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05.24.11

Links 24/5/2011: Fedora 15 Reviews, CLAs Discussed

Posted in News Roundup at 8:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Linux: Hardware that aims to break the final frontier

      I happened to chance upon a post which spoke about Desktop Linux being the final frontier for Linux as it has already conquered the server market. To break the barrier vendors need to bundle Linux or its derivatives with their hardware. It seems Ubuntu has now made them think along those lines and Ubuntu preloaded PC’s have started to trickle in. Lets have a look at some of them.

  • Kernel Space

    • The DRM Pull For The Gardenshed (Linux 3.0) Kernel

      While it’s not known yet what the next Linux kernel will be called, right now it’s looking like the next release could be the Linux 3.0 kernel. With that said, David Airlie has a pull request to go in before the merge window closes for the Linux 2.6.40/3.0 kernel. He’s sent in the DRM pull request for this next kernel as the Gardenshed-rc1 kernel.

      This pull request brings initial support for Intel Ivy Bridge (the next-generation 22nm successor to Sandy Bridge that’s launching before year’s end) and “hopeful” RC6 support. This Intel code is also working better for me with Sandy Bridge support overall after the last-minute SNB fallout in the Linux 2.6.39 kernel pertaining to semaphores.

    • Linux 3.0 Kernel May Remove Some Old Cruft

      The discussion surrounding Linus Torvalds’ proposal to end the Linux 2.6 kernel series and continue on as the Linux 3.0 kernel has continued on since it began less than 24 hours ago. The reaction has largely been positive and supportive of this proposed change. Of the few objections, some see no reason to mess around with the versioning, but now there may be a reason for this change: to drop the old cruft that’s been living in the kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Ubuntu Unity, GNOME 3: The Video Driver March of Folly

        In all the articles this past month about GNOME 3 and Ubuntu’s Unity, video drivers have received only passing mention. Yet video drivers (or their lack) could not only determine each desktop’s success, but also be the area where each has the most influence on Linux and free and open source software (FOSS).

        Specifically, I’m referring to the fact that drivers with 3-D hardware acceleration are required by both GNOME 3 and Unity. Whether each development team decided on this requirement separately, or whether one decided that it must match the other in sophistication, will probably never be known. But the fact remains that two of the leading desktops now require what, for FOSS, is advanced — at times, even bleeding edge — technology.

      • How GNOME 3 is besting Ubuntu Unity

        Jack Wallen was jonsing for GNOME 3 and discovered the best route to this new desktop was Fedora 15 beta. Can you image how surprised Jack was to find out that GNOME 3 blows away Ubuntu Unity? Read on to find out more.

        In lieu of the release of Ubuntu 11.04 and the default Unity desktop, it seems GNOME 3 (aka GNOME Shell) has fallen out of the spotlight. Most GNOME-based distributions have been sticking with classic GNOME and, well, there’s Ubuntu. And since GNOME 3 doesn’t play well at all with Ubuntu 11.04, it’s in a bit of a situation. Unless you’re willing to give Fedora 15 beta a go.

        I decided I needed to do just that, since I am ever so quickly becoming disillusioned by Unity. Believe me, I wanted to like Unity — and I did, at first. It seemed very slick, efficient, and just what the stale desktop needed. But then, after a few weeks of use, I realized there were many annoyances. It was time for something completely different, and that something was GNOME 3.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • 23 May 2011: GParted 0.8.1

        This release of GParted further improves motherboard BIOS RAID support and includes bug fixes, and language translation updates.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • No party for you. Tradition cancelled.

          As heart-breaking as it is to cancel a years old tradition (we started the tradition of gathering the community for a face-to face meeting in the very release day with Fedora 8 and continued it release after release, no matter what), this time there will be no Fedora 15 release party in Bucharest.

        • Fedora 15

          Here’s the announcement from Fedora Project Leader, Jared Smith.
          Several new features are available, many which I am excited about.

        • Announcing the release of Fedora 15 (Lovelock)

          Fedora is a leading edge, free and open source operating system that continues to deliver innovative features to many users, with a new release about every six months. We bring to you the latest and greatest release of Fedora ever, Fedora 15! Join us and share the joy of Free software and the community with friends and family. We have several major new features with special focus on desktops, developers, virtualization, security and system administration.

        • Announcing the release of Fedora 15 (Lovelock)
        • Fedora 15 Lovelock Linux Debuts GNOME 3

          Fedora Linux 15 is now available, providing users on the desktop with a full GNOME 3 experience including the GNOME Shell user interface.

          Fedora 15, codenamed ‘Lovelock’ also introduces new security, spin, networking and virtualization features to the community Linux project, sponsored by Red Hat.

          “GNOME Shell is a big change and I’d be doing people a disservice if I didn’t say that GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell is a fairly radical departure from the GNOME 2 experience,” Jared Smith, Fedora Project Leader told InternetNews.com. “That being said, a lot of people find the change refreshing.”

          [...]

          “Personally, I have found GNOME 3 to be quite usable,” Smith said.

        • Fedora 15 Released, Has GNOME 3, New Search Tool

          The Fedora Project proudly announced a few minutes ago (May 24th) the immediate availability for download of the final and stable version of the highly anticipated Fedora 15 operating system.

        • Fedora 15 Screenshots
    • Debian Family

      • The Evolution of the Personal Package Archive system

        When the Personal Package Archive (PPA) system was brought out of beta in November 2007, it was heralded as a game changer for Free Software developers within the Ubuntu community and beyond.

        The PPA system was designed to make it easier for developers to get their software packaged and available to users for testing, thereby speeding up project development and delivering higher quality software.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Is the Linux Uber-Geek “Administrator” Alive and Kicking?

            Indeed, Linux is marching forward as the core platform driving solutions such as Chrome OS and Android that impose none of the historical administrative hurdles on users that some Linux distros used to impose. Graphical environments for interacting with Linux, ranging from GNOME to Unity, are reaching millions of users. For many “Linux users,” Linux–in the old “administration required” sense– doesn’t enter the equation anymore.

          • Has Canonical Convinced Linux Users to Pay for Applications?

            The Linux crowd has a reputation as a group that doesn’t like paying for things. That stereotype may or may not be fair, but either way, it hasn’t stopped Canonical from introducing more than a dozen for-purchase software packages to Ubuntu Desktop users over the last 10 months. Here’s a look at what the company has done, and what it says about end users in the open source channel.

            It might be hard to believe, now that the Software Center has assumed such a central role in Ubuntu for adding, removing and maintaining software applications, that back in the day — until 2009, to be exact — the Software Center didn’t exist at all.

          • Google Movies Blocked on Modified Versions of Android

            Google has decided to block the access to Google Movies for all devices running on any unofficial versions of the Android operating system, modified through the process known as Android root.

            This type of intervention provides users with administrative rights on the operating system installed on the phone, thus removing all the restrictions which protected the Android platform against any unauthorized interferences on system’s components.

          • Come for the Price, stay for the Freedom?

            It’s time for impossible to prove conjecture Tuesday! Today I’ll be looking at freedom and price. Those two great pillars of our movement from barbaric propriety and gouging monopolies into a bright future of open sharing and low-low prices.

            I read about the Future of Open Source Survey and according to it’s findings most respondents value ‘open source’ and will be deploying it. But more intriguingly this time around instead of valuing ‘open source’ for costs reasons, the value is more firmly placed in Freedom.

            [...]

            Once you’re using an open source platform, of course it’s much easier to calculate the benefits of investing in the improvement of the code (hiring/contracting developers) against simply buying a replacement off the shelf product. This is what makes advocating FOSS so interesting, you never know if the person you’re convincing to use Ubuntu will turn around and spend money on helping it grow later.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Kubuntu 11.04 Review

              Here is a look at everything that is offered with the stunning new release of Kubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. With the Stability of Ubuntu and the powerful KDE software selection, this distribution is ideal for desktops and laptops. Try downloading the Plasma netbook or Plasma desktop editions for a workspace that will suit your every need. The latest version of the KDE desktop offers many features and improvements that make everyday tasks faster and easier to complete. Kubuntu has been among my favorite distributions for quite some time now, and this release definitely ranks near the top.

              [...]

              the awesome KDE software selection ensure that Kubuntu is always a worthy download.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • New mobile Web Google Maps highlights sorry state of native iOS app

        Google released an update to the mobile Web version of Google Maps on Friday, adding many features previously included in the native app—well, the Android app, anyway. The added features bring Web Maps up to par with the native app Android users have had for some time, though the Web app is less slick on Android in comparison to the native app. The mobile Web version also makes many features available to iOS users that never made it to the native app, such as bicycling route overlays and directions.

      • Android

        • Where the real Android GPL violations are

          Recent comments about Android’s alleged violations of the GPL have been proven to be little more than smoke and mirrors, according to Free Software advocate Bradley M. Kuhn, but there are instances of Android GPL violations out there, Kuhn writes.

          This all started on May 11, when I posted an article that dove into the meaning of the Android operating system’s Apache Software License (ASL). That’s operating system, not the Android kernel. This was promoted by a May 9 statement from Google that the source code for the current version of Android, Honeycomb, will not be released until the next version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, is released.

          In my article I walked through how the ASL not only doesn’t specify when source code must be released but also how the ASL, which is a permissive, non-copyleft license, doesn’t even require source code to be released at all.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Zanby Collaboration Software Goes Open Source

    Zanby, a Minneapolis-based maker of online community software, recently announced at the Open Gov West conference in Portland, Ore. that it is going open-source. The company released the code for its enterprise groupware under a GPL3 license and launched a community to encourage software developers to build new projects and help improve the Zanby codebase.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 5 beta arrives for desktop and Android

        Mozilla has announced the availability of the first Firefox 5 beta release for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Android. The new desktop version includes a built-in release channel switcher and support for CSS animations. The new mobile version introduces support for the Do Not Track header and a number of other improvements.

        Mozilla is transitioning to a faster-paced development model with shorter cycles between major releases. The organization is aiming to deliver three more major updates this year, bringing the Firefox version number to 7 by the end of 2011. To accommodate the more iterative release management strategy, Mozilla has established a system of release “channels” through which new improvements will flow before arriving in a stable release. It’s similar to the approach already used successfully by Google for its Chrome Web browser.

  • SaaS

  • Databases

  • CLA

    • OpenOffice.org and contributor agreements

      As part of an interview in LWN, Mark Shuttleworth is quoted as wanting the community to view the use of contribution licensing agreements (CLAs) as a necessary prerequisite for open source growth and the refusal by others to donate their work under them as a barrier to commercial success. He implies that the use of a CLA by Sun for OpenOffice.org was a good thing. Mark is also quoted accusing The Document Foundation (TDF) of somehow destroying OpenOffice.org (OO.o) because of its decision to fork rather than contribute changes upstream under the CLA. But I’d suggest a different view of both matters.

    • Mark Shuttleworth on companies and free software

      I had the opportunity to sit down with Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, for an wide-ranging, hour-long conversation while at Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) in Budapest. In his opening talk, Shuttleworth said that he wanted to “make the case” for contributor agreements, which is something he had not been successful in doing previously. In order to do that, he outlined a rather different vision than he has described before of how to increase Linux and free software adoption, particularly on the desktop, in order to reach his goal of 200 million Ubuntu users in the next four years. While some readers may not agree with various parts of that vision, it is definitely worth understanding Shuttleworth’s thinking here.

    • A CLA By Any Other Name

      Some projects, like the GNU projects run by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), in some instances require an assignment of code submissions if they are to be included in the project. [See, Contributing to GCC as an example. There the FSF asks that contributors either assign their copyright or disclaim it (put the code in the public domain). In neither case does the contributor retain any rights under copyright in their contribution. Such an approach likely works for the FSF because they have been a trusted partner in assuring code stays free.

  • Business

  • Funding

  • Public Services/Government

    • U.S. Department of Defense Details Open Source Lessons Learned

      U.S. Department of Defense has published a report with lessons learned on the use of open technologies: “The 68-page report has the goal of helping the U.S. government to implement what they refer to as open technology development (OTD) for government software projects.

Leftovers

  • Canadian Broadcasters and BDUs: Can They Compete With “Free”?

    Earlier this month, Bell and Quebecor, two giants in the Canadian broadcasting and telecom landscape, became embroiled in a dispute over Sun News Network, the recently launched all-news network. At first glance, the dispute appeared to be little more than a typical commercial fight over how much Bell should pay to Quebecor to carry the Sun News Network on its satellite television package. When the parties were unable to reach agreement, Bell removed Sun News Network, leaving a placeholder message indicating “the channel has been taken down at the request of the owners of Sun News Network.”

    While the dispute is now before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission – Quebecor claims Bell is violating the legal requirement against “undue preferences”- more interesting is Bell’s claim about the value of Sun News Network signal.

    According to Mirko Bibic, senior vice-president of regulatory affairs at Bell Canada, the market value of Sun News Network is zero because Quebecor makes the signal available free over-the-air in Toronto and is currently streaming it free on the Internet. Given the free access, Bell maintains that the signal no longer has a market value.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • GPs will be paid extra to tell patients they are fat

      From next year, GPs will receive a payment for every obese patient they advise to lose weight – on top of money for keeping lists of those who weigh too much.

      The plans form part of a desperate bid to tackle soaring rates of obesity in Britain, with two out of three adults now classed as overweight or obese.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • 3.2 million records on police database

      Police in Wales hold more personal records than there are people in the country, our figures show.

      Three of the nation’s four police forces hold 3.2 million individual records between them – with hundreds of thousands relating to innocent victims.

      Civil liberties groups called the “vast” scale of the databases “horrifying”. But the figures also show just how many people are touched by crime, from perpetrators to victims to those who call in an offence.

  • Cablegate

    • “WikiSecrets” Julian Assange Full Interview Footage

      The Frontline documentary will include footage of a number of individuals who have a collective, and very dirty personal vendetta, against the organization. These include David Leigh, Adrian Lamo, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Eric Schmitt and Kim Zetter. While the program filmed other sources, such as Vaughan Smith who provided a counter-narrative, these more credible voices have been excluded from the program presented to the US public.

  • Finance

    • Here We Go Again: How to Tell a Bubble When you See One

      Until last Thursday, there was some cause for hope. True, the day before the New York Times had written a piece reporting on the growing prevalence of “acqhire” transactions. That’s where a company (like Facebook) buys a company for millions of dollars, only to promptly shut it down. Why? Because it wants the employees — $500,000 to $1 million per engineer is the current going rate. That’s not quite as high as it was during the Internet Bubble years, but the same companies are doing lots of big-ticket acquisitions as well. Whether or not these transactions pay off in new revenues, the dilution to existing stockholders will be the same.

      And then there are the valuations. Groupon, which sold its first half price pizza coupon only two and a half years ago, turned down a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google only a few months ago. By April, it was said to be valuing itself in the $15 — $20 billion range. But that was a whole month ago, so the number $25 billion is now in the air. And then there’s Facebook. Goldman Sachs, everyone’s pick for most savvy investment bank on the Street, announced an investment round in Facebook in January of this year at an eye-popping $50 billion valuation. Facebook had revenues last year south of $2 billion.

  • Censorship

    • UK government censors YouTube videos

      At the moment it is unclear what types of video are being selected by the government for blocking, however Google provides a website detailing how many requests each country’s government have made for the removal of data.

  • Privacy

    • Newly Proposed U.S. Bill Calls for Warrant to Access Cloud Data

      In a move that could open up a whole new debate on privacy issues surrounding cloud computing, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has introduced a bill in the Senate that would require authorities to get a court-ordered search warrant before gaining access to messages and other data stored on cloud platforms. Currently, access to such data is subject to restrictions set by the 25-year old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The newly proposed bill, dubbed the ECPA Amendments Act, not only requires a search warrant for access to cloud data, but also requires officials to have probably cause to obtain one. This proposed legislation promises to have a big impact on cloud players, including the many open source cloud players.

    • Where is your data?

      I think it’s fair to say that we’re all comfortable with public content being served from public services that anyone can access. I think it’s also fair to say that given the choice, we would all choose low cost public services to store un-sensitive, non-critical or unbound by law and compliance data.

    • School toilet camera plan ‘under review’

      controversial CCTV policy in schools is under review after a meeting held last Friday.

    • Websites risk breaking ‘cookie’ law

      Under the European Commission’s Privacy and Electronic Directive, due to come into force on Wednesday, British firms and organisations with websites based in Britain will have to ask for permission to store and retrieve information on users’ computers – a process done by installing computer code known as a cookie.

      Businesses could face a maximum fine of £500,000 if they fall foul of the regulations. But there is concern that many may not be aware of the changes or what steps they need to take to ensure they do not breach the new regulations.

    • New government ID scheme?
    • Police hand over details of 30,000 people a month for costly ‘customer satisfaction’ surveys

      This story slipped in under the radar recently, but it is important that it gets more exposure. Freedom of Information requests recently revealed that police departments in Britain are routinely paying marketing companies huge fees to carry out ‘customer satisfaction’ surveys. The cost of these surveys is around £1,000,000 per year.

  • Civil Rights

    • Being Concerned With Free Speech Implications Of PROTECT IP Does Not Mean You Think You’re Above The Law

      Wow. In the legacy entertainment industry’s latest “you’re either with us or against us” mentality, it appears that expressing concern about the free speech implications of bills like PROTECT IP means you’re a horrible, horrible person. Both the MPAA and RIAA are quite upset about Eric Schmidt coming out against PROTECT IP and saying that the impact on free speech would be disastrous. Both responses are so sickeningly disingenuous, it really makes you wonder how out of touch they are.

    • Research team moves towards on-site DNA fingerprinting

      Crime-scene investigators could soon have the ability to perform DNA fingerprinting on site without the need for lengthy post-analysis in a lab.

      Currently, forensic swab samples obtained at a crime scene are sent off for analysis where a specific part of the sequence, containing blocks of repeating elements that vary between individuals, are amplified and then read out.

    • ICO launch Information Rights Strategy

      A merged strategy for data protection and freedom of information has been launched by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

      The information regulator said it was committed to integrating their data protection and freedom of information responsibilities and that the new Information Rights Strategy was designed to “make this commitment a reality”.

    • Coalition plans to enlist private firms to speed ID authentication

      Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, revealed last week that the coalition government plans to develop a national ID database to allow for easy access to online public services.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • New “ShaperProbe” tool detects ISP traffic shaping

      Two researchers at Georgia Tech can tell you exactly how American ISPs shape Internet traffic, and which ones do so. Bottom line: of the five largest Internet providers in the country, the three cable companies (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox) employ shaping while the telephone companies (AT&T, Verizon) do not—though that fact is less significant for the user experience than it might first sound.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Digital Libaries May Include More Book, Music Copyrights Under EU Overhaul

        Digital libraries may be able to include more copyrighted works under European Union rules proposed today.

        The European Commission is seeking to bolster the EU-funded Internet library Europeana, a rival to the Internet book service operated by Google Inc. (GOOG), owner of the most popular Internet- search engine.

        Some so-called orphan works, including newspapers and video footage for which no one can be identified to authorize digital use, may be included in digital libraries after a “diligent search” can’t trace the author, the commission said.

      • Entrepreneur, the Magazine That Sues Entrepreneurs

        Entrepreneur Media Inc. sells the idea of the self-made little guy getting ahead. Based in Irvine, Calif., EMI, as the company is known, publishes Entrepreneur, a monthly magazine with a circulation of 607,000 and a colorful history. According to newspaper reports, the periodical’s founder and former owner, Chase Revel, once tried robbing banks for a living. Today, EMI conducts seminars revealing “business success secrets” of a more mainstream nature. It markets instructional CDs and sells advertising to package deliverers, health insurers, and franchisers such as Wahoo’s Fish Taco restaurants. In other words, EMI caters to all things entrepreneurial. Strangely, it also smashes the dreams of the self- starters it aims to serve.

        [...]

        An attorney with the corporate law firm Latham & Watkins informed Castro that EMI owns the U.S. trademark for the word “entrepreneur.” With 2,000 lawyers in 31 offices around the world, Latham polices EMI’s intellectual property aggressively. The firm even instructed Castro to surrender his domain name to EMI. “If you fail to abide by these demands,” the letter said, “Entrepreneur Media will have no choice but to take appropriate action to prevent continued use of an infringing mark and domain name.”

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