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08.10.10

Links 10/8/2010: LinuxCon Coverage, KDE Branding, Canonical to Track Installations

Posted in News Roundup at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • A fund manager experiments in geek…

    I will start with a conclusion which should not surprise any geek – but tends to surprise non-geeks: linux is the “real deal” and is a much bigger threat to Microsoft than Apple. However it will also change Apple’s (laptop) business model beyond all recognition – and it will do so via virtualization. It will also change the hardware business beyond recognition. Indeed it is already doing so.

    I have now changed my laptop to a linux (Ubuntu) machine and run a piece of software (Virtual Box) on it. Virtual Box is a program which pretends it is another computer – a virtual computer. On virtual box I run Windows. This is – I believe – a superior set-up and it is unlikely I will ever run a machine primarily on Microsoft again.

  • Desktop

    • Dumping Windows, moving on with Linux

      Recently I went on a week’s vacation to “get away”. When I got back, I had 3 Windows XP computers waiting to be fixed by a few family relatives. Not exactly a warm welcoming committee. The first one was fixed fairly easily, Windows Internet Connection Sharing settings disappeared and I had to guide over the phone on how to set that back up. The second PC was blue screening at random intervals, and the third was infected with spyware and viruses (with loads of popups), as well as running slower than ever. The PCs were basically useless and probably need to be reformatted and have Windows installed all over again.

      However, for a while now I have been contemplating a new rule to deal with users and relatives bringing plagued Windows computers to me, in hopes that I can rectify them like a doctor. Basically, I can sum it up with “No, I will not fix your Windows computer, but I will install Linux on it for you.”. So, I ran the idea of Linux by the users, who seemed open to trying out a new operating system that will be practically immune to spyware and viruses, and overall more stable so that they will not have to bring it back to me over and over again. They too have had enough of the viruses and spyware that occur all too often in Windows.

  • Events

    • Bryant Patten on open source education (LinuxCon session recap)

      In LinuxCon’s education mini-summit, Bryant Patten of the National Center for Open Source and Education gave a presentation titled “Can open source save the world?” He noted a quote from Mary Lange, Educational Technology Resource Teacher at San Diego Unified School District. She says that we often assume students know how to use computers and that they are really good at it. But the truth is, they know how to use technology for personal reasons but not necessarily for education. They will say “I know how to do that,” but when it comes to reality, they don’t.

    • FLOSSCamp 2010
    • FUDCon Tempe update.
    • Goodbye DebConf10

      DebConf was really an awesome conference. I’m happy that I have finally met so many of the fellow Debian people I only knew from the mailing lists or planet. There where lot’s of interesting talks, the hacklabs where always busy, and the overall atmosphere was very good. Now that I’m back in Berlin, I’m already missing it — I’m by the way also missing my luggage which is apparently still at the JFK airport.

    • Report from Debian Conference

      One conference track, for instance, covered Java packaging, which has changed a lot since Sun opened up Java’s licensing. There were sessions on coordinating with the Ubuntu project and on working with enterprise projects such as Samba.

  • Kernel Space

    • SELinux sandboxing for Linux app security

      SELinux is a great way to limit the access rights/roles on a Linux machine.

      But how do you limit CPU or memory usage of a given application? Red Hat engineer Dan Walsh (pic left) has a solution that he calls SELinux Sandbox which he demoed at the LinuxCon conference today.

    • AppArmor more user friendly than SELinux?

      There are number of access control systems available for Linux but which one is easier to use?

      At LinuxCon, Z. Cliffe Schreuders (pic left) a doctoral candidate at Murdoch University in Australia presented the findings of a small usability study he conducted into Linux access control systems.

      Long story short, his study of 39 people found that AppArmor was generally found to be more user-friendly than SELinux. SELinux is the system used by Red Hat, while AppArmor is favoured by openSUSE and and Ubuntu.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • On branding

        With KDE’s 4.5 release day coming up, the KDE Promotion Team has been reviewing our brand structure that we first applied when Software Compilation 4.4 came out. There was lively discussion at Akademy, review of the things that have worked well and those that have not worked so well and discussion of how to make sure we use our brands consistently and in the ways that make sense for who we are and what we are doing:

        * KDE is us, the people who develop, translate, beautify, explain and promote the software
        * KDE’s products include the workspaces Plasma Desktop and Plasma Netbook, many KDE applications and the KDE Platform on which applications can be built
        * KDE Software Compilation is not a brand, but just a name for the stuff that we release simultaneously. It’s unlikely that anyone uses the whole software compilation and probably no one only uses the software compilation – even most distros don’t install the whole thing by default and all include other software too (I don’t use the software compilation, but I do use KDE software)

      • more plasma javascript, plasma mobile

        Marco’s been doing some more amazing work on Plasma Mobile.

      • Javascript DataEngines Get Services
      • Amarok is the future!
      • KDE wikis want you

        There were quite a few good comments on my last blog entry on how to get more people wikiing for KDE. Thank-you to everyone spent time thinking about it and providing feedback.

      • quick wiki experiment update
  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux From Scratch: End of an Experiment

        I enjoyed the hell out of LFS and consider it time well spent.

        Beyond the obvious lessons learned, I took away a new way to evaluate a distro for my personal use: packaging and technical support.

        See, most of this I can do and I enjoy doing. So, a distro basically needs to “take over” those areas that I don’t want to bother with – and, by contrast, get out of my way in those areas I do want to bother with.

    • New Releases (Also BSD)

      • FreeBSD 8.1 (Xfce)
      • Karoshi 7.0
      • Ojuba 4
      • Draco 0.3.1-20100802
      • FuguIta 4.7-20100804
      • eBox 1.5-1
      • Puppeee 1.0
      • Parted Magic 5.2

        Parted Magic 5.2 updates GParted to 0.6.2, fixes some bugs, and improves international language support. The new GParted re-enables MiB partition alignment option and fixes the problem with logical partition move overwriting the EBR. A mess of bugs have been fixed with the help of Dick Burggraaff (burdi01), Jason Vasquez, and most of all, users willing to take the time to report them and help us test. Asian language support has been greatly improved with the addition of SCIM and GCIN. GCIN is automatically started when Taiwanese is selected at the boot menu and SCIM is automatically started when Japanese or Chinese is selected at the boot menu.

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Post Earnings Update: Red Hat Has Trended 8.23% Higher In Past 45 Days (RHT)

        When Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) reported earnings 45 days ago on June 22, 2010, analysts, on average, expected the company to report earnings of $0.18 on sales of $203 million.

      • Deciphering Red Hat’s cloud computing strategy

        Of the three primary Linux vendors (Canonical, Novell, and Red Hat), Canonical and Red Hat have made the biggest splashes in the cloud computing market. Canonical’s focus appears to be simple partnerships and bundling software, rather than the comprehensive enterprise products offered by Red Hat. At its 2010 Summit, Red Hat provided a complete and separate track of cloud sessions that introduced its family of cloud products and services, along with its cloud strategy. While Red Hat provides an abundance of information about its cloud offerings, it’s not always clear how they fit together.

        The overarching strategy behind Red Hat’s cloud offerings is to provide a consistent environment that allows you to run your workloads in your enterprise data center (fully or partially virtualized, with or without a private cloud) or in a public cloud. This consistency extends all the way through licensing.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations

          Just uploaded to the Ubuntu Lucid repository for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (and we imagine it will appear shortly in Maverick too for Ubuntu 10.10) is a new package called canonical-census, which marks its initial release. Curious about what this package provides, we did some digging and found it’s for tracking Ubuntu installations by sending an “I am alive” ping to Canonical on a daily basis.

        • Ubuntu Probably the First Ever Linux Distro to Overshoot Popularity of Linux Itself

          Google Trends is not an authentic source of popularity index, but it can definitely give you a lot of pointers on what future holds for Ubuntu and Linux. As you can see from the above Google Trends screenshot, popularity of Ubuntu is almost same as that of Linux in 2010.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #205
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Peppermint OS One-08042010 Screenshots

            You may recall my previous reviews and screenshot postings I did on Peppermint OS One and Peppermint OS Ice, both I liked very much. Just like previous releases this new release Peppermint OS One-08042010 is based on Ubuntu and includes the LXDE desktop environment with web applications integrated into the desktop using Prism. It includes many bug fixes, new artwork and several new features. PeppermintOS went with Firefox 4.0 beta 2 in this release due to instability with the 3.6 series.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Is Best Buy prepping an Android tablet?

        Consumer electronics retail giant Best Buy has tipped an upcoming Android-based “Rocketfish” tablet, say industry reports. Meanwhile, the rumored Android tablet from Motorola and Verizon won’t ship until Feb. 2011, and other tablets waiting for Android 3.0 may also miss the holiday season, sources say.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Eureka Streams Brings Social Networking to Enterprise

    Eureka Streams a great way to bring the ever-growing field of remote workers together and allow users of huge companies to connect with other employees beyond their immediate cube farm. It’s already got a lot of really great features in place for a newly-launched, with more to come. Learn more at the project’s Google Group or check out the source code for yourself at GitHub.

  • Open Source Projects that Changed the World

    GNU: The grand-daddy of them all, and everyone’s favorite recursive acronym, the GNU project was founded in 1984 on philosophical grounds that software should respect users freedom. GNU is the founder of several other projects, but possibly the most important in sheer scope is the GNU General Public License, the GPL. The GNU project also tried for years to come up with a complete desktop system based around the Hurd kernel, but found another kernel that quickly leapfrogged GNU’s efforts, and was quickly adopted.

    Linux: Linux is now used to refer to a class of operating system that generally uses GNU userspace tools and the Linux kernel. Developed by Linus Torvalds as a college project to clone the Minux kernel, Linux has taken off in ways that were unimaginable a few years ago. Linux runs on the largest mainframes, and the smallest cell phones.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle pulls about face on Solaris support

      They hope the news — published in a release that also said HP and Dell can resell Solaris OracleVM and Oracle Enterprise Linux — signals new pragmaticism and flexibility on the part of a company they feared was becoming ever more proprietary.

    • Should OpenSolaris Die?

      Software freedom means no project with a community will go away, so long as they have the means and will to sustain it. That’s usually considered a good thing, but sometimes it’s less of a feature and more of a bug. Consider, for example, the sad case of OpenSolaris.

      Since Oracle gobbled up Sun, it’s remained mute on the fate of OpenSolaris. Attempts to get someone at Oracle to comment have been fruitless. I’ve spoken to Oracle PR and some of the employees on the community side about OpenSolaris and the responses have been both off the record and totally discouraging. To put it bluntly, Oracle seems to have put OpenSolaris out to pasture and won’t even do its community the courtesy of making it official.

      So a hardy band of OpenSolaris enthusiasts led by Nexenta have taken up the banner and are trying to save OpenSolaris with the Illumos project.

  • CMS

  • Funding

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware

      • Arduino Helps You Build High-Tech Home-Brew Projects

        Wired’s Priya Ganapati took an in-depth look Arduino recently, and says its maturity and strong community are largely responsible for the project’s success. “Arduino’s popularity means it’s easy to get started. Companies such as Adafruit, SparkFun and Liquidware not only sell chips, but they also host blogs that suggest ideas on how to use your Arduino while providing extensive project plans to guide you in completing your creations,” he writes. Lets take a look at two projects that use Arduino as the basis for their gadgetry.

Leftovers

  • Skype Files For IPO, Only 6 Percent Of Users Pay

    According to the filing, Skype’s revenues for the first six months of 2010 were $406 million, with a net income of only $13 million. But a big portion of that was from interest income. That is only a 3 percent net margin, and this isn’t exactly a new business. Its income from operations was only $1.4 million for the six months. However, its gross margins are 51 percent, and have been expanding steadily as the company benefits from the scale of is operations and is able to negotiate lower telephone termination fees around the world.

  • Buried By The Brigade At Digg
  • Digg is dogged by conservative pressure groups

    Multiple accounts are being used by these people, who combine to dislike articles put up for Digg consideration. By not liking something in their large numbers they are able to push those news and commentary items further and further away from the front page of the Digg website.

    The groups regularly send out ‘bury’ lists that urge the gang to act out against articles that lean to the left or in some cases appear fairly random, for example, “SETI Opens All Data To The Public” and “Sarah Ferguson: I Was Drinking At The Time Of Video Sting”.

  • NatWest calls off legal attack dogs

    Moving with the speed of an injured rock, NatWest has finally withdrawn its legal threats against a student advice site.

    118student.co.uk offers advice to students and has pages reviewing all the major banks’ student accounts. Site owner Peter Hale was shocked to receive a letter accusing him of abuse of trademarks and attempting to pass his site off as part of NatWest.

  • Ca. Appeals Ct. Affirms Conviction For Fake MySpace Emails Intended to Influence Custody Dispute — People v. Heeter

    In a criminal prosecution stemming from false evidence used in a family law dispute, a defendant was convicted of sending fake emails to herself with the intent that the emails would be used to influence a court proceeding. The appeals court affirmed her conviction.

  • Science

    • #5: Stephen Hawking’s Warning: Abandon Earth—Or Face Extinction

      Let’s face it: The planet is heating up, Earth’s population is expanding at an exponential rate, and the the natural resources vital to our survival are running out faster than we can replace them with sustainable alternatives. Even if the human race manages not to push itself to the brink of nuclear extinction, it is still a foregone conclusion that our aging sun will expand and swallow the Earth in roughly 7.6 billion years.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Pentagon to Troops: Taliban Can Read WikiLeaks, You Can’t

      Any citizen, any foreign spy, any member of the Taliban, and any terrorist can go to the WikiLeaks website, and download detailed information about how the U.S. military waged war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2009. Members of that same military, however, are now banned from looking at those internal military documents. “Doing so would introduce potentially classified information on unclassified networks,” according to one directive issued by the armed forces.

    • Defcon speaker calls IPv6 a ‘security nightmare’

      The internet’s next-generation addressing scheme is so radically different from the current one that its adoption is likely to cause severe security headaches for those who adopt it, a researcher said last week.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • A joint policy proposal for an open Internet

      It is imperative that we find ways to protect the future openness of the Internet and encourage the rapid deployment of broadband. Verizon and Google are pleased to discuss the principled compromise our companies have developed over the last year concerning the thorny issue of “network neutrality.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks – the good, the bad and the ugly
    • Copyrights

      • World’s Biggest Record Label Pulls Videos from MTV.com

        Negotiations between Vevo and MTV, the two heavyweights of the music video, have broken down with dire results for visitors to MTV’s websites where music videos from Universal Music Group, the largest record label in the world will no longer appear.

      • Henley, DeVore settle lawsuit; Henley rails against remixes and mash-ups, YouTube, ‘dark side’ of Internet; songs are not ‘toys or playthings’

        The lawsuit, which Henley had largely won at the district court, involved two videos made by the DeVore campaign which took the lyrics from Henley’s songs “The Boys of Summer” and “All She wants to do is Dance” and substituted in new lyrics attacking president Obama and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). DeVore argued that the videos were fair use parodies of Henley’s songs, but the court held that the videos were satirical rather than parodic and rejected the fair use defense. Questions of willfulness and damages were still to be resolved. The court did rule for the defendants on the plaintiffs’ Lanham Act claim, which alleged that DeVore’s videos falsely associated Henley with the Republican’s campaign. DeVore lost the June primary to former HP exec Carly Fiorina (R) for the chance to take on Boxer in November.

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