An anonymous reader writes "Despite weaknesses in the Linux-hostile 'secure boot' mechanism, both Fedora and Ubuntu decided to facilitate it, by essentially adopting two different approaches. Richard Stallman has finally spoken out on this subject. He notes that 'if the user doesn't control the keys, then it's a kind of shackle, and that would be true no matter what system it is.' He says, 'Microsoft demands that ARM computers sold for Windows 8 be set up so that the user cannot change the keys; in other words, turn it into restricted boot.' Stallman adds that 'this is not a security feature. This is abuse of the users. I think it ought to be illegal.'"
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The Open Compute Project was launched by Facebook early last year to facilitate collaborative development of highly-efficient computing infrastructure. They wanted to make datacenters cheaper and less energy-intensive to operate. Since then, many industry heavyweights have joined up, and the effects of the project are becoming evident in how companies buy hardware. "Instead of the traditional scenario in which the company’s buying decisions are determined by what the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) such as Dell, HP, and IBM are offering, open sourcing hardware give companies the ability to buy the exact hardware they want. Businesses are increasingly more curious about open source, and many of them are already deploying open source tools and the cloud, [Dell's Joseph George said]. They are increasingly looking at open source software as viable alternatives to commercial options. This level of exploration is moving to the infrastructure layer. 'Driving standards is what open source is about,' George added. With specifications at hand, it is possible to manufacture server and storage components that deliver consistent results regardless of who’s in charge of production.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week, a Canadian Supreme Court decision attracted attention for reduced copyright fees for music and video. Michael Geist has a detailed analysis that concludes there are two bigger, long term effects. First, Canada has effectively now adopted fair use. Second, the Supreme Court has made technological neutrality a foundational principle of Canadian copyright. The technological neutrality principle could have an enormous long-term impact on Canadian copyright, posing a threat to some copyright collective tariff proposals and to the newly enacted digital lock rules."
judgecorp writes "Mozilla's mobile operating system Firefox OS will win overwhelming support from developers because it dropped XUL in favour of HTML5, says the head of Mozilla Europe in an interview. Firefox OS is more open than iOS and Android, and 75 percent of apps are already written in HTML5."
TheNextCorner writes with news on where CmdrTaco has been hiding. Quoting Malda's IamA blurb over at that Reddit thing: "In 1997 I started Slashdot.org. For several years, we pioneered news aggregation and on-line communities while exploring our niche of the 'net under the slogan, 'News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters.' Our work was later expanded upon at countless other more successful sites including Reddit and the Huffington Post. I left Slashdot last year, took a long time off, and then started work at the Washington Post Co's WaPo Labs their digital media R&D skunkworks group. I work as their Chief Strategist and Editor-at-Large, contributing what I can to a variety of projects ranging from their Social Reader, to some projects under development. From here I am able to continue to explore my interests in news, journalism, technology, and communities. ... I'll hopefully be answering from 2pm-5pm ET"
The idea behind the United States Space Camp is to give kids (and some adults) a chance to do astronaut training-type things that will get them jazzed on science and technology, in addition to getting away from home for a while. Security Camp is sort of like that that, says instigator Marc Tobias, but is about security stuff rather than space, and somehow interviewer Timothy Lord didn't ask Tobias about plans to teach security, computer or otherwise, for space travelers, when he talked with Tobias at HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) in New York. Since Tobias is an expert in physical security (locks), and locksmithing is going to be taught at Security Camp along with electronic/hacking-type security skills, it's a good thing all participants will be checked for criminal records and tendencies before they're allowed to participate. If there are plans to make a movie about Security Camp, which Tobias didn't mention one way or the other during this interview, we hope it's better than the 1986 movie, Space Camp.
wiredmikey writes "Dutch authorities have pulled the plug on two secondary servers used by the Grum botnet, a large botnet said to produce about 17% of the world's spam. According to researchers from FireEye, the backup C&C servers were located in the Netherlands, and once word of their existence was released, Dutch authorities quickly seized them. While any C&C server takedown is a win, the impact may be minimal, as the two primary servers are fully active, and the datacenters hosting them are unresponsive to fully documented abuse reports. That being said, FireEye's Atif Mushtaq noted that the botnet does has some weak spots, including the fact that Grum has no failback mechanism, has just a few IPs hardcoded into the binaries, and the botnet is divided into small segments, so even if some C&Cs are not taken down, part of botnet can still remain offline. The removal of the C&C servers shines light on how quickly some law enforcement agencies work, given that proof of their existence is just over a week old."
ananyo writes "The species of alga that causes 'brown tides' in the United States and South Africa is also to blame for massive blooms along China's east coast on the Bohai Sea, researchers have found. The finding could be the first step to tackling the problem. It is the fourth consecutive year the country has been hit by the bloom (Slashdot's story on the 2010 bloom), with the situation worsening each time the bloom returns."
scibri writes "The UK's research councils have put in place an open access policy similar to the one used by the US NIH. From April 2013, science papers must be made free to access within six months of publication if they come from work paid for by one of the UK's seven government-funded grant agencies, the research councils, which together spend about £2.8 billion each year on research (press release). The councils say authors should shun journals that don't allow such policies, though they haven't said how those who don't comply with the rules will be punished."
RockoW writes "Steve Mann, a long-time researcher of computer vision systems, (i.e. Augmented reality, Digital Eyeglass) had an incident at a McDonald's in Paris, France. He was assaulted by three men during his visit to get food with his family. They had a problem with his digital eye glasses and tried to take them off his head. 'The eyeglass is permanently attached and does not come off my skull without special tools.' The men also tore up Mann's documentation and a letter from his doctor explaining the device's use. Fortunately, the rough treatment of the device caused it to keep recent images in its memory, instead of quickly overwriting them, so Dr. Mann has pictures of the men who assaulted him."
An anonymous reader writes "Alan Jacobs at The Atlantic writes about a book called New Model Army (NMA), which takes the idea of Anonymous — a loose, self-organizing collective with a purpose — and adds twenty-five years of technological advancement. The book's author, Adam Roberts, 'asks us to imagine a near future when electronic communications technologies enable groups of people to communicate with one another instantaneously, and on secure private networks invulnerable, or nearly so, to outside snooping.' With the arrival of advanced communications tech, such groups wouldn't be limited to enacting their will from behind a computer screen, or in a pre-planned flash mob; they could form actual armies. 'Again, each NMA organizes itself and makes decisions collectively: no commander establishes strategy and gives orders, but instead all members of the NMA communicate with what amounts to an advanced audio form of the IRC protocol, debate their next step, and vote. Results of a vote are shared to all immediately and automatically, at which point the soldiers start doing what they voted to do. ... They are proud of their shared identity, and tend to smirk when officers of more traditional armies want to know who their "ringleaders" are. They have no ringleaders; they don't even have specialists: everyone tends the wounded, not just some designated medical corps, and when they need to negotiate, the negotiating team is chosen by army vote. Each soldier does what needs to be done, with need determined by the NMA which each has freely joined.' Let's hope resistance isn't futile."
benfrog writes "According to market-share estimations compared to marketing dollars, it costs nearly ten times as much to sell the Windows Phone-based Nokia Lumia as it does to buy one. Other analysts agree with the low sales numbers."
chill writes "Mobile company Jolla, which is continuing development of Linux-based mobile OS Meego, signed its first sales deal today, with D.Phone, China's largest smartphone retail chain. Jolla has not released details about its first product, which is expected to be revealed later this year. The company has not yet received access to any Nokia patents."
An anonymous reader writes "A bug has been discovered in Skype that sends users' private instant messages to other contacts whom the messages were never intended for. Skype has confirmed the issue and is working on a fix. 'We are aware that in rare circumstances IM's between two contacts could be sent to an unintended third contact,' a Skype spokesperson told Engadget. 'We are rolling out a fix for this issue in the next few days and will notify our users to download an updated version of Skype.'"
cylonlover writes "Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF) have achieved a laser shot which boggles the mind: 192 beams delivered an excess of 500 trillion-watts (TW) of peak power and 1.85 megajoules (MJ) of ultraviolet laser light to a target of just two millimeters in diameter. To put those numbers into perspective, 500 TW is more than one thousand times the power that the entire United States uses at any instant in time."