Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 15/9/2010: More MeeGo Wins, DEAct Debate Reactivated

GNOME bluefish



  • Windows 7 vs Ubuntu 10.04
    Despite the bombastic predictions of open-source advocates, and a short-lived spell as the default netbook operating system, Linux remains at the very margins of mainstream computing. Even among PC Pro’s technically literate readership, only 4% are running a Linux OS, according to the visitor stats for this website.

    However, something rather extraordinary is happening in the Linux world. Amid all the distros that have come and gone over the years, one finally has the potential, the momentum and the commercial backing to at least challenge the Windows hegemony.

  • Cracking Linux on the Desktop – A Proposal
    I have been touting the security of Linux on the desktop for several years now. But a question from Artremis on my article Open Source: FOSS Security Updates vs Microsoft Patch Day has me thinking about how to attempt to prove that. I know one “cannot prove a negative”, barring odd philosophical views from odd philosophers on that. But I think we in the FOSS Linux community can do more than just talk.

  • Ballnux

    • HTC Desire Z and Desire HD are Official, Available October in Asia and Europe
      As if the smash success that was the original wasn’t enough, HTC has made official the Desire Z and Desire HD. Both handsets feature aluminum construction but each offer something unique. The HTC Desire HD — which has been floating around as the HTC Ace in leaked screen shots — features a 4.3-inch 480×800 SLCD display, 8MP camera and dual flash capable of 720p HD video capture, and Android 2.2 with a new HTC Sense. This monster packs some hefty specs including a 1GHz processor, 1.5GB of internal storage, and 768MB of RAM. The phone features radio support for HSPA/CDMA and quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE.

    • HTC launches the Desire HD: an EVO for the rest of world

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Wednesday's security updates

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat helps NC State open the Garage doors for entrepreneurial action
        The Garage doors are opening for entrepreneurs at North Carolina State University thanks to support from open source software firm Red Hat and the NC State Entrepreneurial Initiative.

        The “Garage,” is a facility for students engaged in entrepreneurial endeavors and provides curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to empower students, whatever their discipline, as entrepreneurial thinkers, doers and leaders.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Founder: Ubuntu's contribution goes beyond the code tree
          He’s got a point. I remember the excitement generated a few years back when Michael Dell publicly applauded the Ubuntu desktop and Dell’s decision to preload Ubuntu on select PCs. Now that deal per se was not a big success, but it shifted perception about the potential of Linux on the desktop in a far more signifiant way than Red Hat or Novell ever did.

          Both Canonical’s Ubuntu and Google’s Android are open source Linux projects that have advanced the cause of Linux, even if the implementations have stirred controversy within the open source community. That has to be good for open source.

        • Ubuntu 10.10′s Free Culture showcase selections
          The selected video and audio tracks for this cycles Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase initiative have been uploaded to Maverick.

        • New Way To Get The New Official Ubuntu Font Family

        • What I do
          Fortunately for me, my work in Canonical enabling Ubuntu to work on PCs fulfils this passion of mine. My daily work normally involves me looking at obscure firmware issues in PC BIOSs and figuring out what is wrong and how to address and fix the problem.

          Without fixing these issues, quite a few machines would just not function correctly for various reasons. My work involves fixing issues such as Suspend/Resume and Hibernate/Resume hangs, or looking at why hardware is not quite configured correctly after boot or resume. Unfortunately buggy firmware does happen quite frequently and leads to all sorts of weird issues. Hotkeys, LCD backlights, wake alarms, fan controls, thermal trip points and even CPU configuration can be affected by BIOS or ACPI bugs. All these need fixing, so it keeps me busy!

        • Thoughts on upstreams
          Last month I gave a presentation on the interaction between Android and kernel upstream at Linuxcon. The video for that is now available here (requires registration). Contrary to stories you may have heard, I do not dropkick anyone through a window.

          There's some parallels between the Android/upstream scenario and Canonical's approach to upstream. Mark wrote a lengthy defence of Canonical's focus on components that they feel need development, while not putting development effort into things they feel are good enough already. That's pretty consistent with the discussions I had with him at the Ubuntu development meeting in Oxford over six years ago. Back then the focus was on taking all the excellent software that already existed and concentrating on providing it as a single polished and integrated product. It was successful - what's easy to forget now is that the first release of Ubuntu was massively more usable out of the box than any other Linux distribution available at the time, and it's absolutely undeniable that its release spurred increased efforts on the part of competitors. But I don't think the same focus is being applied any more.


          Canonical would be perceived as much better team players if there was an indication of their long-term plan in terms of Unity and the Ayatana projects and getting that code into mainline Gnome and integrating with the Gnome shell. It's completely unsurprising that they're viewed with distrust until that happens.

        • copyright assignments gone wild, or why i can not join Canonical's contributor agreement program
          When it comes to organizations involved in tending to Free software projects, I personally take a view that is probably deeply colored by my previous life experiences in business. Which is to say, it's probably a bit boring, conservative and balances out my raging enthusiasm for community.

          In my opinion, there is a responsibility for such organizations to identify, define and manage risks related to the responsibility of oversight of what is a very valuable item: the intellectual and creative work embodied in the software products. This is ignored only at great risk to the software, its users and those responsible for the continued development of the software. As a whole, the Free software ecosystem fails more than it succeeds in this, though it is getting better every year.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Sound applet buttons now respect your theme

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Pandora tops 1000 boxes
      English-built, open source games console Pandora has shipped its thousandth unit - not bad considering every one is hand made by geeks in Newcastle.

      The Pandora isn't just a games console: running a tweaked Ångström Linux it can manage Open Office and Firefox too, all using open source hardware and software in a box the size of a Nintendo DS. Even the fact that it costs twice as much as a DS hasn't stopped 1000 people buying one.

    • Chinese ARMs
      The Chinese, like me, prefer low cost and efficient IT. Hence their love of GNU/Linux and home-grown chips. There is news that a new dual core ARM CPU has been integrated into the SoC (System on a Chip) design with 1.6gHz and 2gHz speeds.

    • CompactPCI SBC offers eight-core QorIQ SoC
      Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES) announced a Linux-ready, conduction- or air-cooled 3U cPCI single-board computer (SBC) based on Freescale's 1.5GHz, eight-core QorIQ P4080 system-on-chip (SoC). The XPedite5430 is equipped with up to 8GB of DDR3-1333 SDRAM, 16GB of NAND flash, PCI Express or Serial RapidIO expansion, plus gigabit Ethernet, serial, and USB connectivity.

    • NAS devices move up to Intel Atom D525
      The two-drive TS-259 Pro+ (4TB), four-drive TS-459 Pro+ (8TB), five-drive TS-559 Pro+ (10TB), and six-drive TS-659 Pro+ (12TB) all ship with 1GB RAM, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, iSCSI support, and newly updated Linux-based firmware.

    • Intel shows off Google TV devices as Boxee Box switches to Atom
      At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), Intel showed off Atom-based Google TV devices from Sony and Logitech. Meanwhile, Google confirmed Google TV is on schedule, and D-Link switched its Linux-based Boxee Box set-top box (STB) from an Nvidia Tegra 2 to the same Intel Atom CE4100 chipset used by the Google TV devices.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo in with a "chance" against mobile OS rivals
          The open-source mobile operating system is the result of a tie-up between the two tech giants, bringing together Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Moblin. It's designed for tablets, netbooks and handsets as well as televisions and in-car systems.

        • WeTab Tablet with Open Source MeeGo OS – WOW!
          The MeeGo operating system is an open source Linux project, which is a combination of Intel’s Moblin project and Nokia’s Naemo project. It is able to provide flexible UI and application environments, allows you to do practically anything with it, and supports all popular file formats. It also manages to do this while working with a number of graphical and processor optimisations, meaning it is not only extremely open but also very fast.

        • Splashtop fast-boot tech opens up with new MeeGo version
          DeviceVM previewed a new MeeGo-based version of its Splashtop instant-on distribution at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), effectively opening up the technology to Linux developers. The distribution is already being made available to OEMs, with end user upgrades available in the first half of 2011, says the company.

        • First MeeGo set-top box emerges
          At an Intel Developer Forum (IDF) keynote, Amino demonstrated a new MeeGo-ready set-top box (STB) while discussing its contributions to MeeGo's Connected TV reference platform. Due to ship in the fourth quarter, the Freedom STB is equipped with Intel's Atom CE4100 SoC, supports IPTV and traditional broadcast services, and offers both Adobe Flash 10.1 and Microsoft Silverlight.

      • Android

        • Application security moving to center stage on mobile platforms
          Google’s Android platform is the elephant in the room. While open and completely community driven, there are thousands of applications running on Android that are closed source. To protect those applications, Google released its Licensing Service.

          Google’s Licensing Service, which is still in the infancy stages, is a great offering to the development community when it comes to copy protection. Yet, the Licensing Service is easily defeated, depending on how it is implemented.

        • Verizon moves in on Google's turf again with V CAST Apps
          Verizon appears to be moving further away from Android's Google and open source core premise this week as it has begun to ask for submissions to its own app store, expected to debut as early as next week. The carrier appears to be following a similar structure to that of Apple, where apps must go through an approval process and revenues are split between Verizon and the developer.

        • Android: Opening A Pandora's Box of Licensing
          This is a problem that will get worse, not better, as open source moves ever-closer to the heart of consumer electronics, and as more large-scale projects start to put together open source components with many different licences. Android shows how powerful that can be - and the kind of challenges it brings with it. Now that this digital Pandora's box has been opened, the open source community needs to start thinking about how to manage the consequences in a more structured, scalable way.

        • Seven-inch tablet runs Android on Tegra 2
 opened pre-order sales for a $370, seven-inch, Android 2.2 tablet from Stream TV Network. The eLocity A7 tablet is equipped with a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2, 512MB RAM, 4GB of flash memory, and offers a seven-inch capacitive display, an HDMI port for 1080p output, plus Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and a 1.3-megapixel webcam, says Amazon.

        • Android May Paddle Samsung Canoe Into Turbulent Web TV Waters
          Yoon Boo Keun, head of Samsung's TV business line, reportedly said the company is reviewing whether to use Android, an OS more commonly found in various smartphones, in a new line of TV sets.

          Samsung is working on an operating system that can be used for both mobile phones and television, Yoon apparently revealed.

          The Korean electronics could be stepping into a confusing market -- it has its own Bada mobile phone OS and also makes Android smartphones. Further, it has just revealed an Android-based tablet, the Galaxy Tab.

        • T-Mobile's G2 Hurtles Onto Smartphone Scene
          T-Mobile officially unveiled its G2 smartphone, the successor to the world's first Android-powered mobile phone, touting its faster Web-browsing experience and direct integration with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) services.

          The G2, which is designed specifically for T-Mobile's new HSPA+ network, features downloads at "4G speeds," according to T-Mobile. The network is expected to reach more than 100 million Americans in 55 major cities across the country when the smartphone becomes available later this month.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Your Open-Source Smartphone May Actually Be Free
    Of course, in TechCrunch's world, there's only two mobile platforms out there. It's probably too hard to keep track of three. And yes, Symbian as well as MeeGo are open-source platforms. We'll give TechCrunch a little bit of slack and presume they ignored this fact to get their link bait right.

  • Liferay awards 2010 Partner of the Year to CIGNEX
    Liferay, provider of the leading open source portal solution, today announced it has awarded CIGNEX, the global Platinum partner of Liferay, the Partner of the Year for 2010. This announcement was made at the Liferay West Coast Symposium held at Anaheim, CA on September 8 & 9.

  • CIGNEX and Liferay to extend Liferay Training to customers in Middle East and Africa

  • Verizon Deploys Open Source Database Perst Lite for Field Technicians with BlackBerrys

  • Truly, Free Software For Your Personal and Professional Life
    Just because it say's "Free" doesn't necessarily mean it is. Arizona Reporter examines four relevant Open Source applications that reduce overall operating costs for small and large businesses alike.

  • Appeals Court Stops Re-selling of Software
    To get another perspective on the Vernor vs Autodesk case we went to Groklaw. Groklaw is one of the best sources for legal information about the computer industry. The founder of Groklaw, P.J. Jones, has been correct about computer law case outcomes more times than not.

  • Vernor v. AutoDesk - Vacated (first sale) and remanded (copyright misuse)
    There is a ruling [PDF] from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Vernor v. Autodesk, and some of you will hate it.

  • Maven maker Sonatype gets new CEO and $11.6M funding
    Sonatype, the start-up founded by the original author of the open source Maven build and project management software, has announced that it has a new CEO and is receiving $11.6M funding. Maven is an Apache Software Foundation project which is supported by Sonatype.

  • Open Source Groupware Comes to Japan
    Open-Xchange, provider of business-class open source collaboration software, announced today an exclusive distribution agreement with Next IT for hosted and on-premises Open-Xchange products in Japan.

  • CONNECT Open Source Advocates to Gather
    CONNECT includes one or more open source applications for each of the components, plus some private vendor tools such as IBM/Initiate Systems' master patient index software.

  • Upcoming Event: The Open Source Enterprise
    Free, open-source software (FOSS) is finally a trusted solution in the enterprise, but primarily only in infrastructure layers. The promise of a completely open-source enterprise is nigh, but the nagging question remains: Will it work as a business for the technology industry? New business models are now appearing that bridge the old world of enterprise software with the promise and customizations of open source.

  • Dell comes clean on open source
    While only half a dozen people were affected there is a matter of principle at stake. Companies making use of (GPL) open source enter into a legal agreement to share their developments, so it was important that Dell complied.

  • Global open source alliance to deliver an enterprise monitoring stack
    Opsview, the open source network and application monitoring vendor, today announced it has teamed up with Canonical, the Ubuntu service provider, to help drive the enterprise adoption of Opsview Enterprise with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition. Opsview has grown rapidly within the managed service provider and financial services space; key strategic verticals for Canonical.

  • My Jakarta: Yudha Yogasara, Computer Security and Open-Source Activist
    I’m a college student, a panelist at IT seminars, a tutor at IT workshops, a writer, a moderator and the founder of a few hacker community forums, the head of KPLI — Kelompok Pengguna Linux [Linux User Group] - Tangerang.

    And I do work on some IT projects that I can’t mention here.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla suspends Firefox updates

        The flaw appears to have been introduced in Firefox versions 3.5.12 and 3.6.9, released last week, with the Bugzilla bug-tracking system showing a large number of reported crashes from clients across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.


        While a report over on ComputerWorld suggests that the updates have started flowing once again as of early this morning, there has so far been no official word from Mozilla on whether the root cause of the problem has been addressed.

  • SaaS

    • joins HP AllianceONE program
      Open-source cloud infrastructure provider has announced a big win in the enterprise market: a partnership with HP that will bring into the AllianceONE programme.

    • Cloudera: All Your Big Data Are Belong to Us
      Where Cloudera shines, however, is in taking these different contributions and making Hadoop relevant for enterprise IT, where data mining has waxed and waned over the years. Part of the “waning” has come through the cost and complexity of the systems used to mine corporate data.

    • Yahoo spins cloud web around competitors
      With regard to continually refining its consumer products, Yahoo is working with developers through its open source initiative Hadoop, which is the company's analytics and data warehousing framework, to constantly improve its compute capabilities, said the executive. The Hadoop framework was made available to the open source community last June and, since then, Yahoo has contributed about 70 percent of all code written, he added.

    • OpenStack sets some Texas-sized deadlines
      OpenStack, the open source cloud project built around a Rackspace API, has set some deadlines for development milestones.

      The most important date is October 21.

      That’s the day for delivering the company’s first release, dubbed Austin. This will be followed by a development conference scheduled for November 9-12 in San Antonio. (Nachos for everyone!)

    • Open source in the clouds and in the debates

    • On innovation and participation
      What makes the Hadoop and NoSQL movements is that their growth is driven less by the itches of the associated vendors than it is the itches of the users/developers. Indeed we see vendors in these markets being led by existing users/developers in trying to figure out the opportunities for commercialization.

  • Databases

    • Xeround scales MySQL for the cloud
      Xeround is based on an in-memory database and has been tested in a number of telco production environments, according to CEO Razi Sharir. The software utilizes virtual partitions where data partitions are decoupled--or abstracted--from physical resources. These virtual partitions hold copies of both the data and the indexes, in order to ensure high availability and performance.

      Despite the ubiquity of open-source MySQL, the database has in the past suffered from scaling issues, which has often led developers down one of two paths: using a NoSQL database to front-end applications; and/or sharding, a process that splits the database into smaller chunks, but requires a high-degree of user sophistication.

  • Oracle

    • Friday Blogosphere Watch: Java and Open Source Industry Vets' Blogs
      Next, is the blog of Bruce Perens, original author of the "Open Source Definition" and a founder of the Open Source Initiative, the Linux Standard Base, and Software in the Public Interest. The insightful Perens jumped back into blogging after a fairly long absence with some useful posts on the Oracle lawsuit, the Mark Hurd firing and other issues.

    • No News Is NOT Good News
      What do I expect from JavaOne 2010? Well, I am hoping that Oracle will finally put rumours to rest regarding its stance on Open Source. I hope that its plans for Java will include a faster and more open process in defining and releasing improvements to the language and the technology.

      I am hoping that JavaFX will finally get the much needed marketing funds to get developers, as well as device manufacturers, e.g., mobile phones and TVs, to start developing and deploying apps. Sun announced the Java Application Store, I hope that this will be released for the global market, rather than for a select few.

    • Illumos Foundation launches OpenIndiana
      OpenIndiana aims to be binary and package compatible with Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express and to act as a "free drop in replacement" for OpenSolaris. The developers compare their development model to the way CentOS project is based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) source. OpenIndiana combines the official OpenSolaris source with free, open source software from the community, such as the XNV X Window System, the Sun Freeware Collection (SFW), the Java Desktop System (JDS), the IPS packaging system and the Caiman installer.

  • Education

    • Curriki Hosts Educational Video Library by Khan Academy

    • Lowering the Price of Higher Education, Here & Now
      Additionally, the cost of developing courses can also be significantly reduced with open source technology. Currently, every university develops its own courses, one of the most costly aspects of running an academic institution. Why do we need so many professors developing courses at so many universities? Just as we share materials online, we must also share talent. If we enlist the top minds in every discipline to create quality courses and then distribute them via open source technology, we can drastically reduce education costs, lessening the economic burden on students.

  • Healthcare

    • EU/GL: International Team Develops Open Source Hospital Information System

      The developers, including specialists from Brazil, Germany, Greece and France, aim to build a system that will manage electronic medical records, hospital information and health information. Its services include prescriptions, billing, patient information, managing epidemiological and statistical data and management of medical stock. The entire project is published using the GNU General Public Licence (GPL), an open source licence.

  • Business


    • Loads of info at Software Freedom day
      This Sunday sees Tauranga's very own Software Freedom Day event.

      The event - an open day to promote free software and free software concepts - is part of a worldwide celebration.

      Organised by the BOP Linux User Group supported by TechnologyWise, the open day will feature volunteers showing visitors the extent of open source software and its capabilities.

      Internationally, the goal of Software Freedom Day is to educate the worldwide public about the benefits of using high quality Free and Open Source Software in education, in government, at home, and in business.

  • Government

    • Open Technology Foundation denied AGIMO support
      A spokesman from the Department of Finance and Deregulation explained that while open source was "in wide use across the Australian Government", AGIMO took a neutral position on open source.

      "Based on the Committee's decision, AGIMO formally declined South Australia's request to be involved in the OTF," she told iTnews.

      "AGIMO has a policy of informed neutrality regarding open source software with value for money across the total cost of ownership of the software being the overriding principle for its use."

      But Bryan King of the SA Office of the CIO yesterday told delegates at the open source OSSPAC conference that "open source for Government hasn't made any major penetration".

    • What is the advantage of using free-of-charge software in state institutions?
      Communications Minister Valerian Vreme, appointed in this position at the beginning of the month, says he is considering devising a strategy to introduce free-of-charge open-source software, which would see a decline in contracts between the state and software producers, but would mean cost savings for the government.


      Vreme (47), who worked for over ten years in IT in the private sector, says first interoperability rules will be set, in order for an institution that uses open-source software to be able to communicate with one that is not using such software. Open-source software, such as the OpenOffice suite, the Linux operating system, and the Firefox browser, is free-of-charge, and can be an alternative to Microsoft's Windows and Office, produced by the world's biggest software company.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Yum. Open-source home-made algae.

    • Digital textbooks may end price hikes
      They say open source material puts the information in the hands of students and professors.

      "It gives students the choice as to how much they want to spend," said Saul Adelman, a finance professor at Miami who had used open source books in his Risk Management class. "I'm concerned about book prices. That's why I explored this option."

    • FOSS4G-Barcelona: Open Source Geospatial Software Still Much in Demand
      It was the hard-edged professional, with either a product to push or a geospatial project searching for a solution, who attended this year's FOSS4G. Perhaps more than any other descriptor I can think of, the word "mature" best defines the state of the free and open source geospatial software industry today. One has to look no further than companies like OpenGeo to realize these are legit outfits, with shrink-wrap software solutions capable of managing geospatial data and applications, from top to bottom, for all but perhaps the largest of users, such as the U.S. Dept. of Defense. Open source GIS software is here to stay, and it's making big inroads into private and governmental users by the looks of the vendors and attendees at FOSS4G.

    • OpenGeo Releases Training Courses under Creative Commons

    • Are you building a community or a club?
      I've never been much for clubs. When I was young, I made a lousy cub scout. I wasn't a real "joiner" in high school or college either (just enough to get by) and I still don't get actively involved in many professional associations today.

    • Crowdsourcing Project Hopes to Make Short Work of Transcribing Bentham

      Thousands of unpublished pages of Jeremy Bentham's manuscripts are ready for transcription with a new crowdsourcing program from University College London's Transcribe Bentham project.

      Researchers at UCL are counting on Bentham enthusiasts around the globe to help transcribe and digitize thousands of handwritten pages of the influential philosopher’s work. The university has about 40,000 untranscribed pages of Bentham in its collection. It photographed 4,500 pages for the initial phase of the project—accessible through the Transcribe Bentham Web site—and is calling on Bentham scholars, armchair philosophers, or almost anyone with an Internet connection to turn the handwritten prose into machine-readable type.

    • Research Data: Who will share what, with whom, when, and why?
      The deluge of scientific research data has excited the general public, as well as the scientific community, with the possibilities for better understanding of scientific problems, from climate to culture. For data to be available, researchers must be willing and able to share them. The policies of governments, funding agencies, journals, and university tenure and promotion committees also influence how, when, and whether research data are shared. Data are complex objects. Their purposes and the methods by which they are produced vary widely across scientific fields, as do the criteria for sharing them. To address these challenges, it is necessary to examine the arguments for sharing data and how those arguments match the motivations and interests of the scientific community and the public. Four arguments are examined: to make the results of publicly funded data available to the public, to enable others to ask new questions of extant data, to advance the state of science, and to reproduce research. Libraries need to consider their role in the face of each of these arguments, and what expertise and systems they require for data curation.

    • Open Data

      • Who Runs London?: New Guide Facilitates Transparency
        The 'Who Runs London?' guide illustrates the web of ministries, assemblies, agencies and councils that together run London in a visual diagram (see example below). Additional information about each organization, including their key relationships and websites, is provided in a brief glossary on the last page. It is finally possible for a lay person to quickly distinguish between, for example, the Olympic Delivery Authority, Olympic Board and the Olympic Park Legacy Company, as well as establish what they do and who they answer to in the wider context of the capital's governance. This sort of transparency is essential if these organizations are to be held up to public scrutiny and to public account.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Tim Berners-Lee calls for free internet worldwide
        The inventor of the Web has called for everyone to have access to his creation for free.

        Tim Berners-Lee said that he would like to see everybody given a low-bandwidth connection "by default".

        He said the web could be instrumental in giving people access to critical services such as healthcare.

        Currently, he said, just one-fifth of the world's population has access to the web.

        "What about the other 80%?" he asked the audience at the Nokia World conference in London.

  • Programming

    • poll: deleting directories containing unversioned files
      What would you like to have happen? My feeling is that there should be a configuration option to choose the policy, and we should perhaps eventually distinguish “junk” (safe to delete) from “precious”, as Baz and GNU Arch did.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Robotics needs a W3C
      That’s because, unlike most Japanese robots, which are either purpose-built or one-offs, and unlike iRobot (which despite its name is a cleaner and military contracting company), the PR2 is built from an open source software base, with modular hardware.

      Willow Garage is not the only open source base on which to build a robot. Urbi went open source last month, with a C++ library and an API. CARMEN is Carnegie-Mellon’s open source robotics toolkit. Orocos also offers an open source platform for robotic control.


  • "Dear Twitter: Stop Screwing Over Your Developers"

    Elhange is an open source developer, which seems to be a big part of the problem. Twitter doesn't want certain parts of developer's code to be out in the public. For an open developer, that's impossible to prevent.

  • Luck: 9.5 minutes of sudden death averted

  • MIPS Technology Challenges ARM's Cell Phone Chip Design Monopoly
    MIPS Technologies' (MIPS) stock has skyrocketed recently as it lays the groundwork to challenge ARM (ARMH), the dominant player in cell phone chip design. Savvy investors see the small Silicon Valley company as an emerging threat to ARM, the Cambridge, England firm that licenses the processor designs used in nearly all the leading mobile phones.

  • Security/Aggression

    • 'Mate crime' fears for people with learning disabilities
      Steven Hoskin had strong feelings about his killers. They had abused, exploited and humiliated him over a year, taking his money, treating him as their slave and making him wear his own dog's collar and lead. Eventually, having forced him to swallow 70 painkillers, they took him to the top of a railway viaduct and made him hang from the railings as one member of the gang, a girl aged 16, stamped on his hands until he fell 30 metres to his death.

    • What Happened to Our Facebook Page with 10,000+ Supporters?
      For those of you following along on (over 10,000 friends!) you might notice that the URL leads to a dead page. The page can now be found at You’ll notice that the page, with over 10,300 supporters, is rather quiet. That’s because the Bradley Manning Support Network’s administrative rights to the page have been revoked due to a “violation of the terms of service.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Astroturfing the scientific databases: spamming the lobster eye
      The Encyclopedia of Life is a cool tool which is a sort of wikification of taxonomy — it allows a large number of contributors to add descriptions of species with the goal of eventually documenting all 1.8 million known species in a single searchable source. Look at the page for my experimental animal, Danio rerio; lots of information in a standard format with links and references. Thumbs up!

      However, there's a problem here: the sources. To organize that much data, a large mob of contributors are needed, and that means some fairly open policies to allow contributors have been instituted, and that in turn means that there will be parasites on they system. And a reader sent me an example of a doozy.


      I know, this is a truism: don't trust the Net of Lies, learn to vet your sources, watch out for anything on the net. But it looks to me like the Turkish creationists have been waging a successful astroturf campaign to infiltrate sources that we would normally regard as pretty good, and are thereby corrupting sources even more. It also allows them to pass casual review because their articles are very widely sourced.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Wikileaks, Craigslist and turning the Web analog
      These same Internet values are reflected in the open source movement. Links need to be free, access needs to be unlimited, for open source to maximize its potential. Worrying about the politics of contributors or users is a waste of brain cells.

    • Documents show Homeland Security tracks anti-drill groups in Pa.
      According to recently leaked documents, the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security has been tracking anti-gas drilling groups and their meetings — including a public screening of the film “Gasland,” a documentary about the environmental hazards of natural gas drilling.

      The office has included the information in its weekly intelligence bulletins sent to law enforcement agencies.

      The bulletins are also sent to gas companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

    • Help us to prevent Internet filters in Europe!
      The debate on Internet filters reaches the hot phase now on EU level, as discussions begin in the EU parliament. It is now urgently necessary to make ourselves heard. We cannot lean back now and complain later.

    • Developers pull plug on anti-censorship tool for Iranians
      A program designed to make Iranian internet users safe from government peeking has been pulled by its creators because, er, it opens up their identities to anyone that cares to take a look.

      The program, called Haystack, is designed to hide traffic to and from the internet at large inside what looks like connections to innocuous sites. The Haystack client connects to the company's servers, which in turn talk to websites on behalf of its users.

    • EFF Says Violating Company Policies Is Not a Computer Crime
      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged a federal appeals court Tuesday to dismiss charges that would turn any employee use of company computers in violation of corporate policy into a federal crime.

      In U.S. v. Nosal, an ex-employee is being prosecuted on the claim that he induced current company employees to use their legitimate credentials to access the company's proprietary database and provide him with information, in violation of corporate computer-use policy. The government claims that the violation of this private policy constitutes a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Following a decision issued just last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the District Court ruled against the government, holding that violations of corporate policy are not equivalent to violations of federal computer crime law. The government appealed to the 9th Circuit.

    • Revised Opinion in Privacy Case Blurs Clear Limits to Digital Search and Seizure
      Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit issued an unfortunate revised opinion in United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing Inc., a case featuring blatantly unconstitutional government action. As the court put it:

      “This case is about a federal investigation into steroid use by professional baseball players. More generally, however, it’s about the procedures and safeguards that federal courts must observe in issuing and administering search warrants and subpoenas for electronically stored information.”

      One shocking example: the government seized and reviewed the drug testing records for hundreds of players in Major League Baseball—and many other people—even though the judicially authorized warrant was limited to the records of the ten players for whom the government had probable cause.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • These Are Not The Addroids You Are Looking For
      George Lucas likes lawsuits. He also really likes the word “Droid“, which Lucasfilm holds the rights to (yes, Verizon actually licenses the word “Droid” for its handsets). In fact, Lucas likes the word so much that he (or at least, his law firm) will threaten to sue you for using it as the name of your company — even the letters DROID make up just part of your company name.

      That’s what Matt Cooper found out this week, when Lucasfilm’s lawyers sent him a cease and desist notice demanding that he change the name of his company, Addroid. Cooper says the new startup is an HTML5-based ad serving platform (hence the ad part of the name), and because it’s digital advertising he thought that a tie to the techie word “android” would be appropriate. In other words, the name stems from the word Android — not the abbreviated “Droid” that Lucas is so fond of.

    • Kroes wants to include developing countries in Internet governance
      Since emerging economies will soon have more web users than the EU and US combined, Internet governance should also be extended to the developing world, Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said at the opening session of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Vilnius yesterday (14 September).

      "Public authorities across the world must now be able, on an equal footing, to effectively carry out their roles and responsibilities when international public policy issues are at stake," Kroes said, welcoming the fact that ICANN, the organisation coordinating Internet IP addresses, was now reviewing its working methods to include more representatives from the developing world in 'advisory committees'.

    • Copyrights

      • The 9th circuit gives and it takes away
        Think Congress will take it up? I don’t either. Which means that, while the RIAA has to cut musicians in for more of the cash they bring in, they now have the right to raid your local library and blow all their digital media off the shelves.

      • Red Alert on Net Freedoms! MEPs shall Reject the Gallo Report
        The Gallo report on strengthening copyright enforcement will be voted in the European Parliament on Wednesday, September 22nd. Even if non-legislative, this dangerous text relies on biased figures pushed by producers and publishers' lobbies to call for an extension of repression. It opens the door to the creation of private copyright police of the Net. All EU citizen can act to help the Members of the European Parliament out of the blind repressive path, and adopt an alternative resolution -more constructive and protective of consumers- instead of the Gallo report.

      • Help fund free culture

      • Spotify closing in on 10 million users across Europe
        How big is Spotify? 10 million users big. Well, it’s about to break that milestone anyway.

        The company is holding a party in London later this month “to celebrate reaching 10 million users across Europe”, according to an invite sent out to press and partners.

      • When You Realize That Copyright Law Violates Free Speech Rights, You Begin To Recognize The Problems...
        Copyright law and free speech are fundamentally in conflict. It bears repeating, because most of those pushing for things like ACTA simply do not recognize this simple fact -- and when they then try to export the expression suppressing parts of copyright law without the all important exceptions and guarantees of free speech, it should come as no surprise, at all, that governments use the law the US pushed on them to suppress speech and dissent. What is not acceptable is for US policy makers to continue to ignore this key point.

      • How piracy works.
        I won’t bother analyzing why people copy games and other digital media, as that’s really a moot point. We’ve got an amazingly effective way of distributing culture that is extremely beneficial for humanity, but it clashes with our current economical models. Piracy will win in the long run. It has to. The alternative is too scary.

      • Jack-Booted Thugs and Copyright Enforcement
        The New York Times article goes on to explain that the raid on the environmental group is only a recent example of a growing pattern: "Across Russia, the security services have carried out dozens of similar raids against outspoken advocacy groups or opposition newspapers in recent years." For those familiar with the hard line copyright maximalist position — which holds that all copyright infringement should be swiftly prosecuted with harsh penalties regardless of the context — it was sadly unsurprising. (This risk is one reason that NGOs around the world choose free and open source tools that avoid the risk of copyright claims altogether.)

      • ACTA

        • ACTA serves up a rejected Telecoms Package clause
          How far will ISPs be held liable for infringement of intellectual property rights under ACTA? On close examination in the EU context, we also come up against another question: is ACTA re-writing the weak "compromise" on Internet users rights that was rejected by the European Parliament in the Telecoms Package?

          In previous drafts of ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), liability for ISPs in enforcing copyright on the Internet was clearly stated. In the latest leaked draft of 25 August 2010, it appears to have been deleted. At least the substantive text requiring countries to implement a liability provision is not there.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • UK government hands €£500M copyright enforcement and censorship tab to nation's Internet users
          The UK government's Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills has concluded its consultation on how to pay for all the new copyright enforcement built into the Digital Economy Act.

          The DEA is a sweeping, punishing copyright law that the former Labour government crammed through Parliament without debate in a closed-door, poorly attended vote hours before it called the next election (which it lost). The Act requires ISPs to send letter to their customers warning them that an entertainment company has accused them of infringing copyright (if this fails to reduce national levels of infringement by 70% in 18 months -- which it will fail to do -- ISPs will then be required to disconnect entire families from the Internet on the unsubstantiated accusation of a rightsholder).

        • DEAPPG
          DEAPPG is an all party parliamentary group based in Portcullis House, Westminster. The group was started by Eric Joyce MP in May 2010 in response to the DE Act (and conversations in social media eg Twitter #DEAct)

Clip of the Day

Broadcom Open Source! Linux Mint 9 Fluxbox and Debian, Tablet News, Magic Trackpad on Ubuntu

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Credit: TinyOgg

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