08.02.10

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Links 2/8/2010: Ubuntu Studio 2.1, “Open Source Bubble”

Posted in News Roundup at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu’s Wild Ride on the Dell Roller Coaster

      There are many occupational hazards associated with being a fan of FOSS, but one Linux Girl never expected to have to endure is what’s afflicting her now: whiplash.

      Yes, after all the unexpected twists and turns in Dell’s (Nasdaq: DELL) approach to Ubuntu, another surprise maneuver came up last week that was simply too much.

      The move in question, you ask? Well, just days after the news broke that Dell had removed all Ubuntu-preloaded machines from its site, reports emerged that the company is actually *expanding* its desktop Ubuntu selection.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE SC4 Architecture and What it Means for the Future

        KDE SC 4.0 was released in January of 2008 and KDE SC 4.5 will be released shortly (August 4th, 2010), roughly two and a half years later, and it is time to reflect on what KDE SC4 seeks to accomplish and how well it is doing in its goals. The critical shift KDE SC took in this series is abstracting the desktop from the underlying system through three pillars, phonon, plasma and solid making the desktop some sort of a virtual platform environment and easily portable to other operating systems.

      • Sports Activity Tracking App: The Baby Needs a Name

        This one’s an activity and sports tracking application similar to the .NET-behemoth Sport Tracks or Garmin Training Center.

        It’s not a hundred percent complete yet and has its share of rough edges, but to give you an impression of what works already,

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Leads Corporate Contributions to GNOME Desktop Project

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today highlights its leadership in open source desktop development with its ranking as the top corporate contributor to the GNOME project. In a census study published by Neary Consulting at GUADEC, held last week in The Hague, Netherlands, Red Hat placed first among the total 106 companies that have contributed to GNOME development over the past 10 years with nearly 17 percent of the total code commits. The study also showed that nine out of the top 20 contributors are Red Hat employees.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is The “Open Source Bubble” Over?

    Usually it’s a desire for control or exclusivity in some form, but the outcome is always to negate the “open source effect” by limiting the ability of every participant to get what they want and thus give what they can. While there’s clearly a niche for one or two expertly-balanced businesses, the propensity of commentators to focus on these colourful exceptions has created the perception this is the norm.

  • Can Day Software Propel Adobe Towards a More Open Business Strategy?

    As most involved in the broad content management market, I’ve seen the news of the week: Adobe acquires Day Software, the hot WCM vendor.

    [...]

    Adobe could concentrate on monetizing global service offerings: Omniture, Livecycle, end-to-end workflows for medias, acrobat.com on steroids, more online services, etc. Commoditizing the core WCM technology would keep the competition busy and let them make money where they hardly have any meaningful competition, innovate more with new services spanning and leveraging the wide reach of their offerings. We also would see an ecosystem thrive on CQ5, providing the ignition — for free — Adobe needs to enter the market. Kinda the Google way, after all.

    Actually the more I think to this and after having read Adobe’s plan for Day, I think it’s the best way to achieve it. If they truly want to create a platform for customer engagement management, this is the way. This is how the industry builds big platform nowadays, by open source software.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • German ministries flout IT open interoperability requirements

      Research published this week suggests that the majority of federal government departments in Germany are ignoring requirements to implement Open Standards.

      A survey was conducted by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) to investigate the state of government adoption of ODF, and to promote wider uptake of Open Standards. “Although federal policy has wisely embraced Open Standards for interoperability, accessibility and security, it is clear that most government bodies are still using inefficient proprietary formats” said Karsten Gerloff, President of FSFE. “Ultimately citizens will end up paying the price for this lack of conformity through higher bills for public IT contracts, and slower services due to interoperability problems” he added. “They will also pay a price in freedom, as they are forced to use proprietary software and standards to communicate with government authorities”.

  • Project Releases

    • OTRS 3.0 Beta 1 includes new GUI

      OTRS Inc. has announced the release of the first beta of OTRS (Open source Ticket Request System) version 3.0, the company’s open source help desk system. According to OTRS Research and Development Director Manuel Hecht, the latest development version results in “up to 30% quicker ticket turnaround under demanding high-usage scenarios, on top of enhanced features and accessibility.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open data and the voluntary sector

        Here at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) we’ve recently started taking an interest in open data, and its implication for charities and the voluntary sector.

        We know that some voluntary organisations which specialise in open data have been leading the charge – the Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit company, mySociety is a registered charity – and often the most exciting and innovative uses of open data are made by volunteers in their spare time. But we know that many voluntary organisations find it difficult to find the time and skills to develop their ICT capabilities, and can find the challenge of implementing new technologies in their organisation daunting. This is daunting not just because of the time and resources required, but also because it requires a change in organisational culture.

      • Can You Make Money from Open Source+Open Data?

        By contrast, the data underlying Google’s search engine is public – anyone can go out and crawl the entire Web (indeed, companies like Microsoft do that). But for all its support of free software, Google does not make the key part of its code – its PageRank algorithm – public.

        So, it’s definitely true that some of the most important players in the digital world offer either open source or open data, but not both: is it *necessarily* true, though?

      • From journalists to interpreters – is data changing the way we work?

        Well, the last year has answered that question for us. It has been an incredible one for public data. Obama opened up the US government’s data faults as his first legislative act (http://www.data.gov/), followed by government data sites around the world – Australia (http://data.australia.gov.au/), New Zealand http://www.data.govt.nz/, the British government’s Data.gov.uk and of course the London datastore.

    • Open Access/Content

      • $200 Textbook vs. Free. You Do the Math.

        “We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks” in the United States, Mr. McNealy says. “It seems to me we could put that all online for free.”

        The nonprofit Curriki fits into an ever-expanding list of organizations that seek to bring the blunt force of Internet economics to bear on the education market. Even the traditional textbook publishers agree that the days of tweaking a few pages in a book just to sell a new edition are coming to an end.

Leftovers

  • Financial Times chief sees paywalls as ‘morally’ necessary to protect journalism

    Taken in the economic context of the rest of the interview, it makes him appear ignorant of the fact market forces, not the opinions of free culture advocates, are what’s hurting his traditional industry. Not a smart impression to give, even if you are turning a profit.

  • Science

    • Department Of Outlandish Ideas: Build Solar Roadways

      If you want to change the world, you have to think big. Say what you want about the feasibility of Scott Brusaw’s idea to replace asphalt roads with miles of solar ribbons that cars and trucks can drive on, it is a very ambitious idea. Brusaw is the co-founder and CEO of Solar Roadways, a bootstrapped startup in Idaho. He is an engineer, and is building prototypes of solar panels that could be used as roads.

    • Quantum memory may topple Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle

      A quantum memory may be all scientists need to beat the limit of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, according to a paper published in Nature Physics. According to a group of researchers, maximally entangling a particle with a quantum memory and measuring one of the particle’s variables, like its position, should snap the quantum memory in a corresponding state, which could then be measured. This would allow them to do something long thought verboten by the laws of physics: figure out the state of certain pairs of variables at the exact same time with an unprecedented amount of certainty.

  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Negative Equity in Underwater Homes

      Calculated Risk gathers the data on underwater homes:

      * There are 14.75 million underwater homes and 4.1 million of these have more than 50% negative equity (the homeowners owe 50%+ more than their homes are worth).
      * The total negative equity is $771 billion.

    • Garbage islands threaten China’s Three Gorges dam

      Thousands of tonnes of garbage washed down by recent torrential rain are threatening to jam the locks of China’s massive Three Gorges Dam, and is in places so think people can stand on it, state media said on Monday.

      Chen Lei, a senior official at the China Three Gorges Corporation, told the China Daily that 3,000 tonnes of rubbish was being collected at the dam every day, but there was still not enough manpower to clean it all up. “The large amount of waste in the dam area could jam the miter gate of the Three Gorges Dam,” Chen said, referring to the gates of the locks which allow shipping to pass through the Yangtze River.

    • Radioactive Boar on the Rise in Germany

      As Germany’s wild boar population has skyrocketed in recent years, so too has the number of animals contaminated by radioactivity left over from the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Government payments compensating hunters for lost income due to radioactive boar have quadrupled since 2007.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Give & Take: Fifth Amendment Complicates Net Neutrality

      Opponents of net neutrality, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, have pointed to numerous grounds upon which the detrimental scheme could be challenged. These include its deterrent effect on investment, its unsatisfactory grounding in FCC statutory authority, and that it violates the First Amendment.

      A forthcoming paper from Boston College Law Professor Daniel Lyons offers an even stronger basis for challenge: The Fifth Amendment. Under Prof. Lyons’s theory, net neutrality would run afoul of eminent domain. It would constitute a regulatory taking, requiring just compensation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • NAMCO Demands Takedown Of Pacman Game Created By Kid Using MIT’s Scratch Programming Language

      An anonymous reader sends over the story, found on Reddit of how Namco Bandai sent a letter complaining that a kid recreated Pacman online using Scratch. If you’re not familiar with it, Scratch is a very simple programming “language,” basically designed to teach kids how to program (or think about programming) from a young age. And what’s one of the best ways to learn to program? It’s to recreate an app that already exists.

    • Copyrights

      • Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age

        At DePaul University, the tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black.

      • Hey NY Times: Can You Back Up The Claim Of $200 Billion Lost To Counterfeiting?

        It’s getting really frustrating watching the supposedly professional press repeat stats that have been thoroughly debunked as if they’re factual, so I think it’s about time that people started calling out the publications and reporters who make these mistakes directly. So, Stephanie Clifford, reporter for the NY Times, can you give any evidence whatsoever to support the claim that you made in your article this past weekend that counterfeiting “costs American businesses an estimated $200 billion a year?” I don’t think that Clifford can, because that number has been thoroughly debunked time and time again.

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