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Submission + - Mozilla is Working on a Firefox OS-powered Streaming Stick

SmartAboutThings writes: Mozilla took the world by surprised when it announced that it was developing a Firefox operating system that would be used for mobile phones, especially in developing markets. Now, there are already a few devices out there, but it seems that this isn’t the last step for the company whose name is still associated with the famous web browsers. According to a recent report from GigaOM, Mozilla is currently working on a secretive project which has the purpose of developing a Chromecast-like media streaming stick powered by Firefox-OS.

Mozilla Firefox 3.6 Released 284

Shining Celebi writes "Mozilla has released Firefox 3.6 today, which adds support for Personas, lightweight themes that can be installed without restarting the browser, and adds further performance improvements to the new Tracemonkey Javascript engine. One of the major goals of the release was to improve startup time and general UI responsiveness, especially the Awesomebar. You can read the full set of release notes here."

Drupal's Dries Buytaert On Drupal 7 55

itwbennett writes "The Drupal community has been working on Drupal 7 for two years, and there are 'hundreds of changes' to show for it, says Drupal creator Dries Buytaert in an interview with ITworld's Esther Schindler on the occasion of Drupal 7 going into Alpha test this week. Most notable for end users are 'some massive usability improvements,' says Buytaert, while site builders will see the greatest changes in the Drupal Content Construction Kit (CCK), which has been moved into the Drupal core. But one thing that hasn't changed is the not-so-easy upgrade path. 'The upgrade path for a Drupal site has never been really easy, to be honest,' Buytaert says. 'We do break backwards compatibility. It's a little bit painful because it requires all of the contributed modules — and there's 4,000-5,000 of them — to make changes.' But Buytaert doesn't think that's all bad. 'Innovation is key. Backwards compatibility limits innovation,' Buytaert contends. 'The rule we have is: We'll break the API if it makes a better API, and if it allows good innovation and progress to be made. Also: The second rule is that we'll never break people's data. We'll always provide an upgrade path for the data.'"

Mozilla Rolls Out Firefox 3.6 RC, Nears Final 145

CWmike writes "Mozilla has shipped a release candidate build of Firefox 3.6 that, barring problems, will become the final, finished version of the upgrade. Firefox 3.6 RC1, which followed a run of betas that started in early November, features nearly 100 bug fixes from the fifth beta that Mozilla issued Dec. 17. The fixes resolved numerous crash bugs, including one that brought down the browser when it was steered to Yahoo's front page. Another fix removed a small amount of code owned by Microsoft from Firefox. The code was pointed out by a Mozilla contributor, and after digging, another developer found the original Microsoft license agreement. 'Amusingly enough, it's actually really permissive. Really the only part that's problematic is the agreement to "include the copyright notice ... on your product label and as a part of the sign-on message for your software product,"' wrote Kyle Huey on Mozilla's Bugzilla. Even so, others working on the bug said the code needed to be replaced with Mozilla's own."

Palm Pre and WebOS Get Native Gaming 49

rboatright writes "WebOS developers have been waiting, and with the 1.3.5 release, Palm's open source page suddenly listed SDL. Members of the WebOS internals team took that as a challenge and within 24 hours had a working port of Doom running in SDL on the Pre, in a webOS card. 48 hours later, they not only had Quake running, but had found in the latest LunaSysMgr the requirements to launch a native app from the webOS app launcher from an icon just like any other app. At the same time, the team demonstrated openGL apps running. With full native code support, with I/O available via SDL, developers now have a preview into Palm's future intent with regard to native code SDK's, and a hint of what's coming."
Open Source

Linux Kernel 2.6.32 Released 195

diegocg writes "Linus Torvalds has officially released the version 2.6.32 of the Linux kernel. New features include virtualization memory de-duplication, a rewrite of the writeback code faster and more scalable, many important Btrfs improvements and speedups, ATI R600/R700 3D and KMS support and other graphic improvements, a CFQ low latency mode, tracing improvements including a 'perf timechart' tool that tries to be a better bootchart, soft limits in the memory controller, support for the S+Core architecture, support for Intel Moorestown and its new firmware interface, run-time power management support, and many other improvements and new drivers. See the full changelog for more details."

NASA Nebula, Cloud Computing In a Container 55

1sockchuck writes "NASA has built its Nebula cloud computing platform inside a data center container so it can add capacity quickly, bringing extra containers online in 120 days. Nebula will provide on-demand computing power for NASA researchers managing large data sets and image repositories. 'Nebula has been designed to automatically increase the computing power and storage available to science- and data-oriented web applications as demand rises,' explains NASA's Chris Kemp. NASA has created the project using open source components and will release Nebula back to the open source community. 'Hopefully we can provide a good example of a successful large-scale open source project in the government and pave the way for similar projects in other agencies,' the Nebula team writes on its blog."

Submission + - BBC: 'reducing bit rate has no impact on picture' (cnet.co.uk)

CNETNate writes: Erm. No. The BBC recently reduced the bit rate of BBC HD, leading to outraged complaints about the picture quality. The BBC has admitted that it has reduced the bit rate, but it also claims that its new, more efficient encoders make up the difference with increased efficiency. But in an interview, Danielle Nagler, the head of BBC HD, said that there's "no evidence that reducing the bit rate has had an impact on picture quality". Which strikes us as absurd.
The Media

Paywalls To Drive Journalists Away In Addition To Consumers? 131

Hugh Pickens writes "With news organizations struggling and newsroom jobs disappearing, each week brings new calls from writers and editors who believe their employers should save themselves by charging for Internet access. However, in an interesting turnabout, the NY Times reports that Saul Friedman, a journalist for more than 50 years and a columnist for Newsday since 1996, announced last week he was quitting after Newsday decided that non-subscribers to Newsday's print edition will have to pay $5 a week to see much of the site, making it one of the few newspapers in the country to take such a plunge. 'My column has been popular around the country, but now it was really going to be impossible for people outside Long Island to read it,' he says. Friedman, who is 80, said he would continue to write about older people for the site 'Time Goes By.' 'One of the reasons why the NY Times eventually did away with its old "paywall" was that its big name columnists started complaining that fewer and fewer people were reading them,' writes Mike Masnick at Techdirt. 'Newspapers who decide to put up a paywall may find that their best reporters decide to go elsewhere, knowing that locking up their own content isn't a good thing in terms of career advancement.'"

Submission + - Seamonkey 2.0 is here! (seamonkey-project.org)

binarybum writes: Often forgotten, but the independent open source spirit lives strong in the once Mozilla project — now Seamonkey. Version 2.0 is finally out and rivals firefox with similar features but integrated email with a small footprint.

FCC To Probe Google Voice Over Call Blocking 86

Over the past few months, we've been following the FCC's inquiry into Apple and AT&T after they rejected Google Voice from the App store. A couple weeks ago, AT&T did their best to deflect the FCC by dangling a shiny object in front of them — the use of Google Voice to block calls. It now appears the FCC has taken the bait, as they've sent an official inquiry to Google asking why the service restricts connections. "In its letter, the FCC asked Google to describe how its calls are routed and whether calls to particular numbers are prohibited. It also asks for information on how restrictions are implemented, how Google informs customers about those restrictions, whether Google Voice services are free, and if Google ever plans to charge for them in the future." Richard Whitt has already posted a brief explanation on Google's Public Policy blog. "The reason we restrict calls to certain local phone carriers' numbers is simple. Not only do they charge exorbitant termination rates for calls, but they also partner with adult sex chat lines and 'free' conference calling centers to drive high volumes of traffic." The FCC also received a push from members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Google Considers Taking Beta Tag Off Gmail 180

Barence writes "Google is considering removing the beta tag from Gmail — and other online services — a mere five years after it was first launched. Google has become somewhat synonymous with seemingly endless beta cycles. Many of the company's most famous services, including Gmail, Docs, and Calendar all still carry the beta tag. Google now admits the eternal beta cycles could be damaging consumer and business confidence in its online apps. 'It's a minor annoyance and something you'll see addressed in the not-too-distant future.'"

Submission + - City of Vancouver embraces open data, standards an

MagikSlinger writes: Vancouver city council has endorsed the principles of making its data open and accessible to everyone where possible, adopting open standards for that data and considering open source software when replacing existing applications.

The motion suggested that Vancouver's city manager be asked to:
  • Identify immediate opportunities to distribute more of its data.
  • Index, publish and syndicate its data to the internet using prevailing open standards, interfaces and formats.
  • Develop a plan to digitize and distribute archival data to the public.
  • Ensure that data supplied to the city by third parties such as developers, contractors and consultants are unlicensed, in a prevailing open standard format, and not copyrighted except if otherwise prevented by legal considerations.
  • License any software applications developed by the City of Vancouver such that they may be used by other municipalities, businesses and the public without restriction.

You have a massage (from the Swedish prime minister).