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IRC Proceedings: July 3rd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Links 3/7/2010: Ubuntu Satanic Edition 10.04, Mint Thinks Debian

Posted in News Roundup at 7:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts

    • Episode 143: One Window and Round Prints

      This show covers the single window mode of GIMP 2.7.1 with a video (which sat some weeks here) from nachbarnebenan. I just installed the new version on my machine and I like it.
      Then I scratch an itch I had – Printing DVDs with GIMP.
      The sound in this episode in not as good as usual. Sorry.

      00:20 Berlin and you
      01:45 Single window mode demo
      06:00 Printing on CD/DVDs
      06:50 Defining the media size in Turbo Print
      08:20 Defining a new image template
      11:30 Starting a new image from the template
      12:20 A layer with guide lines
      16:15 New layer(s) for content
      16:50 Inserting a source image
      17:40 Scaling down of the new layer
      20:00 A gradient background
      21:00 Blending the layers with a mask
      24:20 Adding text
      25:50 Printing
      28:50 Recap and more background about units

    • Full Circle Podcast #9: Playing a Unicycle and the Trombone

      The podcast is in MP3 and OGG formats. You can either play the podcast in-browser if you have Flash and/or Java, or you can download the podcast with the link underneath the player.

    • Man interviews his sister about Ubuntu

      Patrick L Archibald of hacker public radio interviews his sister Wynn Godbold who recently starting using Ubuntu Linux. She is a kindergarten teacher in South Carolina.

  • Kernel Space

    • Guest Blog: Rares Aioanei – Kernel Weekly Review with openSUSE Flavor

      -The first news for this week is Jan Kara’s pull request fot linux-fs (ext2 and ext3 in our case) aimed at -rc4, Frederic Weisbecker posting his pull request for the perf tree and Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo’s pull request for perf/core targetted at 2.6.36 .

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Embedded Linux GPU Mess & How It Can Be Fixed

        Various users and developers have expressed their views on the matter within this discussion thread (along with the usual bickering between David and Luc) but as it stands right now there is no user-space Linux graphics driver for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon graphics core that is open-source. Nor is it likely we will see a complete open-source Qualcomm Linux driver in the immediate future.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Qt/K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Open Governance Mailing list

        Two weeks ago I announced here on Labs that we were committed to an Open Governance model for Qt and related projects. I have read all the comments posted on the blog and those sent to me by email. I even had the chance to meet Robin Burchell in person and we had a very nice chat about the process, and the issues we’re facing. He also had some constructive suggestions.

      • Review of Kubuntu Netbook – Maverick Alpha 2

        I downloaded the .iso of Kubuntu Netbook Alpha 2 and installed it in Sun’s, I mean Oracle’s VirtualBox. The virtual machine is running with 2 GB of RAM with 2 processors. Included are some screenshots taken from the VM and some comments along with it.


        Looking forward to Maverick and more changes coming down.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Training confirmed!

        A few days ago, I took the risk of setting off alarm bells on the GNOME developer training sessions planned for GUADEC this year. It was a risk, and comments from the naysayers reminded me that it’s easier to do nothing than it is to take a risk. I’m happy to say that the risk paid off.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Open source could be a success story, too: Red Hat CEO

        Coming from an airline, the 42-year-old Mr Whitehurst is an unlikely CEO for a technology company, and more so, a company that makes profits from selling free software.

        When he left Delta, he was approached to do a lot of additional turnarounds, but Mr Whitehurst said rather than trying to fix something, he wanted to build something, where there was a buoyant canvas to be painted, and Red Hat fit that bill. Red Hat was also looking for someone from a non-tech background and Mr Whitehurst’s profile, with his interest in geeky stuff, matched it well.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Satanic Edition 10.04 Features Stunning New Icon Theme And Wallpapers

        Ubuntu Satanic edition brings together the best of free software and free metal music. This is especially awesome if you are an avid dark theme fan boy. Moreover the latest Ubuntu Satanic edition brings in a brand new icon theme and some stunning wallpapers as well. There is a complete distro called Ubuntu Satanic Edition, but here we will concentrate on installing Ubuntu Satanic themes and other eyecandy in your native Ubuntu machine.

      • A system based on Debian

        The idea of a Linux Mint desktop based on top of Debian Testing is quite seducing. It’s much faster than Ubuntu and the current Linux Mint desktops, it uses less resources, and it opens the door for a rolling distribution, with a continuous flow of updates and no jumps from one release to another. It’s something we’ve always been tempted to do. Needless to say, whether it’s been because of our lack of communication on that topic or not, this has been a source of numerous rumors within the community.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Goodbye netbook, hello Hoverboard

      Remember when netbooks hit the market about three years or so ago? Some people considered them a fad, but I saw their potential. And, in a move that was very uncharacteristic of me, I bought a first-generation netbook. An Asus Eee PC 701. Seven inch screen, 4 GB solid-state hard drive, and 1 GB of memory (which I bumped up to 1.5).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Celebrate Independence Day By Thanking Your Open Source Developers

    Not to get all patriotic on you, but I wanted to deliver a simple message as many of us head into this 4th of July holiday weekend. We are celebrating American independence (and our Canadian friends just celebrated Canadian independence). The idea of being free to make our own choices runs deep in our culture. In that spirit take a moment to reflect on what the FOSS (free and open source software) movement has meant to you and to the IT industry.

  • Events

  • Databases

    • Open source database firms look to plug security gap

      Open source database vendors acknowledge insufficient third-party security tools is a concern but point out that more support from security companies and the open source community are imminent.

    • Oracle join SQLite Consortium

      Oracle has announced that it has joined the SQLite Consortium. The move came, according the BerkeleyDB’s Senior Product Manager Gregory Burd, “to show our commitment to the community which built SQLite and demonstrate our sincere desire to be a good citizen and partner”. Oracle acquired Sleepycat Software, the makers of the open source BerkeleyDB, in 2006.

  • Oracle/MySQL

    • Creative Commons Open Office Plugin gets a new UI and supports for Public Domain tools

      For the past few weeks I have been working on changing the User Interface and adding public domain tools for the Open Office plugin. In my previous post I introduced a new UI for adding creative Commons License, which is more simple and less confusing. In the same way I tried to make the UI for public domain tools as simple as possible.

    • Open source backer appeals EU approval of Oracle-Sun merger

      Monty Widenius, a leading open-source software proponent, lodged an appeal on Friday against the European Union’s antitrust authorities over their decision to green-light Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems at the beginning of this year.

      The appeal was filed to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Widenius was one of the co-developers of MySQL, the open source database software owned by Sun, and now by Oracle.

      The merger was completed on Jan. 27, just six days after the European Commission, Europe’s top antitrust regulator, signed off on the deal. Widenius’ appeal is not likely to have any bearing on the takeover itself, but may put pressure on the Commission for more transparency in its decision-making process.

    • Talking To Oracle About The MySQL Community

      Recently I was invited to go on the Oracle TechCast video show to talk about community within the context of MySQL.

      I was joined by Luke Kowalski, Oracle VP in the Corporate Architecture Group, and we discussed a range of topics. The primary message I took to the show was that (a) we should not pre-judge Oracle yet for their stewardship of the MySQL based on the fear of what could happen, but I also made it clear to Luke that (b) Oracle needs to make a firm commitment to acting within the culture and ethos of Open Source to have an effective, fulfilling relationship with the MySQL community.

    • SkySQL joins ranks of MySQL support providers

      MySQL users now have another choice for support besides Oracle, which acquired the open-source database through its purchase of Sun Microsystems.

      SkySQL plans to offer “enterprise class support & services for the MySQL ecosystem,” according to its Web site. Its CEO is Ulf Sandberg, ex-senior vice president of global services at MySQL, and “all core members” of the company have also worked for MySQL.

  • ‘Open’ Core/Business

    • Open Core Debate: Avoiding the Law of Unintended Consequences

      In the interest of transparency, I work with over twenty open source companies, most of who were funded by venture capitalists and the vast majority of which use the “open core” model. These companies have provided significant value to end users through the software licensed under open source licenses. Simon states: “But to use the package effectively in production, a business probably won’t find the functions of the core package sufficient, even in the (usual) case of the core package being highly capable.” This statement is simply incorrect. I have sat through many Board meetings and, in fact, the conversion rate from “open source” to “commercial” licenses is generally less than 10% for these companies. Thus, more than nine out of ten end users find the functionality of the open source version satisfactory.

      Simon says that open core does not provide software freedom for “end users”. Yet, nothing prevents the end users of the open source version to modify it and distribute it or otherwise exercise the rights under the license. In fact, Compiere demonstrates the fallacy of this position because it created two different forks. Simon complains about the lack of access to the “commercial extensions” of open core programs.

    • Open Source, free or not free?

      To be or not to be, free. That is the question. Well the answer is not 42. Or maybe it is. Forty two is the answer to life according to Arthur Dent yet he didn’t know the question. The question is probably too big for us to understand or even ask so I guess we will never know. Perhaps one day at the restaurant doing some pasta equations while watching the end of the universe we will know but until then…..


      The meaning of the word free in the Open Source context is freedom (who doesn’t have Mel Gibson shouting that in their heads right now :). What freedom though? Freedom to devalue the hard work of companies and programmers trying to make a simple living? No! Open Source freedom is freedom of knowledge. Freedom to understand and freedom to learn. Advocates of Open Source are free to freely share their knowledge and freely learn from others.

    • Afraid of open core lock-in? The alternative could be worse
    • Open core is not a crime

      Simon Phipps has articulated why this strategy does not meet the approval of software freedom advocates, but in doing so, in my opinion, mischaracterises the relationship between open core vendors and open source.

  • Funding

    • Omidyar Network

      Today I’m very happy to be able to tell our community that mySociety is to be the recipient of $575,000 of grants from the US based Omidyar Network.

      The grants cover two areas:

      * Building organizational capacity
      * The provision of expertise to develop open source websites for transparency-focused organizations in Africa

  • BSD


    • FOSS vs. open source as an American debate

      Soon after I took on this beat for ZDNet, I got a nasty gram from Richard Stallman (right).

      I wish he’d put it in the form of a paper letter. I probably should have framed it.

      In his note, as I recall it, Stallman made clear the difference between Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and open source as conceived by Eric Raymond and supporters in the business community.

      FOSS is not just “free as in free beer,” he told me. Under FOSS software is free, not just for the user. The software itself has liberties.

  • Government

    • Open source software in Malaysia

      The Malaysian government has set an example for the Asia-Pacific region in its support for free and open source softwarei (FOSSi). In 2004 it launched a master plan for rolling out FOSS throughout the public sector. That plan is now in its second phase of “accelerated adoption”, which is intended to make the use of FOSS within government more pervasive. The overall aims of the programme are:

      * increasing freedom of choice in software usage;
      * increasing interoperability;
      * increasing growth of the local ICTi industry;
      * increasing growth of the OSS user and development community;
      * increasing growth of the knowledge-based society;
      * reducing the digital divide;
      * reducing total cost of ownership; and
      * reducing vendor lock-in.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Technology and the Rights of the Child

      It’s also worth considering children’s own intellectual property rights. Whilst some bemoan young people’s attitudes towards copyright, particularly through peer to peer file sharing of copyright material, I wonder how much attention schools and teachers generally pay to the copyright of their pupils’ own work. Perhaps many are happy to photocopy, scan and upload children’s work, always with the best intentions, without seeking permission or acknowledging authorship. By way of contrast, I heard some very positive stories via Twitter of, for example, schools and teachers that buy art work off their pupils to hang. We could also help educate about copyright by doing more to encourage the acknowledgement, sharing and collaboration that underlies Creative Commons licensing, as well as much Early Years practice.

      In short, part of citizenship, be it analogue or digital, has to be educating children about their rights and associated responsibilities. To avoid charges of hypocrisy, surely this means that we should take their rights, including those of free expression, of free access to information, of privacy and of intellectual property seriously, respecting these and defending these when others do not.

  • Programming

    • 5 Python Pluses for the Enterprise

      You might not find quite as many experienced Python developers as .Net or Java folks, in part because Python is younger than Java and hasn’t had the corporate push of .Net. Still, Python’s doing well enough in developer adoption to make it a solid choice. Another advantage in Python’s court? It’s vendor neutral.


  • Thinking about better mousetraps and the Maker Generation

    Do you ever read Make Magazine? If you don’t, you should. You’re missing out. Take this article for example, from the October 2007 issue. A simple, brief piece about using everyday household objects to build non-lethal mousetraps.

  • Low-power Pixel Qi Displays Sell out in a Day

    The highly anticipated low-power 3Qi laptop displays from Pixel Qi were sold out on Thursday, just a day after the screens were officially announced and went on sale.

    The 3Qi LCD (liquid crystal display) screens, which were under development for two years, can absorb ambient light to brighten screens and reduce power consumption to extend the battery life of laptops. The displays reduce the need for the backlight, which are used to light up conventional laptop screens.

  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

    • All of Beijing to be covered in security cameras
    • WikiLeaks, iPhone Incidents Show that U.S. Needs Shield Law

      The United States’ global reputation as a champion of free speech is at stake. This is partly because the legal framework has not kept pace with the evolution of free speech, and also because the Freedom of Information Act is not being applied correctly. Today, the U.S. is in danger of losing its place as the bastion of free speech because other countries are stepping up and creating new ways to protect freedom of expression.

    • Is calling torture ‘torture’ political correctness?

      The New York Times is one of the many newspapers which, after calling torture “torture” for generations, switched to euphemisms (“enhanced interrogation techniques”) during the previous administration. The prevalence of such language is summed up in a paper by Harvard University students, who found that its use became ubiquitous after prisoner mistreatment at Abu Ghraib was exposed.

  • Environment

    • The Pearce “Inquiry”

      Fred Pearce’s book on Climategate and the events leading up to it (The Climate Files) has just been published. (Pearce kindly sent me a copy.)
      Pearce has been involved in environmental reporting for the past 15 or so years and, like George Monbiot, is a strong supporter of climate policy.

    • 3D TV images guzzle up to 50% more power than 2D

      When a 3D TV is switched from 2D mode to 3D mode, the power usage can swing dramatically depending on the manufacturer, according to a new report from Cnet.

    • Hollow Men of Economics

      As state’s see their budgets collapse and start a new round of layoffs, we should consider the fact that house price inflation masked the lack of wage growth in the United States. And now that house prices continue their descent for a 5th year, American workers are more fully exposed to the decade-long march higher in energy costs. They can experience this individually through energy prices, or more generally through the overall energy cost to the economy. Hence, the chart above.

    • Peru to expel British ‘Tarzan agitator’ Paul McAuley

      Missionary told to leave after helping Amazon tribes resist incursion of oil, gas and mining firms into the rainforest

    • BBC’s Panorama falls into ‘balance as baloney’ trap in half hour climate show, “What’s up with the weather?”

      The BBC’s climate journalism has declined in recent months (see BBC asks CRU’s Phil Jones the climate version of “When did you stop beating your wife”). It just hit a new low in the half hour show, “What’s up with the Weather?”

      All you need to know about how distorted and sensationalistic the BBC’s worldview has become is to read how BBC’s News editors describe the show:

      To some, it’s a massive conspiracy to con the public. To others, it’s the greatest threat to the future of our world.

      Over recent years, opinions about global warming have become increasingly polarised.

      It came to a head late last year when hundreds of e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit were published.

      The so-called “Climategate” debate was born.

      Despite governments, scientists and campaigners telling us the world’s climate is changing, opinion polls suggest growing uncertainty about global warming….

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Bill Introduced To Pressure Countries That Seek To Break The Internet

      Rep. Zoe Lofgren along with a list of other Congressional reps (from both parties) is introducing a new bill called the One Global Internet Act of 2010 (pdf), which is basically targeted at countries — like Afghanistan and Pakistan — that are seeking to block large parts of the internet from access, as well as countries like China, which for many years has tried to introduce its own, incompatible, standards for things like WiFi, DVDs, 3G cellular connections and more.

    • Listening to Wikileaks Julian Assange at the European Parliament

      Rarely does a lobbyist listen to someone and feel utterly impressed, no strings or cautious thoughts attached…Or at least, not an “old rot” like me…But today, just for a few minutes, I felt like “not all was lost”…that some sense would come out of the ongoing debates on how to “handle the Internet” if someone with the eloquence, brains and proven delivery record of Julius Assange could be invited to speak in a place such as the European Parliament, in the context of the ALDE organised debate on (Self) Censorship and Freedom of Expression in Europe.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk 11 May 2010 – Super Computing for Business (May 11, 2010)

Xandros is Virtually Dead, SUSE is Very Quiet

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 2:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: “Xandros hasn’t released a new version of Xandros Server since May 2007. That’s over three years,” argues a blogger

IT WAS almost exactly 2 years ago (prior to Independence Day) that Linspire threw itself at Xandros’ arms, only to see everything from Linspire dusted away into a nearby ashtray. Both Xandros and Linspire had signed patent deals with Microsoft and shown the world what happens to those who sidle with the convicted monopolist.

“Stick a fork in Xandros,” writes one blogger today, “it’s done.”

Xandros hasn’t released a new version of Xandros Desktop since November 2006 when they released Xandros 4.1. That’s almost four years without a new OS.

Xandros hasn’t released a new version of Xandros Server since May 2007. That’s over three years.

Xandros’ Presto OS pretty much came into the market with a whimper and went out with a sigh – most likely in the span of one month.

DistroWatch has declared Xandros Desktop to be a discontinued distribution.

Many former Xandrosians – myself included – have moved on to other OSes such as Ubuntu, Mint, and PCLinuxOS. Most abandoned Xandros when they sold out to Microsoft’s racketeering scam (the “patent agreement”). (I should note that I abandoned Xandros upon release of Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake LTS.)

SUSE suffered from Novell’s deal with Microsoft as well. Listen to this new episode of Linux Basement. About 15 minutes from the start they begin explaining why they left SUSE (as did yours truly). OpenSUSE needs to distance itself from Novell, otherwise it will continue to scare existing and prospective users.

At the moment, Novell blurs the gap between SUSE (in the SLE* sense) and OpenSUSE. It is selling SUSE appliances and advertises them massively in its PR blog. Just looking at the past week alone we found three examples [1, 2, 3], one of which focuses on the mainframe:

As employee number 135 at SUSE (bought by Novell in 2004), Joerg Eberwein has seen it all. With a small team of engineers and partners—numbering around 10 in the early days—they were able to rely on innovation, teamwork and each other to create a product that has been around a decade.


“We saw the chance and we took it,” said Eberwein. “We started to spread the message of Linux on the mainframe.”

Novell does not grant the user much control. In fact, it is moving control away from the user [1, 2] while at the same time spreading FUD about SaaS, e.g. when losing a contract in Los Angeles.

With NetWare SMB ‘AccountName’ flaws and BSM failure, Novell is headed nowhere, just like Xandros. Last week it advertised [1, 2] its recently-acquired BSM assets (buyout one year ago) but this BSM’s CEO quit Novell last year. It doesn’t look particularly good for any of Novell’s business areas. Even the marketing people (after some major departures) can’t get their grammar right:

Within the Novell BSM solution we speak in terms of the Configuration Management System (CMS) accessing data at it’s source as data in memory (or federated in real-time) because the value is joining the data metrics in a model providing the relationships that illustrate “value” through the creation of “information”.

Novell — like Linspire — might be sold for some of its assets to be buried and others to be sold away cheaply (those that have positive market value). The boycott against Novell has fulfilled itself almost entirely. Meanwhile we saw massive companies like Nokia and Google leveraging GNU/Linux and bringing it further into the mainstream.

Users of Microsoft Office 2010 Hate It, OpenOffice.org is Loved, Vista 7 is a ‘Meh’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Vista, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 2:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Meh starts now

Summary: Amazon review averages show just why Microsoft is suffering, still unable to offer anything substantially new (we refute the hype by quoting from USENET too)

OVER at USENET (comp.os.linux.advocacy), someone who goes by the name of Megabyte posts information about the hyped-up products which are Microsoft’s very few cash cows. From last night’s message about the AstroTurfed-for [1, 2] Office 2010:

…I decided I would take a look at how Office 2010 Professional is fairing in terms of reviews on Amazon.com – rated at 2 stars!

Here are a few comments:

“I’ve been an office “professional” user for years and years and have faithfully upgraded each time. I’ve researched this product extensively in an attempt to understand why I should pay nearly $500 to, essentially, change the background color and add a ribbon to the top of the page. ”

“What a contrast MS and Apple are. Apple seems it can do no wrong – everything it does seems carefully calculated and well planned. The Customer Experience always of paramount importance. Then there is MS who seem to look for ways to screw themselves. Granted Windows 7 was a big improvement, however overall expectations after years of disappointment we’re truthfully not that high – just getting an Windows OS that worked fairly reliable had focus happy. But then to follow a little success with the decision to NOT offer upgrade pricing on Office 2010 was as bone-headed as decisions come. I am sick of MS price gouging mentality.”

“With no upgrade pricing, Microsoft has taken a serious swipe at their loyal customers. The return on an “upgrade” has to be so much higher now, yet the new features (vs 2007) are generally frivolous toys, not serious features. Until Microsoft can come up with really differentiated new versions, why go to the next version?”

Watch this page. 2 out of 5, on average.

Compare that to the most major competition (not Google, which is a decoy Microsoft tries emphasising). The real competition is Free software. And by contrast, perfect score was attained by OpenOffice.org 3.1.x. 5 out of 5.

On we move to reviews of Vista 7, which also left many users unimpressed. Megabyte quotes the following review headlines:


“Big Improvement Over Vista Once Tweaked, Still An Annoying OS”

“Windows 7 – Snobby in the extreme”

“Not Ready for Prime Time”

“Mediocre and pointless computing at its finest”

“OK, unless you have ever used another OS”

“Pig in a Dress”

“Will be glad when Bill gates fixes the issues with this program”

“Not a fan”

“Save Your Money”

“MASSIVE invasion of privacy”

Rex Ballard from the same newsgroup writes the post titled “Windows 8 Vaporware — Highlights Windows 7 failings”. It’s about Vista 8 and it goes like this:

It seems that Microsoft accidentally leaked goals for Windows 8. Obviously Microsoft is hoping it can use the vaporware gambit to somehow retain the loyalty of OEMs to an “All Microsoft” solution for their laptops and desktops.



Included in these presentations is a rather telling (but obvious) slide which shows that Microsoft is clearly paying attention to Apple while planning Windows 8. Titled, “How Apple does it: A virtuous cycle,” Microsoft has broken down Apple’s UX/Brand Loyalty cycle and cited its value. Though it’s fairly obvious, the takeaway here is that Microsoft is aiming to give Windows the very same “it just works” status that Apple’s products are known for

It looks like they will be trying to but Dragon Strictly Speaking and ViaVoice out of business – They are promising “voice control” – but it’s unclear whether or not this will include fully functional 100% accurate real-time speech-to-text or not.  Thus far Dragon has come close, but even they can only transcribe 1 voice, and has to be trained by that voice, and you have to be in a very quiet room.  The holy grail of voice recognition would be the ability to connect it to the television and get a “script” that not only told you what was being said, but also who was saying it.  Such a system could also take accurate transcripts of conference calls and even sit-down meetings.


Other key features seem to include mandatory touch-creen, 17 inch minimum display, up to 5 concurrent contact points, and full HD (1900×1200) display.  Getting the “True Windows 8″ experience will difinitely require a new computer.  Microsoft is also promoting an all- in-one configuration with the computer tightly coupled to the display.

Perhaps they don’t like the fact that Linux is now being used to drive the display electronics for most external monitors and HDTV systems.

I’m sure it was a mistake, but the timeline slide shows that Windows 7 support will be ending far sooner than the even the beta releases of Windows 8.


As for the facial recognition, I’ve got that on my thinkpad.

The biggest problem for Microsoft is that they keep adding locks and keys to the front door, but the back door, the “doggie door” they use to monitor end-user activity, is easily unlocked by hackers with even the most rudimentary skills.  But Microsoft refuses to give up that back door.  If Microsoft can get into you computer without you knowing it, so can most hackers, even the “script kiddies”.

Other interesting items of note.

It seems that the classic “Tower” and “Mini” platforms, such as the ASUS Revo, will not be in Microsoft’s plans for Windows 8.  Microsoft will also be taking a more “aggressive” control of the entire configuration.  Unfortunately, this is likely to mean that PC
manufacturers are likely to lose even more money on each sale, since they will now have to invest heavily on additional hardware – which will crash to commodity prices even more quickly, since all of the machines will be virtually identical – and Acer and ASUS will probably start dropping prices very quickly.

Bad news for Retailers and 3rd party software developers

It seems that Microsoft also wants a LOT more control over applications.  It seems that they will be the sole source for obtaining new applications for Windows 8.

It’s pretty obvious that Microsoft never intended to let this information be made public when it was, but now everybody, including PC makers, software vendors, and competitors, can see how Microsoft intends to tighten it’s grip on the market, and how they intend to get even tougher on Linux.

Ironically, it’s also pretty clear that Microsoft is also trying to steal even more tricks from their competitors, including Chromium, Linux, and OS/X.

This just repeats what we already knew. Vista 7 is succeeding as much as Vista succeeded (i.e. not so much once the artificial hype gets cancelled out). Vista 8 vapourware is just the next hype cycle and a repetition of what Microsoft did when Vista was visibly failing (start talking about future versions and produce fake ‘leaks’ only to under-deliver at the end).

Links 3/7/2010: Cisco and Linux, Mozilla @ 2,000,000,000 Firefox Addons Downloads

Posted in News Roundup at 4:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Why have you switched to GNU/Linux?

      Prior to this, I used Mac OS but I knew that both operating systems are proprietary and want to limit the end user. I got tired of being manipulated to use a particular application and having bloatware already pre-installed on my computer. After searching the Internet for alternatives to Mac OS and Windows I found this really cool concept that is called Linux. I didn’t know much about the OS but gave it a shot.

    • What Linux means for the Consumer – Drivers, Open Source and Support

      When a consumer installs a Linux system, this has various consequences for him, which are sometimes hard to estimate at first. I’ve written a little summary touching the differences to Windows and Mac OS X in drivers, open source and support.

  • Google

    • Hopefully Install & Remote Kill-s the Cloud OS

      After reading a few articles about Google and their REMOVE_ASSET and INSTALL_ASSET ability and how they have invoked it already under a few circumstances. Its very fearful foreshadowing of our possible computing future, at which we may be at the point of no return already. Imagine you install it today and tomorrow Google says you don’t want that and removes it to replace it with their stuff.

    • How to Run Chrome OS the Easy Way

      A few of us here at MTE have a bit of a crush on Chrome OS. It’s not just the system itself, it’s the fact that someone is finally taking the concept of an operating system in a new direction. We wrote a brief synopsis of Chrome OS shortly after the first announcement that showed how things stood at the very beginning, then more recently did a manual build guide. Building Chrome OS from source code can take several hours, and can be a somewhat challenging process even for an experienced Linux user. To help solve that problem, some developers have begun releasing custom Chrome OS builds with included installers and software tweaks. This guide will show you where to find the images and how to get the latest Hexxeh release, Flow, on to your netbook or VM from a Linux host.

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung’s Latest Android to Shine on 5 US Carriers

      Samsung is taking the shotgun approach with its latest Android smartphone, the Galaxy S: It will be made available on five U.S. wireless providers, though each version will use a different name and have a slightly different feature set. “This will either be one of the biggest home runs in wireless history, or it will be a confusing mess,” said telecom and wireless analyst Jeff Kagan.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • GNOME Desktop

    • Clutter 1.3/1.4 Continues To Advance

      The release announcement for Clutter 1.3.6 can be read on clutter-announce. Clutter 1.4.0, which will be the first stable release to incorporate all of these Clutter 1.3 changes, will be released in time for the GNOME 3.0 release in September. Clutter is used within the Mutter compositing window manager found in GNOME 3.0 and is also used by various GNOME Games and other projects.

    • GNOME 2.31.4 Is Ready For Some Testing Love

      It should come as no surprise that there is now a new GNOME 3.0 test release seeing as in the past couple of days we have talked about new development releases of GNOME Shell and Mutter, GTK+ 3.0, and Clutter 1.3/1.4, along with a slew of other GNOME packages being checked-in.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Software Center Receives Major User Interface Update, More [Ubuntu 10.10]

        An update in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat today brings a changed look for the main Ubuntu Software Center pane.

      • Ubuntu Developer Week announced

        The Ubuntu development team have announced that the next Ubuntu Developer Week will take place from the July 12th to 16th. Several online workshops will take place during the week, run by a variety of Ubuntu contributors and community members.

      • Flavours and Variants

        • Ubuntu Satanic Edition 10.04 (Lucifer’s Legion)

          Summary: The distro for the damned has risen again and walks among us. It’s chock-full of amazing satanic grace and charm. Highly recommended for Linux users who are tired of being goody two-shoes and who want to take a walk on the dark side of Ubuntu Linux.

          Rating: 4/5

        • Linux Mint 9 KDE Release Candidate Available

          The KDE version of Linux Mint 9 (codename: Isadora), will instantly look and feel familiar to KDE users and comes packaged with new software such as Miro, which streams video from webistes in its own player, BleachBit, for hard drive cleaning, and Acetoniso, for converting video and images. Linux Mint 9 KDE features a new software manager that can handle more than 30,000 packages and remove and install applications asynchronously, making it possible to install separate applications at the same time and install applications in the background.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Multicore PowerPC networking SoCs gain Linux support

      Wind River announced a multi-year collaboration with LSI to co-market “tightly integrated” Linux-ready hardware and software for LSI’s PowerPC-based, multicore Axxia Communication Processors (ACP). Targeting telecommunications and networking infrastructure, the partners’ solutions will include Axxia-optimized board support packages (BSPs) for Wind River Linux, VxWorks, Wind River Workbench, and Workbench On-Chip Debugging, says the company.

    • Seven-inch Cortex-A8 tablet dual boots Android 2.1 and Windows CE

      Merimobiles has begun selling a seven-inch tablet for $200 that dual boots Android 2.1 and Windows CE 6.0. The Witstech A81-E is based on an unnamed ARM Cortex-A8-based processor clocked to 600MHz, and is equipped with 256MB RAM, 2GB flash, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and an optional GPS receiver, says the online retailer.

    • Palm

      • Palm Waives App Submission Fee for Developers

        No more fees and new promotions both hope to stimulate the Linux-based webOS ecosystem.


        In July, Palm has plans for a new PDK Hot Apps promotion, which will distribute another US$ 1 million to developers, with an emphasis on C/C++ apps that were ineligible for the previous Hot Apps promotion.

      • HP Completes Palm Acquisition; Netbook Running webOS Soon?

        Hewlett-Packard has completed the Palm acquisition. And if you read between the lines it sounds like HP will leverage Palm’s technology for more than smart phones and tablet computers. Indeed, HP seems poised to deploy webOS on netbooks.

    • Nokia/MeeGo

    • Android

      • Research: Android’s Big Lead Over Apple In Free Apps

        The latest numbers from mobile app store monitor Distimo show major differences in apps’ prices in Google’s Android Market and Apple’s App Store. While the majority of apps on the Android Market are free, only about a quarter on the App Store are. Advantage Android or advantage App Store? Debatable. Consumers might prefer free apps, but developers want a marketplace where it’s commonplace to charge.

        Some possible explanations for the discrepancy, according to Distimo: Currently, only developers in a fraction of the countries where Android is available can distribute paid apps on the platform. Only users from select countries can buy them. And users have to sign up for a Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Checkout account to buy an Android app.

      • Here come the new Yahoo! Android apps

        According to recent reports the Android operating system has an impressive 19.9% share of the US mobile web market. That’s still some way behind Apple iOS on 58.8% but the iPhone has been around for a lot longer. It should come as no surprise, then, that Yahoo! wants to get a piece of that Android action. Which is why it has now announced the continuing expansion of its reach with the immediate availability of Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger apps plus a Yahoo! Search Widget for Android.

      • Nexus One First In Line at the Froyo Dessert Bar

        Google has begun dishing out Froyo, the latest version of the Android mobile operating system. The company has chosen to make its own Nexus One smartphone the first to receive the update, despite that handset’s relatively modest sales figures. Other advanced Android phones will likely get their own updates soon, once the new OS can be rejiggered to work with the customized interfaces various manufacturers have added.

      • Kindle for Android app ships, but Froyo roll-out hits snag

        Amazon released its Kindle app for Android, while announcing a multimedia version for the iPhone and dropping the price of the Kindle, says eWEEK. Meanwhile, Android 2.2 rolled out to Nexus One users, but Sprint suspended its own rollout to the Evo 4G, says eWEEK, and Samsung announced plans for a Froyo update to its Galaxy S.

      • Gingerbread will split Android into two, rumors say

        Android 3.0 “Gingerbread” will be a high-end format supporting 1280 × 760 resolution and requiring a 1GHz processor, essentially splitting the operating system into two platforms, says UnwiredView. Meanwhile, HTC and Sprint are readying an Android smartphone with a 2GHz processor and 1080p video recording, says OzcarGuide, while TmoNews says HTC is prepping an Android phone for T-Mobile with dual 800MHz processors.

      • Android 3.0 Rumored for Q4 2010

        Rumors are circulating about Google’s next version of Android, the open source, Linux-based mobile operating system. Version 3.0 (Codename: Gingerbread) will supposedly require a 1GHz CPU and at least 512MB of RAM onboard, making it a shoe-in for high-end smartphones. Gingerbread will also support a screen resolution as high as 1280×760.

    • Tablets

      • Snapdragon-based Android 2.1 tablet goes on sale

        Expansys UK has begun selling a seven-inch WVGA Android 2.1 tablet from Huawei, making it one of the first available Android tablets. Priced at 300 Pounds (about $451) without a memory card or 370 Pounds ($557) with 32GB, the Huawei S7 offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 802.11n wireless networking, Bluetooth 2.1, and a two-megapixel camera.

    • Cisco

      • Cisco Tablet: Google Android Meets Business Collaboration

        Cius signals the latest “anything but Microsoft” development in the emerging tablet market. Among the recent vendor moves:

        * Cisco embracing Google Android for the Cius.
        * Dell promoting Android on the Dell Streak tablet.
        * Hewlett-Packard apparently scrapping work on a Windows-centric tablet and acquiring Palm and WebOS.

      • Cisco Floats Business-Minded Android Tablet

        The Cisco Cius looks an awful lot like an Android version of Apple’s iPad, but the two are really very different animals, according to In-Stat’s Jim McGregor. “Cisco is not trying to compete with Apple,” he said. “The two companies are targeting completely different segments and usage models. And like Apple in the consumer segment, Cisco offers complete solutions for businesses.”

      • Home energy monitor runs Ubuntu on Atom

        Cisco announced an Intel Atom-based, tabletop Home Energy Controller (HEC) device based on OpenPeak’s Home Energy Manager (HEM) design. Running Ubuntu Linux on a 1.1GHz Intel Atom, the HEC offers a seven-inch screen, networks via cellular, 802.11n, ZigBee, and ERT wireless, and works with back-end services enabling consumers to monitor and control energy use.

      • Cisco To Have An Android Tablet Of Their Very Own

        According to Cisco, the Cius will also have access to the Android Market.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Beyond the Cloud: The Comprehensive Flexibility of FOSS May Bring Clearer Skies

      Fortunately this type of flexible software does exist. It is called Free and Open Source Softare (FOSS) and it is becoming ubiquitous. In fact, whether you know it or not, you are using FOSS software: Apache, the FOSS web server, runs this web site and indeed the majority of all web sites. WordPress, the blogging software we use here is also “everywhere” and you can purchase it from “cloud” utility providers or install, run, and modify it yourself. The list of important FOSS software goes on and on and this blog is dedicated to helping elucidate its importance as well as the issues involved in managing it.

  • Oracle

    • OpenOffice goes GStreamer on Linux and Unix

      OpenOffice is released under version 3 of the GNU Lesser General Public Licence (LGPLv3). The latest stable release of the OpenOffice open source office suite is version 3.2.1 from early June.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Life (or something like it) Update

      I believe that, by sharing this information with you, it might better illustrate (or, perhaps illuminate) why I’m building another network security tool and what fundamentally motivated me to do so.


  • Concrete Company Sues Woman For Posting Negative Review On Angie’s List

    You really would think, at this point, that any lawyer worth his or her hourly rate would strongly recommend to clients that they don’t go ballistic in filing lawsuits any time someone says something bad about you. Hell, there have been multiple stories recently about just how badly a similar lawsuit from a towing company has backfired on the company. But, yet again, we have a story of a business suing over a negative review. This time, it’s a woman in Chicago who wrote a negative review of a local cement company on the site Angie’s List because it refused to even give her an estimate, saying it didn’t work in her area. She was upset because the company was only based 5 miles away, and on Angie’s List, said it did work where she lived. So she wrote about her experience and rated the company an “F.”

  • How to Make an American Job Before It’s Too Late: Andy Grove

    Recently an acquaintance at the next table in a Palo Alto, California, restaurant introduced me to his companions: three young venture capitalists from China. They explained, with visible excitement, that they were touring promising companies in Silicon Valley. I’ve lived in the Valley a long time, and usually when I see how the region has become such a draw for global investments, I feel a little proud.

  • Environment

    • Climategate’s death rattle

      Hear that choking sound? That’s the dying gasps of Climategate. The Pennsylvania State University’s investigation into allegations of misconduct by climate scientist Michael Mann found him innocent, specifically saying:

      … the Investigatory Committee determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.

      Mann, as you may recall, was a key figure in the so-called Climategate fiasco, where leaked emails were purported to show scientists fixing data to make global warming evidence appear stronger. Since Day 1 of this I have been calling it a non-event, a manufactured controversy by global warming denialists trying to make enough noise to drown out any real talk on this topic. And time and time again I have been shown to be correct.

  • Finance

  • Copyrights

    • Pirates of the college campus

      Starting this month, colleges and universities that don’t do enough to combat the illegal swapping of “Avatar” or Lady Gaga over their computer networks put themselves at risk of losing federal funding.

    • Copying is Stealing

      Before Disney and Sonny Bono, copyright law was reasonable. Rights holders were granted a limited monopoly of 7 years, plus 7 more if they chose to renew, and then their works passed into the public domain. This had many advantages: Creators had a chance at making a living from their works. It gave an escape hatch to creators who signed bad contracts. It prevented orphaned works. It enriched the common culture. Now we have this crazy complex retroactive system of virtually-forever copyrights, perpetrated by corporate interests to protect what they ripped off in the first place.

      I don’t see anything wrong with liberal personal use, like making multiple copies for different personal devices and in different formats, or making mashups for fun, or other non-commercial adaptations. One of the big problems with the current copyright enforcement insanity is it tramples personal use and invades our homes.

      Just like back in the days of sharing mix tapes, modern file-sharing can be an effective form of promotion. I think that any kind of sharing that leads to more income for artists is somewhat justifiable, though this is an over-used excuse for copying and never paying. You and I both know freeloaders who have gigabytes of music, movies, and books they never paid a cent for.


      We’ve been spoiled by decades of advertiser-subsidized entertainment. We’re not really getting TV and radio for free, we pay every day in torrents of shlock crowding out works of genuine artistry, creativity, and value. The advertiser-supported model is by its nature corrupting, and it taints whatever it touches. Isn’t it crystal-clear by now that this is the path to destruction? We get what they want to serve, which is only tools to sell crud, and boy howdy what crud it is. 95% of it could vanish tomorrow, with two immediate consequences: fewer yard sales, and garages with enough room to park cars in.

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk 13 Apr 2010 – Grub 2 (2010)

SUSE as Host for Proprietary Software From Novell

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 1:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Woman novell

Summary: The latest Novell software news with some commentary about the nature of this software

NOVELL has many partners in the proprietary software world (Novell eDirectory support, GroupWise, etc.), not just in networking. Novell itself is a predominantly proprietary software company, but it builds a GNU/Linux distribution thanks in part to many competitors who work along with it to produce free/libre computer code. Novell’s contribution to Linux has dropped sharply over the years (as judged by Linux patches, not work on Microsoft projects like Mono and Moonlight).

A new analysis of Novell is out and also this press release about a new appliance based on the award-winning SUSE Studio. It uses Sentinel, which is proprietary.

Built using SUSE Studio, Novell’s web-based appliance building solution, Sentinel Log Manager helps customers significantly reduce deployment cost and installation complexity in today’s highly distributed and virtualized IT environments.

When Novell strikes new deals/contracts it is likely that Novell merely spreads proprietary software which is put on top of GNU/Linux, for which Microsoft is paid too. As we find in this new example, Novell continues losing to Microsoft, which merely replaces proprietary with proprietary.

12. Approved a request from the IT Department for a Microsoft Software Upgrade which includes migrating from Novell to MS Office 2010 and migrating from GroupWise to Outlook at a total cost of $180,000.00 with funding for the request as follows…

Also in the news:

Cavalluzzo’s environment was particularly unique, featuring a combination of Novell servers, GroupWise e-mail and Corel WordPerfect documents. A perfect fit for these parameters, Worldox allows for firm-wide sharing, searching and management of documents, e-mails and scanned images.

Again, it ought to be clear that Novell’s main part of the stack which used to be free is SUSE; but SUSE is not free anymore (Novell pays Microsoft for it) and deployed on top of it is proprietary software from Novell. That’s the difference between Novell and Red Hat for example. Buying from Novell is helping proprietary software.

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