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Links 5/1/2010: Android (Linux) Surge; Palm Pre Plus

Posted in News Roundup at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Penguin Awareness

    Also important for graphics art re-use is that the license for the use of the original image of Tux is very liberal, with Larry Ewing, the copyright holder, giving people permission to use the image as long as the user acknowledges him as the author and the GIMP as the creator of the image “if someone asks”. The last phrase is probably enough to give most lawyers shivers, but it has allowed Tux to show up in the original unmodified form in areas as diverse as Plumbing supply trucks, air-conditioning repair services, lottery tickets and fireworks.

    Of course Wikipedia has an extensive listing on Tux, so I will not go into all of the history behind him, but I do want to pass on one story:

    When Tux made his first appearance in 1996 I was at a trade show, and a friend of mine who ran a Linux business selling distributions, T-shirts, and other Linux “things” came up to me and declared his disgust with the choice. I asked him why he did not like it, and he said that Tux was “fat and silly looking” and that we should have had as a mascot a tiger or shark, something with teeth and fangs to rip Microsoft apart.

  • Linux is free. What exactly is free?

    The exact same freedom is there for Linux. The information on Linux processes are readily available and you can do what you wish with them. In fact, the licenses associated with Linux are designed to provide and protect that freedom. Linux distributions are the end product of the application of Linux information and can be given away or sold according to the whims of those who prepared the distribution. Generally the Linux distribution is free as in cost and support contracts are what make money.

    So how does this effect the end user of Linux? Doesn’t this mean that the only benefit is that they have a quality operating system to use for free? No, that is not the only benefit although it is the benefit most often hawked by Linux advocates. What this does mean for the end user is they have the freedom to independently verify whether the chosen Linux distribution actually does what is claimed and that there are no hidden nasties.

  • Server

    • Korean bank dumps Unix boxen for mainframes

      Sources at IBM say that this is the first Unix-to-mainframe application migration in nearly a decade. That obviously does not count any workloads that were moved from Unix systems to Linux running natively on z/VM partitions on IBM’s big iron. Neither IBM nor BC Card would provide details about the Unix systems being replaced or the capacity of the System z mainframes being dropped in to assume their role at BC Card.

  • Google

  • Applications

  • GNOME Desktop

    • What’s your vision of GNOME?

      But I bet if you polled all 400 members of the GNOME Foundation and a few 1000 GNOME fans, you’d get a lot of different visions of what that means. And while I think that’s normal and I think that’s good, I thought it might be an interesting conversation to have.

  • Distributions

    • Mandriva support and updates // 2009 followup

      Now that we are entering the year 2010, I thought that it would be interesting to give you some quick follow-up on how many updates were done during the last few years.

    • Debian Family

      • Does Debian Deviate From Standards Or Upstream?

        So, it seemed clear. Debian was in fact not changing the default behavior of cron, but it was Red Hat who was doing the changing. Further, despite what the documentation says, I could find no site-wide configuration file to modify this behavior- even referenced in the source code. The only way to make the change was to change the code before compilation (so maybe we should submit a bug on the man page).

      • Ubuntu Beginners Manual Coming With Lucid Lynx?

        The Ubuntu wiki points out that a new complete beginners manual for Ubuntu is on its way. The manual will include information on anything you need to know after installing Ubuntu and very useful how-to’s for beginners, all written in a user-friendly way in a PDF file.

      • Well, THAT was ugly …

        An on-line friend suggested downloading Ubuntu Linux, burning a boot CD for that and starting up up under a run-time instance of that … it worked well enough that I was able to rescue my files (such as my “TheJobStalker” folder!).

      • 7 Things Microsoft Must Do In 2010

        Windows has gotten too expensive to compete with virtually free offerings from Linux vendors like Ubuntu, which is gaining ground in the ultra low-cost netbook space.

        Dell, for instance, now offers the Ubuntu-based Inspiron Mini netbook starting at $299 — a price that is less than what one copy of Windows 7 Ultimate costs. The fact is, most consumers no longer care what OS their PC uses, as long it’s priced right and they can reliably send e-mail, surf the Web, and get to their Facebook page.

      • Zylog To Usher In Low-cost Computing

        Chennai, India, 30 December 2009 – Now, Desktop as a Service (DaaS), similar to Software as a Service (SaaS), for low-cost personal computers (PCs), which can be nearly 60 per cent cheaper than the conventional Windows-based PCs, is the in-thing.


        Chennai-based Zylog Systems Ltd has partnered with IBM and Canonical Ubuntu to offer the DaaS-enabled Desktop Computer Services called ‘PowerCube’, which was launched recently in the US to address the needs for low-cost computing.

      • Streamlined media

        So, first start off by installing uShare on your Ubuntu system. Open up your terminal screen and type the following:
        sudo apt-get install ushare

      • Buying a Dell Ubuntu Netbook

        System76, Zareason and Dell all provide solid options. In the end, however, I ended up choosing a Latitude 2100 netbook from Dell’s education and business line–which was not among my initial considerations but was brought to my attention by readers.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • IP STB runs Linux, supports Netflix downloads

      Syabas Technology has posted specs for an upcoming IP STB (set-top box) that supports streaming Netflix downloads. The UPnP-ready “Popbox” offers Ethernet, WiFi, Component video, and HDMI connections, runs embedded Linux on a MIPS-based Sigma Designs SMP8643 processor, and will ship in March for only $129, according to DeviceGuru.

    • Move over BoxeeBox, here comes PopBox!

      Following closely on the heels of the December announcement of D-Link’s BoxeeBox, Syabas Technology today said it will ship a $129 Internet-based A/V streaming set-top box (STB) in March. Both new gadgets have the potential to give Roku’s popular Netflix-streaming STB a run for its money.

    • Linux-running Pandora game handheld nears completion

      The newest handheld gaming system about to hit the public is entering its final stages of testing. The Pandora, built by a bunch of Linux-loving game geeks, has been in development for about 3 years now. And judging from the OpenPandora blog, it is about to be ready for prime time.

    • Phones

      • WebOS rev’d as Verizon preps Pre Plus

        Palm has released a new version of its Linux-based WebOS operating system for its Palm Pre and Palm Pixi phones, with a variety of improvements including App Catalog downloads. Meanwhile, eWEEK reports on rumors that Verizon Wireless will soon offer modified versions of the phones called the Palm Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus.

    • Android

      • Demand for Android phones makes ‘monstrous’ 250% jump

        A “monstrous” jump in demand for Android-equipped smartphones has turned the market upside down, a retail pollster said today.

        Of the people who told ChangeWave Research in a mid-December survey that they planned to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days, 21% said they expected to purchase a handset powered by Google’s Android operating system. That number represented a 250% increase over the 6% that pegged Android as their mobile OS of choice when ChangeWave last queried consumers’ plans in September.

      • Survey Shows Android Gaining Smartphone Ground

        Google’s Android mobile operating system is finally picking up a little steam, according to a recent survey. ChangeWave Research polled over 4,000 consumers in mid-December and found that 4 percent of respondents who own a smartphone now use Android–that’s up from a measly 1 percent in the previous September 2009 survey.

      • Android vs. iPhone: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

        The study, based on a survey of about 4,000 consumers, shows interest in Android nearly tripling from September to December of 2009. In September, about 6 percent of respondents said an Android phone was in their future. By December, that number was up to 21 percent.

      • Five Predictions for Google’s Nexus One

        There has been a frenzy of rumors circulating about Google’s foray into the mobile handset market since it was first discovered that Google might be working on such a device. Based on the prevailing rumors and speculation, here are five predictions for what we can expect from the Nexus One.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Smartbook Playing Field Wide Open for Linux

        There’s been a lot of technology predictions for the upcoming year, with Linux playing a big part in the future direction of tech. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long to see how some of those predictions will play out: it’s just a mere three more days until the start of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-Source BI Going Mainstream for Routine Uses

    Some commercial BI vendors have noticed the encroachment on their turf and are countering by offering free “starter editions” of their software, the report said.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox development dilemma: Tweak or overhaul?

      Mozilla is building a number of features into the upcoming Firefox 3.7 browser–but the organization now has begun stewing over whether to introduce some of them in a significant update, as planned, or to rewrite some sooner for a variation of the current browser.

    • One Add-on Lets Firefox Use Ubuntu Notification System

      Firefox uses its own notification system for alerting users to various events. These can easily be missed on an Ubuntu system as users are used to seeing notifications appear in the top right-hand corner.

  • Databases

    • How will MySQL fare under Oracle?

      Out of line unless you think this might be a preparatory step in anticipation of the Oracle takeover. It could be. And, if that’s the case, is it a bad sign for everyone’s favorite open source database? I’m not so convinced that non-enterprise end-users of MySQL (you know the ones – those that use MySQL for Drupal, Joomla, and other DB-dependent applications) will have any worries. Let’s see if we can collectively draw that same conclusion.

    • DRBD and MySQL – Virtualbox Setup
  • CMS

    • New Drupal Book: Drupal for Dummies

      My new book, Drupal for Dummies, is now available. My intended audience is non-technical, so if you’ve got a friend who wants you to build a Drupal site for them, this might be worth mentioning to them. The companion Web site, http://drupalfordummies.com was created using only the information presented in the book.

  • Licensing

    • On Copyright Assignment

      One or two points of fact, though: the FSF does not require assignment — not for all GNU projects, at least. For some, yes. I made this exact same mistake at the GNU hacker’s meeting in Gothenburg last month. After all, it’s easy to find articles stating that the FSF requires assignment — even on the FSF site — and not so easy to find ones that do not. After all, it’s hard to search for the absence of a document. Andy Wingo can probably point out some.


  • Ereaders…not quite the death of paper

    In all, I can buy a lot of paper, toner and binders for the $300 the unit cost me. Sure there is the bulk of paper. But I do not have to wait for the unit to decide to show me the page I want to read. I do not have to ramp up the magnification to be able to read the document, angle the light and wait seconds for the page to render, completely or otherwise.

  • Finance

    • Searching for Pecora

      The vigorous Pecora commission interviewed hundreds, including financial magnates, their underlings, brokers and analysts, compiled 12,000 pages of testimony and paved the way for a major financial services overhaul. The 1933 Glass Stegall Act, the 1934 Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and other legislation protected the economy for the next 60 years. When these reforms unraveled in the 1980s and 1990s, the ground was laid for a “boom and bail” economy.

    • Goldman Sachs: 10 Questions for 2010
    • Goldman Sachs: Record of $23 billion in bonuses for 2009; explaining their economic parasitism

      Goldman Sachs is among the most visible financial parasites. Their executives have a revolving door through the US Treasury Department. They profit through “trading,” much like Enron did; including selling investments represented as AAA while simultaneously betting the value of those investments tank. Their CEO says they’re “doing God’s work,” as Enron’s CEO said, “We are on the side of angels.” A US Senate report puts the parasitic cost to Americans at $2 to $4 trillion every year. To put that figure into perspective, that’s an almost unbelievable $20,000 to $40,000 added cost per US household every year. Goldman Sachs is so happy with their “trading,” they’ll pay out a record of $23 billion in bonuses to their top employees for their 2009 work.

    • Another Break—At Our Expense—for Goldman Sachs

      Remember that $10 billion loan Goldman Sachs returned to the U.S Treasury, the move that allowed it to pay out record bonuses this year? Turns out the refund was a wash for the greediest firm on Wall Street.

      Under tax laws that have been on the books for years — this is what happens when we don’t pay attention — banks are permitted to deduct bonuses from their federal taxes. According to Robert Willens, an accounting and tax analyst in New York who runs a consulting firm, Robert Willens LLC, Goldman Sachs will get a nifty $9 billion tax break for the $23 billion is will hand out in bonuses for 2009.

    • U.S. to Lose $400 Billion on Fannie, Freddie, Wallison Says

      Taxpayer losses from supporting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will top $400 billion, according to Peter Wallison, a former general counsel at the Treasury who is now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

      “The situation is they are losing gobs of money, up to $400 billion in mortgages,” Wallison said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The Treasury Department recognized last week that losses will be more than $400 billion when it raised its limit on federal support for the two government-sponsored enterprises, he said.

    • NY Times joins the Populist war against Goldman Sachs

      The article fails to mention is Goldman like other firms was changing its stance on the economy and mortgage market as time passed. Goldman did not start hedging when it started selling CDOs, it only started to do so when it saw the markets were going sour by the end of 2006. Gllian Tett writes in her book Fool’s Gold that Goldman turned so bearish on the mortgage market that it started to sell its mortgage positions even at a loss. She quotes a senior Goldman executive as saying quote “We could tell the markets were getting overheated, so we took a position in the ABX [to bet against the mortgage market] and other ways”. Goldman was not the only bank to take this action. Deutsche bank started betting against the mortgage market as far back as October 2005.

    • Goldman Sachs: America’s Vampire Squid

      It’s the prime example of why these banks are the epitome of capitalism gone wrong, a perfect example of overwhelming greed. These types of institutions will just continue doing what they’re doing until someone stops them.

    • Never Say Credit Again

      The rest of the government is complicit in this because, for much of 2009, the Treasury owned preferred shares in these companies and so it needed the banks to be profitable lest the taxpayer got robbed yet again. So the government rigged the game to make it so easy that even Citigroup ( C – news – people ), the weakest of the big banks, can start to pay the government back and leave behind the onerous restrictions of Troubled Asset Relief Program membership.

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • The Obama Disconnect: What Happens When Myth Meets Reality

      The truth is that Obama was never nearly as free of dependence on big money donors as the reporting suggested, nor was his movement as bottom-up or people-centric as his marketing implied. And this is the big story of 2009, if you ask me, the meta-story of what did, and didn’t happen, in the first year of Obama’s administration. The people who voted for him weren’t organized in any kind of new or powerful way, and the special interests–banks, energy companies, health interests, car-makers, the military-industrial complex–sat first at the table and wrote the menu. Myth met reality, and came up wanting.

    • Smoking in “Avatar”: Necessary to “Reflect Reality”?

      James Cameron’s new blockbuster movie Avatar won a “black lung” rating for gratuitous smoking from the Web site Scenesmoking.org, which rates motion pictures according to the amount of smoking they show.

    • ‘Avatar’ Joins Holiday Movies That Fail an Antismoking Test

      Some of those who oppose smoking in movies have just seen the future, and they are not happy about it.


      Scenesmoking.org, which monitors tobacco mentions in films, gave the PG-13 rated “Avatar” a rating of its own: A “black lung.” Still, Mr. Cameron’s movie, distributed by 20th Century Fox, is not the only holiday picture to earn that distinction, which indicates unacceptable depictions of tobacco.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • How China’s Attempts To Censor The Internet Are Failing

      Just as Bono is claiming that the world should look to China’s success in censoring the internet as a good example of how other countries can fight unauthorized internet file sharing, the Wall Street Journal is reporting on just how badly China’s “war” against the internet is going, noting that the more it tries to censor, the more trouble it’s having in doing so:

      The Internet has enabled more Chinese to have more access to information today, and given them greater ability to communicate and express themselves than at any time since the founding of the People’s Republic.

    • Copenhagen protester released from jail

      An Australian held in a Danish prison for three weeks for organising a protest during the Copenhagen climate change conference has been released.

      Natasha Verco was arrested on December 15, a day before the biggest protest march during the United Nations talks in Copenhagen.

    • Jack Straw to review Britain’s libel laws

      Ministry of Justice says wide-ranging review will look at the issue of libel tourism, and whether British courts are being exploited

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • Marshall interview on ACTA with the Commission

      An unnamed official from the Commission responds to good and deep ACTA questions from journalist Rosalie Marshall.

      They say the secrecy of the mandate of the EU-Commission is crucial:

      We can’t make the mandate public because it defines the limits of where the EU is prepared to go with the agreement. If it is made public and other countries gained access to it they would know how far we will go or not go with the negotiations. This could make their tasks a lot easier. It’s like if you are buying a used car and you already know how low the seller will go with the price.

    • DOJ Recommends FCC Quickly Free up More Spectrum

      Supporting existing and new wireless broadband providers is key to encouraging broadband competition, the U.S. Department of Justice advised the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Monday.

      In a filing submitted in response to an FCC request for comments on its national broadband plan, the DOJ said that it’s unrealistic to try to promote “textbook markets of perfect competition” since the provision of broadband services is so costly. “Rather, promoting competition is likely to take the form of enabling additional entry and expansion by wireless broadband providers,” among other activities, the DOJ wrote.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Did File-Sharing Make Wolverine a Hit?

      Accept No Substitutes: The Pirated Version of “Woverine” is Not Nearly as Good There is a mind-blowing cover story by Jonah Lehrer in the January 2010 issue of Wired that suggests that scientists, instead of being neutral observers searching for objective “truth,” actually begin do experiments to prove that their preconceptions are right. When they find contrary evidence, they either ignore it, or figure their equipment or methodology is faulty. To paraphrase Paul Simon in “The Boxer,” they see what they want to see and disregard the rest.

    • Constitutionality of RIAA Damages Challenged

      In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, defendant has filed a motion for new trial, attacking, among other things, the constitutionality of the jury’s $675,000 award as being violative of due process.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Claudio Menezes, a UNESCO official uniting international Free Software communities 03 (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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