Linux saves Aussie electrical grid

November 8, 2009

Seen via LWN, a feel-good article about Linux saving the day.

QUICK THINKING open sourcerers might have saved an Australian power supply system after its electrical grid control room network got infected with a virus.

I am also fascinated by the spread of the term "open sourcerers".

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Flash Wins! Hoo-freaking-ray! Adobe are so awesome!

October 31, 2009

Seen on Planet Debian: an interesting article about the BBC’s switch from Silverlight to Flash and the Free Software community’s response. The money quote:

What annoys me here isn’t so much that nothing works. I’m used to there being temporary gaps in Free Software functionality, that’s pretty normal. But I’m greatly vexed that one of these four used to work on a Free platform, and now it doesn’t — and that places like UbuntuForums are filled with people celebrating that fact.

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Google Serves a Cease-and-Desist on Android Modder

October 30, 2009

Vastly old news by now, but it’s kind of surprising how fast this blew over: source on Slashdot.

Several readers sent in word that Google has served a Cease and Desist order to Cyanogen, one of the most prolific Android modders: his CyanogenMod is enjoyed by 30,000 users. The move is puzzling. Gizmodo wonders what Google’s game is, and Lauren Weinstein calls the move "not of the high ‘Googley’ caliber" that one would expect of the company.

I’d like to clarify that while I bought a G1, this kind of bullshit is why I’m so dissatisfied. This is what I wanted to get away from. I’m keeping an eye on the N900, let me tell you!

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Fossil: new DVCS

October 30, 2009

Those of you who care about version control should be aware of Fossil. Distributed version control, like NoSQL databases, has rapidly sprouted a ton of contenders like mushrooms, and I’m not especially convinced of this one’s superiority to the incumbents (i.e. git, bzr, or darcs).

In addition to doing distributed version control like Git and Mercurial, Fossil also supports distributed bug tracking and distributed wiki all in a single integrated package… Fossil has a built-in and easy-to-use web interface that simplifies project tracking and promotes situational awareness. Simply type "fossil ui" from within any check-out and Fossil automatically opens your web browser in a page that gives detailed history and status information on that project.

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Christine Spang: Prophet and SD 0.70

August 27, 2009

More fascinating databases! Seen on Planet Debian. Source:

Prophet is a lightweight schemaless database designed for peer to peer replication and disconnected operation. Prophet keeps a full copy of your data and (history) on your laptop, desktop or server. Prophet syncs when you want it to, so you can use Prophet-backed applications whether or not you have network.

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Google refutes USA Today report on blocked Skype application

August 22, 2009

Cool isometric art from eBoy!! Seen on Engadget Mobile: some crap nobody cares about.


While Apple was busy batting away the FCC with its litany of reasons why its app approval process is totally hunky-dory, Google was apparently having it’s own VoIP-related firefight. It seems that an article in the USA Today which hit newsstands this morning alleges that the internet giant sought to block (dare we say reject) a full Skype application from making its way into the Android Market. The story claims that the application was neutered to become “a watered-down version of the original that routes calls over traditional phone networks” — which would obviously cast a decidedly malevolent slant to the benevolent company’s policies.

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Matt Zimmerman: Bohrbugs: won’t print on Tuesdays

August 15, 2009

Seen on Planet Debian: a discussion of a recent Ubuntu bug.

This is one of my favorite bugs of all time: Ubuntu bug #248619, where won’t print to Brother printers on Tuesdays (but works on other days of the week).

Read some of the duplicate reports to follow the analysis and developer/user cooperation which isolated the bug.

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weirdx 1.0.32-3 entered NEW

August 14, 2009

Seen on the Debian NEW queue page: weirdx entered NEW???

 weirdx     - X server in Java
 weirdx (1.0.32-3) unstable; urgency=low
   * Convert to dh 7 and quilt
   * Change from sun to openjdk and move to main (Closes: #540445)
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Joey Hess: Palm Pre privacy

August 12, 2009

Seen on Planet Debian. The article:

I’ve been taking a closer look at the WebOS side of my Palm Pre tonight, and I noticed that it periodically uploads information to Palm, Inc.


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Bdale Garbee: More Entropy is Better Entropy

July 28, 2009

USB entropy generators? Is this the future? The original post.

As already reported, while at Debconf9 this week, I succumbed to peer pressure, and have generated a new 4096-bit RSA key. Doing this was made substantially more pleasant (and certainly a bit more amusing!) by the fact that I was loaned a prototype of the new Simtec Entropy Key to play with.

Can’t wait until they’re in production and available for sale…

Basically, it’s “just” a very high quality hardware random number generator that sits on a USB interface. Associated with this is a small MIT-licensed daemon that gets loaded along with some udev configuration (all in a Debian package in my case), such that any time you plug it in, your system available entropy goes way up and stays up until you unplug it. It really is that easy! My new 4096-bit GPG key generated without perceptable delay, while the one my daughter made at the same time on her similar notebook required lots of mouse wiggling and I/O traffic generation to accumulate enough bits. A dramatic difference, to say the least!

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