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Links 9/6/2010: Linux 2.6.35 RC2, Live DVD 0.9.6

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Help Jail-Break a Windows User...
      Linux Live USB Creator or "Lili" is a Windows app that allows you to make a persistent USB Linux distro. Now I will admit that it's been a while but the appliciations that are available in Linux to do this task would fail better than half the time...problem is, they wouldn't fail until you had 30 minutes invested in the process. It was frustrating to say the least.

    • GNU/Linux is Ready for the Desktop, for a While Now.
      The end-user never has to actually download anything himself, so GNU/Linux package managers are superior to the systems the whiners claim are better.

    • Patch Tuesday
      76 packages updated in 30s of downloads with no re-re-reboots while I am still using it…

  • Server

    • Ten years of IBM mainframe Linux
      Back in February 1999, IBM announced it would work with Red Hat to support Linux. By May 2000, Linux moved from being an experiment on mainframes to being a fully supported option. And in 2001, IBM announced it was spending a billion bucks that year on Linux. It wasn't that big an expense; as Bill Zeitler, IBM's senior vice president and group executive for eServer at the time, explained, "We've recouped most of it in the first year in sales of software and systems."

  • Ballnux

    • EVO Hits the Ground Running With One Shoe Untied
      The HTC Evo has arrived on Sprint's nascent 4G network. The Android smartphone can use the carrier's latest high-speed cellular network in the small number of places where coverage is available, or rely on 3G when 4G isn't around. HTC loaded the big handset to the gills with features, but early reviewers claim to have spotted a few bugs in the soup, most of which could be fixed through updates.

  • Kernel Space

    • Tuesday, 15th June. Michael Dorrington, “GNU’s Not Linux: kFreeBSD and Hurd kernels for the GNU System”
      This talk is by Michael Dorrington on the alternative kernels of kFreeBSD and Hurd to Linux for the GNU System. The talk will explain what a kernel is and its role in a system, it will explain the GNU and Linux in GNU/Linux, it will then investigate GNU/kFreeBSD and GNU/Hurd including showing them running. If you are interesting in Linux or Free Software or GNU or FreeBSD or Hurd then this talk should be of interest to you.

    • Uptake of native Linux ZFS port hampered by license conflict
      A group of open source software developers working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have implemented a native Linux port of Sun's ZFS filesystem. Although the code is functional and available for download (but not production-ready yet), it cannot be merged upstream or shipped in binary form with the Linux kernel due to a licensing conflict. Sun distributes the OpenSolaris source code under its own Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), which is incompatible with GNU's General Public License (GPL).

    • Linux 2.6.35-rc2
      So -rc2 is out there, and hopefully fixes way more problems than it introduces.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R500 Gallium3D Performance In June 2010

      • Gallium3D Support For Stream Out Arrives
        On the same-day as publishing new Gallium3D benchmarks of the ATI R300g driver, we have more Gallium3D news to share. Zack Rusin has just announced a new Gallium3D branch that provides support for "Stream Out" with this advanced graphics driver architecture.

      • [Mesa-dev] RFC: r300 compiler loop emulation
        Right now, this is only enabled for fragment shaders, but I am working on enabling it for vertex shaders.

      • Closing the xserver 1.9 merge window
        Ok, so I was supposed to do this last Friday, but I wanted to get 'a few more patches' merged in before closing things down. And, some of those patches were more of an adventure in merging than others. I'm hoping the devPrivates adventure will be resolved this week; as expected, many bugs were found after that code landed and I'm grateful to those of you who helped find and fix them quickly.


        Beyond that, I'd like for people to consider the tree closed to large-scale changes as we prepare for the 1.9 release. There are a couple of additional cleanup patch sequences floating around and I think we should plan on leaving those for 1.10 unless they fix actual bugs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • User Interfaces Compared – Five Operating Systems, TWENTY Tests
      What this exercise has shown though is that Linux does not need to stand back to Windows as far as UI design is concerned. There are areas of improvement for sure. The beauty of Linux, of course, is that you, the user, can take this information, figure out better ways of doing it, and actually have a reasonable chance of suggesting it to your favorite Distro and have your suggestions adopted.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • A little healthy kompetition
        As previously mentioned in this blog — and as I tell anyone who’ll listen to me — I go back and forth between the two top desktop environments with Fedora on my Fujitsu laptop — the even numbers, as it turns out, have been GNOME and the odd (with nothing to read into this, honest) have been KDE. Since we’re now at Fedora 13, it’s KDE time.

        For those Xfce, LXDE, Fluxbox and IceWM fans out there, I do have machines in the Jungle Room — the lab at Redwood Digital Research in Felton, Calif., named after the same room at Graceland — running those desktops. While I’m a huge fan of Xfce on the machines that run it, I normally don’t stray too far from GNOME and KDE.

        Moving right along, though, in those instances where I use KDE on the laptop, I’ve always been impressed with the number of programs that KDE includes when downloading the KDE version of Fedora. This time around, it occurred to me that maybe I should give some of them a chance — rather than just downloading the programs I’m used to (, Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.) during the post-install phase — I should give the K its due.

      • Voting Opens for KDE Software Label Designs
        We've received a number of excellent designs and now it is time to pick the best. The judging panel will include four members of the KDE promotion team and you.

      • Join the KDE Game at Linuxtag 2010
        Of course, there are also a lot of KDE related talks in the presentation tracks:

        * What Is Special About the QML Declarative Language? by Daniel Molkentin, Thursday 10:30, Europa I * Beyond Groupware: Thinking Differently About KDE PIM And Kolab by Paul Adams, Thursday, 11:00, Berlin I * KDevelop 4 - Schneller C++ Programmieren by Milian Wolff, Thursday, 11:30 in Europa I


      • Week 22: KDE at openSUSE
        Greetings! Second week of the KDE at openSUSE blog. We are now on PlanetSUSE as well, so hello to all its readers. And since you did not get the last post: this blog is a short summary of what’s happening at openSUSE regarding KDE and it tries to give all those that bring KDE to the openSUSE users the credit they deserve.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Hiring a sysadmin for the GNOME infrastructure
        Two months ago, the GNOME Foundation started a fundraising campaign to get money to hire a part-time system administrator. Actually, we started this effort much earlier, but we made it much more visible with this campaign. Thanks to all the donors and to Canonical, Collabora, Google and Nokia, we were able to reach our objective. It was actually too fast for me and I wasn't even able to blog about the campaign in time! Once we realized the money was there, we moved on to the next steps — actually, we had those steps ready in the past, so it was mainly a matter of making sure everything was still okay.

  • Distributions

    • Qubes - A Highly Secure OS Powered By Xen Hypervisor
      Qubes is an open source operating system based on Linux, which is designed to provide strong security for desktop computing. Its unique selling point is that all applications that are run on Qubes is sand-boxed from each other.

      This is achieved by way of virtualization of all applications using Xen Hypervisor.

      Computer systems usually provide OS security in three basic ways, namely -

      1. Security by correctness, 2. Security by obscurity, and 3. Security by isolation.

    • New Releases

      • VortexBox 1.4 released
        We are pleased to announce the release of VortexBox 1.4. Continuing with our goal to make VortexBox the universal server for any media player we have added full DLNA support to VortexBox. DLNA is the future of media sharing and many players such as PS3, Windows 7 Media Player, and Samsung televisions support DLNA. Now you can easily serve your music and video files to all these devices.

      • Press Release: Sabayon Linux x86/x86-64 5.3 GNOME and KDE
        The best, refined blend of GNU/Linux, coming with bleeding edge edges is eventually here! Say hello to Sabayon Five-point-Threeh, available in both GNOME and KDE editions! Dedicated to those who like cutting edge stability, out of the box experience, outstanding Desktop performance, clean and beauty. Sabayon 5.3 will catch you, anything that could have been compiled, has been compiled, anything cool that could have been implemented or updated, it's there: you will find outstanding amount of new applications and features, like XBMC, KDE 4.4, GNOME 2.28, Linux Kernel 2.6.34, and so forth. So, come on, go catch it, it's half a DVD away from you!

      • Ultimate Edition 2.7

      • Quirky 1.2

      • Ylmf OS 3.0

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Netbook Remix on the Acer Aspire One
        I run Kubuntu on my other desktops and laptops, so I made the UNR boot flash drive using Kubuntu's Startup Disk Creator. Ubuntu has this utility as well -- it's dirt simple to use. Just download the UNR iso image and follow the Startup Disk Creator instructions.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Ben NanoNote Aims To Bring Open Source Tenets to Hardware
      Is there a market out there for completely open source computers, where even the design of the hardware components is shared in community fashion? That's the question that Qi Hardware's Ben NanoNote laptop is trying to answer. According to Linux News, you can now order the systems for $99. Linux is on board, and all aspects of the hardware design are open and free for tinkerers to modify.

    • TI spins 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 SoC
      Development on the Sitara AM3715 is supported not only by the BeagleBoard-xM, but by a more fully featured TI TMDXEVM3715 evaluation module (EVM). According to Crane, the current Linux BSP (board support package) will be followed by a Windows CE BSP in the third quarter. An Android version will come "relatively soon," he added.

      The current Linux version offers a BSP based on Linux kernel 2.6.32, and provides a graphical user interface, graphics, applications, demonstrations, and development utilities, says TI.

    • HP launches ePrint cloud service and four web-enabled printers
      At presstime, HP had yet to respond to a request for OS details, but it would seem that all four new printers are based on Linux. The e-All-in-One printers are not, however, the WebOS-imbued printers that HP recently said it planned to offer in the future. (HP's pending acquisition of Palm and its Linux-based WebOS operating system is expected to be completed soon.)

    • UK Non-profit Aims to Reduce Embedded Linux Fragmentation on ARM Devices
      Set of open source software tools to interact directly with the kernel.

    • Android

      • Startup readies world's first Android Internet radio
        As far as we know, this is indeed the first dedicated desktop Internet radio to run Android. In fact, touchscreen-based Internet radios of any kind, such as the Linux-based Sensia from Pure, are still fairly novel.

      • Intel demos Android 2.1 on Moorestown smartphone (video)
        Intel's barking up all kinds of trees (ones planted by Qualcomm, NVIDIA and ARM) with its Moorestown Atom platform, and while it'll be quite some time before we see an Atom Inside sticker gracing the face of a smartphone, the company's making sure the world sees what it has ramped up so far with reference builds here in Taipei.

      • First Android Based TV Unveiled
        In an article over at, it is being reported that the television set pictured to the left is the fist set in the world to have the Android platform built into it. Chinese electronics manufacturer TCL has reportedly been working in their labs since 2008 to integrate Android with one of their displays, with this unit being the product of their efforts.

      • Google TV gains new Android IPTV rivals
        Linux-based IPTV set-top boxes (STBs) have been around for several years. Some, such as the Myka Ion, offer full web access over the TV in addition to access to video-on-demand sites.

      • All myTouch 3G Series Phones to See Android 2.2
        An internal screen shot is being passed around showing T-Mobile's Cole Brodman pledge of "no phones left behind" when it comes to the latest Android release and their flagship phones.

      • Motorola: 20 new Android phones in 2010
        Motorola has confirmed its plans to launch a full twenty Android based smartphones this year, with a range of devices running MOTOBLUR like the FLIPOUT and some packing hardware QWERTY keyboards.

      • Android phone has eight megapixel camera, xenon flash
        Motorola announced a Europe-destined version of its Motoroi phone called the Milestone XT720, offering Android 2.1, 720p video capture, HDMI, and an eight-megapixel camera with xenon flash. Meanwhile, Motorola is also prepping a somewhat similar "Droid Xtreme" successor to its original Droid for Verizon in the U.S., reports claim.

      • Motorola Dares to Be Square With Flipout Smartphone

      • So You Want to Switch to Android…One Man’s iPhone to Nexus One Migration
        Android is ready for prime time. It’s not going to beat the iPhone – not yet – but it’s ready for mainstream users. Which is probably why they’re shipping 65,000 of them a day. FroYo will only make this readiness more evident. The hiring of Matias Duarte, formerly of Palm, only underscores Google’s commitment to improving the UI.

    • Tablets

      • FOSS-tablet Business Report: "Tear down this stair!"
        The Linaro group seems to be answering this demands. IBM, Samsung, TI and Freescale can be considered the 'hardware roots', while Ubuntu, MeeGo and Android communities can be considered leaves, but what this tree lacked is a trunk. Linago might be that trunk that will enable quicker time to market. It is the node at the cross that was missing. The other two notable hardware makers working together with the software community in the MeeGo environment also got the message. What we're basically seeing is a trend towards consolidation in 'foundations' in which competitors cooperate instead of consolidation in one company. This marks an important step in a quicker time to market, the much needed step to advance in the direction of the ultimate goal: Linux world domination.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Webmail Client Roundcube Shows Promise
    There are plenty of open source email clients already on the market, but there's always room for more. Roundcube is a free and open source Web mail application that contains full support for HTML and MIME messages, IMAP folder management, and more.

  • Qt Developer Days 2010
    Today I got a email about registration for “Qt Developer Days 2010″. This conference will be in Munich (October 11-13) and in San Francisco (November 1-3).

  • Engine Yard Expands Platform-as-a-Service Offering With xCloud

  • Databases


    • What's Cooking in the Renaissance Kitchen?
      OK, the title of this blog was a bit misleading. We are actually talking about Better Defaults, which are the focus of the most recent Renaissance status presentation, which you can munch on if you find time for a light snack.

    • A police report
      Last Friday the Minister of Justice revealed a report regarding the Danish police's finances. The background is that the police in Denmark has been spending much more money over the last many years, than they where allowed to in the budget.


      The opposition parties are now asking the Minister, why there crystal clear recommendations of F/OSS and has been erased from the official version.

    • Important recommendations omitted
      Why was important recommendations from McKinsey omitted in the report 'A professional and well driven police' to the Parliament?

      From the report from McKinsey with the financial analyzes:

      The section 'Use of cheaper software':
      That in stead (of Microsoft Office) works with a scenario with a shift to or Star Office, as the product is called, when delivered from SUN (Oracle). By using a well know supplier such as SUN(Oracle), that now also develops and supports MySQL as well as Star Office, it will be assured that support is available with the quality the police needs. (p. 83-84)
      A shift to or Star Office will according to McKinsey result in savings around 100 mio DKK untill 2017.

    • 3.2 Gets its 29 Millionth Download
      Popular open source productivity a154 million downloads since version 3.0

  • Bidding

    • When should excluding open source be illegal?
      Last week Laurent Bounin of Savoir Faire Linux in Quebec wrote in with good news.

      A Canadian court ruled the provincial government broke the law in 2006 when it upgraded Windows on 800 workstations and excluded open source from the bid.

    • Did Canada Just Rule In Favor of Open Source?
      In recent years, numerous governments and government entities around the world have issued mandates regarding increased adoption of open source software. We've written about the trend from numerous angles, but one of the more interesting spins on this trend has just occurred, as reported by Savoir-faire Linux. A Canadian court ruled that Quebec broke the law when it migrated 800 workstations to Microsoft software without performing a "serious and documented search" for alternatives.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.0 Release Candidate Available for Testing
      WordPress 3.0 looks like an especially compelling release of the seven-year old blogging platform. The much-anticipated custom menu system features lots of drag-and-drop options along with the ability to create sub-menus hide specific pages, and more. The WordPress admin page has also been altered to users to focus more on content

  • Business

    • Top 10 Reasons to Consider Open Source CRM

    • Funambol v8.5 Syncs Mobile Pictures With the Open Cloud
      Billions of mobile phones and devices can now automatically sync pictures with the Web thanks to Funambol, the open source mobile cloud company. The company today announced the general availability of Funambol v8.5, which adds syncing of pictures and rich media between mobile devices and the open cloud. Once synced, pictures and mobile data can be viewed online, synced with connected devices and shared with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

    • A Modest Proposal: A Structured Tax-Exempt Structure for Corporate OSS Development, Carlo Daffara
      One of the most common observations in the open source marketplace is related to the low level of contributions by companies, especially small and medium sized businesses, to the projects behind the open source software (OSS) they use within their embedded systems or as part of an internal IT infrastructure. Looking at the Eclipse Foundation, one of the best run open source projects, it is possible to see that most contributions are from large companies that use Eclipse as a basis for their products or from open source companies that are aware of the strategic importance for code contributions to OSS projects.

    • Olliance CEO Interview Series: Open Source Today: Delivering Solutions and Thought Leadership, Daniel Chalef, CEO KnowledgeTree
      Daniel: KnowledgeTree’s focus is on delivering easy to use, turnkey document management solutions to small and medium business. We also have a significant number of global 2000 customers, mostly at the department level. The reason why we have those large organizations is because of our open source value proposition, a story you have heard many times before and know and love.

  • Government

  • Openness

    • We can accomplish more by sharing
      I first learned about the open source way years ago as a tech lawyer in a private law firm when I was introduced to Red Hat. I found the open source model interesting, but from a different perspective than developers. For context, at the time, many technology licensing lawyers started talking about open source because of the innovative use of copyright law to protect transparency and sharing of the open source code through the general public license (GPL).

    • Open Source Project Looks for Better TB Treatments
      India's Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) collective is the driving force behind the Connect 2 Decode project that aims to pool research data and create a central repository accessible by anyone organization in the world that's doing TB research of its own. More than 1.7 million people die from tuberculosis each year, and the virus is growing increasingly resistant to existing drugs. The gene research will hopefully lead to better medicines and vaccines that haven't been improved since they were first developed in the 1960's.

  • Programming

    • 15 years of PHP
      Fifteen years ago today, on the 8th of June, 1995, Rasmus Lerdorf launched PHP with a post to the comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi Usenet news group. He announced version 1.0 of his "Personal Home Page Tools", software that was originally intended for managing job applications on a web site. As Lerdorf made the tools available as open source code (originally under the GPL, since version 4.0 under the PHP Licence) his PHP software, written in C, was bound to find a wide audience.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Aspose.Words Product Family
      In mid-April, four of us from the Aspose.Words team have attended the ODF Interoperability workshop that was held in the beautiful city of Granada in the province of Andalusia. The main themes of the trip were learning more about Open Document initiatives in Europe, meeting people, talking about nuances of ODT and testing how well Aspose.Words supports it. Besides, we had a chance to make a presentation about Aspose.Words to the ODF Plugfest community.

    • EmacsWiki: OpenDocument
      View and edit OpenDocument files inside Emacs

    • ODFDOM 0.8.5 - The new Release of the OpenDocument Java Library
      The new version of ODFDOM - our Apache 2 licensed ODF library in Java has been released! Aside of a more than a dozen patches there were two outstanding new features for the 0.8.5 release:

      1. The support of all ODF templates. Nearly all document types of ODF 1.2 are now supported. Only the support for Formula (MathML) and Database front end documents will follow later. 2. The new high level Presentation API for slide handling. An API supporting exchange of slides, copy and much more.

    • Converting ODF to ePub


  • CNN Close to Dropping AP
    CNN is close to dropping its subscription to the Associated Press, people familiar with the decision tell TVNewser.

  • The art of the (public) cover letter: Journal Register staff apply for ideaLab spots via blog comments
    After last week’s successful completion of the Journal Register Company’s Ben Franklin Project, CEO John Paton was looking for a new project that would keep the momentum of innovation going for the beleaguered newspaper network.

  • Libel Bill gives ISPs definite 14 day window to act
    A new libel law proposed by a Liberal Democrat peer would clarify how quickly ISPs and publishers have to act when told of a defamatory post or article. Defamatory material would not have to be taken down for 14 days, under the proposal.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Not every adult is a paedophile, a terrorist or a mass murderer
      The toughest lesson to draw from the Whitehaven tragedy is that there might be no lesson at all. We cannot stop people having rows at home or work, taking leave of their senses, finding a gun and going berserk. Such things rarely happen. But even the most authoritarian state must allow some personal liberty, and everyone accepts the resulting risk. No free community can be wholly safe without losing its freedom.

    • Surveillance cameras in Birmingham track Muslims' every move
      About 150 car numberplate recognition cameras installed in two Muslim areas, paid for by government anti-terrorism fund

  • Environment

    • BP's Tony Hayward: Clueless or Careless?
      Possibly the most famous instance of poor propriety was when Hayward, while apologizing to the people of Louisiana, told them "I would like my life back", a comment that sounded particularly insensitive after the Gulf catastrophe claimed 11 lives in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Further casualties now include nearly 500 birds, 227 turtles, and 27 mammals, including dolphins. Hayward's poorly-conceived statements do not stop there; he also famously said, "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."

    • BP Buys 'Oil' Search Terms to Redirect Users to Official Company Website
      On Google, paid results are awarded to the highest bidder.

      Scott Slatin, an analyst who runs search engine marketing company Rivington in New York, estimates the company is paying upwards of $10,000 per day to maintain the various search terms.

      "They paid to lock themselves into the first position against the oil spill terms, essentially putting a positive message on top of the news," Slatin said.

  • Finance

    • The Emergence of a “New Establishment”
      I think that the continuing global financial crisis has now put an end to the ideological fantasy that highly complex markets can effectively function with minimal government oversight.

    • Goldman Sachs stonewalling, federal panel says
      Goldman Sachs Group Inc., already under fire for its actions leading up to the financial crisis, came under attack from a federal commission that accused it of refusing to divulge information, including documents detailing its controversial bets on the mortgage market.

      Saying it had been stonewalled, the federal commission investigating the financial crisis on Monday took the unusual step of issuing a subpoena to Goldman that demanded information about the investment bank's role before and during the mortgage meltdown and credit crunch.

    • Lobbyists flock to Wall St. bill
      Ten Washington lobbying firms have represented a whopping 130 different clients in the financial regulatory reform debate — raking in millions of dollars as the bill heads for final passage.

    • War Over Bank Capital Heating Up
      The global war over new bank capital requirements for banks is intensifying, with a clash between powerful U.S. regulators drawing widespread international attention.

    • Reach equals grasp on banking bill
      The future of improved financial regulations depends largely on how the differences between the House and Senate bills are resolved.

    • Banks queasy as reform deal nears
      For months, Wall Street banks have been biding their time, serenely confident that Democrats would eventually drop their get-tough stance on derivatives and quietly excise a tough new proposal from the financial reform bill.

    • Financial Panel Issues a Subpoena to Goldman Sachs
      The commission investigating the causes of the financial crisis said on Monday that it had subpoenaed Goldman Sachs and harshly accused the investment bank of trying to delay and disrupt its inquiry.

    • It’s the Economy, Mr. Bernanke
      Banks are not investors. They need to get paid back. We have an S.B.A. loan program that works. Some people complain that it requires too much paperwork. I’ve taken two S.B.A. loans, both many years after I started my business. The amount of paperwork involved was not unreasonable. This is the land of opportunity. Entrepreneurs have an opportunity to borrow money, if they can, or to look for investors. If they can’t find the money that way, they may have to do it the old-fashioned way — earning it themselves and using their own money.

    • The Leading Men of Regulation
      Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd bring to the negotiations experience from the government's rapid and often ad hoc response to the financial crisis, including the controversial decision to risk taxpayer money to bail out the financial sector.

    • More factory jobs ease economic pain
      Manufacturing job gains in the Midwest helped lower the nation's economic stress in April to its lowest point in five months, according to The Associated Press' monthly analysis of conditions around the country.

    • Who is Jerome Kerviel? Court tries to crack case
      The scandal led to euro5 billion (more than $7 billion at the time) in losses once the bank unwound Jerome Kerviel's positions in January 2008. The case gave a taste of the spiraling crises to come in the finance world, from the fall of Lehman Brothers to Bernard L. Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

    • Job openings rise to highest level in 16 months
      Job openings jumped in April to the highest level in 16 months, a sign that private employers may boost hiring in coming months.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Crew Asks Hhs Ig To Investigate Tobacco Panel’s Conflicts Of Interest
      Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to the Inspector General (IG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking for an investigation into two appointments made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC). The two members, Drs. Neal Benowitz and Jack Henningfield, have financial conflicts of interest based on their ties to pharmaceutical companies that make smoking cessation products.

    • PG&E: loved from afar, protested at home
      The company was part of a vanguard of corporations that, in 2007, began demanding federal action to stop global warming. Until then, America's big businesses had largely been silent on the issue or actively supporting the other side.

    • GM lobby helped draw up crucial report on Britain's food supplies
      A powerful lobbying organisation representing agribusiness interests helped draft a key government report that has been attacked by environmentalists for heavily favouring the arguments of the genetically modified food industry.

      The revelation comes after the resignation of two government advisers who have criticised the close relationship between the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the body that oversees the UK's food industry, and the GM lobby.

      Emails between the FSA and the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC) show the council inserted key sentences strengthening the case for GM food that ended up in the final report.

      The report, "Food Standards Agency work on changes in the market and the GM regulatory system", examines how GM products are entering the UK, where the growing of GM products is banned, through the animal feed system. It acknowledges food prices could go up if GM products continue to be excluded.

      Emails from the council – which represents leading GM food companies such as Monsanto and Bayer – to Dr Clair Baynton, the then head of novel foods at the FSA, show a close dialogue between both sides between 2008 and August 2009, when the report was published.

    • Chamber of Commerce at It Again With Latest Report Distorting the Record of Flawed Trade Deals
      There is no funny U.S. Chamber of Commerce math that can overcome the fact that U.S. government data show that we have lost 5 million net manufacturing jobs since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) went into effect. The U.S. trade deficit peaked at $830 billion during this period, and U.S. real median wages still lurk at 1972 levels.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • DRM

    • The 'Oldest Pirate' Passes
      I spent the next 10 minutes explaining to Alice about DRM and what it is doing to people who legitimately purchase music. It seems that the DRM’ed CD allowed itself to be “ripped” but when the copy of the CD was attempted to play in MP3 format, the DRM kicked in, and the “screw you” message, as Alice refers to it, appeared on the screen.

      Alice listened without interupting. I could hear her scribbling furiously as I spoke but she never stopped me to repeat something or clarify a point. When I finished and was sure I had covered the entire issue, only then did she speak.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Movie Studio Lawyers Eye The Amazing Resurrection of Newzbin
      The past few weeks has seen the somewhat unlikely resurrection of Newzbin. The world’s premier Usenet indexing site was crushed by huge debts but through a tangled web worthy of the most dramatic soap opera, it has somehow been reanimated. While ex-owner Caesium eyes future opportunities away from file-sharing, lawyers already have plans to bring Newzbin2 to its knees.

    • Copyrights

      • Abba tribute acts face ruin
        When the British public are asked which band they most want to make a comeback, there is usually only one winner. Abba are generally the number one choice, which reflects the timeless appeal their unmatchable canon of pop classics continues to command, both here and internationally.

        It also explains why there are so many Abba tribute acts. At the last count, at least 40 were on the circuit, entertaining fans across the UK with their own take on the ‘70s chart stars' back catalogue. But they could all face ruin if legal action launched by Universal Records is successful.

      • Is Copyright Holding Back Research?
        Now, one response to this might be that these professors need to be better educated on the boundaries, exceptions and limits to copyright law. However, it's not so simple. Part of the reason why there is so much fear of copyright law is because of the actions of many copyright holders, who not only aggressively push an extreme version of copyright law out to the public -- such as the MPAA's infamous (infamously wrong) "if you haven't paid for it, you've stolen it" education campaing -- but who have used ridiculously high statutory rates to publicize the idea that for very marginal copyright infringement, you may be liable for millions in damages awards (not counting legal fees).

        The copyright holders themselves have been trying to paint this picture of copyright as being much more than it really is -- and as a result of that, it's now actively stifling all kinds of important research.

      • Copyright: The Elephant in the Middle of the Glee Club
        These worlds don’t match. Both Glee and the RIAA can’t be right. It’s hard to imagine glee club coach Will Schuester giving his students a tough speech on how they can’t do mash-ups anymore because of copyright law (but if he did, it might make people rethink the law). Instead, copyright violations are rewarded in Glee — after Sue’s Physical video goes viral, Olivia Newton-John contacts Sue so they can film a new, improved video together.

      • Court Smacks Down Copyright Lawyer For Bad Faith Pursuit Of Copyright Infringement
        Kornarens apparently misrepresented Indian copyright law, citing an "immaterial concurring opinion" and misquoting other rulings by inserting parenthetical notations into those rulings, that changed the meaning. The court doesn't take that sort of stuff kindly:
        The district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding Kornarens' misrepresentations of Indian law evidenced his bad faith and recklessness in pursuing Lahiri's copyright claim.

        Kornarens now concedes his written submissions to the district court contained "mistakes." However, viewed in the context of the history of this litigation, the court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Kornarens acted recklessly and in bad faith in pursuing a frivolous copyright claim for five years.
        Now, this situation is clearly a pretty extreme one, given the details of the case, but with so many copyright lawsuits being filed these days on such flimsy evidence, some of the lawyers involved might want to pay attention to what can happen when you aggressively pursue a bogus copyright claim.

      • Is Viacom Doing To Independent Content Creators In 2010 What It Says YouTube Did To Viacom In 2006?
        Either way, it would be interesting to see if anyone has more evidence that Viacom properties are improperly monetizing CC non-commercially-licensed videos. That would seem like a relevant point in the ongoing lawsuit...

      • Viacom PWNED on Piracy

      • Corruption in Dutch copyright court
        Now, however, news have surfaced that show that the judge was corrupt and the case all but predecided. It turns out that the lawyer for the copyright lobby, Dirk Visser (who has previously represented the infamous BREIN against Mininova), is actively running an anti-piracy business together with the judge.

Clip of the Day

DAD: Desktop Adapted for DAD (2006)

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