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02.11.10

Links 11/2/2010: LinuxQuestions.org Awards, Myst Online Set Free

Posted in News Roundup at 9:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Telling the Linux Story

    So, this morning, I tried something new: with a little video capture with RecordMyDesktop and a little editing from kdenlive, I was able to put together a (very) rough concept of what one user’s search for Linux just might look like.

    It was a fun thing to do in just an hour’s time, and I may donate it as a demo video to the Linux Foundation’s new We’re Linux video contest, if they want it. (It’s too long for the contest, and I would recuse myself from participating, anyway.)

  • Linux stays single while others are married.

    Other operating systems are not so happy go lucky as Linux is. They tend to make a lifetime commitment to their installed home and really do not like too much change. So much so that these operating systems are always calling back to their parents and keeping them informed of their living arrangements. They really are a stickler for this and while these operating systems can be commended for their loyalty and commitment, they do tend to become rather a stick in the mud when it comes to change. To keep these operating systems from grumbling too much it is advisable to keep it living in its home, unchanged, for its natural lifetime.

  • The summer of Taiwan tech independence

    This summer Taiwan will declare its independence.

    Not from China. Not from America.

    From Microsoft.

    Symbio CEO Jacob Hsu (right) has been working with Taiwanese OEMs for 10 years and says they are finally ready to kick off the traces and become their own brands.

    This surprised me. I was at last year’s CompuTex show, in Taiwan, looking for Linux, and it just wasn’t there.

    While many of the Taiwanese businesspeople I talked with expressed a desire to go outside the Microsoft orbit, every booth featured Windows gear, usually with Intel chips.

    But Android, the mobile operating system Google has built on top of Linux, is turning heads. “Google put together a complete package” for Android, Hsu said, with “software Development Kits (SDKs) and other things people could use.”

  • Google, Microsoft compete to be ‘platform of the world’

    About the only time vendors converge on open standards to ensure customer choice is when it suits their desires to dislodge a too-powerful vendor, as the HTML5 crowd is doing to Adobe’s Flash or as IBM et al. have done with Linux to break Microsoft’s Windows grip. In these cases, it’s not really about customer choice so much as about giving vendors more choices.

  • LinuxQuestions.org Announces 2009 Members Choice Awards

    What makes the poll more interesting than most is not just the raw numbers, but the comments that go along with the voting. Each entry had its own thread in the forums and users were more than happy to hold forth on their opinions in greater detail. Some are more thoughtful than others, but well worth a skim for anyone participating in one of the projects voted on.

  • 2009 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards
  • Roku SDK Available; Someone make my local content streamable!

    The Roku player, that nifty little Linux-based device which streams Netflix, Amazon movies, Revision3 shows, and more, now has an SDK available for programmers to create their own channels:

    With the Roku Software Developer’s Kit, you too can build a channel that streams your content to the TV.

  • Linux users, get your Windows refund today

    One good thing I can say about Dell is that they seem to be granting refunds for Windows, but only on new systems (not refurbished). The key to getting the refund is to politely contact them after you have received your new PC, and state that you have read the Windows license agreement on your screen, and are following the instructions and asking for a Windows refund. The last time I attempted this, Dell shipped me a return label to send back the Windows CDs. About 2 weeks after I shipped the CDs back, I received a check in the mail. I have to admit that was a very surprising experience, in a good way. Today I am still happily running Fedora 10 on that machine.

  • Linus Torvalds Loves Nexus One, And So Can You

    Deployment

    Gnu-Linux is a powerful duo. Major enterprises around the globe are shifting to Gnu-Linux and other Muktware* technologies. Most governments now use Gnu-Linux and Muktware, which is the perfect use of taxpayers’ money. These technologies also ensure that the nation has control over the technology that they are using and not some mega-corporate who controls or owns the code.

    Dynamic Innovation

    The Gnu-Linux development has been much faster and dynamic than the Slaveware (proprietary) development. A stupid comparison: Look at how much Microsoft’s Windows XP, Office suite and IE, or Apple’s Macs have improved over the years and then compare it with how Gnu-Linux and Muktware have evolved.

  • UbuCon, FAD and Keysigning at SCALE
  • SCALE 8x Update: Ubucon, FAD and Keysigning, oh my!

    The Fedora team invites those interested in attending to help create process and how-to content, solve and mentor problems and educate the wider community about how participation is conducted this year in an effort to improve the capacity for more students and mentors for the Google program, as well as others.

  • Sign Up for a Spot at LinuxCon 2010

    The 2010 conference season is already underway — having launched auspiciously if not officially with last month’s linux.conf.au — and it’s safe to expect that attendees will quickly begin registering, presenters will begin proposing, and before you know it, live-from-the-floor reports will be rolling in. Though the latter will have to wait, as of last week, the registering and proposing is on for LinuxCon 2010.

  • LinuxCertified Announces its next Linux System and Network Administration BootCamp

    LinuxCertified,Inc. a leading provider of Linux training, will offer weekend Linux system administration bootcamp on February 27th – 28th, 2010 in South Bay (CA). This workshop is designed for busy information technology professionals and is designed to cover the most important Linux administration areas.

  • Micro LUGs & the LUG Buddies

    That rules out my own training business, so I have enquired about setting up a Linux Users Group (or LUG, as they are fetchingly known). However, this would be a LUG with a difference. The difference is two-fold: it will be a micro LUG, on an individual town basis, and it will incorporate a buddy system, whereby an experienced Linux user would be teamed up with a newbie, who would hold their hand throughout the setting up process. A suitable name may be LUG Buddies.

  • Materials from the Free Technology Academy

    The Free Technology Academy, a “virtual university” with support from the European Commission, has announced that it has made a set of free-software-related educational materials available under the CC ShareAlike and GNU FDL licenses. Available books include The concepts of free software and open standards (291 pages) and GNU/Linux advanced administration (545 pages). Both books are available in English, Spanish and Catalan.

  • Server

    • Product Spotlight: Gadmintools suite of configuration utilities

      The Gadmintools set of administration/configuration tools are for any Linux administrator needing a fast, simple means of configuring various systems on Linux machine. Gadmintools requires at least a mid-level knowledge of Linux since some of the tools offered configure fairly complex systems.

    • Why cloud computing deals need privacy level agreements

      I was hosting one of our ComputerWorld Interactive events this morning in Edmonton, where we were discussing IBM’s proposal that Linux is an ideal OS on which to develop a cloud computing strategy.

    • Want to build a private cloud?

      Some packaged software is beginning to appear to help create private clouds, such as Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), but it’s limited to Linux-based clouds.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Slideshow: KDE SC 4.4 screenshots

        KDE SC 4.4 brings compositing improvements to the native window manager, KWin. The “spinning cube” effect to change desktops is shown here.

      • How to Install KDE SC 4.4 on Ubuntu 9.10

        Today’s tutorial is for those of you who don’t want to wait until late April for the Kubuntu 10.04 (Karmic Koala) release, which will come with a default KDE SC 4.4.0 installation. With this guide, we will teach you, step by step, how to install the brand-new KDE SC 4.4.0 on your existing Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) installation.

      • KDE SC 4.4: Fresh breeze for KDE

        The latest 4.4 release of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC) offers far more than just stability and bug fixes: The developers have added a special new desktop for netbooks, as well as more program options. They have also made major structural changes.

        [...]

        Binary packages for most of the distributions are to become available in the next few days, which will give users – even those who still use KDE 3 – an opportunity to take a first look at KDE SC 4.4.

      • KDE 4.4 Linux desktop environment features netbook interface

        The folks behind the popular KDE Linux desktop environment pushed out version 4.4 recently, complete with a new interface designed specifically for netbooks. Basically a desktop environment such as KDE or GNOME provides a user interface and a number of applications for Linux users.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • The best Windows 7 themes for Gnome Linux Collection

        There are many Windows 7 themes available for Linux. These themes will make your Gnome Linux similar to Windows 7. Here, are the best of two Windows 7 themes for Gnome Linux. To install these kind of theme, you can read my previous tutorial.

      • KDE Application Indicators In GNOME

        Something we have been spending some time working on in this cycle has been fixing the mess that is the system tray. This is based upon an awesome specification submitted to Freedesktop by KDE. The spec has been implemented by KDE, we have written an implementation for the GNOME panel and it shipped in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Alpha 2.

        This work has a range of benefits:

        * Better usability: no more confusing mix of left and right click menu options.
        * Multiple indicators can be scrubbed: click once and move your mouse between them instead of having to click multiple times.
        * Icons are properly spaced.
        * Separate panel icons can be specified which helps improve theming.
        * Better KDE and GNOME integration.

    • Xfce

      • Xfce Desktop: Less Lard, Less Bling, More Usability

        This is the first in a series of articles looking at some lightweight, but still fully-functional, desktop alternatives to KDE or Gnome. First up: Xfce. Xfce is designed to be lightweight and fully-functional, providing a full desktop environment whilst using minimal system resources; and it’s modular, so you can choose exactly what you want to run.

        The current Xfce umbrella package in both Debian stable and Ubuntu 9.10 is xfce4 (version 4.4 in Debian, and 4.6 in Ubuntu). After you’ve installed it, log out of X. If you’re running gdm or a similar app as your login manager, check the bottom left of the screen for a “Sessions” option, and you can choose Xfce for your next session. When starting the session, you’ll then be asked if you want to make this your default window manager.

  • Distributions

    • Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring Alpha 2 arrives

      Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring Alpha 2 is based on the 2.6.33 RC6 Linux kernel and features the third release candidate for KDE SC 4.4 (4.3.98), GNOME 2.29.6 and X.org 7.5. KDE related updates include version 2.2.2 of the Amarok music player and KTorrent

    • Gentoo

      • Google Goes With Gentoo Portage for ChromeOS Build

        One of the most noteworthy features of Gentoo Linux is its Portage software management tool.

      • A quick privacy note on Chromium

        I did notice something about it though; privacy concerns. It seemed to be a pain to browse in a “more secure” style (and by “more secure,” I mean that–no browsing is completely secure for a multitude of reasons). After perusing the settings for a while, I noticed the “Incognito” mode for Chromium.

    • Red Hat Family

      • This Idiot’ skipped formal education to pursue his passion for computers

        He had enough talent to get enrolled in any graduation course after he passed his higher secondary exams two years ago, but this Idiot’ instead preferred to pursue his passion for computers and enrolled in a year’s programme at IPSR institute in Kerala. And, he got the reward for following his heart after he passed the exams held by US-based Red Hat Company in December 2009. This Gujarati scored 100 per cent marks in the first two tests and over 90 per cent in the third exam. Red Hat is a well known software solution company that created LINUX-based computer operating systems in 1990s.

      • Accelerating Open Source Middleware Adoption

        As the economy improves and open source adoption accelerates, 2010 will be an exciting year. We expect to to focus attention on JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform, JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform, Cloud Computing, JBoss Developer Studio, JBoss and the Java Community and the expanding JBoss ecosystem.

      • Pre-release version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5

        Red Hat has released a beta version of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 Linux distribution for testing. Red Hat Enterprise Linux, aka RHEL, is aimed at enterprise customers. As well as bug fixes released since RHEL 5.4, at this stage of the RHEL life cycle the next incarnation of RHEL5 also includes extensive new functionality and numerous drivers for supporting newer hardware.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 Beta Expands Virtualization

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 (RHEL) is now available in early beta, providing users of Red Hat’s flagship operating system with bug fixes and an early look at some new features, too.

        With RHEL 5.5, Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is continuing to build on the RHEL 5 base, which was launched in 2007. Its most recent update was the RHEL 5.4 release, which officially debuted in September and was notable for its new KVM virtualization base. It’s a base that Red Hat is further expanding now with RHEL 5.5, thanks to a new run-time memory allocation feature for KVM virtual guests.

      • Red Hat Revs While VMware Takes to the Streets

        Virtualization has been part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux since the release of version 5.4 back in September. At the time, the new KVM virtualization base was big news. It’s still an important part of the OS. So much so that now Red Hat is further expanding with RHEL 5.5, which it released to beta on Wednesday. The key enhancement is a new run-time memory allocation feature for KVM virtual guests that allows them guests to obtain extra memory as required, and thus not “be stuck with a fixed amount of memory, as Internetnews reports.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 13 Features Preview

          Goddard is the codename for the latest version of the bleeding edge Linux distribution, Fedora 13. Eve before the release of Fedora 12 there were new feature plans for Fedora 13. New features continue to be added to the feature plans of Fedora 13 scheduled for a planned release on May 11, 2010. The Fedora 13 feature list includes a number of features that didn’t make it in time for Fedora 12. The feature list includes NFSv4 protocol by default, support for mounting NFS servers over IPv6, and yum language package plug-in. It’s almost time for Fedora 13 feature freeze and we hardly expect any new last minute additions. With most accepted Fedora 13 features highlighted on Fedora Project Wiki we decided to provide a comprehensive preview of the Linux distribution.

          [...]

          Fedora 13 would offer enhanced support for DisplayPort in X and kernel drivers for NVIDIA hardware. DisplayPort offers a higher link bandwidth than dual-link DVI. Monitors can easily take advantage of this by providing higher resolutions, higher color depths, and higher refresh rates. The DisplayPort will also run at a lower voltage than DVI and LVDS, and uses lesser power. The future laptops will likely switch to embedded DisplayPort for the local panel for this reason. With this feature, Fedora users can take advantage of the the technical superiority of DisplayPort.

    • Debian Family

      • Updated Debian GNU/Linux Distribution

        I just noticed that there is an updated distribution of the Debian GNU/Linux stable branch, lenny 5.0.4. As noted in the press release, this release is primarily security updates and a few serious problem fixes. If you are running Debian lenny and have been keeping up to date with the official updates, you don’t need to reinstall, the purpose of this distribution is simply to consolidate all the latest updates into a single installable distribution.

      • My Debian Adventure 3: Squeeze & KDE4

        This story is all about that experience and my personal opinions about that experience. I do not attempt to make any generalizations about KDE4 in general; in fact, I’ve read many good things about KDE4, written by people who were using other Linux distros instead of Debian. So any problems that I describe and any opinions that I express are limited strictly to the current 64-bit, AMD64 Debian Squeeze (Testing) and the way that it currently installs and configures KDE 4.3.4, ext4 and grub2 (grub-pc).

      • Ubuntu

        • Get smart! Save 12K on your next laptop

          To cut a long story short, there are lots of free OSs developed under the Linux movement. And I’ve been told “Ubuntu” is among the most user-friendly. The latest version is Ubuntu 9.10 also called Karmic Koala (Don’t ask me why!). I’ve downloaded and used it for about two months. But there are lots of die hard fans of the older version called Ubuntu 9.04 (aka Jaunty Jackalope!). So you can check that out too if you like.

        • 10 Hot Cloud Computing Startups for 2010

          4. Canonical

          What they do: Canonical (along with Eucalyptus) developed and continues to support Ubuntu, one of the main OSes used for cloud deployments. The two companies continued to work together to further develop the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud.

          Canonical is following the Red Hat model, deriving revenue from their support of an open-source project. They also deliver images of their server product for use on the Amazon EC2 cloud.

        • fujisoft’s palro pet robot could use a new name, pal.

          It runs on a version of Ubuntu Linux, and has a built-in gyro-sensor, accelerometer, eight pressure points in its feet as well as a distance sensor.

        • Ubuntu Opportunistic Developer Week announced

          Ubuntu Opportunistic Developer Week is a week of sessions aimed at enabling and inspiring opportunistic developers to write applications that scratch their itches.

        • An Application Ballot Screen For Ubuntu? Oh Jeez…

          The following idea, proposed on Ubuntu Brainstorm, puts forward the sugeestion that users should be allowed to configure the application set before installation. Sort of like the Windows Browser ballot but for, well, pretty much everything.

        • Karmic install

          Installing Ubuntu was a breeze – 5 minutes to reboot and configure, 15 minutes for the actual installation.

        • Ubuntu Netbook Edition app list undergoes revision

          Now it looks like the Ubuntu team is stripping Brasero and a number of other programs from the list of applications to come preloaded with the next version of Ubuntu Linux.

        • Future Ubuntu Netbook Edition to be slimmer and lighter
        • Eeebuntu 4.0 Beta: Netbook OS based on Debian Linux

          Eeebuntu is a popular Linux distribution designed to play well with netbooks. It’s optimized for laptops with small screens and Intel Atom processors. And as you can probably guess from the name, it was originally designed as a custom version of Ubuntu Linux for Asus Eee PC netbooks. Today the Eeebuntu team launched the first public beta of Eeebuntu 4.0, which drops the Ubuntu base for Debian Linux.

        • Five Brilliant Ubuntu-based Distros You Never Knew Existed

          The major derivatives of Ubuntu are well known, but what about the others? Just because they aren’t as popular doesn’t mean they don’t have something to offer! We introduce five of the least known, yet simply outstanding distributions.

        • Mint

          • Linux Mint 8 Installing Adobe AIR…

            After a previous post where I outlined how to install Adobe AIR in Ubuntu 9.10 I thought I would write another post with instructions for installing in Linux Mint 8 as I also use this distribution on my development machine. The differences are subtle but nevertheless they are slightly different.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • CeTech and Vasco launch authentication-as-a-service

      The appliance is based on a Linux operating system and includes CeTech’s remote monitoring and reporting applications and Vasco’s identity management platform. All user information is hosted in the services provider’s datacentre facility.

    • ChipWrights Adds OpenEmbedded Support to its Software Development Kit

      Based on the Linux 2.6.29 kernel, this release includes the complete kernel with all necessary device drivers for the ChipWrights hardware development kit, source code for media player, media browser and IP camera applications integrated with the OpenEmbedded build environment. Linux 2.6.29 kernel highlights include video capture support (V4L2) for various video sources, allowing users to easily port video capture applications to the CW5631 processor, and SDIO Wi-Fi support for portable media players.

    • Intel taps student’s robot for processor demo

      While I’ve always been a little scared of spiders, watching student Matt Bunting’s hexapod robot dancing has all but cured me. Maybe it’s the combination of the folk guitar and little leg sways in the below video, but all of a sudden, spiders (at least the robotic kind) look so damn cute.

      [...]

      It runs on the Ubuntu open-source operating system.

    • Amazon opens enrollment for Kindle developer beta program

      Amazon.com announced open enrollment for its Kindle developer beta program, promising enrollees access to the tools necessary to create “active content” for the online retailer’s Kindle ebook platform. According to the Kindle Development Kit website, the KDK includes a Kindle simulator (both 6-inch and 9.7-inch) that works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux–developers can register up to three Kindle devices through the developer portal, and the owners of those devices will receive invitations to download and test the applications in question.

    • Wind River Extends Virtualization Support With New Release of Wind River Hypervisor

      Wind River today released an updated version of Wind River Hypervisor, its embedded virtualization solution for single and multicore processors. The new Wind River Hypervisor 1.1 release supports the latest Intel(r) processors and enables new inter-virtual machine communication capabilities. Additionally, debugging of virtual boards is now supported by the latest version of Wind River On-Chip Debugging.

    • Chumby One

      There are a few additions to the Chumby One, including an FM tuner, a much-needed volume knob, 2GB of internal storage, a slightly faster ARM-based CPU, and an optional lithium-ion battery (to keep the Chumby running even when the power is out). What went away? The second USB port (the Chumby One features just one powered USB port, suitable for charging devices) and the stereo speakers (the One is mono-only). The integrated accelerometer, touch screen, stereo audio jack, and snooze button remain the same.

    • MSC – Tiny Qseven Starter Kits with ready-to-run Linux Installation

      Additionally, the kit features a Qseven Heatspreader, a ready-to-run Linux installation on USB Flash Stick and a suitable 12V power supply. Optionally, the evaluation kit is available with a TFT panel including a suitable cable kit.

    • Tatvik Announces High Performance Video Codecs Optimized For Cortex-A8 Using ARM NEON Technology

      On 600 MHz Cortex-A8 (OMAP3530 of BeagleBoard with Linux), H.264 BP decoder achieves 45 FPS decoding for 1 mbps D1 streams, and MPEG-4 SP/H.263 encoder achieves 30 FPS encoding for D1 (720×480) streams. This boost in performance of video codecs enables several high resolution and high quality applications on Cortex-A8 based mobile devices like Nokia N900, Google Nexus One, Motorola DROID, HTC HD2, Apple iPhone 3GS and many more. The codecs are available for licensing on Android, Linux, Symbian, Windows Mobile and iPhone OS X.

    • hack a day: Add a Bluetooth terminal to your Kindle

      He’s also been doing some software work on the device now that he has easy access to it. Along the lines of the Ubuntu-on-Kindle hack from September, he’s compiled QT for the Kindle and written a couple of programs such as Sudoku to show that it works.

    • “Plugs”

      • Open Source Hardware Hacking with the PogoPlug

        Brad Dietrich, is the CTO and co-founder of Cloud Engines, Inc. Brad graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachlors of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and in Computer Science. He also is a published author and a contributor to several open source projects.

      • Pogoplug

        In steps the Pogoplug a device that allows you to connect multiple hard drives to the Internet to allow you to store and share files from. Your own “personal cloud” as the box shouts.

      • More on the TonidoPlug – the geeky stuff

        It’s important to remember as well that the plug is, at its core, a Ubuntu box. Any Ubuntu software that you want to install that can be accessed by command line or a web interface (e.g., backup, clustering, load balancing, FTP, etc.) can be installed from an SSH session.

    • Phones

      • ST-Ericsson uses Linux to drive €100 smartphone

        Mobile electronics firm ST-Ericsson has developed a Linux-based chip platform that could cut the wholesale price of smartphones to less than €100.

      • Nokia’s N900: a PC in handset clothing

        Nokia’s N900 is, in some respects, the most sophisticated mobile handset to date, offering a complete, desktop-derived operating system in the shape of Maemo 5. Yet, while several major operators have picked up the N900, Nokia is a long way from fully exploiting the device and its software platform in terms of the overall user and developer experiences. This must be addressed if Maemo is to be established as Nokia’s high-end platform of choice.

      • Android

        • Droid Hack Controls Printers, Cameras, Others

          Hackers have devices of a USB cable that enables the Droid to control printers, cameras, and other Linux-based USB devices.

        • Motorola Droid Set for Android Upgrade

          Google’s Nexus One won’t be the only smartphone to run Android 2.1, the latest version of the Android operating system, for too long. Motorola is planning to upgrade the Droid’s firmware this week to include features such as full multi-touch.

        • Review: Archos 5 Internet Tablet

          Although not a smartphone the Archos 5 Internet Tablet is of interest to smartphone watchers as an example of a device based on the truly open source version of Android: in other words, an Android device without Google.

        • Money management comes to Android phones

          Monitise has launched a new mobile money management app for Android-powered smartphones.

          The Mobile Money app is free from the Android Market and offers a full range of account management, payment and commerce services, including bank account balance enquiries, mini statements, transfers between accounts and bill payments.

        • 6 of the Best Android Mobile Devices

          Android is the name given to a mobile operating system using a customised version of the Linux kernel. It was first released in late 2008. The platform enables developers to write code in the Java language, controlling the device via Java libraries developed by Google.

          The operating system is developed by the Open Handset Alliance, a cosmopolitan collection of firms from a wide range of technology fields. Software companies that participate include Google and eBay, with mobile operators being represented by firms such as T-mobile and Vodafone. Semiconductor companies (including Intel, Nvidia, Texas Instruments) also play a key role in developing the platform. Moreover, handset manufacturers themselves contribute to the development of Android. Notable names include HTC, Motorola, Samsung Electronics, and LG.

        • Linus Torvalds: Why I love my Google Nexus One

          In the almost two decades since Linux has grown to be a mature operating system in its own right powering nearly 46% of web servers across the globe.

        • Android apps performance increases three-fold

          According to Simon Wilkinson, CEO of Myriad Group, by bringing together Myriad’s heritage in virtual machines and Linux platforms, the company has been able to significantly improve the performance of Android handsets, leading to a greatly enhanced user experience with richer applications and games and improved responsiveness.

        • Myriad Turns Android into a Beast
        • Android apps boosted by new Myriad
        • Android gets faster apps, better graphics, longer battery life

          Mobile middleware developer Myriad has unveiled a turbo boosted version of the Dalvik virtual machine, which runs applications on the Android platform, boosting performance and battery life.

        • Froyo and Gingerbread Next on the Android Roadmap

          Mountain View-based company Google is already known to have a thing about naming various Android releases as sweets, and we have already seen versions of the platform delivered on the market in the form of Cupcake, Donut or Eclair, but there are more to come, it seems. There are at least two new flavors of the operating system that will arrive in the foreseeable future, and now we learn that they will come as Froyo and Gingerbread.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • XCore’s EduBook, a Netbook That Runs on AA Batteries

        Yes, it runs Linux.

        Before diving in to anything else, note that this is a laptop built for running Linux; the one I’m using is running Ubuntu 9.4 (Jaunty), and others that I played with briefly on the show floor were running instead Barry Kauer’s lightweight (around 100MB by default) Puppy Linux. Though Puppy’s quite a nice OS, I stuck with Ubuntu on the EduBook, because that’s what I’m most used to.

      • Turn your netbook into a portable music studio with Indamixx USB stick

        Indamixx has been putting out custom netbooks designed for creating and editing music for a year or two now. Basically, Indamixx offers an off-the-shelf netbook like an MSI Wind U100 that’s been tweaked with extra RAM and loaded up with a custom Linux distribution and tons of open source audio production software as well as commercial apps including Renoise. Now the company is offering Indamixx Portable Studio USB Stick Version for netbooks and laptops.

      • Jolicloud brings 1080p support to Pinetrail netbooks

        Jolicloud is a Ubuntu variant that aims to make a truly custom-designed interface for netbooks. They’ve just pushed a new feature live in their distro which is pretty incredible: they’ve enabled 1080p HD video playback on netbooks inluding the Intel Atom Pinetrail chipset (the latest flavor of the netbook-centric Atom CPU).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Funding to help countries improve land tenure

    Open source software is increasingly seen as an alternative to proprietary software products, primarily due to its reduced costs, accessibility and high adaptability. The Open Source Cadastre and Registration (OSCAR) project is the first serious initiative applying open source solutions in developing countries.

  • When you think flash card, think Mnemosyne

    While you use the software, Mnemosyne can keep detailed statistics about your learning process. If you want, these logs can be uploaded easily and anonymously to a central server for analysis. Researchers can use the data to study the behavior of our memory over a long time period. As an additional benefit, the developers can use the results to improve the scheduling algorithms behind the software.

  • NEWS: Open source RTOS makes debut on the AVR

    Atomthreads is an open source RTOS developed in the UK and its first release contains a port to the Atmel AVR architecture.

  • New Features

    • Samba with Active Directory: getting closer

      From one point of view, Samba is open source high drama at its finest: an early adopter of version 3 of the GNU General Public License, and the recipient of an unprecedented release of formerly proprietary Microsoft documentation, thanks to a high-profile anti-trust case.

    • Curl Learns IMAP, POP3, SMTP

      Command line downloader Curl and its Libcurl library are available in version 7.20.0 with expanded protocol support.

      Apart from HTTP, FTP and SCP, the tool can handle IMAP, POP3 and SMTP, including their SSL-secured versions. Also supported is RTSP, the streaming protocol from RealNetworks for multimedia content.

  • Community

    • The virtuous circle model of support for open source

      However, not all users will become contributors, and not all contributors will become developers. In fact, the numbers of people progressing along this scale of contribution is very small. Nevertheless, just one contributor is a reduction in the centralised cost of development and thus a step towards sustainability for the project.

    • What Matters to Open Source: Licensing or Community?

      When it comes to defining open source, licensing is a critical topic since it’s the license that helps to make an application or effort open. But for Michael Tiemann, president of the Open Source Initiative, it’s not necessarily the only key success factor for open source projects.

      That might sound strange considering that licensing is the bread and butter for the OSI, the body that determines whether a license is open source. But Tiemann , who also serves as the vice president of Open Source Affairs at Red Hat, recognizes that licensing isn’t the be all and end all for open source.

  • Methodology

    • Online Music and Open Source Business Models

      There is a famous story of the Stone Soup, where many free ingredients came together to make an amazing finished product. Lest you think it’s just a fable, Red Hat and Ubuntu do exactly that–they’ve combined major open source projects such as Linux, Gnome, Apache, Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, and MySQL and built major businesses from them.

    • Four models of software evolution

      For starters, ‘Ubuntu is an operating system built by a worldwide team of expert developers. It contains all the applications you need: a web browser, office suite, media apps, instant messaging and much more. Ubuntu is an open-source alternative to Windows and Office,’ as www.ubuntu.com informs.

    • Well-mixed teams can develop new products faster

      Beginning with mobile Linux, Professional Ubuntu Mobile Development (www.wileyindia.com) covers topics such as power management, application development, packaging, theming, kernel fine-tuning, testing and so on, all aimed at developers interested in `a practical, hands-on way of learning development on mobile devices.’

      [...]

      The Mendel Model (named after Gregor Johann Mendel, considered the Father of Modern Genetics) is about `best of breed’ outcomes. Linux-based distributions are careful, selective, scientific, and personalised works of many people individually `breeding’ their own distributions, write Lawrence and Belem.

      Enrnst Mayr, the evolutionary biologist whose work `revealed the intricacies of adaptation and multiplication of species,’ is the name behind the third model, because his work `harmonised and connected the work of Darwin and Mendel.’

      Mayr’s theories built bridges rather than walls, the authors find. The third model is about the coexistence of diverse Linux distributions.

  • Mozilla

  • CMS

  • Business

    • Three signs your corporate culture isn’t ready for the open source way

      It’s a good bet that the next generation of defining companies will have corporate cultures built the open source way– around openness and collaboration, while fostering community and culture that extend outside the company walls.

      In fact many of the defining companies of the first decade of this century show these characteristics (with one very notable exception we discussed earlier).

    • OpenGeo proves non-profit ≠ non-commercial

      OpenGeo is primarily targeting governmental organizations as a means of helping them fulfill the requirements of the Open Government Directive and enable more participation and collaboration with government data.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • Macraigor extends on-chip debug support to Intel’s Atom

      Macraigor is offering a free port of the popular GNU toolkit (gcc, gas and gdb) for the Atom processor on its website, as well as full support for Eclipse Ganymede.

    • Army’s New “Smart Radio” May Revolutionize Communications

      The Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) is creating a Software-Defined Radio lab that will work with the Navy Research Lab to transfer work done previously on the Joint Tactical Radio System to the GNU Radio’s open-source, free software environment.

      Tim Leising, director of the Software-Defined Radio lab at CERDEC, said his group is focusing on developing and testing future software defined radios with the GNU platform to promote collaboration and information-sharing via network connections.

    • 2010′s 25 geekiest 25th anniversaries

      Our fourth annual compilation of the current year’s most notable technology-related 25th anniversaries includes Microsoft’s release of Windows 1.0, registration of the first dot-com domain names, the founding of AOL, the publication of Richard Stallman’s GNU Manifesto, and the first fatal attack by the Unabomber.

  • Releases

    • VLC 1.0.5 arrives, extensions planned for 1.1

      The developers note that they have started working on the next major update to the media player, saying that “VLC 1.1 is on the road”. According to a blog post VLC developer Jean-Philippe André, version 1.1 will allow users users to write their own plug-ins for VLC. Like Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, the extensions will let users add even more functionality to VLC, such as an IMDb add-on to get plot or cast information about a movie.

    • VLC promotional Movie, you sure don’t want to miss this
  • Openness

    • Free Texts: Sources

      There are a few interesting things to talk about surrounding free and open textbooks. Quality is one. Usability is another. Why to write one (and/or, why not) is certainly critical. But where can you find these disruptive, open texts?

    • The Tragedy of the Antibiotics Commons

      What this emphasises is that antibiotics form a kind of global commons – a resource whose benefits we all share. But if one party overexploits that commons – in this case, by recklessly handing out antibiotics as the article suggests – then the commons is ruined for *all* of us.

    • Why some smart people are reluctant to share?

      You might think the reasons for this may be:

      * they don’t have time
      * they are selfish
      * they don’t care
      * they don’t have an incentive to do it

      I was perplexed on this and over the last six weeks I spent some time talking to many of these smart people to understand what could be the reason. The results were very interesting. The rest of the article is based on those findings.

    • Can Gifting Economies Scale?

      It’s pretty clear that the societal drivers of tribal gifting economics and the mechanisms of enforcement didn’t survive the transition to a global social system composed of billions of members. Simply, the connections between any two individuals (outside of immediate familial relationships) are too abstract for these drivers and enforcement mechanisms to be relevant. As a result, market based mechanisms for economic interaction have gained dominance.

    • The future of web publishing, part seventeen million and six.

      As of the end of this month, I have published sixteen novels, a handful of novellas, and almost a hundred pieces of short fiction. It’s been critically well received, garnered me some praise and a handful of awards, and has performed modestly well in terms of what the publishing industry refers to as “the numbers.”

      Like every other narrative-prose writer on the planet who does not have the covers pulled up over her head (and believe me, the temptation is enormous) I am trying to figure out how the heck to continue doing what I am good at–what I have spent twenty years learning how to do at a professional level–in the face of developing technology.

    • Of Open Science and Open Source

      I’d go further: if you won’t release them and *share* them, then you’re not really a scientist, because science is inherently about sharing, not hoarding knowledge, whatever kind that may be. The fact that some of it may be in the form of computer code is a reflection of the fact that research is increasingly resting on digital foundations, nothing more.

    • Peer review: What is it good for?

      Whatever value it might have we largely throw away. Few journals make referee’s reports available, virtually none track the changes made in response to referee’s comments enabling a reader to make their own judgement as to whether a paper was improved or made worse. Referees get no public credit for good work, and no public opprobrium for poor or even malicious work. And in most cases a paper rejected from one journal starts completely afresh when submitted to a new journal, the work of the previous referees simply thrown out of the window.

      Much of the commentary around the open letter has suggested that the peer review process should be made public. But only for published papers. This goes nowhere near far enough. One of the key points where we lose value is in the transfer from one journal to another. The authors lose out because they’ve lost their priority date (in the worse case giving the malicious referees the chance to get their paper in first). The referees miss out because their work is rendered worthless. Even the journals are losing an opportunity to demonstrate the high standards they apply in terms of quality and rigor – and indeed the high expectations they have of their referees.

    • University finds free online classes don’t hurt enrollment

      The university’s Independent Study offerings have been attractive to students who are unable to make class regularly, either due to geographic distance or because of scheduling conflicts. Its Open CourseWare section offers the general public six classes—three university courses and three high school courses—that anyone on the Web can step through. (May I personally recommend the Financial Planning course? A lot of people could use it these days.) Of course, you won’t get any credit for taking the course for free, and that’s why BYU hopes you’ll pony up the cash and enroll.

  • Programming

    • Application Development: 15 Ways Oracle Can Make Java Better (and Improve Its Stance with Developers)

      When Oracle acquired Sun, the database giant also acquired the Java technology that was Sun’s lifeblood. Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison called Java the most important technology Oracle has ever acquired. With ownership and leadership come responsibility. Java’s future is now in Oracle’s hands. This eWEEK slide show presents 15 ways Oracle can improve Java and boost its position in the Java community.

Leftovers

  • Geeking Out on SSD Hardware Developments

    Let’s review recent developments in SSD hardware and to see where the technology is headed. Prepare to drool over new hardware!

  • Google to offer ‘ultra high-speed’ broadband in US

    It plans to build a fibre-optic network offering speeds of up to 1Gbps (gigabit per second) to up to 500,000 homes.

  • I Feel the Need for Super High Internet Speed

    Buried in all the Google Buzz hype today was a little story on TechCrunch that Google is planning to offer 1 gigabit-per-second, super-duper, high-speed fiber-optic cable in up to 50,000 homes in the US shortly. This is more significant to me than Google taking on Facebook.

  • Europe

    • Germany plans enquiry into the digital society

      Outlining its concerns, the Appeal said that authors’ freedoms in Germany are currently under serious threat, both at an international level (“[I]ntellectual property is being stolen from its producers to an unimagined degree and without criminalisation through the illegal publication of works protected by German copyright law on platforms such as Google Books and YouTube.”), and at a national level. (“The so-called ‘Alliance of German Scientific Organisations’ wants to obligate authors to use a specified mode of publication [i.e. OA]. This is not conducive to the improvement of scientific information”).

      Not only was the Appeal based on a misunderstanding of the aims and objectives of OA (OA advocates, for instance, have never suggested that researchers be compelled to publish in OA journals), but it conflated OA with other issues (Google Books, YouTube etc.) that OA advocates argue have little to do with it.

      This misunderstanding too is perhaps not surprising — for all these issues do share at least one important thing in common: they all arise from the fact that the Internet fundamentally changes the way in which information can be copied, distributed and consumed.

    • Spanish Telefónica to charge Google, Yahoo, Bing

      The President of the Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica César Alierta who was attending some PwC meetings in the Basque town of Bilbao said that Spanish Telefonica will charge Google, Yahoo, Bing and other Internet search engines for using their networks.

  • Security

    • Follow every car! The ANPR privacy threat to UK drivers

      There are now over 10,000 Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras covering the UK road network. These are capable of recording, recognising and tracking your car by its numberplate. The data from the cameras is collated and stored at a national centre run on behalf of the private, profit-making company ACPO, where it is held for at least two years. In some cases a detailed image of the driver and front-seat passenger is retained along with license plate information.

    • Cyber Warriors

      The cynical view of warnings about a mounting Chinese threat is that they are largely Pentagon budget-building ploys: if the U.S. military is “only” going to fight insurgents and terrorists in the future, it doesn’t really need the next generation of expensive fighter planes or attack submarines. Powerful evidence for this view—apart from familiarity with Pentagon budget debates over the years—is that many of the neoconservative thinkers who since 9/11 have concentrated on threats from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran were before that time writing worriedly about China. The most powerful counterargument is that China’s rise is so consequential and unprecedented in scale that it would be naive not to expect military ramifications. My instincts lie with the skeptical camp: as I’ve often written through the past three years, China has many more problems than most Americans can imagine, and its power is much less impressive up close. But on my return to America, I asked a variety of military, governmental, business, and academic officials about how the situation looks from their perspective. In most ways, their judgment was reassuringly soothing; unfortunately, it left me with a new problem to worry about.

    • TSA detains Middle-Eastern Studies major for carrying Arabic-English flashcards

      Nicholas George, a senior in Middle-Eastern Studies at Pomona College, was detained, handcuffed, and intensively questioned by the TSA while trying to catch a flight back to school from Philadelphia. The TSA guards found English-Arabic flashcards in his luggage and said that because Osama bin Laden spoke Arabic, “these cards are suspicious.” The FBI was called in, and an agent called him a “fucking idiot” when he asked why he was being held. After being asked if he was a communist or a Muslim, he was released. He was not read his rights at any time.

    • Blair: US Govt Can Kill Citizens Overseas as Part of ‘Defined Policy’

      In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee today, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair told representatives that American citizens can be assassinated by the US government when they are oveseas.

    • Ali Dizaei sentenced to four years in jail

      Reporting the verdict against a Metropolitan police commander below, we described him as the most senior British police officer ever convicted of corruption offences. Rather, he is the most senior in three decades. In 1977, Wallace Virgo, serious crimes squad commander, and Kenneth Drury, flying squad commander, were among several senior officers found guilty of corruption.

  • Environment

    • India halts release of GM aubergine

      The Indian minister for the environment today imposed a six-month moratorium on the launch of a genetically modified variety of aubergine, known locally as brinjal, saying that further scientific research was needed before permission could be given for its commercial cultivation.

      [...]

      The decision was welcomed by campaigners. “It is an excellent precedent,” said the Environment Support Group. “No minister before has ever subjected such an important decision to such public and scientific review.”

    • India to rule on future of aubergine as country’s first genetically modified food
    • Chinese farms cause more pollution than factories, says official survey

      The census disproves these claims completely. According to the study, agriculture is responsible for 43.7% of the nation’s chemical oxygen demand (the main measure of organic compounds in water), 67% of phosphorus and 57% of nitrogen discharges.

    • Branson warns that oil crunch is coming within five years

      Sir Richard Branson and fellow leading businessmen will warn ministers this week that the world is running out of oil and faces an oil crunch within five years.

    • Reflections on COP15, Looking Ahead to COP16

      While the general world opinion of COP15 is that it was a failure, there is the caveat, recognized by many, that a world-wide grassroots movement was galvanized there.

      And, in addition, this movement is in a much better position to move on to the next phase of this planetary life-and-death drama, because in Copenhagen we arrived at a crucial clarification: the events of COP15 demonstrated that the governments of the largest and richest nations are all too willing to lose the climate game, as they irresponsibly lead us over the cliff into climate disaster.

  • Finance

    • The “Committee for Truth in Politics”?

      The ads are aimed at confusing people by portraying the financial reform bill as a “new $4 trillion bailout for banks” — language that was suggested by discredited GOP pollster and wordsmith Frank Luntz, who recently urged Republicans to stoke opposition to the consumer-friendly legislation by portraying it as filled with bank bailouts, lobbyist loopholes and additional layers of complicated government bureaucracy.

    • The Big Bank Bailout Bill?

      Adamske argues that the bill “makes it harder” for the Fed to provide the money. And he objects to the claim that the $4 trillion is available “if [banks] fail.”

    • Santa Fe Institute economist: one in four Americans is employed to guard the wealth of the rich

      Here’s a fascinating profile on radical Santa Fe Institute economist Samuel Bowles, an empiricist who says his research doesn’t support the Chicago School efficient marketplace hypothesis. Instead, Bowles argues that the wealth inequality created by strict market economics creates inefficiencies because society has to devote so much effort to stopping the poor from expropriating the rich. He calls this “guard labor” and says that one in four Americans is employed to in the sector — labor that could otherwise be used to increase the nation’s wealth and progress.

    • JPMorgan Chase To Spend Millions on New Jets and Luxury Airport Hangar

      Embattled bank JPMorgan Chase, the recipient of $25 billion in TARP funds, is going ahead with a $138 million plan to buy two new luxury corporate jets and build “the premier corporate aircraft hangar on the eastern seaboard” to house them, ABC News has learned.

    • Obama Doesn’t ‘Begrudge’ Bonuses for Blankfein, Dimon

      President Barack Obama said he doesn’t “begrudge” the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay.

    • Born Poor?

      And so here, in plain English, is the implication of Bowles’ basic ideas: The US and New Mexico will keep falling behind until they learn to share the wealth.

    • Goldman Sachs Helped Greece Hide Its Treaty-Violating Deficit

      Readers may know that one point of contention in the worries about Greece’s deficits is that it had hidden the fact that it violated Maastricht rule that fine eurozone countries whose fiscal deficits exceed 3% of GDP.

    • How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt
    • The role of Goldman Sachs in Greek crisis

      It didn’t take long for Goldman Sachs (GS) to be insinuated in the Greek debt crisis. Spiegel Online International reports on the country’s willingness to rely on cross-currency swaps devised by Goldman Sachs. This was done, the paper suggests, to get around Maastricht rules.

    • Did Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) Help Greece Cook its Books?

      An article in Der Spiegel asserts Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) helped Greece cover up the true depth of its debt situation through creative use of cross currency swaps which allowed Greece to be in much deeper debt than allowed under what is called Maastricht deficit rules, which can fine countries who go beyond the stated parameters they’re allowed to operate under.

    • Goldman Sachs’ CFO: We’re Going To Be A Bank Holding Company Forever, So Get Over It
    • My Big Fat Greek Bailout

      While Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was on the talk shows reassuring America that the economy is healing, developments in Europe threatened to cut the legs out from under a U.S. recovery.

      The short story is that Greece and a number of other European Union (EU) countries are in debt, deep in debt. EU rules say member countries cannot have budget deficits that exceed three percent of GDP. Greece’s debt is closer to 12 percent.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Corruption

    • Citizens United Part 2 – Lobbyist Disclosure

      Sunlight recently developed a seven-point plan for a comprehensive and meaningful disclosure regime in a post-Citizens United political world.

      John blogged about the first piece of the platform, Independent Expenditures, and today I’ll be focusing lobbying disclosure, which, even before Citizens United, needed to be updated to address the who, what, when, and why a lobbying contact took place. In the wake of Citizens United, real time, online, substantive disclosure becomes even more critical to demonstrate that corporate expenditures are indeed independent and to shed light on whether there is even the appearance of coercion.

    • Lobbying – the next big scandal?

      David Cameron warned today that corporate lobbying in Parliament was “the next big scandal waiting to happen”

    • A remarkable story – one reason State spending is so high?

      Pavitt’s disclosure at the Govnet 2010 Government IT conference was reported by silicon.com and not denied by HMRC, whose spokesman told me: “Our job is to deliver value for money to the department and our customers, and that does not mean artificially ramping up our spending to be regarded as a player.

      “The bigger your budget, the more leverage you have, but HMRC is not driven by this consideration. The scale of our IT needs alone ensures that we have sufficient presence in the IT market to engage meaningfully with any supplier we choose to achieve maximum service delivery in tandem with value for money.”

    • Essex £1bn outsourcing champion charged in expenses scandal

      Lord Hanningfield, the council leader who championed a multi-billion-pound outsourcing deal with IBM for Essex County Council, has resigned today amidst the MPs expenses scandal.

      [...]

      In December 2009, Essex County Council signed an eight-year agreement with IBM to transform its operations and services, and slash costs. It is expected to eventually cost between £2.3 billion and £5.4 billion, dependent upon the services procured.

    • Rotten from the top down

      The systems that the post-Thatcher consensus created have broken badly. So far in Britain there is little political will to reform them, or many of the other aspects of our society that need fixing or preparation for change ahead – I’ve talked about the economy but it could equally be global warming, energy security, an ageing population, the digital revolution, the rise of rival developing economies. Qualities such as creativity, bluntness, open-mindedness, humility and independence have largely become absent from politicians (of course, there are of course honourable exceptions, but none of them sit on the front benches) and they are essential for the challenges that lie ahead.

    • ACPO makes £18m from criminal records checks

      Until this moment, I had naively assumed that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) was an official body, funded by the Home Office to co-ordinate policing policy. Well, guess what? It’s a nice little privatised earner, as this Telegraph report suggests.

      Concerns have been raised that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is being run as a private company and as such escapes many of the rules that ensure public bodies are accountable.

    • How to Get Our Democracy Back

      This is corruption. Not the corruption of bribes, or of any other crime known to Title 18 of the US Code. Instead, it is a corruption of the faith Americans have in this core institution of our democracy. The vast majority of Americans believe money buys results in Congress (88 percent in a recent California poll). And whether that belief is true or not, the damage is the same. The democracy is feigned. A feigned democracy breeds cynicism. Cynicism leads to disengagement. Disengagement leaves the fox guarding the henhouse.

    • Ms Palin, you fail

      Sarah Palin gave a $100K speech to a convention of teabagging wankers, she faced a few pre-screened, prepared questions, and what did she need? She had to have the answers written on her hand ahead of time!

    • Sarah Palin Gets a Hand Up

      Palin also received some criticism for referring to President Obama in her Nashville speech as a “charismatic guy with the teleprompter,” while referring to crib notes she had scrawled on her hand during the same speech.

    • How the ‘climategate’ scandal is bogus and based on climate sceptics’ lies

      The Alaska governor Sarah Palin, in the Washington Post on 9 December, attacked the emailers as a “highly politicised scientific circle” who “manipulated data to ‘hide the decline’ in global temperatures”. She was joined by the Republican senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma – who has for years used his chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee to campaign against climate scientists and to dismiss anthropogenic global warming as “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”. During the Copenhagen climate conference, which he attended on a Senate delegation, he referred to Jones’s “hide the decline” quote and said: “Of course, he means hide the decline in temperatures.”

    • The Right Wing Media’s Lie Machine

      In a video posted on YouTube on February 3, House Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) explains how the right wing media machine creates and spreads disinformation in an effort to smear the left. “Disinformation” should not be confused with “misinformation,” the unintentional form of wrong information. Disinformation is produced by people who intend to mislead their audience.

    • Opening Our Eyes to the Tilted Playing-Field

      One of the subtlest ways of gaming the system is to hack the system before you even play – for example, by building in a bias that means your particular approach is given a natural advantage. That this goes on, is nothing new; that it’s happened at the heart of the European Union is profoundly disturbing. Here’s the summary of what’s now been discovered:

      These findings suggest that BAT [British American Tobacco] and its corporate allies have fundamentally altered the way in which EU policy is made by ensuring that all significant EU policy decisions have to be assessed using a business-orientated IA [Impact assessment].

      [...]

      This is an incredibly important – and impressive – paper, with huge implications for many areas. One that springs to mind is that of environmental protection. Given that the framing of Impact assessments is biased in favour of business and financial issues, it’s not hard to see that other viewpoints – for example of examining the implications for animal and plant life, or of the various commons impacted – will receive pretty short shrift. It’s also an argument for the economics of externalities to be developed more so that they can be brought into the equation when such one-side reviews are being conducted.

    • “Working the System”—British American Tobacco’s Influence on the European Union Treaty and Its Implications for Policy: An Analysis of Internal Tobacco Industry Documents
    • U.S. Campaign Advisors Influence Ukraine’s Election

      Citizens in the Ukraine are starting to see American-style campaign sloganeering and other tactics in the race between their Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, and her main rival, Viktor Yanukovich, for the office of President.

    • San Francisco’s Toxic Sludge – It’s Good for You!

      Fifteen years ago, CMD’s book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! first exposed the hidden government and industry PR campaign greenwashing toxic sewage sludge as “biosolids,” an invented PR euphemism used to cynically re-brand toxic waste as “fertilizer” given free to farmers.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Candidates 2010

      I’ve written on the forum a little while ago, outlining the selection process I envisage introducing, partly to help me work that out, and partly to give the chance for member feedback. Now I’m in a position to announce that we will be putting the first potential candidates forward for ratification by the party membership, after which they will be declared as prospective parliamentary candidates for PPUK.

    • Westerners need self-reflection before criticizing China

      The West seems to be annoyed by a series of events: China’s cyber attacks on Western computer networks, disputes with Google, crackdowns on human rights activists, execution of a British citizen, and its unhelpful role ranging from the climate change talks to Iran’s nuclear program. The list goes on. Pundits point to the increasing threats posted by an increasingly self-confident China.

      But before going on criticizing China, let’s view the matter from another angle: The West’s response to China’s economic reform and opening. It plays an important part in fuelling China’s self-confidence, one of the key themes discussed in posts by Chinese scholar Zhu Xueqin (朱学勤) on BBC Chinese Web and Lu Di (芦笛) on Bullogger.com.

    • Iran to shut down Google email service: report

      The Iranian government plans to permanently suspend Google Inc’s email service in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Wednesday.

    • Online Kiwis maybe feeling Oz censor trickledown

      Australia’s drive to protect its own population from the horrors of the internet may be starting to have knock-on effects on the surfing habits of its neighbour, New Zealand – some websites are no longer accessible in NZ via Aussie ISPs.

      A Reg reader wrote to tell us: “NZ surfers being routed via Optus routers in Oz have been blocked from NHL.com, and peopleofwalmart.com along with all ‘Gamehouse’ social games on Facebook.

    • Digital Economy Bill: Lords Want Rights To Link, Format-Shift

      Conservative Lord Ralph Lucas is using the Digital Economy Bill to wade in to the debate over whether aggregators can freely link to online newspaper material.

    • Digital Economy Bill: Govt Rejects Format-Shifting, Right-To-Link Requests

      The UK government politely refused some of the boldest proposed late changes to the Digital Economy Bill, as the House Of Lords finally finished debating the bill on Tuesday night.

    • German Government Steps Away from 2009 Filtering Plan

      The German government declared its intention to not continue with the Internet filtering law which was passed in 2009 to block child pornography online.

      Since the former government, made up of a coalition of Germany´s two biggest parties, the social democratic SPD and the conservative CDU, passed the law in June/July 2009, it remained a controversially discussed topic in Germany. Especially civil society groups including the Internet community criticized the then Minister of Family Ursula von der Leyen for using child porn as an excuse to create a structure of online censorship.

    • One month later, Google still censors China search

      From the department of premature congratulations: One of China’s best-known artists and activists just spoke out in support of Google’s “decision” to stop censoring search results inside the world’s most populous nation.

      In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece headlined “Google Gives Us Hope,” Al Weiwei also said two of his Gmail accounts were breached by unknown intruders and messages were automatically “transferred to an unknown address.” He said that even as the internet was promoting greater political participation, Chinese authorities were working hard to stifle this possibility.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • Why did Ofcom back down over DRM at the BBC?

      Back before the Christmas break, it looked like Ofcom was ready to do its duty and stop the BBC from adding digital rights management technology to its high-definition broadcasts. After all, DRM doesn’t actually prevent copying – even the BBC agrees that the scheme it’s proposed won’t stop a determined copier, and once that copy is on the internet, everyone else will be able to get at it with a couple of clicks.

      And DRM imposes social, monetary and public interest costs: a DRM scheme will never be able to embody the flexibility built into the law that instructs judges to carefully weigh up the copyright holder’s exclusive rights against the public’s legitimate use of copyrighted works for personal archiving, format-shifting, commentary, education, and the other traditional uses that have fallen outside of the exclusive purview of copyright corporations to approve.

      [...]

      I love the Beeb, honestly I do. I am just as worried about charter renewal in 2016 as anyone in White City. But how on Earth can the BBC’s masters believe that adding DRM will win over the affection of the Britons whose support Auntie will need during the next government?

    • The $9.99 Ebook Is Dead: Third Major Publisher Hachette Dumps on Amazon

      With a majority of the major publishers now going to the agency model, it’s logical that the final two, Penguin and Simon & Schuster, won’t be far behind, especially since they’re a part of Steve’s team. (HarperCollins hasn’t officially switched, but Rupert Murdoch said on their earnings call they’re renegotiating to that, so I’m counting it.) Three out of five, we’re calling it: Amazon’s dream of a flat $9.99 for ebooks has flatlined.

    • UK government says Nominet EGM changes enough to get it off company’s back

      The top civil servant at the Department for Business (BIS, formerly BERR, formerly DTi), David Hendon, has sent a letter [pdf] back in response to a letter [pdf] from Nominet’s chairman Bob Gilbert saying that the EGM proposed changes would “largely remove the concerns” that the government has about Nominet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Canadian thinktank withdraws copyright “research” that plagiarised US lobbyists, publishes new balanced recommendations

      The Conference Board of Canada is a respected think-tank — or it was, until it was discovered that it had cooked its research in a report on Canadian copyright that had been funded by copyright industry bodies (they discarded the empirical research that suggested there was no problem and instead plagiarised a lobbying document produced by its sponsors and presented it as “research”).

    • Kevin Smith May Try Crowdfunding Horror Film, Red State, After Fans Offer To Do So

      We’ve already pointed out how director/writer/filmmaker/entertainer Kevin Smith is a great example of a filmmaker embracing the model of connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy, even to the point of saying that unauthorized file sharing is just a way to get more fans he can “convert.” Apparently, he may take things to another level, by following a crowdfunding effort similar to what we’ve seen with some musicians and authors.

    • European Court Of Justice Reviews P2P Filtering Case

      In a landmark case the music copyright group SABAM has been chasing a local Internet provider in court, trying to force the company to filter P2P traffic, thus far without result. The Brussels Court of Appeal has now referred the case to the European Court Of Justice where it will be thoroughly examined once again.

    • Pirate Movie Privacy Case Set For The Supreme Court

      Should copyright holders be allowed to get the identities of Internet users behind an IP-address for private prosecutions, or should that ability be left solely with the police? That’s the key question behind a pivotal hit movie camcorder case which is set to move amid an unusual amount of secrecy to Norway’s Supreme Court.

    • Variable download pricing correlated with slower music sales

      It has been about a year since the music labels got what they had been asking for from the major online music stores: tiered music pricing. Problem is, that system may not be working out as well as the labels had hoped—Warner Music Group has reported slowed digital music growth since the pricing changes, and even though the company tried to spin the news as positive, it acknowledged that the timing may not have been the best.

      Warner’s digital sales (and by “digital,” it means online sales, not CDs) made up 20 percent of its total revenue in its quarter ending on December 31, 2009—flat sequentially from the previous quarter. Unit growth in “digital track equivalent albums” saw a five percent growth rate during the December quarter, though it’s down from 10 percent in the September quarter and 11 percent earlier in the year. Digital revenues were up eight percent year over year, compared to 20 percent the year prior.

    • Warner retreats from free music streaming

      Record label Warner Music has said it will stop licensing its songs to free music streaming services.

      Companies like Spotify, We7 and Last.fm give free, legal and instant access to millions of songs, funded by adverts.

    • ACTA

      • ACTA: END THE SECRECY

        Welcome to the ACTA: END THE SECRECY Facebook group. This group is about getting the word out, getting organized and putting the heat on parliamentarians to stand up for domestic sovereignty.

      • Pressure mounts on EU to come clean on ACTA

        Members of the European Parliament are calling on the European Commission to stop keeping it in the dark, and tell citizens what being negotiated in the ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement). In particular, they want to know about the measures in ACTA which threaten the Internet.

      • EU’s Unconvincing ACTA Act

        The EU has made an official statement [.pdf] on ACTA. As you might expect, it is as wriggly a wriggly thing as a wriggly thing can. Here it is, with a few annotations:

        The Commission can inform the Honourable Member that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will be in line with the body of EU legislation, which fully respects fundamental rights and freedoms and civil liberties, such as the protection of personal data. This includes the Intellectual Property Rights’ relevant aspects of the Telecoms package.

        As for being in line with “EU legislation”, this *already* allows ACTA-like provisions, so that’s cold comfort.

      • Let’s Face Facts: ACTA Is Called An ‘Executive Agreement’ To Change The Law With Less Hassle Than A Treaty

        When concern over ACTA secrecy started picking up a few months ago, one of the industry lobbyist talking points that floated out was “don’t worry about ACTA, because it’s not a ‘treaty’ but an ‘executive agreement’ and thus, it can’t impact US law.” An IP lawyer in our comments keeps making this point over and over again, and arguing that anyone who argues otherwise doesn’t understand the Constitution. Of course, that’s silly.

        [...]

        And… the next time your friendly industry lobbyist insists that ACTA is “not a treaty” so you have nothing to worry about, go ahead and explain why that’s incorrect.

      • Quick: Time to Stop the SWIFT Agreement

        The so-called SWIFT Agreement, where SWIFT refers to the “Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication”, has close parallels with ACTA, about which I have written several times – not least the way it has gradually emerged from the shadows to be met by growing outrage from people who were kept in the dark about it.

      • [Legislative Scrutiny: Digital Economy Bill]

        Translation: Writing a law that says 3 strikes will be implemented without specifying how, why, where, when, by whom, under what authority and what kind of due process and pre-cutoff appeal mechanism will be provided is unacceptable. The comittee also criticises the government over the notion that clause 17 would give a government minister the power to change copyright law when they felt like it without recourse to parliament.

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A Single Comment

  1. uberVU - social comments said,

    February 12, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by purebeautynlust: Links 11/2/2010: LinuxQuestions.org Awards, Myst Online Set Free …: The best Windows 7 themes for Gnome Linux Co… http://bit.ly/dl4mBS

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