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Links 05/12/2009: KDE Software Compilation 4.4 (“Kompilation”) in Beta

GNOME bluefish



  • Federico Mena-Quintero: Mon 2009/Nov/30
    I got a netbook, a cute little HP Mini, so that I can hack Moblin on it. The netbook comes with Windows 7. My first impression:


    Maybe we should change free software's slogan to "we are not a constant pain in the ass, and we don't consider you a criminal".

  • Linux Could Even Look Like Windows If It Wanted To
    I know, I know, why would you want to do that? Well maybe so you can trick your mother into thinking she’s on Windows and save yourself the obligatory bi-yearly tune-up. Or maybe you want to ease your friend into a Linux conversion. Or maybe just because “why not?”

  • PhrankDaChicken launches XpGnome script to convert Ubuntu into Windows XP lookalike
    PhrankDaChicken launches script to convert Ubuntu into Windows XP lookalike

  • Mobile Gadgets for Linux Gearheads on the Go
    Connecting to the Internet when you're away from home or office basically comes down to either a Wi-Fi hotspot or some type of wireless broadband access. It's not that hard to find a free Wi-Fi hotspot these days what with Starbucks and McDonald's locations within reach of most. If you happen to be an AT&T customer your options are even greater. The downside to using Wi-Fi is you do have to find one of those hotspots and get connected, which can be an adventure in itself. You're also competing with the rest of the patrons for bandwidth.


    Wikipedia has a wealth of information for Linux users including descriptions of many command line utilities with examples. It also has good articles on the history behind Linux (Unix) and many of the key technologies (EXT file system, the Linux kernel, etc.) behind it. The WikiReader gives you access to all this information on a tiny hand held device. It also has the added safety benefit for children you wouldn't want to turn loose with an open Internet connection. Both the MiFi 2200 and the WikiReader would make an excellent addition to any road warrior's travel kit.

  • Building Dream Machines, Studio PC and Media Server
    Linux has a number of great media servers, and this will be new territory for me because I haven't paid much attention to the small, quiet form-factor boxes people like to use for these. XMBC, GeexBox, and Elisa all look interesting. I have dreams of stuffing a big hard drive full of music in nice high-quality FLAC format, and movies galore at my fingertips.

  • Linux Operating System – Things I’ve Learned About This System Over the Years
    I would have to say that my experience with Linux over the years has been a blast. I feel like I am in control. I have never had to take my computer in to have it serviced. Which I might add was why I switched from Windows. I was in service a lot and paying big bucks to have someone fix it because I couldn’t afford to call support and get them to try on the phone to fix it. I was very frustrated to say the least.

    Now you can try the Linux operating system for yourself and have some fun and freedom.

  • Imitation IS the Sincerest Form of Flattery
    While some will say that a work-alike to Compiz and Cron is there in Windows, neither answer from Redmond has the power or scope of these items. Also, the other items on the list may have some similar item in the world of Windows, but no one in their right mind would call them analogues.

  • Successfully completing a school semester with Linux
    After a long, gruelling term, I can confidently say that I benefitted academically from using Linux Mint. Along with everything I’ve mentioned, Linux has provided less direct benefits, such as faster load times and fewer restarts, which make getting started on an assignment or project easier. Despite having a few bugs ranging from annoying (I really wish Do would load on startup consistently) to catastrophic (oh my god why did my desktop shift what is going on), I will probably have some distribution of Linux running on my machine when I switch to Windows 7, if only to run R and some other math programs. If you like to do any sort of math on your computer, I recommend you give it a go too.

  • Server

    • Core Banking Deploying in a Co-op Bank
      After a careful evaluation, we decided to sign an MoU with a Linux based CBS solution from VSoft Technologies, Bangalore. We are paying for support services and updates to Vsoft. The vendor chose RedHat Linux enterprise edition as he wanted to spend more time in makng the application stable rather than experiment with multiple Linux distros. A major change for the users was the difference in interface between DOS and Linux. Right from the change in hardware to acceptance of application by users, we faced lot of challenges. Thankfully, most issues have been resolved. We selected Open Office as the document management application. After a brief training, our staff transited from the DOS based applications to GUI based ones in a very short time.

    • 5 Linux-based Cloud Businesses
      Amazon Web Services (AWS) uses it. Elastichosts uses it. Google uses it. Yahoo uses it. Engine Yard uses it. Facebook uses it. "It" is Linux, of course. But what else do all these companies have in common? If you said "cloud technology," you're correct.

  • Google

  • Kernel Space

    • Open ATI Driver More Popular Than Catalyst
      On Monday we will be publishing our results from the 2009 Linux Graphics Survey, but when looking over the results there is one set of numbers in particular that jumped out (though there are a few other interesting figures too). Below is a prelude to the Phoronix survey results that will be published on Monday. The below graph shows how the ~14,000 respondents during our month-long survey responded to what Linux graphics survey driver they were using.

    • The kernel column by Jon Masters # 81
      With it came the usual raft of new features: support for USB 3.0 (big thanks are due to Sarah Sharp and the Intel crowd for their work on that), CUSE (character devices in userspace), support for working with hardware performance counters, an in-kernel memory leak checker called Kmemleak (from the ever awesome Catalin Marinas) and many, many dozens of other features besides.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • After 3.5 year hiatus, VLOS returns with 2.0 Alpha release
      After a 3.5 year hiatus, VLOS (Vida Linux) has a new release available of their upcoming 2.0 release. The 2.0 release is currently slotted for a final release in February of 2010.

    • The Great Switch -- Ubuntu to Arch
      I am really liking Arch. I went from Windows to Ubuntu and was amazed with the speed. Well, it is very similar from going from Ubuntu to Arch. Arch is amazingly fast!

    • Calculate Linux 10.0 Screenshots
      Calculate Linux is a Gentoo-based Linux distribution that comes in several editions to suit your desktop and server needs. The server edition (CDS) supports Windows and Linux clients via LDAP + SAMBA. This provides proxy, mail and Jabbers servers with streamlined user management. The desktop edition (CLD) is a workstation and client distro available in KDE and XFCE flavors that include a wizard for connecting the desktop with the (CDS). To create your own Calculate Linux use the Calculate Linux Scratch live DVD which includes all the framework needed to build a custom distro.

    • Mandriva Family

      • Back From The Wilderness With Mandriva One 2010
        So, as you can probably tell, I'm really impressed with Mandriva One 2010 – so much so that I'm not sure I can be bothered burning any of those other distro ISOs onto CDs just yet.

      • PCLinuxOS 2009.2 MiniMe Video and Screenshots
        The PCLinuxOS 2009.2 MiniMe KDE Linux distribution is out and available for download or purchase on CD. This release includes a minimal classic KDE 3.5.10 desktop and few extra applications. The idea behind PCLinuxOS MiniMe KDE is to create a tricked out desktop and use Synaptic package manager to customize the application lineup. PCLinuxOS 2009.2 MiniMe KDE users can also update packages to KDE 4 after installation.

      • Where is Unix spirit ?
        Where is Unix spirit ? Since some years, i had the feeling that the Unix spirit was more and more forgotten. Today I've read an interesting article about a new (mis)feature in Fedora : packages installation by unprivileged users .

    • Red Hat Family

      • The Value of Red Hat’s Subscription Model and Support
        Recently, a number of vendors have come forth stating support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and forked distributions offered by others in the industry. At Red Hat, we know that truly supporting Red Hat Enterprise Linux is not only about support services, but also about the value of the entire Red Hat subscription.

      • Red Hat's CEO on Obama jobs summit – 'Creating jobs the open source way'
        That said, as the leader of Red Hat, I think I bring a different perspective. As indicated in our recent filings, Red Hat has grown – both revenue and people – and has done so at a double digit pace in the worst recession of modern times. And so, while it is important to restart job growth in stagnant areas of the economy, I think it is just as important to look to approaches that are working to inform our country’s broader economic efforts.

      • Virt-Manager 0.8.1 Brings Nice Set Of Changes
        Virt-Manager, the GUI-driven virtualization manager that was started by Red Hat about three years ago is out this week with a new update. From the version number, 0.8.1, it may seem like a small update as the previous release was v0.8.0 and it already brought an improved GUI and other advancements, but in fact the new point release is quite significant.

      • FUDCon F13: Another SNAFU
        If you are in the area, or wish to participate from afar, we’ve got ways for you to get involved. FUDCon is always free and I’ve got two remote microphones and two mixers that I plan on using to record and stream the audio from two rooms. I’m also working on a way to stream/record the desktop of the presenter at the same time so we can have audio and video from the desktops in real time (we’ll see if this part happens). I might even suggest a hackfest on Monday to make it more solid if I can’t get it working tonight/tomorrow.

    • Debian Family

      • New Application Stack in Ubuntu 10.04
        Ubuntu 10.04, which will appear next April 2010 as Canonical’s long-anticipated third LTS (Long Term Support) release, will feature substantial changes in the lineup of applications installed by default. Here’s a look at the biggest ones, with some thoughts.

        Judging by the controversy over the replacement of Pidgin with Empathy, many Ubuntu users do not take kindly to decisions to modify the application stack in a default installation. Even when the change arguably does not compromise important features and despite the fact that 35,000 applications are always just an “apt-get install” away–for those who have the bandwidth, at least–change tends to spawn a lot of ire.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 May Backport Newer Kernels
        By the time Ubuntu 10.04 rolls around in April, the Linux 2.6.33 kernel will have been released and the Linux 2.6.34 kernel will be in development, but the Ubuntu developers have decided to stick it out with the 2.6.32 kernel for a maximum stabilization period, especially since this is a Long-Term Support release.

      • Light Weight Ubuntu Kernel
        One of the biggest aspects of Gentoo is that you compile your own kernel. This was the most painful parts for me until I finally got the hang of it. The default Gentoo kernel is minimal and requires you to enable some extra features before compiling.

      • Ubuntu 9.10: the koala is facing the cloud
        Ubuntu 9.10, called Karmic Koala, brings a lot of small improvements and a couple of bigger features. GRUB 2 has become the default bootloader in Ubuntu 9.10, at least on a fresh install. Ext4 also got a promotion: it is the default file system now. The audio preferences give access now to the advanced possibilities of PulseAudio, such as an audio volume per application. And then there are prominent new applications like Ubuntu Software Center and Ubuntu One. But most of all, the distribution has shifted its focus to cloud computing: Eucalyptus has grown to maturity.

      • Ubuntu Christian Edition 6.0 Beta Brings Server Edition
        The Ubuntu CE development team proudly announced a couple of days ago (December 2nd) the immediate availability of the Beta release of Ubuntu Christian Edition 6.0. Being based on the powerful Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala), the new, highly anticipated release of Ubuntu Christian Edition improves the DansGuardian GUI and the E-sword installer introduced in the previous version. However, the big news is that a Server Edition of Ubuntu Christian Edition is now available for download. It includes exclusive packages!

      • Ubuntu Membership: debunking myths
        One thing I really like about Ubuntu is that all kinds of contributions to Ubuntu are valued and recognised through Ubuntu membership. We have several hundreds of Ubuntu members already who have all kinds of backgrounds and all kinds of different areas of expertise. They are united by having made significant and sustained contributions to Ubuntu.

      • Ubuntu Software Centre- Can't it help finance app development?
        One of the notable changes in the latest release of Ubuntu Linux-aka Karmic Koala- is the application management hub called the Ubuntu Software Center. It is a redesigned form of the old time Add/Remove software. Installing and managing software on one's system is now a breeze.

      • Lucid Alpha 1 is coming to town!
        Next Thursday, December 10th, Lucid Lynx Alpha 1 is going to be released.

      • Designs of the New Ubuntu 10.04 CD boot menu
        Recently, I came across a new idea proposed by anzeige on brainstorm to improve the Ubuntu 10.10 CD Boot menu. Well, lets face it, I have been looking at the same CD boot menu for at least last 4 releases. I am sure all of you will be expecting a lot more from Lucid, the next LTS release and I won't mind starting with the Boot menu.

      • The Ubuntu Release Cycle
        Ubuntu’s perspective is that for those who want things to mature a bit longer before being put into play, there are the LTS releases in which there is a two year gap between updates. Unfortunately it seems like most people are treating the six month releases as their own version of a LTS and hence, why people find so many bugs.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Recycled steel touch-panel PC runs on PoE
      Techsol is shipping a low carbon-footprint touch-panel PC, targeting building automation and factory HMI. The Linux-ready Medallion TPC-43C "Green Tech" Touch Panel Computer is equipped with Techsol's ARM-based Medallion module, plus a 4.3-inch, WQVGA touchscreen, and an enclosure made of recycled steel, which is "greener" than plastics, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Deal Alert: Buy One Droid/Droid Eris, Get One Eris Free
        If you want to teach your children the value of open source computing, you might want to look into buying them an Android smartphone. That sounds like it could be a costly proposition but, thanks to this new Verizon holiday deal, it's going to be easier than ever. Starting today, and going through December 5th, VZW customers will be able to get a Droid Eris free for every Droid or Droid Eris that they buy.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Hexxeh updates Google Chrome OS build, now compatible with more netbooks
        If you downloaded the earlier build of Hexxeh’s Diet Chromium OS only to find that your wireless NIC wasn’t supported, I’ve got some good news for you.

      • Workforce Authority Joins OLPC Drive
        The Workforce Development Authority (WDA) has joined hands with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) to ensure that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools are not left out as the nation braces for a major OLPC roll-out campaign.

        A team of facilitators from the OLPC's Global Centre for Excellence in Laptops and Learning based in Kigali on Monday, November 30, 2009, started a one-week training of 15 WDA instructors in maintenance of XO Laptops.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Windows 7 License can make you love free software
    Personally, my reaction was revulsion. I never have thought much of a EULA that you cannot agree to until you open the software, but this EULA sinks to depths I never anticipated -- and, in doing so, suggests a desperate attempt to stay in control in the face of overwhelming odds. If these are the measures that Microsoft has to take to protect its business model, then the triumph of free software can't be far away.

    Meanwhile, when I finished my investigations, I deleted Windows 7 and returned to the sanity of free software with a profound sigh of relief.

  • Seven Observations On Software Maintenance and FOSS
    I prefer the name “eternally regenerative software administration” over “continuous upgrading”. It avoids the philosophical problems with the word “continuous” and emphasizes the active, “ecological” approach needed to envision the engineering of “regenerativity” in software. By that I mean software maintenance should involve building the system so each new version enables installation of the next while facilitating management of any customizations and integration with other software (including libraries and other “helper” applications). Regenerativity is the process of growth and change used by Nature itself. Software maintenance needs to follow similar principles.

  • The Next Open Source Revolution: The Democratization of BPM
    I foresee a radical change over the next few next years with the increasing maturity of open source BPM vendors. As in other domains, such as business intelligence, enterprise resource planning, or ETL (extract, transform and load), open source vendors are the key to the democratization of BPM in all types of organizations -- if they are able to provide intuitive, powerful, and easy-to-use BPM solutions that any organization can afford.

  • Open Solutions Alliance and OW2 by N. HALSEY Jaspersoft
    The Open Solutions Alliance (OSA), based in California with commercial and end-user members in the United States and Europe, was created to drive the adoption of open source applications in enterprises and the collaboration between commercial open source vendors to enhance and increase the interoperability of open source solutions.

  • Open source helps Western Digital prioritize product features
    Thanks to open source freedom, Western Digital's MyBook World Edition is a better choice than Apple Time Capsule for home backup

  • Audio

  • Databases

    • Oracle leader blinks
      Oracle boss Larry Ellison is backing down from his vow to fight European antitrust regulators who oppose his company's $7 billion purchase of Sun Microsystems, offering to quarantine a Sun unit at the heart of the conflict, two sources told The Post.

      According to the sources, Ellison is now willing to create a separate entity within a combined Oracle-Sun that houses Sun's MySQL open database software business in order to get the deal completed before a hearing Thursday by the European Commission.

    • Oracle Denies Change In Stance On MySQL
      The database giant denies that it offered to create a separate entity for MySQL once the Sun acquisition is completed.

    • EC Worries On Oracle-Sun Deal Said Based On Incorrect Facts
      A U.S. expert has lent his support to the planned merger between Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (JAVA), telling the European Commission that concerns about the deal are based on "factual assertions made by others to the Commission which are demonstrably incorrect."

    • Oracle RDBMS != MySQL RDBMS
      The Oracle and MySQL RDBMS are very different products. This makes me happy. I used to work on the Oracle RDBMS. It has a lot of features that do amazing things. Unfortunately, this also makes it extremely hard to modify. MySQL doesn't have as many features. This makes it easier to modify. This also means there are a lot of things to fix in it when you care about high-performance and high-availability OLTP workloads.

    • 451 Group survey highlights user concerns over Oracle’s proposed ownership of MySQL

    • Survey shows open source users split over MySQL
      MySQL use declining, PostgreSQL and MariaDB use rising and no majority support for any of the possible outcomes of the current European Commission investigation into Oracle's proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems; these are some of the results of a survey, carried out by the 451 Group, of open source users show which shows they are split over the future of MySQL.

    • SFLC says GPL issues should not block Oracle's acquisition of Sun
      Respected Free Software lawyer, Eben Moglen and the SFLC (Software Freedom Law Centre ) have sent a letter to the European Commission saying that it believes that the Commission has "underestimated the robustness the GPL has consistently demonstrated". The letter is a response to the concerns expressed in the Commission's Statement of Objections that the GNU Public Licence was insufficient protection against competition issues raised by the acquisition. The letter was sent, pro bono, at the request of Oracle's counsel and is to be incorporated into Oracle's response at the hearing of objections, scheduled to take place on December 10th.

    • Will Sun Pull MySQL's Teeth?

    • Maintaining MySQL Databases

    • Securing MySQL in Fedora

    • The Software Freedom Law Center Submits an Opinion on the Oracle/Sun Merger to the EC

  • CMS

  • Business

    • The Open-Source Business: What’s Tomorrow’s Dominance Worth Today?
      A large handful of major open-source companies have been acquired for anywhere from 20 to 500 times their trailing revenues — astronomically high compared to other acquisition price ranges. Here’s the key: Not one major open-source acquisition has ever been initiated by the proprietary incumbent. Instead they were acquired by a company in an adjacency (e.g., Xen by Citrix, SpringSource by VMWare, MySQL by Sun, JBoss by Red Hat, etc.)

    • Why the NY Times is Wrong about Open Source
      For example, the Linux operating system is the most serious competitor to Microsoft’s operating system business. The fact that it is supported by IBM, Intel and other large companies is a further testament to its competitiveness and value.

    • Do Open Source and Venture Capital Mix?
      The short answer is in fact a question: “Why not?” Or more pertinently, we should be asking why we are asking this question at all.

  • Mapping

    • HiperBarrio Maps San Javier La Loma with Open Street Maps
      Last Saturday Fredy Rivera, a leading mapper of Open Street Maps based in Bogotá, organized a workshop at the small public library in La Loma to teach its young residents how to make a map of their own community.

    • Potlatch/Openstreetmap going proprietary ?
      ActionScript 3 !? Wait, that means NO more access for free software users!

      What a pity, such an exemplar case of good open SWF practice (sources buildable with free software, binaries playable with free software) coming to an end.

  • GNU/Licensing

    • Building with GNU make
      The current implementation currently supports one platform: Linux 64-Bit. Adding support for other Unix platforms should be rather trivial, while Windows will need some special care.

    • Lawsuit alleges Palm Pre violates copyright
      Artifex Software said it is suing Palm over the PDF (Portable Document Format) viewer in Palm's Pre smartphone.

      Artifex alleges that Palm copied Artifex's PDF rendering engine, called muPDF, and integrated it into the Palm Pre's PDF viewer application without the proper licensing conditions.

      Artifex requires that an entire application must be licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) if muPDF is part of the application. If the software is not licensed under the GNU GPL, then Artifex requires a commercial license in order to use muPDF, according to the company's licensing terms.

    • Open source software license enforcement actions on the rise
      In late 2007 and early 2008, the SFLC filed and settled a series of lawsuits on behalf of the principal developers of BusyBox software (BB Software). These cases are notable for being the first litigation involving enforcement of the General Public License (GPL). BB Software is licensed under the GPLv2, which requires that redistributors provide end users with access to the BB Software source code. Plaintiffs in these actions accused the defendants of failing to do so. Each defendant settled for an undisclosed amount of money and also agreed to comply with the GPL, undertake “substantial” efforts to notify previous recipients of defendants’ products of their violation of the GPL and appoint an “Open Source Compliance Officer” within their organizations to monitor and ensure GPL compliance. The FSF filed a similar lawsuit against Cisco Systems, Inc. in December 2008, which settled on May 20, 2009 on similar terms.

    • Ask the Wi-Fi Guru, Episode XXII
      A: The KWGR614 is an interesting case, and worth talking about here in case other readers run across it. Although this product is now discontinued, models may still be available through discount and overstock merchants. Netgear marketed the KWGR614 as an "open source" router. It would seem logical to conclude, then, that it could run open source firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato.

      But no. The KWGR614 is open source in the sense that Netgear provided the source code to the router, allowing developers the opportunity to customize it much like Linksys' original source code for the WRT54G has evolved into DD-WRT and Tomato, among others. But this hasn't really happened and, furthermore, the KWGR614 uses a Realtek-based chipset which is not supported by DD-WRT or Tomato. In other words, these popular open source firmwares will not run on the open source KWGR614. In principle, somebody might be able to modify these firmwares to work on this router. But to my knowledge, nobody has. It sounds like the vendor may have been misinformed in this case.

  • Releases

  • Government

    • NL: Government to increase open source in key IT projects
      The Dutch government wants to increase the use of open standards and source in some of its key IT projects, minister for Foreign Trade Frank Heemkskerk said yesterday. "There is not enough progress in the uptake of this type of software", said Heemskerk. "We need more perseverance. Using this type of software should be a social objective of public administrations."

      Heemskerk announced he would approach the other ministers in the cabinet to urge them to adopt open standards and open source applications. "I will chase my colleagues responsible for health care, for social security and for education."

    • LV: Ministry of Education approves open source software for schools
      Open source can be used to teach computer science classes to secondary school pupils, Latvia's ministry of Education announced on Tuesday.

      The ministry bases its conclusion on the work of a group of experts, industry association representatives, ministry officials and school representatives. The group in August started looking for open source applications that could be used for computer science classes.

      According to the group open source software will be able to fulfil all requirements of the computer education curriculum in primary and secondary schools.

  • Openness

  • Programming

    • Zend Issues Significant Update to Zend Studio 7 Enterprise PHP IDE
      Zend Studio is the only integrated development environment (IDE) for PHP that provides a complete, professional-grade workbench built on the Zend-led open source Eclipse PHP Development Tools (PDT) project, currently the most downloaded Eclipse project. Zend Studio customers benefit from the huge ecosystem of plug-in solutions available in the Eclipse community. The combined set of capabilities provides a solution that maximizes productivity for developers while providing the integration to Zend Framework and Zend Server that enterprises require.

    • Vala - Compiler for the GObject type system
      Vala is a new programming language that aims to bring modern programming language features to GNOME developers without imposing any additional runtime requirements and without using a different ABI compared to applications and libraries written in C.


  • OpenDNS vs Google DNS

  • Is the 'Bandwidth Hog' a Myth?
    With the debate on net neutrality in full swing in the US, we've been hearing about Bandwidth Hogs again. 'Bandwidth Hog' is a sound bite that conveys a strong emotion: you can virtually see the fat pig chomping on the bandwidth, pushing back all the other animals in the barnyard with his fat pig shoulders all the while scrutinizing with his shiny piggy eyes to see if the farmer isn't around...

  • Salvation Army: we check ID to prevent fraud, not to catch illegal immigrants
    A few hours ago, I made a post about the Houston Chronicle's investigation into the practice of local charities, including the Salvation Army, requiring proof of immigration status before giving toys to children. The Salvation Army has written to me to clarify that their checking of social security numbers and other ID is intended to "verify that individuals and families are not registering more than once at multiple Salvation Army facilities and to ensure people actually have the number of children they claim."

  • Rappers jailed over warning song
    Two rappers have been jailed for using an internet song to try to scare off witnesses to the murder of a 24-year-old man in Ealing, west London.

  • AT&T, Verizon drop suits over network ads
    AT&T Inc (T.N) and Verizon Wireless have dropped legal cases against each other after a public battle over advertising their high-speed wireless services, but Verizon said it was continuing to advertise with maps that had started the fight.

  • Ad wars: Droid manly; iPhone girly
    It's a strategy as old as the schoolyard, and it seems to be working — at least on one side of the yard. A new YouGov BrandIndex survey taken Thursday shows Motorola's buzz rising relative to Apple's and Research in Motion's (RIMM) among men 18 and older. And the company seems to be on track in its stated goal of selling 1 million Droids by New Years.

  • Finance

    • Federal Reserve tries theater ads to burnish its image

    • Federal Reserve Tries to Burnish Image with Ad Campaign
      The Federal Reserve Bank is on the hot seat for failing to protect consumers from unscrupulous mortgage lenders, failing to predict or prevent the financial crisis, and its involvement in the multi-billion-dollar, 2008 taxpayer-funded bailouts, making this a great time to run an ad campaign to try and burnish its image.

    • Job Creation Takes Center Stage in Washington
      The bill aptly titled “Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act” would tax futures contracts, swaps and credit default swaps at a rate of 0.02 percent and stock transactions at 0.25 percent. The beauty of the idea is that it effectively targets Wall Street speculators whose hot money trading on commodities like gas and food jacks up the prices for the rest of us.

  • AstroTurf

    • Transparency, Tempered
      The lawmakers are still reporting the same amount of detail to the Chief Administration Officer of the House, Roll Call reports, but that office scrubs the reports of many specifics when it transfers them into a database.

    • Congress Subverts Transparency in Digital Version of Expense Report

    • Number of climate lobbyists trebles
      The number of delegates and lobbyists taking part in United Nations climate change talks has trebled in the past 12 years, official figures show.

    • Boom for Business Lobbyists at Climate Talks
      Olivier Hoedeman, from Corporate Europe Observatory, observed that "there has been a very substantial increase in the number of lobby groups going to these summits and it’s not as people would probably imagine – it is often business groups rather than environmental ones." At the Kyoto conference in December 1997, there were 3,663 people from 236 groups, the largest of which was International Chamber of Commerce. At the Bali conference in December 2007, there were 4,993 lobbyists from 335 separate lobby groups, with 376 of those from the International Emissions Trading Association, a group which "did not even exist at the time of the original Kyoto talks."

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Woman arrested for trying to record 'Twilight' on digital camera
      Taping three minutes of “Twilight: New Moon” during a visit to a Rosemont movie theater landed Samantha Tumpach in a jail cell for two nights.

      Now, the 22-year-old Chicago woman faces up to three years in prison after being charged with a rarely invoked felony designed to prevent movie patrons from recording hot new movies and selling bootleg copies.

    • If You Make A Mistake With A Paywall, It Can Linger For A Long Time
      As an early reader of Salon, I used to read it all the time -- and link to it. But as I got more and more confused over whether or not anyone reading Techdirt could read the links, I was less and less inclined to ever write about Salon stories -- and eventually that resulted in me dropping Salon as a source I read as well.

    • Washington Post Learns The Importance Of Fact Checking... And Reading The Comments
      On November 26th (Thanksgiving), the Washington Post put up an article about the group Public Enemy and its efforts to help the homeless in DC. Nice enough. However, there was one oddity in the article. It claimed that the band's famous song 911 is a Joke was about the attacks of September 11th. Yes, this is a song that was released in 1990. And if you've ever heard it, you know that it's about the phone number you call for emergencies. I mean the first line of the song is "I dialed 911 a long time ago....".

    • Ambassador Kirk: People would be “walking away from the table” if the ACTA text is made public
      I brought up to Kirk that the USTR had shown ACTA text to dozens of corporate lobbyists and all of its trading partners in the ACTA negotiation, and the text was only secret from the public. Kirk did say USTR was discussing this issue with the White House and its trading partners, but that was about all he could say at that moment.

    • Pure Mint boss resigns BPI committee over Digital Economy Bill
      Hall believes the proposed legislation has been rushed in a bid to get it through parliament before the next General Election, that it is in danger of disregarding some sacred legal principles (regarding process, presumption of innocence and burden of proof) and that it won't solve the record industry's piracy problems anyway.

      In his resignation letter to the BPI, Hall writes: "I have enjoyed contributing to both [the BPI's] Rights [Committee] and the [IFPI's] ILC, but increasingly feel that my contributions are falling on deaf ears as an agenda has already been reached that I now consider is unmovable. As you know, I do not think the Digital Economy Bill is a sensible or well thought out piece of legislation. In my view it is being rushed through the last months of a parliament of an unpopular government and it is not legislation that I support".

      Referencing clause 17 - the one that gives senior ministers the right to change copyright laws on whim - he continued: "I am particularly surprised that the record industry has chosen to endorse s.17 of the DEB, which I consider is wholly undemocratic and contrary to centuries of good practice regarding the forming of our copyright legislation. I also believe it may set a dangerous precedent going forwards (and could come back to haunt the industry)".

    • The Politics of Piracy and Spicing the Political Life
      But what keeps me interested in the politics of piracy is how it can speak the language of spectacle, which can be a powerful tactic and technique for broadcasting a political message. Here I'm just paraphrasing and cribbing the work of Stephen Duncombe, who has argued, I think quite persuasively, that we cannot rely solely on reasoned debate for building political programs. Duncombe does not argue that we must toss out rationality and truth seeking (these are absolutely necessary) but notes how on their own or if not clothed in some other cloak, they may not be enough to convey and compel, especially in this day of total media saturation. Or to put a but more poetically by him "Reality needs fantasy to render it desirable, just as fantasy needs reality to make it believable."

      Much (though not all) of contemporary digital piracy follows the logic of spectacle. It builds and conveys a fantastical drama of right and wrong, of new possibilities, of freedom from the noose of the law; it signals and speaks to the thrill and fun in twisting, even breaking, existing structures and constraints; and provides a window into another way of acting/behaving. In many cases what it provides is a commons (and I will be exploring it in depth in my class next semester on the commons) and many folks, I imagine, turn to piracy simply for the free stuff, and a number of them come out of the other side transformed into copy fighters willing to engage in a politics beyond sharing stuff and waving the pirate flag.

    • Oregon Attorney General releases "copyrighted" Public Meeting Manual, will hold hearings on whether Oregon law is copyrighted
      People may remember there has been a bit of a spat over the Oregon Attorney General's Public Meeting Manual. This is part of a series of issues in the state of Oregon over the question of who may copy and public the law of the land.

      I'm pleased to report that Attorney General John Kroger today released that manual, appointed a special Deputy Counsel to handle these kinds of transparency issues, and announced a set of hearings about the issues involved.

    • Defense Dept. pulls software over privacy issues
      The Department of Defense has pulled a parental control product from its online store serving military families after learning that the company collects childrens' data, according to documents the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) obtained from the government agency.

    • Guilt Upon Accusation: how New Zealanders stopped an unfair copyright law
      Kiwiright tells the story of the Internet Blackout, spearheaded by the Creative Freedom Foundation. Hundreds of thousands of people protested against the controversial law change, Section 92A of the Copyright Ammendment Act, that would allow copyright holders to seek disconnection of Internet users’ accounts simply on accusation of a breach of copyright law without a trial.

    • DOJ Pays $4M a Year to Read Public Court Documents
      The federal court system charged the Department of Justice more than $4 million in 2009 for access to its electronic court filing system, which is composed entirely of documents in the public domain.

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