Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 25/11/2010: Jolicloud (GNU/Linux) in the UK, KDE 4.6 Previews Imminent

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Professional Institute Announces New Affiliate in Greece
    “LPI seeks out and recruits organizations worldwide to become our Master Affiliates who have significant knowledge of the IT industry and the regional Linux and Open Source ecosystem where they operate. In this regard, GREEKLUG is an ideal partner for us as they have one of the oldest Linux computer labs in Greece and the necessary academic partnerships and human resources to promote the growth of LPI Certification,” said Jim Lacey, president and CEO of the Linux Professional Institute.

  • Desktop

    • The desktop market share
      It is due to the web analytic market share counters that the myth of “Linux is 1% of the market share” persists. We present three reasons below. 1. Totally off-the grid systems do not get counted.

      * 1,494,500 deployed by One Laptop Per Child. * Red Hat Enterprise Linux desktops, SuSE Enterprise Linux Desktop, or Ubuntu desktops on corporate or government networks behind a firewall. * Appliance deployments like cash registers.

      2. Nor do research institutions and Universities get properly counted.

      For example, Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science uses Fedora on the desktop but it does not show up in Fedora’s update statistics. Why? The version of Fedora is so heavily customized to the environment that it needs its own update mechanism. None the less, with 26,307,719 unique ip addresses getting Fedora updates, Fedora alone must have have greater than 1% desktop market share. 3. I agree with Caitlyn Martin, with all of the netbook sales, something is not adding up.
      A commenter asked for a 2009 and a 2010 market share report for netbooks. Here is one from November 2009 reporting 1/3 Linux market share. Regretfully, I have nothing for 2010 since the scoop is that netbooks are losing market share overall to iPad tablets. Never fear Linux Fans, The Android Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″ tablet has only been out for a month and has been selling nicely. By the way, Microsoft still lacks a significant market share in tablets.
      We won’t stand for the lies behind the 1% myth any more.

      We as non-Microsoft users need to stand up and say what we are using. If you use GNU/Linux, I urge you to participate in the Dudalibre “We > 1%” campaign. It takes one minute to say which distro you use.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • ZFS For Linux Is Now Available To The Public!
      For those with some extra time this holiday week in the United States, perhaps you want to try out the ZFS file-system on Linux? As was said this week when publishing ZFS benchmarks on Linux using the native kernel module developed by LLNL/KQ Infotech, the public release of this kernel module wasn't going to happen until the first week of January. Fortunately, we have been successful in overwhelming KQ Infotech with lots of interested users, so they have decided to go ahead and make the current beta ZFS Linux module available to the general public.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A replacement for X finally!
        The good old X Server is finally getting a replacement. Wayland will provide a replacement but can co-exists along side X Server for compatibility and features. It will also reduce the complexity today where for 3D effect, we are running Compiz.

        The X architecture has been around for a decades now. It has gone through many iterations and improvements, however it still suffers from complexities and performance issues. These become bigger challenges when you are working on smaller devices such as phones, where X becomes an over head.

      • Karsk: Make Finding Software/Driver Optimizations Easier
        When publishing ATI Gallium3D benchmarks this week that compared the performance of the Radeon HD 4870 and Radeon HD 5770 graphics cards with this next-generation driver architecture to the classic open-source Mesa driver and AMD's high-performance proprietary Catalyst driver, the results were what one would mostly expect.

  • Applications

    • 3 FOSS PIM Apps, 3 Personality Quirks
      Even when dealing in FOSS, choosing a personal information manager is sometimes a matter of deciding which app's personality issues you find least bothersome. KOrganizer is a complete organizer, but its menus and user interface often comes off as crowded. Getting Things Gnome has powerful features, but task windows are size-limited. And Chandler Note to Self's intriguing offering is limited by its difficulty to install.

    • Foobnix 0.2.2 Comes With Lots Of Changes, Ubuntu PPA
      Foobnix, a very interesting music player we've wrote about a while back (check out that post for a complete review) has been updated to version 0.2.2 and also it finally got an Ubuntu PPA.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Black Friday Sale !
        For those of you outside the United States (like myself), Black Friday is the day after the American Thanksgiving holiday that marks the first official shopping day of Christmas. It is the day when retailers offer all kinds of incredible sales opportunities that they hope will put them in the black for the year (enabling them to finish the year with a profit).

      • LGP Is Partially Back Online; More Unforeseen Issues
        It's been seven weeks since LGP's server disaster where their single server with a single disk with lackluster backup capabilities suffered a massive failure. The disk suffered from firmware corruption, chemical degradation, and file-system damage, among other problems, and located on this drive were LGP's web-sites, their online store, and their entire Digital Rights Management implementation for the games they ported to Linux. Fortunately, their services are starting to come back online.

      • Open Ballot: does a lack of games hold Linux back?
        After getting sucked into Osmos last night when he should have been doing something far more useful, Andrew got to thinking about games on Linux. Osmos is beautiful, intelligent and original, but our neighbours on PC Format would likely scoff at anything less than the latest Assassin's Creed or Counterstrike iteration.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Experts Needed for EU Research Project
        The EU research project, ALERT, is looking for KDE experts to assist research on free and open source software collaboration processes. The goal of the ALERT project is to develop methods and tools that improve FLOSS coordination by maintaining awareness of community activities through real-time, personalized, context-aware notification. KDE provides one use case for applying and evaluating these methods and tools.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • State of the Debian-Ubuntu relationship
        The Debian-Ubuntu relationships used to be a hot topic, but that's no longer the case thanks to regular efforts made on both sides. Conflicts between individuals still happen, but there are multiple places where they can be reported and discussed (#debian-ubuntu channel, Derivatives Front Desk at on the Debian side or on the Ubuntu side). Documentation and infrastructure are in place to make it easier for volunteers to do the right thing.

        Despite all those process improvements, the best results still come out when people build personal relationships by discussing what they are doing. It often leads to tight cooperation, up to commit rights to the source repositories. Regular contacts help build a real sense of cooperation that no automated process can ever hope to achieve.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu is ‘not changing to a rolling release’
          So there we have it: Ubuntu is not about to roll into instability but keeping up with the software Joneses may yet become that little bit easier.

        • Launchpad edge site deprecated
          I previously posted about our continuous deployment efforts in Launchpad. Since then the project has come a long way. We can deploy to nearly all our services without downtime. The remaining services are a bit trickier – but we are working on them.

        • Script To Automatically Apply the "200 Lines Kernel Patch" Alternative In Ubuntu
          The script was initially in Spanish, but I've translated it into English and I've also corrected 3 small errors which caused the script not to work.

        • Unity Place People – Day 3
          Sorry that I took a couple of days off to deal with other obligations, however I am back and hacking.

          If you missed the last 2 days of Unity Place People adventure please take a look at:

          1. Unity Place People – Day 1 2. Unity Place People – Day 2

          What’s new:

          1. Get Folks and Zeitgeist to play along allowing sorting results using Zeitgeist (Favorite/Most/Recent) 2. Find a nice grouping for the all section

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Asus announces eReader-notepad hybrid
      The Eee Note will run the Linux operating system and will include a headphone jack, voice recording and a built-in camera.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Meet MeeGo
          Android might get all the headlines, but MeeGo, the little Linux that could, may yet become an important Linux for your phones, netbooks, tablets, and cars.

      • Android

        • Documentation of the W3C Cheat Sheet on Android

        • Rovio's Angry Birds won't fly on slow Android devices
          Rovio recently brought Angry Birds to the Android platform, but the popular (and oddly addictive) physics game is suffering performance problems on certain handsets with slow processors. In a blog entry published on Thursday, the company announced plans for a new "lightweight" version that will work better on legacy hardware.

        • What Android Is
          What happened was, for our recent South American tour I wanted an Android architecture overview graphic. I ran across, among the Android SDK documentation, a page entitled What is Android?, and it’s perfectly OK. Except for, I really disliked the picture — on purely aesthetic grounds, just not my kind of lettering and gradients and layouts — so I decided to make another one.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu-ready netbook moves to dual-core Atom
        System76 is shipping a new version of its Ubuntu Linux-ready Starling Netbook equipped with a dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor, starting at $384. Meanwhile the company has begun shipping to the U.K, and is contemplating developing a tablet PC.

      • Jolicloud beats Chrome OS
        The next big thing in consumer computing is the cloud-based operating system. The most anticipated of these is Google's Chrome OS, a Linux-based OS meant to be ideal for netbooks and tablet-like devices.

        While Google makes promises about a release date for Chrome OS, others are already moving into this space.

        One of the first is Jolicloud, which has already released a version 1.0 edition, is readying version 1.1 and has already announced a Jolicloud-based netbook in the UK. The so-called "Jolibook" will run version 1.1 of the cloud software.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Wave to become Apache project
    Community interest in continuing the development of Google's Wave communication platform has led to a proposal to migrate portions of the code base to the Apache Software Foundation (OSM). The proposal was posted to the Apache Incubator wiki by Google and Novell employees, as well as several independent developers. The Apache Incubator is the place where potential future Apache projects can be submitted to the open source organisation for consideration.

  • Copyright assignment – a little commercial perspective
    Gather the pitchforks and light the torches. Hordes of marketing men are gathering, intent on invading the free and open source software village armed with copyright assignment policies and turning everyone into mindless corporate contributors. As Michael Meeks (via has warned there is “‘a sustained marketing drive coming’ to push the copyright-assignment agenda” As you read this very post, faceless marketing drones are calling your bosses, spreading pernicious lies about the necessity of copyright assignment policies.

  • Technology Innovation categories
    In this new category we're looking for examples of technology that is open source. This could be a publishing platform, a hardware toolset, a peer-to-peer communications service or software development tools. Well known examples of this could include Firefox or WordPress – but which developers are creating the next generation of open source tools which will transform the way we interact with the web?

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • FR: Open source database new engine of France's social security
      The open source database management system (DBMS) Postgresql is the new engine for France's Caisse Nationale d'Allocations Familiales (CNAF). The organisation, responsible in 2009 for some 69 billion Euro in benefits distributed to 11 million claimants, earlier this year replaced its proprietary DBMS with the open source alternativ

  • Oracle

  • CMS

    • Wordpress Global Translator Plugin
      Global Translator is a free and open source Wordpress Plugin which is able to automatically translate your blog in 48 different languages: Italian, Korean, Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), Portuguese, English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Greek, Dutch, Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Catalan, Filipino, Hebrew, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Albanian, Estonian, Galician, Maltese, Thai, Turkish, Hungarian, Belarus,Irish, Icelandic, Macedonian, Malay, Persian.

    • Open-source social network Diaspora goes live
      Diaspora, a widely anticipated social network site built on open-source code, has cracked open its doors for business today, at least for a handful of invited participants.

      "Every week, we'll invite more people," stated the developers behind the project, in a blog item posted Tuesday announcing the alpha release of the service. "By taking these baby steps, we'll be able to quickly identify performance problems and iterate on features as quickly as possible."

    • Is Diaspora too late

  • Education

    • Cooperative principles can be applied in school settings
      Most schools today involve rows of students seated at desks, looking toward a teacher. That teacher, who is the focus of all the students, holds the power in the classroom, but has little power to make structural changes within the school system. The educational system in the United States right now is set up to teach kids how to follow directions—and it's not doing that very well, either. Our students learn how to break the rules and not get caught. Our schools teach kids ways to negotiate power so that they are able to achieve some sort of reward or avoid punishment, but never to be in power. Conformity and submission to authority are clear strategies for success in the public school system. Students see clear examples of "power over" and "power under," but rarely "power with." Our schools are educating for empire.

      By not teaching children how to think critically, and not allowing students or teachers meaningful control over school environments or curriculum, our schools train workers who do not question authority in jobs or on battlefields. If students are unable to operate successfully in this system, they are often funneled into the prison industrial system. This connection between prisons and schools is becoming more and more transparent. Just last February a seventh grade girl in New York was arrested and taken directly to jail for writing on her desk in marker. The means by which schools operate are authoritarian and oppressive. Youth in schools do not experience a right of due process and are one of the only populations within the U.S. who to not have access to this right. There is no innocent-until-proven-guilty option in the principle's office. This system invites little to no feedback from and does not empower those upon which it acts, whether students or teachers.

  • Business

    • Control Points and Steering Mechanisms in Open Source Software Projects
      Most commercial software today depends on open source software. The commercial software might be using an underlying open source platform, or it might be incorporating open source components, or it might be provided as a commercial open source product itself. Whichever the case, the software firm behind the commercial software needs to ensure that its interests are met by the open source software projects it depends on. This article shows how commercial software firms manage or steer open source software projects to meet their business needs.

  • Project Releases

    • Libre Office Beta 3 released
      The third beta of the fork ‘LibreOffice’ saw release this week.

    • Moodle 2.0 is now available!
      Well, after about two and a half years of work by hundreds of people, I'm proud to say that we have a Moodle 2.0 ready for you to download.

      All the functional QA tests have passed, all the 3873 unit tests are passing, and enough people think it's finished, so it must be finished. smile The last step was to take the (now traditional) Moodle version photo of my kids for this news post, which I did today.

  • Government

    • Italian Parliament Migration Plan goes on
      The Italian chamber of deputies on the 22th of September 2010 approved unanimously a motion to move on with the adoption of open standards in order to make office suite migrations a reality.

    • PL: PoznaÅ„ city's e-Government platform built on open source components
      The administration of the Polish city of Poznań is using many open source tools, allowing it to offer a variety of e-government services to its citizens, civil workers and politicians. "Free and open source software, open access and open standards allow us to create open government services."

      Examples include the streaming audio of city council sessions, using the Ogg Vorbis open standard. The city also offers websites that combine city maps with city planning and providing public Internet access points. Using open source furthermore allows Poznan's citizens to submit information to the Municipal police, in combination with digital maps.

    • Italian Left Leader signs Berlusconi-like deal with Microsoft
      Nichi Vendola is president both of south-eastern italian region Puglia and of the Italian left party Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (SEL or “Left, Ecology, Freedom” in English).

      Free Software is software that can save lots of public money. Even moms like Free Software like Linux, partly because it can be used without problems even by some disabled children. Besides, Free Software is such a good idea that European Parliament representatives of all colors like it !.

      On its own website, SEL says “we believe that for a modern party speaking of copyleft, Free Software and Net Neutrality is as necessary as speaking of jobs, environment, economy and civil rights”. Among the more than 100 political candidates supporting Free Software at the latest regional elections in Italy there were several SEL representatives. The Florence section of SEL even presented a motion to promote Free Software in Florence] in January 2010.

  • Licensing

    • Viewsonic and the GPL
      Somebody linked me to this reddit story about the fact that Viewsonic appear to be engaging in the currently fashionable trend of shipping Android devices without providing any source. This one's more interesting though, in that Viewsonic appear to be entirely happy to publicly state that they have no intention of following their license obligations. I've pulled the kernel image for the device and confirmed that it contains code that's not present in the generic Android Tegra tree, so I don't think they have a leg to stand on here.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Amazon #1 Bestseller, “Machine of Death,” goes Creative Commons
      In addition, some of the individual stories are released under the CC BY-NC-SA license, which allows you to translate and adapt the work as long as you abide by the noncommercial condition and release the derivative under the same license. Podcasts are also being created for all the stories, with three stories up so far.

    • Open Data

      • Foreign Transparency Policies the US Government Could Learn From
        There is always progress to be made and the presumption to make data public and online (with teeth!) is an important cultural shift we hope to see soon. Just last week the United Kingdom took an unprecedented step to publicize all government spending over 25,0000 pounds. As governments around the world tighten their belts we think making the books fully transparent will allow citizens to be better informed about where their tax dollars go and how to move forward. Here in the US there is the site (which could be greatly improved) and we are encouraged that the culture is shifting as we see folks like the United Nations, the World Bank, Russia, Spain, Finland, Australia and many others hopping on board.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Harvard Divinity School Faculty Votes for Open Access Policy
        The faculty of Harvard Divinity School (HDS) voted, in a meeting on November 15, to allow Harvard University to make electronic versions of their current scholarly articles available to the public. With the vote for open access, the Divinity School faculty joined five other Harvard schools in a commitment to disseminate faculty research and scholarship as widely as possible.

        "While open access has grown more quickly in the sciences, the movement is of vital importance in all fields of scholarly inquiry," said Laura Wood, librarian of Andover-Harvard Theological Library at HDS. "The HDS faculty has taken an important step—both practically and philosophically—toward broader dissemination of their scholarship."

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF usergroup started
      An excellent example of governments working together on open standards like ODF: the Dutch government program 'The Netherlands Open In Connection' started a Dutch ODF usergroup while Fedict, the Belgian Federal Public Service ICT, publishes an ODF news letter in Dutch and French.


  • Search Insurgents Pair Up Against Spam … and Google
    On the one side, there’s Blekko, which debuted Nov. 1 after spending three years in development, using nearly $25 million in venture capital from some of Silicon Valley’s top investors to build a full-scale search infrastructure. Less than a month after the public launch, Blekko is attracting a million queries a day to its slashtag search system. Its algorithm searches only pre-approved sites in seven areas, including health, personal finance, cars and travel.

  • Armed lawmaker stopped by police in Highland Park
    A state representative said it was a misunderstanding when he parked his car in the Planned Parenthood lot in Highland Park and was later stopped by St. Paul police because of the revolver he was carrying near his waistband.

    Thomas Hackbarth, 58, was stopped in his car on Nov. 16 after a security guard saw him with a gun in the parking lot about 5 p.m., an hour after the clinic closed. Police ordered him out of his car at gunpoint and handcuffed and questioned him before taking his gun and letting him go.

  • Catching Up
    This post rolls a few things into one in a kinda catchup way, since I've been a little lax in blogging and releasing screencasts recently. First thing to mention is that I appeared on the TechBytes audiocast with Roy and Tim as a guest speaking about Linux Mint and enjoyed it so much that I am now a regular co-host on the show. So far I've appeared on 5 shows.

  • Intel Is Dead on the Desktop, Says ARM Co-Founder
    Intel is doomed, Hermann Hauser has claimed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal . If you don't know who Hauser is, he happens to be one of the co-founders of ARM--possibly Intel's most dangerous foe in the semiconductor marketplace, when also-rans like AMD and VIA are removed from the equation.

  • Alan Turing's papers fail to sell
    SCIENTIFIC PAPERS written over 50 years ago by the brilliant British mathematician, cryptologist and computer scientist Alan Turing failed to meet their reserve at auction.

    The papers were set to be at the heart of a bidding war when they were auctioned at Christie's yesterday, however they failed to meet their apparently lofty reserve. This means that the campaign to keep the papers at Bletchley Park has a second chance at success.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Tom the Dancing Bug: A Security Issue at the Office

    • TSA Gestapo Empire
      It doesn’t take a bureaucrat long to create an empire. John Pistole, the FBI agent who took over the Transportation Security Administration on July 1 told USA Today 16 days later that protecting trains and subways from terrorist attacks will be as high a priority for him as air travel.

      It is difficult to imagine New Yorkers being porno-screened and sexually groped on crowed subway platforms or showing up an hour or two in advance for clearance for a 15 minute subway ride, but once bureaucrats get the bit in their teeth they take absurdity to its logical conclusion. Buses will be next, although it is even more difficult to imagine open air bus stops turned into security zones with screeners and gropers inspecting passengers before they board.

    • Happy Opt-Out Thanksgiving
      There has been a call for people who are flying to be with family for Thanksgiving tomorrow to opt out of the BS Scanner process in protest. We’ll have to see what happens but there are a couple of comments I read on boingboing that bear repeating, so I wanted to include them here. And because boingboing (unlike, say, CBC) publishes under a Creative Commons License I can happily and legally reprint the words of others.

    • Pornoscanner CEO flew with Obama to India

    • Several Readers Ask The Same Question:
      And reader Benjamin Wang emails:
      A disgusting thought, but I’ve never seen a TSA screener change gloves. It would be interesting to send in a HAZMAT team to test several sets of gloves and see what’s on them. And publicize the results.
      Remember: The gloves are for their protection. Not yours.

    • Before the Junk Jokes: Airport Security Cartoons

    • Human Rights and the TSA
      At best, the “BS Scanners” are an invasion of privacy, at worst, a serious health risk.

      Clearly what is being done to citizens by the TSA contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    • Presenting… Sing Along With Airport Security!

    • TSA outrage critical mass: Angry White Guy Syndrome
      Since 9/11, disenfranchised groups have been trying to get traction about our eroding civil rights while traveling, without much luck. That's why I was delighted to see angry white guys finally reach the tipping point. They are even more potent a force in creating a media frenzy than Missing White Woman Syndrome. Now that white guys are being objectified, scrutinized, touched, and considered guilty until proven innocent, they are finally getting a taste of what an encounter with authority can be like for other groups on a daily basis, and not just when traveling. Welcome to our world, dudes!

    • Common Sense and Security: Body Scanners, Accountability, and $2.4 Billion Worth of Security Theater
      The Transportation Security Administration is feeling public heat these days over its combination of whole-body-image scanners and heavy-handed pat-down searches, and deservedly so.

      There’s no question that reform is needed to curtail TSA’s excesses. We especially applaud the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s efforts to increase public awareness about the body scanners. But will the heat now being generated produce the kind of light we really need?

      Consider, for instance, the all-too-common response that we need to accept the indignity and invasiveness of the body scanners and pat-down searches in order to be safer. That response assumes that body scanners actually make us safer — a dubious assumption that we explore below.

    • Hartsfield TSA worker allegedly abducts, assaults woman
      A TSA employee based at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport tried to kill himself after allegedly abducting a woman, sexually assaulting her then giving her a suicide note to deliver.

    • Students stage day of protests over tuition fee rises
      Police have dispersed the final student demonstrators in central London after a day of protests against higher tuition fees and university cuts.

      Police said 17 people were injured, including two officers as protesters were contained on Whitehall.

      There have also been occupations in at least 12 universities, including Oxford University's Bodleian Library.

    • Insanity! Teacher Bans Students From Bringing Pencils To School
      This is yet another example of zero tolerance policy taken to an absurd level. Who knew that pencils were "materials to build weapons?" Are the school officials going to remove every last stone, rock and pebble from the school grounds, because they are materials to start a war?

    • Student demos in Twitter age: no leaders, only chatter
      After two chaotic student protests in the space of a fortnight, the question police will be asking is: who are the new rebel leaders? The unfortunate answer for them is that there are none.

      Unlike student movements of the 1960s and 1970s, actions developed organically, with social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, providing an ideal platform for grassroots organisation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • The Microfinance Fallacy
      The impending collapse of the microcredit sector in India, in the context of lender and farmer suicides, makes it imperative to review the critiques of the model.

    • A Description of the Inequality that Goldman Sachs Helps Perpetuate
      I especially like the quote below from Tasini's book (emphasis mine):
      If you want to wring your hands about the bigger government deficit, don’t go pointing the finger at the president or Congress. Instead, you can thank Goldman Sachs, Angelo Mozilo, Robert Rubin and the rest of the smart boys who built a financial system that was a mix of a floating casino, Ponzi scheme and Fool’s Gold paradise—all patched together by lies, deceit and a healthy dose of massive public indoctrination of the wonders of the “free market”.

    • Goldman Sachs Investor Buffett Thanks "Uncle Sam" for Bailout
      The peoples' oligarch Warren Buffett just wrote a thank you letter to "Uncle Sam" published in the New York Times. It is the height of cynicism. (Image)

      Buffett has a carefully crafted public image as a brilliant but people-friendly master of investments. We hear about his regular table at an Omaha diner where he conducts business (just plain Warren) and we see his occasional public stands for reasonable policies like the inheritance tax.


    • If you work for Goldman Sachs…

      You can cause a Subprime-Mortgage-backed Securities Meltdown that demolished financial markets worldwide, and took down countries, like Iceland directly and Greece indirectly, but since you work at Goldman you get a bonus.

      * Goldman Sachs was AIG’s biggest customer. Meaning, Goldman Sachs double-dipped on the bailout money. Goldman Sachs playing in Subprime fueled AIG’s demise.

      If you work for Goldman Sachs…

      You may be CEO when the Subprime Mess is brewing in the pot, but you can always move over to the US Treasury to mop up when the pot boils over the counter and onto the floor. Goldman Sachs, as the #1 recipient of the Wall Street $700 billion bailout, saw fit to thank the American Taxpayers by giving out more bonus money than the year before.

    • What Good Is Wall Street?
      A few months ago, I came across an announcement that Citigroup, the parent company of Citibank, was to be honored, along with its chief executive, Vikram Pandit, for “Advancing the Field of Asset Building in America.” This seemed akin to, say, saluting BP for services to the environment or praising Facebook for its commitment to privacy. During the past decade, Citi has become synonymous with financial misjudgment, reckless lending, and gargantuan losses: what might be termed asset denuding rather than asset building. In late 2008, the sprawling firm might well have collapsed but for a government bailout. Even today the U.S. taxpayer is Citigroup’s largest shareholder.

    • Chinese inflation and European defaults
      Its official – Spain and Portugal will need to be bailed out soon. How do I know? In one of my favorite TV shows, Yes Minister, the all-knowing civil servant Sir Humphrey explains to cabinet minister Jim Hacker that you can never be certain that something will happen until the government denies it.

    • Why the Euro Will Survive the Crisis
      Europe is gripped by a sense of alarm, now that Ireland has become the second euro-zone country to ask for a bailout. Pessimists claim that the crisis means the euro is finished. But that scenario is unrealistic -- in reality, there is little to suggest that the common currency is about to disintegrate.

      The mood in Europe is currently one of alarm -- yet again. First, the EU's member states had to pull Greece back from the precipice of bankruptcy. And now they are having to save Ireland from financial ruin.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Al Franken Asks Justice Dept. To Investigate Comcast
      Minnesota senator Al Franken is doing what he can to throw a wrench into the merger between cable giant Comcast and NBC, the network he once called home during his years on Saturday Night Live. Yesterday, he asked the Justice Department to investigate whether or not Comcast violated anti-trust laws when it announced who would fill the top positions in the acquired company, even though the deal has yet to get DOJ approval.

    • Palin: ‘Obviously, We’ve Got To Stand With Our North Korean Allies’
      In recent days, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has hinted in her clearest language yet that she is seriously considering a run for the presidency in 2012. Many observers have argued that Palin could never win because of her embarrassing lack of expertise, knowledge, or interest in foreign policy. Her appearance on Fox News host Glenn Beck’s radio show today, captured by Oliver Willis, suggests they may be right:
      CO-HOST: How would you handle a situation like the one that just developed in North Korea? [...]

      PALIN: But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies. We’re bound to by treaty –

      CO-HOST: South Korean.

      PALIN: Eh, Yeah. And we’re also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Digital Weapons Help Dissidents Punch Holes in China's Great Firewall
      It was Huang’s first experience with prison, but not with Communist Party repression. When he was an electrical engineering student at Shanghai’s Fudan University in the 1980s, Huang marched in the pro-democracy protests that roiled China. But the heady days in the streets came to a bloody end when the government sent tanks into Tiananmen Square. Huang wasn’t arrested, but some of his acquaintances disappeared. And he was shocked by the way the government’s ensuing propaganda barrage convinced many Chinese that the protesting students were themselves to blame for the bloodshed. Disillusioned, Huang left China, got his graduate degree at the University of Toronto, and moved to Silicon Valley in 1992. He spent most of the 1990s quietly living the immigrant-American dream, starting a family and building a career. Along the way, he also became one of the Bay Area’s hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners, leading study sessions and group exercises. So when Beijing launched its crackdown on the sect, it felt to Huang like 1989 all over again: The government was brutalizing a peaceful movement while painting its adherents as dangerous criminals. This time, he was determined to fight back. His aborted trip to China and frightening weeks in jail only left him more resolute. “My experience told me that the persecution was more severe than what we can imagine,” Huang says in accented English. “I felt I needed to do something.”

    • First Data Protection Act fines issued by commissioner
      A county council that faxed details of a child sex abuse case to a member of the public is to be fined €£100,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act.

      Hertfordshire County Council is one of two bodies fined by the Information Commissioner - both have apologised.

    • MP calls for pornography 'opt-in' to protect children
      Internet providers should create an "opt-in" system to prevent children gaining access to pornography, a Conservative MP has said.

      Claire Perry wants age-checks to be attached to all such material to reduce exposure to it.

    • First Monetary Penalties issued by ICO for serious Data Breaches
      Today saw the ICO announce the first use of its new powers granted in April 2010 – the new monetary penalty (essentially a fine to you and I) for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998 (the Act). For many years data protection lawyers have waited for this moment to happen, as no longer is business going to be hit by adverse publicity it can potentially be hit very firmly on the bottom line. Whilst the fines are no where near are severe as that which can be handed down under the Competition Law regime (up to 10% of a businesses annual turn over), any loss of income in the current climate (as well as any competitive edge that your business did have pre breach) is a worry and concern.

    • EFF's Guide to Protecting Electronic Devices and Data at the U.S. Border

      Amid recent reports that security researchers have experienced difficulties at the United States border after traveling abroad, we realized that it's been awhile since we last discussed how to safeguard electronic devices and digital information during border searches. So just in time for holiday travel and the 27th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, here's EFF's guide for protecting your devices and sensitive data at the United States border.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The False Link Between Locks and Levies
      The Bill C-32 legislative committee meets for the first time tomorrow with hearings likely to begin later this week. The digital lock provisions will undoubtedly be a major focus of discussion with all three opposition parties calling for changes to the current approach. Industry lobby groups will continue their effort to keep the C-32 lock provisions, one of the world's most restrictive implementations of anti-circumvention legislation, unchanged.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Mallick: Corporate crimes and digital misdemeanors

        When copyright Bill C-32 passes, I will automatically become a criminal.

        I suspect the bill will pass in its current form because it was written in a state of hysteria about people downloading things without paying for them, which is like total stealing, and American corporations are leaning on foreign governments to put a stop to it. If there was ever a Canadian prime minister more attentive to the corporate needs of the United (failing) States, it’s Stephen Harper.

      • Dutch Artist Unions Call Government to Legalize File-Sharing
        A strong coalition of two Dutch artists unions and the local consumer watchdog have submitted a proposal to permanently legalize file-sharing of music and movies. In exchange, the parties call for a levy on MP3-players and other devices that can play and record movies and music. In the future, this has to be changed to a general levy on Internet subscriptions.

      • Hurt Locker Makers Sue Lawyer Who Helped ‘BitTorrent’ Defendants

        Graham Syfert, the lawyer who offered self-help to alleged BitTorrent downloaders of films such as Far Cry and The Hurt Locker, has been sued by the makers of the latter movie. On behalf of Voltage Pictures, the US Copyright Group (USCG) is seeking sanctions against Syfert and demand $5000 for the ‘work’ the self-help forms have caused them. in reponse, Syfert has requested sanctions against the plaintiffs because their filing is “completely insane.”

      • Big Music attacks PC Mag, ignores RIAA, MPAA
        How’s this for supreme irony?

        The RIAA and MPAA recently published chapter-and-verse outlines of exactly where to find alleged ‘piracy’ purveyors not only online, but also off.

        p2pnet ran both items in full, singly and together.

        Shortly after the Big 4 record labels, Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music used the US court system to shut down Limewire, PC Magazine posted an article suggesting six alternative P2P services and torrent trackers, saying “all of these services should be used for legal downloads, of course”.

        According to Billboard, totally ignoring the detailed RIAA and MPAA contributions, a coterie of Big Music acolytes claimed, “The harm done to the creative community when people are encouraged to steal our music is immeasurable. Disclaimer or no, when you offer a list of alternative P2P sites to LimeWire – and include more of the serial offenders — PC Magazine is slyly encouraging people to steal more music … ”

      • Pirate Parties Use Influence To Halt Anonymous’ Operation Payback
        In a letter to those coordinating Operation Payback, the series of DDoS attacks carried out against pro-copyright outfits since September, the UK and US Pirate Party are calling for an end to hostilities. They reason that the continuation of the operation plays into the hands of organizations that wish to “pervert” copyright law for personal gain and hampers the progress of those seeking copyright reform through legitimate means.

      • Winnipeg North first Canadian battleground for Pirate Party
        A 25-year-old Winnipeg businessman is the first Pirate Party of Canada candidate to run for federal election.

        Jeff Coleman, a former ESL teacher who owns a design and 3-D company, is running in the upcoming federal by-election on November 29 in Winnipeg North.

        His plan: to take to the streets of his home riding to engage voters in issues that surround the digital age.

      • ACTA

        • EU Parliament approves once-secret ACTA copyright treaty
          After 11 rounds of international negotiations, the final text of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has overcome its biggest hurdle yet when it was welcomed as a step in the right direction by the European Parliament, which voted 331-294, with 11 members abstaining, to approve the measure.

          Although the Parliament has called for some reassurances from the European Commission, the vote means that in principle the final legal text can now be agreed to by the Commission at a meeting in Sydney from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3. Under the Lisbon Treaty, Members of the European Parliament were required to give their consent to the measure and there were fears right up until the vote that they might halt the deal altogether.

        • ACTA - injunction powers going beyond those provided for in the EU acquis
          Given that, by laying down the thresholds for injunctions, the EU acquis has struck a delicate balance between enforcement and fundamental rights safeguards, how will the Commission ensure that these safeguards under the current EU acquis are maintained?

        • European Parliament fails citizens over ACTA

          At 331 to 294 it was close, but the EPP and ECR (UK Conservatives) between them have backed the rights-holder industries and failed citizens.

          Within the past hour, in a very tense vote, the European Parliament has adopted a weak and industry-favourable resolution, which supports the cover-ups that we have seen over ACTA and fails to address the issue within it. This has happened despite the efforts and hard work of many MEPs who oppose ACTA to obtain a stronger resolution.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Government meddling is a danger to the Internet
          As reported by V3, a survey commissioned by the Internet Society found that 39 per cent of web users polled reckoned that meddling governments pose the greatest danger to the Internet.

          While no specifics were listed, rushed through legislation like Mandelson's Digital Economy Act and attempts to turn ISPs into Internet police have created a culture of fear. That can't help in a world where governments are acting as pawns of the big media companies and genuinely fear the open nature of the Internet.

        • Matthew Norman: Bring back Westminster's Barbra Streisand

Clip of the Day

Enable Wacom Tablet In GIMP - Fedora 13

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Credit: TinyOgg

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