05.13.09

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Links 13/05/2009: First Beta of KDE 4.3; France Gives Hollywood the Internet

Posted in News Roundup at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Optimizing Hard Drives For Maximum Speed in Linux

    Imagine a trailer hooked on to the back of an Indy car – the effect on performance would be similar to what happens when you hook up hard drives to a server. That’s because a hard drive is a slow, delicate, mechanical component attached to a computer system that is otherwise made up of solid-state electronics built for speed.

  • Linux and FOSS: Living A Conscious Life

    What is winning? It’s not “world domination”. Winning is changing the rules of the game so that a dirty convicted monopolist does not control the industry, and Linux/FOSS can thrive without constantly having to fight just for the right to exist.

  • 3 Resources for Free Linux Books Online

    Whether you’re new to Linux or looking to become a more advanced user, there are a lot of free online books and manuals that can give you guidance. We’ve covered a few of these, but there are many more good titles that are just a few clicks away. In this post, you’ll find three good resources for Linux reference guides online–all available at no cost.

  • The Linux Foundation Unveils and Re-Launches Linux.com

    There’s one little domain name out there that’s had a wild ride this year. In January, a rather cryptic post went up on Linux.com, a SourceForge web property, that said updates had been slowing — and were as of that point ceasing — because changes were in the works. Then came the silence on the wire.

  • Desktop

    • ODF, Net Apps, Netbooks Will Invigorate the OS Landscape

      Microsoft dedicated itself to putting Netscape out of business in the nineties precisely because Netscape was dedicated to turning the web browser into the new desktop computing platform, and bringing developers of small-time apps over from developing for Windows to developing for Netscape. A decade later, Microsoft’s worst fears have come to pass. With every major software-as-a-service innovation, the underlying operating system becomes less and less central to the computing experience.

    • Tech Q and A: Which PC Should a College Kid Get?

      Q: I am using Ubuntu 9.04 as my primary OS. The reason I switched is because Windows Vista is so slow. But my question is: Is Linux really a good choice for an OS, or is it just a matter of personal opinion?

      A: Old Dilbert cartoon: The Unix guy is portrayed as a bearded, coverall-wearing, independent thinker. He tells the title character to go buy a real operating system.

      Here in the 21st century, Linux is an excellent choice for a primary operating system. It’s inexpensive, fast and need not be ashamed by slick-looking graphical user interfaces. I’ve seen some Linux desktop schemes that knocked my socks off.

      Most of the popular software titles — Word, Excel, Photoshop, etc. — have their Linux equivalents, so you’re not giving up anything in terms of productivity.

    • Brits to test life without Windows

      Two British IT workers are planning to spend a month without Windows, using GNU/Linux instead in a project designed to see whether “the Linux operating system is capable of delivering the function and style of delivery that an established Windows user can adapt to easily.”

    • Linux – the other OS

      I’m a Mac user. I gave up on Windows a while ago. The term “gave up” should say it all. From time to time I still use Windows and I’m still amazed it’s not better than it is. I don’t want to make this about Windows but about options.

      For some, jumping to Mac is not an option. It’s not like switching from an incandescent to compact fluorescent bulb. It’s not inexpensive – you have to buy a new computer and new software.

      Linux is an option. In fact it is “the” option and a fine one. I’ve explored Ubuntu and OpenSUSE on an old, underpowered, past-it Windows laptop. This old thing was a horror on XP but runs very nicely on either Linux. Cost = zero. Not one function was given up in the transition from one OS to the other. It did all the same things running Linux that it did running XP, just faster. It booted up faster, it shut down faster, apps launched faster, etc.

    • CME Group Dives Into ’Coreboot’ and Other Linux Open Source Projects

      Specifically, CME is tapping into the ‘core-boot’ project, an open source Free Software project aimed at replacing the proprietary Bios(firmware) that is found in most of today’s computers, to instead embed Linux on the motherboard. “We’re trying to work with our vendors to generate a next generation platform which has Linux embedded on the motherboard of the server itself and it would replace the proprietary Bios,” says Vinod Kutty, associate director and head of distributed computing R&D at CME Group.

    • What’s the point of XP Mode anyway?

      VirtualBox will not only let you run XP on top of Windows 7, it will also let you run Win 7 on top of XP, or Linux, or Mac OS X. or what-have you. It also won’t cost you a single red-cent, it runs great, and it’s not half-as-annoying to set up as XP Mode is.

  • Server

    • Oracle’s Plans for Solaris on SPARC: Good News for Linux?

      While the interview doesn’t delve into the many questions surrounding what Oracle will do with Sun’s open source products and initiatives, it does make very clear that Oracle will retain and extend Sun’s hardware business, focusing on “designing hardware and software to work together.” That’s going to be a complicated proposition for Oracle, and, as one observer notes, it may be good news for Linux.

    • What Oracle Wants

      Talking to Reuters last week, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison outlined his plans for the hardware side of Sun’s business. They come down to making a SPARC Solaris equivalent of Oracle’s Database Machine, which is built on HP hardware, Intel processors and Linux.

    • Linux clusters made easy

      Egan Ford, Linux cluster architect for advanced technical support with Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp., said a systems administrator with a proactive, inquisitive attitude can run big Linux clusters with confidence in the results, provided the system is well designed and tested and he/she takes advantage of the excellent open source tools available.

    • Penguin Computing Powers Major HPC Expansion at the University of Florida

      Penguin Computing, experts in high performance computing solutions, today announced that the University of Florida’s new High-Performance Computing (HPC) Center Phase III expansion is powered by a fully-integrated Penguin HPC Linux Cluster. The University of Florida, which unveiled a major HPC expansion last week, adds to the growing list of top educational institutions that have selected Penguin’s Linux clusters to enable high performance computational academic research.

  • Applications

    • KMyMoney–A personal finance manger for Linux

      As I mentioned in an earlier article about Moneydance, I am an admitted software junkie. I like software programs that work as designed and do the job I want. Personal finance managers have always been a favorite of mine, especially if they work correctly. In the comments following the Moneydance article, I promised to write an article about KMyMoney, which is the other personal finance manager I use, so here you go.

    • Audacity: The Versatile Audio Tool for Everyone

      I spend a lot of time looking at other people’s computers, and I see Audacity installed on a lot of them. Not many software programs deserve the adverb “versatile”, but Audacity is one of them. It is the Swiss Army knife of audio applications.

      Audacity is used for all sorts of audio tasks. There may be more specialized applications in each category, but Audacity does a great job. If you have anything to do with audio, this program deserves to be in your toolbox.

  • K Desktop Environment

    • KDE 4.3 Beta 1 Out For Testing

      The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of KDE 4.3 Beta 1, the first preview of the 3rd iteration over the KDE 4 desktop, applications and development platform.
      KDE 4.3 focuses on polishing and completing the user experience by providing a modern and beautiful Free working environment. KDE’s award-winning tools and applications are available in more than 50 languages. The KDE team is now in bugfixing mode in order to provide a smooth KDE 4.3.0 to end users in late July.

    • Akademy 2009: The reason to go.

      When I look back at each installation of our annual global conference, Akademy, the purpose for attending was pretty obvious.

      There are the generic reasons, which make not only Akademy but all KDE face-to-face events worth attending: building personal bonds with people in our community, working out answers for the hard questions that can take hours (or even minutes) in person instead of weeks or months (or never) by email and irc, trying new ideas out in a collaborative environment, pushing hard to put polish, finish and completion at the end of a long push of development.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Aruba Gets Wired for Remote Access

      WLAN player shifts to the LAN with major new rollout of remote access gear with Linux at its core.

      [...]

      Powering Aruba’s RAP is a Linux-based operating system.

      “It’s embedded Linux and it has been highly modified by us to do what we need it to do,” Logan said. “It is running our code and the services that we need to run. We use parts of the Linux kernel and we use the drivers, but it’s in a limited way, as most of the software was written in house and is custom-built.”

    • Panel PCs run Linux

      The default installation for the web-enabled Protege touchscreens is Windows XP Embedded. Fortunately, however, Borg Displays does not demand assimilation into the Microsoft collective. The company also offers a URL-locked version that runs “a skinned Firefox and Linux.” This version is said to boot up to establish a URL, and then runs in full screen mode.

    • Hybrid Linux phone PDA rev’d

      Germany-based ROAD has upgraded its multifunction, Linux-based mobile phone. Based on a 512MHz Marvell PXA270, the Handy-PC Officer S101 can act as both a GSM cellular phone and a WiFi-driven PDA and web browser, and it offers a dual SIM-card option, says the company.

    • Phones

      • What’s the Point of oFono?

        As far as the GNU/Linux-based offerings for the latter are concerned, there’s already one platform from the LiMo Foundation, together with Google’s Android (and maybe Moblin if you include other kinds of mobile internet devices.) On top of that, there are also open source platforms that are not built on top of Linux, for example that from Symbian.

      • oFono: Nokia & Intel start a new Linux project against Android?

        I am not really sure whether it’s a big deal or not, but an interesting new mobile open source project, called Ofono, has been quietly announced today.

        [...]

        It seems that Nokia and Intel are trying to create a new Linux based telephony software stack for smartphones/mobile internet devices.

      • T-Mobile CTO Confirms Several More Android Smartphones Coming

        On the topic of Android netbooks, Brodman says: “We have seen multiple partners talking about building Android-based netbooks. I’ve seen devices working, but I won’t go any further than that.”

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Linux does have a future on netbooks

        That reminds me. Dell is now offering the newer Ubuntu 8.10 on its Inspiron 15n laptop. In the past, they were only offering the LTS (Long Term Service) Ubuntu 7.04. Check it out. You see, Dell is taking desktop Linux seriously.

        All the other big vendors, including Lenovo, make it almost impossible to find their desktop Linux offerings. You’d almost think they want desktop Linux to fail, and they’re only offering it because those darn, pesky customers keep asking for it.

      • Netbook runs on AA batteries

        The previous model ran on a Via C7M ULV CPU clocked at 1GHz, and ran Linpus Linux, whereas the EduBook runs Ubuntu Linux, and is also said to support Windows XP and Windows CE.

      • Intel’s Newest Atom CPU Is Already Splitting

        It’s powered by Moblin v.2, which is the mobile Linux version that Intel has backed. With Ubuntu 9.04 looking so good on a netbook these days, I’m not yet sure that Intel will be able to make a big dent in the netbook OS war.

Free Software/Open Source

  • NASA Makes Space for Open Source Software

    To aid in software development, NASA created CoLab, a blend of virtual and physical coworking environments. Since community members are spread out all over the globe, a lot of collaboration activity takes place on a private island in Second Life, a virtual world built around an open source framework. NASA even has its own OSI-approved software license, the NASA Open Source Agreement, to apply to software created for the agency.

    NASA’s Ames Research Center recently developed a bug tracker written with open source Bugzilla tools. The Problem Reporting Analysis and Corrective Action (PRACA) system provides a single trouble ticket database that’s available to everyone involved in the Shuttle program, clearly a better solution than the 40 different databases it has amassed over the last 30 years.

  • The Role of Open Source in Data Integration

    Open source data integration tools can provide the cost advantages of hand‐coding with the productivity advantages of traditional data integration software. They are established in the developer tools market which has been the traditional stronghold of open source software. Expect open source to be a key component of data integration (and especially of operational data integration) in the near future, similar to the way it is a key component of application development environments today.

  • Business

    • Up to 24 percent of software purchases now open source

      Open source has become big business, suggests an article in the Investors Business Daily, but it has done so by becoming more like the proprietary-software world it purports to leave behind.

    • Economics behind the Open Source Model

      Economics is often linked with a rationale of understanding the flow of money. This can be considered analogous to amateurs linking open source paradigm to free software! Both economics and open source software have a wider horizon.

      [...]

      The Open Source movement is here to stay for long. It has acted as a serious value creator and resulted in revenue generation mechanisms for businesses, both – small and big.

    • Wall Street Opens Doors to Open Source Technologies

      With the financial meltdown eroding IT budgets, large investment banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions have been forced to rethink their attitudes toward open source technology. Use of open source technology is quietly booming in the capital markets because of increased cost pressures, and analysts predict the current economic conditions will drive further industry adoption.

    • New Mule Financial Information eXchange (FIX) Transport Supports Messaging Standard for Real-Time Electronic Exchange of Securities Transactions

      The Mule FIX transport is based on QuickFIX/J — a full featured messaging engine for the FIX protocol that is a 100% Java open source implementation of the popular C++ QuickFIX engine. This transport allows users to read and write messages over FIX endpoints and have Mule ESB route, transform and filter messages accordingly.

  • Releases

    • Open source backbone compression project

      The Traffic Squeezer project has presented an alpha version of the identically named program for accelerating backbone data transfer over WANs (Wide Area Networks) and released the relevant sources under a GPLv2 at the same time.

    • A new book on open source business rules

      With Drools 5, JBoss and the open source community have delivered a true business rules management system for the first time. Using Drools, organizations can take control of the logic that drives their operational decisions using an open source platform. Some time ago I wrote a little forward for Paul Browne and now his book on JBoss Drools is available.

    • Pogoplug Ready To Go Open Source, But Only If It Dies

      Startup Pogoplug is well aware of this and has prepared an answer that many will like: if for some reason, Pogoplug was to go away, the source code of its back-end services would be uploaded on SourceForge, allowing others to keep it running. It’s not 100% guaranteed that someone would, but that’s about as close as you can get to certainty in this situation. Of course, this is just a worst case scenario.

  • Government

  • Licensing

    • You Say Open, I Say Free … Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

      Apparently I’m not the only one fed up with the vocabulary wars that seem to be part for the course in the open source world. To wit: is free software the same as open source in all but the terminology? The problem is, the terminology does seem to make all the difference — because we allow it to.

  • Hardware

    • Open-source hardware solution suits networked AV over Ethernet

      Working jointly with Harman International, has developed an Ethernet audio-video bridging (AVB) reference platform. The platform is suited for the development of a broad range of professional and consumer networked audio and video applications, automotive entertainment systems, and home networking systems.

Leftovers

  • France says ‘Oui!’ to three strikes for music pirates

    This Gallic experiment is sure to attract global attention, as governments and media moguls in the UK, the US, and elsewhere hve been wrangling about a three-strikes policy for some time.

  • France Strikes Out: Approves Cutting People Off The Internet

    Still, the thing that is most amusing about this is how supporters of such three strikes rules somehow seem to think that this will suddenly make people buy again. There’s no evidence that this is true, whatsoever. But the main backer of this bill in France claims that this is:

    “an important step toward preserving cultural diversity and the industries threatened by piracy.”

    How? By kicking fans of the work offline? The most telling part of this statement is that it’s about preserving the industries “threatened” by piracy, not the actual creators of content.

  • Net firms reject ‘policing role’

    Internet service providers (ISPs) have rejected calls for them to police the net and cut off users who repeatedly file-share material unlawfully.

    The umbrella group that represents ISPs said disconnecting users would be a “disproportionate response”.

  • Everyone Assumes Copyright Only Applies When They Like It

    While some claim it’s just hypocrisy, I think it actually represents one of the fundamental flaws of copyright itself (or, really, any monopoly system). Monopolies aren’t being used to create incentives to create. They’re used to stifle others and to “protect.” These days, almost everyone uses them and views them as tools of protection rather than an incentive to create. When you get so far away from the entire purpose of copyright law, you have a system ripe for widespread abuse.

  • Big Content’s “theater of the absurd” at DMCA hearings

    Fireworks exploded last week as the government’s four days of hearings on possible DMCA exemptions wrapped up. Rightsholders “insult us by treating us as potential infringers who can’t be trusted to use a technology any 12-year old can download from the Internet,” said one lawyer.

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2 Comments

  1. Roy Bixler said,

    May 13, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Gravatar

    This French 3 strikes law looks very ugly. For those who can read French, here is Le Monde’s take:

    http://www.lemonde.fr/technologies/article/2009/05/13/hadopi-nombreuses-questions-sans-reponses-autour-du-mouchard_1189294_651865.html

    Part of the HADOPI law includes a provision for “security software” called “mouchard” (or “bug”).

    Pourtant, de ces fameux mouchards, on ne sait presque rien. Ils seront payants, et restent l’un des points les plus opaques d’un projet de loi au spectre de plus en plus large. Rien dans le texte de loi ne précise leur fonctionnement, leur compatibilité ou interopérabilité, ou leurs attributions exactes.

    My translation:

    However, of these famous “bugs”, one knows almost nothing. They will cost money, and remain one of the most opaque points of a project of law to the larger and larger spectrum. Nothing in the text of the law specifies its functionality, its compatibility or its interoperability, or its exact scope.

    The French minister of culture Christine Albanel says

    “Si vous ne piratez pas, non seulement vous ne risquez pas de suspension, mais vous n’êtes pas obligés de mettre un logiciel de sécurisation”

    My translation:

    “If you don’t pirate, not only do you not risk suspension, but you are not obligated to install security software.”

    There is a sidebar in the article about Linux and Mac OS:

    LINUX ET MAC OS
    Rien n’est prévu pour des systèmes d’exploitation libres. Il faudra donc pour un utilisateur sous Linux soit changer de système d’exploitation (Microsoft uniquement à priori), soit décider de se passer du fameux mouchard, à ses risques et périls… Rien n’est pour l’instant prévu non plus pour les utilisateurs de Mac OS.

    My translation:

    LINUX and MAC OS
    There is no provision for free operating systems. It will be necessary for a Linux user to change their operating system (limited to a Microsoft system a priori), decide to submit to the famous “bug”, at their own risks and perils… for now, there is no provision anymore for users of MAC OS

    Finally a reader comments:

    J’ai Ubuntu … J’attends avec impatience la suspension de mon abonnement et le futur procès que j’intenterai à cette autorité pour coupure abusive. Préjudice moral et professionnel, indemnités… je vais gagner de l’argent!

    My translation:

    I have Ubuntu … I look forward to the suspension of my Internet access and the future lawsuit that I intend to this authority for illegally cutting my access. Moral and professional prejudice, fines… I will make some money!

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    RMS has just commented on the decision in France: ‘The same law will also require people to install non-free software in order to make their networks “secure”.’

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