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Software

Submission + - DJB releases qmail to the public domain (cr.yp.to)

fade writes: "In a post on the qmail website, Daniel J. Bernstein released the second most popular mail transport agent on the internet to the public domain... a complete 180 from the license he has used for qmail since it's inception. This means that 'free as in speech' distros can pull qmail out of the doghouse of restricted repositories and bizarre binary source-only metabuilders. Good news for admins that braved licensing insanity because qmail is possibly the single most finished (feature complete, bug free) and performant mailer available."
Space

Submission + - the largest non-commercial rocket launch in Europe

jaweekes writes: The TV program "Top Gear" recently launched the "largest non-commercial rocket launch in European history" in the form of a rocket-propelled Reliant Robin. From the article http://www.bbc.co.uk/topgear/show/production_notes /shuttle.shtml "What could possibly be so difficult about building a space shuttle? Quite a lot, as it turns out. This was easily Top Gear's most ambitious film and, while everything didn't go quite according to plan, we're still very proud of the results. Here are just a few of the things that happened when we tried to put an ageing three-wheeler into space."
Graphics

Submission + - Consumers pledge to support open graphics drivers

the Hewster writes: "A pledge has been setup at pledgebank.com to let the Free Software and Open Source community show that they are ready to vote with their wallet and support graphics cards manufacturers with open graphics drivers.
To add incentive to either nVidia or ATI to open up their drivers, the pledge is to support the first of the two to open their drivers over the next 5 years. Disclaimer: I am the author of the pledge."
Announcements

Submission + - New Zealand fishermen catch rare squid

laejoh writes: A fishing crew has caught a colossal squid that could weigh a half-ton and prove to be the biggest specimen ever landed, a fisheries official said Thursday.

Colossal squid, known by the scientific name Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are estimated to grow up to 46 feet long and have long been one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep ocean.
Announcements

Submission + - 67 Kilowatt Laser Unveiled

s31523 writes: "We all remember the scene from the movie Real Genius where the nerdy guys get a laser to fire which burns a hole through everything for miles. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California has announced they have a Solid State Heat Capacity Laser (SSHCL) that averages 67kW working in their lab. Developed for the military, Dr. Yamamoto claims this to be a record and is quoted as saying, "I know of no other solid state laser that has achieved 67kW of average output power". The potential uses for this bad boy go well beyond turning a professor's house into Jiffy Pop. Here is what a 40w laser can do, now imagine 67000 watts. Although many lasers have peaked at higher capacities, getting the average sustained power to remain high seems to be the tricky part."
United States

Submission + - why do US citizens pay income taxes?

An anonymous reader writes: Why do US citizens pay income taxes?
There must be a law that requires them to do it, right?

Well, it seems it is not the case [google video].

The Constitution specifically forbids any direct tax on wages and salaries, and the Supreme Courts consistently ruled in the same way.
Not a single dollar of income taxes is used, as widely believed, to offer and sustain public services.

It was an interesting video to watch, and btw I am not an US citizen, have no affiliation with any of the authors or organizations cited or whatever.
Space

Submission + - New Software Stops Mars Rover Confusion

MattSparkes writes: "The Mars rover Spirit used to get quite confused when it came upon a rock. Because it could only plan routes of a metre or two it couldn't understand how to navigate around large objects, and frequently used to rock back and forth for hours trying to figure it out. NASA have written new software called D* for the rover Opportunity, which should allow it to autonomously plan routes up to 50 metres long. The new software still won't be able to avoid sand-traps though."
Google

Submission + - Google to charge for web apps

zakkie writes: "According to BBC News, Google is to start charging businesses for guaranteed availability and more features in the web apps like Gmail. The article suggests the timing is bad for Microsoft and their release of Office 2007, and is a "shot across their bows"."
Operating Systems

Submission + - South Africa to switch to open source

Tech writes: The Mail & Guardian is reporting that the South African government has approved a policy and strategy to implement free and open source software in government departments. A project office will be set up by April to ensure smooth implementation of Foss throughout the country.
Space

Submission + - Two novae at dawn

Auke Slotegraaf writes: "Earlier in February, a nova erupted in Scorpius, and then flared up to naked-eye brightness. It is still (Feb 22) visible, and can be seen in the morning sky before sunrise. Then on the 19th, a second nova erupted, just 3 degrees away from the first! It is currently visible in binoculars. It is still unclear how bright the second one may become, but chances are we will have TWO naked-eye novae a cosmic hair's breadth apart! A finder chart of the two novae is at http://www.psychohistorian.org/astronomy/news/2007 0222-v1281-scorpii.html"
Upgrades

Submission + - ESR had enough with Fedora, moved to Ubuntu

sufehmi writes: "After almost losing his data because of a minor update from Fedora, ESR finally call it quits. In his posting on fedora-devel@, he lambasted on the purist attitude of the Fedora project, while losing touch with the reality.

I've moved away from Fedora once I realized that security updates are not going very well for older versions, endangering my computers; especially after the Fedora legacy project folded up.

Personally, I think it's possible to find a middle-path; where a Linux distro is both free (as in freedom) and Just Works (tm) for your average John Doe."

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