Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Charles Stross has written a very clever article where he describes the religious metaphor he uses with non-technical folks to explain the relationship between Mac OS X and UNIX. There is one true religion in operating systems says Stross and it is UNIX although there's also an earlier, older, more arcane religion with far fewer followers, MULTICS, from which UNIX sprang as a stripped-down rules-deficient heresy. If MULTICS is Judaism then UNIX is Christianity. By the mid-1970s there were two main sects: AT&T UNIX, which we may liken unto the Roman Catholic Church, and BSD UNIX, which we may approximate to the Orthodox Churches. In an attempt to control the schisms, the faithful defined a common interoperating subset of the one true religion that all could agree on—the Nicene Creed of UNIX which is probably POSIX. Stross says that today the biggest church in the whole of UNIX is Mac OS X, which rests on the bedrock of Orthodox BSD but "has added an incredible, towering superstructure of fiercely guarded APIs and proprietary user interface stuff that renders it all but unrecognizable to followers of the Catholic AT&T path." But lo, in the late 1980s, UNIX succumbed to the sins of venality, demanding too much money from the faithful and so, in 1991 Linus Torvalds nailed his famous source code release to the cathedral door and kicked off the Reformation. 'The Linux wars were brutal and unforgiving and Linux itself splintered into a myriad of fractious Protestant churches, from the Red Hat wearing Lutherans to the Ubuntu Baptists.' More recently, a deviant faith has sprung from Linux. 'Android is the Church of Latter Day Saints of UNIX: hard-working, sober, evangelizing the public, and growing at a ferocious rate. There are some strange fundamentalist Mormon Android churches living in walled communities under the banners of Samsung and Amazon, but for the most part the prosperous worship at the Church of Google.' Stross notes that as with all religion, those sects with most in common are the ones who hold the most vicious grudges against one another. 'Is that clear?'"
ActionDesignStudios writes "The upcoming release of Ubuntu, titled 'Lucid Lynx,' has just entered the beta cycle. Alongside the usual desktop and server versions, a special version has been released that is designed to run on Amazon's EC2 cloud service. This release of Ubuntu does away with the brown 'Human' Gnome theme we've all become accustomed to, replaced by a new version Canonical says is inspired by light. The new release also includes much better integration with social networking services such as Twitter, identi.ca and Facebook, among others."
alphadogg writes "As they imagine the Internet of 2020, computer scientists across the country are starting from scratch and re-thinking everything: from IP addresses to DNS to routing tables to Internet security in general. They're envisioning how the Internet might work without some of the most fundamental features of today's ISP and enterprise networks. Their goal is audacious: To create an Internet without so many security breaches, with better trust and built-in identity management. Researchers are trying to build an Internet that's more reliable, higher performing and better able to manage exabytes of content. And they're hoping to build an Internet that extends connectivity to the most remote regions of the world, perhaps to other planets. This high-risk, long-range Internet research will kick into high gear in 2010, as the US federal government ramps up funding to allow a handful of projects to move out of the lab and into prototype. Indeed, the United States is building the world's largest virtual network lab across 14 college campuses and two nationwide backbone networks so that it can engage thousands – perhaps millions – of end users in its experiments."
An anonymous reader writes "I have noticed that many airports and hospitals I've visited have some kind of internet usage policy in place. Some use software similar to Websense, which effectively blocks sites based on blacklisting them by category. A commonly used blacklist prevents users from accessing 'forums or discussion boards,' yet I find that often these networks allow users to access sites like Fark, Slashdot, Digg and other message boards that appeal to the technical culture one might find in the IT world. In your experience, do IT administrators abuse their supervisory powers? Has there ever been a backlash from users or management for doing so?"
andylim writes "It looks as if Duke Nukem isn't completely 'nuked' after all. Someone has ported the 90s classic on to a Nokia N900. As you'll see in the video, you control Duke using the Qwerty keypad and shoot using the touchscreen. I'm wondering how long it will take for this to get on other mobile platforms." In other Duke news, reader Jupix points out that 3D Realms' CEO Scott Miller recently said, "There are numerous other Duke games in various stages of development, several due out this year. We are definitely looking to bring Duke into casual gaming spaces, plus there are other major Duke games in production."
An article in the NY Times discusses how kids interact with search engines, which are primarily designed for adult users who are familiar with basic internet concepts. From the article: "When considering children, search engines had long focused on filtering out explicit material from results. But now, because increasing numbers of children are using search as a starting point for homework, exploration or entertainment, more engineers are looking to children for guidance on how to improve their tools. ... Stefan Weitz, director of Bing, said that for certain types of tasks, like finding a list of American presidents, people found answers 28 percent faster with a search of images rather than of text. He said that because Bing used more imagery than other search engines, it attracted more children. ... Children also tend to want to ask questions like 'Who is the president?' rather than type in a keyword. Scott Kim, chief technology officer at Ask.com, said that because as many as a third of search queries were entered as questions (up to 43 percent on Ask Kids, a variant designed for children), it had enlarged search boxes on both sites by almost 30 percent."
st1d writes to tell us that Wikileaks has put out a call for help. However, instead of just asking for money, they have also suggested technical and legal avenues for support. In the site's short life, Wikileaks has been at the center of many breaking scandals and investigations. "Wikileaks is currently overloaded by readers. This is a regular difficulty that can only be resolved by deploying additional resources. If you support our mission, you can help us by integrating new hardware into our project infrastructure or developing software for the project. Become patron of a WikiLeaks server or other parts of our technology, adding more pillars to the stability and balance of the WikiLeaks platform. Servers come trouble-free and legally fortified, software is uniquely challenging. If you can provide rackspace, power and an uplink, or a dedicated server or storage space, for at least 12 months, or software development work for WikiLeaks, please write to email@example.com."
Techdirt pointed out that not long ago, John Byrne, ex-editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek.com and now CEO of newly founded C-Change Media, decided to tackle the problem of why publications seem to be so vehemently opposed to Google being a part of their business process. While there aren't any earth-shattering revelations, it is a great, succinct description of the problem. "I received several solid answers from followers of this blog, including Frymaster who immediately took sides in the ongoing war between Traditional Media and Google. Wrote Frymaster: 'I reject out-of-hand the assertion that Google is profiting from others' content. Rather, I say that Google profits from connecting users to content. It is a service that most web publishers appreciate greatly. Google, unlike any other search engine ever, goes to great pains to deliver the least-skewed results possible. Google is constantly on the hunt for people who game their system. That's why they succeed. There is a direct connection between Google's user-centric, community-oriented approach and their financial success.'"
volume4 brings news that David Wood of the Symbian Foundation has made a post detailing their plans for a release schedule, with new versions due out every six months. We discussed Nokia's acquisition of Symbian for the purpose of open sourcing the popular mobile OS last year. Quoting: "There's a lot of activity underway, throughout the software development teams for all the different packages that make up the Symbian Platform. These packages are finding their way into platform releases. The plan is that there will be two platform releases each year. ... Symbian^2, which is based on S60 5.1, reaches a functionally complete state at the middle of this year, and should be hardened by the end of the year. This means that the first devices based on Symbian^2 could be reaching the market any time around the end of this year — depending on the integration plans, the level of customisation, and the design choices made by manufacturers. Symbian^3 follows on six months later — reaching a functionally complete state at the end of this year, and should be hardened by the middle of 2010."
Al writes "The economy has hit green energy technologies hard, but technologies focused on energy efficiency and clean coal are still attracting money. Over the next few years, venture capitalists say that the biggest winners in clean tech will most likely be companies with technologies that improve efficiency. Such ventures often take advantage of cheap sensors, communications hardware, and software packages to monitor and control energy use both in buildings and on the electricity grid. High-capital businesses are now more likely to succeed if they can attract foreign funding. For instance, Great Point Energy, based in Cambridge, which has developed a process for converting coal into natural gas, has attracted $100m in funding from China."
Anonymous writes "According to Channelweb, the bloom might be off the rose in the Novell-Microsoft relationship: the two companies didn't sign a single, solitary large customer to a Novell Linux deal during the most recent quarter. 'So Novell, one of the biggest Linux distributors in the world, and Microsoft, one of the biggest companies in world history, couldn't find a single large customer on Planet Earth to buy into Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server software. Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian has stepped up and, rather than point fingers at Microsoft for that performance, put the blame on his company and its inability to strengthen its reseller channel.'"
An anonymous reader writes "In response to Google's recently announced plans to expand the tracking of users, the international anti-advertising magazine Adbusters proposes that we collectively embark on a civil disobedience campaign of intentional, automated 'click fraud' in order to undermine Google's advertising program in order to force Google to adopt a pro-privacy corporate policy. They have released a GreaseMonkey script that automatically clicks on all AdSense ads."
An anonymous reader points out a story at Business Week which begins: "Mozilla Chair Mitchell Baker says the Chrome browser is making the foundation behind Firefox rethink its reliance on revenues from Google. Since Google introduced its own Web browser, Chrome, the prospect that Google may not re-up the three-year contract set to expire in 2011 has Mozilla considering other search partnerships and ways to generate revenue, Baker said. 'There are probably other search engines that would pay us more money,' Baker says. Yahoo! and Microsoft's MSN, Google's two main search rivals, come to mind, but Baker says smaller search engines wouldn't be discounted should such a situation arise. One player Baker won't identify 'offered a blank check to replace Google,' she says. Set to launch on certain Nokia phones in late spring, Fennec is the first Mozilla browser optimized for mobile platforms. If it gains traction with enough handset makers and mobile users, Fennec could represent another way to draw revenue from a partnering search engine."
An anonymous reader writes "According to its own speed tests, Microsoft's Internet Explorer loads most websites faster than both Chrome and Firefox when looking at the top 25 websites on the Internet. 'As you can see, IE8 outperforms Firefox 3.05 and Chrome 1.0 in loading 12 websites, Chrome 1.0 places second by loading nine sites first, and Firefox brings up the rear by loading four sites faster than the other two browsers. Also, in case you missed it, IE loads mozilla.com faster than Firefox, and Firefox loads microsoft.com faster than IE, just for kicks.'"
The Walking Dude writes "A lengthy article published in Culture Mandala details how China is using cyber warfare (PDF) as an asymmetric means to obtain technology transfer and market dominance. Case studies of Estonia, Georgia, and Project Chanology point towards a new auxiliary arm of traditional warfare. Political hackers and common Web 2.0 users, referred to as useful idiots (PDF), are being manipulated through PSYOPS and propaganda to enhance government agendas."