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Links 11/08/2009: Verona’s University Moves to GNU/Linux, SpringSource Sold

Posted in News Roundup at 7:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Marketing FOSS [part 2]

    We need to let people know about the hardware vendors who sell Linux-preinstalled systems. My personal blog includes a “hardware links” section linking to Dell, ZaReason, and System76 and a badge I made that says “I use ZaReason Ubuntu hardware” is in the sidebar. I remember seeing lots of Emperor Linux ads in magazines, but given their prices and that what they sell are machines that are only sold by the manufacturers with Windows, I get the impression these are simply Windows systems whicha have been replaced with Linux and are being resold.

  • Desktop

    • Verona’s University Migrates 4000 PCs to Linux

      Verona is about to become famous for more than just Romeo and Juliet and opera: the university of the romantic Italian city is migrating 4000 of its desktops to Linux and open source.

    • How Wrong Can One Man Be?

      Linux Against Poverty was just one of the shining jewels we can claim as our own. While we were focused on that, there is an ongoing sister-effort taking place in Florida. Michael Hall along with his wife (he’s the developer of Qimo,) an Ubuntu-based distro for kids; is doing pretty much the same thing we are. Oh, you really need to read Michelle Hall’s blog. It brings what we do in this business into sharp perspective.

    • From Windows to Linux… Is it that hard to adapt?

      I will say that we are blessed to be able to adapt so easily. In reality I almost feel guilty it was this easy for me and my family to adapt. But even if I had to pay someone for Linux support, it is easy to see how in the long term it would be a much more affordable computing experience. Having a secure and much more hardware efficient operating system means that trips to the computer tech would be few and far in between.

      In my experience, the small challenges to adapt were easily met and conquered. it is certainly within everyone’s scope of possibility to do so as well. The rewards are many,

      * longer lasting hardware
      * more efficient computing experience
      * less financial impact to use and support
      * more secure internet experience

    • The Desktop or the Browser: Is the Netbook Escalating the Battle?

      Devices with small screens will ultimately make the desktop experience better for everyone but only if we deliver applications that make the experience better. A desktop and a browser are not enough. “Web applications” that you access through the browser are not enough. We need applications that take advantage of the power the desktop has to offer.

  • Kernel Space

    • Program for Eleventh Real-Time Linux Workshop

      The Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL) invites participants to the Real-Time Linux Foundation Workshop from September 28 through 30 in Dresden, Germany. Well-known names such as Jonathan Corbet will be present.

    • Linux Weather Forecast

      Current conditions: the 2.6.30 kernel was released on June 9. The 2.6.30 development cycle saw the addition of almost 12,000 individual changes from over 1100 developers representing some 200 different companies. 2.6.30 has 624,000 more lines of code than 2.6.29.

  • Applications

    • Install Educational Suite for Children aged 2 to 10 : GCompris in Ubuntu / Debian Linux

      GCompris is a excellent educational software suite for children aged 2 to 10. Most of the activities are game orientated educational. GCompris offers more than 100 activities in differentclassifications like classified into mathematics, puzzles, computer discovery, amusement activities,strategy games, experimental activities and reading activities. Gcompris is available in more than 40 Languages.

    • Bordeaux The frontend for Wine

      Bordeaux is a port area in the southwest of France on the river Garonne. Produces are high-quality wine. Recently it its name in English (wine) of each application and environment, which programs you run Windows on Unix without that you must have installed the Windows operating system.

    • Unigine Engine Continues To Advance

      The Unigine Engine, which is likely the most advanced 3D game engine that natively supports Linux, has stepped further ahead today. Unigine Corp has provided word of several new features and updates to this advanced game engine.

  • K Desktop Environment

    • Little gem!

      While reading some scientific papers with KPDF Okular I used my mouse to grab the paper and scroll.

      Annoyingly, you have to click and drag all the time. Then, after reading intensively for some time, I suddenly realized I hadn’t used my mousebutton for a while. Yet I read through a few pages already. Looking for my mouse cursor, I noticed it was on top of the screen. ???

      So – I drag the page down, continue to drag even while reaching the bottom of the screen and lo and behold! Once you cross the bottom of the page, the mouse cursor appears on top of the screen and you can just continue to drag! I used a great feature and didn’t even notice…

  • Distributions

    • SAM Linux 2009

      SAM is a pleasant, small LiveCD distribution that doesn’t use Gnome or KDE (although in all fairness XFce does use Gnome libraries). The software selection is small but covers most of the common themes users will want.

    • Kongoni Linux

      It’s pretty, but I’m not sure how much of that is the work of the maintainers and how much of it is owed to KDE 4. Their differentiating features, PIG and KISS, are less than impressive to a casual user.

    • PCLinuxOS 2009.2 Review

      After running into Problems with Mandriva 2009.1 with my sound cutting out and making static sounds and sometimes not working at all I decided to give PCLinuxOS a try. Since PCLinuxOS is based on Mandriva the first thing I did was check to make sure the sound was working properly and it was.

    • Sabayon 4.2

      Sabayon is always fun. It’s pretty, has a good selection of software, and it’s still the easiest way to get a working Gentoo-based system on my computer.

    • Cosmetic surgery you can be proud of.

      As someone commented on the FAB mailing list, our pages should feel like invitations to become part of our community. There’s no better way to do that than by showing how fun and exciting Fedora can be, and by making it as easy as possible for people to get it. Something not shown on Mo’s blog is what happens after you click the big download button. The afterpage is so much easier to understand than our previous pages, and makes it a snap for people both to get the help they need, and to learn more about our community and how to get involved.

    • Debian Family

      • Shuttleworth wants to support Debian

        In a long posting on the Debian mailing list, Ubuntu sponsor Mark Shuttleworth sets out his position in the dispute over bringing a fixed development cycle to Debian’s GNU/Linux distribution.

      • Ubuntu Support for Non-Geeks

        It remains to be seen how well Canonical can actually deliver the support promised by the Starter package, and whether the new offering will help generate the revenue needed to make the company self-sustaining. I’m also skeptical about the other support plans introduced last week, which, at $110 and $220, seem less realistically priced than the Starter package.

      • Linux Mint 7 Review, Screenshot Tour and Love

        All in all, Linux Mint 7 is going to be my main machine from now on, at least until I get my claws on another unsuspecting distribution. It is a distribution I spent very little time customizing and I have a pretty specific setup. Flash was there, Gnome Do was there, the GNOME bar was already on the bottom of the screen, I liked the icon theme. Linux Mint is the Ubuntu cake with some extra-delicious icing. The icing doesn’t make it slow, just better. Way better than vanilla Ubuntu. So, if you chose Ubuntu because it does most of the things for you, take Mint for a spin. It does everything, you can just sit back, relax and have a few evil laughs in your secret control tower. Minty fresh.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Chumby: Open-Source, Internet-enabled gadget modernizes the nightstand clock and invites hackers

      A distinguishing attribute to the Chumby is its very open hardware/software environment. By making details available on all the inner workings, Chumby Industries actively encourages users to hack the device and develop new uses for the platform. While many electronic devices have their own supporting software development kit (SDK) environment for third parties, few are as open as the Chumby’s, which provides access to everything from the hardware schematics to an open-source Linux-based software client.

    • Introducing Android

      This chapter explains what Android is, how and why it was developed, and where the platform fits in to the established mobile marketplace.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ARM netbook conscripting Moblin technology?

        Moblin technology may see use in ARM-based netbooks. In announcing its newly shipping touchscreen-equipped “Touchbook,” Start-up Always Innovating said that “over time, in 2009,” it will support “interesting projects such as Moblin.”

      • Review Update: Moblin 2.0 keeps getting better

        Moblin is proving itself to be a welcomed “third addition” into the operating system cadre, being comprised today of Windows, regular Linux and now Moblin Linux. Its GNOME-derived GUI has taken on a feel of its own, one which (in my opinion) separates itself sufficiently from the traditional GUIs out there to be in a class all by itself.

      • ARM netbook ships with detachable tablet

        Meanwhile, the Linux-based Touch Book OS software is still in beta, and is missing key pieces of the final release due later this year, including Adobe Flash, a Skype-compatible VoIP app, and OpenOffice 3.1. The final release will also offer iTunes sync, and “3D accelerometer-based iPhone games” (for more on the Apple connection, see farther below).

      • Transportation PC includes two PCI slots

        The ARK-3400 is designed to run Fedora 9.0 Linux or Windows Embedded operating systems from a Type I/II CompactFlash slot. Alternatively, as suggested earlier, the device accepts a 2.5-inch SATA hard disk drive, which would provide room for Windows 7 or another desktop operating system.

      • Kubuntu 9.10 Alpha 3 Netbook Edition Demo

        This video is a demo of Kubuntu 9.10 Alpha 3 netbook edition run from within VirtualBox. Karmic Koala Alpha 3 comes with the new KDE desktop environment (build on KDE 4.3 RC), which still looks pretty damn good.

Free Software/Open Source

  • New User Retention

    We need some inter-community collaboration. Can we get everyone, regardless of distro or desktop environment, to agree that new users are a good thing and that we should be encouraging them? Can we get people to do that online, when it’s so much easier than in person to be a jerk without the pesky conscience getting in the way? It’s necessary in order to grow the greater Free Software user community.

  • Filmaster switches to Mercurial

    Filmaster.com, the open source movie recommendation service and film buffs community website, was just fully switched from Subversion to Mercurial for version control software.

  • Over 45 Free, Essential Open Source Resources

    On a regular basis, we at OStatic round up our ongoing collections of open source resources, tutorials, reviews and project tours. These educational toolkits are a big part of the learning mission we try to preserve at the site. We regularly collect the best Firefox extensions, free online books on open source topics, free tools for developers, resources for working with and enjoying online video and audio, Linux tutorials, and much more. In this post, you’ll find an updated set of more than 45 collections and resources. Hopefully, you’ll find something to learn from here, and the good news is that everything found in this post is free.

  • Company Offers Free Help Desk Software to Open Source Projects

    Live chat and CRM software vendor Kayako wants to help charitable foundations and open source software projects provide better customer service to users, so the company has announced it’s offering free and unlimited licenses for all help desk software and add-ons to charities and teams developing open source software.

  • UK Government ditches Microsoft’s Cloud in favour of Open Source?

    Obviously, I would want our ‘National Cloud’ (not that I want any Cloud at all thanks -I prefer owning my own data) to use Open Standards and Open Source technology; e.g. Nimbus, Eucalyptus et al. I would like the debate to start before we read the announcement about what they bought from whom. It would be a disaster for Open Source software if the National Cloud was based on proprietary technology.

  • Open Source for America: A resource for the Gov2.0 CTO

    With this post I’d like to tell you a bit more about the coalition Open Source for America and why I believe it is so important for our collective future. I would also like to encourage you to join this coalition yourself. Whether you represent industry, academia, non-profit organizations or are an individual technologist this coalition needs your help and support.

  • VMware buys SpringSource

    VMware seems to want the goodies SpringSource snatched up when it bought Hyperic. Rod Johnson and company purchased Hyperic in May, a move which puzzled me a bit at the time. Now that VMware is paying US$362 million for SpringSource, a company built originally to support the Spring framework for Java, I think we all know why Hyperic was valuable.

  • OSS Could Be Key in Leveling Stock Market Playing Field

    Marketcetera feels that open source software is an ideal way for smaller brokerages to keep up with — and perhaps outmaneuver — their larger competition. Marketcetera CEO Graham Miller sees open source hosted/SaaS (software as a service) trading platforms as having particular potential for investors using high frequency trading methods. And Miller isn’t the only one who believes this — the evidence is vibrantly illustrated by Sky Road LLC’s integration of Marketcetera’s open source, automated trading platform into its SaaS financial services product line.

  • Robotics

  • Government

    • Look What UKGovOSS Gives Us

      None of this will come as a huge surprise to anyone that has been following this sector for a while. The fear of failure and lack of support from central government are familiar problems. But what is useful is the quantification of other aspects of open source use in local governments that this survey provides. Let’s hope the UKGovOSS site thrives and is able to bring us updated surveys – maybe even ones that show some real progress in this frustrating area.

  • Openness

    • Reed Elsevier: Announces higher journal price increases than expected, BNP Paribas: Open Access is putting pressure on pricing

      For another illustration of the growing impact of hybrid open access programs on online journals prices, this time at Oxford University Press, cf. my newest posting to liblicense-l and lis-e-resources, Disturbing spread of dyscalculia in recent publisher price lists and announcements (Aug 7, 2008)

    • The Canadian Government’s War on Science

      During the Bush era the Canadian war on science was an embarrassing side show to that of its more wildly offensive southern neighbour which regularly silenced scientists, withheld reports, or simply appointed “expert” panels whose credentials were dubious but whose members could be counted on to produce the “right” answer. Indeed, these sad events are well chronicled in Politics And Science In The Bush Administration drafted for Representative Henry Waxman. (This, as an aside, is what happens when you give elected representatives real research budgets – they look into all sorts of issues to keep the government of the day honest. A similar study by a Canadian MP would have stretched their resources beyond their limit).

  • Firefox

    • 10 must-have Firefox extensions

      In this article today, you will read about the 10 extensions I find helpful in achieving better productivity when working with the browser, improving the speed and clarity of Web-related work, reducing the web page clutter and accompanying poor coding practice errors, reducing down-the-throat nagging, helping automate tasks and save tremendous amounts of time, and lastly, allowing me to carefully track down and maintain large quantities of data that I come across in my Internet adventures.

    • Firefox: Hearing Chromium’s Footsteps?

      As a believer that competition is generally good for technology products, I’m convinced that Chrome will ultimately be good for Firefox.

    • Firefox 3.6 on November, focus on Personas and responsiveness

      The initial plan for Firefox 3.6 (code named Namoroka) originally aimed for including pieces of Personas, Ubiquity (a command line in the location bar), Jetpack (light extensions), and Prism (ability to make web applications more desktop friendly), but when a few weeks ago, Firefox development team decided for a quick update (later this year) rather than a new year-long development cycle, it was clear not all would get in on time.

  • Programming

    • Building the Open Source Hackers Cooperative

      To illustrate open source sophistication, just look how easy it has become to start and manage projects. It is almost a cookie-cutter procedure. You pick one of a number of well known licenses, manage the code on SourceForge.net or Launchpad, communicate with the project through skype and mailing lists, and tell the world about it using your blog plus Twitter. Within an afternoon you have set up infrastructure to support efficient collaborative development with team members from Seattle to Singapore. The number of projects itself makes the point: SourceForge.net alone has over 230,000 projects.


  • Hit and myth: curse of the ghostwriters

    Two disturbing stories this week demonstrated the dangers of rejecting best practice of systematic review where the literature on a subject is surveyed methodically to find all the evidence.

    Firstly, the US Public Library of Science used a court order to obtain evidence showing how the pharmaceutical company Wyeth employed commercial “ghost writers” to produce reviews, published in academic journals, under the names of academic authors.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • U.S. government will not get secret company Internet data

      Telecommunications providers will not have to give the government sensitive revenue and Internet speed data for a program to map broadband use in U.S. homes and bring high-speed Internet service to more people.

      The U.S. Commerce Department said on Friday that companies such as Verizon Communications Inc, Comcast Corp and AT&T Inc do not have to share how much money they make from each Internet subscriber. Nor must they say how fast their Internet connections typically run.

    • Karoo Won’t Disconnect Pirates Without a Court Order

      Last month ISP Karoo in the north of England found itself in the middle of a storm when it said it would disconnect its subscribers upon an allegation of copyright infringement. Under pressure it quickly backtracked to a “3 strikes” regime but now they have told TorrentFreak that no-one will be disconnected without a court order.

    • The Curious Case of Karoo

      I predict that this will happen increasingly, as ISPs realise the implications of what the content industries are demanding with their “three strikes and you’re out” insanity. They would clearly be on very dodgy legal ground if they carried out this threat based on mere accusations. Yahoo for Karoo.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Project EquillibRIAA

      For the last few years I’ve talked quietly of a project to connect artists with the victims of lawsuits in the name of their bands. After the verdict handed down by the latest case of Sony vs. Tenenbaum I think it is time to put this plan to action. I’ve emailed Joel and received a list of the bands he was sued for and what I’d like to do is draw national attention to the public interfaces these bands have set up for themselves.

    • Team Tenenbaum to fight on for those “RIAA has screwed over”

      Ars Technica talks to the Joel Tenenbaum defense team about their plans to keep fighting the case, why they refused to settle, and their hope to file a class-action lawsuit against the RIAA in the future.

    • No, A Jury In A Trial Is Not A Representative Sample Of Views On Copyright

      Over the years, I’ve found that most people who don’t pay much attention to these things believe that story of copyrights and patents being the “root cause” of American creativity and innovation. It’s a fable that sounds so good as youngsters, and why not? Yet, when you talk to such folks one on one or in small groups, and start going through the real details… and when you explain to them how copyright is used to stifle speech and innovation, and when you show them the new and unique business models that don’t rely on copyright, they recognize the issue. When you finally show them the evidence — the studies upon studies about the harm done by such things, it’s not hard for them to realize that there’s a real problem with copyright laws, and that problem isn’t the fact that some kids aren’t paying for downloads.

      The only people I’ve found who resist such things are those whose own income in some way depends on exploiting copyright for their own advantage.

    • Musician: Any Aspiring Musician Should Download As Much Music As He Can

      It’s also a point highlighted by musician David Hahn, writing a response to a mother concerned about her son file sharing. She sent in a note to The Working Musician, a blog by and for working musicians, saying that her son file shares, and she wants him to stop, saying that he would feel differently if it was his music being shared. Hahn replies, however, by telling her that he feels exactly the opposite: and that her son should download as much music as possible…

    • Green party defends P2P legalization, collective licensing scheme

      The German Green party has defended the idea of a “culture flat rate” to pay for a legalization of file sharing, according to a report from heise.de. Germany’s Greens have been proposing collective licensing in combination with the legalization of non-commercial file sharing for a while, and party officials recently came out to defend the idea against critics from other parties as well as industry associations.

    • Author Using Questionable Copying Claim Against Twilight Author For Publicity

      Shouldn’t there be sanctions for abusing copyright law to file bogus lawsuits just to get some press for your book?

    • Canadians: Please make your voice heard today on copyright law

      The Canadian government has set up an online public consultation process to revise its copyright policy, running until September 13, 2009. If you live in Canada, now is your chance to take back your copyright law.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Maria Winslow, open source biz guru 03 (2005)

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

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