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Links 18/3/2010: Steam and Linux; Red Hat’s CEO Talks

Posted in IRC Logs, News Roundup at 9:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Podcast Season 2 Episode 4

    In this episode: Gnome’s Guadec and KDE’s Akademy are getting back together in 2011, and they’re looking for a venue, while Canonical unveils a major rebranding for Ubuntu 10.04. We reveal which presenter had the most SUSE Studio downloads and report back on our time spent with Ubuntu 4.10.

  • FUD

    • Thinking about “Asking the hard questions about open source software”

      I’m very aware of the FUD that was thrown at open source software and especially Linux in the last decade, though I think we’ve gotten the right facts by now. Therefore I’ve tried to be very careful in the tone of the presentation to be constructive while realistic about adopting open source software.

    • My OSBC 2010 keynote

      This morning I gave a keynote called “Asking the Hard Questions about Open Source Software” at the OSBC 2010 conference in San Francisco.

    • Designing a Secure Linux System

      Bruce Schneier’s blog post about the Mariposa Botnet has an interesting discussion in the comments about how to make a secure system [1]. Note that the threat is considered to be remote attackers, that means viruses and trojan horses – which includes infected files run from USB devices (IE you aren’t safe just because you aren’t on the Internet). The threat we are considering is not people who can replace hardware in the computer (people who have physical access to it which includes people who have access to where it is located or who are employed to repair it). This is the most common case, the risk involved in stealing a typical PC is far greater than the whatever benefit might be obtained from the data on it – a typical computer user is at risk of theft only for the resale value of a second-hand computer.

    • 2010 CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors

      The 2010 CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors is a list of the most widespread and critical programming errors that can lead to serious software vulnerabilities. They are often easy to find, and easy to exploit. They are dangerous because they will frequently allow attackers to completely take over the software, steal data, or prevent the software from working at all.

  • Desktop

    • Desktop GNU/Linux

      Desktop GNU/Linux is happening whether on clients thick or thin or on servers. Repeating the same old drivel that GNU/Linux has no share and never will is tiresome and wrong. It could be that certain niches will stick with M$. It is those who are becoming irrelevant. GNU/Linux is mainstream and growing more rapidly daily on both server and desktop. Last time I looked, that other OS was still losing share in the top server hosting companies.

  • Kernel Space

    • A Tale of 20 Interns, 1 Project and 1 Fiery ‘Mythical Man-Month’ Debate

      The story was told by Greg Price on the Ksplice blog just over a week ago. Said tale involves an impending product launch, a list of critical engineering projects, and not enough time.

    • How to quadruple your productivity with an army of student interns

      Startup companies are always hunting for ways to accomplish as much as possible with what they have available. Last December we realized that we had a growing queue of important engineering projects outside of our core technology that our team didn’t have the time to finish anytime soon. To make matters worse, we wanted the projects completed right away, in time for our planned product launch in early February.

  • Applications

    • winetricks 20100316 released
    • IO Profiling of Applications: MPI Apps
    • TerminalRun Firefox Addon Allows You To Run Shell Commands From Websites Via Right Click [Linux]

      TerminalRun and FoxRunner are two similar Firefox extensions for running a command from a website in a terminal. Because FoxRunner didn’t work for me (but it seems to be working for most people so you can try it if you want), I’ll review TerminalRun.

    • Shotwell 0.5 (Gnome Photo Manager) Has Been Released

      That makes Shotwell the only Gnome photo manager which supports exporting photos to all of the 3 services: PicasaWeb, Flickr and Facebook.

    • Applications and bundled libraries

      Package installation for Linux distributions has traditionally separated libraries and application binaries into different packages, so that only one version of a library would be installed and it would be shared by applications that use it. Other operating systems (e.g. Windows, MacOS X) often bundle a particular version of a library with each application, which can lead to many copies and versions of the same library co-existing on the system. While each model has its advocates, the Linux method is seen by many as superior because a security fix in a particular commonly-used library doesn’t require updating multiple different applications—not to mention the space savings. But, it would seem that both Mozilla and Google may be causing distributions to switch to library-bundling mode in order to support the Firefox and Chromium web browsers.

    • Claws Mail: Mail with Attitude

      Want to take full control of your email? Tired of the limitations of Webmail, or GUI clients that are designed for users who only get a handful of emails every day. It’s time to bring out the heavy guns and start using Claws.

    • Psi Is A Feature-Rich Jabber Instant Messaging Client For Windows, Linux And Mac OS X

      Jabber, also known as XMPP, is used by Google Talk, LiveJournal, Portugal Telecom and Facebook also recently allows you to chat using XMPP.

    • Snap Spiffy Linux Screenshots with Shutter

      Snapping a quick screenshot is a capability you get out of the box with most current Linux distributions. Hit the Print Screen function key, and you should see a dialog box pop up with a capture of your entire screen. For GNOME users this typically launches gnome-screenshot while Kde will bring up Ksnapshot. Both tools are similar in functionality and get the basic job accomplished.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • When Will Steam Come to Linux?

        I know that there are those who will argue that Linux isn’t worth supporting, but I disagree. It’s been a travesty and grave injustice for Linux to be almost totally locked out of the computer gaming market thanks to Microsoft pushing its proprietary junk and deliberately locking game vendors into Windows, and the laziness of game companies that can’t be bothered to support multiple platforms.

        The lack of games for Linux (and also Mac OS X) has worked to Microsoft’s advantage by making Windows the platform for computer gaming. That’s great if you’re a Microsoft shareholder or employee, but it’s very bad if you believe in choice when it comes to computer operating systems.

        Gaming companies need to abandon DirectX as quickly as possible and move to OpenGL instead.

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • MagicFolder in KDE4: Plasmoid Now, but what is the future?

      True story: last night I was thinking about how great a Magical ~/Downloads/ folder would be, so that downloaded PDFs, videos, documents, whatever would automatically get moved into my ~/Documents/ and my ~/Music/ and my other folders. I thought, hmm maybe I’ll make a wish on http://bugs.kde.org/ for something like that. Granted, not everyone wants it as their Downloads/ folder (and not everyone even has that; Iceweasel and Firefox set it up in 3.5 and beyond and I don’t know if Konqueror, ReKonq, or Aurora even use it). But it was an interesting idea.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO Says Innovation Trumps Cost Savings

        The economy may still be in the doldrums, but Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said pitching the cost savings of open source software doesn’t necessarily seal the deal with enterprise customers as it once may have.

      • The clouding of open source and virtualization

        In fact, the cloud has largely displaced open source as the “next big thing” in the enterprise computing landscape, but it’s important to recognize that open source provides much of the underlying software infrastructure for the majority of commercial public clouds.

        In a press meeting Wednesday, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst and vice president of corporate development Mike Evans discussed how open source is at the basis of cloud computing and how an open architecture and layered approach to infrastructure is the best path forward.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 13 Alpha Now Available, What are the features??
        • Berry Linux 1.01 Is Based on Fedora 12

          Berry Linux is a Live CD Linux distribution based on Fedora and aimed mostly at the Japanese market. The latest update, Berry Linux 1.01, is based on the latest stable release, Fedora 12, and comes with updated packages, especially the very latest stable versions. It uses a customized KDE 4 environment, the latest version plucked from Fedora 12, KDE 4.4.0. Both Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird are now at the newest versions and the Microsoft Windows networking suite Samba has also been updated.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu prerelease testing made easy with TestDrive

        Canonical’s Jorge Castro recently introduced me to a nifty tool called TestDrive that simplifies the setup process by automatically downloading the ISO and configuring a VM. TestDrive provides a simple command-line tool that allows you to select which ISO image you want to test. It will download the image and then configure and launch a VM. The real win is that it caches the ISO images and uses rsync to update the parts that have changed so that you don’t have to download the whole ISO again every time you want to test a new daily build.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 Reads File Sizes Differently
      • BitNami adds Ubuntu to the Stacks

        Want to run WordPress, Drupal, or whip up a DJango instance on Ubuntu without all the hassle of configuring an operating system and support stack? Now you can. BitNami has added the most recent release of Ubuntu to its virtual appliance stacks.

      • Variants

        • Greenie Linux: A distribution for ALL users

          PeterB was right. Greenie Linux is one outstanding distribution. All you have to do is get beyond the language barrier (by simply installing the distro) and you will find a flavor of Linux that has something for just about everyone. Give this distribution a try. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Smart phones get their smarts from open source

        My blogomaniac buddy Alan Shimel recently posted a piece arguing that Android, the open source darling of the mobile world, looks pretty small against the elephantine overall mobile market whichodence-droid comprises mostly un-smart phones. Despite that, he points out that recently open sourced Symbian “is a major force in the traditional handset OS market.” Substantiating the point, Tony Bradley writes for PC world, “Symbian has nearly as much market share as the rest of its competitors combined–including the iPhone, with more than 330 million Symbian smartphones in use.”

      • Google Denied Trademark for ‘Nexus One’

        Google’s attempt to trademark the term “Nexus One” for its Android smartphone has been rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as it was deemed too similar to a related term.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mozilla

  • Databases

  • OpenOffice.org

    • OpenOffice.org Project of the Month: the Irish community

      Recently at OpenOffice.org we have decided to give more highlight to our many native-language communities, who are in charge not just of localization, but also QA, users support, documentation translation and marketing. Each month, we will interview teams, blog about it, include it in the OpenOffice.org, newsletter, etc. This month, we start with the Irish native-language project, lead by Kevin Scannell. You can find more about the Irish language here.

    • Cool OpenOffice.org Easter Eggs

      Since it’s almost Easter Sunday, I will be sharing with you several cool virtual Easter eggs hidden inside some of our favorite software applications. Today, we will take a look at some Easter eggs inside OpenOffice.org so get ready to have fun or be amused.

  • Business

    • Should You Customize Open Source ERP?

      I could reinvent the wheel here, but there’s no point. The best post that I have seen on this comes from my friend, John Henley of Decision Analytics. Henley details some advantages to customizing an application. They include:

      * Core competencies
      * Your other front/back-office systems require it
      * You want additional fields and/or different field sizes
      * Regulatory requirements


    • Open Ballot: would you hire the FSF for the role of Linux PR department?

      The Free Software Foundation has always done a great job defending the various free software licences, promoting their use, and asking for Linux to be referred to as GNU/Linux.

    • Send us your questions for new W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe

      I had the opportunity earlier this week to sit down with Jeff and discuss with him his appointment and learn a little more about the work of W3C and his plans for the coming year. Jeff talked about the importance of W3C’s Royalty-Free Patent Policy and we discussed how the free software community could participate in and follow the work of W3C. He stated that he wanted to “make sure that free software advocates view W3C — which has spearheaded the removal of patent royalties from standards — as a great place to participate.”

    • Interview: Eben Moglen – Freedom vs. The Cloud Log

      Free software has won: practically all of the biggest and most exciting Web companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter run on it. But it is also in danger of losing, because those same services now represent a huge threat to our freedom as a result of the vast stores of information they hold about us, and the in-depth surveillance that implies.

      Better than almost anyone, Eben Moglen knows what’s at stake. He was General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation for 13 years, and helped draft several versions of the GNU GPL. As well as being Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, he is the Founding Director of the Software Freedom Law Center. And he has an ambitious plan to save us from those seductive but freedom-threatening Web service companies. He explained to Glyn Moody what the problem is, and how we can fix it.

    • Categories of Free and Non-Free Software

      Free software is software that comes with permission for anyone to use, copy, and distribute, either verbatim or with modifications, either gratis or for a fee. In particular, this means that source code must be available. “If it’s not source, it’s not software.”

  • Government

    • Government Agencies Have a Way to Go on Open Government

      It’s only appropriate then, that during Sunshine Week, the National Security Archive would check on how various agencies have responded to Freedom of Information Act requests in the last year. Sunshine Week, according to the organization’s Web site, is a national initiative established to focus on the importance of open government and the freedom of information.

    • PROMISES, PROMISES: Records not so open with Obama

      One year into its promise of greater government transparency, the Obama administration is more often citing exceptions to the nation’s open records law to withhold federal records even as the number of requests for information declines, according to a review by The Associated Press of agency audits about the Freedom of Information Act.

    • Wiring Up The Big Brother Machine… And Fighting It

      Indeed, as ABC’s Nightline revealed much later, both Negroponte and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden pressured the LA Times to kill the story. And when Klein told his story to CBS’s 60 Minutes, they too eventually killed the story without explanation.

      In the end, of course, Klein’s evidence became the backbone of EFF’s lawsuit against AT&T for their complicity in illegal government spying. Originally ignored by Senators and newspapers alike, his evidence was ultimately so damning that it could only be defeated by an unprecedented “telco immunity” law pushed by the Bush White House and passed by the US Congress amidst a massive public controversy. EFF then relied on Klein’s evidence for a case against the government, which has been met with fierce resistance by the Obama Administration.

    • BE: Minister: “Open source prevents monopolies, increases innovation”

      “Open source prevents monopolies, helps to share knowledge and increases social innovation”, says Vincent Van Quickenborne, Belgium’s minister for the Simplification of the Administration. He expects that public administrations will increasingly turn to this type of software, in part because it helps to cut costs.

      With his talk, minister Van Quickenborne opened a workshop on free software for public administrations, organised by the ministry of Economics in Brussels, on Friday 12 March.

  • Openness

    • Fun with free maps on the free desktop

      Playing with open map data can be a fun pastime. Creating and editing open data can be not only fun, but also a boost for free data to go along with free software. Whether you want to view open map data or edit it, there’s no shortage of applications that run on Linux and work well with OpenStreetMap (OSM) data. Here’s a look at some useful mapping applications for displaying and editing open map data on the Linux desktop.

  • Programming

    • Ruby 1.9.2 expected in August

      According to a new schedule, the next version of the dynamic Ruby 1.9.2 scripting language will probably be released in mid August. While previous plans were for a final release by last December, the developers wanted to ensure that the new version passed the RubySpec tests. Eventually this lead to the release being postponed. Ruby 1.9.2dev has now passed all the relevant tests.

    • Qt 4.7 debuts QML for declarative UI development

      The Qt developers have announced a technical preview for QT 4.7, the cross platform C++ framework for GUI applications. According to the developers, the pre-release is not suitable for production use, but will give a good idea of how they plan to enhance the framework. According to the developers, the final release of Qt 4.7 will be around the middle of the year.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Liberate your documents.

      There are several more ideas on the site and ways to support the organizers of the event itself. So, if you’re one of the millions of people who would actually like others to be able to open the documents you send them, visit the Document Freedom Day website for more info and start working on your DFD project. You’ve got two weeks! Feel free to share your DFD ideas below.


  • Crime

    • Two Muslim men charged over alleged plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks

      Two Muslim men were charged last night in the Irish Republic in connection with an alleged plot to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, whose artwork outraged many Muslims after he depicted the Prophet Muhammad’s head on the body of a dog in 2007.

    • Death in Juarez

      To address the violence, decriminalization has to encompass not just possession for personal use (a policy that Mexico and several U.S. states have adopted in limited ways) but production and distribution as well. During alcohol prohibition—when the U.S. homicide rate rose by 43 percent, peaking the year of repeal—there were no criminal penalties for drinking. Yet by making it illegal to manufacture and sell alcohol, the government invited the likes of Al Capone to vie for control of a lucrative black market, with predictably violent results. Once alcohol was legalized, the business was no longer run by criminals, and liquor suppliers stopped shooting at each other.

    • Property Outlaws: important scholarly book on how breaking property law improves it

      Eduardo Penalver and Sonia Katyal’s Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership has been at the top of my discretionary reading pile for months, now ever since the publisher, Yale, sent me a review copy. Unfortunately, it’s been months since I’ve done any substantial discretionary reading and it’ll be months still before I get to do so. So yesterday, I just carved out 45 minutes to give it a good, thorough skim, and while I don’t have enough of the book in me to do an actual review, I can tell you that my suspicions were confirmed.

  • Security

    • Man thrown off train for writing Killers song titles on list

      A 25-year-old man was asked to leave a train after staff became concerned when he wrote song titles by bands including The Killers on a piece of paper.

    • Schoolchildren ‘routinely monitored’ by CCTV

      As many as 85 per cent of teachers have reported the use of CCTV in their schools and one-in-10 said cameras had even been placed in toilets.

      According to the study, some schools are also using other techniques such as fingerprinting, metal detectors, electronic identity cards, eye scanners and facial recognition systems.

      Research funded by Salford University said that schools were increasingly becoming a “hotbed for surveillance practices” in the UK as children were subjected to checks for often mundane reasons such as borrowing a book from a library or paying for lunch.

      But Dr Emmeline Taylor also suggested many schools were collecting CCTV images illegally by failing to inform pupils and visitors that they were being monitored under the Data Protection Act.

    • Residents to monitor CCTV in Sussex

      Sussex Police will be the first force in the country to have members of the public monitoring its CCTV.

      Twelve independent, fully trained and vetted volunteers will visit each police CCTV monitoring centre in Sussex once a month to look at the usage of more than 400 council-owned cameras.

      Currently, 400 cameras stream live to bases in Brighton and Haywards Heath and can be searched from police stations around the county.

    • Expertise and Influence in Military Policy

      To effectively oversee a massive, complex institution like the US military, you need a massive, hierarchical institution composed of people whose job it is to understand that institution. The military itself has an officer’s corps that performs this function. No other institution, inside or outside the government, has the capacity to understand military operations in anything close to their full detail.


      Similarly, last year the New York Times documented that the “military analysts” you see on cable TV programs tend to have close (and almost always undisclosed) ties to the Pentagon. The tricky thing about this is that it may very well be true that these folks are the most knowledgeable about military strategy. What better way to become an expert than to work in the military for decades? But at the same time, if you want impartial analysis of current policy, you don’t want all of your experts to be people with close ties to the people running that policy.

    • Liz Cheney Steals a Page from McCarthyism

      Innocent until proven guilty is a founding principle of our criminal justice system. This principle has also been codified in the U.S. Constitution via the 6th Amendment, providing the right to adequate counsel to all individuals accused of a crime. Last week, Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol launched an attack on individuals who undertook the enormously difficult task of upholding justice when they represented Guantanamo detainees. In the advertisement by a new entity named “Keep America Safe,” Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol question the loyalty of Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers who had previously represented Guantanamo detainees in order to defend U.S. legal obligations under the Constitution and treaties we have ratified.

    • Restaurant boss put in prison for stopping yobs

      Sal Miah, 35, heard a noise in the cellar and when he investigated he saw two teenagers who fled but he pursued them to a park and dragged them back to the restaurant.

    • Knowledge Was Power in Vietnam

      In the last few posts in my Vietnam series, I argued that American foreign policy was crippled by the fact that senior officials were fed a steady stream of misinformation. Positive news about the war flowed easily up the chain of command and reached the Secretary of Defense and the President. Negative information, in contrast, was systematically filtered out by the official reporting channels. As a consequence, senior officials were working with a limited and distorted view of the “facts on the ground.”

    • Council bans ice cream vans from trading outside schools because they ‘encourage unhealthy eating’

      The jingle of the ice cream van tells schoolchildren summer is on the way.

      But the traditional treat has been banned by one council, which claims they encourage unhealthy eating.

    • As Body Scanners are introduced, more and more issues arise

      Body scan Our position on body scanners has been made clear on this site several times. They’re an intrusive and unnecessary over-reaction to a threat (the Christmas Bomber) which could and should have been picked up using the intelligence available at the time – competent use of existing resources, not throwing money at new ones to be run by the same people whose incompetence led to the problem in the first place.

    • Free yourself from the Database

      I thoroughly recoomend you all opt out of the NHS Summary Care Record Database.

    • Clarence Page: Expanding the DNA database is a bad idea

      As if President Barack Obama didn’t have enough on his platter, he’s calling for people accused of crimes to have their DNA samples collected and stored in a national database, whether they’re convicted or not. He’s a brave man to open that can of worms.

  • Finance

    • Financial Titans ‘Tweaked’ Business Models to Buoy Recession

      Analysts from the world over agree that today’s economic instability and resulting write-downs proved the most serious threat to the financial services organizations, and is by far the most prolonged crisis since the 1930s. The downturn continues to contaminate more sections of the markets, driving most companies to re-evaluate their strategic moves or risk bankruptcy. Equity values have become more volatile. Financial products and services are falling back in its demand amid the accelerating slowdown in the global economy leading to a dip in the business and consumer confidence.

    • Dodd’s Financial Overhaul Plan Said to Transform Fed Powers

      Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd will unveil financial-regulation legislation that may create a consumer division at the Federal Reserve with power to write rules that could be overturned by a systemic-risk council, according to a Senate aide with knowledge of the plan.

    • When the Patina Fades… The Rise and Fall of Goldman Sachs???

      I have warned my readers about following myths and legends versus reality and facts several times in the past, particularly as it applies to Goldman Sachs and what I have coined “Name Brand Investing”.

    • Goldman loses bid to exclude pay from proxy vote

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has lost its bid to exclude a proposal on executive pay from its upcoming annual proxy filing, according to a response from U.S. securities regulators.

    • Mario Draghi and Goldman Sachs, Again

      We agree that he joined Goldman only in January 2002 (this was in our original post). But the latest revelations regarding the Goldman-Greece relationship (on the Senate floor, no less) clearly indicate that Goldman was a lead manager of Greek debt issues in spring 2002, i.e., when Mr. Draghi was on board.

    • What happened to the global economy and what we can do about it

      In its previous response to us, the the Bank of Italy pointed out that Mario Draghi (its current governor) did not join the management of Goldman Sachs until 2002 – hence he was not there when the controversial Greek “debt swaps” were arranged.

    • Feldstein and Goldman Sachs: Making a case for the euro

      The Sunday Telegraph also reported the European Union (EU) nations were preparing a “bailout package” for Greece that could exceed $34.4 billion as early as Monday the 15th, with Germany and France the main cash backers.

    • Financial reform–Real or fanciful?

      Two articles in the New York Times today point up the need for financial sector reform and the problems doing it.

    • At Lehman, Watchdogs Saw It All

      Lehman Brothers executives weren’t the only ones in the building when they were moving billions of dollars in liabilities off their books at the end of each quarter with magic accounting. So were the Feds, The New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in his latest DealBook column.

    • Update on UK Gov’s Institutional Profligacy
    • U.S. Chamber Plans $3M Ad Blitz Vs. Dodd Bill

      Congress Daily reported today that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it would spend at least $3 million in a multi-state TV ad buy opposing Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd’s (D-CN) bill to revamp the financial regulatory system. David Hirschmann, President of the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, said his organization would spend the money as the bill gets ready to be marked up and voted upon in the Senate Banking Committee next week.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google.cn No Longer Filtered?

      Though Google is denying anything about its processes have changed, MSNBC.com reported Tuesday that searches on subjects that had been blocked as objectionable are yielding results. For example, searches on “Tiananmen Square massacre,” “Xinijang independence,” and “Tibet Information Network” all returned results. They would not have returned results before.

    • Australia on internet watchlist with Iran, North Korea

      Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said he plans to introduce legislation by the end of next week that would require ISPs to block a blacklist of “refused classification” websites for all Australians.

    • Social media privacy: Insurance companies want access to your Facebook

      Any town U.S.A. You walk into a store and notice someone you recognize, from Facebook. But you really don’t know the individual; only online have you “met” that person. You have shared a note, or played a game on Facebook, Myspace, or other media website. You can choose to say hello or ignore them. That choice is up to you.

    • Eleventh Circuit Decision Largely Eliminates Fourth Amendment Protection in E-Mail

      Last Thursday, the Eleventh Circuit handed down a Fourth Amendment case, Rehberg v. Paulk, that takes a very narrow view of how the Fourth Amendment applies to e-mail. The Eleventh Circuit held that constitutional protection in stored copies of e-mail held by third parties disappears as soon as any copy of the communication is delivered. Under this new decision, if the government wants get your e-mails, the Fourth Amendment lets the government go to your ISP, wait the seconds it normally takes for the e-mail to be delivered, and then run off copies of your messages.

    • Wikileaks leaks classified intelligence report about itself

      Wikileaks, a website that aims to boost government transparency and accountability by publishing sensitive documents, has released a classified military counterintelligence analysis report that discusses the “threat posed to the US Army” by Wikileaks itself.

    • Apparently, Citizens United doesn’t believe in free speech for the anti-corporate side

      Citizens United, fresh from its Supreme Court victory giving corporations the right to bankroll election campaigns, has sent a trademark demand letter to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, complaining that a Facebook page entitled “Citizens United Against Citizens United” infringes its trademark. Apparently, Citizens United is worried that members of the public might come to the page and think that the organization “Citizens United” is attacking Citizens United, the landmark Supreme Court decision that it won.

    • Queens accountant sues Craiglist for allowing poster to insult him

      An angry Queens accountant has done the math: Craigslist plus an insult equals $1 million.

      Leo Kehoe, 43, is suing the online bulletin board for allowing someone to call him a nasty name.

    • Reporting On Someone Claiming An Opponent ‘Lies’ In A Heated Debate Is Not Libel

      Reporter Amy Wallace wrote an article late last year for Wired Magazine about the extremely heated and somewhat controversial debate over child vaccinations. In the course of the article, she quotes people from both sides. At one point, when one of the main doctors who supports vaccinations discusses the woman who has become the face (and voice) of the anti-vaccination crew, he responds to some of her claims by noting “she lies.” Apparently, those two words resulted in her filing a defamation lawsuit against the doctor and the reporter, Amy Wallace.

  • DRM

    • Support Of Bigpond Music Wma Downloads & Drm Licence Keys To Be Discontinued

      This means you will no longer be able to download replacement Digital Rights Management (DRM) ‘unlock’ licence keys for the WMA files you’ve bought from us is in the past – so you should back up your music and DRM licence keys now.

      Any MP3 files you’ve downloaded from BigPond Music will not be affected.

    • How to get DRM-free PC games: Just wait

      Gamers have long known that patience is rewarded with cheaper, less-buggy games. But does that adage hold true for the inclusion of digital rights management as well? Not always, but history does show us that time makes even the strictest of DRM less sucky.

    • DRM: Or temporary DRM

      I’ve always thought that in a copyright free world (and de facto that is our online world now – whatever they law may proclaim) DRM had a role to play. Not the role of permanently putting content under lock and key – that isn’t feasible. But it is possible to use DRM on a short-term basis for new releases to give some short-term monopoly power – and this might provide some useful incentive for creation, while being largely self-limiting. By unlocking the content after a brief period of initial sales the incentive to crack the DRM is greatly reduced, while from a revenue point of view, most of the money is from the initial sales anyway.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • How The Concept of Free Can Work For Small Publishers

      Much of the talk by the big 6 publishers has been stress over cannibalization of print sales, or the idea of replacement sales, by ebooks. For midlist publishers such as ourselves, I believe we fight against substitution. We capture the “browser” market. If our title is not available or visible, a customer will simply substitute for another one in the genre. Free gave us the visibility that we could not purchase.

    • UK’s Times Online Starts Blocking Aggregators Hours After Aggregators Win Copyright Tribunal Ruling Against Newspapers

      There’s been something of a battle going on in the UK over news aggregators. Obviously, we’ve all heard about the various threats by companies like News Corp. in the US to sue Google over its Google News product, but a lot of this has already been playing out on a smaller scale in the UK. Last year we wrote about newspapers in the UK threatening aggregators like NewsNow, leading some to start blocking NewsNow crawlers. This is silly in the extreme. These aggregators offer links to the news. The “issue” with NewsNow is that it sells this as a service to companies — and the newspapers claim they deserve a cut. Note that NewsNow provides just a link and a headline and the tiniest of blurbs. It’s much less than even Google News provides. The newspapers seem to think that no one can profit from advertising their own stories unless they get a direct cut.

    • Steve Albini Explains Why Royalties Don’t Make Sense

      Albini recently made at a conference about the music business, with a great quote about the focus of so many on royalties:

      “Royalties are a means to pay producers in the future — and in perpetuity — based on record sales,” said Albini, who is also a music journalist. “If a band does a show, blows a whole bunch of minds and a bunch of people become fans and go out and buy millions of records, the producer gets paid. I think that’s ethically unsustainable.

      “I don’t think you should pay a doctor extra because a patient doesn’t die. I think the doctor should be busting his ass for every patient. I don’t think I should get paid for someone else’s success.”

    • As Expected, Ridiculous, Wrong, Exaggerating And Misleading Report Claims That ‘Piracy’ Is Killing Jobs

      As was leaked earlier this week, a study paid for by the International Chamber of Commerce has come out with ridiculously misleading and misguided report about how “piracy” is killing jobs all through Europe. The tagline is that it’s “costing” 1.2 million jobs and about $330 million. And, of course, that sort of report is the kind that the press loves, and so we get a series of headlines:

      * Net piracy puts 1.2m EU jobs in peril, study shows
      * Internet piracy taking big toll on jobs
      * Illegal-file sharing could ‘cost billions’ by 2015
      * Piracy threatens Europe’s creative industries
      * EU must take ‘urgent’ action on piracy, report warns

      And on and on and on and on. Of course, it’s not even close to true. The real story is that for certain companies who refuse to adapt and refuse to embrace what consumers want and what technology allows, modern technology will cause them to fail. However, at the same time, it has already opened up new opportunities and created new jobs while making it easier and more efficient to create, promote, distribute and consume content. Somehow, however, none of that seems to show up in these studies.

    • Interview: Nina Paley (author of “Sita Sings the Blues” and the two “Minute Meme” animations)

      Her current project — recently funded — has been to produce “Minute Memes.” These are short animated films which promote free culture ways of thinking about copyright, specifically intended to counter propaganda from industry copyright maximalists like the MPAA and the RIAA.

    • Angus Introducing Private Copying Levy Bill, Flexible Fair Dealing Motion

      Second, the bill expands the levy to audio recording devices, defined in C-499 as “a device that contains a permanently embedded data storage medium, including solid state or hard disk, designed, manufactured and advertised for the purpose of copying sound recordings, excluding any prescribed kind of recording device.” This covers everything – iPods, iPhones, Blackberries, Androids, iPads, personal computers. While the CPCC (the private copying collective) may not target all of these devices, there is nothing in the bill that prevents them from doing so.

      Third, the bill deals solely with sound recordings, but there have already been calls to extend to video and other forms of content. Expanding the levy in this manner without addressing those issues leaves open the prospect of an even bigger levy in the future.

    • Gorillaz dropped into Time Warp, says Eddy Grant

      The reggae artist is outraged over alleged similarities between his 80s song and Gorillaz’ new single, Stylo


      Curious listeners can compare the songs for themselves (see below) – paying particular attention to Stylo’s drowsy three-note synth riff, 40 seconds in. In comments to the NME, Grant suggested Gorillaz’ publishers already visited a musicologist to evaluate this similarity. “[Normally] I would have gotten a call from EMI to say, ‘Damon [Albarn] wants to use Time Warp. What arrangement can you guys come to? Would you claim 100%, would you claim 60%, or 70% of whatever it is?’ That phone call never came. Instead what happened is somebody went straight to a musicologist, implying that there was some kind of pre-knowledge of some kind of infringement.”

    • Google slams Viacom for secret YouTube uploads

      Google Inc accused Viacom Inc of secretly uploading its videos to YouTube even as the media conglomerate publicly denounced the online video site for copyright infringement, according to court documents made public on Thursday.

    • Broadcast Yourself

      For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt “very strongly” that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

    • Analysis Of Google And Viacom’s Arguments Over YouTube: A Lot Of He Said/She Said
    • ACS:Law Keeps Sending Out More Threat Letters — Condemned By Politicians, ISPs And General Common Sense

      Just as Davenport Lyons lawyers are being sent for disciplinary action over the firm’s practice of sending large numbers of “pay up or we sue” pre-settlement letters, ACS:Law, the shady firm that effectively spun out of Davenport Lyons to do the same thing is ramping up its efforts. This isn’t a huge surprise. Late last year, the firm said it was preparing to send out 30,000 letters, despite numerous studies showing that these letters regularly target innocent people, but scare many people into just paying to avoid a lawsuit.

    • O2 condemns lawyers targeting alleged file-sharers

      Mobile firm O2 has stepped into the row over thousands of controversial letters that are being sent to alleged illegal file-sharers in the UK.

      It condemned the attempts “by rights holders and their lawyers to bully or threaten our customers”.

    • ACTA/Digital Economy Bill

      • EU proposes ACTA require criminal sanctions for inciting, aiding and abetting infringements

        KEI has learned that the European Union has proposed language in the ACTA negotiations to require criminal penalties for “inciting, aiding and abetting” certain offenses, including “at least in cases of willful trademark counterfeiting and copyright or related rights piracy on a commercial scale.”

      • Secrecy Around Trade Agreement Causes Stir

        There’s a reason you don’t hear much about international trade agreements. They are kind of dull, and they’re usually not very controversial. But the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is different.

        “One feels that you’re almost in a bit of a twilight zone,” says Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. “I mean, we’re talking about a copyright treaty. And it’s being treated as akin to nuclear secrets.”

        For several years, the United States and other developed countries have been quietly working on ACTA. Geist has been one of the loudest critics of the proposed pact. He says it’s a counterfeiting agreement in name only, and he thinks the treaty would actually change some of the fundamental rules governing the Internet. But what makes Geist really angry is the way it’s been negotiated.

        “Virtually none of it has been open to the public,” Geist says. “Even the early meetings were actually held in secret locations, so no one even knew where they were taking place.”

      • ACTA – The NZ Official Information Requests

        We’ve written about the unhealthy secrecy around the ACTA treaty negotiations. As New Zealanders we believe we have a right to know what our government is doing on our behalf.

        We wrote to the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ask them some questions about ACTA under the Official Information Act. We just got our answers back (scanned PDFs of the MED letter – 3MB, MFAT letter – 3MB, and cabinet paper – 6MB) and we have to admit that we weren’t very surprised to see more excuses not to release official information than we saw information.

      • Australia comes clean on ACTA role

        The Australian Government has no intention of changing its domestic laws to harmonise with an international treaty on copyright, according to a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Scottish Parliamentarian Patrick Harvey 01 (2004)

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  1. Links 25/09/2022: EasyOS 4.4, KDE Reviewed

    Links for the day

  2. Microsoft is Trying to Eliminate POP3 and IMAP for E-mail (Attack on Commodity or Standard Protocols)

    Microsoft is trying to decommoditise (read: control) E-mail by shutting out people who use standard protocols; how long have we got before E-mail becomes a surveillance-intensive walled garden?

  3. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 24, 2022

  4. YouTube (Alphabet Gulag) Keeps Censoring Videos About Free Software and GNU/Linux

    YouTube (the Alphabet/Google Gulag) seems to be weeding out discussion of software freedom; it's a longstanding issue reported by several GNU/Linux-centric channels over the years

  5. Links 24/09/2022: pgAdmin 4 v6.14 and ONLYOFFICE 7.2 Released

    Links for the day

  6. Links 23/09/2022: KDE Weekly Outline and UbuntuDDE Remix 22.04

    Links for the day

  7. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, September 23, 2022

  8. Geminispace Roughly Quadrupled in Size (and Grew a Lot in Terms of Number of Capsules) Since We Joined It Last Year

    Despite the media's apathy (pretending that Gemini does not exist or does not matter), Geminispace continues to expand and we have 42,703 pages in it

  9. [Meme] Getting Promoted (or Hired/Recruited/Absorbed Directly Into Top Management) by Knowing “The F***ing President”

    The EPO‘s own numbers indicate that as a female it's incredibly hard to get promoted at the EPO; the insiders’ joke is, you need to be a former colleague of Benoît Battistelli/António Campinos (or even a spouse) to get promoted

  10. According to EPO Data, Women Have No Place at the EPO (Unless They Fancy Being Underpaid)

    The European Patent Office, accused by a former president who was female of an “alphamale” issue, treats women poorly; incidentally, she wasn’t just the only female president in a ~25 year period but also the only non-French president in that same period (EPO diversity is a sad farce)

  11. Links 23/09/2022: PeerTube 4.3 and GNOME Report

    Links for the day

  12. Links 23/09/2022: EuroBSDcon 2022 Ahead, PowerDNS Recursor 4.5.11, 4.6.4 and 4.7.3 Out

    Links for the day

  13. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 22, 2022

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  14. Links 22/09/2022: ExTiX 22.9, Rust 1.64.0, Weston 11.0.0, New Mesa, and OpenCL 3.0.12

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  15. Microsoft Will Soon be Unlisted in Netcraft's Web Survey (Due to Minuscule, Negligible Market Share)

    A few hours ago this was released by Netcraft; it seems clear that Netcraft’s tables already omit Microsoft in all except 2, where Microsoft is placed last and rapidly loses share (it’ll fall out of sight soon)

  16. Links 22/09/2022: GNOME Builder 43.0 and Hype Over Ubuntu Wallpaper

    Links for the day

  17. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, September 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, September 21, 2022

  18. Linux Foundation 'Europe' a Front Group for Patent Trolls and American Monopolies

    About 90% of the Linux Foundation‘s money is spent in the United States (see IRS filing); it’s not global but a front for American corporate interests so adding ‘Europe’ to the name is misleading to say the least; it enables hostile interference in Linux’s name (the lobbyists like to claim to be speaking for those whom they’re against by hijacking words/names)

  19. The Life of Linux Will Be Shortened by a Misguided Adoption of Rust

    There are currently loads of puff pieces (mindless corporate fluff, no technical considerations) about Rust coming to Linux in the sense that Linux will become dependent on a monstrous shebang controlled by Microsoft proprietary software; a lot of developers very well understand the risk, but it feels like nobody wants to face the mob (for saying out loud that the emperor is naked)

  20. Pale Moon's Greed and Corrosive People (Boosted by Microsoft) in “FOSS” “Communities”

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan

  21. The EPO's Local Staff Committee The Hague (LSCTH) is “Requesting Immediate Action”

    Despite relatively quiet weeks there is no calm at the EPO; the quality of patents continues to fall and staff isn't being properly rewarded for the work

  22. [Meme] EPO Abuse Continues, Managers Acting Deaf

    EPO management continues to gaslight and abuse staff, even in direct violation of the EPO’s rules and legal contracts

  23. Links 21/09/2022: GNOME 43 and i3 4.21 Released

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  24. Official Ubuntu Blog Has Just Promoted Microsoft Windows+Systemd

    When people try to install Ubuntu on their PC (if they can get past the illegal technical obstacles) Canonical recommends Microsoft's proprietary software and it also keeps promoting Windows (WSL); what sort of deal/s has Canonical signed with Microsoft? Ubuntu is fast becoming a ‘filthy’ distro like SUSE after Novell signed the deal with Microsoft.

  25. Links 21/09/2022: Debuginfod in Ubuntu

    Links for the day

  26. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, September 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, September 20, 2022

  27. Links 20/09/2022: OpenJDK Java 19 and System76 Thelio Puff Pieces; More Debian-Private 'Leaks'

    Links for the day

  28. Links 20/09/2022: Darktable 4.0.1, SuperTuxKart 1.4 Release Candidate, and Gajim 1.5.0

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  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, September 19, 2022

  30. Links 19/09/2022: Firefox 105 and OpenMandriva on Ampere Altra

    Links for the day

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