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Links 4/3/2011: Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3, Firefox 4 Days Away

Posted in News Roundup at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Sydney Linux group may merge with Linux Australia

    The Sydney Linux User Group may be wound up by the end of the month and function instead as a sub-committee of Linux Australia if a motion drafted by its president, James Polley, is passed at the AGM on March 25.

  • Weighting for Good Web Stats

    Now, China has a high usage of GNU/Linux compared to Canada or the USA but, if the client sites of Net Applications are more likely to be visited by businesses or organizations using XP than GNU/Linux, overweighting them could certainly exaggerate the tenacity of that other OS share.

  • Desktop

    • Dell Inspiron M101z review

      Dell’s latest netbook cum sub-notebook boasts the latest AMD technology and dual boots with Ubuntu. We’re still in shock, but have pulled ourselves together long enough to bring you a full review…

    • Linux Leaders: Debian and Ubuntu Derivative Distros

      Most of the netbook-centered choices are based upon Ubuntu, and emphasize social media and cloud computing. They include Aurora (formerly Eeebuntu), Easy Peasy, and Jolicloud.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • What is Your Favorite Desktop?

      KDE and GNOME were always the two top favorites. In 2005 KDE got 53% of the votes while GNOME received 27%. In 2008 KDE got 46% and GNOME 39%. Last month KDE earned 41% of the vote in contrast to GNOME which got 37%. We can conclude that for a while GNOME was catching up with KDE as it gained in popularity while KDE declined. This could probably be attributed to the rise of Ubuntu and the release of KDE 4. But the anomaly of GNOME’s recent slight recline could reflect on diminishing use of Ubuntu in response to their move to Unity or perhaps users are moving to other desktops again in response to the move to Unity. We can only speculate. However, it is interesting to note that the new addition, Unity, to the poll this year netted a 2% take. While that would make up the decrease in GNOME this year, KDE still decreased as well by 5%.

      The interesting numbers for KDE and GNOME make the third, fourth, and fifth placements even more relevant. Xfce came in third all three years of polling. In 2005 it got 8% of the vote, 6% in 2008, and 6% in 2011. So while it lost 2% between 2005 and 2008, it remained the same this year as it did in 2008. Could that 2% have moved to GNOME?

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Back to Basics with KDE 4

        After our review of KDE 4.6, we received a great deal of positive comments, but not all of them were sparkling assessments of KDE’s functionality. For that reason, I have decided to get back to the basics this week with a little how-to guide for KDE 3 users who may be reluctant to switch to KDE 4, Gnome or other desktop users who avoid KDE because of certain usability problems, and anyone who might be new to the software and its unique desktop interface.


        KDE also has a “Multiple Monitors” configuration that gives you extra settings for virtual desktops, screen maximization, and more.

      • KDE Commit Digest for 13 February 2011
      • Qt and the Future of KDE

        Qt remains the strong, cross-platform foundation of everything we do. Combined with KDE technologies, we believe Qt is the compelling framework for cross-platform software development. There has never been a better time to shape the future of computing. Join us and make that future a future that is free.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3 Beta: Ever So Slightly More Than a Pretty Face

        GNOME 3 still lacks its own applications dock. And the GNOME panel that lets you pin icons to it for quick launch is gone. So I use Avant Window Navigator for my comfort zone. I discovered early on that AWN is still going to be a vital part of my desktop navigation after the official upgrade to GNOME 3. See my review of AWN here.

        Even worse, the change to GNOME 3 disables Compiz, so all of the cool special effects — mostly desktop eye candy but still some nifty features — are left behind permanently, according to GNOME3.org.

        The new GNOME shell uses the Mutter window manager to provide its own style of eye-popping animation effects. Compiz is a compositing manager that can also be a window manager. It improves user interaction by adding fancy effects to the desktop windows. In layman’s terms, Mutter and Compiz are like oil and water. They do not mix.

      • Track Me! Just Track Me, GNOME Project!

        The upcoming GNOME 3 release will be making some controversial changes, such as removing the Window List from the panel making for a more “task-based environment” as they say, they’re also removing the Minimize and Maximize window control buttons and Desktop icons (at least at the moment that’s what it seems like.)

        These design changes along with some inflexible and controversial Power Management settings, more and more people are expressing disinterest in GNOME 3.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Kororaa GNU/Linux is back

        GNU/Linux distributions are like ships in the night – they come and go and sometimes disappear from sight altogether. Some last just a few months, while others, despite being the brainchild of a single individual, stay on for years and years.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • [p]review: Fedora 15 + GNOME 3.0, a skippable release

          So now that the Alpha release for Fedora 15 has been declared gold, all the features are in, only polish and bug fixing are to be applied until final, is the time for previews are reviews, it was also the time for me to look at the new default desktop and understand what is coming. The executive summary of my review is: from a desktop point of view, this is a release to skip, and I am not talking about the Alpha, but about F15 altogether.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian announces first South American Security Mirror

        The Debian project is proud to announce the availability of the first official security.debian.org mirror in South America. security.debian.org carries all the security updates of the stable and oldstable releases.

      • Spotlight on Linux: Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 “Squeeze”

        Rock solid stability, timely updates, and easy package management are top reasons Debian is used on a large number of desktops and laptops.

      • People behind Debian: Christian Perrier, translation coordinator

        Christian is a figure of Debian, not only because of the tremendous coordination work that he does within the translation project, but also because he’s very involved at the social level. He’s probably in the top 5 of the persons who attended most often the Debian conference.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.10 Release Schedule

          The Ubuntu team is already planning for the release of Ubuntu 11.10, it will be released on the 6th of October 2011.

          Here is a list of dates when the Alpha and Beta versions will be released.

        • Ubuntu, the cloud OS

          We made a small flurry of announcements last week, all of which were related to cloud computing. I think it is worthwhile to put some context around Ubuntu and the cloud and explain a little more about where we are with this critical strategic strand for our beloved OS.

          First of all, the announcements. We announced the release of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud on Dell servers. This is a hugely significant advance in the realm of internal cloud provision. It’s essentially formalising a lot of the bespoke work that Dell has done in huge data centres (based on a variety of OSes) and making similar technology available for smaller deployments. We attended the Dell sales summit in Las Vegas and we were very encouraged to meet with many of the Dell salespeople whose job it will be to deliver this to their customers. This is a big company, backing a leading technology and encouraging businesses to start their investigations of cloud computing in a very real way.

        • Open Letter to Ubuntu – fix the patching schedule

          We love the operating system. We use it almost exclusively at Yooter’s offices, but we do have one serious complaint.

          Over the past 6 months we have logged nearly daily updates to the linux based operating system. To the point where nearly every single day we have a new patch. We want to propose a change to the way Ubuntu patches the system.

        • Stepping down considerately

          I have started as an Ubuntu user in 2005, I have found it a promising project mostly because it was aimed at “humans” users, while most similar projects had still a greater focus on developers or development oriented aspects.
          Getting involved was easy, the developers could be found on IRC some of them more friendly than others but always there, a point of connection with the community.
          As soon I had some know-how I have started participating in the forums, each question was an opportunity for teaching, learning or improving, it was a great experience.

        • Interview: Ted Gould on Ubuntu Unity

          Linux Magazine’s Senior Software Editor Brockmeier, talks with Ted Gould of Canonical about the upcoming release of Ubuntu Unity. In this interview Ted touches on Unity’s UI design decisions, hardware drivers and bundled software.

        • Xnoise is a Fast, Lightwieght Music Player for Ubuntu

          Xnoise is a fast, lightweight and minimal music player for Ubuntu based on a unique track list queuing feature where users can drag and drop tracks or group of tracks from multiple albums/artists on a playlist.

          The layout is quite simple with a left sidebar that shows song artists and other metadata in a hierarchical structure and a right column that shows your playlist. Xnoise also comes with lots of plugins that bring Lastfm integration, native notifications support, album covers and the new Ubuntu sound menu integration.

        • Ratings&reviews “Was this review helpful?”
        • Thanks Ubuntu

          Nothing is free (as in beer). Somebody throughout the years has been sponsoring this: parents, universities, companies, individuals, etc. Who is paying bills for all the bandwidth, disk space, buildbots, that you have ever used? Surely it wasn’t yourself all the time.


          This “flame war” was actually very boring…

        • Introducing Overlay Scrollbars in Unity
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 Is Out [Screenshots And Video]
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 Released with Lots of New Features
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 Released – Overview and Screenshots

          Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’ Alpha 3 has been released today that brings many fixes, improvements and new features over the last Alpha 2. For Ubuntu 11.04, a feature freeze is already in place and Alpha 3 is first release after that.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3 released
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Bodhi Linux 0.1.6 RC2 – First Look and Initial Impressions

            My immediate reaction? I love the theme/profile selection. I love the tablet/netbook usability. I love how minimal/lightweight it is. Just a few things keep it from being 100% for me… click “Read More” below to watch the video and see why…

            If you’re interested in trying it out, head over to bodhilinux.com.

          • Kanotix 2011-03 Is Based on Debian 6 Squeeze

            Kanotix 2011-03 Hellfire has been released. The latest release of the KDE-based distro uses the recently launched Debian 6 Squeeze and adds a number of packages and fixes along with a modern kernel.

            Kanotix 2011-03 Hellfire uses the rather old, but stable, KDE SC 4.4.5, with some customizations, and introduces Libre Office 3.3.1 which replaces OpenOffice.org.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Saab demos in-car Android infotainment system with open API

      Saab Automobile unveiled an Android-based in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) concept supported by an open API and app store. The “Saab IQon” system is equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen, provides streaming multimedia, navigation, and on-board storage, and offers API access to more than 500 sensor signals that can be remotely relayed back to Saab dealerships.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Packt Publishing Supports Open Source by $300,000 (So far)

    You’ve probably noticed that I’ve reviewed a couple of books for Packt before; they asked me and I was happy to (I got a free book for my time and learned some new stuff). Last year I felt rather honoured when asked to be a judge on their popular Open Source Awards – In the Open Source E-Commerce Applications category.

  • Events

    • DrupalCon Chicago is Only Days Away–Focused on Design, Usability

      Here at OStatic, we’ve had good success running our site on the open source content management system (CMS) Drupal, and Drupal has been steadily spreading out, becoming popular at countless sites, and arriving as the publishing platform that many online newspapers and media outlets now favor. From March 7th to 11th, DrupalCon Chicago–a huge conference dedicated to the CMS–will be held, and there will be a special focus on design and user experience. Here are some of the details on the conference, and some useful Drupal resources and introductory materials that we’ve collected.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Latest Releases of Karmasphere Products Further Hadoop Usability and Performance in the Enterprise
    • DMTF highlights demand for cloud license management relief

      Still, concerns and cost pains associated with license management are part of a theme that has been resonating among both customers and providers, and I believe it is among the primary drivers of open source in cloud computing. Open source is not only associated with cost savings, it is associated with greater ease and simplicity in licensing. After all, if you’re concerned about figuring out and paying for the cloud computing resources you use instead of taking advantage of those resources, you can always just use the free, unpaid software if it is open source. While there may well be similar licensing headaches awaiting customers of commercial open source software, the fact of the matter is open source does provide more flexibility and open source is no-doubt associated positively with cost savings, license management savings and general user empowerment.

      We also discussed the importance of license management and related open source advantages when we highlighted the year 2011 for Linux. In addition, the work of the DMTF and the issue of license management also plays into our recent take on the pillars of openness in today’s enterprise IT landscape.

  • Databases

    • 5 of the Best Relational Database Management System for Linux

      A Database Management System (DBMS) is described as a set of computer programs that manages the creation, maintenance, and administration of a database. It is a system software package that supports the use of unified collection of data records and files known as databases. A DBMS could utilize any of a variety of database models, such as the network model or relational model.

      A relational database management system (RDBMS) is a DBMS in which data is stored in the form of tables, and the relationship among the data is stored in the form of tables as well. Nowadays, majority of popular commercial and open-source databases are based on the relational database model.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Survey: Oracle bad for Java, MySQL (infographic)

      On March 3, database vendor EnterpriseDB is set to release the results of its survey conducted at the JavaOne conference last September in San Francisco.

      More than 600 IT professionals completed the survey, the results of which provide a bit of insight into community sentiment regarding Oracle’s control of open-source projects Java and MySQL.

    • Surprised? Survey Suggests Oracle Bad for Open Source

      Open source database vendor EnterpriseDB is taking the fight to database market leader Oracle via a survey showing that respondents generally don’t trust Oracle on prices, think Oracle is bad for Java and don’t really like Larry Ellison. Although EnterpriseDB acknowledges the survey — which was answered by more than 600 JavaOne conference attendees — is unscientific, the results do seem to mirror the thoughts on Oracle that pop up again and again in the IT press. And the infographic is fun.

    • LibreOffice Suite Features Unique to Open Source Community

      Lest anyone complain that the free-software world doesn’t offer enough choices, there are now two major open source office suites vying for the hearts and minds of choosy end users. But since both of these products — OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice — derive from the same codebase, what actually sets them apart? Here we take a look at a few features unique to LibreOffice.

    • Using Oracle Berkeley DB as a NoSQL Data Store
  • Business

    • Openbravo Introduces Agile ERP with Openbravo 3

      Openbravo, the leading web-based Open Source ERP provider, today released the next-generation of its flagship open source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Openbravo 3 introduces the concept of ‘Agile ERP’ to a software category known historically for bloat and cost overruns. Openbravo’s Agile ERP approach is a significant departure from mainstream ERP, which forces businesses to over-pay for massive, yet inflexible systems. Unlike today’s conventional ERP, organizations can deploy Openbravo in as little two weeks, then add modular functionality as the needs of their business evolve.

    • Semi-Open Source

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 8.2 review

      PC-BSD is a desktop distribution based on FreeBSD. The latest stable release, PC-BSD 8.2, was made available for public download last month. This article presents a review of this latest release.

  • Project Releases

    • Spring GemFire 1.0.0 Released!

      I am pleased to announce that the first GA release of the Spring GemFire 1.0 project is now available for both Java and .NET! The Spring GemFire project aims to make it easier to build Spring-powered highly scalable applications using GemFire as distributed data management platform.

  • Government

    • German Open Source Experiment: Things Not Going To Plan

      Unfortunately, all of the reports that I have been able to find and translate lacked the precise details or hard figures that proved that Linux had failed. The forums and discussion threads on various sites are bubbling with comments hinting that Microsoft may have stepped in with huge financial incentives to switch. However, there have been no reports of a backlash from the workers themselves now that they are being to being moved back to Windows and other proprietary software, and we need to ask some tough questions about why.

    • FR: Candidats.fr initiative to raise election candidates’ awareness of free software

      In the light of the cantonal elections of 20 and 27 March 2011 in France, April, a non-profit organisation promoting and advocating free software, relaunched ‘Candidats.fr’, an initiative whose aim is to raise the future local councillors’ awareness of this software.

      The association wishes to advise local councillors on related issues, in particular open standards and the use of open free software in government and communities. For this purpose, April invites everyone to participate in the campaign by contacting candidates and encouraging them to sign the Free Software Pact.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Introducing PhiloGL: A WebGL Framework from Sencha Labs

      For some time now I’ve been working on a Sencha Labs project to build a WebGL framework and today I’m very proud to release it. It’s called PhiloGL and it’s intended for advanced data visualization, creative coding and game development.


  • Former Tory MPs speak out against Conservative ‘in-and-out’ scheme

    The Conservative party wanted them in, but they wanted out.

    Two former Tory MPs say they refused to join the party’s “in-and-out” election financing scheme, adding to the number of Conservatives who say they had misgivings about the system.

    Inky Mark, who resigned his Manitoba seat last year, said his staff was contacted by party officials during the 2006 election campaign. He said the officials asked of they could deposit several thousand dollars in his campaign account and withdraw it later to buy advertising.

  • Tories re-brand government in Stephen Harper’s name

    And lest anyone forgets, a directive went out to public servants late last year that “Government of Canada” in federal communications should be replaced by the words “Harper Government.”

  • Science

    • Bruce Winstein, physicist, 1943-2011
    • Fermilab releases a new version of Scientific Linux

      For more than 12 years, Fermilab has supplied thousands of individuals in the scientific community with the operating system that forms the foundation for their exploration of the universe’s secrets. The Linux operating system produced at Fermilab enabled the laboratory, and other high-energy physics institutions to build large physics data analysis clusters using affordable, commercially available computers.

      The newest version of the Scientific Linux is now available.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Battle rages over Libyan oil port

      The Libyan air force has bombed the oil refinery and port town of Marsa El Brega as battles between forces loyal and against Muammar Gaddafi continued to rage in several towns across the North African country.

      “We just watched an air force jet … fly over Brega and drop at least one bomb and huge plumes of smoke are now coming out,” Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley said on Wednesday.

    • Police services review of G20 moves to next phase

      The Toronto Police Services Board’s investigation of the G20 summit has concluded its research phase and will now move into the interview stage of the process.

      This update was provided Thursday at a police board meeting at police headquarters on College St. The civilian review, headed by retired judge John W. Morden, will scrutinize policing issues surrounding the G20 summit this June, which saw 1,105 people arrested.

    • Tories rebrand Gov’t of Canada as ‘Harper Gov’t’
    • Ivory Coast on brink of civil war as seven women killed at protest march

      Seven women have been massacred during a peaceful protest in Ivory Coast as the country appeared to stand on the brink of all-out civil war.

      More than 200,000 people have fled, and the nation that was once a model of stability in west Africa is now experiencing bloodshed and economic meltdown.

    • Not $1 more

      Despite all the tough talk, neither the President nor the Congress are proposing to cut overall spending on war and weapons. In fact, BOTH parties are still talking about an INCREASE in spending for the Pentagon, which already gets more than 50% of all the money Congress votes on, and that doesn’t even *count* the money for the actual wars.

  • Cablegate

    • Lawyer: Bradley Manning Left Naked In Jail Cell

      A lawyer for Bradley Manning, the Army private charged with passing along secret government files to WikiLeaks, said Manning had been stripped naked in his Quantico, Virginia, jail cell for seven hours Wednesday. Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, said Manning was only given his clothes Thursday morning after being required to stand outside of his cell naked after an inspection. First Lt. Brian Villiard, a Marine spokesman, said a brig duty supervisor had ordered Manning’s clothes taken from him, and said it would be “kind of inappropriate” to explain what exactly happened. Manning is being held as a maximum security detainee and is confined to his cell for 23 hours a day. One of Manning’s friends, David House, said Thursday that he had visited Manning the previous weekend and the soldier’s mental condition is deteriorating as a result of his prison conditions. Manning is also under suicide watch.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Coal safe come ‘hell, high water’

      STATE Treasurer Kim Wells has vowed to protect Victoria’s brown coal competitive advantage ”come hell or high water”, warning he will not put at risk hundreds of thousands of jobs that rely on cheap power.

      In an interview with The Age, Mr Wells also said the government had not yet decided whether Victoria would sign up to the federal government’s carbon tax, but would honour a commitment to cut state greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent over the next decade.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Regulators Reject Proposal That Would Bring Fox-Style News to Canada

      As America’s middle class battles for its survival on the Wisconsin barricades — against various Koch Oil surrogates and the corporate toadies at Fox News — fans of enlightenment, democracy and justice can take comfort from a significant victory north of Wisconsin border. Fox News will not be moving into Canada after all! The reason: Canada regulators announced last week they would reject efforts by Canada’s right wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news.

  • Civil Rights

    • US Supreme Court: 1st Amendment Shields Westboro Baptist Church – The Decision as Text – Updated

      The US Supreme Court has just ruled [PDF] that the First Amendment shields Westboro Baptist Church from tort liability for picketing at military funerals. The case centered on whether the “speech is of public or private concern, as determined by all the circumstances of the case.” The court held that it was public speech, and hence protected. Because it’s a controversial case, and the opinion is a narrow one with a vigorous dissenting opinion by Judge Samuel Alito, I thought it would be useful to do a text version for you so you can understand the nuances.

  • DRM

    • Impoundment Issues and an Agreement on “Narrowed” Subpoenas in SCEA v. Hotz – Updated

      The parties in SCEA v. Hotz have been trying to work out their differences about the impoundment protocol. The parties can’t agree, so they have written a joint letter to the magistrate judge, Judge Joseph Spero, laying out their conflicting positions. If you recall, the presiding judge, Hon. Susan Illston, told the parties to work these things out with the magistrate judge. So this is following up with that directive.

      The parties have reach an agreement on the scope of the third-party subpoenas on Bluehost, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Softlayer and such regarding jurisdictional discovery that Sony feels it needs to counter George Hotz’s Motion to Dismiss. Or more exactly, SCEA says they have reached agreement. The parties still don’t agree on subpoena to Paypal, an issue already before the court.

Clip of the Day

Unboxing the HTC Desire HD/Inspire 4G

Credit: TinyOgg

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    SUEPO, the fast-growing staff union of the EPO, increasingly needs the support and protection offered by action and participation from staff

  30. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe


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