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01.09.12

Links 9/1/2012: Ubuntu TV Unveiled, Qooq Runs Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 9:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 181
  • Download Linux From Your Desktop With Get Linux

    How do I download Linux? That’s a question that I hear fairly often. It usually leads to follow-up questions, like what is a distribution, which distribution should I download or how do I install Linux on my PC.

    While it is possible to download a Linux distribution from a project website or developer homepage right away, it is often more comfortable to download it from the desktop without having to search for the download links and homepage in the first place.

  • Desktop

    • A snapshot of Linux on the desktop

      The Linux desktop landscape is a diverse place. As an open-source operating system, anyone can take the code, make whatever changes they want, and release it as their own custom distribution. A land of diversity, however, also has its pitfalls. Mandriva Linux seems like the most recent candidate to fall, with the company purportedly going under on January 16th if it doesn’t receive an infusion of funds. The funds are being blocked by a shareholder dispute, and it will be a sad story for the once-popular Linux distribution. How many Linux distributions have gone quietly into memory, and which have stayed? What makes Ubuntu so popular? Let’s take a quick look into the the history of Linux on the desktop.

  • Kernel Space

    • FIOPS: A New Linux I/O Scheduler For Flash/SSDs

      Last week a new I/O scheduler was presented for the Linux kernel. This new scheduler, FIOPS, is designed around modern flash-based storage devices like solid-state drives.

      Shaohua Li presented FIOPS, the Fair IOPS scheduler, under an “RFC” state last week on the Linux kernel mailing list.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Boxee Box gets a major facelift plus live TV support

      Boxee Box users who enjoy staying on the bleeding edge of features and functions can now download and install beta v1.5 firmware on their devices, by following a fairly straightforward procedure.

      Version 1.5.0.23422 implements quite a few new features and enhancements to the Boxee Box’s user interface. It also adds support for the soon-to-be-available Boxee Live TV adapter option.

    • Phones

      • Emerging markets push growth in handsets, mobile workers

        Smartphone manufacturers are increasingly focusing their efforts on emerging markets, says ABI Research, which forecasts the mobile handset market in general growing 8 percent in 2012, representing 1.67 million shipments. Meanwhile, IDC projects that by 2015, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2 percent of the total workforce, with the greatest growth expected in emerging markets.

      • Samsung-backed open-source mobile OS Tizen leaks in new screenshots

        Tizen, a new open-source operating system backed by Intel, Samsung and a number of other smartphone manufacturers, has leaked in a number of new screenshots, providing a first look at the new platform that will power new smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and in-car devices.

      • Android

        • Android Powered 3D Goggles To Be Revealed At CES 2012
        • Android Powered 3D Goggles To Be Revealed At CES 2012
        • Wind River Solution Accelerators for Android Released

          Wind River, the maker of embedded and mobile software, has presented Wind River Solution Accelerators for Android, a series of software modules which the company claims can accelerate Android device development and reduce engineering time and cost to help developers turn around high quality devices faster.

        • From the Las Vegas Strip to your living room: Google TV partners at CES

          Last October, we launched an update to Google TV: a simpler interface, a new way to discover great web and TV content, a more TV-like YouTube experience, and Android Market. Since launching the update, we’ve seen our activation rates more than double. New features and new apps are coming to the living room via Google TV almost every day. We now have more than 150 apps which developers have specifically built for TV with thousands more Android apps from the mobile world available to deepen your living room TV experience. We’ve also been working with our hardware partners to bring new Google TV-powered devices to consumers.

        • Lenovo impresses at CES with Android

          The magic that is CES is starting a bit early, thanks to Lenovo. They’ve unveiled several new Android devices, and each is just as impressive as the next.

        • Lenovo outs Ice Cream Sarnie telly

          Lenovo has announced what it claims is the world’s first TV to sport Google’s latest OS, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s also the first set with a dual-core processor.

          Having already pitched its new ThinkPad laptop range for the Consumer Electronics Show 2012, the company turned attentions to the living room tech-head, introducing a smart TV, the K91.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • OLPC News: The OLPC Tablet at CES?

        It seems that the upcoming OLPC XO 3 Tablet is getting some buzz right before its debut next week at CES. It is said to be an 8″ tablet that may come in a few models. Information about it is currently very sketchy but supposedly some will be revealed next week. I am NOT posting any of the early concept pictures because they are dated and I’m fairly sure the real thing looks quite different… since it is designed to be very rugged for children. Here are some external links to get you in the mood:

      • One Laptop per Child To Unveil XO 3.0 Tablet At CES

        The One Laptop Per Child program’s XO-3 tablet will be revealed next week at CES, according to the project’s founder, Nicholas Negroponte. The XO 3.0 features Marvell’s Armada PXA618 SOC processor and Avastar Wi-Fi SOC, with 512MB of RAM. It can run Android and other Linux operating systems like Fedora. The version that will be shown at the CES will be running Android.

      • Motorola’s Wi-Fi Only Xyboard Tablet Coming Soon!
      • Toshiba launches Excite X10 at CES, redefines the term “sexy tablet”

        Toshiba hasn’t been too involved in the Android tablet world, save for the launch of their Thrive last year. It looks as if they’re aiming to change that in 2012, and they’re starting it off with a bang. Meet the Toshiba Excite X10, the latest in gorgeous Android tablets. Once we get past the brushed aluminum back and incredibly thin (just 7.7mm) profile, the Excite is packing a TI OMAP 4430 dual-core 1.2GHz processor, Ice Cream Sandwich (although it appears to be running stock Honeycomb in the photos), a wide 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 Gorilla Glass display, a 5MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing shooter, stereo speakers, Micro HDMI and Micro SD card ports, and it clocks in at just 1.2 pounds. Impressive enough?

      • Archos G9 101 8GB Android tablet

        Over the years, Archos has pitched much of its kit at the impecunious rather than the technically demanding. However, some of its Android devices like the 43 media player have appealed to both camps. Now it’s trying to repeat the trick with the G9 series of Android 3.2 Honeycomb tablets.

      • Qooq: The French Linux-Based Tablet For Your Kitchen

        The Qooq runs on a 1 GHz Cortex A9 processor, a 10.1-inch display with 1024 x 600 resolution SD card slot, Ethernet port, USB port and a headphone jack under a protective cover. The Linux OS is a specially customised version by Qooq, which it’s it easy to set up and run. Users will be able to access digital cookbooks and other recipe and cooking-related apps and too

      • Qooq: The tomato-proof tablet

        Linux. Designed for the kitchen. The Qooq is one of the weirdest tablet computers we have seen in a while. It’s selling respectably well in France, we are told, and it’s coming to the United States soon.

      • Overcrowded Markets

        Chuckle. The Android/Linux market is only overcrowded to those who are trying to sell that other OS on x86… Newsflash: The world does not owe those who sell that other OS and x86 a living. Free markets work. Manufacturers are making Android/Linux on ARMed tablets and selling them. They make money doing that because there’s no “tax” from M$ and they are not paying twice for the CPU. They will see the same thing on the desktop/notebook markets as well. With a free market, these makers can minimize the cost of manufacture the way sane manufacturers in other industries do.

Free Software/Open Source

  • eyeOS 2.5 Open Source review – how the mighty have fallen

    If you can set up a Linux box with Apache, with a bit of fettling you can use eyeOS to create your own personalised cloud desktop. Michael Reed reviews eyeOS version 2.5…

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GnuTLS 2.12.16
    • FSFE calls for an amendment of Slovak Copyright Act

      Free Software Foundation Europe calls for an amendment of the Slovak Copyright Act that would eventually enable Free Software and Creative Commons licenses for Slovak citizens. Currently, these licenses are considered to be void due to lack of their written form and problems with formation of the contract. Slovakia is thus one of a few countries where these popular licensing tools still struggle with rigid legislative framework. During the last week, FSFE therefore sent support letters to four members of Slovak Parliament that proposed this highly awaited amendment, but later faced its dismissal due to preliminary elections (See the sample letter below). If you also feel that also other 5 million Europeans should have this option, please support our action and write members of Slovak parliament (regardless of your residence). Explain them what is your experience with Free Software or just reuse our letter. Your support is important!.

  • Project Releases

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Why The Verge Is Wrong, Acer Did Not Rip Apple’s iCloud

    Apple fans and fan sites keep reminding us they are still trapped in Steve Jobs’ RDF (reality distortion field) that keeps us from seeing the reality and think everyone else is ripping Apple. Paul Miller of The Verge has written an article “Acer’s AcerCloud unveil is a blatant iCloud ripoff”. He goes on to put images of Apple’s iCloud Slides next to AcerCloud slides. (Business Insider also did a similar story without doing any home work.)

  • Security

  • Censorship

    • Hackerspace Global Grid to make an Uncensorable internet in space?

      The wilder shores of the internet are awash with bizarre stories but the one I’m about to relate just has to be one of the most extraordinary things I have ever heard in relation to FOSS. You will have heard about SOPA and the reaction against it in the open source community including petitions, boycotts of GoDaddy etc. Look, that’s small potatoes. What these guys are plannng is out of this world. Literally. Read on.

      Every hacker, geek and commentator has their own solution to circumvent internet censorship but some people’s reaction has been ballistic. In the actual sense of the word. A bunch of open source enthusiasts, hackers and amateur scientists at the Hackerspace Global Grid project have decided that the only way to escape internet censorship is to, well, reach escape velocity and launch communication satellites into orbit. Ambitious is not the word. Better still, the software and the hardware will be free and open. To track and support satellites there will be a distributed network of ground tracking stations using FOSS.

    • 2011: The Coming of Gestalt Politics?

      If there’s anything 2011 will be remembered for, it’s probably going to be the wave of mass protests that reverberated around the world (and is still traveling). I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this. I think this is the leading edge of an on-going pattern that will continue for decades. What’s happened is that a kind of behavior common online has jumped a groove and found a place in the “real world”.

    • Copyrights

      • Creative Commons and FreeSound.org Phase Out Sampling Licenses, Choose More Freedom

        A few years ago, I discovered a site called “FreeSound.org” which sounded quite exciting, but turned out to be rather disappointing because the content was released under the Creative Commons “Sampling+” license, which is not a free license. This made all of the content incompatible with use on free software or free culture projects, and was very frustrating, especially given the name. Last month, though, Creative Commons decided to retire the Sampling+ licenses, and FreeSound.org is rolling out a new site with a license chooser that favors the “CC 0″ public domain declaration and the “CC By” attribution licenses — both compatible with free projects. This will be a big help for free-culture multimedia projects.

IRC Proceedings: January 9th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:34 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

Links – Kindle, Nook, OLPC and Anti-Trust. Please petition Obama to Veto SOPA.

Posted in Site News at 7:54 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • How Not to Ace a Google Interview

    Are you a software engineer? Do you want to work at Google? If so, ignore this WSJ article, and ignore the book it comes from, titled “Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?”

  • Mike Elgan Google+ Diet update.

    That’s still using Facebook, but for some people it’s an acceptable middle ground. And at least you don’t actually have to go to facebook.com, see all the app spam, junk and other stuff you don’t want to see.

    Advice on how to get out of Facebook and pull your friends to G+.

  • Hardware

    • One Laptop per Child To Unveil XO 3.0 Tablet At CES

      The XO 3.0 features Marvell’s Armada PXA618 SOC processor and Avastar Wi-Fi SOC, with 512MB of RAM. It can run Android and other Linux operating systems like Fedora. … The tablet will be priced at $100 or less

      All sorts of wonderful tablets are on the way but OLPC has traditionally been free software friendly.

    • ZDNet’s version of Software Freedom and Android

      The author of this article is making things look worse than they are. He uses Windows and a variety of dubious software to exercise some trivial control over his Android phone. There’s nothing wrong with the author’s goals but non free tools may betray him later. Things should be much easier than that and is for reasonable devices and host OS. His device may be nastier and should be avoided if it is.

      The situation reminds me of the x86 world ten years ago, where a person had to be a little more careful before buying a computer or device. I saved myself all sorts of trouble by abandoning non free software then. Then, as now, “experts” and the Windows press said that free software was too difficult and not for ordinary users.

    • One Tablet Per Child, Non-Profit Now Says

      OLPC’s hardware has been distinguished in part by an unusual display from Pixel Qi that is designed to be read in bright sunlight. Models of the new tablet with that screen are expected to cost more than $100.

    • Marvell and One Laptop per Child Unveil the XO 3.0 Tablet

      Built on Marvell’s Armada PXA618 SOC processor and Avastar Wi-Fi SOC, with 512MB of RAM, the 8-inch XO 3.0 tablet is purported to be very thin and boasts some rather unique charging circuitry, being the only tablet able to draw charge directly from solar panels, hand cranks and other alternative power sources. OLPC has said the two-watt system is even capable of 10 minutes of runtime from just one minute of hand cranking.
      The tablet can be configured to sport either a standard LCD or Pixel Qi sunlight-readable display at 1024 x 768-resolution and can run either the Android or OLPC’s Sugar Linux operating system, built specifically for children.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • Anti-Trust

    • Kindle Fire Review: Decent Tablet Despite Sacrifices

      While we’re on the subject of “too small,” let’s talk about the Fire’s memory. It has 8 gigabytes of storage. That’s enough for more books than you’ll ever read, but ten movies will eat up the whole thing. The cheapest iPad, which costs $499, has twice as much memory. The Nook Color, which costs $199, also has 8 gigabytes, but it comes with a slot for memory expansion with cheap cards. I don’t understand why the Fire doesn’t have a slot like that. The very first Kindle did. There’s no step-up model of the Fire with more memory.

      PJ asked some questions Fox News should have, “The logical question is why — did the patent license agreement Amazon signed to get Microsoft to go away include the kinds of hardware and software restrictions that Barnes & Noble has now revealed Microsoft unsuccessfully demanded of them as conditions to get a license to its patents? Barnes & Noble calls the demands in effect a ‘veto power’ over Android’s features. Barnes and Noble wrote: ‘Indeed, the proposed license would have severely limited and, in some cases, entirely eliminated Barnes & Noble’s ability to upgrade or improve the Nook or Nook Color, even though Microsoft’s asserted patents have nothing to do with such improvements.’ It’s the right question, I think, then regarding the Kindle Fire’s limitations.”

    • Nook Tablet review: Great hardware, stiff competition

      The B&N Nook Tablet, successor to the underground hit Nook Color, is a terrific tablet, with a vibrant screen, a speedy CPU and a nice offering of books and other media. If you buy it, especially for reading, or streaming from your Netflix video or Pandora music accounts, you’ll likely be quite happy. For $250, it’s hard to find a nicer media-focused 7-inch Android tablet

      It’s funny how MSNBC colored in advance the failure of Nook Microsoft would like due to “competition” and inability to “cozy up to” big movie and music publishers.

    • Barnes and Noble Has Shipped One Million Nook Tablets, Industry Report States

      But the sub-iPad tablet market is largely untapped and the impressive initial sales numbers show consumers want a $200-ish tablet. For example, if this report is correct (it seems very likely), B&N shipped a million tablets in roughly a month while CE giant Asus is predicting to ship just 1.8 million tablets for all of 2011. The iPad has effectively already won the first several rounds of the tablet war. But much like the PC battlefield, there is plenty of room for more than just one vendor. Barnes & Noble is officially a top player.

    • Nook Color gets new streaming content

      This is an example of a feature upgrade on an older device.

    • Amazon Selling ‘Well Over’ 1 Million Kindle Devices Per Week

      “Kindle Fire is the most successful product we’ve ever launched-it’s the bestselling product across all of Amazon for 11 straight weeks, we’ve already sold millions of units, and we’re building millions more to meet the high demand,” said Dave Limp, vice president of Amazon Kindle. “In fact, demand is accelerating-Kindle Fire sales increased week over week for each of the past three weeks.

      The $50 price and a few other things sold Fire to people I know. The update mentioned is supposed to make it hard to liberate the device, but it was soon rooted again. PJ adds: I got to play with one over the holidays, and it was lovely. A bit heavy, compared to the Nook, and personally I support the Nook because I don’t want my money going to Microsoft for their stupid patents, and Amazon signed a patent license agreement with Microsoft rather than fight back, and Nook is fighting instead, so I’m a Nook girl, myself. I prefer it to the iPad, actually, because I can take it with me everywhere. But the Kindle Fire is a good product, and I have to say I didn’t notice any of the issues I read about that Jacob Nielsen complained about. He has strong persona views which I don’t share, so I have some questions about all that. It seems any time a wonderful new product comes out, it gets slammed in the media [Techrights: the Microsoft media, unless it's a Microsoft device but then it would suck and be hyped.] The Kindle Fire does what it says it will do for you, and it is great for watching movies, as well as for reading. I can see why people are buying it. Both the Nook and the Kindle Fire are, of course, Android devices. – Update: Sorry for the typo, which I have just fixed. It’s Amazon that signed the agreement, not Android, of course.

    • Barnes and Noble may spin off Nook e-reader

      Barnes & Noble is considering spinning off its Nook business, the company said Thursday in an announcement that sent investors reeling. “We see substantial value in what we’ve built with our Nook business in only two years,” Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch said in a prepared statement. “We believe it’s the right time to investigate our options to unlock that value.”

      The WSJ/FoxNews said that losses were expected but that’s hard to imagine after selling millions of devices.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Lockheed Martin goes to bat for oppressive regime

      A top executive at Lockheed Martin recently worked with lobbyists for Bahrain to place an Op-Ed defending the nation’s embattled regime in the Washington Times — but the newspaper did not reveal the role of the regime’s lobbyists to its readers.

  • Censorship

    • Urgent: Sign the petition for a veto of SOPA and PIPA
    • Lawmakers seem intent on approving SOPA, PIPA

      The U.S. Senate is expected to begin floor debate on PIPA shortly after senators return to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, and supporters appear to have the votes to override a threatened filibuster by Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, and a handful of other lawmakers.

      They do so over a massive public outcry and against the best technical and legal advice.

    • Petition via RMS: Tell Google: Quit the Chamber of Commerce

      whether it’s shilling for Big Oil or the tobacco companies or media giants, the Chamber is the poster child for how wealthy corporate money corrupts our system of government.

      I’m surprised to learn Google is a member. They should have quit after the HB Garry emails were published.

    • Obscenity law in doubt after jury acquits distributor of gay pornography

      the Obscene Publications Act, which came into force in 1959, appears to be on its last legs. … a London jury rejected prosecution claims that gay pornography depicting acts that are legal between consenting adults were capable of “depraving and corrupting” those who watched them on DVDs. … [the case] comes amid growing concern that Britain’s obscenity laws, which have multiplied in recent years with new laws on the possession of “extreme pornography”, are contradictory, ill-defined and illogical.

    • United States of Indefinite Detention

      © Coleen Monroe and Reverse Retrograde, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material including text, photography, and design without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Coleen Monroe and Reverse Retrograde with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

      Even copyright maximalists are concerned about SOPA and NDAA. The essay is worth reading but I thought it would be better to comply with the copyright notice than quote it.

    • A new “anti-terrorism” law in Argentina could be used against protesters.
  • Civil Rights

    • Greenwald: Three myths about the detention bill

      White-House-allied groups are now trying to ride to the rescue with attacks on the ACLU and dismissive belittling of the bill’s dangers. … it is very worthwhile to briefly examine — and debunk — the three principal myths being spread by supporters of this bill, and to do so very simply: by citing the relevant provisions of the bill, as well as the relevant passages of the original 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF),

      The damage control continues so it is still worth citing, even though the law was passed.

    • Child labor in Chinese coal mines.

      Coal powers China’s exports.

    • The streets of 2012

      The answers are alarming, but quite predictable: We are likely to see much greater centralisation of top-down suppression – and a rash of laws around the developed and developing world that restrict human rights. But we are also likely to see significant grassroots reaction. … All over the world, the pushback against protest looks similar, suggesting that state and corporate actors are learning “best practices” for repressing dissent while maintaining democratic facades. … [people use social media] in ways that indicate that they have little interest in being cordoned off into conflicting and competing ethnicities, nationalities, or religious identities. Overwhelmingly, they want simple democracy and economic self-determination.

    • Why growing up as an American female has left me wary of men

      There are big events that linger always and smaller ones that just accumulate, like the many many cars that have slowed down to keep pace with my walking down the street, while a strange man croons at me or whistles or calls out. In the aggregate, though, they lead to four-plus decades of experience as an American female.

    • Obama’s War on Whistleblowers

      This is a chilling little speech by Jesselyn Radick, a Bush administration whistleblower who was harassed aggressively by the Department of Justice, on how matters have gotten much worse for government whistleblowers under Obama, both in numbers and the ferocity of the retaliation.

      It is not fair to blame Obama alone. Beer and other alcohol are bad for you.

    • Legislators Are Out to Take Over Their State Judiciary Systems

      Florida is just one of dozens of states where legislators have attempted to seize control of the justice system to varying degrees. … in the wake of another decision that didn’t go their way, Republican legislators in Florida attempted to ram through a broad package of restrictions on the state’s judiciary last spring. The legislators tried unsuccessfully to emulate Texas and Oklahoma by splitting the Florida Supreme Court into civil and criminal divisions. They also tried to cut the state bar out of the judicial nominating process.

    • Indiana Workers Fight Back Against Assault on Unions and the ALEC Agenda
    • The ACLU is suing to overturn the Wisconsin voter ID law.

      Voter ID laws are a favorite Republican tactic for stopping poor people, old people, students, and minority group members from voting.

Links 9/1/2012: OLPC’s XO 3.0, Boot to Gecko (B2G)

Posted in News Roundup at 11:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Bufferbloat To Be Fought In Linux 3.3 With BQL

      Byte Queue Limits is reported to bring significant performance improvements across nearly all Linux package schedulers and AQMs. Byte Queue Limits is a way to limit a network controller’s hardware queues by number of bytes rather than number of packets, which can reduce buffer bloat. A much more detailed description of BQL can be found from the 2011 LPC page. This is merged into the Linux 3.3 kernel with the “net-next” pull.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Sprite Support For Wayland’s Weston

        There’s some RFC patches out this week from Intel’s Jesse Barnes that provides sprite support for the recently announced Weston Compositor for the Wayland Display Server.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Introduction To The Enlightenment 17 Window Manager For X (Ubuntu 11.10)
    • Desktops for Netbooks – KDE, Unity, or Gnome

      Maximizing the use of screen space on netbook computers is critical, and it really helps when the desktop environment correctly size window to fit the screen. While writing about the KDE, Unity, and Gnome 3 desktops for my Basic Linux course, I made some interesting discoveries.

      For the KDE Project, I discovered the Plasma Netbook Workspace. For KDE SC 4.7, you just need to go to Configure Desktop -> Workspace Behavior -> Workspace and change the value from Desktop to Netbook. For the Plasma Netbook Workspace, the application launcher are on the Workspace, including Krunner, which is a great way to find applications. Windows open as maximized, and the task bar slide off the top of the screen. The title bar is part of the task bar, so the application window has the entire screen. To launch additional applications, or switch between applications, just press <Alt> and then tab the <Tab> key, and select the the workspace you want. With the Plasma Workspace, I have not found a window that does not size correctly to the screen. I knew I switched to openSUSE for a reason.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Answering a tricky question with the KStars desktop planetarium package

        In an earlier phase of my life, I worked as a professional astronomer, and I’ve loved space and astronomy since before I could pronounce the words. So naturally, I’ve gotten a lot of personal pleasure from the free software astronomy tools that are included in my Debian GNU/Linux system. But ironically, I haven’t written about them much. Recently, though, I was asked a question which I used KStars to answer, so this is a good chance to talk about how to use it.

      • Thoughts on KDE activities and workspaces

        The traditional desktop included menus, and icons for launching applications and various kinds of shortcuts. At times and in many environments widgets and things could also be added to it, along with task and window management, notifications, indicators, etc. These all came about separately with no cohesive vision, and as space became cluttered from all these things, virtual desktops were used to make it easier to help spread out all that clutter over multiple workspaces, at least for the single-headed users. This is perhaps best represented in very traditional desktops like gnome 2 and xfce4.

        Some looked at this as an awful mess and decided it was bad, but two very different visions came about from it. The first was in the KDE project, where it seems to me they thought about how all these different elements finally could be organized in a better way by the desktop itself to increase user productivity. From this we got plasma desktop and concepts like KDE activities. Those involved in GNOME, on the other hand, saw this as a question of how to remove all but what they believed are the bare minimal essentials. These two visions are I think almost polar opposites.

      • The Great Features of KDE Workspaces and Applications Part V – Gwenview

        After few super-busy weeks I finally have time to sit down and write another part of this blogseries. In this installment I’ll introduce Gwenview – the default KDE Application for viewing images.

      • Search this site:
        KDE Commit-Digest for 18th December 2011
      • Encryption in KDE SC
      • Active Settings: Modular, embeddable configuration

        Plasma Active‘s goal is develop an elegant, Free user experience for the device spectrum, for example touch-based tablets. Active Settings is a modular application hosting configuration user interfaces for apps and the system.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • DreamLinux 5 Review

      DreamLinux is a distribution that is based on Debian “Wheezy” and using the latest desktop version of XFCE 4.8 on a Linux 3.1 Kernel.

      DreamLinux has just released this latest version after a long absence and we will see if it can make up for lost time.

    • An eye on simpleLinux GNU/Linux
    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Why the Fedora ISV SIG never caught fire

          Once upon a time, it was part of my job to help these kinds of companies to work more closely with Fedora. We created the ISV SIG for this purpose. Karsten and I would go to trade shows and meet with various open source vendors, and we’d talk with them at length about the great benefit of leveraging the Fedora install base, and the power of “yum install YourCoolProduct”, and the general usefulness of building an ISV packaging community, and they’d nod and smile, and then we’d have a follow-up meeting or two to discuss the ins and outs of being in a distro. And then… well, nothing much would happen.

        • Geek Software of the Week: Dr. Bill’s Perfect Fedora 16 Build!
    • Debian Family

      • Second beta version of Debian Edu / Skolelinux based on Squeeze

        I am happy to announce that today we managed to wrap up and publish the second beta version of Debian Edu / Skolelinux.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • System Settings for Precise

            With Unity we have been trying to raise the bar innovating in the User Experience with new UI elements, such as Dash and Overlay Scrollbars. But this shouldn’t come at the cost of overlooking less exciting but essential core areas of the OS.

          • Launcher Reveal Prototype
          • 2012: The Year of Ubuntu

            At this time of year I like to read forward-thinking and philosophical writings. It’s one of the ways I try to “reboot” my thinking processes and clear the way for new ideas. In that quest today, I discovered an interesting and helpful research paper on Ubuntu written by Tom Bennett at the University of Cape Town entitled “Ubuntu: An African Equity.”

            Though written in the context of law several ideas presented resonated with what I’ve seen both online and in the “in-real-life” community.

          • ‘Ubuntu TV’ to be Revealed at CES

            An Ubuntu-powered internet TV is Canonical’s mystery ‘Ubuntu Concept Design’.

          • Cinnamon Desktop Gets First Custom Theme

            Canonical design team has revealed some more plans for the upcoming LTS release in a series of blog posts. Along with multi-monitor setup improvements, new changes have been proposed for system and sound settings.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint signs a partnership with Blue Systems

              Blue Systems is a German company sponsoring Free and Open Source projects such as Netrunner and KDE-projects like kcm-gtk-config.

              As part of the partnership, Linux Mint will share its knowledge and expertise with Netrunner and both distributions will work together on improving their respective KDE editions. Although Netrunner and Linux Mint KDE offer a different experience, they’re built on the same technology. This cooperation between the two distributions will have positive effects on both.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Cool little cheapo Linux device for 2012…

      Good news this start-of-year 2012 for some of us Linux DIY tinkerers:
      The little Raspberry Pi device is set to be released soon.
      The Raspberry Pi comes as a Printed Circuit Board with a processing System on a Chip (also known as a PCB with a SoC). Already eBay is auctioning off the first Beta releases of these boards, see Raspberry Pi – first 10 on eBay!

    • OLPC

      • OLPC’s XO 3.0 tablet hands-on (video)

        OLPC announced the XO 3.0 tablet yesterday, and today we had a chance to sit down with the company’s CTO, Ed McNierney and Marvell’s Chief Marketing Officer Tom Hayes, who gave us a tour of the new tablet. The XO 3.0 is powered by Marvell Armada PXA618 silicon, which lowers the power requirements of the tablet to a scant 2 watts. That chip, along with the custom charging circuitry developed by OLPC and Marvell means that the tablet can be charged by a hand crank at a 10:1 ratio (10 minutes of usage time for every minute spent cranking), or by the optional four watt solar panel cover at a 2:1 ratio on sunny days. Like other OLPC devices, the XO 3.0 is customizable to customer needs — so you can get the CPU clocked at 800Mhz or 1GHz, a 1500 – 1800 mAh battery, and your choice of a Pixel Qi or standard LCD display. The slate comes with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of NAND storage, USB and USB On-The-Go ports, plus the standard OLPC power and sensor input ports as well.

      • OLPC XO 3.0 Hands On: The $100 Wonder Tablet

        OLPC XO 3.0 Hands On: The $100 Wonder Tablet Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child initiative has historically been more about promise than fulfillment. But in the $100 XO 3.0 tablet, OLPC may have its first product that’s not just practical, capable, or cheap. It’s actually… good.

      • The Inside Story of India’s $50 Computer Tablet

        The annual gadget bacchanalia known as CES kicks off next Tuesday in Vegas, but as has been the case for the past decade, the most important new product in consumer electronics won’t be there.

      • San Francisco State University signs an MOU with OLPC

Free Software/Open Source

  • Many Eyes, Many Heads

    “Many eyes” does not mean FLOSS is perfect but that it can be made more perfect more rapidly and with greater certainty than closed software. “Many eyes” permitted the bugs to be found and corrections proposed. Otherwise, those bugs would have been found eventually by evildoers and we would have been victimized. This is one of the main reasons FLOSS is less targeted by malware. Many more bugs exist in closed software and few are motivated or able to fix them. That’s why the world wastes tens of $billions fighting malware in closed source software. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and it’s certainly less expensive.

  • What Minecraft Can Teach Us About Open Source Communities

    Along with the praises I’ve already heaped upon Minecraft and the fascination I’ve continued to have with it, I’ve been enthusiastic about it because of its very unique development pattern.

    Minecraft, you see, is developed a little bit like open source software evolves. The lead developer, Notch (Markus Persson and his company Mojang AB), has been plugged into online social media since day one. He tweets, he blogs, he responds to forums, he asks users what they want to see put in next. And also the game has a thriving mod community (even I’ve done a custom texture pack). What’s more, when a mod becomes particularly popular, Notch ends up incorporating it into the game, such as with the pistons mod. For another example, the game now includes ways to switch custom texture packs.

    Watching Minecraft “grow up” for two years has been a unique experience in studying how software and the community around it grows together. Here, we have an example of a developer who bends over backwards to make everybody as happy as he possibly, humanly can.

  • Super short review: Minix 3

    The world of the UNIX system is very wide.
    There are many different flavours. Linux is just one of them. Honestly, though, it is the most popular and the most widely used.

  • Web Browsers

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • MF Global Inquiry Turns to Its Primary Regulator

      Federal authorities investigating the collapse of MF Global have expanded their inquiry to include the actions of the CME Group, the operator of the main exchange where the commodities brokerage firm conducted business, according to people briefed on the matter.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Here Comes the National Internet

      I first heard about the concept of a national Internet over a decade ago while visiting the offices of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and discussing threats to the Internet. It was apparent then and it is apparent now that most countries, including the U.S., will eventually shut down the “World Wide” Web and instead use the technologies developed by the Internet community to cocoon itself. It solves endless political problems with the Web that plague almost every country.

  • Copyrights

    • Libre.fm: A music sharing site just for free-culture works

      You’ve probably heard of “Last FM”, a music playlist site that allows users to track their favorite bands and listen to music streamed over their mobile devices. But you may not have heard of Libre FM, a recent free software project and free culture web application intended to serve this purpose exclusively for free-licensed musical works.

      I discovered this site when I was looking for what happened to some of the bands that had left Jamendo, and it does serve some of the same purposes. I do have certain doubts about it as a reliable source as yet — it’s still very much in an “alpha” state, and the software is therefore fairly incomplete. It’s missing many of the features I’ve come to rely on with Jamendo (still the best site I know for this kind of search).

Software Patents and Bribes Against Android/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 4:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New means of derailing Linux

Locomotive

Summary: Quick mentions of abrasive developments in the mobile arena

THE notorious patent fight carries on in an attempt to make Android more expensive than free (gratis).

Groklaw covers some of the latest of Larry Ellison’s contribution to this attack. Oracle wants royalties:

Judge Alsup asked for an assessment of his proposed alternative approach to the determination of patent damages, and he has gotten an earful.

On December 27 Judge Alsup set forth a questionable alternative approach to the determination of patent damages in the case, particularly in light of the prior Sun/Google negotiations in 2006. (See 657 [PDF; Text]) We immediately questioned the approach the judge was suggesting and suggested that it would not be received well by Google.

As explained in the latest episode of TechBytes, Ellison seems to be serving Steve Jobs’ interests here. One thing that Apple and Microsoft have in common is that they want to crush Android. Moreover, “Microsoft uses Nokia money to advertise Winphone and bribe the salesforce,” says our guest editor. Pogson calls it a bribe and adds:

M$’s scheme to mess with competition in 2012? If sellers persuade consumers in their best judgment that Android/Linux smartphones are the best choice, M$ will bribe them $10-$15 a copy to persuade consumers that smartphones running “phoney 7″ are the best choice. M$ plans to spend hundreds of millions for these bribes in 2012. I don’t know what legal fiction this scheme will cloak itself in but if you run a retail business would you want a third party bribing your employees? I suspect M$ will have to sign up retail businesses to subscribe to this mode of compensating salespeople. M$ agreed not to do exclusive dealing but now the creative department at M$ is trying “persuasive dealing” instead, anything to mess with competition.

In the coming days we are going to write a lot more about what made Android such a big target. With 700,000 or so activations per day, it seems unstoppable, unless the economic rules can somehow be changed.

Counterfeiting Versus Free Software in Kenya

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Map of paper

Summary: The crackdowns on counterfeiting in at least one African nation help the adoption of Free/open source software

WHENEVER we hear about Kenya [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] we tend to hear about corporate corruption and other misuses of positions of power. The counterfeiting wars are mentioned quite frequently too because the pirates from Microsoft and its front groups (such as the BSA) raid local businesses, sparking adoption of Free/open source software, which Microsoft in turn attacks in a variety of nefarious ways. To quote a new report:

Kenyans are turning to open source software, which are freely available to the public, after the fight against piracy was stepped up in the East African nation.

Microsoft East and Southern Africa and Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) have in the past months intensified war on pirated software, raiding several businesses suspected to be dealing in unlicensed software, confiscating computers and instituting legal action against offenders.

This is a good and very new example of why counterfeiting is actually beneficial to Microsoft. The report contains some common mistakes and myths, but it’s still worth reading.

“Microsoft boss Bill Gates threatened to kill 800 Danish jobs if Denmark opposed the European Computer Implemented Inventions Directive, reports today’s Danish financial daily Børsen, quoted by NoSoftwarePatents.com”

P2PNet, 2005

IRC Proceedings: January 8th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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IRC Proceedings: January 7th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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