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10.14.09

Have Banks Just Become Biggest Advocates of GNU/Linux?

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 9:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Piggy bank and notes

Summary: Transactions with Windows lead to disasters, which in turn advance GNU/Linux on the desktop

MANY RECENT articles (at least half a dozen) were written about a recommendation from the Australian police, which advised peers to use GNU/Linux for online banking. This was followed by a column from the Washington Post, which sent waves across the Web. Several other articles were then published to suggest that people use a Live CD or an additional partition for their banking purposes, unless they already use the platform or might move to it on a full-time basis.

The Register now has this report

A Pennsylvania organization that helps develop affordable housing learned a painful lesson about the hazards of online banking using the Windows operating system when a notorious trojan siphoned almost $480,000 from its account.

Microsoft has been working quite a lot with banks recently [1, 2]. Alas, banks not only abandon Microsoft but unintentionally they also lead to GNU/Linux being advocated for desktop use.

Are Microsoft Web Sites Going to be Served via Google?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Search, Servers at 9:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Every time you use Google, you’re using a machine running the Linux kernel.”

Chris DiBona, Google

Summary: Google is rumoured to be after an acquisition of Akamai, whose services Microsoft uses heavily

SOME respectable sources write about the rumour that Google might buy Akamai, which is a GNU/Linux-based CDN company (Microsoft is afraid of those but relies on them too). To give the gist of the situation:

Akamai, which deals in content delivery networks, is the organization that might be in Google’s good graces. Some investors have accepted the idea to the point that they’ve sent Akamai’s stock up 3.38 percent so far today.

Microsoft already uses the services of Akamai. It would hate to serve Web content via Google, especially now that its failing ‘Google killer’ continues to slide.

Due out tomorrow – prior to the release of quarterly earnings results from Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft – the report also says that’s Google share of search advertisers has reached a near all-time high of 81.2 per cent. All this, and we’re just 18 weeks away from Bing’s much-hyped debut.

Microsoft is believed to have already spent $100,000,000 just on advertising this entry. It was in vain, apparently.

“It’s not the first entry for Microsoft, They do this about once a year.”

Google CEO, regarding Bing

Richard Stallman’s Message to Brazil

Posted in America, FSF, Videos at 9:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A message from May of this year, as Ogg


Direct link

Links 14/10/2009: Linux Predicted to Inherit 60 Percent of the Smartphone Market

Posted in News Roundup at 8:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine October 2009 issue released

    The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the October 2009 issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine.

    In the October 2009 issue:

    Phoenix: PCLinuxOS XFCE 2009.4 Released
    A User’s KDE 4.3 Experience in PCLinuxOS
    The Gutsy Geeks Speak Linux
    Scanner Saga

  • Windows 7 meets Ubuntu 9.10

    In Ubuntu’s case one of its assets is the work done to support netbook PCs. Ubuntu’s Netbook Remix interface is a very slick alternative for the smaller screen space common on netbooks.

  • Windows 7 An Improvement, But Is Mac OS X Still Better?

    I feel that Mac OS X or Ubuntu are both better systems.

  • Feature-By-Feature: Ubuntu 9.10 Vs. Windows 7

    Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop
    Karmic Koala’s desktop should be familiar to Windows users. Right-click menu shortcuts and personalizing the desktop features are similar to Windows 7. The desktop still isn’t as “glitzy” as Windows 7, but users can get the eye candy of Windows 7 with a fast graphics card and can choose the “Extra” settings in Ubuntu 9.10′s “Appearance Preferences.”

  • Desktop

    • Should I give my old PC to a charity or school, or reuse it?

      My wife recently finished her MA (analysis of audio data, thesis writing, etc) using an eight-year old Toshiba Portege running Crunchbang Linux. It starts faster than any of her colleagues’ modern laptops (about a third of the time, with no virus check to make the first 30 minutes virtually useless), connects better to the wireless network at the university …

    • Consider Linux for Secure Online Banking

      When I earlier called Linux a better maintained swimming pool, I was referring to the fact that the Linux self-update application updates all the installed software, something that Apple and Microsoft don’t do.

  • Server

    • Feature – Putting Linux on the grid

      Now, KnowARC has brought Globus and VOMS (The Virtual Organization Membership Service) to the Debian and Fedora Linux distributions. These packages are also available in Ubuntu, as they take packages from Debian automatically. Furthermore, they are also in EPEL (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux), an add-on repository for RedHat Enterprise Linux and derivatives such as CentOS and Scientific Linux that are maintained by Fedora.

    • Linux Remote Networking Tips and Tricks

      Linux has all kinds of great networking abilities built-in; here are some tips and tricks for navigating multiple computers at home or in an office.

  • Kernel Space

  • Desktop Environments

    • Nokia Qt Developer Days: from the show floor

      After 36 hours of developer ‘show-submersion’ I think I have a pretty good idea of how the Nokia X-factor is playing out in the Qt cross-platform world. There are very few blue Nokia logos around and everyone is wearing Qt green. The company’s staff are even still calling themselves ‘trolls’ in reverence to their former incarnation under the Trolltech brand.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Its stock red hot, Red Hat’s insiders are ca$hing out shares

        Shares closed at $28.02 Tuesday, close to the 52-week high of $28.68 and nearly four times the 52-week low of $7.50 reached in last fall’s global financial swan dive.

      • Fedora 12 Beta To Come Next Week

        There has not been a new development release of Fedora 12 since the Constantine Alpha release back in August. However, the second and last development release, Fedora 12 Beta, is set to be released next week. It has been delayed a few times already, but Fedora 12 Beta packs all of the features that are to be found in Fedora 12 with the final development freeze already in effect. Here is an early look at where the Fedora 12 Beta is at in regards to its artwork and feature set.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Server 9.10 Looks Skyward

        On Oct. 29, Ubuntu Server Edition 9.10 will be made available. It features Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, an open source cloud computing environment based on the same application programming interfaces as Amazon EC2. Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition will be available on the Amazon EC2 environment as an Amazon Machine Image.

      • UMTS software for Ubuntu

        Nova Media’s Ubuntu UTMS application in action Vergrößern
        Source: Nova Media Until now, the launch2net dial-up UMTS software has only been available for Mac OS X – among its licensees are T-Mobile, Vodafone and Sony Ericsson. Now, vendor Nova Media has made a beta of version 2.0 for Ubuntu available to download.

      • Ubuntu’s Design Team: Make It Look Good, Run Better

        On Tuesday afternoon I spoke with Ivanka Majic, leader of Canonical’s design team for Ubuntu Desktop and Netbook Remix. She’s spearheading the effort to make Ubuntu that much more appealing and useful — to make it more of its “Linux for human beings” namesake.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • NXP Selects Timesys as the First Commercial Linux Supplier for LPC313x Microcontroller Series

      Timesys® Corporation (http://www.timesys.com), provider of LinuxLink, the first commercial software development framework for building custom embedded Linux®-based products, today announced the first commercial Linux support for the LPC313x series of microcontrollers from NXP Semiconductors. The LPC313x series will be supported by LinuxLink, with additional support for the family anticipated in future releases.

    • Review: Argosy HV359T Multimedia HDD Player

      Is it Linux powered? You bet your bottom dollar it is. That’s the part that shocked me. When I first picked it up, I figured that I had ended up with something that had a self contained IOS that was likely limited and proprietary. Boy was I surprised to find out that it wasn’t. And I stumbled onto that fact while loading it with test movies.

    • OpenMoko offline reader puts Wikipedia in your pocket

      OpenMoko has launched a new product called WikiReader, a mobile touchscreen device for browsing Wikipedia. Designed for offline use, it includes a 4GB SD card with 3 million Wikipedia articles.

    • Phones

      • Acer unveils Android-based ‘Liquid’ A1

        Acer has mixed a dash of Android Donut together with a splash of Qualcomm Snapdragon to create what it hopes will be a market-leading smartphone.

      • Acer shows off Android netbook, smartphone

        On Wednesday, Acer showed off some of its latest PCs, netbooks and smartphones at a London hotel.

      • HTC Hero up for grabs

        So what’s the catch? You have to sign up to receive The Register’s White Paper updates, a weekly email newsletter that delivers the latest research and resources from our library direct to your inbox.

      • Android phone taps Snapdragon SoC

        Acer announced its first Android smartphone, which will also be the first Android phone based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor. The Acer Liquid offers a WVGA touchscreen, HSPA 3G support, plus Android 1.6, and reportedly also provides WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, and a five megapixel camera.

      • Asus launches GPS-enabled smartpones in India

        The G60 sports a larger screen of 3.5 inches and runs on the Linux OS.

      • Linux to Capture over 60 Percent of Smartphone Market

        ­Linux is poised to emerge as the dominant mobile platform, capturing well over 60 percent of the smartphone market over the next seven years, says Telecom Trends International. Operating systems embracing the Linux platform include Android, Symbian, WebOS, and LiMo, the report said.

      • Nokia leaving Maemo’s tablet roots behind with N900 phone

        At the Maemo Summit in Amsterdam, Nokia’s Ari Jaaksi explained how the new N900 phone fits into the company’s Linux strategy and five-step plan to bring Maemo to a mainstream audience.

      • Still no source code for the European Palm Pre

        From this week, Palm’s Pre smartphone is being made available in the UK and Germany. Telefonica subsidiary O2 is selling the device both on and off contract. The Pre runs Linux and, as well as a version of the 2.6 kernel spruced up by Palm with a raft of patches, includes all the usual suspects, such as BusyBox and the Gstreamer framework for playing audio and video with an ALSA back end.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Five reasons to buy an Android laptop…

        The arrival of products like the Archos 5 media tablet and now the dual-booting Acer Aspire One D520 are likely the beginning of more and more Android-based machines arriving on our shelves. The mobile version of the OS hasn’t quite got going just yet and doesn’t do the whole advertising job on behalf of Google computers at this stage but, just because the jury’s still out for the main body of the public, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an Android-running laptop isn’t the way to go. So, is it worth chancing fame, fortune and street cred as an early adopter or Android PCs a fad worth giving a miss?

      • First Atom-powered Android netbook debuts

        Acer and Amazon announced pre-sales for the first Android-powered netbook running on an Intel Atom. Acer’s Aspire One AOD250-1613 netbook offers a 10.1-inch display, gesture-enabled touchpad, and a dual-boot system in which Android handles 18-second boot-ups, enabling users to seamlessly switch between Android and Windows, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Compiere Open Source ERP: Growing 50 Percent Via VARs

    Compiere, a small open source ERP software provider, is on track to grow its business 50 percent this year, driving 80 percent of company revenues through the channel. Next up, Compiere is striving to attract roughly 40 new VARs and integrators into the company’s channel partner program — which includes SaaS and on-premise approaches. Here’s the scoop.

  • Engine Yard Releases Source Code to its Rails Development Directory

    Hot on the heels of Engine Yard’s recent news of $19 million in third-round venture capital funding comes another announcement. The company, which hosts Ruby on Rails apps in a cloud-based environment, has released the source code that runs its Rails Development Directory.

  • The original open source niche remains just that

    My point is that there are some zeroes missing in this enterprise open source niche. Previous booms sprouted many more, much faster. This business has already seen a $1 billion deal (mySQL) and a $350 million one (JBOSS). But how many more are out there?

  • Open source CRM and ERP alternatives go commercial

    The back office for any company requires many different layers of software. Essentials like e-mail and a basic Web site are relatively simple commodities to run.

    The hardest job is delivering the kind of software that acts as the spinal cord for the business – that cares for all of the most essential details, big and small, that keep the customers paying the invoices and ensure the bank accounts hold enough money to make the payroll.

  • eDynamic Redesigns & Develops the Doon School Website on Open source (PHP) CMS

    Faced with the opportunities to increase brand equity, student acquisition & alumni collaboration through the Web, The Doon School, rated amongst the ten best schools in the world, determined that they should build a new best-of-breed website capable of providing vital school information and showcasing their branding on the Web.

  • Alfresco Delivers Open Source Governance, Retention and Compliance Solution

    Alfresco Software, the leader in open source enterprise content management (ECM), today announced the immediate availability of the Alfresco Records Management Module, which also recently became the first open source software to pass the rigorous U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) 5015.02 standard certification. This module and certification enables Alfresco to extend its cost-effective open source records management and retention tools to support the governance, retention and compliance strategies of federal agencies, government bodies and commercial organizations.

  • Banca IFIS Adopts Ingres Open Source

    Ingres Corporation, the leading open source database management company and pioneer of the New Economics of IT, announced today that Banca IFIS (ISIN IT0003188064, Bloomberg ticker IF MI, Reuters ticker IF MI) has adopted Ingres Database, the leading open source database that helps organizations develop and manage business critical applications at an affordable cost. Ingres Database allows Banca IFIS to effectively manage the sensitive financial information resulting from the large number of financial transactions its customers make on a daily basis.

  • Extentech and Alfresco Partner to Deliver a Powerful Open Source Web Spreadsheet

    Extentech, Inc, a spreadsheet solutions company, and Alfresco Software, Inc., the leader in Open Source enterprise content management (ECM), today announced Sheetster + Alfresco — an integrated Open Source web spreadsheet solution. Online editing of spreadsheet documents loaded directly from Alfresco ECM enables collaboration across the organization, publishing and reuse of charts, formula logic, and other spreadsheet assets, and lowers errors due to file version problems caused by emailing spreadsheets.

  • VoiceNation Picks Asterisk for Next Generation Call Center

    VoiceNation , a provider of outsourced voicemail, virtual PBX (News – Alert), answering services and disaster recovery services for businesses, has announced it deployed Open Source Asterisk PBX for a telephone switching platform in their newly commenced next-generation call center.

  • James Hall: Open source software in the real world

    After the release of “1.0″ in 2006, I became completely hands-off. I no longer submitted patches to programs, I no longer wrote code for my own programs. FreeDOS had grown to the point where I no longer needed to be the expert. Others were pushing FreeDOS to do more things than I had ever dreamed possible in 1994, and I was glad to see it happen.

    Each maintainer must similarly find his or her own motivation, and recognize that reasons for staying in a project may change. And that’s okay.

  • Government

    • Lyngby-Taarbaek Municipality in Denmark Adopts Open Source Office Suite For All Student Computers

      The Danish Ministry of Science recommends that open source should be used where it adds value. That is the case in Lyngby-Taarbaek Municipality which switches all student computers to an open source based office suite.

    • What’s new with Open Source for America?

      Open Source for America (OSFA) was announced as a coalition to encourage U.S. federal government support of and participation in open source projects and technologies. If that sounds like a broad-reaching goal, it is. Nearly three months after the group’s debut, I was interested to learn what progress OSFA has made toward this goal.

  • Openness

  • Programming

    • Yahoo Takes Its Developer Show to Broadway

      Yahoo took its developer story to Broadway by hosting its Open Hack Day at the Hudson Theatre in New York City’s historic theater district in Times Square. At the event, Yahoo pitched developers on the value of its broad consumer platform as a vehicle for developers to distribute and promote applications and build an audience.

Leftovers

  • Passenger Advocate Sues Delta for Allegedly Hacking Her E-Mail

    An airline passenger advocate has accused Delta Airlines of hacking her e-mail accounts and computer in order to sabotage her organization’s lobbying efforts to pass federal legislation to help stranded fliers, according to a lawsuit filed in Texas Tuesday.

    Kate Hanni, the executive director and founder of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights , also known as FlyersRights.org, recently learned from America Online that her organization’s AOL e-mail — which included spreadsheets, lists of donors and other data — was being redirected to an unspecified location.
    Hanni alleges in her complaint (.pdf) that the e-mail hacking began in 2008. She’s suing Delta and Metron

    [...]

    Aviation, Inc. to discover how they obtained her correspondence. She also alleges that other files on her personal computer were “hacked, copied and then corrupted,” rendering all the data on her laptop useless.

  • The Bank Everyone Loves to Hate

    Rightly or wrongly, a business occasionally is picked out by the fates to serve as the “unacceptable face of capitalism”—a term coined by the late British Prime Minister Edward Heath. Goldman Sachs, for a lot of people, is today’s UFC.

    [...]

    If lenders believe government stands behind a firm, that firm can borrow more cheaply than its rivals. It can grab market share and grow beyond what an otherwise disciplined market would permit, potentially becoming the next Fannie or Freddie.

  • Geithner Aides Reaped Millions Working for Banks, Hedge Funds

    The advisers include Gene Sperling, who last year took in $887,727 from Goldman Sachs and $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies, including the firm run by accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford. Another top aide, Lee Sachs, reported more than $3 million in salary and partnership income from Mariner Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MOG Over Promises And Under Delivers With New Music Service

      Here’s the next contestant in the never ending stream of music services, each of which, inevitably, slide into financial disaster at some point. Music service MOG says they’ll launch MOG All Access by Thanksgiving this year. It’s an on demand music streaming and Internet radio service that will cost $5 per month. The four major labels – Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music Group and EMI Music are on board, plus thousands of indie labels via IODA and Beggars Group.

      Sounds great, except users can listen to streaming on demand music for free today at MySpace Music and Spotify, which is preparing to launch in the U.S. Will MOG’s user experience be so compelling that users will pay $60/year for something they can get free elsewhere?

    • And Here Come Another Round Of Yawn-Inducing Music Subscription Services

      So, here we go again. With plenty of people waiting for Spotify to enter the US market, the NY Times reports on two other new entrants; one from Mog — who seems to have blasted press releases to everyone, with the general reaction being a big yawn and one from the founders of Kazaa and Skype, called Rdio. Neither sounds particularly compelling.

    • Pandora Continues To Push Users To Vote For Shameful Radio Performance Tax

      Apparently, Pandora has once again ramped up this effort to have the government tax its competitors. A whole bunch of you have been forwarding these ridiculous emails from Pandora that urge people to contact their elected officials in support of the RIAA Bailout bill. Most of those submitting those emails to us have said that you’ll be doing the exact opposite, and are offended that Pandora is pushing you to support such a thing.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Internet Video Celebrity Caitlin Hill 19 (2007)


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

Links 14/10/2009: Chrome OS and MySQL Plan Leaked

Posted in News Roundup at 10:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 8th Annual Southern California Linux Expo

    I just saw notice of the 8th Annual Southern California Linux Expo now scheduled for February 19-21, 2010 at the Westin Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport. While I’ve never attended this conference in person (why be in LA in February when you can be in snowy upstate NY?), I’ve always heard great things about it.

  • Future Versions Of Firefox To Detect Screen Orientation

    The new feature, which was revealed by Mozilla’s Christopher Blizzard on Monday, was originally developed for mobile browsers but has now been made available, via an API, for a range of devices including Macbooks, Thinkpads and Linux machines.

  • Convert any computer to a virtual machine with Linux and Clonezilla

    Last week Microsoft released Disk2VHD, a utility produced by its Sysinternals acquisition to convert a physical Windows hard disk into a Virtual PC disk image. While handy, Microsoft is treading ground Linux already covered in the form of open source program Clonezilla, which handles a far richer variety of disk formats and platforms.

  • Five ways to ease migration from Windows to Linux

    With the ever-maturation of the Linux operating system there are more and more people considering a migration from their operating system of choice to the flagship of the open source community. For many this migration is a strange, but simple adventure. For others, however, the task is very daunting and one challenge after another. What most people do not realize is that there are very simple ways to help ease this migration.

  • andLinux: Run Linux Applications Seamlessly In Windows

    andLinux is a complete Ubuntu Linux system running seamlessly in Windows 2000 based systems (2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 7; 32-bit versions only).

    andLinux uses coLinux, a port of the Linux kernel to Windows which allows andLinux to run almost all Linux applications in Windows, without modifications and comes in two flavors: KDE and XFCE.

  • Small Businesses Should Bank Securely – And That Means Linux: WashPo

    Bill Gates isn’t going to like this one bit.

    Small business owners should boot their Windows computers into Linux, according to Washington Post columnist Brian Krebs, if they want to bank online without risk of someone stealing their banking password, and shortly after that, their money. Assertions like that must sting Microsoft, especially considering the emphasis it placed on security during the launch of its Vista operating system.

  • Desktop

    • I’ll Use Linux When $App Magically Appears

      Vote with your wallet. Every vote for Microsoft is a vote against FOSS. The poster child for this is Linux OEM PCs– often the comparable Windows PC is the same price or cheaper, or has more and better hardware. Saving a few bucks in the short term pushes a truly competitive computer marketplace that much farther into the future. Let vendors know when they lost a sale because of this sort of tricksiness. Independent Linux OEM vendors are good to buy from because they don’t have to dance the razor’s edge of trying to please both Microsoft and their actual paying customers.

      It’s not always easy to balance immediate needs against longer-term goals. But as the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Any progress is better than no progress.

    • Easeus Todo Backup Performs Backups for Free

      If that weren’t enough, the program also comes with a Linux-based boot recovery CD so you can recover your system if disaster strikes. It will clone disks. i.e. copy an entire disk structure to another disk, as well.

    • The desktop as a cluster of services?

      Today at work I had to redo some slides for a lecture. I ripped out some, created others and changed a boatload of pictures around so I obviously had a metric shitton of applications and windows open: Multiple browsers displaying different pieces of information I’d need, a Windows VM so I could put it all into Microsoft Powerpoint (yeah I did feel dirty), a bunch of emails, the Gimp to edit some pictures, GVim to write the changelog, some terminal windows and the crap that’s running anyways (IM client, IRC client and such).

  • Server

    • Avaya aims Aura to the mid-market channel

      Dubbed Avaya Aura System Platform, the virtualization platform enables unmodified versions of Avaya Communication Manager, Voice Messaging, SIP Enablement Services, Application Enablement Services, Utility Services and Media Services to all be deployed on a single standard, commercial server certified by Avaya for security, scalability and resiliency and running a Linux OS.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Six Top Screen Capture Tools for Linux

      Basic screenshot software is really handy to have on hand, even if you don’t use it often. If you rely on screengrab tools often, however, you know how important it is to have software with lots of tools and features. No matter what your screen capture software needs are, you’re sure to find something you like in this list of the top six open source options.

    • Gpager 0.3 “Scenes From a Memory – Finally Free”

      Gpager is a GPLv2 libwnck pager that just float on your desktop, allowing you to do anything you were doing with you panel pager but bigger and stronger.

  • Games

    • Smokin’ Guns a free Old West game for Linux

      Smokin’ Guns is a free FPS and Open Source game that take you back to the old time of the ‘Old West’. Based on the engine of Quake 3, Smokin’ Guns has all the attributes of a traditional FPS: play in solo or network, a complete arsenal of weapons, a dozen charts and several modes of play.

    • World of Goo Price Dropped To Anything

      2D Boy’s Ron Carmel spoke out against DRM at the Game Developers Conference earlier this year, stating that “It’s a waste of time. You just end up giving the DRM provider money. Anything that is of interest gets cracked, and the cracked version ends up being a better user experience than the legit version because you don’t have to input in some 32-character serial number.”

      This latest offer seems to show evidence that 2D Boy is all about the consumer’s experience – and having played World of Goo extensively, I can add that the games are all about that too.

    • Name Your Price For World Of Goo
  • Desktop Environments

    • managing time line mismatches

      In a blog entry last week I talked about three challenges that arise as the number of individual groups participating in KDE has grown: time line mismatches, differentiation pressures and confidentiality requirements.

    • How Nokia Learned to Love Openness

      Another reason the geeks in the crowd were getting so excited was that the keynote was given by Matthias Ettrich, who occupies an important place in the free software pantheon, since he started and led the KDE project in the beginning. When I interviewed him nearly ten years ago, he told me how the name came about.

      He said he wanted to create a Linux Desktop Environment (LDE) without calling it that; he couldn’t call it MDE, since that would look like Matthias’ Desktop Environment, so he choose the suitably neutral K Desktop Environment.

    • Nokia Sponsors KOffice Development for Mobile Device

      At the Maemo Conference in Amsterdam Suresh Chande announced that Nokia has contracted KO GmbH to write a mobile office viewer using the KOffice libraries. The presentation by Suresh was given with the Nokia N900 smartphone, using the new Office Viewer.

  • Distributions

    • Absolute Linux 13.0.2

      My experience with Absolute Linux was mostly positive. I like the idea of making Slackware relatively easy to get running on the desktop and I think Absolute Linux provides a pretty good amount of value for desktop users. It’s not as slick as some of the other desktop distros but that’s okay because slick isn’t necessarily what everybody is looking for all of the time.

      On the whole though I’d recommend this more for experienced Linux users as the install might be a little bit challenging. I encourage adventurous Linux newbies to explore and experiment with it but they should understand ahead of time that installing & configuring it could be a bit challenging for them if they run into a problem.

    • Mandriva 2010 goes for the full Moblin

      Mandriva posted the final development release of Mandriva Linux 2010, complete with the Moblin v2.0 netbook environment. Based on Linux 2.5.31, Mandriva 2010 RC2 offers a choice of KDE 4.3.2 and GNOME 2.28 desktops, plus Intel Poulsbo chipset drivers, guest accounts, and the Nepomuk collaborative desktop.

    • First Alpha of Dreamlinux 4.0 XFCE Edition Released

      The Dreamlinux team announced earlier today (October 13th) the immediate availability of the alpha version of the upcoming Dreamlinux 4.0 XFCE Linux distribution. This Xfce edition of the Dreamlinux operating system is a new project which tries to combine the good looks of the main Dreamlinux distribution with the speed of the Xfce 4.6.1 desktop environment, and it is also powered by Linux kernel 2.6.29.

    • Fedora

      • It’s now final: Fedora 12 ditches Pidgin to make way for Empathy

        There already has been words about Empathy replacing Pidgin as the default IM client in both Ubuntu 9.10 and Fedora 12. We are not sure whether Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic will have it or not but Fedora 12 is going to have Empathy as it’s default IM client for sure. I happened to be checking out the Fedora 12 features list and was not at all surprised to see the inclusion of Empathy as the default IM client in Fedora 12. This feature is also listed as 100% complete. So Empathy is now sure to be as the default IM client in Fedora.

      • Fedora 12 Beta: the final sprint

        Hopefully, this time next week we’ll have a rocking Beta release available for everyone to bash on. I’m really excited for Fedora 12, it’s going to be a good one.

    • Debian Family

      • Using Debian Squeeze

        Once past these annoying issues, Debian Squeeze has proven to be a solid system, and I have not encountered a single problem with the installed system, and in fact, I have been using it ever since.

        There have been a modest number of changes since Friday to Debian Squeeze, so it has not been quite as volatile as the Debian Sid based systems that I usually use.

      • ChromeOS to be based on Debian

        It’s already well known that Google HQ use a custom version of Ubuntu as one of their OSes, and it seems that Google’s forthcoming Chrome Operating System will be no different – running atop a solid Debian base.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • World’s smallest Linux networking server?

      Lantronix announced its latest XPort embedded networking module, which it touts as the “world’s smallest Linux networking server.” The XPort Pro measures 1.33 x 0.64 x 0.53 inches, and offers 8MB of SDRAM, 16MB of flash, RJ45 Ethernet and serial ports, a web server, SSH and SSL security, and IPv6 support.

    • ACAL Technology – World’s smallest self-contained Linux networking server
    • Acal unveils RJ45-sized Linux networking server

      One for the record books? Distributor Acal Technology has samples of what is claimed to be the world’s smallest, self-contained Linux networking server. It fits in an an extended RJ-45 connector, believe it or not.

    • New Smartphones of Asus and Garmin Alliance

      M20 smartphone is provided with the following characteristics: 2.8-inch touch screen; its weight is 99 grams and it comes loaded with the launched Windows Mobile 6.5 mobile OS. As for the G60, it has a large screen (3.5 inch) and runs a customized Linux OS. Both models include a carfinder feature and a 3 mega pixel camera.

    • OpenInkpot: free software for e-book readers

      Back in July, Jonathan Corbet lamented that Amazon was making the Kindle an unattractive hacking target for Linux users. The comments to his article suggested having a closer look at OpenInkpot, a fairly new Linux distribution for e-book readers. This much in advance: It doesn’t run on the Kindle. Not yet, anyway.

    • Innovative Smart Home Designer Selects Wind River Linux for Home Automation Gateway

      Wind River today announced that Belgium-based fifthplay has selected Wind River Linux to enable its new home automation gateway.

    • Novatel Readies Next-Gen MiFi Hot Spot

      The next-generation personal Wi-Fi hot spot available from Novatel Wireless in North America will add embedded memory, memory card slot and Linux OS, which will enable over-the-air application downloading, chief marketing officer Rob Hadley told TWICE.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Acer’s Android netbook due this quarter

        Acer is planning to launch a dual-boot netbook this quarter that will ship with both Microsoft’s Windows and Google’s Android operating system, the head of its Japan unit said Tuesday.

      • First Look At Browser That Will Be Included in Google Chrome OS

        On Monday, a mysterious Chrome OS folder appeared in that day’s newest Chromium build for Mac. The folder, which was compatible with Linux only, has been removed by Google.

      • A First Glimpse Of Chrome OS In The Flesh

        It would seem that the result is the browser aspect of Chrome OS running inside of Linux. As you can see in the screenshots below, it looks very similar to Chrome, the browser, on Windows (still the only officially released version of Chrome), but there are some key differences.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Astricon: Seven Questions for Digium

    Asterisk, the open source IP PBX, is turning 10 years old. And Digium, the fast-growing provider of commercial Asterisk solutions, is hosting the Astricon conference this week. All sounds well. But The VAR Guy will raise seven key questions when he speaks with Digium officials later today.

  • The Apache Software Foundation’s President Dissects the “Apache Way”

    One of our biggest challenges as the ASF has grown to nearly 2,000 Committers is how to teach the Apache Way to those interested in bringing new Open Source projects to the Foundation. The way to address this on a formal level is through the Apache Incubator, created to “mentor” new projects and to assist in their learning how to operate as an ASF project. ASF Members who find the candidate technology (called a “podling”) worth pursuing, they can then volunteer to be a mentor to the project.

  • Open Source Could Have Saved Ontario Hundreds of Millions

    “Ontario’s auditor-general released a blistering report this week detailing how successive governments threw away a billion dollars developing an integrated electronic medical record system. This CBC article highlights an open source system developed at McMaster University that is already used by hundreds of doctors in Ontario. As one of the developers points out, ‘we don’t have very high-priced executives and consultants,’ some of whom cost Ontario taxpayers $2,700 per day.”

  • Grand Central Dispatch Comes To FreeBSD

    Apple’s Grand Central Dispatch technology introduced in Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” was open-sourced under the Apache license last month by Apple and now it has worked its way into FreeBSD. This software, which helps in optimizing applications for multi-core systems, has ported the libdispatch library from GCD to FreeBSD and made Grand Central Dispatch more POSIX friendly.

  • Sun

    • OpenOffice boom in Belgium

      The number of public administrations in Belgium that use the open source office productivity suite OpenOffice is rising steadily. And with it the use of the open document format ODF. OVAM, Flanders’ Public Waste Agency, already adapted its back office to support ODF a couple of years ago. They are now awaiting the decision of the Flemish Minister of Environment to move the four hundred desktops to OpenOffice.

    • Sun, Oracle chiefs vow: Sun technologies will live on

      From Java to the Solaris OS to the Sparc CPU platform and Sun storage technologies, Oracle will be good for all of them, the executives stressed at the San Francisco event. As a matter of fact, combining Sun’s research and development budget with Sun’s presents “one of the great R&D opportunities of all time,” McNealy said.

    • Full Frame: Views of Oracle OpenWorld
    • Sun Microsystems “Project Peter” targets Oracle to MySQL migrations to boost sales

      The PDF file presents an internal presentation of Sun Microsystems on “Project Peter”, a Sun confidential project to migrate customers using Oracle onto the MySQL database system.

      In a statement towards the EU, former CEO of MySQL, Marten Mickos, wrote:

      MySQL was able to derive significant marketing benefit from appearing to challenge Oracle, but we penetrated the markets faster by, in reality, focusing on new, huge opportunities such as Web databases. Key to MySQL’s success was its determined focus on markets that Oracle (and others) was ignoring.’[1]

      This statement, suggesting that MySQL was not directly competing with Oracle, contradicts the internal presentation, showing that targetting Oracle migrations indeed was a big part of MySQL’s sales strategy.

  • FSF/E

    • The Car Analogy

      The next morning during your commute, you notice some funny noises coming from beneath the hood. You have a friend who is really good with cars, so you ask if she can help you out after work. When she sees your car, she tells you, “Nope. Can’t do anything for you. This is one of those Nonfree Cars. I can’t even open the hood.”

      So you bring it to your mechanic, and they do not even bother with charging you a diagnostic fee. “Sorry, sir. This is a Nonfree Car. Even if I had the right tools, I can’t even open the hood lock, let alone fix what might be wrong with it. It’s against the law.” Dismayed, you go back to the dealer to ask, “What’s the deal?”

      After waiting for a while, finally a service representative calls your name. You explain the noise the car is making and all the steps you have gone through in order to get it serviced. She explains that because the Nonfree name has such a great image, they don’t allow just anyone to service their cars. You have to be trained and accredited.

    • Free Software for Africa

      Some time in march I will need to go back to Kano, Nigeria, hopefully for the second Nigerian Free and Open Source software conference. I’m looking forward to seeing Mustapha (now a proud father) and Ibrahim and Immanu and the rest of the guys again.

  • Openness

    • Business Benefits of Community Study

      As someone who manages a large community of users I have been watching for the results of the 2009 Tribalization of Business Study sponsored by Beeline Labs, Deloitte, and the Society for New Communications Research, that looks at how companies leverage communities as part of their business.

Leftovers

  • Goldman Sachs 2009 bonuses to double 2008’s; $23 billion could send 460,000 to Harvard, buy insurance for 1.7 million families

    Yesterday, we brought you the insurance company that wouldn’t insure a 17-pound infant because he was too heavy. Today, we bring you the investment bank that manages to double its bonuses during the worst recession since the Great Depression.

  • Break Up Goldman Sachs?

    It’s miraculous. Wall Street implodes and takes down the rest of the economy bringing us to the gates of the Great Depression II, and Goldman Sachs makes more money than ever before, even more than during the height of the largest bubble in world history. Happy days are here again.

    Where did all that money come from? We are owed a detailed explanation for how Goldman Sachs (with JP Morgan not far behind) made a killing while the rest of the economy was getting killed. More importantly, it would be good to know what value their well-rewarded labor contributed to the real world.

  • AstroTurf

    • Wall Street Journal Becomes “Top” U.S. Paper: Memories of Memogate and Manny Miranda

      Take global warming. At the WSJ’s ECO:nomics Conference last year, co-host and WSJ editorial board member, Kim Strassel pressed for someone, anyone, to share the up-side of global warming. Specifically, she asked California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Do you see any pros in global warming?” As reported by David Roberts in Grist, “For just a moment he was struck dumb, as though waiting for a punchline. Finally: ‘No.’”

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Spooks want govt to block Skype

      Intelligence agencies have asked the government to consider blocking Skype as operators of the popular global VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) engine are refusing to share the encryption code that prevents Indian investigators from intercepting conversations of suspected terrorists.

    • Federal Court Denies Government Attempt to Delay Release of Telecom Records. Again.

      Today a federal district court denied the government’s latest emergency motion asking for a 30-day stay in last Friday’s deadline to release records relating to telecom lobbying over last year’s debate over immunity for corporate participation in government spying. The new deadline is October 16, at 4 p.m. Pacific time. We sought the records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Vince McMahon administers flying suplex to The Wine School of Philadelphia

      Watch out, food industry professionals! Vince McMahon of World Wresting Entertainment is making threatening legal rumbles towards The Wine School of Philadelphia over their wine class series “Sommelier Smackdown“.

      WWE lawyers issued a cease-and-desist letter to Keith Wallace, founder and director of The Wine School of Philadelphia, over the term. Wallace’s series pits a professional sommelier’s food and wine pairings against those of a member of the Wine School team, with the students voting for the winner.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Internet Video Celebrity Caitlin Hill 18 (2007)


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

Patents Roundup: Another Nobel Laureate Opposes Intellectual Monopolies, New Briefs in Bilski Case

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More notable opposition to intellectual monopolies; new symptoms of the patent systems’ issues and new filings on the subject of business method/software patents

ELINOR OSTROM has just won a Nobel prize and this is important because as Anivar points out, Ostrom is an opposer of intellectual monopolies, just like Joseph Stiglitz and Eric Maskin (mentioned last year), both of whom also won a Nobel prize for economics.

The patent system is in a bad state judging for example by the fact that Eolas goes Rambo on the entire industry [1, 2], having defeated Microsoft [1, 2]. Eolas is now relocating to where all the action is at.

Eolas’ Convenient Move To Texas

[...]

While most were big name websites (Google, Yahoo, eBay, etc) there were a few that were odd, including retailer J.C. Penney and IT services provider Perot Systems (in the process of being bought by Dell). Well, the ever resourceful Joe Mullin points out that, of course, these firms just so happen to be located in Texas, which helps Eolas come up with a reason why its lawsuit should be in Texas.

Microsoft, Google, the FFII, ABA and others have filed briefs to be used in the Bilski case, adding or taking away weight from previous ones that clearly oppose software patents [1, 2]. Groklaw has complete copies.

More intriguing Bilski briefs filed. The door is shut now, so there will be no more, I gather. Both the ABA and Patently O have them all listed, and the latter includes a helpful brief blurb giving an outline of the theme of each. So read them all if you wish.

Among the opposers of software patents who submitted a brief we have Red Hat, the FFII, the FSF, and the SFLC.

In YouTube we have just found this fairly recent chat with Eben Moglen, who explains what to do in Brazil in order to permanently block software parents. Here it is as Ogg Theora.


Direct link

Mono’s #1 Problem is Not Software Patents

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 4:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Business gesture

Summary: Clarification regarding common misconceptions when it comes to Mono drawbacks

IN a new blog post from an opposer of Mono*, the following argument is given:

And a mono skeptic like me would vote, (by this very blog post by the way) by saying, “I, Chao-Kuei Hung, recommend my employer, Chaoyang University of Technology, to use software linked with gtk and qt. I am willing to donate one full year’s salary to my Univ if my Univ ever gets threatened by or has to pay for patents directly related to these libraries.” BtW, one can vote for more than one library, as I did.

Now, the point is not that the employer would really accept the recommendation because of the assurance of a non-lawyer Chao-Kuei Hung. (In fact my Univ completely ignores even my repeated recommendations to use ODF for long term archiving considerations. They wouldn’t even know what mono is, and they wouldn’t care even if I were a law professor.) And the point is not that anyone would care about me losing one year’s salary to my employer when bad things about patents happen.

A lot of the above speaks about software patents, which are not the main issue with Mono. The thing about Mono is that it’s an implicit claim that .NET is “inevitable” and it is also used as a ramp for migrating GNU/Linux users to Windows. As the FSF explained, there are patent issues as well, but that is not the key point. There is a plethora of other reasons to reject Mono.

“Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat.”

James Plamondon, Microsoft Technical Evangelist. From Exhibit 3096; Comes v. Microsoft litigation [PDF]

____
* Most GNU/Linux users reject Mono, based on a poll which shows an approval rate of only around a quarter.

Microsoft Accused of Blocking GNU/Linux Users

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Windows at 3:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No linux allowed

Summary: Portuguese Web site accuses Microsoft which is denying GNU/Linux users access to sites; Microsoft takes VBA support away from Mac users

DESPITE awareness that GNU/Linux is used extensively around the world, Microsoft has a habit of making its Web sites GNU/Linux hostile. In addition, Microsoft and Portugal have grown closer recently, with notable milestones such as the construction of headquarters there (more details in the links at the bottom).

One person in Portugal now claims that “Microsoft blocks Linux” (English translation), but he is not certain. Microsoft has the habit of using proprietary extensions such as ActiveX and Silver Lie to make Web sites exclusionary (Korea is a leading example).

Likewise, in documents, Microsoft introduced VBA, which makes it next to impossible to achieve real interoperability; it’s a good hook for virus writers though. Some time ago we wrote about Office 2004 being phased out and also the implications for VBA dependants. Only after an outcry has Microsoft decided to make VBA available to Mac users for a while longer.

Microsoft admitted that many diehard Mac fans simply stuck with Office 2004 in order to continue to get their VBA support.

This does not actually resolve the issue. Sooner or later Microsoft Office for Mac OS X will be even less compatible with the Windows version than it already is. The lesson to be learned is that Microsoft uses its formats and software to exclude competitors; the same goes for Silver Lie, as Microsoft's CEO himself recently admitted. It should therefore be natural to reject them in favour of OpenDocument and the likes it, including Web standards and Ogg.

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