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Links 15/8/2011: Dumping Mac OS X, Linux 3.1 RC2 Arrives

Posted in News Roundup at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Open Source: Multitasking with X and Linux

    Another restriction is with multi-user on Microsoft. With my Linux desktop PC I have a user for work related tasks and a user for relaxation and gaming tasks. I can keep the work user logged in, switch to a Linux console using Ctrl Alt (F1-F6), login the game user, start a second X GUI session with startx startxfce4 — :1 and play a short game while “stuff” keeps running under the work user in the first X session. If I am playing a buggy 3D game that may crash X, I have no worries about my tasks in the other X session as they would be unaffected if a poorly designed 3D game took down the second session. I can do this “out of the box” on a typical Linux distribution installation. If you are from the limited Microsoft universe you have no concept to compare to this on a standard, out of the box, Microsoft desktop PC. Yes, you can switch users. But if you switch users as I do to play a game that crashes the Microsoft GUI called “Windows” it all crashes. Not just the session where the faulty program broke the GUI. It is also truly simple to switch between or among multiple sessions of X on a Linux PC. Just use Ctrl Alt F# to switch back and forth, where # is the virtual terminal number for an X session. For example, my first session is on virtual terminal 8 and my second session is on virtual terminal 9. To switch between them I use Ctrl Alt F9 and Ctrl Alt F8.

  • The Age of the Icon Is Full Upon Us

    It is pretty clear that whether you use Apple, Linux, or Windows (to be scrupulously alphabetical about it) you are going to be at least offered – and more likely stuck with – a highly iconified desktop in any current or future offering of an operating system. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re using a phone, a tablet, or a Real Computer.

  • Why I Support Free Software

    At a Linuxworld trade show I heard three people arguing about the proper way to decompose applications to work on a high-performance Linux-based supercomputer. The three people were two engineers from Hewlett Packard and an eleven year-old programmer. The interesting part was that the two engineers from HP were wrong and the young programmer was right.

  • Choosing a Desktop (#noapple)

    When it comes to operating systems, the most “free” distro out there is Debian. I run Debian on more than half of my servers. Unfortunately, native Debian is a poor choice for a desktop, especially on proprietary hardware like my iMac. While I have no doubt that I could get things to a useable state with Debian, one of my stated goals is easy of use, and from the desktop standpoint Debian ain’t it.

  • The broken dreams of a Linux system administrator

    After some studies, or perhaps a specialist course or presentation you’d like to start to implement in your company the best practice you have learnt, and perhaps start a new and better era for your IT department.

    But it seem that something always go in the wrong way or there are unexpected difficulties that make all your plans, and dreams, fails; and after some fight you usually end saying “ok that WAS the best practice and we are sure to don’t follow it”.

    This is my list of things I’ve found impossible to realize in some years of work.


    To make the things easy the best solution would be: to have 1 distribution at the same level on all servers, use only 1 application stack to deliver services (java, ruby, php).
    I can understand this can become too strict, over time new release of the distribution come out and it’s not so easy to upgrade all server, or different group can use different software.

  • Dear Windows,

    You were good to me at first, we had plenty of laughs you and I. You introduced me to a lot of people. We were good together. But then you started ditching me all the time. Only co-operating when it suited your mood, getting angry at me a lot, telling me what I was and wasn’t allowed to do. Cutting me off when I was in the middle of something, or getting rid of my stuff without permission. That’s not cool. But, I stayed with you. I felt comfortable being with you, everything was familiar, and simple. Until you wouldn’t let me in, you said I was doing something illegal when I wasn’t. You know me, we’ve been together since I bought you in the store, I’d never do something like that. But I gave up on you today, I’ve finally had it.

  • Top secret productivity recipe
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • E17 Enlightment Rocks
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Which languages are people writing Plasmoids in?

        Python 46%
        C++ 44%
        QML 6%
        Javascript 4%

      • Wireless on Plasma Active MeeGo image

        Since MeeGo uses Connman instead of Networkmanager to handle network connections, that means there is not (yet ;) an user interface to control in right from the KDE workspaces.

        If you happen to have one of the Desktop summit Exopc with the Contour user interface that there has been installed on several devices, here are some easy steps to get the MeeGo tablet Connman ui installed and be able to connect to a wireless network.

      • Dragon Player – KDE Video player focus on simplicity

        Dragon Player is a multimedia player where the focus is on simplicity, instead of features. Dragon Player does one thing, and only one thing, which is playing multimedia files. It’s simple interface is designed not to get in your way and instead empower you to simply play multimedia files.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Did GNOME Shell Miss the Mark?

        Having played with a couple of tablets over the last week it occurred to me that these are the sort of devices the GNOME 3 Shell is said to be intended to run on, a reasonable assumption when looking at the design. However, the current breed of tablets PC’s come with their own interfaces already, and they seem rather streamlined and efficient at what they’re doing. Android tablets, HP webOS, the Blackberry Playbook and of course the iPad all have rather good interfaces in my view that are more than up to the job they’re intended for, and probably superior to the Shell because they have been designed with just that one purpose in mind.

      • Classic Gnome panel vs. Unity
  • Distributions

    • Review of Puppy Linux on an Old Server

      Puppy has become familiar to many as a Live CD option for aging PCs that sit on people’s desktops at home, maybe even at some offices. Puppy recently became more of a derivative of Ubuntu (arguably, depending on the definition of “derivative”), but its legacy and/or its strength was mostly associated with its version that I used. It contains JVM and it can also use other lightweight desktop environments.

    • Big distributions, little RAM 3
    • New Releases

      • Top Five New Releases of the week you need to watch

        Here are some just released distros that are interesting and great to work with. Monomaxos is a refreshing Greek distro for those who prefer an out-of-box Linux OS. dyne:bolic, Plop Linux, Toorox and Network Security Toolkit have just released over the past week and will make for an enriching experience.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu In The Wild: Have You Seen ‘Ubuntu’ In Public?

            When reader Fabio Bier mailed in a photo of this familiar looking emblem atop a drain/man hole cover (spotted in Seville, Spain, fact fans) it got me thinking: does the ‘Ubuntu’ logo ever crop up in urban landscapes?

          • Flavours and Variants

            • WattOS R4 – An alternative to Lubuntu

              I have always been interested in lighter weight desktops, and having a laptop I also am interested in saving power and maximizing battery life. WattOS promises both of these by offering a Lxde desktop. It’s also based off of Ubuntu 11.04, so it is up to date and has a great amount of packages.

              I do all of my testing in Virtualbox for lack of a spare machine to install to. I dedicated one gigabyte of RAM to Virtualbox for testing out WattOS. Booting from the iso image took two minutes and two seconds, which isn’t too long of a time, but I have certainly seen better. Still, it was soon up and running with the lxde desktop. The desktop has a nice silver colored panel and a wallpaper with some sort of insect clinging to a blade of grass. The icon theme is the ever popular Faenza, and the Openbox theme is the default for Lxde, which goes by the name of Onyx. The GTK theme is Clearlooks, which is simple but looks nice with pretty much any setup. The desktop is fast, and did not slow down noticeably even when I ran nearly every pre-included program, something that can’t be said about many distributions.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Setting up a new project – 4 tools you can’t miss the first time around

    Just ask them, I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to tell you about it. Adding wheels to a kitchen table, or jet packs in your blue blazer, everyone is an inventor in their own mind. Sooner or later you every person on the planet will have a desire to strike out on their own and make a go at bringing their idea to life. Whether you’re building a consultancy or rocket ships, there a few key apps that need to be rolled out on Day One. If you don’t have these ironed out from the very beginning, things tend to spiral out of control and make it hard for a project to ever get on track, much less stay there.

  • Web Browsers


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Eriks Zelenka’s diary

      Fuh, I spend half of my day today at police station because some paranoid guy called the police. We had a conversation with him and I tried to explain him what I’m doing, with no success.. The area I mapped had quite a few burglaries recently. But still they arrested me with no evidence, after I explained them what and why I’m doing. Three cars, six policeman, six hours enclosed for nothing.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks: Bulgaria, US Mulled New Refinery to Rival Neftochim

      Bulgarian and American officials discussed two years ago the construction of a new, mid-sized oil refinery to compete with Neftochim, controlled by Russia’s giant Lukoil, diplomatic cables, revealed by WikiLeaks, show.
      “The gas cut-off [in the winter of 2009] has reinvigorated Bulgarian efforts to diversify away from Russian energy sources. We are urging Bulgaria to think big,” former Ambassador Nancy McEldowney writes in a diplomatic cable, entitled “Bulgaria – digging out of the energy hole”.

    • Wikileaks Makes the World More Civilised

      Earlier on in the day, Wikileaks’ official account echoed my tweet to over a million followers, which is rare (I have posted over 50,000 tweets and never was I mentioned by Wikileaks). For whatever reason, people still associate Wikileaks with crime, even though its only connection to crime is that it helps expose crime. In this world and in this strange age of oppression, exposing crime is criminal if the criminals are very rich. If they are poor people who commit petty crimes, nobody seems to care — neither about them nor those who expose them.

    • The Evolving Media Portrait of the Wikileaker

      On May 24th PBS aired a Frontline documentary about alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning called “WikiSecrets.” Billed as “The inside story of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and the largest intelligence breach in U.S. history” it focused exclusively on Manning’s struggles in the military as a data analyst and closeted homosexual who’d gained access and subsequently released tens of thousands of classified government documents. Omitting Manning’s stated motives or the content of the leaks, it put forth the “angry gay man” narrative that Bradley leaked the information primarily because he was frustrated by bullying and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the military policy in place until September 20, 2011 that prohibited military personnel from disclosing or discussing homosexual relationships. As PBS told it, Manning was angry and wanted to exact vengeance on the establishment before going bonkers.

    • IQ2: Is Wikileaks a Force for Good?

      US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, a big fan of the concept of open governance, famously opined that “sunlight is the best disinfectant”. Yet even the world’s liberal democracies have claimed that sometimes they require a place in the shade, condemning WikiLeaks for publishing their confidential information.

      Are governments justified in their condemnation of WikiLeaks and merely being responsible in protecting their secrets? Could the world really survive an unbridled commitment to transparency?

      Tackling this thorny topical issue at an IQ2 Debate in Sydney were two teams featuring, on one side, a former foreign minister in Gareth Evans … and, on the other, a Wikileaks insider in the form of Icelandic investigative journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson.

    • Review the Charges Facing Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Founder
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • EPA’s Proposed Standards Would Limit Mercury, Arsenic, and Other Air Toxics from Power Plants for First Time

      The Environmental Protection Agency took a critical step toward cleaner air on March 16, 2011, by proposing its air toxics standards for coal-fired power plants. The proposed rule would limit emissions of mercury, arsenic, and other air toxics from power plants for the first trime.

      These protections were called for in the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, but they haven’t been implemented, and they are long overdue. Toxic mercury, arsenic, and other pollutants have been spewing uncontrolled from power plants even though we fully know how bad they are.

    • Raw Footage From The Gulf: Beaches In Bay Jimmy “stained Black”; Grand Isle Oyster Beds Choke Under Heavy Sheen

      BP and its boosters say we dodged a bullet. They beat their chests and shout from the treetops that the 200-million-gallon spill off Louisiana’s coast didn’t break the back of the Gulf like all the “doomsdayers” said it would. They talk of safe seafood and booming Gulf tourism. They tell us the oil is gone, that it’s time to move on. In fact, according to BP, the Gulf has made such an unexpectedly fast recovery that “future loss” claims to victims of the spill should be shut down. No more damage so no more damage claims, or so argues BP’s legal team on into the night.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • David Cameron’s net-censorship proposal earns kudos from Chinese state media

      UK prime minister David Cameron (who is reported to have rioted himself and then fled police while at university) has proposed a regime of state censorship for social media to prevent people from passing on messages that incite violence. This proposal has been warmly received by Chinese state media and bureaucrats, who are glad to see that Western governments are finally coming around to their style of management.

    • Riots lead to rethink of Internet freedom [from China]

      One of the anti-riot measures recently suggested by British PM David Cameron is to prevent rioters from using Twitter and other social networking websites. Such a tactic, which was slammed as a trick resorted to only by authoritarian governments in the past, has had a great impact on world media.

  • Privacy

    • Inquisitive UIDAI wants all details about you and I

      The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Karnataka, which is all set to begin its ambitious “Aadhar” enrolment in Bangalore from August 17, has kicked up a row even before its formal launch by “surreptitiously” widening the scope of the ID card beyond the officially stated position.

      On the second day of the special enrolment for mediapersons and their families in the City — as a precursor to the launch for general public —there were heated arguments between applicants and officials, as the enrolment forms distributed by the officials did not match the forms put out by the UIDAI on its website and seemed to be far wider in its scope, seeking personal details.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Where In Trademark Law Does It Say It’s Okay To Trademark A Town Name ‘For The Good Of The Community’?

        We had recently written about how a group called the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc (SMRi) had received trademarks on the name of the city of Sturgis, where the famed motorcycle rally is held each August. SMRi was then using the trademark to block the sale of souvenirs from any “unauthorized provider.” This seemed absolutely ridiculous. You should not be able to trademark the name of a town under trademark law. We had thought that SMRi ran the event, but after our last story ran, we found out that it was a separate operation set up solely to “manage the intellectual property” of the event.

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Notes on ACTA and Public Health

          The European Parliament Committee on International Trade (INTA) commissioned a study on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). The INTA study highlights problematic aspects of ACTA and makes recommendations. According to the study, “unconditional consent would be an inappropriate response”, and “There does not therefore appear to be any immediate benefit from ACTA for EU citizens”. The study confirms ACTA goes beyond current EU legislation.

          With regards to access to medicines, the INTA study concludes that adding some annotations will solve the problems. There is a huge gap between the paper reality of the INTA study and the reality in the streets: people are dying because they do not have access to medicines. The INTA study aims too low, just meeting our international obligations on public health is by far not enough. We leave in place, and reinforce with ACTA, low-volume high-profit strategies. We also note some other health issues (development and availability of medical and diagnostic methods and instruments).


Links 14/8/2011: GNU/Linux Outperforms Windows 7 and OS X 10.7 (Lion) , GNOME 3.2 is Approaching

Posted in News Roundup at 7:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • How Linux handles hardware problems

    A few points to this post. First, diagnosing problems in Linux is not as hard as it is rumored to be. /var/log/messages is usually where the kernel logs its information. And it logs very thoroughly. The kernel’s entries show up as “kernel”, just like the example above. And, the logs are in plain text so they can be opened with any program that can read text. Unlike Windows which stores logs in a proprietary format that need Microsoft tools to view.

  • Ubuntu 11.04 vs Windows 7 vs OS X 10.7 (Lion)

    The Image Editing test uses ImageMagick’s command-line Convert tool to change 24-bit TIFF files to PNG format. It runs with the auto-level, auto-gamma, antialias and contrast options, simulating common operations performed on image files. OS X Lion is slightly ahead of Windows here, but Ubuntu is a huge 17 per cent ahead of its rivals.

  • Kernel Space

    • Update On Open-Source AMD Fusion Llano Support

      Last month when testing the AMD Radeon HD 6550D graphics as found on the AMD Fusion A8-3850 APU I mentioned the latest Git code (Linux kernel / Mesa / DDX) was broken for this Llano-generation APU while the proprietary Catalyst driver had “just worked” under Linux. Here’s an update where the open-source driver support is now at today.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Mate review on Arch Linux

      The resulting desktop looked exactly like Gnome2, and it felt good to be back :). I made the panels transparent, added a few applets and some panel shortcuts.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS Zen Mini 2011 Review

        Remain blissfully ignorant, or experience nirvana today with this powerful, lightweight, and highly customizable release from PCLinuxOS. Zen Mini provides a useful LiveCD and a minimal list of applications making this an ideal distribution for people looking to manufacture their own environment. As a user with much previous Zen Mini experience I found this slim distribution to be an excellent choice for older hardware or a small hard drive. Unfortunately rumors suggest that one of the primary contributors for this release, Siamer, may be ending his time with PCLinuxOS due to shortage of time. He will be missed, but I have high hopes that Zen Mini will carry on in the future.


        Zen Mini also delivers exciting 3D effects using Drak3D and Compiz Fusion. This allows you to experience the rotating 3D desktop cube, enhanced window transparencies, wobbly windows, and much more. And to make all of your settings easier to find, you can find an icon that says configure your compute in the Gnome panel. This will open the PCLinuxOS Control Center where many of your options and settings can be configured from one location. All said, the stability and integrity of this distribution deserves far more recognition than I can offer. Be sure to try Zen Mini today!

    • Gentoo Family

      • Apt-gentoo? Gentoo-apt! Hah!

        I was marginally amused when I saw that some funny person had written an apt-gentoo wrapper that, err, scrolls build logs around slowly.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Redhat 5.1 Redneck Internationalization

        Installing RedHat Linux was fun in 1998 with this special language option. Thanks to the free Virtual PC 2007 for bringing back the laughs! See footnote #2 on this page to see why this was even a language option.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Unity. Simplify Your Life.

            The Ubuntu Vancouver Local Community believes that one barrier to the widespread adoption of Ubuntu’s ethos and its collection of outstanding software is a shortage of well-written and accessible user guides. Guides that make people say “Wow! I didn’t know Ubuntu is that easy. I didn’t know Ubuntu could do that!”.

            Unity is most new users’ entry point into Ubuntu, and first impressions count. Unity is the ethos of Ubuntu. Unity is our “secret sauce”.

          • Ubo Iconset : Ballpoint pen made, Handmade Iconset for Ubuntu

            In this post I am going to talk about very interesting icon set, though, this icon set is still under alpha version, and I usually dislike alpha version of icon-set as they miss many critical icons for the frequently used programs which makes the desktop look inconsistent and often are not completed, I would mention Ubo Iconset here because of the factor of novelty associated with the iconset.

          • Ubuntu Gnome Wallpapers
          • Linux Q&A ; Why I Play for Both Teams

            Recently a number of you in the OMG! Ubuntu community have been wondering about my “Ubuntu is Easy” videos, and why I have chosen to create a series of what seem like extremely simple tutorials.

          • Jenkins for Ubuntu Oneiric: Call for Testing

            Jenkins 1.409.1 has landed in Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot so now is the time to try it out and help with testing this new distribution model for Jenkins!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Sumptuous Free Android Internet Radio Apps

          Internet radio is an audio service delivered over the internet. This type of service can offer personalized streams of music and is often seen as a promising medium for promoting recorded music. Internet radio should not be confused with podcasting. The difference between the two technologies is that the former involves streaming media, the latter focusing on downloaded media. Of course, some applications offer both internet radio and podcasting functionality.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google App Inventor Discontinued, Will Become Open Source Instead

    Many of you may not know much about App Inventor. This was a tool that was very exciting when it was first announced by Google Labs and it was made available to the public last December in a beta test. Basically Google created a program that would help users with zero coding skills or knowledge of any sort to build Android applications using the App Inventor tool. This was one of many great things that came from Google Labs.


    Things wont stop there, Google has agreed to open source the Google Labs App Inventor code so hopefully the amazing developer community we all know and love here in the Android world can make something that was great, even better.

  • It’s time to switch to free and open source software

    A dip-stick survey among colleagues and friends revealed that FOSS is quite popular among the masses. Consider this: Over 60 per cent of the people surveyed said their choice of media player was VLC – an open source software. When asked what their favourite browser was, over 80 per cent said they used Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome – both part of the FOSS repository.

  • Free Software and homeschooling: reports from the trenches

    Andrew: I am a homeschooler, and I wish there was more FOSS out there for homeschoolers. Most of the FOSS I’ve experienced are small things like using TinyMCE rich text editor for the www boards at PA Homeschoolers’ online AP classes. However, there’s also a lot of informal stuff. My brothers have been playing around with programs like Tux Math, Tux Typing, GIMP, and Tux Paint.

    Marco: Why are you homeschooling? Did your parents homeschool you?

    Andrew: Well, it’s funny you ask that. My father and mother were staunchly against homeschooling, at first. My dad actually engaged in several arguments, taking the “homeschooling is wrong” side. Then one day, Dad met some homeschooled teens. He was amazed. They actually looked him in the eye, shook his hand firmly, and had a conversation with him. He was astonished. He then read a book on homeschooling while on vacation. He read all about the academics, the values passed down, and family quality time. When he came back, he told my mother, at the time a businesswoman on Wall Street, that “we are going to homeschool”. And that’s what happened. Every year, they asked us if we wanted to stop. We never said yes. However, I did take several classes outside the home, including several APs at pahomeschoolers.com.

  • Westinghouse Sanctioned in Case Over Open Source

    Open-source software developers convinced a federal judge to impose sanctions on Westinghouse Digital LLC, which was found to have violated an injunction against using free programming code for commercial gain.

    In 1999, programmer Erik Andersen developed software and contributed it to an open-source computer program known as BusyBox. Open-source software can be freely distributed, as long as it is not sold commercially.

    About a decade later, he and the Software Freedom Conservancy filed an action for copyright infringement against 14 companies, including Westinghouse Digital Electronics, Best Buy and Samsung, for allegedly distributing BusyBox code in products such as cameras, high-definition televisions and wireless routers.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome Is Being Ported To Wayland

        Besides the exciting news last week that KDE has drawn up plans for Wayland in 2012, there’s more good news in the land of this next-generation display server: the Google Chrome/Chromium web-browser is being ported to run on Wayland.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 7 Might Use 50 to 75 Percent More Memory

        Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla Corporation, said in a press conference that Mozilla sensed that developers were getting very tired of the endless whining about memory usage of the popular browser and its many plugins.

      • Firefox 6 breaks out ahead of schedule, gets official August 16th

        is ready to make its worldwide debut a few days early. In typical Mozilla fashion, a complete build of Firefox 6 is now unofficially available for your downloading pleasure, three days ahead of schedule. If you’re looking for a major facelift to the desktop edition, you won’t find one here — most of the new features aren’t cosmetic. Perhaps most visibly, you’ll find the domain name of the page you’re parked on highlighted in the address bar. On the Android side, version 6 makes much bigger promises, like a “fresh visual style in Chrome Gingerbread,” enhanced image scaling, and, perhaps most importantly, it’s “faster and uses less memory.” We’ve downloaded the desktop version of the browser ourselves, and we’ve found the release quite snappy. If you’re not afraid of a little pre-release downloading, you can catch the (desktop) fox at the source links below. And as per usual, please let us know how it’s treating you.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD/FreeBSD 9.0 For Intel Sandy Bridge

      In the half-year since the launch of Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors, these very fast processors with rather good integrated graphics (using an open-source driver) have been benchmarked every which way under Linux on Phoronix. Phoronix benchmarks have shown broken kernels, AVX compiler performance, and even comparison results to Windows and Mac OS X, among other original Intel SNB articles. What hasn’t been tested up to this point though is the BSD operating system support for Intel Sandy Bridge hardware.


    • We have C++11

      Hopefully soon GCC will also have the -std=c++11 option, replacing the current one.


  • U.K. riots raise questions about U.S. unrest

    As Americans look across the Atlantic, a natural question arises: Could the flames and violence that erupted in Britain scar this country, too?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Nanny of the Month: the vegetable garden forbidder

      Here’s Reason TV’s take on the Nanny of the Month. The winning loser this time is Oak Park, Michigan City Planner Kevin Rulkowski who wanted to jail a woman for growing vegetables in her front yard.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • 2011-08-13 Protests around the world

      China: Thousands of people in Qianxi County, Guizhou province smashed ten vehicles and torched another five, said Xinhua, China’s state news agency. According to Reuters, “China saw almost 90,000 such “mass incidents” of riots, protests, mass petitions and other acts of unrest in 2009, according to a 2011 study by two scholars from Nankai University in north China. Some estimates go even higher.” “In fact, China has riots more serious than England’s every week,” said one Weibo comment.

    • Starkey raving bonkers! Historian accused of racism on riots

      The historian David Starkey was fighting to save his lucrative TV career last night after he claimed that the riots were the result of “black culture” and that whites involved in the disturbances “have become black”.

  • Cablegate

    • 2011-08-13 WikiLeaks: U.S. and Brazil Vie for Power in Peru

      In their correspondence with the State Department, U.S. diplomats in South America have been exceptionally paranoid about the activities of Hugo Chávez and the possibility of a leftist regional alignment centered upon Venezuela. That, at least, is the unmistakable impression that one is left with by reading U.S. cables recently disclosed by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks, and it’s a topic about which I have written widely in recent months. Yet, with President Hugo Chávez’s health now fading fast and Venezuela looking like a rather spent force politically, it would seem natural that Washington will eventually turn its sights upon other rising powers — countries like Brazil, for instance.

    • 2011-08-13 Murder as foreign policy: assassination of Syrian General could have been an inside job

      On the 1st of August 2008 Syrian General Muhammad Suleiman, who also bore the title of Special Presidential Advisor for Arms Procurement and Strategic Weapons for President Bashar al-Assad, was murdered in highly mysterious circumstances. General Suleiman was shot three times in the head, neck and stomach at his home in the exclusive Rimal al-Zahabieh resort in the Mediterranean city of Tartous. It was speculated then that the shots came from a sniper located on a boat, which explained how the top level security forces surrounding Suleiman were avoided. At this time relations between Syria and Israel were at their worst and the talk of war was in the air, particularly due to Syria’s intent on upgrading its nuclear and chemical weapons facilities, a strategy headed by Suleiman. Therefore, most of the international press, most notably The Sunday Times, stated as a fact that it was Israeli intelligence agency Mossad who was to blame.

  • Finance

    • China urges action on EU and U.S. debt, to keep yuan policy

      China is worried about challenges that the European Union faces in the next two months and urged the bloc as well as the United States to hold down government debt, its trade minister said on Friday.

    • Analysis: China costs start to worry U.S. multinationals

      For years, low prices on China-sourced goods helped dampen inflation in the United States. Now China’s efforts to boost domestic consumer spending, reducing reliance on exports, are leading to higher costs for multinationals that manufacture goods there.

    • Greed, not Osama, took down the economy

      It was a phantom prosperity, as was painfully learned. In his 2007 biography, Greenspan too politely acknowledged the role that the “loosening” of mortgage credit terms for subprime borrowers played in heightening financial risk. “Vaporization,” would have been a more apt term. Within the year, Lehman Brothers would declare bankruptcy, the era of bailouts arrived (again), and we all became comfortable with the lexicon. (The Troubled Asset Relief Program would forevermore be known as TARP, and even the innocent were initiated in the ways of collateralized debt obligations.)

    • WEB EXCLUSIVE: These rioters are Tony Blair’s children

      On the third day of the London riots I received a telephone call from Mash, a member of a Brixton gang who I befriended three years ago. He was standing outside an electronics shop in Clapham, watching the looting. I could hear shouts, glass breaking but never a police siren. I urged him to go home. ‘Harri man,’ he remonstrated, his voice hoarse with emotion, “You don’t get to do this every day. You do your thing, and you don’t get arrested. It’s wild and exciting. These few days, it’s our time.”

    • Somebody made huge money on S&P downgrade of US
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Heard Somewhere Inside the Beltway: BART vs. Free Speech

      BART officials in the San Francisco Bay Area cut off cell phone service in what they described as an attempt to prevent a public protest.

    • BART Defends Decision To Cut Off Cell Service After Civil Rights, FCC Concerns Raised

      After rumors of a possible protest intended to disrupt service reached BART officials yesterday, they pursued a number of strategies to ensure that didn’t happen. One of those strategies, cutting off cell phone service to passengers, has left riders outraged, and at least one expert calling for an FCC investigation. BART police, however, say the move was necessary to ensure the safety of all.

    • BART Pulls a Mubarak in San Francisco

      This week, EFF has seen censorship stories move closer and closer to home — first Iran, then the UK, and now San Francisco, an early locus of the modern free speech movement. Operators of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) shut down cell phone service to four stations in downtown San Francisco yesterday in response to a planned protest. Last month, protesters disrupted BART service in response to the fatal shooting of Charles Blair Hill by BART police on July 3rd. Thursday’s protest failed to materialize, possibly because the disruption of cell phone service made organization and coordination difficult.

    • Save Our Social Media! Stop Cutoffs And Closedowns
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • “The University of British Columbia is transitioning to a new copyright environment…”

        I am hopeful that there will be some positive cultural shifts here at the University as a result of this development. There will be a higher profile for open educational resources and other Creative Commons licensed materials. And I dare to hope that some of the initial confusion and hassle around usage and “fair dealing” will inform and activate our energy when the impending revisions to Canadian copyright law again become an issue in the coming months.


Links 13/8/2011: Ubuntu’s New Login Manager, Unity UI

Posted in News Roundup at 11:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 11.10 Has a New Login Manager

            The brand-new display manager, LightDM, has been introduced by Canonical in the current development release of the Ubuntu 11.10 operating system.

            With last night’s updates, the current development release of the upcoming Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) operating system got a brand new and slick login manager, called LightDM.

          • [Screenshots and Video] New Improved Unity Interface Lands in Ubuntu 11.10

            Unity Interface has just received a massive overhaul and the dash looks better than ever. Applications and Files Lenses on the launcher have been removed and are now integrated into the dash only. A new Music Lens has also been introduced for quickly searching and browsing your favorite artists.

            The Ubuntu Button on top left corner has been removed and a new big Ubuntu orb on the launcher now activates the main dash menu. Active blur option for the dash is turned on by default now giving it a really sleek and polished look. Application title, window controls and app menu on top panel now show all the way to the left.

Free Software/Open Source


  • U.K.’s broken social contract blamed for riots

    The spark that lit riots in Britain last week is rooted in the government’s radical alteration of the social contract with its citizens, says a Toronto psychiatrist who was born and raised in the U.K.
    People at the lower margins of society feel abandoned and powerless to the point where they lash out in fear, says Dr. Kwame McKenzie.

    British society is undergoing a psychological realignment along American lines rather than traditional European values, where there is a straightforward social contract between the individual and the state, he says.

  • On the rap sheet: ‘looter’ who pocketed £1, and a suspect caught with an empty box

    Steven Keith, 43, of Longsight, Manchester was remanded to jail accused of stealing items worth £1 after allegedly burgling M1 News.

    He was said to be among rioters who tore through central Manchester on Tuesday night. He was charged with burglary and a judge at Manchester magistrates’ court remanded him in custody until next week.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What Kind Of Gm Plants Are On The Market Internationally?

      The expansion of genetic engineering into the food industry has resulted in the growing of GM plants over the past decade or so. Genetically modified food is not only limited to a specific country because several countries worldwide have already adapted this agricultural technology. In fact, there are now a variety of plants that are grown using genetic engineering techniques.

    • Welcome to the Age of GMO Industry Self-Regulation

      As I reported last week, the USDA’s recent surprise decision not to regulate genetically modified bluegrass poked yet more holes in an already-porous regime for overseeing GM crops—essentially to the point of regulatory collapse.

      There were a few important strands I wasn’t able to wrestle into the story. The main one is an odd letter that USDA secretary Tom Vilksack sent Scotts Miracle-Gro as an addendum to the agency’s response to Scott’s GM bluegrass petition. Vilsack’s letter, dated July 1, acknowledges concerns that GM bluegrass will contaminate non-GM bluegrass—that is, that the Roundup Ready gene will move through wind-blown pollen and work its way into non-modified varieties. This is the process known as “gene flow,” and it has already been well-established for GM corn and other modified crops.

    • 93 percent of unborn babies contaminated with GMO toxins, study finds
  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Torture in the US Prison System: The Endless Punishment of Leonard Peltier

      In June 2006, the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons released “Confronting Confinement,” a 126-page report summarizing its 12-month inquiry into the prison systems. The commission follows up the analysis based on its findings with a list of recommendations. Topping the list of needed improvements is better enforcement of inmates’ right to proper health care and limitations on solitary confinement. Five years after the report’s release and despite its detailed and well-researched studies, inmate abuse continues. More recently, news reports from California’s Pelican Bay Prison amplified the need for change, but after the three-week inmate hunger strike ended, the torture of solitary confinement continues nationwide.

    • ‘I feel like I’ve saved a life’: the women clearing Lebanon of cluster bombs

      Only up close does it become clear that some of the bulky figures in armoured vests scouring the fields of southern Lebanon for unexploded cluster bombs are wearing hijabs under their protective helmets.

      Once local teachers, nurses and housewives, this group of women are now fully trained to search for mines and make up the only all-female clearance team in Lebanon, combing the undergrowth inch by inch for the remnants of one of the most indiscriminate weapons of modern warfare.

    • NY judge won’t order Gitmo psychology probe

      New York judge has declined to force an investigation into whether an Army psychologist developed abusive interrogation techniques for Guantánamo Bay detainees and should be stripped of his license.
      The move halted what advocates have called the first court case amid a push to shed light on psychologists’ role in terror suspects’ interrogations.

    • Camila Batmanghelidjh: Caring costs – but so do riots

      My own view is that the police in this country do an impressive job and unjustly carry the consequences of a much wider social dysfunction. Before you take a breath of sarcasm thinking “here she goes, excusing the criminals with some sob story”, I want to begin by stating two things. First, violence and looting can never be justified. Second, for those of us working at street level, we’re not surprised by these events.

      Twitter and Facebook have kept the perverse momentum going, transmitting invitations such as: “Bare shops are gonna get smashed up. So come, get some (free stuff!!!!) F… the feds we will send them back with OUR riot! Dead the ends and colour war for now. So If you see a brother… SALUTE! If you see a fed… SHOOT!”

    • These riots reflect a society run on greed and looting
    • US official: 85% of USAID to Egypt since 25 January went to US organizations

      About 85 percent of USAID’s funds to Egypt since 25 January has gone to US organizations, including the National Democratic Institute and the International Republic Institute, a US official told the Christian Science Monitor.

      The official, whose name the newspaper did not mention, said the money was directed to training programs on practicing politics, and to bolster political parties’ ability to participate effectively in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

Links 13/8/2011: Android ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’, MySQL Conference 2012

Posted in News Roundup at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Did Linux dominate at Black Hat?

    Linux users comprised 35 percent of the total.

  • Installing Linux on a 386 laptop
  • Windows for Linux users, Part 1

    I’m making a best effort to turn my Windows XP box at work into a usable system. I’m tired of lugging the laptop to the office, and I have neither desk space nor a network connection for it. I’ve run CCleaner and Defraggler. I used the freeware version of Revo Uninstaller to clear out a lot of applications I no longer needed and couldn’t otherwise get rid of.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Top 5 MPlayer Skins for your Ubuntu Desktop

      We have recently started bringing out more eyecandy stuff as we really think that Linux has to shed its “old command only interface for geeks” image to make it appealing to more people and as you know there is strength in numbers. Yeah we know Ubuntu has changed that a lot!! but hey allow us to speed up the process. Here is our take on some of the most appealing themes to juice up your Mplayer experience.

    • MPlayer2 Is Still Alive & Kicking

      Back in March I reported on the MPlayer2 fork of the popular MPlayer multi-media application. MPlayer2 came as a result of one of the MPlayer developers being denounced from the group and from there the developer and others took to implementing their own desired features and functionality from a fork of the open-source code-base. But how’s the MPlayer2 project now doing?

    • Top 5 Music Notation Apps

      LilyPond is one of the best-known open-source sheet-music notation programs in the world. Created by two Dutch musicians (Han-Wen Nienhuys and Jan Nieuwenhuizen), LilyPond utilizes a powerful yet simple scripting language that includes support for notes, chords, lyrics, orchestral parts, and much more. You can also add the
      composer and lyricist, majors/minors, clefs, and much more. You can then export everything to LaTeX, HTML, or (with a plugin) OpenOffice.org.

      To install LilyPond, use the lilypond package in the universe repository.

    • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Linux makes musical friends with the Apple iPhone

            Linux and Apple’s iPhones, iPods, and iPads usually get along about as well as cats and dogs. Oh sure, you can root a jailbroken iPhone to boot Linux, but that’s just a stunt. And, if you don’t mind living dangerously, you can use the popular Linux music application Banshee to manage your music collection on iPhones or iPods. Generally speaking, though, when you try to bring Linux and Apple devices together, the fur flies. Until now. Today, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux introduced an iPhone streaming music app that lets you stream music from the Ubuntu One cloud to iPhones and iPod.

          • [Screenshots and Video] New Improved Unity Interface Lands in Ubuntu 11.10

            Unity Interface has just received a massive overhaul and the dash looks better than ever. Applications and Files Lenses on the launcher have been removed and are now integrated into the dash only. A new Music Lens has also been introduced for quickly searching and browsing your favorite artists.

            The Ubuntu Button on top left corner has been removed and a new big Ubuntu orb on the launcher now activates the main dash menu. Active blur option for the dash is turned on by default now giving it a really sleek and polished look. Application title, window controls and app menu on top panel now show all the way to the left.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ultimate Edition 3.0 “Gamers” Released

              On one of the slowest news days of the year came the welcomed announcement of Ultimate Edition 3.0 “Gamers.” The Ultimate Edition, once dubbed Ubuntu Ultimate, is based or derived from Lubuntu, but the “Gamers” Edition takes it to another level by offering an environment suitable for gaming as well as dozens of pre-installed games and emulators.

              Since the Gamers Edition is built on the “Lite” version, regular software is somewhat less than one might find on the full version, but it certainly seems like Ultimate Lite brings more than most other’s full. You’ll find applications such as Firefox, Sylpheed, Amarok, Brasero, Pidgin, and VLC. This sits on Linux 2.6.38-8, Xorg X Server 1.10.1, and GCC 4.4.5 is installable. The list of games is quite extensive, but suffice to say that just about every cool game you can think of that’s freely available for Linux is included. Wine, Winetricks, and PlayOnLinux are also thrown in for good measure.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ screens revealed

          Two tech blogs have obtained information and images regarding Google’s upcoming “Ice Cream Sandwich” version of Android, apparently from a common source. The release will feature a new, blue-themed user interface, a revised launcher for applications and widgets, and a panorama mode for cameras, among other new features mentioned by Android Police and RootzWiki.

        • Is there really room for a third mobile OS?

          I wrote before that I thought there was no room for four mobile OSs. I felt one between Windows and BlackBerry was not going to make it. Considering Nokia is behind Windows, and the strength of Microsoft, I was betting on Windows to be #3.

          Now I am wondering if there will ever be a #3. I mean, one with significant market share. The way this graph looks, knowing that a Nokia with Windows is not going to be here in Q3 (therefore, this graph is going to look even worse for Q3), considering that the bottom of the market could be taken eventually by BADA, one would conclude there will be two mega players (iOS and Android) and there will just be crumbs for the rest (e.g. below 10%).

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Acer releases seven-inch Android 3.2 tablet for $330

        Acer announced a seven-inch tablet that runs Android 3.2 (“Honeycomb”) on a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. The $330 Iconia Tab A100 offers 1024 x 600-pixel resolution, 8GB or 16GB of flash storage, dual cameras, plus a microSD slot as well as micro-HDMI and micro-USB ports.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Guest Post: How eBay Leveraged Open Source to Streamline Transaction Processing
  • Event Controversy

  • Percona Live MySQL Conference & Expo Planned for April 10-12, 2012
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Netscape Must Be Spinning In Its Grave

        Remember the browser wars when M$ crushed Netscape by all means fair and foul because the Netscape web browser brought us Javascript which M$ saw as a threat to the monopoly?

        Google is beta-testing a native client that can run C in Chrome. This means web applications will be able to run on the client natively, several times faster than Javascript…

        This changes everything:

        * better-performing web applications,
        * a new API, totally familiar to millions of developers,
        * less need for native applications on the client,
        * less need for that other OS if applications essentially can be ported to whatever OS is under the browser as long as the C-code will run on the hardware, and
        * possible new ways for malware to operate…

    • Mozilla

      • Number Of Firefox Users Selecting ‘Do Not Track’ Has Quadrupled

        How do you dramatically increase the number of people using a privacy feature in just a few months? Apparently, just by putting it somewhere they can find it. A new study shows that more than 6 percent of users of the newest version of Firefox are now selecting the “Do Not Track” privacy option, probably because it’s much easier to find than on the previous version.

        Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser, was the first browser company to install a “Do Not Track” option in its software. Just a few months ago, the company’s privacy chief said that of the 160 million people using Firefox, the rate of Do Not Track (DNT) users was between 1 and 2 percent.

      • Firefox 6 Next Tuesday?

        If they’re aren’t a new batch of bugs discovered between this weekend and Tuesday, the 16th of August, Firefox fans and users alike can expect a new version of the browser to be available.

  • Semi-Open Source

    • Jaspersoft Offers New BI Knowledge Center for Open Source Community

      Jaspersoft, maker of the world’s most widely used business intelligence (BI) software, today announced Self-Service Express, a new subscription service available to open source community members that want premium, professional-grade BI documentation and knowledge base articles. Requested by over 80 percent of the JasperForge community in a 2011 annual survey, Self-Service Express provides access to Jaspersoft’s entire commercial customer portal and will make tens of thousands of Jaspersoft community members more productive as they create reports and dashboards and do analysis using Jaspersoft open source BI products.

  • Funding


    • Resources for learning GNU Octave

      flattr this!

      GNU Octave is a high-level interpreted language, primarily intended for numerical computations. That is exactly how it is described on its official web site http://www.octave.org. Unofficially it is also described as a “MatLab clone” although it only aspires to be compatible with MatLab. It is also free software.

  • Licensing

    • Westinghouse Sanctioned in Case Over Open Source

      Open-source software developers convinced a federal judge to impose sanctions on Westinghouse Digital LLC, which was found to have violated an injunction against using free programming code for commercial gain.

      In 1999, programmer Erik Andersen developed software and contributed it to an open-source computer program known as BusyBox. Open-source software can be freely distributed, as long as it is not sold commercially.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Florida Governor Scott Reduces Choice and Competition in Health Care

      As he was gearing up to run for governor of Florida, Republican Rick Scott emerged as one of the most vocal opponents of what he and others began referring to as “Obamacare.”

      Scott created, chaired and bankrolled a group called Conservatives for Patients Rights that spent millions of dollars on TV commercials attacking health care reform, especially a proposal calling for the federal government to create a public health insurance option to compete with private insurers.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Privatised police arrive on the street

      Aradical change in the way we police Britain has sneaked in below the radar over the past 18 months. In a series of Home Office initiatives designed to add manpower with particular skills or knowledge to the regular police force, six new groups of privately sponsored police have been introduced into the Met and are being deployed in a number of the provincial forces.

    • Britain’s prime minister only makes things worse

      To many looking from the outside, the recent unrest in Britain may have come as something of a surprise. Recent months have seen repeated protests, occupations, strikes and huge trade union marches, but street protests with seemingly no rhyme or reason were surely out of the question. With unfortunate timing, one British commentator, Nick Cohen, wrote a piece earlier this month titled “No riots here. Just quiet, ever-deeper misery,” arguing that “the wider public remains resigned rather than enraged; indifferent rather than incandescent.” The student protests of November and December last year were limited outbursts, no more, many agreed; the establishment consensus was that most people would grumpily carry on even in the face of huge cuts to public services, massive unemployment and more severe austerity measures to come.

    • Study: CIA drones strikes have killed 168 children

      Based on international and Pakistani news reports and research on the ground, the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has issued a new study on civilians killed by American drones, concluding that at least 385 civilians have been killed in the past seven years, including at least 168 children.

  • Finance

    • SEC Probes Goldman Over Libya Deals

      The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday on the filing, which was made late Tuesday. Goldman said in the filing that a probe of the company’s “compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” was among the string of investigations and regulatory reviews it faced in the past quarter.

    • The Top 1%
    • Job Creation and Entrepreneurship

      Economists generally agree that our persistent high unemployment rate, – the longest such period since the Great Depression, – is primarily caused by a fundamental reshaping of the economy. The US economy is undergoing structural changes driven to a large extent, by advances in information technologies, which have led to a resurgence in US labor productivity as well as to an increasingly integrated global economy.
      Companies are able to do their present work with fewer people, as a result of advances in IT-based productivity. Moreover, many of these companies are truly global, doing business all over the world. They are cutting jobs in the US and other countries where demand is weak, while adding jobs in the booming emerging markets. Furthermore, they are optimizing their supply chains and shifting work around the world to cut costs. This is a what you would expect the private sector to do given our current global market environment.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Britain’s High-Tech Riots

      Social media and other emerging internet technologies have played key roles in Great Britain’s devastating riots, reportedly sparked by the August 4 fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, a man alleged to have had ties to London gangs, while he was in the custody of Scotland Yard. As it has in other recent uprisings, Twitter played a role in the coordination of England’s riots, but the preferred tool of Britain’s young looters and arsonists was Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging service (BBM). Thirty seven percent of UK teens use BBM, a free service that makes it particularly easy to send messages to groups. BBM’s proprietary encryption also makes messages more private and difficult to trace, another characteristic that made the service popular among perpetrators of England’s extensive chaos, arson and looting. Some point to BBM as the primary planning tool for vandals. Some have even called it the London rioter’s best weapon.

      RIM issued a statement pledging to cooperate with law enforcement and regulatory officials working to squelch the riots and seek justice their aftermath, but the company hasn’t said directly whether it plans to turn over chat logs or other identifying information about its subscribers to law enforcement. RIM’s pledge of cooperation, though, was enough to trigger a group of hackers who call themselves “Teampoison” to post an online threat to RIM warning the company not to cooperate with police. Teampoison claims to have access to RIM’s databases and said if the company turned private information over to police, they would make the names, addresses and phone numbers of RIM’s employees available to rioters. It is unclear whether RIM can un-encrypt messages sent over its BBM messaging system, but the company can shut down the entire service. David Lammy, a member of Parliament from Tottenham, where the worst of the riots started, is urging RIM to do just that. Police are also uploading photos, taken by London’s some 1.5 million closed circuit TV cameras, onto Flickr and asking the public to identify anyone they may recognize. A Google Group even formed in the days following the riots called “London Riots Facial Recognition;” the group’s subscribers are trying to find a way to apply facial recognition technology to identify looters in photos posted on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

    • For all you need to know about Rupert Murdoch, look at his lawyers

      Americans are extremely interested in Rupert Murdoch’s unfolding scandal in the UK. As I wrote a few weeks ago, it has striking parallels with Watergate, an observation I offer based on personal knowledge and experience. (I am sure I speak for many Americans when I shout out a thank you to the Guardian, whose journalism on the Murdoch story is every bit as good, and in many instances better, than the legendary work of the Washington Post during Watergate.) Many Americans wonder if this scandal will leap the Atlantic or remain “contained” in Britain. Because of Watergate, I have some familiarity with containment – when it works and when it does not.

  • DRM

    • High-calibre ebook management

      One of the delights of free software are the applications that do everything I can ever imagine in their general category. Sometimes I may long for leaner or simpler apps, but I know, for example, that K3B will give me everything I need for burning DVDs, or digiKam for managing and editing photos. Now, as I start getting into ebooks, I’m looking at calibre as potentially another of these ultimate apps, destined to be to ebooks what Amarok is to digital music.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Monsanto – the black stain on the biotech industry

      The Monsanto company does not have a Facebook page. They are well aware that if they did, it would just become a wall of constant protest. There’s good reason for the resentment, too: a long, complicated history including everything from poisoning public waterways to manufacturing Agent Orange, bovine growth hormones, and DDT pesticides. They’ve become the black stain on the biotech industry to anyone with a CSA subscription and a reusable bag.

    • Of Patent Cartels and a Rising Africa

      It’s nigh impossible for any company starting life to navigate the patent offices to ascertain what belongs to who. In the meantime, we have these giants applying for as many patents as they can, some so vague as to mean almost nothing. The aim, to rake in licensing fees from competitors. Will the cartel kill creativity with time? Can a rising African tech scene navigate the almost treacherous sea of patent wolves? I guess only time will determine that.

    • Copyrights


Links 12/8/2011: CompuLab Trim Slice With GNU/Linux; Rioters Analysed

Posted in News Roundup at 6:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Does linux Need Defrag ?

    I’d actually strongly suggest not defraging … the reason behind this? Even on windows most defraggers have 2 options, 1 Defragment, 2 Compact … sometimes called something different, but the end result’s the same.

  • Linux Distros: When It Absolutely, Positively Has to Be Secure

    From a security perspective of Linux reliability, most attacks occur at the kernel level.

  • Desktop

    • CompuLab Trim Slice H mini computer – small but powerful

      If you’re interested, there is a couple of choices to pick from – the Trim Slice H Diskless that lets you include your own hard drive or SSD for $279, but if you think that you can afford to fork out $319 for the H250, then taking that route will let you enjoy Linux pre-installed on a 250GB hard drive.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • [Linus Torvalds view of Kernel 'Voodoo']

      We shouldn’t do voodoo stuff. Or rather, I’m perfectly ok if you guys all do your little wax figures of me in the privacy of your own homes – freedom of religion and all that – but please don’t do it in the kernel.

    • XtreemFS 1.3.0 release candidate arrives with new licence

      The developers of the open source distributed and replicated file system, XtreemFS, have announced, after almost a year of development, the first release candidate for version 1.3. The new version offers cross-site replication with auto-failover as its major new feature, allowing it to work in potentially unreliable cloud environments.

  • Applications

    • Stellarium – A free planetarium software for star gazing in Ubuntu

      Stellarium is an open-source planetarium program that has gained a considerable popularity together with other free and open-source astronomical programs such as Celestia and KStars. What makes Stellarium a standout among a plethora of other contenders is its balance of features and the simplicity it offers for a novice user while maintaining a high scientific accuracy

    • FreeCAD – Free 3d CAD application for Linux

      FreeCAD is an Open Source CAx RAD based on OpenCasCade, Qt and Python. It features some key concepts like macro recording, workbenches, ability to run as a server and dynamically loadable application extensions and it is designed to be platform independent.

    • LogMeIn launches VPN.net
    • An Overview of the Node Package Manager

      NPM is a package management and distribution system for Node. It has become the de-facto standard for distributing modules (packages) for use with Node. Conceptually it’s similar to tools like apt-get (Debian), rpm/yum (Redhat/Fedora), MacPorts (Mac OS X), CPAN (Perl), or PEAR (PHP). It’s purpose is publishing and distributing Node packages over the Internet using a simple command-line interface. With npm you can quickly find packages to serve specific purposes, download them, install them, and manage packages you’ve already installed. npm defines a package format for Node largely based on the CommonJS Package spec.

    • Review: RawTherapee 3.0 on Linux

      The open source raw photo editor RawTherapee released version 3.0 at the end of July, with a revamped interface and a new palette of photo tools. RawTherapee is noteworthy for several reasons, including the fact that builds are available for Mac OS X and Windows, in addition to Linux. But this release also marks the first major update to the program since it was made free software. Let’s take a look.

      In the two years since developer Gabor Horvath switched from a proprietary licensing system to the GPLv3, a small team of contributors has grown up around the RawTherapee code. Many are users of non-Linux OSes, which is good for the outreach side of promoting open source. On the RawTherapee downloads page, you can grab installers for Windows and Mac machines, as well as 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the application packaged for the Ubuntu and Gentoo distributions. A separate page lists build for other distros, including Fedora.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments

    • A foundation for the desktop – one apple, two ideas

      The story of the free software desktop is littered with what-ifs and might-have-beens. The desktop has been ‘good enough’ for years, and can boast some considerable success stories, but has yet to make a significant breakthrough.

      On the face of it, the free software desktop should be an easy choice. The average GNU/Linux desktop costs little, looks good and performs well, and offers a real opportunity to break the upgrade cycle. Cost, security, scalability and versatility are persuasive arguments for the free desktop, but other factors have worked against the uptake of Linux at the corporate level.

      Inertia among users is usually given as the reason and users are made to take the blame, but perhaps there are simpler explanations. The desktop has been left in the hands of the Linux companies, and the Linux companies are many and small. Many have come with grand ambitions and some with high ideals, but few have stayed the course.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KMyMoney 4.6.0 adds CSV import
      • Kate Turning 10 Years Old

        We almost missed it, but 10 years ago Kate was included in KDE’s CVS repository and shipped the first time with KDE 2.2.

      • Plasma Active, the stage is yours

        Thanks a lot to Intel for passing around the ExoPC at the AppUp workshop yesterday. Its kind of nice hardware to start developing for Intel based tablets, whereas for normal use, the battery life and weight is kind of problematic. I really like the idea to be able to write nice and shiny Qt applications which run both on MeeGo and Windows and the AppUp store is really open in respect to allowing distribute open source software.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Rocks 5.4.3 Now Available
      • ConnochaetOS 0.9.0 Released to Replace DeLi Linux

        When I first saw that ConnochaetOS 0.9.0 had been released, I thought a new distribution had appeared. But alas, upon close inspection it turns out that ConnochaetOS is the predecessor of DeLi Linux. Because it seemed like years since I last heard anything about DeLi, I figured I’d take a look this new submission.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Unity Update Part 2: Music Lens, Indicator Changes And More

            Further to our look earlier today at the design changes that Unity 2D in Ubuntu 11.10 is sporting, here is short burst of screen shots and tid-bits on changes to Ubuntu proper.

          • Ubuntu 11.10 Latest Updates Revealed The New LightDM Login Theme | Video Preview

            Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 3 development release comes with the default LightDM display manager login theme, but after installing recently available updates for Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 3 Oneiric Ocelot! it has a new polished theme as we have seen earlier in this post.

          • Bad to worse? New ubuntu unity design ignites heated arguments

            The unity shell and the top panel was always a design headache for those who behind the development. The design in its current form itself was criticized by many and was one of the reasons why many people hated unity. The daily builds of the unity 2D had a new iteration of the design apparently trying to solve some of the issues associated with the desktop shell. The new design now is now causing far more criticism than the current version.

          • Get Set for Thunderbird Email, Other Changes, in Ubuntu 11.10

            The next major release of Ubuntu is imminent, and it will bring with it some significant improvements and big changes. While some users are still getting to know Natty Narwhal, version 11.04, Ubuntu 11.10, dubbed “Oneiric Ocelot,” is due on October 13th. Several alpha versions of Ocelot have appeared already, but now the new version has had a feature freeze, according to the Ubuntu wiki. Here are some of the changes you can expect in Ubuntu version 11.10.

          • Natty Narwhal netbook: The ultimate network administrator toolkit

            You can be the coolest and best-equipped network administrator on the block with Ubuntu Natty Narwhal Linux on a netbook. Netbooks are lightweight and portable, have long battery life, and bright sharp screens — and, thanks to Linux and open source, you can outfit your netbook with all the software network troubleshooting and fixit utilities you’ll ever need.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Ice Cream Sandwich Coming, Images Leaked

          arking the end of so-called fragmentation, Android Ice Cream Sandwich is getting ready for the prime-time. According to reports there are couple of screenshots of the development version of Ice Cream Sandwich making their rounds on the Internet.

          We have gather reports from different source and present you will the picture. Looking at these rumored reports, there is no doubt that iOS 5 will be left far behind and no surprises if Apple will blatantly copy some of these features.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Programming, creativity and open source

    There are people who think software development is devoid of creativity. Of course, anyone who has even a passing interest in development, or, say, has ever found him- or herself having a late night chat in a disreputable Sydney pub with a Drupal/Node.js developer, knows that this is untrue.

    It’s not just the programming process itself — breaking down a problem into its component parts and figuring out how to solve it in the most efficient (or least dangerous!) way possible — that involves creativity

  • Twitter runs open source for developer website
  • Twitter to open source streaming data analyzer
  • Open Source Phone System with Twilio OpenVBX

    OpenVBX comes packaged with Twilio Client, allowing users to make calls directly from the browser and if their status is set to available, they will be able to receive calls right in the browser.

  • Events

    • Linux marking 20 years in Vancouver

      Linux is celebrating its 20th birthday this year—and the party’s officially coming to Vancouver.

    • Session on future directions of FOSS held

      The International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) held a consultation session on ‘Future directions of FOSS in India’ at Technopark here on Tuesday in order to establish future directions for the use and promotion of free and open source software in the country.
      The consultation session is first of a series of similar sessions.

  • SaaS

    • Nebula Cloud Project Gets Buzz, But Will Proprietary Players Taint It?

      In case you’ve missed it, Nebula, a new startup from former NASA CTO Chris Kemp, which is focused on open source technology for large private cloud deployments, is generating a lot of hubbub. Nebula is billed as a way for many companies and organizations to leverage the kind of muscle in the cloud that Google and Facebook do, at a fraction of the cost. Simon Phipps has noted that at OSCON, luminaries such as Bill Joy and Al Gore waxed rhapsodic in a video about Nebula. Here is more on what Nebula is all about, including some concerns about whether proprietary players might taint its open source focus.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Funding

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK Digital Future to Fail Without Government Focus

      The Government needs to invest in training developers in open source platforms if the country is to stand a chance of competing with its American and European counterparts in digital development.

      Open source software is extremely valuable for web companies in the UK but many are experiencing skills shortages that are stalling their growth.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Willow Garage Announces Availability of New PR2 Robot for $200,000

        The combination of PR2 and the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) means that researchers benefit from immediate time to innovation. Right out of the box, the PR2 and ROS provide a complete, integrated hardware and software platform for research and development in the personal robotics field.


  • Solving Microsoft’s hard problem

    Microsoft has a problem to solve. On the one hand, open source is not going away – its distributed, modular and iterative approach clearly has many advantages compared to traditional top-down development techniques when it comes to writing and maintaining complex code. On the other hand, Microsoft has spent over a decade propagating variegated FUD against it (although it’s true that it has adopted a more accommodating stance in recent years, what with the release of odd bits of code under open source licences, and various attempts to snuggle up to some open source projects).

    Still, Microsoft’s basic stance remains the same: free software is OK for certain, limited situations, but for serious, enterprise-y stuff you need honest-to-goodness closed source. Given that, how can it begin to tap into the power of open source for its major projects without seeming to admit it got it all wrong, and that open source is actually a better approach?

  • Rupert Murdoch endorses Carey as next in line

    Rupert Murdoch acknowledged publicly for the first time that his son James is not the preferred choice to succeed him as News Corp. CEO, at least in the near-term.

  • Generation F*cked

    The UN’s first ever report on the state of childhood in the industrialized West made unpleasant reading for many of the world’s richest nations. But none found it quite so hard to swallow as the Brits, who, old jokes about English cooking aside, discovered that they were eating their own young.

    According to the Unicef report, which measured 40 indicators of quality of life – including the strength of relationships with friends and family, educational achievements and personal aspirations, and exposure to drinking, drug taking and other risky behavior – British children have the most miserable upbringing in the developed world. American children come next, second from the bottom.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Aggression during G20 rally ‘perpetrated by police,’ judge rules

      A Toronto judge has ruled that “adrenalized” police officers acted as aggressors at a peaceful political rally that led to dozens of arrests during last year’s G20 summit.

      “The only organized or collective physical aggression at that location that evening was perpetrated by police each time they advanced on demonstrators,” Justice Melvyn Green ruled on Thursday. He was referring to a demonstration at Queen St. and Spadina Ave. on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

    • The Patriot Act and the End of the Rule of Law

      Since 9/11, we are living in a political state where personal privacy, free flow of information and freedom of association have been diminished as a result of the Patriot Act, which weakens the rights of individuals while increasing the military and police power of the state and federal governments. The executive branch has undermined the rule of law by eroding rights established in the Constitution. One example is the Bush administration’s use of offshore torture and rendition. Another is the failure to ask Congress for a Declaration of War before invading Iraq and other aggressive military expeditions. Another is the selected assassination of leaders like Osama Bin Laden.

    • London’s Rioters Are Thatcher’s Grandchildren: Pankaj Mishra

      I am often asked, when in the U.S. or Europe, whether I feel frightened while traveling through such obviously dangerous places as Afghanistan and Kashmir.
      It’s hard for me to explain, and so I never confess, that I feel more insecure on the streets of Tower Hamlets, a London borough just south of Tottenham and Hackney, the epicenters of London’s riots.
      Tower Hamlets, where I often go to work in a friend’s apartment, has among the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, overcrowding and crime in Britain. But it is not a ghetto. Segregation is more insidious, and inequality has shrewd disguises, in what is also one of London’s most diverse boroughs.

    • The moral decay of our society is as bad at the top as the bottom

      I cannot accept that this is the case. Indeed, I believe that the criminality in our streets cannot be dissociated from the moral disintegration in the highest ranks of modern British society. The last two decades have seen a terrifying decline in standards among the British governing elite. It has become acceptable for our politicians to lie and to cheat. An almost universal culture of selfishness and greed has grown up.

    • Riot-smashed comic-shop window in Birmingham makes for inadvertent summation of England’s Current Situation

      Joe from Forbidden Planet sez, “A couple of our comics stores in Manchester and Birmingham got damaged during the awful riots this week (what sort of numpty attacks their local comics store?!) – luckily they didn’t get into the stores, it was just the frontage took some bruises and staff are all fine. One of our colleagues at our much loved Nostalgia & Comics store in Birmingham, David, sent us this photo which just seemed to sum things up rather nicely.”

    • The Debt Crisis and the War Economy: Pentagon Purchases $23 Billion Worth Of Global Hawk Drones

      With $14 trillion in the hole and a slew of wars seemingly no one wants America to be in, what better way for the United States to spend their money by putting $23 billion into spy planes?

    • Attacking the messenger: how the CIA tried to undermine drone study

      The US Central Intelligence Agency and unnamed ‘US officials’ are attempting to undermine the Bureau’s investigation into US drone strikes in Pakistan, it was revealed today. The attack is two-pronged.

    • Police monitor beaten in back of police van

      Independent police monitor punched and kicked to the head and legs in back of police van, while monitoring policing of disturbances. The Network for Police Monitoring will make a complaint to the Metropolitan police after one of its volunteers was arrested and beaten by police while monitoring the policing of disturbances in Enfield on the night of Sunday 7th August. Along with two others, Taherali Gulamhussein was stopped and searched by police under section 60 powers, which gives them the right to search for weapons.

    • China Gleefully Uses UK Desire For Censorship To Validate Its Own Censorship

      We’ve talked repeatedly of the blatant hypocrisy of many Western nations talking about the importance of internet freedom and condemning China (and others) for their internet censorship… while still wanting to censor at home. As we’ve warned, such efforts only give repressive regimes who censor the “cover” they need to continue. And, of course, with UK politicians looking to censor the internet to try to stop the riots, China has quickly used this as validation for its Great Firewall censorship:

  • Cablegate/Leaks

    • This week in WikiLeaks Press: 1-7 August
    • Thomas Drake; ‘Yes’ Would do it Again
    • Executive Order Responding to WikiLeaks Due Shortly

      The Obama Administration is putting the finishing touches on a new executive order that is intended to improve the security of classified information in government computer networks as part of the government’s response to WikiLeaks.

      The order is supposed to reduce the feasibility and the likelihood of the sort of unauthorized releases of classified U.S. government information that have been published by WikiLeaks in the past year.

    • Under the long arm of Indonesian intelligence

      IT WOULD seem an unremarkable venture – a group of American tourists visiting a cultural centre in the Papuan town of Abepura. But to one observer the event (lasting, as he later reported, precisely 35 minutes) was laden with potential significance.

      The man in the shadows as the visitors watched a traditional dance was an informant for Indonesia’s elite special forces unit, Kopassus. In a subsequent report, he noted that, while the visit had been ”safe and smooth”, there was no room for complacency. It was a point heartily endorsed by his Kopassus contact, Second Lieutenant Muhammad Zainollah, who alluded, in a report to his own commander, to the risk of foreign tourists ”influencing conditions of Papuan society”.

      ”Politically, there needs to be a deeper detection of the existence hidden behind it all,” he warned, ”because of the possibility of a process of deception … such as meetings with pro-independence groups.”

    • Realigning the Public Perceptions of Anonymous and Wikileaks.

      Proponents of Wikileaks identify Julian Assange as an international hero and liken him to the Founding Fathers of the United States. Critics cast Wikileaks as a nefarious syndicate deserving the label of foreign terrorist organization. Some go even further by demanding Julian Assange be given the death penalty or summary execution. In either case, the situation and stakes are clear. We are living in the age of the information revolution. The invention of the personal computer and internet connected us all. It also produced participatory democracy—on an unprecedented scale—that caught the international power elite completely off guard. Now we observe these power brokers frantically scrambling to return the naïveté of the public back to the levels prior to globalization in the wake of this technological empowerment.

      This should not come as a surprise. Authority figures rarely want to cede power to others. Nevertheless business leaders, government officials, and IGOs need to realize that there is no turning back. The technology is here to stay. The only question remaining is: where do we go from here? The consensus from these entities seems to be to target Wikileaks in order to cut the head off the proverbial snake. However, those who propose this measure fail to comprehend the size and scope of this lofty idea.

      The cyber security giant H.B. Gary realized this when it started testing the waters in defense of Bank of America. In anticipation of a presumably embarrassing document dump by Wikileaks, Bank of America retained H.B. Gary Federal—by recommendation of the U.S. Department of Justice—as a security consultant. Everything seemed okay and out of the public eye until the CEO of H.B. Gary, Aaron Barr, began antagonizing the internet activist group known as Anonymous, which operates in tandem with Wikileaks’ transparency efforts worldwide as a guard dog. In both private correspondences and public statements, Barr boasted of having information that would cripple the infrastructure of the group and render them ineffective.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Shell fights spill near North Sea oil platform

      Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has said it is working to stop a leak at one of its North Sea oil platforms.

      The leak was found near the Gannett Alpha platform, 180 km (113 miles) from Aberdeen, Scotland.

      The company would not say how much oil may have been spilt so far, though it said it had “stemmed the leak significantly”.

  • Finance

    • Italy turns on the ‘parasites on society’ in tax clampdown

      Italy has launched a hard-hitting television campaign against the country’s endemic tax evasion as Silvio Berlusconi’s government tries frantically to reassure Europe and the markets that it can reduce its massive public debt and avoid a Greek-style meltdown.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Civil Rights

    • 8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance

      Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.

    • London Is the Surveillance Society’s Biggest

      london fullness.jpgFor several years now, the British media have been telling us that theirs is a surveillance society. “It could be the 4 million closed-circuit television cameras, or maybe the spy drones hovering overhead, but one way or another Britons know they are being watched. All the time. Everywhere,” Luke Baker wrote in a representative Reuters article published in 2007, going on to note that “Britain is now the most intensely monitored country in the world, according to surveillance experts, with 4.2 million CCTV cameras installed, equivalent to one for every 14 people.”

Links 12/8/2011: Android Gaining in the US, New Chrome Release/Update

Posted in News Roundup at 4:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Judgment Day

    It is clear to me that retail outlets in North America tend to comply with M$’s wishes when it comes to allowing real competition in operating systems on retail shelves. Here are some compelling evidences:

    1. The standard argument is that retailers should supply what their customers want. Why is it that Walmart.com‘s customers want 70 books on Linux but only 2 PCs, and then only very low-end devices? That other OS finds 470 books and 426 computers. If 7:1 is the ratio of interest, should there not be 60 GNU/Linux PCs on those shelves?
    2. If a customer wants Linux and searches BestBuy’s site they are given M$’s and Apple’s products to install their operating systems and nothing Linux-like at all.

  • Desktop

    • Community to HeliOS – We’re Burnin’ for You

      What we don’t have is the time to get the Linux live cd’s burned. Looks like we are going to need upwards of 50 for our immediate needs.

      If you have time and the resources to help us burn these disks, we need to have these disks on hand within the next couple of weeks.

  • Kernel Space

    • Does it matter what Linus uses?
    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Puts Out An OpenGL 4.2 Linux Driver

        While Mesa won’t have OpenGL 4.2 support for some time, NVIDIA released an OpenGL 4.2 preview driver on Monday as soon as the Khronos Group had published the new specification. AMD yesterday has now released a beta Linux driver (of their Catalyst blob, nothing to do with open-source) that provides OpenGL 4.2 support.

      • What Mesa Has Left With OpenGL 3, OpenGL 4

        With the release this week of the OpenGL 4.2 specification (and accompanying GL Shading Language 4.20 revision), the TODO list for the open-source Mesa developers just got a bit longer. Mesa / Gallium3D still lacks full support for OpenGL 3.0 and all of the revisions since that 2008 specification release.

        The OpenGL 3.0 support in this open-source OpenGL library is slowly coming together (see the many Phoronix articles), but the GL Shading Language 1.30 support is incomplete along with other key areas. Some of the functionality is also limited “out of the box” due to patent / IP restrictions.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Some notes from Desktop Summit 2011

      As usual, Desktop Summit 2011 has been a lot of fun. I’ve been to most of the GUADEC and aKademy free desktop events in the past few years, but this was the first time I didn’t give a talk. Even that way, it was definitely worth spending a week in Berlin.

    • Desktop Summit 2011 Thoughts
    • Joining the Game at the Desktop Summit

      Desktop Summit 2011 continues. On Tuesday, GNOME and KDE had their annual meetings, with KDE e.V. managing to finish in time for lunch. However, many members came back after lunch to continue discussion in a BoF about challenges and opportunities for KDE. Over the past few days, the University has been busy with four tracks of BoFs, workshops and meetings – enough to keep most attendees checking their schedules and the building maps.

    • Branding stupidity

      One of the last talks I attended on Desktop Summit was “Swimming upstream or downstream? Both!”. Announced as speaker was Vincent Untz, but he didnt the talk alone, there was also Allison Randal, Harald Sitter and our own Jaroslav Řezník.In this talk came up the problem with the branding.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Joining the Game at the Desktop Summit

        Desktop Summit 2011 continues. On Tuesday, GNOME and KDE had their annual meetings, with KDE e.V. managing to finish in time for lunch. However, many members came back after lunch to continue discussion in a BoF about challenges and opportunities for KDE. Over the past few days, the University has been busy with four tracks of BoFs, workshops and meetings – enough to keep most attendees checking their schedules and the building maps.

      • KDE Commit Digest for 31 July 2011

        In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest Artem Serebriyskiy introduces the new Nepomuk Web Extractor in a featured article. The list of changes include:

        * Desktop layout control moves from pager to KWin
        * OwnCloud gets instant search and sees many smaller commits which bring minor new features and work on the user interface
        * An asynchronous Nepomuk resource retriever is implemented in KDE PIM to improve performance
        * Rekonq receives a synchronisation feature
        * Early version of Dolphin 2.0 comitted
        * OpenVPN configuration import/export is now possible in Network Management
        * Kate now supports local folding
        * In Calligra there is work on caching and multiple bugfixes, Krita gets an update of undo support.

      • collect.kde.org

        I am about to leave Berlin to go back home for almost an entire week before heading off agian to Taiwan. While visiting wiht my good friends Marco and Sebas over beer I finished installing Synchrotron on the server the amazing (and award winning!) KDE sys admin team allocated it for.

      • KWin at Desktop Summit

        Wow, what a week! It’s just great to be at Desktop Summit again and meeting all those KDE people again and also the GNOME people which gives the event a different and pleasant touch.

  • Distributions

    • Tails: One more distro for the privacy-conscious

      A couple of weeks ago I posted some information about the Department of Defense releasing its Lightweight Portable Security (LPS) Linux distribution aimed at giving remote workers a more secure way to access government networks — but also available to the public for anyone’s use who wants a little extra security.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • PGA Tour partners with Red Hat, CDW on Linux media asset system

        Linux is a godsend for many, including those obsessed about the professional breakup of Tiger Woods and former caddie Steve Williams.


        Gredenhag said reliability and suppot for XFS were key factors for selecting Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It was implemented on RHEL 5, which does not incorporate XFS per se, but Red Hat offered support for it as an option and CDW did the implementation of the feature. XFS — which is very fast file system for very large video files, such as 40 gigabyte files — is now in Red Hat Linux 6 and will eventually be implemented by PGA Tour, said Gredenhag.

      • PGA Tour partners with Red Hat, CDW on Linux media asset system
      • CentOS 6 review

        CentOS, Community ENTerprise Operating System, is a Linux distribution derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Not many would consider it a desktop distribution, but it could be configured as one, though it requires a bit more tweaking than other well known desktop distributions to just work. The latest stable version, CentOS 6, was released on July 10, 2011.


        This was just an excursion to determine whether CentOS 6 could be a good candidate as a desktop distribution for non-experts, or new users. The verdict: Unless you do not mind getting digital grease on your hands, there are better RPM-based distributions available. Fedora or any Fedora Spin, makes a better desktop distribution than CentOS 6.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Pioneering live-boot distro gets Chromium and LibreOffice

          Klaus Knopper has released version 6.7 of his Debian-based live-CD Linux distro. Again employing the LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment), it is also said to include version 3.3.3 of the LibreOffice suite, the Chromium 12 web browser, and a new version of ADRIANE (Audio Desktoop Reference Implementation And Network Environment) for partially-sighted users.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Pint-Size PPA Primer

            Package management in Linux is great, but unfortunately, it comes with a few cons. Granted, most distributions keep all your software, not just system software like Apple and Microsoft, updated. The downside is that software packages aren’t always the latest versions. Whatever is in the repository is what you get. Another frustration is when the software you want to install isn’t in the distribution repositories at all.

          • Bad to worse? New ubuntu unity design ignites heated arguments

            The unity shell and the top panel was always a design headache for those who behind the development. The design in its current form itself was criticized by many and was one of the reasons why many people hated unity. The daily builds of the unity 2D had a new iteration of the design apparently trying to solve some of the issues associated with the desktop shell. The new design now is now causing far more criticism than the current version.

          • Ubuntu 11.10 ‘Oneiric Ocelot’ Gains Linux 3.0 and Thunderbird

            After all the controversy that followed the release of Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal,” it’s hard not to anticipate with at least some anxiety the upcoming debut of version 11.10, also known as “Oneiric Ocelot.”

          • Mark Shuttleworth on patents, tablets and the future of Ubuntu

            Mark Shuttleworth: The patent system is often misunderstood. It’s sold as a way of giving the little guy an opportunity to create something big … when in fact patents don’t really work that way at all.

            What they do very well is keep the big guys entrenched and the little guys out. For example, it’s very common in established industries for all of the majors to buy up or file as many patents as they can covering a particular area. They know and accept that the other majors are all in the same industry and essentially cross-license each other to keep the peace within that defined market. But they use that arsenal to stop new entrants coming in and disrupting the market.

          • Ubuntu 11.04 vs Windows 7 vs OS X 10.7 (Lion)
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android keeps growing in U.S. — especially in the south and west

          ComScore’s second-quarter U.S. smartphone study shows that Android went up two percent in June to 40.1 percent share, while Apple’s iOS remained steady at 26.6 percent. Meanwhile, Jumptap released a study comparing usage state-by-state, showing iOS’ strength in New England and the upper Midwest and Android’s greater popularity in the South and West.

        • Android mobile ref platform targets vertical markets

          Elektrobit Corp. (EB) announced a Android reference platform for vertical-market smartphones and tablets. The EB Specialized Device Platform is available now with a Texas Instruments OMAP3 processor — an OMAP4 version is coming next year — and a 4.0- or 4.3-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen, plus a wide variety of wireless and sensor options including 4G LTE.

        • Google Wallet, NFC smartphones spur contactless PoS terminals

          Google Wallet and other mobile payment providers, coupled with Near Field Communcation-enabled smartphones, are stimulating the production of contactless technology in cash registers, says ABI Research. Some 85 percent of Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminals that ship in 2016 will be “contactless-enabled,” up from 10 percent in 2010, says the research firm.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Report Cites Lack of Open Source Skills As a Barrier in Enterprises

    As we’ve reported, free training and documentation resources for open source projects have proliferated in recent years. Likewise, organizations like The Linux Foundation and commercial open source companies such as Red Hat offer substantial training resources, many of them free. Still, InfoWorld cites niche security applications in conjunction with a lack of in-house skills at many companies, and this is a good point.

  • Open Source Awards 2011 Now Live

    Last year I was acting as a judge for the e-commerce application category, while this time I’ll be part of the Open Source Business Applications jury.

  • Nominate your favourite free software project for Packt’s 2011 Open Source Awards

    The great guys at Packt Publishing just released the details for theirs 2011 Open Source awards.

  • Research reveals value of gender diversity in open source communities

    Open source research often paints the community as a homogeneous landscape. I have collected stories from open source contributors to begin constructing a new narrative of diverse experience. These contributors are 20 women and men, living in seven countries.

    Dedicated people have enacted some impressive initiatives, but a deep gender gap still exists. You may have heard recent conference sessions about increasing diversity in open source, seen the anti-harassment policies, or noticed the women’s groups in large open source projects.

  • Open Source is Ready for Prime Time

    Welcome to another edition of Take Five. In today’s edition I talk open source software development in today’s enterprise world with Clay Loveless, currently founder at Jexy and formerly of Mashery (where he was a co-founder).

    Stephen Wellman (SW): Hello, Clay, welcome to Take Five, a new feature on the SourceForge blog where we discuss the pressing issues facing today’s IT professionals. It’s a pleasure to have with us. As someone who works with developers, how has the role of open source software development changed in today’s business world? Are larger businesses more amendable to open source now than they were a few years ago?

  • NHS Scotland Open Desktop Initiative

    …like the Javascript Version (pyjs), the “Desktop Version” (pyjd) is actually available for multiple platforms as well: Windows (all versions dating back even to Windows 2000), Apple (tablets as well as laptops and desktops), Android (all versions), GNU/Linux (all versions), GNU/FreeBSD (all versions) – about the only modern platforms the Desktop version isn’t available for is for Blackberry OS and Symbian, because they’re proprietary.

  • Events

    • What’s Coming Up For LinuxCon NA 2011

      While the Berlin Desktop Summit is still happening this week, happening next week in Vancouver, Canada is the Linux Foundation’s LinuxCon North America 2011 event. This event is special, in particular, for it being the 20th anniversary of Linux.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Unleashes Native Client Into Chrome, Next-Gen Web Apps To Follow?

        For well over a year now, Google has been hyping up something called Native Client. It’s an open source technology that allows a web browser to run compiled native code. In other words, it’s a potential missing link between native apps and web apps. And now it’s finally getting baked into Chrome.

      • Google’s Chrome operating system gets a much needed update

        I quite like Google’s Chrome operating system (OS)–a Linux variant that use the Chrome Web browser as its interface–but as it’s being shipping today, Chrome OS has problems. Fortunately, in the latest Chrome OS stable channel release, Google is finally addressing some of these rough spots.

        To put it to the test, I installed the new Chrome OS, Chrome version 13.0.782.108, to my Samsung Chromebook. It took a while to install-not the installation itself, that took about a minute-but to get it going. I had to click the update button several times to get things going. I’m not the only one who found that to be the case.

  • Funding

    • Open-source PaaS startup gets $8 million in funding

      Cloud-based PHP “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) vendor AppFog on Thursday announced an $8 million round of venture funding.

    • Economy up or down, can open source come out on top?

      We’ve written about how a bad economy is indeed good for open source software. We’ve also recognized that with open source software’s maturity and place at the enterprise software table, a bad economy can be a double-edged sword for open source since the failure or fade of large enterprise customers, say big banks, hurts open source vendors right alongside traditional software providers.

      What is interesting is that after a couple of years of economic rebuilding, we’ve seen recently how open source is being driven by innovation, particularly in cloud computing, where open source is prevalent and disruptive, and also mobile computing, which continues to be impacted by openness.

  • Project Releases

    • Samba 3.6 now available
    • Getting Plasma Active on your tablet

      This is to announce diffutils-3.1, a stable, bug-fix release. There have been more than 50 build, test and portability-related changes in diffutils proper, as well as over 2100 in gnulib. In spite of all that, there have been only a few bug fixes, and only one that was worthy of a NEWS entry (below).

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bristol Council open source: the allegations in full

      Bristol City Council’s failure to deliver on its open source strategy is beginning to make the coalition government’s manifesto commitment on open source look incontinent.

      The council’s own open source strategy is looking ineffectual. Bristol Council cabinet committed to an open source infrastructure a year ago – as long as it was doable. It ordered a pilot but that was discredited by an allegation that it had been fixed. Now the council has refused to release the suspect pilot reports under Freedom of Information, it is time to look at those allegations in full.

      Mark Taylor, CEO of Sirius, told MPs in May how, left to establishment suppliers Capgemini and Computacenter, the open source strategy got caught in a thicket of indifference and vested interests.

      Bristol set an original deadline for its open source strategy to be costed and risked by November 2010. They told Capgemini to get on with it, said Taylor, but Capgemini did nothing. Bristol told Capg to work with Sirius, who were experienced implementing open source infrastructures for companies like SpecSavers. They ignored Surius, said Taylor in a letter to MPs on the Parliamentary Administration Select Committee (PASC).

      The council meanwhile tendered for an open source infrastructure using the £6bn Buying Solutions Framework for Commodity IT Hardware and Software (CHITS). Thus it would be ready to roll when the pilot produced its recommendations.

  • Licensing

    • When Your Open Source Code No Longer Belongs to You

      Unfortunately, the way to answer this question is to follow the money. Most companies have coders sign intellectual property-focused and Fair Use-focused agreements that make clear that code produced while working for (and being paid by) the company belongs to the company. If the coder was being paid a salary while contributing to an open source project, the company almost always has the right to claim ownership of the code.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • “8″ Headed South

    “8″ has not even been released yet, but Phoney “7″ which has and is the model for “8″ has lost two thirds of its share of the smart phone market.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Drug Companies Conduct Fake Studies as Marketing Tools

      Pharmaceutical companies are carrying out fake, pseudo-studies on humans as a marketing devices to get doctors familiar with new drugs. In such studies, called “seeding trials,” drug companies invite hundreds of doctors to take part in a research study by asking them to recruit patients to serve as subjects.

    • Doctors Warn Of U.S. Cancer Drug Shortage
    • Censorship?

      They consider banning the sale of cigarettes a form of censorship, and they hide themselves behind the legality of the product.

  • Security

    • State Department Spent $1.2 Billion On An Asset Monitoring System… That Ignores All Non-Windows Equipment

      We just wrote about a GAO report showing how the Defense Department is somewhat incompetent at dealing with online threats. Of course, it’s not clear that anyone else in the government is any better. The GAO is back with yet another report, dinging the State Department for its dreadful computer security monitoring program. In this case, it’s talking about threats to the State Department’s network, rather than to third parties. And while the State Department spent a whopping $1.2 billion of taxpayer money on a fancy computer system, called iPost, to monitor everything, it turns out that it only works on Windows machines:

      But the iPost service only covers computers that use Microsoft’s Windows operating system, not other assets such as the roughly 5,000 routers and switches along State’s network, non-Windows operating systems, firewalls, mainframes, databases and intrusion detection devices, GAO auditors said.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • London riots: Lidl water thief jailed for six months

      Nicolas Robinson, 23, of Borough, south-east London, carried out the “opportunistic” theft at a Lidl supermarket in Brixton as he walked home from his girlfriend’s house.

      Robinson threw away the water and ran when he was confronted by police but was arrested and quickly admitted what he had done.

    • How America turned poverty into a crime

      Media attention has focused, understandably enough, on the “nouveau poor” — formerly middle and even upper-middle class people who lost their jobs, their homes, and/or their investments in the financial crisis of 2008 and the economic downturn that followed it, but the brunt of the recession has been borne by the blue-collar working class, which had already been sliding downwards since de-industrialization began in the 1980s.

      In 2008 and 2009, for example, blue-collar unemployment was increasing three times as fast as white-collar unemployment, and African American and Latino workers were three times as likely to be unemployed as white workers. Low-wage blue-collar workers, like the people I worked with in this book, were especially hard hit for the simple reason that they had so few assets and savings to fall back on as jobs disappeared.

      How have the already-poor attempted to cope with their worsening economic situation? One obvious way is to cut back on health care. The New York Times reported in 2009 that one-third of Americans could no longer afford to comply with their prescriptions and that there had been a sizable drop in the use of medical care. Others, including members of my extended family, have given up their health insurance.

      Food is another expenditure that has proved vulnerable to hard times, with the rural poor turning increasingly to “food auctions,” which offer items that may be past their sell-by dates. And for those who like their meat fresh, there’s the option of urban hunting. In Racine, Wisconsin, a 51-year-old laid-off mechanic told me he was supplementing his diet by “shooting squirrels and rabbits and eating them stewed, baked, and grilled.” In Detroit, where the wildlife population has mounted as the human population ebbs, a retired truck driver was doing a brisk business in raccoon carcasses, which he recommends marinating with vinegar and spices.

    • Police allow public to hit protesters

      London Metropolitan police has allowed the public to use weapons against suspected rioters and looters if households or businesses “honestly” believe they pose a threat.

      In a document sent to businesses in the British capital, the Scotland Yard authorized the use of what is known as “reasonable force” saying people can defend themselves in their homes or businesses by weapons if they believe they could be attacked.

    • Rich Executives Spend Millions For Bodyguards To Guard Them From Populist Anger

      Perez and his partner Mike Gomez, a bodyguard resembling The Sopranos’ Silvio, finally track down their client at a Barnes & Noble. Two of the countersurveillance guys go back to scouting for menaces, while Perez and Gomez, both of whom are trained sharpshooters and martial-arts experts, step in as the Primary’s “close protection” team. Shoppers stare at the entourage, straining to recognize someone famous.

    • Aggression during G20 rally ‘perpetrated by police,’ judge rules

      A Toronto judge has ruled that “adrenalized” police officers acted as aggressors at a peaceful political rally that led to dozens of arrests during last year’s G20 summit.

      “The only organized or collective physical aggression at that location that evening was perpetrated by police each time they advanced on demonstrators,” Justice Melvyn Green ruled on Thursday. He was referring to a demonstration at Queen St. and Spadina Ave. on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

      Green stated police criminalized political demonstration, which is “vital” to maintain a “viable democracy.”

    • Tories on riot policing: too few, too slow, too timid

      David Cameron is on a collision course with the police after the government used an emergency Commons debate on the English riots to issue a point-by-point dissection of the police’s “insufficient” tactics during the week.

    • Big Brother isn’t watching you

      The only question I can legitimately ask is: why is this happening? Mark Duggan’s death has been badly handled but no one is contesting that is a reason for these conflagrations beyond the initial flash of activity in Tottenham. I’ve heard Theresa May and the Old Etonians whose hols have been curtailed (many would say they’re the real victims) saying the behaviour is “unjustifiable” and “unacceptable”. Wow! Thanks guys! What a wonderful use of the planet’s fast-depleting oxygen resources. Now that’s been dealt with can we move on to more taxing matters such as whether or not Jack The Ripper was a ladies’ man. And what the hell do bears get up to in those woods?

      However “unacceptable” and “unjustifiable” it might be, it has happened so we better accept it and, whilst we can’t justify it, we should kick around a few neurons and work out why so many people feel utterly disconnected from the cities they live in.

    • Police tell of life during riots: fatigue and hunger under hail of missiles
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Arctic Ice Thinning 4 Times Faster Than Predicted by IPCC Models, Semi-Stunning M.I.T. Study Finds

      According to new research from MIT, the most recent global climate report fails to capture trends in Arctic sea-ice thinning and drift, and in some cases substantially underestimates these trends….

      After comparing IPCC models with actual data, [lead author Pierre] Rampal and his collaborators concluded that the forecasts were significantly off: Arctic sea ice is thinning, on average, four times faster than the models say, and it’s drifting twice as quickly.

  • Finance

    • Rising Up Against Brutal Austerity

      The BBC is interchanging footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of roiling infernos that were once shops and houses in Croydon and in Peckham. Britain is a tinderbox, and on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Randi Zuckerberg Runs in the Wrong Direction on Pseudonymity Online

      Take a moment and let that sink in. Randi Zuckerberg doesn’t just think that you should be using your real name on Facebook or Google+ or LinkedIn — she thinks pseudonyms have no place on the Internet at all. And why should we take the radical step of stripping all Internet users of the right to speak anonymously? Because of the Greater Internet F***wad Theory, or the “civility argument,” which states: If you allow people to speak anonymously online, they will froth at the mouth, go rabid, bully and stalk one another. Therefore, requiring people to use their real names online should decrease stalking and bullying and generally raise the level of discourse.

    • Oppose Attempts to Censor the British Public
    • British Prime Minister Does a 180 on Internet Censorship

      After several days of destructive riots throughout the UK, British Prime Minister David Cameron is practically tripping over himself in his eagerness to sacrifice liberty for security.

    • Google’s Chrome operating system gets a much needed update

      Here’s another one for our lists of government-less Internets: MondoNet. According to the MondoNet website: “The purpose of this project is to study the technological, social and regulatory feasibility of developing a peer-to-peer mesh networking protocol.”

      MondoNet was founded by academics at Rutgers University, and the university is supporting the team’s research. The project is close to being able to test its mesh networking protocol in actual, real-life communities.

  • Civil Rights

    • Prime Minister’S Attack On Social Media Unwarranted

      Some people have called for temporary suspension of services; David Cameron appeared to suggest suspension of Facebook and Twitter in some circumstances (TBC). We do not believe this should be given any serious consideration. Clearly, a service will be used by people for legitimate activities, some of which will in fact be to mitigate or deal with the problem encountered. In any case, innocent people should not be punished for the actions of others.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Linux users can now read Kindle ebooks on their desktop with Amazon Cloud Reader

      If you are a Kindle user disappointed by the lack of a dedicated desktop application for Linux, there’s good news for you. Amazon.com has just launched their new HTML5-powered cloud-based web app called Amazon Cloud Reader. The webapp runs flawlessly on Linux with support for offline reading and much much more. Here’s what it has to offer.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Trade Committee operates like Navy Seals

      The European Parliament Trade Committee operates as secretive as Navy Seals. In the last year, the Committee commissioned a study and requested a Legal Service opinion on ACTA. While these were official decisions the Committee made, there is no record on this at all. The Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) seems to make a distinction between public minutes and non public coordinators’ notes. The Register maintains everything is published. See our letter to the Parliament’s Register.

      It may seem silly to compare the work of a parliamentary committee to Navy Seals operations. Of course, it is silly. The EU foreign intellectual property policy is much more deadly.

    • Does IP slow down growth by throttling innovation?

      The fantasy depends on unlimited energy and the Star Trek replicator which produces an unlimited supply of whatever goods are desired. The dream becomes a nightmare when intellectual property is introduced, followed by lawyers, and bureaucrats to enforce these rights.

      The fantasy originated in Peter Frase’s blog, where he writes, “In the process of trying to pull together some thoughts on intellectual property, zero marginal-cost goods, immaterial labor, and the incipient transition to a rentier form of capitalism, I’ve been working out a thought experiment: a possible future society I call anti-Star Trek. Consider this a stab at a theory of posterity.”

    • Drug prices to plummet in wave of expiring patents
    • Federal Circuit: Isolated Human DNA Molecules are Patentable

      In a much anticipated decision, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has rejected the Southern District of New York’s court’s holding that could have rendered invalid all patents claiming isolated forms of naturally occurring DNA molecules. However, the decision is somewhat nuanced and will be appealed.

    • Monsanto to be prosecuted for biopiracy

      In an unprecedented, though much delayed, decision, the National Biodiversity Authority of India (NBA) has decided to initiate legal action against M/s Mahyco/Monsanto and their collaborators for accessing and using local brinjal varieties in developing Bt Brinjal without prior approval of the competent authorities. The official resolution giving effect to this decision was taken in the NBA’s meeting of 20th June 2011, the minutes of which were released only on 11 August 2011.


      The decision of the NBA reads as follows:

      “A background note besides legal opinion on Bt brinjal on the alleged violation by the M/s. Mahyco/M/s Monsanto, and their collaborators for accessing and using the local brinjal varieties for development of Bt brinjal with out prior approval of the competent authorities was discussed and it was decided that the NBA may proceed legally against M/s. Mahyco/ M/s Monsanto, and all others concerned to take the issue to its logical conclusion.” (Emphasis supplied)

    • Copyrights

      • Despite What So-Called Legal Experts Tell You, Copyright Protects IDEAS As Well As Expression

        Rhianna and Def Jam Music must stand trial for being inspired by David LaChappelle’s ideas regarding photographic images.

        They didn’t copy a damned thing. They were only inspired by someone else’s work which influenced they way in which they created a new work – the same way all creation happens on some level.

      • Copyright and Me

        Canadian copyright law prevents me from posting examples of my ‘published’ work, that is to say, produced television episodes that I wrote, on my own web page on the Internet.

        Because I don’t control the copyright.

        The same holds true for all the other creative professionals whose creative input went into the work, because a corporate entity holds the rights to all of our combined creativity. As near as I can tell, the corporation owns these rights by virtue of picking up the tab.

      • Medvedev to make internet copyright proposals ‘soon’

        Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday he would soon submit his proposals on intellectual property rights and copyright regulation on the Internet.

        “I have commented on intellectual property right issues more than once recently,” he said at a media briefing at the RIA Novosti newsroom.

        At the G8 summit in France last month and the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last week, Medvedev said the advent of the Internet means that traditional approaches toward intellectual property rights need to be changed.

      • ACTA

        • Trade Committee not interested in fundamental rights

          The European Parliament Committee on International Trade requested the Parliament’s Legal Service an opinion on ACTA (pdf). Compared with the request US Senator Wyden made, and seen the European academics Opinion on ACTA, the questions are very narrow. The questions seem carefully designed to minimize damage to ACTA.

          Senator Wyden has asked in an October 8, 2010 letter that the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress undertake and provide to Congress: “a written, independent determination of whether the commitments put forward in the agreement diverge from our domestic laws or would impeded legislative efforts that are currently underway. I ask the Division pay particular attention to the provisions relating to injunctions, damages, and intermediary liability.” It is an open question and includes whether ACTA would impeded legislative efforts that are currently underway. This is important for finding a solution for access to orphaned copyrighted works and patent reform.


Links 11/8/2011: Wineskin 2.4, QEMU 0.15

Posted in News Roundup at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Sesame With Your Source

    The trend toward open source software has many benefits when creating applications. JBoss Enterprise Application Platform for example retains the benefits of enterprise application level components such as security and web services without the prohibitive license costs.

  • Open source solutions gaining acceptance in enterprise projects

    A new survey says open source solutions are being considered for the majority of enterprise IT projects. The survey, by FuseSource Corp., an open source integration firm, outlines deciding factors leading organizations to chose and open source solution.

  • 10 things people get wrong about open source (images)
  • Twitter to open source Storm in September

    Twitter has announced that it will be open sourcing Storm, its stream processing framework, in September, at the Strange Loop conference. Storm was developed by BackType, a company that Twitter acquired in July. At the time, Nathan Marz, BackType’s lead engineer, said that the company’s plans to open source the technology had not changed. Now Twitter has put a date on those plans in a blog posting.

  • Mozilla

    • HTTPS Everywhere Firefox extension goes 1.0

      The Firefox extension HTTPS Everywhere, designed to automatically navigate users to HTTPS-secured versions of sites by rewriting requests, has reached version 1.0. The project was started in June 2010 with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and The Tor Project collaborating on creating the extension which has been refined and tuned over the past year with an improved UI and better performance.

    • The “App Model” and the Web

      Mozilla’s mission is to bring openness, interoperability and user sovereignty to Internet life. We should do this in the apps world. We should embrace some aspects of the current app model as a complement to the browser model. We should also provide an alternative to aspects of the current app model that aren’t so open to interoperability and user sovereignty.

  • SaaS

    • Ensemble meets Hadoop on the cloud

      So you wanted to play with hadoop to crunch on some big-data problems, except that, well getting a hadoop cluster up and running in not exactly a one minute thing! Let me show you how to make it “a one minute thing” using Ensemble! Since Ensemble now has formulas for creating hadoop master and slave nodes, thanks to the great work of Juan Negron. Spinning up a hadoop cluster could not be easier! Check this video out

    • Hadoop cluster with Ubuntu server and Ensemble
    • Hadoop, Big Data and Small Businesses

      Distributed infrastructures for enterprise search and indexing are becoming the norm, but what can small businesses do?

      Hadoop, HDFS and the MapReduce algorithm are becoming as popular as searching for celebrity gossip, and this surge in interest says a lot about the changing nature of enterprise infrastructure and data and application requirements.

      We all know that search engines and databases have completely different requirements. With most databases, you have a single persistent copy of the data that is backed up and can be restored. With search engines – Google’s MapReduce technology is the basis of Hadoop – much of the data is often transient and can be re-collected.

  • Databases

    • Percona announces MySQL conference

      Percona, a MySQL consulting and support company, has announced that it will run a MySQL conference in the traditional location, Santa Clara, and at the traditional time, 10-12 April 2012. There had been a lack of clarity, according to Percona, as to whether anyone was planning a MySQL conference, so, after several months of planning, it has announced the “Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo”.

  • BSD

    • BSDanywhere: time machine

      I have already written about BSD-based systems several times. I reviewed FreeSBIE and PCBSD.

      They were system based on XFCE and KDE. These are more or less modern looking operating systems. Could I imaging myself back into 1990s when I was downloading another BSD-based system?


  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Cough up the hairball and make NHS technology open

      The NHS technology environment could be described as a giant hairball – a Gordian knot of past policies, established practices, new initiatives and government objectives and an ever changing landscape of opportunity from new technology.* Openness, in all its many forms, offers a way to escape from the hairball.

      Openness comes in many forms: open source, open standards, open data, open publishing – the list goes on. Openness is growing. Open source and open standards are in the ICT strategy documents of the Cabinet Office, the Welsh Government and in some form in the NHS IT Strategy too.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Cancer Data: It Just Got Personal

        Coincidentally, a few days before my dad’s diagnosis, I published a study which found that cancer datasets are less likely to be widely available for further research than similar datasets outside cancer.

  • Programming

    • Testing JavaScript Code with Jasmine

      Server-side developers have long experienced the benefits of automated testing solutions, taking advantage of testing frameworks such as RSpec for Ruby, PHPUnit for PHP, and JUnit for Java. If you fall into this crowd but are starting to spend more time with JavaScript, chances are you’re fretting over how to apply similar techniques on the client (or or server!) side. Not to worry, as several interesting JavaScript testing frameworks exist, perhaps chief among them Jasmine, a popular open source behavior-driven development framework.

    • Using Images in the GUI
  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 Seems To Be Gaining Momentum

      With Google, Pandora, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Vudu, and even Microsoft embracing HTML5, these are exciting times for vendors, developers and consumers


  • Apple named in e-book price-fixing lawsuit

    Apple and a group of book publishers were accused in a lawsuit today of illegally fixing e-book prices to “boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon to abandon its pro-consumer discount pricing.”

    The lawsuit (PDF), which was filed today in U.S. District Court in Northern California, alleges Apple, HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster “colluded to increase prices” on popular books. (Simon & Schuster is owned by CBS. CNET News is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.)

  • Wallpapers from… heaven?
  • Science

    • Portable, super-high-resolution 3-D imaging

      By combining a clever physical interface with computer-vision algorithms, researchers in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences have created a simple, portable imaging system that can achieve resolutions previously possible only with large and expensive lab equipment. The device could provide manufacturers with a way to inspect products too large to fit under a microscope and could also have applications in medicine, forensics and biometrics.

      The heart of the system, dubbed GelSight, is a slab of transparent, synthetic rubber, one of whose sides is coated with a paint containing tiny flecks of metal. When pressed against the surface of an object, the paint-coated side of the slab deforms. Cameras mounted on the other side of the slab photograph the results, and computer-vision algorithms analyze the images.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Dear Wikipedia: The Death of Mark Duggan is Notable

      I hate broken links, so I try to avoid linking to The Globe and Mail, for instance, because they started locking older articles behind a paywall. That deliberately breaks links that work when I post the article [unless the reader pays ransom].

      I am quite certain that I’ve linked to Wikipedia more than any other website, and so I worry because deleted Wikipedia articles will result in broken links.

      Broken links are bad for blogs, and while online news outlets often don’t understand this, Wikipedia ought to. As a blogger, when I link to something, I expect it to stay there. As an Internet user, it is annoying to follow a link to get more information, only to discover that the original article has been removed. The only time any Wikipedia entry should be deleted is if it is fraudulent.

      The Wikipedia page Death of Mark Duggan is flagged for deletion. There is a huge argument raging about whether or not Mark Duggan’s death is notable.

  • Cablegate

  • Censorship

    • EFF tells Cisco to help curb abuses in China

      The group is reacting to the networking firm’s earlier announcement that it would help the Chinese government build up an extensive camera surveillance network in Chongqing. This, as well as its assistance in building the Great Firewall of China, should give it enough leverage to convince its new friend to stop abusing its citizens’ human rights.

      “This is the same company that sold equipment to China to build the Great Firewall, which prevents Chinese Internet users from accessing much of the Internet, including online references to the Tiananmen Square protests, information on China’s human rights abuses, and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter,” wrote the EFF’s Jillian York in a blog post.

  • Privacy

    • Indian MPs To Give Critical Data To Apple, America?

      One of the two houses of the Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha, has decided go for the paperless office. The house is adopting tablet PCs instead of papers. The members will be using either the iPad 2 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab, according to reports.

      Should Indian parliament even consider Apple’s iPad? No. Apple is an American company and the iPad uses proprietary technologies to which Indians will not have any access. The ministers will have to use Apple’s iTunes software to transfer data to the iPad – which means Apple will have access to all the ministerial and governmental data, without informing the Indian government.

      Chances are that these ministers may also use the iCloud, and as we know since Apple is an American company, all the data on the cloud will be accessible by the US authorities. Apple will hand over that data if the US government demands so.

  • DRM

    • The Danger of E-books: Richard Stallman

      In an age where business dominates our governments and writes our laws, every technological advance offers business an opportunity to impose new restrictions on the public. Technologies that could have empowered us are used to chain us instead.

Links 11/8/2011: Desktop Summit, More Linux Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 3:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • .exe file on Linux
  • Computer: How far is it to the next good interface?
  • Does Linux Certification cut the mustard?

    For those pursuing a Linux career, is Linux certification a must have or an indication that you lack the real world experience that employers demand?

    In the ever fast-paced and dynamic context of information technology, IT professionals need to be on their toes, constantly staying abreast of changes in the technology platforms on which they work. Operating systems are refined and improved in newer versions of technology, mandating systems administrators to constantly be on a learning curve to keep up with the changes.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Linux on mainframe, alive, kicking and doing rather well

      CA Technologies has responded to what the company says is a growing market for Linux-based mainframe applications with the release of a new mainframe Linux management portfolio named CA VM: Manager Suite.

      Naysayers who belittle the importance of mainframe technologies in 2011 should perhaps remember that since the start of the decade, IBM, Unisys, BMC, Centrify and CA itself have all made significant augmentations to their mainframe technology propositions.

  • Kernel Space

    • Broadcom, Dell, Linux 3.0

      I get it Broadcom, you hate Linux Users, and I’ve always been able to hate you by installing akmod-wl, while giving you the middle-finger, but apparently even that doesn’t seem to work on 2.6.40, which means I have to hate you loudly now.

    • The Linux Foundation Announces Linux Training Scholarship Recipients

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced the recipients of its 2011 Linux Training Scholarship Program.

      This is the first year of the program, which awards five scholarships to computer science students and Linux developers who show incredible promise for helping to shape the future of Linux but do not otherwise have the ability to attend Linux Foundation training courses.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME & KDE Developers Meet Over Beer In Berlin

      The 2011 Desktop Summit is coming to a close at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. This was the second time that GNOME and KDE developers joined to host a Linux desktop summit of around 1,000 participants.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Desktop Summit Thoughts

        I’ve been to the Desktop Summit in Berlin for the past few days, we’re now around the middle of the event, after the conference, before the workshop and BoF sessions, so I thought I might share some thoughts I’ve gathered in idle moments in the past few days.

      • Toasters and Pants at Day Three of Desktop Summit 2011

        The third and final ‘traditional’ conference day began with Mirko Boehm, Claudia Rauch, Stormy Peters, Karen Sandler and Cornelius Schumacher meeting with members of the Berlin City authorities. The city officials wanted to get acquainted with the free and open source leaders involved in the Desktop Summit, because open technology is important to the local government (more below).

      • Using a single database for KDE programs
  • Distributions

    • The 2011 Top 7 Best Linux Distributions for You

      As Linux continues to re-define its role in the mobile and cloud sectors, there is still demand for using the operating system on “traditional” platforms like the personal desktop, the enterprise server, and even laptop devices. With so many Linux distributions available, which one is the best for each of these varied platforms?

      Because of these platform differences, there never can be one best Linux distribution for everyone. Also, the needs of each user are unique. Telling someone who’s looking for a good introductory distribution to try Gentoo, for instance, would be a mistake because for all its positive qualities, Gentoo is decidedly not a beginner’s distro.

    • Red Hat Family

      • 09 Aug 2011: Red Hat’s Most Serious Flaw Types for 2010
      • Red Hat Warns Government About Cloud Lock-In

        In an open letter of sorts, Red Hat is warning U.S. policy makers and government leaders about so-called cloud lock-in — the use of proprietary APIs (application programming interfaces) and other techniques to keep customers from switching cloud providers. The open letter, in the form of a blog entry from Red Hat VP Mark Bohannon, contains thinly veiled criticism of Microsoft and other companies that are launching their own public clouds.

      • Red Hat is First to Deliver Java EE 6 via Platform-as-a-Service with OpenShift

        OpenShift is a free PaaS for developers who leverage open source. Developers looking for a faster on-ramp to the cloud with built-in management and auto-scaling capabilities can use OpenShift so they can focus on coding mobile, social and enterprise applications while leaving stack setup, maintenance and operational concerns to a trusted hosted service. First announced at the Red Hat Summit in May 2011, OpenShift redefined the PaaS space by offering a broad choice of supported languages, frameworks, databases and clouds, including Ruby, Python, Perl, PHP, Java EE, Spring, MySQL, SQLite, MongoDB, MemBase and Memcache, all open source, helping developers avoid getting locked into any particular technology or platform.

      • Red Hat Brings Java EE 6 to OpenShift Cloud

        Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) sees opportunity in providing an integrated platform as a service (PaaS) offering for the cloud that enables Java developers. To that end, Red Hat today announced that its JBoss Application Server 7 is now integrated with the OpenShift PaaS, providing an easy on-ramp to the cloud for Java.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Linux Mint Debian – Perils of Rolling Distributions

          I am a big fan of the Linux Mint Debian distributions, both the “original” Gnome version and the newer Xfce version. I have had LMDE loaded on several of my laptops and netbooks since it was first released at the end of last year, and it has been the distribution that I use most often for six months or so now. But there is another key factor about it, and my use of it – I have kept it updated since I first installed it. I have recently wanted to install or re-install it on a couple of other netbooks, and the experience has been disappointing.

          The advantage of “rolling distributions” is that they send out updates frequently, both major and minor updates to the operating system itself and to the packages installed on it. That means no waiting around for the next periodic distribution cycle to get a new version of the Linux kernel, or Firefox, or whatever. The disadvantage is that these updates accumulate pretty rapidly, so before long you end up in a situation where doing a fresh installation actually requires a lot of updates. Add to that the fact that rolling distributions often don’t update their base all that often, and the total number of updates required after doing a fresh installation can be quite large.

        • Revisited: CrunchBang (“#!”) Linux 10 “Statler” Xfce r20110207

          When I’ve reviewed #! before, I’ve always stuck with the Openbox edition, because when #! started, it only had an Openbox edition. It wasn’t until version 10 “Statler” that it gained an Xfce edition as well, but I always wanted to review just “the original” #! anyway. Fast forward to the last few days, and I haven’t really been able to think of much to write. Then, I realized I had never checked out the Xfce edition, so I did so.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Inclusive membership

            We have a strong preference for inclusivity in the way we structure the Ubuntu community. We recognise a very diverse range of contributions, and we go to some lengths to recognise leaders in many areas so that we can delegate the evaluation process to those who know best.

            For example, we have governance structures for different social forums (IRC, the Forums) and for various technical fields (development, translation). We quite pointedly see development and packaging as one facet of a multi-faceted project, and I think Ubuntu is much stronger for that approach.

          • Canonical Store Adds Ubuntu-Branded Laptop Sleeve
          • [Oneiric Updates] New LightDM Login Theme Finally Made Default

            Few days back we reported that a new login theme for Ubuntu 11.10 has landed in repositories. The Unity Greeter theme for LightDM has been finally made default. It looks almost same as in the video below but sound menu has been removed.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Joli OS 1.2 Linux by Jolicloud

              With the launch of the Chromebook, a new breed of cut-price laptop running Google’s Chrome OS software, the interest in so-called ‘cloud computing’ has never been higher. It’s easy to forget, however, that before Google came along, there were other companies offering remarkably similar software packages that can be installed – for free, even – on existing hardware.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android e-reader tablets sell for under $180

          Pandigital began selling a $170, seven-inch Android tablet called the Nova Digital Reader, a lighter spinoff of its previous Novel color e-reader. This follows a similar, $180 “Planet” device the company launched two weeks ago, with both tablets featuring seven-inch, 800 x 600 touchscreens, 802.11n, and front- and rear-facing cameras.

        • Android-based wearable device platform targets 1.4-inch screen

          WIMM Labs announced an Android-based wearable device reference platform and open SDK designed for applications including sports and health monitoring wristwatches. The tiny WIMM One Module features a 1.4-inch capacitive touchscreen, up to 32GB memory, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and motion tracking capability, and will be made available with a WIMM One Developer Preview Kit in the third quarter.

        • Five-inch Android 2.3 tablet pumps out 1080p via HDMI

          Latte has begun shipping a five-inch, Android 2.3 portable media player (PMP) tablet for $190. The Latte Ice Smart uses a Telechips 8903 ARM11 processor to deliver 1080p video to an HDTV via a mini-HDMI port, and offers Wi-Fi and a USB On-the-Go (OTG) port, says the company.

        • Sprint tips $100 4G phone from Samsung
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Pierre Cardin ships designer Android tablet

        Pierre Cardin is shipping a seven-inch Android 2.2 tablet billed as “the … first designer tablet.” The Pierre Cardin Tablet PC offers a 1GHz Samsung “Hummingbird” processor, a front-facing webcam, Wi-Fi, and a tailored carrying case, and sells for 275 U.K. Pounds ($449).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source develops the future of downtown Raleigh

    Can you revitalize a city and attract businesses using open source principles? David Diaz, president and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance thinks so. In fact, I got a chance to sit down with David to discuss how economic development organizations are interacting with their local and state government, citizens, businesses, and landlords. Diaz and his organization apply the principles of transparency, participation, and sharing to their economic development programs.

  • Four Steps Toward a Successful Open Source Project

    There’s a lot to like about open source software. It can help your business by cutting costs and producing better software. It’s open, auditable, and customizable, and free of the restrictive, invasive licenses and EULAs that infest proprietary software. You can build a community around an open source project, one that incorporates contributions from both staff and outside developers. If you’re wondering how to start up and manage a genuine open source project, here are four fundamental tasks to get you started: start small, build trust and social capital, start smart, and build for the future.

  • Events

    • But wait, there’s more

      Ohio Linux Fest: There’s some big to-do up in Vancouver next week, something about twenty years of a widely used operating system that puts Windows to shame, a guy named Linus who doesn’t like GNOME 3 and other luminaries in the Linux constellation of stars, blah blah blah. But for those who can’t make that, you might want to head to Columbus, Ohio, to discover the Ohio Linux Fest next month. The event runs from Sept. 9-11 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus. The keynoters are Cathy Malmrose, of ZaReason fame, and Bradley Kuhn, of Software Freedom Conservancy fame. As this is the last big event of the year now that Utah Open Source Conference is in mothballs this year until next spring, it might be a good chance to get in a show before the year’s out.

  • Web Browsers

    • On WebKit and WebKit2

      Ever heard of WebKit2 and wondering what it means from a Qt perspective? Here’s an attempt to explain QtWebKit and QtWebKit2 in simple terms. I make no attempt to be completely technically correct, it’s meant to be able to explain terminology to the WebKit uninitiated.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla shrinks Firefox’s memory appetite by 20%-30%

        Mozilla’s Firefox 7, slated to ship in late September, will be significantly faster because of work done plugging the browser’s memory leaks, a company developer says.

        Mozilla developer Nicholas Nethercote credited the “MemShrink” project for closing memory bugs in the browser and producing a faster Firefox.

  • SaaS

    • Freedom in the “cloud”?

      It’s come to the point that I was asked to explain what I consider necessary prerequisites for an open, free, sustainable approach towards what is often called “The Cloud” or also “Software as a Service” (SaaS).

      To be honest, it took some time for me to make up my mind on the matter, and I considered many of the inputs that I’ve seen so far, in particular the Franklin Street Statement on Freedom and Network Services to be good enough for some time.

      Clearly I’m sympathetic to the fundamental ideas behind Diaspora, ownCloud and so on. In fact, I myself am currently dedicating my life to the creation of a solution that should empower users to take control over some of their most central data – email, calendar, address books, tasks, see “The Kolab Story” – and thus to provide one puzzle piece to this picture.

  • Databases

    • [Firebird] Past and Present

      As you may know, in July 2000, Borland Software Corp. (formerly known as Inprise) released the beta version of InterBase 6.0 as open source. The community of waiting developers and users preferred to establish itself as an independent, self-regulating team rather than submit to the risks, conditions and restrictions that the company proposed for community participation in open source development. A core of developers quickly formed a project and installed its own source tree on SourceForge. They liked the Phoenix logo which was to have been ISC’s brandmark and adopted the name “Firebird” for the project.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Public Services/Government

    • Swiss proprietary companies block government open source release

      Reports from Switzerland say that proprietary software companies are complaining about government plans to release open source solutions it has developed on the grounds of cross subsidy. A report from OSOR.EU says the issue emerged early in July as the IT department of the Swiss federal court was planning to release OpenJustitia.

      In 2007, the Swiss federal court began development of its own internal document management system, OpenJustitia, designed to make it more efficient to search through court decisions. In 2009, the court’s IT department announced it would release the system as open source under the GPLv3. This summer, it was expected that OpenJustitia would be released to allow other courts to make use of it.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Everything is a Compiler

      With multiple new Perl books in progress as well as some fiction and other books, I’ve spent a lot of time lately working on our publishing process. Part of that is building better tools to build better books, but part of that process is improving the formatting based on what those books want and need to do.

      It’s a good thing I know how compilers work.


  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Ending domestic violence, NNEDV, and Tor

      I was invited to speak at the annual technical conference of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, http://nnedv.org/. Over the past few years, I’ve been personally involved with helping victims and survivors of abuse. In many cases, it has been education and helping them understand what’s possible on the Internet, methods to protect their privacy, and methods to control what data trails they leave behind. I’ve been deeply disturbed after meeting survivors of sexual slavery, human trafficking, and child abuse. The realities of life for these people while they were being abused, and the systematic failures of the systems set up to protect and help them, is shocking. The law enforcement officers and those offering services and direct support to these victims often suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Everyone involved with the results of abuse seems to need help all around.

  • DRM

    • Let Barnes & Noble know that the Nook is defective by design

      American book retailer Barnes & Noble have launched the third model of their Nook ebook reader. We’ve previously written about the Nook, but until recently the Nook did not get much attention due to the limited options available.

      Things have changed and now the Nook represents a real threat to users because of its invasive DRM, close relationship with DRM champions Adobe, and because of its use of the Android operating system — which might lead many to think the Nook is not defective by design.

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