02.24.11

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Links 24/2/2011: Firefox 4 Days Away, Assange Loses Case, PayPal Cuts Service to Manning

Posted in News Roundup at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop training harder than you’d think

    Curiously, it may be Web 2.0 that gets around this problem. As web apps get more complex, you won’t need as many apps at the local OS level. You’ll just need a browser and whatever platform underneath. That’s the space Linux will ultimately live in, and training–at least at the OS level–may be a moot point.

    But will it be what we could call “desktop Linux”? That remains to be seen.

  • Fun with Linux: How to wipe out Windows to install Ubuntu, then decorate with a penguin

    If you’ve got some non-geek friends and relatives that need to be convinced to give Linux a try, here’s a how-to video to help. It will walk them through how to install Ubuntu to any Windows machine, to set up the fun stuff like the music store and using a dual-monitor setup — and even how to uninstall and go back to Windows (though, who would do that?). Once you’ve made them a convert, they can print out and enjoy this cute mascot penguin cut-out, too, courtesy of Aberdeen.

  • A Miniature Linux Office Solution (Mini ITX)

    In this case I chose Mandriva as it is my personal favorite and the end-user needs a relatively easy to use and configure Linux distribution.

  • Leaving Flickr Behind: Why You Should Host Your Own Photos and Why Linux Makes It so Damn Easy

    I’ve left Flickr. After many years as a loyal Flickr user, I decided not to extend my pro account and leave the popular photo sharing service altogether. Why? For starters, I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to a rather simple question: What would happen if Flickr fails? It may be difficult to imagine that Flickr would disappear, but remember that Flickr is just a business — and not a profitable one at that. And even if Yahoo! will continue supporting Flickr, what will happen if I wake up one morning and discover that my account has been deleted without any prior warning? Not that it has never happened to anyone before.

  • Desktop

    • Switching to Ubuntu 10.04 from Windows XP

      I’ve been a long-time Windows fan like the vast majority of computer users, having been introduced to the world of computers through the Microsoft marvel. But with the growing popularity of Linux flavors, aren’t open source operating systems worth giving a try?

      Ubuntu 10.04 is among the plethora of Linux distributions that you can choose from, touted to be very user-friendly and robust, especially the 32-bit version. It brings along a wave of benefits to those embarking on Operation Open Source. It’s fast and mostly reliable – it will help you out by suggesting commands to run if you’re missing an application. The installation is quick, and the boot up and shutdown are blazing fast. And importantly, like most Linux flavors, it provides a hostile environment for viruses to survive.

  • Server

    • Goodbye MS Exchange: Good Linux Email Servers

      Don’t pay top dollar for Microsoft lard when you can get the best mail servers for free. The Linux world is full of great servers, both free and with commercial support options.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Embedded Linux file system rev’d for performance

      Datalight released a new version of its Reliance Nitro file system aimed at embedded Linux devices. Reliance Nitro SDK for Linux 2.0 offers improved read and write performance, fast boot times, solid reliability, and a wide assortment of validation and testing tools, says the company.

      The Reliance Nitro SDK for Linux 2.0 is the latest in a number of Linux-compatible file system products from Datalight, including the Datalight Flash File System announced in early 2008. That product combined the Linux version of the Reliance file system with DataLight’s FlashFX Pro flash media manager and block device driver, an earlier version of the FlashFX Tera software mentioned farther below.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • digiKam Tricks 2.0 Released

        Readers who already purchased the book will receive the new version free of charge. If you haven’t received your copy, please send me your order confirmation as proof of purchase to dmpop@linux.com and I’ll email you the latest version of the book.

      • How to Remotely Control KTorrent

        The KTorrent web interface is very basic but gets the job done. First, open your web browser, go to the IP address or hostname of the computer running KTorrent, and add the port number to the end. For example:

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3 Almost Ready, or is It

        GNOME 3 Shell is nearing its projected released date and development snapshots have been coming from openSUSE and Fedora. GNOME Shell 2.91.6 was released today with lots of listed improvements. But not everyone is thrilled.

  • Distributions

    • Bayanihan 5 Kalumbata – A glimpse into the past

      Bayanihan is somewhere between Pardus and CentOS 5.X, when it comes to being easy to configure and use. It’s modern and archaic at the same time, a unique quality. Combined with some weird bugs and a strange choice of programs and features, Bayanihan manages to be neither the old, nostalgia-infused distro with all the functionality you need nor the ultra-modern, bleeding-edge vessel of technology adorned with retro looks and programs.

      As such, Bayanihan invalidates itself as an alternative to popular distributions you see in the top ten list on DistroWatch. Kalumbata is a weird mix of old and new that caters to no one really. I can appreciate the effort and the noble cause, but not the outcome.

      With regional-only repository, a legacy palette of programs, plus some technical voodoo difficulties with hardware and software, Bayanihan has all the relevancy of a typical 2007 distribution. Hardly a competition in the modern arena of Linux distributions.

      If you ask me, honestly, Bayanihan is a no go. It’s a thing of the past. Sweet and cuddly, KDE 3.5 is a nice touch, the programs might make you shed a tear of sorrowful joy, but overall, it’s outdated. There’s no critical incentive you should use it, for either technical or ideological reasons. Ubuntu, Mint, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, a bunch of others, they are all several years ahead.

      So it seems there is a good reason why you don’t see Bayanihan in the spotlight. It’s a dying star of a different era. And while it may serve you well and true, it’s time to you moved on to younger game.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Beyond FUDCon with Robyn Bergeron, Fedora Program Manager

          Robyn Bergeron: I’ve been a Linux user for a long time, though it hasn’t always been my primary OS. I remember running Slackware back in 1995, 1996, and was an on-again, off-again tinkerer through the early 2000s. My first real involvement with contributing to F/LOSS was a few years ago, when I volunteered to help out with editing papers and compiling the proceedings for the Ottawa Linux Symposium, which I did for two years before becoming involved with Fedora.

    • Debian Family

      • A response to DistroWatch “Introducing Debian GNU/Linux 6.0″

        I’m quite pleased that Mr. Smith took the time to give Debian 6.0 a real workout before writing his review. And I even understand his reservations about ” by being so general, so universal, I felt Squeeze didn’t excel at anything.”

        Maybe, Squeeze excels at being general and universal?

      • Ubuntu: there was never any love to start with

        It’s funny that seven years and a bit after Ubuntu came to life in October 2004, people still write about the project in a dreamy wide-eyed way, even mentioning the word “love” in doing so. Naive is the description that immediately springs to mind.

        Or is it that such people are willing to use any, and every, means to attack Shuttleworth simply because they don’t like him? Separating the personal from the professional has always been a major problem for those who claim to be part of the FOSS community. Especially when marketing droids are trying to pose as journalists.

        Shuttleworth is a shrewd businessman; Canonical is registered in a known tax haven, the Isle of Man. He made a few hundred million dollars by first nurturing, then building up, and finally selling a very successful business, Thawte.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • An Interview with Jane Silber

          I’m Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. I live in London and hold dual American/British citizenship. I spell like a Brit, speak like an American, and wave my hands about like an Italian. I grew up In Springfield, Illinois and have lived in Washington DC, Nashville, and Yokohama, Japan. I moved to the UK in 2002. My background includes jobs in start-ups and large companies, in domains ranging from health risk appraisal to artificial intelligence to military command and control. I hold degrees in Math/Computer Science from Haverford College, Management of Technology from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA from Oxford University. Outside of work I enjoy holiday travel, live performances, engrossing books, good food, witty people, and new experiences.

        • Loving Ubuntu Linux

          A short list would include Debian’s continued jealousy getting in the way of co-operation between the closely related Linux distributions; countless accusations that Canonical/Ubuntu is all about promoting Ubuntu and not Linux; and that Ubuntu doesn’t contribute its fair share to the Linux kernel and other up-stream open-source programs.

          But this, this is all old news. Ubuntu has long endured these criticisms. So have the other Linux distributions.

        • Over 50 Ubuntu Based Distributions – Wow!

          Ok so I wanted to know more about the distributions that were based on Ubuntu and the Wikipedia list is pretty long.

        • First look at Ubuntu “Natty” and the state of Unity

          Though buggy and incomplete, the implementation of Unity as it stands now looks interesting. It’s unlikely to appeal to GNOME 2.x stalwarts, but it’s unclear whether GNOME 3.0 will either. It’s an interface that may appeal to non-Linux users, if Canonical can find hardware partners to ship it pre-installed.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OSADL preps for real-time Linux conference, launches book series

      OSADL (Open Source Automation Development Lab) is calling for papers for its 13th RealTime Linux Workshop (RTLWS13) in Prague on Oct. 20-22. Also announced were an “OSADL Academic Works” book series — starting with Roland Kammerer’s “Linux in Safety-Critical Applications” — and two new academic partners, ZHAW’s InES lab in Winterthur, Switzerland, and the RealTime Systems Laboratory (RETIS) in Pisa, Italy.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source with the Home Office and the British Computing Society

    The System Integrators are perfectly happy to work with Open Source. The customer just has to ask for it. All the SIs on the panel said this. They already provide Open Source solutions to other countries, they already use Open Source software where they are providing just a service (cuts their costs and gives them more control). They just pitch proprietary stuff at procurement contracts because that is what wins them here.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome alone?

        One of the most interesting projects announced last year, for my money at least, was Google Chrome OS. This was, as you probably know, Google’s signal of intent that it was going head first into the operating system market, having found a niche in which it figured it could make an impact.

        Its thinking was smart, too. It targeted the then burgeoning netbook market, coming up with a fast, quick-booting operating system that stored everything you needed in the cloud. When it was first demonstrated, and Google showed a portable machine booting to a working desktop in under ten seconds, I wanted to get cracking with the OS right there and then.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 beta 12 now expected Monday or Tuesday

        Developers continue to fire away on new and existing bugs before issuing the first Firefox 4 Release Candidate.

      • Update: Firefox update will patch CSRF bug, Mozilla says

        Mozilla said late Wednesday that it will ship security updates to Firefox 3.5 and Firefox 3.6 next week that will include a patch for a bug that can be exploited using a malicious Adobe Flash file.

        (Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story, published before Mozilla responded to a request for comment, said company meeting notes suggested that the Firefox security updates would not include the patch.)

        Firefox 3.5.17 and Firefox 3.6.14 will now appear Tuesday, March 1, Mozilla disclosed in meeting notes published today.

      • With Firefox 4 Days Away, Mozilla is Updating an Online Bug List Counter

        Mozilla has made a lot of changes to its procedures for shipping new versions of the uber-popular Firefox browser, including following a new, rapid release cycle, and now, the company has adopted an online bug list countdown to help mark how close the much-delayed new version of Firefox is to final form. Mozilla has targeted February for shipping Firefox 4, but a peek at the canweshipyet site shows, in real-time, that there are 13 bugs standing in the way of shipping the new version. The counter has bounced between about 22 bugs and 13 bugs for the past day or so, but the counter itself is a sign of how seriously Mozilla now takes Firefox development.

  • Databases

  • Programming

    • Cussing in Commits: Which Programming Language Inspires the Most Swearing?

      As any programmer can tell you, programming will make you swear. But did you know that writing C++ will make you swear considerably more than PHP or Python?

      Developer Andrew Vos was looking for a weekend project when he decided to grab some one million commit messages from GitHub and scan them for swear words. He limited the swearing to George Carlin’s seven dirty words and then broke down the results according to programming language. To make sure that the popularity of one language over another didn’t skew the results, Vos grabbed an equal number of commit messages per language.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • ARM Ships Billions of Chips but IDC Doesn’t Count Them

      With ARM shipping billions of units annually and approaching 100 million personal computing devices, I should think ARM will be having an impact on personal computing in 2011.

    • Samsung promises 20nm chips before 2012

      In an announcement from Samsung’s Ana Hunter, the company confirmed that it would be building 20nm chips by the second half of the year – and claimed that the process shrink will bring major improvements.

      A drop from the current 32nm and 28nm fabrication nodes used by the company will see the high-k metal gate (HKMG) technology, used to replace the traditional silicon dioxide gate dielectric in smaller nodes to reduce current leakage, introduced with the 32nm process size employed to allow the distance between components to shrink still further.

    • First Tegra 2-based Qseven module spins HD video on 5 Watts

      MSC Vertriebs announced an ARM-based Qseven module that appears to be the industry’s first such device using Cortex-A9 cores. The MSC Q7-NT2 is built around a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 290 processor, supports 1080p video, offers interfaces ranging from gigabit Ethernet to I2C, consumes only five Watts, and offers extended temperature support, says the company.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is co-existence possible for organic and GM food producers?

      In December 2010, organic farmer Steve Marsh from Kojonup, 250km south east of Perth in Western Australia, says he found canola plants on his property.

      Tests confirmed they were genetically modified canola.

      The discovery prompted his organic certifier, the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia to suspend and subsequently remove organic accreditation from over 300 hectares of Mr Marsh’s property.

      Mr Marsh says as a result his livelihood has been ruined because he is no longer eligible for premium organic grain prices.

      He claims the plant material blew onto his property from a swathed GM canola crop grown by his neighbour, Michael Baxter. Mr Baxter has declined requests for interviews from the ABC, but it is understood that he has vowed to defend the allegation.

      Mr Marsh has engaged Perth lawyer Richard Huston to begin legal action against Mr Baxter.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Libya: “Full Range of Options”

      Let me suggest some options the USA, Canada and other countries could take:

      * Secure the borders of Libya to prevent mercenaries from entering Libya,
      * close the airspace over Libya to prevent everything but relief flights,
      * “bomb” hospitals in Libya with GPS-guided parachuted medical supplies,
      * secure beach-heads all along the Libyan coast to permit rapid influx of material and equipment for any eventuality,
      * secure airports in Libya or build landing strips as appropriate,
      * secure other critical infrastructure that might be destroyed by any “scorched earth” policy: communication, transportation, utilities and petroleum infrastructure,
      * supply communications equipment so that citizens can call directly for action in the face of violence and reporters can inform the world what is happening in Libya,
      * distribute food, water and medicines to citizens so they can remain close to home rather than going into danger,
      * resupply former units of Libya’s military to prevent the post-regime chaos seen in Iraq, and
      * dispatch forward elements to mark targets and pull the teeth of the tyrant: mercenaries, “loyal” military units, and propaganda machines.

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • It’s Time to Have a Serious Conversation About Jim Flaherty and Goldman Sachs

      Maude Barlow, with the Council of Canadians, once said that Chantel Hebert was the only progressive voice on Canadian television. The last thing I ever heard Hebert say was that she felt that Jim Flaherty was the most underrated politician on Parliament Hill.

      I have never listened to another word from her and avoid her columns. If she told me the earth was round, I would have to rethink my position. But was her remark the result of lazy journalism, or was she, like most Canadians, simply brainwashed by the millions and millions of dollars in taxpayer funded advertising?

    • Jim Flaherty, Goldman Sachs and “The Swoop and Squat”

      At the height of the housing boom, Goldman Sachs was selling billions in bundled mortgage-backed securities, while also betting against those same securities. In other words they were going to have their cake and eat it too. Cashing in on one end and cashing out on the another, under a deregulation gold mine called the credit default swap.

    • Taibbi: Why Wall Street Isn’t In Jail – Video Interview

      The US government cannot effectively deal with the financial crisis and the required credible reforms because in fixing the problems they would necessarily expose the underlying fraud, and endanger the very powerful status quo that funds them and their political campaigns.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • The Biggest Issue for Canadian Digital Policy

      As public frustration with the state of telecommunications services such as Internet access and wireless competition mounts, a relatively obscure government consultation on spectrum deserves far more attention. Last November, Industry Canada released a Consultation on a Policy and Technical Framework for the 700 MHz Band and Aspects Related to Commercial Mobile Spectrum. While the title alone is likely enough for most to look elsewhere, no issue will have a greater impact on the next 10 years of Canadian digital policy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Trademark Wars: ChaCha, XOOM Taken to the Gauntlet

        It’s nothing new to hear about patent and trademark infringements in the Android market. Whether it be OEMs or developers, someone’s registered patent or trademark is always being infringed upon. Even Google “stole” Android at some point. That’s been settled with some ridiculous amount of money, of course.

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2 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    February 25, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Gravatar

    I see the Microsoft press is trying to stir trouble in the free software world and do damage control on people calling out Mono in Ubuntu as trouble for Canonical. All of those articles citing a long list of fake and overblown controversies are useful for seeing how there was really nothing to them. As Novell crumples, is time for historical revision and TE that focuses on Ubuntu. While one of the new articles openly cites Bruce Byfield as the trouble maker, others above simply carry the same talking points a sure sign of Microsoft coordination. Rich Bill Gates is your friend, rich Mark Suttleworth is an evil businessman? People who focus on freedom rather than brands and personalities don’t have the problems Microsoft would like them to have.

    It looks like Bruce Byfield, a repeat civil war suspect, kicked the whole thing off with this mostly useless article that answers a question no one had. Note that his article at Datamation shows up under banners promoting Dell and Windows 7, “Display your commitment to software quality with the Windows 7 logo. Customers look for products with the Windows 7 logo because they’re recognized as high-quality and more reliable. Click here to learn more” Make me sick some more, Bruce.

    SJVN’s follow up is surprising given his well displayed software freedom clue. Perhaps he should reexamine the reasoning that went into some of his prior articles about Canonical to see if he’s been spun. What’s truly disappointing is where he says, “It’s only software” after taking a sidewards swipe at Techrights as a hate site and implying that Techrights somehow hates Canonical. In the first place, it might only be software but that software is only your news, press, mail, phone and entertainment. Non free software annoys everyone who uses it, so everyone really cares but they simply don’t have the proper mental framework to understand the problem and they are not aware of the technical solutions. Of course, Techrights has expressed nothing but concern for Canonical and warned them against Microsoft’s poorly performing technology and patent traps, mono, Banshee, Tom Tom and so on. It’s right to get worked up about Microsoft’s nefarious schemes.

    The free software world will probably ignore most of this fake controversy. Most don’t bother to read IDG, ZDnet, etc. The problem is that these Microsoft influenced journalist might be taken as impartial reporters by the rest of the world that might be interested in software freedom. Let’s hope that most people do the practical thing and find out about free software the easy way, by downloading and installing it.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There are people inside Canonical who understand quite well that the smear about me being “against Ubuntu” (which I have used and endlessly promoted since 2005, I use it now to post this comment) is mostly arriving from the Mono/Novell lobby, sometimes with Microsoft citing them. It’s baseless.

    As for Byfield’s piece, Varghese rebutted it ( http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/open-sauce/45391-ubuntu-there-was-never-any-love-to-start-with ). Varghese too is being subjected to smears and abuse from the Mono/Novell lobby, but Linus Torvalds happily gave Varghese his exclusive interview a few weeks ago. Varghese is a good journalist, who is not afraid of tackling hard subjects that can get him abused (see the great questions he asked Torvalds). It’s the same situation Techrights is in because it doesn’t do just churnalism (or cowardly reciting the ‘safe’ party line):

    • Ladies and gentleman, please start your churn engines

      When you paste a press release into churnalism.com and hit ‘compare’ the churn engine compares it with over three million articles published in the national press in the last three years (refreshed every hour or so).

      The engine looks for 15-character strings in the press release that are exactly the same as 15-character strings in articles. When it finds the same string the engine looks for more identical strings in the same article. If more than 20% of the article and the press release overlap, the engine suggests it may be churn.

    • Churnalism or news? How PRs have taken over the media

      A new website promises to shine a spotlight on “churnalism” by exposing the extent to which news articles have been directly copied from press releases.

      The website, churnalism.com, created by charity the Media Standards Trust, allows readers to paste press releases into a “churn engine”. It then compares the text with a constantly updated database of more than 3m articles. The results, which give articles a “churn rating”, show the percentage of any given article that has been reproduced from publicity material.

      The Guardian was given exclusive access to churnalism.com prior to launch. It revealed how all media organisations are at times simply republishing, verbatim, material sent to them by marketing companies and campaign groups.

    I should really do a post on this subject, maybe tonight. When I come to think about it, the same problems also apply to RMS/FSF and some days ago I exchanged about 20 tweets with a former Microsoft employee who used those old smears against the FSF while pushing Mono.

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