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Links 16/8/2011: GNU/Linux is Ahead, GCC 4.7 is Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 6:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Sunny Days of GNU/Linux

    We are fortunate enough to live at a time when many (if not most) phones run Linux and the overwhelming majority of Web servers do too. Those who say that GNU/Linux is “not ready for the desktop” hardly exist anymore. So for those who insist on running it on their desktop/s, there is rarely a major barrier. Videos work just fine (increasingly with HTML5 and free codecs, not Flash), a lot of applications are Web based, and some of the world’s best Web browsers are available for GNU/Linux, so how can one complain? Among developers and producers, there is no real pitfall associated with GNU/Linux (those that are brought up can easily be defended against, e.g. “fragmentation”).

  • Desktop

    • Trying to switch to Linux
    • Are Linux Users Smarter or is Everyone Else Just Lazy?

      Access to the Linux desktop is incredibly simple to run with modern distributions. Yet many naysayers have grasped at a difficult to dispel excuse for not switching. They say that their workplaces require them to use Windows along with a number of other specific-to-Windows programs.

    • Is the Linux Desktop “On Par” With Mac and Windows? No Way!

      Where is the Linux desktop going, and where should it go? This is a hot topic, and an important one. Unfortunately the discussion usually starts from the wrong premise, that the Linux desktop has only recently achieved parity with its Mac OS X and Windows cousins. Not so! The Linux desktop has been superior since its early days, and would have to go backwards to achieve parity.

  • Server

    • How Linux mastered Wall Street

      When it comes to the fast-moving business of trading stocks, bonds and derivatives, the world’s financial exchanges are finding an ally in Linux, at least according to one Linux kernel developer working in that industry.

      This week, at the annual LinuxCon conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Linux kernel contributor Christoph Lameter will discuss how Linux became widely adopted by financial exchanges, those high-speed computerized trading posts for stocks, bonds, derivatives and other financial instruments.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Jim Zemlin on 20 Years of Linux

      Jim Zemlin, executive director of the non-profit Linux Foundation, has been using Linux for about as long as I have, which is roughly half the time that Linux has been around. I recently spoke with Jim about the Linux Foundation’s upcoming LinuxCon, the history of Linux, and what might be in store for the next twenty years.

      If you look at the history of computing, we see big established players dominating in their respective spaces, and then slowly wither and in some cases die altogether. 40 years ago computing was all mainframes and UNIX. Then the personal computer era began and desktop operating systems like Microsoft Windows ruled the roost — UNIX and mainframes were still around, but failed to adapt to the sea change in the primary nature of computing. In the last decase, we’ve seen an absolute explosion in mobile computing — Microsoft is still a contender but there’s no denying that they’ve been slow to react to the change in how people use computing devices.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Desktop Summit all done

      Like a large number of Desktop Summit attendees, I made my way back home shortly after the end of the conference. I will spare you the details of my schedule, and will share a few things of note.

  • Distributions

    • King Kongoni

      Overall I was disappointed with Kongoni. Granted, the project has its good points.

    • 10 Linux Server Distros That Could Save You a Bundle

      Businesses require reliability, stability and compatibility. It’s no wonder business owners prefer to stick with the status quo: It’s what works for them. Those entrepreneurs who take the time to research the possibilities outside that status quo find a treasure trove of free and low-cost alternatives. When it comes to software, Linux is at the top of that list. With more than 100 complete distributions from which to choose, Linux is far from a single entity.

      Linux powers the majority of the world’s websites, data centers, and development efforts. Consider this list of 10 business-oriented Linux distributions an all-in-one-place collection of information on those possibilities. The list is in no particular order.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • How to pimp your CentOS into a perfect desktop

        When it comes to being used as a desktop operating system, CentOS has several major advantages: it is super-stable and offers a very long-term support, which are a blessing for people seeking serious work. On the other hand, the rock-solidness comes with one possible flaw; you don’t always get the latest and greatest software.


        There you go. Your perfect desktop just got perfecter.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15 Live USB

          I’ve been trying Fedora 15 (and Gnome 3) from a Live USB. I’ve had a Live CD since the beta but my CD is failing and read errors mean programs fail to launch even if the OS does load. I’d tried a USB installation a year or so ago when I was distro hopping, but without luck. This time the USB boot worked, with only a minor hitch.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project News – August 15th, 2011

        * Debian named “Best Linux Distribution of 2011″ and “Top Production Server Distro”
        * Bits from the Release Team
        * Recent improvements with Debian GNU/kFreeBSD
        * FreedomBox activities at DebConf11
        * New website for mentors.debian.net
        * Debian s390x port
        * Integrating Emdebian Grip into Debian
        * Further interviews
        * Other news
        * New Debian Contributors
        * Important Debian Security Advisories
        * New and noteworthy packages
        * Work-needing packages
        * Want to continue reading DPN?

      • Debian Community celebrates its 18th birthday

        The Debian Project is pleased to mark the 18th anniversary of Ian Murdoch’s founding announcement. Quoting from the official project history: The Debian Project was officially founded by Ian Murdock on August 16th, 1993. At that time, the whole concept of a ‘distribution’ of Linux was new. Ian intended Debian to be a distribution which would be made openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Spending the day with an Ocelot

            After reading a few articles about the Alpha 3 version of Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot and finding that it was available (though it’s a little hard to find — perhaps by design — on the Ubuntu site), I thought I’d give Oneiric Alpha 3 a try since I had a day to spare — actually a unusually slow day at work — and not much else to do with it. Such is my life on a Saturday.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 228
          • Corporate desktops and Ubuntu

            A migration from Windows to Ubuntu is still a project that requires a lot of planning, analysis and hard work. But for most institutions, it’s realistic to be confident that 10-25% of the desktops can migrate smoothly if a professional team has that as their mission over a year or two. For large organisations, that might be 5,000-50,000 seats, and the resulting savings are tremendous given the increase in Windows licensing costs driven by Win 7.

          • Why Buy An Ubuntu Certified System?

            What do Chianti wines, Organic foods, and Spanish Ham have in common with Ubuntu Certified? The simple answer is that they all stand for quality.

            Chianti is an Italian standard (DOCG) for Tuscany wines that requires using defined methods, satisfying set quality standards.

          • Video: Recent Changes In Ubuntu 11.10

            Since I was gone for two weeks and there were quite a few changes in Ubuntu 11.10 during this period, I’ve made a video with all the new features / improvements:

          • ubuntu 11.10 — a little look

            ubuntu 11.10 oneiric ocelot (come on people…you could have come up with better that that…) alpha 3 has been released so i thought i’d give it a whirl. been using fedora 15 64 bit since its alpha stage and kind of miss a debian based distro. so i fired up vir­tu­al­box to give it a try. here’s a brief look with some screen­shots (click any of them for a larger view).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Ultralight laptops coming

        Lately I’ve been playing around with my little Asus netbook, a 10-inch screen model that came with Windows loaded but now runs Ubuntu Linux and delivers all the computing I need in portable situations at a cost below $400. When netbooks were a true phenomenon – this was before the “tablet revolution” that has rewritten the tech roadmap thanks to the iPad – they took the market by storm not because the big manufacturers figured out how to create a niche for them. Rather, it was the consumer who demanded them, and the consumer whose taste had PC companies scrambling to come up with the wide variety of models that defined this category.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Never underestimate the amount of open source software available

    Since starting the DIY IT Guy column here on Techrepublic I have found that so many people have severely under-estimated the amount of open source software available. In fact, I would lay claim that the amount of quality open source software far outweighs the amount of quality proprietary software.

    That’s a bold claim, I know … but it’s one I firmly believe in.

    When I was tasked with DIY, I knew how it was going to wind up. Think about it; a blog focused on the DIY crowed with a “cut costs” take on all things IT. Where would you think that would lead? Microsoft? Apple? Proprietary software? Nah … it lead straight to open source and all it has to offer.

  • Debunking popular open source myths

    The open source industry will soon reach another milestone when Linux celebrates its 20th anniversary on Aug. 25. Advocates identify five misconceptions surrounding the technology and discuss how these have since been proven false with the emergence of a viable business model.

    Traditionally, open source software (OSS) such as Linux was created and refined by a community of software enthusiasts working on it as a hobby or fueled by their personal passion. Linux founder Linus Torvalds, for example, was a computer science student at the University of Helsinki when he created the operating system (OS).

    This has resulted in several commonly-held perceptions regarding OSS such as the lack of capabilities and support for deployment in the enterprise space, and an insufficient security foundation.

  • Events

    • OSCON round-up: Open source isn’t declining. It’s maturing.

      Reading some stories recently, it would be easy to conclude that there was some sort of a decline in open source. I’ll not pretend to have new and objective data on the subject, but having just returned from OSCON in the USA I have to say rumours of the death of open source are premature.

    • A Tale of Two Conferences

      I spent the week in humid, rainy Berlin for the Desktop Summit. I particularly enjoyed Sunday’s keynotes by Claire Rowland and Nick Richards, not to mention the many great talks and discussions. It’s always fun to catch up with old friends (not to mention my coworkers at Collabora, very few of whom I see regularly), and to meet some new (to me, at least) faces, including João Paulo, whose Summer of Code project—implementing OTR in Telepathy—I have the pleasure of mentoring. I gave a talk of my very own, which apparently is one of the few videos available so far. I haven’t dared watch it yet. ;) I hope to make the promised new release of Bustle this coming week.

    • Open Science Summit 2011 this Fall!

      After a (fairly) successful event last year, the Open Science Summit will again happen this year, taking place in Mountain View, CA on October 22-23. Featuring multiple speakers from many different disciplines, the Open Science Summit focuses on how to adapt current scientific practices to ever changing technology, as well as how to open source scientific work and research.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Joyent Open Sources SmartOS for the Cloud

      Having open-sourced Node.js and seen the positive reception to Facebook’s Open Compute platform, Joyent is continuing in the open source tradition and releasing the source code of SmartOS, the operating system behind its cloud computing offerings.

    • SmartOS (based on IllumOS) released – with KVM

      SmartOS is a new Solaris/IllumOS-based distribution released by Joyent. “SmartOS incorporates the four most revolutionary OS technologies of the past decade – Zones, ZFS, DTrace and KVM – into a single operating system, providing an arbitrarily observable, highly multi-tenant environment built on a reliable, enterprise-grade storage stack.” Yes, they have ported the KVM virtualization facility from Linux to Solaris.

  • CMS

    • Why and how I migrated from Drupal to Jekyll

      I started blogging about Linux, in 2007, it all started because I was writing almost daily in some Linux distribution lists, so I thought it could have made sense to put all my writings on line in a single place, so others can use them.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Open Surface vs Open Core

        Changing sides again, if my system is open but anything I write in my word processor can’t be opened on another computer without spending lots of $$$ for another license, I won’t be too happy. An if the open core of my system has to meet the demands of the commercial software companies, it might not feel very open or work very well.

        It’s all about control. Is the user in control or the software provider? Or in the cloud, the company who uses and maintains the cloud or the company that designed it.


  • Project Releases

    • GIMP Single-Window Mode Almost Ready, Hardware Acceleration Planned

      ingle-window mode has been a feature requested and planned for GIMP for quite a while. The work has been continuing for so long that many almost forgot its coming. But for those still hoping for this feature, their wait may soon be over. Martin Nordholts, Android engineer and Open Source developer, recently posted that the long awaited option is feature complete and on track for GIMP 2.8.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Building a personal data locker

        Personal data being information associated with you: your contacts, your photos, the web pages you’ve visited, the places you’ve been, the messages you’ve sent and received, and so on. In short, your stuff.

  • Programming

    • Approved: C++0x Will Be An International Standard

      The ISO has unanimously approved C++0x, the next version of C++, to become an international standard. The International Organization for Standardization will now prepare the standards document for C++0x and release it in the coming months.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • An Invitation to the Apache ODF Toolkit

      Perhaps overlooked in all the excitement generated by the move of OpenOffice.org to Apache was the fact that a parallel move is occurring with the ODF Toolkit. A few weeks ago we submitted a proposal to Apache to start a new project based on the Java components that were until then hosted by the ODF Toolkit Union. This was done after consulting with ODF Toolkit community and getting approval from the ODF Toolkit Union’s Steering Committee. This proposal was recently reviewed, voted on and approved by Apache. So now we have the Apache ODF Toolkit project in the Apache Incubator.


  • Lawyers in Hell – Book Review – Updated – July 25, 2011 – Republished as One Piece
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Riots Are Over, Problems Are Not

      Burial of one’s problems is not the solution to these problems. Burial of a state’s problem is not the mass arrest of the symptom of this problem.


      Those who write more objectively or at least attempt to assess the arguments of both sides are not apologists for looters. They are apologists for truth.

    • Essex police charge man over water fight planned on BlackBerry Messenger

      A man will appear before magistrates next month for allegedly trying to organise a mass water fight via his mobile phone.

  • Cablegate

    • Top German Hacker Slams OpenLeaks Founder

      Former WikiLeaks deputy Daniel Domscheit-Berg has been expelled from Germany’s top hacker group, the Chaos Computer Club. In an interview, the group’s spokesman Andy Müller-Maguhn told SPIEGEL how he lost faith in Domscheit-Berg and his new whistleblowing project OpenLeaks.

    • Obama Crafts New Anti-WikiLeaks Law

      As far as anybody can tell, the release of the classified material by Wikileaks, despite the hyperbolic haranguing about Assange being a terrorist and about leaked documents harming our national security, has done no measurable harm to any individuals in the U.S. government. Nor is any damage to the safety and security of Americans as a whole at all perceivable. What the leaks have done is to give Americans a better idea of what their government does in their name. It’s possible even, as some have argued, that they’ve done much more good than just that. But sticking to the dangerous national security threat these leaks were promised to present by the apologists for shadow government, not even the government itself has pointed to any specific occurrences of danger or threats to safety or national security. Not even the Obama administration has made that charge.

    • OpenLeaks doing strange things with SSL

      What is wrong here is that an intermediate certificate is missing – we have a so-called transvalid certificate (the term “transvalid” has been used for it by the EFF SSL Observatory project). Firefox includes the root certificate from Go Daddy, but the certificate is signed by another certificate which itself is signed by the root certificate. To make this work, one has to ship the so-called intermediate certificate when opening an SSL connection.

    • Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s criminal history and her hypocrisy with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

      ulia Gillard had criminal allegations made against her in 1995 when she was accused of helping her boyfriend steal over $1,000,000 from the Australian Workers Union (AWU) and helping him spend the money on such things as her personal home renovations and dresses.

  • Finance

    • Quelle Surprise! New York Fed Director Shills for Bank of New York, Argues Against Rule of Law

      Given the Federal Reserve’s abysmal regulatory record in the runup to the crisis (even the uber bank friendly Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was more aggressive in going after subprime abuses, for instance), it should be no surprise that some of its directors are utterly lacking in propriety and common sense when it comes to defending the rights of banks to profit at the expense of customers and society at large.

      The only good news about the latest example is that it was so ineptly done that it appears to be backfiring.

    • Quelle Surprise! New York Fed Director Shills for Bank of New York, Argues Against Rule of Law

      Over the past ten years investors have been battered by the dotcom bubble(off over 50%), 9/11 (off over 25%), the credit crisis bubble(off 50%), the crash of commodities(down 25%) and now the government debt downgrade together with a dire European sovereign debt crisis(down 20-25%). Nor have we ever gotten back to the all-time peak of the Dow Jones industrial average of 1410, set in October, 2007. It’s no surprise that investors are fleeing equity mutual funds and shoved $50 billion of their savings in money market funds yielding zero laast week. Zero is once again again preferable to losing money.

    • Goldman Sachs Downgrades Bank Of America, Cites Market Rumors As The Reason

      That’s because the market is buzzing with rumors about Bank of America, and Goldman’s negative view might signal that the firm believes that Brian Moynihan is unable or limited in his ability to quash the concerns, now and in the future.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • ALEC: Facilitating Corporate Influence Behind Closed Doors

      Through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), corporations pay to bring state legislators to one place, sit them down for a sales pitch on policies that benefit the corporate bottom line, then push “model bills” for legislators to make law in their states. Corporations also vote behind closed doors alongside politicians on this wish-list legislation through ALEC task forces. Notably absent were the real people who would actually be affected by many of those bills and policies.

  • Civil Rights

    • Corporations are People, My Friend, and So are States, Say GOPers

      On the campaign trail in Iowa last week, former corporate executive and Republican governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney shot back at hecklers who were challenging his stance that it would be unfair and unwise to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations to reduce the deficit.

      “Corporations are people, my friend,” Romney said. “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? People’s pockets! Human beings, my friend.”

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