Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 5/12/2010: Trinity 6 “Squeeze”, Fuduntu 14.6 Out, Unity to Enter Fedora Repos

GNOME bluefish



  • Assistive technologies in Linux - Orca
    I have not seen that many articles on assistive technologies in Linux around. When you think about it, assistive technologies are fairly easy to dismiss or forget, which is quite unfair. It is not only about visually impaired people. It is about anyone who may need help beyond the classic keyboard-and-mouse approach. A rare exception to bundling assistive technologies in a very friendly manner is Knoppix Adriane, a Linux distro that comes with a screen reader built-in and enabled by default. You may also be interested in Festival, a text-to-speech synthesis program. Having started there, I'd like to expand the sub-series on assistive technologies and present Orca.

  • 20 reasons you should switch to Linux
    Having all the software you need in one place saves you having to trawl the web to find the program you're missing. It also means the software has been independently checked and digitally signed by the distro's developers, making it almost impossible to pick up a root-kitted version.

  • Myth Busted #4: By pandering to non-technical users, they will not give back
    The first point is that when he says a “free OS that just works”, he is a statement not only about the “easy-to-use-GNU/Linux” as a whole, but Ubuntu in specific. This is an excerpt from a larger conversation.

    The second point is that when he says “linux”, I take that to mean “GNU/Linux”, or the F/OSS ecosystem.

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu: Faster, But More Power Hungry Than Mac OS X?
      Lastly, here is a composite graph looking at the results from idling and then running a number of Phoronix Test Suite test profiles, including the ones listed above. Again, Ubuntu finished most of its tests quicker than Mac OS X, but not without going through significantly more power. Stay tuned for the beginning of more Mac OS X performance tests next week, which goes into much further depth than this brief look at the power consumption.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Audio Blog #6
      This edition has information on the Linux distro Slitaz along with more thoughts on FreeDOS and Plan 9 from Bell Labs. Also included is a desciption of the hardware used to run Slitaz and Plan 9, 20 minutes duration.

    • Linux Outlaws 179 - Lead Lined Pants
      On the show this week: Cablegate, more on the Novell deal, Google Wave becomes an Apache project, Microsoft meddles in OpenStreetMap, Symbian Foundation shutting down and much more as usual…

    • Podcast 86 Vilhelm von Ehrenheim
      In this podcast I talk about working with and learning git. I also interview Vilhelm von Ehrenheim. He and his teammates;

      * Sebastian Hallén * Alex Werther * Johan Hyldentong

  • Google

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux stable kernel release procedure changes
      Over 5 1/2 years ago we started the stable Linux kernel releases, and by all merits they seem to be pretty popular.


      So, it's "back to our roots" time, and I'm now only going to be doing -stable releases for the last kernel released, with the usual one or two release overlap with the latest release from Linus to give people a chance to move over and have the new release stabilize a bit.

    • Daily Linux Kernel Benchmarks For A Year
      Last year we introduced Phoromatic as an extension to the Phoronix Test Suite for making it easy to build a benchmarking test farm or simply benchmarking systems across the world all from a simple and easy-to-use web-interface where all of the test results are also stored. A few months after launching Phoromatic, Phoromatic Tracker launched as an extension to that for being able to monitor the performance of a given software component on a timed basis or even on a per-commit VCS basis (or when externally triggered otherwise). As an example of that, we launched our Linux kernel test farm, which has now been running for a year.


      Visit for the latest Linux kernel benchmarks. For those interested in a more historical look at the Linux kernel performance, see our five years of Linux kernel benchmarks. The next iteration of Phoromatic will also boast greater analytics capabilities.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Introducing Oxidized Trinity 6 "Squeeze"
        This is something that I have wanted to do for the last week and a half or so, but I haven't been able to do it because I've been really busy. I said in my review of Debian 6 "Squeeze" Standard that I wanted to customize that installation with Trinity 3.5.12. Well, now it has finally happened: please welcome the newest member of the Oxidized Trinity family, Oxidized Trinity 6 "Squeeze"!

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Fuduntu 14.6 now available

      • Puppy Arcade 10 released! – The emulation distro!
        Hot off the press for Saturday 4th December is Puppy Arcade 10, which was kindly announced to me by Scott Jarvis its creator. Openbytes and Puppy Arcade have a history. It’s a distro that I have been following and reporting on for a long while and during that time I have watched it mature into a solid, stable, unique distro which still manages to improve and build upon every release.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Unity Desktop Possibly Coming To Fedora
          Adam Williamson has shared that he's looking at packaging Canonical's Unity desktop for Fedora. "Why? Well, a few reasons. Mainly, Unity’s an interesting project. I want to look at it and compare it to GNOME Shell and I think quite a few others do too, so it seems nice to package it so you can run both on Fedora. I don’t really want to maintain an Ubuntu install just to test Unity (can’t do it in a KVM VM as it requires compositing support). Also, though, I think it’ll do a bit to help keep everyone honest: if other projects show interest in providing Unity as an option for people to use, it increases the motivation for Unity's developers to make sure it can be easily built without non-upstreamed changes. Hopefully it also increases the motivation for upstream projects to work with the Unity developers to get their changes merged. It's the same for any project, really – if you have a wide base of users of a project across many distributions, it gives everyone involved a reason to work to make sure it's easy to maintain the project across distributions."

        • Unity on Fedora? Possibly!
          So since I woke up this morning at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep I thought I may as well do that very thing. It’s quite a big project, but I’m just started at the bottom of the dependency pile and seeing how far I can get. So far, I have review requests in for libindicator and dee. I need to do nux, and after libindicator goes in, the actual indicators. The remaining dependencies are a bit trickier: right now Unity needs a patched Compiz, which will become the upstream Compiz eventually but isn’t yet. I’m asking our Compiz maintainer if we can ship the ‘experimental’ branch for F15. bamf depends on a change to glib which hasn’t made it upstream yet; I’m trying to poke the appropriate people to get consensus on getting the change upstream. If we can clear those two, I’m hopeful it should be possible to have Unity available in the Fedora repos. Hell, we could make a spin of it.

    • Debian Family

      • Go2Linux interviewed me: the biggest problem of Debian
        Click here to read the full interview. I speak of my Debian projects, of the Ubuntu-Debian relationship, and more.

      • Debian Goodies in DuckDuckGo

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Edubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 Released
          Edubuntu 11.04 (codenamed: Natty Narwhal) is the next version of Edubuntu due for release in April 2011. Development on the system is already in full swing and today marks the first tested installable development version. It's in a very early state and has some serious known problems, so it is not recommended for anything else than testing purposes.

        • Log those Unity Crash Reports!
          This alpha is exciting to me because the Unity Launcher is already pretty usable. I'm using it daily, and am already addicted. The move to the new compiz has really really sped things up. Of course, I can't recommend to an average user that they rely daily on alpha software. This is fresh code, and it stresses more fresh code in the graphics stack. This means crashers.

        • Announcing Ubuntu Cloud Portal
          Another rocking day for the Ubuntu Cloud community! The Ubuntu Cloud Portal has just been launched hurray. The portal helps new-comers to the Ubuntu cloud community quickly find interesting information they may care about such as documentation to read/edit, projects that may interest them and so on. In this first release the following is available

        • Ubuntu Natty open for translation
          After the new Natty Narwhal Alpha 1 pre-release, I am pleased to announce that Natty is now open for translation...

        • Linaro 11.05 Alpha 1 Released
          On the same day as the Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 release, the developers behind Linaro, which is also sponsored by Canonical, released their first alpha of Linaro 11.05.

        • Getting Started working on Unity
          The Desktop Experience team is building the base; but there are plenty of other parts that need to be done. Keep in mind that these parts are just as important and a critical piece of the entire user experience.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 review
          Keep in mind that some of Unity’s features are not implemented in this alpha release.

        • Revisiting: GNOME Shell + Zeitgeist = ?
          So the current proposal looks like this (it is being updated since the whole layout changed)....

        • Tried Ubuntu 10.10 for a week and now back on #! CrunchBang Linux
          Last week I decided to give Ubuntu 10.10 codenamed “Maverick Meerkat” a try. I have to say that this version looks absolutely amazing and everything worked out of the box but it felt very heavy and cluttered on my Lenovo ThinkPad R400. So, I returned to my previous and favourite OS, #! CrunchBang Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Gingerbread UI Gets Exposed In The Crispest Video To Date

          Wow, this went unnoticed for a while, didn’t it? On November 23rd, Google’s own GoogleinHK YouTube account posted a video walkthrough of the new Google Voice Search in Cantonese. With only 2100 views, this official Google-authored video did not grab anyone’s attention, until someone noticed that it featured over a minute of the clearest Gingerbread user interface video we’ve seen to date. The greens, the blacks – it’s all there.

        • FreeDroidz workshop with tarent
          Not too long ago, I mentioned a workshop with FreeDroidz in this blog. I heard about these robots before, saw them at fairs and haven’t known much about our host, except that they are the sponsor of the Fellowship grant. Matthias asked me if I was interested in leading such a work shop at schools in the future.

        • Playstation Phone Previewed in Two Clear Videos: Running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, Gameless
          Hooray look at that! Some dude on the other side of the world has a Playstation phone (otherwise known as Zeus Z1), and he (or I suppose it could be a she) put up two videos of it working. Here you’ll see quite a few fine features like the slick new Android 2.3 Gingerbread interface, the super sensually smooth sliding of the back panel becoming game controls, and the big S in square in the center of the controller.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Rise Of The Gentleman Hacker
    There was a good crowd at the TechFellows event tonight in San Francisco. I ran into a lot of people I don’t see all that often. Among them were two entrepreneurs that have made a ton of money by selling their companies in the last couple of years. They’re both working on a slew of new projects, and the way they’re doing it is fascinating.

  • Events

    • An inside look at being a woman in open source
      A few weeks ago, I blogged about how widespread sexual harassment at open source conferences is and suggested that open source conference organizers should adopt an official policy taking a stand against all forms of harassment at their conferences. Easy, right?

      It turns out that writing a practical and useful anti-harassment policy is a lot of hard work. I know because I spent the last three weeks writing one in collaboration with Esther Filderman, Beth Lynn Eicher, Mary Gardiner, Sarah Smith, Donna Benjamin, and many others. Our goal was to create a policy that could be easily customized and adapted to any open source, computing, or technology conference, and to collect useful resources for people considering adopting a policy. After long discussion with the organizers of many conferences and beta testing it with the generous help of OSDC, we made the first official public release of the policy on Tuesday.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla's Aza Raskin on the marriage of Web and TV
        AR: We've seen Web TV tried many, many times before. This is the nth time—I'm not entirely sure why people got so excited this time around, given that it hasn't worked in the past. And the reason why it hasn't worked in the past, in my opinion, is that when you are sitting there on your couch, you're not necessarily wanting to engage. Surfing is an active verb; when you're browsing, you're not just passively consuming. The big shift with the Web was that all of a sudden you're having a dialogue with your customers, and consumers are having a dialogue with brands, and people are talking directly to other people. But when people sit down in front of the TV, they're doing it, perhaps, to zone out.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7.0 RC 1 Released
      Following three beta releases, and with tons of bugs fixed and user interface improvements added, we are proud to present to you the first release candidate of Drupal 7.0. Although there are still a few known issues that we are working on fixing, we are confident that our code is stable enough for wider testing by the community. Since the last beta version was released two weeks ago, we have improved styling in the default "Bartik" theme, numerous bug fixes and improvements to the Update Manager and Search module, revisions to both user interface text and developer documentation to be more understandable and accurate, and we've made final clean-ups to some of the architecture improvements added during the release cycle. The deprecated Profile module is now hidden on new sites and we've substituted it with the ability to put user fields added through Field UI on the registration form.

  • Healthcare

    • Avoiding another lost decade for open source
      The positive stance of the Cabinet Office towards Open Source software is widely communicated. However the Department of Health's current IT consultation paper 'An Information Revolution' does not mention open source software at all. This stark omission in a paper which depends on 'a presumption of openness' across the NHS supply chain begs for comment from the open source community.

      According to the Department of Health, patients will be given the information to consent to treatment, given control over their data in new forms of online experience and given the decision to release this data for management and research purposes, which will in turn improve care. This new world is to be underpinned by "a presumption of openness" between systems, governed by open standards of information exchange.


    • FSFE Newsletter - December 2010
      This edition covers the current developments in Open Standards policy, some basic information about software patents, an update from FSCONS about distributed computing, and how you can support us in the end of the year.

      This month was the first time in FSFE's history that we had a booth at three conferences at the same date: the Brandenburger Linux Infotag (BLIT) in Potsdam/Germany, the Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit (FSCONS in Göteburg/Sweden, and T-DOSE Eindhoven/The Netherlands. Our PDFreaders campaign is quite successful: 31 public administrations already removed advertisements for non-free PDF readers from their websites, 8 of them added links to FSFE's sysadmins updated the Fellowship blog software, and we gave several presentations to politicians, parties, the public administration, and the Berlin Debating Union. This month Fellowship interview is with Brian about free documentation, emacs org mode, and his understanding of software as a tool. And finally we would like to congratulate Bjarni Rúnar Einarsson, Free Software developer and community builder from Iceland, who has received the Nordic Free Software Award.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data Hackathon this Saturday 4th December!

    • IEEE teams up with Connexions to deliver high-quality, peer-reviewed engineering OER
      Rice University’s Connexions and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Signal Process Society (IEEE-SPS) recently announced the release of a set of open educational resources on signal processing. The materials allow engineering instructors to mix and match to build customized courses, textbooks and study guides, and are useful for practicing engineers for their own education and career growth. The high-quality resources are peer-reviewed and available for free on the Connexions IEEE-SPS portal.

    • Economies of the Commons 2: Paying the Costs of Making Things Free
      “Economies of the Commons 2 is a critical examination of the economics of on-line public domain and open access resources of information, knowledge, and media (the ‘digital commons’). The past 10 years have seen the rise of a variety of such open content resources attracting millions of users, sometimes on a daily basis. The impact of projects such as Wikipedia, Images for the Future, and Europeana testify to the vibrancy of the new digital public domain. No longer left to the exclusive domains of digital ‘insiders’, open resources (data and content) are rapidly becoming widely used and highly popular.”

    • Open Access/Content

      • Startl $25,000 Prize for Open Educational Resources – Deadline December 10, 2010
        In partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Graduate School of Education at University of Pennsylvania, Startl will announce the winner this spring during the Milken PennGSE Education Business Plan Competition. The Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources awards the best business plan that leverages openly licensed content to change the paradigm around the production, delivery, sharing, and experience of learning. The intention is to catalyze models that increase access to and dramatically lower the cost of learning. Startl is seeking to inspire entrepreneurs to think creatively about how to incorporate open principles into their core business strategy.


  • WTF?! Where did my data go?
    The love affair is over: and Yodlee are donesville. Split. Over.

    The two giants of online personal financial management are going their separate ways. And yes, it's because there's someone else.


    In September TD Bank customers stormed the help forum, saying their accounts had suddenly stopped showing up when they logged in to Mint.

  • WikiLeaks “malicious search engine poisoning attacks” ?
    This memo sounds rather like the equivalent of the “close your eyes” method of security. The only way to ensure Defense Department employees do not see any of this material online would be to disconnect from the Internet.

    I would expect the Federal Government computer security staff to be aware of this. Perhaps the Department of Defense needs a little refresher course on computer security.

  • Are civil society movements ‘oppressive’? Jai Sen on Engaging Critically with the Reality and Concept of Civil Society
    In particular, all so-called ‘civil societies’ have historically emerged through intensive processes of the civilising of societies, especially through the establishment of enforcement agencies such as the police and of prisons, homes, mental ‘homes’, and other institutions where these ‘unruly elements’ were – and continue to be – incarcerated and ‘civilised’. I submit that this, and the treatment that aboriginals across the world have been subjected to, comes from the same root – and that we need to search for that root.20 Conversely, we need to recognise that colonisation, and the process and treatment of ‘civilisation’, are not restricted to the conquest and domestication of alien lands and peoples.

  • Daylight Saving Bill gets initial approval from MPs
    The campaign to give the UK more hours of daylight in the evenings has been boosted by MPs who have given it initial approval.

  • Google's Groupon Bid Said Rejected
    The daily-deal website turned down $6 billion, including executive performance incentives, and will now consider an initial public offering, says a person close to the talks

  • ecrecy is repugnant in a free
    Yesterday’s headline on the BBC News Web site as blunt: “Universities in Wales told to ‘adapt or die’“. The article went on:
    Education Minister Leighton Andrews has told universities and further education colleges in Wales that there will be fewer of them by 2013.

    Mr Andrews told the Institute of Welsh Affairs’ conference higher education institutions must “adapt or die”.

    He warned their future funding would depend on a willingness to “progress swiftly to merger and reconfiguration”.

  • Sens. Snowe and Warner want WiFi in all federal buildings
    Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced legislation on Friday that would require all public federal buildings to install WiFi base stations in order to free up cell phone networks.

  • Amazon adds Wikipedia to book-shopping pages
    It's not an official partnership, Waring explained. Amazon's use of the content is licensed under Creative Commons, the alternative to traditional copyright that Wikipedia uses for all of its user-sourced encyclopedia content. At the bottom of a "Shopping Enabled Wikipedia Page," a message explains: "The article appearing above is from Wikipedia...The Wikipedia content may be available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, version 3.0 or any later version."

    What's the point? As the project rolls out, Wikipedia pages will show up in Amazon search results--for example, a search for author Stieg Larsson will eventually bring up not only links to the pages for purchasing his books but also to the Amazon-tagged Wikipedia page for Larsson.

  • Kids and stuff
    For inexplicable reasons, Commissioner Malmström has now suggested that children shall be granted rights they’ve already had since the year 2000. How progressive. All member states have already signed the UN protocol for children’s rights with regards to trafficking and online pornography. The last signatory member state was Czech Republic who signed it in 2005. That’s five years ago. This isn’t a move for children’s rights, it’s a move against them. It’s not a sign of progession, it’s a sign of cowardice.

    Since Cecilia Malmström also considers children who are engaging in begging to be trafficked, at least if these children are from Romania or Bulgaria, it’s no wonder she hasn’t protested the Nicolas Sarkoszy proposal of keeping Bulgaria and Romania out of Schengen for another four years. Romanian EU-minister Bogdan Aurescu commented on the deportations to EUObserver. I would have suspected that this is because he is a nationalist, like many other European politicians, but his conservative majority party is not. ”We do not accept any restriction of freedom of movement,” he said. ”After 50 years of Communism, it is a very special and important right we have achieved.”

  • Science

    • It's not an arsenic-based life form
      Then the stories calmed down, and instead it was that they had discovered an earthly life form that used a radically different chemistry. I was dubious, even at that. And then I finally got the paper from Science, and I'm sorry to let you all down, but it's none of the above. It's an extremophile bacterium that can be coaxed into substiting arsenic for phosphorus in some of its basic biochemistry. It's perfectly reasonable and interesting work in its own right, but it's not radical, it's not particularly surprising, and it's especially not extraterrestrial. It's the kind of thing that will get a sentence or three in biochemistry textbooks in the future.

  • Humour

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Close the Washington Monument
      Securing the Washington Monument from terrorism has turned out to be a surprisingly difficult job. The concrete fence around the building protects it from attacking vehicles, but there's no visually appealing way to house the airport-level security mechanisms the National Park Service has decided are a must for visitors. It is considering several options, but I think we should close the monument entirely. Let it stand, empty and inaccessible, as a monument to our fears.

      An empty Washington Monument would serve as a constant reminder to those on Capitol Hill that they are afraid of the terrorists and what they could do. They're afraid that by speaking honestly about the impossibility of attaining absolute security or the inevitability of terrorism -- or that some American ideals are worth maintaining even in the face of adversity -- they will be branded as "soft on terror." And they're afraid that Americans would vote them out of office if another attack occurred. Perhaps they're right, but what has happened to leaders who aren't afraid? What has happened to "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"?

    • Another Falls: Tableau Software Drops Wikileaks Data Visualizations
      Facing indirect pressure from the U.S. Government, Tableau Software has dropped Wikileaks' data from its site for people to use for data visualization. According to an announcement posted on Tableau's blog, the company decided to drop Wikileaks' content after reading Sen. Joe Lieberman's public request that companies hosting Wikileaks' data remove it. According to the announcement: "Our terms of service require that people using Tableau Public do not upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any content that they do not have the right to make available." It does not appear that Tableau was contacted by the senator directly, nor that it received a cease-and-desist order or any other official request to remove the visualizations.

    • WikiLeaks, Amazon and the new threat to internet speech

      There are many prominent Americans -- and a great many ordinary Americans -- who have made their views clear over the past week that WikiLeaks' "cablegate" website should not be considered constitutionally protected speech. Others, however, believe equally strongly that now that the material is out, news media and website owners have the right to publish the material.

      What is troubling and dangerous is that in the internet age, public discourse increasingly depends on digital spaces created, owned and operated by private companies. The result is that one politician has more power than ever to shut down controversial speech unilaterally with one phone call.

    • Assange fears assassination of son
      THE Sunshine Coast mum of WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange fears her son may be assassinated for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret US government documents.

      Christine Assange, who lives near Noosa, told the Daily she felt the same way the mother of a soldier would feel about her son’s work.

    • PayPal Announces It Will No Longer Handle Wikileaks Donations
      In the latest in a series of blows to Wikileaks, PayPal says it will no longer support money transfers to the whistleblower site.

    • The Wikileak China-Google Cables
      A week ago when the first Wikileak cables started coming out, the New York Times reported that some of them shed some more light on the Chinese hacking attacks on Google which led to its withdrawal from operating in China proper. But the actual cables were not released until today. The NYT describes the cables at length in another article today. But the underlying cables are hard to find, so I’ve reproduced the four main ones below. I found three of them on Wikileaks, and the other on on the New York Times’ own Wikileaks documents page.

    • Arrest Warrant for 'Sex Crimes' Against Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Is for 'Sex Without a Condom', NOT Non-Consensual Rape Using Force

    • Wikileaks attacks lead to European DDOS hotline
      EUROPEAN ORGANISATIONS could benefit from a 24 hour hotline for reporting denial of service and security attacks following the serious outages at Wikileaks.

      European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom described the attacks on the Wikileaks website as 'scary' and suggested that they should be the catalyst for regulatory change. This change, she added, will start with speeding up proposals for a 24 hour alert attack hotline.

    • WikiLeaks diverts to European websites amid U.S. fury
      WikiLeaks directed readers to a web address in Switzerland on Friday after two U.S. Internet providers ditched it in the space of two days, and Paris tried to ban French servers from hosting its trove of leaked data.

    • A test of conviction
      Criminal Conservative pundits Tom Flanagan and Ezra Levant seem to be calling for someone to assassinate WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, because of the leaks concerning Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • Assange Case: Evidence Destroyed Over and Over Again
      [UPDATE: Anna Ardin did in fact make the whole story up as part of her 'seven step plan for revenge'. See here.]

    • Assange Case: Ny Knows the Girls Made it Up but Doesn't Care
      The charges against Julian Assange were indeed trumped up. Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilén planned it all. They went to the police station asking for advice, knowing the police would turn it into an accusation of rape. They're also the ones who leaked the story to the tabloid Expressen.


      All of which closely follows Anna Ardin's notorious 'seven step plan for revenge' and is based directly on it.

      A lot of the above has been inferred by pundits and researchers but it is only now that people finally learn the truth.

      Case Dismissed

      Expressen did their damnedest - all three of the reporters working overtime on Twitter from the wee hours of Saturday morning - to give the story legs. They truly didn't have much of a story: all they had was the leak by Ardin and Wilén that charges would be filed.

    • TSA Told To Tell Children That Groping Them Is A Game... Horrifying Sex Abuse Experts

    • WikiLeaks cables: Seven key things we've learned so far
      1. Silvio Berlusconi 'profited from secret deals' with Vladimir Putin


      2. The US pressured Spain over CIA rendition and Guantánamo


      3. US diplomats spied on the UN's leadership


      4. The scale of Afghan corruption is overwhelming


      5. Hillary Clinton queried Cristina Kirchner's mental health


      6. The Bank of England governor played backroom politics


      7. The British government remains in thrall to the US

    • DOJ's "hotwatch" real-time surveillance of credit card transactions
      A 10 page Powerpoint presentation (pdf) that I recently obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request to the Department of Justice, reveals that law enforcement agencies routinely seek and obtain real-time surveillance of credit card transaction. The government's guidelines reveal that this surveillance often occurs with a simple subpoena, thus sidestepping any Fourth Amendment protections.

    • Feds Warrantlessly Tracking Americans’ Credit Cards in Real Time
      Federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations without getting a court order, a new document released under a government sunshine request shows.

      The document, obtained by security researcher Christopher Soghoian, explains how so-called “Hotwatch” orders allow for real-time tracking of individuals in a criminal investigation via credit card companies, rental car agencies, calling cards, and even grocery store loyalty programs. The revelation sheds a little more light on the Justice Department’s increasing power and willingness to surveil Americans with little to no judicial or Congressional oversight.

    • Translation from PR-speak to Star-Wars-speak of Selected Portions of Amazon’s Message Regarding Their Termination of Wikileaks an an AWS Customer
      I have just received word that Emperor Lieberman has dissolved the council permanently.


      The Force is what gives a Jedi activist his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.

    • CableSearch

    • John F Kennedy: The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society.
      Kennedy said: “The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society. Inherently and historically, we as a people are opposed to secret proceedings and concealment.”

    • Full Body Scanners: What's Next?
      Organizers of National Opt Out Day, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when air travelers were urged to opt out of the full-body scanners at security checkpoints and instead submit to full-body patdowns -- were outfoxed by the TSA. The government pre-empted the protest by turning off the machines in most airports during the Thanksgiving weekend. Everyone went through the metal detectors, just as before.

      Now that Thanksgiving is over, the machines are back on and the "enhanced" pat-downs have resumed. I suspect that more people would prefer to have naked images of themselves seen by TSA agents in another room, than have themselves intimately touched by a TSA agent right in front of them.

    • What the attacks on WikiLeaks tell us
      The WikiLeaks revelations expose the extent to which the US and its allies see no real prospect of turning Afghanistan into a viable state, let alone a functioning democracy. They show that there is no light at the end of this tunnel. But the political establishments in Washington, London and Brussels cannot bring themselves to admit this. Afghanistan is, in that sense, the same kind of quagmire as Vietnam was. The only differences are that the war is now being fought by non-conscripted troops and we are not carpet-bombing civilians, but otherwise little has changed.

    • Wikileaks hounded?
      Reporters Without Borders condemns the blocking, cyber-attacks and political pressure being directed at, the website dedicated to the US diplomatic cables. The organization is also concerned by some of the extreme comments made by American authorities concerning WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

      Earlier this week, after the publishing several hundred of the 250.000 cables it says it has in its possession, WikiLeaks had to move its site from its servers in Sweden to servers in the United States controlled by online retailer Amazon. Amazon quickly came under pressure to stop hosting WikiLeaks from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and its chairman, Sen. Joe Lieberman, in particular.
    • America Tell Republicans To Stop Holding National Security Hostage
      Mitch McConnell and his Republican brethren sent a letter to Senate Democrats a few days ago announcing that no laws would be passed until the Democrats give them tax cuts for the rich. They claimed that this pledge didn’t include the START treaty, and then like clockwork, they started denouncing the START treaty, so yeah, it includes the START treaty- a matter of global security if not national security. Democrats are beginning to realize that negotiating with Republicans “is almost like negotiating with terrorists”.
    • Bill Blair's foot, meet Bill Blair's mouth
      When the officers who were accused of using excessive force during the G20 summit in Toronto were cleared by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), it emerged that the SIU thought that the officers likely did use excessive force, but they couldn't be identified, and therefore couldn't be charged.

    • Toronto police chief apologizes to G20 protester Nobody
      Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair publicly apologized Friday to G20 protester Adam Nobody for suggesting he was armed and violent when arrested by police.

      Chief Blair said there is no evidence Mr. Nobody was armed at the time of his arrest.

    • WikiLeaks site's Swiss registrar dismisses pressure to take it offline
      WikiLeaks received a boost tonight when Switzerland rejected growing international calls to force the site off the internet.

      The whistleblowers site, which has been publishing leaked US embassy cables, was forced to switch domain names to yesterday after the US host of its main website,, pulled the plug following mounting political pressure.
    • Julian Assange's lawyers say they are being watched
      Lawyers representing the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, say that they have been surveilled by members of the security services and have accused the US state department of behaving "inappropriately" by failing to respect attorney-client protocol.

      Jennifer Robinson and Mark Stephens of the law firm Finers Stephens Innocent told the Guardian they had been watched by people parked outside their houses for the past week.

      "I've noticed people consistently sitting outside my house in the same cars with newspapers," said Robinson. "I probably noticed certain things a week ago, but mostly it's been the last three or four days."

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Venezuela, Angola and Cuba to Create Oil Joint Venture
      The Venezuelan National Assembly has approved the creation of oil joint venture among Venezuela, Cuba and Angola, reports Prensa Latina news agency.

      The enterprise will include the Venezuelan Oil Corporation, the Cuban Company Cupet and the Angolan enterprise Sonangol.

  • Finance

    • Ont. probes dropped charges in alleged Ponzi scheme

      Ontario's attorney general says he is investigating why criminal charges were dropped against a Toronto man accused of operating a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

      "I have asked the chief prosecutor to get to the bottom of it and I've asked for the report as quickly as possible," Chris Bentley said in Ontario's legislature on Tuesday, responding to a question by NDP justice critic Peter Kormos.

    • Why the poor loathe the Coalition
      Conservative readers still don’t understand why the Coalition is hated in the poor areas of Britain. They would grasp the loathing better if they went back through the arguments they made in opposition, and realised that their leaders have failed to follow through the logic of the ideas they once espoused.

      The best Tory criticism of Gordon Brown to my mind was that he had stood by while the boom bypassed large parts of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the North and South West. He left them with Soviet-style local economies, dominated by the public sector. Their populations’ prosperity depended on state subsidy rather than private endeavour.

    • Cadbury's secret Swiss move will cost UK exchequer millions in tax
      The new US owners of Cadbury's chocolate are working on a secret plan to shift key parts of the 186-year-old British business to Switzerland in a move likely to deprive the UK exchequer of millions of pounds of tax.

      Kraft, which took control of Cadbury in an €£11bn takeover this year, intends to turn the firm into a subsidiary of a new Swiss company. The new structure would slash its bill for UK corporation tax. Last year, Cadbury handed over €£200m to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

    • UK Uncut targets Topshop and Vodafone over tax arrangements

      With superglue and megaphones, pop-up protests forced several branches of Topshop and Vodafone around the country to close today on one of the busiest trading days of the year.

      Campaigners staged a sit-in at Sir Philip Green's flagship London Topshop store, and in Brighton a few glued themselves to the branch windows, while other high streets in towns and cities across Britain saw similar protests in a day of action against the tax arrangements of rich individuals and big businesses.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How Broken is Game Journalism? An Analysis of Three Gaming Sites
      Top ten lists, objectification of women, and the wholesale copying of press releases; these are some of the unfortunate trends in gaming journalism today.

      Some would call game journalism a kind of enthusiast press, and on many counts I find it hard to disagree with them. Like with other forms of enthusiast press, big gaming sites rely not only on strict gaming news, but also an array of gaming-related stories to flesh out their coverage. Sometimes these related stories fall within acceptable levels. At other times some of the content posted to gaming blogs makes me feel simply terrible for the state of the field.

    • California recyclers find market for toxic trash
      In the soft morning light, the silver-gray mountain of electronic trash did not look especially hazardous. But it was.

      Inside that massive rubble of technology, with its V-shaped canyons of printers and keyboards and its fin-like ridges of fax machines and coffee makers, was enough toxic material – including lead, cadmium and brominated flame retardants – to poison California watersheds for centuries and sow disease in humans.

    • Environmental Watchdogs Confused By E-Waste Practices

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Avoiding US Censorship, Torrent Sites May Flee To China
        China is often criticized for its Internet censorship practices. Although this is certainly valid with regard to political issues, the United States is rapidly becoming one of the most progressive countries when it comes to commercial censorship. Safeguarding commercial interests is increasingly preferred above the rights of the general public. Ironically, BitTorrent sites may have to flee to China to keep their ‘freedom’.

      • Wikileaks & ICE Domain Seizures Show How Private Intermediaries Get Involved In Government Censorship
        There have been two big stories this week, both of which have elements of US government censorship of speech. The first, of course, is the pressure put on Amazon to drop Wikileaks as a customer of its S3 storage. The second is Homeland Security seizing a bunch of domain names by getting VeriSign to hand them over. In both cases, defenders of these actions claim they're not censorship, but both appear to involve the US government stepping in and either explicitly or implicitly getting a US corporation to block a form of speech. That's concerning.

      • EMI uses Rapidshare, says MP3tunes
        In the latest move in the continuing saga of Michael Robertson’s battle with EMI, the moribund UK member of the Big 4 organised music cartel, he says he’s found “great new evidence” of how EMI “directs people to download free MP3s they themselves uploaded to Rapidshare”.

        EMI isn’t only continuing its attack against Robertson of earlier and Linspire fame, p2pnet posted recently, it appears to have escalated it.

        Robertson’s answer? “I’m working right now on video responses to EMI’s exhibits”, he told us. “It’s a battle of the videos!”

        Now he’s filed filed opposition to EMI’s papers “about why the music search engine and MP3tunes’ personal cloud storage are allegedly copyright infringing”.

      • Angus calls on Moore to compromise on copyright bill
        “The Conservative copyright bill ignores the needs of Canadian consumers and is a total attack on artist,” said Angus (Timmins – James Bay). “The New Democrats are firm in our support for consumer protection and artist royalties.”

        In addition to investigating numerous amendments to address concerns raised by the education sector as well as other elements in the bill, New Democrats are bringing forward amending language aimed at increasing support for artist royalties and establishing a balanced position on digital locks.

      • For Newspapers, the Future Is Now: Digital Must Be First
        As newspapers everywhere struggle to stay afloat and remake themselves for a web-based world, many continue to debate how much emphasis they should put on digital vs. their traditional print operations. John Paton, CEO of the Journal Register group of newspapers, says the time for debate is over.

      • Newspapers are dead as mutton -HG Wells, 1943 (No, they're not)

      • File-Sharing is a ‘Devastating Social Problem, Jail Sentences More Likely’
        While the the Pirate Bay trial is recognized worldwide, historically only a handful of file-sharing cases have gone the distance in Sweden’s criminal courts. Now, after making available just 44 music tracks via a file-sharing network, a 26 year old man is being lined up for prosecution. Sweden’s Prosecution Office says that ‘illicit’ file-sharing is a “devastating social problem” so with the TPB convictions in hand, jail sentences will be considered more often in the future.

      • Importing from YouTube
        …but Youtube asked us to “bring [our] application into compliance with the ToS“, which roughly translates to “take it down”, because their API Terms of Service clearly forbids any kind of downloading.

      • Owning Culture
        As books follow music and video onto the internet, Dylan Horrocks warns that the law may end up stealing the rights of both writers and readers

      • Viacom Plays The Insane Hyperbole Card In Claiming YouTube Ruling Would 'Completely Destroy' Content Value
        To put it mildly, this is hogwash. First of all, it's exactly how the system has functioned since the DMCA came into being in 1998. If you see infringing content on a site, you issue a takedown and the site takes it down in order to keep its safe harbors. The idea that it would "completely destroy" the value of content makes no sense at all. First, you have to understand why it makes no sense that YouTube should be liable: it has absolutely no way of knowing, for certain, whether or not specific content is infringing. As it showed in the case, even Viacom itself had trouble figuring out what was infringing, and had sued YouTube over a bunch of videos that it had put on YouTube itself. How do you make YouTube responsible for determining such things when even the copyright holder can't figure it out? It makes no sense.

      • Viacom Appeal: YouTube Should Be The Copyright Cops, Not Us
        A fundamental question around content in the Web 2.0 world is: Who should be in charge of policing online copyright? So far, two federal judges have held that the copyright owners are responsible for that task. No appeals court has yet weighed in on this issue. Today, Viacom (NYSE: VIA) filed a 72-page appeal brief [PDF] asking an appeals court to overturn its defeat in a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG).

      • Wikileaks cables reveal that the US wrote Spain's proposed copyright law

        Spain's Congress is about to vote on a new and extremely harsh copyright/Internet law. It's an open secret that the law was essentially drafted by American industry groups working with the US trade representative.

        But it gets gets more interesting: 115 of the Wikileaks cables intercepted from the US embassy in Madrid were tagged with "KIPR" -- that is, relating to "intellectual property," The big question has been: will El Pais, the Spanish newspaper that has the complete trove of Wikileaks cables, release them in time to affect the vote on the new law?

      • Artists should be paid, Part 2: What's "fair"?
        Having established the motivations for fair payment on a “commercial free culture project” in the previous column, I’m still left with the question of what exactly “fair” means. The problem is that there’s more than one way to determine fair shares on a project like this. The organization is necessarily loose, and so there’s no really clear and unambiguous way to determine fairness. Nevertheless, some plan has to be chosen, and in a way that is at least defensible.

Clip of the Day

OMG! Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Alpha 1

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Credit: TinyOgg

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