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06.20.09

Novell News Summary – Part II: A Lot About SLES, Little About Scalix and Xandros

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Scalix, Servers, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Iguana on a red chair

Summary: Assorted news about GNU/Linux that funds Microsoft

Read the rest of this entry »

Novell News Summary – Part I: Some OpenSUSE 11.1 Reviews, Fedora Gratitude

Posted in GNU/Linux, OpenSUSE, Red Hat at 4:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gecko

Summary: Project news for OpenSUSE

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More Microsoft AstroTurfing (aka ‘Technical Evangelism’) in Twitter

Posted in Deception, FUD, Marketing, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 10:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Crazy face

Summary: Kirk Evans is given as an example of Microsoft guerrilla marketing in Twitter

“Microsoft stalkers,” called them our source, whose account was addressed by a Microsoft “Technical Evangelist”. That’s exactly the type of people whom James Plamondon was training in order to promote Microsoft very aggressively, to this very date.

Let’s step back just a bit and see the example we have at hand. Our source writes:

Having read Microsoft’s IE8: Get The Facts website I posted on our Twitter channel that I’d seen it and thought is was priceless FUD.

Within minutes I got a Microsoft employee following us on Twitter and requesting that Sirius e-mail him to discuss “discuss IE8 opptys” (whatever that means).

See http://twitter.com/kaevans

The MS person responsible is Kirk Evans, an architecture evangelist based in Texas. Note the wallpaper on his Twitter channel is a pile of horse shit.

I’m intrigued to say the least. What’s the horse shit all about? Why should an architecture evangelist care about us pointing out what 90% of the tech industry already knows? The question is, is he approaching every person who criticises this new IE: Get The Facts website?

His Twitter channel includes gems such as:

“Laughing at the slander against #IE8 and the #GetTheFacts site http://tinyurl.com/mj38ly all bile, no substance. Truth hurts.”

This is full on, aggressive technology evangelism/indoctrination where Microsoft ‘evangelists’ are employed to use Twitter et al to silence critics.

Whilst I’m quite keen to reply to him (just for the fun of it) I’m a little concerned that my ‘card will be marked’.

Microsoft does not deny using Twitter to do its PR, marketing, AstroTurfing, evangelism or whatever they wish to call it (many euphemisms exist and Orwellian language is a spinner’s best friend). We wrote about this type of activity from Microsoft at Twitter in:

Based on experience, those who routinely write about Microsoft products (i.e. mention the company’s name or product names) tend to sooner or later be followed or pinged somehow. Microsoft wants these people on its side. One of our readers, Goblin, has experimented to show this empirically. Some of the potential Microsoft bots/AstroTurfers appear to be mass-twitting the same promotional or provocative messages. They defame Microsoft’s competition and promote Microsoft for the most part.

This account is a good example, but shortly after I had complained about it for abuse (identical, abrasive messages sent to many strangers separately) it started saying “This person has protected their updates.”

Dodgy.

“Microsoft is connected to partners via Twitter and it uses PR agencies to do much/all this work.”As examples in the posts above show, I have had what seems like Microsoft bots following me (to be fair, other companies use similar tactics of re-Twitting messages about their products). The same goes for Microsoft managers like Oliver Bell, who apparently wants to keep an eye on what I write about OOXML, which is his area. He also speaks about Boycott Novell in person.

Microsoft is connected to partners via Twitter and it uses PR agencies to do much/all this work. That distances the dirty tactics from the company this way, leaving itself less sensitive to scrutiny.

Microsoft’s PR department (Waggener Edstrom) has already developed new tools to spy on Twits — to then respond to them appropriately. It’s not just a Twitter thing, but this in general is how Microsoft manages to identify damaging posts/articles and intercept them quickly, before people notice. A recent example would be a negative Surface review that they had removed very quickly by phoning the blogger.

Microsoft has always done such things (The Inquirer in particular dares to blow the whistle on censorship attempts and bribes), but with Twitter it is a lot more visible for people to see because the equivalent of E-mail is made public. The anti-ODF campaign from Microsoft is a good example where Twits said a mouthful about what the company has been doing. See the most recent examples in:

If people wish to see how aggressively –and that’s putting it gently — Microsoft competes, Twitter may be an entertaining read. With the intrusion of marketing scum like Pay2Tweet, the death of the platform’s inherent trust may be imminent. Twitter already declines in terms of traffic, like all other Web sites which get hijacked by marketing agents who seize an opportunity.

Related:

Whisper Campaigns Against Gnote

Posted in Fork, GNU/Linux, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The secret

Summary: Response to disinformation about Gnote, a substitute to the Mono-encumbered Tomboy

OVER the past few weeks we’ve come across all sorts of unsubstantiated claims that Gnote would not carry on being developed and maintained. To those who say it, this is a prophecy they wish to fulfill using smears. Microsoft calls the broader scheme of this strategy “the Slog” [PDF] and there are recent examples of another strategy called “whisper campaign” — damaging and false rumours being disseminated [1, 2]. Boycott Novell too has totally false accusations brought against it in an attempt to shoot the messenger because of the message which cannot be refuted (regarding Mono). Needless to say, these injurious false accusations and smears come from proponents of Mono who carefully cherry-pick things and take them out of context.

Going back to Gnote, Stefano Forenza took it upon himself to present refutations to the whispers/rumours regarding Gnote. Here is an overview:

In a thread on the ubuntu-devel mailing list, where Danny Picirillo asked to consider replacing Tomboy with Gnote, a long discussion followed. Ultimately Mackenzie brought up some points that the Gnote developer, Hubert Figuiere felt needed to be answered.

Stefano summarises his post as: “Putting an end to the disinformation about Gnote in the Ubuntu community.” To give an example of scare tactics, Canonical’s Scott James Remnant writes:

One of my principal concerns would that Gnote is simply a code port of Tomboy from Mono to C++, with little development of its own. This means that should the maintainer tire of converting C# to C++, the project could quite quickly die.

This type of logic can be applied to any project, even Microsoft Money [1, 2]. If it had, then where would today’s projects come from? All projects start small and to refuse acceptance of GPLv3-licensed software is somewhat dubious (the licence is actually better than Tomboy’s in the sense that it secures ownership and control by its respective users). The code is right there.

“This type of logic can be applied to any project, even Microsoft Money.”As for Tomboy, it is merely “the hobby” of a Novell employee (to use the wording of those close to the project), so the same logic could be applied to it. Figuiere, on the other hand, appears to be working on Gnote full time and it will be included in Fedora by default this December. Perhaps Red Hat should hire him.

Scott Grizzard wrote to explain the point of view of Mono skeptics (“anti-Mono” is too strong a phrase because we believe that Mono can have a place in the repositories, just not included by default and thus imposed despite risk).

The basic conclusion the anti-Mono crowd reaches (and if I am wrong, please let me know) is this: you shouldn’t use Mono, because Microsoft could come back later (after it has gained wide acceptance) and claim patent violations, gaining control (or at least significant influence) over open source software that uses it. They are especially vehemently opposed to using Mono for any core packages (or packages that gain widespread use), because that places Linux at considerable risk from Microsoft.

[...]

As the anti-mono people are right to point out, you shouldn’t use Mono for new Open Source projects, especially core projects – the potential threat from Microsoft is just too large. But, remember that Microsoft’s power is market power first, and its political power is derived from that. Anything that reduces that market power should be seen as a “good thing”. Mono in the core of Linux distributions has the potential to endanger Linux, but used properly, Mono makes Linux viable for many more people, giving them more choice, and more choice is “good”.

Here is another new post on the subject:

So why can’t Mono just be moved to the repositories? Why is Ubuntu remaining silent on this issue? How come other Linux distributions don’t have to use Mono?

There is no reason to ignore the performance advantages of Gnote, let alone the other important factors.

Does Microsoft Blackmail Sub-notebooks Vendors?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Law, Microsoft at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Head target

Summary: Newer evidence suggests that Microsoft abuses its monopoly and Groklaw opines that regulators must intervene

IN WHAT seems like a bit of a surprise, Groklaw claims to have found “The Smoking Gun” regarding “Linux on Netbooks”. This is actually old news to many Web sites (we covered it in [1, 2]), but for the purpose of documenting Microsoft’s behind-the-scenes tactics, this may prove crucial. Pamela Jones believes that there is ground for antitrust action here.

Is there no regulatory body that can get Microsoft’s fat fanny off of Linux so it can get some air? Instead the DOJ are investigating *Google*? What Microsoft is reportedly doing is a pimple on the antitrust regulators’ noses. We see it. Why can’t you? Where are you? Please don’t wait until Linux is totally crushed.

Let us customers choose what we prefer from a fair and even playing field, please. I’d like to buy the products that are being squashed. A lot of us would like to. And we are not being allowed to get the products that we desire. I don’t want Microsoft software. I’d like a choice. And I shouldn’t have to buy a netbook with Microsoft on it and install Linux myself. I will, but I should not have to.

Groklaw does remark on the “Better with Windows” marketing blitz, so by the way, for those who still believe that ASUS recommends Windows, see this. It must be an old endorsement scam. This too falls under “deceptive marketing” clauses and should be investigated by the likes of the ASA.

In addition to all this, as we showed before, Microsoft is now strong-arming OEMs so that they artificially cripple the hardware they offer to all buyers (GNU/Linux users included). This is brutal, and this is why many OEMs desperately try to escape a dependency on Microsoft. There may be another violation of laws here — collusion (price-fixing) that Intel and Microsoft are said to be responsible for. But Microsoft does not quite stop there. Oh, no it doesn’t. Check out this new report from The Register.

Microsoft forbids changes to Windows 7 netbook wallpaper

Netbook users running Windows 7 Starter Edition better learn to enjoy Microsoft’s default desktop background, because that’s all they’re getting.

Windows 7 Starter Edition not only blocks end-users from swapping the original Windows-provided wallpaper, colors, and sound schemes – OEMs and partners aren’t allowed into the personalization options either.

Microsoft’s fierce control goes further than just hardware. The predatory rules are also telling OEMs what wallpapers they are allowed to use (how to deliver their products that they already paid for), just as in the old days Microsoft used contracts to tell them what they can and cannot install. These tactics were notably used to exclude Netscape, among other competitors. Even the arrangement of icons was restricted and policed by Microsoft.

Those who are bothered by flagrant disregard for the law may wish to report this (I too will post a complaint). As very recent history teaches us, regulators rarely do their job unless they are pressured to do so. And even then, they remain lazy and susceptible to lulling. Who can ever regulate the regulators?

The Rumours May be True: Novell’s Financial Officer Talks About Selling Parts of Novell

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Novell, Rumour at 7:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Healthy orange

Summary: Novell ponders slicing and dicing the business; Microsoft claimed to be failing too

We’ve just received some good answers to the question, “how big is Novell’s debt?”

For those who have not been following this, we floated the rumour that Novell is planning to sell parts of itself. Are these just “libelous rumours,” as the Novell-faithfuls would claim them to be? Well, no. Not anymore. Here is a new report from Reuters:

J.P. Morgan analyst John DiFucci wrote in a research note that Novell CFO Dana Russell “entertained the possibility of breaking out some parts of or selling the entire company, in order to maximize shareholder value given the current depressed valuation levels.”

Novell’s response? Well, “Novell says no plans to sell itself” screams the headline and the text fails to deny selling “some parts of” Novell.

Novell Inc (NOVL.O), the the No. 2 publicly held maker of Linux software, said on Friday it has no plans to sell itself after an analyst said the company’s finance chief considered the idea.

Always pay attention to the wording. Novell does not deny DiFucci’s statement. It only refutes the part about selling the entire company, so unless we are missing something, this statement is revealing. We will report some more about this later.

Looking at Novell’s new ally, Microsoft, Business Insider has a new piece where Henry Blodget claims that Steve Ballmer has gone bonkers. The headline may no longer say it so rudely, but the basic contention is that Microsoft — which is already borrowing money — essentially commits suicide on-line where it is trying to “tilt Google into the death spiral,” to use its infamous phrase.

Steve Ballmer says he is willing to invest 5%-10% of Microsoft’s operating income over the next five years on search.

That’s a boatload of money.

Specifically, assuming Microsoft’s operating income stays constant (it will likely grow), it’s $5.5-$11 billion.

According to this, Microsoft’s choice to live or die in search might in fact tilt a company “into the death spiral,” but that company is not Google.

To Gates and Ballmer, the demise of Microsoft would not be terrible news because they have personal wealth. In a similar vein, no matter how badly Novell performs, Ron Hovsepian squeezed huge bonuses out of the company while it’s going down. This is just like Wall Street bankers, who look after themselves and look at short-term goals alone.

“Every time you use Google, you’re using a machine running the Linux kernel.”

Chris DiBona, Google

Top-Level Microsoft Executive Quits, No Replacement to be Made Amid Xbox Exodus

Posted in Microsoft at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seal

Summary: Microsoft’s Xbox team keeps going under water

A few weeks ago, Satchell quit the Xbox team, following the footsteps of a director in the same team which has been collapsing for years. This overly-hyped part of Microsoft has raked in billions in losses. Now comes another major departure. It is top executive John Schappert, the chief technical officer.

Joe has some details that serve as informative background:

Schappert is the second top Microsoft executive to leave the company’s interactive entertainment group in recent weeks. CTO Chris Satchell departed for gaming manufacturer International Game Technology two weeks ago. Microsoft is not replacing Schappert’s position. Instead, Marc Whitten will continue to head Xbox Live, while Phil Spencer will lead Microsoft Game Studios. Both report to Don Mattrick, the senior vice president in charge of the interactive entertainment business. “Microsoft has complete confidence in the leadership of Marc and Phil and that their teams will remain focused and on track as we ramp up for this holiday,” a spokeswoman said.

This is not the first such departure and Microsoft has no replacement planned for Schappert. He will move over to EA, so this is no case of early retirement, either. Apparently, Microsoft just is not the place for him to be, so he will fill a gap in Electronic Arts where he becomes COO. Schappert actually came from there to Microsoft, but he probably did not like what he found, which is revealing. There is an enormous amount of coverage because it shows that despite coming changes (e.g. Natal), XBox seniors are giving up and find better prospects elsewhere.

“It will be worth keeping an eye on what EA does next (maybe an acquisition).”So what will happen to Microsoft’s Game Studios? Surely, the relationship to EA may gradually tighten due to interpersonal factors, but nonetheless, it is more damaging and disruptive to Microsoft than it is beneficial. It will be worth keeping an eye on what EA does next (maybe an acquisition). This is not the first Microsoft intrusion and not the first time, either. It’s a case of rehiring.

Links 20/06/2009: Firefox RC2, Songbird 1.2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Ubuntu a minor player? Not outside the States

    I met with the President of Metasys, a Brazilian company that has Linux-based servers, desktops, and software in thousands of schools, businesses, and homes throughout Latin America, Africa, and Europe. Metasys is running on 350,000 desktops in Brazil alone. And guess what? People pay for it because it’s good; it has a great ecosystem of server, software, and management products; and because it’s still drastically cheaper than Windows.

  • Essential tips to help you work smarter with Linux

    The way we use computers has changed. This is thanks to the fact that most of us are continually connected to the internet. But the evolution of Linux has also played an important role in this revolution.

    The open source development model means that anyone with half an inclination can develop and distribute their own software, and thousands of developers have done just that. The majority of those applications might not be all that revolutionary, but there’s a small, essential core of tools and applications that are changing the way we do things on the desktop.

  • Why I Use Linux: Bryan’s Story

    Meanwhile, my two Linux systems just keep on running. Restart – never, well, nearly never. Hardware issues – not my Linux. Heck, Puppy Linux (and Mepis before that) had no issue even with the wireless PCMCIA card I put in my old laptop (that tells you how old it is).

  • Desktop

    • Add multi-touch to your Linux notebook… and your old MacBook

      Here’s a fascinating hack for a rainy day. Programmer randomtruth has figured out a way to enable multi-touch under Linux and is working on a way to add multi-touch to older MacBooks.

    • How a Microsoft veteran learned to love Linux, and why it matters

      Like many of my fellow employees, I was only vaguely familiar with free software when I left and decided to try Linux on a lark. At Microsoft, I got all the software I wanted for free, and I always thought free software would be behind proprietary software. For 15 years I had made it a priority to learn about many aspects of Microsoft technologies, and my office contained rows of books on everything from Undocumented Windows to Inside SQL Server. When running Windows I felt as comfortable as Neo in the Matrix, without the bullets and leather, so while I was willing to look around, I was half-forcing myself and didn’t want this little experiment to mess up my main computing environment.

    • Linux Against Poverty – It is a GO

      Quoting Helen Keller in a Linux blog may seem strange, but there are many parallels between this magnificent woman and Free Software/Linux. We both started way behind the competition with handicaps and hindrances that made it almost laughable that we would compete.

      First they Ignore you
      Then they laugh at you
      Then they fight you
      Then you win…

      Of course you can only win if you compete.

      Common sense. And not being afraid.

    • The simple pleasures of the obsolete technologies

      Scanning with Xsane was faster than scanning in Windows. I don’t know why. Small operations on the resulting images were accomplished faster in gThumb than in GIMP. OpenOffice.org 2.3 worked very well, despite being “obsolete”. And it even generated a surprisingly small PDF from the final 100 MB document. Amazing. And fast. Nothing crashed. At all.

    • Using Ubuntu as your sole operating system in academia

      I’ve been using Ubuntu Linux as my sole operating system for two years now, ever since before I became a professor. The switch was completely painless as I had already been using the same software on Windows and the Mac for years (such as OpenOffice, Firefox, VLC, Pidgin, Netbeans, Eclipse, JEdit, Inkscape, Gimp, etc.). I wrote about making the switch to Linux gradually over 6 years ago, and I dual-booted to Windows and Linux for a long time, but Windows was still my primary OS until 2 years ago.

    • Growing Your Business Using Ubuntu

      I am able to run about 90% of what I need on a daily basis through Ubuntu. For the other 10% I have to use a virtualized installation of Windows. Even if 10% of your network had to have Windows for something, the savings for the rest would be astronomical. For most users, Ubuntu would be sufficient to run 100% of needed software, therefore saving your company thousands of dollars in licensing costs. Simply replacing one Windows file server with Ubuntu would save nearly $1000.00 and none of your users would know it was there.

  • Server

    • CA Pushes Linux On Mainframes

      A recent survey sponsored by CA indicated that larger enterprises are expecting to invest more money into running Linux applications on mainframes.

      CA is continuing the drumbeat of mainframe computing, sponsoring a survey showing that enterprises are continuing to invest in running Linux on the platform.

    • What Myth Do You Want To Kill Today?

      Think for yourself for a change. Stop to think that upwards to 70 percent of the Internet runs on Linux. Is that obscure? If what you say were true, wouldn’t the Internet be brought to its knees on a daily basis? If it were Microsoft servers running the show, it may very well be. The fact that Linux exists gives you a stable environment to dwell on the Internet. I’d be a bit more respectful and check my facts before I went leaving public record of my ignorance. What you say or do on the Internet never goes away. Carla should have posted those comments.

    • HP Servers and Ubuntu: Reading Between the Lines

      We are still at the very early stages of the HP-Canonical relationship. And Canonical’s own server software initiative remains in its infancy. But mark my words: HP, IBM and Dell all will be pre-loading Ubuntu Server Edition within a year or two.

  • Applications

    • Songbird 1.2 debuts new features

      Browser and jukebox freeware mashup Songbird brings onstage four new features to help manage songs, communicate better with iTunes, customize volume, and expose more information from Last.fm.

    • Songbird: The Firefox of Music Managers

      Songbird won’t completely replace iTunes for many of you — especially if you’re a video or podcast junkie, or have an iPhone or iPod touch. But, as a pure desktop music manager, Songbird is equal to iTunes in most respects, and better in many — especially if you’re into music blogs.

    • Songbird 1.2.0 – 10-band Equalizer Now Included

      It’s been a while since I had a look at Songbird, and that was when 1.0 came out. The new release was put out a little earlier this month and comes with a brand new equalizer, a new mode to auto-organise media files included in the collection and Last.fm radio integration.

    • Valve To Launch Native Linux Game In July?

      Dyson is set to launch in Steam on the 31st of July. Will we see native Linux support at this time for Dyson? Will a Steam Linux client launch in tandem at that time? On the Steam web-site it’s stating that Linux is one of the supported operating systems… We shall wait and see. Postal III is also still on track to launch this year, which uses Valve’s game engine, and it too is set to officially offer Linux client support.

    • Bordeaux 1.8 for Linux Released

      Steven Edwards of the Bordeaux Technology Group released Bordeaux 1.8 today. Bordeaux 1.8 has had many changes on the back end. The build process has been totally rewritten, packaging has been totally rewritten, the .sh installer is terminal based now and the dependency for pygtk and pango has been removed, the .sh installer will now run on any supported platform Linux, BSD, Solaris and Mac. Our winetricks script has been synced to the latest official release, Steam should now install and run, There has also been many small bug fixes and tweaks.

    • How To Run Windows Apps In Linux

      Wine is an open source project that, on the face of it, seems to offer something wondrous: the ability to run Windows applications under Linux (or any other open source OS). It does this by attempting to recreate the Windows API layer in open source.

      Finally! A chance to run those Windows programs for which there are no open source analogs: Quicken, or Flash CS. And all those games!

    • Rip: A New Way to Package Ruby Software

      If you work on multiple Ruby projects concurrently, you’re probably accustomed to juggling gems. One project requires one batch of gems; another effort depends on a different set; and a third project utilitizes a specific legacy gem. Thankfully, the Ruby gem system can maintain multiple versions of the same gem in a single repository, making much of this task easy. If you need an explicit version of a gem (or any late model version, such as 3.x), simply install the code you need and name the dependency.

    • Having Yum for Breakfast

      In this wide world of Linux, there are primarily just two package management systems which reign: RPM and Deb. Most binary distributions use one or the other and there has long been tension between the two. So which system performs better?

    • Alien Arena 2009

      We received the following announcement today:

      It’s been over six long months of dedicated, at times daunting, and ultimately triumphant work…and COR Entertainment at last announces the release of Alien Arena 2009!

    • Teaching Math with the KDE Interactive Geometry Program

      Despite a few weaknesses, Kig is a very powerful tool for teaching upper-level mathematics. After climbing a little bit of a learning curve (yes, it’s all about curves), both students and teachers can use Kig to have fun learning and teaching mathematics.

    • Red Hat KVM suite, VirtualBox 3.0 hit beta: News in brief

      This week, Red Hat inched closer to putting its underwhelming Xen hypervisor adventures behind it and ushered in a new era of virtualization based on the open source product Kernel-based Virtual Machine, or KVM. Initially announced in February, the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) suite is now in private beta and will include four products: a standalone KVM hypervisor, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) bundle that includes KVM, RHEV Manager for Servers, and RHEV Manager for Desktops.

    • Amarok 2.2 development, one week in

      Last Friday, trunk was opened for features and changes intended for Amarok 2.2. In the scope of a few hours more than 250 commits had been made as people were frantically committing their local git repos.

  • Desktop Environments

    • some [KDE] quickies
    • 15 Cool and Unique GDM Themes

      Not long ago, we’ve featured here some of the most beautiful KDM themes available for all the KDE users out there. So it’s only appropriate to give GNOME lovers a little treat by presenting several good looking GDM themes this time around.

    • Transform Kubuntu Jaunty to Windows 7 In 3 Simple Steps

      One thing that I love about Linux (and Ubuntu) is that it is fully customizable and I can configure it to the way that I want it. Previously, I have already illustrated its flexibility by showing how you can transform Ubuntu Hardy and Intrepid into Mac OS X. Today, let’s bring a step further and see how we can transform Kubuntu Jaunty to Windows 7 in 3 simple steps.

      In this tutorial, we will make use of the Vistar7 – Windows 7 transformation pack to perform the transformation. This transformation pack has a nice collection of Windows 7 themes and comes with an installation script to make the whole transformation a breeze.

  • Distributions

    • BlankOn 5.0 Nanggar Release Notes

      Jakarta, June 16th, 2009 – Today the BlankOn Developer team officialy release BlankOn 5.0 with the code name Nanggar, the culture that is brought up to this version is from Batak culture. The name Nanggar is taken from Batak language which means “Hammer”.

    • Ubuntu’s A Fading Memory, PCLinuxOS and 64 Studio Are Fab. So Far.

      These performance differences are so large I may have to make time to investigate why. These PCs are all different: AMD Sempron and Athlon, SATA 3.0, 1-2GB RAM, ATI and NVidia, and the Thinkpad is an Intel Core Duo with 1GB RAM and Intel video. The video and wireless drivers are all supported by genuine FOSS drivers in the kernel; no extra fuss required. I shop carefully and select well-supported components because I surely do hate diagnosis-and-fixit drama.

    • Comparing MEPIS 8 and Ubuntu 9.04

      I first tweeted about Ubutu 9.04 a week ago. Now I know I’m not exactly comparing apples with apples, since MEPIS 8 is based on Debian 5.0 and uses KDE 3.5, whilst Ubuntu 9.04 uses GNOME 2. I might be better off evaluating Kubuntu, the 9.04 release uses KDE 4, which I’d used previously, and disliked due to its (apparent) gradual reduction in speed.

      [...]

      I’ve no issues with Synaptic, as it is used to manage packages in both MEPIS and Ubuntu.

      I loved to use Dropbox and Meld in Ubuntu, so much that I was probably willing to accept the differences between kate/gedit, konsole/terminal, katapult/do.

      What was frustrating to me was to develop halfway, and then have to wait for the system to return control of the UI to me, and if not reboot.

      The overall score is MEPIS 3, Ubuntu 1.5. This scoreline is obviously subjective, but you’ve heard all the good things about Ubuntu, have a slow(er) laptop, please do consider MEPIS. Both MEPIS and Ubuntu support audio/wireless networking flawlessly, unlike (cough, cough) Debian.

      At this point, I really don’t see the benefits of using Ubuntu (mostly due to its speed/stability issues) over MEPIS, so yeah, I’m a fan.

    • Top Tip: Which debian based distro for newbie?

      To a more experienced user I’d recommend to start with Sarge or testing (at the moment they mean the same), but to a new user I recommend to start with something like Knoppix, Mepis or even Libranet: they are Debian-based (not Debian proper) linux distributions which will give you a more gentle introduction to Debian. Besides they have friendly forums which can assist you in your first steps.

    • Community Remaster: PCLinuxOS Xfce – Phoenix Edition RC1

      This project has sprung up from the MyPCLinuxOS Forum per a request from the Xfce enthusiasts. Sproggy took this project on as a personal task to see if he could create a worthy PCLinuxOS Remaster to sit alongside the other greats Remasters out there. Sproggy chose Xfce because it is lightweight and superfast on old computers.

    • Red Hat

    • Fedora

      • The Three Faces of Fedora 11, Part 3: Xfce

        I have to confess that in writing this blog item about Xfce on Fedora 11, I’ve had divine inspiration. I mean, really divine inspiration, as in as high on the divinity food chain as you can get.

      • Fedora 12 Release Schedule and Goals

        While every Fedora fan enjoys the newly released Fedora 11 Linux-based operating system, the developers are working hard on the next release, Fedora 12, due for release in November-December 2009. Make sure you visit our website, starting with August 18th when the first alpha will be released, as we will do a full coverage of the Fedora 12 development process. Without any further introduction, let’s have a look at the release schedule:

        August 18th, 2009 – Alpha release
        October 6th, 2009 – Beta release
        October 20th, 2009 – Release Candidate
        November 3rd, 2009 – Fedora 12 final release

      • Fedora!

        After using Fedora for six months I’m more than happy with it. The most recent release, Fedora-11, is very fast booting and has been tremendously stable for me. That’s amazing, considering that some of the software is supposed to be right there at the edge. Fedora uses the Gnome desktop by default, but I prefer KDE myself. KDE 4.x has been controvertial, to say the least, but I really like the latest (4.2). It intalled flawlessly and has not crashed on me once. Can’t beat that.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 8.04 update: Happy to be back in a Linux environment (revised)

        I’ve been bringing more data into my main Ubuntu 8.04 LTS installation on one of my two Toshiba Satellite 1100-S101 laptops, and I continue to be satisfied with the performance of what by most accounts is the world’s most popular desktop Linux distribution.

        No, its GNOME desktop isn’t as fast as Debian’s. But even though I do have Xfce (and not the full Xubuntu) installed on this Ubuntu laptop, I’m still using the brownish-themed GNOME that ships with the distro.

      • Linux Mint 7 ScreenShots

        Here we bring you yet another set of Screen Shots, but this time it is of Linux Mint 7 ( Gloria ). Let me start off by saying this… I’ve been using/managing Linux for almost 11 years now and I want a desktop that just works.. I am so out of that phase on making things work together ( Unless it is programming ). Linux Mint has done that for me, so I really want to say THANK YOU to Linux Mint Staff and Users for all the work you guys have done and for taking the time to make my life easier.

      • Easy Video Chat with Skype 2.0 in Ubuntu 9.04

        Perhaps there are some of you out there with a friend or loved one that is a long distance away and a regular phone call just doesn’t suffice. It’s one thing to hear his or her voice, but to see a face and a smile makes a world of a difference. I am soon to be in such a situation and I wanted to make sure I was going to be able to make the most of my communication with this special person.

      • Senior uses Ubuntu system 14 months trouble free

        MORAL OF THE STORY

        Properly setup and customized for an individual’s computing needs, Ubuntu Linux can be used successfully and easily by anyone of any age and computing ability. AND, the problems associated with computing under the Windows environment disappear.

        My only regret is that I did not start looking into and learning about Linux prior to 2006.

      • Microsoft, Ubuntu and Social Networking

        Because the Ubuntu users are voluntarily responsible for much of the operating system’s marketing, support and development, a sense of community is inherent in the Ubuntu experience. This strength puts Ubuntu and similar open-source projects at a strong advantage vis-à-vis Microsoft when it comes to building social networks.

      • Kubuntu QA and Feedback

        I have come up with a couple of ideas for the plasmoid because of a simple design flaw. Utilizing the plasmoid will only work during a Live CD session or after Kubuntu is installed and running. Now we all know that during a development cycle not everyone can have the luxury of a Live CD or an install going as planned. Because of this, the plasmoid would be useless, therefor causing us to go back to an archaic method of filling in the feedback. The Internet! At least we have the Internet. Some things I would also like to incorporate, which is probably just another 5 minutes with the plasmoid, is the ability to work on the survey offline, and then syncing as soon as you come online.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • VPS.NET Offers Full Suite of Turnkey Linux Appliances

      “This is a real boon for VPS.NET customers; Turnkey offers an incredible selection of applications that everyday users can apply virtually immediately,” UK2 Group chief executive officer Ditlev Bredahl said in a statement. “These appliances represent best of breed solutions and reflect our commitment to responding to customers requests for easily deployable, useful solutions.”

    • Low-power ARM9 SBC supports Linux

      The Linux distribution offered with the SBC includes a Debian ARM Linux 2.6.27 kernel, U-boot 1.3.4, GCC 4.2, Perl, and MySQL. The package is said to include a Linux cross development tool-chain, as well as other utilities “for rapid native application development.”

    • Phones

      • Source code for Palm WebOS released

        To comply with the GPL, Palm has released the source code packages for its Linux-based WebOS used by the new Palm Pre, which has been on sale in the US since the beginning of June. The company has also set up its own open source site.

      • 10 reasons why open source makes sense on smart phones

        Naturally, cost is one of the biggest “features” open source brings to the mobile market. But now you should see how being a part of the open source community will benefit the world of smart phones.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Trophees du Libre

    5 and 6 June the winners and jury members of the Free Software Awards have been the friendship came to Soissons to present and discuss 23 projects free.

  • If Microsoft wants its staff to understand the threat it faces from open source it should charge them to use its own software

    Is there another company in the world that would be able to afford to build a cloud computing platform using Microsoft products?

    The fact that Microsoft’s development teams get to use Microsoft software for free protects them from the commercial realities of what it means to develop applications an infrastructure and run business using that software.

  • Acquia Search screencast with RedMonk

    In this screencast, Bryan House from Acquia discusses Acquia Search with Michael Coté from RedMonk.

  • Why Parrot is Important

    If you look back over the history of programming languages, surprisingly few new features have been added in the past four decades. Even the most exciting features of modern dynamic languages existed in early languages such as Lisp and Smalltalk. Certainly, the features have been combined in different ways, and there’s progress in the implementation details or interface, but truly new ideas are in short supply.

  • SourceForge Grows Up – and Out

    SourceForge is keenly aware of its roots in the open source community, and its strategies for growth encompass ways to better serve its base. Among its goals are a transformation of the Sourceforge.net Web site into “a world-class development environment,” said Jon Sobel, SourceForge’s group president of media.

  • How Do We Introduce FOSS and Linux to Those Who Resist It?

    At home, it’s more manageable, in a way. You have less users to deal with but they could be more stubborn than 10 other users combined. In any case, it’s easier to study the habits of your family and/or housemates compared to an entire organization. Studying them will take time and interaction with them too. But then you get to have a better grasp of what software they need, what tasks they need to accomplish etc. In an office, it gets trickier because each person has different needs and there’s a whole lot of them so you have to study them a lot.

  • Firefox

    • Firefox 3.5: What’s in a Number?

      I had an interesting chat this morning with Mike Shaver, VP, Engineering at Mozilla, about the imminent Firefox 3.5. Its launch takes place against a background where Firefox continues to make gains in the browser market, passing the 50% share in some European countries, and where it has created an unparalleled ecosystem of addons that places it at the forefront of the browser world in terms of capability and customisability.

    • Firefox 3.5 RC2: A Quick First Look

      Mozilla today released Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate 2, which you can download from Mozilla’s Web site. Release Candidate 2 is the first version of Firefox 3.5 that average users might want to run, since it’s faster and more stable than the beta versions were. Firefox 3.5 boasts a number of significant changes–ranging from new ways to work with the browser features to under-the-hood improvements that Mozilla developers say will make the browser more than twice as fast as Firefox 3. Here are some of the new features you’ll find in Firefox 3.5.

    • Deactivate Location-Aware Browsing in Firefox 3.5
    • new firefox logos

      If you blog or write articles about Firefox and your blog or publication usually includes a Firefox logo with those stories, please take a moment to head over to the Mozilla Firefox Logos page and get updated artwork.

    • New Firefox Icon: Q&A
  • Business

    • Actuate “treats” its sales force to open source 101

      It’s interesting to see a company like Actuate responding to the open source model, and we have written before about the fact that we believe it will become a role model for other companies wanting to learn how to engage with open source.

    • PostgreSQL 8.4 on the home straight

      The PostgreSQL developers have published a first release candidate for version 8.4 of the free database system with a final version due later this month.

    • Advancing a culture of IT openness

      Second, a culture of IT openness must support the idea and use of open source software on a level playing field with traditional proprietary software. I understand that this is not enough for many people, but if we could get more IT users, especially governments at all levels, to give explicit parity to open source, we will have made huge strides.

  • FSF/GNU

    • The Software Freedom Law Show

      Karen and Bradley discuss the SFLC’s amicus brief in the Jacobsen v. Katzer with their colleague, Aaron Williamson.

  • Government

    • Does UK Government Grok the GPL?

      This is really quite interesting. It seems as though the UK government are starting, finally, to get the whole “Commons” thing.

  • Openness

    • Laissez-faire community building

      “Community” can be a squishy concept at times, simultaneously important yet very hard to quantify and qualify. Even so, Walker’s suggestions point to ways to get the most value from communities by giving the most value to those communities.

Leftovers

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Feds to give cops Internet-snooping powers

      Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service already have the power to wiretap private communications, provided they have judicial authorization, but the law does not require ISPs to grant them access.

      Tom Copeland, chairman of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, said it will be a hardship for some of the country’s smaller providers to upgrade their systems to facilitate interception.

    • E-Mail Surveillance Renews Concerns in Congress

      The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged, current and former officials said.

    • Lawmaker Unveils Anti-Metered Billing Law

      Prompted by Time Warner Cable’s botched attempt to force low caps and metered billing on its customers, Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) today unveiled the “Broadband Internet Fairness Act” (HR 2902), legislation aimed at protecting consumers from unreasonable broadband overage charges. Massa, prompted by consumer complaints, stepped up during the Time Warner Cable kerfuffle to call the effort an “outrageous, job killing initiative.”

  • Copyrights

    • Court orders Jammie Thomas to pay RIAA $1.92 million

      Jammie Thomas-Rasset was found guilty of willful copyright infringement on Thursday in a Minneapolis federal court and must pay the recording industry $1.92 million.

      In a surprise decision, the jury imposed damages against Thomas-Rasset, who was originally accused to sharing more than 1,700 songs, at a whopping $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she was ultimately found guilty of illegally sharing..

    • RIAA lawyers toss “a skunk in the jury box,” apologize

      Recording industry lawyers dodged a bullet today after the judge in the Jammie Thomas-Rasset retrial threatened to throw out the complete testimony of an important expert witness. Not disclosing new information to opposing counsel makes federal judges very, very grumpy.

    • Record Labels Continue ‘Negotiating Through Lawsuit’

      And yet… the process continues. While Warner Music has done a bunch of these sue-to-negotiate deals, EMI seems to be involved in many of the more recent lawsuits of this nature. Its latest target is GrooveShark, one of a bunch of sites that lets you listen to streaming music online. Apparently the two companies had been negotiating terms… and then suddenly EMI sued. Par for the course. In the meantime, if you’re a music startup hoping to do a licensing deal with a major label, make sure you have some litigators on your legal team. You’re going to need them.

    • Entertainment Industry Still Insisting That Gov’t Protectionism Is The Only Way To Compete

      A few months ago, we responded to an ill-informed opinion piece in the UK’s Independent by Stephen Garrett, who runs a TV production house. In his essay, Garrett trotted out all the old falsehoods about how file sharing is the same as theft and that ISPs absolutely need to stop file sharing or the entertainment industry will die.

    • ISP Dragged to Court for Refusing to Block The Pirate Bay

      After several victories in Danish courts, the entertainment industry is now trying to get The Pirate Bay blocked in Norway. The country’s largest Internet provider ‘Telenor’ is now being dragged to court by IFPI, after it refused an earlier request to disable customer access to the world’s most prominent tracker.

    • France Changes “Three-Strikes” to Judge Ordering Disconnections

      Govt reacts to the country’s Constitutional Council ruling that the “free communication of thoughts” for which the Internet is essential can only be curtailed by trial and not by order of govt agency.

    • Universities Struggling To Deal With Law Requiring Them To Fight File Sharing

      So now what’s happening? Well, universities and colleges are wasting a ton of time, money and effort to try to comply (found via Michael Scott, who notes, “what a waste of resources.”). The article talks about how universities feel punished for something that isn’t even a problem:

      “We have not received one complaint about one student. Yet now we have to go out and incur the cost to solve a problem that we didn’t really have…. Tying actually capital and operating dollars to it in this economy to solve a problem we don’t really have at our scale has been an issue.”

    • Confused French Indie Labels Sue Google

      It appears that the collection society for indie record labels in France, SPPF, is a bit confused about how the internet works. It’s sued Google over videos on YouTube, claiming that while Google had removed a bunch of videos that were using songs covered by SPPF, many of those songs had returned! Of course, that’s probably because other people uploaded them. But rather than put the blame where it’s due (on the uploaders), SPPF has just decided to sue Google.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Alexandro Colorado, international open source evangelist 02 (2004)

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

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