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01.06.12

Links 6/1/2012: Alpine Linux 2.3.3, Mandriva in Danger

Posted in News Roundup at 9:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Linux sex life – An illustrated story
  • Desktop

    • ThinkPad X1 Hybrid packs both x86 and ARM processors

      Lenovo has announced a 13.3-inch notebook computer that has both Intel and ARM processors. The ThinkPad X1 Hybrid combines an Core i3, i5, or i7 CPU with a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon, allowing users to toggle between Windows 7 and a Linux-based “Instant Media Mode” operating system whenever they want.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Razer BlackWidow, Other Products On Linux?

      The Razer BlackWidow is an incredibly well constructed mechanical keyboard, but how well does it work under Linux? Has the Razer product support at Linux improved at all recently?

      A few weeks ago I picked up the Razer BlackWidow keyboard for my main machine in the office. I didn’t pick-up this keyboard for any gaming, but rather having been a big fan of their mice, keyboards, and other peripherals over the years. Razer is obviously a gaming-focused company, but their many products I’ve either bought or received as samples have been wonderful. The build quality is great along with an impressive feature-set and being very reliable.

    • Did Your System Take A Dive With Linux 3.2?

      If you upgraded today to the just-released Linux 3.2 kernel and your Intel system is now having problems booting this new kernel release, you’re not alone, but here’s a possible workaround.

      A regression struck the Linux 3.2 kernel concerning IOMMU and is still present in the final release of Linux 3.2. The issue didn’t appear during the 3.2 merge window but later on in the cycle (if my memory serves me when I first struck the issue, it was around -rc2 or -rc3) and results in the kernel not successfully booting.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Success of GNU/Linux on the Desktop

      GNU/Linux has been a success on the desktop with every distro I have tested since 2000: Caldera eDesktop, Mandrake, Slackware, K12LTSP, Fedora, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Debian GNU/Linux and a few others I forget (failure of my memory, not the distros). Government, education, business, individuals, OEMs all use it successfully. Consider what some might call a failure on the desktop, Dell and Ubuntu. Just because Dell.com looks like a GNU/Linux desert means nothing. That’s in the home country of M$, the Great Satan of operating systems. Dell is selling GNU/Linux like hotcakes in China. It’s a wild success. They have 220 bricks-and-mortar stores pushing the product.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • 3.3.3 Of GNOME Shell, Mutter Try To Fix Things Up

        Version 3.3.3 packages of GNOME Shell and Mutter were independently released today. These latest development snapshots in the road to GNOME 3.4 mainly try to address outstanding issues.

        There’s already been numerous advancements in the road to GNOME 3.4, but for the 3.3.3 release of the GNOME Shell and for the Mutter compositing window manager there isn’t too much to get excited about.

  • Distributions

    • Fedora, Mint, openSUSE, Ubuntu: Which Linux desktop is for you?

      There are more interesting Linux desktop distributions to choose from than ever before. However, if you’re looking for major distros with a great deal of support, you’ll want to look at the big four: Fedora, Mint, openSUSE, and Ubuntu.

      Each has its own outlook and methods. Thanks to Linux’s customizability, you could take any of them and completely revamp it, if you wish. But unless your idea of a good time is operating system hacking, chances are you’ll want a distribution that already meets your needs.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva in danger of closing its doors

        Mandriva S.A. hasn’t had an easy time of it, even after emerging from bankruptcy in 2006. Formerly MandrakeSoft, the company merged with Brazilian Linux vendor and former UnitedLinux partner Connectiva in 2005.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Introduces Storage Solutions Software for Enterprises

        Red Hat, Inc., the pioneer in Open Source solutions has unveiled its new integrated product for storage solutions, the “Red Hat Storage Software Appliance” for Enterprises. The software can be deployed on a list of compatible hardware through an ISO image file. It offers support for mission critical and latency-sensitive data. It is even POSIX complaint, hence easing the deployment. The software makes use of GlusterFS 3.2, which provides scale-out storage solutions, without having to use the monolithic platforms, which are costly. The software comes as a balm on the fear that Open Source software isn?t capable of providing storage solutions for huge chunks of data.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Geospatial services with FLOSS: Interview with Oslandia

    In this interview Olivier Courtin and Vincent Picavet, founders of geospatial service provider Oslandia, share with us their business story, some advice and how free and open source geospatial software plays a major role in their company. Enjoy the interview!

  • Why open source needs Simon Cowell

    With apologies for the sensationalist headline, Simon Brew wonders how to get a realistic debate going in the modern world…

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Can Mozilla Unify Open Source?

        This week saw a quiet landmark in the history of the open source movement with the formal release of version two of the Mozilla Public License (MPLv2) and its approval as an official open source license. While to many it may look like just another legal detail, it is significant both for the way it was conducted and for the intent with which it has been created. This is a license aimed at unity.

        Drafting and reviewing the license has been a very open process, for which Luis Villa deserves much credit. Conducted mostly on open forums, the discussion has led to many revisions of the text. Luis also approach the Open Source Initiative early, accepting input from the License Review group and obtaining the Board’s approval easily.

  • CMS

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • NASA Discovers Open Source Planet

      NASA, like many mega organisations uses Free Software or Open Source due to the uncountable advantes it has over the proprietary technologies. NASA has been a user of open source forever, but we did not see much code coming out. Which is totally fine. You don’t have to relase the code of the work that you use. But, if you do it will benefit everyone.

      In addition, if the code is of no use to the rest of the world, there is no point in releasing it either. However, a lot of what NASA does enhances the quality of life and software is no exception.

IRC Proceedings: January 6th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

In the Age of Defective Patent Systems, Google Receives Patents to Defend Android From Lawsuits

Posted in Apple, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux proponents unite against proprietary aggressors

Soccer

Summary: A roundup of patent news about Android/Linux and some of the latest events that relate to it

THE decline of Windows Mobile and all of its other identities (Microsoft keeps Sevenwashing it) has been so rapid that Windows is now a 1% player in a market that keeps growing and growing.

“Windows Phone reaps what it sows” says one journalist who explains it as follows:

Misunderstood, mocked by its competitors, blocked from the market, and little used by the average user.

Ten years ago, this would have been a harsh but fair description of Linux. Today, however, it’s seems perfectly apt to use these labels to describe a completely different bit of technology: the Windows Phone operating system.

Even Nokia cannot save Windows (on mobile phones), so all that Microsoft can do now is become a leech through patents, e.g. via MOSAID and its patent extortion operations (notably Android “licensing”). In this age of many lawsuits that we find in the news all the time we realise that this problem is systemic too. After all, Apple too uses a similar strategy.

Looking at the USPTO for a moment, Matt Asay notes that:

2011: new record in patent grants, tied to Obama’s PTO chief not increased filings zite.to/y1nABx <Cue Talking Heads “Road to Nowhere”

Glyn Moody’s remark on the same report is sarcastic:

because what the world needs is lots more intellectual monopolies

James Love (of KEI) says:

During patent reform legislation, WH claimed low quality patents are problems. But USPTO just issued a record number.

The FFII asks James: “How do they measure patent quality in the US?”

Here is the report they all link to. It’s from a pro-patents circle, known to many as Patently-O (Dennis D. Crouch), and it says:

The USPTO issued more utility patents in calendar year 2011 than in any year in history. The 2011 total – just shy of 225,000 issued patents – is only a small increase over 2010, but towers above all other historic figures. The previous record was set in 2006 with about 173,000 issued utility patents. The dramatic rise in issuance rate is not tied directly to an increase in filings (although there has been a small increase in new application filings). Rather, the two-year increase appears to be the result of regime changes instituted by USPTO Director David Kappos who took office mid-year 2009 after being nominated by President Barack Obama.

the USPTO is a bubble and a sham. The sooner people realise this, the sooner it will be toppled. It serves a conspiracy of monopolies, parasites, and patent lawyers who drive up the price of everything and deny the entry of new competition into the market.

When in the news we see searching as a patent and even business methods as a monopoly we cannot help feeling that one productive response would be to expose the system, not just pertinent companies that exploit it to the extremes and harm Free software more than anything else. The USPTO is very dangerous at all levels because there are lobbyists who use the “USPTO model” to expand this same model to other countries. This include the UK-IPO that we have here in England. As one person puts it, “All in the American mind? US and UK take different approaches to assessing mental act exclusions”; if the unitary patent is passed through, the US may have the whole EU (EPO) assimilate to the USPTO. Already, some software patents are being approved in the UK. This is a new example from the news:

Image processing software not excluded from patentability, IPO rules

An IPO examiner had previously ruled that the invention was excluded from patentability on the grounds that the invention consisted solely of a computer program. Hewlett Packard, the company trying to patent the invention, appealed against the examiner’s ruling and the hearing officer has now upheld that appeal on the basis that the invention uses mathematical techniques that are sufficiently technical in nature to avoid being excluded from patentability.

Under the UK’s Patents Act inventions must be new, take an inventive step that is not obvious and be useful to industry in order to qualify for patent protection. An invention cannot be patented, according to the Act, if it is “a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, or a program for a computer … as such”.

Henrion from the FFII writes that:

The problem with the patent system at the moment is that it’s being applied to intangibles: software and user interfaces­

Here is one new example of it:

Lakeside Software, a leader in business intelligence solutions for IT professionals, today announced that the company has expanded its patent portfolio with the granting of a patent for the management of data across multiple computer systems.

Data too has patents on it now? How far will this go? And how abstract a computation is going to be deemed patentable? Oracle pushed copyrights and patents to the edge when it suggested that APIs too can be patented, which they probably can in the US.

We already know that the age of bankruptcy is an age of patent wars and Sun’s sale to Oracle had its “defensive” parents turn into hostile. Novell’s patents were sold to Microsoft and Apple, too (both companies are FOSS-hostile and litigate against Linux/Android). Here is the new story of another company that ran to the courtroom amid its demise: “The newspaper quoted unidentified people as saing Kodak could seek protection in the next few weeks if an effort to sell a collection of digital-imaging patents falls through.

“Kodak has sold patents valued at millions of dollars over the last several years in a bid to shore up its ailing finances.”

It’s actually a strong case against patents because companies become just a pile of orphaned patents (Novell included), and in turn this fuels wars, not sparking any innovation at all. Disregard the pro-patents propaganda from lawyers’ Web sites and instead watch why they like patents (starting 2012 with patent lawsuits). As one columnist in IDG put it:

When Netscape went public in the fall of 1995, few of us understood that we were entering an era of constant and accelerating change. Since then, 16 years of Moore’s Law has given us powerful and cheap hardware. The open-source software movement has made software that’s worth millions of dollars freely available to anyone who can click a mouse. As one can see, reducing these natural barriers to entry has made it easier to start a Web services business. These same trends have had an interesting effect on intellectual property strategy.

[...]

Open hostility toward patents from the open-source community and 10 years of judicial infighting over the patentability of “business methods” and other Web 2.0 technologies didn’t help matters. Many Web 2.0 companies underinvested in patents, when they should have increased their efforts to secure legal barriers to entry to offset the reduction in natural barriers to entry.

Actually, patents do not work for small players. That’s just the lie sold to us by the 1% (or less) who benefit from patents. Here is some more London-based propaganda dressed up as a press release:

The Decision Model is revolutionising Enterprise Decision Management by modeling the business logic (rules) behind key operational and strategic business decisions (http://www.azinta.com/Services/the-decision-model-solutions.html). The recent award of a US patent for The Decision Model to Knowledge Partners International (KPI) triggered an intense debate resulting in some commentators claiming that The Decision Model patent is an IP trap. Suleiman Shehu, the CEO of Azinta Systems – a KPI Consulting Partner, analyses the reasons for this debate and presents the evidence why The Decision Model patent is not an IP trap.

Decision-making as a patent. How about that, ladies and gents?

Moving back to the impact on FOSS, although Apple gets sued for patent violations, the company persists with its support for that same rotten system. “Last week,” says one article, “Apple applied to the US patent office to register facial recognition software…”

This affects me personally and professionally, too. “So instead of sliding to unlock the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, one could simply point it at one’s face,” notes this article, among others that we mentioned in December. The point they are missing is that Apple gets a monopoly here. It is not good for anyone. Microsoft’s identity change to “patent aggressor” is on route as well [1, 2] (software patents). They are goodwill-washing it through gullible Web sites. With phrases like “patent helps”, there is clearly not a realistic expectation. And in the face of infographic propaganda from taxmen of technology (lawyers) we fortunately see some infographic sanity and we are able to see to what degree Android is the victim here (victim of Microsoft, Apple, and some of their allies). Google does not get patents anymore; in fact, “Google stopped submitting patents to the USPTO” because it’s pointless. To quote: “Software patent wars have always existed: companies fought them (or paid up), sometimes quietly, sometimes making a big fuss. However, something has changed over the last year or so: people started getting directly affected by software patents (ask anybody wanting a Samsung Galaxy Tab in Australia for Christmas 2011…). Lately, two things came to my attention: Google acquired 200 patents from IBM. But, more interestingly: Google hasn’t filed any patents over the last several months.”

Google does not apply for patents; it buys/gets them instead, usually from IBM [1, 2, 3, 4] under secret terms. An article for background can be found here:

Last year, IBM sold Google 2,000 or so patents ranging from mobile software to computer hardware and processors.

As other reports put it:

Google’s quest to build a strong patent portfolio continues with IBM assigning a further 222 patents to the search and advertising company. Details of the transaction have not been disclosed by either party, but the USPTO database shows the patents being transferred on 30 December 2011. This is not the first time Google has acquired IBM patents; over one thousand IBM patents were transferred to Google in both July and September 2011.

Some say that IBM is trying to defend Linux/Android in this case. “A trial date has been set in Oracle v. Google, or more accurately, an earliest trial date has been set,” writes Mark Webbink, who remarks on this bit of news:

SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones)–Google Inc. (GOOG) and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) have been scheduled to go to trial over an intellectual-property dispute related to Google’s mobile phone software in March, a development that could start to draw the lengthy spat between technology giants to a close.

There is a theory that Google’s new patents from IBM are capable of helping in this case (IBM is an Oracle competitor), but as the FFII points out, “Arms trading is a sustainable business but still mere economic efficiency waste.”

We shall assume that IBM’s interests in this case are in alignment with Linux interests. As we explained some days ago, there is apparently also an Android lawsuit (if not several) brewing against Microsoft and Apple. It’s getting rather interesting.

Bill Gates and His Father Are Looting the American Public

Posted in Bill Gates at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft cronies

Summary: Tax exceptions aside, the whole Gates family is now participating in the pocketing of public budget

B

ILL Gates’ monopoly skills are put to new use in areas other than computing. As Max Keiser explained last month, the same business model is being applied to make a profit out of what used to be free or a commodity. Bill Gates’ father acts as a conspirator in the plot to hijack the US education system, which taxpayers pump half a trillion dollars into every single year. Bill and his friends want some of this money (public spendings for private profit). As a teachers’ blog put it:

The proposal that each PTA member is to receive and review regarding charter schools only has a pro side. No opinions are offered providing another viewpoint. Apparently this is how they roll in the state of Washington and I can attest to that during my time as a PTA Legislative Chair. At the PTA legislative session last year where the guest speaker was Bill Gates, Sr., there was an ed reform proposal for merit pay and the only voice in the wilderness at the time against this plank was mine. There was no one there to officially provide a “con” to every “pro” that was proposed. So much for fair and balanced.

Then I found out this morning who the guest speakers were to be for the PTA legislative session and who should be on it? None other that George Scarola, Legislative Director with the “facts don’t matter” League of Education Voters (LEV), a Gates backed organization that has beat the drum for charter schools since last year when they started a speakers series on the subject. The speakers included the ed reform all-star list of Richard Barth, President and CEO of the KIPP charter franchise, his wife Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, Inc., Steve Barr, founder of the Green Dot charter franchise, Ben Austin of the failed Parent Revolution, Tom Vander Ark former Executive Director of Education for the Gates Foundation and now failed charter school entrepreneur, John Danner, who assisted in the creation of a charter school law in Tennessee and subsequently founded 12 charter schools in that state and then to top it off, Kevin Johnson who spoke to an almost all African-American audience at Mt. Zion Baptist Church talking about his charter school St. Hope Academy. And now LEV’s lobbyist will be speaking to the PTA legislative session about all things ed reform including charter schools and their next big push, online learning.

What’s important here is the active participation of Bill Gates’ dad. We see him help his son quite a lot behind the scenes. It’s malevolent. The Gates Foundation is just another family business (self-named foundation) that pays no tax and hides some of its lobbying activities behind front groups (like TFA) which it is funding. David Fisher explains:

This is really disheartening and perhaps criminal. I am really depressed about the ability of the School District and the State Office of Sup. of Ed. to override anything they choose to irregardless of ethics, morality, laws, or the will of the vox populi. We get stonewalled, Gates gets a foothold on privatization of public education in Seattle, and our student population gets shafted. This is a good reason to take all money out of elections and provide really free elections with no financial influences. It would be much less expensive both economically and socially.

The state legislators give Gates and other billionaires big tax write-offs depriving the public education system of much needed funding, then these revenues are placed in tax-sheltered investment portfolios, like the Gates Foundation, collecting even more tax free money and finally the profits are used to privatize the very education system that has been denied essential funding in the first place thanks to Gates and his cronies. What a racket!

Without campaign funding Gates wouldn’t get the tax write-off’s in the first place, not to mention the conflict of interest involved with using so-called non-profit foundations for political purposes such as influencing state legislatures on policy decisions like public education. This is not a democracy.

As we showed last month, the Gates family members are still getting richer while pretending to give away their wealth and employing PR people to spread this false perception. One teacher put it succinctly by stating:

Charter schools have not met the test of time and there is no reason for our students to be the lab rats for Gates, Broad, the hedge fund millionaires and the rest of the folks who are looking for personal financial gain by using public money.

Bill Gates’ criminal enterprises no longer affects just technology. These costly crimes can be ascribed to the problem that led to OWS. The public is being looted by few plutocrats, one of whom is Bill Gates. This ought to be recognised despite the propaganda Gates runs at the expense of more $300,000,000 per year (just influencing the media alone).

Microsoft Can Use Azure and SUSE to Put a Patent Tax on GNU/Linux

Posted in Microsoft, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft uses Azure to gain control over GNU/Linux, or at least the way it is deployed by those who need it

WHENEVER Microsoft becomes the loser, it then tries extremely hard to embrace (and extend) the winner. There are many examples of this throughout the recent history of computers (Java and the Web, to name just a couple).

OpenSUSE/SUSE is an example of Microsoft’s embrace of GNU/Linux — an embrace so detrimental that we called for a Novell boycott over 5 years ago. While there are harmless/benign elements in it, the most damaging element of this embrace and extend/control trick is patent tax. There are some other players that help Microsoft approach a position of control inside FOSS (this is a new press release). To quote, “OpenLogic aggregated data on customers purchasing support contracts from OpenLogic for each project, as well as projects that users deployed through OpenLogic CloudSwing, an open PaaS platform.”

OpenLogic is run by former Microsoft management, so its announcements should be taken with a grain of salt. Perhaps the biggest bit of Linux news as of late was another Microsoft “embrace” of Linux. SJVN is not really reporting what this means to GNU/Linux vendors and what Microsoft is trying to achieve here. Taxing Linux through Microsoft Azure might be the idea:

Here’s the reality: Microsoft is preparing to enable Linux to run on Windows Azure. But it doesn’t sound like Microsoft will officially offer “support” for Linux on Windows Azure. That’s where SUSE could potentially be an ideal Microsoft partner.

Microsoft and SUSE have a longstanding Windows-Linux integration relationship. Some conspiracy theorists in the open source market dismiss the Microsoft-SUSE relationship as harmful. But I think channel partners and CIOs have genuinely benefited from the Microsoft-SUSE work.

Microsoft might try to claim that SUSE “works best” with Windows and regardless of the distribution Microsoft will charge patent toll. Embrace and extend:

Despite the IT cognoscenti’s hankering to variously deride and dismiss Microsoft’s efforts into open source over the years, the company has (at times) produced some tangible advancements in the open computing arena – such as those seen during the Microsoft and Novell interoperability years, to name but one example.

That was a patent deal, allowing Microsoft to tax GNU/Linux indirectly, through Novell, which is dead now despite the continued Novelldemo uploads [1, 2]. SUSE is like a department of Microsoft now.

We can always hope that OpenSUSE volunteers will find other distributions to contribute to, but for the time being there are still volunteers there. Not many, but there it goes:

After the openSUSE 2011 Conference, we run a survey to gather feedback so that we can improve for the next conference. The overall feedback was very positive. Thanks a lot to the 134 people that participated in the survey!

134 people? That’s almost abysmal. SUSE loses in a major way and this must be bad news to Microsoft. SUSE is the last distribution that Microsoft has got left under its control. Let’s not give Microsoft the “embrace” it craves for the infamous “extinguish” phase.

IRC Proceedings: January 5th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 6/1/2012: KDE SC 4.8 is Coming, Tails 0.10 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • “Is this even LEGAL?”

    Chuckle. That was the reaction of one person to discovering GNU/Linux after being disgusted by that other OS falling down. After hearing so much about restrictions on copying in that other OS and the cost of repairing it repeatedly, the thought of Free Software for $0 does seem strange. “How can this be?” is reasonable, but the answer is simple: The world needs software and can make its own. The world does not need to sell itself software that it makes for itself any more than you need to pay yourself for mowing your lawn or washing your dishes. You don’t charge visitors for their enjoyment of your lawn and eating from clean plates. It’s a chore that needs to be done in the modern world and millions of contributors can share the software by including a licence to use and copy with the software that you can download and run, install, share and even examine and modify.

  • Linux Will Eat Oracle’s Lunch in 2012, Says Analyst

    In 2012, a shocking number of enterprises will slink away from Oracle into the arms of competitors Red Hat and SUSE, new market research finds. This comes even though Oracle has its own flavor of Linux that is basically a copy of Red Hat’s.

  • How to Craft a Killer Cover Letter for Linux Jobs
  • Lenovo Delivers Hybrid Laptop, Switches Between Linux and Windows
  • It’s CES Early! Lenovo Trots Out ThinkPad Ultrabook, X1 Linux Hybrid

    The hybrid’s pictured up top, dubbed the X1 Hybrid, a 13.3-inch (1366 by 768 pixel LED display) Thinkpad wielding your choice of Intel core i3, i5 or i7 CPUs and up to 8GB of memory. It runs Windows, of course, but lets you switch over to Linux with the press of a button if you want to max out battery life, something Lenovo’s calling Instant Media Mode (IMM). IMM mode runs off a Qualcomm dual core processor and can access up to 16GB of memory. “To switch to IMM from Windows, users simply click on an icon on the laptop’s home screen,” says Lenovo. “With IMM, users can watch videos, view photos, listen to music, browse the web and even work on documents with double the battery life, up to 10 hours.” Look for all that in a 0.6-inch thin chassis with your choice of 320GB or 160GB solid state drive for storage. The price: About $1,599, says Lenovo, and it’ll be available in Q2 2012.

  • 2012 to be year of Linux domination

    Previously, I’ve called out years for non-desktop Linux in 2008, Linux in both the low and high-ends of the market in 2009, ‘hidden’ Linux in 2010 and last year, cloud computing in 2011. For 2012, I see continued growth, prevalence, innovation and impact from Linux, thus leading to a 2012 that is dominated by Linux.

  • Desktop

    • Going All-FOSS With a New Computer

      There are many different ways to define “free” software, noted Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson. “Some software costs money, some costs more in terms of time. Some software has more restrictions attached to it. And just as previous generations wasted their time arguing about angels dancing on pin-heads, today’s pin-heads dance around shouting why their definition of ‘Free’ is the only one that matters.”

    • Switching off Apple and going back to my old Mutt

      I BOUGHT a Lenovo Thinkpad X220 today. After a few years’ foray into the world of Macs, I’m moving back to using Linux as my desktop.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.2 kernel released: What you need to know

      After a long delay due to kernel.org being hacked in August 2011, Linux 3.2 has finally been released. It’s a whopper of a release with optimizations and tweaks in nearly every facet of the OS; here’s the rundown of what’s new inside and why you want to upgrade to it.

    • What’s Coming For The Linux 3.3 Kernel DRM Pull

      Now that the Linux 3.2 kernel is released, the Linux 3.3 kernel merge window is open. Here’s a quick look at what should be queued up for the Linux 3.3 kernel when it comes to the DRM graphics area.

    • The kernel column with Jon Masters – a look back at 2011

      This month Jon Masters takes a break from looking at the very latest developments in the Linux kernel community, to bring two New Year special editions of his column. We start with a look back at 2011 with a look into the future to follow…

    • Linux Rings in the New Year with 3.2 Kernel
    • Fusion-io demos billion IOPS server config

      Start transforming your infrastructure today with HP

      Fusion-io has achieved a billion IOPS from eight servers in a demonstration at the DEMO Enterprise event in San Francisco.

      The cracking performance needed just eight HP DL370 G6 servers, running Linux 26.35.6-45 on two, 6-core Intel processors, 96GB RAM. Each server was fitted with eight 2.4TB ioDrive2 Duo PCIE flash drives; that’s 19.2TB of flash per server and 153.6TB of flash in total.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Makes Second 4.8 Release Candidate Available

        January 5, 2012. Today KDE released the second release candidate for its renewed Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the KDE team’s focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing new and old functionality. Please give this release another good round of testing to help us release a rock-solid 4.8 later this month.

      • KDE SC 4.8 Will Be Released In Two Weeks
  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi Lands eBay Bidding Up To $2,700 USD

      The Raspberry Pi beta boards that are currently auctioning on eBay are reaching bids of up to $2,700 USD. The retail version will sell for $25 and $35 USD.

    • Someone Is Paying $US3000 For This Tiny PC
    • Here’s A Good Sign That HP’s Decision To Open Source WebOS Will Pay Off
    • Phones

      • Taiwan market: Smartphones account for 55% of total handset sales in December

        Sales of smartphones in the Taiwan market totaled 450,000 units in December 2011, accounting for a 55% share of a total of 820,000 handsets sold in the month, according to data compiled by local channel operators.

      • Android

        • High Noon – Android/Linux v “8″ on ARM in 2012

          Is a monopoly any longer a monopoly when OEMs have a choice? Nope. Free Software trumps non-free when it comes to small cheap computers. ARM is not going away and in 2012 every consumer on the planet will have a chance to own an ARMed PC. By 2013 the competition to sell ARMed PCs will swamp the x86 shipments and Wintel will be out in the cold looking in at the warmth of the fire.

        • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Kernel Source Code Hits The Open Source Release Center

          While we’ve yet to actually see a release date for the Galaxy Tab 7.7 that Samsung debuted back in September, the company has now dropped the kernel source code for the device. In the past, this usually indicates an impending release, so we’re willing to bet that availability will be officially announced at CES next week.

        • Google TV switches to Marvell’s new dual-core ARM SoC
        • Making VoIP Calls With Your Android Phone
        • Should Android and Linux marry?

          There have been thoughts and speculation floating around the web recently of Android and Linux merging again. What gets me is that everybody seems to be speaking and thinking of Android as a separate operating system. It is not! Android is just as much Linux based as the Linux based distribution you are using right now.

          Admittedly it has the Linux internals locked away from the average Joe Citizen. However, any free shell program allows you to explore the Linux under the hood. Not only that, any of the many availiable rooting methods (hmmmm reminds me of a joke about a koala :P ) will allow you to do anything on an Android device you can do on a major Linux distribution. The closest I can come to another example is MacOSx. The MacOSx is at it’s heart a BSD operating system. Which has had a pretty interface and api wrapped around it and marketed for mucho mula. Android is pretty much the same situation for mobile devices, only the mucho mula comes from the hardware sales :)

        • Motorola announces pair of new Androids for Europe, China, and other markets

          Motorola Mobility today announced a pair of new Android smartphones for Europe, China, and other markets. Running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, these two are designed to offer consumers affordable choices that best fit their unique personalities. On one hand we have the MOTOLUXE, a slim touch-only handset with a 4.0-inch display and on the other we have the DEFY MINI with its water-resistant and dustproof design. Both come in a variety of color options and will be on display at CES next week. We’ll be in Las Vegas and expect to get our hands on each model and will be happy to share our early impressions.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Google tablet PC believed to be targeting Kindle Fire

        As Google reportedly may launch an own-brand tablet PC to compete against Apple’s iPad, sources from Google’s upstream supply chain believe that Google, instead of Apple, may actually be targeting Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire as its major competitor. However, Google Taiwan commented that the company has never heard about plan of launching own-brand tablet PC.

Free Software/Open Source

  • HBase, Node.js, nginx, Hadoop Make Big Enterprise Inroads
  • Web Browsers

    • QupZilla Browser: one web browser, three niche features

      Just how do you establish a niche in the browser market when it is already saturated with so many competitors? Well, you could use Webkit and QT, throw in a few neat features and see where that takes you. That’s exactly what the developers at QupZilla did. So, I decided to take a look at the substance behind that quirky name.

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 3.6 Support To end On April 24, 2012

        We all knew that the day would come eventually when Mozilla would pull the plug on Firefox 3.6. According to new information posted on the Firefox Extended Support page, that day will be April 24, 2012. This is directly connected to the announcement that Firefox 10 will be the company’s first Extended Support Release (ESR).

      • The Mozilla Public License version 2.0 is out—and GPL-compatible!

        Earlier this week, the Mozilla Foundation published the Mozilla Public License (MPL) version 2.0. This is a major update to their flagship license, which covers most of the Foundation’s own free software projects, as well as others’.

      • Firefox wants to be your business buddy Web browser again

        Mozilla, the group behind the Firefox Web browser, has finally gotten a clue that business users don’t like constant updates. On the Mozilla wiki page, Mozilla admits to what many of us have known for a long time: Firefox’s recent rapid-fire release schedule was way too fast for corporate and institutional users.

  • Databases

    • CouchDB creator distances self from Apache project

      Damian Katz, creator of CouchDB, has announced that he is moving on from Apache CouchDB development to focus his efforts on Couchbase. In a blog posting he calls the merger of the CouchDB and Membase technologies in Couchbase Server “a product and project with similar capabilities and goals, but more faster, more scalable, more customer and developer focused” adding “And definitely not part of Apache”.

    • CouchDB creator moves on, sparking debate over open source dev

      The future of CouchDB is Couchbase Server. That according to CouchDB founder Damien Katz, who took to his blog to explain why he and others on the CouchDB team are regrouping around a more commercially focused offering within Couchbase, the company created in early 2011 when NoSQL startup Membase bought Katz’s CouchDB-focused CouchOne. While the decision might make business sense, not everyone is happy about it.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Funding

    • GrabCAD grabs $4M for open-source CAD

      GrabCAD, a specialist in open-source CAD software, has netted $4.2 million in new funding from its existing VC backers. Plus, David Skok, the general partner with one of those backers, Matrix Partners, has joined GrabCAD’s board. The news was outlined in a blog post on Thursday by GrabCAD president Hardi Meybaum. Skok has some CAD cred: He is on the board of Dassault Systemes’ SolidWorks, a maker of 3-D CAD (or computer-aided design) software. Engineers use this kind of software to design products on-screen.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • XBMC 11 enters beta, final desktop version of Boxee 1.5 arrives

      As the XBMC developers release the first beta of version 11.0 of their open source media centre software, the Boxee developers announce that the newly released version 1.5 of their media centre software will also be the last open source version.

    • LibreCAD 1.0 released

      LibreCAD version 1.0 has been released. The free software 2D CAD program for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows is based on the open source community edition of RibbonSoft’s QCAD. LibreCAD is the result of a project which was started in order to add CAM capabilities to QCAD to drive a CNC router. That project, originally called CADuntu, set out to port the QCAD software so that it used Qt4 rather than the now outdated Qt3 before enhancing the software further. LibreCAD 1.0.0 now has a Qt4 user interface but is, for various reasons, not yet Qt3 free. An interface for plugins, autosaving and improved DXF file reading has also been added.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Five essential elements of an open government unconference

      Joining the open source (and CityCamp) movement has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve been involved with open source for over a decade, but I never got involved in a community project in any significant way–until I found CityCamp. I haven’t submitted a single line of code, but I’m able to bring my project management and community-building skills to the table. That’s important because it highlights the fact that there is more to open source contributions than writing code.

    • NASA launches open source web site

      NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the US, has launched code.nasa.gov, a web site that will serve as the central source of information about the agency’s open source projects. The site, which is still in early alpha, is intended to help unify and expand NASA’s open source activities.

    • NASA opens it Open-Source Code Doors

      Back in the 1980s, I was writing open-source programs for NASA. Oh, we didn’t call it open source then. Open source as a term wouldn’t exist until 1998. All the code we produced was “free software,” but we didn’t call it that either. We just made the best code we could and shared it with people. It was a different time. Many of these programs were made available under the COSMIC software project. Today, NASA is centralizing its open-source offerings at the Code NASA Web-site.

    • One small step: NASA launches open source portal, aims to open more code
    • NASA boldly goes deeper into open source with code.NASA
  • Programming

    • IDEs Are Dead. Long Live the IDE!

      How will developers’ favorite working environments evolve in a cloud-based, post-PC world?

    • SourceForge Embraces Mirror Projects

      SourceForge, the FOSS friendly site has expanded it’s nest with the new SourceForge Open Source Mirror Directory, whose job is to provide a directory that mirrors projects that are not hosted on their site. They are already busy adding non-Sourceforge Open Source software projects to the new directory. This will include a description of the product, links to their official website, and a mirror of their software releases.

    • SourceForge now mirroring external projects
    • Oracle Advances Open Source NetBeans

      Oracle is out with its first major open source IDE release of the year, updating NetBeans to version 7.1 The new NetBeans release builds on the Java SE 7 support first introduced in NetBeans 7.0 in April 2011.

      A key focus of the NetBeans 7.1 release is enhanced support for developers building user interfaces with JavaFX 2.0, CSS 3 and Swing.

      “For me, NetBeans 7.1 is all about the user’s interface,” Bill Pataky, vice president of Product Management for tools and frameworks, told InternetNews.com.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Hungary: Open standards for documents

      The Hungarian government has decided that, from April 2012, public administrations in Hungary should only provide official documents in internationally recognised open standards-based document formats and must be able to accept and process such documents. Quoting Hungarian media, a report on the EU Joinup collaboration platform said that only the Ministry of Defence will have more time to switch to using open document formats.

Leftovers

  • Nokia: There will be NO smartphone division selloff to Microsoft

    Rumours that Nokia is about to sell its smartphone division to Microsoft and that CEO Stephen Elop will jump after closing the deal have been denied yet again by the Finnish phone-makers.

    The suggestion that Nokia will sell off their crown jewels to Redmond has been rebuffed before, and even had an impact on the markets last year, but despite the Finns repeated denials, the rumour simply won’t go away.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • A Punch to the Mouth – Food Price Volatility Hits the World

      2011 was an abysmal year for the global insurance industry, which had to cover yet another enormous increase in damages from natural disasters. Unknown to most casual observers is the fact that during the past few decades the frequency of weather-related disasters (floods, fires, storms) has been growing at a much faster pace than geological disasters (such as earthquakes). This spread between the two types of insurable losses has moved so strongly that it prompted Munich Re to note in a late 2010 letter that weather-related disasters due to wind have doubled and flooding events have tripled in frequency since 1980. The world now has to contend with a much higher degree of risk from weather and climate volatility, and this has broad-reaching implications.

  • Finance

    • Crowd-Sourcing the Revolving Door

      This chart of Venn Diagrams (New Year’s Day links) is a nifty visualization[1] that shows how many, many people, through the operations of Washington’s revolving door, have held high-level positions both in the Federal government and in major corporations. To take but one example, the set of all Treasury Secretaries includes Hank Paulson and Bob Rubin, which overlaps with the set of all Goldman Sachs COOs. The overlapping is pervasive. Political scientists and the rest of us have names for such cozy arrangements — oligarchy, corporatism, fascism, “crony capitalism” — but one name that doesn’t apply is democracy. On the flip, you’ll find a larger version of the chart (and a discussion of its provenance).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Defending media pluralism in Hungary*

      Over recent weeks serious questions have been asked by the European Commission about 30 new laws in Hungary, including a major constitutional revision, and these concerns continue. These laws have passed against the backdrop of a media law adopted in late 2010, which was found by the European Commission to put fundamental rights at risk, and by the Hungarian courts to breach the Hungarian constitution.

  • Copyrights

    • It Is Time To Stop Pretending To Endorse The Copyright Monopoly

      There is a saying in the political discussion in Sweden: “Anything you say before but in a political statement doesn’t count.” We’ve seen a lot of that practice in recent years with increasingly horrendous cultural monopoly laws.
      People in corporate and political suits alike are climbing on top of one another to be the most statesmanlike in stating “We are fully committed to the copyright monopoly, but these proposed enforcement laws are just nuts,” worded in all the synonyms you can find in a thesaurus.

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