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Links 4/4/2011: Hercules Does Linux, More Fedora 16 Details Surface

Posted in News Roundup at 2:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • reboot? – this is linux!

    Just had a scary few minutes, this morning I was unable to logon the home mailserver (running mandriva 2010.1) across the local network – the process connected, opened up a terminal window and just hung, never getting to a prompt! Sunday lunch over, I tried opening up a term when sitting at the machine with the problems and there too, no xterm! Fortunately I was already logged in and had root (admin) access.

  • Problems Linux Enthusiasts Refuse to Address

    I like to think of myself as a relatively long time Linux enthusiast. In fact, I feel like a fish out of water when asked to work on a Windows box or with a Mac.

    Like most of you, I can certainly make the adjustment for a day, but I always come away feeling a little stranger from the experience. Guess this happens when you’re bound to a single way of doing things for an extended period of time.

    Now let’s flip the coin for a moment. Despite the many successes seen from the desktop Linux camp over the years, there are some areas that continue to be left largely unchecked. Rather than automatically painting my findings with a negative brush, instead let’s examine each issue closely.

  • 5 Reasons why Linux is the Future of Technology

    From embeded spaces to mobile phones to desktops and servers, there’s not a single one of those except it’s being overtaken by the gradual but consistent revolution called Linux. Here’s why


    As I’ve stated a number of times, Africa, a massive market of about 1 billion people, is still mostly untapped and under-served. Symbian used to be the platform of choice of you wanted to use a smartphone. However, I’m increasingly seeing a gradual shift to the two platforms: iPhone and Android, especially among my contemporaries in school.

    All it’ll take for Android to excel here is for a handset maker to achieve the right balance between reasonable price and the right hardware capable of running Andoid at reasonable speeds. I personally tick Samsung to achieve this feat.

    Then in terms of desktops, again I was fairly surprised the first time I walked into our school’s computer lab and found out that half the computers are powered by Ubuntu 10.04. To say the popularity of Linux is soaring here in Africa is an understatement.

  • Hercules launches new 10-inch Linux and A8 eCafe netbooks

    The netbook was flying high in the darkest days of the recession over the last few years as consumers that needed or wanted a new computer flocked to the cheap machines rather than full on notebooks. As the economy improved, the market moved back to notebooks that are more powerful and with the advent of the tablet, many that would have bought a netbook opted for a tablet like the iPad instead.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • KWin Now Supports Suspended Compositing

        KDE’s KWin compositing window manager now supports suspended compositing that can be toggled by applications to provide a cleaner solution for stopping for removing the OpenGL context created by the KDE window manager and blocking the effects system so that directed full-screen applications and games should work better, especially with less than stellar graphics drivers.

        KWin/KDE has already supported un-redirecting of full-screen windows in a composited environment, but up to this point the OpenGL context from KWin has still been maintained as well as the window manager’s effects system. Thus while the performance may be improved in some instances (for the drivers that are faster without compositing), for other configurations this can still be an issue due to multiple OpenGL contexts and the resources of the effects system running.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • From Russia with source (Calculate Linux 11.3)

      The Calculate distribution certainly made some strong impressions on me during the week I was using it, most of them good. Generally, the things that turned me off were in relation to software management. The emerge tool, while reliable, was slow to work out dependencies. The login bug I ran into on my laptop was an unpleasant surprise, as was finding that choosing Intel drivers for my Intel video card would cause X to crash. On the other hand, Calculate comes with a lot of pre-installed software without much overlap in functionality, letting me perform most tasks while avoiding extra trips to the repositories. Performance was good and this is one of the few distros to detect and use all of my hardware out of the box. Furthermore, I liked having all the multimedia codecs available on the default install.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • KNOPPIX 6.5, CeBIT 2011
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Desktop Fun: Ubuntu Wallpaper Collection Series 2
        • Ubuntu ‘Unity’ Desktop Environment First Impressions

          When Canonical announced last fall that Ubuntu 11.04 would be released with a home-brewed desktop environment called “Unity”, I found myself almost immediately excited. As Ubuntu came equipped with GNOME as its primary desktop environment since the distro’s inception, the idea that Canonical would be pushing it aside for something it was creating was rather shocking.

          While it may not seem like a big deal on the surface, Canonical’s choice to move over to a different default desktop environment is impressive. What it says to me is that the company is confident that it can create a desktop environment “better” than GNOME, and as I’ve never been a big fan of it, the idea of another full-fledged alternative desktop environment was appealing.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • 4 Lessons Which Bodhi Linux Taught Me

            Ubuntu is not the oldest distributive on the Linux landscape. Moreover, it is not standalone one, and it is based on Debian. But Ubuntu and its derivatives became the most used Linux in the world, bringing Linux to the level when non-geek users can get benefits of this OS.
            I have mentioned already that Ubuntu has huge number of derivatives. The Wikipedia page contains impressive list of them, but even that list is not full.


            Lesson 4. Small size does not mean pocket size.
            Even though size of Bodhi Linux is comparable to SLAX, I would not consider it to be pocket OS. Basically, because SLAX is self-contained within same size while Bodhi is very limited in functionality.

          • Poking at Pinguy 10.10.1

            Earlier this week, the Ubuntu 11.04 beta was released. I was looking forward to trying out the Unity interface, as regular readers know; I’m apprehensive about it but I want to give it a fair chance. So I downloaded and installed it. This was supposed to be a review of it. But the installer threw an error right at the end, and though it seemed to have finished, the resulting system was unbootable.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Move over, Dr. Soong: Girls can build Android (apps) too

          In Google’s New York offices, a group of high school girls are learning to develop Android apps and start their own businesses thanks to the first East Coast Technovation Challenge. The 12-week program pairs high school girls from New York public schools with volunteer mentors to introduce them to high-tech entrepreneurship. Participants learn the basics of programming, design a user interface, develop a prototype app and business model, and cap it off with a presentation to a panel of judges and venture capitalists.The winning team’s concept will be developed by pros with input from the girls and released in the Android Marketplace.

        • Xperia X10 to get Gingerbread Update

          In a sudden change of heart, Sony Ericsson has decided to listen to the pleas of thousands of Xperia X10 owners and provide them with the Android Gingerbread that they have been yearning for. The update will be pushed to their phones by end of Q2/start of Q3 this year and will be the latest 2.3.3 update. The software will be similar to what Sony Ericsson will be offering on their newer Android phones, the Xperia Arc, Neo, Pro and Play, except for those features for which there is no hardware support on the X10, such as HDMI-out.

        • Amazon.com lets you play with an Android virtual machine, try apps before you buy them

          When Amazon’s Appstore rolled out last week, we glossed over one detail that merely seemed neat. Today, we’re inclined to say that Test Drive may be the most significant part of Amazon’s announcement that day. Basically, Test Drive allows US customers to take apps for a spin at Amazon.com, with all the comfort that their tried-and-true desktop web browser brings — but rather than sit you down with a Flash-based mockup of the app, Amazon is giving you a taste of bona fide cloud computing with an Android virtual machine.

        • The Freight Train That Is Android

          Yesterday, after the market closed, Research in Motion, the makers of the Blackberry device, announced that they would be lowering their current quarter earnings due to lower average sales prices. In a separate announcement, the company proffered that their new tablet will support Android apps, yet the CEO also made it clear that he believes the world is overly focused on the criticality of having a large numbers of applications on your platform. They also suggested that the guidance issue is temporary, and relates mainly to a product cycle not a systematic change in the industry.


          One might yearn to suggest that there is a market unjust here that should be investigated by some government entity, but let us not forget that the consumer is not harmed here – in fact far from it. The consumer is getting great software at the cheapest price possible. Free. The consumer might be harmed if this activity were prevented. And as we just suggested above, the market is finally driving towards software pricing that represents “perfect competition.”

        • Oh Noes — teh Angry Birds GPL’d! Google’s Alleged GPL Violations in Android

          Two commentators, Florian Mueller and Edward Naughton, have recently claimed that Google is violating the copyleft obligation of the General Public License in distributing the Android mobile operating system used in millions of smartphones all over the world. Android consists of a combination of the underlying Linux kernel, licensed under GPLv2, wrapped with a C library known as Bionic, and topped off with an application framework. Google has released Bionic under the permissive BSD license. Naughton’s and Mueller’s thesis is that Google’s Bionic library is a derivative work of the Linux kernel due to the amount and type of code Bionic lifts from the kernel, and therefore is required to be licensed under GPLv2. If Bionic is required to be licensed under GPLv2, that means Android applications would also have to be licensed under GPLv2 in source code form, they claim. Google would lose control of the entire platform, the argument goes, and Android as a viable and profitable ecosystem would collapse.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • LyX Devs Release First 2.0 Release Candidates

    Considering that they’ve been working on it for about two years now, the LyX 2.0 release candidates are starting to appear relatively quickly (RC2 at time of writing). Considering that the file format is now fairly fixed and should now be forwards compatible with all later versions, this might be a good time for LyX die hards to check out 2.0, if they haven’t already.

  • How to get a career in open source

    Many people are absolutely enthralled by Linux and open source, and what could be better than taking your hobby and making it your career? Is it really possible that you could be paid to do something that you love?

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • Where meritocracy fails

      Robert wrote about patches and rejection today, and quoted me from some tweets I made about meritocracy. I think Robert made some good points in his post, and I’m going to make some suggestions about patch review.

      But first, I want to address my irritation about meritocracy…

  • Government

    • White House releases IT Dashboard as open source code

      The White House has released the software code for its IT Dashboard and TechStat toolkit. The initiative was coordinated through Civic Commons, a code-sharing project incubated within Code for America that helps governments share technology for the public good, with support from OpenPlans. Civic Commons staff worked with REI Systems, the contractor that originally built the IT Dashboard for the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to prepare the code for release under an open source license. That work included a security audit, documentation, and a licensing review of the software’s components.

    • UK ICT strategy offers “level playing field” to FOSS again

      The UK Government’s Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude MP, has unveiled the coalition’s ICT (Information and communications technology) strategy. The new strategy includes plans to “create a level playing field for open source software”. Though this is a position previous administrations had aspired to, now the plan is backed up with “compulsory open standards,” a new “streamlined procurement” regime, a cross-public “Applications Store” and an aggressive schedule for implementation of goals, from within six months to two years.

      The drive for open standards means that recent procurement guidance that defined open standards as royalty free will have a far reaching effect on how open source solutions can compete. The strategy recognises this saying that, “Where appropriate, government will procure open source solutions. When used in conjunction with compulsory open standards, open source presents significant opportunities for the design and delivery of interoperable solutions.” By using open standards for interoperability and security, the government hopes to be able to reuse more solutions within the different organisations which make up the government. Within six months, the administration aims to have created processes for managing open data standards.

  • Licensing

    • Whatever You Do, Just Don’t Steal From Goldman Sachs

      He was found guilty of stealing a proprietary computer program from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. He stole it on his last day of work. He tried to cover his tracks, encrypting the file transfer, deleting the program he used to steal it. Prosecutors said Mr. Aleynikov had been stealing code for the two years he worked at Goldman as a programmer.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF 1.2 is finished!

      By OASIS processes, a specification must first be approved by the committee that developed it to be voted by the entire OASIS. In addition to the approved specification at the TC level, it is also necessary to have at least three statements of companies that the standard is being used by them in a interoperable way.


  • Groupon Is Becoming A Lawsuit Magnet

    The suit, filed last week by a company called San Francisco Comprehensive Tours, alleges the ads Groupon buys through Google’s AdWords program are misleading. S.F. Comprehensive Tours bids on terms like “San Francisco Tours” and “Napa Tours” through Google’s AdWords program, and has been doing so since 2005. Advertisers in AdWords are given the most favorable positions via an “instant auction” process that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) created. And while money counts—as the lawsuit notes—it isn’t the only factor.

  • Airing for H-P Letter

    A Delaware judge late Thursday ordered that the letter that led to former Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Mark Hurd’s August resignation be unsealed.

    A lawyer for Mr. Hurd, Amy Wintersheimer, said in a statement that she planned to appeal the decision, meaning that the letter won’t be made public anytime soon.

  • Google Apps Slammed by Advocacy Group for the Blind

    The National Federation of the Blind claims that Google Apps lacks required features for blind people and wants the U.S. government to investigate whether schools that adopt the e-mail and collaboration suite run afoul of civil rights laws.

  • Science

    • Researcher Overcomes Legal Setback Over ‘Cloud Cracking Suite’

      German researcher Thomas Roth got a phone call with some unsettling news the evening before he was to release a new hacking tool in his presentation at Black Hat DC: he had been served with an injunction for allegedly breaking anti-hacker laws in his country and law enforcement would be raiding his apartment back in Germany.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Cablegate

    • Jemima Khan to guest-edit the New Statesman

      Jemima Khan, writer and campaigner, said: “I am very grateful to Jason for inviting me to guest-edit this week’s issue of the New Statesman. I am a huge fan of the magazine. My task was to bring in new writers – a daunting one, as New Statesman regulars include some of my favourite writers, such as my fellow WikiLeaks supporter John Pilger, my favourite Question Time panellist, Mehdi Hasan, and the philosopher John Gray. I had great fun working with the NS team and enlisting the help of writers who express my own thoughts but with more eloquence, clarity or wit.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Almost Doubles Blankfein Pay Package to $19 Million for 2010

      The total includes $5.4 million in cash, $12.6 million in restricted stock, a $600,000 salary and about $464,000 in other benefits, the New York-based firm’s proxy statement showed. Blankfein’s $9.8 million pay for 2009 included $9 million in restricted stock plus salary and other compensation.

    • Barclays, Citigroup Said to Be Subpoenaed in Libor Probe

      Barclays Plc (BARC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) are among banks subpoenaed by U.S. regulators investigating whether some firms manipulated the setting of the London interbank offered rate, two people with knowledge of the probes said.

      Germany’s WestLB AG and London-based Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) are among the 16 banks on the panel that set Libor that have been contacted by regulators requesting information, said two people who declined to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak on the matter. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the biggest U.S. bank by assets, also received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, the Financial Times reported yesterday.

  • Censorship

    • Google Accuses Chinese of Blocking Gmail Service

      Google has accused the Chinese government of disrupting Gmail in the country, making it difficult in the last few weeks for users here to gain access to the company’s popular e-mail service.

      Google said that it was not having any technical problems with Google’s main Web site or Gmail service in China.

      “There is no issue on our side; we have checked extensively,” Google said in a statement released Sunday. “This is a government blockage, carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.”

  • Privacy

  • DRM

    • “Fleeing”? Sabotaged hard drives? Hotz’s lawyer responds to Sony

      It was reported yesterday that George Hotz “fled” the country in order to escape… a civil case? Sony claimed that the infamous hacker had sabotaged evidence in the case and was using his location outside the US as an excuse to not comply with the court’s orders. Ars caught up with Stewart Kellar, one of Hotz’ lawyers, who rejected both accusations. Hotz is in South America on a trip he had planned before the lawsuit was filed, and Sony has been given all the components it needs to access his hard drive.

    • GeoHot still stoked about cracking Sony’s Xperia Play

      Yes, the talented PS3 hacker known as GeoHot is currently vacationing in South America. However, contrary to what Sony wants you to believe, Hotz is just simply enjoying spring break.

      As TG Daily reported yesterday evening, a very paranoid Sony accused GeoHot of attempting to ditch an ongoing lawsuit by flying off to enjoy some sun.

    • SCEA Files Motion to Dismiss Class Action Again, More Discovery Disputes, Plus a Revealing Transcript Surfaces – Update

      There’s news from the class action litigation, In re Sony PS3 ‘Other OS’ Litigation, where the plaintiffs are suing Sony Computer Entertainment America for removing OtherOS from Playstation 3s. SCEA has filed another motion to dismiss [PDF] the class action case, once again saying that the plaintiffs’ newly filed First Amended Complaint is insufficient to state a claim. The original complaint’s claims, except for one, were dismissed, with the judge giving the plaintiffs a chance to refile. Now that they have, SCEA says this refiled complaint should be tossed out also. There will be a hearing on all this on May 12th.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pandora CEO: The Complexity Of International Copyright Law Is A Big Problem

        When Pandora filed papers with the SEC earlier this year indicating its plans for an IPO, the company disclosed a variety of risks to investors. That included the fact that copyright royalties eat up half its revenue, and the difficulty the company has had in its attempts to strike deals in other countries. Pandora abandoned its bid to expand to the U.K. in 2008. Speaking at the NARM music law conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy elaborated on how he sees international copyright issues and the evolving relationship between online music companies and record labels.

      • Death To The Shiny Disc: Time To Go All-Digital

        Back at Warners I was in a meeting about “reintroducing” a band to the market, which basically means the last record was a stiff so we needed to “reboot” them. Not dissimilar to what Hollywood does to franchises.

        A lot of ideas were floated around: vinyl singles, etc. My statement was “death to the shiny disc!” Basically, eliminate all physical, and go completely digital. Nothing was to be gained by putting out low margin product. This was four years ago. As you can imagine, that statement was met with some glares. I was pulled aside later and advised that the shiny disk still paid for my shiny servers. I didn’t use that catch phrase again.

      • Celebrated ‘Appropriation Artist’ to Appeal Copyright Infringement Ruling

        All of the strum and drang of the Shepard Fairey Obama Hope case — in which the street artist admitted to manipulating evidence in the Associated Press’s suit claiming he used an AP photo without permission — obscured the truly fascinating question at the heart of the dispute: What is fair use for an artist whose work involves the manipulation of images created by someone else? That question will now get a full airing in a copyright appeal by the painter and photographer Richard Prince, who this week hired Boies, Schiller & Flexner to work on his appeal of last Friday’s devastating infringement ruling that orders him to surrender all work in which Prince makes unauthorized use of photographs from the book “Yes, Rasta.”

      • Righthaven loses second fair use ruling over copyright lawsuits

        An Oregon nonprofit did not infringe on copyrights when it posted without authorization an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal story on its website, a judge ruled Friday.

        U.S. District Judge James Mahan said during a hearing he planned to dismiss, on fair use grounds, a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against the Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO), in Portland, Ore.

        The lawsuit was filed last year by Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas, the Review-Journal’s copyright enforcement partner that also enforces copyrights for the Denver Post.

      • Did file-sharing cause recording industry collapse? Economists say no

        For the last decade, the movie and music industries have engaged in a relentless struggle against Internet file sharing. One prominent theater of this global conflict has been the UK, which last year saw the passage of the Digital Economy Act. The law, if fully implemented, could allow Internet Service Providers to disconnect “persistent infringers” of the UK’s copyright rules from the ‘Net.

        The zeal with which Hollywood and the recording industry have pursued this ISP-as-cop approach around the world has prompted some ISPs to cry foul. “The notion of disconnection without judicial oversight violates the presumption of innocence,” warned the Australian DSL service iiNet in a recent position piece . “As the penalty for possibly minor economic loss (at the individual infringer level) removal of Internet access is, therefore, both inappropriate and disproportionate.”

      • Judge administers another beatdown to P2P lawyer, severs cases

        Multiple federal judges in Chicago have absolutely ripped the tactics of the state’s only attorney filing mass P2P file-sharing lawsuits in recent weeks. Now, two new rulings directly contradict a ruling from Judge Beryl Howell, an RIAA lobbyist-turned-federal-judge in Washington, DC, who said that mass subpoenas against alleged file-swappers were proper.

        Last week, Judge Blanche Manning of the Northern District of Illinois “severed” two of the P2P suits filed by local attorney John Steele, cutting them down from 1,800 combined defendants to just two. The judge, acting sua sponte (of her own accord, without ruling on a motion), told Steele that he must file a separate lawsuit against every anonymous target of his litigation, not try to combine hundreds of people into a single case.

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Galaxy Tab running Honeycomb (Android 3.0)

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  3. An Update on Sirius 'Open Source' Pensiongate: It's Looking Worse Than Ever

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  11. Links 18/03/2023: Docker is Deleting Free Software Organisations

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  13. New Talk: Richard Stallman Explains His Problem With Rust (Trademark Restrictions), Openwashing (Including Linux Kernel), Machine Learning, and the JavaScript Trap

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