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Links 25/2/2010: Linux 2.6.33 Released

GNOME bluefish



  • Sell Linux on its merits
    I believe we should tell Linux as it is: not a clone of Windows, nor was it created to replace it. Sure it's nice telling people they are not likely to suffer security breaches on Linux as they would on Windows, but that should not be the norm of promoting Linux.

  • Guide For Switching To Linux At Your Church
    My earlier post on how we migrated to using Linux raised some questions. Some wondered why other churches, schools and Christian ministries did not do this (though there are many that have). Others wondered how they could do it themselves.

  • DIY
    maddog troubleshoots a broken Windows system and saves his niece some money in the process.

    My niece was having problems with her system, which because of her work must run Microsoft, and she decided to take it to a repair depot to have the hardware checked to see if anything was wrong. Nothing wrong could be found by running hardware diagnostics.

  • Nine Linux projects in 90 minutes

  • Southern California Linux Expo(SCaLE 8x) Recap
    If you are an open source fan or vendor and can make the trip, I highly recommend attending to SCale 9x next February.

  • The Five Stages of Benchmark Loss
    This weekend at the Southern California Linux Expo in Los Angeles, Matthew Tippett and I presented a talk entitled Five Stages of Benchmark Loss: PTS and You. In this hour-long talk, we covered Linux benchmarking, what has been learned over the years of benchmarking at Phoronix, the Phoronix Test Suite, and the five stages that users and developers generally go through when they lose out on benchmarking results. For those that were unable to attend this event, here are the slides and recordings.

  • Desktop

    • Corporate IT won't run Linux desktops because of the 'Skype attitude'
      76% of issues in the JIRA database are new. Compare this with the Windows client, where 21% of issues are new. It seems that Skype is truly uninterested in their Linux user base, expending minimal or no resources on it. Even if you take into account that the Linux client is several steps back from the Windows version and the development team is apparently working on a new version, the number of open issues is still worrying (they claim to be in a late Beta stage, but audio does not work with a large proportion of modern OS versions and there is no timeline to fix it). So, Lesson #1, DON'T INSTALL A BETA VERSION OF SKYPE IF YOU WANT TO CALL PEOPLE!


      It appears that in Skype's mind, all Linux users are potential Beta testers of their software. We all want to suffer software failures and issues. We also apparently want no way to ever recover from them, unless we follow Skype's unknown and unpublished roadmap. This is the attitude to the Linux desktop of a large commercial software provider. Maybe this helps us understand why corporate IT is so reluctant about installing Linux desktops - even if they don't want Skype on their networks, they can't trust a highly visible commercial company to write Linux software that works and manage it professionally, so what hope is there of trusting free, open source organizations from doing the right thing?

    • ASUS' Xonar STX Gains Even More Functionality Under Linux
      Ever since ASUS first released its Xonar line-up of cards, I knew I had to have one. But, being that I use Linux as a primary OS, I knew that the chance of me finding good support was slim. Well, that support may have taken a couple of months in the beginning to come to fruition, but since then, the open-sourced ALSA drivers have come to support every Xonar model available, along with many of their specific features.

    • The best way to reduce software 'piracy'
      Some years ago, while I was in a small computer shop in a suburb of Melbourne, trying to convince the owner to put a few machines running GNU/Linux on display, a lady arrived with a laptop in hand.


      The point of this tale? It just underlines the fact that the entire IT industry is built on overpriced products and services. People working in the business get away with it because IT is a complex business - and they are very good at making it seem even more complex than it is.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.33 released
      The shortlog below is (obviously) just the things since the last -rc8, for a fuller log you can either download the full ChangeLog, or preferably do the git thing and look at whatever area you are interested in. Or wait for the kernelnewbies report.

    • What's new in Linux 2.6.33
      A promising open source driver for NVIDIA graphics hardware, a replication solution to prevent server down times, "ATA Trim" support and a host of new and improved drivers are some of the most prominent improvements in Linux 2.6.33.

    • Community Filtering and Disagreeableness
      In a practical regard I’m very impressed with the shear scale of development that the Linux kernel project manages to organise. It does have a very effective set of mechanisms for filtering contributions that intend to reduce noise and promote useful contribution over general chatter.

    • Built to last
      It has now been almost exactly five years since kernel development community tentatively started using the git source code management system with the 2.6.12-rc2 commit. That was an uncertain time; nobody really knew how long it would take the development process to get back up to speed after an abrupt core-tool change. As it turned out, git was almost immediately useful, and has only become more so since. Making the development process work is git’s main claim to fame, but, as a side benefit, git also makes it possible to learn a lot about how our kernel is developed. And that, as it turns out, includes taking a look at the code which is not changed.


      It turns out that, of the approximately 12 million lines of code and documentation that make up the 2.6.33 kernel, about 31% dates back to that 2.6.12-rc2 commit. A third of our current kernel has not been touched in the last five years.

    • Linux kernel R&D worth over 1bn euros
      The development costs would reach over a billion euros (or about €£900m, or $1.4bn USD), according to researchers from the University of Oviendo, Spain. Jesús García-García and M€ª Isabel Alonso de Magdaleno are set to present this open source thought experiment at the European Union's Conference on Corporate R&D next month.

    • Kernel Log: Linux and hard disks with 4-KByte sectors
      In future, fdisk will arrange partitions in such a way that the new hard disks with 4-KByte sectors can achieve optimum performance – although, for now, users will still need to select fdisk's appropriate mode of operation manually. The developers of Realtime Linux have released new kernel versions, and the completion of and 2.6.33 is also approaching.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Test driving some new features of KDE 4.4
        Qt 4.6 passes a collection of new functionalities to KDE 4.4. We’ll show you the animation framework and KDE’s new multi-touch feature.

      • KDE Sub-Project for Real Time Communication
        Chat, instant messaging and video communication: the KDE Real Time Communication and Collaboration (RTCC) project wants to improve the integration of real time communication into the desktop environment.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME UX Hackfest Photos

      • GNOME 2.29.91 Beta Available

      • GNOME Shell 2.29.0 with new notification system
        Version 2.29.0 of the GNOME Shell is now available for testing. The developers have integrated a new notification system into this version. An information bar at the bottom edge of the screen informs users, for instance, about newly connected devices or about which track the audio player has just changed to. Previous notifications are saved and can be accessed via an info icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.

      • Gnome 3 Will Be Amazing
        I am excited. I am really, really excited. This should scare you. It scares me. But I hope you’ll bear with us; and by bear I mean “help us carry the load”. Help us make this real! Help us refine the bad parts! Help us eliminate the bad sub-designs! Help us shoot flames from our eyes and launch dragons from our missile tubes. Help us break granite with our faces. Descend with us, little lambs, into the labyrinth of chasomagic.

  • Distributions

    • Raster to be the default Qt4 graphics engine @ Gentoo Linux

    • The number of Linux distros - A strength or weakness?
      So to sum it up, I don't agree per se that the number of Linux distros is either a good thing or a bad one. It is just a matter of available choices to satisfy different needs of different people from different parts of the globe.

    • too much choice can sometimes be a bad thing
      Well, to sum it up, some advice, if you’re thinking of switching to something other than Windows, and other than mac, and all you want is a decent desktop system, I would suggest you go with Ubuntu, it’s the distro I had the least problems with, and that you can get up and running even if you’re neither a programmer nor a system administrator.

    • Red Hat Family

      • RHT Poised To Benefit From Shift To Cloud Computing
        Analysts at JMP Securities believe that Red Hat (NASDAQ: RHT) appears well positioned to benefit from the shift to cloud computing, especially at the OS level with RHEL.

      • CloudLinux OS: Standing Out in the Linux Crowd?
        In the meantime, Seletskiy says CloudLinux OS can run applications designed for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS (the community version of Red Hat).

      • RHEL 5.5 - extra lube for your KVMs
        So what did I make of the RHEL 5.5 beta? I found it to be, well, quite nice. It was my first exposure to RHEL directly, though I'm familiar with CentOS, and indeed, aside from the prominent Red Hat branding, things looked and behaved much like CentOS.


        Ahead of that release, I'd say the beta provides a solid update for RHEL. The new KVM tools and additional device support will make RHEL 5.5 well worth the upgrade when the final release does arrive later this year.

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMEPIS 8.5 Reaches RC1
        MEPIS has announced SimplyMEPIS 8.4.98, RC1 of MEPIS 8.5, now available from MEPIS and public mirrors. The ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.4.98-rc1_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.4.98-rc1_64.iso respectively. Deltas are also available.

      • Knoppix 6.3 highlights
        Knoppix creator (and Q&A mastermind) Klaus Knopper shares some insights on the latest release.

      • Ubuntu

        • Why I Switched from Ubuntu One back to Dropbox
          As many of you surely know, Dropbox and Ubuntu One are applications to keep files on your desktop in sync across multiple computers, and backed up in the cloud. After using Dropbox for a year or so on Ubuntu, the Ubuntu One project came out and I thought I'd move over to it. I assumed it would be easier to set up, being pre-installed, and could integrate better with the file manager and other applications, being made specifically for Ubuntu.

        • A preview of Ubuntu 10.04
          These are just the first few things I discovered after installing Ubuntu 10.04 – Lucid Lynx. You can learn more about Lucid Lynx and download the latest test build from Ubuntu’s website. I would not recommend upgrading your system to this alpha release because it still contains a lot of bugs at this stage. If you have never used Ubuntu and would like to give it a try you can obtain a copy of Ubuntu 9.10 (the most current release) here. If you have limited bandwidth, slow internet, or you just don’t want to download it then you can also request a copy of it to be mailed to you for free.

        • Ubuntu To Make Big Announcement Tomorrow?
          Word has reached my ears that tomorrow, 25th February, at around 18:00 UTC, a big announcement concerning the branding of Ubuntu will be made.


          Whilst my source wishes to remain anonymous he did divulge that the announcement has "something to do with..." the branding of Ubuntu and/or Canonical, the colour scheme used for them and "possibly the logo".

        • Full Circle Podcast #1: Stop Wine-ing and Go Native!
          That’s right, the Full Circle Podcast is back and better than ever!he podcast is in MP3 and OGG formats. You can either play the podcast in-browser if you have Flash and/or Java, or you can download the podcast with the link underneath the player.

        • Ubuntu founder stops by Round Rock
          My favorite cosmonaut-coder Mark Shuttleworth stopped by our offices this morning for a visit. Mark is the founder of both the Linux distribution Ubuntu and its commercial sponsor Canonical. Mark and I sat down in the lobby and caught up. Here is a short interview we recorded.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Pogoplug Linux-powered file server appliance
      In Short It makes a pleasant change when something does exactly what it's supposed to, so well done to Pogoplug for taking the hard work out of sharing files. €µ

      The Good Easy setup, loads of sharing options, decent web interface, no fees.

      The Bad Limited video formats supported for web preview.

      The Ugly Did we mention it's shocking pink?

      Bartender's Score 9/10

    • Phones

      • Better lucky than smart
        Last week in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, I felt exactly the same way. I felt I got even too lucky. This time, in my work life.


        At the Mobile World Congress, the talk of the show was Android. There were Android phones everywhere. It is mobile open source. The big announcement on Monday? Intel and Nokia, two of the largest players in mobile (who is bigger than Intel on chips or Nokia on devices?), announced MeeGo. A mobile open source initiative (and you can tell by the weird name, right amigo?). Then Symbian rushed out Symbian^3… Guess what? Mobile open source.

      • Android

        • Mobile Roadie Now Creates Apps For Android Ecosystem
          We’re big fans of Mobile Roadie, a startup that helps develop iPhone apps. But the one gripe we had was that Mobile Roadie was limited to the iPhone platform. Today, our wish came true as Mobile Roadie is launching functionality for Android phones.

        • Google snubs Chinese Android developers
          But in January Google did postpone the Chinese launch of two Android handsets - one Samsung and one Motorola - saying that it would be "irresponsible" to launch them when the search giant's own future in China was so uncertain.

          With no Android handsets launched it would have been a strange developer conference in Beijing, and cancelling the appearance will put more pressure on the Chinese government while making Google look good at home.

        • Quake 3 Comes To Google's Android Platform
          Almost exactly one month ago we reported that Roderick Colenbrander was working on a new open-source project after his once-popular NVClock program has since largely faded away. Details were scarce on the project originally, but we knew it was to do with Linux gaming. Today we now know that this project is called "Kwaak3" and it's a port of Quake 3 to Google's Android platform.

        • HTC Hero Review
          In conclusion, this is a good phone for most people, since it provides everything that they need, however it has some lag, especially if there are many apps running, and it provides some limitations. Still, android+sense makes this phone really shine, and the lag has been reduced since the original phone with one update, and the new android 2 OS seems to bring some performance improvements which could further improve on this. However, this phone, to be great, deserved much better hardware (something like an AMOLED screen, snapdragon and 512MB ram), a decent camera, a sync app for Linux and only a few more pollishing made to the android OS (full bluetooth support and paid apps in market more specifically).

    • ARM

      • Mandriva Joins ARM Connected Community
        Mandriva, Europe's leading Linux publisher, today announced it is a new member in the ARM€® Connected Community, the industry’s largest ecosystem of ARM technology-based products and services. As part of the ARM Connected Community, Mandriva will gain access to a full range of resources to help it market and deploy innovative solutions that will enable developers to get their ARM Powered€® products to market faster.

      • ARM Launches a Smarter Brain for The Internet of Things
        So ARM added some digital signal processing capabilities to the chip. Think of it as sending the silicon to school so it can learn algebra–after realizing that basic math doesn’t cut it anymore. Already NXP, Texas Instruments and ST Microelectronics have licensed the cores and expect products containing the chip to hit the market in 2011. Some areas we’ll see it are in smart appliances for “talking to” to the smart grid (GigaOM Pro sub. req’d), and as a way to add better audio quality to everything from headsets to Mp3 players without adding a lot of cost.

      • Saving the World, One Laptop at a Time
        Negroponte believes that, in addition to educating children, the computers enable both girls and boys to become agents for social change. "We find in Peru that as many as 50 percent of the kids, because they are in remote villages, are teaching their parents how to read and write."

Free Software/Open Source

  • Please talk while gaming, with VoiceChatter
    Playing a game with friends over the Internet is great, but typing conversations lacks the immediacy of a real conversation. That’s the filled by VoiceChatter, a free voice communication application primarily designed to be used during games, though it can be used for all sorts of purposes. It allows you to vocally talk to groups of other people over the Internet.

  • Nginx, the little Russian web server taking on the giants
    According to Netcraft, 7% of all websites on the internet are now using nginx. This is all the more amazing when you consider that nginx was developed by just one person.

  • Introducing hands-on computing in secondary education
    Teachers work long hours and are underpaid for the work they do. Between 7AM and 3PM they're responsible for their students, with (possibly) an hour of time during the day where they might be free to "prep". The truth is that "preparation time" for many educators comes either early in the morning or after work. Many teachers spend one, two, or more hours after work (either at school or at home) preparing their lessons for the next day. Weekends, likewise, are often time spent catching up, grading, or doing other work that (in theory) should be doable during their "preparation time." Put simply, educators work hard.

  • Graphics lesson

  • Open Source 101: Paying for Free Software
    Though most Linux binaries are indeed free, there are a few out there that do come at a cost. Like, for instance, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. But, if I wanted to, I am more than able to go out and download the source RPMs and compile the code myself to make a full-blown instance of RHEL.

    Even though I have the skill set to do this, the question then becomes, why would I? My time is worth way more then the fee Red Hat charges for putting this all together, so even if it hits my wallet right up front, it's well worth it in the long run.

    This is the core advantage of open source software for most users like me: it's not that we can get the source code ourselves, but rather that other people with more time on their hands (and ideally a paycheck to do it) can take the code and make it into a form we can use.

  • Thinking about open source: There are three types of software
    Let me break down software into three categories:

    1. Open source software, where every single byte of the programming source code is covered by some license sanctioned by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). 2. Proprietary software, where none of the code making up the whole is covered by an OSI-sanctioned license or is otherwise made available for free reuse and distribution. 3. Hybrid software, where some of the code is covered by an open source licence and some of it is not.

    Whoa!, you might say, it is ethically and ideologically wrong to do anything but #1!

    Whoa!, you might say, capitalists abhor “free” when it comes to anything they are trying to sell, so #2 wins!

    Whoa!, you might say, you’re allowed to mix open source and non-open source code to create software, as in #3?

  • Open Source vs. the White Supremacists
    The open source connection is indirect, but essential---Facebook is built on open source technologies, and the Internet itself is one of the biggest open source success stories of all: open software, and open standards and protocols.


    Once again I give my heartfelt thanks to all the great Linux and FOSS people who made all this possible. It's making a big difference to my little community.

  • Diffusion of Open Source Innovation
    The open source innovation backbone for startups mentions Google, FaceBook and Twitter sustaining innovations, reporting that are all heavily based on open source software. Beyond standing on giants’ shoulders, companies like Google are engaged at tactical and strategic level with open source communities, and they are not alone.

  • Many Happy Returns, Apache
    First, it ensured that the back-end of the Web was not locked into proprietary standards. Had Microsoft established its Internet Information Server (IIS) there, as might well have happened in the absence of Apache, it would have been able to control vast swathes of Web development through the tight linking between IIS and Internet Explorer on the client side.


    Apache has moved far beyond its roots to become a key player in the open source world in many areas. On the occasion of its 15th birthday, it's good to remember just how much it has done in that time, and to look forward to all the things it will do in the future. Many happy returns, indeed....

  • Free Software, Private Property
    The main thrust of the article is that Open Source companies could exclude people from using Free Software. The specific hypothetical being Red Hat increasing the inconvenience of downloading an .iso – technically they are meeting the obligation of providing the source, but they are adding “hurdles” to make it not worth the effort.

    The basic point holds – a company could ostensibly pretend to be Open Source-friendly but take all sorts of “extra-license” measures to work around “the spirit of Open Source”.

    Why would a company do that?

    Consider a company like Red Hat, well-respected and considered genuine in its commitment to Open Source. Imagine, what would happen if Red Hat did try to fiddle with download access: not only would the community nerd-rage with the intensity of a million exploding blue LEDs, not only would Red Hat suffer a credibility hit of biblical proportions, but someone would just put up a torrent and work around the problem.

  • Will open source ever be completely free?
    So, will open source drive prices to $0.00? Yes, for some workloads and in some scenarios, like infrastructure that will be expected to be free. But expect the smart open-source companies to make plenty of money in this service-enabled, cloud-hungry world.


    • OpenOffice4Kids - Educating kids the right way
      Office suites are mainly intended for adults. But sometimes, kids write too. And when they do, they work with tools intended for their parents, functionality and looks wise. This makes the chance of a child liking big, complex word processors and spreadsheet software less likely. But what if you helped them a bit?

    • Head to Head: Office 2010 vs Open Office 3.1
      It's a battle of the office productivity suites as we look at how Office 2010 shapes up against its main open alternative. We find out which is best in this head to head review.

      In this head to head we are focusing on the two most popular suites of office software on the market today. While some people consider the comparison a little one sided, we thought it was time to give Open Office a chance to stand up to the heavyweight that is Microsoft’s 20-year old Office, in its latest beta incarnation.

      We have chosen these two big-hitters because of the wealth of support and features available but we’d like to offer a nod to Google Docs, a suite which we see as a potential contender for the future, when it makes up part of the upcoming Chrome OS.

  • Mozilla

    • Top 5 Mozilla Firefox YouTube Add-Ons
      If you are both a Firefox user and a YouTube fan (or fanatic), there are number of Firefox add-ons that can integrate YouTube directly into your Firefox browser in ways that make watching videos more enjoyable. Each one of these add-ons comes with certain features: some allow you to download the video, some are able to create complex playlists, some make it easier to search for a video and so on.

  • Databases

    • Recently in MariaDB #1
      The aims of this kind of blog post is simple – I want to help keep the masses informed as to what’s happening with MariaDB, as a whole. There is a community growing, and MariaDB is a community project, not necessarily a Monty Program Ab baby (and we’re clear on this distinction: think of it like Canonical/Ubuntu). So, think of it as such that I’m sharing the good news, and summarising what’s been happening, to save you time.

  • Drupal

    • Drupal 7.0 Alpha 2 released
      Our first Drupal 7 alpha version was released just over a month ago. Today, we're proud to announce the release of the second alpha version of Drupal 7.x for your further testing and feedback. The first alpha announcement provided a comprehensive list of improvements made since Drupal 6.x, so in this announcement we'll concentrate on how you can help ensure that Drupal 7 is released as soon as possible and is as rock solid as the previous Drupal releases that you've grown to love!

    • How To Learn Drupal

    • Need a job? Learn Drupal
      I recently learned that there are more jobs available working with Drupal than there are employees to fill them. According to John Faber, COO at AF83, a Drupal development shop, they're so busy with projects that they've had to turn away business. And it's the same for many other Drupal specialists in San Francisco. There's a clear need for bodies skilled in Drupal and other open-source software, including Linux.

    • Archdiocese of Saint Louis Migrates to Drupal
      In early 2009, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis determined that it needed to upgrade its website, mostly for security concerns. After investigating a move from Joomla! 1.0.x to Joomla! 1.5.x, the Archdiocese determined it would be more cost effective and a more future-proof decision to migrate the over 49 individual Joomla! sites that comprised into a single Drupal installation.

    • Drupal goes to Mars
      Drupal goes to Mars, or rather, Drupal helps us go to Mars ... eventually. NASA's Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University is doing a lot of advanced work with Drupal. They have a number of Drupal sites, each with a different purpose, but all used to share information about Mars as discovered by ASU's THEMIS camera on the Mars Odyssey orbiter. All of the sites have some interesting integrations with other software, including LDAP, legacy authentication systems, Java Servlet based web services, Flash, Java desktop clients, map servers or Google Earth.

    • using Drupal
      The official website for the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority is using Drupal.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 8 installation guide

    • PC-BSD 8.0 Released For A Polished, Friendlier FreeBSD Desktop
      FreeBSD 8.0 was released in November with a number of improvements and various performance enhancements as our FreeBSD benchmarks have shown, but if the text-based installation process has put you off from installing this popular BSD distribution or other usability challenges, there's no reason to fear any longer. The PC-BSD project has finally come out with their stable PC-BSD 8.0 release that is derived from FreeBSD 8.0 but with much desktop-oriented love and its friendlier installer and package management system.


    • The Toyota Recall and the Case for Open, Auditable Source Code
      Finally, in response to the controversy, Sequoia Voting Systems announced last October that their new voting machines would be based on publicly available source code and open architectures, noting that “[s]ecurity through obfuscation and secrecy is not security” and that “[f]ully disclosed source code is the path to true transparency and confidence in the voting process for all involved.”

  • Government

    • Free Software and Italian Elections 2010
      Italian free software association asks again Italian candidates for Municipal and Regional elections to sign a pact where they agree to promote the use of free software.

  • Licensing

    • Second Life Tries To Backpedal On the GPL
      GigsVT writes "The Second Life viewer has been available under the GPL for three years. Linden Lab, the maker of Second Life, recently released a 'third party viewer' policy that all but erases the freedoms granted under the GPL. It includes such draconian measures as 'You agree to update or delete at our request any data that you have received from Second Life or our servers and systems using a Third-Party Viewer,' 'You must not mask IP or MAC addresses' (reported to the server), 'you must have a published privacy policy explaining your practices regarding user data,' and 'You acknowledge and agree that we may require you to stop using or distributing a Third-Party Viewer for accessing Second Life if we determine that there is a violation.'"

  • Openness

    • Flat World Knowledge: Open College Textbooks
      Aside from the invention of the alphabet, Gutenberg's press and moveable type, and the Internet -- all major disruptors of establishment enterprise in their time -- Open Licensing is surely the most profound development yet to enable the transparent spread of intellectual capital. “Open” innovations include Linux and its various flavors; Apache servers; Moodle, a powerful open learning platform; the Open Library, providing unprecedented universal ccess to the world’s literature; open pharma offering the promise of widely shared and cheaply available pharmaceutical formulae to save lives; and Firefox, the world’s most popular web browser. Literally, billions of pieces of intellectual capital -- writing, imagery, research, art, scientific formulae, designs, art, multimedia, and so on are licensed as Open -- with open licensing growing at exponential rates, enabling a new world of creation and discovery -- and now, Open licensing has entered the world of textbook publishing, to become a solution to the high textbook cost problems mentioned above.

    • What does information really want?
      "Information wants to be free" was, for better or worse, a powerful slogan, but 25 years later its work is done. The crowd has gathered, the rallying cry, however flawed, worked. But now we have to create some actual policies and change some real laws.

      If overly restrictive copyright, patent, and IP rules are to be replaced with something better, the free culture movement has to supply people with good, solid reasons why they should want to protect these very important and threatened freedoms.

    • Arduino – the hardware revolution
      Enter, the Arduino: a low-cost, open source, tiny hardware board for connecting the real world to your computer, and/or to the whole internet. What can be done with it? Everything. The limit is the imagination, and as you’ll see from a few of the example creations we review here, imaginative use is the norm.

  • Open Access

    • Adventures of an Amateur Cartographer
      While striding manfully across the streets of suburbia this week I've been listened to some back issues of FLOSS Weekly that I'd previously missed. This excellent podcast by Randal Schwartz covers all aspects of Free Libre Open Source Software, occasionally straying into open source hardware and, in the case of the podcast I was listening to, open source data.

    • Textbooks That Professors Can Rewrite Digitally
      In a kind of Wikipedia of textbooks, Macmillan, one of the five largest publishers of trade books and textbooks, is introducing software called DynamicBooks, which will allow college instructors to edit digital editions of textbooks and customize them for their individual classes.

      Professors will be able to reorganize or delete chapters; upload course syllabuses, notes, videos, pictures and graphs; and perhaps most notably, rewrite or delete individual paragraphs, equations or illustrations.

    • Meedan Releases the World’s First Open Access Arabic/English Translation Memory
      The MeedanMemory is released under the Open Database License, which permits the use, copy and distribution of the translation memory, produce work using it, and to modify, transform and build upon the translation memory.

    • Open Access to Research Is Inevitable, Libraries Are Told
      Public access to research is "inevitable," but it will be a slog to get to it. That was the takeaway message of a panel on the role libraries can play in supporting current and future public-access moves. The panel was part of the program at the membership meeting of the Association of Research Libraries, held here yesterday and today.

    • Introducing Datapkg: A Tool for Distributing, Discovering and Installing Data “Packages”
      Datapkg 0.5 has been released! This is the first release deemed suitable for public consumption (though we are still in alpha)! This announce therefore serves as both introduction and release announcement.

    • Uncovering the truth
      Briefing papers for the meeting include a handsome discussion paper from the Audit Commission. Page 13 sports a revealing table of users and uses of public-sector data. It identifies as users: professional and frontline staff; service managers; corporate managers, directors and members; national government and regulators – and citizens. An impressive array of uses is tabulated for the users – except citizens. Apparently we use it for “choices about services” and “democracy”. Where are the innovators who pounced on and mapped bicycle accident black spots?

    • Open Data in Archaeology
      In addition to opening up access to journal articles for print, new digital technologies allow archaeologists to go beyond traditional ways of disseminating scholarly research. This includes new ways of collaborating and publishing findings in ‘real time’ on the web using blogs, wikis and the like. Also researchers can go beyond PDF files of articles for print, towards machine readable texts and the raw data and other materials underlying research.

  • Programming

    • Glade 3 + GtkBuilder + Anjuta Example.
      Today I whipped up a simple GTK application using the Anjuta IDE, Glade 3, and the new GtkBuilder system. As some of you know, Glade 3 and GTK changed things up. First Glade stopped using generated code which required you to use libglade. Now the GTK developers created their own interface interpretor called GtkBuilder. Your whole entire Gtk+ application is now done using mainly signals, making it fairly easy to develop Gnome type applications.


  • Kevin Rose's 10 Tips for Entrepreneurs
    Kevin Rose, Digg's founder, spoke this week at Webstock in Wellington, New Zealand and covered 10 amazing tips for entrepreneurs. They were truly insightful

  • Health

    • Hospital left patients 'sobbing and humiliated'
      Hospital patients were left "sobbing and humiliated" by uncaring staff, an investigation into one of the worst NHS scandals in history has found.

    • Americans die from hospital infections
      According to an antibiotic-resistance study from the Extending the Cure investigation, about 48,000 Americans die each year from hospital-acquired infections (“superbugs”). The medical costs to treat these infections are also staggering.

  • Security

    • Mall security guard accuses shopper of being a paedophile for photographing his own son
      Outside of the mall, Kevin was stopped by a police constable who had received a complaint from mall security that a suspicious potential paedophile had been taking pictures on its premises. The PC threatened to arrest Kevin "for creating a public disturbance" and ordered him to delete the photo of his son. The PC also averred that the Bridges Shopping Centre is a hotbed of paedophile assaults.

    • Latvian 'Robin Hood' hacker leaks bank details to TV
      An alleged hacker has been hailed as a latter-day Robin Hood for leaking data about the finances of banks and state-owned firms to Latvian TV.

      Using the alias "Neo" - a reference to The Matrix films - the hacker claims he wants to expose those cashing in on the recession in Latvia.

    • 3 Bulgarians charged in 44-day ATM hacking spree
      Three Bulgarian men were charged Wednesday with defrauding banks of more than $137,000 in a scheme that attached electronic skimming devices to numerous automatic teller machines in Massachusetts.

    • Call for CCTV volunteers
      Minehead CCTV partnership is looking for volunteers to operate the town’s CCTV cameras in a bid to reduce crime and disorder.

      The partnership, which includes Minehead Town Council, West Somerset Council and Avon and Somerset Police, is looking for local people to become police volunteers at the CCTV office, based in the town’s police station.

    • ICO concerned that DNA retention law neuters four data protection principles
      The Information Commissioner has criticised the Government’s proposals in relation to the retention of DNA personal data as removing the protection of the First, Third, Fifth and Sixth Data Protection Principles from data subjects. Although his measured memorandum to Parliament does not couch his concerns in this way, anyone how has knowledge of how data protection works will arrive at a very stark conclusion.

    • Citizens rail against government data sharing
      The poll found that 61% of those surveyed believe police should not be allowed to keep a person's DNA profile if they have not been charged with an offence, compared to 45% in a similar survey by the trust in 2006.

    • Australia to require biometric visas
      Australia will spend $69 million building the technology infrastructure for biometric checks of visa applicants from countries considered a high risk of producing potential terrorists as part of Government's long-awaited Counter-Terrorism White Paper.

    • Supreme Court sets aside strict ruling on Miranda 'right to remain silent'
      Reporting from Washington — A crime suspect who invokes his "right to remain silent" under the famous Miranda decision can be questioned again after 14 days, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. And if he freely agrees to talk then, his incriminatory statements can be used against him.

  • Environment

    • Monkeys, butterflies, turtles… how the pet trade's greed is emptying south-east Asia's forests
      Countries across south-east Asia are being systematically drained of wildlife to meet a booming demand for exotic pets in Europe and Japan and traditional medicine in China – posing a greater threat to many species than habitat loss or global warming.

    • Global warming could hurt some poor populations and lift others from poverty, Stanford study finds
      The impact of global warming on food prices and hunger could be large over the next 20 years, according to a new Stanford University study. Researchers say that higher temperatures could significantly reduce yields of wheat, rice and maize – dietary staples for tens of millions of poor people who subsist on less than $1 a day. The resulting crop shortages would likely cause food prices to rise and drive many into poverty.

    • Have you no shame, Sen. Inhofe?
      Finally, if you're wondering how to keep up with the non-stop barrage of pseudo science and abysmal ignorance -- latest example: widespread misinterpretation of the significance of a retraction of a paper about rising sea levels -- well, there's an app for that.

      At this point, you just to have to choose your reality. I will choose Steven Chu and endlessly self-checking , self-correcting science over James Inhofe every single day.

    • A tour of climate data at CKAN
      The following guest post is by David Jones who is, among other things, a curator of the climate data group on CKAN (the OKF’s open source registry of open data) and co-founder of Clear Climate Code

  • Finance

    • Wall Street shifting political contributions to Republicans
      Commercial banks and high-flying investment firms have shifted their political contributions toward Republicans in recent months amid harsh rhetoric from Democrats about fat bank profits, generous bonuses and stingy lending policies on Wall Street.

    • The Future of Money: It’s Flexible, Frictionless and (Almost) Free
      A simple typo gave Michael Ivey the idea for his company. One day in the fall of 2008, Ivey’s wife, using her pink RAZR phone, sent him a note via Twitter. But instead of typing the letter d at the beginning of the tweet — which would have sent the note as a direct message, a private note just for Ivey — she hit p. It could have been an embarrassing snafu, but instead it sparked a brainstorm. That’s how you should pay people, Ivey publicly replied. Ivey’s friends quickly jumped into the conversation, enthusiastically endorsing the idea. Ivey, a computer programmer based in Alabama, began wondering if he and his wife hadn’t hit on something: What if people could transfer money over Twitter for next to nothing, simply by typing a username and a dollar amount?

    • IndyMac Sale To One West and The Mod/Short Sale Scam
      We linked this video once before but think it important enough to repost. This is actually a follow up to the original. Hear how the FDIC encourages One West NOT TO modify or work out lonas. They need to lose a set amount of money and when they do the FDIC will subsidize losses.

    • Wall Street's Bailout Hustle
      On January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America's pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman's role in precipitating the global financial crisis.

      The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a "bailout tax" on banks. Maybe this wasn't the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.

      Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. "In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines," he said, "I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative."

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Why I Will Not Sign the Public Domain Manifesto Why I Will Not Sign the Public Domain Manifesto
      It would be difficult to stand aside from a campaign for the right goals merely because it was written with unclear words. However, the manifesto falls far short in its specific goals too. It is not that I oppose them. Any one of its demands, individually, would be a step forward, even though the wording of some of them discourages me from signing my name to them.

      Rather the problem is that it fails to ask for the most important points. I cannot say, "This manifesto is what I stand for." I cannot say, "I support what's in this manifesto," unless I can add, equally visibly, "But it fails to mention the most important points of all."


      I ask the authors of the Public Domain Manifesto, and the public, to please join me in demanding the freedom to noncommercially share copies of all published works.

    • Administration Asks For Public Input On Intellectual Property Enforcement
      As part of the mis-named ProIP act, the newly created IP Enforcement Coordinator (generally called the IP Czar) is supposed to help figure out what an effective "intellectual property enforcement strategy" would be. While we have questions about why this position or this plan is really needed in the first place, here's a bit of good news: rather than just doing the typical consult with industry lobbyists, the administration is, again, asking for public comment...

    • Watch Lawrence Lessig on copyright, fair use etc: live on video
      Video streaming software company Flumotion and the Open Video Alliance will stream live on the net a speech on copyright, fair use, politics and online video being delivered on Friday morning (Australian Eastern time) by Lawrence Lessig at the Harvard Law School.

    • Criminalise Exotic Pets, not File Sharing
      But of course, since we're talking about mere ecosystems here, not something sacred like intellectual monopolies, it's pretty low on governments's priorities....

    • Make 3 strikes bill law, says Simon Cowell
      The Three strikes law is a corporate music industry scheme and an element of the ACTA project.

      It’s being introduced as locally proposed legislation by governments in countries such as the UK and France. Under it, governments would act as entertainment industry copyright agents, and ISPs would become industry enforcers against their own customers.

    • ACTA: why will the EU Commission not answer?
      Questions on ACTA in the European Parliament today revealed a distinctly shady Commission, which is giving out conflicting information publicly and privately. The key issue for MEPs is why the Commission is being so economical with the truth?

    • Help the European Parliament oppose ACTA
      Four Members of the European Parliament - Zuzana Roithova (CZ, EPP), Stavros Lambrinidis (GR, S&D), Alexander Alvaro (DE, ALDE) and Françoise Castex (FR, S&D)- have submitted a written declaration opposing ACTA.

    • Consumers 'confused by copyright'
      The current state of the law means that it is illegal for somebody to copy a CD or DVD onto a computer or an Ipod for their own use. This copying to a different device is known as format shifting.

      In a poll of 2,026 people, some 73% said that they did not know what they could copy or record.

    • New Zealand Introduces File-Sharing Amendment Bill
      Following widespread objections, New Zealand’s Section92A ‘guilty upon accusation’ anti-piracy law was scrapped last year. Today, The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill will be introduced, which repeals Section 92A and replaces it with a “three-notice” regime, backed up by $15,000 fines and 6 month Internet suspensions.

    • New Zealand tries again with anti-piracy copyright laws
      The New Zealand Government has tabled in Parliament its second attempt at amending its copyright laws to counter illegal downloading.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Digital Tipping Point: Dr. Hoang Le Minh, Deputy General Director, Department of Science and Technology, Ho Chi Minh City 02 (2004)

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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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