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Links 31/8/2011: KDE Speed to Improve, Firefox for Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Big Brother Still Thinks He Knows Best

      There are folks in the world of FLOSS just as determined to sabotage their installed base. Ubuntu Unity, KDE 4.x and GNOME 3 come to mind. Perhaps those new interfaces are “better” in some ways, but the users will notice the learning curve. I don’t doubt some will not even be able to start using them because they are used to clicking on things they can see in front of them just as they have been seeing and grasping since infancy. Unnatural may be new but it’s not intuitive. Training had better be built in or it will be resisted.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Performance Boost Ahead

        Have you experienced performance issues when using KDE? If so, then you aren’t the only one. While things have been improving as KDE 4 matures, some users still have registered complaints. And one KDE hacker is trying to address them.

        Martin Gräßlin had begun working towards “rendering at 60 frames” per second. Gräßlin stated in a blog post today, “I could not imagine how a frame could take longer to render than the 16.67 msec.” But after some thought he realized where a couple of bottlenecks may be hiding.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Introducing Documents

        Many people asked me at Desktop Summit about the work I’ve been doing recently on implementing the awesome Documents designs from Jon and Jakub; so here it is, I am very happy to announce the first release of GNOME Documents. Here’s the obligatory screenshot.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Review: Mandriva 2011 “Hydrogen”

        Aside from a few isolated instances, Mandriva generally felt quite snappy and fast. It used 400 MB of RAM at idle, which I think is about average for KDE 4.
        KWin desktop effects worked well after I enabled them. The only issue I had was that there was no keyboard shortcut to directly change the virtual workspace; I had to zoom out to see the whole desktop cube to change workspaces, which is a little more cumbersome and time-consuming. What I mean is there’s no shortcut like CTRL+ALT+LEFT to switch to the workspace immediately to the left. For some reason I also couldn’t find any way to set such shortcuts to my liking.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat goes for OpenStack’s community jugular

        Red Hat has chosen to announce its new cloud management software Aeolus with a fresh spin of being more community-oriented than Aeolus’ competitor, OpenStack.

      • Red Hat’s Aeolus to ‘out-Linux’ Rackspace’s cloud

        Red Hat is leading a Fedora-like effort to succeed where OpenStack has struggled in building an open-source cloud founded on broad community input.

        Red Hat’s engineers are building Aeolus, a software suite to spin up, manage and deploy applications from physical and virtual servers to any public or private cloud.

      • Why Jim Whitehurst is Right to See VMware as the Competition

        Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst is never one to mince words, and is often full of surprises. Recently, although his position is arguable, he contended that both the PC and fat client operating systems are headed for obsolescence. Now, he has told ZDNet which company he forecasts will be Red Hat’s primary competitor by the year 2016: VMware. There are some excellent reasons to believe that forecast.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Begins to Take Shape

        The next major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux isn’t scheduled for general availability for another couple of years, making this the right time for Red Hat to get started on its development.

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 is now starting to take shape as the Linux vendor begins the multi-year process that will ultimately result in a new enterprise distribution release. RHEL 6 was officially released in November of 2010 and RHEL 7 is currently scheduled for release in 2013.

    • Debian Family

      • Vaio tips for Debian Squeeze
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Picturing the end of the road for another cycle
          • 10 Reasons Why I’m Done With Windows. (or why Ubuntu Linux is now ready for primetime!)

            2. Ubuntu is lovely. Yep there, I’ve said it. Linux for the desktop is now a great product. Not a perfect product yet, but great. How do I know? Well I installed Ubuntu 10.10 on the wife’s machine and it worked flawlessly out of the box. No having to configure networks, fiddle with arcane video driver settings or anything like that. It just worked. OK, there was one glitch later on, where her HP inkjet printer driver was incorrectly installed (so I had to hunt around on the forums to find the fix) but I said it wasn’t perfect. And even so it easily compares with the best that Windows has to offer in terms of ease of installation. Surprised? Yeah me too. Last time I looked Ubuntu was a pain. Now it’s not. ‘Nuff said?

          • Series: Introduction to Ubuntu Development – Part 1
          • 44 Community Wallpapers Shortlisted for Ubuntu 11.10
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 230
          • Quick Look: Ubuntu 11.10 Beta

            In two days, September 1st, Canonical will unleash to the world the first Beta version of the upcoming Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) operating system, due for final release on October 13th, 2011.

            With this occasion we thought it will be a great idea to inform our Ubuntu readers about some of the interesting features that will be included in this first Beta release of Ubuntu 11.10.

            We also remind everyone that just like the previous release (Ubuntu 11.04), this version of the Ubuntu operating system will have two Beta releases; the second one will be availble on September 22nd.

          • Don’t Hate the Playa…Hate the Game!

            So I was reading a recent article in NetworkWorld where once again, the “Canonical doesn’t give back” bullshit is raised. The author seems to take a couple “jabs” by bringing up Greg K-H’s infamous plumbers rant talk, the fact that Microsoft is in the top 10 of kernel contributors (and Canonical isn’t even top 30), and even says Canonical is unprofitable as “general understanding”…nice, thanks! Thankfully, it seems from the comments, that people see this as the sensationalized, we-need-click-through-traffic journalism it is. I could go into an epic long posting of how wrong the basis for the “doesn’t give back” argument is, or take jabs at other distros profitability, how they got there or why they were sold…but I won’t. Instead, I’d like to issue a bit of urban education on those of you who seem to hate Canonical/Ubuntu because it succeeds where others have failed.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • The end of the OS is nigh
  • Gone with Windows 7 : RunAs for Explorer

    But, with Windows 7, suddenly this no longer works. Running Explorer with RunAs, simply opens a new instance of Explorer as the currently logged in user. Back when we started migrating users from XP to 7, we searched and searched for the solution for Windows 7 that works like XP. But, even today, none has been found. The workaround? To use Switch User and log in to the PC as an administrator account, and run Explorer. But, the drawback is when trying to switch back to the regular user that is logged in, their password needs to be typed in. This is counterproductive if the user is not at their desk while the admin is troubleshooting.

  • Developer Q&A: Syllable OS
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto Interests Guide U.S. Diplomacy, WikiLeaks Cables Show

      We know Monsanto and other biotech giants have been pushing genetically modified crops around the globe, but new diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks last week make it clear how entangled our government is in corporate agricultural interests.

  • Security

    • The Apache Web Server’s Not-So-Secret Weakness
    • Akamai employee tried to sell secrets to Israel

      Starting in September 2007, Elliot Doxer played an elaborate 18-month-long game of cloak-and-dagger with James Cromer, a man he thought was an Israeli intelligence officer. He handed over pages and pages of confidential data to Cromer, providing a list of Akamai’s clients and contracts, information about the company’s security practices, and even a list of 1,300 Akamai employees, including mobile numbers, departments and e-mail addresses.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • In Spain, police violence against press sparks concern

      Spanish press associations have expressed concern about recent episodes of police violence against journalists covering demonstrations against Pope Benedict’s four-day visit to Madrid and protests staged as part of the anti-corruption 15-M movement.

      Freelance photographer Daniel Nuevo was covering August 18 protests in Madrid against the Catholic Church-sponsored World Youth Days, which featured Benedict XVI and attracted hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. Grassroots church groups and civic organizations organized the demonstrations to denounce the “waste” incurred by the celebration, which is partly financed by government and corporate sponsors.

    • Bahrain king pardons protest abusers

      King Hamad of Bahrain said Sunday he was pardoning all those who insulted him during a month of Shiite-led pro-democracy protests, in a bid to bring normality back to the Gulf kingdom.

      He also said that civilians that were being tried in military courts for their participation in the protest which was crushed in mid-March, will eventually be handled by civil courts, while those who were dismissed from their jobs will be reinstated.

    • Thugs break hands of Syria’s top cartoonist for Assad lampoon

      Syria’s most renowned political cartoonist, who recently drew a sketch comparing President Bashar al-Assad to Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, had both his hands broken in an attack yesterday by masked gunmen who dragged the 60-year-old out of his car.

      Ali Ferzat, whose satirical art once drew death threats from Saddam Hussein, was treated in hospital. He was attack as he left his Damascus studio at four o’clock yesterday morning.

    • The City: Beijing

      Beijing is two cities. One is of power and of money. People don’t care who their neighbors are; they don’t trust you. The other city is one of desperation. I see people on public buses, and I see their eyes, and I see they hold no hope. They can’t even imagine that they’ll be able to buy a house. They come from very poor villages where they’ve never seen electricity or toilet paper.

      Every year millions come to Beijing to build its bridges, roads, and houses. Each year they build a Beijing equal to the size of the city in 1949. They are Beijing’s slaves. They squat in illegal structures, which Beijing destroys as it keeps expanding. Who owns houses? Those who belong to the government, the coal bosses, the heads of big enterprises. They come to Beijing to give gifts—and the restaurants and karaoke parlors and saunas are very rich as a result.

  • Cablegate

    • US forces repeatedly ‘commit crimes’ in Iraq

      The chief executive of the Cordoba Foundation says a WikiLeaks report which accuses the U.S. forces of killing ten people in cold blood in Iraq in 2006 is just the tip of the iceberg.

    • WikiLeaks Down Under

      There’s been a sudden explosion of interest in Wikileaks cables down under, after every single one of the US diplomatic cables on Australia was suddenly released online to the public this week. While hardened Aussie journalists insist there are no major “bombshells,” plenty of intriguing new stories are now exploding onto the media landscape. Overall, the US cables reveal a sovereign nation absurdly subservient to US foreign policy, with Australian ministers queuing to discuss confidential party deliberations with their friends in the US embassy.

    • ‘WikiLeaks docs embarrassing, not perilous’

      Israeli experts downplayed the security risk posed by the leaked documents, which name alleged Israeli, Iranian and Jordanian intelligence agents, but said that WikiLeaks has definitely taken a more brazen stand vis-א-vis Washington.

    • Malaysia judgement looms amid Wikleaks furore

      A wealth of Wikileaks revelations have embarrassed Labor and the Coalition, while a High Court ruling could further damage Labor.

    • A response to recent comments by Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland.

      Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland bemoans having his department being publicly caught out, ratting out, 23 Australians to the US embassy without due process.

    • Attorney-General Robert McClelland has attacked a WikiLeaks list of Australians linked to al-Qa’ida

      ATTORNEY-GENERAL Robert McClelland has accused WikiLeaks of “incredibly irresponsible” conduct after the self-styled whistleblower group released a cable that named 23 Australians accused by ASIO of having contact with Yemeni terror group al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula.

    • Wikileaks Reveals The Strange Story Of 120 Chinese Children Who Disappeared in Stockholm

      A recently released WikiLeaks cable from 2006 reveals 120 Chinese children vanished from Swedish immigration centers within a period of 18 months.

      The Embassy of Stockholm believes the disappearing acts were managed by organized traffickers residing in several European countries.

      The children — ages 10 to 18 — arrived in Sweden unaccompanied and, oftentimes, without travel documents, to seek political asylum. They all claimed they had relatives who were victims of religious persecution and seemed “very professionally coached” during questioning, according to a Swedish official.

    • Ten More WikiLeaks You Missed
    • Cables Reveal 2006 Summary Execution of Civilian Family in Iraq

      Women and children had their hands tied behind their back and were shot in the head in house raid, which was covered up by the military

    • Terror alert on local women

      SIX women living in Australia have been named by American intelligence agencies as potential targets of an al-Qaeda plot to recruit women for terror attacks, according to a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Is China’s nuclear power risky?

      By settling for cheap technology, China has “vastly increased” the risk of a nuclear accident, claim diplomatic cables from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, The Guardian newspaper reports.

      The U.S. Embassy cables from August 2008, released by WikiLeaks, warned that China’s choice of technology would be a century old by the time dozens of China’s reactors come to the end of their lifespan.

    • CLIMATE SHOCK: UC-Berkeley Scientist, Dr. John Harte, Puts the World on Notice

      Dr. John Harte is based at the University of California-Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management. With a PhD in physics, his research encompasses the most serious biochemical and climate-ecosystem feedback processes of global warming and theoretical ecology. He has been at the forefront, for decades, of some of the most important studies pertaining to the biological impacts – particularly in alpine environments – of climate change, as well as humanity’s role in the disruption of critical ecosystems.

  • Finance

    • U.S. Cities Criminalize Homelessness, Violate Human Rights Agreements

      The challenges poor and homeless Americans often face accessing clean drinking water and restroom facilities violate international human rights standards, according to a report issued by a United Nations investigator this month.

      Catarina de Albuquerque, a U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation, visited the United States in late February at the invitation of the U.S. government.

    • Matt Taibbi on the Explosive Investigation Revealing the SEC’s Cover-Up of Wall Street’s Crimes

      MATT TAIBBI: Under the authority of the enforcement division. Now, this—there’s no legal authority to do this. And, you know, apparently, according to my sources, this was illegal. You can’t just unilaterally shred any government document, no matter how insignificant. And these are significant law enforcement investigatory files that they were unilaterally destroying.

      AMY GOODMAN: Talk about just what the SEC does, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

      MATT TAIBBI: Well, they police the financial markets. They’re the main cops on the beat on Wall Street. It’s basically a two-tiered structure. It’s—you know, for Wall Street crime, it’s the SEC and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York are the two main sort of policing organizations that prevent things like insider trading, market manipulation, securities fraud. They also make sure that all publicly traded corporations—they have to make regular disclosures, you know, every year, and they make sure that those disclosures are accurate, that you don’t have an Enron situation, for instance, where a company is reporting profits that they don’t have and hiding losses that they do have. The SEC is supposed to be the number one cop on the beat preventing all of this stuff. And if they’re not doing their job, which they apparently haven’t been, you know, what results is a situation like 2008, where just corruption overwhelms the markets, and you have this explosion of, you know, a lack of confidence all around the globe.

    • First Federal Reserve Audit Reveals Trillions in Secret Bailouts

      The first-ever audit of the U.S. Federal Reserve has revealed 16 trillion dollars in secret bank bailouts and has raised more questions about the quasi-private agency’s opaque operations.

    • How Rick Perry became a millionaire

      He’s very good at making investments that look remarkably like examples of blatant corruption.

  • Censorship

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