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Links 29/3/2011: IBM Celebrates Linux, Android Gets Java Father

Posted in News Roundup at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Editor’s Note: Picking Ourselves Up, Dusting Ourselves Off
  • IBM

    • The Era of Open Innovation

      In 2011, Linux is a fundamental component of IBM business—embedded deeply in hardware, software, services and internal development. It is present in every IBM business, geography and workload, and its use only continues to increase.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • REVIEW: GhostBSD 2.0 (LiveCD)

        Looking at GhostBSD from the view of a migrating Windows user, again there is nothing wrong with what’s on offer here but I think for someone who has led a Windows lifestyle, they are going to want more “bells and whistles”. I say that though with a little reservation since I have seen nothing from the developers which suggests its specifically aimed at such a user.

        For established Linux users, again, I cannot see anything which would tempt them over. I say that not to create flame as I would really love to say that GhostBSD offers something really special, much hard work has obviously gone into this but as it stands I can best sum up the distro as: stable, solid and “does what it says on the tin”.

        The homepage for GhostBSD is certainly starting to look the part. I say starting because it has typos and incomplete sections to it. I would stress that this is not a harsh criticism because a lot of hard work has gone into the distro and its very generous of the GhostBSD devs to spend their time working on this great project. With that in mind I think new users will not be filled with confidence in a project where the site intended to promote it has so many obvious errors and omissions. This is a shame because GhostBSD is in no way lacking functionality or stability and I think errors on its homepage will undersell GhostBSD.

        In closing, I would expect it’s a welcome release for established GhostBSD users but new users may find that it’s neither polished or packaged as fully as they would like.

    • Red Hat Family

      • S&P 500′s Top Performers :RHT , NVDA , MU

        Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is the S&P 500′s top performer this morning with the stock trading at $46.77 representing 17.01% versus the previous trading session. Shares of Red Hat, the world’s leading open source technology solutions provider have defined support at $38.47 and resistance at $41.98.

      • Red Hat Global Support Team Honored as a Leader in Support Excellence
      • Piper Jaffray Reiterates OW Rating, $57 PT On RHT

        “Strong demand for open source Cloud infrastructure drove billings growth of 31%, materially above consensus of 17%. Results correlated to our recent survey findings, which indicated resellers finished above plan and observed an improving pace of business,” Piper Jaffray writes. “We see ongoing catalysts, as inroads into the large Windows market have only just begun and RHEL6 adoption won’t peak for 6 to 12 months.

      • Red Hat profit up as sales increase 25%

        Red Hat Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!rht/quotes/nls/rht (RHT 46.09, -0.25, -0.54%) said Wednesday its fourth-quarter net income rose to $33.5 million, or 17 cents a share, compared to $23.4 million, or 12 cents a share in the same period a year earlier. The provider of open-source business software said total revenue for the period ended Feb. 28 rose 25% to $244.8 million. On an adjusted basis, Red Hat said earnings for the quarter were 26 cents a share. Red Hat said earnings benefited by 2 cents share in the quarter, thanks to the U.S. research tax credit. Analysts polled by FactSet Research had expected Red Hat to report adjusted earnings of 22 cents a share, and $235.9 million in revenue.

      • Red Hat, Micron climb after financial reports

        Investors sent shares of Red Hat Inc. and Micron Technology Inc. higher Tuesday evening after each company issued quarterly results that surpassed Wall Street’s projections.

      • Red Hat Close to Resistance
      • Red Hat Closes in on $1 Billion in Revenue

        Three years ago, Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) CEO Jim Whitehurst predicted that his company would be the first pure-play open source vendor to hit $1 billion in revenues. Red Hat is now nearly there.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu technical board: no non-free software by default
        • Ubuntu nixes Netbook Remix for good, starting Natty Narwhal

          Canonical has nixed Ubuntu Netbook Remix from it’s plans, and it will not appear starting version 11.04, which is also Natty Narwhal. So we say goodbye to an experiment that lasted a few distros at the time netbooks were the “in-thing.”

          The core around Ubuntu Netbook Remix will now be integrated an edition called Ubuntu Desktop edition for laptops, Ubuntu said in a blog entry on March 9.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • AriOS Review – Yet Another Ubuntu Derived Linux Distro

            Recently, the distribution AriOS made it to DistroWatch’s database. I had read Dedoimedo’s review of AriOS earlier, where he said that it is a user-friendly and very pleasant distribution to use, and it is much better than its predecessor mFatOS. Intrigued, I decided to try it out.

          • Tux Which Does Not Exist…

            I managed to get Zorin OS 4 distributive downloaded. This OS has several versions, and some of them are not free. You need either purchase DVD with distributive or donate to get a download link. But there are still Core and some other versions available for free. Moreover, Core is available in 32 and 64 bit. My choice was for 32 bit.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • LiMo 4 spec adds support for Linux tablets

      The LiMo Foundation says it has approved four mobile device class specifications for the LiMo 4 mobile Linux stack. Citing first-time tablet support plus three different smartphone specs, the Foundation projects commercial releases within multiple LiMo classes starting in the second half of this year.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • Google Holds Honeycomb Tight

          In the great mobile-device wars, Google (GOOG) has portrayed itself as the open-source crusader doing battle against the leaders in proprietary software—Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Research In Motion (RIM:CN).

          Unlike its rivals, Google makes the underlying code for its popular Android operating system publicly available, and anyone can access it and tailor it for use in mobile phones, tablets, television set-top boxes, even automobiles.

        • Java creator hangs his shingle at Google

          The Java world got a bit of a surprise this morning when Java creator James Gosling revealed that he is now working for Google.

          In his blog entry today, Gosling announced the news in brief fashion:

          “Through some odd twists in the road over the past year, and a tardis encountered along the way, I find myself starting employment at Google today. One of the toughest things about life is making choices. I had a hard time saying ‘no’ to a bunch of other excellent possibilities.”

          One can only imagine the opportunities Gosling has been offered since he left his former employer Oracle last year. But Google, it seems, is his next landing pad.

        • Android on top in the US, Microsoft in decline

          he latest quarterly statistics showing US smartphone market share show Microsoft’s task with Windows Phone 7 is daunting, as the new OS is already losing ground. The latest US smartphones figures from comScore cover November of last year through the end of January, and while the figures are largely as expected the drop of market share by Microsoft is a bit of a surprise.

        • The Android OS Update Problem

          The reasons that Android phones are either slow to get system updates, or fail to get them entirely are pretty clear. The process of getting an update ready to push to a handset is decidedly non-trivial:

          1. Google creates, tests and releases a system update.
          2. Handset manufacturers take the system update and apply their vendo-specific tweaks to it (MotoBlur, HTC Sense, etc.), then test it on their various devices.
          3. Carriers then test the update, certify it, and push it out to the handsets.

        • Google Announces Nexus S 4G
        • Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi Coming To Canada This April

          Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi, the Android-powered tablet will be available in Canada this April.

        • Why Android Could Help Amazon and the Kindle Threaten the iPad

          Quick, across the entire history of Amazon, and all the types of products that the site has sold, what is its top selling product ever? The answer is that the Kindle eBook reader is, and that feat was attained while the Kindle functioned as a reading device, without the bells and whistles found on popular tablet devices. No Harry Potter book or other product comes close to the sales Amazon has reaped from the Kindle, and those sales have, of course, driven sales of lots of content from Amazon. For these reasons, and because of the increasing unpopularity of Apple’s policies regarding in-app purchasing, the Kindle could emerge as the biggest competitor to Apple’s iPad, if Amazon plays its cards right.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Junction: cross-platform mobile apps

    The open source mobile app space is getting increasingly crowded. The recent opportunities for developers to produce and distribute mobile apps through a range of app stores is taking the developer world by storm. If, as the saying goes, all people dream of writing a poem at least once in a lifetime, then perhaps there aren’t many developers out there either who haven’t dreamed of building a great mobile app themselves.

  • Why What FOSS Needs is a Unified Message

    Of course, the FOSS movement has had notable leaders over the years, ranging from Linus Torvalds to Richard Stallman, but there is no single charismatic leader who regularly keeps open source and open standards topics alive in public conversations. While one person with enough charisma might make a big difference, though, what FOSS really needs is more unified messaging, and on the commercial open source front, more unified marketing.

  • Open source communities: trust vs. control

    u can succeed in starting an open source community:

    * Be honest with those people you are trying to recruit about your reasons for working in open source. Clearly state your goals and how you will measure success for yourself and the community.
    * Contribute your code, but accept improvements or better solutions.
    * Give up sole control of the project to a more democratic leadership in order to get a better code base that you can use, at a lower development cost to yourself. Don’t stack the leadership group with cronies or puppets.
    * Don’t act like a prima donna just because you started the project.
    * Trust that if you and everyone else plays fairly but works hard, you’ll get something of great value that many can use.

  • FFmpeg Becomes Multi-Threaded Happy

    Last week following a dispute among several core FFmpeg developers, FFmpeg was forked as libav. The group remaining in the “FFmpeg” this week have now merged the ffmpeg-mt branch to their SVN trunk code-base. This is the code that’s been worked on now for nearly three years to provide multi-threaded decoding support in FFmpeg.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • Education

    • How To: Founding an Open Source Software Center at a University

      Raising open source awareness in any organization is a very important, and sometimes difficult, task. Particularly important is open source awareness among college students. These are the engineers and computer scientists of the next generation who will be able to usher these modern practices into their workplace. This article discusses the process that was used to form the Rensselaer Center for Open Source (RCOS), a very successful open source center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).


  • Programming

    • Tiny Core Fraud on Source Forge

      If you watch new projects that are added to source forge then two weeks ago you might have noticed that Tiny Core Linux was added to their projects.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Network Foundation to Promote New Network Architecture

      This morning brings news of what may become another new and important consortium – the Open Network Foundation (ONF). This time the goal is to adapt network architecture to streamline its interoperation with cloud computing. And while the news is intriguing, the way in which it has been broken is a bit odd, on which more below.


  • [Old] IT panel endorses adopting Google
  • Science

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • China activist Liu Xianbin jailed for 10 years

      A Chinese democracy activist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for inciting subversion of state power.

      Liu Xianbin was charged after writing a series of articles calling for democratic reforms.

      He was convicted after a trial lasting only a few hours; the third time he has been sent to jail for his activism.

      Dozens of lawyers and activists have been arrested or detained in China recently following calls for Middle East-style protests.

    • Chapeau Sarkozy – the brilliant strike against Qaddafi

      The escalation and the attack on Qaddafi’s Lybia to enforce the no-fly zone is a brilliant strategic move of Nicolas Sarkozy and the French nation. Sarkozy’s right wing challenger Marine Le Pen took a more traditional French position, and voiced scepticism in recent days. Even Internal Market Commissioner Barnier intervened in the matter, a highly unusual move for an EU official. It is common knowledge that France had good relations with Qaddafi which makes the French intervention and Sarkozy more credible. Even the abstention of Germany in the UN security council perfectly fits the scene because it strenghtened the leadership of the neighbour on the matter.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Nuclear Optimism and the Reality of How Humans Price Risk

      The cataclysm visited upon Japan this March has produced an understandable debate over the future of nuclear power. As so often is the case, however, these post-crisis conversations presume the freedom to decide new policy choices when such choices, by society, have already been made. Decades after the advent of nuclear power, this modern energy source still provides only 5% of total global primary energy supply. Reality tested, risk adjudicated, and cost denoted, nuclear power has been given more than enough time to be adopted. We can talk all we like. There is little reason for nuclear optimism. | see: Global Energy Use by Source 2010 (estimate).

  • Finance

    • Credit Unions Want Their Money Back – IRA Takes on PMI

      I got into writing financial blogs three years ago for one reason. It was the mortgage insurance industry “PMI” that got me out in the open. I saw first hand what a terrible concept this was. I saw (in advance of the problem) that PMI was going to result in a mortgage explosion for the country. Of course it did.

      I had a family member working at one of the big PMI firms. I argued with them regarding the insanity of what they were doing. Before the crisis the response was always the same, “We’re doing God’s work of getting people into their own homes. Plus we’re making a boatload in the process.”

    • Goldman Sachs’s Revelatory E-mails: 2006-2007

      It is interesting that Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, is appearing before the court as a witness for the prosecution of Rajat Gupta, ex-member of Goldman Sachs’s board. Blankfein confirmed that Gupta violated the company’s “confidentiality policies” when he gave tips to outsiders about Goldman Sachs’s financial position.

      It’s the pot calling the kettle black!

    • Goldman Sachs and the Mortgage Market

      This part of the memo ( pages 7-10 with footnotes omitted) explains Goldman Sachs’s Conflict Between Proprietary and Client Trading, and its Shorting the Mortgage Market. It is easy to see the role that Goldman Sachs played in bringing the financial system to its knees and the CEO was not above lying about the profits GS made.

    • Goldman Sachs: Here’s What You Are

      If someone described a bank by what it does rather than by what it says, he/she would find that getting high fees for risky and poor quality products is what matters; that creating junk CDOs for investors and using CDSs for making a huge profit is common practice; that taking a short position on the toxic mortgage market and thereby cashing in with billions of dollars at others’ expense is the way to do business; that taking advantage of clients’ positions and creating a conflict of interest is not material; that paying a small fine for a civil action suit where clients were not properly informed is a small price to pay for profit; and that, finally, using naked CDSs on assets it did not own to bet against the mortgage market and making huge amounts of revenue for itself shows little in the way of ethical conscience. That would be Goldman Sachs!

    • Pension funds to lead suit vs. Goldman over Abacus

      A Manhattan federal judge on Friday named three pension funds as co-lead plaintiffs in an investor lawsuit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc to recover losses tied to the Wall Street’s bank’s alleged misleading statements about Abacus, a product linked to subprime mortgages.

    • All My (Economist) Friends Get High: California Jobs

      California reported its job numbers on Friday, and once again it was not good news. Although total California employment in January “rose” to 15.905 million people, this is only because December was revised down from 15.945 million to 15.878 million people.

    • US equivalents

      IT HAS long been true that California on its own would rank as one of the biggest economies of the world. These days, it would rank eighth, falling between Italy and Brazil on a nominal exchange-rate basis. But how do other American states compare with other countries? Taking the nearest equivalent country from 2009 data reveals some surprises. Who would have thought that, despite years of auto-industry hardship, the economy of Michigan is still the same size as Taiwan’s?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • US military creates fake online personas

      The $2.76m contract was won by Ntrepid, a Californian firm, and called for an “online persona management service” that would enable 50 military spies to manage 10 fake identities each.

      The personas should be “replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly consistent”, a US Central Command (Centcom) tender document said.

    • Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media

      The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

      A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.

      The project has been likened by web experts to China’s attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.

    • Twitter Powers of Ten

      This is essentially the situation we find ourselves in with Twitter. They do have APIs that can be used to query their user data. But it is all “rate-limited”, meaning only a certain number of requests can be made per IP address per day. So it is impossible to get a running stream of all activity (a “video”) or even a snapshot of all activity at a single time (a “still camera”). But what we can do is access the “Twitter Public Timeline“, which will give you the most recent 20 tweets. This can be queried every 60 seconds, up to your daily limit.

      I’ve been capturing the Twitter Public Timeline since late 2009. I have now nearly 6 million records, each one containing the message, of course, but also the name of the user and their “Followers” and “Following” count at that point in time. I started doing scatter plots of this data and was amazed at the detailed structure evident in the data, that illustrate some interesting ways in which Twitter is being used. No single graph can show it all, so I’m giving you a series of charts, each one showing an area of the Following/Followers phase space 10ox larger.

    • Is Samsung’s New Galaxy Tab Fibbing About Its Figure? And About Those Galaxy Tab Fans…

      [FURTHER THOUGHTS: Did Samsung mean for us to understand that these were imaginary users or not? The more I think about it, the more befuddled I get. The Raw Feed's Mike Elgan points out that the company's PR director earnestly described the "project" during the event in a way that made it sound real. And commenter Karl notes that Samsung referred to the users' tales as "true-life stories." But the bits with Hess and Kolinski are so profoundly artificial that they could have involved Madge the Manicurist and the Maytag Repairman. Actually, Kolinski seems to be channeling a certain real-life "leading New York real-estate CEO."]

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Property: Silly or Sinister?

      Now imagine that some lobbyists have staked out part of Antarctica and brought suit in federal court against tourists who trespassed on “their” land. Fine, you say: After all the lobbyists got there first. Replace “Antarctica” with “ideas” and you have the surreal world of “intellectual property.” Unfortunately, while you and I cannot both mine for gold in the same spot, we can certainly make use of the same idea, and therein lies the heart of this story.

      A good spot to start the tale is in 1998, when a panel of judges ruled that software was patentable, thereby starting the intellectual property equivalent of the California gold rush (State Street Bank & Trust v. Signature Financial Group). Every child knows how to answer the door: “Knock knock.” “Who is there?” But what if I taught a computer how to say, “Who is there,” and patented the idea? Absurd, you say. Well, we all understand how to run an auction—but do not try doing it with a computer because the holder of U.S. Patent 7,702,540 (also known as e-Bay) will sue you. And that in a nutshell is what software patents are all about.

    • Copyrights

      • Google Books Settlement Rejected

        We applaud the rejection by Judge Denny Chin of the Google Books class action settlement with authors and publishers regarding the digitization of books. SFLC filed a letter with the court on behalf of the Free Software Foundation and author Karl Fogel, urging the court to reject the settlement as it was last proposed and asking the court to consider the impact of the settlement upon members of the class who have distributed their works under Free licenses.

      • Judge rejects Google’s attempt to create a universal library

        Google’s vision of a universal library archiving all books ever published on Earth is once again at odds with laws protecting the authors of those books.

        A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a settlement deal Google hammered out with publishers over its controversial Google Books archive, saying the proposed agreement went too far in giving Google control over the digitalization of books.

        “The question presented is whether the [settlement agreement] is fair, adequate, and reasonable,” Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court in New York City wrote in his 48-page ruling. “I conclude that it is not.”

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