05.31.09

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Links 31/05/2009: Smartbooks Coming, New Mozillaca

Posted in News Roundup at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Editor’s Note: Linux Is Easy

    The report discusses all the usual criteria for evaluating migration candidates, such as what applications do your users need, are there any good FOSS alternatives, and how technically proficient are the users. The report glossed over the last one, but that factor might be the most important one of all: some people are naturally more adept at using computers, and don’t mind learning new things. That is the demographic to zero in on after you figure out which tasks are good candidates for a Linux migration. Age, sex, race, experience, religion, or any other handy label are irrelevant; technical aptitude and willingness are the traits to look for. Zero in on these folks first, and you have a good start and an ad-hoc support staff.

  • Find A Kid To Fix It

    I finally handed over netbooks to each of the year 5 and 6 students this week and it was a momentous occasion for me. I have dreamed of what it would be like if all the kids in my class had their own computer on their desk since the day I started teaching 25 years ago. All those years ago I had one Microbee computer with a cassette tape drive in my classroom that took 30 minutes to load a simple program

    [...]

    Am I worried that I will have to make changes to 66 new machines to fix the problems that the kids found? Not at all. One of the many great things I am finding about Ubuntu (yes it is free as well) is that I can make changes to the one master copy of the software on their netbooks and as soon as they restart their machines, the changes are automatically installed and enabled.

  • Spice up your LUG!

    Finally, there’s no reason why your LUG can’t embrace the social networking revolution, and create a community on one of the many social networking sites. This has the advantage of being more media rich than traditional communication channels, and is usually more pervasive and immediate, with people keeping in touch on their mobile phones, for instance. This is worth looking at if the average age of your membership is on the lower side, as older folks seem to have an in-built cynicism towards the benefits of social networking. But whichever strategies you do take, the most important part about being online is that the website is kept up to date. Without that, it’s worthless.

  • Magazines

    • Linux New Media Launches Ubuntu User Magazine

      Linux New Media USA, LLC, announces the launch of a new print publication, Ubuntu User magazine.

      Canonical’s popular Ubuntu operating system continues to win followers around the world, and Ubuntu User is the first print magazine specifically for this rapidly growing audience. “Ubuntu is popular with software developers and IT professionals, but it is also a hit with hobbyists and other desktop users who are looking for an alternative to Microsoft Windows and don’t want the restrictive hardware policies of Apple,” says Joe Casad, Editor in Chief of Ubuntu User.

    • PCLinuxOS Magazine, Special issue

      PCLinuxOS Magazine, Special issue (Issue 29) is available to download. You can find it at the PCLinuxOS Magazine website. If you’d like to be informed immediately about our releases, please signup for the Magazine-Announce mailing list .

    • Full Circle Magazine: Issue 25

      This month, we’ve got some good stuff for you. Coming your way is all the usual, including:

      * Command and Conquer – Shell History.
      * How To: Test Drive VirtualBox, Increase Game Speed In X, and Inkscape – Part 2.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Xorg’s X Window innovation – it’s not ALL about the graphics (but there’s quite a lot of it)

      Some proprietary drivers emulate overlays, but for that to work they have to run in kernel space anyway; so, in the case of video, 2D acceleration became worse with time. And currently, on recent chips, 2D acceleration is emulated through the card’s 3D core via its firmware. The day when even this emulation goes bye-bye, 2D acceleration won’t exist – period.

    • Linux Ported to Dingoo A320

      Homebrew Coders have already ported ScummVM, PRBoom (Doom Engine) to Dingoo Linux.

    • Linux Foundation Updates Linux.com Website

      Visitors can now register and begin contributing to the community. Registered site users can produce blogs hosted at Linux.com, post product reviews and submit “how-tos” and tutorials. Users can also earn points toward their “Linux Guru” standing by participating in activities on the site. Each year, the site’s top user will be crowned the “Ultimate Linux Guru,” and will be given a “dream” Linux notebook computer signed by Linux founder Linus Torvalds. Other active users will win prizes throughout the year.

  • Applications

    • Phoronix Thread Leads To New Linux Game Ports

      Svartalf, a member of the Phoronix Forums and developer for Linux Game Publishing, recently asked our readers on the forums to provide a wish-list of games they wished to see ported to Linux. There ended up being an outpouring of interested Linux gamers with more than 1,120 replies! Svartalf shared that “[the] effort that actually did much more than I’d hoped for” and “as it stands, we’ve got one on contract (stalled though…) and one complete game as a result of this thread.”

  • Distributions

    • Progress with Pardusman

      I have been getting extremely lazy to blog enough these days. I have came across lots of new updates with pardusman project. The first improvement is with the UI graphic design. After building the UI layout I was staying tuned for comments and suggestions for improvement. Hiran came to me and told that he is interested to help me regarding UI. HIran is a UI guy on inkscape, Gimp, fonts etc.

    • antiX M8.2 Test 1 now available and looking GREAT!

      Here with antiX M8.2 Test 1, running live. Let me tell you why I like antiX so much as a Live CD.

      1. Loads, even to RAM, in under two minutes, faster than that to run straight from CD.

    • A look at Eeebuntu Base 3.0

      Tim Conneally tries out the bare-bones Ubuntu distro specifically designed for the Asus Eee PC.

      [...]

      For Eee users familiar with Ubuntu who know the open source programs they frequently use, Eeebuntu Base is worth checking out. It is stripped down not to the absolute basics, but to the point where very little elbow grease is needed to get the system running efficiently.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Light, low-cost e-reader runs Linux

      A U.K. startup called Interead will soon ship a Linux-based e-book reader claimed to be about 40 percent lighter than an Amazon Kindle 2, and over $100 cheaper. The “Cool-er” is equipped with a 400MHz ARM9 Samsung processor and a six-inch E-Ink Vizplex display.

    • Telematics reference design supports Linux

      TES Electronic Solutions announced an automotive telematics reference design supporting advanced location-based services. The “Titan” platform is offered either as a thin client running Linux or Windows CE, or as a low cost M2M platform, and incorporates GPS, GSM/GPRS, and configurable I/O, says the company.

    • SoC brings HD video to navigation devices

      Renesas Technology has announced a new Linux-ready system-on-chip (SoC) targeting terrestrial digital broadcast capability in security cameras, car navigation systems, and personal navigation devices (PNDs). The SH-MobileR2R can play and record HD (1280 x 720 pixels) video and 24-bit audio, says Renesas.

    • SOFTWARE TOOLS: MontaVista Linux 6 enhances embedded design flexibility

      MontaVista Software, Inc., touts its recently launched MontaVista Linux 6 as a revolutionary new approach to embedded Linux development. By delivering Market Specific Distributions combined with the new MontaVista Integration Platform, commercial device developers enjoy much more flexibility to design and deliver products uniquely tailored for their target market.

    • TAP Airbus pictured booting Linux 2.4

      Nearly 2 years ago Slashdot covered the news that Airbus was to include Linux in every seat on the new A380. Well, we just found out(the fun way) that the A330 already does.

    • Phones

      • Google Kicks Off Android Developer Challenge Part Deux

        In an effort to continue fostering the Android development community, Google has announced the second round of its Android Developer Challenge – a competition that rewards some of the platform’s best applications with large cash grants.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Qualcomm, Freescale say ‘smartbooks’ to rival Netbooks

        Smartbooks will use processors based on an ARM design and the Linux operating system. And 3G connectivity will be standard–like a typical smartphone.

      • Qualcomm’s Smarter Netbooks

        Like smart phones, smartbooks will boast a constant Web connection via cellular broadband and location-based services through global positioning system technology (GPS), will power on quickly, run Linux or a mobile operating system and last eight to 10 hours on a single battery charge. Most netbooks include Wi-Fi connectivity, but not mobile broadband or GPS, and deliver more speed, but less power efficiency.

      • Web Extra: Why Netbooks are So Popular

        Netbooks have in fact become so popular so fast that they are threatening to take a bite out of Microsoft’s PC market share. That’s because many of the devices don’t run Windows and instead opt for the barer-boned Linux operating system (when they do run Windows, it’s almost always XP – NOT Vista).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Latvians Love Firefox

    The first day of each month often brings great news. A month ago, we saw that the latest browser market share data showed Firefox surpassing the 50% milestone in Slovakia and the Philippines. Today, we can say the same about Firefox usage in Latvia!

  • Calling all beta testers New Mozillaca

    Mozillaca.com provides a micro-blogging service that you can use to write short notices about yourself, where you are, and what you’re doing, and those notices will be sent to all of your friends and fans.

  • Is Amazon Going to Open Source its Web Services and Cloud APIs?

    Although it’s only a rumor, Reuven Cohen reports hearing from more than one source that Amazon intends to open source its (AWS) Web Services APIs. “Word is Amazon’s legal team is currently ‘investigating’ open sourcing their various web services API’s including EC2, S3, etc,” he writes. Cohen argues that the move would make a lot of sense, and I agree. Although Amazon’s APIs are, as Cohen writes, “the de facto standards” in cloud computing, Amazon faces significant threats from open source cloud computing efforts if it pursues a purely proprietary path.

  • Baby Steps: Zappos.com’s Switch to Drupal Content Management

    Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal, has a post up on how Zappos, an e-commerce web site with more than $1 billion in annual revenues, is using Drupal. The Drupal.org site also has a case study up about how Zappos uses Drupal, which illustrates how flexible a platform it really is, and provides a lesson in how many sites using expensive proprietary CMS solutions could gradually transition to the many open source alternatives.

  • Government

  • Openness

    • How Open Source Will Save the World (Really)

      Fantastic to see someone with considerable power making the connection between intellectual monopolies and the problem of mitigating climate change – and seeing that open source is a practical way to get around the problem.

    • OpenGov.pot

      One of the most obvious downsides of seeking greater public input into the government’s agenda-setting process has been the almost inevitable hijacking of this process by groups with their own (often rather radical) agendas to promote. Such groups usually manage to quickly mobilize their supporters, who then visit the site and usually vote en masse (often from different computers), rendering most campaigns to aggregate public opinion on what the government priorities should be pretty useless.

    • Bulgarian criminals seek shelter as MEP candidates

      Several controversial ‘businessmen’ indicted by the judiciary have registered as candidate MEPs and have been granted immunity from prosecution, the Bulgarian press revealed.

    • Copyright Needs Limits, As It Restricts Innovation

      The ultimate irony is that when innovators follow the law and license content as they have through a “creative commons” license, they are criticized as opponents of copyright. Such a view ignores the numerous successes by the army of content lobbyists, and the fact that those who occasionally oppose their excesses, like technology innovators, are less interested and reliant on lobbying and more dependent on free market forces.

    • Gary Shapiro: The Copyright Lobby Is Restricting Innovation And It Needs To Stop
  • Programming

    • Google Says HTML 5 Tools Leave Microsoft In the Dust

      One new Chrome extension is Google Web Elements, a program that enables developers to add Google applications to pages with minimal coding. Google is actively experimenting with many of the major HTML 5 concepts, including canvas tags (bringing sophisticated graphics to Web applications without plug-ins), video tags and geolocation (as in Google’s Latitude application).

Leftovers

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Chasing the WIPO representative

      I think I’ll try to follow up on this on Tuesday. The meeting will be long done by then and the treaty proposal probably clobbered, but it’s a worthy battle. The problem is, this entire exercise – while taking on 30 minutes – was like out of a bad episode of Yes, Minister. Organizations pointing at each other, despite best intentions, without anybody actually answering the question. In bureaucracies, the concept of democracy gets ignored once the elections are up and the bureaucrats take over the reins. I wrote a piece about bureaucracy earlier which, I think, illustrates this fairly well.

      The fact that delegates to conventions such as these have almost zero accountability to the people they claim to represent is a black mark on the idea of democracy. It is one of many things that I aim to fix.

    • Obama Joins Group to Block Treaty for Blind and Other Reading Disabilities

      I am attending a meeting in Geneva of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This evening the United States government, in combination with other high income countries in “Group B” is seeking to block an agreement to discuss a treaty for persons who are blind or have other reading disabilities.

    • Study On How DRM Harms Free Expression

      The study says that there hasn’t been a catastrophic blockage of free expression, but clearly some had occurred, even though technology measures could have allowed the expression without seriously compromising the purpose of the DRM.

    • Australian government admits less than 32% of secret censorship list is related to underage images

      The Australian government told a Senate estimates hearing this week that less than 32% of the country’s secret internet censorship list is related to underage images.

      During the hearing, the government also stated that the WikiLeaks publication of the full list in March has now been officially referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

      The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) “blacklist” is slated to form the backbone of a national, mandatory, internet censorship system.

  • Copyrights

    • P2P: worth more than the Global Financial Crisis

      In other words, basically, P2P is worth three times more revenue than the cost of the Global Financial Crisis.

    • ACS:Law Anti-Piracy Lawyers Are Copyright Infringers

      Lawyers ACS:Law have entered the anti-piracy revenue generation scheme previously inhabited by Davenport Lyons. They write to alleged file-sharers demanding payment of hundreds of pounds or face legal action. However, those same individuals can point the finger straight back, since ACS:Law are copyright infringers themselves.

    • Why the “Copycats?” Report has a Copycat Problem

      After stupidly trying to defend this indefensible position, The Conference Board of Canada has now backed down, admitted that the report plagiarised material, and withdrawn it, along with two others.

    • Shhhh. Newspaper Publishers Are Quietly Holding a Very, Very Important Conclave Today. Will You Soon Be Paying for Online Content?

      Here’s a story the newspaper industry’s upper echelon apparently kept from its anxious newsrooms: A discreet Thursday meeting in Chicago about their future.

      “Models to Monetize Content” is the subject of a gathering at a hotel which is actually located in drab and sterile suburban Rosemont, Illinois; slabs of concrete, exhibition halls and mostly chain restaurants, whose prime reason for being is O’Hare International Airport. It’s perfect for quickie, in-and-out conclaves.

    • Newspapers Gather In Secret (With An Antitrust Lawyer) To Collude Over Paywalls
    • Conference Board of Canada admits that its publicly funded, plagiarized, biased copyright “research” is junk

      The Conference Board of Canada, a Canadian think-tank that was caught regurgitating a US lobby-group’s press materials in a tax-funded report on the Digital Economy, has withdrawn its copyright-related reports, stating “these reports did not follow the high quality research standards of The Conference Board of Canada.”

    • Anti-Piracy Group Raids P2P Admin’s House Without Warrant

      Ever since it became clear that running a P2P links site is not a crime in Spain, music anti-piracy group SGAE have threatened civil action. Yesterday the admin of two P2P sites had a home visit by members of SGAE, who took advantage of the admin’s legal naivety and conducted a search of his property without a suitable warrant.

    • On-demand book publishing booms in 2008

      The U.S. publishing industry passed a key marker last year, with the publication of more “on-demand” or short-run titles than traditional books, a U.S. company that keeps publishing statistics says.

      While the swing may be temporary, caused as major publishers retrenched, it could be “a watershed year in the book publishing industry, fuelled by the changing dynamics of the marketplace and the proliferation of sophisticated publishing technologies,” said Kelly Gallagher, vice-president of publisher services for Bowker, which provides bibliographic data and services.

    • Music Labels Cut Friendlier Deals With Start-Ups

      With CD sales dropping fast, it is not hard to imagine how the major music labels could benefit from the growth of Web start-ups like Imeem. The company’s service lets people listen to songs, discover new artists and share their favorites with friends. And in return, Imeem owes the labels licensing fees for use of the music.

    • New Goal Set for Project Gutenberg: One Billion Readers

      The first goal of Project Gutenberg was simply to reach totals of estimated audiences of 1.5% of the world population, or the total of 100 million people.

    • Newspaper Journalists Claiming TV Reporters Are ‘Plagiarizing’ The News

      The person complaining the most is Seattle’s Tri-City Herald editor Ken Robertson. He’s careful not to use words such as “stolen” and only goes as far as to say his stories were “lifted.” Which makes sense because even he knows he has absolutely no copyright claim on the news itself. But if he knows that, exactly what is he complaining about? That he didn’t get his pat on the back when an important news story got wider coverage?!

    • The Role Of Abundance In Innovation

      This also should (again) get people to rethink some issues surrounding patents. If it’s that abundance and experimenting that leads to all that innovation, aren’t we holding back that innovation by enforcing artificial scarcity, and allowing one company to entirely block others from doing the necessary experiments? In Chris Anderson’s latest book, he builds on Carver Mead’s idea about transistors becoming so abundant that it makes sense to “waste” them. This makes a tremendous amount of sense if you start to follow through the economic implications of “wasting” goods that are effectively infinite.

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