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Links 28/4/2011: AMD (ATI) Catalyst 11.4, Red Hat GNU/Linux Growth

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Germans stick Linux on 10,000 PCs

    While most of the world has been ignoring Linux on the desktop, it appears that the makers of Ubuntu have managed to score a lucrative deal with German insurance giant LVM Versicherungen.

    Canonical, which makes Ubuntu, will convert 10,000 PCs to use Ubuntu Linux across the entire company.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Pricey Droid Charge phone unveiled by Verizon, Samsung

      Verizon Wireless will begin selling a 4G LTE-ready 4.3-inch “Droid Charge by Samsung” Android phone on April 28 for a whopping $300 plus contract. Meanwhile, Verizon says the 4G- and Android-ready HTC Thunderbolt has been a hot seller, and Motorola has confifmed that the Verizon launch of its Droid Bionic phone will be delayed until summer.

    • LG plays catch-up via ARM Cortex license

      For example, the Optimus 2X (right) — claimed on its December 2010 launch to be the world’s first dual-core smartphone — and Optimus Pad tablet both employ Nvidia Tegra 2 processors, as does the LG-manufactured G-Slate (below) promised by T-Mobile. Meanwhile, the similarly Android-based Optimus 3D phone uses a Texas Instruments OMAP4 processor, likely the OMAP4430.

    • become a hacking ninja in a matter of seconds
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • On platforms

      At some stage the seminal KDE vs Gnome paper vanished from its original home, and while it’s still available in a few places (such as here) it set me thinking. What are the fundamental differences between Gnome and KDE development? There’s lots of little differences (2006: Gnome parties on a beach. Akademy has melted ice cream in the rain) but they’re both basically communities made up of people who are interested in developing a functional and interesting desktop experience. So why do the end results have so little in common?

      Then I read this and something that had been floating around in my mind began to solidify. KDE assumes a platform and attempts to work around its shortcomings. Gnome helps define the platform and works on fixing its shortcomings.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE-Telepathy – A Vision for Integration

        The first preview release for KDE-Telepathy is getting closer. Our release-tracker bug now only has 9 bugs blocking it and many of these already have patches on reviewboard. Our first release will be made separately from the KDE Software Compilation, and should be compatible with installs of 4.6.x or trunk. It will be suitable only for people who like to try out new technologies before they are ready for the mainstream. It will not be feature complete (although we hope many of the basic features will be implemented). It will not be polished (although we do want to know about any bugs or issues you find – that’s why we’re making this release). It will also not be especially deeply integrated with the rest of the KDE S.C. or the Plasma workspaces. There will be a plasma applet for bringing accounts on and offline, but the rest of it is much like a traditional Instant Messaging application.

      • Pimping my Desktop: have KWin Desktop Effects improved in KDE 4.6.2?

        KWin Desktop Effects in past releases of KDE 4 were lacking in comparison to Compiz. After installing KDE 4.6.2 recently I decided to see if there has been any progress, and was pleasantly surprised. Although KWin is still not quite up to the standard of Compiz in all areas (the behaviour of 3D windows, especially around the corners of the Desktop Cube, being one example), KWin’s Desktop Effects are now very pleasant and a viable alternative to Compiz. I’ll talk you though my Desktop-pimping exercise using KWin on my main laptop running KDE 4.6.2, and then I’ll describe briefly a similar exercise using Compiz on the same machine.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • ‘Nautilus Facebook Uploader’ for Linux adds video uploads, description editing, more
      • A look at GNOME Shell

        GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell were finally released, after years of development, just a few days ago. Their release was obviously raising enormous expectation, so it should come as no surprise that so shortly after it took place there are already tons of material both positive and negative about it. Exciting times, if you ask me.

      • Gnome Announces New GSoC and Outreach Program for Women Interns

        The Gnome project announced that the Gnome 3.0 release included more contributions by women than any previous release, an increase the project attributes its new internship program. The Outreach Program for Women, which ran from December 2010 until March 2011, paired eight interns with Gnome project mentors. The Gnome project also announced that it accepted seven women to participate in the Google Summer of Code. Check out the press release for a complete list of the new outreach program and female GSoC participants, mentors, and projects.

        The Gnome project announced that the Gnome 3.0 release included more contributions by women than any previous release, an increase the project attributes its new internship program. The Outreach Program for Women, which ran from December 2010 until March 2011, paired eight interns with Gnome project mentors. The Gnome project also announced that it accepted seven women to participate in the Google Summer of Code. Check out the press release for a complete list of the new outreach program and female GSoC participants, mentors, and projects.

      • GNOME Outreach Program for Women Attracts Many New Contributors

        With 15 female interns accepted for the Outreach Program for Women and Google Summer of Code, GNOME 3.2 will be in a good position to beat this record.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • LG possibly looking at MeeGo for smartphones
        • Qt 4.7 and KDE 4.6 going stable, finally!

          After a lot of bug-wrangling both by upstream and by our Qt and KDE teams, we now feel confident that Qt 4.7.2 and KDE 4.6.2 are ready for stabilization. If you are a stable tree user (amd64, ppc, x86), the upgrade from current Qt 4.6.3 and KDE 4.4.5 will arrive at your machine soon, with lots of new features. (The KDEPIM applications such as kmail, kontact, or akregator will stay at trusty version 4.4 since development there is still ongoing.)

      • Android

        • Android: Data Shows Consumers Prefer It–But Those Are Consumers

          Recently, many reports have arrived showing the open source Android mobile OS beating Apple’s iPhone and iOS in market share terms, with some over-enthusiastic observers pronouncing the iPhone “dead in the water.” We’ve already cautioned that some of the market share numbers for Android should be taken with a grain of salt, because Android is becoming hugely popular as a consumer smartphone OS, but is not accepted as secure or standardized by many businesses and organizations. Furthermore, in Apple’s recent quarterly financial report, the iPhone was shown to have gigantic momentum. In the latest Nielsen survey, Android once again comes out on top in terms of being the “most wanted” smartphone platform, but that–again–is among consumers.

        • Verizon tips Droid Incredible 2, plus rugged Casio Commando phone

          Verizon Wireless announced two new Android 2.2 phones, led by HTC’s four-inch, global-roaming Droid Incredible 2 phone, which features dual cameras, including an eight-megapixel model. The ruggedized Casio G’zOne Commando, meanwhile, offers a 3.6-inch WVGA display, a five-megapixel camera, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, as well as special field-ready apps linked to the phone’s sensors.

        • Android Apps for Photographers

          Your Android device is not only good for snapping photos and sharing them with others. Using the right apps, you can turn it into a handy photographic companion which can handle a wide range of photography-related tasks. And the best part is that some of the best photography-related apps won’t cost you a dime.

        • Android now most desired smartphone OS in U.S., study says

          Nielsen reports that 31 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers said they would prefer Android for their next phone, compared to 30 percent for the iPhone. Overall, Nielsen estimates that 37 percent of smartphone subscribers and 50 percent of recent subscribers use Android phones, up sharply from January.

    • Sub-notebooks

    • Tablets

      • Lenovo preps Honeycomb tablet with keyboard dock

        Lenovo is readying an Android 3.0 tablet that offers a pen option and plugs into a keyboard dock, says and industry report. Meanwhile, Archos announced its seven-inch, Android-based 7c Home Tablet, and Samsung is rumored to be building Amazon’s first Android tablet.

      • Right tablet for the job: iPad alternatives

        One of the major hardware players that have been quiet until now is Acer. The company jumped feet first into the netbook market with its Aspire range and got some good traction in that area. Now Acer is reportedly ready with its first real tablet device: the Acer Iconia Tab A500. The Iconia will run Android Honeycomb and sports a 10.1-inch screen. Official pricing and release dates for South Africa have not been announced yet.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Credativ’s Open Source Support Is An Answer To FOSS Support Woes

    Ask many IT managers and business owners why they don’t adopt open source software, and a common answer will be “lack of support.” After all, many projects don’t offer formal support, relying on wikis and forums for answering questions. That’s why it was big news in 2009 that Credativ, Europe’s largest service and support company focused on open source, was expanding its operations in the United States. Its Open Source Support Center is positioned as a one-stop shop for support for almost all significant open source applications and platforms, including the many flavors of Linux distros, development languages, and databases. Credativ has expanded its efforts to provide comprehensive open source support around the world since 2009, and its efforts appear to be working.

  • Google Puts $6 Million Into Open Source Summer

    I’ve been writing about the Google Summer of Code since 2005 when the program debuted. It’s a program that I’ve seen grow and excel every year since.

    The Summer of Code is an effort to bring students into the open source world, matching them up with mentoring open source organizations. The students work on a project with the open source group, helping both the project as well as themselves.

  • Dropbox fends off open source file-sharing application

    Dropbox is not getting much in the way of good news lately. First the company was caught out over changes to its terms of service (TOS), now the company is fending off a open source project called Dropship.

    According to Dan DeFelippi, Dropbox is trying to deep-six Dropship. What’s Dropship? It’s an application, under the MIT license, that makes it possible to use Dropbox sort of like a file-sharing network. If you have a hash of a file that’s stored in a public folder on Dropbox, anybody can copy the file into their own folder. So if you have, say, a couple of MP3s by Jukebox the Ghost, you could provide the hashes and suddenly Dropbox is automagically propagating the MP3s to a bunch of accounts.

  • The Next Best Thing to Open Source?

    According to Notch, Minecraft is moving to an Android-like model for its mods development. You will be able to sign up for free, accept a license, and get access to the complete source code via SVN (one can tell these aren’t F/OSS people… SVN, seriously?) to develop mods.

  • SaaS

  • Databases

  • Sun/Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Drupal at Warp Speed

      Doesn’t it give you a warm feeling when you’re asked to do a week’s work in twelve hours or less? It should. It should give you a warmer feeling when you can do it in far less time. Give your C-Level suitors this one in under an hour and they’ll think you’re as magical as Mr. Scott aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. Mr. Scott often surprised the always demanding Captain Kirk with his ability to fix just about anything within the very tight time constraints placed on him. Instead of dilithium crystals and altered phaser electronics, you’ll have to work with Ubuntu and Drupal.

      As of this writing, the latest version of Drupal is 7.0 and the version that installs to your system via the default Ubuntu repositories is 6.18. The speed of setup should sufficiently offset the fact that the software isn’t the latest available.

    • Making money in open source: Drupal future looks bright

      Who says there’s no money in open source? Demand for Drupal talent is growing, and opportunities abound for developers, designers and artists, and related disciplines such as database and system administration. Let’s take a look at what some Drupal consulting firms are doing, and get an inside view from a Drupal core maintainer.

  • Education

    • Open Source Group Seeks Support from Higher Ed for Mobile Initiative

      Jasig is launching a new open source project called uMobile and is calling on colleges and universities to contribute to the effort.

      Jasig is a consortium of higher education institutions and commercial organizations from around the world dedicated to the development and promotion of open source software to benefit colleges and universities. It also holds an annual conference spotlighting open source in education. This year’s spring conference will be held May 23 to 25 in Westminster, CO.

  • Healthcare

    • VA Calls for Open Source Health Record Proposals

      The Veterans Affairs Department released last Friday its request for proposals for an outfit it calls a Custodial Agent to manage an “open source ecosystem” for development of its next generation electronic health record.

      VA said it plans to use the Custodial Agent to set up and manage a code repository that will be used to update its current Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) health as well as provide software to the entire health care community.

    • OpenClinica Hosts Global Conference in Boston
  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • First Blender 2.57 bug fix update released

      Over the next two months the developers will “keep working on finishing a couple of left-over 2.5 targets”, noting that if all goes well, the upcoming 2.58 release will be the final in the 2.5 series. After that, development on the 2.6x cycle will begin, targeting new updates every 2 months.

  • Government

    • EU: Free software advocates want procurement rules improved

      Europe’s rules on public procurement should be improved to allow better access to free and open source software applications, according to advocacy groups and the OSOR project. They responded to a public consultation by the European Commission. The groups want the rules to request free and open source licencing terms.

  • Programming

    • Python for Android

      Mobile app development for smartphones is hot. This is no more prevalent than in the Android space where the activity level oftentimes is frenzied. However, when it comes to building a “real” Android app, it seems there’s only one programming choice: Java (although it is possible with a lot more work to use C/C++ with Android’s Native Development Kit). That said, Google wisely chose the popular Java programming technology upon which to base its Android SDK, which runs a customized VM.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Change Tracking: Why?

      As some of my past posts have mentioned, the OASIS group is currently working out how it wishes to extend support for change tracking in ODF. The change tracking feature allows you to have an office application remember what changes you have made and associate them with one or more revisions. There are many examples where governments might want such traceability, but small businesses are likely to find this functionality valuable too.

      Late last year there was an ODF plugfest held in Brussels where it was decided that an Advanced Document Collaboration subcommittee should be formed to work out how to serialize tracked changes into ODF.


  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Taming Brussels lobby

      The European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs committee approved a report by Italian centre-right MEP Carlo Casini, which demands a single register of lobbyists, shared between the European Commission and parliament.

      There has been a parliamentary register for many years, as lobbyists have to sign up to gain an access pass to the building.
      The Commission introduced a ‘Register of Interest Representatives’ in 2008, under the guidance on then Administrative Affairs Commissioner, Siim Kallas, who remained adamant that the register be voluntary. The move was controversial as transparency campaigners wanted a mandatory register.

  • Privacy

    • TomTom user data sold to Dutch police, used to determine ideal locations for speed traps

      We like it when the accumulated speed data from GPS devices helps us avoid traffic incidents and school zones. As it turns out, though, there are some other uses for the same stats. Dutch news outlet AD is reporting that such data captured by TomTom navigation devices has been purchased by the country’s police force and is being used to determine where speed traps and cameras should be placed. TomTom was reportedly unaware its data was being used in such a way, but if the police would only agree to sell the data on the location of its speed cameras and traps back to TomTom, why, this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Is It Rude To Link To Someone Without First Asking Permission?

        Earlier this week, I wrote an analysis of some silly claims from Canadian IP lawyer James Gannon’s sarcastic suggestion that copying money is just like copying content. Gannon stopped by in our comments… and oddly did not respond to a single point that I raised about his faulty analysis. Instead, he only commented to claim that it was somehow rude or discourteous of me to link to his piece and to discuss it without first asking for permission. I found this somewhat shocking. I’ve never heard that it’s common courtesy to ask before you link to someone. Yet Gannon insisted that most people who link to him first ask his permission and he suggests, snidely, that his readership has higher “standards” in regards to how they view content.

      • ACTA

        • Senator Wyden releases redacted version of October 29, 2010 CRS report on ACTA

          On April 26, 2011, Senator Wyden released a redacted version of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on ACTA that has been the subject to an ongoing Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA) dispute with USTR.

          (More context here, here and here).

          This is a link to the report that USTR claimed they could not release because of restrictions on its use by Senator Wyden.

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