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Links 24/9/2011: Linux 3.1 RC7, Plasma Active OS

Posted in News Roundup at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux the harlequin.

    Meet Linux, Linux the harlequin. Linux wears a coat of many colours, is depicted as a bumbling fool and people love to laugh at it. This harlequin is called a clown, a fool, an idiot and looked upon with derision by people of “class”. This harlequin is ignored and just treated and thought of as simply background entertainment. In other words Linux the harlequin is not thought of as important at all and is generally underestimated.

  • Microsoft of old on Linux desktop, mobile and users

    I wrote recently about how Microsoft is now among the broadest supporters of enterprise Linux server, but when it comes to desktop PCs and laptops, mobile and converged devices and end users, Microsoft’s Linux support is a time warp back to 1998 when computers and their software were fused by proprietary sodder.

    Though probably not intended as one of the new Windows 8 features to be highlighted, recent reports indicate a boot requirement in Microsoft’s latest Windows 8 OS prevents booting of Linux.

    As a Linux user who has installed several different distributions on several different failed Windows machines, I’m concerned for a few reasons. One, it can be difficult to impossible to avoid the so-called ‘Microsoft tax,’ whereby Windows machines are purchased with the intention of installing Linux. Two, this is a serious limitation to the growing segment of users that like a dual-boot option with Linux. Three, what will happen to all of those PCs, laptops, netbooks and other devices after the Microsoft software becomes buggy, broken or outdated?

  • Supporting UEFI secure boot on Linux: the details

    An obvious question is why Linux doesn’t support UEFI secure booting. Let’s ignore the issues of key distribution and the GPL and all of those things, and instead just focus on what would be required. There’s two components – the signed binary and the authenticated variables.

  • UEFI secure booting (part 2)

    Microsoft have responded to suggestions that Windows 8 may make it difficult to boot alternative operating systems. What’s interesting is that at no point do they contradict anything I’ve said. As things stand, Windows 8 certified systems will make it either more difficult or impossible to install alternative operating systems. But let’s have some more background.

  • Delusions of M$

    The same will happen with tablets. A small, number about 60million will be shipped in 2011 but in 2012, the number could increase dramatically, about 300%. That means when “8″ is released, the installed base of GNU/Linux or Android/Linux or iPad tablets could be about 200 million. OEMs are not going to shift to the “tight margin” model that M$ imposes on PCs in the smart thingies. The newcomers will be making more than M$’s partners on small cheap computers than on “PCs”. By the end of 2012, consumers and businesses will know and love the small cheap computer and will turn up their noses at M$ offering small expensive computers.

  • Desktop

    • My minimalist setup

      My laptop is just a plain old Thinkpad W510 with a 15” screen running 1920×1080. I don’t have another monitor, I don’t have a desktop or a second laptop, this is it.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 3.1 (Part 4) – Drivers
    • Is Tux Still the Right Mascot for Linux?

      Apple has its self-explanatory fruity logo, Microsoft has its stained-glass banner, and Linux has its floppy, friendly, ever-cheerful penguin Tux as its team mascot. But after 20 years of existence, does Linux benefit from the Tux logo? Some say Tux is a perfectly fine way to represent Linux as a whole; others call it “cartoon-y” and prevents people from taking Linux seriously.

    • Linux 3.1-rc7

      I was supposed to do this on Monday, but it didn’t seem to be hugely pressing.

    • Linus releases dive tracking application

      If you have ever wondered what the creator of Linux does in-between working through the thousands of changes, corrections and new features for the next Linux release, the answer is simple: he writes software. Linus Torvalds has just released subsurface, a dive-tracking program designed after he found that “none of the dive log software worked for me”. The subsurface application runs on Linux and uses gtk2 for the GUI. It can process xml dive files or work directly with any dive computer supported by libdivecomputer.

    • Graphics Stack

      • XDC: How to bring in more contributors

        In my talk (or rather: structured discussion) “Methods of Attraction: How to bring in new contributors” on this year’s X.org Developer’s Conference I brought up reasons why open source projects often fail to attract new contributors, and some changes to help this.

      • A Major Rework To The X.Org Video Driver ABI

        One of the mailing list threads I’ve been trying to catch up on this week while at Oktoberfest is the heated discussion about merging video/input drivers back into the X.Org Servers. This discussion was started at the XDC2011 conference, but there’s many e-mails being exchanged from more parties not in favor of merging the drivers into the xorg-server tree or wishing to see other developmental process changes.

      • Last Call For The X.Org/Linux Graphics Survey

        Originally this annual survey was set to end on 20 September, but due to being busy with Oktoberfest, that deadline was forgotten about. As a result, there’s still time to participate.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Beta Testing Phase Beginning for Plasma Active OS

        The Plasma Active OS has been on Desktop and Netbook interfaces for quite awhile now. The exploration into a much wider range of devices that can utilize the Plasma interface is the goal of the current beta testing. By displaying the possibilities of Plasma OS to other devices through a beta run, the developers at KDE are targeting the largest pool of users possible.

      • Qt 5, KDE 5 To Be Written In C++11 (C++0x)?

        C++11, the new C++ ISO standard that was approved last month and formerly was known as C++0x, has been called to be employed by Qt and KDE as quickly as possible.

      • Developer and User Interaction

        A free software project such as the many projects under the KDE umbrella do not need users, they only need more developers. A user which is not able to develop is useless. Because of that it is totally acceptable that you demand that user’s should start learning programming to fix the bugs they report.

      • plasma active workshop: day 0

        The last couple of weeks have been ridiculously busy. Or, if you prefer (and I do): ridicubusy. On the personal side of life, I managed to squeeze in a two day paddle-and-camping trip the other weekend, played dinner host to Lawrence Krauss (made some of my favourite dishes, and one new one (for me, anyways): egg yolk ravioli), co-hosted a “Ready, Steady, Cook!” evening at the house along with S. All of that was enjoyable, and great breaks between the long hours of working on Plasma and general KDE “stuff”.

      • plasma active workshop wrapup
    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat signs giants to anti-VMware open-source project
      • Red Hat Puts On Its Growth Hat

        That was the takeaway from my exclusive phone interview with Red Hat (NYSE: RHT ) CEO Jim Whitehurst after the company reported second-quarter earnings last night.

        Revenue for the quarter tallied up to $281.3 million, up 28% year over year, while non-GAAP net income was $56.5 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, rising 53% from last year. Non-GAAP operating income jumped 41% to $76.4 million, resulting in an 18.7% operating margin. The company’s total deferred revenue balance, an important precursor to sales, rose 25% to $813.2 million and billings grew 30%.


        Even Samsung is considering taking its mobile OS, Bada, open source next year.

      • Red Hat Shares — 3 Pros, 3 Cons

        In yesterday’s ugly market, only a few stocks were able to eke out gains. One of the standouts: Red Hat (NYSE:RHT). Its price was up 3% to $41.49.


        So might the tough macroeconomic environment hurt Red Hat? Perhaps so. Yet the company has the advantage that its software is free. Consider that some of the hardest-hit sectors — such as financial services and the government — have shown continued demand for Red Hat’s services.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 16 Verne Beta Wallpapers

          Next, I’d like to remind you that in Fedora 16 we again have supplemental wallpapers and what’s more: since Fedora 16 all the supplemental wallpapers appear not only in GNOME’s and KDE’s wallpaper choosers but also in XFCE’s.

        • Taking the plunge!

          This post is exactly what it prommised. I have decided to take the plunge and install Fedora 16 Beta RC1 on my Desktop. (Before anyone starts on me I have the experience to run a beta on a production machine and have a backup O/S RHEL 6)

        • Fedora 16 Delayed by Two Weeks Too

          In his blog post referencing Wednesday’s Go/NoGo meeting, Williamson detailed some of the bugs causing another slip in the Fedora 16 release schedule.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android and Users’ Freedom

          To what extent does Android respect the freedom of its users? For a computer user that values freedom, that is the most important question to ask about any software system.

          In the free/libre software movement, we develop software that respects users’ freedom, so we and you can escape from software that doesn’t. By contrast, the idea of “open source” focuses on how to develop code; it is a different current of thought whose principal value is code quality rather than freedom. Thus, the concern here is not whether Android is “open”, but whether it allows users to be free.

          Android is an operating system primarily for mobile phones, which consists of Linux (Torvalds’ kernel), some libraries, a Java platform and some applications. Linux aside, the software of Android versions 1 and 2 was mostly developed by Google; Google released it under the Apache 2.0 license, which is a lax free software license without copyleft.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Open Source Angles To Adobe’s Flash And Flex

    The recently launched Adobe’s Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 have become an attraction for the developers. Although this version of the development tool is recently launched with an updater for multiscreen mobile support, the rave reviews of the product bear testimony to the fact that developers are willing to make the most of it. With Adobe Flash Builder, developers now have a single platform for developing highly expressive mobile applications that can be distributed via Android Market, Apple App Store and BlackBerry App World. Flash Builder 4.5 enables the creation of applications that work seamlessly across leading mobile devices platforms. These products provide developers with an opportunity to reach more than 80 million Android devices, BlackBerry Playbooks, iPads and iPhones.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Proposes 42-Week Release Cycle For Firefox in Businesses

        Mozilla has published a proposal for an extended support release (ESR) version for Firefox versions that are deployed in business environments. The extended release cycle is designed to alleviate the burden of the 6-week rapid releases and respective support cycles by replacing them with 42-week versions.

      • The biggest version number?

        There’s a lot of talk about Firefox’s ever-increasing version number, and it made me wonder: what piece of software has the biggest version number of all? A brief scan of my Xubuntu 11.04 box suggests than XTerm, at version 268, has the lead, although I’m sure there’s something bigger out there. And in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter – how good the software is, and for how long it is supported, is a bigger issue.

  • SaaS

    • A wise user judges each Internet usage scenario carefully

      Businesses now offer computing users tempting opportunities to let others keep their data and do their computing. In other words, to toss caution and responsibility to the winds.

      These businesses, and their boosters, like to call these computing practices “cloud computing”. They apply the same term to other quite different scenarios as well, such as renting a remote server, making the term so broad and nebulous that nothing meaningful can be said with it. If it has any meaning, it can only be a certain attitude towards computing: an attitude of not thinking carefully about what a proposed scenario entails or what risks it implies. Perhaps the cloud they speak of is intended to form inside the customer’s mind.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD


    • Bad-mouthing the Free Software Foundation

      What disturbs me is not the fact of the criticism, but how it is made. For one thing, it seems unrealistic. It’s all very well for Proffitt to say, as he did on Google+, that “I would hope that they would advocate the benefits of free software (of which there are many) without feeling the need to tear down everything else. Again.”

      But how, in practice, is the FSF supposed to approach subjects like Android in a positive light? While Stallman concedes that “the Android phones of today are considerably less bad than Apple or Windows smartphones,” Android obviously isn’t free software, although many people I talk to have the vague belief that it is.

      Obviously, a debunking is in order, but by definition a debunking is negative. In fact, how is the FSF supposed to discuss the matter at all, especially when any free software alternative to Android is so small and so unknown that any attempt to advocate it would automatically discredit itself?

    • Free Software’s Smelly Underpants

      In his “Off The Beat” blog at LinuxPro Magazine, Bruce Byfield wrote about what he called a “disturbing trend”, namely to criticize and otherwise bad-mouth everything that comes out of the Free Software Foundation. He mentioned other pundits and journalists like Brian Proffitt and Joe Brockmeier.

      For the record, I know and like everyone of these guys (Bruce, Brian, and Joe) and I really hate to see them fighting.

      Where was I? Oh yeah, the Free Software Foundation. The FSF has, as its founder and figurehead, the legendary Richard M. Stallman. Richard is a very smart guy with some strong feelings about what constitutes Free Software. He’s also the guy behind the GPL, the license under which the Linux kernel was released. That document, the GPL, deserves to be called ‘visionary’, helping to shape the world of FOSS as we know it.

  • Project Releases

    • Lightspark 0.5.1 released

      After over two months of work since 0.5.0 by a handful of developers, there’s finally a new release of Lightspark, the (other) open source Flash player. Unlike Gnash, Lightspark supports the AVM2 virtual machine and the newest versions of SWF files, while falling back to Gnash when it encounters SWF8 or earlier content.

  • Open Hardware

    • Ford Gets Geeky With Apps For Open Source Platform

      To realize this, the car company announced a partnership with Bug Labs to develop a new in-car research platform named OpenXC, earlier this week. [1] Ford also plans to introduce a socially-networked in-car fuel economy monitor connected to the Internet via Bug Labs’ cloud-based service, BUGswarm.


  • User influence on gigantic corporations

    It has come up many times, that the users of software products have the most influence over how these greedy and gigantic companies operate. Why? Because if users do not use and/or buy products, these companies could not and would not exist.

    Microsoft is probably one of the worst abusers of its consumers. Complex licensing programs are designed purposely to make customers overpay for licenses. Little to no discounts have been offered for upgrades, even for users that had already purchased Windows Vista for example, despite Microsoft’s declaration that Vista was a “mistake”. Secretly undermining the competition, using legal devices like software patents, so that users must go to Microsoft and pay royalties to Microsoft if they use non-Microsoft software. Vendor lock-in, where current customers are unable to use non-Microsoft software because their Microsoft products are incompatible and too expensive to migrate away from. Closely monitoring the software that its customers use, in order to keep them from installing the software on too many computers without paying more. And the list goes on.

  • Security

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • With ACTA, manipulation returns to the European Parliament

          A few years ago, an amendment making sure that parallel importation was not criminalised in the EU disappeared after it was adopted in the European Parliament. This summer, the Chairman of the International Trade committee (INTA), Mr Vital Moreira, rewrote a question the INTA committee asked the Parliament’s Legal Services regarding ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). The INTA Chairman among others things left out a reference regarding parallel importation. Up until now, no member of the INTA committee questioned the behavior of the INTA Chairman. (See update below.)

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