08.28.10

Links 28/8/2010: Zenwalk Linux 6.4, RabbitMQ 2.0.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Labs experiments with Git

        Mozilla Labs, Mozilla’s research and development section, has announced that, based on the popularity of the Git distributed version control system, it is now offering an experimental fork for all Mozilla Labs projects and experiments on project hosting service GitHub. Since 2006, many Labs projects have been hosted on public Mercurial instances.

      • Mozilla fires up three new APIs in Jetpack SDK 0.7

        The Mozilla Labs developers have announced Jetpack SDK 0.7, the latest revision of the HTML/CSS/JavaScript based extension system for Firefox. The new release includes a panel API, which allows developers to float popup windows over web content, a clipboard API to give extensions access to the system clipboard and a notifications API which allows extensions to get the users attention with toaster or Growl-style messages.

      • Fennec Alpha Released For Android And Nokia N900

        An early, pre-alpha version of Mozilla’s Fennec mobile browser has been around for months, but the Firefox developer has today released an official full alpha for download. And it’s not just Android that’s benefitting—the mobile browser has also been released for Nokia’s N900 smartphone.

      • How to use Firefox’s new tab manager
  • SaaS

  • Oracle

    • JavaOne: Larry Ellison to chart Java future

      There is much anticipation of Ellison’s keynote, since Oracle’s stewardship of Java has been regarded as unsatisfactory by many Java developers and user groups. A lack of a concrete roadmap, the lack of detail on the relationship between open source and commercial products, and the future of OpenJDK7 and JDK7 are all issues many would like to see clarified. These issues have become more critical in the aftermath of Oracle’s announcement that it was taking legal action against Google for patent and copyright infringement over Google’s implementation of the Dalvik virtual machine in Android, which is based on the open source Apache Harmony implementation of Java.

  • CMS

    • An overdue update from the Diaspora team

      The Diaspora team has put out an update on their progress in creating a “privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all, open source social network”.

    • The Anti-Facebook Arrives September 15: Will You Switch?

      In a recent blog post, the Diaspora team say they have the nascent social networking software up and running, and are happy with the near-final result. Despite these proclamations, however, it’s unclear what Diaspora will look like or how it will function when Diaspora finally launches.

  • Project Releases

    • Audacious 2.4.0 – New release!

      Audacious its origins as a fork of Beep Music player and as it matured has been the media player of choice for me for a long while. The latest release is 2.4.0, doesn’t fail to impress with updates to its GUI and a plethora of features that you’ve come to expect from the creators of what to many is the defacto music player on their distro.

    • RabbitMQ 2.0.0 released

      Version 2.0.0 has a new persister for storing messages in transit, which is now only bound by disk capacity and a server which optimises memory usage by paging these messages between disk and RAM. This change gives the server higher and more consistent performance and faster start-up; previously these both degraded with higher volumes of persisted messages.

  • Licensing

    • On copyright assignment, contributor and participant agreements

      Clearly copyright assignment is integral to the dual licensing and open core licensing strategies in enabling those vendors to sell closed-source licenses to the core project and extensions, and it does restrict developer communities in those situations.

      However, as Simon briefly explains, copyright assignment is equally used by other organisations, such as the Free Software Foundation, to protect the core project. Glyn Moody described the potential benefits of such an arrangement earlier this week, while Tarus Balog provides another example of copyright assignment protecting an open source project.

    • OSS 4.0 and licenses: not a clear-cut choice

      The choice of an open source license for a project code release is not clear-cut, and depends on several factors; in general, when reusing code that comes from external projects, license compatibility is the first, major driver in license selection. Licenses do have an impact on development activity, depending on the kind of project and who controls the project evolution.

  • Google

Leftovers

  • Ben Huh Asks: “I Can Haz Reddit?” (Offers To Buy It From Condé Nast)

    It’s no secret that social link sharing community Reddit isn’t singing the praises of its corporate parent Condé Nast, which acquired the company in 2006. Earlier today the two sparred over running ads in support of California’s Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in the state. And Reddit has previously written about the shortage of resources that Condé Nast is willing to provide. Now Ben Huh, founder and CEO of the Cheezburger network, is offering to take Reddit off Condé’s hands.

  • Science

    • Lawsuit Against the LHC Overthrown

      A Court in Hawaii has just rejected a new lawsuit brought against the Large Hadron Collider. The plaintiffs failed to produce any evidence that the machine is dangerous, the ruling says.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Pacman cleans the oil – not

      Media campaigning gone weird. MSNBC reports on a BP sponsored study that the oil cleanup is like pacman and the bacteria solve the oil spill problem. Reality distortion can be so easy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Hollywood Sues Advertiser at Movie Piracy Sites

        A company that worked with sites that linked to copies of Hollywood blockbusters has become the target of a new lawsuit. The legal action filed by Disney and Warner Bros. says that Triton Media was guilty of both contributory and inducement of copyright infringement when it assisted several sites with advertising and referrals.

Clip of the Day

Lawrence Lessig talks with the Booksmith – Part III


Microsoft a Major Breeding Ground of Patent Trolls

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The genesis of this idea was when I was at Microsoft. We had a problem with patent liability. All these people were coming to sue us or demand payment. And Bill (Gates) asked me to think about if there was a solution.” —Nathan Myhrvold, WSJ: Transcript: Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures

Summary: People who are closely affiliated/associated with Microsoft have a tendency to slow down scientific progress using patent monopolies

A year and a half ago we wrote this concise timeline of Microsoft's patent strategy. Microsoft generates patent trolls, including the world’s largest troll. Is anybody surprised? Bill Gates too has a patent troll and Paul Allen has just joined the club.

How do we know that Nathan Myhrvold, Bill Gates, and Paul Allen are patent trolls? They are all using shells that lack actual products. That’s the hallmark of a patent troll, formerly known by some as a “patent shark”. Paul Allen’s patent troll even chose for itself a very troll-like name, as though it’s not even trying to masquerade as a real company:

The suit has been brought by Interval Licensing, which is controlled by Mr Allen.

Take a look at Google and try to find this company’s Web site. We have not managed to even get an address (probably some lawyers’ office). We do have the addresses which show proximity between Gates, his investment arm (including Gates Foundation), and the patent trolls which he is grooming in Kirkland, Washington. What are these people up to and what is their deep obsession with patent monopolies? In relation to Allen, Robert Pogson points out that:

You can tell a patent-troll by the number of decades of prior art that precedes their invention. 40+ years is close to the record, IMHO. I think the troll feels all the old guys who have seen this before have died or have lost interest. Of course a good troll waits until the patent is about to expire to maximize return on legal fees.

Acacia did the same thing (suing Linux with old patents nearing expiry) and it has some former Microsoft managers in it.

Patents Kill, So Let’s Just Kill Them

Posted in OIN, Patents at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Those who exploit copyright and patent today will be regarded in a few decades as we regard those who exploited slavery.” –Crosbie, yesterday

Working hard

Summary: As patents are an inherently problematic phenomenon, they ought to be abolished rather than just tamed or cooperated with (so-called ‘pragmatism’)

THE world’s ‘death patents’, which are promoted by the Gates Foundation, are an ethical problem and we have many older posts about the subject. The patent dilemma is most pronounced when people are killed by patents or their lives held as hostage by patents. SJVN, whose career involves a great deal of UNIX and Linux (then journalism), gets around to addressing this subject. He writes about “killer patents” as he calls them.

In the computer technology business, we tend to see patents as being bad for developers and business. What we don’t realize that the problems we have with Microsoft’s bogus patent claims against Linux and Oracle’s patent-based attack against Google are nothing compared to the evils that IP patents bring to the pharmacy business.

Take, for example, the assault that the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) is now mounting on Abbot Labs. PUBPAT is formally asking the United States Patent and Trademark Office to reexamine eight Abbot patents relating to the critical HIV/AIDS drug Ritonavir, aka Norvir.

Ritonavir, a protease inhibitor, was one of the early HIV/AID antiviral drugs. Today, as HIV has grown tougher, it is now more widely used to enhance the efficacy of other protease inhibitors in AIDs drug cocktails. In this role, it’s still a critical HIV/AIDS drug.

Being a technical person, SJVN understands that he does not really need patents. Copyrights are already there and the GPL too uses copyright laws. Groklaw, on the other hand, is not sufficiently sceptical of OIN and Peer-to-Patent. Groklaw editor Pamela Jones used to be a proponent of patents, but somewhere along the way she is said to have changed her mind. Right now we see the same adherence to accepting patents as a necessary evil, also from Eben Moglen who can make money from it. Groklaw tries to defend its audience [1, 2], which comprises many lawyers, including some who engage in patent lawsuits (also defence of course):

But as Eben Moglen pointed out recently at LinuxCon, the patent crisis in general isn’t going away. So it’s best that we figure out the very best ways to deal with it. I’m told his talk will be available as video soon, and when it’s up, it will be here on the Linux Foundation website.

Linux and FOSS compete on who has the best code, not patent infringement lawsuits, speaking of vision. It’s a superior development model. Nobody competes with courtrooms. I’m not saying no one sues. The GPL lawsuits are about copyright infringement, but they are what they say they are, not wolves in granny’s cap to fool Red Riding Hood. It’s why the code keeps getting better and better.

The title of this post is “How You Can Help Patent Attorneys Help Free Software” (implying that lawyers can solve the problem, usually for a fee). This is one area where Techrights does not fully agree with Groklaw. Using patent lawyers to fight against patents is like forming an alliance with Shell to end wars.

Patents are rarely beneficial to progress, if ever. Let’s use a new example. In relation to this article, TechDirt raises the question, “Would Photography Have Been Different If It Had Been Patented Up?”

Reader Murdoch points us to one of Wired’s regular “this day in tech” history pieces about how Louis Daguerre revealed all of the “secrets” to making daguerrotypes, which was the basis for photography, in 1839. Rather than a “patent” to lock up the offering, the French government gave Daguerre and his partner, Isidore Niepce, pensions in exchange for freeing the knowledge — with each receiving the equivalent today of $30,000 per year — a decent, but hardly huge sum. And with all that information public, suddenly everyone started innovating on the idea and trying to improve it, leading to modern photography.

Companies that make print — not photography — possible are keeping the prices high, artificially in most cases. The latest among several lawsuits which prevent real competition comes from HP:

THE MAKER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK, HP has is going after its cheap and cheerful rivals, claiming that they have nicked its technology.

HP has asked the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to have a look at some of the inkjet ink supplies and components that are being shipped to the Land of the Free.

Just like Lexmark last week, they turn to the ITC [1, 2, 3, 4]. How does that improve development as opposed to HP’s bottom line? A lot of patents just make no sense to society (they have always made sense to the largest corporations however). They basically elevate prices, encourages price-gouging, and lessen competition. Let’s just get rid of patents (especially software patents), not learn how to live with them.

SCO Cheapskates and the Growing Irrelevance of the Case

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, SCO, UNIX at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keyboard

Summary: Novell and SCO continue to wrestle over the issue of costs/bills and IBM tightens its relationship with Novell

NOVELL has been fighting against SCO for its own interests (including the shareholders’). But Novell’s action happens to have also been beneficial to IBM and others. Will Novell see much money coming out of it? Probably not, based on this latest post from Groklaw. It does, however, seem like Novell will keep the “UNIX” asset, which raises the company’s value when it sells (maybe to VMware). It raises many questions because VMware, for instance, is run by Microsoft veterans and giving them UNIX can be deadly. From Groklaw we learn about SCO’s latest objection to Novell’s bill of costs:

What that means is that SCO would like to pay less. If Novell had lost, and they had been ordered to pay SCO’s bill of costs, SCO would have fervently argued the opposite. Last time, SCO was able to get a bit knocked off the bill, so they may again. But they’ll probably still have to pay something. But will they? In real life, I mean. Not on paper.

The SCO case remains an area that is mostly explored by this one Web site. Unless one actually attends the court hearings or downloads documents, this case is almost invisible and irrelevant by now. The SCOracle case matters a lot more [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] and Oracle even hired SCO's and Novell's lawyers. Groklaw has diversified its scope in the sense that it expanded topics it covers to include Apple and Oracle cases.

It is worth highlighting the fact that IBM still collaborates in some senses with Novell. They even present together and we last mentioned this here. Oracle, IBM, and Novell are all involved in the SCO case — a case which was partly funded by Microsoft in order to damage GNU/Linux.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO approached by Microsoft

“Looks Like Microsoft is Doing Damage Control on Virus Attacks”

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 3:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Washington from above

Summary: The Internet is at risk of falling further into the hands of centralised authority as problems associated with Windows are named

“It looks like Microsoft is doing damage control on virus attacks and is looking to use their failure to exert yet more control,” wrote a reader of ours last night. “Check out the Slashdot blurb, which fails to call out Windows! They outlawed USBs when they should have dumped Windows instead.”

For those who want to see the latest cyberwar propaganda (unlike the cost assessments [1, 2]), here’s an AFP report. Who’s to blame? Well, a new IBM report names Apple and Microsoft as most vulnerable vendors:

IBM’s X-Force threat report for the first half of 2010 lists Apple, Microsoft and Adobe Systems as the makers of products with the most vulnerabilities.

These three firms champion proprietary software. What should the Pentagon deduce? Maybe this question is rhetorical.

“The continuous and broad peer-review enabled by publicly available source code supports software reliability and security efforts through the identification and elimination of defects that might otherwise go unrecognized by a more limited core development team.”

CIO David Wennergren, Department of Defense (October 2009)

Links 28/8/2010: ZFS for Linux, Bordeaux 2.0.8 for GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 2:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • On Zareason
  • Is your company afraid of Linux? (1 of 3)

    Fear #1 (Linux what?): OK, here is an extremely short history lesson and I’ll provide links for those who can’t help that inner burning desire to know all you can know about every topic. Linux is commonly pronounced /li’nuks/ and refers to the family of Unix-like computer operating systems using the Linux kernel and are primarily used for servers. Basically, a guy named Linus Torvalds in 1999 rewrote Unix from scratch and made it “Open Source”. Open source in its very basic terms means it is free for anyone to use. Keyword here is free. Yay! right? Well, yay if you were a University or College or some government organization like NASA. That is about the extent for which Linux was used for many years. Only the most geeky (yeah, that’s right) of computer geeks started to adopt Linux into personal use and eventually into business.

  • Desktop

    • Pearson Education – You will NOT use Linux

      The kicker? The “MyLab” courses are rendered using Javascript and Flash. Those are both cross-platform technologies last I checked (that both ran perfectly fine in Firefox).

      Now I understand that it can take a lot of time and resources to support another operating system/browser. Even if Pearson isn’t willing to “support” Linux/Firefox users on their website they could at least let us login using the operating system/browser of our choice after seeing their warning message.

  • Kernel Space

    • ZFS

      • Native ZFS Is Coming To Linux Next Month

        Prior to the emergence of Btrfs as a viable next-generation Linux file-system, Sun’s ZFS file-system was sought after for Linux due to its advanced feature-set and capabilities compared to EXT3 and other open-source file-systems at the time. While ZFS support has worked its way into OpenSolaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and other operating systems, ZFS had not been ported to Linux as its source-code is distributed under the CDDL license, which is incompatible with the GNU GPL barring it from integration into the mainline Linux kernel. Next month, however, a working ZFS module for the Linux kernel without a dependence on FUSE will be publicly released.

      • LLNL Talks To Us About Their Linux ZFS Port

        Brian Behlendorf, the lead developer of this Linux ZFS port at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, shared the following information with us about their work and that of KQ Infotech on their ZFS module to be released in mid-September.

      • ZFS as a Linux kernel module? What is the point?

        At the end of the day, all of this excitement means nothing. Who cares if this ZFS port for the Linux kernel comes out next month? I don’t. Don’t misunderstand me. I love ZFS as I use it all the time on Solaris and OpenSolaris. It is a wonderful file system. This Linux port is also extremely limited in functionality. Today, the GPL’d Btrfs, a competitor to ZFS, is considered “generally stable“. Why not use that instead without all the concerns listed above?

  • Applications

    • Online collaboration with Feng Office

      Online collaboration with Feng Office

      This article originally appeared in issue 90 of Linux User & Developer magazine.buy_online Subscribe and save more than 30% and receive our exclusive money back guarantee – click here to find out more.

      OpenOffice.org, Microsoft Office, Feng Office – which is the odd one out? Yes, it’s Feng Office, but not because most people have never heard of it, and not because it lacks the extreme feature set of the other two. Feng Office is not about sitting at your desk writing office documents, it’s about collaborative working.

      Feng still allows you to create text documents online, but that’s just a small part of running projects, taking notes, tracking tasks, passing milestones, keeping contact with your organisation and perusing reports of how the projects are progressing.

    • 5 of the Best Free Linux Screen Capture Tools

      The phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the idea that a solitary still image can provide as much information as a large amount of descriptive text. Essentially, pictures convey information more effectively and efficiently than words can.

    • CoverGloobus – Beautiful Covert Art and Lyrics Display App For Your Desktop

      I hope you guys do remember the awesome little preview application called Globus Preview. Here is another beautiful application from the same team. It’s called CoverGloobus. It displays cover art and lyrics in your desktop and it supports almost all popular linux media players. Also, the supported themes are really good in my opinion.

    • Guayadeque 0.2.7 Released With File Browser, Record From Streams, Last.fm Improvements And Many More New Features

      There was no new Guayadeque version in a long time but the development was actually very active and today we finally have a new version. Here are the highlights of Guayadeque 0.2.7:

      * libre.fm support
      * implemented crossfading between tracks
      * record from streams
      * a file browser (play files by browsing them on your HDD)
      * option to delete files from library and hard drive
      * lyricsplugin.com as lyrics search engine
      * you can now save the lyrics in a local folder
      * the last.fm panel can now search for tracks in your library
      * implemented reading/writing images into m4a files
      * library search covers scan now into audio files too
      * live search
      * and a lot more features and fixes

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Bordeaux 2.0.8 for Linux Released

        The Bordeaux Technology Group released Bordeaux 2.0.8 for Linux today. Bordeaux 2.0.8 is a maintenance release that fixes a number of small bugs. With this release we have updated firefox to 3.6.8, Added support for Apples Safari 5.0 Web Browser, Updated to the latest winetricks release and fixed desktop shortcuts.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Ben Cooksley

        At the moment I maintain System Settings and the Device Actions control module. I am also an Administrator of KDE’s own forums, where I help sort out problems users have encountered, in addition to the sysadmin tasks.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Puppy Arcade 9 – New release!

      Gaming not what it used to be? Bored by the plethora of 3rd person shooters which seem to dominate the games market?

      Well there has been no reason to say that ever since Puppy Arcade had it’s first release – Puppy Arcade caters for probably every platform of yesteryear you could want and then some more.

      Puppy Arcade is a distro I have covered numerous times in the past, in fact it is one of the few which I try keeping up to date with. An excellent distro which is a testament to not only the hard work of its creator (Scott Jarvis) but also his genuine love of the emulation scene. Redundant hardware in need of a new life? Use Puppy Arcade to turn it into a retro console!

    • Reviews

      • Jolicloud 1.0 review

        As the name suggests, Jolicloud is a cloud-based operating system. It is derived from the desktop edition of Ubuntu 9.04, and is the first stable and publicly downloadable, Linux, cloud-based distribution that I am aware of. Version 1.0, the first stable edition, was released several weeks ago. This review, the first for Jolicloud on this site, also marks its listing in the Mobile & Cloud category.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The E-Reader Price Wars Heat Up

      Competition stepped up in June when a price war broke out. First Barnes & Noble slashed the price of its Nook by $60, down to $199; the company also started selling a Wi-Fi-only Nook for $149. Within hours Amazon dropped the price of its Kindle by $70, to $189. And ten days later, Sony cut the price of each of its three Reader products by $30, bringing its most expensive 3G version down to $249.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Whither the Ubuntu Tablets?

        I’m a huge Linux and Free Software advocate, and I do want to see it succeed in a general sense in the tablet market. I think that Android is the best bet to make that happen. People see “Apple iOS” marketed on iPhones and iPads, and most people have at least passing familiarity with an iPhone, so they think to themselves “Oh, the iPad is like a gigantic iPhone. I can handle that.” People see the word Ubuntu and either say “What’s that?” or they say “Oh yeah, I remember when Wal-Mart was pushing those crappy $200 desktop PCs with Ubuntu.” Either way, they have a strong negative reaction.

      • Another $50 Android iPad Copycat Spotted in the Wild

        My title might cause some controversy I know, but no matter how you look at it, virtually all the new tablets coming out are more or less better featured iPad clones. We need originality, something that is powered by Android and not based on what Apple has. Will this tablet take off at all? Only time can tell.

      • How Much Does Linux Need the Desktop?

        Of course, the concept of Linux-based operating systems going on tablets is nothing new. There already are tablets based on Android, which is Linux-based, and many people expect sophisticated tablets to run Google’s upcoming Linux-based Chrome OS. But Ubuntu is Ubuntu. Its interface has become steadily easier to use over the years, it’s familiar to a lot of people, and it could eventually find its biggest market on niche devices such as tablets.

        Of course, success on tablets doesn’t necessarily have to outrule continued presence on desktop computers. I have no doubt that Ubuntu and other distros will continue to evolve on desktops. It’s interesting, though, to consider the potential for Linux-based operating systems on non-standard computing devices—or at least devices that we have historically thought of as non-standard.

      • Android tablets flowing

        A year ago netbooks were the one must-have mobile device. This year it is the tablet PC that is an essential accessory.

        Apple’s iPad wasn’t the first tablet PC available but it is the best-known of these devices. But it will face stiff competition in the coming months as most hardware makers switch on to Android-based tablet devices.

        Chief among the Android tablet makers is Asus. The company which kick started the netbook market with its Linux-powered EEE PC, is now getting ready to launch an Android-based tablet. The device will be known as the EEE Pad and will begin shipping in March 2011. The tablet is expected to sell for under $400 (under R3000) and will have a 10-inch screen. Under the casing the EEE Pad will run an ARM processor.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-sourcing SETI

    The challenge with increasingly complex SETI search techniques is that the resources and expertise of the SETI community is fairly limited. “The number of people in the world actively involved in SETI could fit into a phone booth,” said Jill Tarter, director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute.

  • Databases

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC – ‘We make free software affordable’

      GCC and GNU Emacs are the two facets of the GNU operating system that have probably done more than any other to take GNU and free software from idealistic concept to a utilitarian reality. Having previously looked at GNU Emacs and the Hurd, Richard Hillesley looks at the history and progress of GCC.

    • Gnash 0.8.8: A Huge Improvement Over Previous Versions

      I found Gnash 0.8.7 to be more than a bit problematic. In general it worked on something less than half the websites I tried which required Flash. YouTube videos worked exactly once. If you tried to watch a second video you received this message: “An error occured, please try again later”. The workaround was to prevent YouTube from setting cookies or clearing your browser of all YouTube cookies between videos. Finally, Gnash 0.8.7 was incredibly resource hungry, often driving my CPU to 100% usage and bringing things on my system to a crawl. All in all, this was still far from a decent solution.

      Early this week Gnash 0.8.8 was released. Despite the small increment in version number, which would make this seem like a minor maintenance release, the difference between version 0.8.8 and the earlier 0.8.7 is like night and day. First, alot of websites that did not work with Gnash before seem to work just fine now. My thoroughly unscientific sample indicates that roughly two thirds of the sites I visit which use Flash are now functional. In addition, YouTube now works 100% of the time without having to clear or restrict cookies.

Leftovers

  • Undead Commodore 64 comes back for Christmas

    The Commodore 64 will rise from the grave before Christmas, according to the tiny company determined to reanimate the long-dead 80s icon.

  • AGs call on Craigslist to banish adult ads
  • Science

    • Energy-saving LEDs ‘will not save energy’, say boffins

      Federal boffins in the States say that the brave new future in which today’s ‘leccy-guzzling lights are replaced by efficient LEDs may not, in fact, usher in massive energy savings.

      This is because, according to the scientists’ research, people are likely to use much more lighting as soon as this becomes practical. The greater scope for cheap illumination offered by LEDs will simply mean that people have more lights and leave them on for longer.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Who’s Hiding What and Why

      Note that the Pentagon’s orchestrated screaming has not been about technical data that might in fact get GIs killed, but about revelation of the ugly things the US is doing to people. Consider the footage of an American helicopter gunship killing pedestrians in a city street, and apparently having just a swell time doing it. This didn’t reveal military secrets. But it showed the gusnip crew as the butchers they are. Bad juju for the military. PR is all.

    • Cyber-crime Site Pushes Forged Passports, Licenses

      McAfee researcher Francios Paget found a Russian site selling, among other things, fake passports for dozens of countries. The operation is not inexpensive for the buyers, however. The cheapest passport is for Azerbaijan and costs $870 (USD). A French passport costs $5,530. To get it, a customer must send the forgers personal information plus a signature and photo, according to Paget.

    • Snooping Camden CCTV car hypocrites

      Make no mistake – these cars not about road safety. They’re about the thrill of power that petty bureaucrats get when they can turn the screw on you in a culture of “we caught you” – regardless of whether what you were doing was actually in any way a problem or dangerous. And of course, most of all – they’re about revenue-raising.

    • Let’s hope that this picture stays on the wall

      Just received a third CCTV car image – what a day!

      I know that it’s only a single yellow, so I suppose that it might have been parked lawfully – but those who know their 1984 will appreciate the delicious irony of this brute being captured in this spot…

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Report concludes that nearly 80 percent of oil from Gulf spill remains

      A report released today by the Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia concludes that up to 79 percent of the oil released into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon well has not been recovered and remains a threat to the ecosystem.

      The report, authored by five prominent marine scientists, strongly contradicts media reports that suggest that only 25 percent of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill remains.

    • Playing Hide and Seek With Oil

      A new report authored by five prominent marine scientists provides a powerful contradiction of the government’s recent report that only 25 percent of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster remains in the Gulf of Mexico. On August 4, the government issued a news release that stated, “The vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed using chemicals — much of which is in the process of being degraded.”

    • The Death Of The Fossil Fuel Companys Part Deux

      Third, General Motors has announced that they plan to produce 45,000 Chevy Volt extended range electric vehicles in 2012, up from the original plans to produce 30,000 cars. However the number of cars General Motors plans to produce is small compared to Nissan’s plans, the Nissan plant in Smyrna Georgia will be capable of producing 150,000 cars per year, for only that one plant!

  • Finance

    • Taking Economic Liberty Seriously

      On March 5, 1934, the U.S. Supreme Court declared New York shopkeeper Leo Nebbia to be a criminal because he sold two quarts of milk and a 5 cent loaf of bread for the combined low price of 18 cents. As Justice Owen Roberts explained in his 5-4 majority opinion in Nebbia v. New York, the state’s Milk Control Board had fixed the minimum price of milk at 9 cents a quart to eliminate the “evils” of price-cutting.

    • China’s Hot New Bestseller: “The Goldman Sachs Conspiracy”

      Yesterday I bought a copy of Li Delin’s (李德林) latest book-“高盛阴谋” (Goldman Sachs Conspiracy). Li is a well-known financial journalist and author who has written several other books, including the November 2009 “干掉一切对手——看高盛如何算赢世界 (Eliminate All Competitors–How Goldman Sachs Wins Over the World”. You can read Li’s blog (in Chinese) on Caijing here.

    • Chinese Bestseller Slams Goldman Sachs For Crisis

      Li’s book takes ample license in its attacks on Goldman Sachs. The company’s ultimate goal, he says in the first chapter, is to “kill China.”

    • Arthur Levitt, Policy Advisor, Goldman Sachs
    • Basis Urges U.S. Judge to Let Goldman Suit Proceed

      Basis Capital, an Australian hedge fund, urged a New York judge to allow its $1 billion lawsuit over the marketing of credit default swaps by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to proceed, calling Goldman’s request for a dismissal a “distraction.”

      The lawsuit by Basis Capital’s Basis Yield Alpha Fund focuses on Goldman Sachs’s sale of the “Timberwolf” collateralized debt obligation. The complaint, filed June 9 in Manhattan federal court, says the fund was forced into insolvency after buying mortgage-linked securities created by Goldman Sachs, in what one of its own executives described internally as a “shi**y deal.”

    • Goldman Sachs Loses Muscle in Corporate Finance

      “Goldman is struggling a little bit here,” said Richard Bove, an analyst at Rochdale Securities in Lutz, Florida. “It has to overcome some pretty sizable public relations issues, which are related to the way it does business and the products it creates. The company is good enough to overcome all of this stuff, but it would be hard for me to imagine that there’s no impact as a result of what we’ve seen over the last 12 to 18 months.”

    • Goldman Sachs And SEC Put Meyer Lansky To Shame

      But the SEC threw the case when it came to fraud- as covered by the Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It is here that the reader must understand that fraud is not only a civil offense but also a criminal offense- and that the company or the individual found guilty of violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act can be charged with the criminal count of fraud in a criminal proceeding. So by refusing to charge Goldman with violations of Section 10(b) of the SEA, the SEC was playing to lose- and allowing Goldman to win. Not only that but damages in Section 10(b) are not limited to the loss, which the aggrieved party has incurred; there are penalties.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Psywar Film Reveals The Hidden Battle for Your Mind

      The new documentary “Psywar,” featuring CMD founder John Stauber, explores corporate and government use of propaganda and public relations to manipulate American people. The movie explores how the U.S. government staged events to manipulate public opinion about the Iraq war, like the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, the supposedly spontaneous mob that pulled over the larger-than-life statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • California students get tracking devices

      The system was introduced Tuesday. When at the school, students will wear a jersey that has a small radio frequency tag. The tag will send signals to sensors that help track children’s whereabouts, attendance and even whether they’ve eaten or not.

    • Google Street View car pulled over and searched

      As regular readers will know, Google is the subject of probes from data-protection regulators in Germany, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and the Metropolitan Police (although our own Information Commissioner has given them a free pass).

    • Sony obtains Australia ban on PS3 hack chip

      Sony has won a temporary ban to prevent Australian distributors selling a hardware hack for the PlayStation 3 (PS3).

      The PS3Jailbreak “dongle” allows gamers to play homemade and pirated games on the game’s console.

      The ban prevents OzModChips, Mod Supplier and Quantronics from importing, distributing or selling the device.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • NYTimes finds more IP news but doesn’t report its consumer cost

      The New York Times now carries a lot of stories that are of interest to anyone concerned about the high cost of intellectual property protection. The first story today is a debate over who is right AARP or the industry. AARP says the cost of branded drugs rose 8.3% in 2009 link here. Last year the industry complained that the figure was based on wholesale prices, not the retail prices consumers actually paid. Responding to that criticism, AARP switched to retail and still got a big increase. The industry countered that they should use the consumer price index figure which includes generic drug prices–which showed a much lower price increase and argues that the US has the lowest prices for generics in the world.

    • What everybody knows

      “Authors are only motivated to write if they know their rights will be protected.”

      “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”

      The second of these quotes, from Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson,” is very familiar, I think, and demonstrably false. Indeed, even Boswell acknowledged its falsity as he recorded it, and attributed the comment to Johnson’s “indolent disposition.” The first quote comes from this fascinating article in the online version of the German magazine “Der Spiegel” reporting research that suggests that German’s 19th century industrial expansion may have been at least partially driven by the absence of strong copyright protection.

      That authors must have strong copyright protection in order to create is presented in this article as a conventional belief, the kind of thing that everybody knows and accepts as a matter of course. Such bromides are almost always false, like Johnson’s remark, or at least incomplete. Perhaps the greatest value of the Spiegel article, short as it is, is that it demonstrates that a complex situation, such as the cultural impact of printing, copyright and the distribution of books, cannot be reduced to truisms. Complex analysis is required, and Eckhard Hoffner’s research is an example of such analysis.

    • Take-Two Interactive loses fight for Bioshock.com

      Take-Two is the developer behind the successful BioShock video game series. The first-person shooter game was announced in October 2004, two months before the domain name Bioshock.com was registered by Name Administration Inc, a Cayman Islands-based company that makes money from trading in and displaying adverts on its massive network of domain names.

    • Ansel Adams Trust Sues Over Sale of Negatives

      The suit alleges trademark infringement, false advertising, trademark dilution, unfair competition and other claims. It does not specify damages but asks the court to order the defendants to pay restitution of their profits from any sales, as well as award any other monetary relief.

    • Facebook sues social media site with ‘book’ in name

      Teachbook filed a trademark application in March 2009, and Facebook opposed the registration last year. There were “ongoing discussions” over use of the name and Shrader believed “we were working constructively with (Facebook),” but is now expecting to file a response to the California-based technology company’s lawsuit in court.

    • Copyrights

      • Lies Of Omission – James Gannon Doesn’t Tell You All The Details

        So what about James Gannon? James recently posted an article on Facebook, in which he argues for stronger digital locks. James does not mention that he works at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, a law firm that does work for The Canadian Recording Industry Association, which has a vested interest in digital locks.

      • Sweden to Finally Get Second a Pirate MEP?

        The EU election last June was a surprise for many, as the Piratpartiet got a seat with over 7% of the votes. Then when the Lisbon Treaty passed and they were awarded a second seat in the European Parliament. However, it wasn’t without drawbacks as the second seat has yet to be filled. That may happen soon.

      • Rupert Murdoch’s Anti-Fair Use Comments Used Against Him In Court Yet Again

        Remember back when Rupert Murdoch acted like fair use was a myth that would be “barred by the courts” when challenged? Yeah, that’s been coming back to bite Murdoch. Earlier this year, we noted that a former advisor to Michael Jackson was suing News Corp. over Fox News’ decision to air interview footage without a license, and the complaint highlighted Murdoch’s anti-fair use statement. Of course, when it came time to defend itself (guess what?) News Corp. lawyers relied heavily on fair use.

        Looks like that’s happening again. News Corp. has been sued yet again for copyright infringement, this time for airing a video (without licensing the clip) of Brad Pitt having trouble driving a motorcycle. Instead, Fox News folks simply downloaded it from TMZ, a property owned by AOL. Wait a second… so with Rupert Murdoch running all over the place claiming that Google News linking to his content is “theft,” yet Fox News has no problem downloading a video from a competing media organization and using it? Fascinating.

      • Publishing Raymond Carver’s ‘Original’ Stories as ‘Fair Use’

        The controversy arose when Raymond Carver’s widow, Tess Gallagher, expressed her desire to publish these stories because Carver’s editor, Gordon Lish, had dramatically changed their character and style. Indeed, she claimed that these unedited stories represented the “real” Caver, whom she wished to reveal to the world. However, Carver’s estate no longer owns the copyrights to these stories.

        The issue is particularly interesting because the “original” versions of the stories are considerably different from the published versions as edited by Lish. Thus, there is some ambiguity as to whether they are covered by the copyright of the published stories; in essence, they are the building blocks of the published versions, and thus it is unclear whether they would be considered derivative works.

      • Southern African Music Collection Society Fighting Attempt To Put Public Domain Works Under Copyright

        My first reaction was to be surprised. After all, when was the last time you saw a music collection group support the public domain or the idea of widespread shared culture? Hell, in the US, we have ASCAP telling us that things like Creative Commons are dangerous and must be fought.

      • ACTA

        • US [NOT] Proposing to Eliminate Secondary Liability from ACTA

          According to Inside U.S. Trade (August 27, 2010), the U.S. has adopted “a major policy shift” and “proposed removing controversial language from the Anticounterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that would have required signatories to impose secondary liability on Internet firms for intellectual property rights infringements by individuals.” On closer read of the ACTA text as we know it, the truth may be that secondary liability is not going away at all.

          There has been no official text of the ACTA agreement released since April 2010. The latest leaked text is from July 2010, after the Lucerne but before the Washington D.C. round of negotiations. Neither of those options indiacte any US position proposing to take out internet service provider (ISP) liability. USTR is refusing to comment on the proposal reported by Inside US Trade. It is therefore impossible to say with any certainty what the U.S. is proposing to change. My best guess is: nothing.

          The July leaked text of ACTA contains a chapter on “Enforcement Procedures in the Digital Environment” composed of seven major subsections. Sections one through three identify obligations of countries to enforce copyright law on the internet, and sections four through seven mainly require punishment of people who evade digital rights management hardware or software or define the exceptions to such obligations.

          The digital rights management provisions do not depend on ISP liability and therefore the best interpretation of the news is that these sections still remain as US priorities, and they have their own problems.

Clip of the Day

Unite Against ACTA – To Arms!


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