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Links 19/11/2011: Linux Mint 12, ACTA Secrecy

Posted in News Roundup at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Man Survives Steve Ballmer’s Flying Chair To Build ’21st Century Linux’

    Yes, the story is true. At least according to Lucovsky. Microsoft calls it a “gross exaggeration,” but Lucovsky says that when he walked into Ballmer’s office and told the Microsoft CEO he was leaving the company for Google, Ballmer picked up his chair and chucked it across the room. “Why does that surprise anyone?” Lucovsky tells Wired.com, seven years later. “If you play golf with Steve and he loses a five-cent bet, he’s pissy for the next week. Should it surprise you that when I tell Steve I’m quitting and going to work for Google, he would get animated?”

    The famous flying chair shows just how volatile Steve Ballmer can be, but it also underlines the talent Mark Lucovsky brings to the art of software engineering. Lucovsky joined Microsoft in 1988 as part of the team that designed and built the company’s Windows NT operating system — which still provides the core code for all Windows releases — and after joining Google, he was one of three engineers who created the search giant’s AJAX APIs, online programming tools that drew more traffic than almost any other service at Google. “[He's] probably in the top 99.9 percentile when it comes to engineers,” says Paul Maritz, the CEO of virtualization kingpin VMware, who worked with Lucovsky as a top exec at Microsoft.

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS Linux 1.7.932 Has Google Music Manager

      The Chrome OS developers announced today, November 17th, the immediate availability for download of the Chrome OS 1.7.932 Live CD operating system, which brings the new Google Music Manager.

    • Life with a ChromeBook

      During May’s Google IO developer conference, the first netbooks using the Linux-based ChromeOS were announced from Acer and Samsung. This was a public follow up from the very public beta of ChromeOS netbooks kicked off in December. One of the morning keynotes was dedicated to describing the new netbooks and their features. In June, the ChromeBooks finally shipped and were available for purchase from Amazon and Best Buy. Amazon actually sold out of Samsung Chromebooks in the first week.

      ChromeOS was the cover topic 2 years ago on the July 20th (2009) issue of Information Week. In that article, the bottom line was “… Google has a shot at gaining respectable consumer market share if it produces a slick, fast, secure OS that delivers a great web experience. And if Google succeeds with consumers, it is logical to expect it to steer that momentum toward the enterprise.”

  • Kernel Space

    • New Kernel Patch Slashes Linux’s Power Appetite

      Linux users working on laptops and other portable devices may soon have cause to rejoice thanks to a new kernel patch that finally promises to fix power regression problems associated with recent versions of the software.

    • Linus Torvalds Takes Aim at Proprietary Tech, and Apple

      (Brazil has recently squared off with Apple over policies on iTunes.) Apple co-founder Steve Jobs delivered a defense of the company’s tendency to deliver proprietary tools in Walter Isaacson’s biography of him. He told Isaacson that “people are busy” and don’t want to be bothered with incompatible products and products that don’t just seamlessly work. “They’re busy doing whatever they do best,” Jobs said “and they want us to do what we do best. Their lives are crowded; they have other things to do than think about how to integrate their computers and devices.”

      It seems that that explanation is not good enough for Linus Torvalds.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Comparison of major Linux package management systems
    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon 7 on Acer Aspire One D255

        The Acer Aspire one is a a 1Gb, Intel Atom Netbook PC, and while you may think the netbook is dead, having a low powered throw in the bag computer is never a bad thing. However even in these heady days when Microsoft are willing to convince you that Windows 7 will happily run on devices such as this, and then effectively killed the market a customers just couldn’t figure out why their £200 netbook ran like a dog there is still hope with the Gnome 3 based Distro..

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Getting the Blooming Flavor of Fedora 16 KDE

          If you have read my review of Fedora 16 KDE Live, you should understand that I liked this Operating System. That’s why I decided to give it a chance to show all bloom in installed version of Fedora.
          In order to run installer, I booted my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop using same Live USB as before.
          Before running the installation, I activated WiFi connection.

        • Fedora 16: A GNOME lover’s paradise

          After several delays, Fedora 16 has been delivered. While hold-ups are a characteristic of the distro’s release cycle, these latest ditherings have put the latest version of Fedora a few weeks behind its main competitor, Ubuntu.

          Fortunately for Fedora fans this release is well worth the extended waiting time, offering an updated GNOME Shell, the Linux 3.0 kernel and plenty of the under-the-hood improvements that Fedora is known for.

    • Debian Family

      • I’m back home with Debian

        I have been struggling with my conscience recently over using Ubuntu as a server. From a technical perspective, it’s an excellent choice. It has regular releases, can be both stable and cutting edge, has thousands upon thousands of packages, supports a lot of hardware, has a very pragmatic approach to enterprise server requirements, and much, much more. With all these benefits Ubuntu has been a favorite of mine for a long time. But recently I have been thinking more philosophically.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 3 Interesting Ubuntu Unity Mobile Mockups

            User created ideas and concepts have always been an hallmark of popular Linux based distors like Ubuntu. We have featured such awesome works by loyal users, ranging from awe inspiring Ubuntu Unity mockups to professional looking LibreOffice mockups. Shuttleworth, during the recently concluded Ubuntu Developer Summit(UDS), made it clear that they will be taking Ubuntu to smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. Inspired from that, some users have already created interesting mockups based on the idea of mobile Ubuntu Unity.

          • Ubuntu launches at retail in Portugal with ASUS

            As of this week, Ubuntu is now on sale in over 100 retail outlets in Portugal.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Kubuntu 11.10 review

              Kubuntu 11.10 is the latest stable release of the desktop Linux distribution sponsored by Canonical Ltd., a Linux software provider based in London, UK. It is based on Ubuntu, but uses KDE, the K Desktop Environment. According to the Release announcement, Kubuntu is a “perfect OS for casual users, social butterflies, Linux gamers, software developers, professionals, and anyone interested in a free, open platform that is both beautiful and useful.”

              That statement, by the way, applies to every (desktop) Linux distribution.

            • Lubuntu 11.10 review – Alternative to Unity?

              I just figured out I never did give the LXDE desktop paired with Ubuntu a proper review. We did have several stabs at Kubuntu, Ubuntu with Gnome classic and Unity, even the Xfce-flavored Xubuntu, but not this one. Now that it is officially endorsed by the company shipping the most popular Linux distro, it’s time to dig in and see whether Lubuntu can deliver the missing zen lost in the Gnome 2 and Unity guard change.

              Lubuntu is supposed to be a simple, lightweight alternative to heavier, more fully featured desktops, so it seems like a logical choice for older hardware. But then, all my past experience shows that these dietary environments are always lacking in something, never quite as good as the top two or perhaps top three desktops. And there’s the matter of spotlight and quality assurance. That said, maybe Lubuntu can deliver?

            • The most popular Linux is…

              Trying to figure out what the most popular Linux distribution is isn’t easy. We can safely say that Red Hat’s Rat Hat Enterprise Linux is almost certainly popular server Linux. You don’t close in on a billion in annual revenue without a lot of users. You could argue that it’s Android since there are over two hundred million Android smartphones out there, but I was thinking of PCs. So, which distribution do most individual people use on their computers?

              For years, Ubuntu has been the number one end-user Linux, but, somewhat to my surprise, it looks like Ubuntu has to face not just a challenger, but indeed it appears that Ubuntu has already been dethroned by Linux Mint, my own current favorite Linux desktop distribution.

            • Linux Mint 12

              Linux Mint was officially released on November 12, for almost a week now. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. For those not familiar with the Mint distro, Linux Mint is based on the latest release of Ubuntu, but with a few wrinkles. For starters, it works out of the box with full multimedia support.

              So, no more hassles in trying to get your DVD movies and other multimedia formats to work, which is a common problem for people starting out with Ubuntu. You also get a Windows-like menu system. Hey, anything helps to smooth out the transition when switching from Windows to Linux.

            • How to make Linux Mint look like OS X

              You might be wondering why we’d spend time morphing elements of the Linux Mint desktop into the shape of OS X, but there are several great reasons.

              Firstly, while recent Linux desktops like Unity and Gnome Shell take many of their cues from OS X, they don’t give you the option of only changing what you want to. Our piecemeal modifications will let you add only the features you want, while getting some of that OS X eye candy and usability. This isn’t a betrayal – it’s an example of Linux’s adaptability.

            • Linux Mint 12
            • Review: Pinguy OS 11.10 Beta

              For those who don’t know, Pinguy OS is basically Ubuntu plus everything and the kitchen sink. Also, the interface is made to look much more like Apple’s Mac OS X, with a top panel featuring a global menu, along with docks and similar themes. However, there have been some changes out of necessity because as of version 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot”, Ubuntu no longer officially supports GNOME 2, so Pinguy OS has also had to upgrade to GNOME 3. As a result, the whole “Apple Mac OS X” look has had to be adapted to the new interface and restrictions (and there are many such restrictions) of GNOME 3. I’d like to see if it still remains as usable and friendly as before.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Amazon will launch a Kindle phone next year

          ONLINE DEPARTMENT STORE Amazon already has its Kindle e-reader and its Kindle Fire tablet, and it could branch out into Kindle smartphones too.

          The device, so far dubbed the Kindle Phone for want of another name, will be launched around this time next year in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to All Things D. The information comes from Citigroup’s research department which bases its theory on intelligence gathered from supply chains.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Women in FOSS: men need to do more, says senior dev

    A long-time member of the FOSS community believes that men need to do much more about increasing the participation of women in the community and improving their experience of being part of the community.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Silent installation – following up

      In my earlier post about administrative installation of LibreOffice i described how its possible to use the program ORCA to manipulate the msi-file by creating a new mst-file.

      Unfortunately this subject is not very well documented from the developers. if you are a developer and find that I am giving wrong or inaccurate information then please notify me ASAP.

      Lately I have investigated some more details and possibilities in the installation process.

    • Now you can buy LibreOffice merchandise
    • Oracle v. Google – Oracle Names Final Three Deponents

      On Monday of this week Judge Alsup settled the issue of whether Oracle would be permitted to depose any or all of the technical witnesses on which Drs. Leonard and Cox relied in preparing their damages reports by granting Oracle the right to depose any three of seven such witnesses. (Copyright Fight Moves To Trial; Oracle Gains Some Depos) Oracle had already identified Tim Bray and John Rizzo as two of those deponents, and Google had agreed to produce them. So what the judge’s ruling really did was to limit Oracle to one additional deponent out of the remaining five witnesses. Oracle has decided that deponent will be Dan Bornstein, a witness Oracle has already deposed for two full days.

    • Oracle v. Google – Google Wins One and Has a Second Deferred

      Google won a victory on its motion to strike the “rebuttal” report of Dr. Serwin. In an order issued yesterday Judge Alsup sided with Google, granted the motion, struck Dr. Serwin’s report, and ordered that Dr. Serwin could not testify at trial. (622 [PDF; Text]) This means that Dr. Serwin’s survey is out the window, as well.

      Judge Alsup not only granted Google’s motion, he appeared to level a good bit of criticism at Oracle’s counsel, calling the attempt to introduce the Serwin report a “highly unusual maneuver.” Judge Alsup also said that “in twelve years of using this form of case management scheduling order, this is the first time anyone has suggested [that reply reports were not explicitly limited to the authors of the opening reports].” He went on to say: “Oracle’s argument that Google has not been prejudiced is meritless. As explained above, the practice urged by Oracle is inherently unfair and frustrates important case-management objectives.” Turn out the lights, the Serwin party is over.


    • This holiday season donate support to free software!

      Are you dreading the end of this month and all it entails in terms of mall-parking expeditions and frenzied spending amidst crowds of other buyers? Are you looking for a break from the gimmes and some respite from advertisers’ leitmotif that “you have needs”? Break with the year end’s usual rampant consumerism and give your loved ones a gift that makes a social difference: give back to the community by giving a membership as a gift, and make a positive change for you and your gift recipient.

  • Project Releases

    • wdiff 1.1.0 released

      Translations can now make use of plural forms. While this means a drastic improvement for some languages, it may also mean that some languages for which no such plural forms are available yet might be lacking user visible message strings, not only error messages, but also for e.g. statistics. You might want to check the translation status if your users have problems with English.

    • gnutls 3.0.8
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Mexico’s Largest University to Post Online Nearly All Publications and Course Materials

        The National Autonomous University of Mexico, better known as UNAM, has said it will make virtually all of its publications, databases, and course materials freely available on the Internet over the next few years—a move that some academics speculated could push other universities in the region to follow suit.

        Campus officials at UNAM, Mexico’s largest university, said the program, known as All of UNAM Online, could double or triple the institution’s 3.5 million publicly available Web pages, as the largest collection of its kind in Latin America.

  • Programming

    • [Bazaar developers' blog] What I did on my Rotation

      Bazaar is the version control system used by top open source project hosting site Launchpad so I was surprised to come across a bug which prevented bzr from talking to Launchpad properly on errors. “This is really important to fix. We need error reporting.” said Jonathan Lange over 2 years before. Pleasingly I could fix it, very satisfying. I had to learn about the hooks mechanism in bzr which shows up some of the downside of Python, you have to guess the arguments to send the hook. But who needs API documentation when you can just read the code? :)


  • What is Usenet and How Does it Work?

    Have you heard of Usenet? Maybe your father once mentioned something about his Usenet account in college. If you are unaware of what Usenet is, don’t worry. You are about to find out.

    Usenet was initially an idea hatched by 2 Duke University students in 1979. It was soon available on college campuses around the world. Access was eventually granted to early internet service providers who gave free access to their subscribers.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Digital divides: UBB as part of a much bigger broadband mess

      1) Leadership. The FCC has been making headway with a real broadband strategy over the last 18 months, along with a set of network neutrality rules, because the vision comes from the top – the White House. Harper and his cabinet have never cared about world-class retail broadband, because that would put them on the wrong side of the consumer vs business divide.

    • CRTC goes REM on UBB: everybody hurts, sometimes

      The CRTC’s usage-based billing decision is in and boy is it a lot to digest, which is perhaps why there were so many conflicting reports in the media as to who exactly the winners and losers are or will be. After reading and digesting the long document and speaking to a number of the small internet providers that will be affected by it at the ISP Summit dinner on Tuesday night, it’s hard to see how anybody really wins with this decision. Burdened with the impossible task of trying to make everybody happy, perhaps this was the CRTC’s desired outcome.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Universal Music Sues Insurer To Pay For Its Copyright Infringement

        Earlier this year, the four primary members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (now Music Canada) – Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada – settled the largest copyright class action lawsuit in Canadian history by agreeing to pay over $50 million to compensate for hundreds of thousands of infringing uses of sound recordings. While the record labels did not admit liability, the massive settlement spoke for itself.

      • Creative Commons at WIPO

        This week, Andres Guadamuz (CC Costa Rica) is representing Creative Commons at the 8th Session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The agenda [PDF] promises review of several pending recommendations as well as a discussion of future work by the CDIP. Consistent with protocol, Creative Commons prepared a statement for the opening session, which you can read here, as well as find CC’s prior statements and presentations at the CDIP and other WIPO meetings and conferences.

      • File Sharing Lawsuits Progress in Canada as Dozens Face Payment Demands

        Earlier this fall, I wrote about the return of file sharing lawsuits to Canada as the copyright owners of the film the Hurt Locker obtained a court order requiring three major ISPs – Bell, Videotron, and Cogeco – to reveal the identities of dozens of subscribers alleged to have downloaded the movie. I noted that the targeted Canadians would likely face the prospect of demands to pay thousands of dollars in order to settle the case (or spend thousands in legal fees fighting the claims in court).

      • ACTA

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