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Links 18/2/2011: LSE’s GNU/Linux Doing Fine; Dell’s New Android Tablets Revealed

Posted in News Roundup at 2:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Stock Exchange denies Linux system glitch

      The London Stock Exchange has played down reports that its new Linux-based Millennium Exchange is failing to cope since it went live earlier this week.

      According to the Financial Times, a technical glitch disrupted some trading displays and caused confusion over prices.

      DIY-style execution-only brokers, such as Selftrade, warned that their websites were not showing correct prices. It is the latest glitch to affect the system, following problems during a partial roll-out last year.

      However, the LSE told PC Pro that the problems were down to individual trading companies, not the system itself.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Plumbers Conference looking for more track proposals

      We still need several more though to fill out the schedule. So if you have additional ideas for tracks, please don’t hesitate to submit them! Likewise if you know someone who ought to run a track this year, badger them and get them to submit a proposal.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland Is Now Playing Well With NVIDIA, ATI Drivers

        For those of you interested in running the Wayland Display Server on your NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards, without running it nestled inside an X Server, it should work if you use the newest Linux kernel code.

        There’s reports on the Wayland mailing list that for ATI users you can use the Linux 2.6.38 kernel (for the Radeon DRM page-flipping support) and for NVIDIA users if using the Nouveau kernel (the page-flipping isn’t yet merged into the mainline kernel, possibly for Linux 2.6.39) and use one external patch, Wayland should now work directly with both of these DRM drivers. This is coming after it’s long been a pleasant Wayland experience when using the Intel DRM.

  • Applications

    • Exaile Released, Install Exaile in Ubuntu Maverick, Lucid via PPA

      Exaile is a very good music player alternative for Linux. Exaile is nimble and can handle large music collections without any problems. Exaile was released a day ago. Exaile is a bugfix release for version 0.3.2.

    • Guayadeque 0.2.9 Supports iPod, USB Mass Storage Devices, Wavpack, Trueaudio, Integrates With The Ubuntu Sound Menu

      Guayadeque is starting to become a mature, reliable music player – the latest version 0.2.9, released today brings some very important features to Guayadeque like Ubuntu sound menu support, iPod support with covers and playlist, usb mass storage devices support, support for trueaudio files and wavpack, option to embed album cover to all album tracks, output audio device configuration option in preferences, Magnature and Jamendo support.

    • Chromify-OSD: NotifyOSD Notifications For Chrome

      Jorge Castro announced the release of a Chrome extension called Chromify-OSD that makes the build-in Chrome notifications use NotifyOSD. I’ll make this post short because for some reason the extension doesn’t work for me in either Google Chrome or Chromium.

    • Proprietary

      • First Opera 11.10 “Barracuda” Dev Snapshot Available For Download

        Earlier this week, the Opera Desktop Team announced Opera 11 “Barracuda” which they say it will bring “another popular Opera feature will be taken to the next level”.

        Well, the first Opera 11.10 “Barracuda” development snapshot was made available for download on the Opera Desktop Team blog today. For now, the mysterious new feature is not available but considering the fast development Opera has been undergoing lately, I’m sure we’ll see it soon enough.

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • webOS up and running on PC hardware

        PreCentral user cdowers looks to have successfully booted up webOS on a Dell C600 laptop. The trick, apparently, is to take the webOS image from the emulator (which is compatible with x86 processors) and put it on an IDE hard drive (not the more modern SATA standard). Essentially what’s happening here is that instead the webOS emulator running in a ‘virtual’ machine, it’s running on the real machine.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Qt at MWC11 – Digia NFC ShopWizer demo
        • Intel says will find new MeeGo partners

          Intel Corp (INTC.O) said its partner Nokia dropped the MeeGo operating system after Microsoft offered “incredible” amounts of money for the phonemaker to switch to Windows but it would find new partners for MeeGo.

          Intel’s Chief Executive Paul Otellini said in a meeting with analysts in London, accessed by Reuters via conference call, that Nokia’s (NOK1V.HE) choice of Microsoft (MSFT.O) over Google’s (GOOG.O) Android platform was a financial decision. [ID:nLDE71A0DG]

        • First MeeGo based netbook coming from Fujitsu

          Bangalore: Japanese computer hardware and IT services company Fujitsu has unveiled world’s first MeeGo-based netbook called the LifeBook MH330. The netbook is available in Asian markets for a price of $380.

        • Google CEO feels sorry for Nokia’s Microsoft alliance

          Nokia should have chosen the Android operating system for its upcoming handsets instead of going with Microsoft, Google’s Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said on Wednesday.

          “We would have loved if they had chosen Android. They chose the other guys, that other competitor, Microsoft. I think we are pretty straightforward,” Schmidt said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, adding that Google was open to Nokia switching to Android in the future.

        • Google Sky Map Turns Your Android Phone into a Digital Telescope

          Whether you’re an astronomy buff or just somebody looking for a perfect “look how sweet my smartphone is!’ application, Google’s Sky Map application for Android phones is a must have app.

          If all the application did was show you detailed views of the night sky it would be pretty awesome based on that alone. Where Sky Map dazzles, however, is in linking together the GPS and tilt-sensors on your phone to turn your phone into a sky-watching window. Whatever you point the phone at, the screen displays.

      • Android

        • Setting up the standard Andriod marketplace on the Archos 10.1

          I was not a very pleased user of the Archos 10.1 ever since I got it last December. The issue centered on the Archos supplied “AppsLib” which was not all that efficient nor useful. It would startup slowly sometimes, crash at other times, and a lot of apps that I’ve got in my Nexus One was not even available (like ConnectBot for example). Apart from these inconveniences, the tablet is really a nice device, quite responsive and despite it’s plasticky feel, it is robust and quite well built.

        • Secret codes for your Android phone

          Kind of like the hidden menu at In-N-Out (if you don’t know what that is, I’m sorry you’re so deprived), there are some nifty hidden codes that can be used to accomplish certain tasks on your Android phone. Some of them do fairly basic, practical things, while others can be used to perform complete alterations, such as factory resets. You should be careful when using some of these codes, because once you do (again, factory reset), they can not be undone.

        • Official Google Reader app gets updated, now comes with widgets
        • Honeycomb features such as action bar, app switcher and hologram design will come to our phones in Ice Cream

          Like Andrew mentioned in his report about Eric Schmidt’s MWC keynote, Google’s next version of Android will combine Gingerbread and Honeycomb, so there will not be separate versions for phones and tablets. I think that’s good news, and now a few more details have emerged about which Honeycomb features we’re going to see on our phones.

        • Entrance of Android tablet PCs will weaken dominance of iPad, says Acer chairman

          In addition to the four ARM-based tablet PCs that Acer introduced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011, Acer is also set to launch a MeeGo-based tablet PC in 2011.

        • QuickOffice will edit Office docs, sync with Dropbox & more on Honeycomb tablets
        • Mobile World Congress 2011 Wrap-Up: Android Takeover

          Today was the last day of Mobile World Congress 2011 and the majority of exhibitors and press folks are on their way home. In fact, organizers are gently nudging us out of the press room right now. I just completed one final sweep of the conference and wanted to do a quick recap of what were my favorite things about Mobile World Congress. Below is my list of the best things that I spotted at MWC 2011.

        • Midmarket: Acer Tablets, Smartphones Run Android, Play HD Video

          Not to be left out of the burgeoning tablet market, computer maker Acer showcased a number of portable computing devices at this year’s Mobile World Congress, including three tablets—two running the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, “Honeycomb,” which was designed specifically to run on tablet devices. Debuting under the company’s Iconia nameplate, the A100 and its larger cousin, the A500, boast front- and rear-facing cameras and sport Nvidia’s Tegra 2 dual-core processor.

        • Dell roadmaps show 4 Honeycomb tablets and 2 Ice Cream phones

          A leaked Dell device roadmap is showing that a Honeycomb future isn’t too far off.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Choosing Java sides

      With all the drama going on with Nokia this month, it was easy to miss other goings on. But one thing of note to the open source community was the Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM), where FOSS developers from around the planet congregated in Belgium Feb. 5-6 to groove on all things FOSS.

      One of the FOSDEM sessions that caught my eye was “IcedRobot: The GNUlization of Android,” which announced a new project that hopes to take Android and change it so it has a clean-room OpenJDK-based Java VM and will be based on what they refer to as a more standard Linux kernel.

      The idea here is to get this Android fork to run on something like a Linux desktop, hence the need to have IcedRobot on a more vanilla Linux kernel. The swapping out of the Dalvik VM for something from OpenJDK is a clear move to get this project out from the litigious crosshairs of Oracle, which is currently suing Google for trademark infringement over Oracle code that’s allegedly in Dalvik and shouldn’t be.


    • Alfresco 3 Business Solutions: Types of E-mail Integration

      In this article by Martin Bergljung, author of Alfresco 3 Business Solutions, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages between three different e-mail integration solutions and also learn how to use Alfresco’s built in IMAP solution to:

      * Enable dragging-and-dropping of e-mails into the Alfresco repository
      * Enable e-mail attachment extraction
      * Enable viewing of document metadata from the e-mail client
      * Set up different folder mount points
      * Enable e-mail management in an Alfresco Share site

    • What Makes Diaspora Special?[Video]

      You all must be already aware of open source Facebook alternative called Diaspora. I have been using it for a month now and I am really starting to like it. Now a lot of people ask me what’s so special about Diaspora, what makes it different. For that, you need to watch this “introduction to Diaspora” video by the inventors of the idea themselves.

    • Open Source Obama

      Every day, tens of thousands of developers from businesses, colleges, and homes contribute patches or new code to open-source programs. It’s not every day though that the White House does it. That’s exactly what happened last week when the White House’s New Media Director Macon Phillips announced the White House’s second code release to the open-source Drupal content management system (CMS).

  • Funding

    • Open business funding: New ideas for a new economy

      Starting a business is always a bit of a gamble. But investing in a start-up is practically a guessing game.

      “A lot of venture capitalists will tell you that for early stage investment they don’t have any real way of knowing which businesses will succeed,” said Marc Dangeard, head of Entrepreneur Commons. “They might invest in thirty businesses of the same type for the one that will thrive.”

      Faced with the difficulties of venture capitalism and start-up funding, Dangeard decided it was time to “take the ego out” of venture capital. “With traditional venture capital you have a lot of egos involved: the venture capitalist who decides if a business plan is good or bad, the entrepreneur who thinks his idea is great,” he explained.


    • Interview: Eben Moglen – Freedom vs. The Cloud Log

      Glyn Moody: So what’s the threat you are trying to deal with?

      Eben Moglen: We have a kind of social dilemma which comes from architectural creep. We had an Internet that was designed around the notion of peerage – machines with no hierarchical relationship to one another, and no guarantee about their internal architectures or behaviours, communicating through a series of rules which allowed disparate, heterogeneous networks to be networked together around the assumption that everybody’s equal.

      In the Web the social harm done by the client-server model arises from the fact that logs of Web servers become the trails left by all of the activities of human beings, and the logs can be centralised in servers under hierarchical control. Web logs become power. With the exception of search, which is a service that nobody knows how to decentralise efficiently, most of these services do not actually rely upon a hierarchical model. They really rely upon the Web – that is, the non-hierarchical peerage model created by Tim Berners-Lee, and which is now the dominant data structure in our world.

      The services are centralised for commercial purposes. The power that the Web log holds is monetisable, because it provides a form of surveillance which is attractive to both commercial and governmental social control. So the Web, with services equipped in a basically client-server architecture, becomes a device for surveillance as well as providing additional services. And surveillance becomes the hidden service wrapped inside everything we get for free.

    • FOSS maven says $29 ‘Freedom Box’ will kill Facebook

      Concerned about Facebook, Google, and other companies that make billions brokering sensitive information, free-software champion Eben Moglen has unveiled a plan to populate the internet with tiny, low-cost boxes that are designed to preserve individuals’ personal privacy.

  • Government

    • Open Source at the State Department: Loud, timely, not your parents’ State Department

      Last Friday, I was in Washington, D.C., for Tech@State’s Open Source Conference . Tech@State is an inspiring step by the State Department, connecting technologists to targeted goals of the U.S. diplomacy and development agenda via networking events as part of Secretary Clinton’s 21 st Century Statecraft initiative . Tech@State connects leaders, innovators, government personnel, and others to work together on technology solutions to improve the education, health, and welfare of the world’s population. To date they have held events on Haiti, Mobile Money, and Civil Society 2.0.

  • Licensing

    • Free Speech Online UnderAttack

      Yesterday, Republicans in Congress introduced a “resolution” in both chambers that would give phone and cable companies absolute, unrestricted power over Internet speech.

      Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and John Ensign (R-Nevada) introduced the “resolution of disapproval” on Wednesday. It already has 39 Republican cosponsors. On the House side, Reps. Fred Upton (R-Michigan) and Greg Walden (R-Oregon) are pushing similar measure.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Court Says Metadata Should Be Released Under Freedom Of Information Act Request

        Copycense points us to the fascinating news that a federal judge has ordered Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to reveal the metadata on a document as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. ICE had responded to the FOIA request (apparently “after significant delay,”) but provided the content requested in an unsearchable PDF. The original requestor for the content, the National Day Laborer Organization, complained that this was unfair, and the information had to be supplied with metadata — and the court agreed.

      • National Audit Office: Open data the key to ‘big society’

        In a report titled “Information and Communications Technology in Government, Landscape Review”, the watchdog says that a duty will be placed on all levels of government to publish data.

        As a result, new demands will be placed on existing ICT systems across government. These systems will be required to provide access to data at low cost using common data standards; a system of identity assurance that can be used by government’s partners; information security where necessary; assurance about data quality; and the timely release of data.

    • Open Hardware


  • On rape culture & the importance of staying angry
  • Wisconsin Crowds Swell to 30,000; Key GOP Legislators Waver

    “I have never been prouder of our movement than I am at this moment,” shouted Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt, as he surveyed the crowds of union members and their supporters that surged around the state Capitol and into the streets of Madison Wednesday, literally closing the downtown as tens of thousands of Wisconsinites protested their Republican governor’s attempt to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.

  • Live Reporting from the Massive Protests in Wisconsin — Over 30,000 Assemble at the Capitol

    Tens of thousands of Wisconsin residents are flooding the State Capitol in Madison in protest of Governor Walker’s proposed budget “repair” bill that would end 50 years of collective bargaining for Wisconsin workers. CMD reporters will be out providing live coverage of these historic events.

  • Long Time Academic, Regular Op-Ed Writer, Claims He Had No Idea He Was Supposed To Attribute Text He Plagiarized

    This one is just bizarre. Romenesko points us to the news that the director of the University of Utah’s Middle East Center, Dr. Bahman Baktiari, who regularly writes op-ed pieces for various newspapers, has been accused of plagiarism. His defense? He claims he had no idea he was supposed to attribute the content he copied.

  • U. probes claim of possible plagiarism by scholar

    Several political commentaries published by the director of the University of Utah’s Middle East Center (MEC) appear to borrow heavily from unattributed sources, prompting an inquiry by university officials.

    One of the pieces is an op-ed about the Egypt turmoil by Bahman Baktiari that was published in The Salt Lake Tribune on Feb. 5. According to an analysis by MEC faculty and students, given to top U. administrators and The Tribune on Tuesday, the piece replicates material from at least four sources, including The New York Times and The Economist.

    In an interview Thursday, Baktiari said he was unaware that he needed to attribute material written by others in opinion pieces he wrote for newspapers.

  • Influence vs Obeisance at the Independent

    There was an educational article in the Undiependent yersterday, in a sort of “OmiGod” way. It was about the UK “Top 100 Twitterers”, and was ostensibly based on the PeerIndex algorithm. Now those of you who know about measuring influence on Twitter will know we are in Iteration 4 of Influence Monitoring.

  • As U.S. Agencies Put More Value on a Life, Businesses Fret

    As the players here remake the nation’s vast regulatory system, they have been grappling with a subject that is more the province of poets and philosophers than bureaucrats: what is the value of a human life?

    The answer determines how much spending the government should require to prevent a single death.

  • The trick to defeating tamper-indicating seals
  • Full apology and fluffed Labour response saves Caroline Spelman

    Caroline Spelman walked into the Commons chamber at lunchtime today with a shaky grip on her cabinet post. The environment secretary left the chamber an hour later with far greater prospects for the future.

    How did the mild-mannered Spelman, who had been the butt of jokes among senior members of the cabinet over her forest sell off plan, change her fortunes? Here are three reasons.

  • Science

    • Radio jammed by massive solar flare

      The cloud of supercharged particles emitted by a series of three solar flares is, as feared, disturbing radio communications.

      The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) reports that shortwave communications have been disrupted by the flares, of which the third, on Tuesday, was the biggest in over four years. With flares categorised as C Class, M Class and X Class, it’s well into the X Class range.

      And while there’s some debate about how much disruption the flare will cause, a similar coronal mass ejection (CME) cut the power to millions of people in Canada in 1973.

    • Print the Impossible

      This is an awesome print of an awesome object that does the very awesome trick of looking like it can’t possibly be real, even though it totally is. I think in person you might have to close one eye or be far away for it to work.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Firefighter refused call to Tucson shooting spree scene

      A veteran city firefighter’s refusal to respond to the Jan. 8 shooting spree, citing “political bantering,” may have slowed his Tucson Fire Department unit’s response to the incident that left six dead and 13 wounded, city memos show.

    • Judge Throws Out Ex-Detainee’s Suit Alleging Torture

      A federal judge tossed out a lawsuit by Jose Padilla, who alleged that he was tortured at a Navy brig while being held on terrorism charges.

      U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled Thursday that Padilla has no right to sue for constitutional violations and that the defendants, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, enjoy qualified immunity.

    • Bahrain joins the freedom campaign

      Now the former rulers of Bahrain are experiencing what can happen when ordinary people decide they’re in charge of their own destinies.

    • Midwestern Tahrir: Workers refuse to leave Wisconsin capital over Tea Party labor law

      This week has seen massive, broad based protests in Wisconsin over Tea Party governor Scott Walker’s new labor bill, which outlaws collective bargaining, slashes real wages in the public sector (by increasing workers’ share of pension contributions and other payments), and allows the executive to fire state employees without substantial due process. Walker brought down his bill with enormous bluster, promising to mobilize the national guard against the state’s workers if they had the temerity to demonstrate against this gutting of their hard-fought rights. Thousands and thousands of protestors have surrounded the state capital, and Walker has had to retreat to a nearby corporate boardroom in order to give his budget address. Protestors are camping out around the clock, braving the Wisconsin February to stand up for their rights — a little bit of Midwestern Tahrir Square right there in America.

    • Overview of Middle East crackdowns and the (varying) U.S. responses

      As protests — and crackdowns — have been rippling through the Middle East, the U.S. response has varied by country.

      For instance, while the Obama administration has been vocal about events in Iran, it has been relatively quiet about violence by pro-government forces in Yemen. Here’s a brief look at what’s happening in some key countries — and the U.S.’s response in each.

    • Bahrain protests: live

      Troops and tanks lock down the capital of Manama after uprooting a protest camp in a central square, beating demonstrators and blasting them with sprays of birdshot and tear gas. Medical officials say four people are killed. The military bans all gatherings.

      The protesters want the ruling Sunni Muslim monarchy, a key U.S. ally in the Gulf, to give up its control over top government posts and all critical decisions. Shiite Muslims make up 70 percent of Bahrain’s 500,000 citizens but say they face systematic discrimination and poverty and are effectively blocked from key roles in public service and the military.

  • Cablegate

    • Secretary Clinton Unveils New Funding for Activism Technology, Rhetorical Refresh in Internet Freedom Speech

      Earlier today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a speech about Internet freedom titled, “Internet Rights and Wrongs: Choices and Challenges In A Networked World.” In her remarks, Clinton built on prior statements about the U.S. Government’s commitment to a free and open Internet, responding in part to the uprisings in the Middle East and Cablegate — major, ongoing international developments adding to the swell of debate about the parameters of Internet freedom.

      Notably, Secretary Clinton announced that the State Department plans to award $25 million in grants to technology, tools, and training projects that support Internet freedom. Moreover, the State Department appears to be committed to diversity in the projects it awards, with Secretary Clinton stating, “We support multiple tools, so if repressive governments figure out how to target one, others are at the ready.” We hope to see that commitment to diversity translate into real improvement for the best tools for online anonymity, circumvention of censorship, and the technologies that help protect lives and move ideas throughout the world.

    • Why Our Government Would Fear Wikiarguments More than WikiLeaks

      Wikiarguments is an Internet-based (wiki) system that would force congressional accountability and make government deception much more difficult.

    • Will the Rise of Wikileaks Competitors Make Whistleblowing Resistant to Censorship?

      As these sites multiply, they will still need to deal with the challenges that Wikileaks and Cryptome have faced. They will need to find ways to effectively protect the identities of their sources, provide an adequate media platform, earn the trust of whistleblowers, weed out fabricated leaks, and avoid the wrath of corporations and governments. However, one thing is clear: the strong demand by readers and the media will make anonymous whistleblowing websites a permanent fixture in the future of investigative journalism. Cutting off services to one popular whistleblowing website will never be enough to keep truthful political information off the Internet.

    • Arabs believe world is better off, thanks to Wikileaks

      Most Arabs support Wikileaks, the whistle-blowing website, and demand greater transparency, a survey conducted in 17 Arab countries indicates.

      According to the Doha Debate poll that surveyed the views of more than 1,000 Arabs in the first week of February, six out of ten Arabs believe that the world has become a better place with Wikileaks.

    • Jemima Khan on Wikileaks

      Jemima Goldsmith explains why she is supporting Wikileaks & Julian Assange’s fight against extradition to Sweden.

    • Jemima Khan – Defending Wikileaks Stop The War Coalition 7.02.11
    • Anonymous Surpasses Wikileaks

      The exploits of Anonymous to hack the systems of firms providing spying services to governments and corporations suggest that the WikiLeaks mini-era has been surpassed.

      Much of WikiLeaks promise to protect sources is useless if the sources are not whistleblowers needing a forum for publication. Instead publishers of secret information grab it directly for posting to Torrent for anybody to access without mediation and mark-up by self-esteemed peddlers of protection, interpretation and authentication, including media cum scholars.

      The wit and brevity of Anonymous taunts are exemplary — min-talk max-action — compared to the overblown gravitas of WL aping MSM in valuing its mission over short-shrifted “sources.”

    • Special report: China flexed its muscles using U.S. Treasuries

      Confidential diplomatic cables from the U.S. embassies in Beijing and Hong Kong lay bare China’s growing influence as America’s largest creditor.

      As the U.S. Federal Reserve grappled with the aftershocks of financial crisis, the Chinese, like many others, suffered huge losses from their investments in American financial firms — from Lehman Brothers to the Primary Reserve Fund, the money market fund that broke the buck.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • State: Reality TV miners didn’t have to shoot bear to protect themselves

      In one of the first episodes of “Gold Rush: Alaska,” the new Discovery Channel series about six men transplanted from Oregon to Southeast Alaska in hopes of striking gold, a brown bear wanders into camp.

    • Tell Chevron’s CEO: Clean Up Ecuador Now!
    • Japan suspends whale hunt after chase by protesters

      Japan has suspended its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic for now after a hardline anti-whaling group gave chase to its mother ship and it may call the fleet back home, a government official said.

      Regular attempts by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to interrupt hunts have caused irritation in Japan, one of only three countries that now hunt whales and where the government says it is an important cultural tradition.

    • Forests sell-off abandoned as Cameron orders U-turn

      David Cameron has ordered ministers to carry out the government’s biggest U-turn since the general election by abandoning plans to change the ownership of 258,000 hectares of state-owned woodland.

      Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, will announce on Friday that a consultation on the sale of forests will be ended after a furious backlash that united Tory supporters with environmentalists and the Socialist Workers party.

    • Armenia: Animal Rights Activists Plan Suit Againist New Yerevan Dolphinarium

      A group of Armenian non-governmental organizations is planning to file a lawsuit against a recently opened Yerevan dolphinarium, asserting that the center’s seven marine mammals are subject to abuse. The dolphinarium’s management, which promotes the facility as a “world of water miracles,” denies abuse accusations.

      “This is a prison for animals, an exploitative circus, and we will not give up our fight,” asserted Silva Adamian, the chairperson of the Ecological Alliance, a group comprising 50 environmental, human rights non-governmental organizations, and the opposition Heritage Party. The alliance opposes the Nemo dolphinarium’s operations. Efforts to review the Ukrainian-built center’s license to import dolphins into Armenia, or the license to construct the building, have so far been unsuccessful, she said. “We are going to bring a lawsuit soon and we will go to international courts,” she said.

    • Ebay Classifieds: Stop Selling Live Animals

      EBay claims that they have safeguards in place to protect the animals. But unless eBay is inspecting all of the operations listing pets for sale (because the USDA is not), and unless they’re doing home visits on all of the people buying, how could they possibly protect the animals?

      The answer: They can’t. Because of a loophole in the laws, as long as animals are being sold online, the breeders don’t even fall under USDA regulation. Ebay has given puppy mills a huge, unregulated platform to peddle cruelty. And it seems that they’re hoping animal advocates won’t notice.

    • Interview with legislator who introduced bill to declare global warming “natural” and “beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana”

      Climate policy, he believes, is essentially an attempt to steer money and control into the federal government, which has been dictating the direction of climate science research for decades. He rejects the counsel of scientists like the University of Montana’s Dr. Steve Running, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists whose research on global warming finds that the “only solution that adds up on a global scale is reduced emissions.”

      “The purpose of this whole issue of carbon credits and pushing the agenda of global warming,” Read told the Wonk Room, “is about directing levies and fees for carbon credits so the federal government gets an income source.”

      Faced with the prospect of regulation, the fossil fuel industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the last thirty years to cast doubt on long-established scientific conclusions.

  • Finance

    • Obama, GOP freshmen win in jet engine budget fight

      Determined to reduce deficits, impatient House Republican freshmen made common cause with President Barack Obama on Wednesday, scoring their biggest victory to date in a vote to cancel $450 million for an alternative engine for the Pentagon’s next-generation warplane.

    • Trust Over Pension Pots Prompts Hungarians to Send Money Abroad

      Hungary’s fiscal policies are encouraging Peter Barta to hoard his money abroad.

      The 35-year-old businessman started sending cash out of the country after Premier Viktor Orban diverted 3 trillion forint ($15 billion) of private pension assets to plug the budget.

    • Borders Is Bankrupt. Use Your Gift Cards Now!

      As expected, second-tier book chain Borders filed for bankruptcy today, after a last-ditch effort at a lifesaving loan failed. The company now says it will be closing 30% of its stores—nearly 200 locations—over the next several weeks. But…but what about my gift card?

    • Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

      “Everything’s fucked up, and nobody goes to jail,” he said. “That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that.”

    • In an Amish village, the SEC alleges a Madoff-like fraud

      The personal assets of Monroe L. Beachy, a 77-year-old Amish man, included a horse, buggy and harness. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, his skills included financial fraud.

      Beachy spent a quarter-century raising $33 million from more than 2,600 investors, the overwhelming majority of them fellow members of the Amish community, which often shuns modern conveniences such as automobiles.

      But Beachy’s investment approach allegedly had more in common with the timeless methods of Charles Ponzi and Bernard Madoff than with the sheltered village of Sugarcreek, Ohio, where he lived. When the SEC charged him with fraud on Tuesday, it said he had lost nearly half of his investors’ money.

    • Comparing the GDP of China’s Provinces to Countries

      I happened to come across a Chinese report that compiled 2010 growth rates and GDP figures for individual Chinese provinces. (This exercise may also be a partial and limited answer to my fellow guest blogger Edward Goldstick’s dispatch on China’s 12th five-year plan, a topic on which I’ve written extensively in my day job.) So using World Bank GDP numbers for various countries, which were only up to 2009 unfortunately, I did a quick comparison (confession: I did not tally up the GDPs to see if they totaled $5.8 trillion).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Week 81 – No freedom of speech for Cardiff University

      Several weeks ago, I was emailed an invitation to speak alongside Noam Chomsky in Cardiff, in March. The organisers also asked if I would give a talk at Cardiff University the following day; I happily agreed to both proposals.

      Yesterday, I got call from Ghaith Jayousi, who had invited me to Cardiff, to inform me that his University had refused to host the event, due to “security concerns coming from higher channels”.

  • Civil Rights

    • About That Constitution

      The GOP shows that for all their recent rhetoric about the sacredness of the Constitution, the document is really little more than a political prop.

    • Ron Wyden Speaks Out Against COICA: We Shouldn’t Toss Out The First Amendment Just To Go After A Few Bad Actors

      Senator Ron Wyden (who just joined Twitter) was kind enough to send over the remarks he made to the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning COICA. It’s an excellent read that highlights many of the points we’ve been making.

    • The COICA Internet Censorship and Copyright Bill
    • ICE Seizures Raising New Speech Concerns

      We’re still getting a handle on the details, but it appears that the government took down all sites associated with a dynamic DNS service called afraid.org, in particular subdomains beneath mooo.com. One or more of the subdomains may have been hosting child porn, but instead of seizing that subdomain alone, the takedown targeted mooo.com. What is worse, it also appears that the perfectly legal sites were temporarily plastered with a notice suggesting they trafficked in child porn.

    • US Senate votes to extend Patriot Act measures

      The US Senate has voted to extend controversial surveillance powers granted by the Patriot Act law, put in place after the 9/11 attacks.

      By a vote of 86-12, the Senate approved a 90-day extension of wiretaps, access to business records and surveillance of terror suspects.

      The move came one day after the House of Representatives voted to extend the provisions until 8 December.

    • MPs call for EVERYONE to be added to the national DNA database

      Erm, perhaps Mr Horwood would like to explain how the creation of a vast, central database of the intricate biological data of every British citizen can be squared with any conception of civil liberties?

    • ‘Internet Freedom’ in the Age of Assange

      Describing the Internet as the “public space of the 21st century,” she called the debate about whether the Internet is a force for liberation or oppression “beside the point.” Whether this digital public space is used well or used badly, she noted, is the responsibility of each and every one of the world’s 2 billion-plus Internet users — alongside all governments who seek to regulate it and companies that build Internet technologies and platforms.

    • China warns US over Clinton’s web freedom call

      China has warned the US not to use calls for internet freedom as an excuse to meddle in other countries’ affairs.

      The foreign ministry comments came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced an initiative to help dissidents around the world get past government internet controls.

      Since Mrs Clinton’s speech, comments about it have been removed from China’s popular Twitter-like microblog sites.

    • European Commission and Europol refuse to supply data on the implementation of the EU-US TFPT (SWIFT) agreement as it is “Top Secret”

      The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, and member of the Joint Supervisory Body of Europol, asked the German Interior Ministry numerous questions about the EU-US TFTP Agreement as they are empowered to do. The TFTP (“SWIFT”) Agreement covers the transfer of personal records on financial transactions in the EU concerning terrorism and terrorist financing.

      The questions could only be answered by the European Commission or by Europol. The Europol Management Board decided that questions regarding the implementation of the Agreement should be answered by the Commission (13-14 October 2010). Under Article 4 of the Agreement Europol has to clear all US requests for detailed personal financial data.

    • FBI To Announce Significant New Wiretap Push Backdoors Galore In Everything From Skype To BitTorrent

      Despite the fact the phone companies now act as part time FBI surveillance analysts with a fleeting regard to law, and dump U.S. citizen data and voice traffic wholesale through NSA listening posts, Uncle Sam still apparently isn’t happy with its wiretap authority. The FBI has been making their intentions clear in recent months that they not only want to start pushing hard again for ISP retention data, but the DOJ and FBI are also launching a new push for laws that would allow the easier access to a wider variety of information transmitted via new Internet communications platforms.

    • Newly Released Documents Detail FBI’s Plan to Expand Federal Surveillance Laws

      EFF just received documents in response to a 2-year old FOIA request for information on the FBI’s “Going Dark” program, an initiative to increase the FBI’s authority in response to problems the FBI says it’s having implementing wiretap and pen register/trap and trace orders on new communications technologies. The documents detail a fully-formed and well-coordinated plan to expand existing surveillance laws and develop new ones. And although they represent only a small fraction of the documents we expect to receive in response to this and a more recent FOIA request, they were released just in time to provide important background information for the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing tomorrow on the Going Dark program.

    • Debate Over Internet Backdoors Heats Up in Congress and in Court

      Two hearings tomorrow—one in court and one in Congress—will highlight the brewing debate over whether Congress should expand federal surveillance laws to force Internet communications service providers like Facebook, Google and Skype to build technical backdoors into their systems to enable government wiretapping.

    • FBI: We’re not demanding encryption back doors

      The FBI said today that it’s not calling for restrictions on encryption without back doors for law enforcement.

      FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni told a congressional committee that the bureau’s push for expanded Internet wiretapping authority doesn’t mean giving law enforcement a master key to encrypted communications, an apparent retreat from her position last fall.

    • Hillary Clinton Talks Freedom as Protester Ray McGovern Is Bloodied

      But that’s what our current Secretary of State did when peace activist, veteran Army officer and onetime C.I.A. analyst Ray McGovern protested silently while she lectured the rest of the world about freedom this week at George Washington University.


      McGovern had been standing silently facing the back of the auditorium where all the news cameras were. His supposed crime? “Disorderly conduct” – i.e. wearing a shirt that blocked the view of guests and the media, and therefore “disrupted” the speech by the Secretary of State.

      McGovern discussed his protest and subsequent arrest at Secretary Clinton’s “Freedom Speech” in an interview with blogger Rob Kall.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Students: Show Your Support for Net Neutrality!

      Thank you for participating in the Internet Strikes Back! Please read the letter below and fill out the fields at the bottom of the page in order to add your signature. We’ll deliver this letter to Congress with all of the student signatures attached at the end of February. Want to do more to show your support for net neutrality? Click here to visit the Internet Strikes Back homepage. Want to learn more about net neutrality? Click here for more information.

    • The Internet Is Mine

      The Internet does belong to *me* — and all the other self styled Citizens of the Net.

      Corporations may own bits of wire and pieces of equipment, but that isn’t The Internet.
      Any more than a handful of soil scooped up from the nearest garden is your country.

      That pile of dirt may be a fractional portion of your country, and those bits of technology may be segments of Internet infrastructure, but they are neither the sum of your country nor the entity we call The Internet.

      Please note: there is but one Internet, which is the sum of a whole mess of interconnection.
      Networks. Computers. Cell phones.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • New leaks of TPPA text show U.S. is playing hardball

      The text confirms that the Americans are taking an extremely aggressive position on intellectual property that contrasts starkly with the New Zealand proposal, said Professor Jane Kelsey, who is in Santiago as a registered “stakeholder” at the negotiations.

    • Copyrights

      • Gaiman on Copyright Piracy and the Web
      • History of Copyright, part 6: Hijacked By Record Industry

        Copyright in the 20th century was not characterized by books, but by music. The 1930s saw two major developments that affected musicians: the Great Depression, which caused many musicians to lose their jobs, and movies with sound, which caused most of the rest of musicians to lose their jobs.

        In this environment, two initatives were taken in parallel. Musician’s unions tried to guarantee income and sustenance to the people who were now jobless, made redundant as we say today in executivespeak. Unions all over the West were concerned about the spread of “mechanized music”: any music that isn’t performed live and therefore didn’t need performing musicians. They wanted some power over the speaker technology, and the question was raised through the International Labour Organization (a predecessor to the UN agency with the same name).

      • History of Copyright, part 7: Hijacked by Pfizer

        The president of Pfizer, Edmund Pratt, had a furious op-ed piece in a New York Times on July 9, 1982 titled “Stealing from the Mind”. It fumed about how third world countries were stealing from them. (By this, he referred to making medicine from their own raw materials with their own factories using their own knowledge in their own time for their own people, who were frequently dying from horrible but curable third-world conditions.) Major policymakers saw a glimpse of an answer in Pfizer’s and Pratt’s thinking, and turned to Pratt’s involvement in another committee directly under the President. This committee was the magic ACTN: Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations.

        What the ACTN recommended, following Pfizer’s lead, was so daring and provocative that nobody was really sure whether to try it out: the US would try linking its trade negotiations and foreign policy. Any country who didn’t sign lopsided “free trade” deals that heavily redefined value would be branded in a myriad of bad ways, the most notable being the “Special 301 watchlist”. This list is supposed to be a list of nations not respecting copyright enough. A majority of the world’s population is on it, among them Canada.

        So the solution to not producing anything of value in international trade was to redefine “producing”, “anything”, and “value” in an international political context, and to do so by bullying. It worked. The ACTN blueprints were set in motion by US Trade Representatives, using unilateral bullying to push foreign governments into enacting legislation that favored American industry interestes, bilateral “free trade” agreements that did the same, and multilateral agreements that raised the bar worldwide in protection of American interests.

      • BitTorrent is to stealing movies what “bolt-cutters are to stealing bicycles”

        Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was all about COICA, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. The bill would give the government legal tools to blacklist a “rogue” website from the Internet’s Domain Name System, ban credit card companies from processing US payments to the site, and forbid US-based online ad networks from working with the site. It even directs the government to keep a list of suspect sites, even though no evidence has been presented against them in court.

        Everyone loves the idea. Democrats love the idea (well, except for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who said it was “like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb when what you really need is a precision-guided missile”). Republicans love the idea. And rightsholders really love the idea.

      • The Economic Consequences of Piracy

        But this laudable attempt at rigour is completely undermined by the fact that nowhere in the report is there any recognition that all this “lost” money does *not* disappear, but is simply channelled elsewhere in the Australian economy, where it might actually create more jobs than it would if spent on films (because of revenue outflows to the US, and the fact that local money would be spent on more labour-intensive industries like retailing or catering.) Similarly, it *does* produce tax revenue for the Australian government, just from different sources.

        It would be far more conducive to producing an honest debate about the *real* effects of unauthorised copies on national economies if these key facts were included for a change; by continuing to ignore them, these misleading and one-sided reports amount to little more than industry propaganda.

      • File-Sharers Start Handing Over $1,000 Each in Bizarre Amnesty Program

        Ten individuals have freely and bizarrely handed over $1,000 each to movie studio Liberty Media in piracy settlements, despite the company having absolutely no idea who they are or if they did anything wrong. Now Liberty have a new amnesty and are offering BitTorrent users the chance to hand themselves in or risk being involved in 36,000 upcoming lawsuits.

        After running rampant in Germany and the UK, the United States is now suffering under an onslaught of Speculative Invoicing – mass file-sharing lawsuits designed to scare people into paying cash settlements on the basis that by doing so they avoid a much more costly trial later.

      • CHART OF THE DAY: The Death Of The Music Industry [Ed: just recording industry, not music]
      • Can Senator Patrick Leahy Actually Provide The Proof That The COICA Censorship Law Is Needed?

        “Are reported?” By whom? Not the US government, who a year ago noted that all of the studies making those sorts of claims were bogus, and the various studies discussing these claims of “losses” to both jobs and the American economy have been thoroughly debunked. The only people still claiming that such things are factual are lobbyists and legacy industry insiders, who clearly stand to benefit from such laws that can be used to stifle innovation.

        If Leahy is going to insist that these numbers are factual, shouldn’t he at least have to say where he got those numbers from — and also avoid relying on numbers from the very industries this law is designed to help?

      • Digital Economy (UK)/HADOPI

Clip of the Day

WikiRebels: The Documentary on Wikileaks (Part 2 of 6) HD

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 17/2/2011: Linux 2.6.38 RC5, SplashTop Makes MeeGo-based Platform

Posted in News Roundup at 5:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Nigeria Uses GNU/Linux to Manage Elections

    120K PCs in a huge network manage the database.

  • Linux Based Cameleon XR1.5 For Indian Telecom Industry

    Donjin Communication Technology, a player in global multimedia communication platform technology and Contarra Systems, a worldwide telecommunica­tions software company specialized in multi-purpose communications solutions, have introduced Cameleon XR 1.5 a service delivery platform based on Linux Operating System for the Indian telecommunications industry.

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung aims for iPod touch with WiFi-only Galaxy S variants

      At Mobile World Congress taking place this week in Barcelona, Samsung was showing off two new WiFi-only Android devices based on the popular Galaxy S smartphone. Coming in both 4″ and 5″ display sizes, the models would serve as non-phone companions to Samsung’s Galaxy S line, similar in many respects to the iPod touch.

      Both new devices feature 1GHz Hummingbird processors, front-facing VGA video cameras, microSD slots, Bluetooth, and WiFi, and they run Android 2.2 (Froyo). A smaller device which looks almost identical to current Galaxy S smartphones features a 4″ LCD touchscreen, a 3.2MP rear camera, and a 1200mAh battery. The larger version has an 800×480 pixel 5″ touchscreen, a 5MP rear camera with flash, and a 2500mAh battery. Both devices are compatible with 32GB microSD cards, but it’s not clear how much, if any, flash storage is built in.

    • LG Optimus 3D video hands-on

      The recently announced LG Optimus 3D (read specs) provides glasses-free 3D vision by sending separate signals to the right and left eyes. The technique creates an image that tricks the eyes into seeing the foreground of videos, games, and the user interface at a closer angle. My only problem with this that angles must be tight. When moving the phone a small degree to the left or right, the desired effect is gone and a distorted image appears in its place. While it’s a neat trick to be able to view 3D video without having to wear glasses, the experience is rather limited.

    • LG Optimus 3D is the new king of the hill when it comes to hardware performance thanks to its TI OMAP 4 chip
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Organizing conf.kde.in Conference In India

        The Indian KDE team is organising conf.kde.in, a conference for the KDE community and users. The conference is creating a platform for Qt and KDE contributors and enthusiasts to meet up, share their knowledge, contribute, learn and play.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3: Getting better by the day

        It’s easy to focus on the big new features, but there has been a huge amount of polishing work going on also. Marina has been refining the behaviour of the messaging tray, Owen has been making sure that icons are clearly rendered, and lots of bug fixing has been happening.

        This isn’t everything that’s been happening to GNOME 3 in recent weeks (system settings have been getting a lot of attention, as have many of our applications) but I hope the update’s useful.

      • Gnome Shell is Almost Ready to Rock Your Desktop

        When Gnome Shell was first becoming available over a year ago, we took a look at it to see what the foundation was like, and to see what direction the Gnome desktop was likely to go. At the time, we liked it, though it was clearly a “rough draft” of what it could eventually become. Since then, time has gone by, and while Ubuntu may have decided to go with Unity instead, others have taken Gnome Shell up to the next level. Fedora, among others, will be putting it front and center in future releases. Today we’re going to take a look at one of the most recent builds available to see what this slick desktop environment has got to offer.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Blog Now Included on the Censored Planet

          My blog is now included on Fedora’s “Planet Edited” – mind you various people won’t like me for calling it censored. Originally, I thought the censored version of planet was going to filter out the ‘I had this-and-that for breakfast’ type of blog posts, which, usually anyway, have nothing to do with Fedora at all. However, after some clarification from Andrea Veri, it seems a relation between the posts content and Fedora isn’t sufficient – the blog post must be specifically about Fedora.

        • Stop blaming Italians for Berlusconi

          The Italian media do not allow public opinion to be formed in an objective and impartial way. We could blame Italians for their leader only if the delicate mechanisms that govern Italian democracy were not distorted by a biased, irresponsible media. Rather, we should blame its “mediocracy”; that is, the dangerous entanglement of power and media that has been afflicting the country for decades.

          The mammoth media power that Berlusconi has built his empire on is unimaginable in any other western democracy. If we overlook his immense and unchallenged power over public opinion, his articulate propaganda machine, we won’t be able to explain why Italians have fallen asleep instead of reacting to the regime.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6 Linux finally released

        In a recent article Brockmeier argued that Debian was still crucially important to the Linux world for two key reasons.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • The top 5 desktops from our Facebook competition

          We got over 500 submissions throughout the week, and it was certainly a tough decision to pick only 5 winners out of so many.

        • A Long Overdue Introduction: ecryptfs-migrate-home

          One of my most popular (by number hits) posts on eCryptfs is the one on Migrating to An Encrypted Home Directory. This post contains a lengthy set of instructions when, if followed correctly, allows you to migrate to an encrypted home directory.

        • Live Ubuntu Video Q+A: Every Wednesday
        • Bug search no longer does substring matching of source package names
        • Canonical Re-licenses Ubuntu Wiki to CC BY-SA

          Elizabeth Krumbach on behalf of the Ubuntu Community Council announced in an email to various mailing lists, and posted on the Ubuntu Fridge that the licensing for the Ubuntu wiki will be CC-BY-SA and barring a “substantial number of objections” this change should take place in approximately one month.

        • Thunderbird in the Usability Lab!

          This time, I had the pleasure of working with Andreas Nilsson, who came to London to observe the sessions. It was very useful to get his feedback and to work collaboratively with him on the analysis and implications of the findings. In addition to these benefits of our work together, there is an added one: since he observed participants struggling with certain aspects of the interface, he will no doubt be a very effective user experience advocate with his team.

        • Ubuntu Unity 2D

          Some random musing about Ubuntu ARM Netbook Edition.

          Last month Canonical held its Ubuntu Platform Team rally in Dallas TX. During this rally the Unity 2D launcher was added to the public archive for use with the Ubuntu ARM Netbook edition. We had hoped it would be fairly simply to replace the existing EFL (Enlightenment Foundations Library) launcher with the QT based Unity launcher.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Noki-Soft Windfall – who wins most when Micro-Kia hand away lucrative smartphone empire bigger than Blackberry, bigger than iPhone

          Even more than being an 11x bestselling author of mobile telecoms and a consultant and ex-Nokia executive, I am more than anything else, an industry analyst for the mobile industry and one of its leading statisticians and forecasters. I am known for deep and insightful statistical analysis articles of the industry and its market such as this final review of all the stats and major players in the year 2010 in smartphones. So I have done a thorough analysis of all rivals who stand to gain from the loss of market share, that Nokia’s sudden Microsoft partnership announcement will create.

        • Analyst: Nokia-MS alliance bodes ill for phone giant

          “With the Microsoft deal unlikely to yield any products for nearly one year, Nokia will have no choice except to remain awkwardly reliant on the Symbian and MeeGo platforms in 2011. This will have a further negative impact on the Nokia’s already eroding position in smart phones,” it said.

        • SplashTop Releases Its MeeGo-based OS

          While Nokia has effectively abandoned the MeeGo Linux operating system, Intel is still supporting MeeGo along with AMD and other vendors, including SplashTop. SplashTop has today announced the release of their MeeGo-based operating system.

        • Fujitsu starts selling the first MeeGo netbook

          Fujitsu has just put MeeGo on their existing LifeBook MH330 netbook (originally launched with Windows onboard) making it the first MeeGo netbook shipping commercially. The MH330 (launched in mid 2010) has an Intel Atom N455 @ 1.66 GHz, 1 GB RAM, a 250 GB hard disk and 10.1″ 1024×600 display. The netbook is available now on Asian markets for about € 300.

        • Meego and Qt after Microsoft & Nokia: a summary of “facts”

          # MEEGO@NOKIA: #info Elop: Nokia would continue to develop the MeeGo operating system in collaboration with Intel
          So, definetly this work will continue.


          So Meego will live on, both inside and outside Nokia. Qt will live on, both inside and outside Nokia. Symbian will die. Qt will not be ported to QP7. KDE will survive.

        • Collabortage

          I coined the term during an IRC conversation after a friend expressed dark suspicions that the MeeGo alliance between Intel and Nokia might have been a ploy by Intel to screw up Nokia’s ARM-centered product strategy in order to favor Intel’s Atom processors. I do not endorse this theory, but it started me thinking of various historical examples, such as Microsoft’s browser-technology collaboration with Spyglass, for which there is in fact strong reason to suspect deliberate collabortage.

        • Doomed By The Desire For Control?

          By attempting to seize control, Nokia and Microsoft are actually likely to lose influence.

        • Nokia shareholders and unions fight back against Microkia

          First, will be a battle with the Finnish trade union Pro which is demanding €100,000 (in addition to severance payments) for every Nokia employee that loses their job under Elop’s new strategy — money the unions says will be used for reeducation.

        • Otellini: Nokia News Made Me Swear Like Yahoo’s CEO

          When Intel CEO Paul Otellini received a call from Nokia chief Stephen Elop about Nokia’s move to Microsoft, he used a word that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz “has often used.”

        • Nokiasoft: Who are the Open Source Winners and Losers?

          The clearest loser in the deal is Symbian: it is as dead as the proverbial Monty Python parrot.


          Surprisingly, perhaps, I don’t think Qt will be joining Symbian and MeeGo as a Dead Parrot; indeed, continuing the Monty Python theme, I’d say it’s more a question of “I’m not dead yet.” For Qt is, of course, a key element of KDE, which is doing very nicely thank you, and certainly doesn’t depend on the commitment or otherwise of Nokia (luckily). People will continue to hack on Qt because by doing so they can make KDE better – which is what they are passionate about.

          Indeed, you could argue that Qt might benefit from Nokia leaving it alone: it will allow Qt development to concentrate on improving those things that matter to KDE, rather than Nokia’s corporate priorities. And if the eventual owner of Qt (whoever that might be, assuming Nokia eventually sells it, as I think likely) starts messing about – hello Oracle – then there’s always the option of a fork, which in the wake of LibreOffice has become a much more respectable option.

        • Hands on with Intel’s MeeGo tablet UI: good ideas, rough edges

          Although Nokia is gutting its commitment to MeeGo, the platform still has support from a number of other prominent hardware vendors. Intel, which originally cofounded MeeGo with Nokia last year, has released an experimental “pre-alpha” build of its MeeGo tablet environment.

          The software was unveiled at Mobile World Congress this week and is being demonstrated on the Atom-based ExpoPC tablet. It is built with Nokia’s Qt development toolkit and uses the powerful Qt Quick framework for much of the user interface. It appears to be at a relatively early stage of development and is still lacking a lot of basic capabilities, but many of the underlying concepts are promising.

        • Intel Shows Off MeeGo Tablet UI Experience[Screenshots and Video]

          MeeGo is in the news again, this time for all the right reasons. Few days ago, Nokia announced that they are going to partner with Microsoft and use Windows Phone 7 as its primary OS instead of MeeGo. Intel on the other hand is all set to go ahead with MeeGo platform without Nokia. Intel has reiterated its commitment towards MeeGo open source mobile OS project by showing off MeeGo’s latest UI experience at Mobile World Congress currently being held at Barcelona, Spain.

        • Community SSU features to look forward to

          Most of these patches try to improve the user experience and look and feel of the Maemo 5 UI, but tastes differ, so you can choose which one to enable:

          * Blurless desaturation: With this feature enabled, the background of dialogs, menus, the launcher and the switcher won’t get all blurry – instead, they keep their sharpness, but are darkened and desaturated. (thread with screenshots)
          * Bigger task switcher: I think this is one of my earliest patches, now cleaned up to be configurable with different settings. You can choose between the Maemo 5 default layout, the single-column “big” task switcher and the two-column task switcher. I’ve left the horizontal task switcher out of this, as it wasn’t working that well in some situations. (thread with screenshots)
          * Rotation around the Z axis: This one makes the screen rotation look much more natural, just like on the MeeGo Handset UX. Instead of rotating around the X and Y axis, this makes the transitions from/to portrait mode rotate around the Z axis. (demo video)
          * Forced auto-rotation for all apps: By default, hildon-desktop obeys the preferences of application windows and whether or not they support portrait mode. With this option enabled, hildon-desktop ignores those preferences and instead assumes every application can be auto-rotated. There’s no support for the home screen, launcher or switcher, as these things are more complicated to support in portrait mode. (demo video)

        • Intel Giving Away Lots of Cash, Trip to Antarctica, Jet Flight & More for MeeGo Developers

          Intel is currently offering several incentives for developers to create MeeGo apps. The prizes look very interesting. How does a trip to South Pole sound? How about flying former military jets at supersonic speeds? If you’re not into that, you can opt for cash. The first 100 submitted quality apps also get $500 and the best 10 of those apps get $1000.

      • Android

        • Google: Android activations up to 350,000 a day
        • VMware put an Android in your Android, so you can VM while you VM

          So apparently VMware heard you like virtualization (or at least, that corporations do), so it made an Android virtual machine that can run inside Android’s own Dalvik VM.

        • ZTE taking the high road with new Android devices

          One of the more interesting announcements at this year’s MWC has come from ZTE, a Chinese telcom which has held a solid portion of the Chinese market by offering a number of low-end Android phones. Last year, ZTE shipped 2 million Android phones, and this year is looking to increase that number to 10 million, but also aim a little higher with these. ZTE has announced a number of devices ranging from 1 GHz smartphones to 1.2 GHz dual-core devices. The standouts from ZTE’s announcement were the ZTE Skate, the Light 2, the Light 10, and a mysterious “Internet box”.

        • Social discovery app “Tagged” comes to Android this week

          Just about every one loves a little social networking in their lives, right? Well, if you are tired of Facebook and Twitter and hopefully have also moved on from MySpace, then maybe the network Tagged is what you are looking for. Tagged is self-dubbed “the world’s leader in social discovery” and because of that are brought their popular iPhone app to Android this week.

        • Android increases lead over iOS in ad impressions. Let’s break down the numbers.

          As of October and November of last year, Millennial Media reported that Android and iOS were tied in ad impression share at about 38% each. By December, Android had pulled ahead with 46% to iOS’s 32%. Now, Millennial Media is reporting that in Januray iOS had an ad impression share of 28%, compared to Android’s 54%.

        • Huawei announces low-end IDEOS X3 smartphone and X7 tablet

          Huawei is certainly not going for the big money crowd like many of the other Android manufacturers seem to be doing. Huawei has just announced an entry-level phone, the IDEOS X3, and what looks to be an entry level tablet as well, the IDEOS X7.

        • CyanogenMod 7 release candidates now available for a number of devices

          Version 7 of the Android world’s most popular custom ROM, CyanogenMod, has now received its first proper release candidates. This means that a final release of CM7 should be pretty close now. The new builds are feature-complete and have been pretty thoroughly tested, although they might have to do some further tweaking. Nonetheless, these release candidates of CyanogenMod 7 should definitely be stable enough for everyday use.

        • The System & The System: Overlaying GNU on Android on the Beagle Board

          And so it is with Contraption, my project to overlay a GNU environment on top of the otherwise very un-GNU-like Android on the Beagle Board. Like the citizens of Beszel and Ul Qoma, the GNU and Android environments co-exist in close proximity, within the same geographic file system and random access memory, yet kept separate through the auspices of the Breach-like Linux kernel. You can interact with Android from one one screen while running GNU-based software from a bash shell inside an ssh session from another. For the most part the two systems simply unsee one another by virtue of using different PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH environmental variables and by being dynamically linked to different shared objects. The Linux kernel and the dynamic loader keep it all separate.

        • MapQuest Launches Android App with OpenStreetMap and Turn-By-Turn Navigation

          One of the superior apps on the Android phone has long been Google Maps, with its turn-by-turn and voice-guided navigation missing from the iPhone version. So on the surface, MapQuest has a difficult sell to Android users with the launch of its free app today.

          The MapQuest app also offers the turn-by-turn capabilities and takes advantage of Android’s speech capabilities to offer a voice guide as well. The benefits of MapQuest over Google Maps comes from the former’s use of OpenStreetMap (OSM), making the mapping app usable outside the U.S. and adding to it some user-submitted data.

        • Android pwns Mobile World Congress with unique display [Video]

          Android is taking over according to all the stat reports and user surveys released these days. But what happens when the green robot commands a large space of one of the major mobile phone events in the world?

          In Hall 8 of Mobile World Congress, Google has an Android zone that takes up a big chunk of space. There are product demos of Google and third-party apps, massive statues, giveaways, and even a smoothie bar serving up treats with an Android theme (Cupcake, Donut, Gingerbread, and Honeycomb). It’s one of the most popular and crowded destinations at MWC.

        • Google Unveils Android Subscriptions

          Google on Wednesday debuted an Android subscription model, which lets publishers “set their own prices and terms for their digital content.” As Fast Company notes, “It’s a fast counter blow aimed squarely at Apple’s new subscription system.” Indeed, “Google’s been careful to frame its system as a direct competitor to Apple’s App Store subscription service–one that’s far friendlier to publishers–without really mentioning Apple at all.”

        • Android Market on pace to outgrow iTunes 3-1

          According to a recent report by Lookout’s App Genome Project, the number of Android Marketplace apps increased by over 125% since August, putting it on pace to outgrow iTunes apps three to one. Apple still commands a sizeable lead in the total number of apps it offers through iTunes versus AM, the gap is narrowing quickly.

        • Android Ice Cream 2.4 = Gingerbread + Honeycomb

          Google CEO Eric Schmidt confirmed to an audience at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the upcoming version 2.4 of its Android operating system will combine both Gingerbread 2.3 and the tablet-centric Honeycomb 3.0.

        • TeamViewer6 Stable For Android, Released [Remote Desktop Application]
        • IcedRobot Will Take Android Beyond Smartphones: Exclusive Interview

          A group of developers has announced a project called IcedRobot which will make it possible to run Android apps on non-Android platforms. Something similar to what Alien Dalvik is trying to do. However, there is a significant difference between the two projects, what is it? How is IcedRobot going to affect the Oracle-Google court battle? How is it going to make life easier for developers? How is it going to make life easier for users? We got in touch with one of the founders of the IcedRobot to understand more about the project. Here is an exclusive interview with one of the founding members of the IcedRobot project, Mario Torre.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4, Socorro at AOL, PyCon 2011, Join Mozilla and more…

        * Firefox 4 playing well on major websites
        * Laura Thomson talks Socorro at AOL
        * Mozillians Take PyCon 2011
        * Now serving weekly updates on Join Mozilla
        * Meet the Developer Engagement Team
        * Thoughts on community from metrics guru
        * Mozilla and IPv6 day
        * Can IE9 be considered a modern browser?
        * Improvements to Firefox 4′s spell checker
        * More on MozMill at FOSDEM
        * What will Add-on updates look like in the future?
        * Software updates
        * Upcoming events
        * Developer calendar
        * About about:mozilla

      • Add-ons Review Update – Week of 2011/02/15
  • SaaS

    • Is the open source cloud computing dream evaporating?

      It’s hard to avoid cloud computing these days, with vendors lining up to support this latest incarnation of an idea that goes all the way back to terminals hanging off a mainframe. In many ways, that’s unfortunate, since the idea of computing ‘in the cloud’ poses particular problems for free software.

  • Databases

    • Database Technology for Large Scale Data

      It is similar to the MapReduce programming model, which has been frequently used as of late. Both Greenplum and Aster Data provide a feature of combining SQL and MapReduce. The following is a description of the SQL used by Greenplum and the manner in which it is processed.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Linux 6 available

      With a simple email to an in-house mailing list, last Friday Oracle announced the general availability of Oracle Linux 6. There is, as yet, no press release on the release, which is unusual as the company and its CEO usually tend to aim for maximum publicity.

      The new generation Oracle Linux is largely a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL), which was released last November. New features listed in the release email and release notes are, therefore, already familiar from the original, for instance the use of Ext4 as the default file system, the support of XFS and the ftrace and perf tracing tools. One section in the release notes lists all the packages Oracle has modified to adjust the distribution’s “look and feel” and remove Red Hat trademarks.

    • [tdf-announce] LibreOffice Community starts 50,000 Euro challenge for setting-up its foundation

      LibreOffice Community starts 50,000 Euro challenge for setting-up its foundation

    • Webcast recap: General Hugh Shelton
    • Now Hudson moves to GitHub

      The dispute between Oracle and the Hudson community over the continuous integration software Hudson, which led to the creation of Jenkins, a renamed version, has taken an ironic turn.The arguments started over where Hudson’s code and other developer resources would be hosted.

      Oracle had insisted, having ownership of the Hudson trademark, on the code being on its project Kenai-based Java.net service. But after problems with a mishandled migration of the project, much of the community backed a plan that would have moved it to the GitHub repository. Oracle objected to this and the community’s response to Oracle was a vote to rename Hudson as Jenkins to avoid the trademark issue and taking control of Jenkins hosting.

    • Google Files Motion for Leave to File Motion for Summary Judgment on Oracle’s Copyright Claim

      Google has sent a letter [PDF] to Judge William Alsup, asking leave to file a motion for summary judgment on Count VIII of Oracle’s Amended Complaint in Oracle v. Google.

      Count VIII is the one about copyright infringement. So regardless of how the judge rules, we get to see Google’s position, which if I translate into non-legalese would be: “What we did isn’t actionable, being covered by fair use or the files are so few their use is de minimis or they are not copyrightable.” I have done the letter as text for you.

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.x Developer Snapshot (build DEV300m100) available

      Developer Snapshot OOo-Dev DEV300m100 is available for download.

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

    • LibreOffice Starts 50,000 Euro Challenge Foundation Set-Up

      Oracle’s Sun buyout has taught a very important lesson to the Free and Open Source Community: its better and safer to be independent than be controlled by a corporate entity. There are many projects driven by corporates with good intentions, but the risk of buyout remains.

      OpenOffice fork, LibreOffice is one of the role models of community-governed project. To meet the financial requirements without compromising on what the community or users want, the LibreOffice community is calling for monetary contributions.

    • LibreOffice Colorful Icons Land In The US @ SCALE

      LibreOffice is the free office productivity suite developed by the TDF developer community, and is going to be included as the default choice in all Linux desktop distributions announced from March 2011 onwards. The software features a word processor (Writer), a spreadsheet (Calc), a presentation manager (Impress), a charting and graphics program (Draw), and a database front end (Base). The suite supports the ISO standard Open Document Format (ODF) for personal documents, and is compatible with most of the legacy proprietary formats – including several flavors of Microsoft Office, WordPerfect and Microsoft Works – and with the OOXML ISO standard (in the current non-standard Microsoft implementation).

  • Healthcare

    • Parliament Approves European Directive Against Falsified Medicines

      The European Parliament today approved a new law aimed at preventing falsified medicines from entering the legal supply chain, according to a Parliament press release. The law needs to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers.

      The new law will cover internet sales and introduces new safety and traceability measures. According to the release, a “huge growth” in falsified medicines has been witnessed since 2005, with an estimated one percent of products sold in to the European public through the legal supply chain being falsified, according to the release. The law is expected to be posted soon to a link provided in the press release.

  • Funding

    • AdBlock Plus: Open source for fun (not funds)

      It is this last thing that strikes me as offering the most vital reason for the significant contributions to VLC, and it also comes through in Palant’s decision to invest so much time in Adblock Plus. He told me: “I have the feeling that this work is important. I can help many people and in the long term the web might actually become a better place.”


    • Stress test FSFE’s new donation options!

      FSFE’s work depends on your donations. Without we would not be able to work on software freedom, follow the policy process in European countries, the European Union, and the United Nations, nor would we be able to run campaigns like pdfreaders.org or Document Freedom Day.

    • Decentralizing the Internet So Big Brother Can’t Find You

      On Tuesday afternoon, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke in Washington about the Internet and human liberty, a Columbia law professor in Manhattan, Eben Moglen, was putting together a shopping list to rebuild the Internet — this time, without governments and big companies able to watch every twitch of our fingers.

    • The FreedomBox Foundation
    • Debian and the FreedomBox
  • Project Releases

    • GNU Guile 2.0.0 released

      We are pleased to announce GNU Guile release 2.0.0, the first of a new stable series and the result of almost 3 years of work. It provides many new noteworthy features, most notably the addition of a compiler and virtual machine.

  • Government

    • EE: Ministry saves millions by using open source office

      Using the open source costed the ministry no more than 64.000 Euro over the past ten years, being simply the annual budget for training users. Had it continued to use a proprietary office suite, the costs for purchasing or renting proprietary software licences and user training would have ranged between 1.4 and 2.8 million Euro, Merilo showed in a presentation at the Latvian Open Technology Association (LATA), a trade organisation, on 18 January in Latvia’s capital Riga.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • User-led innovation can’t create breakthroughs. Really?

      2) Getting user feedback ≠ taking user feedback.

      Jens and Rasmus jump to a conclusion that I probably wouldn’t reach myself. They argue that it is actually harmful to listen to users and that innovative brands don’t care about what their users want. They make four key points 1) Users insights can’t predict future demand 2) User-centered processes stifle creativity 3) User focus makes companies miss out on disruptive innovations 4) User-led design leads to sameness.

    • The Lebanese Creative Commons community gains momentum

      In the past three years, the Lebanese CC Community has started to structurally gain momentum and actively co-create together on local, regional and multi-national levels. The community that we have is vibrant and diverse consisting of visual artists, photographers, musicians, NGOs, and publishers—each with his own story and journey with CC.

    • Open Data

      • The State of Open Data in Canada: The Year of the License

        Open Data now an established fact in a growing list of Canadian cities. Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa have established portals, Montreal, Calgary, Hamilton and some other cities are looking into launching their own and a few provinces are rumored to be exploring open data portals as well.

        This is great news and a significant accomplishment. While at the national level Canadian is falling further behind leaders such as England, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, at the local and potentially provincial/state level, Canada could position itself as an international leader.

      • How Open Data Initiatives Can Improve City Life

        Major city governments across North America are looking for ways to share civic data — which normally resides behind secure firewalls — with private developers who can leverage it to serve city residents via web and mobile apps. Cities can spend on average between $20,000 and $50,000 — even as much as $100,000 — to cover the costs of opening data, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider how much is needed to develop a custom application that might not be nearly as useful.

    • Open Hardware

      • Texas Instruments OMAP 5 may offer the best quad-core chip [Processor fights]

        All cores are not created equal. That was the key message that I took away from a recent meeting with the folks from Texas Instruments. While the trend among mobile phones and tablets is to trumpet how many cores one chipset has, and how many gigahertz can be crammed into a tiny piece of hardware, that doesn’t tell the whole story of how a device will perform.

        Texas Instruments recently announced that its TI OMAP 5 would be a quad-core processor that greatly advances the computing power of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. OMAP 5 features twin ARM Cortex-A15 cores that can each reach 2 GHz of power, and two ARM Cortex-M4 cores that are used to deliver optimal battery with less power requirements. So while NVIDIA trumpets its four Cortex A9 cores, TI plans to counter with what it claims will be a stronger and smarter quartet.

  • Programming

    • Is Eclipse Open-By-Rule?
    • Open Source COBOL-IT Tools to be Distributed by Speedware

      IBM i shops that develop in COBOL may be interested in learning about COBOL-IT, a compiler and collection of modernization tools that is developed in France under an open source license. Last week, the Canadian application modernization company Speedware announced that it’s now distributing COBOL-IT to North American customers.

      According to the Paris-based company, the COBOL-IT Compiler Suite is an ANS85-compliant version of the popular procedural language. The compiler installs on Windows, Unix, and Linux machines, including Linux for z/OS, thereby providing organizations with hosting options besides the IBM mainframe, where a lot of legacy COBOL resides.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C: HTML5 will be finished in 2014

      Those curious about the final release date for the hotly debated HTML5 need wonder no more: The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) plans to finalize the standard by July 2014, the organization announced Monday.

      “This is the first time we’ve been able to answer people’s questions of when it will be done,” said Ian Jacobs, head of W3C marketing and communications. “More and more people from more and more industries are asking when it will be done. They require stability in the standard and very high levels of interoperability.”

    • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) Authorized Translations Now in Six Languages
    • ODF Mime Type Icons Redesign

      Overall, this design decision enables us to make ODF file distinction to be supported via luminance and form/contour contrasts. Which is a significant improvement compared to the current ODF icons, without violating any ODF marketing constraints.

    • ODFDOM 0.8.7 – The new Release of the OpenDocument Java Library

      The new version of ODFDOM – our Apache 2 licensed ODF library in Java has been released!

    • Scramble to set mobile pay standard

      In the business world, the pursuit of profits sometimes makes for strange bedfellows. And in the race to be first in the local mobile payment market, credit card firms, telecommunications companies and mobile phone makers are forging unlikely alliances.

      With the country’s “cashless” payment culture and the ubiquitous presence of mobile phones creating a whole new way to pay for goods and services – via mobile devices – companies in some industries are looking to set the standards for the new business and get in on the first train.

    • Drumming Up More Addresses on the Internet

      They debated the question for more than a year. Finally, with a deadline looming, Mr. Cerf decided on a number — 4.3 billion separate network addresses, each one representing a connected device — that seemed to provide more room to grow than his experiment would ever require, far more, in fact, than he could ever imagine needing. And so he was comfortable rejecting the even larger number of addresses that some on his team had argued for.


  • [Old] Hunton & Williams Sued for $150 Million in Contract-Interference Case

    Hunton & Williams has been hit with a $150 million lawsuit in Wisconsin claiming that the law firm maliciously squeezed a broker out of a contract and should pay up for the company’s losses.

    The lawsuit alleges that Hunton & Williams and client Insight Equity Holdings LLC ousted plaintiff Minerals Development & Supply Co. from a supply chain agreement in which Minerals Development was the middleman. Filed in Monroe County, Wis., Circuit Court, on July 30, the lawsuit seeks punitive damages for what Minerals Development asserts was the law firm’s intentional and malicious conduct.

  • Why You Should Use Emoticons In Your Emails

    Language is a means of communication, buts its only as effective as the person using it. Without inflection and emotion, language loses a lot, making text communication one of the poorest forms. While emoticons can be informal, they may actually be the best way of bringing additional meaning to your emails.

  • Guilting parents out of child care

    In the crass world of Canadian right-wing politics, there is a surefire way to diffuse voters’ earnest desire for affordable, high quality child care and early learning options: play the guilt card.

    Human Resources Minister Diane Finley did it just last week in response to a federal Liberal promise to revive the national child-care program Paul Martin said he would implement before losing grip of his fledgling minority government five years ago.

  • No courting in public, Hindu group warns Delhi

    “We won’t allow our culture to be hijacked by foreign multinationals who have introduced concepts like Valentine’s Day just to sell cards,” said its spokesman, Sunil Tyagi. The group plans to equip its members with cameras to film couples in action. “When we upload such footage on YouTube, the couples will learn their mistake.”

  • Police issue arrest warrant for rabbi that supported book which justifies killing non-Jews
  • Stop the global land grab

    “NGOs don’t mobilise people, desperation mobilises people,” said a Cambodian land activist as he related the experience of Boeung Kak villagers who were driven off their land by their own government to make way for corporate profiteering.

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • ARM Marches Onward

      Obviously ARM is doing very well in embedded stuff and smart thingies but nVidia’s newest Tegra chip is mind-blowing. They tout it for mobile but demonstrate it doing video and games on huge monitors. Does that not spell desktop/notebook/gaming console? Yep! There’s a rumour that this will power the next iPad.

    • 3TB Drives are Here
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto Aims to Own Our Food, While Profiteering Off of Toxins and Pesticides

      In its latest of many articles on the increasing threat of Monsanto to world agricultural production, Truthout once again points out that the multinational corporation is in the process of privatizing much of our food supply through the patenting and aggressive marketing of genetically engineered (GE) seeds and crops.

    • Doctors Sue Federal Government for Deceptive Language on Meat, Dairy in New Dietary Guidelines

      A nonprofit physicians organization is suing the federal government over the newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans, accusing officials of using deliberately obscure language regarding foods consumers should avoid. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) cites the government’s conflicts of interest and arbitrary and capricious behavior in developing nutrition advice that was supposed to help Americans fight record obesity levels.

      In a lawsuit filed this week against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, PCRM says the Dietary Guidelines are clear about what to eat more of—vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, for example—but deliberately hide the foods Americans should eat less of. The Guidelines use biochemical terms, such as “saturated fat” and “cholesterol” instead of specific food terms “meat” and “cheese.” This deliberate omission can be traced to the USDA’s close ties to the meat and dairy industries, including fast-food companies such as McDonald’s.

  • Security

    • Anonymous speaks: the inside story of the HBGary hack
    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Legal Defenses For Anonymous In The Excited States – IANAL

      This is actually a multi-layered defense. The FBI appears (from some statements) to be trying to claim that having a copy of the Low Orbit Ion Cannon is illegal. The Low Orbit Ion Cannon is a network testing application. Network testing applications aren’t illegal, however they possibly could be used for illegal uses. I can see a defense lawyer claiming that the LOIC application is the cyber equivalent of a rifle, and possession is covered under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

      The use of Distributed Denial of Service Attacks against Mastercard, Paypal, Visa, etc. is being regarded by the FBI as illegal. However the use of a gun in self defense isn’t illegal in many places. Expect to see arguments that use of the LOIC software is equivalent to using a gun for self defense.

      Also expect to see arguments that the social engineering attack on Rootkit.com was also self defense, assuming that the FBI can locate whoever actually did it. This would also cover any of the actions by anyone against HBGary Federal.

    • Anonymous victim HBGary goes to ground

      The computer security company hacked by members of activist group Anonymous has gone to ground as further revelations about its activites leak online.

      HBGary has cancelled its appearances at public events, saying that members of staff had been threatened.

      It follows the release of internal documents which appear to show the firm offered to smear Wikileaks’ supporters.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • [Old] Police arrest four at Toronto homes

      Toronto police are arresting many of the key organizers behind anti-G20 protests, several of them during pre-dawn raids on houses across Toronto that resulted in four people being charged with conspiracy to commit mischief.

    • CBS News’ Logan recovering after ‘brutal’ attack
    • Yemen protests turn violent

      Yemen protests started in mid January with a self immolation and the arrest and release of Yemeni activist Tawakel Karman, and they have not really stopped since. A Day of Rage was organized for February 3 but tens of thousands were in the streets on January 27 as well as many smaller protests, throughout the time period. The last five days have seen a huge increase in the numbers in the streets, as well as the violence directed at them. According to Human Rights Watch, president Ali Abdallah Saleh’s security forces have attacked demonstrators, activists, lawyers, and journalists in Yemen capital city Sanaa without justification. An estimated 3000 people protested from Sana’a University, clashing with police and pro-Saleh demonstators using batons, rocks, and occasionally knives. Today in Taiz, over 2500 people are refusing to leave and are forming committees and buying tents to continue occupying their protests grounds.

    • ‘Best lead’ before 7/7 not followed

      Police failed to chase up their “best lead” after a suspected armed robbery, which may have led them to one of the July 7 bombers weeks before the atrocity, an inquest has heard.

      Inquiries were “left outstanding” after Jermaine Lindsay was linked to an alleged gun crime in May 2005. Though police were able to identify the 19-year-old as the owner of a red Fiat Brava spotted leaving the scene, this information was never fully followed up.

      Officers launched an investigation named Operation Bugle after a man dialled 999 to say there was a gunman in his flat on May 27, 2005 – five weeks before the terror attacks on London.

      Three women and a child were later seen fleeing from the property “in fear” while three men – wearing balaclavas and gloves – were spotted getting into the Fiat Brava.

      When armed officers arrived later that evening, neither the owner of the Luton flat nor the gunman were there. Attempts to identify the gang of men – two black and one Asian – or the group of women seen leaving the area in a taxi were unsuccessful.

    • Somali pirate gets more than 33 years in prison

      A Somali pirate who kidnapped and brutalized the captain of a U.S.-flagged merchant ship off the coast of Africa in 2009 was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison Wednesday by an emotional judge who told him he deserved a stiff punishment for leading a crew of armed bandits bent on committing “depraved acts.”

      U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska choked up as she read at length from letters written by Capt. Richard Phillips and traumatized sailors who were aboard the cargo vessel commandeered by Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse.

    • Vaughan Smith’s new film ‘Blood and Dust’ broadcasting on Al Jazeera

      Above is a preview of Vaughan Smith’s dramatic new film BLOOD AND DUST recording life and death with an American helicopter medevac unit in Southern Afghanistan.

      ‘These Medivac teams, US military air ambulances, are amoungst the only soldiers that go to war to save lives and they are very good at it.’

    • Two TSA agents arrested at JFK Airport for stealing $39K from passenger’s bag

      Under questioning, the pair also admitted swiping up to $160,000 from other unsuspecting passengers.

      Rogue agents Davon Webb, 30, and Persad Coumar, 36, were busted after a sharp-eyed colleague blew the whistle.

    • Libya cracks down on protesters after violent clashes in Benghazi

      Hundreds of anti-government protesters clashed with police and government supporters in Libya’s second city yesterday as unrest spread across the Arab world.

    • Mubarak ordered Tiananmen-style massacre of demonstrators, Army refused

      Buried in this Robert Fisk report for The Independent is a startling account of the Egyptian army refusing to move with tanks against the Tahrir Square protesters on January 30. If this is true, it must be the defining moment in the history of the movement that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign.


      Last night [Feb 10], a military officer guarding the tens of thousands celebrating in Cairo threw down his rifle and joined the demonstrators, yet another sign of the ordinary Egyptian soldier’s growing sympathy for the democracy demonstrators. We had witnessed many similar sentiments from the army over the past two weeks. But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters.

      Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people.

    • Baghdad wants U.S. to pay $1 billion for damage to city

      Iraq’s capital wants the United States to apologize and pay $1 billion for the damage done to the city not by bombs but by blast walls and Humvees since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

    • Iraqi lied about weapons of mass destruction

      An Iraqi defector has admitted for the first time he fabricated claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.

      In an interview with the newspaper, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi said he made up a story told to German intelligence officials throughout 2000 about mobile biological weapons and clandestine factories. His motive was to overthrow the Iraqi government, he said.

    • Bahrain: 2011-2-16

      In the last hour police raided the Pearl Roundabout in Manama. The protestors were camped when teargas, buckshot and rubber bullets were fired into the square from the bridge overlooking the circle. When the crowd stampeded away from the bridge another barrage from the opposite direction scattered them. The circle has been locked down with no one allowed in or out. Many were wounded and some deaths have occurred. Men, women and children were injured. This attack came after the king promised to investigate the previous deaths from buckshot.

    • Bahrain: 2011-2-17

      It looks like the regime will not roll over as in Tunisia and Egypt. I expect tomorrow will be a very interesting day in Bahrain. Friday is the holy day when many passionate speeches will be made in the mosques.

    • Bahrain Police Refuse Ambulances Access To Wounded Protesters
    • Domino Theory 50 Years Later
    • Tsunami in Egypt

      UNTIL THE very last moment, the Israeli leadership tried to keep Hosni Mubarak in power.

    • Tea Party declares war on military spending

      In his speech to the conference on Friday, Paul the elder was the only speaker to address the current crisis in Egypt and criticised successive US administrations for “propping up a puppet dictator”, citing 30 years of uncritical support for Hosni Mubarak. Traditionally, Ron Paul’s supporters (and the libertarian philosophy they espouse) have been dismissed as merely boisterous gadflies fluttering around the real heavyweight horsetrading for political power within the Republican party. The issues they champion range from the practical (passing a balanced budget amendment), to the fanciful (abolishing the Federal Reserve and reintroducing the gold standard); thus they have never been taken seriously by the Republican establishment.

  • Cablegate

    • The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG For Tuesday, Day 80

      Six in 10 say WikiLeaks played role in Tunisia revolt, which sparked so much else, and other demos. “More than 60 percent believe that Wikileaks will change the way governments behave. 55 percent of Arabs revealed in the poll that they believe little to nothing of what their governments tell them.”

    • WikiLeaks, free speech and Twitter come together in Va. court case

      In the courtroom, John Keker, a lawyer representing one of the Twitter clients, said the users’ data would give the government a map of people tied to WikiLeaks and essentially halt free speech online.

    • Notes From a Father of the Open Internet, 15 Years On

      As a revolution that was in many ways organized on Facebook continued in Egypt, John Perry Barlow said Wednesday that the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace that he wrote 15 years ago Tuesday is still as relevant now as it was when he penned it.

    • The Australian’s double standard on Julian Assange

      The Australian’s love-hate relationship with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks — possibly a little more co-dependent on The Oz’s side — continues apace. Like much of News Limited, its right-wing columnists turned their guns on him early, before The Oz began a desperate attempt to acquire some of the “cablegate” cables after Philip Dorling began publishing reports of them in Fairfax (which disgraced itself as the only news partner unwilling to actually publish the cables in question).


      The implicit accusation is absurd and simply wrong.

    • EFF Argues for Privacy in Hearing Over Twitter Records

      These secret government requests for information only came to light because Twitter took steps to ensure their customers were notified and had the opportunity to respond. In fact, EFF was only able to speak publicly about the hearing and the motions we filed on behalf of our client, Icelandic Member of Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir, after petitioning the court to lift the seal on the legal proceedings. We also asked the court Tuesday to go further with its unsealing, and make more documents public. The issues at hand — WikiLeaks, privacy, free speech, and social networking — are all important matters of public interest, and the orders and motions before the judge should be available to inform public debate.

    • Obama Admin Touts Internet Freedom While Targeting Twitter, WikiLeaks

      The Obama administration has unveiled a new policy it says will help protesters worldwide evade curbs to internet freedom. Drawing on the key role of online organizing in the recent uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. will help bloggers and activists evade state censorship.

    • Hillary Clinton Talks The Talk On Internet Freedom; Will The Administration Walk The Walk?

      A year ago, Hillary Clinton gave a speech about the importance of “internet freedom” that many of us later pointed out appeared to be in stark contrast with the federal government’s (including Secretary of State Clinton’s) reaction to the publishing of various State Department cables. So a lot of folks were interested in what Clinton had planned for her followup speech on internet freedoms, which she gave yesterday. I’ve embedded the full speech below, but you can also read a summary of the speech at Wired.

    • Friend of Suspected WikiLeaks Source Alleges Torture

      A friend of the alleged whistleblower, U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, says the U.S. government’s treatment of Manning amounts to torture.

    • WikiLeaks: Egypt’s new man at the top ‘was against reform’

      The military leader charged with transforming Egypt opposed political reform because he believed that it “eroded central government power”, according to leaked US diplomatic cables.

    • Hillary Clinton champions Internet freedom, but cautions on WikiLeaks

      The 50-minute speech was also an opportunity for the US to weigh in on a event that has been a thorn in the discussion over freedom of speech since it began, namely the WikiLeaks document release, says Depauw University communications professor Kevin Howley.

      He noted the “surprisingly small” amount of mainstream attention given to the fact that WikiLeaks was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize two weeks ago.

    • Clinton: We Love Net Freedom, Unless It Involves WikiLeaks
    • Government challenged on Twitter records access

      Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament, is the most high-profile of the three defendants.

    • Interview of Daniel Ellsberg on Bradley Manning [MP3]

      Poverty and desperation are the largest factors contributing to trafficking in persons in Armenia, according to prostitutes, police and NGOs in Vanadzor, Armenia’s third-largest city. We met them during a July 14 trip to the city, where prostitutes gather after dusk in the traffic circle outside a central church to begin the day’s work. To each we posed the question, “What can be done to eradicate trafficking in persons in Armenia?” No one had an answer, but all agreed that lack of jobs drove women to sell themselves both in Armenia and overseas, where the money was better, but where they often didn’t actually get paid. They told us that girls as young as 11 and 12 have started walking the streets. A police officer told us that parents send their daughters to Turkey fully understanding the cost at which remittances will be sent home. We visited a decrepit shanty town, where prostitutes work for bread and rice, to see first-hand the conditions in which many of them live. We left Vanadzor convinced that, while stricter laws and harsher sentencing are needed in Armenia, prostitutes work in large part because they have to put food on the table, and they go to Turkey and the UAE because they believe the money is better there.

    • Lawmaker reintroduces WikiLeaks prosecution bill

      New legislation in the U.S. Congress targets WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for espionage prosecution.

      Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, introduced the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination, or SHIELD, Act on Tuesday. The bill would clarify U.S. law by saying that it is an act of espionage to publish the protected names of American intelligence sources who collaborate with the U.S military or intelligence community.

      King introduced similar legislation in 2010. Senators John Ensign, a Nevada Republican, Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, and Scott Brown, a Massachusetts Republican, introduced similar legislation in the Senate last week.

    • Julian Assange Has NEVER Done ANYTHING That Would Give The U.S. Jurisdiction! Alan Dershowitz
    • Cables illuminate U.S. relations with Bahrain, potential for unrest

      The United States and Bahrain are close allies. In fact, according to an April 2008 U.S. diplomatic cable, one of several released by WikiLeaks this week, the two countries have “about as good a bilateral relationship as anywhere.” The cables recount a number of interesting details, particularly in light of ongoing unrest there this week, about the government’s leadership, U.S. interests in Bahrain and the region, and about the backstory of sectarian tensions between a ruling Sunni government and a large underclass Shiite majority.

      U.S. interests in Bahrain, according to the cables, center around two issue: Iran and Iraq. And the two are related. The April 2008 cables notes that Bahrain’s “number-one security concern is Iran. They support [the U.S.] tough stand toward Tehran.” The cables claim that Bahrain worked with the U.S. government to monitor financial transactions from Iran. And perhaps even more importantly, Manama expressed interest in creating a broader alliance of countries in the Gulf and the region to resist Iran, the cables claim. And here’s where Iraq comes in, according to a 2008 cable: “Our point that reintegrating Iraq into the Arab fold is critical to limiting Iranian influence has had real resonance with the Bahraini leadership.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Sterility in frogs caused by environmental pharmaceutical progestogens

      Frogs appear to be very sensitive to progestogens, a kind of pharmaceutical that is released into the environment. Female tadpoles that swim in water containing a specific progestogen, levonorgestrel, are subject to abnormal ovarian and oviduct development, resulting in adult sterility. This is shown by a new study conducted at Uppsala University and published today in the scientific journal Aquatic Toxicology.

    • The True Cost Of Coal – Up To A Half Trillion Dollars Per Year

      Dr. Paul Epstein from the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard’s Medical School has written an article set for publication this month in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences quantifying the true costs of coal in terms of economic, health and environmental impacts.

      Dr. Epstein’s study details how each stage of coal’s life cycle (extraction, transportation, processing, and combustion) has enormous costs, all of which are directly borne by the public. Notably, the report estimates some $74.6 billion a year in public health costs for Appalachian communities, mainly from increasing healthcare burdens, injury and death.

    • Video: Carnivorous Bladderworts Catch Meals With Vacuum Power
    • Amazon pollution: Chevron hits back in row with Ecuador

      US oil giant Chevron says it will appeal against an $8.6bn (£5.3bn) fine imposed by Ecuador judges, carrying on a long-running row over pollution.

      Chevron’s Kent Robertson told the BBC the case was an “extortion scheme”, and accused Ecuador’s state-run firm of polluting the country’s Amazon region.

    • Mining giants bury Canadian critics with lawsuits

      Canadian academics and free speech advocates are up in arms over two mining multinationals’ use of libel law to bury their critics in lawsuits. Alain Deneault, Delphine Abadie, and William Sacher published a book called Noir Canada. Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique that detailed well-sourced human rights abuses by the multinational resource companies Barrick Gold and Banro Corporation.

  • Finance

    • NYSE traders say yes to Germany, no to lederhosen

      A German takeover of the New York Stock Exchange, the citadel of American capitalism, would have shocked its floor traders in years gone by. But not now.

    • Is the Great Stagnation a great opportunity?

      As Tyler points out in this book, and catalogued at length in his other excellent book, Create Your Own Economy, recent increases in happiness come from growth in internal economies. That is, internal to humans. In the past, increased well-being came from not having a toilet and then having one, or the invention of cheap air travel. Today they come from blogging, watching Lost on Netflix, listening to a symphony from iTunes, tweeting with your friends, seeing their pictures on Facebook or Path, and learning and collaborating on Wikipedia. As a result, once one secures a certain income to cover basic needs, greater happiness and well-being can be had for virtually nothing.

    • We All Work at Enron Now

      Remember Enron? That paragon of turn-of-the-century new-economy triumphalism, gushed over by pundits, lauded by investors, celebrated by the cognoscenti — until it turned out to be a roadside bomb in disguise? The cause of its demise, ultimately: overstating benefits and understating costs. The result, of course, was a spectacular flameout, today the stuff of legend.

      So here’s a question. Is the global economy going Enron? Just like Enron, does it systematically and chronically overstate real benefits (consider just how vanishingly little “profit” reflects trust, happiness, joy, delight, inspiration, passion, wisdom, or a sense of meaning) and understate real costs (like damage to nature, the future, communities, society, or human achievement itself)? And is that, perhaps, the prime mover of what both Tyler Cowen and I have termed a Great Stagnation?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Egypt’s Lobbyists Worked To Block Pro-Human Rights, Democracy Resolution

      New disclosures filed in the past few weeks by Egypt’s lobbying team in Washington shine a light on the activity the country took last summer and fall to block the discussion and passage of a resolution calling on the United States to support human rights in Egypt and demand an end to the emergency law, two key demands of the protesters who, last week, toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

    • Beck warns against searching his conspiracy theories on Google

      Okay, Glenn Beck has completely lost it. Now he’s warning his audience against looking up his conspiracy theories on Google…

    • UPDATED: The HB Gary Email That Should Concern Us All

      According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HB Gary emails, it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated “persona management” software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.

  • Censorship

    • Algeria tried to block internet and Facebook as protest mounted

      The Algerian government was blamed by protesters for preventing access to internet providers across much of the capital, Algiers, and other cities including Annaba for much of Saturday morning and afternoon in an attempt to prevent planned demonstrations gathering pace.

      Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.

    • Salinger’s Ghost Censors From The Grave

      Jay McInerney in the NY Times reminds us why there will never be a biographical account of J.D. Salinger that is as accurate and insightful as it could be, all thanks to a bit of stifling censorship from the current copyright regime…

  • Privacy

    • Using Real Names has Real Consequences

      I post under my own name, but I do it with a consciousness of the risk.

      I’ve been on the net (it was the ARPANET then) since 1977. At that time, we actually had user profiles with a place to supply your social security number, and people often complied because there was no reason to suppose it was dangerous. Those were certainly different times. People today are often horrified as they look back at the practices of those days, but everyone’s sensibilities were different then. At some point we noticed that there was danger in having such information out in the open, so the data was erased and the ability to attach it was removed. But initially we were more trusting.

    • Council survey causes privacy concern

      A survey issued by Wiltshire Council has stirred up a privacy debate in the local community, as it asks questions about resident’s sexuality, debt levels and qualifications.

      According to the Salisbury Journal, the document has been sent out to 26,500 households across the county “to help the council develop its housing and planning policy” to provide affordable housing in the area.

    • Obama assertion: FBI can get phone records without oversight

      The Obama administration’s Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy.

      That assertion was revealed — perhaps inadvertently — by the department in its response to a McClatchy request for a copy of a secret Justice Department memo.

      Critics say the legal position is flawed and creates a potential loophole that could lead to a repeat of FBI abuses that were supposed to have been stopped in 2006.

    • Congressmen Urge State Department to Investigate Internet Spying Company

      To recap, Narus is a Sunnyvale, California, Internet surveillance and filtering company begun by Israeli security experts, and subsequently bought by Boeing. The company has nefarious links to the NSA, and to AT&T efforts to monitor phone communications domestically.

      Among Narus’ many cyber-sleuthing products is one called “Hone,” which can filter through billions of packets of online data to target individuals on social networks and then link that information to their “VOIP conversations, biometrically identify someone’s voice or photograph and then associate it with different phone numbers.” Those using cell phones or Wi-Fi connections can then be located geographically.

  • Civil Rights

    • WATCH: Our new ad opposing the PATRIOT Act
    • Free Press Congratulates Electronic Frontier Foundation on 21 Years of Service

      Free Press wishes to offer our congratulations and thanks to EFF for their work on behalf of the American public.

      Long before most people had heard of the Internet, EFF was on the job to ensure that it remained an open space for the free exchange of ideas. Little could anyone have imagined then the global impact it would have 21 years later, and in many ways, we have EFF to thank.

    • Happy 21st Birthday EFF
    • EFF Appoints Jonathan Zittrain to the Board of Directors

      EFF is extremely pleased to announce a new addition to our Board of Directors: Harvard Law and Computer Science Professor Jonathan Zittrain.

      For many of you, Jonathan does not need an introduction, as he is one of the true luminaries of Internet scholarship. His work encompasses the critical issues at the heart of EFF’s work, including privacy, speech, digital property, and the role played by private intermediaries in Internet architecture.

    • Thousands protest anti-union bill in Wisconsin

      Thousands of teachers, prison guards and students descended on the Wisconsin Capitol for a second day Wednesday to fight a move to take union rights away from government workers in the state that first granted them more than a half-century ago.

      The Statehouse filled with as many as 10,000 demonstrators who chanted, sang the national anthem and beat drums for hours. The noise level in the Rotunda rose to the level of a chainsaw, and many Madison teachers joined the protest by calling in sick in such numbers that the district had to cancel classes.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Does Secretary Clinton Have a Double Standard on Internet Freedom?

      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday highlighted new U.S. Internet freedom policy that is designed to help democracy movements gain access to open networks and speak out against authoritarian regimes.

      According to Clinton, the program will provide $25 million in new grants to support “technologists and activists working at the cutting edge of the fight against Internet repression.”

    • French Parliament to Consider Net Neutrality Law

      Net Neutrality in France is the subject simultaneously of government attacks and parliamentary efforts to protect it. After French Minister for Digital Economy Éric Besson’s direct attack, the French Parliament will on Thursday discuss a bill which strongly supports the principles of Net Neutrality. La Quadrature du Net calls on its supporters to contact French MPs and ask them to support this proposal in order to protect a free Internet.

    • We’re helping to make a safer internet – but it’s a shared responsibility!

      Anyone can be affected by security issues on the internet. It sounds like a boring cliché, but it is true. I recently I found out about someone attempting to impersonate me and my work at the Commission – using fake webmail and other tactics. My advice is to check how your name is being used online! Not only that – be sure you know who you are communicating with. Most of us like to share personal information online, but we rarely think about how embarrassing – or worse! – it could be if that information was forwarded or simply available to the wrong people. That is the thinking behind the theme of this year’s Safer Internet Day: “it’s more than a game – it’s your life.” (see the video above from the recent Data Protection Day which highlights this exact point)

    • The Internet Strikes Back: Tell Congress to Stand Up for Net Neutrality

      Make no mistake: this will be a decisive vote. This is the only time that Congress will vote “yes or no” on Net Neutrality, so it’s crucial that they vote the right way. Help us send a clear message to Congress: a vote for the repeal act is a vote against internet users.

  • DRM

    • PS3 Sparks Debate

      This device has caused a great deal of controversy Ranging a possible band in Norway due to unfair ToS’s that protect the consumer to Hackers entering into the system and breaching it Which has lead to a Lawsuit with an infamous hacker “gehot”
      to a Lawsuit that is pending Known as the “Other OS” Lawsuit that states SCEA wrongfully had removed the “Other OS” function in which was deemed as a security threat , The lawsuit also states that the “Other OS” was taken from a group of consoles that a Consumer had purchased.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Flip side of IPR protection

      Champions of intellectual property rights (IPR) say it is the driving force of economic growth and technological innovation. China has made its legislators perfect IPR laws ever since it decided to embrace market economy, and asked its law-enforcement agencies to ensure that they are properly implemented and protected. The country’s increasing foreign trade has further strengthened this demand, and the government and judicial authorities have made great efforts to perfect the IPR system.

      China has enacted and implemented a series of laws and regulations on IPR protection and issued the Outline of the National Intellectual Property Strategy in 2008. Its judicial authorities at various levels continue to crack down on people and companies violating IPR. On the whole, the country has made considerable progress both in legislation and enforcement of IPR laws.

      But the purpose of an IPR system is not only to protect intellectual property, but also to encourage innovation, maintain social justice and thus promote comprehensive economic and social progress.

      The present tendency to lay undue emphasis on intellectual property both at home and abroad may go against the original intention of an IPR system. Some practices and disputes in the United States and other Western countries have taught a lesson to China, rather than being experiences worthy of emulation.

      The fundamental driving force of innovation is competition, while IPR protection in substance is a kind of monopoly. Monopoly can provide incentives for innovation, but it can also prompt former innovators to gain high return by relying on the products they have already innovated, rather than pushing them toward further innovation. Such a situation will ultimately weaken the power of technological innovation.

    • International Civil Society Demands End To Secrecy In TPPA talks

      Negotiators in Santiago, Chile for the fifth round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks were delivered a forceful message today by prominent civil society groups, demanding an end to the secrecy that shields their negotiations from the scrutiny of national lawmakers and the general public.

      Jane Kelsey, who is at the meeting, said that open letters addressed to government leaders in Australia, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United States of America, signed by trade unions, environmentalists, faith and social justice organisations that speak for hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens, were handed to each delegation.

      The letters object that the proposed agreement is deeply undemocratic in its process and its effect.

    • Copyrights

      • KEI comments on USTR 2011 Special 301 Review

        KEI’s comments on the USTR 2011 Special 301 Review are available here.

      • Movie theatres generating record results in Canada

        Cineplex Inc, (CGX) the largest motion picture exhibitor in Canada has recently released its 2010 year end totals, and its net revenue is up 17.8 percent from 2009.

        The entertainment company has interest in over 132 theatres across Canada with 1,366 screens, and it’s currently serving approximately 70 million guests annually. The latest financial report shows that they’re making record gains aside from attendance which is down .09% from last year.

      • Premium VOD Is Doomed If This Piracy Study Is Correct

        A new PricewaterhouseCoopers study casts serious doubt on consumer willingness to pay for movies on digital platforms. Warning: Film-industy executives interested in reading further may want to first increase dosage of any anti-depressants they might be taking.

        If, as recent comments made on media-conglomerate earnings calls would suggest, studios are gearing up to charge consumers $20-25 to watch movies in their homes two months or so after theatrical release, the new revenue stream known as premium VOD is headed for quite a bumpy ride.

      • Would Shakespeare Have Survived Today’s Copyright Laws?
      • UK Law Enforcement Also Looking To Be Able To Seize Domains

        And with both the US and the UK looking for such rights, won’t more and more countries now start to follow? It certainly makes you wonder about the impact of the overall internet, when various countries can just seek to shut down various domains without any trial determination.

      • An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the Senate Judiciary Committee

        Today, 87 prominent Internet engineers sent a joint letter the US Senate Judiciary Committee, declaring their opposition to the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA). The text of the letter is below.

      • Don’t Mess With Texas: Another Texas Judge Scrutinizes Mass Copyright Litigation

        Looks like the Texas courts are no place to file suit if you want to bypass due process. A few weeks ago, we reported that Mick Haig Productions had dismissed its copyright infringement lawsuit against 670 “John Does,” complaining that the court’s appointment of attorneys from EFF and Public Citizen had impeded its ability to prosecute its case. In a brief filed on behalf of the Does, EFF and Public Citizen had argued that Mick Haig should not be allowed to send subpoenas for the Does’ identifying information, because it had sued hundreds of people in one case, in the wrong jurisdiction and without meeting the constitutional standard for obtaining identifying information. We have also raised questions about the plaintiff’s conduct, as it appears it sent out subpoenas without the court’s permission.

      • 6,374 DISMISSED John Doe Defendants cheer as the LFP Internet Group lawsuits go down in flames.

        I would like to personally congratulate the 6,374+ John Doe Defendants (3,120 + 635 + 2,619) who have been dismissed from the LFP Internet Group, LLC (Larry Flynt Productions) cases. This is a huge victory for our clients and internet users in general. What makes this case significant is not the daunting number of defendants, but that this case provides great case law for future cases.

      • the “specter of e-book piracy” is a crock

        Used to be copyright was justified as an encouragement to creators to create more. The thing is the terms have become downright silly… extending copyright terms from fifty to seventy years after the death of the author is not going to encourage the author to create more. Once you’re dead that’s it. The current trend in ridiculous copyright laws don’t benefit the creators, but rather the corporations, who have never been particularly beneficial to creators. Corporations do NOT have the same objectives as creators.

      • Digital Economy (UK)/HADOPI

        • Concerns over the DEA Costs Sharing Order

          First is an acknowledgement that the Act will have implications on affordability of broadband. The Government “has acknowledged that there may be an effect on broadband take-up should ISPs pass on the full cost of the process. This is regrettable, but needs to be balanced against the wider benefit to the UK’s digital economy.”

Clip of the Day

Tim Berners-Lee: The next Web of open, linked data

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 17/2/2011: London Stock Exchange Reports, Mageia and Firefox 5 Previews

Posted in News Roundup at 3:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • We want more Linux presentations inside shopping centers!

    Last october I wrote about the first Italian presentation of Free Software inside a supermarket chain because it looked to me, and still looks, a wonderful idea that should find many followers worldwide, since it proves that Free Software isn’t a boring topic best left to software professionals.

    When I published the Italian version of that article I got some congratulation and this critique from Italy, born out of the fact that the article explains how and why Coop (the supermarket chain) promoted Gnu/Linux even if (as of october 2010) they didn’t use it internally or sell computers with Gnu/Linux preinstalled…

  • Read Kindle books on your Linux PC

    Andrei Pushkin at blogkindle.com has put together a short tutorial on how to get the Kindle for PC app running on his Ubuntu operating system. The solution, which you can probably guess if you’ve spent any time with Ubuntu or other Linux OSes, is to use Wine 1.3 or higher, which is a new enough version that you have to install it through a terminal window and not the software repository.

  • Linux for Mobile Users

    The smart mobile user shouldn’t overlook Linux. The question is, which distro should you pick? You’ll get a different answer depending who you ask.

    You’ll probably be pointed in the direction of Arch for performance, Debian for stability and Ubuntu if you want easy access to the biggest collection of apps. If that’s not enough choice to make your head spin, Slackware has its fans too – particularly among people who use older laptops.

  • 5 Reasons why kids should use Linux
  • Desktop

    • 7 Reasons to Use the Ubuntu Linux Operating System

      Everyone has heard of Windows and OSX. But what about the safe, secure, and open source operating system called Ubuntu Linux?

      People may have heard of this one, but they may have also heard that no programs run on it, it’s old or outdated (which is not true), and it’s hard to

      Well these five reasons should put your worries at ease, and maybe even convert you.


      I highly recommend it.

  • Server

    • Watson vs Carbon Life Forms (Day 1)

      While I am amazed at how well he can assimilate knowledge, I am also amazed at how much knowledge he holds. There is no Internet connection. The range of topics was quite vast from Beatles songs, to cough, cough, a reference to Grendel and Beowulf (the literary version).

    • London Stock Exchange: The road to Linux

      The London Stock Exchange’s move to Novell SUSE Linux based systems and a new matching engine written in C++ – set live on its main market on 14 February 2011 – was a major decision taken shortly after the appointment of a new chief executive two years ago. The systems replace a Microsoft .Net setup, with programs written in C# and running on Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server.

    • London Stock Exchange tackles closing auction system problem

      The London Stock Exchange has taken steps to resolve a system problem that occurred at 4.30pm yesterday (Tuesday), which saw a delay to the start of the closing auction and knocked out automatic trades during a 42 second period.

    • Freedom Box: Freeing the Internet one Server at a time

      Free software isn’t about free services or beer, it’s about intellectual freedom. As recent episodes such as censorship in China, the Egyptian government turning off the Internet, and Facebook’s constant spying, have shown, freedom and privacy on the Internet are under constant assault. Now Eben Moglen, law professor at Columbia University and renowned free software legal expert, has proposed a way to combine free software with the original peer-to-peer (P2P) design of the Internet to liberate users from the control of governments and big brother-like companies: Freedom Box.

  • Kernel Space

    • Atheros wifi free software laptops

      I looked for an Atheros wifi free software laptop for a long time without finding anything that was still in production.

    • Graphics Stack

      • What NVIDIA’s Linux Customers Want

        Last week when talking about NVIDIA looking to expand its Linux team (hire more engineers), I asked what else NVIDIA Linux customers wanted that already wasn’t offered by the proprietary driver for Linux / BSD / Solaris operating systems. Aside from the obvious one, of many desktop users wanting NVIDIA to support some sort of an open-source strategy, other expressed views are listed below.

      • Intel Graphics On Linux Still Behind Windows, With Sandy Bridge
  • Applications

    • LCA: Lessons from 30 years of Sendmail

      The Sendmail mail transfer agent tends to be one of those programs that one either loves or hates. Both its supporters and its detractors will agree, though, that Sendmail played a crucial role in the development of electronic mail before, during, and after the explosion of the Internet. Sendmail creator Eric Allman took a trip to Brisbane to talk to the LCA 2011 about the history of this project. Sendmail is, he said, 30 years old now; in those three decades it has thrived without corporate support, changed the world, and thrived in a world which was changing rapidly around it.

    • BookmarkBridge Looking Kind of Rickety

      Installing beta versions of software is usually less of a risk with open source apps than with commercial third-party apps. BookmarkBridge has stagnated with version 0.76 beta. It also is not uncommon to find plenty of beta applications distributed through Linux distro repositories. I found that if an app is available through a repository, it will work as described.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Purity

        A long time ago, on the old FreeGameDev forum, I heard of Purity; an original game based on the idTech3 engine.
        Recently, I was wondering what the project had become, and with the help of a few people on the irc channel, we managed to find the website, unfortunately, it appears the development stopped two years ago.
        But the game is pretty cool, let me explain you what makes it interesting:
        In Purity, there are no enemies! The enemy is the map, and you have to get you to the end.

  • Desktop Environments

    • WTF Desktop Environments: GNOME, KDE And More Explained

      You can customise nearly every last inch of your Linux installation to fit your liking, and it starts with choosing the right desktop environment. Whether you’re a Linux beginner or you’re just looking for a new interface, here’s an overview of how desktop environments work and how to pick the right one for you.

      Windows and Mac OS X come with pretty specific graphical interfaces (you know, the windows, the skin, the system toolbars, etc.) that aren’t really built for customisation. With Linux, you can fully customise not only how your desktop looks, but even its functionality, and the settings available in its preferences. If you’re a beginning Linux user, you may have heard of popular desktop environments like GNOME, KDE, XFCE, Openbox, or others — but what do they all mean? Here, we’ll discuss what desktop environments are, and how to try new ones out on your existing Linux installation.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Geotag Photos with Open GPS Tracker and digiKam

        You don’t need a fancy camera with a built-in GPS receiver to geotag your photos. An Android device with the Open GPS Tracker app and digiKam can do the job just fine. The app lets you track your route and save it as a GPX file which you can then use to geocorrelate your photos in digiKam.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • FOSDEM 2011: building distro bridges

      FOSDEM. I finally got to the “blog about it” todo I took from there. I have to talk about the distribution collaboration panel discussion Jared Smith (Fedora Project Lead), Stefano Zacchirol (Debian Project Lead) and myself led on Sunday (video here). We discussed what barriers there are to cross-distro collaboration and what to do against them.

    • Reviews

      • Comparing CTK Arch Live and ArchBang

        1. ArchBang
        It’s more mature and gave me less trouble, from the boot process to recognizing the network to letting me do things like take screenshots and gauge RAM usage for this review. That said, the disabling of repositories by default is a little annoying.
        2. CTKArchLive
        It’s a younger project, to be sure, and it does things its own way rather than trying to emulate a particular project, but the fairly serious boot and network problems relegate it to runner-up.

    • New Releases

      • Berry 1.07
      • SystemRescueCd 2.0.1
      • 2/15/2011: Parted Magic 5.10

        It seems like it’s been longer than a month, but it’s time for a new release. The most notable changes are the Linux 2.6.37 Kernel, GParted 0.8.0, and the move back to Firefox as the default web browser.

      • GhostBSD 2.0 Beta Release

        We the developing team of GhostBSD would like to announce the release of GhostBSD 2.0 x64 beta. This Flavor is only a live cd as of the moment. There are great improvements on the look, feel and the speed of this release. Some of the things that were done to the new release was our new logo, bug fixes, New live cd file system, and improvements to GDM where there is no more white screens during booting. GhostBSD 2.0 is base on freebsd 8.2.On GhostBSD 2.0 you will see Gnome 2.32, Rhythmbox 0.12.8_3, Pidgin 2.7.7, Firefox 3.6, Thunderbird 3.0.11.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2011 KDE: A Review and Retrospective

        PCLinuxOS is a great distro for individuals who favor rolling updates, performance, and a dedicated community. If you’re a first-time Linux user or if you favor aesthetics over technological prowess, better choices are available.

      • Mageia Alpha 1 Released: Visual Preview

        Mandriva fans and users have a reason to cheer and keep trust in the system they love, as an Avatar of Mandriva is taking shape. Mageia, the fork of Mandriva, has hit the alpha 1 version. The version is only meant for developers and not for ordinary users as it is “alpha” and not ready for use. However, the version does promise that we will be seeing a final stable release in June as Romain stated in an exclusive interview with Muktware.

      • This is MAGEIA!

        That’s the installation: a real piece of cake.

      • Mandriva Linux 2011 Alpha 1: A Quick Peek

        Hey! Did you notice the penguins? I like them! The black and blue pattern is reminiscent of my Mepis 8.0 wallpaper (my favorite).

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6 Offers Updated Applications, Few Rough Spots

        Debian 6 is also available in a LiveCD version, similar to what other Linux distributions offer, which enables users first to try out the operating system before installing it on their hard drives.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Increasing Its Diversity

          In a blog post, Bacon highlights some key points that show the dedication of Canonical and the Ubuntu Project about combating the issue of so few women participating in Open Source events and communities. Those highlights include: adoption of an anti-harassment policy, a page on the Ubuntu Women site for UDS, UDS stories page, as well as the UW teams discussing how to provide support for this diversity effort.

        • A Kernel By Any Other Name
        • Canonical Re-licenses Ubuntu Wiki to CC BY-SA

          Elizabeth Krumbach on behalf of the Ubuntu Community Council announced in an email to various mailing lists, and posted on the Ubuntu Fridge that the licensing for the Ubuntu wiki will be CC-BY-SA and barring a “substantial number of objections” this change should take place in approximately one month.

        • DanRabbit on the Ubuntu One Desktop

          Hey Ubuntu One and Design fans! This is my first post here, and I have to say I feel priveledged to be able to write to you all. Recently I’ve been working with the Ubuntu One team on the desktop syncing apps, and trying to give them some special attention. I feel like these apps have the potential to be such an important part of not only the Ubuntu experience, but also the experience of users who may not have converted over to Ubuntu yet.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Dear Nokia We Know You are Confused- Just Don’t Try Confusing Us

          The argument put forward by Steven Elop, the Microsoft shareholder turned Nokia CEO, is that going with Android would have made them just one more OEM with little chance of differentiation…fragmentation anyone? But by choosing Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 he argued, would help create a third force in a two horse race, referring to Apples iOS and Google’s Android. I’m assuming all that Elop sees is what he’s telling us.

        • The Nokia N900- Long Live the Device

          Then there is the Voip integration on the device. At the time of the release, it really was ahead of the it’s time. Simply enter your Skype and Google Talk credentials and you have the two Voip networks integrated into your phone calling function.

      • Android

        • Google to merge smartphone and tablet versions of Android

          Google has promised Android updates will arrive every six months, with the next full version bringing together the best of the smartphone and tablet editions.

          The Android roadmap was laid out by Google’s executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt, who was delivering a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

          Regarding the follow up to Gingerbread (version 2.3 of Android) and the tablet-focused Honeycomb (version 3), Schmidt said: “you can imagine the follow up will start with an I, be named after dessert, and will combine these two.” That version is expected to be called “ice-cream sandwich”.

        • Motorola’s 3LM Acquisition is Focused on Android in the Enterprise

          However, a startup company run by a group of ex-Google employees, dubbed Three Laws Mobility (3LM), has its eyes squarely fixed on the market for security software on Android smartphones, which could boost Android’s presence in the enterprise market.

        • GetJar Snags $25 Million As It Looks to Ride Android Growth

          Independent mobile app store GetJar announced it has grabbed $25 million in Series C funding as it looks to become the premier open Android market. The San Mateo, Calif.-based start-up’s latest round was led by Tiger Global Management, and Accel Partners, which participated in earlier rounds, will also contribute. The latest investment brings GetJar’s total funding to $42 million.

        • Mozilla: Firefox 4 for Android to Ship in a Few Weeks

          The Mozilla Foundation expects to release the final code for the Firefox 4 browser for Android mobile devices in a few weeks, with one more beta version to be released in the next week or so.

          The latest version of the mobile browser has a sync feature that allows users to replicate information contained in the desktop version of the browser on their Android device, including bookmarks, saved passwords, open tabs and browsing history, said Jay Sullivan, vice president of products for Mozilla, during an interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday.

        • The dual-core ‘phone’ that runs Android and Ubuntu

          There’s more than enough glitz and smartphone glamour at Mobile World Congress to keep me writing previews well into next week, but when I dropped in at the ARM stand, it was something a little unusual that drew my attention.

          On the edge of a narrow bench sat a rattly-looking development unit – the kind of device phone and chip makers use to test hardware before squeezing it into the shiny, sleek chassis I’ve seen so many times over the past three days. But that’s not the interesting part: ARM was using it to demonstrate the benefits of multicore mobile processors, the sort so many of the new devices this year are set to employ.

        • Acer shows laptop lid look tablet

          Wireless connectivity? 2.4GHz 802.11n W-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 – it’s “upgradeable” to 3.0, Acer said. And some models will incorporate quad-band HSPA 3G.

          There’s a gigabyte of Ram on board, plus a choice of 16GB or 32GB storage, to which you can add Micro SD cards of up to 64GB capacity.

    • Tablets

      • Tablet wars: Those with the most and best apps win

        Personally, I think the market will end up supporting two top contenders: the iPad and the best tablet that runs Android 3+. Then there will be a strong #3, but with far less marketshare than the top two. Though it is really too early to make a fact-based prediction, I would not be surprised if that #3 eventually was a WebOS tablet from HP.

        Samsung may be #4, but after that all other contenders will have share lost in the error term. That is, something, but so small that the top contenders’ share and revenue will dwarf it. Put yet another way, share so small that executives at the companies will ask themselves why exactly they are in the market at all. I think Microsoft will not be a significant player here.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Dress Up Your Documents with Free Graphics Tools and Resources

    If you think back to what you were doing with documents 10 years ago, and then think about what you’re doing today, odds are that you work with graphics and multimedia much more than you ever did before. Within the world of open source, there are not only outstanding free applications that can improve your experience in these areas, but there are many free guides and tutorials to get you going with them. In this post, you’ll find collected resources for sprucing up your documents. Spend some time with these, and you’ll collect some rich dividends.

  • Events

    • Linux Foundation announces the Android Builders Summit

      Everyone and their brother seems to be coming out with some kind of Android powered doohickey. This is generating a fair amount of fatigue in consumers, as well as developers, as they grapple with the differing features in each vendor’s Android product. The Linux Foundation hopes to help remedy some of this with their upcoming Android Builders Summit, April 13-14 in San Francisco. This isn’t some Android Users Group potluck, but rather “an intimate forum for collaboration at the systems level and discussion of core issues and opportunities when designing Android devices.”

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 in March, A First Look At Firefox 5

        The elimination of the remaining bugs in Firefox 4 isn’t proceeding as fast as Mozilla would like and it appears that the release of the browser has shifter one more time. The RC is now targeted for a finalization on February 25, while the final version of the browser is now targeted for sometime in March. First mockups hint to dramatic UI changes with a site-specific browser that integrates Apps within tabs.

      • Mozilla Infographic Compares Firefox And Internet Explorer

        Is Internet Explorer 9 a modern web browser, and how does it compare to Firefox 4. Those are the two questions that Mozilla’s Paul Rouget tries to answer with an infographic and a blog post. The infographic looks at the technical side of things, web compatibility, platform support and hardware acceleration to name a few. All show that Firefox 4, and sometimes even Firefox 3.5 or 3.6, do better than Internet Explorer 9.

      • First look at Firefox 5

        Firefox 4 isn’t even out of beta yet, but that doesn’t stop the UI team from thinking about Firefox 5.

        ConcievablyTech uncovered mock-ups posted by the Mozilla UI team that show the possible UI for Firefox 5.

  • Mono

    • Nine Current Flame Wars in Open Source

      Mono is a FOSS implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework. Although MONO is FOSS in itself, Mono is dependent on resources that Microsoft has not released for general use, and many worry that it might become the basis for a patent infringement case. Supporters counter that Mono is a first rate development platform, and suggest that the current licenses on .NET resources are adequate guarantees for their safe use.

      Ordinarily, such a geeky flame war would never attract popular interest. But the debate is especially bitter because of the widespread distrust of Microsoft in the FOSS community. To further complicate matters, Miguel de Icaza, the founder of Mono and its chief public representative, is outspoken even by FOSS standards, and many of the criticisms of Mono become personal attacks on him.

      Currently, the debate is relatively quiet. However, the issue never quite goes away if you search the blogs, and is certain to flare up again. It always does.

    • Canonical bid to profit from Mono app fails

      Burt wrote on his blog that Canonical approached the Rhythmbox developers as it was concerned that the Amazon MP3 link would affect its earnings from its own Ubuntu One music store.

      Canonical proposed that when it used Rhythmbox it would disable the Amazon store code by default – it could be re-enabled with a few easy steps – and leave the affiliate code unchanged.

      A second option offered, according to Burt, was to leave things as they are but change the affiliate code so that 75 percent of the affiliate’s fee would go to Canonical and 25 percent to GNOME.

      The Banshee developers accepted the first option, which means that Canonical will make no money out of using Banshee.

      “As maintainers of the Banshee project, we have opted unanimously to decline Canonical’s revenue sharing proposal, so that our users who choose the Amazon store will continue supporting GNOME to the fullest extent,” Burt wrote. “The GNOME Foundation’s Board of Directors supports this decision.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Money gone, people gone: Oracle’s open-source blowback

      Now, Oracle has a growing reason to dislike the projects themselves and it’s got everything to do with the two things Oracle values most: money and control.

    • Open office dilemma: OpenOffice.org vs. LibreOffice

      OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice each consists of six applications, called Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, and Math in both suites. The modules provide word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, business graphics, database management, and formula editing, respectively.

      Both suites are available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X (Intel and PowerPC). You can also get OpenOffice.org for Solaris (Sparc and Intel).

    • Novell’s Michael Meeks talks LibreOffice 3.3, The Document Foundation & Oracle

      Enter the Document Foundation. As an aspiring non-profit organisation, the Document Foundation has already spent six months helping to bring new contributors and new code to OpenOffice, which the Foundation has essentially forked and renamed LibreOffice. From making word count actually work, to repairing bugs that caused the number 1,000,000 to be ignored entirely in certain situations, those six months have already made a huge difference to the project.

  • CMS

    • Joomla vs. Drupal: An open source CMS shootout

      Before we begin, it should be noted that both Joomla and Drupal keep getting updated — e.g., Joomla 1.6 was released January 10, 2011, and Drupal 7 on January 5, 2011 — and get more add-on modules. This is a good thing, obviously. But it also means that the opinions expressed in this article may become outdated or invalidated. As always.

  • Business

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The open source revolution

      Open source is basically a model for innovation driven not by intellectual protectionism but by cooperative competition toward a common, continuously expanding goal. On the battlefield of software technology, the big open source names are familiar even to non-tech savvy users: Mozilla (makers of Firefox and Thunderbird), Wikipedia, WordPress, and Linux are all titans on par with their proprietary counterparts. Most people are probably not aware that social media services like Facebook have been built from open source building blocks such as PHP and MySQL. Programmers and developers have produced the technologies that power our modern lives because those building blocks are readily available through distributed code, APIs, and open languages. At its core, open source means we do not have to reinvent the wheel in order to build a better car.

      The philosophy behind open source extends beyond arguments for efficiency and quality. There is a shared understanding among open source converts and evangelists that it ultimately improves the world. Sharing code and data is only the grease that makes the machine work. The fuel is the collective understanding among the open source community that the combined effort of individual contributors is far greater that the sum of its parts.


  • TOM THE DANCING BUG: Judge Scalia Spans the Time/Space Continuum!
  • Case Study: Leah Day Brings Free To The Quilting World

    It’s Connect With Fans + Reason To Buy in action.

  • Innovation Far Removed From the Lab

    Since the Austrian economist Joseph A. Schumpeter published “The Theory of Economic Development” in 1934, economists and governments have assumed that the industrial and business sectors are where ideas for products originate. A complex net of laws and policies, from intellectual property rights to producer subsidies and tax benefits, have flowed from this basic assumption.

  • CPAC hears plan to deny citizenship to Americans born to foreigners

    Presenting at the right-wing love-in CPAC, cuddly Kris Kobach (architect of Arizona’s racist “papers, please” law) revealed his plan for getting around the pesky Constitutional guarantee of citizenship for people born in the USA — he’s going to get state legislatures to deny “state citizenship” to kids born to foreigners. Presumably this means that they wouldn’t be issued birth certificates and wouldn’t be entitled to attend school, etc. Kobach was joined by numerous birther loonies who, um, think that states should provide special super-birth-certificates attesting to the citizenship of one particular American.

  • Customer Bites Retailer? That’s the Argument

    THE idea for this week’s episode comes from Scott Wainner, the founder and chief executive of ResellerRatings, a Web site that allows consumers to rate products and retailers. Mr. Wainner wrote to the Haggler to recount the tale of a shopper who posted a negative review of a company called Full House Appliances, an online appliance seller in Washington State.

  • Parents sue Disney, say son suffered ‘severe burns’ from nacho cheese

    San Diego parents who say their young son suffered “severe burns” at the hands of scalding hot nacho cheese served to them during a family vacation have filed suit against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, records show.

    In their suit, filed in California district court on Wednesday, parents Michael and Maria Harris said they were eating dinner at Disney World while on vacation in March when the cheese was spilled on their son’s face.

  • Science

    • Awesome DIY Electric Bikes Defy Laws, Good Sense

      Building your own electric bike has many advantages over buying one. It’s cheaper: you can pick up parts from scrapyards or buy cheap off-the-shelf motors, and even a purpose-made conversion kit can be had for $400, a lot less than buying a new electric bike.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What we still don’t know about Lasik

      That’s all anyone ever wants to know these days: How my eyes are doing after my collision with Lasik almost three years ago. Are they still dry? Do they still hurt when exposed to sunlight? Is my vision still blurred? And what about glasses — am I still wearing them?

      The answer: Yes, yes, yes and yes. Emphatically, resoundingly, blindingly yes. My eyes sting. They burn. I look at neon signs and the colors bleed into a fluorescent Rorschach test. I have difficulty deciphering black lettering on white boards; I have personally helped elevate the stock of Allergan, which manufactures Refresh Plus, the drops that allegedly help dry eye.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Hillary Clinton’s speech: Shades of hypocrisy on internet freedom

      Hillary Clinton is back, lecturing the world on internet freedom, but thirteen months after her original speech on the topic, the dimension of the debate has changed. Back then she targeted the Chinese, whom she could confidently and credibly criticise in the wake of attacks on Google.

      Last year, the secretary of state made her position clear, warning that “countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of internet users risk walling themselves off from the progress of the next century” – a pointed criticism of China’s ‘great firewall’ approach to a technology that many previously thought inherently democratising.

      Yet after the WikiLeaks affair it is harder for the United States to so readily moralise. It is only two months ago that WikiLeaks saw its US domain name briefly taken away. Julian Assange’s site was also stripped of its ability to raise money via PayPal, MasterCard and Visa.

    • Two TSA Agents Stole Over $160,000 From Checked Luggage

      n yet another bad look for the TSA, two agents at New York’s JFK Airport ‘fessed up to pilfering $160,000 from passenger bags.

    • Bahrain: Police Attack Sleeping Protesters
    • Authorities Search and Copy U.S. Journalist’s Notes, Computer and Cameras After Returning from Haiti

      Independent journalist Brandon Jourdan recently returned from Haiti after being on assignment documenting the rebuilding of schools in the earthquake-devastated country. However, when he returned to the United States, he was immediately detained after deboarding the plane by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. He was questioned about his travels and had all of his documents, computer, phone and camera flash drives searched and copied. This is the seventh time Jourdan says he has been subjected to lengthy searches in five years, and has been told by officials that he is “on a list.”

    • Why can felons buy guns at a gunshow without a background check?

      I like our former great U.S. Senator in Wisconsin, Russ Feingold, am a supporter of the 2nd Amendment giving an individual right to bear arms. This is one of the few issues that I disagree with the majority of those on the left. The Bill of Rights was written for a broad view of individual liberty, not a narrow one. I would be remised if I ignored its’ protections when it came to the 2nd Amendment, because the left when it comes to the Constitution are for a broad view of liberty and rights, while conservatives are usually for a narrow view. But, like libel/slander laws when it comes to freedom of speech, it isn’t of course absolute. Violent felons should not have guns. Not much argument from many Americans on that one. The problem is when it comes to ensuring that they don’t have the ability to acquire firearms. We can’t stop all of them from getting guns, but we sure can make it darn hard that they do so with ease.

    • St. Louis police detail January’s ABB plant shooting spree

      St. Louis police made the fullest accounting yet this morning of a shooting rampage in which an employee of ABB, Inc., killed three co-workers and wounded five at the north side electric transformer plant last Jan. 7.

      Among the details explained by Capt. Michael Sack of the homicide unit:

      • The attacker, Timothy Hendron, 51, bought two of the four weapons he used – an AK-47 rifle and 12-gauge shotgun – the day before the spree.

    • Sticklers for Procedure

      It would be difficult to cite a more shameful episode in the history of America’s criminal justice system than the pedophilia panic of the 1980s and ’90s. Police, prosecutors, and social workers all over the country were overcome by hysteria about the supposed proliferation of ritual sex abuse, a fear fed by a new movement of quack, Christian fundamentalist psychologists. Although dozens of convictions have been overturned, we are nowhere near uncovering all the damage wrought by this panic. The case of Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen shows how the same criminal justice system that rushed to convict innocent people can take decades to recognize and correct its mistakes.

    • What Islamist Terrorist Threat?

      Know thy enemy is an ancient principle of warfare. And if America had heeded it, it might have refrained from a full-scale “war” on terrorism whose price tag is touching $2 trillion. That’s because the Islamist enemy it is confronting is not some hyper-power capable of inflicting existential—or even grave—harm. It is, rather, a rag-tag band of peasants whose malevolent ambitions are far beyond the capacity of their shallow talent pool to deliver.

      The shock and awe of 9-11 was so great that Americans came to think of Islamist jihadists as a low-tech version of Dr. Strangelove, an evil genius constantly looking for ingenious ways of spreading death and destruction. America is so open and vulnerable and the Islamists so crafty and motivated that it was just a matter of time, everyone thought, before they got us again.

  • Cablegate

    • Leaked HBGary Documents Show Plan To Spread Wikileaks Propaganda For BofA… And ‘Attack’ Glenn Greenwald

      Once again, as I’ve said before, I really don’t think this is a good idea. The potential backlash can be severe and these kinds of attacks can create the opposite long-term incentives that the folks involved think they’re creating. It also gets people a lot more focused on the method rather than the message and that seems unfortunate.

      Still, the leaked emails are turning up some gems, with a key one being that Bank of America (widely discussed as Wikileaks’ next target) had apparently been talking to HBGary Federal about how to disrupt Wikileaks. That link, from The Tech Herald, includes tons of details. The full proposal (embedded below) feels like something straight out of a (really, really bad) Hollywood script.

      It appears that the law firm BofA was using as a part of its Wikileaks crisis response task force, Hunton and Williams, had reached out to firms asking for research and a plan against Wikileaks. HBGary Federal, along with Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies put together their pitch. According to the emails discussing this, the firms tried to come up with a plan as to how they could somehow disrupt Wikileaks , see if there was a way to sue Wikileaks and get an injunction against releasing the data.

    • Assange Probe Hits Snag

      U.S. investigators have been unable to uncover evidence that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange induced an Army private to leak government documents to his website, according to officials familiar with the matter.

      New findings suggest Pfc. Bradley Manning, the intelligence analyst accused of handing over the data to the WikiLeaks website, initiated the theft himself, officials said. That contrasts with the initial portrait provided by Defense Department officials of a young man taken advantage of by Mr. Assange.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Vexed By Natural Gas

      The problem is that the United States doesn’t know, just yet, what to do with its natural gas. In addition, the US economy doesn’t have enough growth in its power and manufacturing sectors to demand more natural gas, that would spur a faster transition away from oil. The result is a kind of stasis, in which a consumption-led economy is still trying to operate with oil. Previous energy transitions, on a historical basis, are instructive here. For example, it took Britain decades to transition from Wood to Coal–even though coal was cheaper on a btu basis. Sound familiar?

    • Rare Amazon Tribe Nearly Extinct from Deforestation

      It was the ‘civilizing’ spirit of colonialism which first drove the Awa-Guajá from their settlements along the eastern shore of Brazil and into the Amazon rainforest. There, under self-imposed isolation from a world that’s changing so rapidly around them, they live in remarkable harmony with nature — going as far breastfeeding animals alongside their own children. Nowadays, colonialism has given way to developmentalism, and the bearers of ‘civility’ to loggers and businessmen. But for the Awa-Guajá, perhaps there is little difference; both signal the destruction of their land and their very way of life.

    • Obama’s $36 Billion Nuke Giveaway

      Barack Obama’s 2012 budget marks a major escalation in the nuclear war against a green-powered future, whose advocates are already fighting back.

      Amidst massive budget cuts for social and environmental programs, Obama wants $36 billion in loan guarantees for a reactor industry that cannot secure sufficient private “marketplace” financing for new construction.

    • Rare metals found in Cornish tin mine

      A Cornish tin mine hopes to be producing hundreds of kilos of valuable indium – used in iPads and other devices and costing up to £500 a kilo.

  • Finance

    • When Recovery’s Just a Word

      I was disappointed last week when two of my favorite publications, The Economist and the Financial Times (both British) capitulated to the new recovery myth in the US Labor Market. I generally depend on London, not New York, to give me a better read on the US economy. This has been true for over two years now as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have either leaned in an overly optimistic direction, or, missed whole portions of the story entirely. For example, let’s look at the big picture. Here is a chart of the total number of employed Americans over the past ten years.


      Now you know why annual government budgets have blown out into the trillions: the economic flows normally provided by a functioning economy are now provided through unemployment checks, food stamps, FDR style spending and other distributions. In short, the “economy” cannot be experiencing a recovery when, after 10 years of population growth and growth in future liabilities, the number of people employed is hovering around levels last seen in 2002-2004. Whether you chose to look at just Non-Farm Employment, or Total Employment, the US Labor Market is essentially flat-lining since a deep trough was reached in late 2009, early 2010.

    • TSX closes above 14,000

      The Toronto Stock Exchange closed above the 14,000 level Wednesday for the first time since July 2008.

    • Swiss ex-banker custody appeal turned down-lawyer

      Swiss ex-banker turned whistleblower Rudolph Elmer has lost his appeal against a court ruling remanding him in prison over possible breaches of Swiss banking secrecy, a lawyer representing Elmer said on Wednesday.

      Elmer was taken into custody by police on Jan. 19 after handing over computer discs to WikiLeaks two days earlier. The former Julius Baer (BAER.VX) banker indicated the CDs contained details of as many as 2,000 offshore bank accounts.

    • Amazon.com shutting Irving office over tax dispute

      As a result of an ongoing tax dispute with Texas, Amazon.com has decided to take its ball and go home.

      The online retailer said Thursday that it would shutter its Irving distribution facility April 12 and cancel plans to hire as many as 1,000 additional workers rather than pay Texas what the state says is owed in uncollected sales tax.

    • Actually, Texans Save $600 Million a Year

      A Texas tax official estimates in this story that Texas loses an estimated $600 million in Internet sales taxes every year. Its part of a long-running debate about whether state governments should be able to collect taxes from out-of-state retailers who send goods into their jurisdictions.

      What happens with the $600 million depends on what you mean by “Texas.” If you mean the government of the state of Texas in Austin, why, yes, the government appears not to collect that amount, which it wants to. If by “Texas” you mean the people who live, work, and raise their families throughout the state—Texans—they actually save $600 million a year. They get to do what they want with it. After all, it’s their money.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Walkom: Oda’s attempt to mislead is part of Tory strategy
    • Mallick: Canadian democracy, Soviet-style

      Denunciation was the weapon of choice in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Anyone could denounce anyone else, which they did, writing letters to the authorities with venom and energy, ending careers, destroying families and worse. Anyone anywhere — at a university, in Stalin’s inner circle, on the factory floor — looked left and looked right, and wondered which friend would stand up and denounce them as kulaks (educated types, i.e., peasants with more than two cows).

      “Some denunciations were the Stalinist equivalent of awkward parliamentary questions and investigative reporters,” the historian Simon Sebag Montefiore wrote in his 2003 book on office politics in the Stalin era, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. They were as effective “as kerosene on a fire.”

      Stalin loved it. “You probably find it unpleasant,” he wrote, “but I’m glad. It would be a bad thing if no one complained.”

    • HBGary Federal Spied On Families And Children Of US Chamber Of Commerce Opponents

      The story of HBGary Federal keeps getting worse and worse. After threatening to reveal the “leaders” of the leaderless group Anonymous, the company’s servers were hacked and emails released, exposing a bizarre plan to intimidate Wikileaks critics to get them to stop supporting the site, and to plant false information. A few days later, it came out that HBGary Federal (along with partners Palantir and Berico) also had proposed a similar campaign to help the US Chamber of Commerce silence critics. New reports show that HBGary Federal boss Aaron Barr apparently went so far as to “demonstrate” his ability to intimidate people by using social networking info to dig up information and photos on people’s families.

    • How To Debunk A Fact-Free Fox News Fearmongering Piece About New Video Game

      So there you go. When someone like Fox News publishes a ridiculously wrong and misleading attack on video games, three perfect templates for debunking.

  • Privacy

    • California high court: Retailers can’t request cardholders’ ZIP code

      California’s high court ruled Thursday that retailers don’t have the right to ask customers for their ZIP code while completing credit card transactions, saying that doing so violates a cardholders’ right to protect his or her personal information.

      Many retailers in California and nationwide now ask people to give their ZIP code, punching in that information and recording it. Yet California Supreme Court’s seven justices unanimously determined that this practice goes too far.

    • We know where you’ve been: privacy, congestion tracking, and the future

      Highway congestion is a serious problem that will only get worse as the US population grows. And our traditional solution to congestion—building more lanes—seems to be running out of steam. With governments facing record deficits, elected officials are having enough trouble finding the money to maintain existing infrastructure, to say nothing of adding new capacity. And in many places, proposals to expand highways encounter fierce resistance from nearby residents.

      So public officials are searching for strategies to use existing highway capacity more efficiently. Recently they’ve begun experimenting with a new strategy for controlling congestion: demand-based pricing of scarce road capacity. Congestion pricing promises to kill two pigs with one bird, keeping traffic flowing smoothly while simultaneously generating new revenue that can be used for public investments. New technologies—notably RFID transponders and license-plate-reading cameras—are allowing the replacement of traditional tollbooths with cashless tolling at freeway speeds.

    • Justice Department assertion: FBI can get phone records without oversight

      The Obama administration’s Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy Newspapers.

      That assertion was revealed – perhaps inadvertently – by the department in its response to a McClatchy Newspapers request for a copy of a secret Justice Department memo.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Trouble With “Balance” Metaphors

      Reading Orin Kerr’s new paper outlining an “equilibrium-adjustment theory” of the Fourth Amendment, I found myself reflecting on how thoroughly the language of “balancing” pervades our thinking about legal and political judgment. The very words “reasonable” and “rational” are tightly linked to “ratio”—which is to say, to relative magnitude or balance. We hope to make decisions on the basis of the weightiest considerations, to make arguments that meet their burden of proof. We’re apt to frame almost any controversy involving heterogenous goods or values as a problem of “striking the right balance” between them, and many of those value dichotomies have become well worn cliches: We’ve all seen the scales loaded with competing state interests and individual rights; with innovation and stability; with freedom and equality; with privacy and security. There’s obviously something we find natural and useful about this frame, but precisely because it’s so ubiquitous as to fade into the background, maybe it’s worth stopping to unpack it a bit, and to consider how the analogy between sound judgment and balancing weights may constrain our thinking in unhealthy ways.

    • As Expected, House Agrees To Extend Patriot Act With No Discussion, No Oversight

      We all knew last week, when the House failed to renew three controversial clauses in the Patriot Act that allow the government to spy on people with little oversight, that it was a temporary reprieve. Indeed, just a week later, with a slight procedural change, the same provision has been approved, and now it moves to the Senate, where there are three separate bills for extending these clauses (and none about getting rid of them, as was supposed to have happened by now). Only one of the three bills, put forth by Senator Patrick Leahy, includes additional oversight. The two others — from Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Dianne Feinstein — do not include any oversight.

    • EPIC Opposes TSA’s Secret Evidence in Body Scanner Case

      EPIC has opposed an effort by the Transportation Security Administration to provide secret evidence to the court in EPIC’s challenge to the the airport body scanner program. The TSA claimed that it can withhold documents that it has designated “Sensitive Security Information” and scientific studies because they are “copyrighted materials.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Bell Class Action lawsuit seeks payback of Early Termination Fees
    • Regulators of Our Digital Future Have Lost Public’s Trust

      The government has told the CRTC to go back to the drawing board on its Internet metering decision. The Liberals and NDP have blasted the regulators, too.

      And yet remaining defenders of the decision cling to the argument that someone has to pay for Internet infrastructure, so why not let it be the so-called bandwidth hogs among us?

      To still make that the basic issue is to have missed the citizens’ revolt of the past week, a backlash far beyond the wonky specifics of how many gigabytes are too many or too pricey.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. Government Shuts Down 84,000 Websites, ‘By Mistake’

        The US Government has yet again shuttered several domain names this week. The Department of Justice and Homeland Security’s ICE office proudly announced that they had seized domains related to counterfeit goods and child pornography. What they failed to mention, however, is that one of the targeted domains belongs to a free DNS provider, and that 84,000 websites were wrongfully accused of links to child pornography crimes.

      • Feds Seize 18 More Domains in Piracy Crackdown

        The U.S. government seized 18 more internet domains Monday, bringing to at least 119 the number of seizures following the June commencement of the so-called “Operation in Our Sites” anti-piracy program.

        The Immigration and Customs Enforcement seizure, in honor of Valentine’s Day, targeted sites hawking big-name brands like Prada and Tiffany & Co.

      • Debate opens on domain closures

        Police plans to shut down web domains believed to be used by criminals are to be debated in public.

        In November, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) tabled a plan to give such powers to Nominet, which oversees the .uk domain.

      • Can A Contract Remove Fair Use Rights?

        Last year, we wrote about a ridiculous situation in which the Association for Information Media and Equipment (AIME) threatened UCLA, after discovering that the school had set up an online video service, that let UCLA professors put up legally licensed video clips so that students could watch them from their computers. AIME claimed that UCLA’s license did not allow for such uses. UCLA claimed this was fair use. After initially taking down the videos, UCLA decided this was worth fighting over and put the videos back up last March. At the time, we thought a lawsuit from AIME would come quickly, but apparently it took until December. UCLA recently filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, setting up a few reasons why — including the claim that, as a state university, it has sovereign immunity from copyright lawsuits and, also, that AIME is not the copyright holder in question, and thus has no standing.

      • Did The Record Labels Kill The Golden Goose In Music Video Games?

        And now it looks like the labels may have succeeded in bleeding those types of games dry. With Activision announcing that it was dumping Guitar Hero, one of the major reasons given is the high cost of licensing music. Yup, the labels priced things so high that they made it impractical to actually offer any more. Yet another case of the labels overvaluing their own content. Now, it’s also true that these games haven’t evolved that much, and people haven’t seen the point of buying new versions, but part of that lack of evolving is because so much of the budget had to go towards overpaying for music, rather than innovating.

      • Once Again, If You Don’t Offer Authorized Versions Of Released Content, Don’t Be Surprised If People Get Unauthorized Copies

        We just had a post about a guy in the UK who could not buy the version of RosettaStone’s language training software that he wanted because the company would not sell it to him. In response, he felt compelled to pirate it, rather than pay lots of money for a lesser version with no promised upgrade. And here’s another, similar case, involving venture capitalist Fred Wilson, who could not find a legitimate way to buy The Streets’ new album after hearing that it was being released. After searching all over for it, the best he could do was order a CD. Instead, he ended up getting an unauthorized copy.

      • UK Gov’t Admits That Protecting Big Record Labels More Important Than Getting Poor Online

        Via Glyn Moody, we learn that the UK government has responded to a question about how the Digital Economy Act might increase the price of internet access. The government’s response? Yes, the Digital Economy Act might price poor people out of the internet, and that’s “regrettable,” but somehow necessary. Huh? So it’s more important to protect the profits of a few obsolete record labels, than to help get more people connected to the internet?

      • Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Coach Over Bogus Takedowns, Trademark Bullying

        We’ve seen so many cases of trademark bullying, and it’s so rare to see people fight back, that it’s interesting to see it happening — and even more surprising to see it done as a class action suit. Eric Goldman points us to the news that this class action lawsuit has been filed against luxury goods maker, Coach, for apparently issuing takedowns to eBay for perfectly legitimate second-hand sales, while also threatening those who put up those items.

      • Judge in Jimi Hendrix Case Declares Washington Publicity Rights Law Unconstitutional

        In a surprise decision, a federal judge in Washington has ruled that the state’s publicity rights law violates the U.S. Constitution. The case involved the estate of Jimi Hendrix battling against a vendor, HendrixLicensing.com, which sold t-shirts, posters, lights, dartbords, key chains and other items designed to capitalize on the fame of the rock legend. On Tuesday, Judge Thomas S. Zilly ruled for the defendant.

        The lawsuit against HendrixLicensing.com begin as a trademark dispute, but after Washington amended its law in 2008 so that dead celebrities could enjoy more generous publicity rights in the state, the defendant asked for a court order that declared that Hendrix’ publicity rights weren’t applicable to the dispute.

      • How Come No One Calls Out Pandora For False Promise Of Profitability?

        Yet, on Friday, Pandora filed for a $100 million IPO, and the filings show that the company is still a long way from profitability. And, now, the company that talked up how profitable it was going to be in 2010 is claiming it might not really be profitable until the end of 2012 or later.

      • Would the Bard Have Survived the Web?

        Copyright, now powerfully linking authors, the printing press (and later technologies) and the market, would prove to be one of history’s great public policy successes. Books would attract investment of authors’ labor and publishers’ capital on a colossal scale, and our libraries and bookstores would fill with works that educated and entertained a thriving nation. Our poets, playwrights, novelists, historians, biographers and musicians were all underwritten by copyright’s markets.

Clip of the Day

Multibooting With LMDE

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 16/2/2011: Distributions Abolish Canonical’s ‘Unity’, Chevron’s $9.5 Billion Fine

Posted in News Roundup at 1:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • So The Cynical Old Bastard Was Right

    And there are a lot of trolls out there. Trolls in internet parlance are people who pop up, and do nothing but attempt to destroy a message board. They are often rude, crude, bombastic, and rude. I’ve run into them several times (which is why I have comments tightened down). So has just about anyone else who’s ever written anything which isn’t complimentary to Microsoft. Seriously.

    I can write uncomplimentary articles about Google, Adobe, Oracle, IBM, etc. No Trolls. Write something uncomplimentary about Microsoft and it attracts trolls, just like a picnic attracts ants.

    The thing is that we know that Microsoft was working to torpedo anyone who didn’t like them. It’s in the documents released in discovery in the Comes anti-trust case. A copy of the Comes Documents can be found here.

  • Server

    • Open Source COBOL-IT Tools to be Distributed by Speedware

      IBM i shops that develop in COBOL may be interested in learning about COBOL-IT, a compiler and collection of modernization tools that is developed in France under an open source license. Last week, the Canadian application modernization company Speedware announced that it’s now distributing COBOL-IT to North American customers.

    • No Millennium bug (yet) for love-struck LSE

      This will no doubt come as a relief to the London exchange and market-participants alike, following November’s outage of Turquoise — under what at the time were billed by the exchange as “suspicious circumstances” — just a couple of weeks after its migration to MillenniumIT.

      With no signs of would-be saboteurs, the LSE’s main market has been trading on the platform without any major hiccups since 8.00 GMT. No St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in sight just yet then — although, as one broker noted, “I would give it a day or so. In the past, issues occurred after the initial launch.”

    • London Stock Exchange tackles closing auction system problem

      The London Stock Exchange has taken steps to resolve a system problem that occurred at 4.30pm yesterday (Tuesday), which saw a delay to the start of the closing auction and knocked out automatic trades during a 42 second period.

      The problem occurred a day after the high profile launch of its new matching engine on the main equities market, based on the SUSE Linux system from Novell.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung officially announces the Galaxy S II

      As expected, Samsung kicked off Mobile World Congress by announcing the new Samsung Galaxy S II. Like any true successor, the Galaxy S II delivers on all the expectations set by the original and raises the bar to a whole new level. The Samsung Galaxy S II comes equipped with a 4.27-inch 800 x 480 Super AMOLED Plus display, a 1GHz Dual Core application processor (most likely the Samsung made Exynos processor), 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and capable of 1080p video recording, 2 megapixel front-facing-camera, and NFC capabilities all bundled into a package that’s only 8.49mm thick. Last we checked, that makes the Samsung Galaxy S II the thinnest smartphone on the planet.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • R600 Gallium3D Driver Now Supports S3TC Library

        While there is not integrated support for S3 Texture Compression (S3TC) support fully integrated into the Mesa / Gallium3D code-base over patents covering the algorithm, there are Mesa drivers that support hooking into an external S3TC library. This external S3TC support requires setting a special variable in the build process and building the S3TC library (named libtxc_dxtn.so) after obtaining the code from an independent source. This move shifts the legal burden from the Mesa developers and onto the user.

        Support for using this external S3TC library on the ATI R600 Gallium3D “R600g” driver has been sought after by users for months as there are a number of games on Linux (and under Wine) that require this texture compression extension. The hooks have been in place for the classic Mesa R600 driver (and the ATI R300 drivers), but it wasn’t until yesterday that the hooks were in place for the R600g driver.

      • AMD Catalyst 11.2 Linux Driver Released

        AMD has just issued their Catalyst 11.2 Linux driver update. It’s now available from AMD.com but their release notes as usual are of little use, so here’s the Phoronix scoop on this month’s update.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Green Linux

      I have recently been talking (at least tangentially) about intuition and computers, most notably in “Isolation Experimentation” and “Spaced Out”. As computer professionals we often base our thinking on how computers are and how they should work off an unconscious synthesis of the facts, and unfortunately, the opinions that we have. Often we even base prejudgment about the computer systems we work with on things that used to be true, but are not anymore. Sometimes it is guilt by association even: See ReiserFS for details.

    • 100% Free with Trisquel

      This is not the first time I have tried to become 100% Stallman-approved Free. I have tried running both Gobuntu and gNewsense, but none of those have been a succes. Gobuntu only made one release, and gNewsense is always very much behind with the packages, which is a no go for me because I need new toys all the time.

      Enter Trisquel. Trisquel is based on Ubuntu, like Gobuntu and gNewsense (before gNewsens changed to being based directly on Debian). And it just works! … Except for the wireless. But I knew this, as even though the driver itself is free, the firmware-blob required to make it work is not. A positive surprise was that 3d-acceleration worked, although I thought that the driver for my Intel GMA 950 had the same problem with firmware-blobbiness as the wireless. But hooray for Free Drivers!

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Starting with Mageia: download it!

        As explained in a previous blog post, this development release should not be used in production.

      • Mandriva & Mageia Release Their Alphas

        The Magiea team hopes to put out a stable release on the 1st of June while there will be another alpha release in mid-March before the betas commence in April and a release candidate in May. Find more in the Mageia release announcement.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Global Jam: Call For Events!

          Never before has the Ubuntu Global Jam been so important! In this cycle we are shipping Unity as the new desktop interface, and we are going to be working hard together to ensure that as many Unity bugs are squeezed out as possible. This is a great chance to come along and help test Unity, report bugs, fix bugs, triage problems, write documentation, help advocate Ubuntu in your area, and otherwise make a real difference that will benefit others. Together we can make Ubuntu 11.04 the best Ubuntu release yet!

        • Ubuntu Developer Week

          On the 1st of March at 16:00 UTC, I will be giving a session at Ubuntu Developer Week on how to write a Compiz Plugin and get started with Compiz development in general. I am just finishing my draft of the lesson I will be giving, but we will be covering topics such as:

          * Setting up the development environment to write, build and test Compiz plugins
          * Basic plugin set-up and tear down – getting your plugin to build and load
          * Handling events
          * Drawing to the screen and Drawing to windows
          * Reading and using options

        • Fedora, openSUSE Give up on Unity

          Some bad news came across the wire today. In a bit of a coincidence, the contributors from both openSUSE and Fedora who were working on Unity announced on the same day they were giving it up. So, those wishing to test this new interface will have to fire up Ubuntu after all.

        • Banshee Amazon Store disabled in Ubuntu 11.04 by Canonical

          Faced with sharing 75% of revenues from Amazon with Canonical, the Banshee maintainers have opted to disable the Amazon store by default when Banshee ships in Ubuntu 11.04. Instead, the media player will ship with support for purchasing music through Ubuntu One’s service, and users will have to change the defaults to be able to support GNOME.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • Unigine Engine For Android Makes Its Debut

          Unigine Corp developers aren’t starting and ending with Android on the mobile front, but they are also going to be working on bringing their powerful and scalable engine to other mobile platforms too. Below is the Unigine mobile interactive game demo.

        • OpenSignalMaps crowd-sources mobile signals with Android app – 80,000 downloads and counting

          I’ve been wandering around Mobile World Congress and I managed to bump into a startup which – although unable to can’t afford the expensive stands here – actually has an app that stands out from the crowd by quite some way. You see, it’s obvious to people that getting a decent signal on your mobile is crucial. You’ll no doubt recall how the launch of the iPhone suddenly created a massive interest in the quality and reach of mobile phone networks across the planet. Imagine being able to work out which mobile carrier was best for you based on where you are, in real time? OpenSignalMaps does just that.

        • HTC ChaCha and Salsa outed as the fabled Facebook phones

          We’ve heard rumors and seen mockups, but it seems like the HTC Facebook phones are real, and do fall more in line with Facebook’s comment that the phones are simply “integrating [the Facebook APIs] in an interesting way”. PocketNow has pics of the phones, while the Seattle Times has more in-depth (though harder to believe) info on the phones.


          The second model is the Salsa, which is a more standard Android slate with a 3.4″ touchscreen.

        • Nokia’s Elop fears mobile duopoly, but it is already here

          Given the absence of Apple, this Mobile World Congress could almost be called the Android World Congress, such is the dominance of Google’s mobile OS.

        • Android To Make More Sense For Enterprises

          RIM’s Blackberry platform has traditionally been a favourite when it comes to mobile enterprise security and its management. Its Blackberry Enterprise Server offers encryption that is virtually impregnable–a fact repeatedly confirmed by Indian security agencies. However, in recent times the stronghold of Blackberry as the preferred business tool has been diminishing constantly. Firstly, because Cupertino-based Apple has through regular software updates, made iOS devices into a potent personal as well as a business communication tool.

        • Sony Ericsson LiveView Puts Android on Your Wrist, Is Awesome – Coming Soon to US and Canada [MWC] [Video]

          The Sony Ericsson LiveView is already available in several regions, but without a US release I had not seen the nifty little accessory in the flesh…or plastic, rather. When I stumbled upon it at Sony Ericsson’s booth at MWC I couldn’t pass up the chance to check it out. Good news was learned, too. The LiveView is a mere few weeks away from a US and Canadian release.

        • Nvidia Tegra Stark 100x faster than Tegra 2

          Just before Google CEO Erick Schmidt announced it, we learned from industry sources that the next phone OS update for…

    • Tablets

      • Meego For Netbooks

        On the bright side Meego does boot and run very fast, but the downside is that I’m faced with having to try to fix what should never have broke. In the end I decided to wipe the netbook and rebuild each partition. I now have Windows 7, Linux Mint Debian Edition (instead of Debian Squeeze) and Linux Mint 10 (for screencasting). I also have Meego for now.

      • An Update from Intel

        What an interesting weekend. I am sure you can imagine what my inbox has looked the last few days. I appreciate your patience as the team works very hard on the MeeGo Software Platform to move things forward.

        As you know, MeeGo has always been an open source platform with many supporters, Intel foremost among them. This support is consistent with our long track record in open source projects and platforms including MeeGo, Yocto embedded Linux, LessWatts, the Linux kernel, Linux graphics, Google Android, ChromeOS, KVM, and many others. At Intel, we work very hard to make sure the software our customers use and want to use, runs best on our hardware platforms.

      • HTC Flyer Is Official: 7-inch Aluminium Android Tablet With A Media Focus

        HTC will today unveil its new 7-inch tablet device, the HTC Flyer, the first tablet from HTC that will feature the company’s HTC Sense UI, a sleek alumninium body and pen interaction, encouraging users to write down notes instead of jabbing away at a screen.

        There had been rumours that the HTC Flyer wouldn’t ship with Google’s new Honeycomb operating system; that rumour has been substantiated, to a point, as it looks like HTC will be running a customised flavour of the Android 2.4 operating system that will allow them to integrate its HTC Sense, HTC Scribe and HTC Watch technologies.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The four capital mistakes of open source

    How do you develop a successful open source business that lasts? Of the more than 250,000 open source projects on SourceForge, few will be successful at that goal. But one way they might think about how to do it is by doing it in reverse: What should an open source project or business not do?

    The negative advice has existed since ancient times, from one religion to another. The Ten Commandments are for the most part written as what not to do. We can go for a short walk or drive around our neighborhood: road signs give us, in very short messages we can read while driving, negative advice. Ask Warren Buffett about finance. He’ll tell you “Rule #1 is ‘Don’t lose money,’ and Rule #2 is… ‘Don’t lose money’”.

    Open source can also be better understood through negative advice. The latter can be back-tested and endure the test of time. By following a positive framework (but without falling into platonicity), one can slightly increase the chances of success. But by ignoring a negative one, you will most certainly fail.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • What’s up with SUMO – Feb. 14

        SUMO 2.5 going out tomorrow. It includes a new look for the support forum which you can see right now on support.allizom.org. Also if you go there with a mobile browser you can see some of the in-progress work on mobile layouts.

      • Z-Type
      • Multimedia on the web and using HTML5 sensibly

        Last week I went to the London Ajax User Meetup in London, England to deliver two talks about HTML5. One was a re-run of a talk I gave at MIT about Multimedia on the web and the second was a call to arms to use HTML5 sensibly. You can go over to Skillsmatter web site to see both talks back to back – but be sure to catch the notes to the second talk in this post, too.

      • SeaMonkey 2.1 Beta 2 Introduces New Features
      • Mozilla: ‘Internet Explorer 9 is not a modern browser’

        Free whitepaper – Distributed Workforce Management in the Cloud

        Mozilla has taken a right swipe at Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, telling the world that the latest incarnation of IE is not a “modern browser.”

        On Tuesday, with both Firefox 4 and IE9 on the verge of official release, Mozilla technical evangelist Paul Rouget hit back at apparent Microsoft suggestions that the new IE offers more extensive HTML5 support than competing browsers. “Is IE9 a modern browser?” Rouget writes on his personal blog. “NO.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Economics of Participatory Government: The Coming (temporary) Scarcity

      I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a sensational headline. But if I put the word “equilibrium” in there, you might not have reached this point.

      Last year while presenting at a technology and disabilities conference, I answered a question about participatory government, gov 2.0, so on, in a way that reverberated in tones of heresy on the faces of some people.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Public Data Corporation

        On 12 January the Government confirmed it was looking to “open up opportunities for innovative developers, businesses and members of the public to generate social and economic growth through the use of data.” The new concept – which for the moment we’re describing as the Public Data Corporation – will be a global first and will help make government-held data much easier to access and use.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

      • Atom is dead, strangled slowly by Intel

        THE BIGGEST LOSER in the tie up between Microsoft and Nokia is none other than Intel. While they may try to put a brave face on the matter, the simple fact remains that their Atom line is now without a future.

        As you may recall, Nokia was going to hold up the flag for Intel and their Atom chips in phones, starting with Moorestown, the 45nm Atom SoC variant, and moving on to custom silicon at 32nm. That variant, as we exclusively reported, was called Penwell. Nokia’s deal with Microsoft just killed that chip dead, and any hopes Atom had in phones went with it. Meego was hit in the head with an errant bag of cash during the drive-by, and has family gathering in the emergency room to pay their last regards.

        Technically, the Atom core is doing everything right, each variant hitting internal targets and improving at a very quick pace. Moorestown was a hugely impressive chip, able to kick the highest end ARM variants to the curb with it’s raw CPU performance. When it came out, nothing was in it’s league, and while ARM variants came close months later, the next iteration, 32nm Medfield, is due out in the near future.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Last Call for HTML5

      After three years of development and debate, there is light at the end of the tunnel for HTML5. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on Monday announced that the “last call” date for HTML5 would occur in May of this year. The W3C also announced that testing will extend until 2014, at which point HTML5 will be declared an official W3C specification.

      With the move for a last call, the W3C is formalizing the process by which HTML5 will be completed and eventually widely adopted by Web developers and users.

    • W3C Invites Implementations of CSS Backgrounds and Borders Module Level 3; Updates Text Level 3


  • Sealand, HavenCo, and the Rule of Law

    I have posted a draft of my newest paper, Sealand, HavenCo, and the Rule of Law. I revisit the strange story of HavenCo, an early-2000s attempt to set up an Internet hosting site where no country on Earth could get at it, leading to complete freedom from censorship. The place they chose was a former World War II anti-aircraft platform in the North Sea, which had been occupied since the 1960s by a former pirate radio broadcaster, Roy Bates, who declared it the independent Principality of Sealand.

  • HuffPo economics shows that Digital Newspapers are still unsustainable

    Interesting article on the economics of the Huffington Post in the NYT – apart from (as you’d expect) having a strong power law relationship between post and popularity – see diagram above – a few nuggets emerge…

  • With A Little Help: The Early Returns

    At the time of my last column, I was in a three-quarters panic about the book: negotiations with Lulu and my agent had bogged down in miscommunication; Christmas was fast approaching; and I was about to go in for hip surgery. So, what happened? Literally a day after writing that column, I simply launched the book. I made the site live, uploaded the book to Lulu’s servers, and set up the sell pages. The good news: I’ve made some money, and I didn’t turn into a ravening monster on a blind quest for fortune and sales. But I’ve also discovered a lot of tiny errors—and two gigantic ones.

    First, the good news: I’ve made a ton of money on the $275 limited edition. I’ve already sold more than 50, and I get a new order every day or two, without news or advertising. The recipients have been universally delighted with their purchases and the packaging. The combination of a cardboard book mailer, a section of burlap coffee sack, and acid-free tissue paper is a huge hit, with some customers even producing lavish “unboxing” YouTube videos and Flickr sets.

  • Success and challenges for China’s leading paid content website for periodicals

    Since its establishment ten years ago, Qikan.Com.Cn (Longyuan) has stuck to the paid content business model, becoming a website with 2,700 cooperating periodicals and 50 million new users each year. The average subscription is renewed five times.

  • Berlusconi indicted in prostitution probe

    An Italian judge on Tuesday ordered Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on charges he paid for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan girl, then tried to cover it up.

    Berlusconi has stood trial on a number of business-related charges, but this is the first time the 74-year-old billionaire businessman is being tried for personal conduct.

  • Rat runs past No 10 Downing Street
  • The full list: The Twitter 100

    Its 200 million users share 110 million messages a day – and if you don’t know who rules the twittersphere, you don’t understand the 21st-century world. This guide is a definitive who’s who of the UK’s tweet elite.

  • Flowchart: Why Hasn’t the Person You Texted Responded Yet?
  • Virginia House Makes Rolling Right Turn Reckless Driving

    The Virginia House of Delegates on February 4 approved legislation that would make a rolling right-hand turn on a red light a reckless driving offense. The bill introduced by Delegate Bill Janis (R-Glen Allen) was approved with a 67 to 31 vote and is now pending before the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.

  • Truffaut’s Big Interview with Hitchcock (MP3s)
  • Science

    • Making sense of science: introducing the Google Science Communication Fellows

      In an effort to foster a more open, transparent and accessible scientific dialogue, we’ve started a new effort aimed at inspiring pioneering use of technology, new media and computational thinking in the communication of science to diverse audiences. Initially, we’ll focus on communicating the science on climate change.

    • Is Relativity Hard?

      Brad DeLong, in the course of something completely different, suggests that the theory of relativity really isn’t all that hard. At least, if your standard of comparison is quantum mechanics.

      He’s completely right, of course. While relativity has a reputation for being intimidatingly difficult, it’s a peculiar kind of difficulty. Coming at the subject without any preparation, you hear all kinds of crazy things about time dilating and space stretching, and it seems all very recondite and baffling. But anyone who studies the subject appreciates that it’s a series of epiphanies: once you get it, you can’t help but wonder what was supposed to be so all-fired difficult about this stuff. Applications can still be very complicated, of course (just as they are in classical mechanics or electrodynamics or whatever), but the basic pillars of the theory are models of clarity.

    • Quiz-playing computer system could revolutionize research [running GNU/Linux]

      IBM’s supercomputer Watson is going up against top players of the US television quiz programme Jeopardy! this week, stirring up excitement in the artificial-intelligence community and prompting computer science departments across the country to gather and watch.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • South Dakota GOP pushes bill to legalize ‘homicide’ in defense of the unborn

      “Justifiable” homicide is usually claimed in self defense cases, and in particular home invasions that end up with a dead burglar. You could say it’s one of the many things that’s big in Texas.

      But in South Dakota, a group of Republican state legislators have crafted a bill that would expand the legal definition of “justifiable homicide” in a way that’s plain and unambiguous: they’re trying to legalize the murder of abortion doctors.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Self-encrypting discs will lock down your data

      IN JUNE 2009, 45,000 people linked to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, suddenly had their privacy compromised. Personal data including social security numbers of students, former students, staff and faculty were exposed. But this was no high-tech hack – all of the information was contained in a single stolen computer. Had the data been safely encrypted there would have been virtually no risk, but typical encryption methods require specialised software that few are willing to invest in.

    • Image site hits back at spammers

      Spammers are being thwarted by finding that their junk messages unexpectedly contain warnings urging recipients to delete the e-mail.

      The alerts are issued by ImageShack, in an effort to stop spammers using its services.

      It is replacing pictures, known to have appeared in spam, with warnings such as “Do not buy”.

    • Ashkenazi Video Admits IDF Bombed Syrian Nuclear Reactor and Created Stuxnet

      Haaretz has just published a story that will certainly disappear due to gag order. In it, Anshel Pfeffer writes that Gabi Ashkenazi prepared a video celebrating his achievements as chief of staff, which was screened at a party marking his final day on the job. What is extraordinary about the video is that among the successes of his time in office it credits the bombing of the Syrian nuclear reactor and the Stuxnet virus attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel has never publicly acknowledged responsibility for either.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • From #Jan25 to Tahrir: What Comes Next for the Internet Revolution?

      Guest author Ahmed Zidan lives in Egypt and is the editor of Mideast Youth. The Egyptian protesters have overthrown Mubarak after nearly 30 years. Egypt has come second in row after Tunisia. The two revolutions, the Tunisian and the Egyptian, have succeeded. Egypt has seen its first people’s revolution, and over 18 days many things changed until the regime was totally uninstalled.

      Let’s trace the protests back across the Mediterranean. The self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid was the spark for the massive Tunisian protests that overthrew then-president Ben Ali. The Tunisian protests, in turn, were the spark for Egypt’s #Jan25. And it’s very relevant to name it #Jan25, because it was totally Internet driven. (Other names include the Jan. 25 Revolution, Revolution of Anger, and lately Tahrir Revolution, an Arabic equivalent for Revolution of Liberation.) It’s not an overstatement to say that #SidiBouzid is the sole parent of #Jan25, and created a domino effect that will not stop in Egypt.

    • Hillary Clinton: Tehran violence ‘an indictment of Iranian regime’s hypocrisy’ – video
    • Iran unrest: What next for the opposition movement?

      Extra security forces are on the streets of Tehran today after anti-government protests on Monday.

      Video posted on the internet clearly show demonstrators clashing violently with uniformed and plain-clothed police; some were chanting for the removal of Ayatollah Khamanei.

    • Iran lawmakers call for execution of opposition leaders

      Iranian lawmakers urged the judiciary on Tuesday to hand out death penalties to opposition leaders for fomenting unrest in the Islamic state after a rally in which one person was killed and dozens were wounded, state media said.

    • Hillary Clinton Is Well Acquainted With Hypocrisy

      Hilary Clinton is one of many politicians around the world from all parties and ideologies who are part of the problem, not the solution. The other day she called the Iranian government hypocrites for supporting the Egyptian people in their protests under the excuse “it’s an Islamic revolution” then clamping down on Iranian protests in their usual fascist state tried and trusted ways. It turns out that Hillary Clinton does know the word hypocrite after all.

    • The toxic residue of colonialism

      And yet, by means seen and unseen, external actors, especially the United States, with a distinct American blend of presumed imperial and paternal prerogatives are seeking to shape and limit the outcome of this extraordinary uprising of the Egyptian people, long held in subsidised bondage by the cruel and corrupt Mubarak dictatorship. What is the most defining feature of this American-led diplomacy-from-without is the seeming propriety of managing the turmoil, so that the regime survives and the demonstrators return to what is perversely being called “normalcy”.

    • [Humour] Comparison of the Republican Party with the Muslim Brotherhood
    • Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood To Form Political Party

      The panel is to draw up changes at a breakneck pace — within 10 days — to end the monopoly that ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party once held, which it ensured through widespread election rigging. The initial changes may not be enough for many in Egypt calling for the current constitution, now suspended by the military, to be thrown out completely and rewritten to ensure no one can once again establish autocratic rule. Two members on the panel said the next elected government could further change the document if it choses.

    • Libya: Violent protests rock city of Benghazi

      BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo talks about the protests in Libya as amateur video is released of clashes in Benghazi

      Hundreds of people have clashed with police and government supporters in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

    • TSA comes under fire again as employees admit to repeatedly stealing money from passengers

      In return the colleague would give some of the money to Arato, who also admitted to stealing some himself at his security checkpoint in Terminal B.

      The colleague, who was not named, cooperated with investigators leading them to the arrest of Arato.

      Arato faces a maximum potential sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, though the actual penalty may be less under sentencing guidelines. He will be sentenced on May 24.

    • Bahrain police open fire on funeral procession leaving one dead

      Bahrain has moved to defuse unrest by promising to investigate the killings of opposition protesters who had been inspired by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

      The latest violence in the Gulf state saw the shooting of a young man at the heavily attended funeral of another who was killed by security forces on Monday.

    • The empire strikes again

      Anyone who still wonders why the Bush administration invaded Iraq would do well to become familiar with an institution whose existence few Americans are aware of: the American University of Iraq-Sulaimaniya.

      Located in Kurdistan, at the nexus of northern Iraq’s border with Iran and Turkey, AUI-S opened its doors in 2007. At the time, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote about it with the sort of wide-eyed enthusiasm that had generally accompanied the invasion itself four years before. “Imagine for a moment if one outcome of the U.S. invasion of Iraq had been the creation of an American University of Iraq … Imagine if we had created an island of decency in Iraq … Well, stop imagining.”

    • Donald Rumsfeld was right about everything, book by Rumsfeld claims

      Reviled two-time Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has finally written his memoir. It is titled “Known and Unknown,” after a typically obtuse quote he gave to the press while mismanaging the “global war on terrorism.” In his memoir, Rumsfeld is settling various old scores, and, obviously, trying to convince everyone that he is not responsible for the various awful failures and fiascoes that occurred at the Pentagon during his tenure in the Bush administration. Like, for example, the whole “Iraq invasion and occupation” thing.

  • Cablegate

    • Biting the source that feeds you

      It’s the climax of the 1975 hit Three Days of the Condor. On a Manhattan sidewalk fugitive CIA analyst Robert Redford, having outgunned his assassins, confronts his double-dealing boss, who demands he join the sinister plot to control the world’s oil. No way, Redford says, he’s already blown the whistle. And the camera pans across the street where a truckload of newsprint is being delivered – to The New York Times. Game over.

      Ahh, Hollywood. But what really happens when you’re a major league whistleblower? Say you’ve acquired sensitive documents of huge public importance, very hush-hush. Although it’s bound to annoy powerful people and may expose you to reprisal, you deliver them to the world’s mightiest news media, including The New York Times, which use them in sensational articles that have worldwide impact.

      The Condor’s triumphant fourth day? Well, no. Sure you’ve handed over official secrets of global significance at considerable personal risk. That’s not enough. You’ve also got to be charming. Make sure your clothes are laundered and wrinkle-free. You may be living out of a backpack and pulling impossible hours culling data, but don’t forget to bathe regularly. And even if one of the organizations you’ve given this material to violates the conditions you set, don’t you dare get angry.

      And know this: That every conversation you have with the reporters you’re working with, every snarky comment they make about you, every detail of your collaboration, may be used in a high-profile account of the whole affair that will portray you as a peevish, contemptuous, slouching, disheveled, foul-smelling, paranoid, self-serving, manipulative, volatile ideologue.

      Those descriptors come more or less verbatim from the remarkable cover story by The New York Times’ top editor, Bill Keller, in the newspaper’s Jan. 30 Sunday magazine, titled “The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s [sic] Nest.” It is Keller’s 8,000-word version of his newspaper’s dealings with Julian Assange, the 39-year-old Australian-born founder of Wikileaks, the worldwide online anti-secrecy network that last year provided The Times and other leading newspapers with a vast and extraordinarily rich trove of classified U.S. government documents.

    • Spy Games: Inside the Convoluted Plot to Bring Down WikiLeaks

      When Aaron Barr was finalizing a recent computer security presentation for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, a colleague had a bit of good-natured advice for him: “Scare the shit out of them!”

      In retrospect, this may not have been the advice Barr needed. As CEO of the government-focused infosec company HBGary Federal, Barr had to bring in big clients — and quickly — as the startup business hemorrhaged cash. To do so, he had no problem with trying to “scare the sh*t out of them.” When working with a major DC law firm in late 2010 on a potential deal involving social media, for instance, Barr decided that scraping Facebook to stalk a key partner and his family might be a good idea. When he sent his law firm contact a note filled with personal information about the partner, his wife, her family and her photography business, the result was immediate.

    • US request for Twitter account details ‘outrageous’: Assange

      Washington’s efforts to get Twitter to hand over information on the accounts of people connected to WikiLeaks is “outrageous,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Monday.

      “This is an outrageous attack by the Obama administration on the privacy and free speech rights of Twitter’s customers — many of them American citizens,” Assange said in a statement, a day before a US hearing in the case.

      The US government’s attempts to get Twitter to hand over information about the Twitter accounts of three WikiLeaks supporters, is “more shocking, at this time, (as) it amounts to an attack on the right to freedom of association, a freedom that the people of Tunisia and Egypt, for example, spurred on by the information released by WikiLeaks, have found so valuable,” he added.

    • WikiLeaks and the Archives and Records Profession

      Do WikiLeaks and its complex, attendant issues shift our conceptualization of our roles as information professionals? How might WikiLeaks change the public’s views on usage of and access to archives and records? To what extent is the most recent release of diplomatic cables a product of information mismanagement?

      Addressing these and many more questions, the speakers include Trudy Peterson, former Acting Archivist of the United States (1993-1995) and current representative for the Society of American Archivists on the Department of State’s Historical Advisory Committee; Fred Pulzello, Solutions Architect in the Information Governance practice at MicroLink LLC; James Fortmuller, Manager of Systems Security at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP in Washington, DC; Mark Matienzo, Digital Archivist in Manuscripts and Archives at Yale University Library; and Derek Bambauer, Associate Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School. The panel was moderated by Peter Wosh, Director of the Archives/Public History Program and Clinical Associate Professor of History at New York University.

    • [Dershowitz Joins Legal Team for Wikileaks]
    • The powerful law firm at the center of the WikiLeaks plot

      One of the big outstanding questions in the story of the plot to undermine WikiLeaks and Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, as well as a separate plan to discredit critics of the Chamber of Commerce, is the nature of the role played by the large international law firm Hunton & Williams.

      Hunton, which brags it employs 1,000 lawyers in 18 offices on three continents, has worked for both the Chamber and Bank of America. The company is nervous because WikiLeaks is reportedly planning to release internal bank documents, and Bank of America apparently connected with Hunton to help respond to the crisis.

      Hunton attorneys in turn had a series of e-mail communications — since hacked by WikiLeaks supporters and published online — with a trio of technology firms that proposed various schemes to attack WikiLeaks, Greenwald and critics of the Chamber. (One typical idea was to provide labor activists with false documents in order to discredit them.)

    • More facts emerge about the leaked smear campaigns

      As I noted on Friday, the parties implicated in the smear campaigns aimed at WikiLeaks supporters and Chamber of Commerce critics have attempted to heap all the blame on HBGary Federal (“HBGary”) and its CEO, Aaron Barr. Both Bank of America and the Chamber — the intended clients — vehemently deny any involvement in these schemes and have harshly denounced them. The other two Internet security firms whose logos appeared on the proposals — Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies — both issued statements terminating their relationship with HBGary and insisting that they had nothing to do with these plots. Only Hunton & Williams and its partner, John Woods — the central cogs soliciting these proposals — have steadfastly refused to comment.

      Palantir, in particular, has been quite aggressive about trying to distance itself. They initially issued a strong statement denouncing the plots, then had their CEO call me vowing to investigate and terminate any employees who were involved, then issued another statement over the weekend claiming that “Palantir never has and never will condone the sort of activities that HBGary recommended” and “Palantir did not participate in the development of the recommendations that Palantir and others find offensive.” Such vehemence is unsurprising: the Palo-Alto-based firm relies for its recruitment efforts on maintaining a carefully cultivated image as a progressive company devoted to civil liberties, privacy and Internet freedom — all of which would be obviously sullied by involvement in such a scheme.

    • Early Morning Swim: Glenn Greenwald Discusses Wikileaks Smear Campaign with Matt Miller
    • The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG For Tuesday, Day 80

      2:10 Largely overlooked in Clinton speech was this small bit near end: “There were reports in the days following theleak that the U.S. government intervened to coerce private companies to denyservice to Wikileaks. This is not the case. Some politicians and pundits publiclycalled for companies to dissociate from Wikileaks, while others criticized them fordoing so. Public officials are part of our country’s public debates, but there is a linebetween expressing views and coercing conduct. But any business decisions that private companies may have taken to enforce their own policies regarding Wikileaks was not at the direction or the suggestion of the Obama Administration.”

    • Dershowitz: Assange has a new legal adviser

      ONLY ON THE BLOG: Answering today’s five OFF-SET questions is Alan M. Dershowitz, who has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights.”


      Russia has recently shown clear signs of throwing off its long and tragic history of anti-Semitism. In the past several years, official GOR policy has involved an aggressive campaign against anti-Semitism, coupled with positive official statements towards the Jewish community. Societal attitudes have also improved, with a resulting decrease in the number of anti-Semitic attacks or incidents. Increasing ties between Russia and Israel, including the new visa-free regime between the two countries, have also added to the improved atmosphere. While some ingrained suspicions of Jews remain among Russians, Jewish contacts with whom we spoke painted an optimistic picture of the current situation for Russian Jews, though they warned that the situation could easily change back again quickly.

    • Corporate America vs. Wikileaks
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Philly homeowner forecloses on Wells Fargo

      Patrick Rodgers, an independent music promoter in Philadelphia, has won a judgment against his mortgage lender, Wells Fargo, which Wells hasn’t paid, and so he’s foreclosed on them and arranged for a sheriff’s sale of the contents of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, 1341 N. Delaware Ave to pay the legal bill.

  • TPPA

    • Critical Paper Links TPPA to Financial Instability, Challenges Negotiators to Release Draft Text for Further Analysis

      Negotiators on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) meeting for a fifth round of talks in Santiago this week will be presented with a mock draft text and expert analysis that links the proposed agreement to continued financial instability.

      The paper authored by Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland and Sanya Reid Smith from Malaysia-based Third World Network, with assistance from other investment experts, will form the basis of a stakeholder presentation on Tuesday.

      “The post-2007 global financial crisis exposed the chronic instability of a highly liberalised, deregulated and globally integrated financial system. No one knows how or where the next crisis will unfold”, said Professor Kelsey.

      “It is time to rethink the failed model of financial deregulation that has been repeatedly locked in and ratcheted up through previous free trade agreements.”

      “Far from recognising that need, the TPPA negotiations appear to be bolting the door closed on the options for governments to re-regulate the financial sector and impose controls on speculative capital flows in ways that meet the needs of their people”.

    • Leaks and lockouts as TPPA negotiations begin in Santiago

      As New Zealand’s December paper foreshadowed, the US text is reportedly more aggressive than its previous free trade agreements (FTAs), building on the IP chapter in the Australia US FTA. A local IT expert predicted the US would use the TPPA to achieve what it failed to secure in the recently concluded Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • EU web blocking plans curtailed

      The EU Commission’s stupid plans to mandate EU-wide web blocking as a central element of the proposed directive on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children suffered a setback in the Libe committee (civil liberties committee of the Parliament) yesterday, thanks primarily to the efforts of a small number of digital rights groups, prominent amongst which was EDRI.

    • Senate extends the Patriot Act for three months in 86-12 vote

      The Senate on Tuesday voted 86-12 Tuesday to extend the Patriot Act for three months.

      The vote came one day after the House passed legislation extending the Patriot Act until Dec. 2011.

      Due to an amendment tacked on to the House bill by Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) earlier Tuesday the Senate version of the bill only extends the Patriot Act until May 27, 2011.

    • Just How Open Is Your Internet? [INFOGRAPHICS]

      America, the champion of democracy and freedom, actually has more Internet censorship than some countries in Africa and South America according to an infographic based on Internet censorship research conducted by the OpenNet Initiative.

  • Civil Rights

    • Free Cheng Jianping – sentenced to labour camp in China for a tweet!

      On the 28th October, she was set to marry her fiance, Hua Chunhui, also a human rights defender.

      On the same day, Cheng was arrested and sentenced to a year of Laojiao – education through labour – for ‘disturbing social order’. Her crime was to send out one tweet which mocked a protest orchestrated by the Chinese government.

      Cheng is totally devoted to social activism and was working without income, reportedly lived on instant noodles as her main food.

    • Over 1 lakh phones are tapped every year

      Some startling figures tumbled out on rampant phone tapping in the country when telecom service provider Reliance Communications told the Supreme Court on Monday that the authorities had asked it to tap 1.51 lakh phone numbers in a five-year span between 2006 and 2010.

      This works out to an average of over 30,000 telephone interceptions every year by a single service provider on the orders of various law enforcing agencies. Or, over 82 telephones were intercepted every day by a single service provider.

    • Corporate spying ‘scandals’ – where is the ethical edge?

      Where should a company draw the marker between information gathering for risk management and outright spying and subterfuge?

      It’s clearly a fine line.

      As Eric Dezenhall has argued, companies need defending just like anyone else, and are often targeted by those seeking personal advantage from alleged corporate malfeasance. He cites Toyota as an example.

      Equally, companies have been accused, by authorised or unauthorised proxy, of crossing the ethical line in information gathering in recent lines. Dow Chemical and Sasol are in a spotlight they would rather was shone elsewhere as a result.

      In messy and long-running cases, it becomes hard to work out who has behaved badly – or worst – in emotionally-charged campaigns and legal cases that can take on a life of their own. Take Chevron, campaigners and Ecuador as an example.

      The WikiLeaks saga, and threat of its expansion further into the corporate world, have given many a corporate executive pause for thought. The article linked above this line has been the most popular on Ethicalcorp.com this year.

      Just yesterday, to sit alongside the ongoing News of the World phone tapping scandal and police undercover operations against activists the Guardian has reported that UK energy companies E.ON, Scottish Resources Group and Scottish Power have been ‘spying’ on activists via a private security firm.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • European Union plans new measures to reduce data roaming charges

      The European Commission will have to consider radical new measures to reduce the cost of mobile roaming charges after almost all respondents to its consultation said prices were unfair.

      European roaming prices are currently more than three times that of domestic charges. Even Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes on Monday described the current charges as “rip offs.” And the prices for data roaming are even higher.

    • Brazilian telcoms regulator raids, confiscates and fines over open WiFi

      The latest in a series of reversals from Brazil’s new government is an attack on open WiFi. The Brazilian telcoms regulator claims that it is empowered to raid the homes of people with open WiFi networks and seize their routers and then issue hefty fines. This is part of a general series of attacks on sharing and openness in Brazil, including attacks on free content and open culture — a heartbreaking turn from a nation that has led the world in respect for the open Internet, shared culture, and freedom for most of the century.

    • Three Kingdoms of China’s Internet

      While China’s Internet is already dominated by power players in a way that the US Internet is not, investment bank CLSA sees further consolidation through lose alliances.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Should There Be Trade Barriers For Chinese Companies Buying Core Global Patent Portfolios in New Technology?

      Secondly the party that is willing to sell the core patent portfolio is not getting the real market value if the government is raising barriers, so as a retaliatory measure against China’s discriminatory indigenous innovation policies it might hurt the one retaliating, and it might lock up resources that could be brought to better use.

      I know that after the financial crisis the following words may sound harsh to your ears but this author believes it is best to eliminate the barriers and let the market do its work to avoid misallocation of resources.

    • Copyrights

      • Learning from my children… and Radiohead

        My daughter, the eldest, told me all about Facebook in 2004, and even became my first friend there after I received an invite from Dave Morin, now at Path. Before that I’d done things like watch her converse across multiple MSN Messenger channels in parallel (forcing me to have Microsoft in an Apple-only house!), seemingly while doing her homework and while watching television. It reminded me of the time she was just a few years old, watching TV while reading while eating while playing with toys. I would gently walk over to the TV with the intention of switching it off, only to be stopped by a plaintive “Dad, I’m still watching it”. She was three when the web was written about, five when it became real. And it was a joy to learn about the web through her eyes, the sites she visited, the sites she knew about, the tools she used and why.

      • Spanish Academy Awards Tainted By Anti-Piracy Law Controversy

        The Goya Awards, Spain’s equivalent to the Academy Awards, have been tainted by controversy stemming from the country’s so-called Sinde anti-piracy law. Alongside egg-throwing and public boos for the eventual Best Actor winner for his support of the legislation, as a protest today, Spanish Film Academy president Alex de la Iglesia will step down.

        In recent months a controversial piece of legislation aimed at shutting down file-sharing sites has resulted in massive opposition from all corners of the Spanish nation. Protests last year appeared to have been successful when the House of Representatives rejected the proposal, but the good news was short-lived.

      • ACS: Law Targeted People Who Were “Clearly Not Guilty”

        Former employee says she quit her job there because she felt the law firm was targeting people like “old ladies who never downloaded files” who likely didn’t “have security on their wireless connection.”

        The row over ACS: Law and its controversial mass file-sharing lawsuit campaign continues with news that a former employee quit the job over moral concerns.

      • 5 live Investigates: The XXX Files 13 FEB 2011

        Thousands of people across the UK received letters accusing them of illegally downloading internet porn, demanding £495 for the privilege. But the firm behind the letters, ACS Law, didn’t know for sure if they were guilty or innocent. Campaigners are warning that a new law designed to clamp down on online crime will encourage more bullying and intimidation of web users by unscrupulous legal firms. Also: we reveal the latest FIFA investigation into football match-fixing, following suspicious betting on a Turkish tournament last week. Plus, the latest twist on direct debit fraud which affects nearly 100,000 people a year.

      • Evidence Suggests Major Film Studios Uploading Movie Clips To YouTube… Pretending To Be Pirated

        One of the tidbits that came out of the YouTube/Viacom lawsuit was the fact that Viacom quite frequently would upload its own clips to YouTube, but did so trying to pretend they were pirated clips. In fact, they would send employees out of Viacom’s offices to local printshops to upload the videos under childish sounding names, like “MMysticalGirl8, Demansr, tesderiw, GossipGirl40, Snackboard and Keithhn,” to make people think they were pirated copies.

      • Notes on Lady Gaga, Madonna, George Harrison and originality in music.

        After hearing the comparison myself, I can draw a personal conclusion that Lady Gaga was heavily influenced by Madonna and is far less talented and original than people give her credit for.

        But could she be liable for copyright infringement? In a sane world, the answer should be “no”, since the works can still be distinguished. Gaga clearly took the broad structure of Madonna’s song (the “spine” of the melody, if you will), but then put a personal gloss over it to make it her own, new work. The fact that it clearly grew out of Madonna’s previous creation should not make it an actual “copy” in the eyes of the law.

      • Axis of Awesome – 4 Four Chord Song (with song titles)
      • CBS sends a YouTube takedown to itself

        Here’s yet another example of the TV industry’s love-hate relationship with YouTube: a CBS website hosting a YouTube clip that has been removed due to a copyright claim from CBS.

      • Have Media Companies Destroyed Their Copyrights With The ‘Share’ Button?

        Righthaven has become controversial by taking a sue-first-ask-questions-later approach to copyright enforcement on behalf of its newspaper clients, which include MediaNews Group as well as the smaller chain that owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Most content companies, by contrast, are content with more low-key methods of making sure their copyright is respected. But if the Righthaven experiment ends badly, it could be a big setback for other media companies trying to make sure their content isn’t copied—even for companies that wouldn’t ever consider an aggressive strategy like Righthaven’s. There are at least two ways that could happen.

      • Record Label Teaches Music Fans BitTorrent

        Record labels are generally not too fond of BitTorrent. Just a few months ago the RIAA reported several BitTorrent sites as “rogue sites” to the US Government. It therefore comes as quite a surprise that the independent record label Adamant Records is featuring a BitTorrent tutorial on its homepage, right next to the ‘download on iTunes’ links. Why would they do that? Have they gone mad?

      • What Congress Can Learn from the Recent ICE Seizures

        COICA”, Senator Leahy’s Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act, is back. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislation tomorrow morning.

        As a reminder, COICA would give the government dramatic new copyright enforcement powers, most notably the ability to meddle with the Internet’s domain name system (DNS) and make entire websites effectively disappear, along with noninfringing content and lawful speech.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

The Sagan Series (Pt 2) – Life Looks for Life

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 16/2/2011: Google Claims 350,000 Daily Activations of Android/Linux, Firefox 4 Release Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 2:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 10 ways to e-publish with Linux

    As a writer, I always am looking at new and better ways to get my words to the public. And since I write fiction as well as technology pieces, it’s in my best interest to know how to get my books into the hands of readers. In today’s market, the publishing industry is in a serious swing away from the traditional routes. With the major improvements in e-readers, more and more users are migrating away from the old standard hardcover/paperback books to digital formats. This has been a boon for new writers. With the ability to easily self-publish for various e-readers, it no longer requires an agent or a publisher to see your brilliance.

    But does that mean everyone should be submitting their books? Well, if everyone can properly format, design, and create -yes. If not, no. For those with the necessary skills, it is important to have the right tools and/or procedures for getting your books into the Amazon, Barnes & Noble’s, and Apple systems. Linux can help you do that. Let’s take a look at 10 Linux tools that can help your get your book into the market.

  • As Linux becomes easier it can be more dangerous.

    Over the last several years I have seen great leaps and bounds in terms of ease of use for Linux based operating systems (have to keep the purists happy :) which I will refer to as simply Linux. Because I am lazy and don’t want to write Linux based operating system all the time.

  • Ballnux

  • Applications

    • Evernote For Linux: Nevernote

      Evernote is an service/application you can use to store notes, images and all kind of information (like audio, handwritten or video notes) for retrieving later. It supports search and tagging and most importantly: you can sync everything between computers – further more, Evernote supports mobile devices too like iPhone, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry or Android and there’s a web interface too and a clipping bookmarklet to pull anything into your netbook. But unfortunately there’s no official Evernote application for Linux.

    • Minus Desktop App for Linux Lets You Drag-N-Drop Photos Into Taskbar for Instant Upload

      Minus desktop application was something which I had never heard about before and it even had a Linux version. Minus desktop application lets you drag-n-drop photos and files into the Minus taskbar and instantly upload onto Minus. Those of you who use free image/file hosting websites other than min.us extensively might want to consider using min.us instead solely because of this very interesting desktop application.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • The Perfect Desktop – Debian Squeeze
      • Advanced IP subnet calculator sipcalc
      • The 10 Days of awk
      • Nine traits of the veteran Unix admin

        Veteran Unix admin trait No. 1: We don’t use sudo
        Much like caps lock is cruise control for cool, sudo is a crutch for the timid. If we need to do something as root, we su to root, none of this sudo nonsense. In fact, for Unix-like operating systems that force sudo upon all users, the first thing we do is sudo su – and change the root password so that we can comfortably su – forever more. Using sudo exclusively is like bowling with only the inflatable bumpers in the gutters — it’s safer, but also causes you to not think through your actions fully.

      • How to organize your stuff

        What I say here applies to those using a GNU/Linux like operating system, but these suggestion will work in Windows or on a Mac. If you use Windows, however, some of the tools that make my approach work will not be available to you by default but can be easily installed.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • conf.kde.in Announces Talks, Keynotes and Registration

        There is only a month to go before the first KDE and Qt conference in India opens. The event will be headlined by three keynotes speakers talking on the effects of technology on culture, the law and what makes our community tick. Talks and workshops have been announced and registration is open for anyone planning to attend. Read on for details.

  • Distributions

    • Why I Use Gentoo: Conclusion

      The distribution that, in my mind, shows the most promise, however, is Exherbo.

    • New Releases

      • Canaima 3.0-vc1
      • Openwall Current-20110212
      • 8.1 Untangle Community Webinar
      • Pinguy 10.04.2
      • IPFire 2.9 – Core 46

        This is the 46th update of the IPFire distribution.

        IPFire 2.9 Core 46 is a bugfix release and fixes a security issue in the openssl package (more details below). This is why we strongly recommend you to do the update as soon as possible.

      • Frugalware 1.4 (Nexon) released

        The Frugalware Developer Team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Frugalware 1.4, our fourteenth stable release.

      • Welcome to Tiny Core Linux

        Tiny Core Linux is a very small (10 MB) minimal Linux GUI Desktop. It is based on Linux 2.6 kernel, Busybox, Tiny X, and Fltk. The core runs entirely in ram and boots very quickly. Also offered is Micro Core a 6 MB image that is the console based engine of Tiny Core. CLI versions of Tiny Core’s program allows the same functionality of Tiny Core’s extensions only starting with a console based system.



        Improved system boot times with optimization of startup code. Administration improved with deletes of uninstalled ondemand without reboot. Many user interface improvements and additional supported options in: appsaduit, wbar, services, tce-audit, and fluff, the integrated file manager. Key system programs updated to latest release: busybox and zsync

      • 2011-02-15: CRUX PPC 2.7 released!

        CRUX PPC 2.7 is now available. It works on Apple 32bit “NewWorld” G3/G4 and Apple 64bit G5, Genesi PegasosII and Efika, Acube Sam440ep, YDL Powerstation, IBM Intellistation POWER and IBM Power Systems servers.
        CRUX PPC 2.7 is, as usual, released via two different installation ISO: 32bit and 64bit. The 32bit version is based on a single lib toolchain instead the 64bit one comes with a multilib toolchain. These two versions share the same ports tree.
        See the download page!

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian volatile replaced by new updates suite

        The Debian Volatile archive is discontinued starting from the upcoming Debian release 6.0 (“Squeeze”). It is replaced by the suite squeeze-updates on the official mirrors. Its management will move to the Debian Release Team, who already manage regular updates to Debian stable and oldstable.


        These updates will also be included in the next stable point release after the announcement. Regular updates not fitting the criteria above will be pushed through point releases according to the rules of the Stable Release Management.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Netbook Edition review

          For many users looking beyond the worlds of Windows and Macintosh, Ubuntu Linux is the go-to choice. It’s not hard to see why: Ubuntu’s commercial parent Canonical has arguably done more than any other Linux distributor to popularise open-source operating systems to the public, with its free Ubuntu Desktop Edition OS. It’s arguably the most accessible, easiest-to-install and easiest-to-operate operating system you’ll find at the price.

        • Man seeks used laptops to refurbish, give to students

          But the students who benefit form his just launched project will have to add a new word to their vocabulary, Ubuntu,’ and learn to get along without some of the familiar computer programs they may already know.

          Cloyd’s project, which is just getting underway, aims to take unused, donated laptop computers, refurbish them with the Ubuntu free, open source operating system and other free programs and give them to students who aren’t able to afford their own computer.

        • Ubuntu Developer Week 2011: February 28th – March 4th

          Canonical, through Daniel Holbach, announced the schedule of this year’s first Ubuntu Developer Week.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wind River Android tools add Honeycomb, tablet support

      Wind River has updated its Wind River Platform for Android and Wind River Framework for Automated Software Testing (FAST) for Android, and will demonstrate a new tablet user experience for MeeGo. Wind River Platform for Android adds upgrade paths for Gingerbread and Honeycomb, multi-windowing features, plus support for Ethernet, USB On-the-Go, the Nvidia Tegra 2, and DLNA Digital Media Server (DMS).

    • Marvell tips UMTS/TD-SCDMA combo chip, new open source dev platform

      Marvell announced a 1.2GHz processor for mobile devices claimed to be the first to combine 3G UMTS and TD-SCDMA cellular technology. In addition to unveiling the PXA978 processor, which is also touted for its advanced 3D graphics and 1080p multimedia playback, Marvell announced an open source mobile development platform called Kinoma.

    • Phones

      • HP’s WebOS takes on Android and iOS

        It’s taken a while but now HP has joined the mobile fray with its WebOS devices.

        While everyone at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is watching the Nokia-Microsoft partnership kick off there is other news worth watching: HP’s WebOS strategy.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Nokia shareholders start rebellion and plan a company coup

          In the wake of last week’s news that Nokia has entered a partnership with Microsoft, a group of nine Nokia Shareholders has published “Nokia Plan B”, a manifesto “to challenge the company’s strategy and partnership with Microsoft”.

          On their website, the currently anonymous nine shareholders outline an agenda and a series of actions, which include ousting current CEO and President of Nokia Stephen Elop.

        • MeeGo After Nokia: ‘I Will Survive’ or ‘Where Did Our Love Go’?

          Intel has reaffirmed its commitment to the MeeGo platform following Nokia’s announcement that it will partner with Microsoft and its Windows Phone platform for future handsets. Can MeeGo survive without one of its biggest corporate backers? As a phone and tablet OS, MeeGo’s certainly lost some momentum, but those aren’t the only kinds of devices the platform is targeting.

      • Android

        • Android has 150k apps, 350k daily activations, and more notes from Eric Schmidt’s MWC keynote

          Android is the biggest thing on the planet, the fastest thing smoking, the hottest thing burning, and whatever other cliche you can think to affix to it. Google CEO-turned-other-executive-guy Eric Schmidt confirmed as much when he updated the Android stats in his keynote address at Mobile World Congress.

          Schmidt confirmed that the Android Market app total has reached 150,000 apps, which is three times what it was less than a year ago. No one was surprised to hear that these apps helped push the Android device total to 350,000 per day. Or is this an egg before the chicken situation and the app totals grew because developers saw the increasing number of devices being activated and realized that they had to invest more in supporting what has become the “fastest growing” mobile operating system around?

        • Broadcom spins single- and dual-core A9 SoCs for Android

          In the handset arena, Broadcom previously focused on modem-oriented baseband processors or specialty PND chips and Wi-Fi chipsets. But now, it’s aggressively moving into developing processors for Android devices.

        • Android-based Cloud handsets focus on Facebook
        • Sony Ericsson launches Android phone with slide-out gamepad

          Sony Ericsson announced a 1GHz Snapdragon-based Android 2.3 phone that doubles as a handheld game-playing device. The Xperia Play offers a slide-out Sony PS3-style gamepad instead of a keyboard, a four-inch 854 x 480 pixel display, 8GB of memory with expansion, a five-megapixel camera, and all the usual wireless features.

    • Tablets

      • Honeycomb Hysteria: Pad Madness Strikes MWC

        The tablet market just got a lot more crowded as vendors like Samsung, LG and Acer pushed their new pads at Mobile World Congress. Each will use Google’s new Honeycomb version of Android. “It’s hard to call the eventual winners beyond iOS and Android, but 2011 may well end up seeing fewer battling mobile application platforms than it started with,” said IDC’s Al Hilwa.

      • Android Sharpens Its NFC Chops With Gingerbread Bump

        Google posted a new feature release for its upcoming Gingerbread version of Android that boosts the mobile OS’s abilities in regard to near-field communications technologies, otherwise known as “NFC.” One of NFC’s main attractions is the ability to use one’s cellphone to make point-of-sale payments at retail locations, and the feature could be a hot point of competition between Android and iPhone.

      • Qualcomm spins a Snapdragon for video-savvy tablets

        Some chipmakers overwhelm with data sheets, block diagrams, and other minutiae about their new processors. Not Qualcomm. However, yesterday’s high-profile launch of the WebOS-powered HP TouchPad tablet PC (right) inspired a press release providing a few tidbits of information about the dual-core, ARM-based CPU that’s inside.

      • Industry debates HP’s desktop ambitions for WebOS

        HP’s WebOS-based TouchPad tablet has received a surprisingly favorable response, but what really has pundits blogging is HP’s suggestion that WebOS will head for desktop PCs. Meanwhile, more details are emerging on the new WebOS 3.0 release that runs on the Touchpad, including an updated Synergy engine that HP intends to integrate a growing ecosystem of devices based on WebOS.

      • HTC’s Flyer tablet features pen interface, Android 2.4

        HTC announced a seven-inch, 1.5GHz tablet that features pen support and links to online video and gaming services. The HTC Flyer features a new version of HTC’s Sense UI layer atop a hybrid version of Android 2.4, and offers 1GB RAM, 32GB of flash, microSD expansion, five-megapixel and 1.3-megapixel cameras, plus HSPA+, 802.11n, GPS, and Bluetooth 3.0.

      • Acer reveals seven- and 10.1-inch tablets plus Iconia Smart phone

        Acer formally announced two previously tipped Android tablets, as well as an Android smartphone. The 10.1-inch Iconia Tab A500 and the seven-inch Iconia Tab A100 run Android 3.0 on a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and feature a five-megapixel and two-megapixel camera, while the 4.8-inch Iconia Smart phone runs Android 2.3 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon.

      • Intel showcases industry support for MeeGo, demos new tablet version

        Intel made loud overtures in support of MeeGo at Mobile World Congress, getting Toshiba, Fujitsu, Asus, and Acer to stand behind the Linux-based OS, despite Nokia’s defection. The MeeGo project also demonstrated the long-awaited MeeGo Tablet User Experience (UX).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Christchurch IT scene: Free and open source

    For Lane the open source model allows people to get credit for their work without stifling the creativity of others. He is against software patents, which he believes compromises personal freedom.

    His mobile device is a ‘rooted’ HTC Hero that he parallel imported from Australia. “Android phones are free and open source, but the carriers lock them down so they effectively prevent their users from gaining full access to the phones unless they achieve so-called root access, they root the phone,” he says.

    “A lot of people are buying phones that come with a badly outdated version of Android, because the phone has been sitting in a warehouse for the past six months and software moves so quickly that six months is an eternity in the mobile environment.”

  • 53 Open Source Replacements to Spice Up Your Desktop

    We’ve collected 53 different open source projects that can make your desktop environment faster, prettier, easier to use or just a little different. They run the gamut from small utilities that do just one thing to open source operating systems that can replace Windows. We’ve included a number of tools for Linux users that can help you customize your desktop to meet your unique needs and tastes.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Ready for Firefox 4

        I LOOK forward to the day when the folks at Mozilla decide that Firefox 4 is ready to launch without the word “beta” attached to it.

        Boasting significant speed improvements and an overhauled interface, Firefox 4 is a vast improvement over the current stable release, Firefox 3.6.

  • Government

    • Open Source Finds a Friend in Big Government

      Major federal agencies in the U.S. are gradually getting the hang of dealing with open source technology — a situation that bodes well for commercial open source providers.

      In a recently released “report card,” Open Source for America (OSFA) says that a handful of top level cabinet departments have achieved a high level of success in adopting the technology, and that other departments have at least committed themselves to pursuing appropriate open source options.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 kicked into 2014

      HTML5 won’t be finished for another three years, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has warned.

      On Monday, the standards body said that it has extended the charter of its group hammering out HTML5, with plans to advance the proposed spec to last-call status in May. Then we wait – for three years.


  • Accuracy of search engine results called into question

    Even more disturbing is a story in last Saturday’s New York Times, which suggested that for several months, when you entered searches such as ‘skinny jeans’, ‘dresses’ or ‘area rugs’ into Google, JC Penney was consistently showing up at the top of the results. The article explained this was the result of some Search Engine Optimization tricks including buying oodles of paid links to the JC Penney site to enhance its place in the results (a violation of Google rules, which JC Penney denied being involved in).

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Firing range owner sounds off

      An owner of a local firing range Tuesday called a Zoning Board of appeals decision to restrict the use of his range “idiocy.”

      Robert C. Hodgkins III, one of the owners, said that he disagrees with the board’s ruling and plans to get the National Rifle Association involved in the issue.

      “Let the NRA take care of these knuckleheads,” he said. “I think it’s about time.”

      After hearing from the public last week, the board voted Monday to limit activity at 74 Village Hill Road to the level of use in 2003, when the current zoning laws went into effect.

    • This time, the people of Haiti may win

      In 1915, the US Marines invaded Haiti, occupying the country until 1934. US officials rewrote the Haitian constitution, and when the Haitian national assembly refused to ratify it, they dissolved the assembly. They then held a “referendum” in which about 5% of the electorate voted and approved the new constitution – which conveniently changed Haitian law to allow foreigners to own land – with 99.9% voting for approval.

    • Pentagon budget largest ever as security threat list grows

      Despite calls on Capitol Hill for major defense budget cuts, the Pentagon next week will unveil the largest budget in its history — driven by an expanding list of what defines national security.

      Defense Secretary Robert Gates said his proposed $553 billion budget “represents, in my view, the minimum level of defense spending that is necessary, given the complex and unpredictable array of security challenges the United States faces around the globe.”

    • The Eleventh Annual Herzliya Conference: The Balance of Israel’s National Security

      From the speeches by Israeli politicians, that answer is a loud, frustrated, angry YES. In her keynote, opposition leader Tzipi Livni ripped into Bibi’s government, accusing it of everything from ignoring Iran, purposely stalling on committing to serious negotiations with the Palestinians, alienating Obama by refusing to extend the settlement freeze, to furthering the rampant culture of corruption.

    • Panel Review Questions FBI Theory in Anthrax Attacks After 9/11

      Today, the National Academy of Science raised more questions.

      A review panel said that the FBI overstated the scientific evidence that linked the anthrax flask controlled by Dr. Bruce E. Ivins to the anthrax used in the 2001 attack letters. Dr. Ivins, a researcher at Ft. Detrick, MD., was identified by the FBI as the primary suspect in the case. He maintained his innocence until his suicide in 2008.

    • Government tough-on-crime policies worsening prison conditions, guards say

      Double-bunked inmates are attacking each other in the night, Canada’s prison guards say, warning that the Harper government’s tough-on-crime laws are creating dangerous conditions in jam-packed corrections centres.

      Members of Parliament looking for answers on the impact of recent justice bills got an earful Tuesday when they heard from the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers.

    • Pentagon Faces Class Action Suit Exposing Military Sexual Abuse Crisis

      The lawsuit, brought on behalf of seventeen plaintiffs, including two men, was filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District in Virginia by Susan L. Burke, and announced at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. No stranger to controversy, Burke is also litigating another major lawsuit against Blackwater, LLC, in a whistleblower case on behalf of the U.S. government. Burke was joined today by Bhagwati, Ellie Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Fund, and some of the plaintiffs participating in the lawsuit, including twenty-five year-old Kori Cioca (video) who said she was hit in her face by a superior in 2005 and later raped by the same man while serving in the Coast Guard.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks Backers Fight Twitter Data Demand in Probe

      Three WikiLeaks backers will seek to block the U.S. from reviewing their Twitter account data at a hearing today in federal court in Virginia, arguing that the government’s demands violate their constitutional rights. Bloomberg’s Lizzie O’Leary reports.

    • The Forgotten Man: Bradley Manning (2011) 3/3

      The inside story of the security breach that enraged the American Government, and a profile of the man who made it all possible.

      While WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange has been cast as a heroic champion of free speech, his ongoing expose of US foreign policy would not have been possible without the work of Private Bradley Manning. It was Manning who allegedly stole the classified documents published by WikiLeaks. It is Manning who now languishes in a US military prison.

      Now reporter Quentin McDermott tells the inside story of Bradley Manning and his daring intelligence heist. David House is one of the few civilians allowed to visit Bradley Manning in jail. He describes the young soldier’s mental deterioration and his struggle to deal with long hours of confinement.

      He tells the program: “…the US Government is just trying to put immense pressure on him in order to get him to crack open.”

      In Monday’s Four Corners we hear the only recording of Bradley Manning’s voice and we listen to the logs of alleged conversations with the man who ultimately betrayed him.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • English forest sell-off put on hold

      The government has taken 40,000 hectares of public forest off the market, in the latest twist in the furore over the proposed sell-off of England’s woodland.

      About 15% of England’s public forests had been slated for sale, with the aim of raising £100m for government coffers, but on Friday morning the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it would hold on to the forest until the fate of the rest of the Forestry Commission’s land had been decided.

    • Taking Climate Denial to New Extremes

      The spending plan the House GOP was supposed to roll out on Thursday included a number of cuts meant to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from doing anything about climate change. But Republicans had to take that plan back to the drawing board Thursday night after tea party members claimed the package of cuts didn’t go deep enough. And if a trio of House members get their way, we won’t ever have to worry about the climate—since we won’t know what’s happening with it, anyway.

    • Climate change forces UK rare fish reintroduction further north

      Plans to reintroduce one of England’s rarest and most ancient fish to a key site in the Lake District have been abandoned because of climate change.

      The vendace, Coregonus albulaa, a species of freshwater whitefish that can be traced back to the ice age, became extinct at Bassenthwaite in 1991 as a result of agricultural pollution, increased sediment and the illegal introduction of new fish species. It is one of only two lakes in England where the fish had survived.

    • Chevron Runs From Judgment in Ecuador

      “He went swimming, then began vomiting blood.” Then he died.

  • Finance

    • State of Michigan settles with Goldman Sachs

      Goldman Sachs gives Michigan investors access to $32 million in capital, pays state over $90,000

      The State of Michigan has reached an Auction Rate Securities (ARS) settlement with Goldman, Sachs and Co., the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) reported Thursday. The settlement requires Goldman Sachs to offer full buybacks of up to approximately $32 million to any eligible Michigan customer who purchased an ARS from the brokerage firm.

    • Former F.D.I.C. Deal Maker Joins Goldman Sachs

      Joseph Jiampietro, one of the government’s top deal makers during the financial crisis, has joined Goldman Sachs as a senior investment banker covering the financial services industry.

      Mr. Jiampietro was previously a senior adviser to Sheila C. Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, during the throes of the financial crisis, where he helped coordinate more than 100 government-assisted bank deals.

    • When Factories Vanish, So Can Innovators

      No one paid much attention beyond the people in the town itself, even though the closing represented the demise of an industry that had flourished in this country for generations. Paul Revere, in fact, was a flatware craftsman.

    • Imagining Life Without Fannie and Freddie

      The report, entitled “Reforming America’s Housing Finance Market,” zeros in on the perverse incentives created by the nation’s mortgage complex during the years leading up to the panic of 2008. The Treasury’s recommendation that we wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and let the private mortgage market step in is spot on.

    • At Last, Bernie Madoff Gives Back

      His evil deeds, in their afterlife, are now serving as a recurring wave of financial body scans. Each new Madoff revelation sheds light on an entire culture that allowed far loftier flimflams than his to succeed — though the loftier culprits, unlike him, usually escaped with the proceeds. That financial culture largely remains in place today.

    • JPMorgan to Start Social Media Fund

      Hoping to seize upon investor excitement over social networking companies like Facebook, JPMorgan Chase is planning to start a new fund to invest in an array of Internet and new media companies, people briefed on the matter told DealBook on Sunday.

      The proposed fund, which will be run by JPMorgan’s asset-management unit, is seeking to raise between $500 million and $750 million from wealthy investors to put into privately held technology companies like Twitter and Groupon, these people said.

    • Housing: For many cities “another season of pain”

      Watching existing home inventory will be very important this year. Areas with high levels of inventory will probably see more price declines. It is hard to tell about inventory right now – usually inventory is pretty low in December and January, and then increases sharply from February into the early summer – so we will know more about inventory soon.

    • Who’s Unemployed?

      Larry Mishel emails me to second my concern about Charles Plosser’s blithe assertion that unemployment is about shifting workers out of construction. As Larry points out, the BLS provides data on the previous employment of the unemployed. There were 7.7 million more unemployed workers in 2010 than there were in 2007; of those extra 7.7 million, only 1.1 million had previously been employed in construction.

    • Ron Paul, opponent of the Fed and fan of the gold standard, a lone wolf no more

      But if you tilt at windmills long enough, sometimes you hit. And Wednesday, Paul did: He held his first hearing as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee’s subcommittee on monetary policy, inviting two Austrian-school economists and one lonely representative from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute to debate how Fed policy affects the unemployment rate.

      This may be Ron Paul’s moment. The question now is what he does with it.

    • Federal investigators expose vast web of insider trading
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Protect Honesty in Canadian Journalism

      Fair and balanced news in Canada is about to be a thing of the past. The CRTC is about to pass a huge “loophole” to the rule prevents the media from telling blatant lies to Canadian public.

      Surprise, surprise, this loophole comes just in time for the launch of Prime Minister Harper’s Fox News North (Sun TV).

      Fox News has made its living spreading lies and conservative propaganda in the United States. But Canada’s broadcast journalism rules would have prevented it from using the same strategy to pump up ratings and push it’s right-wing agenda.

  • Censorship

    • Man arrested after Crawley fan ‘mocks Munich air crash’

      A man has been arrested following a complaint that Crawley Town’s FA Cup song featured a supporter mocking the victims of the Munich air crash.

      The non-league side and musician Mike Dobie recorded The Specials’ A Message To You Rudy as A Message To You Rooney, ahead of their Manchester United match.

      A United fan complained that the video, posted on YouTube, featured a supporter making aircraft gestures.

      The 1958 air crash left 23 people dead, including eight United players.

      Manchester United were returning from a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade when their plane crashed on a runway in Munich.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • The Fourth-Stupidest Thing the CRTC Has Done this Month (So Far)

      Whatever the exact opposite of being on a roll is, the CRTC has spent the last month doing just that. Proposing to lower the standards which prohibit false or misleading news didn’t get as much attention as their plan to let Bell and Rogers impose usage-based billing (a plan so noxious and so blatantly favouring big business that even the Conservative Party balked at such a corporate-friendly move), but it was arguably even worse.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Death of (Analogue) Patents

      But by copying itself and using the replicated machines to make more RepRaps together with that lonely comb, the 3D printers collectively would outpace the traditional injection moulding machine in just 19 days (Bowyer also pointed out that after a month everyone on the planet would have their own RepRap machine – and comb….)

      So that’s a glimpse at the future of personal manufacturing, which is about scaling. The other fascinating aspect of RepRap involves making copies of analogue objects. There’s a site dedicated to doing just that for original 3D artefacts created from digital files. It’s called Thingiverse, and many of its files use the GNU GPL or Creative Commons licences.

      But what about copies of pre-existing objects? That’s already possible to a certain extent, using a 3D scanner to produce a digital file. It’s true that only a limited number of materials can be printed using RepRap and similar systems, but the range is being expanded all the time. It’s not unreasonable to assume that over time it will be possible to scan and print more and more everyday objects.

Clip of the Day

HTC Flyer Android Tablet hands-on at WMC 2011

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 15/2/2011: Mageia’s First Alpha Released, Mandriva Hiring, New Linux Mint 10 RCs

Posted in News Roundup at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Re: FLAMING RETORT – Cooling the friction when Linux meets anti-virus

    What has Paul’s piece really shown us? Three things, mainly. One, even senior executives of software companies can be lured into a flame trap. Two, statistics are overrated. Three, when you are so desperate to champion your cause, you actually scare people away.

    Additionally, we also learn that Linux malware can be brandished like a weapon in all kinds of arguments. And for all the wrong reasons. Because malware itself is nothing important, just a symptom of a much larger phenomenon. Today, a user may execute a stray binary on his machine. Tomorrow, that user will wipe his files off the hard disk. It has nothing to do in how the code manifests, it has everything to do with granting unskilled people with the power to destroy.

    We also learn that arguing online is absolutely pointless. People do not need reason, logic or hard facts to believe in their imaginary ideas and promote them. If someone is convinced they are not supposed to be saving their Windows buddies, there is no amount of numbers, graphs or technical explanations that could convince them. And the other way around. Some Windows users will prefer the shackles of fear to the terrifying liberty of boredom.

    I don’t know who Paul is and have never heard of him until his last article. So if his hidden agenda was to carve his name in the wider consciousness of Linux users worldwide, he has definitely succeeded. Whether his flame retort helps promote Sophos is questionable, even if it is not explicitly stated in the article, which makes it insidiously cunning. One thing is sure, if you know that Linux users will never use your product, then you might as well give them a good fight.

  • Save your PC: bootable Linux rescue tools

    Linux is now a respected, mature operating system that’s free and open source, so it shouldn’t be surprising that it has a generic role as a platform for tools for the repair and rescue of both Linux and Windows operating systems.

  • Linux scores big in large-format printing

    Recently I had to take care of a fairly sizable client’s printing needs. This wasn’t just some small-time printer, this was a multi-location, multi-million dollar industry, large format printing client that does one thing and does it in vast quantities. They print. They print everything from business cards to banners that fly behind planes. And this printer relies upon multiple platforms and multiple printing software. When something goes down…work stops.

  • City Of Raleigh Working To Address Complaints About New Website

    The City of Raleigh says it is making efforts to address concerns brought up by citizens about its recently launched website.

    Some people said it’s difficult to find information on the site, which launched last summer.

    Gail Roper, chief information officer for the City of Raleigh, said she understands some of the complaints about usability.

  • Love

    • How Do We Love Linux? Counting the Many Ways

      While Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson loves Linux for introducing her to the open source ecosystem, she didn’t want to carry her ardor too far. “For Valentine’s I prefer chocolate and and dinner with a few drinks,” she said, “but my COMPUTER sure loves linux, and not just on Valentine’s Day. And unlike humans, it will never have to do the ‘walk of shame’ the next morning.”

    • Geeky Valentine’s Day Roundup

      So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I give you a geeky romantic roundup:

      * Open Source is for Lovers
      * Map Your Valentine
      * Geekiest Marriage Proposals of All Time
      * How do we love Linux? Counting the many ways
      * US Patent Illustration Cards for your geek sweet on Valentine’s Day
      * 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Special Geek in Your Life
      * Geeky ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day
      * 10 Last Minute Valentine Gift Ideas For The Geek You Love
      * Darwinian Valentine’s
      * Declare Your Love for Free Software!

    • Linux I love thee – users count the ways

      Open source technologies like Linux wouldn’t be so successful if it weren’t for the developer love. One developer, Piotrek Tomiak, Eclipse Technologist said, “Linux is designed for programmers: it’s highly-customizable, fast, and has an outstanding console.”

    • Open source is for lovers

      It’s true. If you think about the characteristics of open source and the qualities of a successful relationship, you will find a lot of overlap.

  • Server

    • Qatar Exchange dumps IBM and Microsoft for Linux
    • Qatar Exchange turns to Red Hat for reliable, scalable and high-performance trading platform

      With reliable performance and security criteria in mind, Qatar Exchange’s team selected Red Hat as its trusted technology partner, building its mission-critical trading platform and back-office systems on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Network Satellite and Red Hat clustering technologies.

    • QE migrates to Red Hat applications
    • Meet the Man Behind the Jeopardy Super Computer at End User Summit

      Valentine’s Day: chocolate hearts, love and super computers! At least this year my Valentine’s Day will take a decidedly nerdy turn as I celebrate by watching the IBM Super Computer Watson compete on Jeopardy against two past champions. Creating a computer that can compete in a game show like this takes incredible technical achievement from many areas (from processors to understanding natural language). As Wired Magazine said, “When it comes to American technology innovation over the last hundred years, IBM is unparalleled.”

      Of course Watson runs Linux, and we’re thrilled to feature the Principal Investigator of the Watson team, David Ferrucci, as the keynoter at our upcoming Linux Foundation End User Summit. Our End User Summit is a small event designed to advance collaboration between architects and senior operations people pushing the limits of Linux and the core developers of the kernel. Last year Bob Evans of NASDAQ OMX brought the house down with his detailed account of how they use Linux and what they’d like to see. This year, we’re thrilled to feature details of Watson.

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 unveiled at Mobile World Congress

      The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is officially official! Samsung unveiled the new Honeycomb tablet at this evening’s press event in Barcelona. The new Android tablet is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor from NVIDIA and features a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 (WXGA) TFT capacitive display, 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash which is capable of full 1080p video recording, 2 megapixel shooter on the front for video calling, and either 16 or 32GB of internal storage. The Tab 10.1 features HSPA+ 21Mbps connectivity over 850/900/1900/2100 and EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900, in addition to Bluetooth® technology v 2.1 + EDR, USB 2.0, and WiFi 802.11 (a/b/g/n). The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 measures in at 246.2 x 170.4 x 10.9mm and weighs 599 grams which is pretty surprising since it comes equipped with a 6860mAh battery.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • 14. February 2011: Come and talk Kolab with us at CeBIT 2011

        Personal Information Management (PIM) is at the heart of your business but you do not want it to dictate all your platform choices? You would like your staff to remain fully productive while on the road and even when connectivity is not “always on”? You would like to be able to equip your staff with the latest in tablet PCs and are looking for a solution that brings you a touch screen capable yet fully functional groupware client? You’re looking for a network of professional companies that will be able to satisfy virtually your every need around IT?

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Commit-Digest: Issue 121

        This week… 2386 commits, in 214 projects, by 225 happy hackers (and 474 were translation commits).

      • GNOME 3 User Day Kicks off Tomorrow

        GNOME 3 User Days are a great opportunity for users to find out about GNOME 3 and to talk to members of the GNOME project about the new release. Everyone is welcome to get involved and ask questions about GNOME 3.

  • Distributions

    • The Joy of Remastering your Own Linux Distro

      How customized do you need your Linux-powered enterprise experience to be? Are we talking about graphics, software and a little bit of a lock-down with the employees?

      Perhaps instead, you’re in the market for a distribution completely built from the ground up so you know that each and every piece of code passes a security audit. Whatever the need, the flexibility of customized Linux translates into solid solutions for any market or need. All that is required is the desire and the software to make it all come together.

      For most enterprise situations, I believe that remastering is the way to go. It’s likely cheaper (in man hours) and simpler, as there are tools that make this easy. You also get the benefit of making changes later without much thought.

    • Arch Steps Up – Debian Takes a Backseat

      As a result of all this deep thinking and philosophizing, I decided to install Arch as my official secondary operating system. I spent the past three days installing and setting it up. I’m using it now to post this article.

    • [Sabayon] Several things in my agenda, maybe too much

      # Sabayon Website major redesign (now that all the parts of the original portal have been modularized, this will be very straightforward)

    • Effy does CrunchBang

      I enjoy listening to the TuxRadar podcast, I think it is witty and insightful. If you have not listened to the podcast before, it is well worth a download. Anyhow, the podcast has a “You Dare Us” feature, where the presenters take on a new challenge to perform, before talking about it on the next episode.

    • Reviews

      • A look at Sabayon Linux 5.5

        After using Sabayon for the past five days I’m not quite sure of what to make of the distribution. There are some aspects of the project I very much enjoy. For instance, I like the many options provided on the DVD at boot time, making the live disc very flexible. There is a good compilation of software provided out of the box. I like that Fluxbox is offered as a possible session on the login screen for people who want a lighter environment and, though I don’t use them myself, I like seeing the PPP clients available in the application menu. Items I wanted were easy to find, there’s a handy update notification app next to the clock to help keep users secure and I didn’t find unwanted network services running.

        On a completely subjective note, I appreciated Sabayon’s slightly dark theme. Many designers seem to want to paint everything white or shiny and I find the darker shades easier to look at for long periods of time. On the flip side I ran into a handful of issues. Hardware being an important one, with audio not working properly on my desktop machine and wireless not working on my laptop. Performance on the desktop machine was poor and, on both computers, using the package manager was tedious. The crash I experienced on my first install and the way the folder view widget kept reappearing every few logins makes me think Sabayon 5.5 could have benefited from more testing before being released. There are a lot of options and editions available from the Sabayon project and I think the price is some overlooked bugs. If you have a modern machine, want a lot of options and don’t mind a rolling release that stays on the cutting edge, Sabayon might very well be for you.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia .iso released!
      • Mageia Announces First Alpha Release

        Anne Nicolas has announced the first alpha release of Mageia (code name Cantine). The 32-bit or 64-bit DVD should be landing on mirrors very soon. In addition, Nicolas said that package RPMs are also being made available for those that wish to update Mandriva installs.

        Nicolas warns this release isn’t production ready, but also adds it’s not “reviewer” ready either. But there’s little doubt the name Mageia will cross the title of many blogs in coming days. Further, she states there will probably be little there to impress even end-users and this release is directed primarily for developers. Their first goal is “to have a rock solid factory and system.”

      • Mandriva 2011 Alpha 1

        I am pleased to announce to you that the iso of Mandriva 2011 Alpha 1 just went out, and should be available in devel/isos/2011 directory on your favorite mirror shortly!

      • Mandriva is seeking a security engineer

        The Mandriva Security Team is seeking a new member for dealing with security vulnerabilities within the Mandriva products portfolio. You will be part of a small team responsible for triage, investigation, and tracking of security vulnerabilities reported to Mandriva on the Mandriva products. You will work in Paris, France.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6 review

        Because of the Debian Free Software Guidelines, a Debian distribution is never going to meet your desktop computing needs out-of-the-box. You will have to spend sometime adding alternate repos to your sources.list file, and installing several non-free packages. Nothing I write or suggest here is going to change that. There are, however, a few aspects of a new Debian 6 installation that could be improved, which have nothing to do with software licensing. If implemented, these suggestions should make a default installation of Debian better than it is now.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • A few new updates to Unity in Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha

          As well as the ‘always hide’ option comes ‘Dodge Windows’ – an option which, no shocks, dodges windows regardless whether the ‘active’ window is touching the launcher or not.

        • Happy Valentine’s Day
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Preview: run-one Improves Automated Tasks

          It’s a safe bet that cron doesn’t rank highly on most Ubuntu users’ priority lists — in fact, I’d be surprised if a majority even know what cron is. For those who do, however, the Ubuntu 11.04 release in April promises some notable new features for cron in the form of the run-one wrapper script. Here’s the scoop.

          Cron, of course, is the daemon on a Linux computer that lets users run commands at specific times on a regular basis. It can update software, back up data or send out reminders for important things such as Fido’s birthday. It can be quite handy, especially for people who aren’t good at remembering things.

        • Putting Your Brick In The Natty Wall – Jono Bacon

          I believe that Natty is going to be a real game changer for Ubuntu.

        • Twofolds Joy of using Ubuntu

          Frequent inhibitors to migrating to Ubuntu are what if something goes wrong, where will my windows go, what if I don’t get everything working and topmost is I have only one partition what to do now don’t wish to risk any partition magicians. A quick fix to all this rests in using Windows-based Ubuntu Installer (Wubi). If something goes wrong you don’t lose windows, hard disk space and top of all your patience with Linux-derivatives.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Linux group hopes to gain from Nokia-Microsoft pact

        Wireless Linux group LiMo hopes to benefit from a tie-up between Microsoft and Nokia as this should push smaller phone makers to seek alternative software platforms, its head said on Monday.

        Computer operating system Linux has started to win traction in mobile with Google Inc’s Android rising to the No. 1 spot in global smartphone rankings last quarter, helped by a wide array of models from many vendors.

      • LiMo Foundation Unveils LiMo 4

        LiMo Foundation, a global consortium of leading mobile operators, device and technology vendors, today announced the launch of LiMo 4, the latest release of the LiMo Platform. LiMo 4 makes broad use of leading open source technologies and is positioned to support the realisation of openness and choice within mobile consumer propositions.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Nokia CEO Clarifies Battle Against Android, Clears Up Misconceptions

          Indeed, there was such a laser focus on Android during the presentation that Elop did not even mention other major mobile ecosystems, such as Research In Motion’s Blackberry and HP’s webOS.

        • Nokia Autopsy on MeeGo – One last look back, Before we look forward on the New Nokia

          Clearly the Board approved the death of MeeGo when Elop was hired. Elop delayed the pending MeeGo launch from October 2010 to sometime in 2011, which was announced in public on October 22, but was probably internally communicated to the stunned MeeGo team on October 5. That was the day MeeGo’s project leader, Ari Jaaksi suddenly resigned ‘for personal reasons’. Elop also killed the N9-00 Meego handset project which was first reported in January to have been killed. MeeGo is now being turned from a mass market operational OS project, to a ‘hobby’ project where Nokia will bring one handset to it (expect it to be a mild and simple version of N9-00) sometime towards the end of the year, just to fulfill its obligation.

        • Open source groups attack Nokia’s divorce of MeeGo

          Nokia has left Intel and Meego out in the cold as it divorces them to begin its new affair with Microsoft.

          The Linux Foundation, which according to Intel is the primary product leader of MeeGo, has called Nokia’s stab in the back “disappointing”, while other open source groups have said Stephen Elop has “jumped his company off the burning platform” and “straight into the fire.”


          Eric Raymond, president at the Open Source organisation also had a few choice words claiming that Stephen Elop had “failed to resolve Nokia’s drift and lack of a strategic focus.”

        • [Old] Microsoft beware: Stephen Elop is a flight risk

          After he had been working at Adobe for about six months, Elop told the company in June 2006 he’d be leaving, setting his departure date as Dec.5, one year to the day since he had been hired. For his year of service, Elop was paid a $500,000 salary and $315,000 bonus. Oh, and got a $1.88 million severance payment, on top of that. And all of his restricted shares vested when he left, despite the original performance strings that had been attached to them.

          No, we’re not making this up.

          At Juniper, where Elop resigned on Wednesday — also one year to the day from when he started — he was guaranteed $200,000 in additional “relocation reimbursement and benefits” plus “reimbursement of travel costs between his current home and Juniper’s offices in Sunnyvale.” That was in addition to his $540,000 salary.

        • MeeGo Tablet User Experience Detailed Walk Through (Video)

          Nokia might be walking away from QT and MeeGo but its clear that MeeGo is not going anywhere. Just because Nokia thought twice it doesn’t mean that the train still isn’t moving ahead a full speed.

          MeeGo early version 2.1 was being shown on the Pegatron 11.6 tablet which we’ve seen before on with the ExoPC and the WeTab. Quickly if you’re not familiar its running the Intel Atom N450, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 32GB or 64GB SSD and a multitouch screen that isn’t currently supported. No on ever said that building a cross platform OS would be easy, Intel has definitely lined up its share of adversity this week. But hardware wise for all of these software pitfalls I do however wish that they’d shown MeeGo off on at least the Oaktrail.

        • Nokia shares fall further after Microsoft deal
        • I’m not a Trojan horse: Nokia’s Elop hits back at neigh sayers

          The first non-Finnish president of Nokia confirmed that he’s not a plant for Microsoft and that he intends to sell his MS shares. This is after a heckler asked CEO Stephen Elop: “Are you a Trojan Horse?” after the Canadian’s keynote speech at Mobile World Congress. Elop was then questioned about his share-holdings in both Microsoft and Nokia.

        • Angry Birds Now On Meego (Updated with Video)

          I guess its no surprise right? Angry Birds are everywhere and Meego is not missing out on the action. Video later but for the proof, see the images. It works well. Hey, someone needs to test it!

        • Announcement of strategic partnership with Microsoft leads to sharp falls in Nokia stock in Helsinki
        • Qt’s future: Bigger than Nokia

          Elop shouldn’t mind too much, since it was also revealed over the weekend that Elop owns no Nokia stock and happens to be the seventh largest non-institutional holder of Microsoft stock. To be fair, Elop may have been prevented from owning Nokia stock due to Finnish securities regulations.

          According to a story in The Register today, Elop was heckled by an audience member during his Mobile World Congress keynote.

        • Burning the ships at Nokia

          It’s one of those moments like when Cortez burned his ships to concentrate his conquistadores fully on their job of subjugating the Yucatan. Elop is burning his software development capability, betting on Microsoft. Sure, Symbian will be around for awhile in Nokia products, but two years from now it should be gone. And in that interim period, between lower development costs and Microsoft subsidies, Nokia will look better to investors even if its smart phone market share continues to fall.

        • The Giant is falling…

          I was in high school when Bill Clinton’s administrator rightfully attacked Microsoft. At the time it was in violation of anti-trust laws. This giant had grown too fast for comfort. At the time, I was frightened. If the United States Government split up Microsoft, what would happen to PC standards?

        • A requiem for Nokia: I really should have seen this coming…

          You may have heard that MeeGo is pretty much dead. I put the blame for this squarely on Intel; where MeeGo had the chance to quell some of Android’s explosive growth in 2010 the nascent mobile OS was held back by their partner’s agenda — to get Intel chips onto mobile phones.

      • Android

        • VLC on Android

          A lot of people are asking about the status of VLC media player on Android. We usually answered that we are working on it. Now that some good progresses has been done, lets look at the current status of VLC media player for Android.

        • Condé Nast Launching Digital Editions For Android

          Condé Nast is prepping digital editions of The New Yorker and Wired magazines for Google’s Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb) system this spring. While both titles have been available on Apple’s iPad for several months, publishers such as Time Inc. (NYSE: TWX) are hopeful that Google’s greater flexibility on managing digital and print subscription packages will ultimately tilt the balance of power back in their favor.

    • Tablets

      • Hands on with MeeGo Tablet 1.2 UX pre-alpha on ExoPC

        I was lucky enough to get an early version of the pre-alpha MeeGo tablet User experience, so I thought I’d share my experience. I’m drafting this post almost a week before it comes out, so the version I’m testing may be a version or two behind the actual release of the alpha. Note, I’ll add notes to my post for any changes once this launches. It’s important to put this release in context. This is an alpha release for developers. When a consumer tablet goes to market it will benefit of a future beta version and eventual gold code. It will also have an OEM UI that may add or deviate from what Intel & MeeGo are providing in this pre-alpha version. The purpose of this release is to get a tablet user experinece in the hands of developers to start creating and testing apps for MeeGo tablets. So there is much more to be done here before there is a consumer ready product. However the core functionality and working APIs are in this release and you can get a good idea of how a MeeGo tablet will work from this release.

      • MeeGo Tablet UX Evaluation Software License Agreement
      • Intel launches MeeGo Tablet User Experience – Hands-On and Info.

        Remember that cool-looking Tablet user experience we saw back at Computex?, well it’s back and it’s official. It’s now the official Tablet User Experience for MeeGo.

        We’ve had a close look at the demonstration, seen below on an ExpoPC, and talked to Intel’s Michael Richmod, the marketing manager for this product. Developers attending the Applab this week at MWC are going to get a pre-configured Meego Tablet to walk away with and the Meego image, built with the latest 1.2 beta, will be available for download later this week.

      • SmartQ announces Ten, an Android tablet packing IPS display with piezoelectric touchscreen

        OK, before y’all haters state the obvious in the comments below, there’s actually something noteworthy about this familiar-looking Chinese slate. What we have here is the SmartQ Ten (or T10, as referenced above), a forthcoming Froyo tablet that’ll feature a juicy Cortex-A9 chip plus a Mali 400 GPU, as well as 512MB RAM and a 9.7-inch 1024 x 768 IPS display. This wouldn’t be the first Android device to get the IPS goodness, though, as its predecessor R10 — launched with Android 2.1 and a 720MHz processor back in December — also has the same LCD panel within a seemingly identical form factor. In fact, we stumbled upon an R10 earlier today, and the prettiness of the screen did surprise us.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ⓕ ForgeRock Starts Year Two With A Bang

    To start year two with a bang, I’m pleased to announce that ApexIdentity will be joining ForgeRock effective today, bringing their expertise in identity and access management to the projects that comprise ForgeRock’s I3 platform. In particular, their great work on OAuth 2.0 will be adapted and contributed to the OpenAM project, maintaining its reputation as the leading open source system for access management. Founders Jamie Nelson and Paul Bryan will join ForgeRock’s leadership team with responsibility for the overall I3 platform vision.

  • Looking forward to a sweet new year selling open source

    Even now, after class is over for the year, many of the students keep coming back. Some pursue independent studies or co-op credit to continue work on class projects. Others join existing FOSS efforts. Some volunteer their time on FOSSBox projects or simply hang out.

    Both the larger open source world and the smaller community they’ve built for themselves on campus provide a metaphorical and physical home. FOSSBoxers have brought in students from programs across the University, technical and not, to participate in our hackfests for open government, OLPC projects, and others.

  • Focus Group Open Source: Migration
  • Web Browsers

    • The 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards: Web Browsers

      The Best Major Desktop Browser category accepted nominations for desktop browsers that are considered to be mainstream. Although “major Web browsers” is technically a grouping reserved for those released by well known browser makers, lesser known offerings that boasted a relatively significant user base were considered for inclusion.

    • Chrome

      • Google man open sources Chrome build system

        Google Chrome developer Evan Martin has open sourced the custom-designed build system he uses to build the browser’s Linux port.

        Martin calls the system Ninja because it “strikes quickly.” According to Martin’s Ninja manual, he previously used a customized system based on the old GNU Make build-automation system, and while this needed 10 seconds to start building the open source Chromium browser after a file change was made, Ninja takes under a second.

      • Blog from your desktop with GNOME Blog

        With my on-going search for making my life ever-easier, I have turned to using smaller applications to keep my readers and fans informed. This can get to be an overwhelming problem when you are tweeting, facebooking, blogging, and – oh yeah – writing. So instead of adding to my already-large collection of tabs in Chromium Browser, I have found smaller tools that are one-trick ponies that tackle the task at hand with simplicity and speed.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox’s Director to Leave the Consumer Tech World

        Mike Beltzner, the man in charge of the development of open source browser Firefox, announced this morning that he’ll be leaving Mozilla once the 4.0 version of the popular browser launches and he’s helped transition the team towards developing 5.0 without him. You’ll never guess where he’s going next. Apparently he’s joining a company called Dug Software, a 70 employee provider of geological exploration software.

      • Mozilla losing Director of Firefox, Mike Beltzner
      • Developer Engagement at Mozilla

        In November I joined the Developer Engagement team at Mozilla. We are working to make sure web developers every where know and use open technologies.

        Mozilla’s mission is to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the web. On the developer engagement team, we work to make sure web developers can use open technologies to help create open and innovative opportunities for everyone around the world.

  • Databases

    • NoSQL Benchmark Open-Sourced

      Earlier this month Belgian computer science student Dory Thibault posted a slide deck with the surprising results of a benchmark comparing Cassandra, HBase, MongoDB and Riak. The benchmarks are a part of his mater’s thesis, and the slides were difficult to interpret without the accompanying oral presentation.

    • Bug fixes for MySQL 5.5

      Version 5.5.9 of the free MySQL database has been released. Apart from making minor changes to the mysqladmin and mysqldump tools, improving their operation with authentication plug-ins by allowing which authentication plug-in to use, most of the changes were bug fixes. One change flagged as incompatible is the stopping of auto_increment wrapping for increments greater than one.

  • CMS

    • World leaders using Drupal

      I’m happy to share another gigantic win for Drupal; the World Economic Forum (the Forum) has launched their internal collaboration platform on Drupal. The Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders. It is best known for its annual meeting in Davos. Their World Economic Leaders Community (WELCOM) is where they will engage online to address the most pressing business and global challenges.

  • Education

    • Is Microsoft planning to upgrade ICT in our schools for free?

      Microsoft announced a 1000 apprenticeships for youngsters in London last week signalling that they remain committed to education. What will follow will be the Perfect Storm of software upgrades.

      I don’t want to depress anyone out there more than usual but I must point out that in education computer software is well overdue a complete revamp. Three years ago schools were told by the Government not to upgrade to MS Vista or Office 2007 and the accompanying soundtrack was one of the brakes screeching on.

      We now know that to make matters worse we face four years of spending cuts which do not bode well for school ICT … but even so does anyone really believe that in 2016 we will still be using Windows XP as the OS in the majority of schools?


      Schools have antiquated ICT but have simply to do nothing but wait … It’s perfect marketing, Microsoft are the archetypal ‘catch up corporation’ and schools the archetypal ‘catch up’ users.

      I am so sorry schools but I think the die is cast. It’s free but not as in beer.

  • Funding


    • I Love Free+Libre Software Campaign , #ilovefs, I love LibreQt

      Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and it’s a great day to declare your love and gratitude to the people behind every Free Software initiative and organisation. Why not make this February 14th a very special day and show them that you appreciate their work?

  • Government

    • IT: Updated law presses public administrations to share software

      An update of Italy’s law for e-government, Codice dell’Amministrazione Digitale, (CAD) urges public administrations to share software applications. DigitPA, a governement IT resource centre, should act as a clearing house, enabling public administrations to share and re-use applications and software.

      “Taking re-use into account should be done from the beginning, including the drafting of contracts”, explains DigitPA in a introduction on CAD, published on the centre’s website.

    • US: Government instructs its procurers not to discriminate against open source software

      On 7 January 2011, the US Government issued a memorandum instructing its information technology (IT) procurers not to discriminate on the basis of whether the software is proprietary, open source or mixed source, but to base their purchasing choices solely on the merits of the products.

      The ‘technology neutrality’ memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urges Government agencies to “analyse alternatives that include proprietary, open source, and mixed source technologies. This allows the Government to pursue the best strategy to meet its particular needs.” The memorandum also emphasises several key open source factors, such as interoperability and re-use in the selection of IT. The economic implications of this might be considerable, given that currently US Government agencies spend almost $80 billion (approximately €59 billion) to buy IT.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Five questions about open source and branding with Alina Wheeler

      ALINA: I am eager to learn about new brands that are co-created with the customer or end-user. I believe that open source is the most meaningful and relevant methodology that will help us prepare for a new world: i.e. build communities that matter, collaborate more effectively toward outcomes that matter, and innovate because for survival, that matters.

    • Man decides to open source his genetic data using GitHub

      There are many services popping up on the Internet allowing you to store data about yourself or the projects you are working on. One of the most popular among the development community is GitHub: a distributed version control system mainly for software development allowing you to share and collaborate with others online.

      While GitHub can be paid for as a service for private projects, open source projects get hosted for free. So there is a general mix of both types of project and over 1.7 million repositories currently stored on the service.

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Ghent Declaration

        Seizing the Opportunity for Open Access to European Research: The Ghent Declaration initiated by the reviewers of the EC OpenAIRE Project.

        The Ghent Declaration was submitted to the European Commission last January as a follow up to the launch of OpenAIRE on December 2nd.

        SPARC Europe, who led the panel discussion at OpenAIRE, very much welcomes the Declaration and is happy to make it publicly-available via its website as to encourage further debate on the important matters affecting greater than ever access to Europe’s research publications.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • MPEG-LA targets Google’s VP8 Video Codec

      First, Google opened up its VP8 video codec. Then, Google removed built-in support for the MPEG-LA patent encumbered H.264 video codec from its Chrome Web-browser in favor of VP8. After that it was only a matter of time before the MPEG-LA patent consortium came gunning for Google VP8.

      As a MPEG-LA representative told ZDNet’s Ed Bott, “Yes, as we have said in the past, we believe VP8 uses many patents owned by different parties. To the extent VP8 includes technology owned by others, then a pool license which removes uncertainties regarding patent rights and royalties by making that technology widely available on the same terms to everyone would be beneficial to the market.”

    • IEEE spec aims to ease mobile congestion

      The IEEE is drafting a standard that aims to help strike a difficult balance between the needs of carriers to ease rapidly growing congestion on mobile networks with the needs of users who want better download experiences.

      The P2200 specification is a protocol for stream management in client devices supported and to some extent managed by a new ad hoc industry group called the High Quality Mobile Experience (HQME) Steering Committee.

    • Document Freedom Day on 30 March

      This year Document Freedom Day (DFD) is set for 30 March. DFD is a day that focuses public attention on the importance of free document formats and on open standards in general.

    • Adobe open source code backs – gasp! – HTML5

      Adobe believes in Flash on mobiles. But it believes in HTML5 too, and it would like the world to know that these two beliefs are not mutually exclusive.

      On Thursday, at a press event in San Francisco, the company announced that over 20 million smartphones now ship with Flash Player 10.1, and that it hopes to push the player onto another 112 million devices, including tablets, by the end of the year. But it was quite careful to point out that it’s working to facilitate the development of HTML5 applications as well.


  • [Same pose, different times]
  • Managing Nerds

    Ten years ago, the world was collectively freaked out by the Y2K bug. The idea was that when innumerable software-driven clocks flipped at midnight from 1999 to 2000 that the digital shit was going to hit the fan. I blame the origin of the world-wide freak-out on the nerds.

    Y2K collectively freaked out the nerds because every single software engineering nerd has had the moment where he looked across the table at someone important and said, “Yeah, I fixed that problem, but I have no fucking clue why it’s working. It’s a total mystery.” Nerds have been repeatedly bitten by previously dismissed and seemingly impossible edge cases that we believed there was no possible way for a regular human to encounter.

  • Twitter dismisses reports of Google interest

    He declined comment on a follow-up question on Facebook, which has also been reported to have held low-level takeover talks with Twitter.

  • Bev Oda’s admission fuels howls of secrecy against Harper government

    A Conservative cabinet minister risks being found in contempt of Parliament over accusations she lied to MPs and doctored a document to hide the fact that she was overruling her department.

    ‬International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda rose in the House of Commons Monday to admit that it was on her order that the word “not” was inserted in a memo drafted by senior public servants recommending she approve new funding for the church-backed aid group Kairos.

  • Apple Now The Most Valuable Tech Company By $100 Billion; Google Closing In On Microsoft
  • Science

    • Singularitarianism?

      Ray Kurzweil is a genius. One of the greatest hucksters of the age. That’s the only way I can explain how his nonsense gets so much press and has such a following. Now he has the cover of Time magazine, and an article called 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal. It certainly couldn’t be taken seriously anywhere else; once again, Kurzweil wiggles his fingers and mumbles a few catchphrases and upchucks a remarkable prediction, that in 35 years (a number dredged out of his compendium of biased estimates), Man (one, a few, many? How? He doesn’t know) will finally achieve immortality (seems to me you’d need to wait a few years beyond that goal to know if it was true). Now we’ve even got a name for the Kurzweil delusion: Singularitarianism.

    • New nanomaterials are good news for next-generation electronic devices

      In recent years, topological insulators have become one of the hottest topics in physics. These new materials act as both insulators and conductors, with their interior preventing the flow of electrical currents while their edges or surfaces allow the movement of a charge.

    • Societal Security

      Humans have a natural propensity to trust non-kin, even strangers. We do it so often, so naturally, that we don’t even realize how remarkable it is. But except for a few simplistic counterexamples, it’s unique among life on this planet. Because we are intelligently calculating and value reciprocity (that is, fairness), we know that humans will be honest and nice: not for any immediate personal gain, but because that’s how they are. We also know that doesn’t work perfectly; most people will be dishonest some of the time, and some people will be dishonest most of the time. How does society — the honest majority — prevent the dishonest minority from taking over, or ruining society for everyone? How is the dishonest minority kept in check? The answer is security — in particular, something I’m calling societal security.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why some gonorrhoea bacteria are a little bit human

      There’s nothing like a personalised gift to make your lover feel extra special this Valentine’s day, but perhaps not this one: a little piece of human DNA wrapped in the genome of gonorrhoea bacteria.

      Hank Seifert and Mark Anderson at Northwestern University in Chicago analysed the genome sequences of 14 samples of Neisseria gonorrhoeae – the bacteria that causes the sexually transmitted disease. When the pair ran the sequences through a computer to look for contamination, they found a human fragment of DNA present in three of the isolates.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Spy games: Inside the convoluted plot to bring down WikiLeaks

      When Aaron Barr was finalizing a recent computer security presentation for the US Transportation Security Administration, a colleague had a bit of good-natured advice for him: “Scare the sh*t out of them!”

      In retrospect, this may not have been the advice Barr needed. As CEO of the government-focused infosec company HBGary Federal, Barr had to bring in big clients—and quickly—as the startup business hemorrhaged cash. To do so, he had no problem with trying to “scare the sh*t out of them.” When working with a major DC law firm in late 2010 on a potential deal involving social media, for instance, Barr decided that scraping Facebook to stalk a key partner and his family might be a good idea. When he sent his law firm contact a note filled with personal information about the partner, his wife, her family, and her photography business, the result was immediate.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Pressure on to freeze Mubarak’s assets in UK

      The British Government was under growing pressure last night to copy its Swiss counterpart and freeze any assets belonging to the Mubarak family following accusations that vast sums of money have been illicitly smuggled out of Egypt.

      Anti-corruption campaigners have called on foreign governments to automatically seize any assets held in their countries by the former president Hosni Mubarak or his family until it can be ascertained whether they are legitimate or not.

    • food for thought

      Like, well, probably just about everybody, I’ve been following the events in North Africa and the Middle East with interest of late. But here’s what I do: Finding the regular English-language media’s coverage of Africa and the Middle East to be wholly inadequate, I rely as much on Al Jazeera English and the French-language media for news and analysis from those regions of the world. Still far from perfect, but I do find a get a far more rounded-out, complete picture of what’s going on. I was reading of troubles in Tunisia and Algeria in the likes of Le Monde, Liberation and Le Figaro days before I saw anything written on the subject in English (which is certainly not to say English-language articles hadn’t been appearing. There are only so many hours in a day), and I’ve found the French-language coverage to go into considerably more depth than anything I’ve seen in English. Perhaps that has something to do with France’s colonial past in Africa – and especially, in this case, the Maghreb – and continued deep involvement in African affairs?

      And finally, today, I find the kind of analysis of the situation I’ve been waiting some time to see, published, of course, in Le Monde. “Post-Islamist Revolution”, the headline screams.

    • Live-blog: Iran – 25 Bahman – February 14, 2011

      This is a live-blog report of events in Iran on February 14, 2011 (25 Bahman). The majority of the reports in this blog are sourced via social media. With regards to the videos and images in this live-blog, we are not affiliated with the people or groups that produced them. In order to follow this report in chronological order, it must be read from the bottom up. The newest entries will be at the top.

    • Iran opposition planning protests

      Amid reports of a low turnout for the annual march commemorating the anniversary of Iran’s Islamic revolution on Friday, there are calls among opposition leaders for nationwide marches against the government on Monday.

      Protesters, including university students, lorry drivers and gold merchants are said to be organising marches across the country under the umbrella of the country’s Green movement, apparently inspired by recents demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia.

    • Tehran Beats Back New Protests

      Iranian police used tear gas and electric prods to crack down on the country’s biggest antigovernment protests in at least a year, as demonstrators buoyed by activism across the Middle East returned to the country’s streets by the tens of thousands Monday.

    • Iran Live Blog: 25 Bahman / 14 February

      The regime’s security forces tried, with some success, to choke off access by protesters to the primary march route and gathering sites in the capital.

    • Iran LiveBlog – February 14 (25 Bahman)
    • 100-ft-long drug-smuggling, Narco-crafted submarine discovered in Colombia

      Members of the Colombian Navy stand guard on top of a seized submarine built by drug smugglers in a makeshift shipyard in Timbiqui, department of Cauca, February 14, 2011. Colombian authorities said the submersible craft was to be used to transport 8 tons of cocaine illegally into Mexico.

    • FBI Releases File On the Anarchist Cookbook

      An anonymous reader noted that the FBI has released its file on The Anarchist Cookbook, the 1971 manual of mayhem. It’s a pretty long PDF that isn’t actually OCRd but there’s some crazy stuff in there. But my personal favorite is the scanned in images of 3.5″ floppy disks.

    • Why Egypt’s progressives win

      On 6 February 2011, Egypt’s hastily appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman invited in the old guard or what we could call the Businessmen’s Wing of the Muslim Brothers into a stately meeting in the polished rosewood Cabinet Chamber of Mubarak’s Presidential Palace. The aim of their tea party was to discuss some kind of accord that would end the national uprising and restore “normalcy.” When news of the meeting broke, expressions of delight and terror tore through the blogosphere. Was the nightmare scenario of both the political left and right about to be realized? Would the US/Israel surrogate Suleiman merge his military-police apparatus with the power of the more conservative branch of the old Islamist social movement? Hearing the news, Iran’s Supreme Leader sent his congratulations. And America’s Glen Beck and John McCain ranted with glee about world wars and the inevitable rise of the Cosmic Caliphate.

    • More Guns=Less Crime! You Know, Except at CPAC

      More guns less crime. It is the mantra of those who don’t really believe in such wacky things as statistics, empirical evidence and common sense.

      Some because they have blissfully become the NRA’s ever-willing Manchurian Candidates, prisoners of ideology, where facts are uninvited house guests and certainty is superior to truth. Others, because they are known as the NRA leadership, made up of arms dealers and those, like NRA head honcho Wayne LaPierre, who gets paid $1.281 million per year by arms dealers. Not gonna be much wiggle room at that table at The Palm.

    • Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

      The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.

      Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed Curveball by German and American intelligence officials who dealt with his claims, has told the Guardian that he fabricated tales of mobile bioweapons trucks and clandestine factories in an attempt to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime, from which he had fled in 1995.

  • Cablegate

    • Program Transcript

      JULIAN ASSANGE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, WIKILEAKS: Of course the title is absolutely correct. It speaks about very specific incidents.

      If you go to collateralmurder.com you will see the exact incident it’s talking about when a man is crawling in the street completely unarmed, wounded and he is killed by a 30 millimetre cannon from the air very intentionally, and his rescuers.

      DANIEL ELLSBERG, FMR US MILITARY ANALYST: I watched the Apache helicopter attack in the video with the eyes of a former marine infantry officer. I was a platoon leader and company commander and I was also a battalion training officer who had trained troops on Nuremberg in the laws of war.

      It was very clear to me that what I was looking at was a war crime, was murder.

    • Kloppers ‘offered secrets to the US’

      BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers fears espionage from China, his business competitors and partners, and even the Australian government, but is eager to trade secrets with the United States, according to a secret cable released by WikiLeaks.

      Mr Kloppers has also described doing business in Melbourne as being like ”playing poker when everyone can see your cards”, the cable says.


      Confronted by the threat from three narcotrafficking
      groups, including recently arrived “Zetas” from Mexico, the
      local Rule of Law (ROL) apparatus in the northern city of
      Coban is no longer capable of dealing with the most serious
      kinds of crime. What is happening there is typical of many
      rural areas of Guatemala. Sources tell us that Coban’s
      police are corrupt and allied with traffickers, and sometimes
      even provide them escort. Some judges and prosecutors are
      too frightened to do their jobs properly; others are in
      league with the traffickers. Asserting that security is not
      his job, the mayor is turning a blind eye to the
      narco-violence in Coban’s streets. Wholesale restructuring
      of the ROL apparatus — not mere personnel changes — would
      be required for the state to adequately reassert its

    • BHP chief offered secrets to US: WikiLeaks

      BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers was willing to trade secrets with the United States and feared espionage from the Chinese, Rio Tinto Ltd and the Australian government, according to an American secret diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks and reported on by Fairfax Media.

      Beginning in a June 4, 2009 meeting between Mr Kloppers and US consul-general Michael Thurston and in subsequent discussions, Mr Kloppers asked US diplomats for insights on China’s intentions and said he would be willing to trade secrets in order to obtain information on China, according to Fairfax reports on the secret US cable.

    • Motion on possible abuse of European Arrest Warrant in Assange case – Gerard Batten MEP
    • Interview with Glenn Greenwald [02•14•11]
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Revealed: how energy firms spy on environmental activists

      Three large energy companies have been carrying out covert intelligence-gathering operations on environmental activists, the Guardian can reveal.

      The energy giant E.ON, Britain’s second-biggest coal producer Scottish Resources Group and Scottish Power, one of the UK’s largest electricity-generators, have been paying for the services of a private security firm that has been secretly monitoring activists.

      Leaked documents show how the security firm’s owner, Rebecca Todd, tipped off company executives about environmentalists’ plans after snooping on their emails. She is also shown instructing an agent to attend campaign meetings and coaching him on how to ingratiate himself with activists. The disclosures come as police chiefs, on the defensive over damaging revelations of undercover police officers in the protest movement, privately claim that there are more corporate spies in protest groups than undercover police officers.

    • BREAKING: Chevron Guilty of Amazon Rainforest Destruction, Judge Issues $8 Billion Fine

      Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network just announced a major victory for the Amazon rainforest. An Ecuadorean judge today found Chevron guilty of one of the largest environmental crimes in history and ordered the company to pay a whopping $8 billion to clean up its damage in the Amazon.

    • Brits to David Cameron: Save Our Forests!

      Back in October, I wrote about how the British government plans to sell off a large chunk of the country’s public forests. But like Birnim Wood rising up against Macbeth, the British public has so savagely attacked the plans that it now looks like the government might back down.

  • Finance

    • Rwanda: Africa’s newest stock exchange

      Africa’s newest stock exchange is the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), launched on 31 Jan to start trading the shares of brewer Brasseries et Limonaderies du Rwanda BRALIRWA (www.bralirwa.com).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Bald disinformation about Scientology critic

      An anonymous commenter’s missive in response to yesterday’s post on Hugh Spencer’s Master’s thesis on the Church of Scientology and science fiction is some of the dumbest disinformation I’ve seen yet.

  • Censorship

    • About The Calyx Institute

      The Calyx Institute safeguards fundamental rights and promote freedom of speech on the Internet by educating the public, through legal advocacy and defense, by conducting research into privacy technology, and by providing a ‘test bed’ environment for the development and deployment of secure Internet and telephone services.

  • Privacy

    • NoDPI meets the ICO to discuss TalkTalk

      Just before Christmas, four representatives of NoDPI met Dave Evans of the Information Commissioner’s Office. Dave sees groups such as NoDPI as being valuable in providing expertise which the ICO can harness. However, he set expectations by reminding the meeting that on each issue the ICO has to make a judgement call. Where could it have most influence? Would it win were the case to be brought to a tribunal? He gave the example of the October 2009 appeal court judgement over deleting records of criminal convictions.

      The meeting then moved on to its main topic, the anti-malware system proposed by TalkTalk. TalkTalk trialled this system in July 2010 without informing their users.

    • Privacy in the Wake of Olympic Security: Wikileaks Sheds Light on How the U.S. Pressured Brazil

      Privacy advocates have observed for years that countries hosting the Olympic Games introduce increasingly heightened security and surveillance measures for the event, but rarely cut back on public surveillance after the games are finished. Because these expanded surveillance measures are often made permanent, we noted with interest a report released by the whistle-blower website Wikileaks that detailed how the United States lobbied Brazil about security and information-sharing strategies after the latter was chosen to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

      Despite lengthy diplomatic cables on this issue, the cables from the U.S. that have been made public did not address the very serious privacy, civil liberties and public accountability implications of the widespread use of surveillance technologies. It remains to be seen what types of security and privacy protocols Brazil will be implement in the coming years. But history shows that the Olympic Games often result in increased security and public surveillance measures that persist long after the games end – to the detriment of privacy.

    • Online Idiocy Kills

      Steven Sumpter has written an excellent introductory guide to why you should run Tor and has not shied from explaining some of the minor risks inherent in doing so.

      Tor enables people in repressive regimes to access more of the internet than their nations’ censors allow them. There is one risk for users of Tor not covered in the article, however, that I want to highlight. Since anyone can run a Tor node, what is to stop the bad guys from doing so?

      In practice this happens a lot and these are known as hostile exit nodes.

      Karen Reilly at the Tor project pointed me to a post on their blog that covers this danger.

  • Civil Rights

    • The internet, oppressive regimes, and Tor

      A common feature of oppressive regimes is control of information. In Egypt recently the government not only blocked television signals from the likes of Al Jazeera, but they actually resorted to almost completely shutting down the internet across the whole country in an effort to prevent protesters from organising. In China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and many other places, the governments block access to sites that they consider a threat to either the government or to the moral values of the people. This usually includes social networks like Facebook and Twitter and news organisations like the BBC and Al Jazeera.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • The Hidden Rationale for Usage Based Billing

      ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is an international agreement to protect intellectual property and guard against piracy. It was hammered out by a handful of countries and requires signatories to have civil and criminal law that complies with it. Canada may have bargained away our ability to create independent legislation simply by being a party to ACTA, with terms allowing Canada to pass laws more stringent than required, but depriving us of the authority to create laws that contravene ACTA. This clearly undermines Canadian sovereignty.

    • TekSavvy Reintroduces Unlimited, Bumps Caps – ‘We Are Extending The Savings On To You, The Clients…’

      On the heels of the Canadian government’s decision to force the CRTC to review their throttling practices, ISPs like Primus have frozen their metered billing plans completely, while companies like Shaw have promised to work with consumers on fair pricing before moving forward. In a letters to customers posted to our forums, Canadian ISP TekSavvy says that in the wake of the CRTC’s forced retreat, the company is re-instating their unlimited usage plan — and the cap on their 200GB package is being raised to 300GB.

    • CNOC on the CRTC UBB Review: It’s Re-Arranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic

      The letter makes it clear that CNOC is seeking nothing less than a complete overhaul of the regulatory framework for broadband competition in Canada. The organization argues that “incumbent wholesale high-speed services, including the last-mile access, constitute the broadband platform that competitors need to offer almost all telecommunications and broadcasting services to consumers.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • History of Copyright, part 5: Moral Rights

        Paradoxically, the copyright and patent monopolies were forgotten when free market laws were enacted across Europe in the mid-1800s. Patent law still talks about “prevention of disloyal competition” as justification for its existence, which is a remnant from when guilds dictated products, craftsmen, and prices; if a business practices loyal competition in their industry segment today, we raid them at dawn and haul their ass to court. The copyright monopoly is a similar remnant from the printing guild of London.

      • DMCA Copyright Policies: Staying in the Safe Harbors While Protecting Your Users

        One of the less-heralded issues in a series of prominent cases (here, here, and here, for example) testing the limits of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) safe harbor provisions is the question of when and how service providers must terminate the accounts of “repeat infringers.” As a condition of safe harbor eligibility, the DMCA requires that service providers “adopt and reasonably implement” a repeat infringer policy that provides for termination of users’ accounts “in appropriate circumstances.” But what does this requirement mean? How does one “adopt and reasonably implement”? Who are “repeat infringers”? What do service providers need to do to comply with the law and protect their users’ rights to post lawful content?

      • RIAA ‘Protects’ Radiohead’s In Rainbows

        In 2007 Radiohead sent a shockwave through the music industry by allowing fans to download their new ‘self-released’ album ‘In Rainbows’ for whatever price they wanted to pay, including nothing. Fast-forward three years and the RIAA and IFPI are sending takedown notices to people who share that album online. What happened?

        After sitting out their contact with EMI, Radiohead self-released their latest album ‘In Rainbows’ and gave fans the option to download it for the price they felt comfortable paying. Not only was this one of the best promotional campaigns of the last decade, it also brought in serious money.

      • Screaming Justin Bieber Fans Using Camera Phones To Capture Snippets Of Movie Premiere Berated For Piracy

        We’ve pointed out many times that the laws, especially around things like copyright, simply don’t match up with the basic cultural norms of what it means to be a kid today. Remember, for example, the woman who was arrested and spent two nights in jail because she used a camera to capture a few very short segments of the movie Twilight, because she was trying to capture her sister’s birthday party (with the movie showing being a part of the event). Now, TorrentFreak points us to an unintentionally hilarious article written by a woman who appears to make her living as a Marilyn Monroe/Anna Nicole Smith impersonator, complaining about how a bunch of Justin Bieber fans were thieves because they dared to film snippets of his new movie (wait, Justin Bieber has a movie?!?) at a special VIP Premiere ($30 a ticket!) with their camera phones.

      • Court confirms: IP addresses aren’t people (and P2P lawyers know it)

        Wrapping up the last of the United Kingdom’s notorious copyright infringement “pay up” letter cases, a UK patent and copyright judge has had a major revelation. Just because some lawyer cites an Internet Protocol (IP) address where illegal file sharing may have taken place, that doesn’t mean that the subscriber living there necessarily did the dirty deed. Or is responsible for others who may have done it.

      • Radiohead To Release “World’s First Newspaper Album”

        The band announced that its new album, King of Limbs, will be available for download February 19, on its website this morning. Described as the “Newspaper Album,” King of Limbs comes in the form of two 10-inch vinyl records in a “purpose-built record-sleeve,” a CD and “many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degredeable plastic to hold it all together.” The price for the hard copy: $48 when sold with an MP3 download of the album, and $53 when sold with the WAV download. The discs and vinyls will ship May 9, while the digital downloads will be available February 19. Customers also have an option to purchase the album in download-only form.

      • Weak Copyright Laws? Recording Industry Files Massive Lawsuit Against isoHunt

        As the debate over Canada’s copyright reform legislation, Bill C-32,continues to rage before a legislative committee, one of the most frequently heard claims is that tough reforms are needed to counter Canada’s reputation as a “piracy haven”. The presence of several well-known BitTorrent sites, most notably B.C.-based isoHunt, is cited as evidence for Canada’s supposedly lax laws that the industry says leaves it powerless.

        When the bill was first introduced last June, the Canadian Recording Industry Association stated that “stronger rules are also needed to rein in Canadian-based peer-to-peer websites, which, according to IFPI,have become ‘a major source of the world’s piracy problem’.”

      • ACTA

        • USTR’s Request for Comments on ACTA

          USTR has issued a request for comments on ACTA. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2011. The notice gives very little guidance regarding the issues the USTR would like addressed in the comments.

Clip of the Day

MeeGo Tablet User Experience

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 15/2/2011: OpenShot 1.3.0 Released, Louis Suarez-Potts Left Oracle

Posted in News Roundup at 1:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • ROSE Blog Interviews: Barbara Irwin, Loads of Linux Links Maintainer

    RK: How did you first hear about Linux and why did you start using it at home?

    BI: I first heard about Linux in 1996 from my husband, Alan, who had years of UNIX experience, so it was a natural for him to use Linux on our home computer. I was working at the local public library at the time, primarily using a UNIX-based automated library system, but had to use a Microsoft word processor for my documents. Not a happy experience. So I was delighted that our home was — and still is — a Windows-free

  • LPI develops Academic Program in Malaysia
  • Low-spec computer: Alt Linux vs Windows 7 Ultimate

    Purpose: learn process of installation and work of distributives of operating systems Alt Linux Desktop 5.0 KDE and Window 7 Ultimate in low-spec computer which you can find in school.

  • Server

    • Ottawa to review TSX-London exchange merger

      Industry Minister Tony Clement says the federal government will review the proposed merger of the Toronto Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange.

      Clement said Monday that the proposed deal falls under the Investment Canada Act and will be approved if it is of net benefit to Canada.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Tinycore3.5 comes with improved system boot time and user interface | A 10Mo LinuxOS

        Tinycore3.5 is released, this new release comes with many updates and some improvements, so boot times has been improved with optimization of startup code. Administration improved with deletes of uninstalled ondemand without reboot. Many user interface improvements and additional supported options in: appsaduit, wbar, services, tce-audit, and fluff, the integrated file manager. Key system programs updated to latest release: busybox and zsync.

    • Debian Family

      • What happened to Debian Live images for PowerPC?

        What happened? I praised Debian Live for taking care of PowerPC users in a way that most other distributions do not. These days you can’t even get an “official” Ubuntu ISO for PowerPC. Fedora dropped PowerPC, too. In my tests, Debian was always the best distribution for older PowerPC machines anyway, and the project still supports the architecture with installers.

      • All quiet on the Debian Squeeze front

        While there is certainly some truth to the open-source OS adage that bugs related to functionality (and not security) at release tend to stay unpatched, the emphasis in Debian on releasing when ready means there are theoretically (and practically) fewer broken pieces in the system and not as much need to push updates for non-security-related issues.

      • Living on the bleeding edge: Debian wheezy/sid

        I’ve decided to start this blog and share my experience with Debian sid/unstable, the development version of Debian GNU/Linux. It’s the leading edge, but sometimes also the bleeding edge of Debian development. The stuff that enters this fast developing repository spends anywhere from 6 months up to 2 years in it before average Linux user sees it in form of a polished stable release (Debian, Ubuntu or some other Debian Pure Blend).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Win A Dell Mini Netbook: Cult of Ubuntu Writing Contest

          Celebrating the Alpha 2 release of Ubuntu 11.04, Cult of Ubuntu has announced a contest for bloggers and writers. The winning prize is a Dell Mini 1012 Netbook with Ubuntu 11.04 pre-installed.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Alpha 2 live CD — Video works, it’s all downhill from there

          Readers of this blog are no doubt very familiar with my video drama/issues over the ATI Mobility Radeon 4200 HD chip in my Lenovo G555 laptop.

          Things have been blurry and wavy, sometimes fixable with the fglrx/Catalyst proprietary driver (Ubuntu 10.04), sometimes not (Fedora 14).

          In Debian Squeeze, I can run the open-source ati/radeon driver with no problems. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Qualcomm wows with quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon

      Mere days after announcing a new dual-core Snapdragon chip, Qualcomm has wowed the crowds at this year’s Mobile World Congress event with a quad-core design for next-generation tablets that scales to an impressive 2.5GHz.

      Fresh from its announcement of the Snapdragon APQ8060, which can be found powering HP’s upcoming TouchPad webOS tablet, mobile chip specialist Qualcomm has confirmed precisely what we predicted: a quad-core design which it hopes will compete with Nvidia’s upcoming Tegra 3 system-on-chip.

    • Linux-based Wi-Fi device server offers dual-band support

      Lantronix announced a Linux-based wireless device server with IPv6 and extended temperature support. The PremierWave EN is built on a 400MHz Lantronix ARM9 processor, offers 64MB of RAM and 64MB of flash, provides dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n with extensive wireless security features, and includes USB, Ethernet, I2C, SPI, and serial connectivity.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • MeeGo: stalling or stopping?

          Meanwhile, the Handset UX version of MeeGo appears to have lost its only proposed device, the Nokia N9. Reuters reported that development of Nokia’s MeeGo-based smartphone had been stopped, though Nokia’s spokesman declined to comment on the report. Earlier reports had noted the temporary closure of the MeeGo themed branch of Qt. If development on the Notebook and Handset UX’s has been halted, it would leave only the IVI (in-vehicle infotainment) and Connected TV UX in active development.

        • Nokia: The Destruction of a Great Company. Step One
        • Microsoft-Nokia deal is like two fading marathon runners deciding to hold hands

          My cynical side would compare the newly-announced Microsoft-Nokia mobile partnership to an Olympic track race in which two of the tired runners that are fading from the front decided to hold hands until they get across the finish line.

        • An open letter to Nokia shareholders and institutional investors

          If you elect us to a majority in the Nokia Board of Directors we will take the following concrete actions:

          * Immediate discharge of Stephen Elop from his duties as President and CEO of the company. Appointment of a new CEO with an international mobile industry background. The new CEO will be committed to carry on the rest of the actions listed below.
          * Restructure alliance with Microsoft as a tactical exercise focused primarily at the North American market. Release one or two Windows Phone devices under a Nokia sub-brand. Only if carrier acceptance, sales volumes and profit margins are satisfactory, consider releasing more WP devices and make them available in Europe. Windows Phone will not be the primary development platform for Nokia. The Nokia phones with Windows Phone operating system will simply take advantage of the existing developer tools and application ecosystem already put in place by Microsoft.
          * MeeGo will be Nokia’s primary smartphone platform. This is where the bulk of the innovation will happen. If MeeGo does not bring great devices to market on an accelerated pace, this strategy will not work. MeeGo smartphones and tablet devices will offer overwhelmingly superior experiences and applications than iOS and Android based competitor products. To reduce time to market, all MeeGo R&D will be done in-house and in a single geographical location. If necessary, suspend cooperation with Intel and concentrate resources on innovation and releasing new Nokia MeeGo devices to market faster.

      • Android

        • Android Market Gets a Facelift

          For a couple of years now the Android app purchasing experience has been largely on-device as the web based “market” page was little more than a page with a handful of top-selling applications.

          Want to search for an app? Go to the on-device app client.

          Want to purchase one of the top sellers or top downloads? Same answer, go to the on-device app client to make your purchase.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • [Charles-H. Schulz.] Back from FOSDEM, time for links!

      # Louis Suarez-Potts, community manager of the OpenOffice.org project, employee of Sun Microsystems and Oracle, resigns from Oracle. The formal resignation from its position of community manager of the OpenOffice.org project is not known yet, but I am expecting news either of his resignation, or else of the election of a new community manager (Louis should run for these). If that’s not the case then two comments are to be made in the light of the situation inside the OpenOffice.org project: This project is now either deprived of any governance or structure whatsoever, and/or the community manager has no real standing as no charter, text, agreement, structure mandates its existence outside a detailed charter (which has by now probably exploded after the announcement of the Document Foundation). But enough with that for the moment: I have been working with Louis for 10 years and I sincerely wish him good luck for the future.

  • Programming

    • Eclipse Orion heads to the web

      Everything is moving to the Web, including the tools being used to build applications.

      Ask any serious software developer which programming tools they use and the chances are that you will hear the name ‘Eclipse’ more than a few times. Eclipse is one of the most popular programming IDEs, or integrated development environments.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google open video codec faces second challenger

      The MPEG standards body – not to be confused with the MPEG LA patent-pool organization – has announced plans for its own royalty-free codec. At its annual meeting in March, the organization will begin accepting proposals for a new video-compression technology designed to provide better performance than MPEG-2 under a royalty-free ISO/IEC Type-1 license.


  • Obama Crushes Jeb Bush in 2012 Presidential Poll

    Apparently unsatisfied with the current crop of GOP presidential hopefuls, some big names on the right have been pushing Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and younger brother to George W., to launch a 2012 bid for the White House. But according to a new Fox News poll (PDF), Bush would get crushed by President Barack Obama in a 2012 presidential match-up.

    Fox’s bipartisan pollsters found that Obama would defeat Jeb Bush by a whopping 20-point margin, 54 percent to 34 percent. That’s a healthy gain for Obama since last September, when the same pollsters put Obama ahead 45 percent to 37 percent. The Fox poll results, then, throw some cold water on all the Jeb hype of late, suggesting that Jeb might be smarter to look to 2016 rather than 2012.

  • Guilting parents out of child care

    NDP MP Olivia Chow did too: “Finley insulted all teachers, all early childhood educators, child-care workers, organizers of parents’ resource centres and even babysitters. She is trying to inflict guilt on all working parents — a truly shameful, divisive behaviour.”

    Child care expert Martha Friendly spoke for working parents when she noted Finley’s remarks are out of sync with modern day reality.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Censorship

    • French LOPPSI Bill Adopted: The Internet under Control?

      Over time, such an extra-judiciary set-up will enable a generalized censorship of all Internet content. Consistent with Nicolas Sarkozy projects for a “Civilized Internet”, administrative censorship of the Internet opens the door to dangerous abuse while leaving pedophiles and pedo-pornography to prosper.

  • Civil Rights

    • TSA refusal to release body scanner safety reports has many crying foul

      Two months after lawmakers ordered the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to release safety reports about the levels of radiation being emitted by baggage X-ray machines, naked body scanners, and other airport security equipment, the agency has yet to make this information public. The reports, which remain in the hands of TSA officials, are allegedly being retained to protect “sensitive security or privacy-protected information.”

    • In Court Today In South Carolina – Holding Officials Accountable For Torture

      We’re in federal court in Charleston to argue that a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials for their role in the unlawful detention and torture of a U.S. citizen go forward. The defendants filed a motion in 2008 to have it thrown out. The ACLU has recently joined the lawsuit on Padilla’s behalf.

      Jose Padilla was seized from a U.S. jail in 2002, declared an “enemy combatant” and secretly transported to a military brig in South Carolina. He was imprisoned for nearly four years, during which he was subjected to extreme abuse and unable to communicate with his lawyers or family for two years. Lawyers for Padilla filed a lawsuit in February 2007 in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina against Rumsfeld and others for their role in Padilla’s unlawful detention and abuse.

Clip of the Day

Running rm -rf / on Linux

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 14/2/2011: GNU/Linux Education in Valencia, London Stock Exchange Goes Live With GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • ES: LliureX 10.09 offers free educational material

    The Regional Ministry of Education in Valencia provides more than 200 educational resources with LliureX for Kids version 10.09.

    The Department of Education has created a software package installation for easy download of over 200 educational resources offered by LliureX for Kids version 10.09. LliureX is an initiative which aims to “promote teachers’, families’ and schools’ access to a wide variety of educational materials.”

  • Desktop

    • Headless Chickens Come Home to Roost

      In the face of a 50 million + dollar budget shortfall, The Austin Independent School District Superintendent is recommending the layoff of 1017 teachers and varied staff.


      The magic sword that protected the disclosure of software expenditure costs turned out to be the vendor agreements AISD signed with Microsoft and other various software companies. At least, that was what I was told and to be honest, I had neither the time or resources to pursue it further.

      Filing for this data under the Freedom of Information Act of 1974 was impotent. It seems our laws, the way they are currently written, gives the corporates protection…

      Even if federal law says differently.

      However, a seemingly disconnected event in 2008 was able to dislodge some of this information. Maybe not as much as I wanted, but enough to sharpen the pencil and do a bit of cipherin’.

      Many will remember the row that ensued after an AISD teacher admonished one of our HeliOS kids and myself for him bringing a laptop and Linux disks into her classroom.

      And no…no direct citation is needed. I’m not going to link-bait my own story. However, this not only went viral in hours, many online and dead tree newspapers picked it up as well.

      It is within one of those that we can discern some important figures.

      The AISD IT Director at that time defended their IT structure by saying that 1/3 of their computers ran software other than Windows.

      “…and while the district uses Windows on 24,000 of its 36,000 computers, it uses Linux for many of its servers and open-source applications, such as Open Office, whenever possible.”

      OK, great…Linux is obviously the superior choice for server deployments, but if we were to dig deeper into that statement, how many of the OS choices are Linux? I am guessing that the majority of them run Windows with some Open Source solutions installed therein. The article does mention the use of Mac computers as well. Oh, and those aren’t expensive…

      But Linux desktops?


      Time and time again, Linux and Free Software have provided The Enterprise, Governments and individuals amazing cost savings over the long term.

  • Server

    • Argonne taps IBM for 10 petaflops super

      The US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory announced on Tuesday that it has inked a deal with IBM to build a monster BlueGene supercomputer that will weigh in at 10 petaflops of peak theoretical performance when it is operational around the middle of next year.

      El Reg caught wind of the Mira BlueGene/Q massively parallel super going into Argonne back in October, when Cray announced that it had been able to sell an 18,000-core, Opteron-based XE6 super into the Argonne facility even though it has been an IBM stronghold in recent years.

    • Engineering Intelligence: Why IBM’s Jeopardy-Playing Computer Is So Important

      Language is arguably what makes us most human. Even the smartest and chattiest of the animal kingdom have nothing on our lingual cognition.

      In computer science, the Holy Grail has long been to build software that understands — and can interact with — natural human language. But dreams of a real-life Johnny 5 or C-3PO have always been dashed on the great gulf between raw processing power and the architecture of the human mind. Computers are great at crunching large sets of numbers. The mind excels at assumption and nuance.

    • Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in January 2011
    • London Stock Exchange in historic Linux go-live

      The move has been billed as one of the LSE’s most significant technological developments since the increasing prevalence of electronic trading led to the closure of the traditional exchange floor in 1986. LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet has insisted that the exchange, once a monopoly, will deliver record speed and stable trading in order to fight back against the fast erosion of its dominant marketshare by specialist electronic rivals.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast 88 Gentoo Stuff

      In this Podcast general Gentoo talk, FOSDEM Gentoo talks and EAPI4 stuff.

    • Episode 156: Chandra

      This time we are off into space, but still sitting in front of the monitor. I take X-Ray data from the Chandra Satellite and make a false colour image out of them. All I needed to know for that (and much much more) is on their album page.

      The files I have used and the tutorial I was inspired by are also on the Chandra website.

  • Kernel Space

    • Git

      The first maintenance release Git is available at the usual places…

    • Using the noop I/O Scheduler for KVM Virtualization through Puppet and Augeas

      For a virtualization environment, it often makes sense to use a kernel I/O scheduler that does not take into account whether and/or which hardware seek time penalty may or may not be applicable for the disks used. Hence, where in my case I use a storage device over iSCSI, I want to set the noop scheduler for the hypervisors (which use iSCSI), and all guests on it (which use logical volumes). Neither the hypervisors nor the guests will experience a seek time penalty, so I thought, and so scheduling their I/O does not need to be optimized for such. The noop scheduler does exactly that.

    • Linux Kernel Crash Book

      Here you can download the Linux Kernel Crash Book, in PDF format. The book is 182 pages long, contains 113 screenshots and weighs 4.87MB. The book supercedes the previously published LKCD and Kdump PDF files, which will soon be removed.

    • Kernel dev sets out on an uncharted path

      Valerie Aurora has many achievements to her name. In a world where FOSS developers are overwhelmingly men, she has been a Linux kernel developer for the last 10 years. She’s been a consultant, speaker, writer, founder of companies and advocated for women in open source.


      FOSS community’s attitudes towards women are not exactly welcoming.

    • Graphics Stack

      • How Old ATI GPUs Can Be Faster On Open Drivers

        A few days ago when publishing the results of benchmarking a lot of graphics cards on their Gallium3D drivers (about a dozen graphics cards) this left a number of people surprised. A number of these results from the open-source Gallium3D drivers illustrated the older graphics processors as being much faster than the newer hardware, even though the newer hardware is far superior to the vintage products. This shouldn’t have been a surprise if you stay up-to-date with the Linux graphics news on Phoronix, but it comes down to features found in the older Gallium3D drivers not yet implemented in the newer open-source drivers.

      • Reverse Engineering PowerVR Is Now A High Priority

        The Free Software Foundation has now determined that reverse-engineering the PowerVR Linux drivers in order to create a free software driver capable of 3D hardware acceleration is a high priority action item. With an increasing number of mobile devices running Linux bearing these PowerVR graphics chipsets, which currently require the use of binary blobs for graphics acceleration, is not acceptable and that action must be taken to create an open driver for this hardware.

  • Applications

    • Never Miss A NotifyOSD Notification With “Recent Notifications” GNOME Applet

      Don’t you wish you could see the recent NotifyOSD notifications? I know I would – for instance I use a nifty application called Android Notifier that displays NotifyOSD notifications on my computer when I get a new SMS or call on my Phone, but if I’m doing something else when that happens and I miss the notification, there’s no way to see it on my computer. And that’s just an example, there are many other applications which display NotifyOSD notifications that you might like to see later on in case you’ve missed the actual notification (like some Twitter clients, etc.).

    • The geeky details: Clock and weather map

      I promised I would give a rundown of the wall-clock-slash-weather-map setup, once I got to a braggable state. I think I can do that now.

    • Songbird hits version 1.9.3, Linux build available

      Although “official” builds of Songbird for Linux are no longer distributed the Songbird community still provide 32bit Linux versions for the gecko-using media player’s faithful flock.

    • Best Linux blogging software: 8 clients tested

      Everybody has opinions. For some reason, many people feel better about life if everybody’s informed of those opinions in meticulous detail. The act of ‘blogging’ was born in the early 21st century when such folk discovered the internet.

      These days, the place is awash with humans and their odd ideas (and even some good ones). Now’s the time to join the throng.

    • Sharing screenshots
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Source Engine On Postal III Is Still Coming To Linux

        While it was announced previously by the Running With Scissors Game company that Postal III would be released for Linux like had been done with previous Postal games, there has been some speculation in recent months that Postal III would not make it out for Linux. In particular, because this game is now being powered by Valve’s Source Engine, and there still being many in disbelief that it’s coming to Linux. Well, in fact, a native version of Postal III is still coming to Linux and it’s looking like it will be here around May.

        A Linux version of Postal III was confirmed back in 2008, but with the Steam Linux client / Source Engine on Linux not officially being released yet, some have speculated that Postal III would fail to materialize for Linux. Some have failed to believe my reports that Valve is bringing Steam / Source Engine to Linux, even after a beta version of the Steam Linux client was discovered last summer.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Zeitgeist Hackfest Conclusions

        So I didn’t really stick to my original idea of reporting each day of the Zeitgeist hackfest in Aarhus. I guess this must be a classical hackfest syndrome – you give 120% during the day and when night draws near you’re just flat out of batteries. ‘nough with the excuses :-)

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • FUDCon Tempe: Red Hat Legal Talks

        All lawyers have clients. Red Hat is the client in our case. A lawyer is employed by an organization, and represents that organization. That said, the interests of Red Hat don’t always go hand-to-hand with the Fedora Project. This doesn’t mean that there are conflicts all the time, just that it might happen, and as lawyers we have a duty of confidentiality to our client (Red Hat).

      • Oracle Linux 6 DVDs Now Available

        On Sunday 6 February 2011, Oracle Linux 6 was released on the Unbreakable Linux Network for customers with an Oracle Linux support subscription. Shortly after that, the Oracle Linux 6 RPMs were made available on our public yum server. Today we published the installation DVD images on edelivery.oracle.com/linux. Oracle Linux 6 is free to download, install and use. The full release notes are here, but similar to my recent post about Oracle Linux 5.6, I wanted to highlight a few items about this release.

      • Qatar Exchange rolls out Red Hat

        The Doha-based stock market Qatar Exchange has switched its trading platforms on to Red Hat Linux, for greater operational flexibility, maximal uptime and integration.

        The exchange migrated IBM’s AIX platform to Red Hat Linux, to run its trading platform, as well as adding Red Hat Network Satellite to provide systems updates and Red Hat clustering to maximize uptime.

      • Fedora

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal and the Unity Desktop

          With Ubuntu, I see an excellent choice for the new computer user or someone who is new to Linux. Installation of the system is direct and simple without being simplistic, applications are easy to find and quick and efficient to install. I saw only one instance where an experienced Linux user would be a good idea to have around, and that only because of the regulatory environment that effects the world, not just Linux or Ubuntu.

    • Debian Family

      • The Perfect Desktop – Debian Squeeze

        This tutorial shows how you can set up a Debian Squeeze desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

      • Debian 6 Squeeze

        It wasn’t too long ago that I did a very late review of Debian 5. I’m happy to say that it didn’t take me nearly as long to get around to the latest release, Debian 6 Squeeze. If you aren’t familiar with Debian then this release is a great chance to learn about a distro that is the foundation for a lot of other distributions including Ubuntu, Linux Mint and others.

        Debian has three main branches:


      • My GNOME OS is called Debian

        Debian Squeeze was released a few days ago, this makes it a good opportunity to post about that distribution. Nowadays, even if I have more duties in GNOME than in Debian, I still believe Debian may be one step closer to me in terms of core values.

        Free Software. Debian litterally stands for Free Software, the Debian Free Software Guidelines were the actual basis for the Open Source Definition, years ago. This is still going strong and an enormous effort hasa come to fruition with the release of Squeeze with a kernel clean of closed firmwares.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu One in Natty gets notification-savvy

          It may not have an Indicator icon on the panel like Dropbox does, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be notified by Ubuntu One about what it’s up to, with your files.

        • Natty pimps audio call requests

          Audio call requests made via Empathy are to receive some long over due ‘pimping’ in Ubuntu 11.04.

          Incoming calls are no longer alerted to users via the Ubuntu Messaging Menu, instead they are displayed using IDO – ‘Indicator Display Objects’.

        • Ubuntu: 2011 Thoughts and Goals

          Assist in having developers and testers think about accessibility.

        • Natty Wallpaper Illustrations – So far!

          I could not be more delighted with the quality and diversity of the designs submitted. Please view the complete set here as the following examples are just a few of the many excellent submissions.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Pinguy OS LTS Update: 10.04.2 [Ubuntu Remaster]

            An update for Pinguy OS 10.04 LTS was released today: 10.04.2. For those who are not familiar with Pinguy OS: it’s an Ubuntu remaster with a lot of useful default applications “built to have eye candy (Gloobus Preview, GNOME Do, Docky, Nautilus Elementary) and for every part of it to be user-friendly”. It comes with a lot of applications we’ve featured on WebUpd8 so if you want a ready-to-use Linux distro, you should really try Pinguy OS. I like to call it “Ubuntu after a week of customization” but lately it’s getting way past “a week”.

          • Lubuntu’s new theme ‘ozone’ ready for testing

            Lubuntu 11.04′s proposed new theme, ‘OZone‘, has been made available for testing from the Lubuntu desktop PPA.

            The theme is currently only available for Natty users.

            The theme is based, in part on Xubuntu’s default theme ‘Bluebird‘ with touches of Zuki Blues by Lassekongo.

          • Bodhi Linux 0.1.5 and the Enlightenment Desktop

            Bodhi Linux is clearly following that principle, using the tools of Enlightenment and repositories of Ubuntu. This will be a fun, and pleasant, release to watch.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • HP to Microsoft Sayonara?

      HP made its play for the lucrative mobile market with a number of products that will be powered using its own operating system, sending a message to Microsoft that the clock is ticking for its Windows OS.

    • Phones

      • HP donates a hefty server to homebrew WebOS Internals Group

        There was a piece of news that didn’t happen to get mentioned at last night’s developer event. HP has made a donation to a charity on behalf of the WebOS Internals homebrew group that is valued at over $10,000.

        A few weeks ago, it became clear that future growth in webOS would outpace the server infrastructure that WebOS Internals currently has in place. They were going to need some beefy hardware to keep up with the demands of acting as the a central repository for webOS homebrew apps, patches, and kernels.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Nokia swaps one ‘burning platform’ for another in Microsoft’s silent takeover of the Finnish phone maker

          The deal is a merger without the red tape, without billions paid out or without the whiles and wherefores of nasty, debilitating integration. Microsoft won’t own Nokia, technically, but it’s a takeover in principle. A former top Microsoft executive now runs Nokia and he just cut a sweet deal that’s all white meat and gravy for Microsoft and gristle and bone for Nokia. If I were a Nokia employee or investor, I’d stage a revolt.

        • MSQt™ Developer Guide
        • Nokia to cut thousands of jobs, Google reminds it is hiring
        • MeeGo Limbo

          So I was in for something big and different when a few years later I was named the US factory quality engineer for the Nokia 770. I was blown away by the product alone, but as I became more familiar with what it could do, I was truly impressed with its potential. Suddenly the idea of a computer in my palm was no longer this abstract concept, but something I could see, feel, do. And it ran Linux.

        • Linux Foundation Responds to Nokia Microsoft Partnership

          “The Linux Foundation is disappointed in Nokia’s decision today to choose Microsoft as the primary platform for its mobile phones. Tough times give birth to difficult decisions that we don’t always agree with, but open source is — at its core — about choice. We believe that open source software is more than a sum of its parts, and the market is currently bearing that out. The Linux Foundation is here to enable collaboration among its members and the Linux community, and we invite participation in MeeGo and any of our other many projects and programs. In its 20th anniversary year, Linux is a significant underpinning in every computing segment. Full steam ahead.”

        • Oh Nokia, We Loved You So…

          As many of you know, today Nokia announced that they’ve abandoned Linux, and partnered with Microsoft for their future phones. While current Linux based phones (Like our own Kyle Rankin’s N900) will continue to identify with freedom, any future offerings from Nokia will be all Windowsy. For those of us interested in Linux based handsets, our choices have been seriously decreased. Android is great, but competition within the Linux community is great too. Competition often sparks innovation. Sadly there’s little we can do but weep. Well, that and look for another hardware vendor to love.

        • The End of the (Nokia) Raj

          A long time ago, when World War II ended, two things happened. Two brand-new superpowers emerged, the United States of America and the U.S.S.R., and the world very soon organized itself into two camps. As this power shift happened, Great Britain lost its preeminence as a world superpower.

          Hobbled by the heavy expenses of the war, Great Britain couldn’t muster up the economic heft needed to hang on to its superpower status. Not long after, the dominoes started to fall. It had no option but to give India, once its crown jewel, independence. The British Raj came to an end. And soon after, the British Empire came to an end.

          That little snippet from history is less a political comment, but more as my way of trying to give some context to the mobile industry. All great empires come to an end, and perhaps today, we are seeing the beginning of the final days of Nokia, world’s largest mobile phone maker and the company that, among other things, championed the very idea of a smartphone.

        • Nokia’s Doomsday – the Elopocalypse?

          Nevertheless MeeGo is not only Nokia’s child. It is also powered and driven by Intel. Also Intel announced to continuously work on MeeGo. The main problem is that Nokia was the one vendor who was expected to equip its smart phones with it. Only too well, if another company would fill this gap – or will it run on more or less living OpenMoko?

        • Exclusive: Nokia’s Windows Phone 7 concept revealed!

          Look what we’ve found! This is the first image you’ll see anywhere of the early fruit of Microsoft and Nokia’s budding new partnership. We have it on good authority that the technicolor phones on show are conceptual devices produced by the two companies.

        • What is the Future of Qt now ?

          Following yesterdays news of Nokia replacing MeeGo with Windows Mobile as its primary future SmartPhone platform, there was a lots of confusion if MeeGo would survive this calamity (Of COURSE it will), but the other prominent question was “What is the future of Qt ?”. As Nokia actually own Qt, would they in fact utilise and support it.

        • Nokia new strategic direction. What is the future for Qt?

          Wow, what a day… Nokia outlined its new platform strategy for smartphones, with Windows Phones as it primary smartphone platform in a proposed partnership with Microsoft… and Microsoft’s tools would be used for Nokia Windows Phone application development … and guess what, it has raised a lot of questions in the Qt community.

        • Nokia: MeeNoGo?

          Nokia has been losing marketshare in the last few years and has been trying a few things. In 2010 Q4, They lost the title of being the number 1 smartphone to Android. This was after having this lead for 10 years.

          They tied up with Intel for Meego, which is Linux based OS for smart phones and tablets. Now their first device is cancelled.

        • Mike Elgan: Why Nokia is toast

          Nokia is being killed by complexity. The company’s solution? More complexity.

        • A MeeGo timeline: What led up to today’s Microsoft/Nokia partnership?
        • Microsoft, Nokia, and MeeGo: Are they all doomed?

          It’s true that Windows phones have lost market share – and that Microsoft is starting from zero in terms of market share on Windows Phone 7, an operating system that’s not actually Windows as we know it and not the earlier version of Windows for devices, Windows CE.

        • Fujitsu Announces Their First MeeGo OS Netbook, It’s Really Thin

          Fujitsu LifeBook MH330 black caseThought MeeGo was dead with the recent changes happening over at Nokia? Well it’s not MeeGo for all intents and purposes will be carrying on, however Nokia’s role with the project for the future is cloudy at the moment. MeeGo if you didn’t know is a mobile OS project championed by Intel and Nokia. The MeeGO OS is a Linux based OS that uses a bit from Intel’s Moblin netbook OS and Nokia’s Maemo mobile platform.

        • Fujitsu unveils world’s first MeeGo netbook, world barely notices

          It hasn’t been a terribly good week for MeeGo, but there’s a scant silver lining in the cloud — the first MeeGo netbook has arrived in Singapore, courtesy of Fujitsu. Actually, to be precise, it’s the first netbook to ship with MeeGo preinstalled, as Fujitsu’s simply shoehorned the lightweight operating system onto its existing LifeBook MH330 machine.

        • Palm’s Ari Jaaksi (Who Previously Lead MeeGo At Nokia) On Nokia Ditching MeeGo
        • You CAN make a difference!

          On another note, I worry about my old friends a lot. I’m sad to see they no longer trust they can make a difference. They’ve given up and given away their passion. Sorry, that ain’t gonna work. You must believe in yourself and what you are up to, and you must believe you can change the world. That’s the only way I know. All the best, though.

        • What now for MeeGo? Some proposals
        • Committed to Linux

          As a Nokia employee working on MeeGo, I feel that my career is going to be deeply affected by the recently announced Nokia strategy. I’m not going to comment on the value of the business decisions; of course I have my opinions about that too, but what I feel more important now is the future of MeeGo, and Linux-based platforms in general, inside Nokia.
          The announcement mentions MeeGo only marginally, as a “longer-term market exploration”, and ends the paragraph with “Nokia still plans to ship a MeeGo-related product later this year”. This sounds to me like: we won’t market any MeeGo devices in parallel with Windows Phone ones, not to hinder the latter’s success, but we’ll release the MeeGo product we’re currently working on before downscaling MeeGo back into the R&D division.

        • Tweeting with TwimGo 2.7.0

          I spent last few days testing my recent changes to TwimGo, Qt based Twitter client. Now it uses darker theme which looks awesome on my N8 and N900 and should look magical on your E7′s ClearBlack screens (let me know how it looks :)). I also tweaked the buttons look&feel and I think that they look stunning now. I might release the Button component as separate QML file if you wish.

        • So farewell to the cheesy phone OS

          The not unexpected news that Nokia have finally given up on it’s Symbian mobile phone operating system is still sad news. Symbian owes its existence to the plucky (yes I know a cliche) British firm of Psion, original develops of computer games for Sinclair and developers of the first generation of PDAs. Needing a relatively powerful operating system which allowed multi-taking, could drive a simple graphic user interface with low power consumption, Psion developed EPOC the ”Electronic Piece Of Cheese”.

      • Android

        • [Exclusive] Android Ice Cream Details – Bits of Honey, But Not the Full Comb [Build GRI17]

          Google has been met with the question time and time again: will Honeycomb ever make it to phones? You had to guess that their answer has either always been “no” or “we don’t know” by now – that version of Android is just too fleshed out for phones. That doesn’t mean tastes of Honeycomb won’t affect future phone versions of Android though.

          We’ve just gotten word from a trusted source that Google has begun building a new branch of code – being called GRI17 (Gingerbread post-Honeycomb, aka “Ice Cream”) – that aims to bring some of the new elements found in Honeycomb over to phones.

    • Tablets

      • Android tablets in big demand

        Android-based tablets look set for solid growth as shipments of the mobile product in third quarter jumped to 45 per cent sequentially from the previous quarter to more than 4.8 million units, according to experts.

        The figure is predicted to jump to more than 44.6 million this year and could result in a total of 70.8 million tablets being shipped in 2012, experts said, citing an article on Enterprise Mobility Today.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chromium browser survey

        If you are using the Chromium browser, please answer the following survey. It’s quick, and would greatly help focus the efforts in the coming releases.

    • Mozilla

      • Don’t Like The New Firefox Button? Then Change It!

        Firefox 3 users who switch to Firefox 4 for the first time need to get used to several interface changes that the developers have made. If you have followed the development from the first beta on you may have noticed that some of the design choices have been removed and replaced with something more Firefox-3 like. The mouse-over url information for instance were initially placed in the Firefox address bar but have been moved back to the bottom of the Firefox interface in the latest beta.

      • Is Mozilla’s 2011 roadmap unrealistically ambitious?

        Mozilla has published an updated roadmap in which it lays out its plans for 2011. The organization hopes to significantly shorten its release cycle and deliver a total of four major releases during 2011, cranking the browser up to version 7 by the end of the year.

        Some of Mozilla’s key technical priorities include improving responsiveness, integrating social sharing, refining the user interface, supporting 64-bit Windows and Android tablet form factors, finally delivering process isolation for tabs, and supporting emerging standards like CSS 3D transforms and WebSockets. In terms of features, Mozilla’s 2011 roadmap is compelling and achievable. There is room for skepticism, however, about the organization’s new release management strategy. Instead of aiming to roll all of this functionality out in a major release next year, Mozilla intends to push it out to users incrementally, using a series of three releases after the upcoming launch of Firefox 4.

      • Paste And Go Firefox Extension
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice development in 2010
    • Not even included, but already improved!

      You may have noticed that the new LibreOffice icons “missed the boat” for the LibreOffice 3.3 final – as one of the developers said. Fortunately, they will be included in the upcoming minor release (see ReleasePlan).

    • LibreOffice 3.3.1 Release Candidate available

      The Document Foundation is happy to announce the release candidate of LibreOffice 3.3.1. This release candidate is the first in a series of frequent bugfix releases on top of our LibreOffice 3.3 product. Please be aware that LibreOffice 3.3.1 RC1 is not yet ready for production use, you should continue to use LibreOffice for that.

    • LibreOffice: The Future of Office in Linux

      LibreOffice 3.3 was released a few weeks ago and this marks a very important milestone in the Open Source Office environment. In my previous post I talked in detail about OpenOffice.org but completely forgot to mention LibreOffice and all of the exciting things that are happening at The Document Foundation.

  • Government

    • WhiteHouse.gov Releases Second Set of Open Source Code

      Friday morning at the Tech@State event at the State Department, the White House’s New Media Director Macon Phillips announced the White House’s second code release to the open source community that powers the Drupal content management system.
      Last April, we released four modules for the Drupal community, which focused on the scalability, communication, and accessibility of our site.

      Today’s code release constitutes a few modules we developed for ourselves, as well as a recognition of our sponsoring the development of modules widely used in the Drupal community, which improve the administration of our site in a variety of ways: file management, content presentation, and URL shortening are just a few examples.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Khan Academy Education Videos Arrive in the App Studio

      Today we launched a brand-new app in collaboration with Khan Academy, a renowned not-for-profit organization fulfilling the mission of global education through video classes. We are extremely honored to support their vision.

      The Khan Academy exemplifies the type of content creators for whom we built the App Studio – independent artists looking to build relationships with our global community of over 100 million users. With the Khan Academy, we have the added bonus of helping to promote a worthy cause through technology innovation.

    • Harvard Library Joins HathiTrust

      The Harvard Library has joined HathiTrust, a shared digital repository for published materials that is co-owned and co-managed by the academic and public libraries who are the Trust’s 52 partners.

      Helen Shenton, executive director of the Harvard Library, praised HathiTrust’s vision and heralded Harvard’s affiliation with it: “This is a highly significant new collaboration that reflects the changing landscape for research libraries everywhere. HathiTrust mission embodies the spirit and the substance of Harvard’s rapidly evolving library system.”

    • Open Sourcing My Genetic Data

      Today, I published all of my known genetic data as open source and released all my rights to the data. Roughly 1 million of my genetic markers are now in the public domain. I believe that I’m one of the first people in the world to commit my genetic data into a decentralized source control system [ed: orta was the first]. The initial reactions that I received when I told some of my friends that I was going to do this was a combination of shock and skepticism.

      “Why would you do something like that?”
      “Aren’t you afraid that somebody is going to use that against you?
      “What if your healthcare provider got a hold of that? They’d love to look through it in order to deny you for some pre-existing condition!”
      “Ugh, I’d never want to know that sort of stuff about myself!”
      “What if somebody clones you!?”

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Ghent Declaration

        Seizing the Opportunity for Open Access to European Research: The Ghent Declaration initiated by the reviewers of the EC OpenAIRE Project.

        The Ghent Declaration was submitted to the European Commission last January as a follow up to the launch of OpenAIRE on December 2nd.

        SPARC Europe, who led the panel discussion at OpenAIRE, very much welcomes the Declaration and is happy to make it publicly-available via its website as to encourage further debate on the important matters affecting greater than ever access to Europe’s research publications.

  • Programming

    • http://webmink.com/2011/02/06/fosdem-java/

      The Free Java DevRoom at FOSDEM was packed with people all day yesterday. At the beginning, Mark Reinhold (from Sun and now Oracle, the chief Java engineer) hoped to speak briefly about the new OpenJDK governance draft but faced plenty of searching questions about it – you’ll not get to see though, as Mark and Joe were unable to gain permission from Oracle for their talks to be recorded. But that was the last it was mentioned the rest of the day until my talk at 6pm.

    • Updates [Louis Suarez-Potts left Oracle]

      I have some news: I’ve left Oracle. But I have not left OpenOffice.org and so remain deeply involved in the project and in the promotion of the OpenDocument Format, or ODF. In fact, my focus, my efforts are strengthened by my newfound independence.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • MPEG envisages royalty-free MPEG video coding standard

      MPEG has issued a press release describing its intent to move forward on developing a royalty-free MPEG standard.

    • Why You Need Document Freedom

      It seems everything has a special day. While today’s celebration is easy enough to understand, you may not have run into Document Freedom Day, which this year is being celebrated on March 30th. Don’t for a second underestimate the importance of document freedom. It sounds dull – not just mundane, but the forgotten esoterica of the mundane – but it’s a crucial driver in the dominance of major software vendors. If the other elements of our Digital liberty are to be allowed to unfurl in their natural order, we need document freedom.


  • Goodbye office space? The shrinking American cubicle

    If you feel like your cubicle walls are closing in around you, you may be right.

    A combination of the troubled economy and the influx of mobile technology is changing the workplace landscape. Literally.

    Companies across the country are shrinking those boxed-in work areas or scrapping the notion of the once-ubiquitous cubicles altogether.

  • The Apostate

    Haggis was prominent in both Scientology and Hollywood, two communities that often converge. Although he is less famous than certain other Scientologists, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, he had been in the organization for nearly thirty-five years.

  • Rob Ford’s hide and no speak: Granatstein

    So our new mayor isn’t a media darling, and would rather hide in the shadows. So what?

  • MCSE cartoon
  • Tell Congress: Don’t pull the plug on NPR and PBS!

    We’re only a few weeks into the 112th Congress, and Republicans are already attempting to pull the plug on public media.

    In a budget proposal made public on Wednesday, House Republicans announced plans to zero out all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the nonprofit responsible for funding public media including NPR, PBS, Pacifica and more.

  • UberMedia, Indeed. Bill Gross’ Twitter Ecosystem Empire Just Acquired TweetDeck

    The number of companies in the Twitter ecosystem keeps contracting. But not for a necessarily bad reason, but because they keep getting purchased. And what’s crazy is that it’s largely one person who has been buying them up: Bill Gross. We’ve just learned that his company, now called UberMedia, has just acquired TweetDeck.

    We’re hearing that the deal, which happened recently, was in the $25 – $30 million range. And this is clearly the largest deal they’ve done yet as TweetDeck is the largest Twitter client outside of Twitter’s own properties.

  • The Internet Scores Its Second Victory Of The Day, Borders Nears Bankruptcy

    The WSJ is reporting that Borders is preparing for bankruptcy and might file for Chapter 11 at the beginning of next week — According to our old friends the people familiar with the matter. Apparently its plans to refinance and convert its unpaid debt into $125 million in loans were not convincing enough for publishers. The report also says that it will close 200 of its 674 stores.

  • Billion Year labor contract for Scientologists

    This “Billion Year Contract” is purportedly the document that Scientologists committing themselves to the Sea Org (a part of the organization alleged to practice indentured labor enforced by corporal punishment) are asked to sign.

  • Album Review: PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

    Polly Jean Harvey has to be, and if not should be, one of the most respected artists that England has ever produced.

    Despite her mainstream and commercial success, including the 2001 Mercury Music Prize, seven Brit Award Nominations, five Grammy Award Nominations and two further Mercury prize nominations, she has held her ‘cult status’, never ploughing the same musical furrow, always the risk taker.

  • Our World, Slowed Down 100 Times [VIDEO]

    Come with us into a world where everything is slowed down more than 100 times. Thanks to an expert videographer and editor named Tom Guilmette and a Vision Research Phantom Flex camera, we get a peek into an alternative universe — the same one we inhabit, but where the temporal element has been distorted in a variety of ways.

  • Science

    • A.I. expert Ray Kurzweil picks computer in ‘Jeopardy’ match

      When the IBM computer called “Watson” faces off against past Jeopardy champs on Monday, no one will be watching more intently than inventor Ray Kurzweil, a leading authority on the future of artificial intelligence.

    • Statistics Canada under seige

      If there’s one thing that has prevented me from despairing completely about the débâcle that is and will be the 2011 census, it’s been my faith in the professionalism and expertise of the people who work at Statistics Canada. Their present political masters may be deaf to reason, but this is only a temporary state of affairs. There will eventually be a change of government and when that happens, the expertise of the StatsCan professionals will still be there.

    • CFI Supports U.S. Rep. Pete Stark’s Darwin Day Resolution

      Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has introduced H. Res. 81 , asking for the designation of February 12, 2011, as Darwin Day, to honor the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday and the importance of his work.

    • KinderSuperPosition

      “I think I can safely say,” said Richard Feynman, who understood everything, “that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”

      Quantum mechanics just doesn’t gel in the human mind. We can use the mathematical language of quantum mechanics simply enough, but it doesn’t paint a picture in our heads. Language only has meaning, according to Wittgenstein, to the extent that it paints a picture. He later revised this principle (the principle itself has obvious meaning, but paints no picture), but for many physical explanations that picture is still essential.

    • Stephen Wolfram: Can he topple Google?

      The British scientist Stephen Wolfram has a clear vision for the future – a vision that dates back to his childhood in the 1960s and 70s. In those days, we didn’t prophesise that computer technology would bring us convenient ways to shop, or new ways to talk to our friends in short sentences. The dream was much grander – that computers would work out stuff for us, a bit like Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey (without the murderous intent).

    • Two Huge Holes in the Sun Spotted

      Japanese scientists have spotted two huge holes on the sun’s magnetic field, and it has been observed that the holes look darker than other parts of the sun.

      The holes, called coronal holes, are gateways for solar material and gas to spill out into space, according to space.com. The gaps in the sun’s magnetic field make a hole through its atmosphere, letting gas out, NASA has said.

  • Hardware

    • Sennheiser HD 555 to HD 595 Mod
    • The Bilibot Project is about affordable robots.

      The Bilibot Project is an effort to build an affordable robotics platform for educators, hobbyists and researchers. This project was started in late 2010, shortly after the release of the Microsoft Kinect, and was funded through a Kickstarter project in January 2011. To learn more about the motivations of the Bilibot project, and what it entails, check out our about page.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • House GOP Declares War on Planned Parenthood

      Capitol Hill’s abortion fight was already heating up, with skirmishes over federal funding for abortion, the effect of the tax code on abortion, and a controversial “forcible rape” provision. But on Wednesday, the Republican-led House of Representatives declared war.

    • The anti-abortion lobby’s gotcha tactics

      Lila Rose – an activist who schooled with James O’Keefe in the art of deceptive editing and other dishonest manipulation of undercover footage in service of rightwing aims – has been around a long time. Unlike her colleague O’Keefe, however, Rose has only one target: Planned Parenthood.

    • The UK needs a labelling scheme for GM-free meat products

      Most people don’t like eating foods that have been genetically modified. Where they have a choice – that is, the products are clearly labelled and there are alternatives – they tend to avoid GM offerings. This is one reason why GM crops tend to form animal feeds or staple foods, where consumers either have no choice or no awareness.

      There is every justification for the European Union to be cautious about authorising GM products: concerns about the impact of genetic modification on the environment and human health, and the risk of placing farmers in the hands of monopoly suppliers of GM seeds.

    • Bristol’s biofuels plant must be refused planning permission

      Today, the government will make what should be a very simple decision: whether or not to give planning permission to a power station in Bristol burning biofuels. The answer must be no.

    • The Insurers’ Real Agenda for Change

      The story much of the press missed was the revelation that the CEOs and lobbyists for the five biggest for-profits — UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Aetna, CIGNA and Humana — have been meeting frequently to plot their attack on the law.

  • Security

    • How to crash the Internet

      We know you can take down Web sites with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. We know that a country, like Egypt, can knock down a country’s entire Internet infrastructure. And, we thought we knew that you couldn’t take down the entire Internet. It turns out we could be wrong.

      In a report from New Scientist, Max Schuchard a computer science graduate student and his buddies claim they’ve found a way to launch DDoS attacks on Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) network routers that could crash the Internet.

    • Hackers Reveal Offers to Spy on Corporate Rivals
    • HBGary wanted to suppress Stuxnet research

      It is no secret that in recent days, Anonymous Operatives have released a cache of HBGary Federal internal emails to the public. Crowdleaks has discovered that within these communications, Aaron Barr received a copy of Stuxnet (a computer worm that targets the types of industrial control systems (ICS) that are commonly used in infrastructure supporting facilities) from McAfee on July 28, 2010.

    • HBGary: nailed by a 16-year-old

      That was Greg Hoglund (right) the front man for disgraced security company HBGary whose Aaron Barr claimed he’d penetrated the inner circle of Anonymous, the ungroup that’s brought a bright new dawn to a world until now controlled by a small band of vicious, unprincipled corporate gangsters and politicians.

      And people such as Hoglund and Barr who tried to sell the results of Barr’s labours to the FBI, including names of alleged Anonymous ‘leaders’.

      In retribution, Anonymous penetrated HBGary and splashed confidential company emails — 50,000 or more — online.

    • AnonLeaks – How far is too far?

      A new Anonymous site will, possibly as soon as tomorrow, feature another 27,000 emails culled from the server of Greg Hoglund, the red-faced boss of US security firm HBGary.

      He and his company, and spin-off HBGary Federal, were dragged through the mud backwards by Anonymous after one of Hoglund’s Main Men, ‘Federal’ CEO Aarron Barr, claimed to have cracked the people behind ungroup Anonymous.

      How can you crack something which doesn’t exist? But that’s what Barr said he’d done, and his assertion was picked up and headlined by no less a publication than Britain’s Financial Times.

      Having supposedly busted Anonymous, Barr and HBGary were definitely busted — and by an 16-year-old.

      Now that’s, ignomy, particularly for a firm which boasts it provides “classified services to the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community and other U.S. Government agencies to meet their unique requirement”.

    • HBGary Email Viewer: Portal
    • Wikileaks Wasn’t The Only Operation HBGary Federal, Palantir And Berico Planned To Defraud

      By now the exposed plan of HBGary Federal, Palantir and Berico to attack Wikileaks and its supporters through fraud and deception, in order to help Bank of America, has been discussed widely. However, the leaked HBGary Federal emails suggest that this sort of plan involving these three companies had been used elsewhere. Apparently the US Chamber of Commerce had approached the same three firms to plan a remarkably similar attack on groups that oppose the US Chamber of Commerce.

      That leaked plan (embedded below) includes a similar plan to create fake documents and give them to these groups to publish, with the intent of “exposing” them later, to raise questions about their credibility.

    • Bombshell: Chamber of Commerce lobbyists solicited firm to investigate opponents’ families, children

      Thursday, ThinkProgress published an exclusive report that the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing trade association representing big business, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress. According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Attorneys for the firm solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop a sabotage campaign against progressive groups and labor unions, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com.

    • US Chamber’s Lobbyists Have Firm Investigate Opponents’ Families, Children

      Earlier today, ThinkProgress published an exclusive report that the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing trade association representing big business, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress. According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Attorneys for the firm solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop a sabotage campaign against progressive groups and labor unions, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com.

    • Stop The Chamber
  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Robed Lawyers Join Protests and March in Egypt, Calling for a Trial of Mubarak

      Thousands of lawyers and doctors joined protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square on Thursday amid calls for Hosni Mubarak to resign.

    • Egypt’s military to warn against “chaos and disorder”

      Egypt’s new military rulers will issue a warning on Sunday against anyone who creates “chaos and disorder”, an army source said.

    • Systematic rape continues on Congo-Angola border: UN

      Systematic sexual violence continues to be carried out against Congolese women and girls caught up in mass expulsions from Angola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a U.N. envoy said on Friday.

      Community leaders recorded 182 reported rapes in seven villages along the border in January alone, while a U.N. assessment mission confirmed 1,357 reported rape cases in one village in a six-to-eight-month period last year, said the official, Margot Wallstrom.

    • King Tut statues, 16 other items missing from Egyptian Museum

      A full inventory of the Egyptian Museum has found that looters escaped with 18 items during the anti-government unrest, including two gilded wooden statues of famed boy king, Tutankhamun, the antiquities chief said Sunday.

      The 18-day uprising that forced out President Hosni Mubarak engulfed the areas around the famed museum, on the edge of Cairo’s Tahrir Square. On Jan. 28, as protesters clashed with police early on in the turmoil and burned down the adjacent headquarters of Mubarak’s ruling party, a handful of looters climbed a fire escape to the museum roof and lowered themselves on ropes from a glass-panelled ceiling onto the museum’s top floor.

    • NRC on Research on “War on Terror” Detainees: “A Contemporary Problem”?

      A National Research Council (NRC) 2008 report on a conference on Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies examined briefly what it characterized as a “contemporary problem,” the possibility of doing research on “war on terror” detainees, removed by the U.S. government from Geneva protections against experiments done on prisoners of war.

      In a section of the report that looked at the “Cultural and Ethical Underpinnings of Social Neuroscience,” the report’s authors examined the “Ethical Implications” of these new technologies. The section explored the birth of the new field of bioethics, in response to the scandalous revelations of the Tuskegee experiments. The report noted that “On the whole, however, the system of protections for human research subjects is not well designed to capture instances of intentional wrongdoing,” providing “rather… guidance for well-motivated investigators who wish to be in compliance with regulatory requirements and practice standards.”

    • The addled piorities of US drugs policy

      If you still doubt that the war on drugs has completely warped American law enforcement priorities, look at Camden, New Jersey, poorest city in the state and second most dangerous city in the US. Last month, Camden laid off nearly half its police force – and raised taxes by 23% – in a desperate attempt to plug a few budget holes.

    • Criminal checks on people working with children to be eased

      The move – part of the coalition government’s plans to scale back Labour’s “over-intrusive” vetting and barring scheme to “commonsense levels” – is included in the protection of freedoms bill, which is being launched by the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg. It is designed to roll back “unwarranted state intrusion in private lives” through the use of CCTV, local authority surveillance powers and the police DNA database.

    • Rohingyas Flee Burma by Boat

      On a beach dotted with swanky, star-class hotels, a boatload of bedraggled men appeared out of the dark sea one midnight, exhausted from nearly two weeks at sea fleeing Burma’s repressive military.

    • The Domestic War on Protesters

      Recent weeks have seen waves of popular protest sweep through the Middle East in Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and notably the demonstrations in Egypt, which continue into their third week. The international response has included powerful expressions of support for the people of Egypt and their right to dissent against the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Here in the United States, this support has come largely at the grassroots level with public statements and demonstrations of solidarity, primarily organized by Arab- American communities.

      The response from US government has cautiously paid lip service to some of the issues raised by the protesters. This is inconsistent with their actions, as the US has been a close political ally of Mubarak for years, giving billions of dollars in aid to his regime and had US diplomats supporting him during the protests. However, the unambiguous message we have heard from the political leaders of this country is the oft-repeated mantra that the United States supports universal human rights, particularly the rights to peaceful protest and free speech.

    • Allegations that Mubarak murdered protesters submitted to attorney general

      A number of lawyers have submitted reports to the attorney general that accuse former President Hosni Mubarak of involvement in the shooting of protesters and inciting chaos during the pro-democracy protests that started on 25 January.

      Judicial sources said accusations against Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli requested both men’s arrest and speedy trial. As well as shooting protesters, they are accused of ordering police to withdraw and allowing thugs and prisoners destroy the country.

    • Ron Paul “I’m Sure Our CIA Is Looking Around To See Who’s The Next Guy We Can Support” [Video]
    • You’ve Got Bail! (But No Freedom)

      The men’s shelter doesn’t look like a prison. There are no bars on the windows, no sign announcing the building’s institutional status. The walls are decorated with posters about Indigenous pride and occasionally the air is tinged with the sweet smell of burning sage.

    • War crimes investigation proceeding against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

      The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, is conducting a “preliminary examination” into human rights abuses committed in Afghanistan by Taliban and ISAF forces alike. And while the ICC has focused in recent years on prosecuting African despots, Mr. Ocampo said he will not back down from prosecuting Western governments that are not holding their officials accountable for their actions.

      “I prosecute whoever is in my jurisdiction. I cannot allow that we are a court just for the Third World. If the First World commits crimes, they have to investigate. If they don’t, I shall investigate,” Mr. Ocampo said. “That’s the rule and we have one rule for everyone.”

    • G20 lawyer wants charges filed against police

      The lawyer for a G20 protester who claims to have been shot with rubber bullets by police at a Toronto rally is calling for a criminal investigation of the officers who he says were involved.

      Clayton Ruby on Friday showed reporters a video that he says shows two officers firing three rubber bullets at Natalie Gray during an east end Toronto protest on June 27.

      Two of those rubber bullets hit Gray, before officers surrounded and then arrested her, he said. Ruby also produced a photograph of an officer he alleges fired one of the shots. He believes that officer is clearly identifiable.

    • SIU passes on probe of Ottawa man’s arrest

      A probe into the treatment of a homeless man in an Ottawa cell block has been sent back to Ottawa police after the province’s Special Investigations Unit ruled it had no jurisdiction over special constables.

      Jeremiah Ivalu, 37, of Ottawa, told CBC News he had two ribs broken while in police custody on Nov. 10 after he took off his shoe and threw it at a police officer in the booking area.

    • Man hit by officer has charges dropped
    • Police open criminal investigation into G20 arrest

      Police are opening a criminal investigation into the arrest of Natalie Gray, a G20 protester who alleges she was seriously harmed after she was shot at close range with two rubber bullets.

      Gray launched a civil lawsuit last September claiming over $1.6 million in damages, naming the Toronto Police Services Board and 10 unknown John and Jane Doe officers who were involved in the incident as defendants.

    • Yemen: Pro-Government Forces Attack Demonstrators

      Hundreds of men armed with knives, sticks, and assault rifles attacked anti-government protesters in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, as Yemeni security forces stood by, Human Rights Watch said today. Within an hour, the 1,000-plus protesters had been pushed from the square and at least 10 had been detained by security forces, Human Rights Watch said.

      Human Rights Watch witnessed at least 10 army trucks carrying men in civilian clothing to Sanaa’s Tahrir Square, where a crowd of around 1,000 Yemenis had been demonstrating in support of the historic changes in Egypt and against the Yemeni government. Hundreds of men, their arrival coordinated by uniformed security agents, attacked the anti-government protesters with knives and sticks, prompting the majority to flee.

    • Yemen protesters: ‘First Mubarak, now Ali’

      Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched toward a presidential palace in Yemen on Sunday, calling for regime change in the Middle Eastern country.

      Some of them chanted, “First Mubarak, now Ali,” referring to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Hosni Mubarak, who recently resigned as president of Egypt after nearly 30 years in power.

      Security forces put up a barbed wire barricade and blocked the protesters’ path about two miles from the palace. At that point, the situation intensified as protesters turned away and attempted to reach the palace through side streets.

    • Obama overrules Amnesty International & President of Yemen, Journalist remains imprisoned

      Protesters in south Yemen called for the secession of the once independent south today. Security forces were out early in the day with tanks and police to force protesters back inside. Scores of protesters were moved off of the streets of Aden, but dozens managed to get out in Crater, Khor Maksar, and Al-Mansura, and several hundred people in Zinjibar. Police in Al-Masura, fired warning shots and tear gas. Some reports say thousands of protesters were out in all provinces.

    • Pro-democracy rally begins in Algeria, defying ban

      Thousands of people are holding a pro-democracy rally in Algeria’s capital Algiers, defying a government ban.

      Scuffles broke out between the protesters and riot police and a number of people were reportedly arrested.

    • Jihadist groups watch revolution pass them by

      Jihadist groups across the Middle East have applauded and encouraged the popular movements in Tunisia and Egypt, but their exhortations have made little impact on the course of events. In fact, they’ve hardly been noticed.

      Even so, a survey of postings on jihadist websites and forums suggests Islamist groups see opportunities to exploit what has happened.

      Al Qaeda and associated Islamist groups, long committed to the overthrow of Arab governments, have so far been marginalized spectators rather than drivers of protest, behind the curve of what U.S. President Barack Obama has called the “arc of history.”

    • Algeria shuts down internet and Facebook as protest mounts

      Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.

      There were also reports of journalists being targeted by state-sponsored thugs to stop reports of the disturbances being broadcast to the outside world.

      But it was the government attack on the internet which was of particular significance to those calling for an end to President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s repressive regime.

      Protesters mobilising through the internet were largely credited with bringing about revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

    • Al Jazeera’s Social Revolution (In Realtime)

      While you can debate about the exact role of social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook, in Egypt’s revolution, there is no question about its role as a new global media channel. Where once people tuned into CNN to watch governments collapse, this time around they tuned into Al Jazeera on the Web (at least in English speaking countries lie the U.S. where Al Jazeera English is not widely carried on cable systems).

    • China activist Chen Guangcheng ‘beaten’

      A prominent Chinese activist and his wife are reported to have been beaten following the release of a video showing their house arrest.

      Chen Guangcheng and his wife, Yuan Weijin, were badly injured by security officials, according to the group Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

      It says the beating came after the release of a secretly shot film showing Mr Chen as a prisoner in his own home.

    • Executions Are Good, Says Iran’s Chief Justice

      According to Mehr news agency, Iran’s chief justice, Ayatollah Mohseni Gorkani, told his students in an ethics class that “our life, tranquility and peace depend on executions”. After reading verses from the Quran, Ayatollah Gorkani further stated executions are dictated by the Holy book and must be done in order to preserve tranquility of life and peace in the society.

      Gorkani went on to describe the role of the judiciary by saying that the critics of the Iranian judiciary “do not understand that the current security in the country is in the hands of the judges of the judiciary.” He furthered echoed the same theme by stating” judges and judiciary staff spent all their efforts to protect rights and institutionalize security in society”.

      The Islamic Republic of Iran is executing prisoners at an alarming rate. According to International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Iran is executing one person every eight hours.

    • Iranian opposition leader under house arrest after protests call

      Son of Medhi Karroubi says family has been banned from visiting his father’s house amid plans for demonstration

    • This time, the people of Haiti may win

      In 1915, the US Marines invaded Haiti, occupying the country until 1934. US officials rewrote the Haitian constitution, and when the Haitian national assembly refused to ratify it, they dissolved the assembly. They then held a “referendum” in which about 5% of the electorate voted and approved the new constitution – which conveniently changed Haitian law to allow foreigners to own land – with 99.9% voting for approval.

  • Cablegate

    • A disturbing threat against one of our own

      A bizarre plan for an attack on the whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks and journalists construed as sympathetic to it — first reported by the Tech Herald — clearly targets Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, saying that his “level of support” for WikiLeaks “needs to be disrupted.” The report (you can download the purported final draft here) is listed as an “overview by Palantir Technologies, HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies,” and according to a string of e-mails also leaked, was developed following a request from Hunton and Williams, a law firm that represents, among others, Bank of America.

      Bank of America is the presumed next target of WikiLeaks, and has reportedly been bracing for what’s to come.

      The leaked report singles out other journalists, as well, and suggests that “these are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause …” And goes on: “Without the support of people like Glenn wikileaks would fold.”

      For a complete breakdown of what it all means, Glenn has a thorough, illuminating report. But what the authors of the report meant when they plotted how Glenn and the others could be “disrupted” or “pushed” is as unclear as it is ominous — and has us deeply concerned. The report was exposed by Anonymous, the pro-WikiLeaks hackers who went after the companies that dropped services to the whistle-blowing organization last year. Anonymous was apparently acting in retaliation to HBGary, whose head of security services, Aaron Barr, had earlier claimed to have infiltrated the Anonymous network. HBGary has since responded, claiming that “information currently in the public domain” from the leak “is not reliable because the perpetrators of this offense, or people working closely with them, have intentionally falsified certain data.”

    • BofA denies connection to proactive tactics to silence WikiLeaks
    • U.S. Chamber joins BofA in denying ties to disinformation campaigns

      The U.S. Chamber of Commerce — like the Bank of America — is scrambling to distance itself from a cache of stolen e-mails that continue to disgorge stunning details of how high-stakes, corporate-backed disinformation campaigns get birthed.

      The chamber and BofA are embroiled in mirror-image controversies stemming directly from the spontaneous hack last Sunday of HBGary Federal, a digital intelligence firm. The hack was pulled off by the elite global hacking group known as Anonymous.

    • WikiLeaks Secret Swedish Spy Law, US connection exposed.. [Video]
    • Wikileaks Useless Without Greenwald? [Video]
    • Why the U.S. shouldn’t try Julian Assange

      The Obama administration is under pressure to respond to WikiLeaks’ massive disclosures of State Department cables. It cannot stop the continued publication of the cables, which several news organizations around the world possess. It is reportedly leaning toward using criminal law to make an example of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in order to deter future Assanges. The government is conducting “an active, ongoing criminal investigation,” says Attorney General Eric Holder.

      The government should fully investigate how this major breach of national security occurred. But prosecuting Assange would be a mistake.

      The first problem with going after Assange is that the effort is likely to fail. Extraditing Assange from England (where he is now) or Sweden (where he may go to face charges of sexual assault) would not be easy, especially since Assange’s actions might be deemed a “political offense,” for which exceptions are made to extradition obligations.

    • Julian Assange – U.S. International Extradition and Alternatives to Extradition

      Federal Attorney Douglas McNabb addresses U.S. International Extradition, and alternatives to extradition, that Julian Assange may face if indicted by the U.S. Government.

    • Cablegate Coloring Book

      The release of classified US diplomatic cables by Wikileaks has contributed greatly to public discourse about many important issues. Now it’s time to get creative. Find a cable, draw on it, and share your thoughts with us, visually.

    • EXPOSED: Attack on Wikileaks [Video]

      Corporations are working to take Wikileaks out, and the government is approving of it. Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.com explains.

    • Twitter Wikileaks Court Order

      In January 2011, the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed three motions on behalf of Birgitta Jonsdottir, the Icelandic parliamentarian whose Twitter account records were targeted by the government in connection with its investigation related to WikiLeaks.

    • US Senator from Hawaii confirms ‘Republican placed Anonymous Hold on Whistleblower Protection Act’

      The U.S. Senator from Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, has confirmed that a Republican Senator placed an anonymous hold on The Whistleblower Protection Act.


      I created a list of Senators, who are on Twitter, and who have not yet responded to: “Did you place an anonymous hold on the Whistleblower Protection Act?” Both U.S. Senator Inouye of Hawaii and U.S. Senator Stabenow of Michigan responded to the Twitter campaign directly from their official accounts.

    • Harper gets secret WikiLeaks briefings

      Stephen Harper’s government is saying next to nothing publicly about the deluge of WikiLeaks flooding cyberspace.

      But behind closed doors, it’s a very different story, newly obtained memos show.

      The declassified correspondence reveals the depth of the Conservative government’s concerns about leaked U.S. diplomatic messages that continue to grab headlines in Canada and around the globe.

    • US diplomat calls African dictator a good guy

      A U.S. diplomat called Equatorial Guinea’s dictator of 31 years one of “the good guys” in leaked diplomatic cables urging Washington to engage with its third largest oil supplier or risk endangering energy security.

      In 2009 cables published by WikiLeaks, Anton K. Smith, the ranking U.S. diplomat at the time, described a country beset by foreign and homegrown predators, “sharks … buccaneers and adventurers,” since U.S. wildcatters discovered oil in 1994.

    • WikiLeaks: Charles Taylor may have $400 million out of reach

      US officials were told that if Mr Taylor is found guilty of war crimes, the international court in The Hague might only be able to recover a fraction of his wealth.

      On Friday judges in The Hague adjourned indefinitely the three-year-old trial of Mr Taylor on charges of arming rebels who killed and maimed Sierra Leone citizens.

      Instead of closing it, as scheduled, Mr Taylor’s lawyers were granted leave to appeal an earlier decision refusing the late filing of a defence document.

    • Assange trapped in cozy Sweden-US relationship

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to appear in a London court to fight extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes. Sweden denies any intention to extradite him to the US, but as RT has found out, Stockholm may be far from impartial in this case.

    • Wikileaks: US Embassy Urged Finland To Join NATO

      Diplomatic cables provided to YLE by the Wikileaks organisation reveal that officials from the American Embassy in Helsinki tried to corral Finnish politicians into supporting NATO membership over the past decade.

      The embassy has also carefully tracked Finnish opinions on the NATO issue. According to the Wikileaks material, politicians from the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP) have claimed that they would lead Finland into NATO if they head the government after elections in April.

    • Cables Show Close US-Finnish Contacts

      The Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) has obtained about 1,000 diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks related to contacts between Finnish and American officials over the past decade.

      The documents make it clear that discussions between Finland and the US have been intensive and frank. YLE will begin publishing the content of these cables on Friday.

      The material in YLE’s possession makes it clear that President Tarja Halonen has played a central role in these contacts. The US administration has taken note of Halonen’s critical views, but seen her role as crucial – and clearly held her in respect. YLE’s editorial staff has been studying the material this week.

    • TPB #Cablegate
    • CPAC Audience Cheers Wildly For Coulter Comment, “I Think There Should Be More Jailed Journalists”

      From February 12 coverage of CPAC 2011…

    • Assange Speaks
    • Why Bradley Manning Is a Patriot, Not a Criminal: An Opening Statement for the Defense of Private Manning

      Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old from Crescent, Oklahoma, enlisted in the U.S. military in 2007 to give something back to his country and, he hoped, the world.

      For the past seven months, Army Private First Class Manning has been held in solitary confinement in the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. 25,000 other Americans are also in prolonged solitary confinement, but the conditions of Manning’s pre-trial detention have been sufficiently brutal for the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Torture to announce an investigation.

      Pfc. Manning is alleged to have obtained documents, both classified and unclassified, from the Department of Defense and the State Department via the Internet and provided them to WikiLeaks. (That “alleged” is important because the federal informant who fingered Manning, Adrian Lamo, is a felon convicted of computer-hacking crimes. He was also involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution in the month before he levelled his accusation. All of this makes him a less than reliable witness.) At any rate, the records allegedly downloaded by Manning revealed clear instances of war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, widespread torture committed by the Iraqi authorities with the full knowledge of the U.S. military, previously unknown estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed at U.S. military checkpoints, and the massive Iraqi civilian death toll caused by the American invasion.

    • Expelled Guardian journalist back in Moscow

      The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent Luke Harding who was expelled from Russia a week ago, returned to Moscow on Saturday, head of the Foreign Press Association of Moscow Adib Al Sayed said.

      Harding, 42, was refused reentry to Russia at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on February 5 after being absent from the country for two months. He was put on a plane back to Britain, and his visa, valid until May 31, 2011, was annulled.

      Harding obtained a new visa at the Russian embassy in London, and his new press accreditation is ready, Al Sayed said.

    • Viewing cable 08LIMA480,

      European NGOs, Peruvian social movements, and radical groups have been working since early 2007 to organize “anti-summit” protests against the European Union-Latin American Heads of State summit scheduled for mid-May in Lima. In early 2008, the Venezuelan Embassy allegedly helped craft a cooperation agreement between protest organizers and nationalist opposition leader Ollanta Humala. Bolivian President Evo Morales is so far the only head of state confirmed to address anti-summit protestors. Notwithstanding the recent arrest of seven terrorist suspects and the government’s public claims, we have not seen evidence backing the notion that the Venezuela-backed Bolivarian Continental Coordinator plans to disrupt the summit. The greatest concern among our European Union mission colleagues is the threat that radicals could hijack the protests by aggressively confronting ill-prepared security forces, as occurred in Cusco in February. The GOP is taking these threats seriously.

    • British Consul Closes Office to Duck Assange Letter

      On February 7, 2011, a small group of peace activists organized by the “Tackling Torture at the Top” Committee of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) tried to meet with the British Honorary Consul at his office on the 26th floor of the US Bancorp Center, 800 Nicollet Mall, in downtown Minneapolis. The purpose of the meeting was to deliver a letter with more than 750 signatures asking the British government to observe their own laws prohibiting political extradition in the case of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. Various news sources (also here and here) have claimed that the proposed extradition is being pushed by the United States so that, once Assange is in Sweden, the U.S. can grab him for political rendition to stand trial in the U.S. with a possible death penalty.

    • Evgeny Morozov: The Future of WikiLeaks
    • WikiLeaks: Will Australia Help Julian Assange?

      On Feb. 4, a week before Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London, thousands of people gathered in Melbourne at a free-speech forum. The star of the show was the WikiLeaks founder himself, who delivered a pre-recorded video message to the crowd. “I can’t wait to be back in Melbourne, where I have fond memories of taking a tram up Swanston Street, dropping in at Trades Hall and having my favorite coffee at the New International Bookshop,” he said, playing the crowd like a rock star. After comparing his fight for transparency to the American struggle for civil rights, he ended with an appeal to Australia’s Prime Minister: “Julia Gillard should be taking active steps to bring me home.”

    • Wikileaks founder’s mother says Australia has failed Assange

      Wikileaks founder’s mother angry, speaks to Jon Faine

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Tar sands are a blot on Canadian politics – as well as the landscape

      Here in Canada our prime minister, Stephen Harper, seems hell-bent in exploiting our natural resources for economic gain, regardless of the environmental consequences.

      Having oil or gas reserves, such as Canada’s tar sands, often brings a questionable benefit to the producer nation’s economy or society as a whole (Norway is one notable exception).

      While much of the world seeks to avoid serious climate change, Harper and his tight-knit crew of ideologues and communications experts are instead lauding their Clean Energy Dialogue with the United States, which emphasises just how “clean” Canada’s tar sands oil is.

    • Shark fishing in Japan – a messy, blood-spattered business

      In 2009, Kesennuma landed almost 14,000 tonnes of shark, worth just over ¥2.4bn (£17.9m): a decent-sized tailfin can fetch as much as ¥10,000.

    • Greenhouse emissions to double unless action taken

      Government climate adviser Ross Garnaut’s latest update to his 2008 review found the economic shift towards developing countries was so great they would be responsible for 70 per cent of global emissions by 2030, up from about half today.

      The expansion of China and India was more than offsetting the dip in emissions growth in North America and Europe due to the financial crisis.

    • WikiLeaks: Saudi oil reserves overstated

      Estimates of oil reserves in Saudi Arabia are overstated, meaning crude output could peak within the next decade, leaked U.S. diplomatic cables reveal.

      Washington fears Saudi Arabia overestimated its oil reserves by as much as 40 percent and the kingdom can’t keep enough oil flowing to control prices, U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and published by The Guardian newspaper in London reveal.

  • Finance

    • Bank scorched by stupid Facebook policy

      As a result, according to Australia’s Finance Sector Union, any staff complaint – down to the colour of the coffee-cups – would expose an employee to disciplinary action including dismissal.

    • The Big Society Bail-In brings protest to your local bank

      Look through the newspapers this month and two points will become immediately clear. First, the government is cutting, privatising and changing the very nature of social security and public goods that were won through the 20th century. Every aspect of what was fought for by generations seems under threat – from selling off the forests, privatising health provision, closing the libraries and swimming pools, and scrapping rural bus routes.

      Second, the banks are doing just fine. February is bankers’ bonus month; Barclays announces their gifts to themselves on the 15th, with its chief executive, Bob Diamond, expecting £9m just for him. While RBS is due to transfer its £900m bonus pool into the pockets of high-earning bankers on the 25th. These bonuses should make the disgrace of the MPs’ expenses scandal look like chicken feed and are another demonstration of just how much we really are not all in this together.

    • European debt crisis threatens Portugal

      The European Central Bank (ECB) has stepped in to the financial markets to buy Portuguese bonds on Thursday amid growing fears that the eurozone’s rolling crisis is about to claim its third victim.

      Policymakers in Frankfurt intervened for the first time in three weeks as borrowing costs on Portugal’s debt remained at a level that proved to be unsustainable for both Greece and Ireland.

    • UBS Whistleblower Finds Himself in Federal Prison

      Bradley Birkenfeld once lived the high life as secret Swiss banker at UBS in Geneva. Then he delivered some of the world’s best-kept secrets to the US government, expecting a great reward. And now he sits in federal prison in Pennsylvania.

      How’d that happen? It began in 2007, when the American-born Birkenfeld approached the Department of Justice with surprising evidence that UBS was helping alleged American tax cheats hide assets in Switzerland’s famous secret banking system.


      He says he’s convinced that wealthy Americans are hiding as much as a trillion dollars in wealth outside the US tax system, and that’s putting a huge burden on the rest of the nation’s taxpayers. “The average American is carrying the weight for all these millionaires and billionaires,” he said.

      “That’s the fact. That’s the truth. And until someone does something about it, it’s never gonna be cleaned up.”

    • How The Mubarak Family Made Its Billions

      But over the last 20 years, Mubarak, his family and his close circle of advisers have enriched themselves through partnerships in powerful Egyptian companies, profiting from their political power, according to numerous reports. The 82-year-old leader and his two sons also wield the levers of the government, including the military and the country’s preeminent political party, to reward friends and punish enemies.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • New powers to vet online adverts

      People who use the internet are about to get a new opportunity to complain about company websites.

      From 1 March, consumers are being invited to make official objections about indecent or misleading information on the internet.

      They will be able to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which is taking on new powers to regulate commercial websites.

  • Censorship

    • The real Internet censors: unaccountable ISPs?

      According to a new report, the Internet police are coming… and they’re not wearing badges. Instead, governments are devolving enforcement powers on the ‘Net to ISPs.

      Here at Ars Technica, we regularly report on the uneasy relationship between Internet Service Providers and the national legal systems under which they operate. This tension surfaces most obviously when it comes to suing individual consumers for illegal file sharing.

      Plaintiff lawyers want maximum cooperation from ISPs in tracking down subscribers to be subpoenaed, while providers like Time Warner Cable insist they can only process so many requests at a time. Denounced as permissive on piracy, ISPs and content industry lawyers collide in the courts.

    • A Look At Internet Censorship Around The World

      Shocklee points us to some fantastic infographics about global internet censorship, including this first one highlighting levels of internet censorship around the globe. Frankly, it looks like in some of the areas where there’s “no censorship,” it might just be that there’s not much internet usage. Also, I do wonder how accurate or up-to-date some of it is. For example, it says there’s no internet censorship in Venezuela, but we were just discussing some content regulations there.

    • Cuba welcomes new internet cable link with Venezuela

      Cuba has welcomed the arrival of an undersea fibre-optic cable linking it to Venezuela as a blow to the US economic embargo.

      The cable will transform communications in Cuba, which has among the slowest internet speeds in the world.

    • Cuba’s Internet Capacity To Increase 3,000x
    • Cuba unblocks access to controversial blog

      Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez said on Tuesday the Cuban government apparently has unblocked access to her blog, which had been off limits on the island’s Internet since 2008.

      In a posting on Twitter, she wondered how long Cuban Internet users would be able to view her Generation Y blog, (www.desdecuba.com/generaciony/), but exulted in the opening, however brief.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Facebook Japan Takes Hard Line, Banning Pseudo Names And Requires ID

      Today February 8, some Japanese web users who are influential in tech communities like Hatena and Twitter, started reporting they were locked out from Facebook. After trying to log in, they were taken to the form, which title is “Complaints against a ban of your account, identity demanded”.

    • Protection of Freedoms Bill: CCTV / ANPR regulation at last, but not for National Security or on Motorways etc.

      An acid test of the Labour party since its election defeat will be how it scrutinises and enhances our freedoms and liberties through its Parliamentary scrutiny of this Bill. If it cannot even identify the weaknesses in this Bill and cannot successfully press the Government for positive changes, or it simply moans about “cuts” or just parrots the authoritarian lines fed to it by the control freaks hiding in the secrecy of Whitehall, then it will continue to be an object of hatred and derision. Given the make up of the Shadow Cabinet, the prospect of anything but dismal failure by the Labour party is slim.

    • Tell Your Representative to Reject the Next PATRIOT Act Sneak Attack!

      Last year, many important PATRIOT reform measures were proposed and debated, and 2010 began with a bill filled with powerful new checks and balances being reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee. But, as the bill ran up against the deadline, Congress decided there was not enough time to fully consider those reforms. So, in February 2010, Congress instead extended the “sunsetting” sections of the law until the end of this February, with a promise to fully consider the issues before the next deadline.

    • five minutes to speak

      Circumvention, anonymity, and privacy tools used in a free world can be a minor annoyance, i.e. wikileaks used wikis, ssl, email, and yes, tor, but in the end, it’s an annoyance. We don’t have people in the streets rioting trying to overthrow our govt. Wikipedia uses the same technology in wikis, ssl, and email. Everyone loves Wikipedia and considers it a net positive.

      The same circumvention, anonymity, and privacy tools are deadly to repressive regimes. The free flow of information and education are of great concern to a regime trying to control the horizontal and vertical
      of every day life. The tactics a regime can use are legal, technical, and physical. The regime can switch between tactics, generally depending upon what’s economical and most effective.

  • DRM

    • Judge Illston Alters Some of Her Order; Issues Referred to Magistrate

      The hearing in Sony Computer Entertainment America v. Hotz was held today, and Wired’s David Kravetz reports the judge, the Hon. Susan Illston, acknowledged that some details of the case got away from her a bit, and she apologized. She’s made some changes to her earlier orders.

      Specifically, she realizes that there’s no way to cleanse the Internet, so that part of her order is changed. He does still have to let Sony hunt through his computers, but she will put some limitations in place to make sure that’s all they do.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The White House Asks: What’s Blocking Innovation in America? – My Answer: IP Laws

      President Obama just set a goal of wireless access for everyone in the US, saying it will spark innovation. But that’s only true if people are allowed to actually do innovative things once they are online.

      You have to choose. You can prop up old business models with overbearing intellectual property laws that hit innovators on the head whenever they stick their heads up from the ground; OR you can have innovation. You can’t have both. And right now, the balance is away from innovation.

      Let’s take some specific examples to show why that is so. When Napster first showed up, it was innovative. Heaven knows it changed the world. And instead of letting this creativity flourish, make money, and create jobs, the law was used to kill it. And kill it it did. The law is still trying to kill or at least marginalize peer-to-peer technology, and so it has never been used to the full.

      To understand why that is a loss to innovation, you might want to watch this 2005 panel discussion on peer to peer software, “P2P: Pirates, Producers, & Purchasers: Toward a New Ecology of Music and Entertainment,” one of the most depressing you can watch if you actually care about innovation. You can view it as a video here. It was at a conference on innovation and IP law that I attended that was sponsored by the University of North Carolina, and I’ll never forget Gene Hoffman, who had been the CEO of eMusic, who talked about how innovation was being restricted and contained by the law and pointed out how much money could have been made with the new technology for enjoying music if fear had not blocked innovation. He and others on the panel also talk about some economic advantages of peer to peer and how it can reduce the costs of bandwidth in distribution, which is a real factor that could help independent startups.

    • Copyrights

      • Pandora’s IPO Filing: Copyright Fees Eat Up Half Its Revenues

        The just-filed IPO documents by Pandora Media show a company on the rise. The popular web radio service served up more than one billion (yes, with a ‘B’) listener-hours in the final quarter of 2010—a five-fold usage increase in two years. But read the S-1 with the term “copyright” highlighted—as I just did—and you’ll also see some big challenges for Pandora and any other web radio services that hope to make it big.

      • Tell the USTR to reject ACTA

        The ACTA drafting process is finished, and countries are beginning to turn an eye toward signing it. Help us stand against it!

        ACTA aims to be an international agreement to establish even more imposing copyright and trademark laws throughout the world, with a minimum of scrutiny. Countries that sign the agreement commit to enacting DMCA-like anti-circumvention legislation, establishing criminal penalties for specific kinds of infringement, and maintaining several overbearing enforcement mechanisms.

      • Public Citizen & EFF File For Sanctions Against Anti-P2P Lawyer Evan Stone

        Remember Evan Stone? The anti-P2P lawyer (not the porn actor), who has been filing a ton of mass infringement lawsuits on behalf of porn companies. Like all of these lawsuits, the real intent is to frighten people into paying up prior to any trial. It’s using the judicial system as a business model. In one of the lawsuits Stone filed for Mick Haig Productions, the judge wisely asked Public Citizen and EFF to act as counsel for the John Does who had been sued, to represent their interests before allowing Stone to move forward with the discovery process (which would allow him to subpoena ISPs to get the names associated with various IP addresses). Public Citizen and EFF filed motions concerning some of the problems with the overall case and the judge refused to allow discovery while considering those motions. However, Paul Levy at Public Citizen discovered that Stone had gone ahead and sent out subpoenas anyway, and some ISPs had already started turning over the info.

      • YouTube and the major film studios

        The warning had been changed to Matched third party content, and the ‘Copyright info’ page informed me that though Warner Bros. Entertainment were registered as the owners of the original content (via the video/audio-matching algorithms it supplied to youTube’s Content ID program for The Exorcist), “No action is required on your part. Your video is still available worldwide”.

      • Is The President of Turkey a Movie Pirate?

        Twitter is an excellent medium for world leaders to keep the people informed on their thoughts and actions, but it can also lead to awkward situations. Yesterday evening the Turkish President Abdullah Gül tweeted that he enjoyed watching the Oscar nominated movie ‘The King’s Speech’ at home with his wife. An interesting status update, since the film has not premiered in Turkish theaters yet, nor is it available on DVD anywhere else.

      • Innocents chased to pay for illegal porn downloads

        Thousands of people around the UK were sent letters by a controversial law firm, accusing them of allowing their computers to be used for illegal downloading but a whistle-blower claims not everyone who was sent a letter was guilty.

        When “Sharon” opened her letter from a law firm, which came on bland, official-looking headed paper, she was shocked by its contents.

        Sharon – not her real name – was accused of illegally downloading a pornographic film, and the letter included a demand for £495.

Clip of the Day

Nokia and Microsoft announce partnership

Credit: TinyOgg

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