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Links 12/5/2011: Google’s Linux in Headlines, Only 20% of Google Staff Uses Windows

Posted in News Roundup at 6:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Open Ballot: What is Linux’s killer feature?

    As we rev up our podcast engines for the next recording, we want to hear your words: what do you think is the killer feature of Linux? What’s its strongest selling point, the thing that makes it better than its competitors? Perhaps you reckon the kernel’s rock-solid stability is key, or maybe you think the plethora of desktop environments gives it an advantage.

  • Desktop

  • Google

    • Google Launching Chromebook for Business on June 15
    • Google may offer £12 a month Chromebooks on contract

      Google is rumoured to be set to announce a scheme where students can get a Chrome OS toting laptop for a $20 (£12) a month contract, mimicking the way in which many people get the latest mobile phones.

      According to Forbes, Google will announce the deal later in the day at its Google I/O conference, and the package will include Google Apps.

    • It’s Not A Linux Laptop

      I’ve been watching the commentary on Google’s announcements yesterday that their Chrome OS will be available on laptops from partners – ChromeBooks – and that they will offer a scheme where they provide a ChromeBook to businesses and students for $20-$30 per month. It’s clear that some people are not seeing the real deal here. I’ve seen comments on early reviews, Identi.ca and Twitter saying this is just a Linux laptop and asking why it will be any more successful than previous abortive attempts at the same, such as putting Ubuntu on “netbook”-style laptops.

    • Samsung Chromebook: 12 things you need to know
    • Five Reasons why Google’s Linux Chromebook is a Windows killer

      When Google first started talking about Chrome OS, I thought it might be turn into a Windows killer. Well, now we know that the first commercial Chromebooks will be available in mid-June and there’s no question: Google is aiming right at the Windows business desktop market.

    • Why Google Chrome OS is Crucial for the Linux Desktop

      As Google Chrome OS nears a grand release, everyone is excited about a brand new operating system entering the monopolized desktop market. On the other hand, Mark Shuttleworth has set a target of 200 million Ubuntu users in the next four years. With Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’ not being as good as expected, Shuttleworth’s plans, if not impossible, may seem a bit too ambitious.

      Many people believe that Chrome OS’s release can further hamper Ubuntu’s stagnating growth. However, if we consider the recent desktop trends, and if everything goes well for Google, Chrome OS might actually be the magic boost Ubuntu so desperately needs. Here’s why:

    • Sergey Brin: Only 20% of Googlers still on Windows

      Google co-founder Sergey Brin has said that only about 20 per cent of Google’s employees are still using Microsoft Windows, and that all of those users are on Windows 7.

      He stressed, however, that he is not sure of the exact percentage.

      Rumors had indicated that within the company, Google had almost entirely banned Windows. Speaking at Google’s annual developer conference on Wednesday, where and when the company announced that it will offer Chrome OS notebook for a subscription fee, Brin said that Google hopes to move most of its employees to Google’s Chrome OS, an operating system that puts all applications inside the browser.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Btrfs Support For Ubuntu’s Update Manager

      Eventually we will see Ubuntu Linux deploy Btrfs as the default file-system. While we will likely not see the switch from EXT4 to Btrfs with Ubuntu 11.10, there is work underway on Btrfs integration support into Ubuntu’s Update Manager.

      With Fedora 13, Red Hat introduced system roll-back support whereby anytime a yum transaction takes place for installing a new RPM package on a Btrfs root file-system, a snapshot will be created. Btrfs supports efficiently creating copy-on-write snapshots. Fedora has been quicker to adopt Btrfs installation support and its features, but now Canonical is finally supporting this path.

  • Applications

    • Proprietary

      • Skype-ing out an open source future

        Now, be honest: do you remember that aQuantive deal? Are you aware of any benefit that Microsoft has managed to extract from a purchase with that “shocking” purchase price? No, me neither. Now compare that acquisition with its current move, which has also “shocked” people for its “substantial overpayment”. Sounds like déjà vu all over again.

        But leaving all this shock aside, what will the impact of an undoubtedly important move be for open source?

        Whatever else it might mean, one consequence of the deal is that Microsoft now has less money in the bank, which will have knock-on consequences in all the markets it is active in. Given that it started out with $50 billion, and now has “only” $42 billion, you might think that effect will be minimal. But according to this interesting analysis, most of Microsoft’s money is held outside the US, which means that it’s actually quite constrained in the things it can do with it.

      • Evil Empire Buys Skype

        Now, before any Skype fan-boys get on soap boxes to tell Mr. Vaughan-Nichols and myself just how wrong we are, that Skype is worth every penny being paid and maybe even more, let me dig-up a few facts to explain our position. eBay bought Skype when it was a two year old start-up, in 2005, for $2.6 billion. A few years later, eBay was forced to admit to their shareholders they’d paid way too much. In 2009, they were happy to dump the company onto a group of investors for $2 billion, a $600 million loss. In the first six months of 2010, Skype finally realized a $13.2 million profit, after losing $99 million in 2009.

        As I like to do sometimes, let me quote the great television sage, Thomas Magnum: “I know what you’re thinking…”
        Easy AdSense by Unreal

        You’re thinking that Skype has to be worth gazillions of dollars because practically everyone on the planet is using it and it’s finally making a little bit of money.

      • Linux Community Working On Skype Alternatives!

        The message that Skype is being acquired by Microsoft got GNU/Linux community worried. There are indications that Microsoft may stop the Linux client of Skype. Microsoft won’t have to pull the binaries from the site. They can delay the development of Skype for Linux, either way Skype’s Linux kind is behind its Mac/Windows version.

    • Instructionals/Technical

  • Desktop Environments

    • glibc – inconsistent interfaces due to arrogance

      To start off, I don’t actually mind arrogant people as long as they back their attitude up with some semblance of sanity, however arrogance without ability pisses me off, and it seems that its the number 1 trait to be a maintainer of glibc.

    • The Desktop Linux Paradox

      Believe me, I used to think Linux on the desktop was one user interface revamp away from hitting it big time. Now I realize the problem is much more fundamental: Linux was never created to serve an end-user market, and end users are hard to serve properly. The only way Linux can be so reworked is if someone removes it from its native environment and single-handedly shapes it into something else.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • New Features in digiKam 2.0: XMP Sidecar
      • I need a new distro version 2

        Recently I’ve been surveying a lot of KDE distros. I tried a lot of live cds and looked at a lot of videos and screenshots. Things have changed a little bit since I last searched for a distro. People have started modifying KDE (KDESC?) a bit more from the defaults but not by much certainly nothing that compares to how much Gnome2/Kde3 were/are customized. In any case I eventually decided I had to settle on something. So I went to my s.o.p for distro selection. Make a list and use each distro long enough to decide if it was something I could use with minimal annoyance. Here are my findings so far.


        My next distro was going to be Arch. I have a great many good memories of my time on Arch.

      • Next Gen KDEPIM Coming in June with KDE 4.6.4

        KDEPIM users have been suffering through a variety of bugs and lagging development releases since KDE 4 first hit download mirrors. Developers tried to fix some, but others were just ignored or given up on. Now word is coming out of the project that KDEPIM 4.6 is finally coming, but will that fix users’ problems?

        Bugs have plagued KDEPIM ever since KDE 4 was released over three years ago. Some did get some attentions, but for the most part users were told to wait for the next major release. Well, that next major release is immenent, but according to a recent developer’s blog post, some of the same issues experienced in 4.4 will rear their wiggly heads in 4.6. In addition, other regressions are being reported as well.

      • Some News from the ALERT Project

        The ALERT Project, as already explained, aims to improve bug tracking and resolution in free software communities. KDE is participating as a project partner by providing expertise on how free software communities work and by providing testing and feedback for the ALERT software.

      • Resources and Activities

        After an update by Sebastian Kügler on the status of PlasmaActive, let’s see what’s happening lately on its semantic Contour user interface and backend.

        During Tokamak together Sebastian, we designed a plugin system for delegates of arbitrary Nepomuk resources.

      • What’s new in Plasma Active?
    • GNOME Desktop

      • Deja Dup (backup tool) to become default in gnome 3.2?

        As you probably know after the gnome 3.0 release developers are back on releasing the second iteration of the ‘awesome’ desktop, gnome 3.2. There have been discussions going on in gnome development lists. One of the discussions is about including deja dup backup as default in gnome. This will help to create a unified experience from the start.

      • Deja Dup (backup tool) to become default in gnome 3.2?
      • GNOME Board of Directors Elections 2011

        I can’t believe it’s been this long already, but it is time for yet another Board of Directors Election! Having had the opportunity to serve on the Board for these last 12 months, I want to encourage anyone who have the time and interest to improve the GNOME project to run for one of the seven spots on the Board of Directors! For more information on this, please read the official announcement here!

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • BackTrack 5 Release
      • Zenwalk Live version (ZenLive) 7.0 has been released!

        We are happy to announce the highly awaited Zenwalk Live 7.0, which will allow more people to try out Zenwalk without having to install it first.

        Zenwalk Live 7.0 is based on the sophisticated Slackware-Live-Scripts, being the first distribution using the brand new and not yet official released version 0.3.3

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon 6, Entropy 1, a new Era is about to come

        It’s been some time since my last blog post, but if you’re a Sabayon user, you may know that I’ve been busy with a lot of stuff lately. Entropy eventually entered the final Beta phase: API documentation is complete, Entropy Services infrastructure has been rewritten from scratch taking advantage from the best communication protocol ever invented: HTTP (and JSON as “data format”), Sulfur eventually got its awaited speed boost (1.0_beta15), packages.sabayon.org has been deployed, www.sabayon.org will follow, Python 2.7 is now the default, same for GCC 4.5, and Entropy in general is as rock solid (and fast) as ever in all its 300.000+ lines of code, millions of line changes, that I’ve been able to work out in 4 years. You know, when you’re 20 you think everything is possible. Well, this time I was right and we can, today, all enjoy the most advanced and crazy package manager ever written by a single human being.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Rancore wins JBoss and Red Hat Innovator Awards
      • Why Choose Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Over VMware or Microsoft?

        Talk to Navin Thadani, Red Hat’s senior director, virtualization, and he’ll tell you that RHEV’s attractions are that it offers high-performance server virtualization, it’s scalable, and it’s very secure. And, perhaps most importantly, it offers “solid economics for customers.” What does that mean? It’s less expensive than Hyper-V and VMware, in other words.

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) doesn’t seem to sell RHEV based on the features it offers, and that’s probably because it lacks a few key ones. Despite Thadani promising as long ago as February 2010 that “you will be able to do an apples-for-apples feature comparison between us and VMware,” RHEV is still quite a few pieces of fruit short of a full picnic basket vis a vis VMware.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project at LinuxTag 2011

        The Debian Project is happy to announce that it will be again represented at the LinuxTag event in Berlin, Germany, this year. At the booth members of the project will be available for questions and discussions.

        The Debian booth will be at Hall 7.2b stand 118c. We invites users, developers and everyone else interested to visit it and ask questions, discuss technical issues and meet the Debian project and its developers in person.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Weekly News Revival
          • Riding the Narwhal: Ars reviews Unity in Ubuntu 11.04

            Ubuntu 11.04, codenamed Natty Narwhal, rose from the depths last week. The update brings a number of significant new features to the Linux-based operating system. It includes a much-improved refresh of the Unity shell and a number of other significant improvements throughout the application stack.

            This is the first version of Ubuntu to ship with Unity on the desktop. Due to the far-reaching nature of the changes that accompany the transition to a new desktop shell, this review will focus almost entirely on Unity and how it impacts the Ubuntu user experience. We will also look at how Unity compares with GNOME 3.0 and the classic GNOME experience.

          • Nouveau Gallium3D, LLVMpipe In Ubuntu 11.10?

            - Nouveau Gallium3D will finally be enabled by default, hopefully. For the past few releases it’s been optional in the package repository, but now it’s finally ready to enter the limelight. Why? Largely because upstream Nouveau developers are willing to look at Gallium3D bug reports, according to Canonical. There’s still some concerns by the Ubuntu X developers over the state of the OpenGL driver, but following my comments — and noting that the Nouveau support can be like a game of Russian Roulette depending upon the kernels — they’ll still likely move forward. In enabling this open-source NVIDIA driver, users could then use the new Unity (3D) desktop without the NVIDIA binary driver. The enabling will likely occur soon for Oneiric but if there’s too much fall-out around the time of Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 3, the feature could be reverted.

          • [UDS Updates] Evolution For Now, But Thunderbird Will be Default if Proper Desktop Integration Can be Done in Time
          • Ubuntu 11.10 To Switch From GDM To LightDM

            Earlier, during the Natty development cycle we reported that LightDM is being considered as a replacement for GDM. That did not happen for Ubuntu 11.04, but today it has been confirmed at the Ubuntu Developer Summit at Budapest that LightDM is finally replacing GDM.

          • Lubuntu 11.04 review – If it’s good enough for Mark Shuttleworth…

            This lightweight distro could be the perfect match for your netbook or for that old computer you’ve refurbished. Find out why Mark Shuttleworth has seen fit to welcome Lubuntu into the official Ubuntu family…

            Pros: Lubuntu 11.04 is a mature Ubuntu derivative featuring the LXDE desktop environment and lightweight applications
            Cons: Some software choices are odd, and Lubuntu lacks the Ubuntu Software Center. i586 processors aren’t supported any more
            Homepage: Lubuntu.net

          • LightDM, or: an examination of a misunderstanding of the problem

            LightDM’s a from-scratch implementation of an X display manager, ie the piece of software that handles remote X connections, starts any local X servers, provides a login screen and kicks off the initial user session. It’s split into a nominally desktop-agnostic core (built directly on xcb and glib) and greeters, the idea being that it’s straightforward to implement an environment-specific greeter that integrates nicely with your desktop session. It’s about 6500 lines of code in the core, 3500 lines of code in the gtk bindings to the core and about 1000 in the sample gtk greeter, for a total of about 11,000 lines of code for a full implementation. This compares to getting on for 60,000 in gdm. Ubuntu plan to switch to LightDM in their next release (11.10).

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • GNU Radio – Opensource Software Defined Radio (SDR)

    GNU Radio is an open source Software Defined Radio (SDR) project that was started about ten years ago by Eric Blossom, an electrical engineer. The main idea which is behind this project, as its founder says, was to turn all the hardware problems into software problems, that is move the complexity of a radio equipment from the hardware level to the software one, and get the software as close to the antenna as possible.

  • What Do Your Processes Say About Your Free Software Project?

    In an effort to broaden my horizons beyond writing code, I’ve been reading a lot of business books lately. Coming from a mostly Free Software background, it’s been an enlightening experience1. One thing sticks out the most: Processes matter, and they matter more than I ever thought.

    It’s common for me to contribute to random projects. Launchpad and Github and the like make it easy (can we get a Launchpad version of this shirt2?). However, I’m not likely to contribute to a project that has a HACKING document longer than any source file in the entire tree. If it takes me longer to figure out how to send a patch than it takes to write the patch, there might be some problems.

  • Open source designer Ian ‘Izo’ Cylkowski talks tools, design tips and talent

    If the name sounds familiar then it should. Ian is an active designer within the open source community – for example, he created the logo for the semantic app launch tool ‘Synapse’ and has been working with the Novacut team on creating a brand identity for the project.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Angry Birds for Chrome Browser

        Just noticed that Angry Birds is now online at http://chrome.angrybirds.com
        Plays pretty well in Chromium Browser. Takes a tad longer to load in Firefox. Most people seem to be able to play the game. Some though appear to have some graphic issues. I’m using the fglrx driver along with Flash 10.3 RC without issue. Check it out if you need a little time waster. *Warning* Game can be addictive. Level 20 here I come!!!

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla: It Has a Spinal Cord

        I know I’m a little late with this news, but that’s because I was kind of busy earlier in the week. Anyway, the news (Nate Anderson, Ars Technica) is that the US government (specifically, the Department of Homeland Security) tried to force Mozilla to remove an add-on for Firefox called MAFIAAFire. The DHS a few months ago seized tens of thousands of website domains without a warrant and without due process; only a few (countable on two hands) of those were truly harmful in any way, while the vast majority of those sites were perfectly legal. MAFIAAFire, whose name jabs at the RIAA and MPAA (frequently referred to as the “MAFIAA” in technology circles), essentially redirects searches for the old domains to the new domains where the content is now hosted. The DHS claims that such redirection violates the orders regarding the original seizures.

      • Mozilla Halts Updates For Firefox 3.5

        Mozilla is currently preparing to phase out Firefox 3.5 and said that it will not release further major updates for the browser version.

  • Project Releases

    • Review: Boxee Box firmware v1.1 arrives

      Boxee released the second major update to the D-Link Boxee Box’s firmware today. The new v1.1 release adds a variety of content channels for both movies and shows, enhances the device’s browser functionality, improves the consistency of its user interface, and squashes numerous bugs.

      The new firmware (numbered will be pushed out to users’ Boxee Boxes gradually over the next 48 hours, according to Boxee VP of marketing Andrew Kippen. While there will be numerous mostly unseen fixes, changes, and enhancements under the hood, here’s a run-down of the more noticeable improvements…


Clip of the Day

Trisquel GNU/Linux 4.5……….Cry Freedom..

Credit: TinyOgg

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