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IRC Proceedings: July 22nd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

OpenSUSE 11.3 Users Sensitive to Microsoft Lawsuit Due to Banshee Bundling

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, SLES/SLED at 4:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: OpenSUSE 11.3 has Banshee and the Novell/Microsoft patent deal does not extend to OpenSUSE, so there is a potential problem ahead

A YEAR ago Microsoft made a promise which explicitly excluded Banshee from mitigation of threat of patent litigation (see links below for more details). OpenBallnux 11.3 is out and according to reports of what’s new, Banshee is included. In fact, Microsoft’s MVP Miguel de Icaza brags about it in his blog right now (he also brags about Mono, which will incorporate Microsoft code in the next release) and Novell staff announces a new release of Banshee. “Opensuse 11.3 showing the way,” says this new review, but which way is it? Hopefully not the way for Ubuntu and others to follow. Banshee is the exception because it depends on specific libraries that infringe on Microsoft patents that Microsoft excluded from the MCP. It doesn't take the genius of Richard Stallman to comprehend such issues.

Related posts:

‘We had some painful experiences with C and C++, and when Microsoft came out with .NET, we said, “Yes! That is what we want.”‘

Miguel de Icaza

Steve Ballmer at Risk of Being Thrown Out, Bill Gates Still Makes the News Due to Fraud

Posted in Bill Gates, Fraud, Marketing, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Ballmer’s designs on McGregor did not include firing him, because Gates worried that if McGregor left the project midstream, the press would find out and flame Microsoft in the papers. Gates begged him to stay for the “good of the project,” just as long as he wasn’t in charge of the project. Gates told McGregor he’d pay his full salary, and McGregor could do whatever he wanted. Gates would call McGregor an architect, which was the hip word at Microsoft, so long as he stayed at the company until Windows shipped. McGregor left anyway. His attitude was, essentially, “Screw that. I’m not going to stay around and do nothing while you guys use me and mess up my project.” McGregor was told he could pick up his things in the parking garage the next day, and Ballmer physically moved into his office.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

Summary: Unrest inside Microsoft’s management and more information about Bill Gates’ role in Corbis fraud

What’s next for Microsoft? That’s a good question. At present, Microsoft has a lot to worry about, especially because its future seems not so bright. The companies’ big guns are reportedly plotting to overthrow Steve Ballmer, as shareholders did last year.

Senior Microsoft executives, disenchanted with the company’s stagnant stock, have been secretly discussing how to kick Chief Steve Ballmer, and maybe the board, to the curb.

Ballmer’s predecessor, Bill Gates, is still making headlines because of fraud (we covered it earlier this week), so now is not a good time to speak about his potential Steve Jobs-like return as CEO. To quote another page, “On February 16, 2006, a meeting was held with Bill Gates and senior Corbis executives including Steve Davis (former CEO), Gary Shenk (CEO), Sue McDonald (former CFO/COO) and Jim Mitchell (General Counsel) to discuss, among other things, certain software development by Corbis. InfoFlows’ CEO Steve Stone was at this meeting, but he was unaware and was not told that Corbis had already filed a patent application, nor was he aware that Corbis executives had contemporaneously prepared materials for Bill Gates that identified the non-public patent application as a “growth opportunity” for Corbis.”

Amid this identity crisis Microsoft is trying to reinvent itself with branding, just like Vista 7 was a rebranding job.

“Microsoft Rebranding Itself To Be What’s Next,” according to this report and Glyn Moody remarks: “as in “has-been”?”

Microsoft’s annual event for employees – MGX is currently underway and according to Engadget Microsoft has unveiled a new tagline.

The tagline “What’s Next” truly begs for punchlines.

“Microsoft hired kindergardeners for their logo design team,” Ziomatrix remarked, but Engadget points out that the new logos are not real, just the tagline.

What’s next for Microsoft? Maybe a financial blunder. Microsoft’s debt is growing.

Blackboard and TSC Block GNU/Linux in Education

Posted in Africa, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 3:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nigeria Windows logo

Summary: Schools continue to be dominated by Windows not just because of Microsoft but also because of close partners of Microsoft

The Microsoft-funded Blackboard, which threatens competitors using software patents (just like Microsoft), implicitly/metaphorically says “No Linux for Online Education,” according to this new post.

In addition to being a Linux Advocate and working 40+ hours a week I am also a full time student. Due to schedule constraints I often take classes online at Governors State University. To manage their online classes GSU uses a system called Blackboard. If you’ve stopped by my blog here before you probably know that I run various forms of Linux on all of my personal computers. In addition to this I am almost always using a bleeding edge browser build. It was the bleeding edge part that made me assume when I saw this message:

That is just didn’t like the latest Firefox I had installed. For an entire trimester I just clicked past this Window (the website itself worked perfectly fine in my bleeding edge Firefox).

This hardly surprises us given what we saw in recent years. Right now Blackboard follows the Microsoft guidebook and pretends to be "open". The above proves it to be anything but open. Schools are often being locked in by Microsoft thanks to this juvenile programming from Blackboard. Coincidence, design choice, laziness, or malicious intent? Wikipedia has a “Controversy” section in the article on “Blackboard Learning System”, and for good reasons.

Many people may also recall the Mandriva incident in Nigeria. As we wrote two years ago, to Microsoft it's not bribery if they call it “marketing help”. Now it is being claimed by an anonymous blogger that TSC played a role in it:

In 2007, a scandal broke in the world of technology about 11000 laptop computers that were meant to be supplied to Nigerian schools. The original deal was made with software company Mandriva. and their Mandriva Linux distribution was meant to run those computers. Somewhere along the line, the Mandriva CEO at the time alleged that Microsoft through its agent had bribed Nigerian government officials to install Windows on those computers rather than Mandriva Linux.


What irked me was what he told me. When the computers were brought back in 2007, the people who brought them just came, dumped them and they have not been seen since. This attitude actually makes TSC’s initial decision to dump Mandriva in favour of Windows the correct one, in a manner of speaking. The boys in Ogbia have been exposed to Windows, but not to Linux, and without some form of training, those computers were useless. Gift, the young man in question, has been thirsting to use his gadget for three years, and had no clue until I walked into his classroom in 2010!

This brings into question the use of the computers being brought by the Lagos state government for e-learning. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Linux is a superior platform to Windows in every way, and from the MOST important view point in our environment, cost, there is no better Operating System.

Here is the original article which shows that Microsoft's campaign to control Nigerian schools is working for the time being.

ASUS Dumps Vista 7, Goes With Linux Instead (and Windows Has Other New Problems)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, HP, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guinea pig

Summary: ASUS is said to be embracing Linux for tablets, HP carries on with Linux in tablets (or another form factor), and Microsoft will use its own employees as guinea pigs for phones

ASUS made a lot noise about “better with Windows” after it had changed operating systems on the Eee PC, probably because Microsoft paid for fake endorsements again.

We wrote about the subject of ASUS many times before, with posts that include:

  1. ASUS: “Currently, We’re Closely Tied up With Microsoft”
  2. ASUS Enters the Slog Business
  3. More Suspicious Moves from ASUS
  4. It’s Unofficial: Microsoft Pays ASUS (Kickbacks) to Block GNU/Linux. Will EU Commission Step in?
  5. ASUS Profits Fall 94% After Getting “Closely Tied Up with Microsoft” at the Expense of GNU/Linux
  6. Russia’s Antimonopoly Service Targets ASUS, Toshiba, H-P, Samsung and Dell for Potentially Colluding with Microsoft
  7. ASUS Express Gate: Could Microsoft Stand in the Way?
  8. ASUS: Want GNU/Linux (Express Gate)? Buy Windows.
  9. No, ASUS Did Not Abandon Netbook Linux

ASUS is one company that suffered from becoming a Microsoft partner and according to reports from Germany, ASUS abandons Vista 7 in favour of the Linux-based Android, at least for tablets:

Acer is switching its consumer-oriented EP101TC tablet (pictured) from Windows CE to Android, claims NetbookNews. Meanwhile, HP has trademarked the word “Palmpad,” which is likely to be the name for its upcoming WebOS-based tablet, says The Inquirer.

More information here:

Asus Eee Pad abandons Windows 7 CE for Android

According to a report from Germany the Asus Eee Pad will run a tablet version of Android after switching to the mobile OS from Windows.

Likewise, HP dumps Vista 7 for the Linux-based webOS and it has just trademarked “PALMPAD”.

Hewlett Packard filed a trademark for the term PALMPAD on July 9th, leaving open speculation that PALMPAD may be the moniker of HP’s rumored webOS-powered tablet.

New applications and games still reach the Palm-branded phones. How about:

Angry Birds, where you fling birds at pigs in an effort to smash them and get your eggs back. It sounds simple and it is, but it’s also fun, addictive, and features some ingenius level design and great artwork.

Our reader Ziomatrix, who owns a Palm Pre, says that “those “crap apps” are some of the best selling on iTunes apparently. I found plenty of good exclusives on my own and don’t feel the need to be 100s of duplicates of those that do roughly the same to constitute a healthy dev community.

“I find WebOS’s dev community a cooperative while iTunes is a jungle…”
“I find WebOS’s dev community a cooperative while iTunes is a jungle, and Android is fluctuating between the two with only Google apps such as Google Voicemail and Goggles leading the way in killer apps.”

Microsoft’s Windows seems unable to keep up with Linux on devices, but what about Apple?

Well, Apple continues to bring trouble upon itself with rather bizarre trademark bullying because Apple still is all about branding. The latest example: [via]

Frustrated Apple customers dealing with new faulty iPhones may think they belong in the loo but a Perth company’s foray into toilet humour got them into trouble with the technology giant.

According to another report [via], Apple intends to push advertisements into people’s desktops. That’s not too nice, is it?

It sure seems like proprietary software is a poor fit for devices. It requires far too much work and investment in development is thus risky. Linux is modular, so developing devices with free/libre stacks makes perfect practical sense. Here is a bait headline which says “Bye, Linux, I’m into Windows 7 Now!”

This somewhat satirical headline leads to the point that Windows — like Mac OS X — has idealogical and pragmatism-related deficiencies:

SO, I AM BUYING WINDOWS 7. Only I am not doing it RIGHT AWAY. I will buy it when Turner can guarantee on his job that I can use Windows 7 to go online without an antivirus for a year, without ANY FURTHER DOWNLOAD, and my HD remains pristine, for today SECURITY is one indispensable condition of a SUPERIOR OS. In the meantime, I am going to use 42% of the $140 Windows 7 Home Premium license to buy Mandriva Spring Powerpack and then I am going to support other Linux-related projects with the rest.

Microsoft is desperately trying to sell some hardware. Artificial scarcity in software won’t last forever. Windows is breaking. It depended on inertia.

Mary Jo Foley says: “90K down… just under 30 million to go: RT @simchabe: Woot. Every single microsoft employee will get a windows phone 7″

Ziomatrix responds with: “I wonder if MS will include these in their initial Windows 7 phone sales PR?”

Microsoft always embellishes or lies about such figures. In this case, ‘sales’ of those Vista [sic] phones will exceed sales of KIN by orders of magnitude just by virtue of Microsoft eating its own dogfood, forcibly.

Links: Net Neutrality and Digital Economy Act Under Fire

Posted in News Roundup at 2:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big Ben in London

Summary: General news with emphasis on the Internet


  • Lobbyists Promote Asbestos Use in the Developing World

    Asbestos has long been known to cause debilitating and often fatal diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. It is banned or restricted in 52 countries, and its use has plummeted in the United States since its peak in the early 1970s.

    But since the mid-1980s, a global network of lobbyists has spent nearly $100 million to maintain a market for asbestos, according to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity. Borrowing a page from the tobacco industry, these trade associations have funded scientists whose studies raised doubts about the health risks of asbestos and have preserved significant sales by focusing on the developing world.

  • The meaning of #StupidScientology

    Now let me introduce you now to the Church of Scientology in the United Kingdom.

    I will leave you to form your own opinion of them, to be expressed once you have received legal advice.

    One member of this organisation, which is of course NOT recognised as a “church” in the United Kingdom, did some searches of Twitter.

    Presumably he used the search terms “Scientology” and perhaps “Church”.

    Or perhaps he used the search terms “Scientology” and “stupid”.

  • OS Review: Haiku Alpha 2

    At the time, this open source re-implementation of BeOS, held a great deal of promise: It was fast, visually clean and surprisingly full featured for an “Alpha 1″ release of any operating system (certainly more polished than early alpha/beta releases of Windows or MacOS X tend to be).

  • Security/Aggression

    • Tomlinson’s killer not charged

      Breaking news has just come in concerning the police officer who assaulted Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests last year. Tomlinson died shortly afterwards, but the incident in which he was struck by a police baton while walking home from work, and thereafter pushed to the ground by an officer, was captured on camera and released to the public.

  • Environment

    • EPA slams State Department tar sands pipeline study

      As John Podesta has said, the phrase “green tar sands” is like “error-free deepwater drilling” and “clean coal”. Thankfully, a key Canadian energy goal – construction of a 1,700 mile pipeline to bring dirty tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast – has hit a significant speed bump, the U.S. EPA. CAP’s Tom Kenworthy has the story.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • T-Mobile to Abandon Net Neutrality for Mobile Video

      T-Mobile is planing to ask companies like Apple and Google to pay for their mobile offerings, according to an interview that René Obermann, CEO of T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom, gave the German Manager Magazin. Obermann said the company could charge more for offering better quality of service or high transfer rates for mobile video or music, which should be “priced differently.”

      He added that well-produced and successful online platforms should not be able to use the mobile Internet for free. Deutsche Telekom is already in discussions with Google about this very subject, according to Obermann. The Telekom CEO didn’t say whether T-Mobile would want to use this approach universally or restrict it to countries with less stringent net neutrality protections. The company operates mobile networks in more than 10 European countries, as well as in the U.S.

    • A potential Net neutrality win-win-win

      The Net neutrality debate remains polarized, with broadband network operators opposing consumer groups and Internet content providers. Even the current discussion of legal authority for regulation elicits hyperbole, and many observers assume that final resolution of the issue will entail a win for one “side” in the debate and a loss for the other.

      Although such a zero-sum game existed when Congress was considering competing versions of Net neutrality legislation a few years ago, there now is a real opportunity for an outcome in which network operators, consumers, and content providers all would be better off than they are today. This would be a win-win-win result, without compromise.

      Radical solutions to Net neutrality, one way or the other, are politically impossible today. Neither the imposition of substantial common-carrier regulation nor, for example, permission to block lawful Web sites could be accomplished in Congress or at the Federal Communications Commission. Heavy government intervention is unwelcome, and the fundamental openness of the Internet obviously has been good for consumers and innovation.

  • Copyrights

    • The Stock Photo Industry’s Massive Copyright Campaign

      Since the RIAA has stopped its litigation campaign, the odds of being sued for one night of casual, or even less-than-casual music sharing is almost nil. The same is true for movie file sharing. Though the U.S. Copyright Group has ramped a very large litigation campaign it only targets a small subset of movies, largely independent films such as “The Hurt Locker” and even then can only target a small percentage of the potential sharers.

      Surprisingly, your best chance of getting hit with a copyright infringement demand letter, almost certainly, is for posting stock photos to your blog or website. Though it may seem like a relatively harmless thing, stock image companies have been especially aggressive in dealing with copyright infringement and have mounted a campaign that has lasted almost a decade against those who use their images without permission.


      Simply put, image matching technology has moved forward a great deal in the last five years and the early adopters of it were primarily stock photo and image companies. However, rather than simply issuing takedown notices or cease and desist letters, many of the companies, most prominently Getty Images, have been sending out demand letters, telling infringers they have to pay as much as $1,000 or more per image.

    • Anti-Piracy Group Accused Of Blackmailing Teen File-Sharers

      Anyone familiar with file-sharing operations and those who seek to disrupt them will be aware that there are many techniques used by both sides to thwart the other. While tracking solutions, fancy technology and sheer numbers perpetuate the fight, there are claims that a more traditional technique is in use against file-sharers – good old-fashioned blackmail. But that weapon can work both ways.

    • We are not amused? Jokes, twitter and copyright

      The Grauniad reports today on the latest spat in the turf war that is developing on Twitter between comedians trying out jokes and material, and passing other parties quietly re using thus material, sometimes explicitly under their own name.

    • ACTA

      • Will ACTA outlaw the EU home copy and other liability rules?

        The proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) text will require far-going changes to EU legislation with regards to compulsory licenses.

        Knowledge Ecology International has stressed the importance of liability rules. Under such rules, rights owners can not exercise injunctions against infringements of intellectual property rights, but only are entitled to compensation. This is important in cases of government use, public health, interoperability, the fight against climate change, etc.

    • Digital Economy (UK)

      • A Guide to the Digital Economy Act – Part 1

        Sections 3-7 of Digital Economy Act form a framework for an Initial Obligations Code. This is a set of rules, drafted or approved by Ofcom (and to be put into law via a statutory instrument by Parliament), which gives instructions to ISPs and copyright owners on how they can or must deal with cases involving online copyright infringement. The Act contains some guidelines as to what must be included in the Code (in the new Section 124E of the Communications Act but it is up to Ofcom to come up with a final version. This is expected to be done by September, so it can be sent to the EU for approval (about three months) before coming into force early next year.

      • Draft filesharing code flawed, says Open Rights Group

        Ofcom’s draft code to cut down on illicit filesharing is flawed and should be torn up and redrafted, according to the Open Rights Group (ORG), an advocacy organisation pushing for more freedom on the internet.

        The ORG said that the draft code “misses vital requirements to outline the standards of evidence” in determining whether to take action against alleged filesharers – and that this means it fails to comply with the Digital Economy Act, passed at the tail end of the Labour administration, which puts an onus on Ofcom to reduce the amount of illicit filesharing in the UK.

      • Will The House Of Lords Block The Digital Economy Act?

        Last week I had tea with Lord Lucas in the House of Lords (I know – whodathought?). He wanted to have a chat about what the Lords could do to help artists and music creators.

        As soon as we sat down, he brought up the Digital Economy Act, a subject that had been discussed at length during the Westminster eForum, which he attended, a few days earlier. It was the part pertaining to the possible temporary disconnection of persistent illegal downloaders that had created heated discussions among indie labels and ISPs. “It’s dead in the water,” he proclaimed. “There’s no way we will alienate our voters and punish individuals.”


        Lucas concluded that we need copyright reform. He doesn’t want any restrictions on usage, but obligatory remuneration – an impressive idea, but almost utopian in its implementation. Like so many who present a panacea to the music industry, he fell slightly short in his understanding of it. For example, he was under the impression that different songs were paid at different rates by the PRS, according to their genre and popularity. I explained that the composers of a popular song only get paid more because it gets played more.

Links: PC-BSD 8.1 and Lightspark 0.4.2 Released, Other Free Software/Open Source News

Posted in Free/Libre Software, News Roundup at 1:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European oehoe

Summary: Today’s news about digital freedom and openness

Free Software/Open Source

  • Morevna – An Open Source Anime Project Using Open Source Tools Only

    Morevna is an open source anime project made using open source tools like Synfig, Blender, GIMP and Krita. Unlike Project London Movie, Morevna is not only created using free and open source tools, but Morevna anime will also be released and distributed as free content. This project definitely deserves a lot of appreciation.

  • 50 Open Source Replacements for Popular Financial Software

    Whether you just want to balance your checkbook or you need to track the finances of a large global corporation, you can find open source software to do the job. For our list of open source financial tools, we cast a wide net and included applications related to enterprise resource management, point-of-sale and even employee time tracking. Not to mention traditional accounting and financial management tools.

    One trend worth noting — a huge number of the open source tools on this list, particularly the business applications, are now available on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis. For businesses, this model seems to make sense, as it gives them access to support and reduces the need for in-house staff to deploy and monitor applications. It also enables a more mobile workforce and keeps costs low. And of course, this model is also great for open source vendors as it gives them another way to monetize their open source projects.

    Without further ado, here are fifty open source applications that might be able to replace the financial software you currently use for your home or business.

  • Master file renaming tasks with KRename

    If you haven’t run into a situation where you need to rename multiple files in one go, you haven’t been using a computer for long. When the next time comes, turn to KRename. Its simple graphical interface makes renaming files easy for average users, and it offers a powerful template language for advanced users with more complex renaming tasks. Although it was written for the KDE desktop, KRename works under other Linux platforms and even on Windows.

  • Web Browsers

    • Web Browser Grand Prix 2: Running The Linux Circuit

      Last week we showed Opera 10.60 to be the world’s fastest Web browser. That was in the Windows world. But where do Chrome, Firefox, and Opera stand in Linux? Today we find out. Adding the Win 7 results, we’ll also learn which OS has the speediest browser.

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS

    • Is OpenStack Cloud Computing Rocket Science?

      There’s a real explosion of cloud platforms and management tools, it seems you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one these days. In the commercial proprietary solutions space you have – CA’s 3Terra AppLogic, Enomaly, Nimbula, RightScale. In open source there are Eucalyptus, Cloud.com, Open Nebula and Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. There are a bunch more that I failed to mention. It makes you wonder do we really need another one? How much different can they be?Rackspace Champion’s Open Source Cloud I am not sure but the newest one appears to be rather significant.

    • NASA drops Ubuntu’s Koala food for (real) open source

      NASA is dropping Eucalyptus from its Nebula infrastructure cloud not only because its engineers believe the open source platform can’t achieve the sort of scale they require, but also because it isn’t entirely open source.

      NASA chief technology officer Chris Kemp tells The Reg that as his engineers attempted to contribute additional Eucalyptus code to improve its ability to scale, they were unable to do so because some of the platform’s code is open and some isn’t. Their attempted contributions conflicted with code that was only available in a partially closed version of platform maintained by Eucalyptus Systems Inc., the commercial outfit run by the project’s founders.

    • NASA and Rackspace part the clouds with open source project
    • Exploring the software behind Facebook, the world’s largest site

      In some ways Facebook is still a LAMP site (kind of), but it has had to change and extend its operation to incorporate a lot of other elements and services, and modify the approach to existing ones.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 8.1 Released

      The PC-BSD Team is pleased to announce the availability of PC-BSD 8.1 (Hubble Edition), running FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE, and KDE 4.4.5

    • PC-BSD 8.1 ‘Hubble Edition’ released
    • FreeBSD Core Team 2010 Elected

      One of the features that sets FreeBSD apart from other open source opeating systems, is its governance structure. FreeBSD is not owned by a company, though many companies use it and contribute code back, but yet is run as if it were a company, with the Core Team taking decisions and steering the Project.

    • FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE available
    • Latest Funded Projects

      The FreeBSD Foundation funds various projects each year and there are several interesting projects in progress:

      * DAHDI (formerly known as Zaptel) FreeBSD driver port–this project will make it possible to use FreeBSD as a base system for software PBX solutions

      * resource containers and a simple per-jail resource limits mechanism

      * userland dtrace

      * BSNMP improvements

      * jail-based virtualization

  • Project Releases

    • Lightspark 0.4.2 open source Flash player released

      The Lightspark project has released version 0.4.2 of its free, open source Flash player. According to Lightspark develoepr Alessandro Pignotti, the alternative Flash Player implementation is “designed from the ground up to be efficient on current and (hope fully) future hardware”.

  • Government

    • Who will trust open source security from the government

      Operating as the Open Information Security Foundation, and working with a number of government-related private companies, a team headed by Mark Jonkman of Emerging Threats and Victor Julien of the Vuurmuur firewall project are offering an intrusion detection and prevention engine with multi-threading automatic protocol detection for a wide variety of protocols.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Traditional Knowledge: The ITKI and the Dilemmas of Sharing

      It’s an ambitious effort to preserve, restore and promote the re-use of traditional skills and inventions from all over the world.

    • Driving UK Research – Is copyright a help or a hindrance?

      We risk stifling the development of new tools, both commercial and academic, and new knowledge under the weight of a legal regime that was designed to cope with the printing press. At the same time a simple statement that this kind of analysis is fair dealing will provide certainty without damaging the interests of copyright holders or complicating copyright law. These new uses will ultimately bring more traffic, and perhaps more customers, to the primary documents. By taking the simple and easy step of making automated analysis an allowable fair dealing exception everyone wins.

    • Open Source Schools Steering Group

      After the election and looking to the post-Becta future, Open Source Schools has been making new plans to ensure that the community is able to respond to the changing educational landscape where the benefits offered by open source are becoming ever more important.

    • Open Data

      • Open Data in Agriculture and Why It Matters

        Opening up food and agricultural data requires an information architecture and infrastructure that does not currently exist. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization is a leader in providing easily accessible, highly usable, and surprisingly current data, but right now it is far ahead of the pack in terms of transparency in reporting.

Links: GNU/Linux Spreads in India, Netbooks

Posted in GNU/Linux, News Roundup at 1:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Indian ring

Summary:News about GNU/Linux, structured with the new site format in place


  • How useful is anti-virus in Linux? (Part 1)
  • How useful is anti-virus in Linux? (Part 2)
  • A lesson in Linux: Eating one’s own dog food

    There is an old saying in the Linux community (actually in just about every community – but I heard it from a Linux developer first) “eating your own dog food” (or the shorter “hipster friendly” version dogfooding. This basically means using the product you create. It can also be associated with practice what you preach. Sometimes this ideology sneaks up behind you and stealthily bites you on the bum. This recently happened to me…and I thought I would share the experience with you to illustrate that user error is best way to an insecure Linux installation.

  • Another Educational Institute Opens Its Gates To Open Source

    Pune-headquartered Bharati Vidyapeeth has its institutions spread across India.In 2009, it adopted open source technology when it implemented the TechnoMail enterprise mailing solution to fulfil its communication needs.

    With around 180 educational institutions under its umbrella,Bharati Vidyapeeth has become a leading national-level educational organisation. Today, it touches the lives of 2.5-lakh students, employs around 8,000 people and has used open source technology for smooth communication across the board to improve productivity. TechnoMail, the enterprise mailing solution by TechnoInfotech built on an enterprise Linux platform, was adopted in 2009 to provide a single communication platform that went a step ahead of just e-mail and catered to the organisation’s active and passive communication.

  • Truecrypt 7.0 Linux AES-NI Benchmark with i7-620M on Dell Latitude E6510

    The new Truecrypt 7.0 release is almost 7 times faster compared to 6.0 on my i7-620M with AES-NI. It is some hundred mb/s faster now than dmcrypt (which runs my system-encryption on Debian Squeeze), but that is expected since truecrypt makes use of multiple cores AND aes-ni and dmcrypt only supports 1 thread per mounted device, so unless you create a RAID consisting of multiple dmcrypt-devices, you can only use 1 core.

  • Linux Desktop: Command Line vs. User Interface

    In the Linux desktop world, the graphical user interface is here to stay. Old Unix hands may grumble, but the fact remains that, without all the efforts poured into GNOME, KDE, Xfce and others, Linux would not be as successful as it is today.

    The reason for the desktop’s success is obvious. A desktop requires much less knowledge than a command line, and is suited to maybe 80% of the most common tasks that an average user needs. If the desktop needs much larger applications, that hardly seems a problem on a modern computer.

    All the same, the command line continues to have distinct advantages over the desktop. Although casual users often consider the command line as prehistoric as a giant sloth, it continues to give you more options and more tools that the desktop ever has or is likely to.

  • Linux Professional Institute Announces Volunteer Prizes and Community Initiatives

    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization (http://www.lpi.org), announced a number of initiatives for its community members: these include LPIMall.com (http://www.lpimall.com) — a webstore for LPI affinity products for Linux professionals, a survey of LPI alumni, and prizes for volunteer contributors from around the world who assist with LPI’s exam development program.

  • Desktop

    • System76 second gen Starling Netbooks look gorgeous, Available to pre-order now

      First off let’s get the boring bit out of the way: As netbooks go, the Starling is atypical of its competitors – Atom, RAM, Screen size. Counting against it slightly are a standard 3 Cell battery which will see you eek out 3.5 hours at best and the inclusion of 0.3MP webcam which, compared to most other netbooks, it pretty subpar. But at a base price of only $389, a gorgeous exterior and guaranteed compatibility from the off – including suspend and resume – it’s more than a match for it’s competitors.

    • Dell at it again: Windows vs. Ubuntu Linux

      Dell updated its Europe site with a “Windows or Ubuntu?” page. I can understand Dell wants to continue to market PCs with both operating systems, however the information posted on this page is fragmented, at best.

      On the page it states “Choose WINDOWS if:” and lists a few points:

      “You are already using WINDOWS programs (e.g. Microsoft Office, ITunes etc) and want to continue using them”. No mention of Wine, which actually allows Windows programs to run on Linux. Instead, they could have provided a link to WineHQ’s Applications page, for customers to check application compatibility if they are considering Ubuntu Linux.

    • 4 Reasons Every Windows User Should Have An Ubuntu Live CD

      Think Ubuntu is useless? Think again. Ubuntu can be an extremely effective tool for repairing and working on computers, even if you consider yourself a Windows purist. This is because Ubuntu is capable of loading completely from a Ubuntu Live CD, giving you access to your computer in ways Windows can’t – or when Windows is completely broken.

  • Audiocasts

    • Episode 0x2C: Eben on Software Liability

      Eben talks about “When Software is in Everything: Future Liability Nightmares Free Software Helps Avoid” to the Scottish Society for Computers and Law (SSCL) in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 30. Karen and Bradley introduce the talk to listeners.

  • Kernel Space

    • Cool User File Systems: ArchiveMount

      Have you ever wanted to look inside a tar.gz file but without expanding it? Have you ever wanted to just dump files in a .tar.gz file without having to organize it and periodically tar and gzip this data? This article presents another REALLY useful user-space file system, archivemount. It allows you to mount archives such as .tar.gz files as a file system and interact with it using normal file/directory tools.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Using KDE4 – Day 4
      • Using KDE – Day 5

        I had a lot to do today, and KDE4 proved a welcome ally in getting the job done – it was not obtrusive at all. This is probably my bias speaking here, but I think Gnome is less obtrusive – possibly because there is less going on. For what it is worth the Ubuntu notifications tend to be intrusive – I like them, but they tend to break your concentration if they pop into view in the corner of your vision.

      • Optimizing KDE’s energy profiles

        Even though I identified (and fixed) that this was due to the switchable graphics (both cards were running and sucking power), I was eager to optimize the power consumption. After some research, I came up with the following solution.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • 10 best Linux distros for 2010

      Hardware compatibility, ease of use, the size of a software repository. These three attributes are unique to each Linux distribution. But at the same time, each Linux distribution is at liberty to take and mix whatever it wants from any other.

      This creates a rather unique situation, where good ideas quickly spread, and bad ones fail. And as a result, there are dozens of distribution updates each month, hundreds each year, in a race to leap-frog the each other in the race to the top of the DistroWatch.com charts.

    • Reviews

      • PCLinuxOS

        • PCLinuxOS 2010 review

          PCLinuxOS is a APT-ified, Mandriva-based Linux distribution. It’s one of those distributions that offer a separate version for virtually every existing desktop environment. Four of them – Enlightenment, LXDE, Openbox and Xfce are recommended for intermediate to advanced users, while the GNOME and KDE versions are recommended for all user levels (beginner to advanced).


          I left out Mint because it is an AWESOME distro. If it ever gets based on Debian testing, it will give PCLinuxOS a run for its money to take over my PC’s.

        • PC Linux OS : Radically Simple

          As you probably expect at this point, I absolutely recommend PCLinuxOS 2010. I have been using it for only a couple days, but I have the feeling that it is the best Linux release I have tested in years.

          PCLinuxOS 2010.1 is excellent for any kind of user, but probably most recommended for new comers. It brings down the need for CLI typing to almost zero.

          Don’t take my word for it, DOWNLOAD it and give it a try! You will not be disappointed.

      • Jolicloud

        • A tour of Jolicloud’s netbook Linux OS

          Over the last week, Jolicloud started rolling out the first complete version of its Linux distribution to existing users.

          The distro is highly netbook-centric and, until Jolicloud 1.0, looked very much like the Ubuntu Netbook Remix on which it is based. However, the new version looks significantly different to the ‘pre-final release’ that preceded it. That was an unusual move for the company, as major user interface (UI) changes tend to be tested in beta before their final release.

        • Why I’m jolly impressed with Jolicloud 1.0

          I may have found it. Jolicloud is not perfect, but I’m struggling to think of a rival Linux distro that can be so easily picked up and run by an average user. Let’s just get this out the way first: the weakling Booklet 3G flies on Jolicloud. I do not miss Windows 7 (a great OS for bigger, brawnier computers) one little bit.

        • How to dual-boot Jolicloud and Windows on your Netbook
    • Genealogy

      • Archives and history library to present computer genealogy software workshop july 8

        The Archives and History Library of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History has started a Genealogy Club which will meet on the second Thursday evening of each month from 6 – 7 p.m. The programs, which will focus specifically on genealogy-related topics, will take place in the library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. All sessions are free and the public is invited to attend.

      • Linux Genealogy Live CD

        Would you like to try Linux but you don’t want to reformat your PC’s hard drive? There’s an easy way to take Linux for a “test drive” without affecting your PC. It’s called a Live CD.

        A Live CD, (or DVD, or USB external disc) is a CD containing a bootable computer operating system. With most Live CDs, that operating system is a version of Linux.


        I think you will agree that the Linux Genealogy Live CD is an easy method of trying Linux and of trying the included genealogy applications without spending any money.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat 19.50% Above its May 6th Flash Crash Low of $26.81 (RHT)

        Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is currently trading 19.50% above its May 6th low of $26.81. Investors are looking to see if this ‘flash crash’ low can act as support signaling the stock has completed a bottoming process.
        In the past 52-weeks, shares of Red Hat have traded between a low of $20.58 and a high of $32.6 and are now at $32.03, which is 55.60% above that low price.

      • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) EVP, CFO Charles E Jr Peters sells 2,879 Shares
      • Fedora

        • A new Fedora for the XO-1 release. Now with Sugar 0.88 !!

          Today I have released the 1st build of Fedora for the XO-1 which includes Sugar 0.88. You can get it here. Installation instructions are here

          Since this build includes Sugar 0.88 I have changed the numbering scheme. This is build 100. Builds 16 and below will continue to be available and include Sugar 0.84.

        • Fedora websites design status

          A long time ago, but not so long ago, http://fedoraproject.org was a simple splash page with just a bunch of links. Later on, it redirected straight to the wiki. After a release or two bringing the entire wiki down (and halting contributors from getting work done!) because of high-demand on the website for downloading releases, a very simple, lightweight set of static pages was put together to help alleviate the problem. It is the base of that lightweight static page set that we have been using for quite some time these days.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu at Non-Technical Events

        We seem to be quite good at turning up to technical events such as LUG meetings, technical conferences and other self-organised events and telling everyone how great Ubuntu is. However we seem to spend a lot of time preaching to the converted, speaking to people who already run Ubuntu or some other distro, rather than ‘converting’ people who have little or no exposure to Ubuntu.

      • Ubuntu Developer Week 2010: End Notes

        The second and last Ubuntu Developer Week online event for 2010 took place between July 12th to July 16th and covered various aspects of the Ubuntu and Kubuntu development process, from crash-courses in getting started with development to more advanced topics, such as Ubuntu hacking, creating applications for Ubuntu with Quickly or working with the Django web framework.

        On the last day of UDW, we’ve had the pleasure of talking a few minutes to Daniel Holbach, one of the organizers of this wonderful educational event, which takes place twice a year. Daniel was a bit sad because UDW was almost over, but on the other hand he was very enthusiastic about the number of participants who attended, and the quality of the event: “Again I’d like to thank everybody for helping out with making Ubuntu Developer Week rock as hard as it did. 350+ attendees, 25 sessions, lots of covered topics and everything happened in a very seamless fashion. Awesome. Thanks again!,” said Daniel Holbach on his personal blog.

      • Ubuntu Customization Kit 2.2.1 is out!
      • Is Ubuntu Commercially Driven?

        Simply that users and members of the community are confused by what commercial actually means. Commercial is not against the community, the community is commercial, people are employed to work on Ubuntu, work with Ubuntu and to be a part of the community. A varied commercial community would actually be kinda nice, imagine if we had a Dell community manager, or a system76 guy in IRC who was chatting away to the rest of the community of users *and* business people. Take a look at Organisations Learning to contribute to FOSS the right way.


        My personal concern is the lack of commercial involvement of Ubuntu’s users, basically it goes like this: Canonical is a business and is interested in making enough money to pay it’s developers a wage. What they work on is based around what makes money. The money comes from Dell and HP. The developers work on what Dell and HP want. Users never get a direct say in the development of Ubuntu because A) They have no commercial relationship with Canonical and B) Canonical doesn’t co-operate wonderfully on DX with other programmers (commercial or non) preferring instead to announce features at the last minute and rail-road decisions and opinions of others.

      • Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS Delayed To Next Month

        Canonical’s Robbie Williamson has provided an update on the status of the Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS release, which is the first re-spin since the Long-Term Support release of the Lucid Lynx in April. Ubuntu 10.04.1 incorporates the package updates and minor fixes committed to Lucid since the original release. Ubuntu 10.04.1 was supposed to be released next week, but now it’s been postponed to August.

      • Flavours and Variants

        • Lubuntu 10.04 Review

          Overall, I was impressed with the distribution. It’s lightweight, easy to install, and small enough to run largely from within my machine’s 2GB of RAM. The one quibble I have with it is the default selection of applications. The logic of what was included is consistent with the desire to deliver a truly “light” Ubuntu respin, but in my experience some of the choices resulted in a system that wasn’t as easily usable as other variants of the mother distribution. But the beauty is that that was easy to fix, and the underlying operating system was responsive and reliable.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Woot! Indian Government Builds $35 Laptop

      Indian government has a reputation for false claims when it comes to technology breakthroughs – the $10 laptop, which wasn’t really a laptop (turned out to be a USB stick) and then the Google Earth Killer, i.e. ISRO Bhuvan added to the technology achievements of the governemnt and brought international shame.

      Today, the Union Minister for human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal unveiled a low cost computing-cum-access device which will be priced at $35, and expects the price to gradually drop to $20 (and ultimately to $10!).

    • Android

      • AppBrain Breaks Down the Current State of Android Apps

        AppBrain estimates that 5,500 applications out of over 70,000 officially recognized titles are installed on 99.9-percent of all phones. The other 65,000 apps are installed on less than .1% of phones. In other words, about 8-percent of all apps in the Android Market can be found on just about every phone. The other 92-percent languish in relative obscurity.

      • Linux Syncs Great With Droids

        Interest levels in syncing music collections have notched up a bit of late with the introduction of a plethora of new Android-based super phones. That is, unless you happen to be one of those owners with a large quantity of digital music encumbered by digital rights management (DRM) better known as copy protection. In that case, you might want to do some research into converting said digital files into a more portable format. Meanwhile, for the rest, with media ready to load up on a new cool phone, we’ll take a look at Linux options.

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