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Links 19/03/2009: GNOME 2.26 Insight, Ubuntu Artwork Refresh

Posted in News Roundup at 7:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • S’pore students get taste of mainframes, Linux

    Local institute of learning, Republic Polytechnic, has partnered IBM and Red Hat to groom IT professionals with expertise to meet rising adoption of open source software and mainframe virtualization.

    The institute has launched a new course that provides training on IBM’s System z mainframe based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

  • Linux Outlaws 82 – Journaling is Not So Funny Now!

    This week, we interview Matt Lee from the FSF, talk about Dvorak and Linux, how the French police saved millions with Open Source, CC Zero and Ted Ts’o thoughts on Ext4 data loss.

  • Psystar continues to defy Apple

    The new model is a $600 (£420) mini-tower model dubbed the Open(3). The system includes a pre-installed copy of OS X Leopard with the option of a dual-boot Linux setup. Hardware for the $600 configuration includes a 500GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM and a GeForce 8400GS graphics card.

  • Why Use Linux?

    ‘I Would Pay for Linux’

    “I use Linux first and foremost because it’s Unix, and I’ve been a big fan of the Unix paradigm for 20+ years,” Slashdot blogger yagu told LinuxInsider. “With GNU software, Linux is better than industrial (HP, Sun, et al.) Unix because it leverages the best extensions of familiar commands, making them friendlier (color syntax for the ls command) and more powerful (too many to mention in awk/gawk).”

  • Moving to Linux: slow-go or rip-and-replace?

    My move from the Microsoft world to the GNU-Linux world was motivated by a fear of viruses. In the year 2000, I was hearing a lot of talk among my friends and colleagues about the slew of viruses that they were encountering. I was hearing horror stories about long waits for technicians to arrive; long waits on hold with Microsoft support; lost documents; and lots of downtime. I bumped into a computer systems administrator from another law firm on my floor who recommended that I might want to consider using Linux as an alternative to Microsoft Windows.

    This systems administrator and I became friends and discussed Free Open Source Software over innumerable lunches and elevator rides. I began warming to the idea of not having to pay for anti-virus software or forced upgrade marches for software and hardware to accommodate what I saw as an arms race in computer hardware and software. I had come to distrust computer software salespersons, because I found that they often left out and misrepresented hidden costs of the software.

  • 6 Ways Learning Linux Can Help You in 2009

    Understand The Foundation Of The Web


    Command Line Power


    Python, Ruby, PHP


    Understand How Free Software Can Help Business


    Increasing Your Comfort Zone


    New Social Opportunities


    Why it matters? Because Linux Is Reaching Critical Mass

  • My Latest Linux Experiment

    I next tried my old reliable distro. PClinuxOS 2009. After I ran the live CD I click on the network link, selected refresh wireless networks and immediately was able to connect to the Internet. PCLinuxOS 2009 works so well I have installed it along with Vista and will dual boot testing this OS on my laptop. All is working well thus far. For those who might consider using Linux, give PClinuxOS 2009 a try. It is free and works very well.

  • Applications

    • Ten obscure Linux applications you need to try

      With thousands of Linux tools available, it is inevitable that some of the best ones get lost in the crowd. Jack Wallen introduces apps that more admins should know about.

      Search for Linux applications on Freshmeat and you’ll get more than 11,000 hits.

    • 10 Linux and open source developer tools you should not overlook

      Linux is a great development environment. But without sound development tools, that environment won’t do you any good. Fortunately, plenty of Linux and/or open source development tools are available. If you’re a new user you might not know which tools are there, but worry not. Here are 10 outstanding tools that will help you take your development to another level.

    • Readers’ Choice: Awesome Linux Apps that Need Our Attention

      I got some very interesting comments on my post about Linux projects that need more attention, so I decided to feature a few of the readers’ recommendations. They have mentioned very interesting and useful applications, some of which I have never heard of. A warning though: this is a very mixed bunch, some of the apps are just little tools while others are heavy-duty software projects.

  • Kernel Space

    • It’s *Not* The 15th Birthday of Linux – and Why That Matters

      Last week, I wondered whether I’d gone back in time. Everywhere I went online – on news sites, blogs and Twitter – people were celebrating the 15th birthday of Linux, it seemed. “How is this possible?” I asked myself. “Since Linux was started in 1991, that must mean we are in 2006: have I fallen through a wormhole into the past?”


      Marking anniversaries of nominal “major” releases for Linux or any other project is harmless enough, but tends to obscure one of the key differences between free software and traditional projects. What we should really be celebrating is the extraordinary power of serendipity that this kind of free creation allows – something that does not happen by numbers.

    • The Linux Staging Tree, what it is and is not

      The Linux Staging tree (or just “staging” from now on) is used to hold stand-alone drivers and filesystems that are not ready to be merged into the main portion of the Linux kernel tree at this point in time for various technical reasons. It is contained within the main Linux kernel tree so that users can get access to the drivers much easier than before, and to provide a common place for the development to happen, resolving the “hundreds of different download sites” problem that most out-of-tree drivers have had in the past.

    • The “We’re Linux” Video Contest

      If you’ve been alive and aware of mass media over the last twelve months, you’ve probably seen television commercials from Apple and Microsoft touting their operating system. From Apple’s ubiquitous “I’m a Mac” to Jerry Seinfeld to Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” retort, operating system commercials have been flooding the airways. Except one OS has been notably absent – Linux.

      While the Linux Foundation would love to spend millions promoting Linux on TV, it’s simply not our style (or in our budget). Even more importantly, Linux isn’t a top-down, commercially controlled operating system. It’s a grassroots product of mass collaboration. That’s why we’re sponsoring a community contest to create a Linux video that showcases just what Linux means to those who use it, and hopefully inspires many to try it.

  • Graphics

    • AMD Releases Display Library For Linux

      This afternoon AMD has released the Catalyst 9.3 driver for Windows along with ADL, or the AMD Display Library. The AMD Display Library is a cross-platform library that provides a single SDK to access graphics hardware information. In the past AMD has provided a few SDKs for obtaining this information on Windows, but this is the first time we are seeing such support on Linux.

    • Proprietary Driver for Ubuntu 9.04: Fglrx for X Server 1.6

      By Canonical’s Bryce Harrington’s account, AMD has delivered an ATI driver that should be compatible with the X Server 1.6 found in, among other places, Ubuntu 9.04.

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE

      • Why I prefer KDE over GNOME

        Some will say, “Well, KDE also forced a dumbed down KDE 4.0 onto the masses”. But, that is not really the case. The KDE developers were very clear in saying that KDE 4.0 was not intended for the public at large. It was meant for *developers*. If there are any options still missing in KDE 4.2 it is not due to a desire to artificially limit the number of options. It is simply a matter of not being able to incorporate them yet. The KDE developers attitude is clearly very different from the one I have experienced in the GNOME world. I feel like the KDE developers want to empower me while the GNOME developers want to restrict me.

      • KDE4 Version of Digikam Photo Management Available

        Photographers in the Free world rejoice! On behalf of the Digikam developer team, Gilles Caullier has announced the first KDE 4 release of Digikam, the photo management application.

        Digikam is a full-fledged tool that covers the whole digital photography workflow, from downloading the pictures off of your camera (and in the new version even capturing photos from inside digikam) to sorting, editing, rating and tagging (including geolocation and editing of raw photos in the new version) and of course also publishing your photos.

      • KDE Commit Digest: Issue 151 – 22nd February 2009 – by Danny Allen

        Experimentation with recording presentations in Okular. Mobipocket format support added to Okular, Strigi, and the thumbnailer. Ability to configure gestures in the “Hotkeys” KControl module.

    • GNOME

      • Gnome 2.26: What to expect

        On the interface front there are a number of changes that will give Gnome 2.26 a little more polish. These include a dark widget theme, a flat widget theme, a compact widget theme for small screens and some nicer Gnome Panel icons.

        All told, Gnome 2.26 is a solid release even if it’s not the most exciting release ever. Perhaps the Gnome 2.2x series is now nearing its logical peak and developers will need to shaking things up with a 3.0 release? Let’s hope so.

      • Afrikaans translators make good progress on Gnome 2.26

        As Friedel Wolff points out, more than 25 percent of Gnome 2.26 has been translated into Afrikaans. Which is good progress over the 19 percent of Gnome 2.24. Other localisation efforts such as Zulu and Xhosa are also at varying stages of development.

      • GNOME 2.26.0 released
      • GNOME 2.26 Release Notes
  • Distributions

    • First Look: OpenGEU 8.10

      Another week, another First Look and yet another Enlightenment-using distribution came knocking at our doors. It’s OpenGEU this time around and it has reached version 8.10, beautifully codenamed Luna Serena. If my memory is correct, OpenGEU (actually Geubuntu, its ex-name) was my first encounter with the Enlightenment window manager and, though I couldn’t get used to it, I was quite impressed overall.

    • Red Hat

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 9.04′s New Boot Splash

        After the new themes introduced yesterday, Canonical decided to update the boot splash screen (USplash) theme with a very nice one. As you can see in the image below, the logo is the same as it was in Ubuntu 8.10, but it’s smaller and the loading bar was replaced with a thinner and nicer one (see the video below for more details). Softpedia is once again the first website to offer you a preview of the new artwork, which will probably be present in the final release of Ubuntu 9.04.

      • One Last Hurrah For USplash: A New Theme

        Pushed into the Jaunty repository this morning for Ubuntu 9.04 was a new theme for USplash. This Canonical project for providing a splash screen at boot-up on Ubuntu is being replaced by Plymouth with Ubuntu 9.10 (the Karmic Koala release), but there is a new Ubuntu theme as one last hurrah. This new USplash theme has a fixed-size Ubuntu logo centered in the middle of the display and a new progress bar. From our feelings at least, this new theme looks more professional than its predecessor, but it’s not exactly a complete overhaul. Below is a video of this newly-pushed theme.

      • Interview with Jono Bacon – Ubuntu Community Manager

        I believe that today Ubuntu plays a critical role in the Linux ecosystem, primarily in that Ubuntu is bring legions of new users and contributors over to the Open Source family. We have seen massive growth in the user community in recent years, and the continued growth of Ubuntu on netbooks is continuing to expose Linux to new users via Ubuntu. I feel that Ubuntu has been the much needed on-ramp to bring many who are totally unfamiliar with Linux into our world.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Has a Brand New Wallpaper

        After the new login screen, new themes and the new boot splash theme introduced the other day, Canonical finally updated the old Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) wallpaper with a brand new one. As you can see in the image below, there’s no more logo as everyone expected… instead, the wallpaper is slick, simple and stylish. Softpedia is once again the first website to offer you a preview of the new artwork, which will probably be present in the final release of Ubuntu 9.04.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 10-GbE packet processor cards run Linux

      GE Fanuc announced two PCI Express “network packet processor” cards that come with Linux support packages (LSPs) and development tools. The WANic 56511 and 56512 are based on 12-way Octeon processors, and can offload packet processing from communications appliances and servers, says the company.

    • Six-slot MicroTCA system runs Carrier Grade Linux

      Performance Technologies (PT) is shipping a 1U MicroTCA system aimed at telecom, networking, and aero/defense communication systems. The AMP5071 offers Intel Core 2 Duo or Freescale MPC8641D dual-core processors, up to six AMC modules, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and PT’s CGL-compliant NexusWare Linux distribution.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Cheap, Pocketable MID Runs Linux

        OK, SmartQ: how long have you been hiding this Mobile Internet Device from Engadget? The SmartQ 5 is all touch-screen with 4.3-inches of 800×480 resolution to tap. Although I’m more enamored by higher resolutions than this, it’s not bad for a handheld device. It could be a chore for viewing web pages though, so I suspect ample usage of the zoom function would be used in the browser. Hey, at $132 for an ARM-based MID running Linux with a usable browser, I’d be willing to gamble if I could get one from China.

      • SmartQ 5 Ubuntu MID arriving soon
      • Realistic netbook expectations

        Regular readers will know that I’ve become quite a fan of netbooks. After all, why buy a full-blown notebook when a $300 netbook will meet your needs just as well? Even the bargain-basement laptops that are cropping up in the $500 range tend to be fairly heavy, so netbooks compete well here too (even for the nicer offerings that start pushing $500 themselves).

      • Android-powered netbooks predicted for 2009

        Android-powered netbooks will emerge in 2009, analysts are predicting.

        According to market watchers Ovum, Google’s mobile OS could become the platform of choice for lower-end mini laptops, rather than full-fat flavors of Linux traditionally associated with the desktop, such as Ubuntu.

      • Announcing ‘Anjal’- the new mail for netbooks

        Anjal is a new mail UI created on top of Evolution. It would have a very interesting UI & features, that would make it the very suitable for low memory/processor/resolution devices. It is Evolution & EDS at the back of Anjal. We have broken down Evolution mail library to a smaller component and made a reusable shared library to be used by Evolution.

      • Google Android to dominate netbooks–Ovum

        Google’s Android operating system is expected to become the dominant platform for low-cost netbooks, industry analyst firm Ovum said.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Visually Challenged Show the power of Free Software.
  • Life Without Free Software: Not Possible

    Even the harshest critics of the open-source movement would have a hard time, I suspect, extricating free software from their lives. Below is a short list of the most popular open-source software that Microsoft and Apple fanboys take for granted, but without which their world would fall apart.

  • Industry Perspectives: The Promise of Open Source Video

    Open source video is not only a future promise: it is becoming a value driver in the present. My experience at Kaltura shows that open source video works, today. We help more than 20,000 sites, companies and organizations the world over (including Wikipedia, the UN, Coca Cola, Pepsi, PBS, Universal Studios, and Lionsgate Entertainment to name just a few) to discover the power of the open video solution stack. Whether self-hosted or managed on the cloud, these organizations pay less, get more, remain in control, and hit their market faster. The bottom line: If you are a publisher, a developer, an agency/creative shop, a content owner or a media company, you should join the open source video bandwagon, and start driving more value today.

  • XOOPS v2.3.3: Installation of Open Source CMS Gets Easier

    XOOPS (news, site) released version 2.3.3 of its PHP-based open source, object-oriented Web Content management System. This release focuses on bug fixes and usability improvements, with the highlight being an improved installer.

  • IT cost-cutting tactics: LinkedIn users tell all

    Hein Hanssen, senior consultant at Fagro Consultancy in The Netherlands, suggests avoiding proprietary software and embracing open source.

    “The main reason you suffer from increasing (licensing) costs is probably that you have reached a point where you suffer from vendor lock-in caused by proprietary software,” writes Hanssen. “The vendors have you in your grip: you can’t easily switch. You should have considered this before the current crisis.”

    Proprietary software “should be avoided as much as possible,” according to Hanssen. “Also, avoid as much as possible software that only runs on a single platform. Use as much multi-platform software as you can…Try to get as much software based on open standards and the open source idea. This, combined with all other possible solutions, will prove to be a real cost saver.”

    Many companies are now evaluating open source, says business and technology consultant Chip Nickolett.

  • Healthcare

    • Medsphere transformation appears complete

      By making those words real, Mike Doyle has both done good and done well. Hospitals that need to fulfill their obligations under the Health IT stimulus now have multiple, valid open source options.

  • Business

    • Have Code, Will Travel – Sabre Chooses Open Source to Power its Business

      Whenever you buy an airline ticket or book a hotel room these days, chances are that a good part of that transaction will run through Sabre’s network. Sabre is one of the world’s largest suppliers of technology solutions for the airline and travel industry. What you may not be aware of, however, is that Sabre has made open-source software a cornerstone of its technology strategy. Sabre already relies on a number of open-source projects to handle thousands of transactions every second, and today, Sabre and Progress FUSE announced a new partnership that will make a number of FUSE’s open-source offerings a cornerstone of Sabre’s technology.


    • Join the book sprint and help author a new text

      Join the Free Software Foundation and FLOSS Manuals March 21st-22nd book sprint, “Introduction to the Command Line”

      The Free Software Foundation and FLOSS Manuals are joining forces in a sprint to write a new textbook introducing GNU/Linux newbies to the command line. Join us as we sprint to release a new book by Monday March 23rd!

  • Sun

    • eWEEK Labs on IBM/Sun: Open-Source Community Would Win

      There is a lot of overlap for IBM and Sun in the areas of open source and operating systems, and in this case, that’s a good thing. Solaris would give IBM a better Unix operating system than IBM’s AIX, and the deal could enable IBM to take advantage of the significant open-source work that Sun has done. The combination of IBM and such open-source technologies as OpenSolaris, StarOffice and MySQL could mean a richer, happier open-source community.

    • Sun Microsystems a longtime leader in innovation

      So as news swept Silicon Valley on Wednesday that Sun was in talks to be acquired by IBM, the reaction included a poignant, even bittersweet, sense of irony.

    • Sun: Open source frees CIOs (and others) from ‘slavery’

      Vendors can build revenues from services and subscriptions, while CIOs, CEOs and the businesses they lead are freed from the “slavery” of traditional software procurement processes, said Sun’s Simon Phipps, speaking at a Sun developers conference in New York City.

      In the midst of industry speculation that IBM might buy Sun for some $6.5 billion, Sun also used the event this week to announce the Sun Open Cloud Platform, a.k.a., “Sun Cloud,” along with the first two services from Sun to be based on the new private and public cloud environment.

  • Security/Administration

    • Restoring Integrity to Electronic Voting Systems

      I would even go so far as to advoate that we make the source code public. Some might question the wisdom, but I would point to the many open source projects with security records that are as good or better than their closed-source competitors, like Apache, OpenBSD and Mozilla.

    • Carahsoft Awarded U.S. DoD Enterprise Software Initiative Contract for Open Source Solutions

      Carahsoft Technology Corp., the trusted government IT solutions provider, today announced that it has been awarded a U.S. Department of Defense ESI Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) for Open Source Solutions. The contract encompasses software and support services from Red Hat, JBoss, Alfresco, Pentaho, MySQL, and CollabNet.

    • Defense Department makes more open source moves

      At a technology transfer showcase hosted by Johns Hopkins a defense IS official noted all this will help DoD “leverage” improvements to CMIS made by other agencies, universities or individuals. But that’s the open source deal — you benefit from me and I benefit from you.

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • Three New Open Source Tools Aimed at Global Humanitarian Efforts

      Today, a Silicon Valley non-profit group called InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters) unveiled three new open source software tools targeted to help global humanitarian efforts. The group works with humanitarian organizations, local communities, and government ministries to improve disease detection and disaster response. Some of the tools are already in use in HIV clinics in Tanzania, centers for disease control in Kenya and Cambodia, and more. Here are the details on the tools, and how to get them.

    • Open Source Hardware Hackers Start P2P Bank

      Getting a business loan in this economy can be more difficult than landing a reservation at French Laundry in Napa, California. Now try selling the loan officer on an open source hardware project where the blueprints will be given away.

      That’s why the hardware hacking community is turning inwards to fund its ideas. Two open source hardware enthusiasts, Justin Huynh and Matt Stack, have started the Open Source Hardware Bank to fund hardware projects such as the microcontroller board pictured above.

  • Programming

    • Perl 6 development: Parrot 1.0 has arrived

      The developers of version 6 of the Perl scripting language have released version 1.0 of the Parrot virtual machine on which the Rakudo Perl 6 implementation will run. Parrot, unlike Perl 5, keeps compiler and runtime separate. It will also support other dynamic languages in the future. The developers describe the new version as a more stable platform for implementing Perl 6.

  • Applications

    • SpringSource unveils new release of Eclipse-based tool suite

      SpringSource has released version 2 of its commercial Eclipse-based tool suite for Spring development.

    • Hands-on: Mozilla Fennec beta offers performance, features

      Mozilla has announced the first official beta release of its mobile Firefox web browser, codenamed Fennec. The release includes significant performance improvements that speed up rendering and increase the responsiveness of the user interface.

      The Fennec project was first launched in 2007 when Mozilla established its new mobile team. They aimed to bring the full functionality of the Firefox web browser, including support for extensions, to handheld devices.


      It’s very clear that Mozilla has done much more than bring its rendering engine to handhelds. The Fennec project also provides the broader Firefox ecosystem with its powerful support for extensibility and the potential for leveraging XUL to build richer mobile user interfaces. These aspects set Fennec apart from MicroB and other Gecko-based mobile browsers that are built using native widget toolkits.

      Fennec’s use of XUL will offer some particularly intriguing advantages in the area of theming. It will be trivially easy to reskin and adapt the user interface to accommodate devices with all kinds of unique form factors.

  • Events


  • Fort Worth legislator pushes for open format in state documents

    In recent years, a host of free programs using an open-source format called OpenDocument have emerged that allow users to create and edit office documents. Popular ones include OpenOffice.org and Google Docs, both of which can open files in most Microsoft Office formats.


  • U.K. to monitor, store all social-network traffic?

    The U.K. government is considering the mass surveillance and retention of all user communications on social-networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo.

    Vernon Coaker the U.K. Home Office security minister, on Monday said the EU Data Retention Directive, under which Internet service providers must store communications data for 12 months, does not go far enough. Communications such as those on social-networking sites and via instant-messaging services could also be monitored, he said.

    “Social-networking sites such as MySpace or Bebo are not covered by the directive,” said Coaker, speaking at a meeting of the House of Commons Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee. “That is one reason why the government (is) looking at what we should do about the Intercept(ion) Modernisation Programme, because there are certain aspects of communications which are not covered by the directive.”

  • Copyrights

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Bhaskar Chakravorti, business theory visionary (SF) 03 (2005)

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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    Proprietary software giants with their sponsorships and gifts are more like Trojan horses or parasites striving to infect the host; how can the LF be protected from them?

  30. EPO Benefits European Patent Trolls With Dodgy European Patents

    The EPO is a stepping stone for parasitic entities looking to leverage patents for exploitative extortion rackets all over Europe; if they get their way, companies that manufacture and sell things will pay a hefty tax to those who create nothing at all and are often not European, either


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