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Red Hat Software

Submission + - Is Ubuntu Development Becoming Less Open? (

sfcrazy writes: While the larger Ubuntu community was busy downloading, installing and enjoying the latest edition of Ubuntu yesterday, a post by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth rustled some feathers. He gave indications that from now onwards only selected members of the community will be involved in some development and it will be announced publicly only after completion. Unlike other open source projects where all development happens in open manner. There as some criticism of this move and Shuttleworth ate his words and responded that they are actually opening up those projects where were being developed internally by Canonical employees instead of closing currently open projects. He also attacked Red Hat, as usual. This attitude or Shuttleworth is causing much discomfort for the entire Linux community. Is Canonical doing something wrong?

Submission + - Randomly generated math article accepted by ``open-access'' journal (

call -151 writes: Many years ago, a human-generated intentionally nonsense paper was accepted by the (prominent) literary culture journal Social Text. In August, a randomly-generated nonsense mathematics paper was accepted by one of the many low-tier ``open-access'' research mathematics journals. The software Mathgen which generated the accepted submission takes as inputs author names (or those can be randomly selected also) and generates nicely TeX'd and impressive-sounding sentences which are grammatically correct but mathematically disconnected nonsense. This was reviewed by a human, (quickly, for math, in 12 days) and the reviewers' comments mention superficial problems with the submission. The references are also randomly-generated and rather hilarious. For those with concerns about submitting to lower-tier journals in an effort to promote open access, this is not a good sign!

Submission + - Does M$ Office hack Open Office? 1

An anonymous reader writes: On my new Mac Air, I installed Open Office and created a slide deck. Yesterday, I installed Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac. Afterwards, when I open my Open Office slide, I noticed it was all messed up and would take a long time to fix. Suspecting that Office hacked Open Office, I downloaded and re-installed Open Office. Re-installling Open Office fixed the problem.
Does anyone else has similar experience? Is Microsoft hacking open source software now?

Submission + - Intelligence effort named citizens, not terrorists (

PolygamousRanchKid writes: A multibillion-dollar information-sharing program created in the aftermath of 9/11 has improperly collected information about innocent Americans and produced little valuable intelligence on terrorism, a Senate report concludes.

The lengthy, bipartisan report is a scathing evaluation of what the Department of Homeland Security has held up as a crown jewel of its security efforts. The report underscores a reality of post-9/11 Washington: National security programs tend to grow, never shrink, even when their money and manpower far surpass the actual subject of terrorism.

Because of a convoluted grants process set up by Congress, Homeland Security officials don't know how much they have spent in their decade-long effort to set up so-called fusion centers in every state. Government estimates range from less than $300 million to $1.4 billion in federal money, plus much more invested by state and local governments. Federal funding is pegged at about 20 percent to 30 percent. Despite that, Congress is unlikely to pull the plug. That's because, whether or not it stops terrorists, the program means politically important money for state and local governments.


Submission + - DirectTV Drops Viacom Channels (

An anonymous reader writes: DirectTV has dropped all of Viacom's channels. This includes channels such as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. The drop is reported to be over a carrier fee dispute. It appears programming content can magically disappear from satellite too and not just from streaming services. I guess pirating and physical media is the only way to make sure the content we pay for doesn't disappear.

Submission + - The wretched state of GPU transcoding (

MrSeb writes: "Excerpt from the story (which reportedly turned the writer, Joel Hruska, quite mad): "This story began as an investigation into why Cyberlink’s Media Espresso software produced video files of wildly varying quality and size depending on which GPU was used for the task. It then expanded into a comparison of several alternate solutions. Our goal was to find a program that would encode at a reasonably high quality level (~1GB per hour was the target) and require a minimal level of expertise from the user. The conclusion, after weeks of work and going blind staring at enlarged images, is that the state of "consumer" GPU transcoding is still a long, long way from prime time use. In short, it's simply not worth using the GPU to accelerate your video transcodes; it's much better to simply use Handbrake, which uses your CPU. Read the story for the full analysis, and some hints of some truly awful coding from Cyberlink."

Submission + - German Court Rules that Clients Responsible for Phishing Losses (

benfrog writes: "A German court has ruled that clients, not banks, are responsible for losses in phishing scams. The German Federal Court of Justice (the country's highest civil court) ruled in the case of a German retiree who lost €5,000 ($6,608) in a bank transfer fraudulently sent to Greece. According to The Local, a German news site, the man entered 10 transaction codes into a site designed to look like his bank's web site and his bank is not liable as it specifically warned against such phishing attacks."

Submission + - US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau embraces FOSS, publishes on github (

gchaix writes: "The US Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has publicly embraced open source software and has begun posting its code to GitHub.

From the fine article:

Until recently, the federal government was hesitant to adopt open-source software due to a perceived ambiguity around its legal status as a commercial good. In 2009, however, the Department of Defense made it clear that open-source software products are on equal footing with their proprietary counterparts.

We agree, and the first section of our source code policy is unequivocal: We use open-source software, and we do so because it helps us fulfill our mission.

Open-source software works because it enables people from around the world to share their contributions with each other. The CFPB has benefited tremendously from other people’s efforts, so it’s only right that we give back to the community by sharing our work with others.

This brings us to the second part of our policy: When we build our own software or contract with a third party to build it for us, we will share the code with the public at no charge. Exceptions will be made when source code exposes sensitive details that would put the Bureau at risk for security breaches; but we believe that, in general, hiding source code does not make the software safer.

More coverage here:"


Submission + - Statistical Analysis Raises Civil War Dead by 20%

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "For more than a century it has been accepted that about 620,000 Americans died in the the bloodiest, most devastating conflict in American history, but now BBC reports that historian J David Hacker has used sophisticated statistical software to determine the war's death toll and found that civil war dead may have been undercounted by as many as 130,000. "I have been waiting more than 25 years for an article like this one," writes historian James McPherson. Hacker began by taking digitized samples from the decennial census counts taken 1850-1880. Using statistical package SPSS, Hacker counted the number of native-born white men of military age in 1860 and determined how many of that group were still alive in 1870 and compared that survival rate with the survival rates of the men of the same ages from 1850-1860, and from 1870-1880 — the 10-year census periods before and after the Civil War. The calculations yielded the number of "excess" deaths of military-age men between 1860-1870 — the number who died in the war or in the five subsequent years from causes related to the war. Hacker's findings, published in the December 2011 issue of Civil War History, have been endorsed by some of the leading historians of the conflict but do the numbers, equivalent to about 7.5 million US deaths in proportion to America's current population, really matter? "The difference between the two estimates is large enough to change the way we look at the war," writes Hacker. "The war touched more lives and communities more deeply than we thought, and thus shaped the course of the ensuing decades of American history in ways we have not yet fully grasped. True, the war was terrible in either case. But just how terrible, and just how extensive its consequences, can only be known when we have a better count of the Civil War dead.""

Submission + - Microsoft counted as key Linux contributor, for now (

alphadogg writes: For the first time ever, and probably only temporarily, Microsoft can be counted as a key contributor to Linux. The company, which once portrayed the open-source OS kernel as a form of cancer, has been ranked 17th on a tally of the largest code contributors to Linux. The Linux Foundation's Linux Development Report, released Tuesday, summarizes who has contributed to the Linux kernel, from versions 2.6.36 to 3.2. The 10 largest contributors listed in the report are familiar names: Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IBM, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle and Google. But the appearance of Microsoft is a new one for the list, compiled annually.

Submission + - Damaged US passport chip strands travelers (

caseih writes: "Damaging the embedded chip in your passport is now grounds for denying you the ability to travel in at least one airport in the US. Though the airport can slide the passport through the little number reader as easily as they can wave it in front of an RFID reader, they chose to deny a young child access to the flight, in essence denying the who family. The child had accidentally sat on his passport, creasing the cover, and the passport appeared worn. The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport."

Submission + - New Weapon Against Copper Thieves 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Pervasive thefts of copper wire from under the streets of Fresno, California have prompted the city to seal thousands of its manhole covers with concrete and in Picher, Oklahoma, someone felled the town’s utility poles with chain saws, allowing thieves to abscond with 3,000 feet of wire while causing a blackout as the theft of copper cables in costs US companies $60 million a year and the FBI says it considers theft of copper wire to be a threat to the nation’s baseline ability to function. But now PC World reports that a US company has developed develop a new cable design that removes almost all the copper from cables in a bid to deter metal thieves. Unlike conventional cables made from solid copper, the GroundSmart Copper Clad Steel Cable consists of a steel core bonded to a copper outer casing, forming an equally effective but far less valuable cable by exploiting the corrosion-resistance of copper with the conductive properties of steel. "Companies trying to protect their copper infrastructure have been going to extreme measures to deter theft, many of which are neither successful nor cost effective," says CommScope vice president, Doug Wells. "Despite efforts like these, thieves continue to steal copper because of its rising value. The result is costly damage to networks and growing service disruptions." The GroundSmart Copper Clad Steel cable is the latest technical solution to the problem of copper theft which has included alternatives like cable etching to aid tracing of stolen metal and using chemicals that leave stains detectable under ultra-violet light. However the Copper Clad Steel strikes at the root of the problem by making the cable less susceptible to theft by both increasing the resistance to cutting and drastically decreasing the scrap value."
The Internet

Submission + - Official White House (Non-) Response to SOPA

theodp writes: For what it's worth, a short-on-the-specifics Official White House Response to a petition to veto SOPA was posted bright-and-early Saturday morning. An excerpt: 'Let us be clear-online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation's most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs. It harms everyone from struggling artists to production crews, and from startup social media companies to large movie studios. While we are strongly committed to the vigorous enforcement of intellectual property rights, existing tools are not strong enough to root out the worst online pirates beyond our borders. That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response. We should never let criminals hide behind a hollow embrace of legitimate American values.' The authors of the response — Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff — add that 'Washington needs to hear your best ideas about how to clamp down on rogue websites and other criminals who make money off the creative efforts of American artists and rights holders.'

Submission + - White House responds to SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN: "ask (

eefsee writes: The White House today responded to two petitions with a statement on Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet. They note that 'We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet.' In particular, they site manipulation of DNS as problematic. But overall the statement is clearly supportive of anti-piracy efforts and lays down this challenge: 'So, rather than just look at how legislation can be stopped, ask yourself: Where do we go from here? Don't limit your opinion to what'(TM)s the wrong thing to do, ask yourself what’s right.' So, what's right?

"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond