Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 30/10/2009: GNOME 2.29.1 is Out, Many Distro Releases

GNOME bluefish



  • Audio

    • Podcast Season 1 Episode 20
      In this episode: Ubuntu 9.10 has been released! To celebrate, we talk about what's new and what's old, review a version of Ubuntu each, discuss what we love and loathe and set our minds on the future with Lucid Lynx. Koala Ho!

    • Podcast 65 Bashed In The Head

  • Desktop

    • Buntfu says buy or sell your Linux PC here and you'll earn free ad space. announced today that now when users list, bid, buy, invite or refers others to its Linux and BSD computer store . They will earn credits that will allow them to advertise their own ads on Buntfu for free.

    • Linux iPhone sync draws near
      One of the biggest hurdles in reverse-engineering the new protocol is the non-standard way in which the devices communicate over USB. The usbmuxd developers have been working to implement communications and now have a Release Candidate for the 1.0.0 version. Along with testing of this package, libgpod is now being updated to play nicely with the new database format and hash of the iPhone.

  • Mixed Reports

    • FOSS Goes to Washington, and Nvidia Keeps Its Driver Code to Itself
      Government breakthroughs aside, another interesting conversation came up on the blogs recently in response to a Phoronix interview with Nvidia developer Andy Ritger about the state of Linux graphics, gaming and drivers.

      One of Ritger's revelations: The Linux graphics driver download rate at is just 0.5 percent that of its Windows driver downloads.

      Also notable: "I don't think we would ever open source any of our cross-platform driver source code," Ritger said.

    • Some nice things happened on the way through life.....
      He reminded me that I had taken him to visit my two goddaughters, and as we sat on the floor playing with them, their father, Linus Torvalds, came into the room and talked with us a bit. Afterwards we left the house and he said that I was "never to do that to him again". "Do what?", I asked, "I told you I was going to see my god-daughters...."

      I had "forgotten" about these times, but of course I remembered them when he told me. I am glad when I can influence someone's life in a positive way.

      When I met Mark Spencer, the creator of the Asterisk project, he told me that a talk I gave at a conference in 1999 convinced him to make the project Free and Open Source. It is revelations like this that keep me going.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Ubuntu 9.10 'Karmic Koala' release gives KDE a boost
      Open source software vendor Canonical has released the new version of its Linux-based Ubuntu operating system, Ubuntu 9.10 -- codenamed "Karmic Koala" -- and with it comes a number of updates to improve the KDE experience.

      Ubuntu has been a GNOME-centric Linux distribution since its initial release, and has been criticised for treating KDE like a "second-class citizen" on the desktop with the Kubuntu distribution playing "catch up" to the standard Ubuntu.

    • GNOME

      • GNOME 2.29.1 released
        We're only a few days after 2.28.1, and 2.29.1 is already there! We have some brave people who did some amazing work for this release, with new features in various modules. And of course, the numerous bug fixes that we're all used to. It's really exciting to already be able to play with some nifty new features: it announces some great fun during the next few months. Of course, some tarballs are still in the 2.28 era, but that's mostly because the tarballs due mail was late (you can blame your favorite release team member for this -- hopefully, I'm not your favorite one ;-)).

      • Gnome Color Manager is born
        Richard Hughes is next in line to become another hero of Open Source Software for photography. After giving it some thoughts, he implemented a first draft of a Gnome Color Manager.

      • Measuring performance of GTK theme
        Does GTK theme make any noticeable change in performance? Yes. as I have mentioned in previous post - Top 10 Gnome Performance Tweaks, Here is a way to figure out how much does it matter. If you are interested in creating GTK themes you should know how to check performance of theme..

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Ubuntu Family

      • Good Karma
        As I mentioned, new alliterating animals appear on a regular cycle – Lucid Lynx will be padding along in April next year. In a way, that's just another manifestation of open source's “release early, release often” mantra – the idea being that faster iterations keep the code fresher, engage the community more and generally allows features to be added sooner.

        Contrast this with the approach the Microsoft follows. There, a new operating system appears once every few years – followed by an apparently interminable sequence of service packs and patches.

        The reason this is done is largely because of the need to create a “new” product, since Microsoft's model essentially consists of re-selling the same software to users again and again, but with each version looking sufficiently different that it can claim, with varying degrees of plausibility, that it's worth the extra money.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Screen Shots

      • Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 Post Installation Guide

      • New Features of Ubuntu 9.10
        1. Faster startup

        Canonical aims to deliver 10-second startups for the Ubuntu 10.04 release, which is due in 2010. In this version, they have already taken some important steps toward achieving this goal in which allows users to get to their desktop faster after booting. Tests also show that it can now boot in mere seconds on a good computer with a solid hard drive!

      • Ubuntu 9.10 final ships as IBM spins Ubuntu-based cloud distro
        Canonical's Ubuntu project released the final Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop Edition, featuring faster boot times, improved audio and 3G connectivity, an enhanced Netbook Remix, and more robust cloud support, among other features. The release follows IBM's announcement that it is launching an Ubuntu-based cloud computing distribution for businesses.

      • ZaReason Bolsters Ubuntu 9.10 Branding
        ZaReason is taking a small but significant step to help strengthen the Ubuntu brand. To help celebrate the Ubuntu 9.10 launch, the PC maker is offering “a stick of Ubuntu aluminum case badges with each computer ordered” October 29 through November 5.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 brings karma to the market
        The consumer world is more interesting. Ubuntu gives retailers the chance to sell hardware with higher margins and more control. Logical economics suggests this would lead over time to a considerable presence. Instead, it is entirely absent. Whatever is keeping Ubuntu out of the retail channel is not technical, economic or practical, and not the result of an untrammelled free market.

      • My operating system of choice: Ubuntu Linux
        The next time you see me on campus with my laptop, I’d be more than happy to show you the eye-catching Desktop Cube I use to navigate my four separate desktops. My computer, like other Linux machines, does not crash nor does it suffer from malware such as trojans, viruses or worms due to how the kernel handles security. This is exactly the reason why most servers which power the Internet use Linux instead of Windows and, to a lesser extent, Mac.

      • Ubuntu Linux 9.10 'Karmic Koala' Starts Its Climb
        On the server side of Ubuntu, enabling the cloud is also a key goal, courtesy of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), another enhanced feature of the Karmic release. UEC made its initial Ubuntu debut in the Jaunty Jackalope release in April with full enterprise support services following several months later. In the Karmic release, UEC is being more tightly integrated into the server as well as being enabled with a UEC store for applications. The application store packages cloud-ready application for easy consumption and deployment by enterprise users -- similarly to models like Apple's App Store for the iPhone.

      • Ubuntu Linux Tips & Tricks: Karmic FAQ
        Following tradition, here's my Karmic FAQ...

      • Save Bandwidth And Time Downloading Ubuntu 9.10

      • How To Enable Root (Super) User in Ubuntu

      • Caveats for audio in 9.10

      • Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Desktop Edition Review
        Overall I really appreciate any steps that Linux takes towards being a more viable Windows / Mac alternative. And who am I to complain? I don’t have to pay for Linux and have never really contributed to making it better. So overall I am happy with Ubuntu 9.10 and there are only a few things that I wish were better. The good news is that improvement of Linux on the Desktop is accelerating while desktop OS innovation seems to have stagnated due to the OS market being commoditized. As long as the applications that run on Linux continue to improve then the future of Desktop Linux seems bright.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 brings web sync, faster bootup, GNOME 2.28
        Other important upstream software shipped with Ubuntu 9.10 includes version 2.6.31 of the Linux kernel and Firefox 3.5, which adds new features like private browsing mode and support for the HTML 5 video element.

      • Distro Review: Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala
        I’m impressed with Karmic, it’s a very solid release with some nice improvements over Jaunty. The Software Centre is a great addition and I hope it will be pushed up stream to the likes of Debian. Canonical have been criticised in the past for not contributing enough back to the upstream projects they depend on, but I think that’s a little harsh. Let’s see what they do with this and then judge.

    • New Releases

      • Ubuntu 9.10 ships -- and we round up other new distros
        The following briefly summarizes in reverse chronological order some of the key Linux distribution announcements over the last two months...

      • 2009.10 release: 40 new appliances + Amazon EC2
        I'm proud to announce the 2009.10 release batch featuring:

        * 25 new additions to the TurnKey Linux virtual appliance library * added native virtual appliance packaging (OVF support included) * Amazon EC2 support, with EBS persistence * Core improvements: Ajax web shell, upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04.3

        The project recently celebrated its one year birthday. Since our last major release in March the project picked up steam with weekly downloads increasing over 500% (we just flew past 60,000 downloads). Not bad for a new server oriented project. With all the goodies in this new release, and all the stuff we're working on for the next release, TurnKey Linux's second year should be even more interesting.

      • Berry 0.99

      • PCLinuxOS 2009.4 (Phoenix)

      • Toorox 10.2009

      • Baltix GNU/Linux 4.2

      • Clonezilla 1.2.3-7

      • ALT Linux releases Platform Five products
        ALT Linux announces public availability of two products based on Platform Five: ALT Linux 5.0 Ark, a suite designed for making integrated solutions, and ALT Linux 5.0 School, a suite that is targetted at secondary and high schools.

      • [openwall-announce] fresh Owl ISOs; Linux; Packetfactory mirror
        1. Fresh ISO images of Owl-current for x86 and x86-64 (generated on October 25) are available on our FTP mirrors. There are also direct download links on the Owl homepage:

        These ISOs use Linux as the kernel, and, compared to last month's ISO snapshots, they contain updated versions of many packages (vsftpd, iptables, passwdqc, cpio, e2fsprogs, strace, VIM, and xinetd), as well as minor changes to some other packages.

      • New version of Owl security-enhanced operating system
        Openwall GNU/*/Linux (or Owl for short) is a free security-enhanced operating system with Linux and GNU software as its core, compatible with other major distributions of GNU/*/Linux. It is intended as a server platform.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ARM vs. Atom: The battle for the next digital frontier
      Consider: Intel sold its 1 billionth x86 chip in 2003. Its closest rival, AMD, broke the 500 million mark just this year. ARM, on the other hand, expects to ship 2.8 billion processors in 2009 alone -- or around 90 chips per second. That's in addition to the more than 10 billion ARM processors already powering devices today.

    • MontaVista's market-specific distros support Android, Atom
      MontaVista Software announced more Market Specific Distributions (MSDs) for its MontaVista Linux 6 commercial embedded development distribution. The MSDs are separated into industrial automation, multi-core networking, Android, automotive and portable multimedia, and multifunction-printer versions, and support processors from Cavium, Freescale, Intel, and Texas Instruments, says the company.

    • Cortex-A8 COM gains touchscreen board
      Gumstix is shipping a new expansion board for its Linux-supported, ARM Cortex-A8-based Overo computer-on-module (COM) series, aimed at small form-factor wireless devices. The Palo35 is designed to incorporate one of Gumstix's four Texas Instruments' OMAP35xx-based Overo modules, and supports a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen from LG, says the company.

    • IP camera boasts 1080p video at 30fps
      Texas Instruments (TI) announced a DaVinci-family, HD-ready Internet Protocol (IP) camera reference design. The Linux-ready DM368IPNC-MT5 is built by Appro Photoelectron, incorporates a TI DM36x-400 SoC, and can process H.264 main-profile 1080p video at 30fps while consuming only three Watts, says TI.

    • Maemo

      • Maemo Summit 2009: Fremantle, Harmattan, and N900
        Nokia's second annual Maemo Summit brought together 400 developers and power users of the Linux-based tablet community in Amsterdam over the October 9-11 weekend. Maemo Community Manager Quim Gil said the primary goal was to bring the community together for the social and interactive benefits, but the three-day program also provided a solid introduction to the new Maemo 5 release, a preview of Maemo 6, and a chance to work with the Nokia N900 — which ships with as close to a standard Linux distribution as the marketplace has seen delivered on a usable mobile phone.

      • Kickoff for KDE on Maemo
        A Qt developer has brought a piece of KDE to Maemo. After plasmoids, this week brings the Plasma desktop. Also a KDE Maemo mailing list.

    • Phones

      • HTC Hero gets Eclair update
        Although not officially announced, as all HTC Android smartphones rely on the same CPU, it shouldn't be long before we see other handsets getting this update too.

        Eclair is also now available to developers, as Google has just announced that the Android SDK supports the latest version of the OS.

      • Android gets a PowerPC port
        Mentor Graphics has completed an initial port of Google's open source Android mobile operating system to Freescale's PowerPC processor architecture. According to LinuxDevices, Freescale Semiconductor is "now accepting orders for a hardware / software platform for developing Android applications on Power Architecture PowerQUICC and QorIQ processors".

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Kubuntu 9.10 Release Adds Plasma Netbook Preview
        KDE-based distribution Kubuntu has released version 9.10 which adds a new variant showcasing the up and coming Plasma Netbook setup. The release also adds OpenOffice KDE 4 integration and extra installer beauty thanks to artwork from KDE's Oxygen team.

      • Canonical Matures Linux-based Netbook OS
        Canonical on Thursday updated its Linux distribution for netbooks, simplifying the interface and adding new programs that the company says will make it easier for users to access and use Web content.

        The Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix is designed to run basic Web and office applications typically used on netbooks. Netbooks are cheap and lightweight laptops characterized by limited computing resources and small s\creen sizes.

Free Software/Open Source

  • French Government Chooses Mozilla To Replace IBM and Microsoft For 130,000 Desktop PC's
    The French Government's public finance department will switch 130,000 desktop PC's to Mozilla's email and calendar applications. Mozilla's Thunderbird email service, Lightning Calendar and an open-source groupware will replace IBM Lotus Notes and Microsoft Office.

  • ‘Bill Gates of Belgium’ Fights SAP With Free Software
    Free programs such as Linux first challenged Microsoft Corp. in software that runs personal computers. Linux has gradually gained enough acceptance that government agencies and even some corporations are willing to try such programs for some of their most important tasks: applications that run billing, payroll and purchasing.

  • I’ve Seen the Data: Economy Goes Down, Open Source Goes Up
    I know everyone's been saying it: The economic downturn will drive more people to open source. Because OpenLogic sells support on 500 projects as well as open source governance services and solutions, we get a very broad view of enterprise use of open source. After analyzing our Q3 and 2009 results, I've seen the data, and I'm here to tell you that open source is looking good.

  • Where the battle lines are drawn
    To where do we take the battle in support of OpenSource and Free Software? We are told to choose our battles carefully and not to fight where it is least effective.

  • gvSIG Mini launchment. An open-source tile map viewer for cell phones
    We are proud to announce that gvSIG Mini has been born. gvSIG Mini is a brand-new open-source project (GNU/GPL) aimed to cellular phones.

  • Rule the Web with Four Firefox Add-ons
    Most of the time, we think of the Web as static: We accept sites the way they are and grumble about the problems with sites that aren’t entirely optimal. With Firefox, this isn’t necessarily the way it has to be. With a few well-placed add-ons, you can tweak some of your favorite sites to be just what you want them to be.

  • Sun

    • 6 must have addons to enhance your experience
      Almost everybody does a certain amount of word processing on their systems. One of the most popular word processing apps around is OpenOffice, the 3rd version of which as at yesterday (October 28) has been downloaded a hundred million times.

      What makes this great office suite wonderful to use is the extent to which you can customize it with the thousands of freely available addons. These addons add extra features to make working with Openoffice very interesting. Below are 6 of such addons you definitely need to install to take your to the max.

    • Oracle unveils plans for MySQL, GlassFish, NetBeans, and OpenOffice
      To be completely honest, none of Oracle's plans come as a surprise. And at the end of the day, the FAQ is not legally binding, nor is it a commitment to deliver products, code, or functionality. Oracle clearly states this at the end of the FAQ. This too is completely understandable. Oracle, like any other company with shareholders, will have to evaluate and adjust its plans and intentions on a product-by-product basis over time. Oracle has a fiduciary duty to do so.

  • Richard Stallman

    • Richard Stallman’s interview
      BSDBetty kicks off the show with an interview with Richard Stallman before his talk at the Edinburgh University Informatics Colloquium, with particular focus on ethics in the field of software. Transcription of this interview can be found at Indymedia Scotland.

    • ep0473 :: Tit Radio Ep 011.1a - RMS and Aftershow
      BSDBetty kicks off the show with an interview with Richard Stallman before his talk at the Edinburgh University Informatics Colloquium, with particular focus on ethics in the field of software. Transcription of this interview can be found at Indymedia Scotland.


    • GNU IceCat 3.5.4 released
      This new version includes all the bug fixes present in Firefox 3.5.4 plus some minor changes.

    • Encrypting with GNU Privacy Guard
      While the best way to learn how to use GPG is to actually use it, Emmett shows you a how to perform a few typical tasks.

    • FSCONS 2009
      Join us at the third annual FSCONS, a meeting place for social change, focused on the future of free software and free society. Open discussion and brainstorming are two of the primary factors that pave the way for change. In FSCONS, we seek to engage, inform, sometimes provoke, and always motivate social change through these discussions.

  • Releases

    • Zenoss 2.5 released
      More details about the release can be found in the release notes. Zenos 2.5 is available to download for Mac OS X and various Unix and Linux systems. VMware virtual appliances for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux are also provided. Zenoss is released under version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv2).

  • Government

    • Berners-Lee to develop government data access point
      The government has asked web inventor Tim Berners-Lee to create a single point of access to public data as its data site begins to take shape.

      It is hoping this access will lead to new technologies and services being developed.

      Prime minister Gordon Brown asked Berners-Lee to look at access to government data in June, after Barack Obama's administration launched an open source data site.

    • Open-Source Obama
      We don't know a lot about how it was done. We do know, thanks to NetCraft, that the White House is running a typical LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack to support Drupal. The actual credit for designing the new Linux-based infrastructure goes to GDIT (General Dynamics Information Technology), a well-known government IT contractor.

  • Openness

    • UK Will Urge EC To Legalise Mashups, Format-Shifting, Content Sharing
      It wants to “move toward a pan-European approach for copyright exceptions in the digital age”, allowing more use of copyrighted works - just one of a range of measures that must be continental because “the UK cannot act independently”.

      Lammy, speaking at the C&binet creative industries gathering on Tuesday, put his ambitions full-square in European policymakers’ court.

    • Adobe is Bad for Open Government
      So next week, Adobe's having aconference here to tell Federal employees why they ought to be using "Adobe PDF, and Adobe€® Flash€® technology" to make government more open. They've spent what seems to be millions of dollars wrapping buses in DC with Adobe marketing materials all designed to tell us how necessary Adobe products are to Obama's Open Government Initiative. They've even got a beautiful website set up to tout the government's use of Flash and PDF, and are holding a conference here next week to talk about how Government should use ubiquitous and secure technologies to make government more open and interactive.

    • WHATWG puts HTML5 on the home straight
      From the WHATWG group's point of view, work on HTML5 is almost complete. A blog entry from project manager Ian Hickson states that development has reached the 'last call' stage. This applies to the "Web Workers" and "Microdata vocabularies" standards. The FAQ describes just two further stages in the standardisation process before the standard becomes widely deployed.

    • Call for Participation: Join the Open University Campaign!
      The Open University Campaign recognizes that scholastic advancement occurs most readily in an environment of sharing, openness and collaboration. By providing a cross-index of leading universities, the project will add important comparative measurements to encourage increased academic openness. Our hope is that these resources will provide a platform from which openness activists can endeavor to improve the scholastic environment.


  • The New Operations Manual from the F.B.I.
    In September 2008, the Bush administration changed domestic intelligence-gathering rules. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's interpretation of those rules was recently made public when the bureau released a redacted copy of its "Domestic Investigations and Operation Guide" in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit.

  • Finance

    • Capmark Financial files for bankruptcy: reports
      Financial Group Inc., one of the largest commercial real-estate lenders in the U.S., has filed for bankruptcy protection, according to reports Sunday.

    • Did N.Y. Fed Engineer Sweetheart Deal for AIG Debt Holders?
      A year after the onset of the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, details continue to emerge of the sordid secret deals cut by the Federal Reserve in bailing out certain financial giants. The very latest, courtesy of Bloomberg News, alleges that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, under the leadership of Timothy Geithner (now U.S. Treasury Secretary), engineered a sweetheart deal to pay off holders of AIG debt at par, rather than the 40 cents on the dollar that AIG negotiators had been pushing for.

    • What Goldman Sachs Can Learn From Bill Belichick
      Note to Goldman Sachs: The charm offensive isn’t working.

      Goldman executives have been pulling out the stops trying to persuade the public that Goldman bankers aren’t the greedy, heartless profiteers that the firm’s record profits and bonuses might suggest. They have been arguing that Goldman has profited, while contributing to the greater good. The firm’s unflappable finance officer David Viniar told analysts during an Oct. 15 conference that Goldman took advantage of trading opportunities in the post-crisis environment because “we knew that we had an important role to play in supporting global capital markets and economies.”

    • Whitney Tilson: We Need To Break Up Goldman Sachs

    • Goldman Sachs Blasted For Sucking On Lehman's Corpse (GS)
      The New York Post highlights an apparent contradiction at Goldman Sachs, with respect to its Lehman exposure.

    • BBC: Buffett on Goldman Sachs deal
      When the market was fearful last September, Mr Buffett was greedy, putting $5bn (€£3bn) into the investment bank Goldman Sachs on favourable terms.

      He says he was only able to negotiate the deal because not many people had $5bn to hand at that particular moment.

    • The boom in squid-puppet manufacturing
      This was the scene in front of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's apartment building Sunday, as photographed by TIME's Deirdre van Dyk (who came across it after running a race in Central Park). The protesters were mad about, among other things, a Goldman-backed company shutting down the Stella D'Oro biscuit factory in the Bronx and moving production to Ohio.

    • Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) Picketed at Chicago Offices
      Stirred up by union activists in Chicago, protesters picketed the offices of Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), and then went to the Sheraton hotel, where the annual American Bankers’ Association convention was held to protest there as well.

    • Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) See Protesters on Monday
      The Chicago offices of both Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) saw picketers and protesters on Monday morning, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The protest was part of a larger multi-day protest that focused on the American Bankers Association (ABA) annual meeting. Individuals carried signs and chanted slogans voicing their concern at bank executives for profiting from the mortgage crisis and directing their anger at what they perceive as predatory lending practices.

    • Goldman Sachs And Morgan Stanley Cannot Afford To Remain Silent On Galleon Charges
      Late last night the Financial Times broke the news that the hedge fund firm Galleon Group paid $250 million to its Wall Street banks last year in return for received market information that other investors did not get.

      Those banks need to come forward immediately and explain what information they were selling to Galleon

      The FT's report didn't specify which banks provided the information but noted that Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs were Galleon's top providers of hedge fund services and prime brokerage. Both declined to comment on the story. But the allegations are so explosive that both firms are going to have to start talking.

    • Galleon Paid Bankers Millions For Extra, Non-Public Info (MS, GS)
      The latest development in the Galleon story makes Wall Street banks, like Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (GS), look pretty bad.

  • AstroTurf

    • How Business Propaganda Hijacks Canadian Democracy
      A book review in western Canada's Georgia Straight newspaper asks, "Do you ever wonder why so many of the Fraser Institute’s right-wing commentaries get into Canadian daily newspapers? Perhaps you’ve been disturbed by the spate of articles about the inevitability of Canada forming closer ties with the United States. Maybe you’re troubled by the constant media attacks on Medicare or on the scientific consensus about global warming.

    • Donald Gutstein's Not a Conspiracy Theory pries the lid off think tanks
      Do you ever wonder why so many of the Fraser Institute’s right-wing commentaries get into Canadian daily newspapers? Perhaps you’ve been disturbed by the spate of articles about the inevitability of Canada forming closer ties with the United States.

  • Health

    • Health insurance industry secret weapon: Swine flu
      Ho ho ho. But then I read about what the swine flu is doing to healthcare insurer profits in Brett Chase's Portfolio blog, Heavy Doses.


      Now I'm rethinking whether The Onion's report really is satire. Maybe Republicans do oppose efforts to combat the swine flu. Because, perversely, no swine flu would mean higher profits for the healthcare insurers which would mean a better chance of tougher reforms getting passed.

      Ha. Ha. Ha.

    • Sebelius Prods Senate to Move on Surgeon General Nominee
      A GOP stall on all Health and Human Services nominees has left the department without a surgeon general during a period of a global flu pandemic, prompting the HHS secretary to call for Senate action.

    • Dude, Where's Our Surgeon General?
      Because Senate Republicans are blocking approval of Dr. Benjamin's nomination in homage to the health insurance industry. Republicans are trying to pressure the Obama administration to end its efforts to hold health insurer Humana accountable for sending a misleading mailer out to its Medicare Advantage members to try and scare them out of supporting health insurance reform.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Trademark: The tort of choice for censors
      That won’t stop a wealthy plaintiff, though — and who’s wealthier these days than public employee unions? — from suing, however. After all, there’s pretty much never fee-shifting in defendants’ direction under the Lanham Act, although the statute does provide for it (or for that matter for frivolous copyright claims) But good luck on that.

      So trademark infringement remains the legal claim of choice for those seeking to shut down smaller, poorer message opponents. File yours today!

    • Chamber Sues the Yes Men
      The Chamber of Commerce is suing the Yes Men over the parody press conference the group pulled off last week.

      The Chamber has filed a civil complaint in the US District Court of Washington, DC, accusing Yes Men Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos (also known as Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, respectively) of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising. The Chamber's suit also lists several members of the DC-based activist group the Avaaz Action Factory as co-defendants. The conduct of those who organized the event was "destructive of public discourse," the Chamber argues.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • TalkTalk threatens legal action over Mandelson's filesharing plan
      TalkTalk, the second largest internet service provider in the UK, has threatened to launch legal action if business secretary Peter Mandelson follows through with his plan to cut off persistent illegal filesharers' internet connections.

    • ISP's attack government anti-filesharing tactics
      THE UK'S TOP Internet service providers have opposed Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson's daft plan to cut off persistent illegal filesharers' Internet connections.

      Talktalk has even said that it feels the scheme infringes upon people's rights and it will be happy to go to court to have it struck down.

    • Mandelson and “Three Strikes”: Not So Much “Dark Lord”...
      Unjust, because it allows the media industries to function as prosecutor, judge and jury, with only minimal oversight by proper legal authorities; unjust because it cuts people off from what is fast becoming a necessity of modern life, as the UK government itself is promoting; unjust because it penalises an entire family for the alleged actions of one member: something that in war would amount to a disproportionate and vindictive act of reprisal - a war-crime, in fact.

      It is unworkable because it will be almost impossible to tell whether copyrighted material is being transmitted legally or not; and ultimately it is unworkable because people will simply start encrypting material before downloading.

    • Mandy confirms he'll cut off filesharers
      Labour's plan is that the music industry will monitor what people are downloading, and on their say-so (not in any court of law), internet subscribers will receive two warning letters and then have their internet access cut off. The music industry will not have to prove that the subscribers have being doing anything wrong; instead Mandelson's plan is that they will act as judge, jury and executioner. And it's not just the subscriber who will be cut off, their whole household will be too; this collective punishment, if done in wartime, would be a war crime under the Geneva Convention.

    • We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to abolish the proposed law that will see alleged illegal filesharers disconnected from their broadband connections, without a fair trial.

    • The Globalive Decision: Time To Pick Competition Over Canadian Ownership
      It is tempting to blame the CRTC or the incumbent telecom providers (who filed the complaint over the Globalive structure) for this mess, but the real culprit lies with outdated legislation that prioritizes Canadian ownership over a competitive Canadian marketplace.

    • Live From Hollywood: Google’s Music Onebox Launches, Powered By MySpace And Lala
      Here’s how the new feature will work: Onebox will let users stream songs directly from Google’s search result page, and will also include additional content like tour information and music videos (the actual content shown will vary depending on the partner — more on that later). Enter a query for “Use Somebody”, and you’re going to see a small ‘play’ button in your search result that lets you stream the Kings of Leon song in its entirety, or buy the song. Clicking on the play button will bring up a small browser window that will immediately start streaming your song. If you enter the name of an artist rather than a song title as your search query, Google will present a handful of popular songs by that artist with multiple ‘play’ buttons.

    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Made $8,397 On Great Gatsby; His Daughter Gets $500,000 Per Year From It
      The article this comes from goes into great detail into F. Scott Fitzgelald's earnings over his lifetime, and what's striking is that with a different sort of copyright system in place, he barely seems to rely on copyright royalties at all to make money. Instead -- like most jobs -- he recognizes he needs to keep producing new works to earn money, selling stories to various publications, along with working for Hollywood studios in addition to his novels. How much things have changed.

    • Debunking The Idea Of A Music Tax For The Creation Of New Music
      Now, I've gone into great detail on why a music tax is a terrible idea in the past -- but that was addressing ideas like Jim Griffin's Choruss plan (which, by the way, we're still waiting to find out who the tens of thousands of students who are supposedly already using it are, but we'll leave that aside for now). This idea, from Chris Ovenden, is slightly different. It is not a "download license" or a "download tax" as it's really a fund to pay for the creation of new music...


      Which, of course, brings up the third problem: you still have a bureaucracy, and how does it determine who to distribute the funds to? How is it possibly fair for someone -- rather than the fans themselves -- to determine who gets the money.

    • Tommy Lee Gets Interactive With Fan Generated Content
      Ron Kujawa writes to us about The Public Record and Tommy Lee's project to collaborate with fans to produce his next album, Public Mayhem. Aiming to interact with fans and get more attention, Tommy Lee has posted some rough "stem" tracks online for anyone to download, and he's encouraging fans to upload their own music that might go with those tracks.

    • Widespread availability of online video means less P2P use
      Has Keyboard Cat captivated you in 2009? You're not the only one. Online video has continued to grow in popularity while P2P is on the decline, according to the latest data from Sandvine. The trend is good for both content producers and users alike.

    • DRM by any other name: The latest from Hollywood
      And, of course, once you've stored the video, it's just not that hard to extract it. And it always will be. The challenge for Hollywood is to change the incentives of the game. Maybe sell me a flat-rate subscription. Maybe bundle it with my DSL provider. But make the experience compelling enough and cheap enough, and I'll do it. I regularly extract video from my TiVo and copy it to my iPhone via third-party software. It's practically painless and it happens to yield files that I could share with the world, but I don't. Why? Because there's real downside (I'd rather not get sued, thanks), and no particular upside.

    • Med students hoist P2P Jolly Roger to get access to papers
      A study provides evidence that file sharing takes place with some very specialized media: the research papers published in scientific journals.

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