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Links 14/2/2012: Sabayon Linux 8, ACTA Blowback in EU

Posted in News Roundup at 3:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Is GNU/Linux just not cool anymore?

    Software is becoming less and less important. Most people today just don’t care about what software they use, what operating system they run, or who is behind the pretty screens they see. What they want, is something that works. Or, better, anything that works. This shift caused a series of changes which shook the whole industry. One of them amongst them: are GNU/Linux and free software in general just not cool anymore? Google Trends gives some interesting answers.

  • Desktop

    • Eight features Windows 8 borrowed from Linux

      Pablo Picasso said it. So did T.S. Eliot. And, more recently, Steve Jobs. Let’s face it: If something makes sense and succeeds, it gets imitated.

      Though Windows 8 and Linux distributions differ greatly from each other in design, ideology and — last but not least — their primary audience, they’re all built on the same basic principles of OS design so there’s bound to be some overlap. And while Microsoft has long been accused of stealing from the open source community, according to some Linux fans, it’s getting to the point where Microsoft simply appropriates good Linux features.

    • Why The Linux Desktop Matters More Than Ever, This Time?

      This article is talking about Ubuntu 12.04 aka Precise Pangolin

      If we look back at failures of Linux on Desktops to this day and analyze the technical part, it was due to hardware support and the software quality (GUI) that general computer users could use.

  • Kernel Space

    • Need a Job? New Study Says Learn Linux.

      No one disputes that that tech jobs are fueling the economy in the U.S. and around the world. The U.S. President said in his recent State of the Union address that there are twice as many openings in the science and technology sector as there are people to fill them. But where exactly are these jobs? And, who exactly is landing them?

    • Linux: It’s where the jobs are

      The job market is still only slowing shifting back into gear, but the IT job market is still doing better than the general market. And, guess which technology is doing especially well for would-be IT employees? If you said, “Linux,” you’d be right.

      According to a survey by The Linux Foundation and Dice, the top technology job site of more than 2,000 hiring managers at corporations, small and medium Businesses (SMBs), government organizations, and staffing agencies from across the globe” slightly more than eighty percent of companies that use Linux are making hiring Linux professionals a priority.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland – Beyond X
      • Gaming/Graphics Performance On Unity, GNOME, KDE, Xfce

        It is going on a year since showing how Unity, Compiz, GNOME Shell & KWin affect graphics/gaming performance, so here is an updated 2012 look. In this article are a variety of OpenGL benchmarks run under the current latest desktops as will be found in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS: Unity, Unity 2D, GNOME Shell, GNOME Classic, KDE Plasma, and Xfce. AMD and NVIDIA graphics were tested with both the latest closed and open-source drivers.

  • Applications

    • Looking at the eBook – Sigil 0.5.1 – A bug fix/maintenance release!

      February is off to a great ebook start and I expect there will be many people still enjoying the benefits of a Linux powered ebook reader (or indeed tablet) from Xmas. It’s easy to see that it won’t be long before epub (and dare I say it .mobi) will find themselves in the same place .mp3 or .ogg do today. – I wonder, how much life left in the space consuming book shelves found in high-street stores?

    • You Need A Budget

      This time of year is often rough on finances, and although there are many money-management tools available for Linux, none are quite like You Need A Budget, or YNAB for short. Unlike traditional budgeting programs, YNAB focuses on a few simple rules to help you get out of debt and, more important, to see where your money is going. If you’ve ever struggled with sticking to a budget (I certainly have), give YNAB a try. I’m not a “numbers person”, yet YNAB seems to make sense.

    • Dia – The Diagram Creation Tool

      Dia is an application designed for quick creation of structured diagrams such as simple, line-based illustrations, flowcharts, UML charts and network diagrams. Being a vector based tool, there is some overlap with other applications such as Inkscape, but Dia’s focus is on diagrams that are more functional than aesthetic.

    • Sublime Text 2 – A Fast & Fancy Text Editor

      The tiny bit of developing I do means Gedit, Ubuntu’s default text editor, is more than adequate for my (very basic) needs.

      But for proficient programmers a good text editor is as important to productivity as a finely tuned car is to a professional race driver.

    • Radio Tray: Tiny Web Radio Player Is Handy but Picks Up Some Static

      Radio Tray is a minimalistic online radio app that squeezes into the Linux desktop tray. Its small size and footprint make it convenient for anyone who doesn’t need a large interface. However, it doesn’t seem to play well with some distros, and some Internet radio channels may be difficult to access with it.

    • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Linux powered LAN Gaming House

        LAN parties offer the enjoyment of head to head gaming in a real-life social environment. In general, they are experiencing decline thanks to the convenience of Internet gaming, but Kenton Varda is a man who takes his LAN gaming very seriously. His LAN gaming house is a fascinating project, and best of all, Linux plays a part in making it all work.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Do Linux Novelty Desktops Threaten Linux Adoption?

      By now, most of you have likely heard about Canonical pulling official support for Kubuntu. It’s hardly surprising, considering Canonical’s push to get Unity not only on the desktop, but on tablets and TVs as well.

      Any past desire to contribute officially to KDE has fallen by the wayside for Canonical. It’s simply not a priority for them any longer. Instead, Canonical has decided that their efforts are best spent on the Unity desktop, which some have described as a novelty desktop environment for Ubuntu Linux.

      Canonical’s Ubuntu is hardly alone on this front. Linux Mint, with its Cinnamon desktop environment, is also spreading its wings using the Gnome shell as its base. It seems that some desktop Linux distributions are potentially “jumping the shark.” Then again, perhaps both distributions are making a brilliant decision that will become more apparent in the near future. It remains to be seen which this situation will actually turn out.

    • Nine Rules for Designing a Linux Desktop

      Recently, the Linux desktop has had some troubled years. Where once the news consisted largely of announcements of features, in recent years it has included debates about features and directions, declarations of forks, and resurrections and re-inventions of older designs.

      The result of this activity has often been heated debate — to say the least — and, if user choice has increased, innovation has decreased.

      The problem is that, with the exception of a few projects, the free software community is still learning to make user feedback part of the development process. Not long ago, the distinction between user and developer hardly existed in free software. And, even today, users making a suggestion are often told to write the code themselves.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Accessibility Hackfest (interview)

        A few weeks ago in A Coruña, Spain a Hackfest around GNOME Accessibility took place hosted by Igalia . openSUSE found the opportunity to make some questions to the people involved and then learn a bit more about this interesting Project. Our interviewers were Alejandro Piñeiro Iglesias, Joanmarie Diggs and Juanjo Marín.

  • Distributions

    • Pardus Future Uncertain, Fork Probable

      In a lengthy explanation Pardus developer Bahadır Kandemir said, “They are not shutting down the project, they are killing it very slowly.” He’s speaking of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey and their recent decisions that spell nothing less than the abandonment of this wonderful Linux distribution. Political climates are volatile and evolving by the day in the Middle East and it appears this little project may be yet another casualty. Kandemir explains that many of those in management who cared and supported the project were reassigned or given early retirement. Boards were manned with “non-academic and non-talented people who has nothing to do with science, research and development.” Despite TUBITAK denials, developers have been resigning on a daily bases according to Kandemir. He said that Pardus had about 35 developers last year and now only five remain.

    • VectorLinux 7.0 – Sparta belongs to Spartans
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva the Woolworth’s of the Linux world.

        Mandriva or as some of us remember it Mandrake is in it’s death throes yet again, it would seem they are in financial difficulties and may have to go into liquidation. At the time of writing this post they have had a reprieve till mid February thanks to a donation by the Paris Region Economic Development Agency however their future looks decidedly dicey to say the least.

        Mandriva is like the Woolworth’s of the Linux world, everyone has heard of it, everyone has visited it , a small amount of people use it, but now it’s probably past saving EVERYONE is lamenting it’s demise. ”So why are you blogging about it Pete?” I’ll tell you why, I saw a story from Slashdot on G+ that was just such utter bollocks I felt the need to vent my spleen.

      • The Trouble With Mandriva

        Very few of the large, noncommercial distros are failing, observed blogger Robert Pogson. However, “from [Mandriva's] early days as Mandrake, the ‘insider club’ that paid to use Mandrake for ‘extras’ made the organization dependent on constant growth and the generosity of users. That is hard to sustain, and the cost of advertising and payroll are a millstone around the neck of such a distro.”

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon Linux 8 Debuts with a Dash of Cinnamon

        The Linux Mint project has made quite a splash in the Linux world over the past few months, not just for the growing popularity of its user-friendly operating system but also for the launch of Cinnamon, its brand-new desktop alternative.

      • Sabayon 8 KDE review
      • What a difference a distro release makes?

        Sabayon 8 has been released and a google search on the subject springs up a few interesting new features such as the Cinnamon Gnome 2 fork and the introduction of a new rolling release schedule which infers that once you’ve installed the ISO you’ll never have to do a version update again.
        I’m a firm believer in Sabayon, i’ve been using it since the heady days of version 3 with the DVD ISO which contained nearly 4GB of both Gnome and KDE distros and an hours installation. This gave the user a bleeding edge distro which implemented Compiz first and better than anyone else as an example.however I have to say I’m just a little disappointed in this release with it’s implementation of Gnome 3.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • People behind Debian: Ana Beatriz Guerrero López, member of the Debian KDE team

        If you met Ana, you’ll easily remember her. She has a great and pronounced Spanish accent… :-) I’m glad that the existence of the Debian Women project helped her to join Debian because she has been doing a great job.

        From KDE packaging to publicity/marketing work, her interests shifted over the years but this allowed her to stay very involved. As she explains it very well, Debian is big enough so that you can stop doing something which is no longer fun for you, and still find something new to do in another part of Debian!

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Linux Distribution Remorse: Ubuntu Unity 11.10
          • Shuttleworth: Don’t blow a gasket over enterprise Ubuntu remix

            Anticipating some sort of of outcry, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth posted a blog Friday that detailed the thinking behind the Ubuntu Business Desktop Remix.

            The Linux distro, based on Ubuntu 11.10, was released on Friday. The remix, which was first discussed at the Ubuntu Developer’s Summit last October, strips some of the more consumerish items in favor of enterprise features and business tools such as VMware View, which is incorporated in the distro along with a proprietary license.

          • 20 Popular Ubuntu Linux Apps to Try Now

            As Ubuntu Linux continues to grow in popularity, most discussions of it tend to focus on the basics of the operating system itself, including especially details about its desktop environment and user interface.

          • Canonical Targets Business Desktops with a New Ubuntu Linux Remix

            Hard on the heels of last week’s news that Canonical will no longer financially support the Kubuntu variant of its popular Linux distribution, CEO Jane Silber on Friday announced a brand-new version of Ubuntu Linux designed specifically for businesses.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • A tale of two distros: Ubuntu and Linux Mint
            • Is Linux Mint Really Eating Ubuntu’s Lunch?

              Because of the way many Linux distributions make their way into the wild unfettered by commercial overlords, it’s sometimes hard to draw a precise bead on who is using what flavor of Linux. In the world of commercial operating systems, by contrast, it’s easy as pie to identify Microsoft Windows and Mac OS as the most widely used platforms.

            • The Day Canonical Pushed Kubuntu Out of the Nest

              “If you want things you have to pay for them, simple as that,” said Slashdot blogger hairyfeet. “RMS may be able to squat at MIT, but I’m sure the developers at Canonical have families to feed and bills to pay. We need a new model for those places where FOSS simply doesn’t work.”

            • Can Linux Mint 12, Cinnamon Spice Up the Open Source Mix?

              I’ve been an Ubuntu user for a pretty long time — so long that I no longer remember exactly when I started (all I recall is that it was sometime around version 6.06.) But last week I finally replaced Ubuntu on my production computer with Linux Mint 12. Read on for why, and how it’s been working out.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Upgrade kit for Openmoko smartphones now available

      Although Openmoko Inc. has long since pulled out of manufacturing smartphones, open source smartphone development goes on. Just over one year from unveiling the prototype, German company Golden Delicious has now added the long awaited replacement motherboard for Openmoko smartphones to its online store.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • iOS More Crashtastic Than Android

          It seems Android apps crash significantly less often than those running on iOS, according to a recent study from Crittercism. There may be several reasons for this, including standards that cause headaches for developers as well as the relative newness of each platform and whether the platform auto-updates.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source CloudStack 3.0 Is Coming

    Over the last year I have been working on the CloudStack Open Source Cloud Computing project. This month we are getting ready to launch CloudStack 3.0 which really raises the bar for cloud computing platforms. So what is CloudStack ? short It is an infrastructure-as-a-service(IaaS) platform that orchestrates virtualized servers into an elastic compute environment. The project was originally developed by Cloud.com and is now sponsored by Citrix since they acquired Cloud.com in July of 2011.

  • Commercial Support now available for the open-source NGINX Web server

    NGINX, the popular open-source Web server, recently swept by Microsoft’s Internet Information Services to become the second most popular Web server in the world. Not bad for an open-source project without any commercial support! NGINX is changing that now. Its parent company has just announced commercial support options for businesses.

    According to the newly formed, July 2011, Web company, NGINX’s original creators and developers will provide support for small, medium or large-scale commercial Web site installations. Three technical support packages are available–Essential, Advanced and Premium–covering installation, configuration, performance improvement, software maintenance, design, implementation, and optimization assistance.

  • 50 Open Source Tools That Could Help You Find (or Keep) a Valentine

    You may not have noticed, but Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Don’t panic if you haven’t planned the perfect date yet — the open source community has you covered.

    In honor of the season, we’ve put together a list of open source tools for romantics. If you’re looking for the perfect gift, we found open source apps that could help you create your own Valentine’s Day card, open source chocolate, open source poetry and even open source jewelry. To help you create the perfect evening, we added a whole host of apps for putting together the perfect soundtrack. Plus: apps to help you practice your dancing, pick the perfect wine (or beer), cook a romantic dinner or watch a romantic movie.

  • Pentaho open sources big data code, licenses Kettle project under Apache 2.0

    Pentaho has open sourced some of the big data assets in its Kettle open source project — and moved its entire Kettle Data Integration Platform to Apache 2.0 — in order to capture more of the booming Hadoop and NoSQL business.

  • Super-communities debuting for open source vertical supply chains
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Introducing Chrome for Android

        In 2008, we launched Google Chrome to help make the web better. We’re excited that millions of people around the world use Chrome as their primary browser and we want to keep improving that experience. Today, we’re introducing Chrome for Android Beta, which brings many of the things you’ve come to love about Chrome to your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone or tablet. Like the desktop version, Chrome for Android Beta is focused on speed and simplicity, but it also features seamless sign-in and sync so you can take your personalized web browsing experience with you wherever you go, across devices.

      • Google Chrome Web browser finally comes to Android
      • Review: Chrome 17, faster than ever, more secure than ever.

        Google’s been really busy lately. They may be releasing “G-Drive,” a personal cloud storage service ala Dropbox. They have released a beta of the Chrome Web browser for Android. And, with all that, their developers have also been hard at work keeping Chrome on top of the Web browser hill.

    • Mozilla

      • The death of Firefox

        It doesn’t look good for Firefox: Almost every month for the last three years, Firefox has lost ground to Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari. For most of 2009 the trend was fairly straight as it fended off Chrome and nibbled away at IE, but between 2010 and today Firefox has lost a third of its market share, from a worldwide peak of around 30% down to 20%.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Community, customer service and Free Software

      This is an edited version of a post of mine on the discuss mailing list of LibreOffice. The thread is ongoing at the moment I’m editing this post. Feedback and questions welcome.

      Listening to user feedback hardly makes up a democracy. It’s user feedback. In some cases it might be a case of “nice customer service”. But it does not help that much. I’ll explain myself.

  • Education

    • Rethinking ICT

      Just a few thoughts on the way forward for ICT education in response to Chris Leach’s Rethinking ICT #ICT500 invitation. I fear I’ve rather exceeded his limit of 500 words. What follows is a personal perspective.

      Like many in the profession, I’ve been thinking much about what an ICT curriculum ought to look like for a while now, but the Secretary of State’s announcement at BETT that he intends to ‘disapply’ the programme of study in ICT for all schools has brought this into sharp focus.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 9 review – to FreeBSD what Ubuntu is to Debian

      If you’d like to use FreeBSD as a desktop system, you’ll have to invest a lot of time in setting up the operating system and installing all the right packages. Obviously, this is a serious barrier for a lot of Linux users who are interested in trying out FreeBSD. PC-BSD fills in this gap by offering a completely usable and user-friendly FreeBSD desktop install with all kinds of stuff pre-configured. In a way, PC-BSD is to FreeBSD what Ubuntu is to Debian.

    • Two and a half ghosts – GhostBSD 2.5

      It is my impression that GhostBSD is off to a good start and just requires a few extra touches to make it a really user-friendly desktop. A little work on the installer could make it a first-class piece of software. Other little touches like putting the FreeBSD Handbook on the desktop and making updating the system’s packages easier would make GhostBSD a really appealing system. As it is, despite its warts, I do think it makes it easy to get a FreeBSD desktop install in place with a minimal amount of fuss and that’s a worthwhile venture. Even if you’re not planning to install the system, GhostBSD’s light live CD provides a good method for previewing what’s coming out of the FreeBSD camp these days.


  • Public Services/Government

    • UK Government going ahead with Open Source

      More often than not, the UK governments grasp on technology/software is rather vague to say the least. We need look no further than BBClick to see the level in which these people comprehend (I’ve always thought the ignorance of Click mirrored the government perfectly – trying to be trendy, missing out the obvious whilst pandering to the monopolist)

      It comes then as a pleasant surprise that in recent times Government latched onto words such as “open source” and now we see news of how its to manifest itself within the spending plans of those who handle our taxes.


  • Why Don’t We Just Protest Internet Activism Instead?

    Where did fun go? It has been drowned in a sea of online activism. I can’t just go on the Internet and enjoy myself anymore. I can’t even do serious research anymore. When I log on, I am now instantly drafted as a member of everybody’s personal army.

    “Protest this! Donate to that! Write your congressman! Think this way, not that way! Change your mind! You must read this now! Join this cause! Fight, fight, fight! Sign this petition! Impeach that guy! Support this cause! Protest something else! Crisis, drama, wear a ribbon on your Facebook! Retweet this or you’re an enemy of freedom! I know last week I told you this other thing was the most important cause in the world, but this week’s cause is the most important thing in the world and I really mean it!”

  • Google Near Launch of Cloud Storage Service

    Google Inc. is close to launching a cloud-storage service that would rival one of Silicon Valley’s hottest start-ups, cloud-storage provider Dropbox Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

    Like Dropbox, Google’s storage service, called Drive, is a response to the growth of Internet-connected mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and the rise of “cloud computing,” or storing files online so that they can be retrieved from multiple devices, these people said.

  • Is Windows 8 Metro failing even at Microsoft?

    When I first saw this image of Bill Flora, a key leader on the team that created Microsoft’s Windows 8 Metro interface, I almost laughed myself silly. Notice what Flora, who had left Microsoft after 19-years as a creative director in September to start TECTONIC, a user experience design firm, uses for his main computer? That sure looks a MacBook Pro to me!

    Seriously? One of Microsoft’s go-to Metro guys left the company ahead of Windows 8’s launch and now uses a Mac? The picture says it all. Of course, Floria’s not the only Metro developer to abandon ship. Brandon Watson, head of developer experiences for Windows Phone, is the latest executive to leave the Microsoft’s phone unit. Between Flora and Watson’s departure, Matt Bencke, General Manager for Windows Phone Developer and Marketplace, left the Windows Phone team, but he did, at least, stay in Microsoft. He’s now over with the to Xbox Live crew.

  • Security

  • Finance

    • House bans federal lawmakers from insider trading

      The House on Thursday joined the Senate in voting to explicitly prohibit members of Congress and other top officials from making investments on insider information. But an effort to bridle purveyors of Capitol Hill political intelligence could delay the bill’s enactment.

    • Mean-Spirited, Bad Economics

      Fire insurance is mostly sold by the private sector; unemployment insurance is “sold” by the government — because the private sector never performed this role adequately. The original legislative intent, reaffirmed over the years, is clear: Help people to help themselves in the face of shocks beyond their control.

    • Banks near mortgage deal with state AGs

      The nation’s five largest banks and a consortium of state attorneys general are closing in on finalizing a settlement of at least $25 billion for the roles the banks played in the mortgage meltdown, POLITICO has confirmed.

      If completed, the deal would be the largest of its kind in history, rivaling the 1998 settlement states reached with the tobacco industry, and the largest civil action ever against the housing industry. The agreement would cap a year-long series of negotiations designed to hold banks accountable for falsifying documents related to home foreclosures in several states.

    • $25B settlement reached over foreclosure abuses

      A landmark $25 billion settlement with the nation’s top mortgage lenders was hailed by government officials Thursday as long-overdue relief for victims of foreclosure abuses. But consumer advocates countered that far too few people will benefit.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The UK has become a hostile environment for Internet users and Internet businesses

      A series of rulings in UK courts of late is showing that UK copyright law is sadly out of sync with today’s society and renders the innocent acts of millions of UK citizens illegal.

      According to UK courts, tweeting a headline or emailing a colleague a link to an online news article is a breach of copyright if it is done without a copyright licence. The simple act of browsing the Internet is deemed a potential copyright infringement unless licensed. More details can be found in my commentary on recent rulings in the UK High Court and the UK Court of appeal.

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Central Europe Backs Out of Copyright Deal After Protests

          Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia this week put the ratification of a controversial international copyright agreement on hold amid concerns it would lead to censorship online.

          The three countries, along with most others in the European Union, last month signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, which seeks to harmonize copyright protection across the countries that signed up, including the U.S.

        • Germany refuses to sign ACTA amid protests

          Germany will not sign an international anti-piracy treaty, despite having already agreed to it in principal, government sources in Berlin said Friday, February 10.

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  25. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  26. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  27. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  28. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  29. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  30. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions


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