itwbennett writes "Hadoop, Hive, Lucene, and Solr are all open source projects, but if you were expecting the floors of the Strata Conference to be packed with intense, boostrapping hackers you'd be sorely disappointed. Instead, says Brian Proffitt, 'community' where Big Data is concerned is 'acknowledged as a corporate resource', something companies need to contribute back to. 'There is no sense of the grass-roots, hacker-dominated communities that were so much a part of the Linux community's DNA,' says Proffitt."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
donadony writes with news about what will become the next LTS release of Ubuntu. From the article: "It's time to take another look at what is happening with the development of Ubuntu 12.04. As it stands, the first Beta of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin has been released. I just updated my own system. What changed since Alpha? Not much, really. In fact, there's really nothing groundbreaking or any new features added. Unity has been updated to version 5.4.0 which also sees the introduction of the new HUD feature. HUD still apparently has many outstanding bugs, but developers maintain that all bugs will be ironed out before Ubuntu 12.04 goes gold. Also added were recommendations to Ubuntu software center, and a new tool called 'privacy' and other small new features."
vikingpower writes "A research group at Technical University Delft around prof. Kouwenhoven has probably not only spotted pairs of so-called Majorana Fermions for the first time (these had been predicted to exist by the Italian physicist Ettore Majorana), but also demonstrated that, by generating them at the end of an Indium-Arsenide microwire, quantum computing with them may have come one more step closer to reality. The excitement around Prof. Kouwenhoven at the American Physical Society annual congress in Boston, after he completed his presentation, was considerable.A nice illustration is provided by this newspaper article (in Dutch)."
ananyo writes "Bioethicist Glenn McGee has resigned his position as president of ethics and strategic initiatives at the stem-cell firm Celltex Therapeutics in Houston, Texas. Yesterday, Slashdot posted a story that suggested Celltex may have administered unproven treatments to several patients. The move comes at the end of a turbulent three months, which has seen McGee blasted by other bioethicists for working at the controversial stem-cell company while also holding the post of editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Bioethics, the most cited bioethics journal in the world. McGee announced that he had resigned, effective 28 February, on Twitter last night — the move came just two weeks after the 13 February press release by Celltex announcing that he would take the position."
An anonymous reader writes "The Ann Arbor Public Schools defended their request for a $45 million bond for new computers by claiming that Apple eMacs aren't good enough for their Advanced Journalism class. A teacher told reporters that new PCs are needed to run WordPress, Google Docs, and Adobe InDesign CS6. WordPress and Google Docs are server-based applications that can be accessed with nearly any web browser. InDesign CS6 has not been released yet and its system requirements are unknown. As a web developer, I am impressed by the online newspaper published by the journalism class, but I question the need for new hardware. The district previously claimed that the old computers couldn't run its standardized testing software, although they far surpass the vendor's specifications. Does modern education really require cutting-edge computers, or are schools screaming 'think of the children' to win over tech-illiterate voters?" Whatever the answer to that question, exaggerated system requirements aren't the only driving force; the $45 million bond sought would not be dedicated only to replacing journalism program computers, note; it would also be used to fund other infrastructure upgrades, including some lower-tech updates, like new sound amplifiers in the district's classrooms. Ann Arbor schools' web site says that the district has (as of 2010, at least) 16,440 students. What are tech outlays like in the public schools where you live?
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that gas prices are already at record highs for the winter months — averaging $4.32 in California and $3.73 a gallon nationally. As summer approaches, demand for gasoline rises, typically pushing prices up around 20 cents a gallon. But gas prices could rise another 50 cents a gallon or more, analysts say, if the diplomatic and economic standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions escalates into military conflict or there is some other major supply disruption. 'If we get some kind of explosion — like an Israeli attack or some local Iranian revolutionary guard decides to take matters in his own hands and attacks a tanker — than we'd see oil prices push up 20 to 25 percent higher and another 50 cents a gallon at the pump,' says Michael C. Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research. A sharp rise in the prices of oil and gas would crimp the nation's budding economic recovery would cause big political problems at home for President Obama, who is already being attacked by Republican presidential candidates over gas prices and his overall energy policies. On the other hand, environmentalists see high gas prices as a helpful step toward the development of alternative energy. Secretary Treasury Steven Chu notably said in 2008 'we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe' to make Americans trade in their 'love affair with the automobile' for a marriage to mass transit. In the meantime President Obama is in a bind because any success in tightening sanctions on Iran could squeeze global oil supplies, pushing up prices and causing serious economic repercussions at home and abroad."
First time accepted submitter ausrob writes "Domain seizures are nothing new, but this particular case is interesting. The Department of Homeland Security has seized a domain name registered outside of the U.S., by individuals who are not American citizens, and who registered with a Canadian registrar. From the article: 'The ramifications of this are no less than chilling and every single organization branded or operating under .com, .net, .org, .biz etc needs to ask themselves about their vulnerability to the whims of U.S. federal and state lawmakers (not exactly known their cluefulness nor even-handedness, especially with regard to matters of the internet).'"
ananyo writes "With Texas pouring millions of dollars into developing adult stem-cell treatments, doctors there are already injecting paying customers with unproven preparations, supplied by an ambitious new company. Celltex Therapeutics 'multiplies and banks' stem cells derived from people's abdominal fat and its facility in Sugar Land opened in December 2011 and houses the largest stem-cell bank in the United States. But Nature has uncovered evidence that the company is involved in the clinical use of the cells on US soil, which the FDA has viewed as illegal in other cases."
Peter Eckersley writes "EFF has released version 2 of the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension for Firefox, and a beta version for Chrome. The Firefox release has a major new feature called the Decentralized SSL Observatory. This optional setting submits anonymous copies of the HTTPS certificates that your browser sees to their Observatory database allowing them to detect attacks against the web's cryptographic infrastructure. It also allows us to send real-time warnings to users who are affected by cryptographic vulnerabilities or man-in-the-middle attacks. At the moment, the Observatory will send warnings if you connect to a device has a weak private key due to recently discovered random number generator bugs."
An anonymous reader writes "MINIX 3.2.0 was released today (alternative announcement). Lots of code has been pulled in from NetBSD, replacing libc, much of the userspace and the bootloader. This should allow much more software to be ported easily (using the pkgsrc infrastructure which was previously adopted) while retaining the microkernel architecture. Also Clang is now used as a default compiler and ELF as the default binary format, which should allow MINIX to be ported to other architectures in the near future (in fact, they are currently looking to hire someone with embedded systems experience to port MINIX to ARM). A live CD is available." The big highlight is the new NetBSD based userland — it replaces the incredibly old fashioned and limited Minix userland. There's even experimental SMP support. Topping it all off, the project switched over to git which would make getting involved in development a bit easier for the casual hacker.
alphadogg writes "Hewlett-Packard has cut 275 jobs in its webOS group, as part of its strategy to turn the operating system over to the open-source community, according to IDG News Service. HP said last year that it would stop making devices that use the operating system which was developed by Palm for phones and tablets, and later decided to release the software under the Apache License 2.0. As webOS continues the transition to open-source software, HP no longer needs many of the engineering and other related positions that it required before, the company said in a statement. 'This creates a smaller and more nimble team that is well-equipped to deliver an open source webOS and sustain HP's commitment to the software over the long term,' it added."
will_edit_for_food writes "Are you fed up with anti-piracy acts that use scorched-earth tactics, like SOPA and PIPA — or secretly negotiated agreements like ACTA? Do you wonder why we the people don't propose our own laws, rather than just react whenever these bills slouch toward Congress to be born? Wouldn't you like a place where you and a few like-minded amateur lawmakers could get together and do it right? Public Knowledge has debuted the Internet Blueprint, a site for those technologically and politically inclined to gather ideas...and eventually submit them to sympathetic politicians."
itwbennett writes "In his keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said the company once 'had various proposals to have [its] own currency [it was] going to call Google Bucks.' The idea was to implement a 'peer-to-peer money' system, but it was squelched by legal issues."
PatPending writes with this excerpt from CNet: "With just 2 percent of the Smithsonian's archive of 137 million items available to the public at any one time, an effort is under way at the world's largest museum and research institution to adopt 3D tools to expand its reach around the country. CNET has learned that the Smithsonian has a new initiative to create a series of 3D-printed models, exhibits, and scientific replicas — as well as to generate a new digital archive of 3D models of many of the physical objects in its collection. ... They've got technology on their side — with minimally invasive laser scanners they can capture the geometry of just about any object or site with accuracy down to the micron level."