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Links 22/08/2009: Huge CentOS Review, Mandriva Linux 2010 Reaches Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 7:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Funny Friday: Funny Linux Merchandise from Zazzle

    These and more could be interesting gift ideas for fellow Linux users, sys ads or family. :) It could also be a good conversation starter in any convention or seminar for Linux and open source stuff.

  • What Linux cannot do.

    It does not have a:, c: d: to z: drives. Linux does not see internal drives, partitions and external devices as seperate drives. According to Linux (and every *nix based operating system) every piece of hardware is treated as a file. Even the computers memory, the internal busses, USB devices, mouse and keyboard are all files under Linux. To use these devices is all done in exactly the same way. Reading and writing to the relevent file. They are called devices only for our benefit.

  • Of course its Political!

    For the people who want to stay out of politics and just concentrate on technical issues, that is great. Just don’t be too harsh on people who realize that politics is also important and they put their energy into that. A healthy middle ground would be the best. It would be nice to see companies supporting GNU/Linux and taking it seriously. It seems that slowly, hardware and software manufacteurrs are getting the hint but it has been a long and hard battle which will continue for quite a long time to come. It is not easy to ignore politics and especially for a software revolution such as GNU/Linux.

  • Google

    • Microsoft, Google, and VMware redefine the operating system

      The easiest to understand are Google and VMware. Google, with its Linux distribution Chrome OS, is placing secondary emphasis on the operating system and primary emphasis on where it takes you: the Web. Given Google’s strength in cloud computing, this makes perfect sense. Google needs an operating system just long enough to move users “off” their personal computers (or mobile phones, for which Google has developed Android) and into its cloud services: Google Apps, Search, Wave, etc.

    • Nokia pact helps Microsoft, but WinMo surrender seen

      “It may be better to help Nokia throw meatballs into Google’s punch bowl — Nokia still has a chance of spoiling the Android feast,” Kuittinen said.

  • Desktop

    • The Big Advantage With Linux: Multiple Desktops

      I’ve been spending a lot of time lately using Windows as my main OS, jumping between Windows 7 or Vista. This is mostly in part because I’ve been working with some native Windows programs throughout my daily routine. But I decided yesterday to give up working on Windows natively and returning back to my preferred Arch Linux mainly because of one thing.

      Multiple desktops.

      Yes, something as simple as having multiple desktops is what caused me to ditch my Windows designing environment.

    • Order a High Powered Linux Workstation on the Cheap

      The bottom line is whether one is a DIY type or an average PC user one can get a complete, rather high powered GNU/Linux based PC system for under $800.00.

  • Kernel Space

    • Assembly Shader Rework Hitting Mesa Today

      Ian has been working in a branch of Mesa with what he calls the “Assembly Shader Rework” and rewriting the ARB program parser and adding in support for NVIDIA layered extensions. His hopes were to get most of this ready for Mesa 7.6 and it looks like this will end up working out right on schedule.

  • Applications

    • Pidgin 2.6.0–It’s About Time

      Theme support – Another Summer of Code project from 2008, this time by Justin Rodriguez, adds theming support to libpurple and Pidgin. This currently isn’t very well documented at all, but themes are now supported for the buddy list, sounds, and status icons.

    • Sixty mobile apps ported to Moblin

      Brazilian independent software vendor (ISV) Handcase says it will port about 60 of its PalmOS applications to the Linux-based Moblin operating system. The apps include free as well as paid commercial products.

    • Bordeaux 2009 year end roadmap

      I thought this would be a good time for us to share our next six months outlook for Bordeaux. Maybe I should start with whats taken place over the past few months then go over our future goals.

    • 5 Best Free/Open-Source Feed Readers (Desktop Clients) for Linux

      Even though there are plenty of good web-based RSS/News readers or aggregators that are available today, a lot of us still prefer to use desktop feed readers. This is mainly because desktop clients are more flexible and offer integration with other installed applications.

  • Desktop Environments

    • New Sugar Web Interface from Paraguay Educa

      Love it or hate it, the Sugar Learning Platform graphical user interface is strikingly different from any of the usual windowing desktops. With this radical departure from the norm, we’ve seen much discussion. And while my favorite interpretation is Aquatic Sugar, the new website from Paraguay Educa comes in a close second…

    • Get some serious transparency in GNOME and Compiz

      As I have said repeated, I like eye candy. One of the aspects of eye candy I like more than any other is transparency. With the right Linux desktop there is almost no limit on how you can configure the look and feel of your desktop. And that means you can have as transparent a desktop as you like.

  • Distributions

    • Distro life cycles, updates and small business

      Of course, one should be planning for routine security updates anyway, but here we are referring to version updates here. As with any update, you will have to prepare for a complete backup of the system as well as the data, just in case backups don’t go as well as planned.

      That is another luxury of FOSS/GNU/Linux systems. The ability to cleanly update from one release to the next. In a generally safe, relatively quick manner and without additional cost in terms of new software purchase, licenses, etc..

    • Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Linux 2010 beta version is available

        Please note that final graphical design is still not available.

      • Early PCLinuxOS KDE 4 Test Run

        A friend of mine asked me to give him a Linux distribution as soon as possible, so I decided to see if PCLinuxOS was fine for him right now. I also decided to test their early implementation of KDE 4. I’ll keep this post brief because there isn’t much to say. There isn’t a KDE 4 ISO out from PCLinuxOS yet and I assume that will take a while as they add the polish required for the next release, which incidentally will be out… when it’s ready.

    • CentOS

      • CentOS 5.3 – Serious Linux for serious people

        That’s it. The longest review ever is coming to an end. My Print Preview option in Firefox shows it’s 48 pages long should I decide to commit it to paper, one and a half times longer any other review I’ve written so far. But I think it’s worth it.

        We have learned a fearful lot of stuff here. First and the most important one, CentOS can be used as a desktop. A solid, stable desktop that will see you through almost a decade of support.

        You will be able to have almost everything you need. Following a crash course in CentOS tweaking and taming, we learned the difference in behavior and setup of 32-bit versus 64-bit hosts, we learned how to compile, how to solve problems with kernel versions, overcome screen resolution issues, configure proxy support and get updates, configure Samba sharing, install multimedia codecs, and get our CentOS to look pretty.

      • CentOS-based LiveCD at FrOSCon

        I previously blogged about how we are promoting WiiPresent at FrOSCon 2009 in Sankt-Augustin, Germany. We give away Wii Remotes and bluetooth dongles to speakers and every conference room has a system hooked up to the beamer that is running a custom CentOS-based LiveCD (actually a LiveUSB) image.

    • Ubuntu Family

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 4 Benchmarks

        Besides some of the synthetic graphics test results being lower in Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 4, the rest of the Linux desktop benchmarking spectrum experienced the same or better results. With the switch to EXT4 and some other improvements, in a few tests it shows Ubuntu 9.10 really shining.

      • Eyecandy Themes for Ubuntu – Download via Launchpad PPA Repo and be safe

        These are previews of some of the themes i liked. There are tens of other themes as well. Choose the one that meets your taste.

      • Nice iconset for ubuntu and Gnome
      • Ubuntu: Change for Critics and for Change Sake.

        A comment to yesterday’s marketing entry lead me to Seth’s blog, a marketer who rather neatly describes various mechanisms and ideas.

      • Ubuntu Linux- A cost below free.

        The competitive advantage of “free” that Ubuntu has simply does not sell with the enterprise market. Most corporate users would not migrate to Ubuntu simply because it is free. As long as they are willing to pay lots of money for MS Windows licenses, then it invariably means that to corporate and enterprise customers there is a price lower than free.

      • Kubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala (Alpha 4) Overview & Screenshots

        Overall, this looks promising. The developers will have enough time to polish it until October, and KDE 4.3 really behaves very nice, not to mention the look.

      • Ubuntu: Marketing Frustrations

        If we can’t have a corporate sponsor such as Canonical, IBM, Intel, Google, Linux Foundation paying for adverts, then perhaps it’s time we started doing something as a community. I’m not talking about the nascar 500 debarkle, but more of the firefox in the paper, full page spread kind of marketing. This kind of marketing would take real organisation though, lots of research and a lot of time to pull together all the people interested in making it happen. That’s probably why it’s not been done before.

      • Ubuntu – Unwanted Poster-boy?

        I do know that there will always be pockets of trolls waiting under forum bridges, though if we can all be a bit more positive and work together, it’ll be for the greater benefit of Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • First Look at TonidoPlug

      For Linux Pro Magazine readers, the name Tonido will sound familiar. I covered this sleek and user-friendly solution that lets you turn an Ubuntu-based machine into a nifty server in issue 105. Recently, CodeLathe, the company behind Tonido, launched TonidoPlug — a tiny Ubuntu-based server running the Tonido software.

    • Boot Linux on the Beagle Board

      The Beagle Board is an open-hardware single-board computer that is both inexpensive and capable of running Linux® at a reasonable speed. Get to know the Beagle Board, and learn how to get a Linux development environment together on the cheap.

    • Consultancy launches mobile open source practice

      The Olliance Group has announced a new “Mobile Open Source Practice,” and has hired embedded Linux veteran and LinuxPundit analyst and consultant William “Bill” Weinberg to run it. Weinberg has been named senior executive and practice manager of the open source consultancy’s new mobile practice.

    • Nokia N900 shown off in all its Linux-based loveliness

      The site’s awesomely detailed overview of a prototype N900 includes a bumper crop of photos of the phone and screenshots of the user interface. The story also includes an exhaustive introduction to Maemo, Nokia’s Linux-ish operating system, which powers the N900.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Top 5 things we’d all love to see from System76

        # A Tablet
        The new netbook looks great, but still a tablet would be an incredible addition to the lineup. Currently, the only tablets available with Ubuntu pre-installed are un/re-branded machines which knocks the price up, and although the CrunchPad looks sweet, something from System76 with Ubuntu would be even sweeter! Tablets are a great thing to show off which not only promotes Ubuntu but also kills the myth that Linux does not love tablets. It does.

      • Indie netbooks run with the Jackalope

        Two separate U.S.-based system integrators are shipping Ubuntu 9.04-based netbooks that run on the Intel Atom N270 CPU and offer 10-inch displays and 160GB hard disk drives (HDDs). Denver-based System76 announced a “Starling” netbook, and Berkeley-based ZaReason weighed in with its Terra A20 (pictured).

Free Software/Open Source

  • An Abbreviated History of ACP, One of the Oldest Open Source Applications

    If I asked you to tell me the first software that was made available as open source, you probably would point to something that came out of ARPAnet, such as TCP/IP; I dare say you would at least mention one of the fundamental pieces of the Internet. But I gently brushed against an earlier computing endeavor that might qualify as the first open source application: IBM’s Airline Control Program, or ACP. If ACP was not among the first open source apps — assuming we use the definition, “of or relating to or being computer software for which the source code is freely available” — then it was certainly an influence. Yet, in my old fuddy-duddiness, I’m surprised by how few people actually know ACP even existed. Especially since I think a few tendrils of its source code helped you make it onto your airplane flight today.

  • A Toolkit of Back to School Open Source Apps

    Lyx – If you do a lot of academic writing, theses, or scientific papers, Lyx will make sure the structure of your documents meets formal acceptance requirements. This app helps you with those niggling formatting details, and includes several templates to get you up and running in no time. It also includes a mathematical formula editor, support for several graphic formats, and shared geometry settings for multiple figures.

  • FreeBSD 8 Getting New Routing Architecture

    Though the open source FreeBSD operating system has changed in many aspects over the last 16 years of its life, one item that has remained relatively static is its underlying network routing architecture.

  • OpenOffice.org

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.1.1 Release Candidate 2 (build OOO310_m19) available
    • Openoffice.org – Five things MS Office users do not know.

      High Quality Office Suite.
      OO.org is developed by a worldwide community of people like you and I. You can contribute to the development of this great application in so many ways the easiest of which is to donate some few dollars to help cover the cost of development. Having thousands of people develop the application has resulted in a very high quality product due to the fact that lots of people get to see the code, make corrections and give valuable inputs, with more people testing it and giving feedback resulting in a very stable, reliable, high quality world class product. There is no secret in the development of OO.org

  • Mozilla

    • The Creative Collective is Here! Join Us.

      I’m excited to announce the initial beta release of the Mozilla Creative Collective, the official new home and hub of activity for our visual design community. The goal of the Creative Collective is to use art as a means for spreading Firefox and sharing the Mozilla story in new ways.

    • The Web (and Ubuntu) Can Make a Difference

      The week of September 14-21, 2009 is Mozilla Service Week, brought to you by the good folks behind Firefox and Thunderbird. They’ve partnered with Idealist.org, a non-profit jobs listing site, to link service-minded techies with non-profit organizations in need to their help.

    • Slick Firefox Add-On Does Instant Language Translations of Web Pages

      This extension is an early preview, but it’s really quite good, and you can definitely have fun with it.

    • Make Firefox Social: Four Social Media Add-Ons You’ll Love

      Social media addict or social media newbie? Either way, we’ve got four must-have Firefox extensions that will make using popular social media sites much easier and more seamless within the world’s most popular open source browser.

  • VoIP

    • Music to Asterisk’s Ears

      Opsound is a good demonstration of how the ideas behind free software are being applied in other fields, with the result that open source projects like Asterisk can then benefit in its turn – sharing as symbiosis.

    • Say Hello to 5 VoIP Solutions for Linux

      Ekiga – Here’s an open source VoIP and video conferencing app designed especially for the GNOME desktop. It can handle multiple network interfaces at once, and includes an advanced contact book, configurable sound events, call hold, transfer, and forwarding, and a host of other features. Ekiga also integrates well with Asterisk and Novell Evolution.

  • Business

    • All Open Source Software is Commercial

      I have already been writing that commercial and open source are still not antonyms, and David did definitely a better job in his paper “FLOSS is commercial software” (revised earlier this year).

  • Government

    • Opening Up Government Data: Give it to Us Raw, Give it to Us Now

      Last month Rufus Pollock, Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation, spoke at OpenTech 2009 in a session with Richard Stirling of the Cabinet Office and John Sheridan of the Office of Public Sector Information.


      Where is the nearest bus stop? UK Department for Transport adds NaPTAN data to Open Street Map

      The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has recently released data from the National Public Transport Access Node (NaPTAN) database to be put on Open Street Map (OSM).

    • San Francisco Opens The City’s Data

      In an effort to engage our highly skilled workforce we are launching DataSF.org, an initiative designed to increase access to city data.

      The new web site will provide a clearinghouse of structured, raw and machine-readable government data to the public in an easily downloadable format. For example, there will be updated crime incident data from the police department and restaurant inspection data from the Department of Public Health. The initial phase of the web site includes more than 100 datasets, from a range of city departments, including Police, Public Works, and the Municipal Transportation Agency.

    • Finding government apps in Europe’s open source forges

      Starting on Monday, visitors of Osor, the Open Source Observatory and Repository for European public administrations, can search for applications among the 1749 open source development projects that are currently hosted on ten development websites provided by national and regional public administrations in Austria, France, Italy and Spain.

  • Licensing

    • FOSS Licences Wars

      Finally I’d rather have a proprietary derived work than no derived program at all, or that instead someone will duplicate my effort in creating a BSD-style or a proprietary replacement for my work.

  • Science

    • A new website for the rapid sharing of influenza research

      PLoS Currents: Influenza, which we are launching today, is built on three key components: a small expert research community that PLoS is working with to run the website; Google Knol with new features that allow content to be gathered together in collections after being vetted by expert moderators; and a new, independent database at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) called Rapid Research Notes, where research targeted for rapid communication, such as the content in PLoS Currents: Influenza will be freely and permanently accessible. To ensure that researchers are properly credited for their work, PLoS Currents content will also be given a unique identifier by the NCBI so that it is citable.

    • M.I.T. Calls Academia’s Bluff

      The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has begun the most revolutionary experiment in the history of education, stretching all the way back to the pharaohs. It now gives away its curriculum to anyone smart enough to learn it. It has posted its curriculum on-line for free. These days, this means a staggering 1900 courses. This number will grow.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Could Sony Open eBook Decision Pressure Amazon?

      In a move that could only be characterized as surprising, Sony announced last week that it was going to be using the open ePub eBook standard, which in theory should enable Sony Reader users to access and use any books created around the standard. Sony Readers will also be able to read Adobe PDFs and Adobe eBooks, both of which come with Adobe DRM. It’s a complex announcement, but one thing is clear, Sony has laid down the gauntlet with Amazon, leaving it as the lone major proprietary reader. But is Amazon too big to care?


  • The Associated Press needed an editor for its “plan for reclaiming news”

    It’s strange how one of the largest news organizations in the world can make such a muddle when writing about serious issues in an important internal document.

  • Paulo Coelho: Content Creators Will Be Punished For Not Sharing Their Ideas Freely

    And the key point he makes? In the past, heretics were punished for sharing their ideas. These days, you’ll be punished if you don’t share your ideas.

  • Designing A Copyright Law That’s Built To Last

    Copyright reform is never simple, but a principled, forward-looking approach is the right place to start.

  • Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground stream new unreleased album

    While many bands are left struggling to connect with fans and giving them a reason to buy (CwF + RtB), acts like HEALTH are giving away “prizes” and Radiohead are leaking its own songs. We can now add Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground into the fray as well.

  • When The Marketing Overshadows The Music

    To gain attention for his new album, Moldover created some unique packaging that turns the CD cover into a playable electronic instrument.

  • The end of free lyrics?

    And then along comes LyricWiki, a terrific resource for grabbing lyrics without the ads and dead-ends. Just type a song title, artist, or album into LyricWiki’s Search field and a list of Google hits appears on a subsequent page. Click an appropriate link and the lyrics appear without the advertising cruft. Better yet, thanks to the LyricWiki API, programmers could create desktop and mobile applications that retrieved lyrics from LyricWiki without the need for a Web browser.

    At least it did. According to a post by LyricWiki’s creator, Sean Colombo, the major publishers demanded that programmatic access to LyricWiki’s collection of lyrics be shut off. Rather than face the wrath of those publishers, Colombo complied with the request.

  • Yahoo wins U.S. court ruling over webcasting fees

    A federal appeals court in New York ruled that a Yahoo Inc Internet radio service is not required to pay fees to copyright holders of songs it plays, a defeat for Sony Corp’s BMG Music.

  • The Quiet Digital Audio Revolution

    While commercially-recorded audio from the traditional big-name music companies is on a downhill slide in both technical and artistic quality, it’s never been better for the do-it-yourselfer, the serious hobbyist, and independent artist. All this hooey about Linux needing to be more “business friendly”– why should we even care? Look at what business has done for us: the RIAA, BSA, DMCA, insane copyright extensions, “intellectual property”, patents, the near-death of Fair Use, corporate spyware, unchecked privacy invasions, a complete abdication of responsibility, a barren computing marketplace…who needs friends like that?

    OK that’s a bit of a tangent, sorry, just my usual blend of mixed feelings coming out: immense sadness at the overall sorry state of affairs, and immense gratitude that we have such a strong lifeline in Linux and FOSS.

  • Cor! – UK Pirate Party’s Smart Move

    What’s interesting is how tightly focussed the Pirate Party is. I think that’s wise: otherwise it would just become another Raving Monster Loony Party. By restricting its message to an area that it understands, and which is crying out for reform, I’m sure it will benefit in the long run. It will also, usefully, force the other parties to frame their own responses in this domain.

  • The Price of Justice

    If you believe that denying a fair trial to around 5 million people in this country is wrong, maybe it’s time to join the Pirate Party?

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