12.29.11

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Links 29/12/2011: Linux Gains Respect From Enterprises, Approval of Army

Posted in News Roundup at 5:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Gains Respect from Enterprise

    Clear advantages on usability and TCO related benefits are turning the tide in favor Linux usage within enterprise segment today.

    Over the past few years, Linux adoption rates in the enterprise have increased to encouraging levels. Enterprise users have quoted a wide range of TCO and ROI benefits, and as a result Linux has become a favorite strategic platform for business applications for a good number of enterprises.

  • Points about migrating from Windows to GNU/Linux

    I’ve had more questions lately about open source software, from co-workers and from other discussions. There seems to be a lot of curiosity of what open source is and how it can benefit. I’ve decided to take a moment and touch on the main issues I commonly explain to people that are currently using proprietary software such as Windows and Microsoft products, and are thinking of switching to open source alternatives. Switching operating systems and software is not as much of an issue as it used to be, as software is becoming more homogeneous. Some key points about migrating from Windows to GNU/Linux are:

    - Current and long term customers and are forced to pay for upgrades year after year, despite of how long they have been a Microsoft customer. It’s similar to paying maintenance on software, really. The worst example was with Windows Vista. Microsoft customers ended up getting this operating system on new PCs, and even though Microsoft admitted that Vista was a “mistake”, Microsoft turned around and focused on Windows 7 and making these very same customers pay full price for the Windows 7 upgrade, at the same price level as users still on XP. The moral move by Microsoft would have been to offer significant discounts to customers on Vista, with a different price level than those with XP. With open source, there are no upgrade costs to worry about. Once you decide to use an open source product, you are free to use it for as long as you wish, provided the product is continually developed.

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE SC 4.8 – Is KDE In A Permanent Feature Freeze?

        On 22 December, KDE unleashed its first release candidate of the next major iteration of the 4.x series on an unsuspecting pre-Christmas world. KDE 4.8 is a major release number. As such, I was hoping for some pretty cool new features. However, looking at the release announcement, I see that there are only three new features worthy of mention…

      • How to Get a Dock-Like Taskbar in KDE with Icon Tasks

        KDE has always given users the ability to add launchers to its panel, and it has always had a very usable task manager. Until recently, however, there has not been a comprehensive and well-designed merging of the two. The Icon Tasks widget has changed all of that. It is a robust plasma widget that includes support for task-oriented launchers and even the Ubuntu Unity API.

      • Very short 4.8 first look (from a user’s perspective)

        The release candidates of the 4.8 generation are out since a few days and now also openSUSE packages are available in the KDE Unstable repository.

        Release candidates by KDE are usually very solid with incomplete translations as biggest drawback but since translating is usually done during RC phase, it’s to be expected.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3.3.3 Heats Things Up For GNOME 3.4

        GNOME 3.3.3 is now available as the latest update in what will ultimately become GNOME 3.4 next March.

        GNOME 3.3.3 was announced on Friday, 23 December, but only this morning did the release announcement clear GNOME’s mailing list queue.

  • Distributions

    • Review: Chakra 2011.12 “Edn”

      There’s a new build of Chakra out, and I have some free time to check it out, so I’m doing so now. The other reason why I want to try it now is because a member of my family was raving about KDE in Fedora, so I figured it would be worth my time to dig deeper and see if I can massage KDE into becoming something that I could really like and use regularly. I’ll spare any introductions because I’ve reviewed Chakra enough times already, so I’ll skip to the main part of it.

    • Clonezilla: A Drive-Duping Monster With a Fearsome Face

      Clonezilla does a lot. But it does have limitations, not the least of which is its kludgy, archaic textual interface. Still, the interface offers a simple and straightforward approach to cloning a hard drive partition. What Clonezilla lacks in prettiness it makes up for in performance. It has no lack of network devices, sharing protocols and external storage hooks.

    • Refactored Tiny Core Linux 4.2 released

      Tiny Core Linux 4.2 has been announced, with this release focusing on refactoring Robert Shingledecker’s ultracompact Linux distribution to be more modular. This has involved creating a new “Core” foundation for the platform comprising the 2.4 MB kernel and 5 MB of gzipped surrounding essential programs and utilities.

    • Arch, Ubuntu, and Debian Linux ported to the HP TouchPad tablet

      Before hackers figured out how to install Google Android on the HP TouchPad, people were using the 9.7 inch tablet to run Ubuntu Linux… sort of. The discontinued tablet actually shipped with HP’s webOS software preloaded and early attempts to run Linux didn’t boot Linux instead of webOS. They basically let you run Ubuntu alongside Android and run Ubuntu apps without rebooting using UbuntuChroot.

    • 13 weird and wonderful niche Linux distros

      Here are 13 of the best, oddest and most useful distributions that Linux has to offer, and why on Earth you’d want to use them.

    • And the best distro of 2011 is …

      I am absolutely sure this article will provoke as much agreement as hate and criticism, as the controversial list topped by Ubuntu is going to anger the hardcore users. But that’s the simple reality, the way I see it, take it or leave it.

      Like I’ve mentioned earlier, 2011 was a turbulent and unhappy year for Linux. KDE has blossomed but then it’s little wilted in the winter. Gnome 2 and Gnome 3, that’s a sad story, let’s hope MATE wins, although I’m skeptical. Unity started as something you had to hate, but it’s becoming a normal alternative to existing choices, and a rather good one. Do not diss it too lightly, take it for a spin. You might be surprised.

      So you might ask me, dear Dedo, were you testing desktop interfaces or Linux distros? Well, for most part, the two are inseparable, no matter how much you try. It’s the precarious, delicate combination of the system AND the desktop that makes the final product. Even though you can separate them, it is quite evident from dozens of failing attempts that the task is not that simple. A good desktop is an art, and it has to look pretty. But then, it also must be solid, robust and without any bugs. In this brutal race, Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot comes as the big winner of 2011. It, works, period.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Who Sat on My Red Hat?

        Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE: RHT ) reported third-quarter results last night, and shares dropped 8% the morning after. You’d think the company missed analyst targets, management guidance, and the inside of a barn with a shotgun, judging by the market reaction.

      • Red Hat cuts $87M real estate deal with Progress Energy

        Red Hat and Progress Energy Progress Energy Latest from The Business Journals Report: Progress Energy reaches million deal to lease out Raleigh towerProgress Energy CEO to discuss Duke merger at forumProgress Energy CEO to discuss Duke merger at forum Follow this company have reached final terms for their sublease arrangement at Progress’ Two Progress Plaza tower in downtown Raleigh with a lease contract valued at roughly $87 million – before significant concessions – over the next 23 years.

      • Red Hat (RHT) Approaches New Downside Target of $40.99
      • CloudLinux OS Added by JaguarPC

        A Linux-based operating system, CloudLinux offers kernel-level control to web hosting providers. Specific features of the OS include the ability to limit application resources (to safeguard against traffic spikes), tenant isolation, expert support, and more.

      • 2 Useful plugins for Yum

        In these days i’ve worked a lot on Red Hat Enterprise and Centos machines, and so i’ve used yum to install, upgrade, remove and download packages.

      • Fedora

        • PHP 5.4 To Be Included in Fedora 17

          Two weeks ago we were announcing the new features of the upcoming Fedora 17 (Beefy Miracle) operating system, due for release on May 8th, 2012.

    • Debian Family

      • I replace sun-java6 with openjdk-6 in Debian Squeeze, everything still works
      • Derivatives

        • EeeMC 12.04.24: An Ubuntu 12.04 Based HTPC

          Whosa, the developer behind the EeeMC project, announced yesterday, December 27th, the immediate availability for download and testing of the EeeMC 12.04.24 Beta operating system.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Changing the LightDM login background in Ubuntu 11.10
          • 5 Alternatives To Unity For Ubuntu Users [Linux]

            We’ve previously written about Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment, which we touted as a “big leap forward” for Linux when it was introduced with Ubuntu 11.04. Unity was certainly a big leap in a new direction, but it left a lot of users behind.

            Luckily, Linux is all about choice and Ubuntu’s software repositories contain a variety of excellent alternatives to Unity. Each desktop environment you install appears as an option when you click the gear icon on Ubuntu’s login screen. You can install as many as you want and find the one that’s right for you.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • As 2012 Dawns, Mint Leads the List of Top Linux Distros

              It’s a different landscape now in the world of desktop Linux, so as 2011 draws to a close and 2012 dawns, I’d like to take a look at where things stand when it comes to the many choices available in this free and open source operating system.

              Anything could change in the coming months, of course, but here are the top 10 desktop Linux distributions as of late December 2011.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi $25 PC on course for January arrival

      The $25 computer project known as Raspberry Pi is set to go on sale next month.

      The tiny computer, which runs Linux on an ARM processor and sports USB, audio and video out, as well as an SD card slot, was designed to be an ultra-low-cost computer aimed at children.

      In a blog post picked up by Business Insider this week, its creators noted that the machine will be available in January following some additional testing on the hardware and software.

    • U.K. Charity Preps $25-$35 PCs For Early 2012 Launch

      Don’t be fooled by the device’s tiny footprint and low cost. Raspberry Pi is fully capable of rendering Blu-ray-quality, 1080p video playback. What’s more, the Raspberry Pi integrates the requisite hardware-accelerated graphics capabilities for supporting imaging, a camcorder, streaming media and 3D gaming.

    • Phones

      • Tough negotiator: HP wanted $1.2B for webOS and Palm’s assets (exclusive)

        $1.2 billion. That’s how much HP paid for Palm last year, and it’s also how much the company was trying to sell its Palm assets for over the latter half of 2011, VentureBeat has learned.

      • HP wanted $1.2 billion for WebOS and Palm assets

        HP has already made the decision to open source its WebOS platform, but according to a VentureBeat insider source, the company had initially wanted to sell WebOS along with other Palm assets for $1.2 billion. This is the same amount that HP paid when it acquired Palm back in 2010, meaning it was trying to offload a failing purchase without taking a loss.

      • Unreleased 7-inch TouchPad Go Reviewed, Deemed a Good Tablet

        Although webOS is now an open-source platform available for all, that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at some cool hardware of what could have been. The TouchPad Go — a 7-inch version of the TouchPad was never mass produced or officially announced, but webOS Nation got their hands on a prototype and gave it a thorough review.

      • Android

        • Samsung may allow Android 4 on Galaxy S, Tab after all

          Samsung may be rethinking its decision not to bring Android 4 to the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab (hat tip to The Verge). After the company’s announcement that neither device could be updated due to the size of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, the company is reportedly considering backing down on its decision due to “strong customer demand.”

        • 2011: The year Android had Multiple Personality Disorder

          In 2011 Google’s Android brought us splits in versions, open source commitment, carrier and OEM implementations, preferred device vendors and application ecosystems.

        • The Army goes Android

          The U.S. military stands to be stuck in its way when it comes to technologies. For ages the only smartphone you could use in Department of Defense (DOD) operations was a Blackberry. Now, as first reported by Stars and Stripes, you can use your Android phone and tablet on DOD business and with DOD networks.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Top Ten Stupidest Things That Happened In Tech In 2011

    1. There was a movie called “Source Code” that had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with programming.

  • Five Open Source Technologies for 2012
  • Call for promotion of mother tongue

    Addressing the first technical session of the fourth international conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), Ms. Gordon, a specialist in international development, expressed concern over the tendency in India to use English as the medium from the kindergarten level. “I am not sure you will have the same level of technological capability if you start doing that. Research shows that people’s ability to think conceptually is facilitated by having their first years of education in their mother tongue. It is very important to stay with the language at least for the first few years.”

  • Top Open Source Projects of 2011: Find the Award Winners

    It’s that time of year when the open source community looks back on what the best projects and products of the past 12 months were. A peek at some of the compilations on this topic shows that there is some agreement on which projects and products stood out, but there are also some outlier technologies from this year that you may not be so familiar with. Here is a handy guide to some of the best open source offerings of 2011.

  • OStatic’s Best Read Open Source Resource Guides and Collections

    Since OStatic’s inception, we’ve produced regularly updated roundups on everything from free books on open source topics, to top FOSS applications for working with video and digital music, to collections of resources for learning Linux. Many of these roundups are good ways to dive into open source applications for the first time, and join communities that you may not have known about. Marking the end of 2011, here is an updated collection of the most popular roundups we’ve done, which include hundreds of our favorite open source applications and guides for using them.

  • Ada Initiative adviser deserts group

    An adviser of a non-profit group that aims to increase the participation of women in free and open source software and culture has quit, describing the group as having achieved little since it was set up, despite spending nearly $US100,000.

  • Fearless open source predictions for 2012

    Ah, the sweet smell of a new year. Although I have to admit, 2011 wasn’t the best of years for Linux and open source, it certainly wasn’t the worst. But what 2011 did do was build a nice solid base for things to come. And I believe 2012 will be a vastly improved year for our favorite software and platform.

    I won’t go as far to say that 2012 will finally be the year of the desktop for Linux — I think that flag has flown enough over the last decade (and to no avail). But, the good news is that the desktop landscape is about to see some serious changes as the multi-touch form factor starts to take a larger role. But more on that later. So, what is possible (besides ‘anything’) for the up-coming year? Here are my prognostications.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla isn’t a charity case – and Google’s $300m will do nicely

        Some people seem to think Google gave Mozilla a sweetheart deal when it renewed its search agreement for Firefox. At roughly $300 million per year, it will fund quite a bit of open-source development at Mozilla, but this isn’t a case of Google going soft during the Christmas season. It is, as Mozilla veteran Asa Dotzler argues, simply a case of Google paying the going market rate for traffic to its ads.

      • Why Google Continues to Fund Firefox

        Just before the holiday weekend Mozilla announced that it had renewed its long-standing search revenue agreement with Google, which will reportedly net Mozilla $300 million a year (as part of a three-year contract). The renewed contract comprises the bulk of Mozilla’s funding and is unquestionably a good deal for Mozilla. What’s less immediately clear is why Google — which now has its own Chrome browser — would want to continue the deal.

  • SaaS

    • OpenNebula 2011: A Year of Innovation in Cloud Computing

      Technology
      The stable version of OpenNebula 2.2 was released in March with the new SunStone GUI and important new features for fault tolerance and scalability. Seven months later, in October, the project released OpenNebula 3.0 with management of zones and virtual data centers, new authentication methods with usage quotas, a VM template repository, a new monitoring and accounting service, and a new network subsystem with support for Open vSwitch and 802.1Q tagging. OpenNebula 3.0 features the latest innovations in cloud computing for the deployment of cutting-edge enterprise-ready on-premise IaaS clouds.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Had a Great Year

      Only Slackware, CentOS, PCLinuxOS, and ArchLinux do not ship LibreOffice. RedHat is a major contributor to LibreOffice so it will likely be shipped by them sooner or later and CentOS will follow. I think the number “over 30 million” is a conservative estimate. The distros shipping LibreOffice ship more than 30 million. The number must come from their downloads which include users of that other OS so the number could be twice as large as that. I would not be surprised if LibreOffice reaches 100 million users shortly. It’s that good.

    • Oracle Tip – The Department of Defense and Open Source Software

      Many major software companies, including Oracle, utilize Open Source software in their products. Most commercial software is actually blended software: software that is sold under a different licensing terms from Open Source, but is probably built using a variety of Open Source components.

    • Oracle v. Google – Inquisitive Judge Invites Questionable Approach

      In an order issued yesterday (657 [PDF; Text]) Judge Alsup invited the parties to submit memoranda analyzing an alternative approach to the use of the Sun/Google 2006 negotiation. In so doing Judge Alsup is inviting an almost insoluble problem that can ensnare courts and juries when applying the Georgia-Pacific factors in determining damages. Don’t expect Google to leap at this approach.

  • CMS

    • 12 tech leaders’ resolutions for 2012

      Matt Mullenweg is the founder of WordPress, an open-source publishing platform run by a non-profit foundation, and also the CEO of Automattic, a for-profit entity that offers services based around WordPress. We asked him for his reflections on 2011 and his New Year’s resolutions for 2012 because he is an entrepreneur who has achieved great success but also someone who has insights into where the web is going.

  • Semi-Open Source

    • eDoctor, Inc. Announces New Integrated OpenEMR Solution

      eDoctor, Inc., an innovative provider of Health IT solutions, now offers a Meaningful Use-certified Ambulatory EMR through the Open Source OpenEMR project. A state-of-the-art Web-based software system, the eDoctor OpenEMR is a comprehensive Health IT package providing numerous features including practice management, clinical management, and electronic billing. Integrated within the eDoctor OpenEMR are certified NewCrop-based e-Prescribing, the iON Laboratory Order and Entry System, and our new Patient Appointment and Management System- all designed to streamline office workflow, increase physician and patient satisfaction, and earn Medicare incentives.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • XBMC 11 beta released

      It’s been a long time in coming but the beta version of XBMC 11 has now been released. Version 11 “Eden” adds lots of new features and improvements to the open source home theater software for both Mac and Windows.

  • Licensing

    • Open Source Licensing Defuses Copyright Law’s Threat to Medicine

      Enforcing copyright law could potentially interfere with patient care, stifle innovation and discourage research, but using open source licensing instead can prevent the problem, according to a physician – who practices both at the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco VA Medical Center – and a legal scholar at the UC Hastings College of Law.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Malaria researchers try open source approach to drug discovery

      The term “open source” describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product’s source materials. I’m sure you’ve heard of open source software such as Perl, WordPress, Linux and Android, and are familiar with open content projects such as Wikipedia and Wiktionary, but what about open source drug discovery?

  • Programming

    • What to Look for in PHP 5.4.0

      PHP 5.4.0 will arrive soon. The PHP team is working to bring to some very nice presents to PHP developers. In the previous release of 5.3.0 they had added a few language changes. This version is no different. Some of the other changes include the ability to use DTrace for watching PHP apps in BSD variants (there is a loadable kernel module for Linux folks). This release features many speed and security improvements along with some phasing out of older language features (Y2K compliance is no longer optional). The mysql extensions for ext/mysql, mysqli, and pdo now use the MySql native driver (mysqlnd). This release also improves support for multibyte strings.

Leftovers

  • SCO’s bankruptcy keeps rolling along ~pj – Updated

    SCO is still around. The bankruptcy continues, of course, because you can’t get too much of a good thing. SCO has filed its monthly operating reports for November. And who should show up now but Riverside Claims LLC? Here’s what they do. Perhaps they’d like to get their claims paid. What claims, you ask? Well, for example, the claim they had assigned [PDF] to them by a Chinese software provider, Shenyang Neusoft Co. Ltd, long, long ago, in 2008. My, they are patient. It’s a claim for $11,364.81. Will they ever get paid? Good luck.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Obama Memo: Redeem Yourself With Rail

      Good news springs forth from the bad news, however. The footprint of America’s passenger rail system may lie beneath overgrown lilacs, but the majority of the rights-of-way have been maintained. To give some idea of the great contraction that took place with our rail system as the folly of our national highway program went into overshoot, these two maps from a half century ago tell the tale. (source: National Association of Railroad Passengers). The first is from 1962, when the intercity passenger rail network still covered 88,710 route miles.

  • Civil Rights

    • SOPA: All Your Internets Belong to US

      The U.S. Congress is currently embroiled in a heated debated over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), proposed legislation that supporters argue is needed combat online infringement, but critics fear would create the “great firewall of the United States.” SOPA’s potential impact on the Internet and development of online services is enormous as it cuts across the lifeblood of the Internet and e-commerce in the effort to target websites that are characterized as being “dedicated to the theft of U.S. property.” This represents a new standard that many experts believe could capture hundreds of legitimate websites and services.

    • SOPA’s most frightening flaw is the future it predicts
    • American Corporate Software Can No Longer Be Trusted For Anything
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