An anonymous reader writes "TechCrunch reports that Dell will be officially re-entering the Linux laptop market. Beginning this fall, it will sell a 'developer edition' of one of its Ultrabooks that comes pre-loaded with Ubuntu 12.04. Dell first started offering computers with Linux installed in 2007, but they dropped the products in 2010. This spring, a skunkworks effort called Project Sputnik was announced, and now, after the completion of a short beta test, the Ubuntu laptops have been given a green light for commercial sale. Canonical has been working alongside Dell to help make this happen."
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sfcrazy writes "The Raspberry Pi foundation has announced the release of the first SD card image based on the Raspbian distribution. The image will make it easier for Raspberry Pi users to switch from 'generic' Debian Squeeze to this 'optimized' image." The new image is based on Wheezy and optimized for ARM with floating point instructions, and supersedes the Squeeze based soft float image. Benchmarks show much improvement in performance, and the updated software in Wheezy generally improves the usability of the Raspberry Pi.
colinneagle writes "RT had a very interesting interview with former NSA official turned whistleblower Thomas A. Drake, who said, 'Security has effectively become the State religion; you don't question it. And if you question it, then your loyalty is questioned.' 'Speaking truth of power is very dangerous in today's world,' he added. The interviewer pointed out that investigative journalists are labeled as 'terrorist helpers' for trying to reveal the truth, to which Drake said the government's take is 'you go after the messenger because the last thing you want to do is deal with the message.'" Network World also has a pretty good article on William Binney's keynote at HOPE 9, wherein he revealed some technical details and a bit more background on the NSA's domestic surveillance program. Unfortunately, neither audio or video of the talk are available yet.
zacharye writes with news of some exciting rate changes for folks on ATTWS. From the article: "AT&T on Wednesday announced the upcoming availability of new shared data plans. Following Verizon's lead, AT&T's new plans will allow subscribers to share data between family members and also between devices. Dubbed 'AT&T Mobile Share' plans, the new offerings start at $40 per month plus $45 per device for unlimited voice minutes and messaging and 1GB of data, and top out at $200 plus $30 per device for unlimited voice and texts plus 200GB of data..." My favorite part is where you pay per-device and get nothing in return.
An anonymous reader writes "In a bizarre turn of events, the Senate would prefer that the DoD use software not written by the government for the government. Quoting: 'Like Google, the agency needed a way of storing and retrieving massive amounts of data across an army of servers, but it also needed extra tools for protecting all that data from prying eyes. They added 'cell level' software controls that could separate various classifications of data, ensuring that each user could only access the information they were authorized to access. It was a key part of the NSA’s effort to improve the security of its own networks. But the NSA also saw the database as something that could improve security across the federal government — and beyond. Last September, the agency open sourced its Google mimic, releasing the code as the Accumulo project. It's a common open source story — except that the Senate Armed Services Committee wants to put the brakes on the project. In a bill recently introduced on Capitol Hill, the committee questions whether Accumulo runs afoul of a government policy that prevents federal agencies from building their own software when they have access to commercial alternatives. The bill could ban the Department of Defense from using the NSA's database — and it could force the NSA to meld the project's security tools with other open source projects that mimic Google's BigTable.'"
An anonymous reader writes "We've heard before about the problem of e-waste — computers and other high-tech gadgets that are tossed into landfills or shipped off to third-world countries when they reach end-of-life. But this article makes the case that there's a huge business opportunity here, with billions of dollars going to waste in the form of metals that could be reclaimed from these old and broken devices. 'At current rates of production, $16 billion (or 320 tons) in gold and $5 billion (7500 tons) in silver are put into media tablets, smartphones, computers, and other devices annually. With growth in demand for smartphones and media tablets showing little sign of diminishing in the next few years, the flow of gold and silver from deposit to waste facilities is only likely to accelerate. ... StEP claims that, in developing nations, 50 percent of the gold in e-waste is lost due to "crude dismantling processes" and only 25 percent of the remainder is recoverable due to the rudimentary technology to hand. In contrast, 25 percent of gold is lost to electronics dismantling in developed nations, and modern facilities are able to recover 95 percent of the rest.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The Contiki project just released version 2.6 of its open source operating system for the Internet of Things, used to track city sound pollution, control street lights, read power meters, monitor radiation, among other things. The technology behind it? A really tiny IPv6 stack that fits in a few kilobytes of memory, allowing everything, everywhere to have an IPv6 address."
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.'"
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."