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Links 03/08/2009: Carpet Cleaner Runs GNU/Linux, The-Source.com Born

Posted in News Roundup at 2:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Carpet Cleaner Doubles as Ubuntu PC

    PC cases come in many form factors, but they’re all basically boxes that lack personality. This doesn’t have to be the case (pun intended), as my Carpet Cleaner PC very well proves. Yes, this is a working Ubuntu PC built out of an old Bissell Carpet Machine.

  • Why I built a Ubuntu PC out of an Old Carpet Cleaner

    PC cases come in many form factors, but they’re all basically boxes that lack personality. This doesn’t have to be the case (pun intended), as my Carpet Cleaner PC very well proves. Yes, this is a working Ubuntu PC built out of an old Bissell Carpet Machine.

  • Microsoft Hit by Open Source and Lawmakers

    Microsoft had to report a 30% slump in sales for the last quarter. Their report to the U.S. SEC includes a rundown of their risk and competition factors. Among their concerns are Linux and open source untertakings, but also their own partners HP and Intel.

  • Announcing The-Source.com!

    The basic idea is to promote and discuss FLOSS, with a bit more emphasis on the Free aspect. There’s been a downright anti-Free / anti-ideals trending in the FLOSS world for quite sometime, and some of us think the Freedom aspect of FLOSS could use a little positive promotion. I especially welcome feedback on topics you’d like to hear about, and suggestions on how to improve the site quality! I’ve also enjoyed writing a lot, and The Source represents a welcome chance for me to expand my focus and improve my writing. (Not that it kneads any improviment, but One trys to be modestly.)

  • Linux-related Crafts: Using Old Linux Shirts

    I want to make my own Tux plushie, based on the pattern I blogged about before. However, I am just a newbie when it comes to sewing using a sewing machine so curves are really not easy for me right now. Anyhow, I’ve been looking at some T-shirt surgery guides and I think that some of them are fairly easy to follow. There are two things I’d like to do with some of my shirts.

  • Linux Gazette: August 2009 (#165)
  • Desktop

    • Life with Linux: On the Road

      Since my last entry on this topic two weeks ago, I’ve had the chance to bring my work Lenovo Thinkpad T400 running Ubuntu Linux 9.04 on a few business trips. I’ve also done a few tweaks, added a few apps, subtracted a few apps, and generally lived with this environment as my primary working environment.

    • 10 Ways Google Is Trying To Kill Microsoft

      But Chrome OS — starting with cheap, mobility-focused netbooks — promises to be fast, simple, and — important — free to gadget makers, which are already facing paper-thin margins on netbooks, and pressure to cut costs. If Google can make a great user interface and link easily to cloud services like the Web, Google search, GMail, and Google chat, then the Windows juggernaut could be at risk.

  • Education

    • Advocating Linux in the Classroom

      Linux shirts, caps, etc. Just the presence of those items will make people more aware of its existence. And if you make a really awesome design, people will talk to you about it and ask what it’s all about. A conversation starter that could let someone know about Linux and maybe even get him/her interested to try it out.

    • FOSS and Education: iTalc and Moodle

      If you’re running a training center, whether it concerns distance education or not, you need tools to help you manage your classes and facilitate discussions, especially for those who are into distance education learning programs. Issues that need to be addressed include: course management as well as ensuring that the training room is managed well so that learners can focus on the lessons and not be distracted by other applications.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Virtualization, Gaming, Drivers & Gernlinden

      This week there were several interesting stories at Phoronix, if you happened to miss any of them. We started off by sharing that proper multi-seat support for Linux / X.Org is on the way with the new VGA arbitration code coming about. With this new implementation, multiple X Servers can be run side-by-side without needing to use Xephyr or any ugly hacks.

    • Why writing a Windows compatible file server is (still) hard

      I went into one of my colleague’s office and kicked the hell out of one of the much loved Google beanbags, all the while screaming obscenities into the air for a good five minutes. He looked on with bemused amusement. I finally calmed down enough to explain the problem. One packet being returned at the wrong time. One single mis-timed packet caused a ripple effect in the Windows client file system software that was seen all the way up in the complex user interface of only that particular version of Excel, when interacting with the “Offline Files” feature, only on Windows Vista.

      The remaining task was to add a regression test into our test suite, so that this specific bug is tested for before we release any new versions of Samba. The code isn’t done until it’s properly tested. But at least the user is now happy.

      Interoperability with Windows is hard. But somebody has to do it. And if you’re going to do something, you might as well try and do it well (and try and have some fun at the same time) :-) .

  • File Systems

    • A short history of btrfs

      Btrfs is heading for 1.0, a little more than 2 years since the first announcement. This is much faster than many file systems veterans – including myself – expected, especially given that during most of that time, btrfs had only one full-time developer. Btrfs is not ready for production use – that is, storing and serving data you would be upset about losing – but it is ready for widespread testing – e.g., on your backed-up-nightly laptop, or your experimental netbook that you reinstall every few weeks anyway.

    • Choosing the right Linux File System Layout using a Top-Bottom Process

      As you may probably know, Linux supports various filesystems such as ext2, ext3, ext4, xfs, reiserfs, jfs among others. Few users really consider this part of a system, selecting default options of their distribution’s installer. In this article, I will give some reasons for a better consideration of the file-system and of its layout. I will suggest a top-bottom process for the design of a “smart” layout that remains as stable as possible over time for a given computer usage.

  • Applications

    • 8 of the Best Free Linux Compilers

      Typically, a programmer writes language statements in a language such as C or C++ using an editor. The programmer then runs the appropriate language compiler, which analyzes the language statements and turns them into machine code that the processor can execute.

    • A new application background in OOo

      Changing the application backgroud won’t change the world. Indeed it is a useless feature, and a very minor enhancement.

      But most people struggle with their computer. The software is too often a handicap they have to cope with to get things done.

  • Audio

  • Desktop Environments

    • Two weeks, still loving Fluxbox

      Two and a half weeks ago, I got a netbook and promptly installed Ubuntu, followed by Fluxbox (as already explained). And after two weeks of almost continued use, I like it even more than when I decided to use it. Some of the points I really enjoy (in no particular order).

    • Marble is a polished jewel

      Marble is a spectacular piece of software. It is beautiful, thorough, detailed, well laid out, fast, robust, and responsive. And you can enjoy it without any needs for a powerful graphics card. It runs well on modest hardware, which only makes it even more wondrous.

      For people who like geography, Marble is a great bonus. It also seems like an excellent tool for teaching people (and kids) the wonders of our Planet in a fun and exciting way. I wish I had something like this when I was growing up!

      Marble is simply great. You have to try it!

  • Distributions

    • Interview Gentoo Developer Robin H. Johnson (robbat2)

      Today I have the pleasure of introducing to all of you, Robin H. Johnson (robbat2) Gentoo Developer, Gentoo Trustee board member, head of the infrastructure, without it working smoothly there would not be Gentoo as we know it. Robin is also involved with helping out MySQL, LDAP, base-system, and lots more.

    • Mandriva Linux 2010 Alpha 2 is now available

      Mandriva Linux 2010 Alpha 2 is now available on public mirrors. This Alpha is available only through Free version, 32 and 64 bit DVDs.

    • Dell

    • Ubuntu

      • Amiga on Ubuntu

        There are two methods of getting Amiga on Ubuntu.

        Method two, is good old emulation using E-UAE. to emulate the Amiga. E-UAE is fantastic, and if you have an Amiga Rom and startup disks you can get a pretty good working version of the OS going. However, this defeats the whole purpose of trying to port Amiga games over to Ubuntu, and what one really wants is some form of Amiga emulation layer, or a binary library like WINE, so that Amiga apps can run on Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Amazon US Refunds Windows License Fee, Too

      Today Amazon credited my card with $65.45. After ordering an Eee PC 1005 HA from amazon.com, I asked them for a refund for the cost of Windows XP via the ‘Contact us’ form. At first they told me to cancel any items on my order that I wanted a refund for, but after I explained that XP was pre-installed on the machine they got it. They asked what the cost of the OS was, and I answered that I had no idea but that Amazon UK refunded £40.00.

    • Dell Latitude 2100

      A bare-bones box with Ubuntu sells for $369 sporting the Intel 1.6GHz Atom N270 CPU, 512MB of RAM, and a 16GB solid-state drive. The fully loaded model we received (in tasteful playground-ball red, of course) runs Windows XP on 1GB of RAM (upgradable to 2GB) and a 80GB hard drive; it sells for $559 (as of 7/31/09). I know that education is expensive, but are you willing to drop that many ducats on your child’s netbook?

Free Software/Open Source

  • The “Value Proposition” of Open Source

    The Open Source brand has been successfully defined as providing freedom from vendor lock-in, establishing a community of users and developers, and enabling any user to be successful, regardless of the size of their wallet. The establishment of this regulated market makes the implicit statement about fairness: that playing in the world of cost-free products necessarily means agreeing to some restrictions that protect users and developers over the long-term.

  • Why Choose Open Source?

    Open source projects tend to be very agile. Bugs are often reported and fixed within days. The developers of the software generally make themselves available on mailing lists and discussion groups to help users of the software. If you are using proprietary software you are subject to the availability of the provider. Companies can go bankrupt and developers can flake out on you. If you’re using open source you already own the code and you can probably find another developer familiar with your technology without much difficulty.

  • Web Browsers

    • The Firefox Petra trip!

      So, as the name implies, we the Firefox fans in Jordan (specifically Jordan University for Science and Technology) have arranged a nice and humble gift for the FOSS society as a whole, and the Firefox community in specific:

      A cool trip to one of the world’s new seven wonders, The Ancient City of Petra!!

    • Firefox Jordan’s [Petra Trip/Party]
    • Replacing Firefox

      Arora seems to render pages much quicker and it certainly loads quicker. There is a sizable decrease in memory footprint – averaging at around 150 Mb. I’ve browsed for a few hours with several tabs open and not seen it go over 200Mb.

  • Government

  • Licensing

  • Openness

    • Open Source Cognitive Science

      A new site with the self-explanatory name of “Open source cognitive science” has an interesting opening post about Tools for Psychology and Neuroscience, pointing out that…

  • Programming

    • Real men program in C

      For today’s computer science students, learning C is like taking an elective class in Latin. But C is anything but history and not at all a dead language. And C remains the dominant language in the fast growing field of embedded software development. Figure 1 summarizes 13 years of relevant annual survey data collected by the publishers of Embedded Systems Design.

    • Qt for VxWorks and with XML Schema capability

      The cross-platform Qt GUI framework now runs on Wind River’s VxWorks real-time operating system, although it currently still requires a separate X11 server to be installed. The Qt developers point out that this version of Qt will probably never run without being customised for each respective version of VxWorks.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • What’s the Problem with Theora?

      Based on what we actually know, Theora looks good. It complies with the W3C patent policy and goals, and there haven’t been any patent claims that would indicate otherwise.


  • Censorship/Web Abuse

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What Would Fair Use Look Like in an Online Era?

      Summary: this would be a new four-part test to add to the already existing four-part “fair use” test.

      1. The presence and quality of the link.
      2. Does the new format provide the opportunity for democratic engagement that is unavailable at the original provider?
      3. Courts should consider this balance: between the added value of information (provided by the so-called appropriator) and amount of appropriation of the “original” work.
      4. What is the overall purpose and character of the appropriating organization?

    • The Basis for Micropatronage

      The idea that a publication retains value that creates an obligation upon the recipient to repay is an epiphenomenon of copyright. This is the peculiar idea that the maker or recipient of a copy of a published work extracts value from it which must be repaid to its copyright holder (or million dollar fines are liable).

    • White House: ACTA still “secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy”

      On Thursday, July 30, 2009, the White House office of the United States Trade Representative denied release of 4 new proposals for text that were circulated in July to “all countries” in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations. The request was limited to documents that were prepared in the past 90 days for purpose of discussion at the July 2009 ACTA negotiating meeting held in Morocco.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Luis Casas Luengo, Director of Extremadura’s Fundecyt foundation 13 (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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