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10.17.11

Links 17/10/2011: Puppy Linux 5.2, Reports from LibreOffice Conference

Posted in News Roundup at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Spy vs. Spy, Spilt Blackberries & Redmond’s Lies
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • TI Prepares Its Open DRM/KMS OMAP Driver

      Texas Instruments has put out a new version of its DRM/KMS Linux driver for OMAP platforms as it prepares to hopefully see this open-source graphics driver merged into the mainline Linux kernel.

      Rob Clark of Texas Instruments released the third version of its “omapdrm” driver that provides basic DRM/KMS support for OMAP hardware from TI. This comes just days after talking about the Linux 3.2 kernel DRM and how Samsung’s Exynos DRM driver was merged into the drm-core-next tree as the first ARM DRM driver that will be introduced in this next major kernel release after Linux 3.1.

    • Graphics Stack

      • R500 Texture Semaphores Merged To Master

        The R500 texture semaphores work, the feature I wrote about and tested earlier this month, has been merged to master. This feature in the R300 Gallium3D open-source driver can provide some impressive performance improvements.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Paved With Good Intentions

      It sounds to me like GNOME is joining KDE on the road to computing hell…with the very best of intentions. Both teams are trying to add the glitz and polish that Windows and Mac users have come to expect. (I get the impression that GNOME is trying to imitate OS X.) The problem is, both teams are making their once-loved desktop environments bloated, slow, clumsy, and counter-productive.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Plasma Active

        At the desktop summit, many contributors got a ExoPC from Inten, but the software on it was quite a disappointment. Meanwhile, there is an official release of Plasma Active that fills the gap. So I sat down and installed it on the ExoPC. It really works quite nice and smooth. Applications like Amarok and a browser make it usable to hear music and do some quick internet surfing. I documented the steps in order to get everything up and running.

      • Plasma Active
    • GNOME Desktop

      • Ubuntu and GNOME jump the shark

        I upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04 a week or so back in order to get a more recent version of SCons. 11.04 dropped me into the new “Unity” GNOME interface. There may be people in the world for whom Unity is a good idea, but none of them are me. The look is garish and ugly, and it takes twice as many clicks as it did before to get to an application through their supposedly “friendly” interface as it did in GNOME Classic. No, dammit, I do not want to text-search my applications to call one up!

      • Tronny ‘Tron Legacy’ Gnome Shell Theme
      • Running Gnome 3 In Ubuntu 11.10

        Ubuntu branched out of Gnome 3 by using its own Unity shell instead of Gnome shell on top of Gnome 3, there are reason well understood and I personally believe it has made GNU/Linux richer as we now have two Shells and users can pick the one they want.

  • Distributions

    • Arch Linux with KDE 4.7
    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia, three months (or so) on

        If I ever had any regular readers, I’m sure I’ve lost them all by now! We had a bit of weather in Connecticut, as you might have heard; putting up hurricane shutters, and later taking them down, brought me into an uneasy truce with some long-forgotten muscles. I decided to take a night course or two. I’m processing my long-departed Uncle Jim’s thesis into publishable form (it’s about John Milton; or, more precisely, it argues that Milton’s poem Paradise Regained has been consistently underappreciated and misunderstood), which (and this is the point) is handing me a good excuse to learn LaTeX. And I’m doing some Linux-oriented volunteer work, too; I’ll blog about that when I understand it a bit better.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Review: Sabayon 7 KDE + GNOME + Xfce

        But usually, I only review the KDE edition, so why am I reviewing the GNOME and Xfce editions too this time? Well, GNOME is now at version 3.2, and the Xfce edition is now considered to be stable enough to not be “experimental” anymore, so I think both of those things warrant reviews. Of course, I’m going to be reviewing the KDE edition as well, and KDE is now at version 4.7, which I haven’t had much experience with as most recent KDE distributions I’ve tried have included KDE only at version 4.6.

        I tested all 3 editions using live USBs made with UnetBootin. I did not test the installation procedures, because I didn’t see anything in the release notes about improvements to the installer, so I don’t really anticipate any changes from last time. Follow the jump to see what each edition is like.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • UBUNTU 11.10 FINAL REVIEW! & CRITICISMS
          • Ubuntu Friendly – What It Is and How You Can Help

            Ubuntu 11.10 users are being encouraged to take part in ‘Ubuntu Friendly’ – a community-drive database of desktops, laptops and netbooks that work well with Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Is Out Now With New Default Programs [Linux]
          • Oneiric gone wrong, but rescued.
          • Don’t Upgrade to Oneiric Ocelot!
          • Unity much improved in Ubuntu 11.10

            This one — 11.10, dubbed Oneiric Ocelot — is a regular, incremental update of 11.04 (Natty Narwhal, which came out in April). The changes are minor for the most part, but the Unity desktop is much improved.While Unity has been around for some time, Canonical made it quite clear with 11.04 that it was going to be phased in while the older, tried and true Gnome 2 shell that had anchored Ubuntu for years was going to be put out to pasture.

            Such a bold decision, of course, brought on some negative reactions (yes, I was one of the complainers and wrote a nice, long rant about how much I hated Unity here). Here’s the thing — the Gnome 2 desktop is very familiar with its Windows XP-like layout and behavior. Does it look dated? Sure it does, but people don’t want to replace “familiar and effective” with something new and shiny that doesn’t work that well.

          • Upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10, and a pleasant user interface greets you. Does the good news end there?

            I’ve been running Ubuntu 11.04 for several months and have been satisfied with the experience. Less than a week ago, the newest stable Ubuntu 11.10 version (Oneiric Ocelot) was announced.

            To my surprise, I didn’t have to go to fetch Ubuntu 11.10 or run a command to get it, it came straight to me!

          • Code names and other coelacanths

            I’m probably going to be answered as though I were a hybrid of Ebenezer Scrooge and Darth Vader, but can we quit with the code names for Linux distributions, already? People are taking them way too seriously.

            Code names make sense if you want to keep what you’re doing a secret. If you’re planning a military operation, you probably don’t want anyone to know until you actually hit the beaches of France. Or maybe in the case of the revised Doctor Who, when you’re a producer who doesn’t want the excitement to peak too soon (in which case, you pass around sheets of paper watermarked with “Not to be copied” and call what you’re doing “Torchwood,” then decide the name would make a great spinoff series).

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Puppy Linux 5.2 “Wary” released

              The Puppy Linux development team has announced the arrival of version 5.2 of the “Wary” edition of its independent Linux distribution. Puppy Linux is a popular small release that can run entirely from RAM and its primary focus is ease-of-use.

              Based on the 2.6.32.45 Linux kernel, and with all of its base packages recompiled in the T2 System Development Environment, the new release is a “massive upgrade” to the 5.1.x series. Users can now easily upgrade from Xorg 7.3, which is still included by default to support older hardware, to version 7.6 for newer video devices by installing a single PET (Puppy’s Extra Treats) package. Because of several problems, the gtkam GTK2 GUI for libgphoto2 has been replaced with PupCamera for automatically detecting digital cameras.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich: everything you need to know

          Google dropped some interesting information about Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android – Android 4.0 at its Google I/O conference back n May.

          We now know that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will be announced at a Google event on 19 October.

Free Software/Open Source

  • There is Free Software and then there is Free Software

    I think one thing that often confused people when they first get involved with free software is the difference between FOSS and freeware (or shareware). When speaking about open source software in my writings I try to always use the term “FOSS” which is an acronym for “free open source software”. The source of this sometimes confusion can be sorted with the Latin statement:

    Gratis versus Libre

    Which roughly translates to:

    “for zero price” versuses “with little or no restriction”

    Or to simplify it even further to a common analogy first used by Richard Stallman:

    “Think free as in free speech, not free beer.”

    Should Joe Average the end user care if their software is Gratis or Libre? Whether or not a program is truly free doesn’t affect the user user right?

    Wrong.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle v. Google – Motion Practice
    • Report from LibreOffice conference

      First there is a great number of presentations and discussions. We started with an impressing overview, by Italo, Michael and Florian, of the first years’ achievements of TDF. Impressive numbers, some polished to an very shiny state. But hey, marketing is marketing after all, and also without the footnotes that would make some of them look more realistic: we may be very proud with the people that are involved and all product improvements and the tooling and community that are set up!

    • An odd vulnerability report for LibreOffice

      An October 5 press release from The Document Foundation provides a bit of information about a vulnerability that was fixed in recent versions of LibreOffice (LO). The vulnerability sounds fairly serious: “This flaw could have been used for nefarious purposes, such as installing viruses, through a specially-crafted [.doc] file.” It was evidently fixed, silently, in versions 3.4.3 and 3.3.4 of LO, which were released in August. The details (such as they are) were withheld “until users have been given time to migrate to the new version”, but it isn’t at all clear that Linux distributions have put out fixes yet. Worse still, OpenOffice.org (OOo) is vulnerable as well, but there has been no release from that project since January.

    • Enabling By Removing Obstructions

      Last week I was in Paris as a guest of The Document Foundation to speak at their first annual LibreOffice Conference. It was my honour to make the opening remarks at the opening reception, hosted by the government of the Paris region. Here’s what I said.

    • LibreOffice Online
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The Sad State Of FSF’s High Priority Projects

      With the Free Software Foundation having removed GNU PDF from their list of high priority projects after declaring the open-source work to implement proper Adobe PDF support a success, what’s left to the FSF high priority project list and how are those remaining projects coming along?

  • Public Services/Government

    • Isle of Open Source 2011 at Villa Bighi

      The IOOS2011 conference is based on global interest generated by MARSSA, the Marine Systems Software Architecture, a revolutionary Maltese high technology for the marine and yachting industry. Originating from Malta and launched in February, MARSSA has grown into the first Community Driven project in the marine industry with a global outreach.

    • Cabinet Office allays council’s open source fears

      The council said its interpretation was based on advice from implementation partners and a reading of security guidance documents from CESG and Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office called for the meeting to clarify the situation. The meeting yesterday was also attended by GCHQ and suppliers LinuxIT, DeLIB and Nameless.

      Bristol City council leader Barbara Janke said the meeting was very productive and the council now has the green light to push ahead with its open source strategy. “The Cabinet Office were able to reassure us that there are no security or accreditation issues that should hold us back from pushing ahead with our open source agenda.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Creative Commons 4.0 on the horizon

      Creative Commons held its Global Summit a few weeks ago in Warsaw, with amazing international participation. Without question, the most-discussed topic was the upcoming 4.0 release of the licenses, including related issues and a lively debate regarding whether the licenses should be ported to specific countries – or whether we should instead try to create a new international license.

  • Programming

    • Enrichment class.

      I ultimately decided on Python, not just because I’m comfortable with it and it meets the criteria, but also because it’s widely in use running things the kids have heard of (Google, Facebook, NASA), widely recognized as a good first language for learning, and is eminently readable for any of the kids who decide to pursue it further after class is over.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Why Banks Must Support All Mobile Platforms and Why HTML5 Matters

      The challenge of developing and maintaining mobile banking applications that will run on an iPhone, an Android phone, a BlackBerry or a Windows phone, as well as browser-based or wireless application protocol apps that will run on anything, is daunting even for large banks with massive IT budgets, never mind the rest of the banking world. But Jeff Dennes, who led the development of some of the first mobile banking apps at USAA and was recruited to Huntington Bancshares, Columbus, Ohio, a little over a year ago, says a multi-platform strategy is necessary. And HTML5, the latest version of the hypertext language for structuring and presenting content on the internet, is the next development frontier for banks to ignore at their peril.

    • Open web surging ahead

      On-line open/free content originates from a variety of sources. This edition of NetSpeak explores yet another avenue for tapping free content.

Leftovers

  • UNIX

    • OpenIndiana 151a Desktop review

      OpenIndiana (OI) is a distribution of illumos, which is a community fork of OpenSolaris. And OpenSolaris itself was the open source version of Solaris, before it (OpenSolaris) was discontinued by Oracle, after Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, Inc., in January 2010. Before OI’s base was switched to Illumos, it was based on OpenSolaris. I know this all sounds convoluted, but that, in summary, is the history of OI.

      Compared to popular Linux distributions, OI is a relatively young distribution, with a very small development community whose members are mostly based in Europe. OI Build 151a is the latest development release, and the third so far. A stable edition is slated for release before the end of this year.

    • Dennis Ritchie

      For those with only a sketchy knowledge of computer-speak, the job of an operating system is to organise the various parts of the computer – the processor, the memory, the disk drives, keyboards, video monitors and so on – to perform useful tasks. A programming language, meanwhile, is usually an artificial shorthand of words, numbers and punctuation used to construct computer programs – including operating systems themselves.

    • Computer programming pioneer dies
  • Security

  • Finance

    • Carney Said to Be Lead Candidate for FSB Role as Decision Looms

      Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. manager who has clashed with banks on the need for tougher regulations, is the leading candidate to run the body charged with rewriting the rules of global finance, two officials from Group of 20 nations said.

  • Censorship

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Finalization of EU Parliament’s Weak Net Neutrality Resolution

      The European Parliament is finalizing the negotiation of “compromise amendments” to its resolution on Net neutrality. At this point, the weak text binds the Parliament to the failed “wait-and-see” approach of EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes, which amounts to letting operators restrict Internet access to pursue short terms economic goals. The resolution could however bring a proper definition of Net neutrality and increase the pressure on the Commission to investigate telecoms operators’ behaviour and take action.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The Times proposes copyright sanity

        The New York Times has picked up on the recent proposal by the Administration to modify copyright law by invoking a new international agreement (ACTA) which would give US copyright protection previously given copyright protection under foreign law link here. These were in the U S public domain in the past but now they would be recognized as copyrighted. The Times opposes this.

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