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11.20.11

Links 20/11/2011: GNU/Linux in Tamil Nadu, Flex Donated to Apache

Posted in News Roundup at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Clarifying the “secure boot attack”

    Obviously, this protection is based on all the components of secure boot (ie, everything that runs before ExitBootServices() is called) being perfect. As I said, if any of them accept untrusted input and misinterpret it in such a way that they can be tricked into running arbitrary code, you’ll still have problems. But when discussing the pros and cons of secure boot, it’s important to make sure that we’re talking about reality rather than making provably false assertions.

  • The Linux Week In Review 25
  • Desktop

  • Server

    • TOP500 List of Supercomputers Released

      Linux has dominated the list so long, it’s not even broken out in the statistics when TOP500 lists are announced. With the November 2011 list, Linux holds steady at 457 of the 500. That’s right – 91.4% of the top 500 supercomputers in the world are Linux-based.

  • Kernel Space

    • A Journal Comes To systemd

      The new feature to systemd is the “journal”, which for providing new system logging functionality. From a quick glance, a replacement for syslog.

    • How does Linux kernel detect and plug in your hardware? Kernel, sysfs, udev and dbus collaboration.

      I have been administrating Linux systems for a while now and were always strugling to „dig deeper“. Today I found myself wondering how does Linux detect, plug in my hardware and show that pop-up window asking me to choose what I want to do with my flash drive. So I launched my web browser and began to search for an answers in forums, tutorials and how-tos which almost ended in complete failure. I say „almost“ because I did find some of the answers but they all were scattered and incomplete or too old. So I had to use „heavy artillery“ and read through all those manuals… And I think I finally get it how it works :) This is what I will try to explain further. *I really hope I didn’t misunderstand something*

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 6th November 2011
      • Google CodeIn 2011: A Chance for the Next Generation to Join KDE

        KDE is honored to be chosen again this year to be part of Google Code-In. Pre-university students aged between 13 and 17 are offered a great chance to contribute to KDE by choosing from a large pool of tasks, depending on their skills—code, translation, videography, user interfaces, research and more. Spread the word about the contest to any students and parents you know.

      • KDE and Colour Management

        Colour Management has a long way to come to the Linux desktop. Like on other computing environments first came single applications like Scribus, CinePaint or Krita and proved colour management be useful and mature. Now the open source Desktop stacks are following. Most advanced and wide spread inside colour managed applications is colour correction for monitors.

      • Debugging nepomuk/virtuoso’s CPU usage
      • Kraft 0.44 released
    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome Pie Is A Slick Application Launcher For Gnome [Linux]

        There are thousand and one ways to launch application in Linux. You can use the Application menu, via the dock, use a app launcher like Synapse or Gnome Do or simply press “Alt + F2″ and type the name of the application. Gnome Pie is yet another application launcher that allows you to quickly launch your applications, except that it is slick and highly configurable.

      • GNOME 3.2.2 Released

        A lot of bugs have been fixed in this new release along with some static analysis bugs. Some of the existing modules have new versions too. The “Forgotten Release” release is new to this new version which fixes a lot of memory leaks in the log viewer. In addition, this new release has updated translations as well.

      • Gnome Shell Introduction

        Now finally the Gnome Shell guide you have waited for. Surely some users are still broken-hearted about the loss of the Gnome panel and other components of Gnome 2. Gnome Shell is getting better every day, and there are certainly some features that are becoming quite popular. Gnome Shell is designed to be even more user-friendly than Gnome 2. Not only that, Gnome shell was created to look absolutely stylish and offer users a fun experience. New integrated instant messaging and advanced system notifications are reported to be some of the most popular upgrades. But more on that soon!

      • Overlay Scrollbars, No Maximized Window Titlebar By Default In GNOME?
      • Using the GNOME file manager’s FTP capabilities to manage my Ode site
      • What People Are Saying About GNOME [Part 3]

        The GNOME 2011 User Survey is still going on, so be sure to participate. For those wanting to know what other Linux desktop users are saying about the GNOME3 desktop environment, here’s one thousand more comments. (After publishing part 1 and part 2 previously.)

  • Distributions

    • Ubuntu Alternatives, Xfce, & Having A Go With Fedora 16!

      A little over a year ago I fired up the then latest version of Fedora (13) and found much that I liked. Ultimately though, it just wasn’t the right tool for the job and I ended up going back to Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

      Fast forward another year, a few more releases have come out from Fedora, and Canonical has been making some choices that, while likely great long-term for Ubuntu, are a bit awkward currently for some of its user base.

    • Red Hat Family

      • A new lover… RHEL 6.1 Desktop

        There’s Community Linux… and Enterprise Linux… which is one the best? I don’t know and I don’t care, for a tinkerer anything works out… For a long time that I wanted to move back to Enterprise Linux and there were two choices to contemplate, and I’ve picked the red one… My laptop count still does weight in favor of green (2 vs 1)…

      • The Cloud Will Be Open Source And Ubiquitous

        When you architect servers with virtualization, distributed computing and the ability to handle big data, so a single Web site or job can take power of the whole system when needed, that’s a cloud.

        Salesforce.com (CRM) (whatever you may think of it) is not a cloud. It is Software as a Service (SaaS), something that can result from a cloud architecture but does not require a cloud. The same can be said for Apple’s (AAPL) iCloud. It too is SaaS, which could come from a cloud or from a standard enterprise set-up.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 16 KDE Review: Gnome 3 vs KDE 4

          After playing with Gnome 3 under Fedora 16 and openSUSE 12.1, which made me a happy GNU/Linux user. I tried to see the issues people have with Gnome 3, most issues are not about ‘status-quo’ these issues are genuine so I looked at the alternative and tried to see how suitable is the second most popular Desktop Environment, KDE, for a Gnome user. I am writing this review as an average user. Advanced users know what they need – they are like mountaineers, they don’t much care about such things. So, let’s see how good is Fedora 16 KDE for an average Gnome user.

          Gnome 3 Is In The Same Boat As KDE
          The beauty of Linux is ‘diversity’. You can have what you want as you are not stuck in the one-size-fits all model. There are couple of DEs (desktop environments) you can try if you are not happy with the one that comes with your OS. Fortunately, most leading distros, including Ubuntu, Fedora and openSUSE come with almost all the top DEs to choose from. Gnome and KDE are the most popular ones.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian, World’s Easiest GNU/Linux Distro You Can Install

        Here’s how to do it and here’s where to find the CD or USB drive image. These links point to the squeeze/stable branch of Debian GNU/Linux so there could be a few less bugs than you expect with Ubuntu.

      • Derivatives

        • Unexpected uses of a knoppix thumbdrive system.

          Knoppix is pretty cool. It’s a linux live system on a USB stick, which by itself is not something too impressive anymore. This is something that’s been done for years now, with other systems like Damn Small Linux, Puppy Linux, based off the original Knoppix I believe.

          But the Knoppix guys really have a good setup. You can encrypt local storage on the stick so that someone else can’t get to your data if you lose the drive. You can install applications that are persistent and available the next time you boot the stick. In essence, you have a portable computer that just borrows whatever hardware you boot it on.

        • Tails, the incognito live system, gets 0.9 release

          Tails, “The Amnesic Incognito Live System”, a live CD or USB distribution of Linux which is designed to preserve privacy and anonymity, has been updated to version 0.9. The developers also urge users of the previous version, 0.8.1, to upgrade due to “numerous security holes” in that release.

          Tails is based on Debian GNU/Linux and comes with several built-in applications which have been configured with security in mind. For example, it relies on the Tor anonymity network to protect the user’s privacy online, and all outgoing connections are forced to make use of its ability to bounce internet traffic between multiple nodes. As a live CD or USB, Tails can be booted on a machine without being installed on the hard disk. It is configured to never use the hard disk even if, for example, there is some free swap space on it. It also attempts to wipe the RAM memory of the computer system as it is shutdown. Despite these capabilities, the developers do warn prospective users of the limitations of the technology.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 11.10 live from USB — first impressions

            Since I spent some time running Fedora 16 with GNOME 3/GNOME Shell via a live image, and I judged it as working well but not as polished in the design department as Ubuntu 11.04/11.10 with Unity, I figured I should give Ubuntu 11.10 a try with its live image and see what I thought.

            So I grabbed a 64-bit Ubuntu 11.10 ISO. Since I was already in Debian Squeeze, and Debian and Ubuntu ISO images these days are “hybrid” images that can be burned to CD the usual way, or easily (very easily!) dropped onto a USB thumb drive, I found the 4 GB drive I used for my Ubuntu 11.04 test and put 11.10 on it. It’s this easy (use the filename of the ISO you downloaded and the filesystem location of your USB drive):

          • Welcoming Our New Horseman: Michael Hall
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Cortex-A8 dev board takes on the BeagleBoard-xM

      Embest is shipping a single board computer based on the Texas Instruments Cortex-A8-based DM3730 or AM3715 system on chips. The DevKit8500D — also available from Premier Farnell’s Element14 engineering community as the DM3730-EVK Evaluation Kit — is equipped with DVI-D, Ethernet, USB 2.0, and serial expansion interfaces, plus options including touchscreens, wireless modules, and cameras.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Microsoft Surface Beaten By 65 Inch Android Tablet

        Microsoft has been playing with the concept of touch-screen for ages without having developed any product that can be used by ordinary user or which targets a mass market.

        The company is now working with Samsung (the leading Android phone maker who are wrongly paying Microsoft Android taxes) to release their 40 inch Surface tablet running on Windows 7 and Surface 2.0 software.

        Ironically, within a week of the announcement an Android tablet has beaten Microsoft’s surface by creating a bigger — 65-inch — tablet running on Android.

      • Amazon Kindle Fire shipments upped to 6 million in quarter

        A market research firm has boosted its projection for Kindle Fire shipments in the current quarter, as the Amazon tablet is proving to be one of the hottest consumer devices this holiday season.

      • Kindle tablet? Check. Kindle smartphone? Maybe next year

        The Kindle Fire tablet has only been available for a few days, but already Amazon could be looking to launch a smartphone, according to a new report.

        According to a note from Citigroup analysts obtained by All Things Digital, Amazon is believed to be currently working with well-known manufacturer Foxconn to develop a smartphone slated to be released in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Free Software/Open Source

  • An other Open Source Colorimeter

    Richard Hughes, the author of colord, developed in the recent months new hardware for measuring monitor colours. The ColorHug called device shall come at a relatively low price. It shall be useable for LCD/LED monitors providing input to calibration and profiling software. The most wide spread open source colour management system, which can create ICC profiles from colour measurements, is Argyll.

  • Open Source WYSIWYG Visual Editor for UI Mockups

    Maqetta is an open source project that provides WYSIWYG visual authoring of HTML5 user interfaces. The Maqetta application itself is authored in HTML, and therefore runs in the browser without requiring additional plugins or downloads.

    Maqetta allows User Experience Designers (UXD) to perform drag/drop assembly of live UI mockups. One of Maqetta’s key design goals is to create developer-ready UI mockups that promote efficient hand-off from designers to developers. The user interfaces created by Maqetta are real-life web applications that can be handed off to developers, who can then transform the application incrementally from UI mockup into final shipping application.

  • Adobe Donates Flex to Apache

    In a move that appears to be another step away from its Flash platform, Adobe has submitted the code for its Flash-based Flex framework to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) to be managed as an independent project.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Introducing Mozilla Conductors

        In the last couple of months I’ve be involved in a surprising number of conversations about how to make communication through Mozilla bugs and
        discussion threads more productive. This ranges from how to keep the discussion on point, how to keep the discussions about the substance and not the people, and what to do if one feels uncomfortable. The topic is raised by both long time contributors and new participants, and ranges from asking for help in how to deal with the topic, to noting how much poor communications makes it difficult to work effectively.

  • SaaS

    • Big Data Attracts Big Money

      More than $350 million has been invested in Hadoop and NoSQL technology to date. A top VC tells us why.

      The move towards Big Data and NoSQL is being fuelled by big money, as investors bet on the next big thing in technology.

      One of those venture capitalists is Frank Artale, a partner with Ignition Partners and an investor in Apache Hadoop startup Cloudera and NoSQL vendor Couchbase. In an exclusive interview with InternetNews.com, Artale explained that Ignition wanted to have a footprint in cloud and Big Data for a variety of reasons.

      In his view, there is the potential for several large multi-billion dollar companies to exist in the Big Data space, which is one of the reasons the firm invested in Cloudera.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Visio Import filter: the goodness soon on your desktop

      It has been a long time since I last time blogged about the LibreOffice Visio import filter. My silence did not prevent a pretty cool code from falling gradually into our git repository. To the point where now we are working on the last 5% of features that normally take the 95% of development time. But, let us see what happened since my July blog:

    • Trying to visualise Open Source OpenOffice.org derivatives

      The caveats. As to my motivation (please remember to play the man not the ball): I do not intend to make anyone afraid, uncertain or doubtful. If graphs scare you – please look away at this point. These graphs are built from estimates, hopefully they are fairly un-controversial ones, I detail them at the bottom. This is probably misleading in all sorts ways I didn’t discover yet. My hope is that it provides a more helpful picture of the world today than this history graph that gets a frequent airing. By rendering only the last two years, we de-clutter lots of lapsed projects, and by not rendering version numbers we can use perceptual area for showing something more useful: an estimate of user-base. As/when I discover major bugs I’ll update this, it is a work in progress:

  • CMS

  • Semi-Open Source

    • New admin GUI for Zarafa

      Internally, Z-Admin is based on Yaffas with a customised ZCP theme and several Zarafa-specific modules. The modules are developed on the Zarafa Community Hub, while Yaffas is hosted on SourceForge.

  • BSD

    • A Simple OpenBSD Router For Your Virtual Machines

      I tend to use VirtualBox a lot at home for experimenting with different operating systems or trying out scenarios that are too dangerous to “do it live”. While I could just give these virtual machines a bridged connection, I like to try to keep things as close as possible to the original environment, especially for “forensic” inspections.

    • FreeBSD 9.0 RC2 Arrives Late, Pushes Back Final

      The good news: FreeBSD 9.0 RC2 is now available. The bad news with that announcement: FreeBSD 9.0 RC2 is late, which also means the third (and last) release candidate has been pushed back along with the final release. Hopefully FreeBSD 9.0 will arrive in time for Christmas.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The Richard Stallman saga, redux

      But the commentary was by no means all negative. Several readers wrote in to express their own appreciation of Stallman. Chris Hanson, a research scientist at MIT who says he has known Stallman for 20 years, contributed the most telling appraisal.

      “Most people that I know are seriously alienated by Richard’s politics and by his uncompromising attitude; I’m often uncomfortable around him as well,” wrote Hanson. “But he has a knack for getting to the heart of things, and once you understand where he’s coming from, the things he does make perfect sense. In fact, it’s hard to understand how else they could be done. It’s sad that so many people reject him out of hand, often while mouthing some empty boilerplate phrase about how they admire him for his programming skill or something. As if one part of him could be separated from the other.”

      “I don’t always agree with him,” added Hanson, “but I always listen carefully to what he has to say. Richard is a genius, a man with a clear and unusual vision, and like others before him, he comes in a quirky and difficult package. Mozart wasn’t too well-liked among the cultured people of his day, either; perhaps someday someone will make a movie about RMS, his dry humor, temper tantrums, and beautiful vision of people working together.”

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • 7th ODF Plugfest in Gouda
    • Khronos Group releases OpenCL 1.2

      The Khronos Group has announced the ratification of version 1.2 of the OpenCL (Open Computing Language) standard. Developed under the industry panel’s leadership, the standard defines parallel programming interfaces for applications that run on different OpenCL-compatible processors. The OpenCL standard is designed to enable other general applications to harness the computing power of graphics processors by allowing computations to be distributed across multiple graphics processors and CPUs. OpenCL uses a subset of the ISO-certified C99 C dialect with added parallel programming extensions.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Supreme Court Will Uphold Health Care Reform, and Here’s Why

      Opponents of the Affordable Care Act who believe the Supreme Court will declare the law unconstitutional are going to be disappointed next year when a majority of the nine justices vote to uphold it. It will likely be a 5-4 decision, but moderate conservative Anthony Kennedy will, I’m confident, recognize that without the law, the free-market system of health insurance, so highly valued by conservatives, will implode, sooner rather than later.

      The high court announced earlier this week that it will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law next March. A decision is expected in June, just a few weeks before the parties hold their conventions. Regardless of which way the justices go, the decision will ensure that health care reform will be as contentious a campaign issue as it was in 2008.

    • CMD Opposes Gutting of Telemarketing Regulations

      The Center for Media and Democracy is asking Congress to reject a bill that could “open up everyone’s cell phones, land lines, and business phone numbers, without their consent, to a flood of commercial, marketing and debt collection calls,” according to a letter signed by the Center and a number of public interest groups. The Mobile International Call Act of 2011 amends the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a statute that regulates telemarketing and limits telephone solicitations and robo-calls. The bill purportedly makes sensible updates to the TCPA to allow consumers to be notified about fraud, appointment cancellations, drug recalls, late payments, and the like. However, other provisions of the bill would allow businesses to make pre-recorded robo-calls “for any commercial purpose that is not a solicitation.” This applies to any consumer’s cell phone, even for those that have placed themselves on the Do-Not-Call list. The bill also exempts modern automated predictive dialers from the TCPA, “permitting repetitive ‘phantom’ calls to cell phones doctor’s offices, hospital rooms and pagers.”

  • Security

  • Finance

    • What price the new democracy? Goldman Sachs conquers Europe

      The ascension of Mario Monti to the Italian prime ministership is remarkable for more reasons than it is possible to count. By replacing the scandal-surfing Silvio Berlusconi, Italy has dislodged the undislodgeable. By imposing rule by unelected technocrats, it has suspended the normal rules of democracy, and maybe democracy itself. And by putting a senior adviser at Goldman Sachs in charge of a Western nation, it has taken to new heights the political power of an investment bank that you might have thought was prohibitively politically toxic.

    • JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Sued for Alleged MF Global Misstatements

      JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. units were sued by two pension funds over claims they made misleading statements about the exposure of MF Global Holdings Ltd. securities to European sovereign debt.

      As a result of the misstatements, MF Global’s stock traded at “artificially inflated prices,” the funds said in the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Manhattan. “While the extent of MF Global’s exposure to European sovereign debt was concealed, the defendants were able to raise some $900 million in the offerings.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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