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Links 22/9/2010: Dell Announces Another Linux-powered Tablet, Facebook Adds to MySQL

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Are Your Desktop Effects Slowing You Down?
      Whenever I perform a 3D benchmark in Linux one of the first questions I get asked about the results is:

      Where your desktop effects turned off?

      For those who are not aware, desktop effects are the "flash" that is enabled by default in many popular Linux distros (namely Ubuntu and it's derivatives) such as the wobbly windows, desktop cube, and sleek sliding effects. Something that has always been questioned is whether or not desktop effects slow down your 3D performance in other applications and if so, how much do they slow it down by?

    • Linux Live USB Creator
      One of the greatest options to test out a Linux distribution is to create a Live CD and use that to boot the operating system from. That way, no changes are made to the current system, and the user is still able to test Linux extensively. Then, when the user feels comfortable using the operating system, it can be easily installed next to existing systems, or even as the only new system on the computer.

    • "Sorry, but your system does not meet the minimum system requirements"
      Sorry, but your system does not meet the minimum system requirements (Adobe). The all-new Yahoo! Mail has not been tested with your operating system (Yahoo).

      What do these two messages have in common? In both cases, they were generated by trying to access the service or software from a Linux-based PC. I wish I could say it was because I am running 64-bit Fedora, or because I want to do something special with the sites, but sadly, that is not the case. In the case of Yahoo, I am just trying to access my mail box. It does work, but it "has not been tested," which leads me to believe that if some feature fails to work as I expect it to, I am pretty much out of luck. In the case of Adobe, I need to download something called Adobe Digital Editions in order to read an electronic book from Cisco Press I guess this indicates that Cisco admins only use Windows or Apple as their desktop systems.

      And this bothers me. It bothers me on a number of levels. Linux is no longer just for servers, nor has it been for more than ten years. Major corporations, like Cisco, are pressing for a larger Linux presence, working with development shops and providing software that interacts or runs on Linux.

  • Server

    • Webmin's virtual twin
      When you set up a domain on Virtualmin, you can configure applications to provide a fully featured set of web services from a single interface. Virtualmin will set up Linux users, ftp, email, DNS, web space and database access. Virtualmin uses Apache to host web sites and BIND for DNS. Email support is from Postfix, dovecot Cyrus and saslauthd. Databases services are provided by MySQL.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Time for some Enlightenment.
      In the days of old when knights were bold and computers not invented. Men did stocks with wires and blocks and results were not as intended. :)

      Then computers were conceived, with the result of massive sales of pizza, chips and fizzy and/or caffeine loaded drinks. The first computers were, by today's standards, slow and limited. Programs had to be written to make the best use of available CPU cycles. They had to get the most bang for their buck so to speak.

    • 20 Linux Apps That Make the Desktop Easier
      In this article, I want to share some of the applications I use on a daily basis. Some of the applications are GNOME desktop specific, so whenever possible I have included their KDE counterparts to help even things out.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • B-Sides – What’s up with KDE?
        Since we didn’t record a KDE and the Master of the Universe episode this week, we decided to make a B-Sides episode for your listening pleasure.

      • What happens if Mr. Nepomuk meets a bunch of Telepathyans?
        Yesterday evening I came back from Cambridge where I attended the Telepathy-KDE sprint (note to self: never again fly with easyJet) which was smoothly organized by George Goldberg. A lot has already been said about the work at the sprint: Daniele “drdanz” Domenichelli provided us with nice pictures (I am looking really weird in the group photo), George Kiagiadakis gave a nice overview, and George G. himself spammed with tons of comments on the sprint. Thus, obviously I will focus on the Nepomuk parts of the sprint.

        Since George G. and, thus, Telepathy-KDE is one of the most fearless (as in: does not fear to try all the broken Nepomuk features and then ask me to fix them) Nepomuk users/developers he had a list of topics for me to look at. There was the issue that the query service did not scale since it created a separate thread for each query. I quickly fixed that using QThreadPool and a predefined number of query threads which made the contact list populate correctly.

      • Anthony Kolasny Explains How KDE Software is Used At Johns Hopkins University
        While it is easy to focus on many other strong points of KDE software, one aspect that deserves a closer look is the ability for it to support science. Back in July, you may have caught the Dot story on "KDE-Science" discussing the background and initial call for engaging the scientific community. Today we would like to highlight some of the advances that have occurred since then and present a real world example of how KDE software is already helping to support research.

      • Weird Konsole Split

        Yakuake does splitting right. You can split several times horizontally and vertically and the resulting terminals are independent. You can also switch the focus of the terminals easily via keystrokes which makes yakuake an invaluable tool when working on the terminal under KDE.

  • Distributions

    • Experiments, adventures, and consequences
      I've been doing a fair amount of experimentation on my machines. Been playing with XBMC, Boxee, Ubuntu, and bleeding-edge Xfce and Freedesktop software stacks on Gentoo.

    • Reviews

      • Linpus Lite 1.4 review
        Linpus Lite is the distribution for netbooks and smartbooks developed and maintained by Linpus Technologies, Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan. The company’s flagship Linux distribution used to be Linpus Desktop until it decided to focus on the Lite and QuickOS line. Linpus Lite 1.4, announced on July 30, 2010, is the latest update, and also the first to come with a standalone installer. This article is the first review of the Linpus Lite edition to be published on this website.

      • How is FreeBSD 9.0 shaping up?
        Other ways (though with more technical discussions) to stay up-to-date with FreeBSD’s development are:

        * Following the FreeBSD Current Mailinglist or * Checking for changes in the FreeBSD source code and reading the reason for and the backgrounds of those changes.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia and Mandriva
        However, Mandriva is now at the crossroads. Yes, here's where the road divides for the desktop distribution and the 11-year-old Linux company . The financial situation of the company has pushed a significant group of Mandriva developers to fork and they have started a new project: Mageia. This project comes as winds of hope for those of us who love the desktop distribution and that were puzzled by Mandriva S.A.'s secretism. Mageia's boat is full of seasoned Linux sailors and this new project was applauded in the community forum.

        Shortly after the announcement about Mageia was made, Mandriva S.A. finally posted an official statement on the future of the distribution. Read about it here. So, it seems that the company does not want to let Mandriva (the distro) fall into oblivion.

      • Radical Innovation is needed for GNU/Linux distributions
        There’s a certain movement these days in the world of GNU/Linux distributions. I think we are experiencing one of these moments that starts with a question that has been asked and heard many times -should distros differentiate themselves in order to survive? & aren’t there too many distros out there?- and ends with a much more serious question: Innovating in the world of GNU/Linux. Rest assured this is not going to be that sort of rant where we conclude that “Linux is the copycat of other OSes” just like we will not, in fact answer the question of the pretendly too many distributions or their differentiation. That is, I will not really answer these questions; and the reason I won’t is that I think these are all bad questions that either miss the point or show a certain lack of understanding of FOSS and GNU/Linux in general. I guess by now all of you have heard of Mageia, the Mandriva fork. But these news overshadowed something else that is a developing situation elsewhere and matters perhaps even more: OpenSuse.

      • Mandriva Fork: and Unity
        So now we have some things that are very similar to Mandriva like drakxtools that are basically patched to use SMART instead or URPMI. We have become pretty familiar with drakxtools and themed it for Unity etc.. but it’s still drakxtools and we still sync the source (like we would do with any project) to Mandriva when there’s new upgrades that are worth the time in testing. We also follow PulseAudio pretty closely as it’s no secret that Mandriva has one of the best implementations. Even more on our BuildServer we can pull source packages from Mandriva SVN and build some (very few packages) will little or no changes. We tend to shy away from Epochs though, even though we have some packages that still have them. Yet Mandriva has no issues using them.

        So is Unity dependent on Mandriva? Yes too a point we are. We like their configuration tools (some times) and with some packages that really are straight forward to build we may import from Mandriva SVN. However these are just niceties. The real question is could we survive without Mandriva.. Yes we could and may have too until they get a clear direction (for that matter survive) or the fork gets off the ground enough so we can pull and push packages for them. What will this mean? In our case packages may not be updated as fast as normal, because packagers may have to take on a few more packages.

      • PCLinuxOS 2010.7 - Hello, Old Friend
        I have not done anything with PCLinuxOS for quite some time. First there was some personal / political turmoil in the PCLinuxOS developer community, and then there seemed to be a long time with no activity. When development seemed to pick up again, in the first half of this year, I picked up a copy of the 2010 Beta release, and then through an unfortunate combination of a bug in the installer and my own complacency/inattentiveness, I made a mess of my primary laptop. Now the PCLinuxOS 2010.7 Final release has been out for a couple of months, and I have finally gotten around to loading it up again. It is, as the title of this entry says, like seeing an old friend again after a long time.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Reports Second Quarter Results
        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced financial results for its fiscal year 2011 second quarter ended August 31, 2010.

        Total revenue for the quarter was $219.8 million, an increase of 20% from the year ago quarter. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $186.2 million, up 19% year-over-year.

      • Red Hat revenues bulge 20%
        Commercial Linux and middleware distributor Red Hat continued to grow at a nice clip in its second fiscal quarter ended on August 31, with sales up 19.7 per cent to $219.8m. But even after keeping cost growth under this level, a much higher tax bill compared to the year-ago quarter walloped the company's net income, which fell by 18.2 per cent to $23.7m.

        In the quarter, software-subscription revenues across all of Red Hat's product lines accounted for $186.2m, up 19.1 per cent, while training and services revenues hit $33.6m, up a slightly better 22.7 per cent. Red Hat had a one-time tax benefit in the year-ago quarter worth 4 cents per share, which made for a tough compare this time around. If you exclude this and look at non-GAAP net income, then Red Hat's profits were up 19 per cent, almost in line with revenue growth.

      • Software Stocks at Year High (ROVI, INTU, RHT, TIBX)
        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) added 0.63% to $38.58 and created a new 52-week high of $39.48. So far this year, the stock has jumped over 23.42% and has recovered over 55% from its 52-week low. The company is scheduled to announce its earnings on September 22, 2010. The analyst are expecting an EPS of $0.18 & revenues of $211.24 million.

      • Oracle's Ellison Debuts Linux Kernel, Says Red Hat Is Too Slow
        Oracle debuted its own version of Linux four years ago, basing the operating system on Red Hat Linux and maintaining compatibility with that OS ever since.

      • Oracle Tries to Un-commoditize Linux

        The big news out of Oracle OpenWorld today was the announcement of Oracle's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux, otherwise known as OUEKOL.

      • Oracle releases its own Linux kernel

        Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison has announced the release of the vendor's own Linux kernel, slamming its existing Linux partner Red Hat for being too slow to update the version traditionally used by Oracle customers.

      • Red Hat Earnings Preview

      • Traders Hedging Bets in Red Hat as Put Volume Surges (RHT)
        The put volume today was 3,783 contracts, which is 1x the average daily volume of 3,648. Usually high put volume is an indicator that many investors are looking for lower prices in the near future.

      • Red Hat (RHT) Down 1.7% Ahead Of Tomorrow's Second Quarter Earnings Report
        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) opened at $38.96. So far today, the stock has hit a low of $38.00 and a high of $39.04. RHT is now trading at $38.32, down $0.66 (-1.69%).

      • Red Hat to post solid Q2: analyst
        Jefferies & Co. expects Red Hat Inc. to report a solid second quarter earnings results on September 22 after market closes. The brokerage maintained its 'buy' rating on the business software company with a price target of $45.

      • Fedora

        • Virtualization Test Day 2010-09-23
          It’s Test Day time once more! Tomorrow, 2010-09-23, will be Virtualization Test Day. Of course, virtualization is popular with many Fedora users and a key area of Fedora development, so this is another important test event.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian move to increase project members
        While the general resolution has met with broad support, there is some debate continuing over what such contributors would be called and what kinds of upload rights they should be granted.

        Debian has a fairly stringent process for those who want to join the project; the end result is that while the flow of new blood into the project has not been as high as some other projects, the quality of the distribution has been maintained.

        The move to welcome non-packaging contributions is in keeping with trends over the last couple of years where many people have called for contributions other than code to be recognised as making a meaningful contribution to a free software project.

      • Debian Project News - September 21st, 2010
        Linux Mint, a Linux distribution whose purpose is to "produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use", has released an edition based on Debian. This new Linux Mint distribution will track Debian testing, as a more reliable upstream base. Linux Mint appears to be a popular Linux distribution ranking highly at as well as other non-scientific measures. Certainly they received a large number of comments to their blog post regarding their new distribution. Anecdotal evidence seems to point to this Debian-based edition as a popular move.

        The addition of Linux Mint to the Debian derivatives family is a welcome one, and should the Linux Mint developers wish to be in contact with Debian it has been suggested that they will be warmly welcomed at the Debian Derivatives Front Desk.

      • sidux changes to aptosid by upgrade or ISO
        A press release dated September 11 came to the community's attention Monday, September 13 of the renaming or, as some reported, a fork of sidux to aptosid. Due to conflicts with the commercial backer of the Debian-based distribution, sidux developers have separated themselves from the Sidux e.V. association to continue developing aptosid on their own.

        aptosid is based on Debian Sid, the unstable developmental branch, with a heavy concentration on the desktop experience. It is a KDE distribution that adheres to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. These guidelines basically enumerate the main traits of the GNU General Public License, although they are not strictly confined to the GPL. sidux, now aptosid, tries to remain solely Open Source, however it is not included in the Free Software Foundation's list of Free System Distributions due to binary blobs in or accompanying the kernel.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Clearing the FUD around Ubuntu Application Review Process
          An application review process was announced today for getting your apps into Ubuntu “extras” repository. But like most other announcements of new things, this one was met as well with as much criticism as the praise it got. A lot of the criticism is FUD though, although mostly unintentional and caused by ignorance of some facts behind it. I’ll try to address some of these concerns here to the best of my knowledge from what I’ve been reading over the past some time about this development.

        • Alternative to Ubuntu One’s Music Streaming Solution

          I found Martin Albisetti’s blog announcing the new music streaming features for Ubuntu One’s music store to be some what funny.

          The streaming feature will be part of Ubuntu Ones payed plan. So I ask myself “Why would I want to pay for something I can do for free”. I personally prefer to use Ampache to stream my music collection to my desktop and laptops.

        • Lifesaver for Maverick
          I think that enough of the planets have aligned in the shape of a failboat that I have been able to successfully upload a source package of Lifesaver to its PPA for Maverick.

          I might be wrong though, we’ll find out shortly when Launchpad processes the ridiculous output of several ridiculous tools.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • HP unveils printer with detachable Android tablet
          HP announced a multifunction inkjet printer that incorporates a seven-inch, detachable Android-based tablet. Based on the HP All-in-One printer, the HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One adds web browsing, Barnes & Noble eBookstore integration, and access to HP print apps and widgets via the integrated, removable Android touchscreen, all for only $399, says the company.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Nicholas Negroponte on Success of One Laptop Per Child
        And so I can give you, let me give you one anecdote. In Uruguay, the President of the country announced that this would be his legacy, One Laptop Per Child. That he would do every single child within two years. And as an aside, they completed that a couple of months ago, so every child in Uruguay has a little green laptop.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • An Open Letter to You and Alex Russell
    This is a two part letter to the Open Source JS authors of the world and to Alex Russell of Dojo (now Google) fame. But first, a little background.

  • Paying attention: when a (kind of) hacker meets sociologists
    I am not a real software hacker (a term whose real meaning is not "computer criminal", thank you very much!). Sure, I only use Free Software like Gnu/Linux or OpenOffice, I write and teach as much as I can about it and I can proudly apply patches to source code and compile it all by myself if I really have to. However, almost always I stop at that much simpler, wonderful way to automate computer usage called scripting. Still, I was probably one of the closest things to a real hacker you could have found in that particular conference.


    For the same reason, many "technologists" should think much more often to the social impacts of their work. It's necessary to build many bridges soon between the two worlds, and use them often.

  • Inkscape in a computer orientation class

  • Events

    • Canonical Hosts Leading ODMs At Ubuntu Hardware Summit
      Engineers and product managers from device and computer manufacturers and designers will meet in Taipei, Taiwan for a free day-long session hosted by Canonical Ltd. on September 24, 2010.

      The commercial sponsor of Ubuntu will host its annual Ubuntu Hardware Summit, (UHS), which includes keynote speeches from various members of the Canonical team, and topics ranging from how Canonical works with Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs), boot time optimizations, hardware enablement, debugging, multi-touch, networking and more. Over 200 attendees are expected to attend from all facets of the PC ecosystem.

    • HP's Botched OpenWorld Keynotes: What Went Wrong
      Twitter can be as socially brutal as a middle school playground: Half-baked opinions are delivered by some people with questionable authority; reputations may be altered forever with a single sentence; and gossip serves as a valuable form of currency.

      Two HP executives who presented at Oracle (ORCL) OpenWorld 2010 conference felt the full force of Twitter's instantaneous sharing Sunday night—even though the execs hadn't a clue that the OpenWorld Twitter stream (#oow) had turned on them.

  • Databases

    • Facebook open source MySQL utility
      Facebook has open sourced a MySQL utility, OSC (Online Schema Change), which it uses to change server schemas on its live systems. The problem Facebook faced was that when it needed to change the structure of its MySQL databases on live systems, using ALTER TABLE statements took too long.

    • Facebook open sources live MySQL makeover
      Written by Facebook engineer Vamsi Ponnekanti, Open Schema Change lets the company update indexes without user downtime, according to Callaghan. "Previously, we could make an update quickly on a small number of machines, but to do it on all of the machines, it took six months," Callaghan says, explaining that the company could only make updates during off-peak hours. "Now we can do it on all of the machines at pretty the same time and we can do it in about half a day.

    • Will PostgreSQL excite the open source DB community?
      Two guests join Alan for this podcast. First is Robin Schumacher, director of product strategy for EnterpriseDB and Selena Decklemann, PostgreSQL major contributor. Topics include the major new release of PostgreSQL and some of its exciting new features; the future of an Oracle-owned MySQL, Java One and the state of open source databases. We also discuss the NoSQL competition.

  • Oracle

    • The Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud
      The Exalogic Elastic Cloud is targetted at Enterprises that want to create their own private clouds. Exalogic installations consist of up to eight 42U racks. Each Exalogic rack contains hot-swappable compute nodes, a disk subsystem, multiple 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a high-bandwidth InfiniBand interconnect for connecting the components to each other and to other Exalogic racks or to Exadata Database Machine racks. Exalogic configurations are designed to be redundant.

    • Oracle: a good home for MySQL?
      I’m not able to attend the whole of Oracle OpenWorld / JavaOne, but I have sneaked in to MySQL Sunday, which is a half-day pre-conference event. One of the questions that interests me: is MySQL in safe hands at Oracle, or will it be allowed to wither in order to safeguard Oracle’s closed-source database business?

      It is an obvious question, but not necessarily a sensible one. There is some evidence for a change in direction. Prior to the takeover, the MySQL team was working on a database engine called Falcon, intended to lift the product into the realm of enterprise database management. Oracle put Falcon on the shelf; Oracle veteran Edward Screven (who also gave the keynote here) said that the real rationale for Falcon was that InnoDB would be somehow jiggered by Oracle, and that now both MySQL and InnoDB were at Oracle, it made no sense.

    • Oracle Growth Plans Worry Rivals and Customers
      Each year, Oracle’s presence looms over this city for a week, during the company’s Open World customer conference. About 41,000 people arrived this week to discuss business software in fine detail and talk over beers. Stretches of downtown streets closed and gave way to makeshift tents housing coffee stands, bars, Lego play areas and candy buffets.


      Oracle built its business by dominating the database market, providing the central repositories of crucial information that businesses must maintain and use to complete transactions. This has given it an unrivaled position of power when dealing with customers. Capitalizing on such an edge, Oracle’s sales representatives have earned a fearsome reputation as hard-line negotiators determined to squeeze customers.

      But through its acquisition spree, Oracle moved well beyond the database and into business software, buying up the important products that companies use to keep track of their technology infrastructure, employees, sales, inventory and customers.

      With Sun, Oracle has found a way to sell customers hardware bundled wit

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.3.x Developer Snapshot (build OOO330m8) available
      Developer Snapshot OOo-Dev OOO330m8 is available for download.

    • OOo4Kids: A workable compromise
      I am always of two minds about office suites or applications for children. On the one hand, I can see the value of offering a simplified interface for learning on. On the other hand, I wonder if children shouldn't start with the interface they will be using as adults, so they don't how to learn the interface all over again. OOo4Kids balances these conflicting needs better than any application I've ever seen -- so much so that I think that the main project could benefit from adopting its code.

      As the name implies, OOo4Kids is a version of designed for children between the ages of 7 and 12. Its recently-announced 1.0 release is available in 13 languages, and on all major operating systems, as well as Sugar OS. Source code and .deb packages are available on a web site separate from the main one.

    • Java Creator James Gosling: Why I Quit Oracle
      An Oracle spokeswoman said the company had no comment on Gosling’s claims.

      Thus, “For the privilege of working for Oracle, they wanted me to take a big pay cut,” Gosling said.

      That in itself was not a showstopper. Indeed, given that constraint, Gosling moved on with his employment with the database giant. However, another annoyance arose when, according to Gosling, Oracle did not have a notion of a senior engineer or at least one equivalent to Gosling’s grade at Sun, where he was a fellow. “In my job offer, they had me at a fairly significant grade level down,” he said.

      But, even that was not the final factor in leading to his decision to leave the company. Perhaps the final straw was what Gosling said was Oracle’s move to rein him in. indeed they owned Sun and thus Java, so they also owned its creator and his intellectual property, so it was up to Oracle to decide what Gosling or anybody else had to say about Java.

      “My ability to decide anything at Oracle was minimized,” Gosling said. “Oracle is an extremely micromanaged company. So myself and my peers in the Java area were not allowed to decide anything. All of our authority to decide anything evaporated.”

  • Education

    • Opening up Computer Studies in the UK
      One of the biggest disgraces in this country is the way that computing is taught - or rather, the way it is not taught. I know as a parent from years of interaction with the school system at various levels that what passes for computer teaching is in fact little more than rote learning of where the Open command is on the menu in Word and Excel. That is, instead of teaching pupils how to use computers as a generic tool to solve their particular problems, it becomes instead a dull exercise in committing to memory various ritual Microsoft sequences to achieve one specific task.


      There are representatives from Google, IBM and Microsoft Research, so why not one from Canonical, say, to fly the open source flag? As for the other individuals mentioned, I don't recognise any names there as being particularly active in the world of free software: I presume (hope) that some of them are in some way. Maybe I'm just too parochial....

    • Planning grant paves way for open source Variations on Video project at IU Libraries
      A $49,504 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services will enable the Indiana University Libraries to plan the next phase of development for its Variations digital music library system.

      Variations is an open-source system providing online access to selected sound recordings and musical scores. It was developed at IU and is now used by multiple college and university libraries.

  • BSD

    • Getting Started With FreeBSD 8.1
      FreeBSD isn't as popular as the better-known Linux distros, but it has a strong reputation for reliability and robustness, and it's still in active development. For my first foray into FreeBSD, I tried out the latest stable version (8.1), which was released mid-July.


    • Software Freedom Day 2010 – Shantou chapter
      As mentioned in my previous post, the event was organized by the Linux Association from Shantou University (STU). It started in the morning with an outdoor exhibition to demonstrate Free Software and followed with presentations in the evening. Fred gave an overview on why Software Freedom matters, a quick history review of Free and Open Source Software and talked about how the audience could get involved and contribute to the community. Then I introduced some cool Free Software that I use everyday and demonstrated how FOSS helped me to get things done. Unlike other events I have been involved with in China, we had the pleasure to talk to very active spectators asking plenty of questions such as:

      * How can Free Software sustain without any financial support from companies? * Which field / area do GNU/Linux systems apply to? * Knowing that Free Software is so cool, why the market share is so little in China? * How can we increase the market share of Free Software in China? * What are the benefits to use GNU/Linux systems and Free Software in terms of software development? * Do you think Free software will dominate the world market in the future?

  • Government

    • Bristol council set to embrace open source
      Bristol City Council is set to be the first local authority in the UK to implement a council-wide open source strategy.

      While other local authorities have implemented open source projects on a piecemeal basis, Bristol councillors are set to consider a proposal that could lead to open source software used throughout the council.

      Although Microsoft Office will continue to be used on desktops, open source alternatives will be introduced for email, file and print and other IT functions. The council has already introduced Open Office as a desktop alternative.

    • Free advertising ?

      While I’m writing this post, my mail box contains 1055 bug reports for the PDFreaders campaign. In other words, if we discard the double reports, at least 1000 institutions have been spotted doing exclusive advertising for non-free PDF readers… While launching this campaign, we knew that this practice was quite widespread. The more we see these advertisings, the more two questions keep coming :

      * Is this practice legal ? * since advertising online presupposes fees, how much money would proprietary companies pay to advertise on a normal website ?

    • EU publishes open source tools to preserve digital holdings
      Tools and techniques to help people and organisations preserve their digital holdings were published as open source software earlier this year.

      The tools, the result of the EU funded Cultural, Artistic and Scientific knowledge for Preservation, Access and Retrieval project (Caspar), were highlighted in a press release by the European Commission on 7 September.

  • Licensing

    • Ubuntu, Canonical Wallow in Muddy Waters with Contributors' Agreements
      As FSFE's Shane M Coughlan told me several years ago, as projects grow in size, "it becomes more difficult to manage the copyright. Some authors might vanish due to accidents, death, or other factors. When it comes to making decisions about protecting the code, upgrading license, or other legal factors, it can become important to talk with copyright holders."

      By contrast, in projects like the Linux kernel, in which there is no copyright assignment, managing copyright can potentially become difficult. For instance, even if Linus Torvalds had been willing to relicense the kernel under the third version of the GNU General Public License (and he most vocally was not), tracking down all contributors and obtaining their consent would have next to impossible.

      As Simon Phipps points out, copyright assignment remains popular among companies involved with FOSS. In particular, it can make dual-licensing -- the practice of releasing software with two different licenses, usually one FOSS and one proprietary -- and aggregate copyright -- the terms of use for bundled software, such as in a commercial box -- easier to manage.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500
    So, readers, here are a couple questions: What are the web-based social values that you think are most contrary to the managerial DNA one finds inside a typical corporate giant? And how should we reinvent management to make it more consistent with these emerging online sensibilities?

  • Pegatron enters all-in-one PC DIY market in China
    Taiwan-based notebook maker Pegatron Technology has recently had cooperation with Ingram Micro China and China-based BOE Technology to enter the all-in-one PC DIY market in China.

  • DtO: Pirates Are Overrated Anyway

  • Smartphones Begin to Replace Hotel Keycards
    The smartphone is always taking on new roles - from credit cards to MP3 players and digital cameras to airline boarding passes. Now, your smartphone will begin opening new doors for you, quite literally.

  • Thinking About The Viability Of Advertising-Dependent Business Models

  • Science

    • U of T student makes history with human-powered ‘flapping-wing’ plane

      Todd Reichert, a PhD candidate at the university’s Institute of Aerospace Studies, piloted the wing-flapping aircraft, sustaining both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds and covering a distance of 145 metres at an average speed of 25.6 kilometres per hour.

    • Spring on Titan brings sunshine and patchy clouds
      The northern hemisphere of Saturn's moon Titan is set for mainly fine spring weather, with polar skies clearing since the equinox in August last year. The visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been monitoring clouds on Titan regularly since the spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn in 2004. Now, a group led by Sébastien Rodriguez, a Cassini VIMS team collaborator based at Université Paris Diderot, France, has analyzed more than 2,000 VIMS images to create the first long-term study of Titan's weather using observational data that also includes the equinox. Equinox, when the sun shone directly over the equator, occurred in August 2009.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • No, you can't have my password
      I got pulled up on my password policy yesterday; I don't tell other people my passwords. The context was arranging that a friend could use my laptop while I was away at work - instead of telling her my login details so she could use that I created a new account. This provoked a "Don't you trust me?" response.

    • 17-year-old Australian Boy, Japanese Developer Take Blame for Twitter Meltdown
      A 17-year-old boy from Australia claims he inadvertently triggered a chain of events that led to thousands of people being affected by a Twitter security flaw yesterday. But it all may have been started by a Japanese developer a couple of hours earlier.

      Pearce Delphin, or @zzap on Twitter, says he exposed the security flaw by tweeting a piece of code with an onMouseOver JavaScript function, which caused a pop-up to appear when a user merely moves his mouse cursor over the message.

      Very soon, the code was modified to do other sorts of things – perform auto retweets, open pornographic websites and generally create havoc on Twitter, which lasted a couple of hours until Twitter admins patched the vulnerability.

    • Twitter apologizes after hackers exploit security flaw
      Those hit by the bug included Sarah Brown, the wife of the former British prime minister who has over 1.1 million followers on Twitter, and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who has 97,000 followers.

    • Lily Allen sues Apple
      Lily Allen is launching a legal assault against Apple in an attempt to ascertain the identity of ne'er-do-wells who attacked her laptop.

      The news comes courtesy of The Sun, which reports in its Bizarre column that the singer received an unwelcome surprise when her MacBook laptop was cracked and personal information disclosed.

    • Legal Responsibility
      Maybe she should try GNU/Linux and hire someone to harden her system. By the scale in that link, I am not “truly paranoid” but at least I have not seen malware on hundreds of PC-years of usage. Lily Allen may indeed need the paranoid level of security. I do not.

    • A knock on Betjeman's door
      Not perhaps as elegant as Betjeman's first line, but it does share the following features: a specific target (Robin Hood Airport/Slough), an exclamation mark, and the prospect of a bombing exercise.

      As a matter of legal analysis, the CPS position on someone who tweeted Betjeman's line cannot be distinguished from Chambers' ill-conceived comment.

      They both would be "menacing communications" under section 127.

      And so would any "menacing" comment sent by anyone by email, or put on a blog, or loaded onto YouTube; indeed any content sent over the internet whatsoever.

      So, this Friday, it is not only Paul Chambers in the dock: it is also the ghost of Sir John Betjeman.

      And it is all of us who have ever sent content over the internet which some person at the CPS can somehow deem "menacing" and so commence the horrifying and inescapable bureaucratic procedure which lead to the imposition of a criminal record for simply making a light-hearted comment.

      This cannot be right.

      So if you are on Twitter at 10am on Friday, why not tweet "Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!" in support of Paul (hashtag #TwitterJokeTrial) as his appeal begins.

    • Portable, rapid DNA analysis tech developed
      obile fingerprint-checking equipment is already controversial before it has even rolled out widely. An announcement today may presage the next such row, as developers say they will soon roll out a "compact" machine based on "a small, single chip" which will massively reduce the amount of time taken to check a DNA sample.

      The RapIDâ„¢ system was unveiled today at a biometrics conference in Florida by ZyGEM Corp and its partner, US aerospace globocorp Lockheed, nowadays seeking to diverge into homeland-security areas.

    • Cowboy contractors: armed and dangerous
      A light-gold Toyota Corolla shipped from Kabul, Afghanistan, to a court house in Norfolk, Virginia, was the centre-piece for a jury trial last week on the alleged murder of two Afghan civilians on 4 May 2009 by two former employees of a subsidiary of Blackwater, the private military company.

      Fareed Haji Ahmad, the driver of the Corolla that night, was also brought from Kabul to testify. He was injured in a hail of bullets fired by Christopher Drotleff and Justin Cannon, the two US citizens on trial for murder. His passenger Romal Mohammad Naiem was killed, as was a passer-by named Rahib Mirza Mohammad.

    • OAuth 2.0 security used by Facebook, others called weak
      The emerging OAuth 2.0 Web API authorization protocol, already deployed by Facebook, and others, is coming under increased criticism for being too easy to use, and therefore to spoof by malicious hackers.

      "The OAuth community has made a big mistake about the future direction of the protocol," wrote Yahoo director of standards development Eran Hammer-Lahav in a blog post last week. Hammer-Lahav's criticism may carry more weight than those from the usual naysayer, because he is actually one of the creators of OAuth.

  • Finance

    • The Terrible Tale of the TARP Two Years Later
      Two years ago, the top honchos at the Fed, Treasury and the Wall Street banks were running around like Chicken Little warning that the world was about to end. This fear mongering, together with a big assist from the elite media (i.e. NPR, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, etc.), earned the banks their $700 billion TARP blank check bailout. This money, along with even more valuable loans and loan guarantees from the Fed and FDIC, enabled them to survive the crisis they had created. As a result, the big banks are bigger and more profitable than ever.

    • The recession is over! So where's the party?

      It may be over, but you won't be hearing any cheers from the millions of Americans who are struggling to find a job. Or are worried about the ones they have. Or have lost their homes. Or are behind on the mortgage.

    • A Conversation with George Soros
      Soros declares that there was twenty-five to thirty (25-30) years of a “Super Bubble,” which has now burst. It seems from the discussion that Soros believes the SuperBubble was worldwide. Recovery is being hindered by some policies—Germany’s talk about austerity was especially mentioned—by Soros sees strong hope in the Trade Shift that has accompanied the crisis. He noted that the “global economy is a lot better than the US economy,” and that he expects to see it continue growing even if the U.S. (or Europe, due to the German leadership, or even both) fall into a :double-dip.” (In this he is arguably more of an optimist than many.)

    • The Bush tax cuts need to expire to pay for Bush's spending
      There's not much more to be said about Todd Henderson's financial situation. But one element of his complaint that hasn't gotten much attention is what he thinks he's being taxed for: "I would introduce [the president] to my family and our lifestyle," Henderson writes, "one he believes is capable of financing the vast expansion of government he is planning."

      Henderson's taxes aren't financing the government Obama would like to build. They're financing the government America already has. George W. Bush passed his tax cuts without offering any offsetting spending cuts. It was apparent then, and is even more apparent now, that he'd brought federal revenue beneath the level of federal spending -- and then he increased spending, too. Nothing Obama has signed into law will add as much to the deficit as Medicare Part D, for instance. Or the two wars George W. Bush began. Or, for that matter, the tax cuts Bush passed.

    • The next worst thing to recession
      That's the problem we're facing right now. David Leonhardt calls it "the long slog." It's not a recession, but it's the next worst thing.

    • For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again
      Of the 14.9 million unemployed, more than 2.2 million are 55 or older. Nearly half of them have been unemployed six months or longer, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate in the group — 7.3 percent — is at a record, more than double what it was at the beginning of the latest recession.

    • Experts: Recession ended last year
      According to NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee, the U.S economy experienced the beginnings of an economic expansion in the middle of last year, marking the end of an 18-month recession that began in December 2007. The findings are welcome news for the White House, which has struggled to make its case that the unpopular steps it took to limit the economic damage have worked, even as the unemployment rate continued to rise above 9 percent well into 2010.

    • Obama aide's exit could be prelude to more changes
      The departure of President Barack Obama's top economic adviser at the end of the year could provide the White House with an opportunity to revamp its economic team after the November elections, when voters are expected to take out their anxieties on Democrats.

    • Obama’s Economics Chief Is Set to Leave
      The White House said Tuesday that Lawrence H. Summers, the chief architect of President Obama’s economic policy, would leave at the end of the year, continuing an exodus of top-level advisers at a time when voters are expressing deep dissatisfaction with the president’s stewardship of the economy.

    • Woman CEO sought for Summers job
      Larry Summers isn’t leaving the White House until the end of the year but President Barack Obama’s team already knows the ideal candidate to replace him on the National Economic Council – a woman CEO.

      The pick doesn’t have to fit that bill precisely, but it’s highly likely Obama’s pick will be either a woman or a business leader – and preferably both, said several people familiar with the situation.

    • On the GMAC Foreclosure Stories
      The basic facts are: # The homeowners had a mortgage. # The homeowners are in default. # The lender was sloppy and filed inaccurate documents with the court.

      This is great for the lawyers (fighting foreclosure), and costly for the lender, but this is nothing new - except that GMAC must not have been paying attention!

    • Fed statement sets table for possible action on economy in fall
      Federal Reserve policymakers Tuesday opened the door to new action to try to boost the economy. They just didn't step on in.

      With economic growth sluggish, the jobless rate seemingly stuck near 10 percent and inflation well below the level the Fed aims for, officials of the central bank are "prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed" to support the recovery and get inflation higher, said a statement from the Fed's policymaking committee. But they stopped short of taking action Tuesday.

    • CFTC chairman wants new derivatives rules implemented quickly
      Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler on Tuesday laid out an aggressive timetable for implementing regulations for the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market.

      In a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Gensler said the commission will propose a wide array of new regulations this fall, with most of the rules scheduled for final adoption by mid-July 2011.

    • AP Investigation: Calif. pension bonuses examined
      As its investment portfolio was losing nearly a quarter of its value, the country's largest public pension fund doled out six-figure bonuses and substantial raises to its top employees, an analysis by The Associated Press has found.

      Board member Tony Olivera said the California Public Employees' Retirement System tried to reduce the bonuses but was under contractual obligations to pay them.

    • Head of Basel Panel Defends Proposed Bank Rules
      ew rules on how much rainy-day capital banks must keep in reserve are more rigorous than they first seem and create “a road to a much safer banking system,” the chairman of the panel that is writing the regulations said Wednesday, implicitly answering criticism that the proposals are too lax.

    • Goldman whacked
      TWENTY-THREE years after he first championed greed, Gordon Gekko is back. Michael Douglas reprises his role as the slick-haired financial barbarian in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, due for release on September 24th.

      Half-reformed after prison, Gekko is more anti-hero than villain this time. He is still dazzled by lucre, but also determined to give warning of the dangers of excessive leverage. The real baddies are Bretton James and the securities firm he runs, Churchill Schwartz—perhaps the least disguised fictional name ever. Executives at Goldman Sachs are said to be unamused.

      James, played by Josh Brolin, is nothing like Goldman’s top brass. He wields phallic cigars, races superbikes and smashes his copy of Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son” on a lamp when fingered for manipulating the share price of a rival firm.

    • Vatican Bank Facing Money Laundering Probe
      Italian authorities seized euro23 million ($30 million) from a Vatican bank account Tuesday and said they have begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money-laundering probe.

      The Vatican said it was "perplexed and surprised" by the investigation.

      Italian financial police seized the money as a precaution and prosecutors placed the Vatican bank's chairman and director general under investigation for alleged mistakes linked to violations of Italy's anti-laundering laws, news reports said.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google denies a third of UK govt takedown requests
      Google has released data regarding requests from the UK government for data on individual surfers and to remove links from its index.

      The data, which is included in the Google Transparency Report for January - June 2010, also shows that government agencies made 1,343 requests for data about individual surfers in that time period.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Seeing the big picture on content
      The cracking of another content protection technology, comes as no surprise to Bill Thompson

      The only real surprise about the news that HDCP has been compromised was that it took so long.

      The 'high bandwidth copy protection' scheme has been in use since 2004 even though the possibility that someone would be able to reconstruct the master key by examining HDCP-capable devices was known even before any systems were commercially available.

    • AT&T boss: we're innovating way too fast for regulation!
      AT&T now has its headquarters in Dallas, and there's something about the Texas air that appeals to CEO Randall Stephenson. Perhaps it's the scent of low taxes and deregulation carried on the breeze.

      "The environment for doing business in Dallas is really, really strong," Stephenson told a reporter from the Dallas Morning News this week. "What I like about it is this is a community that not only is it not resentful of business, it likes business. People recognize that profitable companies are companies that hire and help cities grow. And that's not the case around the country."

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What's in an analogy?
      The other view is that copyright is property, like a bar of chocolate or a car, with connotations of ownership, of exclusion of others, and of permanence (actually, in that case the chocolate bar is a very bad example, and the car is not too great, either).


      And since, even after the meltdown, governments are still pretty much committed to free market ideals, whether someone adopts the “property” or “programme” stance can be very telling.

      Thus, you'll find organisations like the RIAA, BSA, FAST and BPI talk a lot about “property”. And you'll find organisations like the Free Software Foundation railing against that characterisation.

      It's also fairly telling that the organ of the United Nations which deals with these issues is called the “World Intellectual Property Organisation”, and that the relevant government agency in the UK is Intellectual Property Office.

    • Copyrights

      • Senior Judge Warns of End To File-Sharing Cash Demands
        A senior judge has given the clearest indications so far that patience could be running out with “pay up or else” letters currently being sent out in their thousands to alleged file-sharers. At a hearing to authorize yet more, the judge called the schemes “a huge sledgehammer to crack a nut” adding that once the Digital Economy Act is in force, further applications may not be successful.

      • Richard Stallman calls for internet tax to combat piracy
        "The current system does a very bad job. So, I've proposed two methods of (supporting artists). One is the government can collect taxes. It can have a special tax on internet connectivity or perhaps use a little bit of general revenue and distribute this money solely to the authors and artists based on their popularity but not in linear proportion to their popularity," Mr Stallman said.

        Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

        End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

        Mr Stallman said that the revenue could be distributed to artists in accordance with a mathematic progression. Their revenue would flatten regardless of whether their popularity could be measured as many hundreds of multiples of their peers.

      • U.S. to escalate War on Piracy at domain name level
        Seems like U.S. legislators noticed the limited scope of such measures as well. This is why there is a new proposed Bill, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which in my opinion will make the DMCA look like a minor administrative decree. I guess we can call the new act the COICA (remove the Infringement and you get an amusing acronym, sorry, feeling rather puerile today). COICA will take over where “In Our Sites” left off. The main purpose of the Bill is to overhaul the civil injunction system in copyright law. The law will create new injunctive relief whereby a court of law can order the registrar of a domain name issued in the United States to temporarily or permanently remove the domain from a site dedicated to infringing activities, including copyright infringement and counterfeiting. The site must be primarily dedicated to commercially pursuing the sale of counterfeit goods, or the illegal downloading of copies of the work. Upon receipt of an order of removal, registrars must suspend the operation of the domain and lock it.

      • Copyright Criminals w/ Steinski and Amp Live
        Is sampling recorded music to create new works a form of artistic expression or, quite simply, a crime?

      • How Many Words is Fair Use? Maybe More Than You and AP Thought: Let's Look at a Righthaven Case
        There is no X number of words that the law sets as necessarily all right to copy or not all right, as you will see in the judge's ruling.

      • Impressed? No, not really: my views on the new "Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" 09/22/2010
        I have always been impressed with how proactive the US legislature is in addressing issues pertaining to the Internet. So, you can understand my excitement when a copy of the "Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" fell on my hands. I have to admit that after reading it, I am not impressed at all.

      • Austrian Collection Societies Want A 'You Must Be A Criminal' Tax On Hard Drives points us to the news that seven different collection societies in Austria are demanding a private copying levy on all hard drives (Google translation of the original German). Since seven different collection societies are involved, and each needs to get a cut, when you add all their fees up -- it means that all hard drives under 500 GB have 21.60 euros added to the bill, while hard drives over 750 GB get a whopping 43.74 euros added (it's not clear what happens between 500 to 750 GB).

      • Judge Indicates LVRJ May Have Offered An 'Implied License' To Copy In Righthaven Lawsuits
        It's been interesting to watch people's reactions to the Righthaven lawsuits. Plenty of people find it to be an abuse of copyright law, clearly for purposes outside of what the law is intended to handle. However, some copyright system supporters seem to think it's wonderful, and they've been mocking the various defenses that defendants have been trying out.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

OpenShot 1.2 Highlights

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