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11.23.11

Links 23/11/2011: SeaMonkey 2.5, Google To Kill Knol

Posted in News Roundup at 7:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Five Gifts for Linux Lovers

    Is there a Linux lover in your life? Someone who loves to debate the advantage of Debian Linux over Ubuntu? Someone who wears a Tux the penguin t-shirt out to lunch? Then, these gifts might just be what they-or you-need to be happy this holiday season.

  • Server

    • EMC adds Linux support, metering to Atmos cloud software

      EMC today unveiled upgrades to its Atmos Cloud Delivery Platform that add new metering services and additional administrative reporting and controls.

      In addition, the Atmos GeoDrive, a piece of software that presents cloud storage as a drive letter on client systems, can now be deployed on Linxux servers. Previously, it could only be used on Windows systems.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux kernel patch slashes power hunger

      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.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE On Wayland For KDE SC 4.8, 4.9?

        Yesterday in Darmstadt, Germany I met up with Martin Gräßlin, the developer known for leading KDE’s KWin compositing window manager advancements, and a few other Linux developers. A few words about KDE on Wayland were said.

      • Congrats to the MyPaint team!

        Yesterday, the MyPaint team released version 1.0.0! Warm hugs and congratulations to their entire team! Read all about it on the MyPaint website. MyPaint is a digital painting application with some unique features, like its brush engine (well, we’re still working on making that usable in Krita) and its infinite canvas. Our projects are connected through frequent meetings between the developers on IRC and in real life, the OpenRaster file format, and our users!

      • plasma bug days

        We want to make Plasma Workspaces 4.8 a great release, and one way to reach that goal is to take care of the defects that creep in. To do that, we need your help to groom the bug database. We also realize that to do that, many of you would appreciate some help and teamwork.

        It’s been a while since we’ve held Plasma bug days. They worked very well in the past so we’re resurrecting them.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Styling problems: living with both Gtk2 and Gtk3

        A couple of weeks ago, the harddisk in my small frontend, the one I’ve been using since last January after Yamato started acting up too much to be usable as a desktop as well, decided to give up. It wasn’t much of a bother as I was planning to replace it anyway: the small frontend was supposed to become an HTPC in short time, but for the moment it’s not of importance either since, as I noted previously I recently got a Sky subscription so that I can have most of the content I care about in my bedroom without having to spend time “finding” it.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Looking for a Linux & free software-friendly interaction designer

        For me, it is my dream job and it is also the best job in the world. My personal passion for making free software easier to use is encouraged & celebrated, and I’m always in the company of folks much smarter than I with a never-ending supply of interesting and challenging projects to work on together. The position also comes with the satisfaction that it is, even if only in a small way at times, making the world a better place. Not only does Red Hat work to make more free software available and to make its power more accessible, saving time, money, and pain for businesses: with Red Hat’s support, for example, I’ve been involved in initiatives to teach kids how to use free software and to develop openly-licensed course materials for teachers interested in their own free software programs. It’s a position that has never been boring and through which I’ve been able to travel internationally and constantly learn and grow as a person.

      • Welcome Ceylon to the public eye

        I’m really excited by Ceylon and what it might mean for other things we’re doing in Cloud and JBossEverywhere. So expect to hear more about this effort in the coming months, because just like Java, it’s going to continue to evolve. And can we please stop these “my language is better than your language” arguments? There’s room in this evolving polyglot world for a few more, even if just to allow people to stretch their mental legs and see what works and what doesn’t. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and reasoned arguments are always allowed; but flamewars, especially if they’re subjectively based, don’t help anyone.

      • Welcome to Ceylon
      • Fedora

        • Navigating in GNOME 3/Shell in Fedora 16

          The more I figure out how GNOME 3/Shell works in Fedora 16, the more I like it.

          I’m not at the point where I can say, “Oh, it’s totally better than GNOME 2,” but I’m increasingly able to do things the way I’m accustomed to doing in the GNOME Shell environment.

          I will refrain from comparing how things work in Fedora 16/GNOME Shell vs. Ubuntu 11.10/Unity until I spend more time in the latter. But this comparison is at the forefront of my thinking about which direction my Linux desktop use will go in during the year ahead.

        • Mousetrap in a Hat: Fedora 16 XFCE
        • The 5th Pillar of Fedora
    • Debian Family

      • People behind Debian: Stefano Zacchiroli, Debian Project Leader

        It’s been one year since the first People behind Debian interview. For this special occasion, I wanted a special guest… and I’m happy that our Debian Project Leader (DPL)—Stefano Zacchiroli—accepted my invitation.

        He has a difficult role in the community, but he’s doing a really great job of it. He’s a great mediator in difficult situations, but he’s also opinionated and can push a discussion towards a conclusion.

        Read on to learn how he became a Debian developer and later DPL, what he’s excited about in the next Debian release, and much more.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The Ubuntu Commons

            One of the most wonderful things about Open Source and collaborative community is that every community member participates in a commons; a shared area of community real-estate in which we can all contribute.

            As an example, with most small Open Source software projects, the commons is the code-base, the website, documentation, IRC channel, mailing list etc. Within that project’s commons people can contribute in different ways, such as writing code, fixing bugs, updating the website, creating documentation, providing support etc.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 242
          • Ubuntu 11.10 Review

            The look has not changed much in Ubuntu 11.10, but the features sure have. For those unable to use Unity 3D, Unity 2D is now available as well. The login manager is now LiteDM which is fast and efficient. A new window switcher has also been added and there have also been improvements to the lenses feature. Ubuntu as always, is free to try, and remains one of the top choices for Linux newcomers. For a long time Ubuntu was the most popular choice among Linux users, but for the time being the position may have been respectively passed on to Linux Mint. At least temporarily…

          • Ubuntu Linux desktop tips
          • Unity and GNOME Shell are more alike than different

            I’ve been spending time each day working in Ubuntu 11.10′s GNOME 3/Unity and Fedora 16′s GNOME 3/GNOME Shell desktops.

            They’re more alike than you think. Rather than do things the GNOME way, Ubuntu/Canonical decided to take its own direction with Unity, which is now, like GNOME Shell, built on top of GNOME 3.

          • Ubuntu Linux losing popularity fast. New Unity interface to blame?
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 12 “Lisa” Review

              Linux Mint has always been known as the great alternative to Ubuntu. In fact, after Ubuntu implemented the Unity desktop, many people switched ship and flocked to Linux Mint as their next “easy-to-use and user-friendly” distro. According to DistroWatch, Linux Mint has even overtaken Ubuntu as the most popular distro. Well, that was Linux Mint 11, which is still based on Gnome 2, the desktop that most people are familiar with. What about Linux Mint 12?

              In the latest release of Linux Mint (version 12, codenamed Lisa, Release Candidate), the developers of Linux Mint decided to embrace the new technology and use Gnome 3 in place of Gnome 2. As we all know, Gnome 3 comes with a brand new user-interface (aka Gnome Shell) that is confusing to many. It is interesting to see how the developers of Linux Mint intend to tame this beast, without failing the expectation of its users.

            • What Should You Expect from Linux Mint 12

              Clement Lefebvre, the founder, project leader, developer and maintainer of the Linux Mint project, is working very hard
              these days to release an operating system that will enchant many Linux users.

              Long story short, the upcoming Linux Mint 12, dubbed Lisa, is an operating system based on the Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) distribution and powered by Linux kernel 3.0, featuring a new user interface based on the GNOME 3 desktop environment.

            • Linux Mint 12 Has Been Released, Download Now
            • Could MATE Be the Savior of the GNOME 2 Linux Interface?

              Right or wrong, plenty of Linux users — such as this guy — have been less than happy with the interface changes wrought by the advent of Unity and GNOME 3. Lucky for these people, there’s hope in the form of MATE, a fork of GNOME 2 that bills itself as “a non-intuitive and unattractive desktop for users.” Curious what MATE was all about — and pretty fed up myself with Unity — I recently gave it a spin. Here’s what I found.

              It’s true: Try as I have, I just can’t learn to love Unity. The concept itself is fine and I can even live with its biting lack of customizability, but I just can’t take the bugginess anymore. Random things happen when I try to switch between applications — trying to open recently used files via the dash launches Nautilus instead, and the whole thing just generally doesn’t work the way I need it to on a production machine.

            • Linux Mint Is a Refreshing Palate Cleanser

              Like it or not, GNOME 3 is the new direction for the Linux OS. But that doesn’t mean you have to learn a lot of new OS habits overnight. Two varieties of Linux Mint may be especially attractive for those making the transition. Mint 11 will allow you to maintain your current habits for the time being. Mint 12 gives you a steady and easy path to transitioning to GNOME 3.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Samsung video jabs Iphone users

          KOREAN ELECTRONICS GIANT Samsung might be behind a video that pokes fun at Apple and its Iphone users.

          A video posted to Youtube looks like an advert from the firm, but has not been posted to a company account. It’s a professional looking number however, and is rather good. We’ve asked Samsung to confirm whether it is the company’s work but so far have not had a response.

        • Facebook phone rises from the dead, again
        • Rugged Android handheld does RFID, bar code scanning

          Adlink announced a ruggedized Android handheld computer with IP65 protection and and optional 1D scanning and 2D bar code imaging. The TIOT 2000 runs Android 2.3 on an ARM11-based 800MHz Qualcomm processor, and is further equipped with a 3.5-inch, 320 x 240-pixel resistive touchscreen, a five-megapixel camera, plus a full slate of wireless features including 3G and optional RFID.

        • Android robots spy, race, and mix cocktails

          A startup called Romotive is readying a small, tank-tread “Romo” robot controlled by Android and iPhone smartphones that communicate to the robot via audio signals. Meanwhile, a prototype bartending robot called the iZac — based on a Motorola Xoom tablet and Arduino Mega controller board — has been created by developer Nick Johnson via the Android Open Accessory Development Kit.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • How to sideload apps on the NOOK Tablet (Amazon Appstore, GO Launcher EX)

        The Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet ships with a couple of great apps pre-loaded including Pandora, Netflix, a decent email app, and an excellent eBook reader. There’s also an app section of the B&N Shop where you can browse for additional apps for the tablet — but the selection is pretty limited.
        Fortunately it’s pretty easy to install third party apps on the NOOK Tablet. You don’t even need to root the tablet or install any custom firmware to do it. You might need a microSD card though.

      • Android e-reader debuts Mirasol display technology

        Kyobo Book Centre and Qualcomm MEMS Technologies (QMT) announced an Android 2.3-based e-reader, said to be the first device to use QMT’s sunlight-readable Mirasol color display technology. Equipped with a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the Kyobo E-Reader provides a 5.7-inch, 1024 x 768-pixel display and offers “weeks of reading” on a single charge, the companies say.

Free Software/Open Source

  • FuseSource Open Source Messaging Powers Roadside Assistance for Millions of UK Drivers

    Open source middleware is delivering reliable messaging and routing for the UK’s largest and newest network for roadside assistance. The Automotive Network Services, developed and managed by Apex Networks, is using FuseSource distributions of Apache projects to link 90% of the UK’s 32 million drivers with tow trucks, garages and emergency first responders.

  • Has open source outgrown the Apache Way?

    Organizations like the Apache Software Foundation, the Linux Foundation, and the Free Software Foundation have long been a part of the open source and free software ecosystem. But some in the FLOSS community are beginning to wonder if these venerable organizations need to change in order to keep up with the changing demands of FLOSS.

    Yesterday, I read what could be the most articulate presentation of this line of reasoning from Yammer Developer Advocate Mikeal Rogers. Rogers also happened to be Employee Number One at CouchOne from 2010-2011–a tenure that certainly pertinent to his arguments.

  • Occupy Your Kids with Open Source Games during the Holidays

    Add to it the pets underfoot and your children complaining that they want to play on the Wii when grandpa wants to watch the Law and Order marathon on USA, and you have potential for a grumpy household.

  • Apache considered harmful

    Apache was founded about 12 years ago, a time when companies were still very afraid of open source and many people in the open source community were very afraid of companies. The world hasn’t changed that tremendously, big companies still use an open source stamp as a marketing tool, commonly referred to as “open washing”, and some in the enterprise are still wary about open source, particularly when it comes to certain kinds of licensing.

  • Open Source (Almost) Everything

    When Chris and I first started working on GitHub in late 2007, we split the work into two parts. Chris worked on the Rails app and I worked on Grit, the first ever Git bindings for Ruby. After six months of development, Grit had become complete enough to power GitHub during our public launch of the site and we were faced with an interesting question:

    Should we open source Grit or keep it proprietary?

    Keeping it private would provide a higher hurdle for competing Ruby-based Git hosting sites, giving us an advantage. Open sourcing it would mean thousands of people worldwide could use it to build interesting Git tools, creating an even more vibrant Git ecosystem.

  • Mozilla

    • SeaMonkey 2.5 improves add-on control

      The SeaMonkey Project has announced the release of version 2.5 of its “all-in-one internet application suite”. Based on the same Mozilla Gecko platform as Firefox 8, the update includes several under-the-hood performance and stability improvements, while also improving on the way in which add-ons are controlled.

  • SaaS

    • Using OwnCloud and PageKite could get you in trouble with Verizon

      These days, everybody is talking about cloud computing, and many people use it in one form or the other. But popular cloud computing services are provided by a third party, which means that you store you data on a server somewhere, so that you can access it any time, from anywhere. But there are cloud applications that any person can use to host their own private cloud, from their home.

  • Databases

    • Announcing Heroku Postgres

      Until now, Heroku’s Postgres database service – originally launched in 2007 – has only been available to Heroku customers for use with Heroku platform apps. Today we’re excited to announce the launch of Heroku Postgres as a standalone service.

      With measured service uptime of four nines (99.99%), and designed data durability of eleven nines (99.999999999%), the service is trustworthy for mission-critical data. As of today, these production-quality Heroku Postgres databases are independently available for use from any cloud platform, provisioned instantly, metered by the second, and without contract.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle v. Google – Motions In Limine

      Judge Alsup has now invited the parties to jointly submit a list of the four motions in limine that are most deserving of oral argument. (629 [PDF; Text]) Presumably, each party will name the two of its own motions it most wants to argue before the judge. How the remainder will be disposed of, given that neither party has filed a response to the motions in limine of the other, is unclear. The list is due to Judge Alsup by December 7.

  • CMS

    • Google To Kill Knol, Its Wikipedia Competitor

      Google has announced that it will kill Knol, its Wikipedia competitor. Interestingly, Google co-founder Sergey Bring donated half a million dollars to Wikipedia foundation, last week.

      Google launched Knol in 2007 to help improve web content by enabling experts to collaborate on in-depth articles. In order to continue this work, Google has been working with Solvitor and Crowd Favorite to create Annotum, an open-source scholarly authoring and publishing platform based on WordPress.

    • Open Source Web CMS XOOPS Improves Ease of Use in Latest Release
  • Funding

    • Investment Protection With Open Source

      I have heard it said that companies don’t want open source because they want the security of a relationship with a big business. But this outlook reflects misunderstandings of the real values of open source. I believe it to be yet another consequence of the “price frame”.

      There is an overall price-related message-frame that proprietary software companies like to use around open source. In each instance, an idea completes the phrase “open source may come with free licenses but…” in creatively manipulative ways. In many cases, the resulting statement conceals a weakness of proprietary software by casting it as a weakness of open source.

      In the case of software investment protection, the phrase gets completed “… but you need a proprietary vendor for long-term investment protection”. That’s a deceptive statement and I suggest that actually the open source model – done well – offers more security than the proprietary model.

    • Rapid7 Secures $50 million in Series C Funding
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Google Plugin for Eclipse (GPE) is Now Open Source

      Because of the large ecosystem that has developed around GWT, App Engine, and Google’s Cloud services, and because our primary mission is to help users (as opposed to creating proprietary development tools), it makes a lot of sense for us to open source GPE and make it easier for the community to enhance and extend the tools.

    • Apache Hadoop 0.23 is Here!

      I’ll present a short overview of the release in this post, more details are available in my recent talk on Apache Hadoop 0.23 at Hadoop World, 2011.

  • Public Services/Government

    • More open source software at European Space Agency

      The European Space Agency (ESA) wants to publish more of its software using open source licences. It is considering to use a source code tracking system to help untangle code that can be made available as open source and programs that, for whatever reason, can not.

    • French government tenders for open source support

      FOSS icon The French government has published a request for tenders to provide ICT support. The authorities are looking for a three-year support contract, worth two million euros and covering two-thirds of the country’s twenty-two ministries as well as the Court of Audit. According to Le Monde InformatiqueFrench language link this will include departments ranging from the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Justice and Freedom to the Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Culture and Communication.

    • European Space Agency looks to open source more code

      The European Space Agency (ESA) hopes to promote more collaboration by open sourcing more of its software where possible. The effort is one of the facets of a recent case study of ESA by the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR.eu). ESA produces software for its own use to, for example, evaluate and analyse data from its missions. Software it has already released under open source licenses includes POLSARPRO, a tool package for manipulating polarmetric data, BEAM, a platform for analysing remote sensing raster data, and NEST, used for analysing mission data archives.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Release often … enough
    • New Relic Expands Performance Monitoring as a Service with Python

      How exactly should you gain visibility into the performance levels your customers are seeing when they use your Web applications? One method that’s still in wide use is compelling users to install plug-ins and background processes. But for many users, that’s not just performance monitoring, that’s behavior monitoring. You don’t want your analytics tool straying too far into the realm of potential privacy violations.

      Until HTML5 can fully implement its standard methodology for capturing browser performance specs, Web developers need alternatives. One candidate, provided by a company RWW spoke with called New Relic, is to have Web apps servers supply performance measurement agents to clients while the apps themselves are being served. These agents communicate not with your server, but with New Relic instead, and the results are made visible as analytics charts through your browser.

    • Fear and slow loading: Eclipse celebrates 10 unsettling years

      In November 2001, IBM made its Java tools IDE and platform, developed for WebSphere Application Studio, available under an open source licence. It was the beginning of Eclipse, which now claims 65 per cent of the Java IDE market. But why was Eclipse founded and what has been its impact over a decade?

    • ActiveState Commits to Free Stackato Micro Cloud for Developers

Leftovers

  • ‘Apple’s iPhone 4S ate our SIM cards’

    The “phone” bit of the new iPhone 4S has stopped working properly for some users who are experiencing repeated SIM card failures, according to customer help forums on the Apple website.

    The SIM stutter appears to be affecting customers running the new iOS 5.01 on the iPhone 4S: those affected report frequent error messages detailing “invalid SIM”, even while using SIM cards they know have worked with other phones.

  • Apple cult mocked by Samsung in Galaxy S II ad
  • 7 Reasons Why Apple is More Evil than Microsoft

    Thanks to the hard work and vision of Steve Jobs, Apple has managed to evolve from a mere cult to a mainstream phenomenon. Fanboys, celebrities, politicians and geeks who adore their products have exalted the billion-dollar company to a technological pseudoreligion. A silent witness to Apple’s magnificent ascent from failure to stardom has been Microsoft.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Health Insurers, Lobbyists Re-Tuning Their Spin Machine

      One of the reasons why Congress has been largely unable to make the American health care system more efficient and equitable is because of the stranglehold lobbyists for special interests have on the institution.

      Whenever lawmakers consider any kind of meaningful reform, the proposed remedies inevitably create winners and losers. Physicians’ incomes most likely will be affected in some way, as will the profits of all the other major players: the hospitals, the drug companies, the medical device manufacturers, and the insurers, just to name a few. The list is long, and the platoons of highly paid and well-connected lobbyists who represent their interests comprise a large private army that conquered Capitol Hill years ago.

  • Security

    • Tool kills hidden Linux bugs, vulnerabilities
    • Google’s open source geezer gets shirty about security

      Google’s hackerishly hirsute Open Source Programs Manager, Chris DiBona, stormed the IT headlines this week when he stuck his paddle into the computer security world and stirred.

      In a blog posting which was at least as far above the line in gung-hovity as it was below the line in orthography, DiBona openly referred to vendors of Android anti-virus software as “charlatans and scammers.”

    • Microsoft and Some Press Catch Up to the 21st Century

      While many of us do simultaneous facepalms and giggle at a decade-late decision, others question the legality of doing so. A multi-billion dollar industry has grown, based on the absolute porous operating system that is Microsoft Windows.

      I’m sure Windows fans will protest, saying such things as:

      “Well, I’ve run Windows for years and NEVER had a virus”.

      Of course, when he says that, he should also hold up a sign to identify himself as belonging to the 1%.

      Personally, I cannot suss where this will land legally. It’s hard to argue with the fact that MS is finally going to at least try to address the issue of virus/trojan/malware security. But then again, we all know most anti virus “protection” is a reaction to something that’s already happened on the system….

  • Finance

    • Who’s Wrecking America? Meet Your 1% Nominees

      Of course, simply bandying names about isn’t the point. The point is that the activists fueling social movements like Occupy need to be able to understand exactly how oppression works and which individuals are controlling the process. Where would our nation be if, in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, activists had spoken only of the systemic issue of segregation and didn’t have George Wallace and Bull Connor to single out as perpetrators? We at Brave New Foundation are helping build a narrative so that citizens can draw a straight line between the cheats and bullies misusing their wealth and the economic predicament in which our country is now ensnared.

      We aren’t alone in this effort. Our partners include progressive media truth tellers like AlterNet, TruthOut, the Nation, PoliticusUSA, CARE2, the Center for Media and Democracy, the Young Turks, Campaign for America’s Future, Free Speech TV, Thom Hartmann, and MichaelMoore.com.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC finds AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile not in the public interest
    • It’s becoming their Internet — it should be our Internet

      Responding to Rob Reed’s Google+ post on the dark side of huge corporate entities — read: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube — controlling what we see and don’t see on the Internet, I wrote a couple of responses (instead of one because you can’t edit an existing post or comment on Google+’s Android client), which I will repeat here because, a) they’re not bad and b) I’m against “giving away” content to social networks and c) the irony of us having this discussion about Facebook on the newest, shiniest corporate-created social network, Google+ is particularly rich (and I acknowledge my part in it).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Cautious Optimism Follows SOPA Hearings: Don’t Get Cocky

        Crisis averted, so far. Last week’s hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was stacked in favor of the Internet blacklist bill but we seem to have come out unscathed.

        Public outcry against the bill rallied enough opposition to keep it from sailing through. Google testified against the bill, MasterCard voiced some objections, and tens of thousands of users lit up their representatives’ phone lines thanks to Tumblr. But it’s not over.

        Following the proceedings, I spoke with Electronic Frontier Foundation activist Parker Higgins. “Considering the makeup of the meetings, and how expectations were, it went really well” says Higgins. “It remains to be seen what happens next, but given positive experience [at the hearing] and outpouring through the EFF and other groups, things look better today than they did earlier this week.”

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