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Links 28/12/2010: Putin for Russian Migration to GNU/Linux, Ex-Red Hat CEO is Suing Over Kickbacks

Posted in News Roundup at 12:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Putin Orders Russian Move to GNU/Linux

    The fact that Putin has signed the order for this project could be critical: there have been several previous plans for moving parts of the Russian government to using free software, notably in the educational sector, but in practice they have mostly failed to materialise because there has been insufficient political weight behind them. But if Putin says: “make it so”, I suspect that a lot of people will jump pretty fast to make sure that it *is* so. And once that happens, other plans to roll out free software might well suddenly look rather more attractive.

  • 2010′s Biggest Linux Thing

    Well another year is drawing to a close, and that means it’s time to begin taking stock of all that has passed in 2010.

  • The Golden Tux awards for 2010: Linux and open source winners

    Most improved award

    Without a doubt, this award must go to the KDE desktop environment. When KDE 4.0 was released it looked like it was going bomb miserably. It was slow, buggy, and far from ready for public consumption. But 2010 saw more improvement in KDE 4 than it seemed in the whole of software. And because of that epic push towards stability and usability, KDE has finally been able to stand back up in the front lines with the likes of GNOME.

  • Why Linux Isn’t Used in Broadcast Media

    No longer are we being held down by proprietary software companies, “big media” or those who support this way of doing things. An unregulated (for the most part) Internet along with plenty of the free software available with open source friendly licensing means that anyone with something to say can express themselves and share it with the world.

  • AXE and your shell receives

    I was at a Linux Meetup a couple of months ago and I ran into another former employee of Digital Equipment Corporation (“They are everywhere, everywhere!”) named Larry Camilli. We started talking and somehow the conversation came around to a program called “AXE” (vaX Archictecture Exerciser). Larry looked at me with a strange look on his face and said “That was my program! That is what I did for Digital!” Larry went on to say that few people he met, even those who worked for Digital, knew about the AXE (or its equivalent for the MicroVAX, the “MAX”) program. I replied that I worked in an operating system group, so we often delt with new CPUs, and we knew the *AXE programs and their capabilities very well.

  • AlwaysOnPC – Office & Firefox

    This powerful app lets you control a cloud-based desktop PC running Fedora Linux with 2GB of storage, the OpenOffice Suite, Firefox, Dropbox, and many other open-source programs.

  • Desktop

    • How to buy a Dell WITHOUT windows

      I have received a quotation for the Dell Vostro V13 and here are the numbers:
      a) S$887.15 for the N-series
      b) S$1045.79 for the same machine with ‘doze.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD 2010 Catalyst Driver Year In Review

        Earlier this month we delivered our annual performance look at NVIDIA’s 2010 Linux graphics drivers and now the tables have turned to do our annual examination of the ATI/AMD Catalyst graphics drivers for the Radeon graphics processors. This was certainly an interesting year — both good and bad — for AMD with their Catalyst Linux driver.

      • A New Open-Source AMD OverDrive Utility For Linux

        AMD has allowed their Radeon GPUs to be overclocked on Linux since 2008 when using their Catalyst driver with OverDrive support. Previous to that there was Rovclock for overclocking select ATI Radeon ASICs using an open-source program along with support for tuning the video memory timings and other options, which was a program written via reverse engineering. The Catalyst Linux driver supports OverDrive manipulation of the core and memory clocks, which is enough for most enthusiasts, but if you’ve been looking for more extensive features there is a new option.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Lightweight Linux Choices For Older Computers

      The Linux winner for my desktop was arrived at in an unlikely manner. Puppy garned a slice of my hard drive because it is such an amazing little distro and such a small foot print. As much as I wanted VectorLinux on my laptop, I could not get VectorLinux to multi boot with more than Windows.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • KNOPPIX 6.4.3 Switches to Nouveau, LibreOffice

        KNOPPIX 6.4.3 has been released bringing several updated packages along with the usual bug fixes. This is also the first release to bring support for the open-source nouveau driver for Nvidia video cards. KMS is now also included in the kernel shipped with the latest KNOPPIX release.

        “The current version has been completely updated from Debian ‘Lenny’, ‘Testing’ and ‘Unstable’ and uses Linux kernel, X.Org 7.5 for supporting current computer hardware,” the release notes of KNOPPIX 6.4.3 read.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • New Personal Goal: Photobomb for Natty

          I’m on holiday for the next week, yeah! I’ve started filling some of my free time by resurrecting Photobomb (again). There have been some technical improvements to the APIs I’ve been using, and also, I’ve learned some ways to do a few things better. I’m hoping that by spending a few hours a day, I can pretty much complete Photobomb by the end of this week, and then work on getting it into Universe for Natty.

        • Ubuntu update policy change is probably a good thing

          Despite some premature reports on the net, Canonical isn’t moving to a rolling release schedule for Ubuntu. However, the organisation is open to making some changes to the way that some software packages are updated. It’s seems likely that a mechanism that supports the adding of up to date application packages outside of the normal software repository updates is probably on the cards, and I’d say that it’s about time.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • XUbuntu 10.10 – gksu fails [Solved]

            In an attempt to gain some stability and speed in my life without having a different distro on my desktop and netbook, I’ve decided to install XUbuntu on both. XUbuntu is community driven and based on XFCE, thus no need to worry about Unity vs GNOME. However after installing XUbuntu on my desktop, I came across a strange issue. When ever I attempted to sudo inside of the gui, it would fail. However, it would work at the command line level.

          • Kubuntu 11.04 alpha1 (dailybuild) with Kde 4.6rc Overview
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open*Business: 2010 in review

    2010 has been a fantastic year on the Business channel here at opensource.com.

  • A bountiful year for open source

    Code is everywhere, and it is more and more likely to be open source from the bottom to the top of the stack. Ruby, Python, Perl, JavaScript, and PHP dominate the list of top languages at GitHub. This code, in turn, runs on open source libraries that sit on Linux. Although proprietary coding tools and extensions continue to proliferate, the core is increasingly fully open source.

    This domination is pushing into other areas. Open source content management systems like web.py, phpBB, CakePHP, Lift, Drupal, Joomla, and probably hundreds of other open source CMS frameworks are packaging up most of the information you read today. It is rare to find a website that depends on just Apache to deliver the content.

  • Web Browsers

    • Browser Wars III

      Cue the new browser war. Maybe it will help fix all of the annoying problems and sloppiness you encounter when using browsers.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox is most popular browser in Armenia

        According to data of Circle.am Armenian ranking system, website visitors, who are registered on Circle.am, mostly use Firefox (41.05%) browser, as well as Chrome (27.36%). Safari rounds out the top five browsers in Armenia – 0.29%, while the share of other browsers makes – 0.25%.

  • CMS

    • New book: Drupal 7 Module Development

      Drupal 7 Module Development has been published by Packt, just in time for the release of Drupal 7. This book provides in-depth coverage of key elements of Drupal 7 and is designed for professional developers. Every chapter provides fully functional code samples illustrating the APIs and strategies discussed in the chapter. With this foundation, developers can quickly build sophisticated tools on their own by making use of the strategies and techniques exemplified in this book.

  • Education

    • Free Software in education: October – December 2010

      Here’s a little summary again of what I found noteworthy in the field of Free Software in education in the last few months of this year in no particular order:

      * After Sam Tuke informed the edu-eu mailinglist about (k)mando recently, it was quickly put into a debian paket by Georges Khaznadar from OFSET. I’m still looking for people who have actually used that software.
      * I stumbled on a blog post in kde-edu planet that describes how to report a bug. I think this touches an important point. When we encourage educational institutions to use Free Software, we should not forget to teach them how to contribute and make them part of the community.


    • Linux in education: a genuine alternative

      The best thing about Linux training in education is that there are already people doing it. There are establishments up and down the UK that have decided to include Linux on their syllabus and make a concerted effort to provide their students with the choice.

      So if you’re a parent frustrated with the lack of options for your child, or you’re maybe a student who wants to learn Linux skills from the outset, there are places to go and people to speak to. They may be able to help you make the difference. But even if you can’t influence the training regime at your local establishment, Linux can still play a part.

      Unlike in schools, Linux and open source software isn’t badly served by professional training. It’s this kind of training that pits Linux against Microsoft’s certification, and it’s the kind that prepares IT people for the real tasks they face while dealing with Linux systems.

      The Linux Professional Institute, for example, has been dishing out qualifications for over 10 years, and its LPI certification levels have become something of a standard for Linux system administrators.

  • Project Releases

    • Cobbler 2.0.10

      I am proud to announce that I’ve released the latest version of Cobbler. This version includes several fixes. The biggest one being a fix for broken SNIPPETS on Fedora 14 due to a change in Cheetah.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The many definitions of a open standard

      One of the reasons I like the Digistan definition of “Free and Open Standard” is that this is a new term, and thus the meaning of the term has been decided by Digistan. The term “Open Standard” has become so misunderstood that it is no longer very useful when talking about standards. One end up discussing which definition is the best one and with such frame the only one gaining are the proponents of de-facto standards and proprietary solutions.


  • QQ coin for netizens who hunt suspects

    Police have started offering virtual online money to encourage Internet users to report clues in criminal cases.

    Police hope the hunt for suspects can be sped up by harnessing the growing population of Internet users in China.

  • Man quits job, makes living suing e-mail spammers

    From San Francisco Superior Court small claims court to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Balsam, based in San Francisco, has filed many lawsuits, including dozens before he graduated law school in 2008, against e-mail marketers he says violate anti-spamming laws.

    His many victories are mere rain drops in the ocean considering that Cisco Systems Inc. estimates that there are 200 billion spam messages circulating a day, accounting for 90 percent of all e-mail.

  • Internationalising the public interest

    The arrest and detention of Algeria’s most prominent anti-corruption campaigner last month attracted wide media attention inside the country, but it received little or no attention internationally in the English-language media.

    The reporting silence may be due to linguistic barriers: much of the relevant documentation is in French and Arabic. Perhaps reporting on Algeria’s opaque political system is not seen as newsworthy (no matter the international relevance), or maybe there is simply a lack of interest in the plight of anti-corruption activists outside the developed world.

    There is now widespread recognition that pervasive corruption is a violation of basic human rights and a severe impediment to development.

  • How Much Did It Cost AOL To Send Us Those CDs In The 90s? “A Lot!,” Says Steve Case
  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Bush officials: Obama’s terror policies echo Bush’s

      While Vice President Dick Cheney and other prominent conservatives have faulted President Barack Obama for slacking in the war on terror, two top Bush administration intelligence officials are arguing that the White House has been just as tough – if not tougher.

      “The new administration has been as aggressive, if not more aggressive, in pursing these issues because they’re real,” former National Intelligence Director and retired Navy Vice Admiral Michael McConnell said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

      “You commend them for that?” host Candy Crowley asked.

      “I do commend them for that,” McConnell said.

    • White House Terms Permanent Detention Without Trial ‘Regrettable’

      Speaking today on CNN’s State of the Union, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insisted that the administration views its own decision to hold detainees permanently without trial “regrettable.”

    • One Time Only: Scientist-on-Scientist TSA Smackdown

      I heard last night from a reader who shares the physicist’s skepticism of the TSA but challenges his explanation of the underlying science. After the jump, because they’re so long, are this second reader’s message, and then a response from the original physics professor.

    • Verdict in the Khodorkovsky-Lebedev Case
  • Cablegate

    • Spain rejects Sinde Law

      It looks like Wikileaks is making people think for once

    • Wikileaks reveals U.S. Gov’t GMO secret dealings

      Remember when countries all over the world were free to choose whether or not they adopted genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Well, if the U.S. State Department (who is controlled by big agriculture) has its way, the whole world will be pimping GMOs before long.

      Yet another important Wikileaks revelation, this time involving the world’s food supply, has been swept under the rug by the establishment media. Thankfully Rodale News has the guts to report on the issue and bring some much needed attention to it.

    • A Holiday Statement from Bradley Manning

      “I greatly appreciate everyone’s support and well wishes during this time. I am also thankful for everything that has been done to aid in my defense. I ask that everyone takes the time to remember those who are separated from their loved ones at this time due to deployment and important missions. Specifically, I am thinking of those that I deployed with and have not seen for the last seven months, and of the staff here at the Quantico Confinement Facility who will be spending their Christmas without their family.”

  • Finance

    • Protect Whistleblowers at the Big Banks!

      Crimes committed by the big banks helped crash our economy — and WikiLeaks is saying that a whistle-blower has sent them enough evidence to take down Bank of America. So now the big banks are fighting back by trying to get the government to muzzle future whistle-blowers.

    • 2010-12-28: Operation Payback DDoS attacks on Bank of America

      On Monday, Bank of America’s web site suffered sporadic downtimes, apparently as a result of DDoS attacks–the same kind of attacks that also plagued Visa, Master Card and Paypal, each of which also recently halted its financial services to Wikileaks.

    • Infographic: New Lenses of Wealth

      The infographic summarizing our research for The Future of Money project is now complete! Thanks to Patrizia Kommerell for the design work, and Gabriel Shalom & Jay Cousins for concept work. You can check out Pati’s post and download the infographic in A1 or A4 size PDF over at emergence.cc.

    • A Merry Christmas to all Bankers

      The bankers’ trade association has written to Cambridge University asking for the MPhil thesis of one of our research students, Omar Choudary, to be taken offline. They complain it contains too much detail of our No-PIN attack on Chip-and-PIN and thus “breaches the boundary of responsible disclosure”; they also complain about Omar’s post on the subject to this blog.

      Needless to say, we’re not very impressed by this, and I made this clear in my response to the bankers. (I am embarrassed to see I accidentally left Mike Bond off the list of authors of the No-PIN vulnerability. Sorry, Mike!) There is one piece of Christmas cheer, though: the No-PIN attack no longer works against Barclays’ cards at a Barclays merchant. So at least they’ve started to fix the bug – even if it’s taken them a year. We’ll check and report on other banks later.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Tell the FCC: Block the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal

      The increased accumulation and consolidation of corporate power is a threat to our democracy. And nowhere is this more evident than in our media.

    • ENDitorial: Net neutrality – wait and see the end of the open Internet

      At the joint European Parliament and European Commission net neutrality summit in Brussels on 11 November there was a clear political message – that interference with Internet traffic is permissible as long as companies tell their consumers that it is happening.

      The Commission will “wait and see” if such interferences cause problems for the market and will consider taking action if this is the case. In a whole day of discussions, the fundamental rights aspects of the interference by private companies with citizens’ communications were only questioned by Jeremie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net and Jan Albrecht MEP (Greens/EFA, Germany).

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Net Neutrality

      We’re still looking at the actual rules, which were released publicly several days after the ratifying vote, and we’ll comment more when we’ve completed our review. But from what we’ve gleaned from FCC statements, and despite some rumors otherwise, the FCC’s current theory for jurisdiction seems to be somewhat new. On the other hand, the substantive principles laid out in the final rules appear to be largely the same as those discussed by policymakers and other stakeholders throughout the year, and which we have repeatedly warned about for their loopholes and exemptions. We’ve also warned about the Trojan horse we may find on our hands if the FCC’s authority to regulate is approved in the courts.

      We’ll be watching to see what 2011 holds; it seems likely that the new Congress will have something to say as well.

    • My new Audible books won’t load on my Android phone

      Audible now has an Android app, yeah!

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intelligent Theft

      It is impossible to be entirely devoid of influence, it is in our nature to imitate. This is how children learn to speak, form a sense of moral responsibility, and develop their interpretations of societal norms; by copying their elders. Litigating against imitation shares the futility of attempts to outlaw sex.

      Copyright laws have never stopped copying, they’ve just distorted our culture to favour that which can be legally reproduced. For example, while Oasis did not infringe the copyright of the The Beatles, they copied just about everything that was legally copyable about them, with healthy profits. Yet if they had sampled even a brief section of any one of their songs, they would have needed to clear it and pay large royalties. I would argue with anyone who claimed the insipid dirge of Oasis was more relevant to nineties music than the inventiveness of hip-hop (a genre built on sampling), yet we have a system that levies financial penalties against the latter rather than the former.

    • Copyrights

      • New project for WikiLeaks

        Net neutrality and linking depend on each other.

        But if Hollywood and Big Music get their way, net neutrality will be dead, and the links which bind the World Wide Web will be broken.

        The entertainment cartels are using the claim that linking equals publishing to have sites closed down without any kind of due process, and with the Obama administration looking on with approval.

        The internet isn’t a new communications phenomenon: it’s a shining new communications paradigm. Some of the brightest people on the planet have created this amazing network linking music, art, different cultures, information, ideas, data.

        Now, Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music; and, Disney, News Corp, Time Warner, Viacom, NBC Universal and Sony Pictures want it torn down, using file sharing as the wrecking ball.

      • Righthaven disputes fair use defense in copyright case

        Las Vegas newspaper copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC is disputing arguments that one of its lawsuits should be dismissed on fair use and other grounds.

        Righthaven, a partnership between Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson and an affiliate of newspaper chain owner Stephens Media LLC, since March has filed at least 192 copyright infringement lawsuits against website operators.

      • Copyrighting a Wrong and Injecting Fairness into Bollywood

        A Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendation that music composers and lyricists are to get an equal share of all revenues that flow from the commercialisation of film music has stirred a hornet’s nest.

        Bollywood producers are now threatening to strike against this provision and apprehend that if this provision converts to law, they will be forced to shut down! As we debate the pros and cons of this historical provision, we need to ask ourselves a fundamental question. What is the “law” really about? Isn’t it about fairness? About justice?


        Copyright is about creativity..indeed, it aims to foster the creativity of the content creator, and not line up the pockets of the funder/packager at the cost of the content creator. To my mind, even a 50% split seems unduly skewed in favour of someone who merely pumps in the moolah. However, the standing committee decided, in its infinite wisdom, that if film music were to be exploited in any other form other than as part of the “film”, the proceeds of such exploitation were to be split equally between the lyricist, music composer and the film producer. In other words, a 50:50 split of the profits between the content creator and the content funder/packager. Seems like more than a fair provision to me. In fact, similar provisions ought to be transposed to other contexts such as book publishing, where authors are often at the receiving end of a paltry single digit royalty sharing percentage!

      • The Top 20 DMCA Cease and Desist Senders of 2010

        DMCA takedown notices are sent in large numbers to dozens of organizations on the Internet every month. The ChillingEffects clearing house has been receiving copies of these from some of the Internet’s biggest players including Google, Yahoo, Digg and more recently Twitter. It will come as no surprise that the music and movie industries are some of the biggest complainers, but there are also some unexpected entrants.

Clip of the Day


Credit: TinyOgg


Links 27/12/2010: The Humble Indie Bundle Ends, Mandriva 2010.2 Screenshots

Posted in News Roundup at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 Session Restore Not Working? Try This Fix

        I have been experiencing problems with Firefox’s built-in session restore which was configured to load the tabs from the last browsing session automatically on the next startup to allow me to continue working exactly where I stopped the last time.

      • Why Iceweasel?

        It is a valid question. Iceweasel/Firefox is fantastic software, but when compared to some of the newer WebKit based browsers, it begins to look somewhat stale. This lack of freshness is often compounded on Debian systems where the Iceweasel packages can lag some way behind Mozilla’s official Firefox releases.

  • Databases

    • Ubuntu Upstart for automatic MySQL start and stop

      Here at Recorded Future we use Ubuntu (running on Amazon EC2), but so far we have not explored Ubuntu Upstart that much. During the holidays I made an effort to get acquainted with Upstart and to implement proper MySQL start and stop with it.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.1 Release Candidate

      An RC comes after the beta period and before final release. That means we think we’re done. We currently have no known issues or bugs to squash. But with tens of millions of users, a variety of configurations, and thousands of plugins, it’s possible we’ve missed something. So if you haven’t tested WordPress 3.1 yet, now is the time! Please though, not on your live site unless you’re extra adventurous.

    • WordPress New Beta– to Upgrade or Not to Upgrade?

    • Free software campaigners put pressure on Brussels

      “We would like to see the European Commission back up its public rhetoric regarding free software, open standards and interoperability with its own actions,” it said. “This would require DIGIT to rethink some procurement practices in order to open up public software procurement to competition.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Pirate Apple App Store Innovates With ‘Reverse BitTorrent’

      Hackulous, the community dedicated to the cracking of Apple DRM and the indexing of unprotected software for iPhone, iPod and iPad, has announced some interesting innovations. As well as having cracking software for the yet-to-be-released Mac App Store already up their sleeve, they also have an intriguing “reverse BitTorrent” system for jailbroken devices which will increase cracked app availability on the Internet.

    • Zen and the Art of Self-Publishing (cont.)

      You see, in trying everything—audiobooks, POD, limited editions—I’ve discovered the thing that captures the public’s interest is also the thing that makes the most money is also the thing that has the least logistics: super-premium limited editions. Over and over again, when I describe With a Little Help to people, they fixate on the limited editions. I’ve had dozens of e-mails from people practically begging to buy the $275 editions I’m doing—and I stand to make $50,000 or more from them.

  • Programming

    • Progress in Algorithms Beats Moore’s Law

      Every so often Lance tweets about some science policy report. My natural tendency, like any good techie, is to keep my distance from such reports. I do recognize that they serve an important social function (like dentists or lawyers) but personally I would want to have as little as possible to do with them.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Is Ogg Theora a free and open standard?

      For a while now I have tried to figure out of Ogg Theora is a free and open standard according to this definition. Here is a short writeup of what I have been able to gather so far. I brought up the topic on the Xiph advocacy mailing list in July 2009, for those that want to see some background information. According to Ivo Emanuel Gonçalves and Monty Montgomery on that list the Ogg Theora specification fulfils the Digistan definition.

    • Microsoft opens playpen for ‘unstable’ web standards

      Microsoft has unveiled an online sandbox where developers can experiment with unfinished web standards you won’t find in its Internet Explorer browser.

      After years of cold shouldering the web standards movement, Redmond has taken a very different approach with Internet Explorer 9, now available in beta. And with the introduction of its new sandbox, the company hopes to convince you that its promotion of web standards is more prudent than the approach favored by its rivals.


  • The Putinization of Hungary

    NEXT MONTH many European Union members may be regretting their system of a rotating presidency. That’s because the gavel will be handed to Hungary, whose populist and power-hungry government has just adopted a media law more suited to an authoritarian regime than to a Western democracy.

    The right-wing Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban won 53 percent of the popular vote in an election this year but gained 66 percent of the seats in parliament – enough to change the constitution. It proceeded to take over or attack the authority of every institution it did not control, including the presidency, the Supreme Court and the state audit office; the central bank is now under its assault.

  • The Unwelcome Return of Platform Dependencies
  • Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills

    Parents, the next time you fret that your child is wasting too much time playing video games, consider new research suggesting that video gaming may have real-world benefits for your child’s developing brain.

    Daphne Bavelier is professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. She studies young people playing action video games. Having now conducted more than 20 studies on the topic, Bavelier says, “It turns out that action video games are far from mindless.”

  • Winklevoss Twins Take One Last Shot At Facebook In Court

    Despite the film’s tidy ending, the Winklevosses’ litigation is marching on.

    That’s because the twin brothers have asked for a remarkable series of “do-overs” since signing the settlement agreement in February 2008, surrounded by their lawyers. First, they complained that the settlement wasn’t fair, because they were duped into believing that the Facebook stock was worth more than it actually was. Then, they got into a battle with the lawyers who won the settlement for them, from the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Hedges, alleging the firm had engaged in malpractice. (That dispute ended up in arbitration, which was resolved in September, with the Quinn Emanuel firm collecting the full fee it asked for, reportedly $13 million.)

  • Phone-Wielding Shoppers Strike Fear Into Retailers

    Last year, he might have just dropped the $184.85 Garmin global positioning system into his cart. This time, he took out his Android phone and typed the model number into an app that instantly compared the Best Buy price to those of other retailers. He found that he could get the same item on Amazon.com Inc.’s website for only $106.75, no shipping, no tax.

  • Is Julian Assange a Journalist?

    Despite Vice President Biden’s recent squabbling with Republican senators over the meaning of Christmas, he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell do agree on something. They both say WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has published thousands of confidential Pentagon and State Department documents on his group’s website, is “a high-tech terrorist.”

    But assuming that President Obama is not ready to drop a bomb on Assange, punishing him for disseminating military records and diplomatic cables will require specifying what crime he committed under U.S. law. That won’t be easy, unless the Justice Department is prepared to criminalize something journalists do every day: divulge information that the government wants to keep secret.

  • Virgin Passengers Not Named Madonna Wait 3 Hours To Get Off Plane

    When bad weather forced a London-bound Virgin flight to reroute from Heathrow Airport to Stansted, passengers had to wait three hours on the tarmac before they could disembark. A select group did, however, get to leave the plane after about an hour. No, they weren’t disabled, sick or parents with small, noisy children. The group making an early exit consisted of once-popular singer Madonna and her entourage of about 15 people.

  • Paper: Brown letter ‘affront to the First Amendment’

    I couldn’t quite believe that, as that Florida Times-Union editorial I linked to earlier suggests, Rep. Corrine Brown had threatened a libel suit against a newspaper columnist for the sort of criticism most politicians face.

  • Why is international data roaming so expensive?

    How high are international data roaming rates? I have direct evidence from two providers: an Italian provider TIM charges about $10 per megabyte; a U.S. provider T-mobile charges $15 per megabyte. The typical business user uses receives about 15 megabytes per day of email. My smartphone uses about four times this. By way of contrast, you can buy a SIM from Vodafone UK with 30 megabytes of data for about $30. Wifi at the airport or a hotel runs about $10-$60 per day. Over-the-air prices charged to local customers is much lower: TIM charges $25 per month for 5 gigabytes of data, of which probably about 2 gigs is actually used, so the effective rate is about $0.0125 per megabyte. T-mobile in the US charges a similar amount for similar service.,

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • US Senate votes for Russian nuclear arms treaty

      The US Senate today voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals.

    • Rights groups drop suit after government changes terror suspect defense licensing scheme

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) [advocacy websites] on Friday dropped a lawsuit [notice of dismissal, PDF] challenging the US government’s Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) licensing scheme after the government changed the policy. The groups announced in August that they would pursue a legal challenge [JURIST report] to the scheme despite being issued a license to represent Anwar al-Awlaqi [NYT profile; JURIST news archive], a US citizen who was labeled an SDGT in July.

    • One law for them, another for us: is it illegal to record the police on the job?

      In Reason magazine, Radley Balko takes an in-depth look at all the places in the USA where it’s nominally illegal to record the police, and all the people who’ve faced fines or prison for recording law enforcement officers breaking the law with illegal beatings and harassment.

    • America’s Inefficient and Ineffective Approach to Border Security

      Last week, the Senate refused to approve the DREAM Act, a bill that would have offered a path to citizenship for children brought into the country illegally if they attend college or serve in the military. Opponents stated that no immigration reform will happen without first “securing” the 1,951 mile U.S. border with Mexico. America’s current approach to border security is wasteful and ineffective, and “securing the border” will never be achieved until we redefine our approach to, and definition of, border security. With many in Washington expressing concern about fiscal responsibility, reigning in the billions wasted annually on current border security policies should really be a priority. But America’s xenophobic preoccupation with an “invasion” by brown-skinned “illegals” may keep us pursuing an expensive and unreasonable approach to border security.

    • A Banana Republic Once Again?

      Edward L. Bernays, Chiquita, and the CIA-backed Guatemalan Coup

      Chiquita’s most famous act of interference with Central American politics is its role in toppling Guatemala’s left-leaning government in 1954. For the first half of the 20th century, Chiquita poured investment capital into Guatemala, buying the country’s productive land and controlling shares in its railroad, electric utility, and telegraph industries; as a result, the Guatemalan government was subservient to Chiquita’s interests, exempting the company from internal taxation and guaranteeing workers earned no more than fifty cents per day. At the time of the 1944 Guatemalan revolution, Chiquita was the country’s number one landowner, employer, and exporter.

      In 1950, Jacobo Arbenz Guzman was elected with 65% of the vote, and Chiquita perceived his agrarian land reforms as a threat to their corporate interests. Chiquita, with the help of the father of modern public relations, Edward L. Bernays, waged a propaganda war and managed to convince the American public and politicians that Arbenz was secretly a dangerous communist who could not be allowed to remain in power. With McCarthy-era hysteria in full swing, President Eisenhower secretly ordered the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to overthrow the democratically elected Arbenz in a 1954 covert operation.

  • Cablegate

    • Issues and challenges for the post-Cablegate world

      Legislation — privacy, anti-terrorist, national security, copyright, ACTA, SHIELD, Digital Agenda

      Probably the first and if carefully watched, most visible issue will be the legislation.

      After the national security fiasco that resulted in Cablegate most governments around the globe (with the US at its front) will be hard-pressed to “do something about it”. Because neither police, nor court, nor governement can (or rather should) operate against the law and current law does not direcly criminalise WikiLeaks, they will have to change the law.

    • NZ in Iraq to help Fonterra – cable

      Revelations in WikiLeaks cables that senior civil servants are pushing the United States government’s agenda rather than acting in New Zealand’s interests are disturbing, Green MP Keith Locke says.

    • Julian Assange in £1 million book deal

      “Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism. I fell into a hornets’ nest of revolutionary feminism’’, he alleged. The lawyer of the two women who have accused Mr Assange of sexual misconduct hit back saying that he was spreading “false rumours’’ to smear his clients. He denied allegations made by Mr Assange’s legal team that they were CIA “pawns’’ and pointed out that, on the contrary, they were “supporters of WikiLeaks’’.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman’s new bonus plan captures seasonal spirit

      Goldman Sachs’ new bonus scheme should give shareholders and regulators cause for a little celebration this Christmas.

      The Wall Street firm is to link top bankers’ compensation to a wide range of financial measures, in a formal break with the industry tradition of crudely paying out a slice of revenues.

    • Goldman Sachs May Pay Bonuses Tied to Profit, Revenue

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc., weighing 2010 pay packages for a year that could rank as Wall Street’s second best, said it may grant bonuses that depend on future earnings, in addition to stock performance.

    • Teach for Goldman Sachs

      I’m convinced that the best way to track the mood of Stanford University is to keep an eye on your News Feed. And there’s one thing in particular that keeps popping up on mine- a prestigious program for which dozens of my friends have applied, and to which a lucky few have been accepted. I’m talking, of course, about Teach for America, the educational service corps that places fresh-faced graduates in troubled urban and rural classrooms across the U.S. The program’s rise has been meteoric: it currently boasts 8,200 corps members and claims to have reached 3 million students since it was founded in 1990. Its popularity at Stanford is no mere trick of my News Feed. The Daily recently reported that TFA and similar organizations “have witnessed a surge in applications from Stanford” in recent years.

    • Banks and WikiLeaks

      But a bank’s ability to block payments to a legal entity raises a troubling prospect. A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Great Islamophobic Crusade

      Nine years after 9/11, hysteria about Muslims in American life has gripped the country. With it has gone an outburst of arson attacks on mosques, campaigns to stop their construction, and the branding of the Muslim-American community, overwhelmingly moderate, as a hotbed of potential terrorist recruits. The frenzy has raged from rural Tennessee to New York City, while in Oklahoma, voters even overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure banning the implementation of Sharia law in American courts (not that such a prospect existed). This campaign of Islamophobia wounded President Obama politically, as one out of five Americans have bought into a sustained chorus of false rumors about his secret Muslim faith. And it may have tainted views of Muslims in general; an August 2010 Pew Research Center poll revealed that, among Americans, the favorability rating of Muslims had dropped by 11 points since 2005.

    • Taxpayers Subsidize Big Screen Movie Promos for Cigarettes, and More

      Steven Antin’s new movie, Burlesque (PG-13), features about twenty different brands of products, including gratuitous use of R.J. Reynolds’ Camel cigarettes. Other films that have showcased cigarettes this year include the Disney film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (rated PG, which features Newport cigarettes), and For Colored Girls (rated R, by Lionsgate, which features Marlboros).

    • New Memo Shows Fox News’ Unacceptable Level of Bias

      Media Matters uncovered another internal email sent out by Fox News’ Washington, D.C. Managing Editor Bill Sammon which ordered Fox Network journalists to slant coverage of the climate change issue by “refrain[ing] from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” The memo is inflammatory because the increase in global annual average temperatures over the last 50 years is a well-established fact.

    • Fox Slammed by L.A. Times — ‘Shouldn’t Call Itself a News Organization’

      The editorial was prompted by the leak of an internal Fox News memo ordering its “reporters” to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” The memo was sent by Bill Sammon, Fox News’ Washington managing editor, in 2009 and released by Media Matters last week.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Reactionary forces are shaping the debate on internet porn

      Government plans to block internet pornography at source, amid concerns about the “premature sexualisation” of children, have prompted a fierce backlash from digital rights campaigners. The proposals have also highlighted how the debate around children and sexual material is increasingly shaped by religious conservatives.

      One of the organisations quoted extensively over the last few days is Safermedia, a pressure group campaigning to “reduce the harmful effects of the media on our children, families and society”.

      Safermedia, formerly known as Mediamarch, supports the “porn lock” proposals and its spokespeople claim academic research substantiates their view that sexual imagery harms children’s mental health. But their moral stance is an explicitly Christian one – the group’s co-founder Miranda Suit is an organiser for the Christian People’s Alliance, and its website cites Saint Paul’s epistles to the Philippians and the Ephesians as inspiration for the campaign.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Hardware Hacking
    • Full Homeland Security Affidavit To Seize Domains Riddled With Technical & Legal Errors

      Another day and even more evidence that Homeland Security’s decision to have its Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) group seize a bunch of domain names without any warning or adversarial hearing was a colossal screw up. We haven’t heard too much about the sites seized concerning trademark infringement, but there were five that were the focus of copyright infringement — including a bunch of hiphop blogs (which were regularly used by artists and record labels alike to promote their songs) and a search engine. Last week, we went through a partial affidavit from a newly minted ICE agent named Andrew Reynolds, which showed numerous technological and legal errors in explaining why the domain of the search engine, Torrent Finder, was seized. Yesterday, we wrote about how some of the “evidence” used against the blogs included songs sent by the labels for promotional purposes.

    • Warrantless-Wiretap Win Nets Victims a Paltry $40K

      A federal judge on Tuesday awarded $20,400 each to two American lawyers illegally wiretapped by the George W. Bush administration, and granted their counsel $2.5 million for the costs litigating the case for more than four years.

    • Web attacks target human rights sites

      Human rights groups and campaigners are being hit hard by huge web attacks launched by those opposed to their views, finds research.

      Many web-based campaigning groups are being knocked offline for weeks by the attacks, it found.

      The researchers expect the tempo of attacks to increase as the tools and techniques become more widespread.

    • DDoS attacks threaten free speech, says report

      Computer attacks launched against sites run by human rights and dissident media groups threaten to knock free speech off the Web, a new report warned this week.

      The study conducted by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society showed that distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks frequently knocked such sites offline.

    • Shock jock Hal Turner gets 33-month prison sentence

      “This is beyond opinion … beyond commentary. He wanted to threaten and intimidate these judges” by trying to incite an audience made up of dangerous extremists, she said. The judges testified they feared for their lives, she said.

      Turner maintained the posting was nothing more than protected political speech.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Not Neutrality

      On Tuesday FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski gave AT&T a decision that was gift-wrapped for the holiday season. By a 3-to-2 vote, the FCC passed a rule that, in the chairman’s words, “protects Internet freedom.”

      If only that were true.

      After a year of promises to deliver on President Obama’s pledge to protect Net Neutrality, this chairman has pushed through a rule that favors the very industry his FCC is supposed to regulate, leaving Internet users with few protections and putting the future of the open Internet in peril.

    • The Trojan App

      Look for shortly to appear what I’m calling the Trojan App, a hybrid mobile application that doesn’t exist yet but certainly will within hours or days of the new rules going into effect. The Trojan App is a legitimate mobile application that performs multiple functions, at least one of which is to circumvent the new wireless rules.

      Here’s what I mean. Maybe you saw the story a couple of days ago about technology being brought to market that would enable mobile phone companies to charge Facebook users by the page for access. Under the new rules a mobile carrier can do that, no problem. But because that mobile network offers its own voice service (they all do) under the new rules they can’t similarly restrict Skype or Google Voice or any of the dozens or hundreds of Voice-over-IP third-party services out there. So what’s to keep Skype or Google or Yahoo or iChat or MrVoIP from offering a mobile version of its service that includes a free gateway to Facebook?


      These are perfectly legitimate applications that are protected from throttling by virtue of their competing with a core service of the ISP, yet in this instance they will have gained a secondary function of acting as a Virtual Private Network link to an otherwise-regulated service like Facebook.

      It’s a digital loophole.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Software Copyright Infringement by the EU Commission

      In a decision as remarkable for its amusement value as for its value as a precedent in law, the General Court has ordered the Commission to pay Systran liquidated damages of over €12 million

      Between 22 December 1997 and 15 March 2002, Systran Luxembourg adapted, under the name EC-Systran Unix, its Systran-Unix machine translation software to the specific needs of the EU Commission.

    • What not to do about China’s IP violations

      The New York Times lead editorial today is entitled China and Intellectual Property link here. It is a familiar litany of complaints about their theft of U S “property” with no suggestion that there might be another side to the question.

      If we were in China’s position, still poor and backward in so many areas, we too would try our hardest to skate around the obstacles to using the latest innovations. Innovation is the key to rapid development and national material progress. We ourselves have violated the IP of other countries when we were behind and trying to develop. Of course, that was before we had fully developed the mythology of IP as “property” and that copying without paying was robbery.


      The present IP system in the US is marred by its harmful and excessively long term, by its grossly ambiguous and generous definition of what constitutes innovation, by the capture of the system by big business which dearly loves its monopolies, and by a legal system that grows fat on litigation.

    • Copyrights

      • Porn site: publicizing takedown notices is copyright infringement

        Perfect 10, the porn website that bills itself as displaying “the world’s most beautiful natural women,” claims that disclosing its copyright takedown notices is a little too revealing.

        The copyright-infringement allegations are part of Perfect 10’s ongoing lawsuit against Google, a suit with a tortured procedural history. In 2007, a federal appeals court rendered a far-reaching decision, saying search engines like Google were not infringing copyrights by displaying thumbnails and hyperlinking to Perfect 10’s perfect babes.

      • Discussing The Music Industry Comically Speaking, With Mimi & Eunice

        Mike’s recent post about OK Go is just crying out for some Mimi & Eunice cartoons.

      • isoHunt Continues Legal Fight To Thwart MPAA Censorship

        BitTorrent search engine isoHunt is fighting the permanent injunction issued by the District Court of California last summer in their case against the MPAA. isoHunt contests the imposition of a site-wide keyword filter based on a list of movie industry keywords. By doing so, the search engine also makes a case for the public’s ‘freedom of search’, not just on BitTorrent, but on the Internet in general.

      • Newspaper Lawsuit Factory Sues Over ‘Death Ray’ Image

        Righthaven, the Las Vegas copyright troll formed this spring, has moved beyond lawsuits over newspaper articles and begun targeting websites for the unauthorized reposting of images. First up, more than a dozen infringement lawsuits concerning the so-called Vdara “death ray.”

Clip of the Day

Frost over the World – Julian Assange

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 26/12/2010: GNOME on GNUstep, Red Hat Upgraded

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Celebrating 1000 Posts

    In the larger world of IT, I see many things happening in 2011, almost all of them are huge positives. ARM will advance on all fronts as will GNU/Linux. I see thin clients moving along smartly. Many will use the expensive VDI systems but many will revel in the efficiency of an old-fashioned virtual terminal provided by the x-window system of GNU/Linux. If GNU/Linux evolves away from X, there surely will be some suitable networked display to permit the thinnest of thin clients to operate. There are moves to eliminate the VGA adaptor but I cannot see that being universal. There are just too many VGA monitors out there with years of life left. Changing the connector is one way to make thin clients obsolete but they are a quick-to-market product and can adapt. I see an end to up-selling. It delayed innovation but has not stopped it. Small cheap computers will soon be everywhere.

  • It’s too hard is no excuse.

    People come up with all of these reasons to explain why they don’t use Linux. But really they are not reasons at all but simply excuses for laziness. You might even think that with all the tripe that is trotted out that most people don’t have the intelligence to be able to use Linux.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Getting grubby with ZFS

      The GRUB bootloader is widely used to get Linux (and other) systems running. Its flexibility and configurability make it a logical choice for many types of computers, as does its “just works” factor: your editor cannot be the only one to smile when he realizes how long it has been since the last “I forgot to run LILO and my new kernel won’t boot” episode. One of GRUB’s nice features is its ability to understand filesystem structures and find bootable kernels on the fly. So the addition of support for another filesystem type would not normally be a noteworthy event. When that filesystem is ZFS, though, people will pay attention.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME on GNUstep: First look

        As you can see, it’s not perfect. The icon is still on the bottom left, the menu is still floating. I’ve made all of the changes necessary to get the GNOME theme working again. I’ve also refactored it so that it loads nicely from SystemPreferences, which the previous version didn’t do.

        Once I get the final details worked out, you should be able to run your GNUstep applications alongside GNOME applications without any problems and without them sticking out like a sore thumb.

  • Distributions

    • App Stores

      I find it amazing that in 2011 the advantages of GNU/Linux package management systems are considered an innovation by “mainstream” IT folks. APT and RPM have been providing such features for more than a decade. I started using GNU/Linux with Caldera eDesktop in 2000. Then “the store” was a single CD. Soon distros were using 3 or 4 CDs of software. Now Debian lists 53 CDs in the set. The CDs are rarely used these days. They are more a unit of measure of the size of the app store. Folks mostly do some default installation and add packages from the store to customize it. The package management system installs requested packages and all dependencies automatically from web servers.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • The evolution of the Linux desktop

          When Ayatana was founded, a comprehensive design team was hired by Canonical. The team came from a variety of backgrounds: many came from brand, graphic design, product development, interaction design and other walks of life.

          The term ‘melting pot of personalities’ is an understatement, and many were new to open source and still taking it all in, but all were enthused and inspired by the idea of great design infused with strong community.

          The first project to come out of the team was called Notify OSD and provided a new approach to notification bubbles, which we were all too familiar with in Ubuntu. For years we had seen these boring yellow square bubbles appear in the top-right of the Gnome desktop when an application needed to tell you something.

        • Unified Me Menu And Messaging Menu Mockups; Ubuntu May Get A “Silent” Mode

          There is a discussion going on @ Ayatana mailing list regarding the merge of Me Menu (the applet that displays your name, used to set your status) and Messaging Menu (Chat, Email, etc.) and mockups have already started to be posted:

        • Google Reader Indicator For Ubuntu
        • Announcing the next Ubuntu User Days Event

          We are pleased to announce that the next Ubuntu User Days event is scheduled to take place from Saturday January 29th 2011, 09:45 UTC until Sunday January 30th 2011, 03:00 UTC. To quote the wiki page, “User Days was created to be a set of courses offered during a one day period to teach the beginning or intermediate Ubuntu user the basics to get them started with Ubuntu”. Logs from the last Ubuntu User Days event are also available for anyone who might be interested.

        • Unity Testing in a VM

          Oracle released VirtualBox 4.0 yesterday.

          Amongst other major changes [1] one the most noticeable improvement is that they fixed Unity/Compiz crashes in Natty. This means that we can now run Unity in a VM and the performances are pretty good.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Intel, Microsoft may face strong challenge from ARM/Android
    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Is Nokia Doomed?

          First of all, I think there is a huge difference in American and European assumptions and perspectives, and a big question is whether the rest of the world will end up looking more like Europe or America vis-a-vis two key areas: cost of data plans, and whether phones become much more application centric.

        • Ars Technica’s Christmas wishes for 2011

          Ryan Paul, Open Source Editor

          My Christmas wish for 2011 is a truly competitive and open MeeGo-based phone from a major vendor. Although Linux has gained considerable traction in the mobile and embedded market, most of the available devices are locked down or have insular software stacks that don’t allow the user to take advantage of the platform’s true underlying power.

          MeeGo has the potential to be a game changer because it is closely aligned with the upstream technology ecosystem and gives application developers significantly more flexibility, including a rich, high-performance native toolkit. It could bring much-needed competition to the Linux smartphone space by offering a strong alternative to Google’s excellent Android platform.

          Although MeeGo has considerable potential, the platform is still a work in progress and none of the major hardware companies behind it have been able to bring all the pieces together into a compelling product yet. I’m hoping that 2011 is the year that Nokia or one of the other major MeeGo stakeholders will finally deliver MeeGo on a desirable handset.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Netflix and FOSS Hypocrites

    It’s a shame there aren’t any video streaming programs on that list. If you use Linux and are familiar with Netflix then odds are you are aware of (what at this point feels like an age old argument) the issue of getting Netflix’s instant stream functional on your Linux system. In case you are not aware of this dilemma, in short:

    It does not work

    You see, even with all of the FOSS projects Netflix supports they choose to use the DRM ridden Silverlight plugin to stream video over the Internet. This prevents the streaming service from functioning on FOS operating systems (Linux, BSD, ect.) at this current point in time. Why the lack of support? Some will say Linux has a small market share so is not worth the extra time it takes to support the platform.

  • Open Source at SAP in 2010

    According to the Eclipse committer statistics of the Eclipse Dash project, SAP is now the 4th largest corporate contributor to Eclipse projects based on the number of active committers.

  • What’s up with free multimedia production tools in 2010

    The v0.4 released in January 2010 was the first version when darktable, a digital photography workflow tool for Linux, became actually usable for daily use. With basic catalog management features, advanced editing tools and, above all, HDR precision darktable is rapidly becoming important part of Linux powered photographers’s workflow.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla announces first beta of MPL 2.0 license

        Mozilla has announced the release of the first beta for version 2.0 of the Mozilla Public License (MPL). Changes in MPL 2.0 include the removal of the “Original Software” and “Initial Developer” concepts, improved globalisation with the removal of many US-specific terms and concepts, better compatibility with other licences, as well as updated patent language that’s more in line with other major open source licences.

      • Mozilla Proposes New Icons to Clarify Websites’ Privacy Policies

        As the FTC eyes consumer privacy issues and investigates an online “Do Not Track” option, it seems as though web browsers are responding in kind, offering their own solutions to better protect Internet users’ data. For its part, IE9 says it will offer “Tracking Protection” via the browser.

      • Mozilla improves sync setup and WebGL in Firefox 4 beta 8

        Mozilla has announced the availability of Firefox 4 beta 8, a new pre-release milestone build of the open source Web browser. Beta 8 brings better support for WebGL and introduces an improved setup process for Firefox Sync that simplifies the steps for configuring the synchronization service across multiple devices.

  • Databases

  • Project Releases

    • Drupal 7 Will Be Released On January 5

      With the release of Drupal 7.0 RC 3, expected to be the final release candidate, the stage is set for the arrival of Drupal 7, the next major release of the most popular open source content management system. The team has announced January 5 as the release date of Drupal 7.

    • Virtual Box 4.0 Is Here

      Oracle has announced the availability of VM VirtualBox 4.0. Acquired through Sun, VirtualBox enables desktop or laptop computers to run multiple guest operating systems simultaneously, allowing users to get the most flexibility and utilization out of their PCs, and supports a variety of host operating systems, including Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and Oracle Solaris.

  • Government

    • UK and One Canadian Province Lean to FLOSS

      Maude is a cabinet minister in the government of the United Kingdom.
      “In December, the local government in the Canadian province of Quebec were the latest to announce a preference for open source. According to treasury board president Michelle Courchesne, free and open source software must satisfy three criteria: Does it meet our needs? Is it a quality product? Is the cost favourable?”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Letter from CC Superhero Josh Sommer of the Chordoma Foundation
    • The potential for Project REALISE

      3) How does Project REALISE leverage principles of the open source way?

      REALISE will build on the growing awareness and interest in open source development, including assistive technologies, by:

      * Developing an online community with trust in an open development culture
      * Identifying relevant projects and people
      * Engaging users to help define the problem
      * Connecting parties interested in collaboration
      * Building the solutions
      * Identifying potential revenue streams
      * Managing the collaboration and any intellectual property
      * Engaging external parties in education and research

    • Why the open source way trumps the crowdsourcing way

      It finally hit me the other day just why the open source way seems so much more elegantly designed (and less wasteful) to me than what I’ll call “the crowdsourcing way.”

      1. Typical projects run the open source way have many contributors and many beneficiaries.

      2. Typical projects run the crowdsourcing way have many contributors and few beneficiaries.

    • Ukranian Wikipedia Reaches 250,000 Article Milestone

      Congratulations to Ukrainian Wikipedia on reaching 250,000 articles! The milestone article was officially created on Tuesday, December 21 at 8:45pm, Kyiv Time by user Anatoliy-024. Anatoily-024, a Wikipedian since 2008, has created 206 articles and made 6,000 edits to the Ukranian Wikipedia making this user the 110th most active contributor to this language Wikipedia.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia/Web


  • Missoula District Court: Jury pool in marijuana case stages ‘mutiny’

    A funny thing happened on the way to a trial in Missoula County District Court last week.

    Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt.

    They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana. Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.

  • Pat Robertson Questions Prison for Pot Convictions

    Pat Robertson, the televangelist who once ran for president, said on his show “The 700 Club” that he thought marijuana should be legalized.

    Yep, the Christian conservative preacher who said Hurricane Katrina was God’s way of punishing America for its abortion policy is now on the side of the marijuana lobby.

  • Search for Cardiac Analysis Code

    I will soon publish the code (GPLv3-licensed), but in a more scientific society more code would have already been out there for others to collaborate and build upon the work of others.

  • Bell Canada is Terribad Part One

    This blog is going to be very interesting to readers who feel that being a customer of Bell Canada Enterprises is a lot like flushing your hard earned money down the toilet.

  • Interview with imprisoned Russian art group
  • Skype still staggering after major blackout

    Skype is the process of recovering from a major outage that left users across the world unable to log into the VoIP service on Wednesday.

  • A Christmas Techeye bible reading

    How a star came from the East and was of East and how Ballmer was vexed by ARM

  • Crookes, RIAA, MPAA, ICE — ‘Linking Is Publishing’

    What do Canada’s Wayne Crookes, the Big 4′s RIAA, Hollywood’s MPAA and brand new ICE agent Andrew Reynolds have in common? They all claim linking is the same as publishing. Crookes is using it to demand Canada’s Supreme Court effectively shut down the net in Canada.

  • Science

    • White House Memo on Scientific Integrity released

      The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy released the long-awaited Memorandum on Scientific Integrity today.

      If fully implemented by federal agencies and departments, the directive could help protect government scientists from pressure by special interests, and would ensure that the government can make fully informed decisions about public health and the environment.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • A Cheery Holiday Message from Bankster: Death Eaters on Wall Street

      Today’s Wall Street Journal has a stunning exposé on a publicly-traded company called Life Partners Holdings. Are you ready for this? Life Partners creeps around asking the unemployed, the elderly and the sick (especially people with HIV/AIDS) to sell them their life insurance policies for cash. Then they bundle these policies into securities and sell them to vultures — oh, I am sorry, “investors.” Then the “investors” sit around and wait for people to die — the sooner the better for the purchasers of these death bonds. The future of this industry “looks bright,” chirps National Underwriters.

    • US Catholic hospital’s ties to church cut over abortion that saved mother

      St Joseph’s in Phoenix no longer affiliated to church as bishop also excommunicates doctor who allowed procedure

    • Senate Passes $4.3 Billion Health-Care Bill for Sept. 11 First Responders

      The U.S. Congress approved legislation today to help rescuers and clean-up crews suffering from illnesses linked to the wreckage caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

    • WikiLeaks: US Should Retaliate Against EU for Genetically Modifed Resistance

      WikiLeaked cables released over the weekend revealed more about the US’ role as a global bully, trying to thrust unpopular genetically modified (GM) crops onto cautious governments and their citizens. In a 2007 cable from Craig Stapleton, then US Ambassador to France, he encouraged the US government to “reinforce our negotiating position with the EU on agricultural biotechnology by publishing a retaliation list.” A list, he added, that “causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility.”

    • Monsanto to fight GM contaminated organic farmer

      A West Australian organic farmer is in limbo, awaiting state government test results and facing genetic manipulation giant Monsanto’s legal wrath. Steve Marsh’s organic farm has been decertified over GM canola contamination from a neighbour’s farm.

      Monsanto revealed today that it would give legal support to the GM grower if Mr Marsh sought redress for his losses through the courts.

      “For years we called for Farmer Protection laws because GM contamination was inevitable once the Gene Technology Regulator issued unrestricted and unconditional commercial licences,” says Gene Ethics Executive Director, Bob Phelps.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • London’s top cop wishes he could ban protest marches

      Sir Paul Stephenson, the chief of London’s police force, has floated the idea of banning protest marches altogether, although he admits that it might be hard to do this because protesters might be so frustrated by a ban on marching that they become unruly. Interestingly, he doesn’t disqualify the idea on the grounds that protest marches are a legitimate form of political discourse.

    • Kettling video ‘appalling’, police watchdog panel chair says

      Victoria Borwick encourages protesters at anti-student fees demonstration to make complaints against Metropolitan police after ‘ghastly’ incident

    • Doctor Who, Ethics, And The British Fee Protests

      So when they see government acting in what appears to them an unethical manner, what do you expect them to do?

      They protest.

      And when the police act in what appear to them an unethical manner, they get even more upset. Even the Police Watchdog has called a video of Police actions ‘appalling.’

      You teach them ethics, and then expect them to ignore it when you treat them in what they consider an unethical manner?

      David Cameron and Nick Clegg have just given the next election to Labour. The kids won’t forget.

    • SIU knows all 3 officers in alleged G20 assault

      Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit says it knows the names of all three police officers involved in an alleged assault during last summer’s G20 summit — but without independent witnesses it can only lay charges against one officer.

      Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani, attended the SIU office on Wednesday morning accompanied by legal counsel, and was served with a summons and had the charge of assault with a weapon explained to him.

    • The State of Israel vs. Jonathan Pollak

      The verdict in the case of Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak, charged with illegal assembly for his participation in a January 2008 Critical Mass ride against the siege on Gaza, will be handed down on December 27, 2010 at 10:00 at the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court. If convicted, Pollak is expected to be sentenced to three to six months in prison. A conviction in this case will activate an older three month suspended sentence, imposed on Pollak in a previous trial for protesting the construction of the Separation Barrier.

    • Testimonies reveal IDF campaign to dismantle Palestinian society

      According to the new thinking, an easier way to defeat the enemy was by attacking its rationale. In this context, “rationale” stands for whatever enables the enemy to operate as a coherent entity which works to achieve certain goals. Even with the enemy’s fighting force largely intact, without a rationale, it cannot pose a serious threat. Fighters can engage in random violence, but they no longer work together to achieve a purpose your own side considers undesirable.

    • Gaza teen dead after Israel fires on fishing boat

      A Palestinian boy died Friday afternoon after Israeli gunboats opened fire on his fishing boat and flipped it over off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

    • Obama walks back on Guantánamo

      The Obama administration, ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer first reported, is about to issue an executive order that gives shape, contour and future life to indefinite detention for Guantánamo detainees. The order will provide for the continual detention of several dozen detainees – who will have access lawyers in order to periodically contest their detention.

    • TSA has no regular testing system for its pornoscanners

      Many experts are skeptical that the TSA’s new backscatter pornoscanner machines are safe, but even the experts who endorse them are careful to bracket their reassurances with certain caveats: the safety of the machines depends heavily on their being properly maintained, regularly tested, and expertly operated. Whether or not you’re comfortable with the intended radiation emissions from the scanners, no one in their right mind would argue that a broken machine that lovingly lingers over your reproductive organs and infuses them with 10,000 or 100,000 times the normal dosage is desirable.

    • AOL Investigation: No Proof TSA Scanners Are Safe
    • SCC reinstates military veterans class-action lawsuit

      The Supreme Court of Canada knocked down a legal roadblock on Thursday and paved the way for a class-action lawsuit over military veterans’ pensions.

      Military mechanic Dennis Manuge filed the suit on behalf of about 6,500 injured veterans and it was certified by the Federal Court. But that certification was later rejected by the Federal Court of Appeal.

    • Judge ‘astonished’ by corruption denials as he fines BAE £500,000
    • Suicide bombers: fanatics, or suicidally depressed?

      A growing body of psychological literature suggests that suicide bombers aren’t ideologues who are so committed to their cause that they’re willing to die for it — rather, they are suicidally depressed people who use the excuse of dying for a cause to psych themselves up to commit the deed, and as a loophole for committing suicide without committing a sin.

    • Tree That Survived 9/11 Attack Is Replanted At Ground Zero

      The Wall Street Journal notes that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg “said the tree symbolizes the city and country’s resilience. … It was discovered in the rubble in October 2001 with snapped roots and a blackened trunk. The (pear) tree measured about eight feet high when it was taken to a Parks Department nursery in the Bronx to be nursed back to health. It now stands about 30 feet high.”

    • Tennessee anti-terrorism officials put ACLU on map of “terrorism events and other suspicious activity”

      Ho ho ho: Tennessee anti-terrorist official gave the ACLU of Tennessee a hell of a Christmas present: according to them, the ACLU belongs on a map of terrorism events and other suspicious activity: “Equating a group’s attempts to protect religious freedom in Tennessee with suspicious activity related to terrorism is outrageous.

  • Cablegate

    • 2010-12-23 United Nations to look into complaints about treatment of Bradley Manning

      The potential United Nations investigation should therefore provide a gleam of hope to all of the other political prisoners in the US being held without trial and in solitary confinement.

    • Bradley Manning and the Convenient Memories of Adrian Lamo

      So far every known piece of evidence against Bradley Manning comes from one source, Adrian Lamo, a hacker who was institutionalized by the police three weeks before he alleges Manning contacted him and confessed to turning over materials to Wikileaks.

    • UN to investigate treatment of jailed leaks suspect Bradley Manning
    • Bradley Manning Speaks About His Conditions

      The conditions of Bradley Manning’s confinement became a top issue in the press last week as bloggers traded blows with US officials over allegations that Manning endures inhumane treatment at the Quantico, VA detainment facility. In the midst of this rush by the Defense Department to contextualize Manning’s confinement, I traveled to see the man himself at the Marine Corps detainment facility in Quantico, VA.

    • Wikileaks Mirror Taken Down: Host Buckles Under Demands from Upstream Provider

      Wikileaks isn’t the only site struggling to stay up these days because service providers are pulling their support. It appears that at least one person who wants to provide mirror access to Wikileaks documents is having the same trouble.

      Recently we heard from a user who mirrored the Cablegate documents on his website. His hosting provider SiteGround suspended his account, claiming that he “severely” violated the SiteGround Terms of Use and Acceptable Use Policy. SiteGround explained that it had gotten a complaint from an upstream provider, SoftLayer, and had taken action “in order to prevent any further issues caused by the illegal activity.”

    • Assange: US pushing “Digital McCarthyism” in assault on Wikileaks

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gave an interview with msnbc’s Cenk Uygur today.

    • Wikileaks timeline
    • Wikileaks Exposes Internet’s Dissent Tax, not Nerd Supremacy

      Horrifying as this vision is, it simply distracts from the main lessons of the Wikileaks affair: the increasing control of (relatively) unaccountable corporations and states over the key components of the Internet, and their increased willingness to use this control in politicized ways to impose a “dissent tax” on content they find objectionable. Ability to disseminate one’s ideas on the Internet is now a sine qua non of inclusion in the global public sphere. However, the Internet is not a true public sphere; it is a public sphere erected on private property, what I have dubbed a “quasi-public sphere,” where the property owners can sideline and constrain dissent.

    • The Blast Shack

      The Wikileaks Cablegate scandal is the most exciting and interesting hacker scandal ever. I rather commonly write about such things, and I’m surrounded by online acquaintances who take a burning interest in every little jot and tittle of this ongoing saga. So it’s going to take me a while to explain why this highly newsworthy event fills me with such a chilly, deadening sense of Edgar Allen Poe melancholia.

    • Were WikiLeaks-linked cyber attacks over hyped?

      Uncovering the true scale of the WikiLeaks-inspired Anonymous cyber attacks, they were not as bad as we were led to believe, writes Technology Correspondent Benjamin Cohen.

    • Why EL PAÍS chose to publish the leaks

      When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called my cellphone on a Friday afternoon in November, I could barely hear him. The conversation, held amid the usual tumult of Rome’s airport on a weekend, was strangely short. Assange talked slowly, making sure to pronounce each word carefully, his deep, almost baritone voice, reducing itself almost to a whisper at the end of each sentence. A few moments before the conversation, I had noticed how the Italian police seemed particularly interested in the little luggage that I was carrying, and that as the phone had rung, they were examining the cloth that I had used to wipe the screen of my iPad. Were they looking for drugs, or explosives, or both?

    • Assange named Le Monde Man of the Year

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been named “Man of the Year” by French newspaper Le Monde.

      The newspaper is one of five publications to cooperate with the whistleblowing website on its its latest release of leaked documents.

    • Traitor?

      There’s a lot of people using the word “traitor” in conjunction with Pte Bradley Manning, and “anti-American” in conjunction with both Wikileaks and it’s public face and founder Jullian Assange. This post is about whether that’s fair or not; it’s about the motivations of whistleblowers.

    • I am Boycotting Amazon for the Holidays

      I wrote a book to teach kids and beginners computer programming by making games entitled, “Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python”. After a few months of distributing it online for free, I began to use the print-on-demand service at CreateSpace.com (owned by Amazon.com) to self-publish the book. I continue to make the book available for free online ( at http://inventwithpython.com ), but it was nice to receive a form of compensation I could buy burritos with.


      But this is why it is up to us to make defending freedom of speech one of its business interests. Amazon’s own claims that it pulled WikiLeaks for violation of its Terms of Services and not due to political pressure are equally lame and preposterous. We must vote with our voices and our pocketbooks, and I hope to set an example for others with my actions.

    • Wikileaks Has Committed No Crime

      But in the United States, generally publishing classified information is not a crime. The sort of information that a news organization can be prosecuted for publishing is limited to: nuclear secrets (Atomic Energy Act), the identities of covert agents (Intelligence Identities Protection Act), and certain forms of communications intelligence (Section 798 of the Espionage Act).

      Perhaps lamenting that the U.S. does not have an Official Secrets Act like the United Kingdom, right wing columnists have consistently misinterpreted these Acts, or have cited other provisions of our espionage laws which almost surely do not apply to Wikileaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Palast Arrested- Busted by BP in Azerbaijan

      I was here in the desert to investigate a tip-off I’d had that BP had a near-disaster at its Caspian offshore rig that was extraordinarily similar to the Deepwater Horizon blow-out. But BP covered it up.

      What I didn’t know was that WikiLeaks was about to release a State Department memo which referred to a small piece of this BP game. Rather than go to Azerbaijan to check the facts, the Wiki newspapers called BP in London for comment.

      That put BP on high alert and my sources in high danger.

    • Climate Change Redux

      Take Climate Change. I know a lot of people who don’t believe that humans can have any effect upon climate. Others think that there’s still question about the issue. It’s not that they are stupid. It’s that there are a lot of people with a vested interest in fooling the general public, mostly because if could hurt their profits.

      Over year ago I wrote Astroturf in the Climate Change discussion, which covered how industry has been using fake organizations to fool the general public. Things have only gotten worse since. So I thought it was time to visit the topic again.


      Seriously. British Petroleum helped to write the Climate Legislation adopted by the European Union. The changes that BP asked for will help their profits, by passing the costs for BP’s actions onto the taxpayers of the EU. Wasn’t that nice of them?

      And then we’ve got our friends at Wikileaks, who have released a cables covering United States embassy actions to block substantive Climate Change action at Cancun. Curiously those actions seem to benefit the powerful United States energy industry. It’s a rather unusual government conspiracy that benefits those who are complaining about it.

    • Screw caps’ environmental cost

      There is a strong Asterix vibe to the annual cork oak harvest of the Alentejo in Portugal. Deep into one of the 350 remaining cork oak forests (in my case Herdade dos Fidalgos, near Lisbon) sometime between June and August you’ll suddenly come across a team of about 20 men, ranging in ages from 16 to 70, striking huge twisted trees with axes. Then, with a sensitivity you would not associate with an axe, they prise the juicy bark from the tree and it is levered from the trunk in great, satisfying pieces. From the base, right up to the beginning of the branches, it is peeled away to reveal the oak’s red, nude surface underneath.

    • The year of living dangerously. Masters: “The stunning extremes we witnessed gives me concern that our climate is showing the early signs of instability”

      NASA reported that it was the hottest ‘meteorological year’ [December to November] on record and likely to be the hottest calendar year.

    • Oil spill doomsday debunked. Did peer review journalism fail or succeed?

      And if you haven’t seen that article that’s spreading across the Internet faster than the methane it describes in the Gulf, let me summarize. The media blackout in the Gulf has mostly prevented the news from spreading, but Terrence Aym (the author of the article) wants everyone to know the truth. A massive undersea methane bubble has been disturbed by the Gulf oil spill. Add in a cracked ocean floor and elevated seabed, and you have the recipe for Instant Doomsday, which will be ready for delivery within the next six months or so.

    • ‘Resisting The Green Dragon’: Religious Right Attacks Environmentalism As ‘Deadly’ And ‘Destructive’ In New DVD Series

      Various conservative Christian leaders have united with the Cornwall Alliance for the release of a shocking new 12-part DVD series, “Resisting The Green Dragon,” that attempts to debase and discredit the environmental movement by portraying it as “one of the greatest deceptions of our day” that is “seducing your children” and “striving to put America and the world under its destructive control.”

      The hyperbolic accusations spewed throughout the video give it the appearance of a ridiculous parody, calling environmentalism “deadly,” a “cult” and a “spiritual deception.” Unfortunately, the comical PSA is anything but a joke.

  • Finance

    • Smart, Young, and Broke

      At first glance, Guo Yilei looks like a Chinese success story. Born to a poor peasant family in China’s remote Gansu province, he’s now a 26-year-old computer programmer in the Big Cabbage (as some call Beijing nowadays). By Chinese standards he makes decent money, more than $70 a week. When he has work, that is. It can take months to find the next job. And meanwhile, he’s living in Tangjialing, a reeking slum on the city’s edge where he and his girlfriend rent a 100-square-foot studio apartment for $90 a month. “When I was at school, I believed in the saying, ‘Knowledge can help you turn over a new leaf,’” says Guo. “But since I’ve started working, I only half-believe it.”

    • The ‘Subsidy’: How a Handful of Merrill Lynch Bankers Helped Blow Up Their Own Firm

      Two years before the financial crisis hit, Merrill Lynch confronted a serious problem. No one, not even the bank’s own traders, wanted to buy the supposedly safe portions of the mortgage-backed securities Merrill was creating.

      Bank executives came up with a fix that had short-term benefits and long-term consequences. They formed a new group within Merrill, which took on the bank’s money-losing securities. But how to get the group to accept deals that were otherwise unprofitable? They paid them. The division creating the securities passed portions of their bonuses to the new group, according to two former Merrill executives with detailed knowledge of the arrangement.

    • The WikiLeaks strategy: Bank of America buys up abusive domain names

      Bank of America has snapped up hundreds of abusive domain names for its senior executives and board members in what is being perceived as a defensive strategy against the future publication of damaging insider info from whistleblowing Website WikiLeaks.

    • From the People Who Brought You the Pay Toilet

      Although there are many (too many to list) superb categories in which the United States is undeniably “exceptional,” there are several important categories where we lag behind the world.

      By “lag behind,” we don’t mean the U.S. simply falls a bit short of the leaders; we mean the U.S. is not even on the same page. And by “the world,” we’re not referring to countries like Sweden, Norway, Germany and Switzerland; we’re referring to places like Latvia, Estonia, Guatemala, Honduras, Pakistan and Haiti.

      Dr. Jody Heymann is director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy, chairwoman of the Project on Global Working Families, and adjunct professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. Recently, Dr. Heymann and her team put together some statistics comparing America with the rest of the world.

    • Brazil’s highway to China

      A huge new port along the Rio coast highlights the Chinese drive into South America, writes Tom Phillips. Investments will guarantee China access to soy, oil and other resources.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Bryan Fischer: Obama Wants ‘Indian Tribes To Be Our New Overlords’

      Fischer, who also wants to get rid of the “curse” that is the grizzly bear…

    • Reclaim The Cyber-Commons

      They are the online equivalent of enclosure riots: the rick-burning, fence-toppling protests by English peasants losing their rights to the land. When MasterCard, Visa, Paypal and Amazon tried to shut WikiLeaks out of the cyber-commons, an army of hackers responded by trying to smash their way into these great estates and pull down their fences.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Case Closed? Court Issues Final Judgment in NSA Spying Case, Al-Haramain v. Obama

      Yesterday, following on his ruling this Spring that the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping of an Islamic charity’s lawyers in 2004 violated federal surveillance law, Judge Vaughn Walker in the Northern District of California federal court issued his final order in the case of Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama. The order granted the plaintiffs an award of $2.5 million in money damages and well-earned attorneys’ fees for the government’s violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the same law underlying many of the claims in EFF’s ongoing lawsuits against the NSA’s mass surveillance program, Hepting v. AT&T and Jewel v. NSA. As one of the plaintiffs said of the ruling to the Associated Press, “the system worked.”

    • Privacy Icons: Alpha Release

      We are now ready to propose an alpha version of Privacy Icons that takes into account the feedback and participation we’ve received along the way. We’ve simplified the core set dramatically and tightened up the language. While the icons don’t touch on all topics, we do think they significantly move the discussion on privacy, as well as the general level of literacy about privacy, forward. We do not want to let perfection or devotion to taxonomy get in the way of the good.

    • Porn, cash and the slippery slope to the National Security State

      The Register doesn’t take this terribly seriously, because it’s convinced that Vaizey is too shrewd to get dragged into the filtering mess that afflicted the Australian government. Maybe he is, but suppose he finds himself unable to hold back the tide of backbench wrath towards the evil Internet, with its WikiLeaks and porn and all. The implicit logic of the approach would fit neatly with everything we’ve seen so far. First of all, the objective is self-evidently ‘good’ — to protect children from pornography. Secondly, we’re not being illiberal — if you want to allow porn all you have to do is to register that fact with your ISP. What could be fairer than that?

    • Now Random Webhosts Are Demanding Wikileaks Mirrors Be Taken Down Over Possibility Of DDoS?

      With all the attempts by corporations to distance themselves from Wikileaks — often claiming dubious legal issues or terms of use violations that don’t seem to really exist — the EFF is pointing out that one of the (many, many) Wikileaks mirror sites was told by his hosting company he had to remove it or he’d lose his account.


      Taking down a site because it might possibly be subject to a DDoS attack in the future? How does that make sense? We were confused enough when EveryDNS claimed that getting hit by a DDoS violated its terms of service, but its even more confusing to think that the remote possibility that at some date in the future you might get hit by a DDoS is a terms of service violation.

    • ISP shuts down Wikileaks mirror over complaints from upstream provider

      From EFF, a disturbing story about a customer of SiteGround, an ISP, who had his account suspended and was forced to remove a mirror of the Wikileaks Cablegate archive because SoftLayer, the ISP that provides SiteGround with its bandwidth, objected. Imagine a future in which your ability to host a website depends on not upsetting your ISP, its upstream provider, the provider upstream of that, and so on, all the way up to some giant tier-one telco like AT&T.

    • Building a censor-resistant web with distributed hashes
    • Christmas travel: Airlines ‘ignoring passenger rights’

      Some airlines’ behaviour towards passengers during the snow-disrupted Christmas getaway was ‘unacceptable’, according to a regulator.

      The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) found a number of cases when airlines had failed to meet their obligations to passengers during the disruption.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Books and Newspapers

      At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we’re going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Social Networking Privacy
    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Attacks on Cryptography
    • Sending Money Overseas for the Holidays? The Government Wants to Know.

      What do an online donation to the International Red Cross, a bank transfer to family members living in Vietnam, and a payment sent through PayPal for an expensive rug in Turkey have in common? The government wants to know about them. And, if new rules proposed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, go into effect, the government will — along with your name, address, bank account number, and other sensitive financial information.

    • Free Speech Apparently Less Important Than US Attorney & Courts Silencing ‘Annoying’ Woman

      Unfortunately, since then, things only got worse. Radley Balko has the full details on what the case was all about, and it seems like a clear case of the government abusing its powers to stifle the speech of someone they found to be annoying. And, unfortunately, it’s worked. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case and so the harassment succeeded. You should read the full details, but the short version is that Reynolds was a very vocal activist on the issue of pain relief. When Assistant US Attorney Tanya Treadway indicted a doctor and his wife, supposedly for over-prescribing painkillers, Reynolds organized protests which apparently succeeded in getting a fair amount of attention.

    • Who is Dr Binayak Sen?

      Tags:Maoist|Dr Binayak Sen|Christian Medical College
      Dr Binayak Sen is a 58-year-old paediatrician and public health physician with a 25-year record of providing health care to the adivasi people of Chhattisgarh.

      Binayak sen is a graduate of Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore. One of the top students of his batch, Binayak completed his post graduation in paediatrics in the early 1970s. For most of the years since then, he has devoted his life to health care in poor communities.


      Binayak was among the first to draw public attention to widespread human rights violations in the wake of the Salwa Judum. An all-India team investigated and published a report on Salwa Judum in November 2005.

    • Unsigned letter holds the key to Binayak Sen case

      A smooth, creaseless type-written sheet of paper might prove to be the decisive piece of evidence in the trial of celebrated doctor and activist Binayak Sen. ‘Article 37′ (A-37) is an unsigned letter urging Dr. Sen to send a fact-finding mission to probe alleged police atrocities in Chhattisgarh in his capacity as the State president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

      The prosecution insists that the document proves Dr. Sen was in direct correspondence with the banned CPI (Maoist). The defence believes that the letter is the clearest indication that the Chhattisgarh police fabricated evidence to frame Dr. Sen.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • WWF Germany’s anti-printing PDF campaign exposes internal rifts

      An email, allegedly sent by WWF International director of corporate relations Maria Boulos to WWF Germany executive marketing officer Dirk Reinsberg on 10 December, warned that the campaign was “misleading”.

      According to the contents of Boulos email, WWF Germany launched “a global product” (the WWF file format) “on a global website”, without advising WWF International of its intentions.

    • Viral marketing: the truth behind the WWF format

      The driver does not just disable printing it also adds an extra page to the end of the document. They say it’s there “just to inform the receiver”, but I don’t buy it. Marketing, that’s what it is really all about. Every time you make and spread a .WWF file, you are making publicity for the WWF. Bottomline.

    • Spanish Congress Rejects Internet Censorship Law
    • Scrooged out of Net Neutrality?

      “A Guide to The Open Internet” is a wonderful InfoGraphic that does a masterful job of visually explaining the importance of Net Neutrality, by contrasting the Internet of the present with The Ghost of the Internet Yet to Come. Anyone who doesn’t understand the issue should definitely take a look.

    • FCC: Yup, we’re going to stop “paid prioritization” on the ‘Net

      The Federal Communications Commission is releasing the details of its new net neutrality Order in stages. Although the FCC’s new ban on “unreasonable discrimination” for wired ISPs allows certain kinds of traffic discrimination (not all bits need be equal), the agency made clear after today’s meeting that “paid prioritization” deals with Internet companies are unlikely to be allowed. Critics had worried that the new Order would only affect outright website blocking, leaving paid prioritization untouched (or even implicitly sanctioned).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Congress Brings Back Recently Removed ‘IP Subcommittee’ Now That Copyright Reformer Won’t Lead It

      The IP subcommittee was around for ages, when it was under the control of those who represented the industry. When a reformer is finally in position to be put in charge, the subcommittee is killed and its duties are handed over to the larger committee (controlled by someone who represents the industry). Then, as soon as the reformer is out, the subcommittee comes back? Congress at it’s most shameful: a pretty clear indication that Congressional decisions on intellectual property are driven by the industry. This is how regulatory capture works.

    • Copyrights

      • Exclusive: MegaUpload Issues Response to RIAA Over Mastercard Cutoff

        Yesterday, we reported on the RIAAs efforts to get Mastercard to cut off payments to MegaUpload. Today, we have received an exclusive response from MegaUpload on this news.

        Blocking so-called “rogue websites” isn’t necessarily in the law books in the US yet, but things are heating up between the RIAA, MPAA and several websites they accuse of facilitating copyright infringement. Some of these sites, it turns out, are cyberlockers – websites that host large files for their users and allows for many to download those files as a side bonus of saving some companies bandwidth costs. Some note the recent strategy of pressuring payment methods to cut off funding from websites they accuse of duping consumers into paying for pirated content as a more recent change in strategy in the organizations strategy to fight piracy.

      • Leave to Appeal Granted in SOCAN iTunes “Previews” case

        This augurs well for leave to appeal also being granted in the CMEC K-12 case, in which the application was filed a few weeks later.

        If the Supreme Court proceeds in its usual prompt manner, we will likely have a judgment in the CMEC K-12 leave application in late January or February.

      • Indie Music Association Comes Out In Favor Of Seizing Domain Names Of Blogs That Promote Their Music

        If there ever were a group that should be embracing new business models and encouraging the music industry to look forward instead of back, you would think it would be A2IM — the American Association of Independent Music. After all, they don’t have the same legacy issues facing the big four record labels represented by the RIAA. Instead, they can be more creative and willing to experiment with what works well. In fact, over the years, we’ve noted some really cool and unique experiments done by lots of truly creative and innovative indie labels — including many who are members of A2IM (and even some represented on A2IM’s board).

      • Help EFF Defend Against Righthaven Trolls

        Just as in many other copyright troll shakedowns, Righthaven relies on the threat of enormous copyright statutory damages (up to $150,000) to scare defendants, often individual bloggers operating non-commercial websites, into a quick settlements. They also threaten to seize the domain names, a threat without basis in law. Even if a blogger has meritorious defenses, the costs of defending can often be overwhelming – unless they blogger has pro bono counsel to help even the odds.

      • Incentive to Create
      • Please ignore this SPECIAL BONUS HOLIDAY CARTOON!
      • Perfect 10 Claiming That Passing Along Its DMCA Notices Is, Itself, Infringing

        Perfect 10 is a company that, for a brief period of time, apparently published a rather expensive porn magazine. Since then, it seems to have served a single purpose: to file ridiculous copyright lawsuits that it almost always loses, but which have helped to define case law concerning copyright issues. Various Perfect 10 decisions are frequently cited in copyright lawsuits — for example, its multiple losses concerning claims that search engines showing thumbnails infringe on copyrights. Earlier this year, Rapidshare filed a very entertaining countersuit against Perfect 10, which goes into great detail suggesting that the company serves little purpose other than being something of a copyright troll. In fact, it seems to go out of its way to not use tools provided to take down infringing content, and to alert internet service providers of potential infringement in ways that are almost impossible for them to do anything about. For example, it’s famous for filing deficient DMCA notices that do not properly indicate where the specific content is located.

      • ACTA

        • The Final Acts of ACTA

          Although the current excitement over the gradual release of the Wikileaks documents is justified in that it concerns what is undoubtedly an important development for the future of the Internet, it has rather overshadowed another area where crucial decisions are being made: the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). In fact, ACTA finally seems to be nearing the end of its slow and painful crawl through the secret negotiation process that only recently we have been allowed glimpses of. And the more we learn, the more troublesome it is.

        • EU’s Main ACTA Supporter Caught Lying About ACTA

          But it was a lie of omission. De Gucht has now admitted that some countries may have to change their local laws to comply with ACTA, but tried to defend the earlier statements by saying since there are no uniform EU rules on penal enforcement for IP, it was technically correct that no changes were required to the EU-wide rules.

Clip of the Day

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Viva Voce

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 25/12/2010: New Ubuntu-powered Tablet, Firefox 4 is Near, GnuCash 2.4.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • How best to sell a Windows 7 laptop this holiday? show it with an Ubuntu wallpaper of course! [sales fail]

    ‘The Source’ (formerly known as Radio Shack) appear to have hit upon a rather unique way of selling their Windows 7 running Toshiba laptops to the public judging by a recent flyer…

    Show them running what looks like an Ubuntu wallpaper.

  • Is a BSOD on a bus … a BuSOD?

    Like I said, something like that is so common that maybe I don’t need a picture after all. Personally I’ve seen BSODs and error messages in airports and restaurants, even in doctor’s offices or factories.

    The first of the two things that ran through my mind on the bus last night, as people openly wondered

  • 22 ways to convert your friend to Linux

    Are your friends convinced that they should be paying for their operating systems because Linux sounds too complicated or because they think it won’t do what they want it to?

  • The Perfect Tree For GNU/Linux Released !

    Spruce up your Christmas season with The Perfect Tree, a cheerful holiday offering from Anawiki Games! Based on the classic Christmas tale of the same name, the game tells the story of a lonely little pine tree and the player’s efforts to help it become the perfect Christmas tree.

  • FOLLOW-UP: Linux and Breakfast Cereals

    So my question is, why have all these differences sprung up? For example, the Skype site shows different RPMs for Fedora and openSUSE. (Then again, it shows different DEBs for Debian and Ubuntu as well.) Why can’t the maintainers of these distributions pare away the differences as much as possible to maintain inter-distribution compatibility? Wouldn’t this just make everyone’s life easier?

  • Holiday Party: Sailing into dangerous waters

    It was a dark and stormy night.

    The biting wind drove needles of ice into my face as I looked at my Android phone one more time to get a fix on my location. The residential streets of Framingham were winding and far different from the clean grids of my Midwestern home. In the icy wind I’m sure a squinted my way past a street sign somewhere, and though my GPS could tell me where I was, I couldn’t make sense of which direction to go yet.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: coming in 2.6.37 (Part 4) – Architecture and infrastructure code

      The kernel now includes some components for supporting operation as a Xen host (Dom0). Switching into and out of sleep mode should be accelerated by the use of LZO compression. Following years of work, almost all parts of the kernel are now able to run without using the big kernel lock (BKL).

    • Benchmarks Of The Btrfs Space Cache Option

      In early November we delivered benchmarks of EXT4 vs. Btrfs on an early Linux 2.6.37 kernel as our latest round of tests comparing these two leading Linux file-systems. There were some changes in the Linux disk performance with these file-systems using the latest Linux kernel code, but overall it was not too interesting. However, as the Linux 2.6.37 kernel does introduce a new mount option for Btrfs, the space_cache option, we decided to explore its performance in today’s article.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Viewsonic GPL update

        Viewsonic provided a patch to Nvidia’s reference Tegra code to support their gtablet today. Which is progress!

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Ten Top Linux Window Managers

      The window manager is the most important part of the Linux desktop environment. It defines how your windows look, how they behave, how applications are launched, and how they’re closed. In many cases, window managers have evolved into complete desktop environments, helping with file management, configuration editing and computer management.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 21st November 2010

        In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:

        * Start of a Plasma-based “Welcome Screen” for applications
        * Support for searching events and todos by date/range in the Events Plasma Runner, and the start of a first Plasmoid (“BusyWidget”) written in QML
        * More work on KMail Mobile, including a change to make it start twice as fast
        * Start of work to give Okteta a mobile interface

      • KMyMoney 4.5.2 stable released

        The KMyMoney Team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of KMyMoney version 4.5.2. This is a bugfix version from the 4.5 series and a Christmas present of the developers to the community.

      • 4.6 RC 1 Available, KDE PIM Delayed

        Right before Christmas, KDE has published the first candidate for the upcoming release of KDE Platform, Plasma and Applications 4.6. The focus at this stage is on fixing bugs and completing translations and artwork. As such, the rework of the Oxygen icon set is nearing completion, many bugs reported by testers in recent weeks have been fixed and stabilization is still in full swing.

      • “KDE 4.6 RC1
      • KDE Software Compilation 4.6 RC1 Released: Codename Chanukkah
    • GNOME Desktop

      • The Board 0.1.0

        Today I’m officially joining the GNOME Old Farts Club. I thought it would be a good time to make the first release of The Board. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Board 0.1.0! I wanted to do this a few weeks ago but with so many moving parts in our platform it was actually a bit hard to reach a point where all dependencies were actually working fine together. So, what is this release about?

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Gimp in Mandriva, a glitch than can help you rescue files

        I was testing Mandriva ONE 2010.2 and, sure enough, my other partitions could not be accessed in Dolphin (it reported the same error message when trying to mount them). I believe this is done to prevent damage to the primary OS in the computer, be it Linux or Windows.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Upward Momentum Looks to Continue (RHT)
      • Fool Exclusive: What Makes Red Hat Tick?

        Doff your chapeau for leading Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), which just uncorked another tremendous quarter. Its 21% sales growth, to $236 million, beat analyst estimates by 4%, but that wasn’t good enough to light a fire under Red Hat’s shares. Earnings only met the consensus target exactly, at $0.20 per share.

      • U.S. Stocks Remain Slightly Higher; Red Hat Slides
      • Red Hat Upward Momentum Looks To Continue (RHT)
      • Red Hat tantalizes with search for space

        Even in better times, the idea of landing the headquarters of a high-flying tech company with more than a billion in cash would be enough to tantalize even the most seasoned developer.

        Factor in current market conditions, and the fact that almost nothing new is getting built, and you can understand the intense interest in Red Hat’s search for 300,000 square feet of office space.

      • Red Hat, Eucalyptus Partnership: Countering OpenStack Clouds?

        At first glance, Red Hat Inc. and Eucalyptus Systems are partnering up to jointly promote open source cloud solutions. But take a closer look and TalkinCloud wonders if Red Hat and Eucalyptus are partnering up to compete more effectively against the RackSpace OpenStack cloud effort.

        GigaOm does a great job describing a potentially intense showdown between OpenStack and Eucalyptus. Here’s why VARs, MSPs and cloud services providers should care: Traditional cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure are proprietary platforms, meaning that it’s difficult to move customer applications from one public cloud to the next.

      • Fedora

        • Presents for everyone!

          Even though I’m on vacation, I had some fun catching up with some geeky Fedora work, like handling bugs and package maintenance over the last few days.


          I’m still hung up on needing some additional and more complicated Python pieces, like querying the volume level of a source or sink so I can introduce a VU-meter like control as part of the interface changes. But in the meantime, I’ve started to get much better and faster at implementing ideas in PyGTK. I’m not sure my coding style is as good as it should be, but my understanding of concepts has gotten fairly good, so I can translate PyGTK API docs into the ability to do something. I gave a couple conference speeches over the past year on PyGTK that I hoped would give other people in similar shoes — people who can write scripts but aren’t familiar with GUI programming — a primer that allows them to “cross the bridge” into exciting new territory.

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint Debian (201012) released!

        What a better time than Christmas to bring all the best from 2010 into an updated release of Linux Mint Debian.

        * All Mint 10 features
        * 64-bit support
        * Performance boost (using cgroup, the notorious “4 lines of code better than 200″ in user-space)
        * Installer improvements (multiple HDDs, grub install on partitions, swap allocation, btrfs support)
        * Better fonts (Using Ubuntu’s libcairo, fontconfig and Ubuntu Font Family) and language support (ttf-wqy-microhei, ttf-sazanami-mincho, ttf-sazanami-gothic installed by default)
        * Better connectivity and hardware support (pppoe, pppoeconf, gnome-ppp, pppconfig, libgl1-mesa-dri, libgl1-mesa-glx, libgl1-mesa-dev, mesa-utils installed by default)
        * Better sound support (addressing conflicts between Pulse Audio and Flash)
        * Updated software and packages

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OSS recommended picks for business users

    Amid an enterprise environment that is now more receptive to utility computing and focused on service-based contracts, open source software adoption has grown over the past two years and entered the IT mainstream.

  • GNU Octave a Compatible Drop-in Replacement for MATLAB

    Are companies really willing to spend thousands of dollars per year just ‘renting’ a licence for one or two copies of MATLAB, which keeps nagging them for it assumes they are so-called ‘pirates’ (and the BSA comes knocking to ensure there are up-to-date licensing instances)? The answer is usually “no”, but users of MATLAB may not know that software already exists to offer them an alternative, just as Firefox helps replace Internet Explorer and also outperform it in many technical ways.

  • Open Source Destroys Microsoft’s Oppressive Power Over the Customer

    Closed source software means that Microsoft owns the software, and prevents any kind of unauthorized use of the software, which means that when you find a bug, performing a “workaround” for the bug is at Microsoft’s whimsey. Why would anyone want closed source software? By definition, the software writers have no interest in using their own software. Rather, they have every interest in being an roadblock to fixing bugs. Unless Bill Gates is watching them, they really have no reason to focus on the customer.

    I have a Windows horror story. Windows DRM won’t let me uninstall it. Because the software is in an opaque box, I might as well be a flint-weilding neanderthal for all my ability to correct the uninstall process. Now I have to reinstall windows, the walk of shame. The only workaround is to destroy every software on my PC.

  • Minutes for the Document Foundation Steering Committee Meeting from 2010-12-11 Are Available
  • The Gift That Keeps On Giving – Your Time

    Find a nice holiday picture on the Internet (make sure it is freely licensed, perhaps by Creative Commons) and use GIMP, Inkscape or some other freely available software to make a greeting card out of it. Put your own sentiments down on the card, telling the person why you like them, and how you would like to spend some more time with them this coming year. Make a little “coupon” as an offer to do a certain number of hours of “computer work” for them and put the “coupon” in the card.

    I do some of this “computer work” every year when I visit my family in Pennsylvania. Some of them would be considered “power users” and some would be considered “powerless users” (and some actually considered “Luddites”), but none of them have the training and experience that I have. So I help them fix small problems, upgrade their software, do a backup of their software and even help them evaluate new purchases (and even advise them when new purchases would not do much for them).

  • The 10 Coolest Open Source Applications Of 2010

    Why buy the cow when the milk is free? While commercial software is usually worth the cost, free is better. And of the open source applications that abound throughout the world, many are as good or better than their for-pay counterparts. The “free-as-in-beer” philosophy that gave rise to Linux often also applies to apps written for the platform, with programs like KOffice giving Microsoft Office a run for its money.

  • 2011: The year open source (really) goes capitalist

    If 2010 was the year that taught open source “how to disappear completely,” 2011 will be the year we’re reminded that “anyone can play guitar”…or open source. At present, open source is de rigueur with the underdog class, those vendors seeking to challenge incumbents like Apple and Oracle.

    But open source will take center stage with industry leaders in 2011, as it already has in the mobile battlefield with Google’s Android, much to Apple’s chagrin. It’s not just about using open source to gain market share. It’s also a matter of using open source to keep regulators at bay. As Funambol CEO Fabrizio Capobianco rightly points out, open source saved mobile telecom operators from net neutrality regulations. The FCC decided that “meaningful recent moves toward openness” largely obviated the need for more regulation. That’s a message that even the stodgiest of proprietary players will want to mimic.

  • A World-Beating Report on Global Open Source

    But it turns out that this 150-page report from the Spanish CENATIC Foundation offers the best country-by-country analysis of the growth of open source around the world that’s currently available. Whether intended as such or not (it’s aimed principally at Spanish businesses), it forms an invaluable consolidated description of who’s been doing what where – complete with online links to referenced material.

    As such, I strongly recommend that anyone interested in the larger and longer-term trends in the world of open source should download it [.pdf] – it’s free – peruse it (although maybe not over the holidays) and keep it for future reference.

  • Can Creatives Tilt the Balance Towards Open Source in Mobile?

    The battle lines for the mobile marketplace have been drawn, and the battle of the titans – Google, Apple, Microsoft — has begun. While the generals amass their troops, what have we here in the corner? A bunch of doodlers, cartoonists, storytellers, and other amateurs. Surely, this ragtag group won’t have any effect on the outcome of the battle–or will they?

  • Google’s WindowBuilder and CodePro Profiler are now Eclipse projects

    Google is to release as open source the developer tools WindowBuilder Pro and CodePro Profiler, both of which were acquired as part of its takeover of Instantiations. The code for the two tools is to be donated to the Eclipse Foundation. At the time of the takeover there was much speculation that the Eclipse-based tools could become Eclipse projects – this speculation has now proven to be correct. Other products which Google has made available free of charge since September, include GWT Designer, WindowTester Pro and CodePro AnalytiX, retain their proprietary status.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla denies Firefox 4 ‘do-not-track’ privacy option

        Firefox 4 will not include a ‘do not track’ privacy option to block targeted advertising, according to the web browser’s maker Mozilla.

      • Firefox 4 Nearly Fully Baked

        For Mozilla’s next browser version, let’s hope eight is enough. The independent software foundation has just released Beta 8 of the heavily overhauled new version of Firefox. Firefox 4 sports a trimmed-down user interface (as has been the trend started with Google Chrome and followed by Opera and IE9 beta). The browser also makes some significant internal changes, with a new add-in system, a faster JavaScript engine, and lots more HTML5 compatibility.

      • Mozilla takes on web data miners with privacy icon release

        Mozilla has pushed out a series of privacy icons that tell web surfers how their online data might be used depending on what site they’ve visited.

        The open source browser maker’s user interface design guru, Aza Raskin, who announced just last week that he was leaving Mozilla in January, released an alpha version of the icons yesterday.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7.0 RC 3 Released

      We are proud to present to you the third (and likely final) release candidate of Drupal 7.0. Big news since last time!

      1. We’re back down to 0 critical issues again!
      2. We’ve announced a January 5 release date for Drupal 7!
      3. There are release parties being thrown worldwide on January 7. Please set one up in your town! (tips)

    • The Drupal Christmas song
  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter, December 16, 2010

      During this time of the year I expect to be bombarded with marketing messages aimed at getting me to open my wallet. Considering the FreeBSD Foundation’s own financial needs, I understand and tolerate the pledge drives and postal mail pleas from charities.


  • Project Releases

    • GnuCash 2.4.0 accounting software released

      The GnuCash development team has announced the arrival of version 2.4.0 of its free accounting software for GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. According to a mailing list post by developer Phil Longstaff, the latest stable release replaces the GtkHTML-based HTML engine used to display reports and graphs with WebKit, the engine used by Google’s Chrome web browser and Safari – while the WebKit-based renderer is preferred, the current GtkHTML engine can still be used.

    • GnuCash 2.4.0 Accounting Software Released
  • Government

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia/Web

    • A Real World HTML 5 Benchmark

      The newest browsers boast huge performance improvements, but how much do you trust benchmarks trotted out to prove those claims? Do they reflect the real uses to which developers will put HTML 5 and JavaScript? We’ve extracted several benchmarks from our existing programs to measure actual versus theoretical performance.


  • Twitter owes me $62,000

    I’m not bragging when I note this, because who would? All I’m saying is, I’m a writer, I sit in front of my computer all day, I keep Twitter running in the Tweetie app, and I participate actively and avidly in the service. A person like me can pile up 4000 tweets in a matter of a couple of years as he goes about the business of earning a living. And the thing about those tweets is, you miss them when they go, like nieces and nephews. So when my tweetstream got mysteriously truncated to a measly 147 entries a week or so ago, I practiced due diligence. I tweeted Twitter’s Support account and posted a comment to its user forum, and sat back and waited for the absent posts to be restored. And waited. And waited. And waited. I’m still waiting.

  • Fox News Escalates ‘War On Christmas’

    For the past several years at this time, Fox News has made certain that Christmas is the time of year for all good Americans to shun everyone who isn’t Christian. From Sarah Palin to Glenn Beck to Neil Cavuto, the call to reject such inclusive greetings as “Happy Holidays” is heard throughout the Fox News village.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Department of Justice Recovers $3 Billion in False Claims Cases in Fiscal Year 2010

      Fighting fraud committed against public health care programs is a top priority for the Obama Administration. On May 20, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder and Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the creation of a new interagency task force, the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), to increase coordination and optimize criminal and civil enforcement. These efforts not only protect the Medicare Trust Fund for seniors and the Medicaid program for the country’s neediest citizens, they also result in higher quality health care at a more reasonable price.

    • Slow Burn

      Except over a glass of ruby Tannat wine or a sizzling tenderloin, most people pay little mind to Uruguay. But just mention this demure South American nation to the tobacco industry and watch the smoke billow. A long-burning row between the government in Montevideo and cigarette maker Philip Morris is slowly turning into the mother of asymmetric battles.

    • McDonald’s sued for tempting Californian mum’s daughter with Happy Meals toys

      Maya Parham loves McDonald’s. But not because of the food. According to a lawsuit filed in California last week the fast food giant is using Barbie, Shrek, Strawberry Shortcake and a galaxy of other toy and cartoon characters to lure in the six-year-old. Now Maya’s mother, Monet, wants it to stop.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Why WikiLeaks must be protected

      The case of the Afghanistan war logs and the hounding of Julian Assange prove that there’s never been greater need to speak truth to power than today.

    • The Julian Assange case: a mockery of extradition?

      This legal instrument has been controversial since it was introduced in 2003, creating everyday injustices; but rarely has anyone outside the small group of lawyers that handles cases really cared. Now followers of the WikiLeaks story wonder how Assange could be extradited with so few questions asked. Why, for example, can our prisons detain someone (Assange is currently on remand in Wandsworth prison) for an offence under Swedish law that does not exist in British law? And how can a judge agree to an extradition without having seen enough evidence to make out a prima facie case?

    • WikiLeaks to release Israel documents in six months

      WikiLeaks will release top secret American files concerning Israel in the next six months, its founder Julian Assange disclosed yesterday.

      In an excusive interview with Al Jazeera, Assange said only a meagre number of files related to Israel had been published so far, because the newspapers in the West that were given exclusive rights to publish the secret documents were reluctant to publish many sensitive information about Israel.

    • My husband, the conscientious objector, has his fate decided on Friday

      On Friday a 24-year-old navy medic faces a decision that could lead him to military prison after becoming one of the few conscientious objectors in the Royal Navy since the second world war. That man is my husband, Michael Lyons. He joined the navy in 2005 at 18, as a medical assistant submariner. He chose the medic path because he wanted to help people. In 2008 Michael was promoted to the role of leading medical assistant, and has been very proud of his service to his country for the past five years.


      However, in July this year Michael learned 76,000 military documents had been leaked on the internet and published in analysed form in various newspapers. These documents detailed the military’s under-reporting of civilian casualties caused by Nato troops, both in the air and on the ground. Examples included the convoy of US marines apparently driving down a six-mile stretch of highway firing at everyone they saw: 19 unarmed civilians were killed and a further 50 wounded. Closer to home there were the allegations that Royal Marines had shot innocent drivers and motorcyclists on eight separate occasions over a six-month period, and that Ghurkhas had called in an air strike on a family compound, leaving seven innocents dead. These were just some of the reports.

      I remember the day I asked Michael how he felt going to Afghanistan, considering the publication of these reports. Upset by what he had read, he said he didn’t believe we were over there for the greater good. He went on to tell me he wouldn’t be able to live with himself knowing he had been a part of that. He said: “I can’t have that on my conscience.”

    • Bradley Manning Support Network accepts responsibility for all expenses to defend accused Wikileaks whistle-blower
    • WikiLeaks cables: India accused of systematic use of torture in Kashmir
    • WikiLeaks cables: US officials voiced fears India could be target of biological terrorism
    • US offers Bradley Manning a plea bargain in return for testimony against Assange

      In their latest attempt to find legitimate grounds for charging Julian Assange with a crime, US federal prosecutors have landed on the idea of charging him as a conspirator through a plea bargain that has been offered to Pfc. Bradley Manning. The plea bargain would have Manning name Julian Assange as a fellow conspirator to the leaks, which include the now infamous Collateral Murder video of April 2007.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Dalai Lama called for focus on climate, not politics, in Tibet

      The Dalai Lama told US diplomats last year that the international community should focus on climate change rather than politics in Tibet because environmental problems were more urgent, secret American cables reveal.

      The exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader told Timothy Roemer, the US ambassador to India, that the “political agenda should be sidelined for five to 10 years and the international community should shift its focus to climate change on the Tibetan plateau” during a meeting in Delhi last August.

    • Will Julian Assange regret WikiLeaks? Past whistleblowers say no

      “Was it worth it?” That was what Julian Assange was asked, through his mother, by an Australian TV channel last week as he sat in Wandsworth jail. It was, perhaps, a not unexpected question for someone who had found himself in solitary confinement, facing extradition to Sweden and the United States and death threats from conservative American politicians.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Michael Moore film Sicko was ‘not banned’ in Cuba

      American diplomats made up a story that Cuba banned Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, Sicko, in an attempt to discredit the film which painted an unflattering picture of the US healthcare system, the film-maker said today.

    • Holiday Statement from Bradley Manning
    • WikiLeaks cables: ‘Taliban treats heroin stocks like savings accounts’
    • Assange Speaks, Well

      Assange makes the point forcefully that he is a journalist speaking out to examine and check the power of government and his speach should be protected. He also comments on Manning’s detention without trial in conditions that could be considered torture.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • On Not Letting BP Investigators Do Their Job

      In a perfectly enlightened, technologically advanced world, computer software could be used to analyze existing data and determine what happened on the Deepwater Horizon just before it exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. In that world, all relevant parties with access to such data would be ready and willing to offer it up.

    • Cancún climate summit: Yet another opportunity lost

      Meteorologists have already warned Europeans that in decades to come, the record temperatures of 2003 will seem mild. Cities – urban heat islands on average 5C and sometimes 10C hotter than the surrounding countryside – will become increasingly dangerous: no place for the elderly, the poor, the sick, the very young, or anybody without access to cool fresh water and air-conditioned buildings.

    • US set for wave of coal plant closures, report says
    • Ratcliffe activists found guilty of coal station plot
    • Soil erosion threatens to leave Earth hungry
    • House committee chairs: You get what you pay for

      But perhaps my surprise at this intimate connection between campaign cash and events just shows me up as a naive limey, and is not surprising at all to those of you in the US.

    • Cancun builds momentum; much more work to be done to save the climate – Greenpeace

      Governments in Cancun have chosen hope over fear and put the world on a difficult but now possible-to-navigate path to a global deal to stop dangerous climate change.

      “Cancun may have saved the process but it did not yet save the climate,” said Greenpeace International Climate Policy Director Wendel Trio. “Some called the process dead but governments have shown that they can cooperate and can move forward to achieve a global deal.”

    • Climate change: evidence from the geological record
    • Conservationists lose fight to protect Moscow forest from road
    • Climate change calculations put millions at risk, says new report

      Governments are gambling recklessly with human lives by wilfully underestimating the depth of the emission cuts they must makein the next 40 years, a new study has found.

      Governments have so far based their calculations for cutting emissions on only a 50:50 chance of holding temperature rises to 2C, the point that many scientists consider to be the threshold for catastrophic climate change which, once passed, will leave millions exposed to drought, hunger and flooding. This constitutes an unacceptable risk, says the report from Friends of the Earth.

    • California approves first US cap and trade scheme

      California regulators yesterday approved the first system in the United States to give polluting companies such as utilities and refineries financial incentives to emit fewer greenhouse gases.

      The Air Resources Board voted 9-1 to pass the key piece of California’s 2006 climate law – called AB32 – with the hope that other states will follow the lead of the world’s eighth largest economy. State officials are also discussing plans to link the new system with similar schemes that are underway or being planned in Canada, Europe and Asia.

      California is launching into a “historic adventure,” said Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the state’s air quality board.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Reclaim the Cyber-Commons

      They are the online equivalent of enclosure riots: the rick-burning, fence-toppling protests by English peasants losing their rights to the land. When MasterCard, Visa, Paypal and Amazon tried to shut WikiLeaks out of the cyber-commons, an army of hackers responded by trying to smash their way into these great estates and pull down their fences.

      In the Wikileaks punch-up the commoners appear to have the upper hand. But it’s just one battle. There’s a wider cyberwar being fought, of which you hear much less. And in most cases the landlords, with the help of a mercenary army, are winning.

    • Shaping State Laws With Little Scrutiny

      Only 28 people work in ALEC’s dark, quiet headquarters in Washington, D.C. And Michael Bowman, senior director of policy, explains that the little-known organization’s staff is not the ones writing the bills. The real authors are the group’s members — a mix of state legislators and some of the biggest corporations in the country.


      With that money, the 28 people in the ALEC offices throw three annual conferences. The companies get to sit around a table and write “model bills” with the state legislators, who then take them home to their states.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The Fourth Amendment doesn’t protect Email as much as You might think
    • Why the FISA Amendments Act Is Unconstitutional

      The FISA Amendments Act allows the government to engage in mass acquisition of U.S. citizens’ and residents’ international communications with virtually no restrictions.

    • Smithsonian facing US funding boycott after video on sexuality ‘censored’

      Leading US art foundations are threatening to withdraw support from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington in protest at what they see as blatant censorship in the decision to remove a video from an exhibition on sexuality in portraiture.

    • Fears grow for health of detained Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

      Sotoudeh, 45, has been kept in solitary confinement since her arrest in September. She is charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “acting against national security”. Her supporters describe the charges as bogus and unsubstantial.

    • Iran jails director Jafar Panahi and stops him making films for 20 years
    • Hospital saves woman’s life; is told by Catholic leadership not to do it again.

      A Catholic hospital saved the life of a young mother of four. The woman was pregnant and suffered from life-threatening pulmonary hypertension, which caused her heart to begin to fail. Doctors determined that she would almost definitely die if she did not end the pregnancy immediately, and the woman agreed to terminate. Surgeons and physicians acted quickly and saved her life.

    • Sorry, Hamas, I’m Wearing Blue Jeans

      Palestinian feminist Asma Al-Ghoul arrived to our meeting at a Gaza coffee shop sporting blue jeans and a T-shirt—in stark contrast to the Islamic headscarves and tent-like dresses worn by the vast majority of Gazan women.

    • Is “free” Iraq becoming a more Islamic state?
    • Rights, not righteousness

      Many worry about the decline of liberalism. But liberalism is strongest when it feels pressured from the left, while no left can be robust without its own ideas and analysis, distinct from those of liberals. As long as leftwing intellectuals put most of their energy into figuring out what the Democrats should do, rather than figuring out what a 21st-century left should stand for, none of us will get very far.

    • Los Angeles museum commissions mural – then obliterates it

      The mural, depicting serried ranks of coffins draped not with the Stars and Stripes but with the dollar bill, was duly created in early December. At first, all was well. Blu even stayed at the home of MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch. When Deitch went off to attend to the arduous business of the Miami Art Fair, Blu got down to the messy process of painting. Luckily, pictures were taken as he picked away at the detail of the coffins, and they soon surfaced on a variety of street art blogs.

    • What is Traitorware?

      Your digital camera may embed metadata into photographs with the camera’s serial number or your location. Your printer may be incorporating a secret code on every page it prints which could be used to identify the printer and potentially the person who used it. If Apple puts a particularly creepy patent it has recently applied for into use, you can look forward to a day when your iPhone may record your voice, take a picture of your location, record your heartbeat, and send that information back to the mothership.

      This is traitorware: devices that act behind your back to betray your privacy.

      Perhaps the most notable example of traitorware was the Sony rootkit. In 2005 Sony BMG produced CD’s which clandestinely installed a rootkit onto PC’s that provided administrative-level access to the users’ computer. The copy-protected music CD’s would surreptitiously install its DRM technology onto PC’s. Ostensibly, Sony was trying prevent consumers from making multiple copies of their CD’s, but the software also rendered the CD incompatible with many CD-ROM players in PC’s, CD players in cars, and DVD players. Additionally, the software left a back door open on all infected PC’s which would give Sony, or any hacker familiar with the rootkit, control over the PC. And if a consumer should have the temerity to find the rootkit and try to remove the offending drivers, the software would execute code designed to disable the CD drive and trash the PC.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Cyberwarfare Tactics

        One of the tactics of cyberwarfare has become persuading credit-card/payment businesses to block transfers to organizations being attacked. Recently we saw that tactic applied to WikiLeaks. Now it is a file-sharing site, MegaUpload. The RIAA has branded MegaUploads a “rogue website” even though 70% of Fortune 500 companies use MegaUpload as a file distribution service.

      • ACTA

        • Wikileaks ACTA Cables Reveal Concern With U.S. Secrecy Demands

          The Guardian has posted two Wikileaks cables that focus on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The first is from Italy in November 2008. It provides a useful reminder that the U.S. at one time hoped to conclude the ACTA negotiations by the end of 2008 (and the George Bush term).

Clip of the Day

Google Maps 5.0 for Android

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 23/12/2010: Linux/Android Gains in ARM, Nautilus 3.0 Mockups Debated

Posted in News Roundup at 4:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 2010 Was a Big Linux Year

    The omission of Android from the mainline Linux kernel sparked heated debate through much of 2010.

  • What if the whole world ran Linux?

    Certainly the biggest effect of widespread Linux adoption would be that today’s Windows-dominated monoculture would disappear, replaced instead by a diversity of Linux distributions.

    That, in turn, would make life very difficult for malware creators. Sure, they may begin focusing their efforts on Linux rather than Windows, but instead of having one, huge, slow-moving easy target, it would be a matter of trying to kill 100 birds with one stone.

  • Price and Performance

    Beside necessity, people are also seeing that smart-phones and other mobile PCs are quite useful. That means older PCs which have similar capability are also useful. The facts that XP is deprecated and “7″ won’t run on old PCs means that GNU/Linux will be seen as a way to extend the life of PCs. I see that every day getting better performance from old PCs with GNU/Linux than with XP.

  • Intel, Microsoft may face strong challenge from ARM/Android

    With rumors that Microsoft will announce a Windows operating system designed specifically for ARM-based platforms at CES 2011, plus the fact that Intel has been working aggressively on its Linux-based MeeGo system, sources from notebook players believe that the issues are an indication that the two giants’ influence on PC vendors and makers will become weaker in 2011 as the two do not have strong control over the tablet PC market, while they are having difficulty entering the smartphone industry and may face declining market share in the PC market.s

  • Digitimes Sees Diversification Ahead for PCs. I see GNU/Linux on Retail Shelves.

    Wintel may be able to hold a few niches like business and USA but the rest of the world will dramatically change in 2011, limited only by production capacity and not monopoly.

  • Desktop

    • Making Ordinary Laptops Into Ubuntu Laptops

      Systems get into the “Certified” list (once they pass the test criteria) for different reasons. One of them is because at Canonical we work with manufacturers to make sure that Ubuntu is pre-install with their hardware. Hence, you can go to a shop and buy a laptop with Ubuntu in it. But, what happens when you want to upgrade you laptop to the latest Ubuntu version?

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 181 – BeardCash

      In this chock-full holiday episode: Lots of WikiLeaks updates, OpenBSD backdoored by the FBI, news on Novell’s patent sale, Matt Asay leaves Canonical, Fedora Design Team trouble, some Microsoft and Oracle watch and much more…

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Ten Linux Distros that use Enlightenment

      In case you haven’t noticed I’ve had a bit of an obsession with the Enlightenment desktop of the late. Even though this desktop is fantastic there are currently not very many distributions that utilize it. Today I would like to take the time to mention those that offer a version with my favorite desktop.

    • It’s too hard is no excuse.

      Linux is too hard. Linux is too different. Linux doesn’t have this or that program. Linux is not compatible with x or y or z. Linux is blah blah blah….

      People come up with all of these reasons to explain why they don’t use Linux. But really they are not reasons at all but simply excuses for laziness. You might even think that with all the tripe that is trotted out that most people don’t have the intelligence to be able to use Linux.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • [Amarak] Code-In a Big Success for Documentation

        Last week the students continued to work on our Handbook, and the tasks are progressing very nicely. Now that the Handbook tasks are almost finished, they are lending a hand for our next “Amarok Insider” (past issues available at http://amarok.kde.org/Insider). It’s inspiring to work with these students, some of whom are very young, and yet are so smart, and work so hard. They have started hanging out in the #amarok and #rokymotion channel more, and getting to know some of our developers and helpful testers and users. I’ve set 39 tasks so far, and 25 are already completed! And most of my open tasks are claimed, so we’re doing very well.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Rumor: Red Hat could move HQ to Durham

        Rumors about the possibility of Raleigh-based Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) moving its headquarters have persisted throughout 2010 and may be resolved next year, if talk on the street is correct.

        Talk of moving the Linux software developer to the West Coast has been one rumor that former executives confirmed earlier this year never ceased to be discussed within the company.

    • Debian Family

      • Four years with Debian Testing

        I would really like to see a Desktop oriented branch of Debian, and please do not tell me that I can use Ubuntu, because that is not Debian, maybe we can think about Linux Mint Debian Edition, but if Debian does not offer a real Desktop oriented release, all those based on Debian, have two options, in my option:

        1. Patch the packages like Ubuntu, to offer an up to date and stable release (Ubuntu is based on Sid)
        2. Offer an almost vanilla Debian more or less like Mint Debian Edition, but this approach will have the problem that when testing is frozen, the distribution based on Testing will be frozen too.

      • People behind Debian: Mehdi Dogguy, release assistant

        I’m 27 years old. I grew up in Ariana in northern Tunisia, but have been living in Paris, France, since 2002.

        I’m a PhD Student at the PPS laboratory where I study synchronous concurrent process calculi.

        I became interested in Debian when I saw one of my colleagues, Samuel Mimram (first sponsor and advocate) trying to resolve #440469, which is a bug reported against a program I wrote. We have never been able to resolve it but my intent to contribute was born there. Since then, I started to maintain some packages and help where I can.

      • “What’s this ‘DEEE-bee-en’ you write about?” Or will Linux ever (ever?) make its move on the desktop?
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Wayland: Shuttleworth’s post-Mac makeover

          Don’t expect Unity and Wayland to be the last of what looks to be a year of massive overhaul for Ubuntu.

        • Tunisian LoCo meeting with Mark Shuttleworth

          During the the 6th edition of the National Conference on Open Source Software in Tunisia our LoCo team scheduled a meeting with Mark. This meeting was an occasion for Tunisian LoCo members and Tunisian FOSS community members to meet Mark and discuss, during one hour, about the LoCo team activity, Ubuntu development, Unity, etc…

Free Software/Open Source


  • Sergey Kolesnikov’s tale of palatial corruption, Russian style

    You can see the sprawling, Italian-style palace on the Black Sea in satellite photos. There’s a fitness spa, a hideaway “tea house,” a concert amphitheater and a pad for three helicopters. It’s still under construction, but already the cost is said to total more than $1 billion.

    And most amazing of all, according to a Russian whistleblower named Sergey Kolesnikov, it was predominantly paid for with money donated by Russian businessmen for the use of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The funds have come “mainly through a combination of corruption, bribery and theft,” charges Kolesnikov, a businessman who until November 2009 worked for one of the companies he alleges was investing money for Putin.

  • Security

    • Spamhaus DDoS blamed on shady Russian hosts, not Anonymous

      Anti-spam organisation Spamhaus has recovered from a denial of service attack over the weekend.

      Initially though, Spamhaus may have been attacked in response to its warning that a WikiLeaks mirror called WikiLeaks.info was being hosted by a Russian bullet-proof hosting outfit, called Webalta, that also played home to phishing, carding and malware sites. Spamhaus advised users to use a safer mirror, WikilLeaks.ch, instead. Trend Micro harboured similar concerns over WikiLeaks.info’s association with Webalta and its reseller Heihachi.net, described by Trend as a “safe haven for criminals and fraudsters”.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • sAttorney General Warns of ‘Constant’ Terror Threats — Are We Any Safer?
    • How to Record the Cops

      Cameras without wireless networking capabilities are the least attractive option. If they are destroyed or confiscated in the field, you probably have lost the damning video you just recorded, including any footage documenting how your camera was confiscated or destroyed. But provided you can hold on to your machine, digital video recorders today are inexpensive, small, and practical. The most popular easy-to-use brand right now is the Flip Video line of cameras, which start at $149. Even the cheapest Flips fit in your pocket, power up in about three seconds, and feature one-button recording. They include a built-in USB port and instant formatting for hosting sites such as LiveLeak and YouTube.

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks: Bradley Manning speaks about his conditions

      At Firedoglake, David House writes a lengthy and detailed report from visits with Pfc. Bradley Manning, who has been in military detention for months for being the presumed source of Wikileaks’ most damning US government leaks. He has not yet been convicted of a crime. Manning’s lawyer and others have written about his detention conditions as “extreme” and amounting to cruel and inhumane treatment. The sleep deprivation, movement deprivation, solitary confinement, and other elements of his current condition amount to torture, by widely accepted definitions.

    • Bradley Manning and the Convenient Memories of Adrian Lamo

      So far every piece of evidence against Bradley Manning comes from one source, Adrian Lamo, a hacker who was institutionalized by the police three weeks before he alleges Manning contacted him and confessed he turned over materials to Wikileaks.

    • Bradley Manning Speaks About His Conditions

      Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old Army private accused of leaking classified information to Wikileaks, has been held in the brig at Quantico Marine Corp Base for five months in inhumane conditions, with severe restrictions on his ability to exercise, communicate, or even sleep. Manning has not been convicted of any crime. Nor is there a date certain for any court hearing.

      The conditions of Bradley Manning’s confinement became a top issue in the press last week as bloggers traded blows with US officials over allegations that Manning endures inhumane treatment at the Quantico, VA detainment facility. In the midst of this rush by the Defense Department to contextualize Manning’s confinement, I traveled to see the man himself at the Marine Corps detainment facility in Quantico, VA.

    • What We Learn From WikiLeaks

      In U.S. elite media, the main revelation of the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables is that the U.S. government conducts its foreign policy in a largely admirable fashion.

    • US Army: Atheists Unfit To Serve

      The purpose of this survey is to measure an individual soldier’s competency in four areas, Emotional, Social, Family and Spiritual. Justin is an atheist, as well as a highly dedicated soldier, but according to the SFT, he is “unfit” to serve specifically because he is a non-believer.

  • Finance

    • Four More on the GOP Primer for the FCIC.

      Sorry, have been out of the loop for a few days, and missed the last round about that Republican primer on how to read the upcoming FCIC report. Four things.

    • New Jersey Courts May Order Foreclosure Freeze

      There needs to be a regulatory response to this, for both the integrity of our courts as well as for the economy. If you’d like to express yourself on this issue, please check out this petition at Stop Servicer Scams.

    • More people fell out of Obama mortgage-aid program

      More troubled homeowners are dropping out of the Obama administration’s main foreclosure-relief program, which has been widely criticized for failing to help more people keep their homes.

    • Buy vs. Rent: An Update

      It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. The country has suffered through a terrible crash in home prices, yet buying a house remains an iffy proposition in many markets.

    • In a Sign of Foreclosure Flaws, Suits Claim Break-Ins by Banks

      When Mimi Ash arrived at her mountain chalet here for a weekend ski trip, she discovered that someone had broken into the home and changed the locks.

    • Stocks flat as GDP growth falls below forecasts

      Major stock indexes were flat Wednesday after a report showed that the U.S. economy did not grow as fast as previously thought in the three months ending in September.

    • More Illegal Foreclosure Bank Break-Ins

      I wonder if you could go to a Bank CEO’s home, break into his house, and throw out all of his personal possessions — family heirlooms, photos, awards — then claim a paperwork error.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Porn, cash and the slippery slope to the National Security State

      One of the most unsettling experiences of the last decade has been watching Western democracies sleepwalking into a national security nightmare. Each incremental step towards total surveillance follows the same script. It goes like this: first, a new security ‘threat’ is uncovered, revealed or hypothesised; then a technical ’solution’ to the new threat is proposed, trialled (sometimes) and then implemented — usually at formidable cost to the public; finally, the new ’solution’ proves inadequate. But instead of investigating whether it might have been misguided in the first place, a new, even more intrusive, ’solution’ is proposed and implemented.

    • nternational Symposium on Freedom of Expression, Paris, 26 January 2011

      UNESCO is holding an ‘International Symposium on Freedom of Expression‘ on 26 January 2011, with the support of the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO. One panel session will focus on freedom of expression on the Internet, and we also expect that our UNESCO publication, entitled ‘Freedom of Connection – Freedom of Expression‘, will be launched. A penultimate draft of the manuscript is online at SSRN, but a print version will be available by the date of the symposium.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • FCC launches Open Internet Apps Challenge

      In the fallout of the controversial net neutrality order approved by the FCC today, they extend what at least on the surface appears to be an olive branch towards openness: the Open Internet Apps Challenge on challenge.gov.

    • As Expected, FCC Approving Net Neutrality Rules That AT&T Wants

      For years, we’ve been pointing out that while the concept of net neutrality is important, any attempt by the government to put it into law would inevitably involve lobbyists twisting it to be quite favorable to the telcos and others.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • DHS relied on bizarre legal reasoning and crappy evidence to seize “pirate” domains
      • ACTA

        • The Final Acts of ACTA

          Although the current excitement over the gradual release of the Wikileaks documents is justified in that it concerns what is undoubtedly an important development for the future of the Internet, it has rather overshadowed another area where crucial decisions are being made: the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). In fact, ACTA finally seems to be nearing the end of its slow and painful crawl through the secret negotiation process that only recently we have been allowed glimpses of. And the more we learn, the more troublesome it is.

Clip of the Day

WikiRebels – The Documentary (2/4)

WikiRebels – The Documentary (3/4)

WikiRebels – The Documentary (4/4)

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 23/12/2010: FOSS is Not “Non-commercial”, Firefox 4 Beta 3 for Mobile

Posted in News Roundup at 10:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Removing the big kernel lock. A big deal?

      There’s a lot of hubbub recently about removing the big kernel lock completely in Linux 2.6.37. That is it’s now possible to compile a configuration without any BKL use. There is still some code depending on the BKL,
      but it can be compiled out. But is that a big deal?

      First some background: Linux 2.0 was originally ported to SMP the complete kernel ran under a single lock, to preserve the same semantics for kernel code as on uni-processor kernels. This was known as the big kernel lock.
      Then over time more and more code was moved out of the lock (see chapter 6 in LK09 Scalability paper for more details)

      In Linux 2.6 kernels very few subsystems actually still rely on the BKL. And most code that uses it is not time critical.
      The biggest (moderately critical) users were a few file systems like reiserfs and NFS. The kernel lockf()/F_SETFL file locking subsystem was also still using the BKL. And the biggest user (in terms of amount of code) were the ioctl callbacks in drivers. While there are a lot of them (most drivers have ioctls) the number of cycles spent in them tends
      to be rather minimal. Usually ioctls are just used for initialization and other comparatively rare jobs.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Embedded GPUs On Linux Remain A Great Big Mess

        For anyone that happens to be on holiday this week (or just have excess time otherwise), there is another lively and polarized discussion that’s been taking place for the past several days on the DRI mailing list. What does it involve if it’s not about developer disagreements amongst themselves? Embedded GPU driver support on Linux, of course. This mailing list thread just reaffirms how the situation is a great big mess.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Elementary’s new Wingpanel in action

        What is nice about Wingpanel is that it saves real-estate without compromising the functionality of the indicators.

      • GTK+3 Now Uses X Input 2 By Default, New Back-End Caps

        Due out today is the latest GNOME 3.0 development snapshot, GNOME 2.91.4, and because of that in recent days there’s been a slew of GNOME package check-ins. Landing yesterday was GTK+ 2.91.7, the latest version of the GTK+ 3.0 tool-kit that plays one of the most important roles on the GNOME desktop. While it’s getting late in the release cycle and this GNOME tool-kit has already delivered lots of new features, the changes keep rolling.

      • Window Applets 0.2.10, Released
  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Working Together To Get Unity Ready For Natty

          As many of you will know, we have been working hard in the Ubuntu world to ensure that the transition to Unity is not only smooth and painless, but also provides the best possible user experience. To do this the DX team, Ayatana community, desktop team, and my team have been working closely to ensure we are not only getting plenty of testing for Unity, but helping to ensure the community is an open and accessible as possible.

        • Free Fonts Forever

          When you think open source, chances are you think software. You may not know that there are open-source fonts as well. Today, Google and Ubuntu have released a new free, open font to the Web: the Ubuntu Font Family.


          To add the Ubuntu Font Family to your pages go to the Google Font Directory Select “Ubuntu” and insert the two lines of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) code provided as instructed into your page The full font source code can be downloaded from the Ubuntu font page.

        • Getting the Ubuntu font working on your own website
        • Helping out Compiz

          In case you’ve missed out, smspillaz has started working fulltime at Canonical on working on Compiz.

          Sam’s been shuffling getting things fixed in the code and needs a bit of help, so I asked him to put together a list of things Compiz could use help with.

        • Sound Indicator news and updates
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Fonts in Edubuntu

            Every now and again, educators ask me where they can get more fonts for Edubuntu. We include great desktop publishing software (scribus-ng, inkscape, gimp, etc) in Edubuntu, but our default font selection is rather dry and uninspiring. A few weeks back I looked whether there are some nice fonts in the Ubuntu archive that we could include. I figured that even if there’s one or two good ones available that we could ship, then it would at least be some improvement. The results were quite surprising, there are a wealth of fonts available in the archives.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Community and Context: Thoughts on Closing Comments

      Google has asked a number of TV and set-top box makers to delay plans to release new Google TV products at the beginning of next year. According to a New York Times report, Google plans to revamp the software due to its “lukewarm reception” and decidedly ho-hum reviews.

      The Google TV concept seemed promising, in particular the application of search to tie together the various sources of content—broadcast, cable, satellite, online—and bypassing many of the frustrating listing guides. However, many networks have so far blocked Google TV access to their online content. Additionally, the push to include full access to the Web required a keyboard and mouse for navigation, resulting in some awkward and bulky remotes.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • IBM releases open source version of TranslationManager/2

    A reference implementation of a fully open translation environment is available to integrate the OpenTM2 CAT system with the free Joomla CMS and the equally free GlobalSight translation management system by Welocalize.

  • NX Compression Technology To Go Closed Source
  • ☆ FOSS is not “non-commercial”

    I keep seeing people contrasting “free/open source software” with “commercial software”. This is a really bad contrast, as in my experience almost all open source software is commercial. It’s just commercial in a different way.

  • The CENATIC Foundation’s OSS report

    The CENATIC Foundation, a public foundation based in Spain, has announced the release of a report on “the international status of open source software 2010.”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 Has Arrived

      Oracle’s VM VirtualBox virtualization software just went into beta two weeks ago, but since then they have put out four beta releases. Now though Oracle is already ready to announce the official release of VM VirtualBox 4.0.

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD chief believes contractor tried to write backdoors

      The lead developer of the OpenBSD operating system says that he believes that a government contracting firm that contributed code to his project “was probably contracted to write backdoors,” which would grant secret access to encrypted communications.

      Posting to an OpenBSD discussion list Tuesday, Theo de Raadt said that while he now believes that a company called Netsec may have been involved in backdoors, he doesn’t think that any of this software made it into the OpenBSD code base.

    • Update on the OpenBSD IPSEC backdoor allegation

      Theo de Raadt has summarized what is known, so far, about the allegation that OpenBSD’s IPSEC stack had a backdoor inserted into it by contractors at the behest of the US FBI. Some code auditing has been done, and found some problems, but no “smoking gun” has been found.


    • FSF Fall 2010 bulletin articles start to appear

      In the first article, operations manager at the FSF, John Sullivan talks about how the lending problem is an artificial scarcity in the digital age.

      In the second, Benjamin Mako Hill — a member of the FSF’s board of directors — confronts the fact that free software is sometimes not as high quality or featureful as proprietary alternatives and that most free software projects aren’t particularly collaborative.

    • Lending: A solved problem

      Lending and borrowing are not desirable activities. They are things we do when we have to, when there isn’t enough of something to go around. Not to say that lending something like a book to a friend is without benefits beyond access to the material; it can create a shared experience that makes for good conversation, or provide an excuse to see each other.

  • Licensing

    • Software Licensing – Don’t Complain If You Don’t Like The License

      Free Software licenses are designed to ensure that the source code cannot be taken proprietary, and to attempt to maintain the user’s freedom to do whatever they want. The General Public License (GPL) is the most common Free Software license. It was recently updated to Version 3 to cover situations that didn’t exist when Version 2 was written.

      A common complaint is that Free Software licenses are communistic, which they aren’t. They are communalistic, in the same tradition as a North American school or church raising.

      The GPL is considered restrictive by a lot of organizations which would like to use software that uses it as a license. For one example, I was told that if the Linux Kernel moved to GPL V3 it would kill the use of the Linux Kernel in mobile phones. When I asked why they didn’t just switch to one of the BSD kernels like Apple did, the response was that the Linux Kernel was more suitable.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Language Harmonization at Creative Commons

      One of the most important values at Creative Commons is the usability of our tools. We strive to make all of our tools human-readable, often bridging dissonant vocabularies and frameworks to ensure our tools are compatible and understandable the world over. The challenge of localization is balancing legally sound terminology with culturally palatable translations. Sometimes the terms in which lawyers and courts communicate are unfamiliar or alienating to users outside of the legal profession. Moreover, even within the legal field, there can be a range of opinions about which terms are most appropriate.

    • How Creative Commons saved Ficlets


  • 11 Free Tools to Test the Speed of your Website
  • Humour

  • Science

    • Google Scholar Spam

      In a previous paper we provided guidelines for scholars on optimizing research articles for academic search engines such as Google Scholar. Feedback in the academic community to these guidelines was diverse.

    • Blackawton bees [written by schoolchildren]
    • Border collie takes record for biggest vocabulary

      IN THE age-old war between cats and dogs, canines might just have struck the killer blow. A border collie called Chaser has been taught the names of 1022 items – more than any other animal. She can also categorise them according to function and shape, something children learn to do around the age of 3.

      Chaser follows in the footsteps of Rico, who trained at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Rico had a “vocabulary” of 200 words and could identify new objects in a group of familiar objects by a process of elimination, according to a study published in 2004.

    • Another case of early human interbreeding confirmed in Siberia

      It’s been a busy year in research on recent human ancestry. Back in the spring, scientists completed a draft of the Neanderthal genome, which provided clear evidence that these now-extinct humans left some of their genes behind by interbreeding with some human ancestors. A bit earlier in the year, DNA sequencing revealed an even larger surprise: there seems to have been another population of premodern humans present in Asia that were genetically distinct from modern humans and Neanderthals. Now, the team behind both of these discoveries is back with a draft genome of this population that suggests it was genetically distinct from both humans and Neanderthals, and a single tooth that suggests it was physically distinct. And that it also interbred with the ancestors of a modern human population.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • John Pilger – The War You Don’t See

      John Pilger says in the film: “We journalists… have to be brave enough to defy those who seek our collusion in selling their latest bloody adventure in someone else’s country… That means always challenging the official story, however patriotic that story may appear, however seductive and insidious it is. For propaganda relies on us in the media to aim its deceptions not at a far away country but at you at home… In this age of endless imperial war, the lives of countless men, women and children depend on the truth or their blood is on us… Those whose job it is to keep the record straight ought to be the voice of people, not power.”

    • SIU charges Toronto police officer with assault during G20

      The G20 protester whose violent arrest was caught on video and caused controversy when no officers were initially held responsible said he’s glad a police officer has been charged.

      But protester Adam Nobody and his lawyers called on Toronto’s police chief on Tuesday to help identify other officers who were involved in the case.

      Toronto police Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani was charged Tuesday with assault with a weapon in the takedown of Nobody at the Ontario legislature during the June summit.

    • WikiLeaks: imperial precedent

      In December 1917 British imperial troops occupied Jerusalem, ending four centuries of Ottoman rule. Earlier that year, the British Empire also took control of Baghdad, and was advancing across the middle east. In Asia and the West, the British government spread the message that they were bringing a new age of national freedom to the Arabs. Unfortunately for Whitehall, however, the newly installed Bolsheviks in Russia had their own message to tell the world. A couple of weeks before General Allenby, the chief of British forces in Palestine, made his official entrance on foot through the Jaffa Gate of the old city of Jerusalem, the Bolsheviks published the secret agreements that they had just discovered in the Russian archives.

      This was the first major leak of international diplomatic documents, the scale of which has never been surpassed. If Julian Assange and his associates had access to the inner sanctum of the White House and the Pentagon, they might get close to documentation that was of similar significance. Pride of place amongst the material published by the Russians was a plan by the British and French governments in 1916 to carve up the middle east between themselves after the war.

    • Audio Podcast #72: Byron Sonne is Still in Prison

      The strange, suppressed story of Byron Sonne, the G-20 security hacker who has been held, unconvicted, for 6 months and counting.

    • White House Drafts Executive Order For Indefinite Detention

      The White House is preparing an Executive Order on indefinite detention that will provide periodic reviews of evidence against dozens of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, according to several administration officials.

    • Insurgency Movements in India

      Wikipedia lists 16 belligerent groups and 68 major organization as terrorist groups in India, which include: nine in the northeast (Seven Sisters), four in the center & the east (including Maoist/Naxalites), seventeen in the west (Sikh separatist groups), and 38 in the northwest (Kashmir).

    • G20 protests: Don’t let charge be end of story

      There is a lesson in the laying of charges Tuesday against a police officer in connection with the beating of a G20 protester: we don’t have to acquiesce when the authorities circle the wagons.

      Many allegations of police misconduct were made following the G20 summit in Toronto last June, where more than 1,000 people were arrested, most of them without charge. But in the immediate aftermath of the summit, officialdom excused and even lauded the police overreaction. Toronto City Council passed a motion commending “the outstanding work” of the police. Then councilor — now mayor — Rob Ford went further and said “our police were too nice.” The Toronto Police Services Board, which is supposed to exercise civilian oversight over the force, issued a press release thanking the police for “the manner in which they conducted themselves.”

    • Lone policeman identifies colleague charged with assault in G20 arrest

      After nearly six months, several videos and a showdown between Toronto’s police chief and a provincial watchdog that played out in front of the national media, an officer has been charged with beating a man during the G20 demonstrations.

  • Cablegate

    • WTF? OMG, LOL! CIA gives WikiLeaks taskforce naughty name

      The CIA has launched a taskforce to assess the impact of 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables. Its name? WikiLeaks Task Force, or WTF for short.

      The group will scour the released documents to survey damage caused by the disclosures. One of the most embarrassing revelations was that the US state department had drawn up a list of information it would like on key UN figures – it later emerged the CIA had asked for the information.

    • How Wikileaks killed Spain’s anti-P2P law

      Spain last night killed a controversial anti-P2P bill that would have made it easier to shut down websites that link to infringing content. The move was a blow to the ruling Socialist government, but it may be of even bigger concern to the US, which pushed, threatened, and cajoled Spain to clamp down on downloading. And Wikileaks can take a share of the credit for the defeat.

    • Spain’s House rejects new copyright law; #cablegate showed it had been written by the US government

      The Spanish House of Representatives has rejected a new copyright law that would have made the nation’s file-sharing sites and services illegal. Some of the leaked #cablegate cables affirmed what many had suspected: the law had been pushed by the US government on behalf of the Hollywood studios. Local activists told me that they believed the legislation would pass despite broad national condemnation; however, El Pais accelerated its schedule in oder to release the relevant cables before the House voted — and it seems that this did the trick.

    • Video on MSNBC [Assange]
    • Bank of America Shares Defy WikiLeaks Reports

      Several of them related to WikiLeaks, whose founder Julian Assange, has said he has major revelations that may cause the head of a large U.S. bank to resign. There has been widespread speculation, drawing on earlier comments made by Assange, that Bank of America is Assange’s target.

    • WikiLeaks cables: McDonald’s used US to put pressure on El Salvador

      McDonald’s tried to delay the US government’s implementation of a free-trade agreement in order to put pressure on El Salvador to appoint neutral judges in a $24m (£15.5m) lawsuit it was fighting in the country. The revelation of the McDonald’s strategy to ensure a fair hearing for a long-running legal battle against a former franchisee comes from a leaked US embassy cable dated 15 February 2006.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Bangladeshi ‘death squad’ trained by UK government
    • WikiLeaks cables: Vatican vetoed Holocaust memorial over Pius XII row
    • WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS for Tuesday, the Day 24 Blog [still being updated]

      5:15 Don’t know what to make of this—the French may be claiming something that, in fact, was not true (the usual problem with these cables)—but Mondoweiss calls this a “smoking gun” showing US secretly backed Israeli settlement growth even as Obama denied that.

      5:05 The Guardian in its usual late-afternoon move with half dozen stories on new cables with wild range: from UK training death squads in Bangladesh and Halliburton involved with “mafia” in Iraq to Anna Nicole Smith in the Bahamas, a vetoed memorial to a Pope, and “burger giant” McDonald’s getting US aid in lawsuit. The death squad story will be huge in UK—story notes that even the US would not help because of their “extra-judicial killings.” We did provide “human rights” advice….

    • Transcript: The Assange interview [BBC propaganda]
    • Julian Assange: ‘I feel at peace’
    • [Michael Moore talks about WikiLeaks]
    • Assange’s “already assassinated” comment, clarified

      A Wikileaks volunteer points to this as the source of that reference: a report of Wikileaks writers in Kenya having been killed in 2009. I cannot yet confirm the content of the article, but I’m updating the blog to note that this is what Assange was referring to.

    • Wikileaks: Manning’s attorney on the laws he’ll use to fight inhumane treatment

      David House, a personal friend of Manning, visited him in the brig over the weekend, and plans to blog about the conditions on Firedoglake.

    • My Exclusive Interview with WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

      ASSANGE: Well, I have been a member of the Australian press union for many years. I co-authored my first book when I was 25 and have been involved in setting up the — the very fabric of the Internet in Australia since 1993 as a publisher.

      So quite interesting that this is something that is being raised.

      It’s — it’s actually a quite deliberate attempt to split off our organization from the First Amendment protections that are afforded to all publishers.

      You know, as time has gone by and our journalism has increased, I’ve been pushed up into senior management, into a position where I manage other journalists. I now even am in a — in a position where I’m managing the interrelations between “The Guardian,” “Spiegel,” “The New York Times,” “Al Jazeera” and so on, which were used in — in our last production.

      So, yes, unfortunately, I don’t write that much anymore, because I’m busy being editor-in-chief, coordinating the actions of other journalists. But a quite deliberate attempt to split us off in the mind of the public from those “good” traditions of the United States, protecting the rights of the press to publish, to split us off from the support of the press in the United States, the support of journalists.

      Some of those journalists have fallen for that.

      And why?

    • Freedom is Sexy: Julian Assange
    • Issues and challenges for the post-Cablegate world

      Already the birds are chirping (they’re not tweeting anymore) about WikiLeaks and its Cablegate affair, how it came to be, how it got blocked, how it got filtered, DDoS’ed, removed from Amazon’s cloud service, PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, how its founder became wanted by the Interpol and arrested for sex crimes, how a 16-year old boy was arrested for DDoS’ing etc. etc., so I won’t bother you with this. Also I am not really interested much in what the cables say and whether they should have leaked or not.

      No, this post is about what I think we have to watch out after Cablegate.

      In all honesty, I think that traditional media and the general public will get bored with WikiLeaks and forget about it in about a months’ time. That is unless WikiLeaks has some pretty well-planned and well-timed tricks up his sleeve (which still may be the case).


      And let us not forget that ACTA is still hanging above our heads. This is not the time to get sidetracked. In fact, we should fight harder to stop ACTA! Chances are that governments might try to pass it as soon as it can in the wrong fate it would prevent future such affairs.

      We need to remember that this problem was not triggered by Cablegate, it merely put it in the limelight.

    • Community and Context: Thoughts on Closing Comments

      This afternoon, several of our readers questioned our decision to close the comment thread on Jaron Lanier’s post about WikiLeaks, “The Hazards of Nerd Supremacy.” The discussion transformed into an extended Twitter conversation with some of my favorite writers, professors, and readers about the ethics and strategy of that decision. I’d like to walk through my thinking with you all here.

    • Jaron Lanier’s Virtual Reality

      What the Wikileaks cables show is precisely that those sanctioned “secretive spheres” are not currently accountable to the civilian sphere. They show all the shady deals made in backrooms, the outright lies told to the public to keep us quiet, the connivance with big business to ensure that profit comes before ethics.

      Lanier’s logic seems to be that everything’s fine and the revelations of Wikileaks will only mess things up. And until Wikileaks’ revelations, people might have gone along with that analysis, since that was the story that governments were feeding us. But in the wake of Wikileaks, that is simply not a tenable position: as the words of diplomats delineate time and again, everything is not fine, and the social pact of accepting those “secretive spheres” in return for a responsible use of the advantage they bring has been broken.

    • Julian Assange’s All-Star Legal Team: the Starting Lineup

      It seems that with every new story about the plight of Julian Assanage, we are introduced to another member of the WikiLeaks leader’s legal team. Let’s remake the acquaintance of these accomplished attorneys before he hires another one and we lose track again.

    • Lawmakers Must Respect Freedom of Expression in Wikileaks Debate

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and a broad coalition of advocacy organizations sent an open letter to U.S. lawmakers today, calling on government officials to respect freedom of expression in the debate over the whistle-blower website Wikileaks.

    • American Soldiers Should Be First in Line To Defend Bradley Manning

      If average soldiers were to operate under this assumption, moreover, political and military elites would be forced to take the time to actually hide any truly sensitive documents from the view of hundreds of thousands of people, as they should have been doing from day one.

    • WikiLeaks Joins Forces With Lebedev’s Moscow-Based Newspaper Novaya Gazeta

      President Dmitry Medvedev said the documents published by WikiLeaks don’t hurt Russia’s interests and that the Russian authorities don’t care what’s being discussed in diplomatic circles.

      “When people communicate, they sometimes use very harsh language and if such a leak had happened from our Foreign Ministry or secrete services, many of our partners, including Americans, would have got an emotional charge after reading ‘kind words’ about themselves,” Medvedev said during a meeting with students in Mumbai today.

      WikiLeaks was condemned by the U.S. government for posting thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic and military documents. Assange was released from a London prison on bail on Dec. 16. He turned himself in to British authorities Dec. 7 after Sweden issued a warrant for his extradition on counts of sexual molestation and rape.

    • WikiLeaks partners with Russian paper for Kremlin corruption dump
    • Wikileaks – The Movie (“The social leak”)
    • Three-Strikes “Typhoid Mary” Identified Via Wikileaks

      While official channels want us to focus on Julian Assange, the real meat of Wikileaks is not the leader but the leaks. And news from Spain suggests we should be learning from those leaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • UK’s infrastructure will struggle to cope with climate change, report warns

      Britons might have to get used to power blackouts and disrupted travel plans as the country struggles to cope with the long-term effects of climate change, a report for the government has warned.

      Consumers will have to learn they cannot expect cheap heating and lighting and to go where or when they want as floods, rising temperatures and higher sea levels threaten the UK’s road, rail, water and energy networks, it says.

      If that warning was not sombre enough in a month when air, rail and road travel has been badly hit by the weather, mighty storms and changes in wind direction could threaten some of the country’s busiest ports and airports. That would mean the abandonment of coastal docks and increasing pressure for the building of new runways throughout southern Britain.

  • Finance

    • CONFIRMED: Bank Of America Is The Wikileaks Target

      Update: The interviewer claims that Assange never personally said Bank of America was a target, and that the news was falsely reported by AFP.

      Update: Everyone has suspected it, but it was never officially confirmed by Julian Assange: Bank of America is the bank he has tons of documents on.

      He made the comments in his Times of London interview, but that interview was behind a paywall, so nobody really noticed the news

      Now we can stop presuming that it’s the bank. Now it’s just a question of what he has, and whether it’s as damaging as he thinks it is.

    • Confirmed (?) Wikileaks’ next target is Bank of America (UPDATE)

      Buried in that Times of London article you didn’t read because it was behind a paywall was confirmation by Julian Assange that Wikileaks will release a very large cache of documents about Bank of America, to be released in early 2011.

      “We don’t want the bank to suffer unless it’s called for,” Assange told The Times. “But if its management is operating in a responsive way there will be resignations,” he said, without giving details about the material.

      Oh, and,

      Assange compared WikiLeaks’ “persecution” to that endured by Jews in the US in the 1950s.

    • Bankster robberies: Bank of America and friends wrongfully foreclose on customers, steal all their belongings

      The NYT reports on a growing phenomenon of wrongful foreclosure by US banks on homeowners who are caught up on their mortgage payments — and on homeowners who have no mortgage at all. In some cases, homeowners return from vacation to discover their locks changed and their every earthly possession sent to the dump (one woman lost her dead husband’s ashes when her bank burgled her ski chalet).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Conservative links to Murdoch under scrutiny as private meeting revealed

      Rupert Murdoch’s close links to the Conservative party were thrown into the spotlight today after it emerged that the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, held a private meeting with the tycoon’s son, James, at which no civil servants were present.

      The meeting took place on 28 June, shortly after News Corp said it had made an offer to buy the 61% of BSkyB it does not already own.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Who is behind the porn-block campaign?

      Who is Ms Suit?

      Well, intrepid reader Sugar The Pill sent us a link to this page which shows Ms Suit previously stood as a candidate for the Christian People’s Alliance.

      Want to know more? Here are her views:

      We must not forget the influence of the media: it needs much stronger regulation so that our young people are not constantly conditioned by violent films, video games and lyrics; pornography must be outlawed so that it cannot undermine marriage and the dignity of women and encourage sex crime. All schools should teach Christian values.

      In 2000 co-founded Mediamarch, a peaceful protest group “seeking stronger obscenity laws and restoration of basic decency to all media”.

      And now she has co-founded Safer Media, which has come out nowhere to be extensively quoted everywhere by the media. This is the BBC’s idea of balance.

      Compare that to the other side of the debate, the Open Rights Group, which has thousands of supporters and years of experience in evidence based campaigning.

    • BAA accused of banning passengers from filming travel chaos

      It seems that UK airport bosses are not content with keeping passengers in the dark as to when they will ever leave the ground. Angry passengers who’d rather be swilling their eggnog in foreign climes have told El Reg that British Airports Authority (BAA) staff are stopping passengers stranded at Heathrow – and other airports – from filming the ensuing chaos on their mobiles.

    • Judge Makes Feds Pay Pocket Change To Two Lawyers It Wiretapped Without A Warrant

      Yes, if you share a a few songs you love with others, you may get fined millions of dollars, but if you’re the US government, and you violate the 4th Amendment by spying on people without a warrant, you get fined $100 per day. And only for the two people who were able to bring a lawsuit because you screwed up and sent them the details of how you wiretapped them without a warrant. For everyone else who was wiretapped (or is still being wiretapped) without a warrant, you’re out of luck, unless the government makes the same mistake with you, and then you go through years of trials to get $100 per day of wiretapping for your troubles.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The FCC’s weak new “open Internet” rules

      Republicans and their house organ, Fox News, talk about Tuesday’s vote as a “plan to regulate the Internet,” and they’re half-right. They mouth platitudes about freedom and liberty. They end up with a free-fire zone for corporations — an oligopoly of content and services for captive consumers.

      But they’re right to be wary of regulation, because we’ve seen the corrosive effect of regulation in so many other arenas already. The FCC is already a captive of telecom companies in its traditional operations. Why would anyone expect this to be any different when it comes to the Internet? And the law of unintended consequences tells us that any regulations would be sure to have effects we can’t foresee today. That’s the issue the network-neutrality advocates also usually fail to address.

      What wasn’t on the table in the FCC’s deliberations was actual competition. Unlike many other countries, the United States doesn’t require Internet providers to share their lines and networks. By “share” I don’t mean “give away” — this is essentially about renting capacity to other companies that want to be ISPs. That’s how the Internet got so big so fast in the first place: Phone companies were not allowed to prevent other ISPs from offering service on phone lines, but now they’re allowed to prevent similar competition, and the market is a stifling oligopoly as a result.

      If you think the Internet should be an enhanced form of cable television, you should be happy where we’re heading. If you think it should be the messy and complex result of what innovators want to create, and what customers at the networks’ edges want to do with the creations, you should worry.

    • The neutering of the Net: what the FCC ruling means

      Net Neutrality is a concept like ‘transparency’ — something that most people are vaguely in favour of without realising what it really means. One consequence of this is that they are not motivated to defend it when it’s threatened: it’s hard to fight for something that you only vaguely understand. And yet, in principle, it’s not that complicated. Dan Gillmor articulates net neutrality as “the notion that end users (you and me) should decide what content and services we want without interference from the ISPs”. In other words, they provide the pipes (for which they get paid) and leave us free to choose what we want to pull down through them.

    • MYTH – we need a tiered internet

      The telcoms are already feeding from both ends of the trough.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Debunking The ‘But People Just Want Stuff For Free’ Myth

      One of the popular myths we always hear about content-based business models these days is that “but people just want stuff for free.” This has been debunked so many times, it’s silly, but it’s worth debunking again. One of the easiest ways to debunk it is to show examples of people being more than happy to pay, even if the content at the core of what they’re paying for is available for free. We saw this, a few years back, when Trent Reznor sold out of his $300 “Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition Package” of the Ghosts I-IV album, even though all of the tracks were available as a free download under a Creative Common license. To some extent, we saw this ourselves, when we offered our own CwF+RtB packages, and the more expensive packages outsold the cheaper ones.

    • Copyrights

      • Spanish Legislature Rejects Hollywood-Backed Copyright Law Changes

        We’ve discussed in the past how Spain actually has somewhat more reasonable copyright laws than other parts of the world. It says that personal, non-commercial copying is not against the law and also says that third parties should not be liable for copyright infringement done by their users. This seems perfectly reasonable but, of course, Hollywood hates it.

      • Where Record Labels Ran Into Trouble: Monoculture

        In summary, farming theory suggests that anytime you rely on a single crop (monoculture) over a long enough period of time, you can expect something really awful to come along that will ruin you. Why? Because of the common genetic code that results when you have a single crop in a single location for so long. What inevitably happens is that there is a change in the environment: disease, new wildlife, slight or great variances in the temperature or amount of sunlight, etc. And because your crops are all essentially the same, they’re all affected. So, instead, the theory suggests that you should always have multiple crops in production. That way, if something comes along that wipes out all of your rice crops, you still have your corn and wheat. Multiple streams of income, so that there is no single point of failure.

      • Movie Group Will DDoS The Courts To Have File-Sharing Laws Weakened

        A movie interests association has just announced an interesting new strategy. Having previously focused on having The Pirate Bay blocked in their home country, ACAPOR – which recently had its emails leaked by Operation Payback – says it will now make legal history by reporting unprecedented numbers of file-sharers to the authorities. Their aim? To have the law for infringements made less severe.

      • Harvard Newspaper Staff Apparently In Need Of A Lesson On Copyright Basic

        Copycense points us to an editorial in the Harvard Crimson apparently supporting the MPAA’s new demands to universities that they need to police their local networks to stop students from file sharing. The editorial has tons of problems — starting with the fact that it ignores that the MPAA lied to get the law passed in the first place. But the editorial has much more serious problems, and makes you wonder what they’re teaching students at Harvard these days.

      • Judge Orders Hearing To Deal With All ACS:Law File-Sharing Cases

        Following last month’s failed attempt by ACS:Law to have default judgments handed down to 8 individuals accused of illegal file-sharing, the company’s allegations have again been heard in court. Detailing a case where ACS failed to get the defendant’s name right, a judge has now rounded up all of the company’s outstanding cases for a hearing next month. Things are about to get interesting.

      • RIAA, MPAA recruit MasterCard to help them police the Internet

        Two weeks ago, MasterCard felt the wrath of Anonymous Operation Payback-style DDoS attacks after refusing to process payments that were intended to fund WikiLeaks, the website which began leaking confidential US diplomatic cables last month. Now, the company is preparing to head down another controversial path by pledging to deny transactions which support websites that host pirated movies, music, games, or other copyrighted content.

      • Pirate Bay’s Carl Lundstrom appeals appeal

        Carl Lundstrom, often tagged as the financier to The Pirate Bay, has “formally appealed to the Swedish Supreme Court against the denial of the party’s previous appeal in late November”, says Deutches Welle.

        “In an interview with Sveriges Radio’s P3 news program, Lundstrom’s attorney, Per E Samuelsson, said that his client does not accept the sentence of four months of jail time for himself, and a collective fine for him and the three other defendants of 46 million Swedish kronor (5.1 million euros)”, says the story.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Wikileaks – The Movie (“The social leak”)

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 22/12/2010: Red Hat Net Income Up 59 Percent, Linux 2.6.37 RC 7, Nautilus 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 5:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Report on the International Status of Open Source Software 2010

    The CENATIC Foundation, in keeping with its objective of raising awareness about open source technologies, regularly releases research reports that study the different aspects of open source software.

  • 2010: The Year in Free and Open Source Software

    Peter Brown, the executive director of the Free Software Foundation, suggested to me that Oracle has still to develop a coherent free software policy, but the decisions made by individual corporate units have caused shockwaves throughout FOSS in the last year — everything from a campaign to prevent Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL by Monty Widenius to the forking of LibreOffice from OpenOffice.org (see below). Such reactions leave little doubt that the community lacks confidence in Oracle as a steward for its FOSS acquisitions.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla to unload Firefox 4 spit and polish beta

        Firefox is due to release an eighth Firefox 4 beta. Not to be confused with a fourth Firefox 8 beta.

        The latest test version of Firefox 4 – due for an official debut next year – was scheduled to go live on Tuesday. Mozilla hasn’t added any new tools, but according to the release notes, the open sourcers have polished a few things, including the browser’s Sync service, which synchronizes bookmarks, history, and other setting across multiple devices; its WebGL 3D rendering tech; and its add-ons manager.

      • ‘Do Not Track’ Coming to Firefox 4

        Hard on the heels of Microsoft’s decision to offer “do not track” functionality in its upcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser comes word that Mozilla is planning a similar move for its Firefox 4.

      • Revised Mozilla Public License — Beta 1

        In March of this year we kicked up a process to update the Mozilla Public License. We recently released the first beta of the MPL 2.0 and we believe that this beta is now feature complete, meaning that it addresses all major known issues. Of course if there are policy changes that come up and need to be made we will address them. We’ve kept both OSI and the FSF appraised of our efforts. We’ll be submitting the final versions for approval, and we believe that the MPL 2.0 meets all requirements for approval of these organizations.

  • Google

    • Google open sources ‘$5m’ in Java Eclipse tools

      Google will open source two of the Java Eclipse coding tools it acquired with its purchase of Java-obsessed outfit Instantiations.

      Less than five months after paying an undisclosed sum for Instantiations, Mountain View has announced that it will donate the source code and IP for Instantiations’ WindowBuilder and CodePro Profiler tools to the open source community via the Eclipse Foundation. According to Google, the code and IP is worth more than $5m.

    • Google launches open source YouTube channel

      Google has launched an official YouTube channel for its Open Source Programs Office (OSPO). According to Google Open Source Team member Ellen Ko, the new channel is aimed at organizing videos related to Google and other open source projects in a single place.

  • Databases

    • Facebook: Why our ‘next-gen’ comms ditched MySQL

      The winner was HBase, the open source distributed database modeled after Google’s proprietary BigTable platform. Facebook was already using MySQL for message storage, the open source Cassandra platform for inbox search, and the proprietary Haystack platform for storing photos. But in the company’s mind, HBase was better equipped to handle a new-age messaging system that would seek to seamlessly juggle email, chat, and SMS as well as traditional on-site Facebook messages.

    • Draft MariaDB trademark policy

      For the curious: the MariaDB project has posted a draft trademark policy. They try hard to cover all the bases.

    • Proposal for MariaDB trademark policy

      We wanted to make something that should work well, both for open source and commercial usage (and yes, I know that in some cases these are one and the same), which is not very common with many other trademark policies. My belief is that by having a very liberal trademark policy we will create a bigger ecosystem around MariaDB which will help all of us.

  • Oracle

    • gbuild: Meet the new boss (Same as the old boss)

      Checking that nothing (or almost nothing) needs to be rebuild is faster. On a sample system (Notebook with Core2Duo, 2 GHz) on Windows XP (anti virus software installed), rechecking that nothing needs to be done for module sw takes 7 sec with a warm cache. On the same machine build.pl/dmake took 210 sec with the same “full” header dependencies.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7 to be released on January 5th (with one ginormous party)

      Drupal 7 has been a multi-year effort on behalf of over 1,000 contributors. Since February 2008, we’ve manged to make enormous improvements; it is a true metamorphosis for designers, developers, and administrators.

      The last months we’ve seen Drupal 7 getting steadily closer to its release and critical issues dealt with one by one. Release management is not always easy, and I’ve always based my decisions part on data, and part on my “gut”. Both are indicating that it is time to release Drupal 7. It is important to all of us in the Drupal community.

    • Drupal 7, the cocoon and the butterfly

      I feel the same way about Drupal 7. Seeing Drupal 7 getting steadily closer to its release, is like watching a cocoon grow into a butterfly: the inevitable results are going to be spectacular. Release management and fixing bugs is hard work, the work of a determined caterpillar. However, I think Drupal 7 will be quite a metamorphosis relative to Drupal 6. Not only will it look different, it will function differently — making users and developers feel like Drupal spouted wings.

  • BSD

    • Allegations of OpenBSD Backdoors May be True, Updated

      In further developments, de Raadt said yesterday that Angelos had worked on the cypto stack in question for four years when accepting a contract at NETSEC. Angelos “wrote the crypto layer that permits our ipsec stack to hand-off requests to the drivers that Jason worked on. That crypto layer ontained the half-assed insecure idea of half-IV that the US govt was pushing at that time. Soon after his contract was over this was ripped out.”

      de Raadt further said, “I believe that NETSEC was probably contracted to write backdoors as alleged.

      If those were written, I don’t believe they made it into our tree. They might have been deployed as their own product.

      If such NETSEC projects exists, I don’t know if Jason, Angelos or others knew or participated in such NETSEC projects.”


      Audits and overall basic cleanup of code continues.


    • Free Software, Free Society

      It feels like every day this past year, we woke to news of an assault on our freedoms engineered through software: companies pilfering from our free software commons, device manufacturers remotely deleting ebooks behind readers’ backs, Big Media hatching new schemes for digital restrictions and spying, and governments around the world conspiring to expand and coordinate their digital subjugation of citizens.

      The word “community” gets bandied about, but in these times, it really is important that we build professional and social solidarity around a core set of ideals. It’s critical that we hang together, both to advance our positive ideas for a better world and to stop those trying to turn software against its users.

      From its beginnings, free software has been about community.

  • Project Releases

    • OpenDJ 2.4.0 Release Notes

      OpenDJ is a new LDAPv3 compliant directory service, developed for the Java platform, providing a high performance, highly available and secure store for the identities managed by enterprises. Its easy installation process, combined with the power of the Java platform makes of OpenDJ the simplest and fastest directory server to deploy and manage.

  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Welcoming Cathy Casserly as the new CEO of Creative Commons

      As we come to the end of this year’s fundraising campaign, I asked the organizers to let me write you to tell you about an extraordinary birthday present that Creative Commons received on its 8th birthday last Thursday.

      You probably know that for the past two years, Creative Commons has been incredibly fortunate to have the pro bono leadership of our CEO, Joi Ito. Joi is a successful internet investor. He has been at the birth of companies such as Moveable Type, Technorati and Twitter. For the past 7 years, he’s also been a key leader on our board. But by far his most important contribution began two years ago when my own commitments made it necessary for me to step down as CEO. With the organization in a pinch, he volunteered to take the lead, again, as a volunteer.

      Everyone recognized at the time that this sort of sacrifice could only be temporary. Yet from the time he stepped up, my biggest fear was that when he could no longer make this sacrifice, we would have no one comparable to tap. Last Thursday, I was proven wrong.

    • An open plea to video content providers

      So what does that have to do with video delivery? For starters, we’re seeing a similar reluctance to give consumers easy access to shows. What’s worse is that the video industry is even more ripe for monetization than the record industry of 1999. Media convergence devices and software such as Boxee (Linux-based), GoogleTV (also Linux-based), and others are attempting to bring together all video content on the web in one device.


  • Christmas Carols From The London Sewers
  • India thinks Western software technology is ‘bugged’

    INDIA IS STILL PLANNING to develop its own proprietary operating system (OS) rather than use “bugged” Western systems.


    “Second part is software. Most of us use commercial software available in the country. We have got Windows and some use Linux. These software packages are likely to be bugged.”

  • Now Yahoo Says Delicious Will Live On…Somewhere Else

    Yahoo! just posted a statement on the official blog of Delicious, the popular social bookmarking service it was reported yesterday to be in the process of closing down. The blog is hard to reach due to traffic, so we’ve posted the full text below.

  • Bloomberg Plans a Data Service on the Business of Government
  • Bloomberg Government as D.C.’s Daily Racing Form

    Bloomberg’s operation, Bloomberg Government, which will have 150 journalists and analysts on staff by the end of 2011 and a complete staff of 300, will charge $5,700 per user. The Bloomberg Government unit joins a Bloomberg News bureau of 175 journalists. Politico Pro intends to charge on a sliding scale, the New York Times reports—”$1,495 to $2,500 a year for the first topic and $1,000 for each subsequent topic.” The Times was silent on whether the Politico Pro subscription would include a sluice box, pan, and dry washer. Meanwhile, one of the granddaddies of high-price policy journalism, Atlantic Media’s National Journal, has used buyouts to dismantle and rebuild itself into a Web and print harvester of free and premium Beltway news across its brands—NationalJournal.com, National Journal Daily, National Journal, National Journal Hotline, and more. Meanwhile, CQ Roll Call, owned by the Economist people, keeps on keeping on with its own lucrative Chinese menu of data services and publications for observers of official Washington.

  • Science

    • Spintronic memory gets a breakthrough

      An international group of researchers has figured out how to encode information within the spin of an electron, a technique that may one day lead to smaller, faster memory for computers.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
    • Keeping an email address secret won’t hide it from spambots

      But I’ve had a published email address for more than a decade. It’s pretty much the only email address I use (more on this later), and yes, I get a lot of spam there. But I’m not convinced that keeping an email address secret is anything but a fool’s errand.

      The main reason to keep one’s email address secret is to hide from the spambots – those nefarious snafflers of unguarded email addresses that act as input for all the unsolicited email that unscrupulous huxters and scammers firehose over our inboxes.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Police officer charged with Adam Nobody assault

      A Toronto police constable accused of assaulting G20 protester Adam Nobody has become the first and only officer charged in connection with allegations of excessive force at the June summit.

    • Officer charged by SIU in Adam Nobody G20 case

      The Special Investigations Unit has issued an announcement that “Constable Babak Andalib-Goortani has this morning been charged with assault with a weapon” in connection with the arrest of protester Adam Nobody during the G20.

    • SIU charges Toronto police officer with assault during G20

      The G20 protester whose violent arrest was caught on video and caused controversy when no officers were initially held responsible said he’s glad a police officer has been charged.

      But protester Adam Nobody and his lawyers called on Toronto’s police chief on Tuesday to help identify other officers who were involved in the case.

      Toronto police Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani was charged Tuesday with assault with a weapon in the takedown of Nobody at the Ontario legislature during the June summit.

    • Police officer charged in G20 beating
    • US Pressured Italy to Influence Judiciary

      The CIA rendition of cleric Abu Omar in 2003 turned into a headache for Washington when a Milan court indicted the agents involved. Secret dispatches now show how the US threatened the Italian government in an attempt to influence the case. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was apparently happy to help.

    • Recording the Police

      This is all important. Being able to record the police is one of the best ways to ensure that the police are held accountable for their actions. Privacy has to be viewed in the context of relative power. For example, the government has a lot more power than the people. So privacy for the government increases their power and increases the power imbalance between government and the people; it decreases liberty. Forced openness in government — open government laws, Freedom of Information Act filings, the recording of police officers and other government officials, WikiLeaks — reduces the power imbalance between government and the people, and increases liberty.

    • Feds want reporting for high-powered rifle sales

      Moving to crack down on gun smugglers, the federal agency that monitors weapons sales is asking the White House for emergency authority to require that dealers near the Mexican border report multiple purchases of high powered rifles.

    • Passport is not acceptable ID?
    • The NYT spills key military secrets on its front page
  • Cablegate

    • Lessons from WikiLeaks: decentralize, decentralize, decentralize

      Whether or not Wikileaks turns out to be a watershed in politics, there’s another question of more immediate interest to the open source world: can the latter learn a key lesson from the measures taken against the Wikileaks operation?

    • Sweden’s case against WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

      In an interview with CNET, attorney Claes Borgström said, “I’m getting e-mails where people ask me how much the U.S. administration pays me to pursue this case.”

      He denies any connection, emphasizing that his clients are two ordinary Swedish women who have no motive to interfere with WikiLeaks document-sharing activities, which have increasingly irked the U.S. government. “In fact, both my clients are supporters of WikiLeaks,” he said.

    • Julian Assange sees himself as “A martyr without dying”

      Speaking from the mansion in south east England that he is forced to stay at under the terms of his bail (or “Hi-tech house arrest”, as he described it in the interview), Assange discussed what WikiLeaks had achieved and how he sees himself. It appears he views himself as a martyr and is still perfectly happy with himself and the actions he’s taken following his recent jail time.

    • Speak Out Against the Inhumane Imprisonment of Bradley Manning!

      Please take action TODAY to speak out against the intolerable conditions of Brad’s imprisonment. A press release we sent out today detailing some of those conditions and pointing to other reporting on the topic follows.

    • Daniel Domscheit-Berg Denies Rumor of Assange-Israeli Deals
    • WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS for Tuesday, the Day 24 Blog

      2:25 Hypocrisy Alert: Sarah Palin in new op-ed for USA Today hits Iran by citing cables leaked by man she has attacked strongly — Julian Assange. Goes on and on about it in key opening paragraph. Two weeks ago she wrote on Facebook that he should be hunted down like Osame bin Laden, adding: “He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands.” Today: Hey, Julian, baby, thanks for the cables on Iran!

    • Flanagan again

      Am I the only one angry that the current administration of the University of Calgary doesn’t think Tom Flanagan has done anything wrong?

      In case you missed it, Tom Flanagan, formerly a mentor/adviser to our sitting Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, currently a Political Science professor at the University of Calgary, broke the law while on the CBC news program “Power and Politics with Evan Solomon” when he “counsel[ed] other persons to commit offences.” The indictable offence he advocated was the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.


      Tom Flanagan was a chief of staff and policy adviser for the Prime Minister of Canada.

    • WikiLeaks critic Sarah Palin now citing leaked cables

      The Nation’s Greg Mitchell, who’s been blogging obsessively on WikiLeaks, points out that Sarah Palin is now citing revelations from the leaked cache of State Dept. cables just weeks after condemning Julian Assange.

    • Assange: “Already… we have changed governance” [Updated]

      Later, in response to a question of whether he sees himself as a “messianic” figure, Assange replies with what’s sure to become a widely quoted line: “Everyone would like to be a messianic figure without dying.”

    • Wikileaks ACTA cables and US secrecy demands

      The Guardian has posted two Wikileaks cables that focus on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The first is from Italy in November 2008. It provides a useful reminder that the U.S. at one time hoped to conclude the ACTA negotiations by the end of 2008 (and the George Bush term).

    • Doug Casey on Wikileaks

      Doug: The whole idea of Wikileaks is terrific. They’ve become one of the most important watchdog organizations on the planet, helping to expose a lot of government action for what it really is.

    • WikiLeaks continues to fund itself via tech startup Flattr
    • Article 13 and PFC Bradley Manning

      Military courts have consistently asserted Article 13 protection broadly to protect servicemembers awaiting trial. Illegal pretrial punishment can take many forms. The most common examples are unreasonable or harassing restraint that creates an appearance that the servicemember is guilty and onerous pretrial confinement conditions. Article 13 provides that pretrial confinement should not be “more rigorous than the circumstances require to insure” the servicemember’s presence at court. “Conditions that are sufficiently egregious may give rise to a permissive inference that an accused is being punished. . . .” United States v. King, 61 M.J. 225, 227-28 (C.A.A.F. 2005); see also United States v. Crawford, 62 M.J. 411 (C.A.A.F. 2006). Arbitrary or purposeless conditions also can be considered to raise an inference of punishment. King, 61 M.J. at 227-28 (citing United States v. James, 28 M.J. 214, 216 (C.M.A. 1989)).

      A defense motion for Article 13 credit is generally made before pleas are entered. As such, the first time this issue can be raised is once the case is referred to a court-martial. The issue of whether there is a violation of Article 13 is litigated in a pretrial motion hearing. At this hearing, the defense may call witness and the accused may testify concerning the nature of the pretrial confinement conditions. The defense carries the burden by a preponderance of the evidence to show a violation of Article 13.

    • Assange’s rape charges (grabbing the third rail)

      On Twitter I see random messages making broad statements about men re the rape charges against Julian Assange. I think we’re going into dangerous territory, and there’s a good chance we’re being manipulated, and before it goes too far, I want to try to moderate it, and talk about what we know and what we don’t know. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

      1. As far as I know there aren’t any charges against Julian Assange, in Sweden or elsewhere. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

      2. What I’ve read in the Guardian about the charges sound to me like he might not be a very nice person. But where I come from, that is not a crime — nor is it in Sweden, which seems like a fair country. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

      3. Rape is awful. But I think it’s almost as awful to falsely accuse someone of rape, because that’s going to radically change an innocent person’s life, for the worse. And it’s so easy to do, it’s one person’s word against another’s. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

    • Wikileaks: All 250,000 cables reported leaked in Norway

      According to a report today in Norway’s top business publication, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has managed to get a hold of the entire “Cablegate” database of some 250,000 diplomatic cables—Wikileaks has not granted any news organization this access, and has instead been providing access to relatively small batches, one at a time (what the Herald Sun calls “drip-feeding”). How did Aftonbladet get access? They won’t say, and Wikileaks won’t either, but one guess could involve the database being stored on a server within Norway.

    • We Open Governments: WikiLeaks for Beginners (Part 1 of 3)

      Love him or hate him, Julian Assange has become the (rather handsome, if a bit pasty) face of the global movement for government and corporate transparency. Through WikiLeaks, Assange has, arguably, helped release more classified information than the rest of the entire world press combined. Assange says this reveals the “perilous state of the rest of the media” and rightly asks how a team as small as his could accomplish such a feat in just four years of existence. WikiLeaks has hit all the bases – the media, governments, and corporations are all scrambling to address the consequences of the leaks. Beyond the damage control and the dirty tricks, a radical and fundamental shift in the balance of power is underway. Let’s just say that folks aren’t calling Assange an anarchist for nothing. But what is the rationale behind WikiLeaks, its methods, its goals? Don’t expect an answer from the media. The reasons behind the project have long been overlooked by the mainstream press, captivated as it is with its own sensationalistic ‘hit pieces’ on Assange month after month and its alarmist or just plain misguided attempts to explain how and why WikiLeaks presumes to “open governments” as only it can.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • That snow outside is what global warming looks like

      The weather we get in UK winters, for example, is strongly linked to the contrasting pressure between the Icelandic low and the Azores high. When there’s a big pressure difference the winds come in from the south-west, bringing mild damp weather from the Atlantic. When there’s a smaller gradient, air is often able to flow down from the Arctic. High pressure in the icy north last winter, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, blocked the usual pattern and “allowed cold air from the Arctic to penetrate all the way into Europe, eastern China, and Washington DC”. Nasa reports that the same thing is happening this winter.

  • Finance

    • This Bonus Season on Wall Street, Many See Zeros

      Bonus season is fast approaching on Wall Street, but this year the talk does not center just on multimillion-dollar paydays. It’s about a new club that no one wants to join: the Zeros.

    • Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch Accused Under RICO

      Perrenial warrior against naked short selling and Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne has amended a previously filed lawsuit against Goldma Sachs and Merrill Lynch to include charges under New Jersey RICO laws.

      The original lawsuit, filed in the California superior court in San Francisco, alleged that Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit engaged in a “massive, illegal stock market manipulation scheme” that involved so-called naked short-selling.

    • Why Is CNBC Trying So Hard to Defend Insider Trading?

      I have an opinion about CNBC. I believe this network comes to the aid of Goldman Sachs, other major Wall Street firms, and the insider trading syndicate. I believe that this company has an interest in luring retail investors into the investment trap that is the stock market. This is purely my opinion, but there are some tell tale signs that my opinion may be true. No one is accusing CNBC of taking money from Goldman Sachs. No one is accusing Jim Cramer, or CNBC editor John Carney (formerly of Clusterstock), or Erin Burnett of taking money from the TBTF banksters or anyone else directly.

  • PR/Murdoch

    • EC OKs News Corp’s Sky Bid, Saying People Don’t Want Bundled Media Anyway

      The European Commission’s antitrust investigators say competition would not be weakened if News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) buys the 60.9 percent of UK satcaster and telco BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) it doesn’t already own (case notes).

    • What Vince Cable said about Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB
    • Vince Cable to stay on as Business Secretary

      Business Secretary Vince Cable will stay in cabinet despite “declaring war” on Rupert Murdoch, says Downing Street.

      But he will be stripped of his powers to rule on Mr Murdoch’s bid to take control of BSkyB, which will be handed to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

      Downing Street said David Cameron believed Mr Cable’s comments about Mr Murdoch were “totally unacceptable and inappropriate”.

    • Fox News Chyron Identifies Elie Wiesel As “Holocaust Winner”
    • Venezuela: Who Dominates the Media?

      As can be seen from the table, as of September 2010, Venezuelan state TV channels had just a 5.4 percent audience share. Of the other 94.6 percent of the audience, 61.4 percent were watching privately owned television channels, and 33.1 percent were watching paid TV.

    • Vince Cable: I have declared war on Rupert Murdoch

      Vince Cable’s career was hanging in the balance today after it was revealed that the business secretary told two undercover reporters he had “declared war” on Rupert Murdoch and said: “I think we are going to win.”

      His Labour shadow, John Denham, said the business secretary’s comments, which referred to his intervention on public interest grounds in News Corporation’s bid for full control of BSkyB, should raise “grave doubts” for the prime minister, David Cameron, over Cable’s integrity and judgment.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Queen set to outlaw ID cards today

      The bill abolishing the National Identity Scheme is expected to gain royal assent later today.

      The Home Office said that it expected the identity documents bill would be passed into law on 21 December. As a result, existing ID cards will be invalid for use in a month’s time.

      Home office minister Damian Green said the bill’s passing will also allow work to begin on the secure destruction of the National Identity Register. “Photographs, fingerprints and personal information that were submitted as part of the application process for an ID card will be destroyed within two months,” he wrote in an article for Guardian.co.uk.

    • Japanese woman sues Google for displaying images of underwear

      A Japanese woman is suing Google for displaying images of underwear hanging on her washing line on its Street View function.

    • Bite-Size Privacy and Anonymity

      # Privacy is the lifecycle of secrets once you have chosen to share them. Anonymity is where an act is publicly known but the actor is not.
      # Privacy is the duty to respect the data that has been disclosed to you. Anonymity is the right not to disclose the data in the first place.

    • The smartphone that spies, and other surprises

      The use of mobile management tools can help, as they can disable cameras and so forth on several popular devices. The catch is that the devices have to be actually managed — a person who brings in a personal device and never accesses the corporate network won’t ever get managed by IT’s mobile management tool. Plus, even for managed devices, the tools today aren’t sophisticated enough to, say, disallow use of the camera within the employer facilities but allow it elsewhere, to prevent only problematic photo-taking.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Location Privacy

      Looks like we hit the nail on the head with this one. As we recounted just last month in the post “Location, Location, Location”, location privacy was a huge issue this year both in the courts and in Congress. It’s also been a big focus of our work here at EFF, where we brought home two major court victories that strengthened your rights against location tracking by the government, whether through your cell phone or a GPS device attached to your car.

    • European Blog Action against Censorship in Hungary

      On January 1st, Hungary will take over the Presidency of the EU Council. On the same day, a controversial new law will come into force that even the OSCE’s media freedom representative has openly criticised – arguing in a recent report that “regulating online media is not only technologically impossible but it exerts a chilling, self-censoring effect on free expression.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Why is international data roaming so expensive?

      How high are international data roaming rates? I have direct evidence from two providers: an Italian provider TIM charges about $10 per megabyte; a U.S. provider T-mobile charges $15 per megabyte. The typical business user uses receives about 15 megabytes per day of email. My smartphone uses about four times this. By way of contrast, you can buy a SIM from Vodafone UK with 30 megabytes of data for about $30. Wifi at the airport or a hotel runs about $10-$60 per day. Over-the-air prices charged to local customers is much lower: TIM charges $25 per month for 5 gigabytes of data, of which probably about 2 gigs is actually used, so the effective rate is about $0.0125 per megabyte. T-mobile in the US charges a similar amount for similar service.,

    • Estonian shops started selling e-books
    • Obama FCC Caves on Net Neutrality — Tuesday Betrayal Assured

      Late Monday, a majority of the FCC’s commissioners indicated that they’re going to vote with Chairman Julius Genachowski for a toothless Net Neutrality rule.

      According to all reports, the rule, which will be voted on during tomorrow’s FCC meeting, falls drastically short of earlier pledges by President Obama and the FCC Chairman to protect the free and open Internet.

    • Steve Wozniak to the FCC: Keep the Internet Free

      I have always loved humor and laughter. As a young engineer I got an impulse to start a Dial-a-Joke in the San Jose/San Francisco area. I was aware of such humor services in other countries, such as Australia. This idea came from my belief in laughter. I could scarcely believe that I was the first person to create such a simple service in my region. Why was I the first? This was 1972 and it was illegal in the U.S. to use your own telephone. It was illegal in the U.S. to use your own answering machine. Hence it also virtually impossible to buy or own such devices. We had a monopoly phone system in our country then.

    • FCC: We didn’t impose stricter net neutrality regulations on wireless because Android is open

      Now, we obviously love Android, and there’s no doubt that Google’s OS has been part of some wonderfully furious competition in the mobile space recently. But we’re not sure any of that has anything to do with net neutrality — it doesn’t matter how open your OS is when you’re stuck with a filtered and throttled connection, and it’s a pretty huge stretch to think Android’s openness (however you want to define it) has anything to do with network access itself.

    • Today will define the Internet

      THE IRONICALLY TITLED LAND OF THE FREE today will decide if people and companies with money should have better and faster access to the worldwide web.

      Giant Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast and Verizon want to offer better access to corporations that can afford to pay for it. Standing in their way is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has the power to issue regulations to protect net neutrality.

      Like we mentioned yesterday, unfortunately for the US the FCC has been keen to listen attentively to corporate interests, and draft regulations written by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski suggest that the telecoms and ISPs will win almost all they wanted.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Rise of the fashion trolls

      A funny thing happens as a Congressional session comes to a close. Priorities, whether political or policy, rocket to the surface. It becomes a war of attrition, of who can keep things ‘out of sight, out of mind’ before people get tired and want to go home.

      But, there are always numerous pieces of legislation that don’t get much love either way. The problem is, although they technically “go away” for now, the ideas behind them aren’t dead.

      One we could easily miss is this year’s “Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Act.” Its focus? Bringing copyrights to fashion design. This legislation (S.3728) has been around in some form or another since 2006.

      Now, I never thought I would be writing about fashion and government on opensource.com, or anywhere else, but here we are. Planet Money brought this whole issue to my attention in a short, but worthwhile piece.

      Clearly, clothing and accessories, however utilitarian or avant garde, aren’t software. But, their design is still a creative endeavor, and likewise one that borrows heavily from previous works.

    • Govt asks businesses for views on intellectual property

      The Government has asked businesses how it can help them to make more use of intellectual property (IP) assets. It has also published details of the review it will hold into IP growth.

      It said that it wanted to focus particularly on the use of IP by small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and what it could do to help them to derive greater benefit from creative or inventive work.

      The Intellectual Property Office, part of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), has published the call for evidence to support its review into IP growth.

Clip of the Day

My Blackberry Is Not Working! – The One Ronnie, Preview – BBC One

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 22/12/2010: Kno is Out, Tiny Core Linux 3.4 is Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Kno Starts Shipping Tomorrow

    The monster 14.1″ screens set it apart from every other tablet on the market, and the customized Ubuntu OS makes it potentially more versatile as well.

  • Server

    • ARM makes its attack on the server market official

      ARM Holdings has officially acknowledged its plans to take on Intel in the server market. However, CEO Warren East is quoted as adding that ARM licensees won’t begin to erode Intel’s market share until 2014.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Oh Hey, X.Org 7.6 Is Finally Released For Christmas!

        The past few days I’ve been wondering whether or not X.Org 7.6 would make it out in 2010 or not. After all, this X.Org katamari update was supposed to be here in August after X.Org 7.5 was released in October of 2009 and the 7.6 release was delayed to November. The release of X.Org 7.6 didn’t come in November, but there was one release candidate but not much information since. This afternoon, however, Alan Coopersmith has announced the final release.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Introducing K16 and the Future of KDE

        Where will KDE be in five years? To answer this question, we plan to bring together visionaries, strategists, planners, out-of-the-box-thinkers, realists, dreamers, doers, creators, leaders, coders from the KDE community and everybody else who is interested in discussing the future of KDE and picturing what it will be.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Ailurus – the Gnome pimp

        Tweaking your desktop into a semblance of beauty and style has always been the ultimate goal of any self-proclaimed geek, be they Windows users or Linuxoids. However, in general, Windows people had it easier; they just downloaded this or that tweaking program and had their desktop transition from a beast into a beauty within seconds. Linux users always had it much harder, especially Gnome people. KDE shows pretty much any setting there is, but Gnome hides them. Either you’re handy with gconf on the command line or you use gconf-editor, which feels somewhat like a registry editor, but it was never really trivial. Well, now you have Ailurus.


        Ailurus is definitely a welcome addition in the arsenal of average users who do not fancy taming their system via the command line. It offers convenience and ease of use, with a relatively high degree of safety. However, as always, you need to be careful when changing the behavior of programs and system utilities, lest they bite your hiny, and hard.

        If you’re looking for improving your Gnome desktop in a simple, quick way, without too much fuss, if you’re looking for extra comfort and new programs, then Ailurus seems like the program you want. That would be all, ladies and gentlefolks!

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Tiny Core Linux 3.4 arrives

        Tiny Core lead developer Robert Shingledecker has released version 3.4 of Tiny Core Linux. Based on the Linux kernel, Tiny Core Linux 3.4 features a variety of updates, including additional options in the mount tool (mnttool).

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Myopia Continues Among Users

          Notice a pattern yet? For some reason that seems to escape most people, Ubuntu “owns” the Linux headlines with very few exceptions. Obviously Chrome OS and Android are in the top news headlines as well, however generally it’s Ubuntu that shows up as most popular in open source news these days.

        • Review: ZaReason Strata Pro 15 Laptop

          So, will I buy one (well, the 13″ version) for myself? My daily computing life is spent between my super powerful desktop and my little netbook. My desktop is used for work, virtualized installs, major image manipulation with inkscape and photo editing with the gimp. My netbook works well as a “sit on the couch and IRC + internet + email + minimal hacking” machine, which is much of what I do in my off-work hours. That said, I do have a hole in my computing world which influenced borrowing this laptop in the first place – nothing to really show off Ubuntu on for customers or at Ubuntu events, nothing to burn CDs on at events, and I have to admit that it would be nice to have a second machine with virtualized hardware so my development machines were more portable. We’ll see where my needs and budget lead me.

        • Unity Bitesize Progress Report for 20 December
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud: Cloud enabled and not just for netbooks

        There’s a Linux distribution for every occasion and the main purpose of Jolicloud is to present a web enabled GUI for netbooks and similar devices. I’m going to take a look at a preview release of the forthcoming 1.1 version. Under the hood, it’s based on the Ubuntu long term service release (10.04), and the front end is handled by a combination of the Chromium web browser and a full screen user interface that eschews overlapping windows.

        Netbooks are the obvious target of this distribution, and by default, it’s setup as a browser for website and cloud based applications. However, it’s easy to expand, and I think this could be a distribution with a lot of uses. It’s possible to add applications, and it can also be installed on any hardware that standard Ubuntu can including desktop PCs. Even better, as well as focussing on convenience, it’s easy to use, meaning that it might be a good platform for people who aren’t very good at using computers.

      • Cloud Livin’ – A JoliCloud Chrome Experiment

        A review off the cuff? It feels more distraction free than normal. Since the browser is the heart of the OS, I’m only focused on my tabs and nothing else. No dock, no start button, no nagging updates, no clutter on the screen. It’s actually refreshing.

Free Software/Open Source

  • AirPlay running on XBMC Linux box

    AirPlay. It’s not just for Apple products anymore. The video you see on the next page shows an XBMC install on a Ubuntu Linux box running an AirPlay client service. As with the AirPlayer solution I wrote for the Mac, the XBMC application advertises on Bonjour and can be played to directly from the built-in iOS video menus.

  • Events

    • Linux shows name dates, ask for papers

      O’Reilly has opened up a call for participation for its Open Source Convention (OSCON) 2011, to be held on July 25-29 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Meanwhile, the Linux Foundation’s Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) announced that its Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) will be held April 11-13 in San Francisco.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Backs Up the “Do Not Track” Feature

        Day by day, concern about internet related privacy is growing. We’re all aware of it, which is why; a lot of companies are moving around to let people bear a better experience in the online world. In this context, Mozilla has made promises to let people cloak their internet activities on the basis of their new feature: Do Not Track.

      • Mozilla CEO: ‘Do Not Track’ Option Will Be In Firefox 4

        When Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz called for better online privacy protection earlier this month, he acknowledged that browser companies have an important role to play, especially in order to implement a “Do Not Track” browser setting. “We’ll give them some time,” said Leibowitz. “But we’d like to see them work a lot faster.”

  • SaaS

    • Stallman’s Cloudburst: Prudence or Paranoia?

      On the other hand: “It is not easy to tell if RMS is putting on a show or if he really believes his own words,” suggested amicus_curious. “The Google cloud and Chrome OS have little to fear from Stallman’s disdain.”

      Then again: “He’s absolutely right,” wrote blossiekins among more than 100 comments on The Guardian. “‘Cloud’ computing … encourages people to be lazy and uninformed about their data and what happens to it.

      “Google isn’t a big cuddly bunny that wants to look after all your data for you cos it’s nice; it wants to look after your data for you because it gives them more metrics,” blossiekins added. “And as the piece spells out, the risks of that are quite chilling.”

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 8.2-BETA1 Released

      The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team has released FreeBSD 8.2 Beta 1 and 7.4 Beta 1of its popular free UNIX derivative. The first betas will be followed by two release candidates. The final versions of FreeBSD 7.4 and FreeBSD 8.2 are scheduled for the 24th of January.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Last minute open giving ideas

      Whether or not you’re among the throngs hurriedly trying to get everything wrapped before the end of the week, it’s a good time to consider some end-of-the-year giving. So why not send some money towards open projects?

  • Programming

    • The Importance of Being Tested

      When I began work on Upstart, one of the earliest decisions I made was to make sure the code was very-well covered by a comprehensive test suite. I’d been working with Robert Collins a lot in the previous couple of years and he is very much an advocate of practices such as Extreme Programming (XP) and Agile Development; especially the discipline of Test Driven Development.


  • 5 Biggest Tech Winners for 2010

    By name, they are ARM Holdings (130.58% growth), Salesforce (127.47%), VMware (113.98%), Informatica (86.9%) and Red Hat (71.95%).

  • Stephen Harper treats Canadians like imbeciles

    What Canadians are now demanding is a leader that inspires hope and optimism. Who challenges us to bridge divides. Who believes that leadership at home and abroad can appeal to our aspirations, not stokes our fears. Who brings us together to accomplish great things. Who will strive to achieve the true promise and potential we know in our hearts is Canada’s destiny.

  • Do-Not-Call List Undermined By Loopholes in the Law
  • CRTC announces that Bell Canada has paid a $1.3 million penalty for violating the National Do Not Call List Rules
  • Science

    • Team prototypes instant genome test

      Scientists from Imperial College London have prototyped a tool that they say could ultimately sequence a person’s genome in minutes, at a fraction of the cost of current techniques.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Student fees protests: who started the violence?

      Protesters and student groups, on the other hand, insisted the policing had been heavy-handed and disproportionate, arguing that the kettling for hours of thousands of people within a freezing Parliament Square was certain to cause frustration that would boil into anger.

    • New Orleans police officers convicted over Katrina killing

      A former New Orleans police officer has been convicted of fatally shooting a man in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and another officer was convicted of burning the man’s body in a case that exposed one of the ugliest chapters in the police department’s troubled history.

    • Israel faces tougher line from EU after former heads call for Palestinian state

      Twenty-six European grandees have urged the EU to adopt a tougher stance towards Israel including taking “concrete measures” and exacting “consequences” over continued settlement building on occupied land, which they say is illegal under international law.

    • 50 municipal rabbis: Don’t rent flats to Arabs

      The statement quotes a variety of halachic passages referring to the issue and notes that in some cases persons renting apartments to non-Jews could be ostracized.

    • Rummy’s Ruminations

      The Unknown
      As we know,
      There are known knowns.
      There are things we know we know.
      We also know
      There are known unknowns.
      That is to say
      We know there are some things
      We do not know.
      But there are also unknown unknowns,
      The ones we don’t know
      We don’t know.

      —Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

  • Cablegate

    • Watch How WikiLeaks’ Mirrors Spread Around the World [Google Earth]

      When WikiLeaks began its release of more than 250,00 classified diplomatic cables late last month, its domain name – wikileaks.org – was the first thing to go. In the week that followed, however, a slew of mirror sites popped up, and Harvard-based developer Laurence Muller gave us a look at the global effort to keep WikiLeaks standing. Muller took the list of WikiLeaks mirrors, determined their locations, and plotted the points on Google Earth.

    • Apple attacks WikiLeaks, yanks iPhone app from app store

      Only a few days after its release, the unofficial WikiLeaks iPhone application has been removed from Apple’s App Store.

      For $1.99, the app offered access to documents on the WikiLeaks website and the @wikileaks twitter feed.

      When clicking on the app’s link, the app store returns with the message, “Your request could not be completed. The item you requested is not available in the US store.”

      Details for the WikiLeaks app can still be seen in Google’s cache.

      Tech Crunch noted that while the secrets website and founder Julian Assange are controversial, the app didn’t seem to violate Apple’s terms of service (TOS).

      Developer Igor Barinov confirmed that the app had been removed from the store.

    • WikiLeaks cables: China ‘fed up’ with Burma’s footdragging on reforms
    • WikiLeaks cables: You ask, we search

      French presidential hopeful, Ségolène Royal, told US diplomats French arrogance was partly to blame for Paris’s lost bid to host the 2012 Olympic games. The games were awarded to London after a closely contested vote that saw both Tony Blair then French president Jacques Chirac fly to Singapore in July 2005 to make their case to delegates.

      A confidential cable dated 17 February 2006 from the US ambassador to Paris concerning a recent meeting with Royal said she had suggested, he wrote, a need “to find France’s place in the world” with the French government showing less arrogance in how it speaks to the world. The latter factor, she suggested, had played a role in the defeat of France’s 2012 Olympics candidacy, he wrote.

    • The Implications of Charging Assange for Conspiracy to Leak [Updated]

      I’m not so sure this path avoids awkward questions. Charging Assange as a conspirator to Manning’s leak might distinguish the Times in the wikileaks case. But it would not distinguish the Times and scores of other media outlets in the many cases in which reporters successfully solicit and arrange to receive classified information and documents directly from government officials. Prosecution of Assange on this theory would therefore raise awkward questions about why DOJ does not bring charges against the American media for soliciting classified information on a regular basis. It would be a fateful step for traditional press freedoms in the United States. Indeed, unless I am missing something, it seems that a successful prosecution of Assange for conspiracy to leak would have broader and more corrosive implications for press freedoms than a successful prosecution under the ambiguity-riddled Espionage Act. In any event, I do not see how going the “conspiracy to leak” route is a press-protecting move.

    • House Judiciary chairman: WikiLeaks did not commit a crime

      There was an interesting development in the WikiLeaks saga on Thursday. You probably didn’t hear about it over the weekend because the fawning corporate media was too busy comparing the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

      The chairman of the House judiciary committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) stuck up for WikiLeaks on Thursday according to The Raw Story. Conyers made the argument that the controversial and unpopular actions of the whistleblower website are protected under free speech.

    • Reporter, Greg Palast describes BP abuses in Azerbaijan

      What I didn’t know was that WikiLeaks was about to release a State Department memo which referred to a small piece of this BP game. Rather than go to Azerbaijan to check the facts, the Wiki newspapers called BP in London for comment.

    • Czech version of Wikileaks will turn to The Pirate Bay for help

      It appears that the Czech Pirate Party’s attempt to set up its own Wikileaks site isn’t going as smoothly as the group hoped. The CPP (Ceska piratska strana) announced the inauguration of its “PirateLeaks” information service earlier this month, to be officially launched on Tuesday. But now the organization says that there will be some delays due to security issues.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NAB still using misinformation to defeat low-power radio expansion

      The National Association of Broadcasters has never been a friend to low-power community radio. Back in 2000, when the FCC first created the service, the NAB did everything it could to try and keep it from becoming a reality. While the broadcast lobby failed to stop it outright, the NAB did succeed in getting Congress to significantly curtail LPFM with a last-minute attachment to an omnibus budget bill passed in December of that year. One of the weapons the NAB used was a bogus CD that purported to demonstrate harmful interference caused by low-power stations, that was later disproved by an independent report ordered by Congress.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • North Bergen Internet shock jock Hal Turner sentenced to 33 months in prison

      At his trials the government confirmed that Turner did work for and with federal agencies, but that he went too far with his hate-filled remarks.

    • Anti-porn plan threatens sites like WikiLeaks

      Supporters of the open internet have reacted angrily to Government plans to block pornography on the web, claiming it is the first step towards online censorship. Taken to its extreme, they warn that it could lead to sites like WikiLeaks being blocked for political reasons.

    • Hungarian parliament passes controversial law to oversee media

      Lawmakers in Hungary have given a controversial new body powers to oversee public news production and levy high fines on private media that break rules on political reporting.

      The Hungarian parliament passed the law establishing the National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) on Monday evening, according to the Hungarian national news agency MTI.

    • Viviane Reding takes on US over data privacy rights in anti-terror campaign

      The EU justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, has confronted Washington over data protection rights in the fight against terror, accusing the US of being interested only in accessing European citizens’ bank records and flight schedules but not in protecting their rights while doing so.

    • Venezuela tightens Internet regulation

      Venezuela’s parliament approved tighter regulation of the Internet on Monday in the latest of a package of laws to entrench President Hugo Chavez’s socialist “revolution” before a new Assembly is sworn-in next month.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Vint Cerf, US Congresswoman Oppose Net Regulation
    • Net Neutrality as Diplomacy

      Citizens and their digital packets deserve much the same treatment as they traverse the global Internet. Just as states expect to conduct their official business on foreign soil without interference, so citizens should be able to lead digitally mediated—and increasingly distributed—lives without fear that their links to their online selves can be arbitrarily abridged or surveilled by their Internet Service Providers or any other party. Just as the sanctity of the embassy and la valise diplomatique is vital to the practice of international diplomacy, the ability of our personal bits to travel about the net unhindered is central to the lives we increasingly live online.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • US Ambassador To The UN: Protecting Patents & Copyrights More Important Than Development

      The US’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Betty E. King, recently gave a press conference in Geneva to talk about a variety of issues. What caught our attention, not surprisingly, was the discussion on intellectual property issues, which seemed to raise a lot more questions than it answered. Towards the end of her talk, she basically complained about WIPO, and how various developing countries are hijacking WIPO to focus on “development,” at the expense of things like patents and copyright. She says that she, and the US government, are pro development, but not if it comes at the expense of patents and copyrights.

    • Copyrights

      • Sorting Through The Spin: The Liberals and the iTax

        The issue of Liberal support for an “iTax” hit a fever pitch this week with competing releases – the Liberals stating they are against it and the Conservatives releasing a radio ad that says the Liberals support such reforms. That led some to ask for evidence to sort out the competing claims. This post is an attempt to do that.

      • “Anything you can do, we can do better?” Ireland joins the copyright review queue

        It’s not just the Brits who have decided to reassess their IP rules in the not-quite-so-new-any-more internet age: the Irish are doing it too. In “Firms hampered by failure to keep law up to date with internet age”, eminent scholar and lawyer TJ McIntyre argues in the Irish Times that much of the Irish law governing the internet is archaic, restrictive and hampers growth, which explains why the Taoiseach (Irish for ‘prime minister’ or, the Kat understands, an old Erse term for ‘man who graciously accepts the credit when things work out but gets first choice at blaming someone else when things don’t’) has announced his support for a review of European and Irish copyright law, stating [and does this sound familiar, anyone?] “it is time to review our copyright legislation, and examine the balance between the rights holder and the consumer, to ensure that our innovative companies operating in the digital environment are not disadvantaged against competitors”.

      • Ok Go Explains There Are Lots Of Ways To Make Money If You Can Get Fans

        Over the last few years, we’ve covered many of the moves by the band Ok Go — to build up a fanbase often with the help of amazingly viral videos, ditch their major record label (EMI), and explore new business model opportunities. In the last few days, two different members of Ok Go explained a bit more of the band’s thinking in two separate places, and both are worth reading.

      • Cultural Heritage rights in the age of digital copyright

        On December, 10th the COMMUNIA WG3 gathered in Istanbul for the final workshop, with the aim of producing a set of recommendations about cultural heritage and the public domain.

        I am not a lawyer, so I took a chance to learn about the marked differences between access rights and property rights. More than that, it became soon clear that Cultural Heritage rights (CHR) only exist in certain EU member states (e.g. Italy, Greece) while in others there are no such rights.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Pandora – One vid per day 27: GINGE – Playing WIZ and gp2x Games

Credit: TinyOgg

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