04.16.11

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Links 16/4/2011: Humble Bundle, Kubuntu 11.04 Raves

Posted in News Roundup at 6:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Growth of Linux Visiting Wikipedia

    Linux

    * February 2011 – 2.47%
    * February 2010 – 1.65%

    Change = +.82% Rate of growth = +50%

  • Google

    • How to make Google good again

      One of the key aspects of the latter has been its support for open source, which has been at the heart of Google’s infrastructure from the earliest days. Its adoption of free software played an important part in allowing the company to offer a range of free services – search, email, video content etc. – that could scale globally, Something that would have been much harder for a startup to achieve with traditional licensed software, where costs would have risen far more steeply.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Plasma Active: Vendor Interaction

        This is the final entry in a series of five posts covering the various tracks in the Plasma Active initiative. In this closing article, we look at the track that aims to help bring out work to actual hardware.

        On Monday, I will be writing a quick overview of some of the “big picture” goals and aspirations represented in Plasma Active, and on Friday of next week I will be sharing a preview of a new interaction feature that I’ve only referred to cryptically as “SLC” so far. Today, however, I hope you enjoy the outline of the fifth track in Plasma Active: Vendor Interaction.

      • Contour brings a context-sensitive interface to KDE Plasma Active

        As KDE developers continue to build the device-independent Plasma Active Linux environment, other pieces of the UI puzzle are falling into place as well. Pieces like Contour, which the team bills as a “context-sensitive user interface that adapts to…current activities and behavioral patterns of the user.”

        As you can see in the screenshot, part of what Contour does is recommend additional actions based upon what it thinks you’re doing at any given time. By taking a look at a number of different sources of data — like GPS coordinates, accelerometer data, time and date, ambient sound and light, recently accessed files, and recent user actions, Contour will attempt to adjust the device’s UI to automatically meet a user’s needs.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMepis Shaping Up – 11.0 RC 2 Released

        SimplyMepis 11.0 RC 2 was released last week and the annoying thing about that project is that their release announcements say nothing about the release. So, if one wants to keep up they have to download each developmental release and test it. So, I did.

        The basic look and feel hasn’t changed since my last test. It’s possible it could receive an update before final. What I did notice soon after boot was that the graphic driver setup assistant is gone. It was inoperative my last test, but it’s completely gone now. Instructions in the Mepis Manual have the user going back to the old-fashioned manual procedure. This isn’t a big deal for most of us old goats, but for a distribution known for being “user-friendly,” this isn’t a plus. Will it be back before final?

        Fortunately, I didn’t have to play around with any settings or boot flags to get a graphical desktop. The boot to blank locked-up screen was somewhat fixed last test, but I did have to talk it into a graphical interface.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu: The Gateway Linux

          Yesterday I upgraded my personal laptop (well, one of them) from Ubuntu 10.10 to Ubuntu 11.4 beta 2. I have a knack for finding bugs, but this time the upgrade was smooth sailing. I was reminded of what my friend said when I first installed Ubuntu for her: This feels like a really expensive system.

        • An Ubuntu Adventure: The DELL Latitude 2120
        • The New Look of the Ubuntu 11.04 Server Installer!

          With Natty Beta2, the Ubuntu 11.04 Server Installer received a little bit of the same aubergine love that the Ubuntu Desktop has enjoyed now for the last few releases. Moving away from that 1980s MSDOS/PCDOS VGA blue look, the our Server installer now sports a distinctively Ubuntu color scheme!

        • An Ubuntu Adventure: The DELL Latitude 2120

          In a previous post I described the certification release of Ubuntu pre-install for the Dell Latitude 2120. This post seems to have drawn some interest on the process from both internally in Canonical and externally. I decided that I needed to experience myself what a user buying a Certified “Pre-Installed only” system would go through from buying the system to getting the bespoke image from the manufacturer and ultimately upgrading to the latest “stock” Ubuntu release. The Dell Latitude 2120 seemed like a good companion for this adventure.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • An Arch User Trying Out Kubuntu 11.04

            Hopefully the final release of Kubuntu 11.04 is as good as it is in its current beta. Since I used to be a huge fan of Kubuntu before its downward spiral that caused it to become bland, I’m actually quite happy to say that this release is shaping up to be the best in over two and a half years. Considering that all of my hardware is detected and works great, the developers must have tweaked something to make this happen. I would really like to know what it was they did, though my guess is they probably included the next generation of Intel drivers into the current kernel. Good job!

          • My Kubuntu Natty Opinions

            Like I said, overall I am really impressed with what I am seeing here.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Tablets are changing the way consumers engage with content

        In order to better understand how people are using tablets we ran a survey of over 1,400 tablet users and found that:

        * 68% of tablet users spend at least 1 hour a day on their tablet
        * 77% of respondents report that their desktop/laptop usage decreased after they started using a tablet
        * 82% of respondents said they primarily use their tablet at home

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Improved CSV file compatibility in OOo 3.4 Beta

      CSV (plain text) files are a popular way of exchanging data with a broad range different programs. But whereever different programs are involved, there’s some disagreement about the details. One such detail is the presence of quotes (text delimiter character) around fields. The usual consensus (spelled out, for example, in RFC 4180) is that fields “may or may not” be enclosed in quotes.

      As long as the field delimiter doesn’t occur in numbers (for example as decimal separator), it can be useful to quote all text content, so the distinction between text and numbers is preserved. See issue 37856 for an example. This is what Calc CSV export has always done, and with the new import options in 3.3, we can optionally make use of that distinction when importing.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • 56% of Peoples’ 1st Wikipedia Edits Are Good

    If you thought Wikipedia had seen its heyday, you’d have thought wrong. A small study performed by Wikipedia staff and published today found that new Editors are signing up and making edits to the site at a far greater rate than they were years ago. A slight majority of their first edits are acceptable or better.

  • Finance

  • Privacy

    • Well-Meaning “Privacy Bill of Rights” Wouldn’t Stop Online Tracking

      On Tuesday, Senators John McCain and John Kerry introduced the long-awaited Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights, a sweeping bill that covers online and offline data collection, retention, use, and dissemination practices. Unfortunately, the bill may fall short of what’s needed to protect our privacy.

      This bill fails to address many of the issues surrounding pervasive online tracking that have been raised by privacy advocates, explored in the Wall Street Journal’s What They Know series, and highlighted by the FTC’s recent Privacy Report. The bill’s most glaring defect is its emphasis on regulation of information use and sharing, rather than on the collection of data in the first place. For example, the bill would allow a user to opt out of third-party ad targeting based on tracking – but not third-party tracking. The consumer choice provisions in Section 202 apply only to data use—not collection—unless that data is both “sensitive” and “personally identifiable.” Moreover, Part III of the bill, which imposes lax limits on collection, cannot be enforced by state Attorneys General. This is backwards: the privacy risk is not in consumers seeing targeted advertisements, but in the unchecked accumulation and storage of data about consumers’ online activities. Collecting and retaining data on consumers can create a rich repository of information – which leaves consumer data vulnerable to a data breach as well as creating an unnecessary enticement for government investigators, civil litigants and even malicious hackers.

  • Civil Rights

    • When fund-raising is a crime

      IN THE odd way these things work in China, word has trickled out that on April 7th an appeal court in Zhejiang, a famously entrepreneurial coastal province, conducted a five-hour hearing on a death sentence handed down to Wu Ying, a prominent 29-year-old businesswoman, on fraud charges. Before her arrest Ms Wu had seemed to personify the miraculous business success that could be achieved by people from even the most humble background in modern China.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Osama bin Laden Getting Faster Internet Than You Have: Pakistan’s 50Mbps Future

      While America’s heartland is being wired for 3Mbps DSL service, residents in Pakistan are getting ready for speeds up to 50Mbps thanks to a major broadband expansion in the country.

      Pakistan’s PTCL, the country’s state-controlled phone company, is working on a major upgrade to bonded VDSL2, the next generation of DSL, which can deliver more than five times the top speed of the country’s highest level of service, at a construction cost of just $200-300 per home passed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Facebook Sues FriendFinder, Peeved Over FacebookOfSex.com Website

      Facebook has filed a few different trademark lawsuits against sites it doesn’t approve of, like Teachbook and humor site Lamebook. Some of those cases might be considered close calls legally, and both of those sites are still up. But now a much bigger company is messing with Facebook’s name: adult social networking company FriendFinder Networks, which has launched a (very NSFW) website called FacebookOfSex.com.

    • Copyrights

      • EU copyright extention

        Remember the Cliff Richard directive proposal for a copyright extention of sound recordings also known as 2008/0157(COD)? The extention was fiercely debated in the European Parliament and by consumer groups. Our MEPs adopted a plenary report and then… Then our EU-Council with all the member states at the table went into wait-and-see mode. They noticed that the Commission proposition was quite a bit over the top. Meanwhile we have a new parliament, the Lisbon Treaty regime, a new Council. Now it’s back on the agenda, just before the children born when the Commission started to draft its proposal enter school, rumours say Hungary suddenly changed its mind in the Council, we learn from an alarmist Boingboing call to action, that we, the people are asked by science fiction writer Cory Doctorow to

        1. Phone our MEP

        2. MEP does for us ???

        3. Win!

      • YouTube to require ‘tutorials’ for copyright offenders

        Google Inc.’s online video behemoth YouTube toughened its enforcement of copyright laws, requiring violators to attend “copyright school” and pass a test before they can resume uploading videos to the site.

        The changes come amid calls — both in Hollywood and in Congress — that YouTube do more to combat piracy. Google General Counsel Kent Walker recently defended the search giant’s commitment to content protection in testimony this month before the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on intellectual property.

      • Spotify: Not so free as it was

        It seems that the original licensing deals which enabled Spotify to get off the ground a couple of years ago are coming to an end – and some of the labels in some European countries are getting restless about how much of their content is being given away for free, with minimal fees in return. Yes, 15% of Spotify’s users are now paying customers, but as the service grows, millions of tracks are being played for nothing.

      • Scottish election: Pirate Party UK profile

        With no known founder, the Pirate Party UK is rather more unconventional than traditional electoral offerings.

        The UK group is part of an international movement of Pirate Parties, which lobbies against copyright and software patent laws.

        The very first party was founded in Sweden in 2006.

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