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TrueCrypt Gets a New Life, New Name

silentcoder Re:FOSS names (260 comments)

It's a bunch of libraries with an interface compatible with a different library, recreated as a clean-room implementation.

If that's an "emulator" then Android is using a JAVA emulator !

Hell it means every library ever released that's backwards compatible is "emulating" the previous version !

13 hours ago
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TrueCrypt Gets a New Life, New Name

silentcoder Re:"CipherShed" (260 comments)

>A quick example. IBM's RiscSystem/6000... ever wonder why you never saw it abbreviated as RS/6000 ... the answer, Pontiac had a trademark in place for "RallySport/6000" as well as RS/6000 and they wouldn't release it to IBM.

I'm assuming your story is true but if it is - then IBM was overly cautious and just didn't want to risk an expensive lawsuit over an abbreviation even though they would be guaranteed to win.
Trademarks apply *only* within the same field of industry - they don't apply to products from very different industries where there is no chance of confusion. There is no way that IBM could be confused with a car company and their RS-6000 with the Pontiac RS-6000.

People tend to forget (and the false logic of the "intellectual property" brigade re-enforces this) that trademarks do NOT exist to protect producers - they are a CONSUMER protection law. The idea being that if you buy something with company X's label for product Y on it you can be reasonably certain that you actually GET product Y from company X and not some cheap knock-off.

That is why they are so restricted - you can't trademark a common word or phrase, and if a trademark *becomes* a generic phrase for the type of product you lose the trademark. You also lose it if you don't aggressively defend it - which would explain why Pontiac would be loathe to agree even though their trademark clearly couldn't apply to IBM - for fear that somebody else could later claim they were not defending it and using that agreement as evidence.

In practise though, IBM should just have gone ahead - if Pontiac actually went ahead and filed suit they would have been laughed out of court.

13 hours ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

silentcoder Re: US is... (538 comments)

It's a publicly available document - if you seriously want to know, go read it.
There is quite a lot of restrictions on accessing this - generally it's limited to people who genuinely could never do so for themselves, and I've yet to encounter any South African (even libertarians) who have an issue with the housing program (though the libertarians complain that the recipients should get full ownership with title).

The much more important aspect is not that, it's rules like making evictions require a court order - so that power imbalances between rich and poor can be somewhat mitigated by judicial oversight into processes like that.

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

silentcoder Re: US is... (538 comments)

No. You're reading with Republican blinkers on. The housing thing is an entitlement not a right. What I said was that if you qualify for the entitlement the dignity right prevents government from giving you a new cardboard box and calling it "housing assistance".

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

silentcoder Re: US is... (538 comments)

Well that's a different issue but officially here churches are considered non profit organisations though this is not automatic. They have to apply like any charity and comply with relevant regulations - including that they have to actually spend at least a certain percentage of their income on endeavors with no return.

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

silentcoder Re:RT.com? (538 comments)

The point about systems like anarcho-syndicalism is to avoid the scaling problem by... NOT scaling.

Why do we need to scale ? What's the purpose ? What value does it have ? Why do we need countries ?What does having a COUNTRY offer you that having a town doesn't ?

In an Anarchism where everybody votes on every law and you get more votes the more you are personally affected by the law (to prevent tyranny of the majority) - the ideal scenario is that the area covered by the law be only your immediate environment.
Not even a whole city. There is absolutely no logical reason to assume that good laws for Brooklyn will ALSO be good laws for Manhattan or Queens. As long as they can agree on some common principles for trading between them - why can't people in Brooklyn vote to allow something that people in Queens oppose ?

In this system the way you enforce a true sharing of resources without hardship or leaving people out is not by force OR incentive, it's simply by giving everybody a truly equal voice in their own governance. That will regulate the market, it will set a decent minimum wage (because the minimum wage earners outnumber the businesses) - so that wallmart can't pay people so badly that all their employees still get foodstamps (which just means they've shifted their labour bill onto the taxpayers - that is not a good thing and makes all the supposed "savings" they offer completely nullified - you're paying the same price just through the very inefficient middleman of the government). It will make laws against dumping toxins in the drinking water because the people who drink that water are making the laws and if you BREAK that law owning a business will sure as hell NOT keep you out of prison because the people who decide the punishment for the law are the SAME people whom you poisoned.

Communism has had a split between anarchists and statists right from the start. Hell Marx himself got into fistfights with anarchists at the 1st International. Right from the start a lot of the most important thinkers believed that communism requires the ABSENCE of government rather than it's maximization.
Unfortunately - the statists won out in the early days (and the anarchists never joined them - through the years the anarcho communists would frequently be simultaneous at war with invaders BOTH capitalist AND communist wanting to destroy them).

The most successful of those was Andalusia, which created an anarcho-socialist system in their city in the early 20th century, and managed to run it with a fairly high degree of success (it wasn't problem free and their implementation had some flaws - which people since have learned from but it was pretty good). Orwell himself described it as the happiest and most free society he ever got to visit - and praised how truly egalitarian they were - a city with no poverty or hunger or suffering at all).
They were still economically strong when they fell - despite having been at war the entire 20 years of their existence (state-communists from the South and capitalists from the north both wanted to destroy them) until World War 2 - the scale up of military power finally forced them to surrender.

The thing is - hardly anybody in academia or among (at least the educated part of) the left actually pushes for state-communism anymore, we saw what happened in the Soviet Union as well. The anarchists may have lost the original political battle for communism's soul but they were the winners in the long run because, today, they are the only ones left.

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

silentcoder Re:US is... (538 comments)

>You're confusing government-run entitlement programs, paid for with taxes taken from one person and given to another, with "rights." They are not the same thing.

That's a very American philosophical position - it's not a fact. Here - these things are constitutionally guaranteed rights.

I also did NOT make the mistake you made, our system is actually not that different from yours - but ON TOP of what we restrict the government from doing we
1) Give them a lot more they are REQUIRED to do
2) Have OTHER things they are NOT allowed to do.

For example - we got gay marriage legalized years ago - because the constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. The constitutional court found that government not allowing it was discrimination and with a single court case the matter was settled for good.

Having a constitutional right NOT to be discriminated against on any of a long list of grounds is one of our best features. You add ammendments one by one for different types of discrimination you encounter - we gave everybody the right not to be discriminated against as a core factor of our constitution right from the start.

And seriously - America is not the greatest country on earth - in many ways it's the worst. In some others it's excellent - but the ONLY people who think it's better than any others are Americans who swallowed the kool aid. Nobody else will EVER be convinced because when your politics fuck up it hurts you a little and everybody else a LOT.

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

silentcoder Re:US is... (538 comments)

Well our constitution was written much later - with a lot of inspiration from the US - which is why our bill of rights and the US one is very similar.
However there is also one or two items from more recent sources (for starters the entire International Convention on Human Rights).

There is also a few liberties we've taken from things like the German constitution - which deal with the realities of countries that had experienced gross human rights abuses - such as a right to dignity.

The right to dignity for example has several clauses - such as a positive obligation placed on the government to ensure there is quality housing for all citizens and a requirement that evictions can only be done with a court order. Another impact is that it informs the right not to be discriminated against - here a business cannot deny service to anybody on discriminatory grounds. Recently a wedding venue wanted to refuse a gay couple the right to marry there on religious grounds and lost their case - the constitutional right not to be discriminated against on sexual orientation means that if you operate a business you MUST serve ALL sexual orientations. There's no obligation to approve of gay marriage, but you cannot as a business discriminate against it (a church could refuse to host a service, but a church is not a business).

Not everybody thinks these are freedoms, some people would say the above example reduces the business owner's freedom for example - and it's true that this is a trade-off but the right not to be discriminated against protects freedoms (such as freedom of association and movement) for many, many people - if a small minority has a very slight decrease in freedom (while making money out of the people they aren't allowed to mistreat) then this is a worthwhile trade-off in my mind.

In some regards the fact that our constitution is only 20 years old has been advantageous - it means that we have all the rights the US has - most of which were not in their original constitution (Everything with "amendment" in it) right in the basic document, and we still have the option of future amendments if we need them.

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

silentcoder Re:RT.com? (538 comments)

So you're just going to pretend that all those real world examples I gave never existed ?

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

silentcoder Re:US is... (538 comments)

It's not a very difficult calculation - our constitution has all the rights yours has - and a few more you don't :D

And good job guessing the country right :D

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

silentcoder Re:US is... (538 comments)

>Happy September 11th. If I wished to say those things about the United States I'd even be able to do so as a citizen. If you're an American then congratulations, you're in one of the only countries that you can do that. If you're not American I don't intend to stifle your freedom of speech, I just dare you to say that about you're own country.

My country has a government filled with extreme levels of corruption, the police is so corrupt as to be almost entirely ineffective - but when they do actually do anything it generally ends in unarmed poor (usually black) people being shot for daring to complain about it. the military is really only useful as an excuse for corrupt arms-deal contracts (mostly to buy equipment nobody is ever trained to actually be able to use), the president couldn't remove his head from his arse without major surgery, the opposition parties are no less corrupt and completely ineffective which has turned our once lofty intellectual political discourse into a farce of clowns throwing manure at each other.

Basically - we're exactly like America, only with a lot more poor people. Oh - and I have MORE civil liberties than YOU do.

about two weeks ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

silentcoder Re:RT.com? (538 comments)

>Communists in power don't force people to drink vodka & eat borscht you sniveling coward, they confiscate all your belongings, outaw dissent & condemn people to hard prison or insane asylums without fair trials.

No... that's what TYRANTS in power do. Just because we've had a lot of communist tyrants does not mean communism REQUIRES Tyrants (it doesn't) or that Tyrants are always communist (they aren't - in fact three of the worst tyrants of the 20th century were not - two were fascists [a form of capitalism] and one was a free market fundamentalist: Pinochet !)

There are variations of communist philosophy that are forms of anarchism - such as Anton Pannekoek's "Council Communism", Robert Hahnel's Parecon, Noam Chomsky's brand of Anarcho-syndicalism or the kind of libertarian socialism practised in Andalusia (Southern Spain) during the first 20 years of the last century - and would probably still be there if the scale of the world wars hadn''t overwhelmed them and gotten all of Spain under a different tyrant (Franco) with yet another economic philosophy that was fairly unique (close enough to capitalism for Spain not to be targeted during the cold war, close enough to communism for the Russians not to target them either - somewhat like facism but not enough for either side to care).

about two weeks ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

silentcoder Re:Shortest version (326 comments)

>However, free open source software is not the only way to do that.

Please provide a way to do that without some ability to audit the source ?

> The assumption that non-free software is bad and harmful and by extension free software is good and beneficial

Being non-free is, by itself, already bad - freedom is worth far more than money. It's generally stupid to sacrifice your life to prevent losing money as it precludes the ability to make more (which always exists), but those who sacrifice their lives to prevent the loss of liberty are widely considered heroes.
Liberty is fundamentally more valuable than almost all other considerations.
This is why the FSF distinguishes between proprietory and commercial software. The one is harmful and the other is not in terms of liberty.
Now there may or may not be other harms - there could be malware in a free software project hoping nobody looks, a non-free program could offer you a way to guarantee you'll win the lottery this week - nevertheless the free software would STILL be superior in terms of liberty.

>Stallman has a very narrow view of what software development should look like
He had never proposed any view on this topic whatsoever. He has DONE software development in a certain style (which, by the way, was no the open source methodology but the traditional bazaar style he knew) but he never declared it a better way of developing software.
He has limited his position purely to the ethical and philosophical issues of freedom, which is a higher consideration than quality or commercial success.
After all - would you agree to a law that said you couldn't tell your friends what you saw on the news last night in order to help Fox make more money by forcing more people to watch the show themselves ?
Surely you would consider that an unacceptable constraint on your personal freedom of speech.
What Stallman's arguments prove, VERY convincingly is that the four freedoms he cares about are all - JUST as important.

People who wish to paint a strawman (which you did) tend to accuse him (falsely) of not recognizing some free software as such - which is actually not true at all. Stallman has NEVER denied that any BSD system is free, nor has he denied that of any GNU/Linux distribution (except for a few very specific cases like the Tivo which really weren't).
He does however refuse to endorse a product that does not share his values. So he won't endorse openBSD or redhat, but that is not denying that those products are free, it's just not endorsing something which (in turn) endorses other things he is opposed to. That's a perfectly reasonable position to take.
If you're opposed to something, would you endorse somebody who, while not themselves engaged in that thing, do however endorse it publicly in the very same sphere where they asked for your endorsement ?

about two weeks ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

silentcoder Re:Shortest version (326 comments)

Quite a lot of smaller projects, notably ones that target individuals, have voluntary donation based business models - and make enough to keep the developers' bills paid so they can write the software. Because a dollar here or a dollar there is not prohibitively expensive, and it adds up quite a lot if you have a few thousand people who do so every month which for a reasonably successful end-user project these days would only require about a 25% donation rate.

This is the exact same business model that humble bundle uses.

For quite a few years I maintained a project that was the market-leader in it's class for free software. I never made money out of end-users but I ran a successful business based on selling features to other business. My software was a management tool used for running a type of small business - a lot of indy such businesses used it, some NGO's distributed it for variations on the theme - but there were also quite a few big companies who were franchising business built around it. They wanted customized management software that would protect their franchised brand and offer functionality that the indy guys didn't care about (like integration between franchises) - and they paid me very handsomely to develop those for them.
Of course they COULD go to anybody to do it - but they didn't because I knew the code better than anybody and could do it cheaper.
For doing it, I would charge them an hourly rate. I would also make them a choice. I could either include the features they wanted back in the main branch for others to use (including competitors) or I could keep it in it's own branch - never publicly distributed to anybody else (hence without violation of the GPL) - and if any other customer wanted the same feature I would have to pay somebody else to clean-room it. But if they wanted feature exclusivity - the rate-per-hour was doubled.
I made very good money that way - drove a nice car, had a nice home. Eventually the technology changed and the market for that kind of business dissapeared almost entirely (actually - mobile replaced it) and so I moved on to other things (no point writing code nobody needs anymore).

Basically - you have no idea how many people successfully do the very things you just claimed nobody does.

about two weeks ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

silentcoder Re:Shortest version (326 comments)

Nothing in Stallman's philosophy precludes profit-driven development - on the contrary, he actively encourages it !
He precludes a certain METHOD of profit generation, not the idea of profit.

Your response is like saying "We can't have pollution standards because saying you can't make profit by dumping strychnine in my drinking water is the same saying you can't make profit at all".

There is absolutely no free software problem with profit. There is a freedom problem with software that are sold in one PARTICULAR bad way because the harms that it causes to the public far outweigh the profit earned by the seller.

The only thing Stallman has ever done is point out the age-old lesson that if you don't force the medicine seller to tell you what's in his medicine most of it ends up being snake-oil.

about two weeks ago
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Stallman Does Slides -- and Brevity -- For TEDx

silentcoder Re:Where to draw the line (326 comments)

Stallman has only ever allowed for "use a proprietory application" in one sole exception case:
Where there is no viable free alternative.
However, if you believe in freedom - and use it under that condition, you need to also be contributing (in whatever way your particular skills and talents allow) to projects aiming to make a free alternative viable.

about two weeks ago
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Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

silentcoder Re:Maybe, we just should not do SAME thing nationw (58 comments)

>Great example! Were you going to add, that Linus quit teaching, when he discovered a better programmer and OS-designer teaching in a classroom next door?

The scary thing is that you think that proves YOUR point when, in fact, it proves mine.

about two weeks ago
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Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

silentcoder Re:Maybe, we just should not do SAME thing nationw (58 comments)

Small correction:
standardized testing GUARANTEES the highest degrees of cheating (including teacher-assisted cheating) and corruption of any form of student assessment.

about two weeks ago
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Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

silentcoder Re:Maybe, we just should not do SAME thing nationw (58 comments)

>No, I don't know a single Finn or Korean. And even if I did, one person's circle of acquaintances is not sufficient to make meaningful conclusions about the quality of school system in any of their countries

Are you allergic to thinking ? Nobody suggested that. Luckily we have these things called science and statistics which work well together and lots scientists and statisticians who make detailed studies of education - including how it compares around the world and what does and doesn't work well. We also have huge organisations like UNICEF which funds international studies of this nature. We don't have to GUESS who have the best school systems - we have FACTS.
Among the things these scientists compare is - how many students manage to get in to high quality tertiary education (what Americans would call Ivy League schools) - and how they perform there (the first year drop-out rate is one of the best measurements of the pre-university school system).

>Big deal. I graduated trilingual too (Ukrainian, Russian, English) â" and most of Europe does, I guess, out of necessity. I don't know, how well they write (in any language) or whether all the graduates can solve a quadratic equation. If you have any evidence, that Finns (or South Koreans) are, indeed, the best educated in the world, you should've offered citations two posts ago...

We were comparing with America, not Europe where multilingualism is common. As for citations - google -it this is an EXTREMELY well studied field and there is very high consensus because there is such a massive abundances of ways to measure outcomes and they have little to no dissagreement. I gave one example above, another would be the likelihood of somebody to find work straight out of high-school compared to a drop-out. The number of people who manage to get PHDs is another.

>That was a great opportunity to list some MORE accurate alternatives, but you missed it. Likely, because none exist.

No, because I didn't realize I was talking to a person with absolutely no knowledge of the subject he is making such absolute statements about...
Well - one example of a MUCH more accurate measurement is through continuous grading via projects and assignments.
Exams barely, if at all, reflect actual skills in a subject - they reflect skill at passing exams and these skills rarely correlate.
Exams create disrupted educational incentives causing teachers to teach "to the exam", students to study "to the exam" and NOBODY to actually LEARN anything - not to mention as Stevin Levitt so conclusively proofed standardized testing GUARANTEES the highest degrees of teaching and corruption of any form of student assessment.

There are many, many educational systems without exams - even large universities like Harvard are moving away from them because the evidence of their complete lack of reliability is becoming too large to ignore.
People who think exams are the only, let alone a GOOD, way to measure ability are almost always people who went to school before anybody really studied this stuff - never really encountered any other ideas and think their experience is the only one that's possible - that BY ITSELF proves they had an inferior education.

The Waldorf education system (considered universally as one of the most comprehensive and highest quality education systems there is - found in the most expensive private schools around the world) for example is completely exam-less. In countries where matriculation requires a final government-mandated exam, their students still take those exams and outperforms those students who had, had exams throughout their school career - DESPITE not having been coached to exams every year since they had never HAD an exam before.
I have some personal issues with Waldorf (too much religion in there for my liking) but even so I can recognize that it's massively superior to the Prussian-style public school systems that still dominate most of the world DESPITE producing inferior outcomes everywhere it's used.

Exams were fine when the sole purpose of schools were to produce soldiers and factory workers. In an age where they need to produce people who think - not just people who obey orders (and what society needs is NOT just lots of really obedient people - but rather the exact opposite, lots of people who dislike and question authority) - they are worthless. You can't test critical thinking with an exam.

about two weeks ago
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Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

silentcoder Re:Maybe, we just should not do SAME thing nationw (58 comments)

>And how do we know that? Without exams of some sort?

You can see how they perform in life maybe ?
You do know that the even the most struggling students in Finnland graduated trilingual right ?

>Sure. And I too am an excellent singer â" so long as you don't compare me with anyone else.

Comparing people and comparing schools are not analogous. The latter is a system - and there is absolutely no logical reason why all of them can't be as good as the best one is now or better.

>That "difference" seems rather self-serving. The purpose of a school system is not produce good teachers. It is to prepare students for all pursuits they may choose â" not just teaching.

That's an idiotic way to read it. The point is that if the best of the best are CHOOSING to become teachers then EVERYBODY gets the best education they can -regardless of what THEY choose to do.
Even Linus Torvalds did a stint teaching !

>I still don't understand, how you would know, your education is particularly good without some means to compare the results...

Of all the ways to measure a students abilities, exams are just about the LEAST accurate.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Lucasfilm threatens company for making lasers.

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 4 years ago

silentcoder (1241496) writes "Lucasfilm has sent a cease and desist letter to the poducers of a powerful hand-held laser device meant primarily for industrial work claiming it resembles the lightsabers from the copyrighted Star Wars films too much. The manufactuers, Hong-Kong based Wicked Lasers, deny any correlation between their product and the lightsabers in the films. An interesting side question arises however: can a company owning the idea for a fictional technology later prevent somebody from creating a real product even if is directly inspired ? Would Steven Spielberg be able to stop anybody from making a time-machine in an automobile? Will Lucasfilm be going after the Martin Aircraft Company next because Boba Fett had a jetpack ?"
Link to Original Source
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New dinosaur species discovered in South Africa

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 4 years ago

silentcoder (1241496) writes "Scientists at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa today announced the discover of a previously unknown species of dinosaur. The new species was named Aardonyx Celestae from the Afrikaans word for "earth" and the Greek for claw,. Earthclaw which is particularly interesting as it provides a crucial link between the early dinosaurs and the later giant Sauropods was discovered during a routine dig on a farm the northern FreeState (South-Africa's most central province). Two other species were discovered on the same site, but their announcement will only happen later after further laboratory testing has been done."
Link to Original Source
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The first Kongoni Screenshots ever

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 5 years ago

silentcoder writes "With their first public release just days away, the kongoni project a GNU/Linux distribution originated in Africa and designed to be a fully-free desktop-friendly system on a BSD-like architecture lead developer A.J. Venter has released a full set of screenshots showing the "baseline" release in action. The baseline is intended to provide common platform for the further development of the system and as such represents a new approach to the development of a community distribution. It allows all potential contributors to work on a common installable platform without huge investments in server and bandwidth infrastructure.

The official release anouncement is expected within days."

Link to Original Source
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KDE releases version 4.1.1

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  about 6 years ago

silentcoder writes "The KDE project announced the first major update to KDE4.1 today. Version 4.1.1's changelog is largely focussed on performance improvements and bugfixes. The desktop shell, plasma, had numerous improvements in this regard which should be the most immediately user-visible.

With each KDE4 release the project seems to be edging closer to true next-generation desktop that was promised and despite the initial 4.0 controversy is becoming ever more widely adoptable. The particular focus on performance improvements are especially telling of a renewed commitment to giving users what they want."

Link to Original Source
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Office2007 fails ISO 29500 compliancy tests.

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 6 years ago

silentcoder writes "Groklaw picked up the story that OOXML documents created with Office 2007 do not actually conform to the OOXML standard as it was approved for ISO 29500. After a much criticized voting process, extensively discussed on /. and elsewhere one major point seems to have been overlooked by the ISO members: the fast track process is only for standards that are already implemented. Since Office 2007 is not in fact capable of creating OOXML documents that conform to the published standard where is this implementation ?
Much more details on the nature of the failures, who did the tests and it's further meaning for the industry (right back to square one: playing catch-up forever) in the article."

Link to Original Source

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