Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 16/2/2010: MeeGo @ Linux Foundation, Lots of Android in MWC

GNOME bluefish



  • Pros and Cons of the Major Operating Systems
    Dean Walden is an avid internet user, watcher, promoter, website builder and researcher. The Ubuntu version of the Linux operating system is easy to use if you can use Windows.

  • Should You Switch From Microsoft To Linux?
    4. Usability

    Another of the keys of your future success is the fact than many issues are already resolved due to the widespread use of desktop environments KDE and GNOME. There are other options in this segment, of course, but both alternatives have proved to be very valid in this field.

    5. Price

    Of course, this is a key to the implementation of Linux in an enterprise. Although there are free versions, often corporate usage imposes a charge that is associated with a contract for tech support and such.

  • Vacuum
    Some expect the end of monopoly to be a catastrophic implosion but M$ has so many locked-in so firmly that it will be many years before the decrease in revenue bites. As long as they get paid for doing little, the shareholders will get their dividends and success will be guaranteed. When the money does shrink seriously as it did in the year of GNU/Linux (2009) the monopoly will collapse with a whimper, not a bang. They just have too many customers fooled and too much money to disappear quickly. The world could be a very different place for IT in a couple of years, however. “7″ is not going to give them earth-shaking results and that was their best shot. It will take a couple of years for some to realize M$ no longer has anything to offer except licences to use its same old software. That they tried to increase prices and failed in a down-turned economy is proof that they are not only losing it but that they are nearly irrelevant.

  • Growth in Hard Times
    Last year, 2009, was good for GNU/Linux but many businesses had to fight hard to stay even. SJVN reports that a bunch of the regular FLOSS apps were in demand by businesses looking to the future. The thing that may be surprising to some is that Java servery is hot in commercial users of FLOSS.

  • The Dating Game, Linux-Style
    It's not often that geeks wax philosophical about the World of Amour, but HeliOS's Ken Starks was recently brave enough to venture into those treacherous waters -- and treacherous they were.

    "When Linux nerds choose mates from the Windows herd" is the title of Starks' post, and he paints a grim picture of the dating scene on the FOSS side of the fence.

    "You come to realize that there is more to life than bash scripts and LAN parties with other Linux Geeks," Starks writes. "So you decide to put yourself back on the dating market. Where do you start?"

  • Free Software Foundation Europe says I ♥ Free Software
    It might be a day too late for Valentine's Day, but it's never too late to show your love for Free Software. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) asked users to show their love for Free Software on Valentine's Day — but there's no reason why that can't run all year long.

  • Kernel Space

    • MeeGo: Maemo and Moblin merged by Linux Foundation
      The Linux Foundation has announced MeeGo, a merger of Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo projects as a single project under the leadership of the Foundation. The news came in a posting by Linux Foundation's CEO Jim Zemlin who called MeeGo "a next generation mobile operating system designed for the next generation of mobile devices".

    • Intel, Nokia aim to unify mobile Linux ecosystem with MeeGo
      Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin shared his thoughts about MeeGo in a statement on his blog.

    • Bringing the Magic to Linux with MeeGo

    • Industry Analysts, Pundits and Developers React to MeeGo
      The mobile technology world is buzzing today about the merger of Moblin and Maemo, the two Linux-based mobile initiatives that have been backed by Intel and Nokia respectively. Together, they have formed MeeGo, which is being hosted by the Linux Foundation.

      We reached out to industry experts for their reactions to today’s news. The theme that surfaces among industry pundits most is the one of mobile OS unification and the hope for a platform that can support a broad range of devices by using common technologies and developer tools.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Radeon KMS Gets Faster X-Video Support
        If using the latest ATI open-source driver Git code for kernel mode-setting, there may be slightly better X-Video support without any visual slowdowns/problems.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • Hands-on: semantic desktop starts to show in KDE SC 4.4
      Last week, the KDE community officially released KDE Software Compilation 4.4, a significant update of the open source desktop environment and its associated application stack. The new version delivers some user interface improvements, enhanced usability, new features, additional software, and a number of important bug fixes.


      KDE has come a very long way since the initial 4.0 release in 2008. It's a very modern desktop with a lot of rich and impressive features. KDE enthusiasts will find a whole lot to like in 4.4, and users who were put off by the instability and missing functionality of previous releases might want to give it another look.

  • Distributions

    • Arch Linux smokes all others. My Arch Review.
      I’ll continue to use Arch Linux as my main O.S. at work and we’ll see how it adds up in the Long run.

    • 5 operating systems that can set you free

      Pardus is a Linux based operating system, which does not require much knowledge to operate. Its name was taken from the Latin name for the Anatolian leopard. Pardus 2009 is the latest version of Pardus. It features the office suite, internet tools like web browser, e-mail, instant messaging, etc.

      Also, it supports various multimedia and graphics tools, games, and many other applications. Its package management system is called as PiSi (Packages installed Successfully as intended), which is written in XML and Python, and uses the LZMA Compression Algorithm.

    • KolibriOS – A tiny operating system on a 1.44MB floppy
      KolibriOS is is an operating system that fits on a single 1.44MB Floppy (many applications are compressed) and runs with 8MB of Ram !!! The surprise is that the system come with a graphical environment complete with text editors, system utilities, games, browser, media players and lots of other stuff.

    • So is ChromeOS a desktop winner? I think not.
      When Google announced their ChromeOS there was a flurry of comment and opinion on what this could mean for the GNU/Linux user and the future of free software. Our esteemed editor, Tony Mobily made a bold statement (albeit framed as a question) at the time that Google’s ChromeOS could turn GNU/Linux into a “desktop winner”. I’m not sure that it’s true.

      Whatever happens of course the fact is that when somebody of Google’s size and impact enters a market, there will be winners and losers, losses and gains. Now that the dust has well and truly settled let’s have another look at the potential impact of ChromeOS.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Announces Fourth Annual Innovation Awards
        Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the launch of its fourth annual Red Hat Innovation awards to be presented at the 2010 Red Hat Summit and JBoss World, co-located in Boston, June 22-25, 2010. The Innovation Awards recognize and honor the creative use of Red Hat and JBoss solutions by customers, partners and the community.

      • Fedora

        • Available Now: Fedora 12 Re-Spins
          Fedora Linux 12 was officially released on November 17th, 2009 and it introduced Linux kernel 2.6.31, KDE SC 4.3 and GNOME 2.28, support for Moblin, as well as improved power management and webcam support, audio/video codec support and many more!

    • Debian Family

      • Debian to start deploying DNSSEC

      • Ubuntu

        • Five Ubuntu Features You Didn't Know About
          The quest to discover something new and fresh about Ubuntu, which is arguably the world’s most popular and best documented Linux distribution, is an almost ridiculous one to accept and an almost impossible one to fulfill. I felt like the Mission Impossible character, Jim Phelps, as I read the request from my editor. I expected to see the words, “This is your mission, Ken, should you choose to accept it. This email will self-destruct in five seconds” at the end of that message.

          I felt no less trepidation at the request than I imagine that Mr. Phelps did at the beginning of every one of his assignments. I accepted the assignment, and here is, submitted for your approval, the result of that quest: Five Ubuntu features you didn’t know about.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • DaniWeb Review: Pogoplug - Your Own Personal Pink Linux Data Cloud
      What's small and pink, incorporates a Linux kernel and an embedded ARM compatible processor, and let's you set up your own personal cloud? The answer is the latest Pogoplug device from Cloud Engines Inc. Combine this insanely easy to set up bit of kit with a free iPhone app and you have a secure environment for privately viewing and sharing content anywhere on the Internet - and all without changing your network configuration, firewall settings or fiddling with anything more complicated than plugging a box into your router, a USB drive or four into the box and activating it all through a web browser interface.

    • Aava Mobile Debuts World’s First Fully ‘Open’ Mobile Device
      Functioning Aava Mobile devices measure 64mm by 125mm and only 11.7 millimeters thin—making them the world’s thinnest x86 based smartphone devices. The reference design provides support for Linux-based Moblin 2.1 and Android OSs today, with plans to support MeeGo in the future. Earlier this week, Intel and Nokia announced MeeGo, a merger of the Linux-based Moblin and Maemo software platforms with a goal to enable an open software environment for rapid development of exciting new user experiences.

    • TI touts OMAP4 with do-it-all development platform
      Texas Instruments (TI) says it is now sampling its OMAP4 mobile application processors, using dual-core versions of ARM's high-end Cortex-A9. The chipmaker is also showing off the Linux- and Android-compatible Blaze, a development platform that sports a pico projector, dual 3.7-inch displays, three cameras, an HDMI output, a compass, plus a barometer and a bevy of other sensors.

    • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Review: Moblin 2.1
        Conclusions: I liked Moblin quite a bit. It was easy to use and generally intuitive. I didn't try to customize it very much, but look forward to a long-term test drive on my laptop to see how flexible it is in extended everyday use. The project has a lot of potential to improve Linux's reputation in terms of usability and polish, and has already attracted corporate sponsors who could put badly-needed marketing muscle behind it.

      • ARM SMP
        We are only a few weeks into 2010 and there is word that ARM will be doing the SMP/multi-core thing and still run 12 hours on a charge. Are we there yet? Yes. These devices have all the power normal users need, in a phone handset. Imagine what ARM can put in a desktop or notebook. The reign of x86-64 is nearing an end.

      • OLPC

        • Big corporates add muscle to One Laptop Per Child
          The Commonwealth Bank’s chief information officer will visit Darwin tomorrow for meetings with Aboriginal elders to garner additional support for the One Laptop Per Child programme in advance of the roll out of the next version of the machine and Telstra’s official sponsorship of the programme starting next month.

        • Using XS School Server Could Send You to Jail
          It breaks my heart and makes me sick to have to address this. But it needs to be addressed. Bitfrost is extremely secure. However, no amount of security can protect kids from themselves. Or teachers and admins from children's actions in the USA school system.

          99.999% of the time, XOs are used for innocuous pursuits. What bothers me in the extreme are the ramifications of that other potential 0.001% or whatever infinitesimal number. Now this is the sort of thing that I do not want to even think about, let alone write about. But it only takes a single incident to ruin lives.

    • Tablets

      • EXCLUSIVE: Notion Ink ADAM (Specs, Pics)

      • Notion Ink Adam tablet debuts
        With all the buzz and speculation that surrounded the months leading up to the official unveiling of the Apple iPad, most of us expected to see a rush of similar tablet computers hit the market. One of the newest tablets to be unveiled in the wake of the iPad is the Notion Ink Adam tablet. The Adam tablet has features that sound a lot like a netbook at first glance.

Free Software/Open Source

  • When and how can Free Software really save public money?
    A few days ago, during an email conversation about efficient public services and waste of money in Public Administrations, I had to answer a couple of questions. Since those answers may interest many other people, here they are.

    (note for newcomers: the "Free Software" discussed here is software like Ubuntu (a distribution of Linux) or OpenOffice: software that can be legally copied and installed without license costs, supported by politicians of all parties, even in the European Union)
    First question: in my opinion, people saying that Free Software saves money overlooks the fact that those who use it on their job, for example a public employee, may need some training to use all its features. If you consider this, Free Software saves money only in the long run, doesn't it?
    Of course, in medium and big organizations, the costs of software licenses are only a small part of the total costs of using and maintaining that same software (even if, only in Italy, the total amount of software licensing costs in local and national PAs is hundreds millions of Euros every year), but let's look at the whole picture. If you only consider the cost of software licenses, it's easy: Free Software wins.

  • Faux Free Software & Open Source Articles
    Another possibility is that he is simply writing something attacking Redhat based upon some very loose research. His "Who am I" page mentions being very close to Microsoft, even enough to have had actual meetings with Bill Gates.

  • OggCamp 10
    At the end of the first OggCamp we all loved it so much we decided to do it again. The conversation went something like: “Lets do another one, we will book out a hotel so we are all staying together, somewhere not so far north, maybe Southampton.” some of the details changed since that conversation (it is in Liverpool and not in a hotel) but the important bit remains: we are doing it again and it will be awesome!

  • Indian Kids Most Active Downloader of Open Source Technology [Youth Survey]

  • Is It Plugged In?
    That is so sad. The idea that GNU/Linux threatens jobs is nonsense. M$ has the whole world working for them for free. It’s pretty easy to see that FLOSS creates a lot of jobs all over the world, not just in Redmond. There may be fewer fixit jobs in the fallout but hardware still needs to be fixed and there are lots of opportunities to network systems.

  • miRoamer Joins Industry Consortium to Further Develop Open Source In-vehicle Infotainment Platform

  • In my happy place: reading list of 3.2 upgrades

  • Welcome to SHARE web site
    It has been great to share ideas and opinion about the OSS in the Critical Software UK experience.

  • Open source software
    Copyright in open source software. Applying basic principles of copyright law, open source software is protected by copyright law.

  • Open source will spur VoIP development
    The possibility of tailor-made VoIP phones took a step closer today with the announcement of the launch of the Symbian^3 (S^3) platform, a new, entirely open source operating system by the Symbian Foundation.

  • op5 Monitor, an important tool in Amnesty's work for human rights
    - Amnesty has adopted the policy of using Open Source solutions whenever possible. In the light of this, they were running a small project of investigating Open Source alternatives for monitoring systems. They came across solutions like Nagios but also heard about op5 as a Nagios value-added implementation.

  • Global brands to benefit from major UK Open Source release
    A UK-based Open Source company today announced a major upgrade of its award winning systems monitoring platform to meet the demands of its growing enterprise install base. Opsview Enterprise is already in use by global brands like Harvard University, Allianz and Electronic Arts.

  • SaaS

    • Software as a service is set to grow global
      On the other hand, Open Source continues to upset packaged software business models. Major open source projects have expanded across nearly all layers of the stack, including web browsers (Mozilla Firefox), application servers (JBoss, JOnAS, Geronimo), web servers (Apache, Tomcat), mail servers (Sendmail, QMail), databases (MySQL, MaxDB), operating systems (Linux, BSD, RTOS), and programming languages (Perl, PHP, Smalltalk, Java).

    • Mulesoft Debuts 'Cloudcat,' or Tomcat in the Cloud
      i/OS developers are among those who can benefit from MuleSoft's launch last week of Cloudcat, a hosted version of Apache's Tomcat Web application server. By hosting Tomcat in the cloud, Mulesoft aims to make it easier for developers and quality assurance professionals to test their Java-based Tomcat applications prior to making them live.

  • Mozilla/Browser/Share

    • Starting the Discussion: How to Make Mozilla’s Websites Better
      As noted yesterday, there are many good things about Mozilla’s various websites, but the big picture of how they’re organized and work together leaves a lot of room for improvement. Entering our web universe can be really confusing for users, and the current setup limits the ways we can spread the word about all the stuff that’s happening around the organization and community.

    • Where does Mozilla go when the monopoly witch is dead?
      That one (point 5) seems to be where Baker is at at the moment, although she's fairly guarded about it. Speaking earlier at a session at DLD in Munich, (video) Baker had described Firefox as the "first necessary step", a mechanism for breaking the monopoly.

      This was a process of disruption, and "we still intend to continue disruption… not based so much on cost, because we've now moved into a phase where everything is free of charge to consumers. For Mozilla and Firefox the key to disruption is the control point, so our original disruption of the first monopoly was to actually build an industry and to crack the control point open to get to the stage… of creating value."

    • 20 Percent Of TechCrunch Readers Are Already Browsing With Chrome
      Google’s Chrome browser is quickly gaining market share, with one estimate putting it at about 5 percent of total usage, while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is seeing a drop in overall share. But among TechCrunch readers Chrome is already beating every browser except for Firefox.

    • Statistics
      46% That other OS, 42% GNU/Linux and 5.9% MacOS

  • Databases

    • Latest Release of Oracle(R) Database Lite Now Available
      New Support for Synchronizing Open Source SQLite Database and Oracle Database

    • Lustre future assured
      Mark Hamilton, former Sun employee and now Vice President, HPC Sales Support, at Oracle, has assured users of the Lustre open source distributed file system, that Oracle plans to continue to invest in engineering, sales and support.

  • CMS

  • Literature

    • New Drupal Book - Drupal 6 Performance Tips
      Drupal 6 Performance Tips, by Trevor James and T J Holowaychuk, is a newly-published title from Packt Publishing aimed at Drupal beginners, developers, designers, and webmasters who utilize the Drupal content management system to create robust websites. It provides crucial performance-related information for Drupal users of all experience levels, including module contributors, webmasters who simply configure and maintain Drupal websites, and even themers.

    • Book Review: Crafting Digital Media by Daniel James
      Daniel James is the director of the Studio 64 GNU/Linux distribution, which serves as a basis for professional music studio mixing installations, as well as an experienced writer and editor. Thus it is not surprising that he should create an excellent book on music mixing. What did surprise me was how well he covered visual arts as well — photography, drawing, animation, and video production.

  • Government

    • ES: Galician government launches a promotion campaign on open source
      The government of Galicia, one of Spain's autonomous regions, wants to boost the use of free and open source software by its public administrations and citizens. The regional ministry for Modernisation and Innovation aims to bring together its previous initiatives on open source, it explains in a statement published on 27 January.

  • Openness

  • Open Access

    • The OA Interviews: Sciyo's Aleksandar Lazinica
      In their efforts to derail the onward march of Open Access (OA) opponents have conjured up a number of bogeymen about Open Access publishing. First, they maintain, asking authors to pay to publish could turn scholarly publishing into a vanity press. Second, they say, OA publishing will in any case inevitably lead to lax or even non-existent peer review. Third, they argue, OA publishing is not financially sustainable. I felt the breath of all three bogeymen on the back of my neck recently, as I conducted an email interview with the CEO of OA publisher Sciyo, Aleksandar Lazinica — an interview that led the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) to ask Sciyo to remove OASPA's logo from its web site.

      At the heart of the criticism deployed against OA publishing is the claim that levying an article processing charge (APC) on authors will inevitably corrupt the age-old process of scholarly publishing, and the independent peer review system on which it is based.

    • The BOAI is eight
      Happy birthday to the Budapest Open Access Initiative, which is eight years old today.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Introducing HTML 5
      It's been a decade since the last HTML specification was released. In this article, the first of a two-part series, David Chisnall looks at what is in store for the next version.

    • Standardize This! 10 Technology Messes That Need Fixing
      For the past four years, the OpenDocument Format Alliance has been promoting an XML-based format that makes Office Suite documents accessible across platforms and applications. ODF enjoys endorsements from international governments and support in products like Google Docs and Open Office. But until Microsoft beefs up its support for ODF, that movement isn't going anywhere.


  • 12 Mobile Operators Join Forces To Launch A Mobile App Store (and Dethrone Apple).
    According to The Times, Orange, Telefonica, AT&T and nine other operators will work together with a view to building an open tech platform that will produce apps for all mobile phone users. If successful, developers should gradually see it become easier to develop applications for the scope of devices out there.

  • Chinese electronics tycoon charged in bribery case
    The former chairman of one of China's largest electronics companies, Gome Electrical Appliances Holding, has been charged with operating illegal businesses, insider stock trading and bribery, according to the government's China Daily newspaper.

  • Effort to trace 'conflict minerals' in electronics
    Hewlett-Packard's efforts to be more socially and environmentally sustainable have taken it to an unexpected--and uncomfortable--place: the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo.


    Proceeds from illegal mining operations, which are controlled by military factions, are helping fuel a complex conflict that crosses between the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring Rwanda.

  • Canadian aid groups told to keep quiet on policy issues
    Aid groups say the federal government is casting a chill over advocacy work that takes positions on policy or political issues – and one claims a senior Conservative aide warned them against such activities.

    An official with a mainstream non-governmental aid group said that Keith Fountain, policy director for International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda, gave a verbal warning that the organization's policy positions were under scrutiny: “Be careful about your advocacy.”

  • Health

    • 1 in 3 chance of developing asthma: study
      Researchers followed the medical histories of more than nine million Ontarians for 16 years, between April 1991 and March 2007. A study of the data found the lifetime risk of developing asthma was 33.9 per cent.

    • Report: France ‘deliberately’ used soldiers as ‘nuclear guinea pigs’
      France used soldiers as guinea pigs in nuclear tests in the 1960s, deliberately exposing them to radiation from atomic blasts to test the effects, according to a report revealed on Tuesday.

      The secret military report, obtained by AFP, said that between 1960 and 1966 France sent troops onto Algerian desert test sites "to study the physiological and psychological effects caused on humans by an atomic weapon."

  • Security

    • Report: Prosecutors charging DNA evidence with crimes
      In their effort to beat the statutes of limitations that prevent people from being charged with a crime after a certain amount of time has passed, prosecutors in some parts of the US are trying a new tactic: They're charging half-eaten food, saliva-crusted glasses or other inanimate objects with the crime.

    • A French judge has issued a national arrest warrant for U.S. cyclist Floyd Landis on hacking charges.
      The warrant was issued January 28 after French anti-doping authorities accused Landis of hacking into one of their laboratory computers, Pierre Boudry, the president of France's anti-doping agency, the Agence Francaise de Lutte contre le Dopage, told Reuters on Monday.

    • Demolish the myth that safety, in and of itself, is an absolute good
      In arguing against airport body scanners, I've been met with variations on an increasingly prevalent fallacy: "if it makes us a little safer, it's worth it"; "if it saves one life, stops one crime..." What a specious argument that is. It would "save one child" to ban the car, but we don't, because it would be disproportionate and we have to get on with normal life, even if we incur a slightly higher element of risk in doing so. Safety, in and of itself, is not an absolute good.

    • Man refused bus ride in Dorset over tin of fence paint
      A bus driver told a passenger he could not board his vehicle because he was carrying a tin of fence paint.

      Brian Wakley, from Sandford in Dorset, was 10 miles (16km) from home when told he could not board the 1B Bournemouth to Poole Transdev Yellow Buses service.

    • Surveillance drone grounded days after 'success'
      People already feel that there is excessive surveillance in the UK without the police flying around CCTV cameras to catch us littering or parking in the wrong place.

    • Terrorism Act 2006 section 3 Internet Censorship powers have *never* been invoked
      Before the Terrorism Act 2006, UK based internet and telecommunications companies always cooperated voluntarily with the Police, and they appear to have done so since.

    • TSA forces travelling policeman to remove his disabled four-year-old son's leg-braces
      Philadelphia TSA screeners forced the developmentally delayed, four-year-old son of a Camden, PA police officer to remove his leg-braces and wobble through a checkpoint, despite the fact that their procedure calls for such a case to be handled through a swabbing in a private room. When the police officer complained, the supervising TSA screener turned around and walked away. Then a Philadelphia police officer asked what was wrong and "suggested he calm down and enjoy his vacation."

    • Pro-torture, anti-civilisation
      Anderson happily admits that he could not think his way round this. "I have come to the conclusion that there is only one answer to Sydney's question. Torture the wife and children. It is a disgusting idea. It is almost a tragedy that we even have to discuss it, let alone think of acting upon it."

      So Anderson appears to recommends torturing innocent women and children to make a man talk. Perhaps we should probe the hypothesis a bit further because for one thing, it makes the assumption that the authorities know for certain that the suspect has definite knowledge about an imminent attack. How? By intelligence produced from other torture sessions, in which men say anything to stop the pain? And where does the collateral torture stop? Would Anderson torture the suspect's parents and friends? Perhaps he would round up entire communities of people who are deemed to have some slight knowledge of the ticking bomb, or whose screams might induce the suspect to talk?

    • Computer-savvy activists launch attacks to punch holes in online shields of authoritative regimes
      Jacob Appelbaum, a San Francisco programmer with the longtime open source Tor Project, a cloaking program used by corporations and free speech activists alike, said closed systems like Haystack concern him. He said it has no peer review the way the Tor Project does, which has been created and vetted by programmers around the world over many years.

      "He has not opened it up for research," Appelbaum said. "No one has seen a copy of his specifications. There is no way we can understand if the claims that are made (by Haystack) are true."

      At worst, a faulty program could put its users in Iran at risk, he said. "That very much concerns me," Appelbaum added. "When people's lives are at risk, it's not a good idea to be arrogant."

  • Environment

    • Anti-whaling activists face trial in Japan
      Two Greenpeace activists who were arrested after attempting to expose embezzlement in Japan's whaling fleet will go on trial tomorrow in a case campaigners hope will spark a domestic backlash against the heavily-subsidised industry.

    • IPCC errors: facts and spin
      Currently, a few errors –and supposed errors– in the last IPCC report (“AR4″) are making the media rounds – together with a lot of distortion and professional spin by parties interested in discrediting climate science. Time for us to sort the wheat from the chaff: which of these putative errors are real, and which not? And what does it all mean, for the IPCC in particular, and for climate science more broadly?


      Overall then, the IPCC assessment reports reflect the state of scientific knowledge very well. There have been a few isolated errors, and these have been acknowledged and corrected. What is seriously amiss is something else: the public perception of the IPCC, and of climate science in general, has been massively distorted by the recent media storm. All of these various “gates” – Climategate, Amazongate, Seagate, Africagate, etc., do not represent scandals of the IPCC or of climate science. Rather, they are the embarrassing battle-cries of a media scandal, in which a few journalists have misled the public with grossly overblown or entirely fabricated pseudogates, and many others have naively and willingly followed along without seeing through the scam.

  • Finance

    • Did Goldman Sachs help Britain hide its debts too?
      Much noise this morning surrounding the news that Goldman Sachs (and a number of other banks) allegedly helped Greece to hide the full scale of its ballooning government debts through financial jiggery-pokery over the past decade or so. Eurostat has now demanded an explanation from the Greeks for $1bn of currency swaps it says it was unaware of (though Greece seems to be insisting the authorities did know).

      The original story about Goldman’s involvement appeared in Der Spiegel last week (though the theme has been the subject of investigation by the excellent euro blog A Fistful of Euros for some time), and over the weekend the New York Times produced an excellent feature filling in the gaps. One of the more intriguing lines from that latter piece says: “Instruments developed by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and a wide range of other banks enabled politicians to mask additional borrowing in Greece, Italy and possibly elsewhere.”

    • Goldman Sachs Helped Greece Cover Up Its Huge Debt
      Bottom line: It appears that Goldman Sachs has turned many governments throughout the world into Super-Enrons, with off-balance sheet shenanigans, financial sleight of hand and convoluted accounting. Governments generally don't need help in this kind of maneuvering, but Goldman with its collection of whiz kid derivative designers has taken the entire process to a new level. A new level so unique that it could very will collapse the financial structure of the manipulated world.

    • Volcker to Goldman Sachs: give up banking
      At the time, Goldman said no way. They plan to remain in the banking biz -- despite the fact that the company only became a bank to save itself during the financial collapse.

    • Will Europe throw out Goldman Sachs?
      Talking to friends over the weekend about the revelations of Goldman Sachs involvement in Greek "fantasy accounting", I said the EU should throw Goldman out and refuse to do any further business with the bank, but that I didn't think they would given Goldman's power in the financial markets. Late last night, former IMF man Simon Johnson wrote that he thinks the EU will indeed ban Goldman. Well, it would certainly would be a good step. Don't kick Greece out of the EU, but Goldman Sachs.

    • Goldman Goes Rogue – Special European Audit To Follow
      We now learn – from Der Spiegel last week and today’s NYT – that Goldman Sachs has not only helped or encouraged some European governments to hide a large part of their debts, but it also endeavored to do so for Greece as recently as last November. These actions are fundamentally destabilizing to the global financial system, as they undermine: the eurozone area; all attempts to bring greater transparency to government accounting; and the most basic principles that underlie well-functioning markets. When the data are all lies, the outcomes are all bad – see the subprime mortgage crisis for further detail.

    • Goldman Sachs Shorted Greek Debt After It Arranged Those Shady Swaps
      Goldman Sachs arranged swaps that effectively allowed Greece to borrow 1 billion Euros without adding to its official public debt. While it arranged the swaps, Goldman also sought to buy insurance on Greek debt and engage in other trades to protect itself against the risk of a default on those swaps. Eventually, Goldman sold the swaps to the national bank of Greece.

    • Greece (not Grease) and Goldman Sachs
      The New York Times is reporting that Goldman Sachs helped Greece pull the old ’sheist and stall’ made famous by American Bankers.

    • Goldman Sachs in new storm over secret deal to mask Greek debts
      Greece's vast deficits caused it to fail the criteria for joining the single European currency in 1999, but it succeeded in 2001.

      Member nations had to reduce their budget deficit to less than 3 per cent of gross domestic product and trim national debt to less than 60 per cent of GDP.

    • Goldman Sachs Hid Greece's Debt

    • Bombshell: Goldman Sachs Helped Greece Cover Up Its Huge Debt

    • Greece’s Goldman Sachs Swaps Spawn EU Dispute on Disclosure
      A dispute is unfolding about how long European Union officials have known that Greece used derivatives to conceal its growing budget deficit.

      Greece turned to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in 2002, just after adopting the euro, to get $1 billion in funding through a swap on $10 billion of debt, Christoforos Sardelis, head of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency at the time, said in an interview last week. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, was aware of the plan, he said. Risk Magazine also reported on the swap in July 2003.

    • Goldman Sachs again?
      How come Goldman Sachs is part of so many catastrophic economic scenes? The latest? Greece! Greece is on the edge and it turns out that the country is up to it's eyeballs in deals that mislead investors and regulators.

    • Greek Probe Uncovers ‘Long-Term Damage’ From Swaps Agreements
      A Greek government inquiry uncovered a series of swaps agreements with securities firms that may have allowed it to mask its growing debts.

      Greece used the swaps to defer interest repayments by several years, according to a Feb. 1 report commissioned by the Finance Ministry in Athens. The document didn’t identify the securities firms Greece used. The government turned to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in 2002 to obtain $1 billion through a swap agreement, Christoforos Sardelis, head of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency between 1999 and 2004, said in an interview last week.

    • Financial Crises: Is Goldman Sachs Ubiquitous?
      Now Goldman Sachs (GS) is being painted into the center of the emerging picture of the Greek crisis. An article in Satuday's New York Times by Louise Story, Landon Thomas Jr. and Nelson D. Schwartz describes how Goldman designed vehicles to transfer current obligations of the Greek government far into the future. This helped Greece to appear to be satisfying the fiscal requirements of the EU (European Union) by practicing deception.

    • Goldman Sachs faces 'Robin Hood tax' vote-rigging claims
      The Robin Hood Tax campaign alleged that a Goldman computer was one of two computers that allegedly “spammed” the internet poll with more than 4,600 “no” votes in less than 20 minutes on Thursday.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • ALIA join forces with Inspire Foundation, Google and Yahoo to battle Senator Conroy's internet filter
      Senator Conroy's internet filter has been the cause of much news and action from local residents and the world at large, most recently sparking attacks on government websites.

    • Do Smart Phones Thwart Public Records Laws?
      State leaders in Florida are in a battle with technology: new forms of communications that make it difficult for public officials to follow the law.

      The state has one of the best government public record laws in the country. Virtually every public document is accessible to the public. And though the state is embracing the perks of advanced technology — the Legislature just started piloting the use of electronic meeting packets, instead of printing them on paper — the use of cell phones and BlackBerrys is causing concern. It's simply too difficult to archive all communications.

    • Tyranny of the Olympics
      In the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) defended its choice of China by arguing that the Games could contribute to the democratisation of an authoritarian regime, making a closed society more open and bringing the force of international law to bear on the hosts. As we now know, the record proved less impressive than the claims. In fact, there is a stronger case to be made for the obverse—that the Olympics can contribute to the coarsening of democracy. The 2010 Winter Olympic Games, which start on 12th February in Vancouver, is a case in point.

    • WikiLeaks editor: why I'm excited about Iceland's plans for journalism
      In my role as WikiLeaks editor, I've been involved in fighting off more than 100 legal attacks over the past three years. To do that, and keep our sources safe, we have had to spread assets, encrypt everything, and move telecommunications and people around the world to activate protective laws in different national jurisdictions.

      We've become good at it, and never lost a case, or a source, but we can't expect everyone to make such extraordinary efforts. Large newspapers, including the Guardian, are forced to remove or water down investigative stories rather than risk legal costs. Even internet-only publishers writing about corruption find themselves disconnected by their ISPs after legal threats. Should these publications not relent, they are hounded, like the Turks & Caicos Islands Journal, from one jurisdiction to other. There's a new type of refugee – "publishers" – and a new type of internet business developing, "refugee hosting". Malaysia Today is no longer published in Malaysia. Even the American Homeowners Association has moved its servers to Stockholm after relentless legal attacks in the United States.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Incumbents Blocking Broadband Stimulus Efforts Because They Don't Like Competition
      The last thing the government wanted to do in the middle of a recession was help fund an innovative startup that would disrupt a big employer. But there was one interesting aspect of the stimulus package: it suggested that anyone taking the government money would have to share access to infrastructure -- something that makes a lot of sense, if you're encouraging competition.

    • EU Council Presidency: Spain pushes for flawed Net policies
      Last week, the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council came up with a new draft resolution1 in response to the Commission's communication on enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the internal market.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead
      ODDLY ENOUGH, THE Dead's influence on the business world may turn out to be a significant part of its legacy. Without intending to--while intending, in fact, to do just the opposite--the band pioneered ideas and practices that were subsequently embraced by corporate America. One was to focus intensely on its most loyal fans. It established a telephone hotline to alert them to its touring schedule ahead of any public announcement, reserved for them some of the best seats in the house, and capped the price of tickets, which the band distributed through its own mail-order house. If you lived in New York and wanted to see a show in Seattle, you didn't have to travel there to get tickets--and you could get really good tickets, without even camping out. "The Dead were masters of creating and delivering superior customer value," Barry Barnes, a business professor at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University, in Florida, told me. Treating customers well may sound like common sense. But it represented a break from the top-down ethos of many organizations in the 1960s and '70s. Only in the 1980s, faced with competition from Japan, did American CEOs and management theorists widely adopt a customer-first orientation.

    • My Take on the NY Times Pay Wall
      The main problem of this approach is that over the years of free access, the New York Times has trained its readers for years that the right price (or the Anchor) is $0 -- and since this is the starting point it is very hard to change it....

      Because we're not very good at figuring out what we are willing to pay for different products and services, the initial prices that new products are presented with can have a long term effect on how much we are willing to pay for them. We basically can't figure out how much pleasure the New York Times gives us in terms of $ -- so we go back and pay the same price we have paid before. This means that getting people to pay for something that was free for a long time will be very challenging, but it also means that if the New York Times were to offer some new service at the same time that they start charging, they might be more likely to pull it off.

    • France’s Le Fig Unveils Paid Features, But ‘News Will Be Free Forever’
      Another week, and another newspaper opts for a paid-content model: French daily Le Figaro has now announced price tiers for its delayed, previously announced offering, which will go live on Monday…

      But, instead of hoisting up a paywall around all its news conent, Le Fig is going for a freemium model, charging only for extras like newsletters, a digital copy of its printed edition, social media features - and booking you a dinner table. The new features come in three tiers, but spokesperson Antoine Daccord tells paidContent:UK: “News will be free forever...”

    • UK Court Finds That Simply Linking To Infringing Videos Is Not Infringing
      FACT originally claimed that the site "facilitated" copyright infringement on the internet, despite that not being a part of UK law. Eventually, the official charges were "Conspiracy to Defraud and breaches of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act," which is quite similar to what OiNK's admin was charged with. And just like how OiNK's Alan Ellis was found not guilty, the court has sided with TV links, noting that it didn't actually infringe on anyone's copyrights directly. Of course, this still took years of having to fight it out in court and a ton of resources -- some of which were frozen by a "financial restraining order" during the case itself.

    • Digital Britain Minister Insists No One Is Creative If They Don't Earn Money
      He goes on to suggest that a statement like that, so revealing in how Timms views the world, should get Timms fired, as he's basically admitting that he's only there to protect corporate interests, rather than actual creativity.

    • Universal Music Gets A New CEO... Who Thinks CDs Are The Future
      Yeah, good luck with that. Between you and Warner Music opting-out of online streaming services, it's as if the major record labels are simply trying to accelerate their own demise. Have they taken out life insurance policies on themselves? In the meantime, Vivendi, who's watching over Universal Music these days?

    • Friday frivolity: Beyonce's pirated bikini
      In what has to be one of the more bizarre copyright disputes, the underwear manufacturer Triumph sued Sony because Beyoncé was wearing copyright infringing underwear in her music video "Video Phone". Seriously.

    • EMI Apparently Forgot Grey Album Disaster; Issues Takedown Of Wu Tang vs. Beatles
      And here we are today, as EMI/Capitol (who, last we saw, was trying to bootstrap a fake word of mouth viral campaign, after its suits blocked a real viral campaign) is fighting to stay alive, as it is massively in debt, with little hope of getting out of it.

    • Nina Paley's "All Creative Work is Derivative"
      This is an amazing animation by Nina Paley, "America's Best-Loved Unknown Cartoonist." Entitled "All Creative Work Is Derivative" (and blogged here on her blog), and concluding "All creative work builds on what came before," the video is built from images of of statues and paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

    • Draft letter to USTR on copyright extension
      This brings me to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). It is an anti-democratic outrage, not to have published the terms of the draft agreement and suggests to the skeptical that the USTR is engaged in a shady deal which will not stand the light of public disclosure and discussion. One must assume that we are trying to browbeat our trading partners into accepting terms that they are resisting rather than examining the pluses and minuses of such an agreement for each of the concerned parties.

    • EU Council signals new attacks on the 'Net
      ...dragging in healthcare, criminal sanctions, ACTA, and simple, old-fashioned, rights-holder blackmail: " clear the net, and we'll set up legal offers".

      After the Telecoms Package has opened up the possibilities for restricting the Internet, the EU is trying to move in closer on copyright and IP enforcement. A new European Council document is calling for stronger penalties for IP infringement and seeks to re-open a shelved proposal for criminal measures.

      The document is an internal one drawn up by the Spanish Presidency, and is being discussed in a series of meetings which began last October, in parallel with Council discussions on the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

Mark Thomas talks about the Digital economy Bill

Direct link


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