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Links 9/2/2011: Members Choice Award, GNOME 2.91.6, Linux 2.6.38 RC4

GNOME bluefish



  • 2010 Members Choice Award Winners
    Server Distribution of the Year - Debian (29.35%) Desktop Distribution of the Year - Ubuntu (28.56%) Security/Forensic/Rescue Distribution of the Year - BackTrack (36.87%) Mobile Distribution of the Year - Android (76.82%) Database of the Year - MySQL (51.76%) NoSQL Database of the Year - Cassandra (27.40%) Office Suite of the Year - (55.74%) Browser of the Year - Firefox (55.52%) Desktop Environment of the Year - Gnome (45.06%) Window Manager of the Year - Compiz (26.43%) Messaging App of the Year - Pidgin (43.85%) Virtualization Product of the Year - VirtualBox (59.16%) Audio Media Player Application of the Year - Amarok (28.34%) Audio Authoring Application of the Year - Audacity (74.58%) Video Media Player Application of the Year - VLC (58.79%) Video Authoring Application of the Year - FFmpeg (26.70%) Multimedia Utility of the Year - GStreamer (31.95%) Graphics Application of the Year - GIMP (66.98%) Network Security Application of the Year - Wireshark (32.90%) Host Security Application of the Year - SELinux (38.46%) Network Monitoring Application of the Year - Nagios (61.76%) IDE/Web Development Editor of the Year - Eclipse (24.55%) Text Editor of the Year - vim (35.88%) File Manager of the Year - Nautilus (31.42%) Open Source Game of the Year - Battle for Wesnoth (22.70%) Programming Language of the Year - Python (26.56%) Revision Control System of the Year - git (50.56%) Backup Application of the Year - rsync (47.42%) Open Source CMS/Blogging platform - WordPress (45.18%) Configuration Management Tool of the Year - Puppet (46.67%) Open Source Web Framework of the Year - Django (33.33%)

  • Samsung's Cool Cameras For Linux Users
    When you plug the camera or insert the memory stick into the PC running GNU/Linux operating systems like Ubuntu, it gives you the option to open it with Shotwell, a built-in image viewer. You can also edit your images using powerful software like GIMP.

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Virtualization
      LTSP is available in Debian GNU/Linux and several other distros.

      X has limitations in video throughput and security but it is the lowest cost solution where these issues are minor as in many libraries and computer labs.

    • Confessions of a Linux user

  • Server

    • U.S. commissions beefy IBM supercomputer
      The 10-petaflop performance far outstrips what is commonly thought of as today's most powerful supercomputer, the recently built Tianjin National Supercomputer Center's Tianhe-1A system, which benchmarked a performance of 2.67 petaflops for the last Top500 twice-annual ranking of the world's most powerful supercomputers.

  • Ballnux

    • Dual-screen Android phone offers multiple viewing modes
      Sprint and Kyocera Communications are readying the first dual-touchscreen Android smartphone. Equipped with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor running Android 2.2, the Kyocera Echo offers dual 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreens that can be combined to form a single 4.7-inch display, or can be split -- with apps running either independently or in an "optimized" mode with complementary functions.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Debian Linux 6 and the Trinity Desktop
        One very good thing about the TrinityDE Kmail, trash compaction WORKS! For all the YEARS I have been using Kmail, I had to delete the /bob/Mail/trash file by hand, "touch trash" to recreate it, just because every time I would try "compact trash folder" Kmail would give the awful message, "for security reasons, compaction has been turned off for trash."

        Several months of spam, attachments, family photographs and Debian-User mailing list digests can create multi-hundred-megabyte trash files. The fact that compacting the trash file has been enabled is the first new thing in TrinityDE that I am exceedingly happy about.

        Let's hope that the continued development of TrinityDE, as shown by that seemingly small change, is on an evolutionary basis, rather than the revolutionary fervor that caused the need for TrinityDE to be founded in the first place.

      • Software Review: The KDE 4.6 Desktop Environment
        New for 4.6 is a window decoration called Oxygen-GTK, which is designed to make apps created using the GTK toolkit look better in the Qt-based KDE environment. Not something I’m likely to use, but a nice touch that a lot of folks have been waiting for.

      • What is Kamoso
        A lot of people has been asking me (or complaining) what is Kamoso and what we intend to do with it, so I’ve decided to use a blog post to explain it.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 2.91.6 released!

      • Gnome 3: tab scrolling, and some other remarks
        In general, things are shaping up nicely. I was pleasantly surprised that I had no 3D driver issues any more on either of my two laptops (using the free intel and radeon drivers). Some things are not ready for prime time, such as dconf-editor that doesn’t provide a search option and doesn’t wrap long description labels, thereby forcing the window width to ridiculous proportions (bug 641292).

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Sabayon Linux 5.5 SpinBase and CoreCDX Released

      • Sabayon Linux 5.5 CoreCDX and SpinBase Editions Released
        After the release of Sabayon Linux 5.5, the development team proudly announced today, February 8th, the immediate availability for download of the CoreCDX and SpinBase editions of their popular Sabayon Linux operating system.

        Sabayon Linux 5.5 SpinBase and CoreCDX editions are designed for Linux experts and advanced users that want to set up a home server or create their very own operating system, based on Sabayon.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Opens Call for Nominations for Fifth Annual Innovation Awards
        Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions, announced that nominations are open for its fifth annual Red Hat Innovation awards, which will be presented at the Red Hat Summit and JBoss World, taking place May 3-6, in Boston.

      • Nominations Open For Red Hat Certified Professional Of The Year Awards

      • Stocks Rumor Of The Day: LORL, RHT, JNPR and HTZ
        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) shares have came off day’s low on Tuesday on rumors that the company could be an acquisition target. RHT calls are seeing interest following renewed M&A speculation. So far today 7.6K total calls have traded vs 220 total puts.

      • Options Brief: Red Hat, Inc. (RHT)
        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) are higher on the session by 1.16%, trading at $44.62.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Performance Leadership

        Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization made solid progress during 2010. We delivered Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2 and the first release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops. We announced that several enterprise clouds, such as IBM’s, would be built on our virtualization platform. And we announced a string of customer wins. Along with these advances came widespread acknowledgment from the press and analyst communities that Red Hat’s virtualization portfolio was becoming established as a potent force in the market. Now, keeping up the momentum, we’re kicking off 2011 with a pair of leading virtualization performance results.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" released
        The installation process for Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 has been improved in various ways, including easier selection of language and keyboard settings, and partitioning of logical volumes, RAID and encrypted systems. Support has also been added for the ext4 and Btrfs filesystems and — on the kFreeBSD architecture — the Zettabyte filesystem (ZFS). The installation system for Debian GNU/Linux is now available in 70 languages.

      • Upgrade Debian Lenny To Squeeze In A Few Simple Steps
        One rather old laptop and one server were the test objects for this howto. Both systems do not have any RAID devices and use a simple partition scheme from a default basic Lenny install. If your setup deviates much from this, it's highly recommended to read all details of the Debian Release Notes before you continue. Be warned. All commands are run as root and Debian recommends to use apt-get for the Squeeze upgrade process.

      • Debian Is No Longer Just A Linux Distribution
        Did you know that Debian supports diverse hardware ranging from Intel 32-bit and 64-bit architecture, Motorola/IBM PowerPC, Sun/Oracle Sparc, MIPS (big-endian & little-endian), Intel Itanium, IBM S/390, and ARM EABI ? That is a total of 9 architectures.

      • Debian "Squeeze" makes key progress toward being a fully free distribution
        With last Saturday's "Squeeze" release, Debian took an important step towards being a fully free distribution and ensuring freedom for its users.

        Most GNU/Linux distributions directly or virtually include proprietary software. To promote development and use of totally free distros, the FSF publishes precise criteria for GNU/Linux distributions to fully respect users' freedom.

      • Debian Cleanup Tip #2: Get rid of obsolete packages
        Last week, we learned to remove useless configuration files. This week, we’re going to take care of obsolete packages.

      • 5 Key Things to Know About Debian 6.0 'Squeeze'
        Squeeze is the nickname of the latest Debian release (version 6.0). A new release of the well known and widely used Linux distro is a big deal. Ubuntu fans may be used to installing a new version what seems like every few minutes, but Debian moves to an altogether slower beat. Everything in a new release is thoroughly tried and tested, which explains why the last version -- Debian 5.0 "Lenny" -- debuted almost exactly two years ago.

      • CrunchBang 10 “Statler” r20110207
        Unless you have been living under a rock, you will almost certainly be aware that Debian 6 “Squeeze” was released over the weekend of the 5th & 6th of February ’11. This is great news for Debian and great news for CrunchBang.

        CrunchBang 10 “Statler” has been in development since early last year. The first alpha release came out in March ’10 and several development builds have followed whilst Debian Squeeze remained in testing. Now that Squeeze has migrated from testing to stable, CrunchBang Statler will also adopt the stable moniker.

      • Distribution Release: CrunchBang Linux 10 R20110207

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • You're Invited: This Week's Ubuntu Bug Day - LibreOffice and OpenOffice
          Robert Roth announces this week's Ubuntu Bug Day on the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list. If you are interested in helping "squash" some LibreOffice and OpenOffice bugs in Ubuntu then you are invited to help the Ubuntu BugSquad.

        • Next Ubuntu Developer Summit to be held in Budapest, Hungary
          Once every 6 months the Ubuntu developers meet at a summit to discuss and plan the upcoming release of Ubuntu. The Ubuntu Developer Summit hence attracts a large number of developers, enthusiasts and users every time it is conducted.

        • 5 New Features in Ubuntu 11.04
          On April 2011 , Canonical is going to release the latest avatar of Ubuntu , 11.04,codenamed ‘Natty Narwhal’ .Last release of ubuntu was ubuntu 10.10,codenamed ‘Maverick Meerkat’.There are lots of visible improvement in ubuntu 11.04 Alpha I.Lets see the new changes which are going to happen in ubuntu 11.04.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Amicable Antidisestablishmentarianism
            Ubuntu Studio Fun Fact #0: Ubuntu Studio shares the same repository as vanilla Ubuntu. Crazy, huh?

            Ubuntu Studio Fun Fact #1: The Ubuntu Studio developers don't general code much. This means you don't have to have mad coding skills to help with Ubuntu Studio development; generally I suggest that tenacity, inquisitiveness, and initiative will serve you well.

          • Lubuntu Screencast: Metapackages in detail
            In this screencast I show metapackages in more detail and explain the differences between them and normal packages.

          • Lubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 Released, Removes Cheese And Xarchive
            Lubuntu 11.04 alpha 2 was released today with a bit of a delay due to some issues with the hardware on the computer that generates the ISO.

            There aren't major changes since alpha 1 except for two default packages which have been removed: Cheese is no longer in the default Lubuntu 11.04 install and Xarchive has been replaced with file-roller.

          • Pinguy OS 10.10.1 quick review – even more mainstream than Mint?
            Pros: Pinguy’s maker has scoured the open source world to find amazing apps and tweaks. It’s one of the sexiest and most functional desktops we’ve seen Cons: The desktop and application drop-downs are ultra busy, which risks confounding the less tech-savvy user. The ISO is well over 1GB

          • Review: Peppermint Ice Linux
            These days, if a desktop-focussed Linux distribution wants to stand out from the pack of Ubuntu-wannabes it either needs to be especially slick or offer something a little bit different to the norm. Peppermint Ice falls into the latter category: It's a Debian-derived (via Ubuntu), lightweight Linux distro that's designed for netbooks and has a strong focus on Web applications.

            Peppermint Ice's main claim to fame is its use of a 'site-specific browser' (SSB), dubbed Ice, which is based on Google's Chromium browser. Peppermint One, a fraternal distro from the same developers, uses Mozilla's Prism (a project that, according Mozilla Labs' projects page, is now not being actively developed). An SSB is a stripped-down browser that lets Web-based applications and services be treated in a somewhat similar fashion to a standard application: instead of navigating to a site using your browser, you can simply click on an icon on your desktop/applications menu/taskbar and an independent browser session is launched for that application (with none of the usual toolbars and menus you find in a normal browser session).


            Kernel: 2.6.35-22-generic Window manager: Openbox Desktop: LXDE Based on: Ubuntu System requirements: i386 or derivative processor; 192MB RAM, 4GB hard drive space Package management: APT

          • Linux Mint 10 And My Experiment With Oracle VM VirtualBox
            My overall experience with Linux Mint 10 continues to be positive.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Smartphones 'out sell' PCs for first time
        Linux has taken off like crazy on smartphones in the form of Android.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Dalvik ported to MeeGo, promising instant Android app compatibility
          Myriad Group AG today announced a Dalvik virtual machine claimed to let Android apps run on non-Android platforms. Myriad posted a video showing "Myriad Alien Dalvik" running Android apps on a Nokia N900, and said the software will be available for MeeGo later this year.

        • Intels MWC ‘Media Alert’ Gives us Clues on MeeGo Activities.
          I’ve already posted about what I think will and won’t be part of Intels activity at Mobile World Congress next week and a recent ‘media alert’ sent to me by email confirms my thoughts that this is largely a software event for Intel. It’s all about completing the MeeGo stack from hardware to app store and that means:

          * Moorestown platform – Demonstrating MeeGo and battery life advances. * MeeGo 1.2 – Demonstrating multi-touch and other core components. * UI layers written in Qt – Compelling demonstrations (probably created by Wind River) * AppUp store (probably Beta) launch.

        • NewsFlow Moves to Dark Side with 1.1 Beta Release
          Taking a small break from coding TwimGo and adding some features to NewsFlow application. NewsFlow is a Google Reader client written in QML and JavaScript. It runs on Nokia N900 and Symbian^3 devices such as N8 or E7.

        • kojacker

        • Myriad Announce Alien Dalvik enabling Android Apps to Run on MeeGo / Maemo
          Myriad this morning announced ‘Alien Dalvik’ bringing Android applications to non-Android devices, allowing OEMs, operators and application stores to leverage the Android eco-system across a much wider range of mobile devices. Android applications run completely unmodified and with no loss of performance on non- Android platforms. This launch opens up the Android experience to new audiences as it enables them to deploy Android applications across multiple device operating systems, all without compromising performance which is made possible by a very tight integration of the Android runtime and the use of Myriad Dalvik Turbo technology. Myriad is a member of the Open Handset Alliance.

        • A TouchArea for QML
          For the last few weeks we have been working on a comfortable way to expose raw touch data to QML. The solution we came up with is called TouchArea and is a QML plugin that should be usable from Qt 4.7. The TouchArea is useful whenever you want to track touch points directly in QML, either by using property bindings or trough javascript event functions. This might for example be useful for touch input based games and for recognizing very basic custom gestures directly in javascript.

        • Linpus to Showcase MeeGo-Based Tablet Solution at MWC. Our Sneak Peek Video Now!
          Linpus, a company that has been working on Linux distributions for netbooks for a number of years under their ‘Linpus Lite’ brand have been invited to MWC to demonstrate their current offering in the MeeGo and Qt booths. The solution is targeted at manufacturers of netbooks and tablets based on MeeGo. Like MeeGo, the Linpus solution will be a ‘base’ on which to build on through contractual work by Linpus. We’ve seen a tablet UI before but this is more than that.

      • Android

        • Dalvik Spreads Android Apps
          The Dalvik virtual machine is being ported to other platforms other than Android/Linux. This makes it trivial for Android apps to run on GNU/Linux and to spread to x86 systems. I love it.

        • Dell Streak 7 needs Android 3, better battery, says review
          Dell's seven-inch Dell Streak 7 tablet boasts a fairly affordable price, plus a powerful dual-core Tegra 2 processor that delivers zippy performance. However, it needs Android 3.0, better battery life, and an improved screen and camera to keep up with the fast-running competition, says this eWEEK review.

        • The Case for Android on Linux
          Like most office workers, my day is generally split up into two phases. The second phase, where I spend 90% of my time, is spent switching between the 3 or 4 primary applications I need to use to get my work done.

          For this kind of activity Linux (and indeed any GUI based OS created in the last decade) works well, because the focus of desktop operating systems is on allowing you simultaneously to run a small number of monolithic applications that perform a specific job.

        • INSIDE Secure Brings True NFC Hardware Independence to Google Android “Gingerbread”

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Netbooks all set to begin a new innings with Chrome OS
        The original netbook concept was that of sub 100 laptop running Linux providing quick access to web apps. The Linux based 7-inch Asus Eee PC was the first mainstream of that type, which shot to fame in 2007. Subsequently Intel and Microsoft intervened with tailored processors and trimmed-down Windows, which blurred the distinction between a notebook and a netbook. Although manufacturers have added more features, the netbook has gradually lost its meaning, size, function and price point, and is now losing its popularity as well.

    • Tablets

      • Preview of Linpus Linux OS for touchscreen tablets
        Linpus has been developing light-weight Linux-based operating systems for netbooks and tablets for the last few years. Now the company is getting ready to show off its latest tablet solution at Mobile World Congress, and Chippy from CarryPad has posted a preview video.

        The OS is based on MeeGo Linux, but this version has been optimized for touchscreen tablets, with a nice big on-screen keyboard, rather speedy screen rotation, and an Android-like home screen with support for animated desktop backgrounds, widgets, and easy access to an app launcher.

        The software is designed to play well with low power Intel Atom chips, and in the demo video you can see the OS boot in just 14 seconds on a tablet with an Atom processor.

      • Linpus Lite tablet-optimized Linux OS gets hands-on treatment (video)
        While tablet hardware is capable of running a full desktop OS, the experience often leaves something to be desired. Most desktop OSes are still designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse, and you're not likely to attach either to a tablet while you're riding a bus to work.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Ada Initiative launches

  • Ada Initiative Supports Women in Open Source, Counters Sexism
    Both Aurora and Gardiner have been active in FOSS women's groups for over a decade. However, the catalyst for the Ada Initiative was the hostile responses to Noirin Shirley's account of being sexually assaulted at ApacheCon in November 2010. The incident led to Aurora, Gardiner, and other members of the Geek Feminism blog to draft sample anti-harassment policies for conferences, and eventually to Aurora quitting her work as a full-time kernel developer at Red Hat to focus on the issues involved.

  • The Ada Initiative launch announcement
    The Ada Initiative is a new non-profit organization dedicated to increasing participation of women in open technology and culture, which includes open source software, Wikipedia and other open data, and open social media. Co-founders Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora have 10 years experience in open source software, open social media, and women in computing activism with groups like Geek Feminism, Systers, and LinuxChix.

  • Is Open Source Good For Security?
    I still regularly hear people asking about open source and security. The usual question goes along the lines of "surely if the source is out in the open bad guys can do bad things". The implication is that keeping the source code secret aids security and having it public degrades security.

    Now, I'd not suggest that open source possesses some form of magic that always delivers more security - Alec Muffett recently debunked that idea here on CWUK. But I've two stories I watched unfold that support the assertion it can help make security better, in the context of a properly-functioning community.


    The world of open source is full of cases where openness of information and process allow properly-functioning open-by-rule communities to address security issues fast. This is the real meaning of the idea that open source is good for security; no magic, just symbiosis.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Tries to Help News Media Figure Out the Web
        Newspapers and other traditional media outlets get a lot of flak for not being more forward-thinking when it comes to what they do on the web or on mobile devices. And it’s true that many are stuck in the past — happy to continue plastering their websites with content shoveled from their print or offline operations. But even those who would like to be more creative often don’t have the resources to do so, since they usually have few (if any) staff with the programming and technology chops. Now the Knight Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation have joined forces to try and give media outlets some help in that area, by creating a fellowship program that will “embed” data and web-oriented journalists and developers in newsrooms as a way of sparking some creativity.

      • Introducing Wiki Wednesdays
        The Mozilla Developer Network web site has a ton of documentation. A lot of it is really good. However, we have a significant number of articles that could use some help from the experts. To that end, we’re introducing Wiki Wednesday. Each Wednesday, we’ll post a very short list of articles that need technical help. The list will be posted here on the Hacks blog, as well as to the relevant Mozilla developer mailing lists.

      • Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta, now including “Do Not Track” capabilities
        The latest Firefox 4 Beta is now available to download and test. We’ve continued our work to improve performance and stability, while also implementing a “Do Not Track” privacy feature to provide more control over online behavioral tracking.

  • SaaS

    • The Internet kill switch idea is already hurting cloud computing
      Pending federal legislation called the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, aka Senate bill 3480, would grant the president of the United States the power to cut Internet access in a declared emergency, including blocking the Web for as many as 30 days, through a new agency to be called the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications. This concept was introduced last year, and it returned to the forefront this week when the S.3480 bill passed in its committee on the same day Egypt's Internet connection was shut down to curtail widespread government protests.

    • VMware preps link between public, private clouds
      Providing a vital link between internal and external clouds, VMware plans to release in March an adapter for moving virtual machines between a hosted service offering and an organization's own internal systems, the company announced Tuesday.

    • The Diaspora that wasn’t, and the way into the walled gardens.
      Just about every person involved with Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (referred from here-on as FLOSS) recognizes the problems with Facebook: it’s a walled garden, sharing of personal information is opt-out (assuming you can find it), questionable practices regarding tracking for advertisements, questions of ownership of data, and so on. Even more folks recognize that Facebook is the 800lb gorilla in the room (What does an 800lb gorilla do? Anything it wants). What is less apparent is what the appropriate FLOSS response to Facebook should be.

      Diaspora is one of those responses. They’re not necessarily the only response (there are others) but I think it’s indicative of the wrong sort of response to this problem. The biggest problem with Diaspora today is it solves the wrong problem. Diaspora is essentially a clone of Facebook with all of the privacy controls brought to the forefront. While this is indeed one of the problems with Facebook, the solution in Diaspora is misguided in thinking this is the only problem with Facebook. If Facebook were to adopt Diaspora’s privacy controls, there would still be problems with Facebook. Diaspora’s approach is fundamentally flawed. Unfortunately, they have enough mindshare from their campaign to get started that folks may think this is the best that the FLOSS community can do. They may settle for what Diaspora offers. That is absolutely not what FLOSS should do.

      One thing that FLOSS gets right is open protocols., for all of it’s warts as a community, gets that the problem with Twitter isn’t that we need to have access to the code (although that is one problem). The problem with Twitter is that it too is a walled garden. In order to communicate with anyone on Twitter, I must have an account on Twitter. (and the underlying software, gets this right by allowing federation using OStatus. Federation via OStatus allows me to set up a instance wherever I choose, and allows me to follow folks on other instances. It’s a brilliant approach, and I hope it gains more momentum. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have enough momentum right now to make Twitter adopt it. And why should Twitter expend their energies to adopt OStatus? After all, they’re the ones with the larger community.

  • Databases

    • CouchOne and Membase merge as Couchbase
      NoSQL specialists CouchOne and Membase Inc have announced that they are merging to create a company that offes a more comprehensive range of NoSQL technology, named Couchbase. CouchOne's expertise lies in CouchDB, the database created by CouchOne's founder, Damien Katz. CouchDB is a widely deployed open source distributed/synchronising document database used by the BBC, CERN and Apple. Membase's speciality is the distributed key-value memory cached database of the same name which offers high throughput for many web applications; it is used by companies such as AOL and Zynga.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Google open sources Contracts for Java
      Google has announced the open sourcing, under the LGPL, of Contracts for Java (cofoja), which implements a technique popularised by the Eiffel programming language. Design, or Programming, by Contract is a technique where the interfaces of software modules include contracts consisting of preconditions, postconditions and invariant expressions.

    • More ratings, please
      Given the interest in my earlier article about a scorecard for open source and my own rough-and-ready benchmark proposal, I’d be interested in seeing how well the benchmark works at rating a variety of open source projects. If you’re familiar enough with a project to be willing to have your name associated with rating it, please complete the table below in the same style as my own evaluation of OpenJDK.

    • Oracle and IBM to share open-source Java leadership
      Oracle has agreed to share governance of the OpenJDK Java community with IBM, in a move that demonstrates considerable good will, according to one analyst.

      The company has created a series of bylaws outlining the way the governance will be structured, with Oracle appointing itself chairman and the OpenJDK lead, and IBM taking the role of vice chairman.

  • CMS

    • Tesla Motors using Drupal
      Tesla went public last year; it is the first American automaker to go public since Ford Motor's IPO more than 50 years ago.

  • Business

    • Competitive Benefits Drive Businesses to Open Source
      Vendors of proprietary software are fond of warning potential customers that open source software isn't ready for business, typically citing subpar features or a higher total cost of ownership (TCO).

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Openwashing – Press Pass
        Having worked with many companies over the years on going open source (see our report “Going Open Source”), many of them are just not cognizant ahead of time of the missteps that can be made. There’s so much arm-chair lawyering in open source (trade mark, assigning IP, patents, etc.) that it’s easy to overlook or simply not realize how much legal-thinking going open source requires. And if you do something wrong there, then once someone wants to accuse you of not being “real open source,” they can go after that fine print. Of course, as Oracle’s recent trade mark based flap over Hudson shows, those fears can be real: just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you, as they say.


    • Interview with Richard Stallman (2011)
      Stallman: To qualify as a free distribution, Debian would have to remove the references to its nonfree and contrib sections from its free packages and from its servers. (Many contrib packages serve solely to help install nonfree programs distributed separately from Debian.)

  • Project Releases

    • VMware releases Zimbra 7
      VMware has released the Zimbra Collaboration Server 7.0, the email and groupware solution spun out of the Zimbra Collaboration Suite after VMware took over Zimbra from Yahoo a year ago. This is the first product in the Zimbra 7 family; customers can now also download beta versions of Zimbra Desktop 7 and Zimbra Appliance 7.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • New Hampshire Opens its State's Legislative Data
        In the past few days, New Hampshire's General Court, as the state legislature is officially known, started releasing data on legislation and legislators in nerd-friendly, "pipe-separated" files, uploaded daily. In non-geek speak, this means the data is presented in a way that any competent web developer can easily process for use in an application or a researcher can feed into a database system to explore.


  • Juror will appeal order to turn over Facebook posts
    A California attorney representing a juror required to divulge the contents of his Facebook account says he will file an appeal of the court order tomorrow.

    Ken Rosenfeld, a Sacramento criminal defense attorney, told CNET that forcing jurors to turn over private correspondence in the form of Facebook posts "would be catastrophic in terms of free speech, justice, and the jury system itself."

  • HP accuses Cisco of diverting data center standard
    Networking rivals HP and Cisco have abandoned their common ground in data center switching, with HP accusing Cisco of diverting an IEEE standard and Cisco insisting that customers drove the change.

    At issue are two as-yet unratified standards in the IEEE for data center switching that were being defined in concert but are now diverging. IEEE 802.1Qbg and 802.1Qbh were intended to work closely together to enable physical switches to offload much of the network-intensive processing from virtual switches on blade servers and NICs. A year ago, Cisco and HP were driving the effort in a rare show of unity.

  • Rediscovering WWII's female 'computers'
    In all the interviews and conversations, it hadn't come up. To the sisters, it was just a job they'd held a long time ago, when they were teens with a talent for numbers.

    To filmmaker LeAnn Erickson, it was history rediscovered.

    It was 2003 and Erickson was interviewing sisters Shirley Blumberg Melvin and Doris Blumberg Polsky for her documentary, "Neighbor Ladies," about a woman-owned real estate agency that helped to peacefully integrate a Philadelphia neighborhood. The twins, long-retired by then, reluctantly mentioned a different sort of job they'd held during World War II: Female "computers."

  • HuffPo Blogger Revolt!
    It's not exactly upheaval, but there are rumblings at The Huffington Post. Now that HuffPo bloggers know how much the liberal's Drudge Report is worth—$315 M.—and how much cash their boss Arianna Huffington made off its sale to AOL—~$100 M.

  • ReactOS – Open-Source Windows Clone Software To Seriously Look Forward To
    ReactOS is an effort to provide a Windows NT-like architecture that is compatible with existing drivers and applications. An easy way to look at it would be to say that it is a clone of the Windows OS (which is closed-source so it’s not possible to really clone it), when in reality, it’s an alternative to the Windows OS, with the difference that it’s a collaborative open-source project and it’s in its infancy. While the team behind ReactOS has been heavily developing this young operating system for over a decade, it is still in the alpha stage. However, there is a number of reasons that make ReactOS worth a look.

  • 5 Things I Love Most About MS Windows
    numero cinco – I love MS Windows because it has more users than Charlie Sheen has drunken girlfriends; which serves to paint a LARGE target on it rather than on my actual operating system (Linux). Hackers and spammers are wise. They use Linux on their own systems and target the operating system that gives them the biggest bang for the byte. Thanks to Microsoft for being my shield.

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Egypt Protests - Cellphone Radiation - Ken Nordine
      Cellphone Radiation - In our Middle Hour; a documentary called A Precautionary Tale.

      We've all seen them, those ubiquitous cell phone towers atop, office buildings schools, apartments.

      We know they emit a certain kind of radiation but are they dangerous?

      In an apartment in the west end of Toronto, tenants living with the towers began complaining about health problems.

      Were the towers to blame?

      Producer John Chipman in a special one-hour report looks at both sides of a heated and controversial subject.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt: End-Game

      Apparently possible foreign medical treatment may be involved in the end-game in Egypt, “What to do with Mubarak?”. The protestors want him out ASAP and medical treatment may be a good cover for exile. It is much less likely that a dictator can tweak the strings of power remotely. The end-game may morph into “What to do with the vice-president?”

      Apparently, much of the leadership of the current regime are filthy-rich and have domiciles around the world. They may all leave one night and Egypt could wake up to an Animal Farm situation. In spite of the protestors’ apparent lack of a leader/point-man, the regime could implode if the current leadership leaves. Most opinions are that the military can ensure stability while Egypt reorganizes itself.

    • Egypt: 2011-2-8
      # # 20 lawyers have drawn up charges claiming corruption/conversion of money by Mubarak’s buddies ($billions), # Mubarak has ordered a committee formed to revise the constitution he wrote, # the Google guy who started a page on Facebook that may have been the catalyst for a lot of the protests was freed, # the government has promised not to prosecute the millions of protestors, and # the numbers and kinds of protestors keeps growing.

    • US Patriot Act is unconstitutional
      The US Congress is moving to renew the USA PATRIOT Act, a controversial anti-terrorism law. The major provisions of the bill will expire soon, forcing the Congress to entertain the measure once again.

      The US Senate is in a hurry extend the extension of the Act, so much so many want to dismiss any discuss and debate on the topic. Similarly, the US House is set to vote at any time to extend the law’s provisions until December 8, 2011.

    • Brutal Beating Reveals Ongoing Reign of Terror in L.A. County Jails
      The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department today launched an internal investigation after Esther Lim, a jail monitor for the ACLU of Southern California, submitted a sworn statement in federal court yesterday recounting the details of a brutal beating she witnessed of an inmate in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy. Twin Towers is one of the several facilities that make up the Los Angeles County jail system.

    • Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) Highlights
      During last Tuesday's ‘Million Man March’ and Friday's 'Day of Departure' rallies, the swirling clamour of car horns, famously characteristic of Liberation Square’s soundscape, fell silent, as human cries for freedom, change and justice floated through the air.

    • Will Cuba Be The Next Egypt?
      Developments in Egypt over the last two weeks brought Cuba to my mind. Why does a similar rebellion against five decades of repression there still appear to be a far-off dream? Part of the answer is in the relationship between the Castro brothers—Fidel and Raúl—and the generals. The rest is explained by the regime's significantly more repressive model. In the art of dictatorship, Hosni Mubarak is a piker.

    • Cubans Are Neither Arabs Nor Muslims
      This isn’t to reject or alienate those who, from abroad, across the internet and social networks are calling for a people’s uprising or a general strike in Cuba. It’s a question of reality.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices
      The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

      The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom's crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.

    • Dinner with Julian
      On Wednesday the 9th of February 2011 from 6.30pm GMT people from all around the world will commence dining with their friends in a unified effort to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of speech.

  • Finance

    • IMF raises spectre of civil wars as global inequalities worsen
      The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that "dangerous" imbalances have emerged that threaten to derail global recovery and stoke tensions that may ultimately set off civil wars in deeply unequal countries.

    • Donors pledge $120 million aid for Belarus opposition
      Poland -- which has been accused by Lukashenko of trying to topple him -- announced it was doubling its aid to groups including the independent media, earmarking some 10 million euros.

      The funds cover the operating costs of the Warsaw-based Belast TV, the only Belarussian-language station broadcasting in Belarus which is not controlled by the authorities there.

      US officials said Washington was increasing aid by a third to 15 million dollars, Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt announced seven million euros for independent Belarussian media, and Germany pledged 6.6 million euros.

      The Warsaw meeting came just days after the EU and United States slapped a new raft of sanctions -- including a travel ban and asset freeze -- on Lukashenko and 157 associates.

      Belarus has been defiant, with its foreign ministry on Tuesday calling the moves against its leaders "unjustified" and threatening to take reciprocal steps.

    • Corruption and Inequality Begin at Home
      The U.S. media seems to have found a new language for the economy. There’s been talk of “solidarity” and even “class war,” and a focus on corruption and inequality like we haven’t seen in who knows how long.

      The only problem? They’re talking about Egypt.

      “It’s quite clear that entire domains in the economy were dominated by a few people,” a British professor of Middle Eastern Studies told the New York Times Monday. The reporter notes “Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt has long functioned as a state where wealth bought political power and political power bought great wealth.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Journalist's spoof exposes Romanian MPs' greed
      More than a hundred Romanian parliamentarians responded to an SMS invitation from a fake businessman from the United Arab Emirates who proposed them "a deal". Only later did they realise they had been fooled by a journalist.

      Daily newspaper 'Romania Libera', which set up the spoof, has published a full list of the greedy parliamentarians.

  • Privacy

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Don’t fear the foreign reaper
      When Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts, a U.S. private equity firm, thought about buying Bell Canada a few years ago, someone – I can’t remember who – criticized the deal by saying he didn’t want decisions about Canadian telecom made in Manhattan board rooms. That’s about as dumb an argument as I’ve ever heard because when it comes to telecom companies, we’re talking about the pipes – whether they’re wires or wireless – that stuff travels through. It’s like complaining about how the decisions regarding the computers we use or the televisions we watch are being made in California and Tokyo board rooms. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who owns the pipes the stuff goes through. All that’s important is that we get the stuff, preferably faster and cheaper.

    • CRTC to review billing practices for wholesale Internet services
      The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today launched, of its own initiative, a proceeding to review its decisions on billing practices that would have applied to the residential customers of Small Internet service providers (Small ISPs).

    • No Cap on UBB Reading: Lots of Coverage of Caps and Competition
      The current controversy over usage based billing, the CRTC, and Internet data caps has generated a wide range of commentary and articles over the past few days.

    • Internet usage debate, Part 2: $8B to keep pace
      The controversy around usage-based billing (UBB) continues to swirl, and at the centre are third-party wholesale Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who are driving the debate — and very often the myths as well.

    • Bell's Sunny Broadband Claims
      The NetIndex report ranks Canada 36th in the world for residential speed. Moreover, the shift away from the OECD to the G20 has the effect of excluding many developed countries with faster and cheaper broadband than Canada (while bringing in large, developing world economies that unsurprisingly rank below Canada on these issues). While there is probably a report somewhere that validates the claim, the consensus is that Canada is not a leader.

    • Bell admits errors tracking clients’ Internet usage
      Bell Canada has admitted to problems tracking Internet use for some customers.

      This is embarrassing, given the company’s insistence on usage-based billing for its own clients and for other clients of other Internet service providers that rent its network.

  • DRM

    • Sony Lawyers Expand Dragnet, Targeting Anybody Posting PlayStation 3 Hack
      Sony is threatening to sue anybody posting or “distributing” the first full-fledged jailbreak code for the 4-year-old PlayStation 3 gaming console.

      What’s more, the company is demanding that a federal judge order Google to surrender the IP addresses and other identifying information (.pdf) of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video on a private YouTube page. The game maker is also demanding that Twitter provide the identities of a host of hackers who first unveiled a limited version of the hack in December.

    • Sony lawyers now targeting anyone who posts PlayStation 3 hack
      Sony is threatening to sue anybody posting or “distributing” the first full-fledged jailbreak code for the 4-year-old PlayStation 3 gaming console.

      What’s more, the company is demanding that a federal judge order Google to surrender the IP addresses and other identifying information (PDF) of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video on a private YouTube page. The game maker is also demanding that Twitter provide the identities of a host of hackers who first unveiled a limited version of the hack in December.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • EU trade deal could cost Canadian drug plans billions
      Generics cost roughly 25 to 50 per cent of the equivalent brand-name drug.

    • If You Don't Offer Legit Versions, Is It That Big A Surprise That People Want Unauthorized Copies?
      Sage Freehaven points us to an amusing, but telling, customer service chat between a guy in the UK who wanted to buy the latest version of RosettaStone's Vietnamese language program, and a RosettaStone customer service rep. The guy's main concern is that it appears an older version is available in the UK, but he wants the newer version, which the company refuses to ship to the UK, even though it's been out elsewhere for a long time. He then asks if the company will give a free upgrade when it finally launches the newer version in the UK, and the customer service rep has no idea.

    • Copyrights

      • White House will propose new digital copyright laws
        The Obama administration has drafted new proposals to curb Internet piracy and other forms of intellectual property infringement that it says it will send to the U.S. Congress "in the very near future."

        It's also applauding a controversial copyright treaty known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, saying it will "aid right-holders and the U.S. government to combat infringement" once it enters into effect.

      • The Future of UK Copyright
        As you may have noticed, the topic of “IP” - “intellectual property” - seems increasingly to the fore these days. Actually, that's not really a new trend: as this helpful ngram shows, there has been a really rapid uptake of the term since the 1980s. But promoting the supposed virtues and use of “IP” ever-more widely has turned into something of a bandwagon for politicians who want to be seen to be doing something, and for those who want to assert their intellectual monopolies more strongly.

        On the patent front, there is a simplistic assumption that more of them being filed and granted means more innovation, so by increasing the number of patents, innovation, too, will magically be boosted and everyone will be better-off (the EU is the latest to espouse this Innovation for Idiots approach.)

        But it's not just patents where maximalists are pushing the “more is better” line. The term of copyright, too, has been extended again and again over the last few decades, even though there is no evidence that this massive withholding of content from the immediate public domain does anything to inspire greater production of new material (which is what copyright is supposed to encourage.)

      • Music Royalty Society Collects Money For Fake Artists, Bathroom Equipment and Food
        Music royalty outfits are experts at not only gathering funds from anyone who dares to play music in public, but also at generating adverse publicity. Known for pressurizing anyone from charities to the police, their activities are often viewed with disbelief. Now a Belgian TV show has had a closer look at one of them, and ended up paying royalties for a whole host of artists that don’t exist, bathroom equipment and chinese food.

        If you play music in public, sometimes even if you play it in relative privacy, music royalty societies want you to pay them money. It’s big business. The UK’s Performing Right Society (PRS) collects around €£650 million every year and isn’t scared to flex its muscles when people aren’t paying. Got a business where staff listen to radio and a passing member of the public hears it? You owe them money. PRS have even taken the police to court for playing music in police stations.

      • Slammed By Judge, ACS:Law Not Allowed To Drop File-Sharing Cases
        Today, despite the apparent closure of both anti-piracy law firm ACS:Law and its copyright troll partner MediaCAT, the Patents Country Court began yet another hearing to announce how more than two dozen previously filed cases should be handled. Judge Birss QC slammed the scheme operated by the pair and denied them the opportunity to drop the cases.

        In a statement read out in the Patents County Court earlier this month, ACS:Law owner Andrew Crossley announced that he had quit the file-sharing claims business. Last week TorrentFreak discovered that he had completely closed down his business, along with his client MediaCAT who had also ceased trading. Nevertheless, the companies still have unfinished business – they can’t run away that easily.

      • Spotify To Launch in the US Soon, For Real This Time
        It feels like we’ve been hearing the same song and dance regarding Spotify's US launch for months now. It's always just over the horizon. An email sent to All Things D is at least tacit confirmation that a launch is imminent. The message was sent to the few Us users of Spotify test accounts to let them know they're going to have to start paying up. The email also said that a US launch was coming "over the coming months". Well, at least they didn't say years.

      • ACTA

        • Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) Highlights
          ACTA is an international agreement hammered out by a handful of countries (led by the US, including Canada) that requires signatories to create civil and criminal law to give force and effect to ACTA. ACTA is intended as a global standard to ‘protect’ against intellectual property and counterfeit products, containing very specific discussion about digital information.

Clip of the Day

James Randi's Challenge to Homeopathy Manufacturers and Retail Pharmacies

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Credit: TinyOgg

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