ES: Techrights es un Esfuerzo de Grupo

Posted in Site News at 11:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: Aclaraciones sobre la forma como administramos este sitio ejecutan y cómo la gente puede ayudarnos.

La entrada anterior [http://techrights.org/2011/01/04/ooxml-write-support/]hablaba de alguien que llama Groklaw a abrirse. Como siempre, Techrights los invita a enviarnos sus posts para publicarlos, así que por favor ponerse en contacto con nosotros si hay algo en tema que se puede publicar aquí. Además, las traducciones son siempre necesarias para ponerlas en nuestro localizadas páginas Wiki, por ejemplo, las en español [http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Espanol].

“Estamos encantados de abrir el 2011 con un flujo constante de largos posts que contienen una gran cantidad de referencias externas.”Nunca falta temas para cubrir (tenemos cerca de 20 posts proyectos en este momento), así que lo que realmente necesitamos es más contribuciones de las ustedes, las personas que disfrutan el sitio. La mejor ayuda que podemos conseguir es correcciones y nuevos contenidos. Una gran cantidad de contenido de los mensajes “se concibe en el IRC y algunos se envía por correo electrónico (todo es atribuido correcta e inmediatamente). Todo el mundo puede participar. Un lector nos halagado por lo que sugiere una “tira” (Grupo de Usuarios de Techrights) hace unos días [http://groups.google.com/group/iitdlug/msg/112f54ecd03840b7].

A finales de 2009 se dejó de prestar atención a los trolls de Internet y otras distracciones, lo que hizo de 2010 un año muy productivo. Estamos encantados de abrir el 2011 con un flujo constante de largos posts de que contienen una gran cantidad de referencias externas. Trabajamos muy transparentemente y nos enorgullecemos de ello (nada se nos ‘escapa’), incluso si nuestros detractores a veces tratan de utilizarlo contra nosotros.

Eduardo Landaveri, who is responsible for the Spanish portal of Techrights, adds to the above translation of his:

Dear fellow readers and freedom supporters:

I extend the invitation specially for translators. We do need more translations not only in Spanish but also Portuguese, Russian, Greek & Eastern European languages.

There are many “Vendolas” and “Barrosos” in our Latin America countries as well as Eastern Europe that will intend to sell their countries future generations to the CONVICTED MONOPOLIST in exchange for money, and the only way to prevent is to educate our respective compatriots about the dangers of digital colonialism.

The reason I mentioned the above languages is the fact that wherever there is an intention to break free from Microsoft, e.g Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, etc., the CONVICTED MONOPOLIST is going to use back-room deals, bribes, extortion, and political pressure (hello Wikileaks) to derail those efforts from people to break free of bondage.

The invitation for translator is for any language and I know that there are many of us who can speak/write more than one language. Please give the gift of freedom to the future generations by translating an article or post of your interest that you know affects your birth country, remember the danger of software patents is the threat of digital colonialism that looms all over the world.

With your help we’re going to make the world a better place for the future generations. Thanks to all.


Eduardo Landaveri

Or in Spanish:

Estimados amigos lectores y seguidores la libertad:

Extiendo esta invitación en especial para los traductores. Necesitamos más traducciones no solo en español, pero también portugués, ruso, griego asi como en idiomas de Europa Oriental.

Hay muchos “Vendolas” y “Barroso”en nuestro países de América Latina y Europa del Este que intentaran vender a las generaciones futuras de sus países al CONDENADO monopolista a cambio de dinero, y la única forma de prevenir es educar a nuestros respectivos compatriotas sobre los peligros del colonialismo digital.

La razón por la que menciona los idiomas antes mencionados es el hecho de que allí donde existe la intención de liberarse de Microsoft, por ejemplo, Brasil, Rusia, Ucrania, etc, el CONDENADO monopolista va a utilizar de todo: acuerdos bajo la mesa, los sobornos, la extorsión y presion política (lean Wikileaks) para hacer descarrilar los esfuerzos de sus pueblos para liberarse de la servidumbre.

La invitación es para traductores en cualquier idioma y sé que hay muchos de nosotros que puede hablar y escribir más de un idioma. Por favor dé el don de la libertad a las generaciones futuras mediante la traducción de un artículo o post de su interés que usted sabe afecta a su país de nacimiento, recuerda el peligro de las patentes de software es la amenaza del colonialismo digital se cierne sobre todo el mundo.

Con su ayuda vamos a hacer del mundo un lugar mejor para las generaciones futuras. Gracias a todos ustedes.


Eduardo Landaveri

Many thanks again to Eduardo.

Links 6/1/2011: KDE 4.6 RC 2 Released, CUBRID 3.1 Goes Stable

Posted in News Roundup at 5:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 2011 to be year of Linux in the clouds

    It’s time for our annual outlook on Linux for the new year, and after spending the last few years highlighting non-desktop Linux in 2008, the range of Linux in 2009 and hidden Linux in 2010, they will all be coming together in 2011, which will be the year of Linux in cloud computing. This is a trend that has been building over the past few years, but I believe it will hit a tipping point in 2011.

  • Switching to Linux (For the Right Reasons)

    Instead I think there needs to be more focus on “control” over how things are running.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux.com Gift Card Winners Announced
    • What’s new in Linux 2.6.37

      After about eleven weeks of development, Linus Torvalds has released the Linux kernel 2.6.37. The new version of the main development line has many improvements. Advances in the Ext4 file system mean it should be able to compete with XFS on larger systems and new discard functions can inform slow SSDs of vacant areas, without negatively affecting performance.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE 4.6 RC 2 Released
      • KDE Plasma, Applications and Development Platform 4.6 RC2 Available

        KDE, including all its libraries and its applications, is available for free under Open Source licenses. KDE can be obtained in source and various binary formats from http://download.kde.org and can also be obtained on CD-ROM or with any of the major GNU/Linux and UNIX systems shipping today.

      • 4.6 RC2 Available, Last Chance to Test

        KDE’s release team has rolled another set of 4.6 tarballs for us all to test and report problems: 4.6 RC2 This is the last test release leading up to 4.6.0, which is planned for 26th January.

      • fire up the synchrotron!

        I carved out a few days to work on this idea and finished up the last bits today. I called it synchrotron. It goes with the whole particle physics naming theme in Plasma and sounded like something out of an awesomely bad sci-fi movie. Win-win, really.

      • light up the synchrotron

        A few people asked if Synchrotron could replace kde-look.org or kde-files.org and the simple answer is: “no”. The reason is that Synchrotron is not meant to allow for uploads and sharing of content by users. It is quite specifically an upstream tool. It’s designed to make our lives as upstreams as easy as possible, in fact, but this makes it rather useless as a public file and data sharing hub. In theory it’s possible for Synchrotron to be extended to be such a thing, but I have zero personal interest in that. :)

  • Distributions

    • 6 Lightweight Linux Distributions To Give Your Old PC A New Lease of Life

      If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got at least one old desktop PC or antiquated laptop lying dormant in the attic, cupboard or still under your desk. I’d even hazard a guess you’ve got a CRT monitor and a serial mouse to boot.

      Now, you’re never going to use that old machine for anything particularly demanding, but if a simple web browser and word processor is the order of the day then there’s plenty of lightweight solutions that can come to your rescue.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Bullish Moving Average Crossover Alert (RHT)

        Today, shares of Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) have crossed bullishly above their 10-day moving average of $46.32 on volume of 518 thousand shares.

        This may provide swing traders with an opportunity for a long position as such a crossover often suggests higher prices in the near term. Watch for a close above this moving average level for confirmation.

        SmarTrend issued an Uptrend Alert for Red Hat on October 29, 2010 at $42.22. In approximately 2 months, Red Hat has returned 10.7% as of today’s recent price of $46.74.

        In the past 52 weeks, shares of Red Hat have traded between a low of $26.51 and a high of $49.00 and are now at $46.74, which is 76% above that low price.

    • Debian Family

      • The Bizarre Cathedral – 88
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Details Emerge on Ubuntu-Powered Tablet

          We’ve already heard news of Augen’s dual-booting Gentouch Espresso Doppio–offering users the choice of Android 2.2 or Ubuntu–but an alternative focusing exclusively on Ubuntu could be attractive.

          It didn’t take long, after all, before recipients of Google’s Chrome operating system-based CR-48 notebook computer got Ubuntu up and running on the device.

        • First Look: Ubuntu’s Unity Makes Bold Statement, But Needs Work

          There is plenty of time left for the next version of Ubuntu, version 11.04 now in Alpha, also known as “Natty Narwhal,” to leap some of its current technical obstacles.

          But an initial look at an Alpha version of the forthcoming Linux distro shows a dispiriting number of technical issues with its vaunted new “Unity” interface that need to be smoothed over before it will be the reliable, smooth technology we’ve come to expect from the Ubuntu community.

        • Evolution of Ubuntu Over the Years – A Brief History

          All in all, 2010 proved to be *the* most important year as far as Ubuntu and Canonical are concerned. Two major Ubuntu releases and a bunch of new strategies and change of platforms that are going to makeover Ubuntu over the years. Here is a nice and simple listing of changes that completely reinvented Ubuntu in 2010.

        • Top 5 List Of Reasons Why Ubuntu Is A Great Alternative To Windows

          By joining the millions of users today who are using Ubuntu, you are doing good deeds for your computer; you are preventing it from being damaged by spyware and other viruses.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Motorola Unleashes an Android Onslaught

          Motorola delivered on its rumored Android tablet Wednesday. It presented the Xoom, a tablet running Android 3.0, aka “Honeycomb.” The tablet will have 4G capabilities using Verizon’s network. Another star of Motorola’s show was the Atrix, a heavily powered smartphone that can connect with a docking station to create a laptop- or desktop-like form factor.

        • Comcast To Bring Live TV To Android Tablets

          Today’s announcement is yet another in a series of scheduled app releases Comcast’s development team will deliver on as many different devices as possible including other smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

        • 8Pen Reinventing Android Keyboard
        • How Amazon Will Help Android Beat The iPhone

          Android app store is growing at a precedented rate. Apps for Android are all set to explode the market, reason being an 800-pound gorilla entering the Android app segment with a lucrative paid model. This gorilla specializes in selling out stuff over the Internet. If I may say, this gorilla has become the defacto online market. It’s called Amazon.com.

        • Amazon, Don’t Infect Android With Your DRM Cancer

          DRM is the cancer of the digital world. It attaches its value degrading quality to everything it touches. Ironically its a failed model. Amazon, the on-line middle-man is now exposing Android market to its DRM cancerous cells. The company is all set to launch its own Android app store and it will allow developers to attach DRM to their apps.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache Subversion to WANdisco: +1 on the code contributions, -1 on the attitude.

    In conclusion, we reiterate that we welcome WANdisco’s involvement in Subversion, and failure on WANdisco’s part to address the above concerns will have no effect on the acceptance of technical work funded by WANdisco. We simply felt it necessary to clarify WANdisco’s role in Apache Subversion, for the benefit of our users and potential contributors.

  • Open source needs firm foundations

    So as we reach the start of 2011, you might want to ask: will those developers really be there in a year?

    That’s a question of more than theoretical concern, as the events of the past year have shown. Oracle Corp.’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc. and the impending sale of Novell Inc. have thrown many of the most important open-source projects into a state of uncertainty, or worse. Widely adopted tools, including the MySQL database, Java software platform and OpenOffice productivity suite have all been in play, as has SUSE Linux, the second most popular enterprise distribution of Linux.

    To varying degrees, each of these projects has suffered. Initially, the fear and uncertainty caused by the protracted sales of Sun and Novell allowed competitors to cherry-pick their open-source project development teams. After the Sun sale went through, Oracle’s actions led to further departures. Worse, Oracle abandoned support entirely for some projects, and declined to clearly signal its intentions regarding others. The consequences have been significant, including new forks of MySQL and OpenOffice. In the Java community, turmoil is ongoing, as evidenced most recently by the resignations of several representatives from the Executive Committee of the Java Community Process.

  • FOSS Is Fun – The Unsung Heroes

    The very point is that the community as such does not distinguish between a user and a contributor. Every user is, by definition, also a contributor—and vice versa. How does one contribute? By writing code, doing documentation, translating, testing applications, reporting or fixing bugs, using applications, advocating FOSS adoption, writing tutorials, textbooks and how-tos, conducting training workshops, giving talks at user group meetings, attending user group meetings, monitoring mailing lists and chat channels, and asking and answering questions… or by just talking about FOSS—the list is endless.

  • What the WWF has to learn about FOSS

    It seems it will be some time before the WWF will release a Linux version. But wait a minute: Linux is already supported! Yes, a set of simple bash scripts was able to fill the gap, simply because the FOSS ecosystem is very rich already. And it is performing very well.

    In a test performed by Hermann Radeloff this file was printed using the WWF driver, which resulted in this file. The same file generated by the Linux toolkit resulted in this file. In short, a 104 KB file was bloated to a massive 686 KB file, while the Linux toolkit reduced it to a meager 95 KB. That is: with WWF banner.

  • My Top 5 Favorite Open Source Happenings in 2010

    It’s a new year, and as we look to 2011 as the year that open source kicks butt, we should take a few moments to reflect back on 2010. After all, that’s what you’re supposed to do in January, right? Look back, then look ahead, then resolve to be better.

    So during my retrospective look, I realized that sitting among the rubble of the open source landscape in 2010, there were a few gems that stood out. These are in no particular order, and I think they all represent what the future of open source is truly about: community, giving back, driving imagination, challenging assumptions, and not accepting the status quo or the mandates of others. In short, it’s about freedom, innovation, and collaboration.

  • Key open source security benefits

    Discussions of the relative security benefits of an open source development model — like comparative discussions in any realm — all too often revolve around only one factor at a time. Such discussions tend to get so caught up in their own intricacies that by their ends nobody is looking at the big picture any longer, and any value such discussions might have had has already evaporated.

  • LibreOffice – The Likely Future of OpenOffice

    With many of the major Linux vendors behind them, it looks like LibreOffice will be the office suite of the future, at least on many non-Microsoft platforms. Oracle, while perhaps never a darling of the open source community, seems to be making more enemies than friends as of late. If they cannot build more good will toward one of their most prominent offerings, the days of OpenOffice as the free suite of choice may soon be at an end.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Is Firefox Set To Turn Against Flash?

        Rob Sayre, one of the leading developers of the Firefox platform has posted a very candid opinion about Apple’s influence on the web and it is not the kind of opinion you would expect. In fact, Sayre openly criticizes Flash as being incompatible with the mission of Firefox.

  • CUBRID/Databases

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Q&A: A Refresher on Unbreakable Linux Kernel

      Oracle caused quite a stir in 2010 when it announced its Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux. With the New Year upon us, we checked in with the company’s Senior Director of Open Source Product Marketing Monica Kumar to get a refresher on the ABCs of this important introduction as well as the company’s latest take on Linux.

  • Education

    • Spend more, not less on school ICT

      A few years ago I fell for the official Government line when Becta announced (pre-bank crisis) that school ICT spending was unsustainably high. Of course this kind of talk fired up the apologists for free, open source software and as the recession bit the idea of saving money grew.

      Obvious cuts could be made in software costs, energy consumption and technical support but few took up the challenge. Then came the big cuts and the new Coalition Gov axed nearly all BIG IT projects setting the mood music for the possibility of further money saving through technological change maybe like low energy thin-client workstations running off free, open source software (stop me if you have heard this one)?

  • Business

  • Programming

    • CollabNet Extends Agile ALM Cloud Leadership With Lab Management Upgrade

      CollabNet®, the leader in Agile application lifecycle management (Agile ALM) in the Cloud, today announced the immediate availability of CollabNet Lab Management 2.3, the latest version of the company’s Cloud-based server provisioning and profile management offering. Lab Management enables distributed development, build, and test teams to significantly reduce infrastructure costs while promoting development productivity and rapid innovation.

    • WANdisco Shakes Up Software Change Management With Overhaul of Subversion

      WANdisco, the makers of Enterprise Subversion, has today announced a major new initiative to overhaul the Subversion open source Software Change Management (SCM) project. With more active developers from the Subversion project on staff than any other company, WANdisco will use its vantage point to lead efforts to improve Subversion with major new features and enhancements that the user community have been asking for.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Payment standard for Internet TV to be implemented next year

      China UnionPay and various Chinese authorities plan to draft an online payment standard for Internet TV which is expected to be launched in the first half of 2011, according to a report of the National Business Daily Tuesday, citing Liu Fengjun, assistant president of China UnionPay.


  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Haiti to the US Embassy: Here’s the Will of the People

      By the time United States policymakers in Haiti are finished playing with Haiti, they will hang Preval out to dry, ignore the process that was not inclusive, not fair, not free even before one ballot was cast; ignore that most of the candidates asked for the (s)election to be annulled by midday of the farce, their voters then stopped voting – and go on with their farce. But with Manigat and Martelly. I think that’s most likely what they will do.

    • Crying out loud

      It might have all ended there, but Shaul and a few others decided to continue: Today, six years later, Breaking the Silence, which consists of six people on salary and another 15 volunteers, constitutes part of the public discourse in Israel. Since the exhibition, the organization has published five pamphlets of testimonies from soldiers who served in the territories, all of them describing infringements of the rights of the local population (including testimonies from Hebron, soldiers talking about the rules of engagement in the territories, testimonies of female soldiers and more ).

    • Egypt’s discredited elections blighted by shadow of police violence

      The Mahmoudia canal wends its way through some of Alexandria’s poorest quarters before eventually reaching the middle-class suburb of Somoha, where elegant blocks of flats abut the water’s edge and a rickety old footbridge connects one bank to the other.

      It was here that 19-year-old Ahmed Shaaban’s body was found floating among the reeds, battered and bruised. The police say he drowned himself deliberately, though it is difficult to see how – the channel is so shallow it barely reaches one’s knees. A few days later, Shaaban’s uncle stood in front of a local journalist’s video camera and addressed Egypt’s leader, Hosni Mubarak, directly. “You are at war with your own people,” he said softly. “Your gang is running loose killing citizens, and all you care about is the presidential chair.”

    • Nader: TSA is delivering naked insecurity [old headlines obscured by Wikileaks news]
    • Anatomy of a journalistic smear job

      John Tyner, a software engineer who posted an Internet blog item saying he had been ejected after being threatened with a fine and lawsuit for refusing a groin check after turning down a full-body scan at San Diego International Airport

    • TSA turns off naked body scanners to avoid opt-out day protests
    • Israeli forces raid Madaa during children’s classes, director Jawad Siyam arrested

      Israeli police raided Madaa Community Center this afternoon and arrested Jawad Siyam, director of the Center. A force of uniformed and plainclothes police stormed the Center at 2pm today, seizing Siyam amidst several children’s classes run by the Center each afternoon and instigating fear and panic. Officers shouted aggressively at Siyam to comply in front of the young students, including Siyam’s 7 year old child.

    • More on How the IDF Spin Machine Works in the Abu Rahmeh Killing

      A female protester dies at a Bil’in protest from tear gas inhalation. The IDF is not only faced with a public relations nightmare, but also with the real possibility that there will be pressure to change its mode of operations, and to use a less effective (from its standpoint) tear gas. There may even be pressure to conduct a military investigation, which the IDF certainly doesn’t want. So the only thing that it can do is to attack the credibility of the woman’s family and witnesses.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks cables: Pakistan opposition ‘tipped off’ Mumbai terror group

      Pakistan’s president alleged that the brother of Pakistan’s opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, “tipped off” the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) about impending UN sanctions following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, allowing the outfit to empty its bank accounts before they could be raided.

      Six weeks after LeT gunmen killed more than 170 people in Mumbai, President Asif Ali Zardari told the US of his “frustration” that Sharif’s government in Punjab province helped the group evade new UN sanctions.

    • Cables Show U.S. Government Works for Boeing

      In 2006, a senior Commerce Department official hand-delivered a personal letter from George W. Bush to the office of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, urging the king to complete a deal with Boeing for 43 airliners, including some for the king’s family fleet.

    • Diplomats Help Push Sales of Jetliners on the Global Market

      To a greater degree than previously known, diplomats are a big part of the sales force, according to hundreds of cables released by WikiLeaks, which describe politicking and cajoling at the highest levels.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Leaked EPA Memos May Explain Massive Bee Die-Off

      CMD’s guest blogger, Jill Richardson, has done some ground-breaking reporting on the potential cause of the massive bee die-off. According to Jill’s investigation, leaked U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) memos reveal that the agency gave conditional approval to pesticides now in wide use, without requiring adequate proof that they are safe to use around honeybees. In the wake of the new information, beekeepers are starting to blame the country’s massive die-off of honeybees on the pesticides.

  • Finance

    • Corporate Junk Economics Return to Capitol Hill

      Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, has reportedly asked more than 150 trade associations, corporations and think tanks to provide a wish list of public health, environmental and other public protections that they would like to see eliminated. The purported rationale for such an effort is to spur growth, but in fact this is the cutting edge of a movement to trade away public health, clean air, and a stable economy to gin up corporate profits already at record highs.


      * Corporations and their apologists routinely overstate the costs of public protections and ignore their benefits. To take one example, the Heritage Foundation attributes more than a third of all costs of regulation issued in 2010 to fuel economy standards. Yet Heritage fails to mention that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found those rules would confer benefits three times as great as the costs.

    • Congress unlikely to extend hand to ailing states

      Cut spending, raise taxes and fees, and accept billions of dollars from Congress. That’s been the formula for states trying to survive the worst economy since the 1930s.

    • Gene Sperling Thinks Asset Bubbles Are Cool

      I will depart from my policy of not commenting on articles where I am mentioned to clarify the issues (to me) surrounding Gene Sperling’s selection as a President Obama’s national economic advisor. The primary issue is not that Sperling got $900,000 from Goldman Sachs for part-time work, although that does look bad. The primary issue is that Sperling thought, and may still think, that the policies that laid the basis for the economic collapse were just fine.

    • A banker for White House chief of staff

      Granted that Bill Daley, whom Obama will announce Thursday afternoon as his new chief of staff, is not your typical banker. He’s a former commerce secretary, who headed up President Bill Clinton’s effort to enact the historic NAFTA treaty, served as chairman of Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000, and happens to be a member of a storied political dynasty in Obama’s hometown of Chicago.

    • Gene Sperling 101

      Starting in 2001, Mr. Sperling took on a variety of jobs, mostly part time, including a position at the Brookings Institution, as a columnist for Bloomberg News and as an adviser to Goldman Sachs. For much of this period, he worked for the Council on Foreign Relations, where girls’ education around the world was one of his main interests.

    • Ireland bailout protest draws 100,000 to Dublin streets

      One of the largest demonstrations in the Irish Republic’s history brought more than 100,000 people on to Dublin’s streets in protest over the international bailout and four years of austerity ahead.

    • Oil prices may threaten global economic recovery, says energy agency

      Oil prices are entering the “danger zone” and threaten to derail the fragile global economic recovery, according to Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency.

      The Paris-based government policy adviser calculates that the oil import costs for the 34 countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) soared by $200bn over the past year to reach $790bn by the end of 2010.

    • Full-Catastrophe Banking in 2011

      With a $4.7 trillion dollar bailout under their belts with no harm done to their billion-dollar bonuses, don’t expect Wall Street bankers to be chastened by the 2008 financial crisis. Below we list eight things to watch out for in 2011 that threaten to rock the financial system and undermine any recovery.
      1. The Demise of Bank of America

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is promising to unleash a cache of secret documents from the troubled Bank of America (BofA). BofA is already under the gun, defending itself from multiple lawsuits demanding that the bank buy back billions worth of toxic mortgages it peddled to investors. The firm is also at the heart of robo-signing scandal, having wrongfully kicked many American families to the curb. If Assange has emails showing that Countrywide or BofA knew they were recklessly abandoning underwriting standards and/or peddling toxic dreck to investors, the damage to the firm could be irreparable.

    • Governance, Triangulation and Compromise

      Those of us who want President Obama to improve his relationship with the business community and bring more people with actual business experience into his administration are hoping that such steps will make the President more pragmatic and better able to address the very complex problems the nation faces. We are hoping that such steps will make him a more effective leader, better able to get things done.

      And, as Matt Bai points out at the end of his column: “Such compromises [like the tax deal], ideal or not, are the building blocks of responsible governance. If that makes Mr. Obama some kind of triangulator, then it could also make him a successful president.”

    • Principles and Compromises
    • The Evolution of Money

      Money, as one of the podcasts observes, has been one of the great constants in human affairs, right up there with sex and war. Money was not necessary when people lived in small communities where they knew and trusted their neighbors and could therefore exchange labor, food or goods in kind. But the need for inventing money arose once civilization started to expand and people were dealing with strangers they may never see again and could not trust, as was the case in Lydia and neighboring communities a few thousand years ago.

    • BankofAmericaSucks.com

      According to the publication Domain Name Wire, Bank of America (BofA) is buying up hundreds of domain names such as BankofAmericaSucks.com and BrianMoynihanBlows.com. The megabank is prepping for the possible release of damaging information from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Assange is promising to unleash a cache of secret documents from the hard drive of a big bank executive.

    • Bank of America Wants You to Know Its Executives Don’t Suck

      Company defensively registers hundreds of domain names for its senior executives and board members.

      As Bank of American awaits a possible release of information from WikiLeaks, it wants to ensure that you don’t think its executives suck. Or blow for that matter.

      The company has been aggressively registering domain names including its Board of Directors’ and senior executives’ names followed by “sucks” and “blows”.

    • AltriaKills.com

      Tobacco industry documents, for example, show that in 2001, after Philip Morris changed its corporate name to Altria Group to escape the bad image of being a tobacco company, the company bought up a huge number of similarly derogatory domain names, including AltriaSucks, Altria-Sucks, AltriaKills, and AltriaStinks, each one with the suffixes .com, .net and .org.

    • Lorillard Buys “MentholKillsMinorities.com”

      Lorillard, Inc., manufacturer of the country’s best-selling menthol cigarette, Newport, is working behind the scenes to keep the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from banning menthol as a cigarette flavorant. Adopting a PR tactic other embattled companies like Bank of America and Altria have used, Lorillard is scooping up a host of menthol-bashing domain names to keep them out of the hands of critics, including MentholKills.com, KillerMenthol.com, MentholKillsMinorities.com and MentholAddictsYouth.com.

    • Lorillard Fights to Snuff Menthol Ban

      Among the company’s tactics: buying up a host of menthol-bashing Internet domain names, including MentholKillsMinorities.com, MentholAddictsYouth.com and FDAMustBanMenthol.com.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The battle for hearts and minds

      Lobbying firms are expanding their roles beyond the corridors of the Capitol by establishing public relations and communications divisions to work their issues directly to the public through television ads, rallies, radio, print and the Internet. (Times Union archive)

    • Lobbying and PR Firms Converge, Use Election Tactics Full Time

      Professional lobbyists are expanding their activities beyond the traditional cajoling of legislators in the halls of the Capitol and are now using election-season tactics — like polling, “grassroots” rallies, radio, print and television ads, and social media like Facebook and Twitter — full-time to push legislation. As a result, the PR and lobbying fields have exploded with firms that do all of the above and more.

    • Locals hire PR help over chicken plant flak

      “In this business, what we do is build narratives and tell stories,” he said.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Senator Wyden: Thank You For Fighting Internet Censorship

      More than 300,000 Americans have signed our petition opposing the “Internet Blacklist Bill” — the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). (Click here to sign the original petition and read more about the bill.) The bill would give the government the power to force Internet service providers to block your access to certain sites. It’s shockingly similar to what goes on in places like China and Iran — and it’s the kind of thing that’s just not supposed to happen here.

Clip of the Day

Motorola Atrix 4G Walkthrough — CES 2011

Credit: TinyOgg

Microsoft’s Hardware Ventures an Embarrassment

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 3:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mouse with Microsoft logo

Aside from “Microsoft”-branded peripherals, Microsoft cannot make hardware work economically

Summary: An overview of news about Windows Home Server, Xbox 360, Zune, and KIN

AN IMPORTANT POINT that was stressed earlier today is that participation alone is no guarantee of success. The statement rings true especially when it comes to Microsoft’s business in hardware and on the Web. This post will only deal with the former bit, based on the past 2 months’ headlines that somehow we missed.

Let us begin with the latest story of Windows Home Server. The Linux-based Drobo puts it to shame and the staff mocks it, with the CEO saying that “It Looks Like Microsoft Just Gave Up” (that’s the headline!). To quote: “Whilst the Windows Home Server community continues to rail against Microsoft’s decision to axe the platform’s core storage technology from the next release (with the exception of the Windows Team Blog where comments have been switched off for the last few days), Drobo’s CEO, Tom Buiocchi, today shared his take on Redmond’s decision.”

Here is older information about it and some more articles [1, 2, 3] about HP dumping Windows for Linux on home servers. A Microsoft sympathisers’ site published “The Vail debacle: Why Microsoft still doesn’t get the consumer” and it turns out that in other form factors too HP is dumping Windows in favour of Linux. In embedded devices there is little or no room for resource hogs like Vista 7, which is gradually being dumped/neglected by partners like Lenovo (it can be added that Lenovo complements with/aggregates Linux in some of its products).

"Microsoft products are dying quietly" is what we said very recently and the list is up to about 60 dead products by now. There are many failures in hardware, which means products where Microsoft is an integral part that is actively advertised (like “Windows Home Server”, not just Xbox). In our Wiki there is a page dedicated to “Microsoft – Consumer Hardware” and it includes a summary of posts about Xbox 360, which has just turned 5, suiting buyers of the same age pretty much (well, bar the gore and all).

Be very, very careful of disinformation in the English-speaking press. Microsoft characteristically uses US-only numbers to lie (by omission) about its position, leading to the illusion that the Japanese counterparts are suddenly losing. That’s not the case at all. “Xbox 360 sales take sixth in Japan” say this report and this report from December, whereas a January 2011 report states in its headline that “Xbox 360 demand drops to No. 8 in Japan”. To quote the older article:

Sales for Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 hardware ranked sixth among hardware in the latest Japan retail numbers.

Media Create Co. on Fri. reported that the Xbox 360 sold 3,497 units between Nov. 29 and Dec. 5 to rank No. 6 in overall sales.

Microsoft lost billions of dollars on Xbox. It doesn’t like to talk about it.

“Analysts can’t agree on whether Microsoft has blown its lead or not” says this other article’s headline wherein “DFC Intelligence’s David Cole believes that Microsoft is blowing it by not having a diverse enough range of titles and mainly concentrating on the American styled shooters and action titles. While PS3 has a much broader range of titles which helps explain it’s utter dominance in Japan and fight back in Europe.”

“Microsoft admits that Blu-ray is not so bad” and “Microsoft Grudgingly Admits Blu-Rays are ”Pretty Cool, I Guess”” say some other articles, noting:

It has taken a year but Microsoft has totally reversed its anti-Blu-ray stance.

The problem is, Microsoft has no Blu-ray support, but hypocrisy and double standard prevail nonetheless. “Microsoft takes swipe at Mac for not supporting Blu-ray” says a headline from ZDNet, which is funny because Microsoft used to promote HDDVD, a competitor of Blu-ray. Apple did not really participate in this expensive battle at all. To Apple, the digital downloads distribution model seems sufficient and Apple is a big proponent of DRM.

On we move to KINect. Those who believe the $500,000,000 (estimate) marketing campaign may actually have fallen for the illusion of KINect ‘success’. “Pop Stars Move Kinect In Japan” as part of this expensive marketing blitz and Microsoft sells only 26,000 KINects there (it is a technologically-advanced country with over 100 million people). Sony says that Kinect is mostly a bunch of tech problems, based on a recent report, which adds: “If you believe Microsoft, the world is creaming its little yellow pants over how impressive Kinect is, but Sony doesn’t think it’s that hot. Writing off the technology for its mass of technical problems, Sony Computer Entertainment engineer Anton Mikhailov believes Move is a faster, sexier, less problematic solution.”

As OpenBytes quotes from Gamepur: “Microsoft Kinect is giving sleepless night to many of the Xbox 360 owners as its causing a many issue to them and the most notably issue is “Red Ring of Death”. [...] Many such complaints on the forum points to Kinect as the main culprit for RROD problem, however there isn’t any solid and concrete evidence to proof the same. Microsoft is yet to comment on this.”

The MSBBC published the Microsoft excuses: “Microsoft has denied any link between Kinect and the three flashing light error signal, known as the “red ring of death”.”

Thank you, MSBBC. Thanks for the reminder of who runs the BBC (hint: former Microsoft UK staff).

Here is another funny example of Microsoft failing to sell hardware peripherals for Xbox 360. To quote some headlines: “Microsoft: Nobody Bought Xbox 360 Faceplates”; “Microsoft Says Xbox 360 Faceplates Were A Failure, But Still Not A Bad Idea [Microsoft Recognizes Xbox 360 Faceplates Were A Failure, Something We All Knew In 2006]“; “Xbox 360 Faceplates Were a Failure, Says Microsoft”; “Microsoft says Xbox 360 faceplates were a failure”; “MS: ‘Nobody bought’ Xbox 360 faceplates”; “Shocker: Nobody Bought 360 Faceplates” and “Why no removable faceplates on 360 slim?”. Microsoft even admits the failure. It’s the admission which is rare, not the failure.

Microsoft says there is no plan to create a new Xbox, based on a very recent report:

With the presence of Kinect, many observers thought that Microsoft is also preparing the next generation Xbox 360. But it was firmly denied by the software giant.

Well, there is another business model cooking here. “California man goes to court for modifying Xbox 360″ says one headline, another says that this “Xbox modder could spend three years in prison”, but finally — courtesy of a Microsoft booster — “Judge in Xbox hacking case frags prosecution, case killed”. “The judge “unleashed a 30-minute tirade” against the prosecution, criticizing potentially illegal acts by prosecution witnesses and faulty instructions proposed for the jury,” says this report.

So Microsoft is just wasting its time and pissing customers off. What on Earth was it thinking? It’s a sign of bafflement and frustration, so no wonder so many Xbox managers quit the company in recent years.

On we move to the Zune, which is a product so ill on its deathbed that Microsoft pretends it’s just a companion to the Xbox/Live universe. This enables Microsoft to pretend this product is still alive, but as CNET put it, “Is Zune dying, or more important than ever?” Another new headline that’s posing a question rather than saying the truth quite bluntly is, “Microsoft Zune: A Unique Innovative Idea?”

It seems like a rhetorical question. Given that even Microsoft does not support the Zune, what can the answer be? Yes, that’s right, Microsoft is ignoring its own products and reporters notice:

Unusually, the company chose to use Amazon MP3 and not its own Zune Marketplace

More here:

Once you’ve qualified, Microsoft will send out the gift code to claim the track, and you’ll need an Amazon account to claim it by January 24th. The strange bit is that Microsoft chose to use Amazon MP3 instead of its own Zune Marketplace, but you can bet that folks aren’t going to complain (too much) over freebies.

As one last item of relevance (or irrelevance rather), remember the KIN? “Kin’s quiet return a rarity among failed gadgets” said CNET at one stage when there was chatter about KIN coming back as a “Zune phone” or something along those lines [1, 2, 3, 4]. It was probably misreported or merely an attempt to deplete remaining supplies because Kin services are officially dead, leaving KIN buyers with a dud in their pockets/hands:

The closure of Kin Studio — an online companion service by which Kin users can manage their phones, post to social networks, and host photos and video — will maroon a few thousand Kin users without key services.

“Microsoft Kin named one of CNN’s top 10 tech fails of 2010,” says a headline from Zunited. “Microsoft Nukes Kin Studio” says this headline, which slams the door shut on KIN’s coffin.

A Verizon Wireless document (JPGs) obtained by Windows Phone Central reveals that Microsoft will permanently close KIN Studio on January 31, 2011. For the 500 or so consumers who actually bought the “social” phone, this means the backbone OTA feature set will no longer be available. Instead, owners will be reduced to sending texts and making calls. Brilliant.

Does Microsoft have a future as a hardware company? Not a fat chance if this performance carries in.

Mac Asay [sic], who left Canonical to join a proprietary software company (Asay was previously close to taking a job at Microsoft), now says that the hypePad “is awesome” and denies that it is under threat from Linux. To Asay, Microsoft tablets which are an utter embarrassment should be considered the greater threat to Apple’s tablet. So why did he work for Canonical?

Use Microsoft Windows, Get Assassinated

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 10:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Julian Assange homepage
The Homepage of Julian Assange

Summary: News reports from around the world illustrate the effect of one’s dependence on a software ‘master’

ACTIVISTS who include folks like the Wikileaks hackers tend to use Free software. Encrypted decentralisation is what keeps them alive (no incentive to engage in targeted killings). Free software ensures that those who defend freedom have the necessary tools to not only work but also to defend themselves, using deterrents, anonymity, and privacy. It’s not only an idealogical choice; Free software is technically better a lot of the time, but more importantly, it has no master who wields an axe over the users. Over the years we wrote several posts explaining why those who challenge an authority — any authority for that matter — should avoid proprietary software even if it’s offered as a ‘gift’. No authority is 100% benign and history teaches that even the Nazis were under attack by some German intellectuals in the early days, before they become powerful enough to squash/imprison/assassinate/drive away all opposition.

A few days ago we found and shared a report about Iran building its own operating system, which some people suspect will be based on GNU/Linux. Now, without going into all the politics, what Iran does ought to show that the independence factor is a matter of control.

“This is Cyberwar,” writes Jan Wildeboer, “not Wikileaks.” He links to this Symantec paper about Stuxnet [PDF] (synopsis available as HTML too), which we covered in posts such as:

  1. Ralph Langner Says Windows Malware Possibly Designed to Derail Iran’s Nuclear Programme
  2. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  3. Who Needs Windows Back Doors When It’s So Insecure?
  4. Windows Insecurity Becomes a Political Issue
  5. Windows, Stuxnet, and Public Stoning
  6. Stuxnet Grows Beyond Siemens-Windows Infections
  7. Has BP Already Abandoned Windows?
  8. Reports: Apple to Charge for (Security) Updates
  9. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  10. New Flaw in Windows Facilitates More DDOS Attacks
  11. Siemens is Bad for Industry, Partly Due to Microsoft
  12. Microsoft Security Issues in The British Press, Vista and Vista 7 No Panacea
  13. Microsoft’s Negligence in Patching (Worst Amongst All Companies) to Blame for Stuxnet
  14. Microsoft Software: a Darwin Test for Incompetence
  15. Bad September for Microsoft Security, Symantec Buyout Rumours
  16. Microsoft Claims Credit for Failing in Security
  17. Many Windows Servers Being Abandoned; Minnesota Goes the Opposite Direction by Giving Microsoft Its Data
  18. Windows Users Still Under Attack From Stuxnet, Halo, and Zeus
  19. Security Propaganda From Microsoft: Villains Become Heroes
  20. Security Problems in iOS and Windows
  21. Eye on Security: BBC Propaganda, Rootkits, and Stuxnet in Iran’s Nuclear Facilities
  22. Eye on Security: ClamAV Says Windows is a Virus, Microsoft Compromises Mac OS X, and Stuxnet Runs Wild
  23. Windows Kernel Vulnerability for Thanksgiving, Insecurity Used for Surveillance Again
  24. Cablegate Reveals Government Requesting Access to Microsoft Data, Kill Switches

In some of the posts above experts argued that sabotage of Iran’s nuclear programme using Stuxnet suggested a link to Israel. Given that Microsoft gives Chinese hackers access to its source code, the explanation can be even simpler than that and now that “Microsoft confirms [yet another] code execution bug in Windows” it ought to be evident that no back door is needed; there are just too many severe flaws.

Microsoft has confirmed reports that several versions of Windows are vulnerable to exploits that allow remote attackers to take full control of users’ computers using booby-trapped emails and websites.

In an advisory issued Tuesday, Microsoft said it was investigating “new public reports” of vulnerability in the XP, Server 2003, Vista, and Server 2008 versions of Windows. In fact, the first known report of the bug in the way those operating systems process thumbnail images came on December 15 at a security conference in South Korea. On Tuesday, exploit code was added to the Metasploit software framework for hackers.

“Dubai assassins used email trojan to track Hamas victim” says this new report from The Register around the same time that a Norwegian newspaper with access to all the raw cables from Wikileaks reveals more Israeli scandals.

The successful operation to kill a Hamas commander in Dubai in January 2010 followed a botched attempt by the same Israeli hit squad to kill the same target two months previously, according to reports.

Assassins tried to poison Mahmud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in November 2009, but even though the unknown poison was administered it proved only debilitating and not fatal. al-Mabhouh recovered from what he thought was an illness only to be killed two months later, according to a new investigation by investigative journalist Ronen Bergman published in GQ magazine.

In response to this posting (via Glyn Moody), Wildeboer wrote: “And now Microsoft gives away free licenses to NGOs … draw your own conclusions”

Yes, we wrote about that yesterday. Activists must not use proprietary software because of the proprietor. In other security news:

Virus writers are still sticking to the oldest tricks in the book to sucker people into downloading their malware,

An email, which claims to come from Microsoft, has an attachment that says it is a Windows patch.

Never expect security from Microsoft, especially for people who are witch-hunted by those in power. The FBI too has its tool for penetrating Windows remotely and it's called CIPAV.

Joke of the Day: Microsoft Windows on ARM, Tablets

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 10:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft, your people are laughing at you


Summary: Microsoft’s own ‘choir’ is ridiculing Microsoft’s products, realising perhaps that there is a dead end

ONE REALLY knows that Microsoft is failing when even its enthusiastic cheerleaders turn into sad clowns and sometimes even boo their master. Case of point: Microsoft Windows on ARM and in tablets.

Microsoft boosters consistently express lack of confidence in it. We — like just about anyone who paid attention to the news in December — expected Microsoft news about ARM (we laughed at it around the time rumours had just trickled in). This even predates the December rumours because a deal was signed with ARM just weeks beforehand.

“Just because a product is announced does not mean it will be profitable, either.”Just because a deal gets signed does not mean much will change.

Just because a product is announced does not mean it will be profitable, either.

Case of point? KIN, Zune, Bong [sic]….

Matt Rosoff, who comes from a firm that worked along with Microsoft, has done his share of Microsoft boosting recently [1, 2, 3, 4]. He also mocks/pressures Microsoft's competitors, having wasted a lot of his time at CNET promoting the Zune in a column. But even Matt — just like very irrational boosters like Preston Gralla — is unwilling to voice confidence in what Microsoft does for mobile devices such as tablets. He blames the strategy (“See If You Can Spot The Problem With Microsoft’s Tablet Strategy”) rather than the poor product and it starts like this:

Earlier today, computer maker Asus kicked off the Consumer Electronics Show a day early by announcing four upcoming tablet computers. Three of them run Google’s Android operating system. One runs Windows 7. See if you can guess which one is the outlier:

* Eee Pad MeMO: starts at $499

* Eee Pad Slider: starts at $499

* Eee Pad Transformer: starts at $399

* Eee Slate: starts at $999

Yes, that last one runs Vista 7, which is a resource hog. The rest use Linux. Microsoft was publicising hopes of using Vista Phony 7 [sic] on tablets, but since that platform is failing (despite around half a billion dollars in marketing), everyone should forget about it.

As I put it earlier in Identi.ca, “I think that Steve Ballmer does a lot of things at this stage just to show he does *something* and thus procrastinate an inevitable ejection.”

All that Microsoft has left now (middle- and long-term) is software patents. Windows is part of the past, not the future. In the mean time, enjoy these new photos from Razvan Sandu (translation to English). They show Windows on vacation in the middle of the greatest ocean.

Microsoft Loses All Credibility in E-mail

Posted in Mail, Microsoft at 9:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stamps from Hong Kong

Summary: Hotmail goes awry again and there remains little or no justification for relying on Microsoft for E-mail

SHORTLY after the new year’s Hotmail fiasco [1, 2] comes yet another which the Microsoft booster fails to embellish:

A growing number of Hotmail users are unable to access their email accounts.

Complaints from Hotmailers have been piling up in Microsoft’s Windows Live support portal since at least January 3.

It’s not just the cheapo, freebie version used by millions of Hotmail fans that’s in trouble. Those forking out $19.95 a year for Hotmail Plus are also blocked.

People are naturally getting angry, with some unable to access their accounts for up to four days.

The technological Darwinian test ought to be choosing Microsoft for E-mail; those who do deserve to falter. We have already shown that Microsoft needs to bribe officials to choose and impose on others the use of Live@Edu, as last mentioned yesterday in the context of back room deals. Microsoft could never really deal with E-mail reliably (at any level for that matter), so those who choose it for others ought to be seen as suspected (e.g. of being paid by Microsoft because we have leaked documents to show this practice, along with real-world examples).

In slightly different news, Jon Newton from Canada (where the government developed an infatuation with Apple) complains that “Apple pushes [hype]Pad into schools”, which helps spread restrictions and caters towards imprisonment of young adults:

One of the reasons the company has survived with its expensive computers and software is because it’s been able to sell to schools around the world.

Get ‘em while they’re young.

Bill Gates admitted exploiting these tactics and right now he is taking over schools — a subject we’ll tackle again in a matter of days.

Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal US Procurement Gets Frozen After Lawsuit

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Mail, Microsoft at 8:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WWI propaganda poster (US version)

Summary: Google’s lawsuit against the United States government derails a deal with Microsoft, at least for the time being

YESTERDAY we posted a roundup about Microsoft's back room deals, having explained Microsoft’s federal games just days beforehand (there is more to do with taxing). As we showed using new examples, Microsoft prefers playing dirty and relying on cronyism, not technical merit. A few months ago Google sued the government for doing this old tango routine with Microsoft and initially at least Google is victorious. The Register says that “Google suit halts Microsoft fed contract”, adding as background that “[l]ate last year, Google sued the Department of the Interior (DOI), claiming it didn’t give Google a fair chance to win a contract to provide email and collaboration services for its roughly 88,000 employees, and as Bloomberg reports, a federal judge has now issued a temporary court order preventing the feds from awarding the contract to Microsoft.” This is not a unique situation. The same type of thing happened in many other countries and there is an ongoing lawsuit in Switzerland, as the links below help summarise.

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court
  13. When Microsoft-Only/Lock-in is Defined as “Technology”
  14. Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal Swiss Contracts to Take People to Court Again

Links 6/1/2011: Beta of PowerTOP 2.0, Android Chosen by Almost Majority of Buyers

Posted in News Roundup at 6:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Ease of Use: Designing The Ultimate Grandmother-Ready Computer

    When it comes to ease of use, there is no difference between a computer with Windows and a computer with Linux, assuming both systems are installed properly. That there is a meaningful difference is a myth perpetuated by Windows fanboys or individuals who have outdated experience with Linux. Also, the comparison that is often being made is unfair: One’s experience with a computer purchased as Best Buy or supplied at work, with OEM Windows already installed (see below) is being compared with a self-install of Linux onto an about to be discarded computer.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • Cr-48 Chrome OS netbook hacked to run Android 2.3 Gingerbread

      Hexxeh, who recently released a Cr-48 tool to boot any OS, including Windows or Mac OS X, has now successfully got Android 2.3 Gingerbread to run on his Cr-48 netbook.

      All we have right now is a single photo (above), but you can click it for a super-high-res (cellphone camera?) photo if you like. According to unnamed sources close to Hexxeh, it is indeed Gingerbread running on Cr-48, but beyond that we know nothing.

  • Kernel Space

    • False Boundaries and Arbitrary Code Execution

      In Linux 2.6.24, file capabilities were introduced, which allowed for the distribution or the administrator to set the capabilities needed for an application via modification of the application’s extended attributes on disk. The immediate application of file capabilities is to remove the need for suid-root binaries on the system. It can also be used however to reduce the capabilities used by a normal root-running daemon, by clearing the effective bit in the file capabilities.

    • Announcing the beta release of PowerTOP 2.0

      After two alpha releases, with really valuable feedback from testers, I’m now releasing the beta release of PowerTOP 2.0 to go with the release of kernel 2.6.37, which has some features that the new PowerTOP will use.

    • Iveland, OpenBenchmarking.org Launching From SCALE

      It’s official: Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 “Iveland” and OpenBenchmarking.org will be launching next month at the Southern California Linux Expo in Los Angeles, California.

      In the talk entitled Making More Informed Linux Hardware Choices by Matthew Tippett and myself, Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 and OpenBenchmarking.org will be officially unveiled and launched.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Big Comparison Of The AMD Catalyst, Mesa & Gallium3D Drivers

        There has been much progress over the past year to the open-source ATI drivers and the Linux graphics stack in general, but it still has a ways to improve. Our similar set of results for the NVIDIA side with the open-source Nouveau Gallium3D driver will be out in a few days. Also worth noting is that at this time only the R300 class Gallium3D driver is enabled by default in Mesa (and most Linux distributions) while the R600 classic Mesa driver is still used rather than its newer Gallium3D driver. Based upon the faster performance, minimal regressions (just Nexuiz with Evergreen ASICs and a few other areas), the superior architecture (support for state trackers, etc), better OpenGL 2.1 support, and other benefits, hopefully in Mesa 7.11 we will see R600g by default and it being utilized by most Linux distributions upon their next major update.

      • VIA KMS + TTM/GEM Driver Moves Along Without VIA

        At the end of December we reported on the 3Dfx KMS Linux developer working on VIA code to provide kernel mode-setting support for VIA’s IGPs in the Linux kernel and thus TTM/GEM memory management support too. This is after VIA had promised to deliver this support (along with Gallium3D support) in 2010, but failed miserably. This code though is now moving along but without any support for VIA.

      • VIA Releases The Dual-Core Nano X2 CPU

        For the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, VIA Technologies has just released their Nano X2 Dual-Core CPU.

      • There May Finally Be Better ATI Linux Video Playback

        It would be really great if they would implement NVIDIA’s VDPAU within their driver, but that’s perhaps too optimistic.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • A Tale of the Synaptics “ClickPad”

      PCLinuxOS – works, including left/right buttons and tapping, but to actuate the buttons you have to touch only the very corners at the bottom of the ClickPad. In particular, if you try to click at the point where the “dot” for the buttons is marked on the ClickPad, it will not work. I believe that it works here because PCLinuxOS is still using a somewhat older version of X and synaptics, such as the version which worked on Ubuntu 10.04.

    • DouDouLinux: A Linux Distribution Especially Designed For Kids

      DouDouLinux is, maybe, the greatest aid for parents who don’t have enough time to spend with their children while they have fun on the computer but who also don’t want to come back and find out that their operating system kind of crashed or that some important document was accidentally erased. That’s because you don’t have to install DouDouLinux to be able to use it, all you have to do is boot it from an USB stick (and when booting you can choose if you want the changes to be saved or not) or a CD/DVD and the kids don’t have to log in to be able to play!

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Managing Yum Plugins

        If you’re using Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS, or a number of other RPM-based systems, you are probably very familiar with using Yum to install packages and update your system. It’s very useful out of the box, so to speak, but it can be extended to add even more functionality.

      • Tuning Fedora for SSDs

        A while back, I found myself reading a generic PC magazine in a waiting room, and they had an article on Tuning SSDs for Windows 7. It made me wonder what the Fedora equivalent would be. So, I asked my friend and Red Hat coworker Jeff Moyer about it. Jeff knows more about SSDs in Linux than anyone else I know, he does most (if not all) of the testing of SSDs for Red Hat’s storage team.

    • Debian Family

      • DACA Could Mean Fewer Bugs in Debian

        Every piece of software written has bugs. From the insignificant to the showstopper, bugs are there despite the herculean efforts of developers. But thanks to a new Debian project, many previously undetected bugs may finally get squashed.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Cult of Ubuntu aka CoU Launched

          CoU is the best place to find beta testers for your applications and concepts. One of the best way is to connect with your users directly. You can publish your own write-ups and blogs on CoU without any editorial intervention. Either send your write-ups to the editor or send an account request and we will create an account for you to publish your content at your will. If you think there is better way of doing this, let us know and we will do what ever is possible.

        • What Is Cult of Ubuntu aka COU?
        • This Just In: “Ubuntu Myopia Continues…”

          Ever on the watch for mainstream media articles that don’t quite *get* Ubuntu, yet another questionable article catches my eye.

          Short summary: “Ubuntu is ruining the kernel. It’s buggy and a copycat of OS X. No wonder it has so many bugs: It’s based on Debian UNSTABLE. Even Dell is dropping it. And to top it off, Ubuntu is switching to Unity and not making it easy for users to opt out. Their existing user base is no longer the focus.”

        • First peek at ratings n’ reviews in Ubuntu Software Centre

          The Ubuntu Software Centre in 11.04 Natty Narwhal will comes with support for application ratings and reviews.

        • Raising Caine

          Caine is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 10.04 for forensic scientists and security-conscious administrators. Poised to do battle against IT ne’er-do-wells, Caine has a comprehensive selection of software, a user-friendly GUI, and responsive support.

        • Ubuntu Software Center Getting Search Suggestion

          Aside from Unity, the Software Center is one of the main areas of development in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal. It is getting a lot of new features like support for user ratings, reviews etc. Another feature – search suggestion – has quietly landed in trunks.

        • Ubuntu isn’t replacing OpenOffice.org with LibreOffice … yet

          It looks as if some folks got a little bit carried away with the news yesterday that the next version of Ubuntu, 11.04, will feature LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice.org.

          Because, actually, that’s not exactly what’s happening. Yet.

          On Monday, Linux Magazine’s Amber Graner got it right, when she reported that Ubuntu Desktop Engineer Matthias Klose announced that “LibreOffice would be included in the Alpha 2 Natty Narwhal release for evaluation and possible inclusion into the final Ubuntu 11.04 release.”

          Somehow, by the next day, the news was mistakenly distorted to headlines in more than a few outlets that stated “LibreOffice Replaces OpenOffice In Natty, PPA For Lucid And Maverick,” or similar. It hit the Twittersphere, and I even re-tweeted the news myself. And off it went, with a lot of folks, including me, thinking that LibreOffice had indeed made the Ubuntu big-time.

        • LibreOffice: Ready for Liftoff

          LibreOffice, the Oracle-free fork of the OpenOffice office suite, may, or may not, end up being the default office suite in Ubuntu, but its first release is almost here.

          Before getting into that though, there have been rumors running around that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, had already committed to using LibreOffice in its next release, Ubuntu 11.04. True, Ubuntu has always been interested in replacing OpenOffice with LibreOffice Indeed, Mark Shuttleworth told me back when LibreOffice was starting to break away from OpenOffice that, “The Ubuntu Project will be pleased to ship LibreOffice from The Document Foundation in future releases of Ubuntu. That’s not the same thing though as saying it’s going to ship in Ubuntu 11.04.

        • Natty nm-applet improvements

          In light of the discussion I’m referring to above, as well as a number of bugs that have been reported against network-manager-applet, I’ve been working on fixing these issues, including making the animations work again, re-adding icons for wireless signal strength and fixing the icons when connected to VPNs.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • MoonOS is a complete, Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the LXDE and Enlightenment 17 desktop managers and imaginative, original artwork.

            moonOS is a complete, Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the LXDE and Enlightenment 17 desktop managers and imaginative, original artwork.

            A project created and designed by Cambodian artist Chanrithy Thim, moonOS is intended as an operating system for any desktop, laptop or virtual machine.

          • Bodhi Linux hits Alpha 4, gets ace new look

            I’ll cut to the meat of this review right away: Bodhi Alpha 4 has had a dramatic makeover. The new default E17 theme – called A-Nogal-Bodhi – gives the whole desktop a lighter, less oppressive feel than the black and green ’80′s terminal’ theme previously used.

            The icon set has been changed to the popular Faenza set.

          • moonOS 4 “NEAKE” Released With File Hierarchy System, AppShell

            moonOS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. moonOS 4 codenamed “NEAKE” has been recently released, replacing E17 with GNOME for the main edition and is currently available for 32bit only. While it provides a new stylish interface by default, the most interesting new feature in moonOS 4 is the use of a new File Hierarchy System which aims to make the filesystem more user-friendly. Read on!

          • Lubuntu Screencast: Share/Backup packagelist

            In this Screencast I show you how to share and backup your packagelist of currently installed applications. This is especially usefull if you want to share you list of applications between different computers or you want to have a backup in case you reinstall Lubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • mPlayer — the cross-platform, open source media player — ported to webOS

        Sure, the webOS App Catalog lags behind the markets of other mobile OSes — but the homebrew community continues porting apps to HP/Palm’s platform. One of the more recent additions is mPlayer, the cross-platform open source media app.

      • Checking out JQuery Mobile, Part 1
      • Android

        • Verizon preps Motorola Droid Xoom tablet, HTC Thunderbolt phone

          Motorola’s first Android tablet will be called the Droid Xoom, and will ship in February with an external 4G LTE modem, say industry reports. Meanwhile, photos have leaked of a purported HTC Thunderbolt 4G phone due to be announced by Verizon next week at CES, and more evidence piles up for Honeycomb being Android 2.4 instead of 3.0.

        • What Are Your Six Go-To Android Apps?

          If you’re the proud new owner of an Android-based smartphone or tablet you might be digging through the Market wondering what you should be installing. So I thought we’d take this chance to tap the collective wisdom of the Linux Mag audience and see what everyone is using on their phones and tablets.

        • Android tablets, smartphones to rule at CES

          Android is set to “explode” at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, with smartphones and tablet computers including a newly revealed HTC Shift 4G phone for Sprint and a four-inch smartphone/tablet hybrid from ViewSonic. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless is cutting the price of the Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet by $100 to $500, says an industry report.

        • Best Android apps

          Smartphones are now an essential business tool and there are hundreds of applications to choose from

          Smartphones are a key part of any businessperson’s gadget lineup and Android-based phones are among the most popular. We look at some of the best Android applications on offer.

        • Motorola finally breaks up. What now?

          Motorola is no longer one company. A long-in-the-works breakup of the smartphone and telecom equipment maker finally took effect Tuesday morning — probably to the delight of frustrated institutional shareholders like corporate agitator Carl Icahn.

        • Amazon’s Disruptive Android App Store Now Open To Developers — Full Details

          First, some background for those who don’t follow Android too closely. All Google-endorsed Android devices ship with the Android Market, along with a suite of other Google-made applications like Gmail. Android Market is a lot like Apple’s App Store with a few key differences: it doesn’t have an approval system, so developers can quickly submit and iterate on their applications. It also tends to have a lot of junky applications that Apple would reject — things that crash on launch on certain devices, or apps with that occasionally have features that don’t work as expected. While Google’s terms do require descriptions to be accurate, the general attitude is to let the market decide what works, and it surfaces the top rated applications (most of the time) while letting the junk sink.

        • 40 percent of new users are choosing Android

          More than 40% of U.S. customers who purchased smartphones over the last six months have chosen Android-based phones.

        • Galaxy Tab review: Android hitchhiking its way to tablet success

          The Samsung Galaxy Tab is one of the first high-end Android tablets from a mainstream hardware vendor. Available with 3G connectivity from a wide range of carriers, the Tab is arguably the vanguard of the legion of Android tablets that are expected to arrive in the coming year.

    • Tablets

      • Android At CES Means Bad News For Apple iPad

        All this is about to change. Android is coming to strike back. CES will witness a whole new species of Android Tablets competing with the iPad. Just the way Android has beaten the iPhone in the mobiles space, Android is all set to beat iPad in the tablet segment.

      • Asus slips out keyboard equipped Android tablet

        Asus has outed its Android tablets at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), including one that cannily solves the problem of typing quickly on a touchscreen: it has a drop-down physical Qwerty deck.

      • See If You Can Spot The Problem With Microsoft’s Tablet Strategy

        Earlier today, computer maker Asus kicked off the Consumer Electronics Show a day early by announcing four upcoming tablet computers. Three of them run Google’s Android operating system. One runs Windows 7. See if you can guess which one is the outlier:

        * Eee Pad MeMO: starts at $499

        * Eee Pad Slider: starts at $499

        * Eee Pad Transformer: starts at $399

        * Eee Slate: starts at $999

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source community building: a guide to getting it right

    A diverse developer community is critically important to the long term viability of free and open source projects. And yet companies often have difficulty growing communities around their projects, or have trouble influencing the direction of the maintainers of community projects like the Linux kernel or GNOME. Sun Microsystems and AOL are prominent examples of companies which went full speed into community development, but were challenged (to say the least) in cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with community developers. There are many more examples – but often we never even hear about companies who tentatively engage in community development, and retreat with their tail between their legs, writing off substantial investments in community development. Xara, for example, released part of their flagship software Xara Xtreme for Linux as open source in 2005, before silently dropping all investment in the community project in late 2006.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Add-ons Review Update – Week of 2011/01/04


        * These posts written every 2 weeks explain the current state of add-on reviews and other information relevant to add-on developers. There’s a lengthy overview of the Add-on Review Process that should be read as a general guide about the review process.
        * Most nominations are being reviewed within 10 days.
        * Most updates are being reviewed within 5 days.

      • Game On Submissions: 1 Week Away

        Friendly reminder: the finish line for the Game On competition is just one week away on the 11th of January, 2011! If you want to build a game for the whole wide Web to use, this is your chance to make that game. We’re beyond excited to see what the possibilities will be, so we’re building a gallery to show your games to the world! This gallery will be opening soon after the contest ends.

      • How to develop a HTML5 Image Uploader
  • SaaS

    • Behind the Cloud Redux

      Behind the cloud it is still just computers – not the Great and All Powerful Oz – (and data, data connections and us IT professionals), but there is certainly a lot more that needs to be considered before connecting to it.

    • Cisco, Cloud Computing and Open Source Software

      The move to cloud-based infrastructure is one that is set to dominate networking discussions in 2011. One of the leaders in the move to cloud is networking giant Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), which provides servers, routing and switching infrastructure that enables cloud computing deployments.

      At this stage of cloud development and deployment, standards are still emerging, which is where open source software may be able to help.

  • CMS

    • Friendly and powerful: Drupal 7

      We are proud to present to you our best work yet – Drupal 7, the friendly and powerful content management platform for building nearly any kind of website: from blogs and micro-sites to collaborative social communities.

    • Drupal7 Released with Revamped UI, Semantic Tech, and More

      Drupal, the popular open source content management platform that powers websites like WhiteHouse.gov and NPR Public Interactive, got a fresh new look this week. It took three years, and the effort of thousands of contributors from more than 200 countries, but Drupal 7 is now available for free download at the project’s website. More than just a facelift, this release sports several important new features.

  • Healthcare

    • Reporters Not Welcomed At Corporate-Sponsored Rick Scott Inaugural

      Reporters did manage to catch up with the woman who briefly heckled Scott during the inaugural speech. Her basic complaint appears to be the fact that Scott would prefer to blow off his singular achievement as a human being — the record-setting fraud penalty that Columbia/HCA had to pay after systematically bilking Medicare under Scott’s leadership.

  • Business

    • Getting Down to the Business of Open Source

      All-in-all, “The Business of Open Source” offers some useful stuff to get the mental wheels turning after the holidays at the start of what will doubtless be another exciting and successful year for open source in business.


    • FSFE Newsletter – January 2011

      Get active: Help with Euro 2012 championship

      Help us gathering information about government’s Free Software usage. This information helps us to evaluate the current situation and of course it will decide who will be the European Free Software champion in 2012. Add the information on our website before March 25 and it will influence the next matches, add information continuously and it will help Free Software activists all over the world.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open-source animation movie comes to India

      The techies in Kerala have one more feather to add in their cap. India’s first open source movie concept is getting ready under Chamba Swathanthra Movie Project, started in Kerala.

      Open source films (also known as open content films and free content films) are films which are produced and distributed using free and open source software methodologies. Under this concept, the movie and its sources are made publicly available via an online download or by other means that are either free or with a cost that covers only reasonable reproduction expenses. About 20 people have already registered to film an open source animation movie in the website www.chambaproject.in and are working to make possible the open source movement in the Indian movie sector.

    • What you see is FOR THE WIN.

      I posted to foundation-l concerning the other way to get more people editing Wikipedia: the perennial wish for good WYSIWYG in MediaWiki.


      Eight times the number of smart and knowledgeable people who just happen to be bad with computers suddenly being able to even fix typos on material they care about. Would that be good or bad for the encyclopedia?


      Here’s how it works:

      1. An Internet site that allows people to search on an address to view a picture of that location.
      2. An address specific self-service advertising system (akin to adwords and earlier work on context sensitive advertising).
      3. A cell phone application that makes it easy for anyone to take a digital picture and upload it to the site.

      The twist in this approach comes in how it is built at the software level. It provides a way for tens of thousands to contribute and earn nearly all of the revenue it generates.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • PHP floating point bug crashes servers

      The bug will cause the PHP processing software to enter an infinite loop when it tries to convert the series of digits “2.2250738585072011e-308″ from the string format into the floating point format.


  • Why ProPublica is publishing web ads — and what that means for the nonprofit outfit’s funding future

    Check out ProPublica’s website today, and you might notice — along with blog posts, donation buttons, links to special projects, and the kind of deep-dive investigative journalism that the nonprofit outfit is celebrated for — a new feature: advertisements. Starting today, the outfit is serving ads on its site to complement the funding it takes in from foundation support and reader contributions, its two primary revenue streams.

    “This has been something we’ve been expecting to do for some time,” Richard Tofel, ProPublica’s general manager, told me in a phone call. “It was a question of when.”

  • Real, Live Practice Babies

    Once upon a time, infants were quietly removed from orphanages and delivered to the home economics programs at elite U.S. colleges, where young women were eager to learn the science of mothering. These infants became “practice babies,” living in “practice apartments,” where a gaggle of young “practice mothers” took turns caring for them. After a year or two of such rearing, the babies would be returned to orphanages, where they apparently were in great demand; adoptive parents were eager to take home an infant that had been cared for with the latest “scientific” childcare methods.

  • To tweet or not to tweet: How companies are reining in social media

    Social media like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn enable ordinary people to do international live broadcasting. It’s little wonder companies worry about the potential damage to their brand or reputation from wayward tweeting employees, and I am told many a celebrity’s agent has considered adding a “no drinking and tweeting” clause to his contract. Here’s a look at how some companies are writing (and rewriting) their social media policies to deal with the risks they face.

  • Science

    • Philosophy Lives

      Philosophy, Étienne Gilson observed, “always buries its undertakers.” “Philosophy,” according to Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, in their new book The Grand Design, “is dead.” It has “not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics, [and] scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” Not only, according to Hawking and Mlodinow, has philosophy passed away; so, too, has natural theology. At any rate, the traditional argument from the order apparent in the structure and operations of the universe to a transcendent cause of these, namely God, is wholly redundant—or so they claim: “[Just] as Darwin and Wallace explained how the apparently miraculous design of living forms could appear without intervention by a supreme being, the multiverse concept can explain the fine tuning of physical law without the need for a benevolent creator who made the Universe for our benefit. Because there is a law of gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”

    • The Next $100 Billion Technology Business

      That headline is the cover language from the current issue of Forbes magazine – for a story I wrote about DNA sequencing and, particularly, about Jonathan Rothberg and his new Personal Genome Machine.

      What we are declaring in this story is that DNA sequencing, the technology by which individual letters of genetic code can be read out, could be the basis for a $100 billion market that encompasses not only medicine, where sequencing is already being evaluated to help cancer patients, but also other fields like materials science, biofuels that replace petroleum, and better-bred crops and farm animals. There are even synthetic biologists who are talking about using biology to make buildings and furniture based on the idea that this will be better for the environment than current plastic and concrete.

    • The Central Dogma of molecular biology

      This video captures the beauty of “The Central Dogma” of molecular biology, which is that “DNA makes RNA makes protein”. (For you twitter fiends, this translates as “DNA>RNA>protein”.)

      This nicely done animation describes how proteins act similarly to “molecular machines” to copy, or transcribe, specific genes in the DNA of every cell into small, portable RNA messages, how those messenger RNAs are modified and exported from the cell nucleus and finally, how the RNA code is translated to build proteins — a process known as “gene expression.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why does health care in Cuba cost 96% less than in the US?

      Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — When Americans spend $100 on health care, is it possible that only $4 goes to keeping them well and $96 goes somewhere else? Single payer health care [government-funded universal health insurance] advocates compare US health care to that in Western Europe or Canada and come up with figures of 20–30% waste in the US.

      But there is one country with very low level of economic activity yet with a level of health care equal to the West: Cuba.

  • Europe

    • Five years with EU under focus of ministers, diplomats

      Full European Union membership is still a strategic goal for Turkey, several ministers and top diplomats have maintained, despite admitting making significant errors along the way, including a decrease in public support for this bid.

      On the second day of a week-long annual gathering of ambassadors, the Foreign Ministry hosted on Tuesday a session titled “A balance sheet on the fifth year of our EU membership process: Negotiations and reform process.”

    • China Promises Support for Euro Zone

      China’s leadership has launched a charm offensive aimed at Europe. The country’s vice premier, who is visiting Spain and Germany this week, has promised that Beijing will continue buying up government debt to support the troubled euro zone. He has also called for more bilateral trade.

    • ‘Federalism now’, Northern League insists

      Northern League leader Umberto Bossi on Wednesday insisted that the government must pass its pet federalism project by the end of the month.

      Bossi, Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s key ally, said the week of January 17-23 would be crucial to get the bill out of a parliamentary commission and on the way to final approval.

    • Expenses watchdog reminds MPs of level of public mistrust

      The watchdog introduced last year to govern MPs’ expenses today hit back against threats that it could be reformed or even scrapped with a poll reminding parliament of the depth of public mistrust they still face in the wake of last year’s expenses scandal.

      David Cameron issued a warning before Christmas that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority should reform and improve the way it works after complaints from every corner of the House of Commons of slow payments, troublesome IT systems and unfair rules. He set an April deadline for Ipsa to improve or face being forced to change, meaning it could even be scrapped.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Court OKs searches of cell phones without warrant

      The California Supreme Court allowed police Monday to search arrestees’ cell phones without a warrant, saying defendants lose their privacy rights for any items they’re carrying when taken into custody.

    • The conviction of Michael Thompson

      Does warning other drivers about speed cameras constitute obstructing a police officer?

    • Rise of Tibetan soft power

      Many Tibetans these days are rightfully feeling dismayed, believing that their culture and identity is increasingly being eclipsed and their hopes for a resolution to the Tibetan question dashed by the rise of China.

      But hold on a minute. Though China is already on the path to being an undisputed economic and military power, Tibet has also become a superpower in its own right.

  • Cablegate

    • US Gov’t Strategy To Prevent Leaks Is Leaked

      I didn’t realize that you needed to use such professional help to figure out if you had a disgruntled worker on your hands. Isn’t it the role of managers themselves to have a sense as to whether or not their employees are disgruntled? Though, I’m somewhat amused by the idea that the US government thinks that a psychiatrist or sociologist can accurately pick out who’s likely to leak documents.

      Not that it’s a bad thing to try to figure out if there are disgruntled workers or to make sure secure systems really are secure. I’m all for that. I just think it’s a bit naive to think any of this will actually prevent future leaks. You just need one person to get the info out, and there’s always someone and always a way to do so — as demonstrated by the fact that this document itself “leaked” so quickly. It seems a better situation would be to focus on making sure that any damage from such leaks is minimal.

    • Bradley Manning’s Trial – Update

      The army court-martial defense specialist and Bradley Manning’s attorney David E. Coombs published his Motion to Dismiss Manning’s case for Lack of Speedy Trial in his blog Army Court Martial Defense dot Info.

    • Shirky squares the circle

      There is even a delightful irony in his prescription. Among the groups Mr Shirky proposes that American embrace is WikiLeaks. His essay was evidently penned before the site was cursed by American officials for releasing hundreds of US diplomatic cables onto the net. America can benefit from promoting social media, he concludes, “even though that may mean accepting short-term disappointment”. If only he had known what was to come.

    • U.S. tells agencies: Watch ‘insiders’ to prevent new WikiLeaks

      The Obama administration is telling federal agencies to take aggressive new steps to prevent more WikiLeaks embarrassments, including instituting “insider threat” programs to ferret out disgruntled employees who might be inclined to leak classified documents, NBC News has learned.

      As part of these programs, agency officials are being asked to figure out ways to “detect behavioral changes” among employees who might have access to classified documents.

    • Israel said would keep Gaza near collapse: WikiLeaks

      Israel told U.S. officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse” while avoiding a humanitarian crisis, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by a Norwegian daily on Wednesday.

      Three cables cited by the Aftenposten newspaper, which has said it has all 250,000 U.S. cables leaked to WikiLeaks, showed that Israel kept the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv briefed on its internationally criticized blockade of the Gaza Strip.


      Palestinians say impoverished Gaza remains effectively a “prison” sealed off by Israel, and have called for an opening to allow normal trade and other links with the world.

    • From Judith Miller to Julian Assange

      Today it is recognized at the Times and in the journalism world that Judy Miller was a bad actor who did a lot of damage and had to go. But it has never been recognized that secrecy was itself a bad actor in the events that led to the collapse, that it did a lot of damage, and parts of it might have to go. Our press has never come to terms with the ways in which it got itself on the wrong side of secrecy as the national security state swelled in size after September 11th. (I develop this point in a fuller way in my 14-min video, here.)

      In May of 2004, the New York Times, to its great credit, finally went back and looked at its coverage of the build-up to war in Iraq. (Shamefully, NBC and the other networks have never done that.) But the Times did not look at the problem of journalists giving powerful officials a free pass by stripping names from fear-mongering words and just reporting the words, or of newspapers sworn to inform the public keeping secrets from that same (misinformed) public, of reporters getting played and yet refusing to ID the people who played them because they needed to signal some future player that the confidential source game would go on.

      In its look back the Times declared itself insufficiently skeptical, especially about Iraqi defectors. True enough. But the look back was itself insufficiently skeptical. Radical doubt, which is basic to understanding what drives Julian Assange, was impermissible then. One of the consequences of that is the appeal of radical transparency today.

    • Prentice was ready to curb oilsands: WikiLeaks

      Former environment minister Jim Prentice told U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson that he was prepared to step in and impose tougher regulations on the oilsands if the industry damaged Canada’s green reputation, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks.

    • WikiLeaks: the latest developments

      Iran’s president ‘slapped’ by the head of the revolutionary guard, a German CEO blasts French industrial espionage and the latest on WikiLeaks

    • December 2010 Web Server Survey

      Open source HTTP accelerator Varnish gained 545k hostnames. A recent blog post on the varnish site identifies WikiLeaks as one particularly prominent user of the software, with both cablegate.wikileaks.org (performance graph) and warlogs.wikileaks.org (performance graph) served by Apache via Varnish.

    • Is Openleaks The Next Haystack?

      As everyone who’s even half-awake knows by now, a bunch of people who used to work on Wikileaks have got together to work on Openleaks. From what I hear, Openleaks is going to be so much better than Wikileaks – it will have no editorial role, it will strongly protect people who submit leaks, it’s not about the people who run it, it’ll be distributed and encrypted.

    • WikiLeaks: cables indicate Japan asked USA for help fighting Sea Shepherd

      The Wall Street Journal notes that cables released by WikiLeaks show the Japanese government repeatedly asked the US for help against anti-whaling activist organization Sea Shepherd (covered many times on BoingBoing in the past). These repeated requests for assistance included asking the US to revoke the group’s tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization.

    • Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Prosecute Assange–For the U.S.’s Sake, Not His

      6. If the government can pressure private companies to silence Wikileaks, it can silence anyone.
      Senator Lieberman’s staff seemed to apply some governmental pressure to Amazon, which found a violation of its broadly worded “terms of service” to remove Wikileaks from Amazon servers. (The administration has not applied similar pressure, to my knowledge.) Paypal and Mastercard refused to process donations, applying a standard far lower than the standards applying to government.

      I agree with those who view these moves as an Internet “tax on dissent.” To put this in perspective, what if Amazon interpreted its terms of service to kick controversial politicians off its servers? What if Paypal stopped processing payments to controversial newspapers, political blogs, or … Klansmen and flag burners? What if Mastercard, after receiving calls from a Senator, refused to process donations to the Palin or Romney campaigns, while processing donations for the Obama reelection? The affected speakers would be harmed and would have no legal means to defend themselves by challenging the government’s attempt to silence them.

      The New York Times has raised concerns about these actions: “A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.”

    • EFF at SF4D January Meetup: Changes At S.F. City Hall & the Wikileaks Fallout

      EFF staff activist Rainey Reitman will be participating in a panel discussion on WikiLeaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Happy New Year from The North Sea. Or, Secrecy By Complexity

      The dramatic fall of Mexican oil production, and its largest field Cantarell, is often cited as a signature example of the problems facing Non-OPEC supply. Since the production highs of 2004-2005, Mexican production has lost over 800 kbpd (thousand barrels per day) which is fairly dramatic for a country that was producing around 3.4 mbpd as recently as 5-6 years ago. But as accelerated as these declines have been in Mexico, another oil producing region has seen even quicker declines.

    • The Decline of Available Energy to Society

      Quantification of the decline of available energy, which results from the increased cost of energy extraction, is difficult.

    • Dead birds in Louisiana; dead fish in Maryland, Brazil and New Zealand

      After reports over the weekend of thousands of dead birds falling from the sky in Arkansas and around 100,000 dead fish washing up on the shores of the Arkansas River, more mysteries abound with hundreds of birds dying in Louisiana, dead fish in Maryland, dead sardines on Brazil’s beaches, and hundreds of snapper floating in New Zealand waters.

    • China Lights, Global Floods, Australian Coal

      One detects a slow, ironic hooray welling up from the climate change community this week because after a year of intense weather that’s devastated food crops worldwide now an epic flood in Australia threatens to cripple the production of coal. Accounting for 30% of global energy supply–and ready to go higher as oil supply declines–coal was thought to be permanently relegated to the 19th century only a decade ago. Now, however, coal is the go-to energy source of the developing world, the 5 billion people now passing through the gears of industrialism. And Australian coal, both thermal and metallurgical, is called upon heavily to feed this soaring demand. But as flooding in Queensland, Australia’s northern coal country, spreads over an area as large 350,000 square miles, what will happen to coal production and the export of coal?

    • Ratcliffe coal protesters spared jail sentences

      Environmental activists who planned to shut down a coal-fired power station near Nottingham were spared jail today after a judge declared they acted with “the highest possible motives”.

      The campaigners were convicted of planning to break into Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in what would have been one of the most audacious protests by green activists in the UK.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • In The ‘Net Delusion,’ Internet Serves Oppressors

      From bloggers of Myanmar’s 2007 Saffron Revolution to tweeters of the protests that followed Iran’s 2009 election, the Internet has proven itself to be a tool in promoting change and democracy in the world.

      But Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion, argues that it doesn’t always work out that way.

    • Privacy vs. Security vs. Anonymity

      First, let’s establish some basic definitions. For the purpose of this blog post, the following definitions will suffice (I’ll address alternative definitions later):
      • Privacy: having control over one’s personal information or actions
      • Security: freedom from risk or danger
      • Anonymity: being unidentifiable in one’s actions

    • French Minister Uses Non-Existent Benefits to Sell LOPPSI 2 Legislation

      LOPPSI 2, the surveillance legislation in France, has been making headlines recently given that the legislation has re-entered political debate in recent weeks. The Interior Minister reportedly was out in the media telling everyone that one of the benefits of LOPPSI 2 is that it would stop cell phone theft in its tracks. Critics point to one tiny little problem with that sales-pitch – it doesn’t exist in the legislation in its current form and blocking stolen phones is already possible.

    • EU ratifies UN Convention on disability rights

      Following formal ratification, it is the first time in history the EU has become a party to an international human rights treaty – the United Nation’s (UN) Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The Convention aims to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy their rights on an equal basis with all other citizens. It is the first comprehensive human rights treaty to be ratified by the EU as a whole. It has also been signed by all 27 EU Member States and ratified by 16 of these (see Annex). The EU becomes the 97th party to this treaty. The Convention sets out minimum standards for protecting and safeguarding a full range of civil, political, social, and economic rights for people with disabilities. It reflects the EU’s broader commitment to building a barrier-free Europe for the estimated 80 million people with disabilities in the EU by 2020, as set out in the European Commission’s disability strategy (IP/10/1505).

    • Virginia DMV Revokes World’s Greatest License Plate

      A man in possession of the world’s greatest license plate has lost his battle with the Virginia DMV, who ridiculously claim it encourages oral sex with kids instead of just cannibalism. Here’s their predictably unfunny response to the funny plate.

      According to poster WHOWANTSBEEF at Reddit, he’s the owner of the infamous “EATTHE Kids First” license plate floating around the internet for years. Unfortunately for him, someone complained his plate was advocating something beyond hilarious cannibalism.

    • Court: No warrant needed to search cell phone

      The next time you’re in California, you might not want to bring your cell phone with you. The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can search the cell phone of a person who’s been arrested — including text messages — without obtaining a warrant, and use that data as evidence.

      The ruling opens up disturbing possibilities, such as broad, warrantless searches of e-mails, documents and contacts on smart phones, tablet computers, and perhaps even laptop computers, according to legal expert Mark Rasch.

    • Consultation on the cabinet manual: have your say on a document being described as the first step to a British written constitution

      Views are being sought by January 10th on a document being described by some as the first step towards a British codified constitution. The 150-page draft cabinet manual, drawn up on 14 December, aims to set out how the UK is governed. While the cabinet secretary, Gus O’Donnell, has stressed in his introduction that the manual is intended only as a source of information and guidance on governance, the draft document has instigated a debate over Britain’s constitutional status in part thanks to the Cabinet Secretary himself proclaiming in interviews before it was issued that it was an eagerly awaited stage on the road to full codification. The political and constitutional reform committee is now heading a consultation on the manual, with responses to be submitted at 10am on Monday 10th January if possible, and otherwise by Friday 28th January. This is a chance to help broaden the debate around a document that could prove the foundation to a written constitution for Britain.

    • Boston Tor Hackers, join us Saturday, January 15th

      We’re holding a Tor hackfest on Saturday, January 15th. The bulk of the Tor developers are in town and coming to this event.

    • The EU Must Stop Hungarian Net Censorship

      La Quadrature du Net joins the blackout operation launched by Hungarian civil rights activists who oppose the newly enacted media law. Everybody is invited to join the blackout and contact their representatives to oppose any kind of censorship in the European Union.

      This law imposes a stringent regulation of printed, audiovisual and online media which severely undermines the democratic foundations of the Hungarian republic.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Untrustworthy Computing

      This is the latest example of how that other OS hides an endless stream of problems in its bloat. This is about displaying an image on your computer screen and compromising security. It is another example of how an OS designed by salesmen to sell in a desktop monopoly was not designed to deal with a hostile environment on the network and should be avoided like the plague.

    • Paying through the nose for last-gen DSL

      If you haven’t yet taken a look at what’s happening in Canada to DSL pricing “you may want to, given that if North American incumbent ISPs get their wish — all broadband customers continent wide could be looking at paying an arm and a leg for aging DSL technology”.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jeff Koons Sends Cease-and-Desist to SF’s Park Life Store

      Among the items San Francisco gallery and store Park Life stocked for holiday gifts was that most innocent of objects — a bookend in the shape of a balloon dog, made by a company based in Toronto. But right before Christmas, Park Life co-owner Jamie Alexander received an unusual Christmas present.

      Lawyers for artist Jeff Koons sent a letter asking Park Life to stop selling and advertising the balloon dog bookends, return them to some mutually agreed upon address, tell Koons how many have been sold and disclose the maker of said bookends — a fact, Alexander said, that could easily be found via Google.

    • Copyrights

      • Open Letter by the Brazilian civil society to President-elect Roussef and Minister of Culture Ana Buarque de Hollanda

        The Points of Culture, the Digital Culture Forum, the Forum of Free Media, the development of free software, the initiative to revise the copyright law, the rejection of irrational proposals for the criminalization of the network, the construction of a Bill of Rights for the Internet (the Marco Civil) and the rejection of ACTA are well-known examples of this inclusive policy, and they are based on the guarantee of the right of access to the network and to knowledge, enabling a fertile and innovative environment for cultural production.

      • EFF Wins Landmark Ruling Freeing Promo CDs for Resale

        The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has shot down bogus copyright infringement allegations from Universal Music Group (UMG), affirming an eBay seller’s right to resell promotional CDs that he buys from secondhand stores and rejecting UMG’s attempt to claim that a sticker on a CD created a license agreement forbidding resale.

      • Copy some webpages, owe more than the national debt

        The Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine” is a set of snapshots of the Web over time. It’s a wonderful way to delve into the past (see Ars in its 1999 black-and-green glory to learn why “ERD Commander turns me on”), but it’s only possible thanks to rampant copying—and the potential copyright infringement that goes along with such copies. Thanks to US law, a successful copyright suit against the Wayback Machine could put the nonprofit Internet Archive on the hook for up to $150,000 per infringement.

        Multiply that $150,000 by the number of individual pages in the Archive and you quickly run into some serious damages.

      • ACTA

        • FFII requests proof ACTA’s criminal measures are essential

          The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) requests proof that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’s criminal measures are essential. The EU can only harmonise criminal measures if approximation of criminal laws and regulations of its Member States proves essential to ensure the effective implementation of a Union policy. The same is true for harmonisation by way of trade agreement. The FFII also requests documents which discuss the proportionality of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’s criminal measures.

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