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12.02.11

Links 2/12/2011: WikiLeaks ‘Spy Files’, Open Internet at Risk

Posted in News Roundup at 12:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Should Tablets and Smartphones be Considered “PCs”?

    A new debate’s upon us! No one would argue the fact that smartphones, tablets and similar devices are “computers”, but would it be appropriate to label the same devices “PCs”? With an analyst firm doing just that recently, we’ve decided to take a look at multiple factors to see if such a classification is a good or bad thing.

  • Issue 153: Wallpaper
  • Desktop

    • Is Linux being taken seriously?

      Roll back the calendar only 5 years…

      After playing around Linux for a few months I decided to get a version installed on an old Dell Inspiration 3200 laptop so I could surf the Internet without fear. Such an old laptop didn’t have a built-in WiFi adapter, so I used a PCI Card WiFi adapter plugged into a PCI Card slot. A WiFi card that was very common but it had no Linux driver. I used the Windows driver and NDISWrapper to get the WiFi working with Linux

      In my first ½ year of experimenting with Linux (mid 2005) many basic functions were not part of the kernel (2.4) of the RedHat 7.2. I had to write scripts to mount and access my digital camera or USB FlashDrives.

      Windows NTFS support on RedHat 7.2 was non-existent. Then NTFS support in Linux became experimental. Now it’s completely transparent and build in. It “Just Works”

  • Server

    • Why Supercomputing Matters

      To your typical IT organization, the Top500 Supercomputing list released twice a year — while interesting — has little bearing on today’s operations. Grand proclamations and goals, such as reaching Exaflop performance by 2018, also have little impact on the day-to-day goings-on in most data centers. (As quick background info: A FLOP is the number of FLoating Point Operations performed Per Second; an Exaflop is 1018 or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 FLOPs.)

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gtk heading for a bumpy time in mobile space?

        In an effort to slim down and improve its cross-platform capabilities, the developers of the Chrome browser and ChromeOS itself appear to be shifting away from Gtk use.

        This bit of information was quietly pointed out earlier in the month on the Aura window manager pages for the Chromium Projects. Chromium is the open source implementation of Chrome and ChromeOS, and Aura is the new window manager and shell environment that will support the various interface elements on these implementations.

  • Distributions

    • The end of the Linux distro wars

      Don’t use DistroWatch as a measuring stick in any way for the popularity of a Linux distribution.

      Seriously, stop it.

      In fact, why are we even asking the question at all?

      “Popularity” is a term that smacks of our days in high school, when we thought we should care about social standing and where we fit in that ranking. Now apparently, we seem to be locked into this notion of figuring out which distro is most popular, too.

      This is a silly question, for multiple reasons.

    • Distro Dance
    • New Releases

      • VectorLinux 7.0 Screenshot Tour
      • Vector Linux 7.0 GOLD Released

        With all the excitement and discussion surrounding the recent release of Linux Mint 12 (and Fedora 16, and openSuSE 12.1), it is easy to overlook the smaller Linux distributions. Vector Linux is a good example of this, with their recently announced 7.0 distribution. The relatively small number people behind the Vector Linux distribution have put a phenomenal amount of work into this release – I saw the first VL7.0 Beta releases early this year, and there have been several Release Candidates since about May or June. The result of all that hard work is what I consider to be one of the nicest of the Slackware-based “easy-to-use” Linux distributions.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Introduces New Media Player

        Today Denis Koryavov, lead interface developer at ROSA Labs, announced a new media player for ROSA/Mandriva. ROSA Media Player (ROMP) is a fork of MPlayer and SMPlayer with a sleek design and new features. Today a beta of 1.0 was made available to test and Koryavov says it’s stable.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon 7 KDE review

        Aside from a few applications failing to start before updates were applied, another issues I observed with Sabayon 7 KDE is that a connected printer was not automatically configured, even though cupsd, the printer daemon, is started out of the box. In Pardus, a KDE-based distribution that made the list of the top 6 KDE distributions for 2011, any connected printer in the printers database is automatically configured.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Sorting out Red Hat Linux based distributions

        Recently it was published by DistroWatch that the Linux Mint distribution has passed Ubuntu and is now considered the most popular. In order from most popular on down, this list at DistroWatch starts with Linux Mint, followed by Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, and openSUSE. There are others listed as well.

        But I wanted to take a moment and touch on Fedora and the Red Hat based distributions to distinguish the differences among them. I am a huge fan of the Red Hat based distributions. Why? Well, I’ve used them since the early days of Linux distributions, and have been hooked ever since. I’ve had excellent luck with Red Hat, I like the tools that Red Hat develops and places in their distributions, and there is a huge support community for it. I’ve also found that Red Hat is a good company, and stands behind its products. It has been VERY supportive and active in the open source community for decades, and continues to show its commitment to open source software. I also think their software models are highly successful, with the Fedora / Red Hat split that we saw in 2003. Back then I was surprised with the split at first, but after a couple of years using both Fedora and Red Hat Linux, I soon discovered that the move to split the two was ingenious. I will explain why below.

      • Red Hat’s sales architect exits on Linux high

        At a company that values engineers as highly as Red Hat does, Pinchev still commands profound respect, not to mention fear, despite not being able to write a line of code. Over the last nine years, Pinchev’s relentless, dogged determination to increase sales has paid for huge contributions to the Linux kernel and open-source software, generally.

      • Fedora

        • PreUpgrade: Upgrade Fedora From One Version To Another

          If you are a Fedora using running Fedora 15 or even Fedora 14 and want to upgrade to the latest, and the greatest, version of Fedora, you can easily do that using PreUpgrade. The goal of PreUpgrade is to provide a way for Fedora users who wish to upgrade from one release to a newer version of Fedora by easily pre-resolving and downloading all the necessary packages before rebooting the system into the Fedora installer to complete the update.

        • Distro Hoppin`: Fedora 16

          Another interesting addition inside the context menu is the “Restore Missing Files” option, which lets you connect to an on-site or cloud server to recover from accidental deletions.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • CrunchBang 10 “Statler” refresh R20111125

          Although officially a version 10 refresh and still under the “Statler” moniker, the latest Crunchbang release constitutes some notable changes.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • My Unity TV Mockups

            Inspired my Mark Shuttleworth’s recent post about Alan Bell’s Unity TV mockups, I’ve decided to try my hand at some. Alan did his using Pencil, which is an awesome tool for UI mockups that I wrote about previously, so it was easy enough for me to get started. Here is my first one, a mockup where just the Launcher and Unity panel are showing (no Dash):

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 243
          • Is Ubuntu Still The Most Popular Linux Distro?

            For the past few years, Ubuntu has been considered the most popular Linux distribution. Recently, there has been a flurry of blog posts claiming that Linux Mint is now more popular than Ubuntu. While Linux Mint seems to have gained greatly in popularity since the first release in 2006, all meaningful statistics (if there is such a thing) point to Ubuntu’s clear lead in usage and popularity.

          • Beautiful Icons for Your Favorite Ubuntu Games
          • Ubuntu Linux Everywhere

            In his own words: “By 14.04 LTS Ubuntu will power tablets, phones, TVs and smart screens from the car to the office kitchen, and it will connect those devices cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server and the cloud.”

          • Apache CouchDB developers respond to UbuntuOne issue

            Jan Lehnardt, Chairman of the Apache CouchDB Project Management Committee (PMC), writing on behalf of the CouchDB developers, shed some light on why Canonical dropped its use of the CouchDB NoSQL database from the cloud synchronisation service Ubuntu One. The announcement by Canonical had created some uncertainty about CouchDB and its capabilities. The message from the developers is “Do not worry, the project is alive and well” said Lehnardt.

          • Ubuntu’s Precise Pangolin Alpha 1 Released
          • Get an Early Peek at Ubuntu Linux 12.04 ‘Precise Pangolin’
          • Gnome 3 Whips Ubuntu Unity, Launches Shell Extensions Site

            The Gnome project has dropped a bomb today by announcing a site for Gnome 3 Shell extensions. The site is in alpha stage and brings the much needed extensions for Gnome 3 Shell under one site.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • 8 Exciting Features of Linux Mint 12 “Lisa”

              Linux Mint, which has effortlessly managed to usurp the top spot from Ubuntu (according to DistroWatch ranking), has just released its latest version. Codenamed “Lisa”, Linux Mint 12 is based on Ubuntu 11.10 and features a perfect blend of GNOME 3 and the newly designed Mint GNOME Shell Extensions (MGSE).

            • Ubuntu Declines, Linux Mint Soars: DistroWatch Figures

              Linux Mint appears to be soaring in popularity at the expense of high-profile distros such as Ubuntu, figures from DistroWatch have suggested. The site’s latest page hit numbers show a sharp decline in the last month for Ubuntu, which having occupied second spot throughout year has now dropped to fourth place, behind even Fedora, openSUSE and top performer, Mint.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is Apache still good for open source?

    The Apache Software Foundation has been making life better for open-source developers since 1999, but has its time passed?

    A recent blog argues that nonprofit ASF is causing more harm than good by being mired in the past.

    “It is my belief that we are, right now, in the middle of a very large evolution in the ecology of open source,” wrote Mikeal Rogers, a developer advocate at Yammer, a private, secure social network for companies. Yet Apache remains focused on problems that no longer exist — removing barriers to entry — creating a “chasm between Apache and the new culture of open source,” he said.

  • Events

    • Make it so, SCALE

      A little history: Mimi Cafiero (yes, that’s my girl) and Malakai Wade, two teenage girls who are helping to organize SCALE 10X’s young people’s conference, staunchly proclaimed that, “We are not kids.” So the title of SCALE 10X Kids Conference was in peril from the start.

  • CMS

    • WordPress the most popular open source CMS for second year running

      According to the fourth annual study by water&stone, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are the three most popular among 20 free web content management systems, narrowed down from an initial list of 35. WordPress is in the lead by a long way, followed by Joomla. Having lead the field two years ago and been overtaken by WordPress last year, it is natable how Joomla’s popularity has declined since last year. Among the .NET-based CMS players, DotNetNuke dominates, while among Java-based CMSes, Liferay and Alfresco are the joint leaders.

    • Drupal, Cajun Style

      As I wrote earlier this week, few markets have such a rich selection of quality open source products as does the content management systems (CMS) space. One of the leaders in the open source CMS market is Drupal. In fact this blog post is written on a Drupal system. Down in the Big Easy on December 8th and 9th there will be a Drupal conference called Drupal on the Bayou.

  • Public Services/Government

    • IT: Sicily to consider law promoting the use of open source

      The regional administration of the Italian island of Sicily is to consider a law nudging public administrations to use of free and open source software. The proposal, by Massimo Ferrara, a member of the Democratic Party, might also help prevent the break-up of a school on the island, the Instituto Majorana, involved in producing instruction videos on this type of software.

Leftovers

  • Cablegate

    • New WikiLeaks ‘spy files’ show global surveillance industry

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange launched the website’s new project Thursday, the publication of files it claims shows a global industry that gives dictatorships tools to spy on their citizens.

      In parallel to Assange’s announcement, Wikileaks’ partner Owni.fr released evidence that a French firm helped Moamer Kadhafi’s former Libyan regime spy on opposition figures living in exile in Britain.

      It had already been revealed that the electronics firm, Amesys, had worked with the Libyan regime — and French rights groups are attempting to take the group to court — but Owni’s files will prove embarrassing.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Pro-Walker Ads, Courtesy of Koch Industries

      The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) has teamed up with Wisconsin’s right-wing John K. MacIver Institute on a website and TV ad to support Governor Scott Walker as he faces recall. AFP and MacIver are aiming to convince residents that Walker’s fiscal policies have been good for the state.

    • New Report Details ALEC Influence in Arizona

      Last year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) attracted attention when reporters revealed Arizona’s SB1070 anti-immigration law was pre-approved by ALEC corporations that stood to benefit from its passage. As ALEC’s legislative and corporate members descend upon Arizona for meetings this week, a new report (pdf) shows that ALEC’s influence in Arizona goes beyond SB1070 to include bills that suppress voting, attack worker’s rights, privatize public education, and limit environmental protections.

  • Censorship

    • US judge orders hundreds of sites “de-indexed” from Google, Facebook

      After a series of one-sided hearings, luxury goods maker Chanel has won recent court orders against hundreds of websites trafficking in counterfeit luxury goods. A federal judge in Nevada has agreed that Chanel can seize the domain names in question and transfer them all to US-based registrar GoDaddy. The judge also ordered “all Internet search engines” and “all social media websites”—explicitly naming Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Bing, Yahoo, and Google—to “de-index” the domain names and to remove them from any search results.

  • Civil Rights

    • So, there’s a rootkit hidden in millions of cellphones

      The rootkit belongs to a company called Carrier IQ and it seems that it has low-level access to the system that allows it to spy on pretty much everything that you do with your handset. This, on the face of it, seems like an extremely serious breach of security, privacy and trust.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Piracy vs. an open Internet

      To avoid the reach of U.S. copyright laws, numerous online pirates have set up shop in countries less willing or able to enforce intellectual property rights. Policymakers agree that these “rogue” sites pose a real problem for U.S. artists and rights holders who aren’t getting paid for the rampant distribution of their music, movies and other creative works. The question is how to help them. Lawmakers keep offering proposals, but they don’t seem to be getting any closer to the right answer.

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