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Links 7/5/2010: RHEL and CentOS 3 EoL, Fedora 13 Near



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Contents





GNU/Linux



Free Software/Open Source

  • Riverbed and the Open Source Flamebox
    We also talked about the open source model and how it applies to a proprietary networking vendor like Riverbed.




  • Development/Documentation

    • Too Many Forges, Too Little Time
      Those days are long over, and I wonder if that's a good thing. SourceForge, for all its flaws (and it had plenty), set some expectations for projects that other services do not. For example, SourceForge provides Web hosting, mailing lists, bug trackers, and most of the tools that projects need to grow and succeed. In short, not just the development tools, but also the community tools needed to discuss and promote the projects. For many projects, that set an expectation of using those tools.


    • New documentation project for blind Linux users and all the others
      When he realized that custom documentation for Free Software is needed for vision-impaired users, Tony Baechler offered to launch a dedicated service. I asked Tony what exactly he hopes to set up and how it should work.

      [...]

      Stop: When I first read Tony's offer, I decided to contact him because I thought that such a good idea deserved as much exposure as possible. After reading this plan and the rationale behind it I'm even more convinced and also have one more reason to invite all readers who want to know more or could help in any way to contact Tony or visit audio.BatSupport.com, the website on which he will host these tutorials: follow Tony's guidelines and you'll produce audio tutorials very useful for all potential Linux users, not just those with vision problems!






  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 3.7a5pre: Tabs on Top, New Add-on Manager
      Firefox 3.7a5pre now has an option to place the browser's tabs on top of the controls, similar to Google Chrome. This is likely part of Mozilla's plans to redesign Firefox for version 4. The new option can be found in the right-click menu as "Tabs on Top" below "Navigation Toolbar" and "Bookmarks Toolbar".


    • Education for an Open Web
      The Mozilla Foundation and the Shuttleworth Foundation support dynamic leaders with new ideas that drive openness and innovation. In particular, we share an interest in how open technologies and open education can foster creativity, participation and fresh thinking that improves the world. For this reason, we have decided to jointly offer an Education for the Open Web Fellowship. This is the call for proposals.








  • Oracle

    • Ex-Sun exec Padir turns focus to startup's open-source software
      Karen Tegan Padir is an evangelist. Her gospel is open source software, and she recently changed denominations when she left Sun Microsystems Inc., where she was in charge of running the departments that determined the future of such ubiquitous Internet software as Java and MySQL.


    • VirtualBox Continues To Gain Under Oracle
      VirtualBox 3.2 Beta 1 brought experimental support for Mac OS X guests, memory ballooning, CPU hot-plugging, new hypervisor features, RDP video acceleration, and much more. With VirtualBox 3.2 Beta 2, Oracle has introduced Java bindings for VirtualBox, numerous GUI enhancements, fixes for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS guests, new icons, performance optimizations, and various other fixes.








  • Business

    • How Do You Make a Pentaho?
      Daley told me that it has around 45,000 “active” members – that is, people that do something rather than just visit. The community also contributes to the overall project – mostly QA, but also bug-fixes.








  • BSD

    • Bordeaux 2.0.4 for FreeBSD and PC-BSD Released
      The Bordeaux Technology Group released Bordeaux 2.0.4 for FreeBSD and PC-BSD today. Bordeaux 2.0.4 is a maintenance release that fixes a number of small bugs. With this release we have changed the Bordeux UI from a GTKDialog to a GTKWindow, the "OK" button has also been re-named to "Install". We have upgraded our Wine bundle from 1.1.36 to 1.1.41, updated to the latest winetricks release, added support for the new Steam UI, and changed the progress bar back to Zenity.








  • Releases







  • Government

    • Open source is NASA's next frontier
      The challenges to government's adoption and participation in open-source communities is often thought to be a simple culture clash, but in reality it goes deeper than that, according to NASA's newly-appointed chief technology officer.

      “The issues that we need to tackle are not only cuture, but beyond culture,” said Chris Kemp, formerly chief information officer at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “And I think we need new policy and support from the administration and Congress to help us tackle" them.

      [...]

      And open source is a key element of Kemp's strategy. “We're actually creating a new Open Source Office under our Open Government Initiative under the Chief Technology Officer's office,” he said. “We're really taking this seriously, and we've never had this sort of visibility and interest from headquarters before.”


    • EU Parliament calls for internet rights charter
      The Parliament has adopted a new digital strategy called 2015.eu which outlines its ambitions for internet policy for the next five years and beyond. It has passed a resolution adopting the plan and demanding that the European Commission make it work.








  • Openness

    • Honeywell Goes Open Source, Grabs Akuacom
      The smart grid shopping spree keeps going this week. Building automation giant Honeywell said on Friday that it has bought demand response firm Akuacom, for an undisclosed price. The news comes days after Swiss electrical giant ABB said it plans to throw down more than $1 billion for smart grid software player Ventyx (The Smart Grid Acquisition Tally . . . So Far).




    • Open Access/Content

      • PLoS ONE and botanical pioneer helps to bring open-access taxonomy a step closer
        There are several thousand new plant species described every year, published in a range of plant taxonomy journals and other venues. Publishing another description might not be seen as a particularly earth-shattering event but we are enormously proud to be able to publish Sandra Knapp’s new paper on four new vining species in PLOS ONE today as it represents a turning point for PLoS and for botanical nomenclature. The paper is a botanical pioneer: it is the first to be published in an online-only journal whilst adhering to the strict botanical code that sets out how new species can be named.


      • Copyright: a Conditional Intellectual Monopoly










  • Standards/Consortia

    • The future of the Internet is here: non-English extensions hit the Web
      Kim has already written a quick blog post on the launch, highlighting the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and IT, which is at the end of one of three top-level domains that have gone live.

      It is hard to describe the importance of this step. It has been years, literally years, of conversation and discussion and engineering to get to this point. And that point is: the Internet’s core infrastructure can now deal with non-ASCII language. Which means that the Arabic-speaking world, the Chinese-speaking world, the Hindi-speaking world, in fact the majority of people on the planet can finally use the Internet natively without this strange American structure that makes you puts, for example, “.com” at the end of every domain.


    • The Future of Reading is Open
      Today, Scribd is changing the way you read documents online. Over the next few weeks and months, Scribd will convert our entire content corpus — tens of millions of documents, books and presentations — into native HTML5 web pages so that we can offer the best online reading experience. Scribd documents in HTML5 load instantly, support native browser functions (zoom, search, scroll, select text), and deliver an impressive reading experience across all browsers and web-enabled devices, without requiring add-ons or plug-ins.








Leftovers

  • Presidential panel report: to avoid cancer, eat organic, filter water, avoid plastic food containers
    After reading the report, I was inspired to throw out (recycle!) all of the pthalate and BPA-laden cheapo plastic food storage containers from my kitchen, and order replacements made from glass with silicone seals. I already buy mostly organic foods, and drink mostly filtered water. I don't microwave my food at all, but if even storing cold leftovers in certain types of plastic containers might up your risk, this seems an easy and cheap enough change to make. Can't hurt.




  • Business Models

    • From Business Models to 'Betterness' Models
      I'd like to advance a hypothesis. Maybe, just maybe, business isn't why companies exist anymore. Maybe 21st century companies are no longer just in business, but in "betterness." Here's what I mean.

      A fool and his wallet, they say, are soon parted. Consider yours truly. Recently, I ordered furniture from IKEA. It's just for a spare room, I thought, and I'll save a few bucks. What I forgot? The hidden costs. Comically torturous self-assembly with hilariously absurd diagrams, to begin with. But I never even got that far.


    • Wikipedia Now Lets You Order Printed Books






  • Hardware







  • Science

    • The Internet anticipated in 1964
      When the New Scientist’s 1964 series of predictions for “The World in 1984” was published by Penguin Books the following year, I added tables at the end. They summarized what seemed to me the main expectations of the scientists and scholars (about 100 of them) who contributed to the project. The first table concerned “Major Technological Revolutions” and I reproduce its contents below, reformatted to fit the page but otherwise unmodified in any way. The question marks denoted explicit disagreement or implicit controversy on important points.








  • Security/Aggression

    • Why Aren't There More Terrorist Attacks?
      As the details of the Times Square car bomb attempt emerge in the wake of Faisal Shahzad's arrest Monday night, one thing has already been made clear: Terrorism is fairly easy. All you need is a gun or a bomb, and a crowded target. Guns are easy to buy. Bombs are easy to make. Crowded targets -- not only in New York, but all over the country -- are easy to come by. If you're willing to die in the aftermath of your attack, you could launch a pretty effective terrorist attack with a few days of planning, maybe less.


    • Video of SWAT Raid on Missouri Family
      Radly Balko of Reason posted this video of a SWAT raid on a family in Missouri. The officers found a small amount of cannabis, and so they arrested the parents on a charge of child endangerment, naturally.








  • Environment

    • 'Iron hand' to help realize green goals
      Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday vowed to realize the country's green goal to cut energy intensity by 20 percent between 2006 and 2010, amid the strong economic recovery.

      In a nationwide video and teleconference, Wen told governments at all levels to work with an "iron hand" to eliminate inefficient enterprises.


    • Republicans won't be nudged into cutting home energy
      It was hailed as a breakthrough in the fight to cut carbon emissions. In 2007, researchers found that heavy electricity users cut their consumption after being told that they used more energy than their neighbours. Almost a million US households have since received similar feedback and have cut electricity use by an average of 2.5 per cent.

      But a new study has identified a wrinkle in the plan: the feedback only seems to work with liberals. Conservatives tend to ignore it. Some even respond by using more energy.


    • Future temperatures could be too hot to survive
      Researchers from Purdue University and the University of New South Wales, Australia, have for the first time calculated the highest 'wet-bulb' temperature that people can tolerate - and have found that it could be exceeded for the first time in human history under reasonable worst-case climate change scenarios.


    • EU vows to tackle overfishing with policy overhaul
      European Union ministers on Wednesday vowed to overhaul their 840 million euro-a-year fishing subsidies policy by next year to avoid overfishing and make the industry more sustainable.


    • US carbon emissions plunge—not just because of lousy economy
      Residential and commercial energy use have remained pretty flat for the last three years, but transportation started a gradual decline in energy consumption in 2007. Although 2008 saw a huge decline in driving due to fuel prices, the cost of fuel dropped in 2009. As one might expect, total miles traveled rose, although only by a small fraction of a percent. Nevertheless, total fuel consumption was down from 2008 for every month of the year, spurred in part by an increase of 1.5mpg in the average fleet fuel economy. Given that the fuel economy is set to rise rapidly through 2016, this sector is likely to continue to improve.


    • Europe's green delusion
      The European Union likes to think of itself as the unrivalled champion of eco-governance but, argues Derrick Sutter, it is far from living up to its image.








  • Finance

    • Low interest rates didn't cause the bubble, economists say
      Economists have spent the past 70-plus years trying to figure out what caused the Great Depression. They're likely to spend the next 70 analyzing the causes and lessons of this decade's devastating boom and bust.


    • Senate Nod to Fed Audit Is Expected
      The Senate on Thursday rejected an effort by liberal Democrats to break up some of the biggest banks, defeating an amendment to financial regulatory legislation that would have imposed new limits on the size and scope of financial companies.


    • Congress wants review of market plunge
      Lawmakers are trying to learn the causes of the drastic stock market sell-off to ensure that high-tech trading is monitored and average investors are protected in the wilds of Wall Street.


    • As Homeowners’ Dreams Die, He’s the Undertaker
      Hardly any. Legally, they have already lost ownership. If they do not respond to the carrot the lenders offer — as much as $5,000 in cash in exchange for leaving the house in good order — he employs the stick: the county sheriff, who evicts them.


    • Steven Pearlstein: Greek crisis exposes cracks in Europe's foundation
      It is easy to dismiss Thursday's 30-minute, 1,000-point boomerang on the Dow Jones industrial average as a freak event that resulted when everyday human error collided with high-speed, high-volume computerized trading.


    • Glassman Says It Was ‘Stupid’ to Criticize Senators
      James Glassman, a senior economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said it was a mistake for him to call members of a Senate panel ignorant and to call for “grownups to step in” to the financial reform debate.


    • Financial firms' roles toughen legislative task
      But whether it should be the law is the subject of debate on Capitol Hill as the Senate prepares to vote on legislation to overhaul financial regulation. It is also one of the key issues underpinning the recent controversy regarding Goldman's role in the financial crisis.


    • Unwashed Masses 1, Fed 0: Sanders Scores
      The effort to audit the Fed got a big boost last night when Senator Bernie Sanders reached an agreement with Chris Dodd, the chair of the banking committee. Under the deal, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would undertake a full audit of the special facilities created by the Fed since December of 2007. GAO would make the findings from its audit available to the Congressional leadership. It would also make most of the details of the Fed's transactions available to the public.


    • Democrats defeat GOP alternative on consumer agency
      Senate Democratic leaders cleared two major obstacles Thursday to winning passage of a Wall Street reform bill, beating back a Republican effort to curb the reach of a new consumer agency and striking a compromise on a watered-down bill to shine a light on Federal Reserve activities.


    • A.I.G. Said to Dismiss Goldman
      As its legal troubles mount, Goldman Sachs is losing a big corporate client: the American International Group.


    • Thank you, Goldman Sachs
      Has Congress suddenly grown a collective spine? Between the SEC case, the recent hearings held by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and the current turmoil in the euro zone (exacerbated, some say, by derivatives deals), even Republicans can read the writing on the wall now: the public wants action against Wall Street. Will there be—mirabile dictu!—an actual bipartisan vote in favor of financial reform?


    • Roubini Urges Goldman Sachs Breakup, Possible CDO Ban: Books
      Break up Goldman Sachs Group Inc., he says. Consider banning collateralized debt obligations. And why not compensate traders with slices of their own exotic securities instead of with cash or shares?


    • Goldman braces for shareholder fury
      Goldman investors are converging on lower Manhattan for the firm's annual shareholder meeting. Typically a rather mild-mannered affair, the gathering is poised to turn contentious given the scrutiny Goldman has been under in recent weeks.


    • BP And Goldman Sachs: Gambling With Your Money
      Just like Goldman Sachs, BP acted irresponsibly by recklessly pursuing profits at the expense of the American people. Both companies gambled, both companies lost, and both companies expect the taxpayer to clean up their mess. It's time both companies are held accountable.


    • Goldman Sachs SEC Settlement Could Hit $5 BILLION: Fox Business Network
      Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business Network is reporting that the SEC's highly publicized civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs are likely to be settled for $1 billion to $5 billion.


    • What Any Goldman Settlement Might Entail


    • Whitman's lead over Poizner plummets
      Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman's lead in the Republican race for California governor has shrunk dramatically as the billionaire candidate has been battered by her ties to Goldman Sachs, new Republican and Democratic polls suggest.


    • Calpers Votes to Split Chairman, CEO Roles at Goldman
      The California Public Employees Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension fund, voted to split the roles of chairman and chief executive officer currently held by Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.


    • Lloyd Blankfein Should Resign From Goldman Sachs
      Under Mr. Blankfein, Goldman's reputation has gone from Teflon to Velcro. Criticism that used to beguile other firms without nicking the Goldman now seem to only stick to Goldman. Once the pinnacle of banking, Goldman is now the butt of jokes across Wall Street and Main Street.


    • A steel dome will be lowered over Wall St to contain the red ink
      A drilling platform at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway exploded and sank today with sticky red ink spreading across the land. It is impossible to estimate the damage this will do as it begins to wash up on Main Street. Senator John Kyle of Arizona denied that any Republican in the Senate ever favored more financial drilling, “Some candidate may have had said something two or three years ago like ‘the fundamentals of the economy are sound’ but that was never our policy”.








  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Commissioner Malmström launches censorship arms race
      Commissioner Malmström has been explaining to the European Parliament and to the press that her Internet blocking proposals are "only" about child abuse websites and "only" the kind of blocking that is in place in countries such as Sweden. At the same time, however, her officials have been convincing the EU's national home affairs ministries to agree in principle to measures to develop legal powers to destroy web resources outside the EU anywhere in an area covering the majority of the northern hemisphere.


    • Brazil's Proposed Internet Regulation--an Update (That's Actually Good News) (Guest Blog Post)
      Some fantastic news: in response to the waves of criticism toward the proposed notice and takedown regime that might have curbed online speech in Brazil - see my prior blog post - the Brazilian Ministry of Justice has announced a completely different system for online service provider liability and content removal.









  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Traditional Knowledge Committee Moving Toward Legal Agreement
      A World Intellectual Property Organization committee tasked with finding an international instrument to prevent the misappropriation of traditional knowledge, folklore, and genetic resources has begun in earnest text-based discussions and is now working to find an agreement on extra meetings intended to speed the process towards creating an international legal instrument.




    • Copyrights





    • ACTA

      • Border detention of counterfeit and/or "counterfeit" pharma products
        So what is this 60 page document (which you can download here) all about? As ICTSD's website explains:
        "The detentions of generic medicines in transit as a result of the implementation by certain countries of border measures, which go beyond the minimum standards set by the TRIPS Agreement, have attracted international attention. At the same time, such measures are often considered, by these countries, as instrumental in the fight against the circulation of “counterfeit” medicines [The Kat thinks these countries, in so far as they are personified, are concerned with counterfeits, not "counterfeits". The agenda of specific rights owners may be a different matter]. Clearly, the border measures in question raise complex legal and technical issues under the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).


      • Written Declaration 12/2010 signatories list


      • European Parliament Passes Resolution Calling on Canada To Support Moving ACTA to WIPO
        In the aftermath of its success in promoting release of the ACTA draft text, it is interesting to see the European Parliament becoming increasingly vocal about the ACTA negotiations. Canada has remained generally silent on these issues and the EP resolution may help coax out a response.














Clip of the Day



Functions and Statistics - International Space Station - Up To Us (1/4/2001)

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There will be more next week