08.16.10

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Links 16/8/2010: ARM-based Servers Project, MeeGo Status

Posted in News Roundup at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Yet Another ARMed Server Project

      That other OS doesn’t work on them so this is another growth opportunity for GNU/Linux. This all comes together when folks are looking at virtual desktops, too. These things could compete very well with blade servers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Main development phase for Linux kernel 2.6.36 concluded

        Linus Torvalds has released the first pre-release version of Linux 2.6.36 and closed the merge window – the first phase in the development cycle, during which the bulk of changes for a new kernel version are merged into the main development tree. The usual announcement mail for the new kernel is currently nowhere to be found, but the RC1 is tagged in the Kernel Git tree and available for download on Kernel.org.

  • Applications

    • Using Some Imagination
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Gaming Benchmarks: Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu Linux

        The results from this OpenGL game testing are similar to that of our workstation results earlier this month: for the most part, there is not a huge difference in performance between Microsoft Windows 7 Professional and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. With Lightsmark and Nexuiz when more taxing on the graphics card the NVIDIA graphics driver under Windows moved forward, but with the most demanding Unigine tests the performance was about the same. Of course, these results are just representative with regard to NVIDIA’s proprietary driver on both platforms, with the results likely to be different when using the ATI Catalyst driver or if comparing the performance to the Linux Mesa/Gallium3D driver stack, in which case the Linux performance would be abysmal.

  • Distributions

    • My first pocket Operating System – Slax

      I never owned a USB flash drive, until recently. I needed one not just for data transfer requirements but because I always wanted to carry an operating system with me. While trying out differnet OSs with various installation methods, my system sometimes had tremendous breakdowns and the only way to access & backup the data was to boot into a LIVE session. Luckily, I came across this really small pocket operating system, Slax. Its just 200 mb and the method to get it bootable on a flash drive is probably the quickest and most effortless of all I have ever used.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Community Simple – PCLinuxOS in Action

        I have mentioned PCLinuxOS in my other Linux posts because it is a good solid distribution, and works well with any computer I have installed it on. I downloaded the latest PCLinuxOS iso using Gnome desktop, and copied it to CD. It booted up and ran as it always does, perfectly. The real test was the wireless connection. I set up the wireless, and the network was waiting as it should be. The biggest hurdle was solved.

        I proceeded to install PCLinuxOS on all the laptops, and for the most part they all work identically with the exception of two. One of the Laptops occasionally drops the wireless in Windows, and another occasionally drops it in Linux. I do not think that is a fault of the operating systems, but rather the nature of the network itself.

        If you read some of what various Linux Guru’s write, they will tell you Linux is Linux. It is the Kernel that makes Linux unique and everything else is programming to support the Kernel functions. While there is no doubt this is true, it is PCLinuxOS going the extra step to include an older wireless driver in the right rev that made it possible for those Laptops to use Linux, and enjoy a solid eight month uptime as of this writing.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Comments on Fedora 13

          I installed Fedora 13 on Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th as unlucky day may be a myth, but my experience with Fedora 13 was not.

          The first problem ws the install DVD boot menu. If I touched any key, including the cursor keys, the boot menu would hang. The only option was to let the clock run down to perform an install. It acted like the GRUB 2 menu problem that I encounter with Linux Mint 8. After the boot menu, there were no problems with the install.

          I installed Fedora on an HP Pavilion ze4300 laptop that only has 512 megabytes of memory. Since Fedora 13 includes XFCE as a graphical desktop, I decided to try it, instead of Gnome. Alas, the venture with XFCE came to a quick end.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Linux to go multi-touch

          This doesn’t mean that Ubuntu is heading toward making a Linux for tablets ala Android or MeeGo.

        • Multi-touch Support Lands in Maverick

          Canonical is pleased to announce the release of uTouch 1.0, Ubuntu’s multi-touch and gesture stack. With Ubuntu 10.10 (the Maverick Meerkat), users and developers will have an end-to-end touch-screen framework — from the kernel all the way through to applications. Our multi-touch team has worked closely with the Linux kernel and X.org communities to improve drivers, add support for missing features, and participate in the touch advances being made in open source world. To complete the stack, we’ve created an open source gesture recognition engine and defined |a gesture API that provides a means for applications to obtain and use gesture events from the uTouch gesture engine.

        • Ubuntu Linux: I like it, but it doesn’t like me
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Xubuntu 10.10: Becoming More Unique

            The upcoming release of Ubuntu 10.10 promises a variety of new features for Ubuntu’s desktop and server editions. But it will also bring significant changes for Ubuntu’s lightweight cousin, Xubuntu. Here’s a look at some of the most important updates for the Xfce-based Ubuntu variant, including several that will increase its independence from standard Ubuntu.

            Admittedly, until I downloaded the Xubuntu alpha 3 release, it had been a while since I tried the distribution. I used to run it on some lower-end machines, but I gave it up a couple years ago because the performance improvement over Gnome-based Ubuntu was not drastic enough to justify the features missing in Xfce, at least for me.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo: Where Are We Now?

          We established a robust governance structure led by our Technical Steering Group with people leading all of the various aspects of the project: program management, architecture, maintainers, community and more. While we have quite a few of the people identified for key areas, we are still in the process of continuing to add more details and beginning to define how the working groups and compliance efforts will be structured.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Evolution of Sharing

      Sharing is an invaluable and valueless transaction fundamental to our daily lives. We are social animals all invested in a massive species-wide collaboration to survive and thrive. We share for mutual benefit, for altruism, for deferred returns, and, increasingly, because we are compelled to contribute to the global brain. Facebook & Twitter are perhaps the latest apotheosis of this shift towards the compulsive sharing of everything in our lives. And it is this condition that seems to represent something uniquely spiritual, or at least inchoate and just beyond rational apprehension, about our progression into the 21st century: the boundaries around the Other and shadows held within are falling to the illumination of the global consciousness.

    • Open Data/Government Transparency

    • Open Access/Content

      • BMJ Open: accessible medical research

        BMJ Open is an open access journal for general medical research. Using a continuous publication model the journal will provide rapid publication for research from any medical discipline or therapeutic area.

Leftovers

  • Health

    • Drug firms hiding negative research are unfit to experiment on people

      This week the drug company AstraZeneca paid out £125m to settle a class action. More than 17,500 patients claim the company withheld information showing that schizophrenia drug quetiapine (tradename Seroquel) can cause diabetes. So why do companies pay out money before cases get to court?

      An interesting feature of litigation is that various documents enter the public domain. This is how we know about the tobacco industry’s evil plans to target children, the fake academic journal that Elsevier created for Merck’s marketing department, and so on.

      One of the most revealing documents ever to come out of a drug company emerged from an earlier quetiapine case: an email from John Tumas, publications manager at AstraZeneca. In it, he helpfully admits that they do everything I say drug companies do.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Russia launches inquiry into Pavlovsk seed bank after Twitter campaign

      The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, has ordered an immediate inquiry into the potential destruction of the world’s oldest seed bank following a court case and a Twitter campaign by Guardian readers and others.

      The fate of the station appeared to be sealed last week when a court ruled in favour of the Pavlovsk research station and its surrounding farmland being turned into private housing. It holds the world’s largest fruit collections and was protected by 12 Russian scientists during the second world war who chose to starve to death rather than eat the unique collection of seeds and plants which they were guarding during the 900-day siege of Leningrad.

    • Pakistan flood response prompts rising anti-government resentment

      The agricultural heartland has been wiped out, which will cause spiralling food prices and shortages. Many roads and irrigation canals have been destroyed, along with electricity supply infrastructure.

    • BP to pay $50m fine for safety violations after Texas City explosion

      Beleaguered oil giant BP has agreed to pay a record $50.6m (£32.5m) fine for failing to fix hazards at its Texas City oil refinery in the wake of a disastrous explosion that killed 15 people five years ago.

      The fine imposed by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the largest penalty ever issued by the watchdog, although it is dwarfed by the billions that BP is set to pay out for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Fishing legacy fades from some New England ports

      Tourists swarmed the town pier in the 1970s and ’80s, snapping pictures and bantering with commercial fishermen as they unloaded another shimmering haul for Secondo’s company, Reliable Fish, to truck to points south.

  • Finance

    • China overtakes Japan as world’s second-largest economy

      Japan lost its place as the world’s second-largest economy to China in the second quarter as receding global growth sapped momentum and stunted a shaky recovery.

      Gross domestic product grew at an annualised rate of just 0.4%, the Japanese government said today, far below the annualised 4.4% expansion in the first quarter. The news added to evidence that the global recovery is facing strong headwinds.

    • Pensions and the Public

      One of the conservative causes du jour is the parlous state of public employee pensions these days. And there’s no question that this really is a problem. Thanks to years of overoptimistic economic projections and the habit of politicians to prefer future cost increases to current cost increases, public pension funds are pretty seriously underfunded right now. That means taxpayers are going to have to come up with many billions of additional dollars to fund pensions at the levels that have been promised to public workers.

    • Attacking Social Security

      Meanwhile, an aging population will eventually (over the course of the next 20 years) cause the cost of paying Social Security benefits to rise from its current 4.8 percent of G.D.P. to about 6 percent of G.D.P. To give you some perspective, that’s a significantly smaller increase than the rise in defense spending since 2001, which Washington certainly didn’t consider a crisis, or even a reason to rethink some of the Bush tax cuts.

    • Obama claims GOP trying to destroy Social Security

      President Barack Obama used the anniversary of Social Security to trumpet Democrats’ support for the popular program and accuse Republicans of trying to destroy it.

    • Construction Workers’ Union to Rejoin A.F.L.-C.I.O.

      A spokesman for the laborers, David Miller, declined to confirm the decision. But he said that leaders of his union, which has 800,000 members and represents construction workers, would have more to say after a meeting on Sunday. Mr. Trumka told the federation’s executive council last week that the move would become final in October.

    • Destroying Social Security to ‘Save’ It: the Arithmetic of Benefit Cuts

      We know what the Trustees say: 100% of scheduled benefits payable through 2037 and 78% after that declining to 75% at the end of the projection period. Meaning that any proposal based on a crisis defined by “threatened future benefits” that produces a worse result in 2037 and after is some mixture of ineffectiveness and bait and switch, particularly if if also cuts benefits BEFORE 2037, from the perspective of the future retiree no matter what the age that proposal represents a dead loss. For workers the simplest benchmark is ’22%’, any ‘fix’ in excess of that is just theft from workers serving to advance some other purpose. Those purposes might be worthwhile on their own, but it is up to proponents to make the case to a democratic majority why the tradeoff is actually either in the interest of the nation and/or the vast majority of that nation that participates in Social Security.

    • Don’t like your banking fees? Tell the FDIC.

      In the financial world, we’re fed up with a lot of things. For example, it’s time for a Slater Slide for offensively high overdraft fees and bank check-cashing policies that can boost those fees.

    • New Rules on Finance to Be Done in the Open

      The Federal Reserve, which was given expanded responsibilities to protect the financial system, plans to require all staff members, not just senior officials, to keep track of every meeting with private sector representatives about the rule-writing required under the new law, including who was present and what was discussed. Summaries of the meetings will be routinely released on the Fed’s Web site.

    • Rising Profits Are Good, but There’s a Catch

      While higher profits are normally deemed good news, it matters why they are rising. “The same thing that caused the profit gains is squeezing now,” Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S.& P., said. “It is the lack of jobs.”

    • ‘Good ol’ boys’ in Warren’s way?

      She can’t get 60 votes in the Senate, some say — too polarizing. Others say Warren’s outspoken public persona and left-leaning impulses are an uncomfortable fit for the new post riding herd on Wall Street, where she has few backers.

    • Techno-Thriller: Why Was Goldman Sachs So Worried About One Nerdy Sentence?

      It sounds like the plot to a dozen movies: Picture a corporation so powerful that its tentacles circle the globe and reach into the highest corridors of power. Yet a single sentence on an ex-employee’s obscure website forces it to move into action. That sentence is so important that it leaves the corporation with no choice but to make that employee …

      No, not disappear. They just made him delete it. (This is where the movie comparisons end.) But the question is, why? The sentence described the Goldman Sachs risk system, SecDB (which stands for securities database). It read: “Unbeknownst to most of the non-strategists, you could see basically every position and holding across the company, whether you were supposed to or not.”

    • In This Play, One Role Is Enough

      These companies — the biggest are Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citibank — operate as the back office for the mortgage lending industry. In good times, their tasks are fairly simple: they take in monthly mortgage payments and distribute them to whoever owns the loans. In many cases, large institutions like pension funds or mutual funds own the mortgages, and servicers are obligated to act in their interests at all times.

      When borrowers are defaulting in droves, as they are now, loan servicing becomes much more complex and laborious. Servicers must chase delinquent borrowers for payments and otherwise manage these uneasy relationships, possibly into foreclosure.

    • Why Girly Jobs Don’t Pay Well

      More than 97 percent of employees in kindergarten and preschool teaching are women. Though women now average higher levels of educational attainment than men, many continue to enter occupations dominated by women where wages are relatively low.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google CEO Suggests You Change Your Name to Escape His Permanent Record

      Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a great way of making public statements that are at once frank, unorthodox, thought provoking – and a little frightening. This weekend The Wall St. Journal ran an interview with Schmidt that offered tidbits like that on a wide range of topics. One statement in particular, that Schmidt thinks teenagers should be entitled to change their names upon reaching adulthood in order to separate themselves from the Google record of their youthful indiscretions, is something worth stopping to take note of.

    • South African journalists condemn efforts to silence them

      Royal sex scandals rarely come riper. A government minister is caught in bed with the king’s wife – in fact, one of the king’s 14 wives. Ndumiso Mamba, justice minister in Swaziland, is forced to resign and could yet face much worse from King Mswati III.

      But just about the last people to read this story were those in Swaziland itself. The censorious atmosphere in the tiny, impoverished kingdom contrasts with South Africa, where newspapers had a field day.

    • Clueless Commentators Think That It’s Possible To Stop Wikileaks

      Marc Thiessen is a former Bush speechwriter, who seems to have tried to make a second career out of saying really clueless things as loudly as possible. Lately he’s been on a rampage against Wikileaks, first suggesting that it somehow made sense to use US military power to track down and capture Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. This resulted in a reporter pointing out that Thiessen’s response to Wikileaks is like the RIAA’s response to Napster: destined to backfire due to a basic misunderstanding of the internet.

      Apparently Thiessen either didn’t read or understand that response. Or, perhaps in the business of being loud and wrong, he just doesn’t care. He’s since written a few more pieces attacking Wikileaks, including directly blaming it for an Afghan tribal leader being killed… though in the very next sentence he admits he doesn’t know if that had anything to do with Wikileaks. Accuse first, find out the truth later, huh?

    • A war on drugs? No, this is a war on the Mexican people
    • Russian police arrest 35 to prevent protest at Moscow mayor’s office
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net Neutrality: what does the Google Verizon proposal mean for GNU Linux?

      With GNU/Linux on the desktop and the server, costs can be reduced considerably. what a pity it would be to see those savings frittered away by having to purchase premium access in a net un-neutral world. The irony is that if the internet loses net neutrality where will the next Google or Napster, dreamed up in a suburban garage by citizen programmers, come from? If Microsoft Windows had been the only platform available when Google was starting up, the cost of Windows licences for their first server farm might have sunk them before they got off the ground; but they had free and open source software, and they should remember that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Radio, RIAA: mandatory FM radio in cell phones is the future

        Music labels and radio broadcasters can’t agree on much, including whether radio should be forced to turn over hundreds of millions of dollars a year to pay for the music it plays. But the two sides can agree on this: Congress should mandate that FM radio receivers be built into cell phones, PDAs, and other portable electronics.

        The Consumer Electronics Association, whose members build the devices that would be affected by such a directive, is incandescent with rage. “The backroom scheme of the [National Association of Broadcasters] and RIAA to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity,” thundered CEA president Gary Shapiro. Such a move is “not in our national interest.”

        “Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace, NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do.”

      • The Insanity Of Music Licensing: In One Single Graphic

        What you see there is basically the result of a century or so of “bolting on” new licenses due to changes in the market, rather than any concerted effort to look at whether or not the underlying laws or licenses make sense. It’s the result of massive regulatory capture, as industries unwilling to change just run to the gov’t and demand to be compensated even as their old business models are going away. At what point do people say it’s time to scrap this mess and start from scratch?

      • Freakonomics Flips The Window: Releasing Movie Online Before In Theaters

        We’ve talked numerous times about the movie industry’s love affair with release windows, where they basically try to get people to pay for things multiple times by releasing them in different formats at different times. The first window, normally, is the theatrical release — and the theaters go absolutely livid if anyone suggests shortening the theatrical release window. Heaven forbid anyone go so far as to suggest something as “radical” as a so-called day and date release, where it’s released in all formats at the same time, and watch the theaters go ballistic and boycott the film, as a startling admission that they don’t think they can compete with home theaters.

        So, it’s quite interesting to see that the Freakonomics movie that’s coming out in the fall is apparently going to flip the windows over.

      • Hollywood Targets 8.2 Million Torrents at Bitsnoop

        While Bitsnoop may not have the profile of The Pirate Bay, make no mistake, this site is a major BitTorrent player. The site indexes more than 8 million torrents linking to roughly 9 petabytes of data. In the last few days Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN began threatening the site with the clear aim of bringing its activities to an end.

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DecorWhat Else is New


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  24. Peak Code — Part I: Before the Wars

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  28. The Future of Techrights

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