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Links 1/1/2010: “Avatar” Powered by GNU/Linux, Garmin to Make Android Phone



GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux

  • LinuxCertified Announces its next Embedded and Real-Time Linux Development Training course.
    The course covers the key issues in embedding Linux. Such questions as: why Linux, how to embed Linux, and how to measure and obtain real-time performance in Linux are examined. Taught by veterans in the field, this course provides an in-depth analysis of the subject. The course will be useful both for managers looking to identify correct tools and resources for their projects as well as developers looking to hone their skills before taking on a serious Embedded and Real-Time Linux project.


  • 2010’s Tech Predictions That Really Matter
    Open Source will definitely make a mark this year, what with Linux shaping the decade with some excellent contributions. Without doubts, Linux will play a big role in how the technology shapes in 2010 and the rest of the new decade.


  • What Lies at the Heart of "Avatar"?
    Oh, look: Linux. Why am I not surprised...?




  • Graphics

    • The State Of OpenGL 3.x in Mesa Core
      While ATI R600 users only recently received OpenGL 2.0 hardware support within the open-source Radeon 3D stack and there is many more OpenGL extensions to be implemented just not for the ATI Mesa driver but the other DRI drivers as well, Brian Paul has published a document that lays out the current state of OpenGL 3.x within the classic Mesa core. This document lays out what core Mesa supports and not necessarily that any of the drivers are implementing the said support at this time. Granted, with Mesa not really being very performance-efficient at this time or capable of running most games, a majority of users will be waiting for the OpenGL 3.x state tracker for Gallium3D.






  • Games







  • Devices/Embedded





    • Android

      • Will smartphones see off sat-nav?
        The two models currently available run on Linux and Windows platforms but Garmin plans to launch an Android phone in America in 2010.


      • My 2009 Team of the Year Award
        A couple of months ago when my Nokia N95 suddenly turned into a brick the inestimable James Whatley aka whatleydude was kind enough to loan me an HTC Magic running the new mobile OS from Google. I played with the device for about five minutes before proclaiming: For now, Nokia, you’re dead to me.


      • The Androidification of Everything
        The bigger indicator of momentum for Android is the excitement it has generated in the semiconductor industry. EETimes reports that, in addition to chip companies ARM and MIPS, semiconductor design firms such as Aricent and Mentor Graphics have established special Android-focused businesses. Freescale Semiconductor is working on an Android-based netbook design, as is Qualcomm.








    • Sub-notebooks

      • Sugar Learning Platform Will Succeed In Virgin Markets
        I think is time that Sugar Labs and Sugar developers to realize that the success or failure of Sugar does not depend on its ability to play YouTube videos. Not because is not important but because there is very little chance to penetrate this market dominated by Microsoft and Apple.


      • $99 Cherrypal Africa Netbook Now Available
        The sub-100 dollar laptop is now a reality in the form of the Cherrypal Africa, a $99 seven-inch laptop intended to help developing countries and low-income persons connect to the Web.












Free Software/Open Source

  • New Open Source Intrusion Detector Suricata Released
    The OISF has released the beta version of the Suricata IDS/IPS engine: The Suricata Engine is an Open Source Next Generation Intrusion Detection and Prevention Engine. This engine is not intended to just replace or emulate the existing tools in the industry, but will bring new ideas and technologies to the field.


  • OSUOSL: Looking back on 2009
    2009 has been an exciting and eventful year at the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSUOSL). This year marks our sixth anniversary of providing open source projects with world-class hosting and development services. I'd like to take this chance to look back on what we've done at the OSUOSL this year, and what we expect from next year.


  • 8 ECM Predictions for 2010
    This is not new for open source. MySQL and JBoss have worked with many non-open source vendors and bolstered their capabilities. In 2010, this will take on a new significance though.


  • Top Ten Open Source Legal Developments: 2009
    6. Enforcement of GPL for Busybox Continues. The Software Freedom Law Center has continued to enforce the GPLv2 on behalf of some of the owners of the copyright in Busybox software.




  • Databases

    • Moglen on Patents and Bilski
      Eben Moglen has a very interesting presentation on patents (including comments on Bilski) that was originally presented on Nov. 2, 2009. Software patents and business method patents have been a disaster for the U.S. and world economy, and he has some interesting things to say about how we got here (and how it could be fixed).

      [...]

      Because the patent system predates the APA, all potential harms to society from a patent are completely ignored during the patent examination process. If patents were individually considered as new regulations under the APA, such questions would need to be carefully considered. That’s an interesting point Moglen makes.








  • Openness

    • TinkerCell: modular CAD tool for synthetic biology
      An application named TinkerCell has been developed in order to serve as a CAD tool for synthetic biology. TinkerCell is a visual modeling tool that supports a hierarchy of biological parts. Each part in this hierarchy consists of a set of attributes that define the part, such as sequence or rate constants. Models that are constructed using these parts can be analyzed using various third-party C and Python programs that are hosted by TinkerCell via an extensive C and Python application programming interface (API).


    • Who will pay for the arXiv?
      Last time I mentioned the INSPIRE system as an exciting development in high energy physics literature databases (no, that’s not an oxymoron). There’s another big change going on in that field next year, but this will be behind-the-scenes. None-the-less, it’s raised a lot of questions about the ownership and financial support of an important resource that is free to anyone in the world: the arXiv.

      The e-print arXiv (pronounced “archive”) is a central repository of research articles in physics, mathematics, computer science, and quantitative biology. Since its inception in 1991 by theoretical physicist Paul Ginsparg, it has had a huge impact on the way science is done by providing free access to “pre-prints” of research papers.








Leftovers

  • Obama Curbs Secrecy of Classified Documents
    President Obama declared on Tuesday that “no information may remain classified indefinitely” as part of a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch’s system for protecting classified national security information.


  • How not to handle China
    Behind this froth, what is plain is that China has once again asserted its determination to protect its own sovereignty whatever the issue, and is intent on doing things its way. Given its economic progress in the past three decades and the immediate effect of its huge pump-priming over the past 12 months in restoring growth (even if the second half of next year may prove more problematic), the leadership and the population feel pretty good about themselves. They are in no mood to take lessons, moral or otherwise, from the west.

    In this context, the Shaikh case fits into a string of scratchy non-meetings of mind between China and the west over the last couple of months.


  • Winner: Pixel Qi's Everywhere Display
    I’m watching a clip from Slumdog Millionaire on what looks like a standard netbook computer, a scene in which deep blue body paint gives way to luscious saffron-yellow cloth. The picture quality is fine, if nothing special. But then I push a small white button at the side of the display, and it does something I’ve never seen before: The backlight disappears, and the image turns black and white, remaining visible thanks to the overhead lights in the room. I hold up an Amazon Kindle by way of comparison. Both displays have the same crisp grayscale text I’ve come to expect from e-paper.


  • Happy 40th Birthday time(2)!
    The Unix time(2) system call is "over the hill" at 40 years old today. The time(2) system call has dutifully told us how many seconds have passed since January 1, 1970. I use the day as my "birthday" on public websites in tribute. Please raise a glass of champagne tonight with me in celebration!


  • UTStarcom to Pay US Fines for Bribing Chinese Carriers
    Telecommunications equipment vendor UTStarcom will pay a total of US$3 million in fines for violating U.S. bribery laws by giving employees of Chinese carriers free U.S. vacations that were reported as training programs.

    UTStarcom, based in Alameda, California, reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in which it will pay a $1.5 million fine, the department announced on Thursday. In the settlement, the company took responsibility for the actions of UTStarcom China, the wholly owned subsidiary through which it does business in China, the DOJ said in a statement. In a related settlement on Thursday, the company also agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the DOJ said.


  • Life in Transit: Happy New Year everyone
    I think 2010 is going to be the Year of Platforms. Not Snake-Oil-as-A-Service. Real honest-to-goodness heavy-lifting platforms. The stuff that makes it possible for everyone to have Everything-As-A-Service.

    Some of you think that platforms are passe, so 2007. Some of you think that platforms are cloud-cuckoo-land, to be filed alongside the Paperless Office and the Paperless Loo. To my mind there’s something very William Gibson-ish about platforms: the future’s already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.




  • Security

    • Asteroid Deflection as a Public Good
      I wrote this post over the weekend but given Paul Samuelson's classic contribution to public goods theory and to economic textbooks it seems to also fit today.








  • Environment

    • Retro: Y2K and Peak Oil
      I'm getting a shiver of deja vu these days when I read the peak oil-related websites. Some are boggling over the fact that "global warming" got more attention than "peak oil" in the discussions over the recently-passed Energy Bill in the US, while others are simply furious that the American public (and these websites seem predominantly American in focus) isn't taking peak oil sufficiently seriously. They're particularly bothered that mainstream discussion of the idea, when it happens, often pushes the peak date out by ten to twenty years (or more), making it seem like a distant crisis at worst.






  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs in The Cayman Islands
      Some stories are not all that surprising, but they are nonetheless sickening beyond measure.


    • Goldman Sachs Faces Probes
      The New York Times reports investigators in the U.S. Congress at the Securities and Exchange Commission and at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority have launched probes into Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms for deliberately selling risky structured securities to clients, and then betting on the securities failing.

      The probes are looking at how Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and other Wall Street firms profited off complex mortgage-based securities — known as synthetic collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.’s. Pension funds and insurance companies lost billions of dollars on such securities that they believed were solid investments.


    • Goldman Sachs Duped Investors, Investigation Finds
      McClatchy reporters have been digging into the shady offshore dealings of Goldman Sachs and what they found in the records of the financial-meltdown villain is as maddening as you’d expect.

      According to the investigation, “Goldman peddled more than $40 billion in U.S.-registered securities ... but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting.”


    • In Goldman Sachs' Cayman Islands Deals, Investors Could Only Lose
      When financial titan Goldman Sachs joined some of its Wall Street rivals in late 2005 in secretly packaging a new breed of offshore securities, it gave prospective investors little hint that many of the deals were so risky that they could end up losing hundreds of millions of dollars on them.


    • Investors could only lose in Goldman's Caymans deals
      McClatchy has obtained previously undisclosed documents that provide a closer look at the shadowy $1.3 trillion market since 2002 for complex offshore deals, which Chicago financial consultant and frequent Goldman critic Janet Tavakoli said at times met "every definition of a Ponzi scheme."

      The documents include the offering circulars for 40 of Goldman's estimated 148 deals in the Cayman Islands over a seven-year period, including a dozen of its more exotic transactions tied to mortgages and consumer loans that it marketed in 2006 and 2007, at the crest of the booming market for subprime mortgages to marginally qualified borrowers.


    • Goldman Sachs' response to latest McClatchy article
      As flattering as it is, Mr. van Praag's assumption that Greg Gordon produced his Dec. 30 story in six days is incorrect. In fact, he had finished reporting and writing the story, and it was being edited on Dec. 24 when The New York Times published "Banks Bundled Bad Debt, Bet Against It and Won," that paper's variation on the theme of McClatchy's Nov. 1-4 series on how Goldman Sachs had bundled bad debt, bet against it and won.


    • Goldman's offshore deals deepened global financial crisis
      When financial titan Goldman Sachs joined some of its Wall Street rivals in late 2005 in secretly packaging a new breed of offshore securities, it gave prospective investors little hint that many of the deals were so risky that they could end up losing hundreds of millions of dollars on them.








  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Apple Censors Dalai Lama IPhone Apps in China
      Apple appears to have blocked iPhone applications related to the Dalai Lama in its China App Store, making it the latest U.S. technology company to censor its services in China.

      Those apps, which appear in most countries' versions of the App Store, do not currently appear in the Chinese version. Another app related to Rebiya Kadeer, who like the Dalai Lama is an exiled minority leader reviled by China's authorities, is unavailable in the China App Store as well. The apparent censorship comes after carrier China Unicom launched iPhone sales two months ago, making regulatory approval of the phone's contents in the country necessary for the first time.


    • Poland apparently planning to control Internet much more strictly
      Poland is apparently planning to make its control of the Internet drastically stricter. heise Online Poland, the Polish sister website of The H, reports that the government is working on new legislation already. The new law would create a registry of websites to be blocked and force Internet service providers to hand over detailed user data to investigators, for instance.


    • What were the worst offences against liberty, democracy and the rule of law in 2009?
      For most bloggers and hacks, the end of the year is a time to look back at some of the best moments from the previous 12 months. But I'm a miserable bastard. So instead I thought I'd make a list of some of the low points for freedom and democracy in the UK in 2009. I'm thinking of those things which offend against the very notion of a free society; the kind people refuse to believe until you show them the proof.






  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • 2010: The Year Networks Are Decreed Neutral?
      Long-frustrated network neutrality advocates headed into 2009 with high hopes. After all, there was a new administration headed by a man whose campaign promises included the assurance that he would "take a back seat to no one" on the issue, a decidedly Democratic Congress and a general warming to the idea that unfettered access to content and applications on the Internet was somehow essential to the new economy and the sacrosanct rights of the First Amendment.


    • Whoops! F.C.C. Chairman Spams Facebook Friends
      Facebook scam artists have closed out 2009 by snagging a prominent victim: Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

      On Thursday at around 10:30 a.m., Mr. Genachowski sent his Facebook friends this puzzling message: “Adam got me started making money with this.” It was followed by a link to a Web page that is no longer active. The message blitz indicated that Mr. Genachowski’s account had been taken over by a malicious program that was using it to send out spam.


    • How to Destroy the Book, by Cory Doctorow
      People keep showing me ebook readers that try to recreate the book experience with cute animations showing the turning of pages. But if you want to recreate the important part of the book experience, the part that keeps people buying books for their whole lives, filling their homes with treasured friends that they would not part with for love nor money, then we need to restore and safeguard ownership of books. When I buy a book, it’s mine. There’s no mechanism, not even in the face of a court order, whereby a retailer can take a book away from me, and yet Amazon—there’s the most extraordinary thing that they had to do in the United States—you’ve heard of course that someone put a copy of Orwell’s 1984 in the Kindle Store, and it wasn’t licensed for distribution in the U.S.—of course, Orwell is in the public domain outside the U.S., in copyright in the U.S.—and Amazon responded to this intelligence by revoking the book 1984 from its customers’ ebook readers. After they’d bought it, they woke up one morning to discover their book had gone.


    • Tomorrow Is National Book Burning Day; Thank Your Friendly Entertainment Industry Lobbyists
      January 1st of each year should be National Public Domain Day, when many different creative works enter the public domain, where they can be made useful. In years past, it was a regular occurrence as tons of creative works went into the public domain each year. Often this was by choice on the part of the copyright holder. That's because copyright used to have a renewal requirement, and the vast majority of copyright holders found little reason to renew their copyright. In 1958-59, only 7% of book copyright holders chose to renew their copyrights, meaning that 93% of books that could have been covered by copyright were allowed to enter the public domain. The small number that did have their copyrights renewed were (not surprisingly) the books that were still huge commercial successes, whose authors and publishers wished to retain their monopoly rights.






  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • From the archives – March 2001: Major label digital strategies
      The company's internet strategy begins and ends with AOL. The thinking here is that AOL, with 24 million subscribers, has a natural customer base for Time Warner's extensive music catalogue, as well as serious Internet expertise in house. Although MBI World Music Report lists Warner Music Group's global market share as equal to BMG's at 11.9 percent (tied for fourth), AOL was working to secure licensing rights from the other music titans.

      Combined with Time Warner's cable-modem Road Runner service, AOL also has control of fat pipes in the US. The reason many people didn't use Napster is because it is slow and expensive. With control of broadband, subscription is that much more compelling.


    • What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2010?
      Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years). Under those laws, works published in 1953 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2010.


    • Sookman found liable for worldwide article inaccuracies
      OK. I’m being mean. I know it. You know it. Barry knows it. But hey, it’s me. This is how I am. Still I feel kind of guilty. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Quite frankly I should just forget about Barry, and finish the article I started before Christmas on Canadian attitudes towards Climate Change.

      But hell - I declare this ‘Beat up on Barry week.’ In my earlier articles about Barry’s writing (one) (two) I mentioned that I had spotted other inaccuracies, and here’s one:

      Fung and Isohunt found liable for inducing worldwide copyright infringement

      Like wow, man. Guilty of Worldwide Copyright Infringement! That’s bad. Really bad.


    • Why Indie Directors Give Movies Away Free Online
      When Finnish filmmaker Timo Vuorensola came up with the idea for his movie Star Wreck, a parody of Star Trek, he knew that looking for conventional distribution would be futile. An amateur, science-fiction comedy with a miniscule budget — and in Finnish, to boot — would hardly be attractive to mainstream studios. So Vuorensola took matters into his own hands: he used a Finnish social networking site to build up an online fan base who contributed to the storyline, made props and even offered their acting skills. In return for the help, Vuorensola released Star Wreck in 2005 online for free. Seven hundred thousand copies were downloaded in the first week alone; to date, the total has now reached 9 million.


    • My only prediction for 2010 and it ain’t pretty
      Sure we have all read posts about how the entertainment industry is trying to get changes made to existing copyright laws in various countries and the response has for the most part been a big *YAWN* and then it’s on to whining and gushing respectively over Twitter and Facebook. The problem is that the movement to gut existing copyright laws, being led by the US entertainment industry, is only a shadow of the real effort that will supersede any local country laws.

      This is all being done behind closed doors where even government officials are being required to sign NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreements). Yes, NDAs on the creation of a new global treaty – something that has never been done before because laws and treaties are suppose to be open to public examination and input. This isn’t the case with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) however.


    • The Problem Isn't Middlemen, It's Monopolies
      So many middlemen insist on monopolies, we've forgotten we don't need to grant them. They say that without a monopoly (aka "exclusive rights") they have no incentive to promote and distribute. Actually a monopoly gives a middleman no incentive, because no one is competing with them. Take away the monopoly, and the middleman has to compete with other potential middlemen (including the artist). Then they have an incentive to work. Rather than monopoly, they succeed on the basis of expertise (theatrical distributors already know how to track, ship, and manage prints), innovation (finding better ways to meet customers' existing desires and identifying new ones), and quality.










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