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08.23.10

Links 23/8/2010: GNU/Linux in the Financial World, Linux 2.6.36 RC2, Gnash 0.8.8 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • I Lost the Discs (with the drivers)

    As she is 37 weeks pregnant and cannot move much, I found the box and checked it, but the camera driver was missing. For a split second, a flash of an ancient fear traveled through my body. My wife saw my face and calmly said to me: “Maybe I lost it…” I immediately understood my wife’s peace. SHE NEVER USES WINDOWS ANYWAY. If ALL the drivers are lost, what is the problem? No worry whatsoever. A Mandriva install gave her everything she needs to use her computer.

  • Open Source: Like A Damned Phoenix

    2007 was a different world. Linux was taking a harsh beating on all sides. While its smartphone OS market share was growing, that growth was far from rapid. Symbian held a commanding lead and, while iOS was still comparatively tiny, the astounding success of the first iPhone had everyone anticipating Apple dominance in the near future.

    In the realm of servers, a traditional Linux strongpoint, the open-source OS was starting to see a reversal of fortunes. Windows Server was ascendant, and over in the desktop market Linux barely even counted as a player. Open source failed in the world of big gray and black boxes, and for a time it seemed as if it might die out as a viable OS choice altogether. Articles fretting over the limited future of the open source movement feared that it was doomed to be marginalized at best.

    Then along came Android.

    Netbooks started to gain traction. Then they started to give way to something even more convenient (and sexy); the iPad.

    Now Linux is ascendent, while pundits fret over the death of the desktop. Consumers want to be mobile now. Apple addicted the whole damn world with that first hit of iPhone, and now we’re jonesin’ for any sexy, slim piece of tech with a touchscreen and decent wireless connectivity.

  • Desktop

    • More stuff you can, but shouldn’t, do

      Remember 3ddesktop? Before Compiz was adopted as the messiah of the Linux desktop experience, 3ddesktop was the way cool kids spun their work environments and dazzled their Windows-using friends.

      And it was pretty cool — it never was nearly the catalog of intricate bells and whistles that Compiz is, but it did a decent job in the eye candy department.

      Of course, it did require a little video muscle to use. But considering its last update was in 2005, you could — and still can — get away with running it on a single-core machine with a ground-level video card that has a little acceleration to it. Even something as underpowered as this should do it.

    • Is Linux Publicity Targeting the Right Market?

      As a matter of fact, what IS the right market for Linux?

      The mythical Average User? No way. The average user wants a computer that performs the tasks set for it. Those people are in the market for a computer, a real, physical machine, a tangible object with a keyboard (real or imaged), a mouse (or trackpad/trackball/touchscreen), and a display screen. The Average User scarcely notices, and certainly cares less, what sequence of binary commands course through the CPU to translate input into action.

    • A Glimpse of Ubuntu Desktops in the Financial World

      These guys easily have 35,000 square inches of LCD monitors running Ubuntu desktops, displaying in real time thousands of graphs, metrics, monitors, and statuses. Hundreds of multi-head desktops running 8.04 to 10.04, attached to 17″ to 42″ Samsung LCDs, Ubuntu logos everywhere I turned!

      There is no doubt that across both Server and Desktop, Ubuntu is proving itself in enterprise environments. Linux is here, there, everywhere, and Ubuntu is a very important player, helping make that happen. I take great pride in what we’re achieving together!

    • Dumping Windows, moving on with Linux, update

      I chose Fedora 13 and I am extremely happy that I did. Not only has it breathed new life into these PCs which were at crawling speeds with XP, but everything is working much cleaner and now I can rest assured that they will be virus and spyware free for quite some time. I’m not going to forget that Linux does have viruses and spyware, but it’s so uncommon that there’s no sense in worrying around the clock about it.

      In my cases, the various software that was required was already being used in Windows, with the exception of MS Office, which I have them using OpenOffice 3.2 as a replacement. There have been some minor formatting issues at first, with documents that were imported from MS Office. These will be corrected along the way as the documents are used. But other programs such as Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, etc. are equivalent across multiple platforms, making the transition easier.

  • Server

    • IBM Cuts Power Systems Shops a Linux Price Break

      Big Blue has wanted you to run Linux and AIX on your OS/400 and i platforms for the better part of a decade now, and maybe you have and maybe you haven’t. Maybe Linux is now commercial enough that you feel like ditching Windows for certainly infrastructure and application serving jobs. If you do, and you have some latent capacity sitting around in your Power6, Power6+, and selected Power7 machines, then IBM has a deal for you.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.36-rc2

      Another week, another -rc. I didn’t really ever get around to announcing -rc1 when I released it, and we had enough niggling small problems (like a memory corruptor in the HID layer that ended up
      causing some random problems etc) there that I never got around to fixing that lack of announcement. And hopefully -rc2 is a good point to correct the lack of earlier commentary.

    • systemd Status Update

      It has been a while since my original announcement of systemd. Here’s a little status update, on what happened since then.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Make use of the KDE 4.5 Clipboard

        Klipper is the KDE 4.5 clipboard and it is not your average clipboard tool. Unlike most operating system clipboards, Klippy gives the user quick and easy access to not just the last object copied, but multiple objects copied. Klipper is so powerful a clipboard tool, you will wonder why other operating systems don’t mimic the features and functionality. Klipper is also so powerful that most users won’t take advantage of it’s full range of features.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • W7 Theme for Ubuntu Brings Windows 7′s Familiar GUI to Linux

        Linux: W7 Theme is a free script that skins your Linux desktop with a familiar Windows 7 look and feel.

      • Debian swirl in Gnome

        The Debian desktop is pretty much Gnome with some Debian wallpaper. The default Main Menu icon is the Gnome foot.
        To replace the Gnome foot with the Debian Swirl, replace the start-here.svg or start-here.png image with an appropriate Debian Swirl image.

  • Distributions

    • Which Linux is the most popular Linux?

      As everyone who ever tried it knows that trying to count how many people use a particular Linux distribution is almost impossible. Now, Rick Lehrbaum, founder of LinuxDevices and a friend and former editor of mine, has tried a new and interesting way to count Linux users on his new site, LinuxTrends: look at Google search results for the various Linux distributions.

      Some of the results aren’t surprising. Ubuntu has become far more popular than the other mainstream distributions of 2004/2005: SUSE Linux, Fedora, Debian and Mandrake/Mandriva.

    • Reviews

      • North Korea Linux (Red Star OS)

        Obviously, this is not a distro that most people should use. It’s a curiosity created by an oppressive government, and it’s a travesty that the open nature of Linux was used in this rather perverse manner. It’s a good example of how even the best things in life can be taken and distorted.

        I don’t recommend it to anyone, beyond simply being a curiosity. Distrohoppers might have a bit of fun installing it to play with, but it will also creep them out. It certainly creeped me out while writing this review. So perhaps it’s best if nobody else installs it.

        One thing puzzles me though; the North Koreans are usually heavy on the propaganda stuff (see the Vice Guide to North Korea videos at the beginning of the review). And yet, they appear to have blown a major propaganda opportunity. They could have released this distro around the world in different languages, with lots of propaganda built into it for each language. Instead, they released it only in Korean. Odd.

      • Lightweight Distro Roundup: Day 5 – Dreamlinux

        Day Five. If you are wondering, yes we have had other things going on this weekend. Among the things I did was try and get Dreamlinux 3.5 working for Elzje, and I spent my Friday evening with my friend Renier Meyer painting a wall in his new house and eating epic pizza.

      • Feature: Taking a Long Look at Salix OS 13.1.1

        The Salix OS developers do meet their stated goals: making a distribution for “lazy Slackers” rather than one that is generally easy to use for everyone. Some other Slackware derivatives, such as VectorLinux and Zenwalk, have done more to make their distributions friendly to Linux newcomers at the cost of straying further away from their Slackware roots. Salix OS developers made a conscious choice to go in a different direction. In some ways Salix OS reminds me of VectorLinux four or five years ago: it definitely takes me more time to install, configure and tweak it to suit my needs than a typical Linux distro does but, much like VectorLinux back then, the end results are definitely worth the effort. How much effort depends very much on the hardware used, as the very different results with my two systems illustrate.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Why this Linux Fan roots for MeeGo – not Android

          Some people will tell you fragmentation is one of the main things that is holding back Linux from desktop adoption. Not having a unified name, packaging system, or heck even desktop environment often confuses new users and puts them into overload – Too much choice can be a bad thing.

          Android is currently the only real player in the Linux mobile market. Now don’t get me wrong, I am glad Android jumped in record time to right near the top of the smart phone market. I’m also glad that through this success it has put the power of Linux into the hands of millions of people (many of whom are none the wiser about their penguin powered device).

      • Android

        • Pocketbook announces color touch screen Android powered e-reader and more

          Manufacturing upstart PocketBook is clearly still gung ho about e-readers, judging by the five new models it has announced will be released at IFA in September, which include a pair of entry-level ProBook 602 and 902 units, as well as the ProBook 603 and 903 premium units. The 60x designated models sport 6-inch screens, while the 90x models have a bigger 9.7-inch. All models will feature 2GB of internal storage, a Linux-based OS, and include WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Top Free Linux for Netbooks

        In one of my previous articles I talked about the use of Linux as a free alternative to Windows. Now most people choose to use Windows on computers mainly because of compliance, as some software/games run only on Windows. We wouldn’t even argue that some software are better functionally than their Linux-based alternative. No contests for guessing the superior office suite between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.

        Since the last two years, the inception of Netbooks has brought in a new wave of affordable computers that can be easily carried around anywhere. Netbooks were not designed to replace laptops and are meant to be used for basic tasks. Tasks such as browsing the net, working with office productivity suites, watching a movie or playing a few songs etc. You really don’t want to try and run 3D MAX or encode HD videos on it.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Using Open Source to Bootstrap Your Data Service

    Last week SimpleGeo and their partner Stamen Design jointly released a project they have been working on together called Polymaps. It’s absolutely beautiful and a stunning example of what you can do with the SimpleGeo API. They’ve released the Polymaps source code on GitHub so any developer can quickly see how the API is used, play around with real production code, and modify the base examples for their own use.

  • Are open source defences crumbling?

    What do you think? Are proprietary companies taking over the open source world? Are they, bit by bit, applying the divide and conquer strategy with a future outcome that open source as yet cannot see? Are open source defences crumbling because they only think about the here and now while proprietary companies look far beyond the horizon? So many questions and I have no answers.

  • Matterhorn: Open source lecture recording tool

    After more than a year of research and development, the Opencast project under the patronage of the University of California Berkeley has presented the Matterhorn 1.0 lecture recording system. The German (virtUOS) Centre for Information Management and Virtual Teaching at the University of Osnabrück was a major contributor to this undertaking.

  • Events

    • Judges named for NZ Open Source awards

      Seven open source experts will form the judging panel of the 2010 Open Source Awards, due to be held in Wellington on November 9th.

      The panel includes two New Zealand Open Source Society (NZOSS) Presidents, current President Rachel Hamilton-Williams and past-President Don Christie; Foo Camp founder Nat Torkington; WebFund Chairman, Dave Moskovitz; Richard Wyles, Director of Flexible Learning Network/Mahara; and Telecom Mobile Engineer Amber Craig.

    • FOSDEM 2011 Is The 5th & 6th Of February

      The staff behind the Free Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) have just announced that the 2011 conference will take place on the 5th and 6th of February. This is the first weekend of February, which is right around the time that the other FOSDEMs have taken place. Like always, this event will be taking place in Brussels, Belgium.

  • Oracle

    • OpenSolaris Governance Board resigns

      As it had previously threatened, the OpenSolaris Governance Board (OGB) has now resigned. The dissolution motion was proposed and passed unopposed in a fourteen minute long meeting of the OGB.

  • BSD

  • Gnash

    • Gnash 0.8.8 Released

      We just released an improved GNU Flash player, Gnash 0.8.8. Gnash plays SWF (Shockwave Flash) files compatible with the Adobe Flash player. Gnash is portable software released under the GNU GPLv3. It runs on GNU/Linux, embedded GNU + Linux systems, and BSD, including x86, ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, and 64-bit systems. It comes with a standalone player as well as a browser plugin compatible with Firefox, Chrome, Konqueror, and all Gecko-based browsers.

    • Gnash 0.8.8 Claims To Support All YouTube Videos, But Is It Good Enough?

      So is it worth using Gnash over the proprietary Adobe Flash Player? I would say: not yet, but Gnash is taking huge steps forward and soon we should have a viable open source Flash Player alternative that can do everything Adobe’s Flash does, and with some actual Linux support, specially now that Adobe discontinued its Flash Player 10.1 64bit for Linux.

    • Gnash 0.8.8 Released, claims 100% of all YouTube videos now work
  • Government

    • EU: Guide on procurement of open source revised

      The Guideline on public procurement of Open Source Software, was revised in June 2010. The latest version includes references to recent procurement policies developed by Spain and Malta and to this year’s approval by Italy’s constitutional court on the country’s Piedmont regional administration procurement law.

      Both Spain and Malta this year adopted policies that specify that when their public organisations distribute open source applications, they will by default use the European Union Public Licence (EUPL).

Leftovers

  • Got a blog that makes no money? The city wants $300, thank you very much.

    In May, the city sent Bess a letter demanding that she pay $300, the price of a business privilege license.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Police Arrest Researcher Who Showed E-Voting Machines Are Not Secure

      A few months back, a research report came out noting that e-voting machines in India were not secure. I had seen it at the time, but considering how many stories we’ve seen of e-voting machines with security problems, I let it pass and didn’t write it up. However, the story has just taken a distressing turn. One of the researchers, Hari Prasad, who had obtained the e-voting machine from an anonymous source in the first place, has been arrested and taken into custody because he will not reveal who gave him the machine…

    • US cops: armed and dangerous?

      If mine were truly a free country, US police wouldn’t wield such immense power or employ such aggressive tactics against their own citizenry – a militarisation of our police forces that started with the war on drugs and intensified after 9/11.

      Consider: can you invent a realistic scenario wherein you shoot a man dead; justify it with a story witnesses contradict; confiscate any surveillance video; claim a “glitch” makes it impossible to show the video to anyone else – all while enjoying the support of state legal apparatus?

      Police in Las Vegas did that last month, after they shot Erik Scott seven times as he exited a Costco. Cops say Scott pointed a gun at them; witnesses say Scott’s licensed weapon was in a concealed holster, and five of those seven shots hit him in the back. The confiscated surveillance video might settle the question; too bad about that glitch.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in web furore over Swedish rape claim

      The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, was himself the subject of a rapidly spreading online story when news cascaded across the internet for several hours at the weekend mistakenly saying he was being sought in Sweden on rape charges.

      Before Stockholm’s chief prosecutor made clear on Saturday afternoon that Assange was in fact neither charged with rape nor due to be arrested, the story had spread, generating more than 1,200 articles, available through internet news search, that received more than 1m hits.

    • Daniel Rubin: An infuriating search at Philadelphia International Airport

      Thirty minutes after the police became involved, they decided to let her collect her belongings and board her plane.

      “I was shaking,” she says. “I was almost in tears.”

    • Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death by Jim Frederick

      This isn’t a book for armchair war junkies. It’s about what Wilfred Owen called “the pity of war”. The centre and the pity of Jim Frederick’s account is the murder of the Janabis, an Iraqi family, and the rape of their 14-year-old daughter by four US soldiers. The most chilling aspect of the crime was the casual manner in which it was carried out. It was almost a jape – something to break the boredom of endless hours at a checkpoint. The soldiers did it because they had the power to do it; they didn’t need a reason why – almost the invasion of Iraq in microcosm.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Peak oil alarm revealed by secret official talks

      Speculation that government ministers are far more concerned about a future supply crunch than they have admitted has been fuelled by the revelation that they are canvassing views from industry and the scientific community about “peak oil”.

      The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is also refusing to hand over policy documents about “peak oil” – the point at which oil production reaches its maximum and then declines – under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, despite releasing others in which it admits “secrecy around the topic is probably not good”.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Horse-trading begins as Australia votes for a hung parliament

      Australia faces days of uncertainty and political horse-trading after prime minister Julia Gillard acknowledged that neither the ruling Labor party nor the opposition conservative coalition had won an outright majority in the weekend’s election.

    • Britain scraps annual assessment of human rights abuses across the world

      The coalition government is plunged into a major row today over its commitment to human rights amid claims that it will scrap the Foreign Office’s landmark annual assessment of abuses across the world.

    • Big Brother is searching you

      While everyone is concerned about privacy violations from Facebook Places, government agencies may be using powerful new technology to violate 4th-Ammendment protection against unreasonable searches.

      Here’s what the 4th Amendment says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copycats vs. Copyrights

        We’re used to the logic of copyright. Movies, music, and pharmaceuticals all use some form of patent or copyright protection. The idea is simple: if people can’t profit from innovation, they won’t innovate. So to encourage the development of stuff we want, we give the innovators something very valuable—exclusive access to the profit from their innovations. We’ve so bought into the logic that we allow companies to patent human genes.

        And companies love copyright. They love it so much they persuaded Congress to pass the Sonny Bono Act, which extended individual copyright protections to the life of the author, plus another 70 years; and corporate copyrights to 120 years from creation, or 95 years from publication, whichever is earlier. That’s an absurdly long time, and it belies the original point of patents: does anyone seriously believe that a 40-year-old with a money-making idea is going to hold back because someone can mimic it 20 years after he dies?

        At a certain point, copyrights stop protecting innovation and begin protecting profits. They scare off future inventors who want to take a 60-year-old idea and use it as the foundation to build something new and interesting. That’s the difficulty of copyrights, patents, and other forms of intellectual protection. Too little, and the first innovation won’t happen. Too much, and the second innovation—the one relying on the first—will be stanched.

      • ACTA

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A Single Comment

  1. twitter said,

    August 23, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Gravatar

    Linux Plannet’s reasoning makes me laugh and want to cry. They say that GNU/Linux should not be “target” the “average user”. Here’s what they suggest instead:

    “someone who already is a Computer User and has a computer (real, physical machine), but isn’t happy with the way it’s working AND doesn’t want to replace it with a different one.

    If that does not describe the vast majority of Windows users, aka “average user”, I’m not sure what does. There’s only a small core of Windows fanboys that don’t fit the bill, and they have been convinced by emotional arguments about Bill Gate’s supposed charity. Windows has got to be the most hated and least trusted OS ever, which is why sales of Vista and Windows 7 have been so poor. People might want a new computer but they want a new version of Windows like they want a hole in the wallet.

    Linux Plannet does have one thing right, most people don’t care what runs their computer as long as it “works”. This is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because you can give most people anything, hence the runaway success of GNU/Linux netbooks, hypePhone and Android. It’s a curse because people who don’t understand software freedom may just trade masters rather than escaping the root cause of their problems. Telco owned Android and hypePad might work better than Windows but the devices will serve Telcos and ATT, not the people who use them.

    So the answer is obvious. Help the people you know to fix their computer with GNU/Linux, tell them about software freedom and quit acting like Windows is acceptable. It is especially important for so called tech journalists to get with it. GNU/Linux desktops are so much better than Windows now that there’s something wrong with tech journalists who don’t use it as their primary system. As long as people hear “experts” expressing doubts, they will stick with the devil they know and get sucked into another expensive round of the upgrade treadmill instead of just getting their old computer fixed. Those that escape will have about $800, the combined price of Windows 7 + MS Office, to spend on things they want and that will be good for everyone in the business but Microsoft.

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