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04.06.10

Links 6/4/2010: Parallels and Ricoh Join The Linux Foundation; PC-BSD 8.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Setting the record straight on sudo

    To begin with, there is nothing wrong with using the root account if it is your system or you’re the administrator. Secondly, using sudo instead of a root shell is not more insecure. That’s simply ludicrous. The only difference is that with one you require knowing root’s password, and with the other you need to know your own password. If you are in the habit of using poor passwords, yes, this could bite you — but if you are already in the habit of using poor passwords, what’s to say that the root password isn’t just as bad?

  • Desktop

    • Boost Productivity with Workspaces

      Most often its not the case that you have only one application open at a particular time on your computer. With hardware becoming cheaper & faster, multi-tasking has become a norm. Its a common sight today to have a media-player, web browser, chat client & an image editor all running in realtime on one’s desktop. Though the computers can handle such multi-tasking the user’s productivity most often than not gets crippled. Blame it on to the cluttered desktop for the decrease in productivity. Half of the user’s time is wasted in finding the right application window. Grouping similar windows is handy but still not too much either. However, most of the user’s are unaware of the feature called ‘Workspaces’ in Linux Desktop Environments. Almost all desktop environment offer this feature enabled by default. It is set to 2 or 4 workspaces by default but can be altered to provide many more.

    • Diary Of A Linux Newbie: The First Year

      Just a year ago — April 21, 2009 to be exact — I installed a Linux distribution. I installed it from a DVD of Ubuntu 8.10, Intrepid Ibex, that came with an issue of Linux Pro magazine I bought from a news stand, and I put it on a hand-me-down eMachine with 384MB RAM (the other 128MB being dedicated graphics). It was the first time I had ever installed an operating system. In fact, it was the first time I had ever installed anything at all, anytime, anywhere. I had always just called for (and paid for) professional help from a neighbor who extended me rates more favorable than his enterprise customers paid. Raised at IBM, he had become a born-again Microsoft True Believer and wanted to keep us all happy Windows users.

      [...]

      You see, Mr. Ulanoff was apparently intent on generating FUD in support of his publication’s proprietary-system advertisers like Microsoft and Apple. He described his experience at installing Ubuntu 8.10 as if it were the most computer-threatening, nerve-wracking, brain-challenging experience of his life. Zapped computer. Several required reinstalls of Windows XP Pro (which he made sure to say he tossed off quickly with his indominatble expertise). Finally, with a lot of help from experts both in his office and online, he heroically managed to get it up and running. There was no account of what he actually DID with it.

      And here’s a thing for all Linux fans to take into account: the working (read “paid”) reviewers derive their income from corporations that advertise in the publications for which they write. How likely is it for them to heap praise on a system that offers a viable, inexpensive, and sometimes superior product to the ones which are the ultimate source of their pay?

    • Portable Ubuntu 9.10 for Windows [Runs Ubuntu Inside Windows]

      Portable Ubuntu for Windows runs a full-fleshed Linux Ubuntu operating system on your Windows like any other Windows application. Version 3 of this brand runs Ubuntu 9.10 on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Download the latest package that takes about 559MB of your hard disk space (3.81GB when extracted). You can run it directly from your thumb-drive – its so portable.

  • Kernel Space

    • Ricoh Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Ricoh Company Ltd., is its newest member. Ricoh is a global leader in digital office solutions and will participate in the Linux Foundation’s events and OpenPrinting.org workgroup.

    • Ricoh joins the Linux Foundation

      Ricoh will also be participating in the OpenPrinting.org workgroup, one of the most active Linux Foundation workgroups aimed at standardising printing functionality on Linux.

    • Parallels Joins The Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Parallels is its newest member. Parallels, a leading provider of virtualization and automation software for the enterprise, cloud service providers and consumers, will participate in the Linux Foundation’s workgroups and events.

    • The “We’re Linux” Super Bowl Ad Video Contest

      Last year, the inaugural We’re Linux video contest kicked off a storm of creativity and captured the spirit of Linux and the diversity of its community. The winning video “What Does it Mean to Be Free” was an inspirational piece that communicated the ideals of the open source operating system.

    • VirtualDesktop & Multi-monitor simplification and merging

      I hope I have clarified the whole independent desktops per monitor concept. I believe that it would be much more simple in practice than it was to explain and has the potential to be more self discoverable.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Evolution of the Desktop

      Clutter is no good on a desktop. It takes too long to find anything. There is a reason the old designs are popular. They work. The new designs work for their designers but not anyone over 50, or under 10. That’s about half of humanity. Do what you want with the desktop but leave me XFCE4 and such that boot like lightning and can move as fast as I can. My son likes the new stuff. His hand is just a blur as he clicks on stuff at 1680. I have to squint four inches from the monitor to see any details.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Want Amarok 1.4 Back in Ubuntu? Here is how![Lucid,Karmic,Jaunty]
      • Something for Amarok 2.3.1+

        It has been brought to my attention that recently, I have not blogging enough about cool new features in future versions (as in, not the upcoming version, but a later one) of Amarok.

      • Announcing Aurorae Designer

        I’m proud to announce the initial release of AuroraeDesigner, a small application to design Aurorae themes. At the current state of development it is possible to open an existing theme and get an interactive preview of the theme and change all configuration details. The changed configuration can be saved, but I’d recommend to backup the original file before starting to play with the designer ;-) Packages are available for openSUSE through the openSUSE build service. As it depends on 4.4, I was unable to build packages for other distributions.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • A sneak peak at GNOME 3

        Now I will warn you that I am a fan of GNOME. I understand that KDE did the same thing when they re-invented their take on the desktop. The difference is – the innovation from KDE seemed more like a “retooling with added features”. GNOME 3 will be a milestone for the desktop. I have head some people say it is too much like the “iPhone interface”. To those I have to say “use it first”. But no matter where you stand, GNOME 3 is going to be different, and this article will show you how to install it and give you a first glance.

      • GNOME 2.30: Waiting for the Big Release

        GNOME 2.30 was originally intended to coincide with GNOME 3.0 — a massive cleanup and rethinking of the popular desktop. However, GNOME 3.0 is delayed for at least another release, which leaves GNOME 2.30 as most likely the last version in a series stretching back almost a decade.

        [...]

        On the other hand, 2.30 will probably be the final version of the 2.0 series. For those who were around for GNOME 2.0 back in 2000, the 2.30 release stands as evidence of how far GNOME in general and the free desktop in particular have come in the last decade in usability and design. If you do a search for images of early GNOME releases and compare the results with 2.30, you can have no doubt that, although GNOME sometimes tends to over-simplify, its improvements over the last decade remain unmistakable.

  • Distributions

    • Comparison of Community Linux Distributions for the Enterprise

      Deciding on the best Linux distribution for your enterprise requires research. Your environment and computing needs are unique, and there are many factors to take into account. However, the reward can be dramatic cost savings coupled with high reliability and flexibility in your computing environment. There are third party support options –- including OpenLogic -– that not only help with support and services, but also can help with initial consultation and evaluation.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • First Glance at Mandriva Enterprise Server 5.1

        Last fall I took Mandriva’s desktop system, Mandriva 2010, for a test drive and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The Mandriva developers make one of the most user-friendly, stable and elegant systems in the Linux ecosystem. Having played with their Enterprise Server, I find it to be in the same class of excellence. The Enterprise Server is fast, stable, easy to configure and wonderfully intuitive to use. One of the things I enjoyed most about using MES is it does a great job of balancing giving information to the user while staying out of the way. There aren’t any annoying pop-ups and neither is the user left alone in an empty sea of UNIX. The Control Center continues to be one of the best all-in-one configuration tools on the market and I like the work the developers have put into installing services as building blocks. Having played with MES for a week, setting up services, running and restoring backups and managing accounts, I’ve encountered no problems. The system feels polished and well tested, suitable for a business environment and the price tag makes Mandriva’s Enterprise Server a good option for small and medium organisations who are looking for an inexpensive solution.

      • Returning to Linux, where to start? Part 1

        The rest of the package I would rate as average. Nothing really screams wow, nothing else is really lacking. With this you get a solid XFCE distro, albeit a bit fragile that is not as robust as others. If you are a fan of PCLinuxOS, the support is there, the community that is second to none and the packages are customized towards what those users are wanting to see. I love that the links are there in Firefox and I love the line “The distro-hopper-stopper” as I have always felt PCLinuxOS was one that would stick with the user a bit more than others.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Prepares Private Cloud Pitch for Wall Street

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux already enjoys strong momentum on Wall Street. But now, The VAR Guy hears, Red Hat is preparing to make a private cloud pitch to Wall Street customers and partners on April 19. Here are the detail, and the implications for Red Hat partners.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu: Canonical Focuses on Wall Street

        Now, Canonical hopes to begin the discussion with Wall Street firms as well. True believers include Equitec, a financial services firm that moved its proprietary trading software from 100 Windows-based servers to 30 Ubuntu-based servers, according to Canonical. (Side note: I’m having difficulty getting an update from Equitec regarding the Ubuntu deployment as well as the company’s business status.) Somewhat similarly, Linux Box — a solutions provider in Ann Arbor, Michigan — has started promoting Ubuntu to financial services firms.

      • Unity-based TinyMe 2010 RC1

        I’ve used Puppy, DSL, and a few other lightweights to bring some old junkers back from the dead but never had the pleasure of using TinyMe, until now. The Unity-based TinyMe 2010 is of course a minimalist distro and it uses the Openbox session and window manager. The 2010 RC1 download I used is only 200MB and runs as a live CD. You can get a stable version from the TinyMe download page.

      • Canonical announces phone sync for Ubuntu One subscribers

        Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, announced today that its Ubuntu One cloud service will soon gain support for mobile contact synchronization. The feature will be available to users who are paying for the higher tier of Ubuntu One service.

        Canonical officially launched the Ubuntu One service last year alongside the release of Ubuntu 9.10. The service allows users to keep files and some application data synchronized between multiple computers. The company is planning to roll out several significant new Ubuntu One features when Ubuntu 10.04, codenamed Lucid Lynx, is released later this month. The new Ubuntu One music store, which is integrated into the Rhythmbox audio player, will use Ubuntu One to deploy purchased music to all of the user’s computers. Much like the music store, the new mobile synchronization features are opening up for testing, but will officially launch alongside Ubuntu 10.04.

      • Bisigi Themes Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Testing PPA (And Lots Of Updates)
      • What’s coming in the new Ubuntu Linux desktop?

        I’m already using the beta of the forthcoming version of Ubuntu 10.04 and I like it a lot. I decided to ask the good people at Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, what they thought about the new Ubuntu, scheduled to arrive on April 29th, and this is what Gerry Carr, head of platform marketing had do say.

        One thing I noticed in looking at the beta of Ubuntu 10.04 was that Ubuntu, more than ever, is becoming the Linux desktop distribution for new users. I was right. Carr said, “We want new users.” Ubuntu has never been the distribution for Linux purists or experts. “We’ve always felt that one of the most important things that we can bring, hopefully, to open source is popularity as a desktop OS.”

      • Variants

        • Linux Mint 8 ‘LXDE’ Edition Review

          This is a great release from the Mint team. It’s fast, built on the rock solid Linux Mint core and pleasing to the eye. There are more than enough applications available to suit anyone and customization options are easy to use and plentiful.

          Pro’s:

          * Very fast thanks to LXDE and Openbox for the desktop.
          * Excellent selection of software.
          * Visually attractive with plenty of customization options.
          * Easy to use for a new user.

          Con’s:

          * We would have preferred to see AbiWord instead of OpenOffice installed by default.

        • Puredyne- A Powerfull Linux OS for creative people (Artists)

          Based on Ubuntu and Debian Live, puredyne is a Linux live distribution dedicated to live audiovisual processing and streaming, and focuses largely on the Pure Data audio synthesis system, although it also includes SuperCollider, Csound as well as live video-processing systems such as Packet Forth and Fluxus. Another aspect of pure:dyne is that it is maintained by media artists for media artists. The system provides particular optimizations at the kernel and compilation level to take the most out of i686 machines for real-time audio and video. As a consequence, this operating system is well suited for live performances and art installations. The modular aspect makes it easy for artists to customize and deploy it quickly to their own project needs.

        • Puredyne USB-bootable GNU/Linux OS for creative media.

          Puredyne is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution aimed at creative people. It provides a number of creative applications, alongside a solid set of graphic, audio and video tools in a fast, minimal package. It includes software for everything an artist might need – from sound art to innovative film-making. Puredyne is optimised for use in real-time audio and video processing and it distinguishes itself by offering a low latency kernel and high responsiveness needed by artists working in this field.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Remember the Linux wristwatch?

      With all the hype about the iPad, and indeed, the hype about smaller and smaller mobile computing devices, I thought I would remind you all that there was at one point a Linux-powered wristwatch! This marvelous curiosity was discussed back in 2001, when it ran kernel version 2.2.1, had 8 megabytes of flash memory, and had IrDA (remember that?!).

    • VIA M’SERV: the Perfect Little Linux Box?

      Last year about this time we reviewed the VIA ARTiGO A2000 and found it to be a great hardware complement to the FreeNAS distribution. This time around we take a look at the latest incarnation of the small server box from VIA named the M’Serv S2100. We had to look pretty close to see the differences in the two from the outside. On the front panel they’re virtually identical with the exception of one LED. On the back panel the two audio ports have been replaced with a second Ethernet port.

    • OMAP35x dev board gains 802.11n, Bluetooth

      The WiLink 6.0 design, which debuted in January in TI’s own eBook Development Platform for Linux and Android, was the first of the company’s WiLink chips to offer 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, and FM on a single chip.

    • Android

      • Rhapsody Makes Android Sing
      • Android for Non-geeks

        If you’re anything like me then all this talk about Android development, source code, root, version, etc., is all completely over your head. If you don’t know who Cyanogen is, it’s okay. Well, for now. So, what’s the real deal about Android phones? So far, only the geekiest have them, right? I mean, who else is going to sit at a computer all day fiddling with source code to come up with some new doohickey thingamabob that changes a single light on a phone? Well, my husband, the biggest geek I’ve ever met, and thousands more.

      • ComScore Report Indicates Android Momentum in Full Swing
    • Sub-notebooks

      • Netbooks are Alive and Well

        Most businesses would be very happy with 33% year over year growth in units shipped. The panic/hype that the iPad will somehow damage netbooks is silly. Lower the price and there will be new surge in sales… Oh. You will have to dump that other OS to lower the price. Use GNU/Linux. It works better and costs less. Let the folks with too much cash buy the iPad. The rest of us will be able to afford two netbooks running GNU/Linux instead of one iPad. We can use one and give the other to a friend.

      • Hands-on: Ben NanoNote Micronotebook

        The Ben has OpenWrt-based Linux with an ash console, BusyBox and the opkg package manager. Connecting the mini-USB cable provides USB network connectivity. The dmesg kernel ring buffer command that it registers as highspeed USB device with the cdc_ether (communications device class, or CDC) kernel module. The kernel version is 2.6.32 and the images are often newly built, which the NanoNotes changelog explains. The last version (image 2010-03-26) added Python, PHP 5, make, OpenVPN and tcpdump. The new image can be updated via software or hardware or USB boot. The latter is great for tinkerers, but more than tedious for end-users. For us, a couple of circuit board connections shorted out while removing the battery.

    • Tablets

      • Three things the iPad is, and isn’t

        Some people are shocked — shocked I tell you — to find that the iPad isn’t open source and so are encouraging people to avoid it. Hello? What part of the iPad being an Apple product did you not get? Apple, even more so than Microsoft, is the un-open company. If you want an open-source based iPad clone, congratulations: Linux-powered iPod-like devices are already on their way.

        At the same time, Apple is supporting open standards. Sure, if you want to develop applications for the iPad, you have to jump through Apple’s hoops — but if you want to develop iPad-friendly Web pages, you’ll do it by embracing HTML5 and avoiding proprietary formats like Flash.

        If you really want to open up an iPad’s software and void the warranty, the iPad’s already been jailbroken. In two weeks’ time, someone will doubtlessly have Linux running on it.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Innovation’s Challenge: Letting Go Is Hard To Do

    High-tech companies want research and development help from outsiders, but granting them authority is another matter — and the tighter their control, the harder it is to attract outside participation. One of the best high-tech open-source role models is Eclipse, formed through IBM’s 2001 donation of its Java development software.

  • Four Open Source Invoicing Apps Worth Checking Out

    Invoicing is one of the necessary evils for freelancers and small business owners. It’s a pain in the neck to bother with but, on the other hand, it’s always nice to get paid. Here are four open source invoicing applications that make the job a little easier.

  • To boldly go and conquer

    NASA may be cutting back, but don’t let that stop you from celestial crusading. In the multi-player space combat game Conquest, players on four teams – Federation, Orion, Romulan, and Klingon – fly around in a ship, conquer planets, and fight other players.

  • OpenTTD 1.0.0 Released

    OpenTTD is an open source clone of the Microprose game “Transport Tycoon Deluxe”, a business simulation games, in which the player is in control of a transport company, and can compete against rival companies to make as much profit as possible by transporting passengers and various goods by road, rail, sea or by air.

  • North Korean Red Star operating system details emerge

    It has games, an e-mail system known as Pigeon and a Mozilla’s Firefox internet browser – which has the North Korean government website as a home page.

  • Apache Maven 3 Races to the Finish Line

    The open source Apache Maven project has been helping software developers for over six years with their project build and reporting management needs. For most of that time, the project has been offering incremental updates to the Apache Maven 2.x product line, but in the next few months, Maven 3 is set to emerge.

  • Mozilla

    • Where and Whither Mozilla?

      The importance of Mozilla and its Firefox browser went up a notch last week. For it was then that it became clear that Microsoft has little intention of following a very particular standard – its own OOXML, pushed through the ISO at great cost to that institution’s authority. Contrast that with Microsoft’s increasingly positive signals about Web standards, which it is adopting with notable fervency – largely thanks to Firefox.

      Microsoft is complaisant because Firefox’s market share is getting close to the critical level where it becomes the dominant browser in the market. According to the first Mozilla Metrics Report, Mozilla’s global market share is around 30%. That figure is confirmed by the latest figure from W3Counter, which gives Internet Explorer 48% globally, and 32% to Firefox.

    • Firefox plans fix for decade-old browsing history leak
  • Databases/Oracle

    • NoSQL CouchDB Getting Stable with New Release
    • Connecting Open Office Base Application to SQL
    • 8 Advanced OpenOffice.org Add-ons

      OpenOffice.org (OOo for short) is a great office suite for Linux and pretty much any other operating system, but can always use improvement. This is especially true for templates and clip art. Fortunately, the open source community provides many add-ons or extensions. Here’s a look at eight different ones:

      English Templates by OxygenOffice

      One of the biggest features you might miss from Microsoft Office is their templates. This might especially be the case now that they have integrated the online user-submitted templates, giving you even more choices. In OOo, all you get is two presentation templates, an assortment of presentation templates, and a few wizards to help make letters, faxes, and agendas–the bare minimum. Then on a different menu (File > New), you’ll find shortcuts to work with labels and business cards.

  • CMS

    • HowTo: Configure WordPress To Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN)

      Research shows that if your web pages take longer than 5 seconds to load, you lose 50% of your viewers and sales. You can speed up your wordpress blog by using a CDN to display content to users faster and more efficiently. You can distributes common files or content such as css, javascript, uploaded images, videos and much more through a CDN, which serves the content from the closest cdn edge server to the end-user. In this tutorial, I will explains how to configure WordPress, Apache/Lighttpd webserver, Bind dns server to use a CDN to distribute your common files such as css, js, user uploaded files and lighten load on your web server.

  • BSD

    • New Features in PC-BSD 8.1

      Kris Moore recently announced some of the new features that will be available in 8.1. He is looking for testers for the latest snapshot.

    • PC-BSD – Linux 8.0 review

      An impressive, mature and polished Linux distribution, that doesn’t quite beat Ubuntu for sheer ease of use, but is nonetheless a worthy alternative.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Emacs & the birth of the GPL

      Emacs is not so much a text editor, more a way of life – an “extensible, customisable self-documenting real time display editor” with thousands of ready made extensions that take you way beyond its original remit as a text editor, some of which can be found at the Emacs wiki or on the Emacs Lisp list.

    • Emacs and the GPL

      I quite enjoyed seeing how RMS tempered prophetic statements with unfortunate real-world experience. Consider this insight from RMS into why it would be unlikely for a commercial entity to produce something like Emacs:

      I don’t think that anything like EMACS could have been developed commercially. Businesses have the wrong attitudes. The primary axiom of the commercial world toward users is that they are incompetent, and that if they have any control over their system they will mess it up. The primary goal is to give them nothing specific to complain about, not to give them a means of helping themselves.

      Some 23 years later, on the commerically amazing debut of the iPad, it’s striking how accurate this assessment is!

  • Standards/Consortia

    • FSFE and FFII to Radio Station Winners: “rOGG on”

      Radio Free Deutschland: For Document Freedom Day, March 31 2010, a couple of European radio stations were granted awards for using open standards.

      The radio stations Deutschlandradio and Radio Orange received the awards from the Free Software Foundation Europe and Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure because they transmitted over the Internet in the Ogg Vorbis media container format. The free Radio Orange 94.0 in Vienna and dradio.de (Deutschlandfunk in Cologne and Deutschlandradio Kultur in Berlin) were honored with the awards (and a cake) the afternoon of March 31 under the slogan “rOGG on!” (see Gallery).

Leftovers

  • Comcast, Wal-Mart favored to win “worst company” contest

    Consumerist.com’s fifth annual “Worst Company in America” tournament is on, with cable provider Comcast as one of the top seeds among competitors like Best Buy, Apple, and HP.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Vetting and barring scheme ‘a waste of money’

      The Association of Teachers and Lecturers said cash for the vetting and barring scheme – which could cost up to £1 billion – would be better spent on more social workers.

      Activists warned that the overwhelming majority of abuse was committed in the home or by relatives – meaning a database targeted at teachers, doctors, health workers and volunteers would be useless.

    • Will vetting make crisis out of children’s drama?

      The government’s new vetting and barring scheme could put theatre companies off casting children, according to local troupes.

      Peter Hunt, a director for the Lindley Players in Whitstable, said: “It will add a layer of complexity for those of us trying to put on amateur productions and involve children, which we all want to do.

    • General Election 2010 – A Vote for Privacy and Freedom

      Britain is at a crossroads in privacy and liberty. In recent years, public opposition has seen the government defeated on 90 days detention, forced to make ID cards non-compulsory and a series of concessions made on large-scale state databases from the NHS Spine to ContactPoint. But these only scrape the surface of the widespread erosion in personal freedom that has occurred in the past decade.

    • The Seductive Power of Surveillance

      Surveillance technology may be the most corrupting and also the most intoxicating media proliferating in these rapidly changing times. Its use is a slippery slope sliding further into the surveillance society.

      For example, a school district in Philadelphia has recently been caught spying on its students via cameras installed on laptops. The school board was able to do this through several thousand Apple Mac Books with spyware installed that they distributed to students. School administrators could access and activate the laptop camera whenever they wished.

    • The NoVa Police Blackout

      And then there’s Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney Randolph Sengel, who fired off an indignant letter to the editor in response to Pope’s article. Calling Pope’s well-reported piece a “rant” that was “thinly disguised as a news story,” Sengel wrote that “Law enforcement investigations and prosecutions are not carried out for the primary purpose of providing fodder for his paper.” Mocking the media’s role as a watchdog for government officials, Sengel added, “The sacred ‘right of the public to know’ is still (barely) governed by standards of reasonableness and civility,” as if those two adjectives were incompatible with a journalist inquiring about the details of a govenrment agent’s fatal shooting of an unarmed man. Sengel’s concluding graph is worth excerpting at length to give a better feel for a certain type of official contempt for disclosure…

    • Are Computers in Africa Really Weapons of Mass Destruction?

      According to these Western pundits who are, incidentally, often promoting their cybersecurity services, computers and connectivity in Africa either pave the way for terrorists to unleash cyber-attacks or for botnet operators to gather millions of unprotected machines into their control. Although we’ve spent considerable time debunking the hysteria around cyberwar, this new version of the meme is even more unfounded.

  • Finance

    • AIG Less Reliant on U.S., on Path to Repaying Bailout, CEO Says

      The bailed out insurer is “now on a path” to repaying the loans included in its $182.3 billion rescue package, Benmosche said in an interview yesterday. The company will first pay off the $25.3 billion it owes the Federal Reserve before deciding how to raise the cash it needs to end its separate arrangement with the U.S. Treasury that includes a draw on a second credit line of more than $40 billion.

    • It’s Official: Goldman Sachs, AIG Played Taxpayers for Fools

      It is official. In their annual report via Business Week Goldman Sachs (GS) says their employees are innocent as lambs. (The implicitly government guaranteed company, Goldman Sachs, is full of lambs doing ‘God’s work’ with seven figure bonuses!) GS says that it did nothing wrong in its credit default swap bets with American International Group (AIG). There is a funny thing about the too big to fail (TBTF) problem. The dummy at the poker table isn’t even in the casino. AIG and Goldman Sachs (and most of the other major investment banks) were playing with the money of U.S. taxpayers.

    • Bloomberg Takes a First Step at Piercing the Veil of Secrecy Surrounding CDOs

      A recent Bloomberg story about one of the CDOs insured by AIG, Davis Square Funding III, is a stark reminder of one of the bedrock principles of real estate lending: Timing is everything. Davis Square III, originally underwritten by Goldman Sachs, was comprised of pieces of mortgage bonds issued in 2004, two years before the home prices peaked.

    • The IMF Flag reads: ECONOMIC SLAVERY

      “The IMF will not have a restricted role” in the recently decided support plan for Greece, because “it wants to insure the control of valuable Greek infrastructures”, alleges economic analyst Max Keiser on international television networks such as the BBC, Al Jazeera and Russia Today.

    • Report: ‘A Lot of Goldman Sachs’ Employees Are Auditioning for The Apprentice

      When it comes to working on Wall Street, Goldman Sachs is the holy grail. Those who make it through the notoriously arduous interview process relinquish much of their personal lives, their identities, and their hair in service of the firm. Drinking in the combination of Old Spice, everything bagel, and money that emanates off of CEO Lloyd Blankfein during his visits to the trading floor is considered not just a workaday experience but a privilege. Which is why it is nothing less than shocking that casting director Scott Salyers told Bloomberg today that a number of God’s bankers have shown up at recent castings for The Apprentice.

      New York auditions usually include “a lot of Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, that kind of stuff,” Salyers said.

    • Ex-Goldman Banker Turnbull Quits Australian Politics
    • Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) To Introduce New Performance Measurements for Australian Senior Managers

      Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) will introduce a new scorecard system for its senior management in Australia, linking their part of their bonuses to their success in encouraging diversification in the workplace. Goldman Sachs’s senior U.S. managers already have their performance measured by the metrics.

    • CA Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman Has a Dirty Little Goldman Sachs Secret

      Despite being stabbed in the back by Goldman Sachs, California keeps giving Goldman Sachs billions of dollars in business — seven percent of Goldman’s revenues in 2008. Despite the billions of dollars in profit, Goldman Sachs refuses to support reinvestment for low-income communities in California.

      While CEO of eBay, Whitman reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to handle the company’s initial public stock offering — and for a second stock offering too — and to help it acquire PayPal. She was also a private banking client of theirs at the same time. Goldman Sachs received $8 million in fees from eBay while Whitman was CEO, while she made $1.78 million from those ‘spinning’ deals.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Internet link case to go before Supreme Court

      Can posting a link to someone else’s website constitute defamation?

      The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear the case of a former Green Party campaign manager who says it does.

    • Censored in Singapore

      The rulers had sued for defamation 16 years ago, saying a Herald Tribune Op-Ed column had implied that they got their jobs through nepotism. The paper wound up paying $678,000 and promising not to do it again. But in February, it named Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister, and his son, Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister now, in an Op-Ed article about Asian political dynasties.

      After the Lees objected, the paper said its language “may have been understood by readers to infer that the younger Mr. Lee did not achieve his position through merit. We wish to state clearly that this inference was not intended.” The Herald Tribune, wholly owned by The New York Times Company, apologized for “any distress or embarrassment” suffered by the Lees. The statement was published in the paper and on the Web site it shares with The Times.

    • Free Speech Unmoored in Copyright’s Safe Harbor: Chilling Effects of the DMCA on the First Amendment

      Each week, more blog posts are redacted, more videos deleted, and more web pages removed from Internet search results based on private claims of copyright infringement. Under the safe harbors of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Internet service providers are encouraged to respond to copyright complaints with content takedowns, assuring their immunity from liability while diminishing the rights of their subscribers and users. Paradoxically, the law’s shield for service providers becomes a sword against the public who depend upon these providers as platforms for speech.

    • Online readers need a chance to comment, but not to abuse

      Anonymous online commenting has always been rowdy and raucous, especially when public figures are the targets.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • U.S. court rules against FCC on Net neutrality

      A federal court threw the future of Internet regulations and U.S. broadband expansion plans into doubt Tuesday with a far-reaching decision that went against the Federal Communications Commission.

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks. That was a big victory for Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable company, which had challenged the FCC’s authority to impose such “Net neutrality” obligations on broadband providers.

    • Court: FCC has no power to regulate Net neutrality
    • The Debate over Pizzaright Reform

      Since its creation in the 1930s, the Federal Culinary Commission has tightly regulated the pizza marketplace. Entrepreneurs wishing to open pizzerias have been required to apply to the FCC, specifying the location of their proposed pizzeria, detailing the kinds of pizza that would be offered, and explaining how the creation of a new pizzeria benefitted the public interest. If the FCC determined that a new pizzeria was needed, it would issue a new pizzaright, subject, of course, to periodic renewal to ensure that the pizzaright was being used in the public interest.

    • Pizzarights and Spectrum Policy

      It is important for free-market types to attack “unlicensed” spectrum proposals that actually come with a lot of strings attached. This, I think, is the flaw of the “white spaces” proposal: there’s actually nothing unlicensed about it. While the white spaces rules don’t restrict who may use the spectrum, it does impose detailed rules about the protocols these devices may use. But the fact that a particular “unlicensed” spectrum program worked out poorly isn’t an argument against deregulation in general. And by painting all unlicensed spectrum rules with the same broad brush, free-marketeers malign some of the most successful (and libertarian!) FCC initiatives of the last few decades for no good reason.

    • Commerce Dept. Backs Radio Royalty Bill

      The Commerce Department voiced support Thursday for legislation that would require AM and FM radio stations to pay performers a fee when they air their songs.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • NYTimes Ethicist: Not Unethical To Download Unauthorized Copy Of Physical Book You Own

      He goes on to quote a publishing exec who disagrees, insisting that any unauthorized download is “stealing” and warns Cohen: “to condone this is to condone theft.” But, of course, that’s ridiculous. It is not theft at all. Nothing is missing. No one has lost out on anything. The publisher already got its money from this guy.

    • Shirky: What “people must pay for content” really means

      Clay Shirky’s latest broadside, “The Collapse of Complex Business Models,” is as incandescent as ever. It’s a thoughtful and provocative piece on the way that “high quality” products (which are also complex and expensive) reach diminishing returns, where they are being made ever-more complex without any rise in value, because the institutions that made them don’t know how to be less complex. It’s a great commentary on walled gardens, paywalls, and the reflexive entertainment industry sneer that YouTube is made out of nothing but priceless pirated media and worthless videos of cats.

    • Piracy Rampant Among Spanish Government Officials

      While the Spanish Government tries to ram through legislation that will enable the authorities to shut down file-sharing sites more rapidly, employees of the ministry responsible have been exposed as pirates. Fresh data shows that at nearly all ministries, staff have been downloading copyrighted material.

    • Recording Industry: Please Ignore Others’ Bogus Studies — Only Our Own Bogus Studies Count

      Now, this is the IFPI we’re talking about, and if ever there were an organization that knows something about studies that are “pure speculation,” it would be the IFPI. Every year the IFPI comes out with one of the more laughable reports on the “impact” of file sharing. The 2010 report is particularly full of baseless speculation, such as claiming that file sharing “harmed” some of the best selling music and movies in the last couple of years.

    • UK Shop Refuses To Make Prints Of Digital Photos Because They’re ‘Too Good’ And Must Infringe

      It appears that a similar story is playing itself out across the pond in the UK, where the popular retailer Boots apparently refused to print one woman’s photos because they were seen as “too good” for her to have taken, and therefore must be infringing on someone’s copyrights (thanks to Dave Michels for sending this in). The woman even got a signed letter, and when that didn’t work, came back with the (pregnant) woman who was in the photos to let the staff know that these photos were, indeed, legit and not covered by someone else’s copyright. The store still said no.

    • More News From The United Kingdom On Davenport Lyons, ACS Law, and Tilly Bailey & Irvine

      The Sword of Justice has just published an article titled ‘Terence Tsang undercutting his friends?” which asks some interesting questions about the operations of Davenport Lyons, ACS Law, and Tilly Bailey & Irvine. All three firms have sent ‘infringement letters’ to people that they claim have downloaded copies of movies and games. While Sword’s questions about the ties between the three firms are interesting, the point that really strikes me comes from Torrentfreak, apparently the monitoring software that the firms used cost them under $750.00!

      OK, so we are in a down economy, and software engineers like everyone else are having a hard time finding work. But only $750.00? Assuming a charge rate of $100.00 per hour, that’s only one day’s worth of work. Now admittedly it appears that what they did was modify an existing bit torrent client, so a lot of the coding was already done. But on a lot of projects that I’ve been involved with, even the simplest ones, the planning stage takes a lot longer than that.

    • ACTA/Digital Economy Bill

      • Paving Hell: ACTA Encourages Oppression from Friend and Foe Alike

        The drafting of the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) isn’t going so well. The agreement, which at least hints at three strikes provisions and third-party criminal liability for IP infringement, was finally leaked in its entirety last week. Now it seems that the drafters are a little nervous that authoritarian regimes might use ACTA to suppress speech. Wow, ya think? But we do not need to look to our enemies to find atavistic Internet policies. In the last few weeks, two of our staunchest supporters (South Korea and Australia) have been added to the illustrious Enemies of the Internet list. If even our well-intentioned, democratic allies offend Internet freedom by way of the rule of law, can there be any doubt that repressive regimes will do the same?

      • Digital economy bill: One clown giveth and the other clown taketh away

        If the government were to stop slavishly obeying the record companies as it formerly obeyed George Bush, and turn its attention to the real issue – how to support the arts in the digital age without impeding sharing – there is no shortage of methods it could try. My 1992 proposal for a special tax to be distributed to artists, with the money partly shifted from the most popular ones towards those not quite so successful, is still applicable. Meanwhile, many artists support themselves already with voluntary payments by their fans. If we make it easier to send these payments, with a send-one-dollar or send-one-pound button on every player, this method would work even better. And without disconnecting anyone!

      • 5 Ways The Google Book Settlement Will Change The Future of Reading

        If you care about the future of books, you need to understand the Google Book Settlement. It’s a complicated legal document, but we’ve talked to some of its architects, detractors, and defenders – and break it all down for you.

      • Why Authors, Agents, and Publishers Should Embrace Google Book Search

        I am impressed by how responsive Google has been to the concerns of the publishing community. I believe they are going to make it possible for more consumers to discover great new content that they would have otherwise missed. Rather than being something we should fear, Google Book Search is something we should embrace. If we do, I think we will find that our content is suddenly more relevant than ever.

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 2 – Episode 10: Election Fraud (2005)


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