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Links 10/11/2010: Mageia Alpha in December, New ACTA Leak

Posted in News Roundup at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Audio Blog #3

      Some additional comments about operating systems with some more detail including MMUs, Amigas, old computer hardware and where computing is going, 16 minutes duration.

  • Google

    • Google Chrome OS: unlike Android, it’s open source

      Unlike Android, Google Chrome OS is open source.

      Whereas Android is coded behind closed doors — one big-name developer says it’s no more open than Apple’s iOS — Google’s imminent browser-based operating system is built — in large part — where everyone can see it. A portion of the project remains closed — Google’s boot-time-boosting firmware work — but like the browser it’s based on, Chrome OS is a platform that can serve Google’s ad-centric purposes even if its code is set completely free.

    • Chrome OS ARM Powered laptops could debut this month!

      Inventec may be preparing to ship 60-70 thousand ARM Powered laptops running the Chrome OS laptop starting later this month according to Taiwan based rumor and fact website Digitimes.com. This may be the absolute demonstration of the shifting trend to come in laptops, where Intel and Microsoft will not be needed anymore and laptops can run ARM Cortex processors with fast I/O, good RAM, flash based storage, very thin and light form factors with very long battery runtime and instant boot, all running full Chrome web browser OS, one that loads all websites at full speed and provides fast web browsing.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE versus GNOME

      Judging by the analysis above, it may look as if GNOME was a much better desktop manager than KDE, but that’s really not the case. Both are evenly matched on most areas, but there are still some elements making a difference, specially in terms of reliability and ease of use.

      The GNOME development community has lately invested many of its resources on the upcoming GNOME shell release. Because of that, the current GNOME desktop has not been experiencing the aggressive evolution that KDE is enjoying (and sometimes suffering from). As a result, GNOME has become more and more solid with each recent release, which I believe has played to its advantage. On the other hand, KDE is relentlessly evolving, and even if that aggressive development is risky at times, it is already bringing tangible results. I believe it just needs a small effort to rationalize all concepts and settle down a few features to more stable levels.

      If I had to say which one is best today, I would have to go with GNOME, if only because I consider its superior reliability a critical element. Looking forward, though, the picture is anything but clear. The GNOME shell has been heavily criticized and suffers from never ending delays (which may explain why Ubuntu has decided to drop its use and go with Unity). The latest KDE releases are achieving the exact opposite, getting users excited with recent releases and the vast improvements that came with them. I believe that the final release of the GNOME shell and KDE SC 5.0 (which may coincide in the second half of 2011) will be the decisive point that may tilt the balance one way or the other.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Frank Karlitschek Introduces Bretzn

        Current features of the API include categories, screen shots, change logs, commenting, rating, search and update notification. Furthermore, applications can be either free or paid; payment goes directly to the developer. Not all AppStore clients include all features right now. The KDE GHNS (Get Hot New Stuff) client is probably the most complete as it has been around the longest.

        Social features include providing notifications directly to the desktop using the Social Desktop API. This includes categories such as “what my friends like”, “what my friends develop” and Knowledge Base integration.

        The project is 3/4 complete, and the team intends to ship in December. They are working with other openSUSE developers to make a proof-of-concept openSUSE AppStore that they want to ship in the upcoming openSUSE 11.4 release.

      • Martin Eisenhardt

        Five years is a very long time in software; just look back to 2005 and remember how things were back then. Therefore, I do not have a clear vision as such, but rather like to envision a path into the future.

        I believe and hope that KDE will continue to be on the leading edge of modern desktops, and that it keeps developing the kind of neat little (and bigger!) tools that I really like about KDE right now.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Fork Mageia to See Alpha this December

        In light of continuing financial troubles, exiting developers and managers, and the uncertain future of desktop development, a group of former employees and developers–with community supporters–came together to fork Mandriva in order to preserve and further the beloved system. Things have been quiet since the initial announcement of Mageia, until recently. Some details of the plan and a roadmap have now emerged.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14: Who is Reviewing the Reviewers?

          Fedora has had a greatly expanding package set with each successive release… and during each release’s life cycle a significant number of new packages are added to the Fedora Updates repository even though they aren’t updates. A large percentage of packages have updated versions with new features and bug fixes and there are a lot of features for all kinds of users including desktop users. In fact, the amount of software overlap that exists between all of the mainstream Linux distros is a bit scary. There really isn’t that much of a difference with the most commonly used software packages across them.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Unity

          During the presentation Shuttleworth goes to great lengths to discuss the rational basis of choices made and the history of the project. That helps me understand what it is about. The goals of Unity and how they are progressing towards them seem appropriate and likely to succeed.

        • Linux Mint Not To Switch To Unity

          Mint is one of the most polished GNU/Linux distros based on Ubuntu. Canonical recently announced that they are abandoning the upcoming Gnome Shell and move to Unity along with a long-term plan to replace X with Wayland. This raises the question, what will happen to Linux Mint which is an Ubuntu derivative?

          Clement Lefebvre, Linux Mint, told Muktware, “We’re not planning to switch to Unity but to keep our desktop as similar as it is at the moment. So it’s hard to say how we’ll achieve this technically but we’re aiming at using Gnome without Gnome Shell :)”

          This is good news for Gnome fans, who neither wanted the new Gnome Shell or Unity.

        • The Future for Linux Doesn’t Lie in Retracing Old Footsteps

          As the computing model shifts from desktop-centric usage to usage on mobile devices of all stripes, the world of Linux is responding in impressively fleet-footed fashion, but that’s not necessarily true of all users. Many Linux users still see the desktop computer as the Holy Grail, and foresee future success for Linux in mimicking the strategies of companies such as Microsoft and Apple, which historically focused on dominance on the desktop.

          For example, the Muktware blog ponders whether Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth can be the next Steve Jobs. Is that even what Shuttleworth’s goal should be, though?

        • Why Canonical should buy System76

          Canonical seems to be pursuing a very Apple-like strategy with Ubuntu. This might be a winning strategy, but the company is missing one major piece: Its own hardware. Canonical needs to stop waiting on mainstream OEMs to get excited about Linux on the desktop and buy its own OEM, like System76.

          In recent weeks the company has announced that it would be replacing GNOME’s default UI in its next release, and has embraced a replacement for X on the desktop called Wayland. Canonical have been putting much of its development muscle behind Ubuntu One in the last few releases, and on a lot of polish for the desktop look and feel, and they’ve been replacing many desktop applications with simpler software in an attempt to ensure that the Ubuntu desktop is suitable for mainstream users. But all of this isn’t worth diddly if they can’t get Ubuntu in front of more mainstream users — and Canonical is in for a long string of disappointments if they’re hoping Dell, HP, or any other major OEM will back Ubuntu in a real way.

        • on glorious leaders

          Yet, here’s the thing. Wayland’s been around for years. Anyone who’s moderately involved in Linux graphics stuff – even just an interested observer like me, hell, like anyone who reads Phoronix – knew about it already. The vision was out there for anyone who cared. Yet still, Mark saying ‘oh hey this looks neat’ becomes a huge splash. Why? I don’t know, really. Because Mark is Mark, I suppose.

          I’d get much more excited about a blog post from an engineer – oh happy day if it were a Canonical engineer – saying ‘hey, look at all this neat work I’m doing to make GTK+ work with Wayland’ or ‘hey, look at these improvements I’m making in nouveau to support Wayland use’ and then noting ‘this is because we want to take Wayland to the desktop’. But maybe that’s just my prejudice. I think it’s kind of sad that it seems like you need a Glorious Leader to have the world sit up and take notice of something, but especially in software, it seems like it’s the case.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Adventures in Kubuntu: Day two

            Yes, I know it’s been more than a day since the Day One post, but I didn’t really do anything with the Kubuntu machine the next day.

            Today I installed kubuntu-desktop on my laptop to see what it would be like to work all day in the KDE environment. I was emboldened by one of the commenters’ instructions on how to get a more “normal” desktop, so I tried that, and it worked. I figured, if I can just go back to that paradigm to get through the workday, I should be okay.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • First look at MeeGo v1.0 netbook operating system

          MeeGo Linux is a custom operating system designed for netbooks, smartphones, and other internet-connected devices. Today MeeGo v1.0 was released, and this video provides an overview of some of the features of the operating system.

        • Comparing Netbook Desktops – Part 4, MeeGo

          After having looked at three more or less “traditional” Linux desktops on a netbook – Ubuntu Unity, KDE Plasma Netbook and Jolicloud – now I am going to look at a very un-traditional desktop, MeeGo. Descended from the Moblin project, and now being developed jointly by Intel and Nokia, MeeGo is intended to be a user interface for the entire range of mobile products, including netbooks, tablets, smart phones and more. As such, it is designed to be as general and flexible as possible, and is very “visual” and “touch” oriented. It will be intersting to see how this plays out in the market, if/when we finally start to see some MeeGo devices become generally available.


          In summary, I would say that I have been quite pleasantly surprised by MeeGo while writing this short review. When I have looked at it previously, both as MeeGo 1.0 and as Moblin before that, I found it quite confusing, and so buggy that it was difficult to determine what parts I didn’t understand and what parts just weren’t working properly.

Free Software/Open Source

  • NZ Open Source Awards winners announced

    This evening the NZ Open Source Awards 2010 celebrated and rewarded the best and most innovative in New Zealand’s open source software at a gala event attended by more than 200 people at the Intercontinental Wellington with Mark Cubey, Producer of Saturday Morning with Kim Hill on Radio New Zealand, as MC.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • Apache declares war on Oracle over Java

      Charging that Oracle has willfully disregarded the licensing terms for its own Java technology, the Apache Software Foundation has called upon other members of the Java Community Process (JCP) to vote against the next proposed version of the language, should Oracle continue to impose restrictions on open-source Java use.

      The nonprofit organization has also indicated that it could end its involvement in the JCP if the licensing restrictions stay in place.

    • The Java Trap

    • The LilyPond Report #22

      What’s not to love with GNU LilyPond? Meaning: is it at all possible, either to mildly appreciate it, or perhaps even to hate the hell out of it?

      On our reviews page, I recently stumbled upon Nicolas Sceaux’s statement that he used to have “a love-hate relationship” with LilyPond. Coming from arguably the most skilled LilyPonder in the world, this is somehow surprising.

    • Compiler Benchmarks Of GCC, LLVM-GCC, DragonEgg, Clang

      LLVM 2.8 was released last month with the Clang compiler having feature-complete C++ support, enhancements to the DragonEgg GCC plug-in, a near feature-complete alternative to libstdc++, a drop-in system assembler, ARM code-generation improvements, and many other changes. With there being great interest in the Low-Level Virtual Machine, we have conducted a large LLVM-focused compiler comparison at Phoronix of GCC with versions 4.2.1 through 4.6-20101030, GCC 4.5.1 using the DragonEgg 2.8 plug-in, LLVM-GCC with LLVM 2.8 and GCC 4.2, and lastly with Clang on LLVM 2.8.

    • Is it time for Free software to move on?

      As this section from the initial 1983 announcement of the GNU project shows, Stallman naturally focussed on the key software components of an operating system: kernel plus editor, shell, C compiler, linker, assembler, etc. Once these were available, the idea was to move on to user space – things like text formatters, games and even a spreadsheet.

      Of course, this plan was rather derailed by the difficulty in getting the very first of these – the kernel – sorted out. It was only when a Finnish student working in his Helsinki bedroom offered his “just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like GNU” project that things finally began to fall into place. By then, nearly ten years had passed since the original call to digital arms by RMS, and the computing world had moved on.


      Of course, this did not mean that work on the lower levels of free software ceased. Quite the contrary: the Linux kernel and other infrastructural programs continued to advance, and soon came to dominate areas like supercomputing, where 91% of the top 500 machines run some form of Linux, and enterprise systems, where GNU/Linux is now widely deployed in mission-critical roles.

      One particularly important development in free software on the desktop was the appearance of Mozilla, and then Firefox. This reflected the corresponding rise of the internet as the principal motor of computing innovation. Aside from the respectable market share that Firefox now holds, its main effect has been to force Microsoft to support more open Web standards. This creates a level playing field for Web applications, whether or not people are using Firefox.


      As this makes clear, all the options of proprietary apps can be mimicked with this new system, including the ability to charge for them. But unlike the mobile apps on the iPhone, say, there will be multiple app stores offering such open web apps: no one company will be able to dictate terms for inclusion. Even better, these new kinds of apps will be cross-platform, thus reversing the tendency to lock users into one particular hardware choice.

  • Government

    • East meets West: the U.S.-India open government dialogue

      Both governments also agreed to work together to advance open government globally and to share best practices, encourage collaborative models, as well as to spur innovations that empower citizens, and foster effective government in other interested countries.

      And when it comes to “collaborative models,” can there be any collaborative model that has been more successful than open source?

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Uncovering open access

        To the general public, “doing science” is all about discovery. But in truth, that’s only half the picture. Consider the experience of an obscure nineteenth-century Augustinian monk…

        From 1856 to 1863, Gregor Mendel cultivated and observed 29,000 pea plants and managed to unlock some of the secrets of heredity, including the concepts of dominant and recessive traits.

        In 1865, Mendel presented his findings as a two-part lecture, “Experiments on Plant Hybridization,” before the tiny Natural History Society of Brünn (present-day Brno, Czech Republic). A year later, he published his findings in the society’s Proceedings, of which 115 copies are known to have been distributed. With that, his painstaking work disappeared—virtually without a trace—for 35 years. In scientific terms, an eon.


  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Conclusion Nears With “Technical Round” Set For Late November

          Newly leaked documents from the European Union shed new light into the latest ACTA developments, indicating that the U.S. and E.U. are nearing agreement on the outstanding issues and that a further “technical round” – seemingly round 12 by another name – is set for Sydney, Australia from November 30th to December 3rd (or possibly the 4th).

        • EU: ACTA Digital Lock Rules Don’t Cover Access Controls

          Newly leaked documents produced by the European Commission provide insight into the EU’s view on the ACTA Internet enforcement chapter. The analysis confirms what should be obvious from the text – ACTA retains the flexibility that exists at international law in the digital lock rules by linking circumvention with copyright infringement. The EU interpretation again demonstrates that the Bill C-32 digital lock rules go far beyond what is required within WIPO and now within ACTA. Indeed, the European Commission states unequivocally that ACTA does not cover access controls nor acts not prohibited by copyright (would could include fair dealing). This provides further evidence that compromise language that links circumvention with actual copyright infringement is possible within Bill C-32 that will still allow Canada to be compliant with WIPO and ACTA.

        • Draft November II Resolution on ACTA
        • Digital locks, iPod levy are Copyright bill contentions

          Bill C-32 passed second reading in the House of Commons Nov. 5 and has been passed on to committee for debate. At issue are the bill’s protection of digital locks, which can be used to prevent a consumer from copying a DVD to a computer, for example. The bill also excludes the collection of a levy to compensate creators and copyright owners for the legitimate copying of their works.

          The bill is the third attempt by the Conservative government to update Canada’s copyright law. It follows a series of public consultations held over the summer of 2009 by Industry Minister Tony Clement and Heritage Minister James Moore.

          C-32′s digital locks provision is a central element of the bill and those who argue against it are wrong, Moore said in the House during question period.

Clip of the Day

Virtual Desktops

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 9/11/2010: GNOME Shell 2.91.2 Released, Linux Pre-Installed Advice

Posted in News Roundup at 3:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Thanks for the $3700, Linux

    I have a fun question for Linux users today: What will you do with your US$3700?

    That’s the money you won’t have to pay to Microsoft, over the course of your lifetime, to use your computer.

    That number might sound a bit random, but there is a vague resemblance of math behind it.

  • Tales From the Linux Dark Side
  • 24 things we’d change about Linux

    If you use Linux long enough, you’ll soon discover a list of things you wished were different.

    Here are 24 things that we wish were different.

    What would you change? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • Why You Should Only Buy Linux Pre-Installed on your Systems

    The market share is still based flatly on the number of units sold—the thing business people care about.

  • Linux life savers for paranoid penguins

    Best of Linux So far, in my look at Linux compared to Mac and Windows, I’ve covered music players, photo organizers, and video editors. But all those apps – and all the documents they create – are lost if your hard drive crashes, your laptop takes a spill, or some other catastrophe strikes.

    If you have documents, you must have a backup solution – Mac users at least have the option of Time Machine and Windows offers Live Drive. In this final installment of my look at the Linux desktop, I’ll assess how Linux stacks up against backup solutions for Windows and OS X.

  • Learning to Program

    Linux user who wants to learn computer programming. Linux is an excellent choice for this, because there are a huge number of programming languages available for it….and all free.

  • How do I compile my windows programs under Linux?

    Lets just imagine that we are a programming gurus. We have written all sorts of programs from spread sheets, financial, graphical drawing, GIS and even lotto programs. We have done silly little programs which move animated faces around the screen and written programs for constructing kitchens. When it comes to programming in windows there is nothing we cannot do.

  • Desktop

    • Linux: Does Being Competitive with Windows Matter?

      The difference is that things are happening in reverse this time. Linspire, nearing its demise, was becoming more “open” with their Freespire distribution efforts, while Ubuntu is locking down default installations with its Unity desktop. And the Ubuntu application store is demonstrating a remarkable similarity to that of Linspire’s CNR software management concept.

    • The Linux Alternative To Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 Goes Into Beta

      Userful Corporation, the global leader in Linux desktop virtualization, today released a Beta version of it’s Linux alternative to Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server 2010. The software, named Userful MultiSeat Linux 2011TM, turns 1 Linux computer into 10 high performance independent computer stations. It offers the same features as Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server 2010, plus some additional features MultiPoint lacks such as hundreds of free educational software applications, and a suite of tools for managing classroom computers.

      Calgary, AB – Userful Corporation, the global leader in Linux desktop virtualization, today released a Beta version of its Linux alternative to Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server 2010. The software, named Userful MultiSeat Linux 2011TM, turns 1 Linux computer into 10 high performance independent computer stations. It offers the same features as Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server 2010, plus some additional features MultiPoint lacks such as hundreds of free educational software applications, and a suite of tools for managing classroom computers. Userful MultiSeatTM also has higher video performance than Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server 2010, and at just $59 per seat (education pricing, commercially available Q4 2010), and with no server licensing costs, it is also a lower cost alternative.

  • Server

    • Smackdown: Linux on X64 Versus IBM i on Entry Power 7XXs

      IBM should be grateful that Linux and open source relational databases like MySQL (now from Oracle) and PostgreSQL (which is commercially supported by EnterpriseDB are about as unfamiliar as Vulcan is to those who speak Klingon but have managed a little broken English. (Yes, that was a metaphor for Unix or Linux, IBM i, and Windows.) Because as cheap as the more familiar Windows entry servers are compared to entry and midrange Power7 servers, Linux systems are even less costly.

  • Kernel Space

    • FSFLA: Linux kernel is “open core”

      Linux hasn’t got any Freer between the Linux-2.6.33-libre announcement, back in March, and the present announcement, that marks the release of Linux-2.6.36-libre. Linux now contains more non-Free Software, and more drivers in its Free core that require separately distributed non-Free Software to function.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Nautilus-Elementary is dead, long live ‘Marlin’

        The honeymoon is over folks: Nautilus-elementary is no longer being actively developed.

      • Taking Nautilus Terminal for a spin

        While I keep telling people that you don’t need to use the command line in order to use Linux, I find that it’s a useful and sometimes indispensable tool. I have a number of scripts and utilities that I use at the command line to get various jobs done.

        Why? A lot of the time, especially if I’m trying to process a lot of information or a number of files at once, the command line is faster than a comparable GUI tool. Assuming that there is a GUI tool that can do what I do at the command line.

      • Playing with EDID and rawhide
      • GNOME Shell 2.91.2 released

        GNOME Shell provides core user interface functions for the GNOME 3 desktop, like switching to windows and launching applications. GNOME Shell takes advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware and introduces innovative user interface concepts to provide a visually attractive and easy to use experience.

  • Distributions

    • Alternative Linux distros that deserve the limelight

      Ubuntu might be the most popular Linux, but there are two other desktop distributions which have a lot to offer but aren’t getting the publicity they deserve, says Ashton Mills.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • KDE 4.5.3 available for Mandriva 2010 !!

        mikala has done KDE 4.5.3 packages for Mandriva 2010 Spring, thank you !! this time (or at least for now) the packages aren’t available in KDE FTP as usual but in Mandriva Italia Backports (MIB) FTP.

      • Expected roadmap for Mageia project.


        * (first alpha version) release
        * project put offline for holidays
        * holidays/new year’s eve message for the project to plan

      • Mandriva Linux first to include the exploitation of virtualization technologies at the system level

        Mandriva, the publisher of the Mandriva Linux operating system, and the OpenVZ project announced today that the system Operating OpenVZ virtualization software will be included as part of the Mandriva Corporate Server 4.0.

        OpenVZ is running on the server system software virtualization technology, built on Linux, which creates isolated, secure virtual environments on a single physical server – enabling greater server utilization and superior availability with fewer performance penalties. The virtual servers ensure that applications are not incompatible and can be rebooted independently.

        Mandriva Corporate Server 4.0 is the basis of an open source infrastructure stable and profitable for organizations building on Linux.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Savvytek achieves Red Hat partnership in Saudi and Qatar

        Savvytek, a Red Hat Premier Business Partner and Certified Training Partner operating in Jordan, has taken an important step in strengthening its partnership with Red Hat by achieving accreditation as a Red Hat Ready Business Partner to operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Qatar.

      • Fedora

        • Trying on a new Fedora

          In the end the impression I get from Fedora is that it is more a development and testing platform than it is a desktop for your average home user. There is very little multimedia support, no Flash, and (on the live CD) no office suite installed by default and the project maintains a short support cycle (about thirteen months). The project has a more friendly feel to it now than it did six months ago, but it is still targeting the more technically inclined members of the community who don’t mind working around the occasional quirk. If you like to stay on the cutting edge without being cut, or if you want to keep up with the technology going into Red Hat, then Fedora 14 is an excellent choice.

        • Fedora Scholarship Program Encourages Open Source Innovation

          The Fedora Project, a Red Hat, Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!rht/quotes/nls/rht (RHT 43.20, +0.19, +0.44%) sponsored and community-supported open source collaboration, today announced the opening of the 2011 Fedora Scholarship program, recognizing college and university-bound students across the globe for their contributions to free software and the Fedora Project. The Fedora Scholarship is awarded to one high school senior each year to assist with the recipient’s college or university education. This will mark the fourth year of this annual scholarship program as the Fedora Project continues to encourage young students to use and contribute to open source software.

        • Fedora Board Meeting, 8 Nov 2010

          Just as a quick reminder, the Fedora Board has been following a new schedule over the past month or so. This new schedule works as follows:

          * Every Monday, the Board will meet via phone at 2 PM Eastern time (1900 UTC atm).
          * Every other Friday (the next one is this Friday, 12 Nov), the Board will hold a public ‘office hours’ style questions & answers session in #fedora-board-meeting at 2 PM Eastern time.

    • Debian Family

      • 5 reasons why a Debian package is more than a simple file archive

        You’re probably manipulating Debian packages everyday, but do you know what those files are? This article will show you their bowels… Surely they are more than file archives otherwise we would just use TAR archives (you know those files ending with .tar.gz). Let’s have a look!

      • Debian Project News – November 8th, 2010

        Welcome to this year’s fifteenth issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:

        * Debian and “Google Code-in 2010″
        * Report from openSUSE Conference
        * Debian Installer 6.0 Beta1 release
        * Minutes from mini-DebConf Paris
        * Mini-DebConf in Ho Chi Minh City
        * Bits from the Website Team
        * Further “This week in Debian” interviews
        * … and much more.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • The new Linux Desktop: Ubuntu’s Unity

          That’s no accident. Yes, Ubuntu is based on Linux, and the Unity desktop is built on GNOME, but at this point I think Canonical has decided that everyone who’s ever going to use a “Linux” desktop is already there. Therefore, to broaden the Ubuntu Linux desktop base they needed to reach users who know nothing about Linux.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Delayed, Release Schedule Changed

          The release schedule for Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system has been modified last week on the Ubuntu wiki. The distribution will still be released at the end of April 2011. The first Alpha version was supposed to be available for testing last Thursday, November 4th.

          For Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), the Ubuntu developers decided to change the release schedule again, to 3 Alpha versions instead of 5, a single Beta release, and a Release Candidate. Here is the new release schedule for Ubuntu 11.04:

          December 2nd, 2010 – Alpha 1 release
          February 3rd, 2011 – Alpha 2 release
          March 3rd, 2011 – Alpha 3 release
          March 31st, 2011 – Beta release
          April 21st, 2011 – Release Candidate
          April 28th, 2011 – Final release of Ubuntu 11.04

        • The new Linux Desktop: Ubuntu’s Unity

          The Linux desktop has been around for more than a decade now. Despite its best efforts, and Microsoft’s dumbest missteps — I’m looking at you, Vista — it’s never owned more than a fraction of the market. Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, plans on changing that with its Unity desktop.

        • Announcing openrespect.org

          Recently I blogged about some concerns that I have had about increasing disrespect in the Open Source, Free Software, and Free Culture communities. My blog entry shared some of the work I started on an OpenRespect Declaration, but I wasn’t sure if I should publish it.

          I did some thinking on this, and reviewed some of the fantastic comments on my blog, and I decided to go ahead and launch openrespect.org. There I have listed the declaration with a few extra points about:

          * the importance of honesty (thanks Jef Spaleta for the suggestion)
          * the importance of remembering that people pour their heart and soul into their work

        • Ubuntu Colored – Beautiful Ubuntu Wallpaper Collection

          A lot of you hate any kind of branding in wallpapers and hence will love the default wallpaper collection for Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. But some of us including me won’t mind a bit of branding in wallpapers especially if the branding is all about Ubuntu and Linux. Try this simple, elegant collection of Ubuntu wallpapers.

        • Canonical axing X Windows: What will it mean for the next version of Ubuntu?

          In yet another recent announcement that had the Linux community looking like the proverbial “deer in headlights,” Canonical has announced that in an iteration of Ubuntu it might very well drop X Windows in favor of Wayland. This comes on the heels of Mark Shuttleworth’s recent announcement that 11.04 would see Ubuntu leave behind the GNOME Shell in favor of Ubuntu Unity. That was a tiny drop in the bucket compared to this latest consideration.

        • It’s All in the Wording

          This headline caught my eye:Ubuntu To Ditch X For Wayland. Note the word ditch. This gives a negative spin on an otherwise positive story. Ubuntu is supporting Wayland which the person writing calls a “more modern alternative” to X and likes the decision. So why write it in a negative light if they are supporting something that is worthy of support?

          There have been hundreds of such posts. Ubuntu Ditches GNOME or Ubuntu Dumps GNOME are examples. The theme here is that Canonical or Ubuntu are bad boys. Words like ditch and dump are succinct, but pejorative, implying that Ubuntu and Canonical are disloyal philanderers or worse.

        • Why Wayland is good for the future of Ubuntu, Canonical, etc.

          Without being a X expert, some of the issues that were critical in the (announced) move from X server to Wayland

          Hardware support : I strongly recommend to run Linux only on hardware with a well supported video driver : without a well supported driver, the experience can be daunting, especially on a thin-client. X was supposed to be hardware independent, lightweight and provide great performance.

          However these fights had been lost long ago : I’ve learned the hard way that not all X drivers are equals : open-source or not, how many XV channels are supported, 3D (what version exactly, etc.). In fact, selecting good quality desktop or thin-client hardware is a service we sold to our customers !

          Size matters : a default X.org server, on my desktop where I wrote this blog is 64Mb (without cache), 180Mb (with cache) on a Ubuntu 10.10, 64 bit with regular 3D effects. Well, on a phone with 256Mb or RAM or on an ARM based thin client with 64Mb, this is not good. I can imagine it also has an impact on battery life on the mobile devices.

        • Shuttleworth: critics would do well to get a clue

          To the logical mind, it is quite clear why Shuttleworth has taken these steps. He has tried, for some time, unsuccessfully, to get upstream projects to follow his vision for what GNU/Linux on devices – the desktop, the notebook, the netbook, the plethora of mobiles – should look and feel like.

          Having failed to convince anyone, he has now decided that if Ubuntu is to continue to make headway, it has to distinguish itself from the rest. His model is Apple, which, despite having a much smaller share of the market than Microsoft, is still a major force with which to reckon in the tech space.

          Shuttleworth isn’t in a great hurry; he appears to be fully aware of the magnitude of the changes he is undertaking, with statements like this about the switch to Wayland: “Timeframes are difficult. I’m sure we could deliver *something* in six months, but I think a year is more realistic for the first images that will be widely useful in our community. I’d love to be proven conservative on that :-) but I suspect it’s more likely to err the other way. It might take four or more years to really move the ecosystem.”

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 217

          This is Issue #217 for the period October 17th, 2010 – November 7th, 2010 and is available in full here.

          In this issue we cover:

          * UWN Catchup, Help the Graner Family
          * Ubuntu 11.04 to Ship Unity
          * Unity on Wayland
          * Emmet Hickory replaces Richard Johnson on Community Council
          * Ubuntu Cloud Community Needs You
          * Yes, we did it: SpreadUbuntu.org is up now!
          * Ubuntu Stats
          * First Mountain View Ubuntu Hour
          * Meet Ian Booth
          * New Features for Bug Supervisors
          * Stéphane Graber: Edubuntu live now available online
          * Daniel Holbach: Much Imporved Harvest Online Again
          * Randall Ross: Wither Brainstorm
          * Matt Zimmerman: Ubuntu and Qt
          * Valorie Zimmerman: Listening to Our Better Angels
          * Raphael Hertzog: Managing distribution-specific patches with a common source package
          * Jorge Castro: How I use Banshee
          * Ubuntu, open source apps use on the rise: Linux Users Group
          * Donate your bandwidth to support Ubuntu downloads
          * Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat: One Hit, One Miss
          * Level Up to IPv6 with Ubuntu 10.10 on Comcast
          * Boosting Ubuntu’s Productivity: 20 Tips
          * Ubuntu Netbook 10.10: Usability vs. Constraints
          * Unity and uTouch
          * Banshee becomes Ubuntu 11.04 default music player
          * Mark Shuttleworth talks Project Harmony, Unity, Windicators and more
          * Mark Shuttleworth denies move to Open Core
          * London Stock Exchange Sets a New World Record in Trade Speed Using Linux
          * Canonical Highlights Touch Support on Ubuntu Netbooks
          * Ubuntu UK Podcast S03E19 – If we only knew
          * Full Circle Podcast #13: The One Where You’re a Rabbit
          * Ucasts 0003: Update Manager Introduction
          * Weekly Ubuntu Development Team Meetings
          * Upcoming Meetings and Events
          * Updates and Security Notices

        • OMG! 5! – Five alternative apps for ALT+F2 functionality in Unity
        • Remmina to be Ubuntu’s new remote desktop app

          GTK app Remmina is to replace TSClient as the default remote desktop client in Ubuntu 11.04.

          The tool is a capable successor to tsclient with many great features and support for multiple network protocols – including RDP – all of which is wrapped up in a consistant and accessible interface.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Quick Look: Ubuntu Muslim Edition 10.10 (Sabily Al Quds)

            A while back, I did a full review of Ubuntu Muslim Edition 10.04 on Desktop Linux Reviews. This time around I’ll be covering the 10.10 version of that distro. The official name of this distro is simply “Sabily,” and this particular release is dubbed “Al Quds.” However, I have simply renamed it “Ubuntu Muslim Edition 10.10″ for this quick look, to make it easier for folks to know exactly what it is.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Procurement jobs: Desktop productivity tools ‘key to open source’

    For those in procurement jobs, the use of desktop productivity tools could be the best way for open source to become more widely adopted across the government, it was argued.

    This is the view of the government’s deputy chief information officer Bill McCluggage, who reckons that there is still a lot to be done over the next few years to get a “level playing field for the open source environment”.

  • Icelandic developer receives Nordic Free Software Award

    Bjarni Rúnar Einarsson, Free Software developer and community builder from Iceland, has received the Nordic Free Software Award.

    This annual prize was awarded on Saturday by Föreningen för Fri Kultur och Programvara and Free Software Foundation Europe at the Free Software Conference and Nordic Summit (FSCONS) which took place in Gothenburg, Sweden this weekend.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Happy birthday Firefox!

        Six years ago today, (9 November 2004), Firefox 1.0 hit the servers.

        Development of the browser was officially announced in April 2003 and originally called Phoenix — raising the ire of the trademark holders. Renaming it Firebird raised the ire of the free database software developers, so it was finally branded Firefox nine months before it’s inital release.

  • Education

    • Shiny open source software for the next generation in schools

      It looks to me like Android, thanks to the phone market, is set to join server Linux as being ‘shiny’.

      So I predict that the first school slates (as trailed in my previous blog) will be Google-Android powered (…or possibly the OLPC) and that young Africans will prefer them to multipoint ancient hardware….or did you pick the Windows 7 slate?

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Open core by the numbers

        Given the ongoing and recently increased interest in the open core licensing strategy there have been numerous statements made about its relative popularity, the reasons for its adoption, and the impact it has on collaborative development.

        As part of our recently released report on the evolution of open source-related business strategies we evaluated the strategies of 300 companies that are engaged in generating revenue from open source software.



  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • 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.

      Agents were funneling every passenger at this particular checkpoint through a newly installed back-scatter body imaging device, which allows the agency’s security officers to, in essence, see under your clothing. The machine captures an image of your naked self, including your genitals, and sends the image to an agent in a separate room. I don’t object to stringent security (as you will soon see), but I do object to meaningless security theater (Bruce Schneier’s phrase), and I believe that we would be better off if the TSA focused its attentions on learning the identity and background of each passenger, rather than on checking whether passengers are carrying contraband (as I suggested in this article, it is possible for a moderately clever person to move contraband through TSA screenings with a fair amount of ease, even with this new technology).

    • No appetite for prosecution: In memoir, Bush admits he authorized the use of torture, but no one cares

      On Guantánamo, the only comments in the book that have so far emerged are insultingly flippant, which is disgraceful from the man who shredded the Geneva Conventions and authorized an unprecedented program of arbitrary detention, coercive interrogation and torture. In addition, Bush’s baleful legacy lives on in the cases of the 174 men still held, in the recent show trial of Omar Khadr, and in the complacency regarding the basis for detaining prisoners of the “War on Terror” — the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress the week after the 9/11 attacks — on which Barack Obama continues to rely, despite its formidable shortcomings.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ‘Sustainable wood’ may still cause damage

      Lisa Kellman of the Environmental Sciences Research Center at St. Francis Xavier University, Canada, and her team have been investigating the impact that forest harvesting has on the underlying soil. It seems that the damage goes deeper than previously thought and lasts for much longer than traditionally assumed.

  • Finance

    • Are Credit Card Lines Growing? No.

      Are banks raising credit card limits? Well, no.

      But there are signs that consumers are asking for more credit.

      The New York Fed released data today that appeared to show total available credit card limits — the amount the banks will let us spend if we wish to do so — rose $69 billion to $2.77 trillion. That figure had been falling for seven consecutive quarters, and the reversal seemed significant to me.

      But after I posted a blog pointing to the trend, the Fed called to say the numbers might be wrong. Then it said they are wrong. The actual total of credit lines is $2.68 trillion, down around $20 billion from the previous quarter.

    • Obama Presses to Complete Free-Trade Deal With South Korea

      The White House is intensifying negotiations with South Korea on revising a free-trade agreement negotiated by the Bush administration, even though the accord still faces opposition from Democratic politicians, labor unions and the Ford Motor Company.

    • Palin Lashes Out At Bernanke, Urging Him To ‘Cease And Desist’ Purchase Of Treasuries

      In an unusual detour, Sarah Palin waded into monetary policy Monday, lashing out at Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and urging him to “cease and desist” his attempt to jumpstart the economic recovery by committing to buy up to $900 billion in U.S. government debt.

    • Amateur Hour At The Federal Reserve

      As any student of Economics 101 realises, you can control the price of something, or the quantity, but not both simultaneously. In announcing its decision to purchase an additional $600bn of treasuries last week, the Federal Reserve was presumably motivated to create additional stimulus to an economy, whose growth trajectory has hitherto been insufficient to make a dent in unemployment. Even Friday’s “good” unemployment numbers, where the US economy added 151,000 jobs, was not enough to reduce the current jobless rate of 9.6%.

    • German exports up 22.5 percent in September

      Germany’s Federal Statistics Office says exports rose 22.5 percent in September compared the same month a year ago as the country continues its recovery from the financial crisis.

    • H. Paulson: an “Interested” Man from Goldman Sachs

      Conflicts of interest abounded in and around Mr. Paulson when he was in office. In 2008, The Huffington Post listed those conflicts in this article.

    • Ben Bernanke’s QE2 is misguided

      It is a somewhat ironic coincidence that on the same day as the American electorate rejected out of hand any more talk of fiscal stimulus, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, writing in the Washington Post, reaffirmed his commitment to a different kind of stimulus – the monetary variety. Starting this month, and continuing up until mid-2011, the Fed intends to buy $600bn of US treasury bonds in the open market. This programme will be known as “quantitative easing 2″ or QE2; its express intention being to tackle unemployment. Unencumbered by an electorate resolutely opposed to a fiscal stimulus, some of the country’s finest monetary economists remain committed to stimulating the economy in an entirely different way.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • What Does Rand Paul’s America Look Like?

      First, Paul believes that the federal government has minimal power to regulate how private property owners use their property, or how private business owners manage their businesses or employees. In Paul’s interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, he explains that he opposes the ban on whites-only lunch counters because he “believe[]s in private ownership.” During his lengthy interview with Rachel Maddow, Paul explained that he supports the parts of the Civil Right Act of 1964 that limit government discrimination, but that he rejects the “one title” of the Act that limits private activities (for the record, there are at least two titles of the original Civil Rights Act that limit private actors. Title II prohibits discrimination by restaurants, hotels and other public accommodations; Title VII forbids employment discrimination). Similarly, in his interview with NPR, Paul explains that his shield surrounding private businesses extends well beyond the civil rights context. When asked how he feels about “the degree of oversight of the mining and oil-drilling industries,” Paul responded “I think that most manufacturing and mining should be under the purview of state authorities.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Neelie on Copyright

        My thinking lately is that the basic concept of copyright is flawed in the digital age. In the days of the first printing presses, the idea was that the creator of a work should have a head-start on the world for copying.

      • LimeWire Resurrected By Secret Dev Team

        Last month, the Gnutella-based file-sharing client LimeWire was effectively outlawed after a U.S. federal judge granted a request from the RIAA to shut the software down. Now, not even a month later, LimeWire is back as good as new. Not only has a secret dev team reanimated the hugely popular client, but they have also made a few significant changes which make it better and more streamlined than before.

      • Operation Payback: That’s All (for now), Folks

        Operation: Payback came roaring into the Internet landscape and left behind a slew of battered websites, a suspended P2P litigation campaign in the UK, an embarrassed law firm, and a humbled KISS frontman. In what may be a new method of Internet activism, or, as some would say, ‘hacktivism’, Operation: Payback has largely concluded its campaign after nearly two months of pillaging various anti-P2P websites. Let’s take look at this bizarre chapter of Internet history.

        It all began innocently enough on September 18, 2010. Members of Operation: Payback concluded recruiting enough people across the 4chan message boards, and launched their raid on the MPAA.org’s website with a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. A lot of media sources will tell you that 4chan attacked the MPAA, but this is not correct. 4chan was merely used as an organizational platform. You’ll also hear this was organized by Anonymous. This too isn’t totally correct. Supporters of Operation: Payback definitely include some members of Anonymous and of 4chan, but the reality is that participants came from numerous organizations and groups, and indeed loners, from across the Internet.

Clip of the Day

[ubuntu] The Future Is NOW 2010 (Version Finale, Main)

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 8/11/2010: Compiz in Wayland, Telstra Claimed Violating GPL

Posted in News Roundup at 4:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux has the best eye-candy!

    No more 2D dekstop computing. Compiz has some very cool effects that you will enjoy and there are many more to come in the future. Check out our screen shots below on how great Linux looks. If you want a desktop operating system just like ours all you have to do is download one of the distributions of GNU/Linux and customize it anyway you want. The only limitation is your own imagination and creativity.

  • Linux, virtualized. The hard way. Twice.

    Every so often, I’ll consider finding some new and creative way to install Gentoo, my Linux distribution of choice. And sometimes, I’ll do it in such a way that it actually doesn’t blow up in my face. I’ve been trying to convince Shane to give it a try, but he hasn’t got an extra machine he can clean out and turn into a test platform. What he did have, though, was an instalation of VMWare and lots of free time on his hands. So it was high past time to shove an OS inside an OS.

  • Helios

    • It Doesn’t Take a Zealot…
    • Getting Linux Into The Right Hands…

      And as a brief aside…that raging argument about Linux not being a drop-in replacement for any other desktop OS?

      Let it die here.

      It’s worked for our kids, and it works for the majority of people who use it. You can nitpick the small details all you want. The fact remains that our kids have been able to successfully use Linux as their Desktop from elementary school up through graduate school.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Last Week in Amarok
      • How simon learned to talk

        Furthermore the best (open) German voices I could find where HTS voices developed with and for the OpenMARY framework. They should theoretically also work with festival so they could be used with Jovie as well if someone wrote a festival configuration set for it. OpenMARY is cross plattform and provides very high quality synthesis but is a very big and heavy Java dependency which needs a lot of resources and is quite slow – even on current hardware (synthesizing a paragraph of text takes around 10 seconds on a Nettop).

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Canonical and Codethink at Bostom GNOME Summit

        Yesterday Cody Russell and I held a session about getting a gesture API into GTK 3.x. There were a great many questions about the uTouch framework, how we’re handling multi-touch in the absence of MT support in X (coming in XInput 2.1), and what sort of dependencies would be needed (none! if GEIS is present on the system, gesture support will be added at build-time). At the end of the session, there was a consensus for Cody to present his plans to the GTK developers list and then to start getting branches reviewed for merge. We’re hoping to make it for GTK 3.2.

    • Xfce

      • Xfce 4.8pre1 Released

        The Xfce development team is proud to announce the first preview release for Xfce 4.8. Together with this preview release, the Xfce project announces the feature freeze for the final 4.8 release which is set to be pushed out to the world on January 16th, 2011.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Distros You Should Try

      Most Linux distros today, come with a trial CD that you can test drive on your system without ever installing Linux in your hard drive.

      Here’s a list of Linux distros that is worth a try.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu no longer ships debian/changelog since Natty?

        Since a few days, I have started to notice that the “Debian” changelog that normally ships with packages no longer appears with a number of recent package updates. Is this intentional?

      • 25 Ubuntu tips for beginners
      • Making room on the Debian Edu/Sqeeze DVD

        Prioritising packages for the Debian Edu / Skolelinux DVD, which is supposed provide a school with all the services and user applications needed on the pupils computer network has always been hard. Even schools without Internet connections should be able to get Debian Edu working using this DVD.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Can Mark Shuttleworth Be The Steve Jobs Of Ubuntu?

          What Apple has done with BSD, Mark has done with Debian and GNU/Linux. He has packaged the amazing Debian as a much loved consumer operating system called Ubuntu.

          Under his leadership, Ubuntu has created a unique position among the three most popular operating systems in the world. If I put these three (Ubuntu, Windows and Mac) operating systems side by side, I find Ubuntu, as a standalone OS, to have a clear edge over the other two. No, it’s not a biased opinion if one looks deeper into the technical aspects verifying this fact (we will get into that later).

        • Compiz in a strange new land

          Mark Shuttleworth recently proposed an idea that a lot of people have been pondering for a while. The idea is simple: the linux desktop needs a new windowing system. While I don’t have enough expertise to make a fair judgement as to whether it’s time to move away from X11 and to something like wayland , I certainly think the idea is interesting. Why not? We have nothing to lose by at least sticking our toes in the water so to speak, and I certainly wouldn’t mind a challenge. So yesterday I took the plunge and compiled wayland for myself, just to try it out.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Review – 2×2, quad monitor

          Finally got 2×2 to work after installing NVidia unsupported (yes, unsupported, comments not needed) drivers. Here is the kicker. When I placed my mouse cursor in the near center, that is center of the 2×2 screens. The mouse would start bouncing around and I would loose all control. Best guess I could make was the different instances of the window manager were not handing off control of mouse correctly. Anyhow, this required a forced shutdown.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Adventures in Kubuntu: Day one

            I intend to keep using Kubuntu for a while, to give it a fair shot and see if I can adapt to it. Last time I made a change like this, it was from Windows XP to Ubuntu, and it was for a similar reason – because I had heard what was coming with Vista and I wanted to be prepared in case I had to switch. That was a much tougher learning curve, and it yielded excellent benefits. I think I can benefit from this too, now that I have an incentive to stick with it and not go scurrying back to Gnome as soon as something unfamiliar breaks my customary ways of doing things. Maybe it’s time to shake it up a little. I might like it, if I give it a chance.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Fusion Garage’s JooJoo exclaims – We’re Still Alive

        JooJoo seems to be crawling back to its feet with its latest developments relating to app support and the incorporation of Android; however it must be noted that the company must do more to capture the market like providing complete Android flexibility to its users, run promotional campaigns, etc. There is the declaration from Rathakrishnan that the new JooJoos will be sold in retail and by mobile operators, maybe even subsidized. So good times could just be awaiting the first ever tablet maker.

      • Archos 70 Tablet with Android 2.2 Available Now

        Following the release of their Archos 43 internet tablet yesterday, Archos has just dropped the new 7-inch model in their store. The 8GB Archos 70 tablet runs Android 2.2 and retails for a reasonable $279.99. The tablet a has resolution of 800×480, features a 1GHz processor, TV output, WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth, and USB support.

Free Software/Open Source

  • IBM at Events

    • ApacheCon keynote presentation
    • The MIT Systems Thinking Conference

      I recently participated in MIT’s 2010 Systems Thinking Conference for Contemporary Challenges. This annual conference is sponsored by Systems Design and Management (SDM) – an interdisciplinary program between MIT’s School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management. The SDM program aims to provide mid-career professionals with a systems perspective that will help them address and solve large-scale, global, complex challenges. Most of the students in the classes I have taught at MIT are enrolled in SDM.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Being more explicit about “open cloud computing”

      I just had a chance to read David Linthicum’s article in InfoWorld called “What does ‘open’ really mean in cloud computing?”. In the piece, David argues that open needs to be more than a marketing term.

  • Licensing

    • Telstra violating open source licence, claims developer

      The telco launched the products this year and has already achieved a degree of success with the T-Hub integrated telephone and T-Box media centre products, selling a total of around 100,000 units combined by the end of September. The T-Touch Tab is one of a wave of tablets based on Google’s Android operating system to hit Australia over the past several months.

      However, in an extensive blog post published yesterday, Angus Gratton — who appears to be an open source software developer and a technician at the Australian National University’s Department of Nuclear Physics — pointed out that all three products were based on the Linux operating system, which has substantial portions licensed under the GNU General Public License.

      Gratton also posted a link to his claim to the GPL violations mailing list, which aims to track and rectify problems where companies are using the licence.

      The GPL violations site interprets the GPL as requiring that companies who distribute products based on GPL-licenced software must make source code to the software available to customers — for example, include a zip file of relevant files on a documentation CD. In addition, a copy of the GPL licence should be included with licence documentation.


  • Science

    • Nissan to surround its cars with safety shields

      In addition to pioneering the world’s first mass-marketed all-electric vehicle — the Leaf — Nissan has been busy developing advanced safety systems that reduce the risk of accidents by wrapping a virtual safety bubble around the car.

      Nissan announced in 1995 that it planned to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in its cars by half within two decades, by introducing a variety of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies into its vehicles. The advanced safety technology involves a combination of intelligent transportation systems, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, and proactive feedback to both the driver and the vehicle.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • David Nutt: I am not a prohibitionist

      Since pointing out this week that alcohol is more harmful than any other drug, I have been painted as an alcohol prohibitionist or, conversely, as someone who wants to legalise all drugs. Neither is true, and this misrepresentation is testament to how sterile this debate has become. We must get beyond this.

      My interest has always been to develop a rational scale of drug harm to enable policymakers to get to grips with a significant social problem, irrespective of legal status. If alcohol was discovered today it would be controlled as an illegal drug alongside similar sedatives such as GHB and GBL. Certainly it is far more dangerous than any other legally available substance. Of course, many people are social drinkers, apparently unharmed by this pleasure. But if only 10% of the 40 million UK drinkers are significantly harmed, this total is still 10 times that of the next most harmful drug, heroin. Many social drinkers also imbibe at well above the safe levels, their health silently damaged.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Does Britain really need the military?

      Six months ago I proposed in the Guardian that if Britain was short of money it should cut defence. I did not mean reduce defence, or trim defence. I meant cut it altogether. We are desperately short of money and absolutely no one is threatening to attack us now or in the foreseeable, indeed conceivable, future. Besides, as we have seen this past week, other ways of ensuring security make more pressing claims on us. We just do not need an army, navy or air force. So why are we paying £45bn for them?

    • WikiLeaks founder urges US to investigate alleged abuse by its troops

      The founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has called on the US to investigate alleged abuses by its troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying it has a “proud tradition” of self-scrutiny.

    • Iraq War Logs throw new light on the Nick Berg mystery

      When Berg was, following the federal court intervention, reluctantly released from US detention, he made his way back to the Al-Fanar hotel in Baghdad. When asked about his experience he unconvincingly laughed it off as a misunderstanding. He refused a free flight out of Baghdad pressed on him by the US Consulate and was last seen alive on 10 April 2004.

    • CIA lawyer: U.S. law does not forbid rendition

      Daniel Pines, an assistant general counsel at the CIA, has asserted in a law journal that the abduction of terrorism suspects abroad is legal under U.S. law, even when the suspect is turned over to countries notorious for torture.

      “There are virtually no legal restrictions on these types of operations,” Pines asserts in the current edition of the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal.

    • Limit jury trials says victims’ champion

      The right to trial by jury in many cases involving lesser offences should be stopped in England and Wales as it is slowing down the prosecution of more serious crimes, the Victims’ Commissioner said on Wednesday.

    • Check-in security and common sense

      Faced with demands to take off his shoes, the former Chancellor explained that as a result of surgery he has had to his legs, he is unable to bend down and therefore needs to sit on a chair to remove his footwear. After much grumbling, a chair was provided with what Lord Lawson’s son Dominic describes as “spectacular gracelessness”.

      Following, this a more senior security officer demanded Lawson hand over his passport. He refused. Following this, the officer ‘phoned ahead to the airline’s passenger gate and ordered EasyJet to deny the peer access to the fight for “not having passed through security”.

    • Body scanner “humiliation”

      She tells us that she was subjected to a humiliating experience at Stansted. She has had both her hips replaced and when going security she was taken off to a room and made to undress to show her operation scars to prove that she had had the surgery claimed.

    • Passenger: they made me strip. Stansted Airport: yeah, that’s what we do.

      I challenged the airport about it. Here’s the airport’s response. You’ll see that they try to have their cake and eat it – on the one hand saying that they don’t require pasengers to strip to show scars and, on the other, in saying you have to go to a private room for a further seach, they basically say, yes, we do that.

    • Airports making money from terror checks

      This week, this blog carried news of an unpleasant case of an elderly lady made to undress and expose scars from a recent hip replacement in order to pass through security at Stansted Airport. We also blogged about Lord Lawson’s treatment at the hands of the check-in gestapo.

    • Pilots boycott full-body scanners over health fears

      THE world’s largest pilot’s association has boycotted full-body scanners over health risks but passengers wishing to avoid the devices may instead be faced with “invasive” pat-down searches.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Channel 4′s convenient green fictions

      Environmentalism is not just about replacing one set of technologies with another. Technological change is important, but it will protect the biosphere only if we also tackle issues such as economic growth, consumerism and corporate power. These are the challenges the green movement asks us to address. These are the issues the film ignores.

    • UN report warns of threat to human progress from climate change

      In its annual flagship report on the state of the world, the UN said unsustainable patterns of consumption and production posed the biggest challenge to the anti-poverty drive.

    • Pollution particles can change the weather

      How cloudy is it today? Is it going to rain? The answer might depend on how much pollution is wafting around in the air above you. Two recent studies published in the journal Science show how particles pumped out of power stations and car exhausts alter weather. The first study, by Antony Clarke and Vladimir Kapustin from the University of Hawaii, analysed pollution levels over different areas of the Pacific ocean over the last 11 years. In the more polluted regions (such as parts of the north Pacific) there were more than 10 times as many particles on which cloud water could condense than there were in pristine regions (such as above Tasmania).

  • Finance

    • How to Restore the American Dream

      Fareed Zakaria recently published a very good cover story in Time Magazine – How to Restore the American Dream – which was also the basis for a special edition of his CNN program Fareed Zakaria GPS. Dr. Zakaria is a renowned journalist an author, and an astute observer of the vast economic and political changes taking place around the world. Last June I heard him give an excellent talk at an IBM conference in Shanghai.

      The basic premise of the Time article and CNN special is that while the forces of technology and globalization helped lead America to the forefront of the world stage, they are now hollowing out America’s middles class. The American Dream, – the possibility that anyone can get ahead and achieve success and prosperity through talent and hard work, – may well be disappearing.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Upcoming Report on Election 2010 & the Corporate Agenda

      With the flood of opinions about the meaning of the 2010 election results and the hundreds of millions spent by front groups and special interests, I’ll be taking a deeper look at the results, spending reports and other research in the coming days.

    • Tea Party Front Group Hits in State Ledge Elections. Again.

      Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group founded by billionaire David Koch (the subject of a recent New Yorker exposé on the corporate bankroll behind the Tea Party movement nationally) is working in the background against Democrats at the state level in Washington.

    • A Win in Spin for the Corporate-Backed Tea Party

      In the weeks before the 2010 mid-term elections, the Tea Party and its activities dominated the media, but there was a decided lack of discussion about exactly what the Tea Party is. Major media seemed sold on the idea that the Tea Party is one big homogenous, spontaneous grassroots uprising, but this was not the case. Apart from a single, exhaustive article in the August 30, 2010 edition of The New Yorker (aptly titled “Covert Operations,”) that linked the wealthy billionaire Koch Brothers’ and their corporate interests to the Tea Party, few media outlets discussed which factions of the movement were truly grassroots, which were corporate-backed, and to what extent corporations supported the “movement.”

    • http://www.prwatch.org/node/9583
    • The Worst PR Year for McDonalds

      First, a weird photo of thick, pink, gooey sludge appeared on the Internet that was purported to be the raw material that chicken nuggets are made of. Then, in April, New York photographer Sally Davies purchased a Happy Meal, set the burger and fries on a plate in her apartment and photographed them every day for six months as an art project, only to discover that the Happy Meal looked exactly the same six months later — no mold, no decomposition, nothing. Her “Happy Meal Project” started garnering attention from the media and time lapse video of it appeared on YouTube.

    • Happy Meal Project Rounds Out 2010 As The Worst Public Relations Year For McDonald’s Ever

      The newest installment in the recent obsession/revulsion with fast food is the “Happy Meal Project.” A New York photographer, Sally Davies, set an uncovered McDonald’s Happy Meal burger and fries on a shelf in her apartment for six months. Although you may be picturing maggots and mealworms, the reality is far worse. Did the burger ooze toxic mold? Sprout little meat mushrooms? Reanimate, zombie-style? Even more chilling than any of these gross-out scenarios is this: Nothing happened.

      The time-lapse tells the story: The food remains completely intact and unchanged, albeit getting a little hard, with no indication of any kind of decomposition, which is probably more or less exactly the same process it goes through in your stomach. This is just one of many reports of food from McDonald’s lasting far longer than it should: This nutritionist has kept a burger since 1996 that, when compared to a burger from 2008, looks more or less identical to its younger sibling.

    • Maverick Senator Russ Feingold Felled by Corporate Dollars

      Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, co-author of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation, was felled last night by corporate television ad dollars allowed to flood in by a Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC giving corporations the status of individuals

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Who are India’s real traitors?

      The writer Arundhati Roy, once a national heroine for being the first Indian to win the Booker prize, today finds herself a reviled figure. The demonisation of Roy has taken just over a decade, and many will tell you it’s her own fault. She just won’t stop opening her mouth and saying uncomfortable things.

      Roy’s latest sin was to express her doubts about India’s right to rule Kashmir. It’s a rule enforced by 700,000 soldiers and, by all accounts, most ordinary Kashmiris want them gone. They are calling for azaadi, the freedom to determine their own future via the plebiscite called for in UN resolution 47, which since 1948 India has ignored.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • New Zealand P2P proposal: guilty until proven innocent

        Say you have a DSL connection at home. Should you be liable for big fines over infringements committed using your connection… even if you had nothing to do with them? And should rightsholder complaints carry the assumption of accuracy? New Zealand politicians say yes.

        New Zealand is taking its second attempt at clamping down on illicit peer-to-peer file-swapping. The first time around, in 2009, the country’s legislators had to scrap their Internet disconnection plans after a public outcry over its “Guilt upon accusation” approach. But their second attempt is already stirring up the same complaints.

      • How Annie got shot

        Yet Petty does not intend to acquire a Leibovitz. Not one of the 10 “master sets” of 157 of her prints that have been offered privately at an asking price of more than $3m per set; not even a single photo. “No,” he says firmly. “I nearly bought her portrait of the Queen but then I decided against it. She is obviously well-regarded but it is a distinctively American taste, her style of photography.”

        It is only one collector’s view but it is a straw in a wind that has been blowing fiercely against Leibovitz, who is struggling to repair her finances, having built up multi-million-dollar debts amid a tangle of personal, professional and property troubles. The woes of one of the world’s highest-paid photographers have mesmerised the media and the art world.

      • Ministry of Sound abandon file sharing dragnet

        In the fallout following the accidental leaking of sensitive data concerning thousands of UK internet users by ACS:Law, ISPs including BT woke up to the problems with simply acceding to rightsholders’ demands that they hand over alleged infringer details in bulk.

      • What does Cameron’s copyright announcement mean?

        David Cameron has admitted that UK copyright law is out of date, and needs to be fit for the Internet age. Specifically, he noted that companies like Google in the United States benefit from “fair use” copyright provisions. Roughly speaking, this which allow people do what they like with copyright works, so long as this doesn’t doesn’t stop the copyright owner from making sales. This is open ended. So scanning a book you have bought, indexing content, or changing a CD to an MP3 at home, can be “fair use”.

        People who like the US system say that this allows greater flexibility as the law evolves to fit new, legitimate uses of copyright works.

      • Copyright reform is on the EU Commission’s agenda

        Commissioner Neelie Kroes today announced that the EU Commission wants to reform EU copyright.

      • [Neelie Kroes] Fixing Copyright Offers A World Of Digital Opportunities

Clip of the Day

Lubuntu 10.10 short Demo

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 8/11/2010: Userful Becomes Free Software, Vandalism Suspected Amid Postponed LSE Move to GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Multiseat for Schools

      Userful has just become FLOSS… For years Userful, a company from Alberta, Canada, has pushed a multiseat (multiple simultaneous keyboard/mouse/monitor/users on one PC) solution that is great for schools, libraries and offices. anywhere you have a lot of users in one place. It uses the multiseat capability of X windows, the networked display of GNU/Linux. Now they offer free downloads and an easy installation. All you need are USB keyboards and mice and multiple video cards.

    • The So-Called Death Of Desktop Linux

      And that’s why the article is called ‘The So-Called Death Of Desktop Linux’. Yes, desktop Linux adoption has appeared for years to have been stalled, due to Microsoft’s monopolistic manipulations. But Microsoft is limited. Sure, it’s one of the richest companies in the world. But even it has only so much money to spend.

      Add to that it’s inability to produce an answer to Apple’s media campaign, and people who didn’t know they had an option, now know that they do. Mobile Phones and Tablet Computers are now defined in most people’s minds as ‘Not Made By Microsoft’, just as MP3 players are. About the only success that Microsoft has had outside of it’s traditional markets is the Ford Sync, and Ford acted pretty quickly to make the Microsoft name just about totally invisible.

      It appears that we are approaching a tipping point. I wonder if Microsoft isn’t shortly going to feel like Terry Pratchett’s non-hero Rincewind.

  • Server

    • London Stock Exchange traders concerned over network capacity around new Linux system

      The exchange declined to comment on reports that a contractor was suspended over a “suspicious” network incident.

    • Research, Research, And More Research

      No where in the IDC Press Release did it mention that Windows was installed on 75.3 percent of servers sold worldwide. So where did Mary Jane get this number? So far, no one knows, probably because it’s the weekend. But others picked up on her numbers without confirming them.

      Wikipedia quotes Mary Jane’s numbers as gospel in the OS Market Share/Servers entry. I noticed this when I was doing some research for another article, and since I have a horse in this race so to speak, I didn’t make any changes, instead I left a message on their discussion board…


      Conclusions? Well, you can’t trust anything you find in any media. You need to do some research yourself, because no matter how careful some of us are, others just repeat whatever they’ve heard, and all too often it’s wrong. Even those of us who try to be accurate make mistakes.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA have ‘no plans to support Wayland’

        With the current flurry of excitement over the announced aim of Ubuntu the current X server with the promising ‘Wayland’ display server in the near future, NVidia have decided to join in the jamboree by stating their intentions on delivering support for it.

  • Applications

    • Download Compress PDF 1.2 (Nautilus Script)

      Compress PDF is a Nautilus script which uses ghostscript to compress PDF files and comes in 8 languages (English, Portuguese (pt-PT), Spanish (es-AR), Czech, French, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Malayalam). The script lets you choose between 5 different compression levels: Screen-view only, Low Quality, Hight Quality, High Quality (Color Preserving) and Default.

    • Avant Window Navigator Gets Per Dock Intellihide

      An update to the Avant Window Navigator trunk PPA from a few days ago brought per dock/panel Intellihide to AWN (taskmanager).

    • apt-offline – 1.0

      I am very pleased to announce apt-offline, version 1.0.

      This release adds a Graphical User Interace to apt-offline.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • More on Shuttleworth v X

          Because RedHat and Ubuntu may not see desktop GNU/Linux as a hotspot will not make it go away. It is easier to make money in hot areas like smart-thingies but Ubuntu would be very foolish to abandon the desktop. I think Linton is wrong about that. Mark Shuttleworth may be somewhat bold but he is no fool. If Ubuntu does go –>Unity–>Wayland they will make sure the desktop is well maintained. Wayland is quite compatible for the desktop especially for video/high-end graphics. For that purpose it does not need to work on every piece of hardware out there, just the ones most likely used for such work. The market will sort that out but I can envisage each hardware maker of graphics interfaces producing a product line with a driver for Wayland. The rest of the desktop world can run X, perhaps in a virtual machine running on top of Wayland somehow. The details will be sorted out.

        • Battery Status PPA, Finally Updated With Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Packages

          Battery Status is a GNOME panel applet that shows information about laptop battery state – but has a lot of extra features compared to GNOME’s Power Manager icon. Battery Status applet features a battery status dialog, power statistics, CPU frequency scaling and power management preferences.

        • Compiz to be Rewritten for Ubuntu Wayland

          A few days ago I theorized that Mark Shuttleworth’s move to Unity on Wayland was an effort to focus his operating system more on mobile devices and, ultimately, cloud-based services. Unity’s hardware compatibility is limited in range, at least for now, and Wayland is even moreso, again at least for now. But there’s one part of the equation I failed to consider. What about the X11-dependent Compiz?

          One of the more intriguing aspects of Wayland is that it does away with window managers. Instead it pushes all of the work of managing windows to the application. X11 and application developers have been resisting Ubuntu’s push in that direction for a while. But with Wayland, it’s built-in. This opens the door for one misbehaving application to bring down the whole graphical display – as seen in Windows.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Code Walk-through

          Despite misinformation that has appeared in comments here and on the web that somehow Android is not GNU/Linux, this chart clearly shows that Android is a layer running on top of GNU/Linux. Android is basically GNU/Linux with a virtual machine (Dalvik) running byte-code translated from Java. There’s no Java code in there, Larry.



          Well, GNU/Linux means running the GNU userland toolchain on top of the Linux kernel.
          Android is essentially DalvikVM (not a GNU project) as the userland layer on top of the Linux kernel.
          Therefore Android is DalvikVM/Linux.
          I may stand corrected if you can run the GNU utilities on Android.


          libc is BSD. Likely Dalvik depends on libc.

          Development depends on GNU:

          They use GNU bison for something:


          and GRUB

          and glib

          So, you could be right. There is not much GNU in there. There is a lot of BSD stuff but it’s not BSD either. Folks do hack in and run Debian GNU/Linux on their Android devices. It’s a personal computer, just not x86.

        • In the USA, Android Continues to Climb

          Because Android does not lean to anti-competition, it likely will not end with 90%+ share but we shall have to see how far it will go. I look forward to the future when users of Android in mobile will be accepting of GNU/Linux on the desktop/notebook.

        • Replicant- Android For Linux Purists

          Developed by LibrePlanet Italia and Software Freedom Centre, Replicant seeks to be the 100% free software compliant mobile operating system that is built on Android.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Saving Identica and StatusNet?

    There is a significant spam problem on Identi.ca, and it looks like some fresh ideas are needed to crush it. Here are mine, and a few ideas that I like from other people.

    Identi.ca is the open microblogging site based on the StatusNet software. It’s a fantastic service, with features that leave Twitter in the dust. But spammers are not being caught and banned quickly. Users are becoming frustrated.

  • Web Browsers

    • Top 10 Must-Have Browser Extensions

      Your browser of choice may have changed a lot in the past year, but luckily the best extensions for making your browser better have kept up with all the most popular browsers. Here are our cross-platform, must-have favorites.

  • Oracle

    • The Legacy of OpenOffice.org

      If one just read the headlines over the past month one would get the mistaken notion that LibreOffice was the first attempt to take the OpenOffice.org open source code and make a different product from it, or even a separate open source project. This is far from true. There have been many spin-off products/projects, including:

      * StarOffice
      * Symphony
      * EuroOffice
      * RedOffice
      * NeoOffice
      * PlusOffice
      * OxygenOffice
      * PlusOffice
      * Go-OO
      * Portable OpenOffice

      and, of course, LibreOffice. I’ve tracked down some dates of various releases of these projects and placed them on a time line above. You can click to see a larger version.

      So before we ring the death knell for OpenOffice, let’s recognized the potency of this code base, in terms of its ability to spawn new projects. LibreOffice is the latest, but likely not the last example we will see. This is a market where “one size fits all” does not ring true. I’d expect to see different variations on these editors, just as there are different kinds of users, and different markets which use these kinds of tools. Whether you call it a “distribution” or a “fork”, I really don’t care. But I do believe that the only kind of open source project that does not spawn off additional projects like this is a dead project.

    • Oracle To Monetize Java VM
  • Project Releases

    • Lightspark 0.4.5 Is Bringing The New Graphics Engine

      Lightspark’s advanced graphics engine will soon be released with the forthcoming Lightspark 0.4.5 version. We first talked about this advanced graphics engine in August that uses Cairo and OpenGL for rendering, but finally, after making a lot of progress, it’s ready to be released.

  • Licensing

    • British author faces prison sentence in Singapore

      The British author Alan Shadrake is today facing a possible prison sentence after a court in Singapore convicted him of challenging the integrity of the city state’s judiciary in a book criticising its use of the death penalty.

      Shadrake faces a custodial sentence or a fine – or both – for contempt of court when Singapore’s high court sentences him next week.


  • Goodbye PC

    The last bas­tion of the com­puter will be the office. At this time, it is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine peo­ple ges­tur­ing in front of their com­put­ers as a way to inter­act with them. More likely, tilted touch dis­plays will become the new norm in offices (and by tilted, I mean that the screen would be on the desk at an angle of no more than 20–25 degrees). Those types of changes will take some time to make their ways into cubi­cles and may force busi­ness to even rethink the con­cept of the cubi­cle. The ones that have already will get a head start on their competitor.

  • Why Did TechCrunch Scrub a Post About an Alleged Tech Sexual Assault? (Updated)

    On Thursday, Google technical writer Noirin Shirley accused Twitter software engineer Florian Leibert of sexual assault on her personal blog. TechCrunch staffer Alexia Tsotsis picked up the story, writing the post, “Googler Accuses Twitter Engineer Of Sexual Assault, Trial By Twitter Commences,” late on Friday. By Saturday morning, however, the link was dead.

  • Web browser pioneer backs new way to surf Internet

    Web browser pioneer Marc Andreessen is betting people are ready to try a different way of surfing the Internet.

    That’s why he is backing a new browser call RockMelt, which will be available for the first time Monday after nearly two years in development.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Obama environment agenda under threat from incoming Republicans

      Republican leaders have begun gathering evidence for sweeping investigations of Barack Obama’s environmental agenda, from climate science to the BP oil spill, if as expected, they take control of the House of Representatives in the 2 November mid-term elections, the Guardian has learned.

    • Is climate science disinformation a crime against humanity?

      Disinformation about the state of climate change science is extraordinarily – if not criminally – irresponsible, because the consensus scientific view is based upon strong evidence that climate change:

      • Is already being experienced by tens of thousands in the world;

      • Will be experienced in the future by millions of people from greenhouse gas emissions that have already been emitted but not yet felt due to lags in the climate system; and,

      • Will increase dramatically in the future unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced from existing global emissions levels.

      Threats from climate change include deaths and danger from droughts, floods, heat, storm-related damages, rising oceans, heat impacts on agriculture, loss of animals that are dependent upon for substance purposes, social disputes caused by diminishing resources, sickness from a variety of diseases, the inability to rely upon traditional sources of food, the inability to use property that people depend upon to conduct their life including houses or sleds in cold places, the destruction of water supplies, and the inability to live where has lived to sustain life. The very existence of some small island nations is threatened by climate change.

    • Barack Obama’s green agenda crushed at the ballot box

      Californians decisively rejected a measure to roll back the state’s landmark climate change law yesterday, the sole win for environmentalists on a night that crushed Barack Obama’s green agenda.

    • We’ve been conned. The deal to save the natural world never happened
  • Finance

    • Jamming neoclassical economics

      Students at the University of California-Berkeley have launched the first salvo in an international movement to challenge neoclassical economics. They printed the Kick It Over Manifesto [pdf] on bright pink paper and pinned it to the door of Daniel McFadden, a Nobel Prize winner in economics [pdf], and to bulletin boards throughout the department.

    • Is What’s Good for Corporate America Still Good For America?

      “Of course,” you answer, since you’re reading this blog on HBR. And “of course,” I answer, since I ran the editorial page at BusinessWeek for a decade and covered everything from currencies to innovation. But the anti-Big Business chorus is getting louder and louder, with the Tea Party radicals on the right singing a tune CEOs and B-School profs would be foolish to ignore. They should be worried. I sure am.

      The CEOs I have talked to in recent years over drinks, overseas, and in private, are worried too. I have heard this comment at Davos far too many times to ignore: “I am as patriotic as anyone, but when I see where my corporation is investing, where it is doing R&D and especially where it is hiring, I worry about my country. It’s all going outside America. But what can I do?”

      In vino veritas perhaps. Not ALL of his global company’s R&D, investing and hiring is happening in China or India, but so much is that he and his fellow US CEO-buddies talk about it a lot — to themselves. When they do go public, they frame the Big Business issue in terms of complaints — too much regulation, high taxes, government debt to invest in America. The Tea Party old folks, the union people, the millions of white and blue collar Americans laid off — and my Gen Y students — frame the Big Business issue differently — in terms of obligation. They wonder, what, if any, obligations do corporations still feel to the nation, to democracy, to employees, especially after taxpayers bailed out Wall Street, Detroit, and the “system” in general. They wonder about CEOs making so much when employees lose jobs to outsourcing and hedge fund managers pay half the federal tax rate than their secretaries.

    • President Obama: offshoring fears are outdated, unwarranted

      The perception that Indian call centers and back office operations cost U.S. jobs is an old stereotype that ignores today’s reality that two-way trade between the U.S. and India is helping create jobs and raise the standard of living in both countries, U.S. President Barack Obama told a gathering of business executives in Mumbai on Saturday.

      President Obama’s remarks come after some moves in the U.S. that had Indian outsourcers worried that the U.S. may get protectionist in the wake of job losses in the country. The state of Ohio, for example, banned earlier this year the expenditure of public funds for offshore purposes.

    • Unicredit Debt Collection Scam “Serves” Fake Court Papers by Fake Cops and Fake Judges

      This story is so outrageous that I cannot figure out why it has not gone viral on the internet. Unicredit America Inc, a debt collection firm, had people dress up (pretending to be police), serve fake papers to people requiring them to show up in court.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Updated: ABC, NBC, CBS Block Website Access from Google TV

      Google TV was designed to allow users to easily search for their favorite television shows across local television listings and Web sites offering streaming. Google TV can also run Android apps such as Netflix streaming, Pandora Internet radio and Amazon Video on Demand.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Lamebook Sues Facebook Over Trademark Infringement. Wait, What?

      Here’s a head scratcher, at first glance at least: Lamebook, a hilarious advertising-supported site that lets Facebook users submit funny status updates, pictures and “other gems” originating from the social network, is apparently suing Facebook over trademark infringement.

      Lamebook was launched in April of 2009 by two Austin, Texas based graphic designers (Jonathan Standefer and Matthew Genitempo), and was obviously ‘inspired’ by Facebook’s branding when it comes to its name, logo and color scheme.

    • Copyrights

      • [Canada] Bill C-32: Mr. Ricci is wrong about Fair Dealing

        The Globe and Mail published a Bill C-32 Opinion piece by Governor General Award Winning fiction writer Nico Ricci, This updated copyright bill guts Canadian culture.

        The very title of this opinion piece is both inflammatory and misleading. Although Mr. Ricci mayt be qualified to comment on the state of culture, the article is actually exclusively devoted to one small piece of Bill C-32, the expansion of the fair dealing section of Bill C-32 to include educational uses.

Clip of the Day

Gnome Panel

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 7/11/2010: Linux at NASDAQ OMX, Linux 2.6.37 Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 4:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • One month remaining in the SCALE 9x Call for Papers

      In an effort to continue our efforts to promote and educate the public on Free/Open Source Software projects, the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 9x invites you to share your work with the rest of the FOSS community by submitting a talk for the first-of-the-year Linux expo.

    • CeBIT Open Source 2011: Call for Projects

      or the third consecutive year, CeBIT Open Source invites projects to Hannover, Germany. The conference organizers and Linux Pro Magazine invite open source projects to apply for free exhibit space at CeBIT Open Source 2011.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 puts on brakes

        Despite growing anticipation for Firefox 4, developers have delayed its release until next year.

        In a move that will both disappoint fans and potentially undermine its claim on the browser market, the Mozilla Foundation has said it will delay the release of Firefox 4 until 2011.

  • SaaS

    • Zend Updates PHP IDE, Framework for the Cloud

      PHP has long been used as one of the primary languages for the web. With the help of some new tools, commercial PHP backer Zend is now helping to position PHP for the cloud too.

      At the ZendCon conference in Santa Clara, California, Zend today announced the general availability of the Zend Studio 8.0 IDE (define) and the Zend Framework 1.11 PHP application framework. Both the IDE and framework include new cloud-focused features and are part of a new PHP Cloud Application Platform ecosystem that Zend is now building.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle raises prices for MySQL

      In future, Oracle will offer three paid MySQLEditions at subscription fees of $2,000, $5,000 and $10,000 per year. The previous $600 “Basic” subscription has been dropped, in effect more than tripling the price for some customers. These subscriptions do not represent different levels of support, but rather different mixes of software. The free “Classic” edition provides only an embedded database with a MyISAM back end. The transactional InnoDB is available in the Standard, Enterprise and Carrier-Grade Editions, the Cluster NDB engine only in the Carrier-Grade Edition.

  • Business

    • One on One with Eric Gries of Lucid Imagination

      The conventional wisdom is “It’s open source, it’s free, that’s the competitive advantage”. And true, “free” can be pretty compelling. But that’s not all there is to it. Getting “free” to be useful means getting the flexibility to adapt, and to scale economically. Scaling economically is an absolute necessity given that ongoing growth in the volume of data means search applications must grow and change to keep up. Many search technologies assume that search is a black-box problem; but if you need good results more than half the time, that model just doesn’t work. Search results are unique to each business and its set of users and data, so one size will not fit all, and the flexibility is really the key.

  • Programming

    • ActiveState Launches Python Package Manager Index (PyPM Index)

      ActiveState, the dynamic language experts offering solutions for Perl, Python, and Tcl, has launched its Python Package Manager Index (PyPM Index) to give developers a more complete picture of Python build information and package availability across multiple platforms. PyPM Index shows developers instantly if Python packages they need are available for all the platforms they must deploy on, providing critical information to speed up the design phase of development. With PyPM Index, developers now have direct access via the web to search PyPM repositories (collections of ActivePython packages).


  • Finance

    • IT’S OFFICIAL: America Is Now A Banana Republic

      One of the hallmarks of banana republics, says the NYT’s Nicholas Kristof, is income inequality.

      In some countries, the wealthiest 1% of the population takes home 20% or more of the national income.

    • Our Banana Republic

      The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

      C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.

      That’s the backdrop for one of the first big postelection fights in Washington — how far to extend the Bush tax cuts to the most affluent 2 percent of Americans. Both parties agree on extending tax cuts on the first $250,000 of incomes, even for billionaires. Republicans would also cut taxes above that.

    • ‘Griftopia’: The Financial Crisis Easily Explained

      Meet The ‘Vampire Squid’ Of The Financial Crisis

      “What the mortgage bubble was all about was big banks like Goldman Sachs taking big bundles of subprime mortgages that were lent out largely to low-income, highly risky borrowers,” Taibbi says, “and applying this kind of magic-pixie-dust math to these bundles of securities and slapping AAA ratings on them.”

      This wasn’t the worst of it, of course. While Goldman Sachs was selling these bundles, “they turned around and placed massive bets against the mortgage market knowing that it was going to collapse.”

      “They took suckers like AIG, and they placed massive bets that this stuff was going to fail, and AIG stupidly took the bet and that’s what ended up blowing them up,” Taibbi says.

      In Taibbi narrative, Goldman Sachs often plays the villain’s role. “They had an extraordinary amount of political influence that was over and above the other banks,” he says. “No other bank has the same record as Goldman Sachs does in terms of taking former executives and placing them in high-ranking positions in the government.”

      Or, as Taibbi put it in one of his early columns, “The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The Generational Privacy Divide

      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.

Clip of the Day

Melody Gardot – Worrisome Heart

Credit: TinyOgg

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

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