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Links 13/04/2009: New Debian GNU/Linux 4.0, No New Leader

Posted in News Roundup at 8:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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  • Mac Security Part II: It’s a Numbers Game

    “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.”

  • Linux: the recession-proof operating system
  • A Linux Migration in Process

    We’re going to watch the progress, setbacks and hopefully the ultimate migration of this company to GNU/Linux and Free Software.

  • Spotify opens its doors to developers

    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.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 41

    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

  • DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 298, 13 April 2009


    * 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

  • Start-up led by Sun veterans unveils Intel-based data access appliances

    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.

  • Frankly Speaking: Energy efficiency that saves just pennies a day won’t fly

    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?

  • Concurrent Booting: make full use of your dual-core, multithreaded or hyperthreaded processors in Ubuntu

    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.

  • Kernel Space

    • Driving Linux-based Benchmarking With Sandtorg

      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.

    • Linux Foundation puts work into groups

      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.

    • Bug Tracker Helps Mop Up Linux Kernel

      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.

  • Applications

    • Shutter on Ubuntu: is this the mother of all free software Screenshot Utilities?

      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.

    • 5 Excellent ToDo List Apps For Linux That You Might Not Have Heard Of

      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.

  • Desktop Environments

    • X Window Managers Part 2

      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.

  • Distributions

    • Mandriva

      • First Look : Mandriva 2009.1 Rc2

        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..

      • Back and Better Than Ever–PCLinuxOS 2009.1 Review

        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.

    • Ubuntu

      • Portable Ubuntu: The Easy New Way To Try Linux

        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.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 boots in 17.5 seconds!

        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.

      • Ubuntu Goodies

        Believe it or not, Ubuntu has a control panel. Firstly, it’s just called the control center, and secondly it’s kinda hidden.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Beta

        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.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 – Jaunty Jackalope

        Me giving a quick look through Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope”

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #137

        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

      • Top 5 Free and Attractive Ubuntu Themes

        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.

      • 5 Features of Ubuntu–Desktop Edition

        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.

      • Jaunty Jackalope… the Easter bunny just grew antlers

        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.

      • A few quick thoughts on Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty)

        I believe 9.04 will shape up to be a “killer release”, and should be well received by all Ubuntu users.

      • Linux Mint 6 KDE on europa

        John Stewart on Mint. Life is indeed good.

    • Debian

      • Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 updated

        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.

      • Steve McIntyre re-elected Debian leader

        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.

      • Debian Project Leader Election 2009 Results
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-Powered Spectrum Takes Casemodding To The Next Level

      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.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Eeebuntu: The perfect netbook OS

        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.

    • Tablets

      • Nokia Nautilus and MID Linux handsets due soon

        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.

      • About Those New CrunchPad Pictures

        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.

      • Web 2.0 Mogul Michael Arrington Creates New Web Tablet

Free Software/Open Source

  • The BJP’s awkward embrace of Free Software

    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.

  • Sun

    • Sun’s open-source boss slams App Engine’s Java support

      It is unclear whether Sun will attempt to apply pressure to Google. Phipps characterized his own remarks as non-official.

    • Lump of Links for April 11

      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.

  • Licensing

    • OSBC: Life at the edge of the GPL

      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.

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • Obama’s open data era ‘coming soon’

      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.

  • Programming

    • 10 Individuals who have contributed the most to FOSS

      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.

    • About Globe4D

      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.


  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Time Warner tries again, fails to justify caps and charges

      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.

    • Why Cable ISP Capping is the New DRM, and Suck

      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.

    • Broadband stimulus and the FCC’s Internet policy statement

      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.”

  • Copyrights

    • Leading copyright scholar says DoJ gets it wrong in downloader lawsuits
    • John Perry Barlow on RIAA v Tenenbaum

      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’.

    • RIAA ‘bait & switch’

      The university ended up splashing more than $75,000 for a device that “scans data crisscrossing its network for copyrighted media”.

    • Profs protest massive P2P damage awards
    • MPAA’s Hacking Past Comes Back to Hunt

      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.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Nelson Pavlosky, Co-founder of Free Culture.org 06 (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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