Not many days ago, we mentioned ZDNet's interview with Nicholas Negroponte, in which Negroponte had some harsh things to say about Sugar and its connection to the slower-than-hoped uptake of the XO. Ivan Krstic (formerly head of the OLPC's security innovative subsystem) responded to Negroponte's claims, which he says are "nonsense." Among other things, he mentions that Sugar "was the name for the new learning-oriented graphical interface that OLPC was building, but it was also the name for the entire XO operating system, one tiny part of which was Sugar the GUI, and the rest of which was mostly Fedora Linux."
tonsofpcs writes "On Monday, September 8, Wilmington, NC will be the first television market (#135) to make the switch to DTV by shutting off their analog transmitters. This forum will be posting updates throughout the coming months to keep everyone updated on how the transition works so that we are all prepared come February 17, 2009. So far, it seems Wilmington will still be going ahead as planned, despite Tropical Storm Hanna's proximity."
We're catching up on two stories of municipal engagement with open source software: Munich (which decided to go OS in 2003) and Vienna (2005). E5Rebel brings us news that Munich has stayed the course. But bkingaut informs that Vienna has decided to migrate back to Windows (Google translation) — to Vista no less. The migration of 720 computers used in kindergartens will cost the city about €8M. The given reason for all this is a language test application for the kids that only works with MS IE and won't be made compatible (by the producer) with Firefox until 2009.
waderoush writes "The majority of the comments on last week's Slashdot post It's Not a Flying Car — It's A Drivable Airplane were critical, even dismissive, of Terrafugia's work to build a two-passenger airplane with folding wings that's also certified for highway driving. We boiled down these criticisms to the dozen most commonly expressed points, and today we've published responses from Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich. While hybrid airplane-automobiles are an old (some would say laughable) idea, Dietrich argues that current materials and avionics technologies finally make the concept feasible."
Zack Grossbart writes "About 18 months ago I posted the following question to Ask Slashdot: 'How do you organize a home library with 3,500 books?' I have read all the responses, reviewed most of the available software, and come up with a good solution described in the article The Library Problem. This article discusses various cataloging schemes, reviews cheap barcode scanners, and outlines a complete solution for organizing your home library. Now you can see an Ask Slashdot question with a definitive answer."
Today we have Part 2 in our exciting 2 part series about the infrastructure that powers Slashdot. Last week Uriah told us all about the hardware powering the system. This week, Jamie McCarthy picks up the story and tells us about the software... from pound to memcached to mysql and more. Hit that link and read on.
Erris writes "PC Superstore says their store manager was wrong to turn away a client with a broken hinge whose machine should have been repaired. 'El Reg put a call in to the DSGi-owned retail giant to get some clarification on PC World's Linux support policy. A spokesman told us that there had simply been a misunderstanding at the store and that, in fact, the normal procedure would be for the Tech Guys to provide a fix. [PC World] will provide a full repair once the firm has made contact with Tikka.'
TopSpin writes "Early this year the meme circulated that Blu-ray might be going the way of Betamax, and for the exact same reason: Sony's unfriendliness to the porn industry. But at Japan's recent euphemistically named Adult Treasure Expo 2007, adult filmmakers said Sony has begun offering technical support, and this was later confirmed by Sony PR. The company stated that Sony would offer support to any filmmaker working on the format, no matter their industry. Apparently, Blu-ray is now the preferred medium for Japanese adult films."
A while back we discussed the corruption investigation aimed at Alaska Sen. Ted "series of tubes" Stevens. A number of readers sent us word that the home of Sen. Stevens was raided earlier today by agents of the FBI and the IRS. The focus of the raid was a remodeling project at Stevens's home and the involvement of VECO, an oil company.
Naycon writes "In the end it looks like the Swedish police dropped the Pirate Bay from the list of sites filtered for containing child porn. The update of the filter, which is scheduled for later this week, won't contain the Swedish file-sharing giant. The police say that the reason for this change is that the torrent containing the porn has been removed. But the Pirate Bay states that no files have been removed. Was this just a cheap trick by the Swedish police to battle file-sharing? The link contains a statement from the Pirate Bay; several Swedish newspaper are also running the story." In a related story, reader paulraps writes "Sweden's Justice Department is backing a new proposal that would enable copyright holders to find out the identities of people illegally sharing their material on the Internet."
An anonymous reader writes "Finally, some good news on electronic voting. The New York state legislature rejected an amendment proposed by Microsoft's lobbyists which would have gutted New York's requirements for voting machine vendors to turn over their source code to the state Board of Elections. Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton commented: 'The voting machine vendors have known for two years what our laws said. Now they're saying that those parts of their systems using Microsoft software have to be proprietary? It's just wrong.'"
TropicalCoder is the reader who submitted the story about the possible demise of LiftPort a couple of weeks back. The resulting discussion was mostly negative about the feasibility of building a space elevator. TropicalCoder writes: "At one point during the discussion, LiftPort founder Michael J. Laine personally entered the discussion, but for the most part remained invisible since he hadn't logged in. I responded to his comment that if he would like a chance to rebut the criticisms, he should contact me and I would undertake to interview him and post the resulting story on Slashdot." Read below for the story of how Mr. Laine's detailed reply and rebuttal to that Slashdot discussion came about. TropicalCoder asks, "After reading LiftPort's rebuttal to Slashdot critics, do any of you now feel your pessimism somewhat dispelled?"
Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed has reversed himself completely over the charges against Brian Kelly, arrested for wiretapping after videotaping a police stop. Now let's see if they are good enough to compensate Kelly for the 26 hours he spent in jail and the anguish of the cloud over his future caused by a felony arrest. From the article: "... [DA] Freed said his decision will affect not only Brian Kelly, 18, but also will establish a policy for police departments countywide. 'When police are audio- and video-recording traffic stops with notice to the subjects, similar actions by citizens, even if done in secret, will not result in criminal charges,' Freed said yesterday. 'The law itself might need to be revised.'"
chessweb writes "Here is a rather enlightening article by Richard Stallman on the reasons for moving to GPLv3 that puts the previous TiVo post into the right context." From the article: "One major danger that GPLv3 will block is tivoization. Tivoization means computers (called 'appliances') contain GPL-covered software that you can't change, because the appliance shuts down if it detects modified software... The manufacturers of these computers take advantage of the freedom that free software provides, but they don't let you do likewise... GPLv3 ensures you are free to remove the handcuffs. It doesn't forbid DRM, or any kind of feature. It places no limits on the substantive functionality you can add to a program, or remove from it. Rather, it makes sure that you are just as free to remove nasty features as the distributor of your copy was to add them."
While many people jumped all over presidential hopeful John McCain's wrong-headed view on network neutrality, few noticed his infuriating love for Microsoft. "[T]he 70 year old presidential hopeful also said that he would ask Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to serve on his cabinet to deal with technology issues if elected. He did not however say what position Ballmer might be hired in, but did joke that he might consider him for a diplomatic position, such as ambassador to China."
Remember the offer Greg Kroah-Hartman made earlier this year, to get Linux drivers written for free for any company that wanted them? Now an anonymous reader points us to an article up on linuxworld with an update to this program. Greg K-H, who leads the development of several kernel subsystems including USB and PCI, admits that the January offer was a bit of "marketing hype" — but says it has brought companies and developers together anyway. Twelve companies have said "yes please," one driver is already in the kernel, and five more are in the pipeline.
kfogel writes "I'm submitting 'Supporting Open Source While Opposing Copyright' as a response to Greg Bulmash's piece from yesterday. I think there were a number of flaws and mistaken assumptions in Bulmash's reasoning, and I've tried to address them in this rebuttal, which has undergone review from some colleagues in the copyright-reform community."