Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Comment Re:I've seen the shift to Facebook as of late (Score 2, Insightful) 383

A lot of _comments_ on social networking sites could be replaced with email, however social networking sites have become something of a venue to demonstrate how popular you are - a CV of your social life of sorts. As for private messages on sites like Facebook, I presume that they're so popular because a lot of young people are more in the habit of checking their favourite sites than their emails (I know that I'm more likely to get a response to a message if I send it via bebo or facebook than by email). Maybe it's that peoples' inboxes contain mostly confirmations and other detritus that's driving people to places where they're only going to receive correspondence from real people. Or maybe it's the "OMG Ponies!!!" effect of being able to customise something to reflect the façade you'd like to exhibit.
The Almighty Buck

Linux Fund Loses MasterCard Funding Source 122

An anonymous reader writes "The Linux Fund was established in 1999 to provide grants to free and open source software projects from funds raised via a credit card featuring a picture of Tux, the Linux penguin. This credit card was offered through MBNA America Bank, which was purchased in 2006 by Bank of America. Last week, LinuxFund credit card holders received mail from Bank of America informing them that the LinuxFund card would be discontinued. has a few details about the end of the credit card including statements from executive director David Mandel, assuring that the LinuxFund will look different but will continue. In the past, the LinuxFund provided one-time grants of $500-$1,000 USD to many projects including SDL, FilmGimp, Foundation, CrystalSpace, K12LTSP, and Kismet. The LinuxFund stagnated in 2003, and in 2005 it was revitalized by new leaders and by 2006 provided a stable $6,000 per year contribution to a number of larger projects including Wikipedia, Blender, Debian, Gentoo, and OpenSSH." and Slashdot are both part of OSTG.

Submission + - Gaim rename

An anonymous reader writes: e=gaim-i18n

[...] Getting a settlement with AOL has taken FAR FAR longer than we would
have ever guessed. On legal advise, we have refrained from any non-beta
release during this process as a show of good faith, and to keep AOL
from giving up on it. Again, on legal advise, we have also kept this
information closely embargoed.

At long last, I am pleased to announce, that we have a signed
settlement, and can again release. There is one catch however, we have
had to change the project's name.

After long, and unfortunately secret (as we could not say why we were
looking at a name change, we ended up just doing this ourselves),
debate, we settled on the name "Pidgin" for gaim itself, "libpurple" for
libgaim (which, as of 2.0.0 beta6, exists), and "finch" for gaim-text.
Yes, the spelling of "Pidgin" is intentional.

Since between the name, and the nature of the 2.0.0 release itself, so
much is changing, we decided to go ahead with something we have talked
about doing for a while now anyway. We have gotten our own server,
kindly donated by DVLabs. As a result our new home will be and We, at least for now, will still
be using SF's mirroring system for releases. However, the bug tracking
will no longer be on SF, and we will be migrating the mailing lists at
some point soon. Also, we have chosen to go with monotone for our
revision control, rather than the SF cvs or svn. [...]

Submission + - SQL-Ledger relicenced to non-free licence

An anonymous reader writes: After over seven years under the GPL, SQL-Ledger has switched to a home-grown, non-free licence: the SQL-Ledger Open Source License. This new licence came into effect when version 2.8.0 was released, and contains terms that appear to have been written to remove the ability for a fork to happen to the new series.

Could it be that the recent fork of LedgerSMB was too popular for the author of SQL-Ledger?
United States

Submission + - Is America still free?

chameleon3 writes: Slashdotters are wont to bemoan the slow erosion of personal freedoms in the United States, and I am not inclined to disagree. My question is: how will you know that America is no longer the Land of the Free? What event would be necessary for you to declare Freedom officially dead in America? Or, if you believe it has already occurred, what event caused it?

Submission + - We're responsible for Mars, too!?

grikdog writes: Science News is reporting global warming on Mars, evidently caused by reduced albedos causing warming and greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions at Mars' southern ice cap. Gee, and I thought the Viking landers were electric.
Linux Business

Submission + - Linux Exchange server?

An anonymous reader writes: Bear with me, this may seem like a n00b question. I know that Samba can emulate a domain controller for windows machines, but is there anything that can emulate an exchange server in the same way? Anything with the same functionality of an exchange server and transparent to the end user?

Submission + - says geeks make better lovers

christian.einfeldt writes: "Let it never be said that geeks are not hot. As in sexy hot. So says none other than sex expert Regina Lynn, the sex-tech goddess who writes's weekly 'Sex Drive' column. In this week's installment, Regina explains why geeks can put a new twist on the 'Field of Dreams' quip that 'if you build it, he will come:'

'Don't be surprised if your geek lover puts more thought into arranging the boudoir than you do, or if common household items soon take on a new dimension. More than one geek has told me that Home Depot is their favorite adult store.'
If you can imagine it, you can build it, and who has more fertile imaginations for tool and toy building than Slashdot readers?"

Submission + - Active Denial "non-lethal" RF beam burns a

jddj writes: A USAF airman suffered second-degree burns during a testing exercise for a "non-lethal" weapon in south Georgia (the US state, not the nation) this week. The "Active Denial System" uses a beam of RF energy to make men, women and children in its path feel like they're about to catch fire.

The weapon is designed for crowd control, and is presently planned for use in Afghanistan. Curious minds wonder how long it'll be before the now-emerging western police states begin to use it for dispersal of lawful demonstrations — or even to prevent them by force of intimidation.

(NB: I initially thought this looked like it might go under "Wireless Networking", but thought better and filed under "Education". I'm thinking Pavlov. Are you?)

Submission + - Is Microsoft Recalling All Windows XP ?

Reluctant Vista Owner writes: "I just recently became the proud owner of a new Sony Vaio laptop, purchased from Harvey Norman in Australia (Harvey Norman is a large retail company throughout Australia).

I noticed that there is absolutely no laptops or computers for sale with Windows XP, and more to the point there is no longer any Windows XP for sale. So I reluctantly (as I needed a new laptop) went with Vista.

The big suprise came when I was talking to the computer sales manager, he told me that without warning a few weeks ago, Microsoft staff walk into the store and just take all the Windows XP stock back. The store wanted to keep them, as apparently half their sales have vanished (no suprise — alot of people don't want Vista).

Is this a widespread problem?

How long before I wont be able to buy Windows XP licences at all ?

What does the office do that needs Windows XP machines for at least 1-2 years to come (before we can migrate to Linux I hope) ?

Thanks in advance."

Submission + - Kansas refutes Evolution... in Pokemon

RyoShin writes: "Even after the conservative members lost control of the old Kansas school board, evolution still remains a large issue for the Board of Education in Kansas. Well, in video games. Specifically, one video game: Pokemon. On Monday, the Kansas Board of Education approved a measure to ban most content related to Pokemon, including the games themselves and trading cards "because of the franchise's blatant promotion of evolution". Furthermore, they instructed teachers to "search their students at the beginning of the school day to make sure that they aren't carrying any copies of the game". The article is sparse on further details, but states that the ACLU will challenge the decision."

Submission + - Microsoft answers to Vista DRM critics claims

skepsis writes: Recently there were two stories in Slashdot claiming that Vista would downgrade the quality of audio and video for every application in a machine where protected content was running.

One of the stories painted a scary scenario where a "medical IT worker who's using a medical imaging PC while listening to audio/video played back by the computer" would have his medical images "deliberately degraded". Audio professionals were similarly scared by similar claims.

Well, Microsoft has just explained exactly how the content protection woks, and it turns out the medical IT staff and audio pros can relax, as all claims (even those by 'specialists') were rebuked.

It seems the Open Source crows also knows how to distribute FUD as well as MS...
Operating Systems

Submission + - Why isn't ReactOS gaining momentum?

CSMatt writes: "I find it puzzling and interesting that, given all of Microsoft's negligence on Windows, the community still doesn't seem to support ReactOS development near as much as the Linux distributions or even the BSDs. ReactOS could easily do to Windows what the GNU project did to UNIX, but it seems like it is constantly falling short of a suitable Windows alternative due to either a lack of developers or a lack of money. Yes, I know that it takes about a decade for the community to write a complete operating system, and it will probably take at least 15 years to write one as complex as Windows, but there still seems to be something that is slowing the project down. Is it disbelief that the final version will be able to provide compatibility with Vista or Vienna programs because ReactOS will inevitably have to play catch-up with Windows? Is it the idea that it would still be used only by hobbyists and free software advocates, even though it is possible that the low price of zero might woo OEMs into preinstalling it?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - OpenHuman banned in Iraq!

An anonymous reader writes: Open source self-expression experiment (aka cyber-hippie movement, Wikipedia for human beings) OpenHuman got banned in Iraqi base of US troops. Alex, a US Navy member openhuman reports in the mailing list:

well, open human got hit by the firewall here on base, they catagorized the site as "nudity" and blocked it outright... that sucks! i cant contest it and i cant change it... and sofar as i can tell, there is no way around it...
Also reportedly, Deviant is banned as well! Is this protection — banning arts and self-expression...

Submission + - Wiili Project Mysteriously Vanishes

Jrabbit05 writes: WiiHacks has an article over the Wiili project and website. Tuxido, the owner of has gone missing with over $450 of donations." "Wiili, a project to get Linux running on the Nintendo Wii Game Console, has been mentioned several times over the last few months on and Slashdot. Not being able to withstand the influx of traffic, their servers started to give, and the site started going down a lot. Donations were being collected to help pay for a new dedicated server through a service called ChipIn. As of Wednesday of this past week, the wiili server and all of it's files disappeared off the internet. The current status of WiiLi is unknown, the webmaster is gone, the site is down, and nobody knows if he cashed out the donations from ChipIn. He could be sick, on vacation, lost in the woods, taken out back by some thugs from Nintendo, who knows... But for now any attempts to access with wiili website result in a 'Index of /' page with no files in it. If anyone has information on how to find Tuxido, please post to this thread or come to IRC channel: #wiili on

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I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943