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08.24.10

Links 24/8/2010: Many Android Tablets, OpenSolaris Board Disbands

Posted in News Roundup at 1:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Is it time to go with Linux?

    That is the question these days. Which, the most obvious answer to this question is yes. Whether this is a emphatic yes or a ho hum yes is, however, up to you. In any case, Linux is ready for prime time and here are three reasons why.

    The first reason is that Linux can perform almost any computing task that either a Windows or OS-X machine is capable of. More importantly, Linux is also compatible with both Windows and OS-X environments. For instance, a document written in the OpenOffice Linux version can be opened in Windows Word. Likewise, a person using Evolution as an Linux email client can sync with Microsoft Exchange. Indeed, when it comes to tasks that the can’t be performed on Linux the list is now very short. As time goes along, that short list will disappear completely.

  • What would persuade you to ditch Ubuntu for Windows?

    May be that I have very little imagination or I’m very close minded about Windows (or perhaps both). May be that the real strength of Linux is that once you start using it, after the initial difficulties, you aren’t willing to go back fro no reason.

  • Migrating a Small Office to GNU/Linux

    Like Munich TFA describes a very gradual approach which requires much more work than is necessary. Lots of migrations are done very rapidly, say over a weekend, for projects that size. Extremadura did 80K PCs over a weekend. Things did not break because they had very little before and whatever they got was far superior. That’s an “easy” migration/leap. Having to treat every PC as unique in a system is much more likely in a small system because there is not a lot of redundancy whereas in a larger organization there may be groups of 50 or more users who can be migrated together.

  • Kernel Space

    • Another Benefit To Kernel Mode-Setting

      Kernel mode-setting (KMS) is useful for faster VT/X switching, VTs being always at the panel’s native resolution, the ability to thwart some security bugs in the X.Org Server (as shown earlier this week), presenting a cleaner and more flexible architecture, and allowing new and interesting projects to emerge (such as Plymouth and Wayland), but the benefits do not end there. When kernel mode-setting is combined with KDB, a Linux kernel debugger shell, you now have one powerful combination.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau’s Gallium3D Driver Gets Some Love Too

        Yesterday was an exciting day for those Linux users interested in AMD’s open-source ATI driver work with the release of the Radeon HD 5000 series 2D/3D driver, Radeon HD 6000 series support getting underway, and many ATI R600 Gallium3D driver improvements over the past few days. If though you are a NVIDIA customer interested in open-source support, there’s great news for you today with the Nouveau driver that greatly improves the Gallium3D support.

      • Threaded Input Events On The Way For X Server 1.10

        While X.Org Servger 1.9 was released less than a week ago (heck, it’s only been four days since releasing om time), the first interesting patch for X.Org Server 1.10 is already queued up and on the X.Org development mailing list for discussion. This patch, which was written by Tiago Vignatti and Fernando Carrijo, provides the “thread-ification” of the X Server input event generation code. Rather than being bound to the same thread as the X Server, the input event code with this patch is now running in its own thread, but this may only be the start of things to come with finally multi-threading the X.Org Server.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Greenie Linux 7.1L Screenshots

        Greenie Linux is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that provides a very user-friendly desktop, and is optimised for home users in Slovakia and Czech Republic. Because English is also supported, Greenie Linux is included in our coverage of new distros. This specific release, Geenie 7.1L, is based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and features several imporvements such as the GreenieTree theme which is supported by new icons and wallpapers. A few new applications have been added as well including Ufraw, Fotoxx and Wine.

      • Lightweight Distro Roundup: Day 6 – Slitaz Cooking

        Today we hit up our lightest of lightweight distros. It fits in 20MB less than Damn Small Linux, when installed uses 65MB of RAM, and boots in less than ten seconds (depending on hardware).

        Yes. Today we try out Slitaz Cooking.

        [...]

        Personally I think it is a brilliant execution of the super minimal distro. Yes it is lacking in some areas, and it is possibly one of the most limited-in-growth-potential distros out there, but let me say this – like any Linux, you can make this work for you.

        If I read as overly generous I probably am, if you take the limitations into account that the builders of Slitaz had to work with you will realize that I feel very impressed. It is easy to come over as unfairly favoring Slitaz when compared to our writeup of Dreamlinux yesterday. They are two different beasts though – if you compare them directly Dreamlinux will win every time. Install them both on an old P11 with 64MB of RAM and Slitaz is the hands down winner.

        For our application of finding something for Grandma and Mommy and their ancient computers we still like Linux Mint LXDE the best out of the six we tested so far.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva 2010.1 XfceLive Screenshots

        A live CD version of Mandriva 2010.1 XfceLive was released over the weekend. Please enjoy these screenshots of this live lightweight Mandriva release.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Pogoplug goes wireless

      The compact, Linux-powered Pogoplug device has just gained a $29 WiFi adapter companion, which enables it to work wirelessly. The new Pogoplug Wireless Adapter appears to be a standard USB 802.11 b/g/n WiFi adapter of undisclosed origin and chipset, and works with all current Pogoplugs.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Motorola Milestone XT720 review

          The XT720 is the highly anticipated follow-up to Motorola’s Milestone, the first Android 2.0+ device the firm released. Although we were relatively impressed with many of its key features in our review back in issue 87, it was let down by its excessive weight and bulk, which was largely attributed to its otherwise effective slide-out Qwerty keyboard. Other problems included a rather short battery life and a 5MP camera that ticked all the boxes on paper, but often left shots either blurred or washed out.

          Motorola wouldn’t be one of the largest mobile phone manufacturers on the planet without being able to take on board user feedback, so we’re not that surprised to see that the XT720 addresses almost all of these problems in one way or another.

        • Motorola details Android upgrade timelines

          Just desserts? Motorola has posted a timeline for when users of its Android-running smartphones can expect an OS upgrade. While all eyes are on “Froyo,” or Android version 2.2, some users will have to be happy with 2.0 and 2.1 — also known as “Éclair.”

    • Tablets

      • HTC’s Chrome Tablet Coming Soon?

        Google Chrome OS powered tablet may hit the market as soon as late November, says the blog Downloadsquad.

        HTC, one of the major users of Google’s Android OS, is developing this tablet. Accoridng to reports another of Google’s close partner Verizon Wireless will be the carrier for the tablet.

      • Chrome Web Store Invites Apps

        Google has started inviting developers to prepare their apps for the Chrome Web Store. The web store is rumored to go live with the arrival of first Chrome OS running tablet.

      • Viewsonic will preview an Android Tablet

        A CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW in Berlin will see Viewsonic show its whole range of wares, including an Android tablet.

        Better known as a display manufacturer and not as a dabbler in any other consumer electronics hardware, Viewsonic is branching out to join the Android tablet brigade.

      • Tablet will dual-boot Android, Windows

        ViewSonic says it will introduce two new tablet computers next week at a Berlin tradeshow. An unnamed ten-inch model will boot into either Android or Windows, while the seven-inch ViewPad 7 will offer Android, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS, plus front- and rear-facing cameras, the company says.

      • Archos to show five new Android tablets at IFA

        One of the new tablets will almost certainly be the much-rumoured Archos 32 internet tablet.

        “The company will showcase five brand new Internet Tablets ranging touch screen from 2.8 to 10 inches featuring computing, communications and apps with the power of Android plus Archos’ legendary video quality will be shown for the first time,” stated the company.

      • Toshiba SmartPad Android Tablet leaks before planned debut IFA 2010

        Last week we reported about a rumor that Toshiba will unleash a 10-inch Android Tablet. Today photos leaked of the Toshiba Smartpad on NotebookItalia. Toshiba has apparently planned to unveil the new SmartPad at the IFA 2010 next week.
        The Toshiba Smartpad looks pretty sleek with its black surface and metal frame with rounded edges. The Toshiba Tablet has four buttons on one side of the touchscreen and features a webcam. HDMI and USB ports are also available on the Smartpad. No new information is available on the specifications. The rumors talk about Tegra 2 chipset.

      • Borders taking orders for two Android tablets

        Borders is now taking pre-orders for two seven-inch Android tablets, the $200 Cruz Reader and the $300 Cruz Tablet, and says the first of the devices will ship by the end of this month. Both tablets offer conventional backlit color touchscreens, but the Reader is resistive while the Tablet is capacitive, the reseller says.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 11 Biggest Open Source Success Stories

    According to Fortune, Open Source is slowly gaining acceptance in the corporate world. More and more corporates are beginning to see the merits of Open Source and have started embracing it. But all these changes didn’t happened overnight. It was rather a painful journey. ‘Sharing’ was never a good thing for Corporates until recently. These changes were largely brought about by a string of Open Source success stories that happened over the years.

    GNU/Linux

    GNU/Linux is probably the biggest thing ever happened with Open Source. Richard Stallman, founder of Open Source movement, spearheaded a project to build a “complete Unix-compatible software system” based entirely of free software(free as in freedom).

    Project was called GNU(GNU is Not Unix). During the same time Linus Torvalds built a Kernel(which is otherwise known as the heart of an opearting system) and made it Open Source. He named it Linux. The Linux kernel and GNU tools(libraries, compilers, text editors etc) combined to become GNU/Linux operating system(popularly known as ‘Linux’).

  • Oracle

    • OpenOffice Will Survive

      However, the time between updates make increase by a large margin.
      That’s what I take from the current problems that are causing fear and loathing in the open source camp. Many are afraid that Oracle is going to become as big a problem for OpenOffice as it has for OpenSolaris.

      The difference is that OpenOffice has safety in numbers, being estimated at garnering a full 10% of the office productivity market. OpenSolaris is a miniscule part of the overall small operating systems market, usually categorized as “Other”.

    • State of OpenOffice.org

      I do use alternatives of OpenOffice.org from time to time. KDE Office and some components of GNOME work (GNOME also depends on OpenOffice.org). I use LyX for some writing projects. KWord includes the database-merge capability so useful for writing students’ reports. Everything else in OpenOffice.org, I have good substitutes like GNUmeric, phpMyAdmin, Scribus, Inkscap, Dia, etc. but they are not so well integrated. Could we survive a catastrophe with OpenOffice.org? Yes, but it would be a major disruption. In order to minimize disruption it is important to explore options long before a crisis emerges. I have frequent opportunities in my teaching but others will have to make a determined effort to explore GNU/Linux for functionality outside of OpenOffice.org.

    • Microsoft Will Lose The Google-Oracle Battle

      How much of the Linux penetration was affected when Microsoft came out with ‘baseless’ accusations that Linux infringes on its patents (I did a long story back then for LINUX For You magazine). Microsoft never showed the numbers. All they got was to ‘force’ some Linux companies to sign cross licensing deal with them and extort some money from Linux.

      [...]

      Even if Oracle is technically right (which Google disagrees with), this move has damaged the Open Source community. Even if Oracle has emerged as a bad-boy for the Open Source community, Android will continue to thrive.

      The FUD failed to work with Linux’ patent infringement accusation. After Linux, Microsoft accused Android of infringing on their patents – it did not work either. I don’t see this FUD to be working either.

    • The liberation of OpenSolaris

      As many have seen, Oracle has elected to stop contributing to OpenSolaris. This decision is, to put it bluntly, stupid. Indeed, I would (and did) liken it to L. Paul Bremer‘s decision to disband the Iraqi military after the fall of Saddam Hussein: beyond merely a foolish decision borne out of a distorted worldview, it has created combatants unnecessarily. As with Bremer’s infamous decision, the bitter irony is that the new combatants were formerly the strongest potential allies — and in Oracle’s case, it is the community itself.

      As it apparently needs to be said, one cannot close an open source project — one can only fork it. So contrary to some reports, Oracle has not decided to close OpenSolaris, they have actually decided to fork it. That is, they have (apparently) decided that it is more in their interest to compete with the community that to cooperate with it — that they can in fact out-innovate the community. This confidence is surprising (and ironic) given that it comes exactly at the moment that the historic monopoly on Solaris talent has been indisputably and irrevocably broken — as most recently demonstrated by the departure of my former colleague, Adam Leventhal.

    • The OpenSolaris Board Just Killed Itself, As Expected
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Eben Moglen on learning through collaboration

      As the Chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center, we all know Eben Moglen as the legal voice of free software. He is that and more.

      A professor of Law and legal history at the Columbia University, Moglen preaches what he practices — free software and the role it plays in improving education. As part of Bangalore’s Christ University’s conference on distributed education, Moglen delivered a (recorded) talk on how he uses Wikis to teach his Law courses.

      [...]

      This collaboration extends beyond the physical confines of the classroom. Moglen illustrates this with an example of how his students in New York collaborated with a student in Lodz, Poland, who was working on a 13th century jury question. Moglen’s American students located and scanned documents and made them available to the Polish student on the Wiki, who then with his fellow classmates, translated the documents from medieval Latin into English. “Without Wiki technology [this collaboration] would have taken months to arrange, and would in fact never come to be all”, he remarks.

      Moglen finds a natural link between Wikis and his third course, on Law of the New Society Connected by the Internet. Students in this course use the Wiki as a kind of blog to exchange opinions and conduct academic disputation, by adding links and pointers to existing material, fill in additional examples, and references, and comment on the lectures and on their own work.

  • Government

    • Mil-OSS working group 2 wrap-up

      What was interesting was a shift from the attitude at last years meeting of: “We can use open source software in the military?” to this years vibe of “How can we use, modify, sustain, and create more open source software around the military?” In the last year, since the update of DoD Open Source policy (see the 2009 DoD Open Source Memo), there has been an important shift in understanding that the benefits of being open vastly outweigh the hassles and foibles of closed and gated source code development–especially when the U.S. taxpayer is picking up the tab. Roadblock issues were brought up, such as:

      - What are the best practices for how to run unclassified code communities for a classified client?

      - How do we create, fund, and sustain development of open source?

      - How do we generate more ideas on how to fix and deal with the government’s acquisition system?

    • The United Kingdom Switches to Drupal and Releases Source Code

      In the United States, the White House has led the march towards open source and free software by switching the http://www.whitehouse.gov/ website to the Drupal content management system. The government of the United Kingdom has decided to follow their lead. http://data.gov.uk/ acts as a central information repository for many of the UK’s government agencies. The government recently converted the site to a very clean and very polished Drupal website. The main effort of the site is to provide the British constituency with transparent access to data on the actions and statistics of various government bodies. For example, I visited the site and navigated to the Department of Energy section. There was a plentiful store of data on energy consumption, energy prices, C02 emissions, and energy trends. Overall, the site is very well done and it could be a model for information dissemination in smaller communities and other national governments.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • McKinsey Quarterly and the open source way

      The open source way is going mainstream. If you have been involved in open source over the years, you have a very valuable skill set to offer your employer. You might need to use the word “co-creation” instead of “community” and talk about networked organizations, but this report shows that you have learned things that are greatly valued in the marketplace. Individuals who know how to create communities based on collaboration and meritocracy are in high demand.

    • Two Sites for Free University Text Books

      Almost all over the world, students are either back to school or preparing to do so. With this comes the headache of getting text books for the semester and its attendant costs. For a myriad of reasons, costs of school text books, especially those of higher learning have skyrocketed. If you are looking to cut costs (and who doesn’t anyway?), then the following 2 sites should come in handy.

Leftovers

  • Google and Yahoo Win Appeal in Argentine Case

    In a rare victory for Google and Yahoo Argentina, an appeals court has cleared the companies of defamation for including sex-related Web sites in their search results for an Argentine entertainer.

    The appeals court overturned a lower-court ruling that had found the companies liable for defaming the entertainer, Virginia Da Cunha.

  • Science

    • U.S. district court rules against stem cell policy

      A U.S. district court issued a preliminary injunction Monday stopping federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research in a slap to the Obama administration’s new guidelines on the sensitive issue.

      The court ruled in favor of a suit filed in June by researchers who said human embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of human embryos.

    • The strange case of solar flares and radioactive elements

      It’s a mystery that presented itself unexpectedly: The radioactive decay of some elements sitting quietly in laboratories on Earth seemed to be influenced by activities inside the sun, 93 million miles away.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Inside the Russian Cyber-Underground

      “It is an ongoing project that we started about 18 months ago,” Grugq told eWEEK. “Originally it started when Fyodor investigated some service offerings from Russian hacker forums for a specific project that I was working on. It turned out to be extremely interesting and amusing, so we discussed doing more long-term monitoring on the forums. It grew from there into what is now a continuous monitoring program.”

    • Stockholm chief prosecutor quashes arrest warrant for Wikileaks editor-in-chief

      The arrest warrant issued for Wikileaks’ editor-in-chief Julian Assange has been quashed by Stockholm Chief Prosecutor Eva Finné, who said in a press release “I am of the opinion that there is no reason to suspect that he has committed a rape.” The press officer of the Swedish Prosecution Authority says that he is still suspected of molestation, and that neither police nor prosecutors have yet been able to contact Assange. Assange had this morning said that he was going to hand himself in to police but also said that the accusations against him were false.

    • The “Ugly face” of the ECI: Arrest of Hari Prasad for “sting demonstration”

      Reliable sources tell us that the Election Commission of India had pressurized the Maharashtra police to press for Hari Prasad’s arrest on charges of stealing the EVM used for exposing the vulnerability of EVMs. The ECI’s intent becomes evident from the fact that they had instructed the police not to share a copy of the FIR with Hari Prasad to deny him an opportunity to move an anticipatory bail application. Hari Prasad did mange to get a copy of the FIR later but decided to court arrest if necessary rather than seek anticipatory bail.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Mishandles PR Campaign To Enhance Its Image

      Goldman’s first round of questioning began in the wake of the $85 billion federal bailout of the American International Group, the insurance giant, in 2008. Goldman owned insurance policies from A.I.G. on some of its mortgage investments. Analysts, journalists and federal authorities all raised questions about whether Goldman unfairly benefited from taxpayer funds used to bail out A.I.G.

      Such questions were fueled by the résumé of a prime architect of the bailout, the Treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., who had formerly led Goldman. (Mr. Paulson has said that he never took action to specifically benefit Goldman, seeking only to buttress the financial system as a whole.)
      Like Toyota, Goldman has had internal debates about how forthcoming to be in confronting sharp questioning, with some insiders advocating a swift, unabashed disclosure of its dealings with A.I.G. to avoid inflaming public anger, according to people familiar with the deliberations who requested anonymity because the talks were confidential.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation warns of Epersonation Bill

      ONLINE HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has warned that a bill working its way through the California legislature will make it a crime to impersonate someone online in order to “harm” that person.

      The law will make it illegal to create a Facebook or Twitter account with someone else’s name, and then use that account to embarrass that person.

    • The BlackBerry Emergency

      Unless a ring of terrorists is embedded entirely within some MNC, and is using its email and messaging system to plan terrorist attacks or other crimes using corporate BlackBerries, such a service cut would not be likely to prevent the planning or execution of any attacks. What it would do, however, is effectively cut off India from the global financial system. The ability of banks, insurance companies, law firms, consultancies and other professional service enterprises to operate around the globe depends entirely on the flow of confidential intra-firm communications. People cannot do business anywhere unless they can be sure that their firm’s business communications are not being overheard by competitors or other parties using breaches in communications networks. So every such enterprise relies upon mechanisms that ensure complete confidentiality on which the movement of trillions of crores every day in the world economy depend. BlackBerry provides one portion of that network to a large subset of that market. Any country which shuts off encrypted BlackBerry communications has shut down its place in the global economy.

    • A software company is developing revolutionary software which provides the ability to identify people from photographs posted on the internet.

      The facial recognition software that will put a name to every photograph in the internet

    • FPGAs get tiny Linux, Red Hat-compatible IDE

      Actel Corporation announced the addition of Red Hat Linux and Windows 7 support to its Libero IDE (integrated design environment) for FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays). The SmartFusion FPGAs are also being treated to a tiny “Unison” Linux, capable of running in as little as 1KB of RAM, the company says.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Pirate Bay Typo Squatter Trying To Seize Site Trademark

      This Wednesday a security blog reported that several rogue sites are in operation which aim to pull in people who were aiming to reach The Pirate Bay, but accidentally entered the URL with typos. While this kind of activity is nothing new, there is a more interesting detail being overlooked. One of the companies behind the scheme is trying to register the Pirate Bay trademark in the United States.

    • A Republic of Letters

      Intellectual property has become such a hot topic that it needs to be doused with some history. Strange as it may sound, this is an argument developed convincingly in Lewis Hyde’s “Common as Air,” an eloquent and erudite plea for protecting our cultural patrimony from appropriation by commercial interests.

      [...]

      The same attitude lay behind Jefferson’s description of knowledge as “common property.” It pervaded the entire Enlightenment, when men discussed experiments and ideas in correspondence networks and a chain of academies that extended from St. Petersburg to Philadelphia. Above all, they communicated their thoughts through print. Letters, learned societies and the printed word came together in the creation of a Republic of Letters, an egalitarian world of knowledge open to everyone — at least in principle, although in practice it was restricted to a literate elite.

    • Copyrights

Clip of the Day

Tim Berners-Lee: The year open data went worldwide


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