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Linux Business

Submission + - Linux installfests maturing? (blogspot.com)

christian.einfeldt writes: "Linux installfests apparently are expanding from an emphasis on serving individual users to mass network installs serving non-profits and schools. In the past, installfests have often been held as part of Linux User Group meetings, and involved individual new computer users bringing their computers to a small meeting to have Linux installed on their machines. But now there is an apparent trend visible in Linux installfests toward mass network installs supported by greater corporate or municipal involvement in Linux installfests. In many cases, the newly-installed Linux computers are being given to end user institutions such as schools. For example, a recent installfest in Austin, Texas, was put on by two non-profits and was supported by the personal participation of upper management at AMD and nFusion. The majority of the eighty-three machines were PXE-booted and mass-installed at that event over an ad hoc network. Likewise, at last year's LinuxWorld expo in San Francisco, 350 Linux computers were mass-installed over a similar PXE network in a mass installfest put on in a partnership between the non-profit Alameda County Computer Resource Center and the for-profit Untangle and IDG firms. The machines were donated to San Francisco Bay Area schools. Similar installfests have been held in Chile and India, to name just a few."

Comic Artist Detained For Script Containing 9/11 Type Scenarios Screenshot-sm 441

Comics writer Mark Sable was detained by security at Los Angeles International Airport because he was carrying a script for a new issue of his comic miniseries, Unthinkable. Unthinkable follows members of a government think tank that was tasked with coming up with 9/11-type "unthinkable" terrorist scenarios that now are coming true. Sable wrote about his experience saying, "...I was flagged at the gate for 'extra screening.' I was subjected to not one, but two invasive searches of my person and belongings. TSA agents then 'discovered' the script for Unthinkable #3. They sat and read the script while I stood there, without any personal items, identification or ticket, which had all been confiscated. The minute I saw the faces of the agents, I knew I was in trouble. The first page of the Unthinkable script mentioned 9/11, terror plots, and the fact that the (fictional) world had become a police state. The TSA agents then proceeded to interrogate me, having a hard time understanding that a comic book could be about anything other than superheroes, let alone that anyone actually wrote scripts for comics. I cooperated politely and tried to explain to them the irony of the situation. While Unthinkable blurs the line between fiction and reality, the story is based on a real-life government think tank where a writer was tasked to design worst-case terror scenarios. The fictional story of Unthinkable unfolds when the writer's scenarios come true, and he becomes a suspect in the terrorist attacks." It's too bad that the TSA can't protect us from summer blockbuster movies and not just graphic novels.
Input Devices

Submission + - Health, electronic smoking substitute (guardian.co.uk)

longhairedgnome writes: "From the article: "Health campaigners have called for detailed research to be carried out into the health implications of electronic cigarettes, whose popularity has been boosted by the introduction of the smoking ban last year." Electronic cigarettes, which vaporize liquid nicotine and the breathed into the lungs are becoming more popular, I was wondering about slashdot's experience with them"

Feed Techdirt: Patent Gridlock Harming The Ability To Create Lifesaving Cures (techdirt.com)

I've gotten way behind on my series of posts on intellectual property. I plan to pick it up again shortly. There's a big post I've been working on that I just haven't had the time to complete. However, one of the upcoming posts in the series is going to focus in on the question of pharmaceutical patents. While some claim that the pharma industry is an example where patents actually work effectively, there's plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise. I'll try to highlight much of that evidence, but it looks like Michael Heller is doing some of that already. Heller, the author of The Gridlock Economy, which we recently mentioned has penned a piece for Forbes, where he points out how the rise of patents in the pharma and biotech world is not leading to new cures. In fact, it's actively stifling them, by making it nearly impossible for certain types of research to be done. This is a point Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has also been making for years.

Of course, some will point to some recent medical breakthroughs as evidence to the contrary, but as a New Yorker review of Heller's book points out, it's often much harder to see "foregone opportunities." But, the more you understand the economics of innovation and growth, the more you see how clearly pharma and biotech patents are stifling lifesaving advancements -- and that's not just a huge shame, it's incredibly destructive to human health, dignity and the wider economy.

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Feed Engadget: Mitsubishi's i MiEV electric car to be tested in California (engadget.com)

Mitsubishi's i MiEV electric car has spent some serious time on the streets of Japan, but before long, the fuel-shunning vehicle will be roughin' it here in the US of A. The auto maker is teaming up with Southern California Edison and PG&E in order to see how it fares in LA traffic and how to best integrate it with the power grid. As of now, the whips should be cruising down the carpool lanes in Q4, though a few modifications may be needed in order to comply with US laws. Plans are to test the i MiEV for three solid years, and hopefully the $30,000 ride will be made available for purchase shortly thereafter (or earlier, if we're fortunate). What now, MINI?

[Via Wired]Read|Permalink|Email this|Comments


Submission + - Graboid - is it legal? 1

byrdfl3w writes: "I am a one-eighth nerd (on my Father's side, my Mother tells me). After trialling the pay-as-you-go media delivery and download software Graboid, and being well impressed with its blazing performance compared to the P2P and streaming apps I normally use, I cannot but help but wonder what legal ground this and other such commercial file sharing start-ups are actually standing upon.

Does the "I'm not hosting it, so I cant be held responsible" solution really hold up when you're making money from providing high speed access to copyrighted material?"

Submission + - Blastwave.org Snuffs Itself Out

Xeleema writes: "As of August 6th, BlastWave.org has effectively snuffed-out their services for the time being. For several years this donation-supported project has been one of the better sites to obtain pre-built packages of Free- and Open-Source applications for Solaris & OpenSolaris. Touting features such as 'pkg-get' (for all you apt-get junkies) over counterparts such as Steven M. Christensen's SunFreeWare.com. The self-inflicted take-down appears to be just a facet of the legal plan to protect themselves from certain underhanded companies who have been redistributing packages contributed to BlastWave.org. Only one North American mirror remains at the moment, hosting only OpenSolaris packages. Is it just me, or are we starting to see a trend of private companies abusing licenses such as the GNU GPL, MPL, and all the others?"

Submission + - FOSS UML Tools

Zero__Kelvin writes: I need to use the Unified Modeling Language (UML) to capture and communicate a system design. I found a wikipedia entry that lists several FOSS tools that purport to allow me to perform the task (and there may well be others not listed there, of course.) Alas I don't have the time to try them all, or even a reasonable subset. I was wondering what FOSS UML tools the Slashdot crowd has used, which tools were worth looking into, and which ones people think should be avoided.
The Internet

Submission + - Comcast broke the law by slowing Internet traffic (superdothosting.com)

chyllaxyn writes: "Federal regulators determined on Friday that Comcast broke the law by slowing Internet traffic for subscribers using BitTorrent to swap large files with other people. But then the FCC decided it was enough to issue a press release declaring the victory of the rule of law and now it's time to move on. Not a penny in fines was assessed and not the slightest penalty suggested! ..Well that sounds fair ?"

Feed Techdirt: French ISPs Agree To Censor The Web (techdirt.com)

Well here's a news story that actually combines two separate recent stories here. France, who we've just talked about for its repeated mistake in blaming platforms for the actions of their users, has followed down the same path that New York state just trekked concerning misguided concepts on how to stop objectionable content online. That is, France is now requiring ISPs to block a list of sites that it determines as objectionable. Apparently the list will be based on sites flagged by web users. Again, this is targeting the wrong thing and won't do much to actually stop the dissemination of the content. If the content itself is illegal, go after those responsible. Simply blocking it opens up all kinds of censorship questions, and opens the door to that slippery slope of what's considered "objectionable." With no real way to make sure that the content is actually objectionable, it's easy to see this system being abused in an attempt to silence people or viewpoints.

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Submission + - Do Transfer Prohibitions Apply to Open Source? (infoworld.com) 1

snydeq writes: Gripe Line's Ed Foster asks: 'Can hardware be licensed? More specifically, can a hardware vendor validly bury usage restrictions like resale prohibitions deep in hidden sneakwrap licenses? And what if that hardware comes with a hefty helping of open source software — do the transfer prohibitions apply to that too? I don't know, but Barracuda Networks thinks it does, because that's what it doing with its anti-spam firewall products.' Barracuda, which has presented itself as the defender of open source against software patents in its legal fight with Trend Micro, includes terms in its service agreement that void both hardware and software licensing should the unit be sold. Much of that software is open source — 'if not a violation of the letter of the GPL, then at least a violation of its spirit.'

Submission + - What does Ubuntu mean to you?

justthinkit writes: "Apparently, Ubuntu means a lot more than "easy to use Linux" to Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics. For the NBA team it has become a rallying cry. Translated as "I am because we are", the Celtics break huddles with UBUNTU! (and have made it all the way to the NBA final as a result). So what does Ubuntu mean to you? Is "collective success over individual achievement" what Linux is all about? Or is this moment going to be more like what happened to Tux at Indy?"

Submission + - Man nearly arrested for Transformers T-shirt 1

An anonymous reader writes: In another example of the distorted reality in which airport security functions, the Daily Mail reports that a man was threatened with arrest for wearing a Transformers T-shirt:

Brad Jayakody, 30, from London, said he was stopped from passing through security at Heathrow's Terminal 5 after his Transformers T-shirt was deemed 'offensive.' Mr. Jayakody said the first guard started joking with him about the Transformers character depicted on his French Connection T-shirt. '"Then he explains that since Megatron is holding a gun, I'm not allowed to fly,' he said.

Journal Journal: Autistic Child Forced Out of Kindergarten By "Popular Vote"

Just when you thought Florida could be trusted to elect ANYTHING again, a Kindergarten Teacher in Port St. Lucie has had a 5-year old child in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome voted out of the class after ordering every other student to tell the boy what they hate about him while he stood up at the front of the class. Since the vote, the child has not returned to the sc

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The trouble with computers is that they do what you tell them, not what you want. -- D. Cohen