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Links 30/12/2009: Slax (GNU/Linux) Downloaded Over 2 Million Times

Posted in News Roundup at 10:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Microsoft Cracks Down On Windows Piracy In China… So Pirating Group Offers Up Ubuntu That Looks Like XP

    Even Bill Gates has famously said:

    “And as long as they’re going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

    Except… of course, Microsoft has been pushing hard to “stop” that kind of “piracy” in China, and it may be having an unintended effect. Slashdot points us to the news that a group that had been offering pirated copies of Windows is now offering a copy of Ubuntu Linux, designed to look just like Windows XP.

  • Still waiting for a 64-bit Flash Player

    Curiously, though, the October press release doesn’t mention 64-bit support at all, and the announcement of the latest beta includes only a passing link to “the latest alpha refresh” of the 64-bit Flash Player 10 prerelease for Linux.What about Windows or the Mac? Sorry, folks, no news to report.

  • Open Source in 2010: Nine Predictions

    Users have been waiting a long time for open source video drivers that match proprietary ones feature for feature. But by the end of next year they may actually arrive. Intel drivers are already solid, and are used on about twenty-five percent of open source computers.

    However, the Linux 2.6.33 kernel is supposed to include increased support for both ATI and NVIDIA cards, so major improvements are a certainty by the end of next year. At the very least, if features are still missing, they should be come by mid-2011.

  • Kernel Space

    • The abrupt merging of Nouveau

      The merge window is normally a bit of a hectic time for subsystem maintainers. They have two weeks in which to pull together a well-formed tree containing all of the changes destined for the next kernel development cycle. Occasionally, though, last-minute snags can make the merge window even more busy than usual. The unexpected merging of the Nouveau driver is the result of one such snag – but it is a story with a happy ending for all.

  • Instructionals

  • Distributions

    • 10+ free, fast-booting Linux distros that aren’t Chrome OS

      A 200MB dynamo built on Slackware, Slax offers one seriously awesome feature you won’t find with any of the other options mentioned here. You can customize you ISO before you download. It’s as simple as choosing build Slax and then browsing through the massive inventory of packages available to plug in. Bonus points: you can even drop Google Chrome into your personal build.

      Slax has long been a favorite of Linux users looking for a feature-packed but lightweight desktop OS, and it’s been downloaded more than 2 million times.

    • ArchLinux + modular KDE 4 + Tools = Chakra (Alpha 4)

      I had heard abοut ArchLinux back from the early days that I started experimenting with GNU/Linux distributions. It caught my attention for two main reasons:

      1. The mentality of Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) and lightweight.
      2. It’s a rolling distro, which means you don’t need to upgrade every now and then to newer versions to keep up to date. Just update your way into everything new out there.

      To be honest, I had attempted installing ArchLinux on an old laptop back then, but I failed miserably in completing the task. Same disappointing results on Virtualbox on my desktop PC. Although Arch has extremely thorough documentation available, I was stuck somewhere between manually setting up the system files and installing and configuring a working desktop environment. As an newbie I couldn’t handle the pressure, so I gave up. But not for long.

      To my great pleasure, I recently stumbled upon the Chakra Project. Chakra is as the title suggests, a brand new distribution which is based on Arch Linux and KDE 4, but it comes extra with its own tweaked package set of KDE called KDEmod and some very handy tools.

      I was extremely happy to see that it features a graphical installer, and the fact that it supports automatic hardware configuration made it irresistible. I just had to download and see with my one eyes. It was about time I get rid of that Windows XP dual boot with Ubuntu after all.

    • New Releases

      • Best Linux releases of 2009

        Ubuntu Linux may get the majority of attention from Linux watchers but there are many good alternatives available. One of those is Mandriva Linux, a version of Linux formerly known as Mandrake and long considered one of the most user-friendly of Linux versions.

        Mandriva 2010 focused heavily on netbook users and other alternative desktop users. Boot time was also a priority for Mandriva, as it is for most other operating system makers, and the developers said that Mandriva 2010 shuts down, hibernates, suspends, and resumes faster. The bootup procedure on Mandriva 2010 is managed by Plymouth, which also makes for a more attractive, graphical boot up process.

      • Nova versão da distribuição multimídia juntaDados 1.04r2
      • KANOTIX 2.6.32
      • Parted Magic 4.8

        Parted Magic 4.8 fixes “Live” mode and direct ISO booting with GRUB4DOS. No programs were upgraded.

      • Webconverger 5.9
      • SystemRescueCD 1.3.4
      • Frenzy 1.2
    • Debian Family

      • Distro Review: Linux Mint 8

        Ease Of Installation & Use: 5/5
        Stability: 5/5
        Speed: 4/5
        Community & Documentation: 4/5
        Features: 4/5
        Overall: 5/5

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Spaz webOS 1.0 Ushers in New Features for Palm Pre Microblogging Client

      We covered Spaz webOS, a microblogging client for Palm devices, when it was still a babe in the woods. The project has grown considerably since then and this week its developer, Ed Finkler, announced the release of Spaz webOS 1.0. It’s an important milestone that includes a slew of new features that ought to satisfy anyone looking for an open source microblogging app for their Palm device.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Nightshade Forks From Stellarium, Designs Open Source Software for Planetariums

    Nightshade is available for Linux and Window, and the project is currently looking for developers to help build a package for Mac OS X. According to the project team, the decision to break from the Stellarium project was based on a desire to depart from Stellarium’s desktop-heavy focus and plans to implement a new graphical interface.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD – the unknown Giant

      FreeBSD is a free, open-source and UNIX-like operating system. Though relatively unknown, it’s a performing and powerful work-horse, capable of coping with massive work-loads whilest remaining fast, ultra-stable and rock-solid. Blogging about FreeBSD and operating systems based on this versatile, safe and secure OS, I want to generate more interest in FreeBSD and its dependants. If you need a reliable, rock-solid and performing system for either your desktop or servers, consider FreeBSD!

    • FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter, December 26, 2009


  • Security

    • Obama ends Bush secrecy policy, launches ‘declassification center’

      WH releases all visitor logs for first time ever

      In an executive order issued Tuesday, President Barack Obama ended a Bush-era policy that allowed the head of the US’s intelligence agencies to have the final word on the declassification of documents.

    • One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists

      This corruption of our legal system, if history is any guide, will not be reserved by the state for suspected terrorists, or even Muslim Americans. In the coming turmoil and economic collapse, it will be used to silence all who are branded as disruptive or subversive. Hashmi endures what many others, who are not Muslim, will endure later. Radical activists in the environmental, globalization, anti-nuclear, sustainable agriculture and anarchist movements—who are already being placed by the state in special detention facilities with Muslims charged with terrorism—have discovered that his fate is their fate. Courageous groups have organized protests, including vigils outside the Manhattan detention facility. They can be found at www.educatorsforcivilliberties.org or www.freefahad.com. On Martin Luther King Day, this Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. EST, protesters will hold a large vigil in front of the MCC on 150 Park Row in Lower Manhattan to call for a return of our constitutional rights. Join them if you can.

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • Health Insurance Lobby Pushing to Amend States’ Constitutions

      The health insurance lobby is laying the groundwork to block federal health care reform by working through think tanks to pass state laws invalidating federally-mandated reforms. Conservative and libertarian think tanks have started encouraging states to amend their constitutions to block federal health reform measures, including a mandate to purchase health insurance.

    • Efforts already underway in Colorado to blunt federal health care reforms

      Lobbyists lay ground

      Regardless of when the fight happens, the health care industry has already laid lobbying groundwork across the country.

      A New York Times story Tuesday showed that companies and individuals with a financial interest in the health care debate have already given heavily in state races. Data from the Institute on Money in State Politics show that while not a leader in the debate, Colorado is part of that trend.

      Colorado ranks second in the Rocky Mountain West in the amount of political contributions accepted from the health care industry in the past three election cycles — $1.9 million — though nearly half went to support the 2005 ballot initiative Referendum C, a timeout on the revenue limits of the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

      The years of sustained contributions point to a history of political involvement by health care interests and not necessarily a flurry of new activity, said Nathan Newman, director of liberal group Progressive States Network. And local health care lobbyists said they are waiting for the final version of federal legislation before wading into any state fights.

      “States are the ones who are going to continue to spend the most of the money on health care,” Newman said. “Where they’re spending money, the lobby is already there.”

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • Kindle Total Cost of Ownership: Calculating the DRM Tax

      There is one other problem with DRM protected books. When the reading device reaches its end of life, you have to assume all the content you purchased will be lost. If, for instance, I went with a Kindle, all of the content I purchase can be used only on devices supported by Amazon.

      When, several years later, it comes time to replace that Kindle I may get a new Kindle — but I can’t assume that. Maybe somebody else will have a better device at that time. Or, maybe Amazon went bankrupt or evil or stupid and I need to switch to another vendor. There are any number of reasons I might like to switch my e-reader. If I do, I have to assume I won’t be able to use any of the content I purchased for the Kindle.

      Thanks to DRM, when my e-reader reaches its end of life, I will have to pay to acquire replacement books for the material that’s locked out of the new e-reader. I call the amount of that purchase the “DRM tax” — an added cost imposed by DRM restrictions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Experts: Comcast’s Acquisition of NBC May End Free TV

      Increasingly, media moguls, national journalists and Wall Street experts are predicting that cable provider Comcast’s acquisition of NBC will lead to the end of free broadcast television. Numerous outlets have reported that Rupert Murdoch, founder of Fox News Channel’s parent company NewsCorp, is actively pushing to end the long-time television business model where advertising dollars pay for programming.

    • The rise of machine-written journalism

      Famine isn’t a worry for most journalists in the developed world. But the information workers who toil at the core of the news business do resemble the stocking-makers of Nottinghamshire in other ways.

    • SoundExchange Claims To Open Up, But Somehow Its List Of Unpaid Musicians Has Disappeared

      This is a big issue. As we’ve seen over and over again, many of these collections societies use sampling and counting methods that greatly overvalue big stars (who need the money less) at the expense of up-and-coming artists. It’s like the poor get to pay the rich.

      From there, Wilhelm’s letter goes on in great detail responding to claims from SoundExchange and debunking them one by one. SoundExchange claims that they’re now going to be much more open and respond to these types of questions. We’ll be interested to see what they have to say.

    • Christopher Bryant Works To Gain New Fans By Opening For Himself

      One of my favorite things about the emerging new music industry has been the realization that there is no longer a single best way to do much of anything anymore. That pioneering spirit is leading to wonderful experimentation including this great twist from indie artist Christopher Bryant.

    • With Ads, Music Downloads Sing a New Tune

      ON Hulu, the popular Web site that streams free television shows and other video, users have proved to be perfectly willing to watch short commercials, and a new site is betting that the same willingness will apply to downloading music.

    • Google Lawyer Claims Viacom Request Undermines Its Charge Of Copyright Infringement

      The judge presiding over the Viacom-YouTube copyright lawsuit has allowed Viacom to withdraw infringement claims for around 250 clips — including approximately 100 that were uploaded to the site by Viacom employees or agents.

    • Among The Clips That Viacom Sued Google Over, About 100 Were Uploaded By Viacom Itself

      That alone should show how ridiculous Viacom’s claims are in this lawsuit. There is simply no way for Google to know if clips are uploaded legitimately or not. Oddly, however, the court has now allowed Viacom to withdraw those clips, but lawyers like Eric Goldman are questioning how this isn’t a Rule 11 violation for frivolous or improper litigation. But, more importantly, it demonstrates that even Viacom has no idea which clips are infringing and which are authorized. Given that, how can it possibly say that it’s reasonable for Google to know?

    • Youtube and McDonalds says this is copyright infringement

      Evidently Youtube wants me to take this down, because of course a 4 year old dancing to a McDonald’s happy meal song (that was included with a happy meal) is too much for the copyright holder to handle.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 17 (2004)

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

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  1. satipera said,

    December 31, 2009 at 10:34 am


    “One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists”……….good link. It is an old story, who is watching the watchers and the damage they are doing to what they say they are protecting.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I especially fancied the headline–a spin on “one day we’ll all be free”.

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