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Links 07/01/2009: GNU/Linux Sub-notebooks Spread; Apple DRM Farce

Posted in News Roundup at 7:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • Why Desktop Linux Holds Its Own Against OS X

    Apple spends millions of dollars each year to explain why OS X is the world’s best desktop operating system. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.

    TechRepublic blogger Jack Wallen recently posted ten things that he thinks Linux does better than Mac OS X. His list is a welcome antidote to Apple’s (unsurprising) party line: Anything Linux can do, OS X can do better.

  • Video

    • More on the “I’m Linux” video contest

      The author seems to imply that a community can’t equal “professional” product. I guess the author hasn’t heard of Linux, or Firefox, or WordPress (despite running their site on it). But the post has a point: I think it would be hard for our community, however passionate, to equal the production of the multi-million dollar ad campaigns. Then again, today with a computer, a $300 video camera and originality you can create amazing video content. What’s important is how compelling, original and persuasive your ideas are. I think that’s the basis of open source software and I believe it will work with videos.

      So let’s prove the naysayers wrong and come up with original and impressive Linux videos.

    • [ANNOUNCE] xf86-video-ati 6.10.0

      xf86-video-ati 6.10.0

      Major changes:
      - – Bicubic scaling on r3xx/r4xx/r5xx/rs690
      - – Support for new asics
      - – reduced tearing with Xv
      - – lots of bug fixes

  • KDE

    • Dragon and SMPlayer

      Kaffeine was the most used Video Player on KDE 3, however, for KDE 4.x it’s in a pretty early stage, but fear not, the SMPlayer (which is technically a Qt application, not a KDE one) and Dragon Player came to fill this hole.

      Why I review two applications that do basely the same? Because Dragon Player is deadly simple, and SMPlayer, while being less simplified, has an amazing feature package.

    • Invite to KDE for Free and Open Source Nigeria 2009

      This is going to be the first free and open source conference in northern Nigeria, a country with more than 100 million people.

    • Predictions & Resolutions

      Using Linux, I will mostly use KDE 4. I tried it, configured it on several desktops and although it’s not fully completed, it rocks and it’s really impressive. You should give it a try.

  • Distributions

    • 5 Best Linux Distros to Convert Windows Users

      Despite Ubuntu continuing to tear up the headlines as the most likely Linux distribution to bring in Windows users from the proprietary OS nightmare, it should be noted that there is a Linux-newbie- friendly world outside of the one created by the Ubuntu distribution.

      In this article, I’ll highlight the best of the best. Some of these distributions may be based on Ubuntu code, while others could not be farther from it. No matter what though, in the end, each of them can survive without any help from the Ubuntu community.


      Like most RPM-based distributions, I have had a love/hate relationship since the distribution’s days as Mandrake. But packaging choices aside, make no mistake, Mandriva is a distribution to be reckoned with.

      For people unfamiliar with it, Mandriva is sort of like a Euro alternative to the now Americanized SuSE Linux distribution. Both are available for sale in boxed form, but Mandriva does very well in the EU ever since Novell took on SuSE as their own product some years back.

    • Linux installation fistival in JUST..

      Yesterday was a great day. We, the open source group at Jordan University of Science and Technology were holding a Linux installation festival to teach people about FOSS and to show them the path to their freedom. There were four distros: Ubuntu 8.10, openSUSE 11.1, Mandriva, Fedora 10 and PC BSD.

    • Linux Distro Review – BIG LINUX 4.2

      I really enjoyed BIG LINUX and I decided to install it. For all KDE lovers it’s a distro that will give many satisfactions.

    • Red Hat

      • Red Hat, Ingres Put Twist On LAMP Developer Stack

        Ingres and Red Hat have teamed up to produce an open source software stack for developers who want to use JBoss Studio development tools to build an application that requires a transaction processing database.

      • Upsizing Linux Servers Getting Easier

        On Sunday night, we moved NewsBlaze.com over to a new server. A 5405 dual processor quad core with 4Gb ram, running Red Hat Enterprise 5, over at ThePlanet, if you are geekily inclined. Most things went really well, and there were only a couple of php and apache webserver issues.

      • Upgrading to Fedora 10

        So, there you go. An upgrade working as it should. Sure, there were some small niggles to fix, but overall it’s not the nightmare it used to be. I think if the Fedora team continues to work on this, we could see Fedora become on par with Debian/Ubuntu when it comes to upgrades. So, if you have Fedora 9, it looks like a yum upgrade to Fedora 10 could be an easy task.

    • Ubuntu

      • How does Ubuntu Linux differ from Debian?

        Bring up the topic of Ubuntu and you’ll receive a mixed response from unexpected corners. No, it’s not the Windows brigade, but the Debian crowd. So just how does Ubuntu differ from Debian to inflame such passion?

      • Memo to Dell: Pump Up Ubuntu Linux

        Sure, Dell has successfully introduced a few Ubuntu PCs and laptops to the geek crowd. But now it’s time for Dell to disrupt the very PC industry it helped to build.

        Remember: Michael Dell himself used Ubuntu Linux on a home PC before Dell (the company) decided to sell Ubuntu systems in mid-2007. Greg Davis, Dell’s new global channel chief, should do the same.

        Start using disruptive technology, Greg, to see emerging market opportunities before Dell’s competition.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • WANdisco Announces Linux-Based Subversion MultiSite Software Appliance

      The appliance includes Subversion, Apache, a fully supported version of Linux and WANdisco’s award-winning multi-site replication technology that allows distributed developers to collaborate at LAN-speed over a WAN, instead of working in silos.

    • Linux NAS/iSCSI server adopts Atom

      Qnap Systems announced a six-bay (9TB), Intel Atom-based version of its family of “TS” network-attached storage (NAS) devices. The hot-swappable TS-639 Pro Turbo NAS runs Linux on a 1.6GHz Atom N270, and offers RAID 0-6 support, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, an an iSCSI target server.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • GNU/Linux from…Marks & Spencer

        As I’ve just written on Open Enterprise, the rise of the ultraportable/netbook was one of free software’s biggest successes – and surprises – last year. It was particularly important for getting GNU/Linux into the hands of punters, many of whom were quite happy with it, contrary to the conventional wisdom.

      • ARMing GNU/Linux Netbooks for Success in 2009

        Alongside price and performance, GNU/Linux has another advantage here Because Intel dominates the desktop as completely as Windows does (and largely for the same reason of duopolistic synergy), we tend to forget that Microsoft’s main operating system only runs on Intel. That was not always the case: some years ago, Windows ran on other chips too, but these were dropped as Intel came to dominate, and Microsoft lost interest.

        GNU/Linux, by contrast, has been ported to more and more hardware, because hackers were and are intrigued by the challenge of doing so.

      • Mini-notebook chips suitable for Linux devices?

        Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced an X86-compatible chipset for ultra-portable laptops. With its Athlon “Neo MV-40″ CPU that resurrects the venerable K8 core, the solderable AMD Yukon chipset could prove interesting for low-cost rugged boards and devices running Linux, though no lifecycle guarantees have been announced.

      • Linux and Netbooks

        One of the neatest developments to come along to personal computing has been the netbook. Netbooks are small, ultra portable laptops (weighing in at about two pounds) that give you basic computing with long battery life (five to seven hours!). You can surf the web, send email, type a document, watch youtube videos, etc. And the price tag is pretty neat, too. Netbooks cost anywhere from $250.00 to about $400.00 depending on the amount of memory, size and type of hard drive, and the size of the display.

      • EEE PC 900 Frag Fest

        Now that my work was done I decided to look for an FPS game that would run on my new EEE PC 900. The EEE PC 900 is not a graphics powerhouse so I took a look at the Cube game engine.

      • Linux boosted by netbook demand

        THE GROWING MARKET for netbooks is helping drive Linux adoption around the world according to a new report from star-gazers at Forrester.

        The report, Netbooks are the third PC form factor, reckons Netbooks have driven adoption of Linux all over the place, except – naturally – in the USA.

      • Netbook sales driving Linux adoption

        “While Linux-based netbooks have not gained much consumer acceptance in the US, their success varies greatly by geographical market. In developing countries, Linux-based Eee PCs have fared better,” said Forrester analyst J P Gownder.

      • What OS for Your Netbook? Duh, Linux!

        I did a little experiment over the summer. I installed Ubuntu Linux on the family PC and walked away. That’s right! I left them there hanging – no support, whatsoever! Guess what? Not one, I REPEAT, not one said “I want my Windows XP back!’. With Firefox, Pidgin and OpenOffice they were cooking with gas and I neither got food burned nor was short-sheeted.

    • Android

      • Phone dev kit runs Android

        The Exeda is touted as an “unusual development platform,” and, indeed, we haven’t seen one quite like it. On the software side, the device is said to be supplied with the open source U-boot boot loader, allowing it to boot into Angstrom Linux and the Google-sponsored Android Linux platform, as well as Windows CE 6.0 and Windows Mobile (pictured here). CompuLab says the Exeda includes complete BSPs (board support packages) plus detailed documentation.

      • RC30 G1 phones can now be jailbroken

        Big news in the G1 jailbreak world today. The guys at the xda-developers forum have snagged RC29 and RC7 firmware images. By copying these to a FAT32-formatted SD card, you can flash these already signed images to your G1 and jailbreak your G1.


  • 16 Free Games – Part 1

    I’ve made a point to choose games that are at least somewhat recent (if not very recent concerning releases) so that they run a-okay on your computer.

  • 16 Free Games – Part 2
  • Tech Execs: Can We Stop the Stupidity?

    But the trend I like the most is openness. Our industry continues to invest in integration and interoperability. Even those with the most to lose – like Microsoft, Oracle, BEA and SAP – have come around to the inevitability of open architectures and alternative software delivery models. We continue to move toward reusability, components for easy software construction, APIs that really interface, and platforms that accelerate interoperability.

  • DSS, Inc., Announces Open Source Version of vxVistA EHR Framework, Joins Open Health Tools Foundation

    DSS, Inc. has announced that its vxVistA product a Veterans Affairs VistA distribution that is CCHIT certified will now be open source under the Eclipse Public License (clarification: the EPL’ed version will not be CCHIT certified although they will share much of the same code)…

  • Interviews

    • Browsing the career of Mozilla CEO John Lilly

      The Stanford University-trained computer scientist is chief executive of Mozilla, maker of the Firefox Web browser, which broke Microsoft’s hold on the market so it couldn’t dominate the Internet the way it does computer operating systems. About 95% of Web surfers used Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in 2004; now 20% use Firefox, and other companies are offering browsers that are smarter and faster than ever before.

    • An Interview with Peter Kronowitt, Software Strategist for the Intel Open Source Technology Center

      Matthew Sacks and Peter Kronowitt discuss how the Moblin project is innovating mobile software development and the future of the mobile device arena.


      Peter Kronowitt: As you point out, hundreds of millions of cell phones are sold each year, and the vast majority are proprietary. eMarketer estimates that the number of people using handheld devices to access the Internet will triple by 2012, and more than 20% of all mobile phone subscribers will also use their phones to access the Internet. Also, Linux as a percentage of the total smartphone market is expected to grow. Symbian is moving to open source, but it will take some time for the project and the community to mature. Between Linux, Symbian, the maturity of the software stack, and the pace of open source innovation, it makes sense that open source will continue its fast-paced growth.

    • The Software Freedom Law Show

      Richard Fontana, Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel from Red Hat, joins us for an in-depth interview.

  • Media

    • Footbo Selects Kaltura’s Open Source Video Platform for Full Management of Its Rich-Media Content

      Footbo, the leading football (soccer) social network, announced today that it has selected Kaltura, Inc. (http://www.kaltura.com), developer of the first open source video platform for video management, creation, interaction, and collaboration, for full management of the site’s rich-media content, and for supporting interactive rich media capabilities for its users to upload and comment on video content.

    • Open Source Telephone Software (FreeSWITCH) Released

      Welcome to 2009! With the new year comes a brand new release of FreeSWITCH. We are pleased to announce that version 1.0.2 is now available. It has been more than five months since the last official release, but the development team and community have been very busy during that time. We’ll first look at the new offerings in 1.0.2 and then we’ll break out the sunglasses and look at the bright future of FreeSWITCH.

  • 2009

    • Finding opportunity amidst gloom in 2009

      Adding a slightly different perspective on what companies need to do to stay afloat, open source software vendor Red Hat’s APJ president, Gery Messer, told BizIT that the biggest challenge this year is to help businesses realise the value of open source.

      ‘Open source delivers value through the subscription model which enables companies to change their IT spending from CapEx (capital expenditure) to OpEx (operational expenditure).’ Open source also delivers the value of customer – and community – driven innovation, Mr Messer said.

    • The smallest threat to open source in 2009

      I’d clarify that to say that managers feeling it’s dangerous doesn’t actually make it so — but it does make it so for all intents and purposes in the corporate environment, when it comes to technology implementation decisions. When the higher-up says “I think the closed source software offering is better, because I have these concerns about the open source software alternative,” his or her subordinate (and perhaps more technically inclined) IT worker will eventually reach a point where he or she must either make decisions limited by the manager’s fears or polish his resume. Take it from someone who knows from personal experience.

  • Collaboration/Applications

    • Zim: A Wiki For Your Desktop

      If you’re looking for a way to take and organize notes, hardcore Linux users will tell you that Vim or Emacs is the only way to go. While they’re both excellent solutions, neither are for the faint of heart. There are plenty of note management options out there — Tomboy and BasKet, for instance — but why not ratchet things up a notch and create a digital journal instead.

    • Extentech Inc. Announces Open Source Multi-Platform Alternative to Sharepoint

      The E360 CE server is offered as a free version and includes the GPLd Sheetster™ Web spreadsheet featuring collaboration tools such as real time document collaboration, document chat, and fine-grained role-based security and document sharing.

    • Data Analysts Captivated by R’s Power

      It is also free. R is an open-source program, and its popularity reflects a shift in the type of software used inside corporations. Open-source software is free for anyone to use and modify. I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard and Dell make billions of dollars a year selling servers that run the open-source Linux operating system, which competes with Windows from Microsoft. Most Web sites are displayed using an open-source application called Apache, and companies increasingly rely on the open-source MySQL database to store their critical information. Many people view the end results of all this technology via the Firefox Web browser, also open-source software.


  • Entertainment Protectionism Doesn’t Create Jobs, It Destroys Them

    This, like Garrett’s earlier points, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. Saving jobs and securing activity is not more important than ever if those jobs and that economic activity are inefficient, unnecessary or hinder other important economic activity from taking place. Historically, almost every example of government protectionism has been to protect exactly those types of jobs and economic activity, and the end result is disastrous. Rather than adapting to changes in the market, the protected industry holds onto the past, while those industries in other countries adapt, evolve and improve. In the end, the “protected” industry simply can’t compete, the jobs are lost anyway, and it’s much more difficult for the new industry in those countries to grow and catch up to foreign competitors.

  • Lame: Apple Charging $0.30 Per Song To Ditch DRM

    In the initial news about Apple going DRM-free, I saw it reported that Apple would let you convert your existing files to DRM-free. However, what was left out of the reports I saw (though, people in our comments pointed it out) was that Apple wants to charge you $0.30 for the privilege of getting rid of the DRM.

  • End Game Piracy: Open Source

    As 2008 has proven – draconian digital restrictions management (DRM) does not stop people from illicitly using computer games. Spore, whose DRM was so bad they got ratings bombed on Amazon.com, was the most pirated game of 2008. The DRM caused hassles for legitimate users and did nothing to stop illicit use. This is always the case. Ever since the beginning of DRM on video games there have been people getting around it. These DRM schemes are not cheap. They are licensed from companies who tell the video game companies that this is the only way to protect their games.

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Digital Tipping Point: Marcelo Marques, visionary security networks entrepreneur 11 (2004)

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