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Links 2/6/2011: Skype Reverse-Engineered, Mandriva 2011 Beta 3

Posted in News Roundup at 12:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux and Ruby Geeks Compared

    If you think there’s only one type of geek, you apparently don’t know many geeks. It could be argued that there are as many kinds of geek as there are geeks in the world. Still, they can be loosely broken down into groups and sub-groups, recognizing that there is overlap and some exceptions. The chart at the bottom of this post is one rather amusing way of looking at the “evolution of the geek.” Personally, I’ve been really surprised to discover a rather striking contrast between Linux geeks and Ruby geeks, having spent time with “members” of both communities over the past couple of years in New York.

  • Server

    • IS buys into Linux specialist Synaq

      Internet Solutions (IS) has acquired a majority stake in Synaq, the Johannesburg-based managed Linux service provider and messaging company, for an undisclosed sum.

      IS says the deal will help it address the demand from the small and medium enterprise market for managed communications services.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Arch Linux Enables Mesa Floating Point Textures

        The rolling-release Arch Linux distribution has just enabled floating point textures for Mesa. This was the hotly-debated feature for Mesa that provides OpenGL floating point textures and render targets, but is disabled by default since its protected by patents in the United States and elsewhere. Arch Linux users when building new versions of Mesa will receive this support irrespective of their physical location.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The end of the Linux desktop wars

        The desktop wars may be finally ending, but not quite the way we may have expected.

        Take the GNOME Shell interface, which reviewers admire for its general direction but have some issues with the actual execution within GNOME 3.

      • KDE, Qt & LightDM: Progress Made

        LightDM, the cross-desktop display manager that provides a clean API for writing multiple user-interfaces and for delivering fast performance, continues to mature. With the Ubuntu 11.10 release in October, Ubuntu is using LightDM instead of the GDM from GNOME as the display / log-in manager. For those concerned that the KDE side may be not getting enough love, it actually is and there’s been progress made on a Qt-powered interface.

        David Edmundson, a KDE developer, has written a Qt library for making simple greeter engines. “I’ve written a Qt library for making greeter engines, as well as a very basic demo greeter which is more for testing than a real demo of what can be done. This library is designed to be very QML-ready, with a strong emphasis on using models rather than simple lists.” LightDM is meant to be extended to handle various interfaces from Qt or GTK to having HTML/CSS-driven interfaces for this promising log-in manager.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Four tweaks to bring back missing functionality in GNOME 3.0

        The user interface shell of the open source GNOME desktop environment was completely redesigned for GNOME 3.0, which was released last month. The update brought a multitude of significant changes to the environment’s underlying technical infrastructure and the user-facing desktop experience. Fedora became the first major Linux distribution to ship the new GNOME environment with the official launch last week of Fedora 15.

      • Ready for Gnome 3.2? Meet Gnome Contacts

        The gnome developers are hard at work making the first linux desktop, that do not look like a cheap windows/mac rip off, even better. There are stupid mistakes they made along the way, but still Gnome 3.0 gives the best experience free software can offer by default. Obviously there are more feature need to be included to make it a complete replacement for your good old Gnome 2.x. For the time being you can use these extensions to get some functionalities back.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat to Webcast Results for First Quarter Fiscal Year 2012
      • Behind the scenes: a community workshop for Red Hatters

        Some of you may have heard that Robyn, Max, Sebastian, and I will be teaching a workshop on open source community participation to our fellow Red Hatters in Raleigh next week (June 8th, 2011). It’s the first run of such a workshop, and remixes some of the things we’ve done at POSSE for a more general audience – in a sense, we’re removing the discipline-specific (“you’re a college professor!”) parts and seeing how our stuff generalizes to folks already working in (open source) industry.

      • Fedora

        • 20 Things to do after installing Fedora 15

          Here are few things you can do after installing Fedora 15 to make the experience better. You may have to enable sudo to follow some of the tips or you can run the commands in terminal by logging in as root (su). The following are in no particular order. Feel free to skip the ones you do not need.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 30 Days With…Ubuntu Linux
          • You Can Run Ubuntu On Your HTC Desire HD

            If smartphone hardware can run Android, a Linux-based operating system, why can’t it run a full-blown Linux distro? In fact, you can run Ubuntu on many Android-powered phones.

            To get Ubuntu to run on a smartphone, some have started the OS side-by-side with Android, others have used emulators or virtualized hardware. On occasion a developer steps up and creates a bootable, functional Ubuntu image. If you’ve got an HTC Desire HD, you can count yourself as one of the lucky ones!

          • Six Months Of Rocking Ubuntu Events

            Education and learning has always been an important part of the Ubuntu culture. It is important to us because we always want to present an environment in which everyone is welcome to participate, whatever your skills, location, or experience.

          • Everything You Need to Know About Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

            A month has been passed since the eventful release of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. Many loyal Ubuntu users turned hostile with this release and Canonical’s new Unity interface is at the receiving end for what it does and what it doesn’t. I actually liked the new Unity approach to desktop and I believe that it has got a great future, provided that Canonical is able to rectify the bugs and usability issues in time. This post is for those who would like to use Unity. A quick recap of Ubuntu 11.04 tips and tricks that we published during the month.

          • Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake) End of Life

            Ubuntu announced its 6.06 Server release 5 years ago, on June 1, 2006. For the LTS Server releases, Ubuntu committed to ongoing security and critical fixes for a period of 5 years. The maintenance period has now ended for Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server.

            Ubuntu 6.06 LTS was a major milestone for the Ubuntu project, being the first long-term release. Its retirement evokes memories of Ubuntu as a younger project, and reminds us of all that we’ve accomplished together in the five years since we released the “Dapper Drake”.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Intel touts ‘ultrabooks’; Highlights Android Honeycomb Atom-based tablet

          Intel on Tuesday touted “ultrabooks,” tablet and laptop tweeners that would resemble MacBook Airs, and said these lightweight devices will account for 40 percent of the laptop market by the end of 2012.

          Speaking at the Computex show in Taipei, Sean Maloney, Intel’s executive vice president, said these ultrabooks will continue to improve annually. While the ultrabook phrase will generate initial buzz, these devices are evolutionary. What’s initially unclear is how an ultrabook differs from the netbook—a market under fire from tablets. Intel frequently touts next-gen reference designs. Anyone remember the mobile Internet devices (MID)?

        • MIPS enters Android Honeycomb tablet race

          Amid all the brouhaha about the low power–chip tussle between Intel and ARM, another processor architecture has been quietly advancing into the same tablet and smartphone battleground: MIPS Technologies, which has announced a partnership with Beijing’s Ingenic Semiconductor to port Android 3.0, aka Honeycomb, to the Chinese chipmaker’s upcoming ultra–low power system-on-chip.

        • Computex buzz: ARM vs Intel keeps people talking

          According to Nvidia CEO Huang Jen-Hsun, Android is the fastest growing operating system in computing history

Free Software/Open Source

  • Matt Asay Preaches

    Matt Asay doesn’t get sharing. The world needs software and FLOSS is a great way to produce it. If someone needs some software and can produce it they should. They also get to use all the software floating around in the community of FLOSS to go along with that. That is the right thing to do. Otherwise that software may not be written and our world in which we are social beings depending on and supporting each other will be poorer. It is a moral imperative of every human being and their organizations to try to make the world a better place. That’s good for everyone, not just the one doing the good work.

  • Google open sources $68.2m realtime comm platform

    Free whitepaper – Five Tips for Effective Backup and Recovery in Virtual Environments

    Google has open sourced a framework for realtime video and audio inside the browser. Known as WebRTC, the framework is based on technology the company acquired with its $68.2 million purchase of Global IP Solutions (GIPS) last year.

    “We’d like to make the browser the home for innovation in real time communications,” Google said in a blog post. “Until now, real time communications required the use of proprietary signal processing technology that was mostly delivered through plug-ins and client downloads.” The framework lets developers build realtime applications using HTML and JavaScript APIs.

  • Web Browsers

    • Firefox 4 hits 14.2% of worldwide market in May – study
    • Mozilla

      • Update: Spread Firefox is taking a breather

        Today we took Spread Firefox offline as I shared earlier. I want to thank everyone that has worked hard on Spread Firefox over the years. When it took off in 2004, it was truly innovative as a social network and organizing ground for our grassroots marketing efforts.

      • After a Few Short Months, Firefox 4 Is Mozilla’s Leading Browser Version

        As Mozilla continues to contend with claimed performance problems with its new Firefox 4 browser (although some reader responses to our post on the matter argue that there are none), it is achieving new milestones. According to data from StatCounter, which specializes in web analytics, the Firefox 4 browser claimed a hefty 14.2 percent of the global browser market in May–higher than the 13.2 percent claimed by the longstanding version 6. Meanwhile, the Firefox 5 beta has arrived, and there is even a new version 6 of the browser in the Aurora channel. Mozilla is moving full steam ahead with its new rapid release cycle for Firefox, competing directly with Google Chrome’s development schedule.

  • FUD of the Day

  • CMS

    • The Diaspora Project – First Year In Graphs

      We know that if you’re not a contributor and don’t follow us on Github, it’s hard to see Diaspora grow and evolve. Now that Diaspora is moving into its second year and a new phase of development, here are some numbers on the progress we’ve made.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Why I’ve been throwing Open Standards under the bus

      This may not sound like such a big deal until you realize that I am a big advocate of Open Source and Open Standards. In the Enterprise, I believe that these technologies are absolutely essential to building best of breed heterogeneous computing environments. But at home? Eh, not so much.


  • Think PCs will drop in price? Think again, warns Intel

    The Golden Age of ever-decreasing PC prices is over, at least as far as Intel is concerned.

    Speaking to investors in London last week, the chip giant’s CFO Stacy Smith boasted how the vendor had broken the pricing death spiral that has bedevilled the PC industry for most of its history.

  • Intel Admits Its Chips are Over-Priced
  • Microsoft postpones IDP for 2 weeks to re-consult with chip players
  • Pondering storage options
  • Security

    • NATO report threatens to ‘persecute’ Anonymous

      NATO leaders have been warned that Wikileaks-loving ‘hacktivist’ collective Anonymous could pose a threat to member states’ security, following recent attacks on the US Chamber of Commerce and defence contractor HBGary – and promise to ‘persecute’ its members.

      In a toughly-worded draft report to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, General Rapporteur Lord Jopling claims that the loose-knit, leaderless group is “becoming more and more sophisticated”, and “could potentially hack into sensitive government, military, and corporate files”.

    • Ensuring your information is safe online

      The Internet has been an amazing force for good in the world—opening up communications, boosting economic growth and promoting free expression. But like all technologies, it can also be used for bad things. Today, despite the efforts of Internet companies and the security community, identity theft, fraud and the hijacking of people’s email accounts are common problems online.

      Bad actors take advantage of the fact that most people aren’t that tech savvy—hijacking accounts by using malware and phishing scams that trick users into sharing their passwords, or by using passwords obtained by hacking other websites. Most account hijackings are not very targeted; they are designed to steal identities, acquire financial data or send spam. But some attacks are targeted at specific individuals.

Reader’s Picks and Comments

  • Anti-Trust

    • Erratic behavior from Microsoft proxy, Lodsys. PJ notes:

      Lodsys didn’t expect the kind of letter it got from Apple, and it took it as a clear indication that Apple intended to litigate, if necessary, and Lodsys didn’t want that to happen in California, so it didn’t honor its word to developers that they had 21 days to respond to the cease and desist letters and went ahead and sued in Texas. Natch. However, that doesn’t at all mean that the litigation will happen in Texas, if Apple intervenes

    • NDAs conceal portions of Lodsys’ extortion of Apple developers.

      we cannot unilaterally publish the letter because it refers to information that was obtained with an obligation of confidentiality to Apple and we do not have their permission to do so.

    • Microsoft muscles ARM makers with odious restrictions. Techrights has documented this for netbook makers and Barns and Noble has called it anti-competitive in court.

      Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is putting “troublesome” restrictions on makers of processors used to run the coming Windows tablet-computer operating system, Acer Inc. (2353) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J.T. Wang said.
      “They’re really controlling the whole thing, the whole process,” Wang said at the Computex trade show in Taipei without identifying the restrictions. Chip suppliers and PC makers “all feel it’s very troublesome,” he said.

    • Microsoft Squeaks. No One Listens.

      M$ is apparently trying to dictate to the world on what kinds of ARMed systems M$’s “8″ will run. … By trying to freeze the market and dictate hardware compatibility, M$ will only delay its roll-out and restrict itself to a niche. … M$ cannot force all manufacturers to use Qualcomm;s chips and Qualcomm cannot supply the whole market. … No one wants to wait for M$ to get its act together while hundreds of millions of units could be sold.

  • Hardware

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Software patents described by a South African official.

      Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, the previous Minister for Public Service and Administration, recently described software patents as “an issue which poses a considerable threat to the growth of the African software sector”, adding that there had been “recent pressure by certain multinational corporations to file software patents in our national and regional patent offices … all of the current so-called developed countries built up their considerable software industries in the absence of software patents”. She said that for those same countries to insist on software patents now “is simply to place patents as barriers in front of newcomers”

Clip of the Day

Choose Ubuntu (new video, not an endorsement)

Credit: TinyOgg

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