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Links 23/4/2010: Mandriva Linux for Education, Android Beyond Phones

Posted in News Roundup at 4:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux, a very powerful but still almost unknown environment for vision-impaired users

    Back in 2006, I wrote that the Free Software community and disabled users must learn to communicate and invited Free Software developers to do their part. Last week I interviewed Tony Baechler, an active member of the Blinux mailing list, to check how things are going in 2010, and to know more about a very interesting project for Linux vision-impaired users he’s trying to launch.

  • Microsoft Windows – Disaster Movie At Eleven!

    And it actually gets worse. I assumed that you could get by with the cheapest possible servers, and with one hundred users, that would be pretty unlikely. The hardware costs for those three Windows servers probably should be about $3000.00 per server higher, and that assumes that you can get by with only three servers – depending upon your operation you might need two or three times as many, and additional Backup Power Supplies. The hardware cost for the single Linux server should probably be about $10,000.00 which is still far less expensive.

    The point of course is that spending money on a Windows solution is an inefficient use of funds. Do you want to be the person reporting to your board of directors that you’ve wasted that much money?

  • Server

    • Cray Releases Highly Scalable, More Inclusive Super-Linux

      We’d all love to have a supercomputer, but sadly, most of us will never have the chance to put that much umph in our computing. If you happen to be in the market for a sweet little Linux box with a half-million cores or so, though, Cray may have just what you’re looking for.

  • Audiocasts

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva.Ru has released Linux for schools and universities

        Mandriva.Ru together with the project EduMandriva and “GNU/Linukstsentrom announced the release of Linux distributions for the Russian educational institutions. Line of software solutions company added to the operating system, Mandriva Academie and EduMandriva, presented in two versions.

        EduMandriva kit includes single-disk distribution EduMandriva One LXDE for low-productivity computers, which works with both disk and lets you install on your PC or flash drive and a DVD with additional educational software EduMandriva Addon, which can be installed on all the official build Mandriva 2010. Among the products included in EduMandriva – programming environments, mathematical packages, CAD/CAM-system, bitmap and vector graphics editors, tools for the layout of the text, the system of testing and distance learning applications to work with sound, music and videos, and other software designed for use in the educational process.

      • PCLinuxOS 2010 Review

        As you probably expect at this point, I absolutely recommend PCLinuxOS 2010. I have been using it for only a couple days, but I have the feeling that it is the best Linux release I have tested in years.

        PCLinuxOS 2010 is excellent for any kind of user, but probably most recommended for new comers. It brings down the need for CLI typing to almost zero. In my case, I actually have only opened Konsole because I like it, not because there was no other choice.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Inside Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 Beta

        Red Hat has launched a beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 6.0 with increased power and performance for the KVM hypervisor, greater Linux server scalability and a new version of the Enterprise Linux file system.

        The priorities in Version 6 in effect set an expanded agenda for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. “This release sets the scene for the next decade,” said Nick Carr, Red Hat marketing director in an interview. The beta release of Version 6.0 became available for download on April 21. General availability will come at an unspecified time later this year.

      • Jim Whitehurst: Don’t build a better mousetrap. Change the business

        Companies that are creating massive value typically aren’t building a better mousetrap. They’re not improving on existing technologies or simply adding new features. Instead, they’re changing the business model. This was the message behind Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst’s keynote at today’s CED Venture 2010 Conference.

      • Red Hat near Key Support Area

        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) are trading very close to calculated support at $30.25 with current price action closing at just $31.29 places the stock price near levels where traders will start paying attention.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 13 Goddard set to launch with Amazing Features

          The folks at fedora Project have been working hard to release yet another release of the Fedora OS. Fedora 13 codenamed Goddard is all set to launch on 18th May 2010. As always Fedora has been always on forefront to implementation of latest updates from the Open Source World. Let’s have a look at the features which are expected to be included in the final release of Fedora 13.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Thoughts

        For embedded and lower-cost devices, I think Ubuntu (or similar distros) are the way to go. However, I just don’t feel it’s there yet for the desktop environment. What are your thoughts?

      • Appearance Changes: Ubuntu 10.04 vs Ubuntu 9.10

        If you’ve been following the Ubuntu 10.04 testing releases you’re probably aware of some significant changes to the appearance of Ubuntu. Among the top changes in question are the new black theme, black/purple gradient background and Mac-style title bar buttons that appear on the left side of the windows. These are just a few of the changes/improvements of this release but some of the most controversial. Today’s release of the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release candidate sets these changes in stone for the release at the end of the month. Is this a good change? Here’s a few screenshots to help you decide.

      • Near Perfect Ubuntu Desktop

        One of the common questions I get for my Ubuntu User column is what is my desktop or what is a good desktop for Ubuntu Linux. A few weeks ago I got a Dell Inspiron 560 on sale at Best Buy. It was a great deal, and ended up being a near perfect Ubuntu desktop.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 – An Extremely Simple Operating System [Linux]

        Well guys, what do you think? Is Ubuntu 10.04 as amazing as I’m making it out to be, or am I just a hopeless fanboy raving about a shiny new toy? If you’re trying the beta, is there a great new feature that I’m missing? Should I wipe my hard drive and install Gentoo, like a real man? Commenting doesn’t kill kittens, so feel free to do so!

      • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

        I’m very glad that Linux distributions in general (and Ubuntu in particular) have matured to the point where I get the luxury of talking about shiny new features and visual tweaks to the OS instead of getting bogged down in system errors and wonky configurations.

      • It’s almost Lynx time

        We have a mere 7 days until Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx LTS is released and this morning I got an email from Steve Langasek through the Ubuntu Announcement email list letting me know that they now have a release candidate available for testing.

      • Ubuntu server OS 10.4 set to ship

        Canonical, the company that distributes the Ubuntu flavor of the Linux operating system, is set to drop a new Long Term Support (LTS) version of its popular distro on April 29, 2010. Canonical will make its 10.4 distribution available for download on the Ubuntu Web site (Server version link, desktop version link). LTS versions are guaranteed to be supported by Canonical for at least five years.

      • Mythbuntu 10.04 RC is out!

        Mythbuntu 10.04 Release Candidate has been released. With this release, we are providing mirroring on sponsored mirrors and torrents.

      • Canonical releases Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release candidate
      • Announcing the Release Candidate for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
      • Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx dark theme and Skype

        If you use Ubuntu’s latest release Lucid Lynx and you enjoy to chat with your friends using Skype, then you might have noticed that Skypes default theme clashes with Lucid’s dark theme. Personally, I think the new theme is kick-ass, but I was a bit annoyed that I couldn’t read any of the menus in Skype. I’m taking about the kind of menus you get when you right click on the Skype icon in your top taskbar. The dark text on dark background makes it unreadable.

      • Ubuntu, the family album

        A few days before the release of the new Ubuntu, here’s a guided tour through the Ubuntu family album with some annotations telling my story with the different versions.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Android

      • ELC: Android and the community

        Greg Kroah-Hartman delivered some “tough love” to Android in his keynote at this year’s Embedded Linux Conference (ELC). He is very clearly excited about Android and what it can do—uses it daily as his regular phone—but is unhappy with Google’s lack of community engagement. There is hope that things will change, he said; there has been a fair amount of “introspection” at Google that he hopes will lead it in a more community-oriented direction.


        There were several things that Google did right, Kroah-Hartman said, starting with its choice of Linux. In an aside, he noted that all phone manufacturers bring up their phones using Linux, including Apple with the iPhone; “a little-known fact”. He also lauded Google for following the kernel license, which is something that Palm didn’t initially do with WebOS, he said. He pointed to android.git.kernel.org as a “wonderful site” that contains all of the Android code in easily accessible Git repositories. But “that’s all the good”.

      • Dell Thunder explodes Android with 4.1-inch OLED screen, promises Hulu app

        It’s like Dell’s making up for lost time with smartphones: while “Lightning” is the company’s answer to Windows Phone extravagance, the Dell Thunder that’s leaking out along side does up Android 2.1 with similar aplomb and a 4.1-inch WVGA OLED screen. There’s a heavily custom Dell “Stage” UI on top, which seems much different (and classier) than what we’ve seen on the Streak or Aero.

      • Dell Looking Glass tablet leaks: Tegra 2 coming your way in November

        We’d already heard that Dell was working on larger tablets, and tonight’s huge leak brought us tons of info on the Looking Glass, a seven-inch big brother to the Streak 5 that’s due out in November.

      • Adobe Previews Flash/AIR Games Coming to Android
      • Sony X10 The GutReactionReview(TM)

        Okay, I’ve had the X10 since 8:30pm last night now (but I had to sleep some) so here is my initial GutReactionReview™. This will be quick, and mostly point form. It’s possible that any “problems” I list might have solutions, but the whole point is what the reaction of a first-time smart-phone buyer might be, especially if they aren’t too savvy, or know how/where to solve these things on their own.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Get Ready For HP’s AirLife 100: Official Specs Revealed

        HP Compaq gave us a sneak peak at their Android-powered netbook at the most recent CES and Mobile World Congress, but they’ve remained rather tight-lipped on the device’s specifications (even after it’s passed FCC). We’ve already gotten our taste at an initial list of expected specs, but HP has officially confirmed them today.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Four Considerations When Using Open Source in Production

    Most IT staff and developers have no problem technically evaluating open source software. However, they often overlook other considerations that could mean success or failure of a production system.

    Here are some of the top non-technical issues you should consider for any open source that will be running in your production environment.

  • Debunking Free Software Myths

    I fancy myself to be what some would call a “Free Software Advocate” and as such when I am making recommendations of free software to people I hear many of the same common misconceptions day in and day out. Lets separate some of the fact from the fiction shall we?

    #1 Free software is Illegal

    This is easily the most common phrase I hear when recommending free software to new people. (Not just the un-educated make this mistake either, one of my college professors made this assumption when I brought up the topic in class) Let me assure you that free software is 100% legal, you are not breaking any laws by downloading and using it. Most free software is typically released under the GNU license or some similar license.

  • Free 451 Group report on regional differences in attitudes to open source adoption

    The recent survey of 1,700 open source software users, conducted as part of our recent CAOS report Climate Change: User Perspectives on the Impact of Economic Conditions on Open Source Adoption, provided us with an opportunity to generate some quantitative evidence to support our qualitative research.

  • Better test data generation with Benerator

    Benerator addresses these issues. It makes it easy and fast to configure data generation in early project stages, so you can start performance testing as soon as you have running code. You can run Benerator from a nightly build system and trigger nightly automatic performance tests. As your project evolves, you can fine-tune data generation, or extract and anonymize real production data.

  • Don’t let FUD kill your business goals

    If there’s one thing business leaders can learn from open source developers, it’s when you begin disrupting the comfortable ways that people do business, you’ll experience the power of FUD—Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. And your ideas, in all their brilliant, open-minded glory, will be the target. Open source software developers have heard it all. Open source is risky. It will destroy your profitability. It will turn you into a communist. Worthy of inclusion on an international watchlist. And you should probably be quarantined.

    So if you’re facing opposition to bringing the open source way to your organization, find an established open source community and ask what has worked for them—and what hasn’t.

    Drupal developer Bryan Ollendyke likes to point to successful implementations of Drupal, like Penn State or the White House. This is an excellent strategy for silencing the nay-sayers. Arm yourself with examples of respected companies who embody the open source way.

    Rob Weir of the OpenDocument Format looks carefully at the lies and half-truths and then formulates a concise response that sets the record straight. It’s hard to argue with facts.

  • Mozilla

    • A look at the future of Firefox add-ons

      Recently we came across some information that Firefox would be getting restart-less add-ons sooner than we expected, and it prompted us to take a look at the future of Firefox add-ons.


      Jetpack started off as a Mozilla labs experiment for the future of Firefox extensions. It was meant to be a simple new way to get started writing extensions for Firefox using web standard technologies such as HTML, Javascript and CSS. The Jetpack system was supposed to eventually become an alternate — perhaps a replacement — for the current way of writing extensions for Firefox.

      Jetpacks were restart-less extensions for default which used the Jetpack APIs to do all the work. This meant that Firefox could make as many changes as they wanted between two versions of Firefox, and as long as they ensured that the Jetpack API does not change no add-on functionality will break.

      After 8 iterations, the Jetpack project came to an end, as the original project had lost clarity in its goal. However from its ashes the Jetpack SDK has arisen, which takes into account some of the lessons learnt while creating Jetpack.

    • 10 MORE outstanding Firefox extensions

      It’s been a while since we last took a look at worthwhile Firefox extensions. Well, it’s time again. But now, Firefox has added collections to the mix. Extension collections are exactly what they sound like — collections of related extensions. In this list, we have a few worthwhile collections (since they’re new, there aren’t many) as well as some stand-alone extensions.

    • Firefox Add-on of the Week: GoogleSharing
    • Mozilla Balkans 2010

      After a lot of talk about a possible event somewhere in South-Eastern Europe, we finally did it. We are now organizing a whole new and somewhat experimental event in the Rocky Balkans. Leaders of local Mozilla communities from the Balkans have joined their efforts to organize this event, the first of this type in the Balkans.

  • Oracle

    • OpenSolaris 2009.06

      Occasionally I get an interesting, off-the-beaten-path suggestion on the Request A Review page. This time around somebody suggested doing a review of OpenSolaris. Why do a review of OpenSolaris? Well why the heck not? It’s always fun to check out a different kind of desktop operating system. Sometimes you can find an unexpected jewel when you least expect it. Is OpenSolaris a jewel? I’ll try to answer that question in this review.

  • CMS

    • Improving Your WordPress Blog: Five Essential Plugins

      WordPress is a full featured and simple to use publishing platform, and it just gets better with each release. But even as good as the standard WordPress release is, you can always make it just a little bit better. In this guide, we’ll look at five plugins that will help protect your blog from spam and malware, simplify keeping backups, and even help you make a little cash off your blog if you’re so inclined.

      The WordPress community has developed thousands of plugins and themes. If you haven’t tried out WordPress plugins yet, you owe it to yourself and your blog to give them a try. They’re amazingly easy to set up and can boost the functionality of WordPress by quite a lot.

  • Releases

    • System message logger with pattern database

      The program compiles statistics in which log messages can be evaluated by server host, destination, pattern database classes and rules or tags. Encryption and hashing can also be set up separately for each storage location. The open source version under the GPL2 license is available to download from the development website for various Linux and FreeBSD versions.

  • Open Access/Content

    • OpenStreetMap data is on your train

      From Simon Clayson’s Flickr stream, we learn that OSM iz in yer tranez. I’m sure that’s what the cool kids would say. More from Simon:

      Great Western Trains have some seats with airline style LCD “entertainment” screens. More interesting than paying £1.50 to watch an episode of Friends is the “You are exactly here” screen which is free. And it uses Open Street Map! Good work Volo TV.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Adobe Should Open Source Flash

      Even if Google opens VP8 there are slim chances that arch rivals like Microsoft, especially Apple, will adopt Ogg format, despite its superior quality and openness.

      Google should add more weight to Ogg by dropping support for proprietary H.264 and encouraging usage of Ogg. Considering its ownership of YouTube, Chrome browser, Android and upcoming Chome OS, Google is in a very strong position to boost deployment of Ogg over H.264. IE is weakening; Firefox is gaining market, Chrome is picking up; Opera already supports Ogg, this would be the best move for Google to ‘force’ a free format.


  • Science

    • Sun sat sends stunning solar snap
    • New speed cameras trap motorists from space

      The cameras, which combine number plate reading technology with a global positioning satellite receiver, are similar to those used in roadworks.

    • Study to probe mobile health risk

      The world’s largest study on the safety of using mobile phones has been launched by researchers in London.

      The project will recruit 250,000 phone users across five different European countries including the UK.

      It will last between 20 and 30 years and aims to provide definitive answers on the health impacts of mobile phones.

  • Security/Aggression

    • European DNA seizure plans slammed by Conservatives

      The European Union has put forward a proposal for a continentwide search warrant, which could be issued in any state, and which would be binding on all police forces.

      Under the proposals, authorities in countries such as Poland would be given the power to demand that British police seize the bank account details of a suspect living in this country.

      Warrants could also be issued which would force police to intercept phone calls, set up CCTV surveillance, monitor bank accounts, and even demand body samples such as fingerprints or DNA.

    • Teacher Gareth Thomas claims his life has been blighted by the CRB after his identity was confused with a drug dealer

      A teacher has been left traumatised after his identity was confused with a convicted drugs offender.

      Gareth Thomas taught English at the Archbishop’s School in Canterbury for seven years.

      But he was left stunned when he couldn’t return to the profession after taking a career break in 2007.

      The reason was the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) found his details closely matched those of a man convicted and jailed for a drugs offence in Winchester 29 years ago.

    • Full-body scanners can store images

      We are clearly on an uphill struggle with body scanner technology, as the dubious poll from airport security firm, Unisys, showed last week – people are more blasé about body scanners than other intrusive technologies. However, if the government have lied they need to be brought to account.

    • £80m boost to TfL as CCTV catches 1m illegal parkers

      Figures released by London Mayor and TfL boss Boris Johnson show that while staff have ticketed 950,000 times in the last five years, CCTV has overtaken them and broken through the million barrier.

    • Plaid Cymru calls for an end to identity cards

      Plaid Cymru has launched its election manifesto and promises to end the identity card project and the national DNA database.

    • UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files

      The first person jailed under draconian UK police powers that Ministers said were vital to battle terrorism and serious crime has been identified by The Register as a schizophrenic science hobbyist with no previous criminal record.

  • Environment

    • Treating Climate Change as a Curable Disease

      Nearly 200 scientists from 14 countries met last month at the famed Asilomar retreat center outside Monterey, California in a very deliberate bid to make history. Their five-day meeting focused on setting up voluntary ground rules for research into cloud-brightening, giant algae blooms and other massive-scale interventions to cool the planet. It’s unclear how significant the meeting will turn out to be, but the intent of its organizers was unmistakable: By choosing Asilomar, they hoped to summon the spirit of a groundbreaking meeting of biologists that took place on the same site in 1975. Back then, scientists with bushy sideburns and split collars — the forefathers of the molecular revolution, it turned out — established principles for the safe and ethical study of deadly pathogens.

    • Tipping Point: Near-Term Systemic Implications of a Peak in Global Oil Production–Principal Mechanisms Driving Collapse

      We begin with the state of globalised civilisation that we argued in sec: 4.1 has been in a relatively stable dynamical state for the last century and a half or so. In its broadest outline we might say that declining energy flows reduce economic activity which further reduce energy flows. A series of increasingly severe processes are set in train which start to cause cascading collapse in major hub infrastructures and the operational fabric of the global economy. These processes have different time-scales, some could evolve over years, some could be relatively abrupt but because of coupling between them, the faster processes are likely to lead the overall collapse rate.

    • Whales Under Threat!
    • Whale poop is vital to ocean’s carbon cycle

      Saving endangered baleen whales could boost the carbon storage capacity of the Southern Ocean, suggests a new study of whale faeces. Whale faeces once provided huge quantities of iron to a now anaemic Southern Ocean, boosting the growth of carbon-sequestering phytoplankton.

    • Hollywood and “The Cove” Join Forces for Dolphin Awareness PSA [VIDEO]

      Hollywood is coming together to spread the word about the brutal slaughter of dolphins off the coast of Japan. In the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, these practices are exposed from the perspective of those that are working to put a stop to it.

    • Iceland volcano: why we were lucky we weren’t wiped out

      The volcanic ash cloud from Eyjafjallajokull has caused travel chaos and misery. But we were lucky. An eruption in the future could wipe out the human race

    • Once-hidden EU report reveals damage from biodiesel

      Biofuels such as biodiesel from soy beans can create up to four times more climate-warming emissions than standard diesel or petrol, according to an EU document released under freedom of information laws.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Top European companies ‘lobbying in secret’, says NGO

      Referring to the Commission’s lobby register, Hugo Lueders at the Brussels office of CompTIA, an association representing the global IT industry, said “we are not registered and have no interest in doing so while the scheme remains voluntary”.

      Lueders said some of the association’s members are registered with the European Parliament in order to get access badges.

      Speaking ahead of the report’s launch, co-author Paul de Clerck of Friends of the Earth Europe said “in its current form the European Commission’s lobby register fails in its goal to safeguard reliable information and to end the culture of secrecy around lobbying in Brussels”.

      “To give the public an accurate picture of big company lobbying, a joint Parliament and Commission mandatory register is needed that includes names of individual lobbyists, the specific dossiers they are lobbying on, and has stringent financial disclosure requirements,” de Clerck concluded.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Draft Bill Propostion on Civil Rights Framework for Internet in Brazil

      Brazil is going through a remarkable procedure for the establishment of a civil-rights based legal framework for the use of Internet. The Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the Center for Technology and Society from Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV/CTS), has launched a collaborative process to try to underline how Brazilian society is willing to structure rights and responsibilities for using the web, as well as providing access and content.

    • This is insane – new ISP censors the web with movie-style age limits

      UK-based Tibboh proudly states that it “protects your family with cinema style ratings for the internet developed with the BBFC. Providing all the benefits of the internet whilst minimising the risk for your children.”

    • Wikileaks Claims Facebook Deleted Their Fan Page Because They “Promote Illegal Acts”

      Wikileaks Claims Facebook Deleted Their Fan Page Because They “Promote Illegal Acts”Secret-sharing website Wikileaks is at it again, tweeting allegations against people who have pissed them off. Previously, it was Robert Gates, whom they called a “liar”. Tonight, it’s Facebook, which Wikileaks claims deleted its 30,000 member-strong fan club.

    • First They Came For Hitler…

      The thousand-year reich of Downfall parodies has ended in ruins. Constantin Films, the German producer of the 2004 film Der Untergang, has compelled YouTube to start taking down the popular Hitler-rants-about-funny-thing-X clips.

    • Hitler Rants Video About DMCA Takedowns Is Taken Down Itself

      Since this video, which uses the same Downfall clip in question, can be considered parody, then it should be covered under fair use. Since its creator filed a dispute after it was taken down, for now, the video is viewable on YouTube (and on Vimeo, as in the link above), awaiting review from Constantin on the copyright claim.

    • 10 Nations Demand Online Privacy – Or Else

      That some of the same governments that have recently enacted strict new laws that will give media companies greater control over the Internet are the same ones complaining about Google violating users’ rights is somewhat ironic, said privacy expert Lauren Weinstein of Vortex Technology.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Now, Apparently It’s Not Just Content Providers That Are Getting A Free Ride On Broadband Networks, But Consumers Too

      One of US telcos’ favorite talking points is the “free ride” that Google and other content providers get on their networks. It’s fundamentally wrong, since Google and others obviously pay their bandwidth bills, but it’s also conceptually flawed, as telco execs seem to think it’s their networks, rather than the content which travels over it, that consumers value. The stupidity isn’t bounded by this country’s borders, though, with the head of a UK broadband-via-satellite provider saying that “Neither consumers or providers are bearing the cost” of data traffic over broadband networks. With that, we’d like to extend our usual challenge to the exec: if neither consumers or content providers are paying, how about paying their bandwidth bills for a month?

    • Just like Comcast? RCN accused of throttling P2P

      Net neutrality skeptics routinely point out that only a pair of ISPs, Comcast and Madison River, have been FCC targets for willfully interfering with specific Internet content—so what’s the problem?

    • Ubisoft’s Despised DRM Continues To Annoy, Fail

      We’ve been covering how Ubisoft’s new DRM requires that users be constantly connected to the Internet if they want to play even the single-player portion of the game. That didn’t exactly thrill customers to begin with, but the DRM was made considerably worse by the fact that many paying customers couldn’t play the game they owned because Ubisoft’s servers initially kept going down or their connection wasn’t particularly reliable. Of course like all DRM’d games Ubisoft’s games eventually wind up being cracked anyway — which makes all the annoyances customers experience all the more pointless.

  • Murdochmania

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • No Surprise: MPAA Wouldn’t Reveal Data On How It Came Up With Bogus ‘Piracy’ Numbers

      Starting last year, I started receiving reports from folks at the GAO that they were getting massive resistance from the entertainment industry when it came to their attempt to look more deeply into the actual economic impact of unauthorized file sharing. Some even told me that industry pressure had resulted in the GAO never releasing a particular report. However, last week, as everyone knows, the GAO came out with its extremely damning report, showing that industry figures on the impact of unauthorized file trading were totally bunk. The numbers — which were regularly used by politicians in pushing for entertainment industry-supported legislation — had little basis in fact, greatly overstated the issue and totally ignored the benefits of file sharing.

    • Feds hampered by incomplete MPAA piracy data

      But the GAO never got all of the information it requested from the Motion Picture Association of America, according to GAO administrators, including Loren Yager, the author of the summary report that ensued and director of the GAO’s International Affairs and Trade efforts. The agency said as much in the report: “It is difficult based on the information provided in the study to determine how the authors handled key assumptions.”

    • Oh Look, UK Piracy Statistics Are Based On Nonsense Too

      In the UK, the recent Digital Economy Bill was rushed through without any real debate — but with plenty of typical claims of how piracy was going to lead to economic armageddon if the bill wasn’t passed. Just like in the States, the UK government never actually bothered to study whether any of these claims were accurate. If they had, they would have found that — also just like in the United States — the claims weren’t based on real science but on the usual combination of flawed logic (assuming a copy shared naturally equates to a lost sale) and skewed, industry-supplied data.

    • Innovation By Imitation: Study Shows That Success Comes From Imitation

      The results, however, showed that the runaway winners of the contest were those that used “social learning” the most. In other words, they were the ones who took what, on the face of things, appeared to be the most “costly” move — and focused on what was working best for others and then using it successfully themselves. In other words, yet again, we see that the strategies that make the most sense for the greatest output tend to be those where participants in a market have the ability to copy others. Now, this upsets those who may have come up with the results first, but as other studies have shown, it’s rarely the exclusivity of patents that leads to that invention in the first place. So if you don’t need exclusivity to invent, and a more open solution of copying leads to greater overall output and social benefit… what, exactly, is the reason for creating these kinds of monopolies anyway?

    • RIAA and MPAA Make Outrageous Proposal, Sit Back, Stroke White Cat

      The United States government is still wrestling with the tricky problem of intellectual property rights in the digital age, and so the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (also known as the Copyright Czar) has asked the big players in intellectual property to submit proposals full of steps the government could take to curb pirates and other copyright infringers.

      The joint proposal from the MPAA and RIAA is, as one might suspect, the sort of thing that wouldn’t seem amiss coming out of the mouth of a black clad man with one cataract-filled eye, who sits in a swivel chair at one end of a glossy conference table and strokes a white Persian cat. Once he finishes speaking, his henchmen drag you away from your computer, screaming.

    • She Fought the RIAA; Tortoise and Will Oldham in ’06; Smile, You’re Up for a Grammy

      In February I covered the story of Cecilia Gonzalez, who was one of 261 people across the country–51 in the Chicago area–accused of illegal downloading in the first wave of civil suits brought by record companies and their trade organization, the Recording Industry Association of America, in 2003. In a summary judgment in January a district court judge ordered Gonzalez to pay five major record companies a total of $22,500 for 30 songs she downloaded using Kazaa.

    • Copyrights

      • Flea market beats music giant Sony in copyright suit
      • Climate sceptic wins landmark data victory ‘for price of a stamp’

        Belfast ecologist forced to hand over tree-ring data describes order from information commission as a ‘staggering injustice’

      • India Introduces Major Copyright Reform Bill

        The Government of India has just introduced a major new copyright reform package. Of particular note from a Canadian perspective are the approaches to fair dealing and anti-circumvention. On fair dealing, the provision is expanded to cover “private and personal use.” On anti-circumvention, the bill is consistent with implementing the WIPO Internet treaties in a manner that retains equal rights both online and offline. The provision specifically targets circumvention for the purposes of copyright infringement and does not target the distribution or marketing of devices that can be used to circumvent.

      • Canadian Entertainment Industry Begins New Media Campaign For Draconian Copyright Laws

        Along those lines, a few folks have submitted a writeup by Canadian intellectual property lawyer Richard Owens, who claims that the public consultation on copyright in Canada last year was not fair because it was dominated by evil pirates and “shadowy organizations.” Seriously. The article dismisses the public consultation because sites like TorrentFreak (which he mischaracterizes, ignoring that the site is a well-respected journalistic endeavor) encouraged people to make their views known, and that many of the submissions came via a submission system put together by the Canadian Coalition of Electronic Rights — which he also mischaracterizes as “a clandestine group of mod-chip manufacturers.”

      • Filesharing? OK cool…but…do us a favor too

        We get asked a lot if we’re cool with filesharing, and downloading our album “illegally”…..so here’s the deal. We’re totally cool with it. As any of you who have taken us up on our free sampler CD offer know, we spend a small fortune on printing and postage just to send out our music for free. We’re pretty broke too, and like listening to tons of music that we can’t always afford….and in the end the most important thing to us is that you get to enjoy our music.


        So here is our win/win proposal to people who download the record from a filesharing site: If you like the album, pick your favorite song and email it to 10 of your friends.

    • ACTA

      • ACTA and intermediaries

        So, the text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been released. Much of what I’ve read so far brings me back to an earlier comment I made regarding one of the early drafts. If you don’t feel like reading the link, the gist of what I said is that the agreement was not particularly cumbersome, but that it contained two points of concern, the export of American punitive and statutory damages, and the criminalisation of a wider range of copyright infringement. Not much has happened to change my mind from that opinion. I have been advocating a “wait and see” approach to ACTA. Some of the leaks have worried me, but personally I do not think that the agreement will have the wide-ranging nefarious effect advertised. There is however, room for concern.

      • Consolidated ACTA text is released, without country positions

        Today the first public draft of the ACTA text was released. A copy is available here. Earlier leaked versions of the text, which include country positions, are the January 18, 2010 consolidated text, a February 2010 EU memorandum of the selected sections, and seven documents from 2008.

    • Digital Economy Bill


Links 22/4/2010: Linux 2.6.34 RC5, Valve’s Steam is Coming To GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 7:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • The stories we are all sick of hearing

      I find it rather comical how certain stories just get regurgitated up over and over again. For example I typed in Ubuntu new look on Google and I got 1,800,000 results for that topic alone. Sure some of them are irrelevant results but out of that 1,800,000 many if not most of the results are the same information being posted over and over again. Please don’t be the next blogger to write the next Ubuntu has a new look post. It lost it’s interest after 800,000 postings. I also ran a search for Year of the Linux and got 65,500,000 results. Please no more year of the Linux stories, people who read Tech news often just want to stay up to date on the latest happenings in the world of Linux and after 65 million postings on this topic most could probably care less what you think about it.

    • Extreme Desktop Makeover: Josh Edition

      Many people don’t really care about how their desktop is set up. Those people tend to leave things pretty much at the defaults, or maybe just change the wallpaper or color scheme. Some of us, however, consider desktop layout to be vitally important to productivity. Personally, I like to keep maximum information available at all times, with the ability to access my preferred communication tools. Today, I’m going to show you the methods I use to create my own personal Ultimate Desktop.


      Desktop Management – Compiz Expo

      I can’t live without virtual desktops, sometimes called workspaces. X has supported them for decades, but until recently there’s been very little innovation. The Expo plugin, part of the Compiz package, provides a fast, beautiful, efficient way to view and manage your virtual desktops.

    • Twenty Computers in Twenty Days…

      A perfect storm of sorts took place at Latitude: HeliOS Longitude: Project this week. Tony Medley, the IT Support guy for CompassLearning emailed us and told me that he has 22 Pentium 4 desktop units ready to donate. These are some pretty decent computers. With a waiting list of kids growing every month, this was indeed great news.

      But oh wait…it gets better…

      Teenya Franklin of Knowbility.org contacted us and wanted to know if we were interested in picking up some components and peripherals that had been donated by Dell.

  • Server

    • Highly Parallel HPC: Ants vs Horses

      The non-obvious nature of parallel computing can invite some incorrect assumptions. For instance, combining fast sequential things does not always mean you will create an optimal parallel thing. If scaling, power usage, or I/O are important, then you may be surprised to learn that there are other factors at play than just fast cores. Like my first experience with resistors, “parallel” always seems to introduce some non-obvious results. And, of course, I have not even mentioned about how surprised I was when I learned about capacitors circuits. You can’t make this stuff up.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.34-rc5

      Another week, another -rc. This time there wasn’t some big nasty regression I was working on to hold things up, and it felt like a pretty regular -rc release.

    • Linux compatible wireless keyboard

      SiTouch has announced the release of a new wireless keyboard. This is a very cool looking keyboard with back lit keys for low light. For those of us who occasionally work late on our computer this feature is appreciated. The keyboard also contains a touch pad.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Unigine Takes Advantage Of OpenGL 4.0

        It was just shy of a month ago when Unigine Heaven 2.0 was released with Linux support and it showed what Linux gaming can look like while slaughtering your graphics card. Unigine Corp, the company responsible for this multi-platform game engine, though hasn’t been sitting around idly since the Heaven 2.0 release, but they have in fact been moving forward with great improvements their game engine.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon

      • Sabayon – Sneak Peek at New Installer

        So far so good! I hope people will find the installer better and have lesser issues. I myself never had problems with the old installer, but thanks to Fabio for making something even better. Feel free to throw a few donation dollars his way while he is in-between jobs and still improving on your favorite distro. He really is working hard for everyone and deserves to be shown some appreciation.

      • Build Your Own Sabayon Linux with Sabayon CoreCD 5.2

        In order to run Sabayon Linux CoreCD 5.2 on your personal computer, make sure that you meet the minimum system requirements:

        · Intel Pentium Pro, Celeron, AMD K6-2, Pentium II or Athlon CPU;
        · 512 MB of RAM;
        · 2 GB of free hard disk space;
        · Supported 2D video card;
        · a CD reader or USB flash drive.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2010 review

        I was very excited about this release of PCLOS and have been waiting for it to hit for a while now. PCLinuxOS (PCLOS for short) was my second Linux distro I ever used and I really liked it. The only reason I moved on from it was the fact that I never really got used to the KDE desktop, finding it a bit too remniscent of Windoze for my liking. However, I was willing to overlook that detail and give this version another whirl. So here we go.

      • PCLinuxOS 2010 Screenshots
    • Red Hat Family

      • The First Benchmarks Of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0

        The first beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 was made available yesterday morning. RHEL 6.0 is set to offer many virtualization enhancements, power management improvements, new security features, many package updates, and even some reported performance enhancements. With Red Hat mentioning this major upgrade to their enterprise operating system carrying “performance enhancements”, these claims have now been tested using the Phoronix Test Suite within our labs. There are some improvements for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 to note, but also some losses.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 Codenames Come About

          So far the potential candidates for the Fedora 14 codename include Guiness, Scofield, Bhanji, Kingsley, Astro, and Bacon. However, there’s still six days left to voice your input on this Fedora Wiki page.

        • Fedora 13 Spotlight Feature: NetworkManager Gets Even More Connected

          As with previous Fedora releases, we’ll once again be highlighting some of the new and improved features in a series of blogs leading up to our latest release, Fedora 13, anticipated in mid-May. First up on our list is NetworkManager.

    • Ubuntu

      • Tomcat improvements coming up in 10.04 !

        Jason Brittain, a software architect at MuleSoft and the author of Tomcat: the Definitive Guide, approached us with some ideas about how to improve the Tomcat package in Debian and Ubuntu. Check out his blog post on working with Debian and Ubuntu here.

        Jason noticed that the Ubuntu and Debian init scripts were starting Tomcat via the JSVC service runner, in order to allow binding the Tomcat JVM to privileged server port numbers (port numbers lower than 1024), while still running as an unprivileged user. However, JSVC was also the source of several long-standing bugs: it shuts down Tomcat abruptly and implements unreliable restarts, so it was possible for the init script to be unable to restart Tomcat. Upstream recommends using Tomcat’s catalina.sh script instead, and that script should in turn run the Java binary, so that the init script can properly handle any issues with starts, stops, or restarts. But that script doesn’t have the support to bind ports as root and then run as an unprivileged user, like JSVC does…

      • Change I Can Believe In
      • Canonical to Roll Out Independent Ubuntu Certified Professional Certification for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

        Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, today announced that it will provide its own fully-independent certification for junior-level system administrators to help them with Ubuntu deployments in their office environments. The e-learning course version will be available shortly after the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Long Term Support) release on 29 April 2010 with students able to study in the classroom from June 2010 and the new exam available from October 2010.

      • Canonical open sources Launchpad and Ubuntu Single Sign On code

        More details about the Canonical Identity Provider can be found on the project’s Launchpad page (login required). Canonical Identity Provider code is released under version 3 of the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPLv3).

      • Open vs. Closed: Ubuntu Walks the Line

        Canonical’s 330 employees are responsible for maintaining, supporting and selling service for Ubuntu, an open-source version of the Linux operating system for servers, desktops and computer manufacturers. Some 120-150 of the Canonical employees contribute directly to the new releases of the software that come out every six months, and most of the company’s revenue comes from supporting enterprise server customers and makers of computers that want to put Ubuntu on desktops. Consumers also download the software, but few pay Canonical for support. The company is not yet profitable.

      • Announcing the Release Candidate for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

        The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the Release Candidate for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Long-Term Support) Desktop and Server Editions and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server for Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) and Amazon’s EC2, as well as Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Edition. Codenamed “Lucid Lynx”, 10.04 LTS continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution.

      • What to Install After Installing Ubuntu Lucid?
      • Canonical CTO Matt Zimmerman Speaks

        We appreciate Matt’s time for the interview and we look forward to speaking with him again prior to the much anticipated 10.10 release.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • wall mounted touch screen linux computer features “green” technology

      This is a wall mounted, touch screen, low power, linux computer. Made from recycled materials, this is a pretty environmental friendly device.

    • Nokia

      • MeeGo mobile Linux will also do laptops and desktops

        Intel has revealed that it is developing a variant of the Linux-based MeeGo operating system that will run on conventional desktop and laptop computers. This move could substantially broaden MeeGo’s scope, transforming it from a mobile platform into a general purpose Linux distro.

    • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Mobile Devices are Long-term Key for Chrome OS and Android

        Google CEO Eric Schmidt shed some light on the company’s plans for Chrome OS in tablets and mobile devices at the Atmosphere Cloud Computing Summit.

        Cloud computing is the cornerstone of Chrome OS, as the platform runs entirely on cloud servers and all user data is automatically backed up to the same remote server network.

      • Chrome OS kernel source code hints at ARM, Tegra 2 hardware

        Google’s browser-centric Chrome OS hasn’t reached the market yet, but development is progressing and the platform is attracting the interest of a growing number of hardware makers. Although the operating system was principally designed for netbooks, Google has also discussed some opportunities for bringing it to other kinds of devices, including ARM-based smartbooks and tablets.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source training more attractive to workers

    Schools are heeding the call from organizations seeking IT personnel skilled in open source, but such efforts must involve broader industry participation and greater integration across the curriculum, according to an analyst.

    With regard to open source modules, Patrick Chan, chief technology advisor for IDC Asia-Pacific’s emerging technologies practice group, said a more concerted effort is required on the part of institutions to move universities in the same direction.

  • Vendor ownership doesn’t mean lower open source risk

    Having a big-name vendor backing an open source project does not necessarily translate to lower risk of implementation, and companies looking to rely on open source should be prepared to support the project inhouse, urged a founding member of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

  • Open source in a new light
  • This Roman knows how to spot the best open source

    My Italian friend Roberto Galoppini has developed a new open source evaluation tool, SOSOpenSource, and Funambol has passed its tests.

    Most open source evaluation tools use a corporate database of code and its licenses. They also tell you only whether code is open source, and what its license says if it is.

  • Motivation and Open Source
  • Moral obligations of Free Software authors?

    I enjoy writing software. I often write software to solve some sort of problem that I’ve had. Usually virtually any code I write winds up in my git repositories, on the theory that it might be useful to someone else. Some of the code that I think might really be useful to people gets even better treatment. OfflineIMAP, for instance, has a very comprehensive manpage, heavily commented example config file, wiki, mailing list, public bug tracker, etc. Most of these I did the majority of the work to create, but OfflineIMAP does occasionally receive code and documentation contributions from others.

  • Oracle

  • CMS

  • Business

    • Zmanda’s Data Backup: Enterprise Quality, SMB Prices

      For many small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), data is the most important asset. And that makes many SMBs vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters because few small business owners have been able to tackle the cost and complexity of data backup and disaster recovery processes. Zmanda, an open source, cloud-based data backup company, aims to change that.


  • Frontier Communications “Testing” To See How Users Respond To Being Ridiculously Overcharged For Bandwidth

    Time Warner Cable eventually backed off the plan, but not before their brand (which they’re planning to change) took a lot of damage. One small reason they backed off was because one of the company’s few competitors, Frontier Communications, started advertising their DSL service as uncapped in order to gain a competitive advantage. Despite the fact Frontier was previously planning to impose 5GB monthly caps on all speed tiers — said ads lambasted the cable industry as greedy. Of course now that Time Warner Cable has backed off, Frontier is testing an even more ridiculous overcharging system.

  • ACTA Treaty Draft Text Released

    Now, the DMCA also contained a “safe harbor” for ISPs that probably would not pass now (since it gave ISPs an exemption for liability that turned out to be broader than initially realized when the DMCA was enacted in the 1990s). I was concerned that ACTA would contain the anti-circumvention provisions but not the ISP safe-harbor rules–but some version of this does, at least, seem to be contemplated in the ACTA text (see pp. 20-21).

    In any case, this horrible treaty needs to be stopped.

Clip of the Day

Bruce Lee: The Lost Interview (filmed in 1971 –> first aired 1994)

Links 22/4/2010: New Details on Chrome OS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

Posted in News Roundup at 8:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Mindshare

    Now that the hype over “7″ is declining, I expect GNU/Linux to continue rapid growth in share. Here, as far as I know, last year there was only one server loaded with GNU/Linux, sitting on a shelf. This year there are 40 PCs and servers running GNU/Linux and by next year, everyone in the community will know something about GNU/Linux. We could add another 20 GNU/Linux PCs from Computers for Schools, and with luck, a bunch of thin clients if the budget comes through (expected this month). There might be only 1% share for that other OS in the school by the end of next year.

  • RE: 10 characteristics of a Linux Guru?
  • LoCo Stories: the Asturian team drives the Asturian Language Academy migration to Ubuntu

    Spain has a rich language diversity. While the main official language is Spanish, there are several regions in which it coexists with others with the same or similar degrees of official recognition. These are Basque, spoken in the Basque Country; Catalan, spoken in Catalonia, the Valencian Community and the Balearic Islands; and Galician, spoken in Galicia.

    Asturian is yet another language spoken in the region of Asturies, in the North of Spain, and it is special in the sense that it does not enjoy official status but there is a regional law that contemplates its promotion and protection. However, this still means that there are no public or private initiatives to make it available in IT and the newer technologies.

  • Big 4 freeze in face of changing habits

    I recall that Absa offered to e-mail me the statement in a Microsoft format. As a computer geek I only use Linux, so I ignored it – thereby inadvertently volunteering to give Absa R5 a month to kill trees for no purpose.

  • Will Windows continue to be Windows?

    Microsoft’s latest operating systems are boasting a great “new” feature, Windows PowerShell.


    It’s pretty clear that Microsoft has discovered the value of the shell, since it has integrated it into Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7, the latest operating systems. However, other more stable operating systems like Unix, Linux, and other flavors of Unix, have used shells like ash, bash, and others for decades. And, they have proven to be essential. The shell is an extremely lightweight yet powerful tool for tackling just about any operation you could want. The nice thing is that the shell is completely text driven, so that it can be used over small data links like modems, even though modems are becoming extinct these days.

    But, Linux and other Unix flavors still have an advantage over Windows. Decades of refinement for one. Windows’ implementation of the command line is still a little limited. It would take Microsoft quite a long time to catch up and try to match the huge array of command line tools available with Unix/Linux.

  • Police Career – Linux Computer Systems in Law Enforcement

    Law enforcement recently has been following the general tide of government and public service groundswell by seeking computing solutions in the Linux direction. Particularly in law enforcement, their needs match well with open source software. They have to work lean on a taxpayer’s budget, and open source is free or low cost. They need top security, and Linux is still the highest-scoring operating software in official government assessments. They need mission-critical reliability, and Linux is so stable, it doesn’t just outrank the competition in stability – it makes the competition disappear!

  • Linux and branding

    Marketing isn’t the first word that one associates with the Linux community, but it is a necessary activity for those who wish to bring new users into the fold (and perhaps make a buck at the same time). The recent Ubuntu rebrand, and the subsequent media attention surrounding it, provides an opportunity to consider the larger question of branding for Linux distributions and open source projects

  • Linux Shedding Indie Status is a Good Thing

    Byfield recommends CentOS and Debian for users seeking “refuge” from commercialization. Both fine projects, and they’re great for a lot of users. But Ubuntu exists in part because Debian doesn’t make a very good distro for mainstream users. CentOS is simply a re-packaging of a commercial Linux distro. If it weren’t for Red Hat’s work, CentOS likely cease to exist. So what’s to gain from avoiding all hints of commercialization? Refusing to acknowledge the contribution that companies make to the production of free software?

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 93
  • Some notes from the Collaboration Summit

    Your editor has just returned from the Linux Foundation’s annual Collaboration Summit, held in San Francisco. LFCS is a unique event; despite becoming more developer-heavy over the years, it still pulls together an interesting combination of people from the wider Linux ecosystem. The following article is not intended to be a comprehensive report from the summit; it is, instead, a look at a few of the more interesting thoughts that came from there.

  • Desktop

    • Red Flag Releases Free Open Source Linux with Openoffice

      Beijing Red Flag Software Company released free and open source Red Flag Linux Desktop 6.0 SP3 on April 19, 2010, according to the company’s web site. The web site now provides a simplified version and a full version for free download.

  • Chrome OS

    • A Less Personal Computer

      Chrome OS extends this strategy. It will be a Web browser running on top of a hardware-­controlling Linux kernel, and not a whole lot else. Chrome OS should take up less than a gigabyte of your computer’s hard drive, and the operating system will boot in seconds. It won’t have a “Start” button–it will just have the Google home page, with links to your favorite Internet applications. Panels will appear on the side of the main window when you connect the laptop to your digital camera or when you find a new wireless network.

    • Google Chrome OS Netbooks To Sell For Under $400

      Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, has revealed that he expects netbooks and other devices based running the company’s forthcoming Google Chrome OS to be available for between $300 and $400.

    • Google: Chrome OS netbooks should cost around £300

      Although still scheduled to launch towards the end of this year, there hasn’t been much in the way of news about Google’s Chrome OS for netbooks for a while. Google CEO Eric Schmidt did let a few details slip about the cloud-based operating system at a recent conference though, including a re-iteration of the planed low price for the hardware.

    • Samsung looks to quad-core processors and Chrome

      In Samsung’s own vision, the main technologies would be its own silicon plus the Ubuntu Linux for notebooks, and Google’s Chrome browser/OS. This shows Samsung signing up enthusiastically for the search giant’s concept of a ‘cloudbook’ – a lightweight device heavily geared to web access and streaming on the move. Google will release its new Chrome OS later this year.

  • Server

    • Cray mimics Ethernet atop SeaStar interconnect

      Supercomputer maker Cray doesn’t talk much about the systems software that runs on its massively parallel, midrange, or entry HPC gear, but it probably will start doing so more because of the work it has done to make its non-standard XT boxes look a little less proprietary as far as Linux applications are concerned.

    • Arista goes modular with 10 Gig E switches

      The High Performance Computing Linux Financial Markets trade show is on today in New York, and Andy Bechtolsheim, twice the chief technology officer at the Oracle-borged Sun Microsystems, is using the event to launch the first modular 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch from his latest company, Arista Networks. And it looks like Bechtolsheim will, in his quiet way, be shaking up the networking market enough that someone will have to buy his company again.

    • Arista launches 10GbE switching platform
    • Transforming the data centre with a cloud

      The future of IT favours open standards and open source as enterprises search for solutions that are robust, interoperable and free of vendor lock-in. Google, Amazon and IBM run massively scalable infrastructure on open source Linux.

      Linux can run on multiple hardware options, bringing freedom of choice. And without the burden of licence fees to be paid to any vendor, it comes with an inherent cost advantage. As a consequence, it is the platform of choice for many software developers.

    • New Email Archiving System From The Linux Box Provides IT and Compliance Managers With Simplified Retention and Retrieval of Company Email

      A new email archiving software system that enables companies to better handle regulatory compliance and storage issues has been launched by The Linux Box Corporation.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • Amarok Is Easy OSS Listening

      Amarok’s latest upgrade to version 2.3 brings several new and useful featurs to the table. The music-playing software’s interface is highly configurable — with a simple setting, you can arrange any of the panels and the toolbar to your liking. There’s also been some performance optimization to make the application move with a lot more snap.

  • Distributions

    • KahelOS 050110 Review

      Even as a basic user, I was able to install and tap into some of the advantages of this Arch-based Linux distro. KahelOs gave me a very stable feel and with a little effort I was able to add packages, customize my desktop and everything else I needed to do in the short term. Making this my daily driver is another story though and would take some time to get used to.

    • New Releases

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Lulu Delays IPO After Investors Balk at Price

        Lulu Ltd., a self-publishing company led by Red Hat Inc. co-founder Robert Young, postponed its initial public offering after investors balked at the price for the company’s shares.

      • Red Hat announces beta of Enterprise Linux 6
      • At Last, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

        Linux vendor Red Hat today released the first public beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL 6), giving observers a look at what’s to come in the next version of its flagship operating system platform.

        The new release takes advantage of a long list of new Linux kernel improvements for performance and scalability while also providing new technologies for security, management, and virtualization.

        “When you look at RHEL 6, there is no one single feature that is the killer feature in the release,” Tim Burke, vice president of platform engineering at Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), told InternetNews.com. “It’s truly a release where the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts. It’s a large, coordinated effort aiming for improved operational efficiency.”

      • Red Hat boosts scalability in enterprise Linux upgrade

        Red Hat will preview on Wednesday an upgrade to its enterprise Linux distribution, which offers dramatic improvements in scalability as well as power management and storage enhancements.

      • Red Hat drops Xen from RHEL

        Red Hat has added a number of new capabilities that should help data centers better support virtualization and cloud computing. The beta release of RHEL 6.0 removes Xen.

      • The Planet Turns to KVM For Cloud Virtualization
      • Red Hat revamps Linux server software
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 update now available

        Driving leadership across virtual, physical and cloud deployments, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 update harnesses the scalability and performance optimization of the next-generation of server processors. Also included are enhanced virtualization capabilities that enable greater guest density, improved interoperability with Windows environments, and new tools and utilities enhancements.

    • Debian Family

      • MEPIS Releases ISOs for 1GB USB Keys

        MEPIS LLC has announced the upload of SimplyMEPIS 8.5 ISOs that will fit on a 1GB USB key. The USB sized ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-USB_8.5.03-rel1_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-USB_8.5.03-rel1_64.iso respectively.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Release Party Videocast Soon!
        • Ubuntu’s Indicator Menus – Ayatana bearing fruit

          When we set up Project Ayatana to improve the usability of the whole desktop, we called it Ayatana because we were focused on the “sphere of consciousness”, one’s awareness of what’s going on outside of the current application. There are two key aspects to the work:

          1. Notifications are “awareness distilled” in the sense that you cannot interact with them at all. We designed them as ephemeral “click-transparent” messages, implemented in Notify-OSD. Their sole purpose is to notify you of transient events.
          2. Indicator Menus combine persistent awareness of a state with a set of options for modifying that state.

        • Ubuntu ditching notification area, awesome things to come

          The notification area in Ubuntu is to be removed by Ubuntu 11.04 the Canonical design team have announced. Labelled as ‘ineffective’ and ‘inconsistent’ Ubuntu will instead be encouraging applications to make use of panel menus that assemble related applications into one area.

        • Ubuntu 10.04 Integrates All Your Inboxes [Linux]

          I’ve been looking for a way to combine all my inboxes in one place for a long time; little did I know my favorite operating system would make this dream feature of mine a default. Previously I didn’t really see the point of the indicator applet, but with the addition of access to one’s social networks I see a bright future for this handy little tool.

          If you’re really interested in the next version of Ubuntu, and you’re brave enough to try something still in beta, check it out here. If you’d rather wait, the full version comes out on April 29th, and you can always read more about Ubuntu tomorrow when my next post goes up.

          What do you think? Is this a killer feature for Ubuntu, or more bloat you’ll never use? Will you yourself use the indicator applet now that it supports social networks, or will you continue to remove it as part of your Ubuntu setup routine?

        • Ubuntu Power Users Community

          As Ubuntu continues to grow and refine, particularly in bringing excellence in design to the platform, there has been some concern in some parts of the community that it is less attuned to power users who want to tweak many aspects of the system than it once was. I agree. That in my mind is not a bad thing: Ubuntu is focusing on a simple, sleek and refined experience, and sometimes as Mark said recently, less is more.

        • Variants

          • What’s been happening with Edubuntu?

            Edubuntu 9.10 was our first release that returned from being an add-on CD to a full installation disc. It had a big problem though, it was almost double the size what it needed to be. The alternate installation that shipped with the disc required for LTSP installation meant that every program and its files were shipped twice on the image, resulting in a very bloated disc. It was unavoidable at the time though but for Lucid we have managed to integrate everything that’s required for a full Edubuntu setup into the desktop LiveCD, so no more alternate installation is required. The effective overall gain on the Lucid installation media is about 1GB. We don’t want to waste space since the current 2.2GB image is already quite heavy on mirrors, but at it is good to know that we have some more leeway when we want to add more features.

          • [Mint] Upgrading to a newer release

            Linux Mint 9 will feature a brand new version of mintBackup, the “Backup Tool”, rewritten from scratch by a newcomer in the development team, somebody people on the IRC and the forums know quite well: Ikey.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Embedded Masterclass explores multicore options

        At this year’s UK Embedded Masterclass event, engineer Paul Tingey from Wind River will give a presentation outlining some of the technical challenges associated with the design of multicore based embedded systems as well as the challenges involved in migrating existing systems from current single core processing to multicore processing.

      • Zoran Launches Inferno, Linux(R)-Based Firmware Platform for Printers, MFPs and Scanners

        SUNNYVALE, CA, Apr 19, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Zoran Corporation /quotes/comstock/15*!zran/quotes/nls/zran (ZRAN 10.92, -0.11, -1.00%) is now shipping Inferno, a new Linux-based firmware platform for its Quatro(R) family of processors that allows manufacturers to easily integrate new technologies supporting advanced features and improved performance in printers, multi-function printers (MFPs) and scanners.

      • ABBYY Announces New OCR SDK for Linux(R) Environment

        “With many business-critical applications running on Linux, the quality and reliability of Linux-based software technologies is of utmost importance,” said Andrey Isaev, director of the technology products department at ABBYY. “ABBYY FineReader Engine SDK delivers a complete set of technologies to ensure accurate and comprehensive OCR functionality yet provides qualified technical support and protection from potential additional costs relating to implementation and upgrades.”

      • ABBYY announces new OCR SDK for Linux

        ABBYY has announced the availability of ABBYY FineReader Engine 9.0 for Linux, a robust software development kit (SDK) to integrate ABBYY optical character recognition (OCR), barcode recognition, and PDF conversion technologies into Linux-based applications.

      • Twitter-Enhanced Cuckoo Clock Chirps — and Tweets

        Baig modified the innards of the clock, which has a touchscreen display with a controller board and a Wi-Fi dongle. It also uses Chumby, a hardware open source platform with a Linux operating system.

      • Pandora gaming console finally shipping to UK

        Project Pandora has been one of those open source handheld gaming console developments that has been plagued with delays and accusations of being ‘vapourware’ for the last two years.

      • Lexicon Alpha works with Linux!

        Recently I had a chance to put my hands on Lexicon Alpha usb recording interface and I must say I was surprised to discover that it works out of the box with Linux. I couldn’t find any compatibility information for it, except for this post, and still, Lexicon Alpha was purely plug-and-play device with my Ubuntu Studio 9.10 netbook.


        Bottom Line

        The Good:

        - works out of the box
        - can record two tracks simultaneously
        - well designed and made of good quality materials

        The Bad:

        - no phantom power
        - no MIDI input

    • Phones

      • Video shows Android OS running on an iPhone

        The hack utilizes OpeniBoot, a Linux 2.6 bootloader that works with first- and second-generation iPhones. The system provides dual-boot functionality, allowing users to run either the iPhone OS or Android.

      • Nokia

        • Qt for Symbian now supports Linux
        • Intel demos MeeGo platform to developers

          Intel said that the Linux-based operating system will be linked to its AppUp software store and demonstrated the unique media syncing capabilities between devices running on MeeGo: video playing on one device will not only sync over to another but also carry certain data, including picking up where the user left off while watching video on the first device.

        • Intel’s Meego OS to Reach Mainstream Laptops

          Intel is developing an edition of the Linux-based Meego OS that will work on mainstream laptops and desktops, a company executive said this week.

        • Intel to launch MeeGo variant for Core-based PCs
        • Cheap MeeGo Smartphone Coming 2011?

          Since the announcement of the MeeGo operating system earlier this year, we’re still waiting for the first Nokia handsets to take advantage of the new OS. We’re expecting to see at least one device in the next few months, but in the meantime it looks like Nokia has also been working on an entry-level handset that isn’t set to appear until 2011. To find out more, join us after the break…

      • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Questions to Ask if You’re Thinking of Getting Involved in Open Source

    If you aren’t a programmer and have no idea what else could possibly need to be done, here are a few ideas:

    * Artists are needed for making themes and wallpapers for Linux distros and desktop environments like GNOME & KDE
    * Make little tiny icons for programmers to put on the buttons in their programs
    * Translating a program from English to whatever other language you speak
    * Writing documentation (no project is too-well-documented)
    * Tech support
    * Testing is a great way for early adopters to help out
    * Bug triaging
    * Packaging software for a Linux distro

  • Jon ‘maddog’ Hall’s Picks for Today’s Six Best OSS Projects

    There were other “Hot, New OSS Projects” mentioned by the LUGs, but in order to keep the blog entry within the “reasonable length” category, I will save some of the others until a later date. In the meantime I hope that you enjoy reading about some of the projects that you might not know, or ones that you do know but have “moved on” since the last time you looked at them.

  • PHP library eZ Components to be an Apache Project

    Norwegian company eZ Systems, creators of the eZ Publish open source enterprise content management system, recently lost the last two core developers of the eZ Components PHP library. The other project developers left earlier in the year. However, the component library will continue to live on and have a future thanks to an agreement between the developers and eZ Systems, sponsors of the project for the last few years. The project will be continued as a fully open source project, renamed as Zeta Components.

  • Up Next For Facebook: Expect More Open Interactions

    Soon after acquiring FriendFeed, Facebook released its Tornado sharing framework under an open-source license.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla to cordon off plugin crashes with Firefox 3.6.4 beta

      Mozilla released a public beta of Firefox 3.6.4 yesterday, which also debuted “Lorentz” – a project that the open source outfit is hoping will stablise browsing for Windows and Linux users when Adobe’s Flash, Apple’s Quicktime and Microsoft’s Silverlight plugins crash.

    • Firefox 3.6.4 beta isolates crashing plug-ins

      The Mozilla developers have released the beta of Firefox 3.6.4, which now includes technology from the Mozilla Lorentz Project. Lorentz plans to bring full process isolation to Firefox, separating web pages and plug-ins from the main browser by running them in their own processes.

  • Oracle

    • Presentating in Linux

      With the improvements in Impress, and exciting applications such as Fielder’s Impressive, the presentation outlook in 2010 certainly isn’t as bleak as it was in 2006. On the other hand, we still have some way to go before all that presentation power becomes readily accessible to ordinary end-users.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Moodle: The free learning platform

      E-learning comes in many forms. For example math and vocabulary aids on CD-ROM or screencasts on YouTube are just two obvious examples from a large range of different options. Less familiar, since they frequently deal with specialised knowledge, are thousands of specific learning systems and managed online courses. Programs such as Blackboard, Sakai, the German Ilias, Dokeos or Moodle are used to create training platforms for personnel and to provide computer courses for schools and universities.


      With over 40,000 registered installations in more than 200 countries and an estimated 30 million users, Moodle is currently the most frequently used LMS. Many schools, and universities, such as the prestigious Humboldt University in Berlin, use Moodle. Another typical application is for staff training in medium and large companies and commercial providers of online courses often rely on Moodle. Almost half of the Moodle installation are used by groups with more than 500 members, for example the Open University with more than 600,000 students is one of the largest users.

  • Business

    • SugarCRM 6 Beta adds new user interface

      The SugarCRM developers have announced the release of a first beta for version 6.0 of their open source customer relationship manager. In Sugar 6, the developers focused on creating a completely re-designed user interface with new buttons and icons. Larry Augustin, CEO of SugarCRM, said that, “Sugar 6 delivers a look, feel and user experience that consumers of popular social networking and other collaboration tools will appreciate.”

    • SugarCRM Introduces SugarCRM 6.0 (and the crowd goes wild…)
    • Talend 4.0 Integrates Data Management

      Talend has integrated its three major data integration products into Talend version 4.0. The combination represents the first attempt to supply integrated data integration, data cleansing, and master data management in one open source product.

    • Zenoss named an “IT Operations Management Cool Vendor” for 2010

      Zenoss, Inc., the fastest-growing provider of commercial open source, enterprise IT monitoring products for physical, virtual, and cloud-based IT environments, today announced it has been included in the list of “Cool Vendors”* in the “Cool Vendors in IT Operations Management, 2010” 1 report by Gartner, Inc. The “Cool Vendor” research1 discusses innovations being delivered by companies targeting the problems of IT operations management.

    • Ingres Community Comes Together for 2010 Ingres OpenROAD Code Sprint

      Ingres Corporation, the leading provider of open source database management software and pioneer of the New Economics of IT, hosted the fifth annual Ingres OpenROAD Code Sprint, this year in Manila, Philippines, where community members collaborated on developing new features for Ingres OpenROAD. The event, held in mid-March, provided Ingres OpenROAD Server training for attendees and resulted in a number of improvements to the solution that will give developers new tools for increased productivity, error handling, and flexibility.

    • Pentaho Soars With Second Straight Record Quarter

      Pentaho Corporation, the open source business intelligence (BI) leader, today announced its strongest quarter yet. Compared to Q1 2009, Pentaho had a 177 percent increase in new Enterprise Edition customers. Q1 2010, the second straight record quarter, also saw a record number of new OEM partners and the introduction of the revolutionary Pentaho Data Integration 4.0.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Some Panasonic TVs running FreeBSD

      Android is becoming more and more popular. It is used in mobiles/cell phones, runs e-book readers, can be found in tablet computers etc etc, but Android is not just for smartphones anymore. A Swedish company has unveiled the first Android-based TV and there’s been an announcement recently that it will be used in TVs.


    • Hacking computers, hacking life

      Some of you may not know that in addition to my admin responsibility at GNU-Darwin, I am a biochemist and protein crystallographer, as well as the X-ray lab manager and systems admin for the Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry Department at Johns Hopkins University. Here are some Hopkins links.


      In addition to providing a computer operating system, packages and source code, The GNU-Darwin Distribution has branched into body hacking, and so we release information to help people increase their intelligence and longevity. In the spirit of software freedom, the information is put into the public domain, and the tools that are discussed are non-proprietary readily available to anyone. Appropriate to the tenor of the distro, this activity has become activism, and we expose the abuses of corporations and governments when we can find them.

  • Releases

    • GLib 2.25.0 released
    • Eraser secure deletion tool updated

      The Eraser developers have announced the availability of version 6.0.7 of their advanced security tool for Windows. Eraser is a software utility for securely deleting files and folders from different types of magnetic media, such as hard drives and floppy disks. It removes sensitive information by overwriting the area of the drive on which the data is stored one or more times using special algorithms.

  • National

    • Italy to begin an open source competence centre

      Italian public administrations considering to use open source can turn to a competence centre specialised in this type of software. The web-based centre, which will be opened tomorrow, aims to foster the development and adoption of open source software.

    • Open Source Software As Business Solution

      Soon after the campaign went down and from no time, the branded vehicles began to disappear one after another from Nigerian roads across the commercial nerve centre of the nation, Lagos. But one thing remained intact, the knowledge and awareness such a campaign has drawn to Open Source Software (OSS).

      For Nigerians, open source means various things to diverse individuals and organizations. A school of thought would not like to hear anything about open source software and yet for another, open source is where the future lies.

      And for the software engineers at a California-based Open Source Initiative (OSI) founded 12 years ago, www.opensource.org, the term ‘Open Source’ does not mean mere access to source codes, but must comply with some core 10 distribution terms for OSS, including free redistribution, source code, derived works, integrity of the author’s source code, no discrimination against persons or groups, no discrimination against fields of endeavour, distribution of license, non-limitation to specific product, restriction of other software and technology-neutrality.

    • Cuba

    • Government

      • Post-election revamp for IT procurement

        The Labour Party has also said it would publish details of procurement deals and create a level playing field for open-source ICT.


        Although the Liberal Democrats did not make ICT a central issue in their manifesto, they put emphasis on using cloud computing technology and open source software.

        Sarah Burnett, government IT analyst at Ovum, welcomes the use of open source technology in government.

    • Health

      • Open source challenges for hospital information system (HIS) in developing countries: a pilot project in Mali

        We are currently witnessing a significant increase in use of Open Source tools in the field of health. Our study aims to research the potential of these software packages for developing countries.

      • ImageWare develops open source initiative

        ImageWare Systems, a developer of biometric technology, has announced that they are creating a project called the Open Biometrics Initiative (OBI) intending to push biometric technology development in the open source software development environment. The OBI project will take place by ImageWare operating a forum that will be available to anyone in the open source community.

      • VillageReach Launches Open Source Logistics Platform to Improve Distribution Practices for Global Health Programs

        VillageReach, the Seattle-based social enterprise that increases access to healthcare for remote, last mile communities, today announced the launch of openLMIS™, a new open source initiative to improve health system supply chains in low-income countries. VillageReach also announced the third release of its management information system, vrMIS, an integrated component of its logistics programs that improves cold chain performance and last mile distribution for a wide variety of medical commodities.

      • MIT open-source phone project wins first mHealth Alliance Award

        We’re big fans of innovative applications of simple technology to address complex health problems in areas short on resources, so we’re excited to hear that a project developed at MIT has won $150,000 in prize money for its work on an open-source software platform that enables health workers to capture and transmit EMR data on mobile phones and connect remote workers to physicians for clinical decision support.

      • IT: Children hospitals saving money by using open source

        Italian children hospitals are saving money by using the ‘Smart Inclusion project’ using open source technology and offering access to for instance medical data and e-learning applications. According to a statement from the Ministry for Public Administration and Innovation, hospitals can save about 1000 Euro per PC and about 500 per thin client.

  • Licensing

  • Open Access/Content

    • OpenStreetMap to reach 250,000 contributors today

      The OpenStreetMap (OSM) Project has announced that it will reach more than 250,000 registered users today. OpenStreetMap is an open source project that is building free online maps, not based on any copyright or licensed map data. It was founded by Steve Coast in August of 2004 and is run by the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

    • The open source textbook is an open-source experiment

      The Dallas Morning News, in fact, wrote that the Texas state Legislature approved reviewing open source textbooks for use in the K-12 system. Virginia already has approved them and California is considering it:

      “This is really a revolution that has been going on for a while,” said Brian Bridges, the director of the California Resource Learning Network and one of the state’s online text reviewers. Money saved by these free options could go toward the purchase of computers for students who need them, he said.

      But, really, what better project for an open-sourced textbook than a textbook about open source?

    • LBJ School Student Research Calls for Open-Source Data, Better Transparency in Texas State Finance

      Students from The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin will present research that calls for open-source data and better transparency in Texas state and local finance at a half-day conference April 23.

    • More Texas school districts look at whether to switch to online textbooks

      The new state laws grant the commissioner of education the authority to select a list of electronic textbooks for districts, including open-source content – texts that can be downloaded free from the Internet. The laws also allow districts to use their textbook funds to buy electronic material and devices like netbook computers that can access it. That means the state board will have less control of the content.

    • U-Bookstore partnership to provide free online textbooks

      The U-Bookstore and Flat World Knowledge, an online, open-source database for textbooks, recently announced a pilot program that would give students free access to digital versions of textbooks and supply related supplemental materials and hardcopy versions at a lower cost than traditional publishing prices. It offers options such as printing individual chapters for $1.99 or ordering hard copies of the books.

    • More school districts look at whether to switch to online textbooks

      At a time when Facebook and iPad are the rage and information updates with a click, some policymakers are trying to take textbooks off the shelf and onto the Internet.

    • SETI Releases Its Collected Data to the Public, Wants Open-Source Search for Whatever’s Out There

      Over the past decade, those who wished to contribute to SETI’s mission of locating life elsewhere in the universe could leave their computers on running a special screensaver and donate their unused computing power to the cause. Now, SETI director Jill Tarter is asking people around the globe to get more involved in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by opening up SETI’s servers to the public calling for a worldwide, open source contribution to the search.

    • What if there’s somebody else out there?
  • Programming

    • Benchmarking LLVM & Clang Against GCC 4.5

      With the recent release of GCC 4.5 and the forthcoming release of LLVM 2.7 that is expected in the coming days, we have decided to see how the performance of GCC compares to that of LLVM. For this testing we have results from GCC 4.3/4.4/4.5 compared to LLVM with its GCC front-end (LLVM-GCC) and against Clang, which is the native C/C++ compiler front-end for the Low-Level Virtual Machine.

    • The Thing about Volunteers and Civility

      The thing about the Perl community is that almost no one gets paid solely for participating in the Perl community. Sure, you can volunteer for a while to earn the cachet and the right to apply for a TPF grant at a fraction of the going consulting rate to justify continuing to work on the unpleasant parts of a project, but you’re still effectively a volunteer.

      The thing about volunteers is if it’s not worth their time or energy or health or sanity or happiness to keep volunteering, they can walk away whenever they want. They have no obligation to continue to do what they do. Not even their sense of devotion or duty or guilt or community camaraderie should compel them to continue on projects that aren’t worth their investment of time, and that’s more than okay.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Vorbis is not Theora
    • open vs. standard

      But the reasonable part of me wants to point out that one part of the Apple statement is worth looking at – the assertion that H.264 is open. Because I certainly don’t consider it to be – not even a little.


  • Science

    • Anti-Cancer Agent Stops Metastasis In Its Tracks

      Like microscopic inchworms, cancer cells slink away from tumors to travel and settle elsewhere in the body. Now, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College report in today’s online edition of the journal Nature that new anti-cancer agents break down the looping gait these cells use to migrate, stopping them in their tracks.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Security Myths and Passwords

      The best approach is to determine where the threats are, and choose defenses accordingly. Most important is to realize that all systems are not the same! Some systems with very sensitive data should probably be protected with two-factor authentication: tokens and/or biometrics. Other systems/accounts, with low value, can still be protected by plain passwords with a flexible period for change. Of course, that assumes that the OS is strong enough to protect against overall compromise once a low-privilege account is compromised….not always a good bet in today’s operating environment!

    • Delusions, the Legislature and an implanted microchip

      Last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee entertained SB 235, the bill sponsored by Sen. Chip Pearson (R-Dawsonville) to prohibit the involuntary implantation of microchips in human beings.

    • Irony.
  • Environment

  • Finance

    • Debt ‘Masking’ Under Fire

      The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering new rules that would prevent financial firms from masking the risks they take by temporarily lowering their debt levels before quarterly reports to the public are due.

    • Greece begins talks on details of rescue

      Greece’s borrowing costs skyrocketed to new record highs Wednesday as the government began crucial talks on the details of a rescue package for the debt-ridden country.

    • The SEC vs. Goldman: The Kitty has Claws

      The SEC has faced intense criticism from the public and media regarding the way it loosened leveraging rules, a key cause of the implosion of major investment banks and the meltdown as a whole. The SEC also took a pounding over its handling of the Bernie Madoff fiasco. SEC officials chose to ignore explicit warnings from whistleblowers that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. The SEC also mishandled its first major case related to the crisis, being roundly scolded by a federal judge for not being tough enough on Bank of America’s secret bonus and salary deal with Merrill Lynch.

    • Bill on Finance Wins Approval of Senate Panel

      Senate Republicans and Democrats predicted on Wednesday that Congress would soon pass a far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s financial regulatory system, indicating a potentially swift resolution of the latest partisan firefight on Capitol Hill.

    • At Schwab, Settlement of a Lawsuit on Securities

      Charles Schwab, the brokerage firm, said Tuesday that it had agreed to pay $200 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit claiming it had misled investors about the risks of a short-term bond fund.

    • Goldman case shows power of SEC’s bully pulpit

      The Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud case against Goldman Sachs signals a new era of toughness for an agency beset by a series of public blunders.

      Yet as it aims to become a tougher cop, the SEC faces a new obstacle: Banks have grown faster than the penalties the agency typically imposes. The sheer size of Goldman — whose quarterly profits just hit $3.3 billion — means court-approved penalties are likely to be too small to hurt it financially.

    • Goldman Sachs CDO Lawsuit Split SEC Commissioners in 3-2 Vote

      The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission split 3-2 along party lines to approve an enforcement case against Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to two people with knowledge of the vote.

    • AIG Said to Insure Goldman Sachs’s Board Against Investor Suits

      American International Group Inc., the financial firm rescued by the U.S., is the lead insurer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s board against shareholder lawsuits, said a person with knowledge of the policy.

    • AIG Considering Potential Claims Against Goldman Sachs

      American International Group Inc. is considering potential claims against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other Wall Street banks over soured mortgage assets that led to heavy losses for the insurance giant, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    • Scrutiny of Goldman Sachs Increases After Fraud Charges

      Government allegations that financial giant Goldman Sachs defrauded investors are creating a political storm, with some lawmakers hoping that the civil lawsuit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission is just the beginning.

      As the heat increases on the investment bank, which has denied all wrongdoing, Politico reports that they have hired Greg Craig for legal help. Craig formerly worked as the top lawyer for President Barack Obama and left the White House earlier this year to join the law firm Skadden, Arps.

    • Suspecting politics in Goldman Sachs charges, Rep. Issa asks SEC for information

      Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are looking into whether the Securities and Exchange Commission was motivated by politics in filing civil charges against Goldman Sachs last week. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro a letter Tuesday asking for documentation of “any sort of prearrangement, coordination, direction from, or advance notice” between the SEC and the Obama administration or congressional Democrats.

    • Jerry, eMeg and the Goldman Sachs Connection

      With the Securities and Exchange Commission formally charging the huge investment bank with fraud last Friday, Brown’s campaign has been handed a fresh opportunity, not only to disrupt the Whitman campaign narrative that her executive business experience splendidly qualifies her for governor, but also to perform political jujitsu on the exorbitant campaign spending eMeg is fronting with her personal fortune.

    • F.S.A. Investigating Goldman Sachs

      The Financial Services Authority, Britain’s financial regulator, said Tuesday it had opened a formal investigation into Goldman Sachs in relation to recent accusations that the firm had defrauded investors, Julia Werdigier reports in The New York Times.

    • Wall Street reform and Goldman Sachs

      Some readers blame Republican dislike for governmental rules and regulations as one reason a massive government bailout was needed to rescue the economy. Other readers claim that all Democrats want to do is have government run everything, a solution that flies in the face of our freedoms and what once made our country great. A few seek more specifics about exactly what is being proposed.

    • Goldman Sachs’ legal problems may slam oil prices

      Goldman’s (GS) fraud charges are sure to affect oil prices too — and I think crude will be a terrific short for the medium term. Of all the things surely affecting oil prices, it has been my theory that the financial player’s perceptions of the market are the most important and telling.

    • With GOP In Its Pocket, Financial Industry Tries To Buy Off UK Conservatives

      Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged that Goldman Sachs defrauded investors by failing to disclose conflicts of interest in subprime mortgage investments it sold as the housing market collapsed in 2007. Fabrice Tourre, a Goldman Vice President, is accused of encouraging investments into subprime mortgage securities he knew would fail, while working with a hedge fund to bet against its success. Referring to himself as the “the fabulous Fab,” Tourre boasted in e-mails about his scheme to defraud investors.

    • Goldman Sachs ‘Had Duty’ to Keep Paulson Bets Secret

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc., being sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over claims that it deceived investors about one of its financial products, tried to fend off regulators last fall by arguing it had a duty to keep the information confidential.

      The company failed to disclose that hedge fund Paulson & Co., run by billionaire John Paulson, helped pick the underlying securities in a collateralized debt obligation and then bet against them, the SEC said in a lawsuit filed April 16. After being told in July 2009 that the SEC planned to bring a complaint, New York-based Goldman Sachs argued it had been compelled to keep Paulson’s role secret.

    • ‘Fraud’ Probe Bank Unveils £3.6bn Pay Pot

      Goldman Sachs has set aside a quarterly pay-and-bonus pot of £3.6bn – just hours after learning it faces a formal fraud investigation by the City watchdog.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Dow Throws A Dismal Party, Few Attend

      Bucolic Prospect park in Brooklyn, NY played host to a bizarre spectacle on Sunday, as a dramatically under-attended Dow-sponsored “Run for Water” was infiltrated and turned upside down by hundreds of furious activists, including a hundred dressed as Dow spokespeople.

      New Yorkers who came to the park expecting a light run followed by a free concert found themselves unwitting extras in a macabre and chaotic scene as runners keeled over dead, Dow-branded grim reapers chased participants, and a hundred fake Dow representatives harangued other protesters and and handed out literature that explained Dow’s greenwashing program in frank detail.

    • Formaldehyde Industry Winning in Katrina Country

      After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, thousands of Louisiana residents claimed to suffer respiratory problems after being housed in government trailers contaminated with formaldehyde. Despite this, Senator David Vitter, (R-Louisiana), has been working to stall the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s process of updating its 20 year-old health risk assessment of formaldehyde.

    • Can Eating Junk Food Cure Breast Cancer?

      When a company promotes pink-ribboned products and claims to care about breast cancer while also selling products linked to disease or injury, it’s called pinkwashing, and it’s has taken some pretty outrageous forms in the last few years. Ford, Mercedes and BMW have all urged people to buy and drive cars in the name of breast cancer, but exhaust from internal combustion engines contains toxic chemicals linked to disease. The Yoplait yogurt company sold pink-lidded yogurt to raise money for breast cancer, while manufacturing products with milk from cows stimulated by the artificial hormone RBGH, which studies show increases the risk of breast cancer. (Some yogurt companies, including Yoplait, have stopped using RGBH.) There’s even a breast cancer awareness gun, and we thought that took the cake.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • ‘South Park’ Creators Could Face Retribution for Depicting Muhammad, Website Warns

      A radical Islamic website is warning the creators of “South Park” that they could face violent retribution for depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit during an episode broadcast on Comedy Central last week.

    • German civil society calls for a definitive end to telecommunications data retention

      More than 40 organisations and associations yesterday asked the German Federal Minister of Justice to “push for the abolition of EU telecommunications data retention requirements” which compel phone and Internet companies to collect data about their customers’ communications. According to the letter, data retention puts confidential activity and contacts, for example to journalists, crisis lines and business partners, at risk of disclosure by way of data leaks and abuses. It is expensive and damages the freedom of communication.

  • Copyrights

    • This Ain’t No Popularity Contest – It’s Politics

      In my opinion Richard is in a Conflict of Interest situation. He didn’t disclose in his article who he was working for. He may claim that his article was his personal opinion, but it reads like it was written by and/or for the MPAA and the RIAA, and in fact I have good reason to believe that he is working for them, or for one of their member companies. There is nothing wrong with representing your clients. What is wrong is not declaring those clients, when the client’s interests are at variance with the interests of the Canadian public.

      John Enser of the 1709 Copyright Blog has made a good point. In some cases a non-disclosure agreement may be in place, which may prevent the lawyer from stating who he or she is working for. I suggest that if the lawyer is not able to disclose who their client is, that silence is the honest option.

    • When copyright goes bad
    • The Music Lesson

      In the vast universe of Connexions, an open-source repository of course materials, Catherine Schmidt-Jones, known as Kitty, is something of a champion. She is one of the most prolific producers of “modules,” the chunks of information that are arranged — and can be rearranged — into courses. Her subject? Not English literature or math or other topics generally considered to be the core of education. It is music.


Links 21/4/2010: Sabayon Linux CoreCD, Tor for Android Released

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Socrates on sharing knowledge

    I came across this text over at www.linuxformat.gr and it got me into a lot of thinking. I would like to thank NikolaosX1 for sharing the original post in Greek and Danae for the translation in English that follows.


    After discovering this article I really wanted to write a post here expanding my thoughts on it and how they relate with Free Software. I decided to just express some initial points of concern I have instead, leaving it open for discussion. Here’s what’s troubling me:

    1. In general I don’t like taking words of great people out of context, nor misusing them just to make a point. I only use this quote here, with respective differences taken into consideration and respecting the analogy, to trigger a conversation. I already feel awkward, but I felt this was something worth sharing.

    2. I am aware that FLOSS has other “rules” and “freedoms” to define itself and I have in mind that the quoted text is far from expressing the Free Software ideology. However I agree with the initial writer. For me, the idea behind Socrates’ words in a way demonstrates the substance of Free Software, and the “sharing knowledge” concept is one of the reasons that drove me into this community in the first place.

  • How Hard Can it Be? DIY OCW

    One of the miracles of free software is that it always begins with one or two people saying: “hey, how hard can it be?” The miracle is that they say that even when “it” is an operating system like GNU, or a kernel like Linux, or a graphic image manipulation package like the GIMP. Despite the manifest impossibility of one person writing something that usually requires vast, hierarchical teams, and months of planning, they just start and the miracle continues: others join in and the thing grows until one day, with the help of a few hundred friends, they achieve that impossibility.

  • Databases

    • NoSQL – Apache Cassandra Release 0.6

      The Apache Software Foundation recently announced Apache Cassandra Release 0.6, a NoSQL database. As a reformed database architect, I was intrigued by the appearance of yet another data management model.

  • Business

    • MuleSoft Helps Canonical Compete in the Linux Enterprise Server Space

      I had so much fun writing about Ubuntu last week, I thought I would return to the topic with some new Ubuntu news and analysis. Two pieces of news on Ubuntu today. First of all they announced the imminent release of the LTS Server edition 10.4. In a related announcement MuleSoft and Canonical announced a partnership in releasing an updated Tomcat package for Debian and Ubuntu that makes it easier for developers to use.

  • Open Access/Content

    • The dangers of growing DNA databases

      Scientific data sharing has become big news in the wake of the theft of e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit and ensuing investigations. Although the CRU researchers appear to have had an attitude towards data sharing that breached generally accepted scientific ethics, the process of actually sharing the data would have been anything but straightforward. The CRU had no procedures in place for data sharing, the data came from a variety of sources with no standardized data format, it was a mix of published and proprietary information, etc. In short, it’s one thing to decide to share the data, another challenge entirely to actually do so.

    • BitTorrenting biology, getting the big picture in search

      The biosciences, like other branches of research, are being dragged into the digital era. This is in part because traditional mediums of communications, including journal articles, are migrating online, and in part because high-throughput approaches to biological research are producing staggering amounts of data that can only be stored in digital form. A couple of papers released by PLoS ONE have presented new approaches to both aspects of digitization that, in essence, simply involve modifying tools that are common outside of the field specifically for use by biologists.

    • University told to hand over tree ring data

      Queen’s University in Belfast has been told by the Information Commissioner to hand over 40 years of research data on tree rings, used for climate research.

      Douglas Keenan, from London, had asked for the information in 2007 under the Freedom of Information Act.

    • Linked Data and the Leaders’ Debate – My Challenge

      For example – can someone write me a Linked Data query to show how much is spent by the government on UK education quangoes?

    • CloudMade’s OpenStreetMap Surges On Wikipedia-Like User Passion

      The number of contributors to OpenStreetMap has grown steadily over the years. A year ago 110,000 individuals had added or edited data. Today it’s up to 245,000 individual mappers. An average of 7,000 edits an hour are made to the data.

    • An Open Mind

      If the mission of the university is the creation of knowledge (via research) and the dissemination of knowledge (via teaching and publishing), then it stands to reason that giving that knowledge away fits neatly with that mission. And the branding benefits are clear.

      The Open University, the distance-learning behemoth based in England, has vastly increased its visibility with open courses, which frequently show up in the Top 5 downloads on Apple’s iTunes U, a portal to institutions’ free courseware as well as marketing material. The Open University’s free offerings have been downloaded more than 16 million times, with 89 percent of those downloads outside the U.K., says Martin Bean, vice chancellor of the university. Some 6,000 students started out with a free online course before registering for a paid online course.

    • Khan Academy Goes CC BY-SA

      David Wiley has a new post expressing frustration that the Khan Academy, an OER repository, did not have a clear license. Shortly after Wiley’s post the Khan Academy added the CC BY-SA license.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • What will the browser look like in five years?

      The web browser was just another application five years ago. A useful app, no doubt, but it played second fiddle to operating systems and productivity software.

      That’s no longer the case. Browsers have matured into multi-purpose tools that connect to the Internet (of course) and also grant access to a host of powerful online applications and services. Shut off your web connection for a few minutes and you’ll quickly understand the browser’s impact.

      I got in touch with Charles McCathieNevile, Opera chief standards officer and a speaker at the upcoming Web 2.0 Expo, to discuss the the current role of web browsers and their near-term future. He shares his predictions in the following Q&A.


  • YouGov/Murdoch Distort Poll To Stop Lib Dem Momentum

    The proposition above is, obviously to anyone, not really a question but a set of dubious propaganda statements designed to influence the interviewee.

  • Whitehall and suppliers in ‘old boys club’, alleges Indian offshorer

    Vineet Nayar, chief executive at HCL, told the Financial Times that the companies had a “stranglehold” on the market, with almost no room for other suppliers to participate. Weeks away from a general election, the issue is becoming increasingly heated, and the Conservative party has insisted that it would open up the market to more companies if it wins on 6 May.

    Nayar did not name the companies he alleged to be dominating the market, but Patrick Dunleavy, chair of the public policy group at the London School of Economics, told the newspaper that five companies including HP-EDS, IBM and BT run an estimated 90 percent of government contracts. Other suppliers commonly selected by the government include Fujitsu, Logica, Civica, CSC and Accenture.

  • Science

    • Lousy DNA Reveals When People First Wore Clothes

      Using DNA to trace the evolutionary split between head and body lice, researchers conclude that body lice first came on the scene approximately 190,000 years ago. And that shift, the scientists propose, followed soon after people first began wearing clothing.

    • Maxed out: How long could you survive a vacuum?

      Sadly we know how long humans can survive if suddenly exposed to the vacuum of space. Three Soviet cosmonauts died in 1971 when a faulty valve caused their Soyuz 11 capsule to depressurise at an altitude of 168 kilometres, shortly before re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Investigations revealed that the cabin pressure dropped to zero for 11 minutes and 40 seconds, until the capsule hit the atmosphere. The crew died within 30 to 40 seconds from hypoxia. “You need both oxygen and air pressure to deliver oxygen to the brain,” says Jonathan Clark, a former space shuttle crew surgeon.

  • Security/Aggression

    • The dangers of growing DNA databases

      The practice of retaining genetic samples from people arrested for a crime but not convicted is growing in the U.S. It has serious human rights implications.

    • News From The Pavement: Dispersal Zones

      Last summer, The Pavement’s reports into Operation Poncho – a City of London’s scheme to wake rough sleepers in the middle of the night to “wash” where they were resting with freezing cold water – hit national headlines. Their night disturbed, many homeless people reported their inability to sleep, and felt it was a brutal attempt to damage them psychologically. Human rights legal teams labelled the process inhumane.

  • Environment

    • Illegal logging in Madagascar [Flash warning]
    • World forests ‘being flushed down the toilet’

      As global population grows and access to sanitation improves, the world’s forests are “under assault” from paper companies competing to respond to growing consumer demand for toilet tissue, the only paper product that cannot be recycled after use, writes the Worldwatch Institute.

    • Statement on deforestation and palm oil

      Today, in a letter to Greenpeace, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe sets out the steps Nestlé is taking regarding palm oil. He emphasises: “Nestlé is highly concerned about deforestation in Indonesia and other countries, and we support a moratorium on the destruction of rainforests.”

    • Betting on Climate Change: Corporations Stand to Make or Lose Billions

      “If you think about Brazil, their two biggest industries are mining and agriculture,” Friedberg says. “That’s billions of dollars, and there’s a massive market for developing crop insurance. If we can figure out agriculture and do it right, the opportunity is huge to go country by country.” Does he believe that global warming is already noticeable? “Oh yeah,” he says. In just the three years that Weatherbill has been collecting data, extreme weather events have risen 8 percent.

    • Some catching up: Asilomar

      Spending a week on the beautiful North California coastline with a bunch of interesting people talking about a fascinating topic is obviously a chore, but I girded my loins and took the plunge. The Asilomar meeting on the regulation of geoengineering research was intended to echo the Asilomar meeting of 1975, which set out procedures for moving beyond the moratorium on genetic engineering experiments that had been set up the year before.


      The other 4 lessons are: Nobody has any clear idea how to resolve the inequalities inherent in geoengineering; People will be talking about banning field experiments; It’s all about the money; and trust is everything.

  • Finance

    • I.M.F. Lends Its Support to Charging Bank Fees

      The International Monetary Fund has endorsed proposals to charge a levy on the largest banks for the cost of any future government-led rescues as well as a tax based on bank profits and compensation.

    • SEC chief pledges better oversight of banks

      The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday pledged better oversight of the nation’s largest banks after criticism that the agency failed to spot accounting tricks at investment bank Lehman Brothers before it collapsed.

    • What links the banking crisis and the volcano?

      As New Scientist magazine points out, an event like this would knacker most of the systems which keep us alive. It would take out water treatment plants and pumping stations. It would paralyse oil pumping and delivery, which would quickly bring down food supplies. It would clobber hospitals, financial systems and just about every kind of business – even the manufacturers of candles and paraffin lamps. Emergency generators would function only until the oil ran out. Burnt-out transformers cannot be repaired; they must be replaced. Over the past year I’ve sent freedom of information requests to electricity transmitters and distributors, asking them what contingency plans they have made, and whether they have stockpiled transformers to replace any destroyed by a solar storm. I haven’t got to the end of it yet, but the early results suggest that they haven’t.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Now charlatans will know to beware the geeks

      A year ago, I went to a London pub to speak at a meeting for the apparently doomed cause of libel reform. Simon Singh had written an article which was true and important about the dangers of the quack therapy of chiropractic healing. Then, like so many authors and publishers before him, he learned English law persecuted rather than protected honest argument and that he was in trouble.

      The British Chiropractic Association was suing him for saying that there was “not a jot of evidence” that its members could help sick children by manipulating babies’ spines in accordance with the teachings of a more-than-usually nutty American faith healer.

    • The Fujian Three sentenced for slander

      Three bloggers from Fujian who spread information online relating to the alleged rape and murder of Yan Xiaoling were found guilty of slander on Friday. AP reported that self-taught legal expert Fan Yanqiong received a two year sentence, whilst two others, You Jingyou and Wu Huaying, will each spend one year in prison.

    • Which bad law would you scrap first?
    • Hitler Is Very Upset That Constantin Film Is Taking Down Hitler Parodies
    • Everyone Who’s Made a Hitler Parody Video, Leave the Room

      One the most enduring (and consistently entertaining) Internet memes of the past few years has been remixes of the bunker scene from the German film, The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich (aka Der Untergang). EFF Boardmember Brad Templeton even got in on it, creating a very funny remix with Hitler ranting about troubles with DRM and the failure of DMCA takedowns to prevent fair uses. (Ironically enough, that video resulted in the Apple Store rejecting an EFF newsfeed app.)

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Gallo Report: policy brief against biased industry-funded figures

      La Quadrature du Net sent a letter to the members of the JURI committe of the European Parliament, along with a 8-page policy brief on the Gallo report. La Quadrature urges EU citizens concerned about the future of copyright and patent enforcement, fundamental rights, and the Internet, to contact them as well.

    • Music Industry Warns That It May Sue UK File-Sharers

      The BPI has warned that it may be forced into suing UK file-sharers, despite the recent passing of the Digital Economy Act. In an interview yesterday, Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said although the industry would prefer for file-sharing to be dealt with via ‘technical measures’, they might still have to sue some people.

    • Debating Traditional Knowledge Legislation

      A rather different view is the attack on the idea of traditional knowledge being granted legal recognition and protection. The proponent of this view seem concerned that the idea of collective ownership of knowledge will subvert their view of intellectual property. In their view knowledge can be viewed as property which can be owned by an individual or (more likely) a corporation, and as a commodity, traded, rented out and the like. Since they generally also represent those corporations that have amassed large inventories of copyrights, trademarks and designs they are also concerned that traditional knowledge will subject them to claims of ownership of the same material.

    • Copyrights

      • Self-Published Titles Topped 764,000 in 2009 as Traditional Output Dipped

        A staggering 764,448 titles were produced in 2009 by self-publishers and micro-niche publishers, according to statistics released this morning by R.R. Bowker. The number of “nontraditional” titles dwarfed that of traditional books whose output slipped to 288,355 last year from 289,729 in 2008. Taken together, total book output rose 87% last year, to over 1 million books.

      • What If More Money Makes People Less Inclined To Create?

        The entire premise behind copyright law is that by making sure there is enough financial remuneration, people will be more interested in creating more great content. The argument of those who push for ever stronger copyright law is always based on this very premise, with the often explicit claim being “if artists can’t make enough money making art, they’ll do something else instead,” while suggesting that would be a net negative to society. Now I’m all for artists making money and being able to create more art. It’s why I spend so much time discussing business models that work for those artists. But what if that entire concept — that we need this monetary incentive to create — is bunk?

      • Lawrence Lessig: “Getting Our Values around Copyright Right”
      • Nokia launches free music service in China

        Joining Google Music China in the trend of attracting users with free content, Nokia has launched a free music service in the PRC.

    • Printing/Digital

      • Why Old Media and Social Media Don’t Get Along

        I’m just soooooo tired of the doom and gloom. It really makes one want to give up on the main stream media (like many, many, many people under 30 have). But, we can’t. We’ve got to save these guys from themselves – the institutions and the brands matter (I think). So, in that pursuit, let’s tackle the beast head on, again.

      • Rolling Stone Releases Entire Archive on the Web

        Everyone must get stoned — Rolling Stoned, that is. Starting today, the mag beloved by aging mamas and papas and young music fans alike is making its entire collection of magazines (43 years’ worth) available on the web — for a price.

        Although much of the content will, in fact, be free, RS plans to charge a fee for full access to all content new and old: $3.95 per month or $2.50 dollars per month with a year’s subscription, according to AFP. The move comes as part of the mag’s overhauled website, which will also feature more audio and video content.

      • Digital Textbook Sales in U.S. Higher Education — A Five-Year Projection

        Our five-year projections assume a current market share of 0.5% for digital textbooks in the U.S., and an average yearly increase in sales growth of approximately 100% over the next five years. We project that growth to taper to approximately 30% annual growth for the ensuing five years (2015-2019).

    • Canada

      • Lawyer Claims TorrentFreak Abused Canadian Democracy

        Last summer, TorrentFreak encouraged its Canadian readers to have their voice heard in the country’s public consultations on copyright reform. The response to this call for action was overwhelming, and as a result a pro-copyright lawyer is now claiming that we “systematically abused” Canadian democracy.

      • A Call For Disclosure – Who Do The Professionals Represent And Why Are They Hiding The Connection?

        As a writer and musician I’ve always been interested in copyright. It’s part and parcel of what I do. However until last summer I wasn’t involved in the discussion of where copyright in Canada should go. In fact you can blame my current high level of interest in copyright law on TorrentFreak.

    • ACTA

      • ACTA: Signature collection for Written Declaration 12 continues

        Leaks of the ACTA text show that dangerous provisions have been pushed by the negotiators and that the agreement could have severe consequences on freedom of expression, access to medicines and innovation worldwide1. Although the upcoming establishment of transparency is a positive step, the substance of this international agreement harmonizing civil and criminal enforcement of copyright, patents and trademarks must be openly debated. This fundamental discussion is long overdue.

      • ACTA: Partial transparency isn’t legitimacy

        After more than two years of opaque elaboration, ACTA negotiators have finally bowed to the pressure of NGOs and citizens worldwide.The European Parliament, as well as various institutions and industries have also opposed the negotiating process and the potential consequences of this non-amendable plurilateral agreement.

      • Tech companies fear implications of trade pact

        Companies across the technology industry — from Internet access providers to social networking sites to video-sharing services — are bracing for this week’s release of a draft of a trade agreement that they fear could undermine all sorts of online activities.


        The Bush administration began negotiating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, in the fall of 2007 in an effort to harmonize intellectual property protections across different nations. The far-reaching agreement would encompass everything from counterfeit pharmaceuticals to fake Prada bags to online piracy of music and movies. Once ratified, trade agreements take full effect and a country can face complaints for noncompliance.

      • ACTA arrives (and it’s gotten a tiny bit better)

        We’ve been covering the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for two years now, and in that entire 24 month period no official text of the agreement has been released. Remarkable, really, given the intense scrutiny, but there you have it.

    • Digital Economy Bill


Links 20/4/2010: London Stock Exchange Gets GNU/Linux, The Planet Joins Linux Foundation, PCLinuxOS 2010

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

GNOME bluefish



  • The Bank, the Linux User and the 9-Month Call for Help

    Garrett Heaton has been struggling for months to get his bank to open up its deposit@home feature to Linux and Unix. As he and a few other savvy users have figured out, there’s no real technical barrier. All Linux users have to do is pretend to be a Mac. For nine months, the bank has been declining Heaton’s persistent, polite and helpful requests — and, amazingly, he is still a very loyal customer.


    The bank does not currently support Linux for its Deposit@Home service, company spokesperson Lisa Carr confirmed, though she added that “we’re always considering ways to expand the services we offer to additional platforms.”

  • LinuxFest Northwest offers free open source event

    Robots and beer-brewing computer programs are just two of the things to check out at LinuxFest Northwest this weekend.

    This is the 11th year for the tech event, which will feature a variety of demonstrations and speakers. Sessions are geared toward computer novices and pros interested in open source software and Linux, a free computer operating system that is an alternative to for-profit operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Vista.

  • Desktop

    • Future on Ubuntu and Desktop Linux!

      I honestly asked myself the other day, “do I really need to use Windows?”

      And then that’s when hit me, Ubuntu linux was now pretty up to par with Windows counterparts, there’s so much support and improvements happening, there was not many reasons I would need to continue using Windows.

  • Server

    • London Stock Exchange readies Turquoise for big-bang Linux migration

      Turquoise, the London Stock Exchange’s large volume ‘dark pool’ trading platform, will go live on a new Linux-based platform in August or September.

      The move will be an ambitious “big bang” approach instead of a soft migration, according to a technical note the LSE sent to customers yesterday.The quick changeover is a response to “participant feedback”, the LSE said. Services across the Integrated and Dark Midpoint order books will commence trading on the same day.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Planet Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced The Planet as its newest member. The Planet is a global leader in IT hosting and will participate in community initiatives and projects that support enterprise Linux.

      The emergence of cloud computing and virtualized environments in the Web hosting industry has opened the door the Linux community to gain important competitive advantages. The Planet leverages Linux platforms to provide these services across its global customer base.

    • Ceph: The Distributed File System Creature from the Object Lagoon

      The last two years have seen a large number of file systems added to the kernel with many of them maturing to the point where they are useful, reliable, and in production in some cases. In the run up to the 2.6.34 kernel, Linus recently added the Ceph client. What is unique about Ceph is that it is a distributed parallel file system promising scalability and performance, something that NFS lacks.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Gallium3D Driver That Few Know About

        Last night it was reported on VirtualBox not being convinced about Gallium3D and what it could provide its virtualization stack not only in terms of better OpenGL acceleration for the guest virtual machines, but also for accelerating other APIs like OpenVG and OpenCL. This is coming a year after VMware rolled out its own Gallium3D driver (called “SVGA”) that allowed Gallium3D to work on its virtualization platform. But there’s also another virtualized Gallium3D driver out there.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • An Introduction to KDE Games

      For a long time KDE has come with an assortment of games. Collectively, this suite of games is simply called “KDE Games“. With the advent of KDE 4, all of the KDE games were given face lifts and a standard set of features that make moving from game to game a seamless exercise.

      The games are two dimensional and do not run inside of a separate layer like SDL. Instead they run inside a normal KDE window, utilizing the standard QT interface. Nevertheless, the rendering of of the graphics is amazingly impressive because of the use of SVG vector graphics. With SVG, the animations are smooth and the images are scalable. You can play in a small window or maximize it without losing any of its quality.

    • New kid on the block: Plasma Water Animation

      I’m glad to make available a fresh new Plasma animation: WaterAnimation. This animations uses the ripple effect to produce a liquefied behavior on the target widget. An example of the animation behavior can be seen below, enjoy! :-)

    • KDE time travel

      In my “quest” to update KDE-related Wikipedia articles, I had to do more research than I expected and I needed to fix things I didn’t expect. But that research was fun, too. It brought me back in time when I was still a teen who tried to get some ancient Linux distribution working and fiddled around with KDE 1.

    • Grantlee Version 0.1.0 Out

      Grantlee version 0.1.0 has been released by the Grantlee team. For those not in the know, Django is a high-level Python Web framework. It can be used to develop websites, and offers numerous features to make such a task easier.

    • Gluon Decides on New Structure in Preparation for First Release

      The freedom of gamers as it is now is limited by the game industry’s old fashioned insistence on limiting the distribution of games. Gluon aims at breaking this by providing both the makers of games and the players of games with a new platform for sharing the experience of playing games, and for providing feedback to each other – both in the form of comments and ratings, but also through a donation based payment system. So: There’s a revolution coming where the freedom of gaming is at the center.

  • Distributions

    • 8 of the best tiny Linux distros

      The winner: Slitaz 9/10

      We hope you’ve seen that the world of light distros is more exciting than you may have imagined. Choosing the right one depends on the hardware you want to run it on and what you want to use it for.

      The Ubuntu-based distros are interesting, particularly the nascent Lubuntu, mainly because they have a tiny footprint but offer the promise of installing anything from the vast Ubuntu multiverse. However, we were looking for a a distro to work painlessly in a cramped hardware environment.

      Honourable mentions must go to DSL and Tiny Core at this point, which have clambered into the territory of the minuscule. It’s amazing how usable a system can be that takes up less space on your drive than your holiday pictures. Puppy Linux and Unity were both easy to use, although the latter was a bit more polished (and bigger).

    • Peppermint

      • Peppermint: A New Linux Flavor for the Cloud

        A new cloud-focused Linux flavor launched recently; known as Peppermint, the operating system has entered a small, private beta and will open up to more testers over the next two to four weeks.

      • Peppermint: A New Linux OS for the Cloud

        The Peppermint distro is being developed by Kendall Weaver, the maintainer for the Linux Mint Fluxbox and LXDE Editions, and Shane Remington, who works alongside Weaver as a developer at their day job at Astral IX Media in Asheville, N.C.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2010 Edition is now available for download.
      • PCLinuxOS 2010 (KDE)

        PCLinuxOS should definitely be at the top of anybody’s desktop distro list. There’s a version of it for pretty much everybody, from desktop eye-candy addicts to extreme minimalists that want total control over what applications go on their system. It provides a great alternative to Ubuntu, Fedora and some of the other prominent desktop distros.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Always have an exit strategy when looking at cloud

        GH: Red Hat has been supporting the federal government in cloud computing in a number of ways.

        First, on a basic technology level, much of the innovation that’s going on in cloud computing and virtualization has been happening in the open source world, specifically, in the open source Linux project.

        Red Hat is best known as a vendor of Linux services and support and our engineers have been working for many years on virtualization technology, and doing what it is that we’ve always done with the open source community, which is creating an enabling layer that sits between your hardware and your applciations and actually gives your applications access to some of the really interesting innovations that are going on down in the hardware. So, in the role as a hypervisor — in the role as a software that hosts virtual guests in a cloud computing environment, we’ve been working in that space for some time.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora* taps Zarafa open source groupware for 13

          Fedora’s selection of Zarafa as an open source groupware component in Fedora 13 is very interesting.

          The beta of Fedora 13, code named “Goddard,” was made available on April 13. The final version is expected in mid May.

        • Fedora 13 Beta: The Seen and (Troubling) Unseen

          The Fedora 13 beta contains more enhancements that many users will ever know. That is not necessarily undesirable, because users will still benefit and many do not care to know.

    • Debian Family

      • Freshly Squeezed Debian: Installing from Live DVD

        My impression is that Debian values stability and functionality over looks and release schedules. You can look at this alpha version as a preview of Debian’s next stable release, or you could simply run Debian Testing as a constantly-updated “rolling release.” Despite the “testing” moniker, it’s a pretty good balance between the stablity of Debian Stable and the more up-to-date applications in Debian Unstable. It’s also got a huge repository of over 25,000 available packages and an excellent package management system going for it.

      • Ubuntu

        • Canonical to update production-ready server Ubuntu

          Linux distribution vendor Canonical will soon release an updated version of its production-ready server operating system, the company announced Monday.

          Ubuntu 10.04 Long Term Support (LTS) Server Edition will be ready for downloading, for no charge, beginning on April 29, along with the desktop edition of 10.04.

        • Tell me what the future is

          This blog post is about the recent work done in aptdaemon – the backend used by Ubuntu’s software-center to install/remove packages.

        • Little things that matter: The Ubuntu print test page

          Print test pages, for those that don’t know, is essentially a lot of coloured blocks in a row that allow users to check if a printer is printing graphics and colours correctly.

        • Click & Buy no longer accepted in the UbuntuOne Music Store

          The UbuntuOne Music store no longer accepts Click&Buy as a payment method because Ubuntu/Canonical, who, given the Store is in Beta, are still experimenting with functionality “including the offered payment methods” according to a 7Digital spokesmen.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rugged Linux powered video serving robot remote controlled over internet

      It’s a rugged robot based on the surveyor open source robot. It can be remote controlled over the internet or programmed for autonomous missions.

    • ARM-based processor touted for 1080p encoding at 30fps
    • Encoder system supports 1080p H.264 HD

      Z3 is shipping a Linux-based multi-format video encoder that’s said to support 1080p H.264 HD encoding with latency as low as 70 milliseconds. The Z3-MVE-01 Multi-format Video Encoder is based on a separately available, Linux-ready DM368-RPS design kit, which includes a DM368-MOD module that incorporates Texas Instruments’ new DM368 DaVinci system-on-chip.

    • Linux development service supports new TI SoC

      Timesys announced that its LinuxLink development framework for custom embedded Linux devices now supports the recently announced Texas Instruments (TI) TMS320DM368 DaVinci video processor. The LinuxLink for DM368 service offers Linux development tools and a pre-integrated build environment for the ARM-based chip, the company says.

    • Tiny DIY PC gets smaller, more powerful

      Via announced a tiny PC for do-it-yourselfers, available in a barebones configuration with room for a 2.5-inch hard disk drive. The Linux-ready Artigo A1100 has a 1.3GHz Via Nano processor, accepts 2GB of RAM, sports HDMI and VGA video outputs, and has five USB ports, the company says.

    • Android

      • Snapdragon-based Android phone offers HDMI port, T-DMB

        Pantech’s Sky cellphone division announced a 1GHz Snapdragon-based Android smartphone in Korea. The Sirius IM-A600S is equipped with an 8GB flash card, WiFi, T-DMB mobile TV, an HDMI port, and a 3.7 inch, 800×480 AMOLED display, says the Korea-based Sky.

      • Will HTC Incredible Live Up to Its Name?

        The steady rain of leaks about HTC’s Incredible smartphone has turned into a downpour, and the buzz has become a steady drone. If the Incredible is Verizon’s next launch, the company is making a smart move, said 451 Group analyst Chris Hazelton. It will give consumers their first opportunity to actually handle a phone that is expected to be strikingly similar to the much-ballyhooed Nexus One.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • System76 Starling EduBook: Classmate PC with Ubuntu Linux

        Linux computer builders System76 have added a new netbook to their lineup. The System76 Starling EduBook is basically a rebadged Intel Classmate PC with a 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display and 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor.

        But while most Classmate PC models are sold with Windows XP or Windows 7, the Starling EduBook will ship with Ubuntu 10.04 Education Edition Netbook Remix.

    • Tablets

      • The SmartQ V7 is here

        In contrast to Android, the wireless works right out of the box, using good old NetworkManager. I couldn’t get Bluetooth tethering to fly, though; they use a rather odd setup for this. They have Blueman for controlling Bluetooth, and you’re supposed to use Blueman to set up a DUN link with the phone and then run gnome-ppp which somehow transforms it into an actual connection. I got this to work once in ten tries, for about five minutes. So I’ve given up and am just using my phone’s wifi router functionality, which eats battery life but works simply. Hopefully a future version of the Linux implementation (they do release updates fairly frequently) will come with the newer gnome-bluetooth and NetworkManager builds that allow much smoother Bluetooth tethering.

      • Are there really open source iPad alternatives? A follow-up.

        I want to create. And because of that, for me, the list of negatives greatly outweighs the list of positives. Of course, if this device is truly doing what you want and need, that’s great. That’s what’s important. But I’m willing to wait for something better. Something meant for sharing. Something more open.

      • Whatever the iPad is, it is NOT a Computer

        Don’t act, just absorb.

        Pretty different from giving the same kid a laptop or a netbook, isn’t it? With one of those, a kid can respond, can experiment, can act in the very way the human species most efficiently assimilates new skills and information: learn by doing. By the way, in case you hadn’t noticed, the netbook costs less. Even the laptop often does.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Can’t Make DrupalCon? Catch Free Live Video Streams

      The live feed for this week’s keynote sessions will be broadcast via Brightcove’s blog post, the DrupalVolCon site, the Drupal UK site, the official Drupalcon San Francisco site, and any other site that uses the embed code available through the player.

  • Databases

    • The H speed guide to NoSQL

      The rise of the NoSQL movement has brought debate back to the database space as the traditional relational model’s applicability to all problems has been questioned, not just in theory, but in practical code. At the heart of NoSQL is not a rejection of SQL itself; some have said NoSQL, rather than standing in opposition to SQL as “No SQL”, really stands for “Not Only SQL”. It more represents a deeper desire to explore database models which have, in the past and for various reasons, been left to languish in obscurity.

  • CMS

    • Drupal upgrade to be slower but more scalable

      Drupal, the popular open source Web content management system, will sacrifice speed for scalability in the upcoming Drupal 7 upgrade, the founder of the project said on Monday afternoon.

      The upgrade to Drupal, meanwhile, could be available perhaps in the June timeframe or as late as September, said Drupal project founder Dries Buytaert in a presentation at the Drupalcon SF conference in San Francisco. Ideally, version 7 would be available this month, he said.

  • Business

    • Talend Gets Another $8 Million in Funding

      Talend, which offers open source data management software and solutions, announced this morning that it has secured $8 million in Series D financing. Previous investors Balderton Capital, AGF Private Equity and Galileo Partners, all participated in the round. With the new $8 million investment, Talend has now raised a cumulative $28 million.

    • Open Source EU Funded Projects: SQO-OSS

      Among open source related projects funded under the sixth Framework Program, at least four of them – namely FLOSSMetrics, QualiPSo, QUALOSS and SQO-OSS – have been found overlapping around open source software development and quality.

      SQO-OSS – Source Quality Observatory for Open Source Software – similarly to FLOSSMetrics was aimed at massive collection of data from thousands of projects, though with different goals.

  • Releases

    • Bugzilla 3.6 Brings Extensions and Addresses Usability

      Bugzilla deserves props for enabling so many free software projects, but the ubiquitous bug tracking system has not been without its flaws. Namely, Bugzilla is known for being difficult to navigate and use, particularly for new contributors who have little experience working with bug ticketing systems. The 3.6 release sands off some of the rough edges following a usability study from Carnegie Mellon University. The list of bugs stemming from the research are not all closed, but the project has made significant progress.

  • Programming

    • Python support in GNOME gets a boost from hackfest

      Some GNOME developers have gathered in Boston for for a Python GNOME hackfest that is hosted by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. The primary goals behind the hackfest include establishing a strategy for delivering Python 3.0 compatibility for the GNOME platform and advancing the Python GObject introspection project.

      The Gtk+ toolkit, which provides the underlying widget system of the GNOME desktop environment, is an important part of the desktop Linux ecosystem. Although the toolkit itself is built with C, it can also be used with other programming languages—including Python, Ruby, JavaScript, C#, Java, and Scheme. Python is widely used by Gtk+ application developers and is important to the GNOME community. OLPC, the host of the hackfest, uses Python in conjunction with Gtk+ for its Sugar environment—the core user experience and activity collection that is shipped on its XO laptops.

    • Will Wall Street require Python?

      On 7 April 2010, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the federal agency charged “… to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”, proposed new rules covering “Asset-Backed Securities” [warning: 667-page PDF]. Administratively, this is a reaction to the trillion-dollar financial atrocities of the last few years, as well as a natural manifestation of the Obama administration’s commitment to enhance procedural transparency. Shockingly, “… Python, a commonly used open source interpretive programming language …” shows up on page 1 of the description. What is that about?

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Horse Race For Video in HTML5 Continues

      Another chapter in the “what will HTML5 support” soap opera opened last week with rumors that Google will open source the VP8 video codec. Many outlets were reporting that VP8 is the video codec that runs YouTube. But that is not true. VP8 is actually the code behind On2 Technologies, another web video play which Google acquired just a few months ago. The story goes that Google will support VP8 in You Tube as soon as the open source announcement is made. This would make it an instant standard.

      First of all, it seems that everyone has already concluded that HTML5 will indeed be the savior of web video. I am not sure web video needs a savior. Steve Job is perhaps looking for a savior from Flash and the millions of iPhone users and now hundreds of thousands of iPad users sure would like to view the web with video. I don’t think Adobe thinks that video support in HTML5 is that important.


  • StarCraft Rigging Scandal Hits e-Sports Industry
  • Towing co. wants $750K from WMU student

    A Kalamazoo towing company that has received multiple complaints to the Better Business Bureau is suing the Western Michigan University student who started a Facebook page against the company.

    The four-page lawsuit filed by T&J Towing against Justin Kurtz claims defamation of character and libel. It asks for $750,000 from Kurtz, who received the papers Friday.

  • Judge rules wax seal belongs to Maker’s Mark

    A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing a rival liquor company from using a dripping wax seal on its tequilas sold in the United States, ending a seven year legal battle over the bottle topper.

    The ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II comes in a long-running lawsuit between Maker’s Mark and competitors Diageo and Casa Cuervo over the Fortune Brands trademark on the wax seal. Fortune owns Maker’s Mark.

  • Pew Poll: Trust In Government Hits Near-Historic Low

    Americans’ trust in government and its institutions has plummeted to a near-historic low, according to a sobering new survey by the Pew Research Center.

    Only 22 percent of Americans surveyed by Pew say they can trust government in Washington “almost always or most of the time” — among the lowest measures in the half-century since pollsters have been asking the question.

  • Death-notice price gouging: Why?

    Sure, newspapers are hard up, but exploiting bereaved families with exorbitantly priced death notices seems to be a distasteful and strategically inept way to try to make ends meet.

    I stumbled across the problem this week when I tried to buy a death notice in my local paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, which proposed charging $450 for the one-day run of a crappy-looking, 182-word death notice.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Rivals call for clarity over Lib Dem passport plans

      In the Blaydon constituency, home to the biometric passport makers, Labour’s candidate Dave Anderson, pictured, has asked his LibDem opponent Neil Bradbury to clarify his position on his party leader’s plans.

      It was last June that De La Rue Systems announced they could take on an extra 80 employees after winning a 10-year £400m contract to produce the UK biometric passport from the Government.

      Dave Anderson, who lobbied hard for the contract to come to Blaydon in the first place, said: “Scrapping these passports is part of the price Clegg demands to fund his gimmick giveaway of raising tax thresholds, which would disproportionately benefit well-off people.

    • Police power could be given to nightclub bouncers and security guards

      Tens of thousands of nightclub bouncers and private security guards could be given sweeping police-style powers.

      Senior police officers have ordered a dramatic expansion of a controversial scheme that allows authorised civilians to issue fines for littering and other minor offences.

    • Controversial medical records database suspended

      Although records will continue to be uploaded in some early adopter areas, Government plans to roll out the scheme across the country have been effectively halted.

      The Department of Health said that uploading of data would begin again only when public awareness had been raised.

      Information about more than 1.25 million patients have already gone on to the database, which eventually could hold up to 50 million records.

    • Drink-drive ban for father who took toy Barbie car for a spin

      As a means of transportation it left something to be desired in terms of comfort and street cred.

      And when police asked the driver to pull over, the Barbie car, with its top speed of 4mph, was hopeless as a getaway vehicle.

      Paul Hutton, 40, is regretting his impromptu roadtrip after he was arrested for drink-driving when he tried to take the battery- operated child’s toy to a friend’s house.

    • The Latest ‘Intelligence Gap’

      Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before. The Washington Post reports that the National Security Agency has halted domestic collection of some type of communications metadata—the details are predictably fuzzy, though I’ve got a guess—in order to allay the concerns of the secret FISA Court that the NSA’s activity might not be technically permissible under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    • School secretly snapped 1000s of students at home

      A suburban Philadelphia school district secretly captured thousands of images of students in their homes, sometimes as they slept or were partially undressed, according to documents filed in federal court.

      Using a system to track lost or stolen laptops, officials from the Lower Merion School District also covertly surveilled students as they used their school-issued Macs, logging online chats and taking screenshots of websites they visited, according to the documents.

    • Math tutor uses numbers to fight red light camera ticket

      A woman was caught on camera running a red in Collier County. But after her husband fought the ticket, it was thrown out. Now officials say there may be other drivers who were wrongly ticketed as well.

  • Finance

    • April 19 2010: Did the SEC plant a Goldman bomb?

      There’s some curious things about that SEC case, like who’s actually charged with what. There’s no Jonathan Egol, Fabrice Tourre’s partner at Goldman, no hedge funder John Paulson, no Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Instead, the only person the SEC names -far as I’ve seen- is Fabrice Tourre, who, at the time the Abacus deal involved played, was all of 28 years old.

      That age thing keeps on itching me. It somehow points to the degree of involvement of the likes of Blankfein, Goldman president Gary Cohn and CFO David Viniar. These guys don’t let a mere kid play with billions of their capital without keeping a close watch. They were all down there on the trade floor for extended periods of time, figuring out what exactly transpired, as can be proven.

      Moreover, the then (2006-7) 28-year old Tourre was claiming something that was the 180 degree opposite of what other traders at Goldman had a lot of the firms’ money invested in, namely the continued upward growth of the housing market. Tourre’s contrary claims were nothing short of revolutionary, certainly in the eyes of the older, and more bullish, traders. So it should not come as a surprise that the highest echelons of the firm spent a lot of time with Tourre and other traders. They would have been mad not to. That also means, however, that claiming they didn’t know what was going on is not believable.

    • Democrats’ Banking Bill Struggles to Get G.O.P. Support

      Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner appealed on Monday to the centrist Republican senators from Maine for their support of legislation to tighten regulation of the nation’s financial system but came up empty-handed, leaving Democrats and Republicans on an apparent collision course.

    • How Iceland’s banking flaws brought down the country’s economy

      Behind Iceland’s superficially booming financial markets in the mid noughties lay a financial system shot through with corruption and regulatory negligence that led inexorably to a dramatic economic meltdown 18 months ago, according to a damning truth commission report.

      The 2,300-page forensic investigation, presented to Iceland’s parliament yesterday, reserves its deepest criticisms for the island’s three largest banks – Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki – which failed in quick succession in October 2008. The long-delayed report, produced after interviews with about 300 key players, found these banks had effectively been captured by some of their powerful majority shareholders and that the true extent of their financial vulnerability had been deliberately masked.

    • Goldman Accused of Cutting the Brakes

      One of the most salient analogies of the financial meltdown was offered by Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission chair Phil Angelides when he grilled Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, over the firm’s unsavory proprietary trading. Angelides was questioning Goldman’s practice of minting toxic, mortgage-backed securities and badgering credit-rating companies for the highest rating for those securities, while betting in the market that those securities would later fail.

      Angelides likened this business practice to “selling someone a car with faulty brakes and then taking out an insurance policy on the driver.” With Friday’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing of civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs, we learned more about those faulty vehicles. We learned that Goldman had cut the brakes.

    • Goldman Sachs taps ex-White House counsel

      Goldman Sachs is launching an aggressive response to its political and legal challenges with an unlikely ally at its side — President Barack Obama’s former White House counsel, Gregory Craig.

    • Fuld says was in dark about accounting device

      Richard Fuld, whose October 2008 appearance before lawmakers was marked by protesters with signs reading “shame” and “cap greed”, returns to Washington D.C. on Tuesday to answer questions about the accounting gimmicks alleged by a court-appointed examiner.

    • More Must be Done to Stop Foreclosures

      Foreclosure filings were at historic highs in March — 367,056 — an increase of nearly 19 percent from the previous month, and the highest monthly total since 2005, according to RealtyTrac. Almost two years after the onset of the financial crisis with unemployment at historic highs, nothing is being done to put a stop to this on-going tragedy.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Chamber Publicizes Bogus Poll

      On its Web site, Ayres McHenry is open about its Republican leanings. It identifies itself as a Republican-affiliated firm. Its founder, Whit Ayres, belongs to the National Association of Republican Campaign Professionals, and the Web site says that Whit Ayres is a member of the Association’s Board of Directors.

      Media outlets broadcasting information about the Chamber’s polls and their conclusions would do well to research Ayres McHenry and its reputation, and inform readers know about the firm’s — and the Chamber’s — recent history of bias and poor poll quality.

    • Will the Real Tea Party Movement Please Stand Up?

      The PR proposal obtained by Politico was written by Joe Wierzbicki, a principal at Russo Marsh & Rogers. In it, Wierzbicki suggests essentially taking over the Tea Party movement by rushing in with campaign-style event planning and advance work. He suggests obtaining a “proper luxury coach wrapped in ‘tea party’-themed graphical design,” and sending it out to “cross the nation, stopping in cities to conduct ‘tea parties.’ ” Wierzbicki suggests inviting local Tea Party leaders, talk radio hosts and fiscally-conservative political candidates to speak at each stop. Wierzbicki says a major fundraising effort would be needed “to ‘do this ‘right’ (have an awesome looking tour bus, getting the word out, having slick/persuasive/compelling advertising, paying for permits/insurance hotels, food, etc… ). He suggests that, to raise the money, “the bus tour rallies focus not on asking for funds to support the tour, but on the ” ‘Defeat Harry Reid’ or ‘Defeat Chris Dodd’ or ‘Defeat Arlen Specter’ political components to this effort.” In other words, Wierzbicki suggests exploiting the real Tea Partiers’ emotions to raise money, and take the focus off the PR project itself. He also suggests renting email lists from conservative news outlets like Newsmax, Human Events, WorldNetDaily, etc. to begin direct fundraising — again, not a cheap endeavor.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Supreme Court rejects animal cruelty law, upholds free speech

      The US Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a federal law that criminalized photographs and other depictions of animal cruelty, saying the law violated free speech rights protected by the First Amendment.

    • Is YouTube’s Safety Mode Safe? Not Very.

      Unfortunately, for me, the filter didn’t work. But because no two people share the same standard, here’s a short exercise so you can judge for yourself. You need a computer, a browser and a live Internet connection.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Filesharers to have internet cut

      An important High Court decision today allowing Eircom proceed with cutting off internet access to illegal music downloaders, mainly peer-to-peer music sharing groups, has major implications for all other internet service providers.

      Legal sources predict the judgment by Mr Justice Peter Charleton may compel other internet service providers to cut off services to illegal downloaders who fail to heed warnings to desist what the judge described as “theft”.

    • Bush’s Illegal Wiretapping Tab: $612,000

      The two American lawyers who were illegally wiretapped by the Bush administration asked a federal judge Friday to order the government to pay $612,000 in damages, plus legal fees for their attorneys.

      The demand (.pdf) comes two weeks after U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said the former administration wiretapped the lawyers’ telephone conversations (.pdf) without a warrant, in violation of federal law.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Is Piracy Really Killing The Music Industry? No!

      For more than a decade the music industry has claimed that digital piracy is the main cause for the gradual decline in revenues. However, looking at the sales data of the music industry itself shows that the disappointing income might be better explained by a third factor that is systematically ignored.

    • RIAA, MPAA Outline Plans for Draconian Copyright Laws

      Submit brief to govt “anti-piracy czar” Victoria A. Espinel bemoaning industry losses, and outlining a plan to crackdown on online copyright infringement. Among the proposals are website filtering, search engine keyword blocking, a crackdown on domain name registrars and proxy services, monitoring of social networks for promotion of infringing websites, bandwidth throttling, and “consumer tools” installed on home PCs that detect and delete illegally obtained copyrighted material.

    • Copyrights

      • Keane ‘horrified’ by Tories’ use of hit single

        Rock band Keane have said that the Conservative Party did not seek their permission to use one of their hits at their election manifesto launch.

      • OK Go Chats With Planet Money About The Music Business

        That said, OK Go left EMI amicably, and Kulash is quite appreciative of the music labels. He calls them “risk aggregators” and commends them for funding the initial monetary investment necessary to get his band off the ground. However, with the costs of music production plummeting in recent years, the days of needing huge advances just to cut an album are numbered.

    • ACTA

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 1: Episode 7 (2004)

Links 20/4/2010: Linux Foundation Video Winners, NetWalker Becomes Tablet

Posted in News Roundup at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 75 Open Source Tools to Replace Apps You Use Every Day

    Can open source tools replace all closed source software? That is, are open source tools – freely downloadable software – really just as good as software you have to pay for?

    In a lot of cases, the answer is yes. In fact, in some cases, open source tools offers features or performance benefits that surpass their commercial counterparts.

  • Where’s the Summer of Documentation?

    Google has been running its Summer of Code program since 2005. It has reached out to hundreds of open source programs and distributed millions of dollars to try to encourage more people to get involved with open source. That’s great, but it doesn’t address the pressing need that many projects have to develop more docs to go with the software they already have. Now Fedora is ramping up a “Summer of Coding for 2010, and yet again — it’s all about code doesn’t address any other forms of contribution.

  • On projects and their goals

    More generally, every project has to have some idea of the problem it is trying to solve. In some ways, that’s a far more important part of a project than any specific body of code or any specific developer. One of the best things about free software is that it’s alive; it will evolve and, with any luck, be better tomorrow. A project’s goals say a lot about how it can be expected to evolve. In your editor’s opinion, both Subversion and Ubuntu have set worthwhile goals, and both seem to be trying to work toward those goals. These are good things; our community is richer for the existence of both.

  • Cisco completes Tandberg takeover and offers to open source telepresence code

    Cisco has announced it has completed its £2.17bn acquisition of Norwegian video systems maker Tandberg and is launching a compulsory bid for the outstanding 8.9% shares it does not yet own.

    Marthin De Beer , Cisco’s senior vice-president for its emerging technologies group, said the company “strongly believed” that telepresence, would allow everyone, everywhere, to be more productive through the pervasive use of video and face-to-face collaboration. The full Tandberg product line is now part of the Cisco TelePresence portfolio, he said.

  • Events

    • Open Source Think Tank: The Way Forward

      I have just finished attending the Fifth Annual Open Source Think Tank, hosted by Andrew Aitken and I at Meritage in Napa Valley. Andrew and his team did a great job of organizing the event.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox add-on said to blunt Google’s data collection tactics

      A computer security researcher has launched a project designed to provide people greater privacy when using Google, as the company expands the scope of data its collects about its users.

    • Firefox Speed Test

      OK happily there has been a large speed up in 3.7.a4 as regards to the filtering.

      The filter operation in 3.7.a4 takes 6 times less than it did in 3.6. :-)

      It does not look as if the reload time has seen any improvement.

      The improvements in 3.7.a4 are very encouraging but it makes you wonder what Google is doing to get such incredible sub 10sec times.

      Luckily as it is open source someone can go have a look :-)

  • Education

    • Open Source: Modernizing India’s education system

      Over the last few years, open source adoption has been growing within India’s education system. Five years ago, the South Indian state of Kerala, pioneered open source in schools with its famous IT@Schools project, that now covers three million students from the 5th-10 standards, involves 200,000 teachers across 4071 schools. Since then, other Indian states like Karnataka, Gujarat, Assam, West Bengal and others have made open source a key part of their school education initiatives.

  • Government

    • NL: Open source desktops manage shared office space ministries

      Twenty desktop PCs running the Ubuntu Linux distribution are used to manage the services at a shared office building in the Hague for all Dutch ministries, since the beginning of this month.

      The shared office building, called Rijkskantoor Beatrixpark, facilitates ministries working together on temporary projects, and offers the ministries extra office space when needed.

    • Citizens ask e-government project to use open source and standards

      Two hundred Romanians have signed a petition urging Gabriel Sandu, the Minister for Communications and Information Society, to support open source software on e-government projects. They also ask him to use open standards and to make government data public electronically.

      The petition was organised by APTI, a Romanian Association for Technology and Internet. It was organised on-line regarding the eRomânia project, a 500 million euro project proposal to make government services and information available electronically. The project has been discussed for the past few years, and minister Sandu is one of its supporters.

    • PT: Government procurement agency approves use of open source

      The Portuguese government agency for public procurement has published a list of open source applications it deems suitable for use by public administrations.

      The selected open source applications are now part of the official software catalogue published by Portugal’s procurement authority, the Agência Nacional de Compras Públicas, ANCP. Included on ANCP’s list are the database management system MySQL, content management system Alfresco, email server Scalix and server and desktop operating systems Red Hat Linux and Ubuntu Linux.

  • Licensing

    • New binary analysis tool finds FOSS in device firmware

      The most popular copyleft license, the GNU General Public License (GPL), has become a powerful enabler of collaboration, but a growing number of companies fall afoul of its requirements. Bradley Kuhn, the technical director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) revealed last year that he finds an average of one new GPL violator every day. A GPL violation constitutes copyright infringement and puts the violator in a position where they risk having their license to use the software terminated. The SFLC and a handful of other organizations such as gpl-violations.org, attempt to educate companies about GPL compliance and help them conform with the requirements of the license.

  • Programming

    • Groovy++ goes fully open source

      Groovy++, the static typing compiler extension for Groovy, is to be released as open source under the Apache Public Licence 2.0. The Groovy++ project started last year and at the time Alex Tkachman, project founder said Groovy++’s compiler “uses several pieces of technology, which our company uses and plans to use in our commercial products. It was not critical when [the] project started as [an] experiment, but now we need to extract these parts and replace/rewrite [them] with proper open-source alternatives”. Since Tkachman has now announced that the source will be released under the APL 2.0 this process appears to be complete.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Final Notes from the ODF Plugfest in Granada

      A representative of the Spanish Ministry of Presidency, Miguel Angel Amutio Gomez, started the day explaining the crucial points of the Spanish law 11/2007: the right for everybody to use whatever digital technology they like best and the obligation for all Public Administrations to avoid discrimination of citizens based on their technological choices. In order to make this possible, the law stresses the importance of open standards, setting the goal that all e-government services and documents become available at least through such standards. In this context, Amutio said, the Spanish National Interoperability Framework (NIF) that A. Barrionuevo presented in the first day becomes an essential legal test for all Spanish organizations.


  • 7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls

    A computer game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers.

    The retailer, British firm GameStation, added the “immortal soul clause” to the contract signed before making any online purchases earlier this month. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.

  • Finance

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • RIAA Wants Gov. to Delete Your Illegal Downloads

      Big Brother is watching you. Actually, it’s the RIAA and the MPAA, especially if you’re parked on a BitTorrent client. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that both organizations–along with a few others–want to take the file-monitoring process a huge step further by infiltrating consumer PCs and deleting the infringing content off their hard drives. How? Through “anti-infringement” spyware developed and enforced by the government.

      This is no joke.

    • Secret Anti-Piracy Treaty Details Going Public

      Countries negotiating a major cross-border agreement to crack down on intellectual property crimes have agreed to release previously secret draft language of the controversial accord this week.

      The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has confirmed plans to publish the draft text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) this Wednesday, following a series of successful negotiations in the eighth round of talks on the agreement last week in New Zealand.

      USTR spokeswoman Nefterius McPherson said that the negotiating countries are very close to a final deal, though differences remain over the language concerning enforcement mechanisms for dealing with trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.


Links 19/4/2010: Synaptics Gesture Suite on Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Freedom and Informed Choice

    It’s an old debate among Linux enthusiasts, but new to me. Not because I haven’t heard it before, but because I haven’t really experienced it until now. There’s a lot of talk in the Linux and free open-source software (FOSS) communities about freedom and choice. It’s practically a mantra for many. Most of us non-geeky ordinary desktop users are simply grateful to have an alternative to Windows that doesn’t require a huge investment in new hardware and expensive software licenses. To us ordinary desktop users, “freedom” and “choice” in Linux and FOSS mean that we are no longer stuck with unsatisfactory and expensive Microsoft (or Apple, I suppose, as well) products.

    But my “inner geek” apparently spent his vacation time mulling over a fuller meaning of Linux/FOSS “freedom” and “choice.” When he returned yesterday, he arrived with a Debian Linux installation CD and gave me a stirring speech about it. Most desktop users don’t concern themselves with things that they think have nothing to do with them. But I do, because I’m a wonderful, exceptional person.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • Delicious Transblurency [1]

      The ‘focus‘ word has many meanings, ranging from the optical concept of ‘good convergence of light rays generated by an object’ to the cognitive process of directing the attention to a particular target while ignoring other targets.
      Now the interesting part: this concept can be used in computers too, especially in user interfaces, to direct the user to relevant information or to help him through a step-by-step process. How to do that? Since every image you see on screen is ‘on focus’ by default, you can easily unfocus unuseful information.

  • Distributions

    • Nothing to scoff at: Arch Linux, 300Mhz Celeron

      Arch Linux makes it acceptably light and fast, and with the addition of a very lightweight desktop, it’s a working-class computer. As you can see I added the old ath5k-based PCMCIA wireless card, which gives it decent download speeds, and the entire graphical desktop, plus nfs and ssh can all run in under 30Mb of memory with a little swap used. Triggering rtorrent and screen-vs over ssh takes care of the actual “work,” and all the rest is cake.

    • A pleasant surprise: VortexBox

      As a test for my new torrent slave, I downloaded an ISO of VortexBox, which is something I hadn’t ever heard of, probably because I don’t travel in Fedora circles very much. I had no rationale for grabbing that torrent; it just happened to be at the top of the stack at linuxtracker.org.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Welcome PCLinuxOS 2010

        Good news for all who are looking for a Mature “Just-Works” Desktop. PCLinuxOS 2010 bandwagon is released. This time Tex and the Gang has offered 6 releases: Main KDE Desktop, KDE MiniMe Desktop, Gnome Desktop, Gnome ZenMini Desktop, LXDE Desktop, XFCE Desktop and Openbox Desktop.

    • Fedora

      • Fedora On The OLPC At LFNW 2010

        While we were trying to find a few good activities to show off the collaborative capabilities of the OLPC, we found out that the wifi connection was no longer working on it. So we decided to go ahead and use our developer key and try out some of the newer OS versions for the OLPC.

        We now have Sugar 0.84.14 and build version 13 running on it. Some things that we found out about this version is that it is running Fedora in a switchable desktop from Sugar to Fedora we have taken some pictures..

      • New storage options for Anaconda on Fedora 13

        Fedora 13 Beta has just been released for testing and bug reporting, with the stable version slated for release in May. Thanks to boot.fedoraproject.org, I didn’t have to download the full CD iso image. Used the same bfo iso image from last month and took the Fedora 13 beta out for spin. But rather than dish out a full review of this beta release (I only review stable releases), I’m using this article to showcase a new storage feature of Anaconda. A storage capability that is not available on any other non-enterprise Linux distribution.

    • Debian Family

      • A Slimline Debian Install: It’s Easier Than You Might Think

        There are some superb desktop Linux distributions that are designed to work with very old hardware. For example, Puppy Linux is a great choice to quickly turn an old PC into a secure, easy to use word processing, email and light web browsing workstation. Puppy can work minor miracles on very old hardware, and I carry a Puppy boot CD-ROM around with me as my emergency recovery system.

      • The Debian Democracy

        Do you consider yourself to be fairly familiar with the Debian Linux distribution? I thought I was familiar with it enough to know its origin and history, how its name was derived and that Richard Stallman, the Father of the Free Software movement, uses a Debian derivative (gNewSense) for his own personal computer. There’s one significant piece of the Debian puzzle that I didn’t know about: Its Constitution.

      • Ubuntu

        • UbuntuOne Music Store: How a music service should be

          One of my biggest complains about Apple is iTunes. Don’t get me wrong, I like Apple. They offer fantastic (albeit overpriced) hardware, a solid operating system, and a killer aesthetic. But as for iTunes – you won’t find much love in this heart for that powerhouse music mecca. What you will find is contempt. I don’t think I need to go off on the why I loathe iTunes. Why? Because everything the UbuntuOne Music Store is is what iTunes is not.

        • Where is Ubuntu going to ?

          Ubuntu, undeniably, is in a great moment, one can say that it has achieved enough traction to trail its own way. When I first had contact with Ubuntu, and it was in the times of 6.06 and 6.10, Ubuntu seemed a better Knoppix than Knoppix . The Distro was very promising, showing signs that it would bring Linux, until then, an arcane magic of geeks and nerds, for the average user.

        • The Ubuntu Software Center- An under utilized asset?

          The USC as it is in Lucid is really great. Well polished, nicely categorized and above all easy to navigate. However, don’t you think there is still one thing missing? Look up an application and it comes up with brief descriptions of what it does. Then you have a place there that tells you the price (in all cases that I have seen, FREE).

        • First Contact Review: Ubuntu 10.04 Beta2

          I recently downloaded Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Linx Beta2 for testing. I love what I am seeing, so I want to share some of my initial impressions on what seems to be a release that could mark a milestone in Ubuntu’s history.


          I definitely recommend installing and using Ubuntu 10.04 once it is released, you will be pleasantly surprised!

        • Ubuntu: How to Measure Canonical’s Business Progress

          On the one hand, I want to give Canonical credit: 12 million estimated users is a big figure. And it provides a foundation upon which Canonical can promote additional services — Landscape, Ubuntu One, Ubuntu Music Store, etc. — to consumers and business users.

          But just how well is Canonical doing? In March 2010, new Canonical CEO Jane Silber said the company had about 320 empl0yees and was on a path to profitability. But she conceded the company wasn’t yet profitable.

          As a privately held software company, Canonical certainly doesn’t have to say much about its financial performance. But frankly, I think Canonical can share a bit more information without having to completely open its books.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 189

          In this issue we cover: Archive frozen for preparation of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, Ubuntu Open Week, New Loco Council Members Announced, New operators appointed on #ubuntu, #ubuntu-offtopic and #kubuntu, Reminder: Regional Membership Boards – Restaffing, 1st Annual Ubuntu Women World Play Day Competition Announced, New Ubuntu Member, Lucid Parties, Hungarian Loco Team shares Release Party Badges, Lucid Release parties in Norway, Ubuntu-ni presentation at American College, Ubuntu Honduras Visited UNAH-VS, Minor Team Reporting Change, Feature Friday: project announcements, Links round-up 16th April, Facebook app for Lucid countdown banners, Free Software and Linux Days 2010 in Istanbul, Quickly 4.0 available in Lucid!, Out of beta: 40 Ubuntu-based TurnKey virtual appliances, Full Circle Podcast #4: It’s Everyone Else’s Fault, Ubuntu-UK podcast: Hear Em Rave and much, much more!

        • Variants

          • Returning to Linux, Round 2…Mint

            I always likes the ideas within Mint…make a good package better by adding little features and taking out what isn’t necessary. I remembered from the day that everything just worked. Websites played flash, video on DVD would play with audio, documents opened without too much effort or downloading extras. So what else is here that most people would like to know about?

          • A minty experience leaves a pleasant taste.

            Their computer was then taken over by a botnet and started spewing spam left, right and center. Which I found out about a month or so later.


            Knowing what sort of computer user type this person is I decided to make sure I chose the right distribution for them. After careful thought and a bit of google trolling (in the searching sense of the word) I decided to give Linux Mint a go. So I backed up their computer and settled down to install Mint.


            This is the latest story on how a “typical” computer user made a seamless transition from windows to Linux. Do you have any such stories? What about the other way around? :) While I had no problems transitioning this person doesn’t mean that there are none. What issues have you come up with when introducing people to Linux?

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The User’s Manifesto: in defense of hacking, modding, and jailbreaking

      These questions are natural, because a few years ago they wouldn’t even be possible. What reason would you have for breaking open an first-generation iPod, or hacking an original Playstation? The question of “unauthorized software” on System 9 and Windows XP was plainly moot. But as the capabilities of the PC, console, and phone have expanded, so have their magisteria. And as their power grew, so did their chains. These chains were so light before that we didn’t notice them, but now that they are not only visible but are beginning to truly encumber our devices, we must consider whether we are right to throw them off. The answer, to me at least, seems obvious: no company or person has the right to tell you that you may not do what you like with your own property.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Digg Digs Open Source

    In what is becoming the rule rather than the exception, Digg is the latest social media player to “come out of the closet” and not only acknowledge that it is built on open source components, but they have contributed to and host several open source projects. Like Facebook and Twitter, Digg loves open source.

  • Open Source segment on PBS Newshour

    They spend some time talking about the open source model and a few FLOSS-geeks from Washington, DC (maco and myself included) are featured near the end of the segment. There is also a nice shot of the KDE website featuring KDE 4.4.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 3.6.4 Beta Released

      Firefox 3.6.4 has been in the talks lately because of the intention of the Mozilla developers to add out-of-process plugins to that version of the web browser which basically means that popular plugins run in their own process instead of the main browser process. This is beneficial in case of a plugin crash as it will only take down its own process and not the whole web browser.

    • Firefox 3.6 Release Notes
  • Oracle

    • 9 More OpenOffice Extensions

      Moving all of your apps and information in the cloud has been adopted by a great number of people. However, there are also a large number who still prefer having a desktop application.

  • Programming


  • random dvd roundup
  • HelenOS – the operating system that launched a thousand processes

    What’s so interesting about HelenOS that we can’t get from Linux, BSD or MINIX? Having played with HelenOS for a while, I have two answers:

    1. HelenOS is still in a fairly early stage of development. It’s young compared to the other operating systems I mentioned. It’s small, clean and has several papers written on it. This makes the HelenOS project a great way for students to jump in and learn about OS design with a minimum of overhead. It’s light, highly portable and doesn’t have any spare parts left over from a previous decade.

    2. For the same reason people build model cars – the fun of it. Some people stargaze, some collect stamps and some write kernel code. It doesn’t need to be practical to have a purpose. Though, given time, HelenOS may become practical too.

  • Environment

  • Finance

    • Our Pecora Moment

      Pecora exposed the ways in which leading banks mistreated their customers – typically, retail investors. The SEC alleges, with credible detail, that Goldman essentially set up some trusting clients and deliberately misled them – to the tune of effectively transferring $1 billion from them to a particular unscrupulous investor.

    • What’s Wrong with the Financial Reform Bill

      There is some good stuff in the bill, but it is riddled with loopholes. Far more important than the actual bill is the effort to actually enforce existing laws. While it is true that the near-complete absence of a regulatory structure to oversee derivatives trading is problematic, there is a lot the government could have done still, if it had wanted to, to prevent catastrophes like AIG and Lehman Brothers. The decision to take a whack at Goldman for this Paulson business is therefore the best news there’s been on this front…

    • Now we know the truth. The financial meltdown wasn’t a mistake – it was a con

      Hiding behind the complexities of our financial system, banks and other institutions are being accused of fraud and deception, with Goldman Sachs just the latest in the spotlight. This has become the most pressing election issue of all

      The global financial crisis, it is now clear, was caused not just by the bankers’ colossal mismanagement. No, it was due also to the new financial complexity offering up the opportunity for widespread, systemic fraud.

    • Larry’s Corner: Goldman Sachs Knew What They Were Doing

      This is a statement made by GS in their recent Annual Report filed with the SEC and is – BS from GS. As with many of their public statements, they deny any wrongdoing, knowledge or participation. This is the same position they are taking now after the SEC announcement. Not surprising and expected. But the reality is – as I have been saying for almost three years now – THEY KNEW. And knowing makes their crimes premeditated and intentional. Not only criminally wrong but morally wrong as well.

    • Goldman Sachs: A Pattern of Organized Criminal Behaviour?

      My concern is that the American people even now do not understand how serious this crisis is. They are quickly distracted into ridiculous partisan spirit and frivolous diversions. This is the freedom and the welfare of their country that is at risk, and it is time to put aside childish things, and begin the serious work of reforming their financial system, the ownership of their media, and the political campaign process.

    • Hedge funds started by former Goldman Sachs executives
    • Goldman Faces Image Crisis Ahead of Quarterly Results
  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Controversial content and free expression on the web: a refresher

      Two and a half years ago, we outlined our approach to removing content from Google products and services. Our process hasn’t changed since then, but our recent decision to stop censoring search on Google.cn has raised new questions about when we remove content, and how we respond to censorship demands by governments. So we figured it was time for a refresher.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Down the EU Piracy Rabbit-hole

      At 68 pages, the report [.pdf] is quite long, and very professionally produced. It is stuffed full of tables designed to bolster its case. In calculating the claimed loss from piracy, a fairly simple approach is adopted. The number of copyright infringements are multiplied by the substitution rate (the percentage of people who would have bought stuff if they had not downloaded it for free) times the unit retail price. This is calculated for the top 5 economies in Europe, and scaled up proportionally to include all the other EU economies. The claimed job losses caused by that revenue lost is obtained by dividing the latter by an average sales revenue per employee.


      In other words, the IFPI is the global equivalent of the British BPI and French SNEP: another industry organisation, whose job is to push its particular interests. Indeed, for some countries in the “Building a Digital Economy” report – such as Italy and Spain – the IFPI is cited directly as the source of the figures for the alleged number of copyright infringements. The only major country that seems to draw on an independent source is Germany, where “GfK” is cited. This is the market research company GfK Group, but I was unable to find anything on their website regarding piracy figures, so there was no way to examine their underlying assumptions or reliability.


      We can hardly blame politicians for being fooled by such impressive-looking documents. It is only when you dig down through the Appendices at the back, and start hunting out the actual references given for the claimed figures in multiple national markets that it becomes clear the entirely spurious nature of those shocking headline claims. Given that the Digital Economy Bill passed in part because of this kind of misinformation, we can only hope that the politicians who were deceived by plausible-sounding industry lobbyists will reconsider their position in the new Parliament and repeal the most egregious clauses of this deeply-flawed Act.

    • Will Europe let dogmatists write the future of copyright?

      The draft Gallo report on “Enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market” contains the entertainment industry’s wishlist for the future of copyright policy: extra-judicial sanctions turning internet service providers into a private copyright police, harsher criminal sanctions paving the way for the revival of the IPRED2 directive, etc. These proposals are very similar to the provisions found in leaked ACTA drafts.

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 3 – Episode 8: Sustainability and Alternatives (2006)


Links 18/4/2010: Shorts and Leftovers

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


  • Wolvix 2.0.0 beta Build 56

    The latest build comes in at 665.39mb which is small when you consider the wealth of functionality it provides.

Free Software/Open Source


  • The Archivist Enters the Blogosphere

    That’s Archivist with a capital A, as in the person who heads up the National Archives and Records Administration. The latest person to hold that position is David S. Ferriero, who became AOTUS (Archivist of the United States) in November 2009. Mr. Ferriero used to be the director of the New York Public Libraries, and it looks like he has brought some of that public-outreach sensibility to his new role.

  • Consumer 10.0: Once-blocked user urges net neutrality

    Use the Internet much? If you’re like most Americans, the answer is probably: more and more every day.

    You rely on programs and Web sites – maybe even one where you’re reading this column – to work as promised. If they don’t, you’re likely to be momentarily frustrated, and then move on. On the Internet, there’s always someplace else to go. Unless you’re a geek or wonk, there’s little reason to dwell on what went wrong.

  • The Dangers of Copyrighting Fashion

    Every business owner dreams of enjoying a legally enforced monopoly. Fashion designers are no different. Although the brands and logos that appear on clothes are protected by trademark law, the designs of fabrics themselves are protected by copyright, and functional innovations in clothing are protectable by patent law, fashion designs themselves are legally, um, naked. For decades, designers have complained that, like painters, filmmakers, architects and authors, they are entitled to intellectual property protection to protect their creative efforts against unauthorized copying. So far, they have been unsuccessful. That hasn’t stopped Senator Charles Schumer from teaming up with Harvard law professor Jeannie Suk to try, yet again, to make fashion designers’ monopoly dreams come true.

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