Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 16/5/2011: Many New Distro Releases, Netflix Comes to Android



GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux

  • Fear Haunts Users of That Other OS


    It won’t go away. That other OS fools its users about the identification of files causing what looks like text or other innocent files to be executable… If ever there was a flaw in the design of an OS this is it. Use Debian GNU/Linux, which actually examines the file to determine its type. The latest malware exploiting this “feature” of that other OS romps through Vista and “7″. Use Debian GNU/Linux, a real OS, working for the end-user and not criminals.


  • Chromebook: the good and the bad
    Chromebook is a brand name for range of hardware from the likes of Acer and Samsung that will run Chrome OS. Both the Samsung and the Acer machines sport a 12-inch screen, a 1.6GHz dual core processor and either 3G or combination 3G-WiFi connections. The selling point for many is that the Chromebooks will be available on a subscription basis at US$28 a month over three years. However, there are pros and cons to the Chromebooks.


  • Is Lack of Marketing Still Linux's Achilles Heel?
    ...Linux and open source purists who cringe at the sheer mention of terms like "marketing" or "public relations"...


  • Desktop

    • Top 20 Countries for Use of Desktop GNU/Linux
      Compare these numbers showing global acceptance at around 1% with Wikipedia Stats that show 2.53%, and that’s only in the English-speaking world.

      Really, StatCounter does not cover the globe in a neutral way. Give us the list of sites covered, please. We know Wikipedia is a neutral site because anyone can post articles and anyone can read them but it is biased towards English, so it will be undercounting most countries of the world. It shows MacOS at 7.73% but we know from Apple’s own numbers that it is less than 4%.


    • A Windows Guy Goes Linux
      In case you are a new TNW reader, I am a card-carrying Windows fanboy.

      [...]

      I accepted shipment of the laptop, a fine, if slightly low-end ThinkPad, and opened to the gate to the land of Linux bristling with uncertainty as to what I was about to experience.






  • Kernel Space

    • Fedora and Ubuntu are getting the Butter on our File systems...
      Phoronix.com, a great site with an even better preformance test suite, has a nice write up about the often talked about BRTFS(commonly pronounced Butter FS). They mention that Fedora seems to be releasing it with GRUB extenstions to allow for file system snapshot roll-backs by the end of the year and Ubuntu by the 12.04 release next April.




  • Applications



  • Desktop Environments



    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE PIM 4.6 RC1
        This version will have regressions compared to KDE PIM 4.4. There was never a goal to create a Kontact2 with zero regressions. The only goal was to create a working release. After that the work on making it perfect can begin. Division of resources between maintaining the 4.4 series and attempts to perfect the Kontact2 release was causing demotivation in the community. Making the release is the act that allows us to cross the starting line towards fixing the smaller issues.


      • JuK facelift
        So, somewhat miraculously, I've been doing a little KDE hacking again this week for the first time since, oh, 2006 or so (aside from TagLib, which recently moved to GitHub).

        Being as I'm all a startupy web weenie these days, some of the design sins of my youth have been haunting me. I wanted to give JuK a little bit of a fixer-upper. Almost all of the 20 commits that cia.vc says that I've done this week stem from either polishing the interface some or improving the initial experience on startup.

        [...]

        I'd love to someday have time to go all OCD and just spend like a couple weeks fixing things like text alignment and margins all over KDE.


      • Kubuntu Council? What is this?
        Every year the Kubuntu community gets to elect 3 new members for the Kubuntu council.


      • digiKam Tricks 3.5 Released
        Readers who already purchased the book will receive the new version free of charge. If you haven’t received your copy, please send your order confirmation as proof of purchase to dmpop@linux.com, and I’ll email you the latest version of the book.


      • Nokia Update On Qt 5 Provides Open Assurances
        Now, it's clear that Qt is moving toward an open governance model, and Lars Knoll reports that it will be relatively easy for developers to move applications from Qt 4 to Qt 5...




    • GNOME Desktop

      • ISO image for GNOME3 promo DVD available for download
        a quick post for people who want the GNOME 3 promo DVD iso image (it is based on 1.1.0 image, combining both x86 and x86-64 images and some demo video and music).


      • Gnome Outreach Program for a clueless head


        It could happen to anyone to have being using Gnome many years on Ubuntu or SuSE without knowing they are gnome users, and it did to me. I somehow get to know gnome by working on Beijing Gnome User Group community events, because many my other friends joined and asked me to. When I got a dim picture of what gnome is, I had been using it for years. Until now I still not so clear which application belongs to Gnome. I know Inkscape is of gnome, but a few month ago I thought (wrongly) SmartSVN in my toolbox is also of Gnome. I guess with this level of background knowledge I am the most clueless of all. I knows something about web building, graphical works and so like,Marina Zhurakhinskaya and Andreas Nilsson (my mentor) somehow thought I might be of use. “Get on-board”, they say, so here I am. I’ll try to be useful:)






  • Distributions



    • New Releases

      • SalineOS 1.0 (Personal Server)
      • Zentyal 2.1-1
      • BackTrack 5 – Are you Infected yet?
      • Clonezilla 1.2.8-41
      • Berry 1.09
      • Kanotix Hellfire 2011-05


      • Salix Xfce 13.37
        Salix Xfce 13.37 is finally here, shortly after Slackware 13.37 was released, on which Salix 13.37 is based. Salix Xfce 13.37 includes numerous changes and improvements, both Salix specific and also inherited from Slackware. With Salix being fully backwards compatible with Slackware, the Salix repositories for 13.37, for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, are already the largest 3rd party binary package repositories available for Slackware users.

        This release comes with linux kernel 2.6.37.6, the Xfce 4.6.2 desktop environment, Firefox 4.0.1 and Claws-mail 3.7.8. Libreoffice 3.3.2 is included by default in full mode installations, replacing OpenOffice.org and localization packages for it for more than a hundred languages are available through the package management tools.

        [...]

        There is also a full source tree in the Salix 13.37 repositories, for all software packaged by Salix.


      • 2011-05-09: version 0.9.7 of live.linux-gamers.net released!




    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Enlightenment Special Edition of The PCLinuxOS Magazine released
        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the Enlightenment Special Edition of the PCLinuxOS Magazine. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editors Andrew Strick and Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved.


      • The mystery of the missing wi-fi in Mageia/Mandriva
        I've been avoiding kernel 2-6.38.4 and 2-6.38.6-1 in Mandriva because last time I found them in an update and installed them, my netbook lost its wi-fi capabilities. Yes, it would not pick any signal or start wireless connections at all. It would tell me that I needed some b43 files from a web site and the installation was beyond my understanding.

        Well, I decided that I wanted to install Mageia 1 in my netbook. I will spare you the story of my mistake of installing beta1 and my consequential sadness because iBus would not work. However, when I corrected my mistake and installed beta2, my happiness upon seeing iBus working flawessly quickly faded away because I discovered that the dreadful kernel 2-6.38.4 was what Mageia uses and, therefore, my wi-fi was gone!

        [...]

        It worked. Now, I'm posting this entry using the wi-fi in Mageia beta2.


      • Considerations on Mondorescue packaging for Mageia


        There has been a recent discussion on the Mageia mailing list on the mondo package which is one of the last having a non-coherent version schema with the one in Mandriva, thus blocking the update.

        [...]

        Note that it just affect the mondo package. All the others are already sane.




    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Public Service Announcement: crossdev, glib and binary compatibility


        Quick summary, please read as it is important! If you’re running a 64-bit arch such as amd64, then you’re safe and you can read this simply as future reference. The same goes if you have never used sys-devel/crossdev (even better if you have no idea what that is. But if you’re cross-compiling to a 32-bit architecture such as ARM, you probably want to read this as you might have to restart from scratch or you’re using a 32-bit architecture and have sys-devel/crossdev installed you really want to read this post.




    • Red Hat Family

      • Who maintains RPM? (2011 edition)
        Back in 2006, LWN looked at the rather complicated story around the maintainership of the RPM package manager. Given the importance of this tool for any RPM-based distribution, the lack of a clear story on how it was being maintained was somewhat discouraging. Later that year, the Fedora project announced the creation of a new, community-oriented project around RPM. Since then, things have been on the quiet side, but recent events show that the RPM story has not yet run its course.

        The above-mentioned RPM project lives on at rpm.org; the 4.9.0 release was announced at the beginning of March. The code is actively maintained and sees the addition of some small features, but the project does not show any real signs of having big plans for the future. Only a handful of committers show up in the repository; almost all of them work for Red Hat. By all appearances, RPM is at least halfway into maintenance mode.

        [...]

        That has changed, though, in recent months; the Mandriva 2011 plans include a switch to rpm5.




    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0: KDE 4
        Having got Debian 6 "Squeeze" running, the next project was to reconfigure my desktop environment, KDE, the way I like it. I've used KDE for years, and really liked KDE 3.5 on Debian 5 "Lenny." Alas, Debian 6 has moved on to KDE 4, and the developers couldn't leave well enough alone.

        [...]

        I must say, even before adding Xinerama, the desktop display seemed slower to me. And I see that Xorg is consuming 18% of my available RAM. Oink!


      • DebConf "Newbies"/Non-Regulars Funding Initiative
        This year the Debian Project again invites "newbies" and non-regular attendees to join the annual Debian Conference (DebConf). As a special incentive an extra travel fund has been set up, which is only available to new or non-regular DebConf attendees. Every Debian Developer or Maintainer who has never been to a Debian Conference or who last attended in 2007 (Scotland) or before is invited to participate.



      • Derivatives



        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu, Linux, and Eucalyptus
            Last week Eucalyptus participated in the Red Hat Summit in Boston. This week we are at the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) in Budapest. At UDS Canonical formalized the decision to make OpenStack what they call foundation technology in Ubuntu Cloud. What are the likely impacts of this decision?


          • I will not use Unity because…
            Ubuntu 11.04 has been released, and I’m very happy about it. I gave the news to many (Italian) media, I wrote the (Italian) press releases, I did several talks (Ubuntu parties, Universities, simple events) about the Unity allure. I said it’s new and fantastic. What else should a good promoter do?

            Probably use it. But I’m sorry i will not use Unity. For many reason.


          • Ubuntu Tweak 0.5.13: bugs, bugs and bugs
            The door to Ubuntu Tweak 0.6 is never closed, but there’re still a lot of bugs have to fixed. Here’s Ubuntu Tweak 0.5.13.

            After the release of Natty, the desktop environment of Ubuntu has never been so complex before: Unity, GNOME classical, GNOME 3(Through PPA), LXDE, KDE…


          • Ubuntu gnome remix shaping up; now install with a script
            Ubuntu gnome remix or UGR got serious attention partially because of the disappointment on the latest iteration of the Ubuntu desktop and its Unity shell. The Unity although a good idea, falls short of meeting the expectations of many users. Since Ubuntu uses the gnome 2.32 desktop the gnome 3.0 ppa had real issues working well in Natty (11.04). There came UGR with lot of promises to provide a stable ubuntu remix with a vanilla gnome 3.0 and its shell. So, where do they stand now?


          • Canonical switches to OpenStack for Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud
            Canonical has announced that Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud will adopt the OpenStack cloud platform over Eucalyptus. In other Ubuntu-related news, an Ubuntu 11.04-based Linux Mint 11 release candidate (RC) was announced that opts for the GNOME 2.32.1 desktop environment over both Canonical's Unity and GNOME 3.0.


          • Some changes to contacts
            Last month was a big one for Ubuntu and Ubuntu One. For Ubuntu One, in addition to all the improvements we made in Ubuntu 11.04, we also released substantial improvements to contacts on the web, including Facebook import. Our attention now turns to contacts sync for mobile devices.

            We’re working on completely revamping contacts sync for mobile to give you an overall better experience. The new service will work with mobile devices running iOS or Android operating systems. We decided to focus on these two operating systems so we can deliver the best user experience without having to limit functionality to the lowest common denominator. The new service will be free and available later this year. If you are interested in testing the new service, please add your email address to this form and we will provide you with more info once the service is ready for testing.


          • Flavours and Variants

            • Pinguy OS 11.04 Released With Classic GNOME 2.32.1 Desktop
              Pinguy OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that comes with a lot of applications installed by default, trying to cover everyones needs. But it's not the default application selection what makes Pinguy OS so interesting and easy to use (though it's a plus if you use most of the default applications in Pinguy OS) but Pinguy's attention to detail: every single aspect of the desktop is carefully customized to provide a great out of the box experience. From drivers (and Compiz enabled by default) to pre-installed Firefox addons, themes and so much more from both the Ubuntu and Linux Mint worlds.


            • Ubuntu Studio says no to Unity, adopts Xfce
              In another sign Canonical’s Unity desktop environment is not resonating well with the wider Ubuntu community, multimedia-centric Ubuntu derivative, Ubuntu Studio, will move from the GNOME to the Xfce desktop for its next release.


            • Find your favorite apps installed by default in PinguyOS 11.04
              PinguyOS 11.04 is released, Based on ubuntu 11.04 natty Narwhal, this new release is an optimise build of Ubuntu 11.04 Minimal CD with added repositories, tweaks and enhancements that can run as a Live DVD or be installed. It has all the added packages needed for video, music and web content e.g. flash and java, plus a few fixes as well. Like fixing the wireless problems, gwibber’s Facebook problem and flash videos in full-screen.


            • Enlightening Your Linux Desktop With Bodhi: Jeff Hoogland












  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based IP and VoIP routers gain embedded database
      McObject announced a design win for its in-memory ExtremeDB database management system, which will be integrated across dozens of Linux-based IPLink IP routers and SmartNode voice-over-IP (VoIP) routers from Patton Electronics. Patton is adopting ExtremeDB as a component of its Linux-based Trinity AE distribution to manage configuration data on the routers, says the company.


    • Linux/Android mini-PC debuts HD-ready Marvell PXA510 SoC
      Globalscale Technologies announced a $249, mini-PC hardware/software development kit based on the Marvell PXA510 -- a new ARMv7, 1GHz processor capable of 1080p video. The D2Plug clocks the PXA510 at 800MHz, and offers 1GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB flash, a full set of peripherals including 802.11n and Bluetooth 3.0, plus Ubuntu Linux and Android 2.2 support, says the company.


    • Phones



      • Android

        • Android gets a Netflix app!
          Roma De, from Netflix’s product team, has announced that the company has released an Android Netflix app, which he says eventually will support a “large majority” of Android phones. Five devices, four from HTC and one from Samsung, are initially supported.


        • Finally, Netflix Comes To Android










Free Software/Open Source



  • Another High Priority Project done: The Unarchiver provides free RARv3 extraction tools
    This collection of software fills an important gap in free software support for different archives.

    Free software to support the RARv3 archive format has been listed on our High Priority Projects list for some time now. We've always had ways to create and extract free archive formats, using tools like GNU tar and Info-ZIP. The RARv3 format is proprietary, so we don't want it to replace these tools, but it's not uncommon to see it used for distributing multimedia files over the Internet. That means the lack of free software to extract RARv3 files has been sorely felt.


  • Why free should not always mean cost-free
    More and more I realize that there is a misconception about free software. Many people tend to believe that free software actually means software that should not cost any money. They somehow find natural and fair the fact that some people may work voluntarily in order to produce software, which the rest can use to make money without having any legal obligation to contribute either money or effort back upstream.


  • Events

    • Notes from : Nagios World Conference Europe - 2011
      Yesterday I’ve attended the Nagios World Conference Europe hosted in Bozen (Italy) by Wurth-Phoenix, so as first thing thanks to Wurst-Phoenix for the organization this meeting, for the free access provided to the event , and for the good meal that we have enjoyed.


    • Presenting NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond at OSBC
      Next Monday, May 16, I will be hosting session at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco focused on NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond.




  • Web Browsers



    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 Pulls Farther Ahead of IE9
        Since activating the Firefox Update system and alerting Firefox 3.5 and 3.6 users to the availability of Firefox 4, the line has really picked up some speed.






  • SaaS

    • EMC Unveils Hadoop Appliance for Big Data Analytics
      EMC (NYSE: EMC) says the company has a new strategy for distributing, integrating and supporting the Apache Hadoop open-source software that is emerging as the preferred solution for Big Data analytics across unstructured data in enterprises.

      Announced at EMC World 2011 in Las Vegas, the EMC Greenplum HD Data Computing Appliance is a purpose-built data co-processing Hadoop appliance that integrates Hadoop with the EMC Greenplum Database.


    • Oracle: Quit messin' and marry Hadoop!
      Oracle isn't the biggest enterprise software vendor, but in 2010 it grew faster than its big-enterprise peers, including Microsoft and IBM, to claim third place. Being ever so ambitious, it's unlikely that Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison will be content to take the bronze. But it's equally unlikely that relational databases will be enough to power Oracle to the top of the enterprise heap.




  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.2 Drops IE 6 Support
      Word Press team has announced the release of version 3.2 Beta 1 or the popular blogging platform. The team expects that Word Press 3.2 will be released by the end of June, 2011.




  • Education

    • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki joins the FTA
      The Free Technology Academy is pleased to announce the inclusion of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) in the FTA Partner network.

      The Aristotle University will participate through its Programming Language and Software Engineering Lab and will contribute to the FTA curriculum by co-developing new courses in the fields of Mobile Development, Data Analysis, Intelligent Systems, Reuse Methods and others.




  • Business

    • UK OpenERP Partner Community


    • Openbravo ERP Software Downloads Surpass Two Million
      Openbravo, the Agile ERP company, today announced its flagship enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has been downloaded over two million times - making it the most popular open source ERP software in the world. Openbravo's agile ERP solution is modular and extensible so can be 'right-sized' for any organization, in any industry, in any country with over 325 modules from which to choose. The download milestone underscores the growing momentum of open source adoption in the ERP software category.




  • Funding



  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC



  • Openness/Sharing



    • Open Data

      • New Ways to Exploit Raw Data May Bring Surge of Innovation, a Study Says
        Math majors, rejoice. Businesses are going to need tens of thousands of you in the coming years as companies grapple with a growing mountain of data.

        Data is a vital raw material of the information economy, much as coal and iron ore were in the Industrial Revolution. But the business world is just beginning to learn how to process it all.

        The current data surge is coming from sophisticated computer tracking of shipments, sales, suppliers and customers, as well as e-mail, Web traffic and social network comments. The quantity of business data doubles every 1.2 years, by one estimate.


      • Getting out the Data
        Today I want to to draw your attention to the Open Data Challenge that has started a while ago. I am grateful to the Share PSI initiative and its partners for organising such a competition at the European level. The jury features the World Wide Web’s inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, no less. Here you can really show how creative, innovative and successful you are with getting data out into the open, visualising it in new ways and building apps on top.




    • Open Access/Content

      • How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education
        10 years ago in April 2001, Charles M. Vest, the MIT President at the time, announced that the university would make its materials for all its courses freely available on the Internet. This initiative, found at OpenCourseWare, has enabled other teachers and lifelong learners around the world to listen and read what is being taught at MIT. 5 years later, in April 2006, UC Berkeley announced its plan to put complete academic courses on Apple’s iTunes U, beginning what is now one of the biggest collections of recorded classroom lectures in the world. One year later, in October 2007, the school launched UC Berkeley on YouTube. According to Benjamin Hubbard the Manager of Webcast at UC Berkeley, the school has had well over 120 million downloads since first sharing videos online, which they began doing in 2001.




    • Open Hardware

      • Aldebaran Robotics To Open Source Code of Nao Robot


        Aldebaran Robotics has just announced that it's going to open the source code of its popular humanoid robot Nao.

        The French firm has been developing Nao over the past five years, turning an initially obscure robot with a quirky name into a widely adopted research and education platform used to study human-robot communication, help treat hospitalized children, and play soccer.






  • Standards/Consortia

    • BT Beats: User freedom and artistic freedom go hand in hand


      Today, the Free Software Foundation Europe's UK team calls on BT to not forget free software users when launching its upcoming service, and to build the system using web standards like HTML5 and CSS3, rather than proprietary and invasive software such as Flash.






Leftovers

  • How Do We Get To IPv6?


  • Science

    • Chernobyl's 20,000-30,000 Fatalities


      Since at least the mid-1990s, the standard estimate of the long-term human impact of the Chernobyl catastrophe is that there would be between 20,000 and 30,000 premature deaths from leukemia and other cancers, almost entirely in the greater European region. So how have the New York Times's editorial writers got the idea that Chernobyl's impact was minimal?




  • Health/Nutrition



  • Security



    • After Sony Data Breach, Lawsuits Flood The Courts
      In the wake of Sony’s admission that information for millions of accounts was stolen, Reuters has tallied no less than 25 federal lawsuits. That number shows a very active bar of plaintiffs’ lawyers who believe that they’ll be able to turn companies’ privacy snafus and data breaches into serious cash payouts.


    • Is Sony getting a bad rap on its data breach?
      It discovered that a second network, Sony Online Entertainment, had also been hacked, and then had to admit that bank card numbers had indeed been stolen, contrary to its earlier assessment.




  • Defence/Police/Aggression



  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife





  • Finance

    • The People vs. Goldman Sachs
      They weren't murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.


    • Here's How Eliot Spitzer Would Handle The Goldman Sachs Perjury Claims
      What would Eliot Spitzer do if he were handed the Senate Subcomittee's report on what caused the financial crisis?

      "Once the steam stopped coming out of my ears, I'd be dropping so many subpoenas," Spitzer told Taibbi in this month's Rolling Stone.

      "And I would parse every potential inconsistency between the testimony they gave to Congress and the facts as we now understand them."


    • Simon Johnson: U.S. Banks Need More Capital
      The Vickers report came out in Britain identifying areas where Britain's banking system needed to alter its regulatory structure. Simon Johnson talked to Bloomberg about this report and banking regulation in general. His view is that first and foremost large globe-spanning banks are too large. Using Goldman Sachs as an example, he notes that Goldman had a $1 trillion balance sheet when the panic hit in 2008, 4 times as many assets as it did just a decade earlier. Meanwhile most studies show no significant economies of scale or scope above the $300 billion range.


    • An Updated List of Goldman Sachs Ties to the Obama Government Including Elena Kagan
      This essay shows the pervasive influence of Goldman Sachs and its units (like the Goldman-Robert Rubin-funded Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution) in the Obama government. These names are in addition to those compiled on an older such list and published here at FDL. In the future, I will combine the names here and those on the earlier article but I urge readers to look at the earlier list too (links below). Combined, this is the largest and most comprehensive list of such ties yet published.

      For readability and clarity, I have NOT included many of the details and links that are found in the earlier article so as to make this one less repetitive and easier to read. So, if you want more documentation, please look at my earlier diary here at Firedoglake called "A List of Goldman Sachs People in the Obama Government: Names Attached To The Giant Squid’s Tentacles" published on April 27, 2010.


    • U.S. Attorney Sends a Message to Wall Street
      Every few days during the trial of Raj Rajaratnam, the Galleon Group’s co-founder, Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, would quietly enter the courtroom and take a seat in the last row of the gallery.

      From that unassuming vantage point, Mr. Bharara watched his colleagues try to persuade a jury to convict the former hedge fund titan of securities fraud and conspiracy.


    • Reflections of the Evolution of Capitalism


      Then came the 2008 financial crisis, the worst since the Great Depression. Many believe that the crisis was the direct result of the prevailing anti-regulation ideology of the past few decades, which once more led to a reckless, largely unregulated behavior by financial institutions.

      Our system of checks and balances has started to react to the crisis. The pendulum is now swinging in the other direction, with the Financial Reform law signed by President Obama in July of 2010. It is too early to tell whether this law will make the US financial system transparent and accountable enough to avoid another major economic crisis, as well as ensure that individuals are protected against the excesses of large financial institutions. There continues to be strong opposition to the bill, by many who are still holding on to their anti-government ideological position despite our recent experiences. These include not only politicians but also academics and economists who by now should know better.




  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Close the Revolving Door.
      US citizens: call on Congress to investigate the conflict of interest of the FCC commissioner who voted to approve the Comcast-NBC merger, then quit to become a lobbyist for the merged company.




  • Censorship

    • Americans face piracy website blocking


      The Protect IP bill gives government and copyright holders tools to stop Americans reaching illegal material.


    • Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales criticises injunctions
      Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has waded into the debate over super-injunctions, saying current privacy laws are a "human rights violation".

      The online encyclopaedia has fallen foul of UK privacy law in recent weeks, with details about those using super-injunctions appearing on the site.

      Mr Wales told the BBC that such information would be removed because it did not come from a reliable source.





  • Privacy



    • New FBI Documents Provide Details on Government Surveillance Spyware. Looks mostly like Windows trash, but the intent and disregard of basic principles of law is alarming.


    • Facebook profile access 'leaked' claims Symantec


    • Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over Unauthorized Sharing Of User Data With Advertisers
      A judge yesterday threw out most of the claims made in a lawsuit against Facebook, in which two California individuals, David Gould and Mike Robertson, accused the social networking giant of sharing their names and other private information with some advertisers in direct violation of its own privacy policy.

      That said, the judge also ruled the lawsuit will not be dismissed in its entirety either, as Facebook had pleaded.


    • TalkTalk or StalkStalk plans should be opt-in


      TalkTalk today announced their plans for their website malware software, which has been criticised for opening up potential interception issues under RIPA.

      We met with TalkTalk and Richard Clayton has produced a technical note on the software. Nick Bohm, below, outlines the potential legal issues. Linked is Talktalk's legal analysis.

      ORG believes an opt-in system should avoid both technical problems and legal breaches.


    • Canadian company develop new flying CCTV camera
      The company are attempting to acquire permits to fly the Scout in America, and have already spoken to a variety of law enforcement and security agencies who are interested in it’s versatility and ease of use. Due to the fact it can be fitted into a small, covert suitcase, it can be deployed almost anywhere instantaneously without attracting attention. Pictures from the attached gyroscopic camera can be beamed to any sort of electronic device, from a central computer to something as small as an iPhone.




  • Civil Rights



  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Economist supports more money for patent review to support more innovation.
      In response, David and I submitted the following letter to the editor:

      "The assumption of your editorial (Patently Absurd, May 5) that patents foster innovation is wrong. All the constantly growing evidence shows that patents hurt rather than help innovation. To be sure, in the US patents are required by law to be original, useful, and not obvious. When hundreds of thousands are being issued each year, that beggars credibility. Instead, the patent system fosters endless efforts to hijack the profits of successful innovators, generates endless time consuming costly litigation and worse, leads to monopolization with the concomitant expensive products - and indeed discourages real innovators.

      "This isn't merely a matter of theory, nor yet one of empirical studies - although both are in plentiful supply: you might take a look at the many references in Against Intellectual Monopoly by Boldrin and Levine. But more to the point: why don't you talk to engineers and venture capitalists - or even patent examiners? Or at least read the comments they left on your website? You will find that they too view patents as time-wasting defensive operations that provide little protection to real innovators and instead serve merely to protect entrenched monopolists and encourage patent trolls. You are right that the present patent system is broken, but your proposed cures will only make matters worse."


    • Trademarks

      • Using (and Abusing) Trademarks In An Attempt To Monopolize The English Language
        "By definition, intellectual property includes the words, images, and sounds that we use to communicate, and the courts are strongly admonished not to 'indulge in the facile assumption that one can forbid particular words without also running a substantial risk of suppressing ideas in the process'."


      • US cleaning company claims UK NGO cannot call themselves “eco labs”
        A small UK based NGO, EcoLabs, using the domain eco-labs.org, is being taken to the .org arbitration process by the US cleaning company Ecolab. The corporation claims that the NGO EcoLabs is infringing their trademark by using the name “Eco labs” and the domain should therefore be withdrawn from the NGO.




    • Copyrights

      • Forget the iPod Tax, Canadian Copyright Collective Demanding Memory Card Tax
        During the most recent election campaign, there was no shortage of debate over the so-called iPod Tax, a proposed levy on iPods and similar devices to compensate for copies of sound recordings. While the prospect of an iPod tax in Canada died with the Conservative majority, the existing private copying system remains unchanged. Canadians currently pay levies on blank CDs (and cassettes) and now the Canadian Private Copying Collective, which collects the private copying revenues, would like to establish a new levy on blank memory cards used in a wide range of devices such as smartphones and digital cameras.

        [...]

        There are many problems with the current private copying system, but this latest attempt to extend the levy should serve as a wake-up call to the government. While there may have been a sense that the private copying levy would gradually diminish in importance, the CPCC (which has been sharply critical of the Conservatives in the past) has made it clear that it will work to extend the levy within the full extent of the current law. Even without iPod levies, there is still room for the collective to expand the levy system, despite the weak linkages to actual copying of music. If the government is broadly against iPod taxes, it may be forced to take legislative action to stop extensions that can still occur within the current legal framework.


      • Limewire pays $105m settlement to music firms


      • Twitpic angers users over copyright grab










Clip of the Day



Man Beaten By Durham Regional Police Tells His Story at Toronto Freedom Festival May 7 11



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Credit: TinyOgg

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