“I have found that Macs are less secure than their current Windows and Linux counterparts,” says Mr. Dai Zovi, who is co-author of The Mac Hacker’s Handbook. “At least for the last several years, Apple has lagged behind in security, largely because the threat hasn’t been there.”
We’re going to watch the progress, setbacks and hopefully the ultimate migration of this company to GNU/Linux and Free Software.
Developers interested in using libspotify can head on over to our developer site for more details. Initially we are offering support for Linux on IA-32, but we have plans to open up Spotify to more platforms and provide additional access to our services in the near future.
Editorial: What You Should Expect from Mandriva 2009 Spring
First Look: Linux Mint 6 KDE
Distributions announced last week:
· Mandriva 2009.1 RC2 Screenshot Tour
· Clonezilla Live 1.2.1-53 Is Out
· Linux Mint 6 Fluxbox Is Here
· Linux Mint 6 KDE Edition Has KDE 4.2.2
· Available Now: Slax 6.1.0
· Kwort Linux 2.4.1 Was Released
· Tiny Core Linux 1.3 Has Better Support for Flash Drives
* Review: First look at PC-BSD 7.1
* News: Linux Foundation to include Novell Build Service, Moblin aims for 2-second boot, Fedora 11 64-bit beta re-issued, FreeBSD hits 20,000 ports, new Debian leader announced, Kubuntu prepares KDE 3 images, Ubunchu! manga
* Released last week: Linux Mint 6 “Fluxbox” and “KDE”, PC-BSD 7.1
* Upcoming releases: Parsix GNU/Linux 3.0, Ubuntu 9.04 RC
* New additions: Baltix GNU/Linux, Canaima GNU/Linux, Toorox
* New distributions: TurnKey Linux, ayuOS
Schooner Information Technology took IBM’s newest Intel-based servers and souped them up with flash memory, 1 Gigabit and 10G Ethernet connections, the Linux operating system and a choice between the Memcached distributed memory caching system and MySQL database.
Faster PC boots would help, too. That’s an operating system problem, and one that should be Microsoft’s greatest shame. A locked-down Windows PC should be able to boot in seconds — if there’s nothing new for the operating system to discover, why should initialization take so long? A tuned version of Linux can come up in seconds on a PC that takes minutes to load Windows. Why must Windows waste power and murder user productivity at the same time?
This is a great way to make full use of your multi-core processors during boot time. I have an Intel core 2 duo processor and I have seen a notable change in boot time.
We have invested a lot of resources into enriching the Linux hardware experience particularly by improving Linux performance benchmarks and taking the necessary steps to make Linux-based benchmarking an attractive offer for hardware and software vendors. We have also strived to ensure that open-source developers understand the importance of automated testing and that they have the proper tools to fully automate tests relevant to them when looking for performance regressions and other conditions that otherwise would not easily be caught in an efficient and effective manner. At the same time, we have sought to standardize the benchmarking process of Linux desktops to make it easier for end-users and companies when looking to gauge how well something works on Linux. The Phoronix Test Suite has made immense progress over the past year, but today it is now time to expose our latest endeavor, Sandtorg.
Those workgroups are already forming around areas where Linux needs improvement. Top among those areas are energy management, handling SSD storage devices, and improving packaging systems for cross-distribution use.
Morton told a Linux kernel developer summit in Cambridge, England, two years ago that he wanted to appoint “a nasty person” to identify bugs and “beat up on developers who do not fix bugs.” Many programmers like to submit code and see it committed to the kernel, but they don’t necessarily follow up with fixes if bugs show up afterward.
There are bog-standard screenshot utilities, Firefox add-ons, Scrot and ImageMagick. The command line tools invoke the power of scripting language too which, with experience and imagination, allows you to do damn near anything with screenshots so I won’t be abandoning them anytime soon. Then there is Shutter, written in Perl and GPLV3 compliant, containing nothing to offend the sensibilities of the most abstemious free software evangelist and packed with a decent slew of the features bloggers and technical writers might need. Where it’s toolset falls short Shutter offers a gateway to other viewing/editing graphics applications to fill any gaps. (Detailed online PDF documentation would be very welcome.)
As for the developers (Mario Kemper and Vadim Peretokin), their after-sales care was an object lesson in professionalism and represents everything that is right and good about free software. I have no doubt that we will see more of the same, as they tell me that version 0.90 of Shutter is slated to add in support for Skype and Gmail. A big up and respect to them. Thanks guys. Shutter makes you proud to be called a lens louse.
Most Gnome users probably use Evolution, the default PIM, to manage their tasks and ToDo lists. However, if you are like me, who is not a user of Evolution and are looking for a native standalone ToDo list app for your Linux machine, here are 5 of the best ToDo list apps that I have tried, used, loved and recommend.
In part 1 of the series we looked at the early X window managers that ran on X display protocol based systems. The scale and range of them was from the very beginning where a user was presented with a menu and windows and little else (perhaps a clock or loadmeter) up to what could be considered the first window manager that went beyond providing the basics to providing more of an environment and extensibility through modules that allowed other hackers to “join in the fun”. In this part 2 of the series two more distinct groups of window managers will be peeked at; first a look at the evolution of that first “more of an environment than just window managing” software; many of which cropped up right around the same time (within a few years of eachother). Second the kickback against large scale environments with an examination of a breed of window managers designed to be ultra light/fast while still preserving good looks.
In the end I would say Mandirva 2009.1 is really a stable release and with its vast repositories you won’t find any problem searching for your favorite software..
PCLinuxOS is one of those distributions that you could probably set up for your mom or for a non-techie friend and then have it pretty much work for them with very little support headaches on your part. I’d definitely recommend it as one of the must-try distributions available right now.
Windows users who want to kick the tires on a Linux distro already have the option of using a Live CD. Ubuntu also offers a cool gadget called Wubi, which installs a fully functional Ubuntu Linux distro on a Windows system without reformatting or partitioning a system’s hard disk.
Recently I treated myself to a solid-state drive (SSD). That’s essentially a hard-drive made out of memory chips. I bought the Intel X25-E Extreme, which uses faster single-level cell (SLC) memory chips instead of slower multi-level cell (MLC) memory chips.
Believe it or not, Ubuntu has a control panel. Firstly, it’s just called the control center, and secondly it’s kinda hidden.
The reason is that it’s not hard to resolve the problems but they think that it is. That’s simply they are not familiar with the product and they don’t know how to get around. It’s going to take some time for people to get used to this great product.
Me giving a quick look through Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope”
In this Issue:
* Archive frozen in preparation of Ubuntu 9.04
* Ubuntu 7.10 reaches EOL April 18th
* Ubuntu Open Week
* QA Team: Next Testing Day
* Ubuntu Stats
* LoCo News: New York, Florida, Nebraska, North Carolina, Australia, & Tunisia
* Updating the PPA Docs
* Meet Gavin Panella
* Expanding the Forum Council
* New Staff in Town
* The Planet: Jim Campbell, Jonathan Carter, John Vivirito, and Dustin Kirkland
* In the Press & Blogosphere
* Ubunchu the Ubuntu Manga is now in English
* Ubuntu Server Team Meeting Minutes
* Upcoming Meetings & Events
* Updates & Security
Coming from the Linux community, Ubuntu is perhaps the most visually attractive distro among other nerdy ones. I remember, after my reviews of Ubuntu 8.10 – Intrepid Ibex, how people were crazy about the theme and the wallpaper that is by default there. So we have also written about ubuntu transformation pack for Windows XP. Now is the time to share with you some of the coolest themes I got my hands on to. They are free and very attractive.
While considering to use Ubuntu as the operating system, there are many questions in the minds of beginners with Linux. It is pretty important here to note that there is nothing left in Ubuntu that you will desire–it offers all the applications and all the software. Here are 5 most desired features that one would like to have in Ubuntu.
I made the switch to Linux 3 years ago and have played around with various distributions, but find myself most at home with Ubuntu. Its power has allowed me to run freepbx phone systems, build small business network file storage and even deploy a motion sensing CCTV system. The flexibility of Linux lets anyone operate at their skill level and develop upwards, from beginner to Jedi master. You’ll find it installed on devices ranging from mobile phones to corporate data centers. There’s now even a super slick version of Ubuntu to replace XP on your netbook which boots exceptionally fast thanks to improved code and the new ext4 file system.
I believe 9.04 will shape up to be a “killer release”, and should be well received by all Ubuntu users.
John Stewart on Mint. Life is indeed good.
The Debian project is pleased to announce the eighth update of its oldstable distribution Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (codename etch). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustment to serious problems.
British developer Steve McIntyre has been re-elected leader of the Debian GNU/Linux project (DPL) for 2009-10.
The contest for leader was a two-way affair this year, with McIntyre, who held the office in 2008-09, recontesting against Stefano Zacchiroli.
Hot on the heels of the ZX81 casemod comes this ZX Spectrum one. The whole thing is made possible by the BeagleBoard, a diminuitive ARM-powered single board computer that runs Linux from an SD card.
Recently, I purchased a Linux-based EeePC. I bought it for easy “packing” so I could have the means to write in serious “go mode.” It worked well but there was something that bothered me a bit – the pre-installed OS. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the flavor of Linux put on netbooks is serviceable…at best. But to be honest, I am surprised at the choice Asus made using Xandros. Why? Well, it is somewhat limiting and has next to zero on the “fun factor.”
I realize that “limiting” was an issue Asus took seriously. They didn’t want the full-blown power of Linux invading their new-user-friendly netbooks. But that shouldn’t have meant the Linux distribution need suffer for it. But it did. And this is my call out to Asus to re-examine the version of Linux they have chosen for their netbooks before all of those claims by Microsoft-funded studies come true.
Eeebuntu is the clear frontrunner for a netbook OS. So stop selling your product with lesser operating systems! You won’t have to worry about rolling in a wireless stack because it’s already there. You won’t have to worry that the interface isn’t user-friendly because it is. You’ll get better performance, a more reliable desktop, and much happier users.
Then there is the Nokia Nautilus smartphone, again a slide out QWERTY smartphone with touch-screen with a sensor that extends the slider keyboard and is expected in 2010.
The last version had a full install of Ubuntu Linux with a custom Webkit browser. This version has a bottom-up linux operating system and a new version of the browser. We also switched from Via to the Intel Atom chip. The total software footprint is around 100 MB total, which is a solid achievement. Also, this time the ID and hardware work was driven by Fusion Garage out of Singapore.
The IT manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party has created ripples among software circles with its support for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and its opposition to “digital standards.” While the Kerala government has a policy that makes the use of FOSS in government and education mandatory, Tamil Nadu has implemented it in a few departments. Left parties have for long backed the Free Software movement politically. It is surprising that the BJP, with its strong pro-corporate and pro-patent leanings, should back this cause.
It is unclear whether Sun will attempt to apply pressure to Google. Phipps characterized his own remarks as non-official.
Whether you agree with Sun policing it or not, Java compatibility has served us all very well for over a decade. That includes being sure as a developer that all core classes are present on all platforms. Creating sub-sets of the core classes in the Java platform was forbidden for a really good reason, and it’s wanton and irresponsible to casually flaunt the rules.
A problem shimming scenario is using it to attempt to undo a previous decision to combine software. It could be “admitting that what you did was problematic.” If possible, try to buy a exception from the copyright holder instead, Norman said. Shimming is possible and might even be necessary, as in the case of third-party code that can’t be relicensed. But the lesson is that companies will save time, use fewer developers, make a simpler product, and avoid legal bills just sticking with the copyleft.
The Center for Responsive Politics, best known for its OpenSecrets.org Web site, has been standardizing, cleaning and organizing campaign and lobbying data on its Web site. It now intends to allow anyone to download compressed CSV text files of its data without charge beginning sometime next week.
Rasmus Lerdorf is a Danish-Greenlandic programmer and is most notable as the creator of the PHP programming language. He authored the first two versions. Lerdorf also participated in the development of later versions of PHP led by a group of developers including Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski, who later founded Zend Technologies.
The software application for Globe4D was written in C++ and uses OpenGL and OpenGlut for rendering and controlling the 3D animated movies and handling user interaction.
Time Warner Cable has increased all of its Internet data caps, added some new ones, and generously offered to limit overage charges to $75/month. Perhaps that’s because the company’s broadband operations are actually earning more cash and have lower expenses than they did in 2007, making TWC’s stated rationale for the caps less tenable.
I, like many people, have been subscribing to Internet connection services since the days of 300 baud modems. Then I upgraded to 14.4k, 36.6k, 56k, DSL, and now cable. Unfortunately, due to where I am living today, I’m stuck on 3 Mbit Verizon DSL service, which is often running at less than 1 Mbit. Thankfully, my service doesn’t have a download cap on it–at least not yet anyway.
This week’s hoopla over at the Federal Communications Commission focused on the launching of a Notice of Inquiry that is seeking comment on a National Broadband Plan, which the agency must produce for Congress by February of 2010. “If we do our job well,” interim FCC Chair Michael Copps told an Open Commission meeting audience on Wednesday, “this will be the most formative—indeed transformative—proceeding ever in the Commission’s history.”
Given my personal experiences in the music industry, and my position as a public intellectual in discourse on copyright, music, and technology, I am able to testify about the historical context of the recording industry’s anti-file sharing campaign, its larger merits and shortcomings, and the social implications of litigation such as that before this court.
I am, in particular, aware of how the economics of ‘file sharing’ can work to the great benefit of musicians and creators. The Grateful Dead allowed our fans to tape concerts, essentially giving our musical way for ‘free’.
The university ended up splashing more than $75,000 for a device that “scans data crisscrossing its network for copyrighted media”.
The MPAA isn’t known for wasting opportunities to obtain information about BitTorrent sites and their users. In 2005 the MPAA paid around $15,000 to a hacker who obtained emails from TorrentSpy and The Pirate Bay. The case was heard in court and won by the MPAA, but this decision will soon be appealed.
Nelson Pavlosky, Co-founder of Free Culture.org 06 (2005)
Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.
Summary: Microsoft pollutes data and programs using proprietary formats and software patents; Apple pollutes the Internet with software patents
[I]n Phelps view, all this folderol about Microsoft “owning Linux” is really just a ploy to participate fully in the Linux ecosystem, through cross-licenses.
Glyn Moody addressed the OSI regarding patents just the other day, so it seems likely that this new OSI post is a response to Moody. It argues against patents as tools of innovation. Too bad the OSI let Microsoft get closer to it, eh? Microsoft is one of the biggest proponents of software patents right now.
Yesterday, wrote Pamela Jones in response to a post from Chris Kenyon of Canonical: “Nothing changes in Redmond, which is why it is unwise, in my view, to include Windows Media Player codecs, or FAT, or anything Microsoft.” Groklaw also opposes Mono, especially after the FAT debacle.
Over here in Ryan’s blog, it is made very clear that while Microsoft supports many codecs, it intentionally avoids supporting the free ones because these would advance fair competition.
Windows Media Player 12 in Windows 7 is all pay-for-play:
Playing around with Windows 7 I noticed a new “feature”…Windows Media Player 12 will no longer allow the user to use any audio or video format that Microsoft and the various partners don’t allow.
What does this mean for competing formats and free formats like Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Theora, and FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec)?
The European Commission should step in and force Microsoft to support these. Microsoft knows very well why it avoids supporting these formats; it wants to remain anti-competitive.
Microsoft is not alone in this by the way. It has many people outside its direct control who nonetheless promote its agenda. Groklaw has just published this article which challenges Alex Brown and the cronies-filled ISO. It is rather clear what happened there after Microsoft had dethroned opposition and overthrew objectivity.
Alex Brown recently tweeted to Microsoft’s Doug Mahugh the following about OOXML:
OOXML=tought [sic] fights; revealed JTC 1 procedures were rubbish.
The OOXML approval was marred by procedures that were rubbish, eh? How about the result, then? Wasn’t that exactly what the four appeals against adoption of OOXML stated as one basis, that the process was essentially rubbish? Were they right? One year later, it seems there are indeed some problems. Brown tells us on his blog that at the BRM “a number of existing Ecma-376 documents were unintentionally made invalid against the IS29500 transitional schema”.
The UK, he writes, now is suggesting a retroactive fix to undo the changes made at the BRM. Say, what? Rubbish though they be, is there any JTC1 procedure that makes *that* an appropriate way forward? If so, why bother to even meet? Just let Microsoft or its little elves slip in anything they want and call it good.
That’s not all. According to Jomar Silva of Brazil, who attended the BRM and just received the secret report on progress on OOXML, several items that were supposed to be fixed are still not incorporated into the published text of the standard one year later, despite the fact that he says some voted a conditional Yes, contingent on those changes being made.
If you are considering whether or not to adopt IS29500, what should that tell you? That maybe you should wait until they get the kinks out?
[W]hy were the appeals denied? I know the JTC1 folks don’t care, but if you are thinking about adoption of ODF and/or OOXML, and you care about truly open standards, shouldn’t you?
The way to hold establishments accountable for their actions is to identify those who run them. Establishments like ISO are — after all — just people. The same goes for WIPO [1, 2, 3, 4], the BSA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], and even the Department of Justice [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. They are all helping Microsoft poison the waters for Free(dom) software, ensuring not only that access to data is prohibited or stifled; it’s about putting a ‘Microsoft tax’ on personal data. It’s people like Alex Brown and Miguel de Icaza who actively promote this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21].
To be fair, Microsoft is not the only culprit. Some argue that Apple is an evil sleeping giant which seeds the Web with software that it refuses to give free of charge (i.e. without software patents). Digital Majority has gathered many good links on the subject. Here is an Opera blog complaining:
Apple patent claim threatens to block or delay W3C specification
Early last month, it became clear that Apple might be causing trouble for the W3C Widgets specification. They are unwilling to make patent 5,764,992 (W3C information), which covers automatic software upates, royalty-free if the Widgets Update specification is found to use anything covered by the patent. This basically means a lot of additional work for the Working Group at the W3C, and might slow down the process of finalizing the widgets specification.
From the W3C:
This PAG is triggered by Section 7.1 (PAG Formation) of the Patent Policy, which states that a PAG is triggered in the event “a patent has been disclosed that may be essential, but is not available under W3C Royalty-Free licensing requirements”. The specific patent is 5,764,992 (U.S.), held by Apple, Inc. Apple Inc. has excluded all claims of patent 5,764,992 (U.S.)
A Mac-oriented Web site claims that “Apple threatens to block W3C widget standard” and one of the most avid Apple fans, who regularly writes for CNET, argues that “Apple [is] refusing royalty-free license to widget patent.”
It’s a little hard to tell at the moment exactly what claims overlap between Apple’s patent and the proposed standard, and why Apple is choosing to exert its right to contest the royalty-free licensing terms for those claims. An Apple representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
This means that Apple refuses to even take into consideration the public outcry. Its precious software patents seem to come before its obligation to the freedom of the World Wide Web and that’s just sad. The New York Times published background information about the Internet last week. There was this little portion about patents:
So there was plenty of natural pressure to avoid such hassles. It probably helped that in those days we avoided patents and other restrictions; without any financial incentive to control the protocols, it was much easier to reach agreement.
Both Microsoft and Apple are jeopardising this doctrine of sharing. First and foremost, they are motivated by greed of their shareholders and this denies the entry of GNU/Linux (as a Free platform) into parts of the network. █
Summary: As certain large nations approach bankruptcy, will so-called “IP” become the next battleground?
THANKS to a friendly tip, we now know that “ACTA covers patents” and that “all IP rights under TRIPS means patents.” This latest leak is the scanned document draft, but it’s likely that sooner or later someone will translate it manually (or semi-manually with OCR) into reproducible text, in digital form. From Wikileaks:
The file presents US, Japan and EU drafts of the controversial international copyright and patent trade agreement, ACTA (“Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”). The documents were obtained by Wikileaks staff.
Here is some coverage and initial interpretation from Digital Majority:
Behind closed doors, the European Union, United States, Japan and other governments are negotiating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. No mandates or drafts are published. The ACTA will contain new rules for the enforcement of copyrights, trade mark rights, patents and other so called “intellectual property” rights. Public interest organisations are concerned ACTA may limit access to medicines, limit access to the internet, give patent trolls free reign and harm the most innovative sectors of the economy.
“The document has confirmed my fears. They want to basically stop everything that can be spread on the Internet, all forms of trademark infringement, and even medicine. It is much more far reaching than I thought. I wonder, finally, what is not covered by ACTA?” said Jens Holm to DN.se.
Here is our local copy of the ACTA drafts
We are already discouraged to find that IBM, the quiet giant whose business moves abroad (thus degrading work conditions for all) and patent portfolio widens (or gets a lot thicker), may capitalise on some of the above. This new article discusses the role of intellectual monopolies in an IBM/Sun takeover. Sun’s policies on patents — including on software patents — would become utterly worthless.
To achieve negotiating leverage this is a potent and potentially powerful tool in the right hands. And the fact that the technical analysis is subjective only adds to this power. To counter such a strategy one needs a story and one needs to be able to speak the language and understand the motivations of the acquirer who wants to exploit this advantage.
Now, I don’t know if something similar to this scenario is being played out now, but I do know that IBM is an “IP smart acquirer” and I also note that the Sun share price is heading south quickly as news of the deal’s collapse is absorbed. Is IBM using IP and potential concerns about what is in Sun’s portfolio to leverage a lower price for the acquisition? I suppose we will find out soon enough.
Speaking of a patent deform, this article shows just how much of a farce it continues to be (albeit nowhere as harmful of the ACTA). As Pamela Jones put it yesterday, “I suggest they shouldn’t call it First to File. They should call it First to File Sneaky. See what happens when Congress “fixes” patent law? Is it stupid or intended? Who knows? Does it matter? One thing is for sure: this isn’t making patent law simpler.”
Here is a personal take (which is based on opinion alone, inspired by facts): A lot of the powerful countries as we know them have come to rely on the capital of large corporations within their sovereignty. That. however, is beginning to change with more nationalisation (even in implicit ways like a bailout). As nations that are old empires approach possible declaration of bankruptcy (US debt exceeds $11 trillion and the UK’s is around $3 trillion), there will likely be a power struggle around notions like “IP”. In case a practical example helps, think of an African nation being offered “access to IP” in exchange for its natural resources like gold and minerals. The vision that’s presented to stake-holders motivates and rationalises many of those notorious agreements that we see now, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and now ACTA. Here in this Web site we’ve accumulated many links to information about ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. People are encouraged to learn and to disseminate information about ACTA. █
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