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Links 11/11/2011: Vodafone Ubuntu Webbook, Parted Magic 11.11.11

Posted in News Roundup at 6:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ken Starks: The Unsung Hero

    Ken Starks is, by all standards, a normal guy. He lives in the Austin, Texas area, worked hard his entire life, raised a family, and has lived a mostly good life. Around 2005, Ken was pressure washing a building 38 feet in the air, when the lift failed. He came crashing to the ground, fracturing his spine at the neck. Thus ended one career, and began a new one.

    Ken is an extraordinary person. Not because he tried to be. If you ask him about what he does, he is very modest about it, and quick to push the credit off to other people. But without Ken, projects like The Helios Initiative wouldn’t exist.

  • HeliOS Seeks Official Wallpaper
  • Desktop

    • Vodafone Ubuntu Webbook

      An Ubuntu Webbook was recently launched in South Africa by Vodafone, to be distributed by local telecoms carrier Vodacom. Netbooks have been squeezed out by budget tablets and ultrabooks in the northern hemisphere, but in a market where access to computers is poor, netbooks represent a great stepping stone between full-sized laptops and limited-capability mobile phones. Then there’s the free Linux OS which helps keep costs down, and voila – the Vodafone Webbook.

    • Vodafone Webbook review

      Tablet PCs may be all the rage, but most of them can be fairly pricey. Sure, there are units like the Aakash that aim to lower the price barrier substantially, but some may want something a little more fully featured, which is where the Vodafone Webbook comes in.

    • The Computer I Need

      Could I buy a refurbished one from you?” We got him an old laptop that fit the budget of a PhD researcher. The next week when we spoke with him his speech had doubled in speed. It continues to increase gradually and now nearly matches a typical speech tempo. This is an extreme example, but try it yourself: take note of what type of computer someone uses and see if it correlates to the way they speak and interact.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • A Proper Solution To The Linux ASPM Problem

      At long last, it looks like there is an adequate solution to the Active State Power Management (ASPM) problem in the Linux kernel , a.k.a. the well-known and wide-spread power regression in the Linux 2.6.38 kernel, which has been causing many laptops to go through significantly more power than they should. This is not another workaround, but rather a behavioral change in the kernel to better decide when the PCI Express ASPM support should be toggled.

    • A Proper Solution To The Linux ASPM Problem

      At long last, it looks like there is an adequate solution to the Active State Power Management (ASPM) problem in the Linux kernel , a.k.a. the well-known and wide-spread power regression in the Linux 2.6.38 kernel, which has been causing many laptops to go through significantly more power than they should. This is not another workaround, but rather a behavioral change in the kernel to better decide when the PCI Express ASPM support should be toggled.

      Since the release of the Linux 2.6.38 kernel in March of this year, a significant number of mobile and desktop systems using this release (or any post-2.6.38 kernel) have noticed a significant increase in power consumption. I had spotted Ubuntu 11.04 development releases going through much more power than earlier releases and then traced it down to being a regression within the Linux 2.6.38 kernel and affecting all distributions using this kernel. The Phoronix Test Suite stack automatically bisected the issue down to being a change in how ASPM is handled.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • XFCE: Your Lightweight, Speedy, Fully-Fledged Linux Desktop

      As far as Linux goes, customization is king. Not only that, but the customization options are so great it might make your head spin. If you’ve been following my last couple of articles, you might notice that I’ve been stressing that fact quite a bit. I mentioned the differences between the major desktop environments available on Linux in this article, and then realized that we at MakeUseOf have only been talking extensively about two of the three desktop environments that I mentioned. So, without further ado, here’s your crash course on XFCE.

    • Meet Kellogg’s Sludge Puppet

      A new puppet’s in town! His name is Karden, and according to his PR, he shows kids how much fun gardening can be. What parents and teachers aren’t told is that he is actually a marketing tool for sewage sludge merchant Kellogg Garden Products.

      Books featuring Karden, available at common bookstores, and an “Idea Factory” website devoted to him, are full of gardening activities for parents and teachers to do with their kids. Karden throws free kids’ gardening events at bookstores and hardware stores.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Plasma 4.8 Boosts Speed, Power Management

        KDE’s Aaron Seigo has a new blog post to share about improvements to Plasma Workspaces in the forthcoming KDE Software Compilation 4.8.

        Among the improvements that Seigo talks about in this Plasma Workspaces 4.8 posting is the OpenGL ES and Compositing Performance improvements (thanks to Martin Gräßlin’s continued work on KWin), lots of bug fixes, and improved power management. The improved power management is also fixing a large number of stability/predictability-related bugs, such as for handling multi-screen power management situations, etc.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Pardus Corporate 2 Kurumsal – quick, powerful, rogue

      I have confessed several times that KDE is my favorite Desktop Environment. And even more, that I prefer KDE3 to KDE4. That’s why every time I approach Linux distribution with KDE3 on top, I am full of awe.

    • SuperX 1 Screen Shots
    • New Releases

      • Parted Magic 11.11.11 brings Linux 3.1

        Parted Magic lead developer Patrick J. Verner has announced the release of version 11.11.11 of his open source, multi-platform partitioning tool. Based on the Linux 3.1 kernel, the new release introduces a new versioning system (the previous version was 6.7) and upgrades a number of the included applications.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon Releases Even More Choice

        Like regular Sabayon 7, these fresh spins come with Linux 3.1, Ext4 filesystem is default (btrfs supported), support for encryption, fast install, lightweight GCC implementation, and over 4000 software updates. Some of the software included on the E17 CD is Ristretto image viewer, Midori, Pidgin, Xnoise media player, and more. More can be easily installed from Sabayon’s well-stocked repositories using the software manager.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • AMD decTOP running Debian Squeeze

        After upgrading my AMD decTOP with 160GB hdd, I’ve decided to install a fresh new operating system on it for some side-project that I’m working on. I choose to install Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.3 (Squeeze) on the machine.

        The machine is currently running lighttpd web server with PHP5, samba server and sshd (using public-key authentication).

      • FileTea now available in Debian

        In the past few weeks I’ve been preparing the Debian packages of FileTea and its companion EventDance. They’re finally available.

        FileTea is a free, web-based file sharing system that just works. It only requires a browser, and no user registration is needed. If you want to know more about it, you can read my previous blog post. For a more detailed description, read Nathan Willis’s excellent article on LWN.net. There have been a few changes since that article (HTTPS support in particular) but it’s still the best one you can find on the net.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Clone Wolf: Protector Is Out For GNU/Linux !
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 240

            In this Issue we cover:

            * Ubuntu Community mourns the loss of Andre Gondim
            * Ubuntu on phones, tablets, TV’s and smart screens everywhere
            * End of support for Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) Netbook and ARM – 2011/10/29
            * UDS Video Interviews
            * Community Acknowledgements and Success Stories
            * Ubuntu Stats
            * LoCo News
            * Ubuntu Cloud News
            * Nathan Haines: Ubucon SCaLE10X Needs You!
            * David Wonderly: The Ignored Group of Ubuntu
            * Daniel Holbach: Survey Summary: Getting involved with Ubuntu development
            * Scott Lavender: A Kernel for All Seasons
            * Jorge Castro: Power user’s team 12.04 roadmap.
            * Edubuntu: Edubuntu WebLive surpasses 100 000 sessions
            * Canonical Design Team: Juju: a logo with a story
            * Mark Shuttleworth: Community growth and development
            * Summaries from the Ubuntu Developer Summit -P
            * In The Press
            * In The Blogosphere
            * Ubuntu One for Windows Bringing new users to Linux?
            * Windows 8 plot to lock out Linux
            * Other Articles of Interest
            * Upcoming Meetings and Events
            * Updates and Security for 8.04, 10.04, 10.10, 11.04 and 11.10
            * And much more

          • Flavours and Variants

            • All change in the Linux world.

              With the release of Ubuntu 11.10, we have Canonical’s Unity desktop offered to us. Many Linux users are up in arms, some love the new look, and others have moved away from Ubuntu to pastures new, not happy at all with the direction the desktop is going. On the face of it, Unity on 11.10 is an improvement over 11.04 but for me, indifference and disappointment has relegated the live CD to the pile of ‘Works, but not for me’, of which there are a growing number. Kubuntu 11.04 on the other hand, is very polished, smooth and is working well on my i5 4Gb desktop, with only a few minor worries creeping in since I installed it on the day of release back in October.

              I keep abreast of the new innovations that are to be found with the modern Linux desktop. Gnome 3, KDE 4.7 and now, today, a release candidate of Linux Mint 12 with a radical take on Gnome 3 (Clem and the LM team have chosen this over Unity) and have developed scripts to make the user feel more at ease with the new desktop. The 1Gb .iso file has just this minute finished downloading, so I’ll be burning it and trying it out to get first impressions. At this point, I have only seen a screenshot on the Linux Mint blog, so I am a little apprehensive as to what I will find. Watch this space….

            • Linux Mint 12 RC1 Review
            • LinuxMint 12 Lisa first Look | Screenshots Tour
            • Linux Mint: The new Ubuntu?
            • Linux Mint
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • HTC’s Anti-Apple Strategy Wins in U.S. Smartphone Market: Tech

          Executive Officer Peter Chou got the call when Sprint Nextel Corp. wanted to develop the first smartphone for a higher-speed wireless network last year.

          Sprint needed the phone fast, with a design that would stand out in the market. No problem, Chou told the executives. HTC’s engineers spent about seven months building the device with Sprint and launched the Evo last June. The debut gave Sprint bragging rights for the first fourth-generation phone in the U.S., and won Taiwanese manufacturer HTC strong support at a major carrier.

        • Android Builders Summit CFP Now Open

          Just a few weeks back from LinuxCon Europe in Prague and we’re already starting to cultivate content for next year. Most notably, I am please to announce that the Call for Participation for the Android Builders Summit is now open. We created ABS last year at the behest of our members who are vendors in the Android Ecosystem who needed a place to collaborate with their peers on systems level engineering and discussion of core issues and opportunities when designing Android devices.

        • Amazon App store for Android updated

          The Amazon App Store for Android version 2.0 has rolled out in preparation for the US launch of the Kindle Fire.

          With the Amazon Kindle Fire rolling out for the US market on 15 November, Amazon knows that its app strategy is a central pillar to supporting its new venture.

        • aNag – Android Nagios app
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Digitimes Research: Branded tablet PC shipments to grow 60% in 2012

        Global branded tablet PC shipments in the fourth quarter are not expected to see growth creating concerns among market watchers whether the tablet PC market has already reached saturation, but Digitimes Research senior analyst James Wang believes that the zero-growth in the fourth quarter is the joint affect of Japan’s earthquake on March 11 and the global economic downturn, which should not become an obstacle that restrains the tablet PC market’s growth in the future.

Free Software/Open Source

  • A balanced profit distribution is the way to do business, says Acer founder

    Acer founder Stan Shih, at a public meeting with Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt, pointed out that an open source system allows enterprises, retail channels and consumers to all receive profits and it also helps the ecosystem to reach a balance, while ensures players maintain long-term operations, and is the way for enterprises to operate their business.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 15 update closes holes, updates Flash

        Google has released version 15.0.874.120 of Chrome. The maintenance and security update to the WebKit-based browser upgrades the V8 JavaScript engine to version, addresses several vulnerabilities, and includes the recent Flash Player 11.1 release, which also closes critical security holes.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 8 arrives with improved add-on control

        As expected, the Mozilla Project has officially announced the release of version 8.0 of its open source Firefox web browser. Based on the Gecko 8 engine, Firefox 8 adds Twitter as a new default search option for select locales (more locales will be added in the future) and improves how add-ons are controlled.

      • Mozilla Reinvents Web Video With Popcorn 1.0

        Video on the web has always been a bit disappointing. After all, it’s pretty much just like television, only smaller. Unlike the rest of the web, video is just as much a passive experience in your browser as it is anywhere else.

      • Hands-on: Firefox’s experimental new native Android interface

        Mozilla is working on a major overhaul of the Firefox mobile user interface for Android. The developers are transitioning away from XUL—the cross-platform user interface toolkit used by Firefox on the desktop—in favor of native widgets. This major design change will offer smoother performance, better platform integration, and a look and feel that is a bit more consistent with the rest of the Android environment.

        We looked at the new native Firefox mobile tablet interface when it surfaced in September for Honeycomb devices. Mozilla’s mobile team is currently preparing to deliver a similar native interface for the smartphone flavor of the browser. It shares visual style of the tablet implementation, but is designed to fit well on a phone-sized screen.

      • Mozilla Celebrates The 7th Birthday Of Firefox Web Browser
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Solaris goes to 11

      Oracle has updated its Unix-based operating system Solaris, adding some features that would make the OS more suitable for running cloud deployments, as well as integrating it more tightly with other Oracle products, the company announced Wednesday.

      “We looked at some of the big challenges that people were having in deploying cloud infrastructure, either in a private cloud or public cloud,” said Charlie Boyle, senior director of product marketing. “In the release, we engineered out some of the complexity in managing a cloud infrastructure, and made it possible to run any Solaris application in a cloud environment.”

    • Oracle Debuts Solaris 11
  • CMS

    • Everything should be open source, says WordPress founder

      Can relying on open source technology as the backbone for an entire company really be feasible? WordPress.com’s founder Matt Mullenweg certainly seems to think so.

      “I believe morally and philosophically that not just software, but everything should be open source,” asserted Mullenweg, while speaking at the GigaOM RoadMap 2011 summit on Thursday evening.

      It’s a bold statement, but it’s the ethos that Mullenweg admirably stuck to, pointing out that sites like Wikipedia replaced Encyclopedia Britannica, and how far Android has gone for mobile.

    • SoundOff: Best open source CMS updates of 2011

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • AVM cannot prohibit modification of GPL router firmware

      Cybits AG’s Surf-Sitter software is parental control software which allows a parent to set times when surfing is allowed or when a web filter is enabled. The software is also available for installation on routers like the Fritzbox; when installing, the application connects to the router and downloads, modifies and reloads the router’s firmware onto the device. AVM said that this was a violation of its copyright and in January last year, it obtained a preliminary injunction which prohibited Cybits AG from distributing that software or any other which edited the router firmware or used other parts of that firmware unchanged. At the same time, it filed a case against Cybits.

    • Court rejects AVM’s claims opposing third party modifications of GPL software


  • Apple’s iPad not so shiny once you get it home

    Many Brits can’t be bothered to use their fruity fondleslabs once they have them and don’t think they’re worth the money, a new study has found.
    The survey, by money-off coupon site MyVoucherCodes, showed that over a quarter of UK iPad users only used their Apple tablet once a week and one in 10 don’t even bother with it that much.

    Only 42 per cent of the 1,531 users asked said they use their iPad every day.

  • Apple’s iPhone 4S Battery Troubles Now Joined By New Problems

    Apple says it’s still investigating battery drain issues with the iPhone 4S after some users complained that the iOS 5.0.1 update didn’t solve their problems. But now Apple is facing new gripes that the iOS 5.0.1 update is causing more problems with the iPhone 4S including; microphone failures, Wi-Fi signal loss, and cellular network reception issues, according to reports.
    “The recent iOS software update addressed many of the battery issues that some customers experienced on their iOS 5 devices,” Apple said in a statement to All Things Digital. “We continue to investigate a few remaining issues.”

    Apple released iOS 5.0.1 on Thursday, claiming that it would fix iPhone 4S battery drain. The update also added multitouch gestures for the original iPad and fixed a few other issues. While some iPhone users said the update solved their battery problems, others said the battery suckage was just as bad, or worse, than before.

  • Brit tech writer stunned to be the voice of Siri

    While the world and its dog is getting all excited about Apple’s Siri software, Siri itself turns out to be a former British tech journalist called Jon Briggs who was jolly surprised at his new role.
    Jon Briggs quit writing about technology to do voice-over work, and recorded “Daniel” for Scansoft, which subsequently merged with Nuance, the outfit that works with Apple on Siri.

    He said he had no idea that he was the voice of Siri until he saw an advert with his voice on it the telly.
    Briggs told the Daily Telegraph that he did a set of recordings with Scansoft five or six years ago, for text-to-speech services.

    It involved him saying five thousand sentences over three weeks, spoken in a very particular way and only reading flat and even.

  • Security

    • Critical bug in ProFTPD closed
    • Hackers Hijack Millions of Computers in ‘Massive’ Fraud Case

      The U.S. charged seven people with a “massive” computer intrusion scheme that used malicious software to manipulate online advertising, diverted users to rogue servers and infected more than 4 million computers in more than 100 countries.

      One Russian and six Estonians were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy in a 27-count indictment unsealed today by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. The cyber-hijacking victims included at least a half million individuals, businesses in the U.S. and government agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Bharara said.

  • Finance

    • Zuccotti Park’s Burgeoning Micro-Neighborhoods May Indicate Deeper Divisions

      Protesters at Occupy Wall Street insist that they are a completely leaderless movement with a purely horizontal structure. But where some see simple diversity — a self-proclaimed goal of OWS — others see the creep of an insidious hierarchy, most clearly seen in the emerging micro-neighborhoods in Zuccotti Park.

      At the northeast corner of the park is one of the tidiest regions of the Occupy Wall Street movement: the People’s Library, with more than 3,000 volumes and staffed largely by professional book handlers. Just south of the Library, the General Assembly — the evening meeting where collective decisions are made — is held, close to many of the working group stations that are dominated by college-educated professionals.

    • The Road to Serfdom

      The markets are again in free-fall and, once again, a lazy Mediterranean profligate is to blame. This time, it’s an Italian, rather than a Greek. No, not Silvio Berlusconi, but his fellow countryman, Mario Draghi, the new head of the increasingly spineless European Central Bank.

      At least the Alice in Wonderland quality of the markets has finally dissipated. It was extraordinary to observe the euphoric reaction to the formation of the European Financial Stability Forum a few weeks ago, along with the “voluntary” 50% haircut on Greek debt (which has turned out to be as ‘voluntary’ as a bank teller opening up a vault and surrendering money to someone sticking a gun in his/her face). To anybody with a modicum of understanding of modern money, it was obvious that the CDO like scam created via the EFSF would never end well and that the absence of a substantive role for the European Central Bank would prove to be its undoing.

    • Rove’s Crossroads GPS Attacks Occupy Movement, Elizabeth Warren

      Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS is running an ad in Massachusetts attacking the Occupy Wall Street movement and U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren with some questionable assertions.

      Warren, a Harvard law professor and longtime critic of financial gambling who oversaw the development of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is running even with incumbent Scott Brown in a high-stakes race for the U.S. Senate. Crossroads GPS is a secretly-funded 501(c)(4) group affiliated with Rove’s American Crossroads. A heavy hitter in the campaign spending arena, the group spent $17 million in the 2010 elections, and is expected to spend $150 million in 2012. The group is led by Stephen Law, former general counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Crossroads GPS worked closely with the Chamber in 2010 to fight the Wall Street reforms that Warren supported.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Insurers are Recycling a Front Group to Cheat Us Out of Benefits

      The special interests seeking to gut those portions of the health reform law that would be of greatest benefit to consumers clearly believe there is no such thing as historical memory in Washington.

      Why else would they bring one of their old front groups out of the storage locker, with just a single new word added to its name? A front group designed to persuade Americans that what they might have thought was in their best interests really isn’t after all.

      In the late 1990s, health insurers and their most reliable business allies — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) — set up a front group called the Health Benefits Coalition. Back then, the industry’s target was the Patient’s Bill of Rights, which would have made insurance firms behave in a more consumer-friendly way. Among other things, the bill of rights would have forced insurers to make an external review process available to health plan enrollees who were denied coverage for doctor-ordered treatments. It also would have given enrollees an expanded right to sue their insurers for wrongful denials of coverage.

    • Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Fails in Effort to Smear Critic

      An effort by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) to brand a frequent critic as a “liar” has been contradicted by a recording of the alleged deceit. AFP has not issued a retraction.

      On November 8, Americans for Prosperity published a blog post on their website titled “Lee Fang Lies: The Real Face of ‘Think Progress.’” Fang is a researcher and blogger for Think Progress and has written many articles about the Koch brothers, including about their business practices and lobbying efforts, and about their role in manipulating the Tea Party.

  • Copyrights

    • Warner Bros: we issued takedowns for files we never saw, didn’t own copyright to

      In a Monday court filing, Warner Brothers admitted that it has issued takedown notices for files without looking at them first. The studio also acknowledged that it issued takedown notices for a number of URLs that its adversary, the locker site Hotfile, says were obviously not Warner Brothers’ content.

      Hotfile has been locked in a legal battle with Hollywood studios since February; the studios accuse the site of facilitating copyright infringement on a massive scale. Hotfile counters that it is immune from liability for the infringements of its users because it complies with the notice-and-takedown procedures established by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But Hotfile has also tried to turn the tables by arguing that one of the studios, Warner Brothers, has itself violated the DMCA by issuing bogus takedown requests.

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