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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



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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

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