Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 5/3/2011: OilRush is Coming, hypePad 2 no Match for Good Android Tablets

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux over Windows..? Well, the argument continues
    There are no second thoughts about it. With GNOME and KDE, Linux desktops are top-of-the-line products that are sleek, compact and innately user friendly. Linux desktop in fact go beyond being user friendly they are outright flexible. On Linux you simply change distros you no longer want or need. You keep what you need and simply build along as your requirements grow. Most times your Linux desktop is a reflection of your mind. You are doing intense mind-games then you will have the toughest looking distro running. Need to space out and want some relax time then in come the light-hearted distros tickling your brain cells. Bet you cannot even think of creativity with a Windows on your desktop.

  • Pain and Suffering in Germany, or How Linux Lost to XP
    With all the world aflutter about the latest "i-thingie" to emerge from the Hallowed Halls of Cupertino, it's been a great week for catching up on Linux news from around the world.

    Expecting the usual assortment of triumphant tales regarding our favorite operating system, however, Linux Girl's jaw fairly hit the floor when she came across something entirely different.

    It's the sad, sad story of the German Foreign Office, to be specific, which recently chose to reverse a decade-old migration to Linux. Now, it's switching back to Windows instead.

    "Although open source has demonstrated its worth, particularly on servers, the cost of adapting and extending it, for example in writing printer and scanner drivers, and of training, have proved greater than anticipated," explained The H, where the story was apparently first reported.

    Claiming that user complaints have been a problem as well, the government has nevertheless declined to provide any specific figures.

  • Desktop

    • Getting Started With Linux: Fine-Tuning Your Hardware
      On some systems, Ubuntu and other Linux systems will install as if they they had always been right there on your system. Other times, there’s a piece missing. Here’s how to patch up the last piece (or two) of your system if not everything’s working right off.

    • Ubuntu-ready Cortex-A8 nettop and netbook drop prices
      Genesi announced price reductions and a new Ubuntu 10.10 update for its small-format, fanless line of Efika MX computers, which run on Freescale Semiconductor's 800MHz Cortex-A8 i.MX515 system-on-chips. The five-Watt Efika MX Smarttop nettop costs $129, while the 10.1-inch, 12-Watt Efika MX Smartbook netbook costs $199.

    • 10 things I miss about old school Linux

      I’ve been using Linux since the days of Caldera Open Linux 1 and Red Hat Linux 4.2 (prior to the creation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux). Since those days, I have seen a lot of things come and go. I was glad to wave goodbye to most of the things that have gone by the wayside. However, I actually do miss some of the bits and pieces that have slipped out of the mix. Some of these are software, while some of them are more ideas/ideals. Let’s venture into the time machine and go retro with our memories of Linux.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Longterm kernel

    • Linux

    • AMD Provides Coreboot Support For Fusion
      AMD has been quite friendly towards the Coreboot project (what used to be LinuxBIOS) with releasing support for new chipsets and other engineering assistance. This support has not dried up at all but has only expanded with AMD's recent release of Coreboot code to support the Embedded G-Series Fusion processor.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Open-Source AMD Cayman GPU KMS Support
        Nearly two months ago AMD released Radeon HD 6000 series open-source support -- complete with kernel mode-setting and Mesa/Gallium3D OpenGL driver acceleration support -- but this support had only covered the "Northern Islands" ASICs and not the newest Radeon HD 6900 "Cayman" graphics processors. Cayman's design is much different from the Northern Islands and previous-generation Evergreen GPUs, but the open-source support for these highest-end AMD graphics processors is beginning to emerge.

      • A restart for RandR 1.4
        Having pulled it from X.Org Server 1.10 at the last moment, the developers are taking another look at RandR 1.4, the X resize, rotate and reflect extension. It's now hoped that it will make it into X.Org Server 1.11, due in August. Long time X and Debian developer, Keith Packard, has posted an entry on the mailing list calling for a protocol review.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • E17- Enlighten your Desktop!!
      Enlightenment E17 or DR17 is a desktop environment that can serve as both the window manager and a desktop environment at the same time in your OS. What makes it really cool is that it brings out the best features out of your PC as compared to the commonly used KDE and GNOME (both require slightly high end hardware). Hence you will be able to run the latest, hottest software even in your old PC.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • It's alive!
        I'm very excited to announce that qt-atspi has seen some major progress lately. Frederik Gladhorn has been kicking some major butt and has gotten it into much better shape than it has been previously.

      • digiKam Software Collection 2.0.0 beta3 is out...
        digiKam team is proud to announce the 3rd digiKam Software Collection 2.0.0 beta release!

      • KDE Ships March Updates
        March 4th, 2011. Today, KDE has released a series of updates to the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces, the KDE Applications and the KDE Frameworks. This update is the first in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.6 series. 4.6.1 brings many bugfixes and translation updates on top of 4.6 series and is a recommended update for everyone running 4.6.0 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. KDE's software is already translated into more than 55 languages, with more to come.

      • KDE 4.6.1 Changelog

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • The Sabayon 5.5 experiment was a success!
      Sabayon, for those not familiar with it, is a primarily desktop oriented system originally based on software coming from the Gentoo Linux project. Sabayon, since it is at Version 5.5, has long since created many of its own tools, and though there is still some Gentoo Linux lineage there, the package manager it uses is its own creation, and so is most of the work, but like any good free software system, it certainly uses and benefits from technology elsewhere, and in this case, Gentoo formed the framework for much of the initial work.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat defends changes to kernel source distribution
        Red Hat CTO, Brian Stevens, has defended the company's change to how it distributes the kernel source code in a blog posting. The company had changed its policy on how it distributed the source to its Linux kernel, a key component of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Where it had previously shipped out a standard kernel with all the patches which needed to be applied to make that kernel into Red Hat's version, for RHEL6 it switched to shipping an archive with those patches pre-applied and details of the patches not explicitly listed.

      • Is Red Hat violating the GPL?
        But now things seem to be changing. A few months back, Red Hat settled a patent suit with a patent troll, Acacia, over alleged patent infringement in JBoss, software that Red Hat owns.

      • Red Hat: 'Yes, we undercut Oracle with hidden Linux patches'
        Red Hat has changed the way it distributes Enterprise Linux kernel code in an effort to prevent Oracle and Novell from stealing its customers, making it more difficult for these competitors to understand which patches have been applied where.

      • Commitment to Open
        I joined Red Hat in 2001, naive yet undaunted about the potential to transform the IT industry through open source. Our engineering group at the time was no more than 50 people. How could our relatively small team compete in the land of giants? Simple. Because the license Richard Stallman wrote, and Linus Torvalds selected for Linux, nearly 20 years ago, and Linus’ benevolent leadership of the kernel since, was key in creating a model for open collaboration.

      • Red Hat defends Linux kernel move
        There is no company on Earth that contributes more to the Linux kernel than Red Hat. That said, Red Hat has recently come under some scrutiny for the way it packages the kernel in RHEL 6 - some mis-informed people have gone so far as to question whether or not Red Hat is violating the GPL.

      • Scientific Linux 6.0 released

      • Fedora

        • Welcome to the Fedora Trusted Computing Project!
          The Trusted Computing Project provides a collaboration area for interested parties with trusted computing requirements to discuss their needs with developers as well as hardware and software partners. Areas of interest would include but not be limited to the use of the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), trusted boot, trusted hypervisors, and other areas that insure the integrity of the computing system from the hardware on up.

        • Red Hat Brand guru John Adams analyzes the POSSE brand
          I had a great lunch on Tuesday with John Adams from the Red Hat Brand team – he’s one of the main guys responsible for maintaining Red Hat’s corporate personality and presence, and I was curious about how he’d see POSSE as a brand of its own. Notes follow, posted with John’s permission. As a technical person who has no formal training in marketing or branding, getting to see how John thought about these sorts of topics was an education in itself.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian wins two of seven categories at the Linux New Media Awards 2011
        The Debian representatives were quite busy at this year's Linux New Media Awards, which were presented yesterday during CeBIT in Hanover, Germany. They first took the stage when the award for "Best Open Source Server Distribution" was presented by Peter Ganten, Managing Director of Univention GmbH. In presenting the award he emphasized that Debian has done pioneering work not only in the technical field but also in the definition of free software standards and processes.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • S04E01 – New Frontier
          Laura Cowen, Mark Johnson, Tony Whitmore and Alan Pope return to bring you episode 1 of season 4 of the Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo Team!

        • PowerNap Improvements for Natty
          For all of those who don’t know, “PowerNap is a screen saver for servers except it doesn’t save your screen, it saves the environment and lowers your energy bill.”

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 Is Out [Screenshots And Video]
          The Ubuntu 11.04 live cd installer finally got upgrade support so you'll be able to upgrade from older Ubuntu versions using the CD (very useful for those with bad or no internet connection).

        • UDW: Day 3 over, day 4 to come

        • Ubuntu’s new Overlay scrollbars for Natty
          Ubuntu 11.04 continues with the surprises as Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu design team unveil ‘overlay scrollbar’s.

        • Ubuntu Maryland Leader Quits, Is Canonical Hijacking Ubuntu?
          Ubuntu Maryland Leader Chuck Frain is stepping down as the leader of the group which he founded. In a blog post he has given reasons behind his decision and they raise some serious questions. He said that Ubuntu has changed from a community driven project to a company controlled product. "When I began this group I believed in the Ubuntu project was a community driven distribution that was supported by Canonical and guided in some ways to their commercial needs. After all, they were a company that were going to specialize in support for the Free Linux distribution..."

          "I was happy with Canonical’s position and guidance until the announcement of UbuntuOne. Here was software in two pieces, one open source and one closed source. The client on the desktop is open and free for anyone to use, modify, etc. However the piece that makes it all useful, the server, is closed."

        • Ubuntu Linux - Not yet a Pariah but heading there
          Yes, the most popular Linux distro is working hard to become the pariah of the FOSS community. To give you a typical example, take the case of the GNOME / UNITY switch.

          If I were Shuttleworth, I'd not ship Ubuntu with my in-house DE just yet. I'd rather ship the usual GNOME but put a small script somewhere to inform users that "look, we're planning on shipping our own DE but think it's not ready yet. We'll need all the feedback we can get from you before shipping it as default. Click here if you want to install Unity and help us test."

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Xubuntu Natty Artwork
            As one of Xubuntu's artwork contributors and member of the Shimmerproject I would like to take some time now - towards the end of this cycle - and discuss (at least parts of) the design process during the development phase for Natty (11.04). This is planned as a review and in a way (implicitely) a preview: you can see the direction Xubuntu is heading for since Maverick and Natty and hopefully the project will continue this way.

          • Edubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 Released
            Edubuntu 11.04 (codenamed: Natty Narwhal) is the next version of Edubuntu due for release in April 2011. Development on the system is in full swing and today marks the third tested installable development version. It is still in an early state and has known problems, it is not recommended for anything else than testing and experimental purposes for people who are interested in Edubuntu development.

          • Linux Mint 11 Will Use GNOME 3.0 By Default
            As you probably know, Linux Mint 11 "Katya", the next Linux Mint version that will be based on Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal will not use Unity by default. Well, as it turns out, Linux Mint 11 will move even further from Ubuntu and will ship with GNOME 3.0 by default, even though Ubuntu 11.04 will use Gnome 2.32.x.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Matt Asay Backs Up the Wahmbulance
        [H]e's either playing a game on readers or backing up the wahmbulance (losing himself in self-pity) with his latest at The Register, complaining that open source apps may be dead on mobile.

      • From messiah to pariah: The death of open source on mobile
        Part of this comes from open-source licenses clashing with app store policies. It's perhaps not surprising that Microsoft isn't a big fan of GPL software within its Windows Phone Marketplace, but given its still-small market share, it may also not be a big deal. Of far more concern is the fact that Apple has started pulling GPL software from its virtual shelves.

        This may not be that big of a deal. After all, open-source software developers long ago got used to skirting standard distribution channels, and will likely find workarounds like alternative app stores (Sourceforge App Store, anyone?) or may simply use the web to distribute HTML5 apps.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • World First from Saab: Saab IQon - Open Innovation in Car Infotainment
          Saab Automobile is changing the auto industry infotainment landscape by engaging external partners in ‘open innovation€´ for the development of its new IQon infotainment concept, using Google€´s Android operating system.

        • [LMN] Birmingham UK – MeeGo Meetup
          Time to get together for another Birmingham UK MeeGo meetup. The interest in the Operating System has increased and also we now have some available devices, So it should be a good time to be had by all.

        • DoodleDrive - Game Jam Afternoon
          My older son was a bit sick today so I stayed home to be with my kids. As usual kids didn't know what to do and I came up with the idea if we'd create a simple game with help of latest Qt SDK 1.1 Beta that was released a day ago. ...and so we did :) This is a small "documentary" of the process.

        • RIM reportedly to launch BlackBerry Messenger on iOS and Android
          It looks like RIM is finally going to introduce its own version what many third-parties have been trying to implement across smartphone platforms, by introducing its BlackBerry Messenger service on both iOS and Android.

        • MeeGo on the N900 officially targeted by Nokia
          Exciting news. Jukka Eklund, Product Manager at Nokia, just announced that Nokia will be officially directing efforts towards supporting MeeGo on the N900 as Developer Edition. For this purpose, there would be a dedicated team within Nokia who will bring full MeeGo support on the N900.

      • Android

        • Meganoid now available in the Market: a must for all fans of 8-bit platform games
          OrangePixel has a series of titles in the Market, and the company is perhaps best known for the popular Mini Army: an interesting version of the classic Snake game. The developer has now released a new title that at least for fans of all things 8-bit almost seem too good to be true.

          The game is called Meganoid, and it’s an homage to 80s and 90s games such as Mega Man and Metroid (hence the name). I personally grew up playing 8-bit Commodore 64, Sega and Nintendo games, so Meganoid’s retro, pixelart graphics, and its bitpop soundtrack and effects are right up my alley.

        • Nielsen: Android Pulls Ahead Of RIM And iOS For U.S. Smartphone Share
          Nielsen has just released new data on U.S. smartphone share. According to the report, smartphone powered by Android operating systems (29 percent) is pulling ahead of RIM’s Blackberry (27 percent) and Apple iOS (27 percent).

    • Tablets

      • Tablets' rise knocks HDD shipments
        “Among the various computing segments in which HDDs are used, the netbook—with lower computing capabilities than either a desktop or laptop—is considered the most vulnerable to being supplanted by tablets, which do not use hard disks as storage media.”

      • Jobs proclaims the iPad II is the saviour of the universe
        Jobs started off by describing Android tablets as the year of the copycats – a bold prediction, for sure. The iPad II is the third of Apple’s attempts to crush the PC opposition. It won’t be Jobs’ first attempt. The British event is being held at the BBC TV Centre, a cluster of fanbois – but the poor hacks that work there do, we think use Dell. Apple loves the BBC but not as much as Apple loves News International.

      • iPad 2 vs. original iPad: what's changed?

      • Apple's key designer Jonathan Ive said to be 'thinking of move to Britain'
        Jonathan Ive, the designer behind the iMac , the iPhone and the iPad and an absolutely key man at Apple, may be considering a move back to Britain. That is the story whizzing round the world of high tech.

      • The Android community must fight generalizations on Honeycomb tablet price
        I fully understand when people around the iPad 2 announcement make blanket statements that “Android tablets are too expensive”, because I take everything connected to an Apple event through a bias filter. But, when those same comments come from Android sites and in the comments of our stories, I feel like I need to say something: We need to stop the generalization. We can’t use the Xoom as a sample of the entire Android tablet ecosystem. Not all Android tablets are expensive and not all are going to be expensive.

      • iPad 2 vs. Android tablets: who’s winning? [Comparison Chart]

      • Steve Jobs' reality distortion takes its toll on truth
        In what seems like a ritual at this point, I watched Apple's iPad 2 keynote in disbelief, noting the factual errors that kept coming up minute after minute. See previous:

        * How Steve Jobs turned a finger spot into a death grip * Google responds to Steve Jobs' activation counting accusations * Why does Android have Steve Jobs rattled?

Free Software/Open Source

  • 3 Companies Using Open Source
    It’s very interesting to note that a recent study revealed that approximately 85 percent of companies globally are using open source software. Not surprisingly, the main motivator for using open source software is cost. Other indicators point to the fact that this software provides companies protection from becoming locked into a single vendor.

  • Events

    • FOSS Marathon in Jodhpur

    • Impressions from the Southern California Linux Expo 9x
      If you weren't in Los Angeles last weekend, you missed all the fun. No, not the OSCARS. I'm talking about the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE). Once again, the SCALE folks put on one of the best FOSS community events on the planet and handled a 20% increase in attendees with few glitches.

      According to Larry Cafiero, one of the SCALE guys (as well as being one of the "beards of open source," ahem), SCALE drew more than 1,800 attendees. And those are the ones who actually registered. The event moved from the Westin LAX to the Hilton LAX to cope with the attendance — and it grew by about 20% this year, so that the space was still close to capacity.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • 'Linux kernel for the cloud' gets new government

      Rackspace has overhauled the governance of OpenStack – the eight-month-old open source effort to build Amazon-like "infrastructure clouds" – relinquishing some of the control it gained by acquiring one of the project's other major contributors.

      After acquiring Anso Labs – the tiny outfit that built the Nova compute fabric comprising half of OpenStack – Rackspace controlled seven out of nine seats on the project's board, known as the project oversight committee. Rackspace built the other half of OpenStack, a storage platform, and it cofounded the project with NASA, which had commissioned Anso to build Nova.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • VirtualBox 4.0 OpenGL Acceleration Leaves Room For Improvement
      VirtualBox, the Sun/Oracle virtualization platform, has supported OpenGL acceleration and Direct3D acceleration within virtual machines for more than two years. When the host system has hardware GPU acceleration, OpenGL/Direct3D calls can be passed from the guest to the host when the VirtualBox guest driver is installed. There has been the Linux 3D support since VirtualBox 2.2 and was initially limited to OpenGL 1.4 support and in the summer of 2009 it turned to OpenGL 2.0. We had not delivered any early benchmarks as the initial support was too buggy, but even with the recently released VirtualBox 4.0, while the support is usable and stable for the most part, it is still far from being very efficient and will crash under some OpenGL software.

    • LibreOffice applied for GSoc 2011
      I just have filed the form for LibreOffice to be part of the next edition of Google Summer or Code. The list of the selected organizations will be out on March 18th. This will be a nice adventure to help us improve our mentoring skill and help students getting introduced to an open source community. All the details of the application are available on the GSoc wiki page.

    • EU: AFUL supports the Document Foundation and calls on public and private actors to follow suit

  • Government

    • Open Source Procurement: Subscriptions
      When you procure proprietary software, you buy a right-to-use license and then a support agreement. But when you buy open source, you already have the right-to-use from the OSI-approved free license, so you should compare the subscription cost with just the cost of a proprietary support agreement. Right?

      Wrong! The open source subscription includes all the same elements as the combination of both purchases. In most cases, if you are receiving equivalent value, you should expect to pay similar prices.

    • MHRD must give Tenders to FOSS Companies and avoid .NET programming language. Rs 1.6 crore goes in M$ partner.

    • The Monopolistic Tendencies of Open Source Software

    • More Fun with Anti-Open Source FUD
      “Open source operates as a de facto cartel” - now that really is a splendid bit of FUD that deserves closer examination.

      This extraordinary conclusion seems to flow from the earlier flawed analysis of what happens when there are open source companies operating in a market. In fact, there are several quite different flaws there.

      The first is “consider an all-OSS world in which each company offers consumers exactly the same shared code as every other company”: but that's not how open source markets operate. Typically, there are many different code bases for a given sector: GNU/Linux and the BSDs for operating systems; Firefox, Chromium and Konqueror for browsers; Thunderbird and Evolution for email etc. This means that it's actually extremely easy for new companies using open source to enter those sectors.

      Indeed, the rapid rise of Google's Chrome/Chromium is a neat counter-example to the erroneous statement above. It entered the browser sector and proceeded to do rather well, probably halting the growth of Firefox as well as taking away market share from Internet Explorer. Yes, that market did not consist entirely of open source browsers, but given its success against Firefox, it seems clear that it could have entered just such a market and flourished because of its evident merits.

      But for the sake of argument, let us accept the possibility that there are markets where all the companies based on open source use the same code base. The argument is then “no company can then compete by writing more OSS code than its rivals” with the result that “this lack of competition suppresses code production.”

      Leaving aside the fact that hackers code for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with competition, using the metric of how much open source code misses the point: by definition it's generally 100% - that was the premise. And it's not how much that counts, it's how good that matters. And this is where the differentiation comes in.


      To summarise, one of the key advantages of encouraging the growth of open source in a particular sector is to undermine existing proprietary cartels by supporting open standards and thus opening up that market to new entrants. Governments rightly concerned about such cartels should be supporting open source wholeheartedly as one of the best and most efficient ways of countering them - not seeking some mythical and counterproductive “balance” with closed source and its deleterious consequences.

    • System Error: fixing the flaws in Government IT
      Agreeing standards is hard, as is implementing them correctly. Standards for the web have taken >10 years to develop and mature, and in many respects are still not very well embedded: Microsoft have really only just got there with IE9, and that remains to be seen. And this is in an industry where the incentives to make everything work are huge. I’m really not at all sure that the incentives to use open standards for the NHS spine and people’s tax records are even nearly as strong, where suppliers may be reluctant to facilitate the involvement of others.

    • FR: initiative to raise election candidates’ awareness of free software
      In the light of the cantonal elections of 20 and 27 March 2011 in France, April, a non-profit organisation promoting and advocating free software, relaunched '', an initiative whose aim is to raise the future local councillors' awareness of this software.

    • Can we use collaboration to solve government's big problems?
      Aneesh Chopra, the White House's chief technology officer, was at HIMMS last week talking about government as a platform for innovation. He referenced the open and transparent process that led to the Direct Project, which saw dozens of vendors, some of them competitors, working together with the ONC to establish a secure way to send health information as a possible template for bringing together stakeholders to create innovation.

    • Government open source plan hindered by lack of security clearance
      Open source software is effectively banned from government IT because products cannot get official clearance from GCHQ security experts, a meeting of the BCS was told this week.

      Tariq Rashid, lead architect for the Home Office, raised the issue with the BSC Open Source Specialist Group on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the reasons why government doesn't make more use of open source software.

    • ES: Cenatic nominates free and open source community for award
      The entire community of free and open source software developers is nominated by Cenatic, Spain's national competence centre on open source, for this year's Prince of Asturias Awards. The centre is calling on members of the community to support its nomination.

      The community enables the sharing of knowledge, provides access to technology on a worldwide level and helps to eliminate financial, social, cultural, language and geographical barriers, Cenatic writes in a statement. "Our candidate deserves recognition."

  • Openness/Sharing

    • International Journal of the Commons

    • The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value
      The capitalist system is under siege. In recent years business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies are widely perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community.

      Even worse, the more business has begun to embrace corporate responsibility, the more it has been blamed for society’s failures. The legitimacy of business has fallen to levels not seen in recent history. This diminished trust in business leads political leaders to set policies that undermine competitiveness and sap economic growth. Business is caught in a vicious circle.

    • Open Data

      • "Ladies Mapping Party" Strengthens Google's Africa Maps
        If you like the idea of a quilting bee but prefer your bits electronic instead of fabric, you might be interested in a "ladies mapping party." 70 Kenyan women were, and showed up to a Google-sponsored ladies mapping party at Nairobi's iHub in February.

        The women used Google Map Maker, and their specific local knowledge, to fill in schools, health centers, market centers, community development projects, restaurants and roads in a country too often neglected by cartographers.

      • Zonability founder shares thoughts on apps, open data, advice to civic developers
        Zonability is a zoning information web application for ‘property owners, renters, sellers, buyers, remodelers, investors, and neighborhood watchdog groups.’ It was an Apps for Californians winner and is now competing in the NYC BigApps 2.0 contest. Founder Leigh Budlong discusses her work, challenges with open data, thoughts on Gov 2.0 and shares lessons-learned advice to other civic developers.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #155
        OA has the momentum of thousands of forward steps every year, in every academic field and every part of the world. But some developments are larger than others, and some are large enough to count as watershed events. I've noticed an upswing in watershed events recently and want to point out half a dozen of them. Pointing them out doesn't amount to a prediction, any more than tremors predict earthquakes. But if you were too preoccupied with local noise to notice these tremors, take a moment to notice them.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Senate Passes Two-Week Funding Bill, Avoids Shutdown
    With a looming March 4 deadline before the government runs out of funding, the Senate voted 91-9 to approve a House measure providing funding for two weeks while making $4 billion in cuts with bipartisan backing.

    The move averts a shutdown, but the gulf between the two parties remains wide as Republicans are calling for $61 billion in cuts that Democratic leaders and the White House claim would costs hundreds of thousands of jobs. Democrats say they support scaling back spending, but only if the reductions don't damage the fledgling recovery or essential services.

  • How We're Financing Meaningful Journalism
    But as Craigslist, Google, Groupon, et al. have sucked up the ad dollars that once supported journalism, many downsized-but-not-out journalists have plugged into collaborative editorial and funding networks to launch investigative, explanatory, watchdog, audience-generated, and enterprise stories (here’s one example from my own work)—a movement we have only just started to see and understand.

  • The threat to non-print archives
    Whilst the UK’s attention is drawn to the Hargreaves Review of the IP framework, a lesser-known statutory instrument is in the pipeline which could have a severe effect on legal deposit libraries if it is drafted into law.

    The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consulted publishers and libraries on the legal requirement for publishers to provide non-print (electronic journal articles, e-books, tables, diagrams but not sound recordings or films) published items alongside print items to legal deposit libraries.

    The consultation closed on the 11th January 2011, and a statutory instrument (SI) has been prepared with a view to being introduced into law. However, this SI is not satisfactory and has some incredibly restrictive clauses in it which would allow publishers to embargo access to the material within the libraries.

  • Can the Tories skate back onside in Quebec City?
    The Harper government’s refusal to fund arenas or other facilities for professional sports teams has dropped like a bombshell in Quebec City, where Mayor Régis Labeaume called it “suicidal” to stop now.

  • Who's really innovative?
    Fact is, inventing an innovative business model is often mostly a matter of serendipity. Despite that, a fortuitously fortunate founder often ends up being venerated as a perpetually prescient prophet. As a result, the company becomes over-dependent on the vision of one or two key individuals and never develops a broad-based capacity for ongoing business model innovation. When the founder's vision fades, the pace of innovation slows and the company tumbles down the innovation league table.

    In 2006, Starbucks, Southwest, IKEA, and eBay all ranked among Business Week's top 25. Yet four years later, none of these companies were that highly ranked. As bambinos, they were industry revolutionaries, but as they aged, they fell out of the innovation vanguard (though all remain well-run companies).

  • 2011 Report on Link Rot
    How reliable are those URLs in your OPAC? The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive which harvests and preserves relevant digital information from the web, has been producing reports on "link rot" for several years. They define link rot as "a URL that no longer provides direct access to files matching the content originally harvested from the URL and currently preserved in the Chesapeake Project's digital archive."

  • Wisconsin Republicans call for arrest of missing Democrats
    The Wisconsin Senate passed a resolution today that calls for the arrest of the 14 Democratic senators who left the state two weeks ago, if those senators do not return by 4:00 pm today.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Thursday's security advisories

    • Teenagers jailed for running €£16m internet crime forum
      Three teenagers who founded and operated one of the world's largest English-language internet crime forums, described in court as "Crimebook", have been sentenced to up to five years in custody.

    • The wartime economy
      A recent report claims that cybercrime is costing the UK economy €£27 billion annually. But Wendy Grossman argues that the report may be over-stating the case

    • Malware decreases, Trojans still dominate
      According to data gathered by Panda Security, only 39 percent of computers scanned in February were infected with malware, compared to 50 percent last month.

      Trojans were found to be the most prolific malware threat, responsible for 61 percent of all cases, followed by traditional viruses and worms which caused 11.59 percent and 9 percent of cases worldwide, respectively. These figures have hardly changed with respect to the January data.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Operation Set-the-Record-Straight
      This should not come as a surprise. Authority figures rarely want to cede power to others. Nevertheless business leaders, government officials, and IGOs need to realize that there is no turning back. The technology is here to stay. The only question remaining is: where do we go from here? The consensus from these entities seems to be to target Wikileaks in order to cut the head off the proverbial snake. However, those who propose this measure fail to comprehend the size and scope of this lofty idea.

      The cyber security giant H.B. Gary realized this when it started testing the waters in defense of Bank of America. In anticipation of a presumably embarrassing document dump by Wikileaks, Bank of America retained H.B. Gary Federal—by recommendation of the U.S. Department of Justice—as a security consultant. Everything seemed okay and out of the public eye until the CEO of H.B. Gary, Aaron Barr, began antagonizing the internet activist group known as Anonymous, which operates in tandem with Wikileaks’ transparency efforts worldwide as a guard dog. In both private correspondences and public statements, Barr boasted of having information that would cripple the infrastructure of the group and render them ineffective.

    • Capital charges filed against Bradley Manning
      Things just got even worse for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for WikiLeaks' cache of U.S. military and State Department documents. The Army announced today that it has filed 22 new charges against Manning, in addition to the 12 counts he was initially charged with after his arrest in May.

    • Rally for Wikileaks in Brisbane 01

    • Why WikiLeaks Is Raising Money Using MasterCard and PayPal Again
      Remember when PayPal, Mastercard and Visa stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks because it leaked secret State Department cables? At the time Julian Assange blasted the firms as "instruments of U.S. foreign policy" because the move cut off one of the organization's major sources of fundraising. But over the past few weeks, the logos of PayPal, MasterCard and Visa have quietly returned to WikiLeaks and the site is back in the business of asking supporters to send money its way.

      So, did the firms that cut WikiLeaks off last year have an about-face? At the time, MasterCard pulled the plug in a huff, claiming its rules "prohibit" customers from taking part in "any action that is illegal." PayPal responded in kind, saying its policy is to ban an organization from using its services if it "encourages, promotes, facilitates or instructs others to engage in illegal activity."

    • PFC Manning Stripped Naked Again
      PFC Manning was forced to strip naked in his cell again last night. As with the previous evening, Quantico Brig guards required him to surrender all of his clothing. PFC Manning then walked back to his bed, and spent the next seven hours in humiliation.

      The decision to require him to be stripped of all clothing was made by the Brig commander, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Denise Barnes. According to First Lieutenant Brian Villard, a Marine spokesman, the decision was "not punitive" and done in accordance with Brig rules. There can be no conceivable justification for requiring a soldier to surrender all his clothing, remain naked in his cell for seven hours, and then stand at attention the subsequent morning. This treatment is even more degrading considering that PFC Manning is being monitored -- both by direct observation and by video -- at all times. The defense was informed by Brig officials that the decision to strip PFC Manning of all his clothing was made without consulting any of the Brig's mental health providers.

    • WikiLeaks: Cable Revives Horror of Colombia's "False Positives" Carnage

      When Major General Mario Montoya Uribe was appointed commander of the Colombian army in March of 2006, the US embassy in Bogota was largely unaware of his background and bona fides. The American ambassador to Colombia at the time, William Wood, reported in a cable WikiLeaked on Friday, that relatively little was known about Montoya aside from his many decorations as a career military man, his close personal relationship with then-president Alvaro Uribe, and persistent but as yet unsubstantiated rumors that the commander was corrupt and tied to conservative paramilitary forces throughout the country.

    • Labor's destructive secrecy
      The Age today published new Wikileak revelations about the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and its policy vis-a-vis China...

    • Julian Assange lodges extradition appeal
      Lawyers representing the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, have lodged papers to appeal against his extradition from Britain to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

    • US cable throws more mud at Huawei
      A US diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks has further hampered the efforts of network equipment vendor Huawei as it aims to win more global business.

      Huawei and fellow Chinese-held networking vendor ZTE have already been banned from contracts in India over national security fears.

      In a cable released on WikiLeaks, Huawei and rival Chinese telco supplier ZTE are credited with providing "good and cheap" equipment that often wins government procurement tenders.

    • WikiLeaks: Feudal Social Relations in the Brazilian Countryside
      This past fall, I had the opportunity to observe the first round of Brazil's presidential election. In a logistical feat, the government managed to draw correspondents from all over the world for the occasion while taking care of all travel amenities. Politically and economically, Brazil has been on a roll over the past ten years or so, and the country has spared no expense when it comes to showing off its many accomplishments. Yet peer beneath the surface, and the South American powerhouse is still pre-modern in many ways. That, at least, was the impression I got from reading recently disclosed U.S. diplomatic cables from the whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks.


      According to WikiLeaks documents, the Brazilian military held socially retrograde views of indigenous people in the countryside. As recently as 2009, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Lisa Kubiske noted that officers held the general opinion "that the Indians don't produce anything but the farmers do, so the farmers should be the ones using the land." In a sign of the times, Augusto Heleno, a four-star army general, received rousing applause after speaking out against indigenous demarcation at Rio de Janeiro's Military Club. Following his broadside, Heleno ominously declared "the Army High Command is an organization that serves the Brazilian state, not the government."

    • In the Age of WikiLeaks, the End of Secrecy?
      I am a big believer in technology, and I’m a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas. It encourages creativity.

      Obama added, “The truth is that because in the United States information is free…I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me. I actually think that that makes our democracy stronger, and it makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don’t want to hear.”

      Or take Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. No American official has been more eloquent in expressing support for the power of the Internet than Clinton, who gave a highly visible speech on “Internet freedom” on January 21, 2010, in Washington, where she waxed poetic about how “the spread of information networks is forming a new nervous system for our planet”...

    • Former President George W. Bush Prejudices the Legal Process Against Julian Assange
      When a former president of the United States weighs in on an ongoing criminal investigation, there is considerable risk that his comments could make it impossible for justice to be fair and objective.

      Recently, former President George W. Bush said that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, "has willfully and repeatedly done great harm to the interests of the United States." He made this statement, through a spokesman, in explaining why he was canceling a speech he had agreed to deliver to the Young Presidents Organization. He said he "had no desire to share a forum with" Assange, even though Assange was to speak by videoconference and they would not literally be sharing a platform or forum.

    • Much ado about leaky cables is hilarious
      There is a comical and yet revelatory side to spillage of US secret diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks. Comical in that they expose the wishful thinking of some our politicians, some of which border on the absurd. The cables are also revelatory as they unmask secret desires of those who seek to rule us — especially on what they think of people they kneel before and pretend to be friends with 24/7.

      You see from the WikiLeaks cables from Nairobi’s US embassy that, Kenyan politicians trust and worship foreigners more than their fellow countrymen. It may be a colonial hangover, what Ngugi Wa Thiong’o calls neocolonialism, that our leaders open up to foreigners and can literally bad-mouth their mother if that assures them they have a white man’s ear.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans attack Obama's environmental protection from all sides
      It started on a sultry day in Houston when hundreds of protesters, mostly oil company employees, were bussed to a concert hall in their lunch hour to rally against a historic first step by Congress to reduce the pollution that causes climate change.

      The event marked the start of a backlash by wealthy industry owners and conservative activists against Barack Obama's green agenda. Now it has snowballed into what green campaigners say is the greatest assault on environmental protection that America has ever seen.

    • What Is a Sacred Mountain Worth?
      A Vancouver-based company, First Majestic Silver Corp, has ignited fierce controversy over plans to mine silver from a mountain considered by an indigenous nation to be the birthplace of the sun.

      The Huichol called the Canadian mining project an "unlawful imposition" and part of a "a deepening war of extermination against our native peoples" in an October 2010 manifesto entitled Declaration in Defense of Wirikuta.

    • More big snowstorms on the way as world's climate warms
      In each of the past two winters, the northeastern US has been hammered by three Category 3 or above snowstorms. This has happened only once before in the last 50 years, during the winter of 1960-1961.

      "Heavy snowstorms are not inconsistent with a warming planet," says Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the Weather Underground website.

      "In fact, as the Earth gets warmer and more moisture gets absorbed into the atmosphere, we are steadily loading the dice in favor of more extreme storms in all seasons, capable of causing greater impacts on society."

    • Stop oil sands from blowing into Europe!
      The European Union (EU) is about to make a decision that could define if we move towards a better, cleaner world or a short-sighted, dirty energy future.

    • UK facing 1970s-style oil shock which could cost economy €£45bn – Huhne
      Britain is facing a 1970s-style oil price shock that could cost the UK economy €£45bn over two years, the climate and energy secretary, Chris Huhne, is expected to warn in his first intervention on the issue since the start of Middle East political crisis.

      In Thursday's keynote speech on the impact of the oil crisis, Huhne argued that an $100 (€£61) a barrel price for oil transforms the economics of climate change in Britain.

  • Finance

    • The Guy Who Calls You "Chief" And 24 Other People To Avoid On Wall Street
      There are lots of critical skills you need to succeed on Wall Street. It helps to understand market forces. A facility with numbers is useful.

      Having a feel for group dynamics is necessary to succeed on trading desks and deal teams. Superb time management, verbal acuity, and judgment are all important.

      But, mostly, what you need to do is avoid the things that will destroy your career. And most of the things that will destroy your career go under the general heading of “people.”

    • The World’s Ominous Reckoning
      Discussions about possible solutions to the debt crisis tend to degenerate into ideological bickering because ideologies provides an inadequate framework in which to understand the nature of the problem and discover real effective solutions. Fiscal conservatives want to cut social spending so as to avoid raising taxes on the rich and privileged class. Political liberals have largely caved in to the same interests because they think that supporting the privileged class’s agenda is their only hope of gaining power. They will pay lip service to a social agenda and throw a few crumbs to the masses in an attempt to get elected, but they will ultimately advance the same elitist agenda, as have Presidents Clinton and Obama. Progressives argue that budgets can be balanced by cutting the military budget and raising taxes on the rich, but they remain impotent because political power has been so thoroughly centralized that popular progressive agendas have not a prayer of being implemented. Even if they were, they would simply make matters worse because under the present money and banking regime, a balanced government budget is not possible. How can the debate move beyond ideologies, and common ground be found?

      Samuelson, like almost all conventionally trained economists, blames the woes of Ireland, and every other country, on failures in policy. He says, “Most European economies suffer from the ill effects of some combination of easy money, unsustainable social spending and big budget deficits,” but he fails to address the deeper questions of why? Why has money been easy? Why is social spending unsustainable? Why have budget deficits been too big?

  • Censorship

    • China warns foreign media not to cover protests
      Chinese police are further intensifying pressure on foreign reporters, warning them to stay away from spots designated for Middle East-inspired protests and threatening them with expulsion or a revoking of their credentials.

      The warnings show how unnerved the authorities are by the online calls for protests every Sunday. The appeals, which started two weeks ago, have attracted few outright demonstrators but many onlookers, loads of journalists and swarms of police.

  • Privacy

    • ICO evidence raises Freedoms Bill data worries
      The Information Commissioner (ICO) has just published a critique of the Home Office’s Freedoms Bill, which is being sold to the public as reining in New Labour’s surveillance state.

      Although there is general applause for the fact that the Government has recognised that there has been excessive intrusion into privacy, the ICO’s analysis points to a number of serious deficiencies.

  • Civil Rights

    • Muslim student sues FBI over GPS tracking device placed on his car without a warrant
      The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) this week filed a civil rights lawsuit against the FBI on behalf of Yasir Afifi, a Muslim-American student of Egyptian descent who lives in Santa Clara, California.

    • Richard Peppiatt's letter to Daily Star proprietor Richard Desmond
      You probably don't know me, but I know you. For the last two years I've been a reporter at the Daily Star, and for two years I've felt the weight of your ownership rest heavy on the shoulders of everyone, from the editor to the bloke who empties the bins.

      Wait! I know you're probably reaching for your phone to have me marched out of the building. But please, save on your bill. I quit.

      The decision came inside my local newsstand, whilst picking up the morning papers. As I chatted with Mohammed, the Muslim owner, his blinking eyes settled on my pile of print, and then, slowly, rose to meet my face.

    • 6 Things Social Networking Sites Need to Stop Doing
      That's what makes increasingly annoying and/or invasive social networking practices so much harder to swallow. We want all of the below to stop and, barring that, at least not get any worse. But if they don't, what are we going to do? Ditch our computers and go live in the woods?

    • Native Women Seek Justice at U.N.
      The United States is facing international scrutiny for its apparent failure to prosecute criminals who enter indigenous territories to prey on Native women and girls.

      Between 60 and 80 percent of violent victimisation of Native American women is perpetrated by non-Natives, says a U.N. expert on legal matters related to women's rights violations worldwide.

      Rashida Manjoo, the U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women, notes that in the U.S., indigenous women are much more vulnerable to abuses than any other ethnic group in the country.


    • Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa
      On 26 October 2005, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa received its 15th ratification, meaning the Protocol entered into force on 25 November 2005.

    • Cabinet Office gathers international examples of Big Society
      The Office for Civil Society has published a report citing international examples of Big Society initiatives.

      The aim of the report is to look at how other countries run their public services or organise local community projects that UK citizens or organisations can take inspiration from.

      It is not intended to be comprehensive review of what exists but to see how the Big Society is in action elsewhere and provide ideas for adaptation here.

    • Beijing to track citizens with their cell phones
      As if the Great Firewall is not enough, the Chinese government is now looking into monitoring the movement of 17 million cellphone users in Beijing, China by tracking the signal of their mobile devices.

      Purportedly to improve Beijing’s public travel and reduce traffic congestion, the new initiative, literally translated as “Platform for Citizen Movement Information” proposes to track each individual citizen’s movement in real time via cell phone signals, as reported on the Beijing Municipal People’s Government website.

  • DRM

    • Scorned librarians and the eBook piracy underground
      Early last year was the first time I found out one of my books was on a torrent site. It knew it was just a matter of time, and I was kind of relieved. Pleased, even. Like many authors, I have Google Alerts on certain things, and some of those things are my books. Really, I expected this.

      E-books and the ability to share or not to share them: that is the question every publisher and distributor is agonizing over. But no one seems to be answering it with anything short of clutching their petticoats and jumping up on the nearest chair.

      Maybe I shouldn’t be so cavalier as an author to regard people stealing my work like this; after all, I hope to exist off of royalties.

    • The rise of the 99-cent Kindle e-book

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 'Self-incriminators' may be forced to tell the court what they know
      People accused of misusing confidential commercial or technical information have lost the right to avoid self-incrimination in court cases, following a High Court ruling.

      The ruling means that a law previously thought to apply only to intellectual property cases now applies to any case in which confidential commercial or technical information is involved, according to one expert.

    • Genetics Company Myriad May Shift From Patents To Proprietary Data
      Myriad Genetics, a United States-based biotechnology company with exclusive patent rights over a key breast cancer diagnostic test in the US, may shift its patent strategy from its inventions to guarding its data in the face of drawn out litigation and upcoming competition, an industry journal has reported.

      The Genomics Law Report has published an analysis by a group of US academics and attorneys on how the company is likely to react to future competition.

    • Copyrights

      • Top 40 Countries for Copyright Piracy & Cyberlockers
        The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is preparing for its annual “Special 301” report, which describes the adequacy and effectiveness of US trading partners’ protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). It is due to be presented to Congress in the next month or so.

      • Minecraft Creator Says 'No Such Thing As A Lost Sale'

      • Piracy is Theft? Ridiculous. Lost Sales? They Don’t Exist, Says Minecraft Creator
        The “piracy is stealing” argument raises its head in the media every week and is on the lips of anti-piracy outfits and copyright holders every day. To them, every unauthorized copy is a lost sale and another small dent in the company spreadsheet which, when added to a million others, will destroy it bit by bit. To the maker of Minecraft, however, its an opportunity. Piracy is theft? You must be kidding. Lost sales? They don’t exist.

      • Portuguese Government Creates Honeypot To Combat Piracy
        In Portugal, a collaboration between a Ministry of Culture affiliated organization and the local music industry has resulted in a protocol that calls for such a honeypot, in order to shame, scare and threaten those who download music without authorization.

      • Leaving A Major Record Label... And Seeing How The Music Business Is Thriving
        A few years ago, after seeing Ethan Kaplan speak, I had suggested that Warner Music promote him. At the time, Ethan was VP of technology for Warner Bros. Music, one of Warner Music's sub-labels. I'd followed Ethan's writings for a while, but hearing him speak convinced me that he was definitely one of the folks inside a major record label who really understood where things were headed. There definitely are a few such folks mixed in here and there, but they're not always easy to find, and they usually don't get the attention they deserve within those labels. Warner Music didn't promote him until sometime last year, when they moved him up to the parent company, Warner Music Group, but the company's top management still never seemed to recognize quite what they had in Ethan in terms of his ability to recognize where the market was heading and how a major label could (and should) respond to those challenges. So it was disappointing, but of little surprise when he left Warner Music a month ago. I have little doubt he's now in high demand from a variety of forward-looking companies doing technology stuff in the music space, and I imagine he'll pop up somewhere interesting soon.

      • ACTA

        • Mexico: ACTA Public Hearings Kick Off
          The controversial Anti-Counterfeit Commercial Agreement –widely known as ACTA– is currently under discussion in the Mexican Senate in response to opposition from civil society to the way the treaty's negotiation process is being conducted.

Clip of the Day

HTC Flyer Hands-on and Palm Rejection Test

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Credit: TinyOgg

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