Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 14/2/2011: GNU/Linux Education in Valencia, London Stock Exchange Goes Live With GNU/Linux

GNOME bluefish



  • ES: LliureX 10.09 offers free educational material
    The Regional Ministry of Education in Valencia provides more than 200 educational resources with LliureX for Kids version 10.09.

    The Department of Education has created a software package installation for easy download of over 200 educational resources offered by LliureX for Kids version 10.09. LliureX is an initiative which aims to "promote teachers’, families’ and schools’ access to a wide variety of educational materials."

  • Desktop

    • Headless Chickens Come Home to Roost

      In the face of a 50 million + dollar budget shortfall, The Austin Independent School District Superintendent is recommending the layoff of 1017 teachers and varied staff.


      The magic sword that protected the disclosure of software expenditure costs turned out to be the vendor agreements AISD signed with Microsoft and other various software companies. At least, that was what I was told and to be honest, I had neither the time or resources to pursue it further.

      Filing for this data under the Freedom of Information Act of 1974 was impotent. It seems our laws, the way they are currently written, gives the corporates protection...

      Even if federal law says differently.

      However, a seemingly disconnected event in 2008 was able to dislodge some of this information. Maybe not as much as I wanted, but enough to sharpen the pencil and do a bit of cipherin'.

      Many will remember the row that ensued after an AISD teacher admonished one of our HeliOS kids and myself for him bringing a laptop and Linux disks into her classroom.

      And direct citation is needed. I'm not going to link-bait my own story. However, this not only went viral in hours, many online and dead tree newspapers picked it up as well.

      It is within one of those that we can discern some important figures.

      The AISD IT Director at that time defended their IT structure by saying that 1/3 of their computers ran software other than Windows.

      "...and while the district uses Windows on 24,000 of its 36,000 computers, it uses Linux for many of its servers and open-source applications, such as Open Office, whenever possible."

      OK, great...Linux is obviously the superior choice for server deployments, but if we were to dig deeper into that statement, how many of the OS choices are Linux? I am guessing that the majority of them run Windows with some Open Source solutions installed therein. The article does mention the use of Mac computers as well. Oh, and those aren't expensive...

      But Linux desktops?


      Time and time again, Linux and Free Software have provided The Enterprise, Governments and individuals amazing cost savings over the long term.

  • Server

    • Argonne taps IBM for 10 petaflops super
      The US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory announced on Tuesday that it has inked a deal with IBM to build a monster BlueGene supercomputer that will weigh in at 10 petaflops of peak theoretical performance when it is operational around the middle of next year.

      El Reg caught wind of the Mira BlueGene/Q massively parallel super going into Argonne back in October, when Cray announced that it had been able to sell an 18,000-core, Opteron-based XE6 super into the Argonne facility even though it has been an IBM stronghold in recent years.

    • Engineering Intelligence: Why IBM’s Jeopardy-Playing Computer Is So Important
      Language is arguably what makes us most human. Even the smartest and chattiest of the animal kingdom have nothing on our lingual cognition.

      In computer science, the Holy Grail has long been to build software that understands — and can interact with — natural human language. But dreams of a real-life Johnny 5 or C-3PO have always been dashed on the great gulf between raw processing power and the architecture of the human mind. Computers are great at crunching large sets of numbers. The mind excels at assumption and nuance.

    • Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in January 2011

    • London Stock Exchange in historic Linux go-live
      The move has been billed as one of the LSE's most significant technological developments since the increasing prevalence of electronic trading led to the closure of the traditional exchange floor in 1986. LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet has insisted that the exchange, once a monopoly, will deliver record speed and stable trading in order to fight back against the fast erosion of its dominant marketshare by specialist electronic rivals.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast 88 Gentoo Stuff
      In this Podcast general Gentoo talk, FOSDEM Gentoo talks and EAPI4 stuff.

    • Episode 156: Chandra
      This time we are off into space, but still sitting in front of the monitor. I take X-Ray data from the Chandra Satellite and make a false colour image out of them. All I needed to know for that (and much much more) is on their album page.

      The files I have used and the tutorial I was inspired by are also on the Chandra website.

  • Kernel Space

    • Git
      The first maintenance release Git is available at the usual places...

    • Using the noop I/O Scheduler for KVM Virtualization through Puppet and Augeas
      For a virtualization environment, it often makes sense to use a kernel I/O scheduler that does not take into account whether and/or which hardware seek time penalty may or may not be applicable for the disks used. Hence, where in my case I use a storage device over iSCSI, I want to set the noop scheduler for the hypervisors (which use iSCSI), and all guests on it (which use logical volumes). Neither the hypervisors nor the guests will experience a seek time penalty, so I thought, and so scheduling their I/O does not need to be optimized for such. The noop scheduler does exactly that.

    • Linux Kernel Crash Book
      Here you can download the Linux Kernel Crash Book, in PDF format. The book is 182 pages long, contains 113 screenshots and weighs 4.87MB. The book supercedes the previously published LKCD and Kdump PDF files, which will soon be removed.

    • Kernel dev sets out on an uncharted path
      Valerie Aurora has many achievements to her name. In a world where FOSS developers are overwhelmingly men, she has been a Linux kernel developer for the last 10 years. She's been a consultant, speaker, writer, founder of companies and advocated for women in open source.


      FOSS community's attitudes towards women are not exactly welcoming.

    • Graphics Stack

      • How Old ATI GPUs Can Be Faster On Open Drivers
        A few days ago when publishing the results of benchmarking a lot of graphics cards on their Gallium3D drivers (about a dozen graphics cards) this left a number of people surprised. A number of these results from the open-source Gallium3D drivers illustrated the older graphics processors as being much faster than the newer hardware, even though the newer hardware is far superior to the vintage products. This shouldn't have been a surprise if you stay up-to-date with the Linux graphics news on Phoronix, but it comes down to features found in the older Gallium3D drivers not yet implemented in the newer open-source drivers.

      • Reverse Engineering PowerVR Is Now A High Priority
        The Free Software Foundation has now determined that reverse-engineering the PowerVR Linux drivers in order to create a free software driver capable of 3D hardware acceleration is a high priority action item. With an increasing number of mobile devices running Linux bearing these PowerVR graphics chipsets, which currently require the use of binary blobs for graphics acceleration, is not acceptable and that action must be taken to create an open driver for this hardware.

  • Applications

    • Never Miss A NotifyOSD Notification With "Recent Notifications" GNOME Applet
      Don't you wish you could see the recent NotifyOSD notifications? I know I would - for instance I use a nifty application called Android Notifier that displays NotifyOSD notifications on my computer when I get a new SMS or call on my Phone, but if I'm doing something else when that happens and I miss the notification, there's no way to see it on my computer. And that's just an example, there are many other applications which display NotifyOSD notifications that you might like to see later on in case you've missed the actual notification (like some Twitter clients, etc.).

    • The geeky details: Clock and weather map
      I promised I would give a rundown of the wall-clock-slash-weather-map setup, once I got to a braggable state. I think I can do that now.

    • Songbird hits version 1.9.3, Linux build available
      Although “official” builds of Songbird for Linux are no longer distributed the Songbird community still provide 32bit Linux versions for the gecko-using media player’s faithful flock.

    • Best Linux blogging software: 8 clients tested
      Everybody has opinions. For some reason, many people feel better about life if everybody's informed of those opinions in meticulous detail. The act of 'blogging' was born in the early 21st century when such folk discovered the internet.

      These days, the place is awash with humans and their odd ideas (and even some good ones). Now's the time to join the throng.

    • Sharing screenshots

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Source Engine On Postal III Is Still Coming To Linux
        While it was announced previously by the Running With Scissors Game company that Postal III would be released for Linux like had been done with previous Postal games, there has been some speculation in recent months that Postal III would not make it out for Linux. In particular, because this game is now being powered by Valve's Source Engine, and there still being many in disbelief that it's coming to Linux. Well, in fact, a native version of Postal III is still coming to Linux and it's looking like it will be here around May.

        A Linux version of Postal III was confirmed back in 2008, but with the Steam Linux client / Source Engine on Linux not officially being released yet, some have speculated that Postal III would fail to materialize for Linux. Some have failed to believe my reports that Valve is bringing Steam / Source Engine to Linux, even after a beta version of the Steam Linux client was discovered last summer.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Zeitgeist Hackfest Conclusions
        So I didn’t really stick to my original idea of reporting each day of the Zeitgeist hackfest in Aarhus. I guess this must be a classical hackfest syndrome – you give 120% during the day and when night draws near you’re just flat out of batteries. ‘nough with the excuses :-)

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • FUDCon Tempe: Red Hat Legal Talks
        All lawyers have clients. Red Hat is the client in our case. A lawyer is employed by an organization, and represents that organization. That said, the interests of Red Hat don’t always go hand-to-hand with the Fedora Project. This doesn’t mean that there are conflicts all the time, just that it might happen, and as lawyers we have a duty of confidentiality to our client (Red Hat).

      • Oracle Linux 6 DVDs Now Available
        On Sunday 6 February 2011, Oracle Linux 6 was released on the Unbreakable Linux Network for customers with an Oracle Linux support subscription. Shortly after that, the Oracle Linux 6 RPMs were made available on our public yum server. Today we published the installation DVD images on Oracle Linux 6 is free to download, install and use. The full release notes are here, but similar to my recent post about Oracle Linux 5.6, I wanted to highlight a few items about this release.

      • Qatar Exchange rolls out Red Hat
        The Doha-based stock market Qatar Exchange has switched its trading platforms on to Red Hat Linux, for greater operational flexibility, maximal uptime and integration.

        The exchange migrated IBM's AIX platform to Red Hat Linux, to run its trading platform, as well as adding Red Hat Network Satellite to provide systems updates and Red Hat clustering to maximize uptime.

      • Fedora

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal and the Unity Desktop
          With Ubuntu, I see an excellent choice for the new computer user or someone who is new to Linux. Installation of the system is direct and simple without being simplistic, applications are easy to find and quick and efficient to install. I saw only one instance where an experienced Linux user would be a good idea to have around, and that only because of the regulatory environment that effects the world, not just Linux or Ubuntu.

    • Debian Family

      • The Perfect Desktop - Debian Squeeze
        This tutorial shows how you can set up a Debian Squeeze desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

      • Debian 6 Squeeze
        It wasn’t too long ago that I did a very late review of Debian 5. I’m happy to say that it didn’t take me nearly as long to get around to the latest release, Debian 6 Squeeze. If you aren’t familiar with Debian then this release is a great chance to learn about a distro that is the foundation for a lot of other distributions including Ubuntu, Linux Mint and others.

        Debian has three main branches:

        Stable Testing Unstable

      • My GNOME OS is called Debian
        Debian Squeeze was released a few days ago, this makes it a good opportunity to post about that distribution. Nowadays, even if I have more duties in GNOME than in Debian, I still believe Debian may be one step closer to me in terms of core values.

        Free Software. Debian litterally stands for Free Software, the Debian Free Software Guidelines were the actual basis for the Open Source Definition, years ago. This is still going strong and an enormous effort hasa come to fruition with the release of Squeeze with a kernel clean of closed firmwares.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu One in Natty gets notification-savvy
          It may not have an Indicator icon on the panel like Dropbox does, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be notified by Ubuntu One about what it’s up to, with your files.

        • Natty pimps audio call requests
          Audio call requests made via Empathy are to receive some long over due ‘pimping’ in Ubuntu 11.04.

          Incoming calls are no longer alerted to users via the Ubuntu Messaging Menu, instead they are displayed using IDO – ‘Indicator Display Objects’.

        • Ubuntu: 2011 Thoughts and Goals
          Assist in having developers and testers think about accessibility.

        • Natty Wallpaper Illustrations – So far!
          I could not be more delighted with the quality and diversity of the designs submitted. Please view the complete set here as the following examples are just a few of the many excellent submissions.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Pinguy OS LTS Update: 10.04.2 [Ubuntu Remaster]
            An update for Pinguy OS 10.04 LTS was released today: 10.04.2. For those who are not familiar with Pinguy OS: it's an Ubuntu remaster with a lot of useful default applications "built to have eye candy (Gloobus Preview, GNOME Do, Docky, Nautilus Elementary) and for every part of it to be user-friendly". It comes with a lot of applications we've featured on WebUpd8 so if you want a ready-to-use Linux distro, you should really try Pinguy OS. I like to call it "Ubuntu after a week of customization" but lately it's getting way past "a week".

          • Lubuntu’s new theme ‘ozone’ ready for testing
            Lubuntu 11.04′s proposed new theme, ‘OZone‘, has been made available for testing from the Lubuntu desktop PPA.

            The theme is currently only available for Natty users.

            The theme is based, in part on Xubuntu’s default theme ‘Bluebird‘ with touches of Zuki Blues by Lassekongo.

          • Bodhi Linux 0.1.5 and the Enlightenment Desktop
            Bodhi Linux is clearly following that principle, using the tools of Enlightenment and repositories of Ubuntu. This will be a fun, and pleasant, release to watch.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • HP to Microsoft Sayonara?
      HP made its play for the lucrative mobile market with a number of products that will be powered using its own operating system, sending a message to Microsoft that the clock is ticking for its Windows OS.

    • Phones

      • HP donates a hefty server to homebrew WebOS Internals Group
        There was a piece of news that didn't happen to get mentioned at last night's developer event. HP has made a donation to a charity on behalf of the WebOS Internals homebrew group that is valued at over $10,000.

        A few weeks ago, it became clear that future growth in webOS would outpace the server infrastructure that WebOS Internals currently has in place. They were going to need some beefy hardware to keep up with the demands of acting as the a central repository for webOS homebrew apps, patches, and kernels.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Nokia swaps one 'burning platform' for another in Microsoft's silent takeover of the Finnish phone maker
          The deal is a merger without the red tape, without billions paid out or without the whiles and wherefores of nasty, debilitating integration. Microsoft won't own Nokia, technically, but it's a takeover in principle. A former top Microsoft executive now runs Nokia and he just cut a sweet deal that's all white meat and gravy for Microsoft and gristle and bone for Nokia. If I were a Nokia employee or investor, I'd stage a revolt.

        • MSQtâ„¢ Developer Guide

        • Nokia to cut thousands of jobs, Google reminds it is hiring

        • MeeGo Limbo
          So I was in for something big and different when a few years later I was named the US factory quality engineer for the Nokia 770. I was blown away by the product alone, but as I became more familiar with what it could do, I was truly impressed with its potential. Suddenly the idea of a computer in my palm was no longer this abstract concept, but something I could see, feel, do. And it ran Linux.

        • Linux Foundation Responds to Nokia Microsoft Partnership
          "The Linux Foundation is disappointed in Nokia's decision today to choose Microsoft as the primary platform for its mobile phones. Tough times give birth to difficult decisions that we don't always agree with, but open source is -- at its core -- about choice. We believe that open source software is more than a sum of its parts, and the market is currently bearing that out. The Linux Foundation is here to enable collaboration among its members and the Linux community, and we invite participation in MeeGo and any of our other many projects and programs. In its 20th anniversary year, Linux is a significant underpinning in every computing segment. Full steam ahead.”

        • Oh Nokia, We Loved You So...
          As many of you know, today Nokia announced that they've abandoned Linux, and partnered with Microsoft for their future phones. While current Linux based phones (Like our own Kyle Rankin's N900) will continue to identify with freedom, any future offerings from Nokia will be all Windowsy. For those of us interested in Linux based handsets, our choices have been seriously decreased. Android is great, but competition within the Linux community is great too. Competition often sparks innovation. Sadly there's little we can do but weep. Well, that and look for another hardware vendor to love.

        • The End of the (Nokia) Raj
          A long time ago, when World War II ended, two things happened. Two brand-new superpowers emerged, the United States of America and the U.S.S.R., and the world very soon organized itself into two camps. As this power shift happened, Great Britain lost its preeminence as a world superpower.

          Hobbled by the heavy expenses of the war, Great Britain couldn’t muster up the economic heft needed to hang on to its superpower status. Not long after, the dominoes started to fall. It had no option but to give India, once its crown jewel, independence. The British Raj came to an end. And soon after, the British Empire came to an end.

          That little snippet from history is less a political comment, but more as my way of trying to give some context to the mobile industry. All great empires come to an end, and perhaps today, we are seeing the beginning of the final days of Nokia, world’s largest mobile phone maker and the company that, among other things, championed the very idea of a smartphone.

        • Nokia's Doomsday – the Elopocalypse?
          Nevertheless MeeGo is not only Nokia's child. It is also powered and driven by Intel. Also Intel announced to continuously work on MeeGo. The main problem is that Nokia was the one vendor who was expected to equip its smart phones with it. Only too well, if another company would fill this gap – or will it run on more or less living OpenMoko?

        • Exclusive: Nokia's Windows Phone 7 concept revealed!
          Look what we've found! This is the first image you'll see anywhere of the early fruit of Microsoft and Nokia's budding new partnership. We have it on good authority that the technicolor phones on show are conceptual devices produced by the two companies.

        • What is the Future of Qt now ?
          Following yesterdays news of Nokia replacing MeeGo with Windows Mobile as its primary future SmartPhone platform, there was a lots of confusion if MeeGo would survive this calamity (Of COURSE it will), but the other prominent question was “What is the future of Qt ?”. As Nokia actually own Qt, would they in fact utilise and support it.

        • Nokia new strategic direction. What is the future for Qt?
          Wow, what a day… Nokia outlined its new platform strategy for smartphones, with Windows Phones as it primary smartphone platform in a proposed partnership with Microsoft… and Microsoft’s tools would be used for Nokia Windows Phone application development … and guess what, it has raised a lot of questions in the Qt community.

        • Nokia: MeeNoGo?
          Nokia has been losing marketshare in the last few years and has been trying a few things. In 2010 Q4, They lost the title of being the number 1 smartphone to Android. This was after having this lead for 10 years.

          They tied up with Intel for Meego, which is Linux based OS for smart phones and tablets. Now their first device is cancelled.

        • Mike Elgan: Why Nokia is toast
          Nokia is being killed by complexity. The company's solution? More complexity.

        • A MeeGo timeline: What led up to today's Microsoft/Nokia partnership?

        • Microsoft, Nokia, and MeeGo: Are they all doomed?
          It's true that Windows phones have lost market share – and that Microsoft is starting from zero in terms of market share on Windows Phone 7, an operating system that's not actually Windows as we know it and not the earlier version of Windows for devices, Windows CE.

        • Fujitsu Announces Their First MeeGo OS Netbook, It’s Really Thin
          Fujitsu LifeBook MH330 black caseThought MeeGo was dead with the recent changes happening over at Nokia? Well it’s not MeeGo for all intents and purposes will be carrying on, however Nokia’s role with the project for the future is cloudy at the moment. MeeGo if you didn’t know is a mobile OS project championed by Intel and Nokia. The MeeGO OS is a Linux based OS that uses a bit from Intel’s Moblin netbook OS and Nokia’s Maemo mobile platform.

        • Fujitsu unveils world's first MeeGo netbook, world barely notices
          It hasn't been a terribly good week for MeeGo, but there's a scant silver lining in the cloud -- the first MeeGo netbook has arrived in Singapore, courtesy of Fujitsu. Actually, to be precise, it's the first netbook to ship with MeeGo preinstalled, as Fujitsu's simply shoehorned the lightweight operating system onto its existing LifeBook MH330 machine.

        • Palm’s Ari Jaaksi (Who Previously Lead MeeGo At Nokia) On Nokia Ditching MeeGo

        • You CAN make a difference!
          On another note, I worry about my old friends a lot. I’m sad to see they no longer trust they can make a difference. They’ve given up and given away their passion. Sorry, that ain’t gonna work. You must believe in yourself and what you are up to, and you must believe you can change the world. That’s the only way I know. All the best, though.

        • What now for MeeGo? Some proposals

        • Committed to Linux
          As a Nokia employee working on MeeGo, I feel that my career is going to be deeply affected by the recently announced Nokia strategy. I'm not going to comment on the value of the business decisions; of course I have my opinions about that too, but what I feel more important now is the future of MeeGo, and Linux-based platforms in general, inside Nokia. The announcement mentions MeeGo only marginally, as a “longer-term market exploration”, and ends the paragraph with “Nokia still plans to ship a MeeGo-related product later this year”. This sounds to me like: we won't market any MeeGo devices in parallel with Windows Phone ones, not to hinder the latter's success, but we'll release the MeeGo product we're currently working on before downscaling MeeGo back into the R&D division.

        • Tweeting with TwimGo 2.7.0
          I spent last few days testing my recent changes to TwimGo, Qt based Twitter client. Now it uses darker theme which looks awesome on my N8 and N900 and should look magical on your E7′s ClearBlack screens (let me know how it looks :)). I also tweaked the buttons look&feel and I think that they look stunning now. I might release the Button component as separate QML file if you wish.

        • So farewell to the cheesy phone OS
          The not unexpected news that Nokia have finally given up on it’s Symbian mobile phone operating system is still sad news. Symbian owes its existence to the plucky (yes I know a cliche) British firm of Psion, original develops of computer games for Sinclair and developers of the first generation of PDAs. Needing a relatively powerful operating system which allowed multi-taking, could drive a simple graphic user interface with low power consumption, Psion developed EPOC the ”Electronic Piece Of Cheese”.

      • Android

        • [Exclusive] Android Ice Cream Details – Bits of Honey, But Not the Full Comb [Build GRI17]
          Google has been met with the question time and time again: will Honeycomb ever make it to phones? You had to guess that their answer has either always been “no” or “we don’t know” by now – that version of Android is just too fleshed out for phones. That doesn’t mean tastes of Honeycomb won’t affect future phone versions of Android though.

          We’ve just gotten word from a trusted source that Google has begun building a new branch of code – being called GRI17 (Gingerbread post-Honeycomb, aka “Ice Cream”) – that aims to bring some of the new elements found in Honeycomb over to phones.

    • Tablets

      • Android tablets in big demand
        Android-based tablets look set for solid growth as shipments of the mobile product in third quarter jumped to 45 per cent sequentially from the previous quarter to more than 4.8 million units, according to experts.

        The figure is predicted to jump to more than 44.6 million this year and could result in a total of 70.8 million tablets being shipped in 2012, experts said, citing an article on Enterprise Mobility Today.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chromium browser survey
        If you are using the Chromium browser, please answer the following survey. It’s quick, and would greatly help focus the efforts in the coming releases.

    • Mozilla

      • Don’t Like The New Firefox Button? Then Change It!
        Firefox 3 users who switch to Firefox 4 for the first time need to get used to several interface changes that the developers have made. If you have followed the development from the first beta on you may have noticed that some of the design choices have been removed and replaced with something more Firefox-3 like. The mouse-over url information for instance were initially placed in the Firefox address bar but have been moved back to the bottom of the Firefox interface in the latest beta.

      • Is Mozilla's 2011 roadmap unrealistically ambitious?
        Mozilla has published an updated roadmap in which it lays out its plans for 2011. The organization hopes to significantly shorten its release cycle and deliver a total of four major releases during 2011, cranking the browser up to version 7 by the end of the year.

        Some of Mozilla's key technical priorities include improving responsiveness, integrating social sharing, refining the user interface, supporting 64-bit Windows and Android tablet form factors, finally delivering process isolation for tabs, and supporting emerging standards like CSS 3D transforms and WebSockets. In terms of features, Mozilla's 2011 roadmap is compelling and achievable. There is room for skepticism, however, about the organization's new release management strategy. Instead of aiming to roll all of this functionality out in a major release next year, Mozilla intends to push it out to users incrementally, using a series of three releases after the upcoming launch of Firefox 4.

      • Paste And Go Firefox Extension

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice development in 2010

    • Not even included, but already improved!
      You may have noticed that the new LibreOffice icons "missed the boat" for the LibreOffice 3.3 final - as one of the developers said. Fortunately, they will be included in the upcoming minor release (see ReleasePlan).

    • LibreOffice 3.3.1 Release Candidate available
      The Document Foundation is happy to announce the release candidate of LibreOffice 3.3.1. This release candidate is the first in a series of frequent bugfix releases on top of our LibreOffice 3.3 product. Please be aware that LibreOffice 3.3.1 RC1 is not yet ready for production use, you should continue to use LibreOffice for that.

    • LibreOffice: The Future of Office in Linux
      LibreOffice 3.3 was released a few weeks ago and this marks a very important milestone in the Open Source Office environment. In my previous post I talked in detail about but completely forgot to mention LibreOffice and all of the exciting things that are happening at The Document Foundation.

  • Government

    • Releases Second Set of Open Source Code
      Friday morning at the Tech@State event at the State Department, the White House's New Media Director Macon Phillips announced the White House’s second code release to the open source community that powers the Drupal content management system. Last April, we released four modules for the Drupal community, which focused on the scalability, communication, and accessibility of our site.

      Today’s code release constitutes a few modules we developed for ourselves, as well as a recognition of our sponsoring the development of modules widely used in the Drupal community, which improve the administration of our site in a variety of ways: file management, content presentation, and URL shortening are just a few examples.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Khan Academy Education Videos Arrive in the App Studio
      Today we launched a brand-new app in collaboration with Khan Academy, a renowned not-for-profit organization fulfilling the mission of global education through video classes. We are extremely honored to support their vision.

      The Khan Academy exemplifies the type of content creators for whom we built the App Studio – independent artists looking to build relationships with our global community of over 100 million users. With the Khan Academy, we have the added bonus of helping to promote a worthy cause through technology innovation.

    • Harvard Library Joins HathiTrust
      The Harvard Library has joined HathiTrust, a shared digital repository for published materials that is co-owned and co-managed by the academic and public libraries who are the Trust's 52 partners.

      Helen Shenton, executive director of the Harvard Library, praised HathiTrust’s vision and heralded Harvard's affiliation with it: "This is a highly significant new collaboration that reflects the changing landscape for research libraries everywhere. HathiTrust mission embodies the spirit and the substance of Harvard's rapidly evolving library system."

    • Open Sourcing My Genetic Data
      Today, I published all of my known genetic data as open source and released all my rights to the data. Roughly 1 million of my genetic markers are now in the public domain. I believe that I’m one of the first people in the world to commit my genetic data into a decentralized source control system [ed: orta was the first]. The initial reactions that I received when I told some of my friends that I was going to do this was a combination of shock and skepticism.

      “Why would you do something like that?” “Aren’t you afraid that somebody is going to use that against you? “What if your healthcare provider got a hold of that? They’d love to look through it in order to deny you for some pre-existing condition!” “Ugh, I’d never want to know that sort of stuff about myself!” “What if somebody clones you!?”

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Ghent Declaration
        Seizing the Opportunity for Open Access to European Research: The Ghent Declaration initiated by the reviewers of the EC OpenAIRE Project.

        The Ghent Declaration was submitted to the European Commission last January as a follow up to the launch of OpenAIRE on December 2nd.

        SPARC Europe, who led the panel discussion at OpenAIRE, very much welcomes the Declaration and is happy to make it publicly-available via its website as to encourage further debate on the important matters affecting greater than ever access to Europe's research publications.

  • Programming

      The Free Java DevRoom at FOSDEM was packed with people all day yesterday. At the beginning, Mark Reinhold (from Sun and now Oracle, the chief Java engineer) hoped to speak briefly about the new OpenJDK governance draft but faced plenty of searching questions about it – you’ll not get to see though, as Mark and Joe were unable to gain permission from Oracle for their talks to be recorded. But that was the last it was mentioned the rest of the day until my talk at 6pm.

    • Updates [Louis Suarez-Potts left Oracle]
      I have some news: I've left Oracle. But I have not left and so remain deeply involved in the project and in the promotion of the OpenDocument Format, or ODF. In fact, my focus, my efforts are strengthened by my newfound independence.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • MPEG envisages royalty-free MPEG video coding standard
      MPEG has issued a press release describing its intent to move forward on developing a royalty-free MPEG standard.

    • Why You Need Document Freedom
      It seems everything has a special day. While today's celebration is easy enough to understand, you may not have run into Document Freedom Day, which this year is being celebrated on March 30th. Don’t for a second underestimate the importance of document freedom. It sounds dull - not just mundane, but the forgotten esoterica of the mundane - but it’s a crucial driver in the dominance of major software vendors. If the other elements of our Digital liberty are to be allowed to unfurl in their natural order, we need document freedom.


  • Goodbye office space? The shrinking American cubicle
    If you feel like your cubicle walls are closing in around you, you may be right.

    A combination of the troubled economy and the influx of mobile technology is changing the workplace landscape. Literally.

    Companies across the country are shrinking those boxed-in work areas or scrapping the notion of the once-ubiquitous cubicles altogether.

  • The Apostate
    Haggis was prominent in both Scientology and Hollywood, two communities that often converge. Although he is less famous than certain other Scientologists, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, he had been in the organization for nearly thirty-five years.

  • Rob Ford's hide and no speak: Granatstein
    So our new mayor isn’t a media darling, and would rather hide in the shadows. So what?

  • MCSE cartoon

  • Tell Congress: Don't pull the plug on NPR and PBS!
    We're only a few weeks into the 112th Congress, and Republicans are already attempting to pull the plug on public media.

    In a budget proposal made public on Wednesday, House Republicans announced plans to zero out all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the nonprofit responsible for funding public media including NPR, PBS, Pacifica and more.

  • UberMedia, Indeed. Bill Gross’ Twitter Ecosystem Empire Just Acquired TweetDeck
    The number of companies in the Twitter ecosystem keeps contracting. But not for a necessarily bad reason, but because they keep getting purchased. And what’s crazy is that it’s largely one person who has been buying them up: Bill Gross. We’ve just learned that his company, now called UberMedia, has just acquired TweetDeck.

    We’re hearing that the deal, which happened recently, was in the $25 – $30 million range. And this is clearly the largest deal they’ve done yet as TweetDeck is the largest Twitter client outside of Twitter’s own properties.

  • The Internet Scores Its Second Victory Of The Day, Borders Nears Bankruptcy
    The WSJ is reporting that Borders is preparing for bankruptcy and might file for Chapter 11 at the beginning of next week — According to our old friends the people familiar with the matter. Apparently its plans to refinance and convert its unpaid debt into $125 million in loans were not convincing enough for publishers. The report also says that it will close 200 of its 674 stores.

  • Billion Year labor contract for Scientologists
    This "Billion Year Contract" is purportedly the document that Scientologists committing themselves to the Sea Org (a part of the organization alleged to practice indentured labor enforced by corporal punishment) are asked to sign.

  • Album Review: PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
    Polly Jean Harvey has to be, and if not should be, one of the most respected artists that England has ever produced.

    Despite her mainstream and commercial success, including the 2001 Mercury Music Prize, seven Brit Award Nominations, five Grammy Award Nominations and two further Mercury prize nominations, she has held her ‘cult status’, never ploughing the same musical furrow, always the risk taker.

  • Our World, Slowed Down 100 Times [VIDEO]
    Come with us into a world where everything is slowed down more than 100 times. Thanks to an expert videographer and editor named Tom Guilmette and a Vision Research Phantom Flex camera, we get a peek into an alternative universe — the same one we inhabit, but where the temporal element has been distorted in a variety of ways.

  • Science

    • A.I. expert Ray Kurzweil picks computer in 'Jeopardy' match
      When the IBM computer called "Watson" faces off against past Jeopardy champs on Monday, no one will be watching more intently than inventor Ray Kurzweil, a leading authority on the future of artificial intelligence.

    • Statistics Canada under seige
      If there's one thing that has prevented me from despairing completely about the débâcle that is and will be the 2011 census, it's been my faith in the professionalism and expertise of the people who work at Statistics Canada. Their present political masters may be deaf to reason, but this is only a temporary state of affairs. There will eventually be a change of government and when that happens, the expertise of the StatsCan professionals will still be there.

    • CFI Supports U.S. Rep. Pete Stark’s Darwin Day Resolution
      Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has introduced H. Res. 81 , asking for the designation of February 12, 2011, as Darwin Day, to honor the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday and the importance of his work.

    • KinderSuperPosition
      "I think I can safely say," said Richard Feynman, who understood everything, "that nobody understands quantum mechanics."

      Quantum mechanics just doesn't gel in the human mind. We can use the mathematical language of quantum mechanics simply enough, but it doesn't paint a picture in our heads. Language only has meaning, according to Wittgenstein, to the extent that it paints a picture. He later revised this principle (the principle itself has obvious meaning, but paints no picture), but for many physical explanations that picture is still essential.

    • Stephen Wolfram: Can he topple Google?
      The British scientist Stephen Wolfram has a clear vision for the future – a vision that dates back to his childhood in the 1960s and 70s. In those days, we didn't prophesise that computer technology would bring us convenient ways to shop, or new ways to talk to our friends in short sentences. The dream was much grander – that computers would work out stuff for us, a bit like Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey (without the murderous intent).

    • Two Huge Holes in the Sun Spotted
      Japanese scientists have spotted two huge holes on the sun's magnetic field, and it has been observed that the holes look darker than other parts of the sun.

      The holes, called coronal holes, are gateways for solar material and gas to spill out into space, according to The gaps in the sun's magnetic field make a hole through its atmosphere, letting gas out, NASA has said.

  • Hardware

    • Sennheiser HD 555 to HD 595 Mod

    • The Bilibot Project is about affordable robots.
      The Bilibot Project is an effort to build an affordable robotics platform for educators, hobbyists and researchers. This project was started in late 2010, shortly after the release of the Microsoft Kinect, and was funded through a Kickstarter project in January 2011. To learn more about the motivations of the Bilibot project, and what it entails, check out our about page.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • House GOP Declares War on Planned Parenthood
      Capitol Hill's abortion fight was already heating up, with skirmishes over federal funding for abortion, the effect of the tax code on abortion, and a controversial "forcible rape" provision. But on Wednesday, the Republican-led House of Representatives declared war.

    • The anti-abortion lobby's gotcha tactics
      Lila Rose – an activist who schooled with James O'Keefe in the art of deceptive editing and other dishonest manipulation of undercover footage in service of rightwing aims – has been around a long time. Unlike her colleague O'Keefe, however, Rose has only one target: Planned Parenthood.

    • The UK needs a labelling scheme for GM-free meat products

      Most people don't like eating foods that have been genetically modified. Where they have a choice – that is, the products are clearly labelled and there are alternatives – they tend to avoid GM offerings. This is one reason why GM crops tend to form animal feeds or staple foods, where consumers either have no choice or no awareness.

      There is every justification for the European Union to be cautious about authorising GM products: concerns about the impact of genetic modification on the environment and human health, and the risk of placing farmers in the hands of monopoly suppliers of GM seeds.

    • Bristol's biofuels plant must be refused planning permission
      Today, the government will make what should be a very simple decision: whether or not to give planning permission to a power station in Bristol burning biofuels. The answer must be no.

    • The Insurers' Real Agenda for Change
      The story much of the press missed was the revelation that the CEOs and lobbyists for the five biggest for-profits -- UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Aetna, CIGNA and Humana -- have been meeting frequently to plot their attack on the law.

  • Security

    • How to crash the Internet
      We know you can take down Web sites with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. We know that a country, like Egypt, can knock down a country’s entire Internet infrastructure. And, we thought we knew that you couldn’t take down the entire Internet. It turns out we could be wrong.

      In a report from New Scientist, Max Schuchard a computer science graduate student and his buddies claim they’ve found a way to launch DDoS attacks on Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) network routers that could crash the Internet.

    • Hackers Reveal Offers to Spy on Corporate Rivals

    • HBGary wanted to suppress Stuxnet research
      It is no secret that in recent days, Anonymous Operatives have released a cache of HBGary Federal internal emails to the public. Crowdleaks has discovered that within these communications, Aaron Barr received a copy of Stuxnet (a computer worm that targets the types of industrial control systems (ICS) that are commonly used in infrastructure supporting facilities) from McAfee on July 28, 2010.

    • HBGary: nailed by a 16-year-old
      That was Greg Hoglund (right) the front man for disgraced security company HBGary whose Aaron Barr claimed he’d penetrated the inner circle of Anonymous, the ungroup that’s brought a bright new dawn to a world until now controlled by a small band of vicious, unprincipled corporate gangsters and politicians.

      And people such as Hoglund and Barr who tried to sell the results of Barr’s labours to the FBI, including names of alleged Anonymous ‘leaders’.

      In retribution, Anonymous penetrated HBGary and splashed confidential company emails — 50,000 or more — online.

    • AnonLeaks – How far is too far?
      A new Anonymous site will, possibly as soon as tomorrow, feature another 27,000 emails culled from the server of Greg Hoglund, the red-faced boss of US security firm HBGary.

      He and his company, and spin-off HBGary Federal, were dragged through the mud backwards by Anonymous after one of Hoglund’s Main Men, ‘Federal’ CEO Aarron Barr, claimed to have cracked the people behind ungroup Anonymous.

      How can you crack something which doesn’t exist? But that’s what Barr said he’d done, and his assertion was picked up and headlined by no less a publication than Britain’s Financial Times.

      Having supposedly busted Anonymous, Barr and HBGary were definitely busted — and by an 16-year-old.

      Now that’s, ignomy, particularly for a firm which boasts it provides “classified services to the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community and other U.S. Government agencies to meet their unique requirement”.

    • HBGary Email Viewer: Portal

    • Wikileaks Wasn't The Only Operation HBGary Federal, Palantir And Berico Planned To Defraud
      By now the exposed plan of HBGary Federal, Palantir and Berico to attack Wikileaks and its supporters through fraud and deception, in order to help Bank of America, has been discussed widely. However, the leaked HBGary Federal emails suggest that this sort of plan involving these three companies had been used elsewhere. Apparently the US Chamber of Commerce had approached the same three firms to plan a remarkably similar attack on groups that oppose the US Chamber of Commerce.

      That leaked plan (embedded below) includes a similar plan to create fake documents and give them to these groups to publish, with the intent of "exposing" them later, to raise questions about their credibility.

    • Bombshell: Chamber of Commerce lobbyists solicited firm to investigate opponents’ families, children
      Thursday, ThinkProgress published an exclusive report that the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing trade association representing big business, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress. According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Attorneys for the firm solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop a sabotage campaign against progressive groups and labor unions, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and

    • US Chamber's Lobbyists Have Firm Investigate Opponents' Families, Children
      Earlier today, ThinkProgress published an exclusive report that the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing trade association representing big business, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress. According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Attorneys for the firm solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop a sabotage campaign against progressive groups and labor unions, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and

    • Stop The Chamber

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Robed Lawyers Join Protests and March in Egypt, Calling for a Trial of Mubarak
      Thousands of lawyers and doctors joined protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square on Thursday amid calls for Hosni Mubarak to resign.

    • Egypt's military to warn against "chaos and disorder"
      Egypt's new military rulers will issue a warning on Sunday against anyone who creates "chaos and disorder", an army source said.

    • Systematic rape continues on Congo-Angola border: UN
      Systematic sexual violence continues to be carried out against Congolese women and girls caught up in mass expulsions from Angola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a U.N. envoy said on Friday.

      Community leaders recorded 182 reported rapes in seven villages along the border in January alone, while a U.N. assessment mission confirmed 1,357 reported rape cases in one village in a six-to-eight-month period last year, said the official, Margot Wallstrom.

    • King Tut statues, 16 other items missing from Egyptian Museum
      A full inventory of the Egyptian Museum has found that looters escaped with 18 items during the anti-government unrest, including two gilded wooden statues of famed boy king, Tutankhamun, the antiquities chief said Sunday.

      The 18-day uprising that forced out President Hosni Mubarak engulfed the areas around the famed museum, on the edge of Cairo’s Tahrir Square. On Jan. 28, as protesters clashed with police early on in the turmoil and burned down the adjacent headquarters of Mubarak’s ruling party, a handful of looters climbed a fire escape to the museum roof and lowered themselves on ropes from a glass-panelled ceiling onto the museum’s top floor.


    • NRC on Research on “War on Terror” Detainees: “A Contemporary Problem”?
      A National Research Council (NRC) 2008 report on a conference on Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies examined briefly what it characterized as a “contemporary problem,” the possibility of doing research on “war on terror” detainees, removed by the U.S. government from Geneva protections against experiments done on prisoners of war.

      In a section of the report that looked at the “Cultural and Ethical Underpinnings of Social Neuroscience,” the report’s authors examined the “Ethical Implications” of these new technologies. The section explored the birth of the new field of bioethics, in response to the scandalous revelations of the Tuskegee experiments. The report noted that “On the whole, however, the system of protections for human research subjects is not well designed to capture instances of intentional wrongdoing,” providing “rather… guidance for well-motivated investigators who wish to be in compliance with regulatory requirements and practice standards.”

    • The addled piorities of US drugs policy

      If you still doubt that the war on drugs has completely warped American law enforcement priorities, look at Camden, New Jersey, poorest city in the state and second most dangerous city in the US. Last month, Camden laid off nearly half its police force – and raised taxes by 23% – in a desperate attempt to plug a few budget holes.

    • Criminal checks on people working with children to be eased
      The move – part of the coalition government's plans to scale back Labour's "over-intrusive" vetting and barring scheme to "commonsense levels" – is included in the protection of freedoms bill, which is being launched by the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg. It is designed to roll back "unwarranted state intrusion in private lives" through the use of CCTV, local authority surveillance powers and the police DNA database.

    • Rohingyas Flee Burma by Boat
      On a beach dotted with swanky, star-class hotels, a boatload of bedraggled men appeared out of the dark sea one midnight, exhausted from nearly two weeks at sea fleeing Burma’s repressive military.

    • The Domestic War on Protesters
      Recent weeks have seen waves of popular protest sweep through the Middle East in Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and notably the demonstrations in Egypt, which continue into their third week. The international response has included powerful expressions of support for the people of Egypt and their right to dissent against the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Here in the United States, this support has come largely at the grassroots level with public statements and demonstrations of solidarity, primarily organized by Arab- American communities.

      The response from US government has cautiously paid lip service to some of the issues raised by the protesters. This is inconsistent with their actions, as the US has been a close political ally of Mubarak for years, giving billions of dollars in aid to his regime and had US diplomats supporting him during the protests. However, the unambiguous message we have heard from the political leaders of this country is the oft-repeated mantra that the United States supports universal human rights, particularly the rights to peaceful protest and free speech.

    • Allegations that Mubarak murdered protesters submitted to attorney general
      A number of lawyers have submitted reports to the attorney general that accuse former President Hosni Mubarak of involvement in the shooting of protesters and inciting chaos during the pro-democracy protests that started on 25 January.

      Judicial sources said accusations against Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli requested both men's arrest and speedy trial. As well as shooting protesters, they are accused of ordering police to withdraw and allowing thugs and prisoners destroy the country.

    • Ron Paul "I'm Sure Our CIA Is Looking Around To See Who's The Next Guy We Can Support" [Video]

    • You've Got Bail! (But No Freedom)
      The men’s shelter doesn’t look like a prison. There are no bars on the windows, no sign announcing the building’s institutional status. The walls are decorated with posters about Indigenous pride and occasionally the air is tinged with the sweet smell of burning sage.

    • War crimes investigation proceeding against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
      The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, is conducting a “preliminary examination” into human rights abuses committed in Afghanistan by Taliban and ISAF forces alike. And while the ICC has focused in recent years on prosecuting African despots, Mr. Ocampo said he will not back down from prosecuting Western governments that are not holding their officials accountable for their actions.

      “I prosecute whoever is in my jurisdiction. I cannot allow that we are a court just for the Third World. If the First World commits crimes, they have to investigate. If they don’t, I shall investigate,” Mr. Ocampo said. “That’s the rule and we have one rule for everyone.”

    • G20 lawyer wants charges filed against police
      The lawyer for a G20 protester who claims to have been shot with rubber bullets by police at a Toronto rally is calling for a criminal investigation of the officers who he says were involved.

      Clayton Ruby on Friday showed reporters a video that he says shows two officers firing three rubber bullets at Natalie Gray during an east end Toronto protest on June 27.

      Two of those rubber bullets hit Gray, before officers surrounded and then arrested her, he said. Ruby also produced a photograph of an officer he alleges fired one of the shots. He believes that officer is clearly identifiable.

    • SIU passes on probe of Ottawa man's arrest
      A probe into the treatment of a homeless man in an Ottawa cell block has been sent back to Ottawa police after the province's Special Investigations Unit ruled it had no jurisdiction over special constables.

      Jeremiah Ivalu, 37, of Ottawa, told CBC News he had two ribs broken while in police custody on Nov. 10 after he took off his shoe and threw it at a police officer in the booking area.

    • Man hit by officer has charges dropped

    • Police open criminal investigation into G20 arrest
      Police are opening a criminal investigation into the arrest of Natalie Gray, a G20 protester who alleges she was seriously harmed after she was shot at close range with two rubber bullets.

      Gray launched a civil lawsuit last September claiming over $1.6 million in damages, naming the Toronto Police Services Board and 10 unknown John and Jane Doe officers who were involved in the incident as defendants.

    • Yemen: Pro-Government Forces Attack Demonstrators
      Hundreds of men armed with knives, sticks, and assault rifles attacked anti-government protesters in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, as Yemeni security forces stood by, Human Rights Watch said today. Within an hour, the 1,000-plus protesters had been pushed from the square and at least 10 had been detained by security forces, Human Rights Watch said.

      Human Rights Watch witnessed at least 10 army trucks carrying men in civilian clothing to Sanaa's Tahrir Square, where a crowd of around 1,000 Yemenis had been demonstrating in support of the historic changes in Egypt and against the Yemeni government. Hundreds of men, their arrival coordinated by uniformed security agents, attacked the anti-government protesters with knives and sticks, prompting the majority to flee.

    • Yemen protesters: 'First Mubarak, now Ali'
      Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched toward a presidential palace in Yemen on Sunday, calling for regime change in the Middle Eastern country.

      Some of them chanted, "First Mubarak, now Ali," referring to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Hosni Mubarak, who recently resigned as president of Egypt after nearly 30 years in power.

      Security forces put up a barbed wire barricade and blocked the protesters' path about two miles from the palace. At that point, the situation intensified as protesters turned away and attempted to reach the palace through side streets.

    • Obama overrules Amnesty International & President of Yemen, Journalist remains imprisoned
      Protesters in south Yemen called for the secession of the once independent south today. Security forces were out early in the day with tanks and police to force protesters back inside. Scores of protesters were moved off of the streets of Aden, but dozens managed to get out in Crater, Khor Maksar, and Al-Mansura, and several hundred people in Zinjibar. Police in Al-Masura, fired warning shots and tear gas. Some reports say thousands of protesters were out in all provinces.

    • Pro-democracy rally begins in Algeria, defying ban
      Thousands of people are holding a pro-democracy rally in Algeria's capital Algiers, defying a government ban.

      Scuffles broke out between the protesters and riot police and a number of people were reportedly arrested.

    • Jihadist groups watch revolution pass them by
      Jihadist groups across the Middle East have applauded and encouraged the popular movements in Tunisia and Egypt, but their exhortations have made little impact on the course of events. In fact, they've hardly been noticed.

      Even so, a survey of postings on jihadist websites and forums suggests Islamist groups see opportunities to exploit what has happened.

      Al Qaeda and associated Islamist groups, long committed to the overthrow of Arab governments, have so far been marginalized spectators rather than drivers of protest, behind the curve of what U.S. President Barack Obama has called the "arc of history."

    • Algeria shuts down internet and Facebook as protest mounts
      Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.

      There were also reports of journalists being targeted by state-sponsored thugs to stop reports of the disturbances being broadcast to the outside world.

      But it was the government attack on the internet which was of particular significance to those calling for an end to President Abdelaziz Boutifleka's repressive regime.

      Protesters mobilising through the internet were largely credited with bringing about revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

    • Al Jazeera’s Social Revolution (In Realtime)
      While you can debate about the exact role of social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook, in Egypt’s revolution, there is no question about its role as a new global media channel. Where once people tuned into CNN to watch governments collapse, this time around they tuned into Al Jazeera on the Web (at least in English speaking countries lie the U.S. where Al Jazeera English is not widely carried on cable systems).

    • China activist Chen Guangcheng 'beaten'
      A prominent Chinese activist and his wife are reported to have been beaten following the release of a video showing their house arrest.

      Chen Guangcheng and his wife, Yuan Weijin, were badly injured by security officials, according to the group Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

      It says the beating came after the release of a secretly shot film showing Mr Chen as a prisoner in his own home.

    • Executions Are Good, Says Iran’s Chief Justice
      According to Mehr news agency, Iran’s chief justice, Ayatollah Mohseni Gorkani, told his students in an ethics class that “our life, tranquility and peace depend on executions”. After reading verses from the Quran, Ayatollah Gorkani further stated executions are dictated by the Holy book and must be done in order to preserve tranquility of life and peace in the society.

      Gorkani went on to describe the role of the judiciary by saying that the critics of the Iranian judiciary “do not understand that the current security in the country is in the hands of the judges of the judiciary." He furthered echoed the same theme by stating” judges and judiciary staff spent all their efforts to protect rights and institutionalize security in society”.

      The Islamic Republic of Iran is executing prisoners at an alarming rate. According to International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Iran is executing one person every eight hours.

    • Iranian opposition leader under house arrest after protests call
      Son of Medhi Karroubi says family has been banned from visiting his father's house amid plans for demonstration

    • This time, the people of Haiti may win
      In 1915, the US Marines invaded Haiti, occupying the country until 1934. US officials rewrote the Haitian constitution, and when the Haitian national assembly refused to ratify it, they dissolved the assembly. They then held a "referendum" in which about 5% of the electorate voted and approved the new constitution – which conveniently changed Haitian law to allow foreigners to own land – with 99.9% voting for approval.

  • Cablegate

    • A disturbing threat against one of our own
      A bizarre plan for an attack on the whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks and journalists construed as sympathetic to it -- first reported by the Tech Herald -- clearly targets Salon's Glenn Greenwald, saying that his "level of support" for WikiLeaks "needs to be disrupted." The report (you can download the purported final draft here) is listed as an "overview by Palantir Technologies, HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies," and according to a string of e-mails also leaked, was developed following a request from Hunton and Williams, a law firm that represents, among others, Bank of America.

      Bank of America is the presumed next target of WikiLeaks, and has reportedly been bracing for what's to come.

      The leaked report singles out other journalists, as well, and suggests that "these are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause ..." And goes on: "Without the support of people like Glenn wikileaks would fold."

      For a complete breakdown of what it all means, Glenn has a thorough, illuminating report. But what the authors of the report meant when they plotted how Glenn and the others could be "disrupted" or "pushed" is as unclear as it is ominous -- and has us deeply concerned. The report was exposed by Anonymous, the pro-WikiLeaks hackers who went after the companies that dropped services to the whistle-blowing organization last year. Anonymous was apparently acting in retaliation to HBGary, whose head of security services, Aaron Barr, had earlier claimed to have infiltrated the Anonymous network. HBGary has since responded, claiming that "information currently in the public domain" from the leak "is not reliable because the perpetrators of this offense, or people working closely with them, have intentionally falsified certain data."

    • BofA denies connection to proactive tactics to silence WikiLeaks

    • U.S. Chamber joins BofA in denying ties to disinformation campaigns
      The U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- like the Bank of America -- is scrambling to distance itself from a cache of stolen e-mails that continue to disgorge stunning details of how high-stakes, corporate-backed disinformation campaigns get birthed.

      The chamber and BofA are embroiled in mirror-image controversies stemming directly from the spontaneous hack last Sunday of HBGary Federal, a digital intelligence firm. The hack was pulled off by the elite global hacking group known as Anonymous.

    • WikiLeaks Secret Swedish Spy Law, US connection exposed.. [Video]

    • Wikileaks Useless Without Greenwald? [Video]

    • Why the U.S. shouldn't try Julian Assange
      The Obama administration is under pressure to respond to WikiLeaks' massive disclosures of State Department cables. It cannot stop the continued publication of the cables, which several news organizations around the world possess. It is reportedly leaning toward using criminal law to make an example of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in order to deter future Assanges. The government is conducting "an active, ongoing criminal investigation," says Attorney General Eric Holder.

      The government should fully investigate how this major breach of national security occurred. But prosecuting Assange would be a mistake.

      The first problem with going after Assange is that the effort is likely to fail. Extraditing Assange from England (where he is now) or Sweden (where he may go to face charges of sexual assault) would not be easy, especially since Assange's actions might be deemed a "political offense," for which exceptions are made to extradition obligations.

    • Julian Assange – U.S. International Extradition and Alternatives to Extradition
      Federal Attorney Douglas McNabb addresses U.S. International Extradition, and alternatives to extradition, that Julian Assange may face if indicted by the U.S. Government.

    • Cablegate Coloring Book
      The release of classified US diplomatic cables by Wikileaks has contributed greatly to public discourse about many important issues. Now it's time to get creative. Find a cable, draw on it, and share your thoughts with us, visually.

    • EXPOSED: Attack on Wikileaks [Video]
      Corporations are working to take Wikileaks out, and the government is approving of it. Jane Hamsher of explains.

    • Twitter Wikileaks Court Order
      In January 2011, the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed three motions on behalf of Birgitta Jonsdottir, the Icelandic parliamentarian whose Twitter account records were targeted by the government in connection with its investigation related to WikiLeaks.

    • US Senator from Hawaii confirms 'Republican placed Anonymous Hold on Whistleblower Protection Act'
      The U.S. Senator from Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, has confirmed that a Republican Senator placed an anonymous hold on The Whistleblower Protection Act.


      I created a list of Senators, who are on Twitter, and who have not yet responded to: "Did you place an anonymous hold on the Whistleblower Protection Act?" Both U.S. Senator Inouye of Hawaii and U.S. Senator Stabenow of Michigan responded to the Twitter campaign directly from their official accounts.

    • Harper gets secret WikiLeaks briefings
      Stephen Harper’s government is saying next to nothing publicly about the deluge of WikiLeaks flooding cyberspace.

      But behind closed doors, it’s a very different story, newly obtained memos show.

      The declassified correspondence reveals the depth of the Conservative government’s concerns about leaked U.S. diplomatic messages that continue to grab headlines in Canada and around the globe.

    • US diplomat calls African dictator a good guy
      A U.S. diplomat called Equatorial Guinea's dictator of 31 years one of "the good guys" in leaked diplomatic cables urging Washington to engage with its third largest oil supplier or risk endangering energy security.

      In 2009 cables published by WikiLeaks, Anton K. Smith, the ranking U.S. diplomat at the time, described a country beset by foreign and homegrown predators, "sharks ... buccaneers and adventurers," since U.S. wildcatters discovered oil in 1994.

    • WikiLeaks: Charles Taylor may have $400 million out of reach
      US officials were told that if Mr Taylor is found guilty of war crimes, the international court in The Hague might only be able to recover a fraction of his wealth.

      On Friday judges in The Hague adjourned indefinitely the three-year-old trial of Mr Taylor on charges of arming rebels who killed and maimed Sierra Leone citizens.

      Instead of closing it, as scheduled, Mr Taylor's lawyers were granted leave to appeal an earlier decision refusing the late filing of a defence document.

    • Assange trapped in cozy Sweden-US relationship
      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to appear in a London court to fight extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes. Sweden denies any intention to extradite him to the US, but as RT has found out, Stockholm may be far from impartial in this case.

    • Wikileaks: US Embassy Urged Finland To Join NATO
      Diplomatic cables provided to YLE by the Wikileaks organisation reveal that officials from the American Embassy in Helsinki tried to corral Finnish politicians into supporting NATO membership over the past decade.

      The embassy has also carefully tracked Finnish opinions on the NATO issue. According to the Wikileaks material, politicians from the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP) have claimed that they would lead Finland into NATO if they head the government after elections in April.

    • Cables Show Close US-Finnish Contacts
      The Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) has obtained about 1,000 diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks related to contacts between Finnish and American officials over the past decade.

      The documents make it clear that discussions between Finland and the US have been intensive and frank. YLE will begin publishing the content of these cables on Friday.

      The material in YLE’s possession makes it clear that President Tarja Halonen has played a central role in these contacts. The US administration has taken note of Halonen’s critical views, but seen her role as crucial – and clearly held her in respect. YLE’s editorial staff has been studying the material this week.

    • TPB #Cablegate

    • CPAC Audience Cheers Wildly For Coulter Comment, "I Think There Should Be More Jailed Journalists"
      From February 12 coverage of CPAC 2011...

    • Assange Speaks

    • Why Bradley Manning Is a Patriot, Not a Criminal: An Opening Statement for the Defense of Private Manning
      Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old from Crescent, Oklahoma, enlisted in the U.S. military in 2007 to give something back to his country and, he hoped, the world.

      For the past seven months, Army Private First Class Manning has been held in solitary confinement in the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. 25,000 other Americans are also in prolonged solitary confinement, but the conditions of Manning’s pre-trial detention have been sufficiently brutal for the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Torture to announce an investigation.

      Pfc. Manning is alleged to have obtained documents, both classified and unclassified, from the Department of Defense and the State Department via the Internet and provided them to WikiLeaks. (That “alleged” is important because the federal informant who fingered Manning, Adrian Lamo, is a felon convicted of computer-hacking crimes. He was also involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution in the month before he levelled his accusation. All of this makes him a less than reliable witness.) At any rate, the records allegedly downloaded by Manning revealed clear instances of war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, widespread torture committed by the Iraqi authorities with the full knowledge of the U.S. military, previously unknown estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed at U.S. military checkpoints, and the massive Iraqi civilian death toll caused by the American invasion.

    • Expelled Guardian journalist back in Moscow
      The Guardian's Moscow correspondent Luke Harding who was expelled from Russia a week ago, returned to Moscow on Saturday, head of the Foreign Press Association of Moscow Adib Al Sayed said.

      Harding, 42, was refused reentry to Russia at Moscow's Domodedovo airport on February 5 after being absent from the country for two months. He was put on a plane back to Britain, and his visa, valid until May 31, 2011, was annulled.

      Harding obtained a new visa at the Russian embassy in London, and his new press accreditation is ready, Al Sayed said.

    • Viewing cable 08LIMA480,
      European NGOs, Peruvian social movements, and radical groups have been working since early 2007 to organize "anti-summit" protests against the European Union-Latin American Heads of State summit scheduled for mid-May in Lima. In early 2008, the Venezuelan Embassy allegedly helped craft a cooperation agreement between protest organizers and nationalist opposition leader Ollanta Humala. Bolivian President Evo Morales is so far the only head of state confirmed to address anti-summit protestors. Notwithstanding the recent arrest of seven terrorist suspects and the government's public claims, we have not seen evidence backing the notion that the Venezuela-backed Bolivarian Continental Coordinator plans to disrupt the summit. The greatest concern among our European Union mission colleagues is the threat that radicals could hijack the protests by aggressively confronting ill-prepared security forces, as occurred in Cusco in February. The GOP is taking these threats seriously.

    • British Consul Closes Office to Duck Assange Letter
      On February 7, 2011, a small group of peace activists organized by the "Tackling Torture at the Top" Committee of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) tried to meet with the British Honorary Consul at his office on the 26th floor of the US Bancorp Center, 800 Nicollet Mall, in downtown Minneapolis. The purpose of the meeting was to deliver a letter with more than 750 signatures asking the British government to observe their own laws prohibiting political extradition in the case of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. Various news sources (also here and here) have claimed that the proposed extradition is being pushed by the United States so that, once Assange is in Sweden, the U.S. can grab him for political rendition to stand trial in the U.S. with a possible death penalty.

    • Evgeny Morozov: The Future of WikiLeaks

    • WikiLeaks: Will Australia Help Julian Assange?
      On Feb. 4, a week before Julian Assange's extradition hearing in London, thousands of people gathered in Melbourne at a free-speech forum. The star of the show was the WikiLeaks founder himself, who delivered a pre-recorded video message to the crowd. "I can't wait to be back in Melbourne, where I have fond memories of taking a tram up Swanston Street, dropping in at Trades Hall and having my favorite coffee at the New International Bookshop," he said, playing the crowd like a rock star. After comparing his fight for transparency to the American struggle for civil rights, he ended with an appeal to Australia's Prime Minister: "Julia Gillard should be taking active steps to bring me home."

    • Wikileaks founder's mother says Australia has failed Assange
      Wikileaks founder's mother angry, speaks to Jon Faine

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Tar sands are a blot on Canadian politics – as well as the landscape
      Here in Canada our prime minister, Stephen Harper, seems hell-bent in exploiting our natural resources for economic gain, regardless of the environmental consequences.

      Having oil or gas reserves, such as Canada's tar sands, often brings a questionable benefit to the producer nation's economy or society as a whole (Norway is one notable exception).

      While much of the world seeks to avoid serious climate change, Harper and his tight-knit crew of ideologues and communications experts are instead lauding their Clean Energy Dialogue with the United States, which emphasises just how "clean" Canada's tar sands oil is.

    • Shark fishing in Japan – a messy, blood-spattered business
      In 2009, Kesennuma landed almost 14,000 tonnes of shark, worth just over €¥2.4bn (€£17.9m): a decent-sized tailfin can fetch as much as €¥10,000.

    • Greenhouse emissions to double unless action taken
      Government climate adviser Ross Garnaut's latest update to his 2008 review found the economic shift towards developing countries was so great they would be responsible for 70 per cent of global emissions by 2030, up from about half today.

      The expansion of China and India was more than offsetting the dip in emissions growth in North America and Europe due to the financial crisis.

    • WikiLeaks: Saudi oil reserves overstated
      Estimates of oil reserves in Saudi Arabia are overstated, meaning crude output could peak within the next decade, leaked U.S. diplomatic cables reveal.

      Washington fears Saudi Arabia overestimated its oil reserves by as much as 40 percent and the kingdom can't keep enough oil flowing to control prices, U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and published by The Guardian newspaper in London reveal.

  • Finance

    • Bank scorched by stupid Facebook policy
      As a result, according to Australia’s Finance Sector Union, any staff complaint – down to the colour of the coffee-cups – would expose an employee to disciplinary action including dismissal.

    • The Big Society Bail-In brings protest to your local bank

      Look through the newspapers this month and two points will become immediately clear. First, the government is cutting, privatising and changing the very nature of social security and public goods that were won through the 20th century. Every aspect of what was fought for by generations seems under threat – from selling off the forests, privatising health provision, closing the libraries and swimming pools, and scrapping rural bus routes.

      Second, the banks are doing just fine. February is bankers' bonus month; Barclays announces their gifts to themselves on the 15th, with its chief executive, Bob Diamond, expecting €£9m just for him. While RBS is due to transfer its €£900m bonus pool into the pockets of high-earning bankers on the 25th. These bonuses should make the disgrace of the MPs' expenses scandal look like chicken feed and are another demonstration of just how much we really are not all in this together.

    • European debt crisis threatens Portugal

      The European Central Bank (ECB) has stepped in to the financial markets to buy Portuguese bonds on Thursday amid growing fears that the eurozone's rolling crisis is about to claim its third victim.

      Policymakers in Frankfurt intervened for the first time in three weeks as borrowing costs on Portugal's debt remained at a level that proved to be unsustainable for both Greece and Ireland.

    • UBS Whistleblower Finds Himself in Federal Prison
      Bradley Birkenfeld once lived the high life as secret Swiss banker at UBS in Geneva. Then he delivered some of the world’s best-kept secrets to the US government, expecting a great reward. And now he sits in federal prison in Pennsylvania.

      How’d that happen? It began in 2007, when the American-born Birkenfeld approached the Department of Justice with surprising evidence that UBS was helping alleged American tax cheats hide assets in Switzerland's famous secret banking system.


      He says he’s convinced that wealthy Americans are hiding as much as a trillion dollars in wealth outside the US tax system, and that’s putting a huge burden on the rest of the nation’s taxpayers. “The average American is carrying the weight for all these millionaires and billionaires,” he said.

      “That’s the fact. That’s the truth. And until someone does something about it, it’s never gonna be cleaned up.”

    • How The Mubarak Family Made Its Billions
      But over the last 20 years, Mubarak, his family and his close circle of advisers have enriched themselves through partnerships in powerful Egyptian companies, profiting from their political power, according to numerous reports. The 82-year-old leader and his two sons also wield the levers of the government, including the military and the country's preeminent political party, to reward friends and punish enemies.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • New powers to vet online adverts
      People who use the internet are about to get a new opportunity to complain about company websites.

      From 1 March, consumers are being invited to make official objections about indecent or misleading information on the internet.

      They will be able to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which is taking on new powers to regulate commercial websites.

  • Censorship

    • The real Internet censors: unaccountable ISPs?
      According to a new report, the Internet police are coming... and they're not wearing badges. Instead, governments are devolving enforcement powers on the 'Net to ISPs.

      Here at Ars Technica, we regularly report on the uneasy relationship between Internet Service Providers and the national legal systems under which they operate. This tension surfaces most obviously when it comes to suing individual consumers for illegal file sharing.

      Plaintiff lawyers want maximum cooperation from ISPs in tracking down subscribers to be subpoenaed, while providers like Time Warner Cable insist they can only process so many requests at a time. Denounced as permissive on piracy, ISPs and content industry lawyers collide in the courts.

    • A Look At Internet Censorship Around The World
      Shocklee points us to some fantastic infographics about global internet censorship, including this first one highlighting levels of internet censorship around the globe. Frankly, it looks like in some of the areas where there's "no censorship," it might just be that there's not much internet usage. Also, I do wonder how accurate or up-to-date some of it is. For example, it says there's no internet censorship in Venezuela, but we were just discussing some content regulations there.

    • Cuba welcomes new internet cable link with Venezuela
      Cuba has welcomed the arrival of an undersea fibre-optic cable linking it to Venezuela as a blow to the US economic embargo.

      The cable will transform communications in Cuba, which has among the slowest internet speeds in the world.

    • Cuba's Internet Capacity To Increase 3,000x

    • Cuba unblocks access to controversial blog
      Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez said on Tuesday the Cuban government apparently has unblocked access to her blog, which had been off limits on the island's Internet since 2008.

      In a posting on Twitter, she wondered how long Cuban Internet users would be able to view her Generation Y blog, (, but exulted in the opening, however brief.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Facebook Japan Takes Hard Line, Banning Pseudo Names And Requires ID
      Today February 8, some Japanese web users who are influential in tech communities like Hatena and Twitter, started reporting they were locked out from Facebook. After trying to log in, they were taken to the form, which title is “Complaints against a ban of your account, identity demanded”.

    • Protection of Freedoms Bill: CCTV / ANPR regulation at last, but not for National Security or on Motorways etc.
      An acid test of the Labour party since its election defeat will be how it scrutinises and enhances our freedoms and liberties through its Parliamentary scrutiny of this Bill. If it cannot even identify the weaknesses in this Bill and cannot successfully press the Government for positive changes, or it simply moans about "cuts" or just parrots the authoritarian lines fed to it by the control freaks hiding in the secrecy of Whitehall, then it will continue to be an object of hatred and derision. Given the make up of the Shadow Cabinet, the prospect of anything but dismal failure by the Labour party is slim.

    • Tell Your Representative to Reject the Next PATRIOT Act Sneak Attack!
      Last year, many important PATRIOT reform measures were proposed and debated, and 2010 began with a bill filled with powerful new checks and balances being reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee. But, as the bill ran up against the deadline, Congress decided there was not enough time to fully consider those reforms. So, in February 2010, Congress instead extended the "sunsetting" sections of the law until the end of this February, with a promise to fully consider the issues before the next deadline.

    • five minutes to speak
      Circumvention, anonymity, and privacy tools used in a free world can be a minor annoyance, i.e. wikileaks used wikis, ssl, email, and yes, tor, but in the end, it's an annoyance. We don't have people in the streets rioting trying to overthrow our govt. Wikipedia uses the same technology in wikis, ssl, and email. Everyone loves Wikipedia and considers it a net positive.

      The same circumvention, anonymity, and privacy tools are deadly to repressive regimes. The free flow of information and education are of great concern to a regime trying to control the horizontal and vertical of every day life. The tactics a regime can use are legal, technical, and physical. The regime can switch between tactics, generally depending upon what's economical and most effective.

  • DRM

    • Judge Illston Alters Some of Her Order; Issues Referred to Magistrate
      The hearing in Sony Computer Entertainment America v. Hotz was held today, and Wired's David Kravetz reports the judge, the Hon. Susan Illston, acknowledged that some details of the case got away from her a bit, and she apologized. She's made some changes to her earlier orders.

      Specifically, she realizes that there's no way to cleanse the Internet, so that part of her order is changed. He does still have to let Sony hunt through his computers, but she will put some limitations in place to make sure that's all they do.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The White House Asks: What's Blocking Innovation in America? - My Answer: IP Laws
      President Obama just set a goal of wireless access for everyone in the US, saying it will spark innovation. But that's only true if people are allowed to actually do innovative things once they are online.

      You have to choose. You can prop up old business models with overbearing intellectual property laws that hit innovators on the head whenever they stick their heads up from the ground; OR you can have innovation. You can't have both. And right now, the balance is away from innovation.

      Let's take some specific examples to show why that is so. When Napster first showed up, it was innovative. Heaven knows it changed the world. And instead of letting this creativity flourish, make money, and create jobs, the law was used to kill it. And kill it it did. The law is still trying to kill or at least marginalize peer-to-peer technology, and so it has never been used to the full.

      To understand why that is a loss to innovation, you might want to watch this 2005 panel discussion on peer to peer software, "P2P: Pirates, Producers, & Purchasers: Toward a New Ecology of Music and Entertainment," one of the most depressing you can watch if you actually care about innovation. You can view it as a video here. It was at a conference on innovation and IP law that I attended that was sponsored by the University of North Carolina, and I'll never forget Gene Hoffman, who had been the CEO of eMusic, who talked about how innovation was being restricted and contained by the law and pointed out how much money could have been made with the new technology for enjoying music if fear had not blocked innovation. He and others on the panel also talk about some economic advantages of peer to peer and how it can reduce the costs of bandwidth in distribution, which is a real factor that could help independent startups.

    • Copyrights

      • Pandora’s IPO Filing: Copyright Fees Eat Up Half Its Revenues
        The just-filed IPO documents by Pandora Media show a company on the rise. The popular web radio service served up more than one billion (yes, with a ‘B’) listener-hours in the final quarter of 2010—a five-fold usage increase in two years. But read the S-1 with the term “copyright” highlighted—as I just did—and you’ll also see some big challenges for Pandora and any other web radio services that hope to make it big.

      • Tell the USTR to reject ACTA
        The ACTA drafting process is finished, and countries are beginning to turn an eye toward signing it. Help us stand against it!

        ACTA aims to be an international agreement to establish even more imposing copyright and trademark laws throughout the world, with a minimum of scrutiny. Countries that sign the agreement commit to enacting DMCA-like anti-circumvention legislation, establishing criminal penalties for specific kinds of infringement, and maintaining several overbearing enforcement mechanisms.

      • Public Citizen & EFF File For Sanctions Against Anti-P2P Lawyer Evan Stone
        Remember Evan Stone? The anti-P2P lawyer (not the porn actor), who has been filing a ton of mass infringement lawsuits on behalf of porn companies. Like all of these lawsuits, the real intent is to frighten people into paying up prior to any trial. It's using the judicial system as a business model. In one of the lawsuits Stone filed for Mick Haig Productions, the judge wisely asked Public Citizen and EFF to act as counsel for the John Does who had been sued, to represent their interests before allowing Stone to move forward with the discovery process (which would allow him to subpoena ISPs to get the names associated with various IP addresses). Public Citizen and EFF filed motions concerning some of the problems with the overall case and the judge refused to allow discovery while considering those motions. However, Paul Levy at Public Citizen discovered that Stone had gone ahead and sent out subpoenas anyway, and some ISPs had already started turning over the info.

      • YouTube and the major film studios
        The warning had been changed to Matched third party content, and the 'Copyright info' page informed me that though Warner Bros. Entertainment were registered as the owners of the original content (via the video/audio-matching algorithms it supplied to youTube's Content ID program for The Exorcist), "No action is required on your part. Your video is still available worldwide".

      • Is The President of Turkey a Movie Pirate?
        Twitter is an excellent medium for world leaders to keep the people informed on their thoughts and actions, but it can also lead to awkward situations. Yesterday evening the Turkish President Abdullah Gül tweeted that he enjoyed watching the Oscar nominated movie ‘The King’s Speech’ at home with his wife. An interesting status update, since the film has not premiered in Turkish theaters yet, nor is it available on DVD anywhere else.

      • Innocents chased to pay for illegal porn downloads
        Thousands of people around the UK were sent letters by a controversial law firm, accusing them of allowing their computers to be used for illegal downloading but a whistle-blower claims not everyone who was sent a letter was guilty.

        When "Sharon" opened her letter from a law firm, which came on bland, official-looking headed paper, she was shocked by its contents.

        Sharon - not her real name - was accused of illegally downloading a pornographic film, and the letter included a demand for €£495.

Clip of the Day

Nokia and Microsoft announce partnership

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Credit: TinyOgg

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