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Links 17/06/2009: Microkernels Revisited, Mozilla Praises Ogg

Posted in News Roundup at 7:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ubuntu, OpenX Chiefs Talk OS, Search Disruption

    To Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical — the lead commercial backer of the Ubuntu Linux distribution — squaring off against Windows is a battle worth fighting.

    “The operating system is the intersection of so many things in technology,” Shuttleworth said here at Wired’s Disruptive by Design conference. “It’s where software meets technology.”

    And as Shuttleworth sees it, he and others who have built their businesses around open source — Canonical provides premium, paid services around Ubuntu in addition to supporting the OS’s development — have an distinct advantage against the Microsofts of the world.

  • Research and Markets: Fundamental TCP/IP Architecture, Design and Implementation in Linux

    This book provides thorough knowledge of Linux TCP/IP stack and kernel framework for its network stack, including complete knowledge of design and implementation. Starting with simple client-server socket programs and progressing to complex design and implementation of TCP/IP protocol in linux, this book provides different aspects of socket programming and major TCP/IP related algorithms

  • Dell netbook targets primary school market

    Unlike the still-mythical “$100 laptop” envisioned by the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child organisation, Dell’s machine starts at $706 and includes 1GB of RAM, 80GB HDD and runs on the Ubuntu operating system. It goes on sale tomorrow through Dell’s online store.

  • Canonical to Certify Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition on HP ProLiant G6

    Canonical, the commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu Linux project, is expected to announce a collaboration with Hewlett-Packard to deliver an additional high-performance server configuration for Ubuntu users.

  • Kernel Space

    • Microkernels Address the OS Softspots on Your Network

      Right now Tanenbaum can point to Minix 3 — the latest version of Minix. This has a microkernel of just 5,000 lines of code running in kernel mode — less than 0.1% of the size of the Windows kernel. Device drivers run above the kernel in user mode, each one running as a separate process and restricted to accessing only its own memory. He points out that with just 5,000 lines of code there may be fewer than 100 bugs in the kernel, which could slowly be found and eliminated. In fact there could be far fewer: he says drivers typically have between 3 and 7 times as many bugs per 1,000 lines of code as the rest of the system. By removing the drivers from kernel space the most buggy kernel code is removed.

      Tanenbaum is currently embarking on a project to produce a stable and secure operating system based on a similar microkernel architecture, which he intends to design with a POSIX interface (perhaps extended with Linux system calls) so that it will run UNIX (and Linux) software “without too much effort.” (An alternative approach is to run a hypervisor in kernel mode, emulating a virtual machine running its own OS in user mode. But as operating systems are often paravirtualized to run in these virtual machines, and the hypervisor is adapted with an extensive API to provide services to the virtual machines, the distinction between a hypervisor and a microkernel becomes blurred, he says.)

    • FS-Cache & CacheFS: Caching for Network File Systems

      When *nix OS’s were developed, systems could be a bit on the slow side. Typical networks were either 10 Mb/s or, if you were lucky, 100 Mb/s. Accessing network based file systems such as NFS and AFS could be rather slow over these networks. In response to sometimes slow access, a local caching mechanism, called CacheFS, was developed to provide local caching for distributed file systems. This mechanism caches data (either complete files or parts of files) on local storage so that data can be possibly accessed from a local storage device instead of a network based file system.

  • Distributions

    • Coming home to Puppy Linux

      It’s been many months since I last used Puppy Linux. I bet more than a year has passed since I seriously ran Puppy, still one of the best Unix-like distributions/projects for older, underpowered computers.

      I decided tonight to break out the 1999 Compaq Armada 7770dmt (233 MHz Pentium II MMX processor, 144 MB RAM), which has OpenBSD 4.2 on the 3 GB hard drive (yes, I know 4.5 is out, and yes I do have the CD set, and yes, I’ll probably reinstall) and two pup_save files in its 0.5 GB Linux partition.

    • Parted Magic 4.2 Has Clonezilla and Linux Kernel 2.6.30

      Yesterday evening, on June 16th, Patrick Verner proudly announced the immediate release of Parted Magic 4.2, a Slackware-based Linux distribution that was created to help users easily partition their hard drivers or perform recovery tasks.

  • Red Hat

    • CentOS Pulse #0902 – 16 June 2009


      1. Foreword
      2. Announcements
      1. CentOS Pulse #0901 and centos-newsletter mailing list
      3. Featured Articles
      1. CentOS Artwork SIG
      2. Enabling multimedia on CentOS
      4. Community Threads
      1. What to do when your system is 0wned ?
      2. How can I view .docx files?
      3. 5.3 random reboots
      4. Programming language madness
      5. Wiki mugshot proposal and new HomepageTemplate
      5. Tip Of The Newsletter
      6. Jokes and Funny Stuff
      1. Always end a loop
      2. “\0″
      7. CentOS Errata
      1. CentOS-3
      2. CentOS-4
      3. CentOS-5
      8. CentOS in the Spotlight
      9. Upcoming Events
      10. Contributing to this newsletter

    • Benchmarks Of Fedora 9 Through 11

      Last week we delivered benchmarks comparing the performance of Ubuntu 9.04 vs. Fedora 11 and found for the most part that these two incredibly popular Linux distributions had performed about the same, except for a few areas where there notable differences. However, like in the past when we have looked at Ubuntu 7.04 to 8.10 benchmarks or benchmarking the past five Linux kernels, we are now looking at the performance of Fedora over their past few releases. In this article we have a range of system benchmarks from Fedora 9, 10, 11, and the latest Rawhide packages as of this week.

    • Red Hat’s standalone hypervisor goes beta

      Commercial Linux distributor Red Hat threw its, er, red hat into the virtualization ring back in February when it announced it was creating a standalone Enterprise Virtualization hypervisor based on KVM to compete with the likes of VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix Systems. Today, that standalone hypervisor and the tools to manage it for servers and desktops moved into beta.

  • Ubuntu

    • An interview with Clem from Linux Mint

      A few days ago I reviewed what is in my opinion the easiest Linux distribution for Windows switchers: Linux Mint 7.0 The small group of talented people that manage this distribution is led by Clem, the “founder” of Linux Mint. Today he was kind enough to grant me an email interview as a follow up to my review.

    • Ubuntu Gets Satanic

      The combination of church and OS always struck me as a touch strange, but then, I suppose I’m not really the target audience for the Ubuntu Christian or Muslim editions. Nor am I exactly who developers were looking to when they first started working on Ubuntu Satanic Edition 666.6 (Jesus’ Jugular)666.6 (Jesus’ Jugular).It’s hard to say precisely when this got out so of hand.

    • ACTION: Ubuntu / Linux Gurus Needed – Iran Proxies

      H/T to Omir the Storyteller for this idea, I think it’s a great one. Now I need your help. The idea that Omir had was to roll a custom Linux Live CD that does one thing; creates a proxy that Iranians can use to connect and transmit photos and words outside the influence of their government.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Firefox 3.5, RC1, Slated for Friday–Many New Features

    Mozilla’s much awaited Release Candidate of the Firefox 3.5 browser has been through several delays, but, as Webware reports, Firefox director Mike Beltzner says it will arrive this Friday. Beltzner also says the final release of Firefox 3.5 will come out before the end of the month. If you haven’t been using the beta versions of the the browser, it’s much faster, and has more than 5,000 new features. Mozilla is also pointing out some articles and video demos that show off the new features.

  • Magnolia 4.1 Content Manager Arrives, With Pre-Built Templates

    Open source content management software applications have really blossomed in recent years, and I’ve written before about how a lot of companies and online publications are bound to switch to them, instead of expensive proprietary alternatives. Today, there is an updated version 4.1 of Magnolia available for download, and the long-standing open source content management platform now has pre-built templates that aim to make it easier for companies to share and publish everything from event calendars, to glossaries, to online forums.

  • Government

    • Open Source in the Enterprise: Safely Boring

      Yesterday I popped into part of the London Open Source Forum. This was a laudable effort organised by Red Hat in conjunction with some of its partners to corrupt young and innocent minds – well, senior managers, at least – and convince them about the immanent wonderfulness of open source. To that end, they wheeled out some of the big names in the enterprise free software world like Matt Asay, Simon Phipps and Jan Wildeboer.

    • Digital Britain, Analogue Thinking

      Time and again, then, this “Digital Britain” report betrays the fact that the government, its advisers and – most of all – the media industry lobby – are intent on locking down behaviour according to analogue norms. You can upgrade your broadband infrastructure until you are blue in the face, but if you are still trying to run it as if its payload were atoms, you’re doomed to failure.

  • Openness

    • Future of Open Source: Hack This Gadget

      The open source movement gave rise to Linux and spawned a generation of collaborative coders. Now it’s extending its reach to the hardware industry.

      Open source hardware is designed to be reprogrammed or physically modified to make it easy to install custom firmware and software to create entirely new products. The big idea: crowdsourcing hardware development will encourage innovation in unforeseen ways, much like how Creative Commons licenses have enabled artists to remix existing content to create new works.

    • Inside OER

      Interviews featuring people, projects, and the progress they’ve made in open education.

    • Wikipedia and open access journals – now more compatible than ever

      A couple of years ago, I posted a blog noting the complementarity between Wikipedia (which excludes original research from its scope, but strongly encourages citation of original sources), and open access journals which publish original research which Wikipedia authors can easily cite, and which Wikipedia readers can reliably follow links to gain access to.

    • ODC Open Database License (ODbL) Release Candidate 2 is Out

      Open Data Commons, a project we help host and run, has put out its second and final “Release Candidate” of the Open Database License (ODbL).

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Standards and the Smart Grid

      If you haven’t heard the words “smart grid” before, that’s likely to change soon. That’s especially so if you live in the U.S., where billions of dollars in incentive spending is pouring into making the smart grid a reality. As you might expect, since I’m talking about it here, the smart grid will rely on standards to become real. A whole lot of standards, in fact, and that’s a problem

    • Video

      • Google Considerations: OGG Theora or H.264?

        An employee of Google has expressed himself regarding the disadvantages of OGG Theora in comparison with H.264 in a discussion on the mailing list of the web hypertext application technology working group.

      • an update on open video codecs and quality

        Two days ago we posted a comparison by Greg Maxwell of low and medium resolution YouTube videos vs. Theora counterparts at the same bit rates. The result in that test was that Theora did much better at the low bit rate and more or less the same at the slightly higher bit rate. The conclusion being that Theora is perfectly appropriate for a site like YouTube.

      • theora video vs. h264

        I think that Theora+Vorbis absolutely trounces H.263+MP3 and I don’t think there’s even a question of which kind of artifacts you prefer. Theora+Vorbis is just plain better than the majority of what YouTube and many other Flash video sites have been serving to users for years.


  • Astroturf Expert Forms NIMBY Campaign

    The new Virginia-based group “Citizens for a Safe Alexandria” describes itself as a grassroots group, but its founder works for a public relations firm that specializes in “‘grassroots’ and ‘grasstops’ media strategies.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Is Germany Following Australia Down The Slippery Slope Of Internet Censorship?

      Via Slashdot we learn that Germany is the latest country to consider a censorship regime that would create a blacklist of sites that ISPs would be required to block. As with most such things, the official claim is that this would be to block out child porn. Of course, this is a head-in-the-sand approach to fighting child porn. It’s about trying to pretend it’s not there, rather than tracking down those actually responsible

    • The Dawning of Internet Censorship in Germany

      Germany is on the verge of censoring its Internet: The government – a grand coalition between the German social democrats and conservative party – seems united in its decision: On Thursday the parliament is to vote on the erection of an internet censorship architecture.

    • Germany poised to impose police-run block list

      Germany’s main political parties have agreed the text of legislation designed to enshrine the blocking of selected internet sites in law.

      Critics of the plan insist that take down would be more effective – and express concerns that however well-intentioned a block list, it would forever be open to abuse by the state.

    • UK Court Says No Right To Being An Anonymous Blogger

      While there are certainly many problematic US laws, the fact that our court system recognizes and values the right to anonymous posting as a First Amendment issue is something that’s quite wonderful. Tragically, very few other countries view things the same way.

    • AACS license finalized; managed copy coming to Blu-ray

      After years of promising the feature, the finalization of the AACS licensing agreement brings managed copy to Blu-ray discs as early as Q1’10. But “managed copy” seems a day late and a dollar short.

    • EFF brief accuses DOJ of “backdoor wiretapping”

      In a new brief, the EFF alleges that in order to get around wiretapping’s “probable cause” requirements, the DOJ ordered a suspect’s ISP to start accumulating his emails so that they could later come in and use the Stored Communications Act to subpoena the archive.

  • Copyrights

    • Japan Makes Private Copying Illegal

      So, the recording industry has been lobbying hard in any country that carves out an exception for private copying, trying to make it illegal. Unfortunately, it appears they’ve won in Japan. A new copyright law has been passed that specifically says that private, non-commercial copying is infringing (via Cybeardjm).

    • NY Times ‘Corrects’ False Article About Pirate Bay Appeal… Still Gets It Wrong

      On Monday, however, some of our readers noted that the NY Times had “updated” or “corrected” its story. However, the really amazing thing? Even after realizing that it got the story wrong, it still hasn’t gotten the story right. Instead, they changed the first sentence from: “A Swedish court has denied the appeal of four men convicted of violating copyright law…. ” into “A Swedish court has said that the judge who presided over the case of four men convicted of violating copyright law for their involvement in the Pirate Bay, an Internet file-sharing service, was not biased against them.”

    • Swedish Court Contests Bias Claim in Pirate Bay Case

      A Swedish court has said that the judge who presided over the case of four men convicted of violating copyright law for their involvement in the Pirate Bay, an Internet file-sharing service, was not biased against them, The Hollywood Reporter said. In April a court in Stockholm ruled that Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Peter Sunde, the three founders of the site, as well as Carl Lundstrom, who provided financing for it, had aided acts of copyright infringement.

    • Orphan Works

      In practice, most pre-20th century in-copyright materials are considered “ophan works” – items where the current copyright owners are impossible to identify, or trace. However orphan work status may also apply to more recently published works. The British Library, for example estimates that 40% of in-copyright works are orphan works.

    • HADOPI Copyright Law To Get New Set Of Teeth With Additional Law

      The Sarkozy government will implement a law aimed at promoting legal online downloading in the coming months despite being prevented from cutting off the internet access of alleged three-time offenders, according to official sources. Meanwhile, the government has already begun preparing a new law that would restore penalties this time decided by a judge rather than by the newly created HADOPI commission. This would conform to a constitutional ruling on the HADOPI law.

    • New Zealand tries to revive 3 strikes law

      The New Zealand government is still working hard — on behalf of the corporate movie and music cartels. And at taxpayer expense.

      It’s trying to find another way to implement the now thoroughly sullied Three Strikes plan, the fact French efforts have just been shot down in flames notwithstanding.

    • Playing Music In A Nightclub Just Got Ridiculously More Expensive In Australia

      We’ve pointed out in the past how ridiculous it is to have “collections societies” for music, which basically act as big bureaucracies for taxing any kind of music usage. These societies — both the for-profit and non-profit ones — have pretty much one goal and one goal only: to increase how much money they get. So when you hear about new schemes, like Choruss, to set up a new such collection society, you know it’s just a blatant money grab, rather than allowing for real business models to be developed. We’ve seen this all over the world, with SoundExchange

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

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Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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