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05.17.11

Links 17/5/2011: More GNOME 3 Mockups, Groklaw Interviews

Posted in News Roundup at 8:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop OS revenue and growth outpace servers

    The fastest real growth in operating sales in 2010 came not from Apple, but from Red Hat.

  • 5 Truly Bizarre But Handy Uses of Linux

    Linux is everywhere. From desktops to laptops, from tablets to mobiles, and from servers to garden sprinklers. Wait! Garden what? Yes, that’s right fellas, Linux-powered garden sprinklers do exist. Being a very customizable and open operating system, Linux has found itself being used in places even Linus Torvalds had never expected. Here are five such bizarre uses of the world’s most trusted operating system.

  • Boot Linux In Your Browser
  • Open-source software, Linux to save Santos $2.5m

    AUSTRALIAN oil and gas exploration company Santos has switched on a critical IT upgrade set to save more than $2.5 million by using open-source software and Linux-based systems.

    A consolidation of hardware and software will see the company reduce its power consumption by 300,000KW hours a year.

  • Desktop

    • My new Ubuntu-flavoured ThinkPad is computing heaven

      This week, I finally got my new Lenovo ThinkPad X220, the latest and skinniest in the Lenovo X-series of fast, skinny, rugged, all-black, no-nonsense machines. This – my third X-series ThinkPad – is shaping up to be everything I expected from the line and more: it is slim, 2.5cm (1in), configured with its smallest battery and very light – 1.5kg (3lbs 4oz) or so; size up to the biggest battery and you get eight or nine hours of work at a mere 1.8kg; snap on the “Slice” battery, which snugly fits underneath the machine, fattening it up to 4cm, and the weight goes to 2.5 kg – but the Slice delivers about 24 hours of continuous operation without plugging in.

      I haven’t yet taken the machine on the road, but 24 hours’ worth of battery means that I’ll be able to leave my mains adapter at home for the next all-day conference or travel day, which saves weight overall. It’s got a 64-bit, 2.7GHz Sandy Bridge processor, 8GB of RAM, and I’m about to slap in a 600GB Intel solid-state drive that’ll increase its speed and battery life even more.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • LMDE – the Xfce variety

      LMDE stands for Linux Mint Debian Edition. Xfce, at one time, stood for the XForms Common Environment because the early editions of Xfce used XForms to create a common desktop environment.

      The Xfce project originally began around the same time as another desktop environment project, KDE, around 1996. Xfce, in its early implementation, was similar to CDE, the Common Desktop Environment that was prevalent on UNIX workstations in the mid to late nineties. CDE was pretty ugly, and so were the early implementations of Xfce, but arguably Xfce worked better than CDE ever did, and Xfce became portable to a lot more systems.

    • GTK/GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Reviews: First impressions of Slackware Linux 13.37

      It has been often said that if a person wants to learn about Red Hat they should install Red Hat, but if one wants to learn Linux they should install Slackware. I think there’s some truth to that, partly because Slackware largely avoids distro-specific tools and configurations, but also because it forces the users to educate themselves. One certainly can learn the nuts and bolts of Linux through Ubuntu, Fedora or openSUSE, but where those distributions provide a lot of hand holding, Slackware patiently sits to the side with its arms folded. As a teaching aid Slackware is hard to beat as it’s stable, has a clean implementation and encourages user involvement while offering sane defaults. Slackware will also be appealing to people who want their computer to do what they tell it to, no more, no less. I wouldn’t recommend it to users who aren’t interested in what’s going on “under the hood”; it’s a distro for expert users or for people who wish to become expert users. Whether you like Slackware will depend a lot on what you’re looking for in an operating system, but I’m happy to report 13.37 continues the project’s tradition of stable, clean computing.

    • Puppy Linux: Top Dog of the Lightweight Distros

      How can you run a full range of current applications on older computers, netbooks, thin clients, and mobile devices? One way is to install a lightweight Linux like Puppy, Lubuntu, or Vector Light. Select the distro with the apps that meets your needs while matching your computer’s resources.

      Puppy is worthy of your attention because it’s pushed its way into Distrowatch’s top ten most popular operating systems by merit alone. It doesn’t have a corporate sponsor or advertising budget. This article describes Puppy. Screenshots follow the article.

    • Slackware: Remember your roots

      Jack Wallen revisits a Linux distribution he hadn’t touched in years, only to find himself pleasantly surprised. Do you have what it takes to install and administer a Slackware Linux distribution and get back in touch with your roots?

    • 9 Slackware Based Live Distributions
    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia abroad

        We showed the name “Mageia”. The visitors who came by were informed by our people at the booth and the text of a large poster. Questions were not so much about the technical side but rather in the area of who we are, what we are and (and not least) why we are. This was an initial introduction to the Germans and it was received nicely by those who asked. Something the German Mageia community can build upon during the time and the events to come.

        [...]

        A visitor came to our partner (MandrivaUser.de) with whom we shared the booth. He was presented with the current Beta of Mandriva 2011 and then he asked our helpers about their opinion about the new menu style. They expressed their rather negative opinion, then the visitor presented his business card – he was a representative of RosaLabs, the company who invented this new menu style! :)

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Does Net Mean Inter? Or Not?

          Any differences between Fedora 13 and Fedora 14? To be honest, I have not noticed much from my nodding acquittance.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal – Reactions from Users

            Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal is probably *the* most controversial Ubuntu release to date. Tech Drive-in reviewed Ubuntu 11.04 few weeks ago and we felt that, even after accounting its share of bugs and rough edges, Natty Narwhal is not as bad a release as you think it is. But one thing is sure, a lot of genuine hard core Ubuntu users absolutely hate the latest Ubuntu release. Here are some of the responses we received from our readers through our feedback forms and comments on brand new Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.

          • Why Unity made me fall out of love with Ubuntu

            I’m falling out of love with Ubuntu, which is strange because it’s as good as it’s ever been. And no, this isn’t one of those blogs. I’m not going to proclaim that it’s now too mainstream, or soulless or any other such tosh. It’s not. In fact, it’s very brilliant in many of the ways that matter, just not the one that matters to me. It’s simply not the Ubuntu I’d hoped it would become.

          • Why I’m a bit disappointed with Canonical (One week later)

            So, I’ve had a couple of days to think about what I’ve said, talk it over with some folks and really work through some of the practical issues with maintaining a high standard in the community.

          • Plans for Oneiric: Playing with Brains

            While I was at LGM I got into an interesting discussion about communities and how much they are like biological organisms. When the organism is doing well and all the parts are working on their own little jobs, the rest of the organism doesn’t have to pay much attention. But if something goes wrong then all sorts of attention is paid to the damage/infection.

          • 6 Important Changes in Next Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

            It’s time for another important Ubuntu release cycle. The upcoming Ubuntu 11.10 codenamed Oneiric Ocelot won’t be bombarded with the kind of sweeping changes that its predecessor had to deal with. But in terms of the importance, Oneiric Ocelot might be an even bigger release. A quick peek into the important changes for upcoming Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

          • The Case Of LibreOffice And CD Space Restriction At UDS-O
          • Explaining UDS Sponsorship

            At UDS last week I took an action to write up a quick blog post that explains how UDS sponsorship works. This discussion was born out of the view that some people feel a little bent out of shape when they don’t get approved for UDS sponsorship. This is a common reaction at every UDS, but it really shouldn’t be. Firstly, UDS sponsorship is not an entitlement…there is no rule that says “if you are a great Ubuntu contributor then you get sponsored to UDS“, and likewise there is no rule that says “if you are a bad Ubuntu contributor (if such a thing exists) then you don’t get sponsored to UDS“.

          • Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric Roundup

            This year’s Ubuntu Developer Summit was held at Budapest in Hungary. There were a lot of interesting developments regarding Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot” which is scheduled for release in October 2011. In this article, we list the most important news from the Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Pinguy OS 11.04 Is Based on Ubuntu 11.04, Without Unity
            • The Perfect Desktop – Kubuntu 11.04
            • elementary OS 0.1 Jupiter – Unremarkable

              elementary OS has exactly the same problem like most Ubuntu forks. It aims for unique and special, without taking in regard the more important facets of usability and simplicity. You can be unique in any number of ways, but the computer usage is limited to humans staring at their screen, so you best make the smoothest and most pleasant experience of that.

              Then, minimalism really hampers the overall use. Taking away from a distro that is already fairly optimized for general use creates huge problems in the long run, which cannot be offset by any number of tweaks or even applications. People have their basic, universal needs; icons, colors, wallpapers are secondary. The tradeoff is just not right. And lastly, people do not want to spend time administering their boxes.

            • Bodhi Linux Desktop of the Week Contest

              Many computer users enjoy customizing their desktop to perfection. Personally I have spent hours playing with different icon sets, GTK themes, Enlightenment themes and E17 gadgets. Something most people like to do almost as much as tweaking their desktop is sharing those sexy screen shots with the world!

              Enlightenment is so customizable we like to encourage this tweaking and sharing among Bodhi users. Seeing what other people have done with their desktop often gives new users ideas for their own. With this in mind, we have started running the Bodhi Linux “Desktop of the Week” contest. Each week in the news section of the Bodhi forums there is a thread started to let users vote on their favorite of five different desktops (new voting starts on Tuesdays).

            • How I found Enlightenment

              If you know anything about my past — no, that’s not me on the Post Office walls across the country . . . honest — you’ll know that I was a resident at the San Francisco Zen Center in the early to mid ’90s where, among other things, I was trying to find enlightenment.

              So I’m familiar with the Bodhi tree and with Bodhidharma. Good thing, too, because when trying Bodhi Linux, those leaves from the tree swirling around the screen could be a little disconcerting.

            • Quelitu Linux

              This is based on Lubuntu — Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop environment — so that it can be used on older computers.

            • Ubuntu Studio, Unity and XFCE4

              This seems a reasonable approach to me. XFCE4 has a lot of differences from GNOME but it is pretty simple. It also has the benefits of being well-supported and mature. This is a more sure option than hoping for a fork of GNOME 2.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Now, a technology-laden Robot that does all the household work

      She has her own Linux-based operating system called Luna OS. So anybody, especially the throng of app developers for tablets and smartphones, can easily write an app for her.

    • SmartBoards and GNU/Linux

      I prefer just using a projector with Gromit (permits writing in several colours and erasing using mouse) so this technology would be a change for me. Perhaps I don’t need the “extras”.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android notes

          It was bad idea to change the hostname. sl4a mysteriously stopped working. sl4a is now single most important application on my android, because I use it to launch … shells into debian chroot. So now I’m stuck looking at “localhost”.

        • Vodaphone Loves Android

          Vodaphone is a huge global mobile ISP. They are first or second ranked in market share in revenue or units sold. … Vodaphone has 130 million subscribers in India alone and 341 million globally. … They are going to have a house-brand smartphone running Android/Linux. For 90Euros it will sell well. … That means a huge increase in usage for Android/Linux over the next couple of years

        • Android and Ubuntu –Everything

          What u need?
          1.Android emulator for Linux from their site
          2.Eclipse with java for Linux which is free
          3.U should have jdk(java dev kit) installed in your computer
          and some space for your workspace…..
          Emulator is used in order to emulate the actual android phone. It helps in running programs before we run it in actual phone. In here I only asaid about the emulator. I included the picture so always look at the screen shots…

        • Blake Krikorian’s Next Act Is Live: $99 Home Automation App For Android

          Since he left EchoStar (NSDQ: SATS), Slingbox inventor Blake Krikorian has been working on a home automation app, meshing his experiments with renovations on his own Bay Area home. After seven months in full beta, the first public result is live now in the Android Market. The $99 R2 Control for Crestron—yes, you read that right—literally turns most Android smartphones and tables in a fully-functional touch panel for the automation systems company. With it, residential and commercial users can manage nearly every Crestron system on the scene or remotely.

          During a stay at Krikorian’s home late last year, I had a chance to use the Android app in progress and to watch him manage entertainment, lighting, security systems and more inside and out from smartphones and tablets. It wasn’t exactly as mind boggling as the first time I saw a Slingbox at work—home automation isn’t new and neither are home automation or building control apps—but the potential for a program that was usable, powerful and flexible was intriguing. Crestron already supports versions for iOS, MacOS and Windows; this is the first for Android.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Interview: PJ on the beginning, ending, and future of Groklaw

    I’ll still be working on it, just not doing articles. I want to finish the Comes v. Microsoft exhibit collection and fix some other loose strings, so the work stands the test of time and is truly useful to historians and lawyers.

    I can’t do that and write articles every day. And I have a number of personal and other work projects that I shoved to the back burner in order to do Groklaw, and now that the emergency for Linux is handled, it’s time to prioritize in a more normal way. We won, the emergency is over, and I get to relax a bit now.

    So that is part of it. But the most important consideration was this: I was born to write Groklaw, about SCO and the Linux kernel and copyright litigation. But the battlefield now has shifted to mobiles and patents. I thought seriously about that, and I recognized that I am not the right person to take the lead on that. I always hated patent law, and nothing I’ve seen in the last 8 years has altered my feelings. I hate software patents with a passion, I think they are destroying innovation in the US, and that they particularly threaten FOSS, the open development model being opposed to patents. I think software and patents need to get a divorce.

    I consider that a serious enough matter that I thought modesty needed to inform me to stop, that others could fill the role and would if I did. Then when I announced I would stop, I was flooded with requests to find someone to continue, and I realized the community was right. It was irresponsible if I didn’t try to maintain the community, their skills, in one place. And happily, we found someone. I think Groklaw will end up more important than it’s been, actually, because Mark Webbink is lawyer, a FOSS lawyer, and a law professor. With him taking the lead, and his law students –and we hope eventually others at other law schools–joining the community, it can grow in the direction that is needed now. They can explain the law, and the community at Groklaw can help them understand the tech. It’s what Groklaw is for, what I dreamed it should be–a place where the two communities can teach each other, so they can together hopefully help judges to understand the tech so they can reach better decisions, ones based on technical realities. So this is organic, part of what Groklaw is supposed to be, just the next step.

    Part of Groklaw’s success was realizing that we could contribute just as we are, without trying to be more than we were. But that means also remaining modest and aware of what we were not qualified to do. I always said the only legal advice I ever give is, Ask your lawyer. Well, now Groklaw is going to follow that advice and get a lawyer. It’s a natural progression. And it’s the right time, given Microsoft’s rather obvious strategy of using patents against GNU/Linux.

  • Groklaw – “The blog that made a difference”

    Groklaw began life in 2003 as the personal blog of Pamela Jones, better known as PJ. “At the start, I was just trying to learn how to use blogging software,” she has said. “I was startled to learn anyone was reading what I wrote… I started covering the McDonald’s ‘I’m fat and it’s your fault’ litigation and Martha Stewart and just whatever was in the news, just to have something to write about as I learned how blogging worked.”

    The emergence of Groklaw coincided with The SCO Group’s decision to take legal action against IBM and the Linux community. PJ’s first article on the case, “SCO Falls Downstairs, Hitting its Head on Every Step”, appeared in May 2003.

  • Survey: 56% expect that more than half of all software spend over next 5 years will be open source

    More than half of all software purchases made over the next five years will be open source, according to half of all respondents in a significant survey released today.

    Although 95 percent of the same survey’s 450 respondents believe that the “turbulent “ economy is good for open source software, avoiding vendor lock-in has supplanted lowered software cost as the chief reason for open source adoption.

    These findings, included in the fifth annual Future of Open Source survey, conducted by North Bridge Venture Partners (NBVP) and 451Group, were made public today at the Open Source Business Conference. The venture capital firm invests in many open source firms including Acquia, which is highlighted in the report and at the conference.

    The overall finding: open source has gone mainstream and is in high growth mode.

    Lower software costs are still important (No. 2 on the list) but customers increasingly value open source because it protects them from traditional vendor lock-in (Oracle, for example) as well as emerging proprietary cloud providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft Azure.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 races further ahead of IE9

        Mozilla may still be weeks away from automatically upgrading users of its aging Firefox 3.5 browser, but even without the benefit of those additional users its latest browser version continues to blast past Microsoft’s competing Internet Explorer 9 in usage.

        In fact, early this month Firefox 4′s usage began to show a sharp increase while IE9 continued on a much more gradual climb, Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler pointed out on Sunday.

      • Firefox 6 Gets URL Bar Upgrade

        The most recent Nightlies of Firefox 6 are first out of the gate with an update for the UI.

      • Mozilla Plans End to Firefox 3.5 With Firefox 5 Beta on Horizon

        Mozilla is sticking to its new fast-track development cycle, with plans to release a beta version of Firefox 5 on Tuesday, May 17.

        Meanwhile, the company is also working on phasing out Firefox 3.5.

        Firefox 5 is currently in Mozilla’s Aurora channel, but will move to beta tomorrow. Aurora is a recently created channel that now comes between nightly builds and beta in order to “deliver features to users at various levels of quality and polish,” Mozilla said last month.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice clarifies version numbering

      The LibreOffice developers at the Document Foundation have, for the last time, published an announcement on their main mailing list of a new beta version of LibreOffice. In future, beta releases and release candidates will only be announced on developer mailing lists and the announcements mailing list will only carry news of final and stable versions.

  • Licensing

    • What is the Top Open Source License?

      Open source software is defined by the open source licenses under which applications and code are made available. Have you ever wondered what the most popular open source licenses in use today are?

      A new study from enterprise open source service provider OpenLogic, released today at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) reveals that the answer to what is the top open source license depends on how the question is asked.

      When looked at from the perspective of total projects and the code under which they are licensed, 68.9 percent of open source software packages use the GPL. The Apache software license comes in second at 7.6 percent.

      Adjusting the question to look at the top open source projects by download and what licenses they use, present a different view of the data. According to OpenLogic, measured by downloads the top open source license is the Apache License at 32.7 percent. The LGPL came in second at 21.0 percent and GPL is third at 14.4 percent.

    • Is the Affero GPL unfriendly to hobbyists?

      A few days ago I wrote about GNU MediaGoblin, a project that looks to provide a federated media sharing solution so users can take control of their media and still share with friends. But the licensing for GNU MediaGoblin, the Affero GPLv3 (AGPLv3) seemed to irk a few commenters? Is the AGPL’s “one additional feature” too much for hobbyists?

      The difference between the AGPL and traditional GPL is simple: The AGPL seeks to close a “loophole” that allows a company or organization to modify GPL’ed software and use it to provide a service — but without actually distributing changes. So a company can take a package like, say, WordPress and modify the software significantly to sell a service — but hold back changes because it’s not technically “distributing” or “propagating” the software. The AGPL goes a bit further and says that if the program is “intended to interact with users through a computer network” and if the version that you received gives users “the opportunity to request transmission to that user of the Program’s complete source code,” you have to maintain that functionality and distribute the modified version.

Leftovers

Clip of the Day

Nexuiz, I still play it.


Credit: TinyOgg

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2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Gravatar

    Correction: FCC -> FTC

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    That part was contributed by a reader. I’ll fix it.

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