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05.28.11

Links 28/5/2011: GNOME 3 Analyses, Miro 4.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Australia wants to boost its PR stocks

    As the number of events organised under its patronage increases, Linux Australia (LA), the umbrella organisation for Linux user groups Down Under, is actively looking for people who can be part of a media sub-committee.

    [...]

    Apart from the LCA, Linux Australia, through a sub-committee, runs PyCon, Drupal Down Under, and WordCamp; it has also provided a grant to The Ada Initiative, a project that seeks to increase the involvement of women in free and open source software.

  • Heart of Linux – part 1

    I gave a talk to my local Linux User Group last night. By my reckoning, I could blitz through it in about 40 mins if it didn’t seem to be of enough interest, or go into a lot of detail and take an hour and a half.

    In the event, two hours after I’d started, I was finally allowed to finish because people had trains to catch. So I guess it went over fairly well. So here’s my attempt at a transcription, for whatever interest it might be.

    [...]

    11 is not “bad software”. X11 is more than twenty years old!

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • CleanCache Merged Into The Linux Kernel

      While the first Phoronix benchmarks of EXT4, Btrfs, and XFS on the Linux 2.6.39 kernel were just published this morning, an interesting change was just made for the next Linux kernel that will affect many of the file-systems living within the kernel. For what will be the Linux 2.6.40 kernel, or rather the Linux 3.0 kernel is the finally-merged support for CleanCache.

    • Linux performance improvements
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Kraft 0.43 Release

        esterday I did a new release of Kraft, the KDE application to create and manage business documents in the small enterprise. It is version 0.43, the former one was 0.42, release in april 2011. Both releases, where the latter is a kind of maintenance release of the first are the result of a comparable high development effort of the underlying code in catalog handling and document lists in Kraft.

        The document lists consisting of a latest, complete and time sorted view are now fully based on one Qt interview model feeding the views. That was a step because the original code was based on Qt3′s treewidget code. The result is convincing: the time needed to build up all views with a couple of thousand documents went down from around 20 seconds with the old implementation (which of course was not optimized) to almost nothing now. A nice result.

        [...]

        * Kraft Mobile – spin off a mobile app working on the new form factors providing useful functionality

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Zukitwo: A Beautiful GNOME2/3/Shell Theme Pack

        Zukitwo is a pack of GTK2, GTK3 (with 3 variations) and GNOME Shell themes. In this post I’ll only cover the GTK3 and GNOME Shell theme (you already know how to apply GTK2 themes, right? If not, have a look in the “INSTALL” file).

        Since the pack comes with both GTK2 and GTK3 themes, if you’re using GNOME 3, GTK2 applications will still look great. And of course, you can also use these themes (except for the GNOME Shell theme obviously) in the old GNOME 2.

        I especially like the GNOME Shell theme which comes with a transparent Top Bar and a beautiful Message Tray, giving GNOME Shell a glassy look.

      • Recent goings on in GNOME design

        Things have been busy in GNOME design since 3.0 was released. We’ve been hard at work, taking care of the small details as well as embarking on new projects. I’m sure I’ll have missed plenty of things, but here is a rundown of what’s been happening.

      • Ready for Gnome 3.2? The Shell gets world clock

        The new Fedora 15 is released and people start to really get a feel of the new Gnome shell 3.0. But not the developers as they are working hard on the next major version 3.2 of the redesigned desktop. One of the changes is that there could be a world clock that is coming to gnome shell. One of the Google summer of coders this year, a person called ‘Stéphane Maniaci’ is working on improving the current incarnation of the clock menu. The new clock is supposedly will have capabilities to display times from different locations.

      • Five must have Gnome shell extensions for Fedora 15

        This is a list of five must have gnome shell extensions. You can find the commands below on how to install each extensions. After installing you need to restart gnome shell (type alt + f2 and press ‘r’) or logout and back again for the extension to start working.

      • Gnome3 – yep, yet another Gnome3 post

        I’ve stated from the start, G3 is a massive shift for the end user experience, and a ballsy move in itself. When I first tried G3 it stood out as being an entirely different user experience to the windows-esque DE’s we are used to seeing. This, for me is an uber-cool move forward and more power to gnome for doing it.

      • Early thoughts on GNOME 3

        I must admit, the first time I installed Fedora 15 alpha, I did it only to test out what GNOME 3 was all about. It looked like an interesting interface that would work on a tablet-like device, having used the Andriod-based Archos 10.1 for while now.

        When Fedora 15 was officially launched on May 24th, I decided to move my work machine (a Dell Vostro v13) from Fedora 14 to 15.

      • Gnome (S)hell – Its underlying principles are an insult to users

        After trying Gnome (S)hell for the first time I was very optimistic, I thought a good future lies ahead but no longer.

        Looking a little bit more into Gnome (S)hell I have become very annoyed at the truth. The truth being Gnome (S)hell is designed for the mentally impaired.

  • Distributions

    • The Gentoo Newsletter (or why we don’t have one right now)
    • Dynebolic: forgotten Rasta Tux

      Latest version of Dynebolic 2.5.2 DHORUBA was released in December 2007. History wise, this is just peanuts. But in terms of Linux history, that is “ages ago”. ISO weights just under 700 Mb, in other terms OS was developed to be used from CD image. It is Live CD which means you can run it without installation.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15 and offlineimap users beware

          This is just a word of warning: if you have upgraded to F15 and you use offlineimap, observe very carefully what it does and ensure you have a backup of your email.

          I noticed yesterday that I couldn’t search for some email that I knew existed. On closer inspection I found a huge chunk of my archive inbox to be missing. Several months worth of emails, they stopped in March and then continued with the emails from yesterday that I had copied in from my Inbox.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Natty Narwhal boot times – What has changed?

            In my Natty review, I did mention that boot times seem to have changed considerably compared to previous versions of the distro. In other words, they got longer, which is kind of surprising as the desktop is quite fast and snappy. I had no numbers to quantify my feeling then, but now I do. Using Bootchart, I profiled the boot times on Natty. So let’s see what happens. Moreover, we’ll check if there’s anything we can do to make things better.

          • Ubuntu Ocelot takes shape

            Plans for the next release of Ubuntu Linux are taking shape. A look at what users can expect

            Earlier this month (May 2011), Ubuntu developers from around the world gathered at the Ubuntu One Developer Summit with the primary purpose of laying down plans for the next release of the operating system. Although not yet set in stone, here are some of the things users can expect from Ubuntu 11.10, also known as Oneiric Ocelot.

            The first thing will be the switch from GDM (Gnome Display Manager) to LightDM for managing initial logins. LightDM is a tenth of the size of GDM and so will remove some of the overhead, and hopefully contribute to faster boot-ups. LightDM is also able to use the WebKit HTML engine to render login screens that can be easily customised using HTML, CSS and Javascript.

            [...]

            For now the focus is on improving the Unity Launcher and icons, as well as adding additional features, such as progress bars, to existing icons. Ubuntu 11.10 will be released as a beta on 1 September 2011 and as a final release on 13 October 2011.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Bodhi Linux 1.1.0 Released

              Two months after our 1.0.0 release the Bodhi team and I are proud to announce the availability of Bodhi Linux 1.1.0. This is the first of our quarterly scheduled update releases to keep the software on the Bodhi live CD current. The live CD includes a number of package updates including:

              * Linux Kernel 2.6.39
              * Enlightenment SVN Build from 05/23/11
              * Intel 2.15 Drivers
              * Midori 0.3.6

            • Linux Mint 11 (Katya)

              The Mint-X theme has been better integrated with Synaptic, GIMP, Banshee and Deluge.

              The search add-on might be helpful for those who use Firefox 4, Chromium and Opera. It contains bug fixes, more spit and polish, and lets you more easily search Wikipedia, YouTube, Amazon, IMDB and other popular sites.

              The Mint developers also made some changes to the default software selection. LibreOffice is now the default office suite (woohoo!). Gwibber is no included by default, Banshee replaces Rhythmbox, and gThumb replaces F-Spot. I’m fine with these changes, particularly the inclusion of LibreOffice. I shed no tears whatsoever for the demise of OpenOffice; it’s time has come and gone. LibreOffice is where it’s at now.

              Next, I’ll look at the hardware requirements and I’ll show what the install routine looks like in this distro.

              [...]

              Pros: Attractive default wallpaper. Software Manager has been improved with a font category, bigger category icons, better application pages, and a splash screen. Update Manager’s speed has increased. You can turn off fortune cookies in the terminal. LibreOffice replaces OpenOffice.org. This release retains the GNOME interface and does not use Ubuntu’s Unity.
              Cons: This release is still based on Ubuntu and is probably not well suited for those who dislike what Ubuntu itself has to offer. Those looking for Unity will definitely have to use generic Ubuntu instead of Linux Mint.
              Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate or advanced Linux users.
              Rating: 5/5

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Boxee Box review: Recent updates and questions of openness

    The Boxee Box, available since November 2010 with firmware recently upated to 1.1, is a winning compromise that makes a Linux-based HTPC easy enough for the least technical user.

    Linux-based HTPC (home theater PC) systems have been proliferating, and with good reason. Linux is known for being stable over long periods of time. You wouldn’t want to have to reboot your cable box as often as you do a Windows machine, would you?

  • Education

    • Bail out school ICT … Euro-style

      Schools and Colleges can’t procure ICT for toffee. Sure they can spend money and when it was plentiful they did just that. They had separate ring-fenced ICT budgets and mad old BECTA to advise them on what to spend.

      The former was eye-wateringly generous and created a generation of ‘boxed-set’ software reseller millionaires, the later ensured that no matter how dopey the procurement ‘due diligence’ had been done so no-one got fired.

      Once the kit was bought did anyone plan for the capital required to replace them? … not on your nelly, so when the money-tree was chopped down ICT found itself competing with leaky roofs for capital spending which in any case had been cut by up to 80%.

      So here we are ten years on from the mad days with a shed load of ageing stock, the vast majority of which is incapable of running even MS Vista (remember that OS?) and countless instances of expensive Learning Platforms that barely anyone uses.

      Schools are not buying anymore but they sure are spending. School ICT was a bit like buying an Inkjet Printer. The capital cost is very attractively priced but boy are you going to pay later (licences, support, maintenance, electricity, consumables).

  • Project Releases

    • Miro 4.0 Released : New Android Sync Feature, Music Stores, App Markets and More [Install from PPA]

      Miro 4 has been released with a long list of new features and fixes. Miro with version 4.0 aims to be a complete media suite and has come a long way from a being podcast/digital content service. Probably the most exciting features are inclusion of Music and App Stores.

      Miro 4 looks very similar to iTunes and is targeting android user base. It wants to provide same functionality to android users which iTunes is providing to iDevice users: sync music, share music, install apps etc. Miro is completely free, open source project made by non-profit organization. Read on for new features.

    • Hands on: Miro 4.0 offers music management, Android syncing

      The Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF) recently released Miro 4, a major new version of its open source media player. The new version introduces support for music library management and Android device synchronization—expanding Miro beyond its historical roots as a tool for consuming Internet video.

      Miro was originally created in 2006 under the name Democracy Player with the aim of opening up video. Its creators hoped to use the power of the Internet to move beyond the top-down approach of traditional broadcasting. The application makes it easy for end users to consume Internet video content from a wide range of independent sources. The scope of the application has grown over the years, but the focus has largely remained on open technology and encouraging the growth of inclusive content ecosystems.

  • Public Services/Government

    • U.S. Considers Open-Source Software for Cybersecurity

      Open-source software may not sound compatible with the idea of strong cybersecurity, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sees such software, which anyone can tinker with, as a possible tool for defending government networks from both online thieves and professional cyberspies.

      A new five-year, $10 million program aims to survey existing open-source software to find those that could fill “open security” needs. Called the Homeland Open Security Technology program, or HOST, it also may plant seed investments where needed to inspire innovative solutions that can fill gaps in cybersecurity defenses.

    • Need open source policy? Ask the DoD.

      It’s coming up on a couple of years since I wrote about the reasonable approach toward open source software adoption put forth by the U.S. Department of Defense, which was ready and willing to use open source, but was not requiring a less-realistic all-open source or only-open source approach.

    • MK: Public involved in finalisation of national Open Source policy

      In the course of March 2011, four public meetings were organised in cities of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the aim to promote and discuss the draft National Policy for Open Software, by involving the public in the process of finalisation of the text. At the same time, the events marked the last stage of the project for the adoption of this policy.

      The events took place in the cities of Tetovo (14 March), Štip (17 March), Skopje and Bitola (22 March) respectively. Main presenters included representatives of the non-profit organisation promoting Free Software in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Слободен софтвер Македонија -, the Metamorphosis Foundation and the Ministry of Information Society and Administration.

  • Licensing

    • Choosing A License

      For me, the particularly interesting outcome of the tutorial is how it finishes a the turbulent trajectory of the FSF’s relationship with Apache’s license. Initially, there was substantial acrimony between the Apache Software Foundation and the FSF because version 2.0 of the Apache License is incompatible with the GPLv2, a point on which the Apache Software Foundation has long disagreed with the FSF. You can even find cases where I was opining in the press about this back when I was Executive Director of the FSF.

Leftovers

  • Canada’s procurement offer to EU will exclude hydro, urban transit: negotiator

    Canada will be putting a “very ambitious” procurement offer on the table when it heads to Brussels in July for an eighth round of trade talks, said lead CETA negotiator Steve Verheul in a civil society briefing today. But the offer will not include hydro utilities, and will likely also exclude urban transit — both sensitive areas for some provinces which use public spending in those sectors for strategic development and job-creation purposes. Since utilities are a major interest for the EU, it’s hard to see how a procurement offer without them could be “ambitious” unless, perhaps, it is heavy on other municipal commitments which cities across Canada are protesting.

  • 64-bit OS written entirely in assembly

    The folks at Return Infinity just released a new version of their BareMetal OS, a 64-bit operating system written entirely in assembly.

    The goal of the BareMetal project, which includes a stripped-down bootloader and a cluster computing platform is to get away from the inefficient obfuscated machine code generated by higher level languages like C/C++ and Java. By writing the OS in assembly, runtime speeds are increased, and there’s very little overhead for when every clock cycle counts.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • All Your Ideas Belong to Us

      In my search for a teaching position I came across this gem in a collective agreement:
      “ARTICLE 29
      INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
      29.01 An Employee who wishes to create or develop school curricula or school resources which are not on the Department of Education approved list of school curricula and resources, and/or use these school curricula or resources with students must seek permission from the Executive Director prior to developing and/or piloting such curricula or resources.
      29.02 All school curricula, resources or material which are created or developed by an Employee during the course of the Employee’s employment with the Employer shall, for all purposes, be the property of the Employer, unless there is another arrangement made in writing between the Employee and the Department of Education. “

      Isn’t that cute? A bureaucratic solution for a non-existing problem. The normal default behaviour is that when a teacher creates content as assigned by the employer, the employer owns that content. This moves the default to “all your ideas belong to us”. Is it a move to stifle creativity? Is it ignorance of the teacher’s role? Is it ignorance of how education happens?

    • Copyrights

      • Why The Situation Is Likely to Get Worse for Access Copyright (But Not Necessarily for Authors)

        My first two posts on Access Copyright this week focused on its decision to stop pay-per-use digital licensing in the wake of the Copyright Board’s interim tariff and the economics behind the copyright collective. This post explains why the situation is going to get worse and offers (admittedly unsolicited) advice about what to do about it (all three posts available as a single PDF).

      • Secret G8 memo reveals outbreak of internet harmony

        A private memo from within the G8 meeting on Thursday between internet chiefs and world leaders indicates strong levels of support from Barack Obama, David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and co for the principles of internet freedom put forward by Facebook, Google and their peers.

        The confidential document, seen by the FT, supports the internet’s role in furthering the distribution of knowledge and free speech, broadly accepting a light-touch, internationally harmonised approach to regulation.

      • ACTA

        • New version of the ACTA text

          The EU Commission published a new version of the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) text (pdf).

          A Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan announcement mentions an April 15 round of negotiations: “The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was opened for signature on May 1, following its adoption by participants in its negotiations on April 15.”

Clip of the Day

Obama’s car gets stuck at US Embassy


Credit: TinyOgg

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