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Links 1/10/2011: Firefox 7, ODF 1.2

Posted in News Roundup at 1:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Playing To Our Strengths

    I asked myself, “Is this even LEGAL???” I still laugh to myself that such a thought entered my head, but it was justified. My previous experience was that if it was free it had to be a bootleg or that it just wasn’t any good because I never heard of anybody using it. Nevertheless, I tried several LiveCD’s before I made the attempt to install it on my own computer, I tried out Fedora, Debian, Freespire, and ultimately, Ubuntu. Everything I read about Ubuntu told me that that was the distro of choice for Linux newcomers, so I ran with it.

    I ran an Ubuntu 8.10 LiveCD and surprisingly it was pretty easy to navigate through and even though it was different than the Windows I was using, a lot of its features functioned in a very familiar way. I was quite impressed and completely intrigued. Ubuntu came with my favorite internet browser, Firefox, installed by default. It had a movie player, a music player, it’s very own office suite, a bittorent client and a universal instant messenger client, right out of the box. I was one week away from the release of 9.04, so I waited and after release I downloaded and installed it to my computer. I never looked back again. I was “sold” on this free Linux.

  • Desktop

    • ZaReason CEO Sounds Off on Linux, Hardware ‘Compatibility’

      Canonical’s “Ubuntu Friendly” hardware-validation program, which officially debuts next month along with Ubuntu 11.10, should make life a little easier for people with computers that don’t get along so well with Linux. But what if your computer is designed from the ground up to run Linux flawlessly? I recently got a chance to speak with ZaReason CEO Cathy Malmrose, whose company has been shipping Linux PCs for years, about precisely that question. Here’s what she had to say.

    • Windows 8: one step forward, two steps back

      Windows 8 machines will require what’s known as “secure boot” which is marketed as a security feature but in reality it’s primary purpose is to prevents other operating systems from being booted on the machine.

      On top of taking ownership of your hardware, Microsoft has decided to take Apple’s walled garden approach to apps.

  • Kernel Space

    • Jukka Ehto is the Linux Contributor of the Year 2011 in Finland

      The Finnish Linux User Group FLUG has awarded Jukka Ehto, the IT chief of the city of Kankaanpää with the Linux Contributor of the Year Prize. Lehto managed a large virtualization and desktop project(1) in the city, using Red Hat’s virtualization technology. In the process, he shaved off about 50% of his budget and 10% of the average time to deploy a new workstation. The prize includes a 2000 euro award.

    • Intrerview with Linus Torvalds

      In many ways (and for many years) I think that the most exciting new features are in user space.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Windows 8 Metro Style Conky Theme

      Kant – O from DeviantART has a designed a cool conky theme inspired by Windows 8 Metro UI.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE on Minecraft?

        If for whatever reason you purposefully don’t play Minecraft, feel free to tune this post out and carry on with life. It is KDE related, promise!

    • GNOME Desktop

      • DIY gnome applets

        We all know Gnome, and similar GUIs, are there only as a fancy console multiplexer, but even so it’s useful to have widgets in your menus or dockbars to display useful data, like the release date of DNF (*). Gnome has a limited amount of applets from which you can choose, and most of them are crap or limited in their customization. You can always create your own widgets, but that’s a pain in the ass for lazy people like me. Fortunately we lazy people can now use something an order of magnitude more useful than widgets in Gnome : we can use console commands!

      • GNOME Shell in Ubuntu 11.10 – First Impressions

        GNOME Shell and Unity are the two new approaches towards creating the ultimate desktop experience by GNOME Foundation and Canonical respectively. Both approaches stirred up fair amount of controversies, with personalities like Linus Torvalds going so far as to call GNOME Shell an unholy mess. But things aren’t that bad, or are they? Let’s find out.

      • Quick Gnome 3.2 Writeup

        I’ve been using KDE 4.7 for the past few months, since Gnome 3 and me really don’t get along.

        I decide to take 3.2 for a spin on my Fedora 16 computer, and found it to be more of the same.

        Network Manager is as incomplete as ever. Just add an advanced button, dammit! I hate having to type “nm-connection-editor” because the Network panel is half-baked for people who actually need to choose their IPs. KDE has no problems with this. The old (Good?) Gnome didn’t have a problem with this.


        I’m switching back to KDE 4.7.1, and will might try again in 6 months, but as the Magic 8-ball says… “Outlook not so good”.

      • GNOME 3.2′s New File Manager, Emperor

        It appears that the GNOME developers worked hard to bring a new file manager to the upcoming GNOME 3.2 desktop environment, which will be released later tonight.

  • Distributions

    • Slackware-Current Hidden Activities

      There hasn’t been any public activities in the -Current tree. The last update committed was in September 6 and since then, there has been a lot of changes happening in the open source world. Some people might ask “Why wouldn’t Slackware development tree gets updated lately?”

    • Rethinking the Linux distibution

      Recently I’ve been thinking about how Linux desktop distributions work, and how applications are deployed. I have some ideas for how this could work in a completely different way.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Apple, Quality Systems, Red Hat Show Acceleration

        Open-source software provider Red Hat (RHT) had a quarterly earnings decline of 5%, followed by growth of 18%, 37%, 33% and 47%. Technically speaking, moving from deceleration to growth is not acceleration, but it is progress.

        The Street expects earnings of 26 cents a share this quarter, which would be a 30% pop. To keep the acceleration going, Red Hat would have to beat by 4 cents. The company delivered those kind of beats in two of the past three quarters.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Monkeys Recreate Shakespeare Using Ubuntu

            Jesse used Ubuntu Linux for the project. The computer he ran the monkeys on is a Core 2 Duo 2.66GHZ with 4 GB RAM running Ubuntu 10.10 64-bit. He used Hadoop, Amazon EC2 along with the world’s most popular Linux OS. He said that he created an Amazonian Map Monkeys.

          • Interview with Daniel Bray (Lupine)

            In this interview Daniel Bray (Lupine) of the Ubuntu Florida LoCo Team explains how he was able to use Ubuntu instead of Microsoft to complete his college degree. In an era when almost all schools in the United States require that its students use either Microsoft or Mac based technical solutions, Bray finds a way to exercise his freedom of choice and use Free and Open Source software to complete his degree.


            Jupiter is an applet designed for netbooks and laptops that you can use to switch between maximum and high performance and power saving mode, change the resolution and orientation, enable or disable the bluetooth, touchpad, WiFi and so on.

          • Ubuntu Development Update

            These are the days where the release team is awake for 24 hour per day. Every issue that comes up on their radar has to be evaluated and checked if it warrants re-spinning all the CD images, re-doing all the testing, or if it should go into a stable release update after the release. It’s a challenging time, but things are looking quite good. (If you ignore the problem of developers just not sleeping.)

          • A Handful of Minor Unity Changes Land in Ubuntu 11.10

            A bunch of bug fixes and minor tweaks to Unity in Ubuntu 11.10 slid down the update pipe yesterday – but what exactly has changed?

          • 14 New Community Wallpapers Land in Ubuntu 11.10
          • Ubuntu Tweak 0.6 Enters beta

            There look to be about 100 options which are divided into three main categories which are then divided into further subcategories:

            Startup (Login Settings, Session Control)

            Desktop (Compiz Settings, Desktop Icon Settings, GNOME Settings, Window Manager Settings)

            System (Nautilus Settings, Power Manager Settings, Security Related, Workarounds)

          • Flavours and Variants

            • WattOS: Is It Faster & Can Save Power Over Ubuntu?

              For some months I’ve been meaning to try out WattOS, an Ubuntu derivative that claims to do more than providing simple desktop theme changes and other high-level customizations. It seeks to provide a simple and fast desktop that’s also said to conserve more power and run better on older hardware, but is this actually the case? Here are benchmarks of WattOS R4 compared to the upstream Ubuntu 11.04 release from which it’s derived, and the numbers are quite revealing.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Apple is terrified of Samsung

        Fruity cargo cult Apple has admitted that its patent trolling antics are because the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is better than anything it could come up with.

      • Free Software: the reason Amazon Fire is Android 2.1

        Yep, the ebooks have DRM and ‘lending’ these books out is nearly impossible…

      • Motorola Android tablet refresh kicks off November tip sources

        Motorola‘s 7-inch Android tablet is set to arrive in November, while the company’s second attempt at the 10.1-inch segment will follow on in December, according to Chinese reports. Compal is responsible for the design of the smaller slate, the Commercial Times claims, while Motorola has been developing its larger XOOM-replacement in-house; neither is expected to launch running Ice Cream Sandwich, according to the tipsters.

      • Exclusive: First Pictures of the Motorola XOOM 2 (Updated)
      • Toshiba Expands Tablet Family with New 7-Inch Model

        Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today announced the addition of the Thrive™ 7” Tablet to its expanding line-up of consumer tablet devices. Featuring a brilliant hi-resolution seven-inch diagonal touch display1, the Thrive 7” Tablet offers a complete tablet experience with entertainment-optimized features in an incredibly portable design that weighs under a pound2 and fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.

      • Huawei 4G Tablet Destined For T-Mobile Discovered In The Wild

        We do love getting our hands on some “in the wild” shots of unknown products and this time we’re showing you the upcoming Huawei 4G tablet destined for T-Mobile. Our very own ninja guess is that we’re likely to see a formal introduction during next months CTIA event. At that point we’ll learn the

        Huawei tablet has a 7″ IPS WVGA 1280 x 800 screen, 1.2GHz dual-core processor on top of Android 3.2 Honeycomb, Flash 10.3, 16GB of internal memory, dual-cameras and a 4100mAh battery.

      • Kobo Vox Android Tablet Coming on 17 October for $250

        Kobo had a minor booboo today. Their new Android tablet, the 7″ Kobo Vox, has shown up on Futureshop.ca with a spec sheet, ship date, and a retail of $250 CAD.

      • The Kindle Fire is A Big Open Source Bet from Amazon

        All of this, of course was ballyhooed as the next chapter for Android too early. People far and wide predicted that Android tablets would immediately challenge Apple’s iPad for market share, which isn’t the case. But the Kindle isn’t the iPad. It’s its own breed of mobile hardware device, and Amazon is making a big bet on Android with new generation Kindles such as the Fire.

      • Has Amazon just Fire-forked Android?

        Amazon’s Kindle Fire may not be an iPad killer or offer cutting-edge features, but it could prove to be a big headache for Android tablet and e-reader vendors, analysts agree. Meanwhile, others debate whether the Fire’s customized UI represents a true fork of Android, and argue over whether its cloud-oriented Silk browser is a breakthrough in mobile multimedia or an unprecedented invasion of privacy.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Asylum-seekers get some LUV

    A prominent figure from Melbourne’s free and open source software community has complained to the Australian Labor Party that attempts to legalise the offshore processing of asylum-seekers are against party rules.

  • Ten years of the Lucene search engine at Apache

    The Apache Foundation is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the full text search engine Lucene at the foundation. In 2001, Lucene entered the ASF as a sub-project of the Apache Jakarta project. Since 1997, it was available to download on Sourceforge, but in 2001 “Apache provided Lucene a home where it could build a solid community”, said Lucene’s creator and ASF Chairman Doug Cutting. Since then, said Cutting, Lucene’s usefulness to a wide range of applications and deep improvements have led to it powering “smart search and indexing for eCommerce, financial services, business intelligence, travel, social networking, libraries, publishing, government, and defense solutions.”

  • Web Browsers

  • CMS

    • Giving a Clunky Old CMS the WordPress Treatment

      When it became clear eMusic’s old, custom-built content management system was becoming a drag on the company, the search was on for a replacement. WordPress offered an open source tool with a passionate developer community. The CMS switch worked out well for eMusic in the end, but it wasn’t always easy. Here are some lessons learned in the process.

  • Education

    • Romanian and Moldovan schools and universities eager to use open source

      Schools and universities in Romania and the Republic of Moldova want to increase their use of GNU/Linux based computers and are also turning to Moodle, an open source e-learning environment, following presentations and practical demonstrations in August and September.


      The open source summer school is organised by the Computer Science faculty from the Vasile Goldis Western University in Arad. The university hosted such summer school for six or seven years, first titled ‘Linux and virtual learning environment’ and in the past three years known as “Computer science at the castle’.


    • Free Software Foundation Relaunches Software Directory

      The Free Software Foundation today announced the relaunch of The Free Software Directory. For years The Free Software Directory allowed users to search and browser for software that meets The Free Software Definition, which is basically what most think of as Open Source software, but an update was needed.

  • Project Releases

    • StatusNet 1.0.0: It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

      I’m pleased to announce that StatusNet 1.0.0 has just gone golden. We’ve released the 1.0.0 version for download, and it’s running now on all StatusNet cloud systems.

    • PiTiVi Video Editor 0.15 Released

      PiTiVi Video Editor has just reached version 0.15 bringing in new features and fixes. This is last PiTiVi release based on traditional engine. PiTiVi 2.0 will be based on GES (GStreamer Editing Services) and will bring better performance and stability to this popular video editor.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Winds of Change…

      Last week, my university approved the use of open source software officially and adopted Open Document Format (ODF) as its standard. The TV news even covered the decision!

    • Happy Birthday LibreOffice!

      We changed the world.

    • ODF 1.2: Approved as an OASIS Standard

      The day has finally arrived. Open Document Format (ODF) 1.2 has been approved. It is now an OASIS Standard.

    • Make the use of open standards in education mandatory

      Some of you have noticed there is something buzzing among your Dutch friends. It has to do with education, Silverlight, open standards and being obese. I’ve been asked to write about it in English so you all can get on the same page as us, and sign a petition to show your support for our campaign to make the use of open standards in education mandatory.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Health Care Reform Opponents Winning the PR War

      The Kaiser Family Foundation just released the findings of its annual survey of businesses to determine how much the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage has gone up. There were some unexpected findings.

      One was that the average cost of annual premiums for family coverage is now more than $15,000. The 9 percent increase in the cost of health insurance over last year caught many people by surprise because it represented a bigger hike in premiums than in recent years.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Wins Dismissal of Lawsuit Over CDO Loss

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. won dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg over losses on $37 million in collateralized debt obligations.

    • Goldman wins dismissal of NY lawsuit over bonuses

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s board of directors has won the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to recover billions of dollars of bonus payouts and other compensation awarded for 2009.

    • Risky Business

      With Europe on the verge of a financial meltdown and many of Wall Street’s biggest banks trading at or near their 52-week lows and at a fraction of their book value — take for instance, Goldman Sachs, which is trading at about 75 percent of its book value, staring down a rare quarterly loss, cutting compensation, and firing thousands of employees — is it possible that the turmoil in the global financial markets is finally accomplishing what regulators the world over have not been willing or able to do: force these financial beasts to rein in their excessive risk-taking and act more like the dull, boring utilities we need them to be for our own safety?

    • Innovation in Higher Education

      A glance at the latest US employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals sharp differences in unemployment rates by educational attainment: college degree or higher: 4.3%; associate degree or some college: 8.2%; high school graduates, no college: 9.6%; and no high school diploma: 14.3%. Moreover, while the overall unemployment rate remains over 9 percent, a recent McKinsey report found that employers are having trouble filling specific positions because they could not find applicants with the right skills. The report projects that if economic conditions improve, there will be a shortage of 1.5 million workers with college degrees by 2020, but a surplus of almost 6 million of workers with no high school degree. It also projects a continuing shortage of workers with technical and health care skills not necessarily requiring a college degree.

      Just about every such study points to a similar trend: for the foreseeable future, the US economy will need better educated workers with specific skill requirements. Workers without a post-secondary education face a contracting set of job opportunities. Those with higher educational attainments will be in the best position to obtain good jobs with good pay.

    • Darrell Issa Goes Postal, Job-Killing Retiree Bill Moves to the States

      Darrell Issa is going postal. In the name of “Saving the Post Office,” the head of the House Government Oversight Committee is ready to knock off 200,000 jobs and put the U.S. Postal Service, founded in 1775, on the path to oblivion. President Obama’s rescue plan is only slightly better — 80,000 people might lose their jobs.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Susan G. Komen, Pinkwashing? “Promise Me” It’s Not True

      October is fast approaching, with its annual deluge of pink ribbons and cause marketing campaigns that leverage emotions surrounding breast cancer to sell products. In past years, PRWatch has reported on questionable “pinkwashed” products like buckets of fried fast food, cringeworthy “I Heart Boobies” bracelets marketed to teenagers, and even a pink “breast cancer awareness” Smith and Wesson handgun.

  • Privacy

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Top 10 Reasons ISPs Are Against Net Neutrality

      Thursday again already? We’ve created a monster, now haven’t we? Anyway, here we go with yet another Top 10 list.

      You might’ve read the news that net neutrality rules are set to become law on November 20th. Of course, how “neutral” the net becomes depends on whether you’re connecting the old fashioned way, by a wire running into your house, or through the gee whiz magic of wireless service. The wireless providers get a break because evidently they aren’t charging enough already or something.

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