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Links 5/3/2010: Elive Stable 2.0 Topaz, Canonical CEO Speaks

GNOME bluefish



  • Evolution of GNU/Linux system..must read for Linux newbies
    Many Linux distributions based on the GNU/Linux system are currently available both as free copies and commercial distributions. Most of these distributors add up there own features, targeting specific areas like Enterprise, Desktop, Multimedia etc, to the existing GNU system, to cater diverse user sections. Some noted ones are RedHat, Fedora (an open project by RedHat), Debian, Suse from Novell, Mandriva, Ubuntu, Sabayon, PCLinuxOS, SimplyMEPIS, Knoppix, Gentoo etc. All these distributions intend to target different set of users. So you, now have the options of choosing the distribution based on your intended use, like suse, ubuntu, PCLinuxOS for user friendliness, debian, fedora for development, RedHat for Enterprise and so on. Least to say programming would be delightful on all of them.

  • The Realm: For Sale
    My desire to help people and promote Linux was one of the key reasons that I built this site, and continued pressing forward, despite my heart calling elsewhere. I wanted to help you, to help others, to help those new to Linux, and even those who either didn't know about it, or were even enemies of Linux at one time.

  • UrbanLabs OS: Not What You Think...
    [Via Google Translate: Mission: To devise, develop, test, deploy and diffuse components of a city's new operating system, to improve communication processes, participation and consumption parameters under open, efficient and sustainable. Should be designed and / or reuse different types of interactions and networking technologies and people in urban space and display mechanisms, diffusion and improvement of each of the components of the system. UrbanLabs OS can be composed of several autonomous projects which respond to these objectives, encouraging the development of them in a cross.]

  • Try the Linux desktop of the future
    For the tinkerers and testers, 2010 is shaping up to be a perfect year. Almost every desktop and application we can think of is going to have a major release, and while release dates and roadmaps always have to be taken with a pinch of salt, many of these projects have built technology and enhancements you can play with now. We've selected the few we think are worth keeping an eye on and that can be installed easily, but Linux is littered with applications that are evolving all the time, so we've also tried to guess what the next big things might be.

    Take a trip with us on a voyage of discovery to find out exactly what's happening and how the Linux desktop experience is likely to evolve over the next 12 months...

  • Illegal use of term - five yard penalty

  • Audio

    • The Linux Link Tech Show #343 3/3/10

    • Podcast Season 2 Episode 3
      In this episode: Version 2.6.33 of the Linux kernel is here and it includes a new 3D accelerated Nvidia graphics driver. Canonical's online music store will only provide MP3 files, and Apple sues Android partner, HTC. We report back on our experiences with SUSE Studio and answer our critics in the Closed Ballot.

  • Desktop

    • Linux Learning Centers Growing in Central Texas
      I will be meeting with Lynn Bender, the creator and force behind Linux Against Poverty this week. Once we get some things ironed out, I will publish the information here. We already have a greater number of volunteers to man the triage and repair tables than last year. Of course, our goal is 100 computers more than the 200 we put into service from Linux Against Poverty 2009.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • The Uniform Driver Interface—why wasn’t it adopted?
      Imagine, for example, if drivers for graphics cards, TV tuner cards, video and audio encoding/decoding cards, modems, storage chipsets, motherboard chipsets, USB chipsets, IEEE-1394 chipsets, graphics tablet devices, touch screens, debugging interfaces, network devices, and so forth were all written to a common specification, it would reduce the amount of code which needed testing. It would increase user choice in both hardware and operating systems—something which I still hold is quite likely the most valuable freedom we have. It would increase reliability, since the users of Windows, OS X, Linux, the various BSD systems, and other, not-so-mainstream operating systems would be able to run the same driver code and collectively supply debugging information and perform testing in a multitude of environments. It would increase security, because then common code that is well-known could be used on all platforms and not just the one it was written for. It would do for device drivers what POSIX has done for user-mode application software. I do not believe that I could be convinced that this would be anything other than a good thing.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Camp KDE Videos Now Available, Get Them While They're Hot!
        A little over a month ago, the KDE community had its yearly Americas event in San Diego. In the final article we promised you all the videos of the talks and now the KDE promo channel on Youtube features a series of Camp KDE talks. Check it out!

      • 10 things you might want to do in KDE SC 4.4
        With the release of KDE Software Compilation 4.4, many may feel tempted to give KDE Plasma Desktop (previously known as just “KDE”, see Repositioning the KDE Brand) a try. Plasma Desktop introduced in KDE SC 4 behaves quite differently from other popular desktop workspaces, and without doubt many new users will feel slightly lost and confused the first time.


        The post is mainly aimed at those who are new to Plasma Desktop, but even experienced users might learn something new.

      • KDE SC 4.4 Available on Windows
        Why offer free software like the KDE applications on Windows? Users who become familiar with the KDE applications and grow to like them on Windows will presumably find it easier to move to an all-free desktop at some point. The more familiar Linux (or *BSD) is the first time a new user tries it, the more likely it is that they'll be happy in the new environment and successful migrating to the new OS.

      • Software Compilation 4.4 now available for Windows

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Choices Choices …
      Well I have been playing around with my NerdTop for a few weeks now, and it is terrific. I can do anything I want online without having to get onto my main machine, it simple and it’s clean. The only thing I have been fiddling with is trying to find a Linux distro I like. I have tried Ubuntu (with fiddly support for the drivers) with different desktop enviros, Mandriva, a bunch of smaller EeePC specific distros and none of them were really what I wanted. They were all good and owrked fine, but not perfect.

    • Arch Linux Reviewed
      Altogether, Arch is an excellent flavor of Linux and can be thought of as a quickly deployable Gentoo. However, Arch is able to stand on its own and far surpasses Gentoo in some areas. Like Gentoo, though, Arch isn’t for the faint of heart, but with its top of the line documentation and intuitive package management, you should have a very enjoyable experience with Arch Linux.

    • Would You Like To Help The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine?
      A magazine isn't much of a magazine without articles to fill its pages. So, if you'd like to contribute to The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine, here are the ways you can contribute:

      * If you have an idea for an article for The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine, either forward that idea to the PCLinuxOS Magazine Chief Editor This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or write the article yourself, and send it along to the PCLinuxOS Magazine Chief Editor This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . OpenOffice document format works well, as does a simple text file and picture/screen shots/graphics compressed into a .tar.gz file. Of course, the favorite way for the magazine staff to contribute articles is via Google Docs. Just share it with the members of the Google Group mailing list (below). (Please allow all magazine members the ability to edit your article).

    • Which Linux distribution do you use most frequently?
      We're collecting this data to run in an upcoming issue of Linux Journal. We encourage you to leave comments here letting us know why you use the Linux distribution you do. Let your voice be heard!

    • Igelle DSV: A New Fast Lightweight Linux
      Building a Linux distribution with the novice user in mind has been tried many times over the years. If you had to pick one area where many new users struggle, it would have to be installing new applications. Missing dependencies or improperly configured repositories lead to frustration and, ultimately, abandonment of the entire platform.

    • New Releases

      • Elive Stable 2.0 Topaz released
        The New Stable version of Elive has a huge list of improvements. Its ease of use makes it suitable for any kind of user along with a totally new Linux experience for those who have not tried Elive before.

        We offer an absolutely different way to use an operating system where the logic and the intuitiveness are first class.

      • PC/OS OpenWorkstation 10.1 GNOME Released
        The developers of PC/OS are excited to bring you this new installment in the PC/OS family. Users and customers have demanded it so we have now delivered it. This release is based on the GNOME desktop. We are targetting this release for a more high performance crowd. So as we keep working on this we need the great feedback our users generally provide including what you, as professional users, need and use. So lets get in here and go through whats included.

        GNOME 2.28 Linux kernel 2.6.31 Empathy replaces Pidgin 3.1

      • PLoP Linux 4.0.4 released
        update: kernel 2.6.33, e2fsprogs 1.41.10, partclone 0.2.0...

    • Red Hat Family

      • Options Intelligence Report: Red Hat, Inc. (RHT) & United Technologies Corp. (UTX)
        Plain-vanilla bullish call buying activity dominated options trading on software company, Red Hat, Inc., today as shares of the underlying stock up 1.65% to $29.83. Near-term optimists picked up 3,000 calls at the March $30 strike and paid an average of $0.69 in premium per contract. Investors long the calls are positioned to profit should Red Hat’s shares trade above the effective breakeven price of $30.69 by expiration in approximately two weeks.

      • It’s Crazy Ass Rumor Thursday: Whispers On RHT, VG, NANO
        Also getting puffed up by rumors, TheFly reports, is Red Hat (RHT). There have been rumors of a deal for Red Hat repeatedly over the years, and I have to wonder if this time the talk was triggered by this week’s bid for Novell (NOVL), which owns a rival Linux implementation called Suse. Last May, Jefferies analyst Katherine Egbert wrote that, it is “inevitable that Red Hat will be subsumed into a larger entity, probably IBM (IBM).” Inevitable obviously does not necessarily mean imminent. RHT today is up 30 cents, or 1%, to $29.65.

    • Ubuntu

      • Shiney new PHP for 10.04.
        Recently PHP was updated to use PHP 5.3.1 by default. The reason for this is that Lucid is a LTS and support for PHP 5.2 will eventually go away during the life time of Lucid on Ubuntu Server.

      • Little Things That Matter: Rhythmbox Indicator Applet
        The Rhythmbox indicator applet in Ubuntu 10.04 gained 'now playing' information in an update earlier today.

      • Theme

        • Is operating system beauty skin deep?
          Ubuntu has the opposite problem. It’s just an operating system. What it needs is a standard application bundle, shipped together or in conjunction with it, to make it useful. An operating system, a graphics program, a browser, and basic utilities people use every day.

          While Microsoft is anxious to create these bundles, seeing it as opportunity, however, Ubuntu seems to see this as a Hobson’s Choice. Since open source programs carry no price, there is little basis on which it can make these choices.

          It needs to make them.

          What I want in an operating system isn’t something that runs a computer. What I want is a computer that runs. I want it to be simple, I want it to be fast, I want it to be complete.

          That’s more than skin deep.

        • Light: the new look of Ubuntu
          Jono Bacon, Alan Pope, and many others have written, yesterday we published a new visual story and style for Ubuntu. The core design work was lead by Marcus Haslam, Otto Greenslade and Dominic Edmunds, who are the three visual artists leading our efforts in the Canonical Design team. Once we had the base ideas in place we invited some anchor members of the Ubuntu Art community to a design sprint, to test that the concept had the legs to work with the full range of forums, websites, derivatives and other pieces of this huge and wonderful project. And apparently, it does!

        • Ubuntu has new themes – but what is up with those window buttons?
          So what has been learned from this example. Sometimes something untraditional, especially in regard to interfaces can increase usability and make things generally easier. Of course other real world scenarios could discredit this reasoning. Please feel free to post any scenarios in which you feel this button arrangement is more of a hindrance than helpful.

      • Canonical CEO

        • Ubuntu: Canonical’s New CEO Discusses Top Priorities
          Canonical’s CEO crown officially transitioned from Mark Shuttleworth to Jane Silber on March 1. During a phone discussion with The VAR Guy yesterday, Silber shared her top priorities for Canonical and Ubuntu. She also disclosed plans to make another key executive hire at Canonical. And, Silber shared some views on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), the cloud — and the potential sale of Linux rival Novell to a hedge fund. Here’s a recap of the discussion…

        • Canonical CEO Elucidates on Lucid Lynx Linux Server
          Silber added that Ubuntu to date has had a strong concentration on the cloud that will continue to ramp up over time as a key opportunity for its server release. For instance, with 10.04 in particular, the Ubuntu project has aimed to position itself as the best operating system for serving as both a guest on a public cloud as well a host to other guests.

        • Ubuntu's Linux Retail Strategy Gears Up for 2010
          Part of that plan includes driving consumer appeal by including new consumer technology in Ubuntu. One of the new technologies set to be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" release is the Ubuntu One Music Store, which will enable users to purchase music. Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx is currently scheduled for release at the end of April.

          "I think we'll continue to see more acceptance of Ubuntu in the mass-market consumer space," Silber said.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Electric Green School motorcycle shows its rebel nature by running Linux
      Electric motorcycles are getting more and more common, and while we don't think they'll ever quite capture the rush of an internal-combustion engine threatening to fly into bits as it screams toward red-line, they are starting to offer their own... unique charms. This model is a Norwegian prototype, based on a Honda chassis that had its tail chopped and motor stripped, replaced by stacks of Nickel-Metal batteries, then wrapped in some custom bodywork. The bike sports a touchscreen dash powered by Ubuntu that offers both stats about the bike (speed, temperature, etc.) as well as GPS navigation and, presumably, on the go games of Tux Racer. It's a one-off built by Green School Motorcycles and Akershus University College, and there's plenty more information about it in a video at the source link below -- if you speak Norwegian.

    • Rugged railroad computer runs Linux
      The Linux-compatible MicroSpace MPCX28R is suitable for passenger infotainment, security, and other railway applications, says Kontron. Built around the original 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 CPU and SCH US15W northbridge/southbridge, the MicroSpace MPCX28R supports up to 1GB of DDR2 RAM, the company says.

    • Phones

      • Musings on Software Freedom for Mobile Devices
        I started using GNU/Linux and Free Software in 1992. In those days, while everything I needed for a working computer was generally available in software freedom, there were many components and applications that simply did not exist. For highly technical users who did not need many peripherals, the Free Software community had reached a state of complete software freedom. Yet, in 1992, everyone agreed there was still much work to be done. Even today, we still strive for a desktop and server operating system, with all relevant applications, that grants complete software freedom.

        Looked at broadly, mobile telephone systems are not all that different from 1992-era GNU/Linux systems. The basics are currently available as Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS). If you need only the bare minimum of functionality, you can, by picking the right phone hardware, run an almost completely FLOSS operating system and application set. Yet, we have so far to go. This post discusses the current penetration of FLOSS in mobile devices and offers a path forward for free software advocates.

      • MeeGo build for N900 & Atom by end of March 2010
        The team behind Nokia and Intel’s latest open-source endeavour, MeeGo, have revealed the first part of their release timeline, and it’s certainly ambitious. According to Valtteri Halla – half of the MeeGo Technical Steering Group (TSG) – the team plans to open the MeeGo repository by the end of March 2010, with a basic source and binary repository to build the platform on Intel Atom devices and the Nokia N900.

      • Android

        • PCs will be dead in three years
          Google's vice president of global ad operations John Herlihy told Silicon Republic that he has been watching Japan as a future indicator. He said that in the Land of the Rising Sun, most research is done on smartphones rather than PCs.

        • Will Chrome OS deliver us the disposable PC?
          During a visit to Google's London HQ we grabbed some time with Chris DiBona.

          He's the Open Source Programs Manager for Google, overseeing everything the corporation does that's open sourced and making sure it's "correct and useful."

        • Google: Desktops Will Be Irrelevant in Three Years’ Time

        • Company puts Android on laptop with China-backed chips
          A Chinese company is tweaking Google’s Android operating system to run on a laptop using homegrown Chinese microprocessors, which are backed by the government.

        • Tor on Android
          The Tor Project has been working very closely with Nathan Freitas and The Guardian Project to create an Android release. This is an early beta release and is not yet suitable for high security needs. The Android web browser is not protected by Torbutton and we have not yet developed an anonymous browser on the Android platform. Please be cautious with this release, it's probably pretty fragile and it's certainly not ready for serious use.

        • Google and the Tor Project
          When it comes to code, Google's support has made a big difference to the Tor Project. Providing privacy and helping to circumvent censorship online is a challenge that keeps our software developers and volunteers very busy. The Google Summer of Codeâ„¢ brings students and mentors in the open source community together to write code for three months every year. A lot of coding got done in a few months in 2009, and Tor was lucky to get a group of students who kept on working past the summer months to improve existing projects and support users. Tor also works on Libevent with Google.

        • Reasons for Root
          When new Android devices show up, one of the first questions raised is: "can we run our own firmware?" And, if that's not first overall, then the first question is probably "how do I get root access?". After all, those two are somewhat related -- you sometimes need root to flash alternative firmware, and alternative firmware may well give you root access.

        • Leaked 2.1 Droid Eris Rom Ported to HTC Hero
          While this might not exactly constitute news to everyone, it is certainly something many people will be interested in. Apparently the leaked Android 2.1 Droid Eris Rom we told you about last night

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Taking Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix out for a Spin
        Even though I typically don’t use GNOME, the way the desktop was presented in UNR 9.10 was actually pretty cool. Sure, it took some getting used to, and I probably have strange tastes, but I did enjoy using it, despite the little issues I mentioned above. UNR also seems like the best choice for any compatible Netbook, because I’ve tried using Windows on Netbooks and it’s not pretty at all.

      • Leeenux Review – Linux OS for Asus Eee 701
        There are countless Linux distros out there for the netbooks. Do we really need another one? Well, if you still use the first generation Eee PC or have it lying around as it is of no use to you, Leeenux OS can give a new life to it. It is tailor-made for those who are having trouble in getting all the newer Linux distros to work on it – Ubuntu, Ubuntu UNR, Kubuntu and so on. They run fine on the newer netbooks, but give myriad of problems on the Eee 700-series. Another problem is that the newer distros are not made with the old Eee 701 netbook in mind that have just 4GB of flash storage.


        Just like Jolicloud, it comes with few Prism apps that mere shortcuts to particular URLs. I am personally against the idea of using Prism apps. Why not simply fire-up the web-browser and then go to the respective URL?

    • Tablets

      • Top 5 Netbook Linux Distros: 2010 Edition (with Gallery)
        Easy Peasy

        Formerly Eeebuntu, EasyPeasy is Ubuntu respin tailored for Asus Eee PCs. But since it didn’t work on my EeePC, I’ll have to give it last place. The desktop environment is taken from UNR – the only difference is that the Easy-Peasy version isn’t ugly (where ugly means brown). You could call it the Linux Mint of the netbook operating system world, because the default install includes some proprietary software such as Skype, Adobe Flash and some common codecs to make your life less painful. The project documentation is not very professional. On the other hand, the guides are simple and very useful. I liek the fact that they chose Banshee to be the default music player. Those of you who do not like ext4 should skip this distro, though: as of v1.5, EasyPeasy uses ext4 by default. Due to the fact that the distro is basically Ubuntu, you can solve all your problems using Ubuntu documentation. Yet, aside from the nice theme and some very sound software choices there is no real reason to choose Easy Peasy instead of UNR. Try both and decide by yourself.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free GIMP Button Brushes
    The buttons are in greyscale so can be colored any way you like; they are without text to make it easier for you to customize them; and they are quicker to use than the scripts that originally created them. The ones shown in the image are only exemplary of the goodies given away in the download.

  • Xipwire Helps FOSS Projects Collect Donations for Free
    Currently, Xipwire directs donations to the Apache Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Software Foundation,GNOME Foundation, KDE, and Linux Foundation. If you have a FOSS project near and dear to your heart, drop Xipwire a line and they'll try to add it to the list.

  • 5 open source and free software books that are worth your time
    Against Intellectual Monopoly

    It is common to argue that intellectual property in the form of copyright and patent is necessary for the innovation and creation of ideas and inventions such as machines, drugs, computer software, books, music, literature and movies. In fact intellectual property is a government grant of a costly and dangerous private monopoly over ideas. We show through theory and example that intellectual monopoly is not necessary for innovation and as a practical matter is damaging to growth, prosperity and liberty.


    • The OSI Categorically Rejects IIPA's special pleadings against Open Source
      Moore's Law, Disk Law, and Fiber Law have created an economic engine for growth, promising exponentially improving computing, storage, and networking performance for the foreseeable future. And yet according to a 2003 UNCTAD report, "there has been no Moore's Law for software," and indeed it is because of software that computer systems have become more expensive, more complex, and less reliable. The global economy spent $3.4T USD on Information and Communication Technologies in 2008, of which we estimate $1T USD was wasted on "bad software". And reconfirming the 2003 report and our own numbers updated for 2010, others have estimated losses of at least $500B and as much as $6T USD (meaning that for every dollar spent on ICT, that dollar and almost one more went down the drain). Whether the annual loss number is $500B, $1T, or $6T, all represent an unsustainable cost and undeniable evidence that something in the dominant design of the proprietary software industry is deeply flawed. (See OSS-2010.pdf for complete references to all of the above.)

    • Indonesia: the IIPA is "Watching" you.
      This is just one of many attacks that try to equate open source software with software piracy and an overall lack of respect for copyright law. And it’s rhetoric that we, as open source advocates, need to quash. Sometimes we even have to educate our own people. The chairwoman of the Indonesian Association of Open Source (AOSI), said in an interview a few months ago “[P]eople have two options: either to pay for licensed software or go open source.” I’m hoping she was misquoted.

  • Oracle

    • 20 Reasons Why Oracle is the World's Largest Open Source Company
      It's true. Oracle is now, with its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, the world's largest purveyor of open source software. Does that surprise you? It did me too, until I started digging and realized that Oracle has a history of supporting free and open source software. Their support didn't start with their purchase of InnoDB, MySQL or Sun. It goes back into ancient times--Internetly speaking, of course.

      And, yes, I know that I've taken my share of shots at Oracle and the wonderful Larry Ellison but I also have to own up to the fact that they are good open source stewards and citizens (netizens?). It almost pains me to admit it but I do. Oracle has done much for the FOSS community and it appears that their commitment to it rivals that of IBM.

    • Rebranding
      As you can see, the font, the colour sequence and even the shade of blue have changed. We will not stop there, and will also work on other visual elements, such as our icons. And here’s the great part: You can help too, by joining our Branding Initiative and participate on our dedicated mailing list. I hope you enjoy our new designs. Stay tuned!

  • Psion

  • Women

    • SCALE 8x: Moving the needle
      There are lots of ongoing efforts to increase the number of women participating in free software, but reports on how those efforts have fared are few and far between. Sarah Mei spoke at the Women in Open Source (WIOS) conference, which preceded SCALE 8x, to report on what she and other members of the San Francisco Ruby community have been doing to bring more women into that community. Her talk, Moving the Needle: How the San Francisco Ruby Community got to 18%, looked at the goals that were set, the methods that were used, and the results.

    • PHPWomen Pairs with FOSS Projects to Encourage Diversity
      Naramore says she got the idea while talking with Ed Finkler, lead developer of open source microblogging platform Spaz. "I help Ed with organizing his support team. We were discussing how to get more people involved in the project, and how great it would be to involve women (as I think the last statistic I saw showed that only 3% of open source contributors are female). From there, it branched into an idea that would help not only involve women in more projects, but it would identify the projects that have open and welcoming communities for all newcomers (male and female alike), and it would help bring them the help they desperately need. Everybody benefits, and it just made sense."

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome Is Rapidly Approaching Firefox In Extension Numbers
      It was only December when Google officially launched extensions for its Chrome browser. Almost immediately, there were 500 extensions in the gallery as many developers had been working on them for a while. Today, Google is saying that number is now past 3,000. And that’s significant because it’s already pretty close to the browser known for its extensions (which it calls “add-ons”), Firefox.

    • Mozilla

      • MDN Logo Update
        The other day I posted some work-in-progress versions of the potential new Mozilla Developer Network logo. As part of that, I asked for feedback from the community and got a *ton* of great input (142 comments at the last count). Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts.

      • Hear that Mozilla Drumbeat? No, Me Neither
        A few months ago, I wrote about Mozilla's new Drumbeat campaign, "a global community of people and projects using technology to help internet users understand, participate and take control of their online lives."

      • Drumbeat/calendar

      • The road back to par: Radical reconstructive surgery planned for Firefox 4.0
        Mozilla not only saw this trend coming, but frankly drove this trend in this direction some years ago, with the move to add just-in-time (JIT) compilation to its Firefox JavaScript interpreter. The JavaScript engine Mozilla introduced in version 3.5, dubbed TraceMonkey, borrows a concept from these language frameworks by tracing the direction of JS instructions ahead of time, catabolizing those instructions into loops, and generating a kind of intermediate code that can be very simply recompiled into machine code (assembly) at run time.

      • Schools for Scandal - the UK's
        Obviously, it's scandalous that schools not only don't have the option to install Firefox in the first place - since it's much safer than Internet Explorer - but that they must *pay* to install it afterwards. As the article rightly notes, this means they also pay in another way, through lock-in to old software because they can't afford to do so.

    • Opera (Proprietary)

  • Events

    • Registration for Google I/O Conference Closed; Event Sold Out
      Registration for this year's Google I/O Conference has scarcely been open two months and it's already sold out. Google announced today that it is formally closing registration for the event, slated to be held on May 19-20 at Moscone West in San Francisco.

  • CeBIT

    • Linux New Media Awards 2010 Presented at CeBIT
      Markus Feilner, Klaus Knopper, and Jim Zemlin helped present the 2010 Linux New Media Awards at CeBIT. Winners accepted their awards on stage while the ceremony streamed live over the Internet.

    • CeBIT 2010: Linux Successes, Challenges
      At the Open Source Forum of CeBIT 2010, the Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin named three reasons for Linux's success. He also identified three possible challenges for the free platform.

    • Linux New Media Awards 2010 Presented at CeBIT
      Markus Feilner, Klaus Knopper, and Jim Zemlin helped present the 2010 Linux New Media Awards at CeBIT. Winners accepted their awards on stage while the ceremony streamed live over the Internet.


      Klaus Knopper announced the winner for Best Open Source Contribution for Mobile Devices and presented the award to Google Android.

  • BSD

    • CeBIT 2010: BIND 10 is coming
      At this year's CeBIT IT trade show in Hannover, The H spoke with BIND 10 Programme Manager Shane Kerr about the next version of BIND, the most widely used Domain Name System (DNS) server on the Internet. Like BIND 9, BIND 10 is a complete re-design and re-write of the previous version. Development on the BIND 10 project officially began on the 1st of April, 2009.

  • Releases

    • Transifex v0.8 "Magneto" has been released
      Transifex is a localization platform that gives translators a simple yet featureful web interface to manage translations for multiple remotely-hosted projects. Files to be translated can be translated straight from the user's browser or retrieved for offline translation, and various translation statistics can be read at a glance. Popular projects using Transifex include the Fedora Project, Moblin, XFCE and LXDE.

    • Google releases "Living Stories" code
      You are reading a standard-form news article, and when new information comes to light, the piece you're reading might just be referenced in a follow-up — but it won't be displayed in context or be easy to navigate. However, if Google's Living Stories experiment takes off following the release of its code, that won't always be the case.

    • Best Buy Releases Idea-Gathering App Under Open Source Licence
      Best Buy announced this week that the company is releasing its idea-gathering software, BBYIDX, under the GNU General Public License.

  • Government

    • The Bottom-Up View of Free Software
      Here's a case in point, a post discussing the view that "the government has an obligation to make its decision based on the characteristics of the software, without discriminating based on licensing or business models." This is the "level-playing field" argument that I discussed recently, and pointed out that there were historical reasons to do with vendor lock-in why such "playing fields" actually favoured incumbents.

  • Licensing

    • LA Funds Important Legal Research on Free Software Compliance
      Over the past twelve months or so I’ve noticed an upswing in enquiries about free software compliance. For example, someone might be seeking access to source code for embedded devices with Linux and/or Busybox on them. One of the key problems for pursuing compliance is the legal concept of “standing”. That is, does the court think you have a right to press the claim in question? So for example, if you see someone (A) breach a contract with someone else (B), a court will probably not let you sue A, basically because that is B’s business [1]. B might not be concerned about the breach, or B might have a relationship with A (or someone else) that might be jeopardised by suing A, so it should be up to B to make the decision about whether to proceed with a suit. Moreover, A has not infringed a right that you have, so why should you be able to sue? You’ve not suffered damage, so why should you be able to sue? In short, a court seeks to limit the people bringing actions to only those people whose rights have been infringed. So, if you, not holding copyright, see someone breaching the GPL, you can’t sue them in copyright to enforce compliance.

  • Health

    • Public comment letter below, please personalize and post
      Open Source Community, below is a letter that you can personalize and post on the public comment website. It is very important that you do this, the policy and the press is on fire and our duty is to educate our policy makers.

    • Public Comment? Let's get it ON!

    • A Healthy Move for Open Source
      What's interesting here is how different projects from around the world are being brought together to be applied to a new problem. This kind of re-purposing is one of the great advantages of free software, since it's not necessary to ask permission or to negotiate impossibly complex licensing agreements to do so, as would be the case with traditional software. Let's hope we see many more such applications.

  • Openness

    • Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #143

    • As Grants Run Out, Universities Pony Up Cash for OpenCourseWare
      First, a Brigham Young University study found that offering free online access to distance-education course materials doesn't hurt paid enrollment, giving a boost to those who think the best business model for publishing free content is one that dangles it as bait to draw in students for paid courses.

      Now many leaders in the world of open education -- a movement whose original projects were largely financed by foundation grants -- are ponying up their own cash to keep free courses thriving.

    • Knol: The State of Play
      Less than six months later, Google proudly announced that the 100,000th knol had been published. The announcement was met with cries of “So What?”. The media has a short attention span, and those who remembered the launch of Knol didn’t think much of where it hand ended up. Slate magazine hadn’t even waited that long before writing off Knol.

    • Swedish Museum Historiska Museet Adopts CC Licenses
      Earlier this week Swedish museum Historiska Museet announced the adoption of CC licenses for their digital catalog (Google translation here). Roughly 63,500 item photographs, 1200 illustrations, and 264,500 scanned catalog cards are now released, depending upon the medium, under our Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license or Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

    • Open Source Earth
      One of the main impulses behind this blog is looking at the ways the ideas behind free software are being applied in other areas. Another major focus is that of the commons in all its forms - all the way up to the ultimate commons, the environment.

    • Popular Science Puts Entire Scanned Archive Online, Free
      Gadget nerds: Prepare to lose the rest of your day to awesomeness. PopSci, the web-wing of Popular Science magazine, has scanned its entire 137-year archive and put it online for you to read, absolutely free. The archive, made available in partnership with Google Books, even has the original period advertisements.

    • Free ebooks correlated with increased print-book sales
      A new study from two academics at BYU tracking the sales of printed books following free ebook releases found that generally, a free ebook release is correlated with increased sales. Interestingly, the exception is for a group of ebooks that were released for a week and then withdrawn -- part of's launch strategy, and a success in getting large number of people signed up to the site. Very nice to see some crunchy data in the mix.

    • Moodle: open source, closed doors.
      The Moodle community should be taking steps to open the content now; on current sites, with current versions with the content available. A library of available (and organized) content, ready to view, ready to download and use would be a boon to educators world wide. To students it would open an encyclopedia of learning materials and possibilities to engage content otherwise unavailable. The availability of tools to share easily will certainly be great for versions of Moodle in the future, but in the meantime, there's work to be done.

    • Social production as a new source of economic value creation
      Before the cost of communication dropped precipitously, Benlker suggests that it was too expensive to have a decentralized social production exchange system. Today however, citing open source projects such as SETI@home and Apache, he makes the claim that social sharing and exchange is emerging as a significant and sustained factor of production.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • POSIX IO Must Die!
      POSIX IO is becoming a serious impediment to IO performance and scaling. POSIX is one of the standards that enabled portable programs and POSIX IO is the portion of the standard surrounding IO. But as the world of storage evolves with greatly increasing capacities and greatly increasing performance, it is time for POSIX IO to evolve or die.

    • HTML5 WG Working Drafts published
      All six of the HTML5 Working Drafts have been published by the W3C HTML Working Group. The working drafts are the latest step forward in creating the future HTML5 standards. The core document is the HTML5 specification draft, which is accompanied by drafts of HTML5 differences from HTML4 and HTML: The Markup Language.

      Also published are the working drafts for the recently contentious HTML+RDFa, HTML Microdata and HTML Canvas 2D Context specifications which cover embedded attribute data, embedded semantic metadata and 2D drawing and animation within HTML5. These elements of the proposed HTML5 standard were separated into their own documents to make the standard more modular.

    • Virgin America Ditches Adobe Flash for New Site
      As the battle between HTML5 and Adobe Flash continues to heat up, Virgin America has chosen a side: its brand new web site design ditches Flash in favor of HTML.


  • Senate Leader Blasts Tech Industry, Plans Net Freedom Law
    A top Senate Democrat on Tuesday criticized the technology industry for its unwillingness to stand up to foreign governments that restrict access to online content, pledging to introduce legislation that would impose penalties on Internet companies that facilitate human rights violations in repressive regimes.

    "The bottom line is this: with a few notable exceptions, the technology industry seems unwilling to regulate itself and unwilling to even engage in a dialogue with Congress about the serious human rights challenges the industry faces," Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law and assistant Senate majority leader, said at a hearing on Internet freedom.

  • Science

    • After 5 Years, Free Systems Biology Markup Language Has Proven Popular
      A scientific paper that describes a file format used by scientists to represent models of biological processes has exceeded 500 citations in the ISI Web of Knowledge, an online academic database that documents the impact of scientific publications. The Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) is designed to enable the exchange of quantitative models of biochemical networks between different computer software packages, allowing the models to be shared and published in a form other researchers can use in various software environments.

    • Research Calls Forensic DNA Technique Into Question
      Fine-grained analysis of DNA found in cell structures called mitochondria suggests that it can vary widely between tissues, making samples tricky to compare.

  • Security

    • RSA authentication weakness discovered
      The most common digital security technique used to protect both media copyright and Internet communications has a major weakness, University of Michigan computer scientists have discovered.

    • Scrap stop and search law says terror watchdog
      The future of controversial powers which allow police to stop and search people without suspicion was in renewed doubt today after the Government's terrorism watchdog called for them to be scrapped.

      Lord Carlile of Berriew said the use of Section 44 powers was having a “disproportionately bad effect on community relations” and had become “counter-productive” in the fight against terrorism.

    • Evaluating statistical attacks on personal knowledge questions
      What is your mother’s maiden name? How about your pet’s name? Questions like these were a dark corner of security systems for quite some time. Most security researchers instinctively think they aren’t very secure. But they still have gained widespread deployment as a backup to password-based authentication when email-based identification isn’t available. Free webmail providers, for example, may have no other choice. Unfortunately, because most websites rely on email when passwords fail, and email providers rely on personal knowledge questions, most web authentication is no more secure than personal knowledge questions. This risk has gotten more attention recently, with high profile compromises of Paris Hilton’s phone, Sarah Palin’s email, and Twitter’s corporate Google Documents occurring due to guessed personal knowledge questions.

  • Environment

    • Cost of food-borne illnesses is deemed much higher than earlier estimates
      A report sponsored by the Produce Safety Project at Georgetown University puts the health-related price tag at $152 billion a year. That's more than four times an earlier USDA estimate.

    • How overconsumption might save the planet
      Simple mathematics suggests that everybody in the world can't live like Americans or Western Europeans currently do without creating impossible strains on the planet's resources.

    • Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets
      Critics of the teaching of evolution in the nation’s classrooms are gaining ground in some states by linking the issue to global warming, arguing that dissenting views on both scientific subjects should be taught in public schools.

  • Finance

    • Systemic Denial
      Everyone recognizes that our nation is in a financial mess. Too few see that this mess is not simply the ordinary downs of a regular business cycle. The American financial system walked the American economy off a cliff. Large players took catastrophic risk. They were allowed to take this risk because of a series of fundamental regulatory mistakes; they were encouraged to take it by the implicit, sometimes explicit promise, that failure would be bailed out. The gamble was obvious and it worked. The suckers were us. They got the upside. We got the bill.

      So in coming to this meeting of some of the very best in the field -- from Elizabeth Warren to George Soros -- I was keen to hear just what the strategy was to restore us to some sort of financial sanity. How could we avoid it again? Yet through the course of the morning, I was struck by two very different and very depressing points.

    • White House Offers Bill to Restrict Big Banks’ Actions
      The Obama administration put forward legislation on Wednesday to rein in the size and scope of the nation’s largest banks. But the proposal faces strong resistance in Congress, where lawmakers have shown little appetite for adding to the prolonged debate on overhauling financial regulations, Sewell Chan reports in The New York Times.

    • Banking on Big Fees From the A.I.G. Deal
      Seven investment banks advised the buyer and seller in the sale of the business, American International Assurance, and all told they may end up splitting a combined $660 million in fees, Bloomberg News reported, citing the research firm Freeman & Company.

    • Wall Street Had ‘No Idea’ What Subprime CDSs Were, Lewis Writes
      March 3 (Bloomberg) -- Michael Burry, the California hedge-fund manager who figured out how to bet against the subprime bubble, prodded seven Wall Street banks in early 2005 to create credit-default swaps for subprime-mortgage bonds, Michael Lewis writes in his book, “The Big Short.”

    • FDIC's Bair blasts Wall Street's values on pay
      An outspoken U.S. bank regulator on Tuesday rebuked Wall Street for only paring huge bonuses after public outcry and expressed doubt over how long the restraint will last.

    • Heads, Wall Street wins; tails, Wall Street wins
      If you want to know why folks on Wall Street got a 17 percent hike in bonuses this year while the rest of the country is sucking wind, it’s in part because they’re shameless. Every move they make is dictated by the needs of money, with little regard for other considerations.

    • Dick Bove Bashes Goldman Sachs For Getting Scared Out Of Market By Greek Debt Crisis
      Dick Bove cut his estimates for Goldman Sachs yesterday, explaining that trading activity had dried up as the Greek debt crisis unfolded.

    • Goldman Sachs Defies Calls Against Compensation (GS)
      Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS) is going to get hear more criticism over the notion that it creates so many millionaires. Compensation has been an issue since about half way through the recession, particularly after it came to light about bonuses and record payments to employees. This morning came Goldman’s 10-K, or its annual report, and as with most brokerage firms, investment banking firms, and financial institutions, the “Legal Proceedings” are lengthy. Goldman Sachs seems to be extra-lengthy, but what is interesting is that the company is fighting shareholders pressing for changes to its compensation structure.

    • Man Utd's Glazers complain to Goldman Sachs boss about Jim O'Neill
      A senior member of the Glazer family has complained personally to Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, about the conduct of the bank's chief economist Jim O'Neill.

    • Glazers May Cut Ties With Goldman Sachs Over Red Knights

    • Jim O'Neill faces red card from Goldman Sachs

    • Goldman Sachs won't investigate executive pay
      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Monday it has rejected demands by shareholders to investigate the Wall Street bank's compensation practices.

    • Goldman Sachs concedes it could be damaged by public outrage over pay

    • Goldman Sachs needs to admit it made mistakes
      But outsiders are much more critical — a fact that Goldman ignores at its peril. Even Ben Bernanke, the generally pro-Wall Street Federal Reserve chairman, has raised questions about Goldman’s role in the Greek pastichio.

    • Goldman Sachs Flatly Rejects Requests For Pay Investigation
      Goldman Sachs says it has received several demands from shareholders that it investigate its compensation practices and recoup alleged overcompensation of its executives.

    • Goldman Discloses a New Risk: Bad Publicity
      It’s no secret that it’s been a tough year for Goldman Sachs, perhaps not in terms of their financials — the company reported very strong earnings for 2009 back in January — but clearly in the court of public opinion. Goldman has been pummeled over excessive compensation and its role in the global economic crisis, including the current crisis in Greece, and the firm has had to issue clarifications on statements made by its chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and to even hire a public relations firm headed by former President George W. Bush’s director of communications.

    • Will Bad Press Affect Goldman Sachs's Fortunes?
      Widely seen as having a hand in fiascoes ranging from the subprime crisis to shenanigans surrounding Greece's debt, the intensely private Goldman has found the unwanted public scrutiny to be a growing annoyance. But now the high-profile tarring -- the bank has been memorably compared to vampire squid, in case you missed it -- that was initially a mere headache is developing into a business risk.

    • Goldman Sachs: The Reputation You Deserve
      The fact that Goldman believes they need to highlight this adverse reputation risk in its annual report strikes me as just further evidence of an arrogant firm.

      Lloyd and team need to take a hard look in the mirror.

      Now that Goldman is flea infested is not an indictment of those highlighting their condition, it is an indictment of where and with whom Goldman is sleeping.

    • How Goldman Sachs Bagged Clients (via McClatchy)
      I keep finding these gems I missed while out for the holiday week. Here’s another fascinating reads — its a nice takedown of Goldman Sachs via McClatchy.

    • Greek Mess, Global Mess
      The Greek government is accused of cheating and allowing Greeks to live beyond their means. The European Union is accused of having created an impossible structure for the euro. Goldman Sachs is accused of having enabled the Greek government to falsify its accounts when it sought to join the euro monetary system. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany calls Goldman Sachs’ actions in 2002 “scandalous” and Christine Lagarde, France’s finance minister, calls for greater regulation of credit-default swaps.

    • Goldman Sachs- 40 trillion in derivatives

    • Goldman and the Winner Take All Society
      Yves Smith noted that it was as dangerous for anyone to get in the way of a Goldman employee and a profit making opportunity as it was to get between a predatory animal and its kill. Goldman has managed to get itself between a very worried Obama Administration and a very angry public. How ironic if the Goldman predatory lion becomes the Administration sacrificial lamb.

    • Fed Cover-up Surrounds Goldman/AIG Scandal
      To add to this scandal, new information publicly released today indicates that the Federal Reserve was heavily involved in a cover-up – where it appears that the Fed also knew that Goldman Sachs was ripping-off AIG with those CDS contracts. More specifically, it was then-president of the New York Fed, Timothy Geithner, who a) ordered AIG to pay-out 100 cents on the dollar on these scams; and then b) ordered AIG to cover-up how much it had paid out on those contracts as well as all information on the recipients of those windfall-billions.

    • Goldman Sachs Will No Longer Entertain the Harebrained Whims of Its Shareholders

    • At Brown, Spotlight on the President’s Role at a Bank
      Across this quiet quadrangle, behind the wrought iron gates and beyond University Hall, lurks a bogeyman of Wall Street.

      It has come to this: Goldman Sachs, whose place at the center of so many concentric circles of power has thrust it into the grassy knoll realm of conspiracy theories, is the talk of Brown University.

      To be precise, it is Goldman’s ties to Ruth J. Simmons, Brown’s beloved president, that has some students and alumni buzzing, Graham Bowley writes in The New York Times.

    • Does being a Goldman Sachs director warrant applause or catcalls?
      I’ve been disgusted by the reaction at Brown University to the sudden realization that Ruth J. Simmons, its president, has for a decade been a well-paid member of Goldman Sachs’ board, and was one of the people who decided on Lloyd Blankfein’s $9 million paycheck.

    • Near-Universal Hatred of Goldman Sachs May Cost Them Money
      Of course, if Goldman had chosen to identify the potential public relations risks of its business practices, like helping a country hide the true value of its sovereign debt, then the risk of those transactions coming to light and hurting the company could have been ameliorated from the beginning.

    • Lucas van Praag: Goldman Sachs's cult PR man
      The man charged with defending Goldman Sachs's battered public image, British-born chief spokesman Lucas van Praag, has become a cult figure on Wall Street with a reputation for firing cerebral, elegantly worded nuggets of scorn at anybody who dares to attack the financial institution.

    • Wall Street's financial aftershocks
      It's not as though these kinds of transactions hadn't already wreaked havoc with the world economy. It was AIG's inability to make good on such deals (many of them with Goldman and its ilk) and Lehman Brothers' accumulation of dubious derivatives that kicked off the Great Recession through which we will be stumbling for years to come.

    • Fed probing Goldman trades with Greece
      The Federal Reserve is looking into what role Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms may have played in Greece's debt problems, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday.

    • EU parliament to stage hearing on Greek statistics
      The European Commission has said in a report earlier this year that Greek statistics were unreliable and prone to political influence after a new government in Athens revealed that the country's budget deficit would be 12.7 percent in 2009 - double the initially forecast amount.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • FBI paid racist shock jock Hal Turner ‘in excess of $100,000′
      Turning informant on your fans can be lucrative, if you're a shock jock by the name of Hal Turner.

      Amid a trial where Turner faces criminal charges for making threats of violence against public servants, he disclosed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation paid him "in excess of $100,000" over a five-year period.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Conservatives and Lib Dems push web blocking
      Now, in an even more dangerous amendment, Lib Dems and Conservatives push for web blocking. This would open the door to a massive imbalance of power in favour of large copyright holding companies. Individuals and small businesses would be open to massive 'copyright attacks' that could shut them down, just by the threat of action.

    • 25 Lib Dem PPCs sign letter asking Lib Dem Parliamentarians to think again on Digital Economy Bill
      In the last day or so there has been particular focus on an amendment put forward in the Lords by Tim Clement-Jones and Tim Razzall, the reasoning for which Tim Clement-Jones explained in a post here but which journalist and author (and Lib Dem member) Cory Doctorow disagreed with.

    • Urgent: Please Help Head Off Website Blocking in UK
      We have only a few hours to stop something bad happening in the House of Lords *this afternoon*:

      Lib Dem peers are seeking to amend the Digital Economy Bill to allow site blocking for copyright infringement. This could lead to unwanted blocking of sites accused of copyright infringement, including sites like Youtube, and a massive chilling effect as any site with user generated content could easily fall foul of provisions like this.

      If you have five minutes spare, please write to the two Lords behind this: Lord Razzall and Clement Jones. The links given take you to WriteToThem, so all you need to do is supply a few words.

    • (More) Trouble At T'Bill
      The Lib Dems, in an apparent good-faith attempt to avoid supporting the Government's proposed unlimited power to change any law on IP, any time, any where, without proper scrutiny, in clause 17 of the Digital Economy Bill, came up with an alternative which almost everyone BUT the LibDems and the Tories thinks is probably even worse. It's a remarkable day indeed in the DEB saltmines when you see the government minister and the fabulous Earl of Errol agreeing on anything. But also a rather disturbing one.

    • How UK Chiropractors' Attempt To Silence One Critic Created The Backlash That May Change Chiropractics In The UK
      One day someone will write a big case study (or perhaps a book) about what happened here. An attempt to silence a critic may end up resulting in massive changes to not just the British Chiropractic Association (the article notes that many chiropractors are horrified and want to leave the organization), but also how people view chiropractors and how chiropractic services are marketed.

    • New amendment gives copyright owners a blank cheque for web censorship
      Imagine that, in the Summer of last year, you had been following the MP's expenses scandal and heard that The Telegraph was publishing a rather less redacted version that MP's were prepared to give us. Interested, you navigated your way to only to find it was not responding. After some searching around and asking friends you discover that the website has been blocked by most major UK ISP's. It seems a junior official in Parliament had asked them to block The Telegraph for copyright violation.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Ubisoft’s Uber DRM Cracked Within a Day
      Last month the gaming giant Ubisoft announced their new über-DRM which requires customers to be continuously online in order to play purchased games. Of course, this DRM was circumvented in a few hours and while downplaying this blunder, Ubisoft fails to see that they’ve only increased piracy.

    • Unintended Consequences: Twelve Years Under the DMCA
      San Francisco - Twelve years after the passage of the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the law continues to stymie fair use, free speech, scientific research, and legitimate competition. A new report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) collects reported examples of abuses of the DMCA and the ongoing harm the law continues to inflict on consumers, scientists, and small businesses.

      The U.S. Copyright Office is currently mulling proposed exemptions to the DMCA's ban on "circumventing" digital rights management (DRM) and "other technical protection measures" used to restrict access to copyrighted works. The Copyright Office is empowered to grant exemptions to the law every three years to mitigate the harms that DRM otherwise would impose on legitimate, non-infringing uses of copyrighted materials.

    • The UK's DMCA; Clause 17 falls, but at what cost?
      During another intense session in the House of Lords this afternoon a vote was finally held on the controversial Clause 17 of the UK's Digital Economy Bill. This clause would have allowed the Secretary of State to amend the UK's copyright law with a lot less oversight from parliament than usual. The government did not hide the fact that this provision would be used to clamp down on unlicensed file-sharers in various ways as the industry demanded. However, there was a bright side; the clause would have permitted Lord Mandelson (or more likely his successor) to do as he promised back in October and relax the UK's copyright law by bringing in the 'fair use' exemptions it so desperately needs.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • After iiNet Victory, Where Now For Anti-Piracy Down Under?
      After failing to bring ISP iiNet into line with some extremely lengthy and expensive legal action, Hollywood has been left short on options in Australia. Of course, AFACT won’t give in. It is appealing the case and has resorted to sending out messages to scare Internet file-sharers. But does another organization have a different approach up its sleeve?

    • Law firm investigated over claims that it bullied alleged filesharers
      A leading law firm is being investigated over claims that it bullied and harassed hundreds of people wrongly accused of illegal filesharing.

      The Solicitors Regulation Authority, an industry watchdog, said it is investigating a complaint brought against Davenport Lyons, the London-based solicitors' firm that has led a number of prosecutions against illegal filesharers.

      The consumer group Which? first made an official complaint in 2008, after a number of people contacted it to say that they had received letters from Davenport Lyons demanding payment for illegal downloads that were nothing to do with them.

    • Five questions about the future of music with David Pakman
      I think the barrier to entry to write or make music has always been pretty low. Provided you can learn how to play an instrument, you can write songs. The encroachment of technology into every facet of music making has lowered this barrier even further. An entire album can be recorded at great quality in a basement with a Mac and some bundled software. DJ equipment isn't even needed anymore --- you can do it all on your Mac.

    • Libraries cost book industry billions
      Apologies for the sensationalist title, but that is precisely what came to mind when I read an article about how the book industry has lost billions of dollars because of book downloading. Attributor is a company that produces anti-piracy solutions, and they have conducted a study that claims illegal downloading of books has cost American publishers $3 billion USD. I will resist the temptation to comment on the fact that one should not take seriously a report undertaken by a company that has a commercial interest on the result of said study making the case for their products.

    • Charles Nesson, scourge of the labels, now must pay them
      Joel Tenenbaum, the second P2P defendant to take his case to trial in the US, may never pay the $675,000 judgment currently filed against him—but someone on his legal team will soon be paying something. Judge Nancy Gertner has ruled that both Tenenbaum and his lawyer, Harvard Law's Charles Nesson, are "jointly and severally liable" for some fees incurred by the RIAA during the trial. The ruling comes after the defense team inexplicably posted the very songs at issue in the case to the Internet, and Nesson posted a public link on his blog for anyone to download them.
    • The Statute of Anne (was actually kinda revolutinary)
      Last night, in two different instances I read the claim that the England’s first copyright act, the statute of Anne passed in 1710 was never intended to protect authors but to protect the reproducers like printing houses and presses investing in authors implying that printing houses loved the act.

    • When traditional media want copyright for themselves, but violate others' copyright
      UPDATE MARCH 4TH, 2010, 20.30 GMT+1: the unauthorized copy mentioned below has been removed by the staff of the Bellunopress website, shortly after I asked them to comply with the terms of use of this website. I am happy to see such a confirmation that this incident was just a temporary slip, without (as I had said since the beginning, cfr below) any intention at all to harm anybody: This page remains online, of course, as useful resource for whoever should have the same problem in the future with other websites.


      I am convinced that there was no intention at all to harm in this case, just carelessness and lack of professionalism. Still, it's about time that every player in the information and communication space (not just the smallest ones or those who started last) begin to seriously behave as if the Web really were this great opportunity for everybody to communicate and work in a leveled field, respecting each other.

    • ACTA

      • NZ Doing Good in ACTA Negotiation
        The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is an agreement between countries around IP rights and enforcement. The negotiations have been happening in secret, with every country saying “well, we’d love to reveal what we’re talking about but those other countries just won’t let us”. Fortunately there have been leaks, and the latest is a fascinating glimpse at how these things are put together and where the parties stand.

        It seems bizarre at first, but the draft is laid out like a spreadsheet: one article per row and with three columns, one each for the US/Japan version, the EU version, and comments. Inside each sentence square brackets mark the attributed proposed alternatives for language.

      • German Justice Minister: ACTA Transparency And No Three Strikes
        German Justice Minister Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger tells Spiegel Online that Germany would like to see the full draft ACTA texts released now and that the country will not accept inclusion of a three strikes system nor adopt such a system domestically.

Seiya Maeda, open source service provider, Japan 02 (2004)

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