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September 1, 2009
00:16

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Author: segphault 
13:55

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Author: segphault 
September 3, 2009
02:22

The targeted Internet advertising phenomenon is viewed with growing concern by privacy advocates who fear that controversial practices like behavioral tracking are ripe for abuse. A coalition of consumer and Internet rights groups have written a joint open letter addressed to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in which they articulate some specific concerns about behavioral tracking and provide an outline of proposed regulatory guidelines that they believe should be enforced to protect consumers.

Behavioral tracking, a practice that is used by all of the major Internet advertising networks, involves building a profile of information about users based on which websites they visit. This information helps ad companies display advertisements that are more narrowly targeted to the interests of individual users. Major consolidation in the Internet advertising industry has made it possible for a small handful of very large advertising companies to broadly track user behavior across the entire Internet.

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Author: Articles 
03:44

Red Hat announced Wednesday the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4, a new major point update of the company's popular commercial Linux distribution. This version introduces official support for KVM and marks an important milestone in Red Hat's gradual transition away from Xen.

KVM, the Kernel-based Virtual Machine, is an open source framework that brings native full virtualization to the Linux kernel. It is primarily designed for the x86 architecture (though others are supported) and takes advantage of processor virtualization extensions. It has been part of the mainline Linux kernel since 2.6.20 and has become the favored virtualization solution of the upstream kernel community. 

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Author: Articles 
11:41

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Author: segphault 
September 4, 2009
01:13

Diebold announced on Thursday that it has sold its voting machine division to Election Systems & Software (ES&S), a former competitor. Diebold's unceremonious departure from the electronic voting machine business will be welcomed by critics of the company's controversial direct-recording electronic voting products.

Diebold, which is primarily an ATM maker, decided to unload its voting machine subsidiary—Premier Election Solutions—for roughly $5 million and change. As a consequence of the deal, the company expects to report a loss of over $45 million. According to a statement issued by Diebold, the company has been looking for a way out of the voting machine racket ("pursuing strategic alternatives to ownership") since 2006 when it realized that the whole endeavor was intractably dysfunctional ("identified its US elections systems business as non-core to its operations").

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Author: Articles 
02:09

A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability that was patched on Thursday in Ruby on Rails affected several widely used Web services including the popular Twitter microblogging website and Basecamp, a project management tool created by 37Signals from which the Ruby on Rails framework originated.

Security researcher Brian Mastenbrook uncovered the bug when he was conducting a serendipitous test of unicode handling in Twitter. He discovered that he could circumvent the site's string sanitization mechanism and inject a JavaScript payload. It falls into the category of a non-persistent or "type 1" XSS vulnerability.

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Author: Articles 
05:10

When the European Commission isn't occupied with important duties such as regulating banana curvature, it likes to turn its attention to large companies with significant market share. EU regulators are concerned about the implications of Oracle's pending acquisition of Sun, a $7.4 billion deal that could significantly reshape the enterprise IT market. The EC has temporarily halted the acquisition and is preparing to launch an antitrust inquiry to determine if the sale should be permitted to go forward.

At the heart of the controversy is MySQL, the popular open source database software that Sun acquired last year. EC commissioner Neelie Kroes says that the absorption of leading open source database software by a company that sells competing proprietary database requires close scrutiny. Specifically, the commissioner fears that Oracle will discontinue ongoing development of MySQL, reducing the choices that are available to consumers and potentially forcing users to buy the database giant's more costly enterprise solutions.

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Author: Articles 
September 5, 2009
00:36

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Author: segphault 
September 7, 2009
15:00

Google's shiny Chrome Web browser is shaping up to be a real winner. It offers great performance, relatively good stability, and an increasingly nifty feature set. Although it has a lot to like, it's lack of extensibility is impeding adoption among technology enthusiasts. This is a weakness that the Chrome developers are keen to address.

The Chrome developer channel builds recently gained an experimental extension system that makes it easy for third-party developers to add new features and expand the browser's capabilities. It's still at an early stage of development and has a long way to go before it can be used to replicate the broad spectrum of functionality provided by the most popular Firefox extensions. But despite the current limitations, it is off to a good start and is already capable of facilitating some useful enhancements.

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Author: Articles 
September 8, 2009
10:27

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Author: segphault 
10:51

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Author: segphault 
15:16

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Author: segphault 
16:26

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Author: segphault 
September 9, 2009
06:15

GigaOM's annual Mobilize conference is taking place on Thursday in San Francisco. The one-day event, which brings together some of the leading experts in the industry, aims to provide attendees with a window into the future of mobile computing. We are delighted to be participating in Mobilize this year as a media partner.

The mobile Web is the theme of Mobilize 2009. Here at Ars, we have kept a close eye on new mobile platforms and technologies that bring a desktop-like browsing experience to handheld devices. The industry is responding as technology enthusiasts and a growing number of regular consumers increasingly demand a richer and more complete browsing experience on their cell phones. Network operators are also just beginning to roll out a whole new class of connectivity technologies that hold the promise of making the mobile Internet truly ubiquitous at broadband speeds. Mobilize 2009 will give the industry a venue for collectively exploring the implications of these important trends.

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Author: Articles 
September 10, 2009
02:40

Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin has a message for Microsoft: he wants the software giant to stop attacking Linux. Zemlin contends that Microsoft is engaged in a covert war against the open source operating system and that the company's hostile behavior is detrimental to the growing number of Microsoft customers who deploy mixed Windows and Linux environments.

Zemlin's comments about Microsoft are a response to a patent auction carried out by Microsoft to sell a number of patents that the company allegedly said were related to Linux. The patents, which were originally obtained by Microsoft from SGI, were sold to Allied Security Trust (AST), a patent-holding group that grants its members perpetual licenses before reselling the patents.

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Author: Articles 
07:49

At the Mobilize conference on Thursday in San Francisco, Motorola CEO Dr. Sanjay Jha unveiled an Android smartphone called CLIQ (all caps in the tradition of the RAZR and ROKR) that will be available soon from T-Mobile. The device features a new service called Blur that Motorola developed to bring deep social networking integration and Web synchronization support to Android handsets.

During his keynote presentation at Mobilize, Jha introduced the capabilities of Blur and described how it will define Motorola's Android strategy. Jha asserts that networked communication is evolving away from the traditional one-to-one model embodied by e-mail and SMS and is shifting towards a more social and collaborative one-to-many model as users increasingly adopt services like Facebook and Twitter.

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Author: Articles 
15:52

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Author: segphault  |  Tags:
September 11, 2009
02:38

Microsoft has launched a nonprofit organization with the aim of encouraging commercial software vendors to participate in open source software development. Microsoft has provided the organization, which is called the CodePlex Foundation, with $1 million in funding to get it started.

This move arrives on the heels of a controversy over a Microsoft patent auction—allegedly aimed at undermining Linux—that compelled the executive director of the Linux Foundation to criticize the company for foul play. It's unclear if the CodePlex Foundation has been established in response to the controversy: the foundation itself appears unrelated, but there is certainly a possibility that the timing wasn't coincidental.

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Author: Articles 
September 12, 2009
14:23

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Author: segphault 
17:43

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Author: segphault  |  Tags:
September 13, 2009
20:43

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Author: segphault 
September 14, 2009
01:28

Apple has opened the source code of Grand Central Dispatch (GCD), a powerful, system-wide concurrency framework that was introduced in Mac OS X 10.6. The userspace library component of GCD, which is called libdispatch, is now available for download under the terms of the Apache Software License. This will potentially make it possible, though not necessarily easy, for the feature to be adapted for use on other platforms. The source code of Apple's kernel-level GCD optimizations is also available as part of the XNU source tree, but the documentation indicates that kernel changes may not necessarily be required.

Our own John Siracusa's epic Snow Leopard review describes GCD in exhaustive depth so I'll spare you all of the details here. It provides an efficient system-wide threadpool and some high-level programming constructs that vastly simplify parallelization for application developers.

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Author: Articles 
12:20

Apple's WebKit HTML rendering engine has gained experimental support for WebGL, an emerging standard that aims to bring native 3D graphics to the Web. The WebGL implementation has landed in the WebKit source tree, but the feature is not yet enabled by default in nightly builds, indicating that it is still at a very early stage of development.

The WebGL standard is being devised by a coalition of browser vendors and other interested parties in collaboration with the Khronos Group, an industry consortium that oversees OpenGL and a number of other standards relating to graphics and media. The goal of WebGL is to expose the low-level OpenGL ES 2.0 APIs through JavaScript so that they can be used to draw hardware-accelerated 3D graphics in the HTML Canvas element.

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Author: Articles 
12:35

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Author: segphault 
18:32

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Author: segphault 
18:38

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Author: segphault 
19:01

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Author: segphault 
23:38
Testing Haiku alpha 1
Author: segphault 
September 15, 2009
01:16

Apple's iPhone is known for its Byzantine application approval process and somewhat insular platform. Undeterred by these challenges, Novell has succeeded in bringing Mono, its open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET framework, to the iconic device.

Novell announced Monday the official launch of MonoTouch, a new framework that allows application developers to build native iPhone software with C# and other .NET programming languages. It is designed to conform with the requirements stipulated by Apple for App Store eligibility. This will allow .NET developers to take advantage of their existing skills and potentially reuse some of their existing code when they build software for the iPhone.

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Author: Articles 
September 16, 2009
01:20

Google announced on Tuesday the official release of Chrome 3, a new version of its WebKit-based open source Web browser. The new version introduces several noteworthy new features, including a faster JavaScript engine, a theme system, improvements to the Omnibox, and a redesigned New Tab page.

The Chrome Web browser was first launched with much fanfare a little over a year ago. According to Google, the performance of the browser's V8 JavaScript engine has increased by over 150 percent since the original version of Chrome was released. Thanks to Google's aggressive performance optimizations, V8 has zoomed past Mozilla's TraceMonkey JavaScript engine and now rivals Apple's speedy Nitro engine in our recent benchmarks.

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Author: Articles 
06:17

In the second half of the 90s, a company called Be boldly entered the personal computing market with an operating system that was unlike any other. BeOS was highly modular and responsive, booted in mere seconds, made extensive use of threading, gave developers rich C++ APIs, and had a database-like 64-bit filesystem with support for journaling, indexing, and metadata. BeOS offered all of this while Microsoft was selling Windows 95 and Apple was still struggling to deliver features like preemptive multitasking.

Although BeOS was arguably one of the most advanced platforms of its time, it never gained sufficient traction to stay afloat in a market that was almost entirely locked up by its rivals. After the final BeOS release in 2000, a community of enthusiasts began an effort to bring the platform back to life by building a clean-room open source implementation from scratch. This effort, which became known as the Haiku project, has just announced the availability of its first alpha release after eight years of development.

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Author: Articles 
21:16

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Author: segphault 
23:12

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Author: segphault 
23:46

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Author: segphault 
September 17, 2009
02:25

Opera Mini got a boost this week with the launch of the first Opera Mini 5 beta release. It offers an outstanding new user interface that is a significant improvement over previous versions of Opera Mini and even outshines the most recent builds of Opera Mobile. With swift page rendering and top-notch usability, it's guaranteed to turn heads.

Opera Mini is Opera's lightweight MIDP browser for J2ME-enabled feature phones and other devices that aren't capable of running Opera Mobile. In order to reduce bandwidth consumption and computational overhead, Opera Mini relays all page requests through Opera's backend server infrastructure which will load and prerender page content and then compress it before transmitting it to the user. In addition to significantly reducing the amount of work that has to be done on the user's mobile device, this approach also boosts page loading speed. It's worth noting that this rendering mechanism is also used to facilitate "Turbo Mode" in Opera Mobile.

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Author: Articles 
05:31

On Wednesday, Google's Mark Pilgrim published episode 35 of This Week in HTML 5, a series of articles that he is writing at the WHATWG blog to document the progress of the Web standards effort. In this episode, he praises Microsoft's Adrian Bateman, who is providing useful feedback on the HTML 5 draft on behalf of Microsoft. Pilgrim's article highlights some of Bateman's commentary on specific features of HTML 5, including statements which indicate that Microsoft is supportive of the HTML 5 multimedia tags.

HTML 5 is the next generation of the hypertext markup language standard that is used to produce content on the Web. It originally emerged from the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) and is presently undergoing editing through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The HTML 5 specification describes a number of important emerging Web features, including the Canvas and Video elements. Some aspects of HTML 5 are already widely implemented in modern browsers.

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Author: Articles 
12:04

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Author: segphault 
September 18, 2009
02:45

A group of Senate Democrats led by Russ Feingold (WI) and Dick Durbin (IL) have proposed the Judicious Use of Surveillance Tools in Counter-terrorism Efforts (JUSTICE) Act, a bill that would introduce stronger safeguards and higher standards of judicial oversight for surveillance activity. It aims to reform the most abusive characteristics of the PATRIOT Act and would also roll back a controversial provision of the FISA Amendment Act that granted telecom companies retroactive immunity for their participation in the Bush administration's extralegal warrantless surveillance program.

The proposal is broadly endorsed by privacy advocates and civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Senator Feingold says that the goal of the act is to ensure that surveillance and intelligence-gathering activities are properly empowered while guaranteeing that rights are respected and investigative privileges are not misused.

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Author: Articles 
06:32

GigaOM hosted its annual Mobilize conference earlier this month in San Francisco. Ars Technica participated in the one-day event as an official media partner and brought you coverage of Motorola's Android launch, which took place during one of the keynote presentations.

Nestled between the keynotes and the panels, Mobilize also includes a series of Fireside Chats. These are live Q&A sessions with prominent industry figures who discuss various aspects of mobile computing. I was invited to conduct a Fireside Chat with Jon von Tetzchner, the CEO of Opera. We discussed the growing relevance of mobile Web browsers and the value of emerging standards such as HTML5.

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Author: Articles 
11:41

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Author: segphault 
September 20, 2009
16:03

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Author: segphault  |  Tags:
16:29

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Author: segphault 
September 21, 2009
00:31

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Author: segphault 
03:00

Canonical has announced the availability of Ubuntu 9.10 alpha 6, the final alpha release before the transition to beta testing. Ubuntu 9.10, codenamed Karmic Koala, introduces a number of important architectural improvements and also improves boot performance, especially on computers with solid state hard drives.

Earlier this year, Canonical revealed plans to significantly optimize boot performance. It aims to deliver 10-second startups for the Ubuntu 10.04 release, which is due in 2010. In the latest Karmic alpha, the team has already taken some important steps toward achieving this goal. Their roadmap indicates that 25 seconds is the target for Karmic, and the reference device used to benchmark progress is the Dell Mini 9 netbook. We did some testing of our own to see how the OS is coming along.

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Author: Articles 
September 22, 2009
01:09

The latest Firefox nightly builds now include Mozilla's implementation of WebGL, an emerging standard that aims to bring 3D graphics to the Web. Although the standard is still at a relatively early stage in the draft process, it is rapidly gaining momentum and has strong backing from a growing number of browser vendors. It's yet another sign that standards adoption is accelerating as the need to bring richer content to the Web drives forward browser evolution.

The WebGL working group was formed earlier this year when Mozilla teamed up with the Khronos Group, the organization behind the OpenGL standard, to define an open standard for native browser 3D. The goal is to develop low-level JavaScript APIs that will provide comprehensive support for OpenGL ES 2.0. High-level third-party libraries, such as C3DL, will be built on top to give Web application developers a more expressive and convenient way to leverage WebGL's 3D capabilities. Mozilla believes that the flexibility inherent in this layered approach will be advantageous in the long term and that the trend towards faster JavaScript engines will make it practical for real-world usage.

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Author: Articles 
06:30

A number of modern Web features cannot be used pervasively on the Internet because Microsoft's dominant browser, Internet Explorer, often fails to support current and emerging standards. Google has a plan to drag IE into the world of modern browsing by building a plugin that will allow it to use Chrome's HTML renderer and high-performance JavaScript engine.

Microsoft has recently taken promising steps forward by engaging with the standards community and adding much-needed features in Internet Explorer 8. Although this demonstrates a willingness to improve, it doesn't change the fact that Microsoft is still lagging far behind other browser vendors. Perhaps more troubling than the deficiencies of IE8 is the tragic longevity of IE6, which was released in 2001 and is long overdue for retirement. Some companies unfortunately cannot give it up, either, because they depend on proprietary Web software that only supports legacy versions of IE.

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Author: Articles 
September 23, 2009
01:02

Oracle's pending acquisition of Sun recently hit a snag when EU regulators decided that Oracle's assimilation of MySQL warranted closer scrutiny. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison responded publicly in a recent address, saying that Oracle will not unload MySQL in order to appease EU regulators.

Sun acquired MySQL last year in a move that aimed to position the company's Solaris operating system as a more appealing choice for Web servers. The honeymoon was short, however, and key people from MySQL fled in the aftermath of the acquisition. MySQL cofounder Monty Widenius left in February after expressing frustration with the 5.1 release. He founded his own company and formed an alliance with other independent companies in the MySQL ecosystem with the intention of providing an alternate path forward for MySQL in the event that Oracle takes steps that are disadvantageous to the community.

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Author: Articles 
01:14

Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth announced on Tuesday that Ubuntu 10.04, the next major version of the popular Linux distribution, will be called Lascivious Liger Lucid Lynx. This version is highly significant because it will be offered with long-term support (LTS).

This means that security updates will be available for five years for servers and three years for desktops. Regular Ubuntu releases are only supported for eighteen months. Shuttleworth introduced the LTS concept in 2006 with the release of Dapper Drake. The enhanced stability and longer lifecycle of LTS releases make them appealing to hardware makers organizations that are rolling out large Ubuntu deployments. The last LTS version was 8.04, codenamed Hardy Heron, which was released in 2008.

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Author: Articles 
02:57

Mozilla Messaging has been hard at work incubating the next major version of the Thunderbird mail client. A new beta release that was made available this week includes some nice user interface improvements and an extremely impressive new system for searching through messages.

Mozilla Messaging was spun off of the Mozilla Foundation in 2007 and established as a subsidiary with $3 million in seed funding. Run by former ActiveState CTO David Ascher, its mandate is to advance Thunderbird and build a new generation of messaging tools based on Mozilla's technology. The Thunderbird 3 roadmap began to coalesce in early 2008 shortly after Mozilla Messaging got pushed out of the nest and the first alpha arrived several months later.

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Author: Articles