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Links 19/01/2009: BETT 2009 Reports, Camp KDE Report

Posted in News Roundup at 9:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • The facts behind Microsoft’s anti-Linux ‘Get the Facts’ campaign

    Back in 2002, Jim Allchin was co-president of Microsoft’s Platforms and Services Division and was, in his own words, “scared” of the momentum behind Linux, as noted in an email [PDF] sent to several of his direct reports.

    Why scared? Because Windows was starting to lose to Linux:

    My conclusion: We are net on a path to win against Linux We must change some things and we must do it immediately. The current white papers, etc. are too high level and they are not going to cut it.

    So what did Allchin do? As court documents in the Comes vs. Microsoft antitrust suit demonstrate, and as Roy Schestowitz points out on his blog, Allchin started to buy facts. Lots of facts.

  • Shuttle completes its reinvention

    KPCs are the name of the new low end/Linux line that Shuttle put out last year. We told you about them first a year ago, and now they have a bunch of models sold under the KPC brand. The latest is the K5600, a Via C7 + CN7000 based computer. It retails for $139 or so including the box and CPU. If you want a really nice machine to build an HTPC around, get one of these and slap an ATI 4500/4600 in. Add in some Ram, an HD, Mythbuntu, and for under $300, you have a complete system. Damn nice.

  • Mobile device syncing in Linux made easy

    There’s a long history of syncing mobile devices with Linux.

    That long history is mostly filled with one device not synchronising, followed by another device not working, followed by another.

  • CherryPal Announces the World’s First Truly Green Nettop, the BingTM, During the Sundance Film Festival This Week in Park City, Utah

    Running on the basis of the Linux based GreenMaraschino operating environment, Bing was designed for environmentally savvy, budget minded consumers, and provides excellent web browsing, file sharing, media and music capabilities. It can be used with or without the CherrypalCloud™, which makes the user experience simple, efficient and highly secure.

  • Kernel Log: What’s new in 2.6.29 – Part 3: Kernel controlled graphics modes

    With the release of 2.6.29-rc1 last weekend, Linus Torvalds concluded the first phase, called the merge window, of the development cycle. This phase allows for incorporating the substantial changes intended for the next kernel version into the source code management system of the Linux kernel.

  • Active Directory comes to Linux with Samba 4

    Enterprise networks now have an alternative choice to Microsoft Active Directory (AD) servers, with the open source Samba project aiming for feature parity with the forthcoming release of version 4, according to Canberra-based Samba developer Andrew Bartlett.

    Speaking at this year’s linux.conf.au Linux and open source conference in Hobart, Bartlett said Samba 4 is aiming to be a replacement for AD by providing a free software implementation of Microsoft’s custom protocols.

  • Pagico v3.2 is coming to Ubuntu on January 19th, 2009

    The last version of Pagico on Ubuntu was v2.3, released a long while ago. As Ubuntu was not our priority platform, we didn’t put too much energy on it. However, things have changed. Now we’re more interested in supporting this fantastic desktop platform than ever, and this time we’re not going to let it fall behind. Together with the v3.2.2 software, the Pagico on Ubuntu brings you the best user experience and unique feature set as an organizer software.

  • The Advantages/Disadvantages of Leaving the Mainstream

    A recent Free Software Magazine article points out that using Linux protects you from potential governmental spying or hacking in two ways. First, Linux is open-source, so it would be extremely hard to inject a backdoor into its code. Second, since Linux is far less commonly used than, say, Windows, a governmental organization is far less likely to target it. All of this logic basically also applies to ordinary hackers, too. (And if you don’t think that governmental hacking will be an issue, it will almost undoubtably be an issue in some major country in the next few years.)

  • LCA

  • Education

    • 2 Sore Feet, 200+ CDs, 400+ Teachers: BETT 2009

      We had a couple of shiny new Samsung 2343BW widescreen monitors showing off Edubuntu/Ubuntu to full effect. There were a variety of sub-notebook class devices demonstrating various Free OSs and just what £99 can get you if you care to look.

      We discussed – sometimes at great length – philosophical, financial, technical, security and educational benefits that can be had from using FOSS solutions in an education context. (Why would anyone in their right mind use proprietary software if they had a choice or a clean sheet to start from?)

      We promoted and extolled the virtues of many individual FOSS projects including, Moodle, Elgg, Mahara, Ubuntu, Edubuntu, and countless others.

    • Last VLE ever?

      BECTA..can you either quietly drop your sponsorship of VLEs or persuade your political masters to force teachers to use them?

    • Computing in Education and the Credit Crunch

      You may have noticed that high quality free, open source software, free to download and legally distribute now exists for nearly all the applications commonly used in education. They work on Windows and Mac computers as well as they do on Linux computers.

  • KDE

    • Camp KDE Takes off in Jamaica

      In a warm Jamaica around thirty KDE developers have gathered for the first Camp KDE. The following article is an impression of the first days of this event, a short summary of what is going on here. Read on for the full report!

    • My sweet desktop environment – KDE 4.2 RC

      About a month ago I installed Gentoo Linux on my MacBook Pro as I’ve become really disappointed with OSX. Being a linux user for a few years it’s hard to get used to such a limited operating system like OSX…Anyway I just want to show you some screenshots of a just released KDE 4.2 RC that is totally amazing…


      This is something like QuickSilver in OSX. I use KRunner to open applications or access files, but you can use it for many other tasks like calculations, spell checking, opening web bookmarks etc.

    • Banner selection for KDE 4.2

      Some weeks ago Emil Sedgh told me that there is a countdown banner for KDE 4.2. That one is on kde.org as well

  • Distributions

    • All things Linux; Ubuntu vs Mandriva and paradigm shift

      Mandriva is actually my ‘favourite’ distribution and has been for quite a number of years, but the main reason I ended up with Ubuntu on the desktop was primarily due to wireless support – after endless problems with Mandriva wireless (with 2 different USB wireless adapters) I gave up and migrated to Ubuntu instead. Shame on me! In the past I didn’t like their development model as much but it has improved a lot over the last few releases so I was prepared for “words on toast” and change to Ubuntu. On the laptop I still kept Mandriva as it worked well for what I wanted and wireless support was OK etc. As they all use the ’standard’ Linux kernel the main differences between the various distributions are the things they add on compared to the standard kernel. Things like the user admin interface, package manager (for software installation), etc.

    • Arch Linux in review

      The “keep it simple” philosophy of Arch Linux really shines through in all aspects of this distribution. It lets the user control the system and doesn’t do anything unless told to. It has the speed and convenience of binary with the power of source and is very flexible when it comes to optional dependencies. Being a rolling release, the packages are also reasonably up-to-date. Other than the problem with the Intel video driver, I have not had any issues with the quality of the packages. Still, I have to wonder how well a smaller distribution like this can provide overall stability. Perhaps time will tell. It also remains to be seen how well Pacman will perform after installing and removing thousands of packages. Certainly, Arch Linux isn’t for everybody, no distribution is, but it sure is plenty of fun and you learn a lot. If you’re the kind of person who likes to fiddle and tweak your system, then definitely give it a shot. Once you have your system up and running the way you want, it’s very easy to maintain and it feels great. If you’ve been tempted to try it out, there is a Wiki page listing how it compares to others. As for my dream distribution, Arch Linux comes pretty darn close.

    • Red Hat

      • Review: Fedora 10

        Ignoring the proprietary graphic drivers issue (which, if you’re a Fedora veteran you won’t have any issue with anyway) Fedora comes across as a very solid, stable and clean distribution. Their repositories are large and there’s a strong user community to ensure that bugs are squashed and the noobs get the support or flames they deserve. If you’re wondering what your next distribution might be, have Fedora 10 on your short-list of ones to try out.

      • Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst: It’s OK to Say ‘I’m Sorry’

        In a brief interview after his speech, Whitehurst said his first preference would be to remain at N.C. State’s Centennial Campus, where the company now occupies two buildings.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 3 Screenshot Tour

        Originally scheduled to be released on January 15th, the third alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (codename Jaunty Jackalope) was uploaded a few hours ago on the official mirrors and. As usual, we’ve downloaded a copy of it in order to keep you up-to-date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 9.04 development. To please our readers, starting with this third alpha, we will also list the new features brought by the Kubuntu edition, as well as the screenshot tour.

      • Laptops, ergonomics, and batteries

        I installed Ubuntu 8.10 on this laptop (as a multiple boot option) the weekend before last, and one of the first notices that Ubuntu gave me was that the battery would only charge to 17% of capacity. Score one for Ubuntu over Vista for giving an accurate message.

      • TechCrunch’s prototype CrunchPad runs Ubuntu

        TechCrunch have shown a working prototype of the CrunchPad running Ubuntu Linux. Last July, Michael Arrington grew tired of waiting for a $200 web tablet and announced that he had decided to work on making such a device a reality, although some observers suggested that this was just an attempt to garner publicity for Arrington’s blog. In a posting on the site today, Arrington brought readers up to date with the progress on the device.

      • My first year with Linux

        As of December 25, 2008 it has been a year since I first installed a Linux distro on my home computer. With the help of my brother, I installed Debian based sidux and I have to say, I have been very pleased with the results. You can read about my first impressions of sidux here and here. I thought I would share a few of my thoughts about my first full year of using Linux.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 125

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #125 for the week January 11th – January 17th, 2009. In this issue we cover: Jaunty Alpha 3 released, Ubuntu Developer Week, Fridge Mockups, Technical Board Run off, UDS Jaunty Proceedings, Awards: Ubuntu Forums, Ubuntu, and Canonical, Dutch LoCo bringing it home, How Launchpad will open source, What’s new with Launchpad API, Ubuntu-UK podcast #20, Ubuntu Podcast #17, Technical Board Meeting Minutes, Server Team Meeting Minutes, Desktop Team Meeting Minutes, and much, much more!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Bug Labs’ BUG: modular, open-source platform for DIY gadget

      While we’ve heard the term “mashup” apply to music and web services before, we think the hardware mashups that Bug Labs’ BUG platform enables have far more to offer.

      BUG is a modular electronics platform that starts with a BUGbase – a Linux-based computer that’s roughly the size of a Nintendo DS Lite. The BUGbase has the kind of grunt you would expect from a five-year-old laptop, and four expansion slots that you can slot BUGmodules into.

      There are currently 5 BUGmodules available: BUGlocate (GPS), BUGcam2MP (2 megapixel digital camera), BUGmotion (motion sensor and accelerometer), BUGview (touchscreen LCD), and BUGvonHippel (breadboard).

    • Quad-band MCM runs Linux

      Telit is shipping a multi-chip module (MCM) integrating an ARM-powered baseband processor and RF module, together with a 200MHz ARM9-based Atmel AT91SAM9260 application processor supported by 4MB of flash and 64MB of RAM. The Telit GE863-PRO is available with a development board and Linux 2.6 implementation.

    • MIPS32 SoCs decode HD, run Linux

      Linux 2.6 drivers are provided for the Mali GPE, along with a full Linux board support package (BSP) for the Au1300 SoCs (see farther below).

    • Neugent Powers New Line of Cutting-edge Embedded DVR

      In a move to cater to desktop DVR enthusiasts, Neugent Technologies, a leading developer of Linux-based digital video surveillance solutions has expanded its line of embedded DVR with the introduction of SP-2000 desktop standalone.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Eee PC Operating System Choices

        From my experience, Arch Linux is an extremely small and customisable distrubtion aimed at Linux professionals who know their way around a command line. Because it comes with very little installed by default, its small size is a great advantage on the Eee PC. You can customise and tailor the installation to your own requirements, but it does require some experince with the Linux console, otherwise it can be a very daunting process.

      • GreenMaraschino Bing Netbook Offers Same Old

        Don’t expect the GreenMaraschino Bing to offer something different – it will feature just about the same specifications as other standard issue netbooks in the market. Without much further ado, here they are :-

        * Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz processor
        * 1GB RAM
        * 160GB hard drive

      • The status of Sugar, post-OLPC

        We’ve been working to establish Local Labs, grassroots organizations which, in our mind, will fill up the gap left by OLPC in deployments.

    • Phones

      • Android moves to home phone

        A COMPANY THAT we had never heard of before had one of the most interesting toys at CES, an Android based home phone. Actually, it is a lot more than that, almost a full PC in a small box, the Nimble by Touch Revolution.

      • Google portable device runs Debian Linux

        This is the first time since switching to Linux that I have given serious thought to changing distributions. I really like Ubuntu; it’s still the most comprehensive desktop distro I know. But I don’t know if I want to be part of a community that can rise up on a moment’s notice and band together to become one giant mega-jerk.

      • EFF Kicks Off Campaign to Free Your Phone

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is asking for the public’s help in its new campaign to free cell phones from the software locks that stifle competition and cripple consumers. The campaign’s website is FreeYourPhone.org.

        Hundreds of thousands of cell phone owners have modified their phones to connect to a new service provider or run the software of their choosing, and many more would like to. But the threat of litigation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has driven them underground.

      • Maemo & Openmoko Community Survey results published

        I got an e-mail this morning publishing the results of a Maemo and Openmoko community survey I had answered with 1232 others some months ago. The survey was run by ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich. Here are some notes I made.



    This is, what the open source and open formats are about. They,

    * Consolidate strong points;
    * Use the IPR to prevent the hoarding of technology;
    * Invite others to participate in its development.

    It is ‘Make love, not war’ in atypical way. In term of Gandhi’s philosophy, they are right means and are the key to the future: they will lead us to the desired end.

    Mahatma Gandhi once said,

    ‘You must be the change that you want to see in the world.’

    Lead by example: show the world how changes can be effected. This is, why we use and advocate Open Source Software and Open Formats.

  • Vyatta gives Nortel the half-Nelson

    Vyatta vice president of market and strategy Dave Roberts administered the “ha” on his blog, Opensourcejuicer:

    It was very clear when I was there that anybody who wanted a long term career in Nortel had to be associated with the carrier group, preferably an optical product line. That was where all the momentum was within the company. If you were an employee working on other things (enterprise products in my case), it was clear that you weren’t going to get any of the investment, attention, or promotions. In contrast, the optical management teams were masters of the universe.

    Now I want to turn that into an “ah-ha”.

    Nortel became dependent on phone companies, outfits like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. After DWDM brought the benefits of Moore’s Law to fiber, these companies stopped buying. And they’re still not buying.

  • Open Source Helps In Economic Crisis

    BizCubed, the premier Australian Pentaho partner and BI consulting company, announced additional Pentaho training courses, reduced course costs in Australian dollars and Pentaho introduction packages to support companies during the economic crisis. Pentaho is the commercial open source, open standards alternative for business intelligence (BI), suitable to support global enterprises as well as small and medium business as a cost effective alternative to proprietary software.

  • FSF

    • Richard M. Stallman at the Université de Moncton

      The Department of informatics at the Université de Moncton, as well as its Student Council are happy to invite you to attend Dr. Stallman’s conference on Free Software in Ethics and in Practice. Dr. Stallman is a renowned computer scientist who launched the development of the well known free GNU operating system in 1984. The talk is aimed at the general computer-using public and is not intended to be technical.

    • Psst! Pass it on! Psst! Pass it on!

      Posting the FSF widget on your website is a fairly simple thing to do, but it turns out that it’s very effective! We’ve already gotten 24 new members during our year-end drive through member referrals that came in through widgets. The widgets have been posted by free software supporters all over the world — from Chicago to Italy to South Africa.

  • Multimedia

    • Xara LX and the leading, bleeding edge of free software graphics

      The latest vector graphics package for GNU/Linux is a Linux port of a proprietary Windows application called “Xara Xtreme”, which is in the process of being converted to a GPL license. There are a number of sharp broken edges along this path, including non-free library dependencies that need to be free-licensed or replaced with free versions, and support for free graphics standards like SVG in order to interoperate with other packages. As a result, you won’t find this new application, called “Xara LX” in the main distributions yet. In Debian, it is filed under “non-free” in the unstable “Sid” distribution. However, this is an opportunity to get a sneak preview of what’s coming.

    • Open Souce Multi Track Audio Editing Software Jokosher

      Jokosher is an Open Source Multi Track Audio Editing Software. Could be used in creating Audio record, Podcasts. Some of the features are :
      1) Multi-track volume mixing with VU sliders.
      2) Import audio (Ogg Vorbis, MP3, FLAC, WAV and anything else supported by GStreamer) into your projects.
      3) Export to MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, WAV and anything else GStreamer supports.
      4) Documentation (User Guide, FAQ, Tutorial) and User Community (Forums, IRC).

    • Linux Broadcasts

      As a big proponent of the GNU/Linux operating system, I thought I would recommend a few broadcasts you can listen to on the Internet that deal with this great alternative to Microsoft Windows. This is a good way to listen and learn about how to use Linux and the benefits you can derive from it.

  • Microblogging

    • Open Source Microblogging and the Enterprise

      This ticks all the boxes – open source, open data and open standards. Moreover, Identi.ca recently received some handy VC dosh to help the platform grow. But Google’s recent decision to open source its own microblogging platform Jaiku adds another possibility to the mix…

    • A look at Mozilla Snowl

      Mozilla Snowl is a new experimental Firefox addon that acts as a more advanced feed reader. It can display RSS feeds and also Twitter messages. I’ve never gotten into microblogging, but it’s an interesting concept. Here’s how Snowl works as an RSS/ATOM aggregator.

  • Applications

    • SA election body opens website to open source users

      The South African Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has made good on its promise to open up its website to free software users.

      With just three weeks to go to the final voter registration date for this year’s national elections the IEC has removed the error messages that greeted non-Microsoft users and allowed them access to the full site.

    • Open Source Alternatives

      Open source is rarely taken seriously. It has became a buzzword just like going green. What can open source actually do for your organization? What alternatives are available to replace our proprietary systems while simotaneously lowering costs across the board from license fees, administration, and deployment. The following is a list of open source alternatives that exist which could actually replace existing applications.


      Linux and Open Source provide a flexible solid foundation for custom tailoring your entire infrastructure. Continuing to ignore the avenues of opportunity provided by these freely available solutions will only prove to put you behind the curve.

  • OpenOffice.org

    • Linux Monday: An Open Office Test Drive

      For the next couple of Linux Monday posts, I’ll be testing out my legacy Microsoft Office files in Open Office, Linux world’s main alternative. This is, by necessity, a one-way test. Files in Microsoft Office formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt) can be opened in Open Office; the open source community recognizes the need. But Microsoft doesn’t want to admit that there are alternatives, and Open Office .odt format files won’t open in Microsoft Office.

    • What’s up in OOo 3.1?

      At the weekend the upload of DEV300m39 build started. This is the first developer milestone after Feature Freeze for OOo 3.1. To bring it into a final status the community projects can start their work. The L10N team can take this version to check new strings for translation. The QA team can begin to test the new features and make quality assurance for the general quality of the product.


  • Open Kernel Labs Attracts $7.6 Million in Venture Funding

    The Open Kernel Labs leading technology in embedded systems software and virtualization enables the development of safe, trustworthy and affordable devices.

  • Behavioral Advertisers Try To Come Up With Code Of Conduct Before FTC Writes One For Them

    While the US Congress came down hard on NebuAd for its “behavioral targeting” ad program that would be used by ISPs to track everywhere you surfed and toss up relevant ads based on overall surfing activity, the FTC was a lot more hands-off.

  • Top Sites That Every BitTorrent User Should Know About

    The last few years have seen a tremendous growth in the number of BitTorrent users and the content that is available via BitTorrent. Nowadays it is no big deal if you can find a TV Show on BitTorrent before it has premiered on TV. The number of sites indexing and searching BitTorrent files have kept pace with this growth.

    So much so that there is an overwhelming number of search engines that only search torrent files. Here are some of the top sites which every BitTorrent User must know about:

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Lawyer John Koenig on how people make money with Free Software 08 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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