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Submission + - Google collected email passwords and more (bbc.co.uk)

bibekpaudel 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.

Submission + - Is Slashcode Dead ?

bibekpaudel 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 There are no clear install instructions (most of them say that this guide is outdated).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

Submission + - GNOME not splitting from the GNU, as reported (osnews.com)

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"

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