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Links 21/5/2010: KDE at Ökumenischer Kirchentag, Arch Linux 2010.05

GNOME bluefish



  • How Linux Saved A Fast Food Giant.
    Our last choice was to re-image the POS system using our existing Ghostcast server infrastructure. While mostly automated, each one had to be kicked off manually in each restaurant and took nearly an hour. We wanted to avoid this at all costs just because of the huge amounts of hassle involved. So how does Linux get involved? My idea was to create a small, self-extracting, PXE-bootable Linux system, mount an existing shared folder on the server in the restaurant, mount the the workstation’s Windows partition with read/write access, delete the broken svchost.exe and the virus definition, copy over a working svchost.exe, and finally reboot the machine. Logically it could work and it meets all the criteria. Small, fast, and—most importantly—fully automated.

  • Desktop

    • The end of the (Linux) desktop as we know it ?
      More and more of the Linux ecosystem (PC hardware vendor, phone hardware vendor, search engine giant and more recently a well known Linux distro, Ubuntu) uses Linux as an embedded system for the desktop. Some examples to illustrate this trend :

      * Asus Express gate embed Linux in the motherboard. You can have, in a few seconds, a browser, skype, etc. * Google Chrome OS : not yet released but it is define as the Web OS with a minimalist/zen approach (like an OS based on Chrome, the browser) * Mobile platform : you'll have plenty to choose. ARM based : Symbian, Meego, Android, etc. * Last but not least, Canonical announce "Unity", a minimal/Zen OS that will be available to OEM but can be nonetheless deployed on Ubuntu Lucid and later.

    • 25 Fresh and Cool Linux Wallpapers

    • LinuxCertified Announces Ultra-Portable yet Powerful Linux Laptop with Intel ULV processor

  • Server

    • An HPC Field Trip
      I have attended most of the Wall Street shows and noticed that the financial sector seems to have bounced back from its recent hiccup. On this very nice April day, I enjoyed the sights and sounds on my walk from the bus terminal to the Roosevelt Hotel. Upon arrival, I grabbed my press badge and almost walked right into Matthijs van Leeuwen from Bright Computing. From what I had gathered, Bright Computing provides cluster management software. I was not sure what their “edge” was because there is certainly no shortage of cluster solutions out there.

  • Ballnux

    • Most 2010 HTC Android Phones to See Froyo Upgrade
      Wondering if your new HTC Desire will be getting Android 2.2? Yeah, so are we! Well, according to HTC if your Android handset was made in 2010, it has a very good chance of seeing the Froyo upgrade (yay!). The Desire, Droid Incredible, My Touch Slide, HTC Legend, as well as future models are a definite. When this happens is anyone's guess, but expect it to occur in the second half of 2010 at the earliest. For those who don't want to wait you can always root!

    • Samsung Galaxy S Video from Google I/O

  • Kernel Space

    • The Cost Of Running Compiz

    • Beware the benchmarks.
      Today phoronix published an article called “The Cost of Running Compiz“. While the content in the article is mostly true, and likely points out the obvious, I should probably clarify a few things before my inbox fills up with (n readers * ~ 8 ) mails telling me that compiz is slow and I need to fix it.

      The article basically tests the performance of applications while they are being run as redirected windows. What does that mean? Well, for the better part of the year, pretty much 95% of graphics hardware has some support for what we call “redirected direct rendering”, both through open source and proprietary drivers. NVIDIA was the first to get this feature, and then most of the other drivers picked it up last year.

    • Gallium3D

      • Gallium3D Anti-Aliasing (MSAA) Is Going In
        As implied by its name, the gallium-msaa branch introduces support for Multi-Sampling Anti-Aliasing (MSAA) for the Gallium3D driver architecture. Specifically this branch makes the structural changes needed to allow MSAA to work within Mesa on the Gallium3D architecture and a context function to set the sample mask for MSAA. However, the Gallium3D hardware drivers themselves haven't yet been hooked-in to actually offer multi-sampling support. Hopefully this will come soon.

      • AROS (The Free AmigaOS) Gets With Gallium3D
        A $600 bounty came around a while back within the AROS (AROS Research Operating System) community to port Gallium3D and the Nouveau driver to this operating system that is a free software implementation of the AmigaOS 3.1 APIs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE at Ökumenischer Kirchentag
      The booth was rarely empty: all kinds of people, from small children (fascinated by Big Buck Bunny looping in a window) to seasoned Linux users (at least one of whom we could help by showing her how to make KMail behave) came by and stayed for a while to watch and talk. The team explained how the free-as-in-freedom aspect could help build a more just and equal world and how the free-as-in-beer aspect was useful for a tight church budget. In fact, the monetary question often didn't even come up as the social question was already reason enough for most people to be interested.

    • Revamped Sidebar Lands In Nautilus Elementary (2.30)
      A new, revamped sidebar has been added to the latest Nautilus Elementary 2.30 (only available for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx).

  • Distributions

    • Element- A linux OS for Home theater and Media center computers
      Element is a free operating system for Home Theater and Media Center Personal Computers, featuring an innovative across the room 'ten-foot interface' that is designed to be connected to your HDTV for a digital media and internet experience within the comforts of your own living room or lounge. Element comes stacked with the software needed to stream all kinds of web content and manage your own music, videos, and photos.

    • Arch

    • Fedora

      • Seven Reasons to Upgrade to Fedora 13
        Fedora 13 is right around the corner. Code-named "Goddard," the Fedora 13 release sports tons of updates from Fedora 12 and some really exciting new features that will have Linux power users running for their CD burners. You'll find everything from better printer support to experimental 3D support for Nvidia cards and filesystem rollback. Ready to roll up your sleeves? Let's take a look at the best of Fedora 13.

      • It’s Fedora Election season!
        You’ve only got until May 26th to vote in the Fedora elections: elections are open now. This election we are voting on new members of the Fedora Project Board and the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee. Before you vote, you’ll want to read up a bit on the elections to make sure you’re making an informed choice. Here’s a cheatsheet for you.

    • Ubuntu

      • More Iron for your blood...
        The Beta I have been using these last few days, along with the fabulously new Linux Mint 9, is Iron's 5.0.377 Beta for Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • mobile hsdpa/wifi router powered by Linux
      If you need wireless internet access on your boat, car, helicopter or while hiking, this may be the solution you are looking for. A Linux powered device sharing mobile broadband EVDO/HSDPA on a wifi router. The hardware runs on 110/220 volt with a DC power supply but it's very flexible allowing for 11-56 Volt DC input and even 5 volt trough an internal connector.

    • Linux development platform targets multi-core MIPS SoCs
      The Linux solution might more accurately be described as a Mentor-acquired Linux solution, as Embedded Alley had already released its first embedded Linux development platform before the company was acquired by Mentor Graphics last summer. The Embedded Alley Development System for Linux was released in December 2008.

    • Open source robot is all eyes
      A startup called TheCorpora is readying an open source Linux robot based on a Mini-ITX board with an Intel Atom and an Nvidia Ion GPU. The foot-and-a-half tall Qbo lacks arms or legs, but is mobile, can be controlled via WiFi, and offers stereoscopic face, object, and gesture recognition, plus speech synthesis and voice recognition.

    • Nokia/Wine

      • MeeGo and Btrf
        MeeGo is arguably the dark horse in the mobile platform race: it is new, unfinished, and unavailable on any currently-shipping product, but it is going after the same market as a number of more established platforms. MeeGo is interesting: it is a combined effort by two strong industry players which are trying, in the usual slow manner, to build a truly community-oriented development process. For the time being, though, important development decisions are still being made centrally. Recently, a significant decision has come to light: MeeGo will be based on the Btrfs file system by default.

      • Wine running on a Nokia N900
        ARM based superphone N900 running the x86 wine binary via a statically compiled arm qemu binary, within an x86 chroot.

      • Wine icon facelift on target for June

      • Bordeaux 2.0.4 on Mac Screenshot tour

    • Google/Android

      • Sony Shifts on Open Source
        The partnership between Sony Corp. and Google Inc. highlights the changes taking place in TV viewing habits, but it is also symbolic of another change: Sony’s stance on open-source technology.

      • Google TV to mix Android, Chrome, and Atom

      • Google Gears Up Chrome Web Store for App Fans
        Is Google looking to compete directly with iTunes? The company's Chrome Web App store may have modest beginnings -- especially considering that Chrome accounts for less than 7 percent of the global browser market -- but Google is not the sort of company to think small. The company reportedly is in talks to get other browser vendors on board.

Free Software/Open Source


  • OK Go Chats With Planet Money About The Music Business
    The important takeaway here is that the new models of success may yet be discovered. Innovation by savvy people is still paramount. So, to succeed, the music industry needs to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit and get out of the way of artists, instead of acting as a restrictive gatekeeper.

  • Who woulda thunk it: Fact-checking is popular!
    Has anyone else noticed that the Associated Press has been doing some strong fact-checking work lately, aggressively debunking all kinds of nonsense, in an authoritative way, without any of the usual he-said-she-said crap that often mars political reporting?

    I asked AP Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier about this, and he told me something fascinating, if not all together unexpected: Their fact-checking efforts are almost uniformly the most clicked and most linked pieces they produce.

    Journalistic fact-checking with authority, it turns out, is popular. Who woulda thunk it?

  • 'Virtual sit-in' tests line between DDoS and free speech
    UC San Diego Professor Ricardo Dominguez spearheaded the March 4 digital protest by calling on demonstrators to visit a webpage that sent a new page request to the UC president's website every one to six seconds. A separate function automatically sent 404 queries to the server. A "spawn" feature allowed participants to run additional pages in another window, multiplying the strain on the targeted website.

  • Privacy expert: It's good PR to say no to the government
    A leading privacy researcher is urging companies to say no to government requests for data, arguing that it's good for business.

    "Or rather, saying yes can be really bad for business," said Chris Soghoian, an Indiana University PhD candidate and security and privacy researcher.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Cyberwar Cassandras Get $400 Million in Conflict Cash
      Coincidences sure are funny things. Booz Allen Hamilton — the defense contractor that’s become synonymous with the idea that the U.S. is getting its ass kicked in an ongoing cyberwar — has racked up more than $400 million worth of deals in the past six weeks to help the Defense Department fight that digital conflict. Strange how that worked out, huh?

    • Lieberman To Unveil Cybersecurity Bill
      Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., plans to unveil a bill soon that aims to beef up cybersecurity inside and outside government by using agencies' mammoth collective purchasing power to demand safeguards in information technology products, a Senate Democratic aide said on Monday.

      The House and Senate are working on legislation that would update the 2002 Federal Information Security Information Management Act, a law widely criticized for requiring agencies to fill out reports showing they have complied with security policies rather than asking them to take specific actions to secure networks, reported.

    • Pre-Crime Policing
      A SWAT team brings in a man and seizes his legally purchased guns—for a crime no one committed

    • The all-seeing eye of the London 2012 Olympics mascot
      The image you see on the right is 'Wenlock' - one of the two creepy cyclopean mascots chosen as the child-friendly ambassadors representing the London games.

    • Clegg's speech may mean the state intrudes less - but we must not forget ongoing invasions of privacy by the private sector

    • Warning of rise in microchips in council bins
      Privacy campaigners claim increasing numbers of councils are gearing up for "pay as you throw" rubbish charges by installing microchips in wheelie bins.

    • Government to track your child's BMI
      I thought this might be one of those bills where someone has misread the language and interpreted what the legislation is supposed to do incorrectly.

    • Symantec buys large share of SSL market
      Symantec has agreed to acquire VeriSign's Identity and Authentication business for an aggregate purchase price of $1.28 billion. It had previously looked as though Symantec was setting itself up to become a direct competitor of VeriSign following its recent acquisition of PGP Corporation, which also has trusted root certificates in browsers through its own acquisition of TC TrustCenter.

  • Environment

    • How Bush's DOJ Killed a Criminal Probe Into BP That Threatened to Net Top Officials
      Mention the name of the corporation BP to Scott West and two words immediately come to mind: Beyond Prosecution.

      West was the special agent-in-charge at the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Criminal Investigation Division who had been probing alleged crimes committed by BP and the company's senior officials in connection with a March 2006 pipeline rupture at the company's Prudhoe Bay operations in Alaska's North Slope that spilled 267,000 gallons of oil across two acres of frozen tundra - the second largest spill in Alaska's history - which went undetected for nearly a week.

    • Boycott BP

    • Atlantic coast now under threat as current spreads Gulf oil slick
      There was mounting evidence last night that the scale of the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has grown beyond all the initial worst-case scenarios, as thousands of gallons of oil continued to gush from the sea floor.

      On the island of Key West, south of Florida, coastguard officials said about three tar balls an hour were washing up on the beaches of a state park. They said the globs of concentrated oil suggest leaking crude has now become caught up in the powerful loop current and could move from the gulf up to the Atlantic coast.

  • Finance

    • Bill Passed in Senate Broadly Expands Oversight of Wall St.
      The Senate on Thursday approved a far-reaching financial regulatory bill, putting Congress on the brink of approving a broad expansion of government oversight of the increasingly complex banking system and financial markets.

    • What’s Next For Bank Reform?

    • How the Finance Bill Affects Consumers
      One last-minute Senate addition would lower the fees that merchants pay to process many debit card transactions. If banks lose revenue as a result, they could make up for it by adding fees to checking accounts or cutting back on rewards programs. Retailers say that once card costs fall, they will hire more workers and hold the line on prices. There is a fair bit of disagreement about who has the better argument.

    • Thank You, Lloyd Blankfein
      FinReg: what do I think? I think Ed Andrews has it right: not all it should have been, but better than seemed likely not long ago, thanks to a changed climate. Wall Street in general, and Goldman in particular, provided scandals at just the right time. Thank you, Lloyd Blankfein.

    • The VC Tax Break

    • What the 111th Congress has done -- and what it still has to do
      But I'm skeptical. The bill asks the very institutions that failed us last time -- and that have failed again and again throughout history -- to regulate banks that are even bigger now than they were before the crisis, and that are not confined by simple rules governing the amount of capital they have on hand or simple taxes that make risk and bigness undesirable. Take resolution authority. Before a risky firm can be brought down, the Treasury Department, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve and three bankruptcy judges have to all sign off. If anyone refuses to go along, resolution cannot be used. It is easy to imagine a bank effectively lobbying, say, a Treasury secretary for more time. It is hard, conversely, to imagine so many players agreeing on something as difficult as destroying a major financial firm before we're officially in a market-recognized bank run.

    • Can States Fix Their Pension Problems?
      Stories about $150,000-a-year pensions for retired officials are fueling anger and demands for action, but there seems to be little that officials can do about existing contracts, for legal and other reasons. The focus has turned to reforming the state systems, to make sure they are fiscally sustainable in the future. What states have led the way? And what political obstacles have arisen in other places?

    • Lower bailout estimate assumes higher stock prices
      The Treasury Department indicated Friday it expects taxpayers will lose billions less from the financial bailouts than earlier estimated. The problem is, its revised forecast assumes Treasury's shares of bailed-out companies are gaining value despite this week's plunge in stock prices.

    • Lincoln, Chief Architect of Massacre?

    • Defend Derivatives Reform

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Perfume's Un-Sexy Side
      The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned laboratory analyses (pdf) of 17 men's and women's name-brand perfumes to determine their chemical content, and found 38 secret chemicals present in all 17 products. The average product tested contained 14 chemicals not listed on the label, some of which are associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions. Many of the secret chemicals have never been safety-tested for use in personal care products.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Pennsylvania AG Tom Corbett Can't Take Anonymous Twitter Criticism; Issues Subpoenas For IDs
      What is it with various state Attorney Generals and their difficulty in understanding the law? And why is it that those same AGs always seem to be running for higher office when they do? We've already covered how Andrew Cuomo (who wants to be NY's governor) appeared to ignore the law in bullying ISPs. And then there's Richard Blumenthal (who wants to be one of the Senators from Connecticut) who continues to ignore Section 230 safe harbors for Craigslist in grandstanding against the company. Then there was South Carolina's Harry McMaster (who tried to run for governor), who also ignored Section 230 in threatening to put Craigslist execs in jail.

    • UK's secret surveillance regime 'does not breach human rights'
      The European Court of Human Rights has rejected a claim that the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) violates the human right to a private life. The UK's rules and safeguards on covert surveillance are proportionate, said the court.

    • Appeals Court Halts ‘Hot News’ Publishing Order
      A federal appeals court on Thursday lifted a lower court’s order that a well-known financial news aggregator delay publication of prominent financial analysts’ buy and sell recommendations — stock picks that allowed the well-to-do the first crack at capitalizing on that trading research.

    • Hot News Decision from New York Is Stayed Pending Appeal

    • Ofcom leaves people in the dark on future of Open WiFi and evidence used for technical measures
      ORG together with Consumer Focus, Which? and the Communications Consumer Panel have drawn up a list of principles for the notification letter. We have attended a meeting at Ofcom this afternoon to discuss these principles.

    • Privacy is not just a technical problem - the NHS needs to change the way it thinks about our data
      When your medical record was held in a brown cardboard envelope you could be fairly certain that you were confiding in your doctor or nurse. And if you did discover that the details of your health problems were doing the rounds, you'd at least have a pretty good idea who to blame. When we decide to consult a doctor, we all carry out a pretty sophisticated mental calculus that balance our need for help with the pain of disclosing intensely private information. That's why "Doctor-patient confidentiality" is a tenet of medical folklore as precious as "first do no harm."

    • Wikimedia: 'Fox News's campaign against us is nonsense'
      Jimmy Wales' Wikipedia empire is dealing with an almighty furore in the wake of a series of damaging and particularly zealous stories by Fox News concerning allegations that it is hosting images of child pornography.

    • Pakistan blocks Facebook in row over Muhammad drawings
      Pakistan today blocked Facebook indefinitely in response to public outrage over a competition on the social networking site that encourages people to post drawings of the prophet Muhammad.

    • Foreign reporters rap Kurdish authorities over press freedom
      Eighteen foreign correspondents who have long covered Iraqi Kurdistan sharply criticised the region's government on Sunday over a deterioration in the work conditions of Kurdish reporters.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Court Refuses to Extend Trade-mark Protection to File Extensions
      In Autodesk, Inc. v. Dassault Systèmes Solidworks Corporation, the US District Court for the Northern District of California recently considered whether computer file extensions are entitled to trade-mark protection.

    • Who Owns You? - A Documentary - Trailer

    • Libraries innovate and foster innovation
      It seems to me that without saying so explicitly, the article constitutes a powerful argument for making information as freely and cheaply available as possible. It also provides examples of how this is already being done. Innovation is clearly taking place here, and IP law needs to get out of the way.

    • Copyrights

      • Superman attorney lawsuit: smear campaign or savvy strategy?
        The emails kept coming all day Friday: "What's going on at Warner Bros?" asked a copyright lawyer. "Man, you think Warners hates Toberoff?" joked another. "So, you win a case against a studio these days and they'll sue you personally?"

      • The Increasing Irrelevance Of The Major Record Labels
        Yesterday I attended the always worthwhile SF Music Tech Summit. This has to be the fourth or fifth time I've gone, and I always find that after it's all over and I've had some time to think about it, I recognize one key theme that kept hitting me over and over again throughout the event. This time it was the increasing irrelevance of the major record labels. I've been to a lot of music industry events in the past few years, and there's no doubt that the presence of the majors at various events continues to decline (though, they still seem to have no problem wasting ridiculous sums of money on lavish parties at some events). While the decreased presence at Music Tech might have been a result of the overlap with another industry event, NARM, which the labels almost certainly deem more important, what was more telling was the audience's reaction to the major labels.

      • Axis of P2P Evil? Congress, RIAA call out six worst websites in the world
        This morning, the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus held a press conference along with RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol to call out the six worst websites in the world. Think of them as an "Axis of P2P Evil."

      • Instead Of Better Defining Fair Use... Should We Define Unfair Use?

      • Coffee shop stops live music after copyright licensing debate
        For Henderson business owner Mike Hopper, his coffee shop, Mocha Joe, was the perfect environment to let local artists showcase their original music. At least that was the plan until the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers said otherwise.

      • Gym muzak may replace more funky workout music
        MUZAK may replace the top 40 as the soundtrack to gym classes after the Copyright Tribunal ruled fitness centres have not been paying musicians enough.

      • Police Say Anti-Piracy Law Makes Catching Criminals Harder
        The head of Sweden’s National IT Crime Unit says that following the introduction of IPRED anti-piracy legislation it has become more difficult to track down serious criminals. This unfortunate eventuality is a side-effect of ISPs throwing away logging data to protect the privacy of their customers. While this protects casual file-sharers, it unfortunately protects serious criminals too.

      • Copyright Lawsuits Plummet in Aftermath of RIAA Campaign
        New federal copyright infringement lawsuits plummeted to a six-year low in 2009, the year after the Recording Industry Association of America abandoned its litigation campaign against file sharers, court records show.

      • The Pirate Bay returns to the internet
        Popular BitTorrent search engine The Pirate Bay has just come back online, around a day after it was apparently forced offline by a German court injunction filed a week ago.

    • Politics

    • Digital Economy Bill

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect - DITNS - Aurora Borealis (1/4/2003)

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