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Links 13/4/2012: Android on the Wrist, $35 Android ICS Tablet

Posted in News Roundup at 1:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • ‘Flashback’ Mac Malware: One More Reason to Switch to Linux

    Given the vast numbers of Macs that are apparently infected with the Flashback Trojan malware, it’s not at all surprising to see that sales of Mac security software are now skyrocketing.

  • Desktop

    • Malaysia Educates the Public About GNU/Linux

      The Government of Malaysia has long used GNU/Linux internally. In their country, many consumers are unaware of GNU/Linux and replace FreeDOS on PCs with illegal copies of that other OS. A program is under way to persuade OEMs and retailers to use GNU/Linux on PCs instead.

    • Google Chrome OS Review: Heading Towards Microsoft Market?

      With an eye on an unseen, distant future the ‘pseudo-modern’ desktops are adopting the single windowed approach. Whether it be Microsoft’s Metro, Ubuntu’s Unity or Gnome’s new shell, they all think PC is nothing more than a smartphone with a touch screen.

      I am one of those who are not big fans of this approach. The ‘pseudo-modern’ desktop Uis are focused on smartphone/tablet like devices where you use one window (one app) at a time. What’s the point of buying expensive CPUs and GPUs (minimum system requirements for modern operating systems) and 27″ multiple monitors when all I can do is run one app at a time?

    • If OSs were Cars

      You are not your car. You can be a hacker and ride a sedan, you can ride a muscle car being a writer and you can go to school in a BMW. For some, the car is important or even has philosophical signifant but for most, the goal is ‘what I’m going with my car’.

  • Server

    • SAP Unveils Ambitious Plans for Database Market

      While HANA and its in-memory capabilities is a key platform for SAP’s database strategy, so too is the Sybase database. SAP acquired Sybase in 2010 for $5.8 billion. Sikka said that Sybase is now able to run the entire SAP business suite.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Open-Source ARM Mali Graphics Driver Achieves…

        The open-source ARM Mali graphics driver, known as the the Lima project, has achieved a major milestone.

        Since delivering the exclusive news of the Lima project as an open-source reverse-engineered ARM Mali graphics driver for Linux back in January, there hasn’t been too much else to report on about this driver that’s still early in its development life. This driver is called Lima since it doesn’t have the official blessing of ARM Holdings and right now has been only running simple demos with Limare. The code is available and is running on the KDE Plasma Active Tablet as was talked about and shown at FOSDEM 2012.

        Fortunately this morning I’ve heard some news from the Lima developers about hitting a major milestone. Joining Luc Verhaegen, the lead developer of the Lima project, have been Ben Brewer (another employee of Codethink) and Connor Abbot have been the latest developers joining the Belgian on this open-source driver project.

      • Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Approaches Stable State
      • Improving Linux DRM For Embedded Systems

        A set of Direct Rendering Manager patches have appeared to ease the development of targeting DRM drivers for embedded systems. There’s also two new DRM drivers using this SDRM layer.

        These patches for DRM on embedded systems provide “helpers” to take care of the DRM device and introduce an “SDRM” layer. The helpers can setup the CRTCs, encoders, connectors, and other components as separate devices rather than having the current monolithic design to a DRM driver. This work is based upon some of the Exynos driver patches by Samsung but was written by Sascha Hauer of the German-based Pengutronix.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Is Ubuntu Unity Faster Than Gnome Panel?

      One of the most active Ubuntu developers Jo-Erlend Schinstad is also a pro-active defender of Ubuntu Unity and HUD. He tries his best to clarify doubts of users and educate them about the features of Ubuntu Unity. Muktware has published quite a lot of his articles on various topics related to Ubuntu. We recently interviewed him to understand his approach towards Ubuntu and its users. He has now posted a video to compare Ubuntu Unity with Gnome Panel, as people seem to keep saying that they are more efficient with Gnome Panel than with Ubuntu Unity.

    • More details emerge about MyUnity 4.0
    • Report: Aura Window Manager, I’m confused.
    • LMDE MATE/Cinnamon 201204 RC Screenshot Tour

      The Release Candidate of the upcoming Linux Mint Debian Edition 201204 operating system has been announced by Clement Lefebvre on April 11th, 2012.

      Linux Mint Debian Edition 201204 RC comes in two editions: the first one features the MATE 1.2 and Cinnamon 1.4 desktop environments, and the second one features the Xfce 4.8 desktop environment.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Calligra 2.4.0 released

        After a long developmental period, Calligra 2.4.0, the first stable version of Calligra, has been released. Calligra is a Qt-based graphic and office suite forked from KOffice in 2010. Note: In some quarters, Calligra is said to be a continuation of KOffice, rather than a fork.

      • The First Version of Calligra Released
      • The Impact Of KDE On 3D Gaming

        Being discussed following the Ubuntu 12.04 Desktops Impact Performance, Power Consumption was the impact that KDE’s KWin compositing window manager (and others that don’t redirect fullscreen windows by default) has on the OpenGL gaming performance.

        Depending upon the driver it can potentially cause a hit as shown in Wednesday’s comparison of Unity, Unity 2D, GNOME Shell, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and Openbox. All of the desktop environments were tested in their “out of the box” / stock configurations on Ubuntu 12.04. The KDE aspect is being discussed in this forum thread where the usual items are brought up.

  • Distributions

    • ROSA Desktop 2012 beta review
    • Student stiffs penetration tool BackTrack Linux with 0-day

      A student has discovered a critical vulnerability in BackTrack, a flavour of Linux that’s a favourite among security pros.

      The previously undiscovered (hence zero-day) privilege escalation bug in the network penetration-testing distro was discovered during an ethical hacking class organised by the InfoSec Institute.

      Jack Koziol, security programme manager at the institute, explained that the bug in Backtrack 5 R2 (the latest version) allowed the student to overwrite settings to gain a root shell. The flaw was found in wicd (the Wireless Interface Connection Daemon), which has not been tested for “potential remote exploitation vectors” according to Koziol.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 2 Default Wallpapers Chosen

        Last fall Mageia put out the call for artists to participate in their Mageia 2 artwork contest. It’s been eight long months, but the choices have now been made. The new Mageia 2 default and alternative backgrounds have been chosen.

        Submitted by Luiz Fernando, the winning image is a lovely deep blue base with wisps of royal blue cutting across the primary focal lines.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Expert witness says most popular Hotfile downloads are open source apps

    Hotfile is determined to outlast Hollywood’s ongoing crusade against file locker services. The company is defending itself against an aggressive litigation campaign that movie studios first brought against it over a year ago. Hotfile’s case may be bolstered by a recent report which shows that the two most widely-downloaded files distributed through the popular file locker service are open source software applications.

    Charges against Hotfile that alleged direct copyright infringement were thrown out last year by a federal court judge. The remaining charges allege that the company is liable for inducing its users to infringe copyright. The answer to that question will hinge on whether the courts find that Hotfile has substantial non-infringing uses.

  • The Benefits of an Open Market, Revisited

    Overall as I developer, I find the ability to instantly push out updates highly desirable. As a consumer I appreciate the fact that submissions are tested and verified to at least technically work and not crash. Is there a perfect system? Not that I know of. What is the perfect system? I don’t know. If there was a way for developers to be able to reach their users quickly with bugfixes and even new features that allow for consumers to not have to wade through extremely low quality and exact duplicate apps, then I would be one happy developer.

  • Open Source Technologies: Saving and Improving Lives

    The thought of ‘open source’ need not always conjure up images of socially removed geeks slamming away at their keyboards.

    There have been instances of the open source ideology saving and improving lives, and this article explores a couple of examples on that aspect.

  • PhoneGap 1.6 Released!

    We are happy to announce the release of PhoneGap 1.6! The PhoneGap/Apache Cordova Community has worked hard to fix many bugs (including the nasty local storage bug caused by the iOS 5.1 update) and added some new features.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • Oracle previews MySQL 5.6

      Offering a glimpse of the new features some database administrators will be working with before too long, Oracle has posted a preview version of the next MySQL relational database management system.

      The Development Milestone Release (DMR) for MySQL 5.6 comes with a number of new and still experimental features for the open source database system, including improved replication and the ability to bypass the SQL framework for faster data access.

    • Firebird SQL Project Newsletter, Issue 3
    • 10gen announces MongoDB Hadoop Connector

      10gen, the company behind MongoDB, has announced the general availability of a connector for its open source NoSQL database and Apache Hadoop, the MapReduce framework and distributed computing platform. According to its developers, version 1.0 of the connector is the “culmination of over a year of work to bring our users a solid integration layer between their MongoDB deployments and Hadoop clusters for data processing”.

    • MariaDB 5.5.23 arrives with performance improvements

      Version 5.5.23 of MariaDB, a drop-in replacement for MySQL, has been published by the developers at Monty Program. The first stable release in the 5.5 series of the open source database includes performance improvements and “a few added features” over MySQL 5.5.23, which it is based upon.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • How LibreOffice Writer Tops MS Word: 12 Features

      When reviewers look at LibreOffice and its ancestor OpenOffice.org, they inevitably assume that it’s inferior to Microsoft Office. At the very most, they may grudgingly find it acceptable for undemanding users.

      However, when you examine LibreOffice and MS Office without assumptions, the comparison changes dramatically. That’s especially true when looking at the word processors, LibreOffice’s Writer and MS Office’s Word.

      For one thing, features frequently have different names in Writer and Word. Although LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org have a history of conforming to MS Office’s name-choices — for example, in the spreadsheets, data pilots were recently renamed pivot tables to match Excel’s usage — holdouts remain. For example, the equivalent of Word’s AutoSummary in Writer remains AutoAbstract.


    • Who Cares About Software Freedom?

      Well it’s been a disconcerting kind of week here in the Linux blogosphere, not least because of all the darn construction going on down at the Google+ Grill.

      First it was the hammering giving Linux Girl a headache. Then, on Wednesday, she walked in after lunch and could barely recognize the place. What is this interface sorcery, she wants to know?

      Then, of course, there was the retirement of Linux Girl’s old friend, Maverick Meerkat, in the past few days as well. Alas, dear distro — we hardly knew ye!

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming


  • Security

    • New ZeuS-based Trojan leeches cash from cloud-based payrolls
    • End of Windows XP support era signals beginning of security nightmare

      Microsoft’s recent announcement that it will end support for the Windows XP operating system in two years signals the end of an era for the company, and potentially the beginning of a nightmare for everyone else.

      When Microsoft cuts the chord on XP in two years it will effectively leave millions of existing Windows-based computers vulnerable to continued and undeterred cyberattacks, many of which hold the potential to find their way into consumer, enterprise and even industrial systems running the latest software.

  • Finance

  • Copyrights

    • Illegal Copying is not Theft

      Under US law, violation of copyright is not a crime unless commercial use is made of the copy or the value is more than $1K. Even when it is a crime, illegal copying is limited to 1, 5 or 10 years for different levels of severity and this guy was likely in the 1 year category.

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