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Links 11/4/2010: Oracle Loses Gosling, Google Funds Ogg

Posted in News Roundup at 1:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A word (or two) about Linux desktop security

    All things considered, I still believe that Linux desktop security is superior to that of Windows in a home environment. Here’s why:

    - The default firewall setup offers a very safe configuration off the bat.

    - The software repository model is safer.

    - Viruses are no concern.

    - Social engineering is definitely a threat, but following a few simple guidelines should keep it safe.

    Some have raised a very valid concern about the lack of reactive security in the Linux Desktop. Unlike Windows users, we have nothing to fix or even detect the situation once security is compromised. While I agree with such concerns, in my opinion all that means is that Linux users need to approach security differently to Windows users. Windows users have grown accostumed to a reactive model. They have a wide variety of tools to detect a security threat and kill it. The key to Linux desktop security is to take a proactive approach: Preventing over healing.

    To me, it boils down to this: Linux desktop users are safe as long as they follow a few best practices, which is more than what Windows users can say today, even with the help of an antivirus. In addition, in the event of security being compromised, the severity of damage is generally much more limited.

  • Dear XM Radio…
  • Kernel Space

    • Autonomously Generating An Ideal Kernel Configuration

      While most Linux users are fine with just using the kernel supplied by their distribution vendor, there are some enthusiasts and professional users who end up tweaking their kernel configuration extensively for their needs, particularly if they are within a corporate environment where the very best performance and reliability is demanded for a particular workload.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 10.04 inspired wallpaper

        Today, we would like to present you a fresh Ubuntu 10.04 inspired wallpaper, brought to you by Opentechblog.com to accompany your morning coffee.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS comes with Impressive Feature Set

        Its the time to gear up for the next version of Ubuntu. Codenamed Lucid Lynx, Ubuntu 10.04 is slated to hit on 29th April 2010. Let’s have a look at the changes & new features to be incorporated in this new Ubuntu LTS(Long Term Support) release.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 gets a new sleek installer

        The recent Beta 2-release of Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) features a new sleek installer that brings a fresh breeze of professionalism into the installation procedure.

      • Ubuntu Is A Poor Standard Bearer For Linux

        So how do we, in the Linux press make people outside of the Linux community aware that Linux does not equate to Ubuntu? That is the real challenge we now face if we want Linux to be more widely accepted.

      • Testing and Feedback in Ubuntu

        I was reading an article about how Ubuntu is a bad standards barer for the “Linux” desktop. I’ll leave aside how paradoxical the brand “Linux” is used to mean desktop when it means nothing of the sort and I assume she means FreeDesktop (FDO).

        But I was struck by the problems that she has had and the comments to the entry. When comparing them to my own support roster for the past few months of sudden grub mortality (8 cases) where grub just looses all ability to boot anything with cryptic errors such as “Invalid symbol ‘u’ found” and ‘Error 15′.

      • Crashes with Ubuntu 10.04 beta 2

        I have been using Ubuntu 10.04 since beta 1 and it has been quite stable until this week.

      • Ubuntu developers make their first MAJOR mistake with 10.04
      • Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 2 Kernel

        Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 2 uses a kernel based on version (2.6.32-16.25). But already now the current stable version is so I would not be surprised if the release would be based on this one (or even a newer one). Check your kernel version with the command uname -r (from your terminal). If you have a new computer with dual core, i5 or i7 processor, then you should consider updating your kernel to a kernel where support for older cpu´s are removed. You can try to use the server version of the kernel instead of the generic one.

      • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat release schedule

        Ubuntu 10.10 will released on October 28, 2010.

        June 03rd, 2010 – Alpha 1 release

        July 1st , 2010 – Alpha 2 release

        August 12th, 2010 – Alpha 3 release

        September 2nd, 2010 – Alpha 4 release

        September 23th , 2010 – Beta release

        October 21st , 2010 – Release Candidate

        October 28th, 2010 – Final release of Ubuntu 10.10

        Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat release schedule

    • Mint

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Mobile Apps: Strike While Iron’s Still Hot

        According to ABI Research, people will download around 6 billion mobile apps in 2010, up from an estimated 2.4 billion downloaded in 2009. The main drivers for the increase: the rise to the rapid adoption of smartphones (which had a 20% sales growth in 2009) and the proliferation of App stores for those platforms. And with two new platforms set to debut later this year (Samsung’s Bada OS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7), the growth will only continue.

      • Android

        • iPhone OS 4.0: The great Android 2.1 imitator

          Last year I wrote an article, which explored the nature of the rivalries between the big three: Google, Apple and Microsoft. In that article, I posited that Google’s entry into smartphones, the development of Chrome, and the firm’s titanic efforts in the cloud and with advertising not only obsoleted Microsoft’s presence in these spaces, but elevated Google to Microsoft’s old role as Apple’s arch nemesis.

        • And The Next Battle Is Apple vs. Google… As Microsoft/Yahoo Fade Off Into The Sunset?

          While plenty of virtual ink has been spilled over the Google/Apple device battles, could they be approaching a bigger online battle as well? It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility — and given its control over the devices it sells, perhaps it could get a pretty good starting position with a search engine. Still, it does seem like a bit of a reach for Steve Jobs and company. At this point, it seems more like some analyst just looking for a more interest “Google vs.” prediction than anything serious at this point.

        • Google’s Android Operating System Makes Profits

          Verizon supported the Android 2.0 gadget with a $1 million marketing promotion, which helped the company make hundreds and thousands of sales of Droids at the time of holidays.

        • Android builds its app arsenal: applications

          GOOGLE’S Android phone operating system is moving into more new handsets as the battle for smartphone supremacy heats up.

        • Is Steve Jobs Ignoring History, Or Trying To Rewrite It?

          Still, it seems like history could repeat itself, with the rest of the industry closing the innovation gap with Apple fast. With Google subsidizing the mobile OS, other phone manufacturers have an economic advantage as well. Jobs is trying everything he can to hold back the Android advance, including suing HTC, the largest manufacturer of Android phones. He is fighting Google with everything he’s got—undercutting Google’s pending acquisition of AdMob by entering the mobile advertising market and creating fear among Android partners with his patent lawsuit.

        • Vodafone launching its own ‘Android App Shop’ in Europe, this June

          Here’s some good news if you’re in one of the many European DEAD ZONES where Google has yet to launch official access to the Android Market – Vodafone is launching its own app-selling shop front to sell Android apps to its customers.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Android on x86: report

        Since I expect Android on tablets to be a big thing in 2010, I am experimenting with the closest thing I can get: Android in my eee 701 Surf 4G…

      • Asus Eee Nettop Available With Red Flag Linux Pre Installed

        This article is provided by third party writers who are not affiliated with DailyBreakNews.com. We do not endorse or create these articles. If you have questions, comments or concerns about any of the articles on this site, please contact us.

        The Asus Eee Box has got the Chinese Linux distribution, The Red Flag Linux, which is going to help you to buy it. The coolest thing is the price of this Asus Eee Box. The features for this model are just the way they were supposed to be. The complete features of this Asus Eee Box are not yet know, but we have go few of the features which this model does carry.Spec Details :1) Red Flag Linux2) Atom N270 processor3) 160GB hard drive4) 1GB of RAM5) standard Intel integrated graphics

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source is a rubber ball

    If an open source project turns proprietary then there will be a fork and the open source lives on. The open source culture is all about freedom. Freedom of information. Those who try and limit their information only end up limiting themselves, not those around them. This is why proprietary companies have come and gone yet open source has out lived them all. When those proprietary companies head off to the failed company afterlife. All of their secrets and locked in knowledge, goes with them. When individual open source projects are shut down then nothing is lost. The information is still available for effective usage in other projects.

  • A challenge to alter Open Source landscape

    If the community-driven Open Source application development is to be considered the new age equivalent of the hippie movement, the coding community goes through a Summer of ’69 almost every year.

    Coding challenges like the Google Summer of Code (SoC), organised between May and August, have, in many ways, altered the landscape of Open Source endeavours.

    UNIX was written by one person in a month, but today the space has been democratised, and an enthusiastic under-grad sending in an important bug fix becomes the new star on an Open Source mailing list.

  • Firefox 3.7 nightly adds built in option for tabs-on-top

    Mozilla’s been playing around with interface changes in Firefox 3.7 for a while — there’s the updated default theme and built-in glass support (which made a very brief appearance and has yet to return). In yesterday’s nightly build, another UI option appeared: a simple right-click allows you to move your tabs to the top of the browser window.

  • Oracle

    • Time to move on…
    • “Father of Java” Resigns from Sun/Oracle

      This would, perhaps, be the second most shocking/sad news after the resignation of Jonathan (former Sun CEO). I’m sad and upset after hearing the confirmed news that James Gosling will be leaving Sun/Oracle.

    • Java founder James Gosling leaves Oracle

      James Gosling, the creator of the Java programming language, has resigned from Oracle, he announced in a blog entry on Friday

      Gosling resigned on April 2 and has not yet taken a job elsewhere, he reported.

      “As to why I left, it’s difficult to answer: just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good,” he wrote.

      Gosling was the chief technology officer for Oracle’s client software group and, before that, the chief technology officer of Sun’s developer products group.

  • Openness

    • Open Source Spying: 2010

      In 2006, Clive Thompson wrote in a watershed New York Times Magazine article “Billions of dollars’ worth of ultrasecret data networks couldn’t help spies piece together the clues to the worst terrorist plot ever. So perhaps, they argue, it’s time to try something radically different. Could blogs and wikis prevent the next 9/11?” (Open-Source Spying) At the Gov 2.0 Expo, Clive Thompson will discuss the progress made in the Intelligence Community since that 2006 with Matthew Burton, Chris Rasmussen, and Lewis Shepherd.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Interesting times for Video on the Web

      If I told you that Google had helped fund an ARM code optimised version of the Theora video codec, most people’s reaction would be immediately to skip forward to the next blog entry. Audio and video codecs are the classic example of things that no one cares about, until they don’t work.

      Ask most computer users what their preferred video codec is and they’ll look at you as if you asked what sort of motor they’d prefer in their washing machine. “We just want it to work!” they say. In this regard, it’s exactly the same for content creators and publishers. Every visitor to a website that can’t view a video is one set of eyeballs less for a message to get through to. It doesn’t matter how clever the advertising is, how much time is spent honing the message or how many clever viral tricks are deployed to attract surfers to the site, the moment the page opens up with a big blank box where the content should be, all that has been in vain.


      Fortunately, there is some good news in the form of HTML 5. This new version of HTML (the basic language used to write webpages) introduces a video element.

    • Apple Slaps Developers In The Face

      The fact that Apple would make such a hostile and despicable move like this clearly shows the difference between our two companies.


  • Should Kids Be Bribed to Do Well in School?

    In junior high school, one of my classmates had a TV addiction — back before it was normal. This boy — we’ll call him Ethan — was an encyclopedia of vacuous content, from The A-Team to Who’s the Boss?

  • Crime

  • Finance

    • Big Banks Mask Risk Levels

      Major banks have masked their risk levels in the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

      A group of 18 banks—which includes Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.—understated the debt levels used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42% at the end of each of the past five quarterly periods, the data show. The banks, which publicly release debt data each quarter, then boosted the debt levels in the middle of successive quarters.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Copyrights

    • Digital decay and the archival cloud

      Up to now, there has been one characteristic of digital recordings that has provided an important counterweight to the fragility of digital media – it’s what Bollacker refers to as “data promiscuity.” Because it’s easy to make copies of digital files, we’ve tended to make a lot of them. The proliferation of perfect digital copies has provided an important safeguard against the loss of data. An MP3 of even a moderately popular song will, for instance, exist on many thousands of computer hard drives as well as on many thousands of iPods, CDs, and other media. The more copies that are made of a recording, and the more widely the copies are dispersed, the more durable that recording becomes.

    • Copyright 1710-2010 “For the encouragement of learning”

      The world’s first copyright law was passed by the English Parliament on 10 April 1710 as ‘An Act for the Encouragement of Learning’. Its 300th anniversary provides a unique opportunity to review copyright’s purposes and principles. If today we were starting from scratch, but with the same aim of encouraging learning‚ what kind of copyright would we want?

  • Digital Economy Bill

    • Digital economy bill: A quick guide

      The controversial Digital Economy Bill may have had a few parts stripped out, it may even be a damp squib. But the remaining, 76-page bill is still a wide-ranging piece of media and technology reform.

      Confused? Read our clause-by-clause guide to the bill as it stands now after being adopted by the House Of Commons and as it awaits Royal Assent …

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 3 – Episode 5: First Nation rights (2006)


Links 10/4/2010: RIM Buys QNX, Palm Pre Runs Almost Everything

Posted in News Roundup at 2:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 10 Things Linux Does Better Than Windows

    In the computer hardware world, certain segments are saturated with choice, while others are not. Take graphics cards for example. For the most part, it’s AMD (ATI) vs. NVIDIA. For CPU’s, AMD vs. Intel. For CPU coolers… ugh, where to begin. We’d need at least a billion “vs.” for that one! Then there are operating systems, where like GPU’s and CPU’s, the choices of major vendor are slim.

  • Chris Atkins: ‘Sometimes I want to punch people who make technology’

    What’s your favourite piece of technology, and how has it improved your life?

    Without question, my favourite piece of technology is my Nokia n900 phone. It is super amazing and pisses all over the iPhone. The ingenious bit about it is that it’s open source, so you can program it to do whatever you want. I used to do some work with Linux when I ran a post-production house, so we’ve worked out how to make it do all sorts of funky things. Some boffins who we do some work with have connected it up to a Rollodex, so as you spin through your contacts, a motor spins through the rollodex. And they canibalised an old Speak & Spell, so you can send texts that sound like ET. It’s the best thing ever.

  • Why I use what I use (software)

    As you can see, my setup is driven by conservative needs, which is why you’ll never see me overclock, pour liquid Nitrogen onto the CPU, flash my BIOS (sounds naughty), or run the latest bleeding edge alpha releases.

  • Desktop

    • 15 Cool and Unique Linux Desktop Workspaces (Workstations)

      15 Cool and Unique Linux Desktop Workspaces (Workstations): I’ve seen plenty of excellent computer workspace or workstation setup lists on the web but I have never seen a collection of workspaces that is exclusively related to Linux. Because of this, I decided to gather several photos of some of the coolest and unique Linux desktop workstations so that I can share them to all of you. In addition to that, I will also be showing you my very own (simple) workstation, which you will see later on.

    • Linux and the Dialup Modem

      One of the interesting things I’ve been working with of late in the Linux world is trying to get a computer to connect to the internet with a dialup modem. I myself haven’t had to dialup to the internet for the better part of 8 years, what with having DSL myself. However, about 35% of the US has to use dialup in one form or another. And in other countries it can be as high as 95%.

      And yes, there are efforts to send dialup to a cold, dark grave in the next five years. However, I don’t think it ever will die. Yes, it’ll be greatly reduced, and may fall to as little as 5% of the population who are using it, but it will remain a staple of daily internet access for at least some slice of the population for years to come. Therefore, I ask this interesting question. Why doesn’t Linux do a better job of supporting dialup modems?

    • How Compiz Fusion and Chaos Built a Linux Hardware Company

      This love-of-Ubuntu turned into a search for Ubuntu-only hardware which turned into me founding a Linux-only hardware company in early 2007. Through ZaReason I have had the delightful opportunity to customize keyboards with Ubuntu or Tux on the Start key and subsequently ask other companies, “Um, does your Ubuntu laptop have a Windows logo on the Start key? How odd…” I have had the rush of enthusiasm when a customer in our first year sent us an extensive (and I mean extensive) price list of how our computers compared to other vendors, showing us where we were doing well and where we needed to improve. I have a wall of love letters showing my builders, my brilliant, wildly intelligent builders that they are on the right path, doing great work for real people, not just order numbers.

  • BlackBerry

    • RIM Buys QNX to Tie Phones to Cars

      Research in Motion said Friday that it had signed a deal with Harman International to acquire its QNX Software Systems unit to help tie its BlackBerry smartphones to car navigation systems.

      Terms of the deal were not announced. It is expected to close within 30 to 45 days if it passes regulatory approvals.

    • The BlackBerry Learns New Tricks

      The deal gives RIM access to a Linux-based software platform that controls information and entertainment data flows in places like network switches, medical systems, and smart-home energy management applications — but the crown jewel of QNX is its in-car infotainment system.

    • RIM buys QNX unit from Harman
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux: Properly Creating And Testing Patches

      “If you’re wondering why I’m taking a long time to respond to your patches,”, began Theodore Ts’o on the linux-ext4 mailing list, in a thread that offered much insight into how and why to properly submit and test patches.

    • Catch the Collaboration Summit from the Comfort of Home

      Next week’s Collaboration Summit, put on by the Linux Foundation, will gather together “the brightest minds in Linux” to mull over all the great problems that plague our beloved operating system. If you can’t make it to San Francisco to collaborate in person, fear not, the Summit will come to you.

    • Free video streaming offered for Linux summit

      The Linux Foundation (LF) has announced it is now accepting registrations for a free, live video streaming program of its Collaboration Summit keynote sessions in San Francisco next Wednesday, April 14. Meanwhile, the non-profit Linux advocacy group has announced several new members, including Ricoh, Parallels, and Cubrid.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • Using KDE software labels, An interview with the developer of Brewtarget

      In early March Stuart Jarvis wrote an article published here on the Dot which announced the winners of the poll results for suitable KDE software labels. Since then work has begun on coming up with suitable logos for these labels. This work is still underway and in need of volunteers if you have time and artistic skills.

    • Website for Akademy 2010 is Online, Time to Register!

      Starting July 3rd 2010, hundreds of KDE community members, employees of companies working with us and many other Free Software enthusiasts will gather at Tampere, Finland. There, at the University of Tampere, the annual Akademy summit 2010 will take place. For a full week, Tampere will be the place where stunning new technology is demonstrated, hundreds of prominent Free Software contributors walk the corridors and new plans for the future of the Free Desktop emerge.

  • Distributions

    • What being a Gentoo developer is about

      Besides writing ebuilds itself being a Gentoo developer is about quite a few other things: it’s never just configure-make-make-install. It’s actually true not only for Gentoo but for other distros, too. Read on.

    • Crunchbang and Archbang

      Since I stepped up to a slightly more modern computer, I have shifted the majority of my distro-hopping expeditions to virtual machines. Having two cores means I can usually still meddle in other matters while watching an ISO boot in Qemu. And it saves a few steps in burning a CD, rebooting, tinkering with the live environment, then returning to an installed system.

      But let’s face it: Emulated systems just aren’t anywhere near as fun as the real thing. Distro-hopping in a virtual machine is like drinking sugar-free cola … where’s the fun in that? And it tastes strange too.

    • New Releases

      • Salix Live 13.0 (32-bit) is ready

        After a few months of development we are pleased to release the final version of Salix Live 13.0 (32-bit).

        It faithfully replicates Salix 13.0.2 from which it adopts its full choice of application (Xfce, Firefox, the full Openoffice suite, Gimp, Exaile, etc.). Salix Live offers you a complete working desktop which can be used in a completely nomadic but customizable environment. The “Persistence Wizard” will enable you to easily preserve any of your work and modifications. Alternatively Salix Live can be used as a full fledged demo of Salix OS that can easily be installed with the help of our brand new graphical installer.

      • Calculate Linux 10.4 released

        Calculate Linux is a family of distribution, based on Gentoo GNU/Linux and completely compatible with it. Calculate Linux family has three members: Calculate Linux Desktop (CLD, CLDG, CLDX), Calculate Directory Server (CDS) and Calculate Linux Scratch (CLS).

      • The DragonFly 2.6 release is here!

        Three release options are now available for 32-bit: Our bare-bones CD ISO, a bare-bones bootable USB disk-key image (minimum 1G USB stick needed), and a GUI bootable USB disk-key image with a full X environment. The GUI USB image replaces the DVD ISO image we had in the previous release, to work around issues with DVDs simply being too slow to boot an X environment from.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Tinyme Linux- A tiny OS for old computers

        TinyMe is a lightweight PCLinuxOS-based operating system, replacing KDE with the smaller and faster Openbox window manager. TinyMe is aimed at making the computing experience as bloat- and lag-free as possible. It is well-suited to older computers, enthusiasts devoted to small/fast systems, or users who just want a minimal environment. TinyMe is comparable to other mini Linux distributions like Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux and Feather Linux.

    • Debian Family

      • First Debian Mini Conference to be held in Germany
      • Ubuntu

        • Canonical’s services play: Revenue windfall or trap?

          It’s tough to compete in an industry where your customers expect your product to be free. Such is the case with software, where giveaways have seemingly become the norm. (Try selling a Web browser or an audio player in 2010.) Some developers have turned to advertising to underwrite their efforts. More recently, a few software vendors have begun offering Internet services as a way to add value to their products and raise revenue. But the latter model is not without its pitfalls.

          Take Canonical, for example. The company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution now offers cloud-based data synchronization services under the Ubuntu One brand. You can get 2GB of storage for free; $10 per month gets you 50GB. Soon Canonical will be expanding its offering to include contact synchronization for smartphones — also for a fee — and an Ubuntu One Music Store as a Linux-based competitor to iTunes.

        • Ubuntu 10.04: Coming Soon [VIDEO]

          With the Paolo Sammicheli help (that cared about the audio and the communication side) we made a “coming soon” video for Ubuntu 10.04 in order to improve and help the work of any Ubuntu LoCo Team.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 10 (or so) of the Best Mobile Linux Apps

      Of course, some mobile Linux devices will be written from the ground up for mobile devices. Here are five cool ones, picked somewhat at random from all the many. Literally thousands more can be found at mobile Linux app listing directories like the Zaurus Software Index or the Maemo Garage.


      So there you have it, my list of top mobile Linux apps. And I didn’t even get to applications with web service tie-ins, like the super-nifty JayCut video editor or get to what’s coming from the Intel AppUp Center or Nokia’s Ovi Store. Perhaps I’d better ask for help on this one! If you have a favorite mobile Linux app, please post it below, using the story comments feature!

    • Linux tools support Cortex-A8-based 802.11n module

      Timesys announced a partnership with Digi International, making the company the preferred commercial Linux solutions provider for Digi’s ConnectCore Wi-i.MX51 wireless module. Timesys’ LinuxLink embedded development framework now supports the Wi-i.MX51 module, based on Freescale’s Cortex-A8-based i.MX51 system-on-chip, and also supports Digi’s Wi-i.MX51 “JumpStart” reference kit, says Timesys.

    • Linux multimedia dream machine, cool!

      This is the Dreambox, a Linux powered price winning digital television receiver. While it may not look like much at first, wait till you hear what special features it supports (some unofficially) .


      The feature I believe this system is most popular for, is not officially supported it even breaks your warranty and is not promoted by Dream multimedia. Unofficial third-party conditional access software modules (CAMs or emulators) are widely circulated on the Internet that emulate the CA systems developed by VideoGuard, Irdeto Access, Conax, Nagravision, Viaccess and other proprietary vendors. Many Dreambox owners use these softcams together with special software for card sharing. Card sharing is when you buy one card for pay-tv and share de decryption codes generated by the card over the network. This allows for watching the pay-tv channels on other systems not equipped with a card. While this practice may be illegal in some jurisdictions, it’s obviously very popular.

    • COM Express module maximizes PCIe expansion

      Axiomtek is readying a Linux-ready COM Express Type-II module that supports up to 19 lanes of PCI-Express, plus up to four PCI slots. The CEM831 includes an Intel Atom N270, up to 4GB of DDR2 memory, gigabit Ethernet, and dual channel LVDS, says the company.

    • Pogoplug serves up tunes from repurposed iPod

      Lehrbaum launched his PogoPod project by prepping an 80GB iPod Classic for use as an A/V fileserver, restoring its firmware and configuration to Apple’s default factory settings, and configuring the device to be accessible as a USB drive. Then, he copied over 37GB of music to the device from an Ubuntu Linux-based PC.

    • Palm

    • Android

      • Android OS Now Used To Drive Real Robots

        For those wondering about the propriety of the name “Android” as a mobile device operating system, wonder no more because its real purpose has finally been revealed. It’s really an operating system for robots.

      • Best Android Mobile Phones In The UK

        Read our detailed overview of what Android is and why it’s the best thing for mobile phones since sliced bread, then check out our list of the best Android Handsets available in the UK.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • $100 netbook has ten-inch screen

        Shenzen-based Science and Technology Co. Ltd. has released a $100 netbook that runs Android, Linux, or Windows CE 6.0 on a Via-manufactured ARM SoC (system on chip). The 1.87-pound device includes a 10-inch screen with 1024 x 600 pixel resolution, from 1GB to 4GB of flash storage, and two hours of battery life, according to the Shanzhaiben.com website.

    • Tablets

      • ICD, HP tablets take shape as Nokia tablet rumors re-emerge

        Innovative Converged Devices (ICD) is prepping an 11.2-inch, Android-based “Gemini” tablet that blows away the iPad on specs, says Engadget. Meanwhile, HP has tipped more details on its Slate tablet, which may run Android, and Nokia is rumored to be readying a tablet that runs the Linux-based MeeGo.

Free Software/Open Source

  • FLOSS Weekly 116: eLua

    James Snyder stops by to talk about eLua, a fully featured programing language for embedded applications.

  • Health IT’s Brewsters Millions

    There is a real possibility and a likely political calculus that these public goods type organizations such as RECs and training programs are structurally set to fail or claim a type of illusory ‘success’. Proprietary EHR companies will be all too happy to point to such failures as proof that they can get the job done.

    With proprietary EHR software, it can all be boiled down to one question: How can allowing taxpayer funding of more opacity (proprietary licensed EHR’s) and not directly funding more transparency (open source licensed EHR’s) in a health care system be a good thing?

  • Open Source BI Efficiency

    Over 300 organizations currently using BI took part in the study, which examined how they prioritize their use of BI resources. Of those, 71 indicated they are actively using open source software as one (or more) of the primary components of their BI implementation. Thirteen of those 71 were using open source products exclusively to provide BI to their business community. The remainder used some combination of open source and traditionally licensed software or subscription based software (software as a service).

  • WebKit2 May Bring Browser Changes

    WebKit, an open source browser layout engine used in Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome, will be releasing a new API layer for the engine called WebKit2, which will allow web content and the application to run in separate processes.

  • Catching up with Leslie Hawthorn

    Few people in the open source community have touched as many projects as Leslie Hawthorn, the now-former open source program manager for Google. As one of less than ten employees in Google’s open source programs office, Hawthorn was at the center of the Google Summer of Code — a project that has worked with hundreds of projects and thousands of college students since its inception in 2005.

  • Mozilla

    • Why Mozilla Needs To Go Into Survival Mode
    • WebKit 2 and Firefox Lorentz Going ‘Out of Process’

      Browser vendors are always trying to improve the stability of their platforms. One key approach being adopted by multiple browser vendors is to take plugins out of the regular browser process and isolate them. The benefit of out-of-process plugins is that if a plugin, say Adobe’s Flash for example, crashes, the entire browser won’t crash.

      Backers of the open source WebKit rendering engine, which is used by Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari and RIM’s upcoming new browser for Blackberry, are now testing out new out-of-process capabilities in WebKit2. Mozilla is out this week with Firefox Lorentz Beta which includes out-of-process plug-ins as well.

    • Google trying anew for a 3D Web

      Two related projects from Mozilla and Google, each with the similar goal of bringing hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the Web, appear to be joining forces after a change in Google tactics.

  • Oracle

    • MySQL users urge Oracle to improve commitment to open source

      MySQL users are cautiously optimistic about life under Oracle, but say Larry Ellison’s team needs to offer a more detailed road map for development of the open source database.

      Under Sun Microsystems, MySQL development “was a little stagnant,” says Rocky Appiah, vice president of technology at Epic Advertising in New York City, a heavy user of MySQL. But when asked if MySQL will improve under Oracle, Epic Advertising CIO Rick Okin says, “Ask us that after they’ve actually owned it for a while.”


    • FSF Advocates Free Software for U.S. IPEC Joint Strategic Plan

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has responded to the United States executive “Intellectual Property” Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) Joint Strategic Plan.

      The FSF argues that the government should use free software to provide more freedom and transparency to its constituents and reduce the need to engage in costly copyright enforcement activities on behalf of proprietary software companies. The FSF states that “the most egregious harms to the public interest in the areas of copyright and patents come not from a lack of enforcement, but from extraordinarily excessive enforcement.”

    • GNU Generation 2.0

      After many successful months of GNU Generation, GNU Generation 2.0 was officially announced at LibrePlanet 2010. This builds upon the original GNU Generation by lowering the entry barrier to free software contribution, and making the program more extensible.

    • Incoming distros

      This is a list of new projects for free distros. They have not been evaluated for freedom yet, so they are not in the gnu.org distros list. Most of them are beta software, and this list might also contain projects not yet released or started.

  • Open Access/Content

    • EU KLEMS Growth and Productivity Accounts

      The November 2009 release is an update of the March 2008 release. It provides data up to 2007, but for a limited set of variables and industries (32 instead of 72 industries).

    • Talkin’ about a revolution

      There is news for subscribers of the open-source school who have been waiting for the day when tax-funded research will be freely accessible by all — mountain is about to come to Mohammed a la MIT open courseware. And the ministry of human resources development (MHRD) has chosen design education to test the waters.

    • Volunteers create new digital maps

      “A lot of people thought ‘garbage in; garbage out’ — if you only had the ordinary Joe on the street contributing data, you’d get bad data,” said Steve Coast, who founded OpenStreetMap as a university student in Britain in 2004 when he couldn’t find any open-source digital map data, and decided to go out and map Regent’s Park in London himself. “And in fact, it’s much better data.”

  • Programming

    • The Tyranny of Memory Part IV (Immutable Strings)

      Recent performance improvements in Parrot to avoid aggressive buffer copying and to avoid unnecessary buffer reallocations demonstrate how bugs, mistakes, and design infelicities at the lowest levels of your program stack can have dramatic negative effects on the whole program.

    • Making Programming Easier For Kids With PyJunior

      The interface is simple. There is an area where you can type in code in at the top (which is syntax highlighted to make it easier to understand), and below it is where the output of the program is displayed. At the top is a toolbar that I have deliberately made nice and big and easy to click for kids who are new to using a mouse. When they want to run the code they have typed in, they click the Run button. This will automatically save the file, run it and display the output in the black area at the bottom.


  • Law

    • Spam a Judge, Go to Jail?

      A litigant in a civil lawsuit asked an appeals court Wednesday to overturn his 30-day contempt sentence for urging people to send e-mail to a federal judge.

      Kevin Trudeau was sentenced to 30 days in jail on a contempt charge for urging his followers to e-mail a judge.

      Lots of e-mail.

    • Regulatory failure? Blame the D.C. Circuit.

      There’s a lot of talk these days about how Washington has become dysfunctional. While most of the focus has been on Congress, the inability to perform even basic functions also extends to the agencies that are charged with protecting workers, consumers and investors. Unfortunately, it often takes a global financial crisis or a deadly coal mine explosion to remind us of the serious consequences of regulatory failure.

    • Pearlstein: Beware the courts on government regulation

      I can’t find the quote, but Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. argued that justices first decide how they want a case to come out and then pick the arguments to reach that end. With that in mind, it is much easier for us commoners to understand how judges reach their judgments and that being human, they are not averse to expanding their own powers.

    • The Shirky Principle

      “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” — Clay Shirky

      I think this observation is brilliant. It reminds me of the clarity of the Peter Principle, which says that a person in an organization will be promoted to the level of their incompetence. At which point their past achievements will prevent them from being fired, but their incompetence at this new level will prevent them from being promoted again, so they stagnate in their incompetence.

  • Science

    • South African fossils could be new hominid species

      The Malapa fossils were unearthed in the famous Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, which has yielded many fine fossils down the years.

    • Rogue Brown Dwarf Lurks in Our Cosmic Neighborhood

      Brown dwarf-hunting astronomers have reported the discovery of a “failed star” located within 10 light-years from Earth. This makes it the nearest brown dwarf and one of ten nearest stellar objects to our solar system. Although its location isn’t entirely unexpected (it is thought that the galaxy is stuffed full of these objects), the chemical composition of its atmosphere is a bit of a conundrum.

  • Security/Aggression

    • making Rumsfeld look like a techie by comparison

      If there’s one flavor of reporting I find more irritating than innumerate science “journalism”, it’s got to be the cybersecurity beat. This morning NPR was the offender.

      I should admit up front that I automatically assume that anyone employing the prefix “cyber” is an idiot, and this unfortunately means that I’m inclined toward skepticism even when listening to actual experts in the field. But this NPR piece is symptomatic of a undeniably idiotic tendency to lump together every governmental system that takes electricity, then assume that summarizing the first twenty minutes of Transformers and asking “WHAT IF?!” qualifies you as some sort of digital Cassandra.

    • NSF funding creation of secure new OS

      The researchers have now been awarded a $1.15 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build the Ethos OS in an attempt to foil botnets and other security threats. Ethos has been in the works for a few years, with the idea emerging from a 2006 panel on botnets.

  • Finance

    • Report: Banks Understated Debt Levels

      According to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Friday, eighteen banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, lowered debt levels just prior to reporting earnings during the past five quarters. The revised data made balance sheets appear to be lest risky.

    • The next Greek tragedy: default or bail-out?

      Greece is in danger of defaulting on its national debt as its bond market comes under increasing pressure, unless its European neighbors intervene.

      Analysts believe that the shape of Greece’s fiscal future – default or bail-out – could be decided in the coming days.

      “We think an intervention over the weekend is a distinct possibility,” wrote Stephane Deo, a UBS analyst based in London, in a note to investors.

      He said that the falling price of Greek bonds “means that an external intervention may be unavoidable and could happen very soon as the situation is untenable.”

    • Labaton to Goldman Sachs

      A New York Times reporter who covered the financial crisis, Stephen Labaton, has been hired by Goldman Sachs as “as a full-time consultant on regulatory and legal issues,” the Washington Examiner notices Politico noticing.

    • A call I somehow doubt I’ll be getting — Goldman hires NYT finance writer

      Good thing Goldman is “mov[ing] to navigate Washington regulation,” because, you know, the firm doesn’t really have any Washington connections.

    • Goldman’s Nicholas Said to Leave Environmental Commodities Unit

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s head of environmental commodities including carbon emissions, Gerrit Nicholas, has left the firm, according to a bank official briefed on the decision.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • On Net Neutrality

      This issue will of course be going to the Supreme Court. The Federal Government cannot let this go. Despite the ruling of the Appeals court, the FCC is responsible for a wide variety of communication issues, and many believe that the FCC does have the authority to regulate traffic on the Internet (at least domestically).

      A bigger question though is this. What if the Supreme Court says that the FCC does not have this authority? What happens then? Will it come down to who can buy the largest number of votes on Capitol Hill? And what does that bode for the future of the Internet, and the services many of us have come to rely on?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Misguided Outrage At NY Times’ Ethicist Over Ethics Of Downloading A Book

        First of all, the situation he was discussing was one where the ebooks were not even available — so it wasn’t even a question of the author losing any money.

      • Juliet vs. Juliet: Did Someone Forget To Tell Hollywood You Can’t Copyright An Idea?

        That’s the only explanation I can come up with for the ongoing lawsuit between two movie studios over who can make and/or release a movie about people seeking advice in love by leaving letters at the supposed gravestone of Juliet Capulet (of “Romeo &” fame). Apparently, two separate studios made movies on the topic, and one is suing to stop the other from releasing the movie.

      • More about the Encouragement of Learning

        And for each book printed, “nine copies upon the best paper,” were to be reserved for “the Royal Library, the Libraries of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the Libraries of the Four Universities in Scotland, the Library of Sion College in London, and the Library commonly called the Library belonging to the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh.” If delivery of books did not take place within ten days after receiving a demand from a library, the offender was fined five pounds (per book).

      • More Movies Trying Out Tiered CwF+RtB Support Models

        The first, pointed out by rosspruden is about a Spanish film called The Cosmonaut which has a few unique features surrounding it. Ross listed them out:

        1. the filmmakers are releasing their work under a CC license to let others mix and reuse their film.
        2. the film is fully funded from fan donations (so the film never needs to turn a profit)
        3. profits are generated from sales of scarce goods
        4. fans are allowed to invest in the project for real financial profit (not virtual profit), which isn’t allowed according to SEC regulations (yet)

      • First Amendment Based Copyright Misuse

        We are at a crossroads with respect to the under-developed equitable defense of copyright misuse. The defense may go the way of its sibling, antitrust-based patent misuse, which seems to be in a state of inevitable decline. Or – if judges accept the proposal of this Article – courts could reinvigorate the copyright misuse defense to better protect First Amendment speech that is guaranteed by statute, but that is often chilled by copyright holders misusing their copyrights to control other’s speech.

    • Newspapers

      • Another Paywall Experiment Ends Badly

        I could have taken my last post and just changed the words “Johnston Press” to “Freedom Communications,” but that would be too cheeky. Instead I’ll just link over to Paid Content, who reports that another large media publisher has decided to end its paywall experiment. This time it’s Freedom Communications, who tested a full paywall at the Valley Morning Star, a small town newspaper in Texas. Today, there is a banner on the site that says “We Moved Back to a Completely Free Site.”

      • No linking to Japanese newspaper without permission

        We’ve definitely entered an era of experiment when it comes to online content, as a number of publications with a tradition in the print world are testing out approaches like building paywalls, mixing free and paid content, and limiting the amount of content that’s indexed by search engines.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • My letter to the Musicians Union About the Digital Economy Bill

        I opposed it, I still oppose it and I will continue to oppose any legislation about the internet written by people who don’t understand the internet or, in this case, the music industries and the role that music plays in our culture.

        I’m particularly ashamed that the Musicians Union – a Union of which I am a member, was a proud member, and have supported by paying double what I should’ve been paying for the last two years – supported this insane bill, to the detriment of musicians everywhere.

Clip of the Day

Shared Library Issues In Linux


Links 9/4/2010: PS3 GNU/Linux Refund, Ubuntu 10.04 @ Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Promoting Free Software in Developing Countries

    That’s a reasonable price, but still $190 too much for most people in developing countries. The best solution remains sending out CDs and DVDs that can be copied and handed out locally among people who want them.

    It would be easy to create a Web site where people from around the world applied for free CDs/DVDs, and where those in the countries with more resources could burn those discs and send them out. But there are a few problems here. First, there are issues of privacy: people might not want to send their addresses to a site such as this. Then there is always the danger that the discs sent out might not be “real” distros, but might include malware. That can be addressed using MD5 hashes from the distros concerned (for example UbuntuHashes), but that’s a slow process, especially on older machines.


    As well as the purely philanthropic aspect, there are good selfish reasons why people might want to help spread free software in developing countries. It would increase the market share of core software like Firefox, OpenOffice.org and GNU/Linux, which would help persuade more companies to support them, and more governments to adopt them. It would increase the pool of programmers who can contribute to free software projects, making them better for everyone. It would also make it more likely that entirely new, indigenous applications would be created for developing countries and their particular needs. It might even lead to a whole new era of free software creation and use.

  • Sony

  • Events

    • Linux Users Group hosts free quarterly Installfest

      A room strewn with slightly worn, yet comfortable couches, donated computer equipment and a collage of CDs spelling out “UCLA” hanging on the back wall is a haven for the technologically savvy and the technologically inept alike.

      The Linux Users Group office,in Boelter Hall 3820 is home to volunteers who provide software and hardware help to students and faculty in need.

      This Saturday, the Linux Users Group is holding its quarterly Installfest, where members will provide free Linux installations for students required to have it for class or those curious about how Linux works. Group members will give instruction on the basics of the operating system, and for those wary of putting a new operating system on their computer, will put the system on a USB drive, if provided.

    • Linux Users Group hosts free quarterly Installfest

      This Saturday, the Linux Users Group is holding its quarterly Installfest, where members will provide free Linux installations for students required to have it for class or those curious about how Linux works. Group members will give instruction on the basics of the operating system, and for those wary of putting a new operating system on their computer, will put the system on a USB drive, if provided.

    • The Linux Box To Launch New Email Archiving And Retrieval System

      The Linux Box will be launching an open source email archiving and retrieval solution at the AIIM International Exposition + Conference.

  • Desktop

    • A Good Evening

      For a young man a good evening is getting “lucky”. For me it was freeing two PCs from the Wintel monopoly.

      A few community members brought in a sick PC. It was a Lose 2000 box from 2000. Since the OS will soon no longer be supported and they did not like the performance anyway, I suggested using GNU/Linux.

    • Stats from Distros

      Recent estimates based wholly or partially on such data gives 24 million for Fedora and 12 million for Ubuntu. With that information and the rapid growth we all see, the 1% figure bantered about on the web is a joke.

    • Ubuntu Linux has over 12 million users
  • IBM

    • IBM on GNU/Linux

      The difference in costs is largely due to the fine work done by FLOSS developers and the package maintainers at Debian GNU/Linux. While I do not count the time it takes me to be conversant with FLOSS, which is something I would do whether paid or not, it is obvious my organization gets the benefits of software which would cost hundreds of dollars for just a few dollars, so the saving is a very high percentage. The difference in costs is very easy to estimate at around 90%. If we include maintenance, the difference is huge.

    • Voxware Adds IBM WebSphere And Red Hat Enterprise Linux Support To Popular Voxware 3 Software Product

      Voxware, Inc., a leading supplier of voice picking software for warehousing operations, announced support for the IBM WebSphere application server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. A major US retailer has chosen this technology stack for the rollout of their Voxware 3 voice picking solution.

  • Google

    • Google Updates Chrome Browser for Linux

      The amazing Chrome developers at Google Inc., announced today (April 9th) the immediate availability for testing of the Google Chrome 5.0.371.0 Alpha web browser for Linux.

  • Kernel Space

    • Next-Gen Linux File Systems: Change Is the New Constant

      With support for over 50 file systems, excluding user space implementations, GNU/Linux has been extremely successful at supporting file system innovation. That success has no doubt been aided by open source development. However, the storage industry is experiencing major architectural changes, and understanding emerging file systems — and how to apply them — is critical to keeping up with today’s demands.

    • R500 Mesa Is Still No Match To An Old Catalyst Driver

      Now with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS we have only the open-source driver to test. The Catalyst 9.3 driver that was the last to support the ATI Radeon Mobility X1400 graphics processor is not compatible with Ubuntu 10.04 (or even Ubuntu 9.10) due to the newer kernel / X Server. With our Lucid Lynx testing we ran our same OpenGL benchmarks using its default Linux 2.6.32 kernel (but it has the 2.6.33 kernel DRM), X.Org Server 1.7.6, xf96-video-ati 6.12.192, Mesa 7.7 configuration found in a clean Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installation.

  • Instructionals

  • Games

    • CrossOver 9.0 Linux [Review] Part 2: The CrossOver Experience

      Wine and CrossOver are brilliant products once you accept the flaws as part of the package, and consider it more a product to ease migration to Linux than an instant replacement for Windows. There will be pains, as users switching from Windows to Linux + CrossOver will surely need to adjust to Linux, CrossOver won’t help there. It can however let you make the best of old software licenses, which might have been preventing a full migration to Linux, and let you use Office 2007 in case OpenOffice does not suit your needs.

  • Distributions

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Linux Names New CEO

        Recapturing mindshare in an era where Ubuntu’s fearless leader makes bold predictions and Red Hat’s enterprise Linux generates over a half billion dollars a year in revenue is no easy task.

      • Mandriva 2010 Spring (2010.1) Beta Available

        Functionally, as I said, I have had mixed results with installation, but on the systems where it did install it has woked very well. It is still fairly early in the development cycle, the final release is not scheduled until early June. If things keep going as they are now, this could be one of the best Mandriva releases in a while.

    • Red Hat Family

      • LinuxIT tempts new customers with Red Hat service

        Specialist Linux VAR LinuxIT has added a new service to its repertoire, targeting Red Hat customers with 10 or more servers.

        The basic-level service is free for all new clients, whether they are existing users of Red Hat or not.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Beta 2 available
      • Canonical’s newest Linux operating system to be released April 29

        Every two years, Canonical releases a new “long-term support” version of its Linux operating system and on April 29, it will release the next one, 10.04 LTS, according to Gerry Carr, head of platform marketing for Canonical. Named for the month/year of its release, it will include a Desktop Edition as well as a Server Edition and with the latter, Canonical believes it is ready to replace whatever competitor (Linux, Windows or Unix) you’ve got on your servers now.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 facilitates cloud-based file storage and social media

        The open source OS already had a reputation for being easy to use, so the new features “aren’t earth shattering, must-have improvements,” said John Locke, head of the Seattle-based open source product company Freelock Computing. The listed enhancements are “just the next set of small niceties that get constantly added to Ubuntu and other Linux distributions” every six months, he said.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • EnSilica – New development suite for of eSi-RISC processor embedded application designs

      Debugging is seamless with communication over a USB interface to a host PC with GDB, the GNU project debugger, running inside Eclipse.

    • Timesys Partners with Digi International

      Digi International (News – Alert) has selected Timesys Corporation as the preferred commercial Linux solutions provider for the company’s new ConnectCore Wi-i.MX51 wireless System-on-Module (SOM). Timesys is the provider of LinuxLink, a high-productivity software development framework for embedded Linux applications.

    • Phones

      • Palm

        • Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein still believes in Palm’s Success

          Amidst the takeover rumors, this interview is quite reassuring that Palm is able to make it. Rubinstein also mentions that Palm still has $590m in the bank. This means they still have time to hang in there and mature their smartphones.

      • Nokia

      • Android

        • Watch as Droid Does All Kinds of Wonderful Things [VIDEO]
        • HTC Incredible User Guide Leaks [EXCLUSIVE]!

          The Incredible User Guide was brought to you courtesy of AndroidForums Member and Forum Phone Guide – Anonimac. To see the entire 200+ page guide you’ll want to head over to the HTC Incredible Forum Announcement where, as Anonimac puts it, BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!

        • Motorola Release: Bell Gets DEXT, Rogers Gets Quench

          Enter the Motorola DEXT and Motorola DEXT (Round of applause). Despite MotoBlur not being among the most popular of the Android flavours, I am quite excited to see it enter the Canadian market. We will see soon, as there is no official release date, what MotoBlur is all about when Rogers launches the Motorola Quench, to Bell the Motorola DEXT, and recently as well to Telus the Motorola Backflip.

        • Truckbot: An Autonomous Robot based on Android

          The robot builders over at Cellbots have been busy cranking out robots based around the Google Android OS. Their latest effort is Truckbot, an acrylic differential drive robot that relies on a Google G1 phone running the GNU/Linux-based Android OS combined with an Arduino.

        • Google Android Powered TV Coming in Fall

          Swedish based manufacturer, People of Lava, set to release an HDTV with a built in Android OS to let you surf the web.

        • Swedish company to launch world’s first Android-based TV
        • Clash of the titans: Apple, Google battle for the mobile Web

          Which platform wins remains uncertain, despite all the hobgoblining around from Apple defenders insisting it will be iPad/iPhone/iPod touch. There also are hints Google is directionally changing towards Apple. Google is unifying applications and services and offering more mobile apps for different mobile platforms. Google also is integrating apps and services around Android handsets. The winning platform, if one is to dominate will make lots of people rich. While I’ve focused here on Apple and Google as titans, Nokia is still the reigning mobile device maker by a huge margin, Research in Motion dominates the smartphone market and Microsoft is plotting a comeback. There are plenty of platforms in play, but Apple and Google are the most opposing.

        • iPhone OS 4 vs Android: Why Apple just lost the game.

          Android market share is going through the roof. With it, we’re seeing developers shifting their attention to Android, and releasing applications that are higher quality every day. Instead of getting wrapped up in politics, Android developers have the autonomy that Apple needs to give. Because let’s face it, approving every application does not mean that every application will be of good quality.

          For those who have crossed over from iPhone to Android, today’s announcements likely come as too little too late. We users shouldn’t have to wait years for basic features, or for nagging problems to be fixed. We should have the ability to find something that works better, if we don’t like what you’re offering, and we should be able to use it on our existing device.

          The Apple xenophobia, in this case, might be alienating iPhone OS 4 from gaining buyers.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The Coming War: ARM versus x86

        The ARM Cortex-A8 achieves surprisingly competitive performance across many integer-based benchmarks while consuming power at levels far below the most energy miserly x86 CPU, the Intel Atom. In fact, the ARM Cortex-A8 matched or even beat the Intel Atom N450 across a significant number of our integer-based tests, especially when compensating for the Atom’s 25 percent clock speed advantage.

      • Lenovo’s ARM-Based Linux Skylight Smartbook Delayed

        The report states that the only market that Lenovo’s product will reach before June, in May to be exact, is that of China.

    • Tablets

      • ICD’s Tegra 2-powered Gemini is the most feature-complete tablet we’ve seen yet

        Multitouch displays will be available in both resistive and capacitive flavors, with the 1,366 x 768 resolution being filled by Google’s snappy Android OS.

      • Tablet Wars: iPad vs WePad vs Nokia slate

        However, the WePad is also a good looking device and, because it’s Linux-based, it could certainly win over the hearts and minds of technology purists – although, the WePad is slightly heavier than the iPad at 800 grams and the iPad isn’t what you’d call light either!

        At present, very little is known about the Nokia tablet – although, online reports have said that the device will be done in partnership with Intel and it will be powered by the Linux-based MeeGo platform. However, if the picture of the proposed device is anything to go by, it’d certainly be our third choice out of the big three.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Upgrading the motivational operating system: A conversation with Daniel Pink

    And then getting to open source, you have this business model that would have seemed fanciful if not insane 25 years ago, which is built not so much around these carrot-and-stick-motivators but around other sorts of drives becoming very popular.

    So I think that more broadly the operating system that’s used–the kind of societal behavioral operating system that is undergirding open source–is in many ways a model for the upgraded motivational operating system that all organizations need.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox Lorentz beta available for download and testing

      A beta of the Firefox “Lorentz” project is now available for download and public testing. Firefox “Lorentz” takes the out of process plugins work from Mozilla Developer Previews and builds it on top of Firefox 3.6.3. This beta offers uninterrupted browsing for Windows and Linux users when a problem causes a crash in any Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugin instance. If a plugin crashes or freezes when using Firefox “Lorentz”, it will not affect the rest of Firefox. Users can submit a plugin crash report, and then reload the page to restart the plugin and try again.

    • Firefox 3.6.4 Coming May 4 with Out of Process Plugins

      Pressure from Google Chrome and, increasingly, from other main players in the web-browser market is forcing Mozilla to change its ways. Most notably, it’s starting to rethink its update schedule and system for Firefox and favoring small incremental updates, a la Chrome, instead of major releases months or years apart.

    • Firefox 3.6.4 (Lorentz) beta coming tomorrow with out of process plugins

      In recent days, the Firefox 3.6 branch became Lorentz, the code name for the first Firefox release to feature out of process plugins, which aims to improve overall stability by running plugins like Adobe Flash, Silverlight, and Java in their own independent process.

    • Firefox Lorentz Beta Isolates Plug-in Crashes for Uninterrupted Browsing
  • Oracle

    • OpenSolaris on System z mainframe hangs in the balance

      The future of OpenSolaris on the IBM System z mainframe seems shaky at best now that Oracle has acquired Sun Microsystems, but the platform’s supporters are still pleading their case.

    • OpenSolaris, Still Open-Source Software Ready to Serve

      ZFS is an advanced filesystem that offers high performance, near-zero administration, file integrity, scalability, reduced costs and backward compatibility. Without going into a lengthy and complicated discussion of storage pools and block allocation algorithms, realize that ZFS’s design features have the enterprise server in mind to extract every bit of performance possible from a disk-based system. ZFS is an intelligent filesystem that can actually adapt its read behavior on the fly for complex read patterns. ZFS also provides built-in compression and encryption.

    • Databases

      • Brian Aker on post-Oracle MySQL

        BA: There hasn’t been a roadmap for MySQL for some time. Even before Sun acquired MySQL, it was languishing, and Sun’s handling of MySQL just further eroded the canonical MySQL tree. I’m waiting to see what Oracle announces at the MySQL Conference. I expect Oracle to scrap the current 5.5 plan and come up with a viable roadmap. It won’t be very innovative, but I am betting it will be a stable plan that users can look at.

      • Oracle to Outline Strategy for MySQL
      • The future of MySQL in a post-Sun world

        Oracle’s absorption of Sun is complete. Now that the European Commission has blessed the merger, the Oracle logo is proudly displayed to anyone who types “sun.com” into a browser. Yet if you visit mysql.com, you’ll see hardly any mention of Sun, the company that purchased MySQL for $1 billion in 2008, and Oracle’s logo is buried deep at the bottom of the pages.


        There’s good news for fans of MySQL: It won’t be left to wither and die any time soon. Oracle has made very public assurances that it will spend more on developing the database than Sun ever did, at least for the next three years. The Community Edition will continue to see improvements, which will be released under the GPL at no charge with all of the source code.

      • Are open source politics behind the delay of JDK7?

        The strong community of volunteer developers is often cited as an advantage to adopting open source technology. But these communities can also be a drawback. The involvement of many developers can lead to disagreement and confusion that can prevent a project from moving forward.

      • Oracle to update about MySQL
      • Oracle to Answer Questions on MySQL, but Will It Be Enough?
      • Consult the Oracle and then Hide Your Money
  • Education

    • Open Source Education

      Open source or software freedom isn’t simply another way of procuring software, it’s more a state of mind, a particular attitude to technology. Of course, you can just treat it as a cheap way of getting high quality, robust code, and there’s certainly no requirement to grow a beard, wear sandals or drink real ale in order to install open source applications. However, the philosophies that lie at the core of open source as a movement are important, and, I think have much to offer to education more generally; furthermore, open source approaches to development can apply to things even more important than software, such as curriculum resources, school policies and even the curriculum itself. This brief paper seeks to explore some of these areas.

    • SunGard Higher Education Launches Industry’s First ERP Community Source Initiative

      SunGard Higher Education and its customers have launched a Community Source Initiative — the first and only vendor-supported community source forum dedicated to higher education Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. The initiative is designed to bring together the insights and experience of SunGard Higher Education’s extensive user community for the benefit of all institutions; make functionality available faster; and help ensure product quality through functional and technical review.

    • Netlive,a complete Free Software lab in the pockets of every teacher

      Endless cuts to Public Education budgets are creating survival problems to many italian Public Schools, forcing them to ask more or less “voluntary” contributions to parents every year. How can you guarantee quality education in such conditions, especially when many teachers, either because they only get very short term assignments, every time in a different school, or because their school has more than one campus, work every day in a different neighborhood?

  • Business

    • Market finally catching up with OSBI

      Open source business intelligence (OSBI) burst onto the market several years ago, but only now are we starting to see signs of real traction among enterprises at both “ends” of the BI spectrum – front-end reporting and analysis, and back-end data integration. This, coupled with growing awareness, acceptance, and commercial product development, will help push OSBI into the corporate mainstream.

  • BSD

    • Dru Lavigne’s ‘The Definitive Guide to PC-BSD’ is helping me update my packages and ports

      The FreeBSD Handbook appeared cryptic on how exactly to update packages and ports. I’m sure the answer is in there, but I just couldn’t find it.

      However, I do have Dru Lavigne’s new book, “The Definitive Guide to PC-BSD,” and I’m following her instructions on pages 247-251 on how to use csup and portupgrade to update both packages and ports on my FreeBSD 7.3-release installation.

  • Releases

    • Open Source Asterisk 1.8 Aiming for Long-Term Support

      The Ubuntu Linux distribution isn’t the only open source project with a long-term-support release on the horizon. The Asterisk open source VoIP PBX (define) project is moving ahead with its own long-term support (LTS) plans with its 1.8 release.

  • SaaS

    • Open Source Cloud: Usharesoft

      Open source cloud is getting hype, and looking at the different slices of the “burger cloud” among SaaS cloud providers I happened to step into UShareSoft, a French company based in Grenoble providing an appliance factory to design, build and deploy software appliances in virtual and cloud environments.

    • Twitter opens data system to developers

      Twitter is making its Gizzard data management system open source to help developers provide efficient access to large amounts of data stored across multiple locations.

  • Openness


  • Business Has Killed IT With Overspecialization

    What happened to the old “sysadmin” of just a few years ago? We’ve split what used to be the sysadmin into application teams, server teams, storage teams, and network teams. There were often at least a few people, the holders of knowledge, who knew how everything worked, and I mean everything. Every application, every piece of network gear, and how every server was configured — these people could save a business in times of disaster.

  • Bribery Act passed by Parliament

    A new bribery law has been passed by the Houses of Commons and Lords but is not yet in force. The Bribery Act can penalise companies whose employees engage in bribery if the company did not have adequate policies in place to prevent it.

  • Wis. prosecutor: Teachers risk arrest over new sex-ed classes

    A Wisconsin district attorney has warned schools in his county that if they proceed with new state sex-education courses, teachers could face criminal charges for encouraging minors to have sex, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Target real criminals not drivers, judge tells police

      A judge has criticised a police force for concentrating on harassing motorists rather than dealing with serious crime.

      Judge Richard O’Rorke hit out after being told a hearing to confiscate the assets of a convicted fraudster would have to be postponed.

      He was told Lincolnshire police did not have the manpower to value a catalogue of items worth hundreds of thousands of pounds seized from Tina Crowson.

    • Public being misled over DNA benefits

      The genetics ethics group Genewatch has accused the Home Secretary Alan Johnson of misleading voters.

      On a campaign visit to Stevenage, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Johnson were pictured with the mother of Sally Ann Bowman, whose killer was caught after his DNA was registered.

      But GeneWatch said their praise for the DNA database in this instance is misleading.

    • DNA database debate is ‘confused’

      Gordon Brown has been accused of confusing the role the DNA database played in the capture of murdered Sally-Anne Bowman’s killer.

      Earlier, he appeared with Ms Bowman’s mother as he criticised Tory plans to remove profiles of people who have not been convicted of a crime.

    • Clarifying our position against ID Cards and the National Identity Register

      To put the record straight, our manifesto clearly states “We strongly oppose compulsory ID cards, and pledge that we will never introduce them.” Some political opponents have tried to twist our use of the world ‘compulsory’ to imply that we want to introduce non-compulsory ID cards, but this simply isn’t the case. Many different voluntary ID cards already exist and are very useful, for example when borrowing a library book, or proving to a foreign hospital that the NHS will cover your medical expenses. The usefulness and unintrusiveness of these voluntry cards is the reason we do not propose a knee-jerk blanket banning of current, non-compulsory, cards that can be used to prove identity.

    • Conservatives compromise on DNA retention

      Instead of blocking the bill, the shadow home secretary Chris Grayling made a fresh commitment that the Tories would bring in early legislation to ensure the DNA profiles of innocent people arrested for minor offences would not be retained on the national police DNA database, reports The Guardian.

    • Spies caught plundering secret Indian docs

      An espionage gang that infiltrated Indian government computer networks across the globe has been pilfering highly classified documents related to missile systems, national security assessments and the United Nations, according to researchers who tracked the intruders for eight months.

    • Veteran of “Collateral Murder” Company Speaks Out

      Josh Stieber, who is a former soldier of the “Collateral Murder” Company, says that the acts of brutality caught on film and recently released via Wikileaks are not isolated instances, but were commonplace during his tour of duty.
“A lot of my friends are in that video,” says Stieber. “After watching the video, I would definitely say that that is, nine times out of ten, the way things ended up. Killing was following military protocol. It was going along with the rules as they are.”

    • U.S. Military Releases Redacted Records on 2007 Apache Attack, Questions Linger

      What’s more, the military indirectly blamed the reporters for being in the company of “armed insurgents” and making no effort to identify themselves as journalists. An investigating officer with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 2nd Infantry Division, concluded that “the cameramen made no effort to visibly display their status as press (.pdf) or media representatives” and added that “their familiar behavior with, and close proximity to, the armed insurgents and their furtive attempts to photograph the Coalition Ground Forces made them appear as hostile combatants to the Apaches that engaged them.” A long telephoto lens, the officer says, could have been mistaken for a rocket-propelled grenade.

    • Security Guru Richard Clarke Talks Cyberwar

      The antiterrorism czar who foresaw 9/11 discusses Obama’s cybersecurity plans and North Korea.

    • Securing the smart grid

      Smart meters are arriving at homes and causing a stir. Consumers in California and Texas have complained about higher bills due to smart meters not working properly. And for a second time in about a year, researchers discovered holes in the meters.

      It’s enough to make one wonder: are these devices going to become a security nightmare, allowing attackers to do everything from vandalize home area networks to cause power outages?

  • Environment

    • World Bank to Fund Giant New Coal Plant

      The World Bank yesterday approved a $3.75 billion loan to South African public utility Eskom to fund what will become the world’s seventh-largest coal plant—a move that has frustrated many who have pushed for the development bank to start taking greenhouse gas emissions into account in its funding decisions.


      The decision highlights ongoing tensions surrounding the World Bank and other multilateral development banks and their continued funding of dirty energy projects. Despite the fact that climate changed caused by the build up of greenhouse gases will hurt those in the developing world the most, the banks tend to pay little or no attention to the carbon footprint of energy projects in funding decisions. The World Bank and other multilateral development banks and export credit agencies have directed $37 billion to the construction or expansion of 88 coal-fired power plants since 1994, according to an Environmental Defense Fund study released last year. Another $60 billion from private funders and local governments has also been provided to dirty power projects. It is estimated that those 88 plants will spit 791 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

    • Save the whales, not the whalers

      IN 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) implemented a moratorium on commercial whaling. Many people believed that this would save the whales and end forever the industrial slaughter that had decimated entire species.

      Not so. A proposal before the IWC could lead to the resumption of commercial whaling as early as next year. If it passes – and there is a real chance that it will – one of the greatest conservation successes of our time will be wiped out.

    • Does Paul Krugman Vastly Understate the Economic Argument for Climate Action?

      Here’s the reality with which our economy is colliding:

      * Climate change is already unfolding much more quickly than we thought it would.

      * The models upon which we’re basing our discussions today (largely the IPCC models) are known to be seriously out-of-date and overly conservative in predicting the speed and consequences of climate change.

      * Steady losses that are climate-related (such as losses of ecosystem services) are already exacting a serious economic cost, while droughts, heat waves, flooding and freak storms grow steadily more common and expensive.

    • Swiss solar-energy plane in maiden test flight

      The Solar Impulse aircraft, a pioneering Swiss bid to fly around the world on solar energy, successfully completed its first test flight in western Switzerland on Wednesday.

      “There has never been in the past an aeroplane of that kind to fly. It was a huge question mark for us and it’s an extraordinary relief,” said Bertrand Piccard, pioneering round-the-world balloonist who co-founded the project.

  • Finance

    • A Tax Day Protest We Can All Get Behind

      Indeed, Americans have lost $14 trillion in wages, savings and housing wealth since the start of the financial crisis. According to our Wall Street Bailout Table, we are still $2 trillion in the hole for the bailout, and read with astonishment that the bailout enabled Wall Street to pay out $140 billion in bonuses in 2009 to top executives. With tax lawyers and accountants up the wazoo, big bankers know how to dodge taxes on their earnings and bonuses leaving middle class Americans holding the bag.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Supreme Discomfort: Doubting the Thomases

      In addition to possible conflicts of interest arising from Justice Thomas hearing a case related to the group’s political activities, concerns would also arise if he were to face a decision involving one of Liberty Central’s donors. This concern is exacerbated by the Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United decision, which permitted corporate dollars to flow into political campaigns: Ms. Thomas’ Liberty Central can now accept donations from corporations, and be permitted to spend those funds advocating for candidates. What’s more, because Liberty Central is organized as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the group can raise unlimited amounts of corporate money and largely avoid disclosing its donors.

    • It’s an “Educational” Ad (Wink, Wink)

      If the ad was considered an attack on Brown, the Chamber would face a slew of cumbersome obstacles to broadcasting them, like having to disclose who is paying for the ads, and how much they are spending.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Lawsuit Says McAfee Plays Loose With Customer Data

      McAfee, a household name for computer virus-protection, is facing accusations it dupes customers into purchasing third-party services, and hands over consumer banking information to enable those transactions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • EU-India free trade deal ‘will hurt AIDS patients’

      A new Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and India could make it more difficult for the world’s poorest patients to access antiretroviral drugs, according to humanitarian aid group, Médecins Sans Frontières.

      The deal, which is close to being signed by both sides, is likely to curb sales of generic a three-in-one AIDS drug made in India where there are no patent constraints to stop the sale of combination therapies.

    • Court Rules that DNA Is Information, Not Intellectual Property

      A federal judge in New York ruled yesterday that patents on a set of human genes are invalid. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet handed down his decision in favor of the case brought buy a coalition of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation. The lawsuit argued that patents owned by Myriad Genetics on two genes connected to breast and ovarian cancer both stunt genetic research and limit access to health care for women.

    • The Pirate Party: how to bypass the great Australian firewall
    • Copyrights

      • Citizen Journalism Platform AllVoices Sets Up News Desks In 30 Cities Around The World

        AllVoices, a fast-growing citizen journalism platform, is announcing significant expansion today. The startup is launching global news desks in 30 different cities around the world, where both professional and citizen journalists will provide regular in-country reports from the ground. With the news desks, citizen reporters will be able to receive assignments from professional journalists. Cities with news desks include Baghdad, Beijing, Islamabad, London, Nairobi, and Shanghai.

      • The Associated Press in Traffic Hunt, Inspired by Mine Tragedy

        First, it was not AP’s place to put together such a list. If a list was needed, the best entity to release it to the media, free of charge, under a GNU license, is the very MSHA, the source of AP’s information. The MSHA is the main source, yet AP doesn’t have the courtesy even to cite it, writing “AP archives, federal mining safety statistics” as the source instead.

        Then, we have the “all rights reserved” issue, AP’s power over the media. To qoute 5 – 25 words from this article would cost $12.50 for profits, and $7.50 for non-profits. If you want to quote more, you have to pay more, naturally. If you want to publish the article for a whole year, that will cost you $750.00 no less. Nothing against paying the price, if the information wouldn’t be copied from the MSHA. The question is, how much did the AP pay the MSHA for the facts?

      • Earliest Known Led Zeppelin Live Recording Hits YouTube

        Before they were busying themselves with supergroups and arguing about reunion tours, the four members of Led Zeppelin were a fierce, inventive rock’n’roll band that helped lay the framework for heavy metal and hard rock. At their peak, Zeppelin were one of the biggest bands in the world. Now, their humble beginning has been documented with their earliest ever recording.

    • ACTA

      • How ACTA will change the world’s internet laws

        This matters because various governments, including the EU, Canada, and the USA, have argued that there is nothing in ACTA that will change domestic law — that it’s just a way of forcing everyone else to adopt their own laws. What we see here, though, is a radical rewriting of the world’s Internet laws, taking place in secret, without public input. Public input? Hell, even Members of Parliament and Congressmembers don’t get a say in this. The Obama administration’s trade rep says that the US will sign onto ACTA without Congressional debate, under an administrative decree.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • The Digital Economy Bill passed

        Do we have any means of proving we did not download any infringing material? We first need the answers to the previous questions for that.

        Do we know who will intercept our private communications and how personal data will be stored?

        How the Deep Packet Inspection or filtering will operate to catch potential infringers? In other words, how the internet censorship will be organised?

      • Digital Economy Bill passes as critics warn of ‘catastrophic disaster’

        The controversial Digital Economy Bill was forced through the House of Commons last night after behind-the-scenes agreements between Labour and Conservative whips – prompting the Bill’s opponents to warn that it could lead to innocent people having their internet connections cut off, the end of public WiFi, and sites such as Wikileaks blocked.

      • Doublethink – The Digital Economy Bill against the digital economy

        Tonight the UK Labour governement, together with the Conservative arty, forced through the controversial Digital Economy Bill. The Bill now gets a ‘third reading’ in the House of Lords, which means it is almost certain to become law. The government did a deal with the Conservative leadership, which got a number of provisions it didn’t like removed. In other words, it was, to use an old British phrase, a “stitch up.”


        Despite opposition from the Liberal Democrats and a handful of Labour MPs, notably long time Internet savvy MP Tom Watson, the government won two crucial votes allowing it to control the content of the bill and its further progress.

      • Twitter crowd redresses #DEBill balance
      • The Technology newsbucket: DEBill Twitterstreamed, Conficker lives!, iPad Luddites and more
      • Did My MP Show Up or Not?

        Since the Digital Economy bill tragically passed, and people seemed to be getting confused about whether the site was about the Second Reading or the session in Parliament when the bill was rammed through I have decided to take the site down. It may return if Parliament gives us access to something which I feel strongly would improve transparency, a proper hour by hour, minute by minute register of attendance of MPs.

      • Yet Another Letter to My MP

        It seems my MP was not at the Second Reading of the Digital Economy Bill. Here’s what I’ve just fired off:

        Following my long conversation with your assistant yesterday (who was very sympathetic) about the Digital Economy Bill, I was disappointed not to see your name on the list of MPs that attended the Second Reading yesterday. The full list is here:


        Now, perhaps your name has been left off by mistake, in which I apologise for the false accusation. But if you were in fact absent, I’d like to ask why a Bill that is so important that it must be rammed through the wash-up with only the barest scrutiny is not something that is worth turning up for?

        I think it is important to recognise that things have changed in politics: that many more of us can – and do – follow closely what is happening in Parliament, and write, blog and tweet about it. This means that politics is becoming more open, and much more public, which I think is a good thing. But it does mean that we are all much more aware of what our representatives are doing at all times.

        Against that background, I would urge you to do all you can, even at this late stage, in pushing for the Bill to be dropped so that it can be debated properly after the election.

      • An Open Letter to Siôn Simon, Pete Wishart, David Lammy, Peter Luff, John Robertson, Stephen Timms

        Dear Sirs,

        This evening, as the Second Reading of the Digital Economy Bill was heard in the House of Commons, you were watched by a great many people. Many of these people had never watched Parliament in session before. Almost universal was the horror and anger at the affront to the democratic process which was unfolding before our eyes.

        This letter is addressed to you because you stated your support for the bill, and helped ensure its passage to the compressed “wash-up” stage of proceedings, despite the wide-ranging, contentious and to many unknown provisions it includes. Some of you expressed your dismay at the contempt shown for the House, the lack of scrutiny which has been afforded, and your deep concerns with respect to certain provisions. Despite this, you pledged your support for the bill, in one case claiming to “do so under duress”.

      • They Work For The BPI
      • What we do next

        What a debacle. Measures to allow disconnection of individuals from the internet, for undefined periods of time, web blocking laws; all with no real scrutiny and limited debate.

      • The Digital Economy Bill has passed

        Fortunately such a party already exists, the Pirate Party. Everyone who cares about these issues should join it. (If you doubt the truth of this assertion, just ask yourself what would IFPI, the BPI, the RIAA, or the MPAA want you to do? Would they want you to join the Pirate Party, or would they prefer it if you despondently admitted defeat and gave up?)

      • Digital Economy Bill passes

        Something important and wonderful was happening online. This is the type of democratic engagement that politicians supposedly dream of. They want our votes, they want us to care, they want us to be involved. Unless it is about something that has already been decided and negotiated by the powers-that-be, in that case we just become a nuisance, part of an annoying self-referential minority that can be easily ignored. It’s back to business as usual. It is precisely this disconnect between genuine public interest and the vested interest of powerful lobbyists what is destroying democracy. When people tuned in to watch the debate online, they could witness with their own eyes just how undemocratic the entire system is. Letters do not matter, what matters is the sickening toadying MP making reference to Feargal Sharkey’s Undertones, while sycophantily winking at him in the stands.

      • Minister for Digital Britain thinks an IP address is an “Intellectual Property address”

        The Right Honourable Stephen Timms is the UK’s “Minister for Digital Britain.” He’s the guy behind the Digital Economy Bill, which makes the US DMCA look good by comparison. Seriously, this is some terrible, terrible lawmaking.

        Here’s what appears to be a letter the DigiMini sent to another MP, explaining why the Digital Economy Bill needs to go forward. It reads, in part, “Copyright owners are currently able to go on-line (sic), look for material to which they hold the copyright and identify unauthorised sources for that material. They can then seek to download a copy of that material and in so doing capture information about the source including the Intellectual Property (IP) address…”

        If this letter is genuine (and it seems to be), it means that the guy who’s in charge of Britain’s digital future thinks that the “IP” in “IP address” stands for “Intellectual Property.”

      • The DEBill, and why we’re *really* screwed

        Last night, along with most of the geeks in the country, I watched the Digital Economy Bill get rammed through the Commons thanks to a combination of a whipped vote and some supine opposition. It’s not really worth me trying to articulate the combination of rage, frustration and disappointment that I felt, because others have done this far better than I can already. But once I’d had a few hours sleep, while I was walking the dog I managed to gather some thoughts coherent enough to be worth trying to type out.

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 3 – Episode 4: State of the Oceans (2006)

Links 9/4/2010: Ubuntu 10.10, Android’s Contribution to Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 7:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • TLLTS Ep. #348 – Ogg
  • Becoming a “Linux Security Artist”

    As I mentioned before, the architecture of Linux follows closely the architecture of the Unix systems. A relatively small monolithic kernel with libraries and utilities that add functionality to it.

    This alone adds security value, since it allows the end user to turn off a lot of services (both hosted and network services) that they do not need, and if left to run on the system would create more avenues and possibilities for attacks.

    For example, the average desktop system acts as a client for services, not as a server. Turning off these services means that other people across the network cannot attach to them. In the early days of Linux a lot of distributions would be distributed with the services turned on when you installed and booted them the first time. This was under the mistaken impression that having the services running would make them easier to administer, but security people quickly pointed out that having the services running at installation time (before needed patches could be applied) also left the systems, however briefly, open to attack. Now most, if not all, distributions install with these services turned off and you are instructed to turn them on at the proper time, hopefully after you have applied needed patches.

  • Graphics Stack

    • Open-Source ATI Evergreen Acceleration Builds Up

      While up to this point AMD has only cleared Evergreen shader documents for release to the general public, the developers at AMD responsible for working on the open-source support have been working on some code too for this Radeon HD 5000 series support. The Linux 2.6.34 kernel has kernel mode-setting (KMS) support for the ATI Radeon HD 5000 series graphics cards, but it goes without any 2D/3D/X-Video acceleration support. There’s also DDX Evergreen support allowing these “R800″ class GPUs to work with user-space mode-setting. That’s really been the extent of the open-source support though for these graphics cards that are a few months old.

    • Concerns Over Merging Drivers Back Into The X Server

      While development efforts within the X.Org community are now ramping up for the release of X Server 1.9 that should arrive in August, there is an ongoing discussion concerning a planned long-term change for the X Server: pulling the drivers back in.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • KDE 4.4 Positive Spin

      KDE 4 right now is an awesome desktop and doesn’t need to retroactively justify the earlier releases.

      Instead focus on a clear listing of the improvements and features, and maybe even engage in a little self-depreciation and poke a bit of fun at the 4.0 release along the way. Let people know what they are missing today if they decide not to give KDE another look.

      Try to re-capture those that might have left KDE! Don’t burn calories calling them liars – they obviously at one point cared enough to give 4.0 a try, I bet they could be convinced to give 4.4 a try as well –hopefully with a different result!

  • Distributions

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Beta 2 Has GNOME 2.30 and Revamped Installer

        A few minutes ago, the Ubuntu development team unleashed the second and final Beta release of the upcoming Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) operating system, due for launch at the end of this month. As usual, we’ve downloaded a copy of it in order to keep you up-to-date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS development.

      • Eye On Ubuntu 10.10

        As you may have heard, Mark Shuttleworth announced his vision for Ubuntu 10.10 a few days ago. Without prejudicing the more pressing release of Ubuntu 10.04 in a couple weeks, here are some thoughts on what Shuttleworth said, and what we can expect from Ubuntu 10.10 in October 2010.

      • Ubuntu: Consumer ready, Enterprise grade.

        What’s the best new feature coming to Lucid? You could even call this one Lucid’s killer feature.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Beta 2 Released [Screenshots]

        Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Beta 2 doesn’t come with drastic visual changes, but there are quite a few minor improvements and tweaks. In this post I’ll try to cover all the changes made since Beta 1 (see also: Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Beta 1 screenshots).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Will Linux succeed through the Android OS?

      Last week I finally dumped my Blackberry smartphone and got myself one of the Verizon Droid phones; specifically the Droid Eris. I was waiting for the Nexus One to come to Verizon Wireless for quite some time and when I read that it was to be offered through Google only (unlocked and without a contract deal) for $530, I said forget about it. I will go to the store instead and get one of the Droid phones (Motorola Droid & HTC Droid Eris).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Let he who is without proprietary features cast the first stone

    If the recent debate about open core licensing has proven one thing, it is that the issue of combining proprietary and open source code continues to be a controversial one.

  • Oracle

    • Better Default Settings, Anyone?

      OK, OK! All of you who raised your hand and are hopping in your seats to get called upon for your suggestions, click here. If your hand is sort of wavering at shoulder height and you need a little more urging, read on for more info on “Better Defaults”, the new subproject of Project Renaissance which just began in the UX community.


    • Why Is Free, Open Source Software So Great?

      All what I’m going to write here, is likely to be considered happening in a world that, even not perfect, is a bit better of the real world we all live in together; a world where software patents don’t exist, as they bring out the worst part of legal troubles, and heavily step into the Freedom given by Free Software.

    • FOSS: The Consideration Bridge

      Back in the days when the FSF was finding it’s feet Richard and others began this amazing process of taking functional proprietary tools and recreating these tools as free software, drop-in replacements. This process of “doing all the boring bits” really set the technical foundations and I think is why a lot of people were really amazed by the principled dedication and out of this grew respect.


      The open source movement grew out of the lack of compromise in the Free Software community, but it’s grown further from being just about inviting businesses into a friendly arena and into a more pragmatics’ hiding hole, there are no difficult questions to answer, and free as in beer software is how it’s all advertised with no further explanation about how it became free in the first place.


  • Lawsuits

    • How Pfizer And The US Gov’t Set Up A Fake Subsidiary To Take The Brunt Of Lawsuit Over Falsely Marketed Drugs

      The pharmaceutical industry is a huge mess, which has little, if anything, to do with making people healthy. The way the system is currently designed, if it’s more profitable for a pharmaceutical company to put you at greater risk, it will do so. And sometimes the US gov’t will help them brush it under the rug. Reader Bill Pickett points us to a recent investigative report concerning the big, high-publicity lawsuit the US gov’t filed against Pfizer, after the company blatantly went against FDA approvals and marketed a drug for all sorts of alternative uses, which the FDA had specifically noted could be dangerous and could put people at greater risk.

    • Son Files Harassment Charges Against Mother for Facebook Posts

      Denise New’s 16 year old son filed charges against her last month and requested a no contact order after he claims she posted slanderous entries about him on the social networking site. New says she was just trying to monitor what he was posting.

    • Cuyahoga County Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold files $50 million lawsuit against The Plain Dealer and others

      A Cuyahoga County judge sued The Plain Dealer and affiliated companies Wednesday, claiming that they breached a Web site privacy policy when stories linked an e-mail account used by the judge to a series of online comments related to some of the judge’s high-profile cases.

  • Science

    • Touring The Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Site In 2010

      While the nuclear accident of 1986 is what Chernobyl is known for, there were two other nuclear accidents of smaller magnitude that took place at this nuclear power plant before it was finally decommissioned in the year 2000. In 1982, there was a smaller accident within Chernobyl’s Reactor #1, but it was not nearly as significant and the reactor returned to an operational state within months. In 1991, there was a fire in Reactor #2 that caused severe damage and ultimately led to the shutdown of this nuclear reactor. Reactor #4 is home to the infamous Chernobyl accident. The other reactors were not permanently shutdown immediately as Ukraine was dependent upon Chernobyl for its electricity production and for the country it would not make economic sense to prematurely discontinue the use of the other reactors. Reactor #1 was permanently decommissioned in 1996 and Reactor #3 was finally retired from operation in 2000.

  • Finance

    • MEPs scrutinise summit solutions to euro-zone’s hardship

      European Council President Herman Van Rompuy found MEPs in trenchant mood Wednesday when he reported back to them on the conclusions reached by European leaders at their summit last month. MEPs took a critical look at the summit’s solutions to the current euro-zone crisis, with many demanding a more ambitious European approach to current difficulties


      Austrian Socialist Hannes Swoboda disagreed, saying the summit was disappointing, especially on Greece. He said that leaving help in the hands of the IMF meant giving up a common economic policy in favour of a technocratic approach. “The Council is like the Titanic – they hit an iceberg and as a response they set up a task-force.”

    • Goldman’s spirited defence

      Of course, Goldman has become the proxy for all attacks on the role financial firms played in the crisis, so its boss does not enjoy the same latitude as Dimon. Nor are Blankfein’s words likely to silence his critics — short of closing the bank down, nothing will. His letter underscores the jam Goldman’s in. But it is, at least, a spirited defence.

    • Goldman denies betting against mortgage clients

      The New York-based firm received $10 billion of taxpayer aid in the credit crisis, which it repaid in June. That money led politicians and pundits to blame Goldman Sachs for profiting from taxpayers. Labor unions led protests calling for bonus payments to be canceled, and a Rolling Stone magazine writer last year labeled the firm a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity” and criticized it for selling securities backed by subprime mortgages.

    • Goldman Sachs calls for more financial regulation

      Why should Goldman have to pay for mitigating the risk of its deal-partners when the SEC or the Fed can do Goldman’s work for it — on the taxpayer dime?

    • Goldman Seeks Leave to Foreclose on Sawgrass Resort

      Goldman Sachs Mortgage Co., the lender to the owners of Florida’s Sawgrass Marriott Resort, asked a bankruptcy court for permission to take over and sell the company’s assets.

    • Goldman Sachs’ Revolving Door

      Crony Capitalism. Government influence buying. Insider information and trading schemes, derivatives and market manipulations, shadow banking.

      Goldman Sachs is arguably the most powerful financial institution since the House of Morgan, during the Robber Barron days of capitalisms ‘Golden Age’ of the turn of the 19th century.

    • Goldman Sachs Didn’t Profit From Mortgage Defaults, But It Tried

      We’re good guys, really!

      Goldman Sachs, the publicly vilified former investment bank famously nicknamed a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity” by Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi for the way its seemingly wraps its tentacles around every far flung money-making opportunity, issued a defense in its annual letter to shareholders this week. The company did not benefit by wagering that the mortgages behind the securities it originally issued and sold would default, it said. Goldman’s chief operating officer Gary Cohn wrote in the letter: “The firm did not generate enormous net revenues or profits by betting against residential mortgage-related products, as some have speculated.”

    • Goldman Sachs Has No Apologies

      The company, which received $10 billion in preferred stock investment from the U.S. Treasury through the Troubled Assets Relief Program in October 2008, downplayed the aid it received from the federal government in the midst of the crisis.

    • Why Is Goldman Sachs Revisiting AIG?

      Then there is AIG. In today’s letter Goldman continues to insist that its “direct economic exposure to AIG was minimal” and that Goldman limited “overall credit exposure to AIG through a combination of collateral and market hedges.” Goldman’s primary exposure to AIG was through some $10 billion of insurance Goldman purchased on super-senior CDO tranches. When AIG became insolvent, that insurance did not look too secure. But Goldman and other banks were made whole, collecting 100 cents on the dollar, by the U.S. government. First, AIG used bailout cash it received from the government to post collateral that Goldman was allowed to keep. Second, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York purchased the CDOs directly from Goldman and the other banks.

      As for Goldman’s hedges–they remain unclear. Tim Geithner, who headed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the time of the bailout, has said he never inspected them. The Special Inspector General for TARP has said Goldman might have had difficulty collecting on the credit protection it had bought on AIG. Goldman believes that it would have been able to collect.

    • Goldman Sachs Trader Hedayat Said to Leave Firm

      Ali Hedayat, co-head in the Americas of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s largest internal hedge fund, has left the firm, the second senior departure from the unit in less than a month, said three people familiar with the matter.

    • Another Executive Said to Exit Goldman Fund Unit

      In what would mark the second high-profile departure in less than a month from Goldman Sachs’s Principal Strategies unit, Ali Hedayat, the co-head in the Americas of the bank’s largest internal hedge fund has left the firm, Bloomberg News reported, citing three people with knowledge of the matter.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Pirate Party and Philip Nitschke teach seniors to hack filter

      Pro-euthanasia group Exit International is holding national hacking crash-courses in how to bypass the Federal Government’s planned ISP-level Internet content filter with help from the Australian Pirate Party.

      The first of eight “Hacking Masterclasses” was held in Chatswood NSW on Thursday last week, and drew about 50 elderly people — some bearing laptops. Exit International director and controversial Australian physician, Philip Nitschke, created the class to help the elderly access euthanasia-assistance material online, following fears that the Internet filter will block access to the information.

    • ISP Privacy Proposal Draws Fire

      A proposal to let Internet service providers conceal the contact information for their business customers is drawing fire from a number of experts in the security community, who say the change will make it harder to mitigate the threat from spam and malicious software.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Verizon CEO: Other nations ‘not even close’ to U.S. in broadband

      Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg on Tuesday subtly slammed the premise of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, stressing the United States was already the envy of other countries in broadband adoption.

      Even though the FCC argues otherwise — chiefly presenting its broadband recommendations as a way to expand high-speed Internet services while returning the U.S. market to the top of the world rankings — Seidenberg said it was other nations that lagged behind.

      “One. Not even close,” the CEO said of the U.S. market’s broadband standing during a discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations.

    • Verizon CEO: Studies be damned, US is tops in broadband

      Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg sat down for an on-the-record conversation yesterday at the Council for Foreign Relations, and he pulled no punches: the US is number one in the world when it comes to broadband. We’re so far ahead of everyone else, it’s “not even close.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TheWrap’s Cease & Desist Letter to Newser

      (“Newser”), and any agent or affiliate of Newser, immediately cease and desist using The Wrap as a source for Newser content. Newser is not following industry best practices, is intentionally misleading consumers/users at the expense of The Wrap and at the expense of other unnamed sources, and has effectually demonstrated no intention to allow consumers/users to logically and easily ascertain the source of Newser articles.”

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright and wrong

        The moral case, although easy to sympathise with, is a way of trying to have one’s cake and eat it. Copyright was originally the grant of a temporary government-supported monopoly on copying a work, not a property right. From 1710 onwards, it has involved a deal in which the creator or publisher gives up any natural and perpetual claim in order to have the state protect an artificial and limited one. So it remains.

        The question is how such a deal can be made equitably. At the moment, the terms of trade favour publishers too much. A return to the 28-year copyrights of the Statute of Anne would be in many ways arbitrary, but not unreasonable. If there is a case for longer terms, they should be on a renewal basis, so that content is not locked up automatically. The value society places on creativity means that fair use needs to be expanded and inadvertent infringement should be minimally penalised. None of this should get in the way of the enforcement of copyright, which remains a vital tool in the encouragement of learning. But tools are not ends in themselves.

      • Yes, Authors Have Copyright Issues With Quoting Others As Well

        Much of his concern is how these costs will multiply in an age of ebooks, but it seems like a serious enough issue from the start. Just the fact that authors who are discussing and building on the works of others are being blocked due to copyright is hugely problematic. In this context, it hardly sounds like the new works would act as substitutes for the old works at all — but could actually drive more interest in those original works. It’s difficult to see why or how copyright policy makes sense in these cases.

      • If ‘Piracy’ Is Killing Filmmaking, Why Do Nigeria, China And India Have Thriving Movie Businesses?

        Another point that he found was that the movie makers recognized they needed to “compete” with unauthorized copies, and priced things accordingly — so that the price wasn’t all that different than the unauthorized VCDs. Now, that did mean that some of the movies produced in these countries were quite low budget — but, again, if you combine a higher quality movie with a real reason to buy (see in the theater/additional benefits for buying) there’s no reason why big Hollywood movies can’t take advantage of the same economics.

      • Are There More Copyright ‘Pre-Settlement’ Groups Setting Up Shop In The US?

        We recently covered how a recently created outfit going by the name US Copyright Group, had launched tens of thousands of lawsuits (some of which appear to be quite questionable from a legal standpoint), as part of what appeared to be an attempt at copying the efforts of companies like DigiProtect and ACS:Law in Europe (where such practices have been widely condemned). The lawsuits appear to be a smokescreen to get contact information for people to whom this “company” can send “pre-settlement” letters, in which they’re told to pay up to avoid the lawsuit.

        Considering that this pseudo-shakedown is apparently lucrative in Europe, perhaps others are preparing to do the same in the US as well. A reader who prefers to remain anonymous, but who works for a small ISP, passed along an email he recently received from what appears to be a newish operation called the Copyright Enforcement Group, whose website has a mock law enforcement shield on it.

    • ACTA

      • USTR Releases Openness Plan, While Celebrating That It’s In The Pocket Of Industry Lobbyists

        We were confused a few weeks ago when the USTR started promoting letters from lobbyists in support of ACTA. After all, of course the lobbyists want ACTA. They’re the ones who wrote much of it in the first place. In the meantime, thousands have been writing the USTR to express their concerns about ACTA… but the USTR doesn’t bother mentioning them at all. It’s as if the USTR is flat-out admitting that it’s controlled by the lobbyists.

      • ACTA will undermine European Parliament’s power in IP matters

        An ACTA Oversight Committee will undermine the European Parliament’s power in intellectual property rights enforcement, according to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). A recently leaked Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) document shows negotiating parties want to create an “Oversight Committee”, which is planned to supervise the implementation and consider the further development of ACTA. It may also address “disputes that may arise regarding the interpretation or application” of ACTA.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • Digital economy bill rushed through wash-up in late night session
      • Digital Economy Bill: Proposed By The Unelected, Debated By The Ignorant, Voted On By The Absent

        With the UK’s Digital Economy Bill rushed through with little real debate, it’s worth looking at the ignorance behind those who supported and pushed through the bill. The more you look, the more you realize they didn’t even understand the very basics of what they were talking about. As some have noted it was “a bill proposed by the unelected, debated by the ignorant and voted on by the absent.”

      • Internet provider defies digital bill

        TalkTalk’s refusal to cooperate with ‘draconian’ anti-piracy measures reflect growing resistance to the digital economy bill

      • Digital Economy Bill – it’s a wash up

        It looks like much of the Digital Economy Bill will make it through to get Royal Assent by the end of the week.

        The Bill is now in much better shape than when first tabled by the Government last year – the ability of the Government to impose disconnection at will has been checked and the Henry VIII clause that literally allowed the Government to do anything else to reduce copyright infringement has been removed.

        However, many draconian proposals remain such as the responsibility on customers to protect their home networks from hacking at a collective cost of hundreds of millions of pounds a year, the presumption that they are guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent and, as in China, the potential for legitimate search engines and websites to be blocked.

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 3 – Episode 3: Enemies of the Environment (2006)


Links 8/4/2010: New Mandriva CEO, Debian Mini Conference in Germany

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ubuntu Claims 12 Million Users Even Before Lucid Lynx, But on What Basis?

    This is not even close to Fedora’s claims of its desktop installation user base of 24 million. The new Ubuntu marks a milestone with its LTS release. This release will be supported for the next three years.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 91
  • Sony

  • Server

    • Creating cloud infrastructures

      You don’t want to throw your server hardware away, but using the AWS sounds cool to you? Maybe you want your own private cloud that is interface-compatible to the AWS. With Eucalyptus, an open source solution exists. Eucalyptus provides the EC2, S3 and EBS functionality and you can use the same open source tools for managing your private cloud that you already know from the AWS. The Eucalyptus team provides packages for CentOS, Ubuntu, openSUSE and Debian, as well as source packages. The easiest way to install Eucalyptus is the Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition because this distribution already contains Eucalyptus. Give the cloud a try.

    • US weather meisters buy mini Cray

      The implication is that Cray is in the running now for the next big upgrade at NCAR. And since NCAR is dabbling with Windows HPC Server as well as Linux in addition to its big production AIX supers, you can bet that NCAR would love to have a box that could run either Windows or Linux, which a super based on Xeon or Opteron processors can do. (IBM’s Power-based supers can run either AIX or Linux, except for the BlueGene machines, which are restricted to Linux.)

    • IBM widens data analytics fleet

      The Linux partition runs Cognos 8 analytics and InfoSphere Warehouse; these are the special mainframe Linux editions of those programs. This partition is capable of doing the analytic work for between 5 and 10,000 users, depending on how many processors in the System z10 box you dedicate to it. The bundle includes some base DS8000 storage arrays as well, but does not include the Linux license, which you need to buy separately from Red Hat or Novell.

  • Applications

    • Evolutionary development of a semantic patch using Coccinelle

      Creating patches is usually handwork; fixing one specific issue at a time. Once in a while though, there is janitorial work to be done or some infrastructure to change. Then, a larger number of issues have to be taken care of simultaneously, yet all of them are following the same basic pattern, e.g. a replacement. Such tasks are often addressed at the source-code level using scripts in sed, perl, and the like. This article examines the usage of Coccinelle, a tool targeted at exactly those kinds of repetitive patching jobs. Because Coccinelle understands C syntax, though, it can handle those jobs much more easily.

    • Visualizing open source projects and communities

      Visualization is a critical tool for exploring and understanding large amounts of data. Thanks to the computer power of the 21st century it has become possible to visualize ever-expanding amounts of data. Because the open source development model is massively decentralized and network-centric, it is by its nature the perfect domain for graph-based visualizations. Connections or dependencies between projects, communities, and code commits can be explored and displayed in a lot of ways. These visualizations can give us a unique perspective on open source projects and communities, such as fundamental differences in their approach.

    • Linux Recipe for DVD Creation

      One thing that’s taken me a while to find is a suite of programs to create video DVDs from scratch for home videos. From capturing, editing, authoring, and burning to a DVD. Finally, I’ve found a solution that is 100% done on Linux from start to finish, and it works better than the proprietary products I’ve used in the past that cost hundreds of dollars. Here’s what I have found to work very well:

      Capturing – Kino. Kino is a great and lightweight program. It works flawlessly and can capture to AVI, DV, or Quicktime DV. It integrates perfectly to my video camera that is connected by firewire (Kino can preview and control the video camera right within its own interface). I can even do other tasks while it is capturing, which I could NOT do in Windows programs like Adobe Premier.

    • Kleo Bare Metal Back for Linux

      Kleo Bare Metal Backup has finally made backing up a machine just about as simple as it can be. And the restoration is just as easy. If you are looking for a free, easy to use backup solution give Kleo a try…you might never turn back!


      Kleo comes in a handy live distribution. So what you need to do is download the ISO image, burn it onto CD (or you can put it onto USB with the help of Unetbootin), boot it up, and walk through the wizard.Now before you think Kleo is going to offer some clunky, kludgy ncurses-like interface, think again. When you boot up Kleo you will be surprised to find it boots into a typical GNOME desktop (see Figure 1). In fact, I am writing this article from the Kleo desktop!

    • Proprietary

    • Instructionals

      • How it works: Linux audio explained

        There’s a problem with the state of Linux audio, and it’s not that it doesn’t always work. The issue is that it’s overcomplicated. This soon becomes evident if you sit down with a piece of paper and try to draw the relationships between the technologies involved with taking audio from a music file to your speakers: the diagram soon turns into a plate of knotted spaghetti. This is a failure because there’s nothing intrinsically more complicated about audio than any other technology. It enters your Linux box at one point and leaves at another.

      • Kernel APIs, Part 3: Timers and lists in the 2.6 kernel
  • Distributions

    • 6 Tools to Easily Create Your Own Custom Linux Distro

      While it’s hard to make the claim that there aren’t enough Linux distros out there, it’s also hard to escape the fact that no distribution is all things to all people. There are all kinds of reasons to consider rolling your own, but many people never make the attempt because it seems like such a huge undertaking. Fortunately, with modern software we can create new distros, remixes, and custom configurations in a matter of minutes instead of months. Here, we’ll showcase some of the current software tools that make this so easy.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Announces Arnaud Laprévote as CEO

        Mandriva today announced that its board of directors has named Arnaud Laprévote on the 24th of March to serve as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

        Arnaud Laprévote succeeds Stanislas Bois. Arnaud will surround himself with Hervé Yahi, Chief Stategic Officer and Stanislas Bois, Chief Financial Officer at Mandriva.

        Arnaud Laprévote will also hold the position of Chief Technical Officer and of Director of Research and Development.

    • Debian Family

      • First Debian Mini Conference to be held in Germany

        The Debian Project, the team behind the free Debian operating system, is pleased to announce that the first Debian Mini Conference in Germany will take place on the 10th and 11th of June in Berlin as a subconference of this year’s LinuxTag. LinuxTag is one of the most important Open Source Events in Europe and takes place from June 9th to 12th on the Berlin Fairgrounds.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 codenamed Maverick Meerkat

          Ubuntu 10.10 will be codenamed Maverick Meerkat, as Canonical pushes social-networking services to the forefront of the popular open-source distro.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 codenamed Maverick Meerkat

          Unitrends, the leader in affordable, vertically integrated, disk-based all-in-one data protection appliances, today announced that all of its backup appliances have been certified for use with the Ubuntu operating environment through a partnership with Canonical, the commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu project. Unitrends now supports Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix, Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop Edition, and Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition and is actively working to certify Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

        • Recent announcements from:

          – Unitrends announced that all of its backup appliances have been certified for use with the Ubuntu operating environment through a partnership with Canonical, the commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu project. Unitrends now supports Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix, Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop Edition, and Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition and is actively working to certify Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

        • New User Interface and Logo for Ubuntu 10.4

          The new Ubuntu will have a much more stylish design which seems to have influences from both Microsoft and Apple. According to Ubuntu’s branding page, the overall design theme from 2004-2010 was “human”, while the new version uses “light” as its overall theme.

        • Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Boots In 3.6 Seconds [Using SSD]

          The upcoming release of Ubuntu, i.e Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, is already showing signs that it boots fast – very very fast if you are using SSD. The Ubuntu developers will probably not be able to achieve the 10-second boot that they were aiming for in Ubuntu 10.04, but an Ubuntu Developer, Benjamin Drung, has managed to boot Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx in 3.6 seconds using SSD. On a normal spindle-based hard disk, such booting times, of course, cannot be achieved due to the mechanical parts that are involved.

        • Canonical’s desktop Linux OS fitted with new look and feel

          Providing an alternative to the Microsoft-dominated desktop, Canonical later this month will offer a version of its desktop Linux OS featuring a new look and feel, faster boot speed and accommodations for social networks.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ARM9 SoCs feature programmable I/O controller

      Shipping initially with Linux, with a Windows CE version due later this year, the AM1x SoCs support applications ranging from smart metering and Point-of-Service (PoS) devices all the way up to home and industrial automation with the high-end AM1808. In addition, the processors offer pin-compatibility with the OMAP-L1x line of DSP-enabled SoCs, such as the OMAP-L138 model, which shipped last year with a TI TMS320C6748 DSP.

    • Linux-ready SoC touted for video analytics

      Texas Instruments has spun a new IP camera system-on-chip (SoC) that enables 1080p video and analytics for the video surveillance market. The TMS320DMVA1 SoC combines an ARM9 core, a new Vision analytics co-processor, and a codec co-processor, and is offered in a Linux-ready DMVA1 IP camera reference design, says TI.

    • Android

      • Analyst Angle: Android in Japan

        Android, the mobile operating system from Google, is on a tear. Because it is free and open source, there are now 24 different Android devices available from 61 operators in 49 countries. Last month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced that Android is selling 60,000 handsets every day. At that rate, and if Google continues to double sales every quarter, we can expect to see 25 million Android handsets this year. Most of this market share expansion is at the expense of Windows Mobile.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Free Netbook OSes

        Ubuntu Netbook Remix

        Also known as Ubuntu Netbook Edition, this is one of the earliest and best known netbook-optimized OSes. UNR basically contains optimizations for Intel Atom processors which are used in most netbooks today, as well as a new application launcher and other tweaks that make it easier to use on small screens. However it’s still very recognizable as a full Linux OS and nothing is stripped out, as opposed to other oversimplified PDA-style interfaces with icons for programs and nothing deeper.

      • IBM puts cloud on Ubuntu netbook

        In an interesting hook-up, IBM collaborated with Indian outfit Simmtronics to make a netbook which runs the new Ubuntu Netbook Remix operating system.

      • iPad falls short on cloud integration

        Somewhat to my surprise, I’m equally as excited about the upcoming Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid) release for netbooks as I am by the iPad. The iPad is not yet a netbook-killer.

      • Apple’S Ipad And Its Operating Function

        The huge problem is that there is no multithreading technology. This means that your $600+ tablet computer can only run one application at a time just like your iPhone. For some who like multitasking while using a computer this is a big let down. Even the cheapest sub $300 netbooks running Linux can handle multiple applications at one time and that hardware is quite a bit less powerful than what the iPad has.

      • Google Android fonts now available on a netbook

        So the Android operating system seems to be catching on with many folks these days in a myriad of devices, so why not adorn your little netbook with fonts from the Google Android OS instead? Developed by Ascender Corporation’s Steve Matteson, this custom family of fonts including Droid Sans, Droid Sans Mono, and Droid Serif are sure to spruce up your netbook whenever you type out a geeky document.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Microsoft to soon face competition from Russia

    Written completely from scratch, ReactOS will run all softwares that are supported by Windows XP. An initial pre-launch version (alpha) has been launched and the final version is expected in the next few months. Users such as Nirmalya Mukherjee, a programmer based in Kolkata, said using free software is better than downloading pirated version of the Windows software.

  • KnowledgeTree Announces Sponsorship of Fifth Annual 2010 Open Source Think Tank

    The Think Tank is hosted by Olliance Group, the leading independent open source business and strategy consulting firm and DLA Piper, the leading global legal services practice providing services to the open source industry. This year’s event focuses on the next evolutionary phase of commercial open source and will address customer adoption trends, the impact of SaaS and cloud computing, the growing complexity of the ecosystem and industry consolidation.

  • Open source Qubes OS alpha available

    The security researcher who invented malware known as Blue Pill has come up with a secure open source operating system called Qubes OS that is available for alpha-testing downloads.

  • The Many Flavors of Open Source eCommerce

    Everywhere I go, I am constantly asked, “which open source cart is the BEST?” But that’s not fair; it’s like asking which child is my favorite.

  • Sh*tMyDadSays Moves To StatusNet Open-Source Twitter Clone

    StatusNet, the open-source microblogging service that serves as the foundation for identi.ca, announced the launch of the Shit My Dad Says website yesterday afternoon. The site will run on the service’s SatusNet Cloud Service, which also powers a community-driven microblog for the Mozille Foundation.

    According to StatusNet CEO Evan Prodromou, the main point to move a service like SMDS to StatusNet is that the site owner can take control of advertising revenue, while still being able to send out content to other services.

  • Liferay Partner Network Expands Global Reach to Japan with Aegif

    Liferay, provider of the world’s leading enterprise-class, open source portal, announced a new partnership with Aegif, a leading provider of solutions and services to the Japanese market. In partnering with Aegif, Liferay will leverage the Tokyo-based firm’s expertise in the Japanese enterprise market and gain a local provider of training, consulting and support.

  • First Known Library in Kentucky Now Live on Evergreen

    Washington County Public Library is the first known library in Kentucky to go live with Evergreen, the consortial, open-source library automation software. Equinox Software provided assistance with the migration and will continue to provide ongoing technical support.

  • MphasiS witnesses significant growth in open source projects

    The recessionary period witnessed last year gave a big boost to the adoption of open source technologies. With customers looking to lower the total cost of ownership for their IT projects, players in the software services industry have been steadily adding open source components to their overall portfolio. A case in point is mid sized player, MphasiS, which has seen a gradual rise in the usage of open source technologies.

  • Tides Awards 2010 Pizzigati Prize to Yaw Anokwa

    This year’s Pizzigati Prize winner, Yaw Anokwa, will be accepting the award in Atlanta today at the NTEN 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference. He’ll be accepting on behalf of a team of University of Washington doctoral students who have crafted, in Open Data Kit, an open source application that unleashes the mobile phone’s social change potential.

  • SaaS

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Chief Architect to Reveal MySQL Strategy

      “We’re looking forward to outlining our plans for MySQL and providing the development community with deeper insight into the enhancements they can expect right now and moving forward,” Screven said in a statement released Thursday.

      MySQL “is strategic to Oracle,” he added.


      Oracle released a list of pledges regarding MySQL in December, including promises to continue making the database available through the General Public License; to not require customers to buy support from Oracle in order to get a commercial MySQL license; and to boost spending on research and development.

  • Funding

    • VC Funding for FLOSS Dips in 2009: Rebound in 2010?

      But the good news is that open source vendors pulled ahead of the pack. Aslett writes that “OSS-related vendors fared better in terms of investment compared to software as a whole.” This takes into account 67 deals, with a dip of 25% year over year from 2008. The total investment bill came in at about $375 million.

  • BSD

  • Education

    • We must learn to put the virtual world at the heart of our education system

      The second reason was that it was based on the principle of “open source”, meaning that the software is free to install and use. Open-source software is fundamentally different to the business model used by most 20th-century software companies, who still write software and then sell licences.

      If you want to change the software to suit your needs, you pay the originator of the software to make the changes and the software remains the property of originator. Open-source software, on the other hand, is available to anyone to take, change and enhance as they need and then share their experiences.

  • Transparency/Government

    • Obama White House unveils ‘open government’ plans

      Want to investigate — er, research — the Obama administration?

      The White House announced “open government” plans today for all Cabinet agencies, calling them road maps “for making transparency, citizen participation and collaboration part of the way they work.”

    • Got Transparency? Agencies Release Open Government Plans

      One of President Obama’s major campaign promises was to bring more transparency to government, and the administration has launched several Web sites–including the stimulus-tracking recovery.gov, and the IT Dashboard, which tracks government spending.

    • Election 2010: The main parties’ technology policies

      The Tories also say they will encourage departments to use open source software, and work on the assumption that projects should not cost more than £100m. A Conservative government would also publish all Gateway reviews. In the past, the party has also pledged to scrap the child database Contactpoint and ID cards.

  • Openness

    • Open Source Culture: The End of Artistic Ownership?

      Open-source culture. What does this bring to mind? For some, it represents freedom: freedom to speak, freedom to share, and freedom to change. Yet, to others, the words sound a death-knell. To them, anything open-source is dangerous. Sherman Alexie, a novelist, was quoted in an interview: “With the open-source culture on the Internet, the idea of ownership — of artistic ownership — goes away… it terrifies me.” I must respectfully disagree. Artistic ownership can not go away simply by sharing it freely with the world, by allowing others to contribute their own ideas and solutions. When you freely share your own creativity with the world, it is still your own property. Licenses similar to the GPL for software, or Creative Commons licenses preserve original thought, while still freely sharing your creations. Others may make their own changes, just so long as they attribute the original work to you. Of course, this is a decision to be made by the content creator; if you do not want others messing with it, you have that legal right.

    • 3D Printing Helps Fuel Open Source Prosthetics Project

      Makerbot, the affordable open-source 3D printer, has begun to experiment with the Open Prosthetics database, creating a prototype for the Trautman Hook, and posted the designs to the wiki.

    • Open Source Washing Machine Project: Developing Sustainable Laundry Machines for Developing Countries

      The Open Source Washing Machine Project (OSWASH), an innovative project developed several years ago by Jean-Noel Montagne, takes a different “spin” on washing machines for people in developing countries.

      Montagne developed the concept during an Open Source Hardware workshop for artists in Paris in 2008. The project was created in order to help the billions of people across the globe that do not have access to clean water, electricity and other basic amenities.

    • Open Source Music Finds Free Tunes On the Web

      Open Source Music will also lead you to contemporary music that includes New Age, Ska, and Indie Rock. The team beind the Web site makes regular podcasts of music they enjoy. Be sure to also check out the with-permission rebroadcasts of the populr radio show “Selvin on the City,” that features interviews wtih big name entertainers like Steve Miller and Sammay Hagar.


  • On projects and their goals

    Recently, we have seen two projects come under considerable criticism for the development directions that they have taken. Clearly, the development space that a project chooses to explore says a lot about what its developers’ interests are and where they see their opportunities in the future. These decisions also have considerable impact on users. But, your editor would contend, it’s time to give these projects a break. There is both room and need for different approaches to free software development.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Careless talk costs private lives

      The_lives_of_others Although this story emerged over the weekend, there can be little doubt that it requires full exposure and investigation.

      As reported by the Sunday Telegraph:

      Brussels is funding research at Reading University aimed at detecting suspicious behaviour on board aircraft.

    • Conservatives drop opposition to DNA proposals following Alan Johnson ultimatum

      The home secretary today accused the Tories of being “soft” on crime and threatened to throw the reforms out of the crime and security bill, should the Conservatives pursue their efforts to limit retention to three years.

      He said he would pull all provisions from the amendment bill today if the Tories refuse to sign up to the government’s plans – including a six-year retention limit – in full. The bill is destined for this afternoon’s wash-up session to complete the government’s legislative programme ahead of the dissolution of parliament for the election.

      Johnson told Sky News: “This is a basic example of how they [the Tories] talk tough on crime but act soft.”

    • Erasing David

      A feature documentary, Erasing David is the story of what happened when Filmmaker David Bond received a letter informing him that his daughter Ivy was among the 25 million children whose details were scandalously lost by HMRC in 2007.

      David decided to find out just how much of our personal information is floating around in government and corporate databases by disappearing for a month and setting two of the world’s top private investigators the task of tracking him down, using only publicly available data.

    • Second-hand goods shoppers told to leave thumbprints at stores in new police scheme

      Customers are being asked to leave a thumbprint when trading in second-hand goods for cash in order to stop criminals making money out of stolen items.

      A number of second-hand stores in Norwich have agreed to take part in the scheme, launched by local police.

      A police spokeswoman said the prints would help detectives trace sellers if goods turned out to be stolen.

    • North Yorkshire shop owner has stone willy seized by police

      Jason Hadlow, chairman of Yarm Town Council and owner of the Simply Dutch store in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, was left gobsmacked at the confiscation.

      Now he faces an £80 fine to get his 4ft high masonry manhood back – something he has refused to do.

      Mr Hadlow has instead ordered 150 more of the garden ornaments from Indonesia, 10 of which have already been sold.

    • Report: Fast-growing crime of identity theft has ‘faded’ as DOJ, FBI priority

      Identity theft is on the rise nationwide, yet in a report released Tuesday, federal investigators lament that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) efforts to combat such crimes have to some degree “faded as priorities.”

      According to the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General (IG), many of the suggestions pitched in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush’s task force on identity theft have yet to be implemented fully. As of March, the agency had not even appointed an official to oversee those efforts, according to the report.

  • Environment

    • The Great Barrier Reef scandal

      On 11 June 1770, six weeks or so after becoming the first European to make landfall on the east coast of Australia, Lieutenant James Cook unexpectedly ran aground. His ship, the Endeavour, had struck a reef now known as the Endeavour Reef, within a manifestly far bigger reef system, nearly 25 miles from shore. Only the urgent jettisoning of 50 tonnes of stores and equipment (including all but four of the ship’s guns), a delicate operation known as fothering (in which an old sail was drawn under the hull, effectively plugging the hole), Cook’s expert seamanship and a great deal of hard pumping saved the vessel and her crew.

  • Finance

    • Are Taxpayers Making Money Off Bailed Out Banks?

      Almost every day, I read in the paper that the goverment is making money off of the bank bailout. Papers love good news, even if it is has little to do with reality. Today, the Financial Times reported that the U.S. made $10 billion off bank repayments on the bailout funds. $10 billion, hooray! We are in the black!

      Unfortunately, our recent comprehensive bailout accounting puts taxpayers $2 trillion in the red. That is right, $2 trillion. While most of this money was in the form of loans, and American taxpayers might recoup those funds one day, it is foolish for the press to declare “Mission Accomplished” based on a thin study by the SNL Group. (Saturday Night Live strikes again?) Especially when taxpayers also lost $14 trillion in wages, retirement, college savings and housing wealth.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Leaked CIA Memo Suggests Spinning War Messaging

      A classified CIA memo (pdf) obtained by Wikileaks.org outlines public relations strategies that could be used to shore up French and German support for continuing the war in Afghanistan. In February, the Dutch government effectively collapsed over a dispute about whether the Netherlands should continue to keep its 2,000 troops posted in Afghanistan.

    • Media Feeds Americans Fake News About Afghanistan

      An egregious example of this occurred on February 12, 2010, when NATO’s joint international force issued a press release that bore the headline Joint Force Operating In Gardez Makes Gruesome Discovery. The release said that after “intelligence confirmed militant activity” in a compound near a village in Paktiya province, an international security force entered the compound and engaged “several insurgents” in a fire fight. Two “insurgents” were killed, the report said, and after the joint forces entered the compound, they “found the bodies of three women who had been tied up, gagged and killed.”

    • Citing Trig, Palin Says “Give Health Care Reform a Chance”

      While some Tea Party members accused Palin of “flip-flopping” on health care reform, Sean Hannity of FOX News disagreed: “Sarah Palin is not the extremist that much of the media likes to portray her and she supports bipartisan solutions when they make sense.” On the heels of last weekend’s campaign appearance for John McCain, Palin appears to be moving to expand her base in preparation for her expected presidential run in 2012.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Criminal inquiry under way to find source of Sarkozy affair rumours

      A criminal inquiry is under way in France to find the origin of internet rumours that President Sarkozy and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, his wife, were having affairs.

      The investigation was made public because the President’s advisers suggested that the rumours might have been started in an attempt to destabilise Mr Sarkozy’s position at a time when he is seeking to regulate global capitalism.

    • NHS Forth Valley apologies after patient records lost

      A computer failure at NHS Forth Valley led to the loss of records for all patients being treated at its audiology department, the BBC has learned.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Thinking Clearly about Spectrum and Property Rights

      To see what’s wrong with this, imagine if we implement a “property rights” regime in which we clear out the entire electromagnetic spectrum and auction it off to a single owner. You could call that a “property rights” system, but most people would just call it a monopoly. And this monopoly would be subject to precisely the same knowledge problem as the FCC. Central planning is hard regardless of whether you’re a private company or a government agency.

    • FCC Democrats determined to reclassify broadband

      Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission say the federal court’s decision regarding Comcast has renewed their resolve to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service in order to enact net neutrality regulations.

      “The only way the Commission can make lemonade out of this lemon of a decision is to do now what should have been done years ago: treat broadband as the telecommunications service that it is,” said Michael J. Copps, the senior Democratic member of the panel. “We should straighten this broadband classification mess out before the first day of summer.”

    • The BBC, DRM and the demise (?) of get_iplayer. what the hell is going on?

      It’s never nice to hear about the demise of a piece of simply brilliant software. when I discovered that get_iplayer was being pulled by its developer I was, to use a cliche, gutted. The potential loss of a piece of software that did just what it said on the tin is bad enough but it was impeccably free and open. What’s more, it was an example to the BBC about how things should be done. It was the work of one lone, unpaid developer, not the product of professional developers subsidised by the BBC licence. What happened exemplifies everything that is wrong with proprietary software.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Aspiro taking WiMP to Denmark

      WiMP, which is already available to Telenor customers in Norway, allows subscribers to stream unlimited music to PCs, Macs, Linux and mobile handsets powered by the Android OS for 99 kroner a month.

    • The Story Behind Facebook Threatening To Sue Developer Into Oblivion For Highlighting Useful Facebook Data

      Facebook’s lawyers have been getting pretty nasty lately. We recently covered the company’s threats against the creator of a useful Greasemonkey script, and now a developer named Pete Warden has shared the sordid details of his legal run-in with Facebook — where they threatened to sue him for his activity aggregating publicly available data found on Facebook.

    • Rupert Murdoch Doesn’t Recognize That There’s Competition Online

      Recent profiles of Murdoch have suggested he doesn’t use the web, so perhaps he doesn’t realize it, but there’s always somewhere else to go, and if News Corp. is so short-sighted to lock itself away from the open web, well that just opens up a much greater opportunity for his competitors to make sure they’re the place to go.

    • How “Dirty” MP3 Files Are A Back Door Into Cloud DRM

      All the big music sellers may have moved to non-DRM MP3 files long ago, but the watermarking of files with your personal information continues. Most users who buy music don’t know about the marking of files, or don’t care. Unless those files are uploaded to BitTorrent or other P2P networks, there isn’t much to worry about.

    • Copyright industry: Copyrights trump human rights?

      The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) is heavily involved in the Special 301 process, filing submissions every year on behalf of its member organizations, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It’s only natural that these trade associations would be concerned with intellectual property laws and their enforcement around the globe, since copyright is where their members make their livings. It’s less understandable, though, when they seem to argue that their exclusive economic rights should have priority over others’ basic human rights.

    • Newspapers Pushing For Hot News Doctrine May Find It Comes Back To Bite Them

      [A] really troubling aspect of all of this is that some newspaper industry lawyers have been pushing for massive changes to copyright law on the false belief that stricter copyright law for newspapers will somehow magically save them. One (but certainly not the only) aspect of this is an attempt to bring back the “hot news” doctrine, a concept that had been mostly considered dead. However, with some recent lawsuits, “hot news” is suddenly making a troubling comeback, much to the delight of some very short-sighted newspaper industry lawyers.

    • Hot news: The next bad thing

      Sadly, the “hot news” right is not as racy as it sounds. It does not offer legal protection for scantily clad celebrities. This is a legal right that extends far beyond copyright law to cover the facts of the news themselves; if I break the story, the hot news right allows me to stop competitors from repeating the facts – at least for as long as the story has immediate currency.

    • Digital Economy Bill

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season3 – Episode 2: Eco Dissent/Not Terrorism (2006)

Links 8/4/2010: Linux Probably Back to the PS3, Ubuntu GNU/Linux Users @ ~12 Million

Posted in News Roundup at 6:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Giving Credit Where Credit is Due…
  • Linux Outlaws 144 – No Muppetry Included (Corenominal Interview)

    In this special show we interview Philip Newborough aka. corenominal and his wife Becky about Crunchbang Linux and a lot of other pretty random stuff…

  • Linux logos are cool

    Linux logos are often a expression of feelings. Often they express a sense of humor, or great feel for esthetics. One of the reasons people use linux is because it’s possible to make it a personal experience.

  • Skills

  • Sony

    • Purported hack brings Linux back to the PS3

      Sony PlayStation 3 owners who held off on updating their systems in order to keep from losing the option to install alternate operating systems have a new glimmer of hope. Hacker George Hotz (a.k.a Geohot) has released a video of a new hack that promises to keep the alternate OS install feature, even with the 3.21 firmware update that was released last week.

    • Playstation 3 Update locks out Linux and Ubuntu, bricks consoles

      Opting to not download the update bars the user from accessing the Playstation Store, playing games online or playing any games or Blu-ray movies that require the 3.21 update to function.

    • x86 Server Standardization Does Not Equate to OS Pluralization

      And now, as of April 1, you’ll have a hard time finding Linux running on one particular high performance computing (HPC) platform — Sony’s PlayStation3. Since its launch, the original version of the games console has had the ability to run another OS as well as the gaming platform on its processor (although the newer “slim” models couldn’t). A new version of Sony’s PS3 firmware released in late March removed the option to run Linux on the PS3 once and for all.

      Why would anyone want to run Linux on a PS3? As it happens, the PS3 is a pretty powerful beast with an IBM Cell BE processor at its heart. It runs Linux like a bat out of hell. The consoles are dead cheap because Sony subsidizes them, hoping to make money on the sale of games and extras. More to the point, you can link large numbers of PS3s to build a low-cost supercomputer cluster. That’s why the U.S. military announced last November that it planned to increase the power of an existing 336 PS3 HPC cluster by buying a further 2,200 of the consoles, according to Ars Technica. Compared to buying IBM Cell blades there’s a ten-fold price/performance advantage in using PS3s, according to a “Justification Review Document” quoted in the piece.

  • Desktop

    • Is the Desktop Becoming Legacy?

      Windows vs. MacOSX vs. KDE vs. GNOME vs. BeOS wars are thing of the past. The future discussions and most exciting developments will happen on mobile devices. So watch out for iPhone OS vs. ChromeOS vs. MeeGo (and probably Microsoft if they get their act together with Windows Phone 7 and Slate). For Intel and AMD this development means that they should concentrate on server processors and very low power processors for the consumer devices, since this is the area with the most demand in the future.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Graphics drivers and Mesa3D updated, four new stable kernels

      Almost simultaneously with the first series 1.8 X Server, the developers have also updated Mesa3D and various drivers. Four new stable kernels offer bug fixes and minor improvements.

      The X Server isn’t the only component for which a new version has recently been released, as many other components that impact the graphics support in Linux distributions have also been updated in the past two weeks.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Launches FirePro V8800 Graphics Card

        More than a year ago AMD rolled out the ATI FirePro V8700 workstation graphics card and months later then pushed out the FirePro V8750 as their new ultra high-end graphics card for those engaging in CAD, imaging, and other tasks. Now though AMD has unveiled the FirePro V8800 series that replaces the V8750 for the top spot.

  • Applications

    • gEdit and Leafpad Make a Good Text-Editing Team

      It’s no longer a hard-copy world, and most writing tasks don’t require all the bells and whistles in heavyweight word processing programs. Text editors are a much more nimble choice. However, not all text editors are alike. You may not need a lot of features, but you definitely want the right ones. gEdit and Leafpad are two open source options that complement each other nicely.

    • 6 Linux Music Players To Replace Songbird
    • Desktop Virtualisation

      Virtualisation is a bit of a buzz word at the moment. Virtualisation can be used for all sorts of different computing tasks from server consolidation to cross-platform software development, to running that one “must-have” app in that “I – wish – I – didn’t – have – to – use – this – damned – OS” OS. This article is more at the latter end of that scale. It will tell you about some VM options for linux, and will run you through some tips and tricks for getting the more popular VM’s up and running.

  • Instructionals

  • Games

    • 24 More of the Best Commercial Linux Games

      The amount of software that is available for Linux is truly mind-boggling with tens of thousands of applications available to download, including an impressive arsenal of open source games.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • one team, two teams! small team, big team!

        We could try to excuse the issue and say, “Well, KDE is huge now. 600+ developers contributing to the last release, even more translators, artists and others. That’s a lot of people to move about!” While this is true, I don’t think it is the whole picture.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • The Difference a Decade Makes

        The evolution away from these origins has sometimes seemed slow. Often, in looking at a GNOME release, I have been disappointed in the apparent lack of progress. Yet looking back over the 2.0 series as a whole, I now suspect that part of that perception was impatience on my part.


        That’s something to remember while we look forward to GNOME 3.0 six months from now. GNOME 3.0 marks a new chapter in the free desktop. It is going to be attracting increasing attention, both from those who enthuse over it and those who condemn it as misguided or new. Yet in the excitement of GNOME 3.0, I think it worth looking back at the GNOME 2.0, and congratulating all involved on an impressive work in progress.

  • Distributions

    • How 10 Popular Linux Distro Sites Looked When they Launched

      This is how some of the popular Linux distro websites looked like when they launched initially. Thanks to the archive.org for all the screenshots. Redhat website looked pretty decent for a 1996 website. Which one of these websites did you like?

    • What’s the best lightweight Linux distro?

      There are plenty of reasons for wanting a low-resource distro running on your computer. Maybe you have some ancient hardware that you need to breathe new life into. Perhaps you want something that will fit on a modestly sized memory stick. Or it might be that you want to run 200 virtual machines simultaneously on your desktop.

    • Another one-disk wonder: DexOS

      I got an e-mail a day ago that reminded me about DexOS, which is another one-disk wonder. You’re probably still wondering what the point is, when floppies are so far out of date as to be completely irrelevant. Well …

    • KGB Says: The Best Linux is Ubuntu or Fedora

      Last night while watching my usual list of recorded television programs, I saw a commercial for KGB, the company that begs you to text them with your questions. For a mere 99 cents, they’ll answer any question that you ask of them. I’m sure that they have their share of tricksters with questions such as, “What is life” and “What is the air speed of an unladen swallow.” But my mind dances to a different beat. And, with my wife’s permission, I posed the following question using her cell phone: “Which Linux distribution is the best for new users?”

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Linux: The Best New User Distribution is not Necessarily Ubuntu

        I am sure many will have other new user distributions to recommend and may argue against my choices. Debate over distributions is one thing that is not in short supply in the Linux community. However, I am going out on a limb to state that Mandriva Linux is easily at the top of the list of new user distributions. I am confident that this assertion will hold up under scrutiny once I make my case.

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMEPIS 8.5.01 Review

        I’ve tried several versions of the SimplyMEPIS but never really got hooked on the visual appearance leaving me wondering what beginners find so appealing in SimplyMEPIS. With the release of SimplyMEPIS 8.5.01 I decided this was the perfect time to give it a try and see what all the fuss is about.


        Before using SimplyMEPIS this time around, I wasn’t sure what was so exciting about this Debian-based distro. Now I know. Two reasons SimplyMEPIS 8.5.01 might make a great distro for newbies is it offers GUI configuration tools and also a huge package selection due to it’s Debian base. The visual appearance is getting there and I think that this most recent version is an improvement in the overall look and feel but still may have some catching up to do when compared to other top distros.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu considering critical bugs an “invalid” bug?
        • Dell’s Ubuntu Linux Strategy Extends to China

          From time to time, Dell does a poor job articulating its Ubuntu Linux strategy. But sources close to Dell and Canonical continue to insist the relationship remains healthy and “stronger than ever.” Here’s an update on Dell’s Ubuntu strategy — which includes a dramatic Dell-Ubuntu PC push in China.

          First, some background: Dell began shipping Ubuntu preloads in mid-2007 on selected U.S. desktops. Dell’s decision to offer Ubuntu came only a few months after Microsoft launched Windows Vista. That certainly caught my attention.

          By July 2007, I jumped on the Dell Ubuntu bandwagon, and hoped to eventually launch an Ubuntu-centric web site that tracked Canonical’s business strategy.

        • Ubuntu Claims 12 Million Users as Lucid Linux Desktop Nears

          Ubuntu Linux is gearing up for the debut of its latest release with Ubuntu 10.04, codenamed “the Lucid Lynx” and scheduled for general availability at the end of the month. It’s a release that offers multiple new features on the desktop and a new look to Ubuntu Linux.

          The Lucid release could also help to further accelerate adoption of Ubuntu, which has been growing over the last several years. In 2008, Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind Ubuntu, pegged the number of Ubuntu users at 8 million. It’s a figure that could have increased by as much as 50 percent or more since then, insiders say.

        • Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat

          Although Ubuntu Lucid Lynx has not yet been released, Canonical chief Mark Shuttleworth has already named its successor: Maverick Meerkat.

          Ubuntu Lucid Lynx is due for release at the end of April while the newly named Maverick Meerkat is only scheduled for release in October. But, as is traditional, Shuttleworth used the remaining weeks of the Lucid development phase to lay down guidelines for the next phase.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Is your tv running Linux? (yet)

      Some manufacturers are using Linux for their television sets, Sony for instance has a impressive list of tv’s which are running Linux.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • PaleXO is Deploying OLPC to Palestinian Schools

        PaleXO is the Palestinian XO Laptop Community. We are working with the coordination and support of the Palestinian Educational Initiative (PEI) on implementing the XO laptop project In Palestine, and trying to create a success story out of it.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open sound series: Part 1 – The Freesound Project

    This week’s featured site is The Freesound Project (TFP). While working on a personal Ardour project, I began looking for some sound clips to throw into a song in order to bring the track a bit more life. Namely I was looking for a drunken countdown, or something similar. I had bookedmarked TFP while researching an earlier article, so I figured I’d give it a go. What I found after a quick search using their integrated search tool was a well-recorded group countdown from roughly the number 12. They mumbled at the beginning, making it seem like it could very well be at a bar. What’s great is, as mentioned previously in my Open Music article, this meant that I had to attach credit to the song I was working on. Thus generating more traffic back to the page where I received the file, helping both the author of the file itself and The Freesound Project as a whole. It’s a great web that is quickly woven around art that otherwise would go unnoticed. The best part? It wouldn’t be possible at this level without open source.

  • OSCON show announces sessions and keynotes

    The O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) has posted sessions and keynotes for its annual conference. Scheduled for July 19-23, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, OSCON features keynotes including Google’s Chris DiBona, Facebook’s David Recordon, Canonical’s Simon Wardley, and the GNOME Foundation’s Stormy Peters (pictured).

  • Time to Abandon AIM

    AOL has closed the doors on its Open AIM program. Pidgin developer Mark Doliner outlines where to go from here to support AIM, but maybe it’s time to close the door on the protocol altogether.

    AIM and Yahoo! were the predominant protocols for IM when I started using Linux, and for a very long time they were the only reliable ways to chat with most of my friends and family that used Windows or Macs. IRC was fine if I wanted to chat with other Linux folks, but most of my contacts didn’t use IRC and weren’t about to switch or pick up yet another client because I was the odd man out on the desktop.

  • Education

    • Can Professors Teach Open Source?

      The answer is simple: the skills required to succeed in an open source software project are the exact same skills required to succeed in any large software project. The biggest difference is that, with just a bit of guidance, anyone can build their software skills in the open source world.

    • Academia’s Obligation to Software Freedom

      The Free Software philosophy is founded in the ideals of freedom, openness, and sharing. Producing software based on these ideals has great pragmatic benefits. Free Software is developed in the interest of its users instead of the owner of the software. This method of producing software benefits the entire community, and the software is of much higher quality due to the huge number of volunteer and paid contributers.

  • Mozilla

    • Top 5 Firefox addons that enhance your web experience

      With the massive amounts of data that we have at our disposal online, there are times when you just don’t know where to start from. Thanks to some really cool Firefox addons, you can get more out of the web in less time and sweat. The following 5 addons should be of interest to you if you want to enhance your web experience.

    • What I Have Against Contextual Design and Personas

      Last night Boriss wrote a great post about the benefits of the contextual design process. Aspects of the contextual design process like the inquiry, work modeling and environment design are all incredibly important skills for a UX designer to have. However, I couldn’t disagree more with the premise that this process should have been applied by Lead Ubuntu designer Ivanka Majic in the design of the window manager.

  • SaaS

    • Olliance CEO Interview Series: Larry Augustin on the intersection of Open Source and Cloud

      Larry: I agree with that. I think of the Cloud as the platform now. I think of porting to Amazon, Rackspace or Windows Azure. I don’t think of porting to Linux or porting to Microsoft Windows.

      I think of the Cloud service provider as the platform. And the OS, just like the database, is a piece of the stack. The app server is a piece of the stack. Those are all pieces of the stack. The importance of the OS is declining and the importance of the Cloud service is increasing. And that to me is independent of Open Source or proprietary.

    • Business of open source: my take on “open core”

      From a higher perspective, I believe that the whole IT market is moving toward service-based approaches — SaaS paved the way — because it aligns customer value with vendor revenue. That’s why we — at Nuxeo — won’t use the open core model even if it could increase short term revenue. We’re here to stay and we believe that basing our revenue stream on the value we create for our customers is the best way to create sustainable growth.

    • Please, no more ‘Open Source Company’

      In fact, open source is now so fundamental to the software industry that it is part of every software company’s product and/or business strategy. The industry needs to start thinking of open source as being the software commons for the entire industry, not just one small group of companies. Therefore, it is my hope that in the next 12-18 month the term ‘open source company’ will quickly fade away.

  • Oracle

    • The future of MySQL in a post-Sun world

      There’s good news for fans of MySQL: It won’t be left to wither and die any time soon. Oracle has made very public assurances that it will spend more on developing the database than Sun ever did, at least for the next three years. The Community Edition will continue to see improvements, which will be released under the GPL at no charge with all of the source code.

    • Datacenter Barometer: Good News for OpenSolaris?

      Setting up the paywall for Solaris 10 simply refines the open core model the Solaris/OpenSolaris relation already had. It’s just that now the commercial Solaris 10 will not be free in any sense: neither as in beer or freedom.

      Obviously, the restriction of these freedoms is not a good thing, but I have a feeling that this may be the way Oracle will reconcile its desire to maintain a strong OpenSolaris community versus its need to generate revenue.

  • Business

    • Making Money In Open Source: Does It Matter?

      Roughly, the participants in the discussion can be split into three camps. On one side, there were those who went gaga over how open source is successfully making money and, on the other end, there were skeptics who were wondering why Open Source is not making big bucks like their proprietary counterparts. In between these two camps were the so called “moderates” who argued that open source need not make big money but they enable others, like Web 2.0 vendors and the current day cloud vendors, make big bucks. They even showed the example of how open source is single handedly keeping Wall Street running and, thereby, helping some people make really big bucks.

    • Lucene and Solr Development Have Merged

      The Lucene community has recently decided to merge the development of two of its sub-projects – Lucene->Java and Lucene->Solr. Both code bases now sit under the same trunk in svn and Solr actually runs straight off the latest Lucene code at all times. This is just a merge of development though. Release artifacts will remain separate: Lucene will remain a core search engine Java library and Solr will remain a search server built on top of Lucene. From a user perspective, things will be much the same as they were – just better.

    • WANdisco Delivers Certified Subversion Binaries With Enterprise-Class Support

      WANdisco, a leading provider of infrastructure software for replication, scalability and high availability, and a corporate sponsor of the Subversion open source project with core developers from the project on staff, today announced that it has made WANdisco certified Subversion binaries available for free download. WANdisco’s certified Subversion binaries provide a complete, quality assured version of Subversion based on the most recent stable, fully tested release.

    • Zenoss Releases Service Assurance Monitoring Product for Private & Public Clouds based on Cisco UCS
    • Orange, OpenX launch challenge to Google’s DoubleClick in Europe

      Orange, the key brand from Europe’s third-largest telecom, and OpenX, an open-source ad server, are teaming up to challenge Google’s DoubleClick in the European ad exchange market.

  • BSD


    • Free Software is not only GNU

      We’ve got to worship principles, not people.

      With this I mean that even if I agree with the idea behind FSF and the GNU Project, I don’t have to see either Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds as my personal God, nor I would have to accept the GNU project as the owner of all good software in this world. There is more to that. The same principles apply to other situations, even situations where GNU is laughed at, even situations where GNU’s code is laughed at but their license is used. Because what makes me dislike some of the GNU project’s applications and in general the FSF (America) approach, is not the license, otherwise I wouldn’t be using it extensively for my own projects, both personal and work-related.

  • Releases

  • Licensing

    • Proprietary Licenses Are Even Worse Than They Look

      Apple’s licenses are probably the easiest example of proprietary licensing terms that are well beyond reasonableness. Of course, Apple’s licenses do the usual things like forbidding users from copying, modifying, sharing, and reverse engineering the software. But even worse, Apple also forbid users from running Apple software on any hardware that is not produced by Apple.

    • Using the GPL for Eclipse Plug-Ins

      Recently we’ve seen some questions about whether Eclipse plug-ins can be released under the GPL. Answered briefly, this is possible if you can provide an additional permission with the license to allow combining your plug-in with the necessary EPL-covered libraries. The rest of this post examines why an additional permission is necessary, and has specific recommendations for interested developers.

  • Openness

    • NY Times Trashes Crowdfunding Without Looking At A Single Big Success Story

      Hmm. Jill Sobule raised over $80,000 in less than two months. That seems like more than gas money. Ellis Paul raised over $100,000. That seems like more than gas money. It’s not clear exactly how much Josh Freese was able to get from his experiment, but it was clearly over $30,000 from reports that were given. Marillion has been surviving on crowdfunding for over a decade.

    • Misconceptions about Transactional Open Innovation

      On the Harvard Business Review blog, John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison, recently wrote a thought-provoking piece on the future of open innovation. They make many keen observations about the limitation companies currently face in making effective use of “Transactional Open Innovation” (TOI), defined below.

  • Programming

    • C is number one!

      Right next to my desk in a bookshelf is my 1988 copy of Kernighan and Ritchie’s second edition of The C Programming Language. I’ve kept this book, the urtext of C programming, because C has always been the first language of Unix and Linux, and I like to be able to read source code. I know that, over the years, C had declined in use. What I didn’t know was that, old as it is, C has actually maintained more of its popularity than I had thought and that it’s now once more the number-one programming language in the world.

    • C Programming Language Back At Number 1
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Get Prepared for the HTML5 Revolution

      In many ways, HTML5 is an attempt to bring order to many of the features and behaviors that have become the norm in recent years. This section highlights some of the more compelling additions.


  • Science

    • New element discovered: Ununseptium

      Even though the name ununseptium (symbol: Uus) is only temporary, Russian and U.S. scientists still have made an important discovery of a new chemical element, one with an atomic number of Z=117.

    • ScienceShot: Animals That Live Without Oxygen

      Scientists have found the first multicellular animals that apparently live entirely without oxygen. The creatures reside deep in one of the harshest environments on earth: the Mediterranean Ocean’s L’Atalante basin, which contains salt brine so dense that it doesn’t mix with the oxygen-containing waters above.

    • H.P. Sees a Revolution in Memory Chip

      Hewlett-Packard scientists on Thursday are to report advances in the design of a new class of diminutive switches capable of replacing transistors as computer chips shrink closer to the atomic scale.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Police cuff 70 eBay fraud suspects

      Romanian police have arrested 70 suspected cybercrooks, thought to be members of three gangs which allegedly used compromised eBay accounts to run scams.

    • From Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It

      Cyber war is not some victimless, clean, new kind of war that we should embrace. Nor is it some kind of secret weapon that we need to keep hidden from the daylight and from the public. For it is the public, the civilian population of the United States and the privately owned corporations that own and run our key national systems, that are likely to suffer in a cyber war.

    • The 9/14 Presidency

      The U.S. still reserves the right to hold suspected terrorists indefinitely without charge, try them via military tribunal, keep them imprisoned even if they are acquitted, and kill them in foreign countries with which America is not formally at war (including Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan). When Obama closed the secret CIA prisons known as “black sites,” he specifically allowed for temporary detention facilities where a suspect could be taken before being sent to a foreign or domestic prison, a practice known as “rendition.” And even where the Obama White House has made a show of how it has broken with the Bush administration, such as outlawing enhanced interrogation techniques, it has done so through executive order, which can be reversed at any time by the sitting president.

    • Obama to take middle course in new nuclear policy

      A year after his groundbreaking pledge to move toward a “world without nuclear weapons,” President Obama on Tuesday will unveil a policy that constrains the weapons’ role but appears more cautious than what many supporters had hoped, with the president opting for a middle course in many key areas.

  • Finance

    • Wall Street’s Cloudy Opportunity

      Cloud computing providers have often looked to the financial companies as potential customers. But what about potential competitors?

    • Morning Update/ Market Thread 4/7

      The number of people using food stamps increased for the 14th consecutive month with the number of people receiving them at a record 39,430,000! That’s equal to 12.8% of our entire population! No pictures of people in soup lines that extend around the block? There they are.

    • Goldman Sachs Proprietary Trader Hedayat Said to Leave Firm

      Ali Hedayat, a managing director in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s largest internal hedge fund, has left the firm, the second senior departure from the unit in less than a month, according to three people familiar with the matter.

    • Goldman Sachs denies betting against mortgage clients

      It was “grateful” for the government assistance during the market turmoil, Goldman chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein and chief operating officer Gary Cohn said in the firm’s annual letter to shareholders.

    • Goldman Sachs denies ‘betting against’ its clients during financial crisis
    • Goldman Sachs denies ‘betting against clients’

      Nine months after being labelled “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”, Goldman Sachs has issued a wide-ranging justification of its conduct before, during and after the financial crisis.

    • Exclusive: Is Goldman Sachs Playing Fair?

      But increasingly that international influence has come at a cost to Goldman’s once gold-plated image – including the charge of putting its own interest above all else.

      For example: allegedly helping the Greek government hide its ballooning debt – and then betting it would eventually default – contributing to a financial crisis so deep it has led to riots in the streets.

      Goldman defended itself against similar accusations about its role in the housing crisis in a letter issued Wednesday, saying it didn’t “bet against our clients,” but rather was simply “managing our risk.”

    • Goldman Sachs: Spinning Gold

      The Fed abused the taxpayers’ trust when it bailed out AIG’s trades for 100 cents on the dollar. The Fed claims its loan for purchases of the CDOs may be paid back, but that is only 40% of what taxpayers are owed. The loan was only for the 40 cents on the dollar that remained after Goldman (and others) already took billions out of AIG. The purchases should be reversed, and taxpayers should be paid 100 cents on the dollar–the original principal amount (less interim principal payments). [2] The proceeds can be used to pay down AIG’s public debt.

    • Goldman Sachs: No apologies

      Goldman Sachs defended its controversial employee bonuses and multi-billion dollar relationship with AIG in its annual report released Wednesday, while downplaying its short-selling in the mortgage market.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • ‘Eyes on the Prize’ comes to DVD

      The 1987 civil rights documentary emerges from a long period of unavailability.

    • Another hearing tomorrow on transatlantic data exchange

      Tomorrow a hearing “Protection of Personal Data in Transatlantic Securitz Cooperation, SWIFT, PNR, etc. The Public Hearing is hosted by MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht.

    • Iraq Video Brings Notice to a Web Site

      Somehow — it will not say how — WikiLeaks found the necessary computer time to decrypt a graphic video, released Monday, of a United States Army assault in Baghdad in 2007 that left 12 people dead, including two employees of the news agency Reuters. The video has been viewed more than two million times on YouTube, and has been replayed hundreds of times in television news reports.

      The release of the Iraq video is drawing attention to the once-fringe Web site, which aims to bring to light hidden information about governments and multinational corporations — putting secrets in plain sight and protecting the identity of those who help do so. Accordingly, the site has become a thorn in the side of authorities in the United States and abroad. With the Iraq attack video, the clearinghouse for sensitive documents is edging closer toward a form of investigative journalism and to advocacy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Do as we say, not as we do

      If you haven’t been following the story, the Labour party took a photo of actor Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt from Ashes to Ashes, photoshopped in David Cameron’s face and put it on a poster with a tagline about going back to the 80s. The Conservatives took Labour’s image, and changed the words to something more positive, and put it on their own posters. The problem is that it appears neither of them bothered with the trivial matter of getting approval from the copyright holders.

    • James Gannon Presentation – Copyright Viewed By A Lawyer – Correct Legally But Wrong – Part 1

      James Gannon is a lawyer who works with Barry Sookman at McCarthy Tétrault LLP. He also has a blog called ‘IP, Innovation and Culture’ which is hosted at WordPress.com, where he expounds on ‘Intellectual Property‘ issues.

    • James Gannon Presentation – Copyright Viewed By A Lawyer – Correct Legally But Wrong – Part 2

      Let me see – Wal-Mart shut down their DRM servers in 2009, and his presentation was in 2010. Does anyone see the disconnect here? RealNetworks is has been struggling, Sony’s music sales aren’t work breaking out in their year end reports (at least I couldn’t find them), and Microsoft doesn’t break out music sales on their year end reports (probably too embarrassed to do so). As I stated above, the two giants of digital music sales don’t use TPM/DRM on their music. From that you can guess how essential it is to running a successful Digital Music Store.

    • James Gannon Presentation – Copyright Viewed By A Lawyer – Correct Legally But Wrong – Part 3

      So which is it? Do you want Canada to adopt the WIPO Copyright Treaties? If so, why are you not criticizing those who are not in compliance, like the United States (with the DMCA) and the United Kingdom (with the Digital Economy Bill). For that matter, where is Doctor Mihaly Ficsor, the supposed copyright expert? Why isn’t he criticizing the United States and the United Kingdom for passing legislation which is not compliant with the WIPO Copyright Treaties?

      Logic people. Use some logic.

    • Why Copyright Criminals Filmmakers Won’t Get Sued? Because They’d Win

      Last year we had a post, based on a post by Peter Friedman, suggesting a big reason why Girl Talk hadn’t been sued for creating entirely sample-based music was because there was a good chance that Girl Talk/Gregg Gillis would win that lawsuit, and establish a clear fair use right in sampling. Now, with the more recent discussion about the legality of the documentary Copyright Criminals, Friedman is making the same point again: suggesting that the filmmakers won’t get sued, because they would likely win, and redraw the boundaries of the law on music sampling and fair use:

      But if McLeod is willing to fight a lawsuit — and I think he is — the recording industry won’t sue him. The existing precedents requiring licensing of every single recorded sample would be overturned, and the record industry would [have] lost the appearance created by these precedents, an appearance that makes the vast, vast majority of samplers pay license fees for their samples. It’s better business for the industry to let the occasional brave and creative soul feel as if he’s getting away with something than to have the industry’s precious — and ill-founded — legal precedents put at genuine risk.

    • ✍ Copying Is Not Theft; Saying It Is IS Spin

      Just in case you were in any way confused (which it seems a whole lot of people are), copying is not stealing, as this charming little jingle illustrates.

    • ACTA

      • ALDE ACTA consultation makes tea not war

        The lobbyists blackmail Luc Devigne by embracement on principles. It is great to have finally a more professional discussion.

      • Smooth Criminal Harmonisation: ACTA, EU And IPR Enforcement

        Anything one can consider as politically cool from an EU perspective, ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, the multilateral treaty to combat counterfeiting and piracy) negotiations have got it all: the internet, the USA, large potential for media exposure and a hitherto Nixonian element of secrecy balanced by a flow of thrilling documents leaked by generous deep-throats.

        Thus it’s hardly a surprise that during the past few months, being horrified – sometimes on the basis of irrational arguments – about this secretly negotiated treaty has superseded SWIFT as the fashionable cross-party pastime in Brussels.

        At the heart of all the ACTA anxiety is the hazard of policy laundering or legislation through the back door. Simply put: can we as Europeans envisage one morning “waking up” to our legal reality having been transformed via ACTA?

      • Luc Devigne and DG trade’s ACTArchy (ALDE hearing)

        What do I mean in the context of ACTA? It is the “maximalist attitude” which regards politics, legal technicalities, competences, balances, mandates as a simple restriction to be exhausted, pushed to its limits. I remember that was what fascinated me about ACTA from the very start of the process, the way in which the Commission brushed away all the technical difficulties.

      • Europe Learns The Truth(s) About ACTA

        The truth about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is different depending on which side you are on.

        At a hearing organised by the Liberal Party Group in the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday Canadian law professor and ACTA expert Michael Geist challenged the position of the European Commission and other negotiating parties to the agreement that ACTA would not lead to substantive law changes in the ACTA countries and also explained what possible long-term effects could result from the heavily debated treaty. Critics in Europe go one further in their rejection of ACTA which does undermine according to them democratic processes in the EU and EU member states.

        The “truth about ACTA,” according to Geist, is first and foremost that it is not what it is said to be. “It is essential to recognise that ACTA is not the norm,” Geist said, countering the argument of negotiating parties who have pointed out tirelessly that trade agreements never were negotiated openly.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • New forum for next steps in Digital Economy campaign

        We’ve launched a new forum, over here. Please sign up and use it to help us plan the next steps in our campaign against the Digital Economy Bill.

      • UK Digital Economy Bill Turns To Ashes

        After months of warnings from photographers, and weeks of viral posters demonstrating the dangers of Clause 43 and misuse of photography, the Labour party have got in on the act by launching their election campaign with a poster using all the techniques warned of: only to see it blow up in their faces.

      • The Statute of Anne, the Digital Economy Bill and the Red Flag Act

        This week marks the Tercentenary of the 1710 Statute of Anne – the world’s first Copyright law. It also marks the first discussion of the Digital Economy Bill in the Commons. And in 1865, the Locomotive act was being discussed in the Commons too. How do they compare?

      • Clause 18 of the DEB removed? – And its different because…..?

        I won’t repeat myself about my objections to the DEB. Whilst my articles and opinions are strongly anti-piracy, I think that there is so much wrong with the implementation and current copyright laws, that there are issues on both sides.

        What I want to look at is it is now reported that Clause 18 has been removed in the final throes of the DEB debate. Before I do that though, many sites report:

        Copyright holders will be able to apply for a court order to gain access to the names and addresses of serious infringers and take legal action.

      • UK House Of Commons On Digital Economy Bill: We’ll Approve Now, Debate Later?

        Despite tens of thousands of people writing their MPs, and multiple MPs asking for approval of the Digital Economy Bill to be delayed, it looks like the Leader of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman, has decided that the bill will be rushed through via a “wash up,” no matter what. Glyn Moody points us to an image showing that a lot of MPs simply decided not to even show up for the discussion, which is a bit of a disgrace.

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 3 – Episode 1: Climate Change (2006)


Links 7/4/2010: North Korea’s “RED Star”; Nokia Tablets to Come

Posted in News Roundup at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux is not an operating system, or is it?

    If you are at all familiar with my brain sneezes (I could use another word here but this is a respectable blog :) then you know I am always rabbiting on about Linux. I am always Linux this and Linux that. This gets some people upset and they claim that it should be GNU/Linux or perhaps more accurately Linux/GNU. There is a word in the English language (which I hope I am using) called context. In other words, I use the word Linux in the context of a complete Linux based distribution and believe that my readers understand that context.

  • Egypt: Linux InstallFest a Success!

    The Egyptian Linux Users Group organizes an event every now and then in order to raise the awareness of the masses of Free Open Source Software (FOSS). They help distribute Linux CDs for free, help people in installing Linux on their machines, and give awareness sessions and brief introductions to FOSS-related software and technology.

  • UNISSA, BOSSC hold networking event today

    UNISSA (Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali) and the Brunei Open Source Software Community (BOSSC) will be holding a networking event today from 2pm to 4.30pm at the basement of the UNISSA library.

  • Popularity of Open Source Software rising

    THE Brunei Open Source Software Community (BOSSC) kicked off a successful networking event highlighting examples of Open Source Software (OSS) as a major tool in national development.

    At an event held at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (Unissa) Library, the Brunei Open Source Software Community (BOSSC) held four presentations hosted by Unissa’s Centre for Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning.

  • Acadiana Open Source software group now meeting at LITE

    Many computer users are not aware of the wealth of free software that is available to the public; one of the most prominent being browsers like Mozilla Firefox. “Raising awareness and evangelizing open source software and its benefits is part of the mission of our group,” adds Turland. “If someone is interested in using open source software and isn’t sure how to get started, we’re more than happy to help them out.”

  • SouthEast LinuxFest Announces Partial Speaker List
  • Red Star OS spotted in North Korea

    Today the BBC has reported about a study from South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute, which warned that the Red Star software is designed to increase government control over its citizens and their access to technology and the Internet. What? In North Korea?

  • NK Goes for Linux-Based Operating System

    According to researchers at South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), North Korea’s Linux-based “RED Star” software is mainly designed to monitor the Web behavior of its citizens and control information made available to them.

    However, the computer operating system does represent North Korean efforts to advance its computer technology, which lags as a result of the country’s isolation, relying on Linux and other open-source software, said Kim Jong-seon, a STEPI researcher.

  • PRESS DIGEST – South Korean newspapers – April 6

    North Korea is expanding the use of its Linux-based operating system “Red Star” developed in 2002, into diverse areas and it is currently using its software to monitor citizens’ Web behaviour, said a researcher for the South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute.

  • North Korean operating system better than Windows
  • Windows, Linux Get Knocked-Off

    Of course the operating system wouldn’t be complete without numerous programs that allow North Korean authorities to watch what users are doing and of keep outsiders from getting in.

  • 10 Ways to Explore Linux

    1. Live CD – Live CDs are bootable CD images that you burn to a CD or DVD, place in your CD/DVD drive, reboot your computer and enjoy a full Linux-based system without installing, partitioning or altering your current system. Everything runs from CD. Some things don’t work well, or at all, but you’ll have a first-hand Linux encounter that’s easy to use, acceptably fast and fully loaded.

  • The oddest places to find Linux

    Open source isn’t just a license or a coding methodology, to many it’s a religion. And the central prayer of that religion is an ode to Linux. In the spirit of such love, Linux has begun to sprout up everywhere. Here’s a compilation of some of the more surprising places you’ll find this beloved operating system.

  • 9 Weird Places to Find Linux
  • Server

    • Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in March 2010

      Rank Company site OS Outage
      hh:mm:ss Failed
      Req% DNS Connect First
      byte Total
      1 www.memset.com Linux 0:00:00 0.012 0.586 0.129 0.260 0.260
      2 DataPipe FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.016 0.065 0.027 0.056 0.083
      3 iWeb Technologies Linux 0:00:00 0.016 0.134 0.083 0.165 0.165
      4 ReliableServers.com FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.016 0.250 0.083 0.197 0.337
      5 INetU unknown 0:00:00 0.021 0.702 0.073 0.158 0.301
      6 Swishmail FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.021 0.159 0.086 0.173 0.438
      7 www.singlehop.com Linux 0:00:00 0.021 0.258 0.104 0.429 0.962
      8 Hosting 4 Less Linux 0:00:00 0.025 0.116 0.091 0.186 0.474
      9 Kattare Internet Services Linux 0:00:00 0.029 0.153 0.093 0.187 0.443
      10 www.dinahosting.com Linux 0:00:00 0.029 0.121 0.130 0.258 0.258

    • Mad Dog 21/21: When Price/Performance Outruns Elasticity

      IBM has announced a range of Power7 servers for the i and AIX user communities. (These machines support Linux, too, but that doesn’t define their markets.) Mainframes based on the z11 (which will share some components with the Power7 chips and which could end up with a different name) are expected to debut before long.

    • IBM Promotion Cuts PowerVM Hypervisor Upgrade Fees

      PowerVM runs on Power5, Power5+, Power6, Power6+, and Power7 systems, and can be used to provide logical partitioning for OS/400 V5R3, i5/OS V5R4, and i 6.1; AIX 5.2, 5.3, and 6.1; Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5; and Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and 11. I went through the pricing for PowerVM when the new pricing was announced as part of the Power Systems convergence back in April 2008, and you can check that out here.

  • Kernel Space

    • CUBRID Joins Linux Foundation

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

      CUBRID provides an open source database system that is optimized for web services to support mission-critical Internet applications. The company is joining the Linux Foundation to gain access to exclusive networking opportunities and face-to-face collaboration with members of the Linux community.

    • Harping on Metadata Performance: New Benchmarks

      The test system used for these experiments was a stock CentOS 5.3 distribution but with a 2.6.30 kernel and e2fsprogs was upgraded to 1.41.9. The tests were run on the following system:

      * GigaByte MAA78GM-US2H motherboard
      * An AMD Phenom II X4 920 CPU
      * 8GB of memory
      * Linux 2.6.30 kernel
      * The OS and boot drive are on an IBM DTLA-307020 (20GB drive at Ulta ATA/100)
      * /home is on a Seagate ST1360827AS
      * There are two drives for testing. They are Seagate ST3500641AS-RK with 16 MB cache each. These are /dev/sdb and /dev/sdc.

    • The Linux Foundation Wants Your “We’re Linux” Contest Videos

      We’ve covered the Linux Foundation’s “We’re Linux” video contests before, and there’s another underway right now. This year’s prizes include a trip to LinuxCon in Boston later this year, a chance to win a fully-loaded Linux laptop, and bragging rights for submitting the best “We’re Linux” video from all the entries.

    • QA with Parallels CEO: Prioritizing Kernel-Level Contributions

      Beloussov: Since Parallels was founded in 2000, we have been a strong contributor and supporter of Linux – in fact we did not support any other platforms until 2005.

    • AMD announces OpenGL 4.0 and 3.3 support on Windows and Linux platforms
  • Applications

  • GNOME Desktop

    • Welcome Gnome 2.30

      When I was updating my system I realized there were a lot of gnome packages to be upgraded, my enthusiasm immediately rises, gnome 2.30 was out.

  • Distributions

    • Announcing the Gentoo Wiki Project
    • Getting the most out of Mandriva Linux
    • Red Hat Family

      • Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.5 Trails RHEL 5.5

        That’s pretty quick and in my view, one of the quickest turnarounds yet from Oracle with their version of RHEL. Oracle has been releasing its own version of Linux with OEL, based on RHEL since 2006 and they’ve been updating OEL as Red Hat updates RHEL.

      • Open cloud: Game changing technology for govts

        Red Hat urges governments to implement cloud computing founded on both open standards and open source as de facto. Open Source technology by its nature, provides a robust and interoperable foundation for many of today‘s cloud computing deployments. Moreover, it obviates the problem of vendor lock-in that has prevailed for decades.

        Red Hat has the enabling open source technology that governments can already leverage today to implement robust, high performance clouds that are reliable, available and scalable.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 13 – See What’s New!

          All of these features are marked as 100 percent ready and approved by the Fedora technical steering committee for the Fedora 13 release.

          Anaconda StorageWorks Filtering – The last part of the Anaconda-publicized code of the storage configuration.

          Automatic Print Driver Installation – Necessary packages will be installed on hardware that requires these packages when found by the system.

    • Debian Family

      • Installing Debian Linux; experiences, thoughts and opinions…

        So, to sum up, Debian is one hell of a Linux distribution. Perhaps not as newbie-friendly as some others, but it’s still pretty easy to use. Whatever criticism I’ve heard so far is simply wrong, as I’ve met none of the problems described. I can see myself using Debian for the next few years to come, at least until I decide to fiddle with Gentoo…

      • The role of the Debian ftpmasters

        Linux distributions don’t simply appear on mirrors and BitTorrent networks fully formed. A great deal of work goes on behind the scenes before a release sees the light of day. Linux users who aren’t involved in the production of a Linux distribution may not fully appreciate all of that work. Take, for example, the work done by Debian’s ftpmasters team.


        Debian is, as Jaspert alluded to, “not getting smaller” and managing the number of new packages is a “kind of Sisyphean task.” The Debian archive contains thousands of packages, and the NEW queue can have hundreds of packages awaiting approval. NEW packages are those entering Debian for the first time, which do not have source packages in the archive, or those adding new binary packages. New versions of existing packages are moved automatically into the pool.

      • Ubuntu

        • New Ubuntu look too destructive

          Take a good hard look at your screen and ask yourself if it is possible to accidentally close an application while reaching for the File menu. In most cases the answer is a clear no, but for users of Ubuntu, it has become a very real and dangerous use case.

          All the fuss began in March when the decision was taken to refresh Ubuntu’s look and branding, which included a set of new default themes that moved the trio of minimise, maximise and close buttons from the PC standard right-hand side to the left side of the title bar. Suffice to say that despite the positives of the updated Ubuntu look, users overwhelmingly detested the movement of the window buttons — as shown by the over 630 comments, the vast majority of which are intensely negative, on this bug report.

        • Lucid Lynx two weeks after

          While still in Beta, Lucid Lynx is humming along quite nicely two weeks after I installed it on my Acer laptop. Sure, there are the little annoyances linked to using a Beta product from Ubuntu, for instance, the large daily updates of software and the occasional application crash. For the most part, though, Lucid Lynx is quite usable and I’m growing to like it.

        • What To Do After Installing Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx? Run This Script!
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Photoshop VS. GIMP

    GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

    It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.

  • OfficeSIP Communications Makes Its VoIP SIP Products Open Source

    OfficeSIP Communications makes its two enterprise VoIP SIP clients officially open-source. OfficeSIP Softphone and OfficeSIP Messenger are now publicly available, and their source code published under the GPL license. The two products complete with the source code are available for immediate download at the company’s Web site, officesip.org.

  • Open Source Firewalls – Untangle and pfSense comparison

    So this week I had the opportunity of setting up a little lab to test both of these firewalls. Before this week I had no idea these firewalls even existed, and the only open source routing/firewall software I even knew of at the time was Vyatta; which is really only for routing purposes.

  • Deploy Open Source CMS Solutions with BitNami Virtual Appliances

    Open Source solutions are becoming even more popular by the day. But that doesn’t mean they are any more easier to install and set up. BitNami offers a number of new virtual appliances though that should do the trick.

  • OSCON Makes It Happen: O’Reilly Open Source Convention Reveals Program and Opens Registration
  • Opinion: Open source support – as good as it should be?

    The result could be misleading, Christie suggests. “I think we may have asked the question the wrong way.” His company, Catalyst IT, was part of the survey; “and we provide those services”, he says. But someone in the company clearly did not think so.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla Wants Your Opinion on Open Web

      The open source community spends a lot of time kicking around the idea of an open Web and how best to develop open and non-proprietary specifications for Web technologies. Creating a plan is one thing, but communicating the importance of an open Web to non-technical computer users is another. Mozilla has taken the reins in an attempt to form an understandable explanation and wants your help.

  • SaaS

    • Open Source: SaaS Threatens the future of OS

      Dries Buytaert, founder of the popular Open Source CMS Drupal product, says that cloud computing has done an ‘end run’ around the Open Source community. His point is that while SaaS and Cloud computing is offering up a totally new delivery model, it is echoing the practices of traditional closed-source vendors.

    • GroundWork, Eucalyptus Team For Cloud Monitoring

      GroundWork Open Source and Eucalyptus Systems have paired up to offer integration between Eucalyptus’ open source private cloud offering and GroundWork’s monitoring software for cloud application management.

    • Eucalyptus, GroundWork As Allies: Cloud Stack Coming?

      Basically the two open source firms announced they have established a technical partnership. They are not producing products together, but they are ensuring their software will work together. Eucalyptus produces Eucalyptus 1.6.2, which provides the basics of establishing a self-provisioning cloud, one whose API functions, such as the directive, “run this workload,” are compatible with Amazon’s EC2.

  • CMS

    • Moving to an Open Source LMS: 3 Stories

      Part of the reason for Sakai’s success at the 2,200-student college–which self-supports Sakai internally, in contrast to many smaller schools–was approval of the move to open source, according to Instructional Technology Consultant Mary Glackin. She was a member of the original Sakai implementation team and is on the college’s current Sakai management team.

  • Business Intelligence


    • GCC 4.5 Release Candidate Is Finally Here

      GCC 4.5 has been running a bit behind schedule due to outstanding regressions, but last week the last of their highest severity regressions were addressed, which paved the way for a release candidate. Today the release candidate for version 4.5 of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) has arrived.

  • Releases

  • Government

    • Pushing for consistency in ICT across government

      “A coordinated approach to ICT web services seems to be missing in New Zealand” says event director, Tim Knapp. “Many of the government departments I’ve spoken to are in dire need of an organisation that can provide independent advice on open source web technologies, particularly as there’s so many to choose from. Australia are far ahead of us on this front, where they’ve setup the Open Source Business Cluster to fill this need”.

      Mr Knapp goes on to say “Plone is particularly suited to government as it is an enterprise-level content management system, exceeds the E-government standards for government websites, and therefore was officially sanctioned by the State Services Commission back in 2005″.

    • Medsphere Systems Markets Open Source Electronic Health Records System

      Experts agree that electronic medical records can lower costs and improve care. Yet just 10 percent of U.S. hospitals keep any computerized records, according to a survey in the New England Journal of Medicine last year. The biggest reason is cost: depending on the size of the hospital, the price of a digitized record system can run from $20 million to $100 million.

    • Qualitix Clinical Research Co., Ltd. Selects the OpenClinica Enterprise™ Electronic Data Capture (EDC) Solution for Multi-National Clinical Trials
  • Licensing

    • EPL/GPL Commentary

      A while ago, we received a request to take a look at an open letter on the compatibility of the Eclipse Public License (EPL) and the GNU General Public License (GPL). This led to a number of conversations with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) on the topic. What we have learned and the conclusions that we have drawn are outlined below. You can also find the FSF’s summary and conclusions on their blog.

  • Openness

    • OSHUG, new UK user group for open source hardware

      Osmosoft will be hosting the first meeting of OSHUG, the Open Source Hardware User Group on April 29th. OSHUG’s first meeting will include presentations by Professor David May and Alan Wood. May, currently CTO of XMOS Semicoductor, architect of the transputer and author of occam, the concurrent programming language, will be introducing the XCore XS1 microprocessor architecture. Wood will be discussing Amino, a “networked creator tool for hardware and software production” which his company, Folknology, are developing.

    • Is Sharing Contagious?

      Zuckerman story has been covered by various reporters. He relayed to me that the most common question he gets asked is, “Why would someone who is almost 40 do this without any compensation, what’s going on here?” His motivation, he admits, is multi-faceted. “It was driven by self-interest in the sense that I was bored and needed to be proud of something I created.” On the flipside, there is the “joy I get from helping people.” But the unexpected consequence of Zuckerman’s tool library is how his idea of sharing and kindness is spreading to affect the lives of dozens or maybe hundreds of other people he does not know or has never met.

    • MONDO 2000: An Open Source History

      At the end of the process, estimated to take approximately two years, a collaboratively-edited electronic document will be released on the web. A more closely-edited print book composed of selections from this process — edited by Ken Goffman aka R.U. Sirius (that’s me!) with Morgan Russell — will be published. Finally, the video footage might be rolled into a Mondo 2000 film documentary.

    • Mondo 2000: An Open Source History
  • Programming


  • Environment

    • How to connect mining disasters and climate change

      Environmentalists are often criticized by conservatives for embracing the science of climate change because it fits neatly with their ideological positions on conservation and sustainability. I think there is certainly some truth to that. But I’d argue that there is even more truth to the opposite position: Energy company executives and the politicians who carry their water reject science and oppose energy legislation because it conflicts with their ideological belief that anything that interferes with private profit-making is evil government intrustion.

  • Finance

    • CMD Releases New Wall Street Bailout Total, $4.6 Trillion in Federal Funds Disbursed

      Today, the Real Economy Project of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released an assessment of the total cost to taxpayers of the Wall Street bailout. CMD concludes that multiple federal agencies have disbursed $4.6 trillion dollars in supporting the financial sector since the meltdown in 2007-2008. Of that, $2 trillion is still outstanding.

      CMD’s assessment demonstrates that the Federal Reserve has provided by far the bulk of the funding for the bailout in the form of loans amounting to $3.8 trillion. Little information has been disclosed about what collateral taxpayers have received in return for these loans. CMD also concludes that the bailout is far from over as the government has active programs authorized to cost up to $2.9 trillion and still has $2 trillion in outstanding investments and loans.

    • Goldman Sachs’ Aganga Named Nigerian Finance Minister

      “While we continue to pray for the speedy recovery of the President, permit me to emphasize the policy continuum of governance and to insist on the imperative of this team to roll up its sleeves, and to redouble efforts so as to meet the expectations of our people who are yearning for good governance,” Jonathan said today.

    • Meg Whitman’s Shady Goldman Sachs Past — Is It California’s Future?

      Just when you thought you’d had enough of Goldman Sachs running things — and running them into the ground — along comes Meg Whitman. Most Californians know she’s using her fortune to run for governor. They probably don’t know that she was once on the board of Goldman Sachs, and most likely still would be if she hadn’t been cited for a practice one law firm describes as “essentially … an illegal bribe … to corporate leaders.” Then came the Congressional investigation, and the investor lawsuit, and … well, it was probably best to just leave the board.

    • Goldman Sachs’s ties to Meg Whitman questioned

      The Wall Street press can be pretty tough, but it’s nothing like the political press. Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, and now a candidate for governor of California, is finding that out now. Her opponents no doubt are only too happy to have her relationship with Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) aired in the media. The firm, by the way, has been embroiled in a controversy about whether it advised clients to short California muni bonds that it helped underwrite.

    • Poll: Goldman Sachs and other big banks have poor reputations

      As reported by Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs, with arguably the most vexing image issues, came in 56th out of 60. Citigroup (NYSE: C) came in 57th. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) came in 52nd and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) came in 53rd. American International Group (NYSE: AIG) came in at 59 and Fannie Mae at 58. Freddie Mac, now a ward of the government, came in dead last.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • MPs call for more support for local news media

      John Whittingdale, the committee’s chairman, said that local media was facing “unprecedented challenges” from the recession and the internet. “This has led to the closure of a large number of newspapers, many commercial radio stations becoming loss-making and the possible end of regional news on commercial television,” Mr Whittingdale said. “This has serious implications for local democracy.”

      The committee wants the Government to press ahead with changes to cross-media ownership recommended by Ofcom, the media regulator. These include relaxing the rule that no local newspaper publisher with more than 20 per cent of a market may also own a Channel 3 regional television licence.

    • Wikileaks and the dream of the open web

      In case you have not seen it yet, Wikileaks has released a video of an American helicopter crew opening fire on a group of men in Iraq, and later firing on a van that was trying to retrieve the wounded. I have been debating with myself whether to embed the video here. It is seriously disturbing, and I am concerned about potentially tasteless juxtaposition between the seriousness of the subject matter and the light-hearted nature of this blog, but I have decided that this is important enough that it requires all of the promotion it can get.

    • Mainstream media ignores Wikileaks video
    • Military can’t find its copy of Iraq killing video

      After being pressed to release its version of the WikiLeaks clip, U.S. CENTCOM says it can’t locate the footage

    • (en) Venezuela: all detainees released and charges dropped following union march in Maracay

      Having recovered from inhaling an amount of tear gas, I accompanied Robert González – the executive secretary of the Oil Workers’ Federation (Federación Petrolera) – as he was being interviewed by TVS Maracay (a regional TV channel). While he spoke to the journalist, a group of more than 30 police surrounded us. As soon as the TV cameras switched off, they pounced on us and, pushing against us, bundled us into the van. Amidst the tussle, they seized and broke my anarchist banner, which read, “FOR LIBERTARIAN AUTONOMY AND AGAINST THE REPRESSION OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS”. Twelve people in total were packed into the police van, including two members of the Workers’ League for Socialism (LTS). They didn’t tell us what our charges were, or where we were headed.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • An overview of what net neutrality means

      Net Neutrality is the principle of keeping web content equally accessible regardless of its provider, origin or destination. According to the Free Press Action Fund’s Savetheinernet.com campaign, net neutrality is threatened by the major conglomerates in the telecommunications industry who wish to provide themselves with an advantage by slowing down sites that aren’t associated with their companies and don’t pay a fee for the faster service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Memo To News Sites: There Is No Future In ‘Digital Razzle Dazzle’

      So here’s my position: There is no future in a paywall. No salvation in digital razzle dazzle.

    • Final Version of “Copying Is Not Theft” Released!

      Question Copyright’s first Minute Meme is a response to messages that have tried to convince people that copying information is the same as stealing property, when it’s an entirely different (and generally positive) thing. Until the air is cleared on that point, it’s hard to have any kind of useful conversation about copying, sharing, copyright, or licensing.

    • How to Thrive Among Pirates

      1) Price your copies near the cost of pirated copies. Maybe 99 cents, like iTunes. Even decent pirated copies are not free; there is some cost to maintain integrity, authenticity, or accessibility to the work.

      2) Milk the uncopyable experience of a theater for all that it is worth, using the ubiquitous cheap copies as advertising. In the west, where air-conditioning is not enough to bring people to the theater, Hollywood will turn to convincing 3D projection, state-of-the-art sound, and other immersive sensations as the reward for paying. Theaters become hi-tech showcases always trying to stay one step ahead of ambitious homeowners in offering ultimate viewing experiences, and in turn manufacturing films to be primarily viewed this way.

      3) Films, even fine-art films, will migrate to channels were these films are viewed with advertisements and commercials. Like the infinite channels promised for cable TV, the internet is already delivering ad-supported free copies of films.

    • Nintendo Deletes Fan-Made Pokemon MMO

      Nintendo has issued a cease-and-desist notice to the creators of the open source Pokémon MMO Pokenet, requiring that they take down their website and surrender the pokedev.org domain name used for the game, claiming unauthorized use of Nintendo trademarks, according to Joystiq.com.

    • ACTA/Digital Economy Bill

      • ACTA treaty draws fire in NZ submissions

        InternetNZ and the New Zealand Open Source Society have released their submissions to the Ministry of Economic Development’s consultation on this month’s ACTA negotiations, with the two organisations taking different, but equally critical tacks on the issue.

      • ‘No evidence ACTA is needed’ – InternetNZ

        Internet New Zealand has strongly opposed the signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) by New Zealand in a submission to the Ministry of Economic Development.

      • Submission Criticises Lack Of Evidence For ACTA Approach – InternetNZ
      • InternetNZ slams ACTA digital enforcement discussions
      • Open Letter to the Negotiators of ACTA

        In the Internet Community, we do not believe that it is even theoretically possible, short of instituting an entirely undesirable Orwellian police state, to effectively prevent music and films from being shared over the internet in non-commercial ways. We expect that any efforts by governments are any other party to stop this will fail, although they will surely be harmful side-effects, like for example the notice-and-takedown provisions of the DMCA in the USA are already being abused by enemies of the freedom of speech. (By contrast, the appropriate handling of copyrighted digital assets in commercial contexts is a solvable problem, as the international standard ISO/IEC 19770-1 on Software Asset Management proves. In my opinion, enforcement efforts should focus on that area where it is actually possible to achieve progress.)

      • NZOSS Submission on ACTA

        The New Zealand Open Source Society has made a submission on ACTA to the Ministry of Economic Development. The submission explores the relationship between legislation of the United States passed in 1998 called the DMCA with provisions in the Copyright Amendment Act 2008 and the leaked provisions in ACTA. The NZOSS does not wish to see a regime where citizens will be disconnected from the Internet based only on notices from rights holders, but rather maintain a position where proper judicial oversight and process will be maintained. Video here.

      • The Digital Economy Bill: Thinking further about copyright

        Two photographs. Nearly a century apart. Of people watching a sports game without paying.

        The question is, were they stealing? Would you call it stealing? I wouldn’t. But I know some people who would.

Clip of the Day

More Background Manipulation with the GIMP


Links 6/4/2010: Parallels and Ricoh Join The Linux Foundation; PC-BSD 8.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Setting the record straight on sudo

    To begin with, there is nothing wrong with using the root account if it is your system or you’re the administrator. Secondly, using sudo instead of a root shell is not more insecure. That’s simply ludicrous. The only difference is that with one you require knowing root’s password, and with the other you need to know your own password. If you are in the habit of using poor passwords, yes, this could bite you — but if you are already in the habit of using poor passwords, what’s to say that the root password isn’t just as bad?

  • Desktop

    • Boost Productivity with Workspaces

      Most often its not the case that you have only one application open at a particular time on your computer. With hardware becoming cheaper & faster, multi-tasking has become a norm. Its a common sight today to have a media-player, web browser, chat client & an image editor all running in realtime on one’s desktop. Though the computers can handle such multi-tasking the user’s productivity most often than not gets crippled. Blame it on to the cluttered desktop for the decrease in productivity. Half of the user’s time is wasted in finding the right application window. Grouping similar windows is handy but still not too much either. However, most of the user’s are unaware of the feature called ‘Workspaces’ in Linux Desktop Environments. Almost all desktop environment offer this feature enabled by default. It is set to 2 or 4 workspaces by default but can be altered to provide many more.

    • Diary Of A Linux Newbie: The First Year

      Just a year ago — April 21, 2009 to be exact — I installed a Linux distribution. I installed it from a DVD of Ubuntu 8.10, Intrepid Ibex, that came with an issue of Linux Pro magazine I bought from a news stand, and I put it on a hand-me-down eMachine with 384MB RAM (the other 128MB being dedicated graphics). It was the first time I had ever installed an operating system. In fact, it was the first time I had ever installed anything at all, anytime, anywhere. I had always just called for (and paid for) professional help from a neighbor who extended me rates more favorable than his enterprise customers paid. Raised at IBM, he had become a born-again Microsoft True Believer and wanted to keep us all happy Windows users.


      You see, Mr. Ulanoff was apparently intent on generating FUD in support of his publication’s proprietary-system advertisers like Microsoft and Apple. He described his experience at installing Ubuntu 8.10 as if it were the most computer-threatening, nerve-wracking, brain-challenging experience of his life. Zapped computer. Several required reinstalls of Windows XP Pro (which he made sure to say he tossed off quickly with his indominatble expertise). Finally, with a lot of help from experts both in his office and online, he heroically managed to get it up and running. There was no account of what he actually DID with it.

      And here’s a thing for all Linux fans to take into account: the working (read “paid”) reviewers derive their income from corporations that advertise in the publications for which they write. How likely is it for them to heap praise on a system that offers a viable, inexpensive, and sometimes superior product to the ones which are the ultimate source of their pay?

    • Portable Ubuntu 9.10 for Windows [Runs Ubuntu Inside Windows]

      Portable Ubuntu for Windows runs a full-fleshed Linux Ubuntu operating system on your Windows like any other Windows application. Version 3 of this brand runs Ubuntu 9.10 on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Download the latest package that takes about 559MB of your hard disk space (3.81GB when extracted). You can run it directly from your thumb-drive – its so portable.

  • Kernel Space

    • Ricoh Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Ricoh Company Ltd., is its newest member. Ricoh is a global leader in digital office solutions and will participate in the Linux Foundation’s events and OpenPrinting.org workgroup.

    • Ricoh joins the Linux Foundation

      Ricoh will also be participating in the OpenPrinting.org workgroup, one of the most active Linux Foundation workgroups aimed at standardising printing functionality on Linux.

    • Parallels Joins The Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Parallels is its newest member. Parallels, a leading provider of virtualization and automation software for the enterprise, cloud service providers and consumers, will participate in the Linux Foundation’s workgroups and events.

    • The “We’re Linux” Super Bowl Ad Video Contest

      Last year, the inaugural We’re Linux video contest kicked off a storm of creativity and captured the spirit of Linux and the diversity of its community. The winning video “What Does it Mean to Be Free” was an inspirational piece that communicated the ideals of the open source operating system.

    • VirtualDesktop & Multi-monitor simplification and merging

      I hope I have clarified the whole independent desktops per monitor concept. I believe that it would be much more simple in practice than it was to explain and has the potential to be more self discoverable.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Evolution of the Desktop

      Clutter is no good on a desktop. It takes too long to find anything. There is a reason the old designs are popular. They work. The new designs work for their designers but not anyone over 50, or under 10. That’s about half of humanity. Do what you want with the desktop but leave me XFCE4 and such that boot like lightning and can move as fast as I can. My son likes the new stuff. His hand is just a blur as he clicks on stuff at 1680. I have to squint four inches from the monitor to see any details.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Want Amarok 1.4 Back in Ubuntu? Here is how![Lucid,Karmic,Jaunty]
      • Something for Amarok 2.3.1+

        It has been brought to my attention that recently, I have not blogging enough about cool new features in future versions (as in, not the upcoming version, but a later one) of Amarok.

      • Announcing Aurorae Designer

        I’m proud to announce the initial release of AuroraeDesigner, a small application to design Aurorae themes. At the current state of development it is possible to open an existing theme and get an interactive preview of the theme and change all configuration details. The changed configuration can be saved, but I’d recommend to backup the original file before starting to play with the designer ;-) Packages are available for openSUSE through the openSUSE build service. As it depends on 4.4, I was unable to build packages for other distributions.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • A sneak peak at GNOME 3

        Now I will warn you that I am a fan of GNOME. I understand that KDE did the same thing when they re-invented their take on the desktop. The difference is – the innovation from KDE seemed more like a “retooling with added features”. GNOME 3 will be a milestone for the desktop. I have head some people say it is too much like the “iPhone interface”. To those I have to say “use it first”. But no matter where you stand, GNOME 3 is going to be different, and this article will show you how to install it and give you a first glance.

      • GNOME 2.30: Waiting for the Big Release

        GNOME 2.30 was originally intended to coincide with GNOME 3.0 — a massive cleanup and rethinking of the popular desktop. However, GNOME 3.0 is delayed for at least another release, which leaves GNOME 2.30 as most likely the last version in a series stretching back almost a decade.


        On the other hand, 2.30 will probably be the final version of the 2.0 series. For those who were around for GNOME 2.0 back in 2000, the 2.30 release stands as evidence of how far GNOME in general and the free desktop in particular have come in the last decade in usability and design. If you do a search for images of early GNOME releases and compare the results with 2.30, you can have no doubt that, although GNOME sometimes tends to over-simplify, its improvements over the last decade remain unmistakable.

  • Distributions

    • Comparison of Community Linux Distributions for the Enterprise

      Deciding on the best Linux distribution for your enterprise requires research. Your environment and computing needs are unique, and there are many factors to take into account. However, the reward can be dramatic cost savings coupled with high reliability and flexibility in your computing environment. There are third party support options –- including OpenLogic -– that not only help with support and services, but also can help with initial consultation and evaluation.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • First Glance at Mandriva Enterprise Server 5.1

        Last fall I took Mandriva’s desktop system, Mandriva 2010, for a test drive and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The Mandriva developers make one of the most user-friendly, stable and elegant systems in the Linux ecosystem. Having played with their Enterprise Server, I find it to be in the same class of excellence. The Enterprise Server is fast, stable, easy to configure and wonderfully intuitive to use. One of the things I enjoyed most about using MES is it does a great job of balancing giving information to the user while staying out of the way. There aren’t any annoying pop-ups and neither is the user left alone in an empty sea of UNIX. The Control Center continues to be one of the best all-in-one configuration tools on the market and I like the work the developers have put into installing services as building blocks. Having played with MES for a week, setting up services, running and restoring backups and managing accounts, I’ve encountered no problems. The system feels polished and well tested, suitable for a business environment and the price tag makes Mandriva’s Enterprise Server a good option for small and medium organisations who are looking for an inexpensive solution.

      • Returning to Linux, where to start? Part 1

        The rest of the package I would rate as average. Nothing really screams wow, nothing else is really lacking. With this you get a solid XFCE distro, albeit a bit fragile that is not as robust as others. If you are a fan of PCLinuxOS, the support is there, the community that is second to none and the packages are customized towards what those users are wanting to see. I love that the links are there in Firefox and I love the line “The distro-hopper-stopper” as I have always felt PCLinuxOS was one that would stick with the user a bit more than others.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Prepares Private Cloud Pitch for Wall Street

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux already enjoys strong momentum on Wall Street. But now, The VAR Guy hears, Red Hat is preparing to make a private cloud pitch to Wall Street customers and partners on April 19. Here are the detail, and the implications for Red Hat partners.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu: Canonical Focuses on Wall Street

        Now, Canonical hopes to begin the discussion with Wall Street firms as well. True believers include Equitec, a financial services firm that moved its proprietary trading software from 100 Windows-based servers to 30 Ubuntu-based servers, according to Canonical. (Side note: I’m having difficulty getting an update from Equitec regarding the Ubuntu deployment as well as the company’s business status.) Somewhat similarly, Linux Box — a solutions provider in Ann Arbor, Michigan — has started promoting Ubuntu to financial services firms.

      • Unity-based TinyMe 2010 RC1

        I’ve used Puppy, DSL, and a few other lightweights to bring some old junkers back from the dead but never had the pleasure of using TinyMe, until now. The Unity-based TinyMe 2010 is of course a minimalist distro and it uses the Openbox session and window manager. The 2010 RC1 download I used is only 200MB and runs as a live CD. You can get a stable version from the TinyMe download page.

      • Canonical announces phone sync for Ubuntu One subscribers

        Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, announced today that its Ubuntu One cloud service will soon gain support for mobile contact synchronization. The feature will be available to users who are paying for the higher tier of Ubuntu One service.

        Canonical officially launched the Ubuntu One service last year alongside the release of Ubuntu 9.10. The service allows users to keep files and some application data synchronized between multiple computers. The company is planning to roll out several significant new Ubuntu One features when Ubuntu 10.04, codenamed Lucid Lynx, is released later this month. The new Ubuntu One music store, which is integrated into the Rhythmbox audio player, will use Ubuntu One to deploy purchased music to all of the user’s computers. Much like the music store, the new mobile synchronization features are opening up for testing, but will officially launch alongside Ubuntu 10.04.

      • Bisigi Themes Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Testing PPA (And Lots Of Updates)
      • What’s coming in the new Ubuntu Linux desktop?

        I’m already using the beta of the forthcoming version of Ubuntu 10.04 and I like it a lot. I decided to ask the good people at Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, what they thought about the new Ubuntu, scheduled to arrive on April 29th, and this is what Gerry Carr, head of platform marketing had do say.

        One thing I noticed in looking at the beta of Ubuntu 10.04 was that Ubuntu, more than ever, is becoming the Linux desktop distribution for new users. I was right. Carr said, “We want new users.” Ubuntu has never been the distribution for Linux purists or experts. “We’ve always felt that one of the most important things that we can bring, hopefully, to open source is popularity as a desktop OS.”

      • Variants

        • Linux Mint 8 ‘LXDE’ Edition Review

          This is a great release from the Mint team. It’s fast, built on the rock solid Linux Mint core and pleasing to the eye. There are more than enough applications available to suit anyone and customization options are easy to use and plentiful.


          * Very fast thanks to LXDE and Openbox for the desktop.
          * Excellent selection of software.
          * Visually attractive with plenty of customization options.
          * Easy to use for a new user.


          * We would have preferred to see AbiWord instead of OpenOffice installed by default.

        • Puredyne- A Powerfull Linux OS for creative people (Artists)

          Based on Ubuntu and Debian Live, puredyne is a Linux live distribution dedicated to live audiovisual processing and streaming, and focuses largely on the Pure Data audio synthesis system, although it also includes SuperCollider, Csound as well as live video-processing systems such as Packet Forth and Fluxus. Another aspect of pure:dyne is that it is maintained by media artists for media artists. The system provides particular optimizations at the kernel and compilation level to take the most out of i686 machines for real-time audio and video. As a consequence, this operating system is well suited for live performances and art installations. The modular aspect makes it easy for artists to customize and deploy it quickly to their own project needs.

        • Puredyne USB-bootable GNU/Linux OS for creative media.

          Puredyne is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution aimed at creative people. It provides a number of creative applications, alongside a solid set of graphic, audio and video tools in a fast, minimal package. It includes software for everything an artist might need – from sound art to innovative film-making. Puredyne is optimised for use in real-time audio and video processing and it distinguishes itself by offering a low latency kernel and high responsiveness needed by artists working in this field.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Remember the Linux wristwatch?

      With all the hype about the iPad, and indeed, the hype about smaller and smaller mobile computing devices, I thought I would remind you all that there was at one point a Linux-powered wristwatch! This marvelous curiosity was discussed back in 2001, when it ran kernel version 2.2.1, had 8 megabytes of flash memory, and had IrDA (remember that?!).

    • VIA M’SERV: the Perfect Little Linux Box?

      Last year about this time we reviewed the VIA ARTiGO A2000 and found it to be a great hardware complement to the FreeNAS distribution. This time around we take a look at the latest incarnation of the small server box from VIA named the M’Serv S2100. We had to look pretty close to see the differences in the two from the outside. On the front panel they’re virtually identical with the exception of one LED. On the back panel the two audio ports have been replaced with a second Ethernet port.

    • OMAP35x dev board gains 802.11n, Bluetooth

      The WiLink 6.0 design, which debuted in January in TI’s own eBook Development Platform for Linux and Android, was the first of the company’s WiLink chips to offer 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, and FM on a single chip.

    • Android

      • Rhapsody Makes Android Sing
      • Android for Non-geeks

        If you’re anything like me then all this talk about Android development, source code, root, version, etc., is all completely over your head. If you don’t know who Cyanogen is, it’s okay. Well, for now. So, what’s the real deal about Android phones? So far, only the geekiest have them, right? I mean, who else is going to sit at a computer all day fiddling with source code to come up with some new doohickey thingamabob that changes a single light on a phone? Well, my husband, the biggest geek I’ve ever met, and thousands more.

      • ComScore Report Indicates Android Momentum in Full Swing
    • Sub-notebooks

      • Netbooks are Alive and Well

        Most businesses would be very happy with 33% year over year growth in units shipped. The panic/hype that the iPad will somehow damage netbooks is silly. Lower the price and there will be new surge in sales… Oh. You will have to dump that other OS to lower the price. Use GNU/Linux. It works better and costs less. Let the folks with too much cash buy the iPad. The rest of us will be able to afford two netbooks running GNU/Linux instead of one iPad. We can use one and give the other to a friend.

      • Hands-on: Ben NanoNote Micronotebook

        The Ben has OpenWrt-based Linux with an ash console, BusyBox and the opkg package manager. Connecting the mini-USB cable provides USB network connectivity. The dmesg kernel ring buffer command that it registers as highspeed USB device with the cdc_ether (communications device class, or CDC) kernel module. The kernel version is 2.6.32 and the images are often newly built, which the NanoNotes changelog explains. The last version (image 2010-03-26) added Python, PHP 5, make, OpenVPN and tcpdump. The new image can be updated via software or hardware or USB boot. The latter is great for tinkerers, but more than tedious for end-users. For us, a couple of circuit board connections shorted out while removing the battery.

    • Tablets

      • Three things the iPad is, and isn’t

        Some people are shocked — shocked I tell you — to find that the iPad isn’t open source and so are encouraging people to avoid it. Hello? What part of the iPad being an Apple product did you not get? Apple, even more so than Microsoft, is the un-open company. If you want an open-source based iPad clone, congratulations: Linux-powered iPod-like devices are already on their way.

        At the same time, Apple is supporting open standards. Sure, if you want to develop applications for the iPad, you have to jump through Apple’s hoops — but if you want to develop iPad-friendly Web pages, you’ll do it by embracing HTML5 and avoiding proprietary formats like Flash.

        If you really want to open up an iPad’s software and void the warranty, the iPad’s already been jailbroken. In two weeks’ time, someone will doubtlessly have Linux running on it.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Innovation’s Challenge: Letting Go Is Hard To Do

    High-tech companies want research and development help from outsiders, but granting them authority is another matter — and the tighter their control, the harder it is to attract outside participation. One of the best high-tech open-source role models is Eclipse, formed through IBM’s 2001 donation of its Java development software.

  • Four Open Source Invoicing Apps Worth Checking Out

    Invoicing is one of the necessary evils for freelancers and small business owners. It’s a pain in the neck to bother with but, on the other hand, it’s always nice to get paid. Here are four open source invoicing applications that make the job a little easier.

  • To boldly go and conquer

    NASA may be cutting back, but don’t let that stop you from celestial crusading. In the multi-player space combat game Conquest, players on four teams – Federation, Orion, Romulan, and Klingon – fly around in a ship, conquer planets, and fight other players.

  • OpenTTD 1.0.0 Released

    OpenTTD is an open source clone of the Microprose game “Transport Tycoon Deluxe”, a business simulation games, in which the player is in control of a transport company, and can compete against rival companies to make as much profit as possible by transporting passengers and various goods by road, rail, sea or by air.

  • North Korean Red Star operating system details emerge

    It has games, an e-mail system known as Pigeon and a Mozilla’s Firefox internet browser – which has the North Korean government website as a home page.

  • Apache Maven 3 Races to the Finish Line

    The open source Apache Maven project has been helping software developers for over six years with their project build and reporting management needs. For most of that time, the project has been offering incremental updates to the Apache Maven 2.x product line, but in the next few months, Maven 3 is set to emerge.

  • Mozilla

    • Where and Whither Mozilla?

      The importance of Mozilla and its Firefox browser went up a notch last week. For it was then that it became clear that Microsoft has little intention of following a very particular standard – its own OOXML, pushed through the ISO at great cost to that institution’s authority. Contrast that with Microsoft’s increasingly positive signals about Web standards, which it is adopting with notable fervency – largely thanks to Firefox.

      Microsoft is complaisant because Firefox’s market share is getting close to the critical level where it becomes the dominant browser in the market. According to the first Mozilla Metrics Report, Mozilla’s global market share is around 30%. That figure is confirmed by the latest figure from W3Counter, which gives Internet Explorer 48% globally, and 32% to Firefox.

    • Firefox plans fix for decade-old browsing history leak
  • Databases/Oracle

    • NoSQL CouchDB Getting Stable with New Release
    • Connecting Open Office Base Application to SQL
    • 8 Advanced OpenOffice.org Add-ons

      OpenOffice.org (OOo for short) is a great office suite for Linux and pretty much any other operating system, but can always use improvement. This is especially true for templates and clip art. Fortunately, the open source community provides many add-ons or extensions. Here’s a look at eight different ones:

      English Templates by OxygenOffice

      One of the biggest features you might miss from Microsoft Office is their templates. This might especially be the case now that they have integrated the online user-submitted templates, giving you even more choices. In OOo, all you get is two presentation templates, an assortment of presentation templates, and a few wizards to help make letters, faxes, and agendas–the bare minimum. Then on a different menu (File > New), you’ll find shortcuts to work with labels and business cards.

  • CMS

    • HowTo: Configure WordPress To Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN)

      Research shows that if your web pages take longer than 5 seconds to load, you lose 50% of your viewers and sales. You can speed up your wordpress blog by using a CDN to display content to users faster and more efficiently. You can distributes common files or content such as css, javascript, uploaded images, videos and much more through a CDN, which serves the content from the closest cdn edge server to the end-user. In this tutorial, I will explains how to configure WordPress, Apache/Lighttpd webserver, Bind dns server to use a CDN to distribute your common files such as css, js, user uploaded files and lighten load on your web server.

  • BSD

    • New Features in PC-BSD 8.1

      Kris Moore recently announced some of the new features that will be available in 8.1. He is looking for testers for the latest snapshot.

    • PC-BSD – Linux 8.0 review

      An impressive, mature and polished Linux distribution, that doesn’t quite beat Ubuntu for sheer ease of use, but is nonetheless a worthy alternative.


    • Emacs & the birth of the GPL

      Emacs is not so much a text editor, more a way of life – an “extensible, customisable self-documenting real time display editor” with thousands of ready made extensions that take you way beyond its original remit as a text editor, some of which can be found at the Emacs wiki or on the Emacs Lisp list.

    • Emacs and the GPL

      I quite enjoyed seeing how RMS tempered prophetic statements with unfortunate real-world experience. Consider this insight from RMS into why it would be unlikely for a commercial entity to produce something like Emacs:

      I don’t think that anything like EMACS could have been developed commercially. Businesses have the wrong attitudes. The primary axiom of the commercial world toward users is that they are incompetent, and that if they have any control over their system they will mess it up. The primary goal is to give them nothing specific to complain about, not to give them a means of helping themselves.

      Some 23 years later, on the commerically amazing debut of the iPad, it’s striking how accurate this assessment is!

  • Standards/Consortia

    • FSFE and FFII to Radio Station Winners: “rOGG on”

      Radio Free Deutschland: For Document Freedom Day, March 31 2010, a couple of European radio stations were granted awards for using open standards.

      The radio stations Deutschlandradio and Radio Orange received the awards from the Free Software Foundation Europe and Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure because they transmitted over the Internet in the Ogg Vorbis media container format. The free Radio Orange 94.0 in Vienna and dradio.de (Deutschlandfunk in Cologne and Deutschlandradio Kultur in Berlin) were honored with the awards (and a cake) the afternoon of March 31 under the slogan “rOGG on!” (see Gallery).


  • Comcast, Wal-Mart favored to win “worst company” contest

    Consumerist.com’s fifth annual “Worst Company in America” tournament is on, with cable provider Comcast as one of the top seeds among competitors like Best Buy, Apple, and HP.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Vetting and barring scheme ‘a waste of money’

      The Association of Teachers and Lecturers said cash for the vetting and barring scheme – which could cost up to £1 billion – would be better spent on more social workers.

      Activists warned that the overwhelming majority of abuse was committed in the home or by relatives – meaning a database targeted at teachers, doctors, health workers and volunteers would be useless.

    • Will vetting make crisis out of children’s drama?

      The government’s new vetting and barring scheme could put theatre companies off casting children, according to local troupes.

      Peter Hunt, a director for the Lindley Players in Whitstable, said: “It will add a layer of complexity for those of us trying to put on amateur productions and involve children, which we all want to do.

    • General Election 2010 – A Vote for Privacy and Freedom

      Britain is at a crossroads in privacy and liberty. In recent years, public opposition has seen the government defeated on 90 days detention, forced to make ID cards non-compulsory and a series of concessions made on large-scale state databases from the NHS Spine to ContactPoint. But these only scrape the surface of the widespread erosion in personal freedom that has occurred in the past decade.

    • The Seductive Power of Surveillance

      Surveillance technology may be the most corrupting and also the most intoxicating media proliferating in these rapidly changing times. Its use is a slippery slope sliding further into the surveillance society.

      For example, a school district in Philadelphia has recently been caught spying on its students via cameras installed on laptops. The school board was able to do this through several thousand Apple Mac Books with spyware installed that they distributed to students. School administrators could access and activate the laptop camera whenever they wished.

    • The NoVa Police Blackout

      And then there’s Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney Randolph Sengel, who fired off an indignant letter to the editor in response to Pope’s article. Calling Pope’s well-reported piece a “rant” that was “thinly disguised as a news story,” Sengel wrote that “Law enforcement investigations and prosecutions are not carried out for the primary purpose of providing fodder for his paper.” Mocking the media’s role as a watchdog for government officials, Sengel added, “The sacred ‘right of the public to know’ is still (barely) governed by standards of reasonableness and civility,” as if those two adjectives were incompatible with a journalist inquiring about the details of a govenrment agent’s fatal shooting of an unarmed man. Sengel’s concluding graph is worth excerpting at length to give a better feel for a certain type of official contempt for disclosure…

    • Are Computers in Africa Really Weapons of Mass Destruction?

      According to these Western pundits who are, incidentally, often promoting their cybersecurity services, computers and connectivity in Africa either pave the way for terrorists to unleash cyber-attacks or for botnet operators to gather millions of unprotected machines into their control. Although we’ve spent considerable time debunking the hysteria around cyberwar, this new version of the meme is even more unfounded.

  • Finance

    • AIG Less Reliant on U.S., on Path to Repaying Bailout, CEO Says

      The bailed out insurer is “now on a path” to repaying the loans included in its $182.3 billion rescue package, Benmosche said in an interview yesterday. The company will first pay off the $25.3 billion it owes the Federal Reserve before deciding how to raise the cash it needs to end its separate arrangement with the U.S. Treasury that includes a draw on a second credit line of more than $40 billion.

    • It’s Official: Goldman Sachs, AIG Played Taxpayers for Fools

      It is official. In their annual report via Business Week Goldman Sachs (GS) says their employees are innocent as lambs. (The implicitly government guaranteed company, Goldman Sachs, is full of lambs doing ‘God’s work’ with seven figure bonuses!) GS says that it did nothing wrong in its credit default swap bets with American International Group (AIG). There is a funny thing about the too big to fail (TBTF) problem. The dummy at the poker table isn’t even in the casino. AIG and Goldman Sachs (and most of the other major investment banks) were playing with the money of U.S. taxpayers.

    • Bloomberg Takes a First Step at Piercing the Veil of Secrecy Surrounding CDOs

      A recent Bloomberg story about one of the CDOs insured by AIG, Davis Square Funding III, is a stark reminder of one of the bedrock principles of real estate lending: Timing is everything. Davis Square III, originally underwritten by Goldman Sachs, was comprised of pieces of mortgage bonds issued in 2004, two years before the home prices peaked.

    • The IMF Flag reads: ECONOMIC SLAVERY

      “The IMF will not have a restricted role” in the recently decided support plan for Greece, because “it wants to insure the control of valuable Greek infrastructures”, alleges economic analyst Max Keiser on international television networks such as the BBC, Al Jazeera and Russia Today.

    • Report: ‘A Lot of Goldman Sachs’ Employees Are Auditioning for The Apprentice

      When it comes to working on Wall Street, Goldman Sachs is the holy grail. Those who make it through the notoriously arduous interview process relinquish much of their personal lives, their identities, and their hair in service of the firm. Drinking in the combination of Old Spice, everything bagel, and money that emanates off of CEO Lloyd Blankfein during his visits to the trading floor is considered not just a workaday experience but a privilege. Which is why it is nothing less than shocking that casting director Scott Salyers told Bloomberg today that a number of God’s bankers have shown up at recent castings for The Apprentice.

      New York auditions usually include “a lot of Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, that kind of stuff,” Salyers said.

    • Ex-Goldman Banker Turnbull Quits Australian Politics
    • Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) To Introduce New Performance Measurements for Australian Senior Managers

      Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) will introduce a new scorecard system for its senior management in Australia, linking their part of their bonuses to their success in encouraging diversification in the workplace. Goldman Sachs’s senior U.S. managers already have their performance measured by the metrics.

    • CA Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman Has a Dirty Little Goldman Sachs Secret

      Despite being stabbed in the back by Goldman Sachs, California keeps giving Goldman Sachs billions of dollars in business — seven percent of Goldman’s revenues in 2008. Despite the billions of dollars in profit, Goldman Sachs refuses to support reinvestment for low-income communities in California.

      While CEO of eBay, Whitman reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to handle the company’s initial public stock offering — and for a second stock offering too — and to help it acquire PayPal. She was also a private banking client of theirs at the same time. Goldman Sachs received $8 million in fees from eBay while Whitman was CEO, while she made $1.78 million from those ‘spinning’ deals.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Internet link case to go before Supreme Court

      Can posting a link to someone else’s website constitute defamation?

      The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear the case of a former Green Party campaign manager who says it does.

    • Censored in Singapore

      The rulers had sued for defamation 16 years ago, saying a Herald Tribune Op-Ed column had implied that they got their jobs through nepotism. The paper wound up paying $678,000 and promising not to do it again. But in February, it named Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister, and his son, Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister now, in an Op-Ed article about Asian political dynasties.

      After the Lees objected, the paper said its language “may have been understood by readers to infer that the younger Mr. Lee did not achieve his position through merit. We wish to state clearly that this inference was not intended.” The Herald Tribune, wholly owned by The New York Times Company, apologized for “any distress or embarrassment” suffered by the Lees. The statement was published in the paper and on the Web site it shares with The Times.

    • Free Speech Unmoored in Copyright’s Safe Harbor: Chilling Effects of the DMCA on the First Amendment

      Each week, more blog posts are redacted, more videos deleted, and more web pages removed from Internet search results based on private claims of copyright infringement. Under the safe harbors of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Internet service providers are encouraged to respond to copyright complaints with content takedowns, assuring their immunity from liability while diminishing the rights of their subscribers and users. Paradoxically, the law’s shield for service providers becomes a sword against the public who depend upon these providers as platforms for speech.

    • Online readers need a chance to comment, but not to abuse

      Anonymous online commenting has always been rowdy and raucous, especially when public figures are the targets.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • U.S. court rules against FCC on Net neutrality

      A federal court threw the future of Internet regulations and U.S. broadband expansion plans into doubt Tuesday with a far-reaching decision that went against the Federal Communications Commission.

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks. That was a big victory for Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable company, which had challenged the FCC’s authority to impose such “Net neutrality” obligations on broadband providers.

    • Court: FCC has no power to regulate Net neutrality
    • The Debate over Pizzaright Reform

      Since its creation in the 1930s, the Federal Culinary Commission has tightly regulated the pizza marketplace. Entrepreneurs wishing to open pizzerias have been required to apply to the FCC, specifying the location of their proposed pizzeria, detailing the kinds of pizza that would be offered, and explaining how the creation of a new pizzeria benefitted the public interest. If the FCC determined that a new pizzeria was needed, it would issue a new pizzaright, subject, of course, to periodic renewal to ensure that the pizzaright was being used in the public interest.

    • Pizzarights and Spectrum Policy

      It is important for free-market types to attack “unlicensed” spectrum proposals that actually come with a lot of strings attached. This, I think, is the flaw of the “white spaces” proposal: there’s actually nothing unlicensed about it. While the white spaces rules don’t restrict who may use the spectrum, it does impose detailed rules about the protocols these devices may use. But the fact that a particular “unlicensed” spectrum program worked out poorly isn’t an argument against deregulation in general. And by painting all unlicensed spectrum rules with the same broad brush, free-marketeers malign some of the most successful (and libertarian!) FCC initiatives of the last few decades for no good reason.

    • Commerce Dept. Backs Radio Royalty Bill

      The Commerce Department voiced support Thursday for legislation that would require AM and FM radio stations to pay performers a fee when they air their songs.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • NYTimes Ethicist: Not Unethical To Download Unauthorized Copy Of Physical Book You Own

      He goes on to quote a publishing exec who disagrees, insisting that any unauthorized download is “stealing” and warns Cohen: “to condone this is to condone theft.” But, of course, that’s ridiculous. It is not theft at all. Nothing is missing. No one has lost out on anything. The publisher already got its money from this guy.

    • Shirky: What “people must pay for content” really means

      Clay Shirky’s latest broadside, “The Collapse of Complex Business Models,” is as incandescent as ever. It’s a thoughtful and provocative piece on the way that “high quality” products (which are also complex and expensive) reach diminishing returns, where they are being made ever-more complex without any rise in value, because the institutions that made them don’t know how to be less complex. It’s a great commentary on walled gardens, paywalls, and the reflexive entertainment industry sneer that YouTube is made out of nothing but priceless pirated media and worthless videos of cats.

    • Piracy Rampant Among Spanish Government Officials

      While the Spanish Government tries to ram through legislation that will enable the authorities to shut down file-sharing sites more rapidly, employees of the ministry responsible have been exposed as pirates. Fresh data shows that at nearly all ministries, staff have been downloading copyrighted material.

    • Recording Industry: Please Ignore Others’ Bogus Studies — Only Our Own Bogus Studies Count

      Now, this is the IFPI we’re talking about, and if ever there were an organization that knows something about studies that are “pure speculation,” it would be the IFPI. Every year the IFPI comes out with one of the more laughable reports on the “impact” of file sharing. The 2010 report is particularly full of baseless speculation, such as claiming that file sharing “harmed” some of the best selling music and movies in the last couple of years.

    • UK Shop Refuses To Make Prints Of Digital Photos Because They’re ‘Too Good’ And Must Infringe

      It appears that a similar story is playing itself out across the pond in the UK, where the popular retailer Boots apparently refused to print one woman’s photos because they were seen as “too good” for her to have taken, and therefore must be infringing on someone’s copyrights (thanks to Dave Michels for sending this in). The woman even got a signed letter, and when that didn’t work, came back with the (pregnant) woman who was in the photos to let the staff know that these photos were, indeed, legit and not covered by someone else’s copyright. The store still said no.

    • More News From The United Kingdom On Davenport Lyons, ACS Law, and Tilly Bailey & Irvine

      The Sword of Justice has just published an article titled ‘Terence Tsang undercutting his friends?” which asks some interesting questions about the operations of Davenport Lyons, ACS Law, and Tilly Bailey & Irvine. All three firms have sent ‘infringement letters’ to people that they claim have downloaded copies of movies and games. While Sword’s questions about the ties between the three firms are interesting, the point that really strikes me comes from Torrentfreak, apparently the monitoring software that the firms used cost them under $750.00!

      OK, so we are in a down economy, and software engineers like everyone else are having a hard time finding work. But only $750.00? Assuming a charge rate of $100.00 per hour, that’s only one day’s worth of work. Now admittedly it appears that what they did was modify an existing bit torrent client, so a lot of the coding was already done. But on a lot of projects that I’ve been involved with, even the simplest ones, the planning stage takes a lot longer than that.

    • ACTA/Digital Economy Bill

      • Paving Hell: ACTA Encourages Oppression from Friend and Foe Alike

        The drafting of the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) isn’t going so well. The agreement, which at least hints at three strikes provisions and third-party criminal liability for IP infringement, was finally leaked in its entirety last week. Now it seems that the drafters are a little nervous that authoritarian regimes might use ACTA to suppress speech. Wow, ya think? But we do not need to look to our enemies to find atavistic Internet policies. In the last few weeks, two of our staunchest supporters (South Korea and Australia) have been added to the illustrious Enemies of the Internet list. If even our well-intentioned, democratic allies offend Internet freedom by way of the rule of law, can there be any doubt that repressive regimes will do the same?

      • Digital economy bill: One clown giveth and the other clown taketh away

        If the government were to stop slavishly obeying the record companies as it formerly obeyed George Bush, and turn its attention to the real issue – how to support the arts in the digital age without impeding sharing – there is no shortage of methods it could try. My 1992 proposal for a special tax to be distributed to artists, with the money partly shifted from the most popular ones towards those not quite so successful, is still applicable. Meanwhile, many artists support themselves already with voluntary payments by their fans. If we make it easier to send these payments, with a send-one-dollar or send-one-pound button on every player, this method would work even better. And without disconnecting anyone!

      • 5 Ways The Google Book Settlement Will Change The Future of Reading

        If you care about the future of books, you need to understand the Google Book Settlement. It’s a complicated legal document, but we’ve talked to some of its architects, detractors, and defenders – and break it all down for you.

      • Why Authors, Agents, and Publishers Should Embrace Google Book Search

        I am impressed by how responsive Google has been to the concerns of the publishing community. I believe they are going to make it possible for more consumers to discover great new content that they would have otherwise missed. Rather than being something we should fear, Google Book Search is something we should embrace. If we do, I think we will find that our content is suddenly more relevant than ever.

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 2 – Episode 10: Election Fraud (2005)

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