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Links 8/6/2011: Viewsonic Embraces Linux, Naev 0.5.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A Report From Beyond: Linux Sound & Music At Virginia Tech

    From April 7 through 9 I attended Beyond, a series of lectures, workshops, and concerts promoted by the DISIS group at Virginia Tech – a.k.a. VTech – in Blacksburg VA. The festivities included presentations from Professor Brad Garton and Create Digital Music’s Peter Kirn, plus some incidental ramblings from yours truly. The concerts featured performances by VTech’s own Linux Laptop Orchestra, accompanied at times by percussionist extraordinaire Ron Coulter and a group from the Boys And Girls Club of Roanoke. Other performances included improvisations with some unique hardware controllers (more about those performances below) and original works composed by the participants.


    I’ve just begun to look into similar programming environments for the Android and the existing audio APIs.

  • A use for EFI

    But when ERST support was added to Linux, a generic interface called pstore went in as well.

  • Windows killed my laptop, again

    Not sure how Windows kills itself, but Linux continues to work fine.

  • Desktop

    • How’s the Linux Desktop Doing?

      Linux doesn’t live in the one size fits all world of the proprietary operating system(s). As a matter of fact, I see Linux on the desktop offering better compatibility than their proprietary OS cousins thanks to its diversity. Each distribution is able to offer a customized kernel calibrated best for the given tasks at hand.

    • BluSphere – Sleek Linux Pre-Installed Computers

      I have been frequenting Linux message boards and chat rooms for several years now. During my time spent in these places I would estimate that 95% of the issues I have helped people with (and seen posted) are related to the installation and setup of the operating system. This comes largely from the fact that most of the computers you can buy come with Windows by default. The experienced Linux user knows that they need to research their hardware before forking out their hard earned money for something that might not work too well with their favorite operating system.


      One of the reasons I like BluSphere (and am giving them this small plug) is because they give 5% of the profits on every notebook they sell back to open source projects.

    • M$ Attacks its “Partners”

      How about in the long term? Yes! The monopoly dies with “8″. How would you feel if M$ sold its PCs without “the tax” and “the tax” was larger than your margin??? Expect to see a lot more PCs shipping with Linux and expect to see a lot more PCs on retail shelves with Linux.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • A New Open-Source KMS Driver Just Published

        Embedded GPUs on Linux are a big mess due to their lack of fully open-source drivers, memory management complications, and other technical issues. However, there is some good news to report today and that’s on the emergence of a new open-source KMS driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome shell media player extension

        New extensions for the gnome shell appears by the day. Today its a ‘musicplayers’ extension. This new gnome shell extension will add a new menu to the gnome shell top panel and allows you to control various aspects of the allow you to control different music players through the menu.

  • Distributions

    • Zenix GNU/Linux – Fun, Fast, Different

      Back when I used to write full-length distribution reviews for a living, I always kept my eyes open for unique offerings. Unique distros were few and far between, but when those jewels were found – fun followed. Well, one of those gems of the Linux world appeared on my radar this evening. Zenix GNU/Linux is a Debian-based distribution that uses Openbox and Awesome WM to create something that’s just a little different.

      According to the Website, Zenix is designed to be lightweight, yet not light in features or applications. Not that it comes with lots of software, but its developers’ choices aren’t necessarily those little known or commandline versions. To quote the Website, “The goal of Zenix is to provide a light weight “base” without sacrificing functionality expected of a Desktop.”


      Zenix is currently on Distrowatch.com’s waiting list…

    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon XFCE: the story continues

        “Enough”, told I myself.
        I know now that Sabayon Linux is better than I though about it earlier. Some of the issues I had last time are solved.
        But Sabayon still requires more tweaking than I would like to make. And it behaves itself quite strange way sometimes.
        Does it mean I dump Sabayon? Not necessarily. I may come back to it later, but most likely with different desktop environment. KDE? GNOME? Guess or suggest!

      • New Gentoo Goodies
      • music videos made with gentoo
      • PMS Test Suite: getting the test results

        One of key problems in PMS Test Suite is getting actual test results. With the whole complexity of build process, including privilege dropping, sandbox, collision protection, auto-pretending it is not that easy to check whether a particular test succeeded without risking a lot of false positives.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Interview: Troy Dawson from Scientific Linux

        Red Hat Inc. rules the “enterprise” Linux market with their Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) product line. Novell Inc. (now owned by The Attachmate Group) is second with their SUSE Enterprise Linux product line. To the best of my knowledge, there aren’t any free SUSE Enterprise Linux clones but there are a number of free RHEL clones. CentOS is the most well known RHEL clone but with the seeming unending delay of the 6.0 release (July 11th is my guess), CentOS has received quite a bit of criticism leading some users to investigate alternatives. As a result, Scientific Linux is getting a lot of long overdue attention given the fact that it too is a solid enterprise clone… that has been around for a long time… that has a lot of support behind it.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Provides The Technology Foundation For Italian Dnshosting.it Cloud Offerings

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Dnshosting.it, the advanced Internet solutions developer located in Italy, has migrated its Cloud Server offering from VMware to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization in order to remain competitive in the Italian market and gain the advantages of Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) virtualization technology.

      • Obsidian drives Red Hat growth in emerging markets

        Adoption of open source systems in the South African enterprise is continuing unabated, with the country’s leading open source enterprise implementer, Obsidian, reporting a staggering 37% growth in Red Hat implementations in the past year. This is almost double the 21% global growth reported by Red Hat, the frontrunner in Linux-based enterprise systems.

        “I think it’s fair to say that open source adoption in South Africa has matured, but is still a long way from reaching saturation point,” says Muggie van Staden, Obsidian CEO. “The question is less ‘who is using it’ than ‘who isn’t using it’, with a great number of large corporates running mission-critical systems on Red Hat.”

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • So what is Ensemble anyway?

            Have you heard of Ensemble? Are you excited about Cloud/Service Orchestration? What? Ok you’re not alone if you are scratching your head.

            Ensemble is an implementation of a new idea that has been taking shape the last couple of years. Ever since Amazon hooked up a remote API to thousands of machines to provide access to their virtual infrastructure (and called it macaroni? err.. AWS), people have been dreaming up ways to take advantage of what is basically a robotic “NOC guy”. No longer do you have to pre-rack servers or call your vendor frantically to get servers sent next-day to your colo. Right?

            Naturally, the system administrators that would normally be in charge of racking servers, applied their existing tools to the job, to mixed success. Config management is really good at modelling identical hosts. But with virtual hosts instantly available, this left those thinking at a higher level wanting more. Chef in particular implemented a nice set of tools and functionality to allow this high level “service” definition with their knife tools and simple ruby API.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Sprint to launch Gingerbread smartphone and tablet on June 24

          Sprint will ship the 4.3-inch HTC Evo 3D 4G smartphone and seven-inch HTC Evo View 4G tablet on June 24 for $200 and $400, respectively. Both devices run Android 2.3, and offer the latest Sense UI layer — which is now supported with a new HTCdev developer site and an OpenSense SDK to tap the Evo 3D 4G’s 3D capabilities and the Evo View 4G’s Scribe pen technology.

        • Will your next PC be running Android?

          Recently, I predicted that the future of the PC may not be powered by the x86 processor architecture.

          With ARM chips assimilating everything from smartphones to cars, and companies like Nvidia working on high performance CPUs based on the ARM architecture, the assumption that x86 will continue to dominate the PC no longer looks iron-clad.

          One of the key catalysts for that realisation was Microsoft’s announcement that Windows 8 would support x86 and ARM. If Microsoft is picking up on a trend, you know it has momentum.

          The thing is, if it makes sense to question one half of the Wintel alliance, surely it makes sense to question the other. If today’s PCs largely run Windows on x86 processors, could tomorrow’s be Android on ARM?

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source identity: FreeNAS 8′s Josh Paetzel

    FreeNAS is an open source operating system based on FreeBSD and, as its name implies, designed for networked storage. The project recently celebrated the release of FreeNAS 8, which racked up some 43,000 downloads in the first 48 hours after its release.

    Techworld Australia caught up with Josh Paetzel, director of IT at iXsystems and project manager for FreeNAS 8, to talk about the current state of the OS, what lies ahead for it, and the relationship to FreeNAS 0.7.

  • Two Open Source Ideologies That Are Just Wrong

    Ideology #2: Open source project should all play nice together

    When Oracle announced their proposal to bring Hudson to Eclipse, a number of people complained to me and others why didn’t Eclipse Foundation force Oracle to work with Jenkins. There is a similar conversation going on with Oracle participating with LibreOffice. It seems people believe Apache should have rejected the project proposal, so Oracle would be forced to work with LibreOffice.

  • Community Doesn’t Come for Free

    At Eclipse, we talk a lot about community. Developing a community is an important part of being an open source project. It is from a community of users, adopters, and contributors that a project draws strength and longevity. Without a community, an open source project is just a bunch of code that might as well buried on a server behind a firewall somewhere in parts unknown.

  • Events

    • Upcoming Open Source Webinars: Bitnami, Hippo vs Plone, Sonatype

      Improving Your Java development with Maven 3 and Hudson – Attend this webinar to learn about the advantages of upgrading to Apache Maven 3, including improved speed, greater stability and increased compatibility. Jason will also talk about the greatly improved support for Maven 3 within Hudson that is easy to configure and supports complex build scenarios with ease. We will cover the Eclipse IDE integration for both Maven and Hudson that improves developer productivity.

    • Zarafa SummerCamp 2011
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Releases Chrome 12 Stable for Linux

        The Google Chrome developers at Google proudly announced last evening (June 7th) the stable release and immediate availability for download of the Google Chrome 12 web browser for Linux, Windows, Macintosh and Chrome Frame platforms.

        The new Google Chrome 12 web browser includes various interesting new features, such as the highly anticipated hardware accelerated 3D CSS support and a brand-new Safe Browsing mode.

    • Mozilla

      • Is Mozilla’s Webian Shell An Answer to Google’s Chrome OS?

        Mozilla Labs is generating a lot of buzz with its announcement of Webian Shell, which, as Digitizor notes, “basically consists of a browser which will replace the traditional desktop, and where the web applications are given more importance than the native applications.” You can download the early version of Webian Shell for Windows, Mac OS and Linux, but be warned that it exists in a very early version at this point. You can get a look at it here. Is Webian Shell an answer to Google’s Chrome OS?

      • Google and Mozilla Are Leveraging WebM and More for 3D Online Video

        Is 3D the future of web video? A few months ago, when Google announced its WebM video format, based on technology it acquired from On2, with its VP8 video codec, many people interpreted the move as an effort to undercut entrenched video standards, such as H.264. Could 3D video have been the actual brass ring that Google had its eyes on, though? Both Mozilla and Google are making moves to support 3D video in browsers, and Google’s YouTube web video juggernaut is increasingly supporting 3D videos. This blog post from Mozilla illustrates the focus that it has on 3D and Google’s efforts to make YouTube a haven for 3D videos. You can also find a good discussion of WebM and 3D video here.

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice motors right along with a new release

      TDF proudly boasts that the latest LibreOffice “incorporates the contributions of over 120 developers (six times as many as the first beta released on the launch date).” And, that, “The majority of these contributors have started to hack LibreOffice code less than eight months ago, and this is an incredible achievement if one recalls that the OOo [OpenOffice.org] project has attracted a lower number of contributors in ten years.”

    • Oracle v. Google – 3rd Oracle In-House Attorney Gets Limited AEO Access

      A third Oracle in-house lawyer has been granted limited access to Attorneys’ Eyes Only materials. You will recall in an earlier ruling the magistrate denied Attorneys’ Eyes Only rights to Dorian Daley, Oracle general counsel, and limited the rights of Deborah Miller and Matthew Sarboraria, but the status of Andrew C. Temkin was left for further determination based on supplemental filings.

    • Google Granted Leave to File a Daubert Motion; Says Oracle’s Damages Report is Unreliable, Misleading – by pj

      Experts are hired by the parties. The parties hire them to say helpful things. There are all kinds of experts, some more reliable and independent than others. Do you remember when one of SCO’s proposed experts came to Groklaw and in a comment admitted that he took on the assignment to get paid and hopefully to attract more such work? So courts are not as much in awe of experts as the title might lead one to believe.

    • OpenOffice.org to Apache: What does it mean?

      What’s in it for Oracle?

      This is easy – Oracle off-loads OpenOffice.org, for which it has no further use, without damaging its relationship with IBM and other commercial OOo partners. They lose any revenues involved, but apparently they were resigned to losing those anyway. So for Oracle this is all up-side.

    • Publishing our recommendation to Oracle

      From time to time TDF is required to engage in private correspondence with parties, yet we are committed in our bylaws after a suitable period to make this content public.

  • CMS

  • Business

  • Funding

  • Project Releases

    • Naev 0.5.0 Release

      The Naev devteam is proud to announce the release of Naev 0.5.0! This release is the result of over a year of hard work done by nearly 30 committers. This release is just a step in the path for ultimate greatness and a major step forward in the maturity of Naev. It has many major gameplay changes and signifies the coming of age of Naev, which has now exceeded the tag of Escape Velocity clone.

      Due to the size of the 0.5.0 ndata, downloads shall from now on be hosted at Sourceforge instead of Google Code due to the latter’s arbitrary size limits.The rest of the project infrastructure will remain unchanged.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Here’s the Pitch: Open Ocean Celebrates Fund Three With Contest for Start-Ups

      ast September, an ambitious code-sharing initiative named Civic Commons was launched at the Gov 2.0 Summit in a bid to help city governments use information technology better. This week, Civic Commons took a big step forward with a new management team in place and $250,000 of funding from Omidyar Network.

      Former White House deputy CTO Andrew McLaughlin will be the first executive director and Nick Grossman, former director of Civic Works at nonprofit Open Plans, will be its first managing director. Grossman was one of the lead architects of Civic Commons from its inception.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Google pits C++ against Java, Scala, and Go

      Google has released a research paper closely comparing the performance of C++, Java, Scala, and its own Go programming language.

      According to Google’s tests (PDF), C++ offers the fastest runtime of the four languages. But, the paper says, it also requires more extensive “tuning efforts, many of which were done at a level of sophistication that would not be available to the average programmer.”

    • Why OSCON Java?

      What is OSCON Java? It’s a good question. There are many Java conferences on every continent except Antarctica. Why is O’Reilly throwing its hat in the ring?

      The Java community has always been a broad, fractious, interesting mess, capable of doing surprising things with little warning, and that’s precisely why we’re attracted to it. It’s undeniable that Java is huge; it’s been in one of the top two slots on Tiobe’s Programming Community Index since Tiobe started in 2002. It’s always been one of the largest components of the technical book market. Java’s 2010 book sales represent a resurgence since 2008, but even in its weakest years, Java has always been one of the largest components of the book market. Beyond being huge, Java is one of the key languages of the open source movement. While there has been plenty of discussion over the years of the JDK’s status as open source software, there has been no shortage of open source projects. SourceForge lists more than 25,000 Java projects, more than any other language.


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New Reality Distortion, Same Florian Müller for Taxing Linux

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 11:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

United States on charts

Summary: A broken patent system from the United States is being championed and defended by Florian Müller, who lobbies for RAND and Linux tax in Europe where he lives and campaigns for profit (on behalf of unnamed/antisocial companies)

AGENTS of influence (or lobbyists) are at it again. Linux is gaining and Microsoft is running out of ideas, so just like its peon Facebook it is attacking Google with disinformation. It pays lobbyists to muddy the water. We sometimes refer to them as “mobbyists”.

There is an attempt to tax Linux from many directions, using software patents of course. Microsoft Florian has begun making noise about this type of reports:

Oracle sued Google last August, claiming Android infringes on seven of Oracle’s Java patents. Google has denied all wrongdoing.

Details of what Oracle wants in compensation have now emerged in a filing made Monday by Google in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The partially redacted filing targets conclusions made by Iain Cockburn, a Oracle legal expert on damages. Passages that appear to concern specific monetary figures are blacked out, but other sections provide a sense of the scope of royalties Cockburn says Oracle is owed.

If one actually checks the source of these claims, there is room for doubt. Florian is mass-mailing journalists (critical part of his business model) and plays along with this story whilst also smearing the OIN, which happens to have both Oracle and Google as members. It is true that the OIN is not a solution to the software patents problem. However, to think that Florian is against software patents is to ignore almost everything he actually says. To give an example of the OIN’s approach, it goes something like this (from a new announcement):

OIN simultaneously announced that it has acquired the underlying intellectual property, which includes nine patents and patent applications. The Distinguished Inventor Program is focused on entrepreneurial inventors, typically unaffiliated with large corporate entities, who have authored key technology patents.

This is not a solution, but it’s better than nothing. It’s IBM’s style of handling a problem in a way that helps IBM but hardly anybody else. We previously wrote about IBM's damage control and found it baffling that Florian apologises for/sympathises with IBM. It is probably because Microsoft Florian is being briefed by Microsoft PR agents, just like Maureen O'Gara, whom he is in touch with (as well as Enderle). Microsoft basically constructs stories against its competitors and then passes these to its attacks dogs. These so-called ‘IP’ attacks on Linux are coordinated and Twitter makes it a lot easier to see how it works (otherwise, Florian’s mass-mailing operation remains mostly hidden). Anyway, Pamela Jones took it upon herself to return to Groklaw and rebutted the latest nonsense from Microsoft Florian. It is a long and details post which states: “Because the oddest thing just happened. Redmond Magazine reveals that Microsoft sent it the news about a claims construction order from the ITC regarding a Microsoft complaint against Motorola, with some talking points, I gather, on what it thinks it means. And at more or less the same time, but slightly before, Mueller published an article on his blog with the same information about the same claims construction order and giving it the same meaning as Microsoft sent to Redmond Magazine. We know the timing because Redmond Magazine links to Mueller.

“But I can’t make the Redmond-Microsoft/Mueller math — which is highlighted in both articles as being significant — line up with the order itself. And while both articles opine that the order means that Microsoft’s patent claims against Motorola are going swimmingly, and hence Android is in trouble, the picture is a lot more complex, according to my research. It turns out there are several lawsuits between the parties, and in the patent litigation in district court, the most recent event is that Motorola motions to dismiss were granted in part and Microsoft motions to dismiss were denied. I’ll show you my research on all this.”

Watch how it concludes: “The last time there were some scary articles about a claim construction order, with some concluding that Oracle’s scoring points against Google in the number of claim construction terms the judge agreed with was a leg up for Oracle, I suggested that it was too early to tell what it meant and that journalists could save themselves embarrassment by just reading the filings themselves and not relying on Mueller or on any lobbyist for what they allegedly mean.”

People who really want software patents to end take the approach of the FFII or Fred Wilson [1, 2], who was on this panel about rejecting software patents the other day.

Last night during an Internet Week event at General Assembly, investors Fred Wilson, David Lee, and Chris Dixon took the stage to talk about a range of topics related to startups, including one that’s been a source of angst for many a startup: patents.

As a mobbyist, Florian has been effective because he pretends to be against software patents while in fact all he does its boost them and defame those who are truly against software patents. He also pretends to be a lover of Android. That’s what lobbyists tend to do for credibility. “I tried Linux, but…”

GPL is Declining According to Friends of Microsoft

Posted in FUD, GPL at 10:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: A closer look at those who disparage the GPL and where they come from

AS MY PH.D. is associated with statistics, I believe that I have the critical skills necessary to show, even without auditing the data, when methods are selected to fraudulently show outcomes that are false. When it comes to firms with origins at Microsoft, there is no data available. They keep it to themselves and they probably know why. While trying to gain power as spokespeople for FOSS, these firms do everything the proprietary way, even with software patents.

“Be sceptical of what you read regarding software licences. There is a war for people’s perception and people with media clout are being paid to change these perceptions.”On a couple of occasions this week we wrote about the latest numbers from Black Duck. One of the participants in this was funded by Microsoft. The other actually has Microsoft roots and it is this firm which gets challenged by Free software defenders because it “doesn’t give any information on how the three hundred new sites [for example get] added” (this included Microsoft sites at the time, as we mentioned repeatedly [1, 2] because Microsoft had announced a special partnership). The most problematic repository at the centre of all of this (so-called ‘analysts’ typically point at it) is maintained privately by Black Duck, which was founded by Mr. Levin and “in the early 1990s, Levin was a marketing manager at Microsoft,” say many reports like this one. Microsoft marketing, eh? We have a wiki page about the subject that we find so disturbing as firms like these discourage the use of copyleft licences. Microsoft does not like the GPL and it says that “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

Given that SourceForge erroneously marked a GPL-licensed project of mine as Public Domain (I found this out by accident earlier today as I begin working on another FOSS project), there is a lot of room for bias and error. It is not surprising that analysts who are paid by Microsoft try to tell us that the GPL is declining. OpenLogic is also part of those messengers. It is headed by a guy from Microsoft. Be sceptical of what you read regarding software licences. There is a war for people’s perception and people with media clout are being paid to change these perceptions. By selecting methods and data in a proprietary way one can show anything and ‘prove’ anything (assuming the peers are gullible).

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Flaws and Back Doors Behind the Proprietary Software Curtain

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 10:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red curtain

Summary: Another glaring reminder that the government is using proprietary software such as Windows to weaken opposition

We recently explained that the NSA likes a lot of Windows out there [1, 2, 3]. It is easy to intrude people’s PCs if those PCs run Windows. We also know that the FBI, for example, intrudes people's PCs if they run Windows and so something questionable. Behind Stuxnet, for example, was apparently the government's plot. A new article suggests that “one in four US hackers ‘is an FBI informer’”. So, which governments are still foolish enough to deploy Windows? The same goes for activists. ‘Cloud’ Computing is even worse because intrusion by those looking to abuse power becomes far easier.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the national security is also implicated by the efforts of hackers to break into computing networks. Computers, including many running Windows operating systems, are used throughout the United States Department of Defense and by the armed forces of the United States in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

IRC Proceedings: June 7th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




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