Howardd21 writes "PC World reports that Mozilla Labs wants 1% of its Firefox users to voluntarily provide information about how they use the browser, and their web browsing habits. This would be done through an add-on named "Test Pilot" that collects the information and associates it with some demographic information that the user has provided. Unlike other data collection utilities that software developers may include to provide usage information, the add-on will follow the same open source concept that Firefox adheres to, allowing the market to better understand what is being collected. Mozilla Labs stresses privacy when discussing how they will collect, store and use the data, including publishing it for other researchers to to analyze."
Derwent sends along a Computerworld piece which begins: "The Ubuntu Mobile operating system is undergoing its most radical change with a port to the ARM processor for Internet devices and netbooks, and may use Nokia's LGPL Qt development environment as an alternative to GNOME. During a presentation at this year's linux.conf.au conference, Canonical's David Mandala said Ubuntu Mobile has changed a lot over the past year... 'I worked on ARM devices for many years so a full Linux distribution on ARM is exciting,' Mandala said, adding one of the biggest challenges is reminding developers to write applications for 800 by 600 screen resolutions found in smaller devices. 'The standard [resolution] for GNOME [apps] is 800 by 600, but not all apps are. For this reason Ubuntu Mobile uses the GNOME Mobile (Hildon framework) instead of a full GNOME desktop, but since Nokia open sourced Qt under the LGPL it may consider this as an alternative.'"
MBGMorden writes "It looks like in an act that defies common sense, a bill has been introduced in the South Carolina State Senate that seeks to outlaw the use of profanity. According to the bill it would become a felony (punishable by a fine up to $5000 or up to 5 years in prison) to 'publish orally or in writing, exhibit, or otherwise make available material containing words, language, or actions of a profane, vulgar, lewd, lascivious, or indecent nature.' I'm not sure if 'in writing' could be applied to the internet, but in any event this is scary stuff."
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Network World: "A number of sites are reporting that Apple's CEO Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence till June at least. Speculation over Jobs' possibly failing health has run rampant in the past few weeks. Prior to the recent MacWorld show, Jobs said he had a hormone deficiency that had caused him to dramatically lose weight. In a memo today Jobs told workers his health issues are more complex than he thought." Reader Bastian227 adds a link to this letter from Steve Jobs on Apple's website, which also says that Tim Cook will be responsible for daily operations, though Jobs will remain involved with major strategic decisions.
Pizzutz writes "Softpedia reports that Ubuntu 9.04 Boots in 21.4 Seconds using the current daily build and the newly supported EXT4 file system. From the article: 'There are only two days left until the third Alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) will be available (for testing), and... we couldn't resist the temptation to take the current daily build for a test drive, before our usual screenshot tour, and taste the "sweetness" of that evolutionary EXT4 Linux filesystem. Announced on Christmas Eve, the EXT4 filesystem is now declared stable and it is distributed with version 2.6.28 of the Linux kernel and later. However, the good news is that the EXT4 filesystem was implemented in the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 3 a couple of days ago and it will be available in the Ubuntu Installer, if you choose manual partitioning.' I guess it's finally time to reformat my /home partition..."
sciencehabit writes "Science reports that silkworms may be an ideal food source for future space missions. They breed quickly, require little space and water, and generate smaller amounts of excrement than poultry or fish. They also contain twice as many essential amino acids as pork does and four times as much as eggs and milk. Even the insect's inedible silk, which makes up 50% of the weight of the dry cocoon, could provide nutrients: The material can be rendered edible through chemical processing and can be mixed with fruit juice, sugar, and food coloring to produce jam."
Aequo writes "Qt, the highly polished, well documented, modern GUI toolkit owned by Nokia, will be available under the LGPL starting with version 4.5! It was previously only mainly available under the GPL and a commercial license. Selling licenses was an important part of Qt under Trolltech as it was the company's main source of income, but Trolltech is a fruit-fly compared to Nokia, who want to encourage and stimulate the use of Qt Everywhere [PDF]. This is fantastic news for all commercial developers looking to create cross-platform applications without the need to buy a $4950 multi-platform license per developer."
oldwindways writes "An Ohio teen was found guilty of murdering his mother and shooting his father in the head after they took away his copy of Halo 3. One has to wonder if this is going to have any effect on the games industry. Clearly, the AP thought they could stir up something controversial by asking the IP owner for a statement: 'Microsoft, which owns the intellectual property for the game, declined to comment beyond a statement saying: "We are aware of the situation and it is a tragic case."' I suppose the good news is they did not accept his insanity plea, so no one can claim that Halo 3 drove him insane. Even so, I don't think anything good can come out of this for gamers." Unfortunately, it seems somebody can claim that the game was a contributing factor; the judge who presided over this case said he believes that the 17-year-old defendant "had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever." GamePolitics has further details from the judge's statement. It doesn't help that the boy's lawyers used video game addiction as a defense.
Photographer Duane Kerzic was standing on the public platform in New York's Penn Station, taking pictures of trains in hopes of winning the annual photo contest that Amtrak had been running since 2003. Amtrak police arrested him for refusing to delete the photos when asked, though they later charged him with trespassing. "Obviously, there is a lack of communication between Amtrak's marketing department, which promotes the annual contest, called Picture Our Trains, and its police department, which has a history of harassing photographers for photographing these same trains. Not much different than the JetBlue incident from earlier this year where JetBlue flight attendants had a woman arrested for refusing to delete a video she filmed in flight while the JetBlue marketing department hosted a contest encouraging passengers to take photos in flight." Kerzic's blog has an account of the arrest on Dec. 21 and the aftermath.
An anonymous readerwrites "On Friday the wonderfully customer centric AirTran decided to remove a family of 9 US born Muslims after a comment between two family members regarding how close to the Jet engine they had been seated. The wonderful part is that after the FBI cleared the family 2 hours later, AirTran refused to fly the family, and refused to rebook them on their way from Washington to Orlando, Florida. The family purchased additional tickets on US Airways later that day, after AirTran requested that the irate father be escorted from their booking podiums by security. This whole story highlights the pathetic customer service we are getting from the Airlines these days — they actually treat us like criminals first and ask questions later. Just don't get me started on Delta." It's nice to see that stupidity still knows no bounds.
Raul654 writes "The German Federal Archive has agreed to donate 100,000 images to Wikipedia under the German version of the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License. These pictures cover a period from 1860 to present. This is the largest picture donation ever to Wikipedia, and possibly the largest in the history of the free culture movement." Apparently, this is part of a project which will eventually make 11 million photos available for public use.
jammag writes "Ever since the GNewSense team pointed out that the Linux kernel contains proprietary firmware blobs, the question of whether a given distro is truly free software has gotten messier, notes Linux pundit Bruce Byfield. The FSF changed the definition of a free distribution, and a search for how to respond to this new definition is now well underway. Who wins and what solutions are implemented could have a major effect on the future of free and open source software. Debian has its own solution (by allowing users to choose their download), as do Ubuntu and Fedora (they include the offending firmware by default but make it possible to remove it). Meanwhile, the debate over firmware rages on. What resolves this issue?"
I disagree. If all I wanted to do with my PC is surf the web, check email, chat with friend and use office apps like the "average" computer user does, I'd switch to linux in a heart beat, in fact, I did for a while. But the one thing that keeps me bound to this monopoly that is Windows is gaming, which goes back to application availability. I don't think what the article is saying is true at all. I ran linux for months and didn't notice any of this "slow speed" in fact, it ran faster than windows, if anything. Even for games running through Wine.