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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 21 declined, 3 accepted (24 total, 12.50% accepted)

Government

+ - New rules for government departments' compliance with open standards->

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "Effective immediately, all British government departments are to comply with a set of Open Standards Principles (OSPs) when procuring for IT contracts. This follows a public consultation in which around 70% of respondents said they believed it would improve innovation, choice and value for money. Government sources say that although some suppliers have expressed reluctance to move towards OSPs, very few were able to articulate why they wouldn’t be beneficial.

Hopefully this will lead to fewer monolithic multi-million pound IT contracts going to the same old big businesses time after time, and more opportunity for small businesses to participate. Carving up a project and handing it to small businesses is likely very beneficial — less risk since the risk is spread amongst many suppliers, cheaper since there is more competition so less chance to overcharge like the big contractors currently do, and supporting small local businesses also helps the economy."

Link to Original Source
Government

+ - Illegal downloaders 'face UK ban'

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "The BBC is reporting that the UK government may be planning to force ISPs to ban customers who are using their internet connections to infringe copyright. Apparently about 10% of the UK population regularly infringe copyright over the internet and there is no comment on how the ISPs are expected to detect infringement."
Space

+ - Active glacier found on Mars-> 1

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has spotted an icy feature which appears to be a young active glacier. Dr Gerhard Neukum (what a cool name :), chief scientist on the spacecraft's High Resolution Stereo Camera said "We have not yet been able to see the spectral signature of water. But we will fly over it in the coming months and take measurements. On the glacial ridges we can see white tips, which can only be freshly exposed ice". Estimates place the glacier at 10,000 — 100,000 years old."
Link to Original Source
Networking

+ - Another warning over IPv4 address exhaustion->

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "The BBC is running a story on the IPv4 address exhaustion problem. The chairman of ICANN is warning that IPv4 addresses will probably run out in 2-3 years and we really need to roll out IPv6 now. The article notes that he is also Google's chief internet evangelist (Google still don't publish an IPv6 address for their search engine).

We keep getting these warnings, but very few ISPs and domestic router manufacturers seem to act (is it even possible to get a domestic ADSL router that does IPv6 without putting custom firmare on it yet?) Will we see a large scale roll-out of IPv6 soon, or will the industry wait until the sky falls in before acting?"

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Google

+ - Google Sky launches->

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "The BBC is reporting that Google have launched the Google Sky add-on for Google Earth. It will allow astronomers a chance to glide through images of more than one million stars and 200 million galaxies.

"Click a button and the world flips round and you see the sky from that particular location," explained Mr Parsons. "[The view] would be the constellations that you would see oriented in the sky on that particular day at that particular time." Users can overlay the night sky with other information such as galaxies, constellations and detailed images from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Although so far I've been unable to find any information published by Google."

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Quickies

+ - UK petition for government IT projects to be open->

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "There is a Petition on the UK government's website calling for publicly funded IT projects to be implemented as Free software. From the petition: "This would allow for more of the public to benefit from the development of the software since the code would be available for anyone to use and improve. Furthermore, compatibility with other Free licences (such as the GPL) would promote rapid development and reduced costs through the reuse of existing code.""
Link to Original Source
Software

+ - OSC threatten BBC over Microsoft tie-in->

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "After the BBC Trust approved the BBC's development of a Windows-only video-on-demand service in April, the Open Source Consortium is threatening the BBC with a complaint to the European Commission, since it gives Microsoft an unfair advantage and is not in the public interest. They have also complained to the regulator (Ofcom) and the BBC Trust comparing the situation to the BBC only making programmes that can only be watched on one particular brand of television.

As a licence fee payer, I feel that I should have the right to withhold a portion of my licence fee since the BBC obviously feels it appropriate to artificially restrict the content and therefore prevent a proportion of licence fee payers from legitimately accessing it. It is also interesting to note from the article that the BBC seems to consider supporting only Windows and Mac to be "platform agnostic", with no mention of other operating systems."

Link to Original Source
Quickies

+ - UK petition for government IT projects to be open

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "There is a petition on the British government's website calling for software projects funded by the tax payer to be released under a Free licence so that the tax payer can re-use the code they paid for and also examine the progress of the project. All to often these projects seem to over run and cost many times the original budget. This blog on the subject suggests that this is a common practice in the US — if corporate America can do it, why not everyone else?"
Microsoft

+ - 19 countries lodge contradictions to OpenXML

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "An unprecidented 19 countries have now responded during the contradictions phase of the ISO/IEC standardisation of Microsoft's OpenXML document format. At this time the responses haven't been made public and ECMA have the opportunity to propose resolutions, before the end of the month, to the problems cited. The question has to be raised — what will Microsoft do if the specification is rejected? Can they pressure the relevent people or will they have to withdraw the specification and work up a new, more sane one? In any case, it's good to see that there are some sane people who aren't completely under Microsoft's thumb involved in the standardisation process."
Microsoft

+ - Fast-track of OpenXML standardisation blocked

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "The British Standards Institute has issued a contradiction to Microsoft's OpenXML document format, blocking it's fast-track ISO standardisation for 90 days. The article states that "Proponents of the rival Open Document Format" are opposed to the format as there is "no point in having two document standards." This seems to miss the true problems with the (incomplete) OpenXML specification and the British Standards Institute have not yet stated the reasons for their objection."
The Internet

+ - Updated eBay tools leave Linux users in the cold

Submitted by
FireFury03
FireFury03 writes "linux.com has an article about how eBay are discriminating against Linux users after revising their Sell Your Item web tools.
"The tool is the sellers' auction setup wizard officially named Sell Your Item. eBay rolled out Sell Your Item 3.0 at the end of the summer, adding some more AJAX-ified flair and polish. It was October before I dusted off a relic in need of selling and tried the new form for myself, and found that it didn't work in Linux."
The article goes on to say that kludging your browser's User-Agent string to pretend to be Windows works around the problem, although I haven't got it to work (it serves up a different version of the page but it's still broken). Whilest you can still use the old system to list new items, there doesn't seem to be any solution for those of us who listed items with the new tool and now want to go back to revise the listing without any access to Windows machines."

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