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Links 15/11/2011: Linux still Rules HPC

Posted in News Roundup at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Where Linux crushes Windows like a bug: Supercomputers

      The faster a computer goes, the more likely is to have Linux at its heart. The most recent Top500 list of supercomputers shows that, if anything, Linux is becoming even more popular at computing’s high end.

      In the latest Top500 Supercomputer list, you’ll find when you dig into the supercomputer statistics that Linux runs 457 of the world’s fastest computers. That’s 91.4%. Linux is followed by Unix, with 30 or 6%; mixed operating systems with 11 supercomputers, 2.2%. In the back of the line, you’ll find OpenSolaris and BSD with 1 computer and–oh me, oh my–Windows also with just 1 supercomputer to its credit. That’s a drop from 4 in the last supercomputer round up in June.

    • NetGear Expands Entry-Level Network Attached Storage

      Storage boxes that deliver content sit at the very heart of the cloud. When it comes to building out your own personal or small business cloud, having enough storage performance is a critical component. That’s where networking vendor NetGear aims to help, with a new generation of its home and small business network attached storage (NAS) devices.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Foundation Announces Program for Automotive Linux Summit

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced its program for the first-ever Automotive Linux Summit taking place November 28, 2011 in Yokohama, Japan.

      The Automotive Linux Summit will bring together the brightest minds from the automotive industry, the Linux developer community and the mobility ecosystem. As the premier vendor-neutral business and technical conference focused on Linux and automotive technologies, attendees can expect to learn about how to use Linux and open source software in automotive applications, ranging from in-vehicle on-board systems to cloud solutions for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.

    • Evolution of kernel size
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • New Desktop Interface Flops

        If you follow my work, you won’t be surprised to know that I really dislike Windows 8’s proposed new interface, Metro. That’s not because I hate everything from Microsoft. It’s because I hate anything that’s a bad design, and it’s not just Microsoft that’s guilty of that. So are open-source groups such as GNOME.

        Unlike my colleague Ken Hess who hates just about all the newest interfaces, I do like some of the new ones… in their place.

  • Distributions

    • ArchBang 2011 Review

      Here is another light, fast, and fun distribution for everyone to try, ArchBang leaves a long-lasting impression. ArchBang delivers a useful Live CD, the OpenBox window manager, and all the basic applications you might need, all on top of the powerful and robust Arch Linux core. OpenBox will allow users to experiment with a highly customizable interface that remains relatively simple. And of course everyone will be impressed by the blazing speed this distribution will bring to your system. Get the most out of your system with this great operating system, ArchBang is another excellent choice for laptops and desktops alike.

    • Five new distros you should not miss

      As one becomes familiar with the rich wealth of distros available, the developer’s and the community’s user experience too grows helping it the drive the resourceful open source platform to achieve greater heights.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia wiki finally online

        We wanted to replace that by some really nice wiki since then but there always was something with a higher priority, so it had to wait.

        Now, a few weeks ago, we already had a working MediaWiki instance and the teams were working under quite some pressure to import all the contents that has grown over the months in the temporary wiki, cleaning it up and giving it some structure while doing that.

    • Gentoo Family

      • The Linux Setup – Fabio Erculiani, Sabayon Linux

        Fabio Erculiani is the man behind Sabayon Linux, a fantastic, rolling distribution based upon Gentoo (but much easier to manage). My thoughts on Sabayon are here. Fabio does a lot of different things on Sabayon, from the desktop to the server level. You have to appreciate a person that eats his own cooking.

      • Sabayon Linux developers split the Portage sabayon overlay into two new overlays

        If you are a Gentoo Linux user who added the sabayon overlay, or if you are a Sabayon Linux user who already uses Portage, note that the developers of Sabayon Linux have just split the overlay into two overlays. One of the overlays (sabayon-distro) contains ebuilds that are specific to the Sabayon Linux distribution and unlikely to be of interest to users of other distributions that use the Portage package manager. The other overlay (sabayon) contains ebuilds that could be of interest to Portage users of other distributions.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Is Ubuntu’s Dominance on Personal Desktops Slipping?

            For at least five years, Ubuntu has been the pre-eminent Linux distribution for desktop users. None of the other polished distros, such as Fedora or Debian, came close to capturing Canonical’s market share or mind share in the open source world. But writing on the wall is beginning to suggest that the Age of Ubuntu could be coming to an end, at least on the desktop. Here’s why.

            Lest I come off as too sensationalist, let me point out that neither Ubuntu nor Canonical is going to disappear anytime soon. Even if Ubuntu ceases to be the most popular Linux for personal desktops, we can expect it to remain important as a second or third choice for years to come.

          • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Will Not Support Old CPUs
          • Ubuntu’s Tablet Ambition: Doomed to Fail

            For several years now, Ubuntu and other Linux distributions have worked to make their Linux releases available as a pre-installed option whenever possible. Some of the most famous examples are the Linspire and Xandros offerings that were once found at Sears and Walmart.

            A few years after these flopped, Dell introduced PCs pre-loaded with Ubuntu. However, each of these pre-installed efforts met with an untimely demise. The PC sellers blamed the lack of demand, while others such as myself blamed the worst PC marketing attempts in history.

            The pre-installed Linux PC failure in big box stores coincides with the inability to clearly identity the target of who would want the Linux PC. I feel confident in saying this, because other vendors that sell Linux PCs exclusively have done very well for themselves. Even when targeting non-Linux enthusiasts, the target message was always clearly spelled out.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 241
          • Will 12.04 changes bring Ubuntu back to prominence?
          • What Changes Will Ubuntu 12.04 Bring?
          • HealthCheck Ubuntu – The search for unity

            Ubuntu has over 20 million users around the world and is by far the most popular Linux distribution on the planet, but for the first time since the release of Warty Warthog in October 2004, an Ubuntu release is not being greeted with universal acclaim and there are mutterings of discord among the Ubuntu community.

          • The best Ubuntu backup tools
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Download Linux Mint 12 Release Candidate

              Right after our first look aticle of Linux Mint 12, Clement Lefebvre proudly announced on his blog that the Release Candidate version of the upcoming Linux Mint 12 operating system is available for download and testing.

            • Pinguy OS 11.10 (Final, Yet Beta) Released

              Pinguy OS 11.10 has been released today and comes with GNOME Shell (on top of GNOME 3.2.1) as default. Even though this is most probably the final version, it’s called “beta”…

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Piracy bill could waylay FLOSS projects

    If you’re at all tuned into the Internet, then it’s very likely that you have heard about two bills currently making their way through the two houses of the US Congress that several organizations have said will “break the Internet.”

    The bills, PROTECT IP (S. 968) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) (HR. 3261), are two pieces of legislation with essentially the same theme: give private copyright holders more tools to pull down pirated copy from the Internet. That sounds good on paper, but delving down into the details of each bill reveals some potentially serious problems for free and open source software (FLOSS) developers.

    Each bill has the same basic approach: if a copyright holder finds content on a website that they believe infringes on their copyright, then they can go to any vendor who helps provide revenue to that site and request that the vendor cease working with the site. For instance, the request could go to any ad providers for the allegedly infringing site, and under the new law the ad provider would have five days to cut their ads from the site. Or, if the site uses credit cards or an online payment system like PayPal, the copyright holder can also get those organizations to stop supporting the website.

  • Making an open source software can be more profitable in the long term

    Imagine what would happen if Coca Cola shared its secret formula, or a popular restaurant shared its secret sauce recipe. When source codes of software are shared beyond the secret society of their proprietors, a whole new world with unimaginable technical possibilities is opened. Contrary to popular belief that the proprietors of the secret sauce would lose their pie, they actually get a slice of a much, much larger pie, which makes better business sense.

    After all, many of today’s tech rock stars like Google and Facebook follow the open source paradigm. These firms had implemented their ideas using open source technologies when they had started. And today, they allow free distribution of software developed by them for their internal use. Such open-sourcing enables newer startups to take advantage, yet again.

  • Introducing the ColorHug open source colorimeter

    For the past 3 weeks I’ve been working long nights on an open source colorimeter called the ColorHug. This is hardware that measures the colors shown on the screen and creates a color profile. Existing hardware is proprietary and 100% closed, and my hardware is open source. It has a GPL bootloader, GPL firmware image and GPL hardware schematics and PCBs. It’s faster than the proprietary hardware, and more importantly a lot cheaper.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 10, What’s New?

        After having some initial troubles getting my add-ons to work under Firefox 10 Aurora I had time to look at the changes and new features of this release. Firefox 10 will be the next but one stable release of the web browser which means that stable channel users will have to wait about 12 weeks before they can upgrade their browser to this version.

      • Firefox 10: Can Mozilla Afford To Miss Silent Updates?

        Mozilla released the downloads of Firefox 9 Beta, which will be released just before Christmas as final, as well as Firefox 10 Aurora, the developer version of Firefox. But even with six new versions within one year, Mozilla may not have accomplished what the rapid release process promised: Most notably, Mozilla released substantial memory improvements this year, but it will miss some features it so desperately needs to compete with Chrome.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenOffice.org: Five Months of Incubation at ASF

      At Apache, they have 75 developers and they are still reviewing the code to check licensing to ASL.

      “Before we can produce an Apache release, we must complete the code clearance step, ensuring that the license headers include License and Notification files for all artifacts in the build be done to the satisfaction of the PPMC and the Incubator PMC which governs the Apache OpenOffice podling. This will clear the way forward to develop a realistic target date for issuing our first ‘Apache OpenOffice.org’ release “

  • Funding


    • Swedish activist receives Nordic Free Software Award 2011

      Erik Josefsson is the winner of the Nordic Free Software Award 2011. With the award, the Swedish Foundation for Free Culture and Free Software (FFKP) honours Josefsson for his achievements as a campaigner for freedom in the information society.

      “We are proud to honour Erik for the tremendously important work he has done over the past ten years”, says FFKP Executive Director Jonas Öberg. “Erik has an exceptional ability to understand and explain the link between policy and technology. We are hugely grateful for his work. He is an inspiration to all of us.”

  • Project Releases

    • QEMU 1.0 Is Coming Quite Soon

      Version 1.0 of QEMU will be released next month in time for the holidays with several interesting advancements. QEMU is the popular open-source machine emulator and virtualizer that also plays a role in the Linux KVM virtualization stack.

      QEMU 1.0 is expected to be tagged on the first of December. New features to QEMU 1.0 will be a new memory API, support for the Tensilica Xtensa, SCSI improvements, and a Tiny Code Interpreter (TCI).

  • Licensing

    • Copyright in Open Source Software – Understanding the Boundaries

      Copyright ownership tends not to be an issue in closed-source, software development. In that model an individual or business owns – or in-licenses – the copyright in all of the code used in the software application, licenses it to end-users under a binary-only license, and relies on a combination of copyright and trade secret law to enforce contractual rights in the code. By contrast, when software is developed in an open source model, copyright issues abound, and many of these copyright issues are not well understood by software developers. This lack of understanding can undermine the intent of the developers and can potentially lead to unattractive outcomes. As early as the launch of conceptual design in open source software, issues can arise as to ownership of the work and its progeny. When a wide range of hands can touch the open source code, ownership and rights in the code can become blurred. Moreover, not all code contributions to an open source project will be protected by copyright. This paper seeks to explore the application of U.S. copyright law to software, and particularly software that is developed and licensed under an open source model. We address the boundaries of copyright protection and ownership, the importance of intent, timing and creative expression in determining these boundaries, and provide guidance to those looking to launch open source projects.

    • German courts say embedded open source firmware open to modification

      A major challenge to the principles of free software was thrown out of a German district court last week.

      German DSL router vendor AVM had attempted to stop Cybits, which produces children’s web filtering software, from modifying any part of the firmware used in its routers, including a key piece of Linux-based free software.

  • Programming

    • Five years of open-source Java: Freedom isn’t (quite) free

      Open source Java has a long and torrid history, rife with corporate rivalry, very public fallings-out, and ideological misgivings. But has all the effort and rumpus that went into creating an officially sanctioned open JDK been worth it?

      Java co-creator James Gosling certainly thinks so – although he didn’t seem entirely open to the idea in the early days.


  • Google flings Bing into search engine bin

    According to ComScore, Bing is struggling to add users – despite Microsoft’s expensive efforts to make the search engine a serious contender against the Chocolate Factory.

  • Security

    • Search Engines Can Expose Open Source Holes

      Tools such as Google Code Search can provide hackers with a wealth of information hidden in open source code, writes Eric Doyle

      The downside of open source is its very openness. Hackers are using Open Source Intelligence (OSint) to find personal information and even passwords and usernames to plan their exploits.

      Organisations like Anonymous and LulzSec have been using Google Code Search – a public beta in which Google let users search for open source code on the Internet – according to Stach & Lui, a penetration testing firm. In Code Search, they can unearth information to assist them in their exploits, for instance finding passwords for cloud services which have been embedded in code, or configuration data for virtual private networks, or just vulnerabilities that lay the system open to other hacking ploys, such as SQL injection.

  • Finance

  • Spam

    • South Korea proposes restricting all e-mail sending to official e-mail servers

      According to the BBC, South Korea’s Internet and Security Agency is asking all ISPs to block all e-mail sent from anything but “official” e-mail servers. The idea is to block spam, but will it really accomplish this goal?

      It’s not like this is a new idea. The Anti-Spam Technical Alliance proposed it as a best e-mail practice for ISPs in 2004. It’s a simple idea. If an ISP blocks the default Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP) port, Port 25, from sending e-mail messages, users will be forced to use their ISP’s mail servers. This, in turn, the theory, goes will magically stop spam.

  • Civil Rights

  • Copyrights

    • Keystone XL and the Future of Bill C-11

      In 2005, the then-Liberal government introduced Bill C-60, the first attempt at digital copyright reform in Canada. The bill included digital lock provisions that linked circumvention to copyright infringement (as supported today by dozens of Canadian organizations) and did not create a ban on the tools that can be used to circumvent. The approach was consistent with the WIPO Internet treaties, but left the U.S. very unhappy.

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