Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 17/10/2010: KDE Netbook Desktop, Angry Birds a Real Hit on Linux Phones

GNOME bluefish



  • Ten reasons Linux is the best choice for kids
    You may think your day job is demanding, but it's often nothing compared with providing tech support for the family. That's where Linux comes in, says Jack Wallen.

    The problem with working in IT is that when we go home, our job often continues. Sometimes, keeping our children's computers running can be a bigger challenge than sorting out the adults at work.

    But if you install Linux at home, you can avoid the headaches. That's because sound reasons exist for migrating young users from other operating systems.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • Chrome OS due soon, now in Release Candidate status
      Google’s Chrome operating system may be ready in about a month’s time, since bug comments indicate the code reached Release Candidate status. The information is sure and says the operating system is almost finalized, its latest build being identified as near-ready This is corroborating with a mention of a Google employee referring to a November 11th date when he was asked about a specific feature of Chrome.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Multitouch and Qt
        It's been 11 days since the Qt announcement of new gesture support, and I wanted to blog about it right away... but alas, now will have to do. The folks at Qt have been working on multi-touch support for a while now. They blogged about gestures, multi-touch, Mac support, Windows support, and then at UDS in Brussels (May 2010), they shared their 4.8 plans for multi-touch with the Ubuntu community.

        Until recently, there has been no MT stack for Linux. The great news is that the folks at Qt are very interested in getting Qt to work with uTouch. Stephen Bregma has been working on the GEIS API that toolkits will have the option of taking advantage of, and we were delighted to hear from Zeno and Denis that the Qt API they have envisioned and planned is very similar to GEIS, and should make for an excellent match. They are going to be talking with the community about this at UDS two weeks from now, in fact :-)

      • The KDE Netbook Desktop - Continued
        I wrote a few days ago about Kubuntu on Netbooks. After a few days of experimentation and discovery, I'm going to continue and expand that topic to the KDE Netbook Desktop in general. This is likely to be pretty long, so if you want to either bail out or get a cup of coffee before you get in too far, now is the time...

        I first installed the KDE Netbook Desktop (via Kubuntu 10.10) on my Samsung N150 Plus. I assumed that it would not be terribly interesting or useful on my HP 2133 Mini-Note netbooks, because of the limited graphic support for the VIA Chrome9 graphic controller. That assumption was also based on the fact that the Ubuntu Netbook Edition, with the new Unity desktop, would not even install on the Mini-Note. However, after seeing how NDE Netbook worked on the Samsung (and basically being blown away by it), and seeing how it handles and configures desktop effects, I started to think that it might actually work pretty well on the Mini-Note despite the limited graphics. So I set out to investigate the possibilities...

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Goals of the Keyring and Seahorse Projects
        In an effort to get better organized, I've put together a page listing the goals of the gnome-keyring and seahorse projects. It's all broken down into tasks, plans, and what's already done.

  • Distributions

    • What your distro can do for you that upstream cannot
      Some time ago a user on Gentoo Forums has pointed out that gecko-mediaplayer plugin does not load in www-client/chromium. It turns out there is a compatibility issue that leads to a browser hang, so upstream just blacklisted the plugin (based on file name). The browser has a hardcoded list of plugins that it will not load at all.

    • Debian Family

      • Debious – A dubious Debian packaging GUI
        Just some little (unfinished) concept mockup. Seeing that much of it still ends up as a “text box with syntax highlighting” it’d probably make sense to implement it as a gedit plugin.

      • Iceweasel Has To Restart
        I've noticed an odd pattern of behaviour in Iceweasel (the unbranded version of Mozilla Firefox that comes with Debian) on Debian Squeeze. It randomly pops up a dialog box telling you that it has to restart Iceweasel to remove or update an addon, and gives you a choice of "restart" or "cancel". What it does not do is tell you what the offending addon actually is, or what it's about to do.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • LOK 2010 (Budapest)

        • Canonical, Ltd. Finally On Record: Seeking Open Core
          I've written before about my deep skepticism regarding the true motives of Canonical, Ltd.'s advocacy and demand of for-profit corporate copyright assignment without promises to adhere to copyleft. I've often asked Canonical employees, including Jono Bacon, Amanda Brock, Jane Silber, and Mark Shuttleworth himself to explain (a) why exactly they demand copyright assignment on their projects, rather than merely having contributors agree to the GNU GPL formally (like projects such as Linux do), and (b) why, having received a contributor's copyright assignment, Canonical, Ltd. refuses to promise to keep the software copylefted and never proprietarize it (as FSF has always done in assignments). When I ask these questions of Canonical, Ltd. employees, they invariably artfully change the subject.

        • Dual-screen version of Ubuntu 10.10′s default wallpaper
          Dual screen users can now benefit from the beauty of Maverick’s default wallpaper thanks to the following dedicated dual-screen version by Kyle Baker.

        • Auto Bug Expiry on Launchpad
          Launchpad has always advertised that we auto-expire inactive incomplete bugs, but we haven’t done this for awhile now. Some developers are using their own launchpadlib scripts which set bug tasks to the EXPIRED status based on the same criteria that Launchpad will use.

        • Ubuntu 10.10
          So my laptop was crapping out. The wifi wasn’t working. It was getting absurdly slow. I tried running Vista’s recovery and it ran into some sort of infinite loop during the process. I have SATA hard drives so I needed a floppy to load XP. Obviously, I don’t have a floppy drive and I didn’t really want to buy a USB floppy.

          So I downloaded and installed Ubuntu 10.10 and I must say, Linux has come a long way.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source investment to increase – survey

    Has open source reached a tipping point? A new survey has found many organisations are planning to invest more in it, as more perceived benefits are understood beyond the obvious cost advantage over proprietary software.

    Accenture’s survey of 300 large organisations in the private and public sector across the US, UK and Ireland has found many committing to clear strategies and policies for open source software (OSS) development.

  • Web Browsers

    • Web browser speed test: Chrome, Firefox, IE9, Opera and Safari head-to-head
      With Internet Explorer 9 being acclaimed as the fastest ever browser client from Microsoft, DaniWeb decided to put it to the test against Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari and see just how quick it really is in a real world test of web browsing speed.


      And so, without any further ado, the results of the Great DaniWeb Browser Speed Shoot-Out are:

      1. Chrome (37/50) 2. Safari (35/50) 3. Opera (34/50) 4. IE9 (23/50) 5. Firefox (21/50)

    • Mozilla

      • State of Firefox 4.0 on GNU+Linux
        So we've probably all seen the mock-ups for Firefox 4.0 by now, but has any of it been implemented? In the Windows version, yes. On the GNU+Linux version, partially. And it looks like it's going to stay that way. I'm going to show you what's different in the current development version (nightly 4.0b8pre) from 3.6.

  • Oracle

    • Java: The Unipolar Moment, On distributed governance for distributed software
      Which brings me to IBM. In the good old days everyone knew that Sun defined Java, while BEA and IBM made money from it. These days not so much. But if IBM’s can’t influence the JCP as much as it would like it can now play divide and rule. I expect to see IBM giving Eclipse and OSGi a concerted push over the next couple of years.

      Google is another Java player. It bought Instantiations and is giving away the product. Search company becomes IDE supplier. Weird. But then Instantiations had built some slick tools for building Google Web Toolkit apps. GWT- what’s that? Oh nothing much – just a technology which brings Java and Javascript together in a development model. How many awful Java front end technologies have we seen over the years? Java ServerFaces and so on. Well GWT is a much cleaner approach to application development, and suits web apps – thus Google’s interest. Then we have Google AppEngine- a place to run Java apps. Java in the cloud? So far Google has made all the running in Platform as a Service thinking and delivery.

      EMC VMWare SpringSource is another major center of gravity for Java leadership. SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson after all is the guy that found a way to make JEE not so painful to develop. With his ambition and technical skill, and EMC’s heft- and of course Paul Maritz in the picture- there is now way Oracle will have Java leadership all to itself. It speaks volumes that Rod didn’t even bother to attend Java One this year- then, neither did the RedMonks.

      I’d really like to know your thoughts on the the idea of a multipolar Java world. Who is going to be China?

      My biggest issues is that Oracle seems to think benign neglect will work in the Java world. It won’t. And when your salesmen start denying that your app servers run OSGi, when they do, then you have a problem.

    • Oracle Asks Founders Of The Documents Foundation To Leave

      After Oracle acquired SUN Microsystem, some leading members of the community forked as LibreOffice. They also set up The Document Foundation to continue the independent works of the community.

      However, Oracle is not taking their move well. They want the founders of The Documents Foundation to leave the council. According to Oracle, their works with The Documents Foundation and LibreOffice will conflict with that of

    • Oracle Asks OpenOffice Community Members To Leave
      "In an unprecedented move with respect to other forks, Oracle asked the founders of the Document Foundation and LibreOffice to leave the Community Council. Apparently there is a conflict of interest, which concerns the Oracle employees."

  • Openness/Sharing

    • In Praise of Copying

    • The Impact of Open Notebook Science

    • Open Data

      • In which I suggest a preprint archive for clinical trials

        The ArXiv preprint archive for research articles in physics, mathematics, computer science and related disciplines was initiated by Paul Ginsparg in 1991. ArXiv enables the rapid dissemination of research articles prior to peer review, and it quickly became very successful in this. ArXiv has not made the peer-reviewed journal obsolete, but rather provides a service that traditional journals – and that also includes Open Access journals – can’t provide. By 1998, more than 90% of all peer-reviewed papers published in high-energy physics first appeared on ArXiv. Nature Precedings was started in 2007 to provide similar services for research in biology, medicine (except clinical trials), chemistry and earth sciences. In addition, many preprints are also hosted in institutional repositories.

    • Open Access/Content

  • Programming


  • In The Neutral Zone

  • Demoscene: Interview with Romeo Knight!
    For many people, Romeo Knight was the defacto musician on the scene. Now, approximately 20 years after I was introduced to the Amiga computer and subsequently Linux, I find myself conducting a Q&A with a person who influenced my computing decisions so many years ago.

  • Directories and how we could do better
    So instead of having to import the media it will be offered to explore the media and choose from there what you want to use. So it cuts out the file chooser dialog altogether. Also you should be allowed to move things to trash inside of the program.

    All this can be done with tracker to get the mimetypes for each of the file types I know but id like to have the file system organisation done in the background anyway and have the applications just looking at the directory lists to get the files for use in the program. So im not for any file explorers like nautilus or even search and other stuff to find files. The applications should do that job for the user and cut out the middle man.

  • Science

    • Devastation and Recovery at Mt. St. Helens
      The 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, which began with a series of small earthquakes in mid-March and peaked with a cataclysmic flank collapse, avalanche, and explosion on May 18, was not the largest nor longest-lasting eruption in the mountain’s recent history. But as the first eruption in the continental United States during the era of modern scientific observation, it was uniquely significant.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Brazil Should Lead on Access to Essential Medicines
      What is Brazil going to do with its new influence? The short and obvious answer is: Brazil is going to pursue the national self-interest of Brazil, just like every other country does. If we asked every Brazilian candidate for federal office, do you think that Brazil should pursue its interests? I would expect them all to say yes.

      But how shall Brazil define the national self-interest that it pursues? Shall it define that national self-interest narrowly, or broadly? Here you have a real debate.

      For example, a few months ago there was a spirited debate in Brazil about Brazil's role in international diplomacy concerning Iran's nuclear program. Some politicians and voices in the Brazilian media said: Why is Brazil messing around with this? Brazil should mind its own business. This reflected what the U.S. government and much of the U.S. media were saying: Why is Brazil interfering in our turf?

      But the Brazilian government said: We are minding our own business. If some people in the U.S. government want to use war, the threat of war, or sanctions to prevent Iran from enriching uranium, that's Brazil's business, because Brazil enriches uranium, and therefore, it is in the interest of Brazil to defend the right of Iran to enrich uranium. By defending Iran's rights, Brazil was defending its own. As President Lula said, "When we look at Iran, we see ourselves."

      I give this example of a dispute over how broadly Brazil should perceive the self-interest that it pursues because it's an example that one could easily know about from watching the news or reading the newspaper. Regardless of what one thinks about Iran's nuclear program, this example shows there is a serious dispute, in Brazil and in the world, about how Brazil should perceive its self-interest, narrowly or broadly.

      But there is another very important example which one rarely sees discussed unless one is looking for it, and that is the dispute between countries like Brazil and countries like the United States over what national laws and policies a country like Brazil should have regarding intellectual property claims, in particular, regarding the intellectual property claims of corporations headquartered in the United States and Europe.

      The US and Europe have worked to institutionalize globally a particular set of rules and expectations regarding intellectual property claims. This is a fairly recent phenomenon. Twenty years ago, establishing rules regarding intellectual property claims was largely considered a national affair.

      But in 1994, when the World Trade Organization was created, the US and other developed countries successfully added something called the TRIPS agreement to the founding rules of the WTO. The TRIPS agreement extended to developing countries in the WTO strong protections for the intellectual property claims of corporations based in the US and Western Europe. The promise of the WTO for developing countries was that it would guarantee their access to sell in the markets of the rich countries. So, essentially the US and Europe used the leverage of access to their markets to impose a global set of rules on the treatment of intellectual property claims.

      It's important to understand that the addition of the TRIPS agreement to the WTO had nothing to do with the classical theory of "free trade." There is a longstanding, spirited debate about the theory of free trade, and whether the grand claims that have been made about how removing restrictions on international commerce would promote economic growth were oversold. But the TRIPS agreement has nothing to do with the principles of free trade.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Anxiety

    • How propaganda is disseminated: WikiLeaks Edition
      This is how the U.S. government and American media jointly disseminate propaganda: in the immediate wake of some newsworthy War on Terror event, U.S. Government officials (usually anonymous) make wild and reckless -- though unverifiable -- claims. The U.S. media mindlessly trumpets them around the world without question or challenge. Those claims become consecrated as widely accepted fact. And then weeks, months or years later, those claims get quietly exposed as being utter falsehoods, by which point it does not matter, because the goal is already well-achieved: the falsehoods are ingrained as accepted truth.

      I've documented how this process works in the context of American air attacks (it's immediately celebrated that we Killed the Evil Targeted Terrorist Leader [who invariably turns out to be alive and then allegedly killed again in the next air strike], while the dead are always, by definition, "militants"); with covered-up American war crimes, with the Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman frauds -- the same process was also evident with the Israeli attack on the flotilla -- and now we find a quite vivid illustration of this deceitful process in the context of WikiLeaks' release of Afghanistan war documents...

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • France hit by new wave of mass pension protests

      A fifth day of protests in France against proposed pension reforms brought 825,000 people on to the streets, police said, although unions put the figure at 2.5m to 3m.

    • Two Faces: Demystifying the Mortgage Electronic Registration System's Land Title Theory
      Hundreds of thousands of home foreclosure lawsuits have focused judicial scrutiny on the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (“MERS”). This Article updates and expands upon an earlier piece by exploring the implications of state Supreme Court decisions holding that MERS is not a mortgagee in security agreements that list it as such. In particular this Article looks at: (1) the consequences on land title records of recording mortgages in the name of a purported mortgagee that is not actually mortgagee as a matter of law; (2) whether a security agreement that fails to name an actual mortgagee can successfully convey a property interest; and (3) whether county governments may be entitled to reimbursement of recording fees avoided through the use of false statements associated with the MERS system. This Article concludes with a discussion of steps needed to rebuild trustworthy real property ownership records.

    • Why is Obama putting a Fannie Mae/Goldman Sachs lobbyist/consultant as NSA?
      Obama last week tapped Tom Donilon as National Security Advisor. What’s Donilon’s resume?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • LobbyLens

    • Concerned Taxpayers of America supported by only two donors
      The group's rapid creation - and its narrow funding base - illustrates how one or two wealthy donors can have a dramatic impact on political races, particularly in the wake of recent court rulings that have swept away many traditional spending limits. The situation also underscores how the precise motivations and goals of many independent groups can remain stubbornly opaque, even when disclosure is required.

      The Concerned Taxpayers, which lists a Capitol Hill townhouse as its address, has spent $450,000 on television advertising targeting just two lawmakers: Reps. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Frank M. Kratovil Jr. (D-Md.).

      When the group began targeting DeFazio several weeks ago, both he and his GOP opponent, tea party favorite Art Robinson, said they were unfamiliar with the group and were surprised by the ads.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Court says University sanction over Facebook postings violated Charter
      An Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench has issued a precedent setting ruling that relates to Facebook comments and, specifically, whether the Charter of Rights and Freedoms can apply to universities. In the case of Pridgen v. University of Calgary, the court ruled that the post-secondary institution violated two students’ Charter rights when it sanctioned them for posting critical comments about a professor on Facebook. The students were found by the University to have committed non-academic misconduct and were placed on probation as a result of their Facebook comments. They applied for judicial review to set aside that decision on various grounds, including that their right to free expression under the Charter. The University argued before the court that the students had committed acts of defamation on Facebook.

    • The GOP vs. Google and Microsoft in a Leaked Memo on Privacy Law Reform
      The argument for reform of the 1986 law is that it hasn’t kept up with technological advances, meaning that there’s legal confusion over the privacy of our emails, smart phones, text messages, and social networking communications, and that some parts of the law are out of date — leading, for example, to no warrant being needed for police to read your emails after they are 180 days old. The argument against reform is that increasing privacy protections will make it harder for police to track down cyber criminals — the boys in blue most often bring up the specter of child pornographers.

    • 610G settles webcam case
      "Webcamgate," the Lower Merion School District soap opera about two teens and two school-issued laptops that spied on them, was never supposed to be about money.

      But that's exactly what brought the whole screwy saga to a close yesterday - a boatload of money.

      The district's Board of School Directors voted unanimously to pay $610,000 to settle lawsuits filed by the families of Harriton High sophomore Blake Robbins and Lower Merion High graduate Jalil Hasan, both of whom were unknowingly photographed scores of times at home by webcams on Apple MacBooks.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • News Corp. Shuts Off Hulu Access To Cablevision Customers – And Turns It Back On [UPDATED]
      UPDATE: That was fast. People familiar with the situation say that News Corp. is changing tactics and will turn on access to and Fox programming on Hulu for Cablevision’s customers. This could take a “few hours” to roll out across the Cablevision footprint, I’m told.

    • Why are U.S. Net Services Slow to Migrate North?
      Netflix, the popular online movie rental service, launched in Canada last month, providing consumers with the option to download an unlimited number of movies and television shows for a flat monthly fee. While the Netflix debut was marred by an ill-advised public relations stunt that involved actors masquerading as excited consumers, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the long delays in migrating the service north once again raised questions over why popular online services rarely view Canada as a priority destination.

    • Telus CEO touts 'Switzerland' approach to content

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Anonymous Takes Out UK Intellectual Property Office Website
      As part of the ongoing slaughter of any institute or company that defends copyright, Anonymous has now taken down the website of the UK Intellectual Property Office. The website of the Government body has been unresponsive for nearly a day after the ‘Operation Payback” attack started yesterday afternoon.

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Copyright Book Released in Print and Online

      • Big media wants more piracy busting from Google
        At a time when Google is negotiating with television, movie, and music producers for the recently launched GoogleTV and an upcoming digital music service, the company has been sending mixed messages about how much help it will provide in removing links to pirated songs from its search index.

      • Copyright battle in Ohio Gov. race over use of clip to expose 'steelworker' as actor
        Given the facts as I know them, I'm with EFF on this one. The Ohio Democratic Party's use of clip was strictly non-commercial: to make a political point about Kasich's ad. And the clips they used were very short -- just long enough to demonstrate that the "steelworker" really wasn't. Arginate's action will have the unfortunate effect of keeping the video off YouTube at the height of the campaign. YouTube can re-post the video at any time; yes, it would lose the DMCA safe harbor as to this video, but it doesn't need any safe harbor given that the Ohio Democratic Party's inclusion of the clip is almost certainly a non-infringing fair use. YouTube has taken such a step before; it should do so again.


        Copyright battle in Ohio Gov. race over use of clip to expose 'steelworker' as actor

Clip of the Day

ThistleWeb: The Digital Prism Screencast - Start

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Credit: TinyOgg

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