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Links 04/08/2009: GNOME Dropping Icon Clutter, KDE 4.3 Finally Liked by SJVN

Posted in News Roundup at 4:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • At the expense of GNU/Linux.

    It all occurred in a government department where an IT lady had a great idea about converting their computers to GNU/Linux. Let’s call her Gillian. Gillian was assigned to research GNU/Linux and found out that it would meet all the needs her department required and could be easily used instead of Microsoft Windows. Moreover, this switch to open source software would save them a lot of money. Gillian made a nice proposition outlined in a paper that documented all the steps she and her IT coworkers needed to take for this transition to happen. A lot of people liked her idea and thought it was feasible. Gillian even managed to convince the higher-ups who thought it was a good idea as well. However, like in all bureaucracies large or small, she still needed to get approval from the management.

  • A Day of Discovery

    The HeliOS Project works toward a noble cause, but it is not self sufficient. It relies upon the compassion, dedication and willing sacrifice of others.

    Not exactly an easy thing to lay hands upon these days…unless you are in Austin Texas.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 56

    · Announced Distro: Sabayon Linux 4.2 CoreCD Edition
    · Announced Distro: Yellow Dog Linux 6.2 Is Now Available for Download
    · Announced Distro: Mandriva Linux 2010.0 Alpha 2 Has KDE 4.3 RC3 and GNOME 2.27.5
    · Other news: Kernel Vulnerabilities in Ubuntu, Mandriva Flash 2009 Spring, Switch to Ubuntu
    · Video Clip of the Week: Yellow Dog Linux 6 on PS3

  • CLI

    • Just because it’s pretty, doesn’t mean it’s easier.

      Console commands can do more “work” in a single command than most graphical programs can. As a simple example. You wish to add an item to a list saved on your computer. In both windows and Linux you can simply type “echo some_item >> list.txt” and hey presto or I’m not Uncle Festo, that item is added to the end of the list. I am not going to explain the steps how to do that with a graphical editor. It’s too much work and I will leave that for you to do.

    • Watch Star Wars ASCII Animation via Telnet on Linux Terminal

      Aside from the usual productive things that you can do on the Linux terminal, you can also use it for fun and games. Like perhaps reading those humorous man pages or watching Star Wars ASCII animation, which I’m going to show to you later on.

    • A smarter CLI – Innovation by Simplicity

      Good command line tools are more important than ever and not just a relict of ancient times in comparison to RIA or GUI applications. Experienced system administrators appreciate their power in sophisticated shell scripts and could probably not manage their environments without them. The question is how can we make command line tools smarter and more powerful than today? This article discusses some ideas and potential implementations always keeping in mind “Do not reinvent the wheel” and “keep it simple”.

  • Desktop Environments

    • A first look at KDE 4.3

      If you’ve been avoiding KDE 4 because of that, or other issues, it’s finally time to give it a try. I think you’ll find, as I have, that this new KDE is finally ready to compete with its older sibling KDE 3.5.11 and GNOME 2.26 for anyone’s Linux desktop.

    • Fluxbox In-Depth: Mad Customization And Other Tips

      When I was first preparing to switch to Linux many years ago, I went into research mode and looked around the net a bit. At the time, part of the allure of Linux were the crazy cool desktops people had. After I switched I tried Gnome, then KDE, and was depressed at how uncool and *dozelike they were. Eventually, I discovered that all those amazing desktops were the result of Fluxbox (or the other *box forks). I switched immediately.

    • GNOME

      • 20 GDM Themes For Ubuntu You Probably Haven’t Seen Before

        The most beautiful part of being a linux user is the choice you have, whatever issue it is. Like any other distro, Ubuntu is infinitely customisable with any number of themes and applications. This include login window themes or gdm themes also. Major source for themes in ubuntu include www.gnome-look.org and www.devianart.com. There, you could obtain literally thousands of good quality themes.

      • GNOME To Drop Icons in Buttons, Menus

        A common complaint about GNOME is that it has a certain fetish for icons. Menu entries, buttons – everything has an icon attached to it which often wastes space needlessly by making buttons larger than they need to be, as well as menus wider than they need to be. The good news (for me, at least) is that the next GNOME release will have all these icons removed.

      • GNOME Decides to Ditch Drawings

        One of the most striking features of any desktop environment is its selection of icons. While wallpapers and window decorations hold a larger stage, it is the bright, colorful icons that draw ones attention and speed up the process of finding what one is looking for. The myriad of available icon themes may find themselves feeling a bit lonely in the near future, however, as the GNOME Art Team has decided that — at least some of them — will face the firing squad.

  • Distributions

    • gOS 3.1 Google Gadgets – Linux with style

      gOS Linux is definitely one of the better-looking distributions available. Even if looks mean little to you, you’ll find its functionality of great use. Most everything works out of the box or takes mere seconds to configure. There’s no need to dabble in the command line, even though you can treat gOS as any other Linux.

      Wireless, Bluetooth, web camera, codecs, all there and ready for you. On top of these, you get quick links to the whims of the modern youth, Blogger, Youtube and whatnot, and some Google products. On top of all these, you get the adamant stability and simplicity of Ubuntu and the tremendous APT/Synaptic package management.

    • SuperGamer Live DVD

      A while back I took at a Linux distribution geared solely toward playing games called Live Linux Gaming. Well there’s another remastered distribution for gamers called SuperGamer. SuperGamer is based on VectorLinux and requires a dual layer DVD. It weighs in at roughly 8GB so it’s a bit on the chunky side as a download. But, given the number of games it comes with (more on that below), you can understand why it’s such a large download. SuperGamer is based on the kernel and can run on 32 or 64 bit computers.


      SuperGamer is a great addition to the remastered distro collection of any intermediate or advanced Linux user. It’s well worth a download even given it’s large file size. Linux gamers in particular should probably consider this a must-have given the level of convenience in having all of its games right at their fingertips in a Live CD.

    • Red Hat

      • Microsoft filing lists Canonical, Red Hat as PC Windows rivals

        Microsoft’s latest 10-K, filed last week, adds Canonical, distributor of Ubuntu Linux, to the list of acknowledged competitors for Microsoft’s Client division, which makes Windows for PCs. Also notable is the addition of Linux distributor Red Hat to the list of Client divison rivals. Previously, Red Hat was mentioned only as a competitor for the Microsoft Business and Server & Tools divisions.

      • Cisco Systems: Falling for Red Hat?

        Still, Cisco has signed on as a visionary sponsor for Red Hat Summit. And Mark Fulgham, VP of Cisco’s Data Center Emerging Technologies Central Marketing Organization, will give a keynote at the event.

      • Red Hat’s POSSE introduces academics to FOSS

        Recently, five college professors spent an intense five days with Red Hat employees and other members of the free and open source software (FOSS) community. Red Hat called the experience POSSE (Professors’ Open Source Summer Experience). The goal of the week was to show how FOSS could be used in post-secondary education, and to create a community to further the goal.

      • Is free the new pay?

        Matthew Szulik runs a successful business that gives its products away for free.

        What is more, Mr Szulik was recently named the United States Entrepreneur of the Year.

        The company he works for – Red Hat – turns a profit by distributing free, open source software; computer programs and applications that anyone can download.

    • Ubuntu

      • Linux Mint 7 ‘Gloria’ KDE released!

        Quick steps:

        * Download the ISO or the torrent.
        * While it’s downloading look at the overview of the new features and make sure to quickly go through the known issues.
        * After the ISO is downloaded verify the MD5.
        * Burn the ISO at low speed and enjoy Linux Mint 7 KDE.

      • Reader Polls: Google Is Both Ubuntu Rival, Friend

        Two separate WorksWithU reader polls reveal an interesting look at competition and cooperation between Ubuntu and Google. According to one set of poll results, Google has emerged as Ubuntu’s second-biggest rival. But according to the second poll results, buzz about Google Chrome OS could ultimately help Ubuntu. Here’s a look at the anecdotal data.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • A Closer Look at the KIWI Imaging System

      KIWI is a great tool to automate the creation of appliances, demo LiveCDs, or simply creating your own customized distribution. As a command line tool the process can be easily integrated into any build process eliminating the previously often “one-off” nature of appliance creation.

    • Android heads for high def roles

      MIPS Technologies and one of its partners are developing extensions to the Android operating system to support high-definition video displays. The effort is part of a broader initiative by MIPS to bring Google’s cellphone software to consumer electronics devices such as Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and digital TVs.

    • MIPS Advances its Android Plans–Outside of Phones

      MIPS has also initiated an Early Access Program “for a small group of key customers who will have access to specific hardware and code optimizations before they are publicly available.” And, as EETimes reports, the company specifically wants to develop extensions for Android to support HD video displays, and bring Android to Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and digital TVs.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Notes On the HP 2133 Mini-Note

        Although I have some nine different Linux distributions currently loaded for multi-boot on my 2133, Dreamlinux is not one of them, so I am not sure what version of the openchrome drivers they are using. As other distributions, what I generally recommend, especially for people who intend to use their computers for multimedia playing, is Linux Mint. It is derived from the latest Ubuntu distribution, so the latest Mint (7, aka Gloria) is derived from Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. It has a lot of optional packages and codecs preinstalled, so it not only saves a fair amount of time, it may also include some things that you didn’t even know about – that was certainly the case with me, anyway. Out of curiosity, I just booted Mint on my 2133, and played a couple of Youtube videos. The quality seemed ok, they were not jerky or pixellating. I also played one of the videos on the ZDNet UK web site, which is of course flash-based, and it played just fine as well – if anything perhaps a bit better than the Youtube video did.

      • Ubuntu Linux says bye-bye Windows on netbooks

        I decided to find out just how tricky it would be to install dual Operating Systems in my netbook. My goal was to see if Linux could run along with Microsoft Windows XP as the OS du jour in my MSI Wind U123 netbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Right To Be Free

    This article is aimed mainly at the supporters of culture without boundaries, the people who have been convinced by Lawrence Lessig (the author of “The Free Culture”) and Richard M. Stallman’s ideas of fighting the bad copyright and non-free software licenses.

  • Moving Beyond the First Firefox Billion

    But there’s a problem. Surprising as it may seem, many people have never heard of Firefox, whereas they may well have come across references to Internet Explorer – or even used it before on school or work PCs. This means that the huge, potential opportunity for Firefox that this offer by Microsoft represents could be wasted. Indeed, I suspect that Microsoft is well aware of this fact, which is why it felt it could make what seems like a fairly generous proposal without risking too much in practice.

  • Open Source Tools Help Earthquake Researchers Stay a Step Ahead

    As news that a series of powerful earthquakes were shaking the coast of Mexico in Baja, Calfornia, no doubt researchers all across the globe were keeping a watchful eye on the data as it rolled in. Many geological research facilities around the world use or are in the process of developing open source software and applications designed to interpret and share information with other researchers. Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • Open Source Device Aims to Help Diabetics Monitor Blood Sugar

    Peter Semmelhack, founder and CEO of Bug Labs and self-proclaimed “inveterate tinkerer” is developing an open source device to alert diabetics when their blood sugar falls dangerously low, particularly while sleeping. Though still in its early stages, Semmelhack has already run a couple of preliminary experiments that indicate his personal project shows a lot of promise for helping diabetics manage their blood sugar and insulin levels.

  • Five reasons why your company should hire open source developers

    Open source has infiltrated so many levels of IT over the past decade. It has been a slow process; however, little by little, it has become a normality. And even though many companies are adopting open source software, they are hesitant to bring open source developers into the fold. Why is this?

    Many larger companies do not place any value on open source applications, therefore they do not place any value in those who code the applications. Some companies are afraid that hiring an open source developer would be a liability – possibly reverse engineering their proprietary software and then releasing forked versions into the community. Although these may sound like justifiable fears, they overlook some very important benefits that come with hiring open source developers.

  • The Open Source Innovation Backbone for Startups

    Open innovation is taking over in many areas, and open source plays an important role especially in software sequential innovation, where each successive invention builds in an essential way on its predecessors. Foremost, for the most of us before anything else software (open source included) is a tool towards a goal.

  • Google go Simple

    A new Google project, Simple, aims to be as BASIC as possible. Simple is very much a work in progress, but currently consists of a compiler and runtime for the Simple language, which is a dialect of BASIC specifically for developing Android Applications. Simple programmers can define static or dynamic forms and manipulate them with BASIC like commands. The hope is that a simple programming language, based on BASIC, will open up programming Android devices to a wider audience.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Patents, Video, and an Open Internet

      In light of this, Ogg Theora seems like a good alternative as it doesn’t seem to be encumbered by patents. Google and Apple, though, are not so sure. They believe Theora hasn’t been cooking long enough to draw the attention of any submarine patent holders. Theora advocates turn this argument around and suggest that H.264 could also have undiscovered patent encumbrances. I appreciate the logic of what they’re saying, but the fact that H.264 is already so wildly popular for so long seems to guarantee that any patent trolls would have surfaced by now.

    • A Jesuit’s Guide to Open Standards

      The logic here seems to be that there would be an “imbalance” in open standards if it were insisted that patents were excluded – because balance obviously means having standards with and without patents. While it’s true that creates a “balance”, it’s a purely linguistic one; the fact is that patent-encumbered standards requiring licensing fees cannot, by definition, be open. That’s because they do not create level playing fields: there is always one or more players who occupy a privileged position. So the balance is entirely specious.


      Against that background of a standardisation process being bent to breaking point, complaints about the *balance* of open standards ring rather hollow.


  • Coalition launches petition demanding that Amazon drop DRM from the Kindle

    The Free Software Foundation’s DefectiveByDesign.org campaign, in cooperation with prominent authors, journalists, and librarians, has launched a petition against the Amazon Kindle’s use of digital restrictions management (DRM).

    “The freedom to read without supervision or interference is central to a free society,” said FSF executive director Peter Brown. “When ebook products like the Kindle use DRM to restrict what users can do with their books, that is a clear threat to the free exchange of ideas.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Associated Press will sell you a license to quote the public domain

      They tell me I have to use the sentence “exactly as written” and heaven help me if I don’t include the complete footer with their copyright boilerplate.

    • Ripped Off News? Or Spreading The News?

      It appears that some (certainly not all) in the mainstream press still seems to have problems understanding the value of getting people to talk about what they reported on. They seem to come at this viewpoint from the old line of thinking that a reporter reported on the story and that was it. The story was done. But that’s not the way the news works. A news story is simply a part of the conversation. It may be a starting point in a bigger effort — which is why it’s important for so many people today to be able to spread and share the news with others. Yet, if you come at things from a viewpoint of the newspaper article being a final and definitive word, then suddenly such sharing and spreading is viewed as “theft” or being “ripped off” and the person promoting and discussing and sharing your work is suddenly a parasite.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Luis Casas Luengo, Director of Extremadura’s Fundecyt foundation 15 (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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