08.13.10

Links 13/8/2010: Linux Winning, Enemy Territory and Return To Castle Wolfenstein Become Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 2:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • LinuxCon Analysts: Linux Is Winning

    Linux is now in the mainstream of enterprise adoption, according to analysts presenting new research here at the LinuxCon conference.

  • Did Open Source Need Linux To Hit the Mainstream?

    Open source has officially “crossed the chasm from early adoption to mainstream adoption,” pronounced Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst at Forrester Research, at this week’s LinuxCon conference. According to ZDNet’s Paula Rooney, Hammond based his pronouncement on analysis of several studies, most of which have to do with Linux. Is Linux really the best barometer for this kind of announcement, though? Didn’t open source hit the mainstream without it?

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Updated XGI Open-Source Graphics Driver Released

        Even the nearly-defunct XGI Technology Inc is able to produce open-source graphics driver code for Linux while VIA continues on with their Linux mess, even with XGI developers working from Windows. In preparations for the X.Org 7.6 Katamari and this month’s release of X Server 1.9, a new release of the XGI DDX driver has been made available.

      • PhysX SDK Support Comes Back To Linux

        Back in 2006 a start-up company known as AGEIA launched the PhysX PPU, the first Physics Processing Unit (PPU) for offloading physics calculations in games and applications that utilize the PhysX API onto this discrete processor for boosting overall system performance.

      • AMD Releases New Stream SDK For Linux With OpenCL 1.1

        AMD has released a new ATI Stream SDK this morning and, among other improvements, it features OpenCL 1.1 support. The OpenCL 1.1 specification was released by the Khronos Group back in June as the first major update to the Open Computing Language since it’s original draft in 2008.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s Australian Road Tour 2010 unlocks the value of cloud computing

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, will host a series of briefing sessions across Australia based on cutting through market hype to reveal the true value of cloud computing for businesses.

        The free, half-day business seminars sponsored by IBM will address why cloud computing is one of the most significant shifts in information technology to occur in decades, as well as why it offers local organisations a very real opportunity to thrive in the current economic climate. The sessions will also unveil how open source tools and services can unlock the potential for cloud computing, as well as covering:

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Two Reasons Rwandan Children Don’t Take XO Laptops Home

        Both of these reasons can be traced back to local culture. Where teachers and administrators are personally responsible for school items, they’ll be very reluctant to have children take computers home. And where children are essential workers in family life, there is little time to “goof off” with an XO.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source’s ardent admirers take but don’t give

    Interestingly, these two developers sparred over this very issue at LinuxCon in Boston, Massachusetts, this past week, as The Reg reported. Google has come under fire for allegedly forking the Linux kernel with its Android project, for failing to contribute Android changes to the mainline Linux code thereby setting up itself, and the wider Linux community, for prolonged inefficiencies and incompatibilities between the two.

  • Project Harmony Takes Aim at Open Source Contribution Agreements

    Open source licenses help to define the terms and conditions of software use and redistribution. But what are the terms and condition under which developers actually contribute code? That’s the realm of software contribution agreements.

    A new effort spearheaded by Amanda Brock, general counsel at Canonical, the lead sponsor of Ubuntu Linux, is trying to help solve the problem of contribution agreements. The effort is called Project Harmony, and it’s a multi-stakeholder project that aims to help provide some clarity and uniformity to software contribution agreements.

  • VMware: Using Alfresco to Attack Microsoft SharePoint?

    Not by coincidence, open source community members have been creating integrations between Alfresco and Zimbra. As a result, the Alfresco-Zimbra combination could give VMware a one-two punch against Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange, The VAR Guy believes.

  • Open Source Business Intelligence Software Ranked by Analysts
  • Gluster Brings Open Source to Unstructured Data

    Gluster is an open source startup that most people in storage have never heard of. Yet its value proposition could spell trouble for the big boys and potentially send the prices of proprietary hardware crashing down.

  • Open source already used in 80% of corporates

    A great success story for Linux is the London Stock Exchange, which is moving its trading platform onto it. The company bought an entire software firm that developed the Linux based system to make sure it had the developlment resources.

  • Databases

    • Sun, IBM and MySQL Storage Engine Chicanery

      A while back I was doing some research for a client and came across an apparent GPL slight of hand engineered by Sun and IBM. Time constraints and competing priorities kept me from writing about this until now, and Oracle’s acquisition of Sun has taken Sun off of the hot seat (see in particular paragraph 2, Non Assertion), but it’s still a pretty juicy story. What’s more, I think it’s healthy to expose vendor behaviors that cut against the spirit of open source, creating unfair advantages for a privileged few at the expense of everyone else.

      If you’re not familiar with the GNU General Public License (GPL), which is at the heart of this article, you can get a quick and relevant primer here.

  • Business

    • StatusNet’s Evan Prodromou on Facebook, Twitter & more

      LU&D: How do we get users to care about who owns their data?

      EP: I think that’s a really difficult sell. It’s boring and pedantic. Compared against the fun that social networking services provide, talking about privacy issues is really a downer. Who wants to worry about obscure marketing issues when there are friends-of-a-friend to send flirty private messages to?

      It’s much more likely that change comes from another direction. There are entities that simply cannot accept turning over their data and online presence to a third party: governments, political parties, corporations. As these organisations become more engaged with social networking, and want to get more engaged with each other, they’ll insist on a federated approach that gives them full control of their data and presence.

    • Semi-Open Source

      • The Organic Source Movement?

        It is when an “open core” company claims it is an “open source company” that some become vexed. They feel that an open source company shouldn’t be owning and closing their code, even if they have a large part of it under an open source licence. The “open core” vendors respond by saying they are catering to customer demand for their closed extensions and that this is their route for monetising the open source code. There are numerous points of view on the issues and an active debate.

  • Project Releases

    • cURL 7.21.1 – New version released!

      Having spent a considerable time within the command line environment, I consider myself reasonably competent with completing the tasks I require with script. Over the years of these small projects, two programs stick out that are essential to many of my life simplifying BASH scripts. The first one would be dialog, which can spruce up even the most mundane script tasks, the other being cURL.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s

      In 2003, a group of scientists and executives from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the drug and medical-imaging industries, universities and nonprofit groups joined in a project that experts say had no precedent: a collaborative effort to find the biological markers that show the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the human brain.

      [...]

      Companies as well as academic researchers are using the data. There have been more than 3,200 downloads of the entire massive data set and almost a million downloads of the data sets containing images from brain scans.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Wheelchair Design Aids Disabled in Developing Nations

        The wheelchairs sport design features unique to the needs of riders who must regularly get around on rough terrain. The rear wheels are made of bicycle tires that can easily be repaired or replaced, and the front wheels are specifically designed to not sink into sand, soil, or loose pavement. WWI also makes sure riders are well-equipped to service their own wheelchairs — each one ships with a tire repair kit, pump, and detailed user manual.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Probe of Bribery at H-P Heats Up

    The U.S. Department of Justice has asked Hewlett-Packard Co. to provide a trove of internal records as part of an international investigation into allegations that H-P executives paid bribes in Russia, according to people familiar with the investigations.

    German prosecutors, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal in April, are looking into the possibility that H-P executives paid about €8 million ($10.9 million) in bribes to win a €35 million contract under which the U.S. company sold computer gear, through a German subsidiary, to the office of the prosecutor general of the Russian Federation. The German probe has been joined by U.S. and Russian authorities, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • Flattr Opens Beta of Its Micropayment Platform

    Flatter was founded by Peter Sunde, the former spokesman for Pirate Bay, a file-sharing site that the entertainment industry is trying to shut down, and one of four people being prosecuted in Sweden for their involvement with the site.

  • Journalism Warning Labels

    It seems a bit strange to me that the media carefully warn about and label any content that involves sex, violence or strong language — but there’s no similar labelling system for, say, sloppy journalism and other questionable content.

  • Health

    • CMD Calls For Federal Investigation of Health Insurers

      Judy Dugan, research director of Consumer Watchdog, said, “Insurance companies appear to be making sure that when new federal rules for spending on health care kick in next year, they can keep their administrative bloat and profits intact.” Wendell Potter, who co-signed the letter, said that red flags went up when Cigna showed a startling drop of 6.4% in its medical spending radio (also called a Medical Loss Ratio, or MLR) to 78.8%, a cut that appears unprecedented for a large insurer. You can read the entire letter to Kathleen Sebelius here (pdf).

    • Executives at health insurance giants cash in as firms plan fee hikes

      The top executives at the nation’s five largest for-profit health insurance companies pulled in nearly $200 million in compensation last year — while their businesses prepared to hit ratepayers with double-digit premium increases, according to a new analysis conducted by healthcare activists.

      The leaders of Cigna Corp., Humana Inc., UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint Inc. each in effect received raises in 2009, the report concluded, based on an analysis of company reports filed with the Security and Exchange Commission.

  • Security/Aggression

    • DNA fingerprinting techniques ‘can sometimes give the wrong results’

      DNA evidence is not an infallible tool for criminal investigations, experts have warned.

      Interpretation of samples can be highly subjective and prone to error, a study has found.

    • Volunteers needed to man CCTV in Malmesbury

      Volunteers are needed to man a CCTV project in Malmesbury.

      The town council and Malmesbury & Villages Community Partnership (M&VCAP) are working on the project aimed at improving safety in the town.

    • Scanners at airports are manned by mature, experienced, responsible, highly trained professionals, remember!?

      Here’s a further example. A member of staff responsible for carrying out screening at Heathrow Terminal 5 has been accused of stealing from a passenger during the screening process.

    • Video: The moment Medway’s CCTV car is caught on camera

      He is heard saying: “Do not take my photograph, you haven’t got my permission to take my photograph.”

      Mr Khan responds: “But this is public.”

      The operator replies: “No, it’s not, cause you are not allowed to take my photograph like I’m not allowed to take yours. Why are you doing this, you’re harassing me.”

      He then says he is going to phone the police and can be seen dialling a number before Mr Khan wanders off.

    • Health warnings on mobile phones..?

      What is it this time, you ask? San Francisco has become the first city in the US to mandate the posting of radiation emission information beside every single phone that is for sale in every single mobile phone shop in San Francisco. Obviously, the mobile phone lobby is fuming over this mandate, but the local government “health experts” are thrilled, even though mobile phone radiation emission research has proved inconclusive over the years.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • T-Boone Pickens and the Truth about All that Drilling

      The home page of T. Boone Pickens’ “Pickens Plan” is emblematic of the oil industry’s aggressive push to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale basin. The page greets visitors with the blaring headline, “WE MUST BREAK AMERICA’S ADDICTION TO FOREIGN OIL. The Pickens Plan will do it, but we need your help.”

    • Peak oil is the villain governments need

      Could peak oil lever politicians out from between the rock of the electorate and the hard place that is climate change mitigation? As Daniel Gros wrote in the Guardian: “the climate-change bill, for which President Barack Obama had pushed so hard, will not even be presented to the US Senate, because it stands no chance of passage”. His analysis ends with a fatalistic statement: “Determined action at the global level will become possible only when climate change is no longer some scientific prediction, but a reality that people feel … A world incapable of preventing climate change will have to live with it.”

    • Jellyfish sting hundreds on Costa Blanca beaches

      A vast flotilla of small, almost undetectable jellyfish have stung hundreds of people on Spanish beaches this week – an event swimmer’s nightmare biologists say will become increasingly common due to climate change and overfishing.

  • Finance

    • For-Profit Colleges: Undercover Testing Finds Colleges Encouraged Fraud and Engaged in Deceptive and Questionable Marketing Practices

      Enrollment in for-profit colleges has grown from about 365,000 students to almost 1.8 million in the last several years. These colleges offer degrees and certifications in programs ranging from business administration to cosmetology. In 2009, students at for-profit colleges received more than $4 billion in Pell Grants and more than $20 billion in federal loans provided by the Department of Education (Education). GAO was asked to 1) conduct undercover testing to determine if for-profit colleges’ representatives engaged in fraudulent, deceptive, or otherwise questionable marketing practices, and 2) compare the tuitions of the for-profit colleges tested with those of other colleges in the same geographic region. To conduct this investigation, GAO investigators posing as prospective students applied for admissions at 15 for-profit colleges in 6 states and Washington, D.C.. The colleges were selected based on several factors, including those that the Department of Education reported received 89 percent or more of their revenue from federal student aid. GAO also entered information on four fictitious prospective students into education search Web sites to determine what type of follow-up contact resulted from an inquiry. GAO compared tuition for the 15 for-profit colleges tested with tuition for the same programs at other colleges located in the same geographic areas. Results of the undercover tests and tuition comparisons cannot be projected to all for-profit colleges.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Progressives Up In Arms Over Brand Obama’s Insult

      A year and a half after his November 4, 2008 election, the progressive left is, rightfully, up in arms over the lack of integrity President Barack Obama has shown across the gamut of burning contemporary political issues. These include, but are not limited to issues such as war, health care, secrecy, warrantless wiretapping, and environmental issues, among many others.

      A healthy and flourishing representative democracy depends on an engaged citizenry standing up and demanding that their representatives represent them. President Obama said so himself at this year’s Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas in his desperate plea to show progressive activists that he is, indeed “one of them.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Telecom Complaints Commissioner Remains a Relative Unknown

      Notwithstanding the public interest, the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services toils in relative anonymity. Established in 2007, the CCTS came as part of a deregulation bargain initiated by then-Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, who deregulated many local telephone markets and established an industry-funded telecom complaints commissioner.

    • India threatens to suspend Blackberry by 31 August

      India has given Blackberry phone maker RIM a deadline of 31 August to give the government access to all of its services or face being shut down.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • T-Mobile Sued For Offering Limited ‘Unlimited’ Service

      Parts of the suit are melodramatic for effect, lawyers arguing that the surprise limit makes smartphones “essentially useless for anything other than making or receiving phone calls and text messages.” T-Mobile’s current 10 GB cap is rather generous, and last we checked, unlike some other carriers, T-Mobile only throttles users who cross it — they don’t impose unreasonable overages or boot users from the network.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • How to extract money for using copyrighted performances

        The article also fails to note that there has been criticism of how the royalty administering organizations distribute the money and account for what they do, as is clear from the Wikipedia article on ASCAP link here. Instead it is an account of how one of BMI’s enforcer’s is really very nice and works hard to deal pleasantly but firmly with the poor bar owners and other small businesspeople that use music to attract customers.

      • The copyright cops

        Sound confusing? That’s because it is. Copyright law has evolved largely as a response by governments to the demands of powerful media and content industries. As new forms of recorded media have been invented, legislators have created new spheres of copyright to fence off that intellectual property from perceived threats to the earnings of artists and corporations.

Clip of the Day

Android 3.0 – Gingerbread – Web API’s


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