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Links 27/9/2010: Audiocasts, Fedora 14 Preview

Posted in News Roundup at 7:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source vs Proprietary Software – The never ending Battle

    Open Source provides solutions at the lowest costs possible or at no cost at all while Proprietary Software promises the provision of the best-in-the-business solutions at a higher cost.

  • Welcoming OpenIndiana

    Perhaps it’s not fair to make a judgement call so early given that this is OpenIndiana’s first release and they’re just getting started, but this initial offering felt more like an early beta than a final release. The system is stable and there are some good features in place. I liked the installer and the Device Driver Utility is a great point in the operating system’s favour. Hardware support was a little better this time around than it was a year ago on OpenSolaris. But the heavy nature of the operating system combined with the fickle privilege escalation and small package repository makes OpenIndiana an unappealing choice right now for a desktop system. Hopefully these matters will get ironed out as the project matures.

    There is one other thing I feel should be addressed. OpenIndiana seems to be lacking a focus. It has its roots in server technology, but it has become memory hungry, runs a desktop and uses a graphical installer. On the other hand it lacks the range of applications and drivers one might expect in a desktop system. Some people have told me it’s more of a testing ground for people migrating, testing and developing across platforms, but if that’s the case where are the great development tools and virtualization software?

    The wonderful tools which were previously attracting people to OpenSolaris (ZFS, DTrace) have been ported to other operating systems. OpenIndiana doesn’t showcase Sun/Oracle technology; all it really does is give people an open source version of Solaris. And, if you’re into tweaking operating systems or you’re considering a migration to Oracle solutions, then I suppose that’s all OpenIndiana needs to be. As a former fan of Solaris, I was hoping to find something which stood out, something the operating system could hang its hat on, and I didn’t find that. OpenIndiana isn’t a bad system by any means, but I haven’t found a reason, besides curiosity, to run it either.

  • Will Code For Beer

    People ask me why programmers write code and give it away “for free”. There are many reasons, but one I often give is that a programmer might end up at a conference and a grateful user of their code might “buy them a beer, or even a dinner.”

    It was February or March of 1995, and the port of Linux to the Alpha processor was well underway. In talking with some of the developers over the Internet, I started to hear rumors that the Alpha port would not have “shared libraries”, but instead would have statically-linked binaries.

    For those of you who do not understand the ramifications of statically linked binaries, it means that every program has all of the libraries it needs to run linked as one blob on the disk and even in the main memory of the computer with the rest of the code that the programmer wrote.

    In the early days of programming this was not as horrible as it sounds, because few libraries existed that could really be “shared”, but as operating systems became more sophisticated and included math libraries, graphics libraries, security libraries and a variety of other functionality that could be shared between programs, the duplication of this code thousands of times on an individual system by linking it into every program took up huge amounts of disk space and additional memory space that became intolerable.

  • 60 Great Open Source Developer Tools

    If you’re looking for good open source developer tools, you literally have thousands to choose from. For this list, we focused on 60 of the best and most well known. Rather than trying to rank them, we’ve arranged them into categories and listed them in alphabetical order.

    That said, we’re sure to have left off a few (or perhaps even a few dozen) that deserve to be included. Feel free to add your suggestions in the Comments section below.

    One quick note about operating systems: Many of these open source developer tools run on a wide range of OSes. In some cases, they support more than a hundred different platforms.

    For the sake of keeping the list short and readable, we noted whether each developer tool supports the big three – Windows, Linux and OS X. If you want to know whether a particular tool will run on Solaris or FreeBSD or another platform, you can click the link to check its Web site.

  • Web Browsers

  • CMS/Social

    • Highlights of the First Week

      The community’s response to our release has been amazing. Within the first week of releasing code to developers, Diaspora is the 10th most popular project on Github with over 2500+ watchers. We’ve had 412 forks of Diaspora to date, and about a half a million views of the code as well. Many people have gotten the alpha running on their own machines, and have provided countless bug reports and feature requests.

    • Beyond Diaspora: Another Facebook alternative has a head start

      StatusNet is a free software, aka “open source”, microblogging platform (e.g. Twitter). It successfully federates, and better yet, Diaspora has promised to implement OStatus, the same set of standards used by StatusNet so that if and when Diaspora goes public, users on each will be able to connect with each other seamlessly. Diaspora also promised to be free software under the GNU AGPL, same as StatusNet.[10] The most popular public instance is Identi.ca and you can sign up to try it for yourself. StatusNet alone may be a suitable replacement for Twitter, but by itself it doesn’t provide the same functionality as Facebook.

      This is where GNU Social comes in. GNU social aims to extend the StatusNet to provide the capabilities of a full social network. It will incorporate additional features for controlling privacy settings and sharing pictures or video, and it will display all of this in an interface that’s designed not for a microblogging site, but rather for a complete social networking site. The distinction between GNU social and StatusNet is a bit confusing as they has a unique relationship: when development on the original version of GNU social stalled, the developers looked for another codebase to work on. The result was the social/status alliance, between GNU social and StatusNet. Both projects are co-dependent and contain code from either other, thanks in no small part to the hard work of Craig Andrews of GNU social, and Evan Prodromou of StatusNet.

    • Microsoft surrenders Live Spaces future to WordPress

      Microsoft’s killing another me-too Web 2.0 service, sinking its fledgling Live Spaces blog network and shifting 30 million users to WordPress.


    • GNU Telephony Statement on new Internet Surveillance Laws

      Good morning my relations. Today is not such a great day. In the United States the Obama administration is actively seeking a new law to legally mandate the forced introduction of insecure back doors and support for mass surveillance into all communication systems. Specifically targeted are Internet VoIP and messaging systems.

      Speaking on behalf of the GNU Telephony project, we do intend to openly defy such a law should it actually come to pass, so I want to be very clear on this statement. It is not simply that we will choose to publicly defy the imposition of such an illegitimate law, but that we will explicitly continue to publicly develop and distribute free software (that is software that offers the freedom to use, inspect, and modify) enabling secure peer-to-peer communication privacy through encryption that is made available directly to anyone worldwide. Clearly such software is especially needed in those places, such as in the United States, where basic human freedoms and dignity seem most threatened.

    • Happy 27th Birthday GNU Project!

      A hearty Happy 27th Birthday to the GNU Project! Here is a link to the original announcement of the GNU Project posted by Richard Stallman on September 27, 1983. Without the GNU project FOSS as we know it today would not exist. Thank You to everyone who works and has worked on the GNU project over the last 27 years. You have helped make the world a better place. We at LXer take our hats off to you.

  • Government

  • Licensing

    • Choosing and Using Free Licenses for Software, Hardware, and Aesthetic works

      What is this “Free Culture” thing? What is “Free Software”? And how do I get my work out there? If you’re looking to participate in the “Commons”, you’ll need to get comfortable with the idea of free, public licenses and how to use them for your works. This won’t be hard at all, especially with this short guide, but there are different traditions that have sprung up around different kinds of works.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Digital Primer Video Available from the Xiph.Org Foundation

      Today, the Xiph.Org Foundation announced that they have released the first of a series of videos aimed at teaching us geeks what video is really all about. From the xiph.org site:

      “The program offers a brief history of digital media, a quick summary of the sampling theorem, and myriad details of low level audio and video characterization and formatting. It’s intended for budding geeks looking to get into video coding, as well as the technically curious who want to know more about the media they wrangle for work or play.”


  • Science

    • This is a news website article about a scientific paper

      In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of “scare quotes” to ensure that it’s clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever.

      In this paragraph I will briefly (because no paragraph should be more than one line) state which existing scientific ideas this new research “challenges”.

      If the research is about a potential cure, or a solution to a problem, this paragraph will describe how it will raise hopes for a group of sufferers or victims.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Feds Pushing For New Legally Required Wiretap Backdoor To All Internet Communications

      It’s difficult to see how this is any different than foreign governments demanding access to others’ communications as well. It’s pretty ridiculous for President Obama to talk about open internet principles to the UN, while cooking this up at the same time. Pushing for this also means that the US will have no excuse when the governments of Iran, China and elsewhere also demand backdoors into all US-based communications.

      And, really, that’s the biggest problem with this law. Beyond the inevitable privacy violations by the feds, putting backdoors into communications technologies guarantees that those backdoors will be used by others (outside of the federal government) to snoop on communications. The FBI and the NSA (who are pushing for this) are being totally and completely naive if they think that they’re the only ones who will use this. We’ve pointed out in the past how large scale surveillance systems mean large scale security risks, and this is no different. We showed how a similar surveillance system in Greece was hacked into to spy on government officials. US officials should be aware that they’re opening themselves up to these same potential risks.

    • Government Seeks Back Door Into All Our Communications

      For a decade, the government backed off of attempts to force encryption developers to weaken their products and include back doors, and the crypto wars seemed to have been won. (Indeed, journalist Steven Levy declared victory for the civil libertarian side in 2001.) In the past ten years, even as the U.S. government has sought (or simply taken) vastly expanded surveillance powers, it never attempted to ban the development and use of secure encryption.

      Now the government is again proposing to do so, following in the footsteps of regimes like the United Arab Emirates that have recently said some privacy tools are too secure and must be kept out of civilian hands.

    • Pentagon Seeks to Establish Basis for 1970`s Espionage Act Against Wikileaks
  • Finance

    • Geithner Calendar: Met Goldman’s Blankfein More Often Than Pelosi, Reid, McConnell, Boehner (EXCLUSIVE)

      Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein has shown up on Geithner’s calendar at least 38 times through March 2010 since the Treasury Secretary took office in January 2009, three more entries than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, 13 more than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and nearly four times as many as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner combined, according to a copy of Geithner’s daily log recently published online by the Treasury Department. The imbalance is striking, considering that Geithner was heavily involved in financial regulatory reform legislation, which Congress was grappling with during the period covered by the calendar.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

Clip of the Day

Nathan Evans – “DHT and routing in GNUnet”

Credit: TinyOgg

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