silentcoder writes: Lucasfilm has sent a cease and desist letter to the poducers of a powerful hand-held laser device meant primarily for industrial work claiming it resembles the lightsabers from the copyrighted Star Wars films too much. The manufactuers, Hong-Kong based Wicked Lasers, deny any correlation between their product and the lightsabers in the films. An interesting side question arises however: can a company owning the idea for a fictional technology later prevent somebody from creating a real product even if is directly inspired ? Would Steven Spielberg be able to stop anybody from making a time-machine in an automobile? Will Lucasfilm be going after the Martin Aircraft Company next because Boba Fett had a jetpack ?
silentcoder writes: Scientists at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa today announced the discover of a previously unknown species of dinosaur. The new species was named Aardonyx Celestae from the Afrikaans word for "earth" and the Greek for claw,. Earthclaw which is particularly interesting as it provides a crucial link between the early dinosaurs and the later giant Sauropods was discovered during a routine dig on a farm the northern FreeState (South-Africa's most central province). Two other species were discovered on the same site, but their announcement will only happen later after further laboratory testing has been done.
silentcoder writes: "With their first public release just days away, the kongoni project a GNU/Linux distribution originated in Africa and designed to be a fully-free desktop-friendly system on a BSD-like architecture lead developer A.J. Venter has released a full set of screenshots showing the "baseline" release in action. The baseline is intended to provide common platform for the further development of the system and as such represents a new approach to the development of a community distribution. It allows all potential contributors to work on a common installable platform without huge investments in server and bandwidth infrastructure.
The official release anouncement is expected within days."
silentcoder writes: "The KDE project announced the first major update to KDE4.1 today. Version 4.1.1's changelog is largely focussed on performance improvements and bugfixes. The desktop shell, plasma, had numerous improvements in this regard which should be the most immediately user-visible.
With each KDE4 release the project seems to be edging closer to true next-generation desktop that was promised and despite the initial 4.0 controversy is becoming ever more widely adoptable. The particular focus on performance improvements are especially telling of a renewed commitment to giving users what they want."
silentcoder writes: "Groklaw picked up the story that OOXML documents created with Office 2007 do not actually conform to the OOXML standard as it was approved for ISO 29500. After a much criticized voting process, extensively discussed on/. and elsewhere one major point seems to have been overlooked by the ISO members: the fast track process is only for standards that are already implemented. Since Office 2007 is not in fact capable of creating OOXML documents that conform to the published standard where is this implementation ? Much more details on the nature of the failures, who did the tests and it's further meaning for the industry (right back to square one: playing catch-up forever) in the article."