IRC Proceedings: June 27th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 27/6/2010: Linux ‘Copter, Droid X

Posted in News Roundup at 6:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Gift of a desktop Part 2

    Take Maddog for example. This man was a system administrator, like me. When he worked for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), a too-big-to-fail mega corporation, he told everyone that UNIX was dying and “Linux is inevitable!” They laughed at him but since he did a lot of favors for people he had enough gift-economy credits to convince folks to gift a computer to some college kid in Finland. Who was this boy genius who promised to replace the UNIX operating system this DEC computer ran with free software he helped write himself? Linus Tourvalds.
    Maddog could retired with the gift of that one desktop as the feather in his cap. Instead he has dedicated his career to spreading the word about free software since then. Indeed, Linux is International.

  • Linux – The father of open source

    When someone says “open source” a lot of people think about programs with open source code or Linux. Linux was started back in the 90′s by Linus Torvalds. The projected expanded a lot in the years that would follow. It became people’s best choice for the minimal and light operating system that works on nearly every machine. Wonder why the supercomputers run Linux? The main reason is security. The other reason is it’s lightness. In my opinion Linux is the best option for the users at home and work. No I’m not saying that Windows is bad, however Windows with good, really good security tweaking can be secure too.

  • FUD

    • A New Take on FUD

      FUD is often used to discourage people from using Free Software but Rex Djere turns it around. His thesis is that the purveyors of non-Free software are the ones in fear about how their control of people will slip their grasp with exposure to Free Software. Nice.

    • Windows is easy, right?

      It is a well known fact, right? Windows operating system is easy, whereas Linux is a frightening tool for geeks. Whether this is a misconception created by fear and ignorance, a culmination of many years of real life experience sprinkled with some aggressive advertisement or just a buzzword, well, it has yet to be seen – in this article.


      Operating systems are geek tools. Software is geeky. Let no one fool you. Nothing short of a revolution will change the software models. We’re still stuck in the 80s mindset of what programs ought to look like and how they should behave. A fraction of the population manages to get along and sometimes on top of this mess, but most people are floundering and drowning in the ocean of binary despair.

  • Desktop

    • Dell Tests Google’s Chrome Operating System on Some Computers

      Dell Inc., the world’s third-largest personal-computer maker, is testing Google Inc.’s Chrome operating system on some computers, a move that might give users an alternative to Microsoft Corp.’s Windows.

      Trials of Chrome OS are being conducted on prototypes of netbook-style devices and tablet computers, Stephen J. Felice, Dell’s consumer and small and medium business president, said in an interview yesterday at Dell’s annual analyst meeting.

  • Applications

  • Devices/Embedded

    • eReaders and the Danger of a Price War

      Last week, Barnes & Noble announced they would cut the price on their wireless Nook eReader, from $259 to $199 ($149 for a new WiFi-only edition.) Many thought this was a good opportunity for the third place contender to gain market share. But within a few hours Amazon beat Barnes & Noble’s price by $10, marking down the Kindle 2 to a mere $189.

    • Linux ‘copter flies in to Blighty

      Geeks will love it too – it runs Linux and Parrot has provided a freely available software development kit for the device.

    • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Students create video-chat program for deaf kids

        Students at the Rochester Institute of Technology created an open, free video chat program for deaf students to use with their One Laptop Per Child computer: “A paper on OVC’s development will be presented to an audience of representatives from all around the world. OVC is also being demonstrated at a conference table throughout the event.”

    • Tablets

      • Microsoft and Tablets

        Microsoft may be left behind by the growth of the tablet market.

        In a few years, Apple has managed to make a space for itself at the center of the smart phone market. While Google’s has joined the fray with the Android operating system more recently, their results so far are impressive and they’re on track to carve out a good market share for themselves.

Free Software/Open Source

  • SaaS

    • The Cloud is a marathon — Marten Mickos, Eucalyptus CEO

      Yesterday at the GigaOM Structure conference here in San Francisco, I ran into Marten Mickos, the recently appointed CEO of Eucalyptus systems. Eucalyptus is one of the key ingredients in the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud that is being certified to run on Dell’s PowerEdge C systems as part of our cloud ISV program.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.0 adds better customization

      The open-source content management system WordPress turned seven years old last month. In its lifetime, it has attracted a devout following: More than 28,000 people download WordPress every day, with over 11.4 million active installations, including news outlets and corporate sites.

  • Healthcare

    • Open source and health care already have a history

      Fred Trotter, organizer of the annual OSHealthCon summit, has developed open source software for the health care field for many years. Most recently, he released a new national provider identifier search tool based on publicly available data.

  • Programming

    • Does the world need another programming language?

      What were the motivations for creating Go?

      Rob Pike

      Rob Pike: A couple of years ago, several of us at Google became a little frustrated with the software development process, and particularly using C++ to write large server software. We found that the binaries tended to be much too big. They took too long to compile. And the language itself, which is pretty much the main system software language in the world right now, is a very old language. A lot of the ideas and changes in hardware that have come about in the last couple of decades haven’t had a chance to influence C++. So we sat down with a clean sheet of paper and tried to design a language that would solve the problems that we have: we need to build software quickly, have it run well on modern multi-core hardware and in a network environment, and be a pleasure to use.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google Counters Apple’s HTML5 Showcase With HTML5Rocks (Yes, It’s Really Called That)

      Earlier this month, Apple unveiled a new site to showcase HTML5. On it, Apple showed off a number of impressive web demos coded using only HTML5 technologies. However, at least on the main page, these demos were restricted to working on only Apple’s Safari web browser. So now Google is countering with its own HTML5 site — called, get this, HTML5Rocks.

    • Google Pushes HTML5 Development

      HTML5 rocks, Google declared this week. The company launched a developer resource site devoted to HTML5 technologies and is calling it HTML5rocks.com

    • Mozilla likes HTML5 over Flash

      Mozilla has joined the chorus in declaring HTML5 as the way of the future.

    • ODF

      • ODF visualization using WebKit

        Today is day 1 of of the OdfKit Hack Week. We wrote a list of things we want to achieve this week. In order to avoid embarrassment, we’ll spare you the details and go straight through to an explanation of how you can use WebKit (or any modern browser) to visualize ODF documents. The general idea is to incorporate the ODF XML into a live HTML document.

      • Last Week in KOffice — Week 24

        Google Summer of Code student Benjamin Port was amazingly productive, making Thorsten Zachmann, his mentor, very happy. Read his blog! Benjamin is working on implementing animation of objects on pages. This is a huge task, since ODF incorporates the SMIL standard for animations, and that’s a big document. Ben implemented support for SMIL duration, translations and keytimes — and fixed crash in page navigation. Another thing Ben committed was a sophisticated HTML export option for presentations.

      • Template based document generation using ODFDOM


  • UK paper requires free Web accounts; traffic plunges

    In the UK, The Times is rolling out its paywall and now demands that anyone intent on reading its content register an account. According to research done by the traffic metrics firm Hitwise, simply demanding registration has already cut into traffic at The Times.

  • We’re suing everybody on Twitter

    At Globe Tech HQ, we are constantly on the lookout for good-news stories. And boy have we found one.

    Regular Globe Tech visitors will have noticed a story on our site today about an important court decision. A group of big banks asked a judge to force a financial news website called The Fly On The Wall (Theflyonthewall.com) to stop posting immediate updates on analyst research from several major banks. TFOTW published its updates so quickly that the big banks often didn’t have time to share the research reports with their clients first. We’re not entirely sure how this happened – do wealthy investors only communicate by carrier pigeon? – but it obviously was a big problem for the banks. Fortunately, however, a judge sided with the banks, issuing an order this March prohibiting TFOTW from issuing such updates for a set period of time following their release by the banks – essentially, the judge imposed a time-delay.

  • Big Blue sues exec for joining Oracle

    IBM is suing Joanne Olsen – a 31-year veteran of the company who used to be general manager of its services division.

    Olsen was tempted away to join Oracle by Larry Ellison after the purchase of Sun Microsystems – which put the two firms in more direct competition.

  • IBM sued over failed virtual PC server projects

    IBM’s Systems and Technology Group finds itself at the center of controversy again, this time as it is being sued by one of its Big Blue’s partners, Devon IT, for allegedly running what the thin client maker calls “a wide-spread Ponzi scheme” over a period of five years.

  • Corruption charges halt two South Africa tech contracts

    South Africa, Africa’s second largest telecommunications market, has become the latest country on the continent to deal with corruption charges regarding technology contracts, moving to cancel deals valued at more than US$552 million.


    In Nigeria, Africa’s largest telecom market, the government is trying to root out corruption in supply contracts for the country’s telecom market. Nigerian government officials are alleged to have received more than $21 million in bribes by Siemens officials for supply contracts. Siemens officials have already been slapped by a fine in Germany while former Nigerian government officials are still being investigated by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over bribery charges.

  • Openmoko WikiReader Device: Wikipedia in Your Pocket

    Many people are dismissive of Wikipedia. For example, back in 2005, as quoted in the Ideas in Action blog, Robert McHenry, a former editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Britannica, argued: “Many revisions, corrections, and updates are badly done or false. There is a simple reason for this: Not everyone who believes he knows something about Topic X actually does; and not everyone who believes he can explain Topic X clearly, can.”

  • RISC OS runs on fastest hardware ever

    RISC OS is alive and well and running on the fastest hardware it’s ever been on – and the kit only costs £120. But “kit” is the operative word…

  • Smart ways to ditch your old phone

    Whether they’re waiting in line Thursday for a new iPhone 4 or grabbing other recent smartphone offerings such as the Droid Incredible or Microsoft’s Kin, plenty of folks will be saying goodbye to their old phones in coming days.

    But what to do with that once-trusty piece of pocket technology when it’s replaced by a sleeker, faster, fancier newcomer?

  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment

    • Mining shares jump as Australia gets new PM

      New Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, who replaced Kevin Rudd, is seen as more willing to negotiate with mining companies over the controversial tax on so-called “super profits” made by the resources companies.

    • Can cities save our bees?

      The disappearance of bees endangers the beekeeping profession and threatens agriculture and the food supply (according to French scientists from INRA and the CNRS, 35% of world production of fruits, vegetables and oilseeds depends on the activities of the pollinators). Environmentalists and beekeepers, using data gathered by many toxological studies, are fighting against big chemical companies in order to prohibit the use of some products that can be lethal for bees, such as Gaucho and Regent TS.

    • 3 World Water Wins

      Everybody needs water as much as they need air or food. So what happens when a corporation steps in and turns public water into private profit? It can spell disaster in a poor community or a place where clean water is scarce. Ten years ago, Bolivians made headlines when protests by Cochabamba’s people overturned a private water contract that made water rates catastrophically expensive. Since then, people around the world have been fighting to keep water public. From Canadian towns banning wasteful bottled water to cities across France reclaiming privatized water systems, there’s a growing global movement of citizens taking back their water. Here are some key wins.

    • Obama Energy Secretary once said BP was going to save the world
    • Arctic Oil: A Very Crude Idea

      Even now, as the disastrous situation in the temperate waters of the Gulf of Mexico continues, oil companies are still pushing for opening up the Arctic for, oil drilling. Last month the Obama administration commendably postponed the planned exploratory oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska, pending further investigation, and a plan to dump 1,200 litres of crude oil as a “test” into Lancaster Sound in the Canadian Arctic has been shelved, following major opposition. Meanwhile, Greenland last week has announced a plan to start drilling in Baffin Bay. My Google Alerts for the word “Arctic” are suddenly full of fossil fuel industry references, much more than this time last year.

    • Don’t mention the spill!

      What do oil and genetically engineered (GE) rice have in common? The ability to get multinationals in a whole lot of trouble, apparently. BP is battling the oil spill in the Gulf and desperately trying to employ some sort of brand damage control that will work – both efforts seem to be doing rather badly.

    • Internal BP document claims Gulf oil gusher jetting up to 100,000 barrels per day
    • India fury over US ‘double standards’ on BP and Bhopal

      Barack Obama’s tough stand on Gulf oil spill contrasts with lack of action on Bhopal, campaigners say

    • Whale cull plan sunk as national delegates fail to agree

      Thousands of whales will continue to be killed each year after international negotiations to redraw whaling rules collapsed following two days of secret talks.

      However, anti-whaling groups hailed the collapse as a success, as it means the ban on whaling – introduced 24 years ago but ignored by some nations – remains.

    • Airspace Activism: Compelling New Art and an Interview with Nelly Ben Hayoun and Dr. Alison J. Williams
    • Just another fish?

      I read a very revealing interview yesterday, with Iceland’s chief whaler. Kristjan Loftsson has merrily defied the global moratorium on commercial whaling for decades and now sits on Iceland’s government delegation to the International Whaling Commission. He is, of course, also big pals with the Japanese and Norwegian delegations.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • ACLU asks South Carolina: Don’t erase voting machine records

      The American Civil Liberties Union has waded into the controversy over South Carolina’s bizarre Democratic primaries last week, which ended with the Senate nomination going to an unknown, unemployed candidate who won more votes than were cast in some counties.

    • Exclusive: Publication of China crackdown memoirs halted

      About 20,000 Chinese-language copies of “The Tiananmen Diary of Li Peng” had initially been scheduled to go on sale in Hong Kong on June 22, but Bao Pu, of New Century Press, stopped the presses on Friday because he did not have copyright ownership.

    • Pakistan scans Google, other sites for blasphemy

      Pakistan will monitor seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, to block anti-Islamic links and content, an official said Friday. Seventeen lesser-known sites are being blocked outright for alleged blasphemous material.

      The moves follow Pakistan’s temporary ban imposed on Facebook in May that drew both praise and condemnation in a country that has long struggled to figure out how strict a version of Islam it should follow.


      Yahoo called Pakistan’s actions disappointing. The company is “founded on the principle that access to information can improve people’s lives,” Yahoo spokeswoman Amber Allman said.

      Microsoft and Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

    • FTC, Twitter Settle Data Security, Privacy Charges

      Continuing in the privacy vein, Twitter has settled with the Federal Trade Commission regarding privacy charges brought after hackers accessed the San Francisco microblogging service and were able to send phony tweets as well as view tweets that users had marked as private.

    • Twitter Settles FTC Privacy Complaint
    • Wikileaks makes contact with US government

      Whistleblower website Wikileaks has made contact with the US government over claims that an American serviceman is one of its sources.

    • Secretive website WikiLeaks may be posting more U.S. military video

      For a website devoted to exposing secrets, WikiLeaks.org is pretty good at keeping its own.

      Not much is confirmed about exactly who founded it and runs it, who donates money to allow the five or so full-time people and hundreds of volunteers to keep it going, and where it all happens.

    • Coppers admit data cock-up

      RED-FACED KENT COPPERS have said they are taking “remedial action” after the Information Commissioner’s Office found it in breach of the Data Protection Act.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • American Antitrust Institute Submits Comments on Comcast/NBCU Joint Venture to FCC

      The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) today submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commissions regarding the proposed joint venture between Comcast and NBCU. On December 3, 2009, Comcast and GE (parent of NBCU) agreed to pool assets in a joint venture (JV) valued at about $30 billion. Under the JV, GE will have a 49 percent ownership share and Comcast will have a 51 percent share.

    • Corruption: FCC’s closed-door meetings on open Internet

      James from the New America Foundation says, “Following reports that of the FCC is holding closed door meetings for a possible Net Neutrality compromise, their blog disclosed this little tidbit: to the extent stakeholders discuss proposals with Commission staff regarding other approaches outside of the open proceedings at the Commission, the agency’s ex parte disclosure requirements are not applicable.’ How ironic that discussions on the Open Internet have become closed.”

  • Copyrights

    • Researchers Change Tune, Now Say P2P Has Negative Impact

      Two researchers who previously believed that file-sharing had no impact on music sales have now changed their minds.

      In a 2004 paper, Felix Oberholzer-Gee of Harvard Business School and Koleman Strumpf of UNC Chapel Hill (now at the University of Kansas) caused a stir by claiming file-sharing did not have a measurable effect on recorded music sales. In their new paper, however, they find that “no more than 20% of the recent decline in sales is due to sharing.” That happens to be roughly the same conclusion reached in a 2007 Capgemeni study commissioned by a UK music industry working group. In that study, Capgemini concluded that 18% of the value lost to the UK record industry from 2004 to 2007 was the result of digital piracy. The unbundling of the CD was found to be the main culprit behind the loss of value over that time period.

    • ASCAP Files 21 Copyright Suits Against Bars and Clubs

      The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers said on Monday that it had filed copyright suits against 21 bars, nightclubs and restaurants across the country, including Doug’s Burger Bar in Imperial, Mo., and The Vibe in Riverside, Calif.

    • Viacom/YouTube aftermath: Will video sites stop filtering content?

      One question that needs to be asked in the wake of Google’s win over Viacom in the YouTube case is whether Google could have gotten away with doing less about copyrighted content on the video-sharing platform.


      “Having tools like filtering helps show the court you are a good actor, but clearly, from a reading of the legislation and from the court decisions, it’s not an obligation,” says Michael Elkin, a partner at Winston & Strawn, who is representing Veoh in an important case testing safe harbor for ISPs before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    • Tech champion, watchdog heads to Google
    • ACTA

      • Petition: ACTA ‘threatens’ Public Interests

        About 650 people, including 11 members of the European Union Parliament and about 90 intellectual property (IP) professors, have signed a document saying an international IP enforcement agreement being negotiated by the U.S. and 36 other countries “threatens numerous public interests.”

        The document, released by American University’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property Wednesday, raises a wide range of concerns about the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which was negotiated in secret for more than two years before the countries involved released a copy of the text in April.

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk 09 September 2008 – Making Your Own Linux Distribution (2008)

Readers’ Input Wanted, Regarding Microsoft (Updated)

Posted in Microsoft, Site News at 3:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Woman voter

Summary: Poll time – deciding on this site’s focus

On the right hand side (menu) we have a new, single-question poll (scroll down a bit to see it). It says: “Should Techrights reduce focus on Microsoft?”

Techrights currently looks at Microsoft very closely because Microsoft actively works against software freedom. Should Techrights instead be more focused on other threats to software freedom, at the expense (but not exclusion) of Microsoft?

Voting ought to take just 5 seconds and the majority vote really will determine this site’s direction.

As side news, last night we created an identi.ca group. If you have an identi.ca, feel free to join us.

Update: We have a little problem with the poll because caching makes all visitors’ requests be funneled through the same IP address. The only apparent way around this was to make the poll open to registered users and registered users only. We apologise for this.

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