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01.23.12

Links 23/1/2012: Desura Game Client Open Source, Megaupload Seizure

Posted in News Roundup at 5:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 183
  • Server

    • NGINX: The Faster Web Server Alternative

      This formerly obscure Web server is gaining popularity with businesses. NGINX is now the new number two Web server, largely because it promises a fast, light, open-source alternative to Apache. Here’s why it’s attracting so much attention.

  • Kernel Space

    • Where The Linux 3.3 Kernel Will Come Up Short

      While there’s a lot of improvements in the Linux 3.3 kernel, it’s not perfect. Here’s some of what’s unfortunately missing from this forthcoming kernel.

      First of all, among the “great stuff” being introduced in the Linux 3.3 kernel is Btrfs and EXT4 file-system improvements, ACPI 5.0 support and other improvements, many staging changes, Byte Queue Limitsimproved Ivy Bridge support, many open-source graphics improvements, and the fix for the notorious ASPM power regression, among hundreds of other Git commits. With Linux 3.3, the kernel is weighing in at over 15 million lines of code.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Plans For X.Org, Wayland At FOSDEM 2012 Are Drawn

        Besides formally announcing an open-source, reverse-engineered ARM graphics driver, there’s lots of pother interesting X.Org / Wayland related talks happening in two weeks at FOSDEM 2012 in Brussels, Belgium.

      • XBMC May Soon Run On Top Of Wayland

        This weekend at the SCALE 10x event in Los Angeles I caught up with Cory Fields of the XBMC project. He was showing off XBMC running on the Raspberry Pi. This was my first time seeing the Raspberry Pi running first hand, which was the $35 model that has a 700MHz ARM processor, VideoCore IV graphics, and 256MB of RAM. XBMC was running well on this low-cost ARM platform — the video playback was smooth and reliable with the only area where the performance was struggling was the video overlays for the on-screen display. It’s hopeful though that the OSD performance issue will be figured out soon for XBMC on the Raspberry Pi.

  • Applications

    • Linux Programs (Apps) for Common Computer Tasks

      The purpose of this page is to introduce people new to linux to some programs I use for common tasks on my computer (sorry, no games). I include a list of programs to install beyond the default Ubuntu Linux distribution. Most of these notes would also apply to Debian GNU/linux, because Ubuntu is based on Debian.

    • MPlayer2 Is Still Being Actively Developed

      MPlayer2 — a fork of the popular MPlayer open-source project that’s added on several new features — has been quiet for a few months but is still being actively developed.

      The discussion surrounding MPlayer2 was resurrected in the Phoronix Forums this past week. One Phoronix reader immediately jumped to say that “Mplayer2 is dead. Nothing new for 11 months now.” and to also criticize the program for the lack of supporting the (outdated) MPEG-1 format.

    • Top 10 Plank Dock Themes

      Plank dock is one of the most lightweight application launchers, it does not require a big amount of memory or CPU usage. Plank dock is written using Vala programming language and developed by Docky Core team. Here we are going to have a look at 10 great Plank Dock themes looks stunning on many different desktop styles and user interface customizations.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • A Book Review of The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction
      • Deploying ChiliProject on Tomcat

        We have been using Redmine as our project management tool of choice at work for about a year and half. We use it primarily to manage our Pentaho and data warehouse implementation, along with some smaller initiatives. It meets our needs quite well by allowing us to host multiple projects (unlike Trac) with different needs on the same deployment. I love how flexible and easy it is to configure, however, I also like to keep my eyes open for potential alternatives. The last time I upgraded our Redmine installation, I decided to deploy Redmine on our Tomcat environment in an attempt to avoid having to maintain a apache+passenger install purely for Redmine (most of the apps we host are java based, so my Tomcat skills are much more polished than my apache+passenger skills).

      • Some time-saving tips that every Linux user should know

        Here is a selection of command-line tips that I’ve found useful when working on Linux. The emphasis is on somewhat less-known techniques that are generally important or useful to technical users. It’s a bit long, and users certainly don’t need to know all of them, but I’ve done my best to review that each item is worth reading in terms of projected time savings, if you use Linux heavily.

    • Games

      • Desura Game Client Is Now Open-Source

        Desura, the Steam-like game distribution service that came natively to Linux last year, is now open-source.

        Back in November I wrote that Desura was looking to open-source their client (the Desura server will remain closed-up) and now two months later they’ve finally committed to doing so and published the code.

      • Desura open sourced as Desurium
      • Project Zomboid, on the road to release!

        Project Zomboid another favourite indie game of mine is nearing the release of their very eagerly awaited version, after the tragedy of losing code due to a break in they are full steam ahead re-doing the game!

        Preview videos of the version to come (new to older)
        Build yourself a barrier!

      • 7 Best Racing Games For Android Phones And Tablets

        Crave Speed? Love the feeling of wind rushing at your face as your watery eyes struggle to stay fixated on your opponents? Yep, we too love racing; however, sadly, not everyone can drive a Formula One car, and not everyone can break city speed limits without getting arrested.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • 5 Reasons Why KDE Is Better Than Unity

        It’s no secret that KDE is not the most popular desktop environment for Linux/Unix users. With Ubuntu’s success slowly breaking through to the mainstream, there is now a whole swath of users who have no idea about it, or recognize it as “the other one”. In many ways, it’s exotic, having no other desktops environments forked or built from it. It seems to stand alone in excellence.

      • 12 reasons to love KDE

        We rain positivity onto the world’s most configurable desktop and pick out some of its best functions and applications…
        01. Keep it configurable

        The best thing about KDE is that you can change it. This has been its most consistent feature since version 2, and the latest releases are just as strong as their predecessors.

        Need that toolbar moving? Right-click on it then uncheck Lock Toolbar Positions, and drag them around until you’re happy. Want to add a function or remove an icon? Use the Configure Toolbars menu option. This works for every KDE application.

      • New Tool Gives Greater Control Over GTK Theming in KDE

        Running GTK+ applications on the KDE desktop isn’t as brutish-looking as it once was.

        This style-matching is due to the ‘oxygen-gtk’ package present in KDE theming GTK+ applications with an ‘Oxygen’ style theme.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat: A Software Investment For The Next 30 Years

        Need a foundation for the house you’re building? That’s easy: You can Google probably a dozen nearby contractors to come fill your big hole with concrete.

        Need a foundation for the house you already own? Say what? Exactly: There’s no such thing as a replacement foundation, unless you’re going to rip your house down.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Deal of the Day: Ultra-thin Dell Vostro V131 with Ubuntu: $399

            If you’ve made it this far past the title of this post, you’re probably not afraid of venturing out of the Windows comfort zone faced by most PC users. So change it up and check out this dirt cheap deal on a Dell. In slimness and portability, the 13.3-inch Vostro V131 ranks near the top of the list, thanks to a 0.8-inch thick design and a light 4.08-pound weight. This business laptop is available now with an Intel Core i3 CPU, for $399 through a deal at LogicBUY.

          • A few thoughts on Ubuntu 12.04 Alpha 1
          • Release schedule of Ubuntu 12.04 “Precise Pangolin”

            Here is the all key dates of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. This time Canonical goes to support this LTS [long term support] version for 5 years. So this time they try to make a better version in their history.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Surprise! It’s Xubuntu

              I’ve been using Linux Mint for almost everything these days, but like everything else in the Ubuntu/Debian family, Mint has been pulled in multiple directions by the unfortunate decision of the Gnome developers to go batshit insane, and the concurrent decision by Ubuntu to force a mobile device interface onto the 24″ dual monitors of bemused and disappointed desktop users all over the world. So now the main branch of Mint has three different desktop managers: Gnome 3 (with or without the Mint extensions), MATE (a fork of Gnome 2), and Cinnamon (Mint’s own spin on making Gnome 3 usable). I read the Mint forums regularly, and the one thing these three desktop environments have in common is that they are all apparently full of frustrating bugs. Gnome 3 is not fully baked, and the bolt-on attempts to customize it back into something half as usable as its predecessor are even less baked; and MATE is also a work in progress. Everything available in Mint 12′s flagship release seems like beta software.

            • Pear OS Linux Panther v3.0 – Not impressed

              Like Kororaa, Pear OS came up on my TODO list following a squall of emails. All right, let’s take a look, me says. Indeed, the prospect is promising. Pear OS is based on the latest Ubuntu, which is quite neat. However, it tries to do even more. Challenge legal issue by using yet another bitten fruit as its logo, use the top panel contextual reveal-as-needed menu and a bottom dock much alike the copycatted operating system in question. And you still get the Gnome Shell underneath, plus supposedly tons of usability, a unique branding, and an app store.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source software can be the answer

    You just bought a new computer. It’s full of promise and has that “new computer” smell. You can’t wait to get started.

    But, of course, there’s no software on it, and you’re accustomed to taking that for granted. You search your desk drawers but don’t seem have the discs for those programs you bought last time around. Plus, you resolved to get a more powerful photo editor. You start adding up what it will cost to replace and improve all you had. It’s staggering. What can you do?

  • App Inventor Rises From the Ashes Like Phoenix

    Google’s App Inventor is being implemented at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). It’s not ready for public use yet but geeks are invited to try the sourcecode and give feedback. It is expected to be ready for public use some time in April, 2012. The idea of App Inventor is to give ordinary non-programmers a “building-block” approach to creating an application for Android/Linux. Google and MIT have been cooperating to make the project an ordinary FLOSS project with a server at MIT for public use.

  • Life-giving software should be open: GNOME Foundation chief

    Software that controls vital human functions should always be open source, else it could prove to be a danger to one’s existence, the executive director of the GNOME Foundation says.

  • When Should Open Source Be Written Into Law?

    As a systems administrator, I tend to think about source code and computing platform in large numbers. Computers however are getting smaller and more powerful, and the reality of computers that we put in or on our body as a normal daily routine is coming closer, and for many is already here. When our safety, our liberty, and our sense of humanity are tied to programmable devices, should we not only hope, but expect that we should have the right to examine how these devices function?

  • Events

    • Locking down Linux.conf.au

      Conference organisers zero in on rogue wireless access points.

      Give five hundred very technically proficient Linux enthusiasts unfettered access to the same Wi-Fi network and you might be asking for trouble.

      Nearly every year, network administrators at Linux.conf.au, Australia’s premiere open source conference, have to deal with some sort of shenanigans on the network.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 9 Review

      PC-BSD 9 is a BSD distribution that is based on the latest version of FreeBSD 9 and uses KDE 4.7.3 desktop environment as it’s default desktop. It is somewhat more geared to novice and intermediate based users of BSD like how Ubuntu is for Linux users, but we won’t go into the differences between BSD and Linux in this review.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Elsevier — my part in its downfall

        The Dutch publisher Elsevier publishes many of the world’s best known mathematics journals, including Advances in Mathematics, Comptes Rendus, Discrete Mathematics, The European Journal of Combinatorics, Historia Mathematica, Journal of Algebra, Journal of Approximation Theory, Journal of Combinatorics Series A, Journal of Functional Analysis, Journal of Geometry and Physics, Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications, Journal of Number Theory, Topology, and Topology and its Applications. For many years, it has also been heavily criticized for its business practices. Let me briefly summarize these criticisms.

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • #Occupy the SEC Submits Letter on Volcker Rule to House Financial Services Committee Hearing (#OWS)

      For those who are fond of depicting Occupy Wall Street as a bunch of hippies with no point of view, counterevidence comes in the letter submitted by the Occupy the SEC subcommittee for a joint subcommittee hearing tomorrow, January 18, of the House Financial Services Committee on the Volcker Rule. The title of the hearing broadcasts that financial professionals are ganging up against the provision: “Examining the Impact of the Volcker Rule on Markets, Businesses, Investors and Job Creation.” The supposed “business” representatives are firm defenders of the financial services uber alles orthodoxy, and there is a noteworthy absence of economists or independent commentators on the broader economic effects. The one non-regulator opponent to the effort to curb the Volcker Rule is Walter Turbeville of Americans for Financial Reform. However, they made the fatal mistake of accepting the banksters’ framing about financial markets liquidity and merely disputed the data submitted.

    • Goldman lobbying hard to weaken Volcker rule

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc has just a few more months to put its stamp on the Volcker rule, and it is not wasting any time.

      The rule, designed to limit banks from speculating with their own money, will cost Goldman at least $3.7 billion in annual revenue, by one estimate. And billions more could be at stake if regulations now being drawn up are extra-tough.

    • More Evidence that JP Morgan Stuck the Knife in MF Global

      The death of MF Global and JP Morgan’s role in its demise is starting to look like a beauty contest between Cinderalla’s ugly sisters. As much as most market savvy observers are convinced that there is no explanation for how MF Global made $1.2 billion in customer funds go poof that could exculpate the firm, JP Morgan’s conduct isn’t looking too pretty either.

  • Privacy

    • CIA Tracks Public Information For The Private Eye

      The rise of social media, hash-tags, forums, blogs and online news sites has revealed a new kind of secret — those hiding in plain sight. The CIA calls all this information “open source” material, and it’s changing the way America’s top spy agency does business.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Geist: The day the Internet fought back

      Last week’s Wikipedia-led blackout in protest of U.S. copyright legislation called the Stop Online Piracy Act is being hailed by some as the Internet Spring, the day that millions fought back against restrictive legislative proposals that posed a serious threat to an open Internet.

  • DRM

    • The poor get poorer and the rich get richer with Apple’s iPad-based textbooks

      Can you afford that for your kids? Can your school board? I could, but I’ve been lucky enough to do well in my career and I only have the one daughter. There’s certainly no way that any county I’ve ever lived in during my life in West Virginia, Maryland, or North Carolina could afford to give every student from K to 12 an iPad. They’re lucky when they can provide any kind of computer seat for each kid.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Two lessons from the Megaupload seizure

        Two events this week produced some serious cognitive dissonance. First, Congressional leaders sheepishly announced that they were withdrawing (at least for the time being) two bills heavily backed by the entertainment industry — the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House – in the wake of vocal online citizen protests (and, more significantly, coordinated opposition from the powerful Silicon Valley industry). Critics insisted that these bills were dangerous because they empowered the U.S. Government, based on mere accusations of piracy and copyright infringement, to shut down websites without any real due process. But just as the celebrations began over the saving of Internet Freedom, something else happened: the U.S. Justice Department not only indicted the owners of one of the world’s largest websites, the file-sharing site Megaupload, but also seized and shut down that site, and also seized or froze millions of dollars of its assets — all based on the unproved accusations, set forth in an indictment, that the site deliberately aided copyright infringement.

      • SOPA, PIPA Shelved, Internet’s Defeat Postponed
      • Explainer: How can the US seize a “Hong Kong site” like Megaupload?

        The Megaupload takedown, and the arrest of its key employees, might seem to vindicate late 1990s worries about the Internet and jurisdiction. Does putting a site on the ‘Net, though it might be hosted anywhere in the world, subject you simultaneously to the laws of every country on earth? Why would Megaupload, based in Hong Kong, be subject to US copyright laws and to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act?

        “Because events on the Net occur everywhere but nowhere in particular,” wrote law professors David Johnson and David Post in a 1996 Stanford Law Review article, “no physical jurisdiction has a more compelling claim than any other to subject these events exclusively to its laws.” The flip side was that every jurisdiction might make a claim—after all, Internet publishing is “borderless,” right?

      • Hold Your Horses – We’ve Only Won a Reprieve

        I just received an email from Demand Progress, a progressive web site, proclaiming, “Wow. We just won.” The reference, of course, was to Wednesday’s Internet blackout to protest SOPA and PIPA. Indeed, it does appear we’ve won a battle, as both bills appear to be dead – for the time being.

        Winning a battle is not the same thing as winning a war. The losing side in any war always wins at least a battle or two. A war isn’t won until the other side raises a white flag and agrees to terms of surrender. So far, all we’ve won is one battle.

      • U.S. DOJ: The Cloud Provides No Legal Cover for Criminals

        The Cloud is a model for computing that provides new opportunities for consumers, businesses — and yes, even criminals. As a result, one question that has emerged is: What is the reach of U.S. law enforcement agencies into the cloud, and to what extent are they able to operate in jurisdictions around the world?

      • Investigate Chris Dodd and the MPAA for bribery after he publicly admited to bribing politicans to pass legislation.

        Recently on FOX News former Senator Chris Dodd said (as quoted on news site TechDirt), “Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,” This is an open admission of bribery and a threat designed to provoke a specific policy goal. This is a brazen flouting of the “above the law” status people of Dodd’s position and wealth enjoy.

      • Bye Bye SOPA, PIPA; Will See You Again Next Year!

        SOPA has followed PIPA and has bit the dust, dead in the water, dead as a door nail. SOPA fiend Lamar Smith made the announcement shortly after Senator Reid postponed next Tuesday’s vote on PIPA.

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