01.06.10

Links 6/1/2010: Linux 2.6.33 3rd RC, Linux-powered Quadricopter

Posted in News Roundup at 5:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Virtual Darpa Grand Challenge

    I thought I’d also put this out there to the Linux community and see what they think of it. I’ve never done anything like this before so I’m not even sure if I should take on this idea, but I’d be interested in hearing what people think of it and any advice on how to make it happen.

  • Whose Platform is it, Anyway?

    Remember how you’re not supposed to ask for something unless you really want it? I predicted, a few short years ago, that we would cease to bind ourselves to a particular platform or operating system. Now that the future is here, I’m looking to it with a tinge of trepidation. I’m not sure that I’m ready for what’s to come: a world without local operating systems. And one where everything is virtual. Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX and will cease to have any significance to the end user. The end user will only see services or applications but not operating systems. For the end user, the operating system will not exist.

  • Business technologies to watch in 2010

    People looking for traditional desktop operating systems can choose between Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 today.

    Towards the end of the year users will be able to use cloud-based operating systems such as Google Chrome OS, or Linux, Symbian and Windows Mobile on a variety of devices.

  • rTorrentWeb bolts a sexy(ish) web UI onto the popular Linux torrent client

    Before I start: this is for Linux. Specifically, it’s for Ubuntu and Debian, but it’ll probably work on other Linux distros if you know what you’re doing. With that out the way, I give you rTorrentWeb, the best BitTorrent client for Linux.

  • Server

    • System z: Dinosaur or Phoenix?

      But here’s something strange: Just before Christmas IBM announced Korea’s largest credit card company, BC Card, had decided to go with an IBM System z mainframe to support its payment system, rather than alternative products from HP and Oracle. “We chose System z for its continuous operation, service quality made available through IBM’s mainframe software solutions and economic returns for the years ahead,” Jeongkyu Lee, BC Card’s Chief Information Officer, is quoted as saying.

    • A Virtual Sense of Loss

      So it was a strange feeling this New Year’s Day to have to part with a server that has been important to me for the past four years. At 12:01 a.m. 2010, the data center operations staff of The Planet reclaimed a Linux box that I had been using to run my company’s Web site and wiki. This reclamation ended an important chapter of my life.

      The staff that takes the box off the rack will never know how it hosted a wiki that helped write more than 10 books, and that hundreds of people used the processor, memory and disk during the writing process. The people who strip this server down for parts won’t have any idea that the Web sites powered by this server took my company, Evolved Media, through several stages of evolution.

  • Google

    • Google’s biggest threat for 2010

      When Google noted that Chrome OS is being launched, everyone from Microsoft to Apple to Linux based OS providers took notice. It’s not because of what was being presented in terms of the OS, but the general direction Google is heading is what terrified them. Within years they can put their fingers in every aspect, moving up the chain until there is no more room for competition.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.33-rc3

      It’s been quiet due to the holidays, so -rc3 is reasonably small despite being a few days over the normal one-week mark. And most of the changes are pretty trivial, although both ext4 and reiserfs had some trouble in -rc2, hopefully all fixed now.

  • Applications

    • Dropbox for Linux

      The download linked from this article is for Ubuntu 9.10 32bit. Other versions can be found on the Linux download page. There are downloads for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Ubuntu 9.10, 9.04, 8.10, 8.04 and 7.10, and Fedora Core 10 and 9. The source code can also be downloaded from this page for use with other versions of Linux.

    • Opera expands browser support beyond desktop

      The Opera Devices SDKs are built on the same engine as the company’s flagship browsers for desktop computers and mobile phones, offering browsing capabilities and tools such as user interfaces and application environments to be deployed on TVs, set-top boxes, portable media players, tablets and mobile devices, said the firm.

      [...]

      The SDK for Linux also boasts hardware acceleration and Open IPTV Framework for the development of Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV and Open IPTV Forum clients.

    • Instructionals

  • Distributions

    • Toorox goes 64

      With the beginning of this new year it’s time for a new release. :-)
      Many people asked me whether there is a 64-Bit version, too?
      Now i can say: Yes, it is!

    • Debian Family

      • Community And Ubuntu Live Videocast

        Just a quick note that tomorrow (Wed 6th Jan 2010) at 7pm UTC/ 11am Pacific / 1pm Eastern, I will be starting back up with At Home With Jono Bacon: my series of videocasts about community growth and building, and sharing work and approaches with the communities that I am involved in, namely Ubuntu, Shot Of Jaq, and the Community Leadership Summit.

      • Do more with your Ubuntu PC

        FOR more than three years, I’ve been using Ubuntu, a popular distribution of Linux, on my home PC for work and play. As a long-time Windows user, I appreciated the freedom from crashes and system slowdowns that plagued my computing life before I made the switch. The notion that I would have to reinstall my operating system, so common in Windows when something went terribly awry, now seems so foreign to me as a Linux user.

        I also enjoyed not having to put up with Microsoft’s intrusive and heavy-handed licensing practices, and not worrying that some malicious piece of code would get past my anti-virus software and wreak havoc on my files.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 brings polish but may demand tinkering

        And that’s an important thing to remember when talking about glitches in Linux: Yes, they exist, but they can crop up in Windows, too. In Linux, they don’t cost you anything — at least in terms of money. Time is another thing … especially if you’re not accustomed to the vocabulary and grammar of Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • DMC Worldwide Unveils COPIA eBook Platfrom And Linux eReaders At CES

      The top of the line Copia Ocean eReader features a 9-inch ePaper capacitive touchscreen, 768 x 1024 pixels resolution, 4-directional tilt-sensor, 3G connectivity (optional), WiFi (802.11b/g), Linux 2.6.21, 2GB internal memory, stereo speaker and 3.5mm stereo jack.

    • 2010 kicks off era of hidden Linux

      Next up, there will be much more virtual Linux, particularly in Microsoft and Windows shops that are enjoying greater integration and support of Linux from Redmond. This — along with the growing base of enterprise Linux users leveraging virtualization and additional commercial support from Red Hat, Novell, Canonical and others — will help fuel more virtual Linux traction and growth. However, don’t expect Microsoft to talk too loudly about virtual Linux options and keep in mind we are still, even now in 2010, relatively early on in the enterprise adoption of server virtualization.

      Moving on, what better place for Linux to hide inconspicuously than in cloud computing? We’ve covered the significance of community Linux in the enterprise and also community Linux in the clouds. With more support for community software and growing desire to build private and hybrid clouds, Linux (both commercial and community) figures prominently into the equation as a basic, flexible yet scalable building block. The end result is both use of Linux to build cloud infrastructure and availability of Linux in the clouds, even though it is likely to be labeled or branded something other than ‘Linux.’

    • PetaLogix Launches First Linux SDK for FPGA-based Embedded Systems

      FPGA software provider PetaLogix has just introduced its PetaLinux SDK, a new system development software product to allow designers to build, customize and employ Embedded Linux on Xilinx FPGA-based embedded processor applications.

      Introduced in conjunction with a design kit from Xilinx, the company claims that its PetaLinux SDK is the first commercially available Embedded Linux development environment specifically designed for FPGA-based embedded systems.

    • Hands on with Lenovo’s new tablet, smartbook, and hybrid device

      The screen is detachable from the keyboard, and behind the screen you have a Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM-based processor, the Skylight Linux operating system, 512MB of RAM and 16GB of flash storage.

    • iPhone Controlled “Parrot” Drone Is Cooler Than Its Name Suggests

      I’ve been let down by my fair share of remote-control flying toys in the past, but the Avatar-chic, iPhone-controlled, Linux-based, Wi-Fi-ready, augmented reality-enhanced, dual video camera-wielding Parrot… well, you get the picture.

    • Consumer Electronics Show: 3D TVs, bendy eReaders and touch tablets wow crowds

      AUGMENTED REALITY DRONE

      A flying UFO-like device that can be controlled by an iPhone using WiFi. The quadricopter has two cameras that can stream video.

      It was created by Parrot, a global leader in wireless devices for mobile phones. The company will make the software open source so programmers can create augmented reality games for the drone.

    • Flying Quadricopter Drone Controlled by an iPhone

      The quadricopter is controlled by accelerometers and an embedded Linux platform originally designed for mobile phones, according to Parrot. The open-source platform is being made available to software developers at CES, the company said. In unveiling the AR.Drone, Parrot said that software for controlling the copter would be available on a number of platforms, not just the iPhone and iPod Touch.

    • Android

      • How to unlock the bootloader on your Nexus One

        So we rooted the Nexus One. Before it was out. Without a device. Neat, but many knowledgeable commentators in the Android community noted that the root was only possible due to the engineering bootloader shipped on the devices distributed by Google, and that retail devices would likely have locked bootloaders. We told them not to worry… and here’s why.

        [...]

        It’s easy too! Google WANTS you to be able to do whatever you please on your Nexus One, but they also want you to be aware of the consequences.

      • Google and the Great White Open Spaces

        Google is such a large company, and with increasingly large ambitions, that it is often hard keeping tabs on all of its activities. That’s particularly the case at the moment, when most of the tech world is understandably focussing on the imminent launch of Google’s own Android phone.

        But important as these events are, we shouldn’t overlook some of the less well-publicised, but nonetheless strategic, moves it is making elsewhere. Perhaps the best example of that can be found in the field of open spectrum.

      • Welcome to Google’s Nexus One – and the “Nexus” Device

        Google leads with the fact that this is as much about *how* people buy phones, as what that phone is. As many commentators have noted, that’s a reflection of Google’s long-term plans to break the grip that the current mobile phone companies have on this sector, but it needs to proceeds cautiously, step by step, so as not to frighten the animals – hence the very limited scope of the present announcement.

      • MIPS Joins the Push to Move Android Beyond Phones

        As the tech world readies itself for the unveiling of Google’s Android-based — and much-hyped — Nexus One, MIPS Technologies Inc. this morning said it will team with a host of partners to showcase new Android-based offerings at this week’s CES. Among them are set-top boxes, a netbook and a social media center designed to enable consumers to consume and share TV content.

      • MIPS squeezes Android into set-top box

        MIPS Technologies is hoping Google’s Android OS can find fame and fortune outside the mobile world where Google hasn’t set its sights on making a device of its own (yet).

      • MIPS Puts Android on TV

        MIPS Technologies has announced plans to design set-top boxes running the Android platform. Linux is already a popular embedded software option for device makers. However, building a device around Android — which is based on the Linux kernel — could enable set-top boxes to run a wide variety of extra applications.

      • Ten Technologies That Will Rock 2010

        Android: Last year saw the launch of nearly two dozen Android-powered phones, including the Verizon Droid. In a few days, Google’s Nexus One will launch as the first Android phone which can be unlocked from any given carrier (it is launching with T-Mobile). Android is Google’s answer to the iPhone, and as it reaches critical mass across multiple carriers and handsets it is becoming increasingly attractive to developers. There are already more than 10,000 apps on Android, next year there will be even more. And other devices running on the mobile OS are launching as well.

      • Superphone is Just Another Word for Personal Computer

        It’s long been argued that FLOSS advocates should be looking at the next generation of computing devices. That strategy is paying off. More than 1.4 million Google Android (that’s Linux) devices shipped in the third quarter of 2009. It’s too early for numbers in the fourth quarter, but you can bet that they’re even higher. In three months, that’s 1.4 million users adopting Linux for personal computing. Granted, still a minority next to other smartphones, but the Nexus One looks ready to give other smartphone vendors a run for their money.

      • Why Google Nexus One launch was inevitable: Report
      • Ads From Planet Nexus

        For others, the move into equipment will in time fragment the Android OS world, so that some handset makers could develop their own Linux kernel based on Android, or put a middleware layer on top of Android, while remaining compatible with Android apps.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Bushel of Free FOSS Resources

    Hopefully, you’ll find something to learn from here, and the good news is that everything found in this post is free.

  • Boxee Introduces QUERTY Remote for its Box

    The Beta release of the app will deliver not only tons of bug fixes, but also performance improvements, all-new features and official support for Snow Leopard and Ubuntu Karmic, according to the developers. An early access is also available to the beta, slated for launch tomorrow.

  • Open Source Business Resource, January issue

    The January issue of the Open Source Business Resource is available, with a focus on “success factors.” “The authors in this issue explore: the importance of well defined processes, the value of documentation to end users, the diverse tasks of a community manager, the value provided by participants who don’t contribute code, and how a community can assist in creating training materials. Each concentrates on a particular success factor, and as a whole, provide a fuller picture of what to look for in a successful open source project or company.”

  • Kenyan software joins exports list as IT sector grows

    The recent international recognition of local developer Ken Kasina has boosted the country’s profile. Mr Kasina was presented with the Global Achievement Award for Open Source award last year for his work on open source platforms.

    Last year, local software developer CompuLynx raked in Sh400 million in software development, with a portion gained from exporting solutions.

    The company is now targeting Sh1 billion over the next year on the back of increased interest from foreign companies and countries.

  • OpenClinica Global Conference to Bring Together Global Community for Open Source Clinical Trials Software

    The worldwide community around OpenClinica, the rapidly growing open source clinical trial software, will gather on March 22nd, 2010 in Bethesda, Maryland (USA) for the first ever OpenClinica Global Conference.

  • Did they get it right? A look back at our September Open Source Market Update

    Participating in this panel were:
    Anthony Gold, Open Solutions Alliance (OSA) President, Open Solutions Alliance
    Joe McKendrick, Contributing Editor and Analyst, ebizQ
    Pierre Fricke, Director of Product Management for the SOA & Business Rules Management System products, Red Hat
    Debbie Moynihan, Director, FUSE Community & Marketing, Progress Software

  • 2010 resolutions: Open-source, social media, representation and surviving surgery

    People seem to forget that Firefox is open source. They see it as a browser and probably don’t even contemplate it anymore. But I haven’t forgotten, and thankfully millions out there haven’t either. My experience with the Linux-based Maemo operating system on the Nokia N900 opened my eyes to open source and Linux.

  • Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office — The (Don’t Have To) Buyers Guide

    Winner: OpenOffice 3.1 — Thanks to some serious third-party and open-source community support, OpenOffice can handle almost any format you throw at it, including Office 2007. More to the point, OpenOffice can save to virtually any format it opens, and it has a top-notch native PDF output option. This versatility extends to both spreadsheets and presentations, too.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 3.7 to feel need for speed with multicore boost

      Mozilla’s Firefox 3.7 looks set to take a step closer to competing with Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 in the speed stakes, according to results of a pre-release version tested by a browser enthusiast.

  • GNU

  • Open Access

    • How to Learn Just About Anything Online … For Free

      Stan Peirce had been looking for new pursuits after a long career as an electrical engineer with Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, Tenn. Then, last year, while searching the Internet, he stumbled on nearly 2,000 academic courses that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had put online. Peirce saw MIT’s offerings—its OpenCourseWare project complete with syllabuses, assignments, exams and, in many cases, audio or video lectures—as nothing short of an educational gold mine.

    • MapOSMatic: generate city maps from OpenStreetMap data

      We are pleased to announce the release of MapOSMatic, a set of tools to automatically generate cities’ map from OpenStreetMap data. MapOSMatic takes care of generating a labelled grid over the map, a list of street with references matching the grid as well as a nice layout of the city if its administrative boundaries are known. For now, it only supports rendering French metropolitan cities’ maps, but it will soon be extended to other parts of the world. MapOSMatic is Open Source / Free Software licensed under AGPLv3.

    • OpenStreetMap reaches 200,000 user milestone

      OpenStreetMap Founder Steve Coast has announced that the OpenStreetMap (OSM) Project now has more than 200,000 registered users. The project, originally started in August of 2004, has become increasingly popular in recent months. The new milestone comes less than ten months after the project reached 100,000 registered users back in March of 2009. OpenStreetMap is an open source project, run by the OpenStreetMap Foundation, that builds free online maps, not based on any copyright or licensed map data.

    • Opening up UK local spending data

      While this is currently experimental, in the future he plans to make it easy to export data in XML/JSON as well as to create more sophisticated visual representations of the data.

    • Title: Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research

      Abstract: Articles whose authors make them Open Access (OA) by self-archiving them online are cited significantly more than articles accessible only to subscribers. Some have suggested that this “OA Advantage” may not be causal but just a self-selection bias, because authors preferentially make higher-quality articles OA.

  • Other Openness

    • Hyrban plans revealed

      “One of our hopes is that the open-source community will speed up development of the fuel cell and electrical network, as well as other key technologies,” said Hugo Spowers, a key partner in the Riversimple project and the man behind Morgan’s Lifecar fuel cell prototype.

    • Reassessing U.S. Intelligence Operations in Afghanistan

      What commanders want and need is information regarding the local population. Because of this need, the report encourages collecting data from “open-source” channels such as civilian sources, NGOs, and other groups.

      “The Cold War notion that open-source information is ‘second class’ is a dangerous, outmoded cliché,” the document says. “Lieutenant General Samuel V. Wilson, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, captured it perfectly: ‘Ninety percent of intelligence comes from open sources. The other 10 percent, the clandestine work, is just the more dramatic. The real intelligence hero is Sherlock Holmes, not James Bond.’”

Leftovers

  • Software Engineering ≠ Computer Science

    But software engineering is where the rubber meets the road. Few people care whether P equals NP just for the beauty of the question. The computer field is about doing things with computers. This means writing software to solve human problems, and running that software on real machines. By the Church-Turing Thesis, all computer hardware is essentially equivalent. So while new machine architectures are cool, the real limiting challenge in computer science is the problem of creating software. We need software that can be put together in a reasonable amount of time, for a reasonable cost, that works something like its designers hoped for, and runs with few errors.

  • Storage

    • Portable Hard Drives: A Terabyte in Your Pocket

      Good things come in small packages–and when it comes to storage, the saying couldn’t be more true. No matter what size your data set is, you can find a stylish, pocketable wonder of modern miniaturization to store it and transport it.

    • Seagate boards USB 3 train

      Seagate has upped its BlackArmor external drive interface from USB 2.0 to the faster USB 3.0.

    • WSIU Expands Channel Operation and Automation with NVerzion and Multi-Tiered Storage with OS Storage

      NVerzion, a leading provider of digital broadcasting and television station automation solutions, and Open Source Storage today announced Southern Illinois University, Carbondale station WSIU has completed installation of its new NVerzion automation package that will control 24/7 operation of the station’s three channels, unattended overnight operations, server interface and master control interface, as well as provide a complete media database and interface to the station’s existing traffic system. WSIU has also added Open Source Storage’s award-winning OSVault™ Network Archive, providing a powerful, yet economical data management appliance ensuring the station’s ability to maintain high-speed file exchange, portability, data preservation and longevity in a non-proprietary, open network environment.

  • Security

    • Fighting Terror with Uncertainty

      A few days later the TSA, to its credit, rolled back some of the more arbitrarily punitive restrictions — in-flight entertainment systems can now be turned back on, and passengers are, at the airline’s discretion, again permitted to use the toilets during the last hour of flight.

      But while a degree of sanity may have returned to some of the rules, the TSA’s new security philosophy appears to yield significant advantage to attackers. The current approach may actually make us more vulnerable to disruption and terror now than we were before.

    • Will Profiling Make a Difference?
    • Fixing a Security Problem Isn’t Always the Right Answer

      An unidentified man breached airport security at Newark Airport on Sunday, walking into the secured area through the exit, prompting an evacuation of a terminal and flight delays that continued into the next day. This problem isn’t common, but it happens regularly. The result is always the same, and it’s not obvious that fixing the problem is the right solution.

    • The imaginary enemy

      Those who do cross the Albanian border, for whatever odd reason, will probably find, besides the aforementioned stolen Mercedes, a beautiful country, filled with wide quiet beaches, rough mountains, and disarmingly friendly and helpful people.

    • The Meaning of Ists

      One of the Bush administration’s most pernicious legacies is the never-ending War on Terrorism, a perpetual state of emergency that supposedly authorizes the president to break the law, abridge civil liberties, and ignore due process, all under a cloak of secrecy. Last week former Vice President Dick Cheney accused the Obama administration of forsaking Bush’s War on Terrorism. If only it were true.

    • Britain’s police “descending into obvious madness.”

      On Christmas Day, police in the U.K. rounded up tourists taking photos of the royal family at Sandringham church and confiscated their cameras. At The Independent, Dominic Lawson’s dismay subsides to confusion: Britain’s police are “descending into obvious madness,” he writes. ” …Their explanation of their behaviour is usually much harder to understand than the errors they seek to mitigate.”

    • France ‘to criminalise shouting at your wife’

      Married couples could be arrested and charged for insulting each other under a new law in France banning ‘psychological violence’.

    • Ex-Green Beret and War Correspondent Michael Yon Arrested at SeaTac for Not Reporting His Salary

      Airport security is a big deal these days. But since when has reporting your income been a matter of national security?

  • Animals

    • “The Cove” – filmmaking as activism, fighting dolphin murder

      Director Louie Psihoyos talks about his film “The Cove,” which won the Golden Space Needle award for best documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival. The film is about a cove on the Japanese coast where for generations residents have survived by killing and processing dolphins. It opens Aug. 7 for a regular run.

    • Dolphins are people, say scientists

      Dolphins are almost as clever as people and should be given human status, according to a zoologist at Emory University.

    • What It Takes to Build a Movement

      Since the summer of 2003, I’ve crisscrossed the country speaking at colleges and theaters and bookstores, first with The Weather Underground documentary and, starting in March of this year, with my book, Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen (William Morrow, 2009). In discussions with young people, they often tell me, “Nothing anyone does can ever make a difference.”

      [...]

      Aha! Activism = self-expression; organizing = movement-building.

      Until recently, I’d rarely heard young people call themselves “organizers.” The common term for years has been “activists.” Organizing was reduced to the behind the scenes nuts-and-bolts work needed to pull off a specific event, such as a concert or demonstration.

  • Environment

    • Copenhagen climate deal ‘satisfies’ Saudi Arabia

      Saudi Arabia says it is “satisfied” with the conclusion of last month’s UN climate summit in Copenhagen.

      However, the country’s lead negotiator Mohammad Al-Sabban told BBC News that the UN climate process may be heading for stalemate, like world trade talks.

    • Heads in the Sand? Or, Why Don’t Governments Talk about Peak Oil?

      This research note is an attempt to map out the range of reasons for governments’ silence on peak oil. These reasons can be seen along a continuum, from ignorance (“we don’t know”), to disbelief, to conspiratorial silence (“we know well, and have plans, but we’re not sharing them”). This post surveys some of the more common ideas regarding governments’ lack of attention to the issue, in the hope of spurring comments from readers regarding which of the scenarios is more plausible in light of available evidence.

    • Smart plugs cut costs, energy use

      An Australian father and son team are going global with new power board technology designed to cut household energy use by automatically switching off electronics devices when they are not in use and eliminating “standby” power consumption.

  • Finance

    • Hackers May Have Unearthed Dirt on Stanford

      In early 2008, while federal investigators were busy investigating disgraced financier Robert Allen Stanford for his part in an alleged $8 billion fraudulent investment scheme, Eastern European hackers were quietly hoovering up tens of thousands customer financial records from the Bank of Antigua, an institution formerly owned by the Stanford Group.

    • The US And China – One Side Winning, The Other Losing

      Asian capitalism, notably China and South Korea are competing with the US for global power. Asian global power is driven by dynamic economic growth, while the US pursues a strategy of military-driven empire building.

      One Day’s Read of the Financial Times

      Even a cursory read of a single issue of the Financial Times (December 28, 2009) illustrates the divergent strategies toward empire building. On page one, the lead article on the US is on its expanding military conflicts and its ‘war on terror’, entitled “Obama Demands Review of Terror List”. In contrast, there are two page-one articles on China, which describe China’s launching of the world’s fastest long-distance passenger train service and China’s decision to maintain its currency pegged to the US dollar as a mechanism to promote its robust export sector.

    • Iceland blocks repayment deal, sparks global outrage

      In a twist to the island nation’s much-watched struggle to cope with its massive debt, Mr. Grimsson blocked a $5-billion (U.S.) deal to pay Britain and the Netherlands for losses suffered by depositors in one of Iceland’s banks.

    • Is it time to say no to the big banks?

      Arianna Huffington has a solution: Change to a community bank. In a post written with economist Rob Johnson at The Huffington Post, she advocated that people close their accounts at the big four banks and open accounts at small community banks.

      The idea is simple: If enough people who have money in one of the big four banks move it into smaller, more local, more traditional community banks, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward re-rigging the financial system so it becomes again the productive, stable engine for growth it’s meant to be. It’s neither Left nor Right — it’s populism at its best. Consider it a withdrawal tax on the big banks for the negative service they provide by consistently ignoring the public interest.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Money Expert: Industry Should Compete With Music Piracy

      While warning that consumers could get ripped off if they don’t shop around when buying music, an expert on saving money says that if it’s serious about winning over pirates, the music industry must wake up and embrace price competition.

    • Hadopi three strikes law hits another hurdle

      The controversial French ‘three strikes’ law has hit yet another delay – it has failed to win approval from the French data protection agency.

    • DVD sales tank in 2009 as Americans head to the cinema

      The good news is that Americans spent more money at the movie theater in 2009 than the year before. The bad news is that they spent less on DVDs—a lot less.

    • Singles sales soar to record high

      MP3 players given as presents have helped boost UK single sales to an all-time high in the week after Christmas.

      According to Official Charts Company figures, 4.22m singles were sold in the last week of 2009, beating the previous record of 4.03m over Christmas 2008.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Margaret Aranyosi, Executive Director of KITE, Inc. 001 (2004)


Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Microsoft Might Embrace and Extend SVG

Posted in Java, Windows at 12:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SVG logoSummary: Microsoft and SVG — like many prior fake marriages — may blend very poorly

FOR many years, Microsoft has essentially attacked SVG by being more of less the only company that pushed for a proprietary alternative (part of OOXML). Microsoft is constantly attacking standards, including web standards and even ODF, whose interoperability it damages [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Let’s not forget what Microsoft tried to do to Java.

Microsoft is now claiming to have “joined” SVG and one of our readers has asked: “What damage are they planning on doing?”

As a part of Microsoft’s continued commitment to interoperability and standards support, yesterday we submitted our request to join the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Working Group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). We’re excited to take part in ensuring future versions of the SVG spec will meet the needs of developers and end users.

Microsoft has joined to advance its shareholders’ interests and since Microsoft’s value lies in locking of markets and removal of choice (illegal deals), this cannot pass without scrutiny. Microsoft is the boy that cried “Wolf!”, divorcing from standards many times before and fined by the courts for it.

“What we are trying to do is use our server control to do new protocols and lock out Sun and Oracle specifically”

Bill Gates

IDG: “Businesses That Dumped Microsoft”, “Microsoft is Ruining Smartphones and Tablets for Everyone”

Posted in Microsoft, Site News at 11:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A few timely recommendations and an update on the Web site’s situation with regard to denial of service

A COUPLE of new articles, the second of which is an op-ed from John Dvorak, are worth a quick read.

i. Businesses That Dumped Microsoft … and Won

Competition has caused these seven users to trade in their Microsoft wares for alternatives from other vendors.

ii. Microsoft is Ruining Smartphones and Tablets for Everyone

The kicker here, is the fact that numerous failed attempts at a pad machine have been made, beginning with the imaginary Dynabook in the 1970s and including various WinPads and other tablets right up to the Microsoft announcement of a tablet platform a few years ago. You remember that, right? This was the platform that was set to dominate all computing by 2000 or 2004 or whatever. In the meantime, a slew of “convertible” laptops evolved and subsequently ended up in the trash heap of innovation.

Another one:

PandaLabs Detects 25 Million New Malware Strains

The past year set a new record for malware creation with 25 million new strains, according to a new report by PandaLabs.

The latest surge of activity included new examples of banker Trojans, which accounted for 66 percent of all new samples, as well as a number of fake antivirus programs.

As a side note, regarding the Varnish server that we use amid denial of service issues (which persist but get suppressed within minutes), it turns out that absence of cookies makes it impossible to leave comments or to edit the Wiki. Still, it’s better than downtime/unavailability. We’ll resume normal pace at a later date.

Thousands of Italians May Sue Microsoft for Forcing Them to Buy Windows

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Windows at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Italy is the latest nations to be going after Microsoft for its market abuses and removal of choice

RUSSIA was prepared to sue Microsoft for forcing people to buy Windows. It’s not alone though.

Italy is a country that we wrote about a few days ago because Microsoft is signing deals there which are potentially illegal, just like prior ones (there is clearly abuse to be found).

According to The Register (UK) and IDG News Service (US), a massive lawsuit may soon come:

An Italian consumer rights group plans to slap Microsoft with a class-action lawsuit this week seeking compensation on behalf of people forced to buy Windows pre-installed on new computers.

The ADUC, which specializes in public interests related to TV, internet, and telephone, said it would file the lawsuit at a court in Florence after the Epiphany holiday on Wednesday, according to Reuters. permitting consumer groups to file class-action lawsuits on behalf of the people they represent.

 

An Italian consumers association is set to mount a class-action lawsuit to obtain compensation for customers who buy PCs with preinstalled Microsoft software but who prefer not to use the Windows OS, the association’s president announced Tuesday.

The lawsuit seeking the return of the cost of the unwanted Microsoft software from the manufacturers of computer hardware will be registered with a court in Florence later this week, said Vincenzo Donvito, president of ADUC (Association for the Rights of Users and Consumers).

Around 2,000 people, most of them Linux users, have already expressed interest in participating in the lawsuit, Donvito said in a telephone interview. The initiative takes advantage of a new law permitting class-action lawsuits, which went into effect on Jan. 1.

Italy seems to be abandoning Microsoft faster than many nations. When will the OEM channel comprehend this and stop forcing people — in collusion with Microsoft — to buy Windows?

“The fact is that the vast majority of office desktops are using Windows, the third-best platform. You can argue about the relative merits of modern Linuxes like Ubuntu and the Mac, but they are clearly better than Windows in terms of robustness, cost, performance, and a whole bunch of other things. For the long term, can the mainstream of business continue to ignore the fact that there’s a better alternative than what they’re running? If that logjam breaks, that’s going to be a real change.”

Tim Bray

Microsoft Front Group (ACT) Pleased to See Europe’s Patent System Subverted in Microsoft’s Favour

Posted in Apple, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ACT Microsoft

Summary: Jonathan Zuck’s fake lobby for Microsoft (AstroTurf) is getting its wishes for Community patent almost fulfilled after persistent perversion of the European system

A MICROSOFT lobby group known as Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) is celebrating the recent patent developments in Europe which may help Microsoft illegalise Free software rather than compete against it. ACT has been aggressively lobbying for it since 2008 (if not much earlier) and we have many documented examples. From its shameless lobby blog:

After several rounds of negotiations, the Swedish Presidency announced last week that the EU Patent System was one step closer.

Yes, it celebrates this, for obvious reasons. It is bad for small businesses, but good for ACT's client. ACT also attended the most recent event in Europe where these matters were discussed; as usual, Zuck was pretending to represent small businesses.

In a new article from LWN.net, this look forward at 2010 reveals software patents as a key peril:

Software patents will strike close to home again. Nokia’s suit against Apple is an especially ominous development. We are seeing the opening of a whole new computing market where none of the traditionally dominating companies have a commanding share. So it’s a bit of a gold rush, and some companies will undoubtedly rush to gain their gold by way of the courts.

The case of Apple and Nokia is one that we’ve covered in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Against Monopoly has this Dilbert cartoon about the subject.

Links 6/1/2010: More Nexus Thoughts

Posted in News Roundup at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • December 2009 Market Share Report

    The top 3 make 64%. Where are you team Linux and Apple?

    4 Linux 17%
    5 Mac OS X 14%
    6 Unknown 3%

  • Microsoft legal unfazed by Ubuntu Windows XP GUI clone

    Microsoft legal has decided to react passively to the news of Ylmf OS, a Linux distribution that clones the look and feel of Windows XP.

  • Rescue a broken system with Linux

    Some argue that Windows is inherently easier to use than Linux, while that may have been true 15 years ago before the Graphical User Interface became increasingly popular for Linux distros, nowadays there are new advantages to the less-savvy computer to really like about Linux.

  • Linux Format wallpapers

    Updated: We’ve had a number of reader requests to make available some of the imagery we use in Linux Format magazine. Naturally we’re happy to share with you all, so we’ve put this page online where we’ll upload artwork as it’s requested.

  • Linux gives me confidence

    This something I never had with windows. Confidence in my operating system. What do I mean by this? Well let me explain. Just recently I was doing a remote upgrade of Ubuntu Jaunty to Ubuntu Karmic. Everything was going along as easily as a hot knife through butter. Configuration files were changed, packages were downloaded and were in the process of being installed. Then it happened.

    Halfway through the upgrade. At the most sensitive part where the packages were being installed. The computer was rebooted. This could easily happen to anyone if there is a power glitch and you are not using an UPS. In this case, if you remember I was connected remotely, the end user decided to reboot the computer. After I had specifically told them not to touch it. I don’t blame them. These sort of things happen.

  • Applications

    • Hulu Desktop for Linux

      Summary: Hulu Desktop for Linux is a great option for Linux users who don’t want to use the web version and who want to sit back, away from their computer and use a remote control to watch Hulu content.
      Rating: 3.5/5

    • Linux-based media center Enna ready for its close up

      It’s here! Enna, a media center application made for Linux is finally ready for public release. Yay? If you’re not sure what this is, you’re not alone. First, GeeXbox is a Linux app that turns your computer into a media center that can work on a lot of software configurations. Enna is a nice graphical interface for GeeXbox that adds some cool new features and makes it a lot more usable.

  • Instructionals

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • key quests for kde in 2010?

        In my last blog entry about 2009 achievements and events I said that I had a “looking forward” entry to come this week. This is the start of that entry, or rather, entries. As I was working on it, it became apparent that it was a big big for one entry. Yes, even too long for me. ;) I also realized that having a list of topics in one blog entry was probably going to lead to chaos in the comments section. The solution seemed evident: address each topic up in it’s own small blog entry and publish them in sequence over the course of several days. So that is what I am going to do.

      • KDE Licensing Policy

        I have been invoked by John Layt to explain some bits of the KDE licensing policy. It’s related to my recent writing on copyright assignment in the sense that it discusses reasons for picking particular licenses and how licenses interact. The back story is the KDE Licensing Policy, which lays down which licenses are acceptable in the various parts of the KDE platform technologies and applications. Roughly, the libraries need to be liberally licensed (which means they can be taken proprietary or shipped with otherwise closed devices — a common choice of GUI libraries nowadays). More concretely: (LGPL 2.1+) or (LGPL 2.1 or LGPL 3 or later approved) or BSD or MIT or X11. The idea is that you can either go for any version of LGPL from 2.1 onwards, or only selected versions of the LGPL which have been approved by the membership of KDE e.V. (if you don’t want to give a blanket permission to the FSF to update the license terms) or something very liberal.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Walking tall.

        I love the fact that in addition to the millions of Fedora fans around the world, we also have in our community a very special group of hundreds upon hundreds of individuals known as Fedora Ambassadors. These contributors give of their free time to represent Fedora in schools, governments, businesses, and other community groups, and at events of all shapes and sizes.

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMEPIS 8.5 beta4 Greets a New Year

        Warren Woodford has announced that SimplyMEPIS 8.4.96, the beta4 of MEPIS 8.5, is available from MEPIS and public mirrors. The ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.4.96-b4_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.4.96-b4_64.iso respectively. Deltas, requested by the community, are also available.

      • 2010: Your Year for Ubuntu Membership!

        Maybe you have been thinking about becoming an Ubuntu Member? If so, 2010 can be your year. Let’s find out how. I had the opportunity to interview Nathan Handler who lead a session on Ubuntu Membership during the last Ubuntu Open Week. Nathan is a member of the Ubuntu IRCC (Internet Relay Chat Council). Nathan is very versed in the community aspects as he is an active contributor in many areas. Nathan was also feature in the Ubuntu Hall of Fame. Let’s get started!

      • http://www.workswithu.com/2010/01/05/benchmarking-ubuntus-lpia-build/

        As the new owner of a Dell Latitude 2100 netbook, I’m eager to get as much performance out of my little machine as possible. One of the most pressing issues in my life over the last week, therefore, has been to decide whether to use the i386 or lpia build of Ubuntu on my new computer. Here’s the decision I came to, and why.

      • Official Ubuntu Desktop Support For Home Users

        Trust me to miss the memo, but somewhere along the line Canonical started selling support services to home users as well as businesses and enterprises via the official Ubuntu Store.

      • Manual for Karmic Still Not Certain
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • VIDEO: Dell netbook to Dell phone mod!

        So this guy buys a Dell Inspiron Mini 10.1-inch netbook but either isn’t happy at its lack of cellular coverage, or just has a severe phone fixation and decides to rip it apart and turn it into a Dell Mini 3i phone, complete with Android-based OS.

      • Nexus/Android

        • Nexus One vs iPhone, Droid & Palm Pre – Total Cost of Ownership

          As the smartphone wars continue to heat up the Nexus One is entering a marketplace that is currently dominated by the iPhone 3GS with and gaining popularity of the Droid by Verizon Wireless.

        • Our new approach to buying a mobile phone

          We first executed on this vision a little over a year ago, when we launched Android on one device with one operator in one country. Today, we have 20 devices with 59 operators in 48 countries and 19 languages. And because Android is free and open source, it continues to flourish. Android allows devices to be built faster, and at lower cost. And anyone can build anything on top of the platform. This ultimately benefits users.

          [...]

          Well, today we’re pleased to announce a new way for consumers to purchase a mobile phone through a Google hosted web store. The goal of this new consumer channel is to provide an efficient way to connect Google’s online users with selected Android devices. We also want to make the overall user experience simple: a simple purchasing process, simple service plans from operators, simple and worry-free delivery and start-up.

        • Google uncloaks the Nexus One

          Google has surprised no one by unveiling the Google-branded and Google-sold Nexus One phone at a press event in Mountain View.

          Manufactured by Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, the phone will be sold through an online store operated by Google at www.google.com/phone. The phone can be purchased unlocked for $529 or in tandem with wireless service from T-Mobile USA at prices beginning at $179.

        • Head to head: Google Nexus One v Apple iPhone

          It’s a clear win for Google on the specs. However, specificationists should beware. The iPhone was far from the cutting edge spec-wise when it launched in 2007. In fact, Nokia’s N95, which was launched almost five months before the iPhone, had higher specs in almost every category. The iPhone beat it with usability, attention to detail and features such as integration with iTunes. And that was before the App Store. The Google Nexus One is a worthy opponent for the iPhone at last but this battle is far from won.

        • How the Google Nexus One and Motorola Droid compare

          The Nexus One smartphone, which was manufactured by HTC, is Google’s first attempt at making its own device that runs on its open source Android operating system. The phone’s official unveiling comes just a couple of months after the similarly hyped Motorola Droid came to market as the first Android-based phone available on the Verizon network.

        • The Google Phone (Nexus One) is Finally Here
        • A Few Thoughts on the Nexus One

          Overall, the phone is good enough that it’s conceivable in a way that it wasn’t a few months ago that we’ll see a replay of Apple’s experience in the PC market twenty-five years ago, in which Apple’s fit and finish was unquestionably superior, but a commodity platform that was “good enough” and available to the entire industry ended up taking the lead.

          (Henry Blodget makes this case in Hey, Apple, Wake Up — It’s Happening Again. On the other hand, Mark Sigal raises a different historical analogy, Novell vs. Microsoft, asking whether Google’s release of its own anointed phone might end up blunting adoption by other vendors, while Google takes the eye of its core business. A lot depends on whether Google holds back anything from the platform available to others. At today’s press conference, Google emphasized the open platform aspect of Android, so they are trying to address that fear. The model seems to be to work with individual partners to push the ball forward, but to return those innovations to the pool available to all partners.)

        • AdMob Determines Android Is Growing Faster Than Ever

          Google took the wraps off its Nexus One phone today, and by all accounts, this device will help spread Android further and faster than ever. But new data from AdMob shows that the mobile operating system was already on quite a roll.

        • Google’s Nexus One: First Look

          Google’s Android 2.1 OS is now available on the HTC Nexus One phone. Here’s an early look at the new device.

        • Google Gives Alex Over a Million Books

          Spring Design, the makers of the Alex eReader device, announced it has entered into an agreement with Google, which will see it gaining access to over a million Google Books. Alex users will be able to read these books online or download them using the Android-integrated browser and search applications.

        • Linux e-reader boasts 11.5-inch display

          Skiff LLC announced a Linux-based e-book reader optimized for newspaper and magazine content, delivered via Sprint’s 3G network. The Skiff Reader’s display is claimed to be the largest (11.5 inches) and highest-resolution (UXGA) among e-readers, and the first to offer LG Displays’ stainless-steel foil display technology, touted for greater durability.

        • E-reader Sales Will Double Again This Year, CEA Says

          Skiff and telecom giant Sprint said they will team up to provide newspapers, magazines and e-books over 3G networks for the Skiff Reader, an e-reader with an 11.5-inch flexible touchscreen created by Skiff and LG Display. Another company, Spring Design, said its Alex eReader, which uses Google’s Android OS, will have access to over 1 million books online through a deal with Google. Other companies have announced new e-readers, too, including Interead’s Coolreaders.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Laptop powered by AA Batteries

        Proprietary laptop battery packs can cost 100 a pack however one company has come out with a Linux based Laptop computer which is available for only 200 dollars and can run off of AA Batteries.

      • OLPC News: Win One, Give One and SoaS Blueberry

        A new version of SoaS was released early last month but I found a video interview with Walter Bender talking about it that I thought I would share.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is Microsoft’s Anti-Piracy Campaign Good for Open Source?

    Luckily, Microsoft’s behavior is also pushing more and more companies to adopt other open source software. Before years, Linux and free software were worthy only to open source fanatics and geeky IT managers, but now they become more than a valid option in contrast with expensive software licensing and intellectual property illegalities.

  • Six Lessons Learned from Launching – and Closing – a Community

    Lesson 1: No need to restrict membership in the community. Many foundations might initially decide to limit membership to certain designated experts or focus attention on those experts. I’ve certainly heard those conversations among foundation executives. (How can we be comfortable handing off grant decisions to people who are not qualified experts?) ON had no such concerns. At its peak, the community had more than 19,000 registered members. They ranged from stay-at-home moms to entrepreneurs to renowned experts to potential grantees. With the self-moderation tools baked into the platform, the community policed itself. Kriese says some of the most passionate contributors came from among the people who were not professionals in the field. He also says many of those people were motivated by the chance to work side-by-side with the big-name experts.

  • Has Cloud Computing Jumped the Shark?

    Leading the pushback is skeptic Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO, who Barron’s quotes as unloading this torrent of sarcasm in an analyst’s meeting: Cloud computing “is the future of all computing, but more impressively, it is the present of all computing and the past of all computing…Everything is cloud computing.”

    Wow, and I thought I was smart-aleck.

    Alas, now even Oracle is making joyful noises about the cloud. The database titan touts its Cloud Computing Center and has launched a new, semi-comprehensible acronym: OaaS, Oracle as a Service. (Seriously? OaaS? Someone suggested that in a meeting, and no one giggled?)

  • Databases

    • New Groovy Cozies up to Java, SQL

      Last month, SpringSource, a division of VMware, and the community of volunteer developers behind Groovy released a new version of the dynamically compiled language. The new features include some old Java functionality that may help Java programmers work more easily with Groovy. It also includes some additions that ease the burden of working with SQL-based databases.

  • FSF/SFLC/GNU

    • Better to remain silent…

      This is so wrong, I can only assume Mr. Lustfield means to say that the “GNU system” does not exist without Linux. Which of course, is still wrong. Been wrong for a long time, in fact. (This isn’t counting GNU/Hurd of course)

      I’m not sure if the problem is because Mr. Lustfield is ignorant of other kernels, if he doesn’t understand what a kernel is, doesn’t understand what GNU is, doesn’t understand what an operating system is, or simply doesn’t care and just wants to rag on the FSF and GNU. I’m of the opinion it’s all of the above.

      Of course, the supreme deliciousness is that Mr. Lustfield is so very involved in (surprise, surprise) Ubuntu, which of course is a derivative of …. Debian GNU/Linux:

      Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer. An operating system is the set of basic programs and utilities that make your computer run. Debian uses the Linux kernel (the core of an operating system), but most of the basic OS tools come from the GNU project; hence the name GNU/Linux.

    • Giving FSF Chief GNU-isance Richard Stallman The Credit GNU Deserves

      After carrying-on for many years an on-again, off-again email-only relationship with Free Software Foundation president and founder Richard Stallman (or “Chief GNU-isance” according to the FSF staff), I finally met him today for a face-to-face interview. While the interview was actually for a larger project we’re working on here at InformationWeek, we spent a considerable amount of time talking about the issues he wrestles with every day. One of them is GNU and the highly misguided usage of the term Linux to describe what is really GNU/Linux. Stallman, GNU, and the FSF deserve some credit and we (including distributors such as Red Hat and Novell) should all pay it to them.

      [...]

      After the interview’s conclusion, Stallman said I was particularly nasty in the way I started to ask my question to which I responded that I understood the issue well, that I have understood it for many years, and that I meant no disrespect. He admonished me to go back to the recording and listen to the way in which I phrased the question. He was right. Stallman chooses his words very carefully. I didn’t. If you compare his request in email to the question I started to ask, you can see how my question essentially endorses “Linux” as the accepted name of an operating system that should be called “GNU/Linux.”

    • FSF announces LibrePlanet 2010 free software community conference: March 19-21

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced the 2010 dates for its LibrePlanet international free software community conference. The three day event will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the Harvard University Science Center, from March 19th to March 21st, 2010.

    • SFLC: Episode 0x1E: Fontana Redux

      Karen and Bradley interview this show’s first-ever second-time guest, Richard Fontana, who is an Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel at Red Hat.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Welcome to TinyOgg!

      This service allows you to watch and listen to Flash-based videos without the need to Flash technology. This gives you speed, safety, control, freedom and openness.

Leftovers

  • MySpace Replaces Embedded Imeem Playlists With Ads

    Imeem users, bloggers and web users are in for another nasty surprise following MySpace’s acquisition of “certain parts” of the service. MySpace has replaced Imeem songs and playlists embedded on blogs and elsewhere on the web with advertisements for generic ringtones and the MySpace Music service.

  • Wipe The Slate Clean For 2010, Commit Web 2.0 Suicide

    Are you tired of living in public, sick of all the privacy theater the social networks are putting on, and just want to end it all online? Now you can wipe the slate clean with the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. (Warning: This will really delete your online presence and is irrevocable). Just put in your credentials for Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or LinkedIn and it will delete all your friends and messages, and change your username, password, and photo so that you cannot log back in.

  • Comments on local content suspended

    Reader comments on Pantagraph.com often are informative, sparking serious dialogue on an issue of local or national interest. At other times, they are offensive and devoid of civility, the worst of which include personal attacks and/or assertions that have nothing to do with the story.

    In recent weeks, we have seen too much of the latter on some local stories. Far too much. So, effective immediately and through the New Year’s holiday weekend, no comments will be allowed on new local content posted on Pantagraph.com.

  • Security

    • Can Imaging Technologies save us from Terrorists?

      As you might imagine, this idea of TSA employees looking at what are essentially images of naked people has not gone over well in some circles. It’s not just EPIC and other civil libertarians. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to ban both kinds of scanners. Of course, that was before the near disaster over the skies of Detroit.

    • The God That Fails

      Much of the criticism has been contemptuous and hysterical. Various experts have gathered bits of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s biography. Since they can string the facts together to accurately predict the past, they thunder, the intelligence services should have been able to connect the dots to predict the future.

      Dick Cheney argues that the error was caused by some ideological choice. Arlen Specter screams for more technology — full-body examining devices. “We thought that had been remedied,” said Senator Kit Bond, as if omniscience could be accomplished with legislation.

      Many people seem to be in the middle of a religious crisis of faith. All the gods they believe in — technology, technocracy, centralized government control — have failed them in this instance.

      In a mature nation, President Obama could go on TV and say, “Listen, we’re doing the best we can, but some terrorists are bound to get through.” But this is apparently a country that must be spoken to in childish ways. The original line out of the White House was that the system worked. Don’t worry, little Johnny.

  • Finance

    • Harsh lessons we may need to learn again

      The first lesson is that markets are not self-correcting. Indeed, without adequate regulation, they are prone to excess. In 2009, we again saw why Adam Smith’s invisible hand often appeared invisible: it is not there. The bankers’ pursuit of self-interest (greed) did not lead to the well-being of society; it did not even serve their shareholders and bondholders well. It certainly did not serve homeowners who are losing their homes, workers who have lost their jobs, retirees who have seen their retirement funds vanish, or taxpayers who paid hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out the banks.

    • Britain threatens to freeze Iceland out of EU as loan payback vetoed

      Britain warned Iceland that it would be frozen out of the European Union after its President abruptly vetoed the repayment of a £3.6 billion loan.

      The Treasury expected Reykjavik to rubberstamp the terms of repayment for the loan extended by Britain and the Netherlands at the height of the financial crisis. The loan meant that 400,000 savers with deposits in Icesave did not lose their money.

    • Road To Perdition

      In the early 1980’s, before the three decade long debt induced frat party, the National Debt was between $900 billion and $1.6 trillion. Today, the National Debt is $12.3 trillion, up 1,250% in three decades. The US dollar was phenomenally strong in the early 1980’s versus a trade weighted basket of foreign currencies, reaching 145 in 1985. Today it has sunk to 77, a 50% decrease in 24 years. Enormous deficits and a plunging currency are a precursor of the unavoidable breakdown of a onetime economic powerhouse. A courageous act by our leaders would be to dramatically decrease government spending and increase interest rates to encourage savings, which would result in a strong dollar. The short term pain would be intense, but it would put our country back on a sound fiscal path. Instead, we will throw our children and grandchildren under the bus with continued financial malfeasance. More spending, more debt, and a cheaper dollar are the drugs of choice.

    • What’s Acceptable for Bank Returns?

      Of course, there is no good reason that banks should consistently earn 20 percent and more on their equity, particularly when interest rates are at zero. During the 1970s and the 1980s, when interest rates and inflation were much higher, the return on tangible equity for the British banking industry averaged 10 to 11 percent, according to Credit Suisse research. This changed only in the 1990s, when looser regulations permitted large banks to increase leverage and take on more risk.

    • Goldman Sachs is Latest Bank to Threaten London

      Goldman Sachs (GS) has joined JPMorgan Chase (JPM) in threatening to hotfoot it out of London over the U.K.’s proposed “supertax” on banker bonuses.

    • Why Goldman Sachs isn’t going anywhere

      Obviously, like nearly all right-wing frothers nearly all the time, they’re talking complete and utter bollocks.

    • Charlie Gasparino Suspects Goldman Sachs Is Behind Anonymous Blogger

      As you may have noticed over the last year or so, Charlie Gasparino is no fan of anonymous bloggers. Usually he’s content to let them live in their holes, like bums, but they step into his den, they step too far.

    • Charlie Gasparino Still Doesn’t Get My Point About Goldman
  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • War-blogger Michael Yon says he was harassed, cuffed, detained in Seattle

      Author and warblogger Michael Yon says (via Facebook) “Got arrested at the Seattle airport for refusing to say how much money I make.” I presume he was entering the US from overseas, not clear to me yet who the agents were.

    • The Hero Of Time Update (01-01-10)

      Hey, everyone. We just wanted to let you know that Dec. 31 was the last day that The Hero of Time was available for viewing. We came to an agreement with Nintendo earlier this month to stop distributing the film. In the spirit of the holiday season they were good enough to let us keep the movie up for you to watch and enjoy through the end of 2009, but not past 2009. We understand Nintendo’s right to protect its characters and trademarks and understand how in order to keep their property unspoiled by fan’s interpretation of the franchise, Nintendo needs to protect itself — even from fan-works with good intentions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • First 2010 Google D.C. Talk on ACTA: the global treaty that could reshape the Internet

      The panel will tackle important questions like: Will ACTA preserve the existing balance in intellectual property laws, providing not just enforcement for copyright holders but also appropriate exceptions for technology creators and users? Will it undermine the legal safe harbors that have allowed virtually every Internet service to come into existence? And will it encourage governments to endorse “three strikes” penalties that would take away a user’s access to the Internet?

    • UK Gov’t On ACTA: Lack of Transparency Not In the Public Interest

      The UK Government discusses the lack of transparency in an EU access to information request:

      “More broadly with respect to ACTA the UK considers that transparency is crucial to ensure the legitimacy of the agreement and to stop the spread of rumours. We believe the lack of transparency is unhelpful and do not believe that it is in the public interest.”

    • Record Label Stops Signing Artists Because of Piracy

      Despite this, there will also be labels that perform badly for unrelated reasons. How convenient is it then, to blame evil file-sharers for your disappointing results. The Finnish hard rock label Lion Music is doing just that, with rather dramatic consequences.

    • The Next Big Battle: Cable TV vs. The Internet

      Still, the more interesting battle may be shaping up elsewhere. Some consumer groups are asking the Justice Department to investigate cable companies for their “TV Everywhere” effort, which they claim is almost certainly an antitrust violation of collusion to keep certain content from going on the internet. Not surprisingly, the cable industry and their lobbyists have hit back hard, claiming that the whole thing is ridiculous.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Claudio Menezes, a UNESCO official uniting international Free Software communities 05 (2004)


Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Varnish

Posted in Boycott Novell, Servers, Site News at 4:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An attempt to squash DDOS with standalone filters

D

ue to the fact that Boycott Novell is made unavailable when flooded by requests from offending IPs, we are temporarily routing all traffic via Varnish proxy. It ought to filter out denial of service attempts.

This means that all requests will be channeled via the same IP address and thus our rating system will not work. Each item (post/comment) can only be rated once, for that single IP. Other things ought to function just as normal. If not, please do let us know.

Microsoft’s Puppy, Fortify, Attacks Android (Linux) Over E-reader ‘Security’

Posted in DRM, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A notorious Microsoft partner called Fortify is once again smearing Linux using invalid arguments and other Microsoft trolls do their thing in Linux sites

E-book readers (or E-readers) are typically just DRM-infected devices, which are doing little more than display of text. They are not Internet/Web surfing gadgets. Linux already dominates E-book readers and Microsoft is not happy about this because it too wanted to enter such a fast-growing market but did not have the guts to compete with Linux. It goes back to remarks made by Steve Ballmer a few months ago.

Microsoft’s anti-Free software friend, Fortify, is doing it again [1, 2, 3]. It mocks Linux/Android as an operating system on E-readers, which are increasingly adopting it. Fortify’s little soldiers are using as fuel the fact that owners of these devices are able to gain full control of their device. This FUD comes around the same time that Google makes a big Android announcement (Nexus One).

Modified portable devices have the potential to create a real security headache for businesses, according to Fortify Software.

[...]

Barnes and Noble’s eReader, the Nook, was recently cracked to enable it to use the full functionality of the Android mobile operating system.

“Although the Nook uses a customised version of the Android operating system, it also supports Wi-Fi and 3G cellular, which means it has connectivity with all manner of systems via the Internet,” he said. “This is why the eReader, which has already been cracked to load the Pandora Web-based music service, the Twitter application and a number of Facebook applications, has now been fully cracked to run most Android applications.”

Android is becoming very big also as a mobile platform and it seems like the Microsoft ecosystem grows nervous. Who would ever choose Windows CE/Mobile for an E-reader? Probably those who think of loyalty to Microsoft rather than adherence to good engineering. Check out what happens to Windows phones at the moment. The really buggy software from Microsoft cannot even handle the new year properly:

2016 bug hits Windows phones

The date bug which is interfering with Aussie point of sale transactions has spread to some Windows mobile phones.

The glitch means that text messages received since New Year’s Eve will appear with a 2016 date. Card scanners in thousands of Australian shops have also been hit, as we reported yesterday. Bank of Queensland systems, believing it was 2016, rejected most payment cards because they’d passed their expiry date.

By all stretch of imagination, Microsoft will carry on throwing shills at the “Linux problem”. Here for example is “darryl”, who is a known Microsoft troll (already banned from some major Linux sites) posting from Bigpond/Hotmail.

Discussing the fate of Microsoft been so much fun, one commenter we only know as darryl wants in on the action. My hesitation is not about the money I will not bet you, darryl, 1000 United States dollars because I do not know you. Moreover, your IP address suggests you are from Australia so I don’t know how we could set up such an arrangement. By the way, you never answered my question regarding if you are a Microsoft employee.

We have just heard from other readers of ours who have blogs that this troll is flooding them with anti-Linux rhetoric when they criticise Microsoft. We already know for a fact that Microsoft has people on the payroll doing that type of stuff.

“It could be argued that Microsoft’s unethical Technology Evangelism (TE) practices are “old news”—i.e., that Microsoft stopped using these questionable TE practices long ago. This is very unlikely to be the case, for at least three reasons.”

James Plamondon, former Microsoft "Technology Evangelist", 2008

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