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Links 15/3/2013: Mir Still in Headlines, S4 Enters Headlines

GNOME bluefish



  • Real-Time Messaging
    Want to send messages to all the browsers connected to your site? The pub-sub paradigm, run through Web sockets, might be just the solution.

  • Comment: Fragments of win
    Fragmentation is this month's word of the day, whether it be related to Canonical's plan to develop and launch its own Mir display server fragmenting a consensus around Wayland or to Miguel de Icaza's tale of his journey away from a fragmented desktop Linux world. But if we step back and look at the bigger picture, fragmentation isn't just a part of the Linux story, it is in many ways core to its power to bring free software to the world.

  • Server

    • Cisco Details Plans for Internet of Things
      The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept where everything in the world is connected to everything else via an IP address. The IoT is no longer the dream of futurists, it's soon to become a reality in the view of networking vendor Cisco Systems.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 5 Episode 4
      In this episode: OpenSUSE 12.3 is out, Red Hat takes ownership of Java 6, SecureBoot is coming to FreeBSD and Ubuntu ditches Wayland for Mir. We report back on our challenge from a couple of episodes ago, come up with a new challenge, and discuss IT education in our Open Ballot.

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel Puts Out New THP Cache Code For Linux Kernel
      Kirill Shutemov of Intel has published his second version of the work that's going on for Transparent Huge Page (THP) Cache support within the Linux kernel.

    • Linux Kernel Gets A Wait-Free Concurrent Queue
      Introduced to the world on Monday and already revised today is the Linux Kernel Wait-Free Concurrent Queue Implementation.

    • Five Years Later, Intel Poulsbo Is Still A Linux Mess
      Next month marks five years already since Intel released their Atom "Silverthorne" processors for netbooks and nettops in conjunction with the Intel "Poulsbo" SCH bearing PowerVR-derived GMA 500 graphics. To this day, aging Intel hardware with PowerVR-based graphics continue to be a big problem for the Linux desktop.

    • Linux Kernel 3.8.3 Is Now Available for Download

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland's Weston With Bubble-Style Notifications
        For those using Wayland's Weston compositor with the stock shell, a patch was proposed today for implementing "bubbles list" style notifications.

        This basic "wl_notification_daemon" interface also allows for user-configurable attributes of the anchor corner, margin, and order for these Weston desktop notifications.

      • Nouveau vs. NVIDIA Drivers On Quadro Laptop
        For starting off Friday's benchmarking at Phoronix are some numbers when looking at the Nouveau driver with Ubuntu 13.04 against NVIDIA's proprietary Linux graphics driver when both are controlling a Quadro GPU found on a ThinkPad laptop.

        In the lead-up to releasing Phoronix Test Suite 4.4.1-Forsand, a wide variety of hardware is always benchmarked to ensure there are no last minute bugs or other snafus concerning the Phoronix Test Suite client itself, the Phoronix Device Interface (Phodevi) library for hardware/software detection, or any other problems. One of the combinations tested was the NVIDIA and Nouveau drivers from a Quadro NVS 140M laptop since it hasn't been tested in a while at Phoronix.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • logging into Plasma Workspaces 2
        You're probably wondering what I was doing at 1am last night. I get asked that all the time. Well, mostly by people I live with, now that I think about it. "What were you doing on your computer at one in the morning?" they ask. The answer is usually quite exciting. Take last night, for instance: I was having a meeting with people to discuss display managers. Yes, the wonderful world of login screens.

      • An update on KWin on 5
        I realized I haven’t written a blog post to highlight the latest changes in KWin for quite some time. The reason for this is that we currently are mostly focused on getting KWin to work on Qt 5/KDE Frameworks 5. As I have mentioned already in the past KWin is a little bit special in the transition to Qt 5 as we used the low level native, non-portable functions provided by Qt (last week I found one usage of a native function which is not even documented). For us it mostly means that we transit from XLib to XCB and remove code which uses methods which got removed or replaced.

      • KDE's wonderful usability

  • Distributions

    • The 2013 Top 7 Best Linux Distributions for You
      There have been several shifts and shakeups on the lists presented since then, of course, and -– as you'll soon see – this year's offering holds true to that pattern. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the past year has seen so much upheaval in the desktop world – particularly where desktop environments are concerned – that 2013's list could come as a surprise to some.

    • For a fully free desktop OS, try Trisquel GNU/Linux 6.0

    • New Releases

      • Slax 7.0.6 is now available for download
        I'd like to announce the next update of Slax Live Linux version 7.0.6. The main change is new Linux kernel 3.8.2 and updated KDE to 4.10.1. It was a bit harder than I expected, mostly due to some really odd changes made by KDE developers, which I had to work around to get the same functionality like we are used to.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva returns, challenges Microsoft in small and medium enterprise segment
        Mandriva was once one of the most popular GNU/Linux distribution. It has been around since 1998, but the company and the project went through hard times in the last two years. The company got forked then reached the brink of being sold. However, this resilient company faced hardship bravely and is now making a comeback with a concrete business plan. Could this be the 'Red Hat' move by Mandriva, turning the company into a 'billion' dollar revenue earning company?

    • Red Hat Family

      • JBoss Fuse and JBoss A-MQ join Red Hat's middleware
        Red Hat has added JBoss Fuse and JBoss A-MQ to its enterprise middleware portfolio. The products are based on technologies acquired from FuseSource in September 2012. According to the company, these are designed to enhance Red Hat’s enterprise integration and messaging capabilities.

        Red Hat JBoss Fuse is a flexible open source Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) based on popular Apache projects such as Camel, an enterprise integration pattern framework, which enable faster time-to-solution integration implementations.

      • Red Hat shares fall after Citi downgrade
        Shares of Red Hat Inc. fell Tuesday after a Citi analyst downgraded the software maker citing concerns about slowing growth.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mir Code Moves Along, Branches Begin Appearing
            There's code being committed to the new Mir Display Server every few hours. There's also numerous Bazaar code branches appearing too that show early work on other functionality.

          • Canonical's Bazaar Still In Stagnant State
            With Canonical allocating its resources elsewhere, the Bazaar revision control system has fallen stagnant.

            While Bazaar was promising in its early days, the open-source distribution revision control system has seen better times. The original developer of Bazaar, Martin Pool, left Canonical last year and the company ended up shuffeling around the other developers formerly working on the project. Bazaar isn't a money-maker for Canonical and the control system in its current form is good enough for the company while most other free software projects prefer Git or even SVN over Bzr.

          • Ubuntu Offspring Go Forth With Their 13.04 Beta
            While Canonical no longer does a beta release of Ubuntu itself, many of the Ubuntu derivatives are doing their first 13.04 beta today.

          • Ubuntu Unity 7 Coming Soon
            Unity 7, the latest release of Unity which is currently in development, should be available for user testing via a PPA in a few days. According to Michael Hall’s blog post, it will be available there for 2 weeks, before it lands.

            One of the most prominent changes in Unity 7 is the Smart Scopes service. Currently, Dash searches are processed on the local system by installed lenses. In future, Dash searches will be sent to the Canonical servers for processing by the Smart Scopes service. This service will determine which scopes are most relevant for the entered keywords, and return the search results from those scopes to the user’s system. In short terms this should mean more relevant search results and less system resources will be used.

          • Why I support Ubuntu
            Today, on Linux blogs everywhere and on Google+, it's open warfare between Ubuntu supporters and those who who believe it is committing free software heresy. Muktware's own Swapnil Bhartiya suggested on this site that the company was morphing into a new Apple, with Shuttleworth in the roll of Steve Jobs.

            And there's not much worse you could call an open source company than Apple.

            I get the criticism and the discomfort with many of Ubuntu's decisions. I appreciate that the heads of various open source projects feel betrayed in many ways and that longtime users feel that they've been left out of the loop. Decisions are now made at the top not the bottom. The community opportunities at Ubuntu are no longer up to the standards of many free software advocates that once championed the distro.

          • Ubuntu development hits 13.04 beta 1 milestone
            The Ubuntu developers have just passed the beta 1 milestone in development of Raring Ringtail, Ubuntu 13.04. Although the milestone does not see a release of the Ubuntu distribution, it does see a release of a beta 1 version of most of the various remixes, as previously disclosed by the project's leadership. The announcement notes that 13.04 Beta 1 images are available for Edubuntu (download), Kubuntu (download), Lubuntu (download), UbuntuKylin (download), Ubuntu Server Cloud (images), Ubuntu Studio (notes, download) and Xubuntu (download).

          • Canonical Targets Mobile Market with Ubuntu Mir
            In what appears to be a growing penchant among open source developers for naming things after Soviet spacecraft, Canonical recently announced a new project called Mir. And while it doesn’t actually have much (or anything) to do with outer space, it could have major implications for open source user interfaces throughout the channel–not to mention for Canonical itself as it strives to “converge” its Ubuntu offerings across a range of hardware devices.

            Quite unlike the space station of the same name, the Mir project exists to create a new display server for Linux. It will replace the venerable implementation of the X Window System, which comprises one of the core components of virtually every major Linux distribution out there today.

            Mir, according to Canonical, will offer a number of improvements over X that will prove particularly beneficial for tablets, phones and other touch-enabled mobile devices. But it is being designed to work across all hardware platforms, and–if it gains wide adoption by other Linux distributions besides Ubuntu–it could help to drive innovation in interface design across the open source channel.

          • Is Canonical Heading In Apple's Direction?
            I have been a huge supporter of Canonical and Ubuntu from its early days and have done my share of spreading the word about Ubuntu and invested hours and hours in converting people and installing Ubuntu on their systems. Canonical spent a lot of money and resources in making Ubuntu popular. Ubuntu was one such distribution which was putting the users ahead of anything else. The company created an awesome community which was 'driven' by the code of conduct, which made a very welcoming community.

          • Celebrate Ubuntu (but keep an eye on what they're up to...)
            Ubuntu has come under a decent amount of flack over the past few months, particularly over their decision to use the 'Dash Search' to return results from Amazon by default in their most recent release.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • From US Soldier to IT Manager... with Linux Mint
              During my earlier years, I was in the US military as an enlisted soldier. Money was extremely tight for my wife and I, but I had a passion for computers.

              I couldn't afford a new system, and certainly couldn't afford to pay for Microsoft Windows. So, I purchased a used computer from a yard sale that had no operating system on it.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-powered soundbar also streams Internet music
      Sonos, a well-known maker of Linux-powered, WiFi-mesh networked, streaming audio systems, has added an HDTV soundbar to its line. The “Playbar” aims to bring “immersive HiFi sound” to home entertainment centers — not just from TV content, but streamed from Internet and local sources as well.

    • GCW-Zero $159 Linux-based retro gaming handheld coming in May
      The GCW-Zero is a portable gaming device designed for playing retro games — basically anything up until the era of the original PlayStation. It packs a 3.5 inch display, a 1 GHz MIPS processor, and and an open source Linux-based operating system called OpenDingux.

      Thanks to that operating system, you’ll be able to run a range of apps on the platform, including emulators for classic gaming consoles.

    • Raspberry Pi-powered open-source bartending robot nearly funded on Kickstarter
      Who wouldn’t want a Raspbery Pi-powered open source bartending that you control with your phone or tablet?

      For at least 353 people who have tossed $134,551 in tip money towards the project on Kickstarter, that question has an easy answer: everyone. And with a project goal of just a little more, $135,000, it seems certain that “Bartendro” will see the bright lights of night-time parties.

    • Windows Embedded Expert Jumps Into Open Source
      Sean Liming, Owner of Annabooks, has been heavily involved with Windows embedded for years, dating all the way back to 1995. With the growth of Linux and open source, Sean decided that he’d like to beef up his Linux knowledge in-order to create a new book to help people transition from Windows to an open software solution. He decided to attend a Linux Foundation event in 2012 and has taken two Linux Foundation courses, which he says helped with the development of his new book: Open Software Stack for the Intel Atom Processor.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

      • Android

        • Android expected to dominate tablets, too
          After having its way with the smartphone market, Android is now poised for a repeat performance in the tablet market, according to market anlyst firm IDC.

        • Android Builders Summit 2013 videos now available
          Videos from keynotes and presentation sessions at the Android Builders Summit 2013 held last month in San Francisco are now available for free viewing, courtesy of the Linux Foundation, which held the event. The videos cover a wide range of embedded Linux development, deployment, and marketing topics.

        • Android plus Chrome OS equals Google's future operating system
          We still don't know where Google is going with Android and Chrome OS, but putting Chrome's top executive in charge of Android is a big, honking hint.

        • Why Google Won't Merge Chrome OS and Android
          There are big moves going on at Google, with possible implications for the company's operating systems Chrome OS and Android. Longtime Android chief Andy Rubin is stepping aside, although he is staying at Google. Meanwhile, Sundar Pichai, VP of Chrome and Apps, is a star on the rise. Pichai has been overseeing the delivery of Google's well-recieved Chromebooks, and many of its very slick apps, in addition to steering Chrome OS forward.

        • Intel Atom Z240-powered X1000 lands in India
          XOLO has officially launched the new X1000 smartphone, powered by an Intel CPU, in India. Featuring Android 4.0.4, the X1000 phone hits online stores for Rs 19,999 ($369).

        • Do You Know What's Inside Android App Code? Bluebox Does
          For many types of applications, in order to accurately understand what is going on within them, access to source code is typically required. When it comes to Android Apps, a new effort from startup Bluebox Security is set to make access and visibility into mobile code easier than ever before.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Benchmarking Ubuntu Linux On The Google Nexus 7
        Last month I delivered extensive benchmarks of Ubuntu Linux on the Google Nexus 10 using the recently released Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview. In that article were benchmarks from the Samsung Exynos 5 Dual (Cortex-A15) tablet against a range of ARM Cortex and Intel/AMD x86 systems. This article builds upon those earlier Ubuntu Linux x86/ARM results by now adding in the results from Ubuntu on the Google Nexus 7 plus more comparison processors have been tossed into the mix as well. This article offers Ubuntu Linux performance results for a dozen different Intel, AMD, and ARM systems. The ARM SoCs represented are from Texas Instruments OMAP, NVIDIA Tegra, and ARM Exynos families.

      • Pwnie Express Releases Pwn Pad Ahead of Schedule
        The team at Pwnie Express seems to have a lot of trouble standing still, as it doesn’t seem more than a few months go by before they are talking about yet another disruptive open source product that they are about to unleash on the security community.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The “Linux” of online learning? edX takes big step toward open source goal

  • edX MOOC Software Goes Open Source
    The non-profit pioneer in the phenomenon of massive open online courses (MOOCs) is releasing a core element of its platform for offering online courses as open-source software.

  • Video: Open-Source Oximeter Prototype Is Bluetooth Connected
    Do you know how much oxygen you have in your blood? You may not be worried about knowing since you’re alive and thus can infer you have enough. But, visiting high altitudes can be made safer, and implementing a new workout regimen can be made more effective, with an oximeter.

  • 5 Awesome Open Source Projects You Should Know About
    The amount of free content on the Internet is partially a result of horrid copyright infringement and partially a product of the open source movement, an umbrella term that applies to any kind of software that allows for its source code to be openly copied, edited, and distributed. Many of these programs are often quite amazing and frequently very cost-effective so, for your consideration, here are five really awesome products of the open source movement.

  • Olympus to showcase open source microscopy

  • Web Browsers

    • Web Browser Grand Prix: Chrome 25, Firefox 19, And IE10

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Delivers New Version 3.0 Preview of Firefox OS
        Three months ago, the folks at Mozilla rolled out the 1.0 version of the Firefox OS Simulator, which provided folks--especially developers--an opportunity to try out the company's promising new mobile operating system. Mozilla has been making lots of noise about its entry into the mobile OS business, and early Firefox OS phones (a couple of them seen here) are arriving. Now, Mozilla has rolled out a preview version 3.0 of the simulator, which can provide a lot of the mobile operating system's flavor.

        Mozilla has warned that the version 3.0 simulator is "a little rough around the edges," but can still be experimented with. All three of the preview versions do reflect the fact that Mozilla means to develop this new mobile OS fully out in the open.

      • Mozilla launches Open Badges 1.0, delivers virtual kudos for real skills

      • Introducing Open Badges 1.0

      • Mozilla releases Open Badges 1.0
        Mozilla has announced the launch of Open Badges 1.0---a new way to recognise and verify learning. The free, open source software will allow users and institutions to digitally recognize and verify learning that happens anywhere, and use it to get a job, further education, or add to a growing skillset.

        In other words, a digital badge is an online representation of a skill you've earned. Open Badges takes that concept one step further, by creating an online ecosystem where users can verify, display, and combine badges.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • SwiftStack Exits Stealth With Open Source Swift Software-Defined Storage

    • A new look for private cloud ownCloud 5.0

    • Did EMC Just Say Fork You To The Hadoop Community?
      In Derrick Harris’ article on GigaOM entitled “EMC to Hadoop competition: See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.”, EMC unveiled their new Pivotal HD offering which effectively re-architects the Greenplum analytic database so it sits on top of the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). Scott Yara, Greenplum cofounder, is excited about the new product. Since a key focus for us at Hortonworks is to deeply integrate Hadoop with other data systems (a la our efforts with Teradata, Microsoft, MarkLogic, and others), I’m always excited to see data system providers like Greenplum decide to store their data natively in HDFS. And I can’t argue with Scott Yara’s sentiment that “I do think the center of gravity will move toward HDFS”.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Open Education: Take Back The Curriculum
      Education technology consultant Karen Fasimpaur sounds like a revolutionary when she gets fired up talking about the potential of open educational resources (OER), the textbooks and other educational tools made available as free downloads or interactive Web experiences.

      "We have an opportunity to take back the curriculum!" she told educators at last week's SXSWedu event. "What if we took the $5 billion annually spent on textbooks and invested that in teachers and their work?"

    • US States Rebel
      That’s from a request for proposals developed jointly by Maine and other states. Another request for proposals by Los Angeles Unified School District explicity excludes “RT” and includes Linux in the acceptable list of OS. It also includes, “Proposer does not have a reputation for practices including, but not limited to, unethical business practices, discrimination, and unfair labor practices.”

  • Business

  • Funding


    • Google backslides on federated instant messaging, on purpose?
      According to a public mailing list thread, Google is doing this on purpose, to handle a spam problem. We sympathize; we spend a disappointing amount of energy combating similar problems on the services we provide for the free software community. But the solution can't be something that breaks legitimate communication channels, and especially not in a way that enhances Google's disproportionate control of the network. While Google is offering to whitelist servers whose operators write to them, this just accentuates the inequality and doesn't realistically solve the problem.

      We hope that Google will retract this change and find a solution that does not undermine the distributed nature of the Internet. We have already reached out to them toward this end.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Publishers Have A New Strategy For Neutralizing Open Access -- And It's Working
        Over the last few years, Techdirt has been reporting on a steady stream of victories for open access. Along the way publishers have tried various counter-attacks, which all proved dismal failures. But there are signs that they have changed tack, and come up with a more subtle -- and increasingly successful -- approach.

      • #ami2 liberating science; more SpringerGate: I have to ask their permission to re-use CC-BY 2.0

      • Details Come Out On US Attorneys Withholding Evidence In Aaron Swartz Case
        Last week, we wrote about Aaron Swartz's girlfriend, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, releasing a statement accusing the DOJ of a variety of things that hadn't really been covered before, including lying, seizing evidence without a warrant and withholding exculpatory evidence. That resulted in an interesting discussion in the comments, in which a few DOJ defenders suggested that since there were no details, we were probably making this up (as if we don't have better things to do). Now, however, the details have come out. In a letter that was sent at the end of January (but just now leaked to the press), Swartz's lawyers highlight how Assistant US Attorney Steve Heymann was responsible for the charges above.

        The key issue is the search of Aaron's laptop. Cambridge police seized the laptop on January 6, 2011. The Secret Service did not obtain a warrant until February 9, 2011, even though it had clearly been involved since before the arrest and was leading the investigation. Swartz's legal team, quite reasonably, argued that the evidence from the laptop should be suppressed due to the massive delay in obtaining the necessary warrant. Heymann hit back that it was the Cambridge Police who had the laptop, so the Secret Service had nothing to do with it until it got the warrant. There was a court hearing about all of this, and Heymann again insisted that the Secret Service had no responsibility until after the warrant.

  • Programming


  • The Pope and Politics
    Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen as the new pope this week. But coverage often glossed over the most intense political controversies about him.

  • Crime Lab Scandal Leaves Mass. Legal System In Turmoil
    A scandal in a Massachusetts crime lab continues to reverberate throughout the state's legal system. Several months ago, Annie Dookhan, a former chemist in a state crime lab, told police that she messed up big time. Dookhan now stands accused of falsifying test results in as many as 34,000 cases.

  • A Fool and His Money
    It turns out that the cause of my problem was not technical, but disciplinary.

  • RIP Google Reader. RSS is Not Dead No Matter What Google Says

  • Why I love RSS and You Do Too

  • Matthew Keys: 'I Am Fine'

  • Former Web Producer Indicted in California for Conspiring with “Anonymous” Members to Attack Internet News Site

  • Mark Zuckerberg's attempt to counteract 'Facebook fatigue'

  • CNN: Unlike - Why I'm Leaving Facebook

  • 14 March 2013: International Day to Defend Apostates and Blasphemers
    Countless individuals accused of apostasy and blasphemy face threats, imprisonment, and execution. Blasphemy laws in over 30 countries and apostasy laws in over 20 aim primarily to restrict thought, expression and the rights of Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

  • Science

    • Here’s my paper on evidence and teaching for the education minister.
      I was asked by Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Education) and the Department for Education to look at how to improve the use of evidence in schools. I think there are huge, positive opportunities for teachers here, that go way beyond just doing a few more trials. Pasted below is the briefing note from DfE press office, and then the text of a paper I wrote for them, which came out this week. You can also download a PDF from the DfE website here.

  • Security

    • Treacherous backdoor found in TP-Link routers
      Security experts in Poland have discovered a treacherous backdoor in various router models made by TP-Link. When a specially crafted URL is called, the router will respond by downloading and executing a file from the accessing computer, reports Michał Sajdak from Securitum.

    • Kaspersky fixes IPv6 problem in Internet Security Suite
      Security researcher Marc Heuse discovered that the firewall in Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 has a problem with certain IPv6 packets. The researcher said that he publicly disclosed the details of the problem because Kaspersky didn't respond when he reported it. Shortly after his disclosure, Kaspersky did release a fix.

    • Brian Krebs gets SWATted
      Brian Krebs got a visit from a SWAT team today, after having his site DDOSed and served with a fake takedown notice, possibly in retaliation for this article.

    • Researchers resurrect and improve CRIME attack against SSL
      Two researchers from security firm Imperva have devised new techniques that could allow attackers to extract sensitive information from users' encrypted Web traffic.

      The new methods build on those used in an attack called CRIME revealed last year that abuses the compression feature of SSL to achieve the same goal.

      CRIME decrypts authentication information stored in headers sent during HTTP requests, in particular the session cookies. It works by tricking the victims into loading a malicious piece of JavaScript that forces their browsers to make specifically crafted requests to SSL-enabled websites where they're already logged in.

    • CIA and the FBI is investigating President Obama’s financial condition / US News
      The website posted the Social Security Numbers, home addresses and phone numbers to an array of influential Americans on Monday, including President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, actor Mel Gibson, US Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Robert Mueller and others. Additionally, the hackers have posted documents that they perpetrate to be legitimate credit reports for many of the victims, including singer Beyoncé, rap artist Jay-Z and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, among others.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Lost Renoir? River in China Looks Like an Oil Painting
      The Chinese government has reportedly spent 7.4 billion yen (about 77 million US dollars) in an effort to restore life to the lake shown here.

      Comments posted on the Internet in reference to the top photo include, “it looks like a piece by Van Gogh,” “it resembles a green tea latte,” and “it’s like a landscape painting.” We in Japan cannot be too smug, however, as our own country experienced a plethora of similar environmental issues during its rapid growth stage in the 60s and 70s. Hopefully those experiences can be leveraged to help improve the situation in China and we can work together in creating and sustaining a better global environment.

  • Finance

    • After Watering Down Financial Reform, Ex-Senator Scott Brown Joins Goldman Sachs’ Lobbying Firm
      During his nearly three years in the U.S. Senate, Scott Brown (R-MA) frequently came to the aid of the financial sector — watering down the Dodd-Frank bill and working to weaken it after its passage — and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash from the industry. Now, the man Forbes Magazine called one of “Wall Street’s Favorite Congressmen” will use those connections as counsel for Nixon Peabody, an international law and lobbying firm.

      The Boston Globe noted Monday that while Brown himself will not be a lobbyist — Senators may not lobby their former colleagues for the first two years after leaving office, under the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 — “he will be leaning heavily on his Washington contacts to drum up business for the firm.” The position will also allow him “to begin cashing in on his contacts with the financial services industry, which he helped oversee in the Senate.”

    • Fed Rebukes Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase Over Capital Plans
      Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, the Wall Street giants that emerged from the financial crisis in a position of strength, are now facing questions about their ability to withstand future market shocks.

    • Washington Post's Austerity Backer, Still Trying
      If you read enough Paul Krugman columns, you know that there are politicians–in this country and elsewhere–who continue to assert that the best way to turn around slumping economies is to slash government spending. The problem, as Krugman has written countless times, is that there's no evidence that this works in the real world–and plenty of evidence that it does not.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Google Takes the Dark Path, Censors AdBlock Plus on Android
      In a shocking move, Google has recently deleted AdBlock Plus from the Android Play Store. This is hugely disappointing because it demonstrates that Google is willing to censor software and abandon its support for open platforms as soon as there's an ad-related business reason for doing so.

      Until now, the Internet and software development communities have relied on Google to be safely on their side when it comes to building open platforms, encouraging innovation, and giving users maximum choice about how their computers will function. But with today's news, that commitment to openness suddenly looks much, much weaker.

    • Google Blocks Adblock Plus, Puts Revenue Before Users
      Adblock Plus, the popular free ad blocking tool for PCs and smartphones, was removed by Google from its Google Play store for Android apps. Though the app will no longer be available through Google Play, Adblock Plus has made a downloadable version of the app available directly from its website. Of course, it's still available for PC and Mac computer users, while it has never been an option for iPhone and iPad users.

    • Google Kills Adblock Plus from Google Play Store; Open Source Tool Releases Statement

    • Sunshine "Weak:" Wisconsin Leaders Failing State's Open Government Traditions
      “If Wisconsin were not known as the Dairy State it could be known, and rightfully so, as the Sunshine State," the Wisconsin Supreme Court observed in 2010. "All branches of Wisconsin government have, over many years, kept a strong commitment to transparent government.”

      But just in time for Sunshine Week 2013, GOP leaders in the state are showing how they are failing that proud tradition.

    • ALEC Corporate Bill Mill Posts (Some) Model Bills Online for First Time; Watchdogs Say Move Falls Far Short on Transparency
      A two-year campaign by a coalition of public interest groups has pushed the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to release hundreds of pieces of “model” state legislation secretly developed and pushed into law by corporate interests. The coalition includes the Center for Media and Democracy, ColorOfChange, Common Cause, Greenpeace, People For the American Way, Progress Now, Voters Legislative Transparency Project, and a variety of labor organizations.

  • Censorship

    • Venezuela: Twitter user detained for spreading “destabilizing” information
      In the wake of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's death last week, government authorities in Venezuela seem to have resumed taking action against freedom of expression online. On March 14, 2013, Lourdes Alicia Ortega Pérez was detained by the Scientific Penal and Criminal Investigation Corps (CICPC, by its Spanish acronym), for allegedly having “usurped the identity of an official of the Autonomous Service of Registries and Notaries” and having sent Tweets that authorities deemed “destabilizing [to] the country.”

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • DRM

    • HTML5 DRM comes to all Chrome OS devices
      Google updated the dev channel of Chrome OS to version 27.0.1438.8 for all Chrome OS devices. This build contains a number of stability fixes and feature enhancements. But the most important update is the arrival of 'kind of' HTML5 DRM to all Chrome OS devices (earlier HMTL5 was DRMed only on ARM based devices).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • US ambassador says renegotiation of free trade deal with Seoul possible

    • Copyrights

      • Takeover Panel claims copyright on regulatory information
        The Takeover Panel (which regulated mergers and takeovers inn the UK) has sent me an email telling me that reproducing the list of takeover offers (i.e. a list of company names and dates) would be a breach of copyright, and that they would be unlikely to allow commercial reproduction except though “official news channels”.

      • Veoh Wins Important Case Against Universal Music Over DMCA Safe Harbors Again; But Is Still Dead Due To Legal Fees
        We've written a few times about the sad case of Veoh. Veoh was a YouTube-like site, funded by Hollywood insiders like Michael Eisner, but who got sued by Universal Music Group, claiming copyright infringement (using more or less the same theories used by Viacom against YouTube). Technically, Veoh sued first (filing for declaratory judgment after receiving a threat letter from UMG, but UMG quickly followed with its own lawsuit). UMG played dirty, not just suing the company but directly suing its investors as well. This was a pure intimidation technique, designed to scare major investors into either pulling investment or ordering the company to change course, even if what they were doing was legal. While the court dismissed the charges against the investors (and scolded UMG in the process), the intimidation might have worked. In the middle of all of this, Veoh shut down, because it ran out of money, mainly due to the lawsuit. It sold off its assets to another party, and somehow scraped together a little money to keep the lawsuit, and just the lawsuit, going.

      • Surprise: Register Of Copyrights Expected To Call For Reduction In Copyright Term
        For a long time now, the idea of an overhaul of copyright law in the US has mostly been seen as a pipedream. However, it appears that the Register of Copyright, Maria Pallante, may actually be angling for a major bit of copyright reform. Coming up next Wednesday, she's going to be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on her supposed "Call for Updates to U.S. Copyright Law." Apparently, on March 4th, she gave a talk at Columbia University which has remained amazingly under the radar until now, in which she proposed a long list of possible copyright reforms, which are likely to headline the hearings next week. It's fairly impressive, given how much attention copyright law has been getting lately, that she could present a surprising call for massive changes to the law, and not have a single person report on it immediately after the event ended. However, that is the case.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Julian Assange, Wikileaks & Debian-private
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
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IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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Techrights' Statement on Julian Assange Verdict (February 20th, 2024) - Updated Throughout the Day
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[Meme] But the Boss Said...
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One can hope there's another strike (work stoppage) planned
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[Video] For Software Freedom Avoid Free Bait
do not take any of this for granted
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Microsoft's fraudulent accounting
Over at Tux Machines...
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If the EPO makes more money by granting more European monopolies (mostly to non-Europeans), does it mean politicians should celebrate it?
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most operations/units at Microsoft shrink or lose money
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United Kingdom is about 4.1 times smaller than Egypt
Links 19/02/2024: Microsoft Reportedly Set to Cut Even More Jobs, Air Strikes in Yemen Continue
Links for the day
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Attacking women, blackmailing hosts, and falsely presenting (or misrepresenting) laws
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Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 19/02/2024: Terrorists in Twitter and Julian Assange Verdict Imminent
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The Cyber|Show: Inscrutable (Proprietary) Systems - British Post Office - Part 2
modern day software complexity
WIPO UDRP Decision 2022-1524 explained
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Perjury: Axel Beckert (ETH Zurich) & Debian lying and scapegoating
In the next snippets of Debian vendetta-by-lawyer, we are going to pick out the examples of perjury
[Meme] All Quiet On The Munich Front
On patent fodder
Freeloading Patent Monopolies in Europe (Typically Granted to Non-European Corporations) While the 'EPO Mafia' is "Frontloading"
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a look at raw data