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Music

Submission + - WTO Rules on Internet Gambling Case

doggod writes: "The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/feedarticle?id=7171143 reports today that the WTO has finally ruled on Antigua's complaint about the US unfair trade practices relating to its passage last year of a law that forbids banks from handling money to and from on-line casinos.

The amount they awarded is significantly less than Antigua asked for, but still, since they awarded anything all, one wonders how this is going to work. If you download a copyrighted song from a server in Antigua, will that be an ironclad defense that will make you invulnerable to future attacks from the RIAA?"
Software

Submission + - Finding an OSS project that needs help?

KlaymenDK writes: My father has been thinking about retiring from the (lumbering behemoth of a) company he's been working at, and I've teased him by saying that he can always find an open source project that needs his kind of skills.
A few days ago he actually did retire (well, was retired) but he's got plenty of energy left in him, and also more than 35 years of IT experience. So how, specifically, would one go about determining the best project to dedicate one's effort to?

He's a civil engineer, has done a ton of wizardy mainframe programming "back in the day", and has spent the last 15-20 years doing product presentations and educating the sales force about the technical side of the product lines. He's an avid promoter of "green" technology (that is, energy-efficiency and recyclability), and has never been afraid to go against management if he had a better plan. However, he's not entirely up to speed on the open source movement and free operating systems, though I do my best to educate him.

I'm sure he would make an excellent spokesperson for the OpenMoko, except they don't have any openings. So where else could you suggest, where would you start looking?
Space

Submission + - Universe running out of time (telegraph.co.uk)

RenHoek writes: With heat death, the big crunch and quite a few other nasty ways in which the universe could see its demise, we can now add "running out of time" to the list. A team of scientists came up with a new theory that would solve the problem of the elusive dark energy that seems to be accelerating the expansion of the universe. They figure that the universe is not speeding up but we are, in relation to the outer regions of space, slowing down. Tests with the upcoming Large Hadron Collider will give more insight if we're going to end up frozen in time.
Education

Submission + - Linux Distribution To Appear On 180,000 desktops (ubuntu.com) 1

mojo writes: The Republic of Macedonia Ministry of Education and Science will deploy more than 180,000 workstations running Canonical's Edubuntu 7.04 as part of its "Computer for Every Child" project. The Republic of Macedonia "Computer for Every Child" project is one of the largest known thin client and desktop Linux eployments ever undertaken.
Microsoft

Submission + - $100 laptop hits choppy waters in Nigeria (bbc.co.uk)

00_NOP writes: The $100 laptop project seems to be running into difficulty in Nigeria where, on the one hand the education minister says: "What is the sense of introducing One Laptop per Child when they don't have seats to sit down and learn; when they don't have uniforms to go to school in, where they don't have facilities?" and yet is also revealed to be examining alternatives from Microsoft and Intel, well known for their dislike of the project.
The BBC's report also has some video from Nicholas Negroponte.
Clearly both companies see the little green box as a big threat — either because of its use of Linux or it's use of AMD hardware. With deep pockets maybe they'll be offering the Nigerians some sweeteners to look at the alternatives?

Government

Submission + - Norway mandates government use of ODF and PDF

siDDis writes: Earlier this year Slashdot mentioned that Norway moves towards mandatory use of ODF and PDF. Now it's confirmed that the Norwegian government has mandated the use of open document formats from January 1st, 2009.

There are three formats that have been mandated for all documentation between authorities, users and partners. HTML for all public information on the Web, PDF for all documents where layout needs to be preserved and ODF for all documents that the recipient is supposed to be able to edit. Documents may also be published in other formats, but they must always be available in either ODF or PDF.
Toys

Submission + - 300-MPG Jetsons Car for $30K by End of '08 (popularmechanics.com)

An anonymous reader writes: You may have heard some of the hype last month when California-based Aptera let out first word of its allegedly super fuel-efficient (and cheap) Typ-1 electric vehicle. Well this video test drive and gee-whiz specs breakdown proves that this thing is for real: 120 miles on a single lithium-phosphate pack charge for 2008, with a 300-mpg model to follow by 2009. Aptera is also mentioned in Wired's new cover story as one of several early front-runners for the Automotive X Prize.
Microsoft

Submission + - Samba Team Receives Microsoft Protocol Documentati (samba.org)

Jeremy Allison - Sam writes: "Samba Team Receives Microsoft Protocol Documentation
                        —

December 20th 2007. Today the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation
(PFIF), a non-profit organization created by the Software Freedom Law
Center, signed an agreement with Microsoft to receive the protocol
documentation needed to fully interoperate with the Microsoft Windows
workgroup server products and to make them available to Free Software
projects such as Samba.

Microsoft was required to make this information available to
competitors as part of the European Commission March 24th 2004
Decision in the antitrust lawsuit, after losing their appeal against
that decision on September 17th 2007.

Andrew Tridgell, creator of Samba, said, "We are very pleased to be
able to get access to the technical information necessary to continue
to develop Samba as a Free Software project. Although we were
disappointed the decision did not address the issue of patent claims
over the protocols, it was a great achievement for the European
Commission and for enforcement of antitrust laws in Europe. The
agreement allows us to keep Samba up to date with recent changes in
Microsoft Windows, and also helps other Free Software projects that
need to interoperate with Windows".

Jeremy Allison, co-creator of Samba said, "Andrew did a superb job in
negotiating the agreement with Microsoft. We will be able to use the
information obtained to continue to develop Samba and create more Free
Software. We are hoping to get back to the productive relationship we
had with Microsoft during the early 1990's when we shared information
about these protocols. The agreement also clarifies the exact patent
numbers concerned so there is no possibility of misunderstandings
around this issue."

Volker Lendecke, head of the Samba Team in Europe said, "I am very
pleased to see that the European Commission acknowledged Free Software
as a valid competitor in the IT industry and that the License
conditions on the protocol information offered to the Free Software
world are indeed compatible with the GPL. This is much better than
what we have seen in similar cases in other countries and the
Commission has done a great job to push the case to this point."

Compatible with Free Software


After paying Microsoft a one-time sum of 10,000 Euros, the PFIF will
make available to the Samba Team under non-disclosure terms the
documentation needed for implementation of all of the workgroup server
protocols covered by the EU decision.

Although the documentation itself will be held in confidence by the
PFIF and Samba Team engineers, the agreement allows the publication of
the source code of the implementation of these protocols without any
further restrictions. This is fully compatible with versions two and
three of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Samba is published
under the GNU GPL which is the most widely used of all Free Software
licenses. In addition it allows discussion of the protocol information
amongst implementers which will aid technical cooperation between
engineers.

Under the agreement, Microsoft is required to make available and keep
current a list of patent numbers it believes are related to the
Microsoft implementation of the workgroup server protocols, without
granting an implicit patent license to any Free Software
implementation.

No per-copy royalties are required from the PFIF, Samba developers,
third party vendors or users and no acknowledgement of any patent
infringement by Free Software implementations is expressed or implied
in the agreement.

The patent list provides us with a bounded set of work needed to
ensure non-infringement of Samba and other Free Software projects
that implement the protocols documented by Microsoft under this
agreement. Any patents outside this list cannot be asserted by
Microsoft against any implementation developed using the supplied
documentation. Unlike the highly dubious patent covenants recently
announced by some companies this warranty extends to all third
parties. Also unlike past agreements, this agreement has been
carefully scrutinized by the Software Freedom Law Center, the premier
legal experts for the GPL and Free Software.

Microsoft must keep the documentation up to date with new products and
provide error correction assistance to parties signing the
agreement. Disputes will be resolved by the Trustee appointed by the
Commission as part of the court decision.

The Samba Team would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Carlo
Piana from the Free Software Foundation Europe and Eben Moglen of the
Software Freedom Law Center, who have been our legal representation on
this case. They have provided world-class legal services for many
years and we are sincerely grateful.

The Samba Team.
20th December 2007.

Contact: press@samba.org

Samba Web site: http://www.samba.org/

For more information on the agreement see:

http://samba.org/samba/PFIF/

An article on the history of the case:

http://samba.org/samba/PFIF/PFIF_history.html

An article explaining some details of the agreement:

http://samba.org/samba/PFIF/PFIF_agreement.html

The Protocol Freedom Information Foundation Web site:

http://www.protocolfreedom.org/

The PFIF agreement text:

http://samba.org/samba/PFIF/PFIF_agreement.pdf"

Displays

Submission + - The Screens Of The Future (transparent OLED) (funniez.net)

indigor writes: First flat screen technology was Liquid Crystal Display technology (LCD), then plasma, then Surface-conduction Electron-emitter (SED) and now Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED). Scientists at the Fraunhofer succeeded in constructing transparent OLED displays. They used light-emitting polymers. When Fraunhofer Institute made them transparent they have opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Now it is possible to make display panels in laminated glass.
Space

Submission + - Active glacier found on Mars (bbc.co.uk) 1

FireFury03 writes: "The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has spotted an icy feature which appears to be a young active glacier. Dr Gerhard Neukum (what a cool name :), chief scientist on the spacecraft's High Resolution Stereo Camera said "We have not yet been able to see the spectral signature of water. But we will fly over it in the coming months and take measurements. On the glacial ridges we can see white tips, which can only be freshly exposed ice". Estimates place the glacier at 10,000 — 100,000 years old."
Space

Submission + - BBC reports an active glacier is found on Mars

ddelmonte writes: "Showing an image from the High Resolution Stereo Camera aboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft, a new image shows a perspective view of a possible glacial feature located in Deuteronilus Mensae. The full story including quotes from the ESA scientists is here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7151190.stm"
Government

Submission + - Norwegian government requires ODF (regjeringen.no)

ringe writes: "Today, the Norwegian govermnent made public their decision to require the use of open standards in all governmental institutions. From the press release: "The government has decided all information on public websites must be released in the open document formats HTML, PDF or ODF. The time where public documents from officials where released in the Microsft Word format only will end with this [decision]." The news is covered in local publications. All links are Norwegian. The press release goes on to say:
  • HTML will be the primary format for the release of public information on the Internet.
  • PDF (1.4 or newer or PDF/A — ISO 19005-1) is obligatory in cases where one wants to preserve the original presentation of a document.
  • ODF (ISO/IEC 26300) will be used to release documents which should be modifiable after download, for instance schemas to fill in by the user.
The decision will be effective by the 1st of January 2009."

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