Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 12/6/2010: Many New Distro Releases

GNOME bluefish



  • Why GNU/Linux is Unmatched – and Unmatchable
    Users of free software are nothing if not passionate. Most of them care deeply about the code they use, and will happily plunge into the flamewars that flare up regularly across the Web. The core focus of those arguments is well established by now: against Mac fans, it's about the virtues of true openness and freedom; against Windows fans (do they still exist?) it's about those, as well as security, speed, stability, etc. But there's another aspect that rarely gets discussed, and yet it represents one of GNU/Linux's greatest strengths: the breadth of hardware platforms supported.

    Today, GNU/Linux runs on just about everything that has a processing chip, from the smallest embedded system, through smartphones, ARM-based netbooks, laptops, multiple desktop architectures, servers and mainframes to the mightiest supercomputer – 91% of the top 500 systems run some form of Linux. Recent additions to the Linux family include Android-based tablets, Internet radios and TVs (and not just from Google).

  • The Four Different Types of Linux Users
    Linux Advocate: Someone who uses Linux because they feel it is a superior or more stable operating environment. Typically this is someone who knows their way around the computer a bit and isn't afraid to post on a forum asking a question or get their hands dirty with a bit of terminal code to get their system up and running. While they love the power of FOSS they realize at the same time that the entire world does not work in this manner (although it would be great if it did). They are typically willing to use restricted codecs and closed source video drivers to get the performance and functionality they need out of their system. While it is not uncommon for them to recommend Linux to their family and friends, most times they will even help them get it setup, they realize that some people are happy with Windows and they acknowledge this.

  • On Zappa, Linaro and the Potential of ARM

  • Compatible with…(insert operating system)
    What about Linux? Coincidentally this device was getting plugged into and used only by a Fedora Linux system. Now I know that this would have worked (despite the package’s information) and not have any problems with ANY Linux and for the most part almost all UNIX -based operating systems. The device (as all other USB Flash Drives) are labeled with a FAT32 file system and Linux, like any other OS kernel can read a FAT32 labeled volume with no problems. On top of that, most mainstream distributions (if not all) enable automount and an auto open of USB storage devices. The user doesn’t need to do it themselves, similar to Windows and the Mac OS. So what is the problem? Why couldn’t the package say “Linux 2.6 and above” or something to that extent?

  • Chrome OS Is All About the Ads
    Chrome OS is squarely positioned to feed traffic and users into Google's lucrative search-and-ad ecosystem. That's the main source of revenues over at Google, and it's worth remembering how that influences all aspects of Google's strategy.

  • Ballnux

  • Applications

    • Pino: Fedora’s default social tool
      Where would we be today without social networking? I have heard many tales how a social tool has saved a life or joined two lives together. Just recently a friend of mine found our her son was wounded in war not by the Red Cross, but on Facebook. These tools have become an integral part of our lives. Because of this, they are becoming more and more important to the desktop operating system.

    • SuperGrub is a Sanity Saver
      Thank you people at SuperGrub, you saved my computer.

      Yesterday, I wanted to update my kernel to 2.6.32 because the ASUS driver for sensors, i.e. CPU temperature etc had changed, from it87 to asus_atk0110.

      Also, I needed to update udev, but the Debian package manager refused to update udev with the current running kernel.

    • Protecting kids online: Gnome Nanny on Ubuntu
      Anyone who has children will know that it doesn’t take them long to get the hang of using a computer and, as soon as they can read, they’re ready to hit the Internet with a vengeance. But while the Internet is an awesome place for kids to learn and play it is also full of undesirable content and unsavoury characters.

    • Proprietary

    • Instructionals

  • GNOME Desktop

    • Gnome 3.0: Activity Journal out, Shell in
      With Gnome 3.0 scheduled for release later this year the developers are starting to make the tough decisions on what will be included in the release and what won’t.

      The first big decisions have already been made and will see some of the major components of the refreshed desktop being held back.

      Vincent Untz, release manager for the Gnome community, earlier this month outlined the modules that would be included in the first release of Gnome 3.0.

    • Daily 5: 5 beautiful themes by pr09studio
      A GTK theme created to fit in with the new Ubuntu 10.04’s colour scheme, SmartRadiance comprises a GTK theme, Metacity, Desktop wallpaper & panel background. It’s a subtle, pastel and unobtrusive affair that would look great on anyone's desktop.

  • Reviews

    • Puppy Linux 5 Lucid Puppy - Nothing but praise
      And that's it. Puppy 5 is a tremendous success. The boot sequence has been improved; it looks nicer, more polished and is more streamlined. The desktop is even more refined. You get tons of great programs. Then, there's Quickpet. Everything works out of the box, including Wireless, Samba, multimedia playback. All of this in just 120MB.

      What more could you ask for?

      When it comes to being compact, practical, ultra-fast, and versatile, Puppy has no rival. It is by far the best lightweight distribution available. If you're wondering what modern technology can do, then please download Puppy 5 and see for yourself.

      Woof-woof! Puppy 5, excellent work!

    • Distro Review: Gentoo Linux

  • New Distro Releases

    • RIPLinuX 9.6

    • Absolute 13.1.1 released
      New kernel, and a boatload of updates from Slackware. ALMOST replaced Firefox with Google-Chrome (which I am really liking...) but due to endless "upl;oad" bug , that keeps crashing Chrome when you try to upload a file, it'll be in the CD2 directory for testing/playing.

    • Clonezilla 1.2.5-24

    • Syllable Server 0.4 Released
      We are pleased to announce that we have released the new Syllable Server 0.4. This release focuses on maturing existing functionality, improving security, ongoing system restructuring, and making the system a suitable base for third-party package managers. Extensive work was done, so the full change log is quite long.

    • Kanotix Excalibur 2010

    • linuX-gamers 0.9.6

    • Alpine 1.10.4 released

    • Zorin OS 3 is here!
      The Zorin OS Team are very pleased to announce that Zorin OS 3 is now officially released. This is a groundbreaking new release. For those who have not used the Release Candidate some new features include the astonishing new Look Changer program which lets you switch easily between multiple user interfaces (Windows 7, Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 2000 and Linux's GNOME). Some other features include the new "Social from the Start" initiative which lets you connect with your social networks quickly from the desktop, iPod and iPhone support in the music player as well as the Ubuntu One Music Store, lots of redesigned artwork, an installer slideshow which lets you know more about Zorin OS while it is installing,

    • Zenwalk Gnome 6.4 is ready !
      Zenwalk Gnome 6.4 is out!

      We are proud to announce the release of Zenwalk 6.4 Gnome Edition! As always, Zenwalk features the latest Linux technology, featuring Linux kernel and the Gnome 2.28.2 Desktop Environment.

      The Gnome 2.28.2 desktop includes a number of new features; Totem has an asynchronous parsing API now, GNOME Power Manager now has support for laptops with multiple batteries and has added disk spindown support for DeviceKit disks and much more.

    • Webconverger 6.2

  • Canonical/Ubuntu

    • Ubuntu: meritocracy not democracy

    • When users first encounter Ubuntu – 5 show stoppers!
      Yet, it would be relatively easy to prevent users’ frustrations by taking thoughtful steps: to clarify issues around file compatibility and reassure our users; to promote system transparency through ongoing feedback and put users in control; to simplify the language we use and make this language serve the concerns and goals of our users; to make our processes effortless.

    • Running Windows Files in Ubuntu 10.04: The Wrong Approach?
      In the past, .exe files could be run simply by right-clicking and opening them with “Wine Windows Program Loader,” regardless of whether they had the Unix executable bit set. In Lucid, however, “Wine Windows Program Loader” doesn’t call the Windows emulator wine at all, but instead executes a utility named cautious-launcher, which presents this complaint when the .exe file lacks executable permissions...

    • Ubuntu Software Center Gets Visual Improvements, Launchpad Login [Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Development Updates]
      An update today brought lots of changes to the Ubuntu Software Center. The most notable are an animated "Featured applications" section, microblogging sharing of applications via Gwibber as well as a Launchpad login (now called Ubuntu login).

    • London event looks to boost Ubuntu users
      With more companies being drawn to the possibilities offered by open source software, Ubuntu company Canonical and open source consultancy The Open Learning Centre have teamed up to offer a workshop on Linux within business.

      There's a growing interest in open source software, the new coalition government has made encouraging noises about the use of the technology and the companies are hoping to tap into that interest with the aid of some enthusiastic Linux devotees.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Top 10 Linux Powered Robots From Around The World
      Linux have a special place in Robotics. Many Robots built by multi billion organizations like NASA for advanced space exploration and other complicated tasks are powered by Linux. Robotics and automation is the key for human progress and it is good to know that Linux holds a special advantage when advanced Robotics is concerned. Here is a nicely compiled list of Robots powered by Linux from around the world.

    • Intelligent Linux based scriptable network camera
      This network camera runs uClinux the smallest Linux distribution in the world. The network cameras build by Axis are intelligent and even have a shell scripting environment on board.

    • Android

      • Independent App Stores Take on Google’s Android Market
        Google’s official Android app store is getting some competition as upstart, independent challengers create their own app stores to lure users with the promise of more freedom, better access to apps and increased revenue.

        But it’s all kosher because, unlike Apple, Google allows for multiple app stores to exist on the Android operating system.

        A new Android app store called AndSpot plans to coax developers and users to try an alternative Android app store with better search and app-recommendation features.

      • Motorola: Droid sales "extremely" strong

      • Motorola Droid Xtreme Poses for Steady-Cam Photoshoot
        Well, here you go. This here, folks, is the Motorola Droid Xtreme, alive and well, posing for some pretty solid photos. There’s a few we’ve seen before, but quite a few that we haven’t. And, to be honest, there’s a lot to like here. We’ll quit with the narrative pretty quick here, and after the break you’ll see plenty more photos, plus the run down of the specs you can expect to see when it launches (hopefully in July).

      • Is this a Sony Companion Box for Google TV?
        With Google TV units running a mixture of Android and Chrome elements, are we going to start seeing many different boxes being released with Google TV functionality? Will we see the same kind of fragmentation that we are seeing with mobile handsets?

      • Koreans make the best Android commercials. [VIDEO]

      • Exclusive: First Photos of the Motorola Droid 2
        Well, hello there Motorola Droid 2. We would like to officially introduce you to the readers of Droid Life. We saw your activation screen just the other day, but we’ll admit that it’s nice to finally see the rest of you.

      • Social Handset Maker INQ Bets on Android & Multitouch
        Frank Meehan, chief executive officer of London-based social handset maker INQ Mobile, said at our Mobilize 09 conference last fall that his company would adopt Android as its main platform. Yesterday, Meehan told GigaOM that it will launch the first of its phones based on Google’s OS, a multitouch device, sometime in the fourth quarter.

    • Tablets

      • Sony preps an Android-powered plan to seize Apple's iPad tablet crown
        Japan's consumer electronics giant, Sony has a plan to take on the Apple iPad, the company has confirmed in talks with the Wall Street Journal.

        Sony Chief Financial Officer Nobuyuki Oneda said Sony “has to develop a device similar to Apple's iPad tablet computer, because it is a different product category than the company's existing electronic-book reader.”

      • VIA's WonderMedia decorates Computex with ARM 9-powered, Android 1.6 tablets
        Don't let all of the Computex Wintel madness throw you off -- there are a plenty of ARM-based, Android tablets around these parts, too. We stopped by VIA's booth to check out some of its tablets, which we're told are bound to ring up in the $100 to $200 range.

      • Chinese Telco To Launch iPad Look Alike In OZ
        The Android-powered tablet – pictured – was shown at the recent Computex show in Taipei and reportedly is based on a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It has a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display with 800 by 480 pixel resolution, and comes with Google Apps preloaded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Famed freshmeat Software Listing Site Bites the Dust, the parent company of,,,,, and, has told employees that it will be closing and This information has not yet been released to the public, but we've heard it from more than one employee.

  • Mozilla

  • South Africa

    • Interview: Karl Fischer – Department Of Science and Technology South Africa
      Geeks love discussing new things. They love discussing new things over lunch even more. I had the pleasure of spending a very informative lunch with Karl Fischer recently. Here is a guy with a real passion for Open Source Software. A father of twins, he has a keen understanding of the FLOSS community in South Africa, and a passion for exposing more people to FLOSS in the country, especially youngsters.

    • Top 5 ways to follow the 2010 World Cup on the go
      Footiefox Firefox addon

      Yes you guessed right. There is an addon for that. Footiefox brings the action on the pitch to your browser status bar. You choose your configurations to your taste and Footiefox does the rest for you, displaying real time updates in your browser's status bar as the action happens.

    • FOSS lab software targeting AIDS, malaria, cancer
      The foundation backs the Bika Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) which is already in wide use in the water management, chemistry, wine and mining sectors. The software, which was originally developed in South Africa, has been downloaded more than 30 000 times and is available as free software.

  • Business

    • Two BI Companies Say: Two's Company
      So when I met up again yesterday with the Brian Gentile, the head of JasperSoft, I put the same question to him, and received pretty much the same answer: that his company was concentrating on its core elements, rather than spreading itself more widely. The fact that both men independently gave me the same story probably explains why both have managed to do so well: they are pursuing quite different strategies and so avoid head-on confrontation and destructive rivalry.

      As part of his company's approach, Gentile told me JasperSoft was doing a lot of work with its reporting tools – going back to its roots, since JasperReports was the original open source code around which JasperSoft was formed. Interestingly, JasperReports is being used increasingly alongside other software by companies that want more sophisticated output from those applications, including things like allowing users to create personalised output on the fly.

  • BSD

  • Nationality

    • Proprietary technology is a waste of money, says Kroes
      Am I totally satisfied with her speech? Of course not. There was no indication that the Commission would finally start to seriously migrate to Free Software, and use Open Standards. (I hear that instead, they’re busy setting up Microsoft SharePoint.) There was no clear commitment to a strong definition of Open Standards in EIFv2.

      But I’m not only an idealist, I’m also a realist. And realistically, her speech was the best that we’ll hear from a European Commissioner any time soon.

      So we at FSFE are taking Neelie Kroes very seriously when she says that “I expect interested parties to mostly turn to me to demand progress [on the Digital Agenda] - and rightly so.” This is an offer to get involved, and we’ll take her up on it.

    • Neelie Kroes, EU Competition Commissioner Pushes Open
      “Fifth, with my colleagues in the College I will seriously explore all options to ensure that significant market players cannot just choose to deny interoperability with their product. You no doubt remember that I have some experience with reticent high-tech companies: I had to fight hard and for several years until Microsoft began to license missing interoperability information. Complex anti-trust investigations followed by court proceedings are perhaps not the only way to increase interoperability. The Commission should not need to run an epic antitrust case every time software lacks interoperability. Wouldn’t it be nice to solve all such problems in one go?”

    • Brazil is Free
      The government of Brazil is widely promoting FLOSS. For the army, reasons given include:

      * 1) Cost savings in the medium and long term with proprietary software. * 2) Major security, stability and availability offered by SL. * 3) Elimination of mandatory changes that closed models require periodically its users, due to the discontinuity of supported versions. * 4) Technological independence. * 5) Development of local knowledge. * 6) Chance of auditability of the systems. * 7) Independence from a single supplier

  • Licensing

    • Modifications to Mozilla Public License: Join the Party and Comment!
      The Mozilla Foundation has started the process of revising the Mozilla Public License (“MPL”) and has published the first drafts in the process. You can read the proposed changes to definitions and licenses and comment on them. I am very familiar with the MPL because we used it as the base for the CDDL which I drafted with Sun’s lawyers for the open sourcing of the Solaris operating system.


      I congratulate the Mozilla Foundation for taking the initiative and hope that the result will be a more attactive alternative between GPL and Apache. I encourage the community to participate actively in the revision to make the new version of the MPL as valuable as possible!

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Redefining the Life Well-Lived: Plenitude, Abundance and Sharing
      Wealth. Well-being. Happiness: the words have a well-rounded, easeful feel to them, while "sustainability", though a great concept, has an implication of discipline and scrimping that can be taken as negative.

      Author Juliet Schor argues that seeing the world through a framework of abundance as opposed to a fight over scarcity is the essential shift that needs to take place for healthier, happier societies.

  • Open Data

    • Open Public Data are so good that it's hard to start explaining why
      Today I have participated to an international meeting in Madrid on the reuse of Public Sector Information. I came to gather as much information and food for thought as possible for my new research on Open Data for an Open Society and wasn't deluded.

      Public Sector Information, or PSI for short, is very easy to define in a few words (even if managing it in the right way may be one of the most difficult things in the world): this terms defines all the information and documents that any Public Administration (PA) produces and uses during its ordinary tasks: everything from digital maps and weather forecast to city budgets, tenders and management of public utilities like water or energy.


  • BREAKING NEWS: FDA to regulate genetic tests as medical devices
    Depending on the details, this may be disastrous for the nascent personal genomics industry and its customers - excessive regulation would negatively impact on innovation in the field by increasing the barrier to entry for new products, as well as increasing costs for consumers.

  • Publishing Company Under Fire for Putting Warning Label on Constitution
    A small publishing company is under fire after putting warning labels on copies of the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and other historical documents.

  • Congresswoman Suggests That Comcast Tried To Bribe Her To Support Merger
    With plenty of scrutiny still facing the proposed merger between NBC and Comcast, Representative Maxine Waters strongly suggested that someone from the company tried to bribe her to get her to support the merger:
    During a House Judiciary Committee that took place in L.A. on Monday, Representative Maxine Waters stated that she had received a call from "somebody at Comcast asking, 'What do you want?'"

    Waters, who has been grilling the cable giant on issues of ethnic diversity, claims she replied by explaining the need for greater diversity in media. However, Waters says the Comcast caller responded by saying, "I'm talking about what do you want?"

  • Science

    • Key Star Trek tri-corder boffinry breakthrough
      A breakthrough in small, high-powered magnets could lead to handheld magnetic resonance scanners with similar capabilities to those of today's room-sized medical and scientific instruments.

  • GMO Monopoly

    • EU governments wary of GM crop overhaul plans
      France said on Friday it would not support draft proposals to allow European Union governments to grow or ban genetically modified (GM) crops before a complete review of the bloc's GM approval system.

      The EU's executive, the European Commission, argues that giving member states the option of banning GM cultivation will remove their current opposition to approving new varieties, and plans in July to table proposals seen by Reuters.

      But France's Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said the proposals did not address the demand for a complete review of the bloc's assessment system for GM crops, made by all 27 EU nations in December 2008.

    • 10,000 Peasants March against Monsanto in Haiti; Peasant Leader to Visit US
      An estimated 10,000 peasants gathered for a massive march in Central Haiti on June 4, 2010, to protest what has been described as "the next earthquake for Haiti" – a donation of 475 tons of hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds by the US-based agribusiness giant Monsanto, in partnership with USAID. While this move comes at a time of dire need in Haiti, many feel it will undermine rather than bolster the country’s food security.

      According to Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, leader of the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP) and spokesperson for the National Peasant Movement of the Congress of Papaye (MPNKP), the entry of Monsanto seeds into Haiti is "a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds... and on what is left our environment in Haiti."

  • Security/Aggression

    • License to Kill
      Nearly a decade after the September 11 attacks, we still have not settled the question of how to deal with terrorism suspects. Should they be in military or civilian custody? Should they receive trials, and if so what kind? After years of acrimonious debate, President Obama is offering a way to settle this argument once and for all: Why not just kill them?

    • Bank of America insider admits he stole sensitive customer data
      Free whitepaper – Seven Important Tips for Better Email Security

      An employee in one of Bank of America's customer call centers has admitted he stole sensitive account information and tried to sell it for cash.

    • Judge limits DHS laptop border searches
      A federal judge has ruled that border agents cannot seize a traveler's laptop, keep it locked up for months, and examine it for contraband files without a warrant half a year later.

      U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in the Northern District of California rejected the Obama administration's argument that no warrant was necessary to look through the electronic files of an American citizen who was returning home from a trip to South Korea.

    • Police officer's visual estimate of speed is enough for a conviction, Ohio Supreme Court rules
      A simple educated guess that a motorist is speeding is all the evidence a police officer needs to write an ironclad speeding ticket, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

      In a 5-to-1 ruling, the court said an officer's "unaided visual estimation of a vehicle's speed" is strong enough to support a ticket and conviction. A radar speed detector, commonly used by patrolmen, is not needed, the court concluded.

    • New York AG Suing Social Network for Child Porn
      New York’s attorney general Andrew Cuomo accused the social networking site on Thursday of not responding to user reports of child pornography and sexual solicitation of minors, which has allowed the popular site to become a place where sexual predators can exploit children.

    • Why I am against bin chip "incentive" schemes
      As we uncovered in the research for our report, there has been an explosion in the number of snooping bin chips. We found that there are microchips in the bins of 2.6 million households: none of them were asked if they agreed to having the chips in place, and none of them (with the honourable exception of those in the Royal Borough) were even told that it was happening.

    • The Government must not back down on its promise to regulate CCTV
      Today at Prime Minister's Questions, the Leader of the Opposition, Harriet Harman, took on the new Prime Minister on the issue of CCTV.

    • New Norfolk CCTV cameras revealed

    • Council bans dog owners from using long leads
      Dog owners are facing €£1,000 fines if they take their pets to the park on long leads.

    • Man fined for having Scooby Doo number plate
      A motorist has been taken to court and fined – for having a Scooby Doo logo on his number plate.

    • Stop and search used illegally against thousands

    • Police sent to London gallery over bomb artwork
      The gallery said the "comedy bomb" was strapped to a step ladder and featured "Western-style bunches of dynamite" and an alarm.

  • Environment

    • BP Well Bore And Casing Integrity May Be Blown, Says Florida’s Sen. Nelson
      Oil and gas may be leaking from the seabed surrounding the BP Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida told Andrea Mitchell today on MSNBC. Nelson, one of the most informed and diligent Congressmen on the BP gulf oil spill issue, has received reports of leaks in the well, located in the Mississippi Canyon sector. This is potentially huge and devastating news.


      It also means, of course, that BP and the Obama Administrations continue to give the American public short shrift in the truth and honesty departments. How surprising.

    • BP spill response plans severely flawed
      Professor Peter Lutz is listed in BP's 2009 response plan for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a national wildlife expert. He died in 2005. Under the heading "sensitive biological resources," the plan lists marine mammals including walruses, sea otters, sea lions and seals. None lives anywhere near the Gulf.

    • BP Ignoring Health Concerns in the Gulf
      One of the first things BP did after oil started gushing into the Gulf was to spray more than 1.1 million gallons of a dispersant with the optimistic name "Corexit" onto the oil. Then BP hired Louisiana fishermen and others to help with cleanup and containment operations. About two weeks later, over seventy workers fell sick, complaining of irritated throats, coughing, shortness of breath and nausea. Seven workers were hospitalized on May 26. Workers were engaged in a variety of different tasks in different places when they got sick: breaking up oil sheen, doing offshore work, burning oil and deploying boom. BP officials speculated that their illnesses were due to food poisoning or other, unrelated reasons, but others pointed out how unlikely these other causes were, since the sick workers were assigned to different locations.

    • BP's Government-Approved, Fake Spill Response Plan

    • Rich nations accused over 'logging loophole' at Bonn climate talks

  • Finance

    • Why Section 716 is the Indispensable Reform
      In summary, there are no substitutes for section 716 – no provisions that will accomplish what it does in terms of removing the subsidy enjoyed by (literally) a handful of institutions and ending the ongoing threat to the taxpayer that the guarantee of their derivatives business poses. Ignoring that threat would undermine all the other contributions to reform that the House and Senate bills provide.

    • Why Financial Reform Has Been Screwed

    • Congressional Negotiators Start Effort to Merge Versions of Financial Reform Bills
      Negotiators from the House and Senate gathered on Thursday to merge two bills representing the most comprehensive changes to financial regulation since the Depression, but the script they acted out was largely being written elsewhere.

    • S.E.C. Chief Promotes More Rules for Trades
      Last month’s market volatility and concerns over unfair trading may require new controls on electronic trading systems, Mary L. Schapiro, the chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said on Thursday.

    • Enough with the economic recovery: It's time to pay up
      Some forecasters expect that fast-growing developing countries such as China and Brazil will power the global recovery and spur a rise in U.S. exports. Others warn that fiscal austerity and slow growth in Europe threaten the recovery.

    • In Louisville, View of Banks’ Role in the Everyday
      A $238 million basketball arena is rising on Main Street, financed through a bond deal underwritten by Goldman Sachs.

    • Labor groups fight for transaction tax but face tough battle at G-20
      The labor movement is lobbying in Washington and overseas to win support for a financial transactions tax at the upcoming G-20 summit in Toronto.

    • Wall St. talks look same on C-SPAN
      After the meeting ended Wednesday, Dodd said the committee had not yet decided how to deal with a controversial provision by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), requiring banks to spin off their derivatives operations – a proposal that could cost Wall Street billions of dollars in annual revenue.

    • Deflation concerns mount
      To get a bit less abstract about deficits, the basic thing you worry about in a period of high deficits is inflation. But as the Wall Street Journal reports today, the major danger facing the economy is actually deflation caused by weak economic demand.

    • What Crisis Panel Faces in Its Fight With Goldman
      But is Goldman really engaged in a cover-up, or is this subpoena more a reflection of how the commission has been hamstrung by its limited resources and a rapidly expiring mandate to complete its report to Congress?

    • SEC Investigation of Goldman Trading Against Its Clients Widens
      The latest shoe to drop on the Goldman front is the report on Wednesday that the SEC was investigating yet another one of its synthetic CDOs, this one a $2 billion confection called Hudson. It isn’t clear whether the SEC will file charges, but this one has the potential to be particularly damaging in the court of public opinion, since this CDO was created solely as a proprietary trading position to help the firm get short subprime risk in late 2006, when the market was clearly on its last legs.

    • Would we hate Goldman Sachs less if it had ATMs?
      You heard that right. The uber-wealthy swashbucklers of finance wish that they had themselves a pair of modest green eyeshades. This is clearly schizophrenia of the highest order.

    • FCIC says Goldman Sachs is playing the American people for 'chumps'
      The Federal Crisis Inquiry Commission is pretty pissed at Goldman Sachs. Actually, make that really pissed. “We’re not going to let the American people be played for chumps here,” said co-chair Phil Angelides. His colleague Bill Thomas added that Goldman is attempting a "very deliberate effort to run out the clock.”

    • Take Action in the Final Days of Bank Reform Fight
      Reckless swaps and derivatives trading played a critical role in the financial crisis, inflating the domestic housing bubble and turning it into a global economic catastrophe.

    • Blanche Lincoln's "Cross of Gold" Moment

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • BP says profits from spilled oil will benefit new wildlife fund
      BP has a message for the oil-soaked wildlife off the Gulf Coast: we're just here to protect you!

    • Can You Be on the Pork Industry's Payroll and Stay Unbiased?
      If you'd like another perspective on factory hog farms, check out the film Pig Business, and check out how the pork industry tried to keep people from seeing it.

    • The Fake, Media-Generated "Anti-Incumbent Rage"
      The narrative the media is feeding the country this election season is that voters are enraged, and an anti-incumbent wave is sweeping across the country, striking terror in incumbents' hearts. But if that's really the case, then why were so many incumbents voted back into office in last Tuesday's election? A New York Times headline reported, "Anti-Incumbent Rage Bypasses Arkansas." A Reuters headline screamed "Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln survives anti-incumbent wave." But maybe there really isn't any anti-incumbent rage.

    • America loves incumbents. No, really
      Incumbents must be some kind of endangered species, with the Beltway media continually telling us that voters are enraged and will throw all the sitting senators and representatives and governors out. This is the age of the Tea Party change after all.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • 5 Calif hospitals fined $675K for privacy breaches
      The state has fined five California hospitals a total of $675,000 for failing to prevent unauthorized access to confidential patient medical files.

      Community Hospital of San Bernardino was issued two fines: $250,000 after an employee wrongly accessed 204 patient records and $75,000 for an employee who accessed three records.

    • The world's most unusual outsourcing destination
      On its Web site the company boasts access to the best programmers in Pyongyang.

      "You find experts in all major programming languages, 3D software development, 3D modelling and design, various kind of server technologies, Linux, Windows and Mac," he said.

      Nosotek's main work revolves around development of Flash games and games for mobile phones. It's had some success and claims that one iPhone title made the Apple Store Germany's top 10 for at least a week, though it wouldn't say which one.

    • Turkish president uses Twitter to condemn YouTube ban
      The Turkish president has used his Twitter account to condemn the country's ban on YouTube and some Google services.

      In separate tweets, Abdullah Gul said he did not approve of the bans and had instructed officials to examine legal ways of reopening access.

    • Press Release: Pirate Party condemns Turkey's digital walls
      Turkey has until further notice blocked several of Google's services for their online citizens. This is allegedly due to "legal reasons" and means that neither the translation service Google Translate, the cooperation tool Docs, Maps, Analytics, Groups and Youtube among other services are accessible in a useful way from within Turkey.

    • 10 Things the Chinese Government Ignores About Web Censorship

    • Australian Censorship Boss Has His 'Series Of Tubes' Moment
      Given the number of folks in Australia who have been submitting this video of Australian Minister for Broadband, Stephen Conroy (the guy who wants to censor the internet in Australia), it appears that many down under feel that Conroy has had his "series of tubes" moment by talking about how computer users are getting "infected by these spams, or scams, that come through, the portal"

    • Google denies capturing banking details
      GOOGLE has denied suggestions by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy that its Street Viewcars inadvertently captured people's personal banking details.


      "The way it works is that the equipment we use (which we bought from a third party) and our software will recognise encrypted transmissions, but immediately discards that encrypted data.

    • Finland To Legalize Use of Unsecured Wi-Fi
      Apotekaren writes "The Finnish Ministry of Justice has started preparing changes to a current law that criminalizes using unsecured wireless hot spots (Google translation; Finnish original). The reasoning includes the impossibility of tracking unlawful use, the ease of securing networks, and the lack of real damage done by this activity. It is also hard for a user to know if an unsecured network is intended for public use or not. The increased ubiquity of legal, open networks in parks, airports, and other public places has also influenced this move by the Ministry of Justice."

    • Finland Plans To Decriminalize Using Open WiFi [Updated]

    • Google Street View Litigation Mania--Seven Class Action Lawsuits and Counting
      It appears that virtually the entire plaintiff’s bar saw Google's blog post that it captured wi-fi payload data as part of its data collection for Google Street View.

    • Judge rules in favor of WIAA in webcasting of sports events
      A federal judge ruled Thursday that the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association does not violate the constitutional rights of newspapers and other media by barring them from streaming high school sporting events over the Internet.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Massey miner fired after he spoke to the press about safety
      As we ponder the messed-up corporate ethics of BP, let's not forget about Massey Energy. Former miner Ricky Lee Campbell complained to his supervisors about unsafe conditions at two Massey coal mines—including the Upper Big Branch, where an explosion killed 29 miners on April 5.

    • No news from Ofcom on BBC DRM
      ORG and people concerned with the BBC's gradual locking up of content, with its consequent lock down on competition, innovation and usability, are still waiting for Ofcom's response to their consultation on BBC HD.

      Ofcom said they were "minded" to allow the BBC to introduce backdoor DRM on HD broadcasts, which would hit disabled users and open source developers particularly hard.

      Many ORG supporters then wrote to the European Commission, as a unique UK system of DRM would create trade barriers: HD television devices made for the rest of Europe would not necessarily work in the UK.

  • Publishing

    • The Nature kerfuffle: Boycott the business model, not the price
      Last week a letter was sent to UC faculty by librarians from the 10 UC campuses describing a 400% increase in the cost of access to the 67 journals published by Nature Publishing Group (including the prestigious research journal Nature). The letter also described plans being set in motion by some prominent faculty to organize a boycott of NPG journals, in which faculty would no longer publish in or volunteer their time for any NPG journals until they backed off of their exorbitant demands.

    • Financial Times Looks To Put Its Blogs Behind Paywalls Too
      In talking about the recent decision by Rupert Murdoch to lock up the entire website of The Times behind a paywall, we noted that one of its editors, Danny Finkelstein, claimed he was still going to post links to stories at The Times on his Twitter account, even though people wouldn't be able to read them without paying. We pointed out that, in our experience, even linking to registration required sites annoyed the hell out of people, and Finkelstein might want to think twice about engaging in social media by sending people to a paywall. Finkestein responded with a bit of snark:
      First, I won't be tweeting stories that followers can't read. I will be tweeting stories that followers have to pay for if they wish to read. That is an entirely different thing.
      It's not that different. Most people won't pay, so the vast majority of people who follow your links are going to get frustrated. It's not a good consumer experience at all -- especially when you're talking about using Twitter or other social media platforms where sharing and link passing are encouraged.

    • People Pay For Access, Not Content... But Most People Don't Understand The Difference

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Is Intellectual Property Itself Unethical?
      It's really not something that I had thought about, but Stephan Kinsella points us to a recent talk given by David Koepsell, who not so long ago wrote a book, Who Owns You?, all about the serious problems in patenting genes. I've actually had a few email conversations with Koepsell over the past few months, and it's worth paying attention to what he has to say. He's very deliberate and careful in his work, supporting his positions with deep levels of analysis and evidence. This talk appears to be a new area that he's taking on, trying to make the case that all intellectual property is, by its very nature, unethical...

    • Amazon slapped with lawsuit over Smarties candies has run afoul of a candy maker. Ce De Candy, maker of Smarties, is suing the online retail giant, alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising.

    • Copyrights

      • The Rise And Fall Of The RIAA
        # Once again, it's important to point out that the chart above is not the entire music industry, but a limited segment of it: the RIAA record labels, mainly comprised of the big four record labels. It doesn't take into account all of the other aspects of the music business -- nearly every single one of which has been growing during this same period. It also doesn't take into account the vast success stories of independent artists and labels doing creative business models and routing around the legacy gatekeepers.

      • The "Oldest Pirate" Passes
        She does a final check of her belongings as she drags them to the door and then to the awaiting cab. Her frail frame is soaked as the rain falls through the blackest of nights. They must not capture her, no…it is not an option. She would rather die, have her heart stop in mid-beat before she would give herself over to them….she shudders as she dares even to think their name.

        The RIAA.

        One of the truly extraordinary experiences in my “career” as a Linux Advocate, has been donating my time to our senior citizens. In a nutshell, myself and two other volunteers visit Senior Citizen Assisted Living Centers and help them with their computer problems.

      • Dutch court rules that discussing piracy is the same as committing piracy

      • Is your IP address on this 'Hurt Locker' hit list?
        Producers of "The Hurt Locker" have asked a federal court to order Internet service providers to reveal the names of customers who they accuse of illegally sharing copies of the film via the Web.

      • As Hollywood Sues Over Copyright Infringement, Hollywood Celebrates Copyright Infringement In Glee
        The same folks who produce, distribute and broadcast Glee are the folks who insist copyright is property and that the current laws are just and good. But, even they must know, conceptually, that there's a mismatch between what the law says today and what people actually do.

      • Debunking The Ridiculous Claims That Unauthorized Copies Of Handheld Games Has 'Cost' The Economy $41.6 Billion
        I was considering skipping posting about it altogether, given that it's really just the same old thing, but Dark Helmet sent in a nice starter list on why this study is completely bogus:

        1. Every infringing download is counted as a lost sale 2. CESA took the numbers for Japanese handheld game piracy and multiplied it by four to get the worldwide numbers, because CESA "believes" Japan represents 1/4 of the market 3. Deviations in piracy levels in different world regions were not taken into account 4. Pricing for games per unauthorized copies were ALL based on the initial release price, not taking into account pricing fluctuations of games over time

      • Songs of Innocence: accused P2P users speak out
        Let's say it right up front: some large percentage of those targeted in the recent wave of P2P movie lawsuits are no doubt liable for their piratical behavior. But those who "didn't do it" face an agonizing choice—pay $1,500 to $2,500 to settle the lawsuits brought by Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, or pay even more money for a lawyer to plead their innocence.

      • Global firm to pay Montgomery, Md., schools millions for elementary curriculum
        The school system will be paid $2.25 million to develop an elementary school curriculum that an education company will augment and sell around the world. The school system will also receive a small percentage of sales revenue once the curriculum is completed.

      • Don’t sign to a major label — they’re dying, Radiohead singer warns young musicians
        Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has warned budding music stars to abandon any dreams of signing with a major label, claiming the mainstream recording industry is dying.

      • Pay to play
        The threatening letters started arriving in early 2009, a few months after Jim Whitney opened J Dubs Coffee, a tiny storefront coffee shop in a Manchester, N.H., strip mall. Fifteen came over a few months, right around the time Anthony Demings, owner of the Brooklyn Coffee and Tea House in Providence, was receiving his own string of letters, and Lorraine Carboni, proprietor of Somethin’s Brewin’ Book Cafe in Lakeville, began getting calls and then lunch hour visits from a brusque man.


        Copyright law requires that any venue where music is performed publicly, from cheerleading competitions and mortuaries to nightclubs and stadiums, have a performance license. Recorded music is subject to license fees as well. The three US-based PROs — ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC — collect the fees and distribute them to their members.

      • Armenia proposes to get tough with infringers
        If you're thinking of a safe haven from which to practise the non-so-subtle arts of copyright infringement and have been checking the prices of luxury apartments in Armenia, think again. A news item from Eastern Europe and Caucasus-focused IP practice Petosevic, "Bill Tightening Penalties for Copyright Violation Introduced in Armenian Parliament", warns that things are only likely to get tougher for infringers there.

      • IFPI Complains That Canada's New Copyright Bill Not Draconian Enough
        This is despite the fact that Canada already has numerous draconian copyright provisions, extremely limited exceptions and a blank media tax that already assumes most Canadians are criminals.

    • ACTA

      • ACTA: The Fact Controller speaks ...
        On Saturday the online Official Journal of the European Union carried the Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) on the current negotiations by the European Union of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which you can read in full here. The EDPS isn't interested in intellectual property, counterfeiting or any of the other things that concern the IP community -- but he is highly concerned about anything to do with information. Issues such as transparency and the extent to which personal data can be stored, shared and used are very much on his mind.

Clip of the Day

Andy Ransom on Scheduling and Background tasks

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