sounds good, but let’s see what comes out in practice — especially after the lobbyists get done trashing the concept of fair use as being somehow anti-innovation.

      • New Zealand proposes “guilty until proven innocent” copyright law to punish accused infringers

        New Zealand’s three-strikes Internet law is back. Under this proposed copyright law, people who are accused without proof of multiple copyright infringements can eventually face disconnection from the Internet, along with their families. A substantively similar law was passed and then rescinded in 2009, after enormous public outcry. The parliamentary committee responsible for the legislation describes it as being based on the presumption of guilt (not innocence, as is customary in democratic societies).

      • Lessig Calls For WIPO To Lead Overhaul Of Copyright System

        Influential copyright scholar Larry Lessig yesterday issued a call for the World Intellectual Property Organization to lead an overhaul of the copyright system which he says does not and never will make sense in the digital environment.

        A functioning copyright system must provide the incentives needed for creative professionals, but must also protect the freedoms necessary for scientific research and amateur creativity flourish.

        In the digital environment, copyright has failed at both, said Lessig.

      • Lessig Asks WIPO To Overhaul Copyright; Not Designed For When Every Use Is A Copy
      • 20 Open Source Movies You Can Edit and Redistribute for Free

        Open Source Movies, also called Open Content Movies or simply Open Movies are, as the name suggests, movies that enable the end user to view and edit the production materials. Philosophically speaking, Open Movies share the same notion that lies at the heart of open source softwares. However, they are not as popular as open source softwares. As a matter of fact, they are so rare that after a decade of their presence, there are roughly dozens of them available. Apparently, Free/Libre/Open source community, a community that is so proud of itself for producing quality alternatives to proprietary products has failed to realize the importance of open movie movement.

      • Magazine Editor Steals Article, Tells Writer ‘You Should Compensate Me!’

        Writer Monica Gaudio was surprised to see an old article of hers appear in Cooks Source, a “publication for food lovers in Western New England.” So she wrote the magazine’s editor to ask how they got it. The reply: insanity.

      • Cooks Source magazine gets Facebook backlash for copying material without permission
      • How Cooks Source Magazine Learned That Reputation Is A Scarce Good… As Reddit Applies The Social Mores Of Justice

        One of the key points we’ve made over the years is that reputation is a scarce good, and doing something bad can be quite costly. In fact, in showing how social mores can often be much more effective than copyright laws in dealing with actions where someone is “wronged” by having their work copied in ways that appear to be unfair, we’ve suggested that social costs are a much more effective means of punishing those who do wrong.

      • Cooks Source Editor Finally Responds… Makes Things Worse [Updated]
      • Cook’s Magazine Claims Web Is Public Domain
      • Ministry Of Sound Ditches File Sharing Lawsuits After It Finds Out That BT Actually Protects User Privacy

        Music label Ministry of Sound, who had recently joined the self-destructive mass “pay up or we’ll sue you for infringement” shakedown business, has apparently abandoned those plans. Why? Because BT actually followed through with protecting its users’ privacy in accordance with data retention rules, and destroyed its log files after 90 days. Ministry of Sound is apparently “very disappointed” that BT actually protects the privacy of its customers.

      • Jury Finds Terra Firma Just Made A Bad Deal In Buying EMI

        On top of that, the company backed down on its threats to leave the IFPI and the RIAA… and instead became one of the more aggressive record labels in suing innovative start-ups and directly suing their execs in attempts to bankrupt them. It wasn’t much of a surprise that the two tech superstars EMI hired both left pretty quickly, as it became apparent they were marginalized within the company.

      • RIAA Wins Big Against File-Sharer, $1.5M for 24 Songs

        Jammie Thomas-Rasset has lost her re-retrial against the RIAA and is now ordered to pay $1.5 million for 24 songs she shared via Kazaa. The jury found her guilty of infringing the rights of Capitol Records and found a $62,500 fine per shared song to be an appropriate punishment. If recouped, the money will be invested in new anti-piracy campaigns.

      • Why The Jammie Thomas Verdicts Return Such Huge Amounts Per Song Shared: It’s All About The Framing

        There’s nothing specifically wrong with the jury instructions. They’re exactly what the law basically says the judge should say. But, if you’re the average person in the jury box, these instructions effectively say “pick a number higher than $30,000 and less than $150,000.” That’s basically it. The numbers are framed right there, and the jury just has to pick. So, the last two juries picked $80,000 and now $62,500. If you’re on the jury, you’re not really thinking about what this actually means, or if the punishment fits the actions. You’re told, by law, you should pick a ridiculously high number, and then you just sorta pick one within that frame, which has already been set for you. If you’re told that they can be fined $150,000 per song shared, and you assume that the law must make sense (because who would pass a nonsensical law?), then at no point do you ever consider the reasonableness of such an award. That seems like a pretty bad judicial system, because it encourages frivolous results that very few people can respect.

      • What is a fair penalty for illegal file-sharing or piracy?

        This week a federal jury handed down the verdict in the third file-sharing trial against a Minnesota mother of four who has been fighting against the charges brought by the RIAA since 2005. The jury found Jamie Thomas-Rasset guilty of pirating 24 copyrighted songs from six different record labels and awarded the plaintiffs $1.5 million in damages, or an astounding $62,500 per song.

      • Copyright reform must expand fair dealing, limit protections for digital locks

        Students are calling on the federal government and opposition parties to fix C-32 and finally adopt copyright legislation for the digital age.

        “In C-32 the government finally gave us something to work with,” said Dave Molenhuis, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Expanding the definition of fair dealing to include education will ensure that students and educators have access to copyrighted materials and that writers continue to be compensated fairly for the use of their work.”

      • Second Reading – the day after

        Bill C-32 had its second reading yesterday; Michael Geist gives the details. The campaign of misinformation concerning the inclusion of “education” to fair dealing is leaving its mark. This is disappointing, but not surprising given the deficit position fair dealing sat in before Bill C-32 was unveiled. Despite the viability of fair dealing as a measured response to the perennial calls for balance in copyright, and the lessons that can be drawn from the lengthy history of American experiences with fair use (see my chapter in From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”, free download available), the mere mention of education as fair dealing brings out the worst fears of Canadian writers.

      • [Canada] The U.S. Influence on Bill C-32 Hits House of Commons Debate

        One of the most notable aspects of the House of Commons debate on Bill C-32 thus far (debate continues today) has been the recognition by opposition MPs of the influence of the U.S. on the bill’s digital lock rules.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Multitouch Gesture injection in non-mt-aware apps : Evince

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 5/11/2010: Google Chrome OS Enters Beta

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Google open sources Apache server speed mod

    Google has open sourced an Apache server module designed to speed website performance. Presumably, the module is based on the mystery Google Web Server the company uses to serve its own pages.

    Known as “mod_pagespeed,” the Apache module speeds performance “on the fly” in 15 separate ways, which include optimizing page caching, minimizing client-server round trips, and reducing payload size. “mod_pagespeed is an open-source Apache module that automatically optimizes web pages and resources on them,” Google says. “It does this by rewriting the resources using filters that implement web performance best practices. Webmasters and web developers can use mod_pagespeed to improve the performance of their web pages when serving content with the Apache HTTP Server.”

  • The Apache way meets the Oracle way

    There is nothing in open source quite like the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

    To outsiders it can be maddening. I just finished keynoting ApacheCon and I still don’t get it.

    Jim Jagielski (right) is currently Apache’s president, but having been with the group since its start he’s also an unofficial historian.

  • Open Source Lights Up Darkest Africa

    Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria….countries in Africa that some people have to use an atlas (or at least Google Maps) to locate. While low cost computers, networking hardware and software are helping these countries develop the computer infrastructure they need those are only part of the answer. To really establish a sustainable infrastructure a lot of these countries, who may have been under colonial rule for decades, also need training in entrepreneurship and capacity building.

    A number of years ago I started working with a company called InWent Capacity Building International. Based in Germany, InWent works with the German government, the United Nations and various countries on projects to “teach the teachers” and build economic capacity. Since the German government had embraced Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) early on, it was fairly easy to get InWent to recognize FOSS as advantageous for some of the projects the countries were undertaking.

  • 8 (More) Free and Open Source Project Management Software

    A few months ago, we have featured here some of the best free and open-source project management software. To recap, project management software covers many types of applications that may include scheduling, tracking, reporting, resource allocation, communication and administration among others. It is designed to help companies or organizations complete a project quickly and efficiently.

    For those of you who are interested, here is another round of excellent free and open-source project management software (in no particular order) that we have not included on our previous list.

  • Events

    • Updated open source presentation

      Last spring I gave a talk at OSBC called “Asking the Hard Questions About Open Source Software.” Since that time I’ve given the talk several times to customers and partners, have added some more material about IBM’s use of open source, and tweaked it here and there.

    • Open Source Initiative Bash! – Logitech Loft SF Party
    • Linux Plumber’s Conference Day 1

      First there was an opening talk by Jonathan Corbet, which was a report on the current state of the kernel. Some take-aways I got from the talk is we have about 1100 kernel developers currently, 300 are very active, and the pace is very fast. There isn’t any concern over attracting additional kernel developers as there is a steady influx. Jonathan went over various new features in the kernel, including a few long-term cleanup efforts that are finally getting finished up.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 Beta for Mobile is Now Faster and Sleeker

        We received a lot of great feedback on the previous beta and addressed many of the issues reported, including reduced memory usage, improved text rendering and a 60% install size reduction on Android (from around 43 MB to 17 MB).

  • Databases

    • The 2010 Elections, Reflections, Lessons and Taking Stock

      Disappointed when the Department of Justice allowed Oracle to acquire the assets of MySQL, putting together in one company the leading free software platform and the leading commercial platform for database services. Not surprisingly, Oracle has introduced sharp fee hikes to support MySQL, killed off low-priced support options, and more than doubled what it charges for the commercial versions of the database. More here and here.

  • Oracle

    • Key Java figure says ‘JCP no longer credible’

      A senior member of the Java Community Process has resigned from his position on the board’s Executive Committee citing Oracle’s role within the committee’s processes as a driving factor.

      Doug Lea —whose position on the board was due for renewal this year— won’t be reapplying to sit on the JCP’s executive committee in future years as he feels that “there is no remaining useful role for an independent advocate for the academic and research community on the EC,” he said in his explanatory departure letter sent on Friday. “I believe that the JCP is no longer a credible specification and standards body,” he added.

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.x Developer Snapshot (build DEV300m92) available
    • The Unsaid Document Foundation (talkbacks)

      Michael Meeks, famous hacker and LibreOffice advocate, replied to my earlier post giving his perspectives on many different subjects related to LibreOffice development.

      Having read his views with great attention – and keeping in mind his long coding experience with OpenOffice.org, as well as his ability to dig deep into complex subjects like copyright assignment – I want to take a chance to go deeper into some points.

  • CMS

    • Six Secrets of Open Source Community Building

      The Drupal content management system (CMS) is one of the most successful open source projects on the Internet today, thanks in no small part to its community.

      At the head of the Drupal community is the project’s founder, Dries Buytaert, who started the project ten years ago in his dorm room. In 2008, Buytaert helped to found Acquia which is a commercial support vendor for Drupal, which to date has raised over $20 million in startup capital. The road from dorm room to open source rock star has given Buytaert some insight into how to build a successful open source community. Speaking at the Zendcon PHP conference this week, Buytaert detailed six key secrets to open source success.

  • Funding


  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Cabinet Office managers ban talks on Government IT

      Senior officials in the Cabinet Office have banned their colleagues from talking publicly about Government IT, which will stop reformers arguing the need for radical change.

      In recent weeks several officials in the Cabinet Office have spoken in public on the massive inefficiencies within Government administration. They have set out plans for reducing or cutting out widespread duplication of business processes and IT.

    • The White House gets open source

      I love this video from Dave Cole (Senior Advisor to the CIO, Executive Office of the President) and Macon Phillips (White House Director of New Media). You hear the feds talk a lot about openness and transparency, but not often specifically about open source. But here, you can see that the White House really gets it.

    • Whitehouse.gov Wins OSFA Award

      Melanie Chernoff, Public Policy Manager for Red Hat, posted a story on opensource.com about the recent Open Source for America awards handed out at the Government Open Source Conference.

    • Governments want more commercial out of commercial open source

      The theme of this year’s GOSCON, from my perspective, was that governments remain eager to embrace open source software, and are no doubt already doing so in many cases, but there is still a great demand for more commercial backing of more open source. Even though we continue to see more official adoption and procurement of open source among public organizations, it seems clear after GOSCON there is a need for more awareness, but also for more commercial support of open source.

  • Licensing

    • Is Your Business Compliant with Open Source Licenses?

      There are many ways that vendors of proprietary products try to scare business customers away from open source software, and one of the more commonly heard examples involves vague fears about compliance with open source licenses. There’s nothing like the specter of a good lawsuit to scare a company back into a paid vendor’s welcoming arms.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Zimmer Twins: Crowdsourced animation for kids
    • New user group aims to take on the super vendors

      Open Data Center Alliance, with more than $50B in collective IT spending, hope to yield a big stick

    • Powerhouse Museum to launch open access image repository

      The Powerhouse Museum has moved to embrace Gov 2.0 principles, announcing plans to create an open-access image repository to showcase the organisations’ extensive image archive.

      The portal will initially begin with about 5000 images and grow to include the museum’s glass-plate negatives collection, including some 7903 images from the Tyrrell Photographic Collection, which documents city and country life in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    • Open Data

      • National Rail Have Killed My UK Train Times App

        Data came from a free API which National Rail (a body representing the UK’s train companies) has run for years. Output was presented in the cleanest way possible – people on the move don’t want to be encumbered with advertising or excessive page furniture!

    • Open Access/Content

      • Flat World Knowledge’s Eric Frank: Open Education and Policy

        At the beginning of this year we announced a revised approach to our education plans, focusing our activities to support of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. In order to do so we have worked hard to increase the amount of information available on our own site – in addition to an Education landing page and the OER portal explaining Creative Commons’ role as legal and technical infrastructure supporting OER, we have been conducting a series of interviews to help clarify some of the challenges and opportunities of OER in today’s education landscape.

        One major venue for the advancement of OER is through the development and support of businesses that levage openly licensed content in support of education. Eric Frank is Founder and President of Flat World Knowledge, a commercial publisher of openly-licensed college textbooks. We spoke with Eric about faculty perceptions of open textbooks, customization enabled by open licensing, and the future of “free online and affordable offline” business models.

    • Open Hardware

      • Getting hooked on open source prosthetics

        The Open Prosthetics Project has outlined the different ways members of their community can help and ingeniously spelled out how they need help within the list. Whether you’re new to their community or returning, it’s very clear how to get started. On their website, participation is as easy a being a user, donor, grant writer, service provider, researcher, or helping with their legal team.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Oracle Proposes Cloud Management API Based on Open Standards

      Oracle has released details of a proposed standard API for managing the cloud. The draft specification, released Wednesday, has been submitted to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) for inclusion with the organization’s proposed Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) standard.

    • Mark Zuckerberg on HTML5 at Facebook

      If a company like Facebook sees the value in an HTML5-based web application that can run across many modern mobile devices, that, to me is a great testament to the power of the web vs. native mobile apps. Clearly native apps have their place but the more fragmentation we see in the mobile space in both operating systems as well as devices (there are now tablet devices coming out in many different sizes from 11 inches to 7 inches an every size in between) the more important the web will be.


  • Bully-claim dinner lady sacked due to ‘embarrassment’

    A dinner lady who told parents their child was being bullied was sacked as governors were “embarrassed by the public outcry”, a tribunal has heard.

    Carol Hill, 61, had made her bosses at Great Tey Primary School in Essex “cross” and was unfairly dismissed, her lawyer Claire Darwin told the hearing.

    She was sacked from the school in September last year.

  • With the Jack PC, the computer’s in the wall!

    The Jack PC from Chip PC Technologies offers a neat and novel thin-client desktop computing solution where the computer doesn’t just plug into the wall, it is the plug in the wall. Running on power provided by the ethernet cable that also connects it to the data center server, the computer-in-a-wall-socket supports wireless connectivity, has dual display capabilities and runs on the RISC processor architecture – which gives the solution the equivalent of 1.2GHz of x86 processing power.

  • News Corporation’s bid for BSkyB faces probe

    The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has ordered Ofcom to investigate News Corporation’s plan to take full control of broadcaster BSkyB.

  • NI clearly threw in the kitchen sink to get Times online past the magic 100,000 mark

    Raymond Snoddy reveals all from the MediaPro conference – Guardian News and Media is making more money from its online dating service than NI is from Times online; The Independent’s new i has only been selling around 125,000 a day; and Lebedev says the Standard and The Independent are “definitely doomed” if they stay as they are…

  • ‘Pervy’ private chat case springs back into life

    The issue, described by one legal commenter as “the most significant obscenity case so far this century”, centres on a prosecution originally brought in May of this year against Gavin Smith, of Swanscombe, whose log of a private online chat he had with another individual was deemed by Kent Police to be obscene.

  • Inside the Google Books Algorithm
  • FTC Names Edward W. Felten as Agency’s Chief Technologist; Eileen Harrington as Executive Director

    Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz today announced the appointment of Edward W. Felten as the agency’s first Chief Technologist. In his new position, Dr. Felten will advise the agency on evolving technology and policy issues.

    Dr. Felten is a professor of computer science and public affairs and founding director of the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. He has served as a consultant to federal agencies, including the FTC, and departments of Justice and Defense, and has testified before Congress on a range of technology, computer security, and privacy issues. He is a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery and recipient of the Scientific American 50 Award. Felten holds a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Washington.

  • Will Netflix Destroy the Internet?

    On Sept. 22, Netflix began offering its streaming movie service in Canada. This was Netflix’s first venture outside of the United States, and because the company wasn’t offering its traditional DVD-by-mail plan to Canadians, its prospects seemed questionable. How many people would pay $7.99 per month (Canadian) for the chance to watch Superbad whenever they wanted?

  • New Surveys Say Publishers Expect Mobile To Pay Off Big Within Two Years

    Two new publishing surveys predict rapid revenue growth for mobile apps in the next few years, although one shows most publishers rejecting the switch to an all-digital format.

  • BBC facing news blackout as journalists strike over pensions

    The BBC faces a news blackout tomorrow across its main TV and radio news programmes, including Radio 4′s Today, BBC1′s 10pm bulletin and Newsnight, as star presenters including Fiona Bruce and Kirsty Wark join a 48-hour strike over pensions.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Medicine: A Contagious Cancer?

      At first it sounded like a macabre coincidence. Within three days in March 1983, two California cousins learned from their doctors that they had non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. One month earlier, a sister-in-law of one of them, living in Washington, had received the same diagnosis. The family was stunned. What could be causing their unbelievable misfortune?

      In Georgia, a few months later, when the married daughter of one of the victims discovered that she too had the malignancy, the family could not avoid what had earlier seemed an illogical, incredible conclusion: four of them had “caught” cancer from a 63-year-old South African aunt who in 1982 had crisscrossed the U.S., visiting her late husband’s relatives.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • In new memoir, Bush makes clear he approved use of waterboarding

      Human rights experts have long pressed the administration of former president George W. Bush for details of who bore ultimate responsibility for approving the simulated drownings of CIA detainees, a practice that many international legal experts say was illicit torture.

      In a memoir due out Tuesday, Bush makes clear that he personally approved the use of that coercive technique against alleged Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an admission the human rights experts say could one day have legal consequences for him.

    • Brussels blocks UK from biometric superdatabase

      European judges have rejected an attempt by British security officials to gain access to a huge new store of visa application data being set up to combat illegal immigration, organised crime and terrorism.

      The government went to court to force the EU to allow agencies such as MI5, SOCA and the UK Border Agency to use the Visa Information System (VIS), which will store details of every foreigner who applies to enter the bloc, including their fingerprints and photograph. Intelligence on those who have previously been refused a visa by another country is seen as particularly valuable.

    • Cops Pay $4,000 to Man Who Flipped Them Off

      A suburban Oregon police department is paying a local man $4,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit in which he claimed he was pulled over for flipping off the cops in traffic.

      Twice he saluted with his middle finger while driving, and was pulled over each time by a Clackamas County patrol officer, resulting in what he said was a tongue lashing and “bogus” citations that were later dismissed. He sued (.pdf) in March.

    • Watch Out: The World Bank Is Quietly Funding a Massive Corporate Water Grab

      Even though water privatization has been a massive failure around the world, the World Bank just quietly gave $139 million to its latest corporate buddy.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Chatbot Wears Down Proponents of Anti-Science Nonsense

      Nigel Leck, a software developer by day, was tired of arguing with anti-science crackpots on Twitter. So, like any good programmer, he wrote a script to do it for him.

      The result is the Twitter chatbot @AI_AGW. Its operation is fairly simple: Every five minutes, it searches twitter for several hundred set phrases that tend to correspond to any of the usual tired arguments about how global warming isn’t happening or humans aren’t responsible for it.

      It then spits back at the twitterer who made that argument a canned response culled from a database of hundreds. The responses are matched to the argument in question — tweets about how Neptune is warming just like the earth, for example, are met with the appropriate links to scientific sources explaining why that hardly constitutes evidence that the source of global warming on earth is a warming sun.

    • Clearing tropical forests is a lose-lose

      Clearing tropical forests for farmland is bad for the climate – no surprises there. But now we’ve learned that it’s also an inefficient way to feed people.

      Paul West of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and colleagues worked out the potential yields of 175 different crops if they were planted in different parts of the world.

      Then they estimated how much carbon would be released into the atmosphere by clearing these areas of wild plants.

    • Icelandic volcano showing signs of erupting

      An Icelandic volcano is showing signs of erupting, months after ash wreaked chaos on European air travel.

      Flood water is pouring out of the Grimsvotn volcano in southern Iceland – a sign, scientists say, that an eruption could be imminent.

    • The real reason (climate) scientists don’t want to release their code

      Recently there have been three articles that discuss releasing scientific software. Nature had a piece called Computational science: …Error, the bloggers at RealClimate wrote about Climate code archiving: an open and shut case? and Communications of the ACM has an article entitled Should code be released?.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Civil Liberties Watchdog Feingold Loses Senate Seat

      Civil liberties advocates lost a Senate stalwart Tuesday night when Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) was defeated by Ron Johnson, a little-known plastics manufacturer whose shibboleths against health care reform and government spending tapped into populist anger.

      For years, Feingold was one of the few — and sometimes the only — voice in the Senate skeptical of the government’s increasing demands for domestic surveillance power and control of the internet. He was one of 16 Senators who voted against the Communications Decency Act of 1996, an internet censorship bill later struck down by the Supreme Court, was the only Senator in 2001 to vote against the USA Patriot Act, and he introduced a measure to censure President Bush for his illegal warrantless wiretapping program.

    • Going to the movies? Prepare to be watched while you watch

      Gaining entry to some movie theaters lately gives patrons an experience that is on par with going through a TSA security checkpoint at the airport. Then once you’ve gained access, there are cameras strategically positioned that record your every move. Unfortunately, the extent to which these companies monitor movie-goers is only going to get worse.

    • Chinese general gets shanzhai Peace Prize

      As Ban Ki-moon finalized his preparations for his visit this week to Beijing, one of his top advisors, Sha Zukang, traveled to China to present an award to a retired Chinese general who had authority over troops that fired on unarmed civilians during the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

    • Tougher privacy rules on way in Europe

      The European Union looks set to adopt tougher privacy laws for online companies. It’s looking into ways to update rules in line with technical advances, most notably the increase in data that is stored online rather than on a user’s computer.

    • QQ vs 360 – on the Chinese Internet users lose

      There are many aspects of the Internet in China that make it unique (see Internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China, a page that is no doubt blocked from view in China.)

      * state censorship of non-Chinese content via the Great Firewall
      * internal (to China) censorship of content by Chinese Internet companies
      * self-censorship that is a hallmark of any regime that does not have free speech laws

      These are but 3 of the many differences of the Internet in China vs. elsewhere.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Libraries Say ‘No DRM’; Springer Agrees
    • New Congress, same approach to hot-button Internet issues?

      Amidst all the shouting over Tuesday’s transfer of the House of Representatives to Republican control, a distinct cry of pain could be heard for the loss of one voice—Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA). Republican Morgan Griffith, majority leader of Virginia’s House of Delegates, has taken Boucher’s seat.

      As Chair of the influential Subcommittee on the Internet of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Boucher’s imprint on tech issues—particularly online privacy—was clear as a bell. Now he is gone.

      “Tonight the Congress has lost one of its most intelligent and tech-saavy members,” a press statement from Gigi Sohn of Public Knowledge declared late Tuesday. “Rick Boucher has been one of the most moderate and thoughtful voices on communications and intellectual property policy.”

    • Audio Podcast #65: Usage-Based Billing: The House Wins Again
    • The TPM Provisions in Bill C-32 Are Not In Compliance With The WIPO Internet Treaties

      Unlike most of the rest of the people commenting on Bill C-32 I’ve actually read the WIPO Internet Treaties. Heck, I’ve even quoted them often enough. You can read the specific treaty in question in PDF form here or read the text online here. At this point I’m going to be really nasty. Have you ever wondered why I’m the only person who is willing to post a link to the treaty? Don’t you think that it’s curious that Michael Geist, Barry Sookman, James Gannon, Howard Knopf, etc., etc., etc. never give you a link so that you can read the treaty on your own? Curious, isn’t it.


      The problem is that the Recording Industry (as separate from the Music Industry) is suffering from sales drops, and is panicking. In effect the Recording Industry has become obsolete, and they are fighting to try and retain some relevance. Any relevance. And they probably could except for one thing. A couple of days ago I published an article on Canadian military procurement titled F35 Joint Strike Fighter – The Biggest Procurement Mistake Ever in which I mentioned political instability in the United States. The article was published before their election, and my concerns about American political instability were based solely on the news articles of the time. It appears that things may be far worse than I thought. The new composition of the House of Representatives are going to push for enormous spending cuts, which is almost certain to turn the current Recession into a Depression, right behind the Brits and Irish. As the economy gets worse, they will probably attempt to cut spending further, possibly putting the United States economy into a death spiral. And of course if consumers don’t have money, they don’t spend it on things like music. It is quite possible that we could see one or more of the large Recording Industry companies forced into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the near future, because their customers won’t have any money to spend.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-Piracy Tool For Cinemas Will Recognize Emotions

        For most people going to a cinema is a good night out. Only a few realize that they are often subjecting themselves to extreme and privacy invading security measures that most airports could only dream of. Filmgoers are already being carefully watched for suspicious behavior by Big Brother’s cameras, but soon this technology will be upgraded with sophisticated emotion recognition software.

      • Copyright Enforcer Righthaven Faces A New Obstacle

        Righthaven is a company that was formed earlier this year with a novel business model: find websites that have copied newspaper articles without permission, and sue them for copyright infringement. Since March, it has sued more than 150 websites and reached settlements with more than 50. But now Righthaven faces its biggest challenge yet.

        In its lawsuits, Righthaven typically asks for attorney’s fees and threatens to take over defendants’ domain names. It has used both of those demands very effectively as a hammer to force its targets to settle the lawsuit. A new motion filed by digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that Righthaven doesn’t have the right to demand attorney’s fees or take over defendants’ domains, even if it wins its lawsuits.

      • How The DMCA Is Restricting Online Radio In Ridiculous Ways

        Yet another case of the DMCA putting in place ridiculous restrictions that do nothing to actually stop unauthorized copying.

      • Porn maker sues 7,098 alleged film pirates

        In a move sure to outrage both file-traders on BitTorrent networks and legal watchdogs, a well-known pornographer has filed a federal copyright suit against 7,098 individuals.

      • File-Sharers To Receive Warning Letters, But No 3 Strikes

        In an effort to reduce illicit file-sharing, draft legislation was passed in Finland last week which will require Internet service providers to send letters to customers suspected of unauthorized sharing. The warnings will be initiated by copyright owners, but at no stage will Internet subscribers’ identities be compromised. A three strikes-style regime is not on the agenda.

      • Ministry of Sound Forced To Suspend File-Sharing Shakedown

        World famous nightclub and independent music label Ministry of Sound have been forced to suspend their planned shakedown of tens of thousands of alleged file-sharers. The company had planned to send 25,000 letters demanding hundreds of pounds in compensation to customers of Internet service provider, BT. However, BT has deleted more than 20,000 of those records which now makes the identification of the account holders impossible.

      • Apple’s tough iTunes note meant for indie labels
      • Video: Pandora Founder Tim Westergren, Unplugged

        Westergren has had a struggle to get to the top. If not battling the RIAA or pitching venture capitalists that would eventually turn him down, what kept him going was his belief in his idea of personalizing music. He shares his thoughts about building great teams, and inspiring faith and courage amongst his team members.

      • Third P2P verdict for Jammie Thomas: $1.5 million

        The first P2P case to come to trial in the US has lasted five years and now has three verdicts, this one coming after just two hours of deliberation. Jammie Thomas-Rasset must pay $62,500 for each of the 24 songs at issue in the case, for total of $1.5 million.

        “We are again thankful to the jury for its service in this matter and that they recognized the severity of the defendant’s misconduct,” said the RIAA after the case wrapped up. “Now with three jury decisions behind us along with a clear affirmation of Ms. Thomas-Rasset’s willful liability, it is our hope that she finally accepts responsibility for her actions.”

      • Ministry of Sound gives up P2P claims

        Last month we reported on an interesting development taking place in the copyright enforcement front. Law firm Gallant Macmillan requested a Norwich Pharmacal order (NPO) against BT in order to identify thousands of alleged copyright infringers of its music. Because of the ACS:Law email leak debacle, BT decided to fight the NPO, heralding the end of the assumption that IP evidence should never be contended by ISPs.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Lest We Remember: Cold Boot Attacks on Encryption Keys

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 4/11/2010: Red Hat in Dubai, Unity on Wayland

Posted in News Roundup at 5:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • China Is A Major Linux Market, Contributor

    In recent years, China has played an increasingly important role in Linux. Chinese developers have contributed to Linux kernel development, and Linux has been widely used in commerce and education in China. According to a research report jointly issued by Springboard Research and Spiceworks, the utilization rate of Linux servers among SMEs in the Asia Pacific region now exceeds 25 percent, which is higher than the world average.

  • Updated Windows Vs. Ubuntu hardware requirements

    I have updated the Ubuntu vs Windows Hardware requirements to include Ubuntu 10.10 and Ubuntu 10.04, memory requirements still remains a humble 256MB which hasn’t changed in the last 10 releases :-)

  • New Linux software targeted at schools

    Based on Ubuntu, Userful MultiSeat offers the ability to turn one Linux computer into 11 independent computer stations, while providing users with the same set of features as Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server 2010.

  • Desktop

    • Why can’t we get Linux on the desktop right?

      To be honest, I think the problem with Linux at the moment is that it’s a desktop operating system solution looking for a problem. Most users are happy either with the stability and style of Mac OS X, or Windows 7 with its vastly improved stability and its top-level application compatibility. There really isn’t much reason to switch at the moment.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Activities


        So, work on activities has been so overwhelming that I’ve had no time to do anything else lately (KDE-related).


        First, the kded module and the nepomuk service that were present in KDE SC 4.5 are no more – they are now merged into one application called kactivitymanagerd (KDE ActivityManager Dæmon). The reason behind this rewrite was to have a more stable system (no crashing kded on dbus locks etc.) and to make it easier to maintain.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Red Hat not worried about Ubuntu Unity for Linux

        As far as Ubuntu’s decision to abandon GNOME Shell, Smith sees it as a matter of choice.

        “Different distributions will do different things and I think that’s a healthy part of the open source way – people get lots of choice,” Smith said. “That may influence some people not to participate in GNOME Shell and it may encourage others to step up and do more.”

  • Distributions

    • Top 5 Best Popular Linux Distributions

      Interestingly, a large number of Linux distributions are available, may be cause it comes free of cost and there are a lot of unique reasons to like them. Well, why not try reading this and figure out for yourself as to which open-source operating systems inspired our readers to provide our biggest Hive Five response to date.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat (RHT) Approaches New Upside Target of $43.37
      • Above Resistance – Red Hat
      • Trading Alert for Red Hat
      • Hilal Computers hosts Red Hat seminar

        Guest speakers from Red Hat in Dubai and Europe delivered keynote presentations on topics including the operational and cost benefits of Red Hat Linux; and Red Hat Virtualization and JBoss Enterprise Middleware solutions.

      • Linux software offers advantages to users

        Top IT professionals from large enterprises in Bahrain gathered yesterday at an exclusive high-level seminar to hear the latest updates of Red Hat Enterprise Linux open source software.

      • Fedora

        • What’s new in Fedora 14

          For virtualisation of desktop PCs, Fedora 14 includes SPICE, originally developed by Qumranet, the company behind KVM. “Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments” offers numerous functions for efficient communication between virtualised systems and computers displaying guest system desktops. This should allow thin clients to display GUIs for virtualised RHEL and Windows systems sufficiently quickly to allow HD videos to be replayed fluently and to allow bi-directional audio and video communication. It should also permit the use of multiple screens and of client-side USB devices in the guest system. This is know as Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD) or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and is a component of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) for Desktops 2.3.

        • Linux users excited about Fedora 14 features

          The Fedora Project announced the release of Fedora 14, codenamed Laughlin, on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. A week later than originally scheduled, the release is packed with bleeding edge features that have Linux users pretty excited. You can download the live CD now.

        • At Work with Linux: VirtualBox 3.2.10 and Fedora 14

          The only nit I have with the distribution so far is that it came with Firefox 3.6.10. I need to update to 3.6.12 due to a security issue.

          Other than that, Fedora 14 runs just fine, without any drama. And that’s the way it should be.

        • My First Experiences With Fedora 14 and LibreOffice

          I upgraded my IBM T40 laptop to Fedora 14 today using the “preupgrade” command. I may post an article a little bit later with more of the technical details of the upgrade. Today, I just want to share some of my first impressions. I also tried to unsuccessfully run Libreoffice. I was able to get Libreoffice installed, but it will not run. It crashes every time. I will look for solutions to this problem because I REALLY want to switch to Libreoffice as soon as possible. I am even willing to run a beta version of Libreoffice once I can get it to run reliably.

        • Fedora 14

          Pros: Solid desktop; relatively easy to install; stable and reasonably fast.
          Cons: Software manager needs to be updated to match the Ubuntu Software Center and Linux Mint’s Software Manager. Installer needs to be tweaked just a bit to be more intuitive.
          Suitable For: Intermediate and advanced Linux users.
          Summary: Fedora 14 remains a solid choice for those with prior Linux experience. Newbies would be better off with a more consumer-oriented distribution.
          Rating: 3.5/5

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.04 alpha 43% slower than 10.10
        • Weathering the Ubuntu brainstorm
        • Ubuntu Bug Reporting
        • Ask Ubuntu Review
        • Natty free culture showcase to have theme, gets schedule
        • Am I going to have to abandon Ubuntu?

          I see in the news that Canonical has decided to ship the next version of Ubuntu with the Unity desktop instead of Gnome.

        • Comparing Netbook Desktops – Part 1, Ubuntu Unity

          At this point I was just about ready to send my beloved Samsung netbook out the window, so I decided to stop. I would summarize my investigation of the Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 Unity desktop by saying it is maddeningly inconsistent to use, amazingly inflexible and un-configurable, it does not make the best use of the limited screen space on a netbook, and in fact seems to specifically waste quite a bit of space, and it still seems to have quite a lot of bugs in it. I honestly could not use it as a notebook desktop at this time, and I would not recommend it or install it for anyone else. I hope that they are able to make a lot more progress with it over the next six months, not only in fixing the bugs that I came across but more importantly in making it more consistent, more intuitive and a lot easier to use.

        • Don’t Underestimate Ubuntu

          I see users who dismiss Ubuntu as a lightweight distro for newbies only. I see them disrespecting its leader and founder. It has become a bit of a pastime for some.

        • Unity on Wayland

          The next major transition for Unity will be to deliver it on Wayland, the OpenGL-based display management system. We’d like to embrace Wayland early, as much of the work we’re doing on uTouch and other input systems will be relevant for Wayland and it’s an area we can make a useful contribution to the project.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linx offers a wallet friendly Android tablet

      The Linx Commtiva N700 touchscreen tablet has 512MB of RAM and a 4GB microSD card and comes with the Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ mobile operating system. Although relatively cheap at £329 it is “cutting edge and chic”, according to the firm.

    • OLPC’s $75 tablet debut delayed by 45 days

      Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of One Laptop Per Child said that the XO-3 tablet computer will debut sometime in February 2011, about 45 days later than originally planned.

      Negroponte said that he wants the screen to be flexible so that it is more resistant to breaking, but that it doesn’t need to roll up.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Toshiba AC100 Android smartbook

        And here is the archetypal ARM-based “smartbook” so many of us have been waiting for for more than a year now. Other vendors’ efforts stumbled at the first, iPad-shaped hurdle, but here we have, at last, an Android-running netbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Comparing open source and proprietary software markets

    So there you have it. My initial estimate of a generic FOSS Intangible Market Factor (FIMF) is 21. To be accurate you’d need to estimate the FIMF for each open source offering within a given market.

    Then again, I’m a code jockey, not an analyst. Maybe they can estimate each of these factors more accurately.

  • Multimedia, Education, and Free Software

    I was surprised today. A colleague showed me a CD that someone gave her in a course related to the Ministry of Education of my country. According to her, the CD contained “software for audio activities.”

  • November Project of the Month: Gutenprint
  • Control and Community – and the future of commercial open source strategies

    In comparison, the formation of vendors using the strategies associated with multi-participant open source projects has been increasing since 2002 (non-copyleft licences, distributed copyright ownership), 2004 (single open source licensing), 2006 (community development model), and 2007 (bazaar development model).

  • Events

    • Linux Plumbers Conference In Cambridge

      Plumbers conference consists of two plenary opening and closing keynotes, with the rest of the time being divided amongst three concurrent tracks: One track of traditional presentations and two tracks of MicroConferences.

  • Oracle

    • Scott McNealy defends Oracle CEO from criticism

      Asked about Oracle’s patent infringement lawsuit against Google over its use of Java in Android, McNealy said he finds it ironic that Oracle used to ask Sun to loosen its licensing terms for Java. But he said he’s also a “raging capitalist” and defended Oracle’s right to protect its intellectual property. “I’m giving Larry a little grief but there are copyright laws, there are patents and I believe in patents,” McNealy said.

  • BSD

    • First PC-BSD 9.0 Alpha Snapshot Available for Testing

      Kris Moore has just announced that the first testing snapshot is available for download (both 32 and 64 bit versions). You can help us make 9.0 an awesome release by trying out the snapshots (there will be many between now and the first beta some time next spring) and providing feedback about any bugs you find. Since these are testing snapshots, it is recommended that you try them out on a spare system or using a virtual environment such as VirtualBox. If you’re planning on trying out all of the new desktop environments, you should use a virtual machine of at least 20 GB.


    • Anti-FSF Sentiment: Truth Not Relevant

      I find the current VLC in the App Store discussion quite interesting on a number of different fronts, but there is a specific one I’d like to point out here for the Gentle Reader’s edification:

      Anti-FSF People Don’t Care About The Truth

      Bold claim? Not really, because there are 2 ways we can come to this unassailable conclusion. People that are interested in finding the truth of the matter, and then acting accordingly do NOT:

      1. Resort to illogical arguments
      2. Come right out and say “this is not about the correctness” of the situation

      You see, people that DO resort to illogical arguments and people that DO attempt to put aside the question of “correctness” have already come to a conclusion – they are simply attempting to rationalize their position.

      In fact, one can see by the embrace of falacy and rejection of “correctness”, not only are they not interested in changing their position – but the position itself must be founded in illogic and incorrectness. It is a doubly bad position to be in, which brings to mind one of my favorite quotes: “you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.”

      The best one can hope for in such cases is to point out the illogic of the position, and hope to innoculate the innocent.

    • GCC 4.6 Leaves Stage 1 With New Features

      Novell’s Richard Guenther has just announced that GCC 4.6.0 has now left stage one of development and has immediately entered the third stage. This means no new features or other major work aside from bug-fixes will be accepted into this next major release of the GNU Compiler Collection.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Homeland Security Giving Extra Political Scrutiny To ‘Activist’ Groups FOIA Requests, Singles Out EFF

      When President Obama first came into office, one of the things he pledged was greater transparency, including in responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. As we’ve seen with things like ACTA, where the USTR refused FOIA requests with a totally bogus claim of “national security,” the administration has regularly failed to live up to that promise and at times appears to be even worse than previous administrations.

    • Government Withholds Records on Need for Expanded Surveillance Law

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against three agencies of the Department of Justice (DOJ) today, demanding records about problems or limitations that hamper electronic surveillance and potentially justify or undermine the Administration’s new calls for expanded surveillance powers.

    • Contribute your expertise to an open source textbook

      The textbook itself is licensed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike license, and needs contributions compatible with that license. If you are an open source software development expert, or at least a decent writer who is good at researching instructional materials distributed under permissive licenses, this could be a good way to get your name into the credits for a book and “give something back” to the open source communities that provide the software you use.


  • Vans drive themselves across the world

    Four driverless electric vans successfully ended a 13,000-kilometre test drive from Italy to China which mirrored the journey from East to West carried out by Marco Polo in the Middle Ages.

    The four vans, packed with navigation gear and other computer software drove themselves Across Eastern Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan and the Gobi Desert without getting lost.

  • Geeky Songs
  • UK

    • Cameron ‘red carpet’ offer to foreign entrepreneurs

      In Thursday’s speech, Mr Cameron also promised to work to help London’s East End become a “world-leading technology city” to rival Silicon Valley in California, announcing that Google, Facebook and Intel were among the firms investing in the area.

    • NY Company Threatens 800Notes Via UK In Legal Comedy Of Threats & Errors

      We’ve recently had our own run-in with a ridiculous threat of a libel lawsuit from the UK, in what appeared to be a clear attempt to intimidate us, rather than an action with any serious legal basis. As we mentioned in that post, thankfully, the US recently passed an important and broad anti-libel tourism law that protects US websites against overreaching foreign libel claims that go against US laws, such as Section 230 safe harbors for service providers.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Adobe Reader browse-and-get-pwned 0day under attack
    • The unvarnished truth about unsecured Wi-Fi
    • Cybersecurity and National Policy

      Those with either an engineering or management background are aware that one cannot optimize everything at once ­ that requirements are balanced by constraints. I am not aware of another domain where this is as true as it is in cybersecurity and the question of a policy response to cyber insecurity at the national level. In engineering, this is said as “Fast, Cheap, Reliable: Choose Two.” In the public policy arena, we must first remember the definition of a free country: a place where that which is not forbidden is permitted. As we consider the pursuit of cybersecurity, we will return to that idea time and time again; I believe that we are now faced with “Freedom, Security, Convenience: Choose Two.”

    • Russian-Armenian botnet suspect raked in €100,000 a month

      Avanesov allegedly rented and sold part of his botnet, a common business model for those who run the networks. Other cybercriminals can rent the hacked machines for a specific time for their own purposes, such as sending a spam run or mining the PCs for personal details and files, among other nefarious actions.

      Dutch prosecutors believe that Avanesov made up to €100,000 ($139,000) a month from renting and selling his botnet just for spam, said Wim De Bruin, spokesman for the Public Prosecution Service in Rotterdam. Avanesov was able to sell parts of the botnet off “because it was very easy for him to extend the botnet again,” by infecting more PCs, he said.

    • Russian spammer is in the slammer

      Igor Gusev, the general director of Despmedia is being accused of sending out emails advertising Viagra. Despmedia is a partner of the Russian pill pusher Glavmed, which authorities allege managed to rake in $120 million over the last three and a half years by flogging pills over the Internet.

    • Palin email hacker asks judge for leniency

      The man convicted of breaching then vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s Yahoo Mail account has asked a federal judge to spare him a prison sentence and instead put him on probation.

      David C. Kernell’s request for a downward departure comes six months after a federal jury found him guilty of felony obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor count of unauthorized access to a computer. The same jury acquitted Kernell on a felony charge of wire fraud and deadlocked on a charge of identity theft.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • 419ers threaten terrorism charges

      Advance-fee fraudsters have joined the fight against international terrorism, worried Reg reader Guy reports.

    • Silver Tail Systems Receives Strategic Investment from CIA’s Venture Capital Arm

      Silver Tail Systems, a provider of fraud prevention solutions for Web sites, received solid validation of its products and business model this week. The company has entered into a strategic investment and development agreement with In-Q-Tel (IQT), the not-for-profit, venture capital arm of the CIA.

    • The Online Threat

      The Navy’s experts didn’t believe that China was capable of reverse-engineering the plane’s N.S.A.-supplied operating system, estimated at between thirty and fifty million lines of computer code, according to a former senior intelligence official.

    • How The Defense Department And NSA Is Hyping Cyberwar To Better Spy On You
    • Despite Scare Talk, Attacks on Pentagon Networks Drop
    • Privatized prisons in Arizona helped draft laws to send people to prison

      The story of industries paying lobbyists to influence legislation that benefits their business is nothing new—but what about when that industry is a privately-owned and operated prison system?

    • For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance

      This past Wednesday, I showed up at Baltimore-Washington International for a flight to Providence, R.I. I had a choice of two TSA screening checkpoints. I picked mine based on the number of people waiting in line, not because I am impatient, but because the coiled, closely packed lines at TSA screening sites are the most dangerous places in airports, completely unprotected from a terrorist attack — a terrorist attack that would serve the same purpose (shutting down air travel) as an attack on board an aircraft.

    • Season of the Regulator

      Nonetheless, authorities around the country have fought the phantom threat in a variety of ways, up to and including rounding up all the sex offenders in one Texas county and storing them in the Adult Probation Office for the evening. In Maryland, offenders have been required to post a paper pumpkin on the door with the message “NO CANDY AT THIS RESIDENCE.” More frequently, jurisdictions have told offenders not to put up anything Halloween-related at all.

    • When, not if, will full-body “naked scans” become mandatory in the USA?

      Travel blogger Christopher Elliot has an informed post up about the odd timing of the latest terror scare, and a theory that this might be “just another cleverly-timed event that pushes us toward mandatory full-body scans at the airport,” just like the underwear failbomber conveniently ended a lively debate about the privacy issues posed by “strip-search machines.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The importance of Indonesia

      As a result, Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and many of its species – the ones that Wallace studied – are losing their territories and even habitats terrifyingly quickly. Some – the Sumatra tiger and the orang-utan, for instance – are at risk of extinction. That’s not to mention the tens of millions of Indonesian people who depend on these disappearing forests for their livelihoods, including indigenous communities who rely on the forests for everything: food, shelter, medicine and identity.

    • Japanese Government Lagging at UN Biodiversity Summit

      I briefed the journalists on the Japanese government’s role, as chair of this enormous meeting, and how biodiversity conservation is a huge challenge for them at the moment. Just recently, the Japanese Ministry of Environment announced that they will make a list of endangered marine species, a step forward, yes, but not yet action to save said endangered species.

    • A win on Trident?

      Yesterday’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) gave us the welcome news that plans to replace Trident have been put on hold and reductions will be made to our existing nuclear weapons. “Five year delay” shouted the papers who widely interpreted the move as a compromise to keep the coalition government together.

      The reality is that in the face of military cuts and a National Security Review (which concluded the threats we face are cyber crime, terrorism, a foreign crisis “drawing in Britain”, and natural disasters) it’s hard to imagine how David Cameron could have ticked the yes box on spending £97bn replacing Trident. Particularly as there was already a joker in the SDSR pack in the shape of the aircraft carriers.

    • Game for Change: Fate of the World

      A British company has developed a new computer game that allows players to save the planet from the effects of global warming — at least in a simulated setting.

    • Energy Past, Energy Future

      That low price per watt scares the crap out of BP and will change the geopolitical balance in the world within a decade, making the Middle East maybe a little less important.

    • Gold, Energy, and the Problem of Capital Storage

      One of the reasons that gold retains its competitiveness as a capital-storage unit is the rather slow and plodding rate at which supply is brought to market. Since 1900, compound annual growth of world gold production comes in at 1.098%. That is below the increase for a number of other natural resources but in particular it’s well, well below the rate of credit production–the “resource” which now plagues the developed world. Indeed, the over-production of credit the past twenty-five years has once again driven capital back into hard assets such as gold.

    • Food and Energy Clarion Call from India
  • Finance

    • Obama Economic Team Passes Out the Kool-Aid

      In case they had not noticed, Democrats across the country were getting hammered on the charge of exporting jobs to China via the stimulus package. It does not matter that the charge is false and that Democrats jumped into action to block U.S. companies who were considering ordering wind turbines from their subsidiaries in China. The Republican ads, which ran in key races nationwide, cleverly turned a Democratic advantage on fair trade for some candidates into a Republican advantage nationwide.

  • Hacking

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • “Secret Money from God Knows Where”

      Democratic donors are catching up. The biggest special interest donors on the Democratic side have long been public sector unions. While the National Education Association has dominated the Democratic donor list for years, in this cycle the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) blew past the teachers, giving a total of $87.5 million so far, including taking out a loan to give another $2 million as the race barrels toward the finish line. That total makes AFSCME the biggest outside spender of this election cycle. And no matter what Obama and Pelosi imply, those millions aren’t going to Republicans.

    • The Incumbent Protection Racket

      California exemplifies the disconnect between voters who want to exercise authentic self-government and elected officials who prefer not to let a little thing like democracy deprive them of their livelihood. The latter group is very good at stifling competition at the polls.

    • Corporate campaign ads haven’t followed Supreme Court’s prediction

      Reporting from Washington —
      The Supreme Court sent a wave of corporate and union money flooding into campaign ads this year, but it did so with the promise that the public would know — almost instantly — who was paying for them.

      “With the advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in January. “This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.”

    • Can We Really Call the AFSCME the “Big Dog?”

      First, although AFSCME may be the single biggest spender, the “big dog” title is a little disingenuous, as the corporate-funded interest groups supposedly outspent by the union are numerous and coordinated. Karl Rove’s organization, American Crossroads, is spending $65 million, and it shares office space and harmonizes its activities with American Action Network, which is spending $25 million.

    • The Illicit Action Network

      Our past articles have suggested that AAN is attacking Russ Feingold as revenge for his votes for financial reform, and against TARP and the Wall Street bailout. We have demonstrated that some of AAN’s board members benefited personally from TARP and the Wall Street bailout, and are trying to convince voters to support corporatist candidates who will do their bidding and stall needed financial reforms. We’ve also noted how the Washington, D.C.-based AAN operates under a veil of secrecy, collecting over $25 million from anonymous corporate donors. American Action Network Chair Fred Malek is well versed in punishing those considered “disloyal” and carrying out acts of deception.

    • Voter Intimidation in Wisconsin

      The progressive advocacy group One Wisconsin Now has uncovered a plan by the Wisconsin Republican Party, Americans for Prosperity, and local Tea Party groups to engage in what One Wisconsin Now is calling a “voter suppression” scheme. The GOP and Tea Party groups have denied the existence of such a plan, instead claiming that their efforts are aimed at preventing alleged “voter fraud.”

    • Juan Williams: Busted
    • Malicious RoboCalls Aim at Suppressing Election Day Turnout

      Nefarious operatives apparently intent on deterring certain voters from casting their ballots on Tuesday have distributed flyers and robocalls disseminating misinformation about the date of the election and how they should cast their ballot.

      According to the Election Protection Coalition, which has received more than 10,000 calls to its national election hotline, Latino voters in the Los Angeles area have been targeted by so-called robocalls — recorded messages — reminding them to vote Nov. 3, instead of the real date, Nov. 2.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Your Rooms Smell, and I Hate Them

      24grille isn’t alone in pursuing legal action. According to the Times, hundreds of hotels are planning to sue TripAdvisor over negative reviews. They say the site—which hosts millions of reviews of hotels and restaurants around the world—has failed to aggressively police potentially libelous reviews that accuse hotel staff of serious criminal activities. Chris Emmins, a founder of the British “reputation management” company that is organizing one lawsuit, tells the paper that “the world of the Internet and particularly social media has pretty much outstripped ethical guidelines, and some legal ones as well.”

    • Judge Halts Massachusetts “Harmful to Minors” Law

      A federal judge today halted the implementation of a Massachusetts law that would ban certain works from the Internet and punish distributors of works deemed to be “harmful to minors,” deeming it overly broad and in violation of the First Amendment. U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel said the law, Chapter 74 of the Acts of 2010, was too broadly written because it did not require that materials in question be “purposefully sent to a person the sender knew to be a minor.” Signed into law this past April, the statute made anyone who operates a Web site or communicates through an electronic listserv criminally liable for nudity or sexually related material deemed harmful to minors, and subjected violators to a $10,000 and to up to five years in prison.

    • Facebook app developers sold user info
    • Free speech battle over ‘Girls Gone Wild’ lawsuit

      A lawsuit filed by four women against Joe Francis, producer of the “Girls Gone Wild” videos, has prompted an unusual free speech battle over whether the identities of the four should be kept under wraps.

      Attorneys for the women, who were between 13 and 17 years old when the footage was shot, asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday to allow them to press their civil suit against the Girls Gone Wild chief executive without being named.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • [Canada] Where The Parties Stand on C-32′s Digital Lock Provisions

      Yesterday’s opening debate on Bill C-32 gave each party the opportunity to outline its specific concerns and perspectives on the copyright reform proposal. The comments from the lead critic on digital locks provides a good sense of the broad opposition to the current C-32 approach to the issue…

    • Linux and borrowing library ebooks

      This was the most difficult part, for you can’t download the acsm file using Linux, since you get the whole Unix-Dos text file incompatibility thing. For those that want to download to their reader (for me Sony PRS700), you are again screwed since DE can’t handle the DRM crap right to the sony. You have to do something Linuxy! I don’t want to tell, but it’s quite simple, involving installing Python 2.7 on wine, installing the xp binary for Pycrypto, and running 2 magic ‘inept’ scripts to ‘D-DRM’ the epub file. Then just use your standard sony usb disk connection to put it in the ‘books’ folder. Nobody’s out of pocket since you are just reading the book! Don’t put the clean epub on the internet, since I like it for authors to eat and write new stuff! and erase the book after the lending period.

      The principle of the drm is fascinating in its stupidity. DE requires you to ‘register’ with your email and password. You are only allowed to do this on 6 machines (or OS versions), and if you screwed up a lot, you can’t read old books you bought. From this registration, DE creates a powerful RSA encryption key, which on the surface seems unbreakable. It communicates with the library, which pays big bucks for a DE server. But, the program must have the ability to store the key, and de-en-crypt. This is held sloppily, and the scripts extract it.

      When you buy books, the same drm works, and you can lose the key, so you can’t access them anymore, even though you paid for it! So, I would always clean the epub for bought books for archival purpose, and you can put them on any reader, since the epub standard is common and open.

    • Comcast Redefines ‘Cord Cutter’ So Trend Is Easier To Ignore

      As we noted this morning, Comcast lost 275,000 video subscribers during the third quarter. It’s further evidence of the more statistically relevant TV cord cutting trend we began to see last quarter, when cable providers collectively lost 711,000 subscribers, and six out of the top ten cable operators saw their biggest subscriber drop ever. Why? High cable prices and bi-annual rate hikes during a recession. Comcast’s 275k lost subscribers was higher than Wall Street analysts estimated, forcing Comcast to try and argue that people dropping cable due to cost aren’t cord cutters…

    • Verizon Strikes $25 Million FCC Settlement Over Bogus Fee

      For years we’ve been tracking how Verizon socks wireless customers with a bogus $1.99 per MB data access fee — incurred even if the user’s phone is off or the battery was dead. Even users who had data access on their phones blocked were socked by the fee — given that the message sent to users to tell them they couldn’t get data consumed 0.06 kilobytes of data — resulting in a $1.99 data fee.

    • UPD UK Government Wants to Make ISPs Responsible for Third Party Content Online

      The UK governments Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, has ominously proposed that broadband ISPs could introduce a new Mediation Service that would allow them the freedom to censor third party content on the internet, without court intervention, in response to little more than a public complaint.

    • Publisher sells DRM-free ebooks to libraries

      German publisher Springer Verlag decided not to infect the 40,000 ebook titles it sells to libraries with DRM — though the booksellers that carry Springer titles still insist on DRM for their proprietary stores. As a result, “once libraries have paid for the content, the e-books are available without charge to everyone at these institutions, so there’s no need to repost or redistribute it online. Once the e-book is downloaded from the library, no return is necessary.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Study with the Leader of the Resistance

      I am very happy that Stephan Kinsella is finally teaching a class on intellectual property, which is surely one of the most important issues of our time. We need desperately to spread education about this topic, which is a difficult one. It is not one of the “armchair” issues that you can solve without much thought or serious study.

    • Etsy’s crafty balance: Fans vs. trademark holders

      For legal reasons, Etsy’s Feingold declined to comment on these reports or on which specific brands’ trademark holders have called up the company with takedown notices, and Summit representatives did not respond to a request for comment. But considering Summit’s history of filing suit against unofficial Twilight media, it’s not surprising.

    • One Congressional Loss That Hurts: Rick Boucher

      This is bad news for copyright and for consumers. Not that he was all that successful in passing the laws that mattered on that subject, but he was one of the few who would ask the key questions, and actually try to fix those broken laws — such as his repeated attempts to fix the DMCA and support fair use, as well as more recent attempts to stop the massive boondoggle that is the Universal Service Fund.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Fox Sued Over Upcoming Celebrity Prank Show

      Now, however, the Morabito Picture Company has stepped up claiming that the new show rips off a format from its Italian show entitled Indovina Chi Viene Cena (Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner), which premiered in 2001. That show also features people bringing home celebrity boyfriends and girlfriends to their family’s surprise.

    • Copyrights

      • No NZers will have internet access terminated in Copyright Bill

        Let’s be very clear about this. If Labour and the National Government had not agreed on a compromise around the temination clause in the Copyright Bill, we would have a piece of legislation coming back to the House which could cut off NZers internet accounts for six months.

        Labour would have opposed the Bill. It might have been a high moral stand but it would have resulted in a bad law.

      • The Bill C-32 Debate Begins: Locks, Levies & Misinformation on Fair Dealing

        Second reading of Bill C-32 kicked off yesterday with hours of discussion from MPs from all political parties. Six months after the bill was first introduced, the debate offered the first opportunity to get a sense of where the various parties stand and which issues will be most contentious when the committee tasked with review the bill begins hearings within the next couple of weeks (coverage from PostMedia).

      • Zaptunes Gets Killed, Claims Site Wasn’t A Fraud

        After three short months, Zaptunes, a site claiming to offer users unlimited music downloads, died. Their take on these events are quite amusing. Apparently, many of their users thought the site was “the best service” they had ever used. It gets even better. Their PR agent claims that angry music bloggers despised all the attention the site received and went as far as accusing the site to be a fraud – without any “proper evidence”. Why would they do such a thing? Because, they argue, we were determined to “ruin Zaptunes popularity.”

      • The $105 Fix That Could Protect You From Copyright-Troll Lawsuits

        Call it ingenious, call it evil or call it a little of both: Copyright troll Righthaven is exploiting a loophole in intellectual property law, suing websites that might have avoided any trace of civil liability had they spent a mere $105.

        That’s the fee for a blog or other website to register a DMCA takedown agent with the U.S. Copyright Office, an obscure bureaucratic prerequisite to enjoying a legal “safe harbor” from copyright lawsuits over third-party posts, such as reader comments.

      • Elastic Wristband Maker Sues Walmart For Copyright Infringement

        You know those silly elastic wristbands that kids wear? Yeah, well, apparently the company BCP Imports makes the (apparently?) popular brand of them called Silly Bandz, and has somehow copyrighted some aspect of the bands.

      • Oprah Sued For Copyright Infringement After Quoting A Book On TV Without Credit
      • Irony: Book About Recording Industry’s Mishandling Of Digital Priced Higher As Ebook Than Physical Book

        A few weeks back, we noted that book publishers apparently simply did not learn from the mistakes of the recording industry — specifically pointing to DRM and (more importantly) the fact that they’ve started pricing ebooks higher than physical books. Now, in a moment of supreme irony, Copycense (who has been highlighting various ebooks priced over corresponding physical books) is noting that Steve Knopper’s excellent book Appetite for Self-Destruction (subtitled “The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age”) is one of those books. Indeed, Amazon shows the ebook priced at $17.99, while the paperback is $11.53 from Amazon (and available new from others at $7.50 or used at $4.42).

      • Thank Copyright Infringers For Still Being Able To Hear Great Moments In World Series History
      • Good Morning to Happy Birthday for All

        One of the English language’s most recognized and performed songs is Happy Birthday to You (HBTY), which likely first appeared between 1893 and 1912 as new age-grading standards in American schools increased the need for a common celebratory song.


        “Good Morning to All” sheet music

        Good Morning to All sheet music

        Today, after a series of mergers and acquisitions the Warner Music Group claims copyright on HBTY, and current law states it will remain rightful owner in the U.S. Until 2030.

      • EFF Defends Former Prosecutor From Righthaven Copyright Suit

        In September, the EFF decided to defend Democratic Underground, which Righthaven is suing for a user of the site posting four paragraphs and a link to a 34-paragraph Review-Journal story. In both cases, EFF has counter sued.

        What’s more, EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl said the group is fighting Righthhaven’s bid to require forfeiture of its targets’ domains.

      • YouTube Star VenetianPrincess Silenced By Music Publishers Claiming Parody Isn’t Fair Use

        Danny points us to yet another story of copyright being used to stifle creativity, rather than enhance it. It’s the story of Jodie Rivera, better known as VenetianPrincess, for years “the most subscribed to female on YouTube.” She creates video parodies of famous pop songs, such as the Lady Gaga parody below, which has nearly three million views…

      • DMCA: Restricting college radio without benefit
      • Colgate accused of toothpaste recipe theft

        A LEGAL dispute between the US and India over a herbal toothpaste is leaving a bitter aftertaste between the two countries, with Colgate Palmolive accused of filing a bogus patent.

        Colgate, the world’s largest producer of toothpaste, patented a toothcleaning powder in the hope that it would take the multibillion-dollar Indian oral hygiene market by storm.

      • Sharron Angle Gets Cease And Desist Letter From Hasbro Over ‘Harry Reid’s Amnesty Game’

        Toymaker Hasbro has sent Sharron Angle’s Senate campaign a cease and desist letter, saying the Nevada Republican never received permission to use the rights to Monopoly for its “Harry Reid Amnesty Game” website.

        “The MONOPOLY image that you are referring to was used without permission — and our legal department sent a cease and desist letter via fax to Ms. Angle’s offices on Friday,” said Hasbro spokesman Pat Riso in a statement to The Huffington Post on Monday.

      • ACTA

        • How ACTA Turns Limited Secondary Liability In Copyright Into Broad Criminal Aiding & Abetting

          We’ve noted that one of the serious problems with ACTA is the fact that it locks in this idea of secondary liability in copyright law, making it such that third parties can be liable for actions of their users’ infringement in certain cases. Secondary liability in copryight law is caselaw driven. Congress had a chance a few years back to put “inducement” into copyright law with the INDUCE Act, but chose not to. So I find it strange that the courts have simply interpreted copyright law to include such an inducement standard anyway. One of the problems with ACTA is that it takes this highly dynamic part of the law, and effectively locks it in, such that Congress cannot tell the courts it made a mistake, should it decide to do so.

Clip of the Day

Lula habla sobre el Software LIbre (traducido español)

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 4/11/2010: Fedora 15 to be Called Lovelock, Many Fedora 14 Reviews Now Available, OpenOffice.org Analyses

Posted in News Roundup at 4:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Daily Giveaways the Entire Month of November

    What does a Recompute DIY kit, a Brain Machine, and an Ice Tube Clock all have in common? The question is, Alex, What Are Things You Can Win From Linux Journal This Month. That’s right, we’re celebrating 200 issues in a big way this November and have rounded up some pretty cool prizes to give away each and every day.

  • I am a Linux Geek (and Proud of it!)

    But then, I don’t think many of us do. It is 2011, Linux users come in all shapes and sizes today. If anyone asks me I will tell them:

    I am a Linux Geek – and I am proud of it!

    Have you ever come to this same realization about yourself? If so, what caused it?

  • Talking Point: Could Linux Abandon Directories In Favour Of Tagging?

    For a fairly scruffy looking guy, I have a surprisingly healthy approach to organising my files. However, I’m constantly pushing up against the limitations of a system that is based around directories. I’m convinced that Linux needs to make greater use of tagging, but I’m also beginning to wonder if desktop Linux could abandon the hierarchical directory structure entirely.

  • Desktop

    • A Tale of Two Computers

      My wife and I bought two computers at the same time. Hers was a laptop and mine was a desktop computer. Both came with Windows XP pre-installed. She uses Windows every day and I never use Windows, but instead have run a version of Kubuntu or Ubuntu since the day that I bought it, almost five years ago. Those are the facts.

      In all of that time I have but one problem with my desktop computer; I had to replace the power supply and bumped up the RAM to run VMs. I have had no software issues. I have re-installed Ubuntu every six months or gone the upgrade route once or twice. I have run alpha versions to final releases of many distributions including the above mentioned.

      My wife has had problems with several viruses, trojans and the like. She has used anti-virus software from all of the major distributors, Symantic, AVG, Panda, Avast, Kaspersky, and Trend. In addition, she runs anti-malware and anti-hijacking software that detects changes to the registry. She does not indulge in any risky practices. She uses lots of email and clicks on links that people send her. In short, she is a typical user with average skills.

      Her computer slows down to a crawl much to her frustration every month or two and it needs to be defragmented, the system tray needs to be cleaned out, her desktop needs tidying, her menu need to be cleaned up, her temporary files need to be wiped, and her registry tidied up. I am not making that up. She cannot do these things herself, so I do it.

      In comparison, my computer which runs Linux needs none of that. I run no anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-torjan, anti hijacking software in the background. My system tray has no applications running in memory that did not come with the OS. My desktop is clean of shortcuts. My menu does not need to be re-ordered. My computer runs as fast as it did when I got it almost five years ago.

    • 2D musings

      QML fundamentally changes the way we create interfaces and it’s very neat. From the api perspective it’s not much different from JavaFX and one could argue which one is neater/better but QML allows us to almost completely get rid of the old 2D rendering model and that’s why I love it! A side-effect of moving to QML is likely the most significant change we’ve done to accelerated 2D in a long time. The new Qt scene graph is a very important project that can make a huge difference to the performance, look and feel of 2D interfaces.
      Give it a try. If you don’t have OpenGL working, no worries it will work fine with Mesa3D on top of llvmpipe.

    • Toshiba NB250 review

      It’s fast and responsive for realistic netbook usage and the six-cell battery boasts a good seven or so hours of life, but the shoddy materials, weak keyboard layout and appalling aesthetics are enough to send us looking elsewhere. In short then: solid performance, brick-like appeal.

    • Acer Aspire One D260 review

      Verdict: 5/5
      The Acer Aspire One D260 is the best netbook we’ve reviewed in some time. Its chassis is TARDIS-like in design, managing to house a competitive array of netbook hardware in a thin, light and supremely attractive package. Definitely the benchmark against which the next round of netbook releases will be scored.

  • Server

    • Turquoise trading shutdown may have been sabotage, LSE says

      By tonight, the LSE admitted the problem may have been caused deliberately. A spokeswoman said: “Preliminary investigations indicate that this human error may have occurred in suspicious circumstances. The LSE takes this matter very seriously and a full internal investigation has now begun. The relevant authorities have been informed.”

      The problems at Turquoise, known in the City as a “dark pool” which allows participants to trade anonymously with each another, had major repercussions for the LSE which had been planning to transfer its entire share trading business, known as the main market, to a new system today.

      The LSE had been under pressure from its customers to delay the introduction of the new computer system to allow further network upgrades even before the latest problems but has now been forced to abandon any updates until next year.

    • London Stock Exchange halts Linux migration after network hit in ‘suspicious circumstances’

      The London Stock Exchange has put the brakes on its cash markets migration to a Linux-based system after human error in “suspicious circumstances” floored the network on its Turquoise alternative trading venue.

      Turquoise, a dark pool or anonymous trading platform, uses the same system, and this morning took trading offline for two hours after a “network issue”.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Audio Blog #1

      Been experimenting with a dynamic microphone (the Shure SM-58) and so here is the first in a series of audio blog entries.

  • Kernel Space

    • Five Years Of Linux Kernel Benchmarks: 2.6.12 Through 2.6.37

      Benchmarking 26 kernels was no easy feat with running nearly two dozen tests each time and each test being run multiple times (usually three to five times as a minimum). Fortunately, with the Phoronix Test Suite combined with an Intel Core i7 “Gulftown” made this process much faster, easier, and more reliable than what would otherwise have been possible. A huge thank you goes out to Intel for supplying Phoronix with the Intel Core i7 970, which is their 32nm Gulftown processor with six physical cores plus Hyper Threading to provide a total of 12 threads. The Core i7 970 has 12MB of L3 cache and is clocked at 3.20GHz while having a maximum turbo frequency of 3.46GHz. This is one very fast desktop processor as shown in our Intel Core i7 970 Linux review and more recently within our LLVMpipe Scaling On Gulftown article where the performance of this Intel LGA-1366 CPU was looked at when running Gallium3D’s LLVMpipe when enabling 1/2/3/4/5/6/12-threads. While the i7-970 is very fast, it’s also very expensive at approximately $900 USD (NewEgg.com and Amazon.com), but it allowed this major Linux kernel comparison to happen in just under a week of constant testing, which is significantly less time than it would have required if using one of the less powerful Intel or AMD CPUs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Ships November Updates: 4.5.3

        Today, KDE has made available 4.5.3, the November updates to the Plasma workspaces, the applications built on top of KDE’s platform, and the platform itself. This release, as all x.y.z updates, contains bugfixes, performance improvements and localization updates only. As such, it’s a safe upgrade and recommended for everyone running 4.5.2 or earlier. The update contains a number of fixes in Okular, Dolphin and a series of KDE games. Also, the new shared data cache continues to mature.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Using Unity – Day 7

        Unity is still very fresh – if you do an online search for it you find very little about it. In fact, Day Four is the only proper result Google returns for giving Unity a custom Skin.

        Will I switch back to regular Gnome now that this series is done? No. I will stick to Unity whenever using Ubuntu – I kinda enjoy the newness of it. It is quite a fun interface to use.

      • Split – Beautiful New Theme from Bisigi
      • GNOME 3′s new theme lands & Mutter gets ace

        A new default GTK and Metacity* theme for Gnome 3 landed in the Gnome Shell git a few days back. Called Adwaita it looks very similar to the design mock-ups displayed at GUADEC earlier this year.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Slackware review

        Slackware is a great Linux Distribution, and often called the one you need to work with if you want to learn Linux, people usually say:

        If you learn RHEL, you know RHEL, if you learn Slackware you know Linux.

        — Disclaimer:

        I am new to Slackware, please let me know if I’m wrong in anything of the above said. Once again, I am new to Slackware but I’m already in love with it.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 installation guide

          Fedora 14 is the latest update to the Red Hat-sponsored, Linux distribution. It is one of a handful of Linux distributions that use LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager, as the default disk partitioning scheme. The installer creates three logical volumes by default, besides the non-LVM /boot partition. The three logical volumes, for /home, /, and swap, are the minimum recommended for a desktop installation. The problem with the default installation is that all available disk space is allocated to the logical volumes, living none for future use when it might be needed to grow a partition, or create a new logical volume. This installation guide takes you through the process of editing each logical volume to free up disk space, space that is not needed for the system to run. At the end (of this tutorial), I will show an example of how to resize (grow) a logical volumes, a basic LVM management task.

        • Fedora14 ‘Laughlin’ screenshots tour

          Fedora 14 linux distribution code named ‘Laughlin’ is out. This new release comes with many new features and improvements for developers, system administrators and open source enthusiasts. if you are already a fedora user and you want to upgrade to this new release, please check our previous post. Find in this post screenshots for Fedora14, also installation steps for newbies(screenshots).

        • Fedora 14 (Laughlin) Released

          If you like Fedora, or if you prefer to get your Linux distribution from a large organization with a lot of resources behind it, the Fedora 14 release is very good news. It is solid, stable, it works well on everything I have tried it on, and it includes pretty much the latest versions of everything. My only reservation about it is that it does not include some of the things that I always want installed (Java, Flash and OpenOffice.org for example). None of these are hard to install, but my recent experience with PCLinuxOS has made me prefer that. So perhaps it really comes down to a choice based on the size and character of the organization behind the distribution. As far as I am concerned, either way you win.

        • Fedora 14 vs Ubuntu 10.10: Comparative Review

          In my meetings with Red Hat executives, I found the company had no intention of making Fedora a competitor to Windows or Mac at home user end. Enterprise or business customers were the company’s target.

        • Review: Fedora 14 (Laughlin)

          Honestly I think the Fusion beta 14 I reviewed ealier was a bit more stable in some ways, as I noticed the Desktop screen would “crackle” and flash when opening apps or menus. I would say it’s probably the old mx4000 nVidia card in this old testbed PC, a AMD AthlonXP 2400+ with 768mb RAM, but the Fusion beta 14 did not have these issues. Overall Fedora 14 is a sharp, beautiful, and well supported full-featured linux distribution with a reputation for providing an easy to use system that’s always up-to-date.

        • Fedora 14: haven for Ubuntu’s homeless GNOMEs

          While it may lack some of the flashier “everyday user” features Ubuntu has been focusing on, Fedora is still a very user-friendly distro, especially for those just looking to get work done without the bells and whistles of Ubuntu.

          In the end both are great desktop releases, the main difference is that Fedora has more to offer once you scrape below the glossy surface.

        • [Adam Williamson:] Board elections: vote Adam to revise the Fedora release process! Also, hot dogs.

          I’ve been thinking about this for the last week or two, and I’ve decided to run for the Fedora Board elections. I felt a bit reluctant to do this since I’m a Red Hat employee and I’d like to see more non-RHers on the Board and other committees, but in the end I decided it was the best way to move forward with my idea.

        • Fedora 14 Laughlin Desktop Gnome Quick LOOK Screenshots | Screencast

          Used the live session for Fedora 14 Laughlin Desktop edition ” Gnome “, looks really good, Fedora Art team work did a great job on new backgrounds, and many great enhancements will talk about it in another post, for now we will take a quick look to Fedora 14 with screenshots and quick screencast.

        • Pick me up, no. 9247.

          So anyhow, we watched TS3 and greatly enjoyed it for the second time (having seen it in 3D in the theater with our kids this past summer). But then I got an extra bonus when I popped in Disc 2 of the set, the disc that includes a bunch of supplements. During the supplements, the filmmakers and crew at Pixar show off a lot of the work that goes into making one of these groundbreaking films. And thanks to the exceptional resolution of the Blu-ray format, you can pick out a lot of detail in the material they show.

          Including the fact that the animators were running Fedora on a number of their systems!

        • Fedora 15 Just Received Lovelock As Its Codename

          It’s official: “Lovelock” is the Fedora 15 codename.

          After the community proposed a variety of codenames, the choices were narrowed down to Asturias, Lovelock, Pushcart, Sturgis, and Blarney. My pick was on Blarney or Pushcart, but in fact winning by 28 votes was the Lovelock name.

    • Debian Family

      • Mini-DebConf in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during FOSSASIA 2010

        FOSSASIA 2010, one of the top Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) events for developers, enterprises, governments, and users in Vietnam, will take place in Ho Chi Minh City on November 12-14, 2010.

        The event will feature the first mini-DebConf in Vietnam. After Beijing, China (2005), Taipei, Taiwan (2009), Khon Kaen, Thailand (March 2010), and Pune, India (August, 2010) this will be the fifth mini-DebConf in Asia.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • It’s official, over 5% of Ubuntu Members are women!

          We’ve known for a couple weeks that one more woman becoming an Ubuntu Member would cause the Ubuntu Member statistics to to go from 4.98% and nudge us over that 5% mark – and it happened today!

        • It’s official, over 5% of Ubuntu Members are women!
        • Over 5% of Ubuntu Members are women. Rock and Roll.

          I am delighted to see that over 5% of Ubuntu Members are women. That is 5% of active contributors who have performed significant and sustained contributions are women. For the full scoop, read Lyz’s post.

          I just want to offer my congratulations to the awesome Ubuntu Women team for all their hard work. It was also great to see the team’s continued hard work and participation at the most recent Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, Florida.

        • Your Ideal Workstation
        • Unity: Ubuntu’s Descent Into Madness!

          Canonical’s decision opens the door for Ubuntu derivatives like Linux Mint and others to gain more users, at Ubuntu’s expense. I suspect that many faithful Ubuntu users will be casting around for alternatives the minute they see what Unity looks like on their computer screens.

          We are blessed with choices in Linux, and switching away from generic Ubuntu to one of its derivatives or a completely non-Ubuntu distro is probably going to happen once long-time Ubuntu users experience Unity.

          If you are unhappy about Canonical’s foolish decision to make Unity its default interface, I recommend that you consider Linux Mint Debian Edition instead. LMDE gives you all of the advantages of Debian (and the excellent Linux Mint tools & utilities) without any of Canonical’s poor choices and silly design decisions.

        • From Arch to Ubuntu

          I just wished Ubuntu would give a bit more back to a community it takes so much from.

        • UDS-N Poll: Why are you working on Ubuntu?

          One of my goals of UDS was to do a little survey on the floor to get a feel for why participants were contributing to Ubuntu and how they see the reason for doing all this work. I set out a simple 5 questions and asked attendees one after another and recorded them on my phone. The Data Source was then compiled into the following statistics with some answers folded into each other since spellings and meanings of difference words meant the same thing.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Tired Of Tweaking Ubuntu? Try Pinguy OS 10.10 Beta 2! [Ubuntu Remaster]

            The remastered “Ubuntu after a week of customizations” Pinguy OS 10.10 beta 2 has just been released. For those of you who are not familiar with Pinguy: it’s an Ubuntu remaster with a lot of useful default applications “built to have eye candy (Gloobus Preview, GNOME Do, Docky, Elementary*) and for every part of it to be user-friendly”.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Automotive infotainment middleware debuts

      Jungo Ltd. announced a Linux-ready middleware stack for automotive infotainment applications. The Automotive Connectivity Middleware offers a complete media and networking infrastructure, including wireless connectivity, phone management, and integration with mapping and telematics functionality, says the company.

    • Tablets

      • Hands on: MeeGo-based WeTab tablet is no iPad killer—yet

        Unlike Android and iOS, the WeTab software environment uses a conventional window manager that allows the user to resize windows, drag them around the screen, and view multiple overlapping windows at the same time. Due to this capability and the performance characteristics of the device’s Atom processor, the WeTab software experience feels more like a netbook than a tablet. It has a lot of rough edges and doesn’t come with much out of the box, but it’s very open and quite conducive to running ported desktop Linux applications, which could make it appealing to enthusiasts who are looking for a more flexible device than the iPad or Android-based tablets.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Do open-source projects need strong leaders?

    How important our “leaders” to open-source projects? We tend to think of open-source projects being lead by top developers. Sometimes that’s true. Without Linus Torvalds, the top developer, would we have Linux, the major operating system or, as is the case the BSD Unix family, a handful of relatively minor operating systems? I don’t think so.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle kills low-priced MySQL support

      Oracle has hiked up the price of MySQL, killing low-priced support options and more than doubling what it charges for the commercial versions of the database.

    • Oracle’s War on Open Source Is the Tip of a Bigger Management Problem

      There is no inherent reason to think that open source software is free. And there is no reason that software source shouldn’t be available, should a company decide to make it so. But getting stuck in between the two camps can be sticky, and that’s exactly what has happened at Oracle. The company asked almost three dozen developers to leave OpenOffice.org, the open source office application product line that came along with all of Sun Microsystem’s other belongings. Set aside who’s right and who’s wrong here for a moment, and the situation brings two important management lessons into clear relief.

      The developers, disappointed with how Oracle managed the OpenOffice project, split off the open source code into a new version, free of the database company, called LibreOffice. This made Oracle management none too happy, particularly as one of the big supporters of LibreOffice is Google (GOOG), which Oracle is currently suing for patent and copyright infringement over its Java implementation on Android. (It must be the season for legal arm twisting as Google, whose own Apps are a LibreOffice competitor, has sued the Interior Department over alleged favoritism toward Microsoft (MSFT) in a search for a new email system.)

    • The Unsaid Document Foundation

      TDF Fast Start, not without complications.

      The TDF Steering Committee (SC) invited Oracle to join, asking them to give away the OpenOffice.org mark. Inviting a corporation to join a will-be foundation without a document describing a draft legal and governance structure sounds a bit naïve, though.

      Why the SC gave such a short notice is unclear. OpenOffice.org community members have been treated like second citizens, while TDF first-hour supporters have been giving all the time to provide feedback and quotes.

      As a long time member of the OpenOffice.org community and as a founding member of one the oldiest OpenOffice.org associations ( PLIO), I found odd myself being noticed only two days in advance. Knowing about the decision to go without Oracle, some of us would have asked time for a second thought, maybe coming up with better alternatives.

    • Why Oracle Wants LibreOffice to Succeed

      The thought has occurred to me, though, that this may be about much more than Oracle not sharing its community. In fact, given the past history of how Oracle treats open source projects in general, I believe any strengthening of the LibreOffice community, whether through new developers or from developers migrating from OpenOffice.org, will ultimately benefit OpenOffice.org far more than a weaker LibreOffice.

      An outcome, by the way, I believe Oracle planned all along.

      Here’s my thought process: Oracle is trying to keep OpenOffice.org going, but only in a certain direction. No one if quite sure what that direction is right now, but I think it’s fair to assume there is a definite plan.

      LibreOffice, for whatever reason, does not fit in that plan. Or Oracle is worried that LibreOffice is in sync now, but won’t be later.

    • Office Clones: It’s About to Get Complicated

      This is about to get more complicated as a slew of OpenOffice developers have abandoned ship to create the Document Foundation where they are using the OpenOffice open-source code to produce a fork development effort called LibreOffice. You can download the current version of LibreOffice and give it a try.

  • CMS


    • End non-free advertisement: stamp out the ads!

      One month, one campaign, one goal: getting rid of non-free software advertisements on public websites. In four weeks, FSFE received reports concerning 2162 European institutions who advertise non-free PDF readers. Apart from the 305 activists who participated to the search, 1500 individuals, 46 businesses and 38 organisations signed our Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software Advertising On Public Websites. Now that the hunt is over, it’s time to chase up those websites which encourage visitors to jeopardise their freedom. It’s time to stamp out the ads!

    • Model letter to contact the institutions
  • Project Releases

    • MyPaint hits 0.9 and is looking good

      MyPaint is an easy to use paint program. It supports several popular image formats, comes with a load of brushes, and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. After 5 years of development, version 0.9.0 was released on November 2 with some nice new features.

  • Government

    • Should governments promote open source software?

      Discussing the optimal mix between open-source software (OSS) and closed-source software, Andreas Freytag, Stephen M. Maurer and Sebastian von Engelhardt argue that “pro-OSS [government] interventions make very little sense if there are too many OSS firms already”.


      Almost every company, not just software editors, relies on software. But companies are not at all homogeneous as is implied here. Using the same OSS software will not cut it in an environment of diversified business models. Companies will have to write (or have someone write) modifications to the software, or even brand new software, to fit the business process.

      Then, if they release as open-source, will every competitor immediately benefit for free? It seems like a long shot. It is one thing to have access to the code, another thing to adapt it to the specificities of your business, teach it to your employees, etc.

      If however you choose to adopt the newly released OSS, you will probably need to have some “integration” work done to combine the software with your specific needs and practices. Being forced to release this additional code as open-source as well, you contribute to the innovative iterations. It doesn’t mean, however, that you will immediately ruin your competitive edge.

  • Licensing

    • A Look at the Linux Foundation Self Assessment Checklist

      The checklist is available from the Linux Foundation site, with a list of more than 100 guidelines to follow. The items are comprehensive but not overly detailed. The PDF weighs in at just 22 pages, and the idea is that it’s a starting point for organizations to help develop their own internal processes. For companies that are new to the open source community, or simply feel they’d like to have expert assistance in developing policies, the Linux Foundation is also offering several training options to help organizations come up to speed.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Simple UK Train Times App – Still Dead and I’m Not Supposed to Talk About It

        Consensus is that train times are best disseminated as widely and openly as possible. The more chance us folks have of finding a train the likelier we are to ride on it. Keeping the details of train times a secret or charging people for non-profitmaking uses is perverse and a retrograde step from when they were supplied freely to the public through an API.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Politically selective calls for open access

        What should we think about politically selective calls for OA? For now, put aside those that are yoked to general calls for OA and framed as politically realistic first steps. What about those that are not yoked to general calls for OA, and whose narrowness suggests political opportunism more than political realism? Here are five quick examples from the US to show what I have in mind.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF Wallpaper

      I’ve spend a lot of time on the past years trying to make a wallpaper with the ODF logo for my smartphone, but as I don’t have the necessary graphical skills, I never got anything that could be useful…

      Few weeks ago, I was searching the Internet to find some cool ODF logos, and finally found one very well done on a site andy.fitzsimon.com.au. I contacted Andy and asked his permission to use the logo. He authorize me and even send me an SVG file with other ideas…

      Based on this file I created the wallpaper below, in two versions: BlackBerry (which also fits on desktops and other smartphones with keyboards) and Android (which by the size of the screen had the main logo reduced).


  • The Times UK Lost 4 Million Readers To Its Paywall Experiment

    Back in June, News Corp put two more of its newspapers, other than the Wall Street Journal, behind a paywall: The Times of London and the Sunday Times. We kind of expected it to be a disaster, but now we actually have some results. The company announced that it signed up 105,000 paying subscribers, plus another 100,000 who were already subscribers to the print newspaper.

    But what did the Times lose? According to comScore, the Times UK website saw its online readership decline by 4 million unique visitors a month worldwide to 2.4 million, or a 62 percent drop. Pageviews fell off an even steeper cliff, plummeting 90 percent from an estimated 41 million in May, 2010 to 4 million in September, 2010. People did what you’d expect them to do when faced with a paywall at a news site. They said, “No, thanks” and clicked away to another site.

  • Exploring Software—Free Shared Libraries!

    It is time that package-management applications free shared libraries from artificial shackles, and create a more dynamic and versatile distribution.

    The first time I came across UNIX shared libraries was with UNIX SVR3.2. The ability to work with multiple versions of libraries concurrently seemed impressive; as I recollect, the shared libraries we were using on mainframes did not offer such capabilities.
    After about a year of using Linux, I found that I required that capability: we were using the Slackware distribution, and needed to install an additional package. We could get a binary version; however, it needed a lower version of a shared library. It was fairly simple to install the alternate version of the library as well, and get on with the work.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Security update for ProFTPD FTP server
    • Firesheep, a week later: Ethics and Legality

      While the answer to this question is likely dependent on many variables and will almost certainly be debated for months or years to come, it should not matter to anyone reading this. It goes without saying that harassing or attacking people is a terrible thing to do. To suggest Firesheep was created for this purpose is completely false; Firesheep was created to raise awareness about an existing and frequently ignored problem. As I’ve said before, I reject the notion that something like Firesheep turns otherwise innocent people evil.

      Reports have been trickling in that Microsoft’s anti-virus software is now detecting Firesheep as a threat, despite the fact that Firesheep poses absolutely no threat to the integrity of the system it’s installed on, and as mentioned earlier, has many legitimate uses.

  • Finance

    • Ferris: Government is being advised by the bond holders

      The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Workers Rights, Martin Ferris TD has claimed that the Government’s austerity programme is not only designed to pay for failed bondholders and speculators but is being advised by them. He referred to the fact that the Chairperson of Goldman Sachs Peter Sutherland whose Asset Management section holds Anglo Bonds has been advising the Government on the cuts.

      Deputy Ferris said: “Apart from the economic and financial issues that we have discussed here for the past few days there is the whole moral and ethical aspect of the situation.

    • Power Shift in U.S. Stirs Economic Worries Overseas

      As Republicans prepare to assert new authority in Congress, America’s overseas trading partners worry that Washington’s political upheaval may pose fresh challenges to the global economy.

    • Americans likely took retail breather in October

      After a last-minute back-to-school buying spree, Americans appeared to have taken a shopping pause in October, resulting in a mixed retail sales picture.

      That lull could continue until the day after Thanksgiving, the unofficial start of the Christmas season, as shoppers wait for big bargains, many analysts say.

    • The Fed’s big gamble: Here’s what could go wrong

      The Federal Reserve is making a high-stakes bet in the hope of getting the economy steaming along again. Nobody is sure the Fed’s best efforts will work, and they may actually backfire.

      The Fed announced a plan to buy $600 billion in government debt, aimed at driving already low long-term interest rates even lower. The central bank would buy the debt in chunks of $75 billion a month through June of next year.

    • SKorea: G20 leaders need ‘concrete agreements’

      Group of 20 leaders know they must achieve “concrete agreements” including goals for reducing current account and trade gaps at next week’s summit or risk having their leadership of the world economy called into question, South Korea’s president said Wednesday.

      Finance ministers and central bank governors from the group of leading rich and developing nations met last month in South Korea ahead of the summit scheduled for Nov. 11-12. They vowed to avoid using their currencies as trade weapons and promised to come up with a way to measure the reduction of destabilizing trade gaps.

    • The Failure of Mortgage Modification

      The Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program for reducing mortgages of homeowners who owe more than their houses are worth has fallen far short of its objectives. Officials seem surprised by that outcome and blame the result on administrative problems. But, all along, the program’s bad economics doomed it to failure.

    • The White House Needs Elizabeth Warren, Now More Than Ever

      The White House today is under pressure, with insiders asking: After the strong showing of the Republicans in the midterm elections, should the president move to the right or to the left?

      This is entirely the wrong way to think about the problem – the administration needs to get beyond its mental framework of early 2009, which led it sadly astray with regard to the financial sector. The President needs to find people and themes capable of cutting across the political spectrum; specifically he needs to promote strongly the ideas of Elizabeth Warren – what we need in financial services, above all else, is much more transparency.

    • What’s next for President Obama?

      Obama has since led a relatively charmed political life, savoring a series of thrilling victories. His election nights have largely lacked the sting of defeat his opponents know well, and the words “record landslide” and “historic and decisive” have accompanied his successes.

    • Fed poised to unveil new program to aid economy

      The Federal Reserve is poised to adopt a new plan to jolt the economy. It’s a high-stakes gamble that could shape Chairman Ben Bernanke’s legacy.

      The Fed is all but certain to detail its plan for buying more government bonds when it wraps up its two-day meeting Wednesday. Those purchases should further lower interest rates on mortgages and other loans. Cheaper loans could lead people and companies to borrow and spend. That might help invigorate the economy, and lead companies to step up hiring.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Chomsky: 10 steps every day to manipulate the truth

      Another trick, the fourth, the strategy of delay. “Another way to accept an unpopular decision is to present it as” painful and necessary, “gaining public acceptance, in time, for future application.” It ‘s easier to accept a sacrifice but a sacrifice immediate future, Chomsky argues, because the effort is not used immediately, and because the public, mass, always has a tendency to naively hope that “everything will be better tomorrow” and that the sacrifice required may be avoided.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Opposition threatens to unplug digital copyright legislation

        The federal government’s proposal to make consumers liable for legal damages of up to $5,000 if they break digital locks to copy movies, video games and electronic books for their own personal use appears dead on arrival — with all three opposition parties on Tuesday speaking out against this key provision of the Conservative’s copyright bill.

        The controversial legislation to modernize Canada’s copyright law is expected to clear a key parliamentary hurdle as early as this week when MPs vote to send it to a House of Commons committee for closer scrutiny. Critics for the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democrats all stood up in the House of Commons Tuesday to support updating the law, but said they will be proposing amendments to the digital encryption provisions before a final vote.

      • Making of Sintel Open Movie – Documentary Video

        Sintel Open Movie was released last month and it was an instant hit among developers and movie lovers alike. Now it’s time for some real learning. If those awesome blender tutorials were not enough for you, may be you should watch this making of Sintel Open Movie documentary video as a first step.

      • 3 Strikes Still On Agenda, But Only If Kiwis Keep On Pirating

        New Zealand’s Parliament Commerce Committee has reported back on the Copyright Infringing File Sharing Bill and it will now move to parliament for its second reading. The controversial 3 strikes provision is still included, but will now only be implemented if a letter writing scheme to educate citizens fails, and people continue to share illicit files during the next two years.

      • “It is Groundhog Day”: Third Jammie Thomas P2P trial begins

        Michael J. Davis, Chief Judge for the District of Minnesota, opened the remarkable third trial of peer-to-peer file-swapper Jammie Thomas-Rasset today with a quip. “It is Groundhog Day,” he said, looking out over the lawyers gathered before him.

      • Belgian Court recognises CC licences

        This is an extremely interesting ruling for various reasons. Firstly, it helps to eliminate the typical FUD that tries to undermine Creative Commons as licences that are not valid because they lack case law. Secondly, it will also serve to answer another common piece of FUD, which tries to imply that CC licences are American-centric documents that are not valid and/or enforceable in Civil Law jurisdictions. Finally, it is interesting to see how a court may consider the fact that a licence is non-commercial when calculating damages, a solution which I tend to agree with.

Clip of the Day

Who Killed The Electric Car?

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 02/11/2010: GNOME Executive Director Resigns, Ted Ts’o on EXT4, Fedora 14 and OpenBSD 4.8 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • I’m back again ( GNU/Linux retrospection )

    Just a few weeks ago, I decided I should try something new to refresh my development inventory. I decided I should learn QT. After installing it, suddenly I remembered the good old GNU/Linux day’s and that was it. I was back, After trying various distributions I decided I should go on with Gentoo. Now I’m back and I’m planning to stay for a while. I’m about to rediscover my native world with all it’s pros and con’s. To join the community again. I’m glad I’m back….

  • Official Mac and Linux ID Card Software Released

    As of today, people using Macintosh and Linux operating systems can use Estonian ID cards with official software from a government agency rather than stopgap volunteer-developed programs.

    The official Macintosh ID software is available for OS 10.5 and 10.6 while the Linux versions were developed for the three most common Linux systems in Estonia: Ubuntu 10.04, Open Suse 11.3, and Fedora 13.

  • The Corporate Hoax on Linux Revisited, or I Said It Once…

    As for “no Linux drivers,” I’m not sure where that comes from. Yes, there is some hardware out there with no readily available Linux drivers, but I’m hard-pressed to name any. I’m sure readers can provide their lists. Still, I’ve seen no evidence Linux is more deficient in available drivers. Anecdotally, my personal experience has been the opposite.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung, Google said to be launching Nexus Two Android phone

      Samsung and Google are planning to announce a “Nexus Two” heir to the Galaxy S smartphone on Nov. 8 based on Android 2.3, says industry reports. Another report says the Nexus Two will go on sale exclusively in the U.K. for the holiday season.

  • Kernel Space

    • China Mobile Joins Linux Foundation as Gold Member

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that China Mobile Communications Corporation (”China Mobile”), whose holding company is majority shareholder of China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL), has become a Gold member, marking the first time a Chinese enterprise has joined The Linux Foundation.

    • Ted Ts’o: EXT4 Within Striking Distance Of XFS

      Our most recent desktop testing of the EXT4 file-system (along with Btrfs) indicate performance regressions in the Linux 2.6.36 kernel, while previous to that we also compared these two latest Linux file-systems to the ZFS-FUSE file-system, and when using these file-systems on a solid-state drive. Benchmarks of both EXT4 and Btrfs atop the latest Linux 2.6.37 kernel development code will be available in the coming weeks.

    • I have the money shot for my LCA presentation

      Thanks to Eric Whitney’s benchmarking results, I have my money shot for my upcoming 2011 LCA talk in Brisbane, which will be about how to improve scalability in the Linux kernel, using the case study of the work that I did to improve scalability via a series of scalability patches that were developed during 2.6.34, 2.6.35, and 2.6.36 (and went into the the kernel during subsequent merge window).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Improving The Linux Desktop: 20 Needed Fixes

      1) Focus on the casual user first, geek second. Many among you will likely point out that nine times out of ten, a Google search holds the answer to the most common questions people have when working with desktop Linux.

      Unfortunately, not everyone out there knows the right questions to ask Google in the first place. What’s needed is some kind of easy-to-use GUI troubleshooting tool that can be used to gather debugging information. This would make a trip to the various Linux forums a lot more productive for everyone involved.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • What Will Happen to GNOME Now?

        Those who remember a time before Ubuntu will undoubtedly also remember that GNOME, although probably the second most popular desktop manager, didn’t hold too much share of the Linux desktop market. KDE was king, and GNOME was a distant second. Then Ubuntu appeared and not only climbed its way to the top of the distribution game, but brought GNOME with it. Polls over the last few years have shown its use increasing to the point that it is oftentimes equalling or out-ranking KDE. But what will happen to GNOME now that Ubuntu 11.04 is going to ship with Unity?

      • Changing Roles

        I have really enjoyed working with GNOME over the past 2+ years. Working with the GNOME community on creating a free desktop accessible to everyone has been fun and exciting – as well as challenging – which is part of the fun. :) It is the community that makes GNOME, and it’s working with that community, in particular the board, that has made my job so much fun.

        Over the past two years I think we’ve made great progress with the GNOME Foundation. We’ve more than doubled our income both from corporate investors and individuals. We’ve made great technical progress especially with all of the hackfests. And we’re well on our way to GNOME 3.0 which is looking like a solid release at this time. In addition we’ve grown teams and processes like the marketing team, the sys admin team and the travel committee. And you know all this because we’ve also improved our communication processes with things like the quarterly report and more active use of the GNOME Foundation blog.

      • Ubuntu’s Game-Changing Quest for ‘Unity’

        Yes, for those who missed it, Natty Narwhal — or Ubuntu 11.04 — will not use the distribution’s longtime GNOME Shell as the default desktop interface. Rather, it will feature the 3D and multitouch-enabled Unity, which just appeared in the netbook edition of Maverick Meerkat earlier this month.

      • Using Unity – Day 6

        Today I will tackle one of the areas where Unity irritates me a bit: Notifying me of actionable windows/programs.

      • Is Ubuntu Forking Gnome With Unity?
      • Install Unity to experience the future of Ubuntu

        Unless you’ve had your head in the sand the last couple of days, you know that Canonical has announced it is moving away from GNOME being the default desktop and switching to it’s netbook-centric desktop Unity. Why was this done? Mark Shuttleworth said that having a single interface for both netbook and desktop would improve quality assurance and make it easier for OEMs to integrate and support the desktop. I want to believe the reason is because Canonical has big, very big, things in store for the planet’s favorite Linux distribution.

      • Thoughts on Ubuntu and (dis-)Unity(?)

        Ok, so now pretty much anyone who is interested in this sort of thing has heard that Ubuntu will be changing from Gnome to the Unity desktop for their standard distribution in the 11.04 release. There are so many sides to this, and so many different ways to look at it, that I start getting dizzy every time I really try to get into it.

      • gtk hackfest summary

        perhaps the most surprising takeaway from the hackfest is that gtk4 is coming quite soon. we plan to do the bulk of the work required to get it out the door in 2011.

  • Distributions

    • Are there too many Linux Distributions?

      Only the newbies or newcomers are confused at first about the options. But they usually does not have hundreds of choice, they only have to choose one out of five.

      When someone tells me he wants to run Linux instead of Windows, and asks me which one to choose, I in no way face him with 20 or 200 options, I only gave him five at the most, usually only three, or even two.

      If we see the distrowatch home page, we can see the five most popular distributions in this order:

      1. Ubuntu
      2. Fedora
      3. Mint
      4. openSUSE
      5. Debian

    • What is today’s most popular linux distribution?

      Distrowatch, which ranks the popularity of Linux distributions based on page hits, does not include Android on its list. The top 10 Linux distributions there, as of this writing and with data based on the last 6 months, are:

      1. Ubuntu
      2. Fedora
      3. Mint
      4. OpenSUSE
      5. Debian
      6. PCLinuxOS
      7. Mandriva
      8. Sabayon
      9. Arch
      10. Puppy

    • Reviews

      • ZEN-Mini Gnome 2010.10 Reviewed! “Flying Under the Radar”



        * Small and light
        * Great Desktop look
        * Easy to use Package Manager
        * Great support via forums and PCLinuOS emagazine
        * Can be remastered easily


        * Gnome panel still buggy
        * Mount other partitions at boot with no easy way to turn off
        * Overall limited package selection
        * Long term support unknown
        * Need for 3rd-party repository similar to ARCH’s AUR

    • New Releases

      • Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.0 International DVD

        Today we announce the availability of the international Trisquel 4.0.1 LTS DVD images, which include 50 language translation packs with up to 130 dialectal variants and come complete with writing tools, input methods, unicode fonts and spell checkers. This new edition was already used as the base for the current FSF live membercard system.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2010.10 Distribution Available

        If you haven’t tried PCLinuxOS until now, this would be a good time to do so. If you are already running it, make a note to update your installation media, so that installing it for your friends and family when they see how nice it is and how well it works. Good stuff, congratulations once again to everyone involved in the PCLinuxOS distribution.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat near Key Resistance Area

        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) are trading very close to calculated resistance at $42.73 with the current price action closing at just $42.26 placing the stock near levels that make it difficult to buy.

      • RHN Satellite 5.4, first analysis

        In another post, I was speculating about the upstream version. Now, Sat540 seems to be based on Spacewalk 1.2 which is not yet released. I was quite puzzled about that fact. Usually upstream (Fedora) projects are ahead of its commercial counterparts, this time it seems to be the other way round.

      • Fedora

        • ITworld review: Fedora 14 is leading-edge Linux

          The full distribution also includes the newest version of the KDE desktop, KDE 4.5.2, but I’ll be darned if I ever met a Fedora user who used KDE. Fedora has long been known as the GNOME’s user GNOME Linux of choice.

        • Fedora 14 vs. Ubuntu Maverick: Distinct Differences

          As contemporaries, Fedora 14 and Ubuntu 10.10 provide an apt comparison. In past releases, the two distributions have been the most downloaded distributions on Distrowatch — although Ubuntu usually has 20-40% more downloads — and there is no reason to think these latest releases will be much different.

        • Fedora 14 Desktop Edition
        • Fedora 14 released with new features for developers

          The Fedora development community announced on Tuesday the official release of Fedora 14, codenamed Laughlin. The new version is a bit light on user-facing changes, but adds some useful features for developers. Fedora typically issues a new release every six months and is loosely aligned with the GNOME development cycle. Each release brings updated software and some new packages.

          Fedora 14 ships with GNOME 2.32, a transitional GNOME release that introduces some important architectural changes under the hood in preparation for GNOME 3. There aren’t many new GNOME features on the surface, however, because the GNOME developers are largely focused on preparing a new shell that will significantly overhaul the next version of the desktop. KDE 4.5, which was released in August, is also available in Fedora 14. It has a new notification system and preliminary support for tiling in the KWin window manager.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, Is it a perfect 10/10 ? : A Review

          For a convert from Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X, the new Ubuntu 10.10 feels tempting to use! But, a regular Ubuntu user wont find anything ground breaking in the new release, although it can be considered a polished Lucid. However, the improvements in the sound applet are worth mentioning.

          Lucid Lynx was a big leap in terms of UI from Karmic by trashing the old brown theme and functionality by replacing Gimp as the default Photo Editor. Maverick improves on that. The next iteration in the Ubuntu release, 11.04 Natty Narwhal will come under the lime light on April 28, 2011.

          By the way we are going to give Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat a 9/10 rating.

        • Ending Another Chapter

          So for the last 5 years I’ve been associated with the Ubuntu ecosystems and dedicated a large chunk of my time trying to get the distro properly translated into Brazilian Portuguese and doing a lot of advocating along the way. I even got to attend the very first UDS-MTV and meet some of those guys and gals I had spent so much time talking/working online. It was a bitter sweet moment and an eye opener, as I was able to see first hand the direction that the distribution was heading to. Not too long after that I started moving away from my involvement, resigning from several groups I had belonged to to a very minimum core associations.

          Why I kept the Ubuntu Members membership for the past 3 years is a bit hard to explain in a few paragraphs, so I’ll save it for another time. I guess I had hoped that things would be a bit different and that Ubuntu would indeed become the contender for making sure that FLOSS projects would be first citizens in their plans. I also hoped that all of my hard work and the ground work I laid out for my successors would be acknowledged but it seems that the past has been forgotten by all.

          So in 6 days my membership will expire and with it the last thread still connecting me to Ubuntu will expire. I will remove my blog from Ubuntu Planet (I can hear a few cheers already for I have deliberately been harsh towards the directions Canonical has taken the distribution) and all of my efforts will be directed at helping the GNOME Foundation and the GNOME 3.0 release.

        • PPAs Turning Ubuntu into Arch?

          A few years ago I started hearing about ppas everywhere. More and more, I see developers telling people that if they want the latest of program X, they should load the developer’s ppa. A ppa is a repository of software that is neither maintained by Canonical nor the Ubuntu community.

        • Dell PowerEdge Ubuntu certifications

          I hope you didn’t miss the fantastic news that Dell has expanded the PowerEdge servers that are certified for Ubuntu Server Edition. We’ve also worked with them to port and package OpenManage 6.3 to Ubuntu which is important for anyone who uses this systems management framework.

        • The Major Happenings From The Ubuntu 11.04 Summit

          UDS Natty also resulted in discussions for better helping free software developers in their contributions to Ubuntu to make them easier and for advancing work in areas like multi-touch and gestures. There’s also work planned on tools and resources for game developers. Lastly, with the Ubuntu Software Center they will begin working on a feature for adding support to donate money to free software projects through this “Ubuntu app store.”

        • Living with a Maverick Meerkat

          The verdict? Change is a really difficult process. But it is those little steps that keep you moving forward. This is true for both Ubuntu and me. The Ubuntu OS still has a few more steps to go before it can be truly consumer-friendly. As for myself, to be honest, I was tempted to revert back to Windows on a number of occasions. On the other hand, after more than a week, I am still playing with Maverick Meerkat even as I write this very piece.

        • Move to Ubuntu

          A recent post in Planet Gnome about moving away from Arch into Ubuntu got me thinking, because I just did the same thing a few weeks ago, when Ubuntu 10.10 was released. But I didn’t really liked the reasons I did so.

          First, I love Arch Linux. It’s simplicity and speed are amazing. It’s clearly focused on power users, which is great for me. It’s package manager (Pacman) is very fast and powerful, while still easy to use. I love how I can search and query packages both installed and from the cache with concise commands that usually do what you want at the first time. Compared to Ubuntu’s apt-cache and apt-get, which I usually have to read the man page to remember a few commands and to Fedora’s yum, which I’m never comfortable with, Pacman is always the winner. If that was not enough, you can create useful packages in under 10 minutes. Better yet if you can find a pre-made PKGBUILD in AUR, which contains thousands of recipes to build packages. The binary packages are usually enough for a desktop, but sometimes you do need to dig into Yaourt, which automatically downloads and compiles recipes. It is time-consuming sometimes, but comparing to finding a PPA with a decent enough version of a package that you can’t find in Ubuntu, it’s not much different.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Introducing Pinguy OS 10.04 LTS

            In the end, I think Pinguy OS has a good concept, but at this stage it needs some polish in the implementation. The idea of taking Ubuntu and adding popular software and giving the system a familiar interface is a good one (it has served the Mint community well). However, the approach feels unfocused. Including popular codecs and software for a wide range of activities is a good plan, but in Pinguy’s case it makes the menu feel cluttered. Sometimes unnecessarily. For instance, why do I have five image viewers/editors, but no GIMP? If the distro is targeting newcomers then why include VirtualBox? For that matter, I find it odd that the system includes three graphical package managers. Likewise, there are two CPU usage monitors on the desktop, two network monitors and two clocks. All four sides of the desktop covered with panels which will cover up windows when they are moved into the same space. It feels crowded visually and takes up a noticeable amount of resources. I feel Pinguy OS would benefit from looking at Zenwalk and following the clean and integrated one-app-per-task approach and avoid making users choose between three different video players.

            Granted, this is early in the project’s development and it’s not reasonable to expect perfection the first time. And to Mr Norman’s credit, this initial release does achieve its goal of giving the user almost all of the software they need straight out of the box without requiring additional configuration. I’m hoping we see a new version of Pinguy down the line which combines the large selection of pre-installed software with a less busy interface.

          • Lubuntu Screencast: Install Apps from Terminal

            This Screencast gives you an introduction on how to install, delete and search for software from the terminal with the command line tool apt-get.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • An Improved Experience With Qt Scene Graph

          Just days after blogging about Gallium3D and the TGSI IR that could be replaced with LLVM IR in LunarGLASS, Zack Rusin has written a new entry regarding 2D acceleration and the lack of really any innovation or major changes to this area of graphics processing in recent years. However, that is beginning to change at least in the Nokia world when it comes to QML and Qt Scene Graph.

          Zack basically goes on to say in his latest blog post that the 2D rendering model really hasn’t changed in years and that there’s much more that could be done to speed-up the process and make it more efficient. Among the 2D model shortcomings mentioned by Zack are pixmaps and surfaces are created too many times when they could be reused when the window and its widgets don’t change (or change minimally), pushing the data from every draw call into a temporary buffer and then copying it all at once, creating a shader cache for fill and composition modes, and the GPU downloading the same data with every frame being rendered.

      • Android

        • Android Continues to Gobble Up Mobile OS Share

          Google’s wildly popular Android mobile operating system gained even more momentum in the third quarter at the expense, primarily, of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry devices, according to latest smartphone industry data.

          According to market researcher NPD Group, Android expanded its lead among mobile operating system providers with 44 percent of smartphones sold in the quarter, up 11 percent from what was a blowout second quarter.

          Meanwhile, Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ: RIM) BlackBerry OS tumbled to third place in the third quarter, slipping from 28 percent to 22 percent. Apple’s iOS inched up 1 percent to 23 percent, good enough to take over the No. 2 spot among mobile OS installed on new smartphones sold in the quarter.

        • Highlights of the upcoming release

          Hannes lately implemented a lot of new features that were listed in the Roadmap, and I just made available a new apk on our google code page. The contributions have been merged in the main repository a few moments ago, and the changelog is in the message that Hannes sent to our mailing list. You can get an overview of the new features by looking at the following pictures and videos that Hannes made and shared.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Would the Amish Use This Hand-Cranked Laptop?

        The answer, basically, is yes.

        For the Amish, the bigger issue relates to connecting to the outside world. “Not being on the grid continues to be universal in Amish life,” explains professor David L. Weaver-Zercher, author of The Amish Way. “There is kind of a symbolic thing with the grid, that the wires themselves are physically connecting your house. That is a clear connection to worldly ways of doing things that we want to avoid.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • For the Symbian Foundation, Time Wasn’t the Only Problem

    It was all the way back in October of 2009 that an open kernel for the Symbian platform was released to the world. It’s important to note that at that time, the Symbian platform had 50 percent share in the smartphone market. It’s also important to note that the Symbian Foundation had hoped to deliver its open source tools much earlier than that.


    The Symbian Foundation simply didn’t find the right ways and the right pace at which to challenge the smartphone platforms that were beginning to move with great momentum. This was a colossal failure of judgment from an extremely well-funded organization, and at this point, there is not likely to be a turnaround for the Symbian platform.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • 4 Better Web Browsers for Linux and Everyone Else

        Just about all the mainstream web browsers today are available for download in Linux. Since most of your computing time is likely spent in front of the browser, you shouldn’t just settle with the one that came preinstalled with your distribution. We’ll review four different browsers you can use in Linux, where you can pick the one that’s best for you.

      • Does Firefox Tuning Make Firefox Faster?

        Like Chrome, Firefox has a somewhat hidden configuration area that enables users to adjust certain features of the browser. It this feature that you will have to access when you stumble across Firefox tuning tips that have been posted for years across the web. Do they work and if so, what effect do they have. We took the regular and modified Firefox out for a spin.

      • Mozilla: 10 Bugs Left In Firefox 4 Beta 7

        They may be serious this time: Mozilla just announced that there are only 10 bugs left to fix in the current pre-release version of the Firefox 4 Beta 7. It appears that the software could be released to the public within two weeks. The mobile Beta 2 for Firefox 4, known as Fennec, is already in testing and work on Beta 3 has begun.

      • Implementing A High-Performance Emulator In Javascript Using Run-Time Code Generation

        For a while I’ve been thinking about exploiting fast browser JITs and JS “eval()” to build really fast emulators and other language runtimes. Tonight I was feeling jumpy so I went ahead and hacked something up.

  • Oracle

    • Mass resignations from OpenOffice.org

      Oracle’s decision to decline to get involved with the Document Foundation and its announcement that it planned to continue to develop OpenOffice was followed by a call from an Oracle employee and OpenOffice.org council member Louis Suárez-Potts for council members with a connection with the Document Foundation to resign due to a conflict of interest.

    • The Oracle Fiasco’s Impact

      I now feel confident that things such as Firefox, Chrome, Linux, and the like are safe from megacorps. They’re safe from the hands of those who seek to control markets and products. Users are safe to consider the software they purchase their own without fear of prosecution should they need to change the software in some or redistribute the software for some reason.

    • Integration Watch: Oracle, IBM, and Google… and Java

      The early-October announcement from IBM that it was joining the OpenJDK project and abandoning Apache Harmony sent immediate ripples through the Java community. The predictable early reaction was that this was another step in Oracle’s litigation-based attack on Google. That dispute centers on a handful of software patents that Oracle claims were violated by Google’s use of technology that derived in part from Apache Harmony. According to this scheming view, by convincing IBM to support Harmony’s competitor, OpenJDK, Oracle marooned the search giant on an island of technology that had no future, save whatever enhancements Google might care to make.

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 3 (build OOO330m13) available
    • New: OOo-DEV 3.x Developer Snapshot (build DEV300m91) available
    • OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Almost Here – Is It the Last?

      OpenOffice.org 3.3 Release Candidate 3 was released on November 1 with many updates and new features that have been in development for the last six months or more. This comes when as many as 33 OpenOffice.org developers are handing in their resignations. While the loss of the German team is unlikely to affect this release, one has to wonder what the future holds for OpenOffice.org.

    • Go LibreOffice !!!

      I have also sent a trivial cleanup patch in that was accepted, so now I know that if I ever have an annoying bug in LibreOffice I will not treat it with a shrug as I would do with proprietary software and as until now but will feel confident diving in the code.

    • Open letter to the JCP Executive Committee calling for JCP reform

      Indeed, the central problem with the current JCP is lack of transparency and openness. Although the JCP defines itself as “the open, participative process to develop and revise the Java technology specifications, reference implementations and test suites”, it’s not very open nor participative in practice. The community is almost entirely excluded when developing so called “open standards”.

    • 2010 JCP EC Election Results
    • Inside the OpenOffice.org coup
    • Fork off: mass exodus from OOo as contributors join LibreOffice

      The OpenOffice.org (OOo) community has declared independence from Oracle as members have joined the LibreOffice project, a fork of the open source office suite. In an open letter published on the OOo mailing list, a group of over 30 contributors affirmed their intention to abandon Oracle’s code base in favor of LibreOffice. They say that the fork’s more inclusive environment and community-driven management offer a powerful opportunity to advance the software.

      The LibreOffice project launched last month amid concerns that Oracle would not rectify the long-standing problems with the OOo development process and governance model. The fork was backed by The Document Foundation, a newly formed organization that includes Linux heavyweights Red Hat, Novell, Google, and Canonical among its supporters. The group initially hoped that Oracle would agree to participate, but the enterprise software giant appears to have no interest in finding a middle ground. Oracle insists that participating in both projects poses a conflict of interest and responded to the fork by forcing TDF members who have seats on the OOo community council to step down from their elected roles in OOo leadership. Oracle’s uncompromising attitude has now instigated a mass exodus of OOo community members as independent contributors flock to LibreOffice.

  • CMS

    • Open Source Software Firm Acquia Raises Another $8.5 Million

      Acquia, a company that sells products and services for popular open source content management system Drupal, has announced an $8.5 million round of funding led by by North Bridge Venture Partners.

      Although open source and capitalism may seem fundamentally opposed, Acquia — which has now brought in a total of $23.5 million of funding over three rounds — continues to highlight the commercial potential of open source projects. Other commercial open source business models include Automattic’s WordPress.com, the hosted version of WordPressWordPressWordPress.org and Dotnetnuke’s enterprise solutions.

    • Drupal Founder on Why Open Source is Good for Business [INTERVIEW]

      One of the things I’ve learned from Drupal is that commercial interests are a really good thing. But they have to be managed properly. For example, I think that the reason Drupal is successful is the community. I think the reason we have such a large community is because so many people make money with Drupal. They use Drupal to build websites for their customers. So it’s a tool that allows people to make money, and because they’re making money with Drupal, they’re invested in the project and they contribute to the project because their business depends on it.

  • Business

    • Community Escrow

      The story can easily be different with open source. If there is a market demand large enough to justify starting a new business to take on the code, as was the case for ForgeRock, it’s entirely possible there will be someone ready to provide seamless continuity. Otherwise, the businesses who have been working in the community are likely to have solutions for you. The fact they have been free to study and modify the code means they will have skills that only the staff of the vendor can have in the case of proprietary software. They may be able to provide continuity; at a minimum they will be able to support you as you plan a graceful migration.

      What can prevent this option existing? A community escrow option can only exist if your software freedoms have been respected and the sorts of measures in addition to open source licencing that Andy Updegrove mentions have been taken. If the product was “open core” – with the key commercial features kept proprietary – it will be very hard for anyone to provide continuity. This is especially true if you are using the software as a service, because the critical know-how to make the software reliably run in the cloud is unlikely to be included in the open source project. If your vendor scorns co-developers, there may well be no-one out there ready to step in. It’s thus not a matter of mere philosophy to check your software freedoms are protected; your ability to use community escrow to manage a vendor failure may be at stake.

  • Funding

    • Who Really Pays for Open Source Software?

      There has been significant growth in the open source software market over the last decade and as popularity continues to grow, the market doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. The Open Source community frequently attracts very intelligent, motivated and experienced developers driven by pride, personal curiosity and peer recognition to develop valuable solutions. No matter how much personal satisfaction developers receive from seeing the result of their efforts however, software developers still have to pay the bills and have some money left over to eat. So, how can software that isn’t for sale actually make money?

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 4.8 released

      We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 4.8. This is our 28th release on CD-ROM (and 29th via FTP). We remain proud of OpenBSD’s record of more than ten years with only two remote holes in the default install.

    • OpenBSD 4.8 Brings Improved Hardware Support

      OpenBSD 4.7 came out this past summer, but OpenBSD 4.8 is now available for those interested in this BSD operating system that focuses on providing portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security, and integrated cryptography. With OpenBSD 4.8 there is now ACPI-based suspend-and-resume support for most systems utilizing Intel or ATI graphics, but the suspend-and-resume support when utilizing NVIDIA graphics is still problematic. There’s also other hardware support improvements, new tools, daemon improvements, and various other improvements to this free software operating system.

    • DragonFly BSD 2.8 adds root partition encryption

      Developer Matthew Dillon has announced the release of version 2.8 of DragonFly BSD, a FreeBSD fork. Dillon notes that this major release features the return of the GUI and a larger 4GB USB image, which includes several additional packages, a functional X environment and full sources and Git repositories. According to Dillon, the developers are seeking feedback on this release and will “likely expand the number of packages and improve the environment in future releases”.

  • Project Releases

    • Release Notes for Rockbox 3.7

      The Rockbox project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Rockbox 3.7. Five months have passed since the last release, and in that time we’ve been busy adding new supported devices, adding features and fixing bugs to give you the best Rockbox experience yet on the widest range of targets ever.

  • Government

    • Taking Collaborative Risk at The State Department

      One success factor for Richard and his team as they guide the work style shift is focusing on “the how rather than the what” for starters and saving the “thorniest issues” for last. By thorniest issues, Richard means U.S. policy and diplomacy. Meantime, he and his colleagues are encouraging culture shift and emphasizing use of collaborative tools for brainstorming improvements in “how” policy can be crafted. As the culture warms to the new way of working, the change agents believe diplomats will more collaboratively create policy itself.

    • Productively lost in Cape Town: POSSE goes South Africa

      What can you do with a boardroom, a projector, and a wifi access point? A movie night, you say? Nope. Just a few tools is all it took to get Mel Chua and Jan Wildeboer (from Red Hat) and Pierros Papadeas (from Fedora) together with local organizer Michael Adeyeye from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The event? A week-long workshop on the principles of open source communities and how to employ these in university-level teaching–in Cape Town, South Africa.

  • Licensing

    • Are You in Compliance with Open Source?

      At the LinuxCon event this past August, the Linux Foundation officially announced a new license compliance program to help ease adoption of open source technologies. The checklist is one of the deliverables of the new compliance program, though it’s not a complete solution to ensure that an enterprise is fully open source license compliance.

      The self-assessment checklist for open source compliance provides enterprises with best practices on how to properly comply with open source license requirements. The checklist does not, however, provide a scoring mechanism by which enterprises can gauge their own levels of compliance.

    • The VLC-iOS license dispute and how it could spread to Android

      Video fanatics were thrilled when an iOS version of VLC made its way to the App Store recently. Finally, users could watch all manner of videos in a number of codecs from their iPhones or iPads, just like they do with the (ever-popular) VLC desktop clients. That may not last forever, though: a wrench has now been thrown into the mix by one of the many VLC code contributors, leading to a complex dispute over VLC’s GNU Public License (GPL) and whether an app released through the App Store—or any mobile OS store, for that matter—violates that license.

      Many of our readers are already quite familiar with VLC—the software is available for many platforms as open source through the GPLv2. VLC is promoted and managed by the nonprofit association VideoLAN, and the code itself is constantly being developed and improved by hundreds of programmers around the world. So, how did the VLC iOS app get into this mess, and what’s really going on?

    • FSF position on GPLv2 & current App Store terms

      salsaman asked me to come on this list and explain the FSF’s position on the current terms of service for Apple’s App Store, and how those relate to GPLv2. There have been changes to the terms since our original blog post on the topic. I confirmed that the changes did not affect the GPLv2 analysis before I blogged about Rémi’s enforcement action, but it’s fair to ask me to show my work and I’m happy to do that here.

      That’s all I’m here to do: point out the facts and explain the FSF’s analysis. If you all have questions about what I’ve written here, just ask and I’ll be happy to answer those too, publicly or privately. I only ask that you have a little patience when you’re expecting a reply: I’m several time zones behind most of you.

    • Why Apple may never reach the mass market and why it’s so obvious

      There is no mass market for Apple goods and there never will be.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Hardware & Arduino

        Usually I work only with the software, I’m not an expert of the hardware, but the excellent presentation by Riccardo Lemmi made me want to read a bit of material on the world of open hardware in general and Arduino in particular.

        Open source hardware ( OSHW ) consists of physical artifacts of technology designed and offered in the same manner as free and open source software (FOSS). Open source hardware is part of the open source culture movement and applies a like concept to a variety of components. The term usually means that information about the hardware is easily discerned. Hardware design (i.e.schematics, bill of materials and PCB layout data) in addition to the software that drives the hardware are all released with the FOSS approach .

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Filesystem Hierarchal Standard

      If you open nautilus and browse to the root filesystem, you’ll see something that looks like the image to the left.

      This is the default layout of the filesystem in Ubuntu 10.10, and is a peek into the ancient (by computer science standards) history and genealogy of Linux. The directories listed above are holdouts from one of the oldest standards, the Filesystem Hierarchal Standard, FHS. FHS is the system that defines what belongs where.

    • Introducing: the Simple Java API for ODF

      We really want your help with this API. This is not one of those faux-open source projects, where all the code is developed by one company. We want to have a real community around this project. So if you are at all interested in ODF and Java, I invite you to take a look:

      1. Download the 0.2 release of the Simple Java API for ODF. The wiki also has important info on install pre-reqs.
      2. Work through some of the cookbook to get an idea on how the API works.
      3. Sign up and join the ODF Toolkit Union project.
      4. Join the users mailing list and ask questions. Defect reports can go to our Bugzilla tracker.
      5. If you want to contribute patches, more info on the wiki for how to access our repository.

    • A Presidenta Dilma Rousseff dá grande apoio ao Software Livre


  • Being untouchable no longer

    When President Obama visits India next month, it is quite certain that he will pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, perceived around the world as one of history’s most celebrated symbols of liberation, and a source of inspiration for the US president himself.

    But there are calls within India for Obama to look further than Gandhi in paying homage to Indian heroes. For India’s community of 167 million Dalits, once known as “untouchables”, the true icon is Dr B R Ambedkar. Himself an untouchable, Dr Ambedkar gained doctorates from Columbia University, where President Obama, too, was educated, and at the London School of Economics, before becoming the architect of independent India’s new constitution.

  • Judge realizes: on the Internet, no one can tell you’re a kid

    A federal judge today issued an injunction against a new Massachusetts law that tried to apply its “matter harmful to minors” law to the Internet. Because it’s difficult to ascertain someone’s age on the ‘Net, that attempt turned out to be far too broad.

  • Shocker! Kids spending too much time in front of TV screens, too little in loving parents’ embrace

    When Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore told an IP conference last June that only two groups of radical extremists were opposed to Bill C-32, most assumed that he had user groups in mind. Yet as various groups begin to publicly make their positions known, few have been as critical as a creator coalition that includes ACTRA, a writers’ coalition, visual arts coalition, and Quebec artists groups. In a backgrounder on the bill, those groups oppose nearly all the major reform elements of Bill C-32, with the notable exception of digital locks (on which they remain silent).

  • http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/02/shocker-kids-spending-too-much-time-in-front-of-tv-screens-too/

    There was an interesting story on WXYZ ABC Channel 7 television out of Detroit last week about how auto thieves just love GM’s $60,000 plus Cadillac Escalade as well as GM’s Tahoe and Yukon Denali. Apparently, experienced thieves can steal a Cadillac Escalade in about 14 seconds, and have it totally stripped in about 20 minutes.


    Well, the old fashion way.

  • Another Extremist+Engineering Data Point?

    The just-barely-thwarted printer cartridge bomb attempt of last week represents an interesting data point in the question of why Are So Many Political Extremists Engineers.

  • Radio 3 survey analyses the happiness of the nation

    When asked what caused personal unhappiness, 65% of the 2,000 respondents cited finances – putting it way beyond family problems (32%), health (27%) and the welfare of their children (21%). In addition:

    * 63% of people feel they need a salary of 40k or more to be happy and 68% would need a better salary to make them happier in their employment
    * 88% of those surveyed said that winning the lottery would make them happier
    * Money was the one thing that would make 50% of respondents happier overnight – far outweighing spending more time with family which was the top priority for only 9% of participants, better health (9%) or a new job (8%)

  • In which we betray our gender

    The comic below is a compulsive response to a recent, entirely unremarkable little dust-up over on Twitter concerning the excruciatingly polite, brief comments of a certain cartoonist concerning the way dudes talk about women cartoonists — and the shitstorm of whiny nonsensical defensive outrage that inevitably followed, just like any other time anyone on the internet has ever hinted at the possibility that perhaps, maybe, women could be treated a little more like, you know, humans.

  • Police Issued Guidelines On How To Behave While Trapped In A Wicker Man
  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Haitian cholera epidemic preventable

      The cholera outbreak in Haiti need not have happened.

      In just a few days, cholera has killed more than 250 Haitians, with more than 3,500 becoming ill. Cholera is caused by drinking dirty water or eating food cooked in contaminated water.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Leak ‘did not compromise sources’

      The posting of tens of thousands of secret Afghan war logs by the WikiLeaks website earlier this year compromised no sensitive intelligence sources or practices, the US Defence Department has said.

      But the military said the leak’s disclosure in July of the names of Afghans who co-operated with the US put them at risk, and would probably cause significant harm to US national security interests.

    • US army amasses biometric data in Afghanistan

      Since the Guardian witnessed that incident, which occurred near the southern city of Kandahar earlier this year, US soldiers have been dramatically increasing the vast database of biometric information collected from Afghans living in the most wartorn parts of southern and eastern Afghanistan.

      The US army now has information on 800,000 people, while another database developed by the country’s interior ministry has records on 250,000 people.

    • F35 Joint Strike Fighter – The Biggest Procurement Mistake Ever

      What exactly does Canada plan to do with the JFS? That may sound like a stupid question. It’s a fighter aircraft. You use it to fight. But what specifically are the targets? What is the range required? How many of them do we need to defend Canada?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP was warned about cement at gulf disaster well

      Halliburton, the US company responsible for the cement that was supposed to seal the well and prevent the fatal blow-out, carried out two tests of the mixture in February.

    • One-fifth of world’s back-boned animals face extinction, study warns

      One species is added to the endangered list every week as the risk of extinction spreads to almost one-fifth of the world’s vertebrates, according to a landmark study released today.

      The Evolution Lost report, published in the journal Science by more than 100 of the world’s leading zoologists and botanists, found that populations of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species had declined by an average of 30% in the past 40 years.

    • In this remote town in Mali, climate change takes on a sinister reality

      This is another paradox of climate-change politics: it is in remote places like this that climate change will hit first and hardest. It is cultures built on deep understanding of their environment – whether the Sami of the Arctic or the Dogon of the Sahara – whose way of life is the first to be threatened. Anakila’s residents are the canaries down the mine, their experience a foretaste of an Earth hostile to human inhabitation. But their experience of threat, potential devastation and loss of livelihood is discounted and ignored. No dunes are threatening Manchester.

  • Finance

    • More on the Mortgage Mess

      Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said recently that federal regulators are “looking intensively” at banks’ foreclosure practices. An investigation is long overdue, though it shouldn’t take a lot of digging.

    • How the Banks Put the Economy Underwater

      IN Congressional hearings last week, Obama administration officials acknowledged that uncertainty over foreclosures could delay the recovery of the housing market. The implications for the economy are serious. For instance, the International Monetary Fund found that the persistently high unemployment in the United States is largely the result of foreclosures and underwater mortgages, rather than widely cited causes like mismatches between job requirements and worker skills.

    • What would the 2010 deficit have been without the financial crisis?
    • Why growth will stay too weak to ease unemployment
    • Irish Court Backs ‘Bad Bank’ Structure
    • AIG set to repay $37 billion in bailout money

      AIG said Monday it raised nearly $37 billion from the divestment of two foreign insurance units and will use that money to repay a government bailout.

      The sale of the two units fits into AIG’s previously announced plan to repay the government’s bailout in full. The repayment will include the government taking a bigger stake in the company and eventually needing to sell common stock in AIG to recoup its money, similar to what it is doing right now with Citigroup Inc. shares.

    • Debt Collectors Face a Hazard: Writer’s Cramp

      The debt in these cases — typically from credit cards, auto loans, utility bills and so on — is sold by finance companies and banks in a vast secondary market, bundled in huge portfolios, for pennies on the dollar. Debt buyers often hire collectors to commence a campaign of insistent letters and regular phone calls. Or, in a tactic that is becoming increasingly popular, they sue.

  • Scams

    • NHS funding for homeopathy risks misleading patients, says chief scientist

      Professor Beddington said ministers agreed to fund homeopathy on the grounds of “public choice”, despite there being “no real evidence” that the remedies work.

      “I have made it completely clear that there is no scientific basis for homeopathy beyond the placebo effect and that there are serious concerns about its efficacy,” Professor Beddington told the Commons science and technology committee today.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Total Election Awareness: Watch Voting Problem Reports in Real Time

      This election day, EFF is once again assisting the Election Protection Coalition (EPC) in their nationwide voter-protection efforts. Right now, you can follow their work and keep an eye on election problems across the US live at OurVoteLive.org. We’ve already logged over 1,000 reports today (November 1), and are expecting to see tens of thousands tomorrow on election day.

    • Morocco bars al-Jazeera for ‘unfair’ coverage

      Morocco has suspended the activities of al-Jazeera on its territory for what it said was unfair reporting that had damaged the country’s reputation.

      The Moroccan communications ministry said it had noted several incidents in which the Qatar-based television station had violated journalistic standards for accuracy and objectivity.

    • Military wants to scan communications to find internal threats

      Now a Pentagon research arm is asking scientists to create a way to scan billions of e-mails to identify suspects in advance so that crimes can be stopped before they are committed.

      That’s the goal of the latest $35 million project announced by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is credited with breakthroughs like the internet, GPS and stealth technology.

      But this latest idea is already is drawing fire from privacy and security experts.

    • No terror arrests in 100,000 police counter-terror searches, figures show

      The statistics show that 504 people out of the 101,248 searches were arrested for any offence – an arrest rate of 0.5%, compared with an average 10% arrest rate for street searches under normal police powers.

      The figures prompted the former Conservative home affairs spokesman David Davis to call for the controversial policy to be scrapped.

    • Arundhati Roy faces arrest over Kashmir remark

      The Booker prize-winning novelist and human rights campaigner Arundhati Roy is facing the threat of arrest after claiming that the disputed territory of Kashmir was not an integral part of India.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Nifty: Kindle owners in China gain access to banned web pages

      The 3rd Generation Kindle with built-in Wi-Fi ($139, $189 for 3G) is one of the best gadgets on the market. It’s bookishly chic, weighing only 8.7oz (the iPad weighs 1.6lbs), boasts a month of battery life and provides storage for about 3,500 books.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Access Copyright to the Supreme Court: No Need for Greater Fair Dealing Certainty

        It is important to stress once again – as the Federal Court of Canada did – that the inclusion of education as a fair dealing category will not open the floodgates to copying, but rather open the door to analysis of whether particular copying meets the fair dealing test that Access Copyright itself is now defending. One would hope that Access Copyright would maintain the same position on C-32 – bright line tests are not possible, the courts have guidance from the six fairness factors, and it is better to maintain flexiblity in the fair dealing doctrine to allow the courts to address on a case-by-case basis using well known criteria.

      • Why The Recording Industry Is A Bad Investment

        There’s a ton more. All of them point to one thing. Musicians aren’t in it for the money, because they could make far better money doing honest work.

        So if musicians are paid so badly, why is the Canadian Recording Industry Association screaming so loudly about how Bill C-32 will help musicians? Simple. If they screamed about how much it would help the recording industry, no one would care. That Bill C-32 won’t help musicians doesn’t bother the CRIA member companies. Lying doesn’t bother them either. All that matters is that they make money.

      • Against Bill C-32: Creator Groups Stake Out Strong Anti-Copyright Bill Position

        When Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore told an IP conference last June that only two groups of radical extremists were opposed to Bill C-32, most assumed that he had user groups in mind. Yet as various groups begin to publicly make their positions known, few have been as critical as a creator coalition that includes ACTRA, a writers’ coalition, visual arts coalition, and Quebec artists groups. In a backgrounder on the bill, those groups oppose nearly all the major reform elements of Bill C-32, with the notable exception of digital locks (on which they remain silent).

      • Second Reading for Bill C-32

        The copying levy actually works against the truly Independent recording artists (who comprised 30% of the Canadian Recording Industry at last count) who do not in fact share in the proceeds, but rather have to pay the levy themselves on the CDs they sell containing their own original material.

      • Copyrighted howl

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu Unity desktop environment

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 1/11/2010: Linux 2.6.37 RC1, KDE’s KWin 4.6 and KWin Discussed

Posted in News Roundup at 6:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Russia Plans Secure Operating System

    “Rather than opting for an existing Linux distribution instead, Russia will invest $4.9 million creating its own OS based on Linux for use across all government departments,” writes Geek.com’s Matthew Humphries.

  • Desktop

    • Facade

      There are plenty of folks selling PCs with another OS. Just use Google or go to LXer. The most popular brand of GNU/Linux for newbies is Ubuntu on desktops and notebooks and Android for smart-thingies. Ubuntu really makes an effort to produce a system easy for newbies. Once you are comfortable with GNU/Linux in Ubuntu, I would recommend Debian GNU/Linux because it gives much more control over the system. Android is a quite different GUI placed on top of GNU/Linux designed specifically for smart-thingies. It is probably the best OS for smart-thingies because of the huge number of applications you can get for it.

      Do not accept the facade of Wintel. There are other platforms out there and they will work for you. You will be able to save money and/or get better hardware too.

    • LOTD: GNU/Linux On The Desktop

      I believe that the year GNU/Linux became widely accepted on the desktop was 2009. The netbook settled that discussion as far as I can tell.

    • Acer Keeps Growing

      Acer sells lots of GNU/Linux PCs if you can figure out how to find them on their site. Acer.co.uk points to Ebuyer.com. Acer expects 25-35% of their growth for 2011 to come from the Founder deal.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Performance Optimizations For KDE’s KWin 4.6

        While some developers and other KDE contributors are busy voicing their opinions over merging the KDE libraries into the upstream Qt, which would lead to either KDE 5.0 or KDE 6.0 depending upon how it’s implemented and if it’s actually carried out, KDE Software Compilation 4.6 is still on the way and should officially arrive by the end of January. Martin Graesslin, who works on much of the KWin compositing manager and previously said KDE SC 4.7 may support OpenGL 3.x for compositing, has written about some of the KWin changes for KDE 4.6.

      • Declarative Knowledge Base

        As I described in the latest entry, with the KDE Plasma Workspace 4.6 there will be a new feature that will be a key one for the future evolution of the Plasma platform: the ability to write plasmoids with just QML and Javascript.

      • KDE Developers Discuss Merging Libraries With Qt

        Well, here’s some interesting weekend news: there’s a polarized discussion taking place right now among core KDE developers about merging the KDE libraries into upstream Qt. Cornelius Schumacher, a long-time German KDE developer and currently the KDE e.V. president, has come out yesterday saying, “Let’s merge Qt and the KDE development platform. Let’s put all KDE libraries, support libraries, platform modules into Qt, remove the redundancies in Qt, and polish it into one nice consistent set of APIs, providing both, the wonderful KDE integration, consistency and convenience, as well as the simplicity and portability of the Qt platform.”

      • Optimization in KWin 4.6

        Improving the performance is of course an ongoing issue and there are still some areas where we can get some clever caching in place. For example blur might be a good candidate for improvements. But this is topic for a blog post “Optimization in KWin 4.7″.

      • The Chakra Project – Innovating on KDE and Arch Linux

        The Chakra project started out releasing a live CD based on Arch Linux with KDE 4 for the desktop, initially to make it easier and quicker to install an Arch system with their favorite environment, while also providing an unofficial Arch live CD to test drive the distribution. It is in their own words for anyone who likes the KISS principle of Arch and the elegance of KDE and the Plasma desktop. The project is providing images for both the i686 and x86_64 architectures.


        Chakra GNU/Linux is a very interesting and well thought out project. It responded well on the desktop and was noticeably faster than the Kubuntu install on another partition once booted. I don’t mean to put another distribution down, but the difference in speed was very obvious. On the other hand, it did not enable desktop effects in KDE due to a problem with the current 2.6.36 kernel and ATI drivers. Suspending, hibernating and resuming were enabled and worked from the start without me having to install laptop-mode-tools, but wireless started to stutter after resuming and never recovered. Being based on Arch Linux should mean that, although availability of applications and in particular non KDE applications is limited and the bundles system not yet fully developed, everything should be available from the Arch repositories and in theory should run in Chakra too. Full localization will require more work.
        It certainly is a beautiful looking distribution that is KDE-centric with some unique customizations, that also introduces innovative features like the click’n’run bundle installer and its own live scripts. Although these features are not fully developed yet they have a lot of potential and, given enough time, Chakra could really make its mark. After all, it all appeared to work perfectly. The only limitation seems to be the availability of bundles, which can be easily remedied if enough people contribute builds for their favorite programs.
        For support, there are user friendly links in Konqueror and in the main menu structure (under Chakra) to the web site, for bug submission, to the documentation and to the forum, and the extensive Arch Linux documentation and wiki should also apply.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 Release Party in Bucharest

          This is pretty much a tradition in our (Romanian) community: at the moment of a new Fedora release we are partying. This time we’ll meet (again) at Curtea Berarilor in the old city of Bucharest, Tuesday 2 November 2010, starting hour 19:00. You know you want to be there.

        • “Fedora Pumpkin”
        • I Voted

          I just voted for the release name of Fedora 15

          * Asturias
          * Blarney
          * Lovelock
          * Pushcart
          * Sturgis

        • Jumping the shark, no. 14.

          Once preupgrade downloaded everything it needed, it presented a dialog telling me I could reboot any time to finish the upgrade. After saving my work, I rebooted and the upgrade process started with no intervention needed. For 1549 packages, the final step of the process — upgrading the packages after rebooting — took approximately 75 minutes. A yum update process performs a lot of work beyond simply copying files onto the disk, to ensure your system’s integrity, so this extra time is to be expected. I like to wander off and work on something else while preupgrade runs, so the computer’s not wasting my time!

    • Debian Family

      • Mini DebConf Paris 2010

        So, I’m (almost) back from the first edition of MiniDebConf Paris, which was a success thanks to the great organizing skills in panic mode of Carl Chenet and Mehdi Dogguy. I think that everybody is already looking forward to the next edition.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.04 (Desktop) Will Get The Global Menu (AppMenu) By Default

          Even though Unity as been confirmed as default for Ubuntu 11.04 – desktop edition, there were still talks if the desktop version should also use the global menu (AppMenu).

        • AskUbuntu reaches 3000 questions – 7000 answers – 5000 users – 30000 votes
        • Desktop Unity: Your questions Answered

          Since the announcement last week that Ubuntu 11.04 will be shipping with a desktop-orientated version of the Unity interface as default the OMG! Inbox! has been inundated by anxious readers.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 upgrade woes

          Thank goodness today I discovered the Super Grub2 boot disk — what a life saver!

        • Using Unity – Day 5 How Does It Compare to Gnome Shell?

          Okay, so today is Sunday, so I am not spending a lot of time on the laptop. I decided to test Unity with the SaGeek 25 Part test to see how it fares.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 won’t be the same old Linux desktop

          Ubuntu’s new Unity Linux desktop interface is the change that everyone is talking about, but it was far from the only change that Canonical and Ubuntu’s developers are making to Ubuntu’s desktop. In fact, even without the change from straight GNOME to Unity, the developers are planning on major changes to the Ubuntu desktop.

          We knew some of these changes were coming. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, had already announced that Ubuntu would be moving from OpenOffice to LibreOffice for its default office suite. At this point, LibreOffice is 99.9% identical to OpenOffice. By the time Ubuntu 11.04 is released in April, LibreOffice is expected to have improved performance and increased interoperability with Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 formats.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android is Still HOT!

          Canalys reports Nokia has slipped to 33% global share of smart-phones but Android is now up to 25%. It looks like it’s not a matter of if but when Android will catch up with Nokia.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Netbooks: XO, Intel, Asus EEE Usability Test

        The XO combined with Sugar is supposed to help collaborative efforts, as well as enable students to work on their own work. The visualization of the writing activity that I posted a week or so ago, shows how sugar can spark interactivity.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Links: Case Studies In Corporate Open Source

    At Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference last week, executives repositioned Silverlight – Microsoft’s competitor to Adobe Flash – as a framework for mobile applications rather than for all rich media applications, and talked up the emerging HTML 5 standard as the best approach for closs-platform rich media applications.

    While not directly related to open source, this is a very interesting development from Microsoft (which was also covered at GigaOm). Microsoft are trying to lead the race to the bottom with HTML 5, presumably in the hope of killing Adobe, rather than cascading money faster and faster into Silverlight in an attempt to fight the old way using proprietary might as if it were possible to hire all the smart people into one team. They only place Silverlight is still strategic is on mobile, and honestly they probably realise HTML 5 is the future there too.


    As GNOME is one of the most successful communities of co-developing competitors in open source, this is a serious faux pas and I am very surprised Canonical have sailed into it – no matter how much “clarification” they give. Presumably we now know one of the key motivations for Project Harmony, which they are sponsoring.

  • Report: Open Source Developers a Bunch of Moochers?

    A new bit of analyst data crossed my radar this weekend, this time from the annual Evans Data survey of over 400 Linux developers, “OSS/Linux Development Survey 2010.” While I haven’t read the entire report, the one bit of information that Evans is pushing from the report is, naturally, the most controversial.

    It turns out, according to the report, that nearly two-thirds of open source developers do some of their non-work related open source project work on their employers’ time.

    Whether that figure is accurate or not, I expect we’ll see a whole new line of FUD coming soon from those software companies which are less-than-enthused about open source software: open source projects steals your employees’ time and reduces their efficiency.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Featured Superhero: Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman of Mozilla Foundation

        I’m pleased to introduce Mitchell Baker, the next of our exceptional CC Superheroes to tell you in her own words why she supports Creative Commons and why you should too. As the leader of the Mozilla Project, she is responsible for organizing and motivating a massive, worldwide collective of employees and volunteers who are breathing new life into the Internet with the Firefox Web browser and other Mozilla products. Here is her story. Join Mitchell in supporting Creative Commons with a donation today.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle doesn’t understand ‘community’

      Asked about the friction that has lead to the forming of the Document Foundation and the community’s very public split from Oracle, Meeks told us: “The Oracle people have decided that all of the non-Oracle people on the Community Council, which is there to govern the community, should be recused – as in, kicked off the council – because they have a ‘conflict of interest’ with the OpenOffice.org community that they’re supposed to be governing.”

    • 33 Lead Developers Leave OpenOffice in Favor of LibreOffice

      As announced in this letter, 33 lead developers of the OpenOffice project have decided to leave OpenOffice and instead support LibreOffice and the Document Foundation in the future.

      As, was previously reported on this site, Oracle is not willing not make the necessary changes to not only make this project benefit its own corporate goals, but also the community and the vast amount of contributions made by individuals and other entities that have been essential for the success of OpenOffice.

    • Community Rights and Community Wrongs

      Yes, today’s restrictive licenses embody powerful rights, but those rights are no stronger than the ability of their owners to assert them. Placing all one’s defensive reliance on a single legal tool can make no more sense than relying on a single weapons system. Why? Because it’s all too easy to be outflanked by an enemy with a more diverse armament. And ever since Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, the traditional defenses of open source developers have been about as effective as France’s post-World War I Maginot Line.

    • Google’s ‘copied Java code’ disowned by Apache

      When Oracle sued Google over Android, many assumed the database giant would target code Google lifted from the Apache Foundation’s open source Java incarnation, Project Harmony. But Oracle just pinpointed six pages of Google code, claiming they were “directly copied” from copyrighted Oracle material, and according to Apache, this code is not part of Harmony.

    • Criminal Justice Blog Battles Copyright Troll

      A criminal justice blog that provides resources for difficult-to-prosecute murder cases is fighting bogus infringement claims from copyright troll Righthaven LLC and asked a Las Vegas judge Friday to dismiss Righthaven’s baseless attempt to seize his domain name.

      “Righthaven’s efforts to restrict what information is available to help police, prosecutors, and grieving families catch murderers is not only unlawful and an affront to the First Amendment, it’s just shameful,” said Thomas DiBiase, the former prosecutor and web publisher who was wrongly targeted in this case.

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Colleen Bal and Bart Volkmer from the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and attorney Chad Bowers are representing DiBiase, an attorney who consults with law enforcement across the country on “no body” cases — where the victim is missing and presumed dead, but no body has been found. DiBiase runs a website at www.nobodycases.com to gather information on these complex investigations in order to help other prosecutors as well as family and friends of “no body” murder victims.

  • CMS

    • Source wars: Blackboard sets its sights on being more “free” than Moodle

      Recently Blackboard, the learning management system (LMS) company, announced its plans to seek new business using one of the open source way’s most attractive tools to educators: offering their services for free (as-in-no-cost).

      Meanwhile, Moodle, the free and open source software LMS, is working to maximize community resources and sharing in its next release (see the Moodle 2.0 release preview).

      With this path, Blackboard looks to be going after the low-hanging fruit that was formerly a major argument for Moodle adoption.


      To apply an idea from Chris Anderson, author of Free, Blackboard might beat Moodle’s “free” by becoming even more free. Blackboard is taking aim to undercut Moodle. For years Moodle has leveraged its zero cost to attract organizations with the wherewithal to install and manage the software. With this move, however, Blackboard eliminates barriers that previously prevented individual teachers from adopting an LMS.

    • LAMP stack Halloween cake

      Barry Jaspan and his wife Heather spent 20 hours creating this incredible cake for Acquia’s Halloween party. Creative duo! Not only did it look great, it was yummy. Trick or treat!

  • Project Releases

    • Midori 0.2.9 released with private browsing, Google reader fix & more

      A new version of lightweight webkit-based web-browser Midori has been released, adding support for private browsing, privacy improvements and fixes galore.

      Writing in the announcement post, Midori developer Christian Dywan says that a prime focus of Midori 0.2.9 was on privacy – with features such as improving cookie preferences, optimising HTML5 databases and the ability to clear form history all added.

  • Government

    • Cause and Effect

      Some folks budget $1000 per year per PC with that other OS when $200 year would be enough with GNU/Linux. Some people just don’t get Free Software. It will work for them. Special applications that only run on that other OS? The Scottish police force is big enough (12000 PCs) to write their own applications for less money than they pay in licensing fees if they used FLOSS.

  • Licensing

    • Self-Assessment Checklist: A Measuring Stick for Open Compliance Efforts

      If you’re serious about improving your company’s business practices, you probably want answers to some simple questions: “What’s important?” “What should I focus on and where do I start?” “What are best-in-class companies doing that I ought to be doing, too, and what can I learn from them?”

      That’s what the free Self-Assessment Checklist from The Linux Foundation’s Open Compliance Program is all about. We’ve compiled an extensive list of open source compliance practices found in industry-leading compliance programs. And to be clear, compliance is essential if companies are to gain the maximum benefit from use of free and open source software while respecting license obligations.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Crowdsourcing search relevancy

      As a 20-person startup, we asked ourselves how blekko could assemble this essential data. Hire contractors? Use Mechanical Turk? Elance?

      But – of course! – we know a much better way…. A way you can get orders of magnitude greater participation, while at the same time being very open about the process.

    • International Commons Conference Kicks Off

      The International Commons Conference starts in Berlin today — with the aim of “Constructing a Commons-Based Policy Platform”.

      Essentially the aim is to bring together representatives from all the open, free and “commons” movements to discuss what they share in common — in the hope that a more unified approach will emerge, and the necessary networks will be created to enable the larger movement become more politically effective.

    • Spec Work and Contests Part Two

      Don’t let our Free / Libre software culture inadvertently shout out the wrong message to the precise people we should be addressing. Don’t let people that know nothing and care less about the subject erroneously mix up and confuse the terms.

    • Open innovation and open source innovation: what do they share and where do they differ?

      STEFAN: You are right about this. Big companies engage with open innovation because the combination of their internal resources and the external resources provides more innovation opportunities that they can feed their corporate engines with. They want to increase revenues and profits, and they definitely put this focus first rather than “just” trying to do good things.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Dr. Double Down

    Halloween, computer science professor Hanna Wallach—a.k.a. El Estómago—decided to honor this year’s unhealthiest sandwich by making her own Double Down suit. Wallach, who tried the Double Down at 12:01am on April 12 and says she would be a competitive eater if she weren’t a professor, constructed the suit in under four hours. To test the suit’s efficacy, Wallach and her colleagues Tim Vieira (vegan) and Jason Naradowsky (dieting) paid a visit to the Colonel’s temple in Hadley, MA for a Double Down showdown. Employees were so impressed that they rewarded Wallach with a free Double Down.

  • LLVMpipe Scaling With Intel’s Core i7 Gulftown

    From the BIOS of the Intel X58 motherboard we used for testing, the number of enabled cores can be configured (from one through six) and Hyper Threading is easily controlled. This makes for very easy testing to see how well LLVMpipe is able to scale on the Core i7 970 and the performance of Intel’s Hyper Threading on their modern CPUs.

  • No wonder CompSci grads are unemployed

    As far as I can tell, only Queen Mary College has undergrads bright enough not to be scared of C++, and even then less than half take the option. Kings College students/victims told me that they do operating system internals in Java, and no they weren’t joking. That pitiful process is actually better than the average CS undergrad, who seems to regard the insides of operating systems with the same superstitious fear experienced by greens over nuclear energy.

  • Bell Systems Technical Journals Published

    A small example of this exists in the name UNIX itself. Most people today write “UNIX” as “Unix”, but in these original typeset and scanned PDFs, you can see that the developers consistently spelled it “UNIX”, with all capital letters.

  • Science

    • The galaxy (probably) abounds in Earth-like planets

      What percentage of Sun-like stars have earth-like planets orbiting them? As many as one-fourth, according to a new survey performed by astronomers at the University of California. This result contradicts previous theories of planet formation, but is a tantalizing prediction that finding extraterrestrial life, or at least Earth’s twin, is not impossible.

  • Security

    • Keep Your Eyes on this Adobe Zero Day
    • 88 High-Risk Defects Found in Android Kernel
    • surrenders
    • Android faces critical security study
    • The Message of Firesheep: “Baaaad Websites, Implement Sitewide HTTPS Now!”

      The Firesheep Firefox extension has been scaring users across the Internet since its introduction at the Toorcon security conference this past weekend by security researchers Eric Butler and Ian Gallagher. Firesheep demonstrates a security flaw that the computer security community has been concerned about for years — that any network eavesdropper can take over another user’s session (say, a login to a webmail or social networking account) just by sniffing packets and copying the victim’s cookie. In other words, if the websites you visit are not taking steps to encrypt your communications, or you’re not taking advantage of the encryption they offer, it’s now an obvious and trivial fact that anyone else on that same network can use features from your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Flickr, and a number of other popular web sites. Since Firesheep is extensible, people will probably teach it to “support” more web sites in short order.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance

      In part because of the back-scatter imager’s invasiveness (a TSA employee in Miami was arrested recently after he physically assaulted a colleague who had mocked his modestly sized penis, which was fully apparent in a captured back-scatter image), the TSA is allowing passengers to opt-out of the back-scatter and choose instead a pat-down. I’ve complained about TSA pat-downs in the past, because they, too, were more security theater than anything else. They are, as I would learn, becoming more serious, as well.

      At BWI, I told the officer who directed me to the back-scatter that I preferred a pat-down. I did this in order to see how effective the manual search would be. When I made this request, a number of TSA officers, to my surprise, began laughing. I asked why. One of them — the one who would eventually conduct my pat-down — said that the rules were changing shortly, and that I would soon understand why the back-scatter was preferable to the manual search. I asked him if the new guidelines included a cavity search. “No way. You think Congress would allow that?”

    • MI6 chief red-faced over daughter’s FaceBook page

      Spy chief Sir John Sawers, head of MI6, is having touble keeping things secret.

      Not only did his missus, Lady Sawers, post details of their domestic arrangements on FaceBook in June last year, including a picture of Sir John wearing in skimpy Speedos, but now his daughter is at it, using the anti-social vanity site to post a picture of herself posing by the Christmas tree with one of Sadaam Hussein’s golden Kalashnikovs.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Petroleum Broadcast System Owes Us an Apology

      Last night, my dog Pluto and I watched the Public Broadcast System’s (PBS) “Frontline” investigation of BP, “The Spill.”

      PBS has uncovered a real shocker: BP neglected safety!

      Well, no shit, Sherlock!

      Pluto rolled over on the rug and looked at me as if to say, “Don’t we already know this?”

      Then PBS told us – get ready – that BP has neglected warnings about oil safety for years!

      That’s true. But so has PBS. The Petroleum Broadcast System has turned a blind eye to BP perfidy for decades.

      If the broadcast had come six months before the Gulf blowout, after the 2005 BP refinery explosion in Texas or after the 2006 Alaska pipeline disaster or after the years of government fines that flashed DANGER-DANGER, I would say, “Damn, that ‘Frontline’ sure is courageous.” But six months after the blowout, PBS has shown us it only has the courage to shoot the wounded.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • One month without Facebook

      So essentially I’m continuing my Facebook hiatus for an indefinite amount of time. I just wonder how to inform my Facebook friends that are expecting my back anytime soon … and I do hope they’ll at some point realize that some of their friends are not on Facebook by choice, but still deserve to be invited to parties and such.

    • [Old:] How Mark Zuckerberg Hacked Into Rival ConnectU In 2004

      Nevertheless, during 2004, Mark Zuckerberg still appeared to be obsessed with ConnectU. Specifically, he appears to have hacked into ConnectU’s site and made changes to multiple user profiles, including Cameron Winklevoss’s.

    • [Old:] In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg Broke Into A Facebook User’s Private Email Account

      As we’ve reported in detail in a separate story, the launch of TheFacebook.com was not without controversy. Just six days after the site launched, three Harvard seniors, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accused Mark of intentionally misleading them into believing he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com, while he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product.

    • [Old:] At Last — The Full Story Of How Facebook Was Founded

      Back then, Mark was known at Harvard as the sophomore who had built Facemash, a “Hot Or Not” clone for Harvard. Facemash had already made Mark a bit of a celebrity on campus, for two reasons.

      The first is that Mark got in trouble for creating it. The way the site worked was that it pulled photos of Harvard students off of Harvard’s Web sites. It rearranged these photos so that when people visited Facemash.com they would see pictures of two Harvard students and be asked to vote on which was more attractive. The site also maintained a list of Harvard students, ranked by attractiveness.

      On Harvard’s politically correct campus, this upset people, and Mark was soon hauled in front of Harvard’s disciplinary board for students.

    • DHS Singles Out EFF’s FOIA Requests for Unprecedented Extra Layer of Review

      The Identity Project notes on its blog today that the Department of Homeland Security singled out EFF, along with other activist groups and media representatives such as the ACLU, EPIC, Human Rights Watch, AP, etc, for an extra layer of review on its FOIA requests. Records posted online by the DHS in response to one of the Identity Project’s FOIA requests show that the agency passed certain requests through extra levels of screening. According to a policy memo from DHS’s Chief FOIA Officer and Chief Privacy Officer, Mary Ellen Callahan, DHS components were required to report “significant FOIA activities” in weekly reports to the Privacy Office, which the Privacy Office then integrated into its weekly report to the White House Liason. Included among these designated “significant FOIA activities” were requests from any members of “an activist group, watchdog organization, special interest group, etc. “ and “requested documents [that] will garner media attention or [are] receiving media attention.”

    • You Can’t Tell Your USB from a Hole in the Wall

      Aram Bartholl is mortaring USB drives into walls, curbs, and buildings around New York. These dead drops, as he terms them, are peer-to-peer file transfer points with true anonymity. Bartholl has a residency with EYEBEAM, a truly fascinating incubator of and studio for new ideas in technology and art.

Clip of the Day

[Ubuntu Ad] Got tired of that?

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 31/10/2010: Motorola Wins With Linux, Acer to Put Linux on Tablet (Out in November)

Posted in News Roundup at 8:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 11 Uses for an Old PC

    You’ve heard about this Linux thing, and maybe you’d like to give it a whirl. But the thought of trying to create a dual-boot system on your primary PC leaves you a little green around the gills. Now you can experiment to your heart’s content on your old box.

    Check out Ubuntu, the sexy Linux distro that geeks love to, well, love. The neat thing about Linux is all the built-in support for older hardware, so installation is usually easy. In fact, installing Ubuntu is sometimes simpler than installing Windows. And there’s a wealth of free software for Linux just waiting to be tried out.

  • Mock-up: intelligent, ambient Boot Splash

    Reader Cullum Saunders pinged us with an interesting concept for an intelligent, friendly ambient boot screen, which he demoes in the video below.

  • Desktop

    • People Who Should Not Run Linux

      1) People with money to burn. There are people who buy a new car every year, have a chateau in the south of France and do not have to save to buy a house. That’s not me, but I hear that they exist. So if you are not money conscious, then you can afford to pay Microsoft or Apple for their latest creation. In fact, you can buy their super, deluxe edition with all of the bells and whistles and probably pay someone else to install it for you. For the rest of us, there is Linux, which is free as in beer and free as in speech, meaning that it costs you nothing and you can give away the disk after you have installed it.

  • Server

    • IBM: The Mainframe Is Back, Baby

      IBM announced third-quarter 2010 net income of $3.6 billion, compared with $3.2 billion for the third quarter of 2009, an increase of 12 percent driven by significant increases in systems and technology sales and IBM services as well as a boost in growth markets.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 172 – Port 25

      This week on the show: Ubuntu switching to Unity as their default desktop, Linux breaks world speed record at London Stock Exchange, more problems at Nokia, Apple violates Launchpad trademark and more…

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Vector Linux 7.0 Alpha 3 Reviewed!


        * Sharp Desktop layout
        * Fast with no-lag
        * Very stable Slackware 13.0/13.1 base
        * Great for low-ram and older PC’s


        * Installer doesn’t allow grub to be installed to extended partition
        * Lilo installation ends in error with no manual way to fix it ala Slackware
        * Some of the Wbar apps don’t work
        * No way to install proprietary video drivers except manually
        * Limited package selection and availability

    • Debian Family

      • Latest features of dpkg-dev: debian packaging tools

        I’m attending the mini-Debconf Paris and I just gave a talk about the latest improvement of dpkg-dev—the package providing the basic tools used to build Debian packages. Latest is a bit stretched since it embraces the last 2-3 years of development.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu To Challenge… Facebook?

          At the Ubuntu Developer Summit tomorrow there will be a session on the “WeMenu” (not to be confused with the “MeMenu”) the idea behind it is to bring the real relationships you have and the very real communities around you to your desktop.

        • Unity: Some Further Clarification Points

          So, I just wanted to clarify some of the key points regarding the transition to Unity by default in Ubuntu 11.04 to make sure these facts are clearly communicated:

          * Ubuntu is not ditching/forking GNOME – Unity is a shell for GNOME, but not GNOME shell. Ubuntu is still a GNOME platform. 11.04 will ship all the components required for GNOME application authors to have their software run out of the box in Ubuntu, and we will still ship all the GNOME apps you know and love in Ubuntu 11.04. The only change is that Unity will be the default shell. Likewise, this is not a fork: we are not diverging away from GNOME, just producing a different shell in much the same way others have (e.g. Meego). It is just a different porthole looking at the awesome GNOME platform.
          * Unity is the 3D experience, Classic GNOME is the 2D interface – if your graphics hardware cannot sufficiently run Unity, Ubuntu will present the 2D experience which is the two-panel GNOME desktop we currently ship, complete with all the Ayatana improvements such as application indicators, global menu, system indicators etc.

        • Maverick Meerkat on a Mac Machine – Lots of M!

          I don’t have anything too grand to say. Compare this experience with my Windows 7 installation on the Pavilion laptop and you’ll get the general idea how simple things are. Ubuntu, as the leading Linux distro, offers a smooth and seamless experience on pretty much any hardware, including the not-so-trivial Mac. This means that should you decide to explore the brave new world of geekdom, you probably have the ultimate testbed. And this includes you, the high-income Maccers.

          Ubuntu will work well with your Wireless adapters, even install them for you offline, your Nvidia and ATI cards, your USB and FireWire devices, including the HFS filesystem. Really great. The notion of dual-boot has never been more appealing. And so it begins. One distro to rule them all. Aha!

        • A week in Orlando (Ubuntu Developer Summit – Natty Narwhal)

          Currently flying from Orlando, FL where I had an awesome Ubuntu Developer Summit I wanted to quickly share what happened this week.

        • Coming Soon!

          Here is what I have been working on for Ubuntu Forum recently. At a session at UDS this week, we discuss the forums and how to bring it up to date with the new Ubuntu branding. There will be some big changes upcoming in the forums.

        • Happy Halloween With Ubuntu Pumpkin

          We are soon going to announce the launch of Cult Of Ubuntu, a website dedicated to Ubuntu Cult.

        • 4 steps to freedom
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Because I know you’re dying to know

            So far I’m quite liking Xubuntu 10.10. My only disappointment is that Chromium, which is Google’s Chrome browser for Linux, gets progressively slower on it, so I got rid of it and have stuck with Firefox for the time being. I recently moved away from Firefox because it just felt bloated and slow. But aside from that, it’s running smoothly overall. Also, I can’t play DVDs on the laptop, even after installing the necessary extra software to allow the decoding. I think it may be a hardware issue, though; this baby isn’t as spry as it once was. Whatever the case, it’s nice to be able to play around with all this FREE SOFTWARE.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • “Mint to Xbox… come in Xbox”

      The third option that I had planned to test was a program called Fuppes, however after an hour of failed installations, errors and generally getting quite hacked off with the whole thing, I have decided that if it cant be installed that easily then it cant make the list. I apologise in advance to all who use Fuppes without a problem as most forums seem to say that it is OK. Several attempts in different directories and after installing and reinstalling the necessary packages it refused to work so I am happy to put this one down as a win for Linux over my knowledge. I have decided to console myself by watching a film via PS3 with a smug “In your face Fuppes” look on my face.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Acer preps for November tablet launch

        Adding to the impending glut of tablet-style devices crowding a market resurrected by Apple’s iPad, computer maker Acer ‘s CEO Gianfranco Lanci told Dow Jones Newswire the company is planning to introduce a family of tablet computers in November, including Android and Windows models. The tablets will sell for between $299-$699 and will be unveiled during a press conference Nov. 23, says the story.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Advocacy doesn’t work if you tell someone they’re wrong

    Generally it isn’t a good idea to offend someone you’re trying to convince. This is sounding almost too obvious, but offending someone we are trying to get to free software is a tactic we often use unconsciously. Instead of getting your point across it will likely lead the other to strengthen or adopt a contrary believe. There’s much we can learn from social psychology in advocating free software.

  • Asterisk plots the end of the phone network

    It’s called Asterisk Scalable Communications Framework, or Asterisk SCF.

  • Eating Your Own Dogfood

    One of the reasons given for the writing of Free Software is to “scratch our own itch”, to create software the way we want it to work. If you then do not use it, how can you tell that the scratching satisfied the itch?

  • Events

  • Oracle

    • Take a Deep Breath, Then Vote for Eclipse: Our View on the JCP

      There is one thing that Matt, Ian Skerrett and others have gotten exactly right: the failure to communicate effectively with the Java community is costing Oracle dearly. They have got to fix that, and soon. The problem is that Oracle has always been an enterprise software company, with PR and AR people who think that controlling the message is the path to success. Oracle as an organization has a lot of internal institutional challenges to overcome before they can learn how to communicate with a community like Java’s. It will take time and there will be mistakes along the way, but I think they will. They have to, because as we have recently observed, silence is significantly worse than delivering even bad news in a clear and honest manner.

    • Read Beyond the Headers

      Recent reports on various blogs have attributed to the ASF a number of the source files identified by Oracle as ones that they believe infringe on their copyrights. The code in question has an header that mentions Apache, and perhaps that is the source of the confusion. The code itself is using a license that is named after our foundation, is in fact the license that we ourselves use. Many others use it too, as the license was explicitly designed to allow such uses.

      Even though the code in question has an Apache license, it is not part of Harmony. PolicyNodeImpl.java is simply not a Harmony class.

    • Have Oracle just made it worse for everyone?

      I guess everybody has heard that a majority of the key developers in the OpenOffice.org community decided to set up the Document Foundation: an independent foundation to continue and manage work on the Openoffice.org codebase. If you’ve not, then I can recommend Terry Hancock’s piece as a starting point (and a good summary of why forking is vital). To recap: Oracle are not behind the move so the foundation temporarily named their product LibreOffice. It was not, we were told, a fork. Oracle were invited to the party and asked if they would consider donating the OpenOffice.org brand to the foundation. After the mess with MySQL, here was an opportunity for Oracle to vastly improve relations with the free software community and their own reputation. In short Oracle missed their chance like an English footballer taking a penalty.

  • CMS

    • Reorganising The Screencast

      In the Drupal episodes I want to cover little known modules as well as Drupal Basics. The plan there is to explain basic concepts of Drupal such as blocks, regions, where to install modules to etc. In other words, the types of things that can help people get over the initial learning hump with Drupal with some basics of what not to do.

  • Business

    • Lighting the Fuse for an Enterprise FOSS Explosion

      The FUSE family of software is now under the FuseSource name and has gained new autonomy from Progress Software with its own corporate identity.

      Part of the IONA Technologies acquisition by Progress Software in 2008, FuseSource has now become its own company, owned by Progress, but now more independent, to aggressively pursue its open source business model and to leverage the community development process strengths.

      In anticipation of the news, our discussion here targets the rapid growth, increased relevance, and new market direction for major open source middleware and integration software under the Apache license.

    • Civil Rights Concerns as DHS Formalizes Military Role in ‘Civilian Cybersecurity’

      Speaking today at the National Symposium on Homeland Security and Defense, Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano announced that the National Security Agency and the US Cyber Command will be used in civilian cybersecurity matters, insisting it was perfectly appropriate to give the military this role.

  • Project Releases

    • PTS3 Iveland Development Update

      For those interested in the development activity of Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 “Iveland”, here’s an update as to the progress with a few notes.

  • Government

  • Programming

    • What Developers Think

      Nearly four out of five developers use some open source software for application development or deployment, little changed from last year. What has changed is the kind of open source software being used. Use of open source operating systems, primarily Linux distributions, jumped to 61% from 48% in 2009.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • What the Pro-MS Office video does not say

      In addition, Microsoft is also slanting information to favor adoption of its office solution. I have heard several times that .docx is an ISO standard, just like .odt. That is simply not true. Basically, ISO approved .docx if certain changes were made to the format. This format version is called ISO/IEC 29500 “strict”. The reality is that neither Office 2007 nor Office 2010 can generate the ISO standardized “strict” format and Microsoft has not committed to implement it.

      The format that the company is using today is the version known as ISO/IEC 29500 “transitional”, which ISO determined was not to be used for the creation of new documents. In other words, it can never be the default format for saving new documents as it does not have the status of an international standard and, therefore, it should not be used for electronic transmission or storage of documents.

      This distinction is significant because official documents produced by government institutions, such as schools, have to be created following a principle of interoperability, which Microsoft has admitted not to follow with its default-save .docx.


  • Lillian McEwen breaks her 19-year silence about Justice Clarence Thomas

    For nearly two decades, Lillian McEwen has been silent — a part of history, yet absent from it.

    When Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his explosive 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Thomas vehemently denied the allegations and his handlers cited his steady relationship with another woman in an effort to deflect Hill’s allegations.

    Lillian McEwen was that woman.

  • Law Prof: Entire Supreme Court Should Decide Recusal Due to Activist Wife

    A Northwestern University law professor notes that Justice Clarence Thomas may find himself in a controversial position when the health-care reform issue reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, most likely in 2012.

    Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas, is a leading opponent of health care reform legislation that passed this spring, law professor Steven Lubet notes in a Chicago Tribune opinion column. A memo briefly posted at the Liberty Central website founded by Virginia Thomas called the law unconstitutional, and it had Virginia Thomas’ signature. The memo was later taken down; the group’s chief operating officer explained that Virginia Thomas had neither seen nor signed the memo, and it should not have been posted.

  • Supreme Court bolsters protection of media’s confidential sources

    The Supreme Court of Canada has endorsed the public need to shield whistleblowers and bolstered the ability of journalists in Quebec to protect confidential sources, a significant ruling for media rights in this country.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Buy Wikileaks’ founder a beer

      Closing Wikileaks and executing Julian Assange won’t change this. Hundreds of such sites will follow it, each with its own agenda. Files will be leaked to the darknet and find their way out in unexpected ways.

      The only cure for Wikileaks is to eliminate this medium. The only cure for this light is a return to the darkness.

      David would have you think Wikileaks is a bug that must be squashed. I disagree. It’s a feature that must be protected, whatever the cost.

  • Finance

    • Kansas reaches $800K settlement with Goldman Sachs

      The office of Kansas’ securities commissioner, Marc Wilson, announced Friday that the state has reached an $800,000 settlement with Goldman, Sachs & Co.

    • Hedge Fund Fraud Alleged in Connecticut

      Hedge fund manager Stephen Hicks used his two unregistered hedge fund advisory companies to defraud investors “in three different ways,” after taking millions of dollars from them, the SEC says. The agency sued Hicks, 52, of Ridgefield, Conn., and his companies, Southridge Capital Management and Southridge Advisors.

      The three defendants defrauded customers “in three different ways,” the SEC says in its federal complaint.

    • Tribune investors sue banks that arranged financing

      A group of investors in bankrupt Tribune Co sued JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Citicorp and Bank of America, claiming the banks arranged $3.7 billion in loans in 2007 they knew the company could never repay.

      “The Lead Banks knew that this financing was barred by the terms of the Credit Agreement and it was tainted with fraud and other misconduct,” said the lawsuit, which was filed late on Friday.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • A Web Pioneer Profiles Users by Name

      In the weeks before the New Hampshire primary last month, Linda Twombly of Nashua says she was peppered with online ads for Republican Senate hopeful Jim Bender.

      It was no accident. An online tracking company called RapLeaf Inc. had correctly identified her as a conservative who is interested in Republican politics, has an interest in the Bible and contributes to political and environmental causes. Mrs. Twombly’s profile is part of RapLeaf’s rich trove of data, garnered from a variety of sources and which both political parties have tapped.

    • FTC ends probe into Google’s Wi-Fi snooping

      The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has closed an investigation into Google Street View cars snooping into open Wi-Fi networks, with the agency declining to take action.

      Google’s announcement in May that its Street View cars mistakenly collected data from open Wi-Fi networks raised FTC concerns “about the internal policies and procedures that gave rise to this data collection,” wrote David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a Wednesday letter to Google.

    • HTTPS Everywhere is in Beta!

      HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox extension produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It encrypts your communications with a number of major websites.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Prosecutors Seek to Block Xbox Hacking Pioneer From Mod-Chip Trial

      Want a live tutorial on how to hack an Xbox by the guy who actually wrote the book on it?

      If so, you should plan to attend what likely will be the nation’s first federal jury trial of a defendant accused of jailbreaking Xbox 360s — installing mod chips that allow the console to run pirated or home-brew games and applications.

      Celebrity geek Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, the designer of the Chumby and author of the 2003 title Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering, has agreed to testify for a southern California man charged under the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • How LimeWire’s Shutdown May Impact Urban Sustainability
      • LimeWire Today, and What’s in Store for the Future

        During this challenging time, we are excited about the future. The injunction applies only to the LimeWire product. Our company remains open for business.

      • ACTA

        • The Proposed New Copyright Crime of “Aiding and Abetting”

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has caused concern for many reasons, such as secret negotiations and controversial provisions. Today, more than 70 law professors sent a letter to President Obama asking that he “direct the [U.S. Trade Representative] to halt its public endorsement of ACTA and subject the text to a meaningful participation process that can influence the shape of the agreement going forward.”

          Despite this beneficial attention, one clause has slipped under the radar. Article 2.14 of ACTA would require participating nations to “ensure that criminal liability for aiding and abetting is available.”

          This liability would apply to parties that assist others in engaging in “willful . . . copyright . . . piracy on a commercial scale.” Such scale includes “commercial activities for direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage.” These terms are not defined in the agreement. As a result, it would appear that any activity that would give an “indirect” commercial advantage (including the downloading of a single copyrighted song) could lead to criminal liability.

Clip of the Day

MeeGo OS running on a Mobile phone

Credit: TinyOgg

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