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Links 06/03/2009: Moves to GNU/Linux in Cuba, Google to Enter Sub-notebooks

Posted in News Roundup at 10:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Open source software in Brazil: too many projects to keep up with!

    The Brazilian free software movement is in such high gear that it is almost impossible to keep up on all the new developments and projects that are happening throughout the country. Brazil is larger in size than the continental United States and has a population of almost 200 million people. Given the strong support of free software by the Brazilian government at all levels (federal, state and municipal).

    For example, a new technology being used is the Digital Boards project for the public schools. The board is almost 6-1/2 feet wide and it’s sensitive to the touch of a magnetic pen that is connected to a computer running Vix Linux, a distribution specially customized for educational proposes by the City Hall of Vitória, in the state of Espírito Santo.

  • Linux Gets Faster with Splashtop

    At the time of this writing, Splashtop is preinstalled on laptops from ASUS, VoodooPC and Lenovo, and on all motherboards from ASUS. Every one of them is winning where it counts most with users—by saving time.

  • Driver comparison Linux vs. Vista (Chrome 400/500 Series)

    After two released Linux drivers, I decided to compare those drivers to the current Windows Vista driver. Here are the first results, there are more to come!


    Sometimes S3 Graphics really scares me and this is one of those situations: It’s already rather unusual that the performance of a Linux driver is more or less equal to the Windows drivers, but that the Linux drivers offers a far better performance is really scaring. And keep in mind that S3 Graphics doesn’t really care that much about Linux at all!.

  • Programs

    • Shutter 0.70 released!

      This is the first release of Shutter as it is – we’ve just renamed it from GScrot.

    • If you blog, Shutter will rock your socks

      While the screenshot plugin of Compiz allowed me to slice through the gimp burden in some cases, it’s not feature rich as Shutter.

    • Free/Open Source Workout/Fitness Software for Linux

      Since I have a healthy goal for 2009, I’ve been looking for a program that can help me accomplish my objective. I found several workout/fitness desktop applications for my Linux box, but very few have satisfied my needs.

    • So you want to run windows programs on Linux?

      My point of view in this matter is quite simple. If you wish to run windows programs then use windows. If you wish to run Linux and windows programs then either use an emulator, wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) or a virtual machine. If none of those solutions are suitable then stop thinking about using Linux. Stop complaining that you will use Linux if only it could run this program. Either use the operating system the program was designed for or use an alternative program designed for the operating system you wish to use.


      Just because windows programs do not work on Linux does not mean that it is not ready for the desktop. Under normal usage Linux has no problems and is much better than windows in many ways. Wanting to run a different operating systems programs under Linux can in no way shape or form be considered normal usage.

  • Multimedia

    • Miro 2: A Review

      Today I downloaded Miro 2.0.1. It’s not yet in the Ubuntu repositories, but the Miro project has set up repositories for the different versions of Ubuntu. Before I start reviewing, I thought it might be best to give a little background on Miro. Miro is a video player, and it has “sites” that can be downloaded as a feed so you can get the latest content. It actually used to be called Democracy Player back in the day, but was renamed in 2007. Miro has changed their content a bit for the second verstion. Videos used to be hosted on “channels” but that appears to have been changed in favor of “sites.” One thing to note, however, that doing a search for the sites does not work on Linux due to a flash player incompatibility. Searching for feeds (which is what I’m after) does work with Linux.

    • Trying out Songbird

      All in all, Rhythmbox could get usurped.

    • MythTV made easy

      In depth: MythTV is an incredibly ambitious suite of applications designed to sit at the heart of your home entertainment centre. It records, pauses and rewinds television, plays music and videos, catalogues your photo and DVD collections, browses the internet, makes phone calls, delivers the news and the weather and plays games – and it does all this thanks to the power of Linux.

  • Gaming

    • Sacred Gold On Linux Has Gone Gold

      Linux Game Publishing believes the game will begin shipping to customers on the 25th of March. The announcement was initially made on the LGP blog. Also being worked on by Linux Game Publishing is Jets ‘n’ Guns as well as a title we have been looking forward to, Shadowgrounds: Survivor.

    • World of Goo

      They say the simplest ideas are the best. Strip most games down to their essence and you’ll be left with either a dull husk of nothingness or a database. But not World of Goo: It’s nigh impossible to pare down any further. Every extraneous idea has been lanced and excised.


      Verdict: An absolutely intoxicating masterpiece of gaming ingenuity, beautifully constructed and universally enjoyable by all. You need to own this. 10/10

  • Server

    • Cisco’s PostPath to Linux powered hosted email

      It will be interesting to see how the PostPath technology furthers Cisco’s Linux interest as well since Cisco tends not to do things on a small scale. A large Linux powered hosted email system will no doubt result in scalability and performance improvement that could well extend behind the confines of Cisco itself and benefit the broader open source ecosystem.

    • Cray and ScaleMP Announce Strategic Alliance

      This solution is versatile, able to run a variety of Linux® workloads such as large memory, parallel workloads and high core count shared memory applications, and delivers excellent performance across many programming models ranging from MPI, OpenMP and legacy code.

  • Kernel Space

    • FOSS Debates, Part 1: Kernel Truths

      When Linux version 0.01 was first released more than 17 years ago, it included some 10,000 lines of code; last fall, the kernel surpassed 10 million.

      Though blank lines, comments and text files are included in that count, the kernel’s size has been a source of growing concern among many observers, not a few of whom charge the kernel has become unwieldy and bloated.

    • EXT4 is improving the Linux experience

      In short, the ext4 filesystem made a DE outperform a WM, and that’s something special indeed. I’ve been using Linux for over 5 years now, and never before has a technology appeared which makes that much of a difference, speedwise.

  • Shows

    • Open Sources Episode 7

      In this episode:

      * Enterprise microblogging and the fact that Dave got chumped by the CEO of Yammer (or did he chump them?)
      * SocialText Signals and the one-stop collaboration shop
      * Baseline Magazine seems to be stuck in 2003
      * Twitter is hiding their business model from us
      * We both missed the Open Source Think Tank cause we don’t drink wine and would prefer some kind of Candyland
      * Open source pricing and transparency–people get hung up on numbers
      * Lots of people are going to OSBC, I’ll be offering a bit of open source Shawshank Redemption
      * TheFunded Startup school–good idea if they get the right people

    • WFTL Bytes! for Mar 5, 2009

      This is WFTL Bytes!, your occasiodaily FOSS and Linux news show for Thursday, March 5, 2009, with your host, Marcel Gagné. This is episode 53. On today’s newscast . . . Helios goes mano-a-mano for being a Linux guy, car companies looking to Linux, netbooks again (it’s been a while), bad support, Microsoft spreading FUD, FOSS people spreading FUD, and a Scale wrap-up.

  • Xfce

  • Distributions

    • Astaro Appliances Take the Sting out of Security

      Many well known security vendors sell appliances which run their own proprietary software, but the Astaro Security Gateway appliance is unusual because the device, made by Germany-based Astaro, runs on a Linux kernel and uses a selection of open source security software. This is rounded out using a small number of commercial applications and software developed in-house by Astaro. Plug in an Astaro box and you’re actually using the open-source netfilter/iptables framework for firewall protection, the de-facto standard open-source Snort intrusion protection and detection system, and StrongSWAN (IPSec) OpenVPN (SSL) and PopTop (PPTP) open-source VPN servers.

    • Spring is in the air…

      Along the way, we came up — at long last — with a secondary trademark and guidelines to go with it. I recall many a session concerning remixes at which we bashed heads against available furniture and walls looking for a way to brand remixes in a way that didn’t tie the community’s hands. Now the remix could be complete with brand value and the ability to provide a “hook” back to our own platform and project, to the extent that a community member wants it but without obligating them with a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo. Want to make a Fedora Remix? Have at it. Want to point back to our community? Use the “Fedora Remix” mark to do it. Want something further, like official status in our release cycle? Join the Spins SIG.

    • Introductions

      • PCQ Linux 2009 : Live on your machine

        For organizations that are considering using Open Source Software, the PCQLinux 2009 flavors provide an easy way to use and get used to the open source software world. Pilot groups of users can try out PCQLinux 2009 on their machines without disturbing what they have. Organizations can then get feedback from the users directly on the usage and decide whether they should use OSS (of course with many other considerations as well).

      • Top Five Geek-Style Distros

        1. Slackware—the classic. Main release is very stable. You can use Slackware-Current to keep up with changes.

        2. Arch Linux—possibly the most optimized binary distribution available. Similar to Slackware in structure, but simpler than Slackware in what it comes with—not a whole lot. This is not simple as in newbie simple, it is simple in terms of containing only the basics; you add what you want and put together config files yourself.

      • Distribution of the week: BackTrack — Network Security Suite

        BackTrack is Live distribution for penetration and security tests. This is how its developers describe it. But there are plenty of tools, utilities, programs behind this brief description. Let’s dig into.

    • Reviews

  • Devices/Embedded

    • RISC CPUs get Linux development service

      Timesys Corporation has collaborated with partner and tools developer Lineo Solutions to provide DIY embedded Linux development subscriptions for two Renesas SH4-family RISC processors. Timesys LinuxLink subscriptions for the Renesas SH7751R and SH7785 processors are available now, says Timesys.

    • DaVinci chip boasts 1080p video

      In addition to TI’s MontaVista Linux-equipped Digital Video Evaluation Module (DVEVM), several vendors have already announced hardware support for the new chip, along with open-source Linux installs. These include a camera kit from Leopard Imaging, and a Linux-based processor module from Z3 Technology aimed at surveillance and industrial video applications (see farther below).

    • New online community launches for embedded Linux developers

      It probably won’t be “Facebook for Linux” but a Web site launching Tuesday is intended to create an online community specifically for Linux programmers who focus on embedded applications such as mobile devices, set-top boxes, industrial controls and everything apart from servers and PCs.

      The Web site, dubbed Meld, is organized and supported by MontaVista Software, which markets a Linux software stack, services, support and tools for the embedded market.

    • MSI Winki eyes-on: it’s an instant-on OS, but for desktops

      It’s Linux-based, and looks a heck of a lot more elaborate than the HyperSpace instant-on OS that we toyed with in January.

    • Phones

      • Palm Investor McNamee: Early Adopters Will Flock to Pre

        However, McNamee thinks the Pre is going to pick up the early-adopter market:

        “Think about it–If you bought the first iPhone, you bought it because you wanted the coolest product on the market,” said McNamee, 52. “Your two-year contract has just expired. Look around. Tell me what they’re going to buy.”

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Google CEO hints Google/Linux netbooks may be coming

        We’ve gone from pure speculation, to speculation based on facts, and now Google’s CEO is talking about how much sense this kind of idea makes. I hereby predict that we’ll see the first netbooks with an official Google Linux desktop on them by the second half of this year. It will happen that quickly because Google won’t want to give Microsoft a chance to regroup with Windows 7 from its Vista disaster.

      • Android attack

        In what would be its most direct challenge to Microsoft to date, Google is said to be planning to offer Android, an operating system it developed for smartphones, on a new generation of mini laptop computers. Can Google unseat Windows on PCs?

        The market for netbooks – small, low-powered and low-cost notebook PCs – has mushroomed in the past 24 months. Ever since Taiwan’s Asustek introduced the Linux-based Eee PC in October 2007, all the big PC makers, from Hewlett-Packard to Acer, have introduced their own low-cost laptops. The machines typically cost less than R5 000.

      • math: Windows 7 + netbook = failure – GNU/Linux as remaining winner!

        Windows XP is basically gone, so an OEM license is worth 20 USD for a manufacturer, no problem at all. Windows 7 for Netbooks is the same as all other Windows 7 variants – no lean, light, vlighted, 7lited or whatever. Just a Starter version like in Windows Vista which gives you the “power” to run maximum 3 applications at the same time. Where again is the advantage? Oh yes, now Windows 7 Starter crippled edition costs a bit more than 20 USD for OEM, I would say around 99 USD after discounts, tax not included or did you think MS stops earning money?

      • Demo conference stars 2 gadgets: Touch Book, VUE

        It’s an “open source” Linux machine that can’t run Windows XP or Vista, though you can load either Windows CE (the core behind Windows Mobile) or Android — the operating system Google is pushing on cellphones.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Boxee hack restores Hulu (sort of)

    Unfortunately, Linux users will need to be patient for a few weeks while all these enhancements get phased into the Ubuntu version of Boxee, according to a Boxee’s blog post on the new Hulu support.

  • IBM talks smart software and open source

    CeBit 2009 Linux business “worthwhile”


    “Middleware is the segment in which we are investing significantly,” said Jette, adding that he believed open source was the key and saying IBM’s “strategy is open systems”. Jette emphasised it was IBM who had given Linux a significant push and noted: “the Linux business case has definitely been worthwhile”.

  • The Apache Software Foundation Names Qpid a Top-Level Project

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) today announced the graduation of the Qpid project from the Apache Incubator as a Top-Level Project (TLP), signifying that the Project’s community and products have been well-governed under the ASF’s meritocratic process and principles.

  • The EOBI Comes of Age with FOSS

    This perhaps was important since there was no predisposition towards a proprietary OS which could have only helped in the adoption Linux Ubuntu. Another cost saving attempt was made by opting for refurbished PCs however in government institutions, there is no practice of refurbished hardware acquisition as a matter of practice.

  • Andy Stein: Open Source Is the Answer for Newport News IT Director

    Cost savings often motivate open source deployments, but Newport News hasn’t yet saved money from the project. Since 2007, they city has spent around $300,000 — roughly the cost of one high-end, off-the-shelf software license — to make its open source CMS software usable government, Stein said.

  • Freeing My Email: Open Source And Industry Standard As A Matter Of Course

    Part of my motivation to ‘jump ship’, I admit, is also a ‘freedom of information’ matter of principle. Microsoft made it hard enough to extract calendar and contacts data from Outlook, as my previous writeups have exemplified, but migrating stored emails elsewhere (heaven forbid, to a standard format like mbox) is darn near impossible without hefty third-party assistance.

  • Mozilla slates overdue Firefox 3.1 beta for March 10

    After several delays, Mozilla Tuesday set a release schedule for Firefox 3.1 Beta 3, the next milestone on the road to the browser’s first major upgrade since June 2008.

  • Business

    • Business Intelligence: Who’s Benefitting From the Boom?

      Still, open source options from Jaspersoft and Pentaho continue to gain momentum.

    • Tightening purse strings will turn many businesses on to Open Source Software

      In January, Adobe announced 600 redundancies, citing weaker-than-expected demand for its Creative Suite 4. While it may be that the credit crunch has stopped existing users upgrading or new users from buying, I think we may be seeing the software bubble about to burst.

      The software bubble occurs when software suppliers that continually introduce new versions find customers choose not to upgrade. Most suppliers are in a similar situation. Microsoft has found that many Windows users are happy to stick with earlier versions of Windows such as XP instead of moving to Vista.

    • Small firms can benefit from open source

      Ahead of the first-ever Open Source Software (OSS) BarCamp event, which will take place on 28 March in Dublin, chief-organiser Laura Czajkowski has said that small-to-medium businesses have much to gain from open source, even if it is just to realise that there are alternatives out there.

      “Most businesses won’t even have heard of open-source software in a context they think applies to them, and think that Microsoft is really all there is.

    • Making money with Free Software

      When people hear about ‘Free Software’ it would be surprising if they wouldn’t wonder how anybody can make money from ‘free’ software. In fact most do and quite a lot of them have asked these questions out loud. It would be a worthwhile exercise to delve into the working of Free Software economics and for that we need to examine the concepts of Free Software itself. In addition to the economics we will also take a brief look at how it changes software development perspectives, how it enhances career opportunities, how it helps the local economy and how it is relevant for a developing country like India.

  • Funding

    • NY Bill Proposes Tax Credit for Open Source Developers

      Assemblymen Jonathan Bing and Micah Kellner, along with a number of co-sponsors, have introduced proposed legislation in New York State which would grant a tax credit to individuals acting as volunteers who develop open source programs. The idea of the credit is to ensure that volunteer developers, who could not otherwise deduct their expenses because they are not part of a ‘business,’ should nevertheless be able to receive a tax benefit for their contribution.

    • New York Moves – Slowly – To Reward Open Source

      The move is certainly a step in the right direction — and one that no doubt will be eagerly supported by Open Source New Yorkers — and we applaud Assemblymen Bing & Kellner, and their “multi-sponsor” colleagues, for their efforts to support Open Source development — and Open Source developers.

    • Open Source — Is it Free?

      As with any engineering product, using software requires more than just having access to the application. To take a more concrete example, let’s consider the task of building a bridge over a stream — it involves more than just having a crew pull up to the river and start building. The environmental impact, the needs and concerns of the surrounding community, how to make a connection to the electric grid and even connecting to the existing roads are all factors that need to be taken into account. And that all occurs before the bridge is built. Once construction is done, it requires ongoing maintenance, inspection, repairs and a means of controlling the traffic on it.


      So, though “open source” strictly speaking refers to the widespread availability of original developer work-product, it has come to mean much more as regards the ownership of software and the restrictions (or mandated lack of restrictions) on its distribution.

  • Sun

    • OpenOffice extensions – When good gets better!

      Firefox has extensions – and so does OpenOffice.

      OpenOffice is a highly popular, free, cross-platform office suite that you can install and use alongside or in lieu of Microsoft Office as your software of choice for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.

      OpenOffice extensions allow you to … extend the basic functionality of the software and make it more suited to your needs, better looking and more productive. The concept is similar to Firefox addons, one of the main reasons for the great popularity of the Mozilla browser. Today, we will learn how to boost our OpenOffice with fresh looks and new tricks.

  • Licensing

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • RobotCub project builds open-source, humanoid robot baby

      One of the major goals of the iCub project is to make an open-source standard for the design of the humanoid robot. If things work out well, you could imagine in the future there might be one massive, open-source humanoid robot OS that all budding robot-makers will use as a base to build on.


  • Metallica’s Lars Ulrich ‘Pirates’ His Own Album

    It’s been nearly nine years since Lars Ulrich became one of the most vocal opponents of Napster and the generation of file-sharers it spawned. Not one to speak about something he has no experience of, Ulrich has just admitted downloading his own album, Death Magnetic, and it was “bizarre”.

  • France’s anti-piracy fight ‘too costly’

    France’s telcos are protesting the huge price of the Gallic government’s anti-piracy crackdown.

    A draft law that goes before France’s lower house, the National Assembly, next Wednesday requires local Internet service providers to contact online pirates by email and suspend repeat offenders’ Internet connection.

  • Anti-Piracy Action Closes Yet More Fansub Sites

    Once thought to be operating well under the radar, recent months have seen fresh efforts to silence sites that provide fan-created translations of movies and TV shows for their home countries. The latest targets for shutdown – Israel and France.

  • Oh Look… RIAA Still Filing Lawsuits…

    And that seems to continue until this day, as Ray Beckerman is noticing that lawsuits are still being filed against individual file sharers. Realistically, it was a pretty good PR campaign. Lots of people think the RIAA has stopped its lawsuits when it hasn’t.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist, explains Free Software culture 05 (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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  1. David Gerard said,

    March 7, 2009 at 10:42 am


    Heh. I wonder what a Google notebook would actually be like.

    (BTW, Android is Linux-based, but it is not GNU/Linux as we know it – the developers started from a version of Linux, applied a whacking dose of “not invented here” and the result is GPL but that’s about it. That’s why putting something resembling a recognisable GNU/Linux environment on it requires something similar to coLinux.)

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2009 at 10:43 am


    Android/G1 is Tivoized. GNU is not stuck in GPLv2.

  3. David Gerard said,

    March 7, 2009 at 3:08 pm


    Yeah, but you can still set up GNU on top of a proprietary OS (c.f. Cygwin). The essential point is that people talk about Android as if it’s Ubuntu for Phones, but it’s really only barely Linux. Some Linux devs are in fact working on making it less “not invented here” and more sane.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2009 at 3:27 pm


    Yes, criticism of Android in common in the IRC channel. ;-)

  5. David Gerard said,

    March 7, 2009 at 3:42 pm


    At least it’s not Windows Mobile ;-p

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm


    It’s amazing this thing is still alive. It refuses to die, just like Uncle Fester refuses to step down and SCO isn’t returning to business.

  7. David Gerard said,

    March 7, 2009 at 3:49 pm


    The scariest thing is that Ballmer has failed at succession planning. Any leader who doesn’t have multiple replacements ready at hand is foolish. (I wonder how Apple are doing.)

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2009 at 4:01 pm


    His succession quit, much like other VPs and SVPs. Larry Ellison still has 2 people competing for his chair.

  9. David Gerard said,

    March 9, 2009 at 3:47 pm


    Ah! Here’s the “Android is not Unix, not even close” rant from Matthew Garrett.

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    Links for the day

  29. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part III

    A look at how the EPO's management (Željko Topić in particular) defended the unprecedented promotion of Ms Bergot (wife of the president's close assistant), even in the face of outcry from EPO staffwarning

  30. In an Effort to Counter EPO Staff Narrative (After ~2,000 of Staff Protest) EPO Management Portrays Staff as Violent But Provides No Evidence

    The EPO's management has a poor record on accuracy and truth and the latest staff-shaming tactics serve to reinforce that track record


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