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Links 3/1/2010: KDE SC 4.4 Videos, Zorin OS 2.0 Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 10:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux and FOSS-related Predictions for 2010

    Overall, more ARM and MIPS-based “smartbooks” will be sold than x86-powered machines UMPCs

    I am willing to bet the so-called “smartbook” market is just short of exploding. With chips like the Longsoon and distros like xPUD, there is no way people will be able to resist under-$100 smartbooks. This will be achieved in 2010, it is the next big thing, not tablets. I am aware of the broken promises by vendors in the recent years. Now it will be different, prices have been driven very low, we just need to wait for someone with a vision (no, not Negroponte).

    So, let’s talk about 2010 in the comments! What are you excited about, what do you think will happen?

  • Open Stickers – Computers are not exclusive to Microsoft Windows.

    Go open and get yourself some Open Stickers right this moment. Show your support for free software.

  • Surfin’: Visit the Online Ham Radio Stacks

    Those of you who lean towards Linux should check out the January 2010 issue of Linux Journal. It features ham radio with three feature articles on the subject: “An Amateur Radio Survival Guide for Linux Users,” “Xastir — Open-Source Client for the Automatic Packet Reporting System” and “Rolling Your Own with Digital Amateur Radio.”

  • Server

  • Google

    • Google takes on HP, Dell (and Microsoft) with own Chrome OS-based netbook

      Google sure is in the thick of news these days. Earlier this month we heard of the impending launch of an Android-powered Google phone (codenamed Nexus One) and now rumours are growing about a Google netbook that would run on Chrome OS.

    • Chrome Netbook OS; Tablet PCs; LBS; Open Source

      Google’s Chrome Netbook OS will be a hit. Their OS will mostly be dependent on a Google Account. A Google Account opens up their full Google Apps suite, which includes email, calendar, word processing, and MS Office like functions. Google’s renditions of their current OS have been well received by the “blogosphere” especially it’s ability to fit on a 1GB flash drive. An OS that small is perfect for Netbooks and tablet PCs. The smaller footprint also gives the user more capabilities. A key part of the Chrome OS will be the Chrome brower (my browser of choice) and one that is noted for its speed and security. Google rarely has missteps and I don’t foresee that Chrome OS will be one of them.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • What’s new in KDE SC 4.4 with Videos !

      In this post, I will try to collect all the videos which talk about next KDE SC version. KDE SC 4.4 will be released on February 9th, 2010.

    • Netbook, Pages and what they’re for

      As presented on this blog a bit ago the central and more important view for Plasma Netbook Shell is this so called “Newspaper” activity: applets are positioned in an arbitrary number of columns (default two), one on top of the other, scrolling when there isn’t enough space, giving you actually an “almost infinite” vertical real estate

      At the beginning this was decide just for a screen size issue, but with time this has been revealed to be a damn good metaphor that could have been expanded, so let’s see what the direction is.

      As said pretty much over the place, the “netbook” is not a little laptop is a totally new class of device, that is kinda inept to do what the computer has been used for ages, create content.

      The shift we are seeing now, is a shift on using the computer to create content only in certain moments (i.e. work ;p) and most of the time just “consuming” content or creating only really lightweight type of content (hello microblogging).

    • KPilot is dead

      Read Bertjan’s blog for details on what this means and where you can find the software if you would like to resurrect it. It’s under the GPLv2, so have at it.

    • KOffice & RDF: Who, What, When, Where?

      As mentioned in a previous post, ODF documents can contain one or more RDF/XML files. These files allow you to unambiguously encode information for both computer and human consumption. So you can describe a person in a way that tells you their phone number and also lets the computer know that these digits are a specific person’s home phone number. Common data formats like vcard and ical have some encodings in RDF and soon a KOffice near you will understand these pieces of data from ODF files.

      KOffice currently understands some of the FOAF vocabulary (storing contact data), and the rdfical format (for events). There are a few ways to encode longitude and latitude in RDF. The current patch supports two of them, with optional linking to rdfical. This is one of the major strengths of RDF, you can say who, where and when and also link these things together so an event carries not only a time but its location information too.

  • Distributions

    • Distro Hoppin`: Zorin OS 2.0

      Zorin OS comes in a beautifully packaged ~1.4 GB ISO file for both the 32 and 64 bit architectures. I, of course, am using a 32-bit processor (not for long though ohboyohboyohboy) so I got the corresponding image. The live environment booted in about 2 minutes with a rather unprofessional looking logo flashing in the middle of the screen. I wasted no time and installed the system onto my battered HDD. The process is identical to Ubuntu’s, except the feature slideshow part, which is understandable, given the fact that Zorin OS looks quite different from Karmic.

    • How to choose a Linux distribution flow chart

      I hope this flowchart makes your choice of Linux an easier one. Even more, I hope this flow chart helps you to start your new year off on an open source foot, and that you find this path a rewarding one.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Spotted on Doctor Who Set

        After watching the two Doctor Who Christmas episodes I thought I’d watch the ‘behind the scenes’ programme ‘Doctor Who Confidential’. During one segment where they discuss the set used in the Christmas episode I spotted a bunch of machines with what look like Ubuntu boot screens on them. If you’re in the UK (or have access to Freesat in Europe) you can see it on BBC HD at 16:55 on 3rd January, or on BBC Three at 04:10 on 5th January. according to the iplayer page.

      • My Mom uses Ubuntu

        All told, this makes for an interesting experiment over the coming months. One parental unit on Windows Vista, the other parental unit on Ubuntu. I wonder how they’ll fare.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 (lucid) Impression/Night Impression GTK themes (Proposed)

        For Lucid Lynx , the technical goal of Impression and Night Impression is to bring both themes to a common code base. The differences between the two themes is visible in the background color of the menu panels, the color of the scroll bars, and the adoption of the Humanity icon theme for Impression and the Humanity-Dark icon theme for Night Impression.

      • List of tweaks for Acer’s 11.6 inch thin and light laptops

        For example, there are updated wireless and audio drivers, a utility for controlling fan speed, screen resolution, and power options, tips for getting HD video tp play properly, increase the speaker volume, or install Ubuntu Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SmartQ V5 HD MID Launched In China [Chines MID Features 4.3-inch touchscreen, 2GB of Storage, Three Operating Systems]

      Strangely enough, the SmartQ V5 can run three different operating systems, Ubuntu, Android, and Windows CE 6.0 – and comes pre-installed with all three from the factory.

      The V5 is currently selling in China for 元1099 ($161). No word on a North America/European release, and it’s probably unlikely, however, some tech importers are reportedly offering the V5. Check your favorite Chinese importer if you’re interested.

      Read: SmartQ V5 HD MID Launched In China [Chines MID Features 4.3-inch touchscreen, 2GB of Storage, Three Operating Systems] » TFTS – Technology, Gadgets & Curiosities

    • SmartQ V5 MID available now to a world that’s just stopped caring
    • Phones

      • Palm

        • Palm’s Native webOS App Secrets Revealed

          The discovery of SDL’s inclusion in webOS 1.3.5 really should have been enough evidence for you that something big was brewing, but destinal and Rod Whitby’s (of WebOS Internals) latest discovery is proof positive: webOS 1.3.5 also includes a method for launching native Linux applications without any of the Upstart hackery we reported on yesterday.

        • webOS DOOM Paving Way For Future SDL Ports

          Since its initial release less than two days ago, development has proceeded apace on the webOS port of classic FPS DOOM. The latest news, however, has implications beyond just this particular port itself. For starters, the game no longer requires any fooling around in the Terminal to get it started: you can now load it from an icon in your launcher, just like any other app. You can also fire up multiple instances of the game in multiple cards – possibly useless in of itself, but it’s great for that geek cool factor.

      • Android

        • Exclusive: Google Nexus One hands-on, video, and first impressions

          That’s right, humans — Engadget has its very own Nexus One. You’ve seen leaked pics and videos from all over, but we’re the first publication to get our very own unit, and we plan on giving you guys the full story on every nook and cranny of this device. In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the breakdown of the phone.

        • Google gets smarter with Nexus One

          Google is diversifying further with its venture into the smart phone business. What once looked like a play field for Apple alone is now being intruded by the internet giant, Google.

        • Motorola to Debut Two Android Phones at CES?

          Motorola is believed to be preparing two new Android-based cell phones for introduction at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week, according to a market analyst.

          Global Equities Research Analyst Trip Chowdhry said in a research note to clients that he believes the company “may announce” a second phone for Verizon Wireless, which already has the hugely-popular Droid, and one for AT&T, which does not carry a Motorola Android phone as yet.

        • Motorola to announce two new Android phones next week?
      • Nokia

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Xtra Ordinary 2010: the XO Laptop OS Evolved

        I was checking out the forums of some recently added items to the On-Disk.com catalog when I found a really interesting post about recent updates to Enlightenment .17 (aka E17). I had been following development of E17 for several years, and it has replaced other desktop environments numerous times on my PC, but I always ended up going back to something else simply because there were just too many things missing.

      • Looking Forward To 2010: The Year Of The Smartbook?

        Netbooks have really taken off in the past few years, sporting Intel’s Atom processor and Windows XP or Linux and being sold cheaply to consumers. At the same time, smartphones are getting faster, being seen with processors capable of speeds up to 1GHz and running very capable operating systems. But what if a netbook’s too big for you? Is a smartphone too small for your needs? Then worry no more; 2010 is going to be the year of the smartbook!

Free Software/Open Source

  • Seeking Profit in Open-Source Search Software

    In the case of Lucid, the company hopes to profit from an open-source software package called Lucene.

  • In Defense of MapReduce for Bioinformatics

    Two Google research fellows have updated a paper published in the Communications of the ACM extolling the virtues of MapReduce, an open-source programming model framework designed to support distributed computing with large data sets, over parallel databases for large-scale data processing.

  • Six Enterprise Megatrends to Watch in 2010

    #3: Increasing open development of software and hardware

    All major IT firms, including the powerhouses that produce proprietary software and hardware, are now embracing the open source movement. Even Microsoft has an open source strategy that applies to some of their offerings. The open source community has long benefited from the developer talent in big companies that help produce and further code in Linux (see Red Hat for a supported variety), OpenOffice and many other open source solutions. We can all expect proprietary software will be the most full featured software (for many market reasons), but even that will be built in a way that works well with open source. The benefit to enterprises is a wider range of choices in solutions, and in many cases an ability to field solutions faster and with more security and lower cost. We can also expect all federal enterprises will find ways to enhance internal collaboration on software development projects, for example, the Forge.mil collaborative development capability.

  • Beware GSM calls get Hacked:A5/1 Algorithm turns Flaw!

    Last August they kicked off an open-source project to create the cracking tables — something that would take a decent gaming computer about 10 years to compute — and they have shown which open-source tools could be used to intercept messages, but they have stopped short of designing a device to intercept the messages. This is, however, something that a technically sophisticated hacker could figure out.

  • RSSOwl Newsreader Updates to 2.0, Adds Feed Importing, Search Features

    Windows/Mac/Linux: Feed reader RSSOwl has long been a favorite of open-source advocates, despite being a bit less powerful than its competition. Version 2, however, brings OPML import/export, sharing, and smart searching, finally giving it powers to rival its desktop counterparts.

  • National

    • IT Dept to launch ‘Foster Kerala’

      The year 2010 might see Kerala gaining its status as one of the major FOSS destinations in the world. Trusting in the great potential, it’s youngsters have to cut innovative paths in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) domain, the State Government has decided to promote research works on free software in engineering colleges from the next academic year.

      The State IT Department is giving final touches to ‘Foster Kerala’- Free and Open Source Technical Competency, Entrepreneurship and Research Kerala- project, in a bid to engage student community to work on FOSS projects at national and international levels.

    • Opening up opportunities

      In a bid to cut expenses in the information technology (IT) sector, the government has adopted an open standards and open source software (OSOSS) policy.

      This means that, instead of purchasing proprietary software, which is usually expensive and not open source, like Microsoft products, government computers may one day be operating on free software like Ubuntu and OpenOffice.

  • Openness

    • 60,000 books from Library of Congress go online

      Almost 60,000 are available now and more are scanned every day. These books are in the public domain and come with no restrictions on their use. Feel free to harvest, index, investigate, and re-use.


  • California Science Center is sued for canceling a film promoting intelligent design

    L.A.’s California Science Center will start the new year defending itself in court for canceling a documentary film attacking Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

  • What Were the Science Breakthroughs of 2009?

    As 2009 wound to a close, the PBS NewsHour asked scientists and science journalists to discuss the most significant science stories of the year.

  • Hole as big as city block found on Moon

    A Japanese led team of researchers has found a large, dark pit on the near side of the Moon that is “as big as a city block and deep as a modest skyscraper.” Probably created billions of years ago, it is considered by the scientists to be a collapsed lava tube.

  • Namebench: Google’s 20% Project To Find The Fastest DNS Server

    When Google launched its own DNS service last month, one of the main stated goals behind the project was speed. The problem is that most Internet users have no idea what a DNS server is, let alone how to configure one, or test how fast it is. But one Googler has taken it upon himself to create an easy tool for testing DNS and recommending what you use with his 20% time.

    Thomas Stromberg, a Google engineer based in Belgium, created Namebench, a piece of software to find the fastest DNS server available for you to use. The program is available for OS X, Windows, and Linux, and the entire thing has been open sourced by Stromberg.

  • Environment

    • Shell must face Friends of the Earth Nigeria claim in Netherlands

      A judge in the Netherlands has opened the door to a potential avalanche of legal cases against Shell over environmental degradation said to be caused by its oil operations in the Niger Delta.

      The oil group expressed “disappointment” tonight that a court in The Hague had agreed to allow Friends of the Earth Netherlands and four local Nigerian farmers to bring a compensation case in its backyard for the first time.

  • Finance

    • Christmas Presents for Bankers

      On Christmas night in 1776, George Washington led a surprise attack on a group of Hessian mercenaries employed by the British to suppress the American revolution. This was one of the biggest military victories of the Revolutionary War.

      In the same spirit of surprise, the Obama administration announced on Christmas eve that it was removing the $400bn cap on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s access to the US Treasury. The new draw is limitless. It also announced that the chief executives of the two government-controlled mortgage giants would be getting compensation packages worth $6m a year. This was another big blow for the financial sector in its effort to sap every last cent from the productive economy.

    • The Big Zero

      So here’s what Mr. Summers — and, to be fair, just about everyone in a policy-making position at the time — believed in 1999: America has honest corporate accounting; this lets investors make good decisions, and also forces management to behave responsibly; and the result is a stable, well-functioning financial system.

      What percentage of all this turned out to be true? Zero.

  • PR/AstroTurf

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • China Reaffirms Plans to “Purify” the Internet

      Says crackdown on online pornography is part of overall effort to preserve “national long-term stability,” build a “harmonious socialist society,” and prevent the “poisoning of young people’s physical and mental health,” but most likely is all about strengthening its grip on the what could be a dangerous conduit for threatening images and ideas.

    • Belarus to toughen control over Internet

      Belarus’ authoritarian leader is promising to toughen regulation of the Internet and its users in an apparent effort to exert control over the last fully free medium in the former Soviet state.

    • NZ’s cyber spies win new powers

      New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced giving police and Security Intelligence Service officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone’s online life.

      The measures are the largest expansion of police and SIS surveillance capabilities for decades, and mean that all mobile calls and texts, email, internet surfing and online shopping, chatting and social networking can be monitored anywhere in New Zealand.

    • Canada’s airlines fear violating privacy under new U.S. rules

      Canada’s major airlines say they will be forced either to break privacy laws or to ignore new American air security rules unless the federal government comes up with a response to U.S. demands for passenger information.

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