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03.13.09

Links 13/03/2009: New Ubuntu Alpha, New Firefox 3.5 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 10:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Bizarre Cathedral – 42
  • WINE 1.1.17 Released With 64-bit Improvements

    Since the release of WINE 1.1.16 two weeks ago, the open-source developers have been working on joystick support for Mac OS X, implementing iphlpapi on Solaris, a number of 64-bit improvements, the obsolete LinuxThreads support has been dropped, and Windows regression test fixes. These changes plus the usual round of bug-fixes has now gone on to form the WINE 1.1.17 release.

  • PC Vendors: Put up or shut up on the Linux desktop

    One last thing, could all of you keep those annoying “Buy Vista” ads off the Linux sales pages. If we didn’t already know we didn’t want Windows, we wouldn’t be on those pages now would we? Thank you. Thank you very much.

  • Renoise 2.0

    Verdict: If cross-platform usability is more important to you than freedom, Renoise may suit your needs perfectly. 8/10.

  • Comic creation software released simultaneously for Linux and Windows.

    Start by adding panels to your page. Then drop your favorite pictures onto the panels. Add a few Speech Bubbles, and boom. You’ve got your very own comic. And it was all “Drag and Drop”.

  • Who cares about Windows 7?

    Children don’t belong on Windows at all.

    There’s too much malware out there and keeping all the software on a Windows machine up to date is too hard. As for standard defensive measures: UAC is too confusing, running as a restricted user is too often impractical and dealing with anti-malware software is certainly too much to expect.

    Children are best served with a Linux based netbook running Firefox and Open Office.

    Why Linux rather than a Mac?

    For one, it’s significantly cheaper. Kids break things and better they break a $350 netbook rather than a $1,200 Apple laptop.

    Also, their small fingers are a great match for the small keyboards on netbooks. And the small size of netbooks makes them easier for children to carry around.

    Linux is also easier to maintain. Despite the plethora of malicious comments directed at me for criticizing some Linux software update applications, the fact is that Linux is on the right path when it comes to updating software.

    All the distributions I’ve sampled defaulted to automatic self-updating (my gripes were directed at manual updates) and all the software gets updated, not just the software from the OS vendor. Both Microsoft and Apple update their own software, but only in Linux does the operating system keep all the installed software up-to-date. This goes a long way to making the end user safer.

    So who, in the end, other than a handful of techies, cares about Windows 7?

  • StarNet’s X-Win32 First to Redisplay Full Linux/Unix Consoles

    StarNet Communications of Sunnyvale, California, a leading developer of Windows/Linux/UNIX connectivity solutions, today announced the industry’s first PC X server capable of re-displaying a full remote Unix or Linux console to a Windows desktop. X-Win32 version 9.4 also offers Windows users an innovative new way to connect to a remote host via a secure gateway host.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.29-rc8

      This -rc isn’t any more interesting than most, although I have to say that personally, it was interesting to see that we have actually been hitting a Atom CPU errata, and it took some effort from people to hunt it down. That was interesting, if only because it’s a pretty rare occurrence.

    • Happy Birthday, Linux!

      Strictly speaking, Linux was officially unveiled in September of 1991 with version 0.01. That’s a more accurate “birth day” for Linux, which makes it 18 years old later this year. Hopefully Linux will exercise its newfound adulthood by buying cigarettes and pornography, and voting!

      This year also sees the 40th birthday of UNIX! UNIX is like the cool, aging hipster uncle that inspired Linux to grow up into such a badass.

  • Distributions

    • Geek-Free Debian Tutorials and Stuff

      Recognizing a moment when I see one, I plopped my laptop bag onto the counter and retrieved a Mandriva 2009 disc. I said, “Here, take this. It’s not what I run, but it is the total package. Just boot your box to it and there ya go. Do you know how to change boot devices in your BIOS?” The man replied that he did. I said, “Rock on. I think you’re gonna like that disc and don’t worry about any mischief on your machine, this is a live disc and it runs without touching your hard drive.” Well, they both just thought that was amazing. We exchanged more smiles and a few moments later my first proof was ready.

      The moral of this story, kids, is that the public at large is completely ignorant of Linux and the schwing that you get with it. Of course, we already know this but every once in a while it’s helpful to see it in action and to be there to provide answers or wow their socks off. It really did take me about 2 minutes to install glabels, get my design finalized, printed to pdf, burnt to a disc and in their hands. And it really did blow them away. Wicked.

    • PCLinuxOS 2009.1 Released

      As I said at the beginning, there’s a good reason why PCLinuxOS has such a loyal following. It’s good. It works. It includes lots of excellent packages. If you give it a try, you are likely to really be pleased – I am.

    • Mini Linux power

      When it comes to building supercomputers, Linux is usually the first choice of operating system. But while Linux powers the biggest hardware, it is also well suited to smaller hardware and there are many versions of the operating system that have minuscule footprints. We look at three of these.

    • Red Hat

      • First Beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.8 Arrives

        Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of Open Source solutions, announced yesterday (March 12th) the immediate availability of the first beta version of the eighth update for their Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 operating systems. Besides the usual bug fixes and software updates (see below for details), this development release is powered by a 2.6.9-82.EL kernel. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.8 Beta is available for 32-bit and AMD/Intel 64-bit architectures.

    • Ubuntu

      • 12 Ubuntu Server Appliances Meet the Cloud

        Ubuntu is converging quickly with cloud services. A prime example: Turnkey Linux is launching 12 Ubuntu Server Edition software appliances that users can deploy in various cloud services. The news comes only a few weeks after Canonical said Ubuntu 9.10 will leap into Amazon.com’s cloud. I’m intrigued, but I wonder if customers will join the Ubuntu cloud party.

      • Get Android’s fonts on Ubuntu [HOW TO]

        This is a simple how-to to help you install Android’s fonts on your Ubuntu box. Android font’s made for mobile devices, not only look sharp but are more space-savy than Ubuntu’s default fonts.

      • Xubuntu 8.10 + Xfce 4.6: Screenshots

        If GNOME feels like it is too bulky and KDE is not the Linux desktop answer that you are looking for, then you should consider the Xubuntu distribution that ships with the Xfce desktop.

        Long overshadowed by its GNOME and KDE-based brethren, Xubuntu is a handy Ubuntu solution for older PCs or for users that want a lighter desktop footprint.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 6 Released

        We are just a little more than a month away until Ubuntu 9.04 (the Jaunty Jackalope) will be released. With the release getting near, Canonical has today put forth the final alpha release of Jaunty. Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 6 carries a few updated packages (particularly with the imminent release of GNOME 2.26) and various bug-fixing.

        More information on the Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 6 release can be found at Ubuntu.com. Edubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and Mythbuntu have all been updated as well to the Alpha 6 status.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 6 Screenshot Tour

        The sixth and last alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (codename Jaunty Jackalope) was uploaded a few minutes ago on the official mirrors. 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.

        [...]

        Once again, a Live CD is available for everyone who wants to see for themselves what’s new in Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu 9.04 Alpha 6 (see below for download links), without installing anything on the hard drive. See you again at the end of March for the Beta release of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope). We’ll leave you now to enjoy the screenshot tour for the sixth Alpha version of Ubuntu, Kubuntu and by popular demand… Xubuntu!

      • Is Ubuntu Taking Over? Should I Follow?
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Thin client runs dual monitors

      Devon IT announced a thin client that uses Intel’s Atom N270 processor and supports dual HD displays. The “TC5X/XW” offers up to 2GB each of RAM and DOM, plus gigabit Ethernet and optional WiFi, and is available with Devon IT’s DeTOS Linux distribution.

    • Wrist-worn computer packs beaucoup functions

      With the Zypad device, which runs a Linux operating system, one can access a remote host system through integrated wired or wireless interfaces. The unit boasts a special fiberglass-reinforced nylon-magnesium alloy case for maximum durability and minimum weight.

    • Phones

      • Sprint Announces Pricing Plans for Palm Pre

        At first glance, the Pre’s plans appear competitive, and the unlimited-use options should prove popular with heavy web users. Sprint has been very aggressive lately with its all-you-can-use deals; its Boost Mobile subsidiary even offers a $50 plan with unlimited voice, messaging, and text.

      • OODBMS vendor publishes Android benchmarks

        McObject has released a DBMS test benchmark application for the Android-based T-Mobile/HTC G1 smartphone. The “TestIndex” benchmark results purport to show that McObject’s Perst object-oriented database management system (OODBMS) is faster than Android’s default SQLite relational embedded database.

      • iPhone suffers as Android buoys Linux cause

        Google’s open mobile OS platform Android is buoying the fortunes of Linux-powered smartphones. The news for Apple’s iPhone, however, is not so good.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Community group widens Maemo’s reach

        A community effort to create a mainstream open-source Linux distribution for tablets based on the Nokia-specific Maemo 5.0 environment is gaining momentum, says LWN.net. The “Mer” project, which targets older Nokia tablets as well as generic devices, has already passed major milestones, says the story.

      • Medical tablet gets Atom, 12.1-inch screen

        Arbor announced a Linux-compatible tablet PC targeting medical applications, with a sealed, easily sanitized case. The “M1255″ has a 12.1-inch touchscreen display, Atom N270 processor, 60GB hard disk drive, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, two-megapixel camera, barcode scanner, fingerprint reader, and an RFID reader, the company says.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 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).

    [...]

    Given the spectacular example set by Brazil in using cutting-edge open source platforms for public schools and public administration, there is some hope being expressed in the US infotech press that perhaps President Obama will be receptive to breaking the US government’s “dependency on proprietary software.” Given the recovery package’s goals of fixing the current economic crisis, President Obama’s policymakers should focus on governments throughout South America, who continue to demonstrate that the millions of US taxpayer dollars spent on licensing proprietary software are the perfect example of “wasteful spending.”

  • Pentaho Preps Open Source Partner Conference

    Despite the recession, two areas of the IT channel — open source companies and managed services specialists — are pressing ahead with partner and customer conferences. The latest example involves Pentaho, an open source business intelligence company that plans to host a partner summit in April.

  • Programming

    • SourceForge Commits to Git, Bazaar and Mercurial Support

      The sites and services existing under the SourceForge umbrella have experienced some significant changes in the past several months. In the first three months of 2009, we’ve seen management changes and the re-direction of some SourceForge properties. SourceForge is ushering in another change — free hosting for the Git, Bazaar, and Mercurial source code management systems. These services are now available to every open source project registered with SourceForge.net.

    • Student Roboticists Compete to Create C3PO, Share Their Source Code

      More than 42,000 high-school students in 1,680 teams from 10 countries are competing in the 2009 FIRST Robotics Competition. (Dean Kamen, the man behind the Segway scooters and many other inventions, is the founder of FIRST.) Twenty thousand mentors have volunteered to assist them. The competition is observing open source principles, according to CollabNet…

    • Programming languages that melt your brain

      Before continuing, you should know we’ll be assuming you have a general programming background; that said, even if you’ve never written a line of code in your life, you’ll still find some of the concepts here compellingly mind-twisting. You wouldn’t want to use any of these languages to write any large, complicated applications, but you’ll learn a lot about the makeup of programming languages. Plus C, for all its fiddliness, will seem like a gorgeous paradise once you’ve spent some time in these foreign lands…

    • Two Reasons the Command Line Trumps the Graphical User Interface

      Before I get into this I will state for the record I am not a text mode Luddite. I use a graphical user interface (GUI) every day. In fact I am using the fluxbox window manager GUI as I write this article with a WordPress GUI and Firefox GUI. I like my GUI chewy goodness as much as any visually stimulated human. However, for certain tasks a GUI is just not the best choice.

  • Web Browsers

    • Opinion: Defining moments in web history

      The Mozilla project gave a huge boost to open source, and led ultimately to Firefox, now gradually regaining Netscape’s lost browser crown.

    • Firefox Beta Update Supports HTML 5

      Mozilla released an update for the ongoing Firefox beta, bringing the current version to 3.1b3. This will be the last beta before the version number changes to 3.5, according to the organization.

    • Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 now available for download

      Please note: Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 is a public preview release intended for developer testing and community feedback. It includes many new features as well as improvements to performance, web compatibility, and speed. We recommend that you read the release notes and known issues before installing this beta.

Standards/Consortia

  • Insight into Venezuela’s Commitment to Open Standards

    We have reported extensively about the Venezuelan government’s support of open formats in the area of information technology. But it was only recently that the National Center of IT (CNTI) made it mandatory for the public sector to use open formats (ODT, ODS, ODP, ODG). This requirement was published in Venezuela’s Official Journal, giving it more formality since it was distributed to the public and made official.

Leftovers

  • An API for Federal Legislation? Congress Wants Your Opinion

    Congress has apparently listened to the public’s complaints about lack of convenient access to government data.

    The new Omnibus Appropriations Bill includes a section, introduced by Rep. Mike Honda (D-California), that would mark the first tangible move toward making federal legislative data available to the public in bulk, so third parties can mash it up and redistribute it in innovative and accessible ways.

    [...]

    Although sites like Govtrack and OpenCongress improve on these limitations, the sites get their data by scraping Thomas. Their information is, therefore, limited to what can be grabbed in a scrape and isn’t always up to date.

  • Copyrights

    • Australia The Latest To Look At Having Artists Paid Multiple Times For The Same Work

      The only artists such a “right” helps are those who are quite successful — in other words, the ones least likely to need it. For new and upcoming artists, such a resale right creates quite a bit of harm. It acts as a disincentive for anyone to buy or sell their artwork, and limits the likelihood of their artwork becoming well known.

      The problem is that, thanks to the rise of the copyright lobby, people really do think that “creation = permanent ownership” at this point. If you’re going to create a resale right for art, why not for everything else? If I build a house, why shouldn’t I get a percentage of the transaction every time it’s sold?

    • As Musicians Complain That YouTube Doesn’t Pay Enough, At Least One Musician Is Profiting Greatly From YouTube

      Reader Josh Austin tells us he was listening to a local radio show in Denver, where the DJs were interviewing the singer, Joe Bonamassa. In the course of the discussion he mentions just how valuable YouTube has been for him, saying:

      All this digital stuff, now, it’s actually really helped my audience, you know. We were playing little blues bars, and with the advent of YouTube all these college kids started coming out, because they’d check you out online, and instead of a hundred fans, there’d be thousands, and it’s great! How can you complain about YouTube? It’s a really good thing.

    • How Not To ‘Save’ The Music Industry: Ask The Folks Who Benefited From Old Inefficiencies

      There’s a group in the UK called “MusicTank,” which is supposed to represent something of a “think tank” around the music industry. It was the head of MusicTank, back at Midem, who “joked” about how everyone there could solve the industry’s problems, because all the stakeholders were present, “except the consumers, since they can’t afford to be here.” That should give you an idea of one of the main reasons why the industry is in so much trouble. It never really considers the folks who actually listen to the music to be a serious constituent.

    • Copyright treaty is classified for ‘national security’

      Last September, the Bush administration defended the unusual secrecy over an anti-counterfeiting treaty being negotiated by the U.S. government, which some liberal groups worry could criminalize some peer-to-peer file sharing that infringes copyrights.

      Now President Obama’s White House has tightened the cloak of government secrecy still further, saying in a letter this week that a discussion draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and related materials are “classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958.”

    • Pro-filesharing Swedish party hopes for seat in Brussels

      The party was formed in Sweden in 2006 following the introduction of a controversial new law that forbade the downloading of copyrighted material from the internet. However, it doesn’t currently have a seat in the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) as the SPP was conceived after the last national election.

    • Mr. Corgan Goes to Washington to Lobby for Radio Royalties

      What the proposed law would mean is that while only Corgan gets paid if a Smashing Pumpkins song gets played on the radio, anyone who played an instrument on the track would also get paid. Plus, Corgan could get paid if a radio station plays a cover song of another band done by the Smashing Pumpkins.

    • How to Silence Talk Radio: Tax the Industry to Death

      Enter the politicians. Those (like me) who see the opportunity laid out before them to silence talk radio are chomping at the bit to orchestrate how this all unfolds.

      Obviously, by taxing radio to play music the result will be less music sales not more. If you tax something, you get less of it. Taxing music means less music. Less music means less sales. Less sales means less money.

    • There Is No New Business Model For Music?

      Nick Fitzsimons points us to a blog post by journalist/musician Rhodri Marsden complaining about everyone who keeps telling the music industry it needs to “find a new business model.” According to Marsden, the people who say this do so without ever suggesting what that alternative business model might be.

    • Top Artists Strike Back at Greedy Music Labels

      For years music industry lobbyists, headed by the RIAA, have gone after illegal file-sharers – supposedly in the best interests of the artists. Unexpectedly, a group of top musicians has started its very own lobby group to avoid being exploited by these very same record labels, who tend to abuse copyrights for their own sake.

    • SXSW 2009 on BitTorrent: 6 GB of Free Music

      The South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival is one of the largest and most popular in the United States. For the fifth year in a row, SXSW has released a DRM-free, RIAA-safe collection of songs totaling 6 GB, which can all be downloaded for free, thanks to BitTorrent.

    • Labels: whatever the future of music is, it isn’t “free”

      Labels say that it’s not just about the concerts and the merchandise; people will still pay for access to recorded music, but not like they used to. The future is monthly or yearly payments for access to all the tunes you want.

    • Warner Music attacks babies

      Warner Music’s war on fair use has sunk to new lows, with the company sending takedown notices to YouTube over videos in which babies and toddlers interact with music in adorable ways…

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist, explains Free Software culture 11 (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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