IRC Proceedings: December 9th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

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Links 9/12/2010: Up to Another 1.5 Million GNU/Linux Laptops in Brazil, Mageia Gets Official Logo, Dell and Red Hat Grow Closer

Posted in News Roundup at 7:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Brazil plans large GNU/Linux deployment

    The number of PCs deployed is likely to be as much as 1.5 million, making it one of the biggest deployments of GNU/Linux.

  • Linux without a command line. Is it possible?

    I have to admit. I do like the command line and one of my favourite programs is Tilda. A drop down shell which allows me to run commands quicker than any mouse happy click lover. More often than not I run a quick command to do file operations, system operations and remote connections. It’s not pretty, all text and no fancy eye candy but it gets the job done, fast.

    However, many proponents of proprietary operating systems ridicule us Linux lovers for our command line commando ways and maintain that it is not possible to use Linux without having to write a command line or two. I have always said pshaw to that and two seconds later found myself immersed in a bash shell. I put it down to my habits and choice of Linux (Gentoo) as well as knowing too much for my own good :)


    So I have at least proven to myself, eaten my own dog food :) that Linux can be used in exactly the same way most people use other operating systems without having to fire up a command line. This was done not on a normal run of the mill pc either. This was done on exotic hardware which if there was going to be a problem, there would have been a problem.

  • TV show promoting Linux in schools!

    We have an opportunity to introduce a mainstream TV audience to the great stuff that Linux can do in schools, but we need 25 Linux enthusiasts to commit to show up in order to accomplish it.

    I just spoke with a program manager for a TV show called ABC 7 Live. They are interested in having supporters of Linux in schools (and particularly Partimus.org) attend a show. The show airs daily from 3 pm to 4 pm. I need a list of 25 people who will attend. I need the list by Thursday, 12/9/10 at 3 pm. You must be on the list to be admitted to the studio. I am coordinating the list, so please be sure to email me to get on the list. You can email me at einfeldt a t gmail dot com. You can watch shows from the archive here


    They have had famous people like Mark Zuckerberg on this show.

  • Linux: Tux Goes to Church

    Of course that “free” system is Linux. Usually some local system builder will be glad to build systems and preload Linux for a church. That same local system builder can likely provide support if asked. Any Linux distribution could serve as a good base on which a church could build its IT operations. On the desktop I would still recommend Mandriva despite its roller coaster history. Mandriva is a very easy to learn, user-friendly Linux distribution. It has easy GUI tools in the Mandriva Control Center to help the Linux novice get started with setup of a Linux system. At this point I would recommend the Gnome desktop for end-users coming from Microsoft that need a full-blown GUI to be comfortable. Once KDE 4.x is back to being at least as good as KDE 3.5.10 I may recommend that again. But I do not recommend KDE at this point.

  • Server

    • Digging Into The Top500

      The Top500 is the favorite punching bag of many people in HPC. My beef is not with the Top500, it is with all those who make it out to be something it is not. In my opinion, it is good historical record of those machines that can run a single benchmark. There is of course certain bragging rights for landing on the Top500 and it may help people justify an expensive pile of hardware. I suppose getting your system listed on a web page is good thing™, but there are those who have real work to get done and can brag about minor things like application throughput, optimization, and utilization.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • Google Chrome OS: what you need to know

      The long-awaited Chrome OS is finally here, and the first Chrome notebooks are winging their way to happy beta testers as you read this.

      So is it the operating system reinvented, or just a nifty way to squeeze more speed out of laptops?

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Canonical Donates Server to KDE

        KDE is a growing community with growing needs. The KDE Sysadmin team works hard to keep up, but lately the servers have been coming under some strain.

        To help ease the situation, Canonical has donated a new server for the KDE Sysadmins to use. The server, named kundong, features an impressive 8 CPU cores, 6 GB of memory, and a 130 GB disk with space for several more disks as needed. It is hosted in Canonical’s data center in central London.

      • 7 Ways to Beautify Your KDE 4 Desktop

        Part of the big hype over the release of KDE 4 was its new and improved eye candy, mostly due to the Plasma workspace. Those who liked the changes, loved the new KDE from the beginning. Those who did not are still complaining about it. But like any good desktop environment, you are by no means stuck with the default look. In fact, KDE offers more easily customizable features than any other. What follows are 7 ways to get the desktop look you dreamed about when you were a child.

      • KDE 4.6 Beta: Finding New Directions

        Many of the changes in the beta are of interest mainly to developers and not directly observable to casual users, although the changes may affect development in future releases.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • 13 Breathtaking Conky Configurations You Should See!

        Though we used to talk a lot about Ubuntu desktop eyecandy, Conky is something we never really discussed at all. Conky Ubuntu Lucid theme was the only exception, which is by far the most easy to install Conky theme I have ever used. So as to settle the Conky drought once and for all, here we feature one of the best collection of Conky configurations available.

      • Cheese webcam gets some crazy new effects

        Take a peek at some crazy new video effects coming to the Cheese webcam tool in this video by GNOME developers Daniel Siegel & Andreas Nilsson.

    • Xfce

  • Distributions

    • ‘Tis the Season for Rolling Releases

      Yes, there must be something about this time of year that has made tongues more likely to wag and Linux bloggers more likely to think about daily updates. How else to explain the recent rash of rumors and discussions on the topic of release schedules for certain popular Linux distros?

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Has an Official Logo

        After months of careful consideration, lots of contributions, and a set process, the Mageia project has decided upon a logo. Some may find it a bit understated, while other may find it offensive. In any case, the new bubbling cauldron is it.

        There were so many beautiful entries in contention for the new face of Mageia, but this simple design prevailed. The winning entry was submitted by Olivier Faurax. He says of the winning logo, “The cauldron with bubbles could imply magic – not really a theme to attract most potential users. Or it could refer to the development process – a sort of inside joke, which wouldn’t be understood by most without explanation.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst to Speak at Economy Forum “The Road to Prosperity: Jobs for the Next Generation”
      • Red Hat: Making a Move, Up 2.6% (RHT)

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is one of today’s notable stocks on the rise, up 2.6% to $48.15.

      • Dell and Red Hat Strengthen their Partnership with RHEL 6.0

        Dell is proud to announce the launch of OEM support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 (RHEL 6) which is certified on 9G, 10G, and 11G Dell servers and is an excellent complement to Dell’s open standards-based strategy. RHEL 6 provides customers with a proven, scalable, manageable and reliable open standards-based operating system that delivers even more compelling reasons for customers to migrate off of proprietary, UNIX-based systems.

      • Red Hat Delivers New JBoss Business Rules Management System

        JBoss Enterprise BRMS 5.1 is the latest piece of the Red Hat open-source middleware portfolio, JBoss Enterprise Middleware, and the first new release of the JBoss BRMS since May 2009. The new release brings additional authoring and management tools for use by business analysts and developers, said Pierre Fricke, director of product line management for middleware at Red Hat, in an interview with eWEEK.

      • Fedora

        • Distro Hoppin`: Fedora 14

          I found Laughlin to be the most stable and solid version of Fedora I’ve tried in years.

        • Why automatically push to rawhide?

          One of the things that bothers me about Fedora development is that things automatically end up anywhere after being built. I’m a big believer in having to do something to put software in the hands of users, even if they are running a development distribution, and even if they should “be able to fix whatever breaks”. Today, if you build something in rawhide, it’ll land on user machines tomorrow (in the default case). This applies especially if you do a “known good” build and then do “just one more” before the early morning hours when the mirrors get updated with today’s version.

    • Debian Family

      • Making the Switch to Linux: Some Debian-based Recommendations

        Two years ago today my family made the switch from Windows to Ubuntu. This wasn’t an overnight decision, and it wasn’t without complications. At the time we only had one desktop in our home (now we have a couple of laptops as well) and I intended to set it up to dual-boot. Unfortunately, what I didn’t know was that the version of BIOS on the desktop didn’t recognize USB connections, so it wouldn’t respond to keystrokes from the USB keyboard. And no, there was no other type of port available. By late that evening a couple of years ago we were set up with Ubuntu 8.10 fully installed on our family desktop. Although I did install Windows in Virtualbox for my son’s games, other than that we’ve been an Ubuntu-only household since then.

      • SimplyMEPIS 11.0 Alpha TEST 4 Uploaded for Testing

        Alpha 4 is available. This is a test release not a production release. It is intended for MEPIS Testers only. The ISO files are: SimplyMEPIS-DVD-TEST_10.9.82_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-DVD-TEST_10.9.82_64.iso

      • Debian Project News – December 8th, 2010

        A new update for Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 “Lenny” has been released. Due to an issue with the preparation, the linux-2.6 packages included in this point release do not incorporate the security fixes released in DSA 2110-1. DSA 2126-1, which has just been released, includes the updates from both DSA 2110-1 and the linux-2.6 packages from this point release. All other recent security updates have been added as well as some fixes for critical issues. New CD and DVD images as well as update CDs and DVDs are available.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Video Of Current Unity

          Today I recorded a short screencast that showcases some of the excellent work going into Unity and that is available in the Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal developer version of Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu Unity Desktop Review

          A few days ago I decided to upgrade my desktop Ubuntu OS from 10.10(Maverick Meerkat) to 11.04(Natty Narwal) Alpha 1. Previous experience upgrading to such an early alpha release told me that this would be very risky and likely I would have to re-install back to the stable release. But after the lengthy upgrade process was completed(took a few hours because I had Gnome, KDE, and LXDE desktop environments previously installed), I successfully rebooted and was greeted with the familiar GDM login screen.

        • Looking at Ubuntu Brainstorm: Idea #25801

          The Ubuntu Technical Board is currently conducting a review of the top ten Brainstorm issues users have raised about Ubuntu, and Matt asked me to investigate Idea #25801: Help the user understand when closing a window does not terminate the app. In other words, figure out to signal to the user that an application will continue to run after all of its windows have been closed.

          This is more than a good idea, it’s an important gap in the usability of most of the desktop operating systems in widespread use today.

          It’s also come up in our user testing: Charline’s research on Unity identified a lack of feedback to users and she observed the same absence of good feedback in the Rythmbox interface, where Rhythmbox can continue running in the background, playing music, with no windows visible.

        • Ubuntu Certified To Linux Standard Base 4.0

          All the leading commercial Linux companies are certified to Linux Standard Base 4.0 (LSB 4.0), including Canonical, Kylin, Linpus, Mandriva, Neoshine, Novell, Oracle, Red Flag and Red Hat.

          The Linux Foundation has also released a beta of the LSB 4.1 and is soliciting feedback from the public. The official release of LSB 4.1 is expected in January. The LSB delivers interoperability between applications and the Linux operating system, allowing application developers to target multiple versions of Linux with just one software package. It also allows Linux vendors to demonstrate to their customers that they meet a common set of industry standards and that they work together as an industry on advancing Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Kinect-powered helicopter is completely autonomous

      Yes, this helicopter has a Kinect on board, one that’s connected to a Linux box.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Android Doesn’t Create Value For Us: Nokia

          Prepare yourself for an all new Nokia experience in 2011. Nokia’s Director of Design Strategy Marko Ahtisaari said that Nokia is planning to launch devices based on a completely new approach to its UI and will be built on Meego. But, Ahtisaari did not not to give any details about the devices which are awaiting us. Ahtisaari revealed this at the LeWeb conference in Paris.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Technology To Aid The Disabled

    The technology that drives the ‘wheel’ Mehta, an ex-employee of Siemens AG, is a vociferous supporter of open source platforms. He developed the tool, christened ‘Arpit’s Wheel’, using simple computing hardware and FOSS (free and open-source software) tools and frameworks, which later bagged him the Manthan Award in 2008 in the e-inclusion category.

  • Oracle

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD snapshots available: 8.2 and 9.0

      Kris Moore has announced two snapshots of PC-BSD work-in-progress: version 8.2 and 9.0. Any feedback (positive and/or constructive) is welcome on the Testing Mailinglist.


  • A personal blog post for December – Xmas is almost here!

    Firstly, my thoughts are with my online friend (and co-host of Techbytes) Gordon, who’s under the weather at the moment and hope for a speedy recovery, certainly if he is absent from the show its going to leave a gap which will be noticeable to all the kind people who tell us they enjoy listening. If Gordon is absent I hope you will stick with us until he returns.

  • 2010 Gift Guide for Storage Geeks
  • SME Server: Simple. Mature. Enterprise.
  • U.S. Arrests Online Seller Who Scared Customers

    The merchant, Vitaly Borker, 34, who operates a Web site called decormyeyes.com, was charged with one count each of mail fraud, wire fraud, making interstate threats and cyberstalking. The mail fraud and wire fraud charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The stalking and interstate threats charges carry a maximum sentence of five years.

  • DIY fabrication hits a new price point (maybe…)

    Pretty much every geek who has ever drawn breath lusts after a “Star Trek”-style replicator. The advent of 3D printing and CNC machines, such as the MakerBot, have started to make that dream a reality. They offer the DIY enthusiast the ability to create pretty much anything their minds can imagine (and render in a CAD program). But for all but the most devoted hardware hackers, the current price points — between $800 and $1,000 for 3D printers, around $600 for a CNC machine — are a little too high for comfort.

  • EXCLUSIVE: New Lawsuit Seeks to Expose Truth Behind ‘Catfish’
  • Science

    • Secret Space Plane Finally Lands; Twin Preps for Launch

      After 225 days in orbit the Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane touched down Friday at 1:16 a.m. local time at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. It was only the second fully automated re-entry and runway landing in the history of space flight. The Soviets achieved the first in 1988 with the robotic prototype of their Buran Space Shuttle clone.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Foie Gras: a Disease, Not a Delicacy

      It persuaded British department store Harvey Nichols to remove foie gras from its fancy restaurant menu.s

    • Roger Moore Wins Foie Gras Battle With Top British Store

      James Bond star Sir Roger Moore is celebrating after persuading bosses at a British department store to remove foie gras from their fancy restaurant menu.

      Harvey Nichols chiefs were urged to take action by the former 007 actor as part of his campaign against the delicacy on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Let’s Stop Panicking Over Half-Assed Terrorists Already

      Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab couldn’t manage to blow up a plane over Detroit last Christmas, kicking off a year’s worth of high-profile terror-fails. But that hasn’t stopped the U.S. government from freaking out — putting naked scanners in airports and groping passengers. Overreactions like that compelled one of its senior-most counterterrorism officials yesterday to implore the public not to hand al-Qaeda victories from the jaws of defeat.

    • US spooks illegally check your credit cards

      SPIES WORKING FOR THE JUNTA of revolting British colonialists in the Americas have started illegally monitoring credit cards.

      According to documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act, federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations. They have done all this without the nicety of getting a court order.

    • Some Sanity From Those In Power In The US Government, Concerning TSA Security & Wikileaks

      Similarly, Wired has an article highlighting how Michael Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, is speaking more reasonably about anti-terrorism efforts and security as well, noting (as we have in the past) that “perfect security” is an impossible goal that is, itself, damaging to security.

      He points out that the US appears to be playing right into Al Qaeda’s hands by playing up each failed terrorist attempt and then overreacting to it, noting that (like internet trolls), a better response might be to just ignore them publicly, while continuing to do things quietly on the back end to protect the country.

    • The War on Cameras

      Reinoehl denied the request, but Allison’s promise to record the proceedings apparently came through loud and clear. Just after he walked through the courthouse door the next day, Allison says Crawford County Circuit Court Judge Kimbara Harrell asked him whether he had a tape recorder in his pocket. He said yes. Harrell then asked him if it was turned on. Allison said it was. Harrell then informed the defendant that he was in violation of the Illinois wiretapping law, which makes it a Class 1 felony to record someone without his consent. “You violated my right to privacy,” the judge said.

    • A nude awakening — TSA and privacy

      The odds of dying on an airplane as a result of a terrorist hijacking are less than 1 in 25 million — which, for all intents and purposes, is effectively zero — according to Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    • UK govt demands an end to evidence-based drug policy

      A new proposal from the UK government will remove scientists from the advisory council that analyzes and makes recommendations on drug policy, and allow the home secretary to ignore the committee altogether and ban any substance for a year regardless of scientific evidence or advice.

    • “Going commando” on the TSA, redux: a kilt-wearer speaks

      So the big Thanksgiving airport opt-out opted-in after all. Widespread “regimental” kilt-wearing never materialized. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers were, by and large, spared a plague of True Scotsmen.

    • Homeland Security Gets Walmart To Tell You To Inform On Your Neighbors

      Sometimes you just wonder what folks in our government are thinking half the time. The latest is that Homeland Security, when it’s not busy seizing domains of hip hop blogs, is apparently on a campaign to enlist shoppers at Walmarts in a somewhat creepy attempt to get people to spy on their neighbors. The program is officially called “If You See Something, Say Something” which could be shortened to “Inform on Your Neighbors” if DHS is looking for efficiency.

  • Cablegate

    • Pakistani media publish fake WikiLeaks cables attacking India

      They read like the most extraordinary revelations. Citing the WikiLeaks cables, major Pakistani newspapers this morning carried stories that purported to detail eye-popping American assessments of India’s military and civilian leaders.

      According to the reports, US diplomats described senior Indian generals as vain, egotistical and genocidal; they said India’s government is secretly allied with Hindu fundamentalists; and they claimed Indian spies are covertly supporting Islamist militants in Pakistan’s tribal belt and Balochistan.

    • WikiLeaks supporters disrupt Visa and MasterCard sites in ‘Operation Payback’
    • UN rights boss concerned at targeting of WikiLeaks
    • Russia’s Putin raps West over Assange arrest
    • Why do I Support Wikileaks? Because I live in Africa!

      Living on a continent with such a chequered history of very repressive governments, I am fully aware of the importance of access to information by the everyday people.

    • Inside the mind of Julian Assange of Wikileaks!
    • Lieberman Introduces New Censorship Bill In Kneejerk Response To Wikileaks
    • Focus on the policy, not Wikileaks

      We may never know the whole story behind the recent publication of sensitive U.S. government documents by the Wikileaks organization, but we certainly can draw some important conclusions from the reaction of so many in government and media.

      At its core, the Wikileaks controversy serves as a diversion from the real issue of what our foreign policy should be. But the mainstream media, along with neoconservatives from both political parties, insist on asking the wrong question. When presented with embarrassing disclosures about U.S. spying and meddling, the policy that requires so much spying and meddling is not questioned. Instead, the media focus on how so much sensitive information could have been leaked, or how authorities might prosecute the publishers of such information.

    • Columbia University Reverses Anti-WikiLeaks Guidance

      Days after Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) caused an uproar by warning its students against linking to WikiLeaks or discussing the secret-spilling website’s latest cache of diplomatic cables online, the prestigious training ground for future diplomats has changed tack and embraced free speech.

      Last week, the SIPA Office of Career Services sent an e-mail to students saying that an alumnus who works at the U.S. State Department had recommended that current students not tweet or post links to WikiLeaks, which is in the process of releasing 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables — many of them classified — because doing so could hurt their career prospects in government service.

    • How US Copyright Expansionism Created The Infrastructure That Now Stymies US Gov’t In Stopping Wikileaks

      Glyn Moody points us to a blog post by Brendan Scott that lays out the basic fact that the distributed distribution tools that Wikileaks now relies on were mainly developed in response to constant copyright expansionism at the behest of the US government (on behalf of the entertainment industry).

    • Visa & MasterCard: KKK Is A-OK, But Wikileaks Is Wicked

      As Charles Arthur points out, the Ku Klux Klan’s website points you to a site that takes both MasterCard and Visa — suggesting the pure arbitrariness of both credit card companies’ decision here. It’s a bad idea when firms start making decisions for political reasons. There are all sorts of companies out there that take credit cards to support objectionable (to many) activities. Is it really the credit card companies’ job to pick and choose who they find objectionable to work with — and if so, what basis does it use for saying “KKK is okay, but Wikileaks is not”?

    • WikiLeaks cables: Pfizer used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout

      The world’s biggest pharmaceutical company hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in order to persuade him to drop legal action over a controversial drug trial involving children with meningitis, according to a leaked US embassy cable.

      Pfizer was sued by the Nigerian state and federal authorities, who claimed that children were harmed by a new antibiotic, Trovan, during the trial, which took place in the middle of a meningitis epidemic of unprecedented scale in Kano in the north of Nigeria in 1996.

    • Information is the Antidote to Fear: Wikileaks, the Law, and You

      Between the federal criminal investigation into Wikileaks, Senator Joe Lieberman’s calls for companies to stop providing support for Wikileaks and his suggestion that the New York Times itself should be criminally investigated, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed calling for prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and even the suggestion by some that he should be assassinated, a lot of people are scared and confused.

      Will I break the law if I host or mirror the US diplomatic cables that have been published by Wikileaks? If I view or download them? If I write a news story based on them? These are just a few of the questions we’ve been getting here at EFF, particularly in light of many US companies’ apparent fear to do any business with Wikileaks (with a few notable exceptions).

    • Wikipedia Editors Delete Article Listing WikiLeaks Mirror Sites

      Ever since whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks began its latest round of document releases, it has found opposition and support in various places. It has hopped around from server to server, had its bank account closed, watched as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard all shut down donations to the site, and even had an anonymous group of hackers retaliate in WikiLeaks’ name. One thing that keeps WikiLeaks going, however, is the simple fact that it has hundreds of mirror sites in different languages and locales.

      One such listing of these sites hosted on name-in-kind service Wikipedia has been deleted by the collaborative encyclopedia’s editors. Should we cry “Foul!” or is the deletion just more business as usual for the site?

    • NYT Reporter Defends Publishing WikiLeaks Cables

      Sanger is one of the Times reporters who sifted through the leaked WikiLeaks documents and has since written several articles about what the documents reveal about President Obama’s approach to diplomacy with Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, China and other nations.

      He explains that the newspaper’s editors and its lawyers had lengthy and deliberate conversations before deciding to publish some of the cables.

    • US State Department: ‘Assange must return stolen cables’

      US State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley has called for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to return the leaked US embassy cables, claiming they are “stolen property”.

    • Wikileaked: a foreign policy journal devoted to the Wikileaks releases

      Wikileaked is a new foreign policy journal that covers nothing but the stories emerging from Wikileaks’s leaks, including the latest batch of #cablegate leaks.

  • Finance

    • Running Backwards in the US Economy

      Oil is at 90 dollars a barrel. The governments of Europe, Japan, and the United States are saturated with debt. House prices in the US are falling again, and there’s no job growth in America. Put it all together, and for some reason, many are still imagining that we’re in an economic recovery.

      Today’s horrid jobs report contained some shock value in the sense that it missed expectations. But the novelty of a 39K print misses the larger point that, for a large population like the US, even a print of 100K or 125K would still be very bad news.

    • Take Action: Crack Down on the Wall Street Casino!
    • Ben Bernanke’s Secret Global Bank

      Thanks to tremendous public pressure and the recently-passed Wall Street reform bill, the U.S. Federal Reserve was forced to reveal the details of its emergency bailout of the financial sector for the first time yesterday. From a quick review of the data now available on the Federal Reserve website, we can see that the Fed took an expansive internationalist view of its role, prompting U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) to ask: “Has the Federal Reserve Become the Central Bank of the world?”


      Private foreign banks also received billions from the Fed in exchange for mortgage backed securities (MBS). The Fed created its MBS program in November 2008 and eventually paid out $1.25 trillion. These facts were known. What we did not know was that approximately half of these purchases were from overseas financial firms, including billions from Barclays Capital (U.K.), Credit Suisse (Switzerland), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Royal Bank of Scotland (England), UBS (Switzerland) and Nomura Securities (Japan). The numbers are huge. Duetsche Bank sold some $290 billion worth of MBS to the Fed.

    • Labor uses jobless to lean on Congress to extend unemployment benefits

      The AFL-CIO pressed lawmakers to extend a “lifeline” to unemployed workers by extending benefits for out-of-work Americans.

      The labor group pressed Congress to approve another extension of unemployment benefits by featuring a video depicting jobless workers.

      “Congress is debating whether to restore this survival aid,” the video says. “This is not a debate. The choice is clear.”

      The unemployment benefits expired Nov. 30 and have lapsed since then. Such a situation has played out several times this year due to legislative wrangling.

    • How to Balance the Budget Without Raising Taxes

      A value-added tax, a soda tax, a gas tax, banning earmarks, freezing a portion of federal spending at “pre-stimulus” levels – there’s no shortage of ideas being thrown out to fix the country’s disastrous balance sheet, which threatens not just near-term economic recovery but the possibility of long-term growth. Like last week’s report from the president’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, most of the current plans to fix the country’s finances rely more on increases in revenues than on cuts in spending. In part due to its heavy reliance on revenue hikes, the commission, charged with balancing the budget by 2020, failed to win enough votes of its own members to present its recommendations to Congress.

    • A Leaner Leviathan

      Before it began its work eight months ago, one of the main knocks against the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was that it could do no more than recommend changes to Congress. In the end, it could not even do that, falling three votes shy of the 14 needed to officially submit its plan for congressional consideration.

      Still, the commission’s report, which was endorsed on Friday by a bipartisan majority of 11 out of its 18 members, is well worth a look. In addition to suggesting some much-needed reforms, including changes to the budget process and simplification of the tax code, it clearly shows, despite its talk of “painful” choices, that eliminating the federal deficit and reining in the national debt does not require radical change. Which is too bad, because even if Congress implemented every cut suggested by the report, the federal government would still be far too big, rife with programs that are unnecessary, unconstitutional, or both.

    • Money For Nothing: Wall Street Borrowed From Fed At 0.0078 Percent

      For the lucky few on Wall Street, the Federal Reserve sure was sweet.

      Nine firms — five of them foreign — were able to borrow between $5.2 billion and $6.2 billion in U.S. government securities, which effectively act like cash on Wall Street, for four-week intervals while paying one-time fees that amounted to the minuscule rate of 0.0078 percent.

      That is not a typo.

      On 33 separate transactions, the lucky nine were able to borrow billions as part of a crisis-era Fed program that lent the securities, known as Treasuries, for 28-day chunks to the now-18 firms known as primary dealers that are empowered to trade with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The program, called the Term Securities Lending Facility, ensured that the firms had cash on hand to lend, invest and trade.

    • What Is Wrong With Cutting Taxes?

      I suggest you talk to the Greeks (now in the International Monetary Fund’s emergency ward) or the Portuguese (who are headed in that direction.) For that matter, listen to any policymaker in the European Union – they are all focused on bringing down deficits in a credible manner. And watch the European financial markets – people there are doubting and testing the fiscal credibility of all governments throughout the euro zone.

      In fact, try persuading any responsible policy analyst anywhere in the world outside the United States that cutting taxes in the United States from current levels will boost growth so much that the cut will pay for itself” and end up reducing or at least controlling the fiscal deficit (the proposition of the Laffer Curve). You will be met great skepticism.

    • Washington Rule Makers Out of the Shadows

      Federal rule makers, long the neglected stepchildren of Washington bureaucrats, suddenly find themselves at the center of power as they scramble to work out details of hundreds of sweeping financial and health care regulations that will ultimately affect most Americans.

    • AIG files plan to pay off debt to New York Fed, prepare for Treasury stock swap

      Regardless, officials seem increasingly certain that taxpayers will recoup their investment in AIG – an outcome that seemed highly unlikely last year, when the total government commitment to the troubled company peaked at more than $180 billion.

    • TARP Repayment and Legalized Counterfeiting

      The news outlets that insisted Congress approve TARP or world will end have been anxiously touting the prospect of repayments and possible profits for the taxpayers from one-time basket cases like Citigroup and AIG. It is worth noting that the question of the government showing a profit or loss on its loans to these companies has little to do with whether the bailout was a net benefit to taxpayers.

    • NY trustee seeks $1B from 7 international banks

      Seven global banking institutions enabled disgraced financier Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme by “creating and offering derivative investment products linked to various Madoff feeder funds,” a court-appointed trustee alleged Wednesday.

    • WH warns tax defeat could trigger new recession

      Raising the direst alarm yet, the Obama administration warned fellow Democrats on Wednesday that if they defeat the big tax-cut compromise detested by many liberals, they could jolt the nation back into recession.

    • State budgets and finances

      Spending Remains Lower than Pre-Recession Levels State general fund spending is forecast to rise 5.3 percent in fiscal 2011 as 35 states enacted a fiscal 2011 budget with general fund spending levels above those of fiscal 2010. However, declines of 7.3 percent and 3.8 percent in state general fund spending in fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2009 respectively mean that state general fund spending remains nearly $42 billion, or 6.2 percent below its fiscal 2008 level. The fiscal 2010 general fund spending decline of 7.3 percent is the largest decline in state spending in the history of this report. See chart below.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CPJ, OPC Need to Focus on Embattled U.S. Journalists

      A banquet of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) grossed $1.47 million at the Waldorf-Astoria Nov. 23 with the profits going to oppressed reporters and their families throughout the world.

      It is a noble effort supported by many blue chip corporate and media companies. Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, chaired the banquet. It was held on the first anniversary of the massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists, in the Philippines. A video commemorated the tragedy.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Russian Press And Pakistani Courts Apparently Have More Respect For Free Speech Than Joe Lieberman

      The first, via Glyn Moody is a long and interesting opinion piece in Pravda, of all places, pointing out the hypocrisy of the US government’s response to Wikileaks and comparing it to the government’s response to the release of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent. It also runs through a nice history of the US’s back-and-forth battle with free speech issues, such as with the Alien & Sedition Acts and the McCarthy era. It also highlights how the Wikileaks’ release shows evidence of the US government covering up all sorts of politically motivated acts.

    • Facebook revamp gives away even more info, warn pros

      The redesigned profile, launched earlier this week and due to be rolled out gradually over coming weeks, is designed to encourage punters to expose even more information about their day to day lives to the dominant social networking site, net security firm Sophos cautions.

    • Popular Websites Sniff Browser History, Researchers Find
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Smoked turkey company alleges that competitor infringed copyright in directions

      Happy Thanksgiving. I’m grateful for your continued support and interest in Internet Cases. It truly is a pleasure to write these posts and to get your feedback and engagement. And it’s also a pleasure to bring you news of this ultra-timely new copyright lawsuit.

    • Theft scribe picked for Intellectual Property review

      Five advisers have been appointed to Ian Hargreaves’ review into intellectual property growth, the IPO announced yesterday. Two of the choices may cause consternation among creators’ rights representatives.

      One is Scottish legal academic James Boyle, founding board member of Creative Commons, and co-author of two rabble-rousing comic books. One portrays Lawrence Lessig as the Statue of Liberty, the other Theft: Musical Borrowing from Plato to Hip-Hop, due to be published next year, portrays copyright holders as totalitarians.

    • Imitation is the highest form of flattery

      Looks like someone liked our authentic Ristretto for iPad so much that they decided to copy it. This email was forwarded to us by a customer in Norway. Can any of you translate it for us? Our best guess is that this product is made in somewhere in Asia (not Norway) though we don’t know for certain. Are we mad? Not really. We’re too busy designing the next generation of laptop bags — the copycats will just have to keep up with us.

    • The Dangers of COICA

      The entertainment industry’s newest legal tactic, the “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act,” (COICA), sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy, has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. While Senator Ron Wyden exercised his right to place a hold on pending legislation — which will stop the bill from traveling to the Senate floor immediately — proponents of COICA can (and most assuredly will) reintroduce the measure the next time Congress convenes in 2011.

    • Susan G. Komen Foundation Elbows Out Charities Over Use Of The Word ‘Cure’
    • Even IP Lawyer Trade Group Thinks Viacom Is Wrong About Its DMCA Interpretation

      As you might imagine, I rarely agree with the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) on its positions. While there are plenty of “IP” lawyers who I know well and talk to frequently — many of whom seem to agree with my position on things — it’s no secret that the belief that “IP is all good” and “more IP is better” tends to be a bit more common among such practitioners than the views in the other direction. In fact, if you asked me, I would have just assumed that the AIPLA was 100% behind Viacom in its lawsuit against Youtube/Google. So, consider me quite surprised that the main part of the AIPLA’s amicus brief in Viacom’s appeal of the YouTube case is actually siding with YouTube and saying that Viacom’s argument (as we’ve said) goes way too far.

    • Copyrights

      • State of the indy music industry looks rosy, so why all the doom-and-gloom about music?

        In other words, the music industry today is much less winner-take-all, with the benefits diffused to a larger pool of artists at the expense of the few who did so well under the old system. This is what I mean when I say a good copyright system is one that encourages the broadest-possible engagement in culture: more music, from more musicians, reaching more people, at more price-points, in more formats. It’s a win for free expression and for art, but it’s a loss for some artists and the institutions that supported them.

        I don’t celebrate those losses: it’s terrible to think of people who loved and lived for music losing their jobs (most of the people at labels aren’t greedy tools deciding to sue 40,000 music fans; greedy tool-dom is confined to a few powerful decisionmakers). It’s sad to think of the tiny pool of musicians who did so well taking a loss (though before we weep for them too much, remember that yesterday’s winners are well situated to get even richer from merch, performance and licensing, even without the archaic recorded music industry and its shiny bits of plastic).

      • Piracy Is Over Like The Web Is Dead

        This, of course, is pure nonsense. That isn’t the way royalties with modern day recording contracts work. Through the magic of recording label accounting, the average musician makes roughly $23 for every $1000 in music sold — and that’s only if they actually recoup, which is difficult to do, thanks to the way the record labels account for things. For those of you who share my math skills and don’t want to reach for a calculator, that’s barely 2%. Some of that result stems from necessary things the bands may need to spend on: managers, lawyers, taxes. But a good deal of it also comes from neat little, and sometimes recoupable, charges from the record label, things like independent radio promotion, tour support, roughly fifty percent of the music video costs, etc. Other times, the record labels flatout don’t pay the royalties from truly successful albums. Bottom line is, at the end of the day, record labels make money off of selling music, musicians do not.

      • Google Won’t Recommend Most Popular Searches If It Thinks It Might Sorta Have Something To Do With Piracy

        In the last few months, there’s been a growing movement by the entertainment industry to blame Google for “piracy.” One of the favorite talking points is the claim that Google is “profiting from piracy,” by linking people to sites that point people to unauthorized infringing copies of content, and then placing ads on those sites. Of course, this ignores the fact that the standard “pirate” out there isn’t exactly the sort of person who goes around clicking on ads either — and is probably a hell of a lot more likely to ignore the ads entirely or use something like Adblock. Either way, it seems like Google has decided to try to end this argument for the industry by announcing some basic changes in how it deals with copyright complaints.

      • New Zealand leak: US-style copyright rules are a bad deal

        Michael Geist writes in with new leaks relating to the New Zealand government’s deep skepticism about US pressure to change its copyright law. The US wants New Zealand to add protection for “technical protection measures” (also called TPMs, DRM, or digital locks). This would follow the US law that makes it illegal to jailbreak an iPad, rip a DVD, or move your Kindle or Sony ebooks to competing devices (interestingly, the US copyright office just suspended the restriction on jailbreaking iPhones for three years, having concluded that the US law that’s being pushed in NZ does more harm than good).

      • ACS:Law Take Alleged File-Sharers To Court – But Fail On a Grand Scale

        Andrew Crossley, owner of the now infamous anti-piracy lawfirm ACS:Law, has always insisted that he has no fear of taking contested file-sharing cases to court. Now it has emerged that he recently tried to get a court to issue default judgments against individuals who offered no defense, but the hearing failed on so many levels its difficult to know where to start. Nevertheless, we’ll have a go.

      • Judge to copyright troll: get lost
      • EFF Demands Copyright Troll Pay for Suing Democratic Underground

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation is demanding that the newspaper lawsuit factory Righthaven pay the EFF’s costs for its successful defense of the website Democratic Underground from one of Righthaven’s many copyright lawsuits.

      • MPAA to universities: curb piracy or lose federal funding

        The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has decided to mimic the efforts of its music industry counterpart and put pressure on universities to curb student piracy. The organization notified its partners this week that it would begin sending out letters to college and university presidents in the US “calling their attention” to the anti-infringement provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA). The letter—copied to the campus CIOs—asks universities to cut off infringing students or face potentially crippling consequences.

      • Righthaven now working with Media News, sues over Denver Post column

        Las Vegas-based newspaper copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC is now doing business with Media News Group and has sued a blogger for alleged copyright infringement involving a column from the Media News-owned Denver Post.

        An attorney for Righthaven filed the suit Thursday in federal court in Charleston, S.C. This appears to be the first lawsuit Righthaven has filed in a federal court outside of Nevada, where since March it has filed 179 copyright infringement lawsuits.

Clip of the Day

Big Explosion in Blender

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 9/12/2010: KDE SC 4.6 Beta 2, GCC 4.5.2 Release Candidate

Posted in News Roundup at 10:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Google

    • Not All Chrome Glisters

      Because Chrome OS is open source, it has been available for people to explore for some time, which means that it’s not really possible for any elements of it to be a surprise, rather deflating any attempt to launch it in the traditional sense. But in yesterday’s, er, confirmation, there were a number of new announcements separate from the underlying operating system.

  • Kernel Space

    • Speeding Up The Linux Kernel With Transparent Hugepage Support

      Last month we reported on the 200 line Linux kernel patch that does wonders for improving the desktop responsiveness of the system. There was certainly much interest (over 100,000 views to both of our YouTube videos demonstrating the change) but this patch really didn’t speed up the system per se but rather improved the desktop interactivity and reduced latency by creating task-groups per TTY so that the processes had more equal access to the CPU. There is though an entirely different patch-set now beginning to generate interest among early adopters that does improve the kernel performance itself in compute and memory intensive applications and it’s the Transparent Hugepage Support patch-set. Here are our initial tests of the latest kernel patches that will hopefully be finding their way into the mainline Linux kernel soon.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Comments On Its Linux Driver Architecture

        What Andy basically said is that they do have some plans for “larger scale architectural projects”, but there isn’t anything specific to mention or when we might see such changes. Some of these larger projects for the proprietary NVIDIA driver include improving video memory usage, rendering synchronization, and improving the window system interacitvity. Though due to the size of the NVIDIA Linux team, they are uncertain when such advancements may arrive.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE’s KOffice Forks Internally As The Calligra Suite

        The KDE community has announced the formation of the Calligra Suite, as a “continuation of the KOffice project” to reflect the larger KOffice package rather than just being an office and productivity suite. Calligra is meant to breath new life into the contained KDE programs after an unresolvable dispute by KOffice developers.

        Making up KDE’s Calligra Suite are productivity, management, and graphics applications. On the productivity side this includes Words (formerly KWord), Tables (formerly KSpread), Stage (formerly KPresenter), Flow (formerly Kivio), and Kexi. Calligra’s management application is Plan to replace KPlato and on the graphics side there is Krita and Karbon.

      • KDE Software Compilation 4.6 Beta 2

        Two weeks after the Thanksgiving Day release of KDE SC 4.6 Beta 1, the second beta is now here for this desktop environment update to be officially released next month. KDE SC 4.6 Beta 2 has fixed nearly 1,200 bugs while more than 1,300 bugs were reported in the past two weeks.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Unity: An Ancient African Word Meaning ‘Rocking’

          This is Unity running, and a recent addition is intellihide in the launcher. This is where the launcher will only show if a window is not obscuring it (just like in GNOME Do). As such, in the screenshot above we can see the launcher as Gwibber is a smaller window, but if I maximize Gwibber so it takes up the full space of the desktop, the launcher slides into the left of the screen so I can access the Gwibber window easily. To then access the launcher I just hover over the Ubuntu button and it slides into view. It looks and feels really fast and sleek. :-)

        • Mock up: Application overview in Unity

          Could Unity’s application over-view look better for Natty?

          Discussions currently taking place on the Ayatana mailing list certainly think so and the mock-up below is one such proposed solution.

        • Events are like Signals

          What do I mean by a Signal? If you’ve done any programming in Qt, GTK+ or even just used D-Bus you’ll probably already know exactly what I mean. They’re pretty much like good old fashioned UNIX signals too, except that they’re not predefined. If you’ve done programming in ObjectiveC, the analog is Notifications.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Corporate change: Contributing to open source

    About five years ago I was hired by a software company that specialized in database security. Some of our software was used to protect databases in military assets and major banks. But a lot of development was very remote from top-secret weapons or classified information. For example, we wrote a small command line utility for driving virtual machines for integration testing. It helped us eradicate failures during installs and upgrades. Was I going to have to write that again at my next job? How could I share it with my friends working at other organizations?

  • The State of Open Source

    This month’s Computing Now theme compiles a variety of articles that show the many current faces of open source. “Choosing an Open Source Software License in Commercial Context: A Managerial Perspective” provides some useful perspectives on how an enterprise should be aware of and properly use open source licensing (for both the components it might use in developing software and the release of software it produces). “Security in Open Source Web Content Management Systems” is an excellent overview (and reminder) about keeping up with plugging the known exploits in commonly used open source CMS tools. Don’t let the title of “Open Source Software Considerations for Law Enforcement” stop you from discovering principles, concepts, constraints, and ultimate uses of open source that are applicable to any organization. “Open Source Data Collection in the Developing World” is a wonderful article about an actual (and very influential) use of the Google Open Data Kit in saving lives in Africa. It might provide inspiration on how to solve data collection challenges you may be facing. If you’re looking for a strong overview of open source use outside of the US, “A Comparative Analysis of Open Source Software Usage in Germany, Brazil, and India” will give you a solid perspective on how three leading nations are employing open source in government, business, and education. “Commodification of Industrial Software: A Case for Open Source” provides some interesting theories, concepts, case studies, and visual models on how to properly value and employ open source in various business contexts. Lastly, “A Stage Model of Evolution for Open Source Software” discusses the 3 generations of open source evolution through the maturity curve (IEEE login is required to view the full text of this article). In addition to these articles, we’re providing a few links to open source sites to extend your research and learning on open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Who is Eating IE’s Lunch?

        When Chrome was launched, everybody termed it as Firefox killer (after all, Google used to fund Firefox development). But then, IE turns out to be the biggest loser. I decided to share Pluggd.in’s browser usage statistics and compared the current data with last year’s data (December 2009).

      • Please Participate in the “State of Mozilla” Survey

        Recently we posted our annual “State of Mozilla” which describes what we have been working on and plans for the immediate future. I want to make sure that the plans laid out in the State of Mozilla reflect and inspire the people who identify themselves with Mozilla and our mission. I am asking that you help me make sure of this.

  • Oracle

    • JCP Executive Committee loses independent Java expert

      Tim Peierls, one of two independent Java experts on the Java Community Process (JCP) Executive Committee (EC), has announced his resignation from the standardisation body. His decision to resign was taken shortly after the committee rubber stamped Oracle’s plans for the forthcoming Java 6 and Java 7. Peierls’ vote was one of three to oppose Oracle’s proposal. Google, the Apache Software Foundation and Peierls all voted against, in response to Oracle imposing restrictions on the availability of Test Compatibility Kits (TCKs) for Java.

  • Education

    • Why can’t Penguins enter Federica square?

      In 2008 the Linux User Group of Naples had already defined Free Software in the Federico II University “a missed opportunity”, because “students are forced to buy expensive proprietary software and… there are online service like the ESIS exam booking website that are only accessible with Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer… A partial compensation is given by the academic tradition of the CSI (the University ICT service) of adopting Free Software for the main University services” (Note from Marco: that’s good, even if in November 2010 the CSI still called “Free Software” what is simply gratis proprietary software from Microsoft, while we all know that Free is about freedom, not price).

      In 2010, according to a press release issued on March 13th, 2009 “inside the Federica Campus visitors are free to stroll around the tridimensional spaces of the virtual University”.

    • Jeff Mao and Bob McIntire from the Maine Department of Education: Open Education and Policy

      Maine has been a leader in adopting educational technology in support of its students. In 2002, through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), the state began providing laptops to all students in grades 7-8 in a one-to-one laptop program. In 2009, Maine expanded the project to high school students. The one-to-one laptops paved the way for open education initiatives like Vital Signs, empowering students to conduct their own field research in collaboration with local scientists, and make that research available online. Recently, Maine has been engaged in some interesting and innovative projects around OER as a result of federal grant funds. For this installment of our series on open education and policy, we spoke with Jeff Mao and Bob McIntire from the Maine Department of Education. Jeff is Learning Technology Policy Director at MLTI, and Bob works for the Department’s Adult & Community Education team.

  • Project Releases

    • GCC 4.5.2 Is Near With A Release Candidate

      While GCC 4.6 is nearing release, Ubuntu 11.04, Fedora 15, and other H1’2011 Linux distributions will continue shipping with GCC 4.5, which was released in April and so far has been succeeded by just one point release. A second point release, GCC 4.5.2, is however being prepared for release shortly.

    • Python 3.2 eases concurrent development

      The next version of the widely used Python programming language will offer greater support for writing multithreaded applications, a challenging duty for an increasing number of programmers in this age of multicore processors.

      This week, the developers behind Python have released the first beta version of the 3.2 version of the language. For this version, they have concentrated on bug fixes and general improvements while maintaining the language syntax and semantics defined in Python 3.0.

    • Java SE 7 and SE 8 specs move forward amid protest

      Official specifications for upcoming releases of Java have been approved by an executive committee of the JCP (Java Committee Process), although the votes were not unanimous.

  • Programming

    • Software CEOs talking fluent dork: its the developers, stupid. New Kingmakers

      Apart from conflating Ruby on Rails the development framework with Ruby the programming language, something which many Ruby developers hate, but which its easy to slip into (so easy i slipped into it yesterday) Benioff was clearly not talking the language of the line of business, but rather of technology.


  • The Internet’s IPv4’s Clock is Ticking Down

    We all know that the Internet’s supply of Ipv4 addresses is running ever lower. What you may not know is that IPv4 exhaustion, when we’re completely out of available IPv4 addresses, is approaching even faster than the experts expected.

  • Verizon launches IPv6 transition services

    Verizon’s professional services arm has introduced a service to convert networks to IPv6, anticipating that large organizations will soon need help with such projects.

  • Kindle for the Web: Sounds Like…The Web, Only For a Fee

    Amazon’s Kindle books will soon be readable as content embedded on Web pages and Web page publishers will be able to land affiliate fees for Kindle books they sell to their own audiences, the company announced today.

    You too can now pay $9.99 to read text on a Web page, in Amazon’s proprietary format, with the graphically limited format of a printed text-only book of yore. Sure, your bookmarks and notes will carry over from the Web pages you’re reading on to other devices – but could that possibly be enough to warrant paying for Web-embedded eBooks? I don’t think so. Once it hits the Web, premium content is only sellable because of scarcity or a superior user experience. I don’t see either of those being true in this case.

  • Chinese Nobel boycott divides EU’s ‘inner circle’

    EU candidate country Serbia and four other nations on the Union’s periphery – Ukraine, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco – have disappointed the European Commission by deciding to boycott a ceremony awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

  • Pew Research: 8% of US adult Internet users are on Twitter, 2% use it daily

    In “the first-ever survey reading from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project that exclusively examines Twitter users,” the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has found that 8% of US adults that use the Internet use Twitter.

    The survey found that Twitter users are more likely to be young (18-29), African-American or Latino (“twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users”) and are twice as likely to be urbanites. Women and college-educated are also slightly more likely than average to be using Twitter.

  • Science

    • Republican Congressmen Crowdsource Attack on Science

      Under the guise of keeping federal spending under control, Republican congressmen have launched yet another attack on the basic scientific research that could lead to useful, potentially job-creating discoveries.

      House majority leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) announced last week that the YouCut Citizen Review, a crowdsourcing tool for identifying “wasteful spending that should be cut,” would make its very first target the National Science Foundation.

      One would expect science-targeting politicians to have learned caution from Sarah Palin’s fruit-fly debacle, in which the 2008 vice presidential candidate mocked the methodology of research into neurological disorders like Down syndrome and autism, both of which afflict members of her family.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Over a million EU citizens finally have their say on GM crops

      Can you imagine how it feels to cross the finishing line of a marathon race… the smile, the thrill, the excitement, the urge to hug the fellows athletes, and also the exhaustion, the feeling of just sitting down to take several breaths before articulating a word? Well, this is exactly how I feel because we just finished an amazing race to get 1 million people calling for safe food and stopping genetically modified (GM) crops in the EU. But this is not your average petition. For the first time we’re using our citizens rights under the EU Lisbon Treaty.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • ‘Witness Management’ training for Special Constables

      The most interesting thing I learned that day was that if we had to hit anyone with an asp (a metal extendable baton which is more commonly used than the side-handled batons) it was best to do it as hard as possible on the first occasion, as repeated strikes “look bad on YouTube”.

    • Khloe Kardashian: TSA Screenings Are Like ‘Raping You in Public’

      She’s not the only bargain basement celebrity to seek some sort of currency from the whole TSA body scanning thing. Former Baywatch meat model Donna D’errico claims she was subjected to a full-body scan simply because she is attractive, and that agents were laughing and whispering as she went through. Which, if that happened, it is awful and those employees should be fired. If D’errico is just exaggerating for an excuse to bring attention to how pretty she is, well she was fired by the court of public opinion many years ago, so who really cares.

    • FBI plant banned by mosque – because he was too extreme

      The spying game wasn’t all it was cracked up to be for Craig Monteilh, a convicted criminal recruited by the FBI to investigate the march of radical Islam into Southern California. His endless talk of violent “jihad” so alarmed worshippers at the local mosque, that they took out a restraining order against him.

    • Met Requests For Oyster Data At Record Levels

      The number of requests from the Metropolitan Police for Oyster data have reached new highs this year, according to the Green Party. As any good tinfoil-hatter knows, this data can be used to track an individual’s movements and while it’s great for catching criminals and those seemingly omnipresent terrorists, concerns have been raised over the passing of sensitive data.

  • Cablegate

    • PayPal Releases Funds to WikiLeaks as Supporters Strike Back

      The release of funds follows a number of denial-of-service attacks earlier this week that were aimed at the document-leaking site’s providers. Most of the providers are now refusing to work with WikiLeaks after the U.S. government accused it of being in possession of documents that were provided in violation of U.S. law.

    • Facebook and Twitter Slam the Door on Would-Be WikiLeaks Avengers

      Both Facebook and Twitter have closed accounts corresponding to Anonymous, a formerly 4chan-linked group organizing a string of DDoS attacks on organizations that refuse to work with WikiLeaks.

    • Wikileaks Has Committed No Crime

      Since August, when Wikileaks first published 91,000 classified documents relating to the Afghanistan War, and in October, when they published approximately 400,000 more relating to the War in Iraq, many conservative commentators have been clamoring for the Justice Department to prosecute Wikileaks for publishing classified information.

      But in the United States, generally publishing classified information is not a crime.

    • I am Julian Assange

      I want information so that I can hold my government accountable. If my country acts improperly and in my name, I want the proof. I want to know if there actually is no evidence proving weapons of mass destruction. I want to know if America is working with Israel to overthrow Iran’s leadership. I want data that has not been spun by reporters that work for publishers and broadcasters with political and business goals that conflict with the facts. I want to know.
      I am Julian Assange because I know unfettered information is valuable to democracy and a peaceful world. I can make the best decisions with the most knowledge. I can vote for the best candidates. I can support the smartest policies to help my country and the world. I am not naïve; I know that not every operation can be transparent but I have a right to know its outcome and how it has affected my country and me.
      I do not believe Julian Assange has done anything wrong. The cables that have been published have all been printed in newspapers and redacted to protect individuals at risk. I do not want my country to prosecute a man whose actions are changing the way we get information and how we make critical decisions. I now know that my president and my country’s military have not been honest about the war in Afghanistan. I know that my country has killed civilians and that we have refused to acknowledge our mistakes. I have learned that our allies are secretly consorting with our enemies.

    • 4chan rushes to WikiLeaks’ defense, forces Swiss banking site offline
    • Tom Flanagan and Ezra Levant

      Also calling for an assassination? Mr. Evangelical, Mike Huckabee! Oh, and of course Sarah Palin.

    • Why WikiLeaks Is Winning Its Info War

      There was a time when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s voluntary surrender to the British authorities might have put an end to the crisis created by the Internet provocateur’s dissemination of tens of thousands of state secrets. But in the upside-down world of transnational crowdsourcing unleashed by WikiLeaks, in which thousands of activists around the globe can be rallied to defend and extend its work, Assange’s arrest is a win, not a loss, for his organization.

    • PayPal Busted for Bogus Wikileaks Excuse

      Facing a booing crowd in Europe, a PayPal executive tried to explain why his company blocked donations to Wikileaks. He cited a letter from the State Department calling the secrets-sharing site illegal. Sadly for him, no such letter exists.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Lockerbie bomber freed after Gaddafi’s ‘thuggish’ threats

      The British government’s deep fears that Libya would take “harsh and immediate” action against UK interests if the convicted Lockerbie bomber died in a Scottish prison are revealed in secret US embassy cables which show London’s full support for the early release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

      Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, made explicit and “thuggish” threats to halt all trade deals with Britain and harass embassy staff if Megrahi remained in jail, the cables show. At the same time “a parade of treats” was offered by Libya to the Scottish devolved administration if it agreed to let him go, though the cable says they were turned down.

    • Libya made threats to U.K. over Lockerbie bomber: WikiLeaks

      Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi threatened to cut trade with Britain and warned of “enormous repercussions” if the Lockerbie bomber died in jail, Britain’s Guardian newspaper said on Wednesday, citing U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

    • Meet The New Public Face Of WikiLeaks: Kristinn Hrafnsson

      But there’s a second spokesperson for WikiLeaks who has been coming into the spotlight over the last few months: Icelandic investigative journalist and WikiLeaks staffer Kristinn Hrafnsson. Hrafnsson has been working with the whistleblowing group since April, and as Assange has become more reclusive and had his travel restricted by legal threats, Hrafnsson has become an increasingly visible spokesperson.

    • Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy; “To destroy this invisible government”
    • Defend WikiLeaks or lose free speech

      Journalists cover wars by not taking sides. But when the war is on free speech itself, neutrality is no longer an option.

      The WikiLeaks releases are a pivotal moment in the future of journalism. They raise any number of ethical and legal issues for journalists, but one is becoming paramount.

      As I said last week, and feel obliged to say again today, our government — and its allies, willing or coerced, in foreign governments and corporations — are waging a powerful war against freedom of speech.

    • IRONY: “You’re either with us, or you’re with WikiLeaks”

      Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the intrepid young reporters working for The Washington Post when they broke the Watergate scandal which brought down the Nixon administration.

    • The Internet Society on the Wikileaks issue

      This further underscores that the removal of a domain is an ineffective tool to suppress communication, merely serving to undermine the integrity of the global Internet and its operation.

    • Diplomatic Source Code

      What Wikileaks has done is provide us with plenty of examples where the political and corporate elite will do anything and everything to maintain the status quo. We see various suspicious compiled binary announcements from companies who claim to spot “Wikileaks broke the terms and conditions of our product or service”. What we do not see is the source code, which many rightly suspect to include calls from US officials threatening everything from tax audits, blacklists from governmentt circles and contracts, being painted as “unpatriotic” to lose them money from “patriotic” consumers and so on. Those same companies like to claim on one had that they do not judge their clients, while several have deemed Wikileaks guilty without any trial. Both Mastercard and Visa happily allow the KKK as customers, but not Wikileaks for example.

      Given how governments and corporations are desperately trying to silence and smear Wikileaks, it simply adds fuel to the fire, it spreads the motivation of free thinking people around the world to stand up and defend what Wikileaks is doing against it’s detractors. Whilst I do not agree 100% with everything Wikileaks put out, I am 100% behind the need for them and others like them to exist. They are playing the role that the news outlets are supposed to play and all too often fail miserably at.

    • Canadian firm caught up in Wiki wars
    • They got the wrong person

      Then there are many war criminals who ought to be in jail and who are not. Most prominent of these are Bush, Blair, Cheney, Straw and their crew.

    • True to its word, WikiLeaks releases more cables despite founder’s arrest

      WikiLeaks shrugged off the jailing of its founder by publishing a new tranche of secret diplomatic cables on Wednesday, heaping more embarrassment on the United States and some of its closest allies.

      After Julian Assange spent his first night behind bars as a remand prisoner in London, his website revealed Washington had branded Australia’s ex-premier Kevin Rudd as a “mistake-prone control freak” and that the British government was relieved when its Scottish counterparts freed the Lockerbie bomber.

    • Does WikiLeaks damage the brand image of wikis?

      Instead, I want to explore the impact that the WikiLeaks brand name is having/will have on brands closely identifying with the word “wiki”, and analyze whether WikiLeaks will impact the acceptance of collaboration and transparency initiatives within corporations.

    • Are we starting a full-out war on the Internet?

      I watch my friends root for the attackers and think this is the way wars always begin. The “fighting the good fight” spirit. Let’s go over there and show them who we are. Let’s make a symbolic statement. By the time the war is underway, we won’t remember any of that. We will wonder how we could have been so naive to think that war was something wonderful or glorious. People don’t necessarily think of wars being fought on the net and over the net, but new technology comes to war all the time, and one side often doesn’t understand.

    • What Is LOIC?

      LOIC (“Low Orbit Ion Cannon”) is an application developed by 4Chan-affiliated hackers designed to—when used en masse by thousands of anonymous users—launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on websites. Like Visa.com and Mastercard.com, for instance.

    • Pundit calls for development of magical anti-Wikileaks computer virus

      It’s hard to even begin to summarize coverage on Wikileaks-related stuff today. But if you read one thing, read Marc Thiessen’s fresh item at the Washington Post.

    • PayPal VP On Blocking WikiLeaks: State Department Said It Was Illegal

      Bedier also said that PayPal’s decision was influenced by the fact that the State Department deemed WikiLeaks illegal in a letter sent on November 27th, a statement that was not followed up on by Yiannopoulos. It is still unclear what exact US laws WikiLeaks is breaking.

    • Woman felt threatened by Flanagan email

      A Toronto woman says she felt threatened by an email she says she got from a former Stephen Harper adviser concerning WikiLeaks.

      Janet Reymond says she was “outraged” after Tom Flanagan recently suggested the founder of WikiLeaks should be killed.

      Flanagan, now a University of Calgary professor, has since apologized, but Calgary police are investigating the comment.

    • Feds hint at charges for WikiLeaks’ Assange

      The U.S. government indicated today that WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange could be in legal jeopardy for disclosing classified information because he is “not a journalist.”

      When asked whether “traditional media” organizations that republish secret documents could be prosecuted, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that the administration applauds “the role of journalists in your daily pursuits.”

    • Join EFF in Standing up Against Internet Censorship

      Over the past few weeks, we here at EFF have watched as whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has fueled an emotionally charged debate about the secrecy of government information and the people’s right to know. We have welcomed this debate, and the fact that there have been myriad views is the embodiment of the freedom of expression upon which this country was founded.

    • WikiLeaks: Moving Target

      If nothing else, the massive amounts of traffic they are attracting, and the efforts of actors unknown to shut them down, have created a unique laboratory for studying Internet resilience.

    • US declares Wikileaks off-limits to government researchers

      The US government is clamping down on scientists’ ability to discuss and surf freely as part of its response to the release of classified cables by Wikileaks.

      Today at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, moderators who run an environmental science discussion group called Coral-List have begun deleting any posts that make reference to Wikileak documents. On Friday, at Fermilab in Chicago, access to Wikileaks was blocked by the IT department to “help prevent someone from inadvertently downloading a classified document to a machine on our network” The same day at NASA, employees were told not to use their computers to download information from Wikileaks.

    • ‘Dangerous precedent’ set over Wikileaks ban
    • Why Wouldn’t Google Mirror Wikileaks?

      Consider: Your mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.” You thumbed your nose at Wall Street, and you proved them wrong. You’ve stood up to the entire media industry by purchasing YouTube and defending fair use in the face of extraordinary pressure. You’ve done the same with the political and economic giant that is China*. And you’re hanging the entirety of your defense against European monopoly charges on the premise of free speech.

      So why not take a bold step, and stand with Wikileaks? The world’s largest Internet company taking a clear stand would be huge news, and it’d call the bloviating bluff of all the politicians acting out of fear of embarrassment, or worse. The Wikileaks story may well be, as pointed out by many, the most important and defining story of the Internet age.

    • How State Dept. Knowingly Put People At Risk

      Below is the text of the U.S. State Department’s letter to Wikileaks’ attorney – which includes/groups Wikileaks’ founder (or the well known of its founders) Julian Assange, together with his attorney Jennifer Robinson. The mere act of treating attorney and client together as one (guilty) party, according to international law, is subject itself to legal ramifications. Good job State Department. You’re nothing if not consistent – and we know this from the cables don’t we?

    • Silencing Wikileaks is silencing the press

      Silencing Mastercard.com with pingfloods or malware isn’t going to do much to advance the cause of liberating those who would be silenced. But what exactly should be done? Normally I’d dismiss tweets describing this as “the world’s first great infowar” as hyperbole. But this time, everything really does feel unprecedented.

    • Wikileaks FAQ

      According to the Associated Press, Wikileaks gave four news organizations (Le Monde, El Pais, The Guardian and Der Spiegel) all 251,287 classified documents.

    • Report: Wikileaks cables show Texas company “helped pimp little boys to stoned Afghan cops”

      In the Houston Press, an extensive blog post untangling an alarming story from the state department cables: “another horrific taxpayer-funded sex scandal for DynCorp, the private security contractor tasked with training the Afghan police,” and apparent proof that the company procured male children for bacha bazi (“boy-play”) parties.

    • Berkeley Considers Honoring Private Suspected In WikiLeaks Case

      Berkeley City Council members are considering a resolution that would declare the Army private suspected of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks a hero and call for his release.

      The council is expected to vote on the resolution in support of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is being held in a military brig, on Tuesday.

      It has already been approved by the city’s Peace and Justice Commission.

      Bob Meola, the peace and justice commissioner who authored the resolution, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that Manning is a patriot and should get a medal.

    • Julian Assange extradition attempt an uphill struggle, says specialist

      A former extradition specialist for the Crown Prosecution Service today predicted it would be “very difficult” for Sweden to get the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, sent back to face sexual assault allegations.

      Raj Joshi, a former head of the European and International Division at the CPS, said Sweden’s lack of a formal criminal charge against Assange increased his lawyers’ chances of success in blocking the extradition attempt.

      Assange’s lawyers are scheduled to visit him tomorrow in prison for the first time since he was jailed on remand yesterday after Sweden requested his extradition.

    • So WikiLeaks Is Evil For Releasing Documents… But DynCorp Gets A Pass For Pimping Young Boys To Afghan Cops?

      One refrain we keep hearing against Wikileaks is that the cable releases aren’t really “whistleblowing,” because they’re not really revealing anything. However, it seems like each day there’s another big revelation of rather horrible things being done (and covered up) by the US government. The latest, pointed out by Boing Boing, involves a report from a cable that US-based private security contractor DynCorp, who was hired by the US to train Afghani police, was apparently supplying drugs and young boys for a sort of sex party.

      The details are horrifying. The Afghani interior minister apparently went to US officials to warn them that reporters were sniffing around this story, and urged them to try to kill the story. He specifically warned that this would look bad if the connection to DynCorp was made clear (he called them “foreign mentors”). Apparently, US diplomats told him not to worry, and the eventual story was in fact watered down greatly (until now, of course) calling the whole thing a “tribal dance,” rather than a party where young boys wear “scanty women’s clothes” and “dance seductively” before being “auctioned off to the highest bidder” for sex.

    • Assange accuser may have ceased

      Anna Ardin, one of the two complainants in the rape and sexual assault case against WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, has left Sweden, and may have ceased actively co-operating with the Swedish prosecution service and her own lawyer, sources in Sweden told Crikey today.

    • Why Leaks Are Scary

      Leaks hurt. Truth hurts, too. But always bother to check who it hurts the most. Therein lies the answer regarding the ethics of a leak.

    • WikiLeaks

      1. Encryption isn’t the issue here. Of course the cables were encrypted, for transmission. Then they were received and decrypted, and — so it seems — put into an archive on SIPRNet, where lots of people had access to them.

      2. Secrets are only as secure as the least trusted person who knows them. The more people who know a secret, the more likely it is to be made public.

      3. I’m not surprised that these cables were available to so many people. We know that access control is hard, and that it’s impossible to know beforehand what information someone will need to do their job. What is surprising is that there wasn’t any audit logs kept about who accessed all these cables. That seems like a no-brainer.

    • UN rapporteur says Assange shouldn’t be prosecuted

      The United Nations representative for freedom of opinion and expression says he is now working on a new report on free speech and the internet.

      Frank La Rue says he doesn’t think that the United States Government will be able to make a case against Julian Assange. But he warns it would set a very bad example for free speech if it did take action against him.

    • Lawyers demand protection for Assange

      THE Australian lawyer for WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange has written to Attorney-General Robert McClelland asking him to take formal action against prominent North American figures calling for Mr Assange to be harmed.

    • Parsing the impact of Anonymous

      The current chapter in the WikiLeaks saga has finally forced me to come out of my blogging semi-retirement! While I’m still trying to make sense of everything that has happened in the last ten days, here are some analytical notes on Anonymous and the challenges facing the Obama administratio as it mulls an appropriate response to WikiLeaks.

      The impact of the recent wave of cyber-attacks launched by Anonymous on a handful of companies that dropped WikiLeaks as their client – Amazon, EveryDNS, MasterCard, Visa and others – is hard to gauge. I’m certain these attacks won’t make any of these firms to reconside, strike peace with WikiLeaks, and offer them some vouchers in compensation. But could the attacks serve as a deterrent to other firms that have been considering dropping WikiLeaks?

    • Stop the crackdown on WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks has not been charged with a crime related to the release of documents, yet the site’s access to the Internet has been disrupted and major efforts are underway to block credit card processing of donations to keep the site running.

      Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called WikiLeaks a terrorist organization. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a leading Democrat, has proposed that Julian Assange be prosecuted under the Espionage Act — potentially setting a precedent that could expose any journalist working on national security to a credible threat of imprisonment.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate pledges are 9 gigatonnes short

      The “gigatonne gap” looms large as UN climate talks in Cancún, Mexico, enter their final days without new commitments from big polluters to cut their carbon dioxide emissions. A five to nine-gigatonne gap, to be precise. That is the gap between what has been pledged and what is needed to avoid dangerous global warming.

      To keep the world on track to cap global warming at under 2 °C by mid-century, rising CO2 emissions should be kept below 44 gigatonnes a year in 2020, more than a third higher than today. But the UN Environment Programme warned here today that current national pledges would leave 2020 emissions anywhere between 5 and 9 gigatonnes too high.

  • Finance

    • Want To Know Why Visa & Mastercard Cut Off Wikileaks? Because Its Latest Leak Was About Them…

      Visa’s slogan used to be “Everywhere you want to be,” but apparently one place it did not want to be was on Wikileaks. We’ve already covered how both Visa and MasterCard cut off Wikileaks quite quickly, with MasterCard even going so far as to claim that it did so because of illegal activity by Wikileaks — despite no charges or convictions for any actual illegal activity.

    • Daily Show: The Big Bank Theory

      Americans outsmart themselves with fancy security measures to the point where their money is committing suicide on the press.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Hyperlink libel fears heard by top court

      “Hyperlinks are vital to the expression and use of the internet,” said Harvey Delaney, one of two lawyers representing the respondent in the case, B.C. resident Jon Newton.

    • Brazil’s largest newspaper sues independent blog and begins a new era of censorship

      As we saw during Obama’s election and in others all over Europe, the internet also developed an important role during the 2010 presidential campaign in Brazil, which culminated in the election of President Lula’s candidate Dilma Roussef. While most blogs gave support to left-wing candidate Roussef, most TV networks, radios, newspapers and magazines took the side of the José Serra and his strong political-religious-didactic conservative coalition (who ended up losing the election). If there were any questions about the importance of the internet in Brazil, it is undeniable as of November 24th 2009, when Lula gave, to blogs only, the first online interview in the history of the Brazilian presidency, in a demonstration of respect for the important contrast that they had created against the traditional press.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Google To Make Video Services More Annoying After Buying DRM Company?

      You would think that the folks over at Google would know by now what a joke DRM is — especially after the company’s disastrous foray into server-based DRM on its original Google Video platform that required users to “check in” before they could watch videos they thought they had “purchased.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Wikileaks Cable Shows US Involvement in Swedish Anti-Piracy Efforts

        A yet to be released cable from the US Embassy in Stockholm will reveal that the United States Government was very concerned about file-sharing related issues in Sweden. The US Embassy actively worked with the Swedish authorities to reduce file-sharing related threats, which included The Pirate Bay which was raided in 2006 following US pressure.

      • ACS:Law come unstuck

        Default judgment is a speedy way for claimants to obtain judgment without a trial. In most cases a defendant served with a claim form and particulars of claim is supposed to acknowledge service and then file a defence. If not acknowledgement or defence is forthcoming the claimant can ask the court to give it judgment in default.

        This is where ACS:Law start to come unstuck. In 3 of the cases a defence had been filed in court. So default judgment does not apply. In a further 3 of the cases there was no evidence on the court file that the claim form and particulars of claim had been served on the defendant. It is ordinarily the court’s job to serve these documents, but there’s no presumption that it has. In my practice I have come across situations where some administrative mistake has been made and the court has failed to do so. Whatever the reason, it is bad practice to issue requests for default judgment without checking with the court that no defence has been filed. A slap on the wrist for ACS:Law in my view. As the judge said “The requests for judgment should never have been filed.”

      • Truly Decentralized BitTorrent Downloading Has Finally Arrived

        BitTorrent is a great technology to share files both quickly and efficiently, but like all other P2P-technologies it has an Achilles’ heel. The download process relies in part on central servers that can crash or go offline for a variety of reasons. To address this vulnerability the first truly decentralized BitTorrent/P2P client has been developed, meaning that no central trackers, or even BitTorrent search engines are required to download movies, software and music.

      • MPAA Reminding Universities They Need To Crack Down On File Sharing — Leaves Out How It Lied To Get The Law Passed

        Back in 2008, we wrote about how the MPAA convinced Congress to pass legislation to make colleges and universities responsible for reducing copyright infringement on campus or lose federal funding. The law was really a trial run of sorts — an attempt to see how this could work for making ISPs responsible. Of course, in order to get the law passed, the MPAA flat out lied. It made up numbers, saying that 44% of “losses” from file sharing came from college campuses. This number was so ridiculously wrong that the MPAA later claimed “human error” before saying the number was really 15%. But even that was dubious — and when the GAO asked the MPAA to support these numbers, the MPAA refused to provide the data. Pretty telling.

Clip of the Day

Rooted NOOKcolor with FDroid / FOSS

Credit: TinyOgg

Canonical is Hiring Mono Developers, Losing COO

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 7:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Matt Asay in clouds

Summary: Matt Asay, Canonical’s COO, is moving to a proprietary software company, but a Mono coup continues as the company’s HR department makes dubious judgment regarding some developer recruits

Canonical has been hiring from Microsoft and its outgoing COO had also considered working for Microsoft some years ago. What is Canonical thinking? Then there is the Mono issue. Canonical ended up hiring the GNOME-Do (Mono-based) developer, who is now using Vala to create Unity. Yes, it’s that divergence from GNOME Shell, which OMG!Ubuntu!, a Mono booster at times, suggests should use the Mono-based Docky. “Holy crap,” writes mohanpram in Identica, “Docky is awesome, and I can see where Unity’s dock is getting its juice (from Docky’s creator of course)!” According to this post:

As an aside, Jason who created Docky now works for Canonical.

Recently, Canonical also ended up adding Novell’s Banshee, which is based on Mono. We wrote about it in posts such as:

Here is some new Banshee boosting from OMG!Ubuntu!:

Banshee will be sat on millions of Ubuntu desktops next april as Ubuntu 11.04′s default music player – but some users think it could do with looking a little bit more native.

Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza is meanwhile producing more tools for Moonlight (not just Mono) [1, 2] and heckling our Web site over at Twitter (in the most immature of ways). Had he had a rebuttal to facts we publish, he would not have to resort to childish cartoons, which as a ‘defence’ is pretty telling. It’s weak. They attack the messenger.

“As a user of Ubuntu since its very first release, all these recent moves are utterly disappointing and I find myself increasingly installing Fedora for people.”In other important news, Canonical’s COO is moving to a proprietary software company (dressed up as “open”, like Apple) after he almost accepted a job at Microsoft. He sure got some heat from the likes of Bradley Kuhn (FSF) for Canonical’s strategy with copyrights, for example. “I miss being in the trenches,” he says in his blog, but isn’t that where he was while working for Canonical? Jane Silber, the CEO, says goodbye and Mark Shuttleworth, currently based in London, recently bought a house in New York, according to one report. As a user of Ubuntu since its very first release, all these recent moves are utterly disappointing and I find myself increasingly installing Fedora for people. Why can’t Canonical at least hire correctly? Are they begging for entryism? Or are the HR people themselves already indifferent or hostile towards the notions of software freedom while not bearing in mind that Microsoft attacks GNU/Linux like no other company does?

Either way, Techrights never thought that Asay becoming Canonical’s COO was a good idea (he was a Mac user and GNU/Linux critic at the time). His departure is now covered in:

i. Matt Asay leaving Canonical

Matt Asay has announced that after only ten months he has officially resigned from Canonical. Asay, after leaving Alfresco joined Canonical in February of this year as its Chief Operating Officer (COO). He confirmed that he will be taking a senior business development position at early-stage HTML5 startup Strobe “to focus on building the open web”.

ii. Well-known, open-source advocate Matt Asay leaves Canonical/Ubuntu

In an unexpected move, Matt Asay, Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, will be leaving Ubuntu.

In an e-mail to me, Asay, former VP of Business Development at Alfresco, the open-source enterprise Content Management System (CMS), told me that the news of his depature from Canonical would be be announced internally at Canonical today, December 8th.

Asay is leaving Canonical, because “Basically, I needed to get back to a customer-facing role but hadn’t realized that until my good friend, Bryce Roberts, pinged me about a company he had invested in (Strobe). I hadn’t been looking around but agreed to meet with Charles [Jolley], the founder.”

iii. Canonical COO Matt Asay leaves to join web startu

The above are some of the earliest reports. It seems like SJVN broke the news before Canonical even announced this internally. “Matt Assay says goodbye to Canonical,” wrote one of our readers in IRC last night. “Perhaps a guy who’s constantly defending Microsoft and non free software did not fit in at Canonical. As I said the last time he mouthed off, “You can take the man out of Novell but you can’t take the Novell out of the man.””

Here is a new hire of Canonical. In his blog he says: “I am the new “Engineering Manager for the Desktop+ group”. What the heck is that? Well, my job is to help a bunch of talented people I like (at least the ones I’ve known so far ;-) deliver cool software.” This developer seems to be Qt oriented and yesterday KDE said that Canonical had donated another server. Are we possibly seeing a change in strategy? Well, Unity and Mono with a GNOME/GTK base seem to suggest it’s unlikely, but who knows? I was one of the first people to promote Ubuntu and I am writing this post from Kubuntu, so I hope Canonical will return to its senses.

Vista Phony 7 [sic] is a Disaster, Implies Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Windows at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another “KIN” (just with a lot more marketing) is what Vista Phony 7 [sic] appears to be, implies a tight-lipped Microsoft

WHENEVER Microsoft releases a new product it quickly stuffs the channel and then brags about “sales” (to shops, not to customers). After the “KIN” disaster Microsoft was unable to stuff warehouses, so it never truly bragged about any numbers at all after it had released Vista Phony 7 [sic] to the tune of ~$500,000,000 in advertising. Well, guess what? Vista Phony 7 sales numbers appear to have been internally embargoed because Microsoft is dodging this question to which it certainly knows the answer. Watch the following new video (requires Adobe Trash [sic], sorry):

Here is some coverage about it and a short transcript:

Speaking to journalist Walt Mossberg at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Joe Belfiore, director of the Windows Phone program had this to say when it came to sales figures:

“We’re not talking about numbers yet. It’s just too soon to talk about numbers.”

The Inquirer says that:

Mossberg did press Belfiore on when he thought Microsoft would enjoy similar market share as Apple, only to be met with the vague answer of “maybe” when he put forward a two year timeframe.

The only reason Microsoft would be cagey about WP7 sales figures is if they have been poor. By this stage, given the aforementioned availability and marketing factors, anything less than several million would be deeply disappointing. The longer Microsoft skirts the issue, the more speculation will continue to rise.

It was only days ago that we showed Microsoft's intention to use patents — not phones — in the mobile market. Microsoft is turning into a patent troll.

Vista 7 Refunds: Unbundling Proponents Are on a Roll

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7 sticker
“The hardest thing about replacing Windows 7 with Linux is getting the damn sticker off,” Tim from OpenBytes wrote (credit: OpenBytes)

Summary: Portugal is the latest country where an unwanted Vista 7 licence is reported to have been refunded

Microsoft is losing control of its monopoly position and out of misery it is using attack vectors like fake companies (e.g. patent trolls and EU-based complainers) whole sole purpose is to harm Microsoft competitors. Microsoft sees the need for such abusive tactics because it is losing to Google in government, for example, amid a move to Fog Computing (many of the servers powering this are also IBM mainframes running GNU/Linux). Microsoft is not just totally losing control in the back room however. That’s just an area where GNU/Linux has enjoyed spectacular (yet immeasurable) growth for well over a decade.

On the desktop too GNU/Linux is gaining. Last night we shared some encouraging statistics from W3schools and given that Chrome OS is coming to shops, there is reason to expect greater adoption of GNU/Linux (albeit with Android-esque lock-down).

A few weeks ago we wrote about a Vista 7 refund given in Brazil and in the UK too it appears to be possible [1, 2] although my co-host Tim says it requires the buyer to go through a long and cumbersome process. Well, following the success story from Brazil (which put Techrights in the news) someone in Portugal has just managed to also get a Vista 7 refund, thus setting a precedence. The person writes:

No dia 8 de Setembro dirigi-me a um espaço comercial da zona da grande Lisboa e adquiri um ASUS 1005PX, após ter feito uma pesquisa e recebido algumas pistas de amigos, porque considerei ser uma máquina “decente”(*) no que toca à relação preço/qualidade.
Apercebi-me de imediato da falta de informação dos trabalhadores dessa loja sobre a forma da compra que estava a fazer (substituir o sistema operativo previamente instalado) mas também fiquei satisfeito por ter sido encorajado a fazê-lo por um deles, optando pelo Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, não tendo sequer visto o arranque “à la” W7!

Or in English (automatic translation):

On September 8 I went to a commercial area of the greater Lisbon area and purchased an ASUS 1005PX, after doing a survey and received some leads from friends, because I considered it a machine “decent” (*) when it comes to value for money.
I noticed immediately the lack of information from that store employees on how the purchase was doing that (replacing the previously installed operating system) but I was pleased to have been encouraged to do so by one of them opting for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, not having even seen the start-up “à la” W7!

Can any of our readers from Portugal or Brazil offer a better, more accurate translation? The conclusion is translated as follows:

You can buy a machine without Windows in exchange for some patience to face the assembled system.
I fought for the recovery of money (a little) that was payable but not the value at the beginning.
It was painful to watch the way these matters are dealt with in a time and MANAGING EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER nothing more than Paragon. Over the messages and responses noted the differing views of which are little abonatórios services to ASUS.
Later I learned that I can not make a memory expansion to 2GB because I lose the warranty … Only in 2 years!
The audio system does not allow me to connect earphones or external speakers because the friendly manual says that this device input / output is managed by Cabinet Software (MS).
Conclusion: I really like the ASUS hardware (got a VW222S monitor, a laptop and now A6JC 1005PX) but I fear I will not buy anything else to this brand after living the violence.

That’s why we need to ensure GNU/Linux preinstalls are the standard, hopefully imposed to some degree by EU Commission intervention (to counter Microsoft’s market distortion).

Microsoft’s Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures Starts Attacking Companies Directly

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: The Microsoft-groomed Nathan Myhrvold is attacking companies using patents on ideas he did not at all come up with

THE world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, has been sending out one of its attack dogs each time it needed to make some money or bully some company which did not surrender to racketeering. According to this new report, Intellectual Ventures gave up pretending (or hiding behind 1,000+ proxies) and now it attacks directly:

Intellectual Ventures filed three lawsuits over software security, dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and Flash memory, and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technologies. The targets of the lawsuits are Check Point Software Technologies, McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, Elpida Memory, Hynix Semiconductor, Altera, Lattice Semiconductor, and Microsemi, according to a press release.

The lawsuits are a strategic change of direction for Intellectual Ventures, which for years did not engage in direct patent litigation (though pointedly did not rule out the possibility). The new legal strategy is bound to give fuel to critics who call the firm a giant “patent troll” that uses patents solely to extract payments from companies.

As Simon Phipps put it last night: “A patent troll that’s made a few inventors rich is still a patent troll.”

Microsoft/clients/lawyers are part of this problem because Intellectual Ventures is funded by Bill Gates and Microsoft. One patent attorney in Seattle, David Sheldon, is citing another while stating:

Have been neglecting Internet, totally missed that #ignitesea was going on. Best of luck to @mypatents on #swpat! Will find video later.

Microsoft is a huge part of the headache known as software patents. It’s not a mere scapegoat which is daemonised.

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