Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 7/1/2011: Linux Foundation Expands, GTK+ 3.0 is Near

GNOME bluefish



  • Rant Mode Equals One: Linux on the Door Stop
    Paul Ferris reviews the state of Linux over the past decade from multiple perspectives: cloud, desktop, tablet and finally infrastructure market. The most pressing question rises to the top: Will 2011 be the year of Linux on the Doorstop?


    So, in some kind of funky way, Linux truly runs on the doorstop (or rather, doorstep), after all.

  • My Switch To FOSS (Debian, QEMU, Mercurial, vi & Python) For My 5th-Gen Framework
    After much soul-searching, painful deliberation, and cursing the technology for not being in a better state, I chose *Nix systems on any hardware as my core foundation, and the Debian distribution of Linux in particular, because it installs easily on such a wide variety of hardware including ARM and MIPS, plus subsequent software installations are so easy, and it’s the underpinnings of Ubuntu, which is the underpinnings of Google’s ChromeOS. Yep, I know Google is a vendor, and this sounds like being beholden to a vendor, but it’s a lesser-of-two-evils compromise, especially when you consider it is actually the basic underpinnings of ChromeOS that I chose, and not ChromeOS itself. There’s a lot of reason to be optimistic about Debian.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Broadcom joins the Linux Foundation
      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Broadcom Corporation is its newest member.

    • Timesys Joins Linux Foundation
      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Timesys Corporation is its newest member.

      Timesys has been providing Linux offerings for more than 15 years and was one of the first companies to market with an open source, commercial-grade, embedded Linux development framework (LinuxLink). Timesys is joining The Linux Foundation to collaborate on initiatives that help provide tools and resources designed to ease embedded Linux development.

    • Protecode Joins Linux Foundation

    • [GIT PULL] scheduler changes for v2.6.38
      The biggest user-visible change is the new auto-group scheduling feature - it can be enabled via CONFIG_SCHED_AUTOGROUP=y (disabled by default).

    • New Linux Kernel Strengthens SMP Support
      In regard to the ext4 file system, the file system will no longer use a buffer layer to communicate. "The buffer layer has a lot of performance and SMP scalability issues that will get solved with this port," the kernel's changelog noted. In one set of benchmarks, using a 48-core system connected to a 24-unit SAS storage array, the new ext4 implementation was able to speed 192 simultaneous FFSB (Flexible File System Benchmark) threads by 300 percent while reducing the load on the CPUs by a factor of three or four.

    • Why Linux is Alpha and Omega
      I'm sure most people remember DEC - Digital Equipment Corporation - that later rebranded itself as the singularly unmemorable “Digital” before being swallowed up by Compaq in 1998, which was itself digested by HP a few years later. But I wonder how many people remember the DEC Alpha chip.


      I'm sure the ARM Partnership is indeed “excited”: it can't lose. It already has a healthy share of several new sectors, mostly thanks to Linux-based products; the addition of Windows-based systems can only grow that share. But it's worth emphasising that these are future Windows systems: Linux has been up and running on ARM for years.

      Once again, this is a clear demonstration of how Windows is technically way behind Linux, for all Microsoft's boasts about its “innovation”. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to cross-platform support, Linux is - and has been for a decade - the Alpha and Omega of portability.

    • Intel Bumps libva: Android & Sandy Bridge Friendly
      Intel has now bumped the libva (VA-API) library to version 1.0.7. Why this is worth mentioning is that this now makes it possible to utilize GPU-driven VA-API video decoding on Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors.

      The libva 1.0.7 release also has better Google Android support for VA-API, and bug-fixes. The previous libva release (v1.0.6) was christened at the end of October.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Says It Will Deliver ARM CPUs Spanning PCs to SCs
        NVIDIA has announced from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it's working to deliver ARM CPUs for a range of devices from PCs to super-computers. NVIDIA plans to build high-performance ARM CPUs for a range of devices, including servers and workstations. Internally this is being worked on at NVIDIA under the Project Denver codename.

      • There Might Be An Open PowerVR Driver In Q3'11
        If the PR representative I just spoke with at CES actually knows what she's talking about when it comes to Linux, in the third quarter of this year there may be an open-source PowerVR driver for Linux.

      • VIA's Open Linux Graphics Driver Has Been Defenestrated
        For those that were hoping that VIA Technologies would pull through in providing their open-source graphics driver support like they had promised with kernel mode-setting, a Gallium3D driver, and being Linux friendly, kiss those thoughts goodbye as they've been basically thrown out the window. Sadly, it's not happening. I had a very productive conversation with VIA's Stewart Haston, who is their international marketing specialist, and their Linux outlook is extremely dark.

      • Intel Bumps libva: Android & Sandy Bridge Friendly
        Intel has now bumped the libva (VA-API) library to version 1.0.7. Why this is worth mentioning is that this now makes it possible to utilize GPU-driven VA-API video decoding on Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors.

  • Applications

    • Open Source HTPC’s That Don’t Suck
      In our next installment of Distros That Don’t Suck we will be looking at open source HTPC software. Sure you can load up VLC or even use Windows Media player, but having a dedicated solution with a UI that is made for a TV is a lot easier and pleasing. I’ve left the PVR-centric software like MythTV and Freevo off the list since their main purpose is to act as a PVR. I’ll be reviewing open source PVR software by itself at a later date.

    • What is Upstart?

      Originally created for use in Ubuntu, Upstart is suitable for deployment in all Linux distributions as an alternative to the System-V init.

    • 4 Open Source Applications for the Visually Impaired

      Orca - This screen reader is bundled with the GNOME desktop (version 2.16 and newer), and ships with the Open Solaris, Ubuntu, and Fedora operating systems, but it is also available for separate download. It supports the OpenOffice word processing suite and Firefox browser, and the Java platform, making Orca one of the most versatile open source screen readers available. It also works with an ever-growing assortment of stand-alone apps.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Best Windows Games and Apps That Run Under Linux
        The following article was created to inform our readers about popular native Windows games and applications which install and run under Linux-based operating systems, with the help of the Wine software.



        €· World of Warcraft 4.0.x €· Warcraft III The Frozen Throne: 1.x €· Left 4 Dead Full (Steam) €· Team Fortress 2 (Steam) €· Half-Life 2 Retail (32-bit) €· Guild Wars All Versions €· Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 1.7 €· The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion 1.2.x €· Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars 1.x €· Counter-Strike: Source Retail and Steam €· Final Fantasy XI Online Windows Client W00 €· Fallout 3 1.x €· Steam Official Release €· StarCraft I Retail CD/DVD €· StarCraft II Retail €· EVE Online 6.33.x - Incursion €· Supreme Commander SC 1.x.3xxx €· Bioshock 1.0 €· Garena 3.0 €· The Sims 3 All €· Warhammer Online Live €· Gothic 3 1.x €· Homeworld 2 1.x €· Aion: The Tower of Eternity 2.0.x €· Dragon Age: Origins 1.x

      • CodeWeavers And Linsoft Announce Linsofts 10 Year Anniversary Sale

    • Games

      • M.A.R.S 2D space shooter brings retro pink back into fashion
        M.A.R.S is an open source, free 2D space shooter built on OpenGL which promises crazy neon graphics, multiplayer, artificial intelligence and superb physics.

        The game has some pretty interesting and unique artwork which resembles neo-punk movements from the 80s. I wonder if the developers have ever seen Bladerunner?

      • ‘Angry birds’ may be coming to Ubuntu
        With the words ‘app store’ emblazoned across the Internet today thanks to Apple’s launch of a desktop software store, a familiar band of apps and games have also been in the news – albeit due to their collective selves gaining poll position as ‘apps available on launch’.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The kde-www war: part 2
        Before I begin this (delayed) post, I would like to reemphasize that a sub-agenda for these blog posts is to raise community-awareness about design issues in KDE.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Devanagari support on GNOME Terminal
        We are Currently working on the Devanagari support on GNOME terminal as our B.Tech. project. Gnome terminal is vital and commonly used application in Linux. There are problems in rendering complex scripts like Devanagari. Our work deals with the improvement in rendering the Devanagari scripts. We have done part of it but facing some problems.

      • GTK+ 3.0 Is Just About Here
        Red Hat's Matthias Clasen has just announced the release of GTK+ 2.99.0 as the first beta for the forthcoming GTK+ 3.0 tool-kit release in conjunction with the much-anticipated GNOME 3.0 desktop. While the final release is nearing and there's already been several interesting GTK+ advancements in recent weeks, with GTK+ 2.99.0, there continues to be noteworthy happenings.

      • Tron Legacy GNOME Shell theme is all kinds of cool
        There’s very little to say about the theme that can’t be deduced from its awesome look, as exampled above.

  • Distributions

    • Bodhi, a cool little distro!
      The other day I stumbled upon a new distro called Bodhi. The website claims that Bodhi is a minimalistic OS (based on Ubuntu) using the enlightened desktop. I have never had luck using the Enlightment desktop, but I really wanted to try this distro.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • RSS notification Indicator adds new features
          Rss-Aware – a neat indicator applet for monitoring RSS feeds – has been updated to include a refresh button and an easier way to add and edit feeds.

        • Ubuntu Set to Kill Fullscreen Applications?
          With Ubuntu's new Unity interface maximize becomes the new fullscreen. No, Ubuntu is not removing the ability to go fullscreen but is eliminating the need to do so. Of course for some applications, namely games, maximize is not as effective under the current implementation. To make it more effective in those situations Ubuntu could fully hide the panel and launcher until a specific key/combination is pressed ("super"/windows key)-effectively "fake fullscreen." This design would help bypass a very large technical issue in Linux with a great design implementation.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • CrunchBang 10 “Statler” r20110105
            New CrunchBang Statler images are available now. The new images were built on Wednesday 5th January 2011 and feature all package updates available at that time from the Debian Squeeze and CrunchBang Statler repositories.

          • Puppy Linux 5.2 Is Based on Ubuntu 10.04
            Barry Kauler, the father of Puppy Linux, announced earlier today, January 6th, the immediate availability of Puppy Linux 5.2, a major version that is based on the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) operating system.

            Puppy Linux 5.2 features lots of updated and improved applications, the new Quickset dialog to easily setup your system (language/locale and keyboard settings, timezone, video resolution), Browser Installer, Browser-Default, Quickpet, improved Puppy Package Manager, and a lot more for you to discover.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android 3.0 Preview

        • A Sneak Peek of Android 3.0, Honeycomb
          The past few weeks have been exciting ones for the Android team: we recently released Nexus S and Android 2.3, Gingerbread, and we’ve even had some of our most popular team members take a trip to space. But we haven’t stopped buzzing with excitement: today at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, we previewed Android 3.0, Honeycomb.

        • Honeycomb will not require dual-core CPU as minimum hardware spec
          Oh, never mind then. Google's ever-informative and ever-knowledgeable Dan Morrill has disabused the world from the bogus belief that Android's "made for tablets" iteration, aka Honeycomb, will require a dual-core processor as a minimum to run.

        • CES: Motorola Atrix 4G turns smartphone into laptop
          Motorola has released a smartphone which comes with a laptop docking station that provides a full size keyboard and screen.

          The Atrix 4G, unveiled at CES in Las vegas, is a dual-core Tegra 2 handset, each core running at 1GHz, with 1GB of RAM, Wi-Fi, 16GB of storage and microSD support.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • OLPC cuts price of XO 1.75 laptop to $165, power by half
        The XO-1.75, with its 8.9-inch touchscreen, will start shipping in the second quarter of this year to countries around the world trying to bring schoolchildren into the computer age. OLPC was formed by professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a low-cost laptop for kids in poor countries to help make sure nobody is left behind in the computer age.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola Xoom tablet (CES 2011)
        Apart from being the first device runnng the tablet optimised Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)the Xoom will feature a 1 Ghz dual core processor, 10.1 inch widescreen HD display, 2 megapixel forward facing camera and a rear facing 5 megapixel camera that captures video in 720p HD, built in gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, and accelerometer.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Meet The 'Real' FOSS Contributors
    He has developed a methodology--the first lab for an institution is free of cost, the others are paid for--and he also arranges Faculty Development Programmes, with the help of local Linux User Groups. Baskar can be reached at At the other end of the country is Narendra Sisodiya from the NCR. When not indulging in his favourite pastime of chiselling off the Windows keys on any keyboard he can get hold of, Narendra is engaged in a plethora of FOSS activities, which are too numerous to mention here. Among other things, he is the promoter of LUG@IITD, which has become the premier Linux Users' Group in the NCR. He has set up the portal for jobs at, and started a project called eduvid (, which proposes a whole new architecture of Web content delivery. Project Svg-Edit is a sub project he started, which is now a successful project; see This has subsequently been taken up by the main SVG community of developers, and they have extended it.Still, his main contribution is undoubtedly, a distro for schools around which an active community for promotion of FOSS in schools is built. A feature of SchoolOS is that it is completely without non-free software. He is now launching ELPA, an online shop to purchase pre-installed Linux machines. Narendra can be reached at

  • Are you an expert in building communities? Prove it.
    The deadline for entries is January 20th—only about two weeks away.

    The grand prize winner will get a chance to present their story or hack to a global audience at the HCI Human Capital Summit in Atlanta in March, and there are other interesting prizes as well. So if this sounds compelling to you, get on over to the MIX and submit your entry.

    Make our community of passion here at proud and let's show these future-of-management-types that we open source folks know a thing or two about building community.

  • No Business Like Bad FOSS Business
    In response to Bruce Byfield’s article on how We shouldn’t feel bad when businesses have no morals. I feel compelled to point out the flaw in his logic and hopefully add some sense to why moral outrage is the correct response to unscrupulous behaviour by companies.

    It’s not a surprise when companies are inconsiderate/naughty/evil, but that doesn’t make what they do any less wrong and it doesn’t make a negative reaction any less justified. The most important thing to remember as a consumer is that your aversion to certain behaviours of others directly affects your willingness to engage in business with someone. To put it another way: What we think about a business being bad, effects their profit. Just ask BP or Toyota.

  • Graphics

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Website Archive

        David Boswell spoke at the Mozilla Summit in July, 2010 about the issues we faced with the growing collection of over 100 websites under the Mozilla umbrella. One of the issues he mentioned is that some of the websites no longer have product owners, while other sites no longer served the purpose for which they were originally intended. Some sites were created for campaigns that ran 2 to 3 years ago, and while we within the Mozilla organization know that those campaigns are no longer relevant, website visitors won’t necessarily be aware of that fact when they visit the website.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Clegg pledges to expand freedom of information
      Freedom of information laws are to be dramatically extended as part of a Coalition drive to ‘resettle the relationship between people and government’.

      Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the Daily Mail it was a ‘fundamental right’ of all citizens to be able to hold their government to account.

      He said hundreds more taxpayer-funded and charitable bodies should be subject to the transparency of the Freedom of Information Act, which currently applies only to most public authorities.

    • Transparency in energy usage

      I'm pretty passionate about renewable energy. After I read Thomas L. Friedman's "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" I was sold on higher prices for gas and putting solar panels on every roof in America. In fact, I was so eager to contribute, I had 18 solar panels installed on the roof of my home.

      When I was checking out the energy infographic, "Interactive Transparency: America's Energy, Where It's From and How It's Used" over at GOOD, I was re-energized on the topic of renewable and sustainable energy.

    • Open Data

      • Changes to the OS OpenData licence
        From today, anyone who visits the OS OpenData site, where they can download a wide range of Ordnance Survey mapping for free, will notice something a little different.

        That’s because we’ve incorporated the Open Government Licence, the new government wide licence, developed by The National Archives, which enables easy access to public sector information.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Rights Reductio Ad Absurdum
        You can't blame Elsevier's Perplexed Permissions Personnel for trying: After all, if researchers -- clueless and cowed about copyright -- have already lost nearly two decades of research access and impact for no reason at all, making it clear that only if/when they are required (mandated) by their institutions and funders will they dare to do what is manifestly in their own best interests and already fully within their reach, then it's only natural that those who perceive their own interests to be in conflict with those of research and researchers will attempt to see whether they cannot capitalize on researchers' guileless gullibility, yet again.

        In three words, the above "restrictions" on the green light to make author's final drafts OA are (1) arbitrary, (2) incoherent, and (3) unenforceable. They are the rough equivalent of saying: You have "the right to post a revised personal version of the text of the final journal article (to reflect changes made in the peer review process) on your personal or institutional web site or server for scholarly purposes -- but not if you are required to do so by your institution or funder."

  • Standards/Consortia

    • People of HTML5 – Bruce Lawson
      HTML5 needs spokespeople to work. There are a lot of people out there who took on this role, and here at Mozilla we thought it is a good idea to introduce some of them to you with a series of interviews and short videos. The format is simple – we send the experts 10 questions to answer and then do a quick video interview to let them introduce themselves and ask for more detail on some of their answers.


  • LinkedIn plans to go public in 2011: sources
    LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, plans to go public in 2011 and has selected its financial underwriters, three sources familiar with the process told Reuters.

    Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JPMorgan are among the book runners, these sources said. Bankers made their pitches to the privately-held company in November, one of the sources said.

  • First look at Ridley Scott’s YouTube movie
    Last summer, YouTube announced that legendary Hollywood figure Ridley Scott would be producing ‘Life In A Day’, a movie consisting entirely of user-submitted video clips from around the world, capturing snapshots of life around the world on 24 July 2010.

    Now Google’s video service has shared the first in a series of clips of the movie, which will get its premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on 27 January. In the run up to that, more clips will be posted on the Life In A Day YouTube Channel.

  • Have We Reached A Tipping Point Where Self-Publishing Is Better Than Getting A Book Deal?
    Ross Pruden points us to a recent post by author Joe Konrath (whose musings on why authors shouldn't fear file sharing, as well as his own experiments with "self-piracy" we've discussed before), in which he goes back on his previous views against self-publishing and makes the argument that authors should self-publish. It's worth reading the whole thing, but the crux of his argument is that if you self-publish at a low price, you're likely to get more sales and you get them started much, much, much sooner than if you go through the hellish publishing process, which can delay actual publishing by years. There are some other arguments, including the financial viability of the big publishers, as well as the rise in ebook popularity, which makes it such that you can self-publish just in ebook form and solve a lot of the distribution questions (a la the music industry).

    Of course, there are some implicit assumptions that Konrath makes that I'm not really sure apply across the board. He seems to assume that it's easy to sell 1,000 ebooks per month (which is the basis for his calculations). If you have an audience already, that's possible, but if you don't, it's a lot harder. A publisher can really help an unknown author with marketing, and that's certainly not something that should be diminished. Now, obviously, that doesn't mean everyone has to do it that way. There are certainly other ways. Some authors may be naturally good marketers themselves, or they can outsource the function to someone else, at a lower "cost." Separately, while Konrath notes at the top of his post that in the past he hated self-published books because the quality was almost always low, he doesn't seem to mention that again. The editing process can be pretty important (though, again, there may be other options there).

  • Guy Kawasaki promotes his latest book by giving away his first one

  • Yammer Proclaims The Death Of Old Media Through Old Media
    Yeah, our officemate Yammer has decided to wedge a billboard-sized nail in the coffin of old media (i.e. “one-way communication”) which conspicuously includes print magazines, newspapers and eh hem, billboards. Says Yammer marketing designer Aria Shen, “Simply put, we wanted to make a statement about the new paradigm of how people and organizations communicate, and figured what better way to do that than to use the oldest mode of paid media.”

  • Putin and Medvedev: a split in the tandem?

  • Romania declares witchcraft a legally-recognized (and taxable) profession, pisses off witches
    The government of Romania has updated labor laws to officially recognize witchcraft as a profession, part of a "drive to crack down on widespread tax evasion in a country that is in recession."

    But some Romanian witches who will now have to pay taxes on income they earn for spellcrafting are not amused.

  • College Newspaper to Erect Paywall: It’s Academic
    Pray, what is the sound of a college newspaper erecting a paywall?

    We will soon know — or, as that butchered koan might really mean, we never will.

    The Oklahoma State University newspaper, in the belief that it is leaving money on the table, has decided to charge readers who aren’t affiliated with the institution and don’t live in the neighborhood. The move is thought to be a first for a college newspaper.

    In other words, if you didn’t go to OSU, and you live, say, in Alaska, then you’ll have to pay to read articles in the Daily O’Collegian about on-campus goings-on at Stillwater, where news runs deep.

  • The Gollum Effect
    The concrete idea is something I call the Gollum effect. It is a process by which regular humans are Gollumized: transformed into hollow shells of their former selves, defined almost entirely by their patterns of consumption.

  • 'Huck Finn' sanitized for your protection
    It's that awkward classroom moment that I want to zero in on. As the only black kid in class, I know all about those awkward moments. Reading aloud and hearing passages in history books about slavery or in literature about the disparaging views and treatment of blacks the awkwardness for me would range from embarrassing to painful. Each utterance of the N-word or some other derogatory term (say, coon or darkie or Sambo), even in context, was like a kick to the groin that hurt worse than that time in the fifth grade when I got a little too cute on the balance beam after school.

    But I wouldn't trade that pain for a cleaned-up version of history in order to make me or anyone else feel better. Maybe it's the journalist in me, but I prefer the unvarnished truth to one sanitized for my protection.

  • Digital Agenda: simple smart phones and remote controls help elderly and disabled to manage their homes
    With €2.7 million of EU funding, researchers from the Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Sweden have developed a solution to give elderly and disabled people easier control over the various electronic appliances and services in their homes using their mobile phone or other devices. The "I2HOME" project has developed a personalised and simplified Universal Remote Console interface based on existing and evolving open standards. This interface can be in a universal remote control, a mobile phone, a computer or other devices and can be used to, for example, switch on and programme washing machines, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, DVD players/recorders and other household devices.

  • NVIDIA Tegra 2: amazing mobile power that hints at the future of client computing

  • Science

    • Deep space objects guide Earth’s GPS system

    • Ancient Timbers Found At Vauxhall
      The oldest wooden structure ever found along the Thames has been uncovered at Vauxhall. Timbers dating from around 4500 BC (two millennia before Stonehenge, for what it’s worth) were found in the foreshore mud last year. The spot is close to where the River Effra once emptied into the Thames, and the yellow Duck boats now potter in and out of the water beside the MI6 building.

    • Journal: Study linking vaccine to autism was fraud
      The first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research.

      The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered.

  • Security

    • Critical PHP Bug Security Notice and Patch
    • Security advisories for Thursday

    • Ten Ways to Think About DDoS Attacks and "Legitimate Civil Disobedience"
      Distributed denial of service attacks (a.k.a. DDoS), and whether they form a legitimate expression of civil disobedience in this distributed, often virtual age was one topic that seemed to provoke some passionate reaction at the event that PdF held on Saturday about Wikileaks, broadly written. There was even a bit of intermission yelling that occured amongst a handful of participants.

      Above, activist and current New York State Senate employee Noel Hidalgo frames the question: Are DDoS attacks, where a group of people come together online to overwhelming a particular website or online service by sending a disabling amount of traffic its way, a reasonable evolution of the tactics humans reasonably and productively use to get things to change when it comes to politics or society, akin to sit-ins? Or is DDoS vandalism the suppression of free speech and freedom of assembly dressed up in digital glitz? A little of both? Something else entirely?

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Why one U.S. diplomat didn't cause the Gulf War
      On July 25, 1990, Saddam Hussein summoned April Glaspie, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, to discuss Iraq's brewing dispute with Kuwait. Their discussion would eventually cost Glaspie her promising career as a diplomat.

      One week after the meeting, Saddam's troops would storm into Kuwait, beginning the chain of events that eventually led to the Gulf War. Now, with WikiLeaks' release of Glaspie's cable describing her meeting with Saddam, we have her firsthand perspective on one of the seminal events that preceded the conflict.

      The cable is more interesting for what is not discussed than what is. Glaspie doesn't show any awareness that war is just around the corner; she mainly offers diplomatic pablum that the United States is interested in "friendship" with Iraq. Due to her failure to warn Saddam that the United States would forcefully retaliate in the event of an invasion of Kuwait, the Washington Post described her as "the face of American incompetence in Iraq." Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer piled on in a 2003 article for Foreign Policy, arguing that Glaspie's remarks unwittingly gave Iraq a green light to invade Kuwait.

    • Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Speedy Trial
      If charges are dismissed or a mistrial is granted, the speedy trial clock is reset to begin on; date of dismissal in cases where the accused remains in pretrial restraint; date of mistrial, or; earlier of re-preferral or imposition of restraint for all other cases. R.C.M. 707(b)(3)(A), United States v. Bolado, 34 M.J. 732 (N.M.C.M.R. 1991); aff’d, 36 M.J. 2 (C.M.A. 1992). If there is no re-preferral and the accused remains in pretrial confinement, then the time period starts the date the charges are dismissed or a mistrial is declared. If a rehearing is ordered or authorized by an appellate court, then there is a new 120-day period. See United States v. Becker, 53 M.J. 229 (C.A.A.F. 2000) (applying R.C.M. 707 timing requirements to a sentence rehearing but finding that remedy of dismissal of charges too severe).

      A commander can dismiss charges even if there is an intent to re-institute charges at a later date. Dismissal of charges cannot, however, be a subterfuge to avoid the 120 day speedy trial clock. United States v. Robinson, 47 M.J. 506 (N.M.C.C.A. 1997). Factors courts will consider to decide if a dismissal is a subterfuge are: Convening Authority's intent, notice and documentation of action, restoration of rights and privileges of accused, prejudice to accused, and whether there were any amended or additional charges. See also United States v. Anderson, 50 M.J. 447 (C.A.A.F. 1999), wherein CAAF finds no subterfuge under the facts of the case and declares, contrary to the Government’s concession, that the speedy trial clock was restarted on the date of dismissal. Withdrawal by a commander under R.C.M. 604, however, does not toll running of speedy trial clock. United States v. Weatherspoon, 39 M.J. 762 (A.C.M.R. 1994); See United States v. Tippit, 65 M.J 69 (C.A.A.F. 2007) (based upon the SJA’s advice, the Special Court-Martial Convening Authority (SPCMCA) signed a withdrawal of charges – C.A.A.F. honored the SPCMCA intent to dismiss the charges despite the misnomer and found no violation of R.C.M. 707).

    • The Man Who Spilled the Secrets
      The collaboration between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Web’s notorious information anarchist, and some of the world’s most respected news organizations began at The Guardian, a nearly 200-year-old British paper. What followed was a clash of civilizations—and ambitions—as Guardian editors and their colleagues at The New York Times and other media outlets struggled to corral a whistle-blowing stampede amid growing distrust and anger. With Assange detained in the U.K., the author reveals the story behind the headlines.


      The Guardian partnership was the first of its kind between a mainstream media organization and WikiLeaks. The future of such collaborations remains very much in doubt. WikiLeaks, torn by staff defections, technical problems, and a crippling shortage of money, has been both battered and rejuvenated by the events of the past several months. A number of companies—PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard—stopped acting as conduits for donations, even as international publicity has attracted high-profile supporters and many new donors. Kristinn Hrafnsson, a close associate of Assange’s and a WikiLeaks spokesman, promises that WikiLeaks will pursue legal action against the companies.

    • Wikileaks: an excuse for Whitehall backlash against Gateway review openness?
      Senior civil servants at a recent function were saying that disclosures by Wikileaks have given permanent secretaries and heads of agencies reasons to resist the coalition’s campaign to brush away the cobwebs of secrecy in government affairs.

      The civil servants said that one casualty of the paranoia could be the coalition's plans to publish gateway reviews in full and at the time they are completed. IT Gateway reviews are short reports on the progress or otherwise of large and risky projects and programmes.

      Downing Street’s policy is that the coalition should be "the most open and transparent government in the world”. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister who's in charge of the policy on transparency promised that Gateway reviews would be published by the end of December 2010.

    • Frenchman suspended over Wikileaks-style website
      A French regional council has suspended a computer engineer after he leaked council business onto a Wikileaks-style website.

      Bouches-du-Rhone council, based in the southern city of Marseille, took action after Philip Sion set up a site on 1 January called "Wikileaks 13".

      He appealed to the public to send him evidence of malpractice in the region.

      Mr Sion was accused of "disloyalty" for uploading audio of a council commission meeting in December.

  • Finance

    • Chinese visit to Spain helps calm markets
      A visit to Spain by a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Li Keqiang during which agreements worth 5.7 billion euros were signed yesterday (5 January) helped calm markets and provided some relief for the country's recession-hit economy. EurActiv Spain reports.

    • Hackers find new way to cheat on Wall Street -- to everyone's peril
      High-frequency trading networks, which complete stock market transactions in microseconds, are vulnerable to manipulation by hackers who can inject tiny amounts of latency into them. By doing so, they can subtly change the course of trading and pocket profits of millions of dollars in just a few seconds, says Rony Kay, a former IBM research fellow and founder of cPacket Networks, a Silicon Valley firm that develops chips and technologies for network monitoring and traffic analysis.

    • Tell Reid and Schumer: Stand strong on filibuster reform in the Senate
      For the past two years, the Senate Republicans have shamelessly abused Senate rules -- including the filibuster -- for patently political reasons.

      Sadly, the Senate Republicans' unprecedented obstructionism was met with complacency rather than conviction by most Senate Democrats.

    • More Allegations Of Fraud By Goldman (ACA)
      ACA is suing Goldman over the ABACUS deal that blew up in their face and in which Paulson (John, not Hank) was involved. If you remember, this was the deal over which the SEC sued as well, and "settled." The argument at the time was that it would be very difficult to prove fraudulent intent, and therefore the settlement (without admission of guilt, of course) was "in the best interest of everyone."

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Measuring Tunisian Tor Usage
      Out of interest, I wondered how Tor usage in Tunisia has fared over 2010. I wonder if Facebook, Twitter, and other social network services are seeing an increase of users logging into Tunisian social networks from Tor.

    • Which colleges restrict free speech?
      In its annual report, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education surveyed speech code policies at the top 100 national universities and top 50 liberal arts colleges from U.S. News and World Report, along with 237 colleges the organization labeled as "major public universities."

    • Default censorship is a poor and ineffective idea
      Yesterday and this morning we heard calls from government ministers and others for Internet Service Providers to block adult sites by default on customers’ accounts.

      Such options were rejected during the Byron Review into child safety. Meanwhile, industry initiatives have created good solutions to protect minors with differing restrictions based on age, religion and other preferences based on actual knowledge of the children involved.

    • Tor fan art [IMG]

    • 'Laughing stock' libel laws to be reformed, says Nick Clegg
      Nick Clegg will tomorrow set out the most ambitious plans yet to relax Britain's libel laws, saying he will back a raft of reforms including a statutory public interest defence.

      He will promise that a bill this spring, likely to reach the statute book in 2013 following hard-fought lobbying, will turn "English libel laws from an international laughing stock to an international blueprint".

      He will say: "We intend to provide a new statutory defence for those speaking out in the public interest. And to clarify the law around the existing defences of fair comment and justification."

    • What Everyone Seems to Miss In Facebook's Private or Public Debate...
      Facebook is the greatest repository of data about people's intentions, relationships, and utterances that ever has been created. Period. And a company that owns that much private data should be accountable to the public. The public should be able to review its practices, its financials, and question its intentions in a manner backed by our collective and legally codified will. That's the point of a public company - accountability, transparency, and thorough reporting.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Dear Premier McGuinty
      The CRTC has approved Bell’s application to assess an additional layer of Usage Based Billing along with Usage caps to the customers of the Independent ISPs. Unfortunately this will artificially increase the cost of Internet access.

    • Detecting net neutrality violations—there's an app for that!
      The FCC wants you… to help it shame companies into net neutrality.

      It's notoriously difficult to know how an ISP might be managing, throttling, or degrading Internet traffic. Comcast's P2P-limiting technology was only caught through a fluke, and it's certainly possible that many ISPs have been up to similar shenanigans for years without 'fessing up. Net neutrality rules passed in December are meant to address this, but the strictest ones only apply to wired networks and may well be overturned by judges or Congress in the next year or two. So what's a toothless regulator to do?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Poverty
      Opponents of the state monopoly privilege grants that the state and supporters propagandistically call "intellectual property" use a variety of alternative terms, in attempt to better describe these "rights" without implying they are valid, as the word "property" seeks to do.

    • Ownership

    • ECJ rules that GUIs can be copyright-protected
      Though a graphical user interface (GUI) cannot be protected under the EU's Software Directive it can be protected under the Information Society Directive, the EU's highest court ruled.

      In the Czech Republic, Bezpečnostní softwarová asociace (BSA) applied to the Government for the right to act as the collective administrator for computer program copyrights, but was refused.

    • Copyrights

      • Two Years After The RIAA Suggested ISPs Were Ready To Implement 3 Strikes, Most ISPs Have No Such Plans
        It's been a little over two years since the RIAA dropped its strategy of suing music fans for sharing files online -- a strategy that was an unequivocal disaster for the record labels. Of course, when the news came out, the RIAA suggested that the reason they had done so was because of a backroom deal with various ISPs to implement three strikes plans. And yet, here we are, two years later with no major ISP having put in place such a policy. Greg Sandoval has been following this story closely, and his contacts at most of the major ISPs indicate no interest in putting in place such policies, and a widespread recognition that the ISPs have enough lobbying clout to push back on the RIAA if necessary.

      • How Spotify’s Failure to Launch in the US Could Save the Company
        Here’s my advice: Pivot. Spotify has spent two years, and undoubtedly plenty of money and focus, fighting what was always a Don Quixote like battle to make the US labels listen to reason. This is the same industry who sued their users. It was a valiant effort, but it didn’t work. We can argue why they should back Spotify all day long, but the last two years has proven that they are just not going to listen without Spotify having to make some major concessions.

      • Special Report: Music Industry’s Lavish Lobby Campaign For Digital Rights
        The music industry has spent tens of millions of dollars to lobby government officials worldwide during the past decade, but whether or not the initiative has helped to shape a viable legal and commercial framework is a subject of debate.

        According to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis based on data collected from the United States Secretary of the Senate Office of Public Records (SOPR), the recorded music industry and the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) have spent over $90 million in lobbying efforts in the United States alone since 2000.

      • ACTA

        • Son Of ACTA (But Worse): Meet TPP, The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
          Back in December we noted that the industry lobbyists fighting for increased protectionism via copyright and patent laws never stop trying, and as soon as one thing finishes, they pop up somewhere else. Specifically, we were noting calls from the industry for the USTR to negotiate a hardline in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which involves a bunch of Pacific Rim countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, U.S, and Vietnam -- though Japan and Canada may join as well. Apparently, the US government has already indicated that it will not allow any form of weakening of intellectual property law for any reason whatsoever in this agreement. In fact, the USTR has directly said that it will only allow for "harmonizing" intellectual property regulations "strictly upwards," meaning greater protectionism. Given the mounds of evidence suggesting that over protection via such laws is damaging to the economy, this is immensely troubling, and once again shows how the USTR is making policy by ignoring data. This is scary.

Clip of the Day

Standalone Linux on PS3 Slim (27c3 demo update)

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Credit: TinyOgg

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