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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 29 declined, 10 accepted (39 total, 25.64% accepted)

+ - Google collected email passwords and more->

Submitted by bibekpaudel
bibekpaudel (1113383) writes "The BBC is reporting that the French data protection agency CNIL, having begun looking into the exact data that Google’s Street View cars captured, has found that the “sensitive data” included email passwords and “”data that are normally covered by banking and medical privacy rules”.

Earlier, it was reported that Street View cars had been “mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks” since 2006, although many didn’t see it as a major privacy issue, stating that it wasn’t likely that Google grabbed enough data about many individuals to make it a real concern. Google, of course, said pretty much the same thing. Now it seems that they (and we) were wrong."

Link to Original Source

+ - Is Slashcode Dead ?

Submitted by bibekpaudel
bibekpaudel (1113383) writes "I don't know how this post would be taken by Slashdot editors, but I feel this is a very timely question. A lot of developments have happened on the web ever since slashdot started a revolution of sorts in user-generated content. There was no web 2.0 or social media when slashdot was born. I consider slashdot a kind of a important innovation on the world wide web. Even after all these years, slashdot remains popular. Just have a look at the number of comments and their quality. There are many users reading it, posting on it, and moderating the comments so that it continues to be a very valuable resource to all the rest of us. It has been able to adapt with the changing times, as you can see with the ajax-ified interface, firehose and so on. Above all, slashdot is based on a free/open source code base of slashcode.

What are the options for someone who wishes to start a discussion forum and a broad news site like slashdot? I assume there are alternatives, like mambo, geeklog, phpnuke, reddit and a lot of CMS'es like Drupal and Plone. With different web application frameworks becoming popular, I am sure there would be comments to this post suggesting a "write-from-the-scratch" option. There are clones for Digg and so on.

A look at the website of slashcode shows that it hasn't been updated for long. The mailing lists are pretty silent, and updates to slashcode are rare, if ever. The last updates were made months or years ago, in some cases. There are no clear install instructions (most of them say that this guide is outdated). There is no clear direction about which is the latest and stable version available and what are the latest development updates. There used to be a Debian package for slash, which has long been discontinued. Slash doesn't work with Apache 2 and the manual suggests installation from source for all the components. Now, if you're a masochist with not much else to do, that would be fairly ok, but given that most applications these days have clear install instructions, packages, scripts or at least an active IRC channel or mailing list, I don't see any reason why slashcode can't have something like that. Besides, most people wouldn't want slashcode just to run it on their test machines, they want it to run on a live production server.

I have been thinking of a website (for non-tech purposes) that would involve a lot of user participation and content-submission. Slashcode was on the top of my choices. I had tried installing it more than a year ago, but with a couple of hours of hair-pulling, I gave up. I was left with a lot of unnecessary installations of which I had lost track of, and I never wanted to try it again.

So, does it mean that slashcode is no more relevant and usable? Do its developers want to abandon it? As noone has shown interest to start a fork or continue development, I assume there is no interest or the level of effort required is higher than many volunteers would want to devote. Keeping with the spirit of free-softwares, what will happen to slashdot once the current group of people stop working (or lost interest) ? The web would continue to evolve, and slashdot would have too make adjustments, would it be sustainable? As a fellow slashdotter wrote some time ago, is slashcode dead [0]? If there is considerable interest in continuing the project, I'd love to know from other users and it sufficient documentation and help from existing maintainers is available, I'd be happy to join too.

If slashcode is dead and not recommended for use, could you please suggest me some good alternatives? The main features would be user generated content (and its management), user interaction (through user;'s profiles, journals, firehose etc) and active content-moderation (ajax-based).

Any pointers for help would be appreciated too.

[0] http://slashdot.org/journal/231231/Slashcode-is-dead-long-live-Slashcode"
GNOME

+ - GNOME not splitting from the GNU, as reported->

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "This mail[0] in the GNOME mailing list confused a lot of people. In reply to the news of GNOME splitting from the GNU, Johannes Schmid wrote, "there simply never was a plan about splitting up from GNU other than Philip has raised his as last consequence in a (quite useless, personal, etc.) discussion with RMS."

The rumor started from a OSNews story [1] that reported, "it started with complaints received about the content on Planet GNOME, and ended with people proposing and organising a vote to split GNOME from the GNU Project." The real origin point of this is a thread [2] in the GNOME mailing list titled "Code of Conduct and Foundation membership." This long discussion was participated by Richard Stallman. He wrote [3], ".. they (developers of non-free software certainly shouldn't promote them (non-free softwares) on Planet GNOME." In another thread, he wrote [4], "GNOME should not provide proprietary software developers with a platform to
present non-free software as a good or legitimate thing.... It should not invite people to talk about their proprietary software projects just because they are also GNOME contributors" and [5] "GNOME is part of the GNU Project, and it ought to support the free software movement. The most minimal support for the free software movement is to refrain from going directly against it; that is, to avoid presenting proprietary software as legitimate." In reply to RMS, Philip Van Hoof wrote [6], "I propose to have a vote on GNOME's membership to the GNU project." Things were getting more complex, as is evident from this post [7] by Lefty "If muzzling people is a condition of being "part of the GNU project", then maybe we should rethink _that_ aspect of things. Maybe the FSF should start its own planet and set its own rules there rather than attempting to impose its various litmus tests on the contributors to Planet GNOME."

http://mail.gnome.org/archives/foundation-list/2009-December/msg00151.html
http://www.osnews.com/story/22610/GNOME_To_Split_from_GNU_Project_
http://www.mail-archive.com/foundation-list@gnome.org/msg03962.html
http://www.mail-archive.com/foundation-list@gnome.org/msg04036.html
http://mail.gnome.org/archives/foundation-list/2009-December/msg00037.html
http://www.mail-archive.com/foundation-list@gnome.org/msg04063.html
http://www.mail-archive.com/foundation-list@gnome.org/msg04068.html
http://www.mail-archive.com/foundation-list@gnome.org/msg04066.html"

Link to Original Source
Debian

+ - Debian is now Sweet Sixteen->

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "The Universal Operating System Debian is now sweet sixteen. Lets wish her a very happy birthday and congratulate all the developers, sponsors, users and the community. It all started with this discussion [0]. One of the oldest GNU/Linux distros, Debian among the most preferred choice for a Linux server. With Debian-derivative Ubuntu being among the most popular choice for Linux desktops, Debian is surely a universal OS.

For those who don't know, the name comes [1] from the names of the creator of Debian, Ian Murdock, and his wife, Debra.

[0] http://groups.google.com/group/comp.os.linux.development/msg/a32d4e2ef3bcdcc6
[1] http://www.debian.org/intro/about"

Link to Original Source
Government

+ - How should a constitution protect digital rights ?

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "Nepal's Constituent Assembly is drafting a new constitution for the country. We (FOSS Nepal [0]) are interacting with various committees of the Assembly regarding the issues to be included in the new constitution. Especially, the "Fundamental Rights Determination Committee" is seeking our suggestions in the form of a written document so that they can discuss it in their meeting next week. We have informed them informally of our concerns for addressing digital liberties and ensuring them as fundamental rights in the constitution. We'd also like to see the right to privacy, anonymity and access public information regardless of the technology (platforms/softwares). Whether or not our suggestions will be incorporated depends on public hearings and voting in the assembly later, but the document we submit will be archived for use as reference material in the future when amendments in the constitution will be discussed or new laws will be prepared.

Below is the mail[1] I wrote to FOSS Nepal mailing list. I wanted to post a similar message to some international mailing list (like FSF, EFF) but I know only of announcement mailing lists of that kind. If you have something to suggest, please do. We're committed to doing everything we can to make sure that in the future Nepal becomes a country where digital liberties are fully respected. It's my personal dream to make our constitution a model for all other developing (or otherwise) countries as far as digital liberties are concerned.

There are many issues on which your suggestions would be valuable. How's it in your country? How would you want to change it? If you've interesting examples from history, they'd help too. If you're a legal expert, please mention the legal hassles our issues could generate. If you're from the FSF, the EFF etc, please provide your insights. If you're just another citizen like me, how'd you like your government to address filesharing, privacy, anonymity, platform neutrality, open standards etc? This slashdot discussion itself would serve as a reference to our document.

[0] http://fossnepal.org/
[1] http://groups.google.com/group/foss-nepal/browse_thread/thread/10cb7162bc5c3998"
The Internet

+ - File Sharing Parties in Russia and Nepal->

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "Just around the PirateBay verdict day, file sharers' all over the world have been celebrating the spirit of sharing.

TorrentFreaks writes [0], "Support for The Pirate Bay doesn't stop at the Swedish border, nor it is limited to blogs and forums." On 16th April, a group of Russian Pirate Bay supporters threw a street party at Pushkin Square in the center of Moscow, with the full approval of the Russian government. There are other more prominent supporters too. Novelist Paulo Coelho, who wrote the 65 million-selling book "The Alchemist", is an avid supporter of the 'bay, and even offered to testify in their favor during their court case.

In the South Asian Himalayan country of Nepal, supporters of file-sharing and piratebay came together in a real-life file-sharing party [1]. The whole event was planned and coordinated over the Internet using weblogs and twitter. People came with their laptops, thumb-drives, CD/DVDs, hard-disk and other storage devices and let each other know of the movies, songs, books, programmes or pictures they had and exchanged files with each other. The event named "Satasat GB" started in a Kathmandu restaurant this January with initiatives of some tech savvy youths. Excited by the response, they aimed to share even more data in the future versions of the event. Nepal has 12 hours of power outages every day (recently reduced, used to be 16 hours a day). According to the participants of the event, the reason for organizing the file sharing party- besides the need for the geeks to meet each other and have some fun, is load-shedding and Kathmandu's low internet bandwidth which make it difficult to download huge files over the internet.

[0] http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-supporters-throw-street-party-in-moscow-090416/
[1] http://ekantipur.com/kolnews.php?&nid=188770"

Link to Original Source
The Internet

+ - Open Source Activity Map of the World->

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "Georgia Tech and RedHat's Open Source Index project (OSI) has
generated interesting results. The open source activity and environment
maps of the world show scores of 75 countries based on their policies,
practices, and other data in the fields of Government, Industry, and
Community. The interactive map helps explore open source software hotspots around the world.

Overall, France ranks number 1 in the index, followed by Spain, Germany, Australia and Finland. On number 6 is the UK, while the United States is 3 places below. China stands on No. 15 and India on 23.

Many countries aren't indexed, because of the unavailability of enough data, says the FAQ.

Activity map: http://www.redhat.com/about/where-is-open-source/activity/
Environment map: http://www.redhat.com/about/where-is-open-source/environment/"

Link to Original Source
Education

+ - Linux Terminals for school kids in hilly villages->

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "The BBC carries a story on the success of the E-Library project based on the Linux Terminal Server Project in the schools of remote hilly villages of Nepal. Started by Help Nepal Network (HeNN) and supported by Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (MPP, the organization behind NepaLinux) and the Free/Open Source Software Community of Nepal (FOSS Nepal), students from Nepal's top engineering schools volunteer for the project.

"Much of the country is remote and accessible only on foot, and many of its people have never glimpsed a computer, let alone touched one. Working with other organisations, including Save the Children-Norway, HeNN is setting up the libraries with the use of what is called the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP). This is a free and open-source (accessible to everyone) package which connects one powerful central server in the school, using the Linux operating system, to a number of diskless low-end computers. When linked to the server, each computer receives a full Linux desktop.

LTSP is seen as a cost-effective, power-saving and durable technology, not only in schools but also in other sectors. What's more, it is also virtually free of tampering and computer viruses — and the Linux software developed by Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya, a charitable educational library based in Kathmandu, is being provided free of cost.

And its appeal is growing. In front of the little shops on the rough village streets, men gather to play cards and drink tea. But even they have developed a fascination for the computer. So the school has arranged some computer classes for them, too."

The BBC further writes, "Before this, anyone wanting access to computers or sizeable shops would have to walk two hours and drive two more, so the system has proved highly significant for local pupils. Most of the places where E-libraries have been set up so far are in the hills."

"Kamal Prasad Sharma, aged 12, a student at Saraswati Secondary School in a small village not far from Kathmandu, was afraid when he saw a computer for the first time.""

Link to Original Source
Government

+ - Ten hours of power cut every day->

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "Nepal is a country whose power potential is roughly 83,000 MW, which is equivalent to the combined installed hydroelectricity capacity of Canada, the United States and Mexico [0], although less than 1 percent has been developed [1]. In recent years, load-shedding has been an unmistakable feature of daily lives in Nepal. People plan their days accordingly. They sleep and wake up accordingly. Businesses and office-goers, professionals try to adjust their work and daily routine in harmony with the load-shedding schedule published by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA, aptly called No Electricity Authority of Nepal). NEA is very good at doing it. It changes its schedule and duration time and again, citing different reasons. In summers, its usually because of the flooding at certain rivers that grains and rock try to disturb the hydro-power plants. In winters, its because most rivers originating in the mountains decrease in their volumes because the snow melts less. At other times, its because one or the other power plant needs to be closed because of technical difficulties. At no points do we learn about measures taken to forestall annual occurrences of such events.

Effective from today, NEA has imposed, another schedule[2]. There will be 70 hours of power cut every week. That is 10 hours a day. NEA says that, come mid-January, the duration will be increased. Imagine how lives will move. Industries have already declared that it'd be impossible for them to sustain.

There is an yearly loss of 25.15 percent power[3] (of total power capacity) by NEA due to power leakage.

[0] http://www.nepalnews.com.np/contents/englishdaily/trn/2003/jan/jan26/features1.htm
[1] http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/archive/ieo00/hydro.html
[2] http://nea.org.np/loadshedding.jpg
[3] http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?nid=170922"

Link to Original Source
Google

+ - The First Android powered phone->

Submitted by bibekpaudel
bibekpaudel (1113383) writes "Today, T-Mobile announced the world's first Android-powered phone[]. This marks an important milestone in the young history of Android. It was less than a year ago, on November 5, that the Open Handset Alliance, a group of more than 30 technology and mobile companies, announced plans to create a complete mobile platform that would facilitate the development of advanced mobile applications and give users the best the web has to offer on a mobile device.

[0] http://www.t-mobileg1.com/"

Link to Original Source
GNU is Not Unix

+ - Kathmandu Declaration on Free/Open Source Software-> 1

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "One of the three winners of the Software Freedom Day (SFD) 2007 Best Event competition[0], the FOSS Nepal community has issued the "Kathmandu Declaration"[1] today, that was signed by over 700[2] professionals, students and other FOSS enthusiasts, amidst the presence of Nepal's Minister of Science and Technology, journalists and high level government officials. The declaration was signed during the Software Freedom Day[3] 2008.

The declaration talks about the right to information, especially in the context of electronic exchange of information. A FOSS Nepal volunteer explains in his blog[4], the necessity of such a convention. The official statistics and result of Nepal's recent Constituent Assembly Election[5], that turned Nepal into the world's youngest republic and in a rare event, brought a warring party of Communist guerrillas into mainstream democratic process can be viewed only by using Microsoft Internet Explorer. The website[6] is run by the government's Election Commission.

The Convention advocates the use of open standards and open technologies for the electronic exchange of information. It brings all the information related to the "technology, procedure, results and statistics related to any study, research or implementation that involves partial or complete participation or investment of government" under the jurisdiction of the right to information.

[0] http://softwarefreedomday.org/Competition2007/Winners#head-21e083384666d3141a28fe356d6886d49bbdcebc
[1] http://wiki.fossnepal.org/index.php?title=SFD08_Press_Release_II#Kathmandu_Declaration
[2] http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?nid=161299
[3] http://picasaweb.google.com/jwalanta/SoftwareFreedomDay2008RallyAndCandlelightVigil#
[4] http://open--source.blogspot.com/2008/09/sfd-08-how-good.html
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepalese_Constituent_Assembly_election,_2008
[6] http://www.election.gov.np/reports/report/reportBody.php""

Link to Original Source
GNU is Not Unix

+ - Kathmandu Convention on Free/Open Source Softwares->

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "One of the three winners of the Software Freedom Day (SFD) 2007 Best Event competition[0], the FOSS Nepal community has issued the "Kathmandu Convention"[1] today, that was signed by over 700 professionals, students and other FOSS enthusiasts, amidst the presence of Nepal's Minister of Science and Technology, journalists and high level government officials. The Convention was signed during the Software Freedom Day[2] 2008.

The Convention talks about the right to information, especially in the context of electronic exchange of information. A FOSS Nepal volunteer explains in his blog[3], the necessity of such a convention. The official statistics and result of Nepal's recent Constituent Assembly Election[4], that turned Nepal into the world's youngest republic and in a rare event, brought a warring party of Communist guerrillas into mainstream democratic process can be viewed only by using Microsoft Internet Explorer. The website[5] is run by the government's Election Commission.

The Convention advocates the use of open standards and open technologies for the electronic exchange of information. It brings all the information related to the "technology, procedure, results and statistics related to any study, research or implementation that involves partial or complete participation or investment of government" under the jurisdiction of the right to information.

http://softwarefreedomday.org/Competition2007/Winners#head-21e083384666d3141a28fe356d6886d49bbdcebc
http://wiki.fossnepal.org/index.php?title=SFD08_Press_Release_II#Kathmandu_Convention
http://picasaweb.google.com/jwalanta/SoftwareFreedomDay2008RallyAndCandlelightVigil#
http://open--source.blogspot.com/2008/09/sfd-08-how-good.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepalese_Constituent_Assembly_election,_2008
http://www.election.gov.np/reports/report/reportBody.php"

Link to Original Source
Education

+ - Some observations on OLPC in changed situations->

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "A heated debate is ongoing since the resignation of OLPC's Walter Bender and reports of Nicholas Negroponte's plans to switch to Windows from Linux as the OS of the XOs. Works have been going on, however in the grassroots level all around the world, and mostly with encouraging signs. Though the real power behind the OLPC are those people in the villages and schools in different parts of the world, decisions taken in Boston in the USA are bound to make major impacts on the worldwide level. The recent events are also taking the attention to GNU/Linux and its community, once again, with Negroponte expressing doubts over the Sugar UI and open source development methods.

On the wake of all these, I had mailed my observations, as a volunteer for OLPC Nepal, to some mailing lists. OLPC News [0] today carries the mail in its entirety.

[0] http://www.olpcnews.com/people/negroponte/observations_on_olpc_from_nepal.html"

Link to Original Source
Software

+ - Mark Shuttleworth talks to BBC about open source->

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "In an interview with BBC, Mark Shuttleworth, the man behind Ubuntu talks on various topics related to open source and Linux. On the Microfost-Yahoo deal, he says, "They will have 20,000 people (at Yahoo) who are firm free software advocates reporting to Steve Ballmer. Talking to Microsoft employees I get the sense they realise they can't transform that company into a Windows-based company without killing it." He goes ahead to talk about Linux innovating beyond the desktop, the impact can open source have in the commercial world and common misconceptions of open source and Linux.

Reacting to Microsoft's charges of patent infringement, Shuttleworth says, "It does everyone a bit of a disservice when Microsoft characterises the open source community as being cavalier with intellectual property. It looks to me like they are trying to create an element of uncertainty."

BBC has a related story [0] on its home page on "Ubuntu 'reaping Linux dividend' ."

[0] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7358483.stm"

Link to Original Source
Government

+ - Why IT Development is slow in developing nations?->

Submitted by
Bibek Paudel
Bibek Paudel writes "Mass adoption of Information Technology through Free and Open Source softwares would provide a huge benefit to the people and governments of third world countries, both in terms of cost and benefit. But things don't seem to be happening the way they should.

Jwalanta Shrestha has an interesting insight about what might be slowing down IT development in third world countries. In his blog post [0], he compares and contrasts two similar events that he has witnessed in his country Nepal, a land-locked nation in between India and China, where a bloody civil war ended recently [1].

A group of students in Kathmandu developing a Linux-based software that he thinks is very useful to Nepalese computer users, organized an impromptu event where developers came to look at the prototype and give feedbacks. This "highly productive" event was organized at the cost of a few phone calls and mailing-list posts. The only problem for the further development of the students' project is the lack of fund and resources.

The next day, he was at a five-star hotel in Kathmandu, to attend a program "Demonstration & Interaction Programme on Rural Information Gateway Portal." But actually it was about a website named www.telecenters.org.np. He had mistaken the event for the launch of the website. It turned out that it's only purpose was feedback collection. People lunched and spent one whole day at a luxury hotel, just to give feedbacks?

He writes, "The website building process is even more interesting. The project was initiated by USAID [2] and it handed over the development works to HLCIT [3]. HLCIT being a government body, called for a bid which Mercantile Communications [4] won. Mercantile Communication again did a bid which was won by Winrock International [5]. Winrock further did a bid and finally Magnus Consulting [6] got the job of developing the website. The result — it is not even Web2.0 and I bet, with Drupal, I can create a better site in ONE day!"

Telecenters, for which the said website is being made, have apparently failed in Nepal. Lots of money was spent on this zero-productivity event. He estimates the maximum life-expectency of the website to be not more than a year!

What do you have to say about this? Is this how things are going in other developing countries also? What might be the possible reasons for slow paced development of IT in such nations? How can things be improved or will they never? Lets have a discussion.

[0] http://jwalanta.blogspot.com/2008/03/why-it-development-is-so-slow-paced-in.html
[1] http://blog.bibekpaudel.com.np/2008/04/the-aftermath-of-nepalese-elections-long-entry/
[2] http://nepal.usaid.gov/
[3] http://www.hlcit.gov.np/
[4] http://www.mos.com.np/
[5] http://www.winrock.org.np/
[6] http://www.magnus.com.np/"

Link to Original Source

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