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Links 14/09/2009: Best Buy Backlash, Many New GNU/Linux Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 2:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Are you ready to Protest?

    Contact the people at Best Buy and Office Depot. I mean think about it anyone can sit in front of a keyboard and type something that exposes the obvious falsehoods! And what will happen? That depends on how many individuals actually choose to participate in letting these businesses know that this practice is unacceptable and that you will be taking your business elsewhere.

    And I will even make it easy for you by providing you with a link to the page that you need.

    Complain to Office Depot

    Complain to Best Buy

    And feel free to post your complaint to Best Buy in your comments this will encourage more Linux users to get on board and send in a complaint. And pass this on.

  • Best Buy’s Geek Squad votes union

    Can you imagine how much management bonuses would have to fall in order to pay workers a fair wage and train them properly? The horror! If you look at how well it reacted the last time the notion was floated, it just shows that Best Buy’s management cares – just not about its employees.

    Friends on the inside tell us that Best Buy prefers to promote Geek Squad personnel from sales to technical because it finds it easier to teach a sales droid to follow a trouble-shooting flowchart – especially if it has lots of pictures and not too many big words – than to indoctrinate a seasoned, knowledgable technician to upsell bling and push expensive extended warrantees.

    See why it is afraid of unions? Standards, training, fair wages, fair hours, and in general, being good to employees could wreak havoc on Best Buy top management’s stock options for several quarters.

    From what we understand, Best Buy management is desperately trying to keep a lid on this ‘problem’ and wants to keep it from ‘snowballing’. One brave soul described management as “freaked out”.

  • Another Microsoft horror story, the Huntington Indiana public library

    The library in Marion, Indiana, just 15 miles or so south of me, uses Linux. Not only do they use Linux, they use a distribution based on the free Fedora Linux called Userful Discoverstation which uses terminal multiplexing. This allows one tower to power 10 workstations with their own monitors, keyboards, and mice. This is not only much better for the environment than having 10 boxes running their own copy of the OS, it saves on the electric bill, and they don’t have to buy licenses from Microsoft. (You could set up a free Linux distro to get the same effect, Userful just makes it easier).

  • On the web at warp speed

    Chrome OS is designed primarily to work with applications such as e-mail, word-processors, calendars and the like that are stored in the cloud rather than on a user’s hard-drive. Google has already developed the software, called Gears, that lets a browser run such web-based applications. Gears is built into Google Chrome but can just as easily be added to other browsers.

  • Recover data with Linux

    When you’re used to the world of Windows or OS X, Linux can seem a little unforgiving.

    Not only does command-line access hand over the complete keys to the manor to any unwitting user with access to the administrator’s account, there’s rarely a safety net should things go wrong.

  • Desktop

    • Linux in the Corporate Environment on the Desktop

      For those of you who don’t know what Linux is, there are plenty of articles explaining its history to a great extent, but essentially, its an alternative Operating System that runs on computers capable of running Windows. There are multiple variants of Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian) but essentially the core of the system is very similar and from a desktop interaction perspective, there are some common interfaces to them all. Gnome and KDE being the two dominant GUIs.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • How Important Is The Wayland Display Server?

      Last November we detailed the Wayland Display Server, which came about as a lightweight alternative to the X.Org Server and leveraged the latest Linux graphics technologies (primarily kernel mode-setting), and is designed elegantly with the rendering and compositing all being done by Wayland. Quite a bit of work was going on with this project early on to the point of running two X Servers within Wayland and then talk of a Clutter back-end for Wayland, but over the summer there has not been much to report. However, with the KMS page-flipping ioctl going into the Linux 2.6.32 kernel — which is used by Wayland — there should be some renewed activity with this project shortly.

    • A 30,000 Line Patch For Mesa Brings Geometry Shaders

      Zack Rusin has been working on a lot of Linux graphics code lately from an OpenCL state tracker to other Gallium3D state trackers like X-Video / EXA. On top of this, he has just formally announced his work on bringing Geometry Shaders to Mesa.

  • Applications

    • Max Payne – Welcome to despair

      Max Payne was definitely a revolution in its time, when it was released back in 2001. Even today, Max Payne is a great title. The graphics is quite reasonable, but most importantly, the unique quality of the gameplay remains virtually unmatched. I play the game every now and then, fighting my way through yet another career as the bitter police detective Payne.

      If you have the mental capacity to separate computer games from real life, Max Payne is an excellent pasttime activity, especially if it’s stormy or rainy outside and you can’t go for a nice little hike. Channel all that pent up frustration from sitting locked in a tight cubic all day hammering on the keyboard, into annihilating the New York underground. In that regard, Max Payne is the perfect stress relief.

    • FLOSS Weekly 86: Ardour

      Ardour, the digital audio workstation and recording software.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Group Photo

      Finally had time to upload my GCDS photos to Flickr. The GNOME group photos are included in this album.

    • LXDE: LXDM and Trash support

      Some cool news for any LXDE users.

      The first one, LXDE developers finally started to develop their own Display Manager, that means that soon we’ll need no more the very heavy GDM or the no more developed SLIM.

    • KDE

      • Spiffying up the interactive console

        Since people quickly jumped to various questions about the look and feel of the interactive console, I figured I’d give a small update today about it. After working on a few things around it, I ended up implementing the buttons as actions, a toolbar and using a text editor part if available (and falling back to the plain text editor widget if none exists).

      • Dropping remote content and wallpapers

        The first feature, which is mostly thanks to Sebastian (I just did some janitorial work on the patch), is the ability to drop remote content onto a Plasma::Containment such as a desktop activity or a panel. Plasma, via KIO, tries to figure out what you are dropping and then offers a set of matching widgets, if any, to create for that content.

      • Side effects of using QtWebKit for desktop apps

        Integrating the web into desktop apps is now incredibly easy thanks to Qt WebKit. Qt WebKit also allows us to embed any Qt widget inside the html. This feature makes it extremely tempting to develop full blown desktop applications using Qt WebKit – your interface is entirely designed using html/css (instead of .ui) and you as a C++ developer decide what parts are best done in Qt/C++ and embed them into the html page.

      • kde – first commit!

        So, after waiting for a few days, I got a reply from KDE’s sysadmin team, and I’m in. My first patch is also now in — thanks much to Martin for comments, review, and assistance.

  • Distributions

    • Trisquel 3.0 STS “Dwyn” has landed!

      We are proud to announce the Trisquel GNU/Linux 3.0 release, codenamed Dwyn. It is the first of a new series of short term support releases that include highly updated software, improved performance and better hardware compatibility, and that will now accompany the long term support 2.x Robur branch. The 3.0 version will be upgraded to 3.5 in six months, and will get updates for another six months. The 2.2 LTS version, released a few days ago, will get security updates until 2013.

    • Bluewhite64 Linux 13.0 Features KDE 4.3.1

      Attila Crăciun announced yesterday the release of Bluewhite64 Linux 13.0, a Slackware-based distribution that runs natively on AMD/Intel’s 64-bit processors. Many changes and upgrades have been made, and, along with those, come new features and improvements over the older Bluewhite64 12.2.

    • Absolute Linux 13.0 Switches to LZMA-Compressed Packages

      Paul Sherman announced the release of Absolute Linux 13.0, bringing this lightweight Slackware derivative up-to-date. Because of the important system-level changes that happened in Slackware 13, the Absolute Linux developers had a hard time making all their customizations work with this new base. However, they managed to get their IceWM and PCManFM modifications in sync, and all the script utilities working, for this 13.0 release of Absolute Linux 13.0.

    • Release Notes for CRUX 2.6

      This page discusses the relevant changes introduced in CRUX 2.6. Everybody upgrading from the previous release is advised to carefully read the following notes.

    • Hymera 20090910
    • Absolute 13.0.1 released

      Bug fix release corrects two issues:

      Add user utility corrected (had failed to start due to importing module that is no longer used.)

    • Tiny Core 2.3.1
    • Kahel OS. Do IT Right.

      Dear Fellow Open Source Enthusiasts and Linux Advocate cum “Passionistas”:

      The Advent of one of the Filipino Contributions has dawned to the IT World. Kahel OS.

      At first, i wish to write “… The advent of one of the significant and relevant Filipino Contributions has dawned to the IT World. But it would only be significant if IT’s goal will be attained and relevant if users may realize IT’s value in the long run.

      Kahel OS is not just an Operating System so to speak. IT is not just a Technology Product on a Linux and Open Source Platform added to the thousands of FREE Distros already available in the community. IT does not explicitly want to be different or to be set apart from the rest. However, among others, we simply would like Kahel OS (just like our team) to be the embodiment of our IT Values and Philosophy.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu On Your PS3 – Ready Made Games Emulation!

        Earlier in the year, the guys at Gizmodo put together a fantastic guide to get your PS3 running Ubuntu. With the release of the new Slim model and inevitable rush to dust off our old consoles, it is a good time to revisit the article. In the words of John Mahoney….

      • Should Ubuntu “Software-Store” Be Renamed?

        Of course, there is nothing wrong with the option to do this, and any paid application will face a tough time when up against free and just-as-capable application of the same ilk. Yet some feel it will distort the user experience of Ubuntu – and perhaps lead open-source dev’s away into solely “paid” development.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • NEC works with Wind River for Linux on portable A/V devices

      Developers looking to use Linux in portable devices such as multimedia players and mobile televisions, could be helped by a collaboration between NEC Electronics Corp. and Wind River.

    • Phones

      • Nokia backtracks, will allow customized Linux phones

        Nokia this morning reversed its seeming stance on excluding carrier customization from Maemo-based smartphones like the N900. Despite an executive claiming Nokia would at least partly follow the Android and iPhone models of giving less control to carriers over software in the OS, the company now says the argument is “simply incorrect” and that there are “many customization points” for carriers to alter the platform.

      • Review: Pre – Palm Strikes Back

        Once upon a time Palm claimed the most loyal developer base among smartphone and handheld manufactures. Its 30,000-strong catalog of apps for the Palm OS was the envy of Palm’s rivals. With the webOS, the company is basically starting from scratch.

      • Motorola Cliq: Is Android Becoming the Cell Phone’s Linux?

        As there is no longer one true Linux, but a slew of what are called “distros,” it looks like Android is destined to follow suit. Sure, Google will always be associated with any device that is running it, but now that Android is starting to take steps towards maturity, it is time for the company to lovingly take a step back and watch it grow.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • Protect Your Network With an Open-Source Firewall

    It the rare IT person who doesn’t sometimes run into a situation where they are helping a client or organization who has more IT needs than budget. Often it’s the rule and not the exception. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need a decently robust and full featured firewall and have a budget approaching zero, I have just the solution for you: SmoothWall Express.

  • Market Parallels – Cloud and Open Source?

    Any new technology market has its own lifecycle and rhythm. From mainframes, through smartphones, there’s the early years, the rapid growth, some slowing down and inevitably a decline. Some technologies never go away completely (e.g. mainframes), while others never really get a foothold (insert your own example here).

  • Government

    • FOSS.IN: Wind of Change

      Quite a few of you have been asking the question “So what big changes can we expect in FOSS.IN this year? What eggs are you breaking this year to make an omelette?” The former is a reference to the fact that we have changed our “small, regional event” every year, tuning things so that it met the larger objectives of FOSS.IN.

    • FOSS.in turning from Linux/FOSS only event into more general hacker conference

      As can be seen from the FOSS.in/2009 “Omelette Post”, in addition to the regular FOSS.in schedule until 5pm every day, there will be additional hacker talks until 10.30pm, which might not necessarily be directly connected with FOSS.

  • Programming

    • Russia’s New Holiday: Programmer’s Day

      Unofficially Programmer’s Day celebrated in the world for many years at the 256 th day of each year. The number 256 is chosen because it is the number of integers that can be expressed using a single eight-byte, and also is the maximum degree of 2, which is less than 365.


  • Images from Refurbished Hubble
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A copyright black hole swallows our culture

      Librarians call it the 20th-century black hole. The overwhelming force is not gravity but copyright law, sucking our collective culture into a vortex from which it can never escape.

    • Google Fights Book Backlash

      Google Inc. said Thursday it would allow rivals to sell access to the digital copies of millions of out-of-print books it has amassed, but the move did little to appease critics of the Internet giant’s digital book plans.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Jim Hogg teaches GNU Linux to high school kids 01 (2008)

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