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Links 6/6/2010: “Ubuntu Advantage”, Firefox 4 Early Walkthrough

Posted in News Roundup at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux evolves: TVs, smartphones, tablets

    Linux rules supercomputers. It’s vitally important to servers. And, Linux is making gains on the desktop. Where Linux is really going to shine in the next twelve months though is in devices: tablets, smartphones, and TVs.

    For example, more than a dozen Apple iPad-like tablets made their first appearance at the Computex computer show in Taipei, Taiwan. The vast majority of these devices run Android Linux or other embedded Linuxes such as the latest MeeGo embedded Linux.

  • Steve Jobs blunders on the Internet TV market
  • SGI ends Itanium era with UV supers

    The full Altix UV 1000 machine, which first lashes together 256 blades into a fat tree configuration and then links these clusters together in an 8×8 2D torus, for a total of 16,384 cores, will be available by the end of the calendar year, delivering 74.3 teraflops in a global shared memory system running Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 and SGI’s ProPack extensions. Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux is now supported on the Altix boxes, too.

  • Open source growth changes the definition of community

    What’s remarkable about this analysis is that Google is forced by circumstance to live in all three worlds simultaneously. So the early-stage work on the Chrome OS runs into a media that is also looking at the mid-market efforts of Android and the mass market monetization of the base service and getting muddled.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • The Day of the Linux Desktop: Q&A With Canonical Founder Mark Shuttleworth

        LIN: What will take Ubuntu to the next level?

        Shuttleworth: In terms of looking forward and breaking into new areas of production, we are seeing sort of a real shift in the way people think about at Ubuntu in two different environments.

        On the consumer front, we’re seeing a shift in the way people think about alternative platforms to Windows amongst the PC companies. It used to be a kiss of death to present yourself as a genuine alternative to Windows. But the success of the Web and the success of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) have really made the PC companies think that it is possible to offer something that is perceived to be valuable even if it is not Windows.

        So we’re seeing a rapid ramp-up of the number of PCs that ship around the world with Ubuntu, which is good for us. And those are going to folks who are not Linux enthusiasts and are not Linux specialists. So it has really raised the bar on the quality and crispness of the experience you have to deliver in order to keep those people happy.

      • Canonical to offer new Ubuntu Linux business support options

        Linux is great — if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, Linux, like any operating system, can be a pain. Enter Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux. On June 7th, Canonical will start offering new Ubuntu Server and Ubuntu Desktop “Ubuntu Advantage” business support services.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Android

      • New Android Smart Phones Coming this Year

        We have all seen the Google Nexus One, HTC Desire, Legend, Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 and plenty of other Android smart phones and by all means, we are very much impressed. But the availability of the open source platform does not end this year with these handsets alone. In fact, several new smart phones are already on the way.

      • Motorola Flipout Is The Microsoft Kin of Androids

        As per the usual chain of events, spy-shots lead to real products—in this case, the Motorola Flipout. Running Android 2.1, it comes in a quirky little swivel-design similar to the Kin One.

      • What Computex’s Android Tablets Mean for the iPad

        So, don’t get too worked up over what comes out of Computex. They will be about the hardware, but it takes more than hardware to sell hardware. It will be months from now before we’ve digested this show and the pad phenomenon.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Could Chrome OS revive slumping netbook numbers?

        Google’s focus is on netbooks at the moment, though today’s announcement shows that Chrome OS will not be mutually exclusive to the netbook market but notebooks and fully-fledged laptops, perhaps desktops also.

    • Tablets

      • Kno: Big, Dual-Screen Tablet Debuts at D8

        If you were bummed when Microsoft pulled the plug on it’s Courier project, you might be interested in the Kno, another dual-screen e-reader/tablet that debuted at All Things Digital’s D8 conference yesterday.

      • Computex 2010: Year of the tablet?

        HP has clearly been recalibrating its tablet plans and Microsoft killed off its Courier project.

Free Software/Open Source

  • When you should open-source your internal apps

    Enterprise IT departments should revisit their application development strategies to follow some of the approaches used by Facebook and Twitter, argues RedMonk analyst Stephen O’Grady in a recent blog post. Specifically, he says you should invest application development resources only in applications that differentiate your business from your competitors, and rely on open-sourcing and permissive licensing to extend your reach and your development dollars. I believe he’s right.

  • Tiemann on transforming IT the open source way

    In his talk, Tiemman applies the lessons of Darwin to Deming toward transforming the model of IT using the open source way. Adaptability leads to reuse, which leads to sustainability.

  • Women Who Tech in Open Source

    I tend to agree with the NY Times article that some woman tend to migrate to the human side of IT. Not that we are here to be the mothers/nurturers of the team, but I chose to work with the end users of OSS instead of developing code. I get more satisfaction from that, and does it make me less of a contributing member of the FOSS community?

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 4: An early walk-through of IndexedDB

      Web developers already have localStorage, which is used for client side storage of simple key-value pairs. This alone doesn’t address the needs of many web applications for structured storage and indexed data. Mozilla is working on a structured storage API with indexing support called IndexedDB, and we will have some test builds in the next few weeks. This can be compared to the WebDatabase API implemented by several browsers that uses a subset of the allowable language of SQLite. Mozilla has chosen to not implement WebDatabase for various reasons discussed in this post.

    • Firefox Sync Shows Mozilla’s Still Got It
  • SaaS

    • WSO2 Launches Open-Source Cloud Platform

      The Mountain View, Calif.-based WSO2 was founded by members of the Apache Software Foundation’s Web services community, and its products are based on Apache technologies. The WSO2 Web Services Application Server (WSAS) is based on Apache Axis2, and the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) is based on Apache Synapse.

  • Oracle/Solaris

  • Healthcare

    • Open Your World recap: Dr. John Halamka on healthcare, the stimulus, and standards

      Dr. John D. Halamka, is Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a practicing emergency physician, and holds several other positions, which are listed on his profile at his Geek Doctor blog. According to Halamka, his datacenter “holds a couple of petabytes of healthcare data for 3 million patients, and the entire infrastructure is run on Red Hat technologies. So I have multiple datacenters, multiple clusters of Linux servers, and we haven’t had downtime in a couple of years. I think the answer today is, no CIO in healthcare is afraid of open source.”

  • BSD

    • DesktopBSD lives on under new leadership

      Following the September 2009 announcement that version 1.7 of DesktopBSD would be the “last and final release”, a small group of German developers have signed on to continue the distributions development. DesktopBSD is based on FreeBSD using the KDE desktop environment and is similar to PC-BSD which also focuses on a desktop version of the BSD variant.

  • Government

    • Asia tackles copyright quagmire through open source

      Tightly guarded secrets may be a thing of the past for government officials or space researchers as more industries adopt open-source practices, presenters at a conference said Friday in Seoul.

    • Government IT: Open Data, Open Standards and Open Source

      As the UK’s new Government settles into power the direction in which it is taking ICT policy is becoming clear, the only question is how the admittedly great ideas will be implemented in practice.

      Much informed analysis has indentified that despite the counter-intuitive pairing of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, they are in fact closely compatible in many policy areas.

      ICT policy is one such area, and by far the majority of the excellent policy ideas from both party’s manifestoes have made it through to official UK Government policy.

      Let’s start with a lightning tour of the big picture. Austerity is, of course, set to become the watchword for the coalition, and with Public Sector ICT spending running at over £14,500,000,000 per annum and rising some might say austerity is long overdue in this area.

  • Openness

    • Go fly a kite: Mapping the oil spill the open source way

      Since arriving, we’ve managed to mobilize small teams of Gulf Coast residents, working with local nonprofit Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Thanks to the fishermen and charter boat captains whose livelihood is at stake, we’ve been able to get teams out on boats almost every day. Taken from balloons at as high as 1500 feet, our photography is of higher resolution and greater coverage than much of what the press has, and we’re now coordinating a nationwide effort to stitch the imagery into map overlays, which will be viewable in Google Earth as well as more traditional GIS tools. Most importantly, the data we are collecting is released into the public domain and is available for free here.

    • Open Data

      • Where’s my bus? Open data enables real-time route info for Boston riders

        Traditionally, transit agencies are the sole source of bus information for consumers. Agencies build their own countdown signs, launch their own websites, and build their own smartphone applications to get information to customers. Following in the footsteps of the NWS, MassDOT and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) decided to open data for software developers for the first time in September 2009. Within two months, six trip planning applications had been built by developers including websites, a desktop widget, and smartphone apps. In Robin’s words, “These were as good or better than anything we would have built on our own.”

      • Government spending details published

        The government has published millions of public spending data as part of what David Cameron says are efforts to lift its “cloak of secrecy”.


  • Does the Internet Make You Smarter?

    But of course, that’s what always happens. Every increase in freedom to create or consume media, from paperback books to YouTube, alarms people accustomed to the restrictions of the old system, convincing them that the new media will make young people stupid. This fear dates back to at least the invention of movable type.

  • Science

  • Environment

    • Gulf oil spill: BP to go ahead with $10bn shareholder payout

      Tony Hayward, BP’s embattled chief executive, will risk incurring further wrath in the US over the Gulf oil spill tomorrow by defying calls from politicians to halt more than $10bn (£6.8bn) worth of payouts due to shareholders this year.

    • How BP, MMS Ignored Spill Warning Signs

      New documents released over the weekend to the New York Times show that both BP and federal regulators at the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service had plenty of warning that the drilling operation at the Macondo well site was plauged with problems—dating as far back as June 2009. But despite known issues with the well and the blowout preventers, the operation continued until the April 20 blast.

    • BP Hires Former Dick Cheney Spox To Run PR Ops

      BP, struggling to maintain its image while taking responsibility for the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, has hired someone new to head its American public relations operation: Anne Womack-Kolton, the former campaign press secretary for Vice President Dick Cheney.

    • Whole, whole on the range

      A quarter of the land area of Earth is turning into desert. Three quarters of the planet’s savannas and grasslands are degrading. And because the main activity on rangelands is grazing livestock, on which 70% of the world’s poorest people depend, grassland deterioration therefore causes widespread poverty.

    • Monckton takes scientist to brink of madness at climate change talk

      That import, Christopher Monckton, Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, had given a rousing speech to a crowd at Bethel University in Minnesota, near where I live.

      His speech was on global warming and his style was convincing and irreverent. Anyone listening to him was given the impression that global warming was not happening, or that if it did happen it wouldn’t be so bad, and scientists who warned about it were part of a vast conspiracy.

      I know a thing or two about global warming. I have worked in the field of heat transfer and fluid mechanics and I have published more than 80 papers on these topics.

      I am a university professor and also an active consultant in the energy and environment industry. What I heard in his talk surprised me.

      Monckton cited scientist after scientist whose work “disproved” global warming.

      He contended that polar bears are not really at risk (in fact they do better as weather warms); projections of sea level rise are a mere 6cm; Arctic ice has not declined in a decade; Greenland is not melting; sea levels are not rising; ocean temperatures are not increasing; medieval times were warmer than today; ocean acidification is not occurring; and global temperatures are not increasing.

      If true, these conclusions would be welcome. But there is a problem with this kind of truth – it is not made by wishing.

      So I began a journey of investigation (the full results of which you can view here).

      I actually tracked down the articles and authors that Monckton cited. What I discovered was incredible, even to a scientist who follows the politics of climate change. I found that he had misrepresented the science.

      For instance, Monckton’s claims that “Arctic sea ice is fine, steady for a decade” made reference to Alaskan research group (IARC).

      I wrote to members of IARC and asked whether this was true. Both their chief scientist and director confirmed that Monckton was mistaken.

    • U.S. Climate Satellite Capabilities in Jeopardy

      The United States is in danger of losing its ability to monitor key climate variables from satellites, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

      The country’s Earth-observing satellite program has been underfunded for a decade, and the impact of the lack of funds is finally hitting home. The GAO report found that capabilities originally slated for two new Earth-monitoring programs, NPOESS and GOES-R, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Defense have been cut and adequate plans to replace them do not exist.

    • Apartheid-era minister carried ‘nuclear trigger’ in hand luggage to South Africa

      Eschel Rhoodie transported device used to detonate atomic bombs on flight from Israel in mid-70s, say journalists


      Two renowned South African journalists have revealed that Eschel Rhoodie, the apartheid government’s information minister who played a central role in establishing military ties to Israel, privately described in 1979 how he had transported “the trigger” as hand luggage on a flight from Tel Aviv. But they say they were unable to publish the account at the time because of censorship and the former minister’s concerns for his safety.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Was a “Predatory Cat,” and Moody’s a “Goat”

      Many are waiting for Warren Buffett to speak out, for the first time, about his investment in Moody’s Investment Services before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission today. (He is due up at 11:30 a.m. and hasn’t provided the panel with any written testimony.)

      But for those closely following the role of the credit raters in the financial crisis, the more-interesting testimony may come from a little-known former Moody’s executive named Gary Witt.

      In Witt’s written testimony submitted to the commission, Witt says: “concerns that rating analysts and investment banking analysts worked too closely together prior to the issuance of securitized debt is a legitimate concern.” In particular, he describes a situation involving one of his staffers, a lawyer named Rick Michalek, who was removed from rating Goldman Sachs Group CDOs because the investment bank requested that he be taken off their deals.

      “In my opinion, Rick Michalek was an exceptionally thorough legal analyst. His zealous document reviews were an added expense for investment banks who hired top law firms as transaction counsel with high hourly fees. It was my understanding that this behavior (exceptionally thorough document reviews that resulted in high legal fees being charged to investment banks) had led to a personal reprimand from Brian Clarkson, then head of structured finance.”

    • The Final Fight: No More Gambling with Taxpayer Money

      We agree, the bills are far from perfect and will not prevent the next crisis. But while some will walk away in frustration, we think there are a few things left in the legislation that are worth fighting for. Chief among these is the Senate derivatives chapter, which is head and shoulders better than the House version. The main goal of the Senate derivatives chapter is to separate reckless Wall Street gambling from the taxpayer guarantee.

    • Whistleblowers, Cooperators Making Their Way to the SEC’s Door

      While speaking at a recent Practicing Law Institute seminar, Reisner said the SEC has signed 10 cooperation agreements so far with other potential deals in the pipeline. The insiders are helping investigators in probes involving insider trading, financial and accounting fraud, stock offering frauds, and public company disclosures, he said.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Full Disclosure: A Response to Citizens United

      Instead of offering outright support for campaigns, it seems some corporations have funneled funds into political organizations. According to an article in the Washington Post, the Chamber of Commerce, American Crossroads, and American Action Network have pledged to raise $127 million for the upcoming election season.

    • Investigative Report: Richard Berman

      But this is no ordinary PR operation. This is where white-knuckle lobbying and media buys merge with a handful of public charities Berman has created to spin and cajole public perception on a variety of issues. But for the most part, he attacks and intimidates those with contrary views, and under the banner of the public good serves the agendas of corporate America.

    • The Latest on Rick Berman, Attack Dog Extraordinaire

      Berman targets non-profit organizations with views that conflict with those of big business. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is one example. It lobbies against animal cruelty, which puts it at odds with beef, pork and poultry producers, dairies, puppy mills, captive (“canned”) hunting operations, and contract research labs that do animal experimentation for pharmaceutical and cosmetics manufacturers. Another favorite Berman target, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), lobbies for lower legal blood alcohol levels for drunk driving charges, and mandatory use of ignition interlock devices for convicted drunk drivers, which puts it at odds with alcoholic beverage manufacturers, whose business success depends on people drinking more.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Press release: BabyBarista resigns from The Times over their decision to charge

      Barrister and writer Tim Kevan has withdrawn the BabyBarista Blog from The Times in reaction to their plans to hide it away behind a subscription-based paywall. He commented: “I didn’t start this blog for it to be the exclusive preserve of a limited few subscribers. I wrote it to entertain whosoever wishes to read it.” In a further post he said, “I think the decision will prove to be a disaster. There are so many innovative ways of making cash online and the decision to plump for an across-the-board blanket subscription over the whole of their content makes them look like a big lumbering giant…Canute-like in their determination to stop the tide of free content and using a top down strategy which makes even the Post Office look dynamic.”

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – AO – Observatories (3/17/2005)

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