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12.31.09

Links 1/1/2010: Many New GNU/Linux Releases, Ubuntu Tweak 0.5

Posted in News Roundup at 10:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell happy year

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • A standard Windows desktop is useless

    I type, LyX does the layout. Creating a PDF is painless. With eLyXer HTML creation is easy – and boy, does it look good. With LaTeX2RTF I can create those @#$% Word documents the whole world seems to be craving for. I written my entire 4tH manual with LyX, which is over 450 densely written letter-size pages – with graphics. No problem. Making references, bibliographies or a simple table of contents, it’s just a few quick clicks away. I fire LyX up, adjust the document properties and I’m away. I type the title, my name, indicate this is the “title” and “author” and begin my first section. Highlight the section title, indicate this is a “section” and off we go. That’s how you produce content. Needless to say that once you’ve put an image somewhere that it doesn’t move anymore – and certainly isn’t overlaid.

  • The Linux Commercial Contest

    Post a link to that video in the Comments section below this post.

    The deadline is January 10, 2010 at 5pm Eastern Standard Time. You can post your entries after that time but they won’t be considered for the contest.

    I will announce the winners via a post here on Daniweb on January 15, 2010.

    There will be three winners: First, Second and Third place.

    Winners will receive fame and possibly some higher form of recognition. I’ll work on that part.

    Winners will be judged on the following criteria:
    1. Originality
    2. Number YouTube views
    3. Commercial Appeal

    Good luck and get creative.

  • IT Experts: Our Top Tech Resolutions for 2009

    If you’re not going to stick with Windows, then jump ship in 2009 — after all, it’s now clear that Windows 7 won’t be a brand-new OS but simply a better Vista, so what are you waiting for? Plus, the next Mac OS X, Snow Leopard, will also be a continuation of the current OS, so there’s no reason to delay your journey down that path. Linux’s stability also argues for not waiting.

  • Applications

    • Trying Out Single Window Mode on GIMP 2.7

      Once you run GIMP 2.7, you’ll notice that it will start up in the traditional multi-window interface. To switch to the single-window interface, go to the “Windows” menu and toggle “Single-window mode”.

      Now that GIMP has the window mode of your choice, I hope the multi-window zealots and the single-window lovers can both rejoice about the wonderful, yet underrated program we know as GIMP.

    • A Look Back At Docky in 2009

      As with a few other of my favourite Linux applications, Docky has an incredibly insightful and focused team who hare a passion for making Docky awesome – as proven by its breathtakingly fast development speed!

    • Some GNOME Activity Journal (GNOME Zeitgeist) Screenshots

      So after some cleanup we decided to upload these pics before new years starts. Development is going very fast thanks to the Zeitgeist Framework 0.3 series. This is not our final design and there are ofcourse some usability flaws. We welcome critics, praises and suggestions.

    • Learning is Childsplay

      I spent some time looking at Childsplay and if you have small children, I think you should too. As soon as I started the program, it started to play it’s theme song and my 18 month old son came running, and he still comes running every time he hears that music. For most parents and educators, my review of this program could end right here, but I suspect that I should probably write a bit more.

    • Android apps: Six of the best

      Astrid

      Astrid is a to-do list manager on steroids. Astrid can be used to create tasks with notes, deadlines, reminders tags and priorities. Input is straightforward and reminders can be set in any form. Astrid can also sync with online site Rememberthemilk.com and prompts you with human-like reminders at regular intervals: “Let’s get this done”. Tasks can also record time spent on each of them so Astrid also acts like a time-logger for billing hours. If you have stuff to do then Astrid is the best at keeping you organised.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • 3 Wonderful Open-Source Games to Install After Installing Ubuntu

        Wesnoth 1.6.5

        Scripting is handled in Wesnoth by WML, the Wesnoth Markup Language, which allows for building entire scenarios and campaigns.

        Wesnoth is in a continuous change, with every new release bringing more features and gameplay innovation. The current stable release is 1.6.5, but soon 1.8 will be out, and it will include new unit portraits, WML (Wesnoth Markup Language) improvements, updated campaigns and more. 1.8 will also allow the user to directly upload user-made campaigns and scenario from in-game add-ons menu.

  • Distributions

    • Getting Started with Arch Linux

      It’s hard to come up with an opinion about Arch, since Arch is what you make of it. I like that it gives so much control to the user when it comes to system configuration, but at times it feels like a little too much control. There are a few things that make you think “come on, does this HAVE to be manual?” but the developers are clearly just trying to follow the Arch philosophy of giving the user all the control. In particular, it would be nice to have tools like hwd and aurbuild as part of the system, or at least available for installation through pacman. That may happen at some point as packages in AUR have a chance to be worked into the community repo eventually. Overall I think I like Arch and pacman, and I can see how it would make a great choice for systems that should be kept fast and clean.

    • New Releases

    • Mandriva

      • Noteworthy changes 21 december – 31 december 2009

        In spite of the holiday season, lots of new packages continue to trickle in Mandriva Cooker. Amongst the many updates, here is an overview of some important changes:

        * GNOME is now updated toversion 2.29.4: The most important changes are in Nautilus. In preparation of GNOME 3.0, where Nautilus will purely be a file browser and won’t provide the desktop anymore, the file management part has been improved a lot. Upstream is now using browser mode by default (this was already the case in Mandriva) and made several UI improvements for it. The developers have added now an optional split view like Midnight Commander. Another useful change is that it’s now possible in GNOME to configure a background per monitor on a multi-monitor setup in GNOME. Also worth mentioning is the fast progress the Tracker document search engine is making since some time. I would recommend removing Beagle from your Cooker system, and switching to Tracker instead. Then by clicking on the Search button in Nautilus’ toolbar, you can easily search your files.
        * KDE has been updated to the latest beta, which is version 4.4 beta 2.

    • Ubuntu Tweak

      • Ubuntu Tweak Gets New User-based Website, New Release

        Today should also see the release of Ubuntu 0.5.0 which sports a slightly-rejigged interface and several new features – not least of which being the integration of UTCOM application database.

      • Ubuntu Tweak 0.5: An Early Look

        Ubuntu Tweak 0.5 will come with a redesigned UI (but version 0.6 will suffer major UI changes), XFCE specific features and most importantly: the ability to fetch online database to keep the ppplication information up-to-date. That means that you will be able to keep your applications and sources up-to-date without updating Ubuntu Tweak.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Ask a Geek: Home servers, and why you need one

      The final solution that I can present is to use a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu Server (http://ubuntu.com). There are a great many tutorials throughout the Internet that will walk you through setting up Ubuntu as a server, and more specifically as a home server. Please know that this column lists solutions from least to most complicated, and Ubuntu will be the hardest setup of the solutions presented. At the same time, Ubuntu will also provide you with the most flexibility to do whatever you want with your own machine for little to no cost.

    • Tri-OS SmartQ V5 MID goes on sale in China

      The company does reveal, however, that the device is powered by a 600MHz ARM11 CPU which can be overclocked to 800MHz thanks to a firmware update. Most interestingly, the V5 ships with Android, Ubuntu Linux and Windows CE 6.0 preloaded.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Spoiled Brats
  • BSD

    • Letter from the President

      In 2009, the FreeBSD project had the misfortune of losing two long time contributors: John Birrell and Jean-Marc Zucconi. I chatted with John recently, during this year’s BSDCAN, so his death was all the more shocking. It forced me to recognize my own mortality and to consider what contributions from our lives remain after we pass away. Reviewing the heritage of FreeBSD it becomes clear that our work on this project takes on a life of its own. John and Jean-Marc’s efforts live on in FreeBSD.

    • The Great Fallacy of BSD Unix vs. Linux

      “Linux is just a kernel.” It’s a commonly heard refrain amongst the arguments put forward by BSD Unix aficionados, and it is a true statement, but it is all too often abused to try to make a fallacious point.

  • Programming

    • Release Early, Release Often, Adopt Slowly

      The Mozilla folks can push people to upgrade to the next release Firefox in droves because it’s relatively easy to upgrade to the latest Firefox, and they have mechanisms in place to make that easy. But one shouldn’t expect that all technology adoption is going to happen at the same clip. Moving to a new OS or a new version of PostgreSQL or Python requires a lot of moving bits to be aligned correctly.

Leftovers

  • 10 Historic Events Then and Now
  • South Korea Closes Flash Memory Antitrust Investigation

    South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has closed an antitrust investigation of the flash memory industry, concluding that there is no evidence of a pricing cartel.

  • Fallon’s Getting a Dell!

    Fallon would probably have preferred the more colorful Mini9 but he got the Vostro, instead, because I was able to buy a new one from Dell for $199 with free shipping.
    Heck of a deal.

    [...]

    The Dell people have been uniformly helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind.

  • Dell crowned Bad Santa computer maker by angry customers

    Dell customers are furious at the computer maker after it failed to deliver products in time for the holiday season, and instead offered a “Holiday Card” to place under their Christmas trees to replace undelivered gifts.

  • DVD Is Dead

    The movie studio fantasy was that we’d pay $20-$40 per Blu-Ray disk, but then Daddy was laid-off and that Blu-Ray copy of 8 Mile suddenly wasn’t THAT much better than the DVD version for half the price. Some people decided to wait while others gave up completely, leading to that $68 Blu-Ray player down at WalMart. Remember WalMart is the largest seller of DVD’s (and presumably Blu-Ray disks) in America and possibly the world. WalMart is such a Big Kahuna in the home video business that they can dictate prices pretty much to the rest of the market. I predict, therefore, that after Christmas Blu-Ray prices will crash to only marginally more than DVDs and maybe even the same.

  • Tories swallow Web 2.0, spit out £1m crowdsource prize

    The Tories are waving a £1m taxpayer-funded crowdsourcing prize under the noses of developers to produce a website that can “harness the wisdom” of voters to “resolve difficult policy challenges”.

  • Security

    • TSA Subpoenas Bloggers, Demands Names of Sources

      As the government reviews how an alleged terrorist was able to bring a bomb onto a U.S.-bound plane and try to blow it up on Christmas Day, the Transportation Security Administration is going after bloggers who wrote about a directive to increase security after the incident.

      TSA special agents served subpoenas to travel bloggers Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott, demanding that they reveal who leaked the security directive to them. The government says the directive was not supposed to be disclosed to the public.

    • US feds squeeze bloggers for posting TSA orders

      At least two bloggers who posted the latest Transportation Security Administration security guidelines have received visits from the feds. One had his laptop confiscated and was served a subpoena. The other just received the subpoena.

      In case you’ve been recovering from a massive holiday bender and haven’t viewed the news recently, on Christmas day a singularly inefficient Nigerian doofus attempted to blow up an airliner by setting his underpants on fire.

    • TSA To Save Print Media? No Electronics On International Flights? What A Joke.

      Obviously, this is all in reaction to the Nigerian man who attempted to bring down a plane coming into the U.S. And the TSA is going to do whatever it thinks is necessary to prevent further attacks of a similar nature. But the simple fact is that if the TSA was really this seriously worried about electronic devices, they could have banned them anytime since the attacks on September 11, 2001. Instead, they’re doing it more than 8 years later after a man apparently lit some sort of mixture of powder and liquid in his lap. How that relates to electronics, I’m not sure. This just reeks of a “well, we have to do something” move.

  • Finance

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • Despite Awful Customer Service, Woman Felt Forced To Buy Another Sony eBook Reader… Thanks To DRM

      After all of this, she went out and bought another Sony ebook reader. She noted that she would have gladly purchased a competing product “but would have lost access to the library she’s spent hundreds of dollars building up.” And there it is. The DRM tax at work creating serious lock-in and consumer problems. At least in this case, due to the publicity from Consumerist, Sony agreed to reimburse the woman, but you shouldn’t have to get a major publication to tell your story first to get that kind of resolution.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Netflix Trying to Make Peace with Wary Studios for More Streaming Content

      Things are looking tough for Netflix. The online rental service is trying to convince Hollywood studios to sell them the rights to more video content for their “Watch Instantly” streaming offering, but many studios still seem to be mad about Netflix’s deal with Starz last year. The Starz deal, which in one fell swoop added around 2,500 titles for streaming, allowed Netflix to gain access to newer Disney and Sony movies without asking for permission from the studios.

    • Author Robin Sloan Offers Up Money To Fans For Good Remix Ideas

      It’s yet another cool way of connecting with fans, and going explicitly against what copyright allows. It’s explicitly encouraging people to copy his work and even offering money to them if they do a good job.

    • Songwriter Sues Eddie Vedder for Changing ‘Hard Sun’ Lyrics

      Peterson is now suing Vedder and has filed papers in New York’s Manhattan federal court. The suit states, “Vedder altered certain key lyrics of ‘Hard Sun’… eroding the integrity of the composition.” Executives at Universal Music are also targeted in the lawsuit after allegedly licensing the track without his permission.

Clip of the Day

Direct link

Links: Happy GNU Year Special

Posted in News Roundup at 9:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU key

GNOME bluefish

  • 2010 as the year of Linux on the desktop – does it really matter?

    Why? Linux is ready for my desktop. It has been for years now.

    [...]

    Until the year of Linux on the desktop finally rolls around (if it ever does), stop worrying about it. Just keep on using Linux and free/Open Source software. Keep enjoying the flexibility and choice and freedom that you have with Linux.

  • Linux on the cusp of 2010

    And this brings us, finally, to Linux. Currently about a third of netbooks are being shipped with Linux globally and this should rise to a majority by 2013. This is the beginning of Linux taking over the low-end of ‘desktop’ (that is, ‘not server’) computing. What I think will happen this coming year is going to be a convergence of technologies that are going to result in that sub-$200 machine, and it won’t have Windows XP or 7 on it. But unlike the current generation of netbooks that are Intel Atom-based, these will run on ARM processors. Predictions include that 20% of 2010’s netbooks will have ARM processors and the amount will be over half by 2012. And while Google’s Android will be on some of them, Ubuntu stands to grab a large amount of the market with its 10.04 LTS release.

    So, will 2010 be the year of ‘desktop’ Linux? I think yes, but in a way that I didn’t quite imagine in 2007.

  • Linux in 2010

    2009 has been a rather interesting year for Linux, and 2010 promises to be even better. In 2009 we have seen the explosion of Linux in the mobile phone segment: Google’s Linux-based Android OS smartphones have blossomed, Nokia’s Maemo based N900 made geeks all over the world drool, Palm released a new linux-based OS for its smartphones, WebOS, even Samsung unveiled a new Linux-based OS for its mobiles called Bada.The year of the Linux Desktop, may yet be far far away, but there is no doubt that 2009 was the year of the Linux Mobile.

  • 2010 – A Linux Odyssey.

    My Linux Odyssey for 2010 is going to be two pronged. One, as the control op here at the Linux Journal’s Virtual Ham Shack, I am going to start the process of converting my few Amateur Radio programs to Linux. One of the first programs I want to dive into is Xastir, the APRS program. My training is as a geographer, with a focus on cartography, so anything maps is right up my alley and I look forward to leveraging the abilities and capabilities of Xastir. Second, I am going to continue my focus on Linux, particularly in business, as we move through the year in my occasional posting in this space.

  • The H Year: 2009′s Wins, Fails and Mehs

    Win – Android’s Rise – With Chrome/Chromium, Chrome OS and other web related open source projects coming out of Google, it has been a good year for Google’s contributions. But the big win in 2009 for Google and for open source has been the rapid advance of Android as an operating system for smart phones and other mobile devices. 2008′s mediocre launch of the Linux-powered phone OS was surpassed in 2009 with a wide range of devices running the OS, new versions of Android and a rapidly growing developer community.

  • Open source predictions for 2010

    Linux takes over mobile market

    This prediction is one of the more certain to come true. With more and more powerful phone arriving on the market with the Android operating system and the netbook hardware gaining more power and more Linux-based options (Moblin and Chrome OS for example), the mobile space seems ripe for a Linux takeover in 2010. Of course there have been many who would argue that netbook sales have declined, it has been predicted that netbook sales will top 50 million by 2012. But to this I would suggest that (although I am not a huge fan) cloud computing is going to even further enhance the Linux netbook sales. Because the Linux operating system was made to be networked, it is a perfect candidate to serve as the operating system the cloud will reach out to.

  • Three best Linux Technologies of this Decade

    Linux on cellphones is fast becoming popular and is being adopted by major manufacturers line Nokia and HTC. We have the revolutionary Nokia N900 running Maemo and the HTC Hero running Google Android. Both are Linux for smartphones and are highly customizable and developer friendly.

    We hope to see more of these technologies in future. These two years of 2008 and 2009 have brought remarkable development for Linux and we hope to be nearing a better and a wider users base.

  • The Top 9 Linux Stories in 2009

    2009 will be looked at as the year that Android OS really took off. The first Android phone was released in October 2008, the G1, wasn’t really a big hit. A few of the early adopters, including me, picked it up. However, in 2009, things really boomed. More than a dozen devices were announced/released, covering both mid and high ends of the smartphone market. Most notably, the Motroloa Droid, was lauded by many analysts and was put right up there with the iPhone. By November 23rd, Android accounted for at least 20% share of the US smartphone market. Not a bad feat in one year.

  • 2009′s Five Most Popular & Important Linux Stories

    The economy lingers on its sick bed, but Red Hat continues to prosper. At the rate Red Hat’s continuing to grow, I won’t be at all surprised to see Red Hat to become the first pure Linux play company to top a billion dollars in annual revenue in its next fiscal year.

Clip of the Day

Direct link

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 31st, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Links 31/12/2009: Great Year for Mobile Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 4:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Boycott Novell in 2010

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Still Livin’ La Vida Linux

    It’s been over a year since I wrote about my conversion to a Linux based digital media environment, and since it’s the holiday season (or just after) I thought it was time to update the story, and describe some new Linux based devices I’m using that others might find useful.

    In the original essay I spoke about converting all my physical CD’s to digital files into the patent-free FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) format. At the time I was looking at the Sonos multi-room music system to play the files. I took the plunge and ended up buying a four room system last year. They aren’t cheap, but they’re the most robust devices I own. They never crash (and for a device as sophisticated as this that’s a real pleasure). I’ve owned televisions that fail more often than the Sonos boxes.

  • Linux and windows people are the same.

    Linux is, for the average user, no easier nor harder to use than windows. It is more configurable and flexible than windows will ever be and this gives power users more of an opportunity to tweak and twiddle than their windows brethren. Those who don’t tweak and twiddle have the same computing experience with Linux that they have with windows. The caveat here is, of course, that they must use the operating system as it is designed to be used. You don’t drive a manual car like an automatic so to speak.

  • Linux 2019

    What does that tell us? That the trend toward mobile computer devices — smartphones, netbooks, etc. — is going to continue, and that the traditional PC desktop will be a niche technology by 2019. By 2005, computer vendors were making more money from laptops than desktops. In the last year, more laptops were being sold than desktops.

    It won’t stop there though. Google, with its Linux-based Chrome OS, is pointing the way not just to making the traditional Windows desktop obsolete, but putting the whole concept of desktop-based computing in the junk pile. Google is taking a lightweight operating system, adding cloud-based applications and storage, and creating a world where any netbook or smartphone can do 95% of what most people do every day with a Windows-powered desktop.

    It’s not just that this kind of Internet mobile computing is going to displace older-style desktops and bring entertainment to anyone, anywhere on any device. No — there’s a whole new set of services that will be taken for granted by 2019 that no current static computing device can duplicate. It will be a combination of LBS (Location-Based Services) and AR (Augmented Reality) that will transform how we use computers.

    With LBS, your applications use GPS and related technologies to determine where you are at any given moment. Armed with this information, applications can tell such things as where the nearest subway or closest steak house is. The next step, which is already being taken, is to update that information in real time. So, for example, you’ll soon be able to know that your buddy is waiting for you at the coffeehouse two streets away.

    LBS is already changing how we get around, and AR will take it one step further. Instead of looking at a map, you’ll be able to look at the world through your smart device’s camera viewer to see a virtual golden brick road to where your friend is staying. You can already use it in applications like SPRXmobile’s Layar Reality Browser 3.0, which can already serve as virtual tour guides with your Android, and soon your iPhone 3Gs phones.

  • Best Linux software for new users

    This is a Live DVD – you simply place the DVD in the computer’s DVD drive and reboot the machine from it. When the machine comes up, you will be running Linux. Normally, the software won’t write to your computer’s hard drive unless you specifically ask it to.

  • Server

    • OEIPL releases new versions of SafeSquid: Content Filtering Internet Proxy, for Linux and Windows

      The latest SafeSquid Linux version – ntlm-RC2.0, now supports NTLM authentication, or Single Sign On. NTLM uses a challenge-response mechanism for authentication, in which clients are able to prove their identities without sending a password to the server. This allows access to clients using Windows Integrated Authentication in Microsoft-centric Networks, without an authentication pop-up.

  • Applications

    • Seven great Ubuntu applications

      Phatch

      (http://photobatch.stani.be/)

      Now how many time did you have couple of photos and needed to do the same editing on them. It could be just resize or something other, but you needed to open every single one and repeat that action. Now there is one cool program for photo and batch, Phatch. You can do: resizing, adding watermark, text, shadow, rotate pictire, … But there is no crop, I needed it couple of time but isn’t there.

      [...]

    • Announcing Acire

      After a wonderful week in England with family celebrating Christmas, Erica and I flew home to the East Bay. We were sat at Heathrow having a cup of coffee and I was thinking of what I occupy myself with on the plane ride over. Unfortunately, Lernid hacking was out of the question as I had no net connection on the plane, so I got to thinking of something else. After some busy hacking time at 35,000 feet I am proud to show of the results of my labor: a little program called Acire.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • Making a game with Ogre 3D

        This tutorial series steps you through the process of creating a 3D shoot’em’up game using the popular and powerful Ogre 3D engine.

      • Gifts for Gamers: Some End-of-Year Recommendations, Part 3

        OpenLieroX

        Free, 2D graphics, http://www.openlierox.net

        Players alternately take charge of an army of worms that are armed to the teeth in an unfriendly terrain. As in the game Worms, the surviving team wins.

        Puzzles

        Simon Tatham’s Portable Puzzle Collection

        MIT license, 2D graphics, http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/puzzles

        A good puzzle solver will find his collection rewarding. A number of good examples await.

  • GNOME Desktop

    • Theming GNOME

      I get a lot of questions as to how to make the GNOME desktop look better. This question can be approached from numerous angles: Compiz, Emerald, Metacity, Window borders, etc. I have covered Compiz here on Ghacks (see Compiz on Ghacks) as well as Emerald (see Emerald on Ghacks). But I have yet to cover the basic theming of the GNOME desktop. As of this tutorial, that will all change.

    • GNOME needs to get its act together

      To understand the significance of these links, one must go back to 1997 when GNOME was set up by Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena Quintero. The only rationale that they had for setting up a project to create a second desktop environment for a small number of users – KDE was a thriving desktop by then but it used a non-free library for development – was that it would be totally free.

      GNOME was set up under the aegis of the GNU Project. The name says it all: the GNU Network Object Model Environment.

  • Distributions

    • What Is Ubuntu?

      Ubuntu is an easy version of Linux. It is not windows,but it is almost user friendly like windows. No all applications have graphical interface. Many applications force users to use commands to run them.Commands are mandatory to work with Linux and Ubuntu is not an exception.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux drivers for Broadcom HD Video Accelerator

      The Broadcom Crystal HD video decoder is a card that you can slip into a netbook to enable HD video playback on computer with an Intel Atom processor and integrated graphics. Broadcom has supported Windows since day one, and the Broadcom BCM70012 and BCM70015 cards play well with Windows media Player 12, Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta, ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre and CyberLink PowerDVD. Linux, on the other hand, has been a different story… up until now.

    • welcome to the internet acceleration appliance blog

      As well as detailing my solution, I have also written some very basic general Linux/Networking guides – basically stuff that I learned whilst getting the Internet Acceleration Appliance working.

    • Logging on at Warp Speed

      I’ve been using one such program, HyperSpace from Phoenix Technologies, on a Samsung NC10 netbook for the last couple of weeks, and even starting up cold, the speed is impressive. Press the power button and in 15 seconds the Linux-based HyperSpace presents you with a customizable screen including a Web browser, a notepad application, and RealPlayer media software, along with news, weather, and stock information. I jotted a quick note, watched videos on YouTube (GOOG), and made calls using Skype, all without launching Windows.

    • Phones

      • 2009: A breakthrough year for mobile Linux

        In 2009, mobile consumer devices including netbooks, e-readers, tablets, MIDs, PMPs, and mobile phones were increasingly dominated by embedded Linux or the Linux-based Android. LinuxDevices presents four updated showcases of story summaries for netbooks, phones, and other portable devices, recalls 2009 highlights ranging from the Kindle to the Droid, and looks in on new rumors about the Google Nexus One and Chrome OS netbook design.

      • Root Google Nexus One on Android 2.1

        Paul over at Modaco forums has managed to successfully root his Nexus One, running the latest Android 2.1 version on the said device. He has cooked a custom ROM for Nexus One with the method, which he is referring to as Superboot.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • 2009: A year in review, November

        The hardware end of the netbook world was quiet, but the software side exploded with the release of the source code for Google’s forthcoming open-source, browser-based operating system Chrome OS. Within hours of release, enterprising hackers had managed to put together a working version that could be run in a virtualised window, so we had a play with it and found it to be a little lacking – just a browser window and nothing else. Hopefully Google can do a little better before it’s finally released in 2010.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source 2010: New Year’s predictions.

    New Year predictions are of course a licence to speculate. What’s more the normal boundaries of sanity are loosened sufficiently to make the predictions fun rather than libellous.

    ‘Predictions’ in the above context are merely extrapolations of what has occurred already, (genuine sight of the future is best left to the psychics), so it’s not really that hard to do if … you look closely at what is going on now. But, the other component of a prediction uses what I call ‘white space’ analysis which involves looking for gaps and silences. In other words looking for lack of information. This is important.

  • eyeOS and IBM – Working together

    We’re happy to present to the eyeOS community the result of more than six months of work together with the great IBM US team, where eyeOS will be the Sample Workload of the new System Z serie Solution Edition for Cloud Computing. System Z is the IBM brand used to produce their mainframe servers, used worldwide by governments, big companies and thousands of organizations.

  • Pixelize, create an image consisting of many small images

    Pixelize is a program that will use many scaled down images to try to duplicate, as closely as possible, another image.

    Pixelize works by splitting up the image you want rendered (or duplicated) into a grid of small rectangular areas. Each area is analyzed, and replaced with an image chosen from a large database of images. Pixelize tries to pick images that best match each area.

  • Open source in 2009

    Unlike in previous years where each new release of a Linux distribution or an application was met with expectations of it being the killer app, this years OSS developments were more low-key, more circumspect. The idea that Linux is suddenly going to hit a critical mass and turn into the Microsoft-killer is fading, to be replaced with a more rationale view that Linux, Mac OS X and Windows will co-exist, even if uncomfortably, for many years to come. Linux is not going to wipe out Microsoft’s dominance any time soon, just as Mac OS X is unlikely to turn the tables on Windows in the coming year.

    And yet, there was much progress in 2009 that open source fans can celebrate. It was a year in which open source software became even more deeply entrenched, even if users weren’t completely aware of the change. Even Microsoft started embracing open source software, albeit cautiously, with a few carefully thought out moves.

  • WSO2 Launches Business Activity Monitor

    Open source code firm WSO2 has launched WSO2 Business Activity Monitor to provide visibility into services oriented architecture-based services, transactions, and workflows.

  • How to Write a Client Proposal

    Anybody can use open source. You might depend on open source software if you’re responsible for IT in a large enterprise or as a consumer who prefers FOSS apps for her own personal computing needs. That’s true whether you’re simply a software developer contributing code to the open source project, a techie who customizes software that just-so-happens to be open source (such as a web developer building sites using Drupal), or an end user who appreciates the price (free!) and quality of FOSS apps.

    [...]

    The problem that techies have is that they want to talk about and use technology, and they hate having to “sell” anything — particularly themselves or their skills. Often, or at least to begin with, the work comes to them, either because they’ve developed a reputation for excellence (“My brother-in-law says you’re good at creating websites”) or because of a relationship with another techie who needs assistance (“A client asked me to take this on and I’m already busy; could you write the back-end code and I’ll deal with the company?”). That’s fine — and with the right connections you can make a living that way.

  • CMS

    • Queen Rania using Drupal

      More royal Drupal goodness. This time her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is using Drupal: see http://www.queenrania.jo. Queen Rania is well-known for talking about using social media to help change the world — follow her on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

  • Openness

    • A New Firm Lures Brokers from Big Wall Street Houses

      Possibly the most compelling of the new opportunities for breakaway brokers is a Chicago firm called HighTower. It offers brokers with at least $100 million under management what it describes as an “open source” alternative to firms like Merrill and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Top Storage Stories of 2009: RAID, Clouds, SSDs and Mergers

    In a year of dramatic change and mergers for the data storage industry, it should come as no surprise that the most-read stories on Enterprise Storage Forum this year were about … dramatic change and mergers.

  • AMD plans two six-cores in Q2 2010

    We don’t have many details, but we can confirm that AMD plans to launch two six-core desktop CPUs next year. This should happen in Q2 2010 and if AMD holds on to this date, it might come a bit later than Intel’s Core i7 980X.

  • Security

    • Further evidence of council CCTV failure

      When Big Brother Watch released our first report earlier this month – a study into the huge number of council controlled CCTV cameras – we condemned the enormous rise of almost 200% in 10 years for several reasons.

    • Innocent face postcode lottery over removal of records from DNA database

      Innocent people face a postcode lottery in the way police treat requests to remove their records from the national DNA database, according to figures published today.

      The huge difference in the way police forces across England and Wales deal with requests is described as a “shambles” by the Conservatives.

      Some police forces refuse to remove any records once a case is closed and the person declared innocent, while others comply with 80 per cent of requests for deletion.

      Damian Green, the Shadow Immigration Minister, said the huge disparities in the way police deal with requests showed that the system was in chaos.

  • Finance

    • Diet for fat-cat bankers an illusion

      On the surface, many of the moves undertaken by investment banking behemoth Goldman Sachs look respectable, but a bit more digging reveals some ulterior motives at play. While Goldman repaid the money it took from Uncle Sam as part of the TARP program, many taxpayers are still angry that the government’s taxpayer-funded bailout of AIG indirectly benefited Goldman, who had billions invested in complicated trading deals with the troubled insurer.

    • Regulators Probe Banks On Failed Securities

      The SEC and FINRA are investigating conduct by Wall Street investment banks, which bet against securities which they created ahead of the implosion of the housing market, according to reports from the New York Times.

    • Banks Probed for Betting Against Own Securities

      Congress and financial regulators are probing several Wall Street firms for bundling bad debt, selling it to clients, and then profiting from betting that those same securities would fail, insiders say. Clients at Goldman Sachs and other firms lost billions of dollars on the mortgage-related securities as the housing market collapsed. The firms and some hedge funds made billions from the negative bets.

    • Adams: Goldman’s Actions Cross Into Criminal Activity

      Thomas Adams, a lawyer at Paykin Krieg and Adams, LLP, and a former managing director at Ambac and FGIC is backing up the charges that Janet Tavakoli has been making against Goldman Sachs. In fact, he is taking her charges one step further and stating that the Federal Reserve and the Treasury aided and abetted Goldman Sachs in “committing financial and ethical crimes at an astounding level.”

    • small chinese firm gives goldman sachs the finger

      Goldman Sachs (GS.N) was one of the foreign banks, along with Citigroup (C.N), Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley (MS.N), blamed by the state assets watchdog for providing “extremely complicated” and difficult to understand derivatives products.

    • JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs Trillions Deep In Derivatives or Dumbed-Down Reporting?

      First, Kosman states and characterizes the institutions involved in these derivatives trades as “brokers” when, in fact, they participate as PRINCIPALS. The amount of risk involved when one trades as a principal is materially larger than when one acts as a broker or agent. Of course, if Kosman had bothered to read the rest of the Report, he would have known that these trade COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BROKERED because the report tells us there are empirically NO END USERS FOR THESE PRODUCTS…

    • How Goldman Sachs Made Tens Of Billions Of Dollars From The Economic Collapse Of America

      Step 1: Sell mortgage-related securities that are absolute junk to trusting clients at vastly overinflated prices.

      Step 2: Bet against those same mortgage-related securities and make massive bets against the U.S. housing market so that your firm will make massive profits when the U.S. economy collapses.

      Step 3: Have ex-Goldman executives in key positions of power in the U.S. government so that bailout money can be funneled to entities such as AIG that Goldman has made these bets with so that they can get paid after they win their bets.

      Step 4: Collect the profits – Goldman Sachs is having their “most successful year” and will end up reporting approximately $50 billion in revenue for 2009.

    • Goldman Sachs Should Have Known Its Gun Was Loaded, And It Owes The Public Reparations

      The New York Times published a Christmas Eve expose of Goldman Sachs’s so-called “Abacus” synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). They were created with credit derivatives instead of cash securities. Goldman used credit derivatives to create short bets that gain in value when CDOs lose value. Goldman did this for both protection and profit and marketed the idea to hedge funds.

    • Goldman Sachs: Following God or the Devil?

      But certainly the economic damage to the USA that resulted from Lloyd Blankfein’s “work for God”, and that of his disciples, was much more than the economic damage inflicted on that country by the activities of Osama bin Laden.

    • Sell Junk, Short The Same Junk, Laugh Your Way To The Bank: Ethical?

      According to the New York Times, Congressional and SEC investigators are examining if these firms knowingly created disastrously performing securities, sold them to investors and then proceeded to short the same securities. Essentially collateralized debt obligations were sold to investors. Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche and other firms sold these securities and then proceeded to short the same securities, in effect hedging against a loss in the value of the securities.

    • Wall Street Crime Blockbuster: Goldman’s Lucrative Bets Against America

      Ace biz blogger Henry Blodget has a shrewd take on it, “The Goldman Housing Scandal Isn’t A Scandal: It’s Inevitable.” Blodget’s argument, as always, is that this is how business is done. And he’s right. And he should know. A dot-com bubblegummer, Blodget didn’t get banned for life from the securities industry for being stupid.

      Probes are supposedly under way, the NYT story says, but that won’t mean much. One of the smaller firms that peddled these CDOs and then bet against them was Tricadia, whose parent firm is controlled by Lewis Sachs, now a special counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 18 (2004)


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

Bill Gates Puts in a Million to Ratify His Role as Education Minister

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Boycott Novell, Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 7:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft lobbyist

Summary: The Gates Foundation is cementing its circle of influence in the education sector, using lots of cash

Microsoft’s #1 lobbyist [1, 2, 3, 4] is always trying to control the public message [1, 2, 3]. This also applies to education, as we’ve shown using evidence in:

The Gates Foundation is adding $1,000,000 for a lobby group to change the educational system to better fit its own interests. It’s slush funds for Gates but a lot of money for teacher-activists who are defending the nation’s pedagogues.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is giving the National PTA $1 million to teach parents about education reform.

The three-year outreach program would focus first on an effort to create national learning objectives. Right now, most states have their own set of education standards. But the states are working together to create a new list of learning objectives they can all agree on.

Will any of these objectives recommend that children get trained for use of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office? Or to advocate the use of genetically-modified crops, even in developing nations? These are just hypothetical examples. What Gates does here is valuable to him because he influences both the National PTA and the national education system. Two birds with one stone.

Here is what GatesKeepers makes of it, arguing that “this grant will allow the PTA to oppose teachers who don’t like [the learning objectives].”

Gates’ hijack of educational systems around the world needs to be stopped, and not just because Free software gets blocked in this way (young people get no exposure to it).

Another Microsoft General Manager Quits the Company, Microsoft Refuses to Say Why

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Dean Lester abandons the ship after some more changes in the company’s structure; the CodePlex Foundation still seems dysfunctional and symbolic at best

A LOT of executives have abandoned Microsoft in recent years and here is the latest major departure:

Microsoft also confirmed the departure of Dean Lester, another company veteran and Dynamics general manager, who had previously been general manager for Windows graphics and gaming technologies. The company didn’t disclose Lester’s reasons for leaving but said, in response to our inquiry, that they were not related to changes in the Dynamics organization. We left a message for Lester at a publicly listed home number but haven’t heard back.

Microsoft is shrinking. A few months ago we saw its chief turncoat calling it quits, leaving Microsoft's attempts to extinguish GNU/Linux in somewhat of a ruin. Andy Updegrove has this update about the turncoat, who works at Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation along with Novell's de Icaza to promote Microsoft as the ‘standard’.

As you may recall, Microsoft announced back on September 10 that it had launched a new foundation “as a forum in which open source communities and the software development community can come together with the shared goal of increasing participation in open source community projects.” It called it’s new non-profit organization the CodePlex Foundation, echoing the name of a commercial site, called CodePlex.com, that it had earlier set up to host open source development projects.

Microsoft launched the CodePlex Foundation with bylaws and other governance documents with which I had some issues, and about which I posted some recommendations. But it also publicly stated that these documents, and the initial boards of directors and advisors, were only temporary. Within 100 days, the statements posted at the site pledged, a new Board would be announced. Nominations for the Boards of Directors and Advisors were welcomed, as well as recommendations on changes to the governance documents.

But December 19 – the 100 day mark – passed quietly, with no announcement of a new Board or a status update on the other goals. So what’s up with the CodePlex Foundation, and its pledge to promptly transition into a more independent organization?

One clue may be that the search for a permanent Executive Director, to replace interim President Sam Ramji, apparently isn’t moving quickly.

Is this thing dead on arrival? It only makes the headlines when Microsoft breaks the law by violating the GPL [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Speaking of the GPL, Miguel de Icaza — like Microsoft — is not much of a fan. The unnecessary attacks on Richard Stallman (notably GNU and GNOME kerkuffle [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]) are the tip of the iceberg and here are some decent thoughts from Bruce Byfield, whose complaints about hostility are potentially made in reference to these incidents. He is being vague on purpose. Having Microsoft inside GNU/Linux is just not healthy because the company is viciously attacking GNU/Linux like no other company ever did. The last time it got caught red-handed in a very major way [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] it just announced the CodePlex Foundation, some say in order to distract and remove attention from its racketeering [1, 2, 3].

New year promise

David Kappos Can Reprimand IBM for Mocking the USPTO’s Intelligence

Posted in Google, IBM, Patents at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Kappos

No, just more of the same apparently

Summary: IBM earns a monopoly on abbreviations, so its person in the USPTO has a professional (if not moral) responsibility to end such nonsense

David Kappos, who came from IBM, ought to pay attention to what his former employer is doing. From Slashdot:

theodp writes “Among the last batch of patents granted in 2009 was one for IBM’s Resolution of Abbreviated Text in an Electronic Communications System. The invention of four IBMers addresses the hitherto unsolvable problem of translating abbreviations to their full meaning — e.g., ‘IMHO’ means ‘In My Humble Opinion’ — and vice versa. From the patent: ‘One particularly useful application of the invention is to interpret the meaning of shorthand terms … For example, one database may define the shorthand term “LOL” to mean “laughing out loud.”‘ USPTO records indicate the patent filing was made more than a year after Big Blue called on the industry to stop what it called ‘bad behavior’ by companies who seek patents for unoriginal work. Yet another example of what USPTO Chief David Kappos called IBM’s apparent schizophrenia on patent policy back when he managed Big Blue’s IP portfolio.”

Indeed.

This is not the first such example* and IBM is not the only culprit. Here is a new one from Google:

Let’s start with an overview of the patent. As explained in the official application (hat tip to Erik Sherman), “The present invention includes systems and methods for modifying playback of online hosted videos via interactive annotations, allowing the creation of interactive games.”

[...]

Considering that YouTube can already handle annotations and time markers, this concept would be easy enough to implement. That’s one possible hurdle down.

This is just a digital/Internet equivalent of D&D books and games. This needs to be denied for being so trivial and not novel. It’s one of those infamous “over the Internet” patents.

Lastly, according to TechDirt’s interpretation of an article, the intellectual monopoly system is only being miused to overcharge people.

There is no legitimate basis for this at all. It’s a clear misuse of intellectual property laws — which were never designed for this sort of thing — to prevent independent auto mechanics from repairing newer cars. But it’s the end result of the increasing creep of intellectual property rights, and the growing computerization of everything. It allows manufacturers to extend “IP” rights to physical goods, and create all sorts of new monopolies. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t need a separate law. It would be a clear violation of antitrust laws. But, we don’t live in a perfect world, and for the time being you’re probably paying a lot more money to repair your car because of it.

There is no room for this type of abuse, Thomas Jefferson would probably have argued. This system loses its legitimacy when it starts hurting — not serving — the citizens.

“The European Patent Office is a corrupt malicious organisation which should not exist. [...] But if the European Patent Office stands in your way, get rid of it too.”

Richard Stallman, April 2009

___
* Only if/when the PR backlash is too great, IBM might dump such bogus patents, as Bob Sutor did over a year ago.

ACTA Murders

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Skull background

Summary: Lesser-known implications of passing draconian documents such as the ACTA

A few years ago Joseph Stiglitz explained why TRIPS [1, 2, 3, 4], an element of ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14], leads to the death of many innocent people.

This does not prevent gullible politicians from pressing on, but people in Africa are already protesting:

Anti-Counterfeit Act Violates Right to Health, Say Patients

Kenya’s new Anti-Counterfeit Act will be challenged on March 8 in the country’s Constitutional Court on the basis that it violates the right to health.

The petitioners, three people living with HIV, argue that the law confuses generics with fake medicine.

This could cause a health crisis as generics constitute 90 per cent of medicines used in Kenya.

We wrote about this before. The pharmaceutical cartel tries to take generics and their makers out of business, by paying (bribing) them or passing new laws that make them illegal. TechDirt has more on the subject.

As a bunch of countries continue to negotiate ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, in secrecy, Kenya already has its own Anti-Counterfeit Act. Michael Geist points us to the news that that particular law is now being challenged in Kenya for violating peoples “right to health.” The issue is worth following, because it will almost certainly become an issue assuming ACTA moves forward. Whenever we discuss ACTA, it’s inevitable that someone stops by to say that anti-counterfeiting is really, really important to stop dangerous counterfeit drugs from being sold, potentially harming people. Now, I have no doubt that counterfeit drugs may be a serious problem — but if that’s the problem, we should target a narrow attack on that problem alone, not some wider “anti-counterfeiting” effort.

ACTA would kill many people. It’s not about stopping “criminals” and “pirates”; it’s also about holding ill people hostage and ‘euthanising’ those who cannot offer the pharmaceutical cartel enough income.

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