11.15.10

Different Perspectives on Harms of Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft at 11:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What bombs do

Summary: Microsoft’s destructive effects explained by people who know better than PR

Here are four new posts of interest from four different individuals who are generally critical of Microsoft for different reasons:

John Bennett: IP hasn’t hurt innovation in computer software

Similarly, competitor Linux is just as happy to have MS keep its prices high as that leaves more room in the market for its free software. This view is probably shared by the highest priced rival, Apple; though it is not mentioned in the article, it can charge a lot more as long as MS doesn’t drop its prices too much.

No mention is made of Google Chrome either, I assume because its operating system does not compete head to head with MS’s PC products, but that is coming in the future. It is doing quite well operating in the cloud and in other non-computer applications like cell phones. Indeed, innovation and gadgets at least raise a question about the future of the PC.

The bottom line, not drawn in the article, but which can be inferred, relates to how the industry will evolve. At this point, it appears unlikely that any other large software maker will emerge with a competitive operating system, unless it is compatible with Windows and works on the PC. There isn’t room in the market place for more.

Bradford White: Just Stop It, Microsoft

We all know that Microsoft doesn’t like people messing with their stuff. For example, Microsoft really hates the amount of piracy that surrounds Windows and Office. The company frequently releases updates that make piracy of those products harder and harder. This is completely legal considering that only Microsoft owns Windows and Office. You pay about 300.00USD to have MS Office and MS Windows, and those would be introductory versions of each. Now, apparently, the company wishes to control things even more.

[...]

I was attracted to the open source movement simply because I wanted to be the person calling the shots on my computers. I could care less about RMS and his views on FOSS. I simply hated the idea that I wasn’t legally permitted to make changes to the software running on MY computer. Apparently, Microsoft thinks that you ought not be allowed to repurpose your hardware either, or modify your software, or repurpose software, or reverse engineer software, or anything else. Where does it stop? Where do people draw the line? If you go out and purchase a license to Microsoft Windows or Office, you have to agree to the EULA.

Or as Pogson puts it: USA: Cannot Compete. Doesn’t Even Try.

The USA has ignored anti-competitive acts by M$ to force retailers and OEMs to supply mostly M$’s products to the great cost of the world in malware and licensing fees. When the USA did notice egregious acts by M$ they never required a remedy but condoned the acts. Further, as M$ bullied businesses large and small and even governments, the USA did nothing. The USA has intervened repeatedly when M$ was called to task by other governments. The USA has allowed M$ to kill competition within the USA and now the USA has lost the benefit of competition as motivation to produce better products.

Alastair Otter, typically a critic of Microsoft and staunch advocate of software freedom in his country, writes about Vista 8, inadvertently helping Microsoft by bringing vapourware into public consciousness.

“Stewart Alsop, industry gadfly, presented Gates with the “Golden Vaporware” award, saying, “The delay of Windows was all part of a secret plan to have Bill turn thirty before it shipped.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

Links 15/11/2010: GNU/Linux in Indian Desktops, China Has World’s Top Supercomputer (With GNU/Linux)

Posted in News Roundup at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • FUD^2

    FUD just will not go away. People must be paid to manufacture it. I will not post a link to the latest FUD article I read but it has a bunch of points:

    * GNU/Linux is faster and has more drivers out of the box
    * GNU/Linux is faster to install and brings more apps to the table

    which sounds great. GNU/Linux is a winner… Then TFA goes on to recount that

    * GNU/Linux lacks “special drivers” for “special devices”, the Achilles’ Heel and
    * GNU/Linux crashes a lot, especially when tweaking it

  • Logic and Reason

    Another piece of FUD caught my eye: “Linux vs. Windows: Suspending logic and reason for blind faith“. The authour, Donovan Colbert, expresses outrage/amazement at the unreasoning adherents of operating systems in the security debate. He compares the “many eyes” of FLOSS versus the “security through obscurity” of non-free software. This is an old story but he dredges it up anyway.

    His argument is that the many eyes feature is also a vulnerability since the bad guys can also see the code, not just the good guys. This is nonsense.

    [...]

    So stuff from 1995 in X applications crashed 24% of the time in fuzz-testing but 100% of GUI apps in Lose 2000 crashed. Does being closed make you more secure? Nope.

  • Kinect Hacker Hector Shows Redmond Who’s Daddy

    The events of this week reminded me why I love GNU, Linux, and free software so much. We leverage the power of communities of independent people better than any organization on the planet. It is simply a fact that gets proven over and over again. Discussions over the last several months have revolved around several interesting GNU/Linux and free software facts:

    * If GNU/Linux were created solely by paid developers, it would have cost over 1 BILLION dollars to develop using conventional proprietary means. 1.
    * Open source and free software are saving a lot of people in the real world a substantial amount of money, including government agencies. 2.

  • Sometimes We Grow Up

    It was no surprise when Jono’s announcement of the OpenRespect project was met with the usual mix of positive and negative responses.

    [...]

    Maybe Jono is a hypocrite who wants it all ways. I don’t think so, but so what if he is? We’re all imperfect, we all have pasts full of mistakes, and if all we do is focus a critical, judgmental lens on everything we’ll never accomplish anything. I think a reasonable baseline is to expect everyone to try, even a little, to get along with their fellow humans.

  • Rant: Linux Wars

    And each year one “Linux” becomes more different than the next “Linux”. Some want compatibility and standards based development (even if it’s lousy at times). Others want “OMG, not some lame standard, pah! we’re the best! just do it!” and for Linux to do its own thing entirely. Neither approach is entirely correct, nor entirely wrong. But we’re not learning from UNIX either.

  • Desktop

    • GNU/Linux on the Desktop in India

      It’s estimated that this year in India OEMs will ship close to 4,00,000 desktops with a Linux subscription or with preloaded Linux.

    • Help Find out the Real Desktop Linux Market Share

      The same page also features a break down of the figures with some really interesting stats. Ubuntu as usual, has a whooping 61% of the figures tallied so far, with Poland having a staggering 26% of the boxes?

  • Server

    • China Officially Overtakes U.S. in Supercomputer Performance

      It’s been rumored, but now it’s official. The Chinese Tianhe-1A system at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin has achieved a performance level of 2.57 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second). This puts it in the number one spot on the 36th edition of the TOP500′s world’s most powerful supercomputer list, the organization said Sunday.

      As a result, the prior winner on the list—the Cray XT5 “Jaguar” system at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee—is now ranked in second place, with a score of 1.75 petaflop/s.

  • Ballnux

    • Nexus Two aka Nexus S, Images-Details Leaked

      It’s about time Nexus One gets its successor. Engadget has been fueling rumors about the next Nexus phone; it’s not HTC. Two Samsung phones are believed to be the next Nexus phones.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Going down the programmable pipeline road

        As you might know OpenGL comes in two flavors: fixed functionality and programmable pipeline. With the fixed functionality you have to use API calls to influence the execution of each stage of the rendering pipeline. It is a very powerful API allowing you to do most of the stuff we use in KWin. The programmable pipeline allows to directly execute code (called a “Shader”) to do vertex and fragment processing. For example we are able to saturate a complete window as a whole with fixed functionality, but we need a fragment shader to be able to change the color of each pixel depending on the input color. This is for example used in the invert effect. A vertex shader can be used to influence the geometry. E.g. we could use it to transform a cube into a sphere. OpenGL 1.x is completely fixed functionality, in OpenGL 2 the programmable pipeline was introduced to exchange parts of the rendering stack, but fixed functionality was still around. With OpenGL 3 everyone expected the fixed functionality to be removed, but it was only deprecated and you can still use it. All the modern calls have been moved into a “core profile”.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Pinguy E-17 remix

        This build is a livedvd showcasing the newly beta EFL libraries for the E-17 window manager. It was built on the 10.04 Ubuntu core and follows PinguyOS, in being a working out of the box operating system.

      • Review: GNU/Linux Utopia 12112010 (Idea by Manuel)

        …GNU IceCat, Liferea, and Seamonkey. IceCat is a rebranded version of Mozilla Firefox, similar to Iceweasel. I was happy to see that most codecs are included out-of-the-box.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6 Beta Available for Download

        Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, announced on November 9th the immediate availability of the first beta version of the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6 operating system.

      • 3 Triangle titans, $3 billion: How will they deploy it all?

        Cree, Red Hat and SAS, three of the Triangle’s most successful home-grown technology companies, are members of an exclusive club.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora, like Ubuntu, to dump X for Wayland

          Fedora, Red Hat’s community distribution, has also decided to start to move to Wayland too.

          [...]

          Personally, I don’t see any Linux distribution using Wayland as its default graphical interface until well into 2012. I also think it’s possible that a cleaned-up and revised X server may yet keep X as Linux’s dominant graphical interface. For now, though, Wayland’s star is in the ascendent and the venerable X Window’s star is descending.

        • I’m running the latest Fedora 13 kernel, 2.6.34.7-61, and I have ATI video and Conexant sound playing nicely

          I’ve been sitting on old kernels for too long in Fedora 13. First I kept 2.6.33.8-149 because I could use the open-source ati video driver, but then I moved to 2.6.34.7-56, where I had working and speedy video with the fglrx driver direct from ATI/AMD as well as the ability to mute the speakers fed by my Lenovo G555′s Conexant 5069 sound chip.

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMEPIS 11.0 Goes Alpha

        The first Alpha of SimplyMEPIS 11.0 has been released and uploaded to the MEPIS master site. If you are an MEPIS subscriber you can download the file immediately. The global ISO mirrors should make the files available to the general public within 24 hours.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Get New Radio Tray Mono Icons For Ubuntu

          Eriq Jaffe has uploaded a new set of Radio Tray Mono Icons on Gnome Looks. The icons add more style and polish to your Radio Tray.

        • No unity in Ubuntu’s decision

          In a post on her blog Story Peters, executive director of the Gnome Foundation, says as much:

          “We’ve put a lot of work into Gnome Shell, our next big thing, and Canonical is saying that it’s not the best thing for their users. It’s disappointing because we are excited about our new plans and expect lots of users to enjoy them. And we rely on our distribution partners to get Gnome into the hands of users, so we were expecting Canonical to help us in that.”

          Disappointment aside there are a couple of potentially good reasons for Canonical to switch to Unity.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Distro Hoppin`: Dream Studio 10.10

            If you are dreaming of a free software suite to run your studio, then stop dreaming and download a copy of this distro and install it on your machine and be happy, your dream has finally come true.

          • Warning, server downtime, switch your repositories

            The German datacenter we’re using is moving to France and this impacts two of our dedicated servers:

            * The www.linuxmint.com website
            * The packages.linuxmint.com repositories

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo 1.1 SDK Beta Released!

          Intel, Nokia lead MeeGo project has announced the release of MeeGo 1.1 SDK Beta. MeeGo 1.1 SDK release enables application developers to develop, install, and debug applications, as well as run applications on N900, Netbook, and Aava devices with MeeGo.

      • Android

        • Android Powered Motorola CITRUS Only For $49

          Motorola CITRUS is now available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at www.verizonwireless.com tomorrow for $49.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • JoliBook May Beat Chrome OS As The First Cloud-Linux Netbook

        Jolicloud is set to launch its own netbook preloaded with Jolicloud. The launch would beat Google Chrome which is expected to be launched soon. JoliBook seems to follow Apple’s strategy of bundling hardware and software.

      • Jolibook: The Jolicloud Powered Netbook

        Today we’ve received in our mailbox a black envelope from Jolicloud, announcing the powerful and amazing Jolibook netbook device!

        This month, according to the Jolicloud developers, something big is going to happen in the world of little computers. Jolibook, will be a netbook device powered by the Jolicloud 1.1 operating system, it will have a next-generation N550 CPU, a 250GB hard disk, and a LED LCD monitor.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Great Blender Survey Results: The News Behind The News

    So getting back to the Great Blender Survey, scrolling to the end, what’s the first action plan proposed by the survey-taker? They hold up their Don-Norman-blessed edition of Don’t Make Me Think and start chattering about changing the interface on the website, as if the whole survey just went through them like chili through a cat.

  • Chamba Swathanthra Cinema – India’s First Open Movie Project Slowly Coming Alive

    It seems Blender open movies have inspired quite a number of people. Chamba Swathanthra Cinema is an open movie project by a bunch of free software enthusiasts from Kerala, India. Chamba Swathanthra Cinema is probably first of its kind open movie project ever initiated by anyone other than Blender foundation.

  • What can all managers learn from Free, Open Source Software?

    The 2010 edition of the Free/Open Source Software in Academia Conference (fOSSa) was an interesting event, (here’s my final report about fOSSa2010). In this page I intend to present something I found in common among several fOSSa talks. Something that is relevant for everybody who cares about effective business and human resources management in any sector, not just in the software industry.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 Beta 8 Scheduled, Beta 7 GPU Acceleration Detailed

        Firefox 4 Beta 7 was a big release for Mozilla, but Beta 8 is already scheduled for release at the end of the month. The company also detailed improvements to its hardware acceleration engine for Windows XP – 7, as well as changes to HTML 5 support.

  • Programming

    • Oracle comments on JVM strategy

      Oracle‘s Java ambassador Henrik Ståhl has reacted to reports from various media outlets about a dual license for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) based on a merger of the JRockit and HotSpot virtual machines. As presented at JavaOne in September, this “united” JVM is to consist of the best features of the two JVMs. The result is to be incrementally implemented in OpenJDK, although a number of components – such as Sun’s Java for Business and Oracle’s JRockit Mission Control, JRockit Real Time and JRockit Virtual Edition – will continue to be sold as proprietary, commercial premium extensions.

    • Launching code.mozy.com

      Since my start at Mozy in September, 2009, one of the internal programs in which I quickly took interest was Mozy Labs. Labs’ main champion was a former Google intern named JT Olds, who had witnessed directly the power of allowing engineers free time for innovation and wanted that for Mozy.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • When and How to Launch a Standards Consortium

      In this article, I will review the situations where a new consortium should and — as importantly — should not, be formed. I will also provide a decision tree for determining what activities a new consortium should undertake to increase the likelihood of its success, a description of the infrastructural elements needed to support these activities, and an indication of the stage of an organization’s maturity at which the addition of each activity becomes advisable.

Leftovers

  • Natural History Museum expedition ‘poses genocide threat’ to Paraguay tribes

    Anthropologists and indigenous leaders have warned that a Natural History Museum expedition to Paraguay could lead to “genocide” and are calling for it to be abandoned. They fear that the scientists and their teams of assistants are likely to make accidental contact with isolated indigenous groups in the remote region they are planning to visit and could pass on infectious diseases.

  • Is Facebook A Threat To The Free & Open Web?

    Google has refused Facebook to automatically ‘import’ Gmail data from a user’s account by changing its terms of service. I see it as Google standing up to fight an abusive, monopolistic forces rising in the Internet world.

  • Has Google Become Too Stagnant?

    The last time Google released something really groundbreaking was Gmail, if I remember right. Of course since then, they’ve cobbled up other small companies to add their own midas touch to make those companies hugely successful Google products, Youtube readily comes to mind here. However, even that strategy does not look to have worked for Mountain View this year given the 23 or so acquisitions.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • San Francisco Moving Toward Ban Of Toys From Most McDonald’s Happy Meals

      In an 8-3 vote, the board passed a preliminary version of a new rule that forbids toy freebies with meals that don’t meet minimum nutritional standards.

    • Despite 2006 “Pledge,” Fast Food Companies Target Kids More Than Ever

      In response to growing pressure about promoting unhealthy food to kids and contributing to the obesity epidemic, the fast food industry did what every industry that produces a harmful product does: it pledged to voluntarily end the harmful practices that started drawing scrutiny to the industry. Accordingly, in 2006 the Council of Better Business Bureaus launched its Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), a voluntary code of conduct under which fast food purveyors pledged to promote healthier food choices in their advertising, and to use messages encouraging good nutrition in ads aimed at kids.

    • Why I Will Stay Far Away From Cliffs From Now on

      I set fire to a lot of bridges when I accepted Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s invitation to testify as part of his investigation into health insurance company practices that for years have been swelling the ranks of the uninsured and the underinsured in the United States. With the publication of my book — the subtitle of which is, “An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out On How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans” — I am torching a few more.

      I describe in the book how a huge share of Americans’ health-care premiums bankrolls relentless propaganda and lobbying efforts focused on protecting one thing: profits. I also describe how the industry’s PR onslaught drastically weakened health-care reform and how it plays an insidious and often invisible role in our political process anywhere that corporate profits are at stake, from climate change to defense policy.

      They’re going to kill you, Wendell,” a former CIGNA colleague warned in an email after reading a couple of chapters this morning. “If I were you, I wouldn’t get anywhere near a cliff.”

    • Potter’s “Deadly Spin” Exposes Damaging Insurance Industry PR Activities

      In his new book, former insurance industry insider Wendell Potter says insurance companies spend a huge portion of Americans’ health insurance premiums on relentless propaganda and lobbying efforts that are focused on one thing: profits. He describes how the insurance industry’s PR onslaught drastically weakened the new health reform law, and how it plays an insidious but often invisible role in politics any time corporate profits are threatened, on subjects ranging from climate change to defense policy.

    • FDA to Require New, Graphic Cigarette Health Warning Labels

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has unveiled hard-hitting, graphic new cigarette warning labels that will be required on cigarette packs after October 22, 2012. The labels show corpses, a man smoking through a tracheostomy, pictures of diseased lungs, a bedridden man suffering from end-stage cancer, rotten teeth, a man in the throes of a heart attack, a woman blowing smoke in a baby’s face and similar depictions meant to show the actual physical effects of smoking.

    • U.S. Cigarette Warning Labels Are About to Get Graphic

      Cigarette packages currently come with a tidy black-bordered warning label, reminding users that smoking causes lung cancer, birth defects and heart disease. Dutiful, yes, and easily disregarded. On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled 36 proposed new warning labels designed to grab smokers’ attention. The new labels will cover half of a cigarette pack with graphic warnings — think dead bodies and cancer-ridden lungs — about the risks of smoking.

    • Natural Gas and Money, a “Bacteria that Ills the American System”

      Things aren’t looking good on the most important issue of them all: environmental justice, or, in more stark terms, the future of the world as we know it.

    • Market Watch: Farmers market cheating alleged

      The largest operator of Southern California farmers markets has protected a vendor who buys produce wholesale and misrepresents it as his own, alleged one of the company’s managers, who made the claim at a listening session held by the California Department of Food and Agriculture last week in Santa Monica. The operator has denied the allegation, but the repercussions seem likely to reverberate in the farmers market world.

    • What the FDA doesn’t want you to know about GE salmon

      One of the arguments against expanding the FDA’s powers over food safety is that the agency has repeatedly shown an unwillingness to enforce existing laws and to regulate aggressively in the face of corporate lobbying.

      Unfortunately, we now have more evidence that the FDA may indeed be a bad-faith regulator.

      The Center for Food Safety has unearthed convincing evidence that the FDA is attempting to freeze out marine and fisheries experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in its rush to approve biotech company AquaBounty’s genetically modified salmon for human consumption.

  • Security

    • Explaining Security Concepts to ZDNet Bloggers Is Like Teaching Physics to a Pig

      Once a proprietary software hole is found, it stays open for years. We’ve literally seen the case happen, here’s the 17-year-old Windows hole that just got patched this year. (…and the Register still says ‘hacker’ when they mean ‘cracker.’ See what we’re up against?)

      Conversely, the same strategy doesn’t work against Linux, BSD, and other open source systems. Yes, true, you can penetration-test Linux and BSD. There’s plenty of tools out there to do that, too. There’s even distros like “Damn Vulnerable Linux” specifically built to be weak and demonstrate points of failure. But when you go to all that trouble to find a security hole in Linux and exploit it, you know what’s going to happen?

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Omar Khadr Jury Hammers the Final Nail into the Coffin of American Justice

      On Sunday, a military jury at Guantánamo handed down a 40-year sentence to Omar Khadr, the Canadian citizen who was just 15 years old when he was seized after a firefight in Afghanistan. The decision brought to an end a week of hearings that began when Khadr, now 24, accepted a plea deal giving him an eight-year sentence in exchange for agreeing that he was guilty of murder in violation of the laws of war, spying, conspiracy, providing material support to terrorism, and attempted murder, with one year to be served in Guantánamo, and the remaining seven in Canada.

    • Abuse claims lift cloak of secrecy over Britain’s Iraq interrogation base
    • The many faces of an Iranian Cindy Sherman

      Tara Inanloo has taken a series of self-portraits ‘to represent the different Iranian women inside myself’. Now she is in grave danger if she goes back to her country

    • Toronto officers face G20 discipline over name tag removal

      Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair announced that 90 officers are facing disciplinary action after it was learned that they removed their name tags during the G20 Summit weekend. They will most likely lose a day’s pay.
      On Wednesday, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair testified before the Commons public safety committee where he discussed police officers’ various controversial actions during the G20 Summit in June.

    • British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates freed after ransom payment

      A British couple kidnapped from their yacht by Somali pirates more than a year ago have been freed after a ransom was paid.

      Paul and Rachel Chandler, 61 and 56, from Tunbridge Wells, were handed over by the pirates to officials in Adado, central Somalia, early this morning.

    • Burma election observers report voter intimidation
    • Russian journalist beaten unconscious outside office

      Two young men beat a Russian journalist unconscious outside his office today, 48 hours after another reporter was attacked with an iron bar.

    • Tell the TSA: Hands Off!
    • PG&E SmartMeter exec tries to infiltrate activists

      A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executive in charge of the utility’s SmartMeter program admitted Monday that he used a fake name in an effort to join an Internet discussion group of SmartMeter opponents.

      William Devereaux, senior director of the $2.2 billion SmartMeter program, used the name “Ralph” when he sent an e-mail to the moderator of a discussion group for people trying to block deployment of the new, wireless electricity and gas meters. But his real name appeared next to his e-mail address.

    • Utility Exec Busted Trying to Spy on Consumers

      Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s executive in charge of its “SmartMeter” program got caught using a fake name to try and join an Internet talk list operated by people who are fighting installation of the new meters.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The view from beneath the waves: climate change in the Solomon Islands

      The smaller outer islands in the Solomon Islands are already seeing devastating impacts of the rising sea level. The impact of climate change is already affecting the rural population of Solomon Islands, an archipelago of eight bigger islands and hundreds of small, mostly uninhabited islands.

    • US oil spill inquiry chief slams BP’s ‘culture of complacency’

      BP and the other companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster were operating under a “culture of complacency” and need top-to-bottom reform, the head of the presidential investigation into the oil spill said today.

      A day after releasing preliminary findings on the causes of the fatal explosion on the Deepwater Horizon – the first of multiple inquiries – William Reilly, co-chair of the commission, was scathing about the safety regime on board the Deepwater Horizon.

    • One last chance: can we save the tiger?
    • US researchers fight to reclaim climate science message

      Hundreds of scientists have signed up to two new campaigns that seek to regain control of the message about climate science.

    • Crude Oil Production Forecast to 2015

      With fresh data out from EIA Washington just this afternoon, and, on the heels yesterday of IEA Paris’ long-overdue admission of Peak Oil, I thought I would release a crude oil forecast. This is a production chart that I’ve been working on over the past few weeks. I use rough estimates of future world GDP, the recent mix of primary energy use with special attention paid to coal vs oil use, and then finally decline rates in global oil production. Despite these efforts, any forecast of this nature is at best general in nature. That said, the trajectory here is worth paying attention to.

  • Finance

    • Infighting, legislative gridlock, open warfare in Congress – just what Wall Street wanted

      A ticker-tape parade along Wall Street might appear crass in this era of austerity. But the victorious Republican leadership in the US House of Representatives can expect a warm, heartfelt welcome from America’s financial elite, who watched last week’s conservative electoral landslide with quiet satisfaction.

      In the eyes of top US financiers, Barack Obama’s hammering in the midterm elections means the White House’s war on Wall Street is over. They feel, as one hedge fund manager told the president at a town hall meeting in September, like piñatas, constantly whacked with a political stick by Democrats keen to cast them as economic villains.

    • Take Action! Tell Elizabeth Warren about Your Top Priorities for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

      The sweeping Wall Street reform bill that was signed into law this summer calls for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Just like other consumer regulators work to keep dangerous products off the market, the CFPB’s job is to make sure financial products and services don’t harm consumers or our economy.

    • Pillage and Plunder Alert – Deficit Commission Gets Underway

      The two chairmen of the deficit commission, former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, surprised Washington Wednesday with the release of their own draft recommendations on federal debt reduction. They were supposed to issue a report December 1, after the full 18-member panel had been given a chance to vote on each item. Knowing that it would be next to impossible to achieve a high level of support on the commission for their recommendations, the raiders decided to go it alone. Their package appears to be about three-fourths cuts and one-fourth revenue raisers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Media Misreading Midterms

      For months, the problem for Democrats was correctly identified as the “enthusiasm gap”–the idea that the progressive base of the party was not excited about voting. The exit polls from Tuesday’s vote confirm that many Democratic-tending voters failed to show up. How, then, does one square this fact with the idea that Obama and Democrats were pushing policies that were considered too left-wing? If that were the case, then presumably more of those base voters would have voted to support that agenda. It is difficult to fathom how both things could be true.

    • Stauber Lectures on the Public Relations World

      The field of public relations is essentially dark, covert operations carried out by skilled propaganda professionals. That was the message delivered by Center for Media and Democracy founder and investigative journalist John Stauber in a lecture at the University of Northern Iowa November 8. Stauber said he first encountered the field of PR and its effects in 1990 when he started working with a group of small dairy farmers who where upset after finding out that some dairies were injecting bovine growth hormone into cows to increase their milk production.

    • John Stauber gives UNI an inside look at the public relations world

      On Nov. 8, John Stauber presented his lecture, “Toxic Sludge is Good for You,” to University of Northern Iowa students, faculty and staff.

      Stauber, an investigative journalist and New York Times best-selling author, wasn’t really trying to sell the crowd on the benefits of toxic sludge. In fact, his first book, titled “Toxic Sludge Is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry,” explains how to promote critical thinking in the public relations profession.

      “After decades of working as a public interest activist and organizer, I realized that there existed in the United States, especially, an institution devoted to propaganda and we call that institution a profession, the public relations industry,” said Stauber.

    • Amazon’s PR Disaster

      The book, essentially a guide for pedophiles, drew massive media attention and a barrage of public scorn. At first, Amazon defended the author’s free speech rights and issued a statement saying it doesn’t condone censorship…

      [...]

      Soon after, though, Amazon yielded to complaints and threats of a boycott and pulled the book entirely. Amazon’s content guidelines for authors, including prohibitions on pornography or offensive material, could have prevented the e-book from being listed on its site to begin with, but the company’s confused handling of the situation left it facing even more controversy, including questions about its commitment to quality control and whether the company did, in fact, infringe on the author’s free speech rights.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Tibet spring

      Logging on the Internet successfully at my hotel, but discovering that while Gmail, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal were all easily accessible, Twitter and Facebook were not. Social media more threatening to the censors than the high gatekeepers of Western media? (And if any of my readers has advice on how to connect to Twitter from China, please e-mail me.)

    • Silvio Berlusconi’s media reach

      Silvio Berlusconi’s standard response, whenever he is challenged about his media power, is to exclaim indignantly that the Italian press is as free as any in the world. That, of course, misses the point that he either controls or influences six of the seven main terrestrial channels (the sole exception being La7, owned by Telecom Italia). The effects can be seen clearly in TV coverage of the latest wave of sex scandals to wash over Italy’s prime minister. Corriere della Sera’s TV critic, Aldo Grasso, called it “a triumph of reticence”. He added: “if you followed the Italian television news bulletins, you would understand very little”.

    • Google stands up for your data

      If technology had its own version of People magazine, this week’s cover story would involve pictures of Google and Facebook in opposing bubbles, looking angrily in each other’s direction.

      The battle is now over data portability. To summarize, about a week ago, Google said Facebook wasn’t allowed to come over and play anymore. That is, because Facebook wouldn’t let users take their data back out of Facebook, Google blocked them from importing the data to begin with, which they could in the past.

    • Supreme Court Considers Corporate Right to Mandatory Arbitration

      The U.S. Supreme Court may continue its march towards permitting greater corporate “rights” in the case AT&T Mobility vs. Concepcion, scheduled for oral argument on Tuesday. If the Court sides with the telecom giant, it will greatly weaken rules regarding an individual’s right to join class-action lawsuits, one of the most powerful legal tools available to citizens and consumers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 3D Printing May Bring Legal Challenges, Group Says

      A coming revolution in 3D printing, with average consumers able to copy and create new three-dimensional objects at home, may lead to attempts by patent holders to expand their legal protections, a new paper says.

    • How long will innovation continue in internet software?

      Monopolies and the internet are the subject of articles by kdawson at Slashdot link here and Tim Wu at the Wall Street Journal link here. They note that the monopolies are innovative, but that they will not always remain so.

      Actually, they are not real monopolies, but rather collectively they make up an oligopoly where the companies compete at the margins, mainly in the form of product differentiation, They are successful as long as they innovate. Why would they not continue to do so? On first thought, because they run out of innovations. But is that likely?

    • Copyrights

      • Once Again, the Copyright/Trademark Tail Tries to Wag the Internet Dog

        Congress is set to once again consider the Sen Leahy’s Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeit Act, a truly awful bill (with the appropriately awful acronym “COICA” — which sounds a little too much to my ears like “cloaca,” and if you don’t know what “cloaca” means, you can look it up here . . .). I have written a (relatively brief) “Law Professors’ Letter in Opposition,” which now has about 35 signatories, which you can read here. [There’s a summary of the bill’s provisions in the Letter — and the full text of the current version is posted here]

        The bill would allow the Attorney General to institute an in rem action against the domain name of any Internet site “dedicated to infringing activities” — defined to include any site that “engages in” copyright or trademark-infringing activities where those activities, “taken together,” are “central to the activity” of the site. The court would then be authorized to issue injunctions — not against the offending website, but against “the domain name” itself — ordering the domain name registrar where the target site’s domain name was registered, and the domain name registry responsible for maintaining the authoritative database of names for the target site’s top-level domain, to “lock out” the domain name (and therefore prevent access to the site through use of the domain name).

Clip of the Day

Dell on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 15/11/2010: Plans for Xfce 4.8, Preview of Debian 6, Linux Mint Has High Demand

Posted in News Roundup at 12:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • CAOS Theory Podcast 2010.11.12

      Topics for this podcast:

      *Our latest CAOS Special Report – Control and Community
      *Red Hat releases RHEL 6
      *Symbian and Oracle highlight community challenges
      *The latest on government adoption of OSS from GOSCON
      *Open core issue continues, now with Linux and evil twins

  • Kernel Space

    • What’s The Fastest Partition Scheme On Cheap Flash Media?

      You read the Fastest Flash article so you already know Ext4 can turbocharge your thumb drive. But you run Linux, so of course want even more! Is there anything else to do?

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org 7.6 Release Candidate 1 Is Finally Here

        Alan Coopersmith has announced the first release candidate of X.Org 7.6. Originally the X.Org 7.6 release was supposed to come in October, but that didn’t happen and now into November we are finally seeing the first test katamari.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • RHEL 6 has Nothing Noteworthy for Home Desktops

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Final shows up on 10th November 2010, almost 44 months after its previous major release (RHEL 5 was released on 14th March 2007). But at the time it came, it’s already bit obsolete for desktop use. Of course, desktop has never been a sweetpot for Red Hat. But was it really tarnishing it’s rock-stability by riding a few versions up on some packages? What was holding RH back from appropriating KDE 4.5 series, or for that matter jumping to GNOME 2.32? Sure, it must have backported some goodies from Fedora 13 and 14, but they work underneath, the worry is that it’ll put on these DEs till, say, 7 to 10 years. Moreover, KDE has undergone many improvements from its 4.3 to 4.5 versions.

    • Debian Family

      • Preview: Debian 6 “Squeeze” (Part 4: Standard)

        It was a nice experience being able to have this much control over my system. Maybe this is why Arch is supposed to be so good. Stay tuned for a final[ish, but not really] report on the state of Debian-based Oxidized Trinity!

      • SimplyMEPIS Version 11 Alpha 1 (10.9.70) and antiX core

        That was the only issue that I ran into with the very first Alpha Build for the next SimplyMEPIS release. A lot of people reported a similar issue, so it is certain to get fixed in the very next Alpha Build, which will probably be available in a week or two.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • 8 Beautiful Linux/Ubuntu Wallpaper Packs You Should Take a Look

          We have featured a number of wallpaper collections here before which includes the likes of beautiful Ubuntu Maverick wallpapers, awesome Android desktop wallpapers etc. Now, here is a bunch of Linux/Ubuntu wallpaper packs among others you might like.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10 Download Links

            The release of Linux Mint 10 has brought more traffic than we’ve ever seen before, and sadly also much more than our server is able to cope with. We’ve got dedicated servers for the website, the blog, the forums and the seeding of the torrents, and even with that, we’re not able to face the traffic!

          • How to install Linux Mint 10 on a btrfs file system

            Linux Mint 10 is the first version of Linux Mint with built-in support for the B-tree File System (btrfs). Btrfs is one of the newest file systems in the Linux kernel. It is a copy on write file system with the following features: snapshotting and writtable snapshots, object-level mirroring and stripping, file system compression, multi-device support, online and offline file system checking, etc.

          • Linux Mint 10 Reviewed

            Linux Mint is arguably the front-runner when it comes to Linux distributions that target Windows users looking to migrate to linux. Now Mint has released a new version named “Julia”. Mint claims to be a user-friendly OS that just works for the average user; its forte being elegance, ease of installation and usability. It began in 2006, based on Ubuntu, and basically follows Ubuntu except in some important areas which we will discuss after installation.

          • Linux Mint 10: A beautiful rescue distro

            This is certainly a great rescue distro: easy to use, responsive, elegant, and functional. The only flaw I found is that it does not fit a CD…which is the same case of the alpha release of SimplyMEPIS 11. Is Linux moving to Live DVDs instead of Live CDs?

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Hacked Kinect Handles Photos, Minority Report Style

      With the open source driver for the Kinect released, it didn’t take long for some Kinect hacks to surface. Now someone out there has used the open source Kinect driver to turn the device into a gesture-based multi-touch control device, allowing it to identify gestures that can be used to manipulate photos, similar to how it’s done in the Minority Report film. Check out a video of it in action after the jump, and a clip from the Minority Report film to remind you of what we’re talking about.

    • Mini PC touted for upgradeable design

      Xi3 Corporation announced a compact PC it claims will be readily upgradeable, thanks to the use of one board containing the processor and memory, along with two separate I/O boards. The Xi3 Modular Computer offers a choice of AMD processors, SSD (solid state disk) storage, 1080p video output, two eSATA ports, and an “Xm3dia” expansion port, the company says.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Volunteers Report: OLPC Samoa School Deployments

        In May 2010, XO laptops from OLPC were deployed into two primary schools in Samoa – 48 XO-1.0 laptops to Laumoli Primary School children plus additional laptops to teachers and 27 XO-1.0 laptops to Paia Primary school children plus additional laptops to teachers. These schools are located on Savaii Island.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Monitoring with Nagios: New Online Training from the Linux Magazine Academy
  • Help me start a FOSS Tithing movement

    A tithe is a voluntary tax (often 10% of income), usually paid yearly to a religious organization. I’d like to adopt this concept for free and open source software (FOSS), which in many ways is like a religion.

    Please help me start a FOSS tithing movement. I’ve set up FOSSTithe.org to keep track of company pledges and amounts donated. I also set up a Google group for discussion.

    I’ll go first: DuckDuckGo hereby pledges to tithe 10% of its income to free and open source software projects. I plan to keep this up indefinitely, i.e. as long as I’m in charge.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Elementary Theme is Quite a Revelation

        We have seen other elementary based works before like Nautilus Elementary and the Elementary 2.0 GTK theme itself, but the elementary version of Firefox here quite stand apart. The latest update brings in a name change as well. From now on, it will be called as ‘eFirefox’.

      • Firefox 4, How To Undo The Changes

        I have been working with the latest builds of Firefox 4 for the last two months. The browser has changed tremendously, both interface wise but also under the hood. The interface changes will likely split the Firefox user base. This article is for users who prefer the “old” interface and way of working the web browser. It looks at each change and offers alternatives or options to undo it. That obviously depends on the change at hand, and there may be changes that cannot be undone at all.

  • Databases

  • Oracle

    • LibreOffice Logo

      The LibreOffice project has a preliminary logo. The symbol aside, I see some issues with the type. The combination of the top of the 2nd f and the dot of the i is a little unfortunate. The b and r might work for body text, but not here. Setting Libre in bold only emphasises the unfortunate proportion of the 2 words (close to, but not quite the same width).

    • Apache’s Java threats aren’t new

      The Apache Software Foundation isn’t very happy with Oracle leadership of the Java Community Process. They’ve gone so far as to issue a lengthy statement saying that if certain items and conditions don’t change that they’ll leave the JCP.

  • Project Releases

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Ireland’s young flee abroad as economic meltdown looms

      Now he is forecasting mass mortgage defaults and an ugly popular uprising. The first stirrings are already visible, he says, with “anxiety giving way to the first upwellings of an inchoate rage and despair that will transform Irish politics along the lines of the Tea Party in America”, giving rise to a new “hard-right, anti-Europe, anti-traveller party”.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Tea Party is not new, or coherent. It’s merely old whine in new bottles

      Lectures about fiscal responsibility from the occupants of a plush suite on the 20th floor of one of the fanciest hotels in Las Vegas stick in the craw like a slice of cantaloupe swallowed sideways. Appropriately, the Tea Party Express’s open bar, trays of fruit and skyline view at the Aria hotel on election night smacked more of a corporate event than a political, let alone a populist, one.

      At one stage I turned to a man standing next to me and asked if he was a Tea Party supporter. “No,” he said. “I was hoping you were.” He was a state department official who had brought some foreign journalists in the hope of meeting some real Tea Party supporters to interview. But they couldn’t find any. There is a reason for that.

Clip of the Day

Symantec on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6


Credit: TinyOgg

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