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



GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux



Free Software/Open Source

  • 75 Open Source Tools to Replace Apps You Use Every Day
    Can open source tools replace all closed source software? That is, are open source tools – freely downloadable software – really just as good as software you have to pay for?

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


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


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


  • Cisco completes Tandberg takeover and offers to open source telepresence code
    Cisco has announced it has completed its €£2.17bn acquisition of Norwegian video systems maker Tandberg and is launching a compulsory bid for the outstanding 8.9% shares it does not yet own.

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




  • Events

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








  • Mozilla

    • Firefox add-on said to blunt Google's data collection tactics
      A computer security researcher has launched a project designed to provide people greater privacy when using Google, as the company expands the scope of data its collects about its users.


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

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

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

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

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








  • Education

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








  • Government

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

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


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

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


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

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








  • Licensing

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








  • Programming

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






  • Standards/Consortia

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








Leftovers

  • 7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls
    A computer game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers.

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




  • Finance







  • Intellectual Monopolies

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

      This is no joke.


    • Secret Anti-Piracy Treaty Details Going Public
      Countries negotiating a major cross-border agreement to crack down on intellectual property crimes have agreed to release previously secret draft language of the controversial accord this week.

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

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








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