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Links 30/01/2009: More Support for Android; New Wine

Posted in News Roundup at 10:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • LinuxConf Tasmania 2009: Devils, Schoolgirls, Never Reboot Again, Geekcars, and More

    This is your faithful correspondent, reporting from LinuxConf Australia (LCA) in Hobart, Tasmania, where it’s been an eventful week packed with Linux information.

  • Active Directory for Linux draws closer

    You may not consider it a “killer app” but one thing restricting Linux deployment in enterprises is an implementation of Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD.) However, AD for Linux is on its way in Samba version 4 and is sure to annhilate a barrier to Linux adoption in business.

  • How can companies that rely on technology consistently not pay for it?

    I was going ask you for your take on what will be this year’s marketing trend to boost sales. We have seen things like green computing and virtualization and the ever popular security (pick your favorite subtopic – USB data slurping, laptop encryption, firewalls etc), or whether Linux is for smart people but I was talking with a couple of friends, both technical and end user and ended up shaking my head.

  • Migrating Away From Windows: It All Starts With Linux

    Whenever a person or business is thinking of migrating away from Microsoft Windows to Linux, or to FreeBSD, OpenSolaris, or some other FOSS operating system, the two most important considerations are:

    1. Take the long view. The idea is to build a sustainable, future-proof computing infrastructure.
    2. It all starts with the operating system. Sure, there are a lot of wonderful FOSS applications that run on Windows, such as OpenOffice, Firefox, Audacity, Pidgin, Thunderbird, Gimp, and many more. But that doesn’t address the fundamental flaws of the Windows OS; it’s like using more and better dung polish.

    Taking the Long View
    Windows is the lamprey eel of operating systems. Lampreys are parasites with toothed, funnel-like sucking mouths. They attach themselves to bigger fish and live off their blood. Eventually the host fish weakens and dies, and then the lamprey finds another victim.

  • Linux Is In Business and Business Is Good

    The 5K layoff at Microsoft will look like a paper cut compared to the hemorrhaging that will take place if some of those lucrative government contracts were lost to Linux and Open Source applications. Remember…

    For almost every Microsoft and Windows machine that gets axed, there will be an anti virus company somewhere crying a river of tears as well.

  • Even Microsoft’s anti-Linux message isn’t this bad

    This anti-Linux Microsoft “ad” hit the Web a few weeks ago, but I just came across it last night and thought it was funny.

    It’s not funny because of its content but rather because some people actually think that it’s a real ad put out by Microsoft to discredit Linux, one originally placed on a page describing how to multiboot operating systems.

  • LGP Is Now Porting Shadowgrounds: Survivor

    Nearly a year ago we reported on two new games coming to Linux: Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds: Survivor. These games were developed by Frozenbyte, a relatively unheard of Finnish game studio, and both are third person shooters with a sci-fi setting.

  • Building customised Linux distributions

    UK firm 64 Studios is using Componentised Linux and the Platform Development Kit to offer customised Linux to companies.

  • eyeOS: Clouds for the Crowd

    Cloud computing from the likes of Google and Amazon has become quite the rage in the last few years. Nick Carr’s The Big Switch and other works have pointed toward a future of “utility” computing where we’ll all use hosted apps and storage, thanks to the “scale” provided by big back-end companies and their giant hardware and software farms. But, there also has been pushback. Most notable among the nay-sayers is Richard M. Stallman, who calls it “worse than stupidity” and “a trap”.

  • Tech review: Boxee software easily brings together movies, music, Internet videos

    Sorry, Windows users, Boxee is only for Macintosh or Linux computers. You can download it from www.boxee.tv. There is also a version for Apple TV boxes, but Apple doesn’t support such software, so if it causes problems you’re on your own.

  • GNOME Do 0.8 Brings Great Plug-Ins, Intuitive Dock to Linux

    Linux only: The latest release of Linux app launcher GNOME Do serves up a helping of new plug-ins (including Google search and Remember the Milk), a clever “Docky” style, and much, much more.

  • bMighty Says It’s Time To Embrace Linux

    As the bad economic news continues to accumulate, Linux offers hope to cash-strapped businesses everywhere. That’s why bMighty has put together a uniquely useful set of how-to guides that can help you choose which Linux distro is right for your company’s needs, show you exactly how to make the move, and even point you to the best places to get free Linux help.

    Over the past week, bMighty open source blogger Matthew McKenzie has written a series of amazing articles that tell you pretty much everything you need to know to help your company make the most of the open source operating system.

  • Windows Compatibility

    • VirtualBox Gets Accelerated Direct3D Support

      Last month VirtualBox 2.1 was released with several interesting changes and among them was support for OpenGL. With this latest open-source virtualization software from Sun Microsystems, it became possible to run some OpenGL programs within a guest virtual machine while allowing the host system’s graphics card to accelerate the drawing. All the modifications that are needed by the guest operating systems is to just install a VirtualBox OpenGL driver. What was missing, however, was support for the Direct3D API, but that is now emerging within the VirtualBox camp.

    • Wine Announcement

      The Wine development release 1.1.14 is now available.

      What’s new in this release (see below for details):
      – Various bug fixes for Internet Explorer 7.
      – Many crypt32 improvements, including new export wizard.
      – Better support for windowless Richedit.
      – Improvements to the print dialog.
      – Many fixes to the regression tests on Windows.
      – Various bug fixes.

  • KDE

    • KDE Commit Digest: Issue 146: 18th January 2009

      A new “Crystal Desktop Search” Plasmoid, allowing searching through NEPOMUK indexes (and MediaWiki-based websites). Support for “grep-like behaviour” in the “FileWatcher” Plasma applet, and support for custom server addresses (aka. backend locations) for the “Pastebin” applet. Further developments in the “System Load Viewer” (which moves to kdereview for KDE 4.3) and “Video Player” applets.

    • NLnet Foundation Sponsors Lokalize

      The Dutch NLnet Foundation, aiming to stimulate open network research and development and more general to promote the exchange of electronic information, has decided to financially support the Lokalize project of KDE.

    • OpenChange, KDE bring Exchange compatibility to Linux

      Recent developments in the OpenChange and KDE open source projects are set to bridge a “missing link” in messaging and groupware compatibility from Microsoft’s Exchange to open source clients.

      Many open source groupware suites lay claim to this holy grail of interoperability, but the software to synchronise address book, task and calendar information with Exchange is sold as a proprietary extension.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • NAS design taps low-end MIPS64 SoC

      Raza Microelectronics (RMI) announced a network-attached storage (NAS) reference design based on Linux and a new, lower-cost version of RMI’s previously available XLS208 SoC. RMI’s “NAS Media Server Reference Design” uses RMI’s new dual-core, 750MHz XLS108 SoC, and comes with a boot loader, SDK, and “RAID-enabled” Linux 2.6 implementation.

    • Pandora open-source handheld console inching closer to debut (updated)

      The long-awaited Pandora open-source handheld has inched one step closer to completion, as the OpenPandora team has put on display the nearly finalized case design. We review what we know about Pandora to date, and what the project is hoping to accomplish.

    • Thin clients now as flexible as PCs, claims Igel

      Yeo said that Linux-based clients, used as “desktop appliances”, are by far the majority of Igel’s shipments, with Linux being particularly popular in its home market of Germany.

    • Five “universal” thin clients run Linux

      Igel has announced five new thin clients that run Linux, using Via or AMD processors. The new UD2, UD3, UD5, UD7, and UD9 (left) offer a variety of form factors, as well as “Digital Service Pack” software that can simply thin-client configuration, says the company.

    • WiMAX base stations to run Linux

      PureWave Networks is using Linux, a Freescale processor, and an off-the-shelf middleware package from Enea to create its next generation of WiMAX base stations. Due later this year, the base stations will aim to bridge the gap between macro and pico WiMAX stations, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Dell to Make Google and Microsoft Phones — Really?

        Just when you thought there are enough not-so-good looking and overrated phones out there, Dell is expected to announce two iPhone and Blackberry competitors sometime next month. Code-named MePhone (hopefully not the final name), the phones will run on Google Android and Microsoft Windows Mobile respectively.

      • Dell smartphones coming next month?

        Rumours that Dell has designed a mobile phone have been doing the rounds for months. But it’s now been reported that the PC assembler could unveil two smartphones within weeks.

      • T-Mobile Drops The Mother of All Bombshells – More G Series in ‘09!

        In a Fierce Wireless interview dated earlier today, T-Mobile let slip a real doozy. Apparently the 4th largest carrier in the US is not going to rest on the laurels of the G1.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Dealzmodo: Refurbed 4GB Dell Inspiron Mini 9 $177

        You’re basically trolling through their inventory until you find the one you want, which the $209 model with 4GB of storage and Ubuntu. The first time I picked one and added to cart, some dude apparently grabbed it before me, so I’d check two or three to add to your cart, then just delete the extraneous ones. Then just add the coupon code $C$TXXP1CT3BLC which will knock the price down to $177 for up to two notebooks in your cart.

Free Software/Open Source

  • LimeWire Creator Brings Open-Source Approach to Urban Planning

    Entrepreneur Mark Gorton wants to do for people what he already helped do for files: move them from here to there in the most efficient way possible using open-source tools.

  • OLPC XO-2 goes Open Hardware

    I admit to being a little gobstopped by Nicholas Negroponte’s announcment in the Guardian that the next generation OLPC will be Open Hardware is a pretty big deal. I picked up the announcement this morning from Make Magazine editor, Phil Torrone’s twitter feed in which he says “This is pretty much the biggest news of 2009″. For the maker, tinkerer, hardware hacker world, this might just be true.

  • Italian Petition for a National Open Source Public Administration Day

    The Italian association Concreta-mente launched a petition for an Italian open source and open standards day.

  • Firefox Add-Ons: Addictive Browsing Enhancers

    If there is one Web addiction that I have not been able to tame, it’s collecting add-ons for Firefox. I currently have 43 add-ons actively running in my browser, and I have an additional two that I use in Thunderbird.

    As a staple of the Web experience, browsers have come a long way. When Firefox began allowing developers to create add-on applications, browser usability was greatly improved.

  • Everyblock’s Dilemma: How Do You Open Source Your Entire Site and Survive?

    This morning Adrian Holovaty announced that he will be open sourcing Everyblock. Everyblock is a site that crawls local data sources, aggregates the data, and then surfaces them geographically. For instance I get an email everyday that alerts me to news, fire department activity, health notices and flickr photos taken within blocks of my house.

  • Business

    • Can open source save the debt market?

      Will this release actually help unwind the market and return some order to the debt market? Or is this just J.P. Morgan throwing some bad code over the side and hoping for a pat-on-the-back at a time when its credibility is near zero?

    • Business Objects pioneer embraces open source BI

      The founder, former chairman and chief executive of Business Objects has turned to open source for his latest venture in business intelligence.

      Bernard Liautaud has joined the board of open source ETL and data integration specialist Talend following a round of $12m funding by Balderton Capital. Liautaud – a pioneer in BI who helped create an industry with his founding of Business Objects nearly 20 years ago – is a general partner of Balderton, which was an early investor in MySQL.

    • IT Management Slideshow: 10 Areas Where Open Source is Open for Business

      The recession is helping to drive home the fact that open source is enterprise-ready in a lot of areas. Flexible pricing and mature products make the once-exotic software ready for prime time.

    • 26 Open Source Security Apps with Commercial Support

      [O]pen source developers want to find a way to make money from their projects. On the other hand, many application users, particularly enterprise users, are looking for applications with fee-based support. Rightly or wrongly, they feel that paying a fee brings greater accountability, and often these users lack the skills to manage open source apps on their own and would rather pay someone else to do it.

  • Other Fields

    • Open source is in IT, but what about ET?

      Friedman cites open source software as one of his ‘flatteners,’ a factor or impact that will work to level the competitive playing field on a global basis. Friedman demonstrates a decent understanding of open source, but I wonder what the role and impact of open source practices and strategies of sharing and openness will be within the emergent energy technology industry.

      Free and open source software has certainly had a far-reaching and deep impact on enterprise software development and business and arguably on the IT industry as a whole. Will any of the entrants into ET see the potential to take this tool of development and distribution to help spread the next best forms of power generation, distribution and use?

    • Open Source Mathematics

      Maths is a famously lonely discipline – I should know, having spent three years of my life grappling with a single equation (the equation won). Mathematicians meet, and collaborate, it’s true; but what would a truly open source approach to the process of solving mathematical problems look like?

  • PBX

    • Podcast: Fonality’s CEO On Asterisk, Open Source And IP PBXes

      In today’s episode, Fonality CEO Chris Lyman discusses Asterisk, open source, the IP PBX market and Fonality’s partner strategy. More specifically, The VAR Guy Live: Podcast covers the following five key topics…

      They Are:

      1. The big picture: Is Fonality really an open source company?
      2. How are Fonality’s IP PBX products positioned?
      3. Is Fonality a cloud or on-premise solution?
      4. Channel partnerships, including deals with Dell and Tech Data
      5. Fonality’s priorities for 2009

    • Does open source control 18% of the PBX market?

      Following a reader survey and 150 phone calls, an analyst has concluded that open source now has 18% of the PBX market, the vast majority of it Asterisk.

  • Sun

    • Open source: how Sun sees it

      Simon Phipps is a natural when it comes to speaking. The man has a good turn of phrase, is skilled in the art of repartee, and can engage an audience very well.

      Sun’s chief open source officer was one of three keynote speakers at the recent Australian national Linux conference.

      He spoke to iTWire soon after he had given his keynote.

    • New Chart features in OpenOffice.org 3.1

      Interested in the new Chart features that will be available in OOo 3.1? Have a look…

    • OpenOffice.org 3: Free and Easy

      After 15 years of development, OO.o3 is feature-rich, functional and quite usable, readers say. “I’ve never found any problems with the usability of OO.o, even going back to the earliest versions,” Barr reports. “It’s always been a serviceable substitute for Microsoft Office, and its feature set gets better with each release. Usability hasn’t suffered as features have been added — if anything, it’s gotten better.”

    • EnterpriseDB and Sun Reaping Benefits from Open Source Databases

      Meanwhile, yesterday Sun Micrososytems reported its quarterly financial results, and there were strong signs that its open source initiatives are beginning to gain traction, particularly on the MySQL front. In fact, Sun’s latest sales numbers for its MySQL division are making the $1 billion price it paid for the open source database look like a good deal.


  • UK Citizens Worked Up About Broad And Vague Obscenity Law

    I have to admit that I’ve never quite understood the point of any sort of obscenity laws. Perhaps it’s just my inner-libertarian, but why should the government be outlawing what people look at — especially when it comes to such a subjective standard as “obscenity.” Over in the UK, many people are up in arms over a new pornography law that is so broad and so vague that it could outlaw certain Batman comics, among other things.

  • Defining the Limits of Digital Britain

    Most importantly, beyond vague talk of “changing the rules” it says little about redefining *precisely* what people should be allowed to do with that stuff freely – for example, by setting down in law new fair uses such as being able to take back-up copies of any digital content, use in quotations, parody etc.

    At the moment, most people ignore the letter of the law, because the law is totally outdated, and the law generally turns a blind eye to them doing it, because it would be hard to arrest most of the country’s youth, but that’s hardly a solution in the long term.

  • Gears of War PC digital certificate expires, kills the game

    Users on the Gears of War official forums are reporting that the digital certificates for the game have expired, as of 28th January 2009. This means that the game will not launch at a system date post-28th Jan. Obviously, this is awful news for those people who enjoy playing the game on the PC, since unless they keep their system date before the 28th, they cannot play the game.

  • Comcast’s Crossed Wires

    I’m somewhat concerned to learn that the RIAA may be enlisting broadband providers, such as AT&T and Comcast, to police their networks for content theft. While I don’t condone software or media piracy, I’m uncomfortable with Comcast tracking my every move online. Especially given their apparent inability to keep their records straight. As John Aprigliano discovered when Comcast misidentified him as a movie pirate:

    Waiting in my snail mail box for me was an unassuming letter from your favorite cable provider, and mine, Comcast. Contained in this letter was information pertaining to an alleged torrent download called “Cadillac Records.” I have come to learn that “Cadillac Records” is a movie with Adrien Brody and that their marketing for this movie must have really sucked because with what ever thousands or millions of dollars they used to promote this movie, I have never heard of it

    We’ve heard cases like these before, where customers are assumed guilty until proven innocent.

  • Canada Post Plays Grinch in Takedown Fight

    Late last year, Canada Post and the Public Service Alliance of Canada became embroiled in a heated strike action over sick pay benefits. In the midst of the dispute, several PSAC members took direct aim at Canada Post CEO Moya Greene, recording a short parody video titled “The Greench.” The video, which was posted on YouTube, adapted the well-known Dr. Seuss tune “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” to criticize Greene and the company. While the creation of a protest video is not particularly noteworthy, what followed soon after is. Just as the video began to attract some attention, YouTube removed it after receiving a complaint from Canada Post alleging that the video violated the company’s copyright.

  • A glimmer of hope from whitehouse.gov

    Politicians in general are not terribly tech-savvy, let alone conscious of the most important intellectual freedom issues, but President Barack Obama does have a reputation of being more aware than most of the new media and new possibilities of the internet. The new US presidential website shows some promise that indeed, we now have a US president who isn’t afraid of the future.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

John William Templeton looks at Free Open Source Software and African American culture and innovation 09 (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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