05.17.09

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Links 15/05/2009: BIOSOS, New Elive

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • BIOS Maker Aims to Retake the PC

    The core system software, as the company now calls its BIOS, builds on Linux operating system software and virtualization technology. Virtualization software started out as a way for users of one operating system, such as Windows XP, to run another operating system, such as Mac OS X or Linux, in a virtual environment. But as the technology has evolved, developers have recognized other advantages, aside from interoperability. By creating a virtualized layer of software, known as a hypervisor, between a computer’s hardware and the operating system, for example, data can be transparently checked for viruses and other malicious software. In the business world, a single big server or a cluster of computers can run virtualized systems so that resources can be divvied up among customers.

  • Analyst: cyberwarfare arms race with China imminent

    This statement was widely reported by the press, but much of the coverage (and Coleman himself) appears to be of dubious accuracy. Kylin is not a new top-secret operating system, it’s a publicly available FreeBSD derivative that was created by academics for research purposes with funding from the Chinese government. Contrary to Coleman’s assertion that it is immune to cyber weapons designed to target Linux and UNIX, Kylin is actually designed to comply with UNIX standards and has a Linux binary compatibility layer. Certain aspects of Kylin’s design are documented in mainstream computing journals like IEEE. Its hardening features include filesystem encryption and access control frameworks. In fact, its security features appear to be roughly equivalent with those of the average commercial Linux distribution.

  • Desktop

    • Linux for Mom and Dad?

      So, the vast majority of people will not have to worry about software. The key to enabling Mom and Dad to use Linux instead of Windows is

      1. making sure they can get Linux pre-loaded on their new computers,
      2. making sure that drivers are available and easily found, so that plugging devices in “just works”,
      3. making sure configuration and network connections work smoothly, and that the geeky bits are hidden, and
      4. convincing them that it’s OK that they can’t call on Cousin Bubba’s friend, because he only knows Windows.

    • Switching My Dad to Linux–Part Two

      The key thing throughout the experience has been that Ubuntu is genuinely a better choice for my father’s laptop. It has to be said that a large part of this is the failings of Windows Vista. If the laptop had come with XP installed, I would probably have suggested he stick with it, although I’d have installed Firefox and OpenOffice.org for him. But Vista is a turkey of an operating system that works against its users.

  • Kernel Space

    • Defining a New Community

      So far, the response to the new Linux.com has been really positive and, save for a few glitches here and there, we’ve been very happy with how the launch has gone thus far. As we transition from launch mode to operations mode, it’s worth taking a little time to reflect on what we’re going to be doing on Linux.com.

  • Applications

    • 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.

    • Caster released for Linux

      The indie developer Electron recently released Caster for Linux. Caster is a cross platform “3D” 3rd person shoot’em up game in which the character moves cross a map, hunts different types of monsters and collects energy items. Starting with one type of “weapon” the player collects five further weapons throughout the episodes. Skills like jumping or dodging and weaponry can be updated during the game depending on the score gained in the previous level.

    • 5 Great GTD Applications for Linux

      There is a popular joke about Linux users that we are so busy tweaking our system to do things for fun that we don’t have time to do important stuff. Getting things done in a structured manner (regardless of your OS) has always been a challenge for me. Writing down things to do on a piece of paper just doesn’t work for me anymore, specially since I spend a lot of time in front of the computer it makes sense to have a GTD application on my desktop I can have access to all the time. So ever since I made the complete move to Linux I tried quite a few organization tools to help me get things done much more efficiently, some of these tools are OS independent but all of them works on Linux. Hopefully you will find some of these apps helpful.

    • Amarok 2.1 Beta 2 Released

      Another month has passed, and it’s time to present the second beta release of the upcoming Amarok 2.1.

  • Distributions

    • 5 Common Questions About Hadoop

      There’s been a lot of buzz about Hadoop lately. Just the other day, some of our friends at Yahoo! reclaimed the terasort record from Google using Hadoop, and the folks at Facebook let on that they ingest 15 terabytes a day into their 2.5 petabyte Hadoop-powered data warehouse.

      [...]

      Hadoop uses commodity hardware, so every month, your costs decrease or provide more capacity for the same price point. You probably have a vendor you like, and they probably sell a dual quad-core (8 cores total) machine with 4 1TB SATA disks (you specifically don’t want RAID).

    • Ubuntu

      • How To Install Ubuntu On Any PC

        In this walkthrough, senior editor Robert Strohmeyer walks you through the steps needed to install Ubuntu–a popular distribution of the Linux OS–on a PC. This fast, simple operating system runs well on limited system resources, boots quickly, and is very easy to operate.

      • Distro Review: Ubuntu 9.04

        It’s an unscheduled stop today on my never ending distro tour. I had planned to look at Chakra Project next as regular readers will know, but due to a strange series of events I ended up sidestepping onto the recently released Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. So, it would seem odd of me not to take a decent look and see what improvements have been made in the last 6 months. The last time I looked at Ubuntu in depth was actually 12 months ago with the 8.04 release. I found it to be a solid enough but somehow lacking a little in ambition. Would Jaunty jump forward with new features? I decided to find out…

      • New Distribution Releases

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MontaVista releases next generation of its embedded Linux OS

      Latest version of Linux lets developers take better advantage of target hardware platforms and open source software.

    • Mobile WiFi hotspot comes stateside

      Novatel Wireless’s Linux-based mobile hotspot device will soon be offered by two U.S. wireless carriers, says eWEEK. Verizon Wireless will start offering the “MiFi 2200″ to customers on Monday, while Sprint will introduce the Linux-based device in June, says the publication.

    • Hands On: New Cool-er E-Book Reader Turns Up the Heat

      Despite the light weight and thin form factor, the finish on the device isn’t tacky–though it does have a ‘plasticky’ feel to it. The Cool-er runs a Linux operating system and has a 1GB storage card slot.

      [...]

      Interead is also hoping to strike deals with retailers. If successful, the company could further get the kind of volumes that it needs to drop prices down to $200. The company is also open to working with software develops to create apps for the device which runs the Linux OS and launch an iPhone-like app store for the Cool-er.

    • Is this Cool-er than Amazon’s Kindle?

      Amazon’s Kindle runs GNU/Linux, which is no surprise given its suitability for these kind of consumer systems. The Kindle is fast establishing itself as the leading ebook platform, so, at first blush, that might seem unalloyed good news for free software.

      Sadly, though, Amazon has also proved that it is no great friend of freedom – first, by embracing DRM for its books, and secondly, by cravenly disabling the text-to-speech capability because The Authors’ Guild has eighteenth-century ideas of what copyright is about.

      [...]

      Here’s one, with the rather hubristic name of Cool-er, which has the bonus of being British (although it doesn’t seem available here yet).

    • Kindle owners start to lose text-to-speech on purchased books — how do DRM-free Kindle books work?
    • LBS vendor and Intel partner on Moblin MIDs

      Nokia’s Navteq digital-mapping subsidiary announced a partnership with Intel to encourage development of location-based services (LBS) software using the Linux-based Moblin platform. A new, Intel-sponsored microsite on the Navteq Network for Developers portal provides resources for those developing LBS software for Atom-based MIDs (mobile Internet devices).

    • Sub-notebooks

      • 10 solid Linux distributions for your netbook

        If you’ve purchased a netbook, you’re most likely looking at either Xandros Linux or some version of Windows. Although the Xandros operating system is a serviceable operating system, it always seems you are using an operating system hindered by hardware. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of flavors of Linux out there that can be installed on your netbook that will give you a similar (if not identical) experience to that of your standard laptop.

      • Out goes Xandros… in comes Ubuntu

Free Software/Open Source

  • VLC Media Player Skins2 Contest announced

    The VideoLAN Project developers have announced the start of the Skins2 Contest for the VLC media player. VLC (formerly called VideoLAN Client) is a free open source cross-platform multimedia player for various audio and video formats. The contest will run until the 29th of May and a public vote will be held from the 29th of May to the 1st of June. The VLC developers point out that they reserve the right to veto inappropriate submissions.

  • The Blender Model Repository and BlenderNation: open-source merger?

    As some might know, Blender is an open-source 3D content creation application – it’s cross-platform, a pioneer in the free 3D application market, and I use it. Not only do I use it, love it, and hang out in the #blenderchat IRC channel on freenode, I host the Blender Model Repository, taking over from Andrew Kator long time ago when he suffered legal issues. It’s been running stable for the past year or so, every so often getting new model submissions, and users finding it a useful resource.

  • Murphy’s Law: Do Open-Source Social Networks Matter?

    So what’s the takeaway? When open-source is just a vision or a programming goal, it can achieve its goals regardless of the size of the community that grows around it. But when you throw social networking into the mix, open source development gets hit with a wrench. While a number of interesting open alternatives to common, proprietary social networking platforms exist today, they are never going to be able to carry the kind of clout of the big social networks. An open-source social network has to be the game-changing application like Twitter was to the normal Web back in 2006 — you can’t just copy the best and expect to find much success.

  • Georgia Learns Why Open Source is Better

    Maybe they’d like to start using ClamWin: free and open to scrutiny.

  • AccesStream Releases Version 1.0 of its Enterprise Open Source Identity Access Management Solution

    AccesStream, a provider of open source identity access management solutions, announces the Version 1.0 release of its solution to the open source community.

  • Telethon Taps Open Source to Save on Costs

    When Linking Arms, Inc. launched its nonprofit organization back in 2005, its founders set forth a seemingly modest mission to train and prepare at-risk youth for entry into productive adult life through educational resources, sports, mentoring and tutoring programs.

  • Take Your Web Apps Out of the Browser with Mozilla’s Prism

    Fresh out of the Mozilla Labs oven this week is a beta version of Prism, a new incarnation of WebRunner that integrates Web applications with the desktop. The idea behind Prism starts with from the premise that as more people move their computing activities to the cloud, users will become increasingly dependent on Web apps designed to replace locally-based email, calendaring, and word processing.

    The problem is, running these types of apps in a Web browser adds clutter and unecessary steps to what should be a straightforward user experience. Mozilla wants to eliminate that particular pain point and streamline the way we use Web-based applications.

  • Business

    • Enterprise Applications Go Open Source

      In this eWEEK podcast hosted by Mike Vizard, xTuple CEO Ned Lilly explains how the current economic climate is helping to drive the open-source phenomenon into the enterprise application arena.

  • FSF/GNU

    • War on Sharing: RIAA moves to block new FSF court brief

      In response to our proposed revision of our amicus curiae brief in the Tenenbaum case, the RIAA is attempting to block our submission to the court, saying, “…FSF’s latest brief demonstrates even more strikingly the deep animus FSF and its counsel hold for Plaintiffs, their counsel, and the recording industry. Such a biased organization cannot properly assist the court in providing neutral information and analysis.”

  • Government

    • Trash Talk

      Is there something about Estonia that makes them special? According to the Open Source Index, they have the highest Community Activity rank of all the countries measured. Now, the US is not far behind in that metric, but I think we should look a little deeper. Perhaps Estonia scored so high because they have an ethos of community activity that naturally carries over to software. And perhaps the US scored so high because within the open source community we get it. But we remain a small minority within an enormous landfill of proprietary software development. When enlightened, American software programmers can be as good as the Estonians at community activity. The trouble is, there just aren’t enough of us. Yet.

    • Where does Obama stand on open source?

      Love him or hate him, Barack Obama will be President into 2013.

      This is a key moment for open source. In some ways it is going from strength to strength. But it remains vulnerable to counter-attack from the copyright industries.

      So far the President’s record on open source is mixed.

    • Vancouver enters the age of the open city

      BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City of Vancouver endorses the principles of:

      * Open and Accessible Data – the City of Vancouver will freely share with citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions the greatest amount of data possible while respecting privacy and security concerns;

      * Open Standards – the City of Vancouver will move as quickly as possible to adopt prevailing open standards for data, documents, maps, and other formats of media;

      * Open Source Software – the City of Vancouver, when replacing existing software or considering new applications, will place open source software on an equal footing with commercial systems during procurement cycles; and

    • City of Vancouver set to back open source, open standards, open data

      Mayor Gregor Robertson and Coun. Andrea Reimer want the City of Vancouver to support open-source software and open standards.

  • Open (But No Source Code)

Leftovers

  • Recording Industry Tries To Shut Down Search Engine In Spain Without Allowing It To Defend Itself

    Luckily, the judge did not fall for this, and after a hearing in which both sides presented their position, is allowing the site to continue operating while the trial continues, noting that shutting down the site: “might cause irreparable prejudice to the defendant.” It’s good to see another reasonable ruling, though troubling that the recording industry tried to push for an immediate injunction.

  • Bono says he’ll sue France over HADOPI

    French European Parliament MP Guy Bono says he’ll call for legal action against France if it adopts the corporate entertainment cartel’s HADOPI law.

    Pushed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy on behalf of Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music, and Time Warner, Viacom, Fox, Sony, NBC Universal and Disney, France’s lower house of Parliament has passed the “three-strikes” law, also known as the HADOPI law.

  • RIAA tries to evade $5M class action

    You could’ve been forgiven for believing it was over for Tanya Andersen, the disabled single mother who, after being brutally bullied by the RIAA and its teams of legal hitmen, was awarded close to $108,000 in fees and costs, the highest amount ever.

  • Refuting Mark Helprin’s Views on Copyright

    Normally, this post would be something best left to someone like William Patry, whose credentials on copyright are above reproach. Lawrence Lessig has responded to Helprin in a contemporary and ingenious way, but Lessig’s main focus now has moved from intellectual property matters to what he has called “corruption” (and what Harvard Law School, his new employer calls “a major five-year project examining what happens when public institutions depend on money from sources that may be affected by the work of those institutions”).

  • RealNetworks: MPAA Is ‘Price-Fixing Cartel’

    RealNetworks is upping the ante in litigation seeking to prevent it from distributing DVD-copying software. The company argues the Hollywood studios are a “price-fixing cartel” that have no right to prevent consumers from duplicating the movie discs.

  • RealNetworks accuses MPAA of antitrust violations

    RealNetworks has accused the major film studios of antitrust violations in documents filed Wednesday with a federal court.

  • Pirate Bay organises Distributed Donation of Dollars attack

    Now this is interesting: with the arrival of a demand for some $4.5 million in damages, one of the founders of Pirate Bay has come up with an innovate method of paying it. Gottfrid Svartholm has set up something called internet-avgift which encourages ordinary Internet users who are friendly to the Pirate Bay cause to donate towards the cost of that fine. In fact, the system enables them to send those donations directly to the law firm which represented the music companies during the trial.

  • Film industry turns up P2P heat on Carter

    The UK film industry today backed the record industry’s long-running campaign for laws to force ISPs to cut off persistent illegal filesharers from the internet.

    At a conference in London today, a coalition including Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the UK film sector’s copyright enforcement body, will aim to put pressure on the communications minister, Lord Carter. FACT will add to lobbying by its record industry counterpart the BPI for the government to impose French-style “graduated response” regulations on ISP, that end in disconnection if warnings are ignored.

  • Vulnerability Renders MPAA/RIAA Copyright Warnings Useless

    In a bid to educate pirates, copyright holders hire companies such as BayTSP to track down people who share their titles on P2P networks. The alleged infringers then receive a warning and are given the opportunity to resolve the issue. However, this system is vulnerable to abuse and therefore completely useless.

  • How long could you last without infringing a copyright?

    Nowadays we infringe copyrights numerous times throughout the day without even thinking about it. Watching an unauthorized SNL clip on YouTube. Playing the radio in the background at work where customers can hear. Loaning a copy of your Finding Nemo DVD to play at your kids’ daycare. Downloading clip art to use in a personal scrapbook. Scanning your own wedding photos. Forwarding a funny photograph to a friend. Loaning a co-worker some software. Etc., etc., etc…

  • When love is harder to show than hate

    Copyright law is set up to protect critics, while leaving fans of creative works out in the cold

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