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Links 23/10/2010: Wiimote on GNU/Linux, Mint Raves





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Contents





GNU/Linux



Free Software/Open Source



  • [CiviCRM:] Amnesty International
    CivicActions has worked with Amnesty International since 2007 both on their Drupal based website, Amnesty.org and their CiviCRM installation. We first implemented version 1.8 with Drupal 5 and earlier this year upgraded the website to Drupal 6 and CiviCRM to version 3.1, they are now running version 3.2.x.


  • Girl Scouts’ Digital Media Class, Day 1 & Day 2
    This evening I taught the second class session of a 9-week program to teach ~14-year old Girl Scouts how to work with digital media using free software tools. Our first class was last Friday. The classes are two-hours long, on Friday nights (these girls are dedicated!), on a weekly basis.

    [...]

    As I did with Red Hat’s earlier Inkscape class, I’m going to try to make a blog post per session to keep you updated on how the class is going, and hopefully to also be a resource to other folks who might be interested in teaching a similar class. I’d like to document any issues we run into and the solutions we come up with as well as the successes we stumble upon to that end.


  • Open Source Skills: The Road to Riches?
    Open source software occupies half of the list. This is very promising for individuals who focus on short-term and project-based work.

    Although, some open source technologies, like Linux and Apache Tomcat, have become so prolific they are now mainstream, most will not. Enthusiasts argue all technologies start as the technology newcomer trying to win converts from a well-established leader. Java was in this position with C++ nearly a decade ago.


  • Web Browsers



  • SaaS

    • Open-Source Vendor Battles VMware Lock-in No One Else Sees
      Open-source developer Cloud.com announced this morning it is now possible to run Microsoft's hypervisor with an open-source cloud-computing platform in order to combat the homogeneity and vendor lock-in that would go along with cloud solutions from leading virtualization vendor VMware.

      Cloud.com Chief Marketing Officer Peder Ulander said the company started work on an abstraction layer that would allow Hyper-V to work with the OpenStack cloud platform at the request of a user who was concerned that VMware's vCloud platform would be too limiting for a large corporate IT operation.




  • Oracle

    • Leaving the OpenOffice.org project
      Today is a special day. I feel both sad and relieved, happy and somewhat disgusted. I have officially resigned from all my duties, roles and positions inside the OpenOffice.org project. My resignation is effective immediately and I am leaving the project. I will now be contributing to the Document Foundation, while of course continuing to work at Ars Aperta and at the OASIS as a member of its Board of Director, eGov Steering Committee and ODF Committees.


    • To: JCP Executive Committee Members


    • FireFox FireOffice
      So, I was thinking about this, maybe we need to port openoffice as a firefox plugin, fireoffice. To use firefox as the platform and enable a simple office that runs in the browser.




  • Education





  • Semi-Open Source

    • Alfresco drops LGPL'd Hibernate for iBatis
      He says that this was the "primary reason" for removing Hibernate and would allow the company "more freedom and flexibility to make some decisions". Once LGPL'd jBPM has been replaced with Activiti, there will be no LGPL components in Alfresco's ECM platform.




  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Will Pay For Some KMS & GEM Love
      Chris Wilson of Intel back in July had written a branch of the Intel X.Org display driver (xf86-video-intel) that added back user-space mode-setting support to their open-source driver that did not need the Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) within the kernel to function. This code was previously stripped away from the driver previously since KMS+GEM is the future they wanted to head in, but for those with vintage Intel i8xx-era graphics hardware using these newer code paths frequently resulted in lock-ups and other problems. Rather than trying to solve the actual problem at hand of GEM and KMS for this old hardware, the easier solution was viewed to just add back non-GEM UMS support.




  • Government

    • End lock-in by suppliers says Government CIO
      EU procurement rules say that public sector buyers cannot specify an ICT product or brand. That means the big suppliers, usually systems integrators, select the products, the brands, and the architecture.




  • Programming

    • Taco Bell Programming
      The more I write code and design systems, the more I understand that many times, you can achieve the desired functionality simply with clever reconfigurations of the basic Unix tool set. After all, functionality is an asset, but code is a liability. This is the opposite of a trend of nonsense called DevOps, where system administrators start writing unit tests and other things to help the developers warm up to them - Taco Bell Programming is about developers knowing enough about Ops (and Unix in general) so that they don't overthink things, and arrive at simple, scalable solutions.




  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C updates HTML5, makes math easy
      The W3C has updated its MathML standard for rendering mathematical notation on Web pages to better portray basic math symbols, as well as render mathematic symbols in more languages.






Leftovers

  • Square Enix Sends C&D To Developer Creating OpenCarmageddon
    Whatis42? writes in to let us know that Square Enix has sent a cease and desist letter to a guy who's been developing an open source version of the game Carmageddon. Now, it's almost certainly the case that this version does, in fact, violate the original copyrights (and potentially trademarks) of Square Enix, but should it really matter? The game is well over a decade old and not for sale anywhere anymore. The re-creation of the game appears to be a pretty cool learning experience for a developer and fans of the game.


  • Bible.com investor sues company for lack of profit


  • Chief Justice Roberts Admits He Doesn’t Read the Computer Fine Print
    Answering a student question, Roberts admitted he doesn’t usually read the computer jargon that is a condition of accessing websites, and gave another example of fine print: the literature that accompanies medications, the AP story reports.

    It has “the smallest type you can imagine and you unfold it like a map,” he said. "It is a problem," he added, "because the legal system obviously is to blame for that." Providing too much information defeats the purpose of disclosure, since no one reads it, he said. “What the answer is,” he said, “I don’t know.”


  • Why IPv6? Vint Cerf keeps blaming himself
    Are you struggling with or dreading the thought of IPv6?

    If so, Vint Cerf, much-decorated "Father of the Internet," wants you to know that it's OK to blame him. He certainly does so himself. In fact, he does so time and time and time again.


  • The incredible growth of the Internet since 2000
    It doesn’t feel like 2000 was all that long ago, does it? But on the Internet, a decade is a long time. Ten years ago we were in the era of the dot-com boom (and bust), the Web was strictly 1.0, and Google was just a baby.


  • Laurel L. Russwurm: NaNoWriMo is …
    NaNoWriMo began as a small group of people who wanted to try their hands at writing a novel, but it quickly exploded into an International Internet novel writing extravaganza. Now it is a very large group of people all over the world who want to try their hand at writing a novel. (Love that Internet!)


  • Science

    • Building a Giant Lab to Test Disasters


      The insurance industry is doing its best to create a tempest in a teapot.


    • Synthetic DNA makers warned of bioterrorism threats
      TO MAKE it harder for bioterrorists to build dangerous viruses from scratch, guidelines for firms who supply "custom DNA" are being introduced in the US.

      The US and other countries restrict who can work with certain germs, but it might be possible to build some viruses from their genes. A number of firms supply DNA sequences to order. A 2005 investigation by New Scientist raised alarms when it found that only five out of 12 of these firms in North America and Europe always screened orders for sequences that might be used in bioweapons.


    • Mass Can Be 'Created' Inside Graphene, Say Physicists
      The amazing properties of graphene now include the ability to create mass, according to a new prediction.




  • Health/Nutrition

    • Consumers Win Important Battle Over How Health Care Reform Will Be Implemented
      The new MLR regulations might indeed cause a few inefficient health plans to either improve the way they do business or close up shop, but why is that a bad thing? Because it will "reduce choice?" One of the main objectives of reform is to reduce waste and ensure Americans get the value they deserve when they send in their premium payments every month. If the health plans that take our money but give us lousy coverage in return are forced out of the marketplace, I say good riddance, even if their departure means that the bigger and more efficient plans that offer better value pick up the customers they leave behind.




  • Security



  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • This Week in Review: Hard news’ online value, a small but successful paywall, and the war on WikiLeaks
      Greenwald asserted that part of the reason for the government’s rhetoric is its fear of damage that could be caused by WikiLeaks future leaks, and sure enough, it’s already urging news organizations not to publish information from WikiLeaks’ Iraq documents. At The Link, Nadim Kobeissi wrote an interesting account of the battle over WikiLeaks so far, characterizing it as a struggle between the free, open ethos of the web and the highly structured, hierarchical nature of the U.S. government. “No nation has ever fought, or even imagined, a war with a nation that has no homeland and a people with no identity,” Kobeissi said.


    • WikiLeaks plans ‘major’ announcement in Europe
      The WikiLeaks website appears close to releasing what the Pentagon fears is the largest cache of secret U.S. documents in history — hundreds of thousands of intelligence reports compiled after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


    • EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks Prepares Largest Intel Leak in US History with Release of 400,000 Iraq War Docs
      We speak to the nation’s most famous whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971, just before he heads to London to participate in the WikiLeak press conference.


    • Iraq war logs: secret files show how US ignored torture


      A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.


    • Tibetan student protests spread to Beijing


      Protests by Tibetan students in western China over plans to restrict the use of their language have spread, according to state media and a campaign group.

      A source in Beijing said between 200 and 300 Tibetan students at the capital's Central University for Nationalities held a peaceful demonstration this afternoon.




  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Malarial mosquitoes turning into new species
      Two strains of the mosquito responsible for most malaria transmission in Africa are evolving into different species, meaning that techniques to control them may work on one type but not the other.


    • Tea Partiers Hold Fossil Fuel Industry's Views on Climate Change
      Only 14 percent of Tea Party supporters believe global warming is a real environmental problem compared to 49 percent of the rest of the public, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. Global warming skepticism is an article of faith among Tea Party adherents, some of whom say they rely on the teachings of scripture and conservative opinion leaders as sources for their information about climate science. Tea Partiers' beliefs on global warming agree with those of the fossil fuel industry, which funds the Tea Party movement. Following in the footsteps of the tobacco industry, the fossil fuel industry has carried on a longstanding, pervasive campaign to raise doubts about global warming science and undermine policies that to address it.


    • Climate Change Doubt Is Tea Party Article of Faith
      At a candidate forum here last week, Representative Baron P. Hill, a threatened Democratic incumbent in a largely conservative southern Indiana district, was endeavoring to explain his unpopular vote for the House cap-and-trade energy bill.




  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • More Action in America from the Network of Billionaires
      In the Center for Media and Democracy's break-through article on the American Action Network, we highlighted the resumes of the billionaires, corporate executives, and right-wing political operatives behind the group. Americans have a right to know more about who these guys really are, starting with AAN board member Robert Steel.

      A few weeks ago, we broke the story of the grossly misleading American Action Network attack ad accusing Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold of creating the federal deficit. We pointed out how such claims are preposterous considering that those behind AAN and the anti-Feingold ads helped destroy the economy, and that some of AAN's board members benefited personally from the Wall Street bailout spearheaded by the Bush Administration. The Washington, D.C.-based group, a 501(c) organization that receives anonymous corporate funding, has already spent $750,000 attacking Senator Feingold in television ads. Now, AAN is at it again, airing another misleading attack ad making similar claims.


    • James Bopp's Committee for Half-Truths in Politics
      But many do not know that one man is particularly responsible for Citizens United and other challenges to fair election rules, and that his ironically-named “Committee for Truth in Politics” is one of the many groups fronting corporate dollars while pretending to be just like ordinary folk.




  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Take a stand for your freedom on the internet


    • What is Activism?
      Of course, you can’t always believe what you read. Just because something is in print does not necessarily mean it is true or accurate, whether in a book, a newspaper or a web page. Wikipedia is certainly in error in conflating “violent revolutionary activities” with Malcolm X, who was himself non-violent like the majority of activists. It was only after Malcolm X was assasinated that his followers turned to “violent revolutionary activities.”

      I’ve never met Byron Sonne, and only heard about him recently. The publication ban means what I know about it is limited to what has already been published. Which may or may not be true. Still, there is enough there in the public record to cause me concern, which is why I’ve written a couple of blog posts about it.


    • Police Refuse To Speak On Camera After Dropping ALL Charges On More Than 100 G20 Protesters


    • Networks Block Web Programs From Being Viewed on Google TV


      ABC, CBS and NBC are blocking TV programming on their websites from being viewable on Google Inc.'s new Web-TV service, exposing the rift that remains between the technology giant and some of the media companies it wants to supply content for its new products.


    • NDP PUSHES FOR FAIR TRADE AND TRANSPARENCY IN EU DEAL
      New Democrat International Trade Critic Peter Julian is criticizing the Harper government’s lack of transparency surrounding the latest round of trade talks on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU.


    • Creating stronger privacy controls inside Google
      In May we announced that we had mistakenly collected unencrypted WiFi payload data (information sent over networks) using our Street View cars. We work hard at Google to earn your trust, and we’re acutely aware that we failed badly here. So we’ve spent the past several months looking at how to strengthen our internal privacy and security practices, as well as talking to external regulators globally about possible improvements to our policies. Here’s a summary of the changes we’re now making.


    • Tony McNulty and civil liberties
      There was a time in the summer of 2008 when one could barely turn on the television without seeing former Home Office Minister Tony McNulty’s sturdy defences of the Labour Party’s approach to law and order. A stronger supporter of ID cards and ninety day incarceration it was impossible to find.




  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM



  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • China pledges to crack down on pirated software
      Citing comments made at a State Council meeting at which Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao presided, the Xinhua News Agency reported this week that the goal is to clamp down on both the import and export of phony software, DVDs, publications, and other products that violate trademarks and patents.


    • Statement of the Holy See at the WIPO
      On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care. At the same time, in some poor countries, cultural models and social norms of behaviour persist which hinder the process of development.”


    • The Case for Flexibility in Implementing the WIPO Internet Treaties


    • Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics
      Those already convinced by the general argument against IP thus have much to learn in this course, which will deepen and extend their understanding of not only IP theory but also libertarian theory and economics. The course is also ideal for those who are on the fence, or who are confused, about IP; no intellectual conformity is required. Libertarians who think there are good arguments for IP are also welcome — at the least, they can test their arguments against the best we critics have to offer, and perhaps strengthen, modify, or deepen their own views about the nature of ideas, government, and property rights.


    • Copyrights

      • RIAA, Chamber Of Commerce: Censorship Via COICA Is Okay, Because Other Countries Censor Too
        So it's okay for the US government to censor the web, because other countries censor as well? I recognize that their argument is that this won't change how other countries view censorship, but even that's wrong. The US is pressuring other countries not to censor the web by claiming a moral high ground. It seems particularly hypocritical to undermine that moral high ground by blatantly censoring the web as well, and then saying "but it's okay for us, because it's about protecting these companies." That just makes it easy for those other countries to respond, "well, then it's okay for us, because it's about protecting our government/way of life/etc."


      • Piracy domain seizure bill gains support
        Dozens of the largest content companies, including video game maker Activision, media firms NBC Universal and Viacom, and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) endorsed the bill in a letter to the U.S. Senate. So did Major League Baseball and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


      • Piracy trumps obscurity again


      • If Google TV Has To Pay To Make Hulu Available To Viewers, Will Mozilla Have To Pay To Access Hulu Via Firefox?
        Admittedly, Hulu is apparently getting pressure from the TV companies to do these blocks, but it still makes no sense. All things like Boxee and Google TV are doing is providing a browser. As Danny notes, if I just hooked up my laptop to the same TV, I could watch Hulu just fine. Why is it a problem if it's using a different piece of hardware? It makes no sense.


      • Message which brought hope now copyright of Chile miner
        The message that announced the trapped Chile miners were alive and well is now the copyright of the man who wrote it.


      • French Anti-Piracy Scheme's 25,000 Daily Reports
        Three weeks after the first warning messages were sent by email to online infringers, French body HADOPI remains quiet on the process and its results.

        However, Billboard.biz has learned that rights-holders are reporting 25,000 music related copyright infringements to HADOPI every day. HADOPI was launched by the government to handle the three-strikes anti-piracy system.


      • ACTA

        • USTR's implausible claim that ACTA Article 1.2 is an all purpose loophole, and the ramifications if true
          The October 2010 version of the ACTA text is inconsistent with several areas of U.S. law, and proposals for new laws in the areas of the reform of patent damages and access to orphaned copyrighted works. In particular, the obligations in the ACTA text do not incorporate many of the areas of limitations and exceptions to remedies found in U.S. law, and in the statutes of some other countries.


        • ACTA – outstanding issues (E-8295/2010)
          Observations:

          * The second part of her question goes to the heart of the criminal chapter. The Criminal chapter of ACTA corresponds to the proposed Criminal Enforcement Directive (“IPRED2″) under Art 83 legal base which failed to reach Council consensus. Recently the European Commission has withdrawn the IPRED2 proposal and thus terminated the IPRED2 directive process. * Comparison: ACTA Criminal Chapter: Negotiated behind closed doors by the Council Presidency with external Trade partners. Parliament(s) may ratify ACTA. No corresponding Acquis existing. IPRED2: Legal base Art 83 limits the extent of EU harmonisation. Ordinary Legislative Process. Full democratic scrutiny by Parliament. Adoption would make the act part of the Acquis. * Result: Council attempts to circumvent the new Lisbon powers of the European Parliament under Art 83 via Art 207. It is a highly sensitive constitutional question if a circumvention is permissible. * No Acquis for criminal enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights is available as the MEPs stress, not even a pending proposal anymore. For clarity, Acquis Communautaire = “body of law accumulated by the European Union”. Acquis is EU level law. Even an identical legal status quo in all EU member states would not constitute the Acquis. Neither does the EU competence under Art 83 qualify as Acquis unless an act is adopted under that legal base.


        • Help to debug the European Commissioner
          The list of directives above indicates what parts of the Acquis (body of adopted EU level law) would be affected by an adoption of ACTA. The Commissioner says that the Acquis won’t be affected at all, no change of the EU legal environement was required. Many civil society and industry groups claim ACTA has effects on the internet. Many Members of Parliament don’t believe the Commission because it would make ACTA pretty baseless. And ironically in other nations they tell the public the same tales, that it won’t change their law. Check the facts!












Clip of the Day



The Digital Prism Screencast - Introduction (learn more)



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Credit: TinyOgg

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