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+ - Xerox Alto Source Code Released To Public-> 1 1

zonker writes: In 1970 the Xerox Corporation established the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) with the goal to develop an “architecture of information” and lay the groundwork for future electronic office products. The pioneering Alto project that began in 1972 invented or refined many of the fundamental hardware and software ideas upon which our modern devices are based, including raster displays, mouse pointing devices, direct-manipulation user interfaces, windows and menus, the first WYSIWYG word processor, and Ethernet.

The first Altos were built as research prototypes. By the fall of 1976 PARC’s research was far enough along that a Xerox product group started to design products based on their prototypes. Ultimately ~1500 were built and deployed throughout the Xerox Corporation, as well as at universities and other sites. The Alto was never sold as a product but its legacy served as inspiration for the future.

With the permission of the Palo Alto Research Center, the Computer History Museum is pleased to make available, for non-commercial use only, snapshots of Alto source code, executables, documentation, font files, and other files from 1975 to 1987. The files are organized by the original server on which they resided at PARC that correspond to files that were restored from archive tapes. An interesting look at retro-future.

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The Internet

+ - What is Fair Use in the Digital Age?

Hugh Pickens writes: "Rick Cotton, general counsel of NBC, and Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law school, continue their debate about copyright issues and technology on Saul Hansell's blog at the New York Times discussing Fair Use of commercial music and video as the raw materials for new creations. Cotton says that content protection on the broadband internet is really not a debate about fair use The fact that users can "take three or four movies and splice together their favorite action scenes and post them online does not mean that these uses are fair. There needs to be something more — something that truly injects some degree of original contribution from the maker other than just the assembly of unchanged copies of different copyrighted works." Wu's position is that "it is time to recognize a simpler principle for fair use: work that adds to the value of the original, as opposed to substituting for the original, is fair use. This simple concept would bring much clarity to the problems of secondary authorship on the web." This is a continuation of the previous discussion on copy protection."
The Military

+ - SPAM: President exempts Navy from environmental law

coondoggie writes: "In a highly controversial case, the US Navy played its trump card today as the President issued an order exempting the service from environmental laws and granted it permission to use sonar in training operations off the coast of California. At issue was the need to protect whales and dolphins from mid-frequency active sonar that could harm them, experts said. [spam URL stripped]"
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Privacy

+ - Is Adobe spying on CS3 users?-> 2 2

henrypijames writes: For months, users of Adobe Creative Suite 3 have been wondering why some of the applications regularly connect to 192.168.112.2o7.net which looks a lot like a private IP address but is actually a public domain address belonging to the web analytics company Omniture. Now allegations of user spying are getting louder, prompting Adobe Photoshop product manager John Nack to respond, though many remain unsatisfied with his explanation.
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Netscape

+ - AOL to discontinue Netscape browser-> 1 1

christian.einfeldt writes: "According to TechCrunch, AOL will announce today, 28 December 2007, that it will discontinue the Netscape browser, currently on version 9, on on 1 February 2008. AOL acquired Netscape in November 1998 for $4.2 billion, and subsesquently released the source code for the browser in March, 1998. That code base went on to become the Mozilla browser, which in turn became Firefox, one of greatest challenges to Microsoft's dominance on the desktop. Some have suggested that a moment of silence might be appropriate; while others are saying that it would be better to celebrate Firefox's continued growth by suggesting that Windows-using friends to switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox."
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Businesses

+ - Barnes & Noble Too Swamped To Answer Mail

gbulmash writes: "On December 23rd, Greg Bulmash received a notice from Barnes & Noble that his order was ready to ship. Only one problem... it already arrived three days earlier. Wanting to head off a possible duplicate, he e-mailed their customer service department. Three days later, they replied that they were too busy to reply. Huh?"
Social Networks

+ - Facebook crushes applications->

hey writes: When Facebook opened up their API, lots of people raced out to make applications. Me and others made apps to organize your fiends into groups — eg: cliques, circle of friends, groups (sorry links only work for logged in Facebook users) But now this week, Facebook added that functionality to the core friend page. Sounds much like monopolist Microsoft cutting off Netscape's air supply.
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