03.18.11

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 18/3/2011: Ubuntu 11.10 Release Schedule, OSI Reform

Posted in News Roundup at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Switching To Linux – Tale Of A Former Mac User Who Is Also A Musician

      Switching to Linux is easy for most of us. You just have to download and burn a Linux distribution and boot your computer with it. If the Linux distribution you have chosen is a modern one, then you can finish installing it on your machine in 6 steps or less.

    • The Austin Prometheus Project

      In 2008, I was granted an appointment with an executive within Time-Warner’s Corporate Responsibility Department. After a 40 minute wait, I was asked by the receptionist what my appointment was for. I explained that I needed to discuss Internet connections for the disadvantaged. An hour and 15 minutes after that, I was informed that the executive was called away unexpectedly and she would not return for the day. She would contact me and reschedule the appointment.

      The call never came and my subsequent calls were never returned.

      How nice.

      That’s fine…what Austin business hasn’t done for their own, the Free Software and Linux communities have stepped in and allowed us to do our work.

      But not this time.

      I’ve made arrangements for Time-Warner to connect Anthony’s home to the Internet and I am going to pay for the first month and the setup fees from my own pocket. I can’t do this often but in this case, I believe it to be important.

  • Google

    • 5 things Google Chrome OS does better than OS X (or anything else)

      After reading the article “5 things OS X does better than Linux”, I felt compelled to post this. OS X may be user-friendly and do plenty of user-friendly things, but those user-friendly acts pale in comparison to those which Google Chrome OS (which is based on Linux) does.

    • Chrome Stable Release
    • How Google can make Chrome OS succeed

      Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS operating system should be with us by now. But at that point last December when we were led to believe our netbooking futures were about to be redefined, Google postponed our date with destiny and asked us to try again in another six months.

      It seemed the road ahead wasn’t quite as clear as Google wanted it to be, and six months is presumably enough time for the masters at Menlo Park to fine-tune their revolution and get things back on track.

  • Kernel Space

    • The DRM Pull Request For The Linux 2.6.39 Kernel

      David Airlie has just emailed Linus Torvalds with his main DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) pull request for the Linux 2.6.39 kernel that 2.6.38 was released earlier this week. As was mentioned a few days ago, the Linux 2.6.39 kernel will feature a number of interesting changes to the open-source graphics drivers, among other areas.

    • AMD Fusion E-350 Linux Performance

      By now you have likely seen the AMD Fusion E-350 APU showcased on a number of Windows web-sites, but how is this AMD Accelerated Processor working in the Linux world? At Phoronix today are the first in-depth Ubuntu Linux benchmarks being published from this promising, low-power solution designed to compete with Intel’s Atom.

    • Linux Kernel 2.6.38 Brings Support for AMD Fusion

      We are proud to announce that today, March 15th, the immediate release of the highly anticipated Linux kernel 2.6.38.

    • What’s new in Linux 2.6.38
    • Panasonic Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Panasonic is joining the organization as a Gold member.

      The Linux Foundation merged late last year with the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF), of which Panasonic was a founder. CELF members were grandfathered into The Linux Foundation at the Silver level. With work on embedded Linux and open compliance accelerating, Panasonic chose to increase its level of work and commitment to The Linux Foundation at the Gold level of membership.

    • AMD Looks To Ramp Up Its Linux Engineer Count

      NVIDIA isn’t the only one looking to expand its Linux team, but AMD is now in a mad dash to dramatically ramp up its engineering teams. AMD has been looking to hire at least another open-source developer in recent months to work on its graphics stack, but Advanced Micro Devices has now announced they’re looking to hire over one thousand “tech professionals” where the software engineers are skilled in Linux and open-source development.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Awoken 1.9 Icon Set Brings in a Darker Version of Theme, Customization Script, PPA & Lot More!

        AwOken icon theme is among the most downloaded and highly rated icon themes for GNOME and we had no second thoughts while including AwOken in our listing of top 10 most popular Icon themes for Ubuntu GNOME. AwOken version 1.9 brings in a lot of changes that includes a new darker version of the theme as well as a very useful customization script. To make things even easier, now you will able to install AwOken icon theme in Ubuntu using PPA.

  • Distributions

    • Calculate 11.3 Screenshots
    • Elementary OS Beta Reviewed – Looks Very Polished, Minor Niggles

      I concede that I am a big fan of Elementary Project and the goodies it brought to the Linux desktop eco system. I also accept the fact that, reviewing a developer only preview of an application and calling it “not ready yet” is kind of self defeating. But the kind of expectations a project like Elementary OS carries around makes it vulnerable to close scrutinisation at every level. Consider this as one such *very* early Elementary OS review.

    • New Minty Freshness (GTK Theme) Version Brings Nautilus Elementary Support, Many Other Improvements

      Minty Freshness is a new theme created by Skies Of Azel, the Orta theme developer, especially designed for Linux Mint Debian Edition (the theme could become the default LMDE theme).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora, Importance of GNU/Linux Competition, and Technological Freedom

          I have been working with Fedora 11 since last Friday (just waiting for my home computers to get back online with the new line activated) and as much as I try to love Fedora, I cannot help feeling that Kubuntu and Ubuntu have been giving me less hassle. Deep inside I wanted to declare that Fedora was better, but the experiences simply suggest that any such claim would be wishful thinking, even deceptive. The problem is that Canonical was made quite arrogant (hello Hubris!), which harms Ubuntu on technical and communal grounds alike. Canonical could use more competition.

        • Developing With Fedora 11

          Is Fedora ready to become the most widespread GNU/Linux desktop? Probably not yet. But for development? Sure, why not? Fedora 14 is more mature, but that too has some wrinkles which I covered here before.

        • Fedora 15 vs Ubuntu Natty Narwhal – The Battle for Your Next Desktop

          With the changes coming to the desktops of some major Linux distributions, it looks like we’re beginning to see some welcome differentiation between how each distro presents itself to users. Fedora and Ubuntu are of course well known as some of the most popular and user-friendly Linux systems, and while they have many similarities, their next major releases are both taking a new approach to the desktop. Ubuntu has decided to drop their Netbook spin and run their homegrown Unity desktop across the board. Fedora however has jumped on board with Gnome 3, confident that it will have all the form and function their users want. While we’ve already discussed both desktops before, Fedora and Ubuntu are both offering more than a makeover, and it’s time to dig deeper.

        • Fusion 14 Screenshots
        • Fedora shows off Gnome 3.0

          Fedora braves the first release of Gnome 3.0.

          Living up to its reputation for being one of the more adventurous Linux distributions on offer, Fedora 15′s alpha release includes Gnome 3.0.

          The new Gnome desktop interface has been years in the making and has had its final release delayed multiple times as the developers hunted down bugs and put the finishing touches to what promises to be this year’s big shift in Linux desktops.

    • Debian Family

      • I use hp-setup to add my HP LaserJet 1020 printer to Debian Squeeze
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • I Have Installed Ubuntu…What’s Next?

          Does this sound familiar to you? You have taken the plunge and install Ubuntu on your computer. The next moment, you have no idea what to do next and where to head. Now, before any doubt creeps in and you are wondering if you have make the right choice leaving the comfort zone (Windows or Mac) and venture into the unknown ground, let us show you what you can, and should do after installing Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.10 Release Schedule
        • “2 sided Unity Dock”, Now A Reality [Video]

          This is working code, not mockups anymore!

        • Timeline: The Greatest Show on Earth

          By curious coincidence, one of the most defining weeks in the entire history of GNOME — and a turning point for Canonical’s relationship with the project — happened to take place during a week-long stock market catastrophe.

        • Big dreams for Ubuntu Ocelot

          Oneiric Ocelot. It’s the name of the next release of Ubuntu, which was announced earlier this week by Ubuntu chief Mark Shuttleworth.

          The name is reserved for the Ubuntu 11.10 release scheduled for debut in October 2011 and follows the long tradition of giving Ubuntu releases names based on animals. In this case it is the Ocelot, a leopard-like cat. The Oneiric name refers to dreaming, obviously implying the intentions for the next release of Ubuntu.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New Xilinx ISE and Linux

      Xilinx recently released version 13.1 of their ISE Webpack toolkit. If you haven’t used ISE, its the tool that lets you build logic descriptions for FPGAs using schematics, Verilog, or VHDL. You can simulate your design or build bitstreams suitable for use with most of the Xilinx FPGA or CPLD products. I applaud Xilinx for making a Linux version available although I have often noted quirks on the Linux side that seem pretty fundamental.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • OSI adds three to board and begins reform

    A recent meeting of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) in San Francisco saw three new members of the board filling the two empty board seats and the beginning of a reformation for the group’s governance. The organisation, which has managed the Open Source Definition and reviewed licences for their compliance with that definition, is looking to expand its role to engage as “a meeting point for global open source communities at large”.

  • Board Meeting Report

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI) Board meet this weekend in San Francisco for its annual face-to-face meeting (generously hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation). There were two significant topics on the agenda. First, we had to review the substantial number of nominations for the two Board seats that become vacant on March 31st when Danese Cooper and Russ Nelson leave the Board due to term limits after a decade each of service. Their involvement in OSI has been pivotal, with Danese serving as treasurer for many years and Russ leading the license review activity. Both will be missed.

  • Events

    • NASA Open Source Summit announced

      NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has announced that it will hold its first ever summit on open source software development later this month. According to NASA, the Open Source Summit will bring together engineers, policy makers and open source community members to talk about “the challenges within the existing open source policy framework and propose modifications to facilitate NASA’s development, release and use of software”. The event will take place on the 29 and 30 March at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

  • Web Browsers

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Free Call: A Proposed Free Phone To Skype
    • FSF Leadership Change

      I got a call on Friday evening from Peter Brown, the Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). It’s been my great pleasure to know and work with Peter over the last five years or so. While I was at Sun I liaised with him over the GPLv3 process, to arrange for Richard Stallman’s video about OpenJDK and then later when Sun resumed its donations to FSF as a Corporate Patron.

  • Programming

    • Subject: [PHP] PHP 5.3.6 Released! – msg#00000

      The PHP development team would like to announce the immediate availability of PHP 5.3.6. This release focuses on improving the stability of the PHP 5.3.x branch with over 60 bug fixes, some of which are security related.

    • What Your QA Team Can Learn from Open Source Development Projects

      Studies show that major FOSS projects have fewer defects per lines of code than proprietary software. Free and open source projects follow slightly different protocols than their proprietary counterparts. You can apply some of these processes in your team to your benefit, even if you’re developing proprietary software.

    • 7 of the Best Free Graphical User Interfaces for R

      R is an open source programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It consists of a language together with a run-time environment with a debugger, graphics, access to system functions, and scripting.

      The R language is extremely popular for developing statistical software, and is also frequently used as an analysis tool amongst data miners. R is an implementation of the S programming language, developed by Bell Laboratories, adding lexical scoping semantics. R offers a wide variety of statistical and graphical techniques including time series analysis, linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, classification, clustering, and more). Combined with a large collection of intermediate tools for data analysis, good data handling and storage, general matrix calculation toolbox, R offers a coherent and well developed system which is highly extensible.

Leftovers

  • Third-party Twitter applications under threat

    Soon the only way to get at Twitter might be through “official” software produced by the company itself.

    The firm has angered many software developers by suggesting they stop making “clients” that let users write, read and respond to Tweets.

  • Aligning SSD Partitions

    I happen to live in a city with a MicroCenter store and I just bought a new 64GB SSD that uses a SandForce 1222 controller. I’ve been interested in testing the real-time data compression of the SandForce controller on a number of benchmarks and applications. So I finally have one! But before I jump into testing I need to think about configuring the SSD.

    The challenge we face is that partitions happen on cylinder boundaries (remember that fdisk in Linux uses “heads” and “tracks” to define cylinders). If this cylinder boundary is not aligned with the “page” of an SSD, then the SSD can easily undergo extra work during a read/modify/write cycle, perhaps causing extra write cycles to be used and performance to be reduced. If you aren’t going to partition your SSD then you don’t have to worry about this too much although it definitely doesn’t hurt.

  • 10 best alternative operating systems
  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Complexity and Design in Warfare

      The need for a different approach to address DOD’s operational problems is particularly well articulated in this excellent document – The U.S. Army Commander’s Appreciation and Campaign Design (CACD):

      “The complexity of warfare in the early twenty-first century poses special challenges to the United States (U.S.) Armed Forces. The services developed much of their doctrine, organizations, and equipment during the Cold War in preparation for war between states. At the time, this type of war was the most dangerous threat to our Nation’s survival, but it was not the most likely form of conflict – then or now. In fact, throughout the Cold War and the period that followed, war between states has been the rarest form of conflict in which the United States engaged. U.S. joint and service doctrine must advance beyond the old paradigm of war between states and between armies of regulars that are organized, trained, and equipped according to a similar logic.”

    • U.S. military funds creepy android & felinoid robots

      Robot specialist Boston Dynamics has just received a contract from the U.S. Defense Department’s DARPA agency to develop two new robots. Atlas, a humanoid bot, will “climb and maneuver in rough terrain [with] human-like agility,” while Cheetah, a felinoid bot, will “sprint faster than a human, corner like a race car, and start and stop on a dime,” says the company.

  • Finance

    • Anonymous leaks Bank of America e-mails

      Online activist group Anonymous has released a cache of e-mails which it claims show impropriety at Bank of America.

      The leak, which includes correspondence between staff at BoA subsidiary Balboa Insurance, details plans to delete sensitive documents.

      It does not explain why the files were to be removed or how this supports Anonymous’ accusation of criminality.

    • Goldman Sachs–The Legacy

      Now that we can be very sure that the Wall Street firms that brought us “How to Create a Recession Through MBSs” will never be prosecuted, then we should be able to laugh our fool heads off.

    • Goldman Sachs in Kremlin investment fund talks

      President Dmitry Medvedev has held talks with Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein about the bank’s possible participation in a direct investment fund the Kremlin is looking to create to attract foreign capital.

    • Goldman Puts Mortgage-Servicing Unit Up for Sale

      Goldman Sachs has put its mortgage-servicing subsidiary, Litton Loan Servicing, up for sale amid continued concern over whether borrowers were improperly evicted from their homes.

      “Goldman Sachs is exploring strategic options for Litton Loan Servicing, which include a possible sale,” a firm spokesman, Michael DuVally, told DealBook in a statement.

    • Inside Job director on Geithner, Goldman, and criminal bankers

      Inside Job, which recently won the Academy Aware for best documentary film of 2010, continues to be a conversation starter. Paul Krugman titled his latest column in The New York Times, “Another Inside Job.” Time Magazine’s Joe Klein evokes director Charles Ferguson’s now-famous acceptance speech at the Oscars in which the filmmaker lamented that so far no one has gone to jail for crimes to committed during the financial crisis of 2008.

  • Privacy

    • Obama Administration calls for new privacy law

      The Obama Administration is backing a new data privacy bill of rights aimed at protecting consumers against indiscriminate online tracking and data collection by advertisers.

      In testimony prepared for the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation, the Commerce Department’s assistant secretary, Lawrence Strickling, said that the White House wants Congress to enact legislation offering “baseline consumer data privacy protections.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Broadband Power for the People?

      The larger telecom firms are mandated by government to lease their bandwidth to smaller ISPs and resellers. However, until now, they were prohibited from passing per-gigabyte fees on to these customers. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has attempted to placate small providers by granting them a 15% discount on cable and telecom companies’ retail rates – but the small ISPs are less than impressed with this wholesale rate. In fact, many regard it as just another retail price. From the perspective of small business, the discount is hardly compensation for the new power imbalance: it merely slows the journey toward an Internet oligopoly or monopoly.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Judge considers costs for ACS Law

        Controversial law firm ACS Law returned to court on Wednesday as the cases it brought against alleged file-sharers were officially closed.

        Andrew Crossley, the solicitor at the heart of the controversy, was absent from court but could still face heavy fines.

        Judge Birss is considering whether ACS Law should pay the defendants’ costs.

        Ralli, the law firm which represents five of the accused, is seeking £90,000.

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