Links 25/1/2010: NZ School Switches to GNU/Linux, KDE Software Compilation 4.4 Reaches RC2

Posted in News Roundup at 11:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • LinuxTag, Europe’s Leading Open Source Conference, Announces Call for Papers

    LinuxTag is the most important place for Linux and open source software in Europe. Last year, LinuxTag had over ten thousand attendees, and over 300 speakers. This year, the 16th LinuxTag will be June 9-12, 2010 at the Berlin Fairgrounds in Germany. LinuxTag seeks exciting and suitable proposals for presentations in the conference tracks.

  • New Zealand

    • NZ school ditches Microsoft and goes totally open source

      A New Zealand high school running entirely on open source software has slashed its server requirements by a factor of almost 50, despite a government deal mandating the use of Microsoft software in all schools.


      The implementation uses Ubuntu on the desktop and Mandriva for four key servers (one firewall, one storage and two KVM hypervisors). Mandriva was selected because of the ease of using Mandriva Directory Server to manage the school’s LDAP directory, but Brennan said either desktop or server OS could easily be replaced.

    • Kiwi high school issues shot heard around the open source world

      A New Zealand high school has defied the national government and struck a blow heard around the world of open source.

      Albany Senior High School is ignoring a deal worked out between the National Party government and Microsoft and claims it is saving a bundle.

    • Linux.conf.au: Birds of a Feather flock together

      The Linux.conf.au conference in Wellington is not all about keynote speakers. Some of the most interesting sessions come from the Birds of a Feather (BOF) gatherings, where people come together to talk about all things open source.

      The ad hoc sessions are designed as a meet and greet for people with similar interests and experience to share ideas and issues.

  • Server

    • London stock exchange switches to Linux

      In a press release the LSE told the financial markets that the Linux based software will bring significant benefits. The new trading system will give it “high performance” trading, as well as an “agile, efficient, in-house IT development capability”, it said.

  • Kernel Space

    • New GRUB2 Build Brings Official Release Closer

      After being in development for many years, GRUB 1.97 was released this past October as a major development release towards GRUB 2.0. GRUB 2.0 brings forth many new features and has already been picked up by Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. The GRUB 1.97 release though was quickly outdone by a point release to address some bugs and a security issue and since then it’s been a quiet few months. Robert Millan though has made a Sunday afternoon release of GRUB 1.97.2.

    • QEMU 0.13 To Focus On New Features

      This week there was the release of QEMU 0.12.2 (and the subsequent release of KVM-QEMU 0.12.2) with support for block migration, but this point release was mostly made up of small fixes and tweaks. IBM’s Anthony Liguori though has begun making plans for the next major release of this open-source processor emulator. QEMU 0.13 will be the next big release and Anthony is hoping it will be completed by June and boast a large number of new features.

    • Fedora, Debian, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OpenSolaris Benchmarks

      Fedora 12 and Debian GNU/Linux (2010-01-14) were tied with each having seven wins. Behind the Linux distributions, OpenSolaris 2009.06 and FreeBSD 8.0 were tied with each having two wins. Debian GNU/kFreeBSD and FreeBSD 7.2 each had one win.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R600/R700 Gallium3D Winsys Published

        Jerome Glisse, a long-time open-source ATI driver developer who now works for Red Hat, has shared that he’s finished up cleaning the initial R600/700 winsys API for which the R600/700 Gallium3D driver will be based. Once it is all cleaned up and ready, it will be hooked up into the Gallium3D pipe driver for the ATI Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000 series hardware. In the context of Gallium3D, the winsys binds the state tracker and pipe driver together with the underlying software stack on the operating system.

  • Instructionals

  • Games

    • Fishing Cactus Are porting Their Mojito Engine To GNU/Linux !

      Fishing Cactus the developers of many games meant for digital distribution platforms have announced that they are porting their game engine Mojito to GNU/Linux…

    • PlayStation 3 Homebrew/Linux

      • Once impenetrable PS3 cracked wide open

        The feat greatly expands the functionality of the box by allowing it to run unrestricted versions of Linux and a wide range of games that are currently forbidden.

      • PlayStation 3 ‘hacked’ by iPhone cracker

        A US hacker who gained notoriety for unlocking Apple’s iPhone as a teenager has told BBC News that he has now hacked Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3).

        George Hotz said the hack, which could allow people to run pirated games or homemade software, took him five weeks.

      • Hello hypervisor, I’m geohot

        I have read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor. In other words, I have hacked the PS3. The rest is just software. And reversing. I have a lot of reversing ahead of me, as I now have dumps of LV0 and LV1. I’ve also dumped the NAND without removing it or a modchip.

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE vs. GNOME: Configuration and Admin Tools

      Linux has a strong do-it-yourself tradition. Although new users are transitioning rapidly to the desktop, that tradition remains. Even on the desktop, users expect to be able to administer their systems directly, and to work in an environment customized to their tastes and needs.

      As the leading desktops for the operating system, GNOME and KDE reflect this tradition. Both are more adjustable and flexible than any version of Windows.

    • Software Compilation 4.4 RC2 Release Announcement

      Today, KDE has released the second release candidate of the next version of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC). KDE SC 4.4 Release Candidate 2 provides a testing base for identifying bugs in the upcoming KDE Software Compilation 4.4, with its components the KDE Plasma Workspaces, the Applications powered by KDE, and the KDE Development Platform.

  • Distributions

    • Feature: Hymera and commercial Linux

      Going into this review I was curious to see if Hymera would bring anything new to the community. More specifically, does this distribution provide anything special which would make it worth purchasing? One thing I will say for Hymera is that it doesn’t fall into the trap some commercial distributions before it have: it doesn’t try to be Windows.

    • auto_inst: the best kept Mandriva’s secret ?
    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat launches opensource.com community site

        Red Hat has launched opensource.com as a community site for open source. The Drupal powered site has been created by Red Hat but Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s President and CEO, says “This will not be a site for Red Hat, about Red Hat.

      • Red Hat becomes an open source community organizer

        The most important is probably Venkatesh Hariharan (right), who goes by the screen name Venky and is listed as head of open source affairs at Red Hat. I see him as key because Venky is a journalist, thus I assume the editor here.

        He has already done grand work bringing a South Asian perspective to the open source community through his own blog. He is co-founder of IndLinux, the team that localized both GNOME and KDE for the Indian Linux community and has been a Knight science journalism fellow at MIT.

      • opensource.com
      • Welcome to the conversation on opensource.com

        As the CEO of Red Hat, this is a day I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. In my travels, I often find myself talking to people from all walks of life who see opportunities for the lessons of open source to be applied broadly to the world around us.

        At Red Hat, we’ve used open source principles as the backbone of a successful technology company. We know there are opportunities to apply the open source way broadly in business, in government, in education, in the law, and throughout our lives.

      • OpenSource.com launches on Drupal

        Red Hat just launched OpenSource.com on Drupal. The site will focus on exploring what happens when the open source way is applied to the world, beyond technology. The site has 5 main channels: business, education, government, law, and life. In each channel, they’ll explore how open source is having an impact on each of those areas. The content is meant to be very conversational and participatory, making Drupal a natural choice. Needless to say, it is great to see Drupal being used to promote Open Source way beyond technology. It is also rewarding to see Red Hat, the mother of all Open Source companies, using Drupal.

      • Red Hat launches opensource.com with Drupal

        Red Hat has just launched a new portal at opensource.com – for information and articles about open source. The site uses the Drupal open source content management system and it looks like Red Hat has been working on the site since at least October.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Software Centre Gets Star Ratings & Reviews

        To rate an application in Lucid you will be asked to sign in with your Ubuntu ‘Single Sign-On’ account – better known currently known as a Launchpad account. (This account will have uses further along the line with the Ubuntu Music Store. Stay tuned!)

      • Ubuntu: It’s time to tackle the marketing machine, open source style

        I’m sure the community can think of plenty of other ways to stir up a frenzy for Ubuntu 10.04. But it has to start now. The seed of desire must be planted before the sun ever shines on this patch of dirt. I am calling out the Ubuntu community and throwing down the gauntlet. You help make this, you help sell this. If you love your distribution as much as you say you do, then it’s time for you to take your distribution to the masses. And to do that, you are going to have to give to Linux what Linux can’t give to Linux – marketing. It’s the Achilles’ heel of Linux.

      • Lubuntu Lucid Lynx Alpha 2 Has Been Released!
      • Lubuntu Alpha 2 Released; Gets New Bootsplash, Artwork, File Manager

        The second Alpha of Lubuntu 10.04 has slipped out for testing.

        The main differences from Lubuntu Alpha 1 are minimal, so for a better insight in to Lubuntu I’d recommend referring to our ‘Lubuntu Alpha 1’ review.

      • UbuntuOne Being Ported To Windows

        Many users have refrained from using the cloud storage solution thus far due in part to the lack of cross platform syncing. As such, the UbuntuOne team will be running a ‘sprint’ at PyCon 2010 to provide just that.

      • Windows set for Ubuntu cloud storage?
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Android

      • Android will soon trail only Symbian, says IDC

        The firm did not list figures for other OSes, but noted that Android will benefit from “having a growing footprint of handset vendors supporting it.” As for Symbian, it will continue to stay strong due to Nokia’s strength outside the U.S., says IDC, which made no mention of the impact of Symbian’s transition to open source.

      • Android Tops iPhone In Mobile Trends Report

        According to the report (which is called BoomBox), Android pulled far ahead of the iPhone in terms of traffic this year. “Visits from users on the Android operating system grew almost 350% from December 2008 to December 2009, compared to iPhone visits which grew 170%,” it stated.

      • Motorola opens Android app store in China

        Motorola has opened a new store for Android applications in China called SHOP4APPS or Zhi-Jian-Yuan, to purchase and download applications designed to customise Android-based Motorola phones.

        In addition, the company also introduced a new feature on their Android handsets enabling users to customise their Android devices by selecting their own search provider. Users will be able to select their search experience from a number of providers including Baidu and others, with whom Motorola has signed strategic agreements.

      • Motorola taps Baidu, others for China search

        The announcement on Thursday of a partnership with Google’s arch-rival Baidu, China’s No. 1 search engine, and Motorola’s promise of more search deals, follows Google’s threat to exit China due to a cyber attack and censorship dispute.

      • Google Nexus One – 10 ways to pimp your Android phone

        With the Google Nexus One winging its way over here, and Android phones being perhaps the most customisable smartphones around in all their open-source loveliness, we’ve come up with a selection of ways to personalise your Android phone, inside and out. So, let’s get creative and pimp those phones right up…

Free Software/Open Source

  • Funambol Mobile Open Source: the Book

    Packt – the UK publishing company specialized in books on software running yearly the open source CMS award – published “Funambol Mobile Open Source“, the first ever book on Funambol server.

  • Xorcom Unveils New Dedicated Redundant Power Supply Unit

    The company leverages Asterisk (News – Alert) Open Source IP-PBX telephony platform to design and produce its hardware telephony solutions for commercial installations.

  • Post Clinton’s Internet Freedom Speech:US- SourceForge Blocked Syria, Sudan, Iran, N. Korea & Cuba: Is Open Source Still Open?

    While celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King a few days ago, it seems we still have a long journey to walk against discrimination in all its ugly faces, even with having the Open Source and OpenNet initiatives. It is kind of misleading to hide behind political considerations or terrorism threats to justify those acts of discrimination (which are not that different from the Third World governments’ justifications of Internet censorship), as those acts would only affect, if they would really do, normal peaceful people. Actually, the only effect I see is not simply an increasing feeling of prejudice or suspicion among the computing society, but more remarkably, distrust and losing faith in initiatives raising shiny mottoes with supposedly great ethics behind, such as “Software Freedom”. When a student or an academician in one of those banned countries read a report like “Access Denied” or know about OpenNet Initiative [4], they feel a bitter irony. They believe that the people behind such efforts should pay more attention to the behavior of their own government, which is leading the “Free World”.

  • Should open-source repositories block nations under U.S. sanctions?

    Arabcrunch has accused major open-source repository SourceForge from blocking all access to software projects it hosts for anyone in Syria, Sudan, Iran, North Korea and Cuba.

    Not surprisingly, this policy comes in for a fair amount of ridicule over there. Filtering out the political rhetoric, and the main point is: Either open source is “open” or it’s not.

  • SourceForge blocks Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan and Cuba
  • Clarifying SourceForge.net’s denial of site access for certain persons in accordance with US law
  • Open source medical software delivers in Haiti

    One of the big success stories in the wake of the Haiti earthquake is being driven by open source. (You can help.)

    Partners in Health has been on the ground in Haiti for 20 years. During that time it has learned many lessons about delivering IT resources in an environment without infrastructure. Most of its communications are satellite links.

  • Talend Reveals Open-source MDM

    An open-source MDM (master data management) suite from Talend is now available, giving companies a lower-priced option to proprietary products from the likes of Tibco, Kalido and IBM, the company announced Monday.

  • Keeping An Open Mind

    Functionally, the enterprise version of Talend MDM has the features that you would expect from an MDM product; it is based heavily on Java and Eclipse, and uses JBoss for event management.

  • Obsidian offers open source, open bar

    Obsidian Systems and its media partner, ITWeb, are hosting quarterly Free Beer Sessions to provide the IT industry with insight, networking opportunities, and free beer – all in the name of open source.

    Playing on Richard Stallman’s famous explanation that free software is “free as in speech, not free as in beer”, these sessions are aimed primarily at open source enthusiasts and businessmen looking to incorporate open source solutions within their organisation. The Free Beer Sessions will have a technical and a business speaker.

  • Open-Source Maturing For Mobile Development

    Another open-source mobile development platform is PhoneGap. Its development is led by Nitobi, a decade-old company coming into mobile from the wider software development world. PhoneGap is similar to Rhomobile’s Rhodes product, but is based on HTML and Javascript.

  • Maven gets more restrictive

    Until recently Maven allowed for two ways to upload an open source project to the central repository. One could file a request for a manual addition which would take forever to get fixed (the last time a batch of manual requests was processed happened two months ago) or, alternatively, one could setup an rsync repository and request an auto-sync — which was the preferred way. The auto-sync procedure was covered in this blog entry by Torsten Cudt.

  • Top 10 technologies to beat tyranny

    Shaun Nichols: When people like Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds created the pillars of the open-source software movement, they did so with the fundamental belief that software and digital data should be open and accessible to all users. This is, of course, quite conflicting with the basic tenants of tyrannical rule.

    One of the great things about open-source software is that it can be opened up and tinkered with by just about anyone who wants to. Additionally, open-source tools and applications can be more or less shared freely on the web. This allows people who may otherwise not have access to the resources to both use the software and learn how to build and tinker with it themselves.

  • Moving forward in Open Source

    In other words, the judgments should come from the mind, and not the heart. Your heart should be put into improving the Open Source application. That will certainly help Open Source grow.

  • ByWater Solutions Partners with the Farmington Libraries for Koha Installation and Support

    ByWater Solutions, an open source community supporter and official Koha support company, announced today that The Farmington Libraries, of Farmington, CT. has partnered with them for the implementation of the open source community version of the Koha integrated library system.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla Firefox Gets More ‘Agile’ with Lorentz

      Mozilla is now embarking on a new development and release model for its flagship Firefox open source Web browser. The model will meld both fast-moving Agile and more traditional “waterfall” development methodologies in an attempt to more quickly iterate new features while maintaining backwards compatibility, security and overall code quality.

    • Firefox Takes a 15% Speed Jump

      Mozilla’s new Firefox 3.6 is about 15% faster than its predecessor, Firefox 3.5, but still is a slowpoke compared to the current speed demons, Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome, benchmark tests show.

      According to tests run by Computerworld , Firefox 3.6, which Mozilla launched on Thursday, is the third fastest of five Windows browsers tested. Firefox renders JavaScript three times faster than Opera 10 and more than four times faster than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE8). It’s also 14.5% faster than Firefox 3.5, the Mozilla browser that debuted in June 2009, a slightly larger speed increase than Mozilla has claimed.

    • Firefox gets an update, is 20 percent faster

      “Firefox 3.6 is more than 20 percent faster than Firefox 3.5 and includes extensive under the hood work to improve performance for everyday Web tasks such as email, uploading photos, social networking, and more. It also delivers new features like customizable browser themes called Personas, a ground-breaking Plugin updater, improved JavaScript performance, and enhancements to familiar favorites like the Awesome Bar for a better, more personal Web experience,” announced Mozilla via their blog on January 21.

    • Firefox surges

      Firefox downloads boosted by new release and Internet Explorer security scare.

      Mozilla’s open source browser experienced a healthy boost in popularity last week on the back of a new release and security concerns about Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

    • 8 Firefox Add-ons I Can’t Do Without
    • 5 Firefox Add-ons For Better KDE Integration
    • Goofy Pro-Linux Story to Counter Pundit’s Awkward Efforts to Install Firefox

      I do see how arguments arise about whether Ubuntu (or any other Linux) is user-friendly. In this case I considered it user-friendly because it allowed a user with very little experience the latitude to muddle about until he found a route to the result he wanted. I can also see the viewpoint of a user in a hurry who is upset because it takes more than one push of a button to achieve his goal. It’s a sensitive balance between ease of operation and scope of control.

  • Databases

    • Sun and Oracle’s impact on open source acquisitions

      Of course, vendors that fit into both the open source and cloud-related categories will be among the most attractive targets. And truth be told, a startup in 2010 is more than likely to use open source to drive developer adoption and monetize that adoption in the cloud. As a result, it’ll become increasingly difficult to distinguish an open source vendor from a cloud vendor. Either way, the exit potential for these vendors looks bright.

    • Oracle poised to relocate as Sun acquisition approved

      A JUBILANT Oracle is gearing up to relocate its Scottish headquarters from Edinburgh to Linlithgow, following the European Commission’s approval of its £4.5 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

      European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes ended several months of uncertainty last week, saying she was now satisfied that the proposed takeover of one US technology giant by another will preserve competition and innovation.

  • Business

  • Releases

    • Open source mapping software meets the enterprise

      Following the GeoServer 2.0.1 update that was released last week, OpenGeo today released OpenGeo Suite Enterprise Edition 1.0, the complete package of open source mapping software that OpenGeo will professionally support.

  • Government

    • European Parliament To Restart The Workgroup On Open Source Software

      A number of members of the European Parliament are about to start an informal cross-party working group on ‘New Media, Free and Open Source Software and Open Information Society’. The intergroup is expected to begin in February 2010, with the support of the European People’s Party (EPP), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (Alde) and the European Greens.

    • The Bugs in Mayor’s Open Source Software Announcement

      So what does it mean for San Franciscans? Not much, yet. It will probably be a few years before the city realizes significant savings, much less improved efficiency and interoperability. And for open source developers in San Francisco, it will probably be a long time before city IT employees (or citizens) are enabled or empowered to contribute to the codebase of open source software on city time or for the city’s benefit. But hey, the taxpayer-funded Web site built for Newsom is apparently powered by open source solutions, so there’s that.

    • Open-source Austin

      While there is no way most cities can compete with national and state governments in terms of scandal and sleaze, there are many ways they can enhance public awareness and involvement. One innovative way to do this is by adapting open-source software.

      San Francisco recently enacted the nation’s first open-source software policy for city government, and Austin should follow because it will save the city millions, lead to greater public involvement and improve how our city runs.

      Open-source software is software for which the source code is free to access and modify and not copyrighted. Essentially, it means that anybody who wants to can access the software and improve upon it. This is ideal for city government because it allows the public to collectively utilize its talent to improve the way the city runs.

  • Openness

    • The Greater Good: Entrepreneurship, Open Source, and a Better World

      Last night, I was catching up with a friend who is as far from me in lifestyle outlook as you could possibly be. She is a extremely left wing type working for an environmental advocacy organization in DC. I, on the other hand, am an entrepreneur with one foot planted firmly on the right and one foot firmly planted on the left.

    • Report: Riversimple’s open source hydrogen car potentially coming in 2012

      The open source community behind the Riversimple project works together at the 40 Fires Foundation, which has been going for about a year now. 40 Fires intends to become a registered charity for people to donate to in order to “provide a platform for the development of energy efficient vehicles to benefit society and the planet.”

    • Lab to be first ‘open-source’ for genetic parts

      Bioengineers from Stanford and UC-Berkeley are ramping up efforts to characterize thousands of molecular players and processes critical to the engineering of microbes.

      With seed money from the National Science Foundation, bioengineers from Stanford and UC-Berkeley, are ramping up efforts to characterize thousands of molecular players and processes critical to the engineering of microbes, so that eventually researchers can mix and match these “DNA parts” in synthetic organisms to produce new drugs, fuels or chemicals. They’ll do this in a lab in Emeryville, Calif., called BIOFAB.

  • Programming

    • CMake vs autotools: poppler

      Poppler has a CMake ebuild now. Given how poppler is used it seems to me quite a bad move, poppler is small and used in system that may not have cmake already installed.


  • Oxfam’s follow the oil money video

    Yana from Oxfam sez, “I thought you’d enjoy watching this short animation from Oxfam America that follows our gas dollars, to show where they really go. Oxfam has been working hard to deliver aid to victims of Haiti’s earthquake, but they’re also working to achieve transparency about oil and gas companies’ payments to foreign governments – Empowering people living in resource-rich developing countries to demand that such revenue can be used to address basic needs (education, clean water, health care, etc). The animation was done by Talking Eyes Media.”

  • Science

    • Only nukes can stop planetsmash asteroids, say US boffins

      Top American boffins have warned that the US government’s efforts to prevent global apocalypse caused by meteor strike are inadequate. The scientists add that nuclear weapons are the only practical means of defence against large, planet-wrecker sized asteroids.

    • Colliding Particles Can Make Black Holes

      You’ve heard the controversy. Particle physicists predict the world’s new highest-energy atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, might create tiny black holes, which they say would be a fantastic discovery. Some doomsayers fear those black holes might gobble up Earth–physicist say that’s impossible–and have petitioned the United Nations to stop the $5.5 billion LHC. Curiously, though, nobody had ever shown that the prevailing theory of gravity, Einstein’s theory of general relativity, actually predicts that a black hole can be made this way. Now a computer model shows conclusively for the first time that a particle collision really can make a black hole.

  • Security

    • CCTV in the sky: police plan to use military-style spy drones

      Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the ­”routine” monitoring of antisocial motorists, ­protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.

    • Halstead’s CCTV delay ‘A Farce’

      YET more delays have hit a “blighted” CCTV system which was meant to be installed next week.

      Braintree Council agreed to give Halstead CCTV back in September 2007, but wrangles over cost, camera positions, red tape and then snow have meant it has missed three promised dates.

    • Panel monitors use of CCTV in Wycombe

      The Wycombe CCTV Lay Panel will present its annual report to the district council on February 15 and there will be an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions.

    • ACLU slams Senators: The Constitution is not ‘optional’

      “Terrorism is a crime, and to treat terrorism that takes place far from any battlefield as an act of war is to propose that the entire world is a battlefield, to give criminals the elevated status of warriors and to invest whoever the current president may be with the authority to imprison a broad category of people potentially forever, without ever being afforded an opportunity to defend themselves,” noted ACLU’s Romero.

    • Teen’s apology from Humberside Police over DNA sample

      POLICE have publicly apologised to a Hull teenager wrongly locked up overnight and promised his DNA will be deleted from a controversial database.

    • UK.gov uses booze to lure London kids into ID scheme

      Using the same lines as in Manchester, where the pilot was started, young people are told the card will help them buy booze, cigarettes, mucky movies, travel to Europe and even open a bank account.

    • £30 ID cards for young Londoners

      Young Londoners are to be the first in the capital to be issued with ID cards, the Home Office announced today.

      People aged 18 to 24 will be able to spend £30 on a biometric photocard that can be used to prove their age when buying alcohol or age-restricted goods, to gain entry to a nightclub, or even to travel in Europe.

    • Police beat 18-year-old violinist over Mt. Dew bottle

      Pittsburgh police have reassigned three plainclothes officers to uniformed duty pending an investigation into the beating of an 18-year-old student.

    • Aldous Huxley versus George Orwell
    • Simon Calder: Plane security? Fly Groucho club class

      Breathtaking: Luxor Temple, a 3,000-year-old testament to endurance at the heart of the ancient capital of the Egyptian empire; the genial anarchy that prevails at the Pyramids of Giza, a Wonder of the World strewn across a gigantic car park and camel-rental location; and the fact that, when I flew from one to the other last weekend, no-one paid attention to the security risk I might pose.

  • Environment

    • Endangered Species: Humans Might Have Faced Extinction 1 Million Years Ago

      New genetic findings suggest that early humans living about one million years ago were extremely close to extinction.

      The genetic evidence suggests that the effective population—an indicator of genetic diversity—of early human species back then, including Homo erectus, H. ergaster and archaic H. sapiens, was about 18,500 individuals (it is thought that modern humans evolved from H. erectus), says Lynn Jorde, a human geneticist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. That figure translates into a total population of 55,500 individuals, tops.

    • PR Exec Tells How Industry Manipulates Public Opinion

      James Hoggan, the director of the James Hoggan & Associates public relations firm, has authored a book titled Climate Cover Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming, in which he describes PR techniques that industry groups use to create the impression of a scientific controversy about climate change.

    • Climate Cover Up: How to Manipulate Public Opinion

      Stolen emails and erroneous predictions have damaged the image of climate science, leaving many wondering if global warming is real. But this seemingly rational doubt, says the author of ‘Climate Cover Up’ James Hoggan, is not founded on facts but on a sophisticated campaign of disinformation.

  • Finance

    • Tony Blair clinches lucrative hedge fund contract

      Last week, President Obama said that as part of his radical banking reforms, he wants to ban US lenders from investing in hedge funds to limit their exposure to risk. At the same time, Brussels is debating proposed legislation that would cap the amount hedge funds can borrow, and limit ownership.

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • Intuit Lobbying The Government To Make It More Difficult To File Your Tax Returns

      So, everyone, thank Intuit for making tax season that much more frustrating.

    • Lisa Graves Hammers Citizens United Spinners on the Patt Morrison Show

      Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down rules limiting corporate spending in elections, the Center for Media and Democracy’s Lisa Graves stood up to spin by Citizens United about the ramifications of the case.

    • NASA’s Prophet Will Give You Nightmares

      Professor Hansen has been driven into a strange situation, and produced a strange book. For one-third of a century now, this cantankerous scientist has been more accurate in his predictions about global warming than anyone else alive. He saw these disastrous changes coming long before others did, and the U.S. government has tried to censor or sack him for his prescience. Now he has written a whistle-blower’s account while still at the top: a story of how our political system is so wilfully, deliberately blind to environmental realities that we have no choice now but for American citizens to take direct physical action against the polluters. It’s hardly what you expect to hear from the upper echelons of NASA: not a call to the stars, but a call to the streets. Toss a thousand scientific papers into a blender along with All the President’s Men and Mahatma Gandhi, and you’ve got this riveting, disorienting book

    • Bankruptcy Judge Set To Give Tribune Co. Executives $45 Million in Bonuses

      The bankrupt Tribune Co. wants to give up to $45 million in bonuses to hundreds of their managers. A bankruptcy judge in Delaware is waiting for objections to their proposal and is set to make a final decision this week.


      The Chicago-based Tribune Co., which owns 25 television stations and major newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008. They faced what chairman Sam Zell called a “perfect storm” of forces troubling the media industry, along with $13 billion in debt.

    • Tribune Plans Millions in Exec Bonuses while Reporting Gets Cut

      Talk about bankster envy! What’s a failing media conglomerate that has slashed staff and frozen salaries doing giving such golden parachutes to management, while ad revenues plummet? It must be hard for the top dogs to take a critical look at the big bankster bonuses when they are pressing hard to line their own wallets. I must confess that I do have a bias, having seen some great investigative reporters I know laid off by the Tribune’s “cost-saving” measures, which apparently do not including saving millions of dollars at the top.

    • Oil, Tobacco Interests Fund Luxury Getaway for Republicans

      Oil and tobacco companies and other businesses hoping to press their agenda in the California legislature picked up most of the tab for a gathering of about 25 Republican state legislators and a dozen of their aides at a luxurious beach resort in Santa Barbara, California.

    • Firms, trade group helped fund GOP legislators’ retreat

      Companies pressing an agenda in Sacramento, including oil and tobacco firms, funneled $120,000 to a group that covered much of the three-day event at a luxury resort in Santa Barbara.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Chinese Human Rights Sites Hit by DDoS Attack

      Five Web sites run by Chinese human rights activists were attacked by hackers over the weekend, as a separate row continued between Google and China over political cyberattacks.

    • U.S. enables Chinese hacking of Google

      Google made headlines when it went public with the fact that Chinese hackers had penetrated some of its services, such as Gmail, in a politically motivated attempt at intelligence gathering. The news here isn’t that Chinese hackers engage in these activities or that their attempts are technically sophisticated — we knew that already — it’s that the U.S. government inadvertently aided the hackers.

      In order to comply with government search warrants on user data, Google created a backdoor access system into Gmail accounts. This feature is what the Chinese hackers exploited to gain access.

      Google’s system isn’t unique. Democratic governments around the world — in Sweden, Canada and the UK, for example — are rushing to pass laws giving their police new powers of Internet surveillance, in many cases requiring communications system providers to redesign products and services they sell.

    • China counterattacks US in Google hacking row

      According to the Associated Press this morning, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Industry claimed that, not only did the Chinese government have nothing to do with the attacks, but its anti-hacking policy was transparent and consistent. “Any accusation that the Chinese government participated in cyber attacks, either in an explicit or indirect way, is groundless and aims to discredit China,” he said.

    • China rejects claims of cyber attacks on Google

      China has denied any state involvement in alleged cyber attacks on Google and accused the US of double standards.

      A Chinese industry ministry spokesman told the state-run Xinhua news agency that claims that Beijing was behind recent cyber attacks were “groundless”.

    • Wikileaks pledge drive hobbled by PayPal suspension

      Wikileaks is now able to accept PayPal donations again.

      PayPal’s spokeswoman said it had lifted the suspension on Saturday, suggesting it had been triggered by anti-money laundering systems.

    • Australia leaves the internet

      It’s Australia Day tomorrow, and the country’s subjects are using it to mark a week of protests against government plans for compulsory internet censorship.

      www.internetblackout.com.au/ is calling for opponents of the government’s plans to black out their profile picture on social networking sites, black out their websites, write to their MP and join a real world protest too.

    • The real stake in ‘free flow of information’

      Unlike advanced Western countries, Chinese society is still vulnerable to the effect of multifarious information flowing in, especially when it is for creating disorder.

      Western countries have long indoctrinated non-Western nations on the issue of freedom of speech. It is an aggressive political and diplomatic strategy, rather than a desire for moral values, that has led them to do so.

    • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

      • Unsafe Harbors: Abusive DMCA Subpoenas and Takedown Demands

        The DMCA has been used to invade the privacy of Internet users, harass Internet service providers, and chill online speech. The subpoena and takedown powers of Section 512 are not limited to cases of proven copyright infringement, and are exercised without a judge’s review. The following is a small sampling of abuse, overreaching, and mistakes in the use of Section 512(h) subpoenas, Section 512(c)(3)(A) notices, and equivalents. Judicial oversight could curb these abuses without interfering with copyright enforcement.

      • O’Reilly drops ebook DRM, sees 104% increase in sales

        It’s been 18 months since O’Reilly, the world’s largest publisher of tech books, stopped using DRM on its ebooks. In the intervening time, O’Reilly’s ebook sales have increased by 104 percent. Now, when you talk about ebooks and DRM, there’s always someone who’ll say, “But what about [textbooks|technical books|RPG manuals]? Their target audience is so wired and online, why wouldn’t they just copy the books without paying? They’ve all got the technical know-how.”

        So much for that theory.

      • Is Net Neutrality Good for Gaming?

        Scherlis and other advocates of FCC regulation are encouraging gamers to support net neutrality out of a very real fear that your ISP may begin limiting access to select websites or imposing bandwidth caps in the near future.

      • NSA beats warrantless wiretap rap

        A Federal judge has dismissed a complaint against the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Bush-era warrantless wiretapping programme, prompting suggestions the US government is now able to mount mass surveillance operations unhindered by the courts or constitution.

    • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

      • TCLP 2010-01-20 Interview: Danny O’Brien on ACTA

        Due to the length of the interview, there is also no new hacker word of the week this week.

        The feature this week is an interview with Danny O’Brien on ACTA. I was inspired to contact Danny after hearing him on FLOSS Weekly. In the course of the interview, we mention Michael Geist, Knowledge Ecology and Public Knowledge. Visit EFF to learn more about ACTA and the other issues on which Danny is working and take action at their action center.

      • Film Industry Head Glickman Leaves To Head Refugee Organisation

        Bob Pisano, MPAA president and chief operating officer since 2005, will become interim CEO, and the search for Glickman’s replacement continues. Pisano came to MPAA after heading the Screen Actors Guild, and serving at several major movie production companies.

      • Yeager and Other Letters Re Liberty article “Libertarianism and Intellectual Property”
      • State of the Music Industry Part 3

        Perhaps the greatest challenge to all of the technologists that participate in the New Music Seminar is to correct that issue so that great music can rise to its true potential regardless of politics, power or money. I believe that the next decade will bring improvement to the music web that allow that to happen. In the meantime, artists can still make a very good living without selling 10,000 albums by careful cultivation of their fan relationships. This is another theme of the New Music Seminar…redefining the music business around the artist/fan relationship…how to manage it…how to monetize it. Records are no longer currency in the next music business…fans are.

        Here’s the list of the 12 artists that sold over 10,000 albums in 2008 for the first time. Remember these are 12 albums out of 105,575 new album releases that year.

        BON IVER
        Record Label: Jagjaguwar (US/CAN)
        Album: For Emma Forever Ago 103,112

        TMI BOYZ
        Record Label: TMI Entertainment
        Album: Grindin’ For a Purpose 29,119

      • The Future Of Music Business Models (And Those Who Are Already There)

        Instead, let’s let the magic of the market continue to work. New technologies are making it easier than ever for musicians to create, distribute and promote music — and also to make money doing so. In the past, the music business was a “lottery,” where only a very small number made any money at all. With these models, more musicians than ever before are making money today, and they’re not doing it by worrying about copyright or licensing. They’re embracing what the tools allow. A recent study from Harvard showed how much more music is being produced today than at any time in history, and the overall music ecosystem — the amount of money paid in support of music — is at an all time high, even if less and less of it is going to the purchase of plastic discs.

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