01.13.10

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Links 13/1/2010: Linux 2.6.33 RC4, Zenwalk 6.2 Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 9:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Tegra 2 supports Ubuntu Linux

    According to this faq-like post on the official Nvidia Tegra developer site, Ubuntu Linux is supported as an operating system for Tegra 2 based devices.

  • Android tablet sports Pixel Qi dual-mode display

    At CES, Nvidia demonstrated tablet-PC prototypes incorporating its Tegra 250 processor, including a Linux-based model from Foxconn, and Android-based models from ICD and Notion Ink, the latter using Pixel Qi display technology. Meanwhile, an Android version of HP’s Windows-based “Slate” computer is on the way, say several reports.

  • Opsera and The Linux Box Partner to Expand U.S. Market for Opsview Open Source System Management Suite

    The Linux Box is partnering with Opsera Limited to become an official Opsview reseller in the United States, with the goal of expanding the national presence of this award-winning network and infrastructure monitoring software suite.

    Opsview provides comprehensive system management capabilities used to monitor the health of today’s most complex data centers. It enables IT managers to identify and fix issues with their systems before they impact system availability. Opsview enhances the widely used Nagios® monitoring framework by adding many additional configuration, graphing and management capabilities, while remaining 100 percent compatible. Opsview earned the Product Excellence award for Best System Management Tool at LinuxWorld Expo in 2008.

  • Linux Will Save The World

    You know what stories perform the worst on Linux Today? Anything that pertains to freedom- software freedom, the GNU Foundation, the Software Freedom Law Center, civil rights, and law. Technology is front and center on the big issues of the day. If we didn’t have FOSS we would be in an even worse mess as a society, because then technology would all be centralized and controlled by a very few people who have proven their hostility to civil liberties, privacy, and basic decency.

    I don’t believe it is exaggerating to say that Linux/FOSS is all that stands between technology tyranny, corporate tyranny, and the hope of something better.

  • My favourite Linux podcast.

    I’ve sampled a variety of podcasts about Linux, including FLOSS Weekly and TuxRadar, but the Outlaws are by far and away my favourite. At first blush an excitable German University student and baritone Liverpudlian might seem like an odd choice to host such a thing, but you’ll quickly realize that both share an equal passion for all things open. They also put on a great show.

    Here’s a quick tour of the Outlaw universe to get you up to speed:

    One of my favourite recent episodes of the podcast featured an extended interview with Bradley Kuhn & Aaron Williamson from the Software Freedom Law Center. Did you know that a whole whack of television and set-top box manufacturers are using GPL code without giving back to the community? The lesson to be learned here is that open-source has deeper pockets than you might think.

  • Linux.conf.au kicks off next week aiming for open source roadmap goal

    Annual conference expected to attract 600-strong crowd with diverse mix of international, Australian and NZ delegates

  • Desktop

    • Digital Tipping Point – A Q&A with Christian Einfeldt

      Have you any other projects at the moment?

      There is an effort that some of us have started for the purpose of bringing GNU-Linux to low income benefits groups. We have made contact with one of the largest charities in San Francisco. This is an organization that feeds thousands of people every month. They also have a jobs program. In connection with that jobs program, they have a computer lab. We are in the process of rolling out GNU-Linux in that context because we feel that Linux computers could do so much for people who are trying to lift themselves up off of the street.

    • You don’t need to ‘know’ Linux to use Linux

      Lately, I’ve been noticing stories about how to use Linux you need to know half-a-hundred Linux shell commands and the like. Ah, what century are you from? Today, if you can see a window and handle a mouse you’re ready to use Linux.

      And, no, I’m not talking about how we’re all already using Linux in devices like the TiVo or the Droid smartphone and through Linux-powered Web sites like Google. I’m talking about using Linux on the desktop.

      There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that requires any special knowledge to use Linux on the desktop today. If you’ve already mastered Windows XP, you’ll have little more trouble moving to a Linux desktop like Red Hat’s Fedora 12; Novell’s openSUSE 11.2; or Canonical’s Ubuntu 9.10 than you would in switching over to Windows 7.

  • Kernel Space

    • Subject Linux 2.6.33-rc4

      Hmm. Odd release. Something like 40% of the patches are in DRM (mostly nouveau and radeon, both staging, so it’s a bit less scary than it sounds. But there’s a noticeable i915 component too). That’s all pretty unusual, afaik.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Pulled: DRI 2.2 Protocol Requests, Swap Events

        The other part of this work is the new protocol requests for DRI2 2.2 and they include DRI2SwapBuffers, DRI2GetMSC, DRI2WaitMSC, DRI2WaitSBC and DRI2SwapInterval. These requests are used for supporting the SGI_video_sync, SGI_swap_interval, and OML_sync_control GLX extensions. It was back in October that we originally talked about these DRI2 sync and swap extensions.

      • Gallium3D

        • Gallium3D Feature Levels Plotted, Discussed

          The last time we talked about Gallium3D work being done by Zack Rusin was just before the holidays when he was hacking on new geometry shader support. Zack’s latest work on Gallium3D though is for defining “feature levels” that provides a table for what features can be supported by a given driver / graphics processor.

        • New EGL Gallium3D State Tracker Pushed

          The latest work by Chia-I Wu is a new EGL driver / state tracker (named “egl_g3d”) that has just been pushed into Mesa. For those unfamiliar with EGL, as described by the Khronos Group, “EGL is an interface between Khronos rendering APIs such as OpenGL ES or OpenVG and the underlying native platform window system.”

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • More KDE 4

      Here’s my current desktop, which mostly shows off the “Naked” plasma theme and my desktop widgets…

  • Distributions

    • Mandriva opts for the green solution with packaging for the Mandriva Linux 2010

      Mandriva, Europe’s leading Linux publisher, offers clients recyclable, environmentally-friendly packaging for its latest distribution: Mandriva linux 2010.

      At a time when bringing in sustainable development policies is imperative for business, Mandriva has gone for entirely recyclable packaging for its latest distribution to meet customer wishes.

    • Review: Zenwalk 6.2

      Conclusions: This is hands-down one of the most user-friendly distributions I’ve tried. This long-term test drive had a few relatively minor bugs, and they were far outweighed by Zenwalk’s overall friendliness and ease of use. The distro is bright and well-designed, and is backed by strong documentation and a newby-friendly community. In my installation it had a very high “just worked” factor, although obviously individual results may vary for other users and machines. If XFCE isn’t your cup of tea, Zenwalk is also available in a GNOME version.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat repurchases $33.4M of shares

        The Raleigh-based Linux provider’s stock purchases were made as part of a previously announced repurchasing plan that was last amended in November 2008. The program authorizes the repurchase of up to $250 million worth of common stock. The program expires Oct. 31, 2010, unless the company’s board and executives discontinue the program sooner.

    • Debian Family

      • The Plight of Ubuntu Users in Developing Countries

        Shockingly, Ubuntu dropped wvdial and gnome-ppp — the command-line and GUI ppp connectors, respectively — from the distro years ago. In order to connect to the Internet, most African users must therefore connect to the Internet (see the problem?), download the appropriate packages, and configure their dial-up or 3G connection. Just about anyone who has used Ubuntu knows that it’s not particularly capable out of the box without Internet access.

      • Give Boxee Beta an Ubuntu Ride

        Boxee Beta is now open to all. Even its alpha release was rock solid, so one could think of the kind of expectation everyone has for Boxee Beta. From the first look, I have to say, Boxee beta has pretty much lived up to the hype.

      • Boxee opens beta to all

        Below are several screenshots of the Boxee Beta’s movies, videos, queue, and apps selection screens…

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 5 Special Devices from CES 2010 that Run on Linux

      Lots of fascinating new devices were showcased during past week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. In addition to marketing new products events like the CES serve as an opportunity to demonstrate what technology can do. Naturally, some of those feats may not prove particularly useful, but they are fun to watch anyway.

    • ARM9 industrial SoC gains video chops

      Atmel announced a version of its ARM926EJ-based “SAM9″ line of industrial-focused system-on-chips, this time integrating a video decoder and graphics acceleration. The SAM9M10 ships with a Linux evaluation board and BSP, and supports video at up to 720 x 576 pixels and 30 frames per second, says the company.

    • Android-ready PMP sports AMOLED display

      One of these Windows-oriented devices — the Viliv P3 PMP (portable media player) — also runs Android, and offers an 800MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, WiFi, and a 3.7-inch AMOLED display.

    • Phones

      • Google releases Nexus One SDK

        The Android 2.1 SDK includes APIs for creating animated wallpapers, as well as some additional telephony functions and a couple of improvements to interaction with the WebKit browser, all of which are used by Google’s own Nexus One applications and are now available to other developers too.

      • Android tablet and kitchen computer debut

        At CES, Innovative Converged Devices (ICD) demonstrated two Android-based touchscreen computers based on Nvidia’s Tegra 250 processor — a 15.6-inch Vega kitchen computer and a seven-inch Ultra tablet. Also at CES, ICD and T-Mobile UK announced that the latter will launch the Vega later this year in the U.K.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • OLPC Doesn’t Need a Global Business Case Challenge

        One Laptop per Child Association will be gathering 300 MBA, graduate and undergraduate business students to develop innovative business cases for XO laptop deployment under the auspices of the Global Case Challenge. But I wonder why.

Free Software/Open Source

  • FOSS is rejected by CAN InfoTech Nepal

    Every year, for the last couple of years, FOSS community Nepal has been getting a small stall to showcase whatever they have to the unusually large mass that come to witness the event. Not that FOSS is going anywhere in Nepal, but still that opportunity to try and create awareness existed. From this year onwards FOSS community is not going to be able to do that too as they have been told that due to lack of space they will not be able to put up a stall.

  • Attractive Open Source Search Interfaces?
  • Flightcaster Open-sources Crane

    A big concern with the modern JVM languages like Scala and Clojure is the ability to scale out from the single JVM address space into distributed environments. Different approaches include a distributed JVM (terracotta), distributed actors (akka), message queues (AMQP/rabbitmq), or solutions for specific computational models, like hadoop.

  • Make your own lifestream with open source Storytlr

    The arrival of a new year is often viewed as an opportunity for self improvement. According the US government, some of the population’s top new year’s resolutions for 2010 include plans to lose weight, improve finances, and reduce stress. I imagine that our audience of super-geeks have a few goals that aren’t on the list. This year, I decided to finally fix up my personal Web site. An open source lifestream framework called Storytlr made my goal easy to accomplish.

  • Mozilla

    • Review: Firefox 3.6 RC gives new life to an old browser

      The Web browsing world is exciting again. Google’s Chrome browser is faster than fast and there’s serious thought that Internet Explorer may actually lose its top spot in the browser market-share wars. But for all the excitement, it would be a real mistake to overlook Firefox; with the forthcoming release of Firefox 3.6, which is now available as a release candidate, Mozilla’s flagship browser is looking better than ever.

    • The Future of Add-ons

      The Firefox Add-on platform is the most vibrant source of browser innovation in the world, with over 1.5 billion downloads and tens of thousands of add-ons. There’s been a lot of speculation over the past couple of days around the future of Firefox Add-ons, and how Jetpack fits into that future. There’s currently a lot of misinformation swirling about this topic and it’s making people very unhappy. We’re going to attempt to clear things up below…

  • Databases

    • Save MySQL would not spare open source M&A

      A recent pitch from the folks opposing Oracle’s ownership of MySQL via acquisition of Sun Microsystems got me thinking. The plea, ‘Oracle can have Sun, but not MySQL’ may make sense to some, but to me it speaks to the irony of closing out Oracle or any company or anyone from open source. Upon further reflection and given 2010 is off to a roaring pace of M&A, I also began to wonder what the impact of the ‘Save MySQL’ campaign could be on open source in M&A, particularly if it was to successfully derail the acquisition or somehow decouple MySQL from Sun under Oracle?

    • Do Databases Lie at the Heart of Open Source?

      Now, obviously I’m delighted to see Jordan aspire to become the open source “hub” for the Middle East, as the press release puts it: we sorely need a focal point for free software there.

  • Government

    • Will Open Government Directive drive Drupal usage?

      Acquia will also offer a seminar series for U.S. federal, state, and local governments to discuss adoptions and best practices for government use. This is definitely a smart move, as risk-averse government agency IT decision makers will take comfort in the successes of their peers with Drupal Social Publishing.

      Acquia appears poised to take advantage of the growing interest in open source and social media. Increased use of Drupal will open the door further to open source adoption within governments in the United States and worldwide. In doing so, Acquia is definitely playing its part as a founding member of Open Source for America.

  • Programming

    • PHP 5.3.1 Released, Security Beefed Up

      The PHP development team recently introduced the latest version of the new PHP 5.3 branch, PHP 5.3.1. This version essentially does not change the essential core 5.3 PHP engine, but by focusing on stability and security, the PHP team has introduced more than 100 bug fixes and tweaks to the overall framework.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Have computers become a commodity item?

    Somebody made a comment the other day about computers being a commodity item. It was stated that computers are thought of as no different to a television or radio. This comment sort of alarmed me because I do not think of computers in this manner. I don’t think that computers should be classed as a commodity item and below I say why.

  • Security

    • Solution for SSL/TLS design weakness in sight

      A solution to the TLS renegotiation vulnerability discovered in the design of the SSL/TLS protocol early last November is on the horizon. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has ammended the RFC 5246 specification (Transport Layer Security [TLS] Protocol Version 1.2) and introduced a new renegotiation_info TLS extension which will store a connection’s cryptographic information. The problem was caused by a flaw in the TLS protocol design that affects the parameter renegotiation of an existing TLS connection. Previously, the TLS protocol offered no conclusively authenticated associations between the client requests before and client requests after a TLS renegotiation. The new extension stores additional information to describe the state of a TLS connection (“secure_renegotiation”, “client_verify_data” and “server_verify_data”).

    • Trouser-bomb clown attacks – how much should we laugh?

      As the smoke clears following the case of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the failed Christmas Day “underpants bomber” of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 fame, there are just three simple points for us Westerners to take away.

      First: It is completely impossible to prevent terrorists from attacking airliners.

      Second: This does not matter. There is no need for greater efforts on security.

      Third: A terrorist set fire to his own trousers, suffering eyewateringly painful burns to what Australian cricket commentators sometimes refer to as the “groinal area”, and nobody seems to be laughing. What’s wrong with us?

    • The Spies Who Got Left in the Cold
    • Undressing the Terror Threat

      Consider that on this very day about 6,700 Americans will die…. Consider then that around 1,900 of the Americans who die today will be less than 65, and that indeed about 140 will be children. Approximately 50 Americans will be murdered today, including several women killed by their husbands or boyfriends, and several children who will die from abuse and neglect. Around 85 of us will commit suicide, and another 120 will die in traffic accidents.

      [...]

      Indeed, if one does not utter the magic word “terrorism,” the notion that it is actually in the best interests of the country for the government to do everything possible to keep its citizens safe becomes self-evident nonsense. Consider again some of the things that will kill 6,700 Americans today. The country’s homicide rate is approximately six times higher than that of most other developed nations; we have 15,000 more murders per year than we would if the rate were comparable to that of otherwise similar countries. Americans own around 200 million firearms, which is to say there are nearly as many privately owned guns as there are adults in the country. In addition, there are about 200,000 convicted murderers walking free in America today (there have been more than 600,000 murders in America over the past 30 years, and the average time served for the crime is about 12 years).

  • Environment

    • 17,000 potentially harmful chemicals kept secret under obscure law

      Of some 84,000 chemicals being used commercially in the United States, some 20 percent — or 17,000 — are kept secret not only from the public, but from medical professionals, state regulators and even emergency responders, according to a report at the Washington Post.

  • Finance

    • 25 experts who denied the housing bubble

      It cautions, “The list includes only pundits and (supposed) experts. That means the list doesn’t include policymakers such as Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, because however wrong they may have been, policymakers and especially Fed chairmen are undeniably constrained in what they can say publicly. I strongly suspect that both Greenspan and Bernanke honestly believed that there was no housing bubble, but alas, we’ll never know for sure. The list also doesn’t include pundits/experts who were wrong only about the fallout of the collapse of the housing bubble that is, the extent to which the collapse of the housing bubble would harm the economy.”

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • Ads to Protest Smoking in ‘Avatar’

      Those who oppose smoking in movies aimed at young people planned to step up their assault on the science-fiction epic “Avatar” on Tuesday with advertisements in Hollywood trade papers that accuse the film of providing the equivalent of $50 million in free tobacco advertising.

    • Taxpayers Subsidize Smoking in “Avatar,” Other Youth-Rated Movies

      The information about taxpayers subsidizing smoking in big-screen movies comes from a November, 2009 report by the University of California San Francisco titled “Taxpayer Subsidies for US Films with Tobacco Imagery” that examined taxpayer subsidies for youth-rated films (G, PG and PG-13).

    • Conservative backlash against “Avatar”

      A right-wing nightmare: The free market has spoken — anti-American lefty green propaganda sells!

    • Breaking News: Insurance Industry Launders $10M to $20M in Attack Ads

      Just as we cannot let the health insurance companies pretend they are “for reform” while secretly buying millions of dollars worth of attack ads against reform, we also cannot stand silent when newspapers outsource the writing of the “news” to groups advised by health insurance companies.

    • Obama received $20 million from healthcare industry in 2008 campaign

      Currently, the Center’s website shows that Obama received $19,462,986 from the health sector, which includes health professionals ($11.7m), health services/HMOs ($1.4m), hospitals/nursing homes ($3.3m) and pharmaceuticals/health products ($2.1m). Miscellaneous health donations (from which Obama received $860,411) are also factored into the current total health sector numbers but are not accessible on the site.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Google to Embargo China

      14-01-10: Still conflicting reports coming out. It could be that Google has already lifted its own censorship measures. Or it could be that the censorship measures are still up, but because of the intense interest generated (and click-thrus) on sensitive subjects, small holes in the wall are being publicised and magnified.

      It doesn’t matter any more: People are getting through the wall.

    • Google.cn Has Already Lifted Censorship

      “In an update to Google’s withdrawal from China, there are reports that censorship has already been lifted. It’s probably taken a while to report because of Google’s ranking system.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Lessig on Copyright and Science at the University of Amsterdam

      Last Friday, January 8, the University of Amsterdam (I’m with the competition) handed out an honorary doctorate to Harvard prof. Lawrence Lessig, known to you all (I may hope!) as one of the founding members of the wildly successful Creative Commons project. During the acceptance ceremony, he held one of his keynote presentations – and one that is required listening material for everyone. And with everyone – I mean everyone.

    • Writers Can Prosper Without Intellectual Property

      It is commonly supposed that, whatever its moral and theoretical standing, intellectual property is necessary for creators of written works to make a living and — even more importantly — to continue to create. Here, I will set aside the theoretical status of copyright, which is amply discussed in Stephan Kinsella’s Against Intellectual Property and Michele Boldrin and David Levine’s Against Intellectual Monopoly. I will focus on existing and emerging possibilities for writers to earn a living in a world where no copyrights exist.

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