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01.26.10

Links 26/1/2010: XGI is Back, Fedora Spins Directory

Posted in News Roundup at 9:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Geek Quest: All About Linux, But Where’s the Anti-Virus?

    To ease my paranoia, I’m guided to this article by techthrob.com. Truth be told, it’s hard to reverse the brainwash Windows has done, therefore, I’m still not 100% convinced.

  • Linux in the Mainstream, Who’s Really to Blame?

    All operating systems have problems. All operating systems have benefits and weaknesses. I think that’s an important point to remember. The reason that Linux isn’t mainstream isn’t because some doofus had a problem installing Firefox, it’s just lack of marketing, bad press, lack of commercial games, and user ignorance. On the plus side, Linux is a wonderful platform filled with thousands (millions?) of helpful people that share a common interest: they just want to use their computer, darn it. I think that’s ultimately why Linux will always be “mainstream” in my book.

  • Events

  • Kernel Space

    • Free Training from The Linux Foundation

      Who says you don’t get something for nothing? Certainly not the good people over at The Linux Foundation (TLF) who’re offering free Linux training. TLF is doing its part for the worldwide Linux community by offering this free training plus the Linux Jobs Board and all of its other services. I paused to write this post before going there to sign-up for the whole list myself.

    • Wow, XGI Does Something With Its Linux Driver

      XGI had worked to provide a full open-source driver stack for the Volari 8300 series, but that graphics card never ended up being widely available. As XGI faded away, IBM worked on the XGI Linux driver and wrote the XG40 GPU support along with other changes as some XGI graphics processors wound up in some IBM systems. Ian Romanick was the one working on this unpopular Linux driver at IBM, but in 2008 he went to work for Intel, which meant a final blow to XGI’s Linux support.

      [...]

      Providing support for the ARM architecture so late in the game is rather interesting, unless XGI Technology is looking to revive itself by providing GPUs for new mobile/netbook devices. XGI’s most recent press release is from May 2009 where they announced the Volari Z11 GPU for embedded ARM-based systems such as the Marvell Kirkwood.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • 5 Firefox Add-ons For Better KDE Integration

      KDE’s default web browser is Konqueror, and many users love it for its speed, integration with KDE, and its host of features. Nevertheless, some sites do not perform as well as they do in Mozilla Firefox, and some users prefer the large number of available Firefox add-ons. Furthermore, users who move from Windows to Linux might prefer Firefox for its familiarity

    • KOffice and RDF: Say it with Style…

      This scattered series of posts has been about the RDF support I’m working on for KOffice. The ODF document format lets you store RDF/XML data inside the document file, which in turn lets both a human reader and a computer know about things that comprise an office document. You can refer to a person, place, or time and have the computer know what you are saying without having to resort to heuristics.

  • Distributions

    • Linux on the move: the future of portable distros

      Over the last 12 months, netbook and mobile Linux has made massive advances in features and install base. This is primarily thanks to two netbook distributions – Moblin and Canonical’s Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR).

      Both have built on the massive potential that was unlocked by the Asus Eee PC but led nowhere, as its operating system failed to inspire a new generation of Linux users.

    • Mandriva 2010 issue of Linux Identity

      For those wondering, working on magazine content takes a lot longer than writing a blog, but is rewarding and worth while to me, as I want to support the community, which I feel involves all, including beginners that like to buy magazines with DVDs attached. :) I tried to cover things like installing Mandriva, setting up dual boot ( Transfug drake does need some improvement ), personalization of the desktop, multi users including parental controls and installing new applications.

    • Mini-Review: Zenwalk 6.2

      I looked at Zenwalk 6.0 back in June and Zenwalk 6.2 is now out. I’m going to do a mini-review just comparing 6.0 to 6.2 to see what has changed. This may end up being very short if it’s mostly the same. One difference right away is that it’s using ext4 instead of XFS. The install was basically the same.

      [...]

      So, what do I think about Zenwalk 6.2? Basically, as the version number indicates, it’s an incremental update on Zenwalk 6.0.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s JBoss Aims to Improve User Productivity, UI in 2010

        Red Hat’s JBoss middleware division is set to have a busy 2010 as it continues to improve its developer tools and Java servers. While feature improvements are always important for JBoss, this year’s focus will be on improving the way that developers work with their tools and servers.

        Among the efforts that JBoss will be pushing this year are improvements to its JBoss Developer Studio (JBDS) . JBDS began its life as a closed-source technology from vendor Exadel, called Exadel Studio Pro, which was open sourced in a joint development with JBoss in 2007.

      • Red Hat sponsors open source religion

        What you may not have realized is that for Red Hat, open source is not just about business. The company turned a tiny open source business into a stunning amount of shareholder value in the waning days of the dot-com boom a decade ago – remember in the months after Red Hat went public and the company had a $26.9bn market capitalization? – and despite the euphoria over open source and the desire to get rich by Wall Street investors, Red Hat has steadily grown that Linux business so it almost fits its much smaller $5.2bn market cap.

      • Red Hat mulls BI strategy as Oracle overlords close in on Java

        Red Hat is looking to fill gaps in its increasingly burgeoning portfolio of software goodies by declaring it may soon get into the BI game.

      • Red Hat’s OpenSource.com: Where Are Channel Partners?

        No doubt, channel partners can weigh in on each of those topic areas. But The VAR Guy wishes Red Hat built an area on opensource.com that specifically discusses issues and opportunities for solutions providers.

      • Fedora

        • Record-setting Linux

          I know the value of pi (Π), the irrational number you get when you divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter, as far as 3.14159; after that, I’m clueless. Recently, French software engineer Fabrice Bellard calculated the value of pi to 2.7 trillion numbers — with a souped-up but otherwise ordinary home PC running Red Hat’s Fedora Linux.

        • Fedora Fan? Check out this great Spin directory

          If you are a fan of Fedora then you absolutely need to check out this great directory of spins from the Fedora community. Fedora, for those unaware, is an open source spinoff from Redhat. Spins are different versions of Fedora offering various different sets of applications that differ from the main Fedora release but are based on the core.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Unleashed 2010 Edition Review

        Irritated with my Desktop after an upgrade gone bad and an incident with the nvidia noveau driver that left me x less, I decided it was time to re-install. I turned to my bookshelf to find Ubuntu Unleashed 2010 Edition. Normally by the time a book hits my shelf the material is outdated, not necessarily useless, just not the most up to date. This is an exception. The Ubuntu Unleashed 2010 Edition was updated with an Ubuntu 9.10 DVD and a “Free Upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04″ which I found out that if you buy the book before the end of 2010 you can get an upgrade kit in the mail.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Evolution

        Linux wallpaper demonstrating Ubuntu 9.10 ( Karmic Koala) evolution .

      • Community Second Line Support

        The missing second tier support is probably just a mechanic of the people we’re dealing with. Good programmers and admins are much less likely to hang about in the ubuntu forums or in the #ubuntu channel. So the standard support channels don’t help, it’s true. I can’t remember the last time I went to the forums or #ubuntu and I’m community, more likely to help when asked.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Major turnaround in processor market predicted

      Now, ARM CPUs are invading the first tier. Earlier this month, for example, Lenovo introduced both an ARM smartbook called the Skylight (below left) and a hybrid smartbook/tablet called the IdeaPad U1 (below right). Both devices employ Lenovo’s Skylight Linux distribution, running it on a ARM-based, 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon, though the IdeaPad hedges bets by including a dual-core Pentium as well in its detachable keyboard/base unit, which runs Windows 7.

    • 4G SoC offers 26 processors and Linux BSP

      Mindspeed announced a system-on-chip family designed for mobile broadband 3G/4G basestations, including femtocells and macrocells. Mindspeed’s Transcede SoCs, starting with the 600MHz T4000 and 750MHz T4020, integrate dual ARM Cortex-A9 processors, 10 DSPs from Ceva, plus 10 DSP accelerators, and come with Linux BSPs, says the company.

    • Rugged car computer touted for smart power controls

      Axiomtek announced a fanless, Intel Core 2 Duo-ready in-vehicle box computer that supports Linux. The eBOX310-830-FL resists vibration, can be switched on and off by a car’s ignition switch, and complies with E-Mark E13 and ISO-7637 standards for vehicle manufacturers, says the company.

    • Phones

      • The State of Smart Phones Today

        What is worse than this, I feel, is the fact that people have come to expect to be locked out of their own hardware by default. Since I’ve gotten my N900, I’ve lost track of the number of people who asked if I plan on “jail-breaking” the device. I always respond with “No”. A large contributing factor to my purchase of Nokia’s latest internet tablet (that’s right it is a computer first and phone second) was that they allow the user unrestricted access to the device with out any hacks or cracks.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source has survived the recession

    A TOP New York University anthropologist has noted that the open source software culture has emerged relatively unscathed from the economic downturn.

  • January 22: No More End Users: OSS Enables New Ways of Cooperating, Carlo Daffara

    One of the most fascinating thing about open source is that it allows the collaboration between entities that are in many ways anomalous. One of my favorite examples of this are the Sakai and Kuali consortia, created by large universities dissatisfied by their proprietary software systems. They found it more economical to pull their efforts together and create something new instead rather than simply continuing to pay for something that delivered less than expected. The process ended up creating something of value to themselves and to other universities and groups; it also provided the basis for a profitable business for those companies selling consulting services.

  • JBoss and SpringSource

    Both are owned by corporate parents that have large market shares in their respective product categories: Linux servers for Red Hat, and corporate data center virtualization for VMWare, respectively, which allows the two subsidiaries of the parents to exert some sort of free-wheeling and experimentation with messaging, such as JBoss’ new non-Java EE push through other languages, and SpringSource’s anti-Java EE push through their own language, of sorts….but make no mistake about the competition, it boils down to a heavily intensive fight for the mindshare of Java developers worldwide, with the eventual victor controlling what is left of the corporate IT spend that does not go to Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle…this is major terrain for the once-small start-ups to undertake….

  • Open Source Exchanges: Can VARs Profit?

    When OpenBravo — an open source ERP company — launched an open source exchange earlier today, The VAR Guy had a case of deja vu. From Digium to Red Hat to xTuple, numerous open source companies have launched online marketplaces for their customers and VARs. But can open source exchanges really stir application sales? Here are some thoughts.

  • 10 important Open Source distribution criteria.

    Open source doesn’t just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:

    1. Free Redistribution
    The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

  • World’s Smallest Operating system

    Have u checked my previous post Worlds smallest linux computer and linux networking server ?

    After seeing the popularity of that post, i thought it would be good to inform you about worlds smallest Operating system too. Being a great Linux fan, i always support Linux.I am glad to inform you that the smallest OS is a linux based OS.Its actually not a linux, but its a Linux variant.

  • Sun

    • Sun and the Ten Ways

      If you see a company which “owns” an OSS project, you can be 95% certain that they are pursuing at least one of the Ten Ways, and most often several. One audience member claimed to be “ten for ten”. Where companies are generally not screwing up, it’s usually because they’ve hired a battle-tested community adivsor or manager to steer them away from the obvious mistakes.

    • Your Opinion Please: Did Oracle Make Concessions to the EU?

      Back when the EU started the investigation of the Oracle-Sun deal, I made a bet. The bet hinged on whether Oracle would make concessions to get the EU’s approval. Please review the arguments, pro and con, and help us settle the bet.

    • Postgres Community Responds to EU Decision to Approve Oracle’s Acquisition of MySQL

      EnterpriseDB, the enterprise Postgres company, and PostgreSQL co-founder Bruce Momjian today issued the following statements regarding the EU committee’s decision to approve Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, which includes ownership of the MySQL open source database project.

    • Sun CEO: Go Oracle, Beat IBM [Internal Memo]

      Oracle (ORCL) said this morning that it has received unconditional regulatory approval from the European Commission for its acquisition of Sun (JAVA). Below, the all-hands memo Sun CEO Jon Schwartz sent to employees following the announcement.

    • At the Setting of the Sun
  • Mozilla

    • 5 things Firefox needs to copy from Google Chrome.

      Firefox 3.6 was released late last week with which came some notable improvements and features like Personas and support for HTML5. I also noticed some improvement in speed and the overall feel of the browser. However, comparing Firefox to Google Chrome, I still think there are some things Firefox would do well implementing in their next release.

    • Google’s latest Chrome: faster and with “most requested” new features

      Google has released a new Windows version of its Chrome browser with what it says are two of the most requested enhancements: extensions and bookmark sync, and a significant performance boost.

    • spring cleaning for firefox

      It’s not quite Spring yet, but with the release of Firefox 3.6, now would be a great time to give your browser a good cleaning.

      First, make sure you’re on the latest Firefox. In the Help menu, select Check for updates… and apply any updates offered.

  • CMS

    • Procter & Gamble using Drupal

      Procter & Gamble (P&G) is a Fortune 500, multinational corporation that manufactures a wide range of consumer goods such as Gillette, Ariel, Pampers, Duracell, Braun and much more. With annual sales in excess of $83 billion USD, they are the 8th largest corporation in the world by market capitalization. Guess what? They are using Drupal for a microsite at http://www.pgsupplier.com/. The site provides easy access to information for prospective and current Procter & Gamble suppliers. The site doesn’t look pretty, but given Drupal’s bottom up grassroots adoption, this could be a big deal nonetheless.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • FSFE honoured with Theodor Heuss Medal – “trendsetting organisation”

      The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) receives this year’s Theodor Heuss Medal for its extraordinary work for equitable participation in the information society. Since 2001 FSFE has been committed to the freedom to use, investigate, modify and redistribute software in all parts of society and politics. Theodor Heuss Foundation states: “FSFE as a forward thinking organisation contributes to the development and establishment of rules for good global governance.”

      “Free Software is an indispensable component of a free society in the digital age. It ensures equal access to the information society for everyone, ” says Karsten Gerloff, President of FSFE, commenting on the award.

  • Releases

    • SOGo 1.2.0 Final released

      The Inverse Team [External] is pleased to announce the immediate availability of SOGo 1.2.0. This is a major release of SOGo which focuses on new features, improved stability and which includes many bug fixes and several small enhancements over previous versions.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The pros and cons of html 5 video

      When I received the news of youtube using html 5 for their video streaming I was interested. When I tested it out and saw how much better it worked for me than the flash video I was excited about this new development. My excitement quickly turned to concern when I learned why Mozilla is not supporting this new streaming video format in their Firefox browser.

      [...]

      At least right now their is some competition. Not the kind of competition that the open source community would like to see. But as long as the h.264 codec exist then Adobe is not left to control the market entirely and as long as the Adobe flash format is in existence they force MPEG-LA to find a way to be competitive.

    • ODF 1.2 Part 1 Public Review

      A major milestone was reached for the OASIS ODF TC today. The latest Committee Draft of ODF 1.2 Part 1 was sent out for a 60-day public review.

Leftovers

  • To Heal Haiti, Look to History, Not Nature

    At its apex, the white colonists were supplanted by a new ruling class, made up largely of black and mulatto officers. Though these groups soon became bitter political rivals, they were as one in their determination to maintain in independent Haiti the cardinal principle of governance inherited from Saint-Domingue: the brutal predatory extraction of the country’s wealth by a chosen powerful few.

  • Haitian police shoot scavengers indiscriminately

    Looters and scavengers have moved into the downtown commercial district, taking what they can from the ruins as bulldozers demolished damaged shops and warehouses.

  • Why Did the Huffington Post Republish All of Twitter Last Night?

    If you’re a Twitter user, congratulations: You’re also a Huffington Post contributor! For a few hours last night, it appears practically all of Twitter was republished on HuffPo. But now our tweets have disappeared from the site. What’s going on?

  • Science

    • China to lead world scientific research by 2020

      Vast state investment in schools, universities and research programmes has driven the rapid growth, with academic discoveries rapidly tapped for commercial potential. Chinese scientists are particularly strong on chemistry and materials engineering, both considered central to the country’s industrial development and economic future.

    • Diamond Oceans Possible on Uranus, Neptune

      Oceans of liquid diamond, filled with solid diamond icebergs, could be floating on Neptune and Uranus, according to a recent article in the journal Nature Physics.

    • White House Decides to Outsource NASA Work

      The White House has decided to begin funding private companies to carry NASA astronauts into space, but the proposal faces major political and budget hurdles, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • Security

    • I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but…

      Not only did Dr David Kelly die in suspicious circumstances – but now, thanks to Lord Hutton, the medical evidence about those circumstances will not be revealed for 70 years.

      Lord Hutton’s inquiry ruled that Kelly had killed himself. And Hutton heard all the evidence. If the medical evidence supports that conclusion, why seal it for 70 years?

    • Iraq’s crippled infrastructure fails to help struggling war amputees

      Iraq’s health ministry said it has no specific figures but it estimates the number of physically and mentally disabled people at between 2 million and 3 million.

    • Brown admits ‘mistake’ in not planning for Iraq invasion’s fallout

      But speaking days before his predecessor Tony Blair testifies to Britain’s Iraq war inquiry, Brown — who will face the probe himself within weeks — insisted that the war was justified by a previous UN resolution.

    • Lancashire County Council uses snooping powers

      Snooping powers have been exercised hundreds of times by Lancashire County Council over the last five years.
      Cleaners who repeatedly failed to show up for work, and a care assistant who claimed too much on travel expenses, were among those caught through surveillance under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).

    • Top ITV presenters quizzed by terror police over ‘glittery hairdryers’

      “Jamie and I were kitted out in fake utility belts, we had the whole bulletproof flakjacket thing, we’ve got hairdryers in our belt, a kids’ £1.99 walkie-talkie, hairbrushes and all that kind of stuff, and we were being followed by a camera crew and a boom mike and we get literally pulled over by four policemen and we were issued with a warning ‘under the act of terrorism’.”

      Jamie Rickers, 32, added: “We were stopped, not arrested, but they had to say ‘we are holding you under the Anti-Terrorism Act because you’re running around in flak jackets and a utility belt’, and I said ‘and please put spangly blue hairdryer’ and he was, like, ‘all right’.”

    • Police stop and search ‘not cutting knife crime’, new figures suggest

      There is little connection between the use of stop and search powers by the ­Metropolitan police and reductions in knife crime, according to new figures ­analysed by a leading criminologist.

    • DHS ‘brainiacs’ to commercialise airport liquids-OK scanner

      The US Department of Homeland Security says that its “government brainiacs” are on the verge of rolling out an airport bag scanner which would avoid the need to separate frustrated travellers from their “liquids, gels, sprays” and even “spreads”.

    • The Forfeiture Racket

      Police and prosecutors won’t give up their license to steal.

      Around 3 in the morning on January 7, 2009, a 22-year-old college student named Anthony Smelley was pulled over on Interstate 70 in Putnam County, Indiana. He and two friends were en route from Detroit to visit Smelley’s aunt in St. Louis. Smelley, who had recently received a $50,000 settlement from a car accident, was carrying around $17,500 in cash, according to later court documents. He claims he was bringing the money to buy a new car for his aunt.

    • China Accuses U.S. of Cyberwarfare

      In the wake of a recent speech by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning countries that censor the internet and engage in hacking, China has lobbed a return volley and accused the United States of hypocrisy and initiating cyberwarfare against Iran.

      An editorial in the People’s Daily — the primary mouthpiece for China’s Communist Party — accused the United States of doublespeak and of using “online warfare” to instigate violent unrest in Iran with Twitter and YouTube following that country’s national elections in June.

    • ‘Aurora’ code circulated for years on English sites

      “In my opinion, the use of this unique CRC implementation in Hydraq is evidence that someone from within the PRC authored the Aurora codebase,” Stewart wrote here.

    • Entire UK will be on ID database sometime in next 3 millennia

      Applications to join the ID card register are running at 50 a day, meaning the Labour government will achieve its aim of chipping the entire population of these islands in somewhere between 136 and 3,342 years.

    • Why PostgreSQL is a better enterprise database than MySQL

      There are many more features that make PostgreSQL well-suited to the enterprise. Security is huge, but PostgreSQL’s support and focus on data integrity, granular access controls, ACID compliance, and other core focuses, really explain why PostgreSQL is so highly favoured amongst many database administrators.

  • Environment

    • One quarter of US grain crops fed to cars – not people, new figures show

      One-quarter of all the maize and other grain crops grown in the US now ends up as biofuel in cars rather than being used to feed people, according to new analysis which suggests that the biofuel revolution launched by former President George Bush in 2007 is impacting on world food supplies.

    • Shell faces legal fight over Arctic wells

      The legal claim accuses the US’s minerals management service, part of the federal interior department, of waving through permission to allow Shell to drill wells on the basis of an “abbreviated and internal review” of the environmental dangers of exploration.

  • Finance

    • Legalize Competing Currencies

      The truth is that Americans are still losing jobs, the Fed is still inflating, and more regulations are in the works that will prevent jobs and productivity from coming back. We are on this trajectory for the long haul. The claim has been made many times that this administration has only had a year to clean up the mess of the last administration. I wish they would at least get started! Instead of reversing course, they are maintaining Bush’s policies full speed ahead. They are even keeping the Bush-appointee in charge of the Federal Reserve! They are not even making token efforts at change in economic policy. And for all the talk of transparency, we hear that some powerful senators will do all they can to block a simple audit of the powerful and secretive Federal Reserve.

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • Manchurian Candidates: Supreme Court allows China and others unlimited spending in US elections

      So it’s not just un-Americans we need to fear but the Polluter-Americans, Pharma-mericans, Bank-Americans and Hedge-Americans that could manipulate campaigns while hidden behind corporate veils. And if so, our future elections, while nominally a contest between Republicans and Democrats, may in fact come down to a three-way battle between China, Saudi Arabia and Goldman Sachs.

    • Shed a Tear For Our Democracy

      Money from Exxon, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer and the rest of the Fortune 500 is already corroding the policy making process in Washington, state capitals and city halls. Now, the Supreme Court tells these corporate giants that they have a constitutional right to trample our democracy.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • SoCal school district bans the dictionary

      Southern California’s Menifee Union school district has banned the Merriam Webster’s 10th edition from use in fourth and fifth grade classes, over this salacious definition of “oral sex”: “oral stimulation of the genitals”.

    • Did Manchester United Ban Players From Using Social Networks… Or Alert People To Fake Accounts?

      However, the BBC notes that there were three ManU players who were believed to have real Twitter accounts, and all have suddenly disappeared — which suggests the real issue is that ManU banned players from using social networks to connect with fans. If that’s true, it seems incredibly short-sighted. Yes, players need to be careful when communicating publicly, but blocking them off entirely doesn’t help make fans any more loyal.

    • Howard Berman Concerned About Internet-Repressive Regimes, Except If They Help His Friends In Hollywood

      Rep. Howard Berman (who represents Hollywood and is sometimes referred to as “the Representative from Disney” given his longstanding support for any law that increases the scope of copyright law) is apparently speaking out against “repressive internet regimes” such as those in China, while at the very same time being a strong supporter of ACTA which could push for very similar “secondary liability” rules for ISPs in the US that are the foundation of Chinese internet censorship.

    • Intro to TOR: how you can be an anti-censorship activist in your sleep

      Here’s a nice little introductory article on TOR, The Onion Router, a privacy-enhancing technology that helps you to circumvent national, corporate and school firewalls and enhance your anonymity. Originally developed by the US military to help communications get in and out of countries that heavily filter their networks, TOR is free/open software and is maintained by many volunteers around the world, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    • Word-map of net-censorship in China
    • Are the geeks still beating their chests?

      Earlier today my fellow iTWire writer Stephen Withers reported of a campaign to place a “black-out” pop-up page over 500 Australian-based web pages in protest against the Federal Government’s Internet Filter proposal.

      [...]

      We have to engage in a conversation with the general public, not continue to shout at them. So, as I started this piece, what will it prove? The answer unfortunately is very little.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • US gov’t data-laundering: using corporate databases to get around privacy law

      “Buying You: The Government’s Use of Fourth-Parties to Launder Data about ‘The People’,” a paper by Columbia Law School’s Joshua L. Simmons in the Columbia Business Law Review, describes the way that US government agencies circumvent the fourth amendment and privacy statutes by outsourcing their surveillance to private credit reporting bureaux and other mega-databases. He argues that the law should ban the use of this improperly gathered information, binding paid government informants to the same rules that the government must follow.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Public Domain Manifesto

      The Public Domain is the rule, copyright protection is the exception. Since copyright protection is granted only with respect to original forms of expression, the vast majority of data, information and ideas produced worldwide at any given time belongs to the Public Domain. In addition to information that is not eligible for protection, the Public Domain is enlarged every year by works whose term of protection expires. The combined application of the requirements for protection and the limited duration of the copyright protection contribute to the wealth of the Public Domain so as to ensure access to our shared culture and knowledge.

    • The Public Domain Manifesto
    • Improving Access to Research

      Last week, the U.S. House Science and Technology Committee’s Roundtable on Scholarly Publishing (on which we served along with 10 others) released a report* arguing that journal articles derived from federal research funding should be made publicly available as quickly as practicable—generally in a year or less after publication—and in ways that will improve scholarship by maximizing the scope for interoperability across articles, among disciplines, and internationally.

    • Librarians for Fair Access resists exclusive content contracts

      Library database vendor EBSCO now has exclusive deals with content providers — Time, Inc., and Forbes. Libraries who had been getting access to this same content through other vendors will have to pay up or lose electronic access to popular titles such as Sports Illustrated, Time and People. Gale, a competing vendor, has responded with their Fair Access campaign including the Librarians for Fair Access facebook group.

    • RIAA in pickle over Jammie Thomas ruling

      The music industry will have to make some very tough choices within the next week about file sharer Jammie Thomas-Rasset.

      The Recording Industry Association of America wants to put the Thomas-Rasset affair behind it. The Brainerd, Minn., mother–who refused to settle with the RIAA for $5,000 over copyright infringement allegations, instead fighting it out in court–has been found liable of willful copyright infringement by two different juries and was ordered to pay damages of $222,000 in her first trial (a decision later thrown out) and $1.9 million last June in her retrial.

    • Gorillaz manager criticises Pharrell Williams file-sharing views

      Earlier this week, Pharrell Williams told the MidemNet conference that illegal file-sharing is “just taste-testing”. It’s fair to say that Chris Morrison – who manages Gorillaz, Blur and other artists – doesn’t agree.

      In fact, he said so himself at the MIDEM Manager Summit this afternoon, responding directly to Williams’ claim. “It’s not [like taste-testing]. It’s like giving them the whole bloody meal!”

      Morrison said he was fairly ambivalent about file-sharing until recently, when Stylo, the lead single from the new Gorillaz album leaked, mere hours after the first CD pressings were made.

    • New Attempt To Get Around Section 230 In Apparent Effort To Bury Small Site With Legal Expenses

      We’ve seen all sorts of attempts to get around Section 230 safe harbors by various companies — almost all of which have failed. But they keep on trying. Paul Alan Levy alerts us to a new case, in which he (and Public Citizen) are helping out, that involves a company called Vision Media TV, whose business has been heavily criticized in the press. According to the various reports, the company calls organizations to get them to take part in a TV show with a semi-famous host, which they claim will be shown on TV.

    • For ‘Avatar,’ three-strikes means a quick out

      Often overlooked in the hoopla surrounding the three-strikes provision in France’s Creation and the Internet law passed last year that established a procedure for cutting off Internet access for repeat copyright infringers, were other measures strictly regulating release windows for movies in France. Under the law, any movie released theatrically in France must be released on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as made available for authorized downloads, exactly four months after its theatrical debut.

    • ‘Avatar’ blogging blues
    • German court finds parent liable for child’s file-sharing

      Parents can be legally responsible for the unlawful behaviour of their children using home internet connections, a German court has ruled. It said that a woman had a duty to monitor the use to which her internet connection was put.

    • Israel Making Generic Patents As Big An Int’l Trade Issue As Corruption And Bribery?

      So, because some big pharma companies can’t compete well with Israeli generics, Israel should be barred from joining the OECD?

    • ACTA Guide, Part Two: The Documents (Official and Leaked)

      Negotiations in the 7th round of the ACTA talks open this morning in Mexico with civil enforcement issues on the agenda. Yesterday I posted on the developments to-date, including a chronology of talks, issues, and leaks that have led to this week’s round of discussions.

    • Beg[l]ian Senator proposes Hadopi-like law

Clip of the Day

How to Monopolize Food – Monsanto Style part 1 of 2

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