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Links 15/5/2013: Android 4.3, Antergos Debuts

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  • IBM to push Linux apps on Power iron in China, then elsewhere
    IBM is opening a Power Systems Linux Center in Beijing, China, in the hopes of getting more local ISVs interested in its Power Systems iron and luring them away from x86-based systems. With the Power Systems business taking it on the chin in IBM's first quarter – revenues fell 32 per cent compared to a year ago – you can bet that Big Blue is trying to light a fire under its Linux-on-Power efforts.

  • IBM Focuses on Linux in China, Partnered with Red Hat and SUSE
    In Beijing this week, IBM has announced that it is further extending its reach into China with the opening of its first Linux innovation center for Power Systems there. The center will initially be focused on Power Systems clients and business partners, and will be located inside IBM's China Systems Center. According to the company, the new center "will make it simpler for software developers to build and deploy new applications for big data, cloud, mobile and social business computing on open technology building blocks using Linux and the latest IBM POWER 7+ processor technology."

  • Linux Top 3: Google Chooses Debian, Ubuntu Installer and GNOME's Bugzilla

  • Munich’s Score Is 93%

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • New Linux Foundation Members Help Advance Enterprise Linux

    • Why Use Xen?

    • Tux3 File-System Claims To Be Faster Than Tmpfs
      The experimental Tux3 file-system has already made claims of being faster than EXT4. The latest claims out of the open-source file-system is that it's faster than Tmpfs, which is quite a feat given its very thin layer between VFS and SWAP.

      Daniel Phillips of the Tux3 file-system wrote on the Linux kernel mailing list this evening, "When something sounds to good to be true, it usually is. But not always. Today Hirofumi posted some nigh on unbelievable dbench results that show Tux3 beating tmpfs. To put this in perspective, we normally regard tmpfs as unbeatable because it is just a thin shim between the standard VFS mechanisms that every filesystem must use, and the swap device. Our usual definition of successful optimization is that we end up somewhere between Ext4 and Tmpfs, or in other words, faster than Ext4. This time we got an excellent surprise."

    • Linux 3.10 - The biggest Linux RC 1 Ever?

    • VA-API Updated, Now Works With GStreamer 1.0
      The GStreamer VA-API plug-ins have been updated with support for the GStreamer 1.0.x API.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Radeon R600 GPU LLVM 3.3 Back-End Testing
        One of the exciting features of LLVM 3.3 that is due out next month is the final integration of the AMD R600 GPU LLVM back-end. This LLVM back-end is needed for supporting Gallium3D OpenCL on AMD Radeon graphics hardware, "RadeonSI" HD 7000/8000 series support, and can optionally be used as the Radeon Gallium3D driver's shader compiler. In this article are some benchmarks of the AMD R600 GPU LLVM back-end from LLVM 3.3-rc1 when using several different AMD Radeon HD graphics cards and seeing how the LLVM compiler back-end affects the OpenGL graphics performance.

      • The Focus Of Wayland's Weston Compositor
        Kristian Høgsberg has clarified the scope and goals of Weston, Wayland's reference compositor. Now that Weston has become somewhat of its own desktop environment, Kristian has clarified its intentions to benefit future patches.

      • Intel's Valley View Should Be In Shape For Linux 3.11
        While the merge window on the Linux 3.10 kernel is not even open yet let alone the Linux 3.9 kernel, Intel and mobile enthusiasts already have a reason to look forward to the Linux 3.11 kernel.

        It looks like the Linux 3.11 kernel -- which is still several months away -- will have support about finished up from the kernel-side for Valley View, the very attractive "Ivy Bridge" class graphics integrated into a low-power Intel Atom SoC. It's also known as Bay Trail.

      • A Very Early Gallium3D TGSI Back-End For LLVM

      • Radeon Driver Gets Golden Registers In Linux 3.10
        A second Linux 3.10 Radeon DRM driver pull request was submitted by AMD's Alex Deucher. The pull request sent to Red Hat's David Airlie for the DRM sub-system mentions the "golden registers" addition as being the highlight of this batch of new open-source AMD Linux graphics code.

      • Gears On Gallium Still Grinding The Latest Mesa
        The latest release of Gears On Gallium happened earlier this week (2013.04.22) and is based upon openSUSE 12.3. This new release ships all of the latest Linux graphics code as of this week -- including Mesa 9.2 Git, Linux 3.9-rc6, libdrm 2.4.44, X.Org Server 1.14.1, xf86-video-ati 7.99.99, xf86-video-intel 2.99.99, xf86-video-nouveau 1.0.99, and LLVM 3.3 SVN.

      • First X.Org Server 1.15 Snapshot Released
        Keith Packard has announced the release of xorg-server, the first X.Org Server 1.15 development snapshot ahead of the official release in the second half of 2013.

      • Plasma Worskpaces 2 On Wayland, A Converged Shell
        The future of the KDE desktop was planned earlier this month at a developer event held at the SUSE headquarters.

        Already we wrote about the results of KDE, Unity, GNOME, and Razor-Qt developers meeting up at SUSE's Nürnberg offices. There were also clear statements about KDE support for Wayland. Now over on the KDE web-site is a nice summary of their Plasma planning.

      • AMD Releases Catalyst 13.4 For Linux

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel i915 Gallium3D Performance Examined

      • Arch-Based Manjaro Linux Runs Against Ubuntu 13.04
        A larger comparison is in the works to pit Manjaro against Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, and other popular Linux distributions. However, for the increasing curiosity about Manjaro, here's the benchmarks that are complete at the moment: Manjaro 0.8.5 vs. Ubuntu 13.04.

      • ZFS vs. EXT4 On Linux Multi-Disk RAID Benchmarks
        When dealing with multi-disk configurations and RAID, the ZFS file-system on Linux can begin to outperform EXT4 at least in some configurations.

        Earlier this month I delivered some EXT4 vs. ZFS file-system benchmarks using the new ZFS On Linux release that is a native Linux kernel module implementing the Sun/Oracle file-system. Testing was done from a single disk configuration due to the available hardware within our labs and among Phoronix readers single disk configurations being most common.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Cinnarch Linux Reborn as Antergos
      I like Arch and I like Cinnamon, so for me Cinnarch Linux was an obvious fit. Except for the fact that apparently Cinnamon doesn't work so well with Arch.

    • So Long, Cinnamon: Cinnarch Linux is reborn as Antergos
      Regular PCWorld readers may recall Cinnarch, a Linux distribution I covered last fall that combined Arch Linux with the relatively new and alternative Cinnamon desktop environment.

    • Antergos Erases Cinnarch with Inaugural Release

    • Zorin OS 6.3 Core is released
      The Zorin OS Team are pleased to announce the release of Zorin OS 6.3 Core, our operating system designed for Windows users. Zorin OS 6.3 builds on top of our popular previous release of Zorin OS 6.2 with newly updated software and a newer kernel out of the box. As Zorin OS 6.3 is based on Ubuntu 12.04 it is an LTS (Long Term Support) release, provided with software updates until April 2017.

    • Screenshots

      • Manjaro: A Convenient Way To Play With Arch Linux
        After carrying out the easy Manjaro Linux installation and upgrading the system using Arch's pacman, it was off to the races. While our ARM Linux benchmarks and 64-bit Arch Linux benchmark comparison in the past have revealed little performance advantage to Arch over other tier-one Linux distributions -- contrary to popular belief that Arch and Gentoo are magically much faster on the very latest hardware -- benchmarks of Manjaro 0.8.5 compared to other Linux distributions is being carried out right now. Stay tuned to the results on Phoronix in the coming days.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 7.0 Wheezy: New Features You Need to Know About
        Debian was an early pioneering Linux distribution, and has been a pillar of the community for nearly two decades. Today, it is well-known for its comprehensive repositories of software, its careful approach to updates, its smooth package installation and upgrade process, and its commitment to software freedom. It is particularly popular as a base for customization, with notable derivatives including Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

      • Second alpha release of Debian Edu / Skolelinux based on Debian Wheezy
        The Debian Edu / Skolelinux project is making great progress and made its second Wheezy based release today. This is the release announcement:

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu and the Missing Community Link
            Sometimes, the symbolism of an act becomes more important than its actual consequences.

            A case in point is the repositioning of the link to the community page on the Ubuntu home page, which has reopened the divide between Canonical, Ubuntu's commercial face, and parts of the Ubuntu community. Not only has that divide reappeared, but a possible error in tactics may have cost the community sympathy that is needed for reform.

            At first, the change sounds unbelievably minor to have provoked the response it has. It is, after all, no more than a cosmetic change. Specifically, it is about the removal of the link to the Community page from the main menu on the Ubuntu home page and its repositioning in a sub-footer. The change leaves the main menu focused on product lines.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 316

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #316 for the week 6 – 13 May, 2013, and the full version is available here.

          • Ubuntu Set To Terminate Its Brainstorm Project
            Ubuntu Brainstorm served as a way for the Ubuntu community to nominate new ideas for the Linux operating system, comment on these ideas, and vote on the ideas should you find them interesting and worthwhile. However, now it looks like Ubuntu Brainstorm is going to be eliminated.

          • Important desktop and end-user topics this week at UDS

          • X.Org, Mir Plans Are Made Up For Ubuntu 13.10
            There's a virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit taking place this week to begin drafting plans for Ubuntu 13.10. This morning the initial road-map for the X.Org / Mesa graphics and display stack were discussed for the next Ubuntu Linux release.

            Ubuntu 13.10 on the desktop will still be shipping an X.Org Server in configurations where Canonical's own Mir Display Server isn't primed. With Ubuntu 13.10 they will likely be shipping X.Org Server 1.14 or version X.Org Server 1.15 if the video driver ABI doesn't break. While Canonical has talked about their next-generation Unity 8 interface, this apparently will be Mir-only. Those running a pure X.Org Server will be limited to the Unity 7.x world.

          • Video Demo of Unity 8 on Mir
            Recently the Mir and Unity Next teams got Unity 8 up and running on Mir. Now, this work is still very early in development and neither Mir nor Unity Next are finished yet, but I reached out to Michael Zanetti, who is on the team, and asked him to put together a short video demo to show the progress of this work. This demo shows the phone/tablet part of the Unity 8 codebase; the final desktop version will come later.

          • Unity 8 Running on Mir on a Galaxy Nexus

          • Ubuntu Linux Community: Canonical Vows to Maintain Focus
            As Canonical works to "converge" Ubuntu, the massively popular open-source Linux operating system, across smarphones, tablets, PCs and cloud servers, it is also working to integrate the various parts of the Ubuntu Web ecosystem. So reports Canonical employee Alejandra Obregon in a recent update on the past, preset and future of and the role of the Ubuntu community within Canonical's Web presence.

          • Canonical plans dogfood-capable phones by the end of May
            Canonical plans dogfood-capable phones by the end of May Canonical's Vice President of Ubuntu, Rick Spencer, has set out a plan to make the Ubuntu phone images dog food – dogfooding is where a company's employees use its own product for their day-to-day work and comes from the phrase "Eating your own dog food". In his blog post, Spencer outlines the things that the images must be capable of before this plan can be put into action, namely make and receive phone calls and send and receive SMS messages, browse the web on 3G data and Wi-Fi and switch between either data mode, have the display dim when the phone is talked on, and be able to import contacts and then add or edit them. Spencer also says that when the phone is updated it should retain its user data, even if being flashed from the command line of a desktop system. All this work should be done, Spencer says, by the end of May.

          • Developer-user relationships
            Today when going through the list of Google+ communities I saw a message in a Linux G+ community that links to a blog post in Sprial Linear that talks about GNOME developers ignoring user requests. This is heartbreaking.

            The incident commenced when a user Eduard Valiauka reported this bug in GNOME’s bugzilla. A feature in GNOME 3.6′s GNOME Terminal (background configuration tab in Profile Preferences) is missing in GNOME 3.8. He described the problem with some detail and asked the GNOME Terminal developers to add back the feature in later GNOME releases.

          • Ubuntu 13.04-Based Touch Images Now Available
            Canonical has released new "Raring-based" Ubuntu Touch images for the Google Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and Galaxy Nexus devices.

          • Ubuntu 13.10 Is Codenamed "Saucy Salamander"
            Canonical will be sticking to a six-month release cycle for now with Ubuntu Linux and now that Ubuntu 13.04, the "Raring Ringtail", has been released it's time for 13.10. Mark Shuttleworth revealed this morning the Ubuntu 13.10 codename.

          • Ubuntu's single platform SDK to be ship shape by October
            Canonical reveals more details of its roadmap for its Ubuntu SDK, which will allow developers to use the same code base to create apps for Ubuntu running on phones, tablets and desktops.

          • Ekoore Python S3 convertible tablet triple-boots Windows 8, Android, Ubuntu
            Can’t decide if you want a tablet or a notebook? No problem. There are plenty of hybrids that you can use either way.

          • Ekoore Python S3 Hybrid Tablet Boots Android, Windows 8 And Linux

  • Devices/Embedded

    • TI DLP chipset targets 3D imaging devices, runs Linux
      Texas Instruments (TI) announced an evaluation kit for its next-generation digital-light-processing (DLP) chipset, offering much higher resolution and brightness than its predecessor. The DLP LightCrafter 4500 is aimed at 3D imaging applications such as machine vision, quality control, dental and retinal scanning, spectrometers, augmented reality devices, and 3D printers.

    • Raspberry Pi gets photo and video capabilities with €£20 camera module
      A tiny camera capable of taking five-megapixel photos and recording HD video has been launched for the Raspberry Pi.

    • Nvidia Shield game console runs Android on Tegra 4
      Nvidia announced a new name and pricing for its quad-core Android game console, as well as the unique ability to play “Steam” games wirelessly streamed from a suitably-equipped Windows PC. The $349 “Nvidia Shield,” available for pre-ordering on May 20 and expected to ship in June, features a 1.9GHz Tegra 4 SOC with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of flash storage, gaming controls, and a 5-inch, 1280 x 720px retinal IPS display.

    • Raspberry Pi Camera on sale now

    • 11 Arduino Projects That Require Major Hacking Skills—or a Bit of Insanity
      Raspberry Pi has received the lion's share of attention devoted to cheap, single-board computers in the past year. But long before the Pi was a gleam in its creators' eyes, there was the Arduino.

    • Ouya game device gets the teardown treatment
      The open-source game console, which rocked Kickstarter last year, earns a high repairability score from iFixit of 9 out of 10.

    • Raspberry Pi in Easy Steps

    • Security appliance taps 12-core QorIQ PowerPC SOC
      Nexcom announced a network security appliance with Unified Threat Management (UTM) services based on Freescale’s new 12-core, 1.8GHz QorIQ T4240 system-on-chip (SOC). The NSA 5640 is equipped with up to 6GB of DDR3 RAM, 2GB NAND flash, mini-PCI Express expansion, eight gigabit Ethernet ports, optional 4-port 10GbE connectivity, and PowerPC Linux support.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Android notebooks from Samsung to launch in 3-4 months as Google preps Apple TV competitor and smart watch?
          KGI Securities analyst Mingchi Kuo, who has been known to have accurate information regarding Apple product launches in the past, is out today with a new note that includes some surprisingly specific specs for upcoming products from Google. One of the products Kuo expects to see at Google I/O later this month is a new Nexus 7, but the note also included info on what he thinks Google has in store for the months after the event, including: an Android powered notebook, a new TV product, and even a Google smart watch.

        • Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition set to be announced at Google I/O
          At the Google I/O event, Samsung is set to make a pretty big announcement. A new version of their latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, will be announced – the Google version. Now, this doesn’t mean that Google will do that manufacturing, or any major overhaul like that. What it means is that Samsung understands that some people, while they may love the device, aren’t so big on the software (mainly TouchWiz). In response, we’ll e seeing a pure AOSP version of the Galaxy S4 being prepped to launch.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google to use open-source sensors to monitor I/O conference
    Google is distributing hundreds of environmental sensors across the Moscone Centre in San Francisco to monitor everything from footsteps to air quality.

  • Startup CloudFounders builds open storage for VMs
    Belgium-based newcomer CloudFounders is jumping on the software-defined storage bandwagon with an open storage platform that supports OpenStack, VMware and Amazon S3.

  • BonitaSoft Wins SIIA Software CODiE Award for Best Open Source Innovation

  • Supercomputers prefer open-source storage
    Supercomputers are where the latest and greatest in information technology gets to shine. It is often where the bleeding-edge in engineering gets applied to solving and answering some of humanity's biggest problems and questions: from origins of the universe to climage change and genetics.

    At the time of its launch, a supercomputer is typically built of the best processor and server technology available then. When designing such a cluster of thousands of computing monsters strung together, engineering an adequate storage system is a big challenge.

  • Sauce Labs' Jason Huggins: App Testing Is for the (Angry) Birds
    "I wanted a tool that I could give to all of my developers and not have to worry about license fees. Open source means that I can very quickly and easily get it to all of my developers," said Jason Huggins, cofounder and CTO of Sauce Labs. "It reduces the friction of getting contributions for people. If it is free to download and is free to use, that means you can skip the part where you talk to the sales guys."

  • JQooBe platform helps communities manage communication
    JQooBe is a platform that allows users to create simple blogs, websites, and advanced applications within a community. It is developed in PHP, Ajax, and MySQL.

  • Open source flight, from the Drone Lab to Twitter: Q&A with Dave Lester
    I recently had the chance to catch up with Dave Lester, a soon-to-be graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Information and a web developer who has been involved in a number of open source initiatives. Dave has been working on bringing technology together with the humanities and education through an un-conference he co-founded, and in his former role as assistant director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. We talked about his drone hacking project, the importance of code integration, and his upcoming foray into open source at Twitter in an email interview.

  • XBMC used for in hotel system

  • Cool tool: One click installation of open source apps

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla releases Firefox 21 for PC, Mac, Linux and Android

      • Is Mozilla Firefox 21 A 'Healthy' Browser?
        Mozilla is out with the Firefox 21 open source browser release today, fixing at least 8 security vulnerabilities, three of which are rated as being critical. The new release also provides new features that – depending on your viewpoint – could either improve or reduce user privacy.

        One of the new features in Firefox 21 is the Health Report. Mozilla first began talking about the health report in September of 2012 as a non-invasive reporting mechanism. The report is intended to deliver information to users about the 'health' of the browser and its components. The report also shares that data with Mozilla.

      • Firefox 21 arrives with social providers Cliqz, Mixi, MSN Now, open source fonts and HTML5 tweaks for Android
        Mozilla on Tuesday officially launched Firefox 21 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Improvements include the addition of multiple social providers on the desktop as well as open source fonts on Android.

      • Firefox Gets a Health Report, New 'Do Not Track' Options, and More
        The lastest version of Firefox, Firefox 21, is available for download now. What will you find in this new release? A few major new features, including three "Do Not Track" options, a tune-up tool called Firefox Health Report, and performance-boosting startup suggestions.

      • Firefox 21: Mozilla Releases Browser Updates For Mac, Windows, Linux, Android
        Mozilla Firefox may not be the most popular web browser in the world -- that achievement now belongs to Google Chrome -- but fans of the free, open-source web browser are as excited about the browser as ever. Firefox 20, which was released in April 2013, was a huge step forward for the browser, introducing download messenger and per-window private browsing to the iconic web browser. Now, with the release of Firefox 21, the web brower comes packed with even more excellent features.

      • Stay Social with Firefox
        Social sites are a key part of online life and with Firefox we want to make it easier to use the Web the way you want. Mozilla developed the Social API to enable social providers to integrate directly into Firefox to make your browsing experience more social, customizable and personal. The Social API makes it easy for your favorite social providers to add a sidebar with your content to Firefox or notification buttons directly on the Firefox toolbar.

      • Feature light Firefox 21 lands
        Mozilla has begun shipping out Firefox 21, the latest rapid release of the organisation's flagship web browser. Headlining the release notes is the expanded Social API support. The Social API launched last year with Facebook support allowing the company to create a more integrated sidebar for its services. Now, this is joined by support for Cliqz, Japanese social network Mixi and msnNOW.

        There are, though, a few features in this release that will raise issues around ongoing privacy debates. A new interface to Do Not Track (DNT) allows users to now set the DNT flag to "please track" when accessing web sites alongside the previous options of not setting the flag at all or setting it to say "do not track". The default remains to say nothing about the users preferences.

      • Personalization with Respect
        Mozilla’s mission compels us to provide people with an Internet experience that puts them in control of their online lives and that treats them with respect. Respecting someone includes respecting their privacy. We aspire to a “no surprises” principle: the idea that when information is gathered about a person, it is done with their knowledge and is used in ways that benefit that person. People should be made aware of how information is collected and used. Each individual should also be able to decide whether the exchange of personal data for the services received in return feels fair. This can be challenging to achieve, especially when balanced against convenience and ease of use: people expect a fast, streamlined user experience without excessive prompts and confusing choices. But we are always striving toward this ideal.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Q&A: ownCloud Provides Secure File Sharing for the Enterprise
      File storage and sharing using consumer-oriented cloud services can be a security problem for companies that want to avoid sensitive data leaks. ownCloud aims to solve the issue by offering commercial cloud services installed within a company's own datacenter. Their open source software is built on Linux and most often deployed on Linux by enterprise customers, said Markus Rex, CTO of ownCloud, via email.

    • Cisco Cloud CTO Updates OpenStack Progress [VIDEO]

      Where do open source cloud, SDN, and the Internet of Things intersect?

    • OpenNebula 4.0 debuts new admin interface
      The OpenNebula project has announced the release of the latest major version of its open source cloud computing framework. OpenNebula 4.0, code-named "Eagle" after the M16 star cluster, introduces a redesigned Sunstone administration interface, a number of new virtual machine features, and improvements to several of the core components of the platform. The OpenNebula toolkit is used by, among others, the European Space Agency, Fermilab, CERN, and China Mobile and provides IaaS management capabilities for virtual infrastructure in data centres.

  • Databases

    • The H Half Hour: 10Gen CTO Eliot Horowitz
      MongoDB is one of the most visible NoSQL databases out there and 10Gen's CTO is apparently one of the most hands-on coding CTOs out there. So when he was in London recently, The H just had to have a chat with Eliot Horowitz about his technical philosophy of what MongoDB is, where its going and how being an active developer informs his decision-making process:

    • PostgreSQL 9.3 begins beta cycle
      PostgreSQL 9.3 has begun its testing cycle with the release of its first beta. The new version brings writing support for foreign tables, including those on other PostgreSQL servers, updatable views and the ability to declare a materialised view, new JSON construction and extraction functions, indexed regular-expression-based searches, and new resilience features. Together, the changes place PostgreSQL in the position of being able to be the backbone of many enterprises' data storage and integration systems.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • FOSS Force Poll: We Don’t Trust Oracle Or Java
      Back in March and April, when the Java browser plugin was getting hammered with security holes that were being exploited in the wild, we conducted a couple of unscientific polls here on FOSS Force to determine how our visitors were handling this security crisis.

      To call the problems that Java was experiencing at the time a “crisis” is not an exaggeration. If you’ll remember, the situation was considered so serious that here in the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security was urging everyone to disable the Java plugin.

    • Java Release Numbering Gets Re-Numbered

    • Toward a more colorful LibreOffice

    • Potential new OpenOffice logos shortlisted
      As the development of Apache OpenOffice 4.0 progresses, the Apache OpenOffice project is looking for a new logo to visually represent the project and now – after 40 logo submissions and over five thousand entries in a community survey – the shortlist is available. A report on the survey shows that responses came from around the world.

  • CMS

    • Crafter Open Source CMS Goes Solo
      New standalone organization created to support the open source Crafter content management system.

    • Drupal Is a Framework: Why Everyone Needs to Understand This
      Everyone planning and building Web solutions with Drupal benefits from understanding what a "hook" is—and why Drupal is not a CMS.

      One of the greatest challenges that Drupal adopters face, whether they are new site owners or beginning developers, is figuring out what is easy and what is hard to do with Drupal. As a developer, solution architect, technical strategist and even as the friend who knows stuff about Web sites, 60% of my discussions revolve around three questions: how long will it take, how much will it cost, and can my site do [insert cool new thing]?

  • Education

    • Stanford and edX unite to build stronger open education platform
      The open education landscape is set to grow a little more as Stanford University announces plans to team up with edX to build an online learning platform that universities and developers around the world can access for free.

      edX, a not-for-profit online education project founded in 2012 by MIT and Harvard University, develops online learning courses for students. The project encourages collaboration between teachers, students, and faculty to fit the needs of individual institutions.

  • Funding


    • GNU Hurd/ news/ 2012-q3-q4
      In November 2012, we finished the libthreads (cthreads) to libpthread (POSIX Threads) conversion. Converting the Hurd libraries to the pthread interfaces allows linking them together with other libraries that use this standard threading interface themselves. This project once was begun by Vicente Hernando Ara, and later continued by Barry deFreese, Thomas DiModica, Thomas Schwinge, Samuel Thibault, Pino Toscano, and now brought to completion by Richard Braun, who could not be scared by having to resolve the last remaining tricky issues before the transition could be completed.

    • Guile 100 #7: Animated GIFs
      Challenge #7 in the Guile 100 Programs Project is to write a function that creates an animated GIF from a datacube of 8-bit color indices and a 256 color palette. It is the third challenge in this month's theme, which is "Web 1.0 -- Web 1990s style".

  • Project Releases

    • Moodle 2.5 is now released!

    • Video.js goes Apache with version 4.0
      The Video.js open source JavaScript library designed for working with web video has been updated to version 4.0 and, in the process, has changed its licence from LGPLv3 to Apache 2.0. The major update is the first since Brightcove, the video platform company, acquired Zencoder, where Video.js was developed as a side project. Video.js is designed to make it simple to embed video, whether the browser is modern and supports HTML5 or legacy and relies on Flash. Creator Steve Heffernan says that he was tasked by Brightcove to work full time on the project and that the Brightcove video team have become contributors too. That focus has paid off in version 4.0 of Video.js with improved performance, new skin designs, responsive layout, accessibility and retina display support among the new features.

    • SpringSource fires up the asynchronous Reactor framework

    • NGINX 1.4 Supports SPDY, Gunzip Filter

  • Public Services/Government

    • Power, Responsibility, and Open Source Software
      I recently spoke to Dr SPT Krishnan, Chairman, Infocomm Technologies Advisory Panel, Singapore Red Cross Society. He and his team were responsible for Donorweb, a web platform for “disseminating critical information on blood requirements and reaching prospective blood donors during normal and emergency time periods.”

  • Licensing

    • Open Source vs. Proprietary License: What You Need to Know About Software Licenses
      When it comes to using, developing and promoting software online, the numerous licenses that accompany them can be confusing for even the most adept computer user. Open source and proprietary license often go at each other head-to-head, with one promoting an accepted method of licensing whereas the latter leaves more room for interpretation. But can they work well together or are open source and proprietary license destined to drive developers and users even further apart?

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open Data, Creative Destruction and Money
        Nearly three years ago, I wrote an article exploring why at that time there were no billion-dollar companies (since then, Red Hat has finally broken through this barrier). Here's the key point:

        open source solutions save money for customers by doing away with the fat margins for existing computer companies - and thus shrink the overall market. Opponents of open source like to paint this as “value destruction” that takes money “out of the economy” - as if free software went around burning down offices and warehouses.

      • DIY cartography: Hands on with MapBox’s new open-source ‘iD’ editor in OpenStreetMap
        Maps are nothing new; humans have been recording the layout of the world around them for close to 8,000 years. What started out as cave paintings developed into hand-drawn maps on parchment, which eventually turned into machine-printed atlases, and, most recently, into GPS guidance. While mapmaking has been primarily the job of cartography experts and companies like Rand McNally and Garmin, technology has allowed for an awesome shift, giving the power to document one’s surroundings back to the people.

      • Default to open data: an Executive Order
        Last week, The White House published an Executive Order by which the default method for government data collection and dissemination must now be open and machine readable.

  • Programming

    • Open Source Is Old School, Says The GitHub Generation

    • LLVM's Clang Compiler Is Now C++11 Feature Complete

    • LLVM/Clang 3.3 Performing Against GCC For Old Intel CPU

    • FLANG: Proposing An LLVM Fortran Compiler

    • Linux 3.9 Kernel Delayed By One Week; 3.8-rc8 Released
      While it looked like the Linux 3.9 kernel would be released this weekend, a 3.9-rc8 release was warranted and is out this Sunday evening.

      Linus Torvalds explained that he was hoping to release Linux 3.9 final this weekend, but there ended up being a surplus of issues that led him to tagging another kernel release candidate. In the end, Torvalds decided, "another week won't hurt."

    • LLVM/Clang Already Working On C++1y/C++14
      Phoronix was first to report on Friday that LLVM's Clang compiler is now C++11 feature complete. The LLVM developers have today confirmed this information and talked about future C++ support too.

    • Terra and Lua offer new high performance computing strategy
      Zach DeVito and a team at Stanford and Purdue University have published details of Terra, a new approach to generating code for high performance computing. Using Lua as a linguistic host for a new low-level language, the team have come up with a system which allows a developer to write high-level code in Lua and high-performance code in Terra, iterating code from high-level experimentation to high-performance optimised code over time. This is, though, just one of the use cases for Terra and Lua.

    • LLVM 3.3 Release Candidate 1 Now Available
      Following yesterday's branching of LLVM and the related components from trunk, LLVM 3.3 Release Candidate 1 is now available for those interested in testing the Apple-sponsored compiler.

    • PyPy 2.0 alpha on ARM includes Pi support
      The developers of the JIT-compiling Python interpreter PyPy have released an alpha version of PyPy 2.0 for ARM processors. Part of the work was sponsored by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, so it's not surprising to find the Raspberry Pi mini-computer listed as one of the supported platforms.

    • Python 3.4 to get enums
      The planned feature list for Python 3.4 is starting to become more defined. One of the important additions that the developers have decided on is the inclusion of an enumeration type in the standard library in the next version of the language. Enumeration types, which are also known as enums, are data types that define each possible value as symbolic constants.

    • Go 1.1 brings better performance and a race detector
      Google has released version 1.1 of the Go programming language, the first major revision of the language and its tools since it was introduced in 2012. Since then, there has been a lot of interest in the language as it offers a rich alternative to C and C++ as a basis for system and application development in modern highly connected environments. While much of the work in the update has focussed on improving performance, new features include a race detector for finding memory synchronisation problems and new functionality in the standard library of the language.

    • Dart now compiling in-browser with Dart based Dart compiler
      The Google Dart developers are reviving the language's site with a major upgrade of the site's capabilities. Previously, the site would compile Dart into JavaScript by sending it to a server, but now, after having compiled the Dart2js compiler to JavaScript, it can run in the user's browser. Dart was introduced in 2011 as a more structured form of JavaScript to replace the language in the browser. Dart can be run in two ways, either compiled to JavaScript or run in its virtual machine and, by exploiting the former, it has made it possible to work on or offline with the Dart2js compiler.


  • Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)

  • This Is What Happens When Publishers Invest In Long Stories
    The Downside Of Long Quality Articles

  • Unix Architecture Showing it's Age

  • Security

    • domain registrar hacked
      US domain registrar and web hosting service has fallen victim to a hacker attack. In a recent email, the company informed its customers of an incident that potentially enabled unknown attackers to gain access to "email addresses, encrypted passwords and encrypted credit card details". The registrar says that the private crypto keys that are required to decrypt the stolen credit card details are stored on a separate system that wasn't compromised.

    • CSRF hole in OpenVPN Access Server

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Bursting Benghazi's Bubble–Only to Boost Bush

      But one of Cohen's Post colleagues doesn't think it's a scandal either–just like Bush's Iraq lies weren't much of a scandal either.

      Come again?

    • Russian agent claims Ryan Fogle is not the first CIA agent caught this year

      The spy in the blond wig, Ryan Fogle, was not the first CIA agent to be caught by Russian security services this year, according to an interview with an anonymous Russian agent aired on state television.

    • US 'spy' Ryan Fogle expelled after CIA refused to stop recruiting, say Russians
      Federal Security Service says US embassy official was expelled because CIA persisted in trying to recruit Russians for espionage

    • 'CIA Spy' Row: Russia Summons US Ambassador

    • Ryan Fogle: Russia to expel diplomat arrested trying to recruit for CIA

    • Russia to expel 'CIA agent' in spy recruitment scandal
      Russia says it will expel a US diplomat briefly detained in Moscow for allegedly trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer as a spy.

    • Russia Quizzes US Ambassador over ‘CIA Wig Spy’ in Cold War Row
      The Russian foreign ministry said Fogle has been labelled as persona non grata and is to be expelled from the country. Officially an US embassy employee, Fogle is protected by diplomatic immunity.


      The Russian foreign ministry said Fogle has been labelled as persona non grata and is to be expelled from the country. Officially an US embassy employee,

    • Russia to expel ‘CIA agent’ arrested in $1m spy sting
      THE US and Russia were locked in a Cold War-style spy scandal last night after an alleged CIA agent was seized and accused of offering millions to recruit a intelligence figure in Moscow.

    • CIA ups stake in database-as-a-service firm
      The CIA has maintained its influence over Cloudant by upping its investment in the database-as-a-service firm.

      The $12m funding round sees Cloudant's existing investors In-Q-Tel*, Avalon Ventures, and Samsung Venture Investment Corporation up their shares in the company, and new investors Fidelity Investments, Rackspace Hosting, and Toba Capital have piled in as well, the company announced on Tuesday.

    • The CIA is Shaping the #Torture Debate
      Remember the Academy Award-winning film Zero Dark Thirty? Well, last week news broke that the CIA edited the film’s script to make sure that it didn’t portray the “enhanced interrogation” program in a way that would make the agency look bad.

    • Targeted Killing: CIA's fleet of 80+ UAVs unlikely to be transferred to military
      The Obama administration has floated the idea of putting the CIA’s controversial targeted killing operations under the control of the uniformed armed services. But sources familiar with the still-classified program, which uses unmanned aircraft to kill suspected terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen, say the shift would be difficult to implement and would make little difference.

    • CIA’s role in the Benghazi mess
      And, despite its assertion that it warned the administration about the threat to Benghazi, it failed there, too, in not vetting properly the local militia and leaving what was essentially a CIA facility insufficiently protected.

    • CIA Warned of 'Jihadist' Threat to Cairo Embassy

    • Miller: Intel leak in AP probe "embarrassing, bad" for CIA
      Attorney General Eric Holder strongly defended the Justice Department's seizure of two-months-worth of Associated Press phone records on Tuesday, saying the leak of secret information to the AP created a national security threat.

      The Justice Department obtained the phone records of the AP -- from April and May in 2012 -- in an effort to determine who leaked confidential information regarding a Saudi double agent who had infiltrated al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

    • Email: Even The CIA Uses It. Time To Get Serious About Its Legal Protections
      Allegedly the U.S. diplomat told his would-be recruit to set up a Google Gmail account to respond if he wanted to pursue such a relationship.

    • Boston Academic Taking CIA to Court Over “Paltry” Information Releases
      Prof. George Katsiaficas of Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston has launched a federal lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency over documents he seeks relating to the assassination of a former Korean premier.


      His FOIA requests have also been expanded to include the Defense Intelligence Agency, because he says, “it’s possible the DIA will release documents that the CIA doesn’t have, or doesn’t want to release.”

      Berman confirmed that the next step on his behalf is to serve the CIA and the Government before an appearance at the US District Court in Massachusetts will be scheduled.

    • Secrecy, Drones, Prisons and Kill Lists
      On Monday, the Associated Press revealed that the Department of Justice used subpoenas to obtain phone records of its editors and reporters from April and May 2012. The records were obtained due to the investigation and supposed leak to the AP last year that the CIA had ”thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.”

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Investors Should Oppose Pay Plan, Glass Lewis Says
      Goldman Sachs has been “deficient” in linking compensation to company performance, Glass Lewis said yesterday in a report, which also opposed the re-election of compensation committee Chairman James A. Johnson. ISS said in a May 8 report that shareholders should vote for Johnson at the New York-based bank’s May 23 annual meeting.


      Goldman Sachs doesn’t have specific measures to help set annual pay for top executives, Glass Lewis said in the report, which gave the firm a “D” grade in linking pay to performance. ISS said the increase in executive pay for 2012 reflected stronger company performance.

    • Former USAir General Counsel Speaks Out
      It’s not every day that a former corporate lawyer comes out in favor of stronger regulation of big business.

      And it’s not every day the former general counsel of a major American corporation comes out and urges the federal government to force major corporate wrongdoers to admit to their wrongdoing.

    • Economist: Deficits nothing but a politically useful hammer to beat up Obama
      University of Massachusetts economist Richard Wolff on Tuesday explained that obsession over the federal deficit was based in politics, not economics.

      Wolff said on the David Pakman Show that the government could not improve a struggling economy by cutting its spending. As the single biggest consumer, the government only reduced demand for goods and services by cutting spending, leading to greater unemployment.

    • Ghost in the Machine: Pete Peterson Haunts College Campuses

      No one in the room appeared to catch the fact that they all were participating in an elaborate public relations ruse, set up by well-known Wisconsin spinmeister (Graul) whose claim to fame is a racist attack ad on a sitting judge, and orchestrated by a Wall Street billionaire whose name was never mentioned in the two-hour "teach-in."

    • Everything is Rigged, Continued: European Commission Raids Oil Companies in Price-Fixing Probe
      We're going to get into this more at a later date, but there was some interesting late-breaking news yesterday.

      According to numerous reports, the European Commission regulators yesterday raided the offices of oil companies in London, the Netherlands and Norway as part of an investigation into possible price-rigging in the oil markets. The targeted companies include BP, Shell and the Norweigan company Statoil.

    • US Government Begins BitCoin Crackdown
      As we first noted here (regulation) and here (supervision), the US government has been gradually encroaching on the independence and freedom of the virtual currency. This week, as The Washington Post reports, the government escalated. The feds took action against Mt. Gox, the world’s leading Bitcoin exchange. Many people use Dwolla, a PayPal-like payment network, to send dollars to their Mt. Gox accounts. They then use those dollars to buy Bitcoins. On Tuesday, Dwolla announced that it had frozen Mt. Gox’s account at the request of federal investigators.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Dead Journalists and the Newseum Scandal
      On May 10, the Huffington Post's Michael Calderone reported that the museum was being criticized by "conservative outlets and a pro-Israel think tank" over the inclusion in its Journalists Memorial of two reporters from Al-Aqsa TV, which is run by Hamas.

  • Censorship

    • Republican Governor Deals Blow to "Constitutionally Suspect" Tennessee "Ag Gag" Bill
      Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has vetoed a controversial "ag gag" bill that would hamstring citizen investigations documenting patterns of abuse of animals and regulatory violations. These investigations have led in the past to regulatory action and demanded industry changes.

      As the reason for his decision, Governor Haslam cited the legal opinion of Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper, who last week called the bill's provisions "constitutionally suspect" with regard to the First Amendment. (The First Amendment Center concurs and says that ag-gag bills "harm free speech.")

    • Flies, Maggots, Rats, and Lots of Poop: What Big Ag Doesn't Want You To See
      What's it like inside a factory farm? If the livestock and meat industries have their way, what little view we have inside the walls of these animal-reviewing facilities may soon be obscured. For the second year in a row, the industry is backing bills in various statehouses that would criminalize undercover investigations of livestock farms. The Humane Society of the US, one of the animal-welfare groups most adept at conducting such hidden-camera operations, counts active "ag gag" bills in no fewer than nine states. Many of them are based on a model conjured by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-funded group that generates industry-friendly legislation language for state legislatures, Associated Press reports.
    • National assembly approves controversial information bill
      An earlier version was already adopted at the end of 2011 but, in response to demands for changes from the opposition, the National Council of Provinces (the South African parliament’s upper house) made a number of minor amendments. These concessions still fall far short of what is needed.

    • Chinese internet: 'a new censorship campaign has commenced'
      These words are the reflection of my true feelings. Not long ago, scholar Zhang Xuezhong, Xiao Xuehui, Song Shinan and lawyer Si Weijiang all saw their Weibo accounts deleted. They each had large numbers of followers, who spread their words to an even wider audience. But all of a sudden their names have disappeared. Nobody knows why, or who ordered it, but we all know that a new round of a censorship campaign has commenced. As in 1957, 1966 and 1989, Chinese intellectuals are feeling more or less the same fear as one does before an approaching mountain storm: the scariest thing of all is not being silenced or being sent to prison; it is the sense of powerlessness and uncertainty about what comes next. There is no procedure, no standard, and not a single explanation. It's as if you are walking into a minefield blindfolded. Not knowing where the mines are buried, you don't know when you will be blasted to pieces.

    • Critic Of Chinese Censorship Censored: Microblog With 1.1 Million Followers Deleted
      The Global Voices story quoted above goes on to describe the ways in which some of those 1.1 million followers have reacted, and how many feel that Sina Weibo is diminished by Murong's absence. It also points out that all of his posts have been preserved and are available -- but on the other side of the Great Firewall of China (GFW). Although only those with the requisite technical know-how to tunnel under the GFW using VPNs will be able to access the now-deleted messages, that doesn't mean the Chinese authorities have really won here. After all, using censorship to silence a critic of censorship means that his 1.1 million (ex-)followers now have definitive proof of what he was warning them about.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Indian law enforcement unaccountable in journalist attacks
      Anyone who has been to India or is familiar with the country knows how chaotic it can be: from the congestion on the streets of Delhi to the messy way in which democracy functions. And for journalists, covering the chaos of India can be risky business. This week alone, Indian law enforcement officials assaulted two journalists covering demonstrations in different corners of the country.

    • Cornel West: 'They say I'm un-American'
      The American academic and firebrand campaigner talks about Britain's deep trouble, fighting white supremacy and where Obama is going wrong

    • Heritage Immigration Scandal Proof That…Both Sides Do It?
      You may heard that the conservative Heritage Foundation released a dubious study about the effects of an immigration reform. The report alleged a cost of $6.3 trillion, and was quickly challenged and debunked by critics on the right and the left.

    • Disappointing Unsealing Decision in Aaron Swartz Case
      The public lost another battle in the U.S. v. Aaron Swartz case, this one over transparency. On May 13, 2013, the U.S. District Court judge handling the prosecution sided with the government, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and JSTOR and refused to make public any information in the case that any of these three entities wished to keep under seal. The ruling effectively grants the Department of Justice, MIT and JSTOR a veto over what the public gets to know about the investigation.

    • Strongbox and Aaron Swartz
      Aaron Swartz was not yet a legend when, almost two years ago, I asked him to build an open-source, anonymous inbox. His achievements were real and varied, but the events that would come to define him to the public were still in his future: his federal criminal indictment; his leadership organizing against the censorious Stop Online Piracy Act; his suicide in a Brooklyn apartment. I knew him as a programmer and an activist, a member of a fairly small tribe with the skills to turn ideas into code—another word for action—and the sensibility to understand instantly what I was looking for: a slightly safer way for journalists and their anonymous sources to communicate.

    • The Tough Life of a Dissident

      Ray’s excellent point is that we need more whistleblowers not less, so I should accentuate the positive and talk of how great I feel, how I can sleep at night, how I am recognized all round the world, etc. – all of which is true.

    • Russian MP wants Nazi sympathizers to face criminal charges
      A senior United Russia official has demanded debate be resumed in the Duma over introducing criminal prosecution for the rehabilitation of Nazism. The move comes after Russian opposition activist statements during Victory day celebrations.

      Sergey Zheleznyak, deputy-speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, has declared he was insulted by some of the online statements made by members of the opposition movement on May 9, the day Russia marks victory over Nazi Germany.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • US supreme court rules for Monsanto in Indiana farmer's GM seeds case
      The US supreme court came down solidly on the side of the agricultural giant Monsanto on Monday, ruling unanimously that an Indiana farmer could not use patented genetically modified soybeans to create new seeds without paying the company.

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Anti-Piracy Outfit Pirates Photos for its Website
        Canadian anti-piracy company Canipre has been teaming up with film studios to hunt down and sue alleged BitTorrent pirates. They want to change people’s attitudes toward piracy and make a few bucks in the process. However, it appears that the attitude change should start closer to home, as their own website blatantly uses photos that have been ripped-off from independent photographers.

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