Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 12/2/2010: Announcements of RMS GNU/Linux-Libre, LibrePlanet

GNOME bluefish



  • RMS GNU/Linux-Libre! (in English)

  • How We Implemented Linux in Our Ministry
    Like many other people, our church and, more importantly, our Christian school, ran the Windows operating system on all computers. We have about 15 computers in classrooms in addition to our computer lab of 25 computers. They were not the greatest computers to begin with – Pentium 3, 8GB HDD, 64-128 Mb of RAM – but that soon changed. We were given a large donation of 65 Dell Optiplex GX260s one year ago. Still not up to today’s standards, but a huge improvement over what we had and adequate for our current needs.


    There had to be a responsible alternative. And there was. The answer was found in the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Now, there are many variations (distributions) of Linux, but I have been using Ubuntu since 2006 on my personal computers.

  • SGI spins up Cyclone HPC cloud
    Cyclone is not restricted to running the 16 applications mentioned above in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) manner (with others coming out shortly), but can also be used as raw computing to run homegrown code or any other Linux applications that HPC shops have a license to run (known as IaaS in the cloud lingo).

  • Graphics Stack

    • Open-Source ATI R600/700 Mesa 3D Performance
      Our test system was made up of an Intel Core i3 530 clocked at 3.31GHz, an ECS H55H-M motherboard, 2GB of OCZ DDR3-1333MHz memory, and a 64GB OCZ Vertex SSD. On the software side we were running a snapshot of Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" that included the Linux 2.6.32-12 (x86_64) kernel, GNOME 2.29.6, X Server 1.7.4 RC2, xf86-video-radeon 6.12.99, Mesa 7.7, and an EXT4 file-system. Many other distributions this quarter and next are shipping with Mesa 7.7 and the Linux 2.6.32 kernel so this should provide an overall look at what to expect in terms of the open-source R500/600/700 3D performance. Besides the already mentioned plans for future articles, we will also be delivering fresh ATI Radeon benchmarks from Fedora 13 to see how the latest bleeding edge code is performing.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Gnome is better than KDE ??
      Again, after comparing Ubuntu 9.10 versus Mandriva 2010, I try to write my own opinion regarding comparison between Gnome and KDE. I think most of Linux users agree that Gnome used by most Linux users better than KDE. But, is Gnome better than KDE?

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Screenshot Tour of KDE 4.4 SC
        KDE 4.4 comes with Amarok 2.2.2 as the music player. Amarok can make use of KNotify for displaying Now Playing information, instead of its OSD feature.

      • krunner responsiveness
        The RunnerManager interface in libplasma which powers KRunner (among other interfaces) was designed to allow plugins a-plenty so that one search term could be matched in "real time" by several different components, each one looking for answers in different ways or places. This isn't a particularly unique design by any means, and the concept can be seen in many search interfaces out there.

      • go with the flow
        KDE SC 4.4 comes with vastly improved and expanded Javascript Plasmoid support, and I'd like to personally introduce them to you. I will therefore be hosting open training sessions on both Friday and Saturday at 18:00 UTC on in #plasma-training.

      • Plasmate 0.1-alpha1

      • Plasma Javascript Jam Session
        Tomorrow at 16:00 UTC we'll be hosting the first Javascript Plasmoid tutorial session in #plasma-training on

      • Cedega Install: KDE4
        Been meaning to do this for a while. Here's a walkthrough of install Cedega atop a KDE4 desktop. As a precursor note, Cedega does not yet actually work on the hardware platform I used to write this guide. There's an issue with Cedega's hardware identification failing to recognize a mobile RadeonHD 2600 with Catalyst 10.1 atop a 2.6.32 kernel.

      • Kubuntu Karmic, KDE 4.4 and Nepomuk

      • One window to rule them all: window tabbing in KDE 4.4

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 2.30 Beta released
        The GNOME release team has announced the availability of the first beta for what will become version 2.30 of GNOME. The 2.29.90 development release of the GNOME desktop environment for Linux and Unix marks the beginning of the UI freeze and includes several bug fixes, changes and updates.

      • GNOME Shell Usability Test Plan
        The first cut of the test plan is on the wiki with those 36 hypotheses. I would love to hear what you think about them and if you have ideas for other GNOME Shell design assumptions you’d like to see tested. I would also love to hear your ideas on how we might devise some tests for each hypotheses. I’ve set up a page for commentary on the wiki so please feel free to add your comments and suggestions! (Although of course you can feel free to leave your feedback in the comments area of this blog post instead.)

      • GNOME accessibility - the future

  • Distributions

    • Salix OS 13.0.2a: Surprisingly Fresh
      Salix is a solid distribuiton built on a Slackware foundation. It does what many among the Slackware faithful would consider heresy: makes Slackware behave more like a modern Linux operating system that's simpler to install and manage. I for one welcome our heretical Bonsai overlords.

      If I'm ever in the mood for a lightweight Slack-based distribution with minimal fuss involved, Salix has made my short list. I look forward to seeing future releases from this group.

    • New Releases

      • Download Bauer-Puntu Linux 9.10R2
        Good idea right? I thought, that I would definitely do that for the next distro of Bauer-Puntu. So what’s the big deal? Well, Bauer-Puntu 10.04 will not be available until after April. I wanted something a little sooner than that! That is when I decided I would just re-lease another version of Bauer-Puntu 9.10, and call it R2! Why not right? It works for Microshaft!

      • [yoper-announce] Yoper Linux 2010 - Codename Dresden RC1 available for download
        We're happy to announce the first Release Candidate of Yoper Linux 2010 - Codename Dresden an i686 Linux distribution optimized for simple desktop use. This is one step closer to a simple, yet powerful Linux desktop for the enthusiastic Linux user, that just works, but still leaves you in control.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat projects to seed cloudy IT
        Let's get one thing straight. We don't like the term cloud computing any more than you do

        Of course, Richard Stallman doesn't like when we call it Linux rather than GNU/Linux. He's gotta live with Linux. And, well, we've gotta live with cloud computing. It's not going away.

        Commercial Linux and middleware distributor Red Hat is, like other platform providers, trying to get money from IT departments that buy software. But Red Hat can't say that. For one, the company can't sell software because that violates open source licensing, and two, it's too boring to just come out and say that.

      • Red Hat Ramps Up Open Source Cloud Projects

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Rawhide Quickly Switching To Fedora 14
          To eliminate having to freeze the bleeding-edge Fedora Rawhide repository once the next release of this free software Linux distribution enters its own alpha/feature freeze, a new development branch has been created so that Rawhide can immediately begin hosting packaged for the next Fedora release.

    • Debian Family

      • Dealing with gifted kids: a geek's tale
        For a geek, the situation is much the same. When Andrew McMillan (below), a senior Debian GNU/Linux developer and a free software geek, found out that his elder son, Max, was unusually gifted, he reacted as any loving parent would.

      • Announcing OpenECP: Open Elastic Computing Platform
        I am pleased to announce the immediate availability of the Open Elastic Computing Platform (OpenECP) Version 4.0 Alpha (openecp-4.0alpha.tar.gz), provisionally tested on Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (screenshots).

      • Ubuntu

        • U-Lite Linux- Ubuntu made light.
          The default installation comes bundled with Abiword and Gnumeric for word processing and spreadsheets. It also comes with the Kazehakase web browser and Sylpheed mail client.

        • Thank you Ubuntu Québec and Facebook
          Within hours of the launch Ubuntu Québec team members started complaining on the mailing list and on’s Facebook group. We wrote to their admins, provided details, wrote to the ombudsman, got canned replies for all communications. We then put together a Facebook group, and started inviting people to join and we shared our findings (now all on a public wiki). 451 people joined the group which is an amazing number for Quebec province, given the context. I never ever thought I’d use Facebook for open formats and Linux support advocacy in such a way!

        • You don’t need Kopete Facebook plugin anymore
          As for Kopete. As protocols start to use XMPP, the need of hiding XMPP for the end user arises. The account wizard should display the services known by name, and do the XMPP setup with the known preferences. May be something I can work on now that I don’t need to maintain the protocol anymore. And I almost forget: we need a way to migrate current users of the plugin.

        • Acer AspireRevo nettop review
          Amazingly, this nettop also supports 802.11n wireless. Ubuntu found the wireless chipset and we were able to attach to a D-Link DIR-855 router in seconds. Most netbooks from HP and Asus do not support the fast N standard yet, running at over 100Mbps, so this was a welcome surprise, especially for a system that could work as a prime media server (with 160GB of storage) for streaming movies from a NAS.

      • Mint

        • Why Mint over Ubuntu
          I've been an Ubuntu fan for some time now. No matter which distro I tried, I always found it lacked some feature or another and I eventually made my way back to Ubuntu. Then I found Mint. Linux Mint is a derivative of Ubuntu which is a derivative of Debian (Debian' = Ubuntu and Ubuntu' = Linux Mint). Why use a derivative of Ubuntu (or Debian for that matter) instead of just using the original product?

          Simple: The derivative is better.

        • Linux Mint 8 Enabling DVD Playback…
          To play a DVD on Linux Mint, you will need to install libdvdcss2. In Linux Mint 8 just as with previous versions and Ubuntu, there is no need to manually configure the repository, all you need do is the following:

          * Open a Terminal Window (Menu > Terminal) and type the following: sudo apt-get install libdvdread4 * Next type the following: sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

          Once you have done that, next time you insert a DVD you should get the option to auto run with MPlayer Media Player. Enjoy.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader to hit stores
      Bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc said on Monday that its Nook electronic reader would be available in most of its physical stores as of Wednesday, ahead of Valentine's Day, ending weeks of delays.

    • Cortex-A8-based HMI kit supports Linux, Android
      TES Electronics is shipping a Linux- and Android-ready hardware/software development kit for home automation, transportation entertainment systems, and industrial displays. The Magik-MX Kit offers a module based on a TI OMAP3530 system-on-chip, an I/O board, a seven-inch multi-touch display, and TES' Guiliani GUI/HMI framework.

    • Android

      • Motorola sets breakup for 2011
        Motorola on Thursday said it will split into two separate companies in the first quarter of 2011, roughly a year from now.

      • Google Irons Out Its Nexus One Strategy
        Google is moving quickly to get beyond its bumpy start as a mobile device retailer, dealing with some of the complaints around its Nexus One smartphone.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • It's Not The Hokey Cokey; OpenOffice BACK In Ubuntu Netbook Edition After User Outcry
        The first reversal earlier this week that saw AbiWord and GNUMeric step in as replacements. Now the decision has been fully reversed: OpenOffice WILL be installed by default in Ubuntu Netbook Edition.

      • Asustek Wants to Become Another Apple with Open-Source Platforms.
        Speaking at an event dedicated to spinning-off Pegatron Technologies from Asustek, Jonney Shih, chairman of Asus, reiterated the company’s long-term plan to become “another Apple”, but to adopt open-source or popular platforms instead of proprietary software, including ARM and Google Chrome/Android combinations as well as Intel and Windows to suit consumer demand, reports DigiTimes web-site.

Free Software/Open Source

  • LibrePlanet Free Software Conference: Free as in Freedom!
    The annual free software conference LibrePlanet is the place for the free software community -- from old school hackers to brand new users -- to come together and further the collective goals of the free software movement. At LibrePlanet 2010 you can help your neighbor get a head-start in free software or explore the very latest philosophical ideas that will shape computing and user freedom for the next generation.

  • Refarm the city
    refarm the city are tools of open software and hardware for urban farmers.

    is a mix of a good meal (the crop, the friends, the seeds, ...) , hardware (the urban farm, the composter, the electronics, the sensors, recycled materials, ...), software (built a farm according to: your personal needs, local vegetables, local gastronomy, farm location, ...) that will give you the tools to design, control and manage your farm during her life.

  • Open Source conference in Copenhagen
    Open Source Days is the largest open source conference in the Nordic area. It's your opportunity to meet, share, and learn from professional open source experts.

  • Beautiful projects deserve beautiful sites
    You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The old cliche is true, and it applies to the Web sites of FLOSS projects as surely as it does a first date or a job interview. Unfortunately, all too many FLOSS Web sites make a very, very poor first impression. Not surprising, since many FLOSS developers are much more talented at coding than they are at Web site design. How to fix the problem?


    This is a topic that has grabbed my interest not just because of the marketing FLOSS angle, which is important, but also because I've been tweaking my own site design. While it's fun, site design is not one of my core skills. I can mangle HTML just fine, but actually making things look pretty from a Web design angle... not so much one of my strengths. Better resources for site design would be greatly helpful!

  • Open Source Routers Are Worth Considering
    When you buy a computer today, you choose between the consumer-friendly platforms of Windows or Mac. Alternatives such as Linux are completely ignored.

    The kernel of the Linux operating system is "open source," meaning that no company owns or controls it completely. Commercial software packages are built around the Linux kernel (such as Red Hat), but the core platform remains free for anyone to revise, modify, and authenticate.

    Many folks are leery of open source software because society is programmed to embrace products from companies like Microsoft and Apple. Linux is universally celebrated for its rock-solid performance and stability, but it requires a little more effort to find layman-like support and help.

  • Audiocasts

  • Mozilla

  • Databases

    • DRBD and MySQL - Heartbeat Setup
      DRBD provides an alternative high availability solution for MySQL. By effectively putting a mirrored filesystem beneath the database, the Linux operating system is thus replicating all of your data without the database even knowing about it. In our first two articles on the topic, we discussed some of the strengths and weaknesses of native MySQL statement based replication and then compared and contrasted those with the DRBD based solution. The advantages are in simplification of management, and elimination of some of the anomalous behavior of MySQL replication. The potential tradeoffs though are some performance impact, both in how your filesystem will then respond as it has to wait for acknowledgement of writes on remote destinations as well as a performance hit when you failover as the target MySQL database is starting up fresh, and has to warm its cache before performance will equal that on the former primary.

  • CMS

    • Choosing the Right Content Management System for Your Project
      Not every CMS is as easy to set-up like WordPress or Movable Type for example, and sometimes depending on how easy it is to install, this can reflect how easy it could be to use the system. Many hosting companies will automatically install a few types of CMS’s to your domain (i.e. Joomla, WordPress, Drupal), however there are a few that require you to manually upload them to your directory using an FTP.

  • Business

    • Online Music and Open Source Business Models

    • Open source evolving with the cloud
      One such example is MuleSoft’s new offer of Tomcat application server via the GoGrid cloud. The product, MuleSoft Cloudcat, consists of cloud-based Apache Tomcat on GoGrid with commercial support from MuleSoft.

      We’re also seeing examples of new open source software for the cloud. We’ve covered the use of unpaid, community Linux in the cloud, but a new cloud-specific distribution, CloudLinux, may also have some interesting implications, particularly for hosters and other service providers. CloudLinux, compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone CentOS, is commercially backed and supported by a company of the same name.

    • MuleSoft Partners With GoGrid to Offer Cloudcat -- Enterprise Tomcat in the Cloud

    • Gear6 Memcached Service for the Cloud Now Available on GoGrid

    • OpenSAF in Commercial Deployment
      The OpenSAF Foundation, the not-for-profit organization supporting the OpenSAF open source high availability middleware projects, today announced that Ericsson has deployed the OpenSAF technology in carrier networks. This represents the first public statement by a major equipment manufacturer on commercial adoption, development and deployment of OpenSAF and demonstrates the quality and maturity of the open source project.

  • Government

    • Spanish Interoperability Framework, a consultancy by OPENTIA
      During more than two years, the main consultants of OPENTIA have actively participated in the creation of what could be named the greatest work of public interoperability ever made in Spain: the Spanish Interoperability Framework and its belonging technical and administrative development.

    • Open source not free, Senate hears
      A 2007 AGIMO survey revealed that 68 percent of government agencies were either piloting or using open source software.

      But further questioning from Greens Senator Scott Ludlam yesterday revealed research had not been undertaken since. AGIMO took on notice a suggestion that the research be revisited.

      Centrelink, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and National Archives of Australia were known to use open source products; however, it was up to individual agencies to make procurement decisions, AGIMO said.

      Greens spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam had been pushing for the government to adopt open source software to promote openness and reduce costs.

      While open source software may reduce licensing costs, the cost of support could be an issue.

  • Openness

    • Don't restrict the flow of technical knowledge
      I’m a member of two IEEE societies that publish IEEE Transactions. While most of the papers are rather scholarly, I sometimes run across one that I’d like to summarize and provide a link for readers to download the original paper. That happened recently. Knowing that IEEE forbids third parties such as T&MW from posting IEEE copyrighted work (I can live with that), I contacted one of the paper’s authors asking if he would post his paper and I’ll link to it.

      The author agreed to post his paper, but he’s not a member of that IEEE society and thus he had no way to download his own work. That in itself is inexcusable, but it gets worse.

    • Openmoko updates WikiReader - the pocket Wikipedia
      Openmoko has announced the release of the Spring 2010 update for its WikiReader. Openmoko Product Manager William Lai said that, "We've been listening to requests from customers for better rendering quality, improved scrolling and we fixed these issues as our top priority for the Spring 2010 update".

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Integrating Facebook Chat Everywhere
      Facebook Chat now supports Jabber/XMPP, the open standard for instant messaging.

    • Using Facebook XMPP chat on Ubuntu
      The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. Hi everyone, my name is Alan and I do have a Facebook account. There, done it. Feels better already. I don’t use it that much, and frankly I find it a little disturbing the way it mixes up all your friends, family and work contacts so they all talk to each other. But this isn’t a post about my insecurities and paranoid delusions. No, it is a post about Ubuntu and XMPP. Facebook now does XMPP, which is an instant messaging protocol also known as Jabber. It is the same thing Google talk uses and the same thing that the most awesome OLPC XO uses for communication.

    • H.264 is royalty-free for Web use through 2015, but still not a good idea
      The MPEG LA (Licensing Authority) has announced that H.264 licenses for free internet video will be free until the end of 2015.

      I still don't think it's a good idea to use H.264 as the standard video codec on the Web.


  • Primary school pupils banned from sending Valentine's cards 'so they don't get upset if they get dumped'
    Pupils have been banned from celebrating or sending Valentine's Day cards – to protect them from the emotional trauma of being dumped. The pupils have been warned that if any cards are found or exchanged in school, they will be confiscated.

    Teachers at Ashcombe Primary School in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, believe children are not ‘emotionally mature’ enough to understand relationships.

  • Bill Clinton Has Procedure for Chest Pain
    Former President Bill Clinton left a New York hospital on Friday morning after undergoing what his cardiologist called a successful procedure to clear a blocked artery.

  • Hardware

    • The HPC Software Conundrum
      Lunchtime is over. Events in the processor market and particularly the HPC market have changed the game. Software applications that once enjoyed performance increases from increased clock speed have not seen any real significant bumps in recent years. Celebrating and ranking processors based on clock speed is therefore of little value. Indeed, the current hardware advances in both multi-core and streaming-core (GP-GPU) do not apply to many single threaded applications. And yet, there always celebration of these new hardware advances.

    • AMD aims for GPUs in mainstream servers starting 2012
      Advanced Micro Devices will put more focus on tightly integrating graphics processor cores into mainstream servers starting 2012 as it tries to increase system performance, a company executive said.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Security in the 20-teens
      Recently, Google announced that its operations in China (and beyond) had been subject to sophisticated attacks, some of which were successful; a number of other companies have been attacked as well. The source of these attacks may never be proved, but it is widely assumed that they were carried out by government agencies. There are also allegations that the East Anglia email leak was a government-sponsored operation. While at LCA, your editor talked with a developer who has recently found himself at Google; according to this developer, incidents like these demonstrate that the security game has changed in significant ways, with implications that the community can ignore only at its peril.

    • Chip and PIN is broken
      There should be a 9-minute film on Newsnight tonight (10:30pm, BBC Two) showing some research by Steven Murdoch, Saar Drimer, Mike Bond and me. We demonstrate a middleperson attack on EMV which lets criminals use stolen chip and PIN cards without knowing the PIN.

    • Future police: Meet the UK's armed robot drones
      Police forces all over the UK will soon be able to draw on unmanned aircraft from a national fleet, according to Home Office plans. Last month it was revealed that modified military aircraft drones will carry out surveillance on everyone from protesters and antisocial motorists to fly-tippers, and will be in place in time for the 2012 Olympics.

    • Improve Network Security with DNS Servers
      The Domain Name System (DNS) is something we all use and depend on, yet don't really pay much attention to; if you have some time to investigate alternatives, you could really enhance your network's performance and security.

    • Canadian customs refuse to disclose laptop border search policy
      On November 30, 2009, we got another letter from the CBSA saying that they'd need another 60 days to meet the request, because a timely response would "unreasonably interfere with the operations of the government institution" and "consultations are necessary to comply with the request." We settled in to wait again.

    • Scratched photo costs schoolgirl €£360 Oyster card
      Elliz McKenzie, of East Dulwich, had her card confiscated by a TfL ticket inspector who noticed that her photo card, which entitles 11 to 15-year-olds to free travel to school and is worth up to €£360, had been scratched and was therefore “in breach of the Oyster card behaviour code”.

      The card had been accidentally damaged by the schoolgirl's baby cousin.

      TfL said the card would be returned if Elliz carried out six hours of volunteer work, which could include cleaning graffiti or picking up litter.

    • Bridlington off-licence fingerprints customers
      An off-licence owner in Bridlington has started using fingerprint technology to deter underage drinkers and smokers.

    • Body scanners and printed images..?
      Whilst he couldn't manage to make our debate on the subject, Lord Adonis blithely guaranteed that images taken of people in airport body scanners would be immediately destroyed after they were taken.

      The claim is rather undermined by the experience of Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan, who during an appearance on the Jonathan Ross show claimed that he was presented by airport security staff with printed images from his scan, which he promptly autographed.

    • Half a million PCs can access Schengen's 'secure' database
      The number of computers with access to the Schengen Information System has doubled to 500,000 thanks to the extension of the EU.

      SIS is a shared information system used by police and border guards across Europe. Although the UK and Ireland declined to sign up fully, they still use the system.

    • MEPs condemn Nokia Siemens 'surveillance tech' in Iran
      Euro MPs have "strongly" criticised telecoms firm Nokia Siemens Networks for providing "surveillance technology" to the Iranian authorities.

    • UK loses appeal to conceal Binyam Mohamed torture
      UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband today lost an appeal to conceal details of the "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment of UK resident Binyam Mohamed after being stopped in Pakistan, then detained and subjected to extraordinary rendition at the behest of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency.

    • MI5 denies cover-up over Binyam Mohamed torture affair
      The head of MI5 has denied officers withheld information over what it knew about the the torture of a UK resident.

      In an unprecedented move, Jonathan Evans defended the security service against claims it misled MPs over the US's treatment of Binyam Mohamed.

    • Simulated hacker attack to test US government response
      Security industry analysts and lawmakers will get an unprecedented chance next week to evaluate how the government might respond to a hack attack on critical infrastructure targets.

      The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), a Washington-based non-profit established in 2007 by several lawmakers, will host a simulated nation-wide cyber-attack next Tuesday for a group of former administration and national security officials, who will be playing the roles of Cabinet members.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • French lawmakers to vote on net filtering next Tuesday
      French lawmakers will vote next Tuesday on a proposal to filter Internet traffic. Part of a new security bill, the measure is intended to catch child pornographers, but critics say it won't succeed. Once the filtering system is in place, though, it will allow the government to censor other material too.

      The National Assembly has already spent two days debating the grandly titled "Bill on direction and planning for the performance of domestic security," known as Loppsi II in French, with deputies voting to reject all the amendments that sought to limit the Internet filtration provisions.

    • French Parliament approves Net censorship
      During the debate over the French security bill (LOPPSI), the government opposed all the amendments seeking to minimize the risks attached to filtering Internet sites. The refusal to make this measure experimental and temporary shows that the executive could not care less about its effectivity to tackle online child pornography or about its disastrous consequences. This measure will allow the French government to take control of the Internet, as the door is now open to the extension of Net filtering.

    • Hackers attack AU websites to protest censorship
      A band of cyber-attackers have taken down the Australian Parliament House website and hacked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's website in coordinated protests against government plans to filter the Internet.

    • Censorship of the internet- is China really that guilty?
      Is it true that a bill was tabled before congress that sought to give the US president absolute power to take over the internet? Why does the US ban access to sites, and not just any sites but open source application sites to citizens of other countries? Why does Google do same with their code hosting service Google Code? I find it very funny and ironic when the kettle tells the pot how black it looks!

    • Google censors Youtube nasties
      Launched yesterday, Youtube's safety mode will allow users with Google or Youtube accounts to only view content that's deemed to be wholesome and abides by Youtube's Community Guidelines. Of course the problem with this is that you will have to trust that the filtering system is up-to-date with the latest content.

    • Google shuts down music blogs without warning
      Bloggers told they have violated terms without further explanation, as years of archives are wiped off the internet

    • Google's Latest Music Blog Kerfuffle Highlights Problems With The DMCA
      You may recall that almost exactly a year ago there were all sorts of reports of music blogs using Google's Blogger service finding their blog posts silently disappearing. The issue, it turned out, was the way Google dealt with DMCA takedown notices from copyright holders. The way the DMCA is set up, in order to avoid liability, Google is put in an awkward position of having to take the content down.

    • Wikileaks and Iceland MPs propose 'journalism haven'
      Iceland could become a "journalism haven" if a proposal put forward by some Icelandic MPs aided by whistle-blowing website Wikileaks succeeds.

      The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), calls on the country's government to adopt laws protecting journalists and their sources.

    • Appeals Court Backs EFF Push for Telecom Lobbying Documents Disclosure
      Today a federal appeals court rejected a government claim of "lobbyist privacy" to hide the identities of individuals who pressured Congress to grant immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the government's warrantless electronic surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans. As the court observed, "There is a clear public interest in public knowledge of the methods through which well-connected corporate lobbyists wield their influence."

    • SWIFT Parliament debate with Malmström
      Commissioner Malmström defensive intervention in the European Parliament. She claims the agreement includes “an absolute prohibition on data mining – searches of the database can only be undertaken where it is possible to show a reason to believe that the subject of the search is engaged in terrorism.”

    • European Swift bank data ban angers US
      The European Parliament has blocked a key agreement that allows the United States to monitor Europeans' bank transactions - angering Washington.

    • Feds push for tracking cell phones
      Two years ago, when the FBI was stymied by a band of armed robbers known as the "Scarecrow Bandits" that had robbed more than 20 Texas banks, it came up with a novel method of locating the thieves.

      FBI agents obtained logs from mobile phone companies corresponding to what their cellular towers had recorded at the time of a dozen different bank robberies in the Dallas area. The voluminous records showed that two phones had made calls around the time of all 12 heists, and that those phones belonged to men named Tony Hewitt and Corey Duffey. A jury eventually convicted the duo of multiple bank robbery and weapons charges.

    • The Tor Project - Screw up those spying on you.
      The Tor Project is free software that helps you thwart attempts by third parties like you government who are interested in spying on your internet sojourn. It works by "bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location."

    • Verizon Blocks 4chan
      According to 4chan's Twitter account and status update blog, they have been "explicitly blocked" by the Verizon wireless network.

    • YouTube Advertises Presence Of New Iran Protest Clips
      Yesterday, Iranian authorities enacted a ban on Gmail, saying they'd introduce a government-sponsored (and presumably government-monitored) email service to replace it. Now, as YouTube's seeing an influx of protest videos, Google's taken a moment to mark the Iranian government's lack of control.

    • "There are no dissidents in China."
      That's a direct quote from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman.

      Ma Zhaoxu was asked earlier today about a Beijing court upholding an 11 year jail term for Liu Xiaobo, one of China's most high-profile activists.

  • Internet/Web Neutrality/DRM

    • Bioshock 2 Pirated: No Wonder They Went Mad With DRM
      We wonder why every publisher freaks out about digital protection. Cmon, they have their reasoning! Even though there are better methods that could be enacted, i think not wanting to have your hard work yanked from you by a couple dweebs with advance copies is a completely valid arguement. Of course, I am not painting myself as The Holy Jesus of Video Games. I definitely dabble in the illegal file sharing world as well, no doubt about it. All I’m saying is, would you rip off a hardworking development team who put so much blood sweat and tears into their product before they even get a chance to SELL IT!?

    • Net Neutrality Means No More iPhones
      The Reason Foundation releases my policy brief today looking at the effect network neutrality regulation will have on wireless applications and services.

      Much has been written about the deleterious effect that regulating network management would have on broadband investment and innovation, and when applied to wireless, which is what FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proposes to do, problems would only get worse.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Strike on site
      Imagine a time when you won’t have to leave your bedroom to catch a new film’s premiere. For foreign fans of Bollywood movies, that time is now. Striker, the Bollywood flick that features Siddharth (Rang De Basanti fame) and Aditya Pancholi, will be released simultaneously in theatres as well as on popular video broadcasting site YouTube.

      The option to view it online, however, is limited only to international audiences. Incidentally, the rough cut of filmmaker Sudeep Mishra’s film Tera Kya Hoga Johnny was leaked on the same site earlier this month.

    • Judge Jeopardizes Anti-Piracy Cash Operation
      DigiProtect has shot itself and its business model in the foot during a recent court hearing. The notorious anti-piracy outfit refused to open its books for scrutiny during a case where it claimed compensation against a file-sharer. The judge consequently ruled that the defendant didn’t have to pay the majority of the claim against him.

    • The Pirate Bay blocked in Italy, a second time
      After first being blocked in 2008, an Italian court has once again ruled that ISPs in the nation must block access to the infamous torrent tracker The Pirate Bay, leaving millions of users without access to one of the most popular sites on the planet.

    • Pirate boss to make the web pay
      One of the founders of the Pirate Bay is kicking off a venture that aims to help websites generate cash.

      Called Flattr, the micropayments system revolves around members paying a fixed monthly fee.

    • Care about "balanced copyright"? Let the US government know
      The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is no model of transparency, and the word is finally getting out. This week, the New York Times dug into the "secret" meetings, coming back with nearly nothing new (itself a pretty good indicator of just how "transparent" the negotiating process has been).

    • Greens push for transparency on secret anti-piracy talks
      Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has called on Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to take details of international anti-piracy negotiations public.

    • Blockbuster files for bankruptcy in Portugal, blames internet piracy
      Don't start lining up the global dominos just yet but Blockbuster is filing for bankruptcy in Portugal.

    • Google's High Speed Internet Gambit
      A 1 Gbps service could let a user download a full 1080p High-Def movie in mere minutes and is more than 1000 times faster than AT&T's basic DSL offering.

      If entertainment conglomerates are waging the current fight they are now, just try to imagine what will the landscape look like 10 years from now if Google's efforts materialize.

    • Iceland's paper of record bans linking
      Morgunblaðið, Iceland's oldest newspaper and most-visited website (now co-edited by the former prime minister and head of the central bank) has just announced an anti "deep linking" policy saying that Icelanders aren't allowed to link to individual pages on the site, only the front door.

    • Facebook Sends Lots Of Traffic To News Sites... Will They Start Demanding To Be Paid?
      Given their reactions to Google, it does seem like a reasonable question. Or will that only happen when Facebook is making much more money from its other lines of business, and those news execs get jealous?

    • Book Publishers. Stop Scaring Me.
      Hello book publishers. You're starting to scare me.

      I am a writer, but was a record label executive from 1989-2000 and am fascinated by parallels between the two industries. When it comes to the digitization of product and attempts to master/mangle the phenomenon of social media and file-sharing, the publishing business is where the music business was about 10 years ago. And although publishing probably sets its collective IQ (not to mention good manners) as superior to the music business, I can't find evidence that their reactions to industry sea change are substantially different.

    • Book Publishers Beware! At iTunes, Expensive Music Equals Slower Sales.
      After years of complaints, last year the music labels finally got what they wanted from Apple–the ability to raise prices on their songs. Last April, iTunes introduced a “variable pricing” scheme, which gave the labels the ability to move prices from 99 cents a song to $1.29 (and for some tracks, down to 69 cents).

      The result? Music sales are slowing.

    • Remix Culture Is About The Culture As Much As The Remix
      What he points out is that for culture to matter, it goes beyond the artwork itself, to the people who experience the artwork and then share it with others -- thereby connecting with each other and the artwork itself. And while people sit back and claim that remixing is "stealing" or "lazy" or "not art" at all, that's totally missing the point. Art is not about just the creator. Without the shared experience, it's a lot less valuable -- and what we've done with copyright laws is make it that much more difficult to share that experience through our own eyes and our own cultural views. And if you don't see the shame in that, then you're missing a lot.

    • Google: "Buzz" Is Not a Trademarked Term
      "We chose the name Buzz because of the word's connotations of activity, conversations, sharing of information," Google's Victoria Katsarou tells WebProNews. "'Buzz' is not a trademarked term."

    • Photographer Thrilled That Apple Using His Photo As Default iPad Background, Despite No Official Agreement
      Given all that, I found this story about the photographer, Richard Misrach, whose photograph was chosen by Apple to be the default wallpaper for the iPad, quite interesting. That's because, while he's been talking to Apple for a while, the company only came to him days before the launch to ask to use the image, and no agreement had been worked out by the time the product launched with the photo there.

    • NBCU Fights Olympics Piracy
      After boasting of streaming more than 2,200 hours of live video during the Summer Olympics in 2008, the network will only stream hockey and curling events live on the Web this year—roughly 400 hours of video. That means if American favorites like skier Lindsey Vonn or snowboarder Shaun White are competing in a crucial race during the day, fans not in front of a TV will not be able to watch those events.

    • Author's Guild Didn't Want To 'Pull An RIAA' But Still Misses The Point
      Last week, in discussing its attempt to settle its lawsuit with Google over the Google book scanning project, the Authors Guild posted a rather interesting public letter, entitled To RIAA or Not to RIAA, That was the Question. In defending the settlement, it notes that it could have fought the lawsuit to the end, but that it might have lost. In fact, this is why I supported the idea that Google should have fought on, because it seemed like Google had a strong fair use case -- something the Authors Guild admits. Even though the Authors Guild says that it disagrees that the book scanning project was fair use, an awful lot of copyright legal scholars seemed to believe that it was, in fact, fair use.

    • Understanding What's Scarce And What's Not...

    • How Can The Music Industry Be Dead When More Music Is Being Produced And More Money Is Being Made?
      Kyle sent over yet another musician, named Nathan Harden, pulling out the "woe is me" schtick in an article claiming that this generation "killed rock 'n' roll." It hits on all the usual debunked points and only quotes industry sources on the major label side of the business, assumes that the only way to make money in the music business is by selling albums or songs, and doesn't even realize what a huge contradiction it makes in the process. It starts out by quoting record sales stats, but ignoring all of the recent studies that show that money hasn't gone away, it's just shifted to other channels -- and those channels are ones where the actual artists get more money. It's true that the major record labels are making less -- no one denies that. But it's folly to claim that this means the death of rock 'n' roll or music at all. Another recent study showed more music being released today than ever before in history.


      Sorry, Nathan Harden, but you've been sold the myth that only record labels make the music industry and that only through selling records does the music industry work. That's simply not true. Yes, the record labels are having trouble, but rock 'n' roll isn't dying. It's thriving by adapting to this new market.

    • The New Middleclass Musicians: I Fight Dragons
      The problem is that on a typical record label deal, things don't really work that way for most musicians, either. It may work for the top of the top -- the ones that catch on quickly and become big. But for the majority of bands that sign with a major record label, they fail to really get big enough to matter, and the labels very quickly drop all support and the band becomes yet another unrecouped wonder.

    • Remarkable third trial coming for RIAA's first P2P defendant
      When Jammie Thomas (now Thomas-Rasset) became the first alleged P2P file-swapper to take her case all the way to trial and verdict, no one suspected that she would actually have three trials and verdicts, but that's the case today, as the RIAA rejected a federal judge's decision to slash Thomas-Rasset's damage award. Instead, we're headed to a truncated third trial on the issue of damages.

    • RIAA opts for new trial in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset

    • U Georgia official arrested for demanding bribes to make RIAA copyright notices go away
      The University of Georgia has fired Dorin Lucian Dehelean, a security analyst who was responsible for passing on RIAA copyright infringement notices to the student body, alleging that he demanded bribes from students to make the record of their supposed infractions go away.

    • ISP Stops Suspending Accounts On Copyright Accusations
      Following iiNet’s huge win over anti-piracy group AFACT, Aussie ISP Exetel has taken steps to soften its copyright infringement notice procedures and will no longer suspend accounts on mere accusations.

      On February 4th, Australian Internet service provider iiNet won its court battle against several Hollywood studios.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Christian Einfeldt's DTP presentation in Berlin 2004 01 (2004)

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