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Links 26/3/2010: Mobinnova Dumps Windows for Linux, Miro 3.0 Gains Subtitles

Posted in News Roundup at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Open Source Rules for Collaboration Software

    The category of collaboration software is growing and changing quickly, encompassing fields like CRM dashboards, enterprise intelligence and analytics. In this category, the very nature of open source software gives it a clear advantage. It doesn’t seek to own the platform, the protocol, the exchange format or the community.

  • Former MySQL CEO: More successful open source startups needed

    Open source is no longer considered the wild underdog, but it will need more new companies making money off the trend, the one-time CEO of MySQL stressed Wednesday at the EclipseCon 2010 conference.

  • Subtitles come to Miro 3.0

    Miro, the open source Internet TV / podcast downloader and player, has been updated to version 3.0 and is now able to display embedded or standalone subtitles for videos. When a video is playing in Miro 3, a drop down menu displays any automatically located subtitles. Alternatively, the user can select their own subtitle files.

  • Mozilla

    • 10 Reasons Why Firefox Could Beat Microsoft Internet Explorer

      2. Extensions

      Part of Mozilla’s appeal is its library of extensions. Users can easily find extensions ranging from business integration to social networks that extend the functionality of the browser far beyond its default installation. Extensions can’t be underestimated. If users can find value in their extensions, they won’t leave Firefox. It’s a major advantage to have as Microsoft is losing its own users.

      3. It’s open source

      Although the average, mainstream user might not care about Mozilla being open source, it really does matter. Open-source software is widely considered superior to closed applications, thanks to the ability for the entire community to work on improving a single piece of software. Closed software, like Internet Explorer, is a different story altogether. Since it’s closed software that only Microsoft can work on, it lacks the benefit of having thousands of eyes working on improving it. The browser is also a major target for hackers.

  • Oracle

    • License change leaves Sun Solaris users at a crossroads

      Oracle’s decision to limit Solaris 10′s free usage to 90 days could be a boon for Linux vendors

      Recent changes to Solaris licensing could further encourage Solaris 10 users to consider Linux — and result in fewer new users considering Solaris at all. If you’re a Solaris customer, don’t overlook this license change.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 7.3 Updates BSD Legacy

      The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team this week put out the FreeBSD 7.3 release which is about four months after FreeBSD 8 was released.

      FreeBSD is known as a solid, stable and reliable open source operating system. It should come as no surprise then that many users of FreeBSD don’t jump to the next major version number right when it becomes available, but rather stay with the legacy version for a while.


    • GNU Accessibility Statement

      Project GNU urges people working on free software to follow standards and guidelines for universal accessibility on GNU/Linux and other free operating systems. Multi-platform projects should use the cross platform accessibility interfaces available that include GNU/Linux distributions and the GNOME desktop. Project GNU also advises developers of web sites to follow the guidelines set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative.

    • [Stallman cartoon]
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Can Flash Survive HTML5?

      There’s been a lot of talk lately about HTML5 and whether Flash is in it for the long haul. Word on the street is that HTML5 will be able to deliver rich content without the need for a proprietary plugin clogging up your Web browser.


  • No harm, no foul

    Such patients have difficulty processing social emotions such as empathy or embarrassment, but “they have perfectly intact capacity for reasoning and other cognitive functions,” says Young.

    A 2007 study by Damasio, Young and their colleagues showed that such patients are more willing than non-brain-damaged adults to judge killing or harming another person as morally permissible if doing so would save others’ lives. That led the researchers to suspect that the brain-damaged patients lacked appropriate emotional responses to moral harms and relied instead on calculating, rational approach to moral dilemmas.

  • World’s cleverest man turns down $1million prize after solving one of mathematics’ greatest puzzles

    A Russian awarded $1million (£666,000) for solving one of the most intractable problems in mathematics said yesterday that he does not want the money.

    Said to be the world’s cleverest man, Dr Grigory Perelman, 44, lives as a recluse in a bare cockroach-infested flat in St Petersburg. He said through the closed door: ‘I have all I want.’

    The prize was given by the U.S. Clay Mathematics Institute for solving the Poincare Conjecture, which baffled mathematicians for a century. Dr Perelman posted his solution on the internet.

    Four years ago, the maths genius failed to turn up to receive his prestigious Fields Medal from the International Mathematical Union for solving the problem.

    At the time he stated: ‘I’m not interested in money or fame. I don’t want to be on display like an animal in a zoo.

  • Russian maths genius Perelman urged to take $1m prize
  • Grigory Perelman, the maths genius who said no to $1m
  • Rise of the Citizen Scientists

    When his wife was diagnosed with a hereditary disease, Peter Johnson wanted to help. Using a program called Folding @ Home, he found a way to make a difference — by doing genetic research on his home computer. Due to the sensitive nature of his wife’s illness, Peter requested that his last name is changed for the purpose of this story to protect his family’s privacy.

  • Syphilis (Or Was It Facebook?) Blamed For People Not Understanding That Correlation Does Not Mean Causation

    I really really really wasn’t going to write this post, but so many people kept submitting it, I figured it needed to be done. The Telegraph has some ridiculous story claiming, without any actual evidence, that Facebook is “linked to the rise in syphilis.” Quite a claim. The evidence? Oh, that’s not included.


    So, yes, you have a bit of weak correlation combined with self-selected anecdotal bias. And that proves what? Uh, absolutely nothing.

  • Facebook Threatens Greasemonkey Script Writer

    If you tell your browser to ignore certain things on a website, that should be your choice. This add-on is there to help people who want it, such that it makes Facebook more useful to them. It’s too bad that as Facebook gets bigger, we’re hearing more and more stories of this kind of bullying activity.

  • Security

    • Gmail geolocation to thwart hackers

      INTERNET SEARCH GIANT Google has added some rudimentary geolocation technology to thwart Gmail hackers.

      Pavni Diwanji, engineering director at Google, blogged that your Gmail account will automatically notify you if there’s any suspicious activity.

    • Hacker gets 20 years

      IN WHAT MUST BE bad news for Gary McKinnon’s defence team a US court has dismissed Asperger’s syndrome as a hacking defence and thrown the book at Albert Gonzalez.

    • Non-medical staff ‘have access to health records’
    • NHS porters and cleaners can snoop on your medical records
    • Abuse Fears Over Access To Patients’ Records
    • Opting Out – a response to the DoH

      At present it is the NHS patient records system that is muddled between paper and online records – but this could change very soon. As we make clear in the report, the Government’s National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is slowly rolling-out across the country at great expense and, as was revealed by the British Medical Association (BMA) earlier this month, with very little regard for patient privacy.

      To read about the full horrors of this system, please do head to The Big Opt Out – the website of the NHS Confidentiality campaign, which was set up to protect patient confidentiality and to provide a focus for patient-led opposition the government’s NHS Care Records System.

    • Ottawa joins the war on photography

      Mekki sez, “The city of Ottawa has launched a security campaign funded by Transport Canada (federally) that asks people to report any ‘suspicious behaviour’, which includes photographers and sketchers. They explicitly list ‘An individual taking photos or pictures [...], drawing maps or sketches’ as things to report. My friend Sarah Gelbard teaches in the Architecture department at Carleton University in Ottawa. She had her students do a project on transit in the city last year. They all went to transit stations and took reference pictures to help plan out their projects. Security stopped and questioned several of them. And this was before this new campaign. I’m afraid what might happen now if people started calling in the “suspicious behaviour” of students taking photos of a transit station.”

  • Environment

    • Disputed island disappears into sea

      For nearly 30 years, India and Bangladesh have argued over control of a tiny rock island in the Bay of Bengal. Now rising sea levels have resolved the dispute for them: the island’s gone.

    • Heartland data breach could be bigger than TJX’s

      Heartland, a N.J.-based provider of credit and debit card processing services said that unknown intruders had broken into its systems sometime last year and planted malicious software to steal card data carried on the company’s networks. The company, which is among the largest payment processors in the country, claimed to have discovered the intrusion only last week after being alerted by Visa and MasterCard of suspicious activity.

    • China sends emergency food to drought-stricken provinces

      China has sent 1.4m tonnes of emergency grain supplies to drought-stricken southern provinces that are struggling to cope with the worst drought in decades, the local media reported today.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Tech giants criticize Australia plan for Internet filtering

      The Sydney Morning Herald reported that 147 comments were submitted to the government on its proposal to begin blocking certain Web sites – particularly those that present harm to children.

    • U.S. must stop spying on WikiLeaks

      Over the last few years, WikiLeaks has been the subject of hostile acts by security organizations. In the developing world, these range from the appalling assassination of two related human rights lawyers in Nairobi last March (an armed attack on my compound there in 2007 is still unattributed) to an unsuccessful mass attack by Chinese computers on our servers in Stockholm, after we published photos of murders in Tibet. In the West this has ranged from the overt, the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, threatening to prosecute us unless we removed a report on CIA activity in Kosovo, to the covert, to an ambush by a “James Bond” character in a Luxembourg car park, an event that ended with a mere “we think it would be in your interest to…”.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Big Content: stopping P2P should be “principal focus” of IP czar

      Thanks to the recent PRO-IP Act, the US has for the first time has an “Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator” responsible for pulling together all the resources of the federal government. What should the IPEC be doing with her time and resources? The “core content industries” have an answer: she should turn the online world from a “thieves’ bazaar to a safe and well-lit marketplace” by encouraging network admins to deploy bandwidth shaping, site blocking, traffic filters, watermark detectors, and deep packet inspection.

    • Wishful Thinking And Misinterpreting Surveys Won’t Save The News Business

      Perhaps the most common mistake that paywall supporters make is forgetting that people haven’t paid for the news in 180 years. Newspaper readers used to pay for paper, ink, trucks and delivery boys—and often barely paid enough to cover that bill. Now they pay for internet connections instead. Then and now, the reader only pays for access—advertising always has and will continue to pay for everything else.

    • Hammonton Municipal Government to Copyright Public Meeting Broadcasts

      How exactly Hammonton will enforce a copyright of a public meeting baffles this author, but looks forward to seeing the explanation in Council. Remember, any production by the Town of Hammonton is paid for by public dollars and owned by the public.

    • ACTA/Digital Economy Bill

      • Anti-counterfeiting agreement raises constitutional concerns

        The much-criticized cloak of secrecy that has surrounded the Obama administration’s negotiation of the multilateral Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was broken Wednesday. The leaked draft of ACTA belies the U.S. trade representative’s assertions that the agreement would not alter U.S. intellectual property law. And it raises the stakes on the constitutionally dubious method by which the administration proposes to make the agreement binding on the United States.

      • A few ACTA notes

        After speaking with people in or close to the negotiations, European Commission and Spanish Presidency of the EU, this is some of what I have gathered despite dealing with very tight-lipped people:

        1. The negotiations are not going that well and many issues are still wide open. It is doubtful they could wrap up soon.

        2. There is a significant problem in making US and EU legislation compatible on a number of issues. One of the important topics of contention, but not the only one, is probably the differences between US “fair use” and the “commercial scale”, term the EU negotiators seem adamant on leaving very ambiguous to be interpreted later a la carte, even with all the risks involved.

      • Report From The Field: ACTA Negotiations Not Going Well

        As well they should. This is a point that we’ve raised repeatedly, noting not just the similarities between the methods used for censorship in authoritarian countries and ACTA, but also in the way that those countries will almost certainly use ACTA to justify their own censorship.

      • Digital economy bill to be pushed through parliament next month

        The controversial digital economy bill will be pushed through in the “wash-up” leading up to an election, after the government confirmed that it will receive its second reading in the Commons on 6 April – the same day that Gordon Brown is expected to seek Parliament’s dissolution.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Where’s Microsoft? (2005)

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

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