01.25.12

Links 25/1/2012: KDE 4.8, Pandora is Back, Open webOS 1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • JavaScript dashboard framework jSlate open sourced

    Rasmus Berg Palm has released his JavaScript dashboard framework jSlate as GPLv3 licensed open source. jSlate allows users to create dashboards which retrieve their data from any web-accessible service. The system, which runs as a service on the jslate.com web site, allows users to create dashboard visualisations based on Highcharts JS interactive JavaScript charts and D3 data-driven documents. Each dashboard element is represented as a window which contains the visualisation and behind each is a JavaScript script which can be edited by the user to completely customise the chart to their needs.

  • Be lazy, be fast

    At its best Open Source software is about accelerating the pace of innovation by enabling unconnected groups to collaborate across organisational borders. It is a software development process that allows people to freely share ideas and implementations among a community of peers while still focusing on their own local needs and business drivers

  • Interview with Ivan Idris author of NumPy 1.5 Beginner’s Guide

    Today’s interview is with Ivan Idris, author of NumPy 1.5 Beginner’s Guide a book for developers or scientists with a little Python experience and wanting to test NumPy’s capabilities. We talk about the book, how it came to be and the experience writing it. Enjoy!

  • Events

    • OSI Reform At FOSDEM
    • Failure Is An Option

      Failure is a word that, understandably, carries a negative connotation. Nobody wants to fail, really. But failure, if you’re doing anything worthwhile, is inevitable. What’s important is to plan for failure, learn from it, try to avoid damage and do your best to recover gracefully. That was the topic of Selena Deckelmann’s keynote, “Mistakes Were Made,” Sunday morning at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE).

    • Canberra to host 2013 Linux conference

      The conference will be held from January 28 to February 2, which includes the Australia Day public holiday. This is not unusual as it happened in Brisbane in 2011 too.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Patches Five Chrome Bugs, Pays $6000 in Bounties

        Google earlier this week updated the Chrome Stable channel to 16.0.912.77 for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome Frame, patching four privately reported vulnerabilities in its browser. How come only four, you ask, when the headline clearly mentions five? Actually the fifth was patched a couple of weeks back, but Google mistakenly failed to include it in the release notes.

    • Mozilla

      • JSRuntime is now officially single-threaded

        A single SpiderMonkey runtime (that is, instance of JSRuntime) — and all the objects, strings and contexts associated with it — may only be accessed by a single thread at any given time. However, a SpiderMonkey embedding may create multiple runtimes in the same process (each of which may be accessed by a different thread).

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 2.5 available with GNOME or LXDE

      Following several months of development, the GhostBSD project has announced the release of version 2.5 of its BSD distribution. According to its developers, this update to GhostBSD is the result of many parts of the system being “updated, tweaked and fine-tuned”.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Committee Passes “Open Source City” Resolution

      A Raleigh City Council committee gave its stamp of approval to a resolution that could make public city data easier to access and change the way the city buys software.

      The Technology and Communications Committee, a new group of city councilors created late last year, approved the Open Source Government resolution Tuesday night. It will go to the full council next week.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Contest Highlights R Language’s Big Data Analysis Power

      Revolution Analytics, a commercial provider of software, services and support for the open source R language, awarded $20,000 to contestants in an event designed to highlight the business usefulness of R.

      Hadoop is an open source software framework that enables organizations to process huge amounts of data, huge as in petabytes. R is an open source software programming language popular with statisticians who have long used it for data mining and creating predictive models.

Leftovers

  • Google’s SPDY Incorporated Into Next-Gen HTML, Offers TCP Enhancements

    Google’s efforts to improve Internet efficiency through the development of the SPDY (pronounced “speedy”) protocol got a major boost today when the chairman of the HTTP Working Group (HTTPbis), Mark Nottingham, called for it to be included in the HTTP 2.0 standard. SPDY is a protocol that’s already used to a certain degree online; formal incorporation into the next-generation standard would improve its chances of being generally adopted.

  • Security

    • Windows security breaches on the rise

      It seems like every year, near the closing of the year, Windows viruses and malware seem to creep up from nowhere. Late 2011 was no exception. Beginning in November, Windows viruses and malware started to appear and we experienced a few get through on Windows 7 64-bit with full Symantec Endpoint Protection running, with users running Internet Explorer. Yep, they slipped right on through multiple layers of protection. Meanwhile others mentioned an increase of other popups and strange behaviour with fake “Windows repair” utilities and such. Needless to say, for those supporting Windows, it made for an ever increasing need for extra time to put out these fires. Things seem to have settled down after the new year.

  • Finance

    • Romney Parks Millions in Cayman Islands

      Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Mitt Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven.

      A spokesperson for the Romney campaign says Romney follows all tax laws and he would pay the same in taxes regardless of where the funds are based.

    • Sorry, Mr. Speaker, Credit Unions are Not GSEs

      For the second time in a recent presidential debate where he seeks to answer his opponents’ charges about his firm’s years of quite profitable (and, according to most sources, completely legal although an issue he has found tough to defend in today’s “bubble burst” real estate market) consulting engagements with Freddie Mac, former Speaker Newt Gingrich has now twice misstated facts about credit unions so severely in his attempt to deal with these GSE-oriented questions that it has to be either an intentional effort to mislead or he does not understand what credit unions are.

      Either is troublesome for credit unions. And, now that he has done it two times in two separate debates, it cannot be a mere oversight on his part. One of those problems, lack of candor or lack of comprehension, must be the case. And the record must be set straight.

      Sorry, Mr. Speaker, credit unions are not GSEs. Period.

    • David Stockman on Crony Capitalism
  • Privacy

    • Facebook is Mass Surveillance, Says Free Software Founder

      Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation, remains the most outspoken public personality against “non-free” software and recently lashed out against commercial software services that restrict “freedom”.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Stop throttling video games, CRTC tells Rogers

      Rogers Communications is breaking the law by deliberately slowing down certain types of Internet traffic, says Canada’s telecom regulator.

      In a letter made public Jan. 20, the CRTC gives Rogers two weeks to show it’s complying with the rules.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Would a SOPA Version of the Canadian Copyright Bill Target Youtube?

        My post this week on the behind-the-scenes demands to make Bill C-11, the current copyright bill, more like SOPA has attracted considerable attention with mainstream (National Post, La Presse) and online media (Mashable, Wire Report) covering the story. The music industry alone is seeking over a dozen changes to the bill, including website blocking, Internet termination for alleged repeat infringers, and an expansion of the “enabler” provision that is supposedly designed to target pirate sites. Meanwhile, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada also wants an expansion of the enabler provision along with further tightening of the already-restrictive digital lock rules.

      • Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales: MPAA chairman Christopher Dodd should be fired

        Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales had fighting words for Motion Picture Association of America chairman Christopher Dodd, calling the former Senator and current lobbyist out on his recent threats and pronouncing that the MPAA should fire its chief.

        “Candidly, those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake,” Dodd said to Fox News recently. “Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”

      • EMI VP Comes Out Against SOPA/PIPA; Says The Answer To Piracy Is Providing A Better Service

        Over the years, I’ve definitely found that there are plenty of folks working inside the major record labels (and big studios) who really do get what’s going on. The problem is often that their voices are drowned out by others (usually the older guard) who are pretty stubborn in their anti-innovation, anti-consumer ways. It’s always nice, however, when someone from the inside pops up and says something sensible in public, and those folks deserve kudos. The latest is Craig Davis, EMI’s VP of Urban Promotions.

      • My thoughts on S.O.P.A.

        IN THE former Soviet Union, in the late 1950s and 60s, many books that questioned the political system began to be circulated privately in mimeographed form. Their authors never earned a penny in royalties. On the contrary, they were persecuted, denounced in the official press, and sent into exile in the notorious Siberian gulags. Yet they continued to write.

      • Hollywood Astroturf Group Releases Ad Saying It Needs SOPA To Shut Down Megaupload… Five Days After Megaupload Is Shut Down
      • Free Press Action Fund Calls on Congress to Return MPAA’s Dirty Money

        WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, the Free Press Action Fund called on Congress to return campaign donations from the Motion Picture Association of America.

        In an interview last week, MPAA President Chris Dodd, a former U.S. senator, threatened to cut off campaign donations to members of Congress who vote against legislation the MPAA supports.

      • The Tech Industry Has Already Given Hollywood The Answer To Piracy; If Only It Would Listen

        While many in the press have really enjoyed claiming that the SOPA/PIPA fight has been about Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley, we’ve been pointing out for a while just how silly that is. Months ago, we pointed out that it’s a strange “fight” when one side (Silicon Valley) appears to give the other side all the weapons it needs to succeed (only to watch Hollywood then aim those weapons at its own feet). It’s been pointed out time and time again that Hollywood has a habit of looking a gift horse in the mouth… and accusing it of piracy, when it later turns out to be the answer to Hollywood’s prayers.

      • ACTA

        • New Petition Asks White House To Submit ACTA To The Senate For Ratification

          As we noted in our post about people just discovering ACTA this week, some had put together an odd White House petition, asking the White House to “end ACTA.” The oddity was over the fact that the President just signed ACTA a few months ago. What struck us as a more interesting question was the serious constitutional questions of whether or not Obama is even allowed to sign ACTA.

          In case you haven’t been following this or don’t spend your life dealing in Constitutional minutiae, the debate is over the nature of the agreement. A treaty between the US and other nations requires Senate approval. However, there’s a “simpler” form of an international agreement, known as an “executive agreement,” which allows the President to sign the agreement without getting approval. In theory, this also limits the ability of the agreement to bind Congress. In practice… however, international agreements are international agreements. Some legal scholars have suggested that the only real difference between a treaty and an executive agreement is the fact that… the president calls any treaty an “executive agreement” if he’s unsure if the Senate would approve it. Another words, the difference is basically in how the President presents it.

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