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07.06.11

Links 6/7/2011: AMD Gets More Linux Devs, AriOS 3.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • L’Independence day with a bit of a twist

    Every year, near this day (July 4), I do a blog post on the independence Linux has brought me and the community at large. But this time around, I want to take a bit of a different approach. This approach was inspired by an outpouring, of late, by other media types, about how Ubuntu is slipping in the ranks at Distrowatch. Their assumptions are all centered around Unity and how Canonical has doomed the perennial user-friendly distribution in one fell swoop. Although not really related to this column today, I have also been watching the rank and file at Distrowatch, and Ubuntu still remains at the top. Possible premature speculation? Maybe — but, on a side note, I will say that the over all opinion about Unity is still very strongly against this desktop remaining as the default Ubuntu desktop. We’ll see if Ubuntu can’t gain some independence from that awkward, buggy desktop.

    What I want to bring up today is how the Linux operating system, and the community around it, is now enjoying an independence from its past. Thinking about the outpouring of speculation about Ubuntu’s ranking on Distrowatch, I wondered about the true relevancy of sites like it. Does a site that ranks the popularity (in downloads only) of a distribution really have any bearing on how much Linux is used today? To that I would answer, “Not in the slightest”.

  • TLWIR 7: Patent Trolls, Superheroes and More
  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Toyota Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Toyota is its newest member.

      A major shift is underway in the automotive industry. Carmakers are using new technologies to deliver on consumer expectations for the same connectivity in their cars as they’ve come to expect in their homes and offices. From dashboard computing to In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI), automobiles are becoming the latest wireless devices – on wheels.

    • Are Android and Linux the same thing?

      I’ve knocked the sand out of my keyboard, applied aloe to my sunburned skin, and am trying to apply my refreshed and relaxed brain to the following conundrum:

      Is Android Linux?

      [...]

      Like most classifications of this nature, the decision on where to define the differences between Linux and Android really makes argument go one way or the other. If you point to the kernel, then yes, Linux and Android are very much related to each other. If you look at the application layer, then things get much harder to pin down.

    • 20 years of Linux

      Torvalds thus chose to release Linux under the Gnu General Public License or GPL created by Richard Stallman, the visionary behind free software movement. The license gave end-users and developers four important freedoms:

      •The freedom to use the software for any purpose;

      •The freedom to change the software to suit their needs;

      •The freedom to share the software with friends and neighbors; and

      • The freedom to share the changes they make.

      The decision to go with GPL was crucial because it fueled Linux’s development and use worldwide, eventually transforming it from a hacker’s experiment to the foundation of a large, thriving, commercial eco-system.

    • AMD’s New Open-Source Employees

      Joining John Bridgman and Alex Deucher in working on the open-source driver stack at AMD are two new, but familiar, names: Michel Dänzer and Christian König. These two Linux graphics driver developers are now officially AMD employees.

    • Graphics Stack

      • WebCL: OpenCL For The Browser

        First there was WebGL to bring OpenGL to the web-browser, and now there’s WebCL to do the same for bringing OpenCL to the web. The Khronos Group is getting ready WebCL, to bring OpenCL to modern web browsers with JavaScript support. Early WebCL support is already available for the WebKit rendering engine.

        WebCL is expected to work in a similar way to WebGL, but to instead harness the compute power of modern graphics processors. There are currently a few basic WebCL demos for those running Mac OS X with a modern NVIDIA GPU that supports the OpenCL 1.0+ specification. Samsung is largely behind the work on bringing WebCL to WebKit while Nokia has been working on a WebCL extension for Mozilla Firefox. Those interested in learning more about WebCL can visit the Khronos Group Wiki page.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The Mistake that is Upgrading to KDEPIM 4.6.0

        I’d like to see if I could downgrade, but Sabayon has removed the older PIM from repositories. So, I guess I’m moving to a new distro tomorrow and risk losing everything else trying to use an older version. Yeah, I have a back-up from right before the upgrade, but that’s a week or two’s worth of mail – some of it important.

  • Distributions

    • There Should Be Only One Distribution!

      What the person is really saying is, they don’t like the distribution, or maybe just Ubuntu and its popularity, and want to be vocal about it. Know what I do when I don’t like something? I don’t use it. There’s a whole pile of stuff in our community that I don’t like, and I rarely, if ever, talk about it. I don’t believe in using Adobe’s Flash, I could go on and on about it when people bring it up, I don’t. I do my thing and move on. Not so with the type of person I mentioned, they’ll bring it up about each and every new derivative of almost every distribution.

      Here’s the funny part too, if they like some derivative of a specific distribution that they already like then it’s perfectly fine.

      Let’s speak about the other group, the smaller group that feels we really do have too many distributions and actually makes an attempt at explaining why they believe having fewer would be better. They will tell you a number of reasons, all fairly sound from the onset, until you start to discuss them.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon Linux 6 Comes Now in Four New Flavours

        After the release of Sabayon Linux 6, Fabio Erculiani is proud to announced the immediate availability for download of four Core editions of the Sabayon Linux operating system.

        Sabayon Linux 6 Core editions are designed for Linux experts and advanced users that want to set up a home server or create their very own operating system, based on Sabayon.

        The four newly updated editions of Sabayon Linux 6 are: SpinBase, CoreCDX, ServerBase and OpenVZ. While the SpinBase and ServerBase editions allow users to make Sabayon spins or set up a home server, the CoreCDX edition allows users to easily obtain a minimal graphical environment of Sabayon.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat appoints new General Manager for the Middle East and Africa Region

        Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that George DeBono has been appointed as general manager for Red Hat in the Middle East and Africa region. DeBono, who previously held a senior global operations role within Red Hat, will now lead the company’s business in the region.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Modal Dialogs Land in Ubuntu 11.10

            Modal dialogs in Ubuntu 11.10 made their first appearance last week for Unity 2D users. Today they make their appearance in Unity proper.

            The effect is provided by the ‘unity dialog handler’ plugin.

          • ClassicMenu Indicator – Notification area applet for the top panel of Unity desktop
          • Tired of paying for Windows? Try Linux instead

            Surprising revelation: for the last month or so, I’ve been using a Linux-powered laptop as my primary work machine.

            Linux, of course, is the free, open-source alternative to Windows and Mac operating systems. I’ve fiddled with it from time to time, but never considered it a viable replacement for either one.

            Mind you, I can’t abandon Windows altogether. Not only do I write about it for a living, I also rely heavily on certain features and programs not currently available in Linux.

            But this much I’ve learned: If you want to breathe new life into an old and/or slow PC, or you’re just tired of paying for operating systems, Linux rocks.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • AriOS 3.0 Released [Ubuntu 11.04 Remaster]

              AriOS is a really interesting Ubuntu remaster that comes with a clean design and a large default application selection, especially useful for those with poor or no Internet connectivity.

            • Introducing Update Packs in Linux Mint Debian

              One of the strong points of Linux Mint Debian is the fact that it’s a rolling distribution. Users enjoy a continuous flow of updates coming from the repositories, which keeps their system up to date without the need to upgrade to newer releases or to go through the hassle of reinstalling the operating system. When the updates are significant and affect large or sensitive parts of the system, some experience is needed from the user. The new updates might ask you something you’re not familiar with, some post-configuration might be required for things to work as they did, and if you make a mistake and you don’t have the knowledge to fix things up, you might very well end up with a partly or completely broken system.

            • A quick look at Linux Mint LXDE 11
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux gaming handheld targets $10-$20 price — but is it for real?

      Eccentric indie game developer Robert Pelloni (“Bob’s Game”) announced he is developing a gaming handheld prototype based on Linux that will sell for $10-20 by year’s end. The 400MHz ARM-based “nD” device will offer a 2.4-inch, 320 x 240 display, and Wi-Fi, and will be supported soon with a Linux SDK, claims Pelloni, although many are skeptical the device will see the light of day.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Netbooks: RIP or Live Long and Prosper?

        “The netbook has been murdered,” read the article on ITworld that got tongues wagging. “The concept of an inexpensive computing device with high value for the third world has been sufficiently co-opted so as to make the category meaningless.

        “Some called netbooks a sub-category of ‘ultra-light’ or ‘sub-notebooks,’ but netbooks became legitimized by the announcement of the (US)$100 OLPC laptop,” the article went on.

        It wasn’t long before the news spread to Slashdot, where bloggers — as per their wont — expressed a healthy amount of skepticism.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Intel Releases New Open Source Packages

    Intel’s research division Intel Labs recently released a pair of open source software packages, including a distributed scene graph package to increase the maximum number of participants in 3D Web applications, like virtual worlds, by more than 20 times, and an advanced offline ray tracing package to help speed up rendering of photorealistic images on Intel-based systems by 100 percent.

  • Tech Pundits Surrender: The Retreat from Free Software and Open Standards

    All the same, such views seem deeply misguided. They present false dichotomies, often based on an unrealistic definition of quality. All they really do is support the existing state of affairs between manufacturers and end-users, and delay the innovations that free software and open source are in the process of delivering.

  • Picking the Right Web Server for the Right Job

    Both have good reasons for their popularity. Apache is at the core of the LAMP technology stack upon which a lot of server architecture is based: Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl. That’s not just the web server itself but other application servers that use LAMP as a foundation. Among them are popular content management systems (CMSs) as Drupal and blogging platforms such as WordPress. If you need more, many Apache modules enable you to easily incorporate additional functionality into the Web server.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Fixes to memory footprint land in Firefox 7

        Firefox 5 was all about bug stomping and the stillborn channel switcher, Firefox 6 will see the addition of lots of HTML5 and CSS3 features and more privacy controls, and Firefox 7 — at long last — will focus on memory management and performance increases.

        Firefox 6, which moves to the Beta release channel today, introduced a significantly improved about:memory page with buttons that can manually trigger garbage collection (GC) and cycle collection (CC). Garbage collection frees up memory by clearing old and unused JavaScript objects; cycle collection does the same for DOM objects, including web pages. By hitting these buttons repeatedly — or by hitting “Minimize memory usage”, which triggers both processes three times in a row — you can reduce Firefox 6′s memory footprint significantly.

  • SaaS

    • OpenStack is getting more and more attention…

      RackSpace and Eucalyptus are definitely taking two very different paths: RackSpace is spending time and effort to set a new standard, yet involving as many actors as they can (read standardization efforts, community building, creating alliances, etc).

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • All new e-governance projects must work on open source operating systems: Draft

      Computer hardware and peripherals used by all new e-governance projects must work with Linux and other open source operating systems, says a draft policy. The rules for device drivers – software that make devices such as printers and servers talk to computers – have been put in the public domain by the department of information technology, which will take into account views of hardware makers and other stakeholders before finalising the policy. The proposed policy is expected to save government money as open source systems come cheap.

      Many states are keen to adopt cheaper systems but shy away due to their non-compatibility with latest hardware. The draft effectively rules out use of closed systems such as Apple Macs and iPads. It is also silent on smartphones that run on proprietary software.

      For instance, India’s showcase project, Nandan Nilekani-led Adhaar, makes extensive use of Blackberrys. In general, India has always supported use of open source operating systems but it is the first time a policy is being framed on the use of operating systems and device drivers in government projects. The policy is expected to open a Pandora’s box, as most companies, including makers of PCs, servers, chips, and operating systems, have arrangements to make their products talk to each other.

    • EU Lock-in

      Yeah, they’re locked-in seriously and now they want to swallow the sinker.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Open-Source Car

      Besides a V6 as your engine, your car is very likely to soon be running Linux under the hood. The Linux Foundation will be announcing today that Toyota is joining the Foundation.

      Some of you may be wondering, “What the heck is a car company doing joining the Linux Foundation?” The answer is easy. As the Foundation puts it, “A major shift is underway in the automotive industry. Car-makers are using new technologies to deliver on consumer expectations for the same connectivity in their cars as they’ve come to expect in their homes and offices. From dashboard computing to In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI), automobiles are becoming the latest wireless devices – on wheels.”

  • Programming

    • Shed Skin: Another Way To Compile Python Code

      Last week on Phoronix I wrote about Gccpy, which is an effort as part of Google’s Summer of Code to develop a Python front-end to GCC that would allow compiling Python into native system binaries using the GNU Compiler Collection. This was of interest to many readers and the developer behind Gccpy, had commented in more detail in the forums. Following that news article I received an email regarding another Python compiler effort.

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • David Stockman: Ben Bernanke Is Finished!
    • Revealed: Tim Geithner’s Cover Letter to Goldman Sachs

      Among my many other accomplishments: Helping a large number of financial institutions avoid the consequences of their actions. As many of the very large number of our mutual friends (hint, hint) will tell you, the quid pro quo on this — cutting executive salaries and perks while limiting dividends and corporate acquisitions — was strictly window dressing. Remember the bonuses AIG paid to executives in its Financial Services division after receiving $170 billion in bailout?

      Prior to my current position I served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It was in that job, when I got Bear Stearns a $30 billion bailout, that I discovered my true vocation: Giving large amounts of other people’s money to down-on-their-luck wealthy institutions. This was very important to help the economy, no matter what Paul Krugman says. I mean really, what’s he ever done?

      In closing I would just like to say how much I respect and admire your CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, whom everyone agrees is very spry for a man of his age.

    • UPDATE: Goldman, BlackRock Complete E-Traded, Cleared Credit Swap

      Goldman Sachs Group (GS) and $3.65 trillion asset manager BlackRock Inc. (BK) announced Thursday they have completed an index credit derivative trade along the lines of what was envisaged in the 2010 Dodd- Frank financial overhaul law.

      It is Goldman’s first swap trade with a client to be electronically executed and centrally cleared in the spirit of that law. The firm has conducted several trades in a manner largely consistent with the aims of the act with other dealer banks for some time.

      The trade, referencing the CDX North America Investment-Grade Index administered by Markit, was executed on a trading platform run by Tradeweb, and was cleared through Chicago’sCME Group. Other firms in the derivatives market, including Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan and Barclays Capital, have made similar announcements in recent months.

      Goldman served as the clearing agent, routing the trade through to the CME clearinghouse for processing on its client’s behalf. It also served as the executing dealer on the trade.

      Clearing is when a central counterparty stands between trading parties, guaranteeing their contractual obligations in case a member of the clearinghouse defaults.

    • Goldman Sachs flexes its lobbying muscle

      Facing the wrath of the public and the government after the global financial crisis that hit three years ago, Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has opened a new front for its aggressive business tactics — the nation’s capital.

      Increased federal oversight and the threat to its lucrative investment bank business from investigations and pending regulations have led Goldman to bolster its Washington presence significantly, turning a low-key lobbying operation into a sophisticated, high-powered enterprise.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • US claims all .com and .net websites are in its jurisdiction

        THE US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) wants to take down web sites that use the .com and .net top level domains (TLD) regardless of whether their servers are based in the US.

        Erik Barnett, assistant deputy director of ICE said told the Guardian that the agency will actively target web sites that are breaking US copyright laws even if their servers are not based in the US. According to Barnett, all web sites that use the .com and .net TLDs are fair game and that, since the Domain Name Service (DNS) indexes for those web sites are routed through the US-based registry Versign, ICE believes it has enough to “seek a US prosecution”.

        According to the Guardian, ICE is not focusing its efforts just on web sites that stream dodgy content but those that link to them, something the newspaper claims has “considerable doubt as to whether this is even illegal in Britain”. It points out that the only such case to have been heard by a judge in the UK was dismissed.

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