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Operating Systems

Submission + - Proprietary Blobs and the Pursuit of a Free Kernel->

jammag writes: "Even 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 making it possible to remove it). Meanwhile, the debate over firmware rages on. What resolves this issue?"
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Submission + - Ecuador Decrees Government Must Use Free Software->

Glyn Moody writes: "Ecuador has made free software the default option for government systems: "The President of the Republic, Rafael Correa, by decree [Spanish PDF] no. 1014 of April 10, 2008, establishes as public policy for institutions of the central administration the use of free software in their computer systems and equipment." There are only three circumstances in which proprietary programs can be used: when there is no suitable open source solution, when national security is "at risk", or when a computer project is at a "point of no return"."
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Submission + - Norway mandates government use of ODF and PDF

siDDis writes: Earlier this year Slashdot mentioned that Norway moves towards mandatory use of ODF and PDF. Now it's confirmed that the Norwegian government has mandated the use of open document formats from January 1st, 2009.

There are three formats that have been mandated for all documentation between authorities, users and partners. HTML for all public information on the Web, PDF for all documents where layout needs to be preserved and ODF for all documents that the recipient is supposed to be able to edit. Documents may also be published in other formats, but they must always be available in either ODF or PDF.
User Journal

Journal Journal: GOP Used Tax Dollars To Boost Campaigns

In a possible violation of the Hatch Act, the Bush Administration used federal funds to boost efforts to elect Republican candidates in key battleground states.

McClatchy Newspapers has the story of efforts within the administration to use federal dollars to bolster the campaigns of republican candidates. The strategy, a clear violation of the Hatch Act, works like this:


Submission + - I have 38 days until the RIAA files suit->

vile209 writes: "A thread on Something Awful about a user being threatened by the RIAA's lawyers. Something seems fishy though, the user claims he did not download the songs and has a solid alibi. This news story has made the front page of and now has over 50 thousand views on the SA forums. Also Submitted because he is being sued for "Europe — The Final Countdown""
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Submission + - New Issue with Vista->

An anonymous reader writes: An new issue with Vista involving Microsoft Office, anti-virus, and flash drives (or any other FAT32 formated drives). The basics are that if you open an Office file off the flash drive, edit the file and then save it, the file is deleted off the flash drive. Full details here
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The Almighty Buck

Submission + - E-Toll Roads Charge For Hidden Orphan->

DontScotty writes: Besides losing your alleged privacy of movement, now here's a real threat to tuck under your aluminum covered baseball cap. But, this one will be hitting your virtual wallet. For those using EZ Pass electronic toll systems, be wary of the "orphan exit". If the system fails to scan you out of traffic — you pay NOT for the road driven, but the maximum daily (aka lost ticket) rate.
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Submission + - UK teachers want to ban Youtube

WombatDeath writes: The UK's Professional Association of Teachers is demanding that Youtube be shut down in order to remove threatening and bullying video footage from the internet. Following cases in which teachers have struggled to have individual clips removed, a spokeswoman for the PAT said that "Being exposed to ridicule, whether as an adult or young person, is a humiliating and frightening experience," adding "In the short term confronting this problem must be the closure of sites encouraging the cyber-bullying." Are new measures necessary to counter online bullying or, as Youtube asserts, are its existing processes able to deal with such situations?
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Our ATM is broken, so you go to jail?->

Actually, I do RTFA writes: A short while ago, slashdot featured an article about possible criminal prosecution for people who took advantage of faulty slot machine software. At the time, many people drew an analogy to an ATM that dispensed too much money. Well, apparently, that too may result in criminal charges. Interestingly, although they suspect that someone may have tampered with the ATM, they are considering charging anyone who withdrew money from the ATM.

This also provides an interesting rejoinder to 'if they can build a secure ATM, why cannot Diebold build a secure electronic voting machine.'

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Submission + - Etoile Project releases Mac-like environment->

pschmied writes: Today the Étoilé Project released v0.2 of its Desktop Environment. Not only does Étoilé share user interface similarities with Mac OS X, Étoilé enjoys some source-level compatibility with Mac OS X as well. Many Slashdotters undoubtedly remember NeXT, the revolutionary computer / development environment that gave rise to the first web browser and later became the foundation of Mac OS X. Étoilé uses the FSF's own implementation of the NeXT development environment, GNUStep, making this a close technological relative of OS X. Screenshots and a source tarball are available.
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"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_