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Links 27/4/2011: Mageia 1 Beta 2, Sony Data Breach

Posted in News Roundup at 6:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • What does Disney, PS3 and Kindle have in common?

    Disney & DreamWorks on Linux

    To say that Hollywood dream studios are Linux playgrounds today, is most definitely not an understatement. Linux has won hands down on server technology as well as pure artwork. Believe it or not, entire renderfarms and artist desktops in these studios are Linux ecosystems.

    Linux offers end-to-end graphic solutions, in most challenging and competitive of environments in these studios and has finally emerged a winner. It gives an opportunity for technologists, system engineers to delve into creative art using the most scalable, reliable and most importantly free software solution called Linux.

  • ‘PC User’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Windows User’

    First off, the term “PC” includes Macs, so that’s a poor term to use for distinction.

    Second, given the diversity of computing environments today, it is no longer accurate to assume that someone on a non-Mac PC is using Windows. Linux users are growing rapidly in number, and I doubt most would categorize themselves in the same group as Windows users.

    That, indeed, is probably at least part of the reason a full 23 percent of respondents to the Hunch study didn’t classify themselves in either the PC (Windows) or Mac camps: the two camps are neither well-defined nor comprehensive, since they leave out Linux users altogether.

  • Can’t pick an OS? Always Innovating pushes triple-boot Android, Chrome, Ubuntu platform

    Always Innovating, the company that brought us a tablet/netbook hybrid that you could stick to a refrigerator is back. But this time instead of focusing on its own hardware, this time the company is showcasing software it’s developed which can run on the $149 BeagleBoard compact computing platform.

    The software is called Super-Jumbo, and for good reason. Basically it’s a single disk image which combines four operating systems: Google Android 2.3, Ubuntu 10.10, Google Chromium OS, and AIOS, a custom operating system developed by Always Innovating.

  • AI runs Android, Chrome OS, Ubuntu & more on Beagleboard simultaneously [Video]
  • The GNU/Linux Adventurer’s Backpack
  • This We Can Fix Now…

    Six years and over 1200 computers later, I believe that HeliOS has gained some significant insight into how people react to the Linux Desktop.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.39 (Part 2) – Storage and file systems

      Various internal changes to the block layer that were specifically mentioned by Linus Torvalds are designed to enhance performance and scalability. The Ext4 file system is also said to offer improvements in this respect. Still classified as experimental, Btrfs now offers Batched Discard functionality, and LIO (Linux-Iscsi.org) includes a loop-back function.

    • How Hardware Companies Determine Their Linux Base

      Landing in the Phoronix e-mail inbox last night was a question by a reader asking how hardware vendors determine the operating systems used by their customers and their respective market-share since there isn’t anything to “phone home” and report usage statistics. In other words, this reader had just purchased four desktop processors and he was wondering how to inform AMD that he’s a Linux user. This is in hopes of going towards their Linux tally and eventually increasing their Linux level of support.


      Petition lists are also common for Linux users, such as OpenTheBlob.com for NVIDIA, but those tend to have little effect as well.

    • 2011 Linux.com Store T-shirt Design Contest: 20 Years of Linux
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Google Summer of Code Projects Accepted & the Return of Season of KDE

        The KDE community is excited to accept 51 students into the Google Summer of Code program this year. Their projects will touch KDE on almost every level, and integrate the students into our community. Some are likely to become longtime KDE contributors. The next month will be spent on community bonding, getting to know the people and the code behind the project they’ll be working on. From May 23rd until the end of August, they’ll be working with their mentors to complete their own projects.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3: Seven Pros and Cons

        Switching to GNOME 3 is both an opportunity and a distraction. On the one hand, it is the opportunity to put aside some annoying behaviors in earlier GNOME releases. On the other hand, GNOME 3 is a distraction because its changes can get in the way of long-established work methods.

        As a result, you need to weigh GNOME 3′s pros and cons carefully before deciding to make the new desktop part of your everyday computing — unless, of course, you are the sort who automatically rejects or embraces change simply because it is new.

      • Gnome users are revolting

        There are claims that Gnome 3 is too dumbed down for Linux users. I have to admit I’m a little frustrated at not being able to test Gnome 3 properly, because my CD drive is failing, causing my Fedora 15 beta live Gnome 3 session to crash regularly.
        One of the main objections to Gnome 3 seems to be the lack of minimise and maximise buttons on windows. However, I have been able to try out the way Gnome 3 handles windows, and it seems intuitive and more efficient in a minimalist way than the previous method. “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler,”* said Einstein, and to my mind the Gnome team have done this: “Made of easy” indeed.
        Of course there is no bottom panel to minimise windows to. Grabbing a window and bumping it up to the top panel will automatically maximise the window; grabbing it again and pulling it down will minimise it to the desktop.
        Simple. And elegant.

      • Equinox Adds 3 More Themes, PPA for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Updated

        Faenza icon theme for Natty PPA has already been updated and now its the turn of Equinox themes for Ubuntu 11.04 to be released. And the latest Equinox theme pack, created by Tiheum(who also created beautiful Faenza icon theme) comes with 3 brand new themes – Equinox Dawn, Equinox Dusk and Equinox Midnight respectively.

      • GNOME Login Screen Mockups, Videos

        Linux desktop is on a roll. First came the revamped KDE 4.0 which took the level of User Interface(UI) fit and finish of Linux desktops to another level. Then came the GNOME Shell and Ubuntu Unity desktop interfaces. But one thing they all lack, especially GNOME Shell and Unity, are good looking and user friendly login screens. And here are some very interesting login screen mockups for GNOME.

  • Distributions

    • Spotlight on Linux: Toorox

      Toorox is a Gentoo-based installable live CD that features your choice of KDE or GNOME desktops. It comes with lots of useful applications including system configuration tools, easy package management, and proprietary code installers.

    • New Releases

      • MEPIS 11 almost Here! Testing RC3

        MEPIS 11 RC3 comes with Firefox 4 and Konqueror as its browsers, K3b for burning media, Amarok to play sound files and several video players (KMplayer and GNOME Mplayer.) It also has the GIMP to edit images and for its office suit, it includes LibreOffice 3.3.2. KDE partition manager has substituted GParted since MEPIS 8.5. Faithful to its tradition, MEPIS 11 can be used as a rescue CD or as a live OS should you decide not to install it.


        Desktop effects are deactivated by default, but they work once enabled.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 1 Beta 2 Released

        oday the second beta of the inaugural release of Mageia was released. This release has received lots of bug fixes and software updates as well as a nice theme change. The development branch is now frozen until after final which is due in little over a month.


        Overall, Mageia is looking good. Other than the package manager, all other software and tools seem to work fine – not that I tested everything for this quick look. I’m certainly looking forward to final release.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Measuring Unity Usability for Ubuntu 11.04
        • Ubuntu 11.04: Pre Installation Requirements

          Before you proceed to download and install Ubuntu you need to check few things.

          1. Your PC must have a working CD/DVD drive for installation through CD/DVD
          2. If you have a netbook please check that there is a USB port which can be used to install Ubuntu 11.04.
          3. Check if your PC (especiallay desktop) supports USB boot. Majority of laptops and netbooks support boot from USB. However, desktops usually don’t support USB boot. In case you have a desktop PC, we recommend using CD/DVD method.

        • An Ubuntu Adventure: The Unboxing of the DELL 2120

          The first step is to make some space in the system to install Ubuntu. So I booted Windows 7 and from the “computer management – disk management”, I managed to shrink the windows partition to 60 GB.

        • Switching to Ubuntu Part One: Basic Apps

          Continuing our series of articles on the benefits of open source software and how computing for free is a very real possibility that many users are engaging in right now around the world, it’s time to take on board the full implications of migrating from Windows to Linux, in this case the Ubuntu platform.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Peppermint Two Plans Publicized
          • Goodbye Linux Mint 5 LTS

            Clement Lefebvre and the community behind the Linux Mint project announced yesterday, April 25th, on their official blog that Linux Mint 5 LTS (Elyssa) operating system will reach end-of-life on April 28th, 2011.

            Today we are sorry to announce that starting with April 28th, 2011, the Linux Mint 5 LTS (Elyssa) operating system will no longer be supported with security or critical fixes, and software updates. This comes right after the EOL (end-of-life) announcement for Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron), issued by Canonical two weeks ago, on April 11th.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • OLPC

      • M.I.T. Media Lab Names a New Director

        That makes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s decision to name a 44-year old Japanese venture capitalist who attended, but did not graduate, from two American colleges as the director of one of the world’s top computing science laboratories an unusual choice.

        On Tuesday, the university plans to announce that Joichi Ito, known as Joi, will become the fourth director of the M.I.T. Media Laboratory, which was originally founded by the architect Nicholas Negroponte in 1985 and has since become recognized for its willingness to take risks in developing technologies that are at the edge of the computing frontier.

    • Tablets

      • HP CEO: Microsoft still our BFF (but no Windows on webOS tablets)

        APOTHEKER Well, there is the app store, for which we will get something, there are some additional services for which we probably will be able to charge something for. And if we add additional features on top of WebOS, it’s a little bit early to talk about them right now, we might be able to charge something for that as well.

        FORTUNE: If you’re going to enable your PCs to do more, yet you said your tablets and your smartphones will be purely WebOS, why not make that a heterogeneous experience as well?

      • Review: Barnes & Nobles’ Nook Color goes Android Tablet

        If you must have a great tablet, and you’re willing to pay the price for it, Apple’s iPad 2 is still the one to get. But, if you’d like a good tablet at half-the-price, the newly firmware renovated Barnes & Noble Nook Color may be all the tablet you need.

        Today, April 25th, as has long been expected, the Nook Color got its 1.2 update. This transforms the Nook Color from being an e-reader to being a low-end Android tablet by replacing its operating system with Android 2.2 (Froyo) and adding an App Store.

      • Sony’s Android tablet pair includes dual-screen model

        Sony announced a pair of Android 3.0 tablets that integrate Sony’s Qriocity video and audio, Sony Reader ebook content, and Playstation Suite games. Due to arrive this fall, the Sony Tablet S1 is a 9.4-inch model with a wedge-shaped design, while the S2 offers a folding clamshell format with dual 5.5-inch screens that can be viewed as a single display.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Top 50 Portable Open Source Apps

    If you travel frequently, it can be frustrating to have to use a system that doesn’t have your favorite open source software already installed. Fortunately, many of the most popular open source applications come in portable versions that you can take with you on a USB thumb drive or other portable media.

    What makes an application portable? These apps can run from any portable device (a thumb drive, CD, DVD, portable hard drive or other device) without needing to be installed directly on the hard drive of the system you’re using. They also don’t leave behind any files on the host system, and they don’t interfere with other software installed on that system.

  • Free software and redundancy as a marketing benefit

    Outsiders often criticize free software because it offers too much choice. Choice confuses people, they say, and free software would be more efficient if everyone concentrated on improving the best application in each category instead of developing alternatives. To me, this argument has always seemed conditioned by monopoly, but recently I found reason to believe that it couldn’t be more wrong.


    This contrast shows the practical value of redundancy. Superficially, redundancy seems wasteful, and a common short-sighted view is that you can improve efficiency by getting rid of the redundancy. When all is well, that view may even have some validity.

  • IRPF-Livre 2011: Death and Taxes

    Brazil, April 25, 2011—Last week, billions of people around the world celebrated their faith on a Nazarene liberator and his miraculous victory over death. On the 21st, Brazil also remembered the death of Tiradentes, martyr for the country’s independence, who survived only in memories and in history books. Our gift, hereby announced, doesn’t contain Easter Eggs, that symbolize rebirth, resurrection or the creativity of computer programmers, but it has to do with one of the two certainties in life. Although it doesn’t avoid death, it enables escaping from an unfair tax charged by the Brazilian government in the form of freedom. We offer IRPF-Livre, 2011 version, a Free alternative to the illegally privative software imposed on Brazilian taxpayers to prepare their annual Income Tax returns (IRPF).


    IRPF-Livre, that we have maintained since 2007 as part of our campaign against the deprivation of freedom by governments through Imposed/Tax Software, was updated in accordance with changes in legislation and the undocumented file formats required by Receita Federal do Brasil (RFB).

  • Web Browsers

    • Browser wars, 2011

      It wasn’t that long ago that things were as dull as used dishwater when it came to Web browsers. Then, along came Firefox and suddenly it wasn’t just an Internet Explorer world anymore. Today, in 2011, Google’s Chrome Web browser, not to mention Apple’s Safari and Opera Software’s Opera, are all good choices for your Web browser.

    • Mozilla

      • FireFox 4 Scaling Well

        There is always a period of time after you requisition hardware that you are a little nervous about performance. Very happy to report that Firefox is scaling very well and we have jumped over the magic number of 100 concurrent users in FF.

        The only open issue right now in regards to Firefox is that it still is having an occasional oddity in regards to NFS. From watching patterns, it seems like if you are downloading a big (1GB+) file and writing it over NFS, the server get’s sluggish. It never comes to a crawl, but has a noticeable slowdown. I was able to make this work better by downgrading from NFS4 to NFS3. I’ll see if I can figure it out and submit a proper bug report.


        I believe this server could easily handle another 100 users, and can easily be upgraded in terms of RAM.

      • Note to Mozilla: Guilt is not a business model

        I doubt if many people will be convinced to use Firefox because it somehow makes the world a better place. Consumers and companies are far more pragmatic in their decision processes. We want something to work, and hope to get it at the lowest possible cost.

      • Firefox Speed Tweaks
      • Thunderbird and external notification sounds
      • Introducing ecryptfs-recover-private — Recover your Encrypted Private Directory!
  • Healthcare

    • Important Information on the Biological Effects of Cell Phones and Wireless Technologies

      On the site linked below, you can listen to an interview with Dr. Karl Maret. Dr. Maret is the president of the Dove Health Alliance, a nonprofit foundation that focuses on the creation and promotion of global research and education networks in Energy Medicine.

      Dr. Maret trained in both electrical and biomedical engineering before his medical studies. He has recently begun educating physician groups specifically on the biological impacts of communication technologies, such as cell phones and wireless technologies.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source


  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Decoding Human Genes is Goal of New Open-Source Encyclopedia

        A massive database cataloging the human genome’s functional elements — including genes, RNA transcripts and other products — is being made available as an open resource to the scientific community, classrooms, science writers and the public, thanks to an international team of researchers. In a paper published in the journal PLoS Biology on April 19, the project — called ENCODE (Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements) — provides an overview of the team’s ongoing efforts to interpret the human genome sequence, as well as a guide for using the vast amounts of data and resources produced so far by the project.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Samsung, LG & Cisco Throw Their Support Behind WebM

      Google is announcing a new community cross-licensing initiative for its WebM open source video format this morning, which includes backing from major CE makers like Samsung, LG Electronics and Cisco. Google open-sourced WebM about a year ago, hoping to establish an open and royalty-free video format for the web that could eventually replace today’s de facto web video standard, H.264. The cross-licensing initiative is meant to ensure that companies interested in using WebM aren’t scared off by threats of patent litigation.


  • Security

  • Privacy

    • Apple Accused in Suit of Tracking IPad, IPhone User Location

      Apple Inc. (AAPL) was accused of invasion of privacy and computer fraud by two customers who claim in a lawsuit that the company is secretly recording movements of iPhone and iPad users.

      Vikram Ajjampur, an iPhone user in Florida, and William Devito, a New York iPad customer, sued April 22 in federal court in Tampa, Florida, seeking a judge’s order barring the alleged data collection.

    • Sony PlayStation suffers massive data breach

      Sony suffered a massive breach in its video game online network that led to the theft of names, addresses and possibly credit card data belonging to 77 million user accounts in what is one of the largest-ever Internet security break-ins.

      Sony learned that user information had been stolen from its PlayStation Network seven days ago, prompting it to shut down the network immediately. But Sony did not tell the public until Tuesday.

    • Hacker Got PlayStation Network Users’ Info

      Sony Corp. (SNE, 6758.TO) said Tuesday a hacker had obtained customer information, possibly including credit-card numbers, of members of its online PlayStation Network, a potential problem for the quickly growing field of online gaming.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Lessig: Copyright isn’t just hurting creativity: it’s killing science (video)

        Copyleft crusader and Harvard professor Larry Lessig gave a new talk at CERN last week about copyright and how it has affected open access to academic or scientific information, with a bit of commentary about YouTube Copyright School. As usual, it’s blistering commentary. “It’s time to recognize that free access – as in ‘free’ as in speech access – is no fad, and it’s time to push this non-fad war broadly in the context of science,” says Lessig.

        Whereas copyright tends to focus on protecting artists’ ability to make money from their work, scientists don’t use similar incentives. And yet, her work is often kept within the gates of the ivory tower, reserved for those whose universities or institutions have purchased access, often at high costs. And for science in the age of the internet, which wants ideas to spread as widely as possible to encourage more creativity and development, this isn’t just bad: it’s immoral.

Clip of the Day

Colbert Vs. Wikipedia

Credit: TinyOgg

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