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Links 24/8/2010: Ubuntu Clusters at Google, New GNU/Linux Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 6:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • What Google’s Data Center Can Teach You

      These clusters all run a Google-optimized version of Ubuntu Linux, according to Google’s open source programs manager Chris DiBona in a 2010 presentation at OSCON, an open-source developer conference. The company uses a wide variety of open-source programs that create the Google search engine and applications many of us use every day.

    • Cut Costs by Using Linux Appliances for Branch Offices

      It’s not that Linux isn’t expensive. It sometimes is. But if a department or a branch office just needs one or two specific server jobs, there are plenty of obsolete PCs and easy-to-set-up, special-purpose Linux servers that can fill the bill for little or no cost.

      Linux answers these needs because companies like Novell, rPath, and network security vendor Vyatta offer dedicated Linux appliances for specific jobs. These Linux distributions, instead of giving you everything, give you just enough to fill a particular need.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Articulating IRC Contributions Concisely

          Today I had a call with Jussi from the Ubuntu IRC Council. We spent some time discussing a range of different topics, but then Jussi raised an important question which I think could benefit from some community discussion.

          Today we have many methods of providing free support for our users – the Ubuntu Forums, Launchpad Answers, Ubuntu StackExchange and of course IRC. With each of the web resources there is a method of identifying those who are providing a significant and sustained contribution when providing support by checking their account profiles.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Nokia and Intel team up on open-source mobile 3D

          Nokia and Intel are teaming up again, this time to bring 3D interfaces to mobile devices.

          The pair are following up their shared work on the MeeGo mobile operating system with a 3D-focused research project at the University of Oulu in Finland – making it the most northern of Intel’s 22 research labs.

          “3D and virtual worlds have the potential to improve mobile and internet interfaces,” said Mika Setälä, director of strategy alliances and partnerships at Nokia.

      • Android

        • Android: Making Small Things Big

          Android is an operating syst em for mobile devices. This does not only mean cellular phones but also tablet computers and netbooks. Android gives its users a complete package – an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications.

        • Now we have to jailbreak our Android phones, too

          Meanwhile, Google has made ominous common cause with Verizon in the policy arena, saying that it’s OK to toss out network neutrality — the idea that carriers shouldn’t discriminate on the basis of content — on mobile networks. Add it all up, and Google’s retreat is distressing.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Streams of Thought: WebM Strategies for the Hacking Crowd

    Given the nature of code modification in the open source and free software movements, this type of software tends to stay in beta or in developer-preview status much longer than the typical proprietary software code.

    Between code tweaks and full branches, modifications can muddy the code. The Google-sponsored WebM project is not much different from the typical open source project, with three exceptions: Google is throwing its financial muscle behind it, it has a long list of work items on the road map, and the company has tagged the current release as a developer preview, with a full release sometime in the future.

  • Open source ECM firm introduces apps store

    The newly-launched Marketstore is in preview mode at the moment, but according to Nuxeo’s chief marketing officer Cheryl McKinnon, it will be ready for full launch in September. The company has upgraded its dashboard to make management and control of the apps even easier to handle.

  • Open source tools at heart of DARPA’s virtual satellite network

    Open source software and algorithms will play a key role in the next stage of development for the military’s advanced virtual satellite system that promises to replace monolithic spacecraft with clusters of wirelessly-interconnected spacecraft modules.

    The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) will next month outline the key technologies it wants to develop to build its Future, Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying Spacecraft or System F6 satellites. The System F6 is intended deploy what DARPA calls “fractionated modules” of current all-in-one satellites. For example, each module would support a unique capability, such as command and control, data handling, guidance and navigation, payload. Modules could replicate the functions of other modules as well. Such modules can be physically connected once in orbit or remain nearby to each other in a loose formation, or cluster, harnessed together through a wireless network they create a virtual satellite, DARPA stated.

  • TECH KNOW: Free software for a small office

    But before you pay another kobo to Microsoft or another software publisher, consider whether you can use a free or open-source application instead. Just about every commercial application you use on a daily basis has an open source alternative.

  • OpenStack cloud fluffer does VirtualBox

    According to a blog post by Mark Collier, vice president of business and corporate development at Rackspace, Ewan Mellor (a coder from Citrix Systems) has tweaked the OpenStack Compute cloudy infrastructure fabric so it can now support the XenServer hypervisor, and Justin Santa Barbara, a programmer who hails from database-as-a-service provider FathomDB, has added support for Oracle’s open source VirtualBox hosted hypervisor.

  • BBC Red Button Team Announces Open Source Release of its MHEG+ Interactive TV Toolkit

    In a posting on its Internet blog, Monday, by Mark Hatton, a senior software engineer from the BBC’s TV Platforms Group, the BBC Red Button team announced the open source release of its MHEG+ toolkit under the Apache 2.0 license.

  • MHEG+ toolkit gets Open Source release

    David Cutts, director of leading MHEG developer Strategy & Technology said the company would be contributing a number of overseas extensions to the Open Source pool. “We think having tools for MHEG out there is a good thing,” he told Broadband TV News.

  • Wireshark reigns among the sea of network sniffers

    Organizations seeking a reliable ally to help defend the network should seriously consider enlisting Wireshark, a free, open source network protocol analyzer that has been around since 1998. Created by Gerald Combs and worked on by hundreds of contributing developers, this tool has been the go-to soldier in the trenches for tens of millions of network troubleshooters and the envy of almost every other open source program.

  • Whamcloud to Put New Sheen on Lustre

    Whamcloud Cofounder and CEO Brent Gorda still is waiting to sign the dotted line with his company’s first customer. Given the popularity of the open source Lustre project, he is sure that will only take a bit longer to achieve.

  • Events

    • Registration Opens for ApacheCon North America 2010

      The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and Stone Circle Productions today announced the opening of registration for ApacheCon North America, taking place 1-5 November 2010 at the Westin Peachtree in Atlanta, Georgia.

    • FOSDEM 2011 dates confirmed

      The eleventh annual Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) will take place on the 5th and 6th of February, 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. According to the conference organisers, FOSDEM is the largest free, non-commerical event that’s organised by and for the community. Its aim is to provide a place for all free and open source developers to meet. Preparations have already started and a call for Developer Rooms (DevRooms) and speaker suggestions will be sent out soon.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Standards and Open Source for Cloud Computing

      OpenStack and Apache Deltacloud have similar goals – building lightweight REST APIs that allow cloud provider access via an HTTP network. OpenStack is more focused on public cloud service providers and Deltacloud is more focused on private clouds.

    • Apache’s Cassandra Adds Column Data Analysis

      Cassandra is an open source project sponsored by the Apache Software Foundation to push forward the development of the key value store, NoSQL system. Jonathan Ellis, who founded the project while working for Rackspace, was the keynote speaker at the Cassandra Summit held at San Francisco’s Mission Bay Conference Center Aug. 10. Current uses of Cassandra include Facebook, Digg, and Twitter, which stores 15 million tweets a day in Cassandra.

    • More Open Source Cloud with Apache Nuvem?

      The wiki page also talks about the need for a common API to help avoid vendor lock-in when moving between cloud implementations. As with Deltacloud and libCloud, it seems that Nuvem will target Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). It is interesting to note that according to the submitters, there is a prototype under development which uses Tuscany, the Apache SCA implementation. So perhaps this effort will go some way to answering the questions around SOA and its relationship to Cloud.

  • Databases

    • MongoDB Update Adds Scale Out Features

      10gen, the company behind the MongoDB open source code project, added automated sharding to Release 1.6 on Aug. 5 and has been airing the feature in interviews and webinars since.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle and open source

      So I was a little amused to see the Oracle logo pop up when I ran the latest updates of two programs that I use quite a bit, OpenOffice.org and VirtualBox, on my Linux-based PC at home.

      The two open source programs, of course, went to Oracle as part of its $7.4-billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems last year, along with Java, Solaris and MySQL. At the time the deal was announced, questions swirled around the fate of these projects, given that Oracle’s open source credentials were somewhat less benevolent than Sun’s.

    • Oracle takes over JavaOne conference

      Next month’s revamped JavaOne conference, the first under Oracle’s jurisdiction, will feature a keynote presentation from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, as well as the latest on Java technologies ranging from the GlassFish application server to the JavaFX rich media platform.

    • Oracle forms new ‘axis of evil’ against open source, claims Adobe

      The lack of love Oracle has shown for the “open source culture of Sun [Microsystems]” since Larry Ellison’s company bought the MySQL database firm earlier this year has unnerved many in the FOSS world. And McAllister couldn’t resist putting the boot in about the whole sorry affair.

  • CMS

    • Open Source CMS Made Simple Reaches One Million Downloads

      Currently up to version 1.8.2, the recent releases have consisted of bug fixes and polishing to improve the experience for users.Version 2.0 will pack in a lot of new features including a code rewrite to improve speed and scalability, improved API with jQuery implementation, new templates and PHP 5.2 support.

    • Gluster’s Open Source Storage Solutions Selected by Acquia

      The company aims to offer running on Amazon Web Services (News – Alert) (AWS) on its Drupal website hosting with this agreement. Similar to Apache, Linux and MySQL, Drupal is a LAMP stack

    • Acquia releases Drupal Commons open source social software suite

      Hawes says other open-source Enterprise 2.0 tools have been around, but this one has a better shot because it’s been designed as a complete platform to replace the proprietary products currently available. “There have been a few open-source collaboration tools available, but none formulated specifically as a community platform. The availability Drupal Commons should fuel additional growth for social business in general.”

    • e107 open source CMS version 0.7.23 Released
  • Healthcare

    • VA investigates VistA EHR open source

      The RFI recognizes pros and cons with open source adoption. Open source’s attractive qualities include greater innovation caused by collaboration with the open source community, improvements in capabilities, and broader proliferation of common EHR software, the RFI states.


      Responses to the RFI are due by 1 p.m. on August 25.

  • Business

  • Government

    • Tech roundup – August 20

      Mr Muckleston said he wasn’t part of those negotiations, and was now looking forwards – to the 2012 negotiations.

      Here’s a tip for the New Zealand Government – investigate open source. Subsidised is good, but there’s potential for taxpayer money to be saved with completely free software. Open Office is Microsoft’s worst nightmare.

    • Cost is only part of the Gov 2.0 open source story

      Acknowledging the limits of open source savings is key to ongoing use. It’s all about managing expectations: If I expect 100 percent savings and your open source solution only offers 50 percent, I won’t be pleased. But lead with the real story and show me the other benefits and maybe I’ll commit for the short- and long-term.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Army intelligence buys intelligence like Netflix?

      Everyone knows that the U.S. government collects and produces intelligence, using information from sensitive Tippy Top Secret sources to the lowliest “open source” material found readily on the Internet. When it comes to translations and unique databases — from the scientific to the most intrusive personal information — the intelligence community also has virtual carte blanche to tap the expertise of the private sector.

    • Curriki: Bringing the open source model to education

      So says Scott McNealy, whom you may be more familiar with from his time leading Sun Microsystems. He spends time these days proslytizing for his labor of love, Curriki, a nonprofit repository/community/social network that seeks to gather the best educational materials in one spot for educators, parents and students to use.

    • Fighting for students, 2 professors go straight to source

      About a year and a half ago, White met with a representative from the open-source textbook website Flat World Knowledge. White adopted a textbook from the site, which gives students free online access, the option to buy a PDF version for about $25 or a discounted paperback copy.

    • Lifting the veil of secrecy surrounding development of new medicines

      Called open-source drug discovery, the new approach involves an online community of computer users from around the world working together to discover and develop much-needed new drugs. It could lead to inexpensive drugs to treat a wide variety of diseases, including tuberculosis and malaria, that claim a huge toll in developing countries.

    • Lifting the veil of secrecy surrounding development of new medicines

      The upheaval in traditional practice would make key data available to college students, university professors, and others in an open, collective process.

    • Open Hardware

      • GardenBot Brings Geek Power to Green Thumbs

        For less than $200, Frueh has created a garden automation system called GardenBot that uses open source hardware (such as the Arduino) to monitor humidity, temperature and soil conditions. The data is then poured into charts so you can view the world as the plants see it, he says.

      • Crudbox Turns Any Gadget Into an Electronic Sequencer

        It is an open-source project based around an Arduino microcontroller–an electronics prototyping platform popular with music artists and those making multimedia projects like the Crudbox.

      • Roboteers go open source

        The open source robot, called Qbos, was developed by the Thecorpora, which started the project five years ago. Roboteer and open source developer, Francisco Paz started working on Qbo to help bring robot technology and artificial intelligence to the masses. While he didn’t name a price for Qbo, we’re betting that it cost a bit less than the £700,000 price tag for one of Honda’s Asimo robots.


  • AMD Finally Honours the Netbook

    Other moves by OEMs to push the borders of what is a netbook should mean the netbook market will be revitalized. AMD’s chips set to arrive in 2011 could make 2011 a great year for netbooks. I still think ARM will continue to expand its role because the smaller instructions and instruction-set mean less bandwidth to and within the CPU. The same thing applies to internal storage. You need less if your code is more dense. There is nothing sacred about x86 instructions and ARM does not carry that baggage.

  • Science

    • Richest Planetary System Discovered

      Astronomers using ESO’s world-leading HARPS instrument have discovered a planetary system containing at least five planets, orbiting the Sun-like star HD 10180. The researchers also have tantalising evidence that two other planets may be present, one of which would have the lowest mass ever found. This would make the system similar to our Solar System in terms of the number of planets (seven as compared to the Solar System’s eight planets). Furthermore, the team also found evidence that the distances of the planets from their star follow a regular pattern, as also seen in our Solar System.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Bank Settlements: Judges Take A Stand, Shift Focus To Individual Responsibility

      Jed Rakoff has been called many things: a maverick, a prosecutor, a hero, and acerbic. As a judge on cases involving high finance, his rulings have often been described as blunt and sometimes wry. When asked if he’s anti-Wall Street, he once suggested that some prosecutors fear he’s pro-Wall Street.

    • Two Top Investigators Leave Financial Crisis Commission

      Two senior staffers have quietly left the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a panel working under a tight deadline that has been dogged by rumors of discord among key personnel.

      Matthew Cooper, a former journalist who joined the FCIC as a senior adviser, left the unit Aug. 13. Bradley J. Bondi, counsel to the Securities and Exchange Commission who joined the financial crisis investigation as an assistant director and deputy general counsel, left Aug. 6. Neither immediately returned emails or phone calls seeking comment.

    • Wonkbook: Fed split on more action; new fees on mortgage lenders; school overhauls delayed

      The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy body was split down the middle on its latest decision. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is leaning toward financing federal support for mortgages through fees on lenders. And despite the administration’s push, school overhaul plans in many states are not being implemented in time for the new school year.

    • AIG repaying nearly $4 billion in federal loans

      In its single biggest repayment of bailout loans so far, American International Group Inc. said Monday it is paying back nearly $4 billion in taxpayer aid with proceeds from a recent debt sale.

      The insurer’s aircraft leasing company, International Lease Finance Corp., completed the sale of $4.4 billion in debt. AIG will use more than $3.9 billion of the proceeds to repay the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, trimming the balance on its credit line with the Fed to about $15 billion. Adding interest, the total is about $21 billion.

    • Overestimating the Safety of Bonds

      Most of us invest in bonds or bond mutual funds to keep our principal safe and to earn a bit of income. People think bonds are safe because when you buy an individual bond, like a U.S. government bond, you have a stated interest rate and a known maturity. In other words, you know exactly what income you will earn and exactly when you will get your principal back, much like a certificate of deposit at a bank that is backed by the F.D.I.C.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • True stories of bloggers who secretly feed on partisan cash

      Katie Couric once described bloggers as journalists who gnaw at new information “like piranhas in a pool.” But increasingly, many bloggers are also secretly feeding on cash from political campaigns, in a form of partisan payola that erases the line between journalism and paid endorsement.

      “It’s standard operating procedure” to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative. A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that “at least half the bloggers that are out there” on the Republican side “are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales.”

      In California, where former eBay executive Meg Whitman beat businessman Steve Poizner in a bitterly fought primary battle in the campaign for governor, it sometimes seemed as if there was a bidding war for bloggers.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Jennifer Aniston’s Representatives Threaten Gawker For Showing Her [Allegedly] Sans Photoshop

      However, it appears that some Hollywood types still haven’t quite figured this out. Apparently Jennifer Aniston’s representatives are threatening to sue Gawker because the site dared to post an image that it claims is a pre-Photoshopped photo of Aniston, which her people insist are doctored. Either way, Gawker is standing up for its fair use rights, and as this is the story, it seems entirely newsworthy to publish the image in question….

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • EPUB: The final barrier for Kindle Adoption

      Frankly, I really don’t understand why Amazon would leave this out of their current generation of devices. I can understand why they would want to continue with AZW and their own DRM for content sold on their own store, but frankly, Amazon doesn’t sell every electronic book that you can possibly buy.

      I may want to go buy specialized content from say, O’Reilly, or Cisco Press, Pearson Education, and any other vendor doing educational books, which are all adopting the industry-standard EPUB format, which was established by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). And yes, I do realize many of these vendors also provide content in PDF format, which the Kindle can read, but lets face it, PDF isn’t exactly an efficient format for electronic books.

      Amazon’s competitors, Barnes & Noble, SONY and Apple have embraced both DRM-free and DRM-enabled versions of EPUB.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Ticketmaster Says People Don’t Like Service Fees Because We Don’t Understand Them

      If you follow the music business, you probably already know about or follow Ticketmaster boss Irving Azoff’s Twitter feed, which he kicked off earlier this month by calling two different reporters “jerks,” and generally jousting with some of his critics. He went quiet for a bit, but caused a bit of a stir over the weekend by announcing (sort of) that Ticketmaster had “full disclosure pricing.” Considering just how much hatred there is towards Ticketmaster’s “service charges,” this certainly picked up some attention.

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