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Links 02/11/2009: New Distros Benchmark, Firefox 3.6 Beta

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Gazette: November 2009 (#168)
    # Mailbag # Talkback # 2-Cent Tips # News Bytes # A Short CGI Script for Passing 404s to Another Server # Away Mission - Upcoming in November '09 # Setting up a MySQL Cluster for your Linux desktop # A 'revisited' guide to GNU Screen # HelpDex # Ecol # XKCD

  • Linux in a Nutshell, 6th Edition
    I was going to swear that, with each successive edition of this book, the page count got larger and larger, but I checked, and it's stayed almost the same over the last three editions. O'Reilly says that the 4th edition was 944 pages long, but the 5th and 6th editions (the 6th being the latest) are both 942 pages. When I got my review copy in the mail and opened the box, the book seemed larger than I expected for some reason.

  • How to set up dual boot

  • Revolutionary Technology for Highly Accurate Lightning Detection -- Now Also Available on Linux€®
    The central processing software for Vaisala's lightning detection sensors is now available on a Linux€® operating system. For the user, this means added flexibility, ease of use and lower ownership costs.

  • Thesaurus embraces the penguin
    VAR Thesaurus has donned its teachers cap to launch a range of Linux-based training courses.

    The courses are available in both public and unscheduled sessions to teach IT staff a range of Linux skills, ranging from the fundamentals to advanced administration and troubleshooting.

  • adds Free Trial of Linux Backup Software
    Microlite BackupEDGE (available from has long been the industry leader in professional Linux Backup Software. Their extremely versatile, robust, and secure software has been protecting professional Linux installations for over 15 years. With functionality that rivals software costing 10 to 20 times as much, it's no wonder more Linux servers are protected with BackupEDGE.

  • Skype To Provide Open-Source Linux Client
    There's a new blog post on entitled Skype open source. It's officially confirmed that "an open source version of [the] Linux client [is] being developed." This open-source client is part of some larger offering that supposedly will be coming down the pipe at Skype. These efforts will also help them get Skype adopted within Linux distributions and seeing Skype on other new platforms.

  • Server

    • 5 O’Clock Roundup: Sony still failing, Google jumps comparison ad train, Zuckerberg employee wears penguin outfit to work
      OK, who dressed as Mark Zuckerberg for Halloween? Click it for full size. That’s the real Zuckerberg at left in this photo being sent around the Internets, taking an important meeting at Facebook with an employee whose passion for Linux led him to dress as Tux the penguin on the day before Halloween.

    • Smart Cube Software Stacks for i, Linux Get Revved
      Remember the Smart Cube appliances for small business? Whatever happened to those? IBM launched these Power and X64 server appliances with some (but not a lot of fanfare) in the United States this past May running the i 6.1 and SUSE Linux 10 SP2, and then we never really heard much about these appliances again. As part of the Dynamic Infrastructure announcement blitz on October 20, IBM updated the software stacks at the heart of these appliances.

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel's Special Driver For Poulsbo Uses Gallium3D
      Yesterday afternoon we ran a story on a new Linux driver for the Intel Poulsbo chipset, which right now is known for being notorious with its troubling Linux support. However, Intel apparently had been working on a new "special driver" that the Linux Foundation was showing off recently in Munich at a mobile development camp. Many details were not shared on this forthcoming driver, which reportedly will be released with Intel's soon-to-be-out Moorestown platform, but this morning we have a surprising number of details on this "special driver" from Intel. Martin Mohring of the Linux Foundation, who was the one showing off the Poulsbo driver on the two Moblin netbooks from the videos shown yesterday, sent over some intriguing details to Phoronix this morning.

    • Intel Wants Servers to Have Open FCoE Inside
      Two years ago, Robert Love, a senior software engineer at Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), unveiled a new open source project called Open-FCoE to the Linux community (see Intel Opens Up FCoE).

  • Applications

    • XBMC Media Center
      Strangely, XBMC works less smoothly as a standalone product than an application on top of one of Linux distributions.

    • Scanning in Linux with iscan and XSane

    • Today, I say don’t bother
      No, what has me in a funk is really just the fact that most of the interview seemed to be spent asking what chance there is running Windows programs on Ubuntu, or Apple software on Ubuntu. The last question that I remember offhand was whether or not iTunes is available in Ubuntu.

    • Solang
      The feature list as written by Santanu several months ago. I am thinking this would be applicable for Solang on Karmic.

      * Paginated views for memory and speed efficiency (in git already) * Icon zooming in browser view (in git already) * Undoable delete feature for tags and photos (partially in git) * Undoable basic editing (flip/rotate/scale) (underway) * Batch editing of pictures (hopefully) (TBD) * An importer from flickr (Underway) * A basic exporter that exports selected photos to a directory (hopefully through a basic editing pipeline) (TBD)

    • Scribus for mathematical posters
      As you may already know, I presented a poster at a conference recently, and did the set up with Scribus, the texts with LaTeX with the Beamer and Beamerposter packages.

  • Games

    • Quake III, HD video demoed on netbooks with GMA 500 graphics, Moblin Linux
      Most netbooks released over the past year have shipped with Intel Atom N270/N280 processors and GMA 950 graphics. But a handful use a different chipset designed to provide longer battery life and enhanced graphics performance. While the Intel Atom Z520/Z530 processors are noticeably more sluggish than their N2xx counterparts, the GMA 500 graphics chipset shows some promise, and some netbooks with this chipset even include HDMI ports to output HD video to an external display.

  • KDE

    • KDE makes me feel so platt
      The teams have to translate at present 163711 strings. Lox Saxon (5) is at 92%, German (11) at 87%. There is a reason why Lower Saxony won’t make KDE4 in Low Saxon its National Desktop Environment for the public sector. Hardly anyone speaks it in the capital Hanover where according to certain legends the reference dialect of German (Standard German) is spoken, a city which ironically had been under English rule for quite some time.

    • K3B – Free CD/DVD burning tool for KDE Linux
      K3B is the official CD/DVD authoring tool for Linux KDE desktop. It allows you to create, burn, copy, CD’s and DVD’s. Create audio CD/DVD, Data discs perform disc-to-disc copies, it also includes a DVD ripping function.

    • Scripting Kate
      In my last blog I explained Kate's scripting features in KDE 4.4. To better understand how scripting can be used let's look at some use cases.

      * join lines: This feature request wants the action "join lines" to not join different paragraphs, i.e. not remove empty lines. We have not implemented this wish, as there are probably users who prefer the current behaviour. This request can be fixed by writing a small script that joins the lines according to the user's wishes.

    • 5 System Administration Tools for KDE
      Keeping any computer system running can be some work. It would be nice if we never had to do any type of maintenance or troubleshooting, but no operating system has reached that point. Many desktop Linux users have server administration experience and are quite comfortable dropping to the command line and tinkering with their system. Not only do they know how to do this, it is the method that makes them comfortable.

  • Distributions

    • CentOS 5.4 vs. OpenSuSE 11.2 vs. Ubuntu 9.10 Benchmarks
      With the release of CentOS 5.4 last month to bring this community enterprise operating system on par with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4, we decided it was a good time to see how the server / workstation performance between this new CentOS release compares to that of Ubuntu 9.10, which was released last week, and also how it performs up against the release candidate of OpenSuSE 11.2. In this article are these benchmarks.

    • Sabayon 5 GNOME review
      Sabayon is a Gentoo-based, multi-purpose, GNU/Linux distribution. The latest version is Sabayon 5, released October 2, 2009. Two iso images, Sabayon 5 GNOME and Sabayon 5 KDE, are available for download. This post is a review of the GNOME edition.

    • How to turn a Linux distribution LiveCD into a LiveUSB
      LiveCDs these days provide the simplest way to test a Linux distribution. Pop in the CD, reboot and then watch the distro’s default desktop unfold before you. With flash drives being relatively cheap these days, booting your favorite Linux distribution for a clean install from a USB seems to be an interesting option. And that is possible with one tool even if you’re distribution doesn’t already offer LiveUSB images for download – UNetbootin.

    • Mandriva Triage Team still needs your help
      If Triage Team is better and, then, faster triaging bugs, assigning them, handling them better... you will see that upcoming Mandriva releases will become even better, because assigning and handling reported bugs properly, will allow maintainers to get them faster and to be able to fix them sooner.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat, Inc. - SWOT Analysis - Aarkstore Enterprise
        Red Hat is a provider of open source solutions for Internet computing. The company provides custom engineering services to develop end-to-end software solutions primarily for use in the UNIX and Linux markets and also provides support and maintenance services for these software solutions.

      • The juice works.
        During the time before and following Beta release I actually took some of my limited spare time and found and filed some bugs. A couple ended up as duplicates, of course. Any time you have a Linux distribution with millions of users you’re bound to have a few people running into the same problem. Hopefully one of them takes the time to file a bug, knowing that will help developers track down the problem, and make life better for their fellow users. It’s easy to say, “Well, I don’t need to file this, because someone other than me will get around to it.” But of course, if everyone says that, then no one files the bug and nothing gets better.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Karmic Koala NBR on Asus EEE 901
        Very nice, very simple install with perfect results.

        Well done Ubuntu!

      • New Ubuntu version makes software installation easy
        One of new features of the latest version, Ubuntu 9.10, which might appeal to an average user, is the ease with which the software can be added and removed. Some users might have found this process difficult about Linux distributions generally. Ubuntu has been making improvements on this front over the years.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Software Center: For better or worse
        The latest Ubuntu release is out, being used, and being praised and shot down at all points. So far, the vast majority of my experiences have been outstanding. The hardware recognition is tops, all of the interfaces are slick and stable, the boot time is getting faster and faster, many sound issues have been resolved, and software is just as easy to install as it has been in the past. Or is it?

      • Allmyapps application store now available for Ubuntu 9.10
        Ubuntu 9.10 users can now use, the easiest PC setup solution which makes people lives easier when it comes to finding, installing and reinstalling their favorite desktop applications.

      • Installing Software from Ubuntu Software Center (Karmic Koala)

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 166
        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #166 for the week October 25th - October 31st, 2009. In this issue we cover: Ubuntu 9.10 released, Ubuntu Open Week, Ubuntu One Blog: File sync status update, Canonical Blog: Landscape 1.4 Adds UEC Support, Asia Oceania Membership Board - 27 Oct 09, New MOTU, Ubuntu LoCo News, Meet Francis Lacoste, Accessing Git, Subversion and Mercurial from Bazaar, Commenting on questions, The Planet, Full Circle Magazine #30, Ubuntu Rescue Remix, and much, much more!

      • Centrify: Ubuntu Server Edition 9.10 Meets Active Directory
        Frankly, I wish more software development firms raised their hands and pledged to support Ubuntu Server Edition 9.10 — but I suspect most Canonical software partners are waiting for Ubuntu Server Edition 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), a Long Term Support (LTS) release scheduled for April 2010.

      • Linux Theme Mockups for Firefox 4.0/3.7

      • I did the deed (yet again)
        Within an hour, the packages had been downloaded and I clicked the button to start the upgrade. Then, I went out with my daughter. When I got home, I found a dialog box asking me whether to keep or overwrite a configuration file related to the printing system (I kept it). After that, the upgrade finished in about 10 minutes and my laptop restarted.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 – First Impressions
        I really like it. It seems to boot much quicker and the new ATI driver really works better with my machine.

      • An overview of Ubuntu 9.10 variants
        The much-awaited Ubuntu 9.10 was released as scheduled last week. For the benefit of those readers who are new to the Linux world and who might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of available options, here is a brief recap of the official release line-up.

      • Kubuntu 9.10 – Karmic Koala
        I for this review I was running on an AMD 1.8ghz system with 512mb ram, NVIDIA Driver Version 173.14.20 (on a GeForce Fx 5200) so its a pretty old system. None the less it flew like an off the shelf modern PC.

      • Can the Karmic Koala Take on Win 7?
        The Karmic Koala is getting a warm reception among FOSS enthusiasts, but opinions are still strongly divided over whether this version of Ubuntu -- or indeed, any Linux desktop OS -- can win over mainstream computer users to any great extent. "You REALLY need to know what you are doing to make [Linux] 'just work,'" says blogger hairyfeet. "Those people have already joined the team."

      • New Ubuntu appliances from TurnKey
        TurnKey co-founder Liraz Siri has announced the availability of the 2009.10 release batch, which includes 40 new and updated appliances and support for Amazon EC2. TurnKey Linux is an open source project with the goal of developing a free virtual appliance library that, according to the developers, "features the very best server-oriented open source software".

  • Devices/Embedded

    • JetCard 5400-w Embedded Linux PCI-104 Single Board Computer with -40-80℃ Operating Temperature for Efficient & Secure VPN Network Construction in Enhanced Industrial Control Applications!
      Korenix releases JetCard 5400-w Embedded Linux PCI-104 Single Board Computer with -40-80℃ Operating Temperature for Efficient & Secure VPN Network Construction in Enhanced Industrial Control Applications.

    • Touchscreen PC is designed for outdoor mounting
      Axiomtek has introduced a 12.1-inch touchscreen computer designed to be mounted outdoors, in kitchens, or onboard ships. The fanless GOT-812 includes a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, up to 2GB of RAM, two serial ports, gigabit Ethernet, and a PCI Express Mini Card slot, the company says.

    • CGL-ready ATCA system moves to 40Gbps
      RadiSys Corp. announced a fourth generation Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) platform for 4G wireless infrastructure that supports 40Gbps (40G) throughput. The RadiSys ATCA 4.0 initiative will offer an AdvancedTCA (ATCA) 40G chassis and 40G switch that are backward-compatible to its current 10G Promentum line of processing blades.

    • STB vendor spins $80 Netflix player
      Roku, Inc. announced two new models to join its $100 Linux-based Roku HD digital media player. The $80, DVD-quality Roku SD and the 802.11n-enabled $130 Roku HD-XR support streaming video playback from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, and MLB.TV, says the company.

    • Network appliance supports Core 2 Quad
      Win Enterprises announced a 1U network appliance that runs Linux and supports Intel's Core 2 Quad processor.

    • Texas Instruments announces new low power IP camera reference design providing H.264 main profile 1080p at 30 frames per second and 30% performance boost
      Additionally, the IP camera reference design includes a complete Linux application software package to help customers differentiate their end camera.

    • Phones

      • ARM: multicore mobiles coming next year
        Speaking at a showcase of ARM-powered devices in central London - encompassing everything from the new Nokia N900 Linux smartphone to a remarkably thin prototype netbook - the company's mobile segment manager, Laurence Bryant, told PC Pro that smartphone performance is set to take a considerable leap forward.

      • Palm Hires AMD/ATI Linux Core Engineer
        Another day, another high-profile outside hire for Palm Inc. Phoronix reports today that Australian native Matthew Tippett, engineering manager for Linux Core Engineering at AMD/ATI, will be joining Palm as their new head of Linux kernel development.

      • Nokia N900 Review
        Finally, the N900 runs Maemo, a Linux-based operating system that is backed by major players like Intel. Where does the Nokia N900 fit in the current smartphone landscape?

      • Android

        • The Less Than Free Business Model
          “That’s right; Google will pay you to use their mobile OS. I like to call this the “less than free” business model. This is a remarkable card to play. Because of its dominance in search, Google has ad rates that blow away the competition. To compete at an equally “less than free” price point, Symbian or Windows Mobile would need to subsidize. Double ouch!!

        • The Androids are coming ... another Twitter?
          The Androids are coming, and you'll need to watch out for them. I saw one on Wednesday, and it was lime green, with antennas and a kind of stocky build.

          Actually, it was the logo for the Android open-source operating systems for mobile phones.

          Android is going to become a household word in a very short period of time. It'll join other newcomer phrases like Twitter and Facebook in our daily conversations.

        • Droid by Motorola mobile phone
          This is a fantastic phone, but would we personally choose it over the Hero? Not, if the Hero, as suggested by HTC, will be getting Android 2.0

        • Android Army Pumped for All-Out Attack on iPhone
          How could Google draft more customers into the Android army and diminish the iPhone’s market share? Focus on the iPhone’s weaknesses, of course. The iPhone’s lack of background-processing capability (i.e., the ability to run multiple third-party apps at once) could push multitasking professionals toward Android. And the notoriety of iPhone’s exclusive carrier in the United States, AT&T, could compel consumers to embrace Android phones carried by Verizon, which has a bigger network and a better reputation for service.

        • Freescale aims Android at embedded kit
          Freescale Semiconductor has begun taking orders for a Power Architecture development platform for Android-based products, opening a new category of embedded devices to Google's open-source mobile operating system.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • FLOSS Weekly 93: Puppet
    Puppet, the framework and tool that allows you to manage large numbers of servers.

  • Eye and hair test
    At Blender conference I showed an animation of an eye. Because the textures are procedural we might be able to use this eye model to quickly bake high resolution textures for not so important characters. For our main characters I hope to actually model the iris for close ups, so that we get nice shadow casting. The eye movements are some 2.5 f-curve noise modifiers, only to get some life into the animation.

  • Fellowship interview with Leif-Jöran Olsson
    LJO: We had been working with sgml and later xml-technologies for a long time, annotating the corpus materials used in the research. We were using eXist-db in our work and wanted to contribute back. This resulted in an active involvement in the project. SQL databases are good for strictly regular or structured (the S in SQL) relational data. Xml on the contrary is all about hierarchy and sequence. This is the power of the information model. Making irregular relations and annotations of

  • Open Source Science? Or Distributed Science?
    I was asked in an interview recently about "open source science" and it got me thinking about the ways that, in the "open" communities of practice, we frequently over-simplify the realities of how software like GNU/Linux actually came to be. Open Source refers to a software worldview. It's about software development, not a universal truth that can be easily exported. And it's well worth unpacking the worldview to understand it, and then to look at the realities of open source software as they map - or more frequently do not map - to science.

  • Master of codes
    The Google Summer of Code (GSOC) is a popular programme that’s catching on among software techies and enthusiasts of Free Software.

    Sarath Lakshman, a fifth semester Computer Science student of the Model Engineering College, Kochi, has cleared the GSOC for a second time in 2009. ``My project is named Pardusman. It is a custom GNU/Linux distro creator from the web. We have numerous variants of GNU/Linux for different purposes, these variants are called GNU/Linux distributions.

  • Application Development: 11 Apache Technologies that Have Changed Computing in the Last 10 Years
    The Apache Software Foundation turns 10 this year and will be celebrating this landmark milestone with the largest ApacheCon event in November. Although a completely volunteer organization, the ASF has helped create some of the most important technologies underpinning the modern Internet.

  • Open source software – its about opportunity
    There are partnerships to be had: vendors, consultants, and the community-at-large are ready to help you.

  • Relentless Advance Of Technology
    One major trend with the Internet is the open source environment. Open source software is where the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed with or without modification. There are many examples such as Linux, SourceForge or Wordpress. The speed and adaptability of the open source environment cannot be ignored.

  • NREL Releases Open-Source Live Solar Mapping Project
    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released The Open PV Mapping Project showing the progress of solar installations on private roofs from 2000 to (currently) now, beginning with a flurry of activity in California, then moving to Wyoming, of all places, and WIsconsin. Gradually the states turn yellow and then orange over time as they add more solar power.

  • Marketing materials from ILS vendor touches off a flurry of reaction
    Late last night, news of a document from SirsiDynix VP of Innovation Stephen Abram slamming open source library systems began circulating via Twitter. Within a day, it has drawn much commentary, both pointed and cautious, from those in the heated debate between open source and proprietary integrated library system (ILS) software.

  • AED Unveils Groundbreaking End-to-end Open-Source Solution For Mobile Data Collection
    GATHERdataâ„¢ can be applied anywhere in any sector—it is now being deployed in pilot implementations aimed at improving health and education programs in Liberia, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Uganda.

  • Project to encourage Free and Open Source Software use at school level
    There is a reason why the geek image has been stereotyped as a bespectacled IIT lad with a nervous smile on his face. Only the young have the time and the inclination to fiddle around with Operating System kernels and programme source codes just for the fun of it.

    To promote such curiosity-driven self-learning among the young and to encourage the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) at the school level, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Chennai, will be releasing an open source platform ‘EduBOSS’ soon.

  • BHU among top-10 in Google Summer of Code
    Two Indian institutions -the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IT-BHU) and Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani- are among the top-10 institutions worldwide in Google Summer of Code (GSoC)-2009.

    The GSoC is a global programme that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects. This annual programme awards stipends to hundreds of students who successfully complete a requested free software / open-source coding project during the summer.

  • ESR pressure made feminists host detractor's code
    Pressure from open source luminary Eric S. Raymond led to geek feminists hosting code created by one of their detractors, which otherwise would have disappeared for good, a post on Raymond's blog reveals.

  • CoPress Pushes Innovation, Shows Value of Open-Source Platforms
    Daniel Bachhuber used to look at his college newspaper's Web site and think about how much better it could be. Frustrated by the limitations of's content management system, which was run by an outside company, Bachhuber started researching Drupal, Django and WordPress -- platforms that would allow the site to have control over its content and source code.

  • Open Source is disruptive tech for developers
    We have a proven track record in contributing to the Open Source R&D, including significant contributions to projects such as Apache Web Services, OpenBRR, the Sahana Disaster Management project and OLPC. Our support to Sahana and OLPC projects has been part of our sustainability initiatives, which focus on making an impact in humanitarian and educational areas thereby helping to create a more digitally-inclusive society.

  • QuIC's Rob Chandhok on why mobile open source matters to Qualcomm
    One potentially interesting announcement last week was the news that Qualcomm was setting up a subsidiary called Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) to focus on open source mobile technology.

  • Aberdeen’s Suretec Telecom helps holiday dreams come true with open source call recording
    Aberdeen-based Suretec Telecom is in the business of supporting a company that makes holiday dreams come true. Specialising in tailor-made holidays, luxury hotels, unique tours and cruises, Dreamticket luxury holidays is a niche holiday provider to the UK travel market, and it prides itself on operating cost-effectively without ‘middle-men’ so it can keep its prices keen. And it’s based in Surrey.

  • 5 Free Linux Apps You Can't Do Without
    Like a digital Swiss Army knife, these are the Linux utilities and tools that are so useful you won't know how you ever did without them

  • My First Impressions of Google Wave
    A few weeks ago I received a Google Wave invitation from my friend David Knopf (after publicly begging for one in my post Hoping to Surf the Google Wave). Since then, I've had a chance to use it and I've seen the good, the bad and the ever-present potential of the tool. While it does have tremendous potential, I think some of my initial concerns as outlined in my post A Curmudgeonly Look at Google Wave, have proven true.

  • ApacheCon 2009 Free Live Stream
    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is holding ApacheCon US 2009 from November 2-6 in Oakland, California. The foundation for a free webserver is also celebrating its 10th birthday. In honor of this 10th birthday, the celebration includes three days of the conference program available as a FREE Live stream.


  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 3.6 beta promises speed injection
      Mozilla pushed out a first beta version of Firefox 3.6 on Friday, ahead of a planned release by the end of the year.

      The delayed release promises improved JavaScript performance and faster load-up, addressing a sluggish start problem that has become an issue with recent builds of the open source browser. Firefox 3.6 will also be easier to customise as well as introducing the ability to natively display video in a full screen display.

    • Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6 Beta 1
      Following several delays, Mozilla has officially announced the availability of the first beta for version 3.6 of its open source Firefox web browser, code-named Namoroka. The development release is based on version 1.9.2 of the Gecko web rendering engine and includes a number of updates.

    • Mozilla unveils first Firefox 3.6 beta
      Mozilla late on Friday released the first beta of Firefox 3.6, a minor upgrade slated to wrap up later this year.

    • Opera Skin For Firefox
      Version 3.6 of the Firefox web browser introduces several new design options for theme creators that are not available in previous versions of the Internet browser including the latest official release version Firefox 3.5.4. One of the first themes to make use of this new features is the Operetta theme which is available as an experimental theme from the official Mozilla Firefox website.

    • What does your browser say about you? (2009 edition)
      Long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I posted the infamous article titled “What does your browser say about you?”. It got like 400 comments, got me on Digg, Reddit and crashed my server at least twice. Every once in a while I still get comments on it but these days they are mostly among the lines of:

      “Dude, Firefox 2.0 is ancient! What about Chrome and IE8?”

    • Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries
      Type designers and Web designers have reached a consensus on a format specification for embedding fonts on the Web. Mozilla is already including support for the font format in Firefox 3.6, and wide adoption could come sooner than many expected.

  • Business

    • Open-source CRM and ERP: New kids on the cloud
      When Nikon decided to merge and consolidate customer data from more than 25 disparate sources into one system, officials didn't want the burden of maintaining it in-house, yet whatever they went with had to meet all their requirements and work picture-perfect.

  • Licensing

    • Send the GNU GPL to the Amazonia
      Amazon's announcement that it is launching cloud-based MySQL services comes at a convenient time. It shows how money to Free Software development can come from unexpected sources, without a proprietary license appearing anywhere in the picture.

      This is not really good news for Free Software. However, Amazon gives us the best evidence that MySQL can be "monetized" by offering it in a Software As a Service setting. This can happen with GNU GPL licensed software and without receiving any special permission from the copyright holder, contradicting all claims that there is no viable way to fund development of a Free Software project without a dual license. The impatient reader can jump directly to the section where I deal with the cloud, but I invite you to follow all the argument.

    • Attacks on GPL suggest it is winning
      For the GPL and the FSF, the increasing vehemence of the attacks on it should signal that it’s doing something right. In fact, many “somethings” right.

  • Openness

    • Germany’s WAZ media – learning from bigger players and going open source
      Regional newspaper WAZ Media has learned to punch above its weight online by looking at what bigger publishers are doing digitally and seeking out free and open source software and platforms to use, explains the outgoing CEO of its new media Katharina Borchert.

    • What should open source do in a car?
      C|NET’s own Antuan Goodwin revealed yesterday Ford is looking to build an open source platform for its Sync services, its in-vehicle informatics interface. (Picture from C|NET.)

    • Paranormal Activity is User Generated Content!
      Crowd sourcing means the “delegation of a task to a large diffuse group usually without monetary compensation”. It has been used, for example, to create Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia and Linux, the operating system that is used on over 40% of the world’s servers.

  • Releases

    • So I heard you like data
      Released Mound Data Manager 0.4.0 final early this morning, just before the DST switch.

    • New tiny project: lddsafe
      Some days ago we could all read that “ldd”, a tool which prints shared library dependencies, should not be run on untrusted binaries. I read it first on Hacker News and later it hit Slashdot’s frontpage. In some operating systems, this is stated clearly in the man page for the program, while in others it’s not mentioned at all. I belonged to the camp that didn’t know about it and I was a bit surprised. I supposed ldd was doing its job by examining the binary file and not by running it setting some special environment variables.


  • Anti-vaccine fear versus science
    Amy Wallace's Wired feature, "An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All" looks at the life and times of Paul Offit, vaccine inventor and advocate, and the anti-vaccine pseudo-science he battles as he attempts to convince parents not to give in to fear and disinformation, and to follow the science that will keep their kids safe.

  • District Judge Concludes E-mail Not Protected by Fourth Amendment (But See Correction)
    The issue in the case is whether the government must notify a person when the government obtains a search warrant to access the contents of the person’s e-mail account. Judge Mosman concludes that Rule 41 and 18 U.S.C. 2703(a) require the notice to be served on the ISP, not the account holder, as a statutory matter. He then rules that there is no constitutional requirement of notice to the account holder because the Fourth Amendment does not apply to the e-mails under the third-party doctrine.

  • FBI database error results in firing
    An error in a national criminal record database cost Eschol Amelia Studnitz her job.

  • 1,600 are suggested daily for FBI's list
    An error in a national criminal record database cost Eschol Amelia Studnitz her job.

  • WWW

    • ICANN allows non-Latin domain names
      ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has approved the use of internationalised domain names (IDNs), web addresses made up of non-Latin characters, such as Chinese, Korean and Arabic and other languages.

    • Uganda: Why the Web Inventor is Visiting the Country
      Stern also says the Sir Tim Berners-Lee will meet stakeholders involved in the use of the Web in Uganda, grassroots developers, traditional participants in Linux User Group as an important category of people. The Linux User Group (LUG) of Uganda has set their next meeting in November in order to host Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

  • Finance

    • Default Are YOU Ready for the Next Crisis?
      Another conclusive hallmark is rising income inequality as the insiders manipulate economic policy for their enrichment at the expense of everyone else.

    • CIT: A Different Kind of Bankruptcy?
      Don't hold your breath for the regulators to stop any of it, in fact, it appears as though bankruptcy is totally okay and somehow translates into being solvent, at least if that's the criteria banks are using for lending these days.

    • Griffin Rebounding From 55 Percent Loss Builds Bank (Update1)
      Rohit D’Souza was on vacation with his family in India in May 2008 when he got a call from Ken Griffin, founder and chief executive officer of Citadel Investment Group LLC. Griffin wanted the banker, who had just quit his job as head of equity trading and sales at Merrill Lynch & Co., to help him do something no other hedge fund had ever tried.

    • Did Galleon Pay Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley for Front Running Info?
      The immediate question that comes to mind is: Were Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs providing "color" to Galleon on trades their other clients were making? Definitely sleazeball and unethical. OR are their computers somehow rigged with the exchanges so they see trades before other traders do? Definitely sleazeball and unethical.

    • Peterson: Huge Goldman Charitable Gift Needed to Calm Anger
      The billionaire philanthropist Peter G. Peterson contends that Goldman Sachs would have to donate “at least $1 billion” to charity to calm the public’s anger over the huge bonuses being paid to its employees.

    • Goldman Sachs' PR effort paying off
      So how is Goldman Sachs' (GS) media work progressing? Well, CEO Lloyd Blankfein is certainly doing its part. "Normally pretty reserved, Mr. Blankfein is on a charm blitz to set the record straight, including interviews, speeches and town halls," reports the Globe and Mail.

    • Janet Tavakoli: Goldman’s Lies of Omission
      In my opinion, David Viniar’s (CFO of Goldman Sachs) comments in the fall of 2008 were a lie (see endnote), and for that matter, Lloyd Blankfein’s (CEO of Goldman Sachs) later comments to the Wall Street Journal were disingenuous. In the context of what was happening near the time of AIG’s implosion, the key question was “What is going on between Goldman and AIG?” Their rhetoric surrounding this issue is a deft dodge. They may claim they didn’t “technically” lie, but Goldman’s business exposure to AIG posed both credit risk and reputation risk. They seem to overlook elements of the former and put insufficient value on the latter.

    • How Goldman secretly bet on the U.S. housing crash
      In the 1980s and '90s, Goldman Sachs Group ran a staid residential mortgage operation that simply bought and sold loans. But in 2001, the elite investment bank leaped aggressively into the burgeoning subprime securities market that was becoming a fountain of money for its rivals.

      That year, Goldman Sachs sold $8.7 billion in subprime bonds, a third of its business. In 2006 and 2007, it peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages.

      Today, pension funds, insurance companies, labor unions and foreign financial institutions that bought those dicey mortgage securities are dealing with huge losses.

      A five-month investigation by McClatchy Washington Bureau correspondent Greg Gordon shows how Goldman Sachs sold these securities to unsuspecting buyers, used offshore tax havens to market them to financial institutions worldwide and benefited from key federal bailout decisions, at least two of which involved then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former Goldman chief executive officer whose staff at Treasury included several other Goldman alumni.

    • “How Goldman secretly bet on the U.S. housing crash” (AIG as Bagholder Watch)
      McClatchy, the only major US news organization to question the Iraq war until is was obvious to all that it was a misguided exercise in neocon hubris, has started a series on Goldman’s famed “short subprime” exercise. While the timing and overall outline are not new (as to when and allegedly why the investment bank went short), it delves into some details that have heretofore not been examined, as to how much subprime paper it dumped onto investors during this period, whether this duplicity was permissible, and what sort of damage was visited on foolhardy borrowers.

    • Map of Goldman Sachs Employees Past and Present In
      This is the chart referred to in the post Goldman Sachs In Government - Government in Goldman Sachs. The link in the post allows the interactive drop downs and does expand on this one as shown.

    • Forget Galleon: What about Goldman’s ex-boss?
      It’s kind of amazing that with all the uproar over the Galleon business, nobody is making much hay over the recent revelations about the AIG bailouts, which make former Goldman chief and former New York Fed chairman Stephen Friedman look every bit as guilty of insider machinations as Raj Rajaratnam of the Galleon fund.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Brussels criticises UK on privacy
      The UK government has been accused of failing to protect citizens' privacy by the European Commission.

      It said the government should have done more to guarantee online privacy when trials of a controversial ad-serving system were carried out in 2006.

    • Blackberry phones get eavesdropping spyware
      The application is called Phonesnoop and allows remote users to listen in on a Blackberry user's surroundings. The spyware app uses standard Blackberry APIs to intercept incoming calls. Once the software is installed, a call from a trigger phone number will activate the listening feature through the phone's built-in speakerphone feature to listen to everything that's going on around the phone.

    • Petition to Obama government to disclose secret copyright treaty
      Obama's administration has refused to disclose the drafts of ACTA on the grounds of "national security" (yes, really!), but we know from leaks and memos that it includes universal surveillance of the net; mandatory loss of Internet connections without trial for households where one member is accused of violating copyright; and a duty to search your laptop and personal devices at the border for infringing material.

    • FCC NOI Asks for Comments on Content Control
      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking feedback and responses to the subject of the affect of electronic media on children and whether or not the Commission should have more power to wield authority.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • TalkTalk to fight net disconnection plan
      A major ISP has promised a court challenge to Government plans to allow the cutting off of internet connections used by people accused of illegal file sharing. TalkTalk said it will challenge the plans in the courts.

    • My Times editorial on British plan to cut relatives of accused infringers off from the net
      I have an op-ed in today's Times about the British plan to disconnect people from the internet if someone in their home is accused -- without proof -- of infringing copyright, and how utterly unjust this is.

    • P2P software throttles itself
      P2P SOFTWARE OUTFIT Bit Torrent is about to be upgraded so that it can deal with attempts by ISPs to throttle traffic by throttling itself.

    • Swedish judge to Pirate Bay admins: shut down or face fines
      The founders of The Pirate Bay could face fines in Sweden if the popular torrent tracker remains online. A court has banned them from continuing to operate the site at the risk of hefty daily fines. The admins, however, are no longer in Sweden and claim that they are not involved with the website anymore.

    • Ignoring P2Pers costs music biz dear - survey
      A think tank survey into UK music fans suggests that timid major record companies, obsessed with "cannibalisation" and "substitution", have spent a decade barking up the wrong tree.

      The Demos report, sponsored by Virgin Media, suggests file sharers aren't the wreckers of civilization they're painted to be - but failing to convert them into paying punters has cost the industry dear.

    • In Defense Of 1,000 True Fans - Part II - Matthew Ebel
      What I find most striking about this interview is the fact that Matthew makes 26.3% of his net income from just 40 hard- core fans.

      Imagine what it will be like for him when he gets to 1,000? The other thing that really stood out for me is the fact that an artist like Matthew (who is totally comfortable with Social Media and extremely Internet savvy) has very little idea what to do with analytics that he is gathering via Google Analytics,, and, as well as email stats via Blue Sky Factory.

LPC 2009: Wayland--A New Display Server for Linux

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