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08.23.11

Links 23/8/2011: Linux 3.1 RC3, Scientific Linux 6.1 Reviews

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Non-Windows Operating Systems for the Beginner

    Windows is by far the most commonly used operating system, with over 95% market share. Most computer users have used Windows operating systems exclusively throughout their lives, and may know very little about alternatives.
    The next biggest operating system is Apple’s OS X. One of the main differences between Windows and Apple is that Windows can be put and run on just about any computer, while the Apple operating system can only be run on Apple hardware. This means if you want to switch to the Apple OS, you have to buy an Apple computer.
    The second most popular alternative to Windows is Linux. Linux is a free, open source operating system which can run on any system. It is redistributed in a number of different forms, the most common being the Ubuntu distribution. Linux has a comparatively small user base, and it has traditionally been considered difficult to use, however it has gotten better over time, and is fairly easy to install. Linux is supported by a large developer community, and it isn’t hard to find help when you need it.

  • Using Linux to Improve Energy Efficiency and Productivity

    There’s been a long-standing belief that office automation is just too expensive to bother with. From possible higher hardware costs, all the way down to software licenses that are targeting large enterprise customers at high rates. The barrier to entry feels too high, thanks in part to costly price points within the automation industry.

    On the do it yourself (DIY) front, going with a Linux-based solution is not only affordable, it’s downright practical. Because there’s no stipulation stating that one must hire an outside firm to set up office space automation, the choice of installing in-house or outsourcing the task is left to the decision makers.

    This allows for near complete freedom to carry out a self-installation via an existing IT team, thus keeping control of the entire situation under one roof. And one place that I think is a no-brainer place to start is wasted energy usage.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 161
  • Linux Desktop Flamewars: Is the News Media Too Negative?

    Is the tech press too focused on negativity, to the detriment of the FOSS community? I don’t know how he does it, but Bruce Byfield writes calm, thoughtful, lengthy articles that somehow ignite mad passions and flamefests. In his latest piece he discusses some of KDE4 developer Aaron Seigo’s thoughts that the tech press presents an unbalanced, negative perspective, and sparks yet another round of heated discussions. So what’s going on here?

  • Linux Journal Readers’ Choice Awards
  • Desktop

    • The sad state of the Linux Desktop

      Some days ago it was reported that Microsoft declared it considers Linux on the desktop no longer a threat for its business. Now I usually wouldn’t care that much what Microsoft is saying, but in this case, I think, they’re very right – and thererfore I wonder why this hasn’t raised any discussions in the free software community (at least I haven’t seen one – if it has and I missed it, please provide links in the comments). So I’d like to make a start.

  • Server

    • Linux and the financial crisis

      The financial industry is out-innovating regulators, experts and common investors. For years, the financial industry hired the best hackers it could find. They have a sizable share of the most creative and smart engineers on the planet. And Linux is one of their favorite tools. It is not difficult to understand: you can literally rewrite, or help rewrite, the Linux kernel. Today, Wall Street runs on Linux and it thrives thanks to its elite programmers.

    • Microsoft, CS2C take joint aim at Chinese cloud market

      We’ve all heard of Microsoft; China Standard Software Co (CS2C), not so much. The Shanghai-based company focuses on Linux and related software under the NeoShine, NeoKylin and NeoLite brands.

      An agreement between the two companies is aimed at the joint development and marketing of mixed-source software for China’s cloud market, using Hyper-V Open Cloud and NeoKylin Linux Server.

  • Kernel Space

    • LinuxCon: Open Source is an Ecosystem, not a Zero Sum Game

      Linux and open source development is not a zero sum game. This was the explicit message from Ubuntu Technical Architect Allison Randal’s keynote speech at LinuxCon, but the sentiment had been articulated in a number of ways all week long from everyone here. The processes by which a company makes great open source software improve the world for everyone.

    • Intel Thunderbolt Support Under Linux

      Earlier this year Apple introduced Thunderbolt ports on their new systems while more hardware vendors will be offering these next-generation high-speed connections on their systems going forward, particularly when the Ivy Bridge hardware is rolled out. Thunderbolt, which was developed under the Light Peak codename, can transfer data at 20 Gbit/s and offers much potential, but how’s the Linux support?

    • The dawn of Linux: “it’s just a hobby, it won’t be big and professional”

      As we are celebrating 20 years of Linux this week, it seems only fitting to highlight a few milestones in the life of what has come to be (for many people) a very important piece of software development.

      This link will take you to some collected notes, which dig right back to the dawn of Linux history on the 31st of July 1992 when Linus Torvalds was discussing his ideas on an open newsgroup.

    • Linux 3.1 Kernel Draws More Power With Another Regression

      If you were hoping that the Linux 3.1 kernel would fix the big power regression problem that’s caused by PCI Express Active State Power Management (ASPM) being disabled on more systems since the release of the Linux 2.6.38 kernel, you’re not in luck. There has not been any active work in this area. Making things worse though for mobile Linux users interested in a long lasting battery is another new regression in the Linux 3.1 kernel. Affected systems can easily see a 30% increase in power consumption simply when comparing the Linux 3.0 kernel to the current code being assembled for Linux 3.1. For an Intel Sandy Bridge notebook, the power consumption is up by 76% just over the course of this year from Linux kernel regressions.

    • Announcement: RapidDisk (rxdsk) 1.1b Stable release
    • Linux 3.1-rc3
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • I’ve got some good news and some bad news

      Recently, I wrote an article about the lack of acceptance of GNOME 3. I received a private email from Aaron Seigo of KDE in which he took me to task, politely, thoughtfully, and with his usual thoroughness, for focusing on negative news. Since I often debate this issue with myself, with Seigo’s permission, I’m summarizing the discussion here.

      Seigo begins by asking, “Is it useful to spend time concentrating on the negatives in FOSS when we have not only a tremendous number of positive events occurring but many detractors who are willing to do the negativity thing for us? Why do we reward failure and negative reactions with press coverage when thriving and positive efforts struggle for valuable attention?”

      According to Seigo, the major stories of the past year include such items as users being disappointed in Unity and GNOME 3, the danger in Project Harmony’s copyright assignment templates, the need for anti-harassment policies at conferences, and Android’s patent issues.

    • Desktop Summit 2011

      I realize nearly ten days after the end of a conference is a bit late to blog about it. However, I needed some time to recover my usual workflow, having attended two conferences almost back-to-back, OSCON 2011 and Desktop Summit. (The strain of the back-to-back conferences, BTW, made it impossible for me to attend Linux Con North America 2011, although I’ll be at Linux Con Europe. I hope next year’s summer conference schedule is not so tight.)

      This was my first Desktop Summit, as I was unable to attend the first one in Grand Canaria two years ago. I must admit, while it might be a bit controversial to say so, that I felt the conference was still like two co-located conferences rather than one conference. I got a chance to speak to my KDE colleagues about various things, but I ended up mostly attending GNOME talks and therefore felt more like I was at GUADEC than at a Desktop Summit for most of the time.

    • My quest for a tiling window manager

      I’ve never used a tiling window manager before, but lately I’ve been doing more and more with the command line, and I’ve been using vim-only for almost a year now, so it seems like a natural next step.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Join KDE Italia at CoNAsSL 2011

        KDE Italia, the Italian community backing the KDE Italia website and the KDE Italia forum, is pleased to invite you to CoNAsSL 2011, an end-of-summer event aimed at gathering all the Italian associations involved in Free Software. The event will take place on 9, 10 and 11 of September, in a beautiful location: the Tuscan seaside! People attending will be hosted at the same place where the talks and workshops will be held: the “Baia dei Gabbiani” campsite in Scarlino, a town near Follonica (Grosseto).

    • GNOME Desktop

      • String freeze for GNOME 3.2 in 2 weeks

        This is a reminder to developers that we’ll enter string freeze in about 2 weeks. Note that although the development release version 3.1.90 is postponed by a week, that should not affect the dates of the string freeze. There are many bugs with the “string” keyword that will benefit from attention. Another interesting keyword is “i18n”. Please review these for your modules. Let’s do the best we can for GNOME 3.2!

      • Why I joined GNOME – fixing the clocks
      • GNOME3 and AMD – in a nearby future…

        A long time has gone since I posted the (in)famous bug regarding graphical corruption on GNOME3 seen only by ATI users who use the proprietary case. After long hours of frustration I’ve decided to jump into Intel chipsets which work very nicelly out of the box and leave ATI behind, but new developments suggest that ATI/AMD has fixed the bug and it’s under internal testing, so it seems that within one or two releases this bug will be fixed.

      • Gnome users are revolting II

        I currently have Debian Squeeze installed on my computer, and Fedora 15 on a Live USB, and I’m booting into both from time to time. This gives me a good idea of how Gnome 3 in Fedora compares to Gnome 2 in Debian in terms of ease and pleasure of use as a desktop environment.

  • Distributions

    • FirstImpressions of Puppy Linux Lucid 5.2.8

      I really enjoy using Linux a lot. My adventures with Linux started over ten years ago. I am far from being a Linux expert, but I am getting to the point now where I am pretty comfortable tackling challenges, experimenting with configurations, and using the command line. My Linux journey started with Ubuntu. But quickly I started to feel like Ubuntu was becoming the Microsoft of Linux. It’s very commercialized and extremely popular. Using Ubuntu no longer gave me that “I am unique and cool feeling because I use Linux and most everyone else doesn’t.”

    • Best Linux Distributions for Kids and Young at Heart

      Linux has been a versatile operating system catering the needs of people from all walks of life. Unlike Windows and Mac, which only target the general consumers, Linux offer various specialized distributions for engineers, doctors, religious people, and even kids. Yes, kids. Linux, thanks to its openness, has allowed many developers to create distributions made especially for kids of different age groups. These distributions aren’t made to teach C++ programming for kids. Instead, they are normal, easy to use distros with user interfaces specially designed for the young ones. Many of them come with games and educational software preinstalled, so that children can learn as well as have fun.

    • BackTrack 5 – A Linux Distribution Engineered for Penetration Testing

      Linux, which is a very versatile operating environment, caters for an array of different needs of different users. One such specific usage of Linux is in the area of computer security and penetration testing. Among the digital forensic tools available for Linux, BackTrack is well known as an all-in-one platform that offers security professionals all the tools that they may need to carry out various security related tasks.

    • BackTrack 5.0 updated with new tools
    • New Releases

      • Zorin 3.1
      • IPCop 1.9.20
      • Swift Linux version 0.1.2
      • News: 2011.08.19 installation media

        Hi,
        time for a much needed update to the Arch installation media, as the last release (2010.05) is not only quite outdated, but now yields broken installations if you do a netinstall (because the old installer is not aware of the changed kernel/initramfs filename in our new Linux 3.0 packages).

        What has changed in this period of more than a year?

    • Red Hat Family

      • Big Blue Tweaks Red Hat Deal for Power Systems

        IBM has updated a special Linux promotion it announced last year for Red Hat and SUSE Linux variants running on Power Systems machines.

      • Amavisd and SELinux

        A friend of mine recently ran into an issue with a Centos 6 box when trying to start amavisd. He knew it was SELinux related because the log had the following message in it

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 5.7 review

        RHEL 5.7 is a release that hasn’t a lot to be excited about, which, to be fair, is normal for an update of an enterprise Linux distribution. Koen Vervloesem sees what’s under the hood…

      • Scientific Linux 6.1 Carbon review – Almost there

        Scientific Linux deserves a lot of praise and credit. I think it was the first desktop-oriented RHEL spin that truly offered what normal people need without too much extra fuss. The 5.4 release was truly phenomenal in a time when neither RHEL nor CentOS would mound NTFS partitions without tweaks. Since, version 6.0 has been released, bringing new goods to the table, alongside some early-rushed glitches, which persist into the service pack.

        Overall, Scientific Linux works well – it’s fast and stable and modern and can easily be turned into a beautiful and fully functional desktop with everything you need. But it does all of this with a fairly high margin of risk. Users can so very easily make mistakes and ruin their systems. The repository management must not be given to users. It must be centralized. Printing and a weak default collection of programs in the live CD version, that’s another pair of faults. Nothing major, but perfection is won by tiny, tiny details.

      • First look at Scientific Linux 6.1

        The big thing that sells me on Scientific Linux (and other Red Hat Enterprise Linux clones) is the collection of administration tools. Both the text and GUI programs for managing system services, user accounts and the firewall are top notch. And Scientific Linux will be supported for several years (probably another five or six), making this a good distribution for home users who just want to install the operating system and forget about it. Despite a few problems early on, I came to enjoy Scientific Linux with its clean desktop and snappy performance. It’s a good desktop distro for people who want to avoid the cutting edge and rapid upgrade cycles.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation 3.0 Beta Unleashed

        One of the top-most open source solution providers in the world Red Hat Inc. has unveiled the beta version of the Red Hat Virtualisation 3.0, the company announced.

        With this new offering, the company has finally stepped into the process of delivering what it claims to be the “next generation version of the company’s end to end virtualisation solution.

      • Red Hat Looks Good Approaching Value Levels
      • Fedora

        • MP3 in Fedora 15

          I’ve been using a Fedora 15 Live USB to test Gnome 3, and also looking at how easy Fedora 15 is to do everyday task. Probably one of my most common everyday tasks on Linux is listening to MP3s and watching rips of TV shows and films. I was able to do this on Fedora 15 without much trouble, by following a series of notifications and advice links. Today I came across a review of Fedora 15 where the author (a person with lot more IT experience than me) has gone down the same road as me but somehow failed to reach the end.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition Updates Released

          Well, it didn’t take nearly as long as I thought that it would. Hot on the heels of my post about Mint Debian and updates, new base release ISO images for both the Gnome and Xfce desktops were made available at the end of last week. I find the fact that they were released together to be particularly encouraging, because it appears that the Xfce distribution is being treated as an equal to the Gnome distribution, rather than as a poor step-child, the way some other distributions do it. As I suspect Xfce will be getting more interest in the near future because of the uncertainty and unhappiness about Gnome 3, this is good news.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu tweaks Unity UI, adds ARM for servers

            Ubuntu’s controversial UI Unity is set for a few tweaks in the next version of the open-source operating system, as well as ARM support for the server edition.

            Mark Shuttleworth, founder of developer Canonical, unveiled a screenshot of the “Dash” in the next version, Ubuntu 11.10 – nicknamed Oneiric Ocelot.

          • Ubuntu Software Center Overhaul in Full Swing

            Ubuntu Software Center is seeing its second round of upgrades, this time changes are even more dramatic. Good to see Canonical putting so much thrust on Software Center which has the potential to become Ubuntu’s major money spinner in the near future.

          • Ubuntu App Developer Week 2011: 5th – 9th September
          • Ubuntu Linux bets on the ARM server

            In today’s data center, millions of instructions per second (MIPS) and gigabyte per second (GBPS) throughput are well and good, but being green (having a low power consumption) is becoming just as important. That’s why Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, is betting that in the long run, ARM processors will play an important role in tomorrow’s servers and datacenters.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • First Impressions of Linux Mint 11 Katya

              All in all, this is a very elegant, classy, and distinguished operating system. It’s very stable, very functional, and has all of the Ubuntu structure and backbone that you have come to expect and depend on with Ubuntu. Only difference is that everything is enhanced and restructured in a way that I feel very comfortable with instantly. As I mentioned before, if you have been enjoy Ubuntu but would like a change, Linux Mint 11 is definitely the way to go.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wind River’s fully integrated graphics software stack on Linux platform for processors
    • Embedded Linux test software focuses on high-risk segments

      Wind River announced a new version of its Linux-ready, embedded device test automation software. Wind River Test Management 4.0 can now identify high-risk segments in production code, as well as focus testing solely on changes made between builds, among other new features, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Canalys: Android shipments balloon 379% in Q2, iOS now No. 2 smartphone platform

          While Apple owns the largest share of handset shipments and profits among the world’s top smartphone vendors, Android is still the No. 1 smartphone operating system on the planet by a wide margin. Market research firm Canalys on Monday released its second-quarter smartphone figures, reaffirming impressive growth across the global smartphone industry. The firm says the worldwide smartphone market grew 73% year-over-year to more than 107.7 million units shipped last quarter, and Android lead the market in 35 of the 56 countries Canalys tracks. According to the firm’s estimates, Android shipments in the second quarter ballooned 379% over the same quarter last year to 51.9 million units. This impressive growth helped Android gain 48% of global smartphone shipments in the quarter. With 20.3 million iOS smartphones shipped in the June quarter, Apple’s mobile OS topped Symbian to steal the No. 2 spot with a 19% share of the global market. BlackBerry shipments grew 11% in Q2 though RIM’s global share slid, and Microsoft, still waiting for Nokia to launch its first batch of Windows Phones, shipped fewer than 1.5 million devices last quarter to take just 1% of the market — down 52% year-over-year. Canalys also notes that Apple was the top smartphone vendor in the second quarter, while Samsung grew 421% year-over-year to take the No. 2 spot with 17 million smartphones shipped. Canalys’ full press release follows below.

        • CyanogenMod development slows, but will continue

          Following the news that Steve Kondik, the founder of CyanogenMod, had been hired by Samsung, there had been some uncertainty regarding the future of the popular custom ROM for Android smartphones. To clarify matters, a blog posting has appeared on the CyanogenMod web site stating that rumours that “CyanogenMod’s core philosophy is changing, that we’ve been sold, or that we’ve given up” are all completely untrue. It states that Kondik, aka “Cyanogen”, is not leaving the project, which will continue.

        • The Plight of the Android App Wallflowers

          With just a handful of popular Android apps dominating users’ attention, what’s a developer to do? It’s all about discovery, says Nielsen’s Don Kellogg. “How can you make it easy for people to find your app? How can you ignite positive word of mouth? How can app stores and other aggregators improve the consumer experience to make it easier for consumers to discover a broader range of quality apps?”

    • HP/Tablets

      • HP drops webOS: What lies ahead?
      • HP TouchPads sell out across the US

        HP’s TouchPad tablet has enjoyed a weekend of bumper sales, with stock proving scarce at retailers across the US – thanks, it must be said, to a discount which has seen the device drop to under $100.

        The TouchPad was HP’s flagship tablet device, based on the webOS platform it acquired when it took over PDA pioneer Palm back in 2002. Designed to compete head-on with the likes of the iPad, it represented a similar approach to Research in Motion’s PlayBook, in that it was designed as a companion device to HP’s webOS-based smartphones.

      • 5 things you can do with your new HP TouchPad

        You’ve just bought an HP TouchPad for $99. You have successfully clicked on the Buy Now button faster than the frenzied, fire sale horde, and you slept soundly last night in the knowledge that a juicy piece of high-technology was winging its way to your door.

        In all honesty, though, you’re probably not even sure why you bought the HP TouchPad — it was simply a matter of behavioral economics. The TouchPad was $500, and now it’s $99 — how can that not be a good deal? Heck, this was the tablet that was heralded as the best non-Apple tablet — $99 must be a good deal.

      • Ubuntu Linux and Android Could Give HP’s TouchPad New Life

        HP’s ill-fated TouchPad may be a hot commodity now that it’s being offered at fire-sale prices, but those lucky enough to get their hands on one could soon find themselves with more choices than they ever imagined.

      • How to install Ubuntu Linux on an HP TouchPad
      • ‘It’s Alive!’ Says HP Exec of WebOS

        HP may be out of the tablet hardware business but, it’s holding on to its software presence in the market. “The WebOS is not dead,” declares Stephen Dewitt, senior vice president of Palm, which is owned by HP.

      • A Big Round of Face-Palms For HP

        The Linux-oriented blogosphere reacted swiftly to HP’s news that it’s cutting webOS devices and mulling the sale of its PC division. A brief sound-bite sampler: “No competent management left,” “HP blinked,” “What were they thinking?” “Now it’s simply too late,” and “It’ll be sad to see them go.” Suffice it to say, then, this was not a popular decision among Linux lovers.

      • HP’s WebOS licensing ship has sailed, blogs say

        While HP’s official company line continues to be that WebOS will live on, industry watchers say the OS will quickly fade away as a tech history footnote. Find out more

      • $99 TouchPad a hit, as Ubuntu and Android ports emerge

        Sales of the “discontinued” HP TouchPad have been brisk after its price was cut to as little as $99, and hackers are working overtime to port Ubuntu and Android to the WebOS-based tablet. Meanwhile, analysts speculate on who might acquire HP’s WebOS operations, which include a 2,000-plus patent portfolio that one analyst says could recoup the cost of HP’s Palm acquisition.

      • Practically Giving Away the HP TouchPad, Still Too Expensive

        Those of you who may have paid more needn’t worry. HP has offered to give full refunds if you choose, or just return the balance of what you paid minus the current retail price. This is a classy move on HP’s part, removing the bitter taste many of their customers likely had after hearing the devices were being discontinued.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • You Make a Difference

      *

      In a town known for excess, we were impressed by the goodwill shown to EFF and beyond. Cheers to everyone who got chopped by Mohawk-Con to benefit charity (we hope you chose us!), thanks to the DEF CON Scavenger Hunt for including EFF, and much respect to those who joined the Be the Match bone marrow donor registry.

    • Clay Shirky Says Good Collaboration is Structured Fighting

      Companies and projects focusing on large-scale collaboration might want to start thinking about collaboration in a new way. Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody closed out the second day of LinuxCon North America 2011 with a contrarian look at collaboration. While many treat collaboration as a “love fest” or harmonious interaction, Shirky put forward the idea that productive methods of fighting are the most successful, particularly in open source.

      Shirky, who also teaches at New York University, started talking about his “favorite bug report ever.” The bug report, for Firefox (#330884), was a corner case where Firefox would show any user what sites that should never save passwords even if selected by another user.

    • A Look at Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab

      One of the key themes at LinuxCon North America 2011 is the ubiquity of Linux. Many people use Linux in many ways, often totally unaware that they’re depending on Linux. Likewise, those of us in the open source community depend heavily on Oregon State University’s Open Source Labs (OSUOSL), but may not even realize just how much. Thanks to one of the final talks at LinuxCon by Lance Albertson, it’s much clearer now just how important OSUOSL is.

    • Lessons from LinuxCon North America 2011

      Every conference, at least the good ones, has a theme to tease out and lessons to learn. LinuxCon North America 2011 was one of the best, and having the good fortune to be in Vancouver, BC last week for LinuxCon, I learned quite a bit.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Limpag: WordPress rides the open source juggernaut

      EIGHT years after it was started by a 19-year-old college freshman as a blogging software, WordPress now powers 14.7 percent of the world’s top one million websites.

      It is used in 55 million websites.

    • WordPress powers 14.7 per cent of the top million web sites

      According to WordPress founder and lead developer Matt Mullenweg, 14.7 per cent of the top million web sites in the world are now powered by the open source blogging and publishing platform, up from just 8.5 per cent a year ago. The project’s latest data also shows that 22 out of every 100 new active domains in the United States are running WordPress.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Cabinet Office shuns open-source in IT-tracking deal

      The Cabinet Office and its IT underlings have exhaustively championed the need for more OSS across government since the ConDem Coalition was cobbled together in May 2010. Nonetheless Francis Maude’s department has just snubbed open source players by awarding a contract to a proprietary software provider to help establish how much money the government spends on technology.

      Readers need only cast their minds back to a damning report published by the public administration select committee (PASC) last month that lambasted over-reliance on big IT firms in Whitehall over many years.

  • Programming

    • JetBrains releases Meta Programming System 2.0

      JetBrains’ Meta Programming System (MPS) offers a development environment that implements the Language-Oriented Programming (LOP) paradigm. Instead of using a given programming language to solve a problem, developers initially design a custom, domain-specific language that ideally allows them to implement the required functionality in a better way.

Leftovers

  • Spending Money: VMWare
  • Spending Money: EAGLE CAD

    Some time back I reported on one of my peculiar needs: electronic circuit design. There are a few open-source packages available, such as KiCad, which I have experimented with. But unfortunately, it’s not (yet) what I would call “industrial grade.”

    Enter EAGLE. This was recommended to me a few years ago, but until recently I didn’t have occasion to try it out. EAGLE has four things going for it.

    First, it’s available for Linux. I don’t need to run it in Windows emulation mode.

  • That Other OS as a Legacy App

    All this talk of the “PC” being obsolete is a bit off-base. A PC is a computer that is suitable for use by an individual. That cuts out main-frames but includes just about every other type of computer in mass production: desktops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets, smart phones and various smart thingies embedded in various gadgets and appliances. Ordinary folks can even use main-frames remotely if they are running some web application. The PC is here to stay but it won’t be staying in the legacy formats.

    The “desktop” intended to cover a good portion of a desk or to hold up a monitor is dead for consumers although some foolishly locked-in businesses may still feel that’s what a PC looks like. The rest of us will use thin clients that bolt on to the back of a monitor or reside inside it. We don’t generally need “drives” or expansion slots in our PCs so why pay for them and have them take up space? We don’t need to use 100W gadgets near where we work when 10W or less can do the job. PCs will be like light-bulbs. Smaller and cheaper to own and operate is better.

  • A Decade of Haiku
  • Security

  • Finance

    • Goldman CEO hires prominent defense lawyer

      Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein has hired high-profile Washington defense attorney Reid Weingarten, according to a government source, as the Justice Department continues to investigate the bank.

    • Video: The Bankers as the Enemy of Humanity

      This video is stunning, in that it is an articulate and well done rant that will resonate with many readers. The fact that it appeared on Karl Denninger’s site (hat tip reader Scott, Denninger’s been very critical of the TBTF banks) is an indication that the level of frustration with the major banks’ refusal to take responsibility for wrecking the global economy and their efforts to preserve their ability to loot is moving to a new level.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Mixed Messages at the ALEC Annual Meeting

      In the midst of corporations voting with with state politicians on corporate wishlists to rewrite the law, some messages at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Annual Meeting in New Orleans got a little mixed up. Here are two examples.

    • Morello Returns to Union Town

      Op-ed. Throughout the winter protests against Governor Scott Walker’s labor-bashing agenda, the halls of the Wisconsin Capitol were alive with the sounds of steel drums, cowbells, and daily sing-a-longs. Eventually, a muse would emerge to channel Madison’s musical energy into a powerful new protest song.

      With lyrics like, “When they put the governor on trial, I will be in the front row” and “…the kids locked in the capital are fighting till the end,” Tom Morello’s “Union Town” became the de facto anthem for the thousands of protesters fighting the Walker agenda, who heard it almost every morning on local radio stations. On September 5th, the Rage Against the Machine frontman and labor rights advocate, will return to Madison with Tim Mcilrath of Rise Against and Wayne Kramer of Detroit’s MC5 as part of their recurring Justice Tour, with all profits from their show benefitting nonprofit media center The Nation Institute.

    • Brownskins and Greenbacks: ALEC, the For-Profit Prison Industry and Arizona’s SB 1070

      “Beside my brothers and my sisters, I’ll proudly take a stand. When liberty’s in jeopardy, I’ll always do what’s right. I’m out here on the frontline, sleep in peace tonight. American soldier, I’m an American soldier…”

      So goes the ringtone on Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce’s phone—as performed by Toby “’cause we put a boot up your ass, it’s the American way” Keith. Seconds into any conversation with Pearce on the issue of illegal immigration, you’ll find the song fits. Pearce is—in his mind—the “American soldier.” What’s more, just as he sees himself a soldier, Pearce envisions his home to be none less than the front in a war which threatens the very fiber of the nation.

    • “Legislative Laundry”–Investigative Report on the Mechanics of the ALEC Scholarship Fund

      “You and a guest are cordially invited to join Arizona Lobbyists for dinners while in Washington, DC for ALEC. We have 3 dinners planned for your enjoyment and hope you will be able to join us… We will be gathering in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt, ½ hour before our reservations to organize and accompany you to the venues by taxis…”

      “Wednesday December 1, 2010: Old Ebbit Grill – reservation for 6:30pm…Thurs. December 2, 2010: The Source by Wolfgang Puck – reservation for 7:30pm (you will be able to enjoy the holiday gala at the Hyatt scheduled for 6:00pm before we meet in the lobby for dinner)… Fri. December 3, 2010: Smith & Wollensky – reservation for 6:30pm.”

      – Invite sent to Arizona ALEC member lawmakers for the annual ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, D.C., December 1-3, 2010.

  • Privacy

    • Critics label cybercrime bill ‘invasion of privacy’

      A CONTROVERSIAL bill that extends the powers of Australia’s police and security agencies to retain emails, text messages and other data used in alleged cyber crimes has encountered a roadblock, with a committee recommending significant changes.

  • Copyrights

    • ACTA

      • European Parliament ACTA study

        Act on ACTA refers to a European Parliament Trade Committee commissioned study on ACTA (pdf). The study highlights problematic aspects of ACTA and makes recommendations (see below). According to the study, “unconditional consent would be an inappropriate response”, and “There does not therefore appear to be any immediate benefit from ACTA for EU citizens”. The study confirms ACTA goes beyond current EU legislation. It recommends asking the European Court of Justice an opinion on ACTA.

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