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Links 12/10/2009: Linux Wins in China’s Phones, France Makes Research Centre for Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 3:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Who is a Candidate for Desktop Linux?

    The greater and more important question is, who CAN switch to Linux? It should be noted that when I refer to groups of people here, I am for the most part excluding Information Technology professionals, Techies, digital content creation professionals, UNIX/Linux sysadmins and scientific academia who have much more sophisticated or specialized needs and may even be using Linux, the Mac and Windows and or a combination of these already.

    As to WHICH Linux distribution any of these target users should be looking at, I am going to treat all of them equally and say that every single one of them will meet the basic usage requirements for the set of folks detailed below. For more information on Linux distributions, check out my Surviving the Recession with Free Linux Distributions roundup.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 66

    The following Linux distributions were announced last week: SystemRescueCd 1.3.1, Gentoo 10, Tiny Core 2.4.1 and Mandriva Linux 2010.0 RC2. In other news: The KDE Community announced the second maintenance release of the KDE 4.3 desktop environment. An in-depth review of the MP3 Diags application is also present in this edition. The weekly ends with the video clip of the week, the latest Linux distributions released/updated last week and the development releases.

  • Registration Opens For LCA2010

    Registration for Linux.conf.au 2010, which takes place in Wellington, NZ, has now opened up, and the organisers of the region’s premier open source software conference are offering discounted early bird prices until November 13.

  • Desktop

    • Average home user installing drivers in Linux, pffft!

      Pretty obvious you haven’t used Linux recently. The only driver I have had to install, in the last 3 years, has been video drivers, and my distro tells me there is a proprietary driver available and would I like to use it. I press the yes button and it is downloaded and installed automatically. I have to logout of this session and log back in, but I don’t have to do a full re-boot, as with Redmonds POS. My present distro came with the latest video driver already installed.

  • Server

    • Birmingham Hippodrome Achieves Business Continuity with SteelEye LifeKeeper

      SteelEye Technology, Inc. (steeleye.com), a leading provider of business continuity and disaster recovery solutions for multi-vendor IT infrastructures, and Open Minds, SteelEye’s Solution Centre in the UK, today announced the implementation of SteelEye LifeKeeper for Linux by Birmingham Hippodrome, one of the UK’s most visited theatres.

    • Lantronix Launches XPort Pro, World’s Smallest Linux Networking Server

      Lantronix, Inc. (NASDAQ: LTRX), a leading provider of secure, remote management, device networking and data center management technologies, today announced XPort® Pro™, the newest addition to its popular XPort® family of embedded Ethernet networking and compute modules, used in millions of devices worldwide. XPort Pro provides customers with a powerful engine for deploying advanced applications at the network edge, all in an integrated, thumb-sized package.

    • Canadian Web Host, Cirrus Tech, Expands Shared Hosting Plans To Include Linux Unlimited Domains Host
    • Banco Pastor Reduces Costs, Increases Scalability and Boosts Performance with Red Hat, SAP® and IBM Solutions

      Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Banco Pastor, the seventh largest Spanish banking group with 650 branch offices in Spain and a presence in the US and the main capital cities in Europe and Latin America, has migrated its critical human resources and corporate emailing systems running SAP NetWeaver® and SAP ERP and IBM Lotus Notes for Collaboration software to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Through a combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on IBM System z10, Banco Pastor has experienced decreased annual IT costs of 30 percent for the platform supporting its emailing system, improved performance and increased scalability for the platforms running its SAP and IBM Lotus Notes applications.

  • Applications

    • How to verify your files in Linux with MD5

      Everyone downloads files, whether it’s an ISO image of the latest Linux distribution, TuxRadar podcast or a PDF tutorial.

      But despite this age of browser security, anti-malware software and sophisticated intrusion detection it’s not always possible to ensure that files haven’t been tampered with in transit (or even on the server itself).

    • Nice effect for Gimp : Harry’s Mist and Fog
    • Quirky Wallpaper Series: Use Your LastFm Data As A Cool Wallpaper!

      Andrew over at webupd8 just posted about this and i thought it was too cool not to make part of my Quirky Wallpaper Series, and share with the rest of us Ubuntu users!

    • Nero Linux 4 – Still the Best Burning Tool for Linux?

      I was a little underwhelmed, and I actually had to dig deep to see what was new. According to the company, these are the newest features:

      * Nero Linux Express
      * More advanced options for burning all types of media
      * ISOLINUX Bootable CD/DVD/BD Support
      * BD Defect Management
      * Enhanced Audio Format Support – AIFF and MusePack

      “That’s it?” See what I mean? It’s been two-and-a-half years since Nero Linux 3, and this is what’s updated? Nero Linux Express is admittedly a nice update, but the rest are going to appeal to a rather slim audience – especially the Blu-ray defect feature (essentially a more robust verification process). Well, the new features might be slim, but let’s take a look at the application as it stands today and see if it’s worth your $20.

    • Shall we play a game?

      What is different about Warzone 2100 is the way you can design your own war machines. There are over 400 different technologies [sic] to choose from. All previous games I have seen only have a set of specific types of unchanging selections. With Warzone you can do research which provides new abilities. You can then mix and match those abilities to create your ultimate bone crunching machines. That is enough to provide just about unlimited variety for endless digital massacre of those standing in the way of your total domination.

  • Desktop Environments

    • 4,273,291 lines of code

      4,273,291 lines of code, that’s the size of the KDE core modules, which are released as the official KDE software distribution, as of today, the numbers generated using David A. Wheeler’s SLOCCount.

    • The Two Elephant Problem

      There are a number of strategies to approaching the two elephant problem. The “push the new elephant in, in one go” approach is the most radical and disruptive. A new version of the project is presented to the community, complete and ready to roll, and it is up to the community to accept the changes. The danger for the project though is that the first elephant may decide to leave. This was the approach taken by the KDE developers when they committed to creating KDE 4.0. The backlash saw many users sit back on older versions of KDE or look for alternative desktops. It is only now, after a number of subsequent releases, that KDE is winning back friends.

      Another approach is to mitigate the disruption by disassembling the new elephant and introduce it bit by bit into the room, with the hope that the community will adopt the new elephant parts as their own. The problem with this approach is that it is very hard to disassemble elephants, let alone reassemble them, and any vision for the new version may not survive the rebuilding process. A Frankenstein elephant may work, but the elegance of the original plans could well be lost and new parts may well be rejected. This is partly the approach of the GNOME developers, who have delivered a preview version of the GNOME Shell, a highlight of the proposed GNOME 3.0, in version 2.28. According to some reports, this is a hard to get working preview and as such the effort to get it running may outweigh the benefits of the early preview.

  • Distributions

    • The 10 Best Linux Distributions of 2009

      1. gNewSense – Ever since my conversation with Richard Stallman, I’ve decided that gNewSense is the distro that claims the top spot for this year. Based on Ubuntu, which is based on Debian, gNewSense contains only free software. It’s also the distro that Stallman himself uses–how can you beat that?

      2. Debian – Debian is a GNU/Linux distribution that has it all: Great support, unsurpassed stability, awesome developers, a huge community, dozens of offspring including Ubuntu and gNewSense, regular updates, apt-get, thousands of ready-to-install programs and it makes a great user computer or server system.

    • Reviews: Sabayon Linux Five Point OH!

      I always like Sabayon Linux, but I’ve never quite made the switched. I know I need to bite the bullet and just get used to KDE 4, and perhaps Sabayon 5.o will be the one to do it for me. It’s the best implementation of KDE 4 I’ve tried to use, but it still has quite a few rough edges. KDE 4.3.2 hasn’t shown up in Entropy yet, but I’m hoping it will soon and perhaps I’ll see even more improvement. In any case, I think I’ll be sticking with Sabayon and its KDE 4 for a while to see how it fares over the long haul.

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 163

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #163 for the week October 4th – October 10th, 2009. In this issue we cover: 2009 Community Council vote complete, Ubuntu Server Eucalyptus Testers Needed, Developer Membership Board Meeting: New Approval Process, Ubuntu Translation Templates Priority, New MOTU’s, LoCo News: Catalan, Copenhagen, & Paris, Bazaar 2.0.0: interview with Martin Pool, Help us improve Launchpad’s icons, Ubuntu Forums Interview & Tutorial of the Week, The Planet: Joey Stanford & Roderick Greening, Ubuntu 9.10 – Almost Perfect, Hulu Desktop (Linux), and much, much more!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia N900 Blurs Line Between Smartphones and Portable Computers

        Smartphones are getting larger and more advanced in comparison with standard mobile phones. Laptop computers can be created in much smaller sizes than they were in the past. What this means is that there’s an increasingly fine line between what makes a device a phone and what makes it a laptop. Add in the fact that you can talk on a notebook through Skype or access the web with your phone and you can see that the difference between phones and computers is increasingly difficult to define. The Nokia N900 is one of those devices that truly straddles this already fine line.

      • Nokia N900 Smartphone: Apps and future Maemo Linux versions

        The Nokia N900 Smartphone will now be able to have its applications ported much easier soon, to not only its Maemo Linux operating system, but also Windows Mobile and Symbian. This will only be possible with the use of the Qt graphical toolkit to Maemo 5, which we previously mentioned

      • Open source, the new mobile success strategy

        Many experts claim that Google Android is being over hyped. But that isn’t stopping all the mobile companies and developers to fiddle around with Google’s unique open source platform. Verizon was the latest to jump on the Android bandwagon, citing the “unmatched openness and flexibility of the Android platform.” Motorola recently announced that it would not be making phones based on the recently released Window Mobile 6.5 version.

      • Handymarkt: China Mobile will Smartphone-Preise drücken

        China Mobile nutzt die konzerneigene Variante des Google-Betriebssystems Android, um die Handyhersteller unter Druck zu setzen. Mit seinem Vorstoß wollen die Chinesen vor allem eines erreichen: Die Preise für Smartphones sollen sinken.

      • Photos: 10 of the best open source mobiles

        How open source software is changing the face of smartphone hardware…

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Inside the Google cloudbook

        Netbooks will converge with cloud computing over the next few years to engender what could become the next big thing in mobile. I call it the Google cloudbook. That’s because the core of this new system is the kind of software that the search giant has the strongest motivation and market position to deliver.

      • Arm Uses Laptops to Protect Mobile Phone Turf From Intel

        Though the Arm architecture can run Linux, including a distribution from Ubuntu, Microsoft has said its upcoming Windows 7 operating system will not support the Arm architecture.


        Linux computing is taking off, and a lot of people are happy doing web browser based computing, and accessing office and other applications in the cloud, he added.

Free Software/Open Source

  • France begins IT research centre on innovation and free software

    France’s national computer science institute, Inria, says free software is essential to develop digital society. The institute is launching a research centre to focus on this type of software, Cirill (IT Innovation and Research Centre for Free Software).

    The foundation of Cirill was announced at the Open World Forum in Paris earlier this month. Cirill is to become a reference centre for the research and development of stable and reliable free software.

  • FreeBSD – installation process

    Welcome to the tutorial guide. The guide will provide a user with advice and guidance on how to install freebsd. before we go ahead with the installation process, it is good to know the hardware requirements. Let’s have a look at hardware requirements.

  • I never won a Nobel Peace Prize.

    I woke up on the morning of October 9th to find that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

    There was a lot of discussion about whether President Obama had “earned” the honor or not, and a lot of discussion about how the Nobel Peace Prize is not always for what you have done, but encouraging you to keep going in what you are doing.

    As I read his acceptance speech, I thought about Free and Open Source Software, and applied parts of his speech to my favorite subject.

    “Let me be clear, I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments”

    A lot of people have said to me, “Thank you for what you do for Free Software”. I tell them that I was someone who was in a particular place at a particular time. I did what I thought needed doing, and what I had skills to do.

  • FLOSS in Egypt (and bits of the Middle-East)

    Ladies and gentlemen meet the FLOSS Community in Egypt. Where should I start. Well there is a community but before I state my opinion on it let me explain how it functioned the last time I checked…. It is just like the regional policy “1 BIG guy” and everyone follows, and some others trying to overthrow him, not to provide a better option but rather to occupy the position of a leader. Activities of communities are almost only “Installation fests” and once a year at some university a weekend (in which no one really would show up due to their educational and society problems) they try to hold a little speech about FLOSS.

  • Case study: BT uses open source BI to support its voicemail system

    With the help of systems integrator Unisys, the telco deployed Jaspersoft ’s open source business intelligence (BI) software in its statistical data warehouse (SDW) around 18 months ago, following an initial six-month development project around the source code.

  • Swarm: Open Source Web App Scaling

    A new open source project called Swarm bills itself as “a transparently scalable distributed programming language.” It’s been written to tackle one of the thorniest problems of today’s cloud-centric world: How do you create applications that can scale up and out without driving yourself nuts?

  • Ont. researchers tout cheap eHealth alternative

    The software is open-source, which means users are allowed access to its basic code. Users are free to add to or modify the software without fear of legal repercussions, as long they abide by the conditions of the General Public Licence, which stipulates that the program must remain open and sharable.

    Because it’s open-source, OSCAR is free. The costs to set it up come in the form of servers, hardware and support staff.

  • OrangeHRM Launches Version 2.5

    OrangeHRM, the worlds most popular Open Source Human Resource Software, today announced the release of OrangeHRM 2.5.

  • VoiceNation Goes Beyond the Call with the Open Source Asterisk PBX

    With the recent launch of a Next Generation Call Center, VoiceNation selected the Open Source Asterisk PBX for the critical role of telephone switching platform due to its flexibility, extensive functionality, and capacity for lowering operating costs.

  • Habl handed Zimbra VAR gig

    Dubai-based open source IT solutions specialist Habl Consultancy has been appointed as a Middle East VAR for Zimbra. Habl, which is based in Dubai Silicon Oasis, will resell Zimbra’s messaging and collaboration software. Zimbra is distributed in the Middle East through Opennet MEA.

  • A Prepaid Calling Card Market Perspective: The Hidden Costs in Purchasing a Prepaid Calling Card Platform

    Open Source Solution

    For price sensitive start-ups, open source solutions can be a great option, providing some of the lowest entry price points available on the market. Open source solutions are typically managed by a community of developers who help improve the product by publishing their additions to the community at large.


  • Scotland Yard criticised over raid on Parliament

    Scotland Yard and the Cabinet Office both came in for further criticism today over their roles in the arrest of Tory MP Damian Green for passing embarrassing documents to the press.

  • Sun: Oracle is “committed” to SPARC architecture

    Oracle Open World 2009 – Sun Microsystems Chairman Scott McNealy has confirmed that Oracle will continue to develop SPARC architecture.

    “SPARC has good momentum. There are 216,000 Sparc-based servers [currently] on the market and we have sold 7 million processors this decade,” said McNealy. “So, we asked Oracle and Larry Ellison, what are your plans for SPARC? Well, Oracle is committed to SPARC and will spend more money than we have on its development.”

  • Cellular Networks Open Up, Just a Little Bit

    Cellular networks have remained one of the last bastions of proprietary technology. Carriers have strict control over what is connected to and runs over their networks and have been loathe opening them up to third parties.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Anti-war activist’s works banned at prison camps

      Prison camp officials would not say specifically why the book was rejected but Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brook DeWalt, a Guantánamo spokesman, said staff reviews “every proposed or recommended library item to assess force protection issues associated with camp dynamics — such as impact on good order and discipline.”

      The banned book showed the bespectacled professor-emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in button-down shirt and sweater staring out of a black cover of a 2007 edition printed by a Beirut publishing house.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyright holders might prefer piracy now

      Exploiting fear of legal action can bring unexpected riches

    • Musicians Starting To Assert Copyright Termination Rights Against Record Labels

      There’s been a lot of attention recently to the news that the heirs of comic book artist Jack Kirby are alerting companies of plans to take back the copyright on various Kirby characters, using the termination rights in the Copyright Act. This followed a very long and drawn out lawsuit involving a similar attempt over Superman. The details are really complex, but copyright law allows the original creator (or heirs if that creator has passed away) certain opportunities to basically negate a deal that was signed early on to hand over the copyright on certain works. The idea was to help protect artists who signed bad deals, but in practice, it’s just been a total mess.

    • Is Balance The Right Standard For Judging Copyright Law?

      The argument is, effectively, that “balance” as a concept in copyright law really only makes sense if you believe that copyright law is designed to reward a content creator for their labor — in legal terms, the “sweat of the brow” argument. However, courts in both the US and Canada have rejected a “sweat of the brow” standard for copyright law, as being separate from the purpose of copyright law. If you believe that “sweat of the brow” is appropriate, then you are starting from a position that a content creator naturally deserves rewards from all benefits that result from his or her work. And, thus, the “balance” is in slowly removing some of those rewards and giving them to the public, until things are seen as “fair” for both sides.

    • Dutch Collection Society Backs Down Slightly On Video Embeds

      Dennis Laumen alerts us to an update on the story concerning Dutch music collection society Buma/Stemra’s plan to charge bloggers for embedding YouTube videos on their site.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Internet Video Celebrity Caitlin Hill 15 (2007)

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

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