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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



  • 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


  • 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).

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