Vista 7 Hard to Install, Slower Than Vista Sometimes

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 9:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7 starts now

Summary: Computer expert wrestles with Vista 7 to no avail; benchmark of Vista 7 (RTM) delivers bad news to Microsoft

KVUE-TV has this rather enjoyable new article where the reality behind Vista 7 is shown in a semi-direct comparison with GNU/Linux. It says:

Linux is an alternative operating system that is freely available. I had squirreled away several discs (bonuses from British computer magazines) that let you boot up to Linux from a CD without the need to actually install it.

Guess what?

My computer ran with Linux and didn’t shut down.

That would seem to indicate that the computer hardware is just fine, right?

I had a copy of the new Windows 7 operating system ready to go; perhaps whatever incompatibilities my L100 had with Vista would be rectified with Windows 7!

So, I started installing Windows 7, and things seemed to go pretty smoothly… at the start.

But after 51 minutes, guess what? The installation shut down!

When I pressed the power button, the “Windows Error Recovery” screen popped up.

After following all the directions (and attempting to load Windows 7 several more times), I finally stopped trying.

What will happen when Vista 7 hits the shelves and many ordinary people have similar problems? Yesterday we wrote about a nasty new bug in the to-be-boxed version of Vista 7 and John C. Dvorak believes that Microsoft’s policing of the image of Vista 7 is going out of hand. In his latest column, he seems to refer to Microsoft’s perception management [1, 2], which we last mentioned in our complaint to the FTC — a complaint that they responded to.

Why has Windows 7 suddenly fallen off the track with negative publicity? What happened? What changed?

This is one of the strangest developments I have ever witnessed—even rivaling the reverse publicity that began to pound OS/2 beginning around 1987, which eventually destroyed that OS as a viable alternative. The OS/2 destruction was orchestrated by Microsoft; who is orchestrating this?

I knew something was up beginning a few weeks back when studies and reports began to emerge about how businesses will not upgrade to Windows 7. Everyone is trying to save money or something. It was never fully analyzed. The data point that sticks out was one report that said 60 percent of businesses are going to hold off on Windows 7 implementation. And these are companies that probably did not upgrade to Vista.

These announcements came on the heels of an extremely positive pre-publicity campaign that was probably orchestrated by Microsoft or one of its agencies. In January of this year everyone—and I mean everyone—was raving about Windows 7. Microsoft gave out the beta, which was praised, and then gave out copies of RC1, which was also praised. It was the best thing ever!

Some Web sites that wrote negatively about Vista 7 got targeted and their authors humiliated by Microsoft employees at times, including those who dared to show that Vista 7 was about as heavy as Vista [1, 2, 3, 4].

Another new benchmark which includes Vista 7 simply shows that it is slower than Vista in some tests. SoftPedia showed the same thing a few months back.

Interestingly, the results were mixed. Boot times, despite dedicated tweaking from Microsoft were slightly worse than in Vista SP2 or XP SP3 (by over a second). Shutdown times, though, showed much improvement over the slow XP, and even some improvement over Vista.

One Boycott Novell reader added that “With benchmarks like that, Microsoft is stuck talking about “look and feel”, but it’s hard to see what kind of good feeling a slow, buggy system will yield.”

Fewa responded by saying, “that’s what happens you insert huge DRM schemes into your products, making them less useful and performing.”

“My initial evaluation of Windows 7 shows that it’s really just Vista with a fresh coat of paint.”

Randall Kennedy

ISO Finds a Home at Microsoft, Hostility Towards ODF Made Subtle

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 8:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ISO Sold Out to ECMA

Summary: More of the incestuous relationship between ISO, Microsoft, and SC34; new Microsoft tricks in the EU

MOST people probably never noticed (or cannot remember) Microsoft paying for an ISO-associated dinner in Korea and paying for the meeting in Norway. It is all just part of a pattern which shows ISO shaking like a feather, dancing to the tune of Microsoft cash.

Microsoft is now organising the next ISO SC34 meeting. Yes, it will all take place in Redmond and shall revolve around Microsoft’s OOXML maintenance.

We already know that SC34 is a mess — a mess which is dominated by Microsoft-faithful folks who are hostile towards ODF. According to the above, convenors now include Alex Brown [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] and Patrick Durusau [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], who have been making comments (and actions) favourable to Microsoft’s proprietary format.

Also see this PDF which provides further details, such as: “For general questions about Westin meeting logistics, or things to do around Seattle, please contact Dave Welsh, dmwelsh@microsoft.com, cell phone +1 206 313 0879.”

How about this: “More hotel options, at different rates, are also available. For more hotel options in the immediate Bellevue area and the Seattle vicinity, please try Live.com.”

Bellevue is where a lot of Microsoft’s core people reside, including its gigantic patent troll.

We have also learned that Microsoft will be the “social host” in the Seattle meetings, hosting the reception, dinner, and so on. How familiar. They will also be organising a DII event (“interop”) to occur the day after the SC34 Plenary. It will take place at Microsoft, which will announce how they intend to support Office 2010 as extensions to OOXML.

The word about Office 2010 has just come out, with this new Microsoft proposal [PDF] that can be found in the company’s Web site (encoded in Microsoft’s proprietary format). There is some initial coverage in OS News, which starts with: “Just when you thought the world couldn’t get any crazier, something happens that makes you move your expectations of the world up a few nothces. We already have to deal with the browser ballot, but that’s not the only ballot Microsoft will deliver. Hold on to your panties, as Microsoft will also offer a file format ballot in Microsoft Office 2010. On a happier note, Microsoft makes a whole load of promises to the EU about opening up technologies and file formats.

Oiaohm says that it’s getting “even worse [as] Microsoft seems to be out to avoid the EU regulators.”

ThistleWeb argues that Microsoft’s thinking is that people will be allowed to “pick from a working Microsoft format, or a (supposedly working) broken ODF”. Microsoft never implemented ODF properly, after all [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

“[M]aybe they’ve finally, reluctantly seen the writing on the wall, that the EU are gonna keep hammering them on case after case, with fine after fine…”
As Georg Greve (FSFE) put it a few days ago, “Microsoft [is] planning to freeze ODF at “broken useless” level by blocking updates at ISO? Seems quite possible according to [URL]

The above refers to Microsoft wanting to impose RAND on Free software.

Oiaohm adds: “Microsoft is being forced to come into line with ODF 1.2 as well, but the issue is that [it's mandatory]. If it’s done the wrong, way you could have produced document hell in a business.”

ThistleWeb responds by hypothesising that “maybe they’ve finally, reluctantly seen the writing on the wall, that the EU are gonna keep hammering them on case after case, with fine after fine [...] that they’re now reluctantly trying to placate the EU [...] each new fine, is another chunk of cash.”

“Or maybe they are running out of money to resist,” argues Oiaohm. Microsoft is already borrowing money.

Microsoft Keeps Running from the Law… and from Tax

Posted in America, Deception, Finance, Microsoft at 7:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tax forms

Summary: The company behind “Windows tax” is not interested in paying income tax

THE last time we wrote about Microsoft's systematic tax evasion was this post about Dublin. The short story was that Microsoft’s considerations when building datacentres are as much political as they are technical. So this relocation too seems to fit a familiar pattern.

“Due to a change in local tax laws, we’ve decided to migrate Windows Azure applications out of our northwest data center prior to our commercial launch this November,” the company says on the Windows Azure blog.

As Mary-Jo Foley’s headline put it, “Tax concerns to push Microsoft Azure cloud hosting out of Washington state.”

It says it all really. These stories of Microsoft tax evasions have become so repetitive that they are tiresome and predictable by now.

“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”

The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game

Microsoft Web Search and Web Browser Shunned

Posted in Asia, Google, Microsoft, Search, Standard at 6:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dog poops

Summary: Microsoft is taking a dump on the Internet and not everyone is willing to take it anymore

IT WAS very recently that we began logging the failures of Microsoft’s illusion of a search engine, called “Bing”. David Gerard sent a signal regarding Microsoft’s failure to gain anything of significance in China, which is the most connected country in the world (in terms of number of people with Internet access). From IDG:

China says no to Bing, Baidu ups lead over Google


Users went to Baidu for 75.7 percent of their online searches in China in the second quarter, a rise of 1.6 percentage points from the first three months of the year, according to iResearch, a Chinese Internet consultancy.

Bing was banned in China before.

In some recent articles which we cited, it came up that most surveys are heavily US-oriented, so when looking at it globally, Microsoft’s market share in search is apparently well less than 5%. Yes, it is a real uphill battle for a company that is falling downhill.

Even Microsoft's good friend, Shane O'Neill, is able to see what dirty tricks Microsoft has been up to.

Bing Search Tainted by Pro-Microsoft Results


The first of the search results about the Microsoft Word question linked to a page about how expensive Manhattan is (Is Microsoft competing with Manhattan now?). The top responses to the “Is Microsoft Evil?” question were, get this, a link to a New York Times story about whether or not Google is considered evil, a link about proxy servers, and a link to a story about Microsoft being charitable. Wow.

As we showed before, GNU/Linux and ODF are victimised too and it’s not the only offense of Bing, which should be reported to the authorities for anti-competitive practices. Microsoft is seeding distrust on the Web.

Speaking of Microsoft’s harms to the Web, watch this IE6 boycott as it develops. This morning in The Inquirer:

DEVELOPERS ARE SHOUTING at everyone who will listen to kill off Internet Exploder 6.

A campaign has started, sparked by 40 Internet start-ups who want their users to ditch Microsoft’s eight year old web browser.

Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) is most notorious for disobeying standards and making the Web far from secure.

Does Microsoft deserve a place on the Internet given its current behaviour?

“The Internet? We are not interested in it.”

Bill Gates, 1993

How GNU/Linux Devoured Microsoft’s Business Model

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Red Hat, Servers, Ubuntu at 6:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ice cream

Summary: Another look back at Microsoft’s foresight regarding risk and this risk truly materialising

SIX YEARS ago Microsoft said that GNU/Linux was growing faster than Windows in terms of share gain (see quote below). It was possibly around this time that Microsoft had the likes of IDC count server share in terms of revenue in order to belittle GNU/Linux and make it look a lot smaller than it really is. But just under a year ago, Steve Ballmer said that “forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux.” Got that?

Anyway, here are the more extensive quotes from 2003:

Again, we expect the Windows and the Linux environment to be the only environments that grow in fiscal year ’04. We anticipate that we’ll pick up a little bit more share in this segment, that Linux grows faster in terms of share gain, and that the rest of the folks competing against the Microsoft® Windows platform and the Linux platform continue to decline.


Secondly, Linux and noncommercial software: We’ve shown you what we think the Linux share gains will be for ’04. If Linux gains more share, that’s an impact to us. If Linux gains share on the desktop, that’s an impact to us. If we execute well, we mitigate the risk.

GNU/Linux is now a risk to Microsoft on both the server and the desktop side. Microsoft has already resorted to dumping and kickbacks in order to keep GNU/Linux at bay, but this strategy has a huge cost and it cannot starve GPL-licensed code, ever. Earlier this week — on a couple of occasions in fact [1, 2] — we mentioned Microsoft’s 10K which explicitly warns about Red Hat (on the server) and Ubuntu (on the desktop). More articles about this continue to be written, e.g. in IDG and in Heise.

Dana Blankenhorn, whose posts have improved a lot in recent months, delivered a good analysis of Microsoft’s 10K:

…Linux is modular. A Linux client, whether a netbook or an Android phone, needs to run only those modules necessary to the function it is performing at that moment. Over time open source is just cheaper to support. And by linking clients to the cloud you centralize that support load, even monetize it.

So you have competitors who can live on less food than you need, hardware evolving toward forms that must find a lower-cost form of support, and a possible breakthrough in business models that you can’t seem to touch.

The truth is that Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft itself, have become dinosaurs in a mammalian world. To compete Microsoft must evolve.

How long will Microsoft develop its very own HTML rendering engine and be the only one to inspect its code for defects and vulnerabilities? The non-Free software model is gradually made obsolete by the popularity of the Internet, which makes sharing natural and advantageous. Microsoft is a Luddite and in age of mass participation.

“It’s nice for you to admit your guys are running scared [of Free software]. They should be.”

The sum of Microsoft’s fears

Sun’s Chief Open Source Officer: Microsoft’s Linux Code Apparently About Avoidance of a GPL Lawsuit

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Law, SUN at 5:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Microsoft’s true attitude towards the GPL is still obvious to many

SIMON PHIPPS, pointing to this summary of issues that we covered here a lot recently [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], writes very succinctly about Microsoft’s loadable module for Linux: “There had to be a reason beyond goodwill, and it seems that reason was avoidance of a lawsuit.

“Microsoft’s attitude towards the GPL may only change due to misery, due to lack of other options.”Microsoft did not release something under the GPL out of choice; rather, it was due to lack of choice. Here is what Microsoft’s Vice President Brian Roberts said some years ago: “For every acquisition, we identify very early what the key value drivers are. And we will design our due-diligence process and integration approach around these drivers. If we surface concerns that cannot be mitigated by a deal structure or an integration approach, we will part paths. And there are many examples of issues that can become deal killers. It may be our assessment of the culture. Maybe the talent is not as good as we’d hoped as we get to meet more of the team. The code quality could be poor, or worse, the code may be subject to the General Public License (GPL) often used for distribution of open source software.

As Jason puts it, “I just like the idea that Microsoft considers GPL code “worse” than poor quality code.”

Yes, Microsoft’s attitude towards the GPL may only change due to misery, due to lack of other options. Microsoft is still trying to sneakily substitute the GPL (it hopes to destroy it this way). And then the company calls its opponents “hateful” or “intolerant”.

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”

Andre Gide

Related posts:

Bad Day for Twitter: Attack from Microsoft Windows Zombies, Texas Lawsuit Over Software Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Security, Servers, Windows at 4:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Twitter downed by DDoS attacks from Windows botnets and sued by TechRadium over junk patents

Twitter is having some serious problems today. And yes, it’s true, Twitter runs on top of GNU/Linux, but when hit by massive botnets comprising Microsoft Windows zombies, there is not much Twitter can do other than improve filtering and balancing of load. As CNET put it:

As Symantec blogger Marian Merritt pointed out, “It’s often the case that D-DOS attacks come from computers infected with bots, turning them into Zombie computers doing their cybercriminal’s bidding. ”

With hundreds of millions of zombie PCs out there, a permanent solution is nowhere in sight. This may already be costing trillions, and more importantly it's costing lives.

Adding insult to injury, Twitter has just been sued and software patents are the culprit.

A Texas-based firm is suing the micro-blogging site Twitter, alleging that its three patents for a similar service are being infringed.

TechRadium’s system, called Iris, provides notification technology so that alerts can be sent to many users.

According to TechDirt, the plaintiff (complainant) does not qualify as a patent troll because there is actually a product.

This should hardly be a surprise, but with Twitter being so popular lately, it was only a matter of time until it was targeted in patent infringement lawsuits. At the very least, the company suing them appears to (a) actually be based in Texas and (b) have a product on the market. But… that doesn’t make TechRadium’s lawsuit against Twitter any more reasonable or sensible.

Not a good day for Twitter. Had Windows not been so easy to hijack and software patents (which Microsoft lobbies for) been beyond reach, then all those people who rely on micro-blogging would be a lot happier.

“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source. Making it easier for companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with the threat.”

Linus Torvalds

Links 06/08/2009: KDE 4.3 Review, Android Spreads

Posted in News Roundup at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 10 Solutions to Major Linux Problems and Other Observations

    Solution #10 – Recent efforts by 4chan to stop AT&T censorship has inspired me to start a “Spread FOSS” campaign as a meta-campaign for all free and open source software. Similar to Spread Firefox, but much more powerful and with much more exposure. 4chan was successful in bringing the issue to light because they had a majority of their community working towards the same goal of spreading awareness. Jack Wallen asks Why aren’t schools adopting open source? and the answer is simply exposure to open source. Getting thousands of students to call and write to schools asking for FOSS in the education system, getting FOSS to be a trending topic on twitter and other social networking websites, getting thousands of people to give out Linux Distribution CD’s on the streets; now that is exposure. The kind of exposure FOSS needs.

  • Tux USB Keys Can Make Your Donated Computers Greener, Cleaner, More Ethical, and More Educational

    So volunteers and computer donars, please bring this article to the attention of a charity you know of. Charity workers, please contact your local LUG people (Linux User Group) for technical help. The technological solutions these LUG (or FLOSS) people offer may not be exactly the same as what I propose here. (Google for mk-boot-usb for technical details of my proposal.) For example, Sugar on a Stick, a technology related to the MIT’s charity project OLPC, is also a bootable usb key. Its emphasis is more on the logic, programming, and social network aspects of education, but I was told that interesting geometry learning tools such as Dr. Geo may also be included. Some may offer FreeBSD or Open Solaris as equally powerful alternatives to GNU/Linux on a usb key. Yet others may propose DRBL or LTSP for different technical considerations. The latter two technologies are equally ethical and educational choices as they are also FLOSS, although arguablly they may have less powerful social impacts in the long run.

    Charity is a spiritual endeavor that not only empowers the helped, but also inspires and elevates the helpers and the spectators like me. When it comes to the choice of computer software for donation, it requires a conscious and moral consideration of the chosen technology’s ethical and philosophical foundation as well as its long term social consequences. Many of us in the FLOSS community look forward to contributing to your great cause if you make the right choice.

  • Supported Features
  • The New PCLinuxOS Magazine August 2009 Issue

    This issue includes…

    PCLXDE: The PCLinuxOS LXDE 2009 Remaster
    Master The Remaster
    Repo Spotlight: addlocale and GetOpenOffice
    Behind The Scenes: Up Close With Old-Polack
    Through The Lens: Scanners With PCLinuxOS

  • LinuxCon announces speakers

    Early registration closes on Aug. 15 for the Linux Foundation’s inaugural LinuxCon event, scheduled for Sept. 21-23, 2009, in Portland, Oregon. LinuxCon intends to draw a mix of end-users, administrators, and top Linux developers, with speakers including Linus Torvalds, Mark Shuttleworth, and Greg Kroah-Hartman (pictured).

  • Forget Linux, We Need Fisher-Price Computers

    I don’t know if Mr. O’Connor is serious or just having some fun. He does have some weird ideas about the purpose of the command line and computers in general. A lot of people make the exact same sweeping claims in all seriousness, as though they were spokespeople for a Silent and Dimwitted Computing Majority, and insist that until Linux is so easy that an unconscious person can use it it will never succeed. In my opinion it’s a matter of how willing a particular individual is to learn; some folks just plain don’t want to try. Which is their privilege, but as long as they’re using a computer for any reason it makes no sense to resist learning how to use it efficiently. But then, trying to make sense of human behavior is a futile task, so I’m not going to think about it too much.

  • RTAS Linux G5 delivered to Skyguide and Croatia Control

    The two European Air Navigation Service Providers skyguide and Croatia Control Ltd. had ordered several new ARTAS systems based on the latest baseline Linux G5. In July the new redundant trackers have successfully been delivered to Geneva, Wangen and Zagreb.

  • Mentor Graphics Offers Linux and Nucleus Support for Marvell Sheeva

    Mentor Graphics announced the availability of a combined open-source Linux and Nucleus operating system (OS) solution for the Marvell Sheeva MV78200 Dual-core Embedded Processor.

  • List of Guides for Linux Newbies

    For now, these will be my list of Linux newbie guides. I hope that newbies and not-so-new Linux users will benefit from these guides. After all, there’s something new that we could learn each day.

  • Audio

    • Podcast Season 1 Episode 14

      In this episode: SUSE Studio is out; Debian adopts timed releases, should we be giving coverage to companies who don’t support Linux and should geeks prefer Free internet services over free internet services?

    • Linux Outlaws 105 – Sean’s Sugar Lumps

      On this week’s show: Fab pits the iPhone against the Samsung I7500 Android phone, Podcasting gets patented, Alan Cox and Linus Torvalds get in a row, Debian gets time-based freezes and Microsoft once again confuses the hell out of everybody.

  • Desktop

    • Walking a Kid Home

      Linux Against Poverty amassed for us almost 100 ready-to-go computers. Plug ‘em in and they are ready to go to work. It was in every sense of the word, a blessing.

    • Linux Community Welcomes the NComputing $70 Cloud Desktop

      Cloud computing is being hailed as a disruptive technology that will improve business and IT productivity. But emerging cloud architectures still call for delivering the computing experience through dedicated PCs, which threaten to keep costs high. NComputing virtual desktops offer an economical alternative—a $70 endpoint access device that is ideal for cloud computing.

    • Google Discloses Plans for New Malware-Resistant OS

      The company recently announced its work on the new Google Chrome OS, a lightweight OS that sits atop a Linux kernel and will run on X86 and ARM chips.

  • HPC

    • Don Becker On The State Of HPC

      Linux magazine HPC Editor Douglas Eadline had a chance recently to discuss the current state of HPC clusters with Beowulf pioneer Don Becker, Founder and Chief Technical Officer, Scyld Software (now Part of Penguin Computing). For those that may have come to the HPC party late, Don was a co-founder of the original Beowulf project, which is the cornerstone for commodity-based high-performance cluster computing. Don’s work in parallel and distributed computing began in 1983 at MIT’s Real Time Systems group. He is known throughout the international community of operating system developers for his contributions to networking software and as the driving force behind beowulf.org.

    • Cluster Resources Expands Beyond HPC

      Adaptive’s Moab software is widely used in high performance computing, including 12 of the 20 fastest computers on the Top 500 supercomputer list.

    • Moab maker Cluster Resources welcomes cloud fluffers
    • High-end Clustering Tool Is Reworked for the Enterprise

      “As the needs of the data center change throughout the day for different types of application services, we can actually repurpose resources to different operating system characteristics, whether that’s from Linux to Windows or between versions of Linux with different drivers,” he said.

  • Kernel Space

    • Buttering Up Linux File Systems

      Interestingly, BTRFS was initially developed by Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) — which is acquiring Sun — but is now licensed under the GPL and is thoroughly in the open source community, open for contribution from anyone. It is described on its own project pages as “a new copy on write file system for Linux aimed at implementing advanced features while focusing on fault tolerance, repair and easy administration.”

    • Kernel Log: X server 1.7 delayed; Compiz runs on newer Radeon GPUs; DRBD in kernel soon

      Although some X.org drivers have been updated for X server 1.7, development work is running behind schedule. New drivers from AMD, Intel and Nvidia and new Linux versions mean a number of corrections and enhancements in the graphics system. 3D support for newer Radeon GPUs is now adequate for Compiz. DRBD should make it into the main Linux kernel development tree in 2.6.32.

  • Applications

    • Featured App: SuperTux

      I have preschool aged kids who like to play games so I’m always looking around to try new ones. One game we’ve been playing for a while is SuperTux. SuperTux is styled after the classic Super Mario Bros games and features their classic sidescrolling action.

    • Artha: A GUI for WordNet

      Although WordNet comes with a graphical browser, it can only be described as bare-bones. The browser doesn’t offer any kind of desktop integration, and there is no support for color coding, rich text formatting, or hyperlinking. But thanks to Artha, you don’t have to put up with these limitations. This nifty little dictionary tool wraps the WordNet database into a user-friendly interface and offers a few neat features that can help you to make the most of WordNet.

    • New maintainers for GNU GRUB
    • FSLint Helps You Clean Up Your Files
  • Browsers

    • ThunderBrowse Transforms Thunderbird into a Web Browser with Tabbed Browsing

      Linux/Windows: Whilst Mozilla is working hard to bring tabbed emails on an improved Thunderbird 3, amongst many other new features — tabbed emails are already present in pre-releases of Thunderbird 3, ThunderBrowse will add a new feature to Thunderbird 2 you didn’t miss, until now, when you read this.

    • Get Your Chrome Experience On Linux

      If you have anything to do with IT or computers you know about the Google Chrome browser. No matter where you stand on your opinion of Google, you can not deny the Chrome browser is fast. In fact, Chrome is setting the standard for browser speed such that the competition is now playing a serious game of catch up. The Chrome browser is so fast (at both startup and page load) that the difference goes well beyond noticeable. Next to all of its competition Google Chrome looks as if it is running in a completely different gear all together.

    • My Top 3 Chrome Extensions
  • K Desktop Environment

    • Hands-on: KDE 4.3 delivers a Social Desktop

      KDE 4.3 was released this week with a number of intriguing improvements. Ars test the new version, which introduces KDE’s Social Desktop initiative, an effort to bring social networking integration to the popular desktop environment.

  • Distributions

    • Introducing http://news.debian.net

      I have always missed having something similar to “KDE Dot News” in Debian. I refer to KDE’s news place because it is the project I more closely follow after Debian, but there are similar news websites for other projects such as Ubuntu’s Fridge.
      The Debian project has http://www.debian.org/News/ but this is just a HTML version of the announce mailing lists.

    • DSL revisited

      So that’s my impression. I will always like DSL, and I admire it for its loyalty to outdated machines. But so long as Slitaz can do much the same thing, in less space, with fresher software and a cleaner, faster look, I will continue to choose it over DSL.

      And that’s what it’s all about: choice.

    • Red Hat

      • Red Hat takes to the cloud

        Cloud computing — where software applications reside on the Internet rather than on individual PCs — is gaining interest among businesses, and open-source advocate Red Hat Inc wants in on this.

        It believes more and more companies will be turning to cloud computing in the near future because the infrastructure makes good business sense.

      • Red Hat Committed To Develop More Open Source Solutions Via Osci Initiative

        Red Hat Inc, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, is committed to develop more open source solutions with local software developers via its Open Source Collaborative Innovation (OSCI) initiative.

        “In the first year, we expect 50-80 percent growth in partnerships,” its president/chief executive officer, Jim Whitehurst, told a media briefing after deliverying his speech at the company-sponsored forum, entitled “Our Mothers Asked Us To Share”, here Tuesday.

    • Ubuntu

      • My 10 basic Ubuntu applications

        This is just a simple list of really useful, maybe basic applications available from the Ubuntu repositories. Again this is just my list and in time it might grow to more then 10. If you like to download and install them just go to the Synaptic Package Manager and search their names.

        Let’s start:

        1. Compiz Manager

      • Canonical’s Closed Landscape

        Something interesting is happening with Canonical’s software portfolio. They’re offering a new system-management server, but it’s not an open source offering. If memory serves, it’ll be Canonical’s first venture into offering a closed-source product with open-source connectivity. Aberration or evolution?

      • An early peek at Ubuntu 9.10

        All in all, things appear usable if undramatic at this stage and there are a few months to go before the final release anyway.

      • Second Month with Ubuntu

        In June I was traveling with a notebook that was too damaged to run Windows, but it run Ubuntu almost flawlessly. The experience was not so bad. Back home I could choose again between Windows and Ubuntu. In past dual-boot situations I gradually reverted to fully use Windows. What happened this time?

      • Acer Aspire Revo, Ubuntu, Boxee and Remote Control

        Below are some notes about how I installed Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) on the device and got the Sony Playstation 3 remote control working. I chose Ubuntu 9.10 because I knew the video driver for the nVidia ION card was available in the repository, and I feel confident with it.

    • New Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Home automation gateway supports ZigBee, powerline nets

      Atmel also sells a low-cost, hardware/software Linux development kit for network gateways introduced in 2007. While the Harmony shares many similar features with the kit, and likely builds upon Atmel’s Linux BSP, the hardware layout and several specifications appear to be different (see photo above and block diagram below).

    • PowerPC-based VXS board gains development support

      Timesys says its subscription-based LinuxLink development framework now supports a new dual-core, Freescale 8641D PowerPC-based single-board computer from Mercury Computer Systems. Mercury’s Ensemble 5000 Series VXS HCD5220 offers dual PMC/XMC mezzanine sites and serial RapidIO, and is designed for sensor-networked environments such as radar installations and other military and industrial applications.

    • Network

      • New Linux-based technology to make ‘smarter’ GPS

        Sick of having your GPS tell you to turn the wrong way up a one-way street or lead you to a dead end? Fear not: Linux-based technology developed at NICTA is on its way to help make personal navigation systems more accurate.

      • Mobile WiFi/3G hotspot goes multi-network, opens APIs

        Novatel Wireless announced a new multi-network version of its Linux-based “MiFi” mobile hotspot, supporting HSPA, UMTS, EDGE and GPRS. The MiFi 2372 appears to be similar to Novatel’s Europe-targeted MiFi 2352, but adds UMTS (CDMA) support, and is accompanied with a new OpenCGI API designed to program the device.

      • Linux-based VoIP phone to ship this fall

        VoIP provider Ooma is readying a Linux-based VoIP desktop phone for shipment this fall. Building upon the company’s earlier Ooma Hub, the Ooma Telo adds up to six DECT 6.0 cordless handsets, improved voice quality, and advanced features including mobile transfer and a “connected phonebook,” says the company.

    • Phones

      • Motorola preps two Android phones as finances stabilize

        Motorola was one of the first handset vendors to announce plans to ship an Android phone. Last fall, it shocked the industry by stating that it would replace its native Linux MotoMAGX platform with Android and also ditch Symbian UIQ.

    • Android

      • Processor Specialist Promotes Android

        The use of Android in devices other than cell phones may soon receive a big boost courtesy of MIPS Technologies. MIPS, which deals in processor architectures and cores, is making the source code of its Android port publicly available.

        Art Swift, the vice president of marketing at MIPS, explained in a statement, “Android presents a compelling value proposition in bringing internet connectivity and a broad range of applications to MIPS-based digital home devices. We are working closely with customers and partners to ensure that critical technologies are available for developers to take advantage of Android for consumer electronics.”

      • MIPS open sources living room Android port

        Google’s mobile OS is poised for life beyond the mobile – and the netbook.


        Of course, both ARM and Atom double as embedded processors, and the MIPS world has followed them onto Android. Embedded Alley – now owned by Mentor Graphics – offers its own Android MIPS port, and you can visit MIPS Technologies’ newly open-sourced port here.

      • Embedded Android code goes open source

        Mips Technologies released the source code on Monday, two months after it first said it had ported Android to the 32-bit version of the Mips architecture. This architecture is used in set-top boxes, digital TV sets, home media players, Internet telephony systems and mobile Internet devices (MIDs), and is a rival to the Arm technology on which Android already runs.

      • Android moves into home entertainment
      • Acer on track for Android netbook launch in third quarter

        The Atom-based Aspire One will run Android instead of Windows XP

      • Will Android Look Good in a 3-Piece Suit?

        Google is tossing out hints that its Android may be enterprise bound — perhaps as early as this year. RIM’s BlackBerry currently has the strongest creds among professionals, and Apple is loading the iPhone with more business-friendly features and functionality. If there’s no corner office waiting for the Android, is there at least an empty desk?

      • DAC: Mentor unveils Android, Linux strategy at DAC
    • Sub-notebooks

      • Case Study: Freescale Netbook Design at SCAD, by Dave Malouf

        What follows is our class’ process for developing the initial framework and vision for a new graphical user interface to run on top of an existing operating system (like Linux) that can take advantage of an ARM CPU chipset on something akin to a netbook or a smartbook. Though this case study will focus on the work of my class, there was much collaboration between the two courses’ students, influencing the final outcomes of both.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source: many advantages beyond price

    These are only some of the advantages of Open Source. This is why I would always prefer to purchase hardware for which there is an Open Source driver, or application that are Open Source. It is not only a question of price!

  • Marketing FOSS [part 1]

    In my opinion, our biggest problem right now is marketing. There are three categories of people we really need to reach out to:

    1. Those who last tried a Linux distro more than 5 or 10 years ago
    2. Those who’ve been told “only hackers can use it”
    3. Those who’ve never heard of it

  • FreePBX 3.0 Debuts

    With its third-generation release, out this week, popular open-source management interface FreePBX has taken a bold step away from its longstanding ties to Asterisk, to embrace the up-and-coming VoIP alternative FreeSwitch.

  • Wikimedia event seeks to open up Australian culture

    The old world will meet with the new in an event this week that seeks to get cultural institutions working more closely with wiki projects

  • Mollom for Laconica

    Laconica, billed as an open-source microblogging tool similar to Twitter or Jaiku, now has its own Mollom plugin to reduce comment and posting spam.

  • Yet another reason to love Open Source Content Management

    Open source ECM technologies like Alfresco, Drupal, Liferay, Lucene, and many others, are now at or beyond their closed source equivalents. If you are a developer who’s sick of the shackles closed source CMS places on you, why not suggest exploring open source alternatives?

  • Product Spotlight: VirtualBox open source virtual machine app

    If you’re looking for a virtualization solution, and you need one that makes the task of setting up virtual machines easy, VirtualBox is for you. If, however, you are looking for a tool that will allow you to serve out virtual machines you will need to purchase the full version and even then you might find it more challenging than, say, VMWare Server. But for standalone virtual machine needs, you cannot beat VirtualBox for its ease of use and price.

  • 5 Free Online Open Source Books for Beginners

    Lack of adequate documentation is frequently cited as a shortcoming of open source applications and platforms, but, for the popular choices, there are surprisingly good, free online books available. We round these up on a regular basis here at OStatic, and in this post you’ll find five online books that you can jump right into. They introduce basic concepts for getting started with Linux, Firefox, Blender (3D graphics and animation), GIMP (graphics), and the OpenOffice suite of productivity applications.

  • Business

    • Q&A: Ingres chief executive Roger Burkhardt

      We looked at Linux and we could customise it to meet our needs. We could also get good support from vendors. The good news is that, when you do research for open source, you can easily try it out and get very good information about the product from the community behind it. All the feedback from the users is out in the community for all to see, so you never have to rely on a sales person who is just going to tell you what you want to hear. You can actually interact with other users in the community, and validate what is really there.

    • Openbravo Broadens Support for Ubuntu with Commercial Open Source ERP Package

      Openbravo has announced the release of a new integrated business management solution, built on top of Ubuntu Server Edition, which is fully supported by Openbravo and its partner network. Openbravo is the leading developer of web-based open source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Point of Sale (POS) solutions for businesses, while Canonical is the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, which is rapidly becoming a very popular server platform choice for businesses across the globe.

  • Government

    • Opening up data in the Home Office
    • Openly Local Opens up Local Government

      One of the most interesting developments in the world of openness has been the growing move to open up government. In the UK, the scandal over MPs’ expenses has helped to expose the perils of lack of transparency at the national level, but far less attention is being paid to local government. That’s a pity, because it’s precisely local data that impacts most of us more directly.

  • Openness

    • Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing

      The new US administration could implement such a system through simple FRPAA-like legislation requiring funding agencies to commit to this open-access compact in a cost-neutral manner. Perhaps reimbursement would be limited to authors at universities and research institutions that themselves commit to a similar compact. As funding agencies and universities take on this commitment, we might transition to an efficient, sustainable journal publishing system in which publishers choose freely among business models on an equal footing, to the benefit of all.

    • Open source car

      The campaign is part of Fiat’s push to embrace the digital age head-on. By creating an open forum, it acknowledges that all ideas generated might be used by other individuals, or by its rivals. A bold step that might spell the beginning of the end for closed-shop car design.

    • OpenStreetMap and Qt and (S60)

      Like I promised few days ago, here is the demo that shows tile-based OpenStreetMap rendering on Qt/S60. If you never heard of OpenStreetMap before, it is “a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world” (from its Wikipedia entry). You can try it at www.openstreetmap.org. It might not be as complete as other maps solutions, but surprisingly, OpenStreetMap coverage for many world big cities are detailed enough for most users.

    • OpenStreetMap on Series 60

      The code in the example is released under the GPL, so you can take it, play with it and incorporate it in your own open source application. Everybody wins — developers get a simple way to add maps to their applications, Qt shows how cool its framework is, and Nokia gets more developers writing for its phones. Try doing that without an open source licence.

  • Programming

    • Linux – The New ‘Hot’ Job Skill

      Nationwide unemployment may be heading toward double-digits in the U.S., but among the skills that are in highest demand are those of a Linux sysadmin. That’s partly due to the effects of the recession — more companies are willing to experiment with lower-cost open source alternatives to proprietary software. Still, the good news is qualified: Many of those jobs can be done anywhere on the planet.

    • Red Hat pushes certification program amid Linux wave

      The enterprise Linux vendor celebrates the tenth year of its certification program as it tries to recruit more training partners.

    • Java In Linux

      I am not sure why we do not see more support for Java in many of the distributions of Linux. It is available. It is open source. And it provides a means for software developers to make programs that can run on many different platforms with few alterations. This is the opportunity that could greatly increase software support for Linux. Still I often find that Java is a bit of a pill to install in most Linux Distributions. Many have Java related stuff in the default install but they do not work properly and when you try to install a Java based program like for example limewire then you have problems.

    • Python Python Python (aka Python 3)

      Just one week shy of Christmas 2008, the Python world saw the release of version 3 of Python. Big deal, eh? Well … it turns out it was and is, as Python 3 is the first major release of Python designed from the get-go to be incompatible with prior versions of the language.

    • Google Drills Into Open Source Code

      The company acquired these statistics during the natural course of its regular crawling activities, said Chris DiBona, Google’s open source programs manager. Among other things, Google’s Code Search Crawl revealed that nearly half of the projects licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) have moved to version 3 of that license, including new projects.

    • Just Software Solutions Introduces a Linux Version of the Just::Thread Library

      The library is an add-on for existing C++ compilers, which permits computer programmers to utilize the new multithreading facilities from C++0x without the upheaval of compiler upgrades.

    • Intel releases version 2.2 of Threading Building Blocks

      One of the more notable new features is the inclusion of support for the lamda capabilities in the new C++ draft standard (C++0x). The new release now uses the LD_PRELOAD function on Linux and a dynamic instrumentation method on Windows to provide automatic memory allocator replacement throughout an application, greatly improving the memory allocators performance. Intel has also reworked the task scheduler, allowing it to scale better, and made improvements to parallel algorithms and concurrent containers.


  • Windows losing out to Web-centric development?

    Due to the fast growth of open frameworks, it’s no surprise that the developer is faced with a new dilemma. It’s not “which OS should I write to?” anymore. It’s now “which Web-centric tool will help me develop the best application?” From the perspective of the developer, this is a much friendlier environment.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Mrs Reding reveals her card on Amendment 138

      The European Commission has sneaked out its position on the Telecoms Package second reading. Decoded, it calls for the Package to seal in the right of governments and broadband providers to restrict the Internet.

    • DPI vendor says 90% of ISP customers engage in traffic discrimination

      A single Canadian company sells traffic shaping gear in use on 20 percent of all broadband lines in the world—and nearly all of its clients throttle traffic by application.

    • Petitioning the wrong people

      There are some users who are going to fall for DRM schemes, and lose access to their content when the scheme changes, no matter what. Just like there are some users who will leave thermal-printed concert tickets in a hot car, or let their dogs chew on their CDs. And there are some users who will avoid anything that smells even slightly of top-down media control. But the users in the middle are the people who matter. If Joe User is on the fence about buying a Kindle, what would scare him away?

    • Confusion Over Copyright Injunctions And Other Restraints Of Speech

      An injunction banning a book is a big deal. It’s usually called a prior restraint, and it’s usually highly suspect; the U.S. Supreme Court held publication of the Pentagon Papers could not be restrained despite the government’s claim that national security would be jeopardized.

  • Press

    • Mainstream Newspapers ‘Rip Off’ Blogs Too, You Know…

      Last month, we wrote about a new study that basically showed that independent bloggers and the mainstream press had a rather nice symbiotic relationship, with different stories flowing back and forth across the two. Oddly, the NY Times misinterpreted the study to claim that it showed that bloggers were “behind” the mainstream press on stories, but the details showed a very different story. It’s no surprise that a mainstream publication would portray the study this way, but it makes it even more amusing when that same publication is then caught using a story from a blog as well, without doing any additional reporting.

    • Why I believe in the link economy

      Recently there has been a rising crescendo of finger-pointing, shrieking, braying and teeth-gnashing about the future of the news. In the last couple of weeks there have been many comments on the AP’s proposals, Attributor’s proposals, Ian Shapira’s story and fair use.

      After some of the AP commentary, I posted a tweet directed at Jeff Jarvis that prompted some members in the community to ask me to be more outspoken, asking me to be blatant about it, to post a public statement. For those who know me, I usually don’t need to be asked.

    • Go Away or I Shall Taunt You a Second Time

      The Associated Press has issued a statement explaining the “license” they gave me to quote Thomas Jefferson. A few brief comments:

      It is an automated form, thus explaining how one blogger got it to charge him for the words of a former president.

      The problem is not just that they use an automated form to issue their “licenses” (although the automated form does make it easy to mock them). No, the problem is that they also make bizarre, sweeping copyright claims about “their” content.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Wolfram Alpha Does Not Understand Copyright

      Copyright, as Wolfram seems not to understand, is a bargain between creators and their public. As an *incentive* to create, the former are given a time-limited monopoly by governments. Note that it is *not* a reward for having created: it is an incentive to create again.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Luis Casas Luengo, Director of Extremadura’s Fundecyt foundation 19 (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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