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04.02.11

Links 2/4/2011: Scientific Linux 6.0 Released, GNOME 3.0 Delays

Posted in News Roundup at 4:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Lady Gaga goes gaga over Ubuntu

    After enthralling the techies at Google last week, Lady Gaga has given her geek fans another reason to smile. In a press conference this Monday, the Grammy award-winning singer confessed that she is an avid fan of Ubuntu, the Linux-based operating system. Since then, Ubuntu has seen a massive surge in its popularity; particularly among teenagers.

  • 6 Linux Pranks for April Fools’ Day

    There’s been no shortage of April Fools’ Day pranks in the tech world this year, and the Linux community is no exception.

  • Desktop

    • ZaReason Teo Pro Netbook Proves Its Netbook Mettle

      It’s been nearly a month since I started testing the Teo Pro netbook, and the verdict is in: well-rounded, well-balanced and girlfriend-approved. What gives this machine such high marks? Read on for the full details …

      For a quick refresher, check out the preview article early in March 2011. To recap, however, my ZaReason Teo Pro netbook came equipped with 1.6GHz Atom CPU, 2GB of RAM and 160GB hard drive. Of course, like all ZaReason products, it’s running Ubuntu — this one featuring the latest version of Ubuntu 10.10.

      First, the good stuff. The Teo Pro is a mobile powerhouse. I’m not sure if that’s because of the 2GB of RAM, or the responsiveness I always see with Linux, but every click felt responsive. Every app loaded quickly. The entire computer boots up in 25 seconds. But what about for nitty-gritty, everyday use? I took user suggestions from my preview story and submitted the Teo Pro to the kind of torture readers wanted me to.

  • Server

    • Performance of Thin Clients on GNU/Linux

      What’s more, these tests were done with that other OS on the server. GNU/Linux scales a lot better and the real world does not have the whole office pushing enter at the same time. Intel’s test showed things taking 5 times longer with just 5 clients. My tests in a real world with real users shows tasks taking no more time with 20 users than with one user and in addition, tasks running on the server are faster than clients running on the client. That’s because people are not robots and real servers have multiple and faster drives than desktops from Dell usually have.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The kde-www war: part 3

        Just a quick history lesson. In the introductory post we highlighted several tell-tale symptoms that KDE.org had a very big usability and design problem. In part 1 of the war, we discussed a back-to-basics question what are we trying to communicate, what are we trying to achieve, and outlined goals for our various target audiences. In part 2 of the war, we started to achieve the goals outlined in part 1 via restructuring the pages and site map in order to distinctly separate between the KDE: The Community and KDE: Software. In this part, we’re going to focus on the home page – the central entrance hub for new members, and how we can use design elements to achieve part 1′s goals, and still cover all of the masses of content that KDE has to showcase in a streamlined manner as in part 2, and even reenforce KDE’s identity in the process.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Delaying GNOME 3.0, again

        The Bangalore Hackfest was really useful for the release team to evaluate the status of GNOME 3. We really want GNOME 3 to be amazing, and various recent events lead us to wonder if doing the release next week is a good thing; we had a lot of discussion and meetings, and we even had a call with the Board to evaluate different options.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Scientific Linux 6.0 Released

        Linux adoption in the scientific community is very high for many reasons. Cost is a significant issue, as many university research groups typically have small computing budgets. Another key factor is the availability of quality tools and a community of support. Python has a tremendous amount of support in the academic and scientific community, specifically around tools like matplotlib, NumPy and SciPy. The recently held Pycon conference featured a large number of talks on Python in the scientific community.

      • A SCO Openserver to Red Hat Linux Conversion

        Any regular visitors to Tony’s site know that he “encourages” users to get off of SCO and onto Linux. Well, our company had been running our integrated software, written in Providex (a Business BASIC variant) for many years, and finally it was time. Before telling the tale though, I just wanted to say a couple of nice things about SCO. I certainly don’t agree with their litigation-as-a-business-strategy, but their OS did run our software very well with a minimum of problems. We started with 5.0.0 way back in late 1996, and had 5.0.7 running up until a couple of months ago. Here is how it went :
        Step 1 : Serial Terminals from C/X Concentrators onto Portservers

        This phase started before the server change, as Digi still provided SCO Openserver drivers for Portservers. Our existing C/X concentrators were linked throughout our site using Digi’s Fiber-Link devices, which communicated over fiber at 1.2 Mbaud. I was looking to buy a spare pair of Fiber-Link devices, and learned that they were no longer available. So I researched the Portservers, and decided to move over to those, as we already had network switches at each fiber end-point anyway. That went well, and the Portservers worked well, but I had a funky problem with the Zebra label printers that were connected via the terminal’s Aux port. They would somehow lose their handshaking, and would not come back even after resetting the Portserver. Luckily, most of the printers were the S4M model, which have a 9-pin female serial port. So I purchased some RJ45-DB9 adapters, and set up the printers with their own serial line. The nice thing about getting away from the C/X series, was that no host card was required. Also, If we had one server down, I could execute the drgp_cfg_node command from the other server, and provision the terminal sessions from the other site.

      • Red Hat execs pushed hard for incentives

        When Gov. Beverly Perdue donned a red fedora on Jan. 10 to join in an announcement that Red Hat was staying put in Raleigh, the celebratory mood was in stark contrast to the back-room, high-stakes drama that led up to the big day.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Natty Narwhal with Unity: Worst Ubuntu beta ever

          Last year, Mark Shuttleworth christened Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”, saying the disto would be stylish and create a good, lasting first impression.

          While its debut in beta form is smart looking and definitely chases the fashion in operating-system design it’s also the single worst beta release of Ubuntu I’ve ever tested.

          That’s not to say there isn’t much to love in Ubuntu 11.04 with the new Unity Interface being the primary news, but even for a beta this release is way too rough. Unity – regardless of what you think of it – isn’t ready for prime time and it seems unlikely Canonical will iron out all its problems before the planned final release in April.

        • A dark new future Compiz
        • Five neat changes in today’s Unity update
        • First Look: Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) Beta 1

          Since this is a beta it is not intended for real usage, and neither is it fair to carry out a full review.

        • First look at the next generation of Ubuntu Tweak!

          It has been a long time since the release of last version of Ubuntu Tweak, what is the development status of it now?

          Before we talk about the new Ubuntu Tweak, let’s go back to the November 2009.

        • Ubuntu Tweak unveils new look, features for Ubuntu 11.04
        • How to disable Unity and go back to the classic interface in Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’

          Since several people have asked the exact same question I decided to throw up a quick post on how to go back to the classic interface in Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’ rather than the new, swish looking Unity UI.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Review: Elementary OS 0.1 “Jupiter”

            Well, after quite a long wait, it has finally happened: the first official release of Elementary OS is here! Codenamed version 0.1 “Jupiter”, it’s based on Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat”, so you may be thinking to yourself, “Why should I care about yet another Ubuntu derivative?” I’ll admit that I had (and still have) slightly bought into the hype about Elementary OS, but there are plenty of reasons to care about Elementary OS. Let’s look at some history.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Richard M Stallman Says Its Linux Not GNU/Linux; Linus Upset With Android

          Richard M Stallman the father of free software movement yesterday stated that “Its Linux and not GNU/Linux…” He was speaking at the Brussels Free Software & Linux forum.

          The statement came when a journalist asked, “So, Richard, is it still the GNU/Linux vs Linux debate or you guys have reached any solution?”

          One of the free software advocates, present among the audience, stated, “It must be noted that Linux is the kernel where as GNU is the user-land or the layer on top of Linux which you and I use. In addition to that GNU has played a major role in bringing useful applications to Linux, in other words GNU has put some sense into Linux. Linux itself is nothing without GNU.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU/Hurd 0.401 is released!

      We’d like to pass on these marvelous news from our Release Management Team, headed by Release Manager Samuel Thibault…

  • Government

    • FR: Space agency to use Apache Commons Math

      On 18 March 2011, the Apache Commons team announced that the French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) had selected the open source software Apache Commons Math as part of the basis of its future space flight dynamics systems, project Sirius.

  • Programming

    • MacOS X is an Unsuitable Platform for Web Development

      Part of the process of becoming a new eBay employee is selecting your company laptop. I was offered a choice: Lenovo Thinkpad or MacBook Pro. Coming from a Linux development world, I picked the Mac, thinking it would be closer to what I am used to.

      Man, did I fuck up.

      Thankfully, I still have my Ubuntu workstation to get real work done on, but the Mac does it duty — running Outlook, maybe Firefox or Google Chrome every now and then. Oh, I also have VMWare installed on it so I can boot Windows to browser test in Internet Explorer. I should have picked the PC, at least then I would save myself the step of booting VMWare.

      So what’s wrong with using the Mac as a development machine for Milo, a Python application backed by PostgreSQL and Redis (or any web project, for that matter)? Well, sacred cow, here come the spears.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Openness of the UK

      So, the approach includes mandatory open standards. The UK plans to impose compulsory open standards, starting with interoperability and security. What those standards are, is currently under discussion, and there is an open survey on 270 standards.

      What the UK quickly will discover, of course, as they raise the stakes on what their interoperability framework means in practice, is that maintaining a list of such standards is not easy, that opinions on which ones should be included will differ, and that one government rarely decides for a global market, but must enter into dialogue and actively contribute to standardization where it occurs, not ex post in a government decree. There is indeed efficiency in having a single standard for each area of interoperability. However, in practice, the marketplace may embrace multiple and competing standards.

      [...]

      Mandating Open Document Format (ODF) in Government
      In that camp, it is relatively straight forward. There is only one candidate. ODF is a special case where the “winner” can be clearly called. ODF is the only fully-open and widely used, editable document format. ODF is being adopted by governments around the world (Denmark, South Africa, The Netherlands, India, Russia, etc.).

      ODF is implemented in many office programs, including ours. Based on the Open Document Format (ODF) and open web standards, Oracle Open Office enables users to share files on any system as it is compatible with both legacy Microsoft Office documents and de facto formats and Portable Document Format (PDF). For that reason, Oracle is engaged in standardization of ODF, the only truly open standard for office interoperability.

    • Document Freedom Day

      Today is Document Freedom Day but you probably went to work anyway.

      Document Freedom Day may be one of the most misunderstood days on the open source calendar.

      Many who see the term probably think it relates to issues of copyright, and support for Creative Commons content. Or they may think it’s an answer to The New York Times’ paywall.

      Neither is true.

      Document Freedom Day isn’t about documents, but how documents are created.

Leftovers

  • Digitimes Insight: Acer needs new business model for mobile devices

    Facing fierce competition in the mobile device market, Acer has decided to replace its CEO and president Gianfranco Lanci. The company may not have to completely abandon its existing strategies of giving more emphasis on marketing than on product R&D because of Lanci’s departure. But it definitively must devote more efforts to mobile devices and establish a new business model that leverages its current advantages.

  • Foxconn announces $218 million loss for 2010

    Foxconn, the manufacturer of Apple’s iPad 2, has announced a net loss of $218 million for 2010, citing ‘tough challenges’ including shifting market dynamics and increased competition from rivals.

  • Top five datacenter stories that sound like April Fool’s, but aren’t.
  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • By merely bolstering the weaker side, we are prolonging Libya’s civil war

      Welcome to 21st-century war, liberal style. You do not fix an objective and use main force to get it. You nuance words, bomb a little, half assassinate, scare, twist, spin and make it up as you go along. Nato’s Libyan campaign is proving a field day for the new interventionism. Seemingly desperate to scratch another Muslim itch, Britain’s laptop bombardiers and their tame lawyers go into a daily huddle to choreograph the latest visitation of death on some wretched foreigners.

      Each day the tacticians tot up a gruesome calculus of wins and losses. Wednesday’s defection of Libya’s foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, somehow cancelled out two days of retreat by the rebels towards Benghazi. That retreat cancelled out a weekend of victory over Gaddafi’s army along the northern highway. Nato bombing cancelled out rebel ineffectiveness. Everything is stalemate punctuated by surprise.

  • Cablegate

    • Reflections on Wikileaks, Spycatcher and Freedom of the Press – speech given to Sydney University Law School 31 March 2011

      220 years ago the United States of America ratified the Bill of Rights, the most influential clause of which is the First Amendment:

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      [...]

      The lesson for Governments, apart from improving their security, is to assume that everything said or written will, sooner or later, see the light of day. That may not be a good thing, and it certainly doesn’t make life easier, but it is, I fear, a reality.

      The Governments with most to fear from such disclosure are those whose public statements are at odds with their private opinions – and as I noted earlier so far it appears, to its credit, that the US State Department’s private cables have been consistent with their public policy.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Gulf Coast Residents Dismayed as Effects of Oil Spill Continue

      A billboard on Highway 1 says: Devastating Spill, Devastating Feelings. Inside the Gulf Coast Claims Facility building on the far end of Grand Isle, about 60 people have turned out for a National Resource Damage Assessment public scoping meeting. “You talk about 18 months or so before we get started,” a resident tell trustees. “That’s a long time for us who live here, while our environment and animals are dying.

  • Finance

    • Citibank debt collectors allegedly kill client

      An employee of Citibank and two debt collectors hired by the major international bank allegedly killed a customer who complained about his ballooning credit card bill.

      Citibank customer Irzen Octa, who was also the secretary-general for the National Unity Party (PPB), was allegedly killed by the three suspects after complaining that his credit card bill was inflated from Rp 48 million (US$5,300) to Rp 100 million at the bank’s branch office in Jamsostek Tower in Central Jakarta.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • North Carolina bill would prohibit cities from upgrading Internet access

      The Republican-dominated North Carolina State Assembly this week approved a bill that would prohibit communities from upgrading their internet access, forcing individual municipalities into a private monopoly of managed broadband services by companies like Time Warner and Comcast.

      Both firms have been restricting the amount of bandwidth users can consume, even though bandwidth itself is not a tangible, meter-able commodity.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Startup companies and the IP playing field

      We would like to thank the European Commission for this opportunity to provide feedback on the Report.

      To stimulate startup companies, the EU legal situation should minimize market entrance risks for innovators. Startup companies are often confronted with patent minefields. Even a mere allegation of infringement may easily lead to market exclusion. Startup companies often do not have enough resources to litigate. Established players in late stages of their own market life cycle may abuse the patent system to stifle entrants and emerging competitors, patent trolls drain market entrants in a phase where they want to grow.

    • Copyrights

      • Discussions About Scarcity vs. Abundance In Copyright From A Century Ago Sound Just Like Those Today

        A reader by the name of Shadow-Slider points us to a fascinating report from a 1897 Copyright Commission in Great Britain in which the report points out how content is different than real property because of the difference between scarcity and abundance. It sounds very much like what we discuss here — just well over a century ago.

      • Why Is It Rocket Science That Laws Should Apply Online Too?

        One of the primary demands of the Pirate Party has been that the same laws that apply offline should also apply online. I think it’s an entirely reasonable thing to demand; the Internet is not a special case, but part of reality. The problems appear when an obsolete but powerful industry realizes that this just and equal application of laws means they can’t enforce a distribution monopoly any longer.

        To understand the absurdity of the copyright industry’s demands, we must pause and consider which rights we take for absolute granted in the analog world. These are rights that already apply in the digital part of reality as well, but are somehow hidden in a legal game of hide-and-seek.

      • The IP Maximalist’s Guide To Making It Big

        Techdirt talks a lot about how to make money in the music biz without actually selling music. Consider this an improvement. With these instructions, you’ll hardly have to produce any music at all, and if you do, you won’t have to go through all that time-intensive and “extremely expensive” production/promotion stuff.

      • TV Site Sued For Linking To Completely Legal Videos

        There are thousands of sites that link to video on the Internet and it’s becoming increasingly common for them to be threatened by rightsholders when they link to unauthorized content. However, things have gone a stage further as a site is now being sued by a copyright group for linking to completely legal content provided by official sources.

      • Parliamentary question on the EU Commission’s new copyright czar

        Yesterday it was reported that the EU Commission has appointed former IFPI lobbyist Maria Martin-Pratt to be the new Head of Unit responsible for copyright issues at the Commission.

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