07.24.11

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Links 24/7/2011: News Leftovers

Posted in News Roundup at 8:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 19 ways to do your bit for open source

    It’s undoubtedly good to give back to a community you take so much from.

    And in doing so, you can also help improve the software that you use every day, both for your benefit and for everyone else.

    Here are 19 ways you can help open source projects.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla jumps to deal with Google Toolbar demise

        The toolbar offers a variety of services, including a search box, a way to use bookmarks stored on a server, and a measurement of a Web site’s PageRank–a score Google gives that measures its influence in Google search results. But Google has chosen to do in the Firefox version.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenOffice Gets IBM Boost

      It’s curious how the recent OpenOffice saga has been downplayed by much of the media covering technology, but it seems pretty important to me. OpenOffice and LibreOffice are the two primary office suites available today that are both free and complete. There are others, too, but OpenOffice is the dominant suite, and LibreOffice is a fork of the OpenOffice code.

      The fork, which is a common phenomenon in open-source projects, was expected by many to supersede OpenOffice, but two things happened. First Oracle, who owned OpenOffice as part of the Sun takeover, wasn’t interested in maintaining what is essentially a labor of love, so it gave the whole thing to the Apache Foundation. Then this week IBM decided it wanted OpenOffice to stick around, so it handed over its entire Lotus Symphony Suite to the group and told them to use whatever they wanted.

    • Contest winner Ksplice wins big with Oracle buy

      Barely three years old, Cambridge startup Ksplice Inc. was bought by database giant Oracle Corp. for an undisclosed amount.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Fellowship interview with Bernhard Reiter

      Bernhard is founder and Executive Director of Intevation GmbH, a company with exclusively Free Software products and services since 1999. He played a crucial role in the establishment of FSFE as one of its founders, and architect of the original German team. Beside that he participated in setting up three important Free Software organisations: FreeGIS.org, FFII, and FossGIS.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Free Technology Academy needs your help!

      Since the first pilot in 2009, the FTA programme [5] has expanded from 3 to 13 course modules, including subjects such as “The concepts of Free Software and Open Standards”, “GNU/Linux systems”, “Economic Aspects of Free Software”, “Software Architecture” and many others. According to the spirit of the Free Software movement, all FTA learning materials [6] are released under copyleft licenses.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • FTC chairman backs national data security standard

      Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz said there should be a national data breach notification standard Thursday but declined to take a position on the SAFE Data Act that passed a House subcommittee Wednesday.

      Currently, 47 states have laws that require companies to notify consumers if their private data is breached, but there is no national standard.

      “You don’t want a crazy quilt patchwork of statutes even if most of them, or the vast majority of them, are reasonable,” Leibowitz said at a forum on privacy at the Brookings Institution on Thursday.

Leftovers

  • Civil Rights

    • Eric S Raymond: Thoughts On No-Anonymity Policy Of Google+

      Google is clearly making some execution mistakes in implementing this policy, such as deleting the accounts of people with single-word legal names that merely look like handles. I agree these mistakes need correction and that Google needs to have a more responsive appeals process, but I think over-focusing on mistakes and edge cases obscures the most interesting question: is Google right? Will a no-handles policy produce a social network with higher value to more users than a network with handles?

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Usage Based Billing Hearing Concludes: Has the CRTC Come to Competition Too Late?

      The CRTC’s usage based billing oral hearing concluded yesterday with a final decision expected some time in the fall. This long post focuses on the shift in CRTC thinking on the state of broadband competition in Canada but wonders whether it comes too late to make a difference. For many years, the CRTC has steadfastly maintained that the Canadian ISP market is competitive. For example, in the net neutrality decision from October 2009 it stated:

      Consistent with the current regulatory approach, under which the Commission has granted forbearance for retail Internet services, primary ISPs may continue to apply ITMPs to retail Internet services as they consider appropriate, with no requirement for prior Commission approval. This approach remains valid due in part to the large number of existing ISPs. A change in the approach would amount to interference with market forces and would result in inefficient regulation, which is contrary to the Policy Direction.

  • Copyrights

    • Access Copyright: It’s “Virtually Impossible” to Opt-Out Of Tariff

      Over the past few weeks, a growing number of Canadian universities have announced plans to opt-out of the Access Copyright interim tariff effective September 1, 2011 (the University of Calgary’s Gauntlet has an excellent article on the issue). Those universities join many others that opted-out from the start of the year. While many universities are moving on to alternative licensing approaches, the universities and Access Copyright continue to battle over the prospect of transactional (or pay-per-use) licensing which the universities want and Access Copyright refuses to grant. The AUCC filed its response on the issue earlier this week, which included some notable correspondence between Access Copyright and academic publishers.

    • ACTA

      • European Parliament ACTA study

        Act on ACTA refers to a European Parliament Trade Committee commissioned study on ACTA (pdf). The study highlights problematic aspects of ACTA and makes recommendations (see below). According to the study, “unconditional consent would be an inappropriate response”, and “There does not therefore appear to be any immediate benefit from ACTA for EU citizens”. The study confirms ACTA goes beyond current EU legislation. It recommends asking the European Court of Justice an opinion on ACTA.

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