Links 14/12/2010: OpenBSD IPSEC Claimed Backdoored, Puglia (Italy) Makes Free/Open Source Software and Standards Mandatory

Posted in News Roundup at 11:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Twenty-ten: The picks of the litter

    That curiosity is bent toward very low-end computers though, and it’s not enough to me to just show a pretty desktop at 150Mhz if the overall experience feels like your head is being pressed through a bowl of mashed potatoes.

  • AT&T Blocks Linux Configuration

    In the past 45 days, I’ve done a ton of installs. Of that bunch, 17 of our clients in that 45 days had chosen AT&T DSL for their provider.

    For good reason I think…

    They offer a two year contract at 14.95 a month for Internet service.

    Pretty good deal, huh?

    Not if you are a Linux User.

  • Server

    • No, M$, We Will not Pay You $6K to use Our Servers

      SBS has been released with prices for the standard version including $72 CALs and a higher price and $96 CALs for the chocolate-icing version. We are not locked into M$ where I work so we can save a ton of money running Debian GNU/Linux on our ancient servers. Why would any organization pay a voluntary tax to M$ for the privilege of using the organization’s hardware? It beats me…

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernels 2.6.35 and 2.6.36: Storage Updates

      Recently, I have spent some time reviewing Linux kernels from a storage perspective; starting with 2.6.30 (actually going back into the 2.6.2x series) and ending with the 2.6.34 kernel. That article was published on June 8 of this year – just a short time ago. In the meantime, the pace of kernel development has continued and as of the writing of this article the merge window for the 2.6.37 kernel has just closed signaling the beginning of the great bug hunt before the release of the 2.6.37 kernel. So now seems like a good time to go over the 2.6.35 and 2.6.36 kernels to review what changes have happened that affect the Linux storage world.

    • Last week in Amarok

      The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) announced that their 2010 training partner program is up 10 percent from this time last year.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Say Hello To The Catalyst Linux Driver Christmas Edition

        AMD’s Toronto developers working on the ATI Catalyst Linux driver have just released their last public update of the year. The Catalyst 10.12 Linux driver (along with the Windows version) is now available for those interested in this high-performance, but proprietary, driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • [rant] Desktop application complexity (part 2)
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Last week in Amarok

        Since we were quite busy in the last weeks, here comes a report about the last month in Amarok. The main reason for this delay is the following:

        We released Amarok 2.4 beta !

      • The magic that we do :)
      • Oxygen + Gtk

        The primary goal of this port is to improve significantly the integration of Gtk/Gnome applications in KDE. However, we also aim to provide Oxygen as a modern, professional and polished theme for other desktop environments, that works seamlessly without having KDE even installed.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Is Zorin OS Really Easier than Ubuntu?

      Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution, which its developers say is, “designed specifically for Linux beginners who want to have easy and smooth access to open source software.” Well, isn’t that similar to what Ubuntu says? Why would anyone need anything easier than Ubuntu? Is it even possible to have anything easier than Ubuntu? Well, Zorin folks think so, but let’s see.


      In summary, Linux is Linux is Linux. Sticking an XP-like menu in there doesn’t change that. I’m not sure we should try.

    • Extreme Configurability with Gentoo Linux

      Gentoo is one of the most talked and noted Linux distributions that have been in active development stage for last 6-7 years. Although there are only a limited number of followers for Gentoo when compared with some other distributions such as Ubuntu, Gentoo has been delivering a best Linux distribution suited for power users. Let’s have a look at the nature of Gentoo first.

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Plymouth on Statler

        P.S. I took a look at the new Debian Squeeze Plymouth theme whilst I was playing around, it is the mutt’s nuts! Squeeze is shaping up very nicely.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu-isms suck

          Do you wanna know why Ubuntu-isms suck? Because they make software non-portable. I have just spend a few hours to try to get Synapse, an alternative to the stagnant and buggy Gnome-Do, into my Gentoo Overlay.

          I knew that I had to package Zeitgeist and a few other packages but I was ready for it, I thought: “How bad could it be?”. It could be bad.

          With many devs only developing on Canonical’s GNOME fork every other distribution that might be running on a more vanilla GNOME is fucked. You want a launcher to start programs? Be ready to pull in Canonical’s weird indicator-library that is a systray, but just not a systray. Then there’s this helper library, and that helper toolkit, all hosted on Launchpad, no information on how to build it apart from (get it from our PPA or the current Ubuntu version) and all heavily depending on each other.

        • Goodbye Ubuntu Netbook Edition Maverick, hello Jolicloud 1.1 !

          Ubuntu’s Maverick Desktop edition was, to me, a great success. It’s fast, secure, and slick. Linux-Mint Julia, the Ubuntu-based Linux distribution was, however, a total success. Julia surpassed Maverick in ease of installation and use.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Kubuntu 10.10 review

            Pros: Plasma interface offers plenty of eye-candy, simple installation process, and an excellent selection of pre-installed applications
            Cons: Unfamiliar default browser, old-fashioned software installation GUI, and several areas such as Activities are still poorly documented

            Canonical’s Ubuntu is one of the most popular desktop Linux distributions around, but it’s easy to forget that there is a wealth of alternatives built on the same user-friendly base – including, most famously, the KDE-based Kubuntu. While the back end of the OS is identical in both cases, the interface couldn’t be more different.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Google revives ‘network computer’ with dual-OS assault on MS

        One of the great ironies of this year is that Google and Oracle – now owner of Sun and Java – are locked in legal combat. The irony stems from the fact that, even as they bicker, the concept they did more than anyone else to create is back in the limelight. This is what we used to call the thin client, which then morphed into the netbook and now the cloudbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

    Thanks to Glyn Moody, a UK-based technology journalist, I’ve just learned that Netflix is not only using, but also contributing, to numerous open-source projects. They’re in good company.

    As Kevin McEntee, Netflix’s VP of Systems & ECommerce Engineering explained on a recent blog posting, Why we use and contribute to open source software, “Our budget, measured in dollars, time, people, and energy, is limited and we must therefore focus our technology development efforts on that streaming video software that clearly differentiates Netflix and creates delight for our customers. These limits require that we stand on the shoulders of giants who have solved technology challenges shared in common by all companies that operate at Internet scale. I’m really just articulating the classical build vs. buy trade off that everyone deals with when developing software.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Why Mozilla doesn’t back Free Flash players

        Despite Apple’s best efforts to make it go away, the Web is still littered with Flash-based sites and content. The lack of an open source alternative to Adobe’s Flash player is still a major pain point for Linux users and vendors, and the proprietary player is a big source of bug reports for Mozilla. Which brings the question: Why hasn’t Mozilla backed one of the projects to create an open source player?

        A bit ago I was having a conversation over email with Nathan Willis about some of the open source alternatives like GNU Gnash and Lightspark, and the question came up – why doesn’t Mozilla back these?

      • Flock Refresh Trumps RockMelt

        RockMelt was released in beta in November with the claim that it would bring social networking into the browser. But Flock has been a social networking oriented browser for years now and a new version shows where Flock has several advantages over RockMelt.

  • Oracle

  • BSD

    • Released: FreeBSD 8.2-BETA1 and 7.4-BETA1

      The first of the test builds for the FreeBSD 8.2/7.4 Release Cycle is now available for amd64, i386, ia64, pc98, and sparc64 architectures. Files suitable for creating installation media or doing FTP based installs through the network should be on most of the FreeBSD mirror sites.

    • OpenBSD IPSEC backdoored?

      I have received a mail regarding the early development of the OpenBSD IPSEC stack. It is alleged that some ex-developers (and the company they worked for) accepted US government money to put backdoors into our network stack, in particular the IPSEC stack. Around 2000-2001.


  • Government

    • IT: Puglia region makes open source and standards mandatory

      The Italian region Puglia will make the use of open source software and open standards mandatory for its public administrations. A law, adopted on 2 December by the regional administration, instructs regional and local public administrations to use open formats for the electronic disseminations of documents, and wherever possible use free and open source software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Sintel DVDs have shipped with film, commentaries, and Blender tutorials

      My DVD set for the Blender Foundation’s latest open movie, “Sintel,” arrived this month. Considering the size, expense, and duration of the production, it’s a truly amazing short film. There’s much more emotional weight here than in “Elephants Dream” or “Big Buck Bunny.” More of interest here, though, is the huge amount of supplementary material included in the set. This is more than just the sources for the movie. There’s also a lot of tutorial information for Blender users and of course, an array of personal commentaries on the production process.


  • Google morphs Gmail into Microsoft backup service

    Known as Google Message Continuity, the service replicates all your Microsoft Exchange data on Google’s servers. If your Exchange servers crash or you take them down for maintenance, your employees can open up a browser and switch to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts. The service is based on technology from Postini, the business email outfit Google purchase in 2007.

  • Abbott Labs VP Suggests Having Mob Beat Up Columnist Who Exposed Shady Dealings

    There’s a rather incredible story over in the Baltimore Sun about the extent Abbott Laboratories’ execs went to in their effort to sell more of their heart stents. This is not a unique story, but every time I see a similar story, it serves as a reminder of the problems of putting “healthcare” in the hands of companies who have every incentive to sell you snake oil — especially when that snake oil is patented and they can charge ridiculous monopoly rents for it.

    The story involves a heart stent sold by Abbott. Apparently, Abbott cultivated a few doctors and plied them with all sorts of… well… most people would probably refer to them as bribes… to implant more stents. The article focuses on one Dr. Mark Midei, who “set a record” by implanting 30 stents in one day. That would be great if those stents saved lives. Problem is… a study earlier this year showed that stents were no better than drugs for many patients. Now, in some cases, they can certainly be helpful, but there was little indication that Midei made much of an effort to see if the over 2,000 stents he was implanting per year were really necessary.

  • ‘The New Kingmakers’: Tech giants pay for the love of coders
  • News of The World hacking case gets dropped

    RUPERT MURDOCH’S The News of the World will not be charged for hacking into the phones of high profile people after a prosecutor said that there was not enough evidence.

    The News of the Screws was treated to a dose of dirt flying in its direction when it was accused of hacking into the mobile phone accounts of a number of people, including some royals and an MP. That was corroborated by an ex-employee in an interview with the New York Times and was discussed at length – with some apparent evidence mentioned- in the Guardian newspaper.

  • Science

    • NASA Ejects Nanosatellite From Microsatellite in Space

      NanoSail-D ejected from the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT, demonstrating the capability to deploy a small cubesat payload from an autonomous microsatellite in space.

    • Dinosaur bones prompt federal lawsuit in Montana

      Bones from two dinosaur specimens have prompted a federal lawsuit in a dispute between two organizations that preserve fossils.

      The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported a South Dakota research company is suing a Montana nonprofit dedicated to the study of fossils over castings of bones from two tyrannosaurus-rex specimens discovered in South Dakota.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • FBI ‘Thwarts’ Another Of Its Own Bomb Plots

      visual77 alerts us to the news of a guy arrested in Baltimore for a bomb plot. As you dig into the details, though, it looks quite similar to the case in Portland, where it appears that the entire “plot” was created with the help of the FBI.

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange’s accusers are jealous liars, says lawyer Bjorn Hurtig

      WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange’s lawyer said he has seen secret police documents that prove the whistle-blower is innocent of sex assault claims made against him by two women.

      Lawyer Bjorn Hurtig, representing Mr Assange in Sweden where the charges were laid, said the papers reveal both women had “hidden agendas” and lied about being coerced into having sex.

    • Icelandic IT firm to sue Visa & Mastercard over WikiLeaks cut-off

      Icelandic IT company Datacell today said it will take legal action against Visa Europe and Mastercard in light of both companies decisions to cease processing payments associated with the WikiLeaks website.

      Datacell said they will use legal mechanisms to try to force the card companies to resume accepting WikiLeaks payments immediately.

      Datacell’s CEO Andreas Fink said that Visa should ‘just simply do their business where they are good at – transferring money’.

    • Operation Payback And Wikileaks Show The Battle Lines Are About Distributed & Open vs. Centralized & Closed

      Again, I’m struck by the simple split many have here: it really is an argument between those who believe in distributed and open vs. centralized and closed — and I’m still not sure if the folks supporting centralized and closed even realize this. Their response, to date, has been to act as if they’re fighting a centralized system. They focus on things like Wikileaks’ domain and its founder — as if that’s the issue. They target the centralized pieces. And even if you make the argument that Wikileaks needs Julian Assange to stay together, if it were to shut down, it wouldn’t take long for a ton of other, similar offerings to spring up in its place. And, they would probably be even more effective (and potentially more damaging).

      While I don’t necessarily like “war” analogies, what we’re seeing is very much a battle between the way people want to see information flow, and one side seems to be still fighting the last war.

    • Pentagon Not Properly Protecting Whistleblowers, Says DOJ

      Insufficient resources, lack of training for investigators and a variety of other problems have plagued the Defense Department system intended to investigate allegations of retaliation against military whistleblowers, according to a recently disclosed government report. At the same time, the number of military whistleblower retaliation allegations has “more than doubled” from fewer than 300 in 1997 to nearly 600 in 2007, according to the report.

    • Dutch Arrest Teen for Pro-WikiLeaks Attack on Visa and MasterCard Websites

      Dutch police announced Thursday they have arrested a 16-year-old boy for allegedly participating in the online attacks against Visa and MasterCard as part of a vigilante campaign to support WikiLeaks.

      The secret-spilling site has raised the ire of the U.S. government and others around the world for its ongoing release of secret diplomatic cables allegedly provided to the site by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. Though only a small portion of the 250,000 cables WikiLeaks possesses have been released so far, the cables include revelations about how countries in the Middle East urged attacks on Iran, what the U.S. diplomatic corps thinks of world leaders such as Russian President Vladmir Putin, and the details of behind-the-scenes negotiations on repatriating Gitmo prisoners, among other topics.

    • Julian Assange’s lawyers ‘preparing for possible US charges’
    • Ron Paul’s Sensible Thoughts On Wikileaks
    • Congressional Research Service Notes That There Are Serious Challenges To Charging Assange

      While a lot of the rhetoric from the US government — concerning Wikileaks and Julian Assange and whether or not any law was violated — has been overwrought and full of hyperbole, it appears that the Congressional Research Service (which tends to do a damn good job most of the time) has put out a nice simple report detailing the specific legal issues and laws that might apply here (pdf), and more or less summarizes that the US government would be breaking new ground in charging Assange, and may have difficulties in succeeding.

  • Finance

    • Fed critic Ron Paul wins oversight gavel

      Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the incoming chairman of the House Financial Service Committee, on Thursday approved Paul’s bid to lead the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cypress Hill Singer’s $250M Lawsuit Claims ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Stolen From His Story

      A model named Michael “Shagg” Washington is suing Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive Software for a cool $250 million for allegedly basing the lead character in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on his troubled youth.

    • Superpowers as Personal Property

      The superpowers of many comic book heroes and villains are often in a state of flux. Powers can be gained, lost, used up, given away, abandoned, shared, and stolen, which sounds a lot like the attributes of property. Comic book characters even speak of powers as though they were possessions. Here we consider whether superpowers should be treated as personal property and the legal consequences of that view.

    • Parchment, Pixels & Personhood: User Rights and the IP (Identity Politics) of IP (Intellectual Property)

      This Article challenges copyright’s prevailing narrative on personhood, which has typically focused on the identity interests that authors enjoy in their creative output.

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian court could kill hyperlinks

        Canada’s Supreme Court is hearing a defamation case in which the point of law under contention is whether a link counts as publication. The case involves Wayne Crookes, owner of a legal registrations firm, and Jon Newton, who runs a news site specializing in the peer-to-peer filesharing world.

        Crookes sued Newton for defamation: not for what he wrote, but for links to other articles that contain defamatory material.

      • Supreme Court Ruling: You May Not Be Able To Legally Sell A Product First Made Outside The US
      • Movie Exec Says Studios Should Stop Sending Out DVD Screeners For The Oscars

        Of course, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Summit Entertainment thinks this way. The company has built up quite a reputation for being an intellectual property bully. In the past 15 months or so, we’ve had multiple different stories of Summit’s overly aggressive attempts at IP enforcement, often threatening or suing people doing completely reasonable things, such as creating a fanzine or filming a documentary about the town where Twilight is supposed to take place. And that’s not even getting into questions about The Hurt Locker and its lawsuit campaign against thousands of file sharers — because that was really done by the movie’s producers, Voltage, rather than Summit. Of course, all these actions are doing is reminding me to avoid any pictures associated with Summit.

      • Drudge Report owner sued by Righthaven

        As in most of its recent lawsuits, Righthaven seeks in Wednesday’s lawsuit damages of $150,000 as well as forfeiture to Righthaven of the drudgereport.com and drudgereportarchives.com website domain names.

      • Torrent-Finder Determined to Fight U.S. Domain Seizure

        The owner of BitTorrent meta-search engine Torrent-Finder, one of the sites that had its domain seized recently, is determined to put up a fight against the actions of the U.S. authorities. The Egyptian founder of the site has hired an attorney to assist him in regaining control over the website he maintained trouble-free for more than half a decade.

      • ACS: Law takes P2P users to court, fails miserably
      • Copyright Troll Righthaven’s Number One Supporter Caught Putting Infringing Material On His Own Blog

        Former Las Vegas Journal Review publisher and Stephens Media CEO Sherman Frederick was the main champion behind Righthaven. Early on he was the one who explained (in bizarre, nonsensical terms) why the LVRJ was funding and supporting Righthaven, and mocked those who pointed out the ridiculousness of his position. Part of his reasoning was that putting copyright infringing content on your website or blog is absolutely no different than stealing the Corvette out of his driveway. Even if we ignore how this is completely wrong (someone copying content doesn’t remove that content from his site, and he still has the content, etc.) and grant him that premise, it seems rather odd that Frederick himself has now been caught posting infringing material to his own blog.

      • Movie Studios Blocking Special Features On Rental DVDs

        In an apparent effort to give customers a reason to buy DVDs instead of renting them, movie studios have begun disabling certain features of new releases on discs rented out by Blockbuster and Netflix.

      • Turkey Looks To Copyright Its National Anthem After German Collection Society Tries To Collect Royalties For It

        So, I’m not too surprised to hear reports that the Turkish government is now scrambling to try to copyright its own national anthem after hearing that GEMA tried to collect royalties on it. The story is a bit confusing but it appears that GEMA, in standard collection society fashion, demanded that a Turkish school in Germany pay up for performing music. The school responded that the only music that was performed was the Turkish national anthem. This is where some of the dispute comes in. It appears that GEMA believes other covered music was also performed, and its asking for royalties from that and saying it never meant to collect for the Turkish national anthem. However, the school insists that was the only song performed — so it went to the Turkish Culture Minister to ask for help. At that point, the Turkish government realized that there simply was no copyright on the song.

      • Oh Look, Digital Downloads Aren’t Saving The Music Industry

        Earlier this year, we warned that the growth rate was slowing, and now as we hit the end of the year, it’s confirmed that while there’s still some growth, it’s slowed down dramatically. Betting on digital sales as the key business model for music is, and is going to remain, a mistake. There are lots of other opportunities to make money, but you have to think beyond just selling music.

      • P2P first seeders: pirates or “masked philanthropists”?

        Do some P2P file sharers see themselves as the Robin Hoods of the digital age—taking from the greedy content companies and giving to the global have-nots? Amidst all the angst over illegal Internet file sharing and what to do about it, there’s a related debate raging over two questions—why do people share files and what do they think about the ethics of the practice?

      • Musician Releases Album And Explains Why File Sharing Isn’t That Big A Deal

        The one thing that surprises me, though, is that while he’s using Bandcamp to handle sales of the CD, he’s not offering downloads via Bandcamp, where he could do things like offer flexible pricing. Instead, you have to buy it from iTunes. Kind of strange.

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat Compiz-Fusion

Credit: TinyOgg

On the Web, Microsoft Loves Hiding

Posted in Antitrust, Google, Microsoft at 5:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Government is the shadow cast by business over society.”–John Dewey (1859-1952)

Summary: Microsoft is building coalitions to compete on the Web against Google and some of this includes frivolous legal action

IF A SUGGESTION is made that — somewhat sarcastically speaking — “Microsoft is everywhere”, a lot of evidence becomes necessary. Consider what a government delegate once said. If Microsoft was a political party or militant motion, then it would be an idealogical movement like democracy or communism. It strives to ensure that surrounding parties pick its side and a few years ago it gave money to Facebook. Well, now more than ever it’s confirmed that Microsoft tried swallowing Facebook as a whole.. Since we wrote about it before it has been possible to explain Facebook’s pro-Microsoft leanings (Facebook is like Hotmail with different branding). Microsoft is also hiding behind Yahoo! after taking over from the inside, so many people who think they use Yahoo! search actually use Microsoft. Is Microsoft hiding its own presence from the public? Jason sure thinks so:

The funny thing I noticed: “Microsoft” is never mentioned. It’s all copy about a “decision engine” or a “next-generation search engine” or similar, but it’s been about a week or so and you’d never know by listening that Bing was from Microsoft.

Microsoft is also operating some anti-Google entities like iCOMP, which TechSpot has just written this new article about:

For the last three years, Microsoft has been funding the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace (ICOMP), which has been pointing out Google’s dominance in search to regulators and journalists, according to The Telegraph. Microsoft is ICOMP’s sole sponsor and the software giant is responsible for picking ICOMP’s directors. ICOMP helped push the EU to launch an investigation into Google last month. It all began in 2007, when Microsoft and the PR agency Burson-Marsteller formed ICOMP to fight against Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick for $3.1 billion.

“ICOMP’s mission is to promote widespread support for principles that are essential to a healthy online environment,” says the organization’s mission statement. “Key goals are to encourage competition, transparency, data privacy and respect for intellectual property protection as well as well as the adoption of best practices to promote creativity, innovation, safety and trust. ICOMP’s overall objective is the sustainable growth of the Internet consistent with the rule of law.”

Microsoft has been using government connections and it is already lobbying by proxy regarding the likes of ITA [1, 2], which Microsoft boosters help demystify:

Microsoft has joined a coalition consisting primarily of travel sites that is lobbying to block Google’s pending acquisition of ITA Software.

FairSearch.org announced on December 13 that Microsoft, Foundem, Level…com, and ZUJI joined the group. Existing FairSearch.org members include Expedia.com, Hotwire, TripAdvisor, Farelogix, Kayak and Sabre Holdings.

Mary Jo Microsoft ought to explain that many of these motions against Google are Microsoft coalitions and the same tricks are being used against IBM right now. The one to be portrayed negatively here (for market distortion) is Microsoft, and neither Google nor IBM.

Next Windows Release is Windows 6.2 (Vista is 6.0)

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 4:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Microsoft is playing a psychological numbers game to give an illusion of progress whilst in fact just marketing a mythical re-wrapped version of Vista

ACCORDING to Microsoft, Vista 7 is actually "Windows 6.1" (6.0 is Vista) and now it turns out that Vista 8 is “Windows 6.2″, as revealed by this article. The reader who alerted us about it asked: “Windows 8 will be only Windows Vista SP4?”

Windows 8 could reportedly sport Windows 6.2 as the version number, according to a third-party source.

Of course, Microsoft has yet to share any details related to the versioning of Windows vNext with the public, but there is a precedent indicating that the version of Windows 8 might end up as 6.x rather than Windows 8.0.

Windows8italia managed to come across a new driver from NVIDIA which apparently references a new Windows kernel, version 6.2, which can only be associated with the next major iteration of Windows.

This information needs to be taken with a grain of salt as there’s no official confirmation from the software giant, an aspect that is bound not to change, at least in the immediate future.

But believe it or not, it’s highly probable to have Windows 6.x as the version for Windows vNext.

Don’t believe the hype. Microsoft is just trying to suspend migration to other platforms. Mr. Pogson has just found a Windows Vista prediction from 2006 (when Vista was finalised):

I came across a prediction from 2006 that Vista would have 40% share by 2008. Now, we are in 2010 and Vista +”7″ is still less than 40%. Granted, predicting is an uncertain art because unknown events intervene. What has made this prediction fail?

* Vista was a dog ( I don’t like dogs)
* Vista and “7″ will not run on most hardware
* Vista and “7″ still welcome malware
* The netbook showed many millions of people GNU/Linux in action
* Snart-thingies showed millions there are other ways of doing things
* Dell and other started selling GNU/Linux to consumers
* A recession put a damper on spending

Vista 7 adoption has not really been good, but Microsoft is fudging numbers to make it look differently.

Novell Exodus Continued Accelerating Well Ahead of Corporate Attachment to AttachMSFT

Posted in Microsoft, Novell at 4:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Novell vice presidents and former CEO find other homes in other companies

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about high level Novell employees who were leaving amid the AttachMSFT [sic] acquisition, whose impact on Novell’s business is not entirely clear yet. A week ago it turned out that Stephen Henkenmeier, formerly vice president of finance at Novell, is making his move again:

Boston direct marketing software maker ClickSquared Inc. has a new CFO, the company reports today.

Novell veteran Stephen Henkenmeier joins Clickquared from M|C Communications, a medical education provider where he was CFO and executive vice president. Prior to M|C, he was VP finance at Novell.

Another former vice president from Novell goes to another place:

The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator reelected three board members: Chairman Paul J. Feldman, Vice Chairman J. Michael Evans and Director Judy Walsh.


He has served as chief executive or vice president at Novell, Inc., Geo-Utilities, Inc., Columbia Energy Services, UtiliCorp United, AES, and AT&T/Lucent Technologies.

Except for this praise for Scott Lewis from Novell (echoed here), there are two new praises for Eric Schmidt, who went to Google amid Novell’s decline and before many more layoffs. Market Watch says:

Schmidt, who was previously CEO at Novell Inc. and a top exec at Sun Microsystems, is widely considered the mature professional that Brin and Page — who are about 20 years his junior — need to ensure that their start-up stays on the path to greatness.

IDG calls Schmidt’s departure “The single greatest career jump in history”:

Chances are no one has heard Eric Schmidt muttering under his breath, “Dang, I could have worked at Attachmate.”

The thought arose as I compiled a Novell corporate timeline to accompany our online coverage of its recent acquisition by Attachmate. Schmidt was CEO at Novell in 2001 when he was asked to and did indeed take the top spot at Google. The rest is not only history but has prompted me over the years to wonder: Has anyone in any field ever made a better career move?

I say no.

Many other prominent employees left Novell in recent years (many of whom we covered at the time).

Links 14/12/2010: Richard Purdie a New Linux Foundation Fellow, Xorg-Server 1.9.3 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 1:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Window for Linux

      Since the new year in almost every school in the Amur Region will the computer revolution. 31 декабря закончится действие лицензии на пакет программного обеспечения от компании Microsoft, установленного на большинстве школьных компьютеров. December 31 will end the license for the software package from Microsoft, is installed on most school computers. Его сменит свободное программное обеспечение, которое будет работать на базе операционной системы Linux. He was replaced by the free software that will operate on the basis of the operating system Linux.

    • INDIA: $35 laptop a revolution in university learning?

      Sonakshi Pandit, studying for a doctorate in education at the University of Pune, hopes the laptop will force teachers and students to update their teaching and learning styles.

  • Server

    • IBM to build 3 petaflop supercomputer for Germany

      The global race for supercomputing power continues unabated: Germany’s Bavarian Academy of Science has announced that it has contracted IBM to build a supercomputer that, when completed in 2012, will be able to execute up to 3 petaflops, potentially making it the world’s most powerful supercomputer.

      To be called SuperMUC, the computer, which will be run by the Academy’s Leibniz Supercomputing Centre in Garching, Germany, will be available for European researchers to use to probe the frontiers of medicine, astrophysics and other scientific disciplines. (The MUC suffix is borrowed from the Munich airport code).

  • Kernel Space

    • Willy Tarreau is taking over the 2.6.27-longterm kernel release
    • Linux KVM vs. VirtualBox 4.0 Virtualization Benchmarks

      Oracle’s been vigorously working on their VM VirtualBox 4.0 software and in just the past week they have delivered two public betas that bring a number of new features. Among the changes there is support for Intel HD audio / ICH9 to guest VMs, the concept of extension packs, user-interface improvements, support for limiting a virtual machine’s CPU time and I/O bandwidth, 3D acceleration fixes for guests, and a great number of bug-fixes. How though is this updated Oracle/Sun virtualization platform comparing to the older VirtualBox 3.2 release and that of the upstream Linux KVM (the Kernel-based Virtual Machine) that most Linux distributions rely upon? Here are a number of benchmarks that seek to answer this very question.

    • Richard Purdie appointed as a new Linux Foundation fellow
    • Linux Foundation Appoints New Fellow

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that OpenEmbedded core developer and Yocto Project maintainer Richard Purdie has been appointed to the position of Linux Foundation Fellow.

    • Mitigations and Solutions of Bufferbloat in Home Routers and Operating Systems

      Once tuned, Linux’s latency (and the router’s latency) can be really nice even under high load (even if I’ve not tried hard to get to the theoretical minimums). But un-tuned, I can get many second latency out of both Linux home routers and my laptop, just by heading to some part of my house where my wireless signal strength is low (I have several chimneys that makes this trivial). By walking around or obstructing your wireless router, you should be easily able to reproduce bufferbloat in either your router or in your laptop, depending on which direction you saturate.

      With an open source router on appropriate hardware and a client running Linux, you can make bufferbloat very much lower in your home environment, even when bufferbloat would otherwise cause your network to become unusable. Nathaniel Smith in a reply to “Fun with Wireless” shows what can be done when you both set the txqueuelen and change the driver (in his case, a one line patch!)

    • Graphics Stack

      • XBMC 10 Is Imminent, XBMC 11 Is Already In Planning

        We have just been told that the 10.0 “Dharma” release of XBMC is due out this coming week. XBMC 10.0 presents a unified add-on framework and a lot of features related to this work for providing new functionality, initial gesture support for the XBMC GUI Engine, improved mouse support, Broadcom Crystal HD decoding support, native support for unencrypted Blu-ray playback, support for Google WebM, and many other changes. While XBMC 10.0 isn’t even out the door, XBMC 11.0 “Eden” is already well into planning.

        Besides what’s already been mentioned, other XBMC 10.0 features include initial support for OpenGL ES 2.0 to allow the Linux renderer to support embedded devices, SSH file transfer protocol support, a number of new movie/video scrapers have been introduced, an improved video scanner engine, an improved meta-data scraper engine, upgrades against FFmpeg, and much more.

      • VirtualBox 4.0 OpenGL Gaming Performance

        Put out earlier this morning on Phoronix were Linux virtualization benchmarks comparing the native performance of a high-end Intel Core i7 system to that of the de facto standard Linux KVM virtualization method as well as Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2.12 and Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 Beta 2. These tests focused largely upon the disk and CPU performance within Ubuntu Linux virtual machines, since that’s often where enterprise users are most concerned with virtualization performance. For desktop users, there’s also the matter of 2D/3D acceleration support within virtual machines.

      • [ANNOUNCE] xorg-server 1.9.3

        xorg-server-1.9.3 is the third maintenance release of the 1.9 branch of the X11 server from X.org. It includes numerous bug fixes to address performance, stability, and correctness. This version is functionally equivalent to the second release candidate. The list below summarizes all changes since 1.9.2.

      • Say Hello To The Catalyst Linux Driver Christmas Edition

        AMD’s Toronto developers working on the ATI Catalyst Linux driver have just released their last public update of the year. The Catalyst 10.12 Linux driver (along with the Windows version) is now available for those interested in this high-performance, but proprietary, driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Slax – still alive in the Slax Community remix

      It has become quite a different beast in some ways, having grown for the first time to over 200 MB size and introducing KDE 4 and 64-bit to Slax among others, like its founder had envisaged for the future of the project. At the same time it has also created a small team of developers familiar enough with the system to continue if the project is abandoned, or to help Tomas M out, should he decide to return for Slax 7. On the other hand I wonder if this is not just an operating system for a small group of hardcore fans now that it has had its time and may become increasingly irrelevant, in a day and age where almost every distribution offers a convenient graphical way to copy to a USB device and back or create spins. In any case, I am glad it’s still around, and will keep using it from time to time just for fun.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • CELF seeking embedded project proposals for 2011
    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google Android Gingerbread Is Using EXT4

          Earlier this year Google announced they would be switching to the EXT4 file-system on their Linux servers (previously they were still using the mature EXT2) and at the same time it was made available they had hired Ted Ts’o, the lead developer of this file-system currently in use by a majority of the new Linux desktop distributions. Google’s continuing to love the EXT4 file-system and now with their new Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” operating system for smart-phones and other mobile devices, they are switching to EXT4 there too.

        • Android will be using ext4 starting with Gingerbread

          This is another reason why I’m glad to see ext4 being used on Android is that it validates my decision to keep working on ext4 2-3 years ago, even though newer filesystems like btrfs were promised to be coming down the pike. As I’ve said many times before, file systems are like fine wine, and they take many years to mature. So having ext4 ready today is a great way of giving more choices to developers and system administrators about what file system they want to use.

Free Software/Open Source

  • When Free Software Isn’t Better

    For free software advocates, these same projects are each seen as important successes. Because every piece of free software respects its users’ freedom, advocates of software freedom argue that each piece of free software begins with an inherent ethical advantage over proprietary competitors — even a more featureful one. By emphasizing freedom over practical advantages, free software’s advocacy is rooted in a technical reality in a way that open source is often not. When free software is better, we can celebrate this fact. When it is not, we need not treat it as a damning critique of free software advocacy or even as a compelling argument against the use of the software in question.

  • FSF essay argues freedom over quality

    Getting into the middle of a discussion on the virtues of open source versus free software is about as smart as trying to reconcile the two major US political parties at this point in history–in other words, a fool’s errand.

    But I’ve been called worse, so here goes.

    Benjamin Mako Hill is a well-known and -respected free software developer and activist, whose opinions I pay attention to, even if I don’t always agree with them. In this month’s Free Software Foundation Bulletin, Hill wrote an essay entitled “When Free Software Sucks,” which he has republished for public consumption under the title “When Free Software Isn’t Better.”

  • OSS is about access to the code

    I have a kind of a fetish – the idea that source code, even old or extremely specific for a single use, may be useful for a long time. Not only for porting to some other, strange platform, but for issues like prior art in software patents, for getting inspiration for techniques or simply because you don’t know when it may be of use. For this reason, I try to create public access archives of source code I manage to get my hands on, especially when such codes may require a written license to acquire, but may then later be redistributed.

  • The role of open source in emerging economies: A Malaysian success story

    1. They find that open source software helps improve national sovereignty, which is a very important goal for helping the government to do its job.

    2. Open source improves economic development.

    3. Open source helps to grow global knowledge.

  • Indian CIOs open up to open source

    In India, open source adoption has transitioned from mere hype to reality. It has graduated from a model driven purely by the developer’s community to one where the industry is the key driver. For CIOs, the benefits of open source software (OSS) have moved beyond cost and its usage has expanded beyond operating system to core applications.

  • Cellecta, Inc. Announces Launch of the Open Source DECIPHER Project to Provide Free Access to RNAi Genetic Screen Tools

    Cellecta, Inc., a provider of screening services for gene function analysis and therapeutic drug target discovery, announced the launch of the DECIPHER Project—an open source platform for genome-wide RNAi screening which offers reagents for running genetic knockdown screens, software tools for data analysis, and an open database of genetic knockdown screening results. Funded, in part, by several NIH grants, some jointly undertaken with collaborators at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and The Scripps Research Institute, the DECIPHER Project objective is to provide free reagents and software tools for researchers to perform and analyze comprehensive shRNA knockdown screens and to develop a standardized yet versatile platform for collecting and comparing results from different studies and labs.

  • Events

    • Virtusan speaks at ‘Open Source India 2010′

      Head of Strategic Initiatives, Global Technology Office, Virtusa Corporation Chamindra De Silva delivered an address titled ‘Licensing with regards to Open Source Alignment to the Cloud’ at Asia’s largest open source conference ‘Open Source India 2010′ (OSI Days).

    • Why I came back…

      So what does this mean to the event this year? Only good things. We are working harder than ever to get things in place for the most memorable FOSS.IN ever, and make sure that our audiences have the time of their lives. We have always run the event with the objective of giving participants a feel of a “mega event”, the way they happen abroad (and that few people can afford going to), and we are going to make this last one precisely that – set the bar really high before we get off the stage (or fall off it :) )

      We have been lucky so far – sponsors have been generous, we managed to get online registration up with the help of our friends at DoAttend.com, we managed to get the venue at short notice (though only for 3 days, and right in the middle of the week), and things are going according to schedule.

      So come Wednesday, the 15th, we look forward to welcoming the many hundreds of delegates who have already registered, and the many more who will form the inevitable queue, to attend the last FOSS.IN ever.

    • Open Ballot: what was the biggest Linux event in 2010?

      We’re gearing up to record our last podcast of 2010, and in this episode we’ll be looking back on a very eventful year for the Linux community. In our Open Ballot – which isn’t really an Open Ballot this time, we’ll admit – we want you to tell us: what was the biggest event in the Linux world for you? Maybe it was the Mageia fork of Mandriva, or perhaps it was the release of MeeGo 1.0. Or maybe Ubuntu’s decision to transition away from X is your killer moment of the last 12 months.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Virginia judge rules health care mandate unconstitutional

        The Mozilla Foundation is unabashedly committed to a free and open web. They see it as a vital part of a healthy digital ecosystem where creativity and innovation can thrive. We couldn’t agree more. And we couldn’t be prouder to have Mozilla’s generous and ongoing support. We were recently able to catch up with Mark Surman, the Foundation’s Executive Director, who talks about Mozilla and its myriad projects, and how his organization and ours are a lot like lego blocks for the open web.

  • SaaS

    • Resolving the contradictions between web services, clouds, and open source

      Predicting trends in computer technology is an easy way to get into trouble, but two developments have been hyped so much over the past decade that there’s little risk in jumping on their bandwagons: free software and cloud computing. What’s odd is that both are so beloved of crystal-gazers, because on the surface they seem incompatible.

      The first trend promises freedom, the second convenience. Both freedom and convenience inspire people to adopt new technology, so I believe the two trends will eventually coexist and happily lend power to each other. But first, the proponents of each trend will have to get jazzed up about why the other trend is so compelling.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle burnishes its Lustre

      While a number of small companies have been ramping up support for a file system called Lustre that Oracle acquired in its Sun Microsystems purchase earlier this year, Oracle itself has no plans to abandon the technology, a company executive told the IDG News Service in an interview.

      “Oracle is unwavering in our commitment to the Lustre technology, to the Lustre community and to the broader supercomputer community in general,” said Jason Schaffer, Oracle senior director of product management for storage. “Through the Oracle acquisition, there has been plenty of opportunity for our competitors to say things that are being a little presumptuous, if not overly presumptuous, in [terms of what] Oracle will develop or not develop,” he added.

  • CMS

    • Quick Thoughts On Diaspora

      First impression: If you’ve used Facebook, you know that it offers a grouping feature, to help you direct your posts to the appropriate “friends” and away from inappropriate ones. This is to keep your boss from seeing photos of you puking after a night of drinking. But Facebook’s feature is difficult to use, so much that no one I know uses it, and many people aren’t even aware of it. Diaspora’s “aspects” grouping feature is right up front and easy to use. It quite naturally invites you to partition your “friends” into such groups, while making it absolutely simple to send a post to all your aspects.

  • Project Releases

    • odfpy3 0.1.0

      Python API and tools to manipulate OpenDocument files

  • Government

    • Open source government needs open-minded procurement

      Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude declares the era of “Major IT Projects” over.

      Few will disagree with his observation that the Government has provided “easy margins” for the incumbent IT giants, in fact most will go further and in plain language say that Public Sector IT costs far too much and fails far too often.

      Simply getting an accurate figure on the spend is apparently not possible, the best-informed estimates vary from £14bn to over £21bn per year, whatever the figure it is too much – it is more than we spend on income support, more than we spend on the Department of Transport, more than we spend the Army… Worse still, the cost of just the mechanics of the procurement process is, frankly, appalling… We spend more on the IT procurement process than we spend on the Foreign Office – only Defence costs more to procure.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • New copyright-like rights considered harmful

      Today a new German site launched, IGEL (“Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht”; in English, “initiative against a related right”). The site, spearheaded by German lawyer Till Kreutzer, provides information on a possible proposal for a new “related right” for press publishers. Original content on the site is released under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

    • Creative Commons Fantasy Portrait Marathon
    • The Bikera Plan
    • Open Data

      • Making data dance

        Much of the really useful information was hidden away in different systems around the world, and Dr Rosling found that even the biggest institutions were reluctant to share their findings. “Most public data was not made available in a licence where you were allowed to redistribute it. Neither was it in a unified structure or technological format,” he says. “It was better at a national level but at the international level it was awful. The UN, the World Bank and the IMF get free data from member countries, use taxpayers’ money to compile it and then sell it in an inefficient, stupid system. For instance, trade data makes up 80% of public statistics. This is what humans do: they produce and consume stuff. We have new software that can help poor countries understand the fragmentation of their trade but UN Comtrade (the world’s trade database) is still hoarding bulk data. We need to have that data free.”

    • Open Access/Content

      • Dramatic Growth of Open Access: December 11, 2010 early year-end edition

        The number of journals actively participating in PubMedCentral is growing – now over 1,000 titles; over half provide OA to all articles, and nearly 60% provide immediate free access. Percentage-wise, OA mandates continue to lead in growth, with a total of 24 mandates added to ROARMAP this quarter, with the eprints OA Week Mandate Challenge a likely contributing factor. This fall’s OA Week was the biggest ever. A unique OA milestone this quarter was Jan Szczepanski’s personal OA title collection exceeding 10,000 titles. Looking forward to 2011 and beyond, clearly this is just the beginning! Suggested OA New Years’ Resolutions: adopt and implement an open access mandate policy, join the Compact on Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) or both – or just keep up the good work and know that the small efforts the many thousands of us are making are adding up to all the difference in the world.

      • No More Paywall for E&P Online

        When former President Reagan told the head of the Communist Party Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down The Berlin Wall in 1987, he was asking for change and openness across the Eastern Bloc.

        Editor & Publisher magazine wants that same change and openness for its readers. This week, it tore down its website paywall, allowing visitors to view more of the magazine’s exclusive content.

      • OCW Zeitgeist: A year in search


  • FHP: Deputy caused crash that killed 91-year-old man

    An Orange County deputy caused the crash last summer that killed a 91-year-old man who was on his way to the hospital for his daily visit with the sick and dying, the Florida Highway Patrol said Friday.

  • Cut Out the Fake Work and Focus on Projects that Really Matter

    If you’re at a job where you don’t feel like your work’s accomplishing much, business consultants Brent Peterson and Gaylan Nielson have a few suggestions for how to stop spinning your wheels with “fake work” and get real work done.

  • Google’s reading age tool – comparing UK newspapers

    UK newspapers reading age by GoogleSince Google just brought out its new reading age analysis tool, I’ve used it to compare the UK national newspaper websites. I’ve included three news aggregators – Yahoo, Newsnow and Google – to give a baseline (although Newsnow doesn’t fit the common Yahoo and Google baseline).

    No big surprises that the Sun, Mirror and News of the World sit together at the bottom of the list, or that they’re joined there by the commuter freebie Metro; nor that the FT contains almost no “basic” language pages and the most “advanced”. But the middle of the table is more interesting, with the Guardian scoring much the same reading age as the Daily Mail, and the Independent sitting at the top of the qualities isn’t necessarily what I’d have guessed.

  • Hispanic GOP group decries Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison for opposing DREAM Act

    A national Hispanic Republican organization denounced Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s opposition to the DREAM Act on Friday and warned that the stance may hurt her re-election prospects in 2012 should she decide to run.

    “We are conservative Republicans who hold traditional military and social values,” the group Somos Republicans wrote in a letter to the senator. “We are troubled by the fact that you failed to recognize that Hispanics in Texas are overwhelmingly in support of the DREAM Act.”

    The bill would make illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. before age 16 eligible to begin a path toward citizenship.

  • The National Museum of Computing

    Britain boasts several museums devoted to the history of a single everyday object. You’ll be glad to hear, then, that there’s a museum devoted to possibly the most important everyday object of modern times. A device which didn’t exist 70 years ago, but which now pervades almost everything we do. Its story is told in the National Museum of Computing, which is based in the very building where the world’s very first digital programmable computer was operated. Block H, Bletchley Park.

  • Convincing
  • Public Knowledge Disappointed With Supreme Court Copyright Ruling

    “We are very disappointed with this ruling by the Supreme Court. There are many basic consumer issues at stake, and having the Court uphold the lower ruling on a tie vote leaves many of those issues up in the air.

    “Because of this ruling, the critical “first sale” doctrine U.S. copyright law is severely limited for goods manufactured outside of the U.S. but sold here. It applies even, as in this case, to goods that have copyrighted logos on them. That means that anyone, from a single person, to a giant corporation, which resells goods made abroad, could find themselves sued under copyright law unless they determine where a product was made and purchase the licensing rights.

  • Software Developer: Even the Vatican is a Pirate

    AVAST Software says only 1.8% of people using its Avast! antivirus program have paid for a user license, and that the original 14 – the only ones it’s sold – have been used in over 200 countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – even Vatican City.

  • 4chan Declares War On Snow
  • Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing “P2P.com” in Landmark Domain Theft Case

    A 26-year-old New Jersey man has plead guilty to stealing and illegally selling an Internet domain in a first-of-its-kind case.

    Daniel Goncalves of Union Township entered a guilty plea earlier today in New Jersey state Superior Court for stealing the “P2P.com” domain from Mark Ostrofsky, Albert Angel and Lesli Angel. Prosecutors will recommend that he serves a five-year prison term and pay restitution for his crimes.

  • Science

    • Scientists create computer-programmable bacteria

      In research that further bridges the biological and digital world, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco have created bacteria that can be programmed like a computer.

      Researchers built “logic gates” – the building blocks of a circuit – out of genes and put them into E. coli bacteria strains. The logic gates mimic digital processing and form the basis of computational communication between cells, according to synthetic biologist Christopher A. Voigt.

    • Dec. 13, 1809: First Removal of Ovarian Tumor

      The 45-year-old patient, Jane Todd Crawford, had been misdiagnosed as being pregnant with twins. McDowell, who ran a surgical practice in Danville, Kentucky, offered a different diagnosis — a large ovarian tumor. He decided to risk the previously untried surgery and set Christmas Day for the operation.

    • How the vertebrates were made: selective pruning of a double-duplicated genome
    • Sleepy bees slur their waggle dance moves

      No one works well when tired, and insects are no exception. Just like us, sleepy bees make shoddy dancers and poor communicators.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Virginia judge rules health care mandate unconstitutional

      A Virginia federal judge on Monday found a key part of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care reform law unconstitutional, setting the stage for a protracted legal struggle likely to wind up in the Supreme Court.

      U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson struck down the “individual mandate” requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. The Justice Department is expected to challenge the judge’s findings in a federal appeals court.

  • Security

    • Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware
    • DeviantArt Mailing List Compromized
    • Don’t hand over your own personal WikiLeaks to Strangers
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • An Interview with Gnosis, the group behind the Gawker hacking
    • Quantum cryptography is secure… except when it’s not

      Not so long ago, we reported on a paper that purported to blow a hole in quantum key distribution (QKD) systems. Now, researchers at Toshiba have struck back with findings that show that the attack doesn’t really work. To which the original authors have replied, “Well, it depends.”

      First, a quick refresher course in QKD (click the link for more detail). Basically, the rules of quantum mechanics allow things like photons to be in two states at once, called a superposition state. But, when we make a measurement, we see only one of these two states, and the photon stays in that state until we do something to it. We can’t tell before we make a measurement if a photon is in one state or a mixture of two, but by making many measurements on similarly prepared photons, we can tell whether a given source produces photons that are in a superposition.

    • Update: Gawker Media Confirms That Their Commenter Database Was Hacked

      Yesterday Gawker Media denied reports that their database of 1.5 Million usernames, emails and passwords had been hacked. Comments broadcast via the apparently compromised Twitter feed of Gawker Media’s tech and gadget site Gizmodo strongly suggested a security compromise. Gawker Editorial Director Scott Kidder claimed through his own Twitter feed that “No evidence to suggest any Gawker Media’s user accounts were compromised, and passwords encrypted anyway.”

    • Commenting Accounts Compromised — Change Your Passwords
    • Exclusive: ‘Gnosis’ Explains The Method And Reasoning Behind Gawker Media Hack

      Over the last 24 hours Gawker Media’s network of sites have been under attack from a group who have identified themselves “Gnosis,” a seemingly mysterious collective of hackers who has been falsely considered part of the 4chan-related group of renegade vigilantes knows as Anonymous. Via several private email exchanges with Mediaite, an individual claiming to represent “Gnosis” has explained both the reasoning and methodology of his actions, which has led to a compromised commenter database and a content management system.

    • ‘Acai Berry’ Twitter attack reportedly linked to Gawker hack

      You may have seen a number of tweets circulating over the first few hours mentioning “Acai Berries”. Users are reporting that their accounts are tweeting out spam messages containing these words without their consent.

      The attack, first reported as a ‘worm’ by Mashable, may actually, it appears, be related to this weekend’s hacking of Gawker Media’s database. @Delbius, leader of Twitter’s Trust and Safety team says: “Got a Gawker acct that shares a PW w/your Twitter acct? Change your Twitter PW. A current attack appears to be due to the Gawker compromise.”

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • No surprise: G20 cams *not* down!

      As of last week, this CCTV camera remained in place at Queen and Peter, despite media reports that the security cameras erected for the G20 summit last June had been taken down.

      Although Toronto Police announced the 71 CCTV cameras acquired for the G20 would be removed upon “the completion of the event, when there’s no longer an issue of security,” research has shown that mega-events such as the Olympics and global summits typically leave a security legacy. Equipment purchased and installed on an ostensibly temporary basis become incorporated into the permanent infrastructure, altering in subtle and obvious ways the physical and psychological terrain of the city.

    • Pornoscanners trivially defeated by pancake-shaped explosives

      In case you were wondering whether pornoscanners are harder on the vast majority of innocent, non-terrorist fliers, or the minuscule minority of terrorists, wonder no more.

    • Police officers ‘tried to stop hospital staff treating injured protester’

      Police have been accused of attempting to prevent seriously injured protesters being treated at the same hospital as officers hurt during last week’s tuition fees demonstration, igniting claims that one student’s life could have been put at risk.

    • Blair Peach killed by police at 1979 protest, Met report finds

      The anti-fascist protester Blair Peach was almost certainly killed by police at a demonstration in 1979, according to a secret report released today.

      Documents published on the Metropolitan police’s website shed new light on the death of Peach, a 33-year-old teacher from New Zealand, whose death marked one of the most controversial events in modern policing history.

    • Violated by TSA at Tampa airport

      I assumed I was finished, but a female Transportation Security officer yelled at me for “trying to get away from her.” She told me I had to stand in front of her – while I was still barefoot and trying to watch out for my stuff, which had gone through a different scanner – until my scan was read.

      I told her I had never undergone this process and was a bit afraid, and she laughed at me and told me I didn’t know what I was talking about.

      The woman grabbed my wrist and said she had to look at my plastic watch. I tried to take it off and hand it to her, and she yelled at me not to interfere with her search.

      Then, with no explanation, she pulled up my shirt, exposing my stomach and the top of my underwear, and stuck the top half of her fingers inside the waistband of my pants. I yanked my shirt down and told her she was not showing the top of my underwear and my naked stomach to anyone.

    • India diplomat gets ‘humiliating’ pat-down at Mississippi airport
    • Thai investigators refuse to release report on shot Reuters cameraman

      Thailand’s department of special investigation (DSI) is refusing to release the full report on the death of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto following a leak that he was killed by a Thai soldier.

      DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said the continuing investigation into the death of Muramoto during the Bangkok red-shirt protests in May could be affected by disclosure.

    • Swedish bomb inquiry expands to Britain

      British police on Sunday searched a house in connection with the alleged terrorist who blew himself up and injured two others in a busy shopping area in Stockholm – the first jihad-inspired suicide bombing in the Nordic country.

      A property in Bedfordshire, north of London, was searched in connection with two blasts which occurred on Saturday afternoon, the Metropolitan Police said.

    • G20 Toronto: Police Illegally Smashed My Camera (Radio Interview)
    • Watchdog finds RCMP still using prohibited hog-tie restraints

      The watchdog over the RCMP is urging the police force to clearly tell officers not to hog-tie people after finding the generally forbidden technique was used in 40 per cent of cases in which someone died after being hit with a Taser stun gun.

      A new report by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP also reveals “a number of instances” among the 10 deaths where members who fired the Taser were not certified to use the powerful weapon.

    • Posted Toronto Political Panel: After G20, can we trust Police Chief Bill Blair again?

      Chris Selley, Jonathan Goldsbie and Matt Gurney debate whether Police Chief Bill Blair can regain Torontonians’ trust, and how best to hold his political masters to account.

  • Cablegate

    • The List: Famous traitors throughout history

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been called a traitor by some critics for posting confidential U.S. government documents on the Internet. This week, The List, looks at other characters who have been labeled traitors in the past.

    • The geek who shook the world

      The journalist Suelette Dreyfus collaborated qlwith Julian Assange to create Underground, a 1997 book about hackers in Australia and around the globe. Here she reveals the inside story on Assange, the geek who founded WikiLeaks and became the scourge of world governments.

    • Judge Napolitano To Sen. Ensign: Could Fox News Be Prosecuted For Wikileaks Talk?

      Wikileaks’ Congressional opponents are recharging their batteries, and while Julian Assange has bigger legal fish to fry in Europe, he could soon be facing the consequences of breaking U.S. law by outing foreign intelligence sources. One of the senators behind the legal push, John Ensign, debated vocal Wikileaks ally Judge Andrew Napolitano on Freedom Watch on Friday, and while he made clear who he was protecting, he had a hard time defining “journalists”– and why Assange doesn’t count.

      The Republican Sen. Ensign, along with Senators Scott Brown (R) and Joe Lieberman (I), will introduce a bill in the Senate that would bar journalists from leaking the names of government informants whose lives may be jeopardized by their outing. This would any newswire publishing the information in as much trouble as Wikileaks, though Ensign argued that most news outlets had declined to put out as many names as Wikileaks had.

    • Keeping Secrets WikiSafe

      Can the government still keep a secret? In an age of WikiLeaks, flash drives and instant Web postings, leaks have begun to seem unstoppable.

    • WikiLeaks: U.S. having trouble tying Assange to Manning

      Even as some government officials contend that the release of thousands of classified documents by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange jeopardizes U.S. national security, legal experts, Pentagon officials and Justice Department lawyers concede any effort to prosecute him faces numerous hurdles.

      Among them: Prosecutors apparently have had difficulty finding evidence that Assange ever communicated directly with Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, 23, an intelligence specialist who’s widely thought to be the source of the documents, but is charged only with misusing and illegally downloading them.

    • How AOL News Started The “Sex By Surprise” Lie

      The truth? There’s nothing in Swedish law about “sex by surprise” or broken condoms. (Here’s the penal code, see for yourself.) And despite reports to the contrary, Assange’s accusers have always said that this was not consensual sex.

      So what are actually very serious charges are being diminished by shoddy reporting and victim-blaming — and it all starts with AOL News. All of the news sources and blogs reporting that the Assange charges are simply “sex by surprise” cite this piece from Dana Kennedy at AOL News.

    • WikiLeaks backlash: The first global cyber war has begun, claim hackers

      Before WikiLeaks, Operation Payback’s initial target was America’s recording industry, chosen for its prosecutions of music file downloaders. From those humble origins, Payback’s anti-censorship, anti-copyright, freedom of speech manifesto would go viral, last week pitting an amorphous army of online hackers against the US government and some of the biggest corporations in the world.

    • Wikileaks
    • Operation “Black Face”

      “Operation Black Face” is an event scheduled on 18th December 2010. People around the internet would display a black profile pic across the major social networking websites to protest against the state’s hostility against whistle blowers (Wikileaks and Julian Assange).

    • WikiLeaks Shines a Light on the Limits of Techno-Politics

      Jeff Jarvis makes the same argument, suggesting that nothing in the documents is that bad anyway: “the revelation of these secrets has not been devastating. America’s and Germany’s relationship has not collapsed because one undiplomatic diplomat called Angela Merkel uncreative.”

    • Venezuelan missile purchases worried U.S.: WikiLeaks

      The United States tried to stop delivery of Russian anti-aircraft missiles to Venezuela in 2009 amid concerns it could pass them on to Marxist guerrillas in Colombia or Mexican drug gangs, The Washington Post said on Sunday, citing diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks.

    • America’s “Coercive Diplomacy”. Washington Threatens Allies Over CIA Kidnapping and Torture Programs

      As revelations of U.S. government coercive “diplomacy” continue flowing from the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks, much to the consternation of official Washington, ruling class circles are working feverishly to downplay the seriousness of the leaks.

      On the one hand, senior State Department and intelligence officials claim the cables offer “few surprises” and, at least according to The New York Times, the disclosures “have been more embarrassing than revelatory or harmful to national security.”

    • Mukasey: Prosecute Assange because it’s ‘easier’ than prosecuting New York Times

      It’s come to the attention of some observers that there isn’t much the US can charge Julian Assange with that it can’t charge the New York Times with as well.

      After all, the founder of WikiLeaks and the US’s pre-eminent major daily both basically did the same thing: They published confidential State Department cables allegedly stolen by Pfc. Bradley Manning.

    • Iceland may ban MasterCard, Visa over WikiLeaks censorship

      Credit card companies that prevented card-holders from donating money to the secrets outlet WikiLeaks could have their operating licenses taken away in Iceland, according to members of the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee.

      Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before the committee Sunday to discuss their refusal to process donations to the website, reports Reykjavik Grapevine.

      “People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it,” Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said. “They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.”

    • Judiciary panel to take up Espionage Act, legal options against WikiLeaks

      Lawmakers might be getting anxious to wrap up business before the holiday recess, but the House Judiciary panel is pulling the full committee together Thursday to delve into options to tackle the WikiLeaks scandal.

      The Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder are faced with difficult legal questions as they decide the best course of action to pursue against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange even as the Capitol Hill drumbeat to charge the WikiLeaks founder under the Espionage Act grows louder.

    • North Korea Thought Eric Clapton Could Foster ‘Good Will’ Towards the U.S.

      Because nothing makes people feel all warm and fuzzy like a live rendition of “Wonderful Tonight”, right?

      If there is anything that the WikiLeaks’ cablegate has shown us, it’s that sometimes world leaders have some pretty out there ideas. Case in point: one of the leaked cables has revealed that North Korean officials were campaigning to have Eric Clapton play a concert in Pyongyang.

    • Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees

      The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined–electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists.

    • With WikiLeaks Looming Large, State Dept. Announces Hosting of Press Freedom Event
    • Report: WikiLeaks Docs to Show US Military Supporting PKK in Turkey’s Civil War

      Speculation is flying fast and furious over the details of the upcoming WikiLeaks release, fueled in no small part by US official warnings to a number of its allies about how hugely damaging the release could be.

    • Greenwald quits CREW over WikiLeaks

      The Salon blogger and civil libertarian (and sometime POLITICO critic) Glenn Greenwald has quit his post on the board of the liberal ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington over the group’s criticism of WikiLeaks.

    • Pentagon Papers Whistleblowers Call for a New 9/11 Investigation
    • Ray McGovern Defends Julian Assange! “You Should Be Following His Example” To American Media
    • Exclusive: ‘The Fourth Estate is dead,’ former CIA analyst declares

      Traditional lines of communication between the people and the press have fallen into such disrepair in America that a whole new approach is necessary to challenge the military-industrial-governmental complex, according to a former CIA analyst sympathetic to WikiLeaks.

      “The Fourth Estate is dead,” Ray McGovern, of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, told Raw Story in an exclusive interview. “The Fourth Estate in his country has been captured by government and corporations, the military-industrial complex, the intelligence apparatus. Captive! So, there is no Fourth Estate.”

    • Funding illegal Israeli settlements? Priceless.

      Visa, Mastercard and PayPal all enable donations to be made to US-registered groups funding illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank in defiance of international law.

      It appears at least one of the major credit cards also enables donations to an extremist Jewish group that has placed a bounty on the lives of Palestinians.

      All three have in the last week ceased enabling donations to WikiLeaks. Neither Mastercard nor Visa have explained the basis for their decision to do so. PayPal has backed away from its initial claim that the US State Department told PayPal WikiLeaks had broken the law after the claim was discredited. This is the third occasion on which PayPal has suspended payment services for WikiLeaks.

    • Tag a wall for Wikileaks

      Now that Julian Assange is in jail and and Wikileaks has been shut down out of the streets it is time to get the word out. We have created a simple stencil kit for you to download, remix, and do what you will.

    • Indoleaks: Indonesia’s version of Wikileaks?

      Indoleaks was recently launched as Indonesia’s answer to Wikileaks.

    • WikiLeaks Defector Creates Spin-Off Site OpenLeaks

      The former right-hand man to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has created a rival online whistleblowing site that is to launch Monday.

      The site, called OpenLeaks, is an alternative model of promoting transparency that Daniel Domscheit-Berg envisioned after leaving the WikiLeaks organization over personal differences with Assange in September.

    • Wikileaks, Rendition, and the CIA’s Italian Job

      Among the hundreds of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks in recent weeks were a number pertaining to extraordinary rendition—the practice of effectively kinapping a suspected terrorist in one country and transporting him to another, usually Arab, nation for interrogation that almost invariably invovles torture. Most of the time, renditions happen quietly; CIA operatives swoop in and out and no one’s the wiser. Then came the February 2003 kidnapping of a cleric named Abu Omar in Milan, Italy. The operation was bungled (the American operatives used unencrypted, trackable cell phones, for starters), and, in a major embarassment to the US, the 23 CIA agents involved were eventually tried by an Italian court. In 2009, they were convicted in absentia of violating Italian law. (Peter Bergen wrote about the case, and interviewed Abu Omar himself, for the March/April 2008 issue of Mother Jones.) Recently, I spoke to Steve Hendricks, a freelance journalist and author whose most recent work is the just-released A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial, about Abu Omar, renditions, and the impact of the Wikileaks disclosures.

    • The WikiLeaks founder has the right barrister

      Robertson’s first case was the Oz trial in 1971, in which the magazine was accused of ”corrupting public morals”. The Oz editors were actually convicted under the Obscene Publications Act. But they were acquitted on appeal. And such was the outcry over the original trial result that police more or less gave up trying to bring such cases against subversive magazines. The verdict did not go Robertson’s way, but it ultimately turned into an important victory against state censorship.

      In 1995, Robertson was involved in the prosecution of the former Malawian dictator Hastings Banda, who was accused of ordering the murder of opposition politicians. Banda was acquitted. But the case helped to establish the principle that repressive national leaders should not be immune from prosecution. Seven years later, in 2002, the International Criminal Court, which Robertson had long pressed for, was established.

    • Is Treason a Civic Duty?

      Since 9/11, press freedom in the West has come under attack as governments argue that national security is more important than transparency. But the hunt for WikiLeaks is a greater danger to democracy than any information that WikiLeaks might reveal.

    • Could the Wikileaks Scandal Lead to New Virtual Currency?

      It’s not an exaggeration to say that the recent Wikileaks scandal has shaken the Internet to its core. Regardless of where you stand on the debate, various services have simply refused to handle Wikileaks’ business–everything from domain-name providers to payment services–and this has led to many questioning how robust the Internet actually is.

    • Twitter unveils top trending tweets of 2010

      “Pakistan’s Floods” came third and in fourth was “Korea’s Conflict.” “WikiLeaks Cablegate” came in at No 8.

    • Inside ‘Anonymous’: tales from within the group taking aim at Amazon and Mastercard

      The real reason he was worried wasn’t that he thought law enforcement might find out. He was worried about other people in Anonymous finding out – because in that group, to stand up and identify yourself is seen as the worst thing you can do. Stripping off the Anonymous mask is viewed as a form of betrayal by the wider group.

    • Anonymous Turns Operation Payback Toward “The Jester”

      The Jester, a hacktivist who is normally known for short term denial of service attacks against Jihadist web forums and who recently claimed responsibility for an outage at Wikileaks in the middle of Cablegate (Wikileaks publication of U.S. diplomatic cables) has himself become the target of the large scale hacktivist protest called Operation Payback.

    • Gillibrand Urges Harder Stance On Cyber Attacks

      As Wikileaks continues to run the headlines and release once classified documents, Gillibrand teamed up with Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology, to advocate laws that will examine cyber criminals with a closer eye.

    • Media chiefs throw support behind WikiLeaks

      Some of Australia’s most senior media professionals, including bosses of major newspapers, television networks and websites, have written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard to express their support for WikiLeaks.

      The letter was initiated by the board of the Walkley Foundation, Australia’s professional journalism organisation.

      The letter said the leaking of 250,000 confidential American diplomatic cables was the most astonishing leak of official information in recent history and its full implications were yet to emerge.

    • Assange attorney: Secret grand jury meeting in Virginia on WikiLeaks

      A secret grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, is meeting to consider criminal charges in the WikiLeaks case, an attorney for the site’s founder, Julian Assange, told the Al-Jazeera network in an interview.

      “We have heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empaneled grand jury in Alexandria. … They are currently investigating this,” Mark Stephens told Al-Jazeera’s Sir David Frost on Sunday, referring to WikiLeaks. The site, which facilitates the disclosure of secret information, has been slowly releasing a trove of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables since November 28.

    • WikiLeaks and the Internet’s Long War

      On the other side are those who believe fundamentally that the world should remake the Web in its own image. This side believes that the Internet at its heart is simply a tool, something that should be shaped to serve the demands of existing institutions. Each side seeks to mold the technology and standards of the Web to suit its particular vision.

    • Indoleaks Touts Revealing WikiLeaks Documents, But Technical Problems Persist

      Suharto said: “Indonesia will not use force against the territory of other countries. With respect to Timor, we support carrying out decolonization through the process of self-determination.”

      But Suharto convinced Ford of the importance of integrating East Timor into Indonesia, using the threat of communism as his main argument.

    • Alternatives to WikiLeakS, which no longer caters for ordinary whistleblowers – OpenLeaks, BrusselsLeaks, BalkanLeaks, WikiSpooks, Cryptome, IndoLeaks

      The controversial WikiLeakS.org website (no longer the current website, this now only redirects to a partial mirror of the original website) is still no longer accepting any submissions of leaked documents from ordinary, local or regional whistleblowers.

      They and their mainstream media collaborators, have instead, been busy milking the vast amount of secret information which seems to have come from the imprisoned, but as yet unconvicted, low level US Army intelligence analyst in Iraq, Bradley Manning and they have survived various legal and illegal attacks on their computer and internet infrastructure as a result.

    • Trying to exclude WikiLeaks from shield law stinks

      On Aug. 4, Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat and Senate sponsor of the Free Flow of Information Act, announced that he intended to include in the proposed law new language specifying that WikiLeaks and organizations like it would not be able to use the act to protect the identities of confidential sources.

    • WikiLeaks: the revolution has begun – and it will be digitised

      But data has a habit of spreading. It slips past military security and it can also leak from WikiLeaks, which is how I came to obtain the data. It even slipped past the embargoes of the Guardian and other media organisations involved in this story when a rogue copy of Der Spiegel accidentally went on sale in Basle, Switzerland, on Sunday. Someone bought it, realised what they had, and began scanning the pages, translating them from German to English and posting updates on Twitter. It would seem digital data respects no authority, be it the Pentagon, WikiLeaks or a newspaper editor.

    • Julian Assange to appear in court to appeal for release

      The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, will try to win his release from prison tomorrow, a week after being held on remand after Sweden requested his arrest over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women.

      Even if the judge at Westminster magistrates court in London grants Assange bail, he could still be held.

    • The US’s Reaction To Wikileaks Is Doing A Lot More Harm Than The Leaks Themselves

      It’s becoming clear as the weeks go on, that the US government’s massive overreaction to the latest Wikileaks releases is doing much more harm to the US’s standings abroad than anything in the documents themselves. So far, most of the reaction from various politicians and diplomats concerning the actual content of the documents was that some of it might be slightly embarrassing, but there’s been nothing all that surprising. Some foreign diplomats have joked back: “you should see what we say about you.” And yet, we’re still hearing claims that Julian Assange needs to be put on trial or (worse) executed, and other forms of “attacks” should be made on Wikileaks itself. All this has done has been to have foreign governments and diplomats start mocking the US for not living up to its claims of supporting freedom of the press and freedom of expression. This will make it much, much harder any time the US tries to stop any form of censorship in other countries, as they’ll immediately point back at how many of our politicians flipped out over Wikileaks.

    • Julian Assange: Readers’ Choice for TIME’s Person of the Year 2010

      The man behind WikiLeaks has won the most votes in this year’s Person of the Year poll.

      Readers voted a total of 1,249,425 times, and the favorite was clear. Julian Assange raked in 382,020 votes, giving him an easy first place. He was 148,383 votes over the silver medalist, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey.

    • The Unknown Blogger Who Changed WikiLeaks Coverage

      So, who is this latest unknown to come out of nowhere to shape the national debate around a major issue? Bady is a seventh-year PhD student in African literature at the University of California, Berkeley who studies “the literature of empire and colonialism in the last two centuries.” He’s finishing up his dissertation on white Americans in Africa between the civil war and the civil rights movement.

    • Invisible Leaks

      In this clip from his forum at UC Berkeley, Julian Assange admitted that sources of his had been caught in the past, but argued that “the chances of your source being run over a car are vastly higher” than that of a source of a leaked document being caught…

    • The psychology of media statists

      Invitations to a secretive inner circle where maintaining confidences is the password for entry can be very seductive. The magnetic effects of power are very effective tools of socialisation and politicians know just how to deploy them to advantage.

      Some journalists, however, don’t need to be socialised because they are pre-programmed for obeisance. For those whose natural instinct is collaboration with the state, “don’t tell me, I don’t want to know and shouldn’t be told” is the media ethic of the moment. It’s a form of self-censorship based on the belief that the public cannot be trusted with diplomatic confidences. The challenge, as they see it, is not how to ensure that the public stays better informed but rather how governments around the world can improve their capacity to withhold information.

    • Obama Lashes Out Amid Calls to Free Assange

      Barack Obama has made his strongest condemnation yet of WikiLeaks, as supporters of Julian Assange demonstrated for his release.

    • Julian Assange granted bail: live updates
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Central Africa: four-nation ‘sting’ operation busts wildlife smuggling ring

      Sting operations by wildlife activists in central Africa have broken up highly organised smuggling rings sending endangered species abroad, leading to the arrest of key dealers and the recovery of hundreds of kilos of ivory, turtle shells and animal skins.

      The clampdown took place across four neighbouring countries: Cameroon, Gabon, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo.Observers said the arrests last week, co-ordinated by the Last Great Ape Organisation (Laga), a wildlife law-enforcement NGO, in Cameroon, Gabon, the Central African Republic and Congo-Brazzaville, marked a big step towards regional enforcement of the laws protecting endangered species.

    • Appeals Court gives green light to EPA carbon pollution standards, rejects claims of polluters and climate-science deniers
    • NASA explains how Europe can be so cold amidst the hottest November and hottest year on record

      The extreme warmth in Northeast Canada is undoubtedly related to the fact that Hudson Bay was practically ice free. In the past, including the GISS base period 1951-1980, Hudson Bay was largely ice-covered in November. The contrast of temperatures at coastal stations in years with and without sea ice cover on the neighboring water body is useful for illustrating the dramatic effect of sea ice on surface air temperature. Sea ice insulates the atmosphere from ocean water warmth, allowing surface air to achieve temperatures much lower than that of the ocean. It is for this reason that some of the largest positive temperature anomalies on the planet occur in the Arctic Ocean as sea ice area has decreased in recent years.

    • Wiki Drives a Wedge Into the Tandem

      Like all crazy theories, this one has an ounce of truth at the bottom of it. Although the initial target of WikiLeaks publications was the U.S. government, the first victims were corrupt government leaders, like the heads of the Persian Gulf states, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

      According to diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, Putin is the richest man in Russia — and in Europe as well — with $40 billion in secret off-shore accounts. He is reputed to be the co-owner of Gunvor, which exports Russian oil. If that didn’t make Putin angry, the derogatory nickname “alfa-dog” given to him in one of the cables must have sent him up the wall. A highly placed anonymous source in the Foreign Ministry seemed to reflect that anger when he warned WikiLeaks that Russia “has a way of turning off this resource forever.”

    • Toronto declares extreme cold alert

      The City of Toronto has declared an extreme cold alert aimed at protecting the homeless and other vulnerable people.

      The warning was issued Monday as temperatures plunged in the city to a low of – 13 C. With windchill, it feels like – 25C.

  • Finance

    • EU to target private lenders in future bail-outs

      The EU plans to make private lenders cover the losses of any future eurozone debt crisis, the BBC has learned.

      The decision may significantly raise the future cost of borrowing for over-indebted eurozone governments.

      It is part of a new permanent scheme – to be funded by eurozone governments, but not the UK – to replace existing bail-out funds that expire in 2013.

    • Wall Street’s Pentagon Papers: Biggest Financial Scam In World History

      What if the greatest scam ever perpetrated was blatantly exposed, and the US media didn’t cover it? Does that mean the scam could keep going? That’s what we are about to find out.

      I understand the importance of the new WikiLeaks documents. However, we must not let them distract us from the new information the Federal Reserve was forced to release. Even if WikiLeaks reveals documents from inside a large American bank, as huge as that could be, it will most likely pale in comparison to what we just found out from the one-time peek we got into the inner-workings of the Federal Reserve. This is the Wall Street equivalent of the Pentagon Papers.


      Wait, what? Did you say $12.3 TRILLION tax dollars were thrown around in secrecy by unelected bankers… and Congress didn’t know any of the details?

      Yes. The Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves. The original copy of the Constitution spontaneously burst into flames. The ghost of Tom Paine went running, stark raving mad screaming through the halls of Congress.

    • If banking were more Open Source, we would need less Wikileaks

      Banks are important. The world economic crisis is due for a good part to insufficient transparency in banks. Wikileaks next document drop may target banks. And a small group of activists is trying to solve those bank problems in a (Open Source) way that may make Wikileaks less necessary.

      I already wrote about real openness at the last Open World Forum, but during that conference I also met Simon Redfern of the Open Bank Project (OBP). We only had a few minutes, so Simon could give me only an extra-short explanation, but it was enough to let me eager to know more.

    • Germany predicts EU ‘political union’ in 10 years

      German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said his country is willing to discuss greater harmonisation of eurozone tax policy, adding that the next decade is likely to see Europe take significant steps towards closer political union.

    • The Death of the Suburban Office Park

      The ongoing evolution of the American suburbs into slums will not be denied. Malls are dying. Now, the classic suburban office park is dying too.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • European Wikileaks spin-off launches

      Wikileaks spin-off Brussels Leaks launched out of the blue last Thursday to much excitement in the European capital and Twittersphere beyond.

      The European Journalism Centre’s exclusive email interview with an anonymous representative is amongst the very first media contact with the fledgling European whistleblower organisation.

    • Big Tobacco: Saving Lives is “Expropriation”

      So let me get this straight. Philip Morris – and all the other tobacco companies – make hefty profits by selling highly addictive substances to people that the company knows will probably give them cancer and/or a host of other life-threatening and painful diseases. Their deaths will cause huge losses not just personally, but economically – to their families, and to the state.

    • UK cracks down on undisclosed “sponsored” tweets, posts

      The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK is making good on its threat to punish companies that purchase coverage online without public disclosure. The OFT says it has “received undertakings” from at least one company for violating the UK’s fair trading laws—a warning to others that might pay for blog or Twitter posts without admitting to doing so.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The UN Needs to Ensure an Open and Inclusive Approach to Internet Governance
    • Transparency and Privacy Review to be led by Dr. Kieron O’Hara

      The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has announced a review of the impact of Transparency on Privacy to inform the Government’s approach to the release of data as part of the Transparency agenda.

      The Review will enable Government to ensure that on-going releases of data are done in a way that provides maximum transparency of data consistent with the appropriate level of privacy protection.

      Specifically the Review will:

      * Support the Government in striking the right balance between transparency and data protection safeguards, and between the interests of wider society and the interests of the individual or corporate body.
      * Identify the nature of the risk to privacy of the individual posed by transparency of public data, in particular the potential for ‘jigsaw’ identification.
      * Advise the Government on practical approaches to take

    • Former Googler Launches Disconnect, Browser Extension That Disables Third Party Data Tracking
    • Venezuela seeks to regulate Internet with media bill

      Venezuela plans to include the Internet in a law that regulates the media, under a proposed bill presented to parliament on Thursday that the opposition claims will result in censorship.

      Manuel Villalba, a lawmaker from President Hugo Chavez’s Socialist Party, said the law was aimed at protecting citizens.

      “Nowhere is the restriction of access to the Internet suggested. There should just exist protection of citizens’ moral and ethical honor,” said Villalba, who heads the National Assembly’s media commission.

    • Retaining the right to censor is an act of hate
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Development Agenda committee mandates WIPO to examine Bolivia, Barbados, Suriname and Bangladesh prize proposals

      On Friday, 26 November 2010, the 6th session of the WIPO Committee on Development Agenda and Intellectual Property approved a project entitled “Project on Open Collaborative Projects and IP-Based Models”.

    • Copyrights

      • Hollywood’s Hadopi lobbying outed in French embassy cables

        Washington got high level, detailed briefings on France’s 3-strikes law – also known as the Hadopi law – and the Telecoms Package. With the Motion Picture Association and the RIAA in the loop.

        We always thought it, but somehow the leaked cables, released by the Wikileaks website from the American Embassy in Paris, are interesting even in their confirmation of our suspicions. In particular, they reveal how the American entertainment industry lobbied for 3-strikes measures in Europe.

      • Sherman Fredericks ‘Steals’* From Me

        On Friday, we pointed out that Sherman Fredericks, the former CEO of Stephens Media and publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (who lost his job last month), seemed to have a rather hypocritical view on copyright infringement, embedding an infringing Saturday Night Live video on his blog. This was the same guy who famously announced that as CEO, he had Stephens Media “grubstake” (i.e., “fund”) Righthaven, the company that has sued bloggers for quoting even snippets of LVRJ articles. He was quoted as saying that it was no different than stealing a Corvette out of his driveway. So, according to Mr. Fredericks, reposting 4 paragraphs out of a 34-paragraph article — or about 12% (as Righthaven did in at least one case) is just like stealing a Corvette. Ok.

      • Author Slams eBook Piracy, Son Outs Her As a Music Pirate

        As part of an article investigating the growing phenomenon of eBook piracy, a Scandinavian news outlet interviewed a 19 year-old self-confessed pirate who bragged about his activities. To counter his viewpoint a well known author contributed to the piece, stating that she abhors book piracy since it costs her huge amounts of money. However, her moral stance took a bit of a beating when her son let an embarrassing fact slip out.

      • MPAA, RIAA: Lawsuits won’t protect content

        As an example, the coalition cited the litigation against the company behind the LimeWire file-sharing network, which concluded this year with a federal district court ordering the company to shut down the network. The coalition wrote that though the four largest recording companies prevailed in the case, “the LimeWire defendants were able to drag out the litigation for four years. Such massive civil cases do not provide a scalable solution to the full scope of the problem.”

      • Journalists Continue To Rely On Bogus Research About File Sharing As If It Were Factual

        Over the summer, we had pointed out how disappointing it was that the press relied on an obviously bogus research report from the University of Ballarat’s Internet Commerce Security Laboratory, about how much infringing content was being shared on BitTorrent. As we noted at the time, the folks over at TorrentFreak carefully picked apart the study and showed how it appeared to have been done by folks who didn’t actually understand how BitTorrent and torrent trackers worked. Apparently, the TorrentFreak guys sent a note to the authors offering to help them fix the problems in their study methodology, and all they got back was a sarcastic email from one of the researchers saying that he’d gladly send the Torrentfreak guys a complimentary copy of O’Reilly’s Statistics in a Nutshell, as it “might give further insight into statistical methodology.” Snarky!

      • Rogers’ BitTorrent Throttling Experiment Goes Horribly Wrong

        Rogers, one of Canada’s largest Internet providers, has upset many customers with a recent change in their network management systems. Since mid-September both up and downstream BitTorrent traffic has been severely degraded in certain areas, which goes against the company’s network management policy. In addition, the new throttling technology has also slowed down non-P2P traffic in many cases.

Clip of the Day

Kuwait shuts down Al Jazeera office

Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: December 13th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




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