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Links 20/3/2011: ext4, ZFS for Linux, and Gentoo 11.0

Posted in News Roundup at 2:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Clickety clack, Linux won’t bite back.

    It seems to be human nature to fear the unknown. Sure there are a lot of brave souls who love to go out in to the unkown and learn new things. To those we are greatfull. Without those types of people we would not have the technological toys that are so much fun to play with.

    The average human is different. We seem to get stuck in a rut. We wake up, go through our morning rituals, hopefully go to work, then come home, play a bit and off to bed. Only to repeat this same cycle for as long as our health allows. We are fine with that, in fact we are downright comfortable with it. We are happy and secure in the little comfort zone we have carved out for ourselves in this big bad old world.

  • Desktop

    • Growing Linux Users

      There are two things that can be associated to new Linux users and that is tragic and magic. And as to what part an individual would experience depends on a lot of factors. The first factor would be the ease of use, certainly Linux would be a user friendly application but since you are not used to it, the first experience on Linux would really be difficult. If the new user will tend to see things so complex to understand, he will surely forget about the idea and carry on with using his old operating system.

    • HeliOS is on the Move…

      They were impressed enough to offer us an extremely generous deal on a 2200 square foot building for our use.


      This is a huge step in the evolution of The HeliOS Project. We will be able to impact entire neighborhoods and area’s, not households in one’s and two’s. We will finally have some autonomy and freedom in our operation, and as always, it will be the Free Software and Linux Communities that makes it happen.

    • Windows Vs. Linux: The Breakdown

      The graphical user interface (GUI) is certainly one of the most sought-after features of any operating system. A typical Ubuntu setup can have one of the three major Linux GUIs, including XFCE, KDE, and the most popular, Gnome.

    • Windows Users: Here Is Why You Need A Linux Live CD

      In my experience Windows tends to have a habit of going wrong when you least expect, and at crucial moments. If you dread that sinking feeling as your system screws the pooch on startup, maybe it’s time to make a Linux live CD.

      There are plenty of reasons the average Windows user may want to create a Linux live CD or USB stick before it’s too late. A USB-based distribution will be speedier (you’ll need Unetbootin) or you can simply burn a CD/DVD with something like ImgBurn.

  • Kernel Space

    • Tim Burke: ext4 Is Not Going Anywhere Any Time Soon

      To add some details that they did not mention in either summary, we also have a lot of new code in the NFS client in 2.6.38 that will be the building blocks for parallel NFS (a way to make clustered NFS servers much higher performance).

    • ZFS for Linux 0.7.0 released

      The ZFS for Linux FUSE (File-systems in User Space) driver has been updated to version 0.7.0, nine months after it’s last release (0.6.9). New features in the version include updates to pool version 23 of the Sun code and the incorporation of all of Sun’s bug fixes, robust rollback handling, improved init scripts, bash completion and a more reliable zpool export and destroy.

    • PingWin Software Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that PingWin Software is its newest member.

      PingWin Software is a leading systems integrator in Russia and is focused on Linux and open source software integration. PingWin Software is the first Russian company to join The Linux Foundation.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Webconverger: Linux for Libraries?

      In conclusion, Webconverger is limited, but useful precisely because of its limits. For an initial investment in time and money than can be counted in minutes and cents, those who deploy Webconverger will reap the benefit of never having to even think about the software on their machines, while knowing that their users’ security and privacy are ensured.

    • Minty Freshness: New LMDE Theme Based On Orta, Created By SkiesOfAzel

      It appears that SkiesOfAzel, the Orta theme developer was contacted by a LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) developer to create a similar theme for LMDE and the initial result can already be tested (not just on LMDE – you can use it on any Linux distribution obviously). If you thought Orta is amazing,

    • Linux: Awesome is Awesome!

      I decided to give Awesome a try. Awesome is a tiling window manager like xmonad. I’ve been using it for about a month, and I like it a lot.

      It integrates with GNOME much better than dwm. Most users of dwm don’t use GNOME, but I do. Its default settings are a lot nicer than xmonad’s. When I use xmonad, I spend all my time futzing with my .xmonad.hs, but I haven’t had to tweak Awesome at all the whole time I’ve used it. For instance, Awesome comes with a ton of layouts built in.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Join KDE for Google Summer of Code 2011

        For the 7th year in a row KDE has been accepted as a mentoring organisation for Google Summer of Code. We are delighted to be able to work with great students throughout the summer again. To find out more about the program visit the GSoC website and pay special attention to the FAQ and timeline.

      • It’s not an address book

        It began about ten years ago, when I rewrote the KDE address book library. I implemented a nice API, vCard parsing, and a representation of something I called an Addressee back then, a contact, the data belonging to a person or any other entity, closely modelled after the fields of vCard, which is a fine standard for storing and exchanging address book data.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 6 March 2011
      • Project Neon is back!

        So, without further ado: Project Neon is back with much more stuff in stock. Those of you who have been around KDE for a while might remember the old one developed by everyone’s favourite (or NOT) apachelogger which offered daily builds of Amarok. Well, that one kind of died but new Project Neon Team managed to revive it with new features. Thanks to ingenious Launchpad Source Builds feature we set up nightly builds of the KDE Software Compilation trunk and we are currently working on getting Amarok there too.

      • Design Decisions #1

        I want to thank who ever it was that made the decision to NOT force KDE to develop a composited desktop with a fall-back to a totally different looking un-compositied desktop in the event the computer has a driver failure/poor videocard. (Edit: I know kde has compositing, but those are effects and the overall design of kde looks basically the same whether you have the compositing on or off).

        I say this in light of the development work on Unity and Gnome3. Which falls back to gnome2 when 3d acceleration is not available. Why?

      • On switching to KDE/Xfce

        Unlike with the panel, in GNOME 3, I can no longer choose to have the clock where I want it, remove some of the unnecessary icons, or even add weather applets and information to the screen. At the same time, I am supposed to believe everything is now an “Activity” with a single menu button being used to drive everything I do, rather than various shortcuts and icons around the screen. I can’t even have desktop icons or launch a terminal via the right click menu (which now doesn’t exist in the default setup). I’m also not at all fond of the effects, or the new window manager. In fact, where GNOME 2.x did almost everything I wanted, it seems that GNOME 3 does the opposite. Where it used to be about productivity, it’s now about appearance and effects, at the cost of more experienced users.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • gnome tweak tool – A GUI to customize advanced GNOME 3 options

        gnome-tweak-tool is a GUI to customize advanced settings beautify desktop environment in coming Gnome 3.

      • Understanding Gnome 3 – Without the min, max buttons

        While you are waiting for the Gnome 3 impatiently for the April 2011 release, you could attempt peaking at new shell. Those who have had a go at it come away excited at the substantial changes. The desktop design is spanking new and definitely appealing. New intuitive messaging, without have to switch, that allows you to reply are some of the distinctive and immediately identifiable changes. GNOME3 is essentially the next generation shell and several legacies of the GNOME 2 have disappeared because there is no room for them in the new shell design.

      • What will the new GNOME desktops mean for other Linux desktops?

        It’s almost time. Soon a new paradigm of GNOME is going to drop onto the desktops of suspecting (and unsuspecting) users. When this does there is going to be reaction. As with any major change to the computer industry, users are going to have both negative and positive reactions. Some will go so far as to switch distributions to avoid this change. Some users, on the other hand, will seek solace elsewhere. What exactly does that mean to the landscape of Linux? Let’s don our speculation caps and take a look.

      • GNOME-KDE wars are back again

        There have been two recent instances where Canonical has acted in a way that has displeased GNOME – one was when it decided to use its own interface, Unity, for the next version of Ubuntu, instead of the forthcoming GNOME 3 shell.

      • Faenza 0.9 Released – Brings More Polish, New “Darkest” Theme & Lots More

        Faenza icon theme is arguably *the* most beautiful icon theme for GNOME and also has support for the widest range of applications in Ubuntu GNOME. Faenza 0.9 was released a day ago and it brings in a number of major upgrades including a new “darkest” theme and many other openly visible as well as subtle changes.

      • GNOME marketing contract: week 2
      • In response to “the libappindicator story”

        It’s fine for you to state Canonical did not follow the process, but to not link to a doc or provide a post showing the process as approved by either GNOME or the team within GNOME responsible for this particular area, it’s quite frankly irresponsible.

      • Use Getting Things GNOME to get things done

        One of the most fundamentally life-altering books that I have ever read was Getting Things Done by David Allen. This book is inspiring, eye-opening, and has allowed me to work more efficiently than I ever had before reading it. The GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology has quite literally changed the way that I work and approach tasks.

        I’ve played with a number of GTD-inspired applications on the Mac with varying degrees of success. Currently my app of choice on the Mac is OmniFocus, which is a great application. Unfortunately, it does not run on Linux and I do like to keep work and home-related tasks separate, so while I use a Mac for the home stuff, I use Linux for work. That meant I needed a good GTD app for Linux.

  • Distributions

    • Exotic Linux distros: A walk on the wild side

      Linux seems to offer a distribution for every occasion. Among these obscurer flavours are a few that you may not have encountered, but could be just what you need, says Jack Wallen.

    • Continued Adventures in Distro Remixing

      I’ve been making a personal Fedora remix for a while now… since Fedora 10. While that might sound hard, thanks to Fedora’s livecd-tools package and their livecd-creator script, it is really quite easy. I even made a screencast about it. I recently started making a remix of Scientific Linux 6.0 and wanted to share.

      As you may recall, I prefer Fedora on my personal desktops but on servers I prefer Red Hat Enterprise Linux or a RHEL clone. There are actually a few clones to pick from and I’ve been using CentOS for a number of years. One thing I like about CentOS is that one of its goals is to stay as true to RHEL as possible by attempting to be 100% binary compatible with it, bugs and all. Unfortunately the CentOS developers have gotten somewhat backlogged with the onslaught of RHEL releases over the last few months (6.0, 5.6, and 4.9) and have taken a lot of criticism for release delays as well as falling behind on security updates in the process.

    • Had A Gnuff?

      Yesterday a reader dropped me a link to Gnuffy, which is an offshoot of Arch Linux started about three years ago. Looking over what has been accomplished with it thus far, I was very impressed with their ideas on expanding Arch (many already implemented), and given a few new ideas of my own.

      At this point Gnuffy appears to consist of a package manager called Spaceman and some user repositories. Gnuffy can use any of Arch Linux’s repos in addition to its own, and can use the standard PKGBUILDs in addition to its own improved version of PKGBUILD, which includes some Gentoo-style USE flags and other enhancements. Packages on Gnuffy’s repos are GPG signed with the key of the packager, and Spaceman checks signatures. Nice work! It was a bit like suddenly being transported into the future of Arch.

    • Linux From Scratch 6.8 is released! Step-by-step instructions on how to build your own Linux-based OS from scratch

      It also includes editorial work on the explanatory material throughout the book, improving both the clarity and accuracy of the text.

    • Puppy Linux — could it replace Debian on my oldest hardware?

      I’ve run Puppy Linux before. Many times. I started with Puppy 2.13 and still remember that release very, very fondly.

      I have half an entry (not yet published) on the Lenny to Squeeze upgrade for my Compaq Armada 7770dmt laptop — a 1999 throwback with Pentium II MMX at 233 MHz, 144 MB of RAM and a 3 GB hard drive. I’ve written dozens of articles about this laptop, and I’ve run everything from OpenBSD and TinyCore to Slackware and Debian Lenny and now Squeeze on it.

    • Puppy in 2011 on a laptop in 1999 — I’m sticking with Debian
    • Gentoo 11.0 Screenshots
    • Top Linux Distros For Every Level User

      In this article, I’ll highlight some of the top Linux distributions for advanced users as well as some great ones for those who are intermediate and newer users. In each case, I’ll include distributions for those wanting to learn more about using Linux effectively.

    • Reviews

      • Tiny Core 3.5 review – a blend of the brilliant and the infuriating

        Tiny Core is a light and modular Linux distribution. Its main purpose is to allow the easy construction of simple but powerful appliance-like desktops. Michael Reed tests the latest release…

      • Pardus 2011 – Best KDE4 around, but could be better

        Pardus is easily one of the lesser known bigger surprise Linux distributions. Developed in Turkey, it does not strike you as a top choice for your desktop, does it? But it is a top-notch distribution with a handful of clever tricks that make it a great candidate for daily use. I was mightily impressed with the 2009 version, which is why I’m testing this year’s release.

      • A peek at Bodhi Linux 0.1.6

        I can’t deny Bodhi brings something new to the table; the desktop it provides is certainly different. Judging from the number of downloads the project has experienced thus far it must be appealing to quite a lot of people. However, I didn’t find anything to recommend the distro. It is, in my opinion, mostly glitter and little substance.

    • New Releases

      • Trisquel 4.5 Slaine Release Candidate is ready

        The release candidate images for the 4.5 release of Trisquel, “Slaine”
        are ready for testing. Note that this images will become the final
        release if no bugs are found. Minor bugs would be fixed via updates.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat teams with RIT to help deaf children

        Raleigh-based Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is sponsoring open source workshops at the Rochester Institute of Technology this summer that have the potential of improving technology for deaf and hard of hearing children.

        Three RIT students who are alumni of the Professors’ Open Source Summer Experience workshops have developed an open source prototype video chat package to produce smooth sign language video for One Laptop Per Child’s XO laptops.

      • Fedora

        • Playing With Fire, Fedora 15 and Gnome 3

          There are concern among users that Gnome 3 or Unity is a wrong decision; that it needs a learning curve and not many users are ready or willing to do so. I disagree. The fact is people like status-quo; they don’t like changes. But that’s not how world works. Not changing for sake of user’s reluctance also keeps technologies from evolving.

        • My Wife Loves Gnome 3

          I downloaded and installed Fedora 15 alpha (Gnome 3) after reading this review. I was looking forward to this opportunity as I knew that sooner or later it will be ‘between the Devil and the deep blue sea’. I will have to choose from between Unity and Gnome Shell 3. Or, I will resist the change and migrate to a distro which will continue to invest on Gnome 2? I believe I will go with Unity or Gnome 3. It’s not fair to not embrace newer technologies. The incident that I am going to share with you strengthened my trust in Gnome 3.

    • Debian Family

      • Updated Debian 6.0: 6.0.1 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the first update of its stable distribution Debian 6.0 (codename “squeeze”). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustment to serious problems.

      • Ubuntu Linux aims to give back with Debian Dex

        About five years ago, the Debian Common Core Alliance (DCCA) got started as an effort to help encourage collaboration among Debian derivatives. The DCCA failed.

      • Debian Project News – March 14th, 2011
      • Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”: What’s New?

        Debian 6 was in many ways an important and path-breaking release of Debian, but is it really relevant today? Debian as a desktop system isn’t really something you’d like to use—it’s too old. Debian for servers? Well, it does the job extremely well, but Ubuntu Server, while providing LTS releases every 2 years (which coincides with Debian’s new release cycle), has better support from applications, built-in support for EC2 clouds, and commercial support from Canonical (with stuff like Landscape, which even Red Hat cannot boast of).

        Moreover, day by day, Debian is getting more purist in its approach. For a server OS, it beats me why SELinux or AppArmor wasn’t included, and the fact remains that even if I use it as a desktop, it still needs a bit of tinkering around with configuration files in /etc to fully realise the potential of the system. Although yes, porting in Software Center from Ubuntu was a very nice touch, and it does make managing repositories and installing software a lot easier.

        There’s only one thing I can say about Debian 6: it may have released just yesterday, but it was outdated 6 months ago. So unless you have a reason for using Debian, both on the server front and desktop front, I’d recommend Ubuntu. On the other hand, if you do have that reason for using Debian, go ahead and upgrade, because you will be blown away by the amount of polish that has gone into this release. Debian 6 is indeed a worthy upgrade to Debian 5, but not really from other distros.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Gallery: Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3

          Ubuntu Linux 11.04 now uses the “Unity” user interface, which features a prominent “Task Bar” on the left hand side that acts as both a task manager in addition to a common application launcher. Shown on the desktop is LibreOffice Writer, the word processing program that comes with the new LibreOffice productivity suite which replaces OpenOffice 3 in previous versions of Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu Will Run On Tablets With Better Multi-touch Support

          So, what is going on at Canonical when it comes to the multi-touch devices? It appears a lot is going on behind the scene. Future versions of Ubuntu will have better support for mult-touch devices and if vendors like it they might start putting Ubuntu on tablets.

          Chase Douglas of Canonical has written in his blog post, “One of my key goals for Ubuntu 11.04 has been to introduce full multitouch support through X.org. In technical terms, this means adding touch support to the XInput protocol. You may see others refer to multitouch in X.org as simply XInput 2.1. We hatched our plan back at UDS-N to push hard on developing the XInput 2.1 protocol and implementing it as best as possible in 11.04. The idea was that Ubuntu would be a test bed for the protocol before it is adopted by X.org upstream.”

        • Canonical pares Ubuntu down to 2 editions

          Canonical, the commercial entity behind the Ubuntu distribution of Debian Linux, is going to make it easier for people to consume its operating system.

          Gerry Carr, director of platform marketing at Canonical, says in a blog post that beginning with the “Natty Narwhal” release in April, the company is going back to the way it did things ahead of its server launch, with a single release for any kind of PC. That new release will be called simply Ubuntu 11.04, and the server edition will be called Ubuntu Server 11.04.

        • Ubuntu: Really a Cloud Operating System?

          It’s no secret that Canonical’s been pushing Ubuntu’s cloud-centric features hard in recent months. We’ve written frequently here about new tools, like cloud-init, that give Ubuntu a leg up vis-à-vis other distributions in the cloud niche, as well as development trends that place the cloud at the center of the longterm vision for Ubuntu Server Edition.

        • Beyond Natty: The next version of Ubuntu Linux

          Well, we dodged a bullet. Instead of Octopoid Octopus, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux and its parent company Canonical, has chosen Oneiric Ocelot for Ubuntu’s November 2011 version name.

          Unless you’re a film maven, your first question is probably: “What’s Oneiric!?” I know it as a film criticism term for dream sequences in a movie. Or as Shuttleworth explained, “Oneiric means “dreamy”, and the combination with Ocelot reminds me of the way innovation happens: part daydream, part discipline.” I’ll buy that. But, let’s get down to brass tacks: What does this mean? What can we expect from this version?

        • Canonical intelligently reinvents the scrollbar for Ubuntu

          Such a lack of scrollbars gave the design team at Canonical an idea. Could they remove the permanent scrollbars at the edge of windows in Ubuntu to free up more space for content while still allowing them to work with a cursor? The answer was a definite yes, and the re-design is now being experimented with.

          The two videos included here give you a good idea of how the experimental scrollbars, called overlay scrollbars, work. They are effectively the same as before functionality wise, but invisible until your cursor enters the area of the screen you would normally expect to find them. At that point a scrollbar appears as an overlay and you can click and drag to scroll around.

        • Ubuntu Linux 11.04: A whale of changes for Canonical’s user base

          I recently had a chance to take a look at the Alpha 3 release of Ubuntu 11.04, the latest version of Canonical’s Linux desktop OS that is due in April. 11.04 is considered to be a major release for Ubuntu because it represents a significant departure from the default GNOME UI to the new Unity UI.

        • 15 Very New and Unique Ubuntu Wallpapers

          It has been really long since we featured any new collection of wallpapers for Ubuntu or Linux. Article featuring Ubuntu/Linux wallpaper packs was the last in this particular category and even that was several months ago. So here is it once again, a nice and simple collection of 15 Ubuntu branded wallpapers from across the web. Enjoy!

        • Ubuntu Netbook Remix is dead. Long Live Ubuntu

          The Netbook Remix was a personal favorite of mine, as it made it easy for me to point my netbook friends at it, as an easy replacement for whatever OS was installed by default on their device.

        • Ubuntu using Windows key(Super key) to Launch Gnome Main Menu

          If you’d like Super key as keyboard shortcut to launch Gnome Main menu in Ubuntu, follow this simple tutorial.

        • Six Conceptual Unity behaviour mock-ups
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Ultimate Edition 2.9 has been released!

            Ultimate Edition 2.9 has been released! according to the announcement, this release was built off Ultimate Edition 2.8 which is built off Ubuntu 10.10 ‘Maverick Meerkat’. All updates fully updated / upgraded, old kernels purged, new initrd and vmlinuz rebuilt. Ultimate Edition 2.9, as with all odd release numbers, was built with KDE users in mind. Ultimate Edition 2.9 has KDE, GNOME, Openbox and Xfce environments, user selectable at login. A crisp new theme (121 to choose from) and tons of new software. LXDE was broken at time of build on the 32-bit side, so it did not make the cut.

          • 10 Ubuntu re-spins I’d like to see

            In the Linux-verse, a re-spin is basically a new distribution that has been “spun off” from another distribution. We’ve already seen the likes of this with just about every major distribution. Ubuntu is one of the distributions that has enjoyed a number of good re-spins. Based on what is going down with the current releases of Ubuntu, this favorite distribution of new users will be in need of a few newer re-spins.

            With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun exercise to come up with a few re-spins of my own that would combine various bits and pieces (and a few philosophies) from other operating systems or developers. Some of these distributions would be quite possible, whereas some may not. I’ll leave it up to you which of them should actually happen.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Puppet, DevOps key to data center surge, says Constant Contact

    Email marketing firm Constant Contact said it selected Puppet Labs’ Puppet configuration management and automation framework to help scale its environment from a couple hundred servers to several thousand in under two years time.

    If all goes as planned, that trend will continue unabated, as the company grows and adds new applications like a Cassandra distributed database cluster.

  • Open source systems management: Hits and misses

    With open source technology now in the mainstream, IT shops now have plenty of options for systems management. But IT administrators — even those with open source skills — agree that these tools have some significant drawbacks.

  • The Quality of FOSS Blogs
  • 6 More of the Best Free Linux Blog Software

    Weblog software (also known as blog software) is a type of application which is designed to help users effortlessly create and maintain weblogs.

  • Events

    • Texas Linux Fest – It’s on Bay-bee….

      This year, TXLF will be held at the spacious and opulent Downtown Hilton hotel. I’ve been in aircraft hangers that were not as big as the speaking halls and let’s face it…it’s the Hilton. I believe current numbers are already surpassing last year’s attendance.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Rackspace, Dell push OpenStack cloud OS

      Rackspace will help enterprises build private clouds using the OpenStack cloud operating system, the company announced Tuesday. Meanwhile, Dell is seeking enterprises and service providers for proof-of-concept OpenStack trials with its Dell PowerEdge C family of servers.

    • S3TC For Mesa Is Talked About Some More

      Discussions surrounding S3TC Texture Compression support for mainline Mesa (right now it’s an external library) is becoming an increasingly common occurrence. Newer games and OpenGL applications depend upon S3TC support and open-source developers are unable to provide “out of the box” support due to patent concerns.

      There was a hopeful discussion about S3TC and floating point support for Mesa a little more than a week ago, but that discussion died before anything materialized in Mesa Git. The push there was for mainlining the S3TC and OpenGL floating point support but to not build it by default if not using the hidden –enable-patented option.

  • Databases

    • Couchbase Unleashes Open Source NoSQL Database

      What happens when you bring together two open source database technologies? In the case of vendors Membase and CouchOne, you end up with a new company called Couchbase and a new product called the Couchbase Server.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Beautiful Looking LibreOffice Splash Screen, A Must Try!

      As you all should know by now, LibreOffice is already the new default office suite for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. You can even install latest LibreOffice in Ubuntu Maverick, Lucid easily via LibreOffice PPA by following the instructions here. Now, here is a very good looking and very creative LibreOffice splash screen that demands your attention.

    • 6 of the Best Free Linux Office Software

      The risk was deemed so serious that many developers decided to form the Document Foundation in September 2010 to manage and develop a fork called LibreOffice. There have already been a number of significant features added to the OpenOffice.org codebase in recent months. However, it is likely that there will be a significant delay before the corporate world readily embraces LibreOffice, in part because of concerns about the Document Foundation itself. Nevertheless, their fork is a comprehensive desktop productivity suite with a number of significant features not found in OpenOffice.org.

    • Oracle kills Sun.com after starvation diet
    • Gosling: Oracle’s self-interest requires good Java stewardship

      Although Java founder James Gosling left Oracle last year after a short, dissatisfying experience with the company following its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, he nonetheless sees Oracle as having no choice but to do a good job in its stewardship of Java.

      In discussions Wednesday morning at the TheServerSide Java Symposium in Las Vegas, Gosling stressed that a large faction of Oracle’s business is based on Java. For example, Oracle Fusion Middleware, including the WebLogic application server, is based on enterprise Java. “It’s in their own self interest to not be aggressively stupid,” said Gosling, who was a prominent Sun engineer and has been called the father of Java.

  • Business

    • Is it really a business vs. open source world?

      It seems like there’s no such thing as a non-controversial Linux distribution anymore.

      Look at the news and the blogosphere, and lately it seems like every major distro company’s in some kind of hot water with various elements of the community.

    • Semi-Open Source

      • The Slur “Open Core”: Toward More Diligent Analysis

        Later — shortly after I pointed out Mark Shuttleworth’s fascination with and leanings towards this practice — I realized that it was better to use the preexisting, tried-and-true term for the practice: “proprietary relicensing”. I’ve been pretty consistent in avoiding the term “Open Core” since then. I called on Shuttleworth to adopt the FSF’s recommendations to show Canonical, Ltd. isn’t seeking proprietary relicensing and left the whole thing at that. (Shuttleworth, of course, has refused to even respond, BTW.)

  • Funding

    • Packt Publishing Believes in Open Source, Donates Over $300K to Projects

      Packt today announced that its donations to open source projects have surpassed the $300,000 mark. Following its first donation to the phpMyAdmin project in April 2004, the company has gone on to provide sustained support for over 70 different open source projects.

    • Open source news publishing platform gets $975,000 grant

      The Knight Foundation has given a $975,000 grant to The Texas Tribune and The Bay Citizen, both non-profit news organisations, to develop a free and open source publishing platform for other online news organisations. Online local news is a growing sector in the United States and the Foundation wants to enable local news organisations to engage with readers more and manage content easily while being able to raise revenue. The Knight Foundation is dedicated to funding local news and journalism in the digital age.

  • BSD


    • When Freedom Rings

      I was both surprised and pleased with the community response to the announcement for GNU Free Call. Rather unfortunately our hosting for the wiki, Ibiblio, was down, as they were doing a large move on Tuesday. Even more amusing, Haakon’s email provider also decided to do some relocation this week.

    • Volunteer to help the new Savannah maintainer

      Sylvain Beucler, who was instrumental in modernizing and maintaining Savannah for the last seven years, has decided to step down and look for new challenges. Many, many, thanks to Sylvain and best wishes.

  • Project Releases

    • A Group Of FFmpeg Developers Just Forked As Libav

      Following a number of internal disputes among FFmpeg developers in recent weeks, a group of these developers have stepped away from the project and have forked off of the FFmpeg code-base to create a new project called the “libav” project.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • GCC 4.6 Release Candidate Comes w/o P1 Regressions

      The GNU developers responsible for GCC have eliminated all of the P1 regressions (their most serious class of regressions in this open-source compiler) in the GNU Compiler Collection 4.6.0 code-base, so they have went ahead and tagged the first release candidate.

      Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek issued a new status report on the progress of GCC 4.6. The P1 regression count is now at zero, after the last four bugs were corrected in the past week. There have also been seven P2 regressions fixed, but three new regressions of P3 status discovered.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Has the Battle for the Digital Car Been Won?

      This week a new consortium was launched that may signal who will finally own the last great, unclaimed consumer computing platform – the automobile. The new organization is the Car Connectivity Consortium, and the winner is . . . well, we’ll come back to that a little later. Suffice it to say for now that the fifteen year battle to control the digital future of the automobile could be at an end, and that its resolution may tell us something about the future of the digital desktop as well.


  • Crowd-Sourcing System Requirements For Free Software

    Over the weekend into OpenBenchmarking.org I pushed the OpenBenchmarking.org Performance Classification Index (OPCI) feature. Read that blog post for all of the features, but it comes down to now indexing the most commonly tested hardware and classifying the performance of all test results into low, mid, and high-end segments. So you can easily see a list of overall — for all tests hosted by OpenBenchmarking.org — a list of the rated processors, graphics cards, motherboards, and disks that are self-hosting. The OpenBenchmarking.org Performance Classification Index was then resolved down to the test profile level to be able to answer questions like what is the best graphics card for this game?

  • Oracle accused of stifling HP TPC benchmark

    Oracle has been accused of stifling the publication of an HP/Oracle DBMS benchmark that indicates its own SPARC SuperCluster world-record benchmark system cost almost 60 per cent more per transaction than a similar test on an HP Proliant system.

    The record TPC-C benchmark result is held by a $30.53m, 108 processor, SPARC Supercluster, which achieved 30,249,688 transactions per minute (TPM) at a cost of $1.01/TPM.

  • Jury: Blogger Johnny Northside must pay $60,000 to fired community leader

    Though blogger John (Johnny Northside) Hoff told the truth when he linked ex-community leader Jerry Moore to a high-profile mortgage fraud, the scathing blog post that got Moore fired justifies $60,000 in damages, a Hennepin County jury decided Friday.

  • Hardware

    • Replacing DVD, a Hollywood cliffhanger

      UltraViolet (UV) is the name of new technology standards expected to debut this summer that Hollywood hopes will help reignite the public’s interest in collecting movies and cauterize the bleeding in their home-video divisions. UV was created by a consortium that includes all the big film studios–with the exception of Disney–and numerous movie-sector allies, such as Microsoft, Nokia, Sony, Comcast and Netflix. UV managers said in January that the technology will ensure consumers will be able to play their movies and TV shows on a wide range of devices and services.

  • Security

    • Arbor Networks Researchers Find U.S.-Based DDoS Botnet
    • Why Pwn2Own doesn’t target Linux

      “Linux is not an operating system that has widespread use with any one particular distribution, flavor or configuration,” Portnoy said.

    • Is Linux Antivirus Software Worth It?

      Some friends who are in the computer business took exception to my position on anti-virus (AV) software, saying “for Linux, we don’t clog up our computers with anti-virus software.” And that remark deserves some elaboration.

      Windows is such a booby-trap for malware of all kinds, that Windows AV software works in the “always-active” mode. Emails are scanned the moment they arrive. If you insert a storage device or download a file, that gets scanned. This requires a big chunk of the AV software to be permanently loaded in memory, and continuously running, so yes, it does “clog up” your computer to some extent, making it run slower. But you need this continuous vigilance to keep your Windows PC safe.

    • Social media passwords off limits, Simons says

      A politician running to lead the B.C. New Democrats says he is refusing to comply with a requirement of leadership hopefuls to hand over the passwords to their social media accounts.

      Nicholas Simons, an NDP MLA who’s hoping to run in the leadership race, says he’s left that information off his nomination package.

    • Google to enforce SSL encryption on developer APIs

      Google will soon require the use of SSL encryption with three of its developer-facing APIs.

      Beginning September 15, Google will require all developers to use SSL connections for all requests through its Google Documents List, Google Spreadsheet, and Google Sites APIs. In other words, these APIs will only accept requests via HTTPS. If you make a request to an old HTTP address, such as http://docs.google.com/feeds/default/private/full, it will no longer work. You must use https://docs.google.com/feeds/default/private/full.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • US military brig officials order whistle-blowing suspect to sleep naked

      United States soldier Bradley Manning, accused of leaking US state secrets to WikiLeaks and detained under restrictive conditions at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia since July 2010, was ordered Wednesday to sleep stripped of all clothing. According to his attorney, this condition was imposed because Manning made a “sarcastic quip” about the harsh conditions of his confinement.

    • Administration Forces PJ Crowley Out Of The State Dept. After He Admits That Manning Is Being Mistreated

      When President Obama was campaigning and elected, one of the things he frequently talked about was how he was influenced by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, Team of Rivals, and how President Lincoln brought together may dissenting voices into his cabinet. There were, clearly, political reasons for doing so, but part of the benefit was that it allowed voices of dissent to be heard. However, in practice, it’s appearing that President Obama has no real interest in allowing the same thing to occur in his administration, and that’s really unfortunate.

    • Suspect in MLK bomb tied to racist movement

      Federal agents today arrested an ex-soldier with ties to the white supremacist movement and charged him with planting the backpack bomb along the planned route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in downtown Spokane.

    • Defamation Lawsuit Against NYT by Informant in Plot to Bomb 2008 RNC May Have a Chance

      A former FBI informant who helped foil a bomb plot at the 2008 Republican National Convention has sued the New York Times for libel and defamation.

      A Times story from February 22 claimed that Brandon Darby had “encouraged” others to bomb the RNC, when in fact he had been essential to law enforcement efforts that disrupted the plot.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Japan Radiation Levels (In English)

      While media around the world continue to present the Fukushima nuclear crisis as an Armageddon moment for Japan and the world, Japanese media is going out and taking measurements of radiation levels all around the Kanto region. Because I have not been able to find this type of information easily in English I have translated a radiation map of Japan into English and created a clear overview for you here.

    • Let There Be Light

      The response from an Energy Department official nicely illustrated the paternalistic, know-it-all attitude Paul was criticizing. “I’m pro-choice on bulbs,” insisted Kathleen Hogan, the deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency. “My view is, what you want is lighting.” And the government, in its infinite wisdom, will tell you what kind of lighting is best for you.

  • Finance

    • Wisconsin protests—now with farmers (and tractors)

      Tens of thousands of people were in Madison, Wisconsin, again this weekend, continuing to protest Governor Scott Walkers attempt to do away with collective bargaining for some state employees. We’re at Day 18 now, if you’re keeping track.

    • Wis. defeat could help launch counterattack on GOP

      With the labor movement suffering an epic defeat in Wisconsin and perhaps other states, union leaders plan to use the setback to fire up working people nationwide and mount a major counterattack against Republicans at the ballot box in 2012.Wis. defeat could help launch counterattack on GOP

    • Tiny Cuts, Big Complaints

      Republicans and Democrats squabble over crumbs as the layer cake of debt keeps rising.

    • Oil Price Shocks and the Recession of 2011?

      Oil prices surged to near $107 per barrel yesterday and regular gasoline is going for $3.51 per gallon. Last March oil sold for around $80 per barrel and gas cost about $2.79 per gallon. The uprisings throughout the Middle East are in part responsible for the recent uptick in prices. For example, the fighting in Libya has reduced global oil production by about one million barrels per day. On the other hand, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are boosting their output by a similar amount to make up for the shortfall. Democrats in Congress are calling upon President Barack Obama to damp down prices by selling off oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

    • Michigan Republicans create “financial martial law”; appointees to replace elected local officials

      Republican Michigan governor Rick Snyder, along with the state’s Republican house and senate, have passed a controversial bill that allows the governor to dissolve the elected governments of Michigan’s towns and cities, replacing them with unaccountable “emergency financial managers” who can eliminate services, merge or eliminate school boards, and lay off or renegotiate unionized public employees without recourse. Republican senator Jack Brandenburg — who supported the measure — calls it “financial martial law.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Glenn Beck’s syndicator runs a astroturf-on-demand call-in service for radio programs

      Premiere On Call, a division of the Clear Channel subsidiary that distributes Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, is a service that hires actors to call into radio shows and read a script that purports to be a true story presented by the public.

    • Fox DMCA Takedowns Order Google to Remove Fox DMCA Takedowns

      Sending DMCA takedown notices in bulk has become increasingly fashionable during recent years but thanks to the database at Chilling Effects, we are able to see who is sending what to whom. As concerns mount over the amount of checking carried out before items are taken down, it appears that Fox has managed to get Google to delist DMCA complaints on Chilling Effects, which were originally sent by Fox themselves and submitted to Chilling Effects by Google.

      The Chilling Effects web archive was founded in 2001 as a response to the usually secretive practice of sending so-called ‘takedown notices’ to have content removed from the web. This, according to the activists involved, was having a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech.

    • Hatchet Job: The Video Hit Piece that Made Both NPR and Its Critics Look Bad

      In the video, NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller and a colleague met with two members of a fictional Muslim group dangling a $5 million donation. Prodded by the “donors,” Schiller said liberals “might be more educated” than conservatives, described Republicans as “anti-intellectual” and said the GOP had been “hijacked” by the “racist” Tea Party.

  • Censorship

    • French Court Tosses Ridiculous Criminal Complaint By Israeli Against An American Over Book Review By A German

      Last year, we wrote about a horrendous lawsuit brought by an Israeli author/law professor, Karin Calvo-Goller, who had written a book on The Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court. Another law professor, Thomas Weigand, in Germany, reviewed the book for Global Law Books, and didn’t think the book lived up to its potential. I’ve read plenty of book reviews, and while this one is negative, it’s hardly a scathing book review. Weigand just didn’t think the book was all that good. It happens. Move on.

      But Calvo-Goller did not move on. She claimed that the review was libelous, and contacted the editor of the journal — an American named Joseph Weiler — who responded quite reasonably to Calvo-Goller, pointing out that the review wasn’t that bad and that he did not believe the review was libelous (and explained in detail why not), and then offered Calvo-Goller the right to write a response that he would publish as well. He also pointed out that her reputation would likely take a much larger hit from trying to suppress a negative book review, than from the review itself.

    • SF Plastic Surgeon Files Defamation Claim Against Negative Reviewers Across The Country To Avoid SLAPP

      Paul Alan Levy points us to the news of how a San Francisco-based plastic surgeon, Usha Rajagopal, has sued some people who wrote negative reviews of her work for defamation. However, he notes, despite the fact that she’s in California and the reviews she’s upset about appeared on Google — a California-based company, she filed her suit in Virginia. Levy suggests that this was done to avoid California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which would have allowed for immediate dismissal and the possibility of attorney’s fees being awarded for the filing.

    • Photographers Respond to Lady Gaga’s New Copyright Demands

      Lady Gaga is now demanding that photographers surrender the copyright of photos taken at her concerts – and photographers are incensed.

      Washington, D.C. website TBD.com made this practice public on Friday when they published the release form given to their photographer Jay Westcott. In addition to standard release restrictions regarding the use of images shot at her concerts, the document states that any photos taken at the show become the property of Lady Gaga. This an especially bold demand as the government has established that copyright exists the moment when a work is created, which in this case is the moment when a photographer clicks their shutter button.

    • Bill Spooner sues AP writer over tweet

      An NBA referee has sued The Associated Press and one of its sports writers over a Twitter message suggesting he intentionally made a bad call to make up for a previous bad call that went against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

      In a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Minneapolis, veteran NBA referee William Spooner claimed AP sports writer Jon Krawczynski defamed him in the Twitter message, sent while he was covering the Jan. 24 Rockets-Timberwolves game.

    • French Constitutional Council Validates Internet Censorship

      Judges held that article 4 of the bill, which allows the executive branch to censor the Net under the pretext of fighting child pornography, is not contrary to the Constitution. In doing so, the constitutional court has failed to protect fundamental freedoms on the Internet, and in particular freedom of expression. Hopes lie now in European institutions, which are the only ones with the power to prohibit or at least supervise administrative website blocking and its inherent risks of abuse.

    • Bev Stayart Loses Yet Again In Her Quixotic Quest To Blame Search Engines For Search Results She Doesn’t Like

      We’ve covered Beverly “Bev” Stayart a few times — and even been legally threatened by Stayart and her lawyer (also named Stayart). As you may recall, Stayart sued Yahoo/Overture after doing a search on her name, and seeing a suggestion that included “levitra” and “cialis.” Stayart took offense to such terms being associated with her name. She tried a few different questionable legal theories including “privacy rights” and that because the search engine made the suggestions, the search engines have liability for impermissably selling her name. It had also kicked off with a trademark claim over her name, despite the lack of any trademark in her name. The threat against us was because she didn’t like some of our comments, which necessitated us having our lawyer explain Section 230 to her as well, after which we never heard from Stayart again. However, after losing in her lawsuit against Yahoo, she sued Google over the same “levitra” connection. Oh, and she appealed and lost her original loss against Yahoo.

  • Privacy

    • Noprivacyville

      I heard a report on NPR about an auto insurance company giving drivers the options of putting GPS tracking devices on their vehicles to lower insurance rates by as much as 30%. The idea is that, for example, the device could confirm to the insurance company that the car wasn’t being used in high risk situations, such as commute traffic. Safe driving situations would be rewarded with lower rates.

    • Judge Won’t Stop WikiLeaks Twitter-Records Request

      The U.S. government is getting closer to getting data from Twitter about various associates of WikiLeaks.

      The people whose Twitter records were being requested had moved to throw out the government’s request for data, but a judge denied that motion Friday, ruling that the associates don’t have standing to challenge it.

      The judge also denied a request to unseal the government’s application for the Twitter order.

    • US government wants a privacy bill of rights

      Sources quoted by the Wall Street Journal said that the US assistant secretary of commerce, Lawrence Strickling, is going to bring up the Obama administration’s legislative initiative at the Senate Commerce Committee.

      The US administration is expected to push for a privacy bill of rights as it wants to give the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) more powers. Back in December, The INQUIRER reported that the FTC called for a “Do Not Track” mechanism to be installed in consumers’ web browsers.

    • Court Refuses to Set Aside Order Requiring Disclosure of Twitter Users’ IP Addresses

      A federal magistrate judge refused to vacate a previously issued order granting the government’s request to reveal information regarding various Twitter accounts for people allegedly associated with Wikileaks.

  • Civil Rights

    • Man With 4th Amendment Written on Chest Sues Over Airport Arrest

      A 21-year-old Virginia man who wrote an abbreviated version of the Fourth Amendment on his body and stripped to his shorts at an airport security screening area is demanding $250,000 in damages for being detained on a disorderly conduct charge.

      Aaron Tobey claims in a civil rights lawsuit (.pdf) that in December he was handcuffed and held for about 90 minutes by the Transportation Security Administration at the Richmond International Airport after he began removing his clothing to display on his chest a magic-marker protest of airport security measures.

      “Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,” his chest and gut read.

    • Judges focus on technicality, not constitutionality of TSA scanners

      A federal appeals court on Thursday appeared unlikely to block the use and ongoing deployment of the so-called “nude” airport body scanners, which the government maintains are necessary to protect the airways from terrorists.

      Still, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which hears challenges to Department of Homeland Security policies, did not indicate during an hour-long oral argument here whether it agreed with allegations that the machines are an unconstitutional privacy invasion, ineffective, and unhealthy. Instead, the three-judge panel, which did not indicate when it would rule, appeared stuck in the procedural muck, and spent little time on those bread-and-butter issues.

    • TSA to retest airport body scanners for radiation

      The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner that emits ionizing radiation — 247 machines at 38 airports — after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

    • Court Unlikely to Halt ‘Nude’ Airport Body Scanners

      A federal appeals court on Thursday appeared unlikely it would block the use and ongoing deployment of the so-called “nude” airport body scanners, which the government maintains are necessary to protect the airways from terrorists.

    • Manning’s Father Condemns Treatment of Imprisoned Son

      The father of suspected WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning says the military has crossed a line in its treatment of his son and called the conditions under which he was being imprisoned “shocking.”

      Brian Manning broke his silence to a PBS Frontline correspondent this week after the U.S. Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia, where his 23-year-old son is being held, stripped the soldier of his clothing and forced him to stand at attention in the nude and sleep naked. Manning’s defense attorney has called the brig’s move “inexcusable” and “degrading treatment.”

    • ACLU Protests Manning’s Treatment in Letter to Pentagon

      The American Civil Liberties Union calls the treatment of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning unconstitutional and “gratuitously harsh.” The remarks came in a letter sent Wednesday to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

      “The Supreme Court has long held that the government violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment whenever it ‘unnecessarily and wantonly inflicts pain,’ the ACLU’s letter read. “No legitimate purpose is served by keeping Private Manning stripped naked; in prolonged isolated confinement and utter idleness; subjected to sleep deprivation through repeated physical inspections throughout the night; deprived of any meaningful opportunity to exercise, even in his cell; and stripped of his reading glasses so that he cannot read. Absent any evident justification, such treatment is clearly forbidden by our Constitution.”

    • Police just rubber-stamping US data slurp

      Members of the European Parliament have condemned the first six months of data sharing with US terror spooks as an abject failure of data protection.

      The SWIFT agreement gives US authorities access to Europeans’ banking information, but MEPs were told that in the first six months of operation data requests were so abstract it was impossible to tell if they complied with data protection rules or not.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • House subcommittee votes to kill net neutrality

      A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee has voted in favor of a resolution to throw out the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s recently adopted net neutrality rules.

      The communications subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 15-8 along party lines for a resolution of disapproval that would overturn the FCC’s rules. Those rules would prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic.

    • Obama admin calls for more ICANN accountability

      The Obama administration today called for improvements in the mechanisms used to oversee Internet domain names, saying changes are needed to make the process more “accountable” and “transparent.”

      Larry Strickling, a Commerce Department assistant secretary, said that the California nonprofit group created in 1998 to oversee these functions–the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN–”needs” to do more to explain the reasoning for its decisions and to heed the advice of national governments.

  • DRM/SCOny

    • Sony wins subpoena for PS3 hacker’s PayPal records

      Tuesday’s order by US Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero said the information subject to Sony’s subpoena “shall be provided on an Attorneys’ Eyes Only basis” and is limited to information relating to whether Hotz has enough ties to Northern California to be sued in federal court in that district. Hotz, who goes by the hacking moniker GeoHot, is a resident of New Jersey, and has argued that the court lacks the authority to try him.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Massive Research Report On ‘Piracy’ In Emerging Economies Released; Debunks Entire Foundation Of US Foreign IP Policy

      Joe Karaganis, from the Social Science Research Council was kind enough to reach out to me last week and send me an advance copy of the (somewhat epic) report that SSRC just released this week, exploring “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies.” It’s a rather massive 440 pages of research into a variety of issues having to do with infringement, specifically focused on emerging markets. While it was nice of Karaganis to send it to me, I was a bit disappointed to find out that they’re not releasing the report for free (for most). Instead, it’s released under a “Consumer’s Dilemma” license, where they want people in developed countries to pay $8 for the report, but will offer it for free to those in less developed countries (though, it looks like Canadians can get it for free).

    • George Lucas’ Lawsuit Over Stormtrooper Costumes Goes to U.K. Supreme Court

      The ‘Star Wars’ creator argues prop designer Andrew Ainsworth doesn’t have the rights to sell the replica suits.

    • Lawmakers tell Biden to push Russia on antipiracy

      If Russia wants to prove the country is a good trade partner, then the country must be more aggressive in fighting online piracy. That’s the message a group of U.S. congressmen wants Vice President Joe Biden to send during his visit to Moscow this week.

    • And I Thought Rupert Murdoch Thought Copying Stories From Other Publications Was ‘Stealing’

      Of course, around that time, we highlighted the fact that Murdoch, himself, owned a whole bunch of aggregators, many of which acted much worse than the sites — such as Google — that Murdoch was complaining about.

      However, over the weekend there was a nice example of how one of Murdoch’s publications clearly copied a story from another publication and did not give any credit for it whatsoever. We noted earlier how Broadband Reports broke the story of AT&T deciding to put in place metered billing. Broadband Reports got a tip with a leaked email showing the new rules, and got confirmation from AT&T. Nearly every other report on the story credited Broadband Reports with breaking the story. However, when the WSJ (via Dow Jones Newswire) wrote the story, by reporter Roger Cheng, there is no mention whatsoever of Broadband Reports breaking the story.

    • Administration’s New IP Enforcement Recommendations Will Only Serve To Make IP Less Respected

      But, really, the bigger question is what does this have to do with enforcement? I’m fine with Espinel going beyond just focusing on enforcement, if she’s going to look for ways to actually help IP live up to its Constitutional mandate of promoting the progress. But this recommendation seems completely out of place in a document focused entirely on enforcement with this one non-enforcement issue tossed in at the end.

      The thing is, every time the government ratchets up IP laws in ways that don’t match with the way most people view the world, the less respected those laws become. Rather than actually increasing enforcement, these moves decrease respect for those laws.

    • Questionable ‘Piracy’ Study Found; Details Show It’s Even More Ridiculous Than Expected

      Thanks to G Thompson for pointing us to where the BSA has stashed a copy of that mysterious “piracy” research report we were just talking about, which was apparently written by someone named Emilio Ferrer. It’s embedded below, and it’s even more ridiculous than we had initially expected. First, the entire thing is based on the massively and completely debunked TERA report from last year, that used such outrageous assumptions as to not even pass the most basic sniff test. The researchers here appear to have made no attempt to determine the accuracy of the TERA report, nor to respond to any of the debunked points.

    • Trademarks

      • Which Does More Damage To Your Reputation: A Non-Competitor Using A Similar Name, Or Filing A Lawsuit That Pisses Off Many Potential Clients?

        Judith Lindenau points us to the news that a guy named Daniel Rothamel, who is apparently a well-known, well-respected blogger in the real estate world, is facing a questionable trademark infringement lawsuit because he blogs under the name the Real Estate Zebra. The company suing him, the Lones Group, claims to publish a blog and newsletter under the names The Zebra Blog and The Zebra Report. So, they’re claiming infringement, because there can apparently be only one zebra in the real estate world. It’s worth pointing out here that the Lones Group apparently is not actually in the real estate business itself, but provides marketing services to real estate agents.

      • Lady Gaga takes on Baby Gaga in breast milk ice-cream battle

        The planet’s most flamboyantly dressed pop star is threatening legal action against British manufacturers of the world’s most bizarrely flavoured ice-cream.

        Lady Gaga has told a store in Covent Garden, central London, to stop selling its latest brand, Baby Gaga – ice-cream made from human breast milk, blended with vanilla pods and lemon.

        The US singer, whose last entanglement with foodstuffs involved wearing a dress stitched together from raw meat to an awards ceremony, appears unaware that the product she complained about disappeared off the company’s shelves last week.

        The day after it went on sale inspectors from Westminster council’s food standards department confiscated the remaining scoops of Baby Gaga to check whether it met hygiene requirements.

      • Breaking: Zynga files for trademark on the word “Ville” in Europe

        On March 1, 2011, Zynga filed for a trademark on the word: ville. The trademark was filed with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the official trade marks and designs office of the European Union.

        Zynga’s trademark representative is Rouse, a specialist in international IP business whose client list ranges from Honeywell and BP to Christian Dior and Starbucks Coffee.

      • Finally: Clear Ruling That Realizes That Just Buying Ads On Trademarked Keywords Is Not Infringing

        For the better part of a decade, there have been a ton of lawsuits about keyword advertising, and whether or not it’s a trademark violation to buy an advertisement on a competitor’s trademark. All along, we’ve argued that this is not, at all, a trademark violation. The main purpose of trademark law, of course, is to prevent consumer confusion — and advertising a competing product when people are looking for one brand is not a trademark violation. Just think of supermarkets where they have those little coupon dispensing machines that pop out competitor’s coupons all the time. Keyword advertising is basically the same thing. Tragically, despite a large number of these cases, the courts have really skirted the issue. Some of the cases have blamed Google, but thankfully there have been a growing number of cases that have ruled Google clearly has no liability here as a third party. But the company buying the ads? Well, we’ve been waiting for a clear ruling… and we’re getting closer.

      • Bath & Body Works Sues Summit Over Twilight Toiletries

        Bath & Body Works is suing Twilight distributor Summit Entertainment, hoping to get a declaratory judgment that its “Twilight Woods” line of lotions, shower gels and other products doesn’t infringe the trademark on the hit vampire film franchise.

      • Utahn in dispute with Pac-10 over Pac12 website

        There’s an unexpected Utah connection in the online battle for the website Pac12.com.

      • Why Redskins Insider lost its name

        Maybe you’ve wondered why the Redskins Insider Live videocast became the Football Insider Live videocast. Or why the Redskins Insider blog became The Insider blog. Or why the Redskins Insider twitter feed became the Insider twitter feed.

    • Copyrights

      • Liberal MP Dan McTeague: Repeat Copyright Infringer?

        Liberal MP Dan McTeague has responded to my recent post on his linkages with CRIA in a 2,200 word “rebuttal.” The McTeague post confirms that his earlier letter to the editor came directly from content supplied by CRIA and adopts the contradictory position that when CRIA launches a lawsuit, it is only an unproven claim that should not have an impact on copyright reform, but when isoHunt files a lawsuit it demonstrates that there is a “legislative holiday” in Canada that demands immediate action.

        The McTeague post provided the opportunity to take a closer look at his website, which reveals what may be widespread copyright infringement. Since the introduction of Bill C-32, McTeague has posted dozens of full-text articles from mainstream media organizations on his website, at times without attribution. In addition to the articles, McTeague has also reposted many photographs associated with the articles. While it is possible that McTeague has fully licensed the reproduction and posting of each article and photograph, this seems unlikely since the licences offered by many organizations do not even permit this form of reproduction. No other Liberal MP appears to have established a similar practice.

      • Girl Talk As Fair Use Martyr

        We saw today on the Creative Generalist blog a post about a film entitled Rip! A Remix Manifesto. The film, according to the Open Source Cinema Web site, is “an open source documentary about copyright and remix culture. Created over a period of six years, the film features the collaborative remix work of hundreds of people who have contributed to this website, helping to create the world’s first open source documentary.”

      • Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Important Copyright Case: Will Review First Amendment vs. Copyright Issue

        Eldred and Kahle, both ended up in losses, but they did get the court to establish some boundaries for when and how the US could retroactively change copyright law. As a very quick review, Eldred argued that the ongoing extension of copyright violated the “limited” part of the copyright clause in the Constitution.

      • 111-111-1111

        The blog garnered a small audience on Tumblr and a following in the newsroom of The Times. When it came to the attention of the company’s Senior Counsel, he asked that I remove all copyrighted New York Times content. This request effectively ended Ten Ones.

      • Congresswoman: Websites Mistakenly Seized By ICE Should Sue Government

        Speaking at a Silicon Valley legal conference this morning, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) said that the recent website shutdown by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement COICA are way out of line, and an abuse of due process. In particular, she pointed out a recent episode during which, while pursuing a handful of websites allegedly connected to child pornography, ICE agents accidentally shut down more than 80,000 unrelated websites and tarnished them with child porn-related accusations.

      • RIAA Not Happy With Rep. Lofgren Calling Out ICE For Web Censorship

        We’ve covered how Rep. Zoe Lofgren is one of the only Representatives in Congress (along with Senator Wyden on the other side of the Capitol building), who appears to actually be concerned that Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) group is seizing web domains on questionable authority, without due process, and likely in violation of basic First Amendment rights against prior restraint. Of course, even with just one Congressional Rep. speaking out about this, apparently the RIAA wishes to stomp out any dissent. Yesterday, they sent Rep. Lofgren an unsolicited letter in response to her comments. You can see the full letter embedded below, but let’s go through a few of the “highlights.”

      • Silicon Valley Congresswoman: Web seizures trample due process (and break the law)

        At 9:30pm PST on February 11, US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized the domain mooo.com. They ordered the domain name’s registrar to redirect all traffic headed for mooo.com to a government IP address, one which displayed a single stark warning that the domain name had been seized for involvement with child pornography.

        But the mooo.com domain name was shared between 84,000 sites; every one suddenly displayed the child pornography warning. The mistake was soon corrected, but the free domain name provider running mooo.com warned users that removal of the banner from their sites might “take as long as 3 days.”

        One outraged user took to his blog to tell ICE to “get out of my Internet. You’d get no argument from me that there are truly distasteful and illegal things on the Internet. That’s true of any society. But there are also proper ways to deal with these problems. Pulling a total domain, sweeping up innocent people along the way, feeling that you don’t have to comply with due process of law and indicating that you don’t give a damn is wrong. It’s not as wrong as child pornography or counterfeiting, but it’s still wrong… That’s to say nothing of any damage done to my name or reputation.”

      • More Reasons Why Homeland Security Seizing Domain Names Is Unconstitutional

        We’ve raised a number of reasons as to why the federal government’s domain name seizures (via Homeland Security’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement group) are almost certainly not Constitutional. And while we’ve run these arguments by a number of well respected Constitutional lawyers who are extremely interested in these issues (and may be getting involved in various ways), some in our comments have insisted that our points could be ignored because we are not lawyers. And while I’ve asked some of the lawyers I regularly speak to if they would write blog posts commenting on these issues, many are quite busy trying to actually do something about these issues, and that seems a bit more important.

      • CCIA: copyright wiretaps are Hollywood’s “PATRIOT Act”

        CCIA: copyright wiretaps are Hollywood’s “PATRIOT Act”
        Yesterday’s White House wish list of new intellectual property laws focused on things like counterfeit medicines, but it also included proposals to extend wiretaps into copyright cases and to ensure that illegal streaming video is a felony. A DC trade group representing companies like AMD, Facebook, Oracle, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft today objected loudly to the plan, saying that legitimate concerns about counterfeiting have been “hijacked to create draconian proposals to alleviate the content industry of the burden of protecting its own interest using its own extensive resources.”

      • Coming soon: Pirated movies in 3D

        IN AN effort to keep audiences flocking to the cinemas to see the latest movies, studios and theatres are gambling on the 3D movie experience.

      • Music Publishers Settle With Limewire; Afraid To Have To Prove They Actually Owned Copyrights In Question

        We were a bit surprised last summer when the major music publishers piled on to the bandwagon and sued Limewire. After all, the major record labels (who own most of the major publishers anyway) were already involved in a lawsuit with Limewire and had won a pretty complete victory over the file sharing system.

      • Judge eviscerates P2P lawyer: “I accepted you at your word”

        As a lawyer, you know it’s going to be bad when a federal judge summons you to his courtroom at nine in the morning to talk about your “ill-considered lawsuit” that has “abused the litigation system in more than one way.”

        Federal judge Milton Shadur, who keeps a “Now, 3 for 10¢… Federal Judge!” sign beside him in his 23rd floor Chicago courtroom, summoned file-sharing lawyer John Steele to court this morning with those words. At issue was Steele’s representation of CP Productions, an Arizona porn producer suing 300 anonymous individuals for illegally sharing a film called (ahem) Cowgirl Creampie.

      • Feds Really Do Seem To Think That Linking To Infringing Content Can Be A Jailable Offense

        Last week we covered the somewhat surprising arrest of Brian McCarthy, the operator of Channelsurfing.net, on charges of criminal copyright infringement. As we noted at the time, this seemed like a pretty questionable charge. I could potentially see a civil charge against him using the court-created concept of “inducing” infringement (a concept that Congress rejected…), but there is no inducement standard in criminal infringement. It’s possible that the feds could go with an aiding and abetting charge, but that requires a much higher standard, and it’s not clear that the feds have enough to make such a claim really stick. At the time, we didn’t have the complaint, but the folks at DemandProgress have obtained a copy of the complaint, which we’ve also embedded below.

      • US Congress will decide if video streaming is a felony

        According to Espinel, the current law makes it unclear whether streaming copyrighted works is subject to felony penalties, meaning prison time, because the penalty is “predicated on the defendant either illegally reproducing or distributing the copyrighted work”. The question lies in the legal definition of “distribution”, as streaming isn’t the transfer of complete files.

      • Google Found Guilty Of Copyright Infringement In France For Not Magically Blocking Infringing Movie

        The latest in confused secondary liability rulings comes from France, where Google has lost a lawsuit and been fined for copyright infringement, because of links and an uploaded video of a movie from producers Mondovino.

      • Righthaven Really Pushing Its Luck: Sues Canadian Newspaper For Misattributing Photo

        For a while Righthaven and its corporate owners/partners at the Las Vegas Review Journal positioned Righthaven as being about big newspapers standing up to the grubby internet folks posting copies of newspaper articles on blogs and forums. In fact, it kept trying to get other big media operations to sign up — with the only other paper to sign on so far being the Denver Post. Since then, Righthaven has gone a bit ballistic in suing all sorts of websites for posting a particular photo from the Denver Post (of a TSA patdown) that had gone viral. Rather than recognizing the positive benefits of the image going viral, Righthaven and the Denver Post has just seen it as a way to do a short-term money grab by suing everyone they can — of course, without any notice or takedown requests.

      • 99 Cent Books

        I am having trouble convincing myself why digital books will not cost 99 cents within 5 years. All books, on average. Just as the price of music does not in general change on the length or quality.

      • Netflix spooks Hollywood more than ever

        Hollywood film executives want you to know that they are not at war with Netflix or the Internet.

      • Even WIPO Realizing That Copyright Law May Have Gone Too Far

        Of course, WIPO certainly hasn’t gone too far away from its traditional position, but it has been showing more and more signs of moving away from copyright maximalism. TechnoLlama points us to a recent keynote speech given by Dr. Francis Gurry, the Director General of WIPO, on the issue of “future directions in copyright law.”

      • An Internet Levy is a Terrible Idea

        The notion that all Internet users should somehow pay the old copyright monopoly structures a monthly fee, to compensate them for file sharing, has popped up again. It does from time to time. It’s a terrible idea, and for several good reasons. It fails to meet basic quality standards for lawmaking. But the most elusive and strongest reason is that it’s a last-ditch attempt to maintain the old power structures where a small pseudonobility were the only ones allowed to create culture.

      • NYTimes: When We Do It, It’s Journalism, When HuffPo Does It, It’s ‘Piracy’

        The latest sad example of this overvaluing of one’s own work and talking down about someone else’s work comes from the NY Times’ Executive Editor Bill Keller (also a driving force behind the NYT’s plan for a paywall). In a weird and somewhat rambling discussion, which eventually gets around to the future of news, Keller decides to attack the Huffington Post as a bunch of sniveling copyists, compared to his high minded version of journalism…

      • Sean Parker, Music Mogul? Facebook Billionaire Mulling Warner Music Bid

        Sean Parker helped create Napster, which kicked off the long and steep decline of the big music labels. Soon he might own part of one.

        The digital entrepreneur is considering putting his money into a consortium bidding on Warner Music Group, which put itself on the block earlier this year. Sources tell me that Parker isn’t part of the formal bid, but is aligned with a group led by investors Ron Burkle and Doug Teitelbaum.

      • Report: Piracy a “global pricing problem” with only one solution

        A major new report from a consortium of academic researchers concludes that media piracy can’t be stopped through “three strikes” Internet disconnections, Web censorship, more police powers, higher statutory damages, or tougher criminal penalties. That’s because the piracy of movies, music, video games, and software is “better described as a global pricing problem.” And the only way to solve it is by changing the price.

      • Cutting prices is the only way to stop piracy

        The only way to stop piracy is to cut prices. That’s the verdict of a major new academic study that reckons copyright theft won’t be halted by ‘three strikes’ broadband disconnections, increasing censorship or draconian new laws brought in under the anti-counterfeiting treaty ACTA.

        The Media Piracy Project, published last week by the Social Science Research Council, reports that illegal copying of movies, music, video games and software is “better described as a global pricing problem” – and the only way to tackle it is for copyright holders to charge consumers less money for their wares.

      • White House wants new copyright law crackdown

        The White House today proposed sweeping revisions to U.S. copyright law, including making “illegal streaming” of audio or video a federal felony and allowing FBI agents to wiretap suspected infringers.

        In a 20-page white paper (PDF), the Obama administration called on the U.S. Congress to fix “deficiencies that could hinder enforcement” of intellectual property laws.

      • New Music Locker Startup Looks More Like Sucker’s Bet To Transfer Cash From Investors To Music Labels

        A few weeks ago, at the Digital Music Forum East event, right before I went on stage to interview Gary Shapiro from CEA, there was a presentation from a new music startup I’d never heard of, called Beyond Oblivion. The presentation (which is embedded below) was interesting, if incredibly vague. It looks like they’re trying to create a music locker of sorts, but to avoid the various legal woes of other such music lockers by throwing a ton of cash at the labels. It’s basically “don’t sue us” money. Literally, the company has promised to pay $500 million to labels.

      • Starve Copyright ‘Parasites,’ Official Urges

        The most effective way to target foreign Websites that illegally stream copyrighted material may be to cut off their funding, Maria Pallante, acting register of copyrights, told a House subcommittee Monday.

        “The parasites who operate so-called rogue websites build businesses on piracy, counterfeiting and other unlawful activity, in part based on the expectation of weak enforcement,” Pallante told the House Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subcommittee.

      • Jon Bon Jovi slams Steve Jobs for ‘killing’ music

        Jon Bon Jovi has taken aim at Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, accusing him of “killing” the music industry with iTunes.

        The rocker is saddened that the “magical” experience of buying records in a store is disappearing, brick-and-mortars stores being eroded in part due to iTunes’ success.

      • Inauspicious Start For Chris Dodd At MPAA; Starts Off With ‘Infringement No Different Than Theft’ Claim

        No surprise, really, but former Senator Chris “I won’t become a lobbyist” Dodd has begun his new tenure as a lobbyist for the MPAA on an inauspicious note — by falsely claiming that infringement is no different than “looting.”

      • Associated Press sues retailers over iconic Obama image

        The Associated Press has sued several retailers including Urban Outfitters for the unauthorised use of the Hope image created by artist Shepard Fairey.

        Artist Fairey used an AP photo without permission to create the image, and was sued by the news agency for violating copyright. That case was settled.

      • 8-Track Piracy Is Killing The Music Business…. In 1976

        It really is amusing at times to go back and look at the historical moral panics by the recording industry over the “threats” of piracy. It’s the same story every year, from the player piano (killing live music!) to the tape recorder (home taping is killing music!) to the MP3 player (illegal!). Sometimes such stories get lost to history, but Boing Boing has an amusing image from a 1976 record album sleeve, where the cover is devoted to telling people to fight the scourge of 8-track piracy.

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu Games: IConquerU

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 19/3/2011: KiWi PC Bring GNU/Linux to Seniors, ASUS Comes Back to Linux for Sub-notebooks

Posted in News Roundup at 2:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Luciana Fujii Pontello: The GNU/Linux Girl Who Says Cheese!

    Daniel G Seigel, creator of Cheese, recently announced the new version of Cheese. He mentioned that the new version was driven by ‘three lovely ladies’. Out of these three Charlie’s Angels one was Luciana Fuji Pontello, who was responsible for the camerabin port and gobject introspection support. It couldn’t have been timed better as this week we celebrated the International Women Day. So, we reached out to Luciana Fuji Pontello to understand the role of women in the FOSS world.

  • Why the Linux Desktop is Still Not #Winning

    Mobile devices like tablet computers and smartphones have started to pull a lot of people away from using traditional PCs. But I think we shouldn’t blame the fate of the Linux desktop solely on these devices because personal computers are far from being irrelevant and is still preferred by many, including myself, for getting things done. So why do I think Linux is still not winning in the desktop space?

  • Waxing Nostalgic About Old-School Linux

    Back in the early days of Linux, distros were nice and small, admins knew what they were doing, and systems could run just fine with double-digit megabytes of RAM. That’s how some remember it, anyway. A recent post at TechRepublic from Jack Wallen has the FOSS community reminiscing fondly — and not so fondly — about Linux’s formative years.

  • Desktop

    • Finally A Sub $500 Ubuntu Linux Based Desktop PC for Senior Citizens!

      We just got word that KiWi PC has released a very interesting looking Linux based desktop computer for senior citizens. The KiWi PC is said to help the elderly remain connected with the world and up-to-date in the fast paced world of technology by offering a user-friendly desktop providing immediate access to customizable email, internet and software applications.

    • KiWi PC Aims its Ubuntu Desktop Computer At Seniors

      KiWi PC is offering the system for $499.99, which seems a bit steep for a desktop machine running a free, open source operating system, but the color-coded keyboard and some aspects of the desktop interface may appeal to some seniors.

    • Sick of Windows? Try Linux!

      If you’re tired of Windows, there are other operating systems that you might use.

      For instance, you might buy a Mac; of course this is an expensive solution, and one that can be avoided if you first try one of the many Linux operating systems.

  • Server

    • Survey Reveals Churn in Server OS Market

      The 90% figure for Linux usage is up from 84% in the previous year’s study.

    • New Linux landscape emerging

      Given we have described 2011 as the year of Linux in the clouds, we will be watching closely to see how the market, the use of Linux and the various distributions and their backers continue to evolve. This will also be the focus of a new special report from The 451 Group that is coming soon.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • IBM

    • 11 Years of Linux at IBM

      Last year, Dan Frye gave a keynote about how IBM got involved in Linux and how IBM changed and changed Linux. The process started in 1998 and by 2004/5 Linux was ready for anything. That was the time period my usage went from using GNU/Linux on random PCs in my classroom to using it on servers and whole laboratories. GNU/Linux was ready for anything in education.

  • Kernel Space

    • Gentoo-sources 2.6.38 released
    • Btrfs LZO Compression Performance

      While the performance of the Btrfs file-system with its default mount options didn’t change much with the just-released Linux 2.6.38 kernel as shown by our large HDD and SSD file-system comparison, this new kernel does bring LZO file-system compression support to Btrfs. This Oracle-sponsored file-system has supported Gzip compression for months as a means to boost performance and preserve disk space, but now there’s support for using LZO compression. In this article we are looking at the Btrfs performance with its default options and then when using the transparent Zlib and LZO compression.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland & The Network; Gallium3D Netpipe?

        In recent days on the Wayland development mailing list there’s been a discussion about a HPC (High Performance Compute) architecture for Wayland. A few interesting ideas have been brought up.

        Essentially this HPC idea comes down to a per-program VNC-like system where for example you could run the Blender animation program from a netbook or tablet computer and have that forwarded to a more powerful system, via Wayland. Though with the original proposal, this wouldn’t end up being solely the work of Wayland but other components would need to come into play too for all of this to work out. This discussion though has brought up some discussions regarding the serializing of application windows to suspend-and-resume them, etc.

      • Directing Lemmings

        Legally there’s nothing stopping anyone from licensing s3tc or floating point patents, forking Mesa3D and shipping closed source version of it with code handling both.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Some E17 tips and tricks

      I’ve been really impressed with the work being done on Bodhi Linux, so I’ve been giving both it and E17 a bit more love lately. To that end, I thought I would highlight a few cool tips and tricks. Some of these will make you slap your forehead they are so simple (and handy). Some of them you might not even use. Regardless, you can never have too many tips and tricks for the Enlightenment desktop.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KTorrent 4.1 adds super-seeding support

        Version 4.1 of the KTorrent BitTorrent client for the KDE desktop is now available to download, a major release that adds several new features. The user interface has been redesigned to make better use of KDE’s KParts technologies and support for super-seeding has been added.

      • Qt4 GUI Styles

        Qt4 is a cross-platform application and UI framework. It has a configuration manager in System>Preferences (or enter qtconfig-qt4) in a terminal.
        If Qt4 applications don’t look quite right on your desktop, try changing the GUI style.

      • Kraft: A No-Nonsense Office Assistant That Gets Straight to Work

        Small-business users with a fondness for open source apps could get a lot of mileage out of Kraft, an application for creating, customizing and managing correspondence and planning. It settles into its job easily, then presents you with an intuitive and familiar interface. Its adherence to XML and PDF is good, but it could stand to learn a few other types of formats as well.

      • openSUSE Community Manager Jos Poortvliet (Nvidia users should avoid KDE)

        Not so long ago I blogged about my brief experience with the then just released openSUSE 11.4, simply put I stated its disappointing and I will never try openSUSE in the foreseeable future.

      • KDE 4.6.1 Almost Perfect

        When KDE 4 was released, I hated it. It seemed a lot of my favorite customizations had changed, moved, or been removed. It was heavy and a resource hog. It didn’t seem to work real well, things were either slow and crashy or didn’t function properly. Subsequent updates did little to help. Until 4.6.1. I think KDE 4 is finally maturing into a stable and usable interface.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gtk+ 3.2 Will Let You Run Any Application In A Browser (Remotely Too)

        Gtk+ 3.2 will let you run any application in a browser thanks to the new HTML5 gdk backend. That means you’ll be able to run GIMP, Gedit, a video editor or whatever, remotely (or on the same computer), using a web browser.

      • Moving the needle in GNOME

        Software development is an immature branch of the discipline known as “change management”. The weapons are different, but the war is the same: Improvement generally requires change, but change involves investment and risk. So we invent convoluted schemes, tools and rituals to make change easy, but not dangerous.

      • SciTE – Lightweight GTK-based Programming Editor

        SciTE is a SCIntilla based Text Editor. Originally built to demonstrate Scintilla, it has grown to be a generally useful editor with facilities for building and running programs. It is best used for jobs with simple configurations – I use it for building test and demonstration programs as well as SciTE and Scintilla, themselves.

      • Short Review of GNOME Shell

        It feels a bit weird to be part of KDE land and be a bit of the conservative guy these days. We had our first Plasma Desktop release three years ago and the first fully user-targeted 4.2 release two years ago. Since then things improved on a steady but not revolutionary pace. Well, that’s not entirely true for our back-ends as I feel that eg. QML is a very revolutionary move for developers but the desktop experience from a user’s POV stayed largely the same.

      • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Shell

        So far, I’ve used GNOME-Shell for at least 10 minutes and Unity for at least 15. And it was six months ago. Just to tell you how much I’m competent on the subject. And I didn’t like them. Not at all. I’ve my own ideas about the desktop.

      • Vincent Untz: I Wonder Why We Have All Our Distributions Around

        The GNU/Linux landscape is changing dramatically. 2011 is a very important year for Gnome and GNU/Linux. Gnome is the default desktop environment used by some of the major distros and it is going through a major transition with version 3. At the same time openSuse community is driving many ambitious initiatives such as the AppStream project. We talked to Vincent Untz, an openSUSE Booster, and the GNOME release manager to understand what’s going on with these projects. He talks about Unity, Gnome 3, Mono and much more. Go ahead and read on…

      • Ubo Icons Theme – Not Glossy, Drawn With Ballpoint Pen, Colored in GIMP, Looks Sweet!

        When we featured this collection of top 10 most popular icon themes for Ubuntu GNOME some time ago, Ubo Icons was probably one among the most promising set of icons for GNOME in that list, though it was still a project yet to be completed back then. Well, the first alpha release of Ubu Icons is here and it looks quite stunning.

      • The GNOME Journal March 2011
  • Distributions

    • 7 Surprises From Turkey

      I made several reviews of Operation systems originating from Eastern Europe: SLAX, Agilia Linux, Alt Linux, Austrumi. This time I will aim little bit to the South, on the place where Europe meets Asia.
      How many countries do you know which are placed in Europe and Asia both? Russia? Anything else? Yes, that is Turkey. Not the most well known country in the world, although European culture would be different if this country would not exist. Byzantium, Constantinople… They are all parts of Turkish history.

    • Pinguy OS 11.04 Pre-Alpha

      I am happy to announce the release of Pinguy OS 11.04 Pre-Alpha. This version has the ability to do OEM installs. XBMC and Ultracopier added as default apps. TED has been removed because of peoples fears of legal use. mvPod has been replaced with Arista Transcoder as this can encode video for more devices then just the iPod.

      Things that still need to be added is Elementary-Nautilus, rapid-photo-downloader and Native ZFS File system. Also replace openjdk-6-jre with Oracle Java as openjdk-6-jre is not allowed with a few bank sites.

    • In Search of the King of the Linux Distros

      Here in the Linux community, debating the relative merits of various distributions is a common pastime. So when it was proclaimed in an article recently that “Debian is the most influential Linux distribution ever,” it was a rare geek who didn’t sit up and take notice.

      Sure enough, that’s just what Datamation’s Bruce Byfield asserted in a recent article, adding that “not everyone uses Debian, but, both alone and second hand through Ubuntu, it is the source of more derivative distributions than any other.”

    • Distro Testing

      I’ve been gradually experimenting with both FreeBSD and Gentoo. I have some extra partitions I use to test new setups, so I can take my time and always boot back into my primary partition when I’ve had enough. I highly recommend this approach, especially with distros like these.

    • Reviews

      • Puppy Linux sit! roll over, there now – good dog

        Puppy Linux born on June 2003, delivered by Barry Kauler. The community that has developed is completely open, without any formal agenda or structure – and the product is completely free.

        One word of balance, it sounds like this is a good dog doesn’t it? But Jollicloud appears to be more popular so I hope to look at that soon.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Moves Forward, Releases Alpha 2

        The Mageia project announced the release of Alpha 2 of their inaugural version 1, expected June 1. Developers have made a clear statement that this release is only for developers and bug hunters. It is not for daily use, any kind of production environment, or review. Tsk, tsk, they should know better than that. Reviews are inevitable.

      • Mandriva Enterprise Server 5.2 is out

        andriva Enterprise Server 5.2 – the simple, high-performance and accessible Linux server – is now available.

        MES 5.2 features a broader set of drivers to support more devices during the installation process and an updated Linux kernel (version 2.6.33). It highlights advanced virtualization on top of KVM or Xen, a user-friendly software setup and configuration wizard, an easy-to-use LDAP directory management – Mandriva Directory Server, powerful backup solutions and many other services in the fields of messaging, file and printer sharing, web hosting, network management and more.

      • Mandriva Releases 2011 Beta 1

        One new feature mentioned in the release announcement is a “plasma-applet-stackfolder application.” The announcement goes on to explains, “To see it in action, simple drag any folder from dolphin to KDE taskbar, and have fun.” Well, all it did for me was create a launcher. Was it supposed to do anything else? I have to say, that wasn’t much fun. Surely, I just didn’t hold my mouth just right while dragging and dropping.

      • Mandriva 2011 beta1 errata

        shortly after the release of 2011 beta1, we have discovered that the 32bit version was unable to boot in some cases (as it was pointed out at https://qa.mandriva.com/show_bug.cgi?id=62792).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Ok, I’m committed now

        Well, I’ve been working for Red Hat for two years, one month, and 14 days now. It’s actually amazing how time flies. I guess when you’re doing something you love, with amazing people you respect and enjoy working with, time has no real bearing on anything. When I first started working for Linux-Mandrake (now Mandriva) back in 2000, I got Tux inked on the back of one leg. Tux is fairly generic and represented the beginning of my journey with Linux (well, the beginning of my paid journey anyways!). Tux is also much cooler to tattoo than the (sorry, but it’s true) silly top hat and magic wand that was the logo for Linux-Mandrake back in the day.

      • Red Hat Near the 200 Day
      • Red Hat and the Kernel Kerfluffle
      • Red Hat Open Source Day: Rome, 14 June 2011
      • Open Source Revenue Models: Red Hat’s Tactics and Strategies

        Red Hat’s decision might be ‘debatable’ for some, while others are ok with that. The whole point to me seems to be a completely different question, though. Tactic decisions to prevent others from appropriating returns from the (Red Hat) commons are not a substitute to a (long-term) strategy focused on renewal rates, an area where Red Hat is using effective business strategies.

      • What if Hewlett-Packard Bought Red Hat?

        Still, the idea of a Red Hat acquisition by a major technology player remains interesting. After Sun Microsystems and Novell were both bought by technology giants last year, that left Red Hat as the only public, U.S. company focused on open source. Open source is increasingly contributing to the commercial efforts of countless companies, and large companies like Gap Inc. have successfully moved to Red Hat’s platform. One has to ask how long it will be before a major technology player sees the kind of value in Red Hat’s proven software-plus-support business that Oracle and Attachmate saw in Sun and Novell.

      • Fedora

        • It’s not about you

          The F15 Alpha experience so far has been great — the T30 just hums along with KDE 4.6.1 in a way that’s incredibly eerie. Alphas aren’t supposed to run this error-free, I say, knocking hard on wood. The desktop box with “desktop” also hums along as well, error-free like the laptop, but there’s something I can’t put my finger on regarding the GNOME 3 experience so far that is . . . .

        • Fedora 14

          Fedora does have a heavy focus on Open Source Software, as stated in their previously mentioned FAQ. Although I have not had any issues, for some users this may be not be congruent with their values regarding Open Source vs. Compatability with Closed Source Software and Non-Open Formats. Also, certain things (such as the package manager) may not appeal to users with less experience. I felt like the lack of an office suite makes this a less-than-optimal distribution for first time users. Advanced users may not like the fact that it comes with applications that some may consider unnessecary, but it does come with some nice tools to manage and improve the security (A Firewall and SELinux are two big things that you get with Fedora 14).

          The short lifespan of 13 months, and a new release every 6 months, means that it may not be the best option for those who want to be able to stick to one version for more than a year without losing support.

          In summary, I think that this distro best suits users with moderate to high levels of experience who aren’t looking for a minimalist distribution, want something that can easily be adapted to fit a wide spectrum of uses, but don’t need to stick to one version for an extended period of time. If this looks like the distro for you, you can get it here.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian CUT, a new rolling release?

        It looks like 2011 started well for Debian. The project won awards in two out of seven categories at the Linux New Media Awards 2011 (“Best Open Source Server Distribution” and “Outstanding Contribution to Open Source/Linux/Free Software”). Just recently Internet.com declared Debian the most influential distribution ever, stating that “~63% of all distributions now being developed come ultimately from Debian.”

        However, my intention for this article is not solely to praise Debian for its recent awards, but rather to focus on a new project, Debian CUT. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard about CUT; it seems most Debian community hasn’t either. Then again, maybe it’s because it is only labelled as unofficial/development so far.

      • In praise of Debian 5

        But what you can make of it is a remote music player with a slideshow visualizer, and probably for less money than it would cost you to feed your belly.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • What’s wrong with Unity & how we can fix it

          Unity is Ubuntu’s innovative new user interface, designed to catapult Ubuntu into the revolution of contextual search, launchers and social integration. The unique design provides an enticing alternative to the likes of Windows and OS X.

        • Lessons Learned from Canonical, Banshee, and GNOME

          With the brouhaha begun by Canonical’s changing of the Banshee affiliate code dying down there are some important lessons to be learned by all sides involved. One of the most important is that protracted in-fighting causes long term harm in the area of good will and public appearances. While Canonical was painted the villain by the community at large, GNOME, who was already battling negativity from controversial moves in its new GNOME 3 Shell, didn’t come out of it unscathed. In essence, there were no winners here.

        • Add Realtime Earth Wallpaper to Ubuntu with xplanetFX


          Ubuntu Linux (currently at version 10.10) comes with some really nice desktop wallpapers. I particularly like the “Blue Marble” static image of Earth from space. But recently I discovered a much more interesting way to add a real-time, continually-updated satellite image of Earth to your desktop with an app called xplanetFX. You can configure the app to change the globe’s size, attributes, and view specific coordinates on Earth. It’s pretty cool. Here’s a screenshot of my xplanetFX desktop, also running the Cairo-Dock app with the Chrome Round icon theme.

        • Ubuntu: a complete guide

          The reasons to try out Ubuntu are manifold. From breathing new life into ageing PC hardware to running a safer alternative to Windows for the kids’ computer, or simply stretching yourself with something other than the Microsoft homogeny, Ubuntu has become the alternative OS of choice.

        • Multitouch in Ubuntu 11.04

          One of my key goals for Ubuntu 11.04 has been to introduce full multitouch support through X.org. In technical terms, this means adding touch support to the XInput protocol. You may see others refer to multitouch in X.org as simply XInput 2.1. We hatched our plan back at UDS-N to push hard on developing the XInput 2.1 protocol and implementing it as best as possible in 11.04. The idea was that Ubuntu would be a test bed for the protocol before it is adopted by X.org upstream.

          We’re now past feature freeze for Ubuntu 11.04 and nearing the beta release. How well has the plan worked? I believe we’ve been mostly successful. 11.04 includes a pre-release version of XInput 2.1, and we’ve even got support for multitouch through Qt! However, working around issues in the existing X protocol has provided many challenges that became visible only after the initial implementation was developed. In 11.04 we have support for the major pieces of XInput 2.1, but we have since encountered a few corner cases that require a bit more work to get right. I will be writing another post about these challenges to give a better overview of the issues we are facing.

        • A Year With Ubuntu

          This time last year I got a new work laptop, a Dell E6400, dual core 2.8GHz, 4GB, enough hard disk capacity that I’ve forgotten what it is. I dutifully installed the corporate Windows XP image and eventually after the ubiquituous reboots got to a nice clean desktop, looking forward to a nice jump in computing power, I hit the start button to get on with installing the rest of the software I’m going to need, and nothing happens. Of course that always seems to happen on XP, you have to wait seconds to minutes after the desktop displaying before things have settled down enough to get anything to happen.

          At that instant I gave up on Windows, my next action was to download a 64bit Ubuntu .iso, and burn it to DVD. I’d played with virtualization and dual booting before, but on the spur of the moment I decided I was just going to wipe the hard disk one more time and throw my lot in with Ubuntu, I’d figure out how to manage without the few Windows only applications I needed somehow, it’d be better than gritting my teeth at my unresponsive desktop every morning.

        • Thunderbird and Ubuntu One: First Thoughts, First Roadblock (or Prior Art and RDF’d)

          Hedera is a Thunderbird extension, and probably the most direct solution to the Thunderbird and Ubuntu One integration problem. With Hedera, all contacts in all address books are sent off to Ubuntu One, with metadata to keep the contacts in the right address books. Metadata is also included to keep contacts distinct from one Thunderbird profile to the next (if you’re one of the rare users of profiles).

          As of late, the extension has gotten a bit dusty – the author, James Tait, is currently working at Canonical, and hasn’t had much time to maintain it.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10 LXDE Released

            If you are interested in a very solid Linux Distribution with a lightweight desktop (rather than the typical Gnome or KDE desktops), there was very good news for you yesterday. Linux Mint 10 (Julia) LXDE is now available. When I have previously looked at lightweight desktops it has been Xfce, but that seems to be getting slowly but steadily larger and more complex, and I have heard a lot of good things about LXDE recently, so I decided to give it a whirl.

          • Linux: lubuntu

            If you already have Ubuntu installed, trying lubuntu is really easy; just run “sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop”.

            In summary, it’s very pretty, super fast, and crazy small. In fact, its memory usage was almost laughable considering I was running it on a 4GB MacBook Pro. I think my total memory usage was something in the 200-300MB range.

          • Linux Mint: Getting Debian via the Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) – and making it more Debian-like

            A couple of weeks ago I decided I needed to have at least one copy of all the major branches of Linux distributions on this laptop, if only for troubleshooting and having a reference point. Debian or something derived from it has been missing from all my machines for a while now, so with the release of “Squeeze” it seemed like a good time to put a copy back on.

          • Xubuntu Natty default wallpaper
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Embedding Ubuntu

      There are hundreds of versions of Linux, including embedded-specific distributions like TimeSys, MontaVista and Wind River Linux, and well-known desktop/server distributions such as Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux and Novell’s SUSE.
      They are all derived from common core Linux components, such as the standard Linux kernel (freely available from www.kernel.org), several graphical application environments (GNOME, KDE, etc), various system utilities and tools, both free and proprietary device drivers, and thousands of application programs. Yet the Linux desktop/server market was disrupted by the arrival of Ubuntu (www.ubuntu.com).

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • Motorola Revs Up Devs at Android Conference

          Motorola VP Christy Wyatt addressed an audience at the Android Developers Conference 2011 Tuesday, telling them that the opportunity to monetize around Android will exceed that of any other platform. One area of opportunity for devs is the enterprise market, Wyatt said. “The reason I find this really exciting, and you should think it’s exciting, is this has been a captive market for some time,” she said.

        • Fixing the Fragmented Face of Android

          Android 3.0, aka “Honeycomb,” took center stage at Wednesday’s AnDevCon keynote address, and LinuxInsider joined about 200 Android developers in a small room at the Marriott Hotel in San Mateo, Calif., to listen in.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Asustek to launch US$200-250 netbook in June

        Asustek Computer is set to launch a new netbook priced at US$200-250 in June in cooperation with Intel, and hopes to achieve its goal of shipping six million netbooks in 2011, according to sources from upstream component makers.

    • OLPC

      • Welcoming two new Xo’s (and one is red! :-)

        This is the second version of the first activity in Etoys (with scripts) that I uploaded to the Squeakland Showcase. Through this activity we discuss and analyze more deeply the first story of the book (the story about the 35 camels).

        I was thinking of starting to include older kids (over 12) in the activities which will be present the programming skill. In my opinion, in this way, the little kids (that touched a computer and a mouse for the first time, since this project started) will have the support of the older ones, which are somehow a bit more accustomed to a computer. Through this integration, I think all kids can work to collaborate together on developing different skills as we move forward.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Does FOSS Need a Charismatic Leader?

    Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has Steve Jobs; Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has Bill Gates. The question on hand in the Linux community lately has been, does FOSS need someone similar?

    That, indeed, was the topic of a recent poll on TuxRadar, and it’s sparked quite a debate.

    “Does free software need a figurehead?” the TuxRadar crew began. “We all talk about the freedom and democracy that FLOSS brings — but does it also help to have a strong character at the top keeping us on the right path?”

  • What does Community really mean? (Part 2)

    The very first comment that somewhat counters’ Phipps’ s model is that it ignores the fundamentally dynamical nature of FOSS communities and the inherent sociological rejection of any real “stable” state of the social structure inside these communities. It means two things: That anyone from the end-user community may turn into a core developer provided he/she has the skills and provides relevant contributions in the relevant way (in my example, the end-user would have to contribute code patches in a regular fashion to become a core developer); second, that the members of these communities have no status that is carved in stone. You are not born a core developer, you become one, but you won’t remain one until you keep contributing. This in turn highlights two notions that are essential inside FOSS communities and that may be seen, as I wrote earlier, as an additional, yet necessary description of the way FOSS communities work through and beyond the typology enunciated by Simon.

  • How can open source survive in a post-PC World?

    The open source world has been fixated so long on the “Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop” that it runs the risk of failing to notice that the desktop is no longer the key platform. That’s been evident for some time in the developing world, where cost and power constraints mean that big, expensive PCs are simply impractical for most people. But with the rise of smartphones like the iPhone and Android devices, many people in western countries are also ditching their desk-bound systems in favour of powerful, more pocketable ones.

    Alongside this trend, there is the new passion for tabs, which many are proclaiming as the coup de grâce for traditional PCs. The idea is that for most users – that is, those who do not need to work with huge spreadsheets or massive databases, say – a lightweight touchscreen tablet will become the default way of computing, whether at work, at home, or on the move.


    Really, OpenSource is about choice. If someone has a view of doing this like so, and others do have another view, let’s fork it, change it, see if it works. Other projects or stakeholders or companies will take what they need, and leave the rest to the sharks.

  • Apache Harmony loses project manager

    Tim Ellison, Project Management Chair at Apache Harmony, the Java implementation at the Apache Software Foundation, has announced his resignation as chair of the open source project. The IBM employee says that after IBM stepped back from the project in autumn 2010 and after years of discussions with Sun and then with Oracle about licences for Java Test Compatibility Kits (TCK), the participation in Harmony has shrunk so much that there is no longer any properly working project management.

  • Open Source’s Kith and Kindred

    One of the things that interests me is the way that the ideas underlying open source are being applied in other fields. That’s something that I normally cover in my other blog, but sometimes things happen in those other domains that have ramifications back in the world of open source, and so may be of interest here.

  • The future of open source is on its way

    As an industry analyst, I am always looking toward the future — mostly based on conversations and experiences with open source vendors and, increasingly, customers and end users. Still, to get the most accurate prediction and picture of the future, it is essential to check these ideas, theories, trends and with a larger pool of open source software providers, consumers and pundits. Thus, we’re encouraging anyone who has an interest or stake in enterprise open source software to offer their input via the just-released, fifth annual Future of Open Source Survey. The 451 Group is pleased to have been more closely involved in the survey this year along with North Bridge Venture Partners and Computerworld.

  • 59 Open Source Tools That Can Replace Popular Security Software
  • Events

    • Open source pow-wow kicks off Linux’ 20th anniversary

      The Linux Foundation announced keynotes and programming for its Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, scheduled for April 6-8 in San Francisco. The event will also kick off the year’s Linux 20th anniversary celebrations, leading up to the official celebration in August.

  • Web Browsers

    • Major Browser Makers Agree: HTML 5 is the Future

      There is no doubt that that last point makes sense. Everyone benefits from a common standard. Meanwhile, Mozilla has been showcasing what Firefox 4 can do with HTML 5 on its Web o’ Wonder site, and the company has been quite vocal about the promise of HTML 5.

    • Chrome 10, Firefox 4.0, or IE9? The Browser Choice
    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome OS Director Joins Chorus of Praise for HTML5

        Shepherds of the web, from execs at Firefox to directors at Internet Explorer, have heralded HTML5 as the future of the Internet. Simply put, HTML5 is the latest revision to HTML, the core coding language of the web and the backbone of the Internet. It’s a modern standard designed to complete modern online tasks–audio, video, multimedia, etc.–and every browser maker has touted its capabilities when showing off the newest versions of their software.

      • Google claims to have sped up the web

        ADVERTISING BROKER Google claims to have speeded up the web thanks to improvements in the Javascript it uses to display adverts.

        Google has updated the show_ads.js Javascript that is used by millions of websites to display Google’s Adsense adverts. The new turn of speed comes from embedding the heavy lifting of the script in an iframe, resulting in the browser not stalling while the Javascript is working out what adverts to display.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla To Ship Firefox 4 Final On March 22

        Mozilla’s Damon Sicore today told developers that the company is aiming for a March 22 ship date for Firefox 4.

      • Mozilla Takes Aim At Internet Explorer, Which Faces More Challenges Than Ever
      • Firefox 4: New streamlined interface, ‘app tabs’
      • Firefox 4 Gets CEO Approval

        Mozilla has officially confirmed March 22 as the launch date of Firefox 4. A recently discovered Java bug will not be fixed for the final version.

      • 10 Things to Drool Over in Firefox 4

        Mozilla’s Firefox 4 is now officially expected to debut on Tuesday March 22, following hard on the heels of Google’s Chrome 10 and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9.

      • Mozilla outlines 16-week Firefox development cycle

        Although Mozilla is still readying Firefox 4 for its official release, the organization is already laying out its plans for subsequent versions of the open source Web browser. In a roadmap published earlier this year, Mozilla revealed plans to issue three more major releases during 2011–bringing the browser’s version number up to seven.

        As we discussed in our coverage of the roadmap, Mozilla’s plan is ambitious and will require a dramatic overhaul of the Firefox development process. Mozilla—which has historically had lengthy development cycles and protracted beta testing—will have to transition to a faster and less-conservative approach to release management. The organization has authored a document that describes how such a transition could potentially be achieved.

      • Firefox 5.0 to Launch 16 Weeks after 4.0, Firefox 6.0 Just 6 Weeks after 5.0

        I have already told you that Mozilla plans to release Firefox 5.0, Firefox 6.0 and Firefox 7.0 by the end of 2011, following the acceleration of its release schedule per the Google Chrome model.

      • Check out What’s Coming Soon in Firefox 4

        Mozilla Firefox 4 is almost here! We updated the Firefox 4 release candidate with some minor security fixes and updates to several localizations, including the addition of a Vietnamese localized version. Firefox will now ship in 80 languages. We’re excited to deliver the new features, look and speed of Firefox 4 to our more than 400 million users worldwide.

  • Databases

  • Drupal/CMS

  • Education

    • Schools take the open road

      TAKING advantage of free and open source software, a government program has been bringing computers and the skills to use them to public high schools nationwide in an effort to narrow the digital divide.

      “We’ve been advocates of free and open source software from the start,” says Antonette Torres, manager of the iSchools project, which has set up computer labs in 1,000 public high schools since 2007.

      Each recipient school gets 19 desktop computers, a server and a laptop, all running Edubuntu, a variant of Ubuntu Linux designed for classroom use. Fifteen of the desktop PCs go to a computer lab, two are allocated for faculty use, one goes to the library and another goes to the principal.

  • Healthcare

    • Open-Source Software Is Actually More Secure for Health Care IT, Study Suggests

      Globally the sale of health care information systems is a multibillion dollar industry. The vast costs, frequent failed systems, and inability of systems to talk to each other regularly attract media comment. However policy makers still shy away from a class of software, Open Source, that could address many of these problems, because of worries about the safety and security of Open Source systems. Now new research by the University of Warwick’s Institute for Digital Healthcare, and the Centre for Health Informatics and Multiprofessional Education at UCL Medical School, finds that Open Source software may actually be more secure than its often more expensive alternatives.

  • Funding

    • DE: Company network to be funded to develop open source business software

      A group of companies will receive federal funding for the integration of business software to open source, it was announced in March 2011.

      The network of 16 software companies and a research institute have developed a ‘building block’ solution with an open source basis. The objective is to offer solutions that are compatible and flexible. The new software will be named Open Source Integration Initiative (OSII) and will be established with support from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie (BMWi), in German). During the first year project period the network was awarded with the ‘National Innovation Programme for SMEs’ by the Ministry. MFG Baden-Württemberg, the public Innovation Agency for ICT and Media, is responsible for the management of the business network.

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 2.0 is released

      Great news for this release of GhostBSD 2.0 will now be support auto mount of USB Devices! There could be some problems across a few system and if you find one please report it to one of the email address below.

    • m0n0wall 1.33 released

      m0n0wall 1.33 adds a new image type for generic PCs with a serial console, further improves IPv6 support, includes a driver for newer Realtek network chipsets and contains various small changes and bug fixes.

    • PC-BSD 9.0-current
    • The Wonders Of Blender

    • GnuCash 2.4.4 released

      The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 2.4.4, the fourth bug fix release in a series of stable of the GnuCash Free Accounting Software. With this new release series, GnuCash can use an SQL database using SQLite3, MySQL or PostgreSQL. It runs on GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris, Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX.

    • Ten years of the Free Software Foundation Europe

      Founded in 2001, the Free Software Foundation Europe is the European sister organisation to the Free Software Foundation in the United States, and today, it celebrates its tenth anniversary. In 2000, physicist Georg Greve saw the need for a European organisation to help Europe’s open source and free software developers in struggling with EU specific policy and the consequences of EU law for free software. The organisation sees itself not as a smaller European partner for the Richard Stallman-founded FSF in the US, but as an autonomous organisation culturally rooted in Europe that takes into account the complexities and differences in the conditions of the continent.

    • How to install and and start GNU Smalltalk

      Hi everyone, This short video show you how to install and start GNU Smalltalk on Ubuntu.

    • Create Your Own Local Mirror of the Ubuntu Repositories
    • Introduction to tmux: A GNU Screen Alternative
  • Government

    • Local government ‘detached’ from open source benefits

      Whitehall is becoming one of the strongest supporters of open source, but local authorities across the UK are ‘stubbornly wedded’ into proprietary ICT, writes Graham Taylor, CEO of Openforum Europe

      Three new government initiatives in the field of open public sector computing in the past month show that at a national level at least, the UK is one of the strongest supporters of open standards and open source software in Europe.

      Unfortunately at grass roots level, local government around the UK remains stubbornly wedded to proprietary computer systems that lock them and their citizens’ data into closed computer systems.

    • Government takes action on open technology

      It’s been an interesting few weeks in regard to open source. From being what in the past I classified a ‘laggard’ (that was the polite form) in Europe, the UK government is now intent on matching its Action Plan on Open Source, Open Standards and Re-use with….well, action! And in doing so it has shamed some other European countries that have been content to limit deliverables to a paper strategy.

    • Governments could save millions by reducing their dependence on a single desktop PC software vendor
  • Licensing

  • Programming

    • PHP 5.3.6 closes five security holes

      The PHP developers have released PHP 5.3.6, a maintenance update to the PHP interpreter. Among over 60 bug fixes are a number of fixes for security related problems.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • WebODF

      WebODF is a JavaScript library that makes it easy to add Open Document Format (ODF) support to your website and to your mobile or desktop application. It uses HTML and CSS to display ODF documents.

      WebODF is a Free Software project. All code is available under the AGPL. This means that you can use the code free of charge, investigate how it works, and share it with others.

    • Best Practices for Authoring Interoperable ODF Documents

      In the OASIS ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC we have recently started work on a new document, a “Committee Note” which will be called, “Best Practices for Authoring Interoperable ODF Documents”.

      I will be the editor for this document.

      If you are not yet familiar with a “Committee Note”, it is a new category of document that has recently been added to the OASIS process. Think of it being analogous to an ISO Technical Report. A Committee Note (or CN) goes through the same level of review and approval with a Technical Committee, the same public review requirement, etc. But it does not get approved as a standard, so it does not define, for example, conformance requirements. It is intended for things like implementation guides, best practices, white papers, etc.


  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Obama’s new executive order on Guantanamo

      President Obama yesterday signed an Executive Order which, as The Washington Post described it, “will create a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay” and “all but cements Guantanamo Bay’s continuing role in U.S. counterterrorism policy.”

    • Taking the “war” out of air war

      Admittedly, by then American air-power films had long been in decline. In Vietnam, the U.S. had used its air superiority to devastating effect, bombing the north and blasting the south, but go to American Vietnam films and, while that U.S. patrol walks endlessly into a South Vietnamese village with mayhem to come, the air is largely devoid of planes.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Energy Revolution in Germany

      Triggered by the catastrophic developments in Japan Germany undergoes an energy revolution. Friedbert Pflüger (CDU) openly speaks of a “revolution” and describes the approach of his party to back nuclear technology as a mistake.

  • Finance

    • How The Wealthy Plan to Finance The American Aristocracy With Middle Class Dollars

      The quest for influence, power and control at all levels of government has long played out through large political contributions and the big bucks paid to lobbyists to accomplish special interest objectives. And while the game has often been ‘rigged’ to benefit the wealthy in our society, there was always a role to be played by the nation’s unions -thanks, in no small part, to their substantial treasuries filled by the dues paying membership.

  • Censorship

    • US military blocks social media sites

      Sites at least temporaly affected by their measure include:

      * Youtube.com
      * Googlevideo.com
      * Amazon.com
      * ESPN.go.com
      * eBay.com
      * Doubleclick.com
      * Eyewonder.com
      * Pandora.com
      * streamtheworld.com
      * Mtv.com
      * Ifilm.com
      * Myspace.com
      * Metacafe.com

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Ethics of Intellectual Monopolies: the Video
    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • EU ACTA negotiators’ notes still secret

          Pedro Velasco Martins, EU ACTA negotiator, today answered FFII’s 30 December 2010 questions on the initialling of ACTA. ACTA was initialed on 25 November 2010, through an electronic procedure. The Commission chief-negotiator initialled all the pages of the text, including the criminal measures.

          The Commission added negotiators’ notes in the course of the negotiations. The EU has not decided yet whether it will publish its negotiators’ notes. Negotiators’ notes may influence the interpretation of ACTA. According to the Commission ACTA will fall under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. The FFII believes the notes should be published.

        • FFII supports asking an ECJ opinion on ACTA

          The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) supports asking the European Court of Justice an opinion on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). On Monday 21 March 2011 the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee may vote on a proposal for such a request. Unbalanced enforcement measures may heighten market entrance risks for innovators, according to the FFII. Startup companies are often confronted with patent minefields. Even a mere allegation of infringement may easily lead to market exclusion. Startup companies often do not have enough resources to litigate.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg


Links 18/3/2011: Ubuntu 11.10 Release Schedule, OSI Reform

Posted in News Roundup at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Switching To Linux – Tale Of A Former Mac User Who Is Also A Musician

      Switching to Linux is easy for most of us. You just have to download and burn a Linux distribution and boot your computer with it. If the Linux distribution you have chosen is a modern one, then you can finish installing it on your machine in 6 steps or less.

    • The Austin Prometheus Project

      In 2008, I was granted an appointment with an executive within Time-Warner’s Corporate Responsibility Department. After a 40 minute wait, I was asked by the receptionist what my appointment was for. I explained that I needed to discuss Internet connections for the disadvantaged. An hour and 15 minutes after that, I was informed that the executive was called away unexpectedly and she would not return for the day. She would contact me and reschedule the appointment.

      The call never came and my subsequent calls were never returned.

      How nice.

      That’s fine…what Austin business hasn’t done for their own, the Free Software and Linux communities have stepped in and allowed us to do our work.

      But not this time.

      I’ve made arrangements for Time-Warner to connect Anthony’s home to the Internet and I am going to pay for the first month and the setup fees from my own pocket. I can’t do this often but in this case, I believe it to be important.

  • Google

    • 5 things Google Chrome OS does better than OS X (or anything else)

      After reading the article “5 things OS X does better than Linux”, I felt compelled to post this. OS X may be user-friendly and do plenty of user-friendly things, but those user-friendly acts pale in comparison to those which Google Chrome OS (which is based on Linux) does.

    • Chrome Stable Release
    • How Google can make Chrome OS succeed

      Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS operating system should be with us by now. But at that point last December when we were led to believe our netbooking futures were about to be redefined, Google postponed our date with destiny and asked us to try again in another six months.

      It seemed the road ahead wasn’t quite as clear as Google wanted it to be, and six months is presumably enough time for the masters at Menlo Park to fine-tune their revolution and get things back on track.

  • Kernel Space

    • The DRM Pull Request For The Linux 2.6.39 Kernel

      David Airlie has just emailed Linus Torvalds with his main DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) pull request for the Linux 2.6.39 kernel that 2.6.38 was released earlier this week. As was mentioned a few days ago, the Linux 2.6.39 kernel will feature a number of interesting changes to the open-source graphics drivers, among other areas.

    • AMD Fusion E-350 Linux Performance

      By now you have likely seen the AMD Fusion E-350 APU showcased on a number of Windows web-sites, but how is this AMD Accelerated Processor working in the Linux world? At Phoronix today are the first in-depth Ubuntu Linux benchmarks being published from this promising, low-power solution designed to compete with Intel’s Atom.

    • Linux Kernel 2.6.38 Brings Support for AMD Fusion

      We are proud to announce that today, March 15th, the immediate release of the highly anticipated Linux kernel 2.6.38.

    • What’s new in Linux 2.6.38
    • Panasonic Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Panasonic is joining the organization as a Gold member.

      The Linux Foundation merged late last year with the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF), of which Panasonic was a founder. CELF members were grandfathered into The Linux Foundation at the Silver level. With work on embedded Linux and open compliance accelerating, Panasonic chose to increase its level of work and commitment to The Linux Foundation at the Gold level of membership.

    • AMD Looks To Ramp Up Its Linux Engineer Count

      NVIDIA isn’t the only one looking to expand its Linux team, but AMD is now in a mad dash to dramatically ramp up its engineering teams. AMD has been looking to hire at least another open-source developer in recent months to work on its graphics stack, but Advanced Micro Devices has now announced they’re looking to hire over one thousand “tech professionals” where the software engineers are skilled in Linux and open-source development.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Awoken 1.9 Icon Set Brings in a Darker Version of Theme, Customization Script, PPA & Lot More!

        AwOken icon theme is among the most downloaded and highly rated icon themes for GNOME and we had no second thoughts while including AwOken in our listing of top 10 most popular Icon themes for Ubuntu GNOME. AwOken version 1.9 brings in a lot of changes that includes a new darker version of the theme as well as a very useful customization script. To make things even easier, now you will able to install AwOken icon theme in Ubuntu using PPA.

  • Distributions

    • Calculate 11.3 Screenshots
    • Elementary OS Beta Reviewed – Looks Very Polished, Minor Niggles

      I concede that I am a big fan of Elementary Project and the goodies it brought to the Linux desktop eco system. I also accept the fact that, reviewing a developer only preview of an application and calling it “not ready yet” is kind of self defeating. But the kind of expectations a project like Elementary OS carries around makes it vulnerable to close scrutinisation at every level. Consider this as one such *very* early Elementary OS review.

    • New Minty Freshness (GTK Theme) Version Brings Nautilus Elementary Support, Many Other Improvements

      Minty Freshness is a new theme created by Skies Of Azel, the Orta theme developer, especially designed for Linux Mint Debian Edition (the theme could become the default LMDE theme).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora, Importance of GNU/Linux Competition, and Technological Freedom

          I have been working with Fedora 11 since last Friday (just waiting for my home computers to get back online with the new line activated) and as much as I try to love Fedora, I cannot help feeling that Kubuntu and Ubuntu have been giving me less hassle. Deep inside I wanted to declare that Fedora was better, but the experiences simply suggest that any such claim would be wishful thinking, even deceptive. The problem is that Canonical was made quite arrogant (hello Hubris!), which harms Ubuntu on technical and communal grounds alike. Canonical could use more competition.

        • Developing With Fedora 11

          Is Fedora ready to become the most widespread GNU/Linux desktop? Probably not yet. But for development? Sure, why not? Fedora 14 is more mature, but that too has some wrinkles which I covered here before.

        • Fedora 15 vs Ubuntu Natty Narwhal – The Battle for Your Next Desktop

          With the changes coming to the desktops of some major Linux distributions, it looks like we’re beginning to see some welcome differentiation between how each distro presents itself to users. Fedora and Ubuntu are of course well known as some of the most popular and user-friendly Linux systems, and while they have many similarities, their next major releases are both taking a new approach to the desktop. Ubuntu has decided to drop their Netbook spin and run their homegrown Unity desktop across the board. Fedora however has jumped on board with Gnome 3, confident that it will have all the form and function their users want. While we’ve already discussed both desktops before, Fedora and Ubuntu are both offering more than a makeover, and it’s time to dig deeper.

        • Fusion 14 Screenshots
        • Fedora shows off Gnome 3.0

          Fedora braves the first release of Gnome 3.0.

          Living up to its reputation for being one of the more adventurous Linux distributions on offer, Fedora 15′s alpha release includes Gnome 3.0.

          The new Gnome desktop interface has been years in the making and has had its final release delayed multiple times as the developers hunted down bugs and put the finishing touches to what promises to be this year’s big shift in Linux desktops.

    • Debian Family

      • I use hp-setup to add my HP LaserJet 1020 printer to Debian Squeeze
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • I Have Installed Ubuntu…What’s Next?

          Does this sound familiar to you? You have taken the plunge and install Ubuntu on your computer. The next moment, you have no idea what to do next and where to head. Now, before any doubt creeps in and you are wondering if you have make the right choice leaving the comfort zone (Windows or Mac) and venture into the unknown ground, let us show you what you can, and should do after installing Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.10 Release Schedule
        • “2 sided Unity Dock”, Now A Reality [Video]

          This is working code, not mockups anymore!

        • Timeline: The Greatest Show on Earth

          By curious coincidence, one of the most defining weeks in the entire history of GNOME — and a turning point for Canonical’s relationship with the project — happened to take place during a week-long stock market catastrophe.

        • Big dreams for Ubuntu Ocelot

          Oneiric Ocelot. It’s the name of the next release of Ubuntu, which was announced earlier this week by Ubuntu chief Mark Shuttleworth.

          The name is reserved for the Ubuntu 11.10 release scheduled for debut in October 2011 and follows the long tradition of giving Ubuntu releases names based on animals. In this case it is the Ocelot, a leopard-like cat. The Oneiric name refers to dreaming, obviously implying the intentions for the next release of Ubuntu.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New Xilinx ISE and Linux

      Xilinx recently released version 13.1 of their ISE Webpack toolkit. If you haven’t used ISE, its the tool that lets you build logic descriptions for FPGAs using schematics, Verilog, or VHDL. You can simulate your design or build bitstreams suitable for use with most of the Xilinx FPGA or CPLD products. I applaud Xilinx for making a Linux version available although I have often noted quirks on the Linux side that seem pretty fundamental.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • OSI adds three to board and begins reform

    A recent meeting of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) in San Francisco saw three new members of the board filling the two empty board seats and the beginning of a reformation for the group’s governance. The organisation, which has managed the Open Source Definition and reviewed licences for their compliance with that definition, is looking to expand its role to engage as “a meeting point for global open source communities at large”.

  • Board Meeting Report

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI) Board meet this weekend in San Francisco for its annual face-to-face meeting (generously hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation). There were two significant topics on the agenda. First, we had to review the substantial number of nominations for the two Board seats that become vacant on March 31st when Danese Cooper and Russ Nelson leave the Board due to term limits after a decade each of service. Their involvement in OSI has been pivotal, with Danese serving as treasurer for many years and Russ leading the license review activity. Both will be missed.

  • Events

    • NASA Open Source Summit announced

      NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has announced that it will hold its first ever summit on open source software development later this month. According to NASA, the Open Source Summit will bring together engineers, policy makers and open source community members to talk about “the challenges within the existing open source policy framework and propose modifications to facilitate NASA’s development, release and use of software”. The event will take place on the 29 and 30 March at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

  • Web Browsers


    • GNU Free Call: A Proposed Free Phone To Skype
    • FSF Leadership Change

      I got a call on Friday evening from Peter Brown, the Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). It’s been my great pleasure to know and work with Peter over the last five years or so. While I was at Sun I liaised with him over the GPLv3 process, to arrange for Richard Stallman’s video about OpenJDK and then later when Sun resumed its donations to FSF as a Corporate Patron.

  • Programming

    • Subject: [PHP] PHP 5.3.6 Released! – msg#00000

      The PHP development team would like to announce the immediate availability of PHP 5.3.6. This release focuses on improving the stability of the PHP 5.3.x branch with over 60 bug fixes, some of which are security related.

    • What Your QA Team Can Learn from Open Source Development Projects

      Studies show that major FOSS projects have fewer defects per lines of code than proprietary software. Free and open source projects follow slightly different protocols than their proprietary counterparts. You can apply some of these processes in your team to your benefit, even if you’re developing proprietary software.

    • 7 of the Best Free Graphical User Interfaces for R

      R is an open source programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It consists of a language together with a run-time environment with a debugger, graphics, access to system functions, and scripting.

      The R language is extremely popular for developing statistical software, and is also frequently used as an analysis tool amongst data miners. R is an implementation of the S programming language, developed by Bell Laboratories, adding lexical scoping semantics. R offers a wide variety of statistical and graphical techniques including time series analysis, linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, classification, clustering, and more). Combined with a large collection of intermediate tools for data analysis, good data handling and storage, general matrix calculation toolbox, R offers a coherent and well developed system which is highly extensible.


  • Third-party Twitter applications under threat

    Soon the only way to get at Twitter might be through “official” software produced by the company itself.

    The firm has angered many software developers by suggesting they stop making “clients” that let users write, read and respond to Tweets.

  • Aligning SSD Partitions

    I happen to live in a city with a MicroCenter store and I just bought a new 64GB SSD that uses a SandForce 1222 controller. I’ve been interested in testing the real-time data compression of the SandForce controller on a number of benchmarks and applications. So I finally have one! But before I jump into testing I need to think about configuring the SSD.

    The challenge we face is that partitions happen on cylinder boundaries (remember that fdisk in Linux uses “heads” and “tracks” to define cylinders). If this cylinder boundary is not aligned with the “page” of an SSD, then the SSD can easily undergo extra work during a read/modify/write cycle, perhaps causing extra write cycles to be used and performance to be reduced. If you aren’t going to partition your SSD then you don’t have to worry about this too much although it definitely doesn’t hurt.

  • 10 best alternative operating systems
  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Complexity and Design in Warfare

      The need for a different approach to address DOD’s operational problems is particularly well articulated in this excellent document – The U.S. Army Commander’s Appreciation and Campaign Design (CACD):

      “The complexity of warfare in the early twenty-first century poses special challenges to the United States (U.S.) Armed Forces. The services developed much of their doctrine, organizations, and equipment during the Cold War in preparation for war between states. At the time, this type of war was the most dangerous threat to our Nation’s survival, but it was not the most likely form of conflict – then or now. In fact, throughout the Cold War and the period that followed, war between states has been the rarest form of conflict in which the United States engaged. U.S. joint and service doctrine must advance beyond the old paradigm of war between states and between armies of regulars that are organized, trained, and equipped according to a similar logic.”

    • U.S. military funds creepy android & felinoid robots

      Robot specialist Boston Dynamics has just received a contract from the U.S. Defense Department’s DARPA agency to develop two new robots. Atlas, a humanoid bot, will “climb and maneuver in rough terrain [with] human-like agility,” while Cheetah, a felinoid bot, will “sprint faster than a human, corner like a race car, and start and stop on a dime,” says the company.

  • Finance

    • Anonymous leaks Bank of America e-mails

      Online activist group Anonymous has released a cache of e-mails which it claims show impropriety at Bank of America.

      The leak, which includes correspondence between staff at BoA subsidiary Balboa Insurance, details plans to delete sensitive documents.

      It does not explain why the files were to be removed or how this supports Anonymous’ accusation of criminality.

    • Goldman Sachs–The Legacy

      Now that we can be very sure that the Wall Street firms that brought us “How to Create a Recession Through MBSs” will never be prosecuted, then we should be able to laugh our fool heads off.

    • Goldman Sachs in Kremlin investment fund talks

      President Dmitry Medvedev has held talks with Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein about the bank’s possible participation in a direct investment fund the Kremlin is looking to create to attract foreign capital.

    • Goldman Puts Mortgage-Servicing Unit Up for Sale

      Goldman Sachs has put its mortgage-servicing subsidiary, Litton Loan Servicing, up for sale amid continued concern over whether borrowers were improperly evicted from their homes.

      “Goldman Sachs is exploring strategic options for Litton Loan Servicing, which include a possible sale,” a firm spokesman, Michael DuVally, told DealBook in a statement.

    • Inside Job director on Geithner, Goldman, and criminal bankers

      Inside Job, which recently won the Academy Aware for best documentary film of 2010, continues to be a conversation starter. Paul Krugman titled his latest column in The New York Times, “Another Inside Job.” Time Magazine’s Joe Klein evokes director Charles Ferguson’s now-famous acceptance speech at the Oscars in which the filmmaker lamented that so far no one has gone to jail for crimes to committed during the financial crisis of 2008.

  • Privacy

    • Obama Administration calls for new privacy law

      The Obama Administration is backing a new data privacy bill of rights aimed at protecting consumers against indiscriminate online tracking and data collection by advertisers.

      In testimony prepared for the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation, the Commerce Department’s assistant secretary, Lawrence Strickling, said that the White House wants Congress to enact legislation offering “baseline consumer data privacy protections.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Broadband Power for the People?

      The larger telecom firms are mandated by government to lease their bandwidth to smaller ISPs and resellers. However, until now, they were prohibited from passing per-gigabyte fees on to these customers. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has attempted to placate small providers by granting them a 15% discount on cable and telecom companies’ retail rates – but the small ISPs are less than impressed with this wholesale rate. In fact, many regard it as just another retail price. From the perspective of small business, the discount is hardly compensation for the new power imbalance: it merely slows the journey toward an Internet oligopoly or monopoly.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Judge considers costs for ACS Law

        Controversial law firm ACS Law returned to court on Wednesday as the cases it brought against alleged file-sharers were officially closed.

        Andrew Crossley, the solicitor at the heart of the controversy, was absent from court but could still face heavy fines.

        Judge Birss is considering whether ACS Law should pay the defendants’ costs.

        Ralli, the law firm which represents five of the accused, is seeking £90,000.

Clip of the Day

Galaxy Tab vs Rooted Nook Color

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 17/3/2011: New Kernel, New Firefox

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Pogson Thoughts/Advocacy

    • April, 2011 – The Month The Desktop Changes

      CompuLab/Trim Slice plans to ship a desktop PC that fits in your hand with Ubuntu GNU/Linux.

    • HP: In a Race to be the King of the Linux Desktop etc.

      Now, HP is becoming a part of my career as Linux advocate. They intend to push WebOS/Linux everywhere:

    • Growth of GNU/Linux on the Desktop

      Wikipedia which gets the vast majority of its clicks from English-speaking countries, shows that other OS with 82% share in February 2011 but 87% in February 2010, a -5% share change in one year. Wikipedia counts ARMed visits. In the same period Linux jumped from 1.65% to 2.47% share, a growth rate of 50%. We see now that iPad2 has sold out so the ramp in ARMed clients will continue. People who want Internet access Now! on a tablet will not be willing to wait weeks for their fix.

    • How The Mighty Art Fallen
    • Kerala Continues to Exploit FLOSS

      Kerala, India, has deployed GNU/Linux widely in schools. Now it’s the turn of the politicians. They have supplied themselves with laptops loaded with Ubuntu GNU/Linux and saved thousands of dollars in licensing fees. They gave back some of that for training/familiarization but the end result is that they are happy with the choice.

    • Munich’s Migration To GNU/Linux – Latest

      This shows an interesting feature of GNU/Linux. While the migration from that other OS to GNU/Linux took years and is still not finished, the migration from Debian GNU/Linux to Ubuntu happens immediately. That says something for compatibility and open standards. It also helps that the migration is not just a migration of clients but the whole system of managing clients has improved. At this rate the job will be complete some time in 2012.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2 6 38

      Summary: This release adds support for a automatic process grouping (called “the wonder patch” in the news), significant scalability improvements in the VFS, Btrfs LZO compression and read-only snapshots, support for the B.A.T.M.A.N. mesh protocol (which helps to provide network connectivity in the presence of natural disasters, military conflicts or Internet censorship), transparent Huge Page support (without using hugetblfs), automatic spreading of outcoming network traffic across multiple CPUs, support for the AMD Fusion APUs, many drivers and other changes.

    • 2.6.38: making things Just Work
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Back to the Basics with Debian

        It feels good to be stable. It feels good to not have to worry about programs crashing, the net disconnecting, or not being able to install programs.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • “Copygate” Fiasco Exposes the Ugly Side of Ubuntu

          But, incredibly, it gets even worse. Next we had the “Peanutgate” scandal, in which Jono Bacon (full time Windows evangelist, and part time Ubuntu Community Manager) described detractors’ complaints about this misappropriation as the “views of the peanut gallery”. It should be noted that the members of this “peanut gallery” included Banshee developers, Gnome developers and various highly respected Linux luminaries, such as Jef Spaleta and Chuck Frain, the latter of whom has just quit in protest, from his position as leader of the Ubuntu Maryland Local Community Team. In his own words, it was his “tipping point”. I can’t say I blame him.

          And to think, it seems like only yesterday that Jono Bacon was lecturing all those nasty Open Sauce people about showing some Open Respect®.

          Hmm, Bacon could do with learning some Open Respect® himself.

          In the midst of all this scandal, it would have been easy to miss the furore, which I hereby dub “Copygate”, kicking-off over in Ubuntu’s proprietary new and improved Open Sauce Launchpad®, as fanboys ranted like mad ranty things about the evils of X.org, that stalwart of the Linux desktop, which Canonical has condemned to death for the crime of “Not Invented Here”, to make way for their shiny new toy, Wayland.

        • Ubuntu Linux and GNOME: The Disputes continue

          Linux is the supercomputer operating system of choice; thanks to Android, Linux is becoming the most popular smartphone operating system of them all;and Linux continues to make gains in the server market. But, when it comes to the desktop, no matter how you measure it, Linux has never how more than a tiny share of the desktop market. Why? Well, I can give you lots of reasons, but one that Mark Shuttleworth founder of Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, has pointed out that there’s a lot of disorganization and disorder in Linux desktop developer circles.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10 LXDE released!

            New features at a glance:

            * Software manager
            o Application icons
            o Better categorization
            * Update manager
            o Ignore updates
            o Download size
            * Upload manager
            o UI, speed, ETA
            o Connection test
            o Cancel / Run in background
            * System improvements

          • Spotlight On Linux: CrunchBang

            CrunchBang is a lightweight Linux distribution based on Debian. It comes in OpenBox and XFCE editions, and a very dark visual theme. It’s the OpenBox version that I took a look at.

            Being based on Debian is a point is its favor as it means that standard trouble shooting and standard packages work on the system. The documentation on the website assures that CrunchBang is, essentially, a standard Debian installation with a few additional custom packages.

            Installation takes a familiar path. It’s a usable system when booted from the CD image, and hard disk installation is invoked by running a program from the desktop.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Nokia spreading FUD?

          At the moment this very much looks like FUD to sell the proprietary Qt licenses. But perhaps Nokia knows about specific problems for Free Software, so I have sent this question to Knut Yrvin, Open Source Community Manager at Nokia, and will wait for his reply.

        • Don’t write off Nokia and Qt yet

          Even though I understood that this was not going to be some sort of fork, and that Nokia said they were committed to Qt development, I could not understand how or why Nokia would continue to remain involved in Qt development for the long-term. Commercial revenue from Qt would presumably be shared with Digia now (and therefore decreased), and Symbian and MeeGo’s (the two Nokia platforms that use the Qt libraries) respective prominence in Nokia is also expected to decrease, as the prominence of Windows Mobile 7 devices rises.

        • Save the Date – Qt Contributors’ Summit

          As we move forward with our Open Governance project, we believe that by summer it will be about time to put people together in one location. There are many topics to discuss for us, developers already contributing today and those sitting on patches for tomorrow.

      • Android

        • Android apps get terminated

          What’s the difference between a cyborg and an Android? I believe one represents a more human form than the other, putting that aside though, it appears that certain apps on the Android marketplace are being terminated due to being of an alleged malicious nature.

        • Intel works with notebook makers to push into Android tablet PC market

          Intel has already invited 6-8 notebook makers to work on devices featuring the new Intel/Android platform and is expected to showcase models at IDF Beijing, which will be hosted in China on April 12-13, at the earliest if related R&D goes smoothly, otherwise the company will announce the related models at Computex Taipei 2011 at the latest, the sources noted.

        • Steer clear of Android Market and its DRM

          Google recently made headlines after they identified some malware being distributed through the Android Market. Not only did they stop distributing those apps, but they used their “remote kill switch” to remove the apps from phones where they were already downloaded. This is a kind of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) that all computer users should avoid.

    • Tablets

      • The Problem with Tablets: 10 Things They Can’t Do
      • Still talking about desktops … haven’t we moved on?

        The desktop computer remains a fixture in just about every business – a fixture that still needs to be maintained, secured and eventually, refreshed. At the same time, the pressures to provide more flexible, cost-effective access to corporate systems is leading organisations to look at mobile and cloud computing desktop alternatives.

        So why are we still talking about desktops?

      • Netbooks vs. Tablets

        - Size and Weight. This is supposed to be one of the ultimate advantages, and I will admit that tablets are in general thinner and lighter than netbooks. But, how much of an advantage is that in practical terms? It still doesn’t fit in your pocket, you still have to either put it in your bag, backpack, briefcase or whatever, or have a special cover/case for it, don’t you?

Free Software/Open Source

  • What does Community really mean? (Part 1)

    So how does the notion of community get into the mix? That is not an easy one to answer. Let’s just say that because Free and Open Source Software conveys certain freedoms and mandates the availability of the code in its source form, anyone can hack it.

  • What the heck is FreeDOS?

    I went to the PIKOM PC Fair yesterday and I noticed several brands sold with “FreeDOS”. These brands include Acer, Asus, HP, and (I’m told) Dell. None of the sellers seem to know what FreeDOS is, and when asked about it most of them offer to install an unlicensed (illegal) copy of Windows 7 for free with the purchase of the computer. Some even claim that FreeDOS is no operating system and that users need to install Windows.

    In the article title, I’m being slightly disingenuous. I know exactly what FreeDOS is. I’ve used it and I like it. It’s an excellent and active free software project, similar in it’s licensing and (lack of) restrictions to most Linux distributions, but that’s where the similarities stop.

  • Site Gives Students Web Access to Open Source Computation Tools

    A small UK company has launched a set of free open source computation utilities for college students. The Bamboo Toolbox includes access to software developed by open source communities that runs in a Web browser hosted by Hughes Bennett Education. If a student wishes to save computations, he or she can subscribe to a “personal notebook” for a small monthly fee.

  • Events

    • Open Education 2011

      Open Education encompasses a wide range of ideas and practices: open educational resources, open learning support, open credentialing, open access, open scholarship, open teaching, and others. Sometimes open education is enacted by a national government or as an institutional initiative, other times an open education practitioner can feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness. There is terrific diversity in the field of Open Education, and this diversity is one of the field’s greatest sources of strength.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 launch presages tougher browser battle for Mozilla

        The completion of Firefox 4 Release Candidate 1 yesterday — on March 9, as advertised — sets the stage for a big battle of the browsers in 2011.

        RC1, posted late yesterday, is available on Windows, Macintosh and Linux, and its stability and performance metrics suggest that the final Firefox 4 code should ship sometime this month.

      • Firefox 4, It Is Done

        At today’s Firefox planning meeting, we found no issues that would cause us to create a second release candidate. That means, in all likelihood, that the Firefox 4 RC that you’re using now *is* Firefox 4.

      • Thunderbird To Get Ubuntu One Integration

        Yesterday we wrote about Thunderbird being integrated to Ubuntu’s new user interface, Unity. However Thunderbird’s integration into Ubuntu is not about to end at that.

      • Mozilla CEO: Firefox Faced Advertiser Backlash Over “Do Not Track” Feature

        In January, Mozilla announced plans to add a “Do Not Track” feature to Firefox, a tool that would allow users to opt out from having advertisers and other sites track their web-surfing habits. As Mozilla has readily admitted, the feature is far from perfect: Backwardly, tracking companies would actually have to agree not to monitor a user’s browsing patterns, even once he or she opts out.

        However, according to Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs, that hasn’t stopped the feature from ruffling the feathers of advertisers, who, despite serious public concerns over privacy, depend on personal user data to boost the value of their ads.

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • Internet databases MongoDB, Drizzle upgraded

      Two performance-minded databases created for supporting Internet services and cloud computing have been revised: MongoDB has been updated and Drizzle has reached its first production-ready release.

      10gen has released version 1.8 of its open-source non-relational database MongoDB.

    • Oracle’s MySQL plans take aim at Red Hat and Microsoft

      Oracle threw its own punches at Red Hat and Microsoft today by detailing expanding integration of its MySQL with Windows and Oracle’s heftier databases in the 2011-12 timeframe.

  • Education

    • Free Software University

      Marrying technology, innovation and this curious internet thing of giving stuff away for free, consultant and Cong-base Englishman, Lloyd Hardy, is hoping to kick start an online learning revolution.

      Hardy proposes to deliver university courses for free over the internet using an “open source” model. Open source has revolutionised the delivery of technology since the late 1990s. Famous examples include the Linux operating system, the Firefox browser, the Apache web server and the OpenOffice suite. These and thousands of other products are available at the equally famous price of zero euro.


    • GNU Free Call Announced

      GNU Free Call is a new project to develop and deploy secure self-organized communication services worldwide for private use and for public administration. We use the open standard SIP protocol and GNU SIP Witch to create secured peer-to-peer mesh calling networks, and we welcome all participation in our effort.

    • Cell phones are ‘Stalin’s dream,’ says free software movement founder

      Nearly three decades into his quest to rid the world of proprietary software, Richard Stallman sees a new threat to user freedom: smartphones.

      “I don’t have a cell phone. I won’t carry a cell phone,” says Stallman, founder of the free software movement and creator of the GNU operating system. “It’s Stalin’s dream. Cell phones are tools of Big Brother. I’m not going to carry a tracking device that records where I go all the time, and I’m not going to carry a surveillance device that can be turned on to eavesdrop.”

    • please Donate to Gnash

      To make a long story short it’s really hard to develop Gnash. basically the rules in the reverse engineering of Flash make it so that to work on the project you can never have used a version of Adobe flash for your own personal use to begin with. Now there are not a whole lot of computer users or developers for that matter who have never installed some version of adobe flash player so this greatly limits the number of developers that can work on this project. What is more is the project has gone broke at the moment. So in order to develop anything they need to pick up some regular funding. At the moment you can send one time donations to them through this website: Open Media Now . I have sent an email to rob saying that they should turn to a monthly donation model.

    • FSF announces new executive director

      The appointment follows the departure of Peter T. Brown, who has been the Foundation’s executive director since 2005.

    • FSFE Newsletter – March 2011
    • Let’s Play With GNU Screen
  • Project Releases

    • KTorrent 4.1 is out

      After many months of work, new major releases for ktorrent and libktorrent are available.

    • XBMC 10.1 is released ! PPA Ubuntu and LinuxMint

      XBMC 10.1 is released, The main focus of this release is to address a bug that could cause XBMC to freeze when updating a skin. To increase stability, it is adviced to update to this new release.

  • Licensing

    • Copyright assignment is killing the “free” in free software

      Now, many others could benefit of such an improvement, and we don’t want to maintain a forked version of CUPS, so we forwarded it upstream, who looked interested. But upstream now being Apple, they requested a stupid copyright assignment agreement.

    • Cloud Computing (SaaS) Licenses – Is AGPL the solution?

      It is supported by many that the AGPL license for network services which run in a cloud brings back the fairness provision that the original GPL intended and returns the freedom that FLOSS promises to all users and developers. But does the APGL license really provide all that?

      The AGPL license tries to bring software that works as a service closer to the PC based model for FLOSS licensing by linking the source provision requirement to the modification of the underlying code and its user interaction over a network . Copyright remains in derivative works and provides the potential users with the right to have access to source code. Moreover, with the use of AGPL the vendor is being “watched” somehow so he can not start behaving badly. But there is something that is concerning in all these. Data is the primary challenge of FLOSS in cloud computing so it is easily understood that access on the source code does not help if the data from a service in the cloud are still inaccessible.


  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Florida State Lawmaker Takes Heat For Bill That Would Require Teaching Of ‘Non-Evolution’

      Florida GOP State Senator Stephen Wise is drawing fire with a legislative proposal that would require schools in the Sunshine State to dramatically change the way evolution is addressed in the classroom, primarily by requiring the teaching of an alternative he calls “non-evolution.”

      According to his legislation, public school teachers would have to “teach a thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution” to students.

  • Finance

    • The Final Hearing of the FCIC


    • Live Reporting from the Wisconsin Protests

      Since Monday, February 14, tens of thousands of Wisconsin residents have been 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 are out providing live coverage of these historic events. Send your stories, photos and videos to us at: PR Watch Editor!

    • For Hedge Fund Baron, Trial Poses a Steep Risk

      A decade later, Mr. Rajaratnam is taking the biggest calculated risk of his life. Beginning Tuesday, he will be seated at the defense table in a federal courtroom in Manhattan. In the biggest insider trading trial in a generation, Mr. Rajaratnam, 53, is fighting charges that he made $45 million trading on illegal stock tips.

    • Where the Proposed Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Falls Short

      You may know by now that American Banker has uncovered the 27-page term sheet that could form part of a global settlement between state and federal regulators and mortgage servicers. The term sheet describes a host of actions to which the servicers would have to conform, most of which reflect current law with a couple that go a little bit further.

      I’m a slight bit late to discussing this term sheet, so I’ll refer you to some other worthy commentators and analysts for the details. Cheyenne Hopkins at American Banker has a nice synopsis of the terms, as does HuffPo’s Shahien Nasiripour. Georgetown Law Professor Adam Levitin finds the terms to be strong, while Felix Salmon finds any settlement of this type to be doomed, mainly because of the lack of strong enforcement for non-compliance.

    • Mortgage Settlement Term Sheet: Bailout as Reward for Institutionalized Fraud

      American Banker posted the 27 page term sheet presented by the 50 state attorneys general and Federal banking regulators to banks with major servicing operations.

      Whether they recognize it or not, this deal is a suicide pact for the attorneys general in states that are suffering serious economic damage as a result of the foreclosure crisis. Tom Miller, the Iowa attorney who is serving as lead negotiator for this travesty, is in a state whose unemployment was a mere 6.2% last December. In addition he is reportedly jockeying to become the first head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. So the AGs who are in the firing line and need a tough deal have a leader whose interests are not aligned with theirs.

    • Republicans Seek to Slow Agency’s Work on Derivatives Regulation

      Federal regulators are running out of time to write hundreds of new rules for Wall Street. Yet Republican lawmakers — and even some regulators — want to slow the pace.

      Representative Scott Garrett of New Jersey is the latest prominent Republican to rebuke the speed at which the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is writing rules. In a letter dated March 3 to the agency chairman, Gary Gensler, Mr. Garrett complained that a “rapid pace” prevented the financial industry from fully digesting proposed rules for derivatives trading.

    • Banks Like Proposed Fraudclosure Settlement

      Today’s bank rally lets you know exactly what the Street thinks about the proposed mortgage settlement. The big up could reflect the belief that it is a giveaway/bailout, and lets the banks get off scott-free from their criminality.

    • Banking Mammoths – Top 10 U.S. banks have $11 trillion of the $13 trillion in total banking assets. The problem? We have over 7,650 banks. The banking oligopoly leads to a concentration of wealth at the top.

      The too big to fail problem is still an issue that needs to be dealt with even though many would like to ignore it like a big dark secret. The FDIC is holding up a system with $5.4 trillion in deposits and no deposit insurance fund. I know a lot of Americans have a hard time believing this but this is a cold hard fact. The entire banking edifice of our nation is held up on pure faith combined with the backing of our largest banks and government. This wouldn’t be such an issue if banks operated as responsible stewards of the economy but instead they have used the taxpayer wallet as some kind of endless buffet piggybank. What is even more troubling is based on the latest data, the top 10 bank holding companies in the United States are reporting $11 trillion dollars in assets. Now why is this a problem? The FDIC insures 7,657 banks with $13 trillion in assets. In other words, over 84 percent of all banking assets are in the hands of the big ten banks

    • Another Sign the Market Is Rigged? Ex-Goldman Board Member Charged With Insider Trading

      Yesterday, the SEC charged a former board member of Goldman Sachs, Rajat Gupta, with insider trading.

      Gupta allegedly passed confidential information about Goldman and Procter & Gamble, where Gupta was also a board-member, to a hedge-fund friend named Raj Rajaratnam. Rajaratnam, who has already been charged with insider tradin

    • Goldman’s Pariah Status Fades With BoE’s Broadbent Appointment

      The Bank of England’s appointment of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) Senior European Economist Ben Broadbent to its Monetary Policy Committee shows governments are again looking to the firm for top decision makers, less than a year after it settled U.S. fraud claims.

      Broadbent, who has worked at Goldman Sachs since 2000, will replace Andrew Sentance at the end of May, the Treasury in London said yesterday. He joins a panel that has split four ways on policy for the first time since the central bank’s independence in 1997.

    • How Goldman Sachs Speculates and Avoids Tax
    • Goldman Sachs Weighs Competing Lehman Liquidation Plan, Creditors Say

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) may propose a liquidation plan for bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. that would give it more money and compete with two rival plans for the defunct company, two creditors said.

      Goldman Sachs, which owns claims against a Lehman derivatives unit, is considering proposing its own plan to pay creditors, said John Beiers, chief deputy county counsel for San Mateo County in California, and another creditor familiar with the matter. The county has joined hedge fund Paulson & Co. and other bondholders to push a plan that would pay them more than one filed by Lehman.

    • Why Isn’t Wall Street Behind Bars?

      “Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong.”

      That was what filmmaker Charles Ferguson said at the Academy Awards last week, as he accepted an Oscar for his documentary Inside Job. It got us wondering the same thing…

      So we thought we’d talk to a couple of people inside the world of international finance.

    • Jamie Dimon And Lloyd Blankfein Are Now Advising The Kremlin

      The Kremlin is desperate to turn Moscow into a throbbing global financial center, but they need some help to do it.

      Right now Moscow is ranked 68th out of 75 cities in the Global Financial Centers Index, says Bloomberg.

      So who have they asked for some help? Pretty much every bank chief from another global financial center: Wall Street.

      Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon and Vikram Pandit have all just been recruited by the Kremlin to advise Russia on how to turn Moscow into a finance hub, Bloomberg reports.

    • Bill Daley, White House Chief Of Staff, Pressed About Lack Of Jail Time For Wall Street Culprits

      White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley declined on Sunday to bring the president into the debate over why no major player in the collapse of the financial system in 2008 has gone to jail.

      Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Daley, who worked as an executive at JP Morgan prior to joining the White House, said it wasn’t the role of a politician, let alone a president, to weigh in on judicial matters. Besides that, he added, the reforms that Obama instituted years after the crash occurred were indicative of his dissatisfaction with the financial sector.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • AT&T will cap DSL and U-Verse internet, impose overage fees (update)

      Ladies and gentlemen, the days of unlimited broadband may be numbered in the United States, and we’re not talking wireless this time — AT&T says it will implement a 150GB monthly cap on landline DSL customers and a 250GB cap on subscribers to U-Verse high speed internet starting on May 2nd. AT&T will also charge overage fees of $10 for every additional 50GB of data, with two grace periods to start out — in other words, the third month you go over the cap is when you’ll get charged. DSLReports says it has confirmation from AT&T that these rates are legitimate, and that letters will go out to customers starting March 18th.

    • Kroes’ No disconnect strategy

      In a similar fashion the digital rights group EDRI is pushing for a smart human rights provision inside the consumer directive to allow for checks and balances in the context of internet disconnection. But it looks like all observers lost sight what the consumer directive under Schwab is about to achieve or cover. For anti-circumvention purposes unlicensed access to radio spectrum seems key. I also remember the techniques used by German journalists in Tunesia during the World Summit of the Information Society to fence off the intimidating Tunesian authorities and communicate their news reports back home. It always concerned me that our governments were not providing the technical assistance they were able to provide.

  • DRM/SCOny

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Police Return Seized Hardware to Victorious BitTorrent Admin, Trashed

        Last month the second case against a UK-based BitTorrent site came to an end. Two administrators of FileSoup – the longest standing BitTorrent community – had their case dropped by the authorities and were free men once again. This week, personal belongings that were seized during the house raids were released and returned, but what should have been a celebration turned out to be a great disappointment.

        When FileSoup administrator Geeker had his home raided in the summer of 2009, police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) literally trashed his place. In a previous interview Geeker vividly recalled the events.

      • ACTA

        • US Proposals For Secret TPP ‘Son Of ACTA’ Treaty Leaked; Chock Full Of Awful Ideas

          The early reports on TPP was that the USTR would only consider ratcheting up intellectual property laws to more draconian states. It would not even consider the idea of decreasing the already too strict levels of intellectual property laws. It also would not bother with increasing consumer protections or important exceptions to stronger intellectual property law — even if it’s been shown that those exceptions have a much greater impact on the economy than the IP laws themselves.

Clip of the Day

cows & cows & cows

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 7/3/2011: Forbes Says Microsoft’s Market Share is Down to 75%, Linux 2.6.38 is Coming, Xoom Reviews Out

Posted in News Roundup at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ten ways Windows fails but Linux does not

    As an experienced Linux user, I’m obviously at ease with the way Linux and Linux desktops work. But when I use Microsoft Windows, I often feel as if I have run into a brick wall. Although Windows is a functional operating system — and most computer users employ it — it is far from being a trouble-free environment. Of course, Windows users say they run into challenges with Linux, but I find my experience to be at odds with that view. So I thought I would share the frustrations I encounter daily with Windows, which are non-issues with Linux.

  • Upgrading PCs

    Install Debian GNU/Linux on both. On the newer machine do a full desktop installation and open the ports for XDMCP and X. On the older system do a minimal installation plus X. Add the line “X -query ipaddress of newerPC” without the quotes and ipaddress is the network address on your LAN for the newer PC to /etc/rc.local.

    The older machine will boot in about 30s and open a login screen to the new PC. Logging in will take 5s. Once you have opened and closed OpenOffice.org it will take as little as 2s to open it again. So, you get a 5X performance improvement and can use it on two computers for $0 and some time.

  • US Department of the Navy Switching to Thin Client Technology

    Point of sale systems are one strong point for GNU/Linux thin clients. It is interesting to see that GNU/Linux actually declined in POS shipments in Canada/USA for 2010 while having 20% shares and growth in other parts of the world.

  • Did Alexandre Dumas Use Linux?

    Porteus system is relatively new system on the Linux sky.
    It came to light when developer of SLAX, Tomas M. gave up the project. Even before that, there was a fork called “SLAX remix”. Now it is named Porteus.
    The name sends us to two facts.

  • Denver Museum promotes Linux

    But even cooler yet was they explained how they did it and they used “Linux”. Usually when they list an operating system, I assume it’s a paid advertisement, but in this case it just said “Linux”.

  • Desktop

    • 5 Things OS X Does Better than Linux
    • Forbes Estimates M$ Down to 75% Share of PCs

      Forbes bases its stock-price estimates on a steady rise in notebook production. I expect notebooks will take a hit with the rise of smart-thingies which have huge growth. They do see a potential 10% drop in share price if M$ fails to capture significant share of mobile devices. That capture is not going to happen this year, so I see M$ falling in share of OS rapidly. According to the graphical calculator, if M$ slides to 50% share this year and 30% in the next few years, share price could drop 20%. Too bad, eh? Forbes calls it a “danger”.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Looking For Linux Hardware In A Easy Shopping List

      After talking about the first week of OpenBenchmarking.org, which was a great success, news of this open and collaborative testing platform made its way to the front page of Slashdot. This resulted in a huge increase in benchmarks pouring in over last night and they keep coming in today. Thanks to this greater data set, here’s a new feature that will interest many of you: the ability to easily find compatible GPUs / motherboards / CPUs / disks that are ranked upon how they perform with a given driver and operating system.

    • Linux 2.6.38 Kernel Multi-Core Scaling
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Pastebin Plasma widget

        Being a Linux sysadmin, The need often arises to share debug logs, configuration files or text snippets using services such as pastebin. Usually I use a tool called pastebinit which is a powerful commandline application that makes the process of submitting text snippet to pastebin very easy. Today I found a kde plasma widget which does same. Although not as powerful as pastebinit, I found it to come very handy when the need arises to share text from a GUI based app like Kate text editor or a browser. It also allows for uploading of images to Image upload sites like imagebin, imagineshack, or imgur. This little widget makes process of posting debug codes and config files to pastebin dead easy. (and sexy too :p ) I made a video to Show how it works.

      • KDE Commit Digest for 20 February 2011
      • KDE Hybrid Launcher for Task Manager Plasmoid

        Sup people this be gotbletu, this is my first guest post on here.

        There is this cool feature that KDE 4.6 has with the ‘Task Manager’ Plasmoid.It’s called “Show A Launcher For [Program] When It Is Not Running”. Thats kind of a long ass name, so I personally call it the “Hybrid Launcher” hahah

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Revisited: Pardus 2011

      So what’s the deal? Pardus did great in recognizing my laptop webcam, graphics card capabilities in terms of desktop effects, and wireless card, but for some strange reason packages cannot be installed or managed otherwise during the live session, unless I’m missing something big here. That’s really a shame, because I don’t want to have to install Pardus on my computer just to figure out whether or not I can install and successfully use Skype. And why am I emphasizing Skype so much? It’s really the only application I need to install (aside from maybe a couple games if I feel like it) that’s not included by default in Pardus. So this is my request to the Pardus developers: please make the package manager usable in the live session! It helps to know what works and what doesn’t before installation.

    • Best Lightweight Linux Distro

      You maybe already know that TinyCore is the smallest Linux distro, it takes only 10MB of disk space, however it does not contain any applications. Other well-known small Linux OSes include Puppy Linux, Slax Linux and Damn Small Linux, they are pretty but takes more than 50MB of disk space.


      SliTaz allows to create a bootable live USB stick for itself, it can also be installed to local hard drive.

    • Reviews

      • First Post: Tiny Core 3.5

        Tiny Core Linux. The name immediately hints at the creator’s intentions, but only once I had booted up the LiveCD did I really know how “Tiny” it was. With the .iso file (available here) being about 10 megabytes, one could easily download Tiny Core 3.5 over dialup!

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat corporate timeline

        2004: Red Hat raised $600 million through a bond offering. Red Hat acquired AOL’s Netscape server software for about $25 million in cash in September, and in November, opens its first office in China, in the capital city of Beijing.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian takes security very seriously… but how? 4 mars 2011

        By default, there is no reason to not believe them. But while talking with the administrator of Samba Bugzilla in bug 7121, I realized this was far from being true! What follows is specific to the Bugzilla case, but I guess there are plenty of other similar examples for other Debian packages.

        This security report set the urgency to « High », and despite the corresponding bug report has been reported to Debian more than a month ago asking the maintainer of the Bugzilla package to release new versions, nothing has been done so far. Even Secunia marked this security issue as « moderately critical », which is the third level out of five. And I myself emailed the Bugzilla package maintainer at Debian a few days ago, but got no response so far.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Security: Holes Found, Holes Fixed

          Oh my God! There are security holes in Ubuntu 10.04! The sky is falling! Bill Gates is the maker of the one true operating system; forgive us Bill for we have worshiped at the feet of false Penguin idols. Oh please, give me a break!

          Linux, like all other operating systems and software, has security holes. Always has, always will. No one ever said Linux was perfect. It’s not. It never will be.

          What makes Ubuntu and Linux better than most of their competitors aren’t that they are flawless. It’s that when bugs are found, they fixed as fast as possible and then the fixes are pushed out to users immediately. There is no monthly Patch Tuesday. If there’s a significant problem, its tracked down and fixed. Period. End of statement.

        • Unity in Natty: is it for me?

          Unity 3.6.0 recently landed in Natty, bringing a lot of long expected goodnesses, along with some unexpected weirdnesses and regressions.

          I thought sharing my experience at this point in time could be useful to some.. If you are looking for an “everything is just perfect” post, you should probably stop reading.

        • Submit Unity Feedback for Ubuntu 11.04

          Ubuntu Project, through Jason Warner, sent an e-mail a couple of days ago, asking people to submit their feedback about the Unity interface of the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system, due for release at the end of April, 2011.

        • No More Compiz Desktop Cube Plugin In Unity [Ubuntu 11.04]

          Do you use the Compiz Desktop Cube plugin? I don’t use it so I didn’t notice this but it seems you can’t enable the Desktop Cube in Ubuntu 11.04 if you use Unity

        • Microphone Volume Control Added To Sound Menu Of Ubuntu 11.04

          Consistency across different applications is one of the main focus in Ubuntu 11.04. Ubuntu already has a unified sound menu from which users can manage the volume levels of different music players.

          However, one thing that has always bugged me was the microphone volume control. Usually when a voice call arrives, say in Skype, users have to manually set the microphone volume level from the Sound Preferences.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google frags fragmentation with Fragments API for older Android versions

          In a post on the Android developer blog, Google has announced the availability of a new static library for Android developers that provides a more portable implementation of the Fragments API. This will allow third-party Android application developers to take advantage of Fragments without having to sacrifice backwards compatibility with existing Android handsets.

          Google recently launched Android 3.0, codenamed Honeycomb, a significant new tablet-optimized version of its Linux-based mobile operating system. Among the major features introduced in the update is an assortment of new APIs that aim to make it easier for third-party application developers to build Android applications that work seamlessly across multiple form factors—such as tablets and smartphones.

        • Ars reviews the Motorola Xoom

          Don’t jump for the Xoom just because it’s the first—they rushed it out prematurely hoping to capitalize on exactly that.

        • Why a Xoom?

          Q: But aren’t there other Google Experience devices coming to market? Like the Samsung 10.1 tablet? A: Indeed there are. And I’m told that not only is the Samsung almost half a pound lighter than the Xoom, its screen is brighter to boot. The problem for me is that it’s incompatible with Verizon’s network, and is likely headed to AT&T. I already have an AT&T WAN connection in my Nexus One, so my preference was for a Verizon compatible device. I think it’s also possible, even likely, that Google will pay slightly closer attention to the Xoom as it’s the flagship launch device. Which can’t hurt.

    • Tablets

      • Android, MeeGo & WebOS need to get going on tablets: Now

        I have a confession to make. I use Linux more than I do any other operating system by a wide margin, but I also use a lot of Apple products. In house at the moment are two Mac Minis; a MacBook Pro, a pair of iPod Touches, and, oh yes, an iPad mark 1. I know I’m not the only Linux or Windows guy who likes his Mac stuff too. In recent months I’ve been to both open-source and Windows tech. shows and I’ve seen MacBooks, iPhones and iPads everywhere. Now, with the iPad2 on the runway, if Android, MeeGo, webOS, and yes Windows too, want to play a sizable share of the tablet market, they need to make moves now or the iPad 2 is going to run them over.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Facebook and open source: ‘we’ve come a long way’

    David Recordon: I really got started working with open source when I was a teenager. I was using YaBB SE (PHP forum software), and started helping others within the community.

    At the time, I knew C++ and a bit of Perl, but really hadn’t done much web programming. PHP was easy to pick up and I loved the immediacy of being able to just hit save and then refresh my browser. Over the next few years, I got more deeply involved in the project, helped launch the rewrite as Simple Machines Forum, and built a forum-hosting business with my friend Joshua Dickerson.

  • Open source or proprietary: Killing creativity or enabling end-users

    Open Source Software has been a huge blessing to the software community and businesses in general.

  • Events

    • FOSDEM 2011 – A Personal Account (with all personal details withheld)

      FOSDEM – a geek trip to Brussels. Going abroad to experience different cultures. Or at least, a chance to eat chips, suffer rain, and watch American TV in a different country.

      If I had to sum up this year, then the theme was Annoyances. Having been every year for the last ten, maybe I’m just too old and crabby for these things now. But it seemed like the zealots, the idiots, the chavs, and the social retards had all teamed up to irk me at a

  • Education

    • Partimus

      By using Free Open Source Software and repurposed hardware, we aim to do our part to help bridge the digital divide.

    • Another Real-life Open-Source Test: An Academic Presentation

      Lately, I haven’t been able to write much. The reason? I was busy finishing up some details for my thesis-advancement presentation that took place last Friday.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • The Slur “Open Core”: Toward More Diligent Analysis

        Later — shortly after I pointed out Mark Shuttleworth’s fascination with and leanings towards this practice — I realized that it was better to use the preexisting, tried-and-true term for the practice: “proprietary relicensing”. I’ve been pretty consistent in avoiding the term “Open Core” since then. I called on Shuttleworth to adopt the FSF’s recommendations to show Canonical, Ltd. isn’t seeking proprietary relicensing and left the whole thing at that. (Shuttleworth, of course, has refused to even respond, BTW.)

        Sadly, it was too late: I’d help create a monster. A few weeks later, Alexandre Oliva (whose positions on the issue of proprietary software inside the kernel named Linux I definitely agree with) took it a step too far and called the kernel named Linux an “Open Core” project. Obviously, Linux developers don’t and can’t engage in proprietary relicensing; some just engage in a “look the other way” mentality with regard to proprietary components inside Linux. At the time, I said that the term “Open Core” was clearly just too confusing to analyze a real-world licensing situation.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD needs fresh Blood!

      As for FreeBSD Gnome Team, well I can’t say much about gnome but whenever I see the cvs commits in marcuscome tree, it seems like most work for the upcoming gnome3 is done by kwm@, and supported by marcus@, mezz@ and avl@. Gnome includes not only Gnome things but it also include gtk and cairo, the one that always cause problems in a major update. I think the team would love to have some fresh blood in the team.


  • Daley: Obama doesn’t sweat 2012 politics
  • PMO: The Govt of Canada now renamed ‘Harper Government’
  • Science

    • 11 Epic Technology Disasters

      Nature and politics kill far more people than technological accidents but failures of machines still take a toll on both a personal and social level. Separating machine failures and negligent maintenance from unforeseeable circumstances isn’t easy and no doubt there are some accidents worthy of mention that we’ve missed. In any event, these are the eleven worst tech-related disasters where mechanical or engineering failure played a significant role. And by “worst,” we’re considering death toll but not using it as the exclusive metric. Some disasters like the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger resulted in only a few deaths but nonetheless had a worldwide impact.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • US congressman claims there is no Israeli occupation

      Brooklyn congressman, Max Weiner, recently debated former congressman, Brian Baird, on the Israel/Palestine issue. Weiner is loved by many progressives but is unfortunately a PEP (progressive except Palestine) and has drawn the wrath of the leftist Israel/Palestine blogosphere over his comments at the debate held at the New School in New York, NY. Watch the whole debate here.

    • Children in East Jerusalem Get Short Stick of the Occupation

      Over the past six months, if you were following Palestinian and Israeli news, hardly a day would go by without reading a report that more children were detained in East Jerusalem. Now, various reports are coming out that confirm these impressions: children of East Jerusalem are being injured and arrested at an alarmingly high rate.

    • David Hicks on Guantanamo: Torture ‘an everyday experience’

      David Hicks was one of the first “war on terror” detainees to be sent to the US military prison at Guantanamo the day it opened in January 2002.

      In a February 16 article, Truth-out.org’s Jason Leopold introduced Hicks as “the Australian drifter who converted to Islam, changed his name to Muhammed Dawood and ended up at training camps in Afghanistan the US government said were linked to al-Qaeda, one of which was visited by Osama bin Laden several times.

    • Anti-terrorism and uprisings

      The string of uprisings in North Africa have laid bare Western governments’ relationships with regimes in the region, which pro-democracy activists argue have long been fixated on anti-terrorism, immigration and oil.

      Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, appears to be on the brink of joining Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak – both ousted by their own people. In Algeria, meanwhile, Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s government is holding firm, clamping down on protests and carrying out limited reforms in a bid to lull anti-regime rage.

    • John McCain: Gadhafi Is ‘Insane’

      Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reiterated his call for a U.S.-backed no-fly zone over Libya this morning and called Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi “insane.”

    • The People Vs. Jason Kenney: Why this Racist should be Deported

      I received the following ad for a protest rally in an email from Dave Diewert, my prof of the two-week class i just took at Regent called Solidarity, Resistance, and Liberation: the Way of God in the World. Didn’t make it to the rally today, (I had to write a paper), but that doesn’t mean we can’t still talk about how horrible this man’s policies are!

    • Is Islam the Problem?

      A wise visitor from outer space who dropped in on Earth a millennium ago might have assumed that the Americas would eventually be colonized not by primitive Europeans but by the more advanced Arab civilization — and that as a result we Americans would all be speaking Arabic today.

      Yet after about 1200, the Middle East took a long break: it stagnated economically, and today it is marked by high levels of illiteracy and autocracy. So as the region erupts in protests seeking democracy, a basic question arises: What took so long? And, a politically incorrect question: Could the reason for the Middle East’s backwardness be Islam?

      The sociologist Max Weber and other scholars have argued that Islam is inherently a poor foundation for capitalism, and some have pointed in particular to Islamic qualms about paying interest on loans.

    • USA: Twittersphere Debates Kristof Column on Islam
    • Afghan president rejects U.S. apology over killings

      Afghanistan’s president on Sunday rejected a U.S. apology for the mistaken killing of nine Afghan boys in a NATO air attack and said civilian casualties are no longer acceptable.

      According to a statement from his office, Hamid Karzai told Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, that expressing regret was not sufficient in last week’s killing of the boys, ages 12 and under, by coalition helicopters.

    • Gaddafi and rebel forces in heavy clashes in town of Zawiya

      Forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi launched a second attack on the western Libyan town of Zawiya on Saturday, after rebels drove back a heavy morning offensive in the most intense clashes of the uprising.

    • Libya Live Blog – March 5
    • Things grow worse in Libya and the Internet is switched off

      Which, all things considered, might have been exactly what happened. You see Libya’s Internet is owned and controlled by the government through a telecommunication company Libya Telecom & Technology. Even its site is down now.

    • Games in the Desert of Libya

      It is written that 8 British men were picked up at Suluq on Friday after a helicopter was spotted there. A story was floated that one had a diplomatic passport and was trying to contact the new regime…

    • Libya Live Blog – March 6
  • Cablegate

    • The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog—Special Weekend Edition!

      10:50 Interesting comparison: Bradley Manning gets one hour outside his cell every day, allegedly. A death row prisoner in the U.S., who has written an op-ed in NYT today, says he gets two hours outside. And he admits he killed his wife and three kids.

      10:40 Just announced: Assange to speak at the Cambridge Union on March 15, his first public speech in four months.

      8:10 Great background piece on the Bush administration’s use of forced nudity to punish or get prisoners to talk. “In 2004, the CIA told President George W. Bush’s lawyers how useful forced nudity was for instilling ‘learned helplessness’ in prisoners, though the repeated emphasis on nudity took on a lewd and sadistic quality.”

      7:50 A reader points out that in the Wash Post story on Manning that I mentioned last night (at 7:40) there’s mention of progress in Juan Mendez’s UN investigation which I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere: “The conditions of Manning’s confinement have become controversial, with the United Nations special rapporteur on torture saying he submitted a formal inquiry to the State Department about Manning’s treatment. The State Department confirmed Saturday that U.S. officials ‘have met with the special rapporteur and are preparing a formal response.’”

    • WikiLeaks cables recount how U.S. pressured allies

      They have received little attention in the United States, but a set of WikiLeaks disclosures of confidential documents has caused an uproar in Europe by showing that U.S. officials pressured Germany and Spain to derail criminal investigations of Americans.


      A Spanish judge announced a criminal investigation in January 2009 into whether six lawyers in President George W. Bush’s administration had approved torture. They included former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, the UC Berkeley law professor whose memos as a Justice Department attorney authorized the near-drowning technique called waterboarding.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Researchers find more plastic in the guts of Arctic seabirds

      When biologist Jennifer Provencher headed to the Arctic, she signed on to help assess how seabird diets are changing as temperatures climb in the North.

      She never expected to find plastics on the menu. But she and her colleagues at the Canadian Wildlife Service are pulling remarkable amounts of trash from birds in some of the remotest spots on Earth.

      Fulmars are strong flyers that skim the surface swallowing tasty tidbits, and 84 per cent of the ones the researchers examined from two Arctic colonies had plastics in their guts.

  • Finance

    • Providence RI Fires All Of Its Public School Teachers. Union Leader: ‘This Is A Back-Door Wisconsin’

      The union leader’s assessment is right on target: This is, indeed, a “back-door Wisconsin.” The Providence school board just eviscerated the union contract so they can fire the most experienced (and most expensive) teachers at the end of the school year — instead of laying them off.

    • Subject: Senior moment – A 98 year old woman in the UK wrote this to her bank.

      The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the Times.
      Dear Sir,

      I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my Pension, an arrangement, which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account £30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

    • How Goldman Sachs Influences the Economy in Ever Widening Circles

      A Goldman Sachs guy is on the hot seat again. Here, in all its glory, is the accusation from the SEC. We wonder whether the people who work at Goldman Sachs learn how to use the system to their advantage and carry their efforts far and wide or whether Goldman Sachs’s mantra that money is all makes ethics passe.

    • Jon Stewart Calls Out Fox News’ Hypocrisy Comparing Teachers, Wall Street (VIDEO)

      Thursday night’s “Daily Show” featured Jon Stewart doing what he does best: calling out hypocrisy in the media. After a segment on the intensified battle between Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin unions, Stewart took a look at how Fox News was reporting on the story, specifically compared to how they covered similar threats to the Bush tax cuts and bailed-out bank CEOs’ salaries.

      Stewart showed plenty of pundits saying that when it comes to taxing those who make $250,000 a year, you’re taxing people who are “not rich” and even “close to poverty” if they have a family of four with kids in college. But when it comes to teachers in Wisconsin, the same pundits say they, as government employees, should expect to see cuts in their ample $50,000 a year salary plus benefits.

    • Goldman Sachs’s Gary Gensler and the CFTC

      Gary Gensler, alumnus of Goldman Sachs, has already been discussed elsewhere on this blog where we presented his previous incarnation as one who wished to exempt CDSs and other derivatives from regulation.

      The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law on July 21, 2010, gives both the CFTC under Gensler and the SEC regulatory powers over derivatives known as swaps. The Act repeals the exemption from regulation for security-based swaps. Regulators have to consult with each other before implementing rules or issuing orders. Both CFTC and SEC consult with the Federal Reserve about defining swap related terms.

  • Civil Rights

    • Wanted: Native JS Encryption

      I’d like to challenge all browser vendors to put together a comprehensive JS API for encryption. I’ll use this blog post to prove why it’s necessary and would be a great move to do so.

    • Sony to obtain IP details of all visitors to Geohot’s site

      Lets consider this for a minute – Every visitor. There would be many who would have visited just out of curiosity and many of them who wouldn’t even own a PS3, there would be news outlets looking for further information in order to make a more comprehensive report and there would be those who maybe even just clicked on a link by accident. As a result of Sony’s court success, it will have all those people’s IP details that visited geohot over the last 26 months.

  • DRM

    • The EFF Letter: Sony’s subpoenas “impact the free speech interests of myriad third parties”

      Wired’s David Kravetz has published the EFF letter [PDF] it sent to the judge in SCEA v. Hotz, and I have it for you as text.

      George Hotz’s lawyers agreed to the subpoenas issuing, so long as the information gleaned is kept attorneys’ eyes only, according to the letter [PDF] Sony sent the Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero, and the judge merely signed off on it. I don’t see Hotz’s lawyer signing the letter too, which I’d normally expect. Why he’d agree to such a broad reach is disturbing. EFF noticed, telling the judge that the subpoenas implicate free speech interests of third parties not involved in the litigation, but nobody else seems to care. EFF is most concerned about the subpoena to YouTube, but the one I find overbroad is the subpoena to the company that hosts his web site, as I’ll show you. No one else is looking out for the third parties in this picture, so if I were one of the third parties and I knew it, I’d be on the phone to my lawyer or EFF super pronto, asking him if I could block.

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu on CR-48! Windows 7 Launcher on Android, and Copyright Infringement Sucks [3/6/11 Vlog]

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 6/3/2011: Fedora 16 Codenames, Android Grows in Tablet Market

Posted in News Roundup at 2:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • 3 Good Reasons To Buy an Open-PC

      As of December, however, another option emerged that’s well worth checking out–it’s even better, in fact, from the perspective of software freedom. It’s called the Open-PC, and it offers “a PC for everyday use built by the Linux community for the Linux community,” in the project’s own words.

    • ZaReason Teo Pro Netbook: Test Drive Ready for Takeoff

      I’ve had an affinity for netbooks since they entered public consciousness sometime in late 2008. Despite the limitations of my Dell Mini 9, I loved it dearly. Now that Atom CPUs are getting more powerful, drives are getting smaller, and components are maturing, ZaReason has decided to pack together a good chunk of that new hardware into its new Teo Pro Netbook, and the company was kind enough to send me a review unit. Here are some first impressions …

      Check out the full tech specs of the Teo Pro here, but the unit packs 2GB of RAM and a 1.66 GHz Atom CPU. SSD options are available, but my unit came equipped with 160GB HDD.

    • Canada’s government ought to adopt Linux on all its computers

      In mid February there were news reports that Canadian government computers at the Finance Department, Treasury Board, Defence Research and Development Canada had been hacked and information mined by persons unknown, most probably operating out of China.

      The federal government said little about this but confirmed that as soon as the activity, which began in January, was discovered the affected departments were immediately shut off from the Internet and a long, difficult process was begun to see if any other departments had been affected.


      But best of all, Linux is open source software (the programming code is available to anybody and free for programmers to use and adapt). Government programmers can write their own programs or additions to programs for whatever they need, without restriction. They can get exactly the kind and level of security they want and the specifications will be unique, making the job of hackers much harder since every such system is different. What might work in one for a hacker won’t in another.

  • Server

    • London Stock Exchange: What really went wrong

      The London Stock Exchange has made a U-turn on the system requirements placed on data vendors such as Thomson Reuters, Interactive Data and Bloomberg, after three weeks of problems since the launch of its new trading platform.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.03.04

      Topics for this podcast:

      *Advantec switches to open source to deliver HR as a service
      *Erlang Solutions solves devops problems with open source programming
      *art of defence and Qualys open source security projects
      *EnterpriseDB benefits from focus on PostgreSQL community
      *Puppet Labs steps up commercial play with Puppet Enterprise

    • Episode 157: Floating in the Air
  • Kernel Space

    • Yocto and OpenEmbedded Combine Forces: What Does It Mean?

      Two major embedded Linux projects formally joined their efforts this week, a move that simplifies the landscape for device makers and embedded software developers. Yocto, a Linux Foundation (LF)-stewarded project that creates development tools, and OpenEmbedded, a community-driven distribution build system, announced their “alignment” on March 1st. The merger includes governance changes and new corporate collaborators, but for the average Linux developer, the main effect will be a streamlined embedded development process.

    • A Week With OpenBenchmarking.org

      OpenBenchmarking.org has now been live for just under one week since launching it (and Phoronix Test Suite 3.0) from the Southern California Linux Expo when talking about making more informed Linux hardware choices. Here’s some statistics on how it’s going.

    • A 13 Line Patch That Boosts Intel Sandy Bridge Performance

      After some initial Linux troubles, last month we finally got Intel Sandy Bridge graphics working under Linux. The latest Intel CPUs (such as the Core i5 2500K) with integrated graphics are blazingly fast, and the classic Intel Mesa driver was fast compared to other open-source Mesa / Gallium3D drivers, but it still was a ways behind the low-end discrete graphics cards with the proprietary AMD / NVIDIA drivers for Linux. It was also shown that the Intel Linux Mesa driver is much slower than the Intel Windows driver for Sandy Bridge, as we had also found was the case for previous generations of Intel graphics. Committed to the Mesa mainline Git repository this week though was a very important Sandy Bridge change. While the commit only touched 13 lines of code (11 lines of new code, 2 lines of changed code), it has dramatically improved the Sandy Bridge Linux performance as our results show in this article.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 270.30 Works With X.Org Server 1.10 Final

        Due to RandR 1.4 being pulled from X.Org Server 1.10, the video driver ABI had to be bumped to again, and this was at the last possible minute with X.Org Server 1.10 being released just days later. For the open-source X.Org drivers this just means recompiling the driver for the latest binary interface. For the binary blobs, this means NVIDIA and AMD must put out new releases.

      • Will Floating Point Textures Be Merged Into Mesa?

        Lucas Stach has brought a proposal to the Mesa mailing list of merging Mesa’s floating point textures and render targets code branch into the mainline Mesa repository. Floating point textures have been available in OpenGL for years, but has yet to enter mainline Mesa as it’s a patented feature.

  • Applications

    • The Sad State of Hashcash

      So today, I received an email from one of the readers of this blog. He wanted to get into OpenPGP with his email, and asked if I could help him get started with some tutorials, how-tos, etc. I was flattered that he valued my opinion. So, I responded to each of his questions and discussion points the best I could. However, during the reply, I reminded myself of Hashcash.

    • Some Conky Favorites of mine

      I have come to love Conky, even with its quirky, sometimes plain complicated configurations. I think a GUI application to handle these themes would be a blast, but for now, I simply enjoy having my system monitor beautifying my desktop.

    • Proprietary

    • Games

      • Life is in alpha–Killing the myth of the open source failure

        In writing my first article about open source games, it became apparent that I had plenty of ground to cover, and not just specific to games. It’s a known trend in open source: The majority of started projects never finish. If you think this is a problem that needs solving, I will argue that you are mistaken. This time around I want to address the topic of ‘making the journey worth your while.’

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME3 Live USB Image 0.0.6 – The return of the Cantarell

        I just pushed release 0.0.6, because the two previous releases (0.0.4 and 0.0.5) were no longer using Cantarell font by default and William spotted the error yesterday.

        Main change : Cantarell font is now used for applications and GNOME Shell (and I also added yelp and more translations for some packages).

      • criticism towards GNOME Shell

        Reading all the controversy around the decision by the GNOME Shell designers to remove the minimize and maximize buttons from GNOME shell reminds me quite a bit of the discussions around Plasma. Especially for stuff like the brilliant yet controversial Folderview widget.

      • Gnome Shell 3, Good Bad & Ugly

        Gnome Shell triggered another controversy when the designer team decided to remove the minimize and maximize buttons. Honestly speaking, both Ubuntu’s Unity and Gnome’s Shell 3 are introducing new User Interfaces, something KDE did with KDE 4.x series. KDE 4.x was a radical moved but users adopted and now they love it. I think Gnome Shell and Unity are good signs — at some point you need to break the status quo and let the innovation take the driving seat.

        openSuse community manager, Jos Poortvliet wrote in a blog, “Reading all the controversy around the decision by the GNOME Shell designers to remove the minimize and maximize buttons from GNOME shell reminds me quite a bit of the discussions around Plasma. Especially for stuff like the brilliant yet controversial Folderview widget.”

      • I’m biased, but still…

        Try minimizing this window if you’re using the GNOME 3.0 Shell.

      • GNOME 3 on Gentoo and related news

        Now that it’s been a few days since the release cycle entered UI freeze, we have been able to evaluate whether or not you folks (i.e., our users), will be able to transition from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 without too much pain. We came to the conclusion that there is no particular hurry to let go of GNOME 2.32, and that we should wait for things to settle down before unleashing GNOME 3 on our users.

      • Hurray! I’ve landed on Planet GNOME!

        I’m currently the maintainer and most active developer of GNOME Activity Journal (previously known as GNOME Zeitgeist), but i’m also involved with the whole Zeitgeist infrastructure. Randomly i hack in other projects like Unity, Emesene, Emesene2, Cloudsn, and others.

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon Linux 5.5 XFCE, LXDE, E17, ServerBase, OpenVZ Released

      We are happy to announce the immediate availability of E17, XFCE, LXDE, SpinBase/OpenVZ, ServerBase Sabayon 5.5 “Spins” built on top of Sabayon “SpinBase” ISO images.
      The E17 ”stable-releases-are-for-n00bs” Desktop Environment, the well known XFCE and LXDE environments, theSpinBase+OpenVZ template ready to be used in server deployments, and last but not least, ServerBase, a very minimal Sabayon release with a server-optimized Linux kernel.

    • Reviews

      • Review: AUSTRUMI 2.2.9

        Unless you’re from Latvia, there’s a good chance that this is the first time you are seeing either the name AUSTRUMI or a review of it. So what is it?
        AUSTRUMI is a Latvian Slackware-based distribution that uses FVWM as the window manager.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat (RHT) Trading Near $42.51 Resistance Level
      • [CentOS-announce] CentOS 4 i386 and x86_64 release of CentOS-4.9

        The CentOS development team is pleased to announce the release of CentOS
        4.9 for i386 and x86_64.

        This release corresponds to the upstream vendor 4.9 release.

      • Fedora

        • First day with Fedora 14

          Yesterday I have switched from Ubuntu 10.10 to Fedora 14 I have chosen to try Fedora because it has an open governance model with a clear leadership. While there are a clear special capacities from the sponsor (RedHat), at the highest level the project is managed by an Executive Board, the board is composed with a mix of RH appointed and community elected members.

        • Bacon Is Still Talked About For Fedora 16

          It’s that time of the year again when the Fedora Project seeks out a codename from the community for their next Fedora release. Once again, Bacon is proposed as a codename.

          Other suggested codenames include Noguera, Bonnet, Sagan, Mt. Orne, Legation, Iao, Dreadlock, Barona, and Rasputin.

        • Out with Windows 2000, in with Fedora 14

          Overall I’ve noticed that Fedora 14 is very well done.

    • Debian Family

      • Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: Debian 6.0 Branches Out Beyond the Project’s Linux Roots

        Debian 6.0, also known by the Toy Story-inspired name “Squeeze,” branches out from its Linux-centric roots with new, technology preview variants based on the FreeBSD kernel.

      • Adventures in Debian

        Debian comes with Iceweasel and GNASH. Well, Youtube and other video Websites don’t work real well if at all with that combo. GNASH does seem to work with Firefox, so just installing Firefox from tarball was all that was required there.

      • Debian or Ubuntu, which is the best place to contribute?

        As a user it’s relatively easy to choose between Debian and Ubuntu. Everybody has their own personal preference and it doesn’t take much time to try both. But when it comes to contributing, the time investment is bigger and you might want to think twice about it. Where is your time better spent?

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Making your own Unity Place

          In 11.04 we include 2 places. The Files Place (keyboard shortcut Super-F) and the Applications Place (keyboard shortcut Super-A).

          If you imagine your desktop as one entity, the Applications place is a focused place looking just for your applications, and the files place we look for your recently used files, downloads, and favorites. And Places give the user a method of filtering those results as seen the top right of the screenshot.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 3 Review, Screenshots, Download Links

          It hasn’t been long since we last reviewed Ubuntu Natty Alpha 2 and now, Ubuntu Natty Alpha 3 is already here. This is yet another milestone in this major build up towards the much anticipated release of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal final on April 28, 2011. As is expected, latest Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Alpha 3 comes packed with a number of new features and major bug fixes. Quick review of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 3.

        • UDW: Day 4 over, last day to come

          It’s a shame, I know, but unfortunately it’s true: Ubuntu Developer Week is almost over. We rushed through 4 days in no time now and today is the last day.

        • Stepping Down As Ubuntu Maryland Leader

          On March 4, 2007 I started the Ubuntu Maryland Local Community Team. Now on March 4, 2011 I’m announcing to the community at large that I’m stepping down as leader of the group I founded.

          This is a decision that has been coming for a while. Part of it is just the amount of time I’ve had with the role of leader. I believe I’ve taken the group as far as I can. I don’t feel that I’ve blocked any thoughts or ideas in my time, but I want to make the change as visible as possible and allow the group to take things in a different direction with new blood at the helm.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • My Thoughts on Bodhi Linux

            Bodhi Linux is a relatively new Linux distribution that is based on Ubuntu but uses the Enlightenment desktop environment/window manager. I’ve recently mentioned Bodhi here, but since then I’ve installed the second release candidate (0.1.6) of Bodhi Linux on my upstairs computer, and after using it for about five or six days I can definitively say that I love it!

          • Call for Help: Tips and Tricks in the Kubuntu Chapter

            I have been writing the Kubuntu chapter for The Official Ubuntu Book ever since it came out and now I can barely believe we are on the 6th Edition of the book. In the chapter there is a section of the chapter titled “Tips and Tricks” which need some serious updating.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Meego on pandaboard
        • DoodleDrive Alpha Preview Release

          The “game” we created with my son on Wednesday, DoodleDrive, got a lot of attention and many of you wanted to try it out yourselves. I have now created a new project to Forum Nokia Projects where you can download the binaries (sis for N8, E7, C7… or deb for N900).

      • Android

        • iDect iHome Android phone

          As well as smartphones and tablets Google’s Android operating system has started cropping up in media players, ski goggles, car stereos and even headphones, so it’s perhaps not too surprising that it’s now turned up in the humble landline home phone.

        • How to Find Your Lost or Stolen Android Phone for Free (Smartphone Tip)
        • Google’s Android Spurs More App Jobs Than iPhone

          Employers requested experience or skills with Android in 987 job postings on Dice as of Mar. 1, more than the 970 jobs asking for iPhone expertise, Bloomberg Businessweek.com reported today. The number of available positions mentioning either Android or iPhone surged more than threefold from a year ago, when the site listed 273 Android-related jobs and 312 iPhone-related jobs.

          Demand is swelling for Android programmers as Google woos makers of mobile applications to keep up with the growing popularity of its software. Android became the world’s best-selling smartphone platform last year, according to researcher Canalys, yet it trails in total number of apps, with more than 120,000 compared with the 350,000 programs in Apple’s App Store.

    • Tablets

      • Can Android beat iOS and dominate the tablet market?

        Apple currently remains on track to win 70% of the tablet market this year with its next-gen iPad 2. However, one analyst believes Android-based tablets will triumph over the iPad in the long-term.

        Indeed, according to RBC Capital Markets General Manager Mike Abramsky, Apple’s current dominance of the tablet market is likely to be a short-lived phenomenon.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The New Ushahidi Community Website Is Live!

    Today we are very pleased to announce the beta release of the Ushahidi Community Website! This site has been in the works for several months and couldn’t have been possible without generous support from Small World News, Konpa Group and most importantly, the talented Rob Baker.

  • Events

  • OpenGL and Web Browsers

    • WebGL finalized, brings hardware-accelerated 3D to the browser

      Khronos Group today released the final specification for WebGL, a specification that brings OpenGL hardware-accelerated graphics to the web browser.

      The organization has been working with Apple, Google, Mozilla and Opera to implement the specification in popular browsers, with the technology now available in developer builds.

    • Khronos Puts Out The Final WebGL 1.0 Specification

      From the Game Developers’ Conference happening this week in San Francisco, the Khronos Group has announced the release of the official WebGL 1.0 specification. This is the OpenGL ES derived specification designed for providing hardware graphics acceleration within HTML5 modern web-browsers.

    • Thunderbird 3.1.9 Update Now Available for Download

      An update for Thunderbird 3.1.9 is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux for free download from www.GetThunderbird.com. This release prevents a crash after update that is affecting some users.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 3.6.15 compatibility update now available
      • First developer release of Web Apps Project

        We are excited to announce the availability of the first milestone release of Mozilla’s Web Application project. Web Apps are applications that run on any device, and can be distributed through any store or directly by the developer. This release contains stable APIs, developer utilities and documentation to help you get a jumpstart on building Web Apps and stores.

      • Firefox 3.6.15 compatibility update now available

        Firefox 3.6.15 is now available as a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux from http://firefox.com. As always, we recommend that users keep up to date with the latest stability and support versions of Firefox, and encourage all our users to upgrade to the very latest version, Firefox 3.6.15.

        We strongly recommend that all Firefox users upgrade to these latest releases. If you already have Firefox, you will receive an automated update notification within 24 to 48 hours. This updates can also be applied manually by selecting “Check for Updates…” from the Help menu.

  • SaaS

    • StatusNet Launching New SaaS – Stops Accepting New Members for Year Old Service

      StatusNet announced this morning that it will unveil a new service and is deferring accepting new members on StatusNet Cloud Service, the offering it launched last year.

      StatusNet Cloud Service launched last March with personal, community and private plans that were offered as a SaaS. Initial customers included Motorola Corporation and Canonical Ltd.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education


    • Ask Richard Stallman anything!

      Well, within reason. In a few days we’re going to meet up with the great man, the founder of the GNU project and free software movement as we know it. Never one to mince his words, RMS has strong views on software freedom and has campaigned rigourously to stop us being locked into a world of proprietary code and DRM.

    • ‘No sysadmin’ is the key to Freedom Box
  • Government

    • Councillor an Independent

      COFFS Harbour City Councillor Paul Templeton is the latest candidate to throw his hat in the ring for election to the State seat of Coffs Harbour on March 26.

      Cr Templeton, who attended Saturday’s Pacific Highway Forum, says he is concerned about ‘standard’ issues like roads, health and Part 3A planning approvals, but at the end of the day he wants to listen to what the community really wants and take that to the State Parliament.

      “The expectations of the community are changing rapidly and legislation is not keeping up,” he said.

      Cr Templeton is the information technology and information management officer with the Mid North Coast Division of General Practice.

      The 41-year-old IT systems administrator has lived on the Mid North Coast since he was 16, the past 14 years in Coffs Harbour. His extended family lives in the Nambucca Valley.

      Married with a six-year-old son, Paul Templeton’s interests include the free and open source software movement.

    • GR: First migration of a Greek Public Organization to Free Software

      The Musical Studies Department (MSD) of the Ionian University in Corfu has recently taken the initiative to become the first ever Public Organization and educational Institution in Greece that officially embraces Free and Open Source Software in its infrastructure.

    • Lion’s share of IT contract spend is taken by four government departments

      Of nearly £16bn spent on IT projects currently underway, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spends the most, with £4bn locked into IT contracts, followed by the Home Office (£3.9bn), the Department of Health (£3.5bn) and the Cabinet Office (£1.5bn).

  • Openness/Sharing

    • I can’t bake croissants: a fable on project documentation
    • Million Song Dataset Million Song Dataset

      The Million Song Dataset is a freely-available collection of audio features and metadata for a million contemporary popular music tracks.

    • Open Data/Transparency

      • Universities need to lift the lid on donations

        Sir Howard Davies resigned as director of the London School of Economics council last night due to controversial links between the LSE and Libyan money. An inquiry headed by Lord Woolf will now investigate the links between LSE and Gaddafi, including a £1.5 million donation from Saif Gaddafi – who was awarded a now-contested PhD by the university in 2008.

      • The Curious Case of Media Opposing Government Transparency

        My gosh there is a lot going on. Republicans – REPUBLICANS(!) who were in charge of America’s prison system are warning Canada not to follow the Conservatives plan on prisons, the Prime Minister has renamed the government, after himself and my friends at Samara had in Toronto the Guardian’s Emily Bell to talk wikileaks and data journalism (wish I could have been there).

        It’s all very interesting… and there is a media story here in British Columbia that’s been brewing where a number of journalists have become upset about a government that has become “too” transparent.

        It’s an important case as it highlights some of the tensions that will be emerging in different places as governments rethink how they share information.

        The case involves BC Ferries, a crown corporation that runs ferries along critical routes around the province. For many years the company was not subject to the province’s Freedom of Information legislation. However, a few months ago the government stated the crown corporation would need to comply with the act. This has not pleased the corporation’s president.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Launches Patent Advisory Group for XML Signature and XML Encryption
    • W3C Invites Implementer Feedback on XML Security 1.1 Specifications

      The XML Security Working Group published four Candidate Recommendations today: XML Signature Syntax and Processing 1.1, XML Encryption Syntax and Processing 1.1, XML Security Generic Hybrid Ciphers, and XML Signature Properties. XML Signatures provide integrity, message authentication, and/or signer authentication services for data of any type, whether located within the XML that includes the signature or elsewhere. As companion documents, the Working Group has released new Working Drafts of XML Security 1.1 Requirements and Design Considerations and XML Security RELAX NG Schemas.


  • Quebec headed toward ‘radical option’ on religious minorities, sociologist fears

    One of the great thinkers who helped calm Quebec’s reasonable accommodation debate is stirring it up again, saying he fears the province may be headed toward a “radical option” to deal with religious minorities.

    Gérard Bouchard, the sociologist who travelled the province with philosopher Charles Taylor to study Quebec’s integration of minorities, said the province still lacks coherent rules to govern accommodation.

  • Putting China on the Innovation Map

    That’s because it’s a mapping site – here’s Beijing – and hence highly visual, but rather different to Google Maps because it uses an axonometric projection, which makes it look a little bit like SimCity. Paradoxically, this makes it easier to grasp the lay of the land. Moreover, many individual buildings are named (in Chinese, of course), provided a handy level of detail, and you can also pull out categories like food or entertainment.

  • How Recent Changes to Twitter’s Terms of Service Might Hurt Academic Research

    There is a lot to be learned from our tweets. Laugh if you will. Go ahead. But Twitter has become an important historical and cultural record. It’s a site for real-time news and information, to be sure. The stuff of history with a capital H. Politics. Natural disasters. Revolution. It’s a site that marks our cultural as well (is that history with a lower case H?). Ashton Kutcher. Charlie Sheen. The Oscars. Lower case or capital H – these 140 character exchanges have created an invaluable record for researchers looking at history, politics, literature, sociology.

  • Twitter Puts the Smack Down on Another Popular App: Whither Twitter as a Platform?
  • Courtney Love to Pay $430,000 to Settle Twitter Defamation Case (Exclusive)

    The settlement ends a case that was watched as closely for the unique legal issues in play as the often-erratic behavior of the defendant. Simorangkir, who became embroiled in a dispute with Love over a $4000 payment for clothing, accused the Hole frontwoman of ruining her business with a series of allegedly defamatory tweets posted during a 20 minute rant in 2009. The trial, which was originally scheduled for late January but was postponed when the parties began talking settlement, would have been the first high-profile courtroom showdown over what constitutes defamation on Twitter.

  • India manager ‘killed by workers’

    A senior manager at an Indian steel factory has been burnt to death in the eastern state of Orissa by a group of his workers, police say.

    RS Roy of Graphite India Ltd died on the way to a hospital in Bolangir district on Thursday evening.

    Police say

  • 5 Key Issues Impacting the Future of Facebook
  • Chipping In to Pay the Man Who Helped Introduce the Internet to So Many of Us

    f you used the Internet using Windows in the early to mid 1990s, chances are you connected with a little program called Trumpet Winsock. It was one of the only ways to get dial-up access using Windows 3.1. I, like so many others, connected to the Internet for the very first time using it. And I, like so many other, had completely forgotten about that program until today.

  • Hyperlocal Heartbreak: Why Haven’t Neighborhood News Technologies Worked Out?

    Neighborhood news aggregator Outside.in has been acquired by AOL, according to multiple reports this morning. Apparently it’s being bought for less than the big pile of money that high-profile investors put into it, back when hopes were high. It’s sad, really: the ambitious hyper-local news technology services of the last few years don’t seem to be working out very well.

  • Science

    • Audio slideshow: Beautiful science
    • The rise of the picosecond

      A second is a long time in cash equities trading. Four or five years ago, trading firms started to talk of trading speeds in terms of milliseconds.

      A millisecond is one thousandth of a second or, put another way, 200 times faster than the average speed of thought. In the time it took your brain to tell your hand to click on this article, a broker or market-making firm trading in milliseconds could fill hundreds of orders on an exchange.

    • What scientists really think about animal research

      Animal research has always been a polarizing topic; while it greatly advances science and medicine, it also causes the deaths of thousands of animals each year. PETA, the Animal Liberation Front, and other animal rights groups are outspoken about their side of the issue, but we hear less from the scientists who are actually conducting the research. An informal poll by Nature last week describes scientists’ feelings about animal research and their reactions to animal rights activism.

      Nature polled almost 1,000 biomedical scientists around the world, over 70 percent of whom conduct experiments on animals. Not surprisingly, a vast majority of the respondents—over 90 percent—felt that animal research is essential to scientific advancement. However, about a third also reported that they had “ethical concerns about the role of animals in their current work.” In particular, researchers are concerned about minimizing pain in their subjects, using the smallest number of animals possible, and “respecting” their subjects. Fifty-four researchers said that they had actually changed the direction of their research as a result of misgivings about their research practices.

    • Cancer rise and sperm quality fall ‘due to chemicals’

      Sperm quality significantly deteriorated and testicular cancers increased over recent years, a Finnish study says.

      The study in the International Journal of Andrology looked at men born between 1979 and 1987.

    • Is This Uncanny Valley-Scaling Robot Proof Of Our Impending Demise?
    • In an Alberta town, parents fight for a secular education

      It wasn’t until her seven-year-old son asked her if he’d burn in hell that Marjorie Kirsop became concerned.

      A Catholic education is the only local option for the Kirsop family and everyone else in Morinville, Alta., a community of 8,100 northwest of Edmonton. It’s a unique situation, rooted in the town’s origins as an outpost of French-Canadian Catholicism in the late 1800s. But this fall, when five-year-old Sarah Kirsop declared she had converted to Catholicism, her mother joined a group of local families who are challenging the status quo.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The privatisation of blood donations

      The proposed privatisation of NHS Blood and Transplant service, or parts of it, will instinctively make people shudder and we are right to be concerned about how commercial motives will change the service.

      At Anthony Nolan, we know a lot about blood. We have provided stem cells for transplant to people with blood cancers and similar conditions since 1974. We set up the world’s first bone marrow donor register and have always worked closely with the NHS. In fact our fundraising enables us to support the cost to the NHS of acquiring cells for these life saving transplants.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • NSA Winds Down Secure Virtualization Platform Development

      The National Security Agency’s High Assurance Platform integrates security and virtualization technology into a framework that’s been commercialized and adopted elsewhere in government.

    • Vendor-sec host compromised, shut down

      As moderator of vendor-sec and one of the sysadmins of lst.de I noticed a break-in into the lst.de machine last week, which was likely used to sniff email traffic of vendor-sec. This incident probably happened on Jan 20 as confirmed by timestamp, but might have existed for longer.

    • Crackers destroy security mailing list for Linux distributors

      The infrastructure of the members-only security mailing list “Vendor-Sec” for open source vendors has been severely damaged according to a post published by Markus Meissner at the OSS Security mailing list. At Vendor-Sec, Linux and BSD distributors discussed undisclosed vulnerabilities in the kernel and open source software. Some of the information was embargoed to give vendors time to close their holes.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Libya: Gaddafi son says bombs were ‘misunderstanding’

      • Father-of-seven from Manchester reportedly shot dead
      • Gaddafi to be investigated by ICC over crimes against humanity
      • Gaddafi forces strike oil export hubs in Brega for second day
      • Dmitry Medvedev warns of “civil war”

    • 20 Years After Rodney King, Who’s Holding Cops Accountable?

      Twenty years ago today Rodney King was dragged out of his Hyundai sedan just after midnight and beaten by Los Angeles police after an eight-mile chase through San Fernando Valley that ended in Lake View Terrace. Officers surrounded the 25-year-old taxi driver and construction worker and kicked, tased and beat him with their batons held like baseball bats. The attack was illuminated by the a spotlight provided by a LAPD helicopter hovering overhead, and the headlights of police cars that surrounded King’s car.

    • More carry-on luggage costing TSA millions a year

      Choosing to carry your luggage onto a plane instead of checking it with an airline might save you a few bucks at the ticket counter but it’s costing taxpayers about a quarter-billion dollars a year.

      Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress this week that luggage fees have prompted more passengers to hold onto their bags, which means more items for Transportation Security Administration officers to inspect at security checkpoints at a cost of about $260 million annually.

    • Windsor man pleads guilty to torching cruiser at G20

      A Windsor man facing two years in prison for setting a heavily damaged police cruiser on fire during the G20 summit in Toronto last summer says he has been made a scapegoat in the aftermath of the riot.

    • Hillary Clinton: “We’re Losing the War”

      None other than the US Secretary of State herself, Hillary Clinton, paid fulsome tribute to Al Jazeera last Wednesday, March 2. Appearing before a US Foreign Policy Priorities committee, she was asked by Senator Richard Lugar to impart her views on how well the US was promoting its message across the world.

      Clinton promptly volunteered that America is in an “information war and we are losing the war,” and furthermore, that “Al Jazeera is winning”.

    • Justice Cranks Up Its Covert War on Whistleblowers

      According to federal prosecutors, Stirling was the source behind reports published by New York Times reporter James Risen (identified as “Author A” in its pleadings) that exposed a horribly botched, indeed hare-brained plot by the CIA designed to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program. In particular, one chapter in Risen’s book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, describes a CIA-authored scheme to use a Russian double agent to deliver to the Iranians a set of technical drawings that had been carefully doctored so as to be worthless. However, the double agent turned on the CIA in the end, disclosing the flaws that had been built into the design. The end result: the CIA operation had actually advanced Iran’s nuclear project. So what was the purpose of the strenuous U.S. government effort to punish Stirling for making it public? Justice contends that the disclosure harmed national security. But the decision to go after Sterling seems to have more to do with his violation of the intelligence community’s code of omertà, under which no agent ever speaks about another’s mistakes.

  • Cablegate

    • [Old] Julian Assange condemns Australian Labor government at public meeting

      WikiLeaks’ founder and editor Julian Assange strongly condemned the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a pre-recorded address broadcast to a large public meeting convened in Melbourne last Friday.

      The event took place with just four days notice, yet a capacity audience of more than 600 people attended, with hundreds more turned away to watch a live video feed of the event, broadcast on a large screen outside the city’s Federation Square venue. The turnout demonstrated the enormous support for WikiLeaks among ordinary people in Australia, and their opposition to the persecution of Assange on bogus rape allegations by Swedish authorities.

    • Bradley Manning and the stench of US hypocrisy

      He now also finds himself faced with a rare charge known as “aiding the enemy” – a capital offence for which he could face the death penalty.

      The revelation will no doubt have come as a blow to Manning, although given his ongoing treatment it is likely he already feared the worst. Made to endure strict conditions under a prevention of injury order against the advice of military psychiatrists, he is treated like no other prisoner at the 250-capacity Quantico Brig detention facility in Virginia. Despite that he is yet to be convicted of any crime, for the past 218 consecutive days he has been made to live in a cell 6ft wide and 12ft long, without contact with any other detainees. He is not allowed to exercise or have personal effects in his cell, and for the one hour each day he is allowed free from his windowless cell he is taken to an empty room where he is allowed to walk, but not run.

    • WikiLeaks suspect: Where Army sees traitor, some see whistleblower

      But Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg sees cause for alarm in Army’s prosecution.

    • In restricted speech, former MI6 chief credits WikiLeaks with ‘tidal wave’ of revolutions

      Former British intelligence chief Sir Richard Dearlove gave a speech not long ago where all recordings were prohibited. During that talk, he credited secrets outlet WikiLeaks with helping spark revolutions across the Middle East, saying they provide a stark example of the ways technology is changing how people relate to their governments.

      Unfortunately for Dearlove, someone in the audience was recording, and now the whole world gets to see his formerly restricted speech.

    • Ex-UK spy boss says WikiLeaks sparked Egyptian revolution

      The former head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service has credited WikiLeaks and other secret-spilling sites with sparking the revolutions sweeping the Middle East.

      At what was supposed to be an off-the-record appearance last month at the Cambridge Union Society, Former MI6 Chief Richard Dearlove said that the technology WikiLeaks harnesses is fundamentally strengthening the hand of the individual as he goes up against powerful organizations.

    • Wikileaks reveals illegal Peru mahogany exports in US stores

      Peru’s government has secretly admitted that 70-90% of its mahogany exports were illegally felled, according to a US embassy cable revealed by Wikileaks.

    • The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Thursday, Day 96

      9:15 “Anonymous Will Avenge Manning.” That’s headline on DailyKos piece by Anonymous-connected Barrett Brown. He also talked to NY Daily News: “Not 24 hours after the U.S. Army announced it had filed 22 counts against reputed WikiLeaks source Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, Anonymous issued a new threat Thursday. ‘The decision to charge Bradley Manning with a capital offense in addition to other charges is a provocation, and Anonymous is set to respond accordingly,’ spokesman Barrett Brown wrote on DailyKos. He said the group will keep going after corporate execs involved in plots against Wikileaks.” And, he told The Daily News: “We are looking at information on various military officials.”

      9:10 Mariah Carey admits cable was true–she did get $1 million from Gaddafi son in 2006 to sing four songs for him. Beyonce and Nelly Furtado, also caught, have announced they will donate money to charity where Mariah promises proceeds from one song. No word yet from 50 Cent and Usher.

    • Shooters walk free, whistleblower jailed

      Due to the enormous request Panorama has produced an English version of our film about the alleged WikiLeaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning.

    • Bradley Manning may face death penalty
    • Soldier in Leaks Case Was Jailed Naked, Lawyer Says
    • Bradley Manning ‘forced to sleep naked’

      The US army private suspected of giving classified material to WikiLeaks was forced to sleep naked in his cell at a Marine Corps prison near Washington, which his lawyer has said is inexcusable.

    • America’s Dreyfus Case

      Although the U.S. doesn’t have a Devil’s Island, and American soldiers can’t be sent to Gitmo, the military has found a way to make life hell for Pfc. Bradley Manning. Not only has he been held ten months without trial, most of the time in solitary, now he is being stripped naked every night before he goes to bed, his lawyer says.

      Lawyer David Coombs said the decision was made by the commander of the Quantico, Virginia, brig, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Denise Barnes. A Marine spokesman, Brian Villard said it is not punishment.


      The Dreyfus Affair became a national scandal in France, attracting the attention of some of the country’s greatest writers. “J’Accuse,” by Emile Zola was the most famous attack on the phony charges.

    • Meeting on 2nd March in Parliament House Canberra with MPs re Julian Assange.

      Among others, MPs Andrew Laming, Malcolm Turnbull, Doug Cameron and Sarah Hanson-Young were in attendance, along with parliamentary staff members.

    • Editorial – Media Currently Publishing
    • WikiLeaks spokesman wins Journalist of the Year in Iceland

      Icelandic journalist and WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson won the country’s Journalist of the Year award for 2010, Iceland’s National Union of Journalists said.

      “Kristinn said when receiving the award that this was the third time he was getting an award for outstanding work in journalism, but that he had also been fired three times for his work,” NUJ official Frida Bjornsdottir said.

    • WikiLeaks calls more charges against soldier a “vindictive attack”

      Private First Class Bradley Manning, who has been held in solitary confinement at a military jail in Virginia, is now facing 22 more charges related to leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, the BBC reported. The news comes just after the announcement that WikiLeaks has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

      In the charges, the Army accused Manning of “wrongfully and wantonly” allowing secret intelligence information to be published online, thus aiding “the enemy,” explained the Los Angeles Times.

    • Special report: Weapons and the art of diplomacy

      When Lockheed Martin wanted to sell C-130 military transport planes to the government of Chad in early 2007, the U.S. embassy in N’Djamena was ready to lend a hand.

    • Swaziland ‘imports firearms through Mozambique’

      Swaziland is importing two containers of firearms through a Mozambican port, two years after Britain blocked an arms shipment to the southern African kingdom, Mozambican state media said Friday.

      The arms arrived in Maputo, the Mozambican capital, on a Panamanian vessel on February 28 from an unspecified country, state daily Noticias reported.


      In December 2008, Britain blocked a Swazi move to buy arms worth $60 million (43 million euros) from a British company over “end-use concerns,” according to a US embassy cable leaked by WikiLeaks.

    • Harvard Law Reviews WikiLeaks Censorship

      Harvard Law Professor Yochai Benkler is about to release a comprehensive study on the U.S. government and media’s role in censoring WikiLeaks. The forthcoming report , to appear in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, is titled “A Free Irresponsible Press: WikiLeaks and the Battle over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate.” In the report, Benkler dissects the mechanisms that have censored WikiLeaks.

      A working draft of the report has been made available online. The draft exposes how the U.S. government, mainstream media, and the emerging corporatocracy have been working together to infringe on the First Amendment Rights of the “networked fourth estate” sites, like WikiLeaks. Essentially, the government has been tripping over its feet to find ways to stop Wikileaks from expressing speech which Benkler argues is clearly protected by the U.S. Constitution and solidly supported by Supreme Court precedent.


      With false statements coming from the State Department, key Senators, and the White House, major credit cards, Pay Pal, and host of other sites like Amazon cut off ties with WikiLeaks. Benkler points out that legally, the U.S. government did not have the right to shut down WikiLeaks. However, by a series of “extra-legal” means, the government was able to temporarily shut down the site and its revenue stream.

    • Colombian armed forces collaborated with neo-paramilitaries: WikiLeaks

      Neo-paramilitary groups with former armed forces personnel as members were able to infiltrate the state by exploiting their military connections, according to a WikiLeaks cable.

    • The serial deceit of Geoff Morrell

      On January 26, 2011, Defense Department spokesman Geoff Morrell stood before the Pentagon press corps and made a series of patently false statements about Bradley Manning (the video is here). Even taking into account the position Morrell occupies — in which a penchant for telling the truth is not exactly a job requirement (it actually would be disqualifying) — this Press Conference was an extraordinary display of pure official mendacity.

      Morrell was asked several times about the evidence — first reported here — that Manning was being held in repressive and inhumane conditions: specifically, 23-hour/day solitary confinement, a prohibition on exercising in his cell, and being allowed out only 1 hour per day to “exercise” which entails walking around alone in a room, shackled.

    • Is Bradley Manning being treated like a Guantanamo detainee?

      This is “an embarrassment to our military justice system and should not be tolerated…No other detainee at the Brig is forced to endure this type of isolation and humiliation.” But, no other detainee is at the center of a case that US military and government officials seem to have decided to use as an example case that could put in fear in any other military or government official who might seek to disseminate information to any organization like WikiLeaks in the future.

    • Waiting patiently in the shadows

      Dylan Welch meets the Icelandic journalist who quit his job to work at WikiLeaks.

      Outside the Frontline Club in London, winter has draped itself across the city; inside, in the club’s small first-floor member’s room, WikiLeaks’s second-most famous employee fixes the Herald with a far frostier gaze.

    • What Americans really think of Kibaki and Raila

      The US embassy assessed President Kibaki to be in good health and firmly in control while Prime Minister Raila Odinga is depicted as a politician who would put his presidential ambitions ahead of reforms.

    • What’s An F-16 Worth? About 80,000 Tons of Chicken

      In connection with a special report, Reuters has scrubbed WikiLeaks, looking for State Department cables related to diplomatic efforts to help facilitate sales of American weapons systems abroad. The Atlantic Wire highlights a couple of the deals today, including one attention-grabber involving a 2005 effort by the government of Thailand to purchase fighter jets.
      The Thais considered Russia’s Sukhoi model, Sweden’s Saab and Lockheed Martin’s F-16. But there was a catch: They didn’t want to pay cash, but were willing to give up 80,000 tons of frozen chicken.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Shark fishing in Japan – video

      Sharks are fished on an industrial scale at the port of Kesennuma, 250 miles north of Tokyo, which accounts for 90% of Japan’s shark-fin trade

    • Best Rare-Bird Pictures of 2010 Named

      A picture of an endangered Asian crested ibis soaring over China is a first-prize winner in the first annual World’s Rarest Birds international photo competition, organizers announced in January.

      Launched in 2010, the competition ranked pictures of birds that fall into three categories determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature: endangered or data deficient, critically endangered or extinct in the wild, and critically endangered migratory species.

    • The Eastern Panther is Extinct

      The Eastern Panther is ExtinctThe U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has has determined that the legendary Eastern Panther (also known as the eastern cougar, puma, catamount and mountain lion) is extinct, and likely has been since the 1930s. There have been numerous reported sightings throughout the years, but the FWS says they were other species, “including South American cats that had either escaped from captivity or were released to the wilderness as well as wild cougars from Western states that had migrated east.”

  • Finance and Corruption

    • Damage estimate at Wisconsin Capitol goes from $7.5 million to … uh … $0?

      Amazing. In just one day, the estimate went from $7.5 million to $0. Now that’s a budget repair bill.

    • We need Scott Walker here

      Facing a $3.6-billion deficit, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently declared his state “broke.” To overcome this fiscal challenge, Mr. Walker proposed cutting generous public sector pension and health care benefits, and threatened immediate layoffs if concessions were not made. He also introduced legislation to restrict collective bargaining in the public sector and limit future wage increases to the rate of inflation.

    • “Koch Whore”: The Scott Walker Story

      Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker speaking to a liberal blogger whom he believes to be David Koch. I have picked some of the choice quotes from the tapes which can be heard by clicking the links below.

      REAL WALKER: ”He’s not one of us” – in reference to Democratic Wisconsin State Senator Tim Cullen.

      FAKE KOCH: “We gotta crush those unions.”

      REAL WALKER: “We stay firm, we’ll wait it out. If they want to sacrifice thousands of workers to be laid-off, we’re not going to compromise.”

      FAKE KOCH: “Bring a baseball bat” – in reference to meeting with Wisconsin Democrats.

      REAL WALKER: “I have one in my office, you’d be happy with that. I’ve got a slugger with my name on it.”

    • The real scandal at the LSE

      There is a revealing remark in the minutes of the debate that took place in October 2009 at the governing council of the London School of Economics over whether to accept a donation of £1.5 million from Saif Gaddafi, son of the Libyan dictator. Fred Halliday, the school’s professor of international relations, had warned the council that accepting the money would taint the LSE’s reputation, but his concerns were dismissed by a fellow academic, David Held, professor of political science. Refusal, Held protested, would cause “personal embarrassment” to Saif Gaddafi.

      Concern for Gaddafi Jnr’s feelings, rather than Halliday’s hard-headed analysis, evidently won the day. The governing council accepted the loot (of which £300,000 was subsequently paid) from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation. The fact that among those members giving their assent to supping with the devil was Sharmi Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty and merciless scourge of those who compromise principles of justice, only adds to the air of unreality that surrounds the whole shameful episode. She has since spoken of her “bucketfuls” of regret.

    • Building Ford Nation

      Earlier this week, the mayor threatened to unleash “Ford Nation” on Premier Dalton McGuinty should the province refuse the city’s request for more money.

      It may have come off as a spur-of-the-moment turn of phrase, but Ford Nation is very real and about to change the political landscape of Ontario.

      For months, members of Ford’s former campaign staff have been quietly drawing up plans to form a right-wing advocacy group. The intention is to monetize and organize this huge ideological voting base, essentially forming a quasi Tea Party North.

    • Nelly Furtado and the public shame of private concerts

      Nelly Furtado played for Muammar. Well, maybe not Muammar. She played for the clan. In Italy. Perhaps she played and the Gaddafi family sang along and they threw each other in the air and then the concert ended and Nelly cashed her cheque. Maybe she bought some gold-plated bathroom fixtures and maybe a racehorse named Like A Bird and she probably even donated some of the money to the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club, which is just around the corner from me in Toronto, and where Nelly learned how to swim when she was a pre-teen. But then, Tunisia fell. And then Egypt fell

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Themis: Questions about Palantir surface in HBGary Federal’s aftermath

      Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies, and HBGary Federal, along with lobbyist law firm Hunton & Williams, are all linked to separate plots that involve the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America. The links were exposed via emails published to the Internet by Anonymous.

      Based on the publically available information, the idea was for the four organizations to help the Chamber develop a plan that would discredit critics. Moreover, Team Themis, a name selected by the three firms who collaborated with Hunton & Williams, are also linked to plans made for Bank of America in order for them to deal with the “WikiLeaks Threat”.

    • Hacked e-mails show Web is an increasingly useful tool in dirty-tricks campaigns

      Although much of K Street spends its time plying the halls of Congress on behalf of well-heeled clients, there is a growing dark side to Washington’s lobbying and public-relations industry: figuring out new ways to undermine and sabotage opponents.

      This little-discussed aspect of the influence business came into view in recent weeks with the release of thousands of hacked corporate e-mails, which detail a pair of high-tech dirty-tricks campaigns aimed at supporters of WikiLeaks and foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    • Daily Star reporter quits in protest at tabloid’s ‘anti-Muslim’ coverage

      The Daily Star has been accused of printing fictional stories by a disgruntled reporter who has resigned over its “hatemongering” anti-Muslim propaganda.

      In a resignation letter, Richard Peppiatt said he was leaving after the Star gave sympathetic coverage to the far-right English Defence League last month.

  • Censorship

    • Internet traffic in Libya goes dark amid upheaval

      Internet services in Libya, already spotty throughout the country’s violent upheaval, appeared completely halted in an attempt to stifle information about the insurrection.

      The move, coming ahead of planned protests in Libya, appears similar to Egypt’s response to the demonstrations that led President Hosni Mubarak to step down last month. The Libyan government controls the country’s primary Internet service provider.

      Arbor Networks, a Chelmsford, Mass., network security company said Friday that all Internet traffic coming in and out of Libya had ceased, starting at about noon EST Thursday (7 p.m. in Tripoli, Libya). Google’s transparency report, which shows traffic to the company’s sites from various countries, also showed that Internet traffic had fallen to zero in Libya.

    • Libyan Disconnect
    • Google’s Blogger banned in Turkey over soccer broadcast piracy

      A Turkey court has issued a statewide ban on Google service Blogger, locking 600,000 Turkish bloggers out of their personal diaries.

      The ban was imposed in response to a complaint from satellite TV company Digiturk. The company claimed that soccer matches it was broadcasting had been posted on Blogger.

    • Apple: you must be at least 17 years old to use Opera

      This week, the Opera web browser became the first non-native browser made available in Apple’s Mac App Store. While Apple approved the browser, it still managed to hurt its competitor by putting this ridiculous label on it: “You must be at least 17 years old to download this app.”

    • [Old] Al Jazeera English Blacked Out Across Most Of U.S. [UPDATED]

      Canadian television viewers looking for the most thorough and in-depth coverage of the uprising in Egypt have the option of tuning into Al Jazeera English, whose on-the-ground coverage of the turmoil is unmatched by any other outlet. American viewers, meanwhile, have little choice but to wait until one of the U.S. cable-company-approved networks broadcasts footage from AJE, which the company makes publicly available. What they can’t do is watch the network directly.

  • Privacy

    • Facebook PhoneNumbers & Security

      Since I’m finishing my novel and committed to uploading it to CreateSpace Sunday night, I’m *not* supposed to be blogging!

      But this is a pretty serious FaceBook privacy breach passed on my by friend Mary, and the sooner people know the sooner they can pull their numbers.

  • Civil Rights

    • 47 U.S.C. § 230: a 15 Year Retrospective

      Co-sponsored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, this symposium will unite some of the key figures in the history of 47 U.S.C. § 230, widely regarded as the most important internet specific law.

    • Constitutional Amendments Exclude Women Candidates for the Presidential Elections

      “The Egyptian Coalition for Civic Education and Women’s Participation” has received and reviewed the constitutional amendments. These amendments have led to great worries amongst the coalition for they did not achieve what the Egyptian people aimed for, nor meet the revolution’s demands. As such the amendments are restoring the system of the past regime.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • LQDN Responds to the Parliamentary Pre-report on Net Neutrality

      La Quadrature du Net sent its response (in French) to the pre-report prepared by the French Parliament’s working group on Net neutrality.

      Mindful of the importance of Net neutrality for the future of our networked societies, the French Parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee has set up a working group led by Laure de La Raudière (UMP) and Corinne Erhel (SRC). After hearing many stakeholders, including La Quadrature du Net and not-for-profit ISP FDN, the working group submitted a pre-report (in French) at the beginning of February.

  • DRM

    • Are iPad magazines being killed by greed?

      Pete Kafka at All Things Digital reports today that publisher Conde Nast is set to increase the price of the iPad versions of its Vanity Fair and GQ titles by $1 and $2 respectively. The reason is increased production costs after they switched from an in-house publishing system to an Adobe-built solution, but the result? Well, digital magazines haven’t exactly taken off so far. Who’s going to want them at an even higher price?

    • World Book Night: A book so good they want to give it to you for free

      As reading on electronic devices becomes more common, and panic over the perceived Kindle Catastrophe dies down, people who oversee physical books are thinking more creatively about what they can offer by contrast. So books become more precious as objects (design becomes more important, clever new formats are invented) and booksellers are – or should be – turned to as curators of our cultural lives.

    • Judge Lets Sony Unmask Visitors to PS3-Jailbreaking Site

      A federal magistrate is granting Sony the right to acquire the internet IP addresses of anybody who has visited PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz’s website from January of 2009 to the present.

      Thursday’s decision by Magistrate Joseph Spero to allow Sony to subpoena Hotz’s web provider (.pdf) raises a host of web-privacy concerns.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Revolution Will Not Be Properly Licensed

      We have SonyBMG taking administrator-level control of several million customers’ computers to prevent copying of mere music. European authorities mandating wiretapping capabilities of all telecom equipment. Car manufacturers installing remote kill switches in cars. Microsoft embedding the same type of kill switches in their software, along with Apple and Google doing the same to our phones. Intel embedding the same kill switches in processors. Amazon deleting books off our bookshelves.

    • British biz roasts Hargreaves’ ‘Google Review’

      Against this, the CBI’s submission, “Exploiting Ideas”, is a reality-check. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) describes intellectual property as Britain’s “Crown jewels”, and notes that investment in “intangibles” now exceeds investment in physical assets by about 50 per cent. Aerospace and pharmaceuticals turn over £37bn between them, copyright accounts for 8.2 per cent of GDP (or £100bn) and trademarks – typically forgotten – £18bn.

    • Copyrights

      • Moby Says The Major Record Labels ‘Should Die’

        Moby is no stranger to speaking out against the major record labels. After the original Jammie Thomas ruling, he spoke out saying that the RIAA should be disbanded. More recently, he’s highlighted how giving away free music has been helpful in making money and pointed out that the major record label’s entire strategy seems based on trying to “make the future die.” So it’s hardly surprising to hear him say that he thinks the major labels should die.

      • Copyright gone mad!

        Earlier this week, BoingBoing covered the story of Zazzle – an online merchandise company – taking down a badge which read “While you were reading Tolkien I was watching Evangelion”. The original story alleged that this was prompted by the Tolkien Estate claiming copyright infringement, though subsequently it has emerged that it was actually Zazzle acting on their own initiative who caused the withdrawal of the product.

        While innocent in this particular case, the Tolkien Estate is notorious for a broad interpretation of copyright law. They have recently issued a cease and desist notice to the author of a novel which includes Tolkien as a character, and I have seen reports of similar actions on their part on at least two other occasions. Even more amusingly, back in 2004 the Estate and Warner Brothers claimed ownership of the word “shire”. (The Oxford English Dictionary, unsurprisingly, disagrees.)

      • Pirate Party Calls Protest As Movie Sharer Jailed For 30 Days

        Following an investigation into the online sharing of a new movie, Serbia’s High-Tech crime unit has swooped on an apartment in the capital Belgrade where they arrested a 51-year-old man. Following interrogation and an apparent confession, in just one day a judge has ruled the man can be detained in jail for 30 days. The Pirate Party are now calling for protests today.

      • Copyright reform is needed in UK: letter to the Telegraph

        We co-signed this letter, published today in the Telegraph, calling for copyright reform in the interests of economic growth.

      • Yahoo, BT and more launch UK ‘Cloud Radio’ project. What’s that?

        Here’s an intriguing story – a consortium of technology and media companies including Yahoo, BT, music streaming service We7 and content production company Somethin” Else, have been awarded an £1.8m grant to work on a ‘cloud radio’ service codenamed ‘Apollo’.

        What’s that? As Digital Spy reports, the project will look into the development of “next-generation personal radio and music services that can work across any internet-connected device, such as mobiles, tablets and web TVs”.

      • ICE Arrests Operator Of Seized Domain; Charges Him With Criminal Copyright Infringement

        While Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) group has been seizing lots of domains under questionable legal theories, it has been slow to follow through on any sort of actual lawsuits. However, with one of the domains seized a month ago, channelsurfing.net, ICE has now arrested someone and charged him with criminal copyright infringement, such that he’s now facing five years in jail (as well as fines). This is interesting, because when that domain was seized, we had noted that channelsurfing did not appear to host any content itself, but merely embedded content from other sites. That raises an awful lot of serious questions: specifically, what part of copyright law is infringed here. The site does not host any of the content. It does not make any copies. It does not distribute the content. All it does is put in a snippet of code that a user’s web browser then uses to request content from another site.

      • IFPI, UK Police, Credit Card Companies Push People To Pirate Music, Rather Than Pay For It

        Bizarre move out of the IFPI. It’s gleefully announced a new deal, in conjunction with the London Police and Visa and MasterCard to cut off credit card services to online music stores who the IFPI accuses of selling infringing MP3s. This is really targeting sites like MP3Fiesta, which is sort of a modern version of Allofmp3.com. Of course, what they seem to be missing is that both of these sites were examples of people, who would otherwise likely be downloading totally unauthorized versions, being willing to pay for MP3s at a much more reasonable price. What I never understood was why the music industry never realized that these sites actually showed a business model that worked. Tons of people were happy to pay for the music when the prices seemed much more reasonable. What these services really showed was how much the industry has artificially inflated the price of music.

      • Rep. Lofgren Challenges IP Czar On Legality Of Domain Seizures

        A friend of the site sent over a great video of Rep. Zoe Lofgren quizzing IP Czar Victoria Espinel about the recent domain name seizures. It’s clear that Lofgren has been well-briefed on the topic (which makes her one of very few elected officials). Lofgren has always been really good on copyright issues, so this isn’t a huge surprise, though I wish she were more vocal on some of these issues.

Clip of the Day

Koch Whore: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Koch Whore: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, part 2

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 5/3/2011: OilRush is Coming, hypePad 2 no Match for Good Android Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux over Windows..? Well, the argument continues

    There are no second thoughts about it. With GNOME and KDE, Linux desktops are top-of-the-line products that are sleek, compact and innately user friendly. Linux desktop in fact go beyond being user friendly they are outright flexible. On Linux you simply change distros you no longer want or need. You keep what you need and simply build along as your requirements grow. Most times your Linux desktop is a reflection of your mind. You are doing intense mind-games then you will have the toughest looking distro running. Need to space out and want some relax time then in come the light-hearted distros tickling your brain cells. Bet you cannot even think of creativity with a Windows on your desktop.

  • Pain and Suffering in Germany, or How Linux Lost to XP

    With all the world aflutter about the latest “i-thingie” to emerge from the Hallowed Halls of Cupertino, it’s been a great week for catching up on Linux news from around the world.

    Expecting the usual assortment of triumphant tales regarding our favorite operating system, however, Linux Girl’s jaw fairly hit the floor when she came across something entirely different.

    It’s the sad, sad story of the German Foreign Office, to be specific, which recently chose to reverse a decade-old migration to Linux. Now, it’s switching back to Windows instead.

    “Although open source has demonstrated its worth, particularly on servers, the cost of adapting and extending it, for example in writing printer and scanner drivers, and of training, have proved greater than anticipated,” explained The H, where the story was apparently first reported.

    Claiming that user complaints have been a problem as well, the government has nevertheless declined to provide any specific figures.

  • Desktop

    • Getting Started With Linux: Fine-Tuning Your Hardware

      On some systems, Ubuntu and other Linux systems will install as if they they had always been right there on your system. Other times, there’s a piece missing. Here’s how to patch up the last piece (or two) of your system if not everything’s working right off.

    • Ubuntu-ready Cortex-A8 nettop and netbook drop prices

      Genesi announced price reductions and a new Ubuntu 10.10 update for its small-format, fanless line of Efika MX computers, which run on Freescale Semiconductor’s 800MHz Cortex-A8 i.MX515 system-on-chips. The five-Watt Efika MX Smarttop nettop costs $129, while the 10.1-inch, 12-Watt Efika MX Smartbook netbook costs $199.

    • 10 things I miss about old school Linux

      I’ve been using Linux since the days of Caldera Open Linux 1 and Red Hat Linux 4.2 (prior to the creation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux). Since those days, I have seen a lot of things come and go. I was glad to wave goodbye to most of the things that have gone by the wayside. However, I actually do miss some of the bits and pieces that have slipped out of the mix. Some of these are software, while some of them are more ideas/ideals. Let’s venture into the time machine and go retro with our memories of Linux.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Longterm kernel
    • Linux
    • AMD Provides Coreboot Support For Fusion

      AMD has been quite friendly towards the Coreboot project (what used to be LinuxBIOS) with releasing support for new chipsets and other engineering assistance. This support has not dried up at all but has only expanded with AMD’s recent release of Coreboot code to support the Embedded G-Series Fusion processor.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Open-Source AMD Cayman GPU KMS Support

        Nearly two months ago AMD released Radeon HD 6000 series open-source support — complete with kernel mode-setting and Mesa/Gallium3D OpenGL driver acceleration support — but this support had only covered the “Northern Islands” ASICs and not the newest Radeon HD 6900 “Cayman” graphics processors. Cayman’s design is much different from the Northern Islands and previous-generation Evergreen GPUs, but the open-source support for these highest-end AMD graphics processors is beginning to emerge.

      • A restart for RandR 1.4

        Having pulled it from X.Org Server 1.10 at the last moment, the X.org developers are taking another look at RandR 1.4, the X resize, rotate and reflect extension. It’s now hoped that it will make it into X.Org Server 1.11, due in August. Long time X and Debian developer, Keith Packard, has posted an entry on the X.org mailing list calling for a protocol review.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • E17- Enlighten your Desktop!!

      Enlightenment E17 or DR17 is a desktop environment that can serve as both the window manager and a desktop environment at the same time in your OS. What makes it really cool is that it brings out the best features out of your PC as compared to the commonly used KDE and GNOME (both require slightly high end hardware). Hence you will be able to run the latest, hottest software even in your old PC.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • It’s alive!

        I’m very excited to announce that qt-atspi has seen some major progress lately. Frederik Gladhorn has been kicking some major butt and has gotten it into much better shape than it has been previously.

      • digiKam Software Collection 2.0.0 beta3 is out…

        digiKam team is proud to announce the 3rd digiKam Software Collection 2.0.0 beta release!

      • KDE Ships March Updates

        March 4th, 2011. Today, KDE has released a series of updates to the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces, the KDE Applications and the KDE Frameworks. This update is the first in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.6 series. 4.6.1 brings many bugfixes and translation updates on top of 4.6 series and is a recommended update for everyone running 4.6.0 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. KDE’s software is already translated into more than 55 languages, with more to come.

      • KDE 4.6.1 Changelog
    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • The Sabayon 5.5 experiment was a success!

      Sabayon, for those not familiar with it, is a primarily desktop oriented system originally based on software coming from the Gentoo Linux project. Sabayon, since it is at Version 5.5, has long since created many of its own tools, and though there is still some Gentoo Linux lineage there, the package manager it uses is its own creation, and so is most of the work, but like any good free software system, it certainly uses and benefits from technology elsewhere, and in this case, Gentoo formed the framework for much of the initial work.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat defends changes to kernel source distribution

        Red Hat CTO, Brian Stevens, has defended the company’s change to how it distributes the kernel source code in a blog posting. The company had changed its policy on how it distributed the source to its Linux kernel, a key component of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Where it had previously shipped out a standard kernel with all the patches which needed to be applied to make that kernel into Red Hat’s version, for RHEL6 it switched to shipping an archive with those patches pre-applied and details of the patches not explicitly listed.

      • Is Red Hat violating the GPL?

        But now things seem to be changing. A few months back, Red Hat settled a patent suit with a patent troll, Acacia, over alleged patent infringement in JBoss, software that Red Hat owns.

      • Red Hat: ‘Yes, we undercut Oracle with hidden Linux patches’

        Red Hat has changed the way it distributes Enterprise Linux kernel code in an effort to prevent Oracle and Novell from stealing its customers, making it more difficult for these competitors to understand which patches have been applied where.

      • Commitment to Open

        I joined Red Hat in 2001, naive yet undaunted about the potential to transform the IT industry through open source. Our engineering group at the time was no more than 50 people. How could our relatively small team compete in the land of giants? Simple. Because the license Richard Stallman wrote, and Linus Torvalds selected for Linux, nearly 20 years ago, and Linus’ benevolent leadership of the kernel since, was key in creating a model for open collaboration.

      • Red Hat defends Linux kernel move

        There is no company on Earth that contributes more to the Linux kernel than Red Hat. That said, Red Hat has recently come under some scrutiny for the way it packages the kernel in RHEL 6 – some mis-informed people have gone so far as to question whether or not Red Hat is violating the GPL.

      • Scientific Linux 6.0 released
      • Fedora

        • Welcome to the Fedora Trusted Computing Project!

          The Trusted Computing Project provides a collaboration area for interested parties with trusted computing requirements to discuss their needs with developers as well as hardware and software partners. Areas of interest would include but not be limited to the use of the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), trusted boot, trusted hypervisors, and other areas that insure the integrity of the computing system from the hardware on up.

        • Red Hat Brand guru John Adams analyzes the POSSE brand

          I had a great lunch on Tuesday with John Adams from the Red Hat Brand team – he’s one of the main guys responsible for maintaining Red Hat’s corporate personality and presence, and I was curious about how he’d see POSSE as a brand of its own. Notes follow, posted with John’s permission. As a technical person who has no formal training in marketing or branding, getting to see how John thought about these sorts of topics was an education in itself.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian wins two of seven categories at the Linux New Media Awards 2011

        The Debian representatives were quite busy at this year’s Linux New Media Awards, which were presented yesterday during CeBIT in Hanover, Germany. They first took the stage when the award for “Best Open Source Server Distribution” was presented by Peter Ganten, Managing Director of Univention GmbH. In presenting the award he emphasized that Debian has done pioneering work not only in the technical field but also in the definition of free software standards and processes.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • S04E01 – New Frontier

          Laura Cowen, Mark Johnson, Tony Whitmore and Alan Pope return to bring you episode 1 of season 4 of the Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo Team!

        • PowerNap Improvements for Natty

          For all of those who don’t know, “PowerNap is a screen saver for servers except it doesn’t save your screen, it saves the environment and lowers your energy bill.”

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 Is Out [Screenshots And Video]

          The Ubuntu 11.04 live cd installer finally got upgrade support so you’ll be able to upgrade from older Ubuntu versions using the CD (very useful for those with bad or no internet connection).

        • UDW: Day 3 over, day 4 to come
        • Ubuntu’s new Overlay scrollbars for Natty

          Ubuntu 11.04 continues with the surprises as Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu design team unveil ‘overlay scrollbar’s.

        • Ubuntu Maryland Leader Quits, Is Canonical Hijacking Ubuntu?

          Ubuntu Maryland Leader Chuck Frain is stepping down as the leader of the group which he founded. In a blog post he has given reasons behind his decision and they raise some serious questions. He said that Ubuntu has changed from a community driven project to a company controlled product. “When I began this group I believed in the Ubuntu project was a community driven distribution that was supported by Canonical and guided in some ways to their commercial needs. After all, they were a company that were going to specialize in support for the Free Linux distribution…”

          “I was happy with Canonical’s position and guidance until the announcement of UbuntuOne. Here was software in two pieces, one open source and one closed source. The client on the desktop is open and free for anyone to use, modify, etc. However the piece that makes it all useful, the server, is closed.”

        • Ubuntu Linux – Not yet a Pariah but heading there

          Yes, the most popular Linux distro is working hard to become the pariah of the FOSS community. To give you a typical example, take the case of the GNOME / UNITY switch.

          If I were Shuttleworth, I’d not ship Ubuntu with my in-house DE just yet. I’d rather ship the usual GNOME but put a small script somewhere to inform users that “look, we’re planning on shipping our own DE but think it’s not ready yet. We’ll need all the feedback we can get from you before shipping it as default. Click here if you want to install Unity and help us test.”

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Xubuntu Natty Artwork

            As one of Xubuntu’s artwork contributors and member of the Shimmerproject I would like to take some time now – towards the end of this cycle – and discuss (at least parts of) the design process during the development phase for Natty (11.04). This is planned as a review and in a way (implicitely) a preview: you can see the direction Xubuntu is heading for since Maverick and Natty and hopefully the project will continue this way.

          • Edubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 Released

            Edubuntu 11.04 (codenamed: Natty Narwhal) is the next version of Edubuntu due for release in April 2011. Development on the system is in full swing and today marks the third tested installable development version. It is still in an early state and has known problems, it is not recommended for anything else than testing and experimental purposes for people who are interested in Edubuntu development.

          • Linux Mint 11 Will Use GNOME 3.0 By Default

            As you probably know, Linux Mint 11 “Katya”, the next Linux Mint version that will be based on Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal will not use Unity by default. Well, as it turns out, Linux Mint 11 will move even further from Ubuntu and will ship with GNOME 3.0 by default, even though Ubuntu 11.04 will use Gnome 2.32.x.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Matt Asay Backs Up the Wahmbulance

        [H]e’s either playing a game on readers or backing up the wahmbulance (losing himself in self-pity) with his latest at The Register, complaining that open source apps may be dead on mobile.

      • From messiah to pariah: The death of open source on mobile

        Part of this comes from open-source licenses clashing with app store policies. It’s perhaps not surprising that Microsoft isn’t a big fan of GPL software within its Windows Phone Marketplace, but given its still-small market share, it may also not be a big deal. Of far more concern is the fact that Apple has started pulling GPL software from its virtual shelves.

        This may not be that big of a deal. After all, open-source software developers long ago got used to skirting standard distribution channels, and will likely find workarounds like alternative app stores (Sourceforge App Store, anyone?) or may simply use the web to distribute HTML5 apps.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • World First from Saab: Saab IQon – Open Innovation in Car Infotainment

          Saab Automobile is changing the auto industry infotainment landscape by engaging external partners in ‘open innovation´ for the development of its new IQon infotainment concept, using Google´s Android operating system.

        • [LMN] Birmingham UK – MeeGo Meetup

          Time to get together for another Birmingham UK MeeGo meetup. The interest in the Operating System has increased and also we now have some available devices, So it should be a good time to be had by all.

        • DoodleDrive – Game Jam Afternoon

          My older son was a bit sick today so I stayed home to be with my kids. As usual kids didn’t know what to do and I came up with the idea if we’d create a simple game with help of latest Qt SDK 1.1 Beta that was released a day ago. …and so we did :) This is a small “documentary” of the process.

        • RIM reportedly to launch BlackBerry Messenger on iOS and Android

          It looks like RIM is finally going to introduce its own version what many third-parties have been trying to implement across smartphone platforms, by introducing its BlackBerry Messenger service on both iOS and Android.

        • MeeGo on the N900 officially targeted by Nokia

          Exciting news. Jukka Eklund, Product Manager at Nokia, just announced that Nokia will be officially directing efforts towards supporting MeeGo on the N900 as Developer Edition. For this purpose, there would be a dedicated team within Nokia who will bring full MeeGo support on the N900.

      • Android

        • Meganoid now available in the Market: a must for all fans of 8-bit platform games

          OrangePixel has a series of titles in the Market, and the company is perhaps best known for the popular Mini Army: an interesting version of the classic Snake game. The developer has now released a new title that at least for fans of all things 8-bit almost seem too good to be true.

          The game is called Meganoid, and it’s an homage to 80s and 90s games such as Mega Man and Metroid (hence the name). I personally grew up playing 8-bit Commodore 64, Sega and Nintendo games, so Meganoid’s retro, pixelart graphics, and its bitpop soundtrack and effects are right up my alley.

        • Nielsen: Android Pulls Ahead Of RIM And iOS For U.S. Smartphone Share

          Nielsen has just released new data on U.S. smartphone share. According to the report, smartphone powered by Android operating systems (29 percent) is pulling ahead of RIM’s Blackberry (27 percent) and Apple iOS (27 percent).

    • Tablets

      • Tablets’ rise knocks HDD shipments

        “Among the various computing segments in which HDDs are used, the netbook—with lower computing capabilities than either a desktop or laptop—is considered the most vulnerable to being supplanted by tablets, which do not use hard disks as storage media.”

      • Jobs proclaims the iPad II is the saviour of the universe

        Jobs started off by describing Android tablets as the year of the copycats – a bold prediction, for sure. The iPad II is the third of Apple’s attempts to crush the PC opposition. It won’t be Jobs’ first attempt. The British event is being held at the BBC TV Centre, a cluster of fanbois – but the poor hacks that work there do, we think use Dell. Apple loves the BBC but not as much as Apple loves News International.

      • iPad 2 vs. original iPad: what’s changed?
      • Apple’s key designer Jonathan Ive said to be ‘thinking of move to Britain’

        Jonathan Ive, the designer behind the iMac , the iPhone and the iPad and an absolutely key man at Apple, may be considering a move back to Britain. That is the story whizzing round the world of high tech.

      • The Android community must fight generalizations on Honeycomb tablet price

        I fully understand when people around the iPad 2 announcement make blanket statements that “Android tablets are too expensive”, because I take everything connected to an Apple event through a bias filter. But, when those same comments come from Android sites and in the comments of our stories, I feel like I need to say something: We need to stop the generalization. We can’t use the Xoom as a sample of the entire Android tablet ecosystem. Not all Android tablets are expensive and not all are going to be expensive.

      • iPad 2 vs. Android tablets: who’s winning? [Comparison Chart]
      • Steve Jobs’ reality distortion takes its toll on truth

        In what seems like a ritual at this point, I watched Apple’s iPad 2 keynote in disbelief, noting the factual errors that kept coming up minute after minute. See previous:

        * How Steve Jobs turned a finger spot into a death grip
        * Google responds to Steve Jobs’ activation counting accusations
        * Why does Android have Steve Jobs rattled?

Free Software/Open Source

  • 3 Companies Using Open Source

    It’s very interesting to note that a recent study revealed that approximately 85 percent of companies globally are using open source software. Not surprisingly, the main motivator for using open source software is cost. Other indicators point to the fact that this software provides companies protection from becoming locked into a single vendor.

  • Events

    • FOSS Marathon in Jodhpur
    • Impressions from the Southern California Linux Expo 9x

      If you weren’t in Los Angeles last weekend, you missed all the fun. No, not the OSCARS. I’m talking about the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE). Once again, the SCALE folks put on one of the best FOSS community events on the planet and handled a 20% increase in attendees with few glitches.

      According to Larry Cafiero, one of the SCALE guys (as well as being one of the “beards of open source,” ahem), SCALE drew more than 1,800 attendees. And those are the ones who actually registered. The event moved from the Westin LAX to the Hilton LAX to cope with the attendance — and it grew by about 20% this year, so that the space was still close to capacity.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • ‘Linux kernel for the cloud’ gets new government

      Rackspace has overhauled the governance of OpenStack – the eight-month-old open source effort to build Amazon-like “infrastructure clouds” – relinquishing some of the control it gained by acquiring one of the project’s other major contributors.

      After acquiring Anso Labs – the tiny outfit that built the Nova compute fabric comprising half of OpenStack – Rackspace controlled seven out of nine seats on the project’s board, known as the project oversight committee. Rackspace built the other half of OpenStack, a storage platform, and it cofounded the project with NASA, which had commissioned Anso to build Nova.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • VirtualBox 4.0 OpenGL Acceleration Leaves Room For Improvement

      VirtualBox, the Sun/Oracle virtualization platform, has supported OpenGL acceleration and Direct3D acceleration within virtual machines for more than two years. When the host system has hardware GPU acceleration, OpenGL/Direct3D calls can be passed from the guest to the host when the VirtualBox guest driver is installed. There has been the Linux 3D support since VirtualBox 2.2 and was initially limited to OpenGL 1.4 support and in the summer of 2009 it turned to OpenGL 2.0. We had not delivered any early benchmarks as the initial support was too buggy, but even with the recently released VirtualBox 4.0, while the support is usable and stable for the most part, it is still far from being very efficient and will crash under some OpenGL software.

    • LibreOffice applied for GSoc 2011

      I just have filed the form for LibreOffice to be part of the next edition of Google Summer or Code. The list of the selected organizations will be out on March 18th. This will be a nice adventure to help us improve our mentoring skill and help students getting introduced to an open source community. All the details of the application are available on the GSoc wiki page.

    • EU: AFUL supports the Document Foundation and calls on public and private actors to follow suit


  • Government

    • Open Source Procurement: Subscriptions

      When you procure proprietary software, you buy a right-to-use license and then a support agreement. But when you buy open source, you already have the right-to-use from the OSI-approved free license, so you should compare the subscription cost with just the cost of a proprietary support agreement. Right?

      Wrong! The open source subscription includes all the same elements as the combination of both purchases. In most cases, if you are receiving equivalent value, you should expect to pay similar prices.

    • MHRD must give Tenders to FOSS Companies and avoid .NET programming language. Rs 1.6 crore goes in M$ partner.
    • The Monopolistic Tendencies of Open Source Software
    • More Fun with Anti-Open Source FUD

      “Open source operates as a de facto cartel” – now that really is a splendid bit of FUD that deserves closer examination.

      This extraordinary conclusion seems to flow from the earlier flawed analysis of what happens when there are open source companies operating in a market. In fact, there are several quite different flaws there.

      The first is “consider an all-OSS world in which each company offers consumers exactly the same shared code as every other company”: but that’s not how open source markets operate. Typically, there are many different code bases for a given sector: GNU/Linux and the BSDs for operating systems; Firefox, Chromium and Konqueror for browsers; Thunderbird and Evolution for email etc. This means that it’s actually extremely easy for new companies using open source to enter those sectors.

      Indeed, the rapid rise of Google’s Chrome/Chromium is a neat counter-example to the erroneous statement above. It entered the browser sector and proceeded to do rather well, probably halting the growth of Firefox as well as taking away market share from Internet Explorer. Yes, that market did not consist entirely of open source browsers, but given its success against Firefox, it seems clear that it could have entered just such a market and flourished because of its evident merits.

      But for the sake of argument, let us accept the possibility that there are markets where all the companies based on open source use the same code base. The argument is then “no company can then compete by writing more OSS code than its rivals” with the result that “this lack of competition suppresses code production.”

      Leaving aside the fact that hackers code for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with competition, using the metric of how much open source code misses the point: by definition it’s generally 100% – that was the premise. And it’s not how much that counts, it’s how good that matters. And this is where the differentiation comes in.


      To summarise, one of the key advantages of encouraging the growth of open source in a particular sector is to undermine existing proprietary cartels by supporting open standards and thus opening up that market to new entrants. Governments rightly concerned about such cartels should be supporting open source wholeheartedly as one of the best and most efficient ways of countering them – not seeking some mythical and counterproductive “balance” with closed source and its deleterious consequences.

    • System Error: fixing the flaws in Government IT

      Agreeing standards is hard, as is implementing them correctly. Standards for the web have taken >10 years to develop and mature, and in many respects are still not very well embedded: Microsoft have really only just got there with IE9, and that remains to be seen. And this is in an industry where the incentives to make everything work are huge. I’m really not at all sure that the incentives to use open standards for the NHS spine and people’s tax records are even nearly as strong, where suppliers may be reluctant to facilitate the involvement of others.

    • FR: Candidats.fr initiative to raise election candidates’ awareness of free software

      In the light of the cantonal elections of 20 and 27 March 2011 in France, April, a non-profit organisation promoting and advocating free software, relaunched ‘Candidats.fr’, an initiative whose aim is to raise the future local councillors’ awareness of this software.

    • Can we use collaboration to solve government’s big problems?

      Aneesh Chopra, the White House’s chief technology officer, was at HIMMS last week talking about government as a platform for innovation. He referenced the open and transparent process that led to the Direct Project, which saw dozens of vendors, some of them competitors, working together with the ONC to establish a secure way to send health information as a possible template for bringing together stakeholders to create innovation.

    • Government open source plan hindered by lack of security clearance

      Open source software is effectively banned from government IT because products cannot get official clearance from GCHQ security experts, a meeting of the BCS was told this week.

      Tariq Rashid, lead architect for the Home Office, raised the issue with the BSC Open Source Specialist Group on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the reasons why government doesn’t make more use of open source software.

    • ES: Cenatic nominates free and open source community for award

      The entire community of free and open source software developers is nominated by Cenatic, Spain’s national competence centre on open source, for this year’s Prince of Asturias Awards. The centre is calling on members of the community to support its nomination.

      The community enables the sharing of knowledge, provides access to technology on a worldwide level and helps to eliminate financial, social, cultural, language and geographical barriers, Cenatic writes in a statement. “Our candidate deserves recognition.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • International Journal of the Commons
    • The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value

      The capitalist system is under siege. In recent years business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies are widely perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community.

      Even worse, the more business has begun to embrace corporate responsibility, the more it has been blamed for society’s failures. The legitimacy of business has fallen to levels not seen in recent history. This diminished trust in business leads political leaders to set policies that undermine competitiveness and sap economic growth. Business is caught in a vicious circle.

    • Open Data

      • “Ladies Mapping Party” Strengthens Google’s Africa Maps

        If you like the idea of a quilting bee but prefer your bits electronic instead of fabric, you might be interested in a “ladies mapping party.” 70 Kenyan women were, and showed up to a Google-sponsored ladies mapping party at Nairobi’s iHub in February.

        The women used Google Map Maker, and their specific local knowledge, to fill in schools, health centers, market centers, community development projects, restaurants and roads in a country too often neglected by cartographers.

      • Zonability founder shares thoughts on apps, open data, advice to civic developers

        Zonability is a zoning information web application for ‘property owners, renters, sellers, buyers, remodelers, investors, and neighborhood watchdog groups.’ It was an Apps for Californians winner and is now competing in the NYC BigApps 2.0 contest. Founder Leigh Budlong discusses her work, challenges with open data, thoughts on Gov 2.0 and shares lessons-learned advice to other civic developers.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #155

        OA has the momentum of thousands of forward steps every year, in every academic field and every part of the world. But some developments are larger than others, and some are large enough to count as watershed events. I’ve noticed an upswing in watershed events recently and want to point out half a dozen of them. Pointing them out doesn’t amount to a prediction, any more than tremors predict earthquakes. But if you were too preoccupied with local noise to notice these tremors, take a moment to notice them.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Senate Passes Two-Week Funding Bill, Avoids Shutdown

    With a looming March 4 deadline before the government runs out of funding, the Senate voted 91-9 to approve a House measure providing funding for two weeks while making $4 billion in cuts with bipartisan backing.

    The move averts a shutdown, but the gulf between the two parties remains wide as Republicans are calling for $61 billion in cuts that Democratic leaders and the White House claim would costs hundreds of thousands of jobs. Democrats say they support scaling back spending, but only if the reductions don’t damage the fledgling recovery or essential services.

  • How We’re Financing Meaningful Journalism

    But as Craigslist, Google, Groupon, et al. have sucked up the ad dollars that once supported journalism, many downsized-but-not-out journalists have plugged into collaborative editorial and funding networks to launch investigative, explanatory, watchdog, audience-generated, and enterprise stories (here’s one example from my own work)—a movement we have only just started to see and understand.

  • The threat to non-print archives

    Whilst the UK’s attention is drawn to the Hargreaves Review of the IP framework, a lesser-known statutory instrument is in the pipeline which could have a severe effect on legal deposit libraries if it is drafted into law.

    The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consulted publishers and libraries on the legal requirement for publishers to provide non-print (electronic journal articles, e-books, tables, diagrams but not sound recordings or films) published items alongside print items to legal deposit libraries.

    The consultation closed on the 11th January 2011, and a statutory instrument (SI) has been prepared with a view to being introduced into law. However, this SI is not satisfactory and has some incredibly restrictive clauses in it which would allow publishers to embargo access to the material within the libraries.

  • Can the Tories skate back onside in Quebec City?

    The Harper government’s refusal to fund arenas or other facilities for professional sports teams has dropped like a bombshell in Quebec City, where Mayor Régis Labeaume called it “suicidal” to stop now.

  • Who’s really innovative?

    Fact is, inventing an innovative business model is often mostly a matter of serendipity. Despite that, a fortuitously fortunate founder often ends up being venerated as a perpetually prescient prophet. As a result, the company becomes over-dependent on the vision of one or two key individuals and never develops a broad-based capacity for ongoing business model innovation. When the founder’s vision fades, the pace of innovation slows and the company tumbles down the innovation league table.

    In 2006, Starbucks, Southwest, IKEA, and eBay all ranked among Business Week’s top 25. Yet four years later, none of these companies were that highly ranked. As bambinos, they were industry revolutionaries, but as they aged, they fell out of the innovation vanguard (though all remain well-run companies).

  • 2011 Report on Link Rot

    How reliable are those URLs in your OPAC? The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive which harvests and preserves relevant digital information from the web, has been producing reports on “link rot” for several years. They define link rot as “a URL that no longer provides direct access to files matching the content originally harvested from the URL and currently preserved in the Chesapeake Project’s digital archive.”

  • Wisconsin Republicans call for arrest of missing Democrats

    The Wisconsin Senate passed a resolution today that calls for the arrest of the 14 Democratic senators who left the state two weeks ago, if those senators do not return by 4:00 pm today.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • Teenagers jailed for running £16m internet crime forum

      Three teenagers who founded and operated one of the world’s largest English-language internet crime forums, described in court as “Crimebook”, have been sentenced to up to five years in custody.

    • The wartime economy

      A recent report claims that cybercrime is costing the UK economy £27 billion annually. But Wendy Grossman argues that the report may be over-stating the case

    • Malware decreases, Trojans still dominate

      According to data gathered by Panda Security, only 39 percent of computers scanned in February were infected with malware, compared to 50 percent last month.

      Trojans were found to be the most prolific malware threat, responsible for 61 percent of all cases, followed by traditional viruses and worms which caused 11.59 percent and 9 percent of cases worldwide, respectively. These figures have hardly changed with respect to the January data.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Operation Set-the-Record-Straight

      This should not come as a surprise. Authority figures rarely want to cede power to others. Nevertheless business leaders, government officials, and IGOs need to realize that there is no turning back. The technology is here to stay. The only question remaining is: where do we go from here? The consensus from these entities seems to be to target Wikileaks in order to cut the head off the proverbial snake. However, those who propose this measure fail to comprehend the size and scope of this lofty idea.

      The cyber security giant H.B. Gary realized this when it started testing the waters in defense of Bank of America. In anticipation of a presumably embarrassing document dump by Wikileaks, Bank of America retained H.B. Gary Federal—by recommendation of the U.S. Department of Justice—as a security consultant. Everything seemed okay and out of the public eye until the CEO of H.B. Gary, Aaron Barr, began antagonizing the internet activist group known as Anonymous, which operates in tandem with Wikileaks’ transparency efforts worldwide as a guard dog. In both private correspondences and public statements, Barr boasted of having information that would cripple the infrastructure of the group and render them ineffective.

    • Capital charges filed against Bradley Manning

      Things just got even worse for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for WikiLeaks’ cache of U.S. military and State Department documents. The Army announced today that it has filed 22 new charges against Manning, in addition to the 12 counts he was initially charged with after his arrest in May.

    • Rally for Wikileaks in Brisbane 01
    • Why WikiLeaks Is Raising Money Using MasterCard and PayPal Again

      Remember when PayPal, Mastercard and Visa stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks because it leaked secret State Department cables? At the time Julian Assange blasted the firms as “instruments of U.S. foreign policy” because the move cut off one of the organization’s major sources of fundraising. But over the past few weeks, the logos of PayPal, MasterCard and Visa have quietly returned to WikiLeaks and the site is back in the business of asking supporters to send money its way.

      So, did the firms that cut WikiLeaks off last year have an about-face? At the time, MasterCard pulled the plug in a huff, claiming its rules “prohibit” customers from taking part in “any action that is illegal.” PayPal responded in kind, saying its policy is to ban an organization from using its services if it “encourages, promotes, facilitates or instructs others to engage in illegal activity.”

    • PFC Manning Stripped Naked Again

      PFC Manning was forced to strip naked in his cell again last night. As with the previous evening, Quantico Brig guards required him to surrender all of his clothing. PFC Manning then walked back to his bed, and spent the next seven hours in humiliation.

      The decision to require him to be stripped of all clothing was made by the Brig commander, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Denise Barnes. According to First Lieutenant Brian Villard, a Marine spokesman, the decision was “not punitive” and done in accordance with Brig rules. There can be no conceivable justification for requiring a soldier to surrender all his clothing, remain naked in his cell for seven hours, and then stand at attention the subsequent morning. This treatment is even more degrading considering that PFC Manning is being monitored — both by direct observation and by video — at all times. The defense was informed by Brig officials that the decision to strip PFC Manning of all his clothing was made without consulting any of the Brig’s mental health providers.

    • WikiLeaks: Cable Revives Horror of Colombia’s “False Positives” Carnage


      When Major General Mario Montoya Uribe was appointed commander of the Colombian army in March of 2006, the US embassy in Bogota was largely unaware of his background and bona fides. The American ambassador to Colombia at the time, William Wood, reported in a cable WikiLeaked on Friday, that relatively little was known about Montoya aside from his many decorations as a career military man, his close personal relationship with then-president Alvaro Uribe, and persistent but as yet unsubstantiated rumors that the commander was corrupt and tied to conservative paramilitary forces throughout the country.

    • Labor’s destructive secrecy

      The Age today published new Wikileak revelations about the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and its policy vis-a-vis China…

    • Julian Assange lodges extradition appeal

      Lawyers representing the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, have lodged papers to appeal against his extradition from Britain to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

    • US cable throws more mud at Huawei

      A US diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks has further hampered the efforts of network equipment vendor Huawei as it aims to win more global business.

      Huawei and fellow Chinese-held networking vendor ZTE have already been banned from contracts in India over national security fears.

      In a cable released on WikiLeaks, Huawei and rival Chinese telco supplier ZTE are credited with providing “good and cheap” equipment that often wins government procurement tenders.

    • WikiLeaks: Feudal Social Relations in the Brazilian Countryside

      This past fall, I had the opportunity to observe the first round of Brazil’s presidential election. In a logistical feat, the government managed to draw correspondents from all over the world for the occasion while taking care of all travel amenities. Politically and economically, Brazil has been on a roll over the past ten years or so, and the country has spared no expense when it comes to showing off its many accomplishments. Yet peer beneath the surface, and the South American powerhouse is still pre-modern in many ways. That, at least, was the impression I got from reading recently disclosed U.S. diplomatic cables from the whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks.


      According to WikiLeaks documents, the Brazilian military held socially retrograde views of indigenous people in the countryside. As recently as 2009, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Lisa Kubiske noted that officers held the general opinion “that the Indians don’t produce anything but the farmers do, so the farmers should be the ones using the land.” In a sign of the times, Augusto Heleno, a four-star army general, received rousing applause after speaking out against indigenous demarcation at Rio de Janeiro’s Military Club. Following his broadside, Heleno ominously declared “the Army High Command is an organization that serves the Brazilian state, not the government.”

    • In the Age of WikiLeaks, the End of Secrecy?

      I am a big believer in technology, and I’m a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas. It encourages creativity.

      Obama added, “The truth is that because in the United States information is free…I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me. I actually think that that makes our democracy stronger, and it makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don’t want to hear.”

      Or take Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. No American official has been more eloquent in expressing support for the power of the Internet than Clinton, who gave a highly visible speech on “Internet freedom” on January 21, 2010, in Washington, where she waxed poetic about how “the spread of information networks is forming a new nervous system for our planet”…

    • Former President George W. Bush Prejudices the Legal Process Against Julian Assange

      When a former president of the United States weighs in on an ongoing criminal investigation, there is considerable risk that his comments could make it impossible for justice to be fair and objective.

      Recently, former President George W. Bush said that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, “has willfully and repeatedly done great harm to the interests of the United States.” He made this statement, through a spokesman, in explaining why he was canceling a speech he had agreed to deliver to the Young Presidents Organization. He said he “had no desire to share a forum with” Assange, even though Assange was to speak by videoconference and they would not literally be sharing a platform or forum.

    • Much ado about leaky cables is hilarious

      There is a comical and yet revelatory side to spillage of US secret diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks. Comical in that they expose the wishful thinking of some our politicians, some of which border on the absurd. The cables are also revelatory as they unmask secret desires of those who seek to rule us — especially on what they think of people they kneel before and pretend to be friends with 24/7.

      You see from the WikiLeaks cables from Nairobi’s US embassy that, Kenyan politicians trust and worship foreigners more than their fellow countrymen. It may be a colonial hangover, what Ngugi Wa Thiong’o calls neocolonialism, that our leaders open up to foreigners and can literally bad-mouth their mother if that assures them they have a white man’s ear.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans attack Obama’s environmental protection from all sides

      It started on a sultry day in Houston when hundreds of protesters, mostly oil company employees, were bussed to a concert hall in their lunch hour to rally against a historic first step by Congress to reduce the pollution that causes climate change.

      The event marked the start of a backlash by wealthy industry owners and conservative activists against Barack Obama’s green agenda. Now it has snowballed into what green campaigners say is the greatest assault on environmental protection that America has ever seen.

    • What Is a Sacred Mountain Worth?

      A Vancouver-based company, First Majestic Silver Corp, has ignited fierce controversy over plans to mine silver from a mountain considered by an indigenous nation to be the birthplace of the sun.

      The Huichol called the Canadian mining project an “unlawful imposition” and part of a “a deepening war of extermination against our native peoples” in an October 2010 manifesto entitled Declaration in Defense of Wirikuta.

    • More big snowstorms on the way as world’s climate warms

      In each of the past two winters, the northeastern US has been hammered by three Category 3 or above snowstorms. This has happened only once before in the last 50 years, during the winter of 1960-1961.

      “Heavy snowstorms are not inconsistent with a warming planet,” says Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the Weather Underground website.

      “In fact, as the Earth gets warmer and more moisture gets absorbed into the atmosphere, we are steadily loading the dice in favor of more extreme storms in all seasons, capable of causing greater impacts on society.”

    • Stop oil sands from blowing into Europe!

      The European Union (EU) is about to make a decision that could define if we move towards a better, cleaner world or a short-sighted, dirty energy future.

    • UK facing 1970s-style oil shock which could cost economy £45bn – Huhne

      Britain is facing a 1970s-style oil price shock that could cost the UK economy £45bn over two years, the climate and energy secretary, Chris Huhne, is expected to warn in his first intervention on the issue since the start of Middle East political crisis.

      In Thursday’s keynote speech on the impact of the oil crisis, Huhne argued that an $100 (£61) a barrel price for oil transforms the economics of climate change in Britain.

  • Finance

    • The Guy Who Calls You “Chief” And 24 Other People To Avoid On Wall Street

      There are lots of critical skills you need to succeed on Wall Street. It helps to understand market forces. A facility with numbers is useful.

      Having a feel for group dynamics is necessary to succeed on trading desks and deal teams. Superb time management, verbal acuity, and judgment are all important.

      But, mostly, what you need to do is avoid the things that will destroy your career. And most of the things that will destroy your career go under the general heading of “people.”

    • The World’s Ominous Reckoning

      Discussions about possible solutions to the debt crisis tend to degenerate into ideological bickering because ideologies provides an inadequate framework in which to understand the nature of the problem and discover real effective solutions. Fiscal conservatives want to cut social spending so as to avoid raising taxes on the rich and privileged class. Political liberals have largely caved in to the same interests because they think that supporting the privileged class’s agenda is their only hope of gaining power. They will pay lip service to a social agenda and throw a few crumbs to the masses in an attempt to get elected, but they will ultimately advance the same elitist agenda, as have Presidents Clinton and Obama. Progressives argue that budgets can be balanced by cutting the military budget and raising taxes on the rich, but they remain impotent because political power has been so thoroughly centralized that popular progressive agendas have not a prayer of being implemented. Even if they were, they would simply make matters worse because under the present money and banking regime, a balanced government budget is not possible. How can the debate move beyond ideologies, and common ground be found?

      Samuelson, like almost all conventionally trained economists, blames the woes of Ireland, and every other country, on failures in policy. He says, “Most European economies suffer from the ill effects of some combination of easy money, unsustainable social spending and big budget deficits,” but he fails to address the deeper questions of why? Why has money been easy? Why is social spending unsustainable? Why have budget deficits been too big?

  • Censorship

    • China warns foreign media not to cover protests

      Chinese police are further intensifying pressure on foreign reporters, warning them to stay away from spots designated for Middle East-inspired protests and threatening them with expulsion or a revoking of their credentials.

      The warnings show how unnerved the authorities are by the online calls for protests every Sunday. The appeals, which started two weeks ago, have attracted few outright demonstrators but many onlookers, loads of journalists and swarms of police.

  • Privacy

    • ICO evidence raises Freedoms Bill data worries

      The Information Commissioner (ICO) has just published a critique of the Home Office’s Freedoms Bill, which is being sold to the public as reining in New Labour’s surveillance state.

      Although there is general applause for the fact that the Government has recognised that there has been excessive intrusion into privacy, the ICO’s analysis points to a number of serious deficiencies.

  • Civil Rights

    • Muslim student sues FBI over GPS tracking device placed on his car without a warrant

      The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) this week filed a civil rights lawsuit against the FBI on behalf of Yasir Afifi, a Muslim-American student of Egyptian descent who lives in Santa Clara, California.

    • Richard Peppiatt’s letter to Daily Star proprietor Richard Desmond

      You probably don’t know me, but I know you. For the last two years I’ve been a reporter at the Daily Star, and for two years I’ve felt the weight of your ownership rest heavy on the shoulders of everyone, from the editor to the bloke who empties the bins.

      Wait! I know you’re probably reaching for your phone to have me marched out of the building. But please, save on your bill. I quit.

      The decision came inside my local newsstand, whilst picking up the morning papers. As I chatted with Mohammed, the Muslim owner, his blinking eyes settled on my pile of print, and then, slowly, rose to meet my face.

    • 6 Things Social Networking Sites Need to Stop Doing

      That’s what makes increasingly annoying and/or invasive social networking practices so much harder to swallow. We want all of the below to stop and, barring that, at least not get any worse. But if they don’t, what are we going to do? Ditch our computers and go live in the woods?

    • Native Women Seek Justice at U.N.

      The United States is facing international scrutiny for its apparent failure to prosecute criminals who enter indigenous territories to prey on Native women and girls.

      Between 60 and 80 percent of violent victimisation of Native American women is perpetrated by non-Natives, says a U.N. expert on legal matters related to women’s rights violations worldwide.

      Rashida Manjoo, the U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women, notes that in the U.S., indigenous women are much more vulnerable to abuses than any other ethnic group in the country.

    • Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa

      On 26 October 2005, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa received its 15th ratification, meaning the Protocol entered into force on 25 November 2005.

    • Cabinet Office gathers international examples of Big Society

      The Office for Civil Society has published a report citing international examples of Big Society initiatives.

      The aim of the report is to look at how other countries run their public services or organise local community projects that UK citizens or organisations can take inspiration from.

      It is not intended to be comprehensive review of what exists but to see how the Big Society is in action elsewhere and provide ideas for adaptation here.

    • Beijing to track citizens with their cell phones

      As if the Great Firewall is not enough, the Chinese government is now looking into monitoring the movement of 17 million cellphone users in Beijing, China by tracking the signal of their mobile devices.

      Purportedly to improve Beijing’s public travel and reduce traffic congestion, the new initiative, literally translated as “Platform for Citizen Movement Information” proposes to track each individual citizen’s movement in real time via cell phone signals, as reported on the Beijing Municipal People’s Government website.

  • DRM

    • Scorned librarians and the eBook piracy underground

      Early last year was the first time I found out one of my books was on a torrent site. It knew it was just a matter of time, and I was kind of relieved. Pleased, even. Like many authors, I have Google Alerts on certain things, and some of those things are my books. Really, I expected this.

      E-books and the ability to share or not to share them: that is the question every publisher and distributor is agonizing over. But no one seems to be answering it with anything short of clutching their petticoats and jumping up on the nearest chair.

      Maybe I shouldn’t be so cavalier as an author to regard people stealing my work like this; after all, I hope to exist off of royalties.

    • The rise of the 99-cent Kindle e-book
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ‘Self-incriminators’ may be forced to tell the court what they know

      People accused of misusing confidential commercial or technical information have lost the right to avoid self-incrimination in court cases, following a High Court ruling.

      The ruling means that a law previously thought to apply only to intellectual property cases now applies to any case in which confidential commercial or technical information is involved, according to one expert.

    • Genetics Company Myriad May Shift From Patents To Proprietary Data

      Myriad Genetics, a United States-based biotechnology company with exclusive patent rights over a key breast cancer diagnostic test in the US, may shift its patent strategy from its inventions to guarding its data in the face of drawn out litigation and upcoming competition, an industry journal has reported.

      The Genomics Law Report has published an analysis by a group of US academics and attorneys on how the company is likely to react to future competition.

    • Copyrights

      • Top 40 Countries for Copyright Piracy & Cyberlockers

        The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is preparing for its annual “Special 301” report, which describes the adequacy and effectiveness of US trading partners’ protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). It is due to be presented to Congress in the next month or so.

      • Minecraft Creator Says ‘No Such Thing As A Lost Sale’
      • Piracy is Theft? Ridiculous. Lost Sales? They Don’t Exist, Says Minecraft Creator

        The “piracy is stealing” argument raises its head in the media every week and is on the lips of anti-piracy outfits and copyright holders every day. To them, every unauthorized copy is a lost sale and another small dent in the company spreadsheet which, when added to a million others, will destroy it bit by bit. To the maker of Minecraft, however, its an opportunity. Piracy is theft? You must be kidding. Lost sales? They don’t exist.

      • Portuguese Government Creates Honeypot To Combat Piracy

        In Portugal, a collaboration between a Ministry of Culture affiliated organization and the local music industry has resulted in a protocol that calls for such a honeypot, in order to shame, scare and threaten those who download music without authorization.

      • Leaving A Major Record Label… And Seeing How The Music Business Is Thriving

        A few years ago, after seeing Ethan Kaplan speak, I had suggested that Warner Music promote him. At the time, Ethan was VP of technology for Warner Bros. Music, one of Warner Music’s sub-labels. I’d followed Ethan’s writings for a while, but hearing him speak convinced me that he was definitely one of the folks inside a major record label who really understood where things were headed. There definitely are a few such folks mixed in here and there, but they’re not always easy to find, and they usually don’t get the attention they deserve within those labels. Warner Music didn’t promote him until sometime last year, when they moved him up to the parent company, Warner Music Group, but the company’s top management still never seemed to recognize quite what they had in Ethan in terms of his ability to recognize where the market was heading and how a major label could (and should) respond to those challenges. So it was disappointing, but of little surprise when he left Warner Music a month ago. I have little doubt he’s now in high demand from a variety of forward-looking companies doing technology stuff in the music space, and I imagine he’ll pop up somewhere interesting soon.

      • ACTA

        • Mexico: ACTA Public Hearings Kick Off

          The controversial Anti-Counterfeit Commercial Agreement –widely known as ACTA– is currently under discussion in the Mexican Senate in response to opposition from civil society to the way the treaty’s negotiation process is being conducted.

Clip of the Day

HTC Flyer Hands-on and Palm Rejection Test

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 4/3/2011: Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3, Firefox 4 Days Away

Posted in News Roundup at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Sydney Linux group may merge with Linux Australia

    The Sydney Linux User Group may be wound up by the end of the month and function instead as a sub-committee of Linux Australia if a motion drafted by its president, James Polley, is passed at the AGM on March 25.

  • Weighting for Good Web Stats

    Now, China has a high usage of GNU/Linux compared to Canada or the USA but, if the client sites of Net Applications are more likely to be visited by businesses or organizations using XP than GNU/Linux, overweighting them could certainly exaggerate the tenacity of that other OS share.

  • Desktop

    • Dell Inspiron M101z review

      Dell’s latest netbook cum sub-notebook boasts the latest AMD technology and dual boots with Ubuntu. We’re still in shock, but have pulled ourselves together long enough to bring you a full review…

    • Linux Leaders: Debian and Ubuntu Derivative Distros

      Most of the netbook-centered choices are based upon Ubuntu, and emphasize social media and cloud computing. They include Aurora (formerly Eeebuntu), Easy Peasy, and Jolicloud.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • What is Your Favorite Desktop?

      KDE and GNOME were always the two top favorites. In 2005 KDE got 53% of the votes while GNOME received 27%. In 2008 KDE got 46% and GNOME 39%. Last month KDE earned 41% of the vote in contrast to GNOME which got 37%. We can conclude that for a while GNOME was catching up with KDE as it gained in popularity while KDE declined. This could probably be attributed to the rise of Ubuntu and the release of KDE 4. But the anomaly of GNOME’s recent slight recline could reflect on diminishing use of Ubuntu in response to their move to Unity or perhaps users are moving to other desktops again in response to the move to Unity. We can only speculate. However, it is interesting to note that the new addition, Unity, to the poll this year netted a 2% take. While that would make up the decrease in GNOME this year, KDE still decreased as well by 5%.

      The interesting numbers for KDE and GNOME make the third, fourth, and fifth placements even more relevant. Xfce came in third all three years of polling. In 2005 it got 8% of the vote, 6% in 2008, and 6% in 2011. So while it lost 2% between 2005 and 2008, it remained the same this year as it did in 2008. Could that 2% have moved to GNOME?

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Back to Basics with KDE 4

        After our review of KDE 4.6, we received a great deal of positive comments, but not all of them were sparkling assessments of KDE’s functionality. For that reason, I have decided to get back to the basics this week with a little how-to guide for KDE 3 users who may be reluctant to switch to KDE 4, Gnome or other desktop users who avoid KDE because of certain usability problems, and anyone who might be new to the software and its unique desktop interface.


        KDE also has a “Multiple Monitors” configuration that gives you extra settings for virtual desktops, screen maximization, and more.

      • KDE Commit Digest for 13 February 2011
      • Qt and the Future of KDE

        Qt remains the strong, cross-platform foundation of everything we do. Combined with KDE technologies, we believe Qt is the compelling framework for cross-platform software development. There has never been a better time to shape the future of computing. Join us and make that future a future that is free.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3 Beta: Ever So Slightly More Than a Pretty Face

        GNOME 3 still lacks its own applications dock. And the GNOME panel that lets you pin icons to it for quick launch is gone. So I use Avant Window Navigator for my comfort zone. I discovered early on that AWN is still going to be a vital part of my desktop navigation after the official upgrade to GNOME 3. See my review of AWN here.

        Even worse, the change to GNOME 3 disables Compiz, so all of the cool special effects — mostly desktop eye candy but still some nifty features — are left behind permanently, according to GNOME3.org.

        The new GNOME shell uses the Mutter window manager to provide its own style of eye-popping animation effects. Compiz is a compositing manager that can also be a window manager. It improves user interaction by adding fancy effects to the desktop windows. In layman’s terms, Mutter and Compiz are like oil and water. They do not mix.

      • Track Me! Just Track Me, GNOME Project!

        The upcoming GNOME 3 release will be making some controversial changes, such as removing the Window List from the panel making for a more “task-based environment” as they say, they’re also removing the Minimize and Maximize window control buttons and Desktop icons (at least at the moment that’s what it seems like.)

        These design changes along with some inflexible and controversial Power Management settings, more and more people are expressing disinterest in GNOME 3.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Kororaa GNU/Linux is back

        GNU/Linux distributions are like ships in the night – they come and go and sometimes disappear from sight altogether. Some last just a few months, while others, despite being the brainchild of a single individual, stay on for years and years.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • [p]review: Fedora 15 + GNOME 3.0, a skippable release

          So now that the Alpha release for Fedora 15 has been declared gold, all the features are in, only polish and bug fixing are to be applied until final, is the time for previews are reviews, it was also the time for me to look at the new default desktop and understand what is coming. The executive summary of my review is: from a desktop point of view, this is a release to skip, and I am not talking about the Alpha, but about F15 altogether.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian announces first South American Security Mirror

        The Debian project is proud to announce the availability of the first official security.debian.org mirror in South America. security.debian.org carries all the security updates of the stable and oldstable releases.

      • Spotlight on Linux: Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 “Squeeze”

        Rock solid stability, timely updates, and easy package management are top reasons Debian is used on a large number of desktops and laptops.

      • People behind Debian: Christian Perrier, translation coordinator

        Christian is a figure of Debian, not only because of the tremendous coordination work that he does within the translation project, but also because he’s very involved at the social level. He’s probably in the top 5 of the persons who attended most often the Debian conference.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.10 Release Schedule

          The Ubuntu team is already planning for the release of Ubuntu 11.10, it will be released on the 6th of October 2011.

          Here is a list of dates when the Alpha and Beta versions will be released.

        • Ubuntu, the cloud OS

          We made a small flurry of announcements last week, all of which were related to cloud computing. I think it is worthwhile to put some context around Ubuntu and the cloud and explain a little more about where we are with this critical strategic strand for our beloved OS.

          First of all, the announcements. We announced the release of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud on Dell servers. This is a hugely significant advance in the realm of internal cloud provision. It’s essentially formalising a lot of the bespoke work that Dell has done in huge data centres (based on a variety of OSes) and making similar technology available for smaller deployments. We attended the Dell sales summit in Las Vegas and we were very encouraged to meet with many of the Dell salespeople whose job it will be to deliver this to their customers. This is a big company, backing a leading technology and encouraging businesses to start their investigations of cloud computing in a very real way.

        • Open Letter to Ubuntu – fix the patching schedule

          We love the operating system. We use it almost exclusively at Yooter’s offices, but we do have one serious complaint.

          Over the past 6 months we have logged nearly daily updates to the linux based operating system. To the point where nearly every single day we have a new patch. We want to propose a change to the way Ubuntu patches the system.

        • Stepping down considerately

          I have started as an Ubuntu user in 2005, I have found it a promising project mostly because it was aimed at “humans” users, while most similar projects had still a greater focus on developers or development oriented aspects.
          Getting involved was easy, the developers could be found on IRC some of them more friendly than others but always there, a point of connection with the community.
          As soon I had some know-how I have started participating in the forums, each question was an opportunity for teaching, learning or improving, it was a great experience.

        • Interview: Ted Gould on Ubuntu Unity

          Linux Magazine’s Senior Software Editor Brockmeier, talks with Ted Gould of Canonical about the upcoming release of Ubuntu Unity. In this interview Ted touches on Unity’s UI design decisions, hardware drivers and bundled software.

        • Xnoise is a Fast, Lightwieght Music Player for Ubuntu

          Xnoise is a fast, lightweight and minimal music player for Ubuntu based on a unique track list queuing feature where users can drag and drop tracks or group of tracks from multiple albums/artists on a playlist.

          The layout is quite simple with a left sidebar that shows song artists and other metadata in a hierarchical structure and a right column that shows your playlist. Xnoise also comes with lots of plugins that bring Lastfm integration, native notifications support, album covers and the new Ubuntu sound menu integration.

        • Ratings&reviews “Was this review helpful?”
        • Thanks Ubuntu

          Nothing is free (as in beer). Somebody throughout the years has been sponsoring this: parents, universities, companies, individuals, etc. Who is paying bills for all the bandwidth, disk space, buildbots, that you have ever used? Surely it wasn’t yourself all the time.


          This “flame war” was actually very boring…

        • Introducing Overlay Scrollbars in Unity
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 Is Out [Screenshots And Video]
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 Released with Lots of New Features
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 Released – Overview and Screenshots

          Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’ Alpha 3 has been released today that brings many fixes, improvements and new features over the last Alpha 2. For Ubuntu 11.04, a feature freeze is already in place and Alpha 3 is first release after that.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 released
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Bodhi Linux 0.1.6 RC2 – First Look and Initial Impressions

            My immediate reaction? I love the theme/profile selection. I love the tablet/netbook usability. I love how minimal/lightweight it is. Just a few things keep it from being 100% for me… click “Read More” below to watch the video and see why…

            If you’re interested in trying it out, head over to bodhilinux.com.

          • Kanotix 2011-03 Is Based on Debian 6 Squeeze

            Kanotix 2011-03 Hellfire has been released. The latest release of the KDE-based distro uses the recently launched Debian 6 Squeeze and adds a number of packages and fixes along with a modern kernel.

            Kanotix 2011-03 Hellfire uses the rather old, but stable, KDE SC 4.4.5, with some customizations, and introduces Libre Office 3.3.1 which replaces OpenOffice.org.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Saab demos in-car Android infotainment system with open API

      Saab Automobile unveiled an Android-based in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) concept supported by an open API and app store. The “Saab IQon” system is equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen, provides streaming multimedia, navigation, and on-board storage, and offers API access to more than 500 sensor signals that can be remotely relayed back to Saab dealerships.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Packt Publishing Supports Open Source by $300,000 (So far)

    You’ve probably noticed that I’ve reviewed a couple of books for Packt before; they asked me and I was happy to (I got a free book for my time and learned some new stuff). Last year I felt rather honoured when asked to be a judge on their popular Open Source Awards – In the Open Source E-Commerce Applications category.

  • Events

    • DrupalCon Chicago is Only Days Away–Focused on Design, Usability

      Here at OStatic, we’ve had good success running our site on the open source content management system (CMS) Drupal, and Drupal has been steadily spreading out, becoming popular at countless sites, and arriving as the publishing platform that many online newspapers and media outlets now favor. From March 7th to 11th, DrupalCon Chicago–a huge conference dedicated to the CMS–will be held, and there will be a special focus on design and user experience. Here are some of the details on the conference, and some useful Drupal resources and introductory materials that we’ve collected.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Latest Releases of Karmasphere Products Further Hadoop Usability and Performance in the Enterprise
    • DMTF highlights demand for cloud license management relief

      Still, concerns and cost pains associated with license management are part of a theme that has been resonating among both customers and providers, and I believe it is among the primary drivers of open source in cloud computing. Open source is not only associated with cost savings, it is associated with greater ease and simplicity in licensing. After all, if you’re concerned about figuring out and paying for the cloud computing resources you use instead of taking advantage of those resources, you can always just use the free, unpaid software if it is open source. While there may well be similar licensing headaches awaiting customers of commercial open source software, the fact of the matter is open source does provide more flexibility and open source is no-doubt associated positively with cost savings, license management savings and general user empowerment.

      We also discussed the importance of license management and related open source advantages when we highlighted the year 2011 for Linux. In addition, the work of the DMTF and the issue of license management also plays into our recent take on the pillars of openness in today’s enterprise IT landscape.

  • Databases

    • 5 of the Best Relational Database Management System for Linux

      A Database Management System (DBMS) is described as a set of computer programs that manages the creation, maintenance, and administration of a database. It is a system software package that supports the use of unified collection of data records and files known as databases. A DBMS could utilize any of a variety of database models, such as the network model or relational model.

      A relational database management system (RDBMS) is a DBMS in which data is stored in the form of tables, and the relationship among the data is stored in the form of tables as well. Nowadays, majority of popular commercial and open-source databases are based on the relational database model.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Survey: Oracle bad for Java, MySQL (infographic)

      On March 3, database vendor EnterpriseDB is set to release the results of its survey conducted at the JavaOne conference last September in San Francisco.

      More than 600 IT professionals completed the survey, the results of which provide a bit of insight into community sentiment regarding Oracle’s control of open-source projects Java and MySQL.

    • Surprised? Survey Suggests Oracle Bad for Open Source

      Open source database vendor EnterpriseDB is taking the fight to database market leader Oracle via a survey showing that respondents generally don’t trust Oracle on prices, think Oracle is bad for Java and don’t really like Larry Ellison. Although EnterpriseDB acknowledges the survey — which was answered by more than 600 JavaOne conference attendees — is unscientific, the results do seem to mirror the thoughts on Oracle that pop up again and again in the IT press. And the infographic is fun.

    • LibreOffice Suite Features Unique to Open Source Community

      Lest anyone complain that the free-software world doesn’t offer enough choices, there are now two major open source office suites vying for the hearts and minds of choosy end users. But since both of these products — OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice — derive from the same codebase, what actually sets them apart? Here we take a look at a few features unique to LibreOffice.

    • Using Oracle Berkeley DB as a NoSQL Data Store
  • Business

    • Openbravo Introduces Agile ERP with Openbravo 3

      Openbravo, the leading web-based Open Source ERP provider, today released the next-generation of its flagship open source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Openbravo 3 introduces the concept of ‘Agile ERP’ to a software category known historically for bloat and cost overruns. Openbravo’s Agile ERP approach is a significant departure from mainstream ERP, which forces businesses to over-pay for massive, yet inflexible systems. Unlike today’s conventional ERP, organizations can deploy Openbravo in as little two weeks, then add modular functionality as the needs of their business evolve.

    • Semi-Open Source

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 8.2 review

      PC-BSD is a desktop distribution based on FreeBSD. The latest stable release, PC-BSD 8.2, was made available for public download last month. This article presents a review of this latest release.

  • Project Releases

    • Spring GemFire 1.0.0 Released!

      I am pleased to announce that the first GA release of the Spring GemFire 1.0 project is now available for both Java and .NET! The Spring GemFire project aims to make it easier to build Spring-powered highly scalable applications using GemFire as distributed data management platform.

  • Government

    • German Open Source Experiment: Things Not Going To Plan

      Unfortunately, all of the reports that I have been able to find and translate lacked the precise details or hard figures that proved that Linux had failed. The forums and discussion threads on various sites are bubbling with comments hinting that Microsoft may have stepped in with huge financial incentives to switch. However, there have been no reports of a backlash from the workers themselves now that they are being to being moved back to Windows and other proprietary software, and we need to ask some tough questions about why.

    • FR: Candidats.fr initiative to raise election candidates’ awareness of free software

      In the light of the cantonal elections of 20 and 27 March 2011 in France, April, a non-profit organisation promoting and advocating free software, relaunched ‘Candidats.fr’, an initiative whose aim is to raise the future local councillors’ awareness of this software.

      The association wishes to advise local councillors on related issues, in particular open standards and the use of open free software in government and communities. For this purpose, April invites everyone to participate in the campaign by contacting candidates and encouraging them to sign the Free Software Pact.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Introducing PhiloGL: A WebGL Framework from Sencha Labs

      For some time now I’ve been working on a Sencha Labs project to build a WebGL framework and today I’m very proud to release it. It’s called PhiloGL and it’s intended for advanced data visualization, creative coding and game development.


  • Former Tory MPs speak out against Conservative ‘in-and-out’ scheme

    The Conservative party wanted them in, but they wanted out.

    Two former Tory MPs say they refused to join the party’s “in-and-out” election financing scheme, adding to the number of Conservatives who say they had misgivings about the system.

    Inky Mark, who resigned his Manitoba seat last year, said his staff was contacted by party officials during the 2006 election campaign. He said the officials asked of they could deposit several thousand dollars in his campaign account and withdraw it later to buy advertising.

  • Tories re-brand government in Stephen Harper’s name

    And lest anyone forgets, a directive went out to public servants late last year that “Government of Canada” in federal communications should be replaced by the words “Harper Government.”

  • Science

    • Bruce Winstein, physicist, 1943-2011
    • Fermilab releases a new version of Scientific Linux

      For more than 12 years, Fermilab has supplied thousands of individuals in the scientific community with the operating system that forms the foundation for their exploration of the universe’s secrets. The Linux operating system produced at Fermilab enabled the laboratory, and other high-energy physics institutions to build large physics data analysis clusters using affordable, commercially available computers.

      The newest version of the Scientific Linux is now available.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Battle rages over Libyan oil port

      The Libyan air force has bombed the oil refinery and port town of Marsa El Brega as battles between forces loyal and against Muammar Gaddafi continued to rage in several towns across the North African country.

      “We just watched an air force jet … fly over Brega and drop at least one bomb and huge plumes of smoke are now coming out,” Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley said on Wednesday.

    • Police services review of G20 moves to next phase

      The Toronto Police Services Board’s investigation of the G20 summit has concluded its research phase and will now move into the interview stage of the process.

      This update was provided Thursday at a police board meeting at police headquarters on College St. The civilian review, headed by retired judge John W. Morden, will scrutinize policing issues surrounding the G20 summit this June, which saw 1,105 people arrested.

    • Tories rebrand Gov’t of Canada as ‘Harper Gov’t’
    • Ivory Coast on brink of civil war as seven women killed at protest march

      Seven women have been massacred during a peaceful protest in Ivory Coast as the country appeared to stand on the brink of all-out civil war.

      More than 200,000 people have fled, and the nation that was once a model of stability in west Africa is now experiencing bloodshed and economic meltdown.

    • Not $1 more

      Despite all the tough talk, neither the President nor the Congress are proposing to cut overall spending on war and weapons. In fact, BOTH parties are still talking about an INCREASE in spending for the Pentagon, which already gets more than 50% of all the money Congress votes on, and that doesn’t even *count* the money for the actual wars.

  • Cablegate

    • Lawyer: Bradley Manning Left Naked In Jail Cell

      A lawyer for Bradley Manning, the Army private charged with passing along secret government files to WikiLeaks, said Manning had been stripped naked in his Quantico, Virginia, jail cell for seven hours Wednesday. Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, said Manning was only given his clothes Thursday morning after being required to stand outside of his cell naked after an inspection. First Lt. Brian Villiard, a Marine spokesman, said a brig duty supervisor had ordered Manning’s clothes taken from him, and said it would be “kind of inappropriate” to explain what exactly happened. Manning is being held as a maximum security detainee and is confined to his cell for 23 hours a day. One of Manning’s friends, David House, said Thursday that he had visited Manning the previous weekend and the soldier’s mental condition is deteriorating as a result of his prison conditions. Manning is also under suicide watch.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Coal safe come ‘hell, high water’

      STATE Treasurer Kim Wells has vowed to protect Victoria’s brown coal competitive advantage ”come hell or high water”, warning he will not put at risk hundreds of thousands of jobs that rely on cheap power.

      In an interview with The Age, Mr Wells also said the government had not yet decided whether Victoria would sign up to the federal government’s carbon tax, but would honour a commitment to cut state greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent over the next decade.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Regulators Reject Proposal That Would Bring Fox-Style News to Canada

      As America’s middle class battles for its survival on the Wisconsin barricades — against various Koch Oil surrogates and the corporate toadies at Fox News — fans of enlightenment, democracy and justice can take comfort from a significant victory north of Wisconsin border. Fox News will not be moving into Canada after all! The reason: Canada regulators announced last week they would reject efforts by Canada’s right wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news.

  • Civil Rights

    • US Supreme Court: 1st Amendment Shields Westboro Baptist Church – The Decision as Text – Updated

      The US Supreme Court has just ruled [PDF] that the First Amendment shields Westboro Baptist Church from tort liability for picketing at military funerals. The case centered on whether the “speech is of public or private concern, as determined by all the circumstances of the case.” The court held that it was public speech, and hence protected. Because it’s a controversial case, and the opinion is a narrow one with a vigorous dissenting opinion by Judge Samuel Alito, I thought it would be useful to do a text version for you so you can understand the nuances.

  • DRM

    • Impoundment Issues and an Agreement on “Narrowed” Subpoenas in SCEA v. Hotz – Updated

      The parties in SCEA v. Hotz have been trying to work out their differences about the impoundment protocol. The parties can’t agree, so they have written a joint letter to the magistrate judge, Judge Joseph Spero, laying out their conflicting positions. If you recall, the presiding judge, Hon. Susan Illston, told the parties to work these things out with the magistrate judge. So this is following up with that directive.

      The parties have reach an agreement on the scope of the third-party subpoenas on Bluehost, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Softlayer and such regarding jurisdictional discovery that Sony feels it needs to counter George Hotz’s Motion to Dismiss. Or more exactly, SCEA says they have reached agreement. The parties still don’t agree on subpoena to Paypal, an issue already before the court.

Clip of the Day

Unboxing the HTC Desire HD/Inspire 4G

Credit: TinyOgg

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