EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.04.11

Links 4/10/2011: Parted Magic 6.7, Red Hat’s Latest Takeover, Fedora 16 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 7:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Rapid Release Follow-Up

        My recent post on the rapid release cycle generated a lot of response, some very thoughtful and some also very frustrated. Many of the comments focus on a few key issues listed below. We’ve been working on how to address these issues; I’ll outline our progress and plans here.

      • Mozilla releases Rescuefox prototype

        Mozilla’s Gladius game engine is part of the outfit’s Paladin project, which is trying to push 3D gaming in the Firefox web browser. The Rescuefox prototype was used to highlight any problems between the Gladius game engine and Firefox’s Gecko rendering engine, and it also works on Google’s Chrome.

      • RescueFox: The Value of a Prototype
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Is One

      Once in the mists of time, I was the head of open source at Sun Microsystems. One of my chief delights in that role was the OpenOffice.org project. I attended the Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Monterey, California in 2000 where the project was created out of a product Sun had acquired the previous year, StarOffice. I watched as it grew in polish and capability. I also helped as it submitted its ideas to the OASIS standards group for an “Open Office Document Format”, a project that evolved into ODF and changed the world of enterprise document handling.

  • Education

    • On the University migration to Free Software

      Megatotoro described here how the recently announced University migration to free software made a big splash in national newspapers and even on TV news. The idea is to start by replacing MS Office suites by free software equivalents (Open Office.org/Libre Office) and, eventually, dump Windows and implement Linux.

      I visited the online page of one of those newspapers to see the coverage and the comments I read were, for the most part, very encouraging and positive. Of course, the public is congratulating the University for the initiative of saving a LOT OF MONEY (that was used to pay MS licenses) through the use of Free Software and to invest this growing amount on improving the campus and on resources available to students.

  • Funding

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Sinatra 1.3 adds streaming

      The developers of Sinatra, the light-weight web framework for Ruby programmers, have announced the availability of a new feature release, Sinatra 1.3.0, which allows applications to keep connections open over time while still delivering data over the connection.

Leftovers

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Synagro’s Shiny New Patina

      Synagro is in the business of marketing sewage sludge as “compost,” or, as the company’s new, PR-approved website puts it, “Transforming natural waste challenges into sustainable, planet-friendly solutions.” The company is a subsidiary of the Carlyle Group, the largest private equity firm in the world. Carlyle is also a sizeable part of the military-industrial complex with ties to numerous national politicians, including former British Prime Minister John Major, Alice Albright (daughter of former Secretary of State Madelyn Albright), and both George W. and George H.W. Bush.

  • Privacy

    • Open Data Community Demands a Real Debate on Public Data Corporation

      Earlier this week dozens of people from the loose open data movement gathered in London to discuss the current government consultations on this policy area. Open Rights Group had organised these workshops to present the policy proposals and our initial views, but also to gather feedback from the community. The main message we took home is that the Public Data Corporation in is current shape is widely perceived as a missed opportunity and huge step backwards, while the Making Open Data Real paper got a much more nuanced response.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Red Hat

        I am happy to announce that today the party is kicking off its public policy process. To get involved simply take a look at www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy2011 and then go to piratethispolicy.co.uk to let us know what you think.

        As you know, over the last year I have been listening to members, voters and the public as well as going out and speaking to the people who had an opportunity to vote for one of our candidates in Gorton, Oldham and Bury. I watched as our brothers and sisters in Berlin reinvigorated their voters and overturned a legacy of decline and apathy. I saw that it was not just because they had money, not just because the electoral system in Berlin is fairer, but because they had ideas that people could vote for; ideas that came from the same guiding principles as our own, ideas that were well presented, sensible and relevant. They were ideas that won 8.9% of an election and they were good ideas.

Attachmate Apathetic and SUSE No Better Than Free GNU/Linux (With No Microsoft Tax)

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell is a yawner

Yawn

Summary: More evidence of inaction from Novell’s adopter and inaction from SUSE developers (who cannot offer more than their GNU/Linux counterparts)

Attachmate was recently mentioned for its general neglect of Novell products. We’ve managed to spot an Attachmate sponsorship, their staff writing articles, and even customers that they have, but examples are very few.

In more prominent articles we find some shuffling down under, including this one which mentions Novell:

Attachmate has appointed Ian Graystone as channel sales director for its Novell and NetIQ operations in Australia.

What can be done for Novell at this stage? We see its products declining in the market and one of the only emerging areas — that which is associated with Microsoft-taxed GNU/Linux — is now in Germany (SUSE).

An announcements was sent a short while ago about the beta of OpenSUSE 12.1 and The H wrote:

Following a more than one week delay, the openSUSE project has announced the release of a first beta of version 12.1 of its openSUSE operating system. Originally called Milestone 6, this release is aimed at developers, testers and early adopters, and was reclassified as a beta in September; this was done in order to give it a higher profile in the hope that it would receive more extensive testing. It will be followed by two release candidates (RCs); the final version is scheduled to arrive on 11 November 2011.

More about the GNOME side can be found in Jamie Watson’s detailed analysis which starts as follows:

The next release of openSuSE, 12.1 (code named Asparagus), made it to Beta release over the weekend. I actually wrote about this ten days or so ago, when it should have originally been released, but it was delayed at that time. Now that it is out, in addition to simply mentioning the availability, I decided to have a quick look at their Gnome distribution, which is now using Gnome 3. The default desktop is the same as Gnome 3 under Fedora…

So why not use Fedora then? Red Hat is not in the pocket of Microsoft, unlike SUSE. Back in the days, before Novell signed that treasonous deal with Microsoft, SUSE had actually innovated. It made 3-D desktop effects before Vista was even available and it also made some new menus that exist to this date (e.g. SLAB). Back then there was actually a reason to choose SUSE, as I did too.

We are doing to research and write more about Novell in the weekend.

Lobbying for Patents in the EU and the US

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Love collage

Summary: Time at the lobby takes its toll on society as politicians like Marcin Korolec and predators like Carl Icahn promote what would harm people’s interests

SOME days ago we wrote about the Polish presidency [1, 2, 3, 4] and its stance on a framework which would help legalise software patents in the EU. According to patent lawyer Axel H. Horns, this open door for software patents in the EU is urgently being pushed for passage before the end of this presidency’s reign:

The EU Competitiveness Council met in Brussels on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 September under the chair of Mr. Marcin Korolec, Deputy Minister of Economy, and Mrs Barbara Kudrycka, Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education.

[...]

Commissioner Barnier will welcome progress made in recent weeks and stress the importance of reaching a final agreement by the end of 2011. He will highlight that reducing the costs and complexity of the existing European patent system has a substantial impact on innovation and growth.

We wrote about Barnier in relation to his work which was pro-patents (as covered here, here, here, here and here). He has a lot of power, so people should not lose sight of his actions and words. Another person who has a lot of power is Carl Icahn, who abuses this power to crush Yahoo! and have Motorola pretty much reduced to just a pile of patents. To quote patents boosters (patent lawyers) from IAM Magazine:

I wonder if the most significant event of the past few months for the developing IP market place was not actually the Nortel auction or Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility, but the statement from Carl Icahn prior to the latter occurring. Towards the end of July, billionaire investor Icahn, who has a fair sized chunk of Moto shares, said that the board should be looking to monetise the company’s patent portfolio, which he said had “significant value”. He continued: “There may be multiple ways to realize such value given the current heightened market demand for intellectual property in the mobile telecommunications industry.”

We now know that even before Icahn went public with his views Google and Motorola Mobility were in talks about a possible acquisition, indeed Icahn may even have known about them; but what his statement showed was that a serious investor had taken a close look at the IP position of one of the companies he had an interest in and had formed a significant position as a result. Of course, without the Nortel auction he probably would not have done so; but that is by the by – he did.

The turning of phone makers into just a pile of patents is a subject we tackled in a separate post. This works well for patent lawyers and companies that are extremely large. it really harms customers and impedes competition, so there is no justification for it.

Microsoft Products Are Still Dying

Posted in Microsoft at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drained

Summary: Windows Live Gallery is being shut down and it is merely the latest among very many such Microsoft services and products that are eventually being shut down

MARKET monopolist and unethical bully Microsoft is gradually breaking down into pieces. It is a process that has gone on for several years now. While some old monopolies bring home some bacon (although a decreasing amount of it), there is clearly an inability to evolve.

“There are more products that die at Microsoft without us noticing as we no longer track MSFT.”It has been a long time since Microsoft last brought a successful product to market. It just shuts down many projects as none of the new ones succeeds on the face of it.

We have an out-of-date wiki page about Microsoft’s dead products and now we can add another item to it. Windows Live Gallery is officially dead. Thanks to the reader who sent us the link. There are more products that die at Microsoft without us noticing as we no longer track MSFT. There are more pressing issues.

When Phones Become Just a Big Pile of Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 10:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wood

Summary: News suggesting (or even preaching) that computing in the mobile world should be treated as just negotiation (and extortion) over patents

The question about software patents is vital to Microsoft, which has essentially become a patent parasite that feeds on Linux/Android. The New York Times (NYT) was accused by Glyn Moody of posting a “puff piece” for Microsoft about the Samsung deal which harms Android. There are many more such examples, including some from Microsoft boosters pretending to report Android news objectively (instead, they spread Microsoft talking points).

According to another new piece from the NYT, Amazon might be after Palm for its patents. To quote:

Will Amazon Buy Palm for Its Patents?

Shares of Amazon fell about 2 percent in the first hour of trading on Friday, amid speculation that the online retailer might be angling to buy Palm, the fallen mobile device business that Hewlett-Packard bought last year for $1.2 billion.

It turns out that Nokia’s deal with Apple is now receiving or was receiving federal scrutiny. The Microsoft-led Nokia is now feeding a Canadian patent troll which is likely to attack Android [1, 2, 3].

Canadian companies such as RIM and Nortel get mentioned in the Canadian press, increasingly as part of the promotion of mobile technology as just a pile of patents. What a gross and dangerous simplification. To paraphrase a recent comment, great ideas need to turn into products, not patents. Anyway, from the Globe and Mail:

That means creating investment funds that can pool and manage nationally vital patents in areas such as software and biotechnology. It requires governments to wield a stick.

Did they really mean to lump software in? These are notoriously improper.

Google’s Schmidt meanwhile reassures that Google’s purchase of Motorola patents won’t be trouble. To quote CNET:

In an attempt to allay fears that Motorola Mobility would receive special treatment following the completion of Google’s acquisition, the search giant’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, said that competitors have nothing to fear.

More here on the same subject (Bloomberg promotes the “IP” propaganda, still):

Google Inc. (GOOG) Chairman Eric Schmidt said the $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. may spur competition among phone makers using its Android software, and the company won’t play favorites with its partners.

“The Android ecosystem is the No. 1 priority, and we won’t do anything with Motorola, or anybody else by the way, that would screw up the dynamics of that industry,” Schmidt said in an Oct. 1 interview with Bloomberg Television’s Erik Schatzker in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Sony’s large patent collection has alleviated concern for some:

Sony Ericsson CEO Confident Company Will Avoid Patent Wars

Sony Ericsson, the mobile handset joint venture between Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson (ERIC) and Sony Corp. (SNE), will not become embroiled in the legal battles over patents engulfing its rivals because of its large existing patent portfolio and its policy of cross-licensing those patents, its Chief Executive says.

This still leaves smaller companies open to abuse. How is the patent system affecting competition really? Almost by definition, patents are about protectionism and not competition. Pro-patents Web sites that provide people tips on how to get software patents are doing a huge disservice to the producing industry and all those patent deals we keep hearing about are essentially a cancellation of the artificial limitation known as patents. Some companies issue press releases dedicated just to patents because they fail to actually make products. Microsoft increasingly falls into this category too. We seem to hear about Microsoft extorting Linux phone makers more than we hear about Microsoft’s phones (there have been several disparate attempts over the years, but all of them failed).

Update on Software Patents in the US, Australia, and New Zealand

Posted in America, Australia, Law, Patents at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Australian guy

Summary: Opportunities remain for blocking or abolishing software patents in some key English-speaking countries

THE STRUGGLE to eliminate software patents before they spread further and become an international norm is perhaps in Obama's hands. Despite corporate sponsorship he will need to listen to the people, who clearly reject software patents and speak out about it [1, 2] after they voted him into office.

The White House still has a petition against software patents, but will it be answered? There are yet more new articles about it. One latest example says:

The petition has more than 12,000 signatures, which puts it among the top 10 petitions on the White House website.

In a separate post we will cover the latest situation in Europe and on Sunday we wrote about the latest situation in Australia, on which the FFII’s president comments as follows:

10 days left to file answers to the Australian Consultation to get rid of software patents over there…

This is even in Slashdot, but not quite receiving the level of attention it deserves.

Then there is the New Zealand situation with regards to software patents.. IDG warns that:

In August HP started the process of acquiring Autonomy for $US10billion; the fourth largest ever software/services acquisition in history. Its interest in the company “says a lot about what our competitive strengths are, as well as our intellectual property”, says Autonomy’s Australia/NZ managing director Dean Maher. The company has 170 patents across advanced knowledge management and search of structured, unstructured and semi-structured data, he says – casting a sidelight on the local debate over the value of software patents.

Not a pleasant thought. In the next few posts we’ll show the relevance to Free software.

Links 4/10/2011: Next Ubuntu Imminent, OpenEMR 4.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • How Linux is advancing astronomy

    Head into the professional world of astronomy, though, and Linux machines are ubiquitous. Speaking to science colleagues, fellow developers and reading this very magazine, it becomes clear that there are a wealth of options out there for avid stargazers and the same names and distros crop up again and again.

  • Flexibility of GNU/Linux

    I have often used GNU/Linux to examine systems for many reasons: hardware identification, testing, rescuing data from hard drives, and installation, of course. KNOPPIX is often used but SystemRescueCD is designed for the purpose and has a ton of great features such as chNTpass and memtest. Then there is CloneZilla which does efficient disc imaging to/from a device or a server and, with a server, multicasting. The world is “solution-rich” with GNU/Linux.

  • Open Source: Niche Markets, Linux and Microsoft

    If you are a Linux protagonist who has been around as long as, or longer than, I have, you have seen responses like these over and over as to why Linux distributions will never go mainstream on the PC desktop:

    * “Linux will always remain a niche platform because it does not have a native release of Adobe (Photoshop / Creative Suite / etcetera)!”
    * “Linux does not have Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office power users require Microsoft Office!”
    * “The web portal at (insert portal here) needs Internet Explorer. There is no native release of Internet Explorer for Linux, so no one will want to use Linux!”
    * “Program X does not have a Linux version or equivalent!”
    * Or other claims along the same lines …

    [...]

    To me this suggests that the Microsoft platform is the niche platform:

    * Do you “need” Adobe (Photoshop / Creative Suite / etcetera) for your job? Then you are a niche user.
    * Do you “need” Microsoft Office because you are a “power user”? Then you are a niche user.
    * Do you “need” access to an IE only web portal? Then you are a niche user.
    * Do you “need” to run Program X on your PC? Then you are a niche user.

  • Six ways to use Linux Live CDs in your business

    It was true for me up until a certain point. Things changed when Knoppix Live CD was released by Klaus Knopper in 2000.

  • Desktop

    • Gummersbach: ‘Open source desktops much easier to manage’

      Easier management is one of the main reasons for the German city of Gummersbach to switch its almost 350 PCs to the open source operating system GNU/Linux, a move that began already four years ago. One of the IT administrators, Dirk Hennrichs: “Our Linux desktops need close to zero maintenance, making them light years easier to manage than their proprietary predecessor.”

      Following the move to GNU/Linux, time spent on desktop maintenance was rationalised by one full time equivalent. Hennrichs: “Had the city stayed with the proprietary alternative, it would force us to increase the number of IT administrators.”

    • Flashdrive Linux Saves the Day

      As I have mentioned previously on this blog, I never go anywhere without a bootable Linux flashdrive. The fact that Linux is so portable is one of my favorite things about it. I have at various times kept Fedora, Linux Mint, and Puppy on my flashdrive, but for the last couple months, my mobile distro of choice has been Knoppix.

  • Server

    • Mad Dog 21/21: Bier Or Hospice, That Persistent Thirst For Legacy

      It’s possible–and I think likely–that IBM could not sustain either legacy business, and particularly the mainframe legacy portion, without the highly visible z/Linux offering. Unfortunately for IBM, a key technological capability that distinguished z/Linux from rivals in the form of non-z servers, is losing its advantage.

    • Linux on Mainframes – an IBM update

      IBM presented an update on Linux on its mainframe line of computers. It was refreshing to learn about the success Linux has been having outside of the realm of industry standard X86-based systems. Here’s a quick summary of the session.

  • Kernel Space

    • Btrfs File-System For Old Computers?

      Recently I published benchmarks of Btrfs from a Serial ATA 3.0 SSD (the excellent OCZ Vertex 3 SSD) and those results were interesting, but most people aren’t running 6Gb/s solid-state drives, so how does this next-generation file-system perform on the opposite end of the spectrum? In this article are EXT4 and Btrfs benchmarks from an old Core Duo notebook with a 5400RPM mobile hard drive.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE to Say Buh-Bye to Screensavers

        Developers are addressing a security “constraint” in KDE’s screen-locking routine, which I guess some folks may welcome. But as a result, screensavers will be rendered inoperative. They hope to include a fallback in 4.8, but will remove that in 4.9. Martin Graesslin says they wish to replace the current engine with a “new solution” built using Qt Quick and they hope users will start to contribute new screensavers.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3′s Default Wallpaper – Ubuntu Style

        Whether or not you’re a fan of GNOME 3′s default ‘stripy blue’ wallpaper there’s no denying that it is striking.

        If you plan on using GNOME Shell in Ubuntu 11.10 (it’s just a click away) – or if you’ve made the ultimate sacrifice and have it installed it in 11.04 – the following Ubuntu-flavoured variant of GNOME’s default wallpaper can add some Ubuntu-flavoured purple warmth back to your desktop.

      • GNOME 3.x Revisted

        The last time I tried both of GNOME 3′s official ISOs, things didn’t go as planned. But the recently released 3.2 version deserved another chance, seeing its apparent slew of new features. I downloaded the 946 MBs of data, burnt it and booted from it. This time around, the live environment loaded up pretty quickly and with, I’m happy to report, 0 errors or hiccups. Yay! The “revolutionized” interface worked as expected and I was able to rapidly get to the “Live Install” button that was sitting boldly on top inside “Activities”. Oh, the base for this GNOME 3 showcase is openSUSE. The installation process is quite easy to go through. As I chose to place the distro on my second HDD, I also wanted the bootloader to be installed on the same HDD, so as not to interfere with the primary drive arrangement. Sadly, and I tried several options, the bootloader wouldn’t be correctly installed. I finally conceded and overwritten the main one.

      • Gnome 3.2 More Evolution than Revolution
  • Distributions

    • One Year of Rolling with Arch/Bang

      It’s just a little over a year now that I first installed ArchBang with 2010.09 that had just been released. In comments to my following review a poster expressed the opinion it would be interesting to see how this would develop and if it would still be working in a year from then. So here we are. I’ve tweaked the install and kept it updated at my leisure, and it is still working fine. Over time the ArchBang base I started out with has turned into Arch Linux, as you would expect it to when pointing at Arch repositories.

    • A Review and Endorsement of Sabayon LXDE

      Before moving to Lubuntu, I briefly gave Sabayon Xfce a spin. It was interesting, but there was a little bit more of a learning curve than I was prepared to commit to at the time.

      But once I had my new machine working, I decided to try out Sabayon on the old one, a ThinkPad T43. Since I’ve fallen in love with LXDE as a desktop environment, I wanted to see Sabayon’s take on it. I liked it so much on the T43, I wound up installing it on the T420, my everyday laptop.

    • Re: Rethinking the Linux distribution

      Bundles are a great idea, actually, to solve the problem of 3rd party software developers (mostly proprietary) saying “I won’t develop for Linux because packaging for each distro is too much work”. But having a read only file system, and killing existing package management is just not the right solution. Making bundles the only way to install software destroys all advantages of a package management system.

      I assume (mainly because I saw some gnome designers oppose to package management) that this is going to be the way you install software in GNOME OS. Am I right? Well, I hope at least you’ll develop it as a freedesktop spec and not only in GNOME.

    • New Releases

      • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 167

        · Announced Distro: Tiny Core Linux 4.0
        · Announced Distro: DoudouLinux 1.1

      • Calculate Linux 11.9 released

        Calculate Linux 11.9 has been released. All of our distributions are available for download: Calculate Directory Server (CDS), Calculate Linux Desktop with KDE (CLD), GNOME (CLDG) or XFCE (CLDX), Calculate Media Center (CMC), Calculate Linux Scratch (CLS) and Calculate Scratch Server (CSS).

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • They make Mageia: Samuel Verschelde

        I discovered linux during my studies, in 2003. It was exciting to discover a whole new world I didn’t know, having only used computers with Microsoft systems on them for many years. The first distribution I installed was Debian potatoe, and it probably wasn’t the best choice for a beginner not familiar with unix command line :)
        Then I used Red Hat for some time and finally settled to Mandrake in 2004.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Restores Xen, Adds Juju to Version 11.10
          • New Set of 14 Wallpapers for Ubuntu 11.10 is Perhaps the Best Collection Yet

            Every Ubuntu release cycle churns out fresh new collection of wallpapers. These wallpapers are carefully chosen from a huge cache of user contributed images in Ubuntu Artwork Flickr pool. Oneiric release cycle is no different. 14 gorgeous new wallpapers have arrived in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric already and they are by far the best I have seen in any new Ubuntu release.

          • How Ubuntu is built: the inside story

            Every six months we release a new version of Ubuntu. Each one brings together hundreds of developers, translators, testers and documentation writers to integrate the latest and greatest upstream applications, as well as new and innovative Ubuntu technologies.

          • Excited for Ubuntu Linux 11.10? The Official Countdown Has Begun

            Among the new additions in that second beta version are a new kernel, now based on version 3.0.4; an updated GNOME desktop (currently version 3.1.92 on the way to GNOME 3.2); and improved support for installing 32-bit library and application packages on 64-bit systems.

          • The countdown to Oneiric Ocelot begins, Ubuntu 11.10 arrives October 13th

            A whole new world? A whole new computer? Those are some pretty epic promises coming from the folks at Canonical, especially since we’ve seen the most recent beta and Ubuntu 11.10 and, while its packed with welcome improvements over Natty, it’s not exactly revolutionary. Still, we’re excited that on October 13th the final release of Oneiric Ocelot will be hitting the web with an improved Dash that integrates search Lenses, new default apps, a spiffed-up app switcher and application syncing across multiple devices. There are plenty of other little tweaks and improvements that add polish to the popular Linux distribution — more than we could possibly cover without inspiring a string of TLDR comments. If you’re the adventurous type you can download the second beta now, but we suggest you wait till the timer at the source link reaches zero. If you want to spread the Gospel of Ubuntu you’ll also find a printable flyer at the source with a QR code and tear-off URL strips that lead to ThisIsTheCountdown.com.

          • The Best Indicator Applets for Ubuntu

            Earlier, many folks were unhappy about the dozens of applications that ate up valuable space on their system tray. Often, people would have overly crowded panels that would look ugly in most cases. To address this problem, Canonical came up with Indicator Applets. It was not only a huge step forward in usability; it was also the foundation of a more clean and uniform user interface.

            Unlike Windows, where you’re clumsily right-clicking the tray, indicator applets allow you to interact with multiple applications at once without clicking more than twice. Now, if you take a look at the top panel, it looks much more uniform, with properly spaced icons and easy-to-navigate menus. As Canonical has released the API out in public, many developers have come up with some nifty indicator applets.

          • Interview with John Lenton

            In this continuing Ubuntu One interview series, Amber Graner talks to John Lenton, Senior Engineering Manager for Ubuntu One. Lenton give a little about his history with FOSS and how he found his way to Canonical. He addresses reader comments about the Ubuntu One proxy issue and gives users and developers links and information on how to participate in the Ubuntu One project and more.

          • Is the Ubuntu App Developer Portal a Game Changer?

            Canonical has recently announced the creation of the Ubuntu Developer Portal. The portal’s goal is fairly straight forward: it’s basically been designed to get more mainstream developers creating software for Ubuntu.

            In this article, I’ll look at the motivation, tools and resources that will be made available to those using the Ubuntu Developer Portal. I’ll also look at whether this is an effort that is going to be a “game changer” for Ubuntu or merely a weak publicity stunt that backfires on everyone involved.

          • Seven Minutes in Ubuntu

            For a while now, I’ve been using my home machine with MAMP to develop a research prototype. But last week, I got my hands on a PC to use as a web server (thanks Andrea!). Before I could get started on it though, I needed an operating system to install — ideally one that would get the job done with minimal setup and training on my part. After a bit of reading online, I chose Ubuntu.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu Review: It Packs a Punch! (With Screenshots)

              Xubuntu 11.04 is a fast, stable operating system for older systems or systems that could use the performance boost. It is beautifully well put together and easy to use.

            • DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 425: Questions and Answers: A Look Behind The Curtain

              In the end of the day, money is only a metric to measure time and power and it doesn’t measure it all. Sometimes we spend money on things we can get for free, because the time we don’t spend in getting them is more valuable than the money itself. So how do we do? We can tackle any problem and pay for what we need. We can engage in expensive projects (we recently decided to mirror Debian for instance and we’re now confident enough in our new servers to have all LMDE users point to them). We’re almost ready to scale up, to hire, to rent offices, the financial aspect of this isn’t the main issue anymore. Our biggest problem is to buy time. Because unlike everything else in the project that’s been getting better and better since the start, finding the time to achieve what we have in mind has become harder and harder. Do you achieve twice as much when you’ve got twice as many developers? What are big companies and their large IT staff doing wrong to let small projects like ours challenge them? How do we manage to become more productive and to take on bigger projects? We don’t need to worry about the money, the community removes that problem for us and allows us to focus on what really matters, finding the time that we need. This is the real challenge.

            • elementary OS 0.1 ‘Jupiter’ review

              elementary OS (another one that forgoes capital letters in it’s name) is a relatively new kid on the Linux block. It’s based on Ubuntu 10.10, and uses a customised version of the GNOME 2.32 desktop.

              On visiting the elementary OS website, one has to be impressed with the polish. I may admit to temporarily wondering if I’d accidently gone to Apple’s site instead. This being said, if the developers have taking this much care with their operating system as they have with the website, we could be looking at a good thing.

              Testing environment: Acer Aspire 3410 laptop, Intel Celeron ULV 1.2GHz processor, 3GB RAM, integrated Intel graphics.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Ex-NASA Man Squeezes Cloud Onto USB Stick

      Set for an unveiling at next week’s OpenStack conference in Boston, this “cloud key” also includes Piston’s Linux-based PentOS.

    • 100 Greatest Gadgets

      That digital cameras, perfectly printed pages and email are now all as platitudinous, quotidian and meretricious as takeaway coffee is easy to take for granted and I certainly don’t expect credit for being an early adopter or some kind of wise prophet. I was also an early adopter of many disastrous failures. The Newton, the Microwriter AgendA, early, bulky and dreadful Sony electronic books, iRex iLiads weird tone-dialling devices – any number of freakish gadgets that were either before their time and technology or simply deluded and hopelessly hopeful were all grist to my crazy mill.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Kindle Fire: Take three tablets and call me in the morning

        Right now my boys, ages 5, 7 and 9 all have iPod Touches that have served them well despite having been many times lost, spilled on, and in one case very lightly driven over by a car. But the Touches, which also cost $199 as I recall, are getting old, their batteries recharged so many times to where they now barely last an hour. It’s time for something new, which in the eyes of my boys means something better.

      • Nokia readies Linux mobile OS for cheap smartphones

        Let’s start gingerly, with Nokia. You’ll recall the indignation when Nokia threw Symbian under the Windows Phone 7 bus and osborned its existing product line. Nokia dead-ended Symbian handsets, causing sales to plunge while everyone waited for the new MicroNokia smartphones.

        The company didn’t stop there.

        It then presented Meego, the offspring of Intel’s Moblin (as in Mobile Linux) and Nokia’s own Maemo (also Linux-based), as their weapon of the future. This was their killer smartphone OS.

        But Nokia gave up on Meego. The result was a risky but greatly simplified product strategy: One OS, WP7, instead of three or four versions of Symbian, S40, S60, Symbian^3, and Meego.
        Such simplicity couldn’t last.

      • Amazon Sells Kindle Fire at Low Profit Margin to Promote Online Merchandize Sales

        An IHS analysis reveals Amazon’s business model for its new Kindle Fire tablet, with the company willing to settle for a razor-thin margin on sales of devices and digital content in order to achieve the larger goal of promoting merchandize sales at its online store.

        A preliminary virtual estimate conducted by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service places Kindle Fire’s bill of materials (BOM) cost at $191.65. With the addition of manufacturing expenses, the total cost to produce the Kindle Fire rises to $209.63.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Road To Open Source Code Provenance

    Data digging company OpenLogic has rolled out a new version of OLEX Enterprise Edition, a code analysis and audit kit designed to “uncover the provenance” of code within open source projects. In light of comments made this week by the German IT security watchdog, open source security issues may be on more corporate radars at the moment if recent warnings by the ombudsman are to be heeded.

  • Fraunhofer FOKUS axes BerliOS open source portal

    On 31 December, the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS) is to close BerliOS (Berlin Open Source), its open source software (OSS) repository. According to an announcement made on Friday 30 September, the institute finds itself compelled to take this step as it has been unable to find a successor or to secure further funding.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle has a Sun spot

      Oracle’s nothing if tenacious, and they’ve ignored hardware earnings losses to take the recently acquired Sun hardware platform to its next level and renewal with the announcement of the T4 CPU UltraSparc family for its servers. Sun was always a maverick, and its Sparc and UltraSparc processors became the standard bearer for server-based RISC technology. Now it’s dragging Oracle down. Larry Ellison seems to have had a fixation over delivering the Full Meal Deal® to its customers — hardware, software, services, applications, and integration support. The idea has worked well for others, yet others haven’t publicly bruised so many on the way up.

  • 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.

  • Project Releases

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF 1.2 includes new spreadsheet standardisation

      An official announcement has yet to be made, but on a mailing list of the OASIS group, Chet Ensign, Director of Standards Development, announced that ODF 1.2 has been approved. ODF 1.2, Open Document Format for Office Applications, was last updated four years ago in Feb 2007 with the approval of ODF 1.1.

Leftovers

  • Apple is now Public Enemy No 1

    With all of the patent suits Apple is currently filing against its tab and smartphone competitors, the title is more than justified. But the following is a personal rant that I believe exemplifies what is wrong with Apple. [Rant warning]

    This may be a hypocritical title, considering that I am writing it on a MacBookPro, and I own an iPod touch and an iPad. Yet Apple products continue to produce the sort of anger that I used to reserve for Microsoft software. You know the kind, you love and hate your technology, you cannot live without it, but you know it’s wrong.

    The smartphone market is now mature enough that it allows choice beyond the iPhone, with several Android handsets giving Apple a run for its money in both cost and hardware specifications. I am yet to hear a bad word about the Samsung Galaxy S-II, and I’m still very happy with my HTC Desire Z. Android offers a number of features that are quite simply forbidden in Apple-land: multitasking, connectivity, contextual menus, flexibility and configurability (is that a word?). On the other hand, my iPod gives me an indication of the iPhone world, and I do not like what I see.

  • No One Uses 32-bit Anymore… Right?

    Judging by some of the discussions I’ve seen on the subject, some users aren’t convinced there’s a significant advantage. Where ever you land in the discussion, it appears you are not alone. A 44 to 56 split could almost be a statistical tie. Did you know it was still pretty much half and half? I expected lots more 64-bit users.

  • Windows Cold Call

    So nope, there really isn’t anything that my cold-caller from so far away can help with. But good luck to Microsoft, and even though I blow off the calls, good luck to the call-center minions too, and I hope their next job is better.

  • How ICT helps developing countries – some Kenya case-studies

    It’s the first time ever the IGF has been held in sub-Saharan Africa. And this gave me an opportunity to explore something that’s interested me for some time – the role of ICT in the developing world.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Inside the World’s Largest Embassy

      In 2009, Peter Van Buren, a two-decade veteran of the Foreign Service, volunteered to go to Iraq. Drawn by “the nexus of honor, duty, terrorism, and my oldest daughter’s college tuition,” he signed on as the head of an embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team, part of a “civilian surge” to rebuild the country and pave the way for the withdrawal of American combat troops. He’d joined the biggest nation-building exercise in history, a still-unfinished $63-billion effort that Van Buren compares to “past[ing] together feathers year after year, hoping for a duck.” Van Buren’s acerbic new memoir, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, recounts his two years as an official feather-paster in a country that’s become an afterthought to most Americans.

  • Finance

  • Privacy

  • ACTA

    • Will ACTA Be Killed in the EU?

      Several of the “like-minded” States that negotiated the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will attend the signing ceremony this Saturday in Tokyo1. The European Parliament, which will have the final word, will now face its key responsibility towards European citizens: will it accept a text that forces new broadly applicable criminal sanctions, deeply impacting fundamental freedoms, innovation and competition? Will it seize the opportunity to reject once and for all a text that was negotiated outside democratic arenas?

    • Alert To Activists: Customs Enforcement of IPR

      A very worrying proposal called ”Customs enforcement of intellectual property rights” has arrived from the EU Commission, and will be handled by the European Parliament this autumn. It is an attempt to introduce by the Commission to expand enforcement of intellectual property rights in line with the ACTA agreement, before ACTA has even been signed. Some of the provisions even go beyond ACTA in scope.

IRC Proceedings: October 3rd, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts