Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 11/10/2010: Debian Links and 3.3 Beta Preview

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI Linux Users Get Excited For Catalyst 10.10
        In what has become an unfortunate tradition for the past few releases, prior to the release of Ubuntu 10.10, AMD provided Canonical with a pre-release of their latest proprietary Catalyst driver at the time. They have done this to fix some major bugs, but primarily to provide a working ATI/AMD proprietary graphics driver that will run against their latest Ubuntu Linux release as usually their latest public releases at the time do not support Ubuntu's kernel and/or X.Org Server. With Maverick Meerkat, which was released yesterday, there is a pre-release of the Catalyst 10.10 Linux driver, which will not be released to the general public until later in October.

        The Catalyst 10.9 driver does not offer support for X.Org Server 1.9, which is used by Ubuntu 10.10, so in late September AMD had sent over an early Catalyst 10.10 driver to Canonical that offers "early look" support for this xorg-server that reached a stable status in August. Those running Ubuntu 10.10 and enabling the proprietary ATI/AMD support are using this driver.

      • New Ubuntu Support Site Debuts
        Just in time for the Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) release, Stack Exchange has introduced a new website, called, dedicated to Q&A for Ubuntu users, developers and partners.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Zenwalk 6.4 review
        With all the hype surrounding mainstream Linux distributions like Ubuntu, openSUSE and Fedora, it’s easy to forget that there are quite a few other excellent distros out there. Case in point – Zenwalk. As Dmitri Popov discovers it’s a great way to give your old hardware a new lease of life…

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • 5 reasons why I still contribute to Debian after 12 years
        If you’re using Debian, you know that this distribution is built entirely by volunteers that form a very diverse community. And you could be part of it. But why should you do that? I can’t tell for you but I can share my own experience. It’s been 12 years since I joined Debian and I’m going to tell you what keeps me on board.

      • Skolelinux- An educational subset of Debian for schools
        The Skolelinux / Debian Edu project is the result of an effort that started out as independent projects orcestrated by many different groups from different regions of Europe and these days, all over the world.

      • Debian's developer dilemma: Why Debian should vote "yes"
        The Debian project is, in many ways, a model example of how an open source project should be run. Its Social Contract, Free Software Guidelines (DFSG), and Constitution have served the project well and influenced many other substantial FOSS projects when it comes to project governance.

        But voting rights are restricted to developers, or at least that's the impression most people get when looking through the process to become a Debian Developer. It's not that the project explicitly disallows non-developers membership, it's that the path to becoming a voting member (Debian Developer) is practically hard-coded to require a contributor to maintain packages or do some kind of development. Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli put forward a General Resolution to welcome non-packaging contributors to Debian. A similar proposal came up in 2008, but was tabled for further discussion.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Final Review
          As planned, Ubuntu 10.10 (codenamed "Maverick Meerkat") was released yesterday, October 10th, 2010. Canonical usually releases closer to month end, but in this case it was a good opportunity to make it coincide with such a significant date. Ubuntu 10.10 was released on 10/10/10.

        • System 76 Starling netbooks won’t ship with ‘slow, confusing’ Ubuntu Unity

        • Ubuntu 10.10: date with destiny missed
          The first thing you'll notice on a fresh install of 10.10 is the installer has once again been revamped, though the changes are for the most part cosmetic. The various slides that give new users information about Ubuntu have been tweaked and some menus appear to have changed. Unfortunately, the actual install process proceeds as usual - a fact that means dumping everything onto a single partition.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop i386 USB image
          Good old Ubuntu. Five years on, and still not offering an image that can be written to a USB stick and booted from.

          I really thought this time the Ubuntu overlords would have seen that tiny crack in the armor, and done something about it. But looking over the download page, it seems like it’s still something nobody has mentioned.

        • Nice themes for ubuntu 10.10 (maverick meerkat) users

        • Ubuntu 10.10: 12 reasons to try it now
          As Ubuntu 10.10, or "Maverick Meerkat," hits the streets this Sunday, it's a pretty safe bet that legions of existing Ubuntu users will be updating to the new release. After all, it looks to be Canonical's most user-friendly Ubuntu Linux yet, and many of the new features promise to be must-haves.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Mythbuntu 10.10 is here!
            Mythbuntu 10.10 has been released. With this release, we are providing mirroring on sponsored mirrors and torrents. It is very important to note that this release is only compatible with MythTV 0.23.1 systems. Previous Mythbuntu releases can be upgraded to a compatible version with the builds located at For a more detailed explanation, see here.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Energy-efficient NAS server shares USB drives
      Synology began shipping a diskless network-attached storage (NAS) server designed for use with USB storage devices. The USB Station 2 incorporates an 800MHz processor, supports up to 4TB of external storage via dual USB 2.0 ports, includes gigabit Ethernet port, and offers file sharing and multimedia streaming via Synology's Linux-based, DLNA/UPnP-ready DiskStation Manager 3.0 software.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • First look at Acer Aspire One D255 with Android
          The Android implementation on Acer's recently launched dual-boot netbooks feels more like a technology preview than a usable product. It is buggy and inextensible, with no possibility to install extra applications from the Android Market or any other repository. As such, it is limited to basic tasks, such as Internet browsing, web interaction, image viewing and media playback. It's hard to say who the product is intended for - the Windows crowd will take one quick look and never boot into it again, while any Linux geek will surely prefer a proper Linux distribution or one of the netbook-oriented variants. Perhaps the only positive point is that by providing a Linux-based alternative on its netbooks, Acer was forced to build these computers from Linux-friendly hardware components, so there are no unwelcome surprises when it comes to hardware support.

          Of course, this is Acer's first attempt at delivering an Android-powered netbook, so one can understand the difficulties of creating a workable solution from something that is much more suited to running on smaller handheld devices with touchscreens. Still, the manufacturer is guilty for making very little effort at customising the product for a 10-inch screen or, indeed, for not choosing to dual-boot Windows with a proper Linux distribution that would be so much more suitable for running on the netbook. Perhaps Acer will realise its mistake and provide a better Android implementation for its next release or it might even deliver online updates that would address some of the bugs and inconveniences. Unfortunately, by that time my Acer netbook will be running a real, full-featured Linux operating system, instead of this bizarre Windows XP/Android combination.

        • leads pack of new Android app stores
 will soon offer an Android app store to compete with Google's Android market, a second industry report has confirmed. The effort joins Verizon's recent Android-ready V Cast Apps store, as well as an Android "app-pack" service announced last week by Sprint.

          Want to set up shop and sell mobile applications? There's a platform for that: the Android operating system Google unleashed to the open source community. And companies are taking advantage of the search engine's largesse.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu 10.10 arrives with impressive new netbook environment
        Canonical has announced the availability of Ubuntu 10.10, a major update of the popular Linux distribution. The new version introduces the Unity netbook environment, which offers a custom desktop shell that is optimized for ease of use on small displays and has a global menubar to conserve vertical screen space.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Piracy and Free Software
    Over the last few years, many advocates of access to information have gathered and organized under the banner of piracy. Should FLOSS and free culture advocates embrace advocates of piracy as comrades in arms or condemn them? Must we choose between being either with the pirates or against them? I believe that, unintuitively, if we take a strong principled position in favor of information freedom and distinguish between principles and tactics, a more nuanced "middle ground" response to piracy is possible. On free culture and free software's terms, we can suggest that piracy is not ethically wrong, but that it is an shortsighted and unwise way to try to promote sharing that we should not support.

  • Would you hire an open source developer?
    One very important skill that you learn or improve in an open source community is to express yourself clearly in written form. The mailing lists or forums that we use are very limited compared to in-person communications, and extra care is required to get your message through. Being concise and complete, disagreeing respectfully, avoiding personal attacks and coping with what you perceive as personal attacks are all extremely useful skills on the job. Useful skills for your whole life actually.

    Once you master asynchronous written discussions as a way to build group consensus, doing the same in a face to face meeting can be much easier. But the basic skills are the same, so what you learn in an open source community definitely helps.

  • Open source comes of age?
    Say “open source software” to most people and they'll conjure up an image of an alpha geek hunched over a keyboard, doing complicated things with command line interfaces. 'All very well for the geeks,' they think, 'but not for ordinary mortals, and certainly too risky for my business.'

    In fact, open source software (OSS) is already ubiquitous in all sorts of places. For one thing, it runs most of the world's Web servers, probably including yours. Apache has around 55% of the total world market share for Web servers, rising to 66% for the million busiest sites, compared to just 17% for its nearest rival, Microsoft. And it's held that leading position since 1996.

  • Events

    • Touring the Balkans to promote Free Software

      James Michael Dupont (Mike) is a software developer that is doing a lot to promote Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) in Kosovo and other Balkan countries. This year, Mike invited a first class team to spend a couple of weeks in the southern Balkans, to explain why and how FOSS can play a great role in the social and economic development of those countries. The team included (I'm only naming those I met personally) Gnash developer Rob Savoye, technology historian Peter Salus, former member of the Board of Directors Leon Shiman and LibreDwg developer Rodrigo Rodrigues da Silva.

      I attended the first and final parts of the tour, that is the two conferences FreeSB (Free Software in Balkans) and SFK10 (Software Freedom Kosova 2010). All the guys mentioned above gave really great talks that you can find (both slideshows and video!) on the conference websites. A few , only apparently "minor" talks that I found very relevant for t

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Please Mozilla, Let Me Disable Firefox Panorama
        I may be a bit old fashioned when it comes to changes in new versions of my favorite web browser Firefox. This can be partly attributed to years of working with a particular feature, only to find it completely revamped in a new version. Don’t get me wrong, if a feature makes sense from a usability point of view I’m all for it. But the Firefox developers lately seem to have concentrated much of their energy on making changes to the graphical user interface and the user’s interaction with the browser.

  • Oracle

  • Business

    • Build, buy or open source?
      Carbone believes building with open source software often makes software development more costly, error prone and slower to market. "Buying software offers faster time to market, portability to other hardware platforms, integrated components and the availability of support from the supplier. A proven solution with a strong track record of adoption and successful use can reduce risk of failure, just as using modern mcus saves time and reduces hardware cost."



  • Fund-raising and self-publishing (the open source way), Part two
    Two online publishing companies that provide no additional barriers to users of open source software stacks (aside from the possible use of Flash) are CreateSpace (owned by Amazon) and Lulu . Both will get your publication listed on Amazon (if that is your goal), both feature copious written instructions and peer discussion (especially helpful to first-time authors), and neither requires any up-front payment.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Florida’s Kangaroo Foreclosure Courts: Judges Denying Due Process on Behalf of Banks
      Florida is ground zero of the foreclosure crisis. In addition to being one of the epicenters of the housing meltdown, it has also become the jurisdiction where local lawyers have been the most effective overall in unearthing how servicers and foreclosure mills have engaged in widespread document fabrications and use of improper affidavits to foreclose.

    • Foreclosures Slow as Document Flaws Emerge
      Defense lawyers say the disclosures are symptomatic of the carelessness, if not outright fraud, that lenders have been exhibiting for years in their rush to file cases. Many necessary documents have disappeared, with defense lawyers saying the lenders often do not even have standing to foreclose.

    • Citigroup, Ally Sued for Racketeering Over Database
      The homeowners claim the defendants filed or caused to be filed mortgages with forged signatures, filed foreclosure actions months before they acquired any legal interest in the properties and falsely claimed to own notes executed with mortgages.

      The lawsuit is one of multiple cases against MERS and banks alleging that the process allows wrongful foreclosures. Several of these cases, combined in a multidistrict litigation in Phoenix, were dismissed Sept. 30, with the judge allowing the plaintiffs to re-file their complaints.

    • At Flagging Tribune, Tales of a Bankrupt Culture
      Behind the collapse of the Tribune deal and the bankruptcy is a classic example of financial hubris. Mr. Zell, a hard-charging real estate mogul with virtually no experience in the newspaper business, decided that a deal financed with heavy borrowing and followed with aggressive cost-cutting could succeed where the longtime Tribune executives he derided as bureaucrats had failed.

    • `Black Swan' Author Says Investors Should Sue Nobel for Crisis
      Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of “The Black Swan,” said investors who lost money in the financial crisis should sue the Swedish Central Bank for awarding the Nobel Prize to economists whose theories he said brought down the global economy.

    • How technology is contributing to economic chaos
      Earlier last September, Europe erupted in protest. (About time!) Tens of thousands of workers went on strike! From rail road workers to truckers. This resulted in serious disruption of everyday life in Spain, France, Germany, Sweden and more. The governments of the world think that cutting the average worker’s pay, pensions and raising taxes on them will correct the massive deficits.

      But, these deficits were not caused by the workers or average Joe! They were caused by Bankers and Policy Makers (Politicians). In October 2008, the world witnessed America’s stock market crash. The result of which took months and months to determine whom was to blame. First, it was blamed on real estate brokers. But, it was soon found that everyone in the financial industry from bankers, brokers, insurance agencies and even home owners tapping into equity they thought they could pay back, where all found to be part of the problem.

      You can blame any number of institutions. But, it is clear it was orchestrated by major Banks and Policy Makers. The Politicians ‘in bed’ with the bankers created polices over the years that ultimately supported the ultra rich and not anyone else.

    • Take Action! Demand a Freeze on Foreclosures!
      DON’T THINK THIS DOES NOT AFFECT YOU! Unemployment is now driving foreclosures. Flooding the housing market with illegal foreclosures hurts everyone's property values and unfairly denies people an opportunity to save their homes from foreclosure. It’s time to finally stop this madness and hold the nation's biggest banks accountable for their detestable actions.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Corporate Cash Floods US Congressional Elections
      Big business and the wealthy are pouring unprecedented sums of money into the US congressional elections, according to data reported in the media over the past several days. While the lion’s share of the money is going to candidates of the Republican Party, Democrats are also raking in millions, underscoring the status of both parties as political instruments of the financial aristocracy.

      Much of the spending is fueled by the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, handed down in January, which reversed 80 years of precedent and declared that corporations—as well as labor unions—had the right to spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of their favored candidates.

      While individuals and organizations are limited in what they can give directly to a candidate, there is no limit on what they can spend on their own, as long as the advertising is not directly coordinated with the candidate.

    • Larry Kudlow Calls for Campaign Ad Funding Disclosure
      The push for disclosure follows exposure of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's possible use of funds from foreign companies and governments to finance political attack ads in the U.S., and Republicans' success at blocking consideration of the DISCLOSE Act in September. The Act would prevent foreign influence in elections, enhance financial disclosures for advertising, and make CEOs and other leaders take responsibility for financing political ads.

    • How "Breast Cancer Awareness" Campaigns Hurt
      Because female breasts are sexy, and sex sells. Lungs and other organs -- and their cancers -- just don't have the same zing. Lung cancer may be the country's number one cancer killer, but people are unlikely to flock to buy weird and inappropriate "lung cancer awareness" products like a colored "lung cancer awareness" hand gun, a "colon-cancer awareness" floating beer pong table or a bile-colored "pancreatic awareness" toaster. Lungs, pancreases, colons, prostates and other hard-working internal organs are just plain unattractive marketing tools -- they don't sell stuff. They are asexual, and hidden, and we like them that way. Not so with breasts. Female breasts conjure up buying power like few other organs, and the "breast cancer awareness" theme gives corporate America a legitimate "in" to link female breasts to sales of just about anything -- a winning combination for marketing purposes.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Argument preview: Protest vs. privacy

    • Local attorney jailed for not saying Pledge
      We talked to another attorney about this issue. He said if Lampley did not want to say the pledge he had that constitutional right.

      "You have a right to speak, and you have a right to remain silent. So I was shocked when I heard a lawyer had been put in jail. It doesn't make any difference whether you agree with him or not it's his constitutional right," attorney Jim Waide said.

      Lampley said he hopes he and Judge Talmadge Littlejohn will be able to come to a resolution.

    • Making Congress All It Can Be
      In Justice Breyer’s view, democracy is best served when the court maintains “a strong workable relationship with Congress,” a partnership in which the court interprets statutes so as to help Congress achieve its legislative goals, unarticulated or even as coyly concealed as those goals may be. Why should that be? Here is Justice Breyer’s explanation:

      “The more the court seeks realistically to ascertain the purposes of a statute and interprets its provisions in ways that further those purposes, the harder it will be for the legislator to escape responsibility for the statute’s objectives, and the easier it will be for voters to hold their legislators responsible for their legislative decisions.” By contrast, when the court, deliberately oblivious to context and purpose, simply goes by the statute’s text, however inartful, “the easier it will be for legislators to avoid responsibility for a badly written statute simply by saying that the court reached results they did not favor.”

    • Kyrgyzstan election aims to bring democracy to central Asian nation

      Kyrgyzstan was today holding a landmark election that is likely to establish the country as the first parliamentary democracy in authoritarian central Asia. Thousands of Kyrgyz voters went to the polls to elect a new parliament following a violent year that saw a street revolution in April and savage ethnic riots in the south of the country in June.

    • The death knell for Morocco's free press
      Leading Moroccan journalist Ahmed Benchemsi has difficulty speaking about Nichane, the vibrant Arabic-language news magazine he started four years ago, in the past tense. A passionate advocate for secularism, gender equity and individual rights and a vociferous critic of Islamist ideologies, Benchemsi was forced last Friday to close Nichane after major state-owned corporations subjected it to an advertising boycott that drove down revenues by almost 80%.

    • Liu Xiaobo Nobel win prompts Chinese fury

      China's best-known dissident, Liu Xiaobo, today won the Nobel peace prize from the prison cell where he is serving 11 years for incitement to subvert state power.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why Imitation Gets A Bad Rap... And Why Companies Need To Be More Serious About Copying
      Where the book really shines, in my opinion, is in Chapter 4, where it details the massive successes and failures of copycatting in two key industries: airlines and discount retail. In that chapter, Shenkar looks at the success of Southwest Air, which "imitated" the failed People Express, but figured out how to do discount air travel while avoiding a few key elements that resulted in People Express' failure. He then goes through a variety of other airlines and how they tried to mimic Southwest Air, covering many examples of both success and failure, and explaining why some succeeded where others failed. Most notable, perhaps, was the dismal failure of pretty much every single attempt by the big airlines to copy Southwest. They all appeared to copy the superficial aspects of it -- the key things that everyone knew about -- without quite grasping the underlying structural reasons why Southwest succeeded, thereby setting up a business model in conflict with itself. It's yet another fantastic reminder that the idea that big companies can just come in and copy what some innovator does is quite frequently not really true.

    • Copyrights

      • Record companies lose, artists gain
        In early September, two of my M.Sc. students handed in their thesis, which has created quite a stir in the Norwegian music industry. I think this has applicability outside Norway, so here is a translation (and light edit) of the Norwegian-language press release and a link to the full link to the full report (PDF, 3,4Mb)

      • Facebook Fails At The DMCA: Promises To Restore Counter-Noticed Content, But Doesn't [Updated]
        This is part of how the DMCA works. If the user files a counternotice, and if the copyright holder does not file a lawsuit within 10 to 14 business days, the service provider can put the works back up. Now, some say that service providers are required to restore the material, while the text of the statute is a bit more ambiguous. In theory, a service provider could opt not to restore the materials for other reasons. However, in this case, none of that matters, as Facebook appears to have promised that it would "replace or cease disabling access" within 10 to 14 business days.

      • "Free Music Is Always Going To Win," Says Lee Parsons, CEO of Ditto Music; Interview Part 1
        Lee Parsons: Record companies cannot look into problems from a fresh, artist based angle. Problems are often solved but not in the way they were intended. For instance, Facebook began decades ago as a printed manual of College students and faculty. Through the expansion of Web 2.0 itself, a consummate of available web technologies and techniques, this became the phenomenon it is today. It could well be the future of music, we don’t know.

        Shawn Fanning created Napster firstly for his own purpose. The new music models embrace as much technology and revolution as they can contain in a chaotic attempt to find a new and better path. Revolutionaries are prepared to make mistakes on the way; labels do not have this luxury. Many battles win a war, likewise through constant chaotic growth, development will come. Developing a new model for a major label is fuelled with risk so it is more likely they will continue to look for ways of containing technological advancement rather than embracing it as a new way of income.

      • Spotify crashes into Apple on way to U.S.
        These are some swinging Swedes, the guys at Spotify.

        Founded in Stockholm in 2006, Spotify is is an online streaming music service that has already conquered Europe with the help of a revolutionary desktop service and now desperately wants to make the jump to the United States.

        And it's probably safe to say many American music fans want that to happen too. Yet, despite immense anticipation for the service here, the company has already failed to meet two promised launch dates. The new self-imposed deadline is for the end of the year. Spotify managers say that by then they'll finally have licensing deals in place with the four largest record labels: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Music.

Clip of the Day

Copiar no es robar - Copying Is Not Theft - Subtitulos en español

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Credit: TinyOgg

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