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PC Mag Slams Cheap Wal-Mart Linux Desktop 671

An anonymous reader writes "PC Magazine reviews the $200 Linux desktop wonder sold by Wal-Mart. This desktop sold out quickly and has been cited as proof that consumers are tired of the Windows tax and ready for Linux. Not so according to PC Magazine, which gave the gPC a 1.5 star rating." Previous discussions we've had about system reviews were realistic but not quite so harsh; is this just nitpicking or is the 'shiny' starting to wear off of the cheap Linux PC concept?
Networking

Google Caught in Comcast Traffic Filtering? 385

marcan writes "Comcast users are reporting 'connection reset' errors while loading Google. The problem seems to have been coming and going over the past few days, and often disappears only to return a few minutes later. Apparently the problem only affects some of Google's IPs and services. Analysis of the PCAP packet dumps reveals several injected fake RSTs, which are very similar to the ones seen coming from the Great Firewall of China [PDF]. Did Google somehow get caught up in one of Comcast's blacklists, or are the heuristics flagging Google as a file-sharer due to the heavy traffic?"
Debian

Canonical Begins To Open-Source Launchpad 65

kripkenstein writes "Canonical, the corporation behind Ubuntu, has begun to open-source Launchpad. Canonical has been criticized for not doing so earlier. The first component of Launchpad to be open-sourced is Storm, described as an 'object-relational mapper for Python.' A tutorial with many examples is available. The license for Storm is the LGPL 2.1. Inspection of the source files shows they contain the common phrase, 'either version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version,' meaning that Storm is LGPLv3-compatible."
Software

FCC Rules Open Source Code Is Less Secure 365

An anonymous reader writes "A new federal rule set to take effect Friday could mean that software radios built on 'open-source elements' may have trouble getting to market. Some US regulators have apparently come to the conclusion that, by nature, open source software is less secure than closed source. 'By effectively siding with what is known in cryptography circles as "security through obscurity," the controversial idea that keeping security methods secret makes them more impenetrable, the FCC has drawn an outcry from the software radio set and raised eyebrows among some security experts. "There is no reason why regulators should discourage open-source approaches that may in the end be more secure, cheaper, more interoperable, easier to standardize, and easier to certify," Bernard Eydt, chairman of the security committee for a global industry association called the SDR (software-defined radio) Forum, said in an e-mail interview this week.'"
Music

The SoundExchange Billion Dollar Administrative Fee 127

palewook writes "On June 7th, Yahoo, RealNetworks, Pandora, and Live365 sent letters to US lawmakers emphasizing they owe SoundExchange 'administrative fees' of more than $1 billion dollars a year. These fees would be paid for the 'privilege' of collecting the increased CRB royalties effective July 15th, unless the Internet Radio Equality Act passes Congress. SoundExchange, the non-profit music industry entity, admits the levied charge of $500 per 'channel' is supposed to only cover their administrative costs. Last year, SoundExchange collected a total of $20 million dollars from the Internet radio industry. Under the new 'administrative fee' RealNetworks, which hosted 400,000 unique subscribed channels in 2006, would owe an annual administrative charge of 200 million dollars in addition to the retroactive 2006 rate hike per song played."

GNU Coughs Up Emacs 22 After Six Year Wait 500

lisah writes "After keeping users waiting for nearly six years, Emacs 22 has been released and includes a bunch of updates and some new modes as well. In addition to support for GTK+ and a graphical interface to the GNU Debugger, 'this release includes build support for Linux on AMD64, S/390, and Tensilica Xtensa machines, FreeBSD/Alpha, Cygwin, Mac OS X, and Mac OS 9 with Carbon support. The Leim package is now part of GNU Emacs, so users will be able to get input support for Chinese, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, and other languages without downloading a separate package. New translations of the Emacs tutorial are also available in Brasilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, simplified and traditional Chinese, Italian, French, and Russian.'"
Microsoft

Microsoft Details FOSS Patent Breaches 576

CptRevelation writes "Microsoft has released more detailed information on the patents supposedly in breach by the open-source community. Despite their accusations of infringement, they state they would rather do licensing deals instead of any legal action. 'Open-source programs step on 235 Microsoft patents, the company said. Free Linux software violates 42 patents. Graphical user interfaces, the way menus and windows look on the screen, breach 65. E-mail programs step on 15, and other programs touch 68 other patents, the company said. The patent figures were first reported by Fortune magazine. Microsoft also said Open Office, an open-source program supported in part by Sun Microsystems Inc., infringes on 45 patents. Sun declined to comment on the allegation.'"
Space

Astronomers Again Baffled by Solar Observations 299

SteakNShake writes "Once again professional astronomers are struggling to understand observations of the sun. ScienceDaily reports that a team from Saint Andrew's University announced that the sun's magnetic fields dominate the behavior of the corona via a mechanism dubbed the 'solar skeleton.' Computer models continue to be built to mimic the observed behavior of the sun in terms of magnetic fields but apparently the ball is still being dropped; no mention in the announcement is made of the electric fields that must be the cause of the observed magnetic fields. Also conspicuously absent from the press releases is the conclusion that the sun's corona is so-dominated by electric and magnetic fields because it is a plasma. In light of past and present research revealing the electrical nature of the universe, this kind of crippling ignorance among professional astrophysicists is astonishing."
Software

AACS Vows to Fight Bloggers 601

Jonas Wisser writes "The BBC is carrying the story that AACS has promised to take action against those who have posted the AACS crack online. Michael Ayers, chairperson of AACS, noted that the cracked key has now been revoked, and went on to say, 'Some people clearly think it's a First Amendment issue. There is no intent from us to interfere with people's right to discuss copy protection. We respect free speech.' The AACS website tells consumers how they can 'continue to enjoy content protected by AACS' by 'refreshing the encryption keys associated with their HD DVD and Blu-ray software players.'"
Music

RIAA Claims Ownership of All Artist Royalties For Internet Radio 458

ISurfTooMuch writes "With the furor over the impending rate hike for Internet radio stations, wouldn't a good solution be for streaming internet stations to simply not play RIAA-affiliated labels' music and focus on independent artists? Sounds good, except that the RIAA's affiliate organization SoundExchange claims it has the right to collect royalties for any artist, no matter if they have signed with an RIAA label or not. 'SoundExchange (the RIAA) considers any digital performance of a song as falling under their compulsory license. If any artist records a song, SoundExchange has the right to collect royalties for its performance on Internet radio. Artists can offer to download their music for free, but they cannot offer their songs to Internet radio for free ... So how it works is that SoundExchange collects money through compulsory royalties from Webcasters and holds onto the money. If a label or artist wants their share of the money, they must become a member of SoundExchange and pay a fee to collect their royalties.'"
Caldera

SCO Given NASDAQ Delisting Notice 116

SCO Delenda Est writes "The SEC has given SCO notice that they will be delisted from the NASDAQ if they cannot keep their share price above $1 sometime in the next 180 days. Although they may be able to avoid delisting for a while, their small market capitalization will hinder their efforts. Given their other financials, this just goes to show how desperate their current financial situation is."
Education

Princeton ESP Lab to Close 363

Nico M writes " The New York Times reports on the imminent closure of one of the most controversial research units at an ivy league School. The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory is due to close, but not because of pressure from the outside. Lab founder Robert G. Jahn has declared, in the article, that they've essentially collected all the data they're going to. The laboratory has conducted studies on extrasensory perception and telekinesis from its cramped quarters in the basement of the university's engineering building since 1979. Its equipment is aging, its finances dwindling. Jahn points the finger at detractors as well: 'If people don't believe us after all the results we've produced, then they never will.'"
Windows

First Vista Service Pack Due Second Half of 2007 137

HuckleCom tipped us to an article on the Dark Reading site, stating that plans are already in the works for the first Windows Vista service pack. The pack is slated for release sometime in late 2007, and will target security improvements and Quality of Life issues that may spring up between January and the pack's release date. Microsoft is already looking for volunteers to help them test it. According to the email sent to Technology Adoption Program members, in order to get in on the ground floor IT shops will have to 'deploy pre-release builds into production environments and report back on the results.' As the article observes, Microsoft may be asking for a lot from their customers. Candidate releases of XP service packs had extremely deleterious effects when initially rolled out. There is no firm word for when in the year this pack will be released.
Operating Systems

Mac OS X Versus Windows Vista 697

An anonymous reader writes "With Macworld set to start Jan. 8, InformationWeek has a detailed comparison that pits Mac OS X against Vista. According to reviewer John Welch, OS X wins hands down. The important point: he doesn't say Vista is bad, just that technically speaking, OS X remains way ahead. Do you agree?"
Portables (Games)

2007 the Best Year Yet For PSP & DS 158

ElFozzie writes "From a handheld perspective, Pocket Gamer has posted a couple of features offering a positive viewpoint on the reasons why both PSP and DS might have a very happy new year. Tellingly, whilst the PSP piece focuses on a range of new potential developments from new peripherals and downloadable video content to price drops and even a new version of the handheld system, the DS article simply highlights 10 top games titles due to hit the streets in the next 12 months. On one level this could be argued as a reflection of the divergent strategies of the two devices and companies, with Sony trying to establish all-singing, all-dancing, all movie-music-and-gaming 'entertainment platforms', whereas Nintendo have focused solidly upon one core area. However a simpler argument would suggest it's merely underlining why Nintendo has raced ahead this year and the lesson Sony are going to have to learn if they are to have any chance of a truly prosperous 2007 — "It's about the games stupid!""

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