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Links 26/1/2012: Btrfs in Oracle Linux, Linux Mint 13 Chatter, ODF Toolkit

Posted in News Roundup at 7:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Govt agencies fatten Linux, Unix server environments

      The Federal Government has revealed a 6.4 percent increase in the use of *nix servers among agencies that spend over $2 million a year on IT.

      The increase occurred exclusively in larger agencies between 2008-9 and 2009-10, according to an iTnews’ analysis of figures [xls] contained in a new benchmarking study [pdf].

      The study involved a mix of undisclosed large and medium-sized agencies.

      By the end of 2009-10, surveyed agencies were using a total of 3039 physical machines running *nix software, including Unix, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD “and related platforms”.

      Large agencies deployed 996 new *nix servers between 2008-9 and 2009-10, while medium-sized agencies retired at least 45 *nix units over the same period.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux turns 20

      In August 1991, a Finnish student announced on Usenet that he was developing a free operating system for Intel’s 386 processor. That same month, Tim Berners-Lee released the first code for what he called the World Wide Web, also on Usenet. Twenty years later and both projects have taken over the world: one very visibly – the Web – and one almost invisibly: Linux.

    • Linux vendors urgently patch a security flaw

      OPEN SOURCE Linux distributors are quickly patching a security flaw recently found in the Linux kernel.

    • Btrfs To Go Production-Ready In Oracle Linux

      Btrfs, the quite promising next-generation Linux file-system that’s been in-development for years by Chris Mason and others, is about to take on a big role within Oracle’s Enterprise Linux distribution.

    • Linux Foundation: How to contribute to open source projects

      The Linux Foundation has published a paper titled “Upstreaming: Strengthening Open Source Development “. In the ten-page PDF document, the two authors explain, among other things, why it is in the best interest of everyone involved that in-house improvements to open source software be submitted back to the original authors of that software (upstream) for inclusion in the next version. The document, which can be accessed after registering, also touches on how best to go about this process.

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 3.3 (Part 1) – Networking

      Version 3.3 of the Linux kernel offers another way to team multiple Ethernet devices. Support for “Open vSwitch”, a virtual network switch that was specifically developed for virtualised environments, has also been added. Byte Queue Limits are designed to reduce the latencies that cause the much-discussed “buffer bloat”.

    • More Systemd Fun: The Blame Game And Stopping Services With Prejudice

      Systemd, Lennart Poettering’s new init system that is taking the Linux world by storm, is all full of little tricks and treats. Today we will play the slow-boot blame game, and learn to how stop services so completely the poor things will never ever run again.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa Beginning To Need Application Workarounds
      • Nouveau For A $10 NVIDIA Graphics Card?

        In this article is a look at the state of the open-source Nouveau Gallium3D driver on low-end NVIDIA GeForce graphics hardware. In particular, a $10 USD NVIDIA retail graphics card is being tested under Ubuntu Linux on both Nouveau and the proprietary NVIDIA driver and is then compared to a wide range of other low and mid-range offerings from NVIDIA’s GeForce and AMD’s Radeon graphics card line-up with a plethora of OpenGL benchmarks.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Arch Linux: Only the Hardcore Need Apply

      In search of a different distro (term of endearment for Linux distributions) to try, I decided to try installing probably one of the harder distros to install, Arch Linux over the weekend. I thought I would gather some thoughts into a post and share what I think of this interesting distro that doesn’t get the press that Ubuntu does.

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Answering questions of Debian users on various support channels

        It’s not always an easy task. Some users are more skilled than others and there might be difficulties related to the language, English is not always the native language of a user who asks a question in English.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Developer Week for 12.04 “Precise Pangolin” announced

            The Ubuntu development team has announced that the Ubuntu Developer Week for the 12.04 “Precise Pangolin” cycle will take place from 31 January to 2 February 2012. Over the course of the three days, contributors and members of the Ubuntu community will present various online workshops including tutorials and hands-on sessions focused on Ubuntu development.

          • Linux users cautiously optimistic about Ubuntu’s Head-Up Display desktop
          • Ubuntu plans shift to mobile

            Ubuntu has embarked on a shift in strategy that recognizes the growing use of smartphones and other non-PC devices for access to data and services.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 will bypass menus via predictive search
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Sublime Text on Linux Mint 12

              What particularly draws me to this swift, polished, accomplished, customisable and truly delectable editor is that it is cross platform. And as I’m still in the front end dev contracting game, this is a real boon: Mac, Windows or my own Minority Linux, I can have the same text editor across the board. Delight.

            • Linux Mint 13 gets back to desktop basics

              Bucking the trend of increasingly experimental desktop interfaces, the developers behind the Linux Mint are adopting a simpler desktop for the next version of the open-source Linux distribution.

              Linux Mint 13 will feature an entirely new user interface, called Cinnamon. Earlier this week, the Linux Mint developers released a version of the shell. Previous editions of Linux Mint used a standard version of the Gnome environment.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • FOSS’ Factious Gender Divide

    “For every ‘geeker girl’ there are probably 100,000 that only want to use a PC long enough to get the job done and get away from the stupid thing,” said Slashdot blogger hairyfeet. In the end, “as long as there is a decent workplace so if little Sally wants to be a programmer she can, that should be all that matters. You will NEVER get a 50/50 ratio of women to men in that profession … .”

  • Don’t Do It Yourself – Learning to Trust Open Source

    It’s scary that people don’t know enough about open source and how development in Java is done to rely on well-known and trusted libraries. The runtime library is kept small on purpose. It gives us the most flexibility and power to do what’s best.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • CMS

    • NYSE Takes Stock of Open Source CMS

      Few global organizations can match the size, scale and importance of NYSE Euronext. (NYX). The leading global operator of financial markets, NYSE Euronext’s markets represent fully one third of the entire world’s equities trading-and the company is a major player in derivatives and technology services. NYSE Euronext is in the S&P 500 index and Fortune 500.

    • Joomla gets search, database reinforcements

      The newly released edition of the Joomla open source content management system now comes with a new search engine, and can use Microsoft SQL Server or PostGreSQL, in addition to MySQL.

  • Education

    • Stevens Institute of Technology Moves Financial Systems to Open Source Kuali

      New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology has transitioned its financial systems to an open source platform. To replace its 30-year-old legacy system, Stevens adopted the Kuali Financial System, a tool developed and maintained by a partnership of higher education institutions and private companies.

      The Kuali Foundation is an open source organization for education institutions and other organizations dedicated to developing open source tools for higher education. The Kuali Financial System is Kuali’s flagship project. Based originally on Indiana University’s Financial Information System, KFS is a modular, enterprise-level financial system comprising accounts receivable, general ledger, purchasing/accounts payable, budget construction, and other major financial functions.

  • Healthcare

  • Business

  • Funding


    • GNU Debugger update brings Python scripting improvements

      The GNU Project Debugger team has announced the arrival of version 7.4 of the GNU Debugger (GDB). The open source debugger is the standard debugger for the GNU software system, and supports a number of programming languages including Ada, C, C++, Objective-C, Free Pascal, Fortran and Java.

  • Licensing

    • A Very Short Rant About “Copyrighted” Code

      This morning I was reading a site that regularly covers free and open source software. To protect the guilty party (because I suspect the error was one of rushed writing rather than ignorance), I’ll leave out the publication and author. However, I do want to surface the error. The author wrote about making sure that “copyrighted code” doesn’t get into the Linux kernel. What?

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Build software or community with the Mobility Lab

      Are you fascinated by transportation and passionate about using technology to help people? The Mobility Lab Transit Tech initiative is looking for Software Development Fellows and an Open Source Community Manager to help create innovative technology tools around transportation and foster open source collaboration.

    • Open source research techniques can revolutionize medicine

      What happens when Facebook meets medicine? And I’m not talking about poking your doctor when you want an appointment. What happens if all of a sudden, instead of pharmaceutical companies hiding their recipes behind closed doors and keeping their active compounds a closely guarded secret, they were to share?

      This is exactly what Jay Bradner, a researcher at Harvard and the Dana Farber Institute in Boston, did. When his lab discovered a compound that showed promise against pancreatic cancer and other solid tumors, he asked himself the question: “What would a pharmaceutical company do at this point?” And he did the opposite. Instead of keeping it a secret, he sent the compound out to researchers around the world, who sent back their findings. Instead of keeping his success in house, as a secret until he could patent a product, he created the most competitive research environment possible for his lab.

    • Open Data

      • Graph database Neo4J heads to the cloud

        Version 1.6 of Neo4J, the NoSQL graph database, has been released and includes a beta of Neo4J for the Heroku cloud, an improved query language, and web admin with a full shell. The developers say they are taking a careful approach in their cloud plans, and the beta of Neo4J for Heroku offers the ability to access Neo4j servers through their REST interface. Details of the cloud support are available in the Heroku Dev Center.

    • 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.

      • Goodbye Elsevier, Goodbye Tet Lett etc

        Over the last few years my interest in open science has grown, and inevitably I’ve had to confront the power of open access literature, which is a necessary condition for open science if we are to avoid the absurdity of research conducted in the open disappearing behind a subscription once it’s done. My doubts about contributing to a system of closed access journals, which totally dominate organic chemistry, were becoming overwhelming when Tim Gowers’ post came along about the need to declare publicly that we would no longer support the system.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open source controller framework lets you add the finishing touch

        There are plenty of off-the-shelf controllers out there, but what if you fancy something a little more… you? How about fully customized, with a good seasoning of affordability and style? Design student Alex S has built a framework to help you build just that. The units shown above are for DJ-based programs, but you can create interfaces for any software that takes HID or MIDI input, and as they’re modular, create endless ultra-custom set-ups. Keen to dismantle any technical barriers, Alex created a step-by-step Instructable, but you’ll still need to get your hands dirty with Arduino and some circuitry. The whole project is open source, and while it’s a step up from Lego, until we can just print these things,

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia


  • [Neelie Kroes] I’ll be Tweet-chatting next Monday, 30 January
  • Opportunities Lost

    The score: In a decade of error,

    * 10 billion person-years of computing was lost,
    * $100 billion in profits was lost by M$ alone,
    * billions were kept in poverty years longer than they should have,
    * Earth was polluted/raped by the material wasted/used in PCs replaced every few years, and
    * the world spent $billions more fighting the malware and bloat and re-re-reboots of that other OS.

  • Finance

    • Stress Testing Tim Geithner

      Thanks to Occupy Wall Street, in the State of the Union this week President Obama struck some of his most populist themes yet. He wants to tax millionaires, bring back manufacturing and prosecute the big banks. He touted his Wall Street reforms saying the big banks are “no longer allowed to make risky bets with customers deposits” and “the rest of us aren’t bailing you out ever again.”

      But are we safe from the next big bank bailout? Many experts are dubious and Wednesday the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen decided to test the theory in the most direct way possible. They used the administrative law process to formally petition the nation’s top bank regulators to move swiftly to break up Bank of America (BofA) asserting in their petition: “The bank poses a grave threat to U.S. financial stability by any reasonable definition of that phrase.”

    • Goldman Sachs a key player in managing Romney’s wealth

      Romney’s tax returns show portions of his family fortune in an elite division of Goldman open only to clients with more than $10 million to invest and another in bank-run hedge funds.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • How the government will monitor your cell phones

      In general, mobile phone penetration is extremely high in Canada. 78% of Canadian households had a mobile phone in 2010, and in young households 50% exclusively have mobiles. In addition to owning mobile phones, we carry them with us most of the time.

      While many Canadians think of mobile phones as convenient tools to communicate with each other, we tend to not really think of mobiles as surveillance systems that are stuck in our pockets and purses.

  • Civil Rights

    • FBI seeks to track Social Media en masse

      There’s a brand new job alert out there this week, engineers and developers, and you should hop right on it if you want to help the FBI work on a tool which will provide them with an “Open Source and social media alert, mapping, and analysis application solution.” What I want to do right now is, in a very basic way, debunk how this situation will almost certainly be blown out of proportion by the same crew of people that ultimately (and thankfully) took down the SOPA and PIPA bills. This tool, if I’m to trust the job offer I’m reading here from the Federal Business Opportunities website, is not going to be hacking into your personal or secured information in any way. Instead it will be a mass organization and search tool for the FBI to keep track of all social and open source sites on the internet at all times.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • It Ain’t Over: ‘Ireland’s SOPA’ To Pass Without Parliamentary Vote

        Ireland is soon to have a law similar to SOPA passed that would give music and movie companies the power to force Irish ISPs to block access to sites suspected of having copyright infringing material on them.

      • After Years Of Near Obscurity, Atari Turns To Copyright Trolling

        A long, long time ago, Atari was king of the gaming world. It was the manufacturer of the first mainstream home video game console and was making a ton of money. That was until the video game crash of the 80s. Even though Atari was king of the world, it was not able to manage the prospect of home gaming very well and the market became saturated with terrible games that were extremely overpriced. The inability for Atari to rectify the problem ended up with gaming lying on its death bed. While the rest of the gaming world moved on after the video game renaissance, Atari was not able to keep pace with the new generation of consoles and games. After several failed consoles, it fell into obscurity.

      • Once More, With Feeling: It Wasn’t Silicon Valley Or Google That Stopped SOPA/PIPA, It Was The Internet

        Over the last week, after SOPA and PIPA were put on life support, we’ve noticed an incredibly tone deaf response from the supporters of these bills, lashing out at the wrong parties and trying to figure out where to place the blame. The usual target has been “the tech industry,” by which they usually mean “Google.” That’s why the MPAA’s Chris Dodd wants to sit down with “tech companies” at the White House to discuss this. It’s why the head of the movie theaters’ lobbying group, NATO, brushes this whole thing off as Google “flexing” its muscles. As we’ve said all along, that not only misses the point, and is totally tone deaf to what happened, but it pretty much guarantees the wrong response from supporters of the bill.

      • From Deadwood to Opportunity: CRIA Changes Its Tune on the Canadian Online Music Market

        For many years, the most prominent critic of the Canadian online music market has been the industry itself. The Canadian Recording Industry Association (now known as Music Canada) has consistently argued that few would want to invest in Canada due to the state of our copyright laws. For example, in 2009, CRIA President Graham Henderson published an op-ed that said our trading partners were racing ahead of Canada, which he argued was a product of Canadian copyright law. A year later, Universal Music Canada appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and told MPs the legal uncertainty meant that the investment was going to other countries.

      • Seven Lessons from SOPA/PIPA/Megaupload and Four Proposals on Where We Go From Here
      • Bill C-11: copyright, the movie
      • Weak Copyright Laws? Recording Industry Files Massive Lawsuit Against isoHunt

        As the debate over Canada’s copyright reform legislation, Bill C-32, continues to rage before a legislative committee, one of the most frequently heard claims is that tough reforms are needed to counter Canada’s reputation as a “piracy haven”. The presence of several well-known BitTorrent sites, most notably B.C.-based isoHunt, is cited as evidence for Canada’s supposedly lax laws that the industry says leaves it powerless.

      • The SOPA War: A Frantic Call, an Aborted Summit, and Dramatic New Details on How Hollywood Lost
      • Who Really Stopped SOPA, and Why?

        I split my time these days between Silicon Valley and Capitol Hill, and last week was a very good week to be in Washington. In the fall, I witnessed the beginnings of a unique revolt over proposed legislation that would have dramatically changed the Internet’s business landscape. Last week, that revolt achieved a stunning victory, sending Congress into a tailspin of retreat from bills that seemed certain, only months ago, to pass with little notice or resistance.

      • ACTA

        • MEP quits ACTA ‘charade’ in protest at EU signing

          A French MEP has quit the process of scrutinising ACTA for the European Parliament, calling the treaty’s passage through the EU legislative system a masquerade.

          In a statement on Thursday, Kader Arif denounced the signing of ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) by the EU and 22 member states earlier in the day. He said the European Parliament was being undermined and the process was a “charade” in which he would no longer participate.

        • European Parliament Official In Charge Of ACTA Quits, And Denounces The ‘Masquerade’ Behind ACTA
        • ACTA rapporteur denounces ACTA mascarade
        • People In Poland Come Out To Protest ACTA In Large Numbers; Polish Gov’t Calls It ‘Blackmail’

          Wow. We’ve noted that the folks who got revved up around SOPA weren’t just focused on that one bill, but have remained active and interested in related issues — with ACTA being an important one, especially given the effort by the government in Poland to sign on. Following on the big anti-SOPA protests, it seems that a bunch of folks in Warsaw decided to take to the streets in protest of ACTA… and it looks like an awful lot of people showed up, despite this being about a copyright trade agreement and the fact that it was below freezing temperatures outside. There are some photos on the site linked above that show a very large group gathering. This is really fantastic. Just a month ago, you would have never expected over a thousand people to show up in the freezing cold in Warsaw to protest a bad trade agreement about copyright issues. But it shows just how badly the entertainment industry is miscalculating on these things. The further and further the entertainment industry pushes, all it’s doing is educating and activating a large and growing group of folks who are sick of bad copyright laws interfering with their own basic rights and civil liberties.

        • Poland is not lost – could challenge ACTA at the ECJ
        • EU Commission propaganda on ACTA

          The European Commission published a document in defense of ACTA, “10 Myths about ACTA“. It is pure propaganda. The document is widely distributed by polish authorities.

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