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05.17.10

Links 17/5/2010: Firefox 3.6.4 Build 4, State Services Commission (NZ) Goes for Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 10:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Do Package Managers Spoil Us?

    Do systems break less with easier resolutions due to package managers? Does it mean that the new user of today won’t be as experienced as the old user of yesterday?

    I think it might.

    Users in the past had to chip away and reassemble with less documentation and no package manager. This meant that the user of yesterday ripped apart systems and packages to discover how they worked and which cogs fit where.

  • What IS Linux (and what it should be)?

    But there is a bigger issue at hand for Linux – than just the stigma of its past. With regards to society at large, on a grand-scheme scale, most people don’t even know what Linux is. So to the masses Linux would be completely foreign. And those are the people the Linux distributions should be focusing on.

  • Tuxification

    As you might have guessed, I have a lot of Linux-based T-shirts….a LOT of them. And I enjoy wearing those T-shirts. From time to time wearing the image of Tux encourages strangers who would normally never say anything to strike up a conversation. The number of security people at the airport that know about Linux and Free Software, for instance, is fairly amazing.

    On the other hand, I have fewer outer garments that have Tux or “Linux” on them, and often Tux is not visible as I travel.

    [...]

    On the airplane returning from a recent trip to Brazil I sat beside a woman about my age. She saw my Tux T-shirt and said something about Linux. It turns out that she was a former employee of Sun Microsystems in the USA that had moved to Salvador, Brazil. She had (of course) used Unix, programmed in “C”, JAVA, used MySQL and used other FOSS programs. We exchanged email addresses.

    Make Tux a bit more visible in your life and you may find a lot of new FOSS friends….or just find your suitcase easier.

  • Terminals

    • Remote Terminals With Linux – An Introduction

      One of the most interesting features of Linux is its versatility. Being able to make complicated configurations out-of-the box. You do not need to buy the ultimate hyper business version to have the ability to set up a complex client / server system with dumb terminals and a remote application server.

      Creating a client / server network is relatively easy, since the multi-task / multi-user architecture is a native feature of Linux.

      But in order to understand this process, it is necessary to work with some theory, where we will see what is a client / server network with remote dumb terminals, what are its advantages, in which cases it can be used and in what ways it can be implemented on Linux.

    • Internet Cafes With Linux

      LanBr is a manager software that helps to control and manage of Lan Houses and Cyber Cafes powered by Linux, in order to ease the operations of daily life in an internet cafe/ lan house environment.

      The system is constantly evolving and has many features to achieve a good management of Lan Houses or Cyber Cafes in Linux.

      There are times when you feel you do not belong to the Ubuntu community for your lack of coding knowledge. But is that really true? Do you have to necessarily be a coding geek to contribute to the development of the most popular Linux distro around? The Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon (who I hear likes bacon) talks to Amber Granner about that and more in this video.

      [...]

      It is a project of Wilson Pinto Junior with help of volunteers and has as main objective to provide a complete and easy LAN Manager for Cyber Cafes and Lan Houses. The Program is all written in Python using Gtk and GNOME Human Guidelines “to an intuitive interface and ease to use”.

  • Google

    • More Images Of What Chrome OS Will Probably Look Like

      Chrome OS — Google’s lightning quick operating system that’s based entirely on the Chrome browser — is due out the second half of this year (check out our report earlier this evening on its progress). We’ve seen some demos of it in action, and even tried out an early version ourselves, but there are still plenty of question marks as far as how people will actually use this thing. After all, while the browser will be able to accomplish most tasks, users are going to want some degree of multitasking, and there’s also the question of how users will be navigating Chrome OS’s basic file structure.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Community Feedback Helps Make Linux.com Even Better

      The annual Linux.com Planning meeting took place at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit last month. It was a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the most active Linux.com community members and to understand what kinds of things are working and not working on the site. We even had some hard-core contributors who dialed in for the four-hour session!

    • Using qemu to instrument Windows

      Part of the problem that we face in providing Linux hardware support is that we’re lucky if there’s a spec, and even if there’s a spec there almost certainly isn’t a test suite. Linux still isn’t high on the list of things that vendors test with, so as a result hardware and firmware tend to be written to work with Windows rather than some more ideal notion of what a spec actually says.

    • Guest Blog: Rares Aioanei – Kernel News with openSUSE Flavor

      -Frederic Weisbecker posted perf fixes for 2.6.34, James Bottomley came up with SCSI fixes for -rc6, Paul E. McKenney had some RCU fixes for 2.6.35; perf fixes came also from Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo.

  • Applications

    • Decibel Audio Player – Simple Audio Player For Linux

      Decibel Audio Player is a lightweight (and simple) GTK+ based audio player. Although it has existed since 2007, it has been updated again.

      This player is made for speed usage, not for looks, so this is very fast, even on low-end netbooks/pcs.

    • [Compiz] Bugfixing and Testing

      Over the past 2 or so weeks, I’ve gotten some phenomenal amounts of input varying from quirks, crash reports and other problems which I probably wouldn’t have spotted otherwise.

      [...]

      Over the past 2 or so days, I did some refactoring of the buildsystem so that plugins do not need to use ‘rpath’ in order to link to libraries such as libcompizconfig and libdecoration. This means that we can finally build RPM and Debian packages. Hopefully a PPA for Ubuntu will be coming soon, and we might even see Compiz 0.9.2~ in Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat if we’re lucky :)

    • prll is a pearl of a utility for parallel command execution

      Varlec is working on some cosmetic changes for the next version of prll. “I will also try to make prll POSIX-compliant. Most of the work has already been done by a helpful user, but I have yet to check it, merge it with the latest version, and see if I can maintain it in the long run. I’m also considering some internal utilities to be made available to the functions being executed. For example, I’d like to provide a locking mechanism to users, further expanding the usefulness of prll. But I want to keep prll as simple as possible.

    • Morevna: Open Source Anime Using Synfig, Blender, Gimp, and Krita

      Synfig is an authoring tool designed from the ground up to do smooth animation without drawing multiple frames in between the key frames, a process called “tweening,” meaning that the number of artists required to complete a major project is significantly reduced. The artist defines the position of the objects in two keyframes, chooses a path for the movement, and assigns filters or deformations, and the result is computer generated. I understand that normal anime has very few tween frames and limits motion on the screen to limit the amount of work artists have to do. Synfig’s method means a smoother-looking movie with thirty frames per second and the ability to add more animated movement.

    • Add a Pandora Screenlet to your Linux desktop
    • Writing made easy for young students: Introducing WriteType

      After several months of development, it is finally time to introduce the world to WriteType. WriteType is an application designed to aid young students in writing and typing on the computer. It offers text completion to make touch typing more efficient. It also will read back the document with one of the four implemented text-to-speech engines, enable teachers to easily highlight areas for review, and more.

      [...]

      Apparently, the school had been purchasing these $400-500 devices because they offered word completion. These devices, vaguely reminiscent of the infamous AlphaSmart series, were anything but ergonomic or easy to use. Word completion was the killer feature that made paying $500 to type on a itsy-bitsy LED screen seem like an attractive offer. It would seem that a feature included by default in most cell phones would have at least one desktop implementation, however a little bit of research showed that this awkward brand of “computer” was indeed the only way to make use of auto-completion while typing documents.

      The shock effect alone was enough to motivate me to spend the weekend hacking up an initial version. I sent out some early versions a local elementary school to be tested. But as time went on, I began hearing from other people as well. If a program that achieves such a feat was in such high demand, it is quite amazing that no proprietary software company has made any attempt to capitalize on the needs of schools. Of course, readers of my blog understand how I feel about greedy educational companies who claim to want what is best for education but really just want to be filthy rich. Because of these beliefs, I had no choice but to release WriteType as free software.

    • Songbird has sung its last song…on Linux

      Will Linux suffer if Nightingale fails? No. Would Linux better for having Nightingale? Of course. Should the Linux community reach out to the Nightingale project and ensure it doesn’t fail? Hard to say. If given the choice between more rapid development and features for the current standards (Rhythmbox, Banshee, Amarock) or including Nightingale in the mix (and slowing down development of the others), I would happily say forget Nightingale. But given that Linux needs as many familiar tools as it can get, Nightingale could (and should) be a very important project.

    • Instructionals

    • GIMP

      • A Quick Gimp Tutorial For Hiding People
      • [AVATAR] Become a real Na’Vi using GIMP!
      • Episode 140: Double Deck Bus License

        00:20 My trip to England
        02:00 My photographic output – the image to process
        03:20 Bill’s workflow guide
        03:50 Copy the original layer
        04:30 Perspective correction
        05:15 Rotate (two attempts)
        10:00 Crop, inside out
        12:30 Cloning and healing
        14:30 Contrast correction with a curve
        15:05 Dodge and burn
        19:00 Scaling
        22:20 Sharpening and flattening the image
        24:00 Saving for the Web
        24:20 Scaling discussed
        26:30 How to license the workflow guide
        27:30 Creative Commons License
        32:45 Creative Commons for images

    • Games

      • Quake-Live Follow-Up: Strategy Observations

        For those of you bored out of your minds at this, I’ll get back to my regular content eventually. But hey, it is sometimes also important to show that, yes, Linux can be an enjoyable gaming platform, and Linux geeks can enjoy ourselves like normal human beings once in a while.

      • Penumbra: Overture, HPL1 Engine And OALWrapper Released As Open Source

        Frictional Games are the second company to release the source code of their game and engine because of the Humble Indie Bundle success.
        The game and engine were released under few different licenses depending on the tools, game parts : GPLv3, Creative Commons 3 and zlib

  • Desktop Environments

    • Carving up the corpse of Fluxbuntu

      If you’re running Ubuntu you can probably just install Fluxbox and then force dpkg to install those deb files and start it up. If you’re using Arch, grab the deb2targz tool out of the repositories, transmogrify each one of those debs into tar.gz files, then extract them to your root directory — the file structure will drop them perfectly into place. Probably most other distros could follow that same route, and get these same results.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Akonadi Meeting and the KDE SC 4.5 release

        We are at the Akonadi meeting at the KDAB offices in Berlin right now, which was quite nice so far. We had the first round of API review of new methods in KDEPIMLIBS for 4.5, and already cleaned up quite a bit. Having multiple eyes look at the API is a nice way to improve the overall quality of the API. We met with Andrey Moiseenko and Alvaro Manera of Nokia, who work on calendaring for the next Meego phone from Nokia. They use our KCal library, which they have forked/extended for some special requirements they have. We’re now making plans with them to integrate their changes back to our version of KCal, so that both sides will profit from changes and have a single point of maintenance.

      • Whats up in KDE Remote Desktop Client?

        KDE SC 4.5 is coming up around the bend and I’m posting about some of the new exciting (to somebody I hope) features for KRDC. For KRDC 4.4 we introduced a new gui layout. I have been away from the keyboard for awhile and finally have been able to hammer out some bugfixes (1,2,3,4) for those new features as well as some older bugs to both 4.5 and 4.4.3 (for the most part).

        Well what are these new features I’m talking about? Well for starters I’ve taken that drab list of connections in the center of KRDC and made it much more useful by adding statistics and other information. You can sort your list by these different pieces of information and it will save your sort column/order for the next time you open it so you can keep it sorted the way you like.

      • KDE and the Masters of the Universe

        As some of you may know, I stared a new podcast called KDE and the Masters of the Universe (KDEMU for short). It is an *all* KDE podcast that will cover a wide range of KDE topics, releases, interviews with developers, etc. Our premier episode with Aaron Seigo and has just been released Today!

      • Alternative widgets explorer [Plasma]

        From KDE SC 4.5, you’ll be able to fire up KRunner or Lancelot, search for some plasma widget and drag it to the desktop.

      • TouchFreeze 0.2.5 for Linux

        TouchFreeze is a special software for Linux system that will disable the mouse click while you are typing. This is a useful utility for Linux built using QT4 and Xeview header. TouchFreeze docks in your system tray (KDE/Gnome) and disables button click events while typing.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • live cd compare : ubuntu/kubuntu 10.04 and pclinuxos 2010 kde/gnome

        Number of Linux distributions do not make us confused to select the distro. Limitations of the Internet connection is also not stopped our desire to learn Linux. Still afraid of installing linux? do not worry, there’s a many distribution with live cd base. With the live cd you can try to use Linux without having to install to the hard disk. There are various Linux distributions that use the livecd, but this time I am just going to try livecd of ubuntu and PCLinuxOS distro.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian + Backports is Better than the Latest Ubuntu

        I’ve always found Debian Stable+Backports to be more stable than the latest Ubuntu. What’s more, with backports configured you can get the latest versions of popular packages.

      • VideoLink, assembles a DVD video filesystem from HTML pages and video files.

        VideoLink is available in Debian from version 5.0 ‘lenny’. If you don’t run Debian, get the source tarball (tar.gz file) and build from that.

      • Ubuntu

        • Chromium Daily shifts buttons to the left for Ubuntu users

          Users of the Chromium browser daily builds for Ubuntu may be surprised to find their window controls ‘doing a Lucid’ and switching from the right to the left.

        • [VIDEO SUNDAY] Jono Bacon on non-developers in the Ubuntu Community

          There are times when you feel you do not belong to the Ubuntu community for your lack of coding knowledge. But is that really true? Do you have to necessarily be a coding geek to contribute to the development of the most popular Linux distro around? The Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon (who I hear likes bacon) talks to Amber Granner about that and more in this video.

        • Desktop Fun: 21 Cool Ubuntu Wallpapers

          Ubuntu 10.04 was released last month, and comes with some breath taking design enhancements, and has some fabulous art work integrated into it. We’ve put together a collection of wallpapers to make it more customized.

        • Zeitgeist: The Road to Maverick Meerkat

          Just like last year Zeitgeist developers were present at UDS…
          It was amazing I will write about the UDS exprience in another blogpost.
          I think my favorite moment was Mark announcing Unity and using Zeitgeist for file management on the desktop. Although Mikkel knew about it (he works for Canonical), it took the rest of the team by surprise. It is very nice to feel appreciated. And I think i speak on behalf of the whole team when I say “Thank you Ubuntu and Canonical for giving us a chance”.

        • Ubuntu 10.04 installation fun

          Bottom line: There is missing a clear path how to replace older Linux, be it Ubuntu or whatever else. Something fast, clear, nice for lame user without selecting / partition in advanced mode (not that complicated, but still). One question: “Do you really want to replace this BlaBla Linux? All data on that partition will be lost. Your Windows XP will not be affected. Proceed?” That is the thing I’m missing as an upgrade option.

        • Variants

          • Peppermint: Just like any other Lubuntu, only more so

            Ultimately it all falls to preference, and we’re back to the most important idea: Freedom to change and choose. So if Peppermint appeals to you because you believe you’re sparing your netbook the effort of thrashing through the Gnome desktop, and at the same time undercutting the system requirements of Lubuntu … well, you are always welcome to use it.

          • Review: Peppermint OS

            Peppermint OS is a very nice project with a fresh and very interesting approach to how Linux should shape up for modern users. Far from the extremely minimalistic approach taken by Google with Google Chrome OS, Peppermint OS actually keeps enough local weight to keep your attention when you can’t go online.

            In fact, one thing I specially like about Peppermint’s approach is that it provides lots of flexibility. On the one hand, you may choose to go minimalistic, going for an OS that can take as little as 512MB of hard drive space. Nothing would prevent you from installing many of the applications available and beefing up the local catalog though, consequently getting closer to a standard desktop OS.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Litl Plans to Launch Web-Connected TV Box

      The Litl box will run an open Linux-based OS, the same used in the Webbook, making it easier to encourage users to create web apps due to the open OS. litl will also be releasing an Adobe Flash 10.1-based Software Development Kit (SDK) at this weekend’s Flash and the City developers conference.

    • 4 Netbook Operating Systems Worth Checking Out

      There are a number of great netbooks on the market, and a bunch more great netbook operating systems worth trying out. I’ve only highlighted a few of the pack leaders worth checking out, but there’s a lot more beneath the surface if you’re willing to dig.

Free Software/Open Source

  • How and Why Contributing to FOSS Can Benefit Your Organization

    A Linux distribution is a carefully culled collection of software from these upstream projects which makes a complete operating system and even includes a lot of application software. This collection of software is tested and prepared to run securely and maintainably together. Debian is built upon this model.

    Some distributions of Linux use Debian as a source project unto itself. There are a number of Linux distributions based on Debian, including the popular KNOPPIX and Ubuntu distributions. Being “based on Debian” can mean several things, but it primarily means they draw from the software repository at some point in the release cycle, and they use the Advanced Packaging Tool (apt) to manage this software. In these cases Debian is an intermediary between the original FOSS project and the “children” distributions which may also pull from original software projects to expand upon what Debian provides to target their particular focus.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 3.6.4 Build 4 Released

      A new build of Firefox 3.6.4 has been released and is currently distributed to users who have a previous build of the upcoming Firefox version installed on their computer system. The update check in the browser will recognize the new build and download it automatically to the computer so that the browser can be updated.

    • Hacks to Make Firefox Faster than Google Chrome

      Google Chrome has now eclipsed Mozilla Firefox in the speed category. However, I still use Firefox as my main web browser because it is still better than Chrome in certain areas.

      But just recently, I tried a few tweaks that significantly improved the speed of Firefox making it a little bit snappier than the latest version of Google Chrome when loading webpages.

  • Databases

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • SSC specifies open source software in tender process

      The State Services Commission has raised eyebrows after specifying that open source software be part of its revamped website.

      The commission has told potential suppliers that the website’s content management system, which will let it update and manage the site, must use open source software rather than proprietary software – such as that supplied by Microsoft.

Leftovers

  • Security/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Greek leader considers action against US banks

      Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou declared he is not ruling out taking legal action against U.S. investment banks for their role in creating the spiraling Greek debt crisis.

      Both the Greek government and its citizens have blamed international banks for fanning the flames of the debt crisis with comments about Greece’s likely default, actions that are causing the country’s borrowing costs to soar.

    • Fear of a Double Dip Could Cause One

      THE risk of a double-dip recession hasn’t abated, even after news of the huge European bailout in response to the Greek debt crisis.

      World markets soared initially on the announcement of the nearly $1 trillion rescue plan, and then declined. But as the economist John Maynard Keynes cautioned long ago, such market reactions are basically a “beauty contest” — with investors trying to predict the short-term reaction that other investors think still other investors will have.

    • Fears Intensify That Euro Crisis Could Snowball

      After a brief respite following the announcement last week of a nearly $1 trillion bailout plan for Europe, fear in the financial markets is building again, this time over worries that the Continent’s biggest banks face strains that will hobble European economies.

    • Nightmare on Wall Street

      The Wall Street reform bill is taking that rarest of paths through the Senate — actually gaining tougher provisions against the industry as it proceeds, not being watered down to win votes as health care reform was.

    • Despite audit, Federal Reserve’s scope may widen with Senate bill

      As the debate over how to overhaul financial regulation heated up last year, there was one thing Democrats and Republicans seemed to agree on: that the Federal Reserve had made major mistakes that contributed to the financial crisis and needed to have its wings clipped.

    • Obama’s terms for financial overhaul remain mostly intact

      Passage of a 1,400-page bill to overhaul the nation’s financial regulations would come just two months after Obama signed a landmark health-care overhaul. But in the case of financial regulation, much more so than with health care, the Senate bill largely reflects the administration’s initial blueprint, despite the fervent efforts of lobbyists and lawmakers of all stripes to alter it.

    • James K. Galbraith: Why the ‘Experts’ Failed to See How Financial Fraud Collapsed the Economy

      Thus the study of financial fraud received little attention. Practically no research institutes exist; collaboration between economists and criminologists is rare; in the leading departments there are few specialists and very few students. Economists have soft- pedaled the role of fraud in every crisis they examined, including the Savings & Loan debacle, the Russian transition, the Asian meltdown and the dot.com bubble. They continue to do so now. At a conference sponsored by the Levy Economics Institute in New York on April 17, the closest a former Under Secretary of the Treasury, Peter Fisher, got to this question was to use the word “naughtiness.” This was on the day that the SEC charged Goldman Sachs with fraud.

    • Wall Street banks investigated over links to ratings agencies

      Inquiry into bid to find whether banks cheated in hunt for high credit ratings includes Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – HASB – Sun Basics (1/3/2002)


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