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Software

2008 - Year of Linux Desktop? 659

rstrohmeyer writes "Over at Maximum PC, we're betting that Linux will pick up unprecedented momentum in the coming year. With phenomenal new distros, swelling international support, and a little extra momentum from Dell, we think Linux is poised to exploit the current atmosphere of doubt surrounding Vista and pick up serious traction in '08. 'For end users here in North America, Linux poses a low barrier to entry. While many still balk at an upgrade to Vista (typically centered around cost and restrictive licensing terms), those who are curious about the open-source alternative will find few of these obstacles. And an increasingly rich array of ready-to-run software (not to mention surprisingly effective utilities that let you run many Windows apps) makes it easy switch ... Ultimately, I'm not predicting that Linux will take over the market next year. Or anytime soon, for that matter. But if there's ever been a time to try out the world's leading free OS, 2008 will be that time. I am predicting that users will switch to Linux in record numbers next year. And many will never look back.'"
Communications

Submission + - 2nd Open Discussion Day this May 19th

Ploum writes: "Like announced by Peter Saint-Andre, president of the Jabber Software Fundation, May 19th will be the 2nd Open Discussion Day. For one day, participants will use only open protocols (like SIP, Jabber, Google Talk) and refuse to send or receive files in a closed format.

Warn your contacts on your closed networks or, better, help them to create a open account on an open network and enjoy the openness.

The first Open Discussion Day was held in 2006 and was a success. Popular Jabber servers like amessage.de or fritalk.com closed their MSN/ICQ/AOL gateways for one day. The announcement was translated in more than 10 languages and it was reported that a lot of users definitively dropped MSN/ICQ/AOL to use Jabber."
Google

Tax Accounting Evil at Google? 261

theodp writes "In its annual report, Google said it's done no tax-accounting evil, but the search giant acknowledged that both the IRS and SEC are taking a look at the way in which it accounts for income tax. Google is one of a number of U.S. companies that have come under fire for allegedly practicing 'profit laundering', i.e., moving book profits offshore to evade millions and even billions in taxes to the country where it really operates. In past SEC filings, Google has credited its Irish subsidiary for reducing its effective tax rate."
Music

RIAA Arrests Pro Artist for Making Mixtapes 426

Maximum Prophet writes "The RIAA is now going after mixtapes; specifically, the well-known mixtapes of rap artist DJ Drama. From the article: 'On Tuesday night he was arrested with Don Cannon, a protégé. The police, working with the Recording Industry Association of America, raided his office, at 147 Walker Street in Atlanta. The association makes no distinction between counterfeit CDs and unlicensed compilations like those that DJ Drama is known for.' The story goes on to say that many of the artists featured on the mixtapes would never have had the exposure and thus sales they had if DJ Drama had not featured them on a mix. Nowhere is a specific artist mentioned who claims to have been wronged by him. Additionally, the article states that mixtapes such as those made by DJ Drama are an accepted and integral part of rap music culture. His arrest is confusing on several levels."
United States

Feds Check Credit Reports Without a Subpoena 290

An anonymous reader points out that, by using National Security Letters, the FBI and other agencies can legally pull your credit report. The letters have been used by the FBI (mostly) but in some cases by the CIA and Defense Department. From the article: "'These statutory tools may provide key leads for counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations,' Whitman said. 'Because these are requests for information rather than court orders, a DOD request under the NSL statutes cannot be compelled absent court involvement.'" Recipients of the letters, banks and credit bureaus, usually hand over the requested information voluntarily. A posting at tothecenter.com quotes the Vice President on the use of the letters: "It's perfectly legitimate activity. There's nothing wrong or illegal with it. It doesn't violate people's civil rights... The Defense Department gets involved because we've got hundreds of bases inside the United States that are potential terrorist targets."
Science

2006 Was the Warmest Year Ever 782

kpw10 writes "Dr. Jeff Masters from Wunderground has a great summary of this year's rather abnormal weather (his blog is the best source on the net for in-depth weather analysis). The post discusses some of the cyclical climate forces at work this year and compares this year's record temperatures to records from the past. There are some interesting differences, particularly in the extent of the northern hemisphere seeing record highs this year." From the article: "December's weather in the Northeast U.S. may have been a case of the weather dice coming up thirteen — weather not seen on the planet since before the Ice Age began, 118,000 years ago. The weather dice will start rolling an increasing number of thirteens in coming years, and an ice-free Arctic Ocean in summertime by 2040 is a very real possibility..." Here is the The National Climatic Data Center's report announcing the entry of 2006 into the record books.

Why Ballmer Should Leave Microsoft 341

An anonymous reader writes "In the wake of the announcement of Bill Gates' departure from the top spot at Microsoft, CNN Money is carrying an article arguing that Steve Ballmer should step down as well." From the article: "Since Gates stepped down as CEO in 2000 in favor of Ballmer, the company has floundered technically and strategically. As the company's chairman, chief software architect and supposed visionary, Gates deserves blame for missing the wave of Web-based software that has propelled Google and Yahoo. But Ballmer has made gaffes of his own in his longtime role as head of the company's business side. They include an undistinguished push into business applications to compete with Oracle, financial maneuvers that have failed to stir the stock - which has slumped 16 percent so far this year - and continuing antitrust problems in the United States and Europe."

Duke Nukem Forever Due This Year? 251

nz17 writes "Under the original deal, 3D Realms was to receive some $6 million from Take-Two to develop the title. Now the Texas-based developer will receive only $4,250 for the oft-delayed game when it is completed. Just the same, 3D Realms has a fairly large incentive to get Duke Nukem Forever done by the end of the year; Take-Two has offered the studio $500,000 in the form of a promissory note if the game sees commercial release by December 31, 2006."

Working Model of MIT $100 Laptop a Hit 440

capt turnpike writes "The One Laptop per Child association and its chairman, MIT Media Labs's Nicholas Negroponte, unvelied a working model of their $100 laptop at the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX) show, and the little laptop that might was a hit. It's got a version of Fedora Linux, is rugged, and each unit will work as part of a wireless mesh automatically. From the article: "However, as Negroponte put it in his address, One Laptop per Child isn't all about the laptops. The main goal is to tap into the ability of every child to toss away a manual and figure out how to make gadgets work on their own, thus helping children help themselves to learn." eWEEK.com also has photos."

Windows Vista Beta 2 Available for Download 444

prostoalex writes "Microsoft Windows Vista Beta 2 is now available for download from Microsoft's official site. If you remember seeing reviews of it already, Microsoft made downloads available to a limited set of customers last month. For PC users that are already running Windows Vista Beta 2, Microsoft put together a list of additional downloads like product guide and feature lists."

Windows Servers Beat Linux Servers 709

RobbeR49 writes "Windows Server 2003 was recently compared against Linux and Unix variants in a survey by the Yankee Group, with Windows having a higher annual uptime than Linux. Unix was the big winner, however, beating both Windows and Linux in annual uptime. From the article: 'Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Linux distributions from "niche" open source vendors, are offline more and longer than either Windows or Unix competitors, the survey said. The reason: the scarcity of Linux and open source documentation.' Yankee Group is claiming no bias in the survey as they were not sponsored by any particular OS vendor."

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