Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 8/1/2010: New Palm Model, Beta Public of Boxee



GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux

  • tecosystems 2009: What You Read, How You Read It, and Where You Read it From
    1. Windows – 58.70% 2. Linux – 19.45% 3. Macintosh – 18.32% 4. iPhone – 1.70% 5. SunOS – 0.75% 6. (not set) – 0.43% 7. Android – 0.20% 8. iPod – 0.20% 9. SymbianOS – 0.07% 10. BlackBerry – 0.06%


  • Save Power with Linux
    Linux has its own advantages. It sure is geeky, it is powerful and now you can even do your bit to help the deteriorating environment. The folks at lesswatts.org have devised a number of ways to save power with Linux. The results have been obtained from continued stress-testing on all mobile, desktop and server machines and have been favorable so far. The kernel used for these tests are the 2.6.22 version but they are hoping that the power-saver features will go into the kernel 2.6.23.


  • LCA 2010: business meets FOSS
    In some respects, it is a little surprising that, given the intense business interest in free and open source software, Australia's national Linux conference only took up the topic as a separate mini-conference last year.




  • Server

    • How Social Networking Works
      The first thing that jumps out at you is that they're almost all based on open-source software. For example, the operating systems behind Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace are all Linux. Facebook uses F5 Big-IP, which is a family of Linux-based appliances that also perform network management.


    • Fujitsu Gets, Gives Value to Linux
      If asked to name significant Linux organizations, Fujitsu Ltd. might not be a company that comes immediately to mind. But to underestimate the value Fujitsu brings to the Linux ecosystem would be erroneous: the world's fourth-largest IT services provider and Japan's top IT company has a big stake in Linux, and some big-name Linux customers.

      Just how big? Currently, Fujitsu is the number-two server vendor contributor to Linux kernel development, behind IBM. Their Linux deployments include the replacement of existing mainframes at the Japan Ministry of Justice and the Tokyo Stock Exchange--systems that are recognized as being among the strongest Linux deployments in the world in terms of size and reliability.

      So how did Fujitsu, a company with a strong history selling mainframes with proprietary operating systems, become such a leader in the Linux ecosystem? Like many other vendors, it was the customer who guided the way.






  • Kernel Space







  • Instructionals







  • KDE

    • key quest: deployability


    • key quest: device spectrum
      The challenge here for KDE is: what do we have that can also be spread out across the spectrum?

      Not everything will move very much. I don't see Digikam making the leap to smart phones, for instance, nor should it try to in my opinion. That's not the point of Digikam, and trying to do so would probably ruin it.


    • key quest: git
      As we move from 2009 to 2010, KDE's source code is in a sort of odd limbo itself. The majority of our code is in a subversion revision control installation hosted on svn.kde.org, but more and more of the code we produce is ending up on gitorious.org. The idea is to eventually have everything moved over, with the exception of translations (and documentation?) which will stay in svn for the sake of the translation teams workflow.


    • key quest: identifying projects in need
      This one should be really short, because it's more of an open ended question and some food for thought than a long exploration of a tangly topic. That question is: are we doing enough to ensure that projects that start to wobble a bit don't fall off the rails, crash and burn on us?


    • scripting widgets for the Plasma Desktop








  • Distributions

    • Make your Linux Online via Nimblex
      Creating your own OS can be quite a daunting task that requires a lot of computer knowledge. I found a site that may interest you, Custom NimbleX2 is an open-source project that allows even newbies in computing to create their own Linux OS.




    • Debian Family

      • Choo Choo! Beer, Steam and Free Software
        One of my actions from the recent Ubuntu UK team meeting was to organise a evening out on the Real Ale Train.


      • Use Spotify on an Ubuntu PC
        To enjoy Spotify on an Ubuntu PC, first install the Wine software. Left-click on the Applications menu and then Add/Remove. Select All available applications in the Show menu and type wine in the box to the right.


      • Lucid Lynx includes manual for Beginners
        The manual is first expected to appear on the 10th of February, with the Alpha release of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. The Final release will be ready on the 29th of April. The manual will be released and revised every six months and will be available as a pdf file.


      • What's Coming In Lucid Alpha 2?
        The second Alpha release of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx is due for release next Thursday (14th January) but what can you expect to find inside it?


      • DtO: Linux Tech Support - Day 1










  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sony unveils a dashing Chumby
      Sony’s Dash, unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday, typifies the increasing number of hybrid products being made possible on small screens with internet connectivity.

      Its mother is the digital photo frame (DPF) and its father could be a bedside alarm clock, but it has an elder brother in the Chumby , which seems to have had a big influence on the Dash.


    • ITTIA and Trident Infosol partnership delivers lightweight embedded RDBMS for the Indian market
      In addition to embedded database expertise, Trident Infosol offers services for popular embedded development tools and operating systems, such as Linux.


    • Androids, Tablets and Skylights, Oh My: The Q&A
      Q: What does the choice of ARM over x86 mean in practical terms?

      A: Well, it affects the software selection, most obviously. Most Linux distributions’ support for the ARM chipset is minimal: Ubuntu, for example, only supports two flavors of ARM chips, and the known issues list is grim reading. Which is likely why Qualcomm (who’s been hiring for this), Lenovo or both seem to have created their own flavor of Linux, with “widgets” and a task oriented interface.




    • Android

      • CES 2010: First Android Set-top Boxes
        We are already aware that Android is likely to enter our home as the back-end software running our appliances but it would be more interesting to see the development of Android on MIPS as it would let Android drives more “home entertainment” appliances.


      • Motorola's latest Android 'andset demo'd


      • Google open-source boss comes clean on Android
        Google open source guru Chris DiBona has acknowledged that the company's freewheeling approach to building a mobile operating system can cause a few headaches for developers, with unfamiliar versions of its Android OS appearing on new phones with little warning. But, he says, that's not developers' main concern - nor Google's.


      • Philip K. Dick Estate Sends Google Cease And Desist Over Nexus One Name
        I'm trying to figure out just what "principle" that might be, because there doesn't seem to be any legal principle. It's hard to argue that there's any moral principle either, since "nexus" is a word that's been around since well before Philip K. Dick used it. In fact, the only matter of principle I can think of is the one where someone demands money for something where they clearly have no right to it and have done nothing to deserve it. Like demanding a big company pay up because it has a product named sorta similar to something your dad wrote decades ago.


      • The Other HP Slate Runs On Android
        Last night, during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off a prototype for a new HP Slate computer running on Windows 7. It was supposed to be an Apple-stealing moment and it was Microsoft’s moment, which is probably why Hewlett-Packard has not yet publicly mentioned that it is working on another tablet/slate computer that is running on Android. You know, Google’s mobile operating system.

        HP did announce an Android-powered netbook yesterday, but that has a keyboard. A source who has seen a prototype of HP’s Android Slate says it looks just like the Windows-powered one Ballmer held last night (see image below), maybe a little smaller. “It is almost identical in every respect to the one he showed off except for the OS,” says my source.


      • Maybe the HP/Microsoft Slate needs Ubuntu or Moblin to be less of a yawn
        Unfortunately, by simply shoehorning the Windows 7 interface (albeit a great desktop/notebook UI) into an interesting and relatively novel form factor, the announcement of HP’s slate was just a big yawn.

        [...]

        On the other hand, the use of Ubuntu opens up these slates to a wide variety of free educational software with a growing body of touch- and stylus-enabled software. Add to that (or, more correctly, subtract from that) the licensing cost of Windows 7 and suddenly these tablets get cheaper, more robust in terms of software offerings, and easier for digital natives to use given a more appropriate interface for the device and suddenly a somewhat disappointing device becomes far more compelling.

        I’m convinced, as are most other tech bloggers, that the tablet form factor is here to stay. This is a good thing. However, what we really need are interfaces that exploit the tablet rather than highlight its compromises. Moblin and NBR are mighty fine places to start.


      • Leave Virginia Alone: On Open-source and Proprietary Threats
        Even Google’s involvement with its own open-source Android operating system could inhibit free development around it going forward. For Google, one of the big benefits that all Android phones bring is steering users into the company’s lucrative search-and-ad ecosystem. With the release of today’s Nexus One Android-based phone — which takes the company’s commercial stake in Android handsets to two (Droid being the first) — could Android itself be increasingly influenced by Google’s proprietary interests? Just as Microsoft leverages Windows for the benefit of its own applications, Google could do the same with Android. The Open Android Alliance is already developing versions of Android devoid of Google applications due to these types of concerns.


      • Dell Picks AT&T for Android Smartphone
        Dell today announced it has chosen AT&T as its exclusive U.S. carrier for its upcoming lineup of Android-based smartphones, known as the Mini 3. Dell has already chosen China Mobile, Vodafone and Claro Brazil as partners outside the U.S.


      • OnStar and Chevy Gives Android Users Mobile Control of Volt
        One of the cooler software announcements to already come out of CES 2010 is from Chevy and OnStar regarding the upcoming 2011 Chevy Volt, their all electric vehicle. The new Android-based application gives Volt owners added control over their vehicles with options like monitoring charging status, unlocking doors, and more. There have been rumors for some time that these types of applications would be coming but now those rumors have been confirmed with their unveiling at CES 2010.


      • Android devices conquer CES
        It appears Android-equipped devices are enjoying a coming out party at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. Major hardware manufacturers, including Dell, HTC, MIPS Technologies and Motorola, have announced plans to launch consumer products, including smartphones and TV set top boxes, which feature the Android mobile operating system.








    • Palm

      • Palm jumps to Verizon with two new phones
        Palm announced today that it will jump from Sprint to Verizon when it releases two new phones on January 25.

        Speaking to reporters at the Consumer Elelctronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Palm Chairman and chief executive Jon Rubinstein said the new phones - the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus - "will be available exclusively on the Verizon wireless network."


      • Palm Pre Plus, Pixi Plus Coming to Verizon
        Palm's CES 2010 press conference didn't offer nearly as much fanfare as last year's event, where the company unveiled the Palm Pre. But Palm did announce new phones, a software update, and new partnerships, proving that this once-struggling handset company is not just a one-trick pony.


      • Palm Updates the Pre and Pixi for Verizon Wireless
        Verizon Wireless will start selling improved versions of Palm's Pre and Pixi smartphones later this month under an exclusive arrangement with the handset maker.


      • A Closer Look at the Palm Pre Plus, Pixi Plus, and WebOS 1.4
        This morning Palm announced a slew of product updates, including two new handsets, updates to the webOS platform, and a carrier relationship with Verizon. This afternoon I got some hands-on time with the Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus and tested the new video capture app.


      • Palm Pre Plus First Hands-On: Super-Fast, Button Removal Is No Problem
        It's speedier, thanks to the double RAM that's been added, and noticeably easier flipping between apps and programs. The screen is responsive, but no more responsive than it was before. All in all, it's the same Pre experience you've had before, just faster. Oh, and guess you'll have to fork out for a TouchStone now.












Free Software/Open Source

  • Happy New Year! Looking Back...Looking Ahead
    2009 was a year of intense renovation. Many of the projects we began in 2009 will launch in the first half of 2010. Our goal with these projects is to make the Second Life user experience more intuitive, more accessible, more reliable and more connected to the social web. We must reduce dramatically the “Time to Delight” (i.e., the time it takes to get to that wonderful “AH HA!!” moment in Second Life) from several hours to several minutes. This will benefit both user acquisition and retention. We’ve also been working on improving the support we give to the ecosystem of content creators, merchants, landowners and solution providers since they/you are the lifeblood of Second Life. Finally, we’ve been working on platform projects to improve stability, reliability and quality of the Second Life experience which is top-of-mind for all Residents.


  • Protecting “Cloud” Secrets with Grendel
    The idea of Grendel is to provide an internal (behind-the-firewall) REST-based web service to keep a user’s data encrypted and ensure its integrity when the user isn’t using it. Grendel uses OpenPGP to store data, with the user’s password encrypting an OpenPGP keyset. That model makes it easy for a web site to store data safely and only decrypt it when the user is logged into the site. Since only the user has their password, once they log out, their data is safe, even if the web site’s database is compromised or stolen. Of course this isn’t an infallible protection — there is no such thing — and in particular it doesn’t protect against web site developers acting in bad faith. It does, though, protect against an attacker getting access to all the secrets stored by users in one step.




  • Boxee





  • Databases

    • On Selling Exceptions to the GNU GPL On Selling Exceptions to the GNU GPL
      When I co-signed the letter objecting to Oracle's planned purchase of MySQL 1 (along with the rest of Sun), some free software supporters were surprised that I approved of the practice of selling license exceptions which the MySQL developers have used. They expected me to condemn the practice outright. This article explains what I think of the practice, and why.

      Selling exceptions means that the copyright holder of the code releases it to the public under a free software license, then lets customers pay for permission to use the same code under different terms, for instance allowing its inclusion in proprietary applications.

      We must distinguish the practice of selling exceptions from something crucially different: proprietary extensions or proprietary versions of a free program. These two activities, even if practiced simultaneously by one company, are different issues. In selling exceptions, the same code that the exception applies to is available to the general public as free software. An extension or a modified version that is only available under a proprietary license is proprietary software, pure and simple, and no better than any other proprietary software. This article is concerned with cases that involve strictly and only the sale of exceptions.


    • The State of PostgreSQL: Not So Easy to Kill
      In fact, PostgreSQL as a project is pretty healthy, and shows how vulnerable projects like MySQL are to the winds of change. PostgreSQL could die tomorrow, if a huge group of its contributors dropped out for one reason or another and the remainder of the community didn't take up the slack. But that's exceedingly unlikely. The existing model for PostgreSQL development ensures that no single entity can control it, it can't be purchased and if someone decides to fork the project, the odds are that the remaining community would be strong enough to continue without a serious glitch.






  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 0.7: powerful and not dead
      FreeNAS 0.7 is based on FreeBSD 7.2 and includes a lot of file sharing protocols. This way it can talk to all major operating systems: GNU/Linux, the BSDs, Windows, and Mac OS X. FreeNAS also supports several types of media streaming protocols and can act like an iTunes server. In addition, it supports iSCSI and different levels of software RAID. All of this can be managed from the web interface so users don't have to know the FreeBSD commands under the hood.






  • Openness

    • Boris Johnson to launch London 'Datastore' with hundreds of sets of data
      The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will on Thursday launch a website hosting hundreds of sets of data - including previously unreleased information - about the capital, as part of a new scheme intended to encourage people to create "mashups" of data to boost the city's transparency and accountability.



    • How Chris Messina Got a Job at Google
      What had changed? His contact told him that Google was placing a new emphasis on getting the social web right, in a way that is good for the web. That month Google publicly launched a campaign that had run informally inside the company for two years, called the Data Liberation Front. It works across departments to enable users to remove their data from Google services, a key part of the vision of an Open Distributed Web that Messina has been working toward.








Leftovers

  • Get ready for China's domination of science
    SINCE its economic reform began in 1978, China has gone from being a poor developing country to the second-largest economy in the world. China has also emerged from isolation to become a political superpower. Its meteoric rise has been one of the most important global changes of recent years: the rise of China was the most-read news story of the decade, surpassing even 9/11 and the Iraq war.




  • Security

    • Johnson reveals ID register linked to NI numbers
      Home Secretary Alan Johnson has confirmed that the National Identity Register contains National Insurance numbers and answers to 'shared secrets'.

      In a revelation that is likely to intensify the arguments over the privacy implications of the database, Johnson claimed the NI numbers have been included to "aid identity verification checks for identity cards and, in time, passports".


    • Anti-paedophile checks 'flawed', admits boss
      The vetting and barring scheme – requiring millions of adults to be given criminal records checks before being allowed to work with children – risks giving schools “false confidence”, according to Sir Roger Singleton.


    • Terror laws used to catch benefit cheats
      Anti-terrors laws are still being used by a Lancashire council to snoop on residents.

      In the past year "static surveillance" including video was used five times by Preston Council to spy on families suspected of housing benefit fraud and to gain evidence of the "illegal dumping of waste" at a city supermarket.






  • Environment







  • Finance

    • Goldman sued by pension fund over bonus plans
      Goldman Sachs Group Inc was sued on Thursday by an Illinois pension fund seeking to recover billions of dollars of bonuses and other compensation being awarded for 2009, saying the payouts harm shareholders.

      In a lawsuit filed in New York state supreme court in Manhattan on behalf of shareholders, the Central Laborers' Pension Fund said Goldman had by September 25 set aside nearly $17 billion for compensation and might pay out more than $22 billion for the year. It said this "highlights the complete breakdown" of corporate oversight.

      The lawsuit contends that Goldman's revenue for the year was artificially inflated by government bailouts of the banking industry and the insurer American International Group Inc, as well as a change in Goldman's fiscal year.


    • AIG CFO resigns over pay
      In what is the most ridiculous move yet in this ongoing saga, the CFO of AIG is resigning over pay. That dumb thing thinks she is not paid enough? For presiding over the GS fiasco? For being the turkey of the industry? the laughing stock of a generation?








  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • China Jails Tibetan Filmmaker
      Authorities in the northwestern Chinese province of Qinghai have handed a six-year jail sentence to a Tibetan filmmaker who returned from exile to make a documentary about his homeland, Tibetan sources say.


    • How online life distorts privacy rights for all
      People who post intimate details about their lives on the internet undermine everybody else's right to privacy, claims an academic.

      Dr Kieron O'Hara has called for people to be more aware of the impact on society of what they publish online.








  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • The New FCC and a Small Reality Check
      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski came to our office today to talk about broadband (check it out), and during both the event itself and the conversations I had with people before and after, it became clear to me how optimistic many of us should be about the New FCC.


    • Jelli Raises $2 Million For Crowdsourced Radio
      Jelli has raised $2 million from a group of angel investors for its service, which lets users dictate what songs they want to hear on traditional radio stations. With Jelli, radio listeners can vote online on what songs they want to listen to; participants can also earn virtual points which gives them more control over the selection process.






  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Bono's "One" Ignorant Idea
      U2 frontman and humanitarian Bono had a page-long op-ed in this past Sunday’s New York Times, where he describes what he calls “10 ideas that might make the next 10 years more interesting, healthy or civil. Some are trivial, some fundamental. They have little in common with one another except that I am seized by each, and moved by its potential to change our world.” So let’s look at some issues that made the list…. a twist on cap and trade, fighting the rotavirus, new cancer research, the rise of Africa and… limiting the scourge of file sharing.


    • Digital Economy Bill: Copyright Holders May Have To State Income Lost To Piracy
      Copyright holders would have to tell ISPs how much financial damage they suffer from alleged digital copyright infringements, under an amendment proposed to the Digital Economy Bill.

      The amendment, proposed by Lord Lucas, says that “copyright infringement reports” - which record labels and movie studios would send to to ISPs, detailing instances of alleged abuse by a customer - must also “set out the value of the infringement on the basis described in the initial obligations”.


    • Mexican govt: Starbucks owes us
      The Mexican government says it has notified Starbucks Corp. that Mexico is owed intellectual property rights for a line of coffee mugs showing pre-Hispanic images.


    • Future of copyright: La Quadrature calls on the Commission to reassert the public's rights
      La Quadrature du Net has submitted its response to the European Commission's consultation regarding "Online Creative Content". La Quadrature calls on the Commission to reconsider the EU's coercive and repressive copyright policies, while encouraging it to match words to deeds by fostering the rights of the public in the digital creative ecosystem.


    • You Can't Be A Fan Of University Of Cincinnati's Sports Teams Unless You've Paid The Proper License
      The University says it doesn't matter if the University's name or logo isn't on the clothing at all. Even a shirt that says "Go Cats!" needs a license. Even worse, they're not just looking to stop people from selling such clothing, they're happily putting them in jail for it.


    • Copyright Monopolies In The Middle Of Health Care Reform Debate As Well
      An anonymous reader sent over yet another example of copyright being abused for monopolist reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with "promoting the progress," and actually represent a serious healthcare issue. I had no idea, but apparently the various "codes" used by doctors to classify every visit are actually covered by a copyright held by the American Medical Association, which refuses to allow any free or open distribution of the codes (known as Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)). That's because the AMA makes about $70 million per year "licensing" the codes.


    • France's Latest Plan: Tax Google, Microsoft And Yahoo To Fund Record Labels
      Apparently Nicolas Sarkozy will get "the last word" on whether or not to adopt this policy, which means that it's pretty likely. Sarkozy -- who has a long history of copyright infringement by his own party -- seems to believe that stronger copyright means defending French culture, when it really just means handouts to a few failing businesses who haven't wanted to adapt.


    • France considers tax for Google, Yahoo and Facebook
      Google and other net firms could be taxed under plans being considered by the French government.


    • Plano-based Cookies by Design sued over smiley-face sweet
      A key ingredient of Eat'n Park's case is the lawsuit's Exhibit A, which shows a circle with two round eyes, a dot for a nose and a perky smile.


    • Showstopper.
      The thing is, I've spent a lot of time learning how to make art. I have spent no time learning how to negotiate the licensing of music. These are very different skills! It's bizarre that in order to share my art, I need to have the latter skill set, or hire someone who does. The lack of that skill set results in my work being kept secret.

      It's really backward. I would love to talk to artists directly, and negotiate something that's mutually beneficial. Right? My work calls attention to their work. I'm a big fan of their work. I want to support their art and their livelihood. I want everyone to know about and support their work. It's such a natural alliance, but it's perverted by this system we have now.


    • Critiquing copyright canards
      And if this is true, why are they lying to legislators, in an attempt to get these laws enacted?

      Greed.










Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day



Enric Teller assembles chairs for CitizenSpace (2009)

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Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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