Aug 23, 2013 GMTThese days, I can hardly log on to Google+ or Facebook without being bombarded by a dozen fundraising campaigns. Musicians, film makers, game makers, authors, charities, free software projects, manufacturers, non-profits, for-profits -- everyone seems to be asking for a slice of the crowdfunding pie. I could easily spend my month's income in a morning, pledging money for good causes -- so, consequently, I've been forced to set some guidelines in the hopes of finding a more responsible approach to making donations.These guidelines are practices I've built up from years of charitable donations. They come, too, from my experiences over the years of hiring people, which has taught me that,...
Off the Beat: Bruce Byfield's Blog
Aug 18, 2013 GMTLast week, I did something that I had meant to do for over a decade: I filed a bug against LibreOffice's Bibliography Database. As I tweeted immediately afterwards, somebody had to do it.Part of the delay was due to the fact that I haven't been an academic for some years now. In the last decade, I've written exactly one scholarly paper, so defects in the Bibliography Database were less than a pressing concern of mine.Another part was that the bug -- or most of it -- was so simple that I was sure somebody else would get around to correcting it.But apparently I under-estimated the degree to which the Bibliography Database was being avoided. Although I was aware that many LibreOffice users...
Aug 11, 2013 GMTVery few computer journalists or users understand that security means more than regular updates and virus-scans. As a result, every now and again, a scare makes the headlines. The latest scare is the Hand of Thief trojan described last week by RSA that is supposed to target Linux specifically.These scares are predictable in their content and claims. One popular pronouncement is that Linux has only escaped its share of malware because of its relative unpopularity, and the latest scare is a sign that things are about to change. This prediction can be guaranteed to draw sniggers from Windows users, who are tired of the weaknesses of their operating system being constantly mentioned, and...
Jul 30, 2013 GMTTo say that Larry "the Free Software Guy" Cafiero criticizes Ubuntu and Canonical is like calling a hurricane breezy. A journalist in his work and a blogger in his spare time, Cafiero frequently shows himself to be harder hitting and more to the point than most free software writers. Recently, however, he has found a way to highlight his criticism while encouraging critics and supporters alike to donate to a cause in which both can believe.Ever since the Ubuntu Edge fundraising campaign was announced last week, Cafiero has expressed his low opinion of it. Inspired by insommia, early one morning, he even commented on it using a number of popular memes (my favorite is Sean...
Jul 23, 2013 GMTLike many who write about free software, I spent yesterday writing about Ubuntu Edge, the effort to crowdfund a project to promote innovation in the phone market. The story had more than enough points of interest to keep me busy, but one aspect I didn't have time to examine in depth was the idea of a company attempting to crowdfund. In some ways, the attempt seems contrary to the whole idea of crowdfunding.Make no mistake -- that is what Ubuntu Edge is about, despite the fact that the name includes Ubuntu rather than Canonical. Even though it's unclear whether Ubuntu Edge is intended to be even modestly profitable, the total absence of any mention of licensing suggests that Ubuntu Edge...
Jul 16, 2013 GMTEvery few months, someone accuses Linus Torvalds of being abusive and rude in his leadership of the Linux kernel. Yesterday, it was kernel developer Sarah Sharp's turn, in an attack that was as noteworthy for its idealism as its deplorably poor tactics.The discussion began on the kernel mailing list when Torvalds suggested, perhaps facetiously, that lead developer Greg Kroah-Hartman might benefit from being less polite.Sharp intervened with a critique of Torvald's own behavior, telling him that "you're one of the worst offenders when it comes to verbally abusing people and publicly tearing their emotions apart. " In response, Torvalds defended his tone as a tool for getting...
Jul 12, 2013 GMTWriting about the Linux desktop used to be simple. I wrote about GNOME and KDE, and, if I really wanted to be complete, I mentioned Xfce. Very occasionally, I might mention a few window managers. But those simple ways were lost in the fragmentation of GNOME over the last three years, and now writing about the desktop is vastly more complicated than it used to be.Today, the number of desktop environments with significant market shares has tripled. To do a thorough job, I can no longer talk about just GNOME and KDE. At a minimum, I also need to talk about Cinnamon, Mate, Unity and Xfce -- and I'm not sure I shouldn't add LXDE and maybe a handful of others to the list.From a user's...
Carnegie Mellon researchers say 3 million pages could fall down the phishing hole in the next year.
The US government rolls new best-practice rules for protecting SSH.
Klaus Knopper announces the latest version of his iconic Live Linux system.
All websites that use these popular CMS tools could be vulnerable to denial of service attacks if users don't install the updates.
According to a report, many potential victims of the Heartbleed attack have patched their systems, but few have cleaned up the crime scene to protect themselves from the effects of a previous intrusion.
DARPA and NICTA release the code for the ultra-secure microkernel system used in aerial drones.
Should you trust an online service to store your online passwords?
New B+ board lets you build cool things without the complication of a powered USB hub.
Redmond rushes in to root out alleged malware haven.
New initiative will bring futuristic virtual reality effects to the web surfing experience.