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Links 11/12/2009: French Military on Thunderbird

Posted in News Roundup at 12:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 2010 Linux Events Foster Community, Business Opportunities

    The technology event season has come to a close, as the holidays approach and 2009 draws to its end.

    This was a great year for events in the Linux community. Several regional Linux and open source shows filled the calendar around the world, so most Linux enthusiasts got a chance to visit at least one event near them. There were also the big shows, like OSCON, Open Source World, CeBIT, and, of course, LinuxCon, which came off as an unqualified success for the Linux Foundation.

  • Arxan Defense Systems Delivers New Software Protection Capabilities for Military Mission-Critical Applications

    Arxan Defense Systems Inc., a leading anti-tamper systems integrator for government and military programs, today announced the addition of natively compiled Java binaries and secure Linux support to its EnforcIT®-S anti-tamper platform.

  • Linux Professional Institute Expands Training Partner Program to Include 44 nations

    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization (http://www.lpi.org), announced that it had expanded its training partner program to include 44 nations–up from 33 a year ago. In addition the organization has increased the number of LPI-Approved Training Partners (LPI-ATP) and LPI-Approved Academic Partners (LPI-AAP) to a total of 242 partners — up 10% from this time last year.

  • Desktop

    • Make Linux look awesome!

      Adding eye candy should never be about purely cosmetic changes. Instead, it should enhance the usability of the desktop and make the average session more productive and more streamlined. We’re going to show you how to do just this, and in the process we’ll help you turn your Linux desktop into the envy of your proprietary OS-loving friends.

    • An interesting look at the Linux CLI-GUI debate once more.

      I believe both have a role to play in helping an end user make the most of their system. I don’t however, believe a person’s inability to use the CLI actually makes them dumb. Neither do I believe that you’d be diminishing your status by using point and click to get things done for the sheer reason that you’re a CLI guru. If Linux is actually going to go anywhere in the future, the sometimes fundamental stance people take on the issue of CLI vrs GUI ought to be discouraged.

    • Ubuntu-ready Dell desktop looks like a nettop

      Dell announced new Ubuntu Linux-ready OptiPlex desktops, including a power-efficient model claimed to be the “world’s smallest fully-functional commercial desktop.” In addition to the 9.4 x 2.6 x 9.3-inch, Intel Core 2 Duo-ready OptiPlex 780 USFF desktop, Dell announced a 13-inch Vostro V13 laptop that also offers Ubuntu.

    • Ultra-portable Dell Vostro V13 Unveiled

      Do note that the base model comes with Ubuntu Linux 9.04 while one can opt for Windows 7 OS.

    • Where Are The Linux Workplaces?

      Looks like most reasons Linux is not being adopted in the workplace are based on false assumptions and incorrect perceptions. How can we promote Linux adoption in the workplace? Seems to me the answer lies in educating and informing the “powers that be” in IT departments. Talking to managers in terms they understand, emphasizing reduced costs and increased productivity. Reduced cost because of the license savings, increased productivity because less time is spent applying service packs and patches, and the chances of catching a virus drop to near zero.

      Convincing managers to give Linux a try is easier said than done, I know, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  • Kernel Space

    • Nouveau To Go Into Linux 2.6.33 Kernel!

      Wow, the day has come, open-source fans with NVIDIA hardware that run Linux have quite the present this holiday season. Yesterday there was the first DRM pull request for the Linux 2.6.33 kernel that brought many changes to the ATI/AMD and Intel DRM along with other core DRM improvements (such as to the TTM memory manager). These changes were quite significant and we even called it a great present in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel.

      These DRM changes were accepted, but Linus Torvalds went off on a bit of rant wanting Nouveau merged into the kernel. A discussion ensued and after blaming Nouveau’s lack of upstreaming on wanting the kernel/user-space API to potentially change in the future and then with Red Hat disclosing the Nouveau microcode problem that seemed to be pretty much that and we had not expected any immediate activity on the matter.

    • Linus Torvalds Accepts DRBD into Linux Kernel

      Linus Torvalds, lead developer of the Linux kernel community, has merged DRBD, an open source data replication solution, into Linux as a fully supported component. After exactly 10 years of ongoing development work – software developer Phil Reisner wrote the first line of code on December 8, 1999 – Torvalds’ acknowledgment means DRBD has become a fixture on the storage market.

    • Gentoo: devtmpfs and boot times (revisited)
    • Open-Source SERCOS lll Master Library Available

      By April 2010 the driver will be integrated into the mainline version of the LINUX open source operating system.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • A new way of looking at user interface design

      This means that all programs running under a window manager will follow that particular window managers display rules and have a consistent look and feel across the board. All buttons will have the same shape, all menus will look the same, all dialog boxes and the colour scheme will be the same for all programs. If you change the window manager or desktop environment then all programs will also reflect that change.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Western Digital ShareSpace NAS

      Powered by a Linux OS, the network-attached device – which you connect to a router using an Ethernet cable – works with Linux computers, although the remote access is Windows-only for now. For those working in digital media markets who need fast and expansive storage, or for an office workgroup that needs a place for everyone’s files, the ShareSpace is an ideal product that’s easy to configure and use, with only a few minor issues.

    • 2009′s Top E-book Readers
    • Timesys offers Linux development framework

      The Timesys Linuxlink software-development framework provides Alchemy Au1250 and Au1300 processor users with an intuitive environment for developing Linux-based media and navigation products.

      By providing access to hundreds of open-source middleware packages, Linuxlink allows customers to accelerate product development and makes it easy and convenient to create footprint-optimised Linux platforms with a rich set of APIs well matched to their end applications.

    • Android

      • Motorola Droid named gadget of the year by TIME magazine

        The Motorola Droid has been enjoying some great success in the States. Since its US launch in November, it’s been the subject of much praise and critical acclaim – with pundits suggesting it might be Android’s best outing yet. Now, on the same day of the Droid’s UK launch (as the Milestone) it’s been crowned best gadget of 2009 in TIME Magazine’s top ten of everything for 2009.

      • The Game-Changing Android OS

        The Android OS (operating system) used on the new Droid phones offered by Verizon and powered by Google is the first significant threat to the domination of the computing world by the Windows operating system. Although this potential is still in the distant future, it should not be ignored.

      • Canada prepares for Android invasion

        The biggest difference – and perhaps Android’s strongest point – is that Google’s operating system is open source. That means anybody – from the weekend hacker to the biggest cell phone makers in the world – can tweak it as they see fit. As such, the Android phones didn’t look like clones – for better of for worse, the individual smart phone makers managed to make them their own.

    • Nokia/Maemo

    • Sub-notebooks

      • 15 best netbooks in the world today

        This tiny form factor computer omitted the optical drive in favour of USB ports, and even ditched Windows, switching to Linux to keep costs down. It was a brave move on Asus’ part, but one that paid off.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Designer’s (Free!) Toolbox: GIMP

    I’ve done my fair share of software reviews on this site, but so far, all of them have been about the major commercial applications and “industry standards” like Adobe products and a couple of 3D suites. But there’s a new class of graphics applications built on open-source platforms that are going to leap further and further into our awareness in the coming months and years for a variety of reasons. Possibly most notably, they are free.

  • Tatts Groups bets on open source servers

    Tony Merenda, CTO and VP of International business at Opengear told CRN that under the contract, Tatts Group has purchased 12,000 Opengear SD4000 series device servers (pictured) for its subsidiary, MaxGaming.

  • Open Source Efforts No Longer an “Obscure Sideshow of Geeks”

    “Long gone are the days when open source efforts were regarded as an obscure sideshow of geeks, open source software was viewed with suspicion by general public and corporate IT departments, and entrepreneurs struggled to commercialize open source efforts,” says Fakhri Karray, primary founder, president and CEO of Vestec. “Asterisk, of course, has in many ways led these changes in perception about open source telephony software and deserves to be acknowledged as a classic open source success story.”

  • Open-source software: what is it and when to use it

    For small and mid-sized businesses, there often is a question about whether to stick with tried and true software providers such as Microsoft for your servers, e-mail and business applications or consider adoption of open-source products such as Linux.

    I’ve witnessed in this region some hesitation toward adoption of open-source products. I believe it’s important to be able to make a rational evaluation of the two paths so you can make the best decisions.


    Open-source products should probably always represent the first thing you consider for your business. In my experience open-source products tend to have larger communities, more support and often more options. It doesn’t hurt that they are free to use, and I have witnessed hundreds of thousands of dollars in saving as a result.

  • Infrastructure Agenda 2010

    Open source development tools are used by 34 percent of the respondent base, while 38 percent use open source office applications. Interest in open source is also picking up gradually in open source security applications (15 percent) and storage (7 percent).

  • Mozilla

  • Databases

    • The case against the case against Oracle-MySQL
    • Oracle plays hardball with Euro regulators

      Oracle remains confident that the European Union will cave in and abandon objections to its proposed takeover of Sun Microsystems.

      The firm gave evidence in Brussels yesterday, including support from several customers who believe that MySQL is not a serious competitor to Oracle’s core database products.

    • Fluendo Group Concerned Over EC Threat to Open-Source Investment

      Fluendo S.A. today expressed its concern that, if upheld, the European Commission’s objections regarding Oracle’s acquisition of Sun could set a precedent that will undermine the development of open source technology worldwide.

    • MySQL in Oracles Hands: Open Source Users Weigh In

      With debate brewing about whether database, application and middleware giant Oracle should be able to obtain commercial open source database vendor MySQL, concerns about the proposed acquisition have a part to play in a predicted decline of MySQL use, according to a report by market research firm The 451 Group.

    • IBM, Oracle, Open Source: Mixed Motives Abound

      The Oracle/European Union drama never stops. Now IBM’s stuck their collective necks into the fray and said that Oracle’s acquisition of Sun should go through if they make some positive open source gestures to all parties. Meaning what exactly, though?

  • Business

    • Gear6 Expands Memcached to the Cloud

      The Amazon EC2 High Memory instances provide 34 GB and 68 GB of RAM to applications for short-term, high usage instances. Ruiz added that Gear6 will also support Amazon’s block-based storage as well, which could end up providing users with more utility for their memory utilization.

    • The speed of technology’s ‘creative destruction’

      But it’s equally true of relatively new companies like Salesforce, Red Hat, and Google, which have eschewed gimmicky software and flimsy business strategies to give customers tangible, ongoing value. None of these companies sought an early exit through acquisition. None of them were content to build for the quick flip.

      So, yes, technology may be a veritable boneyard of failed companies, and essential ingredients like open source may accelerate the demise of start-ups and incumbents alike. But those companies that use such ingredients to deliver above-average customer value are going to endure…and thrive.

    • LoopFuse turns open source heritage into big brother sales tool
    • Cloud computing, virtualization, open source poised for big gains
    • Android’s unintentional beneficiary: Funambol

      If this sounds like a perfect storm for open-source Android, that’s because it is. But it’s also creating an exceptional opportunity for Funambol, and could well establish beachheads for a range of other open-source products that sit within the Android ecosystem.

  • Licensing

    • License For Textbooks — GNU FDL Or CC?

      I’m a college professor who is putting together an open-source textbook. I’m trying to decide between using the GNU Free Documentation License or the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. I don’t really understand the difference between these, though it seems with the Free Documentation License I need to include a copy of the license in my text. Which do you advise using?

  • Openness

    • HIE Firm Opens Platform to Developers

      The Salt Lake City-based vendor is not placing its source code on the open source market, Kipp Lassetter, M.D., chair and CEO emphasizes. “It’s not a first step toward moving to open source, but definitely defining the system as an open system.”

    • Health IT cited as evidence for importance of new open government directive

      OMB also highlighted the a programming “code-a-thon” sponsored by HHS in August to bring together public and private open source developers to improve the agency’s “Connect” healthcare Internet gateway project and broaden its use. The software, developed by a group of federal agencies, enables organizations to exchange health data according to standards established for the nationwide health information network (NHIN).

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Jazz, Jazz Standards, and Open Source

      Is one type of standard better than another? Clearly not; they simply serve different goals. The art, as in so many things, is to find the right balance (even in the second type of standard) between ensuring usability, while enabling beneficial creativity.

      This need for balance is recognized in one of the core tenets of modern standard setting, applauded by competitors, antitrust authorities and economists alike. That tenet goes something like this: vendors should be encouraged to collaborate on the creation of the standards necessary to enable new goods and services to be offered, and then compete in the creation of additional value-added features that will distinguish their particular wares in the marketplace from each other. And, in fact, this is exactly what does happen all of the time.

    • News Corp, Time, others detail e-standard venture

      News Corp, Time Warner Inc’s Time Inc and three other publishers detailed their long-expected plans to develop open standards for a new digital storefront and technology to help prepare their print titles for devices ranging from e-books to tablet computers.


  • Flash in QGraphicsView

    Over the past couple of months, I have been working losing sleep over getting Flash to work in QGraphicsView on all platforms. The good news is that flash now works in QGV on all platforms.

  • My Reaction to Eric Schmidt

    Schmidt said:

    I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines — including Google — do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities.

    This, from 2006, is my response:

    Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.

    We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.


    For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that — either now or in the uncertain future — patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.


    This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us. This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. And it’s our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives.

    Too many wrongly characterize the debate as “security versus privacy.” The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that’s why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

  • Patriot Act Renewal Moving Forward

    Renewal of two controversial Patriot Act provisions set to expire at the end of the year have been approved by House and Senate Committees over the past month, and appear headed for floor votes in both bodies. President Obama has endorsed extending the provisions.

    The two provisions include the “records” rule and the “roving wiretaps” provision. The so-called “records” rule grants federal officials with a court order the power to force private parties such as businesses, hospitals, and libraries to hand over “any tangible thing” they believe has “relevance” to a terrorist investigation.

    “Roving wiretaps” allow wiretapping multiple lines of communication without informing FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) courts which specific phone lines or communication media are being targeted.

  • Gov slams critical database report as opaque, flawed, inaccurate

    The report assigned each database a status based on traffic lights. Only six of the 46 databases were assigned the ‘green’ status that indicated they worked properly and legally.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Says You and I are Wrong. (We’re Not)

      Goldman loves to tout the fact that they’ve paid back their $10 billion in TARP funds – and can now wash their hands of their responsibility to American taxpayers. There it is. Case closed. Except for that nagging fact that the $10 billion in TARP was just the tip of the bailout iceberg for Goldman Sachs. According to independent reports, Goldman received more than $60 billion in total taxpayer-funded bailouts – much more than the $10 billion that was paid back to TARP. (see page five of this PDF for more). In other words, they’re still using our money to get rich.

    • [Satire] The United States of Goldman, Sachs

      Since the government bailout that saved GS’s bacon, (and “about $85 billion worth of its bacon”) writes Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, “We now live in the United States of Goldman, Sachs.”

    • Goldman Sachs (GS) is robbing the cradle for top trading talent

      Sramek would rather focus on his long-term goal: getting rich. He’s already planning out his future in philanthropy; he told an interviewer he wants to focus on education, which would require him to amass a significant amount of wealth: “I would like to once be in a position where I can do something about it, and do it from a position of power,” he said, adding that wealth was necessary “to get the required leverage or to try and do things differently.”

    • Goldman Sachs Awards Billions of Dollars in Bonuses

      Moving to quell the uproar over the return of big paydays on Wall Street, Goldman Sachs announced on Thursday that its top executives would forgo cash bonuses this year and that it would give shareholders a say in determining compensation.

  • AstroTurf

    • Tell Reid and Obama: Stop begging and start breaking arms to get real health reform.

      Even worse, most Americans will be required to purchase private health insurance at high rates with bad coverage. How is this possibly a good deal for the millions of young people who organized and voted for change? It simply isn’t.

    • Big Cable: Net neutrality violates ISP 1st Amendment rights

      The head of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association lashed out at net neutrality supporters who say Internet non-discrimination is a First Amendment cause. The real issue, he says, is the First Amendment rights of ISPs.

    • The Redactor’s Dilemma

      What sort of jackass (I fumed) had concluded that the contents of American public laws were some kind of operational secret? But of course, once I got over my pique at this obnoxious excess of secrecy, I started thinking: Why, exactly were they worried about someone reading that? I had, perversely, just gained a bit of new information. Not the statutory definition—that was already sitting on my desk in yet another pile—but the fact that the investigative technique they’re taking pains to conceal (that’s what “b7e” means, it’s the code for the FOIA exemption they’re invoking) involved exploiting that part of the statute in some crucial way.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Comic Dara O’Briain says libel laws ‘quash dissent’

      Libel laws in England and Wales are being used to bully people into silence and quash dissent, campaigners including comic Dara O’Briain claim.

      O’Briain told the Law Society he backed calls to reform the “ridiculous system” that was attracting “libel tourists”.

    • Average American Consumes 34 Gigs Of Data Per Day; Good Thing ISPs Want To Limit You To 5 Gigs/Month

      There’s a new study that’s making the rounds, noting that the average American consumes about 34 gigs worth of data/information each day. That number has been increasing at a pretty fast pace as well. This is, obviously, not just internet data. It includes TV, radio, mobile phones, newspapers, video games, etc. However, what struck me is that more and more of that is moving to the internet, and that seems like a trend that will continue. And, yet, we still hear stories of ISPs looking to put in place broadband caps that are as low as 5 gigs per month. Clearly, something has to give. Even Comcast’s relatively generous cap of 250 gigs per month could run into trouble at some point as well.

    • Watchdog spanks FCC over US wireless

      In a 71-page report (PDF) entitled, rather directly, “FCC Needs to Improve Oversight of Wireless Phone Service,” the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) spanks the FCC for its sloppy handling of customer complaints.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • ALERT: Unauthorized Bow-Wow-Wow-Yippie-Yo-Yippie-Yea-ing May Result in Liability

      The result of the collaboration between Clinton and the musicians holding him up is still “one of the most frequently sampled compositions of the Funk era,” and the “Bow Wow refrain” is often licensed by itself. But in this case, it wasn’t licensed at all. Universal Music Group, which owns the (likely much less lucrative) rights to the work of Public Announcement, argued that the allegedly infringing elements — “the use of the word ‘dog’ in a low voice as ‘musical punctuation,’ the rhythmic panting, and the Bow Wow refrain” — were not copyrightable, but the jury disagreed. (Those of you who are always wanting to get out of jury duty should be reminded that there are cases out there like this one.) It awarded $89,000 in damages for the unlicensed woofing.

  • ACTA

    • ACTA: A Global Threat to Freedoms (Open Letter)

      A worldwide coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations, consumers unions and online service providers associations publish an open letter to the European institutions regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently under negotiation. They call on the European Parliament and the EU negotiators to oppose any provision into the multilateral agreement that would undermine the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens in Europe and across the world.

      By December 17th, 2009, European negotiators will submit their position regarding the proposal put forward by the U.S Trade Representative for the Internet chapter of the ACTA. It is now time for the European Union to firmly oppose the dangerous measures secretly being negotiated. They cover not only “three strikes” schemes, but also include Internet service providers liability that would result in Internet filtering, and dispositions undermining interoperability and usability of digitial music and films.

    • The ACTA Timeline: Tracing The Secret Copyright Treaty

      The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is generating growing concern (witness today’s release of a protest letter from civil liberties groups from around the world) as many people learn about the secret copyright treaty for the first time. I’ve posted video talks and interviews on ACTA, but some have asked for a visual timeline to trace its emergence. Posted below is an ACTA Timeline created using Dipity. I’ll update as events warrant.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Stormy Peters, HP open source strategist 06 (2004)

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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