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Links 26/11/2009: Cringely Likes Chrome OS, Ulteo Open Virtual Desktop 2.0 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 10:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • It’s Linuxgiving season: My recent experiences with some Linux distros

    Fall season is one of the busiest times for Linux distributions, and this year is also a very busy time for me. Ever since two years now I gradually migrated family and friends to Linux. This year these new Linux users gave me quite some work, especially on week-ends, and my own upgrade gave me quite some work. You might think that the people I installed Linux systems on their laptops would be autonomous and relying on forums when help were needed. Think again: Usability of every day applications may have never been easy, but installing new applications is something that still has not gotten through them, at least on a regular basis, and this means they rely on their favourite system administrator (me) to fix whatever issues they have. But it’s somewhat of a vicious circle, because I guess I enjoy helping them myself, and to add to the pleasure I installed different distributions for each of them.

  • Desktop Recording on my Laptop

    After retiring from 34 years of teaching high school computer science and mathematics, I finally thought I’d have some time to create some good instructional video lessons. My initial goal is to produce series of instructional videos for software that is cross-platform FLOSS–Inkscape, the GIMP, OpenOffice.org, computer programming in Ruby and Python, and so on. Along with my desktop computers, I wanted to use my new Acer laptop to produce these videos.

  • Google

    • Chrome and Chrome, What is Chrome?

      The biggest news was simply that Google was finally taking Microsoft head-on. The rest of the news, at least to me, was that Microsoft should be worried, very worried.

      While we’re talking about operating systems here, Google’s real target is Microsoft Office. Redmond makes money from Windows but makes a lot more money from Office, its productivity app monopoly. Google already has its Google Apps pitted against Office, but Brin and Page know they won’t crack Office’s hold on corporate America without addressing the Windows flaws that effectively underlie both Office and Google Apps in their current incarnations. That’s where the Chrome OS comes in.

      The Chrome OS strategy comes down to services, servers, security, and an iTunes-like app store (this latter part having been missed by nearly all the pundits).

    • Virtualised Chrome OS Made Available to All

      We have more news about Chrome OS. That should be about as surprising as learning water is wet, but it is rather good news…

    • Lenovo smartbook may run Android

      A demo of a smartbook prototype from Qualcomm may have provided more details of Lenovo’s smartbook for AT&T, including its choice of OS. The design, which cosmetically resembles the publicly displayed Lenovo system, runs on a comparatively fast 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and has been shown running Android, suggesting Google’s OS is at least a candidate for the system. Previously, it had appeared that Lenovo would use a proprietary Linux release instead.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation’s New TAB

      According to Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin, “each member of the TAB personifies collaboration and works hard to help us increase the technical dominance of the Linux operating system.” As for the Board itself, it “provides essential guidance to the Linux Foundation and its members.”

  • Instructionals

  • Desktop Environments

    • New Theming Capabilities…

      Currently there is work progressing on themes on GNUstep… here are the links for that…

    • November 22nd, 2009

      This week… 1637 commits, in 179 projects, by 248 happy hackers (and 285 were translation commits).

    • KDE

      • some krunner updates

        KRunner continues to grow into a really great tool to quickly get things done using words. It was intended to be something more flexible than the Run Command dialog in KDE3 that also looked nicer. I think we’ve achieved both of those things, and KRunner blends sexily into the rest of the Plasma Desktop. It runs as its own process to allow some separation between the desktop and panels and the command dialog, which is also a bit different from KDE3 where it was part of the desktop itself.

      • An Update Of What Is To Come With KRunner In KDE SC 4.4

        With the next version of KDE SC to be released early next year, KRunner, one of KDE SC’s most powerful feature since v4.0, is getting some major updates. The hard feature freeze for KDE SC 4.4 is already done. So, in this article, we shall look at some changes that is being introduced to KRunner for KDE SC 4.4 and then some new plugins coming with it.

      • A reflection: How we made Amarok 2.2.1

        So, I’m writing this partly because of vanity (let’s be honest here), partly because reflection helps managing past mistakes better in the future, and also because some of you (KDE community) have asked about our experiences with Git. With this out of the way, let’s go in medias res:

        With Amarok 2.2.1 we have tried a new approach in release management, which meant a rather radical departure for us: The whole release cycle of 2.2.1 was pretty exactly 6 weeks long. While six weeks can be a lot of time, or very little time, in our case it was very little time, as we had set a goal of achieving three things with this release: 1) Features 2) Bug Fixes 3) Doing it all without causing regressions. To give you an impression of what we have done in these 6 weeks, check this out:

      • general audience vs advanced audience

        The example of Gwenview, Digikam and Krita is a great one, I think.

        With Gwenview, you get basic photo downloading from cameras and image manipulation. These “high end” (for Gwenview) features mostly comes from work laid down by the people working on the higher end photo management tools like (though not exclusively) Digikam. Sometimes feature improvements flow from the general audience app into the advanced tool app as well, but in my experience such improvements tend to be of the general audience pleasing type (as one might expect).

      • KDE Gets a Ubuntu One Frontend (and How To Install It)

        Harald Sitter, one of the KDE developers, has announced that the KDE frontend for Ubuntu One is now available for a technical preview. The fact that it is a technical preview means that there is bound to be crashes, bugs etc. However, it is expected that it will be available for Kubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx with dolphin integration.

  • Distributions

    • What is the Best Distribution of Linux?

      Linux comes in a wide variety of flavors, better known as distributions. Such an array can make choosing between them very difficult for both the experienced administrator as well as the new user migrating from a different operating system. Making a decision isn’t easy, but we will do our best to simplify the process of selecting the ideal Linux distribution for your needs.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva/Ulteo

      • Ulteo Open Virtual Desktop 2.0 released

        Gaël Duval, Mandrake Linux and Ulteo founder, has announced the availability of version 2.0 of the Ulteo Open Virtual Desktop (OVD). Ulteo is based on Debian and Ubuntu and allows users to run Linux and Microsoft windows applications from “any device” through a web browser. According to Ulteo, clients only need a Java enabled web browser to run the applications.

      • Mandriva will be present at the Netbook World Summit 2009

        The Netbook World Summit 2009 will be held on the 8th December, 2009 in Paris.
        The summit will be organised around panel session throughout the day:

        - A keynote speech by Walter Bender, Founder of Sugar Labs, (creator and president of One Laptop Per Child) will open the proceedings;

      • Mandriva releases USB Flash drive Linux distribution

        Linux developer Mandriva has updated its operating-system-on-a-stick with the release of Mandriva Flash 2010, which includes a bootable version of the software on a USB Flash drive.

        Available from mid-December, Mandriva Flash 2010 puts the latest version of Mandriva Linux onto an 8GB Flash drive, which has 6GB free for a user’s own documents and files.

    • Debian Family

      • Big issue to Open Source. I am Important.

        Upstream and Downstream is also important. Big problems come from Downstream thinking they are more important than upstream. Classic case of this is Ubuntu Wiki mind you Ubuntu is not they only one making this mistake. Most documentation in there really should not be there instead should be split up and stored at each of the projects they are talking about. One of the least commodity in the open source world is document writers. Clustering them at the upstream projects would get the most document writers in the one place to create documentation for everyone. This is for the good of the upstream projects.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • iRiver Story e-book reader

      iRiver doesn’t supply any e-book management software, so loading non-DRM content is a simple matter of drag’n’drop which worked out of the box with Mac and Linux machines, as well as Windows.

    • Phones

      • Nokia limits N900 shipments to pre-order customers

        Nokia fans hoping to pick up one of its N900 Linux-based smartphone-cum-tablets on the high street may finally be able to do so on 4 December.

        An unnamed Nokia spokesperson yesterday told website NokNok that the sheer volume of advance orders the Finnish phone giant has taken for the N900 means even though the first of these Maemo-based handsets are going out now, only folk who pre-ordered will get one in the short term.

      • The Ever-Nimble, Mobile Linux

        I know that not many people ever believed it, but the old complaint about free software never innovating is being disproved magnificently in a whole new field: mobile phones. It’s becoming increasing clear that alongside the iPhone, which is still the leader in this sector – at the moment – the other driving force is mobile Linux.


        That’s why free software will always *power* more innovation than closed source, even if it is not always itself the most innovative technology.

Free Software/Open Source

  • [Opensourc3 Magazine issue #5 available for free download]

    Issue 5 looks at Open Source VDI, Layer 7 Hypervisors, Scalable SMTP Networks, Virtual Traffic Management and Xen with NexentaStor.

  • What price Freedom?

    Graphics drivers (for X11 under whatever Free Software operating system you care to use) are one area where Free Software has plenty of room for improvement. My laptop has an nVidia GeForce 9600M in it, which means that there are two drivers I can use for it: the Free Software nv driver, or the proprietary nvidia one.


    Non-idle the machine draws just as much: clearly regular end-user activities (writing email, writing letters, writing blog entres, but no compiling) don’t exactly stress the machine or draw extra power. Given the numbers, I don’t understand the perceived difference in temperature or comfort of working on the machine. But it does help me put a price on Freedom: two watts.

  • FreeBSD 8.0 Review: Enterprise Ready Server Operating System

    This release improves on the functionality of FreeBSD 7.2 and introduces often requested new features in jail, SMP-optimized scheduler, virtualization, virtual network stack, NFS4, and storage subsystem improvements. This the most impressive FreeBSD releases to date. Kudos to FreeBSD team for rolling out stable and feature rich enterprise ready FreeBSD 8 operating systems.

  • Predict is an open-source, multi-user satellite tracking and orbital prediction program

    PREDICT is an open-source, multi-user satellite tracking and orbital prediction program written under the Linux operating system by John A. Magliacane, KD2BD. PREDICT is free software. Users may redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 2 of the License or any later version.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla adds hardware acceleration to Firefox 3.7

      Direct2D is similar to Direct3D in that it allows the software to make calls directly to the graphics card. However, whereas Direct3D is concerned with three-dimensional geometry, Direct2D is designed explicitly for rendering two-dimensional objects. That difference aside, the performance characteristics between the APIs are similar in that scenes of greater complexity rely more heavily on the processor. When it comes to browsing, that means complex sites see relatively little acceleration, while simpler sites have more free CPU power to render faster.

    • Firefox 3.7 gets GPU boost
  • Standards/Consortia


  • Aus gov dredges up cuter panic-button for kids online

    Salvation for children who feel threatened, harassed or bullied on the internet may be close at hand, in the shape of a user-friendly dolphin-shaped “panic button”.

  • TV vs Web: consumption characteristics

    On cranky usability guy Jakob Neilsen’s Alertbox, this wonderful chart on the relative “consumption” characteristics of TV vs the web.

  • Jean Charles de Menezes’ family settles for £100,000 Met payout

    A string of police blunders led to the innocent electrician being held down by police and shot repeatedly in the head. They mistakenly believed he was a suicide bomber about to detonate a device.

  • Scientists give grubby children a clean bill of health

    Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California found that being too clean could impair the skin’s ability to heal. The San Diego-based team discovered that normal bacteria that live on the skin trigger a pathway that helps prevent inflammation when we get hurt.

  • Police routinely arresting people to get DNA, inquiry claims

    Police officers are now routinely arresting people in order to add their DNA sample to the national police database, an inquiry will allege tomorrow.

  • Environment

    • Nuclear contamination

      NEXT week Henri Proglio will become the boss of EDF Group, the state-controlled French firm which is the world’s biggest listed utility and operator of nuclear reactors. With its proud corporate culture, its devotion to long-term planning and its powerful unions (the Confédération Générale du Travail jointly runs the firm, in effect), EDF is sometimes described as a miniature version of France itself.

  • Finance

    • 7 technologies that can help you weather the crisis

      While some politicians would have us believe the crisis is over and we’re recovering I think we can never be too sure, at the very least. Respectable people who are widely credited for predicting this crisis (George Celente, Peter Schiff, Ron Paul etc.) are saying there are even worse times to come. Suffice it to say it would probably be a bad idea to go get too comfy right now and think saving and being prepared is no longer so vital.

    • Revisiting a Fed Waltz With A.I.G.

      Many in Washington want to give more regulatory power to the Federal Reserve Board, the banking regulator that orchestrated the A.I.G. bailout. Through this prism, the actions taken in the deal by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the time, grow curiouser and curiouser.

  • AstroTurf

    • Wendell Potter in Arkansas: Real World Fears v. the Boogeyman

      This Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for so many things: my life, family, friends, freedoms, and new job at the Center for Media and Democracy. I feel lucky to be working with a team devoted to making a real difference in people’s lives as we out spin and press for change. And, with the broken health insurance system, I am thankful to work at CMD with a real-life hero, Wendell Potter, who is fighting tirelessly for families across the country so that parents and children and grandparents and grandchildren can have real access to needed health care to save their lives and thrive.

    • Qatar Taps Mcfarlane For Darfur

      The bulk of MA’s $206K projected average monthly budget goes for airfare to Doha and other Middle Eastern destinations. Six trips are planned over the course of the one-year contract for four advisors. Average hotel room cost is pegged at $375 a night, while per diem meal fee in the Middle East is pegged at $150, and $100 in the U.S. MA pegs its monthly fee at $63,500.

    • Roll Your Own Tax Rate

      The evasion could cost the government more than $30 million a month in revenues, according to the Associated Press. But the potential cost to the public is far greater, since studies show higher cigarette taxes have proved to be an effective way to discourage children from smoking.

      The new fear is that the gimmickry of rolling your own and using flavored (“pipe”) tobacco — now banned in packaged cigarettes — could prove irresistible for youngsters experimenting with life. And with death.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • EFF sets sights on abusive EULAs

      Using a TOS, online service providers can dictate their legal relationship with users through private contracts, rather than rely on the law as written. In the unregulated and unpredictable world of the Internet, such arrangements often provide the necessary ground rules for how various online services should be used.

    • Terms Of (Ab)Use

      One cannot go online today without eventually being asked to accept a set of so-called Terms of Service (or TOS) agreements. These “terms” are actually purported legal contracts between the user and the online service provider (websites, MMORPGs, communication services, etc.), despite the fact that users never get a change to negotiate their contents and can often be entirely unaware of their existence.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Virgin Media to trial filesharing monitoring system

      The trial will cover about 40 per cent of Virgin Media’s network, a spokesman said, but those involved will not be informed. “It would be counter-productive because it doesn’t affect customers directly,” he said.

    • P2P Sites’ Injunctions Overturned, Anti-Piracy Group Fined

      Preliminary injunctions against two file-sharing portals have been overturned, paving the way for a re-opening. The sites’ lawyers have proven that hard drive evidence collected during a controversial raid against the sites’ admin is worthless, and the anti-piracy group involved has been fined by the court for acting in bad faith.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Michael Shaw, community reporter for Assigment Zero 02 (2007)

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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: November 26th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Researchers Show That Patents Can Harm Society (New Study)

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 6:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fishing for money

Summary: Yet another piece of academic research shows the obvious — that intellectual monopolies serve in obstructing competition

TECHDIRT shares the following findings which suggest that copying (sometimes inspiration) is beneficial to society; impeding inspiration — contrariwise — would be detrimental.

And, now some researchers have started to look into it, and actually have built a model that shows society is likely better off when copying is the norm. Aaron deOliveira alerts us to the research on this, which tries to model societies with creators and innovators, and finds that society is served best when 30% of the population is involved in creating new goods, while 70% is focused on copying.

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Some people who are in the field of law seem to be ridiculing the patent system using the director of the USPTO while the Rambus case — a fine demonstration of the patent system going berserk [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] — is to be concluded very soon. One man who fought for justice in this case is Andy Updegrove, who has some things to say.

“Patents can also ruin our environment in a major way.”Our posting with video about Monsanto patents received a lot of good feedback (not in the comments), including a request for someone to transcribe for the benefit of all. One reader wrote: “I always translate your articles to Spanish and email them to teachers in my birth country Peru. We do have to protect freedom everywhere so that’s my grain of sand. [...] I wish I could have the transcript to translate it and send it to Peru. Please if do you have the transcript can you email it to me or publish it on the site so this group of Peruvian teachers can benefit from it.”

Can anyone help with this? Regardless, here is another recent video that explains how the patent system impedes innovation rather than promote any. Patents can also ruin our environment in a major way.

Direct link

Novell Supports GNU/Linux-Hostile Software, NASA Excludes With it After Microsoft MoU

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Protocol, Ubuntu at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World's largest telescopes

Summary: How the Novell-backed Silverlight impacts GNU/Linux users and what NASA is doing with it

NOVELL’S sick obsession with Silverlight (may lead to “drooling” or foaming at the mouth) is a subject we explored in recent days [1, 2] because Silverlight turns out to be a Windows-only technology that can only be a compromise for other (non-Windows) platforms. Here is the implication as one writer puts it:

Silverlight gives the multi-platform market to flash

What I get from this decision is that the objectives Microsoft had with Silverlight have changed. It looks like competing with flash in the wider, multi-platform market is taking a back seat to the introduction of new functionality. What Microsoft is pushing is Silverlight as the default web based development platform for Windows, with some limited compatibility with non Windows platforms. This goes in the opposite direction to Adobe Flash which seems to favor a consistent set of functionality and compatibility across all platforms. Flash is not only available on Windows, Mac and Linux, but also on the Wii, and soon an ARM version should be released for smartbooks. And that does not even cover gnash, the open source version of flash that is more or less to Flash what Moonlight is to Silverlight. In short, Microsoft is giving up the multi-platform market to Adobe.

Groklaw has just processed some more Comes vs Microsoft exhibits, including text where it shows Microsoft’s treatment of ‘extensions’ to APIs/protocols and such things. The title says: “Gates: ‘I have decided we should not publish these extensions.’”

You might find it interesting to compare this memo with Bill Gates’ July 20, 1995 letter to Novell’s Robert Frankenberg, Microsoft’s Exhibit 15 [PDF] in its collection attached to its Cross Motion for Summary Judgment. It’s a hoot. Frankenberg had complained about undocumented calls, and Gates writes that both the FTC and the DOJ has “thoroughly investigated” the allegations and found them to be “not provable”. That was then. This is now. Here’s my favorite part of the letter:

In fact, Microsoft goes out of its way to make early copies of API and protocol specifications available, hold design reviews (that even our competitors attend), and run the largest beta test programs in the industry. Novell has been invited to participate in many of these “Open Process” events — and all without requiring a tit-for-tat arrangement.

Does Novell pay attention to this at all? It is currently fighting against Microsoft in court over discriminatory extensions and APIs, such as the ones it’s falling for when dealing with Silverlight. This is contradictory.

A few days ago we wrote about what Microsoft was doing at NASA and one of our readers, The Mad Hatter, is now arguing that Microsoft had NASA exclude non-Windows users, yet again.

After a couple of minutes of talking to a very polite receptionist, who finally understood that I was having a problem with a website, I got transferred to Mark in Public Services. I explained the problem to Mark, pointing out that:

1) Most geeks are fans of the space effort.
2) Most geeks don’t run Windows.
3) Most geeks refuse to have Microsoft software on their systems.
4) Does CalTech/NASA/JPL really want to annoy their biggest fans?
5) Does Microsoft have the right to force us to run Windows?

Mark had never heard of the website, so I pointed him to it, and he spotted the bit about the Memorandum with Microsoft immediately, and pointed out that of course Microsoft would use Silverlight. And he’s correct. Of course Microsoft would use Silverlight. However NASA/JPL is a government institution, with responsibility to the American taxpayers, not Microsoft, and that it could be argued that any memorandum that blocked access to a significant part of NASA/JPL’s core constituency might not be legal.

This should be treated as an antitrust issue. It almost was, but Novell and cronies helped Microsoft escape this after an investigation had been launched in Europe (2007).

Carla Schroder is mystified by the decision to remove GIMP from Ubuntu [1, 2, 3] (Canonical could remove Mono or OpenOffice.org instead) and she offers this explanation:

I have a suspicion that this demonstrates how deeply Mono has become entrenched in Ubuntu. Gimp critics like to complain that it’s not Adobe Photoshop. True, it lacks CMYK support and other features essential to producing very high-quality professional color prints. For everything else it’s great, it makes excellent Web images and darned good color prints.

How different is Gimp? Not very, I think the critics have never touched it. Virtually all image editing programs have similar toolsets, the brush, pencil, airbrush, bucket fill, crop, eraser, fonts, and so on. Higher-end ones support layers and bales of plugins and add-ons. I think what the critics really want is Photoshop for free just because it is expensive, like the trendy folks who only wear brand-name apparel with high price tags. Like paying more makes those denim jeans that came out of the same factories as the cheap ones wear better. At any rate anyone who has touched a decent image editing/paint program before will do fine in Gimp, and someone who has never used one has some learning to do. Requiring a user of a product to learn anything seems to be a criminal offense anymore.

The latest episode of Tux Radar debates the issue and mentions “Mono haters” at one stage. Would that include “haters” like the FSF, for example? Resistance to Mono exists because of a real problem in Mono. To suggest that “irrational hatred” is behind all opposition to Mono is like casting people who get vaccinations “Swine flu haters”.

Reader’s Article: Vista 7 Versus Vista

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 5:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7 starts now

Summary: An explanation of why Vista 7 is moving in the same trajectory as Vista

ONE of our readers has contributed the following thoughts that more or less agree with what we’ve been showing for over a year (since Vista 7 was first publicly introduced to bribed friends of Microsoft with access to the press).

I still look for Vista failure news and now see it as a test of journalistic integrity and market share. Vista dominated Windows tech news for a long time. You would think the authors that praised it for a year or two would still write about it if they meant what they said or actually used the software themselves. Reality shows otherwise and this is a failure of its own. Three years after launch Vista has vanished.

As Boycott Novell noticed, Vista has disappeared from the news. Google News searches are more likely to turn up news from towns named Vista as they are to turn up news about the failed OS. If journalists and market share numbers were honest, you would expect to see somewhere between two to fifteen times as much news about Vista as you do about Linux. Instead, a news search for “Linux” turns up 22,900 items and one for “microsoft vista” turns up only 8,400, only 500 if you include the quotes. In fact, you will find more news about XP than Vista.

What does this mean? Is there really no independent press that cares about Microsoft software? Are there really four times as many GNU/Linux users as there are Vista users? Is all news about Microsoft Windows advertising in disguise? “Windows 7″ pulls in 34,000 results and “Windows XP” finds 9,000. The disparity between use and reporting is interesting to say the least.

The results are not a fluke of search terms or Google bias. A search for “Windows Vista” finds 8,500 and the first page is nearly identical for a search on “Microsoft Vista”. Google knows what I’m looking for. Bing News presents exactly 100 results for any search term, so it can’t be used for comparison. The Microsoft damaged Yahoo News search finds about 2,000 results for “microsoft vista”, 2,600 for “windows xp”, 3,000 for “windows vista”, 4,100 for “linux” and “windows 7″ pulls a whopping 13,300. I expect ratios between Google and Yahoo elsewhere.

and push the “news” tab on any Bing query to find 100 hand picked articles about anything you would like Microsoft guidance about.

In other news, I thought BN readers would enjoy this article by a stock analyst who thinks people don’t care about Windows and Microsoft is too stupid to learn how to sell it.

“The marketing effort for Windows 7 now underway clearly illustrates one thing: Microsoft has not learned from the past. For some reason, they seem to think that people actually care about the features of their operating system. The truth is, people don’t really care. … Windows 7 is likely to follow the same fate as Vista.”

“the upgrade cycle bonanza came to an end when… the PC became good enough! At that point, upgrades went from being no-brainer decisions to true nightmares. The major issues faced by users today are not speed or capacity — it is simplicity and inter-operability. The most common problems faced by PC users occur when what used to work just fine now no longer works. The most common problem faced by PC users today is making sure that a new piece of software recently installed does not disrupt everything else that already works.”

All very obvious. The broken software issue is old, Comes vs Microsoft email shows that Microsoft was aware of the issue almost 10 years ago. He’s also a little confused if he thinks that Windows 7 is much of an improvement over Vista but his arguments for Windows 7 failure do not depend on that because he knows that Microsoft’s market is still using XP and Vista is irrelevant. What’s interesting is seeing this kind of reasoning in print.

Microsoft’s cycle will repeat itself in a couple of years. Alastair Otter disappointingly participates in Microsoft’s vapourware tactics, perhaps not realising that Vista 8 fantasies are reminiscent of lies about Vista 7. People no longer remember all the stuff that was not delivered other than a new deskbar for Vista (which acts similarly to KDE4/Plasma). Vista 7 too was a case of vapourware, due to many features that Microsoft promised and never eventually delivered. Why don’t people learn from history?

LSE Must Hurry up Migrating to GNU/Linux (Windows Has Just Crashed Again)

Posted in Europe, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reliable times  FUD fail

Summary: The trading system in London suffered another major crash this morning and a permanent GNU/Linux replacement is on its way

THE WINDOWS-BASED London Stock Exchange (LSE) has been a total catastrophe not only to London but also to Microsoft’s case study against GNU/Linux. The very same “poster child” Microsoft was bragging about in its smears against GNU/Linux is going to move to GNU/Linux, having abandoned the entire Microsoft stack (following repeated failures [1, 2]).

A report that has arrived just now (several readers alerted us about it) says that LSE went down again. From the BBC:

Trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) has been brought to a halt by technical difficulties.

From IDG (UK):

Technical problems led to the suspension of trading in some FTSE 100 stocks on the London Stock Exchange this morning.


Last month, the LSE announced it will acquire Sri Lankan trading firm Millennium IT for £18 million, replacing its Accenture built, Microsoft .Net-based TradElect platform. The new platform is understood to be based on Linux.

Interestingly enough, it was only one day ago that the very same publication released a report titled “London Stock Exchange takes £20m hit on almost redundant TradElect platform”

As this article clearly shows, the transition to GNU/Linux has not occurred yet.

The often troubled TradElect system remains five times slower than rivals’ reported speeds. It was upgraded in 2008 by Accenture at a cost of £40 million, is based around Microsoft .Net architecture and runs on HP ProLiant servers with Cisco networking technology.

It is due to be replaced at the end of next year by an open source based platform built by MillenniumIT, which the LSE acquired in September for £18 million.


The system is aimed at saving the LSE over £10 million a year from 2012. It will also bring in-house the LSE’s software development, provide “dedicated research and development support”, and offer new revenue streams by selling technology to other financial markets.

Profits at the stock exchange tumbled for the six months by 37 percent to £79 million. The exchange reiterated that it hopes an ongoing cost cutting exercise and management restructure will save it over £11 million a year.

The LSE must be relieved this time around because in spite of today’s downtime, it is aware that haven is in sight. That haven is GNU/Linux and Free software. A lot of the world uses exactly that for trading platforms and Microsoft’s experiment in London failed badly and relatively quickly. The natural conclusion is that Microsoft is not suitable for mission-critical systems.

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

Chris DiBona, Google

Crowd outside NYSE
A solemn crowd gathers outside the
Stock Exchange after the crash (1929)

Programming for Proprietary Platforms a Risk to One’s Livelihood

Posted in Apple, Mono, Novell, Security at 1:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Jobs is not good for jobs, suggests news story; iPhones all have the same root password

A FEW days ago we wrote about Apple's abuse of developers. That’s what happens in proprietary software, where only one company is ‘bossing’ around the platform and its participants. The following new report [via] suggests that Apple does not pay attention to the warnings.

Jobs may make Mat lose his job

A long-time Apple software developer from Sydney fears he may have to lay off most of his staff after draconian Apple legal threats and a rare personal email from Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs.

Miguel de Icaza got his argument totally reversed when he tried to suggest (in a Microsoft conference) that doing Free software is a risk to one’s livelihood. It ought to be added that Mono targets Apple’s iPhone, specifically putting .NET in it, using MonoTouch which we wrote about in:

Regarding the iPhone, LWN.net has this new article about worms that entered the iPhones because Apple had chosen the same root password for all phones.

It is Apple’s decision to ship all models of its iPhone with the same root password — a tactic common to embedded device makers, if not particularly secure. The point of debate is whether the security hole left open by the combination of a default root password and a running SSH daemon is Apple’s fault, the jailbreaking tool authors’, or simply the users’.

This is hardly an argument against jailbreaking; it’s when those rails are removed from the phone that its inherent flaws get exposed. Apple was sloppy with passwords and journalists warned about exactly that one flaw even 2 years ago. It is surprising that Apple has not resolved this since.

“FSF did some anti-Apple campaigns too. Personally I worry more about Apple because they have user loyalty; Microsoft doesn’t.”

Bradley M. Kuhn (SFLC)

Links 26/11/2009: US Military Goes with GNU/Linux on Cell (PS3)

Posted in News Roundup at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Giving Thanks For FOSS

    I’m thankful for the people who fight for our digital freedoms against those who would lock down, shut out, and restrict through patents, copyright, DRM and so much more, our freedom to use, share and enjoy that which should rightfully be free.

    I’m thankful for all the people who write about FOSS and Linux, providing tutorials, guides, reviews and so much more, as well as the numerous volunteers who step up and help newbies with problems in order to help make their experience with Linux a happy one.

  • Buying a PC: Some Simple Advice

    Linux is another option, with Ubuntu as the most common desktop distribution these days; but Linux is aimed at technical users who are mostly building their own systems. You’re not likely to see a Linux machine if you’re looking for a typical consumer PC.

  • Audio

    • Podcast Season 1 Episode 22

      In this episode: Google releases the source code to its new operating system, Chrome OS. The Fedora 12 distribution makes its way onto the mirrors and The Gimp is too powerful and too complex for Ubuntu 10.04. We present the results of our two-week Bing research project and ask whether we’d switch to Bing if it was the only place to find News Corp. coverage.

    • Linux Outlaws 123 – Simple Doesn’t Equal Shit

      This week on the show: We review OpenSuse 11.2 and Fedora 12 and review them in our Big Distro Shootout and in the news Apple says no warranty for you if you smoke, Chrome OS source released, Fedora 12 lets non-root users install stuff and Ubuntu removes the GIMP from Lucid.

  • Server

    • US Air Force orders 2200 Sony PS3s

      The US Air Force plans to buy a whopping 2200 PlayStation 3 games consoles which it will use to expand an existing PS3-based supercomputer.


      The entire set-up runs on an in-house developed Linux-based OS.

    • U.S. Military building PS3 supercomputer

      A recent InformationWeek article reveals that Rome hosts the Air Force Research Laboratory’s information directorate, where the military is conducting research on the possibilities of supercomputing “to determine the best fit for implementation of various applications” that take advantage of networked PS3 Cell proessors running Linux.

  • Google

    • Five things Chrome OS isn’t

      Put it all together and you have a fascinating operating system, which is still at a very early stage of development. Since Chrome OS is built on an Ubuntu foundation and uses the Chrome browser for its desktop interface, it looks and feels more mature than it actually is. I’m enjoying playing with it, and I’m going to be very interested in seeing how it works out in the long run. But one thing Chrome OS certainly isn’t yet is ready for any kind of final verdict.

    • How to Install Chrome OS From A USB Drive
    • Chrome OS Wi-Fi Support Running on a Mini 10v… Source Code Available

      Last week, Google released ChromiumOS to the open source community at http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os. ChromiumOS is a small, optimized OS whose purpose is to make it extremely simple and easy to browse the web. Without a network connection, ChromiumOS is not very interesting. With a network connection, ChromiumOS shines. The Chromium browser is extremely fast and makes for a great web-centric browsing experience. Boot time appears quick too – about 12 seconds from hitting the power button.

    • Fear and Loathing of Chrome OS?

      Certainly Chrome OS shouldn’t be anything Linux users fear – it is Linux, and although they mount the fs RO, you can change that instantly with a “-o remount,rw” (at least for now).

      To my mind, Microsoft has the most to fear (and saying that is probably what caused one nasty comment).

      So, I guess two issues here: one is the use of such OSes/devices at at all and the other is whether this is good for Linux. I’d say yes – even if potential users don’t initially realize that they are using Linux!

    • Google is about to give away computers

      Linux expert Glyn Moody thinks that Google is set to give away free computers.

      The writer of Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution said that Chrome OS based free netbooks could be offered by Google as a way to push its advertising. He said that with open source code the unit cost of software close to zero, but if people use netbooks the hardware will be pretty cheap too.

    • Engadget Hearts Chrome OS

      Google’s forthcoming Chrome OS operating system — previewed recently to mixed reviews — just received a serious nod from Engadget. After prepping a USB key so it could boot to Chrome OS natively, the tech and gadget blog exclaims, “What we’re seeing with Chrome OS is actually on par performance-wise with our crazy expectations for a stripped-down OS.” The highly-anticipated operating system “boots in mere seconds and loads Web sites with the best of them,” according to Engadget.

  • Kernel Space

    • Getting to the Heart of the Linux Kernel

      Against that background, you almost begin to feel sorry for Microsoft…

      This long interview with Kroah-Hartman is simply the best introduction to the inner workings of the kernel development team that I’ve read: highly recommended.

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.32 (Part 4) – Drivers

      The forthcoming Linux version 2.6.32 comes with numerous new and improved drivers – for instance for the Hauppauge HVR 2200 and 2250, for some ThinkPad notebooks by IBM/Lenovo, and for the MSI Wind’s fingerprint reader. The kernel developers have incorporated Microsoft’s Hyper-V driver into the staging area.

    • Working DisplayPort Arrives For Radeon KMS

      David Airlie has announced on his blog that he and Alex Deucher have finally got support for DisplayPort-driven graphics cards and monitors working with the open-source ATI Linux driver stack.

  • Applications

    • Create Video Slideshows in Linux with SMILE

      SMILE is a Free Software that allows you to create video slideshows using images and videos. The name SMILE is acronym for Slideshow Maker In Linux Environment. The best way to start using SMILE in Ubuntu 9.10 is to install this package from getdeb.net because it installs all the required components with a couple of clicks. Users of other Linux distros can download SMILE here.

  • Instructionals

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Yes-No Vote on behalf of the Foundation

      The trustees anticipate that more approaches of this nature will be received and view it as a sign of Gentoo maturing. Recognising that this would be a break with tradition, by allowing even major users to contribute to Gentoo in this way the trustees determined to put the question to a vote of Foundation members.

    • Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat increases stock-ownership rules for executives

        Raleigh software company Red Hat will soon require its top executives to own more of its shares, creating added financial incentive for them to help the stock rise.

        Since 2006, the company has required officers and directors to own shares. The revised stock-ownership policy, which takes effect March 1, increases the minimum ownership levels, said Brandon Asbill, vice president and assistant general counsel.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical Landscape And Ubuntu: Government Boost?

        Ubuntu, as WorksWithU previously reported, has scored government and public safety wins across the globe. But I must concede: I’m surprised there aren’t more articles about Ubuntu’s potential strengths and weaknesses for government agencies. We’ll be sure to keep that topic in mind in the weeks ahead.

      • Linux based OS Ubuntu 9 10

        Ubuntu 9.10 is the latest iteration of the popular Linux-based operating system from Canonical Ltd. Version 9.10, which is also known as the Karmic Koala, stands out for its built-in encryption support and new Software Center, as well as for the early look at affords organizations waiting for the next Long Term Support version of the distribution, due next Spring.

      • The Incredible Guide to NEW Ubuntu (Karmic Koala) [PDF]

        The guide is aimed, not only familiarizing you, but on making your Linux experience easier in general. Learn how to define command aliases, making the Command Line Shell easy to use!

      • Ubuntu Karmic … my first impressions

        Now I’m obviously so much more productive with massive(?) monitors…. and funky desktop effects.

      • Lucid Lynx – This Is The Plan

        Of course no one can know exactly what Ubuntu 10.04 will be like and what features will land. But based on the outcome of the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Dallas here’s my vision.

      • Kuki Linux development resumes

        Well that was fast. Just after two weeks after announcing that development of Kuki Linux had been put on hold indefinitely due to real-life distractions, the developers are back on the job.

      • How to upgrade Linux Mint 8 RC1 to Linux Mint 8 (stable)
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wind River and Kontron buddy up

      Wind River and Kontron announced a global, multi-year agreement under which the embedded system manufacturer will distribute Wind River’s VxWorks and Wind River Linux distributions. The agreement is expected to extend software and service offerings across a range of industries, says Wind River.

    • Low-cost Linux RTL and Gate-level simulator from Aldec
    • SYSGO announces ELinOS support for Freescale’s i.MX25 Platform

      The i.MX25 family of multimedia applications processors extends Freescale’s ARM9 portfolio by integrating many new features for the industrial and general embedded markets and by committing to ship these processors for at least 15 years from time of launch. When coupled with SYSGO’s ELinOS industrial grade Linux operating system, the i.MX25 provides an ideal platform for challenging multimedia applications. Both technologies have been designed to support evolving, long-life applications, minimizing costly redesign.

    • Phones

      • First Else phone raises the interface bar for smart phones

        But a new offering from Else, (formerly Emblaze) which will debut next year in the second quarter, is offering an intriguing glimpse at a radically different and potentially much more friendly form of user interface. The First Else phone, (yeah, not sure about that name) is a 3.5 inch touch-screen phone built with the latest Access Linux Platform operating system.

      • Nokia

        • KOffice 2.1 Released and for Nokia N900

          Six months after KOffice announced their platform 2.0.0 release, KOffice has now announced version 2.1.0 of the platform which delivers new features and general improvements in the maturity of the applications along with the importing of documents receiving an overhaul.

        • Nokia and Sony Ericsson withdraw handsets

          Nokia were left with egg on their faces today when they, along with Sony Ericsson had to withdraw two devices from the UK market due to software issues with Nokia’s Symbian mobile platform.


          Sony Ericssons official statement is very vague however we are aware of issues with many aspects of the Saito handset, from quality issues with the onboard camera and even software freezing and operating system crashes.


          This looks like the first signs that the Symbian platform has had its day, especially with Nokia’s own dramatic move to the Linux Maemo platform.

        • Sony Ericsson, Nokia pull handsets

          The platform, which powers both simple handsets and smartphones, has seen increased competition from Google’s Android and other Linux-based mobile platforms – so much so that Nokia’s latest and greatest handset moves away from the company’s once staple software to the Linux-based Maemo platform.

        • Big demand delays Nokia N900 launch

          Nokia has been forced to delay the release of the Nokia N900 due to the massive demand for the Maemo 5 device.

Free Software/Open Source

  • At its best, is open source unbeatable?

    The answer might well be no, as the top open-source projects are collaborative efforts between multiple companies that pool resources and expertise to drive development. And while it might seem reasonable that a single corporation could best open source’s seeming “development by committee” approach, the reality is that well-managed open-source projects have none of the inertia that one might expect from a communal approach.

  • The Story Of Freeware

    People unfamiliar with the world of open-source software often presume its adherents to be hostile to property, profits and the other mainstays of capitalism. Not true. Bryant, for example, has plans for a for-profit program unrelated to WavPack, and both men say they would consider consulting engagements from companies trying to get the most out of their software.

  • Be Transparent To The (Open) Core

    I did some further digging around on the SugarCRM site myself, and was further surprised at how much work I had to do to find out which license they used. (It’s GPLv3, as of Community Version 5; earlier versions were under the Mozilla Public License and the Attribution Assurance License.)

  • Open source Magnolia CMS receives WebDAV interface

    Version 4.2 of the open source Magnolia CMS has been released. In this latest release, the developers further extended the Standard Templating Kit (STK) which has been part of Magnolia since version 4.0. A new feature is the WebDAV interface for editing and managing templates. According to the developers, the templates have been optimised for search engines and comply with the W3C’s content accessibility guidelines. The data module can now handle hierarchical data types, which allows complex structures to be mirrored and managed with ease.

  • Fog Computing

    • Putting Trust in the Cloud

      With new platforms like Moblin and Chrome OS in various stages of availability, though, I may soon find myself facing a real push to store data like this out on the cloud.

      My security twitchiness aside, I do see real advantages to using the cloud for storing data. It would be nice, for instance, to have all of my computers’ data stored and accessible from one place. Right now, a lot of older info is kept on enclosed hard drives pulled straight from the original machine the drive was used, until an upgrade or a re-assignment necessitated moving that drive. If I have to find my wife’s recipe for peppermint cocoa created in 2003, I know on what drive that’s stored, but it’s not a pretty system by any means.

    • EC study hails cloud computing growth

      “Open source is also playing an important role in the customisation of information systems, enabling service providers to better serve customer needs. ”

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla hatches Thunderbird 3 release candidate

      Mozilla Messaging on Wednesday conjured up the first release candidate for version 3.0 of their popular open source email and news client.

    • Why to embrace Firefox 3.6′s new-tab ethos

      Specifically, when you open a link in a new tab, it appears immediately to the right of the active tab. Before, the new tabs would appear to the far right of the strip of tabs.


      First type “about:config” in the Firefox address bar. You’ll get a warning that you’re tinkering with Firefox’s innards and you should be careful, but this isn’t brain surgery, so don’t be frightened. Click the “I’ll be careful, I promise” button, and you’ll see a big list of all the browser settings that can be tweaked.

    • Firefox 3.6 Beta 4 Available for Download

      The forth Beta development milestone for the next iteration of Mozilla’s open source browser is currently available for download. Firefox 3.6 Beta 4 was already offered to heavyweight testers as a nightly, preview build via the browser maker’s FTP servers, and was followed shortly by the fully-fledged Beta 4 bits. In fact, Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox at Mozilla had announced early yesterday that the nightly Builds had already been offered to early adopters and that the full Beta was scheduled to follow. Mozilla managed to live up to the promise and users can now grab the complete Firefox 3.6 Beta 4. And not just the nightly release.

    • Firefox locks down the components directory
  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Open-source software opens business doors for web-development companies

      The City of Vancouver has launched a program in which much of its data is accessible to everyone. It’s also replacing many of its applications with ones powered by OSS.

      Appnovation initially worked solely with Drupal, one of the most widely used OSS platforms – particularly among media companies and non-profit groups.

  • Releases

    • HandBrake 0.9.4 Released With a Whopping 1,000 Changes

      Popular open source video transcoder project HandBrake saw a new release this week with a boatload of new features, changes, and improvements. Many of version 0.9.4′s changes optimize the application for better picture quality and performance while others make using the tool to rip DVDs a much friendlier experience.

    • Blender 2.5 Alpha Brings Major Changes

      For those interested in 3D modeling and graphics, you will want to check out the first alpha release of Blender 2.5. Blender 2.5 is bringing major changes to this free software 3D graphics application. With Blender 2.5, the user-interface is being redesigned and bringing rewritten components like a new file browser, customizable tool shelf, support for multiple windows, and customizable keyboard shortcuts.

  • Government

    • European ministers favour open specifications and open source

      European ministers responsible for eGovernment policy of the European Union say the open source model could be promoted for use in eGovernment projects, they said in a statement last week in the Swedish city of Malmö.

    • NSW ponders open source, SaaS

      The NSW Government is evaluating the benefits of software as a service (Saas) and open source software in a bid to rationalise and reduce the costs of its software procurement, according to a Request for Information (RFI) document released today.

  • Licensing

    • Legal Compliance: Open Source and Quality Assurance

      Software is a pervasive element in most products and processes nowadays. It comes from internal developments, from suppliers of sub-systems and chips, from outsourced development contractors, from open source repositories or simply from the previous work of the developers themselves. Software, unlike hardware, is easily replicable, accesses, copied and re-used.

  • Openness

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Parliament said: ODF only

      Today the Danish Parliament said ODF only for public administration. The Minister of Science doesn’t agree, so he will ask the Minister of Finance for advice. The Government is afraid that the decision will be too expensive.

    • Momentum builds for open content management standard

      A proposed standard meant to help content management systems communicate with each other has steady momentum, and an initial version could be finalized early next year.

    • Content management standard to be set
    • Kindle battery life extended; PDF support added

      Another firmware change provides a PDF reader, allowing the reader to display files in the popular format. This means such files can be transferred directly to a Kindle via USB.

    • Kindle gains longer battery life, PDF support

      Amazon.com announced two enhancements to its Linux-based Kindle e-book reader, offering 85 percent more battery life, as well as a native PDF reader. The Kindle can now last seven days even with wireless turned on, claims Amazon, which is offering the enhancements to current users via firmware upgrades.


  • Silicon Sweatshops

    Whether it’s your cherished iPhone, Nokia cell phone or Dell keyboard, it was likely made and assembled in Asia by workers who have few rights, and often toil under sweatshop-like conditions, activists say.

    By the time a gadget reaches Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City or any other U.S. retailer, it may have passed through the hands of a heavily indebted Filipina migrant worker on the graveyard shift in Taiwan, a Taiwanese “quality control” worker who’ll soon be fired without warning, and a young Chinese worker clocking 80-hour weeks on a final assembly line, at less than a dollar an hour.

    Recent years have seen a drumbeat of reports on such abuses. In 2006, in an audit following a British media report, Apple found that workers in a factory assembling iPods in China were working excessive overtime hours.

  • Rupert Murdoch vs. The Web

    Defending the Web and the Net from collateral damage are Tim O’Reilly, Chris Messina, Anil Dash — and Dave Winer, whose whole oeuvre is thick with warnings about subordinating the Web and the Net to narrow personal or corporate interests. (He also offers positive advice: “Ask not what the Web can do, ask what you can do for the Web”.)

  • Funny How Those In Favor Of ACTA Are Against Treaty Providing More Access To Content For Vision Impaired

    Now, that’s funny, because you could pretty much say that ACTA is doing the same thing… and yet these same groups are strongly in favor of ACTA, which would also be at odds with existing, longstanding and well-settled norms.” Funny how their view changes completely when discussing treaties that would beef up copyright law vs. those that would create important and useful loopholes in it.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Michael Shaw, community reporter for Assigment Zero 01 (2007)

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