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Links 16/12/2009: Red Hat Settles, Upgraded

Posted in News Roundup at 5:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Why GNU/Linux is ready for the Average User

      I find it amusing that people like to jump on the Ubuntu bashing bandwagon just because an installation (or some piece of setup) goes astray. Ever tell the average user they need to reinstall Windows? Nine times out of ten they will look at you side ways (or if your a tech such as myself they will ask you to do it for them). Does this make Windows less popular or a “not ready” operating system just because you need a professional (or someone with at least some know-how) to get it all installed and running properly? No, it does not. Why should the standard be any different for GNU/Linux?

      In short I’d like to say this: Linux is more than ready for the average user to be using, but just like any operating system it may be a bit much for the average user to get it setup and thats just fine if you ask me.

    • Is Linux really that hard to use?

      Linux is just different and once people have become used to the differences they have no problems. Sort of like driving an unfamiliar car for the first time. Some controls feel different or be in a different place. The car will handle differently to start off with yet once you become used to the different control positions and the handling characteristics you are just as confident as in your own car.

      Linux is not hard to use, just different.

    • 15 Minimalist Linux Wallpapers for a Distraction-free Desktop

      I always keep my desktop workspace clean and without distraction. One of the most important things that I do to keep it clear is by using only wallpapers with simple design.

    • 8 Cheerful Christmas Linux Wallpapers

      ‘Tis the season — for Christmas Linux wallpapers that is. Today I’m going to present to you 8 incredible Linux wallpapers that will set you in a Christmassy mood for the whole month.

  • Server

    • Linux controls IBM mainframes

      Consolidation for everyone is IBM’s stated reason for releasing a Linux version of its System z mainframe. The new Enterprise Linux Server (ELS) is a stand-alone system specifically designed for Linux environments. According to IBM, the financial savings can be up to 80 per cent. Furthermore, a “save-as-you-grow” pricing model is intended to facilitate investment decisions by allowing customers to gradually purchase resources at considerably lower prices than that of a complete system.

  • Google

    • Run Google’s Chrome OS from a thumb drive

      Google recently pulled off the rare feat of releasing a product without really releasing it. True, they offered up the source code for their Google Chrome OS, a fast-booting, minimalist netbook platform entirely focused on their Chrome browser and speedy web applications. But they also told an anxious press and public that, unless they felt like compiling it and hardware testing it themselves, they’d have to wait a year before trying it out on an approved, custom-built netbook.

    • Top 10 Google chrome Extensions
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • KDE

    • Upcoming KDE SC 4.4 Gains Positive Reviews

      Over the past week many reviews of the first beta of version 4.4 of our Software Compilation have surfaced. Here are a few of them that we unearthed during some diggin’ on the web.

      This PolishLinux blog entry includes screen shots of the window tab-grouping feature and various other improvements thus giving a first insight into the upcoming KDE software.

      Harsh J has an ‘early preview’ of the KDE 4.4 Software Compilation. Our rebranding message hasn’t gotten entirely through yet but it is an extensive review of the Plasma Desktop workspace.

    • Plasma and KWin

      Those are not radically new features, but rather a refinement of what it was available in KDE Plasma Desktop 4.3

      When the mouse cursor is over a task, the corresponding window gets highlighted (dimming all the others), this works for groups too, highlighting the goup’s windows. This was already available in 4.3, but it’s works in a way more reliable way now.

    • Gwenview the best image viewer !

      KDE4 users know Gwenview the default image viewer for KDE, but may not know that Gwenview is one of the best image viewers ever existed. It is fast, quick, modern, shiny, particularly in full-screen mode, and has basic photo editing functions.

  • Distributions

    • SystemRescueCD Rocks

      I took the opportunity to show off some GNU/Linux tricks my students will enjoy in the second semester. We should have the new server in production by then. It only needs a router configuration.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMEPIS 8.5 beta2 Improvements

        Warren Woodford has uploaded SimplyMEPIS 8.4.94, the beta2 of MEPIS 8.5. This beta is available from MEPIS and public mirrors. The ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.4.94-b2_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.4.94-b2_64.iso.

      • MEPIS 8.5 Beta1

        MEPIS Linux, the KDE based Linux distribution, released the beta1 of MEPIS 8.5. MEPIS Linux was one of the easy to use Linux distributions besides PCLinuxOS, before Ubuntu arrived. The users who wanted to use the latest Debian’s snapshot, but afraid of all those text mode configuration tricks found MEPIS as the Debian for the masses. MEPIS Linux has some of the best configuration utilities around, to configure X and Networking (including WiFi). The arrival of Ubuntu and the fact that as this distribution has no specific release schedule (this is developed by a single person) might have reduced the fame of this distribution. I’m trying this beta after a long time just to check how MEPIS is doing now and overall, I must say that I’m pleased with this beta release.


        MEPIS is one of the solid distributions and this release also is not an exception. This beta release is more solid than some other RC releases I tried of some distributions :-). MEPIS also has some issues where most of the distributions work without any issues. I’m particularly concerned about the graphical configuration and the package management issues. As this is only a beta release, I expect the final release would be more solid and functional. I would also recommend to try the final release of MEPIS for Linux beginners.

      • Ubuntu’s Jono Bacon: Managing an Open Source Community

        Whether a second edition is eventually released is still uncertain — and will be for at least a year, according to Bacon — but that does not change the importance of the conversations it is beginning to start. Those conversations alone make The Art of Community, faults and all, one of the more significant books about free software that has been released.

      • Why do I use Ubuntu?

        Yes, it’s that simple. Because. It. Works.

        Case in point: the other day, I dug up an old iRiver T30 music player that I’d forgotten I had. There were some files that I wanted to get off it. Being too lazy to boot up my Linux-powered laptop, I asked my wife if I could plug the her laptop running Windows Vista. It was already on, and she’d just finished doing whatever it was she was doing. That’s when the fun began.

      • Canonical Continues Ubuntu Server Edition Push

        And Canonical has spent much of 2009 launching more training programs and ISV (independent software vendor) efforts for Ubuntu Server Edition. The initiatives have even included cloud training. At the same time, Canonical has been evolving Landscape — its systems management platform for Ubuntu desktops and servers.

      • The Future Of Ubuntu Software Center
      • Download Linux Mint 8 for 64-Bit Platforms

        After the release of Linux Mint 8 back in November, Clement Lefebvre and the developers behind the Linux Mint community announced last evening (December 14th) the immediate availability for download of the 64-bit edition of Linux Mint 8. This version is exactly like the main edition of Linux Mint 8 but compiled for 64-bit processors, such as Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad or Athlon X2 64. Dubbed Helena, the new Linux Mint 8 operating system is based on the Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) operating system and it is powered by Linux kernel 2.6.31, X.Org 7.4 and the GNOME 2.28.1 desktop environment.

      • Fluxbox CE, resurrected

        The Fluxbox Community Edition produced releases for Linux Mint 5 “Elyssa” and Linux Mint 6 “Felicia” and it became quite popular among Linux Mint users. But in 2009, due to personal circumstances Shane Joe Lazar, the maintainer of this edition, had to focus his attention elsewhere and so the Fluxbox CE was discontinued. During the release cycle for Linux Mint 7 “Gloria”, no Fluxbox edition was released.

        Kendall Weaver recently stepped up from the community and worked on a new Fluxbox edition of Linux Mint. We had a conversation and I got the opportunity to test his preliminary ISOs. Today, I’m happy to welcome him within the development team as the new maintainer of the Fluxbox Community Edition.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • GUI framework supports Android, adds Lua scripting

      Fluffy Spider Technologies (FST) announced a new version of its Linux-ready “FancyPants” lightweight embedded graphics framework for consumer electronics. FancyPants 3.0 adds Android support, 3D effects, virtualization and multi-processor support, and “Lua” scripting, and it decouples UI design from underlying code, enabling more third-party control over UI modifications, says FST.

    • Cortex-A8 modules gain development kits

      The Overo Earth family of COMs was billed as the next generation successor to the popular 3.2 x 0.8 x 3.2-inch Gumstix Verdex modules. The Overo Earth is 40 percent smaller than the Verdex, and swaps out the Marvell PXA270 processor for the more powerful Texas Instruments (TI) OMAP35xx SoC. Although clocked similarly at 600MHz, the OMAP35xx offers faster performance, thanks to its ARM Cortex-A8 superscalar core, which enables instruction-level parallelism within a single processor. All the modules offer Linux development support.

    • Phones

      • Google’s Nexus One Android phone makes a splash

        Google confirmed it is testing an in-house Android 2.1 phone, which reports claim is the FCC-approved, HTC-manufactured “Nexus One,” says eWEEK. If the Google-branded phone is sold commercially, as some reports suggest, Google can take comfort by an IDC study that says mobile Internet traffic will double in four years.

      • One Android to Rule Them All?
      • Android Market reaches 20,000 applications

        According to AndroLib, Google’s Android Market has just crossed the 20,000 application milestone. The new milestone comes just over three months after reaching the 10,000 mark and shows strong application growth for the open source mobile operating system.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • OLPC: A Steep Cost? Or a Profitable Edu-Investment?

        Now let’s look a little closer at textbooks. Even the poorest countries spend $20 annually per student on textbooks. Not necessarily $20 per child, given the numbers of children not in school. But close enough for government work, since it is a duty of governments to support every child, and someday each of them will. California has taken the lead in the US in moving to electronic textbooks, but other countries are moving ahead, and substantial grant funding is becoming available.

      • Cherrypal Offers Laptop for Under $100

        PC maker Cherrypal has done something Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child couldn’t do: make a laptop that breaks the US$100 price barrier.

        Cherrypal on Tuesday announced a no-frills laptop called Cherrypal Africa, which includes hardware usually found in smartphones. It can run the Linux or Windows CE operating systems, which are also found on cell phones.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source means cost savings

    We’ve just published our latest CAOS special report, ‘Climate Change -User perspectives on the impact of economic conditions on open source software adoption.’ The report is based on our recent survey findings among more than 1,700 open source software customers and users, and also offers guidance on calculating cost savings from open source software.

  • Interviews

    • IBM developerWorks: An Interview w/ GM Jim Corgel

      Q: What’s developerWorks?

      A: Well, it’s a bit unique. It’s long been a content and download rich site oriented towards, well, developers and in recent months they’ve begun adding in social networking elements. While the site is designed and built by IBM, which means that it’s a.) got the usual brand (Lotus, Rational, Websphere, etc) product lines front and center, b.) pretty corporate in its design and c.) has a LOT going on, the content is periodically but regularly outstanding.

      For all of the branded content, a huge number of the developerWorks pieces have nothing to do, really, with IBM products, written as they are by non-employees. Here’s a piece on WebKit, Android and the iPhone, for example, another on data collection with Python and Beautiful Soup, and here’s one more on building a Twitter app w/ Django and jQuery. Nary an IBM product among them.

    • Interview with James Vasile – Software Freedom Law Center

      We had the chance to interview James Vasile, an attorney with the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). Now people often think of the SFLC as the group that “goes after” people who violate the GPL, and that’s certainly the aspect that the press focuses on, but James points out that enforcement is a very small percentage of what they do. More interesting were James insights
      into how businesses learn that their secret sauce has very little to do with locking up the code.

  • OpenOffice.org

  • Health

    • How software companies could screw up Obama’s health care reform.

      Things did not go so smoothly at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, which installed a computerized health system in 2002. Rather than a godsend, the new system turned out to be a disaster, largely because it made it harder for the doctors and nurses to do their jobs in emergency situations. The computer interface, for example, forced doctors to click a mouse ten times to make a simple order…

      Why did similar attempts to bring health care into the twenty-first century lead to triumph at Midland but tragedy at Children’s? While many factors were no doubt at work, among the most crucial was a difference in the software installed by the two institutions. The system that Midland adopted is based on software originally written by doctors for doctors at the Veterans Health Administration, and it is what’s called “open source,” meaning the code can be read and modified by anyone and is freely available in the public domain rather than copyrighted by a corporation.

    • NHIN Connect Project Freedom Award Acceptance Letter

      On behalf of the entire Federal Health Architecture and the CONNECT Open Source Community, it is my pleasure to accept the 2009 Linux Medical News Freedom Award.

    • California hospital to roll out OpenVista by year’s end

      Hensler said OpenVista’s comparatively low cost and speed of implementation cinched the deal with Carlsbad, Calif.-based MedSphere, which developed OpenVista for commercial use from the VistA system developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The pre-built OpenVista system will enable Kern officials to use the solution from day one and customize and enhance it over time to specific hospital needs, Hensler said.

  • Mozilla

    • Hands On Review of Thunderbird 3

      The thing that is most demanded by the public is the integration of the Lightning extension into Thunderbird. Lightning is an extension that adds Calendar features in Thunderbird. It is only with Lightning that Thunderbird becomes more complete and get a chance against Outlook, or even Evolution (in Linux).

    • Firefox 3.5.6 and 3.0.16.
  • Databases

    • Oracle commits: MySQL will have a future

      In order to appease European regulators, Oracle has made a number of commitments to the future of MySQL.

      According to a statement overnight (Australian time), Oracle has made a number of public commitments regarding MySQL in order to ease the concerns of European Union regulators investigating the proposed Oracle – Sun merger.

  • Licensing

    • Best Buy lawsuit shows how GPL violations have changed

      In the Best Buy case, Kuhn told me that the SFLC had the same initial approach that they have in all GPL violations they handle, they sent a formal letter to Best Buy raising the issue.

      “We received only an initial response that Best Buy would look into the matter and get back to us,” Kuhn said. “After weeks went by, we had still received no substantive response, and our suggestion for a conference call to discuss the matter was ignored.”

      I remember in 2008 asking Verizon Communications President and COO Denny Strigl at a live event about the SFLC lawsuit that was facing Verizon at the time – he was clueless about the lawsuit. So I’m personally not surprised that Best Buy was unresponsive here – it sometimes just takes a big public lawsuit to get a response to an item that could potentially be perceived as being insignificant.

    • Statement on Busybox Lawsuits

      I am the creator of the Busybox program which is currently subject to lawsuits brought by Mr. Erik Andersen and the Software Freedom Law Center, and which was subject to previous suits brought by SFLC, Mr. Andersen and Mr. Robert Landley.

      First, I’d like to point out that I’m not represented in these lawsuits, and that the parties and the Software Freedom Law Center have never attempted to contact me with regard to them. As far as I am aware, and under advice of various attorneys, I still hold an interest in Busybox through both content and compilation copyrights. As present Busybox development is a direct continuation of my original work on the project, much of the current code base is a derivative work of my copyrighted code.

  • Openness

    • White House Wants Input On Public Access Rules For Federally Funded Research

      The Office of Science & Technology Policy remains one of the few White House operations that seems to actually have a good grasp on the internet and what it means for various other aspects of governance. That’s why it’s good to see them asking for input into what the administration should do in terms of requiring public access for federally funded research (thanks to Lee for sending this over). There’s been a big debate over this for years.


  • Now Is It Facebook’s Microsoft Moment?

    I came close to killing my Facebook account this week. As I delved even deeper to the supposed privacy I have or don’t have on the service, I wondered why on earth I even have an account at all. And I kept thinking of Anil Dash’s post earlier this year, Google’s Microsoft Moment. Was this now Facebook’s turn to for people to see it as having gone evil?

  • Google

    • google is your butler- the tension between utility and privacy

      I’ve often defended Google’s thirst to know things about people with a butler analogy. Good software should, like a butler, try hard to understand your preferences and act on them for you without you even realizing they are there. That means learning and remembering things you’ve done in the past, and using that to base recommendations on. When you tell your butler ‘bring me desert, please’, he should remember that you usually like chocolate, and that all this week you’ve been experimenting with different cakes, and therefore bring you another variant on chocolate cake. If he suddenly forgot you liked chocolate and you’ve been having cake all week, you’d be irritated when he asked you those things again, or if he just brought you a canoli out of the blue.


      So I’m experimenting this week with other search engines, and once I finish moving I’ll be looking again at other mail and rss readers. I really don’t ask much of Google in return for trusting them; I’m not an absolutist, I just need to know that they are continuing to treat privacy as a difficult, multi-faceted issue that constantly has to be evaluated and considered. And if Schmidt is any indication, that isn’t what Google is doing right now.

    • Making URLs shorter for Google Toolbar and FeedBurner

      This morning, we launched updated versions of the Google Toolbar and FeedBurner that offer a new URL shortening service from Google called the Google URL Shortener. We mentioned our URL shortener as a feature in both announcements, so we wanted to say a little more about how this product works and why we’re offering it.

    • Google Maps Introduces Useful Popups

      We’ll admit from the start: this change will not revolutionize the world. It probably won’t even bring a single new person to Google Maps. Still, a nice little interface tweak’s been made insofar as Google Maps now displays business info when users hover over any points of interest.

  • Environment

    • ‘Only 50 years left’ for sea fish

      There will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a major scientific study.

      Stocks have collapsed in nearly one-third of sea fisheries, and the rate of decline is accelerating.

    • Rising Tides, Slow Food & Global Warming

      The issue of access to the Bella Center is getting further accentuated. Now they have created new restrictions for NGO members–and, daily, more and more NGO members are losing access entirely. The scuttle is that the powers that be–the richest countries and the Copenhagen organizers–want to avoid tension and conflict within the Bella Center. There is already anger from NGOs and developing nations over “secret backroom deals” where the richest countries and the Danish leaders have been seen as making end runs around the rest of us.

    • An easy, very quick summary of the Copenhagen climate treaty
    • A climate Call from the Coast

      This documentary film by KP Sasi is a call from coastal communities in Kerala state of south India, who are beginning to see the impacts of global warming and climate change at close quarters.

    • 50 reasons why global warming isn’t natural
  • Finance

    • Rewarding Failure

      With Wall Street compensation slated to top $150 billion this year it looks like little has changed with the tails you win, heads you win culture on Wall Street. The House recently passed a bill giving shareholders a “say on pay.” Now it’s time for responsible shareholders to step up and clamp down for the good of us all.

    • Bank Reform Passes, Is the Party Over?

      Today, the House voted on a long-awaited financial reform package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced: “The legislation says very clearly to Wall Street: the party is over.” But is it?

      The strongest part of the bill is the section that creates a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which will crackdown on abusive lending practices for everyday financial products like mortgages, credit cards, and more. Abusive mortgage lending was a key cause of the economic meltdown and the new agency will help nip it in the bud.

    • Putting Obama on Hold, in a Hint of Who’s Boss

      He was, of course, referring to the three conspicuously absent attendees who were being piped in by telephone: Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; John J. Mack, chairman of Morgan Stanley; and Richard D. Parsons, chairman of Citigroup.

      Their excuse? “Inclement weather,” according to the White House. More precisely, fog delayed flights into Reagan National Airport. (In the “no good deed goes unpunished” category, the absent bankers were at least self-aware enough to try to fly commercial.)

    • The foggy case of the banking bosses who stood up President Obama

      Just how difficult is it to travel the 204 miles from New York to Washington in time for a 11am appointment on a Monday morning? Eyebrows were raised this week when the bosses of Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley failed to make it to the capital for a meeting with President Obama, citing “fog” which disrupted flights.

    • How to Profit Goldman Sachs Evil Genius

      One such manipulation was put on display this week – a news development that had me howling in disbelief and left me in awe of the evil genius of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS).

      But if we step back, there’s a lesson here – a lesson that points to real potential profits if we stop to understand what’s about to happen before our very eyes. It’s a lesson that I preach to investors – that the institutions that operate the market and maintain its very framework, also “influence” that market’s movements. In fact, this real-market “case study” confirms the profit strategy that I’ve set out in this special report.

    • Some Questions For Goldman’s Lucas van Praag And David Viniar

      Earlier today the general public got one of its first public disclosures of what Goldman believes its prop trading operation contributes to the firm’s top and bottom line. For those uninitiated with banker lingo, prop trading is basically the profit that Goldman makes by transacting exclusively as a hedge fund: this is not agency or facilitation revenue, but merely principal positions that represent balance sheet risk for the firm. Of course, with the Fed having made clear that America would fail before Goldman does, the definition of risk as it applies to Goldman is laughable.

    • Goldman Sachs’ Bogus Bonus Ploy

      The firm posted a record profit for the second quarter of 2009 and did almost as well during the third quarter. This was while floating on $43.4 billion in government subsidies, not including the $10 billion TARP repayment.

    • Needed: A Size Cap on Big Banks

      The New York Times was right to put the spotlight on a key piece of unfinished business. Today’s editorial concludes, “If we have learned anything over the last couple of years, it is that banks that are too big to fail pose too much of a risk to the economy. Any serious effort to reform the financial system must ensure that no such banks exist.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

  • AstroTurf

    • Joe Lieberman Not The Man He Used To Be On Medicare Buy-In

      You know the members he’s talking about. The ones that say any government-run health insurance plan, including a Medicare expansion, will bankrupt the country and hurt private insurance companies. The ones that, as of this weekend, count Joe Lieberman as one of their strongest allies.

    • Lessons Learned From Tobacco Control Should be Applied to Climate Policy

      Climate change is similar to the issue of secondhand smoke in the sense that the damage both cause constitute “externalities.” That’s the word economists use to describe the side effects of a commercial enterprise that negatively impacts other parties, where the cost is not reflected in the price of the product. Markets have no mechanism for dealing with externalities, leaving it up to governments to step in to limit the damage. Industries typically pocket the cash their products and activities generate, while leaving the cost of cleaning up their externalities to a larger group, many of whom don’t benefit from the product in any way.

      On the public relations side, both issues have entrenched, highly resourceful vested interests working to maintain the status quo. Industries associated with both groups have worked to manufacture doubt about scientific consensus, hired consultants to confuse the public and delay effective policies, and both groups have used the “junk science” label to tarnish the mounting evidence of harm deriving from their activities.

  • Civil Rights

    • Why the Civil Rights Movement Was an Insurgency, and Why It Matters

      Most Americans fail to appreciate that the Civil Rights movement was about the overthrow of an entrenched political order in each of the Southern states, that the segregationists who controlled this order did not hesitate to employ violence (law enforcement, paramilitary, mob) to preserve it, and that for nearly a century the federal government tacitly or overtly supported the segregationist state governments. That the Civil Rights movement employed nonviolent tactics should fool us no more than it did the segregationists, who correctly saw themselves as being at war. Significant change was never going to occur within the political system: it had to be forced. The aim of the segregationists was to keep the federal government on the sidelines. The aim of the Civil Rights movement was to “capture” the federal government — to get it to apply its weight against the Southern states. As to why it matters: a major reason we were slow to grasp the emergence and extent of the insurgency in Iraq is that it didn’t –and doesn’t — look like a classic insurgency.

    • Photographer beaten, detained in London for being “cocky” to policeman who implies she is a terrorist

      In this video, two British police officers come up to a young woman who is filming a building and harass her, imply that she is a terrorist, intimidate her, demand to see her footage. The policeman says that he’s harassing her for being “cocky” — punishing her for failing to cringe sufficiently.

    • Move to National ID Cards Delayed

      The United States’ quest for a national identification database associated with driver’s licenses won’t be finished by year’s end.

    • Cuba detains U.S. government contractor

      The Cuban government has arrested an American citizen working on contract for the U.S. Agency for International Development who was distributing cellphones and laptop computers to Cuban activists, State Department officials and congressional sources said Saturday.

    • Millions of Bush administration e-mails recovered

      Computer technicians have recovered about 22 million Bush administration e-mails that the Bush White House had said were missing, two watchdog groups that sued over the documents announced Monday.

    • Terry Childs: Another Christmas in jail

      I haven’t written much about the Terry Childs case recently, mainly because there’s not much to tell. Childs is still in jail, his bail is still set at a ridiculous $5 million, and he still hasn’t had his day in court. It’s been nearly 18 months since his arrest for refusing to hand over administrative passwords to San Francisco’s city network.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • What is the ‘Clean Feed’?

      The Australian Federal Government is pushing forward with a plan to force Internet Service Providers [ISPs] to censor the Internet for all Australians. This plan will waste tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and will not make anyone safer.

      Despite being almost universally condemned by the public, ISPs, State Governments, Media and censorship experts, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is determined to force this filter into your home.

    • Australia Edges Us Towards the Digital Dark Ages

      The first is that it won’t actually stop people accessing illegal or unsuitable content. As fast as sites and IP addresses are blocked, others will pop up in an online arms race that is unwinnable by leaden-footed bureaucracy.

      Another issue is that by providing a compulsory filtering of the feed, the Australian government could easily lull parents into a false sense of security, and actually *increase* the risk of children being exposed to dangerous material. As with all kinds of online dangers, the best protection is for parents to be actively involved in the children’s exploration of that world, and it’s foolish to send out the message that the government is now “tackling” this problem, because many people will draw the inevitable conclusion that they don’t need to worry about the issue any more.

    • Chinese domain crackdown targets smut sites

      Chinese regulators have started to request business licences and paperwork before allowing future .cn domain registrations.

    • [Commission against Torture report on China]
    • District Court Finds Personal E-Mail From Work Still Privileged

      A federal prosecutor has won his fight to conceal e-mails he sent to his attorney over the government’s computers, contradicting a popular belief that employees have no expectation of privacy on work computers.

    • North Face Didn’t Get The Message; Sues South Butt

      Earlier this year, we wrote about how outdoor clothing firm North Face was seriously overreacting in threatening a small parody clothing manufacturer run by an 18-year-old student creating clothing under the “South Butt” brand name. At the time, we were amused by the boy’s lawyer noting:

      “I did try to explain with a great deal of candor to counsel for the North Face that the general public is aware of thev difference between a face and a butt.”

    • Don’t Sing-a-long: Capitol v Vimeo re ‘Lip Dub’ Videos

      Vimeo is a video-sharing site (owned by InterActive Corp). It apparently hosts many videos consisting of ‘lip dubs,’ like the one above actually performed by the Vimeo staff.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Biden Convenes ‘Piracy Summit’ That Appears To Be Entirely One-Sided

      Notice that there aren’t any consumer rights representatives. No one from technology companies. No one representing a viewpoint from outside of these industries of how they might be abusing claims of “piracy” to prop up obsolete business models. Instead, it’s just the echo chamber. The same folks who have been misleading politicians for ages. And, of course, whenever you get a summit like this, expect some sort of misguided “action” to follow. Update: Public Knowledge has put out a statement, noting how one-sided this gathering is, and questioning why politicians are attending what appears to be an industry gathering on how to prop up a business model. Update 2: In the press release (pdf) about this, Biden’s office has the gall to claim this “will bring together all of the stakeholders.” Ha! It’s 100% entertainment industry interests. No tech. No consumer advocates. No ISPs. This is a complete joke. Update 3: This just gets more and more ridiculous. Reporter Ryan Reilly was covering the “summit,” posting the seating chart and quoting Biden as saying that “piracy” is “flat unadulterated theft” but it looks like Reilly has now been kicked out of the summit. Openness and transparency apparently doesn’t apply when it involves propping up one small industry’s obsolete business model.

    • EC to fight pirates

      THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) has promised to ‘mobilise’ in its fight against copyright infringement and counterfeiting.

      At a meeting in Stockholm, members of the EC are discussing practical initiatives in the fight against ‘pirates’ and knock-off merchants, under the umbrella title of the European Observatory for Counterfeiting and Piracy.

    • EU finally ratifies copyright treaty
    • Sun claims IP victory over defunct US ‘counterfeiter’

      Sun Micro claimed a brace of IP victories today, with a counterfeiter in the US and a UK-based grey marketeer feeling the wrath of the soon-to-be-borged firm.

    • Legal Battles Over E-Book Rights to Older Books

      William Styron may have been one of the leading literary lions of recent decades, but his books are not selling much these days. Now his family has a plan to lure digital-age readers with e-book versions of titles like “Sophie’s Choice,” “The Confessions of Nat Turner” and Mr. Styron’s memoir of depression, “Darkness Visible.”

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Computer science student Josh Abraham 01 (2004)

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