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Links 22/11/2009: Mandriva Stuff, OOo4Kids Now as Sugar Activity

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux is Best for PHP Development

    This is not really a RULE, but it is pretty cool to know that the server on your laptop or home pc is actually set up exactly like the server you are going to run your application on. The reasons? Quite simply, you will be developing on a local server (localhost) that is usually Windows-based, right? And when you deploy your application / website, it is going to run on a Linux server? The semantics might not mean anything to you, but what is important is that Windows-based servers are not really case sensitive. In other words, you could have a url like http://mysite.com/folderName/ when you set up your website on your Windows localhost. Mostly you might think this looks cool. So you set up all of your links like that, and everything is just perfect. Then off you go and upload your site to your webserver and…well, the link does not work, even though you have tested everything a million times. I promise you–because I have done it–that you will not think about the capitalization the first time it happens to you. Trust me. All you get is a “page not found” error even though you know the page exists. Frustrating and time killing if you have more than ten links on your website. Besides that, Linux is a very stable environment to develop on. Our company development server is an Ubuntu-based OS that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and has never, ever been shut down or turned off in the last four years. In that same time it has never crashed or frozen. To me that is respectable.

  • The times they are a-changin’

    As some of you might already know, my next step, which has had me bouncing off the walls for the last month, is to join the great folks at Collabora Multimedia working on the PulseAudio sound server. I’ll be working from home here, in Bangalore (in your face, 1.5-hour commute!). It is incredibly exciting for me to be working with a talented bunch of folks and actively contributing to open source software as part of my work!

  • Desktop

    • VMWare Workstation 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 Easy Install – Too easy?

      Took about 15 minutes when it was all said and done, including the reboot and mostly automated VMWare Tools install. Very nice. Very similar to how the last time I used VMWare Fusion to run Windows XP it asked for username, password, CD-Key, etc and automated the entire thing.

      Now, all I’ve gotta do is install 107 updates for Karmic Koala… perhaps the installer team could have integrated a quick update during the install.

      Overall, very impressed. Could have used more bacon.

  • Google

    • Who do you trust with your data ?!

      The operating system will essentially be your Google Chrome browser and little else. Any data you need to save will be held on Google’s servers somewhere in the world. Would you be happy with this arrangement ?. I expect that when you first load up the new OS or very soon thereafter, you will be asked to tick a box agreeing to their terms before you can proceed further in setting up your account. This is the bit where you will sign your digital life away to an organisation you will have to place your total trust in.

    • Building ChromeOS on Gentoo
  • Kernel Space

    • Toward a smarter OOM killer

      The Linux memory management code does its best to ensure that memory will always be available when some part of the system needs it. That effort notwithstanding, it is still possible for a system to reach a point where no memory is available. At that point, things can grind to a painful halt, with the only possible solution (other than rebooting the system) being to kill off processes until a sufficient amount of memory is freed up. That grim task falls to the out-of-memory (OOM) killer. Anybody who has ever had the OOM killer unleashed on a system knows that it does not always pick the best processes to kill, so it is not surprising that making the OOM killer smarter is a recurring theme in Linux virtual memory development.

    • Linus Torvalds – Time for a Nobel Peace Prize?

      That list of Linux-related or -inspired developments is only partial. Here in the Northwest, for example, we could add the Free Geek operations in Portland, which do a lot of good for not only the low-income people and non-profit groups they are specifically aimed to help, but also almost everyone who comes into contact with them. The effects though have been world-wide, and are accelerating. And could grow faster with a little more attention.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment

    • Who is KDE?

      Clearly, whiteboard is more my medium than Kolourpaint with a trackpad. However, all of the stores in this area of Berlin close at 2pm, which means we haven’t been able (or rather: forgot to, this morning, and then tried and failed after lunch) to purchase some pens for use in the KDE office.

  • Distributions

    • Back to relative stability with Funtoo

      In my last post, I’d mentioned that I planned on reinstalling Gentoo to fix several dependency issues that had made upgrading packages an impossibility. I chose to use the Funtoo variant and have since become an expert with the install process.

    • Mandriva

      • Happy first time Linux users, with Mandriva 2010

        …anyway, a happy user, and looks like another couple of Mandriva converts.

      • Replacing Windows Apps

        One of the reason I run Linux on the desktop is to be able to have a local web server available for testing purposes and Mandriva makes that a simple process. to do so easily, however, you first have to install the drakwizard package from the repositories. Once you have done so and reloaded the control center, the Sharing categorywill show up which allows the setup of a web server. Follow up by installing Webmin and you have a great environment ready in which to play.

    • Debian Family

    • Comparisons

      • Difference Between Ubuntu and Fedora

        Something that is a little bit less important but might impact some users is the installer. Fedora installers often have a lot of packages that you can choose from during installation, meaning bigger file sizes for the installer itself. Ubuntu, on the other hand, has a very small installer as it does not come with a lot of packages. After installation, it prompts the user to check online for additional packages that might be needed for the OS to run at optimum or just any package that the user might want or need.

      • Looking closer at Fedora, Ubuntu live CDs
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia to Consolidate Handset Lineup…Finally

        The Finnish company’s success selling low- to mid-range smartphones in developing markets is well documented, but Nokia continues to lose ground in the U.S. and Europe as superphones from Apple and Research In Motion chip away at its market share. And Nokia is increasingly threatened by Android, which has gained sudden momentum in the wake of its Verizon Wireless Droid initiative.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • JOLICLOUD Linux OS review

        We have seen plethora of Linux variants based on Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch and so on. The people behind JOLICLOUD, a Linux OS say that we, the netbook owners will soon be ‘Jolicloud-ed’. But, is being Joliclouded beneficial at all? Let’s see how is the new Jolicloud OS from a viewpoint of a die-hard Linux user.

Free Software/Open Source

  • OOo4Kids.activity.xo is available !

    On XO machines, when using Sugar, an application must respect some criterias, to appear listed as activity. We had in the scope to provide OOo4Kids as activity on Sugar.

  • Could Mozillians help reinvent local news?

    While I’ve only just glanced at all the Knight and Sunlight stuff quickly, it does feel like there could be some useful connections here. Maybe simply by developers or others from the Mozilla community proposing ideas to Knight? Or maybe, at some point, through a more joint initiative through Drumbeat? I’m going to think on it a little and possibly post again. In the mean time, I’d welcome comments / brainstorms / proposals from any Mozilla people reading this post.

  • Free Software, Free Society: Of Democracy and Hacking

    When explaining why Free Software is important, one question that often comes up is: “do I really need the software freedom?”

    The utility of software freedom is indeed not obvious for all. Not everyone can understand the source code of a program, and less modify it. It appears that the capacity to enjoy the four freedoms is only valuable to hackers and programmers. It’s hard to convince people to give up on proprietary software only for freedom’s sake, as long as they don’t understand the utility of that freedom.

  • 21 Grams and a Billion Dollars

    How is it we can know the weight of a person’s soul* but not be able to measure the success of a piece of individual FOSS software with the truly compelling metrics needed to satisfy and influence enterprise adopters and governments.

  • FLOSS Weekly 96: BioPerl
  • Openness

    • Open Government Data Poster

      It gives me great pleasure to finally complete a design project i’ve been tinkering with for months, the “how to open government data(and how not to)” poster. It forms the last part of Ton Zijlstra and my research project on open government data for for the Ministry of Interior Affairs (Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties).

    • Opening up the Black Box of Scientific Research

      Not quite sure how this will scale, but anything whose “fundamental goal” is “to render transparent the black-box of scientific research” sounds good to me.


  • Companies typically tell us what technology we can—and can’t—use. It’s time to end those policies.

    For years, the big breakthroughs in computing technology came in corporate IT departments and university computer labs. But that started to change as the cost of PCs plunged and they became fixtures in people’s homes. Now consumers buy more PCs than businesses do—and the consumer market spurs the most interesting innovations.

  • YouTube to Help Sites Gather News Clips

    YouTube has signed up NPR, Politico, The Huffington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle for YouTube Direct, a new method for managing video submissions from readers.

  • YouTube’s Auto Caps Not Only Help The Deaf, But Searchers Too

    In a move that will make hundreds of thousands more videos accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired, Google Thursday announced that videos on its YouTube site would sport machine-generated automatic captions.

  • Tibet thrown under the bus

    The magic words are “we recognize that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China.” Although the State Department has stated these words or similar ones for decades, so far as anyone can discover, this is the first time an American president has ever made such a statement in public, before the television cameras of the world’s press. Beijing is trumpeting the Obama declaration with lead articles in People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party newspaper.

  • Environment

    • How 16 ships create as much pollution as all the cars in the world

      Last week it was revealed that 54 oil tankers are anchored off the coast of Britain, refusing to unload their fuel until prices have risen.

      But that is not the only scandal in the shipping world. Today award-winning science writer Fred Pearce – environmental consultant to New Scientist and author of Confessions Of An Eco Sinner – reveals that the super-ships that keep the West in everything from Christmas gifts to computers pump out killer chemicals linked to thousands of deaths because of the filthy fuel they use.

  • Finance

    • Obama Creates Task Force to Fight Financial Fraud

      The Obama administration announced a government-wide task force to combat financial fraud after the U.S. recession led to an increase in economic crimes.

      President Barack Obama today signed an executive order creating the task force that seeks more cooperation among federal government agencies, and state and local officials, to investigate and prosecute cases.

    • Cotchett Sues Wall Street over Alleged Bid-Rigging in Municipal Derivative Market

      Cotchett’s suit isn’t the only civil suit that the bank defendants–which include Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Citigroup–have to be worried about. They are defendants in New York federal court in a class action filed by states, cities, and counties. The lead counsel there are the law firm Hausfeld; Boies, Schiller and Flexner; and Susman Godfrey.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Manchester area post codes where the foolish can apply for an ID Card

      They have also broadened the potential catchment area, by including not just permanent residents, but anyone who works at premises within the designated Post Codes as well.

      However you will already have to have a Passport in order to apply for an ID Card, so what exactly is the incentive for doing so ?

      Remember also, that once you have been registered on the National Identity Register , your biometrics and other personal data will never be removed, for the rest of your life (and beyond), even if you decide not to renew your ID Card.

    • Reformer of the Year

      Heather Brooke, the Freedom of Information campaigner, has won a poll to find the Reformer of the Year for 2009. Ms Brooke, who was a pivotal figure in unveiling the MPs’ expenses scandal, won the title in a landslide, securing over a thousand of the 1,157 votes.

    • Jack Straw pledges action to end libel tourism

      JACK STRAW is preparing to draw up proposals for wholesale reform of England’s libel laws, after a long-running Sunday Times campaign.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Will secret copyright treaty restrict your digital rights?

      Most Americans expect that their laws are only passed after some period of public debate between Republicans and Democrats or their news-channel proxies. However, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) may be an exception to this rule, and if it is signed, many United States laws concerning the Internet and ownership of data may become substantively different.

    • ACTA

      RT @jamie_love US government says ACTA would implement DMCA section 512(i) , which requires ISPs terminate accounts of repeat infringers

    • No, ACTA Secrecy Is Not ‘Normal’ — Nor Is It A ‘Distraction’

      Over the last few weeks people who are actually concerned about individual rights have done a decent job sounding the alarm about the problems with what little we’ve seen of the ACTA negotiations. In the last week or so, those who work for the entertainment industry have suddenly started scrambling to respond, after realizing that more and more people are starting to pay attention and to worry about ACTA. However, it’s been pretty funny to watch the desperate attempts by industry lawyers to try to paint this all as much ado about nothing (with gratuitous swipes at those of us who have called attention to what’s going on).

    • Cronyism

      RT @jimkillock Record industry publishes #digitaleconomy bill *before* government http://bit.ly/digitaleconom… >>blatant or what?

    • Stopping the ACTA Juggernaut

      The ACTA juggernaut continues to roll ahead, despite public indignation about an agreement supposedly about counterfeiting that has turned into a regime for global Internet regulation. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has already announced that the next round of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations will take place in January — with the aim of concluding the deal “as soon as possible in 2010.”

      For the rest of us, with access to only leaks and whispers of what ACTA is about, there are many troubling questions. How can such a radical proposal legally be kept so secret from the millions of Net users and companies whose rights and freedoms stand to be affected? Who decides what becomes the law of the land and by what influence? Where is the public oversight for an agreement that would set the legal rules for the knowledge economy? And what can be done to fix this runaway process?

    • USA Treaty Priorities?

      Maybe the only explanation for the US being the last holdout from this worthy sounding treaty that even Somalia will ratify is that it is just too busy protecting the obsolete business models of the RIAA and MPAA through the secret ACTA treaty process and doesn’t have enough time or resources to worry about lesser priorities, such as protecting children.

    • BREAKING: Leaked UK government plan to create “Pirate Finder General” with power to appoint militias, create laws

      A source close to the British Labour Government has just given me reliable information about the most radical copyright proposal I’ve ever seen.

      Secretary of State Peter Mandelson is planning to introduce changes to the Digital Economy Bill now under debate in Parliament. These changes will give the Secretary of State (Mandelson — or his successor in the next government) the power to make “secondary legislation” (legislation that is passed without debate) to amend the provisions of Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988).

    • Petition

      We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to abolish the proposed law that will see alleged illegal filesharers disconnected from their broadband connections, without a fair trial.

    • Dictatorial, disastrous, dire: Mandelson must not pass

      The powers that he wants to create – by means of a statutory instrument, which bypasses Parliamentary debate and decision – will criminalise downloading of content without permission. They will give him or anyone he chooses the power to enforce by law any action he or his successor thinks fit, in the service of protecting copyright.

    • Questions for Lord Mandelson

      The bill includes a provision for unappointed, unelected, monopoly collecting societies to “assume a mandate to collect fees on behalf of rights holders who have not specifically signed up to that society.” Why should doing this be considered anything less than criminally defrauding the people these fees will be collected from and stealing copyright (in the true sense of claiming ownership, not the way it is misused as a synonym for infringement)?

      Why does the government see file sharing as both so trivial that it can be dealt with by just sending a letter and simultaneously so serious that it warrants the imposition of a new £50,000 fine?

    • Mandelson’s Madness

      This is penalising every other industry, and every online user, for the sake of one, congenitally lazy sector that has fought every new technology for the last century on the basis that it will “destroy” its business model, and “ruin” it. Of course, just as every new technology turned out to be a new *opportunity* for those self-same companies once they were forced to work with it rather than against, so file-sharing will enable a host of new business models. Until that point, though, if the current proposals go through, we will all be paying the price for this unjustifiable preferential treatment.

    • British Government Goes Batshit Insane Over Internet
    • Common Misconceptions about Plagiarism and Patents: A Call for an Independent Inventor Defense

      Now that we know who are the people opposed to an international treaty to facilitate access and sharing of accessible formats of works for blind people and people with reading disabilities, let’s read what their arguments against the treaty are.

    • p2pnet: for sale

      A patron who believed p2pnet was worth keeping online stepped forward at the last minute and has been paying most of the bills ever since. Unfortunately for us both, however, he’s now struggling to keep his own businesss going and has had to stop.

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