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06.15.11

Links 15/6/2011:$24 Linux Tablets; OpenOffice, LibreOffice Possibly Making Peace

Posted in News Roundup at 7:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Mac, Linux users still miss out on E-tax

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is currently revamping its technology strategy to bring it up to date with the needs of customers, but Mac and Linux users hoping to use this year’s DIY E-tax software will be once again left out in the cold.

  • The Linux Week In Review June 13th

    * The OpenSUSE Conference Heats Up
    * FreeNAS 8: The FreeBSD Spin on Network Storage
    * The Ubuntu Software Center: The Apps Concept for Ubuntu
    * Fedora to Switch to BTRFS
    * Mageia 2.0 Is Already in the Works

  • The Century of the Linux Desktop

    I care about software freedom as much as I care about software usability.

  • Desktop

    • Kogan Agora Chromium Laptop Preview

      Google’s Chrome OS has been highly anticipated by people all over since its announcement. Manufacturers such as Samsung and Acer are trying their best to be the one company that gets the honor to first release a laptop or a netbook to the market that runs Chrome operating system.

      Things are pretty much looking good for the two companies when out of nowhere, Kogan broke the news that they already released a laptop with Chromium OS as its operating system. Kogan is an Australian manufacturer that has been shipping the notebook in Australia and the United Kingdom since June 7 leaving Samsung and Acer to eat its dust.

  • Kernel Space

    • 100 Day Statistics For OpenBenchmarking.org

      It was just over 100 days ago that OpenBenchmarking.org and Phoronix Test Suite 3.0-Iveland launched from the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) in Los Angeles. Now that these major releases have been available to the public for over three months, and Phoronix Test Suite 3.2-Grimstad will be released in just a couple of days, here’s some overview statistics of where our open and collaborative testing platform is at today.

    • Powertop 2.0 – saving power under Linux

      Powertop, a tool for detecting power wasters under Linux, is about to make a generational jump: version 2.0 provides improved diagnostic options and a redesigned user interface. It also offers a simple, manual way of enabling numerous power-saving features that can noticeably extend the battery life of notebooks.

    • LinuxCon schedule unveiled, including 20th anniversary gala

      The Linux Foundation announced the final program for LinuxCon North America in Vancouver, B.C. August 17-19, 2011. Events include the 20th anniversary of Linux gala celebration, a discussion between Linus Torvalds and Greg Kroah-Hartman, a keynote by IBM’s Irving Wladawsky-Berger, and a “20 Years of Linux” panel featuring Jon “maddog” Hall and Eben Moglen.

    • Linus Torvalds in Pictures
    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GTK+ 3.2 Squeezes In A Couple More Features
      • 20 Best GNOME Applications

        After the overview of 20 best KDE applications, it’s time to have a look at what GNOME has to offer, right? This article overviews 20 of the GNOME applications which are, in my opinion, the best in their category. Only a single application from each category is included, and screenshots are attached. The list is put up in no particular order and at the end of the article I put noteworthy alternatives for each category (only GTK alternative applications).

  • Distributions

    • ClearOS – Now for Workstations Too

      I was going to tell you good readers about ImagineOS, but it didn’t seem to like my video card. So instead I decided to try out the new ClearOS alpha. ClearOS used to be a server system, but the upcoming 6.1 release will also provide a suitable desktop environment. It’s based on Red Hat Enterprise, so I thought it might be interesting.

      However, it was and it wasn’t.

    • Quickformat – An exciting removable disk formatter for Pardus

      In Linux World, formatting a Usb Flash Disk is not an easy operation for end-user; in Pardus we always use one sentence: “Make it easy !“. So, we have to find an easy way to formatting a removable disk !

    • On the path to GStreamer 1.0

      GStreamer maintainer and code god Wim Taymans just posted an update on the the progress of GStreamer 0.11 to the GStreamer development mailing list. For those interested in learning about the new features coming in GStreamer 1.0 this email (along with the previous update) is must read material.

    • NetworkManager and Dual-stack Addressing

      The big reason that NetworkManager 0.9 is slower to connect than NM 0.8 is that we flipped IPv6 addressing on by default. That means that when you connect to a new network and that network supports IPv6 autoconfiguration via router advertisements you’ll get IPv6 connectivity. But if that network doesn’t support IPv6 then you’ll spin for 60 seconds or so waiting for a router advertisement because there’s nothing on the network that listens to the IPv6 autoconf solicitations that the kernel puts out when the link comes up. You can fix that but changing the IPv6 addressing method to “Ignore” in nm-connection-editor if you know your network doesn’t support IPv6.

      Why don’t we bring up IPv4 and just wait for IPv6 to happen in the background? That’s a great question; I’m glad I asked it. First, it requires some small changes in NetworkManager’s D-Bus interface to add connected states for both IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously so that applications can listen for when each stack’s connectivity is available. That’s trivial. It could be done tomorrow. It’s not a technical problem at all.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Spotlight on Linux: Mageia 1

        Since it is a fork and uses Mandriva 2010 as its base, the system will be very familiar to users. And since Mandriva is very user-friendly, it and Mageia would be easy for users of other distributions to adapt to using. But Mageia’s primary philosophy is rooted in the community. When the founders began the early stages of forking, they invited the community to participate. When they began packaging, they recruited community and even inexperienced maintainers. These “new guys” were giving mentors and taught the “business.” Today Mageia proudly proclaims, “Mageia is about people – the people who make and the people who use Mageia the Linux distribution. We’re completely community based, with everything that implies.” The main thing that implies is that Magiea is “not dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company.”

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon 6 to be Released this Week?

        In order to have the best results one should update their system about once a week or so. If you wait too long, sometimes issues can crop up. I’d be disingenuous if I said that updating often didn’t rarely cause breakage as well. Which is precisely why the periodic releases are welcome. It’s been my good fortune that a couple of times in the past the new releases came just about the time I really needed a fresh install.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Australian Evolution Systems Builds Cloud Service on Red Hat Solutions

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Evolution Systems, a Sydney, Australia-based full service IT support business, has built its cloud service offering, The Evolution Cloud, on a combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization.

      • Data Storage Rivals Target EMC Cloud With Open Virtualization Alliance

        Technology markets go through a predictable pattern. First there is discovery, then development of a product, the creation of a market with multiple products, and finally consolidation around a market leader.

        Clouds are the first enterprise computing platform to be delivered in the age of open source, so as we enter the third phase (multiplicity), open source bonafides become a selling point.

      • Red Hat Powers $2.5 Million In Cost Savings For Santos

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Santos, a leading supplier of oil and gas for Australia and Asia, has achieved cost savings of $2.5 million with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. In addition, the energy pioneer has gained greater stability and faster performance, helping the company reduce its global carbon footprint.

      • Red Hat and Santos Offer Up Case Study on Linux Cost Savings

        A funny thing happened to Red Hat–the poweful purveyor of support and services surrounding Linux–over the past couple of years as large open source-focused companies such as Novell and Sun Microsystems became acquisition targets for big software companies: It became the only viable, U.S. publicly traded company focused on open source. While many people understand Red Hat’s business in parts, a really big part of the company’s strong performance over the past several years comes from poor economic times, and the cost savings that Red Hat can offer businesses. Now, the company is out with a useful case study illustrating how the savings work.

        Santos, a leading supplier of oil and gas for Australia and Asia, has announced that it has achieved cost savings of $2.5 million with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It’s not alone. Gap Inc. has standardized on Red Hat’s Linux software and support, as have many other big companies.

      • Red Hat: plenty of sales, but no media strategy

        The release about Santos was put up on the Red Hat site nearly a month ago. Then, presumably, someone realised that the media should know about it. Perhaps because Santos sales last year were in the region of $2.2 billion.

        The funny thing is, there are other companies – Lonely Planet and Specsavers, for example – which have done similar or bigger deals (one can only judge by the details provided) with Red Hat. Presumably again, these deals were finalised after the Santos transaction as they were detailed on Red Hat’s site at a later date.

      • Fedora

        • Election Results for FESCo and Fedora Board seats

          Votes | Candidate
          ———————-
          1120 | Kevin Fenzi (nirik)
          1020 | Bill Nottingham (notting)
          764 | Tomáš Mráz (t8m)
          699 | Peter Jones (pjones)
          567 | Stephen Gallagher (sgallagh)
          ————
          535 | Kyle McMartin (kylem)
          480 | Justin Forbes (jforbes)
          398 | Iain Arnell (iarnell)

    • Debian Family

      • Why you should always have a network connection when installing Debian

        This is a simple tip but an important one: when you’re installing Debian, take the time required to ensure the machine is connected to the Internet with a wired connection. If you have DHCP available, the debian-installer will use it to configure the network.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • An introduction to Ubuntu 11.04

            The latest version of Ubuntu, 11.04, has a different look to previous versions. We demonstrate the basics

          • Don’t Like Ubuntu’s Unity? Try One of These Desktops Instead

            KDE is arguably the best-known alternative to the GNOME desktop, and it’s what you’re already used to if you run Kubuntu instead of the standard desktop Ubuntu.

          • 10 ways in which Ubuntu can improve Unity

            With Natty Narwhal, Ubuntu underwent a major transformation. Gone was the plain and simple GNOME UI, and in came the shell interface with shiny new features. Though Canonical had high hopes from this release, the response Natty received was hugely disappointing. Many users felt that the release was a half-baked one with too many confusing features. However, a few good features did shine through leaving some users thoroughly impressed by Unity. Good or bad, Unity in its current avatar has plenty of room left for improvement. So, here are a few things we think can make Unity a better interface.

          • Standard Ubuntu Gaming Platform: Sink Or Swim?

            I was traveling into San Francisco the other day, and I had an idea I wanted to share. This is very much just an idea, and given I don’t have the time to work on it, I just wanted to share it so if someone else wants to run with it, they can.

            Every Wednesday at 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern, I do a live Ubuntu Q+A videocast. In pretty much every show someone always asks me about gaming on Ubuntu, and if it is going to be a focus for us. I think gaming is really important for Ubuntu and something we should certainly focus on more in the future. My idea is linked to the importance of gaming, but with a slightly different tack.

          • Why Ubuntu needs to start looking at “the wrong questions”:

            Here at SCW, we donate to open source software, created a political demonstration website against Canadian Usage Based Billing, and constantly try to balance the needs of security with our beliefs in freedom and the openness of information. So, we are going to take a break from talking about security, to talk about ubuntu, linux, wine and FOSS (Free and Open Source Software).

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Peppermint Two: Faster, slicker, and easier than ever

              It’s been a little over a year since I reviewed the first Peppermint OS, and while I liked the first effort on this new project, I’ve been really looking forward to Peppermint Two. Well, my wait was over as of last week, so I was able to kick the tires and get a good feel for it after installing and using it for a few days.

            • Interview With Jeff Hoogland, Lead Developer for Bodhi Linux

              I took some time to contact Jeff Hoogland, lead developer for Bodhi Linux, and asked him a few questions about the distribution he is in charge with.

              TuxArena: Hello there, Jeff. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us about Bodhi Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • In-car media server hobnobs with Android, Linux devices

      Luxoft and Elektrobit Corp. (EB) announced a jointly developed, Linux-based reference platform for a DLNA-ready in-car media server, and also demonstrated Luxoft’s Linux-based DashCore and Android-based DroidBuzz IVI software. The “wallet sized” In-Car Media Server and Internet Hotspot is based on a 456MHz ARM9 processor, and offers 64MB SDRAM and 128MB flash, plus Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and 3G connectivity, says Luxoft.

    • Introducing Ubuntu IVI Remix and Ubuntu Core

      Canonical announced recently that is joining the GENIVI Alliance and that it will create a GENIVI-compliant Ubuntu IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) Remix operating system based on the Ubuntu Core sub-set.

      Announced by Canonical a couple of days ago, Ubuntu IVI Remix will be an In-Vehicle Infotainment operating system, supporting Intel and ARM processors.

    • Linux Mint 11 Katya review – Still the King (Queen)

      Linux Mint 11 Katya is an excellent release. It has a few issues, but overall, it’s very good. Why, you may ask? What makes it special? Functionality wise, it’s about the same as Julia and comparable to most other popular distributions, more or less, with emphasis on more. It’s a bunch of small things, the attention to details, which make all the difference.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • $24 Indian tablet, the Tata Nano of the electronics market

        It has been a long time coming, but we can now tell you that the Sakshat Indian tablet has now got the go ahead. We first assumed that the device would cost $35, but that has been increased to $50. However, once you take into consideration the government subsidy the tablet will cost just $24, which makes it Rs. 1,100.

        Taking that price into consideration you are now looking at the world’s cheapest tablet – so would make it the Tata Nano of the consumer electronics world. It does seem fitting that India is able to corner both these markets, and it is no surprise. India is an emerging market, and to make things more affordable to all Indian’s these could be just the start.

      • Ubuntu Software Centre 5.0 designs hint at greatness to come…

        The Canonical design team are currently hard at work designing, testing, evaluating new layouts for the Ubuntu Software Centre version 5.0.

Free Software/Open Source

  • “Colin Levy joins Pixar”

    These are impressive news, because it clearly shows the big players are aware of and watching what goes on the OpenSource/OpenMovie community. It is a very delightful piece of news and I am happy for Colin and the blender project seeing them getting this kind of recognition!

  • Events

    • Linux Audio Conference 2011: A Report From Maynooth

      On May 7 and 8 I attended the Linux Audio Conference for 2011 held in Maynooth, Ireland. Due to a temporary mental malfeasance – for some reason I assumed the Earth rotated in the opposite direction – I booked my flight for the wrong departure date and was unable to change its itinerary without paying out a hefty sum to the airline. So, on Saturday morning I arrived at NUI in Maynooth, completely out of sync with the local time zone and ready to pack four days worth of activity into two.

    • Southeast LinuxFest doesn’t have to end

      Monday morning after a great conference can be a downer, but the conference can keep rolling right here. This past weekend’s Southeast Linuxfest was full of great technical talks, as well as more community-focused ones, many by opensource.com authors.

    • Second day at the EMEA Red Hat partner Summit
    • SELF 2011

      Once again the SouthEast LinuxFest was a success. Now in its third year, this is a well organized FOSS conference held in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I went for the first time last year when we were a sponsor and had a blast. It was just as good this year.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Ubuntu will ship with Firefox until at least 12.04

        LINUX DISTRIBUTION Ubuntu will continue to use Firefox as its default web browser at least until version 12.04 is released next year.

        Canonical, the vendor of the Ubuntu Linux distribution told The INQUIRER that Firefox will continue to be the default web browser it ships with Ubuntu until at least its 12.04 release. The comments come after Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical’s founder said that Google’s Chrome came close to replacing Firefox as the default browser in Ubuntu.

      • Chrome may replace Firefox in Ubuntu

        Google’s Chrome browser could replace Firefox in Ubuntu, according to Mark Shuttleworth.

        The founder of Ubuntu-backer Canonical said “it’s a real possibility” Chrome could become the default browser in a future iteration of the open-source OS, according to an interview in Network World.

        “We looked at it closely in the last cycle and the decision was to stick with Firefox in 11.10,” he said. That version, called Oneiric Ocelot, is due out in October.

      • Recap of SouthEast LinuxFest by This Week In Linux
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Toolbar improvements
    • New option to specify initial number of sheets
    • LibreOffice shows the strengths of FOSS

      Forking is possible because of the licence under which the code is released; anyone who thinks he/she or a collective can do a better job or wants to introduce customisations that the mainline project is unable or unwilling to, can take a copy of the code and run with it.

      When the number one FOSS office suite, OpenOffice.org, was inherited by Oracle as part of its purchase of Sun Microsystems, interested coders and those who had been involved prior to the purchase waited for a while before they realised that things were going nowhere.

    • OpenOffice, LibreOffice and the Scarcity Fallacy

      As you’ve probably heard, the proposal to move OpenOffice.org to the Apache Software Foundation was approved by a wide margin. Volunteers interested in helping with this project continued to sign up, even during the 72-hour ballot, giving the project 87 members, as well as 8 experienced Apache mentors, at the end of the vote. The volunteers signed up included an impressive number of programmers from OpenOffice.org, RedOffice and Symphony, as well as QA engineers, translators, education project experts, OOo user forum moderators and admins, marketing project members, documentation leads, etc. The broad range of support for this new project, from volunteers as well as voters, was very encouraging.

      Of course, this is not the end of our recruitment effort. In some sense it marks only the beginning. What I wrote about in my previous notes, about the Apache meritocracy remains true. However, now that the proposal has advanced and an Apache “Podling” (a probationary project) has been created, the way to sign up has changed. You should now sign up to the project’s mailing lists directly. For example, an email to ooo-dev-subscribe@incubator.apache.org will get you onto the project’s main dev mailing list. Anyone interested in participating needs to get onto this list, including those who already earlier expressed interest as “proposed committers” as well as new volunteers.

    • Two projects, one community

      It’s been several weeks I hadn’t updated this blog. I was quite busy but I really avoided to comment on the latest developments at Apache and OpenOffice.org. Now that the OpenOffice.org project has formally been voted as an Apache project in incubation phase, I feel I can more easily comment on this latest move.

      To start with the straight question; what do I think about this? I do have mixed feelings about Oracle moving the OpenOffice.org assets to the Apache Foundation. As explained in the Document Foundation’s official press release, this is a missed opportunity to reunite OpenOffice.org to the Document Foundation. By reuniting the two Oracle wouldn’t have accomplished a reconciliation, as there was no real need for this (whatever reconciliation would happen on a personal level) , but it would have brought order and coherence to the free and open source software office suites. Instead, Oracle chose -in a move where resentment and vengeance were not absent- to dump the OpenOffice.org code and trademark to the Apache Foundation without the Oracle engineers who had been working on it since fifteen years.

  • CMS

    • How I think about Drupal release date planning

      Two recent blog posts explained what I think the Drupal development cycle is like; see the Gartner hype cycle and Drupal and the Drupal mood cycle. These thoughts came from living through many major Drupal releases and noticing patterns of developer and user mood as release dates approached and receded. Make sure to read these posts first, before reading this one.

      Developers like to release code. “Release early, release often” wrote Eric S. Raymond in his famed essay on open source, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, and that philosophy has facilitated the rise of many open-source projects — including Drupal. At the same time, many end users dislike change: they would prefer that software versions stay stable as long as possible, because change means work or cost.

  • Education

    • 65 Open Source Apps That Replace Popular Education Software

      School’s out for summer, but that doesn’t mean the learning ends for teachers or students. Open source education applications offer a great option for students who are looking to get ahead or catch up over the summer. And summer is an ideal time for educators to find out more about some of the free open source tools available to help them in the classroom.

      There are several good reasons why educators should try open source software, most notably financial savings. Many, many schools are facing budget cuts in the coming year, and those schools could realize significant savings by switching from proprietary to open source software. In addition, schools with knowledgeable IT staff can adapt open source software so that it meets their needs exactly –something that’s all but impossible with closed source software.

    • Mozilla Nightly Tester Tools: When you don’t mind getting cut on the bleeding edge

      The only reason anyone would want to run a Nightly build of a Mozilla product like Firefox is because they want to help provide a test environment for providing that vital early feedback on a product that’s so fresh it’s completely untested. This early exposure provides the basis on which Firefox, Thunderbird and its brethren migrate towards the first major milestone in a program’s life, the alpha build.

  • Programming

    • Teen sells Perl cloud startup to ActiveState

      Meet Daniil Kulchenko. He was an HTML programmer at age six. He was a freelance Linux systems administrator at 11. And at 15, he founded his first business: Phenona, a platform-as-a-service for building and hosting Perl applications.

    • The Eclipse Survey and OSS Contribution and Consumption

      The results from the Eclipse Foundation’s annual Community Survey were published last week, with the output in report form available here (PDF warning).

      The survey, completed by 624 individuals, was a voluntary response as opposed to a random sample, and therefore from a statistical perspective the results cannot be considered representative. It is, nonetheless, an interesting observational study.

Leftovers

  • Microsoft Windows Update Annoyances Strike Again

    For example, yesterday, after I finished using it, I shut down Microsoft Windows. As usual, it needed to install more updates, so it decided to do so between clicking “Shut Down” and actually shutting down. I figured it shouldn’t take that long, so I closed my laptop lid and went to eat dinner. This wouldn’t be news, except that when I came back, I found that it had gone to sleep in the middle (i.e. it hadn’t actually finished installing updates). That was one annoying thing. Anyway, I woke it up, and it finished installing updates and then properly shut down with no apparent errors.

    Today, when I booted back into Microsoft Windows, I got a message saying that Microsoft Windows didn’t shut down properly the last time. WHAT? It’s telling me that it’s my fault that it took so long to install updates that the laptop went to sleep before it could finish, and that what looked to be a fine shutdown process was actually faulty in some magical way, and I’m supposed to blindly believe all that?

  • Finance

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • US Abuses Copyright and Extradition Law: UK Acquiesces

        If you want a vision of the world of global repression and bullying that copyright maximalists are striving to create, try this:

        A Sheffield student is facing up to five years in jail if convicted in America for a website which provided links to movie clips.

        Let’s just look at the component parts of this story.

        First, the website was run by a UK national, and hosted in the UK. As the student’s lawyer points out:

        “The essential contention is that the correct forum for this trial is in fact here in Britain, where he was at all times.”

        So what would the situation be here in the UK? Well, a very similar case involving alleged unauthorised links to copyright material played out a few years ago – the famous OiNK trial. Here’s what happened:

        Lawyers have presented their final arguments in the trial of Alan Ellis. The prosecution slammed the ex-OiNK admin, saying that the site was set up with dishonest and profiteering intentions right from the start. The defense tore into IFPI and countered by calling Ellis an innovator with talents to be nurtured. Today the jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty, and Ellis walked free.

        Aside from the unanimous verdict, what was notable about the trial was that Ellis was accused of “Conspiracy to Defraud the music industry” – not with linking to copyright material. That is probably because the latter seems not to be a criminal offence, and so it was necessary to find some other charge.

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