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08.07.10

IRC Proceedings: August 7th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Links 7/8/2010: OLPC XO Laptops, Growth of Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 6:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • GHCA’s Computer Lab Running Gentoo Linux

    As a private school, GHCA would not have been able to afford a typical Microsoft or Apple lab. However, with Linux we were able to get the most modern hardware at the time. Even better yet, that hardware is still more than fast enough even though it is 5 years old, thanks to Linux!

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • FLOSS Weekly 129: Riak

      Riak, a highly scalable, fault tolerant, no SQL database.

      Guests: Mark Philips, Community Manager, and Andy Gross, VP of Engineering of Basho

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Linux 2.6.36 Kernel Will Have Some Fun DRM

        Now that the Linux 2.6.35 kernel was released a few days ago, Linus Torvalds has begun pulling in new code for the Linux 2.6.36 kernel as the various developers begin submitting pull requests of their new work. Dave Airlie, the maintainer of the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) code in the Linux kernel, overnight sent in his first Git pull request of his DRM tree. This pull request brings many new features for Intel, ATI, and NVIDIA/Nouveau graphics hardware.

      • AMD Radeon HD 4250 880G On Linux
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Fifteen Puzzle: Overhauled!

        So that was my first contribution to KDE: a changeable number of pieces, a randomizer, and a color chooser.

      • KDE 4.5 is approaching, thanks to all Kate contributors

        KDE 4.5 will be released in the next days with the most polished Kate/KWrite and KatePart during the KDE 4.x series.

        A lot of work went into fixing bugs and cleaning up old code for this release. Many important aspects where redone, just to enumerate a few:

        * encoding detection & handling
        * the text buffer
        * the undo/redo system (thanks Bernhard)
        * search/replace (thanks again Bernhard)
        * handling cursors and ranges
        * improved spell checking (thanks Michel)
        * improved indentation (thanks Milian)
        * speed improvements (Milian too)
        * better JS scripting (Dominik)
        * porting of KDevelop to new interfaces (David Nolden)

      • Crash statistics for KWin

        The upstream bugs are mostly driver related bugs. The number does not reflect reality perfectly as some driver crashes are set to duplicate. So we see that we have more crashes in drivers than crashes we fixed!

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Purpose-built: Five specialised Linux distributions

      Tomato Linux

      Kickstart your old router with a little tomato juice. Tomato Linux is a small distro customised to be installed on Broadcom-based routers such as the Linksys WRT54G/GL/GS routers. Once installed Tomato can be administered through a web interface, Telnet or SSH. But more importantly it adds a bunch of new features to your router, including bandwidth monitor, QoS controls, DynamicDNS support, multiple wireless modes as well as the ability to manage the signal strength of the router. And, because it’s essentially an embedded Linux version, there are all manner of extra things you could configure your router to do. It also works like a bomb. I ‘ve been using it on my home router for the past year.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat near Resistance

        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) are trading very close to calculated resistance at $33.99 with the current price action closing at just $33.25 placing the stock near levels that make it difficult to buy.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Board Meeting, 6 Aug 2010

          Here is an outline of the topics covered:

          * MeeGo Spin status
          * Upcoming FUDcons – Zurich and Tempe
          * Deadline for dealing with open Board tickets
          * fedoracommunity.org domains – how are they going & shall we approve the open requests
          * Community Working Group idea from Rex
          * start.fedoraproject.org
          * Vision for Fedora

        • Fedora 13 update issues
    • Debian Family

      • DebConf 10: Day 3
      • Debian Linux on cheap MIPS mini netbook

        Computing-wise, I’ve taken a break from the JamVM/OpenJDK port for a couple of days while I play with my latest toy : a cheap mini-netbook based on a Chinese MIPS clone. It’s branded CnMbook, but it’s available (or was) under dozens of names.

        [...]

        The cost? 65 quid off ebay for an ex-display model as you can’t buy them anymore, the ARM9 WinCE machines having completely replaced them.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.04: Dual Boot vs Wubi vs Virtualization

          It can be a big question for some, “to Wubi or not to Wubi” :P ? So what is Wubi? It is an officially supported Ubuntu installer for Windows users that can bring you to the Linux world with a single click. Do you really want to install Ubuntu inside Windows? Let me list out the pros and cons of using Wubi as well dual booting. and to make things more interesting let us throw in the Virtualization option (Sun VirtualBox or Vmware Player) in the mix. You can then decide whats the best option for you.

        • Finishing up controversial crap week: What Canonical ought to do

          The point is that Canonical has established itself as a big player in the F/OSS world, and to make the F/OSS world better for everyone in it – including Canonical – it’s important that everyone contributes; not just to marketing or UX design or whatever, but to the fundamental engineering. The argument isn’t ‘Canonical doesn’t contribute to $FOO so they’re a bunch of losers, nee ner nee ner!’, it’s ‘Canonical doesn’t contribute to $FOO and it would really be better for everyone if they did’.

        • Desktop Testing Team

          Today, one day after reaching the third Maverick milestone, Alpha 3, I am happy to announce the birth of a new testing project and team in Ubuntu: the Desktop Testing Team.

          Every time we release a new Ubuntu milestone, testers are encouraged to install the new milestone and play around with it, filing bugs as they go. We want to go a bit further and use a more methodological approach for those people that love testing and want to help improving Ubuntu that way.

        • Ubuntu’s vision for its Unity interface

          Ubuntu’s ambitions don’t stop with moving some window buttons and making everything purple – the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Belgium saw the announcement of Unity, a completely new desktop interface aimed at instant-on computing.

          What’s got us really excited is that fact that the creator of the fantastic Gnome Do, David Siegel, is working with the design team. Naturally, we wanted to find out some more…

        • Mark Shuttleworth announces new Ubuntu 10.10 audio feature
        • UNE 10.10 Unity Update Brings New Applets, Lots Of Changes [Screenshots And Video]
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Jolicloud 1.0 “the (free) iPhonesque OS for netbooks” goes live
          • Jolicloud OS Presents a New Way to Organize and Run Your Apps
          • Linux distro Jolicloud: the future of netbooks?
          • Jolicloud 1.0 Review and Screenshots

            Although this release is filled great stuff, the one single thing that caught my eye more than anything is the way cutting edge features have been used to improve the users experience. One I’m concerned about is that it’s built on the older Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope which Canonical will no longer support in October because of its age. Definitely worth trying if you have a Netbook-like device.

          • The State of Ubuntu Studio 2010

            Okay, if you skipped down from the top or you need a refresher about the points I made, here is the Cliff’s Notes version:

            * Several experienced people within the project have left recently and not enough new people have replaced them
            * Many things are not accomplished because of limited resources (i.e. people)
            * Even without prior developer experience you too can contribute to Ubuntu Studio
            * Long term commitment is unnecessary, just fix one thing or a couple
            * If you are not helping then it probably is not getting done

            I believe that about sums it up.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • enTourage eDGe Tablet and e-reader

      I recently stumbled across this interesting device from Entourage Systems. At first glance when closed, the enTourage eDGe may appear to be a typical netbook, but it is actually a combination of an e-reader and a Tablet computer running Android.

    • Phones

      • Linux set to dominate mobile market by 2015

        Analyst group ABI Research has predicted that Linux will account for over 62 per cent of the market for non-smartphone mobile devices by 2015. “The number of Linux-oriented initiatives recently seen in the mobile industry indicates that Linux will be a key technology in the next generation of netbooks, media tablets, and other mobile devices,” commented the report’s author Victoria Fodale.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • N900 Faster Application Manager – Review

          All in all FAM is an excellent application and it is much faster the default application manager. In fact the only real draw back to FAM currently is that it does not support installing applications from the Ovi Store as of yet. Also worth mentioning is that unlike the default application manager FAM supports portrait mode when you tip your device into a vertical position.

        • MeeGo for IVI 1.0 Screenshots
      • Android

        • How Android is turning the smartphone into a commodity and why that’s desirable

          Most smartphone users I know will never turn back to a conventional mobile phone again. They just derive too much productivity from it. It’s hands down the most efficient way to maintain a communications line to your contacts in the smallest form factor possible. Voice calls, texting, emails, instant messaging; they’re all available at your fingers with the right smartphone.

          [...]

          This is a significant step. While previously, cheap mobile devices often meant crappy software loaded inside, with Android, what you’re getting is probably just as good as you can get with any other manufacturer. Sure, you’ll probably be limited by crappy hardware, but the basic features of what I expect of a smartphone will be there. I do not need a top-of-the-line AMOLED or SLCD screen to view my calendar. I do not need a Snapdragon or Hummingbird CPU to check my email. All I need for it is to be decently made and cheap.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • Where would we be without open source software?

    Computers without programs are like boat anchors. They are cold, heavy and just sit there like a lump of steel, which of course they are. It is the software which controls the movement of electrons through the computers memory. It is the software which transforms the computer from a cold silent box to a whirring, warm window into a greater world.

  • Events

    • Open source, the demo-meritocracy

      That engagement may be one reason that people were positive and participatory at the recent Apache Lucene EuroCon-our Lucene and Solr user conference in Prague-compared to some of the commercial vendor user conferences we’ve heard about where frustrated users end up yelling at the vendors.

  • Growth

  • SaaS

    • You Wave “Good-bye” and I Wave “Hello”

      I spent sixteen years of my life working for Digital Equipment Corporation. While that company is now gone, some of its innovations and technologies live on in Intel and ARM processors, and in various parts of different operating systems. If this was not true, I would be very depressed. However, even more technologies (both hardware and software) could have survived if those technologies had been “Open”, and that is what Google is doing.

      So I, for one, encourage Google to keep innovating, and putting those innovations out as FOSS. While some may not become products immediately, many more will be available for discussion and use in other ways that even the Google engineers may not have envisioned.

  • Databases

    • Oracle’s Next MySQL Move: Sept. 19 at Oracle OpenWorld

      When Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems — and by association, MySQL — plenty of open source pundits expressed concern. After much silence there are at least two signs Oracle plans to show MySQL customers and partners some love. Here’s the scoop from The VAR Guy.

  • Oracle

    • Illumos Makes OpenSolaris Board Threat Moot

      On August 3 Nexenta hosted a conference call to announce a new open source project called “Illumos.” Illumos is an open source alternative to a critical part of the OpenSolaris distribution free from the binds of Oracle. Still several days short of the deadline set by the OpenSolaris governing board to Oracle, perhaps this announcement makes it all moot.

      The effort is headed up by former Sun and Oracle Solaris developer Garrett D’Amore. He said that Illumos is not a fork of OpenSolaris, but more of a code base that perhaps Nexenta, Belenix, and SchilliX can be built on one day. Most important to D’Amore and Illumos supporters is that the code base will live on and be free from the control of any corporate entity.

      [...]

      With the days counting down to the probable disbanding of the board and the constant threat of losing access to the source, Illumos might be all that remains of OpenSolaris sooner or later. Several distributions are based on OpenSolaris now, and its loss could have spelled disaster for those systems. That’s why most of them as well as several current and former OpenSolaris developers have committed to Illumos. Other community partners include Joyent, berliOS, Greenviolet, and Everycity.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 7: Everything you need to know

      The most notable improvement to Drupal’s user interface are overlays. Usability lab tests observed that many users coming from other CMS systems were accustomed to a dedicated back end for administration and content creation, and found it difficult to distinguish the administration layer from the rest of the website.

    • Drupal 7 release date mooted

      The final line-up has been announced for DrupalCon Copenhagen, this year’s annual European gathering for fans and developers of the popular open source content management system. Running from 23-27 August, alongside the usual ‘State of Drupal’ address from project founder Dries Buytaert, keynote speakers include Rasmus Lerdorf, author of the original PHP scripting language, and HTML5 expert Jeremy Keith.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Liquidware Announces Open Source Scientific Calculator and Computing Platform

        With the growing popularity of Open Source Hardware, Liquidware announces the first 100% Open Source Hardware and Open Source Software Scientific Calculator. Based on Linux, Arduino, and the BeagleBoard design specifications, the Open SciCal X101 brings modularity and customization handheld scientific calculators and research aids.

  • Programming

    • I hate Git

      I hate git. I really do. The people who designed the plumbing never stopped to think how any of it would be used, and the user interface is a bunch of ad-hoc bolted on independent bits that have nothing to do with each other.

Leftovers

  • Favorite computer myths
  • Security/Aggression

    • Media’s response to the Hacker != Cracker open letter

      Today I am happy to report that this action had a bigger impact that we hoped for!

      * Delo — probably the most serious Slovenian daily newspaper was very keen on publishing our open letter in the readers’ letters section in the printed edition.
      * Dnevnik — the other major daily newspaper has also published the open letter under readers’ letters in both the printed form and online.

      [...]

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The EFF SSL Observatory

      The EFF has put up a new page for a project which it calls the SSL observatory. They have spent months collecting information about SSL certificates across the net; as one might expect, they have found some interesting things.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Internet traffic talks collapse

      Regulators halted closed-door negotiations about net neutrality rules with phone, cable and Internet companies on Thursday after reports of a side deal between two participants, Verizon Communications Inc and Google Inc, surfaced.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • SA copyright laws outdated and in need of urgent overhaul, says new study

        The ACA2K project has been examining the relationship between copyright and access to learning materials in Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, Egypt and South Africa. The project, which began in 2008, is supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and South Africa’s Shuttleworth Foundation, and managed by the Wits University LINK Centre in Johannesburg.

Clip of the Day

Richard M. Stallman Speech Girona Apr 2004


Microsoft is Finally Leaving Ruby Alone

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ruby

Summary: IronRuby is officially dead, says a Program Manager from Microsoft

ONE of our anonymous readers has just told us that Microsoft’s Jimmy Schementi announces the end of IronRuby. Microsoft did not manage to pull enough interested people to advance Microsoft’s interests.

Overall, I see a serious lack of commitment to IronRuby, and dynamic language on .NET in general. At the time of my leaving Tomas and myself were the only Microsoft employees working on IronRuby. If this direction for dynamic languages on .NET is a path you do not want Microsoft to take, I strongly suggest you provide feedback to the team’s management directly. Also, Jason Zander runs the Visual Studio team, which IronRuby, IronPython, and the DLR happen to be a part of, and is a big proponent of these dynamic languages efforts, so provide him with your thoughts as well.

In posts such as [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] we explained why IronRuby was a harmful project to software freedom. It helped Microsoft spread itself (and its proprietary products). Anyway, here goes another dead Microsoft project into the large pile of digital carcasses.

“Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat.”

James Plamondon, Microsoft Technical Evangelist. From Exhibit 3096; Comes v. Microsoft litigation [PDF]

Vista 7 is Under Attack and No Patches Are Available; Ubuntu Community Manager Uses It

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Ubuntu, Vista 7, Windows at 9:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jono Bacon

Summary: Yet again a serious zero-day vulnerability is found in Vista 7 (which Microsoft markets as “secure”); Jono Bacon chastised by Ryan Farmer for asking Microsoft for a copy of Vista 7

THE reality behind Vista 7 continues to unfold. Previously we wrote many posts about security problems in this operating system, including:

Based on this news, Vista 7 is not secure, even days after an emergency patch [1, 2]:

Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system is vulnerable to a new zero-day vulnerability that exposes users to blue-screen crashes or code execution attacks.

Why would anyone use Vista 7? It’s a security threat.

Our reader Ryan Farmer writes to complain that “Ubuntu’s community manager [is] gratuitously advertising for Microsoft” by using Vista 7 for recording sound; “their community manager is writing love letters to Microsoft,” he argues and “their Netbook Remix is adding Mono apps like Banshee… they’re including their own Mono CIL files in the default installation… they’re selling “patent protection”… and they’re congratulating themselves for doing work that really only makes sense in their own distribution.”

“I’d like him to tell me why he needs Windows 7 to do that…”
      –Ryan Farmer
Those latter complaints he wrote about in this new post where he rants: “Nokia has contributed 1.42% of upstream GNOME. / Nokia doesn’t have a Linux distro, much less one with a GNOME desktop and they managed to out-contribute Canonical/Ubuntu.”

These statistics about contributions to GNOME [1, 2, 3, 4] may actually be misleading, so personally I choose to defend Canonical on that one (several readers disagree with me and they too need to have their opinion heard). Anyway, regarding Jono Bacon’s use of Vista 7 (we mentioned this yesterday), Ryan says: “You can output from a mixer deck to your sound card’s 3.5mm input jack, route it through Pulseaudio, and onto Flash apps… it may not be the cleanest way to hook it all up, but it’s not difficult… I’d like him to tell me why he needs Windows 7 to do that… the main problem in this situation is Flash itself… in fact, it’s the same “analog hole” that Microsoft is trying to close… notice how all of a sudden you need to have an “all digital” end to end connection to do things like play Blu Ray movies? … HDCP DRM and ilk” (more of that in the next batch of IRC logs).

Western Digital is Bad for Freedom (and for GNU/Linux)

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Western Digital logo

Summary: Two reasons not to buy products from Western Digital, as means of making a statement to the company

SEVERAL HARD-DRIVE manufacturers are fairly friendly towards Linux (not Seagate, that’s for sure). One particular brand which we knew was serving the MPAA|RIAA is Western Digital, but now we discover that it also serves Microsoft, just like Seagate, which preinstalls Windows file systems on its products (and offers no other option on the face of it). The Register has this new story about Western Digital supporting no platforms other than Microsoft Windows (at the software side):

A Windows host must be used to run Western Digital disk drive diagnostic software, forcing Linux, Unix and other O/S users to buy a Windows system if they want to use it.

A few years ago (2007) we also found The Register (and other publications) reporting that Western Digital takes orders from Hollywood when it implements a “DRM-crippled” device which refuses to do what its owner tells it to do:

Western Digital’s 1TB My Book World Edition external hard drive has been crippled by DRM for your safety.

A kindly Reg reader tipped us off that the remote-access HDD won’t share media files over network connections. Which is, as you can see here, the entire stinking point of it.

It’s a scary world full of potentially unlicensed media. We’re fortunate there’s a hard drive vendor willing to step forward and do some indiscriminate policing for us.

From the WD site:

“Due to unverifiable media license authentication, the most common audio and video file types cannot be shared with different users using WD Anywhere Access.”

Unless or until Western Digital resolves this issue, Free software supporters are encouraged to avoid Western Digital and tell others to do the same. It’s the only effective way to defend one’s freedom — voting with the wallet. This can help raise awareness deter other companies from doing the same thing. The customers come first, not Hollywood.

Russia Today Uses AstroTurfing Group to Make Case Against Google

Posted in Deception, FUD, Google at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The channel “Russia Today” is misled or misleads with an AstroTurf entity called “Consumer Watchdog”, which is only about attacking Google’s business

THIS post is another quick update about the AstroTurfing group known as “Consumer Watchdog”. The thing about this post is, it’s not about defending Google but about defending the integrity of a decent news network, which has people misled by hired guns like ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Watch how much air time they give to the AstroTurfer (there are two parts).


Whenever someone mentions “Consumer Watchdog”, that someone ought to be made familiar with the facts. “Consumer Watchdog” is directly connected to Grassroots Enterprise (both reverse/invert the name of the practice they actually engage in), which is a massive AstroTurfing body that ought to be banned/disbanded. Regarding Google’s attitude towards privacy, openuniverse says about Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt: ‘I thought his stance on privacy could be summed up “give, up! roll over.”‘

Links 7/8/2010: GNU/Linux Big in South Africa, Acer Android Netbook, Thunderbird 3.1.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux big in SA

    Windows may still be the dominant operating system but in South Africa Linux has a good showing

    We all know that Windows is the dominant operating system, around the world. But how popular is Linux?

    According to analysts StatCounter, Linux is still minuscule in comparison with the Windows family of operating systems but there are some numbers worth looking at.

  • A Tiny Little Program

    He sent me back the Windows executable. And here is the directory listing of the Linux and Windows executables:

    -rwxr-xr-x 1 brad brad 7514 2010-07-27 10:07 fixfile
    -rw-r–r– 1 brad brad 163954 2010-08-04 07:17 fixfile.exe

    It’s a 45-line C program with only two functions. It compiles to about 7 1/2 kbytes on Linux. And it compiles to almost 164 kbytes on Windows!

  • Easing the Differences Between Unix and Linux

    Recently a friend of mine needed to convert a lot of videos from AVI format to Windows Media for a client. My friend is also of the Microsoft persuasion, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money acquiring batch conversion software.

    I recommended that he get a copy of Ubuntu, load it up with some video codecs and editing software, then use ffmpeg (with the handy WinFF GUI) to batch convert the files. This is how I usually do the job, and I have had great success with Ubuntu and openSUSE in finding and installing the right software and having this particular task Just Work.

  • Kernel Space

    • Realtime Linux: academia v. reality

      The 20th Euromicro Conference on Real-Time Systems (ECRTS2010) was held in Brussels, Belgium from July 6-9, along with a series of satellite workshops which took place on July 6. One of those satellite workshops was OSPERT 2010 – the Sixth International Workshop on Operating Systems Platforms for Embedded Real-Time Applications, which was co-chaired by kernel developer Peter Zijlstra and Stefan M. Petters from the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal. Peter and Stefan invited researchers and practitioners from both industry and the Linux kernel developer community. I participated for the second year and tried, with Peter, to nurse the discussion between the academic and real worlds which started last year at OSPERT in Dublin.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Cloud Linux Inc. Goes Global as 16 New Hosting and Data Center Partners Come Online
      • Tech Certifications Are Worthy Again

        “Red Hat is doing very well and is taking advantage of open systems business demand,” said Foote in an interview with eWEEK. “Two Red Hat certs are in the top 10 on our IT Certifications Hotlist: Red Hat Certified Technician and Red Hat Certified Security Specialist. It appears that companies still want a support base, even in open systems where you don’t have to choose a vendor. But they are, and those investing in the cloud are looking at employee skill sets in Linux and open source.”

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Squeeze frozen

        During DebConf10, currently being held in New York, the Debian developers announced that Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” has been frozen. This means that the ongoing development of the next version of Debian has moved into a new phase where the focus will be on bug-fixing and polishing the distribution ready for release at some point in the future.

      • Debian’s next release frozen

        The Debian GNU/Linux Project has announced that its next release, Squeeze, has been frozen.

        This means that no new features will be added and that work will now commence on ironing out all release-critical bugs so that Squeeze can be officially released.

        The release will be based on the 2.6.32 kernel and will have version 4.4.5 of the KDE Desktop and 2.30 of GNOME. Other desktop environments like XFCE (version 4.6.2) and LXDE (0.5.0) are also included.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Is It Time To Use Ubuntu Server?

          Despite being treated like a stepchild due to the presence of heavyweights like RHEL, CentOS, SLES and the BSD Brothers, Ubuntu Server has consistently improved over the years.

          As of version 10.04, Ubuntu Server 10.04 makes the perfect choice for running your servers in a corporate environment with low to medium loads.

        • Ubuntu Accessibility Project Seeks Help with Survey

          When Ubuntu’s software designers sit down to design software, they prefer to do so with a total picture of the end-user in mind. Their method involves creating “personas,” a compilation of characteristics that represents various types of people who use the software. For instance, Mary might be a first time Linux user who loves working with media files and images, while Chuck may be a FOSS hobbyist who enjoys working at the command line.

        • Open Source Improves Internet Access For Senior, Disabled Netizens

          The new tooling technology simplifies the way Web applications are tested for compliance with current accessibility standards and guidelines, helping to speed up delivery of new accessible Internet applications.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Hands-on: Jolicloud 1.0 makes Web apps equal desktop citizens

            There are a lot of good ideas on display in Jolicloud 1.0, but the nascent product still feels incomplete. If the company behind Jolicloud can expand on the current implementation and fill in some of the gaps, it has the potential to be a real winner. I like where they are taking the user experience and I think that there are a lot of great things that they can do to make the launcher richer if they take full advantage of HTML’s inherent strengths.

            The real challenge will be continuing to expand the scope of Jolicloud’s differentiating features while keeping pace with Ubuntu and ensuring that Jolicloud users will benefit from Ubuntu’s steady stream of new features.

            Some of the technologies that Canonical is developing for Ubuntu’s own Unity environment (particularly the D-Bus-powered messaging indicators and application indicators) could potentially make it much easier for third parties like Jolicloud to ditch the conventional GNOME panel and integrate the underlying functionality into their own custom user experience in a more seamless way. It would be great to see the functionality of Ubuntu’s messaging indicators, for example, woven seamlessly into the Jolicloud launcher.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-ready SoC brings VoIP to optical end-points

      Mindspeed announced a new member of its Comcerto family of VoIP system-on-chips (SoCs), targeting media, signaling and control processing on low-to-medium density optical networking environments. The Comcerto 300xv offers dual ARM11 processors, a 64-bit DSP, dual gigabit Ethernet interfaces, and a PCI Host controller, and is available with an OpenWRT Linux-based evaluation board.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Questions for Nokia executive show support

          Several people who are clearly fond of their N900 phones expressed their dismay at feeling abandoned. The N900 runs Maemo, an operating system Nokia developed based on Debian Linux. Earlier this year Nokia said it would merge Maemo with Moblin, an open-source operating system that Intel developed.

      • Android

        • Android Phones bring revolution to Mobile Industry

          A lot of Mobile devices come with attractive features and fabulous designs, but when Android based phones get released in the market, everything looks pale and goes down. As if users are waiting for the glimpse of the model that is implemented by Google’s Android software.

        • Netflix: “Would Be Stupid of Us” to Ignore Android’s Continued Growth

          We knew Netflix had plans to bring an app to our beloved platform since the start of the summer (after a job posting uncovered their plans to do just that), but we didn’t get a concrete window. We still don’t have a concrete window, but at least Netflix isn’t keeping quiet. One of the company’s employees stated on Reddit that they would be stupid to ignore the Android userbase considering how much it’s blown up in the first half of the year (More on that here, here, here, here, and here.)

        • Why Android App Security Is Better Than for the iPhone

          On the Linux-based Android platform, each application runs in a separate “silo,” unable by default to read or write data or code to other applications. Associated with each isolated application is a unique identifier and a corresponding set of permissions explicitly governing what that particular application is allowed to access and to do.

          As a result, much the way Linux users typically don’t have “root” privileges with the associated power to do systemwide harm, so Android apps by default are limited in a similar way. Just as Linux minimizes the damage that could be done on the desktop by a virus affecting an individual user, in other words, so Android restricts the potential damage that could be done by a rogue application.

          In order for any data to be shared across Android applications, it must be done explicitly and in a way that informs the user. Specifically, before installation can even happen, the app must declare which of the phone’s capabilities or data it will want to use–the GPS, for example–and the user must explicitly grant permission to do so. Those wallpaper apps, it should be noted, were no exception. So, if a user sees upon installation that a simple wallpaper app is requesting access to her list of contacts, say, there’s probably reason to think twice before proceeding.

          On the iPhone, on the other hand, it’s a different story. All apps are considered equal and can access many resources by default, and without having to tell the user. So, while on Android you’ll be able to see that a malicious app is suspicious the moment you try to install it, on the iPhone iOS, you’ll have no idea–potentially until the harm is done.

        • Vodafone angers HTC Desire owners

          Vodafone has angered customers with HTC Desire mobile phones after delivering an update that added new applications which can’t be deleted.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • Accenture survey sees open source investment rising

    According to survey results released by Accenture, two thirds (69%) of organisations anticipate increased investment in open source, with over a third (28%) saying they expect to migrate mission critical applications to open source within the next twelve months. The survey of three hundred large public and private sector organisations in the US, UK and Ireland, found that half of them said they were fully committed to open source and almost a third said they were still experimenting with open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla releases Thunderbird 3.1.2

        The Mozilla developers have released version 3.1.2 of their open source Thunderbird email and news client, code named “Lanikai”. According to the developers, the latest maintenance update addresses several user experience concerns and improves the applications overall stability.

  • Databases

    • MongoDB 1.6 adds auto-sharding and replica sets

      NoSQL document store MongoDB’s new release from 10gen and the MongoDB community now offers automated horizontal scaling, high availability, automatic failover, replica sets and auto-sharding. MongoDB 1.6 is the fourth stable release of the NoSQL database.

  • Oracle

  • Government

  • Licensing

    • Court orders GPL compliance

      A court in the US has ordered a company not complying with the terms of the GNU General Public Licence ver 2.0 to stop distributing the software which was putting it in non-compliance and awarded damages to the plaintiffs.

      The Software Freedom Conservancy and Erik Anderson, the developer of Busybox, filed the suit against Westinghouse Digital Electronics and 13 others over the distribution of the Busybox utility in HDTV products.

    • The GPL Wins Again

      In December 2009, the Software Freedom Conservancy filed lawsuits against 14 consumer electronics vendors alleging that they were not in compliance with the GPL license. Of those 14 vendors, 13 have now either settled amicably or are in productive discussions toward a settlement.

      In one case, consumer electronics vendor Westinghouse failed to comply, and a U.S. District Court has now ruled in a default judgment against it.

    • BusyBox takes out bankrupt opponent in GPL lawsuit

      Basically, Westinghouse gets off easy in comparison with those who have shared music on P2P sites ($675,000 and $1.92 million, in the first two cases to go to trial) because it only shipped a single software package, even though it was done for commercial gain.

Leftovers

  • A tale of two prosecutions: Same facts, different result

    Two cases in which DAG has played a prominent advisory role were those of Paul Clarke, who was found guilty of possessing a shotgun which he had handed in to the police (at one point he was facing an automatic five year prison sentence, though thankfully the judge was able to find “exceptional circumstances”) and the ongoing case of Paul Chambers, whose Twitter joke about Nottingham airport led to his conviction for communicating a “bomb hoax”.

    In both cases, the letter of the law was used as a pretext for bringing charges despite the lack of any real public interest in doing so. Part of the problem may lie in the narrow way in which “public interest” is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service. CPS guidelines assume that once the evidence is strong enough to suggest a likelihood of conviction, a prosecution will always be in the public interest unless there are “clear” reasons suggesting otherwise. “A prosecution will usually take place unless the prosecutor is sure that there are public interest factors tending against prosecution which outweigh those tending in favour” says the latest edition of the CPS code (pdf). I guess that because they are dealing with criminal cases day in, day out, CPS lawyers easily overlook the devastating effect that prosecution often has on an individual’s life.

  • Judge trounces Register.com in Baidu.com hijacking case

    As a result, Baidu — the world’s number-three search engine and the biggest in China — lost control of the baidu.com domain name for more than five hours. Register.com employees refused assistance when legitimate Baidu representatives appealed for help by phone and online chat, and didn’t begin to address the problem until two hours after first being told of the snafu.

  • Science

    • SpaceX Unveils Heavy-Lift Vehicle Plan

      The U.S. government should lead development of a nuclear thermal propulsion system for a future Mars mission and leave new heavy-lift launchers to commercial entities, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) says.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Defense Department message to Wikileaks

      All this may appear stupid or even funny (“returning electronic documents”) but the communication is a very professional way to deal with classic news agencies, given how they operate. Also the concept of “stolen property” looks pretty compelling from a media communication perspective, though US government documents are generally in the public domain (irrespective of disclosure).

    • Experiments in Torture: Physicians group alleges US conducted illegal research on detainees
    • Tom Ridge Joins the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Natural Gas Gold Rush

      Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has, for the most part, been out of the spotlight for the past year since he wrote his book titled The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege…And How We Can Be Safe Again, which came out in September of 2009. In that book, Ridge confessed that, although unsurprising to anyone who understood the rampant fear-mongering and propaganda that took place in the post-9/11 Bush era, he was pressured by others in the Bush Administration to purposely manipulate the infamous color-coded National Security Alerts for political reasons, and in particular, during the run-up to former President George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Massive ice island 4x size of Manhattan separates from Greenland glacier

      Andreas Muenchow, an oceanographic researcher from the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, reports that an “ice island” four times larger than Manhattan has separated from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland (shown in the photo above from 2009).

    • BP oil spill mostly cleaned up, says US

      The US government said today that most of the oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico has been cleaned up as BP reported that a “static kill” blocking procedure was stopping more crude pouring into the gulf.

      The White House energy adviser, Carol Browner, said a new assessment had found that about 75% of the oil had been captured, burned off, evaporated or broken down in the Gulf.

    • Fossil fuel subsidies are 10 times those of renewables, figures show

      Despite repeated pledges to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and criticism from some quarters that government support for renewable energy technologies is too generous, global subsidies provided to renewable energy and biofuels are dwarfed by those enjoyed by the fossil fuel industry.

    • Ecuador signs $3.6bn deal not to exploit oil-rich Amazon reserve

      How much would you pay for the most biologically rich patch of land on Earth – some 675 sq miles of pristine Amazon, home to several barely contacted indigenous tribes, thousands of species of trees and nearly 1bn barrels of crude oil?

      Ecuador, home of the Galapagos Islands, the Andes mountain range and vast tracts of oil-rich rainforest, yesterday asked the world for $3.6bn not to exploit the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha oil block in the Yasuni national park. A knockdown price, it said, considering the oil alone is worth more than $7bn at today’s prices. The 407m tonnes of CO2 that would be generated by burning it could sell for over $5bn in the global carbon markets.

    • Deadly fungus threat to insect-eating US bats

      A North American bat regarded as one of the most voracious insect-eaters in the world faces extinction in parts of the continent within the next 16 years, scientists say.

      The little brown myotis bat is one of the most abundant in the US and Canada, but the population is threatened by a fungus that causes a lethal disease known as white-nose syndrome.

      The fungus, Geomyces destructans, causes a loss of body fat and disrupts the usual hibernation behaviour of the bats, causing them to wake early and leave their roosts during the daytime. In affected areas up to 99% of bats will die out.

    • A Real Mess in Orbit: Space Junk to Hang Around Longer Than Expected

      Space junk continues to clutter the friendly cosmic skies, posing threats to satellites and spacecraft, with scientists working to identify which bits of orbital rubbish to pluck from the heavens first. But a new study suggests they’re fighting an uphill battle.

      New research on changes in the Earth’s upper atmosphere suggests space debris could remain in orbit for longer than expected.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • TalkTalk becomes StalkStalk

      A little over 3 weeks ago, an observant UK TalkTalk customer discovered their ISP was stalking their web surfing. (Read more on the Phoenix Broadband forum).

      For a period of approximately two months, TalkTalk have been covertly monitoring the web pages requested by their customers. Then, moments later, replaying exactly the same requests, to obtain the same page content that their customers had been reading for analysis. Even TalkTalk staffers seem surprised that consent was not sought for this process.

    • Private browsing modes in four biggest browsers often fail

      Features in the four major browsers designed to cloak users’ browser history often don’t work as billed, according to a research paper that warns that users may get a false sense of security when using the built-in privacy settings.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • GM crop escapes into the American wild

      A genetically modified (GM) crop has been found thriving in the wild for the first time in the United States. Transgenic canola is growing freely in parts of North Dakota, researchers told the Ecological Society of America conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, today.

      The scientists behind the discovery say this highlights a lack of proper monitoring and control of GM crops in the United States.

      US farmers have dramatically increased their use of GM crops since the plants were introduced in the early 1990s. Last year, nearly half the world’s transgenic crops were grown in US soil — Brazil, the world’s second heaviest user, grew just 16%. GM crops have broken free from cultivated land in several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan, but they have not previously been found in uncultivated land in the United States.

      “The extent of the escape is unprecedented,” says Cynthia Sagers, an ecologist at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, who led the research team that found the canola (Brassica napus, also known as rapeseed).

      Sagers and her team found two varieties of transgenic canola in the wild — one modified to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (glyphosate), and one resistant to Bayer Crop Science’s Liberty herbicide (gluphosinate). They also found some plants that were resistant to both herbicides, showing that the different GM plants had bred to produce a plant with a new trait that did not exist anywhere else.

      [...]

      Sagers agrees that feral populations could have become established after trucks carrying cultivated GM seeds spilled some of their load during transportation. She notes that the frequency and population density of GM canola that they found may be biased as they only sampled along roadsides.

    • “Taco Tuesday” out at downtown restaurant due to challenge by Taco John’s chain, but promotion lives on

      Taco John’s — a chain that has seen at least three efforts to expand into Oklahoma fail over the past 25 years — is ordering owners of downtown’s Iguana Mexican Grill to quit using the phrase “Taco Tuesday” to promote its weekly $1 dollar taco nights.

    • Copyrights

      • Making A High Quality Film On The Cheap With A Digital SLR

        A few years back at a Cato Institute conference on copyright, a guy from NBC Universal challenged me with the question of “how will we make $200 million movies?” if content is freely shared. As I noted at the time, that’s really the wrong question. No one watching a movie cares about how much the movie costs. They just want to see a good movie. The question for a good filmmaker or producer or a studio should be “how do I make the best movie I can that will still be profitable?” Starting out with a “cost” means that you don’t focus on ways to save money or contain costs. You focus on ways to spend up to those costs. That’s backwards, and it’s how you fail as a business.

      • Marking and Tagging the Public Domain: An Invitation to Comment

        Almost 1½ years have passed since we launched CC0 v1.0, our public domain waiver that allows rights holders to place a work as nearly as possible into the public domain, worldwide, prior to the expiration of copyright. CC0 has proven a valuable tool for governments, scientists, data providers, providers of bibliographic data, and many others throughout world. At the time we published CC0, we made note of a second public domain tool under development — a tool that would make it easy for people to tag and find content already in the public domain.

Clip of the Day

Google CEO Eric Schmidt on privacy


Novell News Roundup: Another Quiet Week Goes By

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Mail, SCO, SLES/SLED at 1:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News about the SCO trial, the LA migration away from Groupwise, Pulse after Wave’s cancellation, Fog Computing, and SUSE news

THIS is just a quick summary of Novell news. Over at Groklaw there is analysis of day 4 of SCO vs. Novell and some company is marketing a report about Novell this week. There is also evidence of Groupwise support and Groupwise will indeed be replaced in Los Angeles, in spite of disinformation.

L.A. Sticks With Google Cloud Computing Despite Delays

[...]

Because of the concerns, the LAPD’s 13,000 personnel have stayed on the city’s old Novell GroupWise system while other local agencies made the leap to Google for e-mail and collaboration capabilities in the cloud.

Google is indeed causing harm to Novell here. It also left Novell in a bad position with Pulse, which Novell insists will live on. Here is a newer article about the subject:

Other vendors have already built their own versions of Wave, such as Novell’s Pulse and SAP’s StreamWork, and these products appear to be alive and well.

Novell engineering VP Andy Fox said in an e-mail that enterprise users appreciate the social connectivity, real-time co-authoring, and file presence made possible by the Wave platform.

“Novell Pulse delivers this combination that business consumers want plus security controls enterprises demand,” he said. “Novell is highly committed to the future of enterprise collaboration, and Novell Pulse is on track. Further, we remain committed to pursuing the benefits of real time collaboration to enable new applications, users and organizations to work together.”

In a new IDG article about Fog Computing Novell gets quoted as follows:

“The goal is to acclimatise the organisation to ask ‘what’s actually out there?’ and at the same time most of them are undertake the next step beyond virtualisation,” Novell technology strategist, Paul Kangro, said. “With cloud, the compute becomes more grid-like, and the user deploys jobs into this grid – the way people think about how they run jobs, or how they run workloads, which they classically think about needs to change as well.”

When it comes to SUSE, the same site mentions “increase[d] partner certifications particularly within Linux” and CRN has this post about Gallery.

Novell is heavily investing in partner training, certification and enablement.

The vendor’s Asia-Pacific vice-president of alliance and channel sales, John Donovan, said during the next 12-18 months, it plans to substantially increase partner certifications particularly within Linux and the sales and technical arena.

“We’re going really build a much stronger [partner] base than what we have today, which is pretty good anyway,” Donovan said.

Novell has a real problem with channel partners, especially in places like the UK.

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