07.22.10

Patent Trolls Have a Field Day; University of San Diego/UC Berkeley Study Questions Patenting

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Patents at 5:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: As another bunch of patent trolls shows its parasitic nature, a study is released to show scepticism of patents amongst actual young businesses (not well-established monopolies)

Patent trolls — can’t live with them, can’t… well, that’s about it actually. A few days ago we mentioned the bogus company which decided to troll everyone who posts press releases. TechDirt puts it succinctly and offers decent interpretation of the case. [original source]

Law.com has an article highlighting how incredibly devastating a bogus patent infringement lawsuit can be to small businesses. In this case, someone hiding behind a series of shell companies is using a ridiculously laughable patent that appears to cover the concept of putting press releases online (6,370,535) and suing a bunch of companies that do exactly that. The article highlights the head of one tiny company — which, it should be noted, has been in business and doing the same thing since before the patent application was filed — who is debating whether he should go without a salary or company profits for three years to fight this, or just pay up. It’s really a sickening display of how patents are used to seriously harm small businesses.

According to this report just found by Glyn Moody, over 30 companies have also just been sued for daring to remove SPAM.

A Texas company called InNova is suing 36 companies – including Google, Yahoo, Apple, Dell, AOL, Bank of America, RIM and 29 others saying it that all of these companies are infringing on InNova’s patent for – get this – email spam filtering.

Unless Texas does something to change its status as patent trolls haven, lawsuits like this one will continue to harm its reputation. By extension, this is the type of legal action that leads people to saying, “only in America…”

Software patents, frivolous patent lawsuits, and especially patent trolls seem to be phenomena that plague the United States more than any other country. In the EU, for example, it is sometimes being said that patent trolls don’t exist (but few do exist and we gave examples before). Pamela Samuelson and Ted Sichelman have just published their Californian study which is more of a survey that they published in O’Reilly Radar and also at Patently-O [1, 2, 3].

To summarise:

More than 1,300 high technology entrepreneurs in the software, biotechnology, medical devices, and computer hardware fields filled out the Berkeley Patent Survey. All of these firms had been started no more than ten years before the survey was conducted. We drew our sample from a general population of software firms registered with Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) and from the VentureXpert (VX) database that has a rich data set on venture-backed startups. (Just over 500 of the survey respondents were D&B firms; just under 200 were VX firms.)

Here are some of the questions and issues they explored:

Why do entrepreneurs and startup companies file for patents? Why not? How often do startups acquire patents from others? How important are patents in fostering innovation at startups? In helping them raise financing? In providing leverage in cross-licensing negotiations? Are entrepreneurs and startups subject to patent thickets?

Glyn Moody found this new item from IP Watch. It indicates that “IPR rights was no incentive,” at least according to one person who deals with the field of biology.

Some experts in Europe are coming to agreement that a tipping point might have been reached with regard to biological patents.

[...]

“We noted that IPR rights was no incentive,” said Pelegrina. Instead, feeding the community and adapting seeds to climate change are important motivations. She concluded that the current seed policies imported from industrialised countries do not fit the highly dynamic development of breeding in local communities.

The merits of patents depend on propaganda that emphasises just one side of the scale and ignores all the drawbacks. What the world needs now is balance. Reform is necessary.

Model balancing

Tech Genie Thinks It’s Time for OpenSUSE to Say Goodbye to Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, SLES/SLED at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lizard runs away

Summary: Another suggestion for disengagement from Novell as a new release of OpenSUSE is announced

FOR SEVERAL months we have repeatedly argued that OpenSUSE ought to disengage from Novell and possibly fork to avoid the Novell-owned trademark, “OpenSUSE”.

By all indications — and this is a subject that also came up in our IRC channels — Novell did too little to promote OpenSUSE after signing that deal with Microsoft — a deal whose goal was to sell a lot of Ballnux. Novell and Microsoft don’t make any money from OpenSUSE users, but they do use OpenSUSE in order to promote SLE*, test SLE*, and generally make use of a volunteer workforce neither Microsoft nor Novell truly deserve.

Tech Genie wonders whether it’s time for OpenSUSE to say goodbye to Novell, which is up for sale anyway.

It seems after years of working together in developing a complete Linux platform the openSUSE project that was taken in by Novell have developed different interests are seeking to co-exist with different set of goals and ideas. The OpenSUSE community is developing their own community statement and is now looking for wider horizons. The main objective of this statement is to clarify their goals and put forth a new technical focus of their project.

[...]

The basic problem with all the open source projects is that at one point of time it becomes hard to collect funds and keep the operation running, it might very well be the reason for Novell and OpenSUSE growing differences.

Although it is too early to say that the companies have drifted apart completely. But that possibility cannot be rules out because OpenSUSE has traversed a long way from being a small project in its testing stage to a fully functional operating system that is in commercial use. Hence it makes a sense for this project to have its own goal and marketing strategy rather than using the ideas of its parent company.

The release of OpenSUSE 11.3 came with a whimper, not with a bang. There were few short reviews in obscure blogs [1, 2], but the more visible review (also short) is this review from Jason Perlow:

Despite the distribution’s political and organizational problems — ones which admittedly, I know these folks are trying very hard to address — openSUSE is still a very solid Linux distribution, albeit one which is more for the experienced user than the newbie. KDE 4.4.4 appears to be maturing nicely and now that it is finally stable, may now actually get some significant adoption.

Without blog items from SUSE/Novell people [1, 2], this distribution would drop into obscurity.

Perlow’s colleague at ZDNet says that OpenSUSE Education 11.3 is still not there yet.

I really wanted to love the latest version of openSUSE’s education-oriented distribution, Li-F-E (Linux For Education). It was released this weekend, alongside version 11.3 of the main openSUSE distribution, and was incredibly promising with a host of great features. Ultimately, though, it was let down by poor hardware support and a glitchy installer that left me anxious to switch back to Ubuntu.

Other OpenSUSE coverage that we found is the following:

  • Linux Like Legos: Inside Novell’s New openSUSE Build Service 2.0

    How is a Linux distribution put together? For Novell’s openSUSE, it starts with its newly improved Build Service 2.0.

    Building a Linux distribution is a complex task that involves both project and package management skills. For Novell’s openSUSE community Linux distribution, the key tool it uses is the openSUSE Build Service, which was recently improved with a 2.0 release in June.

  • OpenSUSE 11.3 Netbook Benchmarks

    Following yesterday’s release of openSUSE 11.3 we tested this updated Linux operating system that’s sponsored by Novell on an Intel Atom netbook and compared the performance to that of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and Fedora 13. Here are the results.

  • OpenSUSE 11.3 LXDE Screenshots

    Need something to play with over the weekend? The OpenSUSE 11.3 release is the first ever to include the OpenSUSE LXDE flavor. LXDE version 0.5.5 is included on the OpenSUSE DVD along with other desktop options KDE, GNOME, and XFCE. LXDE 0.5.5 is integrated into OpenSUSE along with Lxdm 0.2.0 is the default Login Manager, Pcmanfm 0.9.7 has been completely rewritten to have GVFS and Trash support, LXDE Control Center and Lxdm-conf configuration tool are included by default and Brasero works without GNOME dependencies.

  • openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 132 it out!
  • OpenSUSE users have a choice of database now!

    A big shoutout to the openSUSE team: openSUSE 11.3 has been released! And with it comes a choice for the database users out there – you can now choose between MySQL or MariaDB.

People might subconsciously view OpenSUSE as one to distrust because of Microsoft and Novell. If the backers of SUSE were to put their effort in a project they truly own and control, more users would be accrued and status regained. I used SUSE for many years and avoided it after the Novell/Microsoft deal; many others share similar stories.

Microsoft Loves ‘Open’ Core

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft didn’t want a lot of other companies writing code that could compete. It wanted to keep the barriers to entry very high. The idea, in fact, was to keep raising the bar, putting in more layers of software and APIs, which developers would then have to support. Microsoft wanted to make it so gnarly that anybody who couldn’t devote a team of one hundred programmers to every Windows application would be out of the game. [...] Now it was time to annihilate a new competitor, and Gates wanted Eller for the job.”

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

Summary: Microsoft employees may be trying to annihilate software freedom as a phenomenon while they enter new hosts after a long Microsoft career

THE TERM “Open Core” was attributed to former Microsoft employees some weeks ago. This idea of mixing proprietary software with some Open Source and then calling the combined thing “Open Source” is an appealing plan to companies like Microsoft. Monty from Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation is finally taking sides in the “Open Core” debate/controversy and guess which side he takes?

Monty Widenius, one of the founders of MySQL, has an interesting post where he makes an attempt to define what it means to be an “open source company“. I’m happy to say that the OpenNMS Group meets that definition, but I’m not 100% sure it is complete as the requirement that an open source company is one that “produces software” does leave out a number of companies that promote and deploy open source solutions without actually writing code. But I think it is a start.

It is important to reward companies whose products are truly Free software. OpenNMS is one of them and it has a solid business going. It’s not impossible to become an entirely free/libre company which is also profitable. Those who take shortcuts may be more likely to become profitable fast, but they are cheating. Then you have companies that make money by selling proprietary software that exploits free/libre software. The Black Duck folks are an example of this and Black Duck has roots in Microsoft. This week we have Phil Odence from Black Duck selling fear of unfamiliar code and doing so poorly. “Open source has created software overload,” claims his headline, but as someone says in the first comment:

There’s nothing wrong with this article, but I thought the headline is not appropriate to the article content. I don’t see the software overload here.

Well, that just happens to be IDG’s ‘open source’ blog, which is not exactly pro-open source. We wrote about this subject several times before. The bloggers there are hardly open source experts or proponents and one of the main editors (if not the sole editor, Julie) came from IDG’s Microsoft Subnet. Alan Shimel, whose selection by IDG we criticised back in April, comes from the CISO group and Ryan as told us last night, “you click on their link and their home page says they’re a Microsoft affiliate. They need to hide their shills better… “open source fiction” brought to you by Friends of Microsoft.”

“They need to hide their shills better… “open source fiction” brought to you by Friends of Microsoft.”
      –Ryan Farmer
There are several companies out there that push for making proprietary software and finding ways of calling it “open”. One such company is Likewise, which also has roots in Microsoft (the managers are former Microsoft employees) and relationships with Microsoft, including software patents [1, 2, 3, 4]. It was not exactly shocking to find that OStatic uses Likewise staff at the moment in order to make a case for Open Core (in the form of a “Guest Post”).

Microsoft is not just Microsoft. Former employees of the company have entered new arenas, including Microsoft’s competitors which they are trying to change from the inside. Apple too has unleashed staff that poisons the Free software world. There are other examples of companies we did not name here — companies like Centrify [1, 2, 3].

Centrify

Links: Putting GNU/Linux On One’s Netbook, Free Software Week in the Basque Country, and Leftover News

Posted in Free/Libre Software, News Roundup at 3:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Socialism and independence for the Basque country
Photo from the Basque Country

Summary: One last bunch of news items for the day

Devices

  • Why You SHOULD Try Linux On Your Netbook…

    The biggest plus about Linux Distros (besides being free that is) is that nothing gets released before it has been peer reviewed through beta and alpha stages, so everything, from Operating systems to the thousands of programs available, is stable (unless you intentionally want to test something in beta or alpha stage that is). In other words, you’ll be downloading fully developed and stable software. Because of the manner in which software is developed and tested, most of it tends to be free of unnecessary bloat and tends to be incredibly well written and light. As a result your Linux distros can run from a bit over 50MB for the minimalist super light distros, to about 3-4GB for the fully installed full featured distros. Compare that to Mac OS which is about 10-12 GBs in size or windows which is a bit over 20GB. This means that Linux by and large can run very well with all of it’s features on older systems with lower specd hardware (and if a particular distro doesn’t run as efficiently as you would like, there is always another one that will). Linux is famous for giving old computers a new lease on life or by turning lower specd modern computers (such as netbooks) into full-fledged computers by running modern, powerful and up to date software. Again, VERY NICE!

Free Software/Open Source

  • A better Knitter

    Everybody has a hobby, and for every hobby there’s software to help the hobbyist – even for something as apparently non-technical as knitting. A few 2-D visualization programs help knitters create patterns or turn a specific image into a chart, and that’s helpful, but if you want a full simulation of the fabric so you can tell not only what it’s going to look like, but how it’ll behave in your hands, your best bet is Knitter.

  • Careers Q&A: Damian Hickey’s gentler approach to open source

    Though only having been in the IT business for 11 years, ZacWare chief executive officer and founder, Damian Hickey, has already survived government work in two locations and has since become a contributor to the open-source community through his Joomla!-based Jentla multi-site content management system (CMS) offerings. Computerworld Australia recently talked to Damian about the transition from government IT to self-employment, and the perils of arrogance when looking for a job.

    [...]

    We earn our income from subscriptions around support, we don’t earn any income from licensing. The whole software world is tending to move in the direction of software subscriptions now and services-based income streams as well.

  • A Free Software week in the Basque Country

    With sights like the old town of San Sebastián and the Guggenheim museum at Bilbao, the Basque country in northern Spain is certainly worth a visit. But the reason that I and FSFE staffer Rainer Kersten spent a week there had nothing to do with old houses, art or pintxos. (Well, *almost* nothing to do with pintxos.) We went there to meet with people from the vibrant community of Free Software activists, to give talks and to build links between the local and the European level.

Leftovers

  • Escalating the war on piracy: domain names

    There have been several reports about the next stage in the War on Piracy (must avoid making off-topic comments about the inherent stupidity of declaring armed hostilities against abstract concepts). I am talking of course about “Operation In Our Sites” (must not comment about some poor smug bureaucrat who thought the pun was funny). This new project from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is designed to execute domain name seizure warrants against websites engaged in movie piracy. In other words, ICE will ask a court to issue a warrant against these websites, and these will have their domain names removed.

  • Finance

    • Excluded from invitation list for Obama’s signing of Wall Street reform: Wall Street titans

      When President Obama steps Wednesday onto the stage at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to sign Wall Street reform into law, many of the titans of Wall Street will be absent.

    • Germany’s Merkel: stress tests credible

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to counter skepticism about Europe’s bank stress tests ahead of their publication, saying Wednesday that the scenarios against which banks’ strength is to be tested will be realistic enough to be credible.

    • Goldman Sachs to Face a `Headwind’ in Germany, Nussbaum Tells Handelsblatt

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may face a “headwind” for business in Germany even after a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Handelsblatt reported, citing Berlin Finance Senator Ulrich Nussbaum.

    • Europe freezes out Goldman Sachs

      European governments are turning their backs on Goldman Sachs, the all-conquering investment bank that has suffered a series of blows to its reputation, capped by the biggest ever fine imposed on a Wall Street firm.

    • Broker-dealer duty in SEC’s hands

      Even as the president prepares to sign the financial reform bill, lobbying groups are rearming for a second round of advocacy for a universal fiduciary standard. This time, however, the battleground is not Congress but the Securities and Exchange Commission, to which Congress punted the issue.

    • Goldman Sachs Waives Tax Deduction on SEC Settlement

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to waive tax deductions it could have claimed after paying a $550 million penalty in a settlement with U.S. regulators, giving up as much as $187.5 million in savings.

    • RBS May Launch Civil Suit Against Goldman Sachs – Source

      Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (RBS) is considering launching a civil suit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) to recoup additional losses sustained through its investment in a controversial mortgage-backed security…

    • Will the Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) Settlement Play With the Public?

      This much is clear. We haven’t heard the last about Goldman Sachs’ settlement with the SEC.

    • Settlement in fraud case against Goldman Sachs: A cover-up of Wall Street crimes

      The Abacus CDO, the SEC indictment indicated, was devised for precisely that purpose. The CDO was a so-called “synthetic” instrument—meaning investors did not actually buy any securities. Rather, they gambled on the future price of a selection of securities, much as people gamble on a horse race.

    • With Settlement, Blankfein Keeps His Grip

      Even before the official announcement arrived an hour later — that Goldman would pay $550 million to settle federal claims that it had misled investors in a complex mortgage investment — the financial markets gave Mr. Blankfein, Goldman’s leader, a resounding thumbs up, The New York Times’s Graham Bowley writes.

      Goldman’s share price jumped nearly 4.3 percent on hopes that Mr. Blankfein and his bank had, in a stroke, put one of the most embarrassing episodes in the bank’s recent history behind them.

    • SEC Was Split Over Decision to Settle With Goldman Sachs

      The paper goes on to say that the SEC probably had some doubts about the strength of its case, and the news that the commissioners did not vote unanimously may undermine the agency’s PR that it was a major victory.

    • SEC settlement is a major victory — for Goldman Sachs

      The SEC’s $550 million settlement with Goldman Sachs is naturally being touted by the feds as a major victory, “the largest penalty ever assessed against a financial services firm in the history of the SEC.” Maybe. But there’s another way to look at it.

    • The Goldman Sachs Settlement, the Wall Street Journal, Warren Buffett, and the White House

      But perhaps another tidbit might well be considered. Earlier this week President Obama met with Warren Buffett at the White House. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. had invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs. According to the New York Times report on July 14th “the meeting covered everything under the economic sky”. Were the gathering storm clouds of the Goldman litigation part of the vista in view as well?

    • S.E.C. Pursuing More Cases Tied to Financial Crisis
    • We can use less of a casino mentality on Wall Street

      Observers noted that the fines were a fraction of the $13.4 billion in 2009 profits at Goldman. Since 2008, Goldman has been a federally insured bank holding company that was bailed out of the financial crisis along with Citigroup, AIG and other financial giants whose exotic products and executive gluttony nearly choked to death the financial system.

    • Obama’s Risky Business

      The financial reregulation package just passed by Congress is far from a comprehensive reform of American finance. Despite the enormous threat to the world’s financial markets created by the failure of Lehman Brothers and the stunning excesses of insurance giant AIG and banking conglomerate Citigroup, the reforms are in truth modest. Neither the Obama administration nor Congress opted to cut banks down to size, and the bill is only placing mild limits on risky banking activities. The giant financial institutions, meanwhile, are as big—even bigger—than ever and bankers’ compensation is once again at stunning levels.

    • The “War” On Wall Street May Be Over: Who Won?

      In fact, the current “war on Wall Street” seems all but over even before the President signs the financial “reform” bill. We have seen very few criminal prosecutions coming out of Obamaland. The recent settlement with Goldman Sachs was limited to one transaction, and quite affordable for the bank that’s been called a “vampire squid on the face of humanity.” Their shares went up when the slimy deal was done, and in any event, that $550 million they paid just represented 15 days of profit taking.

  • Copyrights

    • Google Explains Why Making Special Copyright Laws For Newspapers Is A Mistake

      We’ve written a few times about how ridiculous the FTC’s proposals to “save journalism” are. They’re much more focused on saving newspapers, not journalism. And they seem to totally misunderstand the problem — or to believe the problem is some amorphous threat from “internet aggregators,” which is based on no actual evidence. Google has now responded to the FTC’s proposal, and, as Jeff Jarvis notes, effectively “taken the FTC to school” on the basics of journalism economics and copyright.

      [...]

      Hopefully the FTC pays attention, but you could see them just dismissing Google as a “biased” party. The newspapers pushing these sorts of solutions are barking up the wrong tree, and hopefully the FTC realizes this, rather than providing a big crutch for the news organizations unwilling to adapt to a changing market.

    • Police To Receive Evidence Against ‘Large Scale’ File-Sharers

      An IFPI-affiliated anti-piracy group has announced that it has gathered evidence on dozens of file-sharers and will shortly hand it to the police. The group says it will hand over the results of its investigation into large scale file-sharers to the authorities this month and warns that the law allows those convicted to be jailed for up to 4 years.

    • Digital Act To Create Pirate ISPs In UK

      Service providers will split up to make smaller ‘pirate’ ISPs, in response to Ofcom’s draconian file-sharing proposals, says the Pirate Party

Links: Distribution Reviews, Sabayon Linux 5.3 “Extra Spins”, Fedora Community Web Site Design

Posted in GNU/Linux, News Roundup at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zabaglione

Summary: Distributions news accumulated in recent days

  • Five distros for “slow” machines

    One or two of the five distros I mentioned yesterday had been labeled as “lightweight” either by their designers or the community around them, and I was probably pushing that definition just a little bit when I gave them the chance to run at 150Mhz on 32Mb of memory.

  • Reviews

    • First look at Unity Linux 2010.1 – Mini Review

      Unity Linux had their first release on 09/07/2010 after around 1.5 years of development. The project was created in 2009 by former developers from the PClinuxOS (hereafter abbreviated PCLOS) community. One of them was KDulcimer who at the time had his own project TinyMe based on PCLOS, which according to the website started in 2006. His distribution would in the future be based on Unity Linux. So much for how the two are intertwined.

      [...]

      I have to say I like this basic distribution and the philosophy behind, there is definitely a niche for it. The artwork is an inoffensive non-blinding white swirl on dark-blue background, good for my sensitive eyes, with a Mint leaf floating around giving a fresh impression, and for convenience sake you got ‘halt’ and ‘logout’ buttons on the desktop to access these functions. Mandrake/Mandriva has always been my favourite rpm based distribution and one of the first I used back in the 90′s, and I’m glad to see it and its many innovations living on in so many forms. Mandriva is of course in ongoing financial troubles and after so many years of it I’m a bit pessimistic if that will change any time soon. So what will projects like Unity Linux do if Mandriva disappears?
      For the moment at least they are still around, so let’s enjoy this little spin-off if you don’t have long term planning needs.
      Unity also runs well in Virtualbox, with guest additions pre-installed. As you would imagine due to its size, it ran well with 384MB memory, but will probably be happy with less.

    • This damn Linux has more holes than swiss cheese

      Unlike Microsoft Windows, Linux has a deserved reputation as a bullet-proof operating system. To teach computer security a University lecturer has deliberately produced the most damn vulnerable Linux you’ll ever see.

    • Taking a Walk on the Zen Side of Life

      I didn’t have many complaints when it came to Zenwalk’s security. The install process sets a password for the administrator and allows the user to create additional, unprivileged accounts. I did have two concerns. While I was using the distro the repositories were populated with updates, but there didn’t seem to be any notification for the user when security updates were available. I’ve been spoiled recently by systems which automatically check for me. My other concern is Zenwalk runs a secure shell service by default, which allows remote root logins. Preventing root from remotely logging into a machine is a policy I’d like to see more distributions adopt.

    • User Review of Puppy Linux 5.0

      Lucid Puppy Linux 5.0 was released back in May of 2010, but as one of my favorite distros, I have been playing with it heavily since then. I have been so impressed with the new version that I wanted to take a moment and write a quick review of this release.

      You can find the official release page here, along with download information.

  • New Releases

    • Sabayon Linux 5.3 “Extra Spins” releases

      Our crew, is happy to announce the immediate availability of XFCE, LXDE and SpinBase/OpenVZ Sabayon 5.3 “Spins” built on top of Sabayon “SpinBase” ISO images.
      Under the “Extra Spins” umbrella, the Sabayon developers are going to experiment new Stable Releases with different package compositions.

  • Red Hat Family

    • Red Hat SPICE protocol advances but release could be a year away

      The open source remote access project will include 3D acceleration, network tunneling, and perhaps iPad, iPhone, and Android tablet support

    • HP, Red Hat chase Solaris shops

      Server maker Hewlett-Packard and commercial Linux juggernaut Red Hat have teamed up to help shops using Oracle’s Sparc/Solaris platforms make the jump to Linux-based x64 iron.

      While the two companies did not say so, the migrations services being offered today through HP Services are no doubt a reaction to Oracle’s spiking of HP’s Solaris OEM agreement last month. Under that agreement, HP was able to bundle Solaris on its ProLiant rack and blade servers and sell Solaris support contracts, much as it does for Microsoft’s Windows, Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux.

    • Fedora

      • fedoracommunity.org Website Design
      • Fedora vs Ubuntu

        When it was launched in late 2004 it was up against a number of distributions that had been in development for years: Red Hat, Fedora, Suse Linux and Mandriva (then still called Mandrake). These were well-developed distributions with their own fans and unique features. Ubuntu, based on Debian, had a solid base but had a long way to go to be as user-friendly as it planned.

        Fast forward almost six years and Ubuntu has delivered. For many users it has been the perfect starting point for their Linux adventures. For others it offers the stability that they want from an operating system. It also has a huge fan-base and is the dominant voice in Linux marketing.

  • Debian Family

    • Display AppImage Icons OS X Style
    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Test Ubuntu Software Center 2.1.5(Plugin Support) in Ubuntu 10.04
      • Profile Roulette
      • Firewall Tools for Ubuntu Security

        “Does Ubuntu have a firewall, and how do I turn it on?” is a popular question among new Ubuntu users. The answer is a bit complicated, but it’s an understandable inquiry for those migrating from the Windows world. WorksWithU addresses that question below by taking a look at Ubuntu’s firewall and some of the tools available for managing it.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 202

        In This Issue

        * Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase calls all artists to contribute to next version of Ubuntu
        * Operation Cleansweep: We Need You!
        * Ubuntu Accessibility Team Personas Survey
        * ISO testers for the Hall of Fame
        * Ubuntu User Days Wrap-Up
        * Ubuntu Stats
        * Rocking The LoCo Council
        * Ubuntu: a computer operating system built around community
        * Ubuntu Chicago Bike Tour
        * The Early-Summer LoCo BBQ at hutchnate’s house was a tasty success!
        * Ubuntu Honduras LoCo Team Wakes up
        * Launchpad News
        * Ahmed Kamal Joins the Horsemen
        * Reviewers Team and Operation Cleansweep
        * Ubuntu Manual Project core philosophy
        * Man Your Browser

        [...]

      • Communities

        I’m an Ubuntu and FOSS kinda guy, I’m not happy with software that isn’t FOSS and I don’t find any sense in proprietisation of code. Having said that there are times when I must be a little more considered and not simply shun an entire site because it’s not foss.

        Heaven known that deviantArt is one of the most proprietary, confused and messed up places I know. Bad copyright advice, no public domain option, admins that consistently ignore open formats like png and svg. FOSS Software isn’t promoted at all in any way. So why in Slartibartfast’s fjords would I want to hang my coat over there?

        Well no matter what I do there _will_ be artists over there who use Ubuntu, people who may need help with wacom tablets, upgrades or finding help. There will be people who use Windows or Mac but don’t have FOSS tools yet or perhaps wouldn’t do better with Ubuntu instead. There are artists who’d love to get involved with the wider community but for what ever reason are disconnected by social chance.

      • Ubuntu 10.10 with built-in GMA 500 support

        Officially, Ubuntu does not come with built-in support for the GMA 500 drivers. We gave a workaround to this problem way back in Oct 2009 when the Ubuntu had just released Ubuntu 9.10. People expected Ubuntu to include these drivers in the Ubuntu 10.04 that never happened.

      • More cleansweep.

Links: Week With KDE, Bangarang, and KDE Audiocast

Posted in KDE, News Roundup at 3:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chess battle

Summary: KDE news from the past few days

  • My first week on KDE, part 1 – Screenshots

    Last month I mentioned that I was looking at switching my desktop environment (DE) from GNOME to KDE and I was considering a move away from Ubuntu completely. About a week ago I installed KDE on my computer and started tweaking things to see how I like it. It’s not too bad, actually. As you can see from the shot on the right I’ve been able to make my desktop a combination of eye candy and functionality. I killed the top panel but was able to keep some of the applets thanks to plasmoids.

    [...]

    I decided to tweak my desktop a little more and made a few more screenies to show the changes. I moved the digital clock to the bottom of my desktop, mostly to keep it visible if I maximize an app window and can’t see the time in the original position. I also added a Timer plasmoid to replace the timer on my GNOME panel. It doesn’t work as nicely as my GNOME timer did since I can’t set up times associated with a specific task, and I haven’t figured out how to get a sound played when the timer reaches nil, but I do get a nice obvious notification so it’s not so easy to miss as long as I’m at my computer. I also moved the Shutup plasmoid to the lower right corner to make better use of my screen real estate. I added two plasmoids on the lower left to switch my wallpaper and to give me quick access to the files I used to keep on my GNOME desktop.

  • Using KDE4 – Day 2
  • Using KDE4 – Day 3

    Day Three. I am at work, sitting at my desk waiting for a vehicle before I go out. I thought I’d take the time to comment on some things I have noticed with KDE4 so far.

  • Bangarang – A KDE Media Player That Has Every Potential To Became a KDE Default

    Now, the default Dragon Media Player of KDE have a serious competition in Bangarang. Dragon player is simple yet totally functional, which I think are the most basic trait to became the default in any desktop environment. On the other hand Bangarang is new, it’s good and it is rapidly improving.

  • KDE and the Masters of the Universe – Reaching For Greatness

Links: Programs and New Games for GNU/Linux Desktops

Posted in GNU/Linux, News Roundup at 2:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Game boy

Summary: News about applications and games that run under GNU/Linux

Applications

Links: GNU/Linux Desktop News, Google Rejoins Linux Development

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, News Roundup at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Calendar series

Summary: GNU/Linux news picks from several days ago

Desktop

  • Seven Current Issues on the Linux Desktop
  • Linux Rules!

    I do everything with Linux. There are a few instances where I need Windows, but Linux handles this easily, as well. Again, more on this in future posts.

    And did I mention that Linux is immune to Windows viruses, malware, trojans and pop ups? When you run Linux, you’ll have no need to run anti-virus software!

  • Daily 5: Five uses for an Ubuntu LiveCD

    Five uses for an Ubuntu Live CD.Once you’ve installed Ubuntu from a LiveCD you might never give much thought to what else you could use it for. If so, then meet today’s Daily 5…

Kernel Space

  • Linux police offer deviant Android return from exile

    Linux kernel maintainers have offered Google three ways of returning Android into their good graces.

    Google’s options for re-admission to the kernel are: put the stubs of Android’s wait locks into the main kernel, introduce Android’s wait locks as PMQOS constraints, or adopt a patch written by a Linux kernel maintainer that would re-implement wait locks in a “socially acceptable way”.

  • Graphics Stack

    • NVIDIA’s Oldest Legacy Driver Will Not Gain New Support

      A few days back there was the release of two updated NVIDIA legacy drivers for Linux, but only their newest legacy driver (they have three different legacy drivers at present) gained support for X.Org Server 1.8. This support though is needed for the older NVIDIA drivers to operate on newer Linux distributions like Fedora 13 and openSUSE 11.3. On this Sunday evening we have now confirmation from NVIDIA that they have no plans on providing xorg-server 1.8 support for their oldest legacy driver.

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