08.02.10

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Links 2/8/2010: Linux 2.6.35 Released, AppArmor in Linux 2.6.36

Posted in News Roundup at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Let’s Talk about Piracy III – Open Source Software

    But what about everything else? Do you need to spend Rs. 4,500 (USD 100) to purchase your copy of Windows? Let’s take the basic three requirements of PC users world-wide — surfing the internet, use of office productivity software and multimedia playback. You don’t NEED Windows to do many of the tasks today. Yes, that document you’re typing doesn’t NEED Microsoft Word (it could do just fine with a Google Doc or Open Office). Speaking of Operating Systems, there’s one that is free in the truest sense of the term — Linux

    For the uninitiated, Linux is an open source operating system. Actually, Linux is a kernel (i.e. the heart of an OS). Open source means you freely release the code of software you make for the rest of the world. Then anybody can take it and modify it to their liking. To cite recent examples, Google’s Android phones work on Linux’s kernel and their Chrome OS is also going to be based on the same.

  • [Linux Gazette] August 2010 (#177)
  • A Linux for everyone (and everything)!

    Here’s what would this magical distribution would need to include…

    [...]

    People would buy this. PC makers might even distribute it on new PCs. Who knows. But ultimately the consumer would be the big winner because they would be getting an operating system on their machine that is stable, secure, reliable, AND runs Windows applications. What more could a use need or want?
    Something like this is certainly feasible. It wouldn’t take a Canonical much work at all to roll the above application set into a retail version of Ubuntu and start selling it. I would buy it…if only to support the cause. Would you?

  • Why I prefer the Linux desktop for software development

    I’ve been a full time Linux user for the past 6 years. In this post I’ll try to explain why I prefer the Linux desktop for doing all my software development work. I will try to stay as objective as possible about the other OS’s when making my comparison.

  • Linux again

    My first foray into Linux was Mandrake 9.1. 2003 was still early days for desktop Linux and I found it difficult to work on – which admittedly was also because I had newly migrated from Windows and had to learn a whole new set of tricks to use. While I enjoyed the change, Mandrake didn’t suit me and I got frustrated enough to make a wholesale change to Kubuntu – Ubuntu using KDE – in 2006. In 2008 KDE 4 came out and I was one of those who decided to ditch it. I then discovered Xubuntu – Ubuntu running Xfce – and made that my new Linux desktop. Now I have migrated to the most popular Linux distribution – Ubuntu, which runs GNOME.

  • Linux in the Movies

    In the the movie “Blood Work” there is a scene where actor Clint Eastwood is interviewing a witness to a murder.

    Prominently displayed behind this person is a Redhat Linux 6.1 book; and the entire bookshelf has Linux books.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 160 – Outlaws Ride Twingos

      This time on Linux Outlaws: Thesis backs down, NASA drops Eucalyptus, Dell drops Ubuntu, BSOD and the oil disaster, Apple world leader in being insecure and interviews from GUADEC 2010 including Lennart Poettering talking shop on PulseAudio and systemd.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux

      • Linux 2.6.35

        So I said -rc6 would likely be the last -rc, and nothing happened to change my mind. I’d always be happier if it had been an even quieter week, but the appended Shortlog of changes since rc6 doesn’t contain anything earthshaking, and I don’t think we’d have been any better off by another rc, and waiting one more week. So 2.6.35 is out, go check it out.

      • AppArmor Is Going Into The Linux 2.6.36 Kernel

        James Morris has outlined a preview of the security subsystem changes he is currently carrying in his security-testing-next branch of the Linux kernel that he plans to have Linus Torvalds pull into the next kernel development cycle for Linux 2.6.36. The big change in the kernel security world is that AppArmor is being planned for integration into the Linux 2.6.36 kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Overview: Common Linux desktops

      Something most new Linux users often struggle to understand is the concept of desktop environments. What a desktop environment actually is, I feel, gets further clouded when users start exploring different “spins” of a distro (short for distribution). For example, it is very common for a new user to think that Kubuntu or Xubuntu is something entirely different from the well known Ubuntu. Many do not know that they can easily install any *buntu on any other *buntu with a single command![1]

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Beautiful Screenshots

        This weekend I finally sat down and wrote a screenshot effect for KWin. This effect redirects the rendering of any window into an off-screen texture and saves the texture into the home directory. The advantage of this effect is that it is hooked into the normal rendering process and so we can also capture the shadow and the translucency to get beautiful screenshots. If we capture a transparent window it does not show the windows below but only the captured window with the alpha channel turned on correctly.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Proposal to make GNOME a fully-fledged OS

        Last weeks GUADEC was less like a developers conference and more like a presidential campaign rally! The enthusiasm, positivity and general feedback that it has garnered is incredible but amongst the many interesting things propositioned at GUADEC came the idea of a GNOME as an OS.

      • Elegant Gnome (Theme) Pack PPA For Ubuntu And Linux Mint Users

        Elegant Gnome Pack is an amazing theme pack we included in a post on 5 great Gnome themes last week so you’re probably already familiar with it.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux light – SalixOS 13.1 “LXDE” Edition

        After looking at SalixOS 13.0 in my comparison of light weight Slackware derivatives for the desktop I thought I should give 13.1 a full standalone review. This also, I’ll admit from the start, because I’m very fond of it. Yes, I’m biased.
        There’s nothing better for me out there apart from Slackware proper, and SalixOS is the unaltered Slackware with a little custom art and a few helpful tools strapped on optimized for the desktop, like easy localization, setting of the clock, adding users tool, and truly one-click adding of multimedia codecs. Thus it makes sense that it’s tracking version numbers closely as well. It has not diverged in the way Zenwalk and Vectorlinux have. This makes for one very solid, extensible system. But let’s take it one step at a time.

        [...]

        To sum it up, SalixOS is smooth and there really isn’t more to say about it. Particularly the LXDE install is a great way of starting with a basic fast but still functional desktop that can be built and upgraded into a fully featured work space with KDE or Gnome should you wish. Or you can use standard with Xfce. I’ll conclude with the same findings as in the previous article. Whether you’re an aspiring ex-Ubuntu or ex-Mandriva user, want a quick and easy Slackware install or just something light but with lots of possibilities, give Salix a try. It’s easy, very easy.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Powerpack: Upgrade or Fresh Install?

        So I started over and chose “install” this time. The process went on fast and I restarted the computer. The new Mandriva Spring Powerpack was working perfectly.
        I noticed that Avidemux, the video editor was included, which made me very happy because I had problems to install it with Mandriva 2010.

    • Debian Family

      • My life with Debian

        I’m not trying to set any records here. I’m just lazy enough to avoid re-installing my OS and setting it up. But I seriously doubt than any other OS or distro can handle it. It’s unique combination of Debian’s approach to distro development, package upgrade-ability policies and attention to software quality that makes it possible.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Golden Age of Open Source

    I mean, in 20 years time are there going to be IT students sitting in a lecture (virtual environment I would imagine), making notes on how 2010 was the year that the proprietary software model tipped into terminal decline?

    I have already seen the change happen in the world of content management. As we came out of the summer of 2009, hard on the tail of a global economic meltdown, something changed in the take up of open source ECM in the blue chip arena of business. Our projects suddenly shifted from strategic, point solutions leveraging the open source model of Alfresco to become main stream, enterprise adoptions of Alfresco as a chosen, strategic enterprise content management platform across global corporations and organisations. Not just on one or two occasions, not just in one or two sectors, but across the board.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Loses Market Share Again: Is That a Problem?

        First of all, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Internet Explorer has gained 0.42% in a month: that’s little more than statistical noise, and only from one data source. As for Firefox, it’s important to remember that over the last year its market share has hovered around the 23-24% mark, and so is essentially static in what is presumably a growing market: it is still gaining users. The main change in this time has been the undeniable rise of Google’s Chrome.

        That’s significant for a number of reasons. First, because it signals Google’s willingness to enter mature software markets. It confirms Google’s tactical use of open source to undermine proprietary competitors (something that other companies like IBM were one of the first to twig) – precisely its approach in the mobile sector too. It also has wider ramifications for Google’s future products, notable ChromeOS, which seems to be a browser-based approach to computing that places Chrome at the heart of the user experience.

      • 8 of the best web browsers for Linux

        The web browser is becoming the single most important piece of desktop software, if it isn’t already. Not only is the web a huge source of information, but also the conduit to a huge world of hosted apps and interconnected cloud services covering a range of new computer-based experiences.

        When you’re shopping, you want security; when you’re working, you want reliability; and when you’re being entertained, you want speed and compatibility with many different types of media.

  • Government

    • Defense Ministry wins open-source award

      Defense Ministry won this year’s Open-Source Award for its extensive use of open-source systems in its offices.

      Initiated by the Communications and Information Technology Ministry, the Research and Technology Ministry and the Administrative Reforms Ministry, in conjunction with the Indonesian Open-Source Association, the award is aimed at promoting the use of free, open source software using the Linux operating system, among government offices.

Leftovers

  • Taking Back the DNS

    I am stunned by the simplicity and truth of that observation. Every day lots of new names are added to the global DNS, and most of them belong to scammers, spammers, e-criminals, and speculators. The DNS industry has a lot of highly capable and competitive registrars and registries who have made it possible to reserve or create a new name in just seconds, and to create millions of them per day. Domains are cheap, domains are plentiful, and as a result most of them are dreck or worse.

  • Intel’s Discounts

    This is about Intel paying Dell and other OEMs a “discount” to ignore AMD CPUs. The report to the court likely is about the prices paid. In the absence of sales of AMD CPUs it is hard to demonstrate that consumers/customers paid too much but what of the lack of choice? Combined with Moore’s Law it is hard to prove that Intel’s prices were “too high” or “higher than they would have been” without the discounts. This is silly when you consider the size of the bribes in $billions. If Intel’s prices were not too high, how did Intel imagine they could recoup the payments? Increased volume? Supply and demand do work.

  • EU turning blind eye to discrimination against Roma, say human rights groups

    The European Union was today accused of “turning a blind eye” as countries across Europe carried out a wave of expulsions and introduced new legislation targeting the Roma.

    Human rights groups criticised the EU for failing to address the real issues driving Europe’s largest ethnic minority to migrate in the first place and for choosing not to upbraid countries for breaking both domestic and EU laws in their treatment of them.

  • Chinese entrepreneurs in Africa, land of a billion customers

    In the peaceful and prosperous Namibian capital of Windhoek, small Chinese businesses have been ruffling feathers.

    The trouble began in February when members of the Windhoek chamber of commerce complained that an invasion of Chinese corner shops, hairdressers, restaurants and traders was forcing out local businesses.

    “There has been rapid growth in the number of small-scale retailing outlets throughout the country, offering low-quality products and replacing long-existing locally-owned businesses,” the chamber announced, lobbying the government to protect Namibian businesses from such energetic Chinese competition.

  • Science

    • NSFW: Sorry Deathhackers; Life Is Short, And So It Should Be

      Bill Gates has described bio-hacking (deathhacking?) as the logical successor to computer hacking. More importantly though, Silicon Valley people are – by and large – massive overachievers. Company founders in their teens, rich by the time they’re 30, angel investors by 31, charitable foundation at 40. No wonder these people want to go on forever: just imagine what they could achieve by the time they’re 1030!

      And so the research goes on, millions more dollars are poured in to deathhacking startups by rich-mortal-and-terrified benefactors, dozens more books are published on the subject and every day countless startup founders jump into their Teslas and speed to their “doctors” to pick up the latest batch of pills that they hope will keep them around until someone figures this shit out. And why not?

      Here’s why not.

      A few months ago I finished writing my book about living in hotels – a second memoir by the age of thirty, which is unwarranted by any measure. My deadline was January 1st, but I finally scraped past the finish line somewhere around the start of March. The truth is, I didn’t need the extra time: I’d already had a year to write the thing, and much of that time was spent dicking around in the name of “additional research”, most of which never made it into the final manuscript. But it’s generally accepted that authors never make their deadlines, and my publisher gladly gave me the 90 days grace I claimed I needed to complete the task.

    • Space Cadets

      Basically, it’s not clear how large a system you need to support human civilization. We don’t know how to build biospheres from scratch yet, and indeed there’s worryingly little research being done on the topic (which may become a screamingly important priority in another half century, if the most pessimistic climate change projections are accurate). We can make a rough back-of-the-envelope guess at the size of human population it takes — given abundant raw materials and a favourable biosphere — to maintain a technological civilization; it’s many orders of magnitude larger than the proponents of Heinlein’s nostrum that “specialization is for insects” may be comfortable with.

    • British campaigners in legal bid after US file leak

      British rights campaigners have launched a bid to take defence officials to court over the alleged involvement of the country’s soldiers in the shooting of Afghan civilians, a report said Monday.

      Tens of thousands of classified US military files published last week by whistleblower website WikiLeaks documented unusual civilian shootings in Afghanistan involving two British army units, said the Guardian newspaper.

    • Leaked war files no surprise to Afghans

      Afghan defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak has played down the fallout from the Wikileaks scandal, saying the information released was “not a big surprise”.

      “Actually for us Afghans, and especially some of us dealing with intelligence, we knew it all along,” he said during a visit to Malaysia on Monday.

      “For us it was not a big surprise because we were sharing intelligence. We were aware of the size of the activities and support of the Taliban,” he said.

      “It is good now that everyone knows about it.”

      The WikiLeaks website released more than 90,000 classified US military files dating from the Afghan war between 2004 and 2009, a period when tens of thousands of US and NATO troops ran into increasing Taliban resistance.

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Fossil Fuel Subsidies Dwarf Support for Renewables

      Fossil fuels are the backbone of economies worldwide, so governments spend a lot to support them. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says altogether governments spent between $43 anf $46 billion on renewable energy and biofuels last year, not including indirect support, such as subsidies to corn farmers that help ethanol production. Direct subsidies of fossil fuels came to $557 billion, the report says.

    • Chernobyl zone shows decline in biodiversity

      The largest wildlife census of its kind conducted in Chernobyl has revealed that mammals are declining in the exclusion zone surrounding the nuclear power plant.

    • Assault on America: A Decade of Petroleum Company Disaster, Pollution, and Profit

      The BP catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, with its tragic loss of life and devastating impact on the Gulf Coast economy, has brought the risk and high cost of oil development to the public’s attention. Predictably a round of oil industry executives have testified before Congress offering countless apologies and empty assurances that such an incident will never happen again. But this is the fourth major oil spill in 33 years on North America.

    • BP’s incoming boss says clean-up operation may be scaled down

      Bob Dudley, who was named this week to replace BP’s much maligned chief executive Tony Hayward, announced that the company was appointing a former head of the US federal emergency management agency, James Lee Witt, to help recover from the disaster. BP intends to attempt a “static kill” to permanently plug the well with cement on Tuesday.

      Although he told reporters that BP remained fully committed to a long-term restoration of the tarnished environment, Dudley told reporters in Mississippi that it was “not too soon for a scale-back” in clean-up efforts: “You probably don’t need to see so many hazmat [protective] suits on the beaches.”

    • BP oil spill: A Louisiana tragedy

      There’s hardly a family in the Gulf region that does not have a member involved in the oil industry. My father was a tugboat captain who handled barges of crude oil for the sprawling refineries, my brother sells oilfield equipment and technology, my nephew captains offshore supply vessels, my great-nephew operates a giant crane currently picking Katrina-smashed equipment from the Gulf floor. Cousins manage oil leases.

      So, even though I am not an oil worker, the industry is part of my environment, my history, and when I saw images of the April Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire, I thought at once, “Wait a minute. Something’s wrong. That rig is state-of-the-art, the size of a small factory, loaded with technology that rivals the space programme in complexity. Why is the fire so enormous?” And later, when the labyrinth of pipes and valves keeled over in a rumbling, hissing nimbus of flame, I was astounded, thinking, “Why didn’t the blowout preventer shut down the well?” And days later, when it was revealed that the device was not functioning, a dark spill began to spread in my soul, a burgeoning realisation that nothing could stop a runaway well 5,000ft below the Gulf’s surface. Nothing.

  • Finance

    • Greenspan: Modest economic recovery ‘in a pause’

      Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says he thinks the economy is having a modest recovery, but right now there’s a “pause” in that recovery, so it feels like a “quasi-recession.”

    • What Would Roosevelt Do?

      ACROSS the United States, thousands of federally financed stimulus projects are under way, aimed at bolstering the economy and putting people to work. The results so far have not been spectacular.

    • Four Deformations of the Apocalypse

      IF there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt — if honestly reckoned to include municipal bonds and the $7 trillion of new deficits baked into the cake through 2015 — will soon reach $18 trillion. That’s a Greece-scale 120 percent of gross domestic product, and fairly screams out for austerity and sacrifice. It is therefore unseemly for the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, to insist that the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a three-percentage-point rate increase.

    • With Friends Like This …

      IS it a blinding statement of the obvious to say that trust in the world’s banks has suffered lately? Indeed, just when you think you’re ready to move past the steady drumbeat of disconcerting revelations, something else crops up to test your faith.

      [...]

      Here’s yet another data point: the recent conclusion of a lawsuit filed by a unit of Grupo Televisa, the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world, against its longtime lender, JPMorgan Chase.

    • Billionaire Brothers Long Suspected of Tax Evasion

      Sam and Charles Wyly have long cultivated an image as active philanthropists, funneling millions of dollars to arts groups, colleges, literacy programs and animal shelters.

    • 25% of Americans Have Bad Credit Scores

      Before the recession, the number of people with a FICO score of less than 600 was under 15%.

    • Greece’s national strike threatens chaos for British tourists

      Thousands of Britons heading to Greece for their summer holiday last night risked becoming caught up in the chaos of a nationwide strike by protesting truck drivers that is threatening fuel, food and medical shortages across the country.

    • US economy shows signs of slowdown as consumer spending falters

      The US recovery appears to be faltering after a slowdown in consumer spending dampened growth and fuelled fears of a double dip recession.

      President Barack Obama’s hopes of a strong showing in November’s congressional elections took a blow as official figures revealed that the US economy grew at an annualised rate of 2.4% in the second quarter compared with 3.7% in the first three months of the year.

    • Dhaka garment workers in violent protests over low pay

      The protests were prompted by a government announcement that monthly minimum wages for the country’s millions of garment workers would rise by about 80%. Union leaders say the raise is inadequate and does not match the high cost of living.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Nleash: Take Back Control of your Nspire

      Nleash will forcefully remove both the downgrade protection and the installed 2.1 OS, allowing the user to reinstall any desired older version. For instance, OS 1.1 can be installed in order to run third-party C and assembly software through Ndless 1.0 (which supports only OS 1.1).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA ‘Protects’ Radiohead’s In Rainbows

        In 2007 Radiohead sent a shockwave through the music industry by allowing fans to download their new ‘self-released’ album ‘In Rainbows’ for whatever price they wanted to pay, including nothing. Fast-forward three years and the RIAA and IFPI are sending takedown notices to people who share that album online. What happened?

      • Day One: AFACT v iiNet BitTorrent Piracy Appeal

        Six months ago Aussie ISP iiNet celebrated following its legal victory against the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft. Now the pair are back in Federal Court for the appeal, where AFACT hopes to show that iiNet acted illegally when it refused to take action against customers who file-shared movies and TV shows using BitTorrent.

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