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08.12.10

Links 12/8/2010: KDE Integrates Webkit, Android Popularity Soars

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Users and Developers in FOSS

    Want to hear some­thing inter­est­ing? The often made claim that “there are no dis­tinc­tions between devel­op­ers and users” is at worst a lie and at best mis­in­for­ma­tion. What it actu­ally means is that if you really don’t like some­thing about a pro­gram you have the code and can change it your­self. What the impli­ca­tion though is that if you have an issue with a pro­gram you can con­tribute these thoughts to the devel­op­ers and be taken seri­ously — which pretty much is never the case. The real­ity of the mat­ter is that unless you are will­ing to actu­ally code the fix your­self it sim­ply wont get done and even then you have no guar­an­tee of it actu­ally being included. On aver­age you have more chance of being lis­tened to by closed source devel­op­ers as their suc­cess is finan­cially linked with your usage.

    [...]

    The very fact that no efforts are made to find out what your users think and what prob­lems they are hav­ing is dis­turb­ing enough, actively putting road­blocks in their path is just mad­ness. After all the only peo­ple who make it through this trial-by-fire are going to be the most tena­cious pro-Linux advo­cates. Of course they think everything’s hunky dory and dis­pute what I say, it’s the very def­i­n­i­tion of selec­tion bias — the unhappy peo­ple all left a long time ago.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • AWN Ekes Out a Win in the Battle of the Dock Apps

      GNOME Do and Docky aren’t the only options Linux users have if they want to install a dock-style launcher on their systems. Two others, Avant Window Navigator and SimDock, are also in the running. While AWN has its faults and frustrations, it narrowly beats out GNOME Do on style points. SimDock, on the other hand, just doesn’t measure up to either.

    • Proprietary

      • Adobe Still Shafts Linux With H.264 GPU Decoding

        Adobe rolled out a security update to their Flash Player yesterday and for Mac OS X users this update also integrates Gala — their codename for H.264 GPU video decoding in Flash on Mac OS X. With Adobe Flash Player 10.1.82.76 on Apple Mac OS X there is now GPU video decoding enabled by default to offload more of the playback work to the graphics card, assuming you are using a newer NVIDIA graphics processor. This is coming after Adobe introduced H.264 GPU decoding in their Windows Flash Player 10.1 release, but they continue to shaft Linux users with video support.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Chzo Mythos For GNU/Linux Released !

        Hamish Paul Wilson started let me know of his porting of The Chzo Mythos to GNU/Linux at May 2010, and updated me on his progress at June 2010, now finally the porting is done and The Chzo Mythos is available for GNU/Linux free of charge !

      • 5 More Linux Games You Probably Haven’t Played

        They are available for purchase and download right over the Internet (often DRM-free), and some of them are pretty high quality. Here are five more you might not have played but are definitely worth giving a try.

      • Quake2 engine day ;)

        Ok, today I have quite a lot of stuff, and its all Quake2 related :p Believe it or not Quake2 is alive and kicking… and its engine is featuring some of the very best open-source games!

        For those who might have missed it: AlienArena 7.45 has been released recently and the release makes an already solid game even more awesome ;)

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE desktop integrates Webkit

        THE DESKTOP ENVIRONMENT KDE has been updated with over 1,700 new features and 16,000 bug fixes.

        The cross platform application project best known for its desktop environment that is shipped by many Linux distributions has issued this major update a month after the rival project Gnome put one out. The latest KDE update features integration with Webkit in applications such as Konqueror, the default KDE web browser.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Shell is Evolving Quite Beautifully

        After giving it a spin for a few hours, GNOME Shell never really felt like a complete disaster for me. It works quite well in my 3 year old laptop with basic configuration. Though GNOME Shell still leaves a lot to be desired, you have to keep in mind that GNOME Shell is a still a work in progress.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux light – Absolute Linux 13.1

        Absolute Linux seems to get frequent updates and while writing this update 13.1.4 was already released on 30/07/2010 (Update: On 08/08/2010 apparently 13.1.41 was released). These incorporate the latest updates from Slackware but when looking at the Changelog on the website seem mostly small Absolute usability updates and bug fixes. This makes for the impression that it is always a bit of a moving target and never ‘quite right’ at release time, which begs the question why the developer does not rather wait a few days longer and release less often.

      • Vector Linux 6.0 “SOHO” Screenshots

        A deluxe version of Vector Linux 6.0 “SOHO” is due out in 10 days and will cost $22.99 on the Vector Linux website. This is something Vector Linux started doing during the 5.9 release. I like the idea of having a deluxe version available for convenience. Make sure you check out the Lighter version of Vector Linux which are lightweight, fast, and great on old hardware. Enjoy these screenshots of Vector Linux 6.0 SOHO edition.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2010 [Review]

        Except for office applications we couldn’t complain about the packages that came with the OS. For instance in the internet and communications domain PC Linux came with a browser (Firefox), a twitter client (Choqok), an IM client (Pidgin), mail client (Thunderbird), torrent and even Dropbox ! There was no office suite bundled and the text editor (KWrite) was pathetic. At least AbiWord would’ve raised the score a little above the zero that we gave it on this criteria. The main menu was well categorised but a Mepis or Mint-like search would’ve been better. Although a nice addition was the displaying of recently used applications. Kwallet – the default password keeper integrates into all programs that require logins. We checked randomly for codec support and found that SM Player could handle all of the different encoded video files we threw at it. The default music player was Amarok which does what it’s supposed to quite well. For file managers there was a choice between Dolphin and Conqueror – nothing spectacular.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Licensing

          Copyright licensing and trademarks are two different areas of law, and we consider them separately in Ubuntu. The following policy applies only to copyright licences. We evaluate trademarks on a case-by-case basis.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • War of the Peppermint Gargantuas

            The combination of Chromium and the Ice SSB edges out (barely) Peppermint OS One. It’s not a big enough difference that you could go wrong using Peppermint OS One, but the Chromium/Ice SSB combination was just fast enough to warrant using Peppermint Ice.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Ludwig Enterprises’ The One(TM) to be “Open Source”

      Ludwig Enterprises, Inc. (Pink Sheets:LUDG) board of directors announces that TheOne(TM) receiver will utilize Linux as its base operating software. This architecture will allow applications from other application developers to operate in TheOne(TM) radio. Applications such as jpeg viewer, media players, web mail, foxfire and others may be utilized. Rather than restrict or block outside applications Ludwig welcomes collaborative input from independent application developers resulting in rapid evolution of superior software. A report by the Standish Group states that adoption of Open Source software models has resulted in savings of approximately $60 Billion per year to consumers.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Open source CouchDB comes to Android

          Mobile syncing remains a vital task that few really get right, but the open source NoSQL initiative aims to fill the gap, at least on Android. CouchDB, the open source database that is part of NoSQL and Apache, has been made available for the Google OS and will also be supported by Hewlett-Packard’s next release of webOS.

        • CouchDB Says Hello To Google Android
        • HTC releases Android 2.2 source code for EVO 4G, Incredible, Aria, and Wildfire — geeks rejoice

          Modders and ROM developers are about to bury themselves in source code today and will chug six packs of Red Bull to stay up late into the night hacking away. HTC has released their valuable Android 2.2 source code for the EVO 4G, DROID Incredible, Aria, and Wildfire today allowing programmers and enthusiasts to get their hands dirty with code.

        • Android Beats Ubuntu and Linux

          Linux has become omnipresent. It’s presence is so deep that a user may not even know that he/she is in-fact using Linux, the kernel. The GNU combined operating systems do give Linux its identity.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ON TEST: Ubuntu Netbook Edition

        Yesterday we looked at Jolicloud as an option for netbook owners keen on using the net’s cloud computing potential. Today, we look at the big name in Linux: Ubuntu.

        The latest version of Ubuntu “Lucid Lynx” — 10.4 — comes in a netbook-optimised version that is designed for computer makers to deploy on new netbooks, but it is also available for public download. It’s a great operating system choice for netbook users.

        [...]

        I personally prefer the Netbook Edition over the vanilla Desktop version. The user interface is very intuitive, and the resources footprint is smaller than the normal Ubuntu system. For most netbooks, you will be surprised with the power that Ubuntu Netbook Edition has in a fresh install, and the Ubuntu/Debian software installation system is one of the best on any platform, so installing the software to suit most user needs is rather easy and quick (or even the operating system itself for that matter).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Study: Big Biz Falls in Love With FOSS, but Not Just ‘Cause It’s a Cheap Date

    Open source software is poised for rapid growth in enterprises over the next 12 months, but cost is no longer the primary driver behind open source adoption.

    That’s according to a new study from global consultancy Accenture, which based its findings on interviews with 300 executives at organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland with annual revenues above US$500 million.

  • Survey: 98 percent of enterprises using open source
  • Free Software Women’s Group Releases Results of Study

    The group cites several reasons why women don’t participate more readily in the free software community and offers some solutions for remedying the problem. But is it enough?

  • Frustrated developer releases intell analysis software as open-source

    Intelligence analysis software is about to go open source. Matthew Burton, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst and software developer, is working on an open-source version of a CIA software tool called “Analysis of Competing Hypotheses.”

  • Is an Open-Source Framework the Key to Preventing Security Threats?
  • Open Source Software Gives Fast, Free Alternatives

    Another key factor that keeps open source appealing is that it often does not require a high-end system to run well. Some of the applications run well even on older computers.

    There are also open source equivalents to many programs Windows and Mac users would normally need to pay for. Among them is OpenOffice—a free, full-featured office suite.

  • Save a bundle on software with free, open source apps
  • Will Hurd-less HP take a less proprietary turn

    Fiorina had a vision of HP as a GM of high tech. Hurd’s view was that of a new IBM, even though that had been done. These open source times call for something different, and a bigger dream.

  • The Mendix Community Fully Embraces Open Source

    The Mendix AppStore is a fantastic example of our own community embracing open source. Most of the content in our AppStore is open source.

  • Google Wave fans set up protest site

    Devotees of Google Wave have set up a protest site to persuade the global advertising giant not to abandon the collaborative messaging platform, following last week’s decision to halt development of the tool.

    The decision to pull the plug on Wave was a giant blow for Google Australia, which led development of the tool. Now Wave followers from around the world have called for the company to reconsider.

  • Role-based access control: Pros of an open source RBAC implementation

    When looking at the commercial RBAC marketplace, it’s important to note that some of the biggest players in the market aren’t the biggest companies. Because RBAC’s potential is still being realized, if a vendor can react faster to advancements in RBAC functionality, it can gain an advantage over its competitors. This positions smaller, boutique companies like Aveksa Inc., BHOLD Company and SailPoint Technologies Inc. in front of larger enterprise competitors like CA Inc., IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc. (recently acquired by Oracle Corp.).

  • OpenDragon Geoinformatics Software to be Open Source and free worldwide

    The Global Software Institute (GSI) has announced that, effective immediately, OpenDragon is available for free download by users anywhere in the world. OpenDragon offers a full suite of image analysis and raster GIS capabilities including image enhancement, supervised and unsupervised classification, geometric correction, measurement and statistics, vector capture and display, slope, aspect and buffer calculations and multi-criterion decision making. OpenDragon also includes the OpenDragon Toolkit, which allows users who can program in C to extend the software functionality.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Comparing open source cloud platforms: OpenStack versus Eucalyptus

      Historically, the open source community has impacted both the economics and the innovations of the computer industry. Open source software is known for causing previously monolithic applications to become commoditized. In the database space, one only needs to look at MySQL and PostgreSQL. In the Web server space, there is Apache, and in application servers, there are Tomcat, JOnAS, JBoss, Jetty and GlassFish. In programming and scripting languages, there are the likes of Java, Perl and PHP. GNU Linux, in particular, has done so much to commoditize the operating system market that even phones use it.

  • Databases

    • Monty’s MariaDB extends the open source database

      As MySQL grew, Widenuis’ message of community got pushed back and that’s where things started to go wrong. Widenuis also slammed Sun, saying that had no respect for engineering talent. Wiednuis left Sun in 2009 and the main reason for his new MariaDB was about saving the people that he cared about and he wanted a good home for MySQL that he didn’t believe was in good hands.

      A focus on community is what MariaDB is all about, Widenuis said he is now following a hacking business model. It’s not a company that is being built to be sold, it’s democratic and employees are all shareholders.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle outlines Solaris 11, says little of OpenSolaris

      At the company’s strategy update, Oracle outlined the future for Solaris 11, but said nothing about OpenSolaris. Oracle’s John Fowler says that Solaris 11 will be a major upgrade to key components, such as networking stacks, threading, file systems, package management and maintenance. A focus on scalability would also be incorporated in preparation for the next generation of hardware, like the 128 core, 16,384 thread system with 64TB of memory that Oracle is currently developing. Solaris 11 is expected around the second half of 2011.

    • OpenOffice 3.3 Beta: The Shape of Things to Come?

      The motto for the 3.3 release is “Fit and Trim.” The phrase is vague, but suggests a concern with interface improvements. This impression is reinforced by the first item on the features list, which is “First Achievements of the Renaissance Project,” an OpenOffice.org sub-project focused on improving the interface. Further confirmation, if any is needed, is provided by the fact that only a few new features are scheduled and the rest are enhancements of existing features.

      The 3.3 release is available on the OpenOffice.org site in 323 and 64 bit .RPM and .DEB packages, as well as source tarballs. Regardless of your choice of formats, the release installs into a separate sub-directory of /opt, allowing it to co-exist with other OpenOffice.org releases. To start the release, click /opt/ooo-dev3/program/soffice. The build is relatively stable, and documents created in it can be opened in earlier versions of OpenOffice.org, but you should probably use 3.3 sparingly in case of problems.

  • CMS

    • Webiva Delivers Open Source Content Management on Rails

      Webiva is yet another content management system that aims to give the likes of WordPress, Joomla and Drupal some competition. The difference? In addition to being an open source, Ruby on Rails system, Webiva comes packed with a SaaS hosting platform that cuts out a ton of management hassle.

    • Webiva Launches SaaS Hosting Platform for its CMS

      Webiva.com allows web professionals to build websites on a load-balanced, backed-up and replicated cloud without the hassle of installing and maintaining a Ruby on Rails installation. It competes with other web 2.0 CMSs like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress.

  • Education

  • Business

  • Project Releases

    • Lightspark is a Nifty Open Source Flash Alternative

      The developer of free, open source flash player Lightspark announced the release of Lightspark 0.4.3. In addition to a number of bugfixes, the software includes a number of additional features since the last release.

  • Government

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Collaborative Democracy: Beth Noveck on Reengineering Civic Life

      We did a small experiment along these lines with the Peer to Patent project, which seized upon the truth that each of us is an expert in something. The idea behind Peer to Patent was to take the problem of bureaucratic slowdown and inefficiency in the patent office, and to marry to this the idea of self-selected expertise. This would create a process by which people could volunteer in a self-selected way, and work together to help discover information that would help an examiner decide whether a patent truly deserve a 20-year grant of monopoly rights – whether the patent is truly non-obvious and novel as the law requires. By creating a software interface and system that would allow groups of people to self-select, come together, and review each other’s works, some of the burden would be taken off the beleaguered government examiner. By using visual interfaces to help reflect back to and explain to people clearly what it is that the examiner needs to do, and how they divide up the tasks of examining a patent, we were able to set up a project not removed from government but together with government – the first institutionalized social network in the U.S. federal government to participate in the work of decision-making.

    • Textbook rental: one of best ways for students to save money

      Another option could be open-source textbooks, as are available on curriki.org, a nonprofit that seeks to provide “universal access to free curricula and instructional materials for grades K-12,” according to its website. For college professors, though, who are generally very specific about which textbook their students work from, it could be a long time before open-source curricula are adopted widely.

    • Open Hardware

Leftovers

  • Science

    • E=mc2? Not on Conservapedia

      In a footnote, this comment is followed up by: “Virtually no one who is taught and believes relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold.”

      Does relativity really steer people away from God? Or maybe – and this is just a theory, to use their favourite phrase – the same kinds of people who study general relativity are simply less likely to consult the Bible for answers to the questions of the universe.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Portugal Gives Itself a Clean-Energy Makeover

      Five years ago, the leaders of this sun-scorched, wind-swept nation made a bet: To reduce Portugal’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, they embarked on an array of ambitious renewable energy projects — primarily harnessing the country’s wind and hydropower, but also its sunlight and ocean waves.

  • Finance

    • Market Drop Worldwide Signals Fears on Recovery

      As economic recovery wavers in the United States, evidence is mounting that growth abroad is also slowing and may be unable to sustain the fragile rebound here.

    • Judge orders Wells Fargo to pay back $203M in fees

      A federal judge in California ordered Wells Fargo & Co. to change what he called “unfair and deceptive business practices” that led customers into paying multiple overdraft fees, and to pay $203 million back to customers.

    • Californians’ income sees 1st decline since WWII

      The personal income of California residents declined last year for the first time since World War II, state officials said Wednesday.

      An analysis by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis found that statewide income fell by $40 billion in 2009 to $1.56 trillion. That’s down about 2.5 percent from the previous year and even lower than the 2007 figure.

    • Trade gap likely points to slower economic growth

      The United States is selling fewer products around the world and spending more on cheap imported goods, an imbalance that hurts the job market at home and means the economy is even weaker than previously thought.

      The trade deficit of nearly $50 billion for June is the biggest in almost two years, and economists fear that economic growth for the second quarter, which came in at a sluggish rate of 2.4 percent in early estimates, may turn out to be only half that.

    • Chaos in U.S. markets on trade deficit, global data

      Stocks were deeply in the red Wednesday after the U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly and a string of weak economic reports from Asia and Europe heightened concerns that the global recovery is veering off track.

    • Some job-screening tactics challenged as illegal

      Companies using criminal records or bad credit reports to screen out job applicants might run afoul of anti-discrimination laws as the government steps up scrutiny of hiring policies that can hurt blacks and Hispanics.

    • Global Youth Unemployment Reaches New High

      Youth unemployment across the world has climbed to a new high and is likely to climb further this year, a United Nations agency said Thursday, while warning of a “lost generation” as more young people give up the search for work.

    • Airline staffs hits record lows, with room to fall

      Full flights? Get used to them. Stressed flight attendants and call centers in India? Get used to those, too.

      While the current state of the U.S. airline industry can be frustrating for passengers, it’s bad for employees, too – and some suggest it’s getting worse.

      U.S. airlines have cut jobs for two straight years, the government said Wednesday, an acceleration of a trend since 2001. What’s worse for employees: There’s no indication that trend will reverse sharply anytime soon.

    • Wells Fargo Overdraft Lawsuit: Bank Ordered To Pay $203 MILLION In Fees Over ‘Unfair’ Charges

      A federal judge in California ordered Wells Fargo & Co. to change what he called “unfair and deceptive business practices” that led customers into paying multiple overdraft fees, and to pay $203 million back to customers.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Libel Tourism Law Official… Including Important Nod To Section 230 Safe Harbors

      We spend a lot of time discussing bad legislation around here, every so often it’s nice to hear of some good legislation. Last month, we noted that an anti-libel tourism bill was making its way through Congress, which would protect US citizens from foreign libel judgments on laws that went against the First Amendment. Thankfully, that bill has now been signed into law — and it may be even better than we initially expected. That’s because, at the urging of folks such as Public Citizen, Congress inserted a bit into the law that also extends the important Section 230 safe harbors to this bill.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Rupert Murdoch fights to take the ‘sky’ out of ‘Skype’

      A spokesman for Sky, which is 39.1pc-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, said the company was trying to prevent Skype from using its trademark in relation to the sale of TV or internet service, because customer might assume that ‘Skype’ is part of Sky.

    • Copyrights

      • Why US Copyright Group abandoned its first two P2P lawsuits

        US Copyright Group, which is controlled by Virginia law firm Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, has sued more than 14,000 Americans this year for allegedly downloading various independent films on BitTorrent networks. In January, it brought the first two of these cases, targeting 749 anonymous “Does” for sharing the film The Gray Man and 83 Does for sharing Uncross the Stars (later upgraded to 195 Does).

        US Copyright Group used the suits to subpoena ISPs, trying to get real names and addresses instead of the IP addresses it had collected. The lawyers then sent out settlement letters to these defendants, asking them to pay up or risk a named federal lawsuit.

      • French Citizen Beats Government to Trademarking HADOPI

        HADOPI is effectively an anti-piracy organization that oversees and enforces Frances three strikes law. Unfortunately for HADOPI, someone else took the Trademark of ‘HADOPI’ – someone who just so happens to be opposed by the new French copyright laws to be more precise.

      • After Hundreds Of ‘Empire State Of Mind’ Parodies… Why Does EMI Suddenly Take One Down?

        Even odder? Apparently EMI has issued a takedown notice for just that one video pulling it off YouTube. This is despite literally hundreds of Empire State of Mind parodies on YouTube. Those 55 best parodies? They’re all on YouTube (with the exception of the Darth Vader one…). Honestly, I thought this had to be a mistake, or some weird Content ID error by YouTube. Considering the vast number of these parodies that have all remained up this whole time, would EMI really issue a takedown for this one parody?

      • New antipiracy countermeasures await returning students
      • Viacom to appeal YouTube copyright decision

        In a move that surprises no one, Viacom plans to appeal the ruling that struck down its lawsuit against YouTube and Google earlier this year.

      • Viacom To Google: We Are Appealing The YouTube Decision

        We are not lawyers, but as the last case was dropped by ’summary judgement,’ we doubt the ability of Viacom to turn the tables in their favor. They lost hard in the last dispute, what can they do to change that this time around? Still, the company has its arms out and is pushing forward yet again. Perhaps after another judge sticks with YouTube they will drop the case. Then again, perhaps not.

      • Copyright Boss Refuses Debate with Pirate Bay Co-Founder

        Werner Müller, boss of the Austrian film and music industry trade association, has canceled his participation in a panel discussion on “Art in the Digital Age” after he learned that Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde was one of his fellow participants. Müller stated that he refuses to sit at a table with a “convicted criminal” who supports “professional theft”.

Clip of the Day

Richard Stallman Speech UCSD 2007


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