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Links 11/8/2010: Motorola Droid 2 Surfaces, Ubuntu's Census Backlash

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • On the changing role of PowerTOP
      I’m realizing that PowerTOP got released 3 years ago now. While not nearly as old as the Linux kernel, it’s time to look back and then forward again.


      So it’s now time to rethink some of the code code and make things much more scalable for adding new checks and features. In addition, the output also needs to improve to be more useful as a diagnostics tool. I’m thinking about adding a “generate a report” option, that basically gives a complete report card of the system. This doesn’t mean I want to leave the end user behind; not at all. But in terms of new features, with all the low hanging fruit taken care of, some of the things PowerTOP needs to do are just a lot more technical than what PowerTOP 1.0 offered.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, KVM to Pursue Security Certification
        We’re excited to announce that Red Hat has entered into an agreement with atsec information security to certify Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 under Common Criteria at Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 4+, which will include certifying the KVM hypervisor on both Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. The Common Criteria EALs represent the depth and rigor of the evaluation, giving consumers the confidence that products certified at a specific level meet the package of security assurance requirements associated with that level and comply with internationally recognized security standards.

      • Red Hat, Wipro may Deliver Open Source Solutions Across India
        Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, and Wipro, a leading Indian IT solutions and services provider, today announced that Wipro has become the first Red Hat Premier Partner in India and the two companies have strengthened their strategic partnership through joint marketing and integration opportunities designed to bring open source solutions to enterprises across the subcontinent.

      • Global Knowledge Named Red Hat Premier Training Partner of the Year for 2010

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu's Census Taker Getting Bad Rap
          It hasn't helped that Canonical is already bearing the brunt of some community animosity over recent reports indicating they might not be contributing enough code upstream to the GNOME Project, followed up by a stunningly obtuse rant (and, later, apology) against free software by a prominent member of the Ubuntu community.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Android

        • Replica Island for Android
          This open-source title was built specifically for the Android platform, and the fact that the main character is a dead ringer for Android's mascot is no coincidence.

        • Easy Root App For Motorola Droid/Droid-X/Milestone Removed From Android Marketplace
          “Easy Root” – an easy one-click solution for users looking to root Android 2.2 on their Motorola Droid, Droid-X and Milestone has reportedly been removed from the Android Marketplace. While I have not been able to try the app out myself, the app presumably offers an easy way for non-techie users of these Android handsets to be able to root their Motorola phones. Unlike most other rooting applications, Easy Root does not require users to connect their handsets to a computer. Instead, they were required to download the $1 app from the Marketplace and tap ‘Root Me‘ to get started.

        • Tablet makers eye Android screen optimization
          Tablet makers may be warm to Google's Android operating system (OS), but the OS' inability to scale beyond 5-inch screens works against its favor. Industry watchers, though, note this is just one factor affecting user experience and predict support for bigger screens will come in time.

        • 1.2GHz Dual-Core HTC Android iPhone 4 Beater Spotted
          HTC has more Android smartphones than any other company, and it’s a trend that looks set to continue into the next year. The latest model on the horizon has a spec that could include an amazing 1.2GHz dual-core processor, along with a sliding QWERTY keyboard. To find out more, join us after the break…

        • Competing in a Heated Android Market
          Understandably, most manufacturers choose to source their OS from someone else. Android is the licensed OS of the moment, largely because the other options didn’t innovate fast enough – Microsoft had to abandon Windows Mobile and start fresh with Windows Phone 7 and Symbian ought to be doing the same thing.

        • Verizon announces Droid 2, available August 12
          It wasn't the most well-kept secret in the world, but the news is nonetheless exciting, as Verizon Wireless finally announced the Motorola Droid 2 on Tuesday.

          The Droid 2 will be available for presale on Verizon's Web site starting August 11 and will be in stores August 12 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. As expected, the smartphone will ship running Android 2.2, which among other things includes support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1. The Droid 2 can also be used as a mobile hot spot for up to five devices, but you will need to sign up for Verizon's 3G Mobile Hotspot Service, which costs $20 per month.

        • Motorola Droid 2 (and R2-D2 edition!) finally official: Android 2.2, Swype, $200 on contract
          At long last, the leaks are being plugged by none other than Verizon itself, who today confirmed that the Droid 2 is more than just a figment of everyone's imagination. Shortly after hamstringing the Froyo update for the original Droid, Big Red is tossing a tempting upgrade all up in your grille, as the Droid 2 ships with Android 2.2, mobile hotspot (a $20 / month add-on), Flash Player 10.1 and a revised QWERTY keyboard.

        • Motorola's dev site details Android-powered Ming A1680

        • Couchio announce CouchDB SDK for Android
          The application is installable from the Android Marketplace (search for "CouchDB") and runs on Android 2.1 and 2.2 devices. The source code is also available from a GitHub repository.

Free Software/Open Source

  • eWEEK Europe Readers Say Yes To Open Source
    Enterprises are leading the way in open source, according to our readers' poll, while governments lag behind. Next up: the majority of my business's desktops are...

  • Lockheed Martin's Social Networking Platform's Not Rocket Science
    Lockheed Martin, the giant defense contractor, is wary of letting its staff use social networking. Probably something to do with secrecy. It also knows its staff are people, so it's built its own social network structure, dubbed Eureka Streams, and is now releasing it open-source for ... well, pretty much anyone to use.

  • The perils of writing about open source
    It is said that there are three subjects you should never discuss at the dinner table; sex, religion and politics. I’d like to add a fourth to that combustible list - open source software.

    Open source is one of those subjects journalists treat cautiously, which is probably why a recent report by security company Qualys relating versioning to vulnerabilities in some open source web apps has caused some angst ever since I tackled it for a news story.

  • Packt launch fifth annual Open Source Awards

  • IT industry news: Businesses 'should exploit the benefits of open source technology'
    The use of open source technology in the IT industry and other sectors allows companies to obtain real time statistics and analytics without investing too much, according to Nicola Clark, features editor at Marketing Magazine.

  • Open Source Community Paves Way for Developers to Improve Internet Access for the Aging, Disabled
    The OpenAjax Alliance (OAA) has announced it has created new open source tooling technology to help software developers access and use Web 2.0-enabled business, government and consumer web sites. The new tooling technology simplifies the way Web applications are tested for compliance with current accessibility standards and guidelines, helping to speed up delivery of new accessible Internet applications.

  • The Good & Bad For LLVMpipe With Intel's GLSL2 Compiler
    Last month we tested out Intel's new GLSL compiler for Mesa when running the ATI Radeon classic Mesa and Gallium3D drivers to see how this GL Shading Language compiler designed by Intel employee's for their hardware and open-source driver work for the other open-source drivers, since all of the Mesa drivers will be affected once this "GLSL2" compiler is merged into the Mesa code-base by month's end. The experience using Intel's new shader compiler with the ATI Radeon graphics driver worked fine except for Warsow where serious regressions were visible, but in the other games that are capable of running off Mesa, the experience was fine. What we have been curious to test since then with this new OpenGL shader compiler has been the LLVMpipe driver -- a Gallium3D driver we have been very excited about as it finally provides a better software rasterizer for Linux by leveraging Gallium3D and the Low-Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) compiler infrastructure for accelerating the Mesa state tracker atop a modern multi-core CPU that supports SSE4 instructions. We have now finished running tests of the Intel's GLSL2 branch with the most recent LLVMpipe driver code.

  • Zenoss Survey Finds Open Source Ubiquitous, Easy
    No surprise, 98% of enterprises are using open source. But the tide is turning in terms of perception: More than 71% of those surveyed at the 2009 USENIX Large Installation System Administration (LISA) conference say that open source is easier to deploy than proprietary software.

  • SaaS

  • Oracle

  • CMS

  • Business

    • Open source monetization – still a far cry?
      As far as open source is concerned, people do not necessarily need a huge pile of money to create a software asset. Linus Torvalds never charged anything for Linux. He wrote it because he felt that to be an important thing to do. I think most of the people who do open source have a day job or have a company. They’re selling all of their services around open source. So something like open source can continue to just run without actually monetizing the software asset directly.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Using Competition Law to Promote Access to Knowledge
      One of the points of convergence among the many strands of the A2K movement is resistance to the one-size-fits-all ratcheting up of intellectual property provisions around the world. The resistance is grounded in analysis showing that intellectual property rules often create social costs that far outweigh their intended benefits. Much of the A2K movement’s advocacy for limitations of intellectual property rights is located within the field of intellectual property law – promoting the inclusion and use of balancing mechanisms within the laws granting intellectual property rights. But intellectual property rights are also shaped and limited by their interaction with other fields of law, competition law being a prime example. After describing the theoretical and doctrinal underpinnings of a shift of A2K legal advocacy toward the use of completion law, this paper surveys some of the strategic advantages of using competition norms to reframe political debates and shift struggles into new, potentially more hospitable, forums.

    • Open Up Event to Discuss Implementing Open Source in Society
      All talks will then be uploaded to the Open UP archive for the world to see. After the talks there will be an open discussion where people can network and learn more about incorporating open source ideas and principles into their work. This project is an extremely exciting opportunity for cross pollination and discussion of Open Source Ideals.

    • CoLab Brings Online Collaboration to the Scientific Community
      Scientific researchers may want the input of others in the community but are understandably hesitant to share data and information they've worked so hard to uncover. When scientists working on similar projects are flung far and wide around the globe, collaboration becomes even more of a challenge. CoLab, a new open source project launched by two California-based scientists, aims to make it easier for the scientific community to work together toward its common goals.

    • Open Source Tools Turn WikiLeaks Into Illustrated Afghan Meltdown (Updated)
      NYU political science grad student (and occasional Danger Room contributor) Drew Conway has done just that, using an open source statistical programming language called R and a graphical plotting software tool. The results are unnerving, like stop-motion photography of a freeway wreck. Above is the latest example: a graph showing the spread of combat from 2004 to 2009. It’s exactly what you wouldn’t want to see as a war drags on.

    • Mapping Georgia From Scratch
      The map from Open Maps, which will be completed by the end of this month, will be an open-source map — meaning anyone can contribute to it, edit it and tweak it to their needs: It's Wikipedia-meets-cartography, developing world-style.

    • Apertus: The open source cinema project
      When I explain the project, people often ask what the real differences between Apertus and other camera projects really are, or in other words, what advantages an "open" project really possesses for the end user. Since most creative people in the film industry like DOPs (directors of photography) and camera operators are not software developers, they have a very blurry understanding of words like "Linux" and "open source". If anything they would associate them with "geeks" and "nerds," but nothing they would expect to work with closely in their future everyday work.

    • Open Data

      • Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information
        In October 2007, 30 open government advocates met in Sebastopol, California to discuss how government could open up electronically-stored government data for public use. Up until that point, the federal and state governments had made some data available to the public, usually inconsistently and incompletely, which had whetted the advocates' appetites for more and better data. The conference, led by Carl Malamud and Tim O'Reilly and funded by a grant from the Sunlight Foundation, resulted in eight principles that, if implemented, would empower the public's use of government-held data.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Project Canvas specification not so open after all
        The BBC is still refusing to release to the public the requirements specifications for Project Canvas, despite a formal condition of the BBC Trust in approving its participation in the proposed joint venture broadband connected television platform. The BBC Trust now says it does not believe that publication is appropriate at this stage, saying that it would not be in the interests of interested parties.

        The aim of Project Canvas, as stated in the original application from the BBC Executive in February 2009, is “to create an open technical specification for internet connectivity to encourage the growth of internet protocol (IP) connections into set-top boxes.”

    • Open Hardware


  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Fallible DNA evidence can mean prison or freedom
      YOU are the juror: would you trust DNA evidence? Most people regard it as near infallible- it produces the right result or no result, exonerating the innocent and securing convictions where other evidence fails.

      But DNA is not as objective as you might think. In the first of a two-part investigation, New Scientist reveals that much of the DNA analysis now conducted in crime labs can suffer from worrying subjectivity and bias. We asked forensic analysts to interpret a sample of real DNA evidence and found that they reached opposing conclusions about whether the suspect matched it or not. Our subsequent survey of labs around the world also shows that there are significant inconsistencies in the guidelines on how to interpret a sample. The findings suggest that the difference between prison and freedom could often rest on the opinions of a single individual.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Discovery Channel Ignores Repeated Twitter Questions, Sends Content-Free Statement
      On Monday, we wrote about the ridiculous manner in which The Discovery Channel was treating a fan site that it had previously supported strongly. At the very top we clearly noted that the domain name of the site -- -- was indeed a problem, and I could totally understand the trademark claim. But there are all sorts of ways this could be dealt with, and The Discovery Channel appears to have chosen the absolute worst. First, it's important to point out that for over a year (at least), The Discovery Channel has actively supported this fan site. Not only did staff members happily email the site's owner, John White, with encouragement, preview videos and content, but it also linked directly to the site on the official webpage for the show Deadliest Catch -- even "framing" White's site with its own dashboard.

      However, after actively supporting the show, suddenly Discovery switched 180 degrees and sent over a legal nastygram, demanding that the site be taken down and the domain handed over. Beyond the (again, probably legitimate) trademark issue, the lawyers added on the absolutely ridiculous claim that White's embedding of clips from the Discovery Channel's own YouTube channel (that had embedding enabled) was copyright infringement. This is copyfraud. Discovery specifically chose to allow the world to embed. To then accuse someone of copyright infringement for doing so is blatant legal bullying.

    • Copyrights

      • Should Canadian Universities Walk Away From Access Copyright?
        The Access Copyright tariff proposal that calls for a 1300% increase in fees to $45 per full-time student has generated some interesting discussion. I noted in one of my responses that my courses only use openly accessible materials - court cases, statutes, government reports, and open access licenced articles. This comes without any loss in the quality of materials and without the need for further payment or permissions. I don't think this is particuarly unusual for law, which relies heavily on these kinds of materials in addition to textbooks purchased by students and works in databases that are separately licenced. The amount of additional copying in that environment that falls outside private study or research such that it requires a licence is tiny to non-existent. Indeed, the inclusion of education as a fair dealing category would not change a great deal for thousands of Canadian law students.

      • Ip Man 2 Movie Piracy Case A Rare Event In China
        In a very rare event, a Chinese anti-piracy group says it will sue several websites and companies for their involvement in film piracy in the country. As it teams up with the studio behind the recent martial arts hit Ip Man 2, not only will web portals and Internet cafes be sued, but one of China’s biggest file-sharing link sites, VeryCD.

      • 944 BitTorrent Lawsuits Dismissed - For Now
        There's an interesting development going on with the US Copyright Group (USCG) vs The People lawsuits. In the two earliest cases filed way back in January of this year, G2 Entertainment (Uncross the Stars) and World Wide Entertainment (The Gray Man), have dismissed their cases - without prejudice. The following verbiage appeared in motions filed by these companies...


        WorldWide Film Entertainment had 749 defendants, the third lowest number of defendants in all of the USCG lawsuits. Only the Call of the Wild lawsuit has fewer, with 358 unnamed defendants.

      • The Cycle Of Copyright: Originally A Tool For Censorship, Attempted As A Tool For Incentives... Back To A Tool For Censorship
        If you want to understand copyright law, its history, and how it's been abused, you really ought to read this excellent overview by law professor and practicing intellectual property attorney, Lydia Pallas Loren, called The Purpose of Copyright (found via Teleread). The article kicks off with a point that we've made over and over again here, that many people incorrectly believe the purpose of copyright law is to protect creators. Unfortunately, this false belief permeates many in society -- including copyright lawyers:
        Copyright permeates our lives and yet, despite its impact on our lives, relatively few people, including lawyers, have sufficient knowledge or understanding of what copyright is. And far too many people, including lawyers, have major misconceptions concerning copyright. These misconceptions are causing a dangerous shift in copyright protection, a shift that threatens the advancement of knowledge and learning in this country. This shift that we are experiencing in copyright law reflects a move away from viewing copyright as a monopoly that the public is willing to tolerate in order to encourage innovation and creation of new works to viewing copyright as a significant asset to this country's economy. The most recent example of this shift is the new Digital Millennium Copyright Act, sign by the President on October 28, 1998.

        Understanding the root cause and the dangers of this shift requires exposing the most fundamental and most common misconception concerning the underlying purpose of the monopoly granted by our copyright law. The primary purpose of copyright is not, as many people believe, to protect authors against those who would steal the fruits of their labor. However, this misconception, repeated so often that it has become accepted among the public as true, poses serious dangers to the core purpose that copyright law is designed to serve.

      • Ferne Downey: Building on private copying is one way to fix Canadian copyright bill
        At the risk of sounding nerdy, I have to say I’m happy to be spending my summer talking and writing about copyright. As a performer, Canadian copyright laws play a big part in how I make my living—or not, as the case may be. The only downer is I’d rather be talking up Bill C-32, the government’s recently introduced copyright legislation, to make sure it gets passed, not working so hard to make sure it gets amended.

Clip of the Day

Richard Stallman Speech 2001

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