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Links 30/9/2010: 48-Core Limit in Linux, Red Hat Looks Into Austin Expansion, Ubuntu 10.10 is Near

Posted in News Roundup at 7:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Operating Systems in Schools

      GNU/Linux is the clear choice for me. Here is an article written by one who shares my views. He describes use of GNU/Linux in schools in British Columbia, Canada. Wherever cost-effective performance is wanted GNU/Linux should be the first choice. I cannot imagine a more appropriate situation than schools. Students and staff need reliable IT and students need IT that is transparent and affordable to them so they can tinker as needed. Students learn by doing. They do not learn by doing what M$ wants them to do.

      A teachable moment with GNU/Linux happened in my classroom yesterday. My students have seen the inner workings of a PC, installed GNU/Linux and used GNU/Linux since school began.

  • Server

    • Current Operating Systems May Only Make Sense Up To 48 Cores

      MIT’s Frans Kaashoek has provided some clues and said that current operating systems, especially Linux can scale to take advantage of multiple cores with minor modifications to the underlying OS code. He and his team simulated a 48-core chip through an 8 x 6 core setup and monitored the performance change when cores were activated one by one. “At some point, the addition of extra cores began slowing the system down rather than speeding it up.” The explanation is that multiple cores often do redundant work and process the same data, which needs to be kept in the chip’s memory for that time. As long as the memory is used, it is not available for other tasks and a performance bottleneck is the result: When the number of cores increases, tasks that depend on the same data get split up into smaller and smaller chunks.

    • Multicore may not be so scary

      Research suggests that the free operating system Linux will keep up with the addition of more ‘cores,’ or processing units, to computer chips.

  • Applications

    • Hotot Twitter application gets a Daily Build PPA for Ubuntu users

      Users of the visually impressive Twitter application ‘Hotot’ may wish to add the projects’ daily-build PPA to automatically gain the latest features and fixes as the app strides towards a stable release.

    • Novacut distributed video editor has 40 hours left to reach reality

      Time is running out for an innovative new video editor inspired by collaborative distribution tools like bzr and git to gather enough ‘crowd-sourced’ funding to make it into reality.

    • CLI Companion Makes It Easier To Use The Terminal

      CLI Companion is a tool aimed at making the terminal easier to use: it’s a GUI that displays a list of commands and an embedded terminal under it. The application comes with a list of commonly used commands by default, each having a short description and if you want to find out more about a certain command, simply right click it and select “Help”. This will display the “man” (manual) for the selected command.

    • Penguin in the picture: top video editors for Linux fans

      When it comes to video editing platforms, Windows and Mac own the field. They run the software from Adobe, Apple, and Avid that’s preferred by professionals, and most –including all Windows machines – come with free, basic editing software for everybody else.

      In my third piece on how media and storage applications for Linux – and particularly Ubuntu – compare, I’ll be looking at how Linux stacks up against Windows and OS X in what seems a closed race.

    • Simple Scan: Linux Finally has a Scanner Anyone could Use

      Sometimes we don’t change our habits even when we have the opportunty to make our lives easier. At least it’s true of me in terms of scanning after upgrading to Ubuntu Lynx (10.04). I don’t know why, but even though I saw that extra possibilitiy in the menu when I needed to scan, I continued using SANE — good, but a bit complicated.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Primal Carnage Says Goodbye To Unigine

        The only problem is we have yet to see a Linux client make a premiere yet for any title using the Unreal Engine 3. We will not see that until Valve’s Steam Client makes a premiere on Linux in the coming months. At that point, it’s a matter of whether a Linux version of Primal Carnage for Linux is actually released. Unreal Tournament 3 for Linux has still not been released, or will it likely ever be.

      • Pioneers – a strategy board game for Ubuntu
  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • The Ideal Linux Distribution, As I See It

      The ideal candidates for this are PCLinuxOS and Linux Mint “Debian”; both are rolling-release distributions but test their packages extensively to ensure the stability and high quality of the packages. Both include Mozilla Firefox, but only Linux Mint “Debian” offers OpenOffice.org. Both include graphical package managers and most proprietary codecs (out-of-the-box). Finally, both have excellent support for mice, webcams, and printers. As PCLinuxOS doesn’t have OpenOffice.org, I’m going to continue with just Linux Mint “Debian”.

    • In praise of floppies

      Are you a Linux guru? Do you want to be a Linux guru? You’ll dazzle them at your Linux guru job interview by mentioning that you always install grub to a floppy, so your computer is unbootable without it. It’s like a primitive boot lock!

    • Reviews

      • Salix OS Live 13.1.1 LXDE

        Salix OS is a distro based on Slackware. Slackware, as you probably already know, has not had a reputation as being the easiest distro to use. Salix OS makes Slackware accessible to more users by making it easier to install, configure and manage. You can get Salix OS with the Xfce or LXDE desktop environments. For this review, I decided to use the LXDE version of Salix OS.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Reports: Red Hat eyeing Austin among cities for possible new headquarters

        Red Hat Inc., a leading provider of Linux software, is looking at Austin among other cities as it considers possibly moving its headquarters from Raleigh, N.C., according to news reports and Raleigh’s mayor.

        Mayor Charles Meeker said Wednesday that Red Hat reportedly is looking at cities including Austin, Atlanta and Boston as it evaluates its need for additional space. It now occupies more than 188,000 square feet at its headquarters at North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus, the Raleigh News & Observer reported Tuesday.

        “They’re a prominent company headquartered here, and naturally we’d like to see them stay,” Meeker said.

        Red Hat reported revenue of $748 million last year. It has 3,400 employees worldwide, including more than 600 in Raleigh. The company also has 65 offices around the world, including one in Austin on MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1).

      • Software-maker Red Hat considers Austin HQ

        Software company Red Hat Inc. is eyeing Austin for a possible headquarters move, potentially bringing hundreds of white-collar jobs.

      • Red Hat Linux is Mad Money

        He clearly understood that Red Hat doesn’t sell software license, they sell the support and services around the software. Whitehurst explained that the Open Source business model is about providing the mission critical support and reliability that big companies need.
        At one point, Cramer asked why Red Hat isn’t selling him Linux for his desktop. Whitehurst’s response was classic – desktop users are used to the Blue Screen of Death and don’t need mission critical support.

      • Sitting at the intersection of brand and culture

        But my experience running People & Brand at Red Hat has shown me there are endless opportunities to better connect HR and brand efforts within organizations. If making an organizational change is out of the question, I’d definitely recommend getting the HR and brand groups together to look for additional opportunities to collaborate.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora ♥’s Python 3

          Awhile ago Dave Malcolm transferred to the Fedora team inside Red Hat to sort out the issues looming with the Python stack within our distribution. Red Hat and Fedora has always been huge admirers of the Python programming language, using it to build a large part of our tools and infrastructure. When the opportunity arrived to build an operating system that children could tinker with and customise, we decided to base the application and desktop layer on top of Python – a tradition SugarLabs continued when they took over the development of Sugar.

          Because we value the huge benefits Python has brought to Fedora and Linux, it isn’t enough for us to simply build on top of a great system. We feel the infrastructure and Python upstream communities themselves are worthy of investing in and have taken an active role in helping to port and maintain a number of Python 3 modules.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu font set as default for Ubuntu 10.10

          Ubuntu’s newly designed font, the work of typographers Dalton Maag, will indeed be used as the default desktop font in Ubuntu 10.10.

          Whilst the new font will only be used in the interface of the desktop, with it being held back as the default for documents and the Terminal, it will certainly make a wonderful first impression on Ubuntu users – both new and old.

        • Fingerprint Reader from Validity Inc. getting official Ubuntu support

          OMG! reader Tobias Knight faced such a situation with a fingerprint reader made by Validity Inc. With the open-source driver on-hold, and wanting to make use of the device, he asked Validity Inc. whether they had any plans to provide support for Ubuntu users of their devices.

          They replied with some good news: -

          “We plan to release Ubuntu support package by the end of the year. It will include proprietary sensor daemon with sample for fprint. We do not have plans for Fedora, but the same package might work (no guarantee).”

        • Ubuntu on ARM, the best since sliced bread !!

          Have you already heard about the new shiny TI OMAP4 CPU ? If you haven’t yet and are interested in ARM stuff you surely will very soon. Ubuntu will additionally to the already known OMAP3 images release images for the OMAP4 architecture with the 10.10 Maverick release.

        • ‘Party the real way for Ubuntu 10.10’ says Vancouver LoCo team

          “Don’t Call It A ‘Party’ If It’s Not!” yells the catchy slogan from the Ubuntu Vancouver LoCo team in their promotional call-to-arms for celebrating Ubuntu 10.10’s release next month.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 beta preview

          Perhaps the most important evolution is the updated Ubuntu Software Center. The application store now has more than just free software, and installation of third party applications is just as easy as Apple’s App Store or Google’s Android Market. The changes from 10.04 are subtle but it’s easy to see that the Ubuntu Software Center could become a major selling point and a money-spinner for Canonical.

          There are the usual accoutrements of updates to the kernel and applications software such as browsers, productivity applications, social networking clients and media players. Ubuntu One, the cloud based storage system that is in public beta, has been intertwined more deeply within the operating system, allowing users to backup folders with a simple right click.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Tuxrace for the Nokia N900

          A top speed of 75km/h, 3D, a good object to use and an objective, its called Tuxrace! It is compatible with your Nokia N900. Use a penguin to catch each fish with many different levels. The sliding penguins name is Tux. That is the origin of the name of the game.

      • Android

        • Some Android apps caught covertly sending GPS data to advertisers

          They used TaintDroid to test 30 popular free Android applications selected at random from the Android market and found that half were sending private information to advertising servers, including the user’s location and phone number. In some cases, they found that applications were relaying GPS coordinates to remote advertising network servers as frequently as every 30 seconds, even when not displaying advertisements. These findings raise concern about the extent to which mobile platforms can insulate users from unwanted invasions of privacy.

        • Star Wars DROID R2-D2 Available

          The limited edition DROID R2-D2 will be available online at www.verizonwireless.com and in select Verizon Wireless Communication stores beginning Sept. 30.

          With a graphic design to look like the iconic Astromech Droid from the Star Wars Saga, the DROID R2-D2 by Motorola will be packaged in a custom box resembling carbonite and come with a Star Wars media dock and wired stereo headset. Exclusive content comes pre-loaded on the special edition smartphone, including:

          * R2-D2 notification sounds and ringtones
          * Four live wallpapers
          * R2-D2 Clock Widget
          * “The Best of R2-D2″ video with the original Cantina music
          * Exclusive Binoculars App

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • StopBadware Bay Area Event October 4

      StopBadware is offering an exciting opportunity for anyone in the Bay Area interested in Internet security: Join StopBadware and The Commonwealth Club the evening of Monday, October 4 in Menlo Park, CA, for a discussion on how to keep the Net safe. Three Internet pioneers—all StopBadware Board members—will lead a conversation entitled Keeping the Net Healthy: How Can We Develop an Immune System for the Internet? with opening and closing remarks by StopBadware’s Executive Director, Maxim Weinstein.

  • Databases

  • Oracle

    • Lustre file system finds life post-Oracle

      Despite reassurances from Oracle, advocates of yet another ex-Sun Microsystems technology are voicing concern about the future of their software. In this latest case, the technology is Lustre, a file system widely used across the supercomputing community.

      “Lustre is in a bit of a flux at the moment. The community feels a little bit that Oracle is turning its back to them, and there is discussion going on over whether or not Oracle is forking the code,” said Brent Gorda, CEO of Whamcloud, a San Francisco-based, venture capital-funded company recently started to service the potential market of HPC (high-performance computing), Linux-based Lustre users.

    • Oracle’s New Kernel: Custom Tuning or Proprietary Lock-In?

      In a year, “my guess is they’ll roll out a new Sun Solaris setup with a nice sticker that says, ‘Optimized for Oracle Database,’ and while they’ll pay lip service to Linux, they will wind down and then kill off their Linux offering,” predicted Slashdot blogger hairyfeet. “And while Linux guys will scream it will make tons of money because it gives a corporation ONE vendor to deal with.”

    • Sun Employees Leaving Oracle In Lockstep

      It has not been easy for Oracle, for as many employees of Sun were supposed to remain, it now is beginning to look as though they are all getting fed up and leaving, perhaps because they were sold a bill of goods, and now they find no merchandise.

      Over at TechEye, the news of two more major players are found to be leaving Oracle as quickly as they can disentangle themselves.


    • Free Software PDF Readers

      What would you think about a sign on the highway stating “You need a Volkswagen to drive on this road. Contact your Volkswagen dealer for a gratis test drive – Your Government”? When it comes to PDF reading software, many governments do this every day. With the pdfreaders.org campaign we will turn the spotlight on public institutions who behave in this way, exposing how frequently such non-Free advertisements appear.

  • Government

    • UK Open Government Licence removes barriers to re-use of public sector information

      Launched today by the National Archives, a new UK Open Government Licence (UK OGL) is said to remove many of the existing barriers to re-use of government held information. The new licence is claimed to be simple. flexible and compatible with other recognised licensing models such as the Creative Commons licence.

      The UK OGL will be applicable across the entire public sector throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Replacing the existing Click-Use Licence it will enable the free re-use of a broad range of public sector information, including Crown Copyright, databases and source code. Users will not be required to register or formally apply for permission to re-use data.

    • Pirate Bay User Database Exploited By Spammers

      A large number of The Pirate Bay users have received an email, allegedly from the site’s operators, inviting them to join the private BitTorrent tracker Demunoid. The Pirate Bay team has distanced itself from the senders, but it remains a mystery how the spammers gained access to the site’s user database.

    • Access Copyright Strikes Back re Status of 99 of 101 Objectors

      Here’s an update on the Access Copyright (“AC”) proposed tariff that would, if approved, result in a cost if about $60 million a year to the Canadian post-secondary educational sector. There is no such mechanism in place in the USA, where much of the money collected will inevitably end up.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Transparency, participation, and collaboration: The distinguishing principles of open source

      Collaboration is about collective engagement for the common good and is the fastest route to open source project success. If an open source project is a neighborhood, then collaboration is the barn raising. Distinguishing this from “participation,” collaboration is about helping others in the community because doing so advances the project and its usefulness for everyone.

      My favorite example of collaboration is knowledge sharing through forums, blogs, and idea exchanges (in some circles, called ideagoras). On JasperForge, Jaspersoft’s open source community web site, there are more than 160,000 registered members who have collectively offered nearly 80,000 forum entries across all the listed top-level projects. The variety of questions and issues being addressed by and for community members within the forums is staggering. And, the vibrancy that emerges through this exchange of skill is core to large-scale community success.

    • South Africa welcomes POSSE

      One of the most important programs at Teaching Open Source is the Professors’ Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE). POSSE is a weeklong bootcamp that gets professors and POSSE instructors productively lost. The idea is to help educators understand how to include being productively lost in their curriculum.

      Being lost is a special state in open source projects. Although we discuss the open source way of doing things and most of us seem to practice similar techniques, the actual navigation within a project is always unique. Getting a first patch accepted for even a small bug involves the issue/bug tracker, coding practices, patch submission processes, and at least a few rounds of human interaction with people in different roles and different timezones. The same is true for any contribution, from documentation to translation.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • WebP, a new image format for the Web

      As part of Google’s initiative to make the web faster, over the past few months we have released a number of tools to help site owners speed up their websites. We launched the Page Speed Firefox extension to evaluate the performance of web pages and to get suggestions on how to improve them, we introduced the Speed Tracer Chrome extension to help identify and fix performance problems in web applications, and we released a set of closure tools to help build rich web applications with fully optimized JavaScript code. While these tools have been incredibly successful in helping developers optimize their sites, as we’ve evaluated our progress, we continue to notice a single component of web pages is consistently responsible for the majority of the latency on pages across the web: images.

      Most of the common image formats on the web today were established over a decade ago and are based on technology from around that time. Some engineers at Google decided to figure out if there was a way to further compress lossy images like JPEG to make them load faster, while still preserving quality and resolution. As part of this effort, we are releasing a developer preview of a new image format, WebP, that promises to significantly reduce the byte size of photos on the web, allowing web sites to load faster than before.


  • Coalition Movement Camp work party set for 10/10/10

    You’ve seen the film, Coalition of the Willing and perhaps read the opensource.com interview. On October 10, 2010, Coalition of the Willing launches the second phase of the Coalition project: the Coalition Movement Camp 10/10/10 Work Party — a flash mob development party for the climate movement. This is your opportunity to log on, converge, and swarm!

  • Science

    • Levitating graphene is fastest-spinning object ever

      A flake of exotic carbon a few atoms thick has claimed a record: the speck has been spun faster than any other object, at a clip of 60 million rotations per minute.

      Graphite is made of stacks of carbon sheets. Separate these, and the result is graphene, which shows a suite of novel properties, including incredible strength.

      Bruce Kane at the University of Maryland in College Park sprayed charged graphene flakes a micrometre wide into a vacuum chamber. Once there, oscillating electric fields trapped the flakes in mid-air.

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Bailout Not Over, Taxpayers Still Owed $2 Trillion In Federal Reserve Loans and TARP Program Funds

      While it is true that many TARP bailout programs have ended, Center for Media and Democracy research shows that money is still due to taxpayers under the TARP. More importantly, the research shows that the U.S. Treasury Department’s ten TARP programs represent less than seven percent of the $4.7 trillion disbursed by the U.S. government in an effort to aid the financial services industry. Far more money has been disbursed by the Federal Reserve to prop up the financial system than by the U.S. Treasury, and those loans are still outstanding.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Democracy After Citizens United

      Lawrence Lessig argues that the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission will lead to further corruption of Congress by making legislators more dependent on special interests rather than on voters. Allison R. Hayward, John Bonifaz, and Gabriel Lenz join the discussion. Moderated by Stephen Ansolabehere, Professor of Political Science at Harvard University.

    • US demands right to snoop the world

      No sooner does the world agree to one request from US law enforcers for the right to snoop on its citizens than they are back with yet more demands. This week, however, the US may finally have pushed too far: the EU is not happy – and it is pushing back.

      First up is the news that, little over a month since signing up to the Swift agreement that both enables and restricts the US’ right to collect information about bank transfers in and out of the United States, the Obama administration has unilaterally decided to tear up the agreement and claim the right to monitor any and every financial transaction, whether it can show good cause or not.
      Click here to find out more!

    • Thursday’s security advisories

      Translation: The Senate Judiciary Committee won’t be considering the dangerously flawed “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA) bill until after the midterm elections, at least.

      This is a real victory! The entertainment industry and their allies in Congress had hoped this bill would be quickly approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with no debate before the Senators went home for the October recess.

    • Wiretapping the Internet

      The government wants to force companies to redesign their communications systems and information networks to facilitate surveillance, and to provide law enforcement with back doors that enable them to bypass any security measures.

      The proposal may seem extreme, but — unfortunately — it’s not unique. Just a few months ago, the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and India threatened to ban BlackBerry devices unless the company made eavesdropping easier. China has already built a massive internet surveillance system to better control its citizens.

    • “Piracy” & Privacy – Can the UK ever get it right?

      What a great place the UK is for Web users. We have reports of law firms making “requests” for information about accounts alleged to be downloading pornography with personal details linked to that pornography leaked on the Web. Phorm with its Webwise allegedly snooping in on your browsing usage for directed advertising and the DEB looming on the horizon…..what a lovely picture of “Digital Britain”.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Public consultation on the open internet and net neutrality

      DG Information Society and Media has launched a public consultation on key questions arising from the issue of net neutrality. European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, announced in April 2010 her intention to launch this consultation in order to take forward Europe’s net neutrality debate. The consultation is part of the Commission’s follow-up to its commitment – one of the prerequisites for the successful conclusion of the 2009 EU telecoms reform package – to scrutinise closely the open and neutral nature of the internet and to report on the state of play to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Laurent Guerby – “The GCC Compile Farm”

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