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Links 04/01/2009: Big Win for ODF in Brazil, Penguin Awareness Day Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • Penguin Awareness Day – January 20th, 2009

    I was riding Southwest Airlines, coming back from visiting my relatives in Pennsylvania. I piked up a copy of the airline’s Spirit Magazine from the seat back pocket, and started reading about various little-known holidays. Then I noticed that “Penguin Awareness Day” is January 20th.

    While “Penguin Awareness Day” officially has little to do with Linux, and there is even controversy on which day is the “official” Penguin Awareness Day, there is really no reason why we could not use this day to make people aware of our favorite operating system and Free Software in general.

  • 7 Best Free/Open-source Backup Software for Linux

    A computer application utilized to perform a complete backup by duplicating the original source of data is called backup software. Obviously, the main purpose of backup software is to create order out of chaos by recovering essential files in the event of a disaster.

    If you are using Linux, there are plenty of backup software to choose from. I have here a list of some of the best free and open source backup software that you may want to check out.

  • KDE 4.1 across Linux distributions

    There are three major Linux families: Debian, Red Hat/Fedora, and SuSE/OpenSuSE. There’s a great family tree here. Red Hat (by Red Hat) and SuSE (by Novell) are non-free distributions aimed at enterprises. Fedora and OpenSuSE are their free, open source offerings. Debian is a free open source distribution. Most other Linux offerings are derivatives of these three families at some level. There are exceptions, of course, like Gentoo, but I’m not building a catalog here. My point is simply that if you stay within a major family, you’ll find more similarities than differences. Wander outside a family, the learning curve grows significantly.


    In the end, I think that KDE 4.1 is simply too imature to allow distribution creators to do much with it. It still lacks the basic configurability and flexibility of KDE 3.5.10 and even Gnome 2.24. Perhaps as KDE 4.x matures, distributions will be able to better differentiate their KDE implementations. In the meantime, I translate statements about the superiority of particular KDE 4.1 implementations as really being declarations of personal preferences for the underlying distribution family. Fair enough.

  • Distributions

    • First impressions: Sabayon Linux Four Oh!

      Two years ago I ran into Sabayon Linux for the first time. Version 3.2 was about to be released and I gave Sabayon a spin on my laptop. The article on my Dutch website about my experiences is still attracting a lot of readers, which indicates a consistent and growing interest in this Linux distribution. Strange enough, I wasn’t very lucky with later releases which simply refused to be installed. Two weeks ago Sabayon Linux Four Oh! was released. How far did Sabayon progress over the last two years?


      So, coming back to the question: “How far did Sabayon progress over the last two years?” what is the answer? Well, Sabayon kept it’s strong points: bleeding edge, style and easy installation, and is adding a solid and fast package manager to extend your box. With a distribution that is pushing forward as much as Sabayon is doing you can expect some rough edges, but -apart from minor issues- it didn’t hinder me from using Four Oh! for day to day work. The only set back is the speed of the desktop. There is definitely some room for improvement in that area. But, overall, a nice release. Kudos for the team. I will be checking Sabayon again in the near future.

    • Ubuntu/Debian

      • Sidux Linux with LXDE – First Impressions

        I am still new to Sidux and LXDE but I will give it a throrough test. I use my Thinkpad for much of my work when I travel Saigon by motorbike.

      • Resolutions and mean people.

        Kudos to the people on the Ubuntu Forums for helping this guy out. Who knows, the next user might expect working suspend and resume, that would be ridiculous!

  • Devices

    • Slimming down in 2009: laptops, software and upgrades

      We’ve begun to see the implications of that. One sign was the emergence of so-called netbooks – simple, ultra-portable handheld computers with smallish displays, no moving parts and running a lightweight version of Linux. They came with onboard wi-fi, simple webcams and Skype built in and were essentially portable life-support systems for a browser and a few selected web applications such as Gmail or Hotmail. And they are the fastest-growing market segment in the industry: about 10% of all portable computer sales last year were netbooks.

    • Google boosts Android with ‘Cupcake’ update

      A sizable slew of the improvements in Cupcake were developed by the open source community and submitted into the public code repositories, and along with Google’s own body of work have now been incorporated into the final update. And while Cupcake began as a separate development branch of Android, it’s now been rolled into the OS codebase and thus will be available on all new Android devices.


  • 7 Reasons Why Pirates Should Jump Ship to Open Source

    1. Support the Software that Supports Your Values


    2. Price Does Not Always Reflect Value


    3. Don’t Spend Time Learning to Use Software You’ll Never Buy


    4. Open Source Can Benefit From More Users


    5. Joining a Community is More Fun Than Fighting a Dictator


    6. You Don’t Have to Keep It a Secret from Your Boss


    7. It’s the Right Thing to Do

  • The BUGS Are Worked Out

    While most tech gadget companies carefully guard their products from hackers, start-up Bug Labs is courting them.

    The company has just released a series of modules, known as the BUG, that snap together like electronic Legos to form an array of different gadgets, from GPS locators to motion detection cameras.

    It’s DIY electronics.

  • FLOSS Weekly 50: Open MPI

    Open MPI, a software implementation of the Message Passing Interface standard.

  • Obama’s Health IT Dilemma: The ‘Some Dude’ Problem

    Free and Open Source health IT Software outlined in a recent AMIA white paper, inherently suffers far less from the Some Dude problem than proprietary software does. How the Obama administration’s $50 Billion proposal is going to deal with Some Dude, if they deal with Some Dude at all, will be interesting to watch.

  • Applications

    • Google’s Microsoft-esque landgrab for IE’s market share

      Fair? Yes. A bit sneaky? You bet. Clint Boulton at eWeek sees it as a way to promote Chrome, and he’s right. Google now regularly hawks its own Chrome browser on its search page, the same page that 63.5 percent of the world uses. In true Microsoft fashion, Google is going to tie its products together, making a holistic experience that ostensibly helps customers while bludgeoning competitors.

    • Mozilla chief John Lilly is fired up about making a better Web browser

      With 200 employees and a $50-million budget, Mozilla is the for-profit subsidiary of the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation. Firefox is “open source,” meaning users everywhere are encouraged to improve it. Its success depends largely on thousands of devoted volunteers — 40% of the code is written by people who don’t clock in.

      “If people participate in the construction of the Web, it will be better and more robust.” For example, Mozilla produced Firefox in one language: English. Volunteers translated it into 61 other languages and also made it accessible to the blind and deaf and others with physical limitations. Next up: Firefox for mobile phones. Consumers appreciate the Mozilla mission: “It’s like organic food. When you tell people about the values that go into building the product, it builds loyalty.”

  • Annual

    • Five Tech Trends to Watch in 2009

      4. Open Source Software

      Real investment in open source software is still off the radar of many SMBs, and that’s a pity, because cost-conscious midmarket companies can look to open source as an easy way to reduce IT costs: There are no licensing or upgrade costs, not to mention no initial software purchase.

      Companies can save money by switching their CRM platforms to SugarCRM, a Linux-based CRM application, from Salesforce.com. Even running a supported version of the software, which means paying support costs, is far less than the forced upgrades and licensing issues that can crop up with a vendor lock-in.

      While open source certainly hasn’t become a dominant force in the midmarket space, as more SMBs adopt open source technologies for non-critical applications, it is likely others, particularly tech-savvy small business owners, will realize the cost benefit potential of open source technology.

    • The top tech resolutions for 2009

      One specific way to save money smartly is to be open to open source, advises InfoWorld Open Sources blogger Zach Urlocker. “In many cases, organizations just default to certain closed source applications or infrastructure decisions because they are not familiar with other options,” he notes. Yet, open source approaches can reduce total cost by as much as 90 percent over traditional offerings. There’s another benefit for staffers: “Even if the decision is made to go with closed source, staff will appreciate getting exposure to new technologies.”

    • Software development predictions for 2009

      Java moves toward an open source mindset

      Oracle’s acquisition of BEA Systems made it one of the largest players in the Java application server market. But it’s still too early to say how BEA customers have weathered the transition. Some might not appreciate their contracts being subsumed into Larry Ellison’s software juggernaut.

      On the other hand, the Red Hat/JBoss merger has proven to be a comfortable match for most JBoss customers, the majority of whom were Linux users to begin with. And Red Hat shows a strong interest in Java; for example, it has put considerable effort into the IcedTea project, a fork of OpenJDK that improves upon Sun’s open source Java stack.


  • Major Win for ODF in Brazil

    Until the latest version of the e-Ping the format ODF was recommended to the status of the document, and voluntary bodies to use, version 4.0 in the ODF takes characteristic of adopted thus becomes mandatory for all government agencies direct, municipalities and foundations.]

    As ever, Brazil’s decision is doubly significant: important in itself, given the size of the country, and important as an example to others.

  • Bailing out the press, newspapers at risk

    The New York Times is in trouble, layoffs are underway and even small town publications are finding they’re not immune to the recession and its affect on their business of reporting the news.

    As an independent web news publisher I have little sympathy for newspapers, though publishers online are feeling the economic pinch of the recession as well with ad rates down considerably.

    Reporter Robert MacMillan noted in a December 31, 2008 Reuters story that two major Connecticut newspapers were in jeopardy of closing for good if something isn’t done to come to their rescue. “The Bristol Press, may fold within days, along with The Herald in nearby New Britain,” wrote MacMillan.

  • DRM as Freedom-Eating Infection

    I’ve often written about DRM, and how it is antithetical to free software. But here’s an interview with Amazon’s CTO, which provides disturbing evidence that it actively *reduces* the amount of free software in use…

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A Single Comment

  1. Lenny Siemens said,

    January 5, 2009 at 7:14 am


    Dude, you really need to get a life.

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