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Links 31/10/2011: Particle Code; hypePhone 4S Battery Problems Spread

Posted in News Roundup at 11:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • My life with a Linux Desktop in the Corporate World…

      When I recently changed jobs I was given the opportunity to build my dream machine and put what ever OS “I thought would be best”. Several of my counterparts were running Linux or dual booting between Linux and Windows. In my new position, I will mainly be supporting the IBM Tivoli family of security products. Most of these applications run on Linux and the ones that don’t, run on Windows in a VM just fine. So I was all set and ready to begin. The first question was which distro?

    • I am soo Tired of the Endless Desktop Flame Wars – Can we Please all Stop This?

      The biggest asset of FLOSS is choices for the user. One of the essential aims of the FSF through the GPL is to grant the user rights that enable them to have choices. The right to modify software enables people to fork and to create different directions. The ensuing competition fosters an environment of innovation. This distinguishes us positively from Apple and Microsoft.

      I have been sitting on the sidelines about this topic for a long time. I remember the discussions about the original license of the Qt libraries (which were and are an iintegral part of the KDE desktop) that led to the commencement of the Gnome project – Interestingly, today some Gnome applications use Mono with its patent problems, while Qt is now licensed with FSF promoted GPL licenses.

    • Multiple OS a challenge

      On the other hand, there are other ways to get access to that program, without necessarily having to shut everything down and rebooting.

      Depending on which is your main operating software, there are software solutions that allow you to access programs from other operating systems from within your current setup.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • ASUS X101-EU17-BK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black) Review

      The Asus X101-EU17-BK is 10inch netbook that belongs to the Eee PC family. It is powered by an Intel Atom N435 processor and comes with 1GB of DDR3 RAM. Even though it is similar to the other 10inch netbooks in the Eee PC family, its bundled operating system is what sets it apart. The X101-Eu17 runs on the MeeGo OS developed by Intel. It is a Linux based OS that was developed especially for netbooks. Thanks to this, this OS is designed to run fast on the limited resources that netbooks offer. Its user interface is also designed to be easy to work with on the small netbook screens.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • What People Are Saying About GNOME [Part 2]

        A few days ago I shared the first one thousand comments about the GNOME desktop from the 2011 GNOME User Survey. Here’s now the next set of one thousand comments concerning the state of GNOME in the eyes of end-users.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 171

        · Announced Distro: openSUSE 12.1 RC1
        · Announced Distro: m23 rock 11.4
        · Announced Distro: Chakra GNU/Linux 2011.10.26
        · Announced Distro: CAELinux 2011

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat and Telstra Partner to Bring Enterprise Solutions to the Cloud

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company, has extended its partnership with Red Hat to enable expanded choice for enterprise customers in the cloud.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Review: Kubuntu 11.10

          This was supposed to be a review of the new Ubuntu release (Oneiric Ocelot), however the only thing the new Ubuntu did not do to me was jump out kick me in the head. From an incomplete upgrade because I was running Dropbox, a UI that fails miserably in being a useful User Interface (UI) and the going out of its way to trash the whole system while trying to get 2 screens working made me believe that after 2 releases, Unity is still not ready for prime time.

          Instead, I decided to look at Kubuntu, the Ubuntu varient using the KDE desktop. Previous attempts at Kubuntu left me slightly cold. I love KDE, and I liked the KDE3 version, however previous Kubuntu versions lacked the full power of Ubuntu and lacked that polish that I wanted for a operating system.

          Not anymore. If anything, Kubuntu has leaped ahead of the parent distro, with a full and vibrant desktop with all the graphic elements switched on, and having a user interface (UI) that does not actively work against the user.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Linux heads to smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs.

            Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, will announce at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, FL, that they will be taking Ubuntu Linux to smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs.

          • Ubuntu 11.10: Looks Kind of Cool But Who Is It For?

            I decided to try out Ubuntu 11.10 on my Thinkpad T43. It was actually my first time using Unity, although I had used the Ubuntu Netbook Edition on a netbook, and I knew the two had similar UIs. This isn’t going to be a huge, in-depth thing because I don’t see how anyone is going to touch the Ars Technica review of 11.10 (DarkDuck’s Unity vs. GNOME3 review is also quite good).

          • Vodafone Webbook review: cheap and cheerful Ubuntu netbook

            Cellular network operator Vodacom recently launched a netbook, the Vodafone Webbook, that, at R1 499, it hopes will give South Africans an affordable entry into personal computing. TechCentral put the Webbook through its paces.

            The computer, which runs the Ubuntu Linux operating system — specifically Ubuntu 10.04, code-named Lucid Lynx — has a 10-inch LCD screen, 512MB RAM, and 4GB of flash storage.

            It sports an 800MHz Freescale iMX515 processor that is based on the ARM Cortex-A8. It also includes a low-end webcam — centred above the screen — and a built-in microphone for Skype calling.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Particle Code Platform May Go Open-Source

    Particle Code, a software platform that allows game/application developers to easily target multiple operating systems and mobile devices, may not only be gaining Linux support but could also become an open-source development platform if there’s sufficient interest.

    Particle Code was acquired a few days back by its competitor, Appcelerator. The acquisition appears to mostly be about picking up the Particle Code engineering talent with their vast experience in making games/applications cross-platform in one pleasant sweep.

  • Juniper Embraces OpenFlow

    The emerging OpenFlow approach to building programmable, scalable networks is continuing to gain traction. The latest vendor to jump into the fray is Juniper Networks with a Software Development Kit (SDK) that enables Juniper users to try out OpenFlow.

  • SaaS

  • Education

    • EDUCAUSE takeaway #2: Open source is alive and well

      I, like about 4 million other people in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, am sitting here without power. My 4G card just died, but should be able to charge enough off my laptop in the next few minutes to at least post this piece once I finish writing it. The power outage, though inconvenient, is at least forcing me to sit in one place long enough to reflect back on the mid-October EDUCAUSE conference, from which I’ve only had time to give you one takeaway (essentially that learning management systems are everywhere, but Pearson’s new Google Apps-integrated LMS isn’t nearly as big a deal as most of us initially thought).

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Open core or dual licensing? The example of MySQL

        It has been suggested that Oracle might be planning to move MySQL away from dual licensing to an open core model. Richard Hillesley takes us through the arguments, and the pros and cons of these different models.

        Projects do not thrive when there are ambivalences and ambiguities around the ownership of the code that makes up the project, as can be seen from the fallout among the various projects that Oracle inherited through its purchase of Sun Microsystems.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Government of Portugal is Cutting Funding to M$

      Until this year, the central government of Portugal has paid for M$’s software licensing for schools. This year that will end and schools will either have to pay out of their own meager budget or choose FLOSS.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Cable Green, director of learning at Creative Commons, on the obviousness of open policies

      Cable Green, director of learning at Creative Commons, gave the final morning’s opening keynote at the 2011 Open Education Conference on the seeming obviousness of open policy as a necessity for education.

      “I’m interested in the policies that prevent us from providing an education to anyone in the world who might want one,” Green said. That worldwide demand for education outpaces our ability to meet it.

    • Open-Source Software Exhibit Models Human Motion

      OpenSim, open-source software that is designed to accurately model human motion, is on display at The Leonardo, a science and technology museum in Salt Lake City. Designed by Scott Delp, PhD, a professor of bioengineering, mechanical engineering, and orthopedic surgery at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif, OpenSim was created to help medical professionals and bioengineers study, diagnose, and correct abnormalities in how people move.


  • As iPhone 4S battery suckage spreads, fixes appear

    Ever since the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 were released earlier this month, early adopters have flooded the web with complaints about reduced battery life and overheating handsets. But now a few solutions have emerged from multiple sources – but not from Apple, unfortunately.

    “So… is this going to be considered ‘Battery-gate’ or ‘Suck-gate’?” asked one commenter to Chris Breen’s Macworld article, “Troubleshooting a battery-sucking iPhone 4S”.

  • Canonical: Mobile OEMs are going to love our Linux

    Ubuntu, the free and user-friendly Mac-a-like flavour of Linux, will be targeted at mobile phones, tablets and smart TVs.
    The new OS could chew into Google’s Android market share, although it’s not expected to hit devices until April 2014, Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Ubuntu developer Canonical) said in an interview ahead of a speech at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Florida.

    After completing the next version of Linux Ubuntu for desktop, Canonical will start to focus on making a mobile Ubuntu, ready to ship by version 14.04 due in April 2014.

  • 9 Incredible Tech-Themed Halloween Costumes
  • Finance

    • Alan Grayson Gets Standing Ovation While Bill Maher Panel Mocks Occupy Wall Street ‘Hippies’

      One would think that the anti-corporatist ideals of the Occupy Wall Street movement would receive some safe harbor on Real Time with Bill Maher, and one would be correct that their ideology gelled entirely with the audience. But before Alan Grayson passionately stood up as a spokesman for their cause, the panel spent a fair amount of time mocking the group ruthlessly, for their “bongo drums,” disorganization, and incoherence.

    • Occupy San Francisco: the teenager who was refused cancer treatment

      As Miran Istina puts it, she has been living on borrowed time since she was 14. Diagnosed with cancer, she was given just months to live after her health insurer refused to provide her with life-saving surgery.

      Now 18, Istina, from the city of Sisters in Oregon, has spent the past three weeks living in a tent at the Occupy San Francisco protest and says she will stay there indefinitely, despite her illness.

IRC Proceedings: October 30th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Shocker: Man With First Software Patent Defends Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 4:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Martin Goetz

Summary: Martin Goetz speaks in favour of software patents again, but his arguments are full of holes

PEOPLE who came from Microsoft tend to defend Microsoft (this includes the leadership of Xamarin, whose COO seems to be the only top manager without Microsoft background). Businesses with many software patents (like IBM and Microsoft) tend to promote software patents in Europe. Marty of software patents fame or infamy (depending on whose side one is on) is still a top promoter of software patents. But why does he get so much attention from the press? He is clearly biased because he was the first man to get a patent on software.

“I have been involved in this software controversy for many years,” he writes. “It began when I and my small software company, Applied Data Research, applied for a patent in 1965 for a Sorting System.”

Well, using other people’s knowledge and work. But let’s disregard for a moment the fact that anything he ever created built upon other code. He goes on to saying something which in no way contradicts the fact that software is mathematics and in fact reinforces this fact. For example: “Highly skilled personnel are employed in these companies and many have advanced computer science degrees, including PhDs. And because of their complexity, many programs are written using software engineering disciplines.”

“But let’s disregard for a moment the fact that anything he ever created built upon other code.”Or mathematics? And equations? Seriously, scientific programming is all about formulating rules and applying them in code. Do we want a monopoly on rules that are immutable? “When these programs are inventions,” he claims (whatever “invention” actually means), “patent protection is important to help protect these companies’ investments.”

Utter nonsense. Those companies rely a great deal on using code and knowledge provided by others. How would a company cope financially if it had to ‘license’ each and every pertinent idea it codifies? That article just fails on so many levels and it often demonstrates the author’s arrogance because he thinks that his own ‘invention’ (a sorting algorithm) is so much more sophisticated than the machine and coded framework he ran his program on. Well, the FFII’s president asked us in IRC, “have you seen the article software is hardware?” He quoted this article, adding a ludicrous quote: “It is a fact that software and mental processes are interchangeable, thus mental processes are patentabe” (this is Aptly tagged #wrong).

Calacanis, whom I once worked for in Netscape.com, says he never filed any patents. There are many like him who take pride in it too. Quoting the report:

Jason ‘Mr. Startups’ Calacanis may not do patents, but he has just done an episode of his weekly TV show where he brought in a seasoned patent attorney and a prolific inventor to take us through the latest developments on the US patent scene

Google too was never happy about software patents. It-reluctantly had to buy some for “defensive” purposes and now it also indexes patent applications. To quote the Against Monopoly Web site:

Google has had its own issues with patents. Like much of the rest of the software industry, it avoided filing for them for some years, but competitive patenting has taken over the industry in the drive to gain a monopolistic advantage or prevent others from doing so by establishing a patent pool to force cross licensing. By making it easier to challenge applications and even granted patents, putting them on line should make bad patents rarer. The problem of identifying and proving prior art remains.

A lot of work from 20+ years ago prelates the Web, so proving prior art is not always simple. We need to fill some gaps by online preservation and Google is trying to help. We already lost track of Cablegate, Gates’ history of crimes (he was allegedly arrested at least twice), and ‘old’ Novell (some Comes vs. Microsoft material that we had reproduced before Microsoft buried it is proving to be very helpful). Some of it predates the World Wide Web.

Patents Roundup: Twitter and Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, USPTO and SCOTUS

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A collection of news about software patents and patents in general

THERE is troubling news from the embargo agency known as ITC, which helps one company attack another by means of a sanction. There are some more reports on this which highlight the relevance to software patents, including this one which says:

The ITC affirmed the Chief Administrative Law Judge’s ruling earlier this year that Suprema, Inc. of South Korea and Mentalix, Inc. of Plano, Texas infringe Cross Match’s hardware and software patents, further determining that Suprema actively induced others to infringe one of Cross Match’s patents.

The ITC loves blocking Asian products at the behest of US companies such as Microsoft and Apple. Pressure is applied to them in the same way that US pressure is applied to Cuba. The ‘sin’? Allegedly having similar ideas. How can anybody justify this?

In other news, Twitter, which opposes software patents, is being hit by another patent troll/parasite, just amid complaints from Amazon that it too has become a victim of the patent system:

BOOKSELLER AMAZON has had 11 patent lawsuits filed against it this year, according to a filing with US financial regulators.

The MSBBC covered this too:

Amazon has revealed that 11 companies have filed patent lawsuits against it since the start of the year – more than three times as many as in all of 2010.

From Amazon’s original SEC filing:

Risks have been amplified by the increase in third parties whose sole or primary business is to assert such claims [...] our website technology, including our 1-Click ordering system, infringes a patent obtained by Cordance

Amazon has meanwhile been pushing for software patents in the EU and it is in no real position to complain. It also pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux servers and the Linux-based Kindle. The next Kindle too (based on Android) will allegedly be taxed by Microsoft. Amazon did not even put up a fight. Why is it that the press neglects to mention such stories for background? Amazon is not in a position to whine. Stallman is meanwhile quoted widely as saying that Jobs also made it a personal crusade to attack Android with software patents. It is not far fetched to assume that Larry Ellison did a favour to his “best friend” (by his own words) Steve Jobs by suing Android through Google.

The Wall Street Journal mentions the latest twist and IDG comments on the Oracle vs. Google case, which was delayed, by heckling Google, as one ought to expect. IDG has never been a Google-friendly platform.

Meanwhile, patent lawyers get a platform in the Washington Post and they sort of admit being the parasites coming at the expense of actual work. By one’s own words:

But when patents cannot be understood, are difficult to obtain, or become nearly impossible to enforce, much of the money that would go toward research and development is spent on lawyers. These legal fees drastically increase the barriers to investment for a promising new idea, dulling America’s technological edge. The modern trend of bundling patents into large portfolios for sale on the open market further demonstrates how the patent market currently favors large corporations over the individual entrepreneur.

As a patent attorney, I am constantly meeting hopeful inventors who dream of securing a patent to protect their ideas. They have been told by potential investors that they need a patent before they are willing to invest in their technology. When I explain that a patent will cost upwards of $30,000 and take around five years to obtain, their hopes are dashed. The news only gets worse when I inform them that enforcing a patent is a multi-million dollar proposition. At that point, most simply give up.

Another paper is giving a platform to Microsoft’s FUD against Android and promotion of software patents (there are some parts there about both). To quote the puff piece (Microsoft guest post essentially):

Microsoft attorney outlines Android patent tactics


Those patents (cover) individual features that have been created in a particularly inventive way by Microsoft and that have been recognized by the patent office. It’s now being tested in court. It remains to be seen what courts say; they will be the ultimate arbiter. But we believe they’re solid patents.

Guess who is is playing along? MSN, Microsoft’s fake ‘news’ site. The Microsoft press on Apple’s ridiculous patents that threaten Android is as shallow as one should expect. Compare it to this good piece which complains about a “broken” system:

Apple’s Newly Awarded Patent and a Broken System


The result, in my humble opinion, is that the system is broken for the modern age and in need of an overhaul. Over the last few years I’ve seen patents, which were originally developed as a form of protection for an inventor, become a corrupted version of its original intent. Instead of protection they’re now used primarily as strategy and legal weaponry against competition. And the reason is the pure power behind it – a patent grants exclusive rights on the technology in question for 20 years.

Outside of basic patent trolling, there are a number of examples that can be cited here that illustrate the shambles that our patent system is now plagued with, but it was the most recent one that set me off this week. Just recently Apple, which is a perennial member of the patent lawsuit club, was just awarded patent 8,046,721 (7,657,849 is the same thing just older) by the good ol’ USPTO, entitled “Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.” I’m going to let that one sink in for a second and let you read some of that patent I linked before the tirade that’s about to follow, divided cleanly into three (3) parts for your convenience. And before I get to it, let me put a disclaimer out there that I’m not a lawyer, nor do I have any formal legal education or professional experience.

You good? OK.

E.D. Kain asks, “Do Patents Kill Innovation?”

Of course they are killing innovation. Their goal was never innovation. It was documentation. “Patent office strained by time, staffing” reads a new headline from the Nashua Telegraph and one lawyers’ site helps remind us that this problem is systemic because even SCOTUS won’t do what needs to be done:

The Supreme Court’s decision did not invalidate the multitude of business method patents already issued or threaten patent applications still pending. Rather, the court invited the Federal Circuit to consider the appropriate way to evaluate business method patents. Due to the lack of guidance from the courts, the time was perhaps ripe for intervention by Congress.

The patent system is harmful and it helps harm small players in particular. Something must be done about it.

Harming Society One Patent at a Time

Posted in Patents at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jay Walker
Photo by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

Summary: News about patent trolls and unquestioned glorification of patents

Jay Walker [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] became a patent troll after he had given up on doing real business. The Wall Street Journal once approached us for a comment about Walker, having researched the subject more thoroughly than most other publications. TechDirt too denounces Walker by stating that:

Jay Walker created Priceline. That was a good idea, and he showed that he could execute on that. But since then, apparently the only thing he’s wanted to execute on is destroying his legacy by becoming a full on patent troll, and suing as many big companies as possible. Last year, we noted that Walker claimed he had effectively invented “friending” (Patent: 5,884,27 for “establishing and maintaining user-controlled anonymous communications.”) and sued Facebook. That same article talked about him suing the Powerball lottery (Patent: 7,740,537 on “applying lottery multipliers”).

Sadly enough, this is something which seems to be encouraged by the press. When Microsoft partners get involved and when patent aggressors claim vanity rights (another example is “iRise Awarded Canadian Patent for Its Interactive Software Modeling Technology”) there is hardly an attempt to put it in perspective and explain that the granting of monopolies is bad news for everyone. Do you want to help improve the world? Don’t try, it’s patented, according to this new piece of news. When planet Earth and the strategies for helping it get patented, then it becomes a lot clearer how patents hurt everyone.

The question about patents — especially these days — is a very simple one. Academics have answered it repeatedly. The corporate press still does not seem to get it though. Maybe that’s because ownership of the media has a conflict of interest and reality is a threat to it. The problem is not software patents alone, but software is an area where the usefulness of patents can be easily disproven. The next few posts will tackle the same subject.


Nokia Can Oust — But Not Recover From — Microsoft Mole

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rick Bellouszo

Summary: Amid confirmation that Nokia is indeed making Linux phones we learn about more Android FUD from Microsoft’s ‘CEO’ of Nokia and hope that he exits quite soon (along with his Trojan horse, Windows Phone 7)

NOKIA was preparing to release some powerful MeeGo (GNU/Linux) phones earlier this year. But it was a year ago that Nokia put a mole in place, preparing the company for abduction by Microsoft (we correctly predicted this right from the start).

The mole is called Stephen Elop and we already wrote a great deal about it, including the fact that part of Elop’s strategy involved patents. We also correctly foresaw this. Not so long ago, Nokia along with Microsoft’s support passed some Android-hostile patents to a patent troll [1, 2] (an antitrust concern). How many? 2,000 patents! Rather than focus on the real goals ot the company, Elop seems to have become some anti-Android FUD machine and here is his latest. To quote the latter parts:

Nokia should have gone with Android

Nokia seems to have committed suicide by ditching the hottest platform Android.

Look at HTC and Samsung, which have become the ‘leading’ players in the mobile space only due to Android. Motorola is another example of a company which raise from Ashes only due to Android.

I feel Nokia is making a huge mistake by putting all its eggs in a failing platform. If Nokia wants to survive it must go with the most successful platform, which is Android, and not the failed one.

Nokia allegedly replaces Symbian With Linux for low-end phones and the manufacturing countries further validate these allegations by publishing:

Nokia, while relying on Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) to compete with iPhone and Android-based mid-range and high-end smartphones, is developing a new Linux-based operating system to replace Symbian for the production of entry-level smartphones with a price tag ranging from US$100-150, according to Taiwan-based handset makers.

Nokia did not actually need to compete with Android. It could just embrace it instead. Or it could go with MeeGo, which was very powerful at the time and enjoyed the support of big vendors. Nokia self-destructed when it let the mole enter. Maybe it can salvage a bit of the company by tossing him out (he is rumoured to be leaving within months) and then focus just on Linux again. Windows on phones is a non-starter with a market share of about 1% and serious lack of features.

Microsoft and SUSE Make OpenStack Proprietary

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Servers at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: SUSE Makes OpenStack less open by putting SUSE Manager in it

The other day we wrote about OpenStack, noting that Microsoft and Novell were turning ‘open’ stacks into proprietary ones.

Coming from the company that puts “Open” before “SUSE” to make it look community driven (the weekly news seems to be the only community-driven component at this stage) we are not surprised to see proprietary software such as Manager inserted into ‘Open’Stack:

Based on OpenStack’s interrelated cloud computing platform components, SUSE’s cloud infrastructure solution runs on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and leverages existing and proven tools such as SUSE Studio and SUSE Manager. The integration of SUSE tools, platform and OpenStack, coupled with SUSE’s extensive experience delivering enterprise-class, open source solutions, removes many of the complex, cost-prohibitive and risky issues associated with cloud computing.

We also wrote about this in the context of Zonker’s spin. SUSE Manager is proprietary, not open.

Links 30/10/2011: GNOME 3.3.1, GNOME User Survey

Posted in News Roundup at 7:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • How to Convince Your Friends to Use Linux Without Being a Jerk

    Linux is one of the most secure and stable operating systems around, and yet, its user base hasn’t really grown as everyone expected it to. There are many reasons for this, and we won’t go into those right now. However, if you, like any other Linux user, are disappointed by the current market share stats, we can tell you some simple tips that will help you convince your Windows or Mac-crazy friends into using Linux.

    Now, many Linux users have already tried to coax their friends and family members to try out this popular and newbie-friendly distro called Ubuntu. A select few have succeeded and many have failed. So here, we will give you some important tips to help you spread the word about Linux without sounding like that arrogant nerd who has nothing but contempt for Windows or Mac.

  • What’s Popular In The Linux World This Year

    Now being in Orlando for the UDS-P summit, but with the event not officially getting underway until Monday (beginning with Mark’s keynote where something will be announced), there’s time to catch up on a few things (especially as the beer is crap and the weather is less than ideal for VFR flight at the moment). In deciding what to write about next, I was looking at the most popular Phoronix stories from this calendar year.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.2 Is Still Looking To Be Power Hungry

      The PCI subsystem pull for the Linux 3.2 kernel was published on Friday evening. If you were hoping it would rework PCI-E ASPM (Active-State Power Management) to be more like the Windows implementation or for more PCI drivers to be setting the bits directly to support it (effectively white-listing drivers/hardware), it didn’t happen yet.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The DRM Pull Request For Linux 3.2 Kernel

        There’s a new driver to the DRM subsystem in Linux 3.2 and it’s the Samsung Exynos SoC driver. This DRM driver is only for the Exynos 4210 SoC at the moment. It supports kernel mode-setting, but doesn’t expose any 2D/3D hardware acceleration or any user-space interfaces. Samsung doesn’t have a full open-source driver stack for this ARM SoC, so the capabilities of this driver just come down to mode-setting in the kernel right now. Samsung has been working on this driver for a while.

      • 2011 Linux Graphics Survey Results

        In September the 2011 Linux Graphics Survey came to an end, but due to Oktoberfest, AMD Bulldozer Linux testing, OpenBenchmarking.org developments, and other matters, I didn’t have time to look at the survey results until this weekend when getting ready for the Ubuntu Developer Summit. Here’s the 2011 results looking at what Linux desktop end-users are running when it comes to graphics cards and drivers as well as their key concerns.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3.3.1 Development Release

        It never stops ! Here comes the first development release of the 3.3 development cycle. We are off to a slow start, with most features still
        on the drawing board or in early development. Expect things to become more exciting in the next development release. But for now, we want you to download, compile and test this release.


        This release is a snapshot of early development code.

      • GNOME 3.3.1 Development Release Is Here
      • Gnome User Survey

        Phoronix recently hosted a near Gnome User Survey, which surprised me, given Gnome Developers’ general “We know what’s best, bug off” attitude.

  • Distributions

    • Zentyal Linux, a usable Linux Server
    • Jolicloud “personal cloud” for PC, iOS, Android coming soon

      Jolicloud Personal Cloud

      Jolicloud is getting ready to roll out a new cloud-based service that the company says will offer a new way to interact with all of your online services from one place — and that place can be a web browser, smartphone app or tablet app.

      When Jolicloud first launched, the company made an operating system for netbooks based on Ubuntu Linux. The “cloud” part of the name signified two things: the ability to “install” web apps to your desktop so you could launch them quickly just like native Linux applications, and a social element that let you share your recent activity with your peers.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Ubuntu, Red Hat Take Stand On Microsoft’ Secure Boot Lockdown

        Microsoft stirred the bee’s hive by announcing new requirements for manufacturers who want to ship Windows 8 systems, including a feature called ‘Secure Boot’. It means only Windows 8 will be able to run on that hardware, locking GNU/Linux out, shutting all windows on Linux on these computers.

      • Secure Boot and your choice for Linux

        Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu together with Red Hat, have weighed into the controversy surrounding the so called Secure Boot setup that requires OEMs to lock down your BIOS allowing only “approved” software to boot from it. This is of course being pushed by Microsoft.

      • Feeding the trolls

        A few years ago I got up on stage and briefly talked about how the Linux community contained far too many people who were willing to engage in entirely inappropriate behaviour, how this discouraged people from getting involved and how we weren’t very good at standing up against that sort of behaviour. Despite doing this in front of several hundred people, and despite the video of me doing so then being uploaded to the internet, this got me a sum total of:

        * No death threats
        * No discussion about any of my physical attributes or lack thereof
        * No stalkers
        * No accusations that I was selling out the Linux community
        * No accusations that I was a traitor to my gender
        * No real negative feedback at all[1]

      • Red Hat, The Linux Foundation and Canonical Publish White Paper on Unified Extensible Firmware Interface
      • Will Rise Of Cloud Computing Push Red Hat Higher?

        Today we’ll look at Red Hat (RHT), a leading provider of open source operating systems based on Linux. The rise of cloud computing has been increasing demand for Red Hat’s open source solutions, which are often less expensive than comparable offerings from Microsoft and other rivals.

      • Red Hat, Cisco Partner to Bring Open Source to the Cloud

        Cisco and Red Hat offer RHEL with FlexPod: FlexPod, as you might remember, is the NetApp/Cisco virtualization project, essentially a blueprint for deploying a pre-configured interoperable virtualization environment specifically designed for scalability. Now, Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be part of that mix, and will be part of Cisco’s Validated Design (CVD) program. Ideally, Red Hat now has another avenue to find its way into enterprise data centers, potentially even through Cisco VARs. In addition to the CVD induction, Red Hat will also be made compatible with Secure Separation, a process that ensures secure “separate multi-tenant environments for non-virtualized workloads, alongside virtualized ones.”

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian joins Dropbox’s officially supported platforms along with Fedora and Ubuntu

        If you checkout Dropbox’s Linux download page, you will see that Debian packages are provided. Up to a few days ago, they only provided packages for Ubuntu and Fedora.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • End of support for Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) Netbook and ARM – 2011/10/29

            Ubuntu announced the 10.04 Netbook Edition and Ubuntu for ARM products 18 months ago, on April 29, 2010. At that time, Ubuntu committed to ongoing security and critical fixes for a period of 18 months for these specific products.

          • Ubuntu Unity Experience

            I’ve come to enjoy launching and switching between applications via the Launcher. Making the distinction between running and not running applications less important and having stable targets for the most common applications is nice. But only as long as it’s about single window applications, as having to juggle windows after using the launcher just feels like a hassle. The single top bar switching between title and menu is great with maximized windows. This is barely enough to tolerate the shortcomings.

          • Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot review – Damn good

            Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot has a silly name, but it is a very decent and polished product.

          • Ubuntu LTS support period getting extended starting Ubuntu 12.04
          • Dell bundles Ubuntu Linux on PCs in China
          • Canonical, Dell bring Ubuntu laptops to 220 Chinese retail stores
          • Canonical Changes OEM Strategy to Reflect New Customer Base

            What do you do when your partners also become some of your most important customers? That’s a challenge Canonical executives grappled with recently as they moved to restructure Canonical’s relationship with OEMs. Here’s what’s changed at the company, and what it means for the open source channel.

            As Canonical CEO Jane Silber pointed out in a recent blog post, OEM partnerships have been key to distributing Canonical’s main product, the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system. Agreements with server manufacturers in particular have helped Ubuntu gain a significant presence on enterprise machines.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Review: Kubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot”

              That’s where my time with Kubuntu ended. Barring a few Rekonq crashes which could be fixed by Mozilla Firefox, Kubuntu is absolutely amazing. It is stable, polished, and really, really fast. Plus, it brings with it the benefits of a familiar interface (compared to Ubuntu’s Unity) along with the large package selection and the PPA system of Ubuntu. I would strongly recommend that newbies try this, and if the trend of improvements is an indicator for future versions, I might just consider installing Kubuntu 12.04 LTS “Precise Pangolin” on my laptop as my main distribution, now that I know that it will be supported for 5 years. It, along with Linux Mint, Chakra, #!, and Pardus, is now a contender. Bravo Kubuntu!

            • Xubuntu 11.10: go, little ‘Buntu, go!
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Xilinx Launches Open Source Linux Support and Developer Community at ARM TechCon for Zynq-7000 Extensible Processing Platform

      Xilinx Adds Open Source Linux Support as Xilinx Continues to Build out Development Model for its ARM Processor-Based Programmable SoC

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Exclusive: First Pictures of the DROID4 by Motorola

          Keyboard lovers, get ready – the DROID4 by Motorola is coming and according to our sources, has the best slideout they have “ever seen on a smartphone.” In this set of glamour shots we received, you can get a taste for what’s to come which means ultra-thin slider with DROID RAZR styling and wait for it….4G LTE. You asked for it and Moto appears to have made it.

        • Motorola announces Q3 financial results: Smartphones selling like hotcakes, tablets… not so much

          Motorola Mobility recently announced third-quarter 2011 financial results, posting net revenues of $3.3 billion, up 11 percent from third quarter 2010. Mobile device revenue came in at $2.4 billion, up 20 percent from Q3 of last year. Motorola smartphones have been flying off shelves, with 4.8 million smartphones shipped in Q3 of 2011, up 1 million from Q3 of last year. On the flip side, Motorola’s XOOM tablet hasn’t been doing so well, with only 100,000 XOOM’s shipped in Q3 (apple ships that many iPads a day). There’s also a few tidbits in there about the Motorola/Google merger, with around 18 million in expenses going towards the merger, which will seek stockholder approval on November 17th. The merger will also require antitrust clearances in the U.S., by the European Commission, and in Canada, China, Israel, Russia, Taiwan and Turkey.

        • An Update on Google TV

          The Google TV platform contributes to this evolution by enabling new content creators to add to the programming you already enjoy on your TV. Given so much choice, we’re committed to delivering the best way to discover and engage with the high-quality entertainment on your television, whether that comes from your cable or satellite provider (DISH, Comcast, DIRECTV, etc.) or from the Web (YouTube, Netflix, and thousands more). The initial version of Google TV wasn’t perfect, but launching it gave us the opportunity to learn. These are still early days, and we’re working hard to move forward with each update.

        • Hacking the Google TV Box Without Rooting It

          I’ve long held the opinion that the most effective way to get Internet-based content onto a TV is to simply hook a laptop up to the flat screen with an HDMI cable. The laptop acts as an oversized remote control. You get a full Flash-based Web browser, hard drive and keyboard on your TV.

        • Top 5 Word Games For Android
        • Hands on: Motorola Atrix 2 review

          The original Motorola Atrix smartphone was a powerful device that doubled as a pseudo laptop or AV centre – you could connect it to an HDTV in your living room or the LCD on your desk and run a Linux variant with full keyboard and mouse.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Following the open source (and beer) trail through Europe

    Before I follow up with a story on Nokia Qt’s news of the Qt platform now moving to a completely pure open source status, I thought I would also make mention of LinuxCon as I had to select just one from the two events and chose to have my beer German flavoured this year with Qt.

    LinuxCon will reportedly feature a keynote/Q&A held between Linus Torvalds and Greg Kroah-Hartman about the kernel and 20 years of Linux.

    So 20 years in as we are, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst will detail the biggest challenges we still now face and what the next 20 years looks like. While Chairman Emeritus at the IBM Academy of Technology, Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger will present “Linux – A Short Retrospective and an Opinion on the Future”.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Feeds The Mouth That Bites It; Starts To Bing

        The only reason we have Firefox today is because Microsoft used their signature anti-competitive business practice to butcher Netscape. Google helped Firefox to generate revenue so as to create a competitor to Microsoft’s fossilized Internet Explorer and bring the Web to the highway.

        Firefox used Google as its default search engine. The open source browser signed a deal with Microsoft recently to also use Bing as a search option.

        Just today the open source browser announced another deal to feed the hand that bites it. The Mozilla foundation has announced a version of Firefox with Bing as the default search engine.

        Microsoft is an abusive monopoly which kept all other players out of the PC business. When Linux emerged as a contender they started attacking all Linux players over unknown patent issues which Linus Torvalds called bogus.

      • Bing Filters LibreOffice And Linux, Yet Firefox Goes In Bed

        Firefox, which was created from the ashes of Netscape, which was burned down by none other than Microsoft, is now going in bed with the same Microsoft. The interesting point is Microsoft’s Bing gives out ‘confusing’ results.

        We did a test and searched for Open Source Office Suite. The results were obvious for any user. You must see OpenOffice and LibreOffice as top results. When we Googled. We got the expected Results.

      • Mozilla’s Brendan Eich on JavaScript – and Microsoft Buying Netscape

        It seems so long ago now, but for those of us lucky enough (and old enough) to have been there, the launch of Netscape’s 0.9 version of its Netscape Navigator browser in October 1994 was clearly the beginning of a new era. For a few years, Netscape was the centre of the Internet universe – it’s home page was the first you checked each morning for news about what was happening on this strange new Web thing that the company was doing so much to define.

        Of course, Netscape went from Net hero to zero remarkably rapidly, but its influence is still felt in multiple ways. Perhaps most importantly, Netscape Navigator gave rise to Mozilla and thus Firefox. It also gave us JavaScript. Or rather, Netscape’s Brendan Eich gave us JavaScript. Eich is not so well known as some of his colleagues around that time, and that’s a pity, because he was one of the key figures in this formative time. Today he is CTO of Mozilla.

        A few weeks ago I met up with him, and we looked back at the amazing ride the Web – and he – has had since the founding of Netscape. What follows is the first part of that interview, dealing with the birth of JavaScript and the origins of Mozilla. Next week the story will look at Firefox and more recent developments.

  • SaaS

    • Internap Debuts World’s First OpenStack-based Public Cloud
    • Karmasphere Announces Quick-Start Hadoop Virtual Appliance for Developing Analytics on IBM InfoSphere BigInsights
    • Jaspersoft Announces New Hadoop-Based Big Data Analytics Solution
    • Why We Moved Off The Cloud

      Cloud computing is often positioned as a solution to scalability problems. In fact, it seems like almost every day I read a blog post about a company moving infrastructure to the cloud. At Mixpanel, we did the opposite. I’m writing this post to explain why and maybe even encourage some other startups to consider the alternative.

      First though, I wanted to write a short bit about the advantages of cloud servers since they are ideal for some use cases.

      * Low initial costs. Specifically, you can get a cloud server for less than $20. Even the cheapest dedicated servers (and I wouldn’t recommend the cheapest) will cost more than $50. For new companies, this can make a difference.
      * Fast deployment times and hourly billing.If you have variable traffic and you’re not having problems scaling your data persistence layer, you can fairly easy spin up and spin down servers quickly in response to usage patterns. It’s worth pointing out that I specifically mean variable traffic rather than growing traffic. From purely an ease of deployment standpoint, handling even quickly growing traffic is fairly easy on both cloud and dedicated platforms.

      * Cheap CPU performance.If your application is purely CPU bound, then you can end up with great price/performance ratios. Most cloud servers allow a single small node on a physical server to use more than its fair share of CPU resources if they are otherwise underutilized — and they often are. One of the last bits of our infrastructure still on the cloud is CPU bound and even though we pay for very small Rackspace cloud servers, we get the performance of dedicated hardware.

    • Clouds, open source, and new network models: Part 3
    • Open Compute Project Aims to Bring Open Source Standards to Data Center Technology
  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle v. Google – Oracle On Copyright

      Yesterday’s filings of significance all came from Oracle, beginning with a letter to the judge disagreeing with Google’s request that certain copyright issues be disposed of by the judge before the trial commences. (566 [PDF; Text]) Google had suggested that the following issues related to Oracle’s copyright infringement claims were a matter of law and should be decided by the court before the commencement of the trial to make the trial proceed more efficiently:

    • October wrap-up

      I would like to come back shortly on two of the announcements we made, regarding the porting of the LibreOffice platform (not the interface) to iOS and Android, as well as LibreOffice OnLine. While these two projects are at various stages of completion and have different requirements they help to show not just the vitality of our community, they also shed some light on how we manage to embrace a bazaar-like approach to development and think about what I call our “development ecology” (which some could really translate into development strategy, but I think it’s more subtler than that). What you see through our online office suite project and platform porting announcements is that we are taking some great care in doing something paradoxal with respect to our stated intent to change the codebase as much as possible: we keep our codebase intact. Note that we do change, upgrade, clear and trim the codebase, but we do adopt a singular codebase approach where the code used in LibreOffice OnLine, and the underlying code on iOS and Android will essentially be the same than the one inside the LibreOffice Desktop suite. In other words, we do not release a product here and something completely different there, even if in the future, a specific work on the interface for tablets will have to be made (we won’t use the existing interface on these as it would not make sense).

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Hadapt Secures $9.5MM Series A Financing

      Hadapt, creator of the first big data platform to integrate Hadoop with a structured data store to allow for high performance analytics across both structured and unstructured data, today announced that it has closed a $9.5 million Series A round of financing led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) and Bessemer Venture Partners. Matthew Howard, general partner at NVP, and Felda Hardymon, partner at Bessemer, have joined Hadapt’s Board of Directors.


    • FSF: Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

      My problems with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has been simplistically condensed to either being a knee-jerk reaction to anything the FSF has to say, or else part of a broader conspiracy to hate all free software.

  • Licensing

    • Why I (A/L)GPL

      In the Python world the GPL is frequently frowned on, with most people preferring to use a more permissive license such as BSD, MIT, or Python’s. It’s understandable then when people get angry because I’ve licensed Lamson under the GPL. Many people just hate the license, since they feel it goes contrary to the spirit of Python.

      However, I’d like to explain why I use the GPL after decades of writing open source software and after a couple of “successful” projects. These are my reasons for using it, and only apply to me and what I want to do with my software from now on. You are free to your own opinions and choices, and I hope you’ll respect mine.


      I use the GPL to keep you honest. You now have to tell your bosses you’re using my gear. And it will scare the piss out of them. Good. Because I have a solution to that too.

    • Justifying the commercial license for open source

      It was the late summer of 2008 that I found myself sat listening to Sun Microsystem’s then CEO Jonathan Schwartz explain how the open source model would work for customers in practice. Sat as I was at the last JavaOne conference before Oracle’s acquisition of the Java innovators, Schwartz said something like:

      “Hey, the software is free. When you want the services that go with it, we’ll be there to provide them for you.” For ‘provide’ you can obviously take it that he meant ‘sell’ of course.

      So how do companies now continue to justify the open source model and validate their option to sell a commercially provided service, support and maintenance package in this space?

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Making It Real: Next Steps for the Open Compute Project

      When we announced the initiation of the Open Compute Project earlier this year, we posed an audacious question to the industry: What if hardware were open?The benefits, if we could make it work, were clear enough: More openness and collaboration would likely mean a faster pace of innovation in infrastructure technology, greater accessibility to the best possible technology for us all, more efficiency in scale computing and a reduced environmental impact through the sharing of best practices.

    • 50 Companies Team to Create Open Source EV

      The StreetScooter is a $7,000 EV with a 74 mph top speed and an 80-mile range. It relies on leased batteries and uses a heat pump for heating and air conditioning, and shipping company DHL has already ordered 3,500 of them — but the most interesting thing about the vehicle is how it came to be.

    • OpenSim open-source software from Stanford accurately models human motion

      There are 640 muscles in the human body, or maybe it is 639. Or maybe it is 850. Or 656. It all depends on whom you ask. In any case, it is a lot. Stanford bioengineer Scott Delp knows; he has programmed almost every one into his latest work, OpenSim, a software application that helps medical professionals and bioengineers study, diagnose and correct abnormalities in how people move.

    • How R&D is going open-source
  • Programming

    • Serendipity 1.6 integrates jQuery and updates plug-ins

      Serendipity logo Version 1.6 of the open source Serendipity blogging software has been released. The new update includes the jQuery framework so that plug-in and template authors can “provide extended functionality to the frontend” and, like plug-ins, templates can now also use config-groups.

    • 5 Reasons to Learn a Programming Language
    • Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice

      Engineers are hired to create business value, not to program things: Businesses do things for irrational and political reasons all the time (see below), but in the main they converge on doing things which increase revenue or reduce costs. Status in well-run businesses generally is awarded to people who successfully take credit for doing one of these things. (That can, but does not necessarily, entail actually doing them.) The person who has decided to bring on one more engineer is not doing it because they love having a geek around the room, they are doing it because adding the geek allows them to complete a project (or projects) which will add revenue or decrease costs. Producing beautiful software is not a goal. Solving complex technical problems is not a goal. Writing bug-free code is not a goal. Using sexy programming languages is not a goal. Add revenue. Reduce costs. Those are your only goals.

    • IP and License Clean for Eclipse Foundation

      Over the past couple of months the Hudson community has been working hard to ensure that its source code and libraries are IP and license clean in order to pass the stringent entry requirements of the Eclipse Foundation. I spoke briefly about this at my Hudson session at JavaOne and the response was so enthusiastic that I feel I need to bring the facts to a wider audience through this blog.

      The Hudson code that is moving to Eclipse is made up of its core components and plugins for SSH-Slaves, Git and Subversion. The initial upload was made up of around 1700 Java files, 125 XML files, 600 Jelly files and some 3700 property files. The core elements (core, UITest and UpdateCenter) have now been approved and are around 8 of the external libraries but there is still some way to go. Each license is checked by both Eclipse’s automated system and by hand.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Great American False Dilemma: Austerity vs. Stimulus

      It’s quite clear that advocates on both sides of the current debate truly believe that the US can return to a growth path. Equally, they share an assumption that the supply of energy will adhere to a shift in the supply curve, which means simply that more supply or substitutes will be brought to market if the price level is sustained at high enough levels.

  • Finance

    • Bringing Europe’s cultural treasures to a new generation

      If these assets are made digital and put online, we can bring them to a wider audience, and preserve them for the next generation. They can have applications in education, tourism, or as a source for further art. They can be used by developers and for online exhibitions to which members of the public can contribute. And they can boost our growth and jobs, including in the creative sector which represents 3.3% of our GDP.

      Europeana is the focal point for all these efforts. It already holds 19 million digital items – from Principia Mathematica to Het Meisje met de Parel. Check out the site now and explore our cultural heritage!

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