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Links 2/2/2010: Oracle/Sun Analysis



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Contents





GNU/Linux



Free Software/Open Source

  • Free Software as Part of the Anarchist Toolkit
    The free software movement has unwittingly presented the peoples of the world with an important tool to avail of, on the frontlines of democracy. Many of those previously and currently engaged in the free software movement are unlikely to be fully aware of the consequences and benefits of their work and may still be living in the fantasy belief world of neo-liberalism, free markets, trickle down economics, endless growth, domination and mindless consumerism. This is simply because many of the participants just do it ( -i.e. write code) and are not in any formal way a member of anything in particular, or politically motivated. Undoubtedly global capitalism has also fed off the free software movement and gained its own benefits, but on balance it would seem it has been positive to ordinary people too.


  • Adam Gifford: Open source route frees the mind
    One thing holding back the greater adoption of free software in this country is free software.

    Schools could use Linux and other open source technologies, but the Education Ministry very kindly negotiates on their behalf with Microsoft for a licence covering all New Zealand state and integrated schools.


  • Crafting Digital Media: A Book Review
    Crafting Digital Media is not an attempt to enumerate and describe every relevant package for Linux. Some users may be disappointed to learn that their favorite program is not profiled or even mentioned, but that should not diminish the book's value for those users. Above all, Crafting Digital Media is about maximizing the creative potential of Linux by organizing its productive software into a seamless workflow. The information and advice in this book is valuable to the creative user regardless whether he uses the recommended applications or his preferred suite of custom-built software.




  • Puppet

    • Puppet, Chef, Dependencies and Worldviews
      There was a flurry of Puppet Versus Chef in last week or so. I don’t want to go into sorting all the details at this time, but I hope I add perspective and clarity to one of the subtopics.


    • Puppet versus Chef: 10 reasons why Puppet wins
      If you're looking for Linux automation solutions, or server configuration management tools, the two technologies you're likely to come across are Puppet and Opscode Chef. They are broadly similar in architecture and solve the same kinds of problems. Puppet, from Reductive Labs, has been around longer, and has a large user base. Chef, from Opscode, has learned some of the lessons from Puppet's development, and has a high-profile client: EngineYard.






  • Mozilla







  • Sun

    • Oracle Begins Picking Its Sun A-Team
      Michael Bemmer, the former head of Sun's software business, is now the general manager of the Oracle Office Global Business Unit and is in many of the clips. He said there will be a name change for Star Office and Star Suite, which will become members of the Oracle Office family.


    • Top 8 MySQL Management Tools
      A large percentage of small to medium sized websites depend on Mysql server to support their db infrastructure. Working with it is as easy is saying it and for some reason there are numerous web and non-web administration software written specifically to manage a Mysql server and sites running on it. This article lists quite a few of them which you may find useful.
      1. NG-Admin – designed for the content management of MySQL databases. It allows the user to browse, add, edit, and delete data. It is somewhat similar to phpMyAdmin, but specializes in editing the content of Web sites, not the database structures. Its features are very easy to use and highly tunable.


    • The Great Oracle Experiment
      This, ultimately, is the most reassuring aspect of the Great Oracle Experiment: if things go wrong, there is always the possibility of taking the code elsewhere (if Oracle doesn't mind) or just forking it (if it does). In this respect, takeovers of companies that control open source projects are rather less nerve-wracking for users than those involving purely proprietary software – a fact that we can all be grateful for after the worrying uncertainty that has surrounded the Sun-Oracle deal during the last few months.


    • MySQL Founder Monty Widenius On What to Expect Next
      OStatic: Some people say it doesn't matter in the long run what Oracle does with MySQL. It's open source, so it will just succeed in forked versions if Oracle does nothing with it or kills it? Are they right?

      No, a fork is not likely to save MySQL long term. I have outlined the reasons in detail in my blog.

      In short, the GPL only guarantees that the code will be available, not that it will be developed. If things are not developed fast enough (according to the needs if its users), it will very rapidly be uninteresting for the masses and slowly die.








  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 8.0 installation walk-through
      Unfortunately, FreeBSD is a great operating system with an unholy awful installer — compared to other operating system installers currently available. Some people are comfortable with text-mode installers, some aren’t.

      They are nothing to be afraid of if you have a moderate amount of knowledge, but for those who absolutely require a more up-to-date installer, PC-BSD may be of more interest than FreeBSD. Having said that, the installation is probably the hardest part of using FreeBSD, so if you’ve made it through this, FreeBSD is a lot of fun to play with.








  • Government

    • Should Government drop Windows and turn to open source?


    • For government open source is a make-or-buy decision
      This was carried into the IT sphere. I did several stories at ZDNet Healthcare about efforts by private contractors to destroy the VA’s open source VistA system — starving it of funds, driving away the best employees, centralizing contributions, and eventually replacing it through contracts.

      My sources were former government employees. The ex-VA employees stayed in touch with former colleagues and got the story out. This was not a big story, but it held a lesson, namely the risk inherent in having government employees building vital infrastructure.






  • Openness

    • Open Societies need open systems
      Openness, like democracy, must be constantly defended, says Bill Thompson.


    • Rethinking Open Data
      In the last year I've been involved in two open data projects, Open New Zealand and data.govt.nz. I believe in learning from experience and I've seen some signs recently that other projects might benefit from my experience, so this post is a recap of what I've learned. It's the byproduct of a summer reflection on my last nine months working in open data.








  • Standards/Consortia







Leftovers

  • Stupidware
    So, dear developers, please stop assuming we're all idiots. Let us make the same mistake again and again and sooner or later we will learn to not make the same mistakes. Training wheels are for Windows.. leave us *BSD/Linux users out of this particular loop.


  • Google mulls biz software store to punt Apps
    Mountain View is reportedly building an online store to punt business software from its partners in a move to grab more Google Apps customers.


  • Palm OS: Not Dead Yet




  • Science

    • Teenager invents low-frequency radio for underground communications
      You know what's really annoying? Teenagers. Even more annoying? Teenagers inventing legitimately useful things and getting awards for it. Meet Alexander Kendrick, the 16-year old inventor of a new low-frequency radio that allows for cave-texting, which isn't some fresh new euphemism, it just means people can finally text while deep underground.








  • Security

    • Victims lost $9.3 billion to 419 scammers in 2009
      Advance-fee fraud (AFF), also known as 419 scams and Nigerian scams, exploded in 2009, with victims losing more money than ever before. This is according to the latest analysis from Dutch investigation firm Ultrascan—a company that has been monitoring the activities of 419 scammers since 1996—which says that victims lost almost 50 percent more money in 2009 than 2008.


    • Researchers Uncover Security Vulnerabilities in Femtocell Technology
      Two Trustwave security consultants report they have uncovered hardware and software vulnerabilities in femtocell devices that can be used to take over the device. The duo will present their findings at the ShmooCon conference in Washington.


    • Femtocells wilt under attack
      Researchers working for TrustWave will present details of their successful attacks against femtocells at the ShmooCon security conference next week in Washington. They will explain that they were able to gain root access to the Linux-based devices, which could then be tampered with to track users and intercept calls.


    • Results of Study on Cellphone Use Surprise Researchers
      Laws banning cellphone use while driving apparently haven’t reduced crashes, according to a study released on Friday that compared the number of total crashes before the ban with the number after. The study found virtually no difference in the numbers, a finding that had the researchers scratching their heads.


    • Cyber-attacks breached 3 U.S. oil companies: CSM
      Two weeks after hackers launched a cyber-attack on Google that has appalled security researchers for its degree of sophistication, the Christian Science Monitor has revealed that online criminals breached the systems of three U.S. oil companies in 2008 through previously unreported attacks.


    • 'No scan, no flight' at Heathrow and Manchester
      Some passengers at Heathrow and Manchester airports will have to go through full body scanners before boarding their flights under new rules.

      It is now compulsory for people selected for a scan to take part, or they will not be allowed to fly.


    • ID minister promises virtual immortality for all Britons
      The government has guaranteed virtual immortality for every British citizen - as long as they join the National Identity Register.


    • Retailers fooled by fake and borrowed IDs
      Kids in the UK are experts in using fake IDs bought online or using someone else's documents to get their hands on age-restricted products.






  • Finance







  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • South Australian Government gags internet debate
      * Anonymous comments banned for SA election * Michael Atkinson says speech still free * Media says censorship is 'draconian'

      SOUTH Australia has become one of the few states in the world to censor the internet.

      The new law, which came into force on January 6, requires anyone making an online comment about next month's state election to publish their real name and postcode.


    • Rann Government curbs internet debate
      South Australia's Attorney-General has defended tougher laws on political comment made on the internet.

      During election periods, anyone posting comment or blogs must publish their real name and postcode.

      Michael Atkinson says it has long been a requirement that newspapers verify personal details for letters published during election periods.


    • Does Freedom Of The Press In The UK Include Just Making Things Up?
      Of course, it's also noted that Reporters Without Borders ranks the UK higher than the US when it comes to freedom of the press, leading the professor to claim that perhaps the UK press is a little too free when it feels comfortable making such totally unsubstantiated claims.


    • Vision Media Requests Injunction Against Blogging That “Cast[s it] in a Negative Light”
      When it added Public Citizen’s defense of Julia Forte’s 800Notes.com to the Citizen Media Law Project database the Project took note of a bizarre motion filed by Vision Media, asking the court to prohibit any public discussion about its lawsuit, including blogging. The motion is an apparent response to my email to Vision Media’s counsel inviting them respond on this blog to my comments about their lawsuit.








  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • Ubisoft's new DRM solution: you have be online to play
      Ubisoft does not have the best history when it comes to invasive—if not downright broken—DRM, but the company's upcoming "solution" to game piracy is much worse than anything we've seen in the past. The gist is simple: every time you want to play your game, it has to phone back to Ubisoft before giving you permission to play. No Internet connection? You're simply out of luck.


    • With Kindle, the Best Sellers Don’t Need to Sell
      That’s right. More than half of the “best-selling” e-books on the Kindle, Amazon.com’s e-reader, are available at no charge.








  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Who Dat Holds The Trademark To Who Dat? NFL Threatens While WhoDat Inc. Asks Why?
      It seems like every year there's some sort of controversy over trademarks and the Superbowl. Of course, the NFL has been famous for aggressively defending trademarks.

      [...]

      The Monistere brothers seem particularly annoyed by the NFL bullying small t-shirt makers, saying that they're more than happy to grant licenses to those folks to produce Who Dat merchandise, and merchants have said that the NFL communication has been tremendously threatening and aggressive, while the Monistere's have been quite friendly and accommodating.


    • Naomi Klein: How Corporate Branding Took Over the White House
      Ten years after the publication of "No Logo", Klein looks at how Obama created a brand that won him the Presidency. Will his failure to live up to his lofty brand cost him?


    • Dutch Judges Plagiarize, Potentially Infringe, Blog Post In Decision About Copyright
      What makes it even worse, of course, is that the quoted/plagiarized/infringing bit might not even be accurate. As we discussed in our own post on the subject, there appears to be significant disagreement over whether or not embedding authorized content could be seen as infringing -- and apparently, there is a widespread debate about it in Dutch legal circles as well, saying that it is far from readily agreed upon in the legal literature.


    • Labels: Lower Music Prices And Increase Your Profits, Study Says
      Anyone who still remembers the basic principle of Economics 101 understands, on a gut level, one big problem with recorded music: It costs too much.


    • News.com Prevents Falsely Accused Grandmother Of Getting Kicked Off The Internet By The MPAA
      Greg Sandoval, over at News.com recently came across a grandmother who was falsely accused multiple times of file sharing, and her ISP, Qwest, was threatening to kick her off the internet. We had not heard that Qwest had signed on with a "three strikes" program, so it's a bit of news that it's one of the companies who will accept bogus accusations. Not only that, but Qwest even told her that no other provider would grant her service because Qwest would let those other service providers "know her name and what she did." Thanks, Qwest!


    • Anti-Piracy Scheme “A Scam & Legal Blackmail” Say UK Lords
      Several UK Lords have criticized the practices of law firms that send out warning letters to alleged copyright infringers demanding big payments. These schemes have been labeled a scam, and the lawyers operating them accused of “harassment, bullying and intrusion” and “legal blackmail” in the House of Lords.


    • Geist: Three strikes and you’re out system draws cries of foul from governments
      Canadian officials travel to Guadalajara, Mexico this week to resume negotiations on the still-secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The discussion is likely to turn to the prospect of supporting three strikes and you’re out systems that could result in thousands of people losing access to the Internet based on three allegations of copyright infringement. Leaked ACTA documents indicate that encouraging the adoption of three-strikes - often euphemistically described as “graduated response” for the way Internet providers gradually send increasingly threatening warnings to subscribers - has been proposed for possible inclusion in the treaty.


    • ACTA Talks in Mexico to Address Transparency Concerns
      Secretive international talks about how to curb counterfeiting and Internet piracy are under way in Mexico this week. But instead of focusing on the subject at hand, negotiators will spend much of their time discussing transparency, or rather the lack of it in the whole process.


    • For the Love of Culture
      Except of course for those with a devoted heir, such as Grace Guggenheim. She was not willing to accept defeat. Instead she set herself the extraordinary task of clearing all of the rights necessary to permit her father’s films to be shown. Eight years later, she is largely done. About ten major works remain. Just last year, her father’s most famous documentary--Robert Kennedy Remembered, made in 1968 in the two months between Kennedy’s assassination and the Democratic National Convention, and broadcast only once--was cleared for DVD release through the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center.


    • David Fincher on copyright clearances


    • Authors: Don't Make the Buddy Holly Mistake
      Listening to Holly pleading with the masters he has alienated his rights to is heartbreaking. Decca had dropped him, apparently, but had the rights to sit on his recordings for 5 years. Although they had no intention of releasing the songs, they also would not give Holly permission to do so--the cigar-chomping executive kept saying "well, we got a lot of money tied up in them, Buddy!" But Holly offered to reimburse those costs; no dice.


    • Copyright, companies, individuals and news: the rules of the road
      On 5 January, the Independent's website ran a photo uploaded to the Flickr image-sharing site by user Peter Zabulis. Zabulis flagged his photo of a snowed-over field as "all rights reserved," and he took exception to the Independent's use of the image without permission, and he wrote to them to tell them so.

      Exception turned to outrage as a terse note from the Independent claimed that by posting the photo to Flickr, Zabulis had not asserted his copyright (whatever that means) and thus copyright had not been breached.


    • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation signs up with weird American copyright bounty-hunters
      The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has signed up with iCopyright, the American copyright bounty hunters used by the Associated Press, to offer ridiculous licenses for the quotation of CBC articles on the web (these are the same jokers who sell you a "license" to quote 5 words from the AP).


    • Will your big-screen Super Bowl party violate copyright law?
      An offhand comment the other day by a friend caught my attention—"Did you know that you can't watch the Super Bowl on a TV screen larger than 55 inches? Yeah, it's right there in the law."


    • AP renews licensing deal with Yahoo, not yet with Google
      Yahoo has renewed its licensing deal with the Associated Press to post articles from the global wire service on Yahoo Web sites, the companies said on Monday.








Recent Techrights' Posts

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