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06.08.12

Links 8/6/2012: Gentoo Has New Release Candidate, Patrick Volkerding Speaks

Posted in News Roundup at 12:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux UEFI compromise reasonable, still sucks

    The EFI system has slowly been making headway in recent years, and right now EFI firmware is compatible with Windows supporting the GUID Partition Table (GPT), OS X/Intel, and Linux 2.6 and beyond machines. EFI is seen as a better hardware/software interface than BIOS, since it is platform-agnostic, runs in 32- or 64-bit mode, and GPT machines can handle boot partitions of up to 9.4 zettabytes. (That’s 9.5 billion terabytes to you and me.)

  • Less freedom is no freedom

    I wanted to write about the Linux boot and UEFI from a while now, but I figured out is better to learn first more about the issue and take a deep breath before taking a position. In the meantime, many faces of the debate were talked in various places, so I think I have a better grasp.

    From the beginning, when people started talking about Secure Boot some warned about the treat to Free Software, but they were pretty much dismissed by many as a bunch of hippies following the smelly RMS, we’ll surely find a way around when will get to it. Now, after mjg wrote a long technical pieces about the struggles of making Fedora boot on UEFI with Secure Boot enabled, we can the alarmists were right and Microsoft managed to give a fatal blow to Free Software on the desktop with the help of many hardware manufacturers.

  • M$ Attempts to Build a New Monopoly

    Allowing M$ to pick and choose which OEMs can install that other OS is leading to a new monopoly designed to replace Wintel, at least on ARM. No longer will consumers be able to install an OS from M$ on a PC if M$ gets its way. M$ will have loyal OEMs only blessed with the privilege and revenue streams.

    [...]

    Are you paying attention, US Department of Justice?

  • 7 More Heroes of Linux
  • Kernel Space

    • ACPI Updated For The Linux 3.5 Kernel

      The ACPI feature pull request for the Linux 3.5 kernel merge window was submitted on Saturday.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD R600g Still Tackling Hierarchical Z

        While patches have been around for more than one year to support Hierarchical Z on the ATI/AMD R600 open-source driver, the Gallium3D support still hasn’t been merged.

      • X11R7.7 released

        The X.Org Foundation and the global community of X.Org developers
        announce the release of X11R7.7 – Release 7.7 of the X Window System,
        Version 11. This release is the eighth modular release of the X Window
        System. The next full release will be X11R7.8 and may happen in 2013.

      • Radeon 6.14.5 Linux Graphics Driver Released
      • A New Open-Source GPU Comes About

        While the university crew designed an open-source graphics processor using an FPGA, they haven’t written a proper Linux graphics driver, at least not yet. From part of the email I received, “While this is not anywhere close to OGP, it’s a step in the right direction. The big difference is that the only requirement for our implementation is a FPGA and a RAM. This can easily be integrated with a softcore processor like Microblaze or NIOS or the one we have worked with: the OpenRISC. Yea, thats right we are running a open source graphics accelerator connected to a open source cpu architecture. When we get a linux driver up and running it will be a true open source computer with USB, Ethernet etc all open source.”

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Users voted for the best XFCE-based distribution… again!

      People kept voting, despite the announcement of the results. Today I publish second round of the poll results, with number of participants more than doubled since last time: 169.

    • Interview with Patrick Volkerding of Slackware
    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS (Kinda) Saved My Laptop

        Today, I was alarmed to see that I could not boot into my Linux Mint system; the OS would give a “no init found” error after the boot splash. First, I had to boot into Microsoft Windows 7; thankfully, that worked as Linux Mint was the OS I was [of course] using when I accidentally unplugged my computer. I looked up the error, and it turns out it’s a common one that can be solved by a file system check (“fsck”) from a live CD. All the guides I saw recommended using a live CD of the same OS whose hard drive partition is affected, but I had left my live CDs and USB sticks in my dormitory room. Whoops again. What I figured would just be a minor inconvenience turned into a semi-major problem.

      • June 2012 issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine
    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Does An x32 Stage 3 Release Candidate

        Linux x32 is the effort for a native 32-bit ABI for Intel/AMD x86_64 systems but where 32-bit pointers are used to reduce the memory footprint while still allowing for x32 programs to take advantage of the rest of the 64-bit benefits. There’s x32 support within the Linux kernel, GCC, glibc, binutils, and even LLVM/Clang.

      • A Gentoo x32 release candidate
    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CloudForms Now Available

        Red Hat has announced the availability of Red Hat CloudForms, an open hybrid cloud management platform. CloudForms enables enterprises to create and manage Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) hybrid clouds with the ability to make self-service computing resources available to users in a managed, governed and secure way.

      • Red Hat Debuts CloudForms for Cloud Management
      • Red Hat carefully repositions CloudForms as open hybrid cloud management platform
      • Red Hat Shows What Real Cloud Looks Like

        While many enterprises have been experimenting with private clouds over the last year, moving real workloads to the platform means dealing with public clouds and others’ cloud platforms, a problem dubbed hybrid cloud.

        CloudForms, originally created as a Red Hat Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS offering, has now joined the OpenStack development group founded by competitor Rackspace (RAX) and is pushing CloudForms as a method for interoperating among different cloud infrastructures.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 17 Review: It’s an Upstream Experience

          Fedora 17 came out just last week. This is the first time I’ve installed it as a desktop in more than a year — last time was Fedora 14 (or was it 13?).

          Fedora for me has always been something I install to check out what’s new, and to get a feel of what all I shall get in other distros in the coming months/years. Here, I’m specifically talking about system-level utilities — for example, systemd and stuff like that. Although, I gotta admit, I still use the service and chkconfig commands as most distros, including Fedora, have managed to keep these tools systemd-aware — and hopefully not retiring either any time soon.

        • Fedora 17 LXDE Review:
        • Firefox 13 Officially Lands in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
        • The Perfect Desktop – Fedora 17
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • ‘Download for Ubuntu’ Button Campaign
          • Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon Talks About Ubuntu for Android, Humble Bundles, Steam, Gaming and More

            Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Community Manager at Canonical recently replied to user questions while doing ‘Ask Me Anything’ session at Reddit.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 Sets To Make ARM Even Stronger

            With Ubuntu 12.04 for ARM there were performance improvements thanks to switching to ARM hardfp binaries by default rather than the soft floating-point version. The switch to the hardware floating-point build made a noticeable difference and for some hardware there were performance improvements due to upstream kernel improvements. With the Linux kernel found in 12.04 (Linux 3.2), there is proper support for the OMAP4460 as found in the PandaBoard ES. With that, the dual-core Cortex-A9 can now properly clock up to its rated 1.2GHz speed. Those reasons represent a bulk of the improvements for the ARM architecture in Ubuntu 12.04.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 First Alpha Released

            Ubuntu 12.10 has started churning releases. Kate Stewart of Ubuntu has announced the release of 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) Alpha 1. As you are aware alphas are not meant for ‘regular’ consumption. However, if you are an Ubuntu user and want to help find and fix the bugs you can install it on your secondary machine.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 Alpha 1 now available

            It feels like it was just April when Ubuntu 12.04 was released… oh right, because it was. But the folks at Canonical are already working on the next version of one of the world’s most popular Linux-based operating systems. Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal is scheduled to launch in October, but you can download the first Alpha builds today.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux Drives Cadillac Into the Infotainment Era

      This month, GM is shipping a 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan that is “technologically gee-whizzed to the gills,” according to USA Today. Novelties include adaptive headlights, ten airbags, and a driver’s seat that vibrates in different locations depending on the direction in which sensors detect a possible collision. Yet the highlight is a Debian Linux-based in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system called Cadillac User Experience (CUE).

    • Phones

      • Android

        • No Ice Cream Sandwich for You? Clone It!

          Add widgets and shortcuts if your install is a keeper. You’ll be able to change desktop layout and preferences, like autofit, that can fix anomalies with look; change user preferences like gesture behavior; configure the status bar and its content; tweak the colors and tints; customize text preferences; change battery indicator preferences; and reboot the launcher.

        • Most Popular Android ROM: CyanogenMod

          Most Popular Android ROM: CyanogenMod If your Android device is feeling a little stale, or maybe the manufacturer has abandoned it and you’d love to breathe a little life into it, your best bet is to root it and install a new ROM. It’s like installing a brand new operating system on your phone or tablet, and an in many cases can give you features the manufacturer never thought to offer. Last week, we asked you which Android ROMs you thought were the best. Then we took a look at the five best Android ROMs based on your nominations, and put them to a vote. Now we’re back to highlight the winner.

        • Holo Launcher Brings the Ice Cream Sandwich Launcher to Any Android Phone

          Holo Launcher Brings the Ice Cream Sandwich Launcher to Any Android Phone Android: If you’re stuck on a device running 2.3 Gingerbread (or even worse, 2.2 Froyo) and your manufacturer has no plans on upgrading your phone anytime soon, Holo Launcher gives you all of the features available in the stock Ice Cream Sandwich launcher, right now, completely free.

        • Intel “improving” Android – but is it willing to share?

          Intel claims it is making significant improvements to the multicore performance of Android – but isn’t sure if it’s willing to share them with the open-source community.

        • Parrot bets on Android winning in-car device market

          Parrot, an upstart French technology company, is betting that drivers want their cars to be fitted with an all-in-one “infotainment” device based on Google’s popular Android operating software to give hands-free control of its smartphone, radio, music and satellite navigation functions.

        • HTC introduces dual-SIM devices – Desire V and Desire VC
        • Acer reveals sub-$200 7-inch quad-core Iconia Tab A110

          Android’s had a quiet showing here at Computex Taipei, but Acer just snuck out a new product that could well represent a breakthrough for the platform at large. The Iconia Tab A110 is at the company’s booth without much fanfare, and on the face of it isn’t particularly interesting — a 7-inch tablet with Android 4.0 that’s powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. However, we spoke to an Acer representative who said that the A110 would be positioned as the company’s main low-end device when it’s released in the third quarter of the year, and that it will cost less than $200. If true, the aggressive pricing means it could well be the first beneficiary of Nvidia’s $199 Kai program, though the representative wasn’t able to comment on this.

        • Ubuntu OS may be coming to Android Devices
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Sierra Wireless outs thinnest-ever 4G LTE module, teases skinny AT&T-ready laptops and tablets

        One of the bigger challenges of spreading LTE has been size; going 4G has tended to put on a little weight. A new Sierra Wireless embedded modem, the AirPrime EM7700, could be just the ticket to shedding those pounds. It’s reputedly the thinnest module ever made, at a tenth of an inch deep, and should slot into an Ultrabook or tablet without anyone making snide comments about the extra bulk.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Germany readying offensive cyberwarfare unit, parliament told

      Germany has set up a cyber-warfare unit designed to carry out offensive operations, the country’s Defence Ministry has admitted for the first time in a parliamentary report to legislators.

      According to German reports, the Bonn-based Computer Network Operations (CNO) unit had existed since 2006 but was only now being readied for deployment under the control of the country’s military.

  • Finance

    • Wall Street and Republicans team up to curb CFTC: Kemp

      Politics is brutal. Just how brutal became apparent Wednesday when Wall Street teamed up with Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives to emasculate the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) by slashing its budget while imposing new requirements for cost-benefit analysis and rule-writing.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • EU Governments Push Global Alliance for Net Censorship

      In an unanimous decision, EU Member States have decided to promote website censorship at the global scale under the pretext of tackling child pornography. This dangerous initiative must be denounced by lawmakers and citizens: Europe cannot give up on its commitment to the rule of law by legitimizing Net censorship internationally.

  • Civil Rights

    • Claim: Encrypted Chat Developer Detained, Interrogated at US Border

      A developer for encrypted chat application “Cryptocat” has recently claimed that he was detained and interrogated at the US border. Apparently, border guards took his passport and interrogated him about the application, demanding to know “which algorithms Cryptocat used and about its censorship resistance.”

    • FBI accused over removal of Megaupload data

      The FBI has been accused of “illegally” copying evidence used in a case against file-sharing site Megaupload.

      The site was shut down in January and its operators arrested in New Zealand because, alleged the FBI, it was being used to pirate content.

      Lawyers acting for Megaupload said the FBI had illegally removed hard drives containing evidence.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright law threatens to destroy the world, in Year Zero

        Check out an exclusive first look at the book trailer for Rob Reid’s Year Zero, a “Swiftian Satire” about aliens who love our music a little too much. This is the zaniest book trailer we’ve seen in quite some time, and it showcases what an unusual, offbeat premise this book actually has.

IRC Proceedings: May 27th-June 7th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: May 27th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: May 28th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: May 29th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: May 30th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: May 31st, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: June 1st, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: June 2nd, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: June 3rd, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: June 4th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: June 5th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: June 6th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: June 7th, 2012

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Enter the IRC channels now

Linux Foundation Members That Pay Microsoft for Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft at 2:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation

Summary: Microsoft’s partner, Samsung, gets more influence inside the #1 Linux backer

THE INFLUENCE of Novell inside the Linux Foundation is a subject that we’ve covered here for years. Groklaw highlighted this problem as well. The foundation was financially dependent on this puppet of Microsoft and now with Samsung in a position of power there is more Microsoft partner-based influence inside the foundation (Samsung is an ally of Microsoft in many areas). One article says that Samsung takes a seat on the board and another speaks of the financial terms. Now that a company which pays Microsoft for Linux and Android can call some shots under the “member” banner (and more) we ought not to expect much resistance to whatever extortion Microsoft engages in. On the contrary, Samsung continues to fight Apple’s embargo attempts:

Apple is desperately trying to get the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned from the United States. But before that can happen, Apple must wait for some judicial procedures to be completed.

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas,” said Steve Jobs, but now he pretends to have stuff “stolen” from him. The Microsoft lobbyist add some Android-hostile spin. That’s what he’s paid for. Apple in the mean time extends the embargo attempts. This is Apple’s main “innovation” these days. It’s an ill organisation.

Nokia in the mean time is also ill; it is a Microsoft-led entity which has power inside the Linux Foundation. It is feeding patent trolls who attack Linux, but do not expect Torvalds or Zemlin to publicly complain. Nokia helps pay their wage.

Jim Zemlin welcomes Samsung with the following message:

Today is a big day for Linux and a big day for Samsung. The last several months represent an amazing set of developments in Samsung’s use of Linux…

Do not expect Zemlin to talk about the disturbing fact that Samsung helps Microsoft normalise “Linux tax”, just as SUSE (or even SUSE Studio which is still alive) helps Microsoft control Linux and its distribution. As for Android, watch Microsoft piggybacking it for self-promotion, adding insult to injury:

The world just got stranger: not only is Microsoft trying to write cool software again, it’s decided that Android is the ideal beta platform, in spite of its bitter worldwide spat with Google over patents.

This is not the first time Microsoft piggybacks Android for promotion of Android’s competition whilst also attacking Android in the courtroom. There is seemingly no end to the humiliation. When you deal with a sociopath like Microsoft, repelling it and pushing it away is the only solution, adding to this an antitrust complaint, not the extension of olive branches. A sociopath thrives in forgiveness and the presumption of goodwill.

Oracle Starts Fighting a Good Fight, Should Drop Case Against Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Oracle, Patents at 2:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Court gavel

Summary: Now that Oracle takes on Lodsys it would be wise to bury the hatchet in the case against Android

THE Ellison-led Oracle has become quite a villain for several well understood reasons. But it’s tricky when Oracle makes several GPL-licensed software releases. It’s all strategic.

Groklaw breaks the news about Oracle stepping up to fight against Lodsys, a patent troll which we wrote about many times before. To quote Pamela Jones:

The constellations have shifted again. Oracle has just sued Lodsys, seeking to invalidate four of its patents. The complaint actually claims noninfringement and invalidity.

I know. Oracle is now the good guy. Major good guy.

See why I always tell you that to avoid whiplash, don’t look at the parties in litigation and decide who you like, but anaylze the issues involved and plant your flag accordingly? Hence, here we are, on the same side of this issue, Groklaw and Oracle. Who’d-a thunk it last week?

No. The API claims in Oracle v. Google are still from the Devil, as far as I’m concerned. But now there is a new issue in new litigation, and Lodsys… well. We’ve been covering Lodsys for quite a while.

Oracle’s case against Android may have died (it is not entirely over yet) and the OIN is delighted about it for the following reasons:

The recent verdict against Oracle in its patent case against Google over Java use in Android is good news for the Linux community – and in more ways than one, according to Keith Bergelt, CEO of the Open Invention Network (OIN).

The OIN was set up in 2005 to build a defensive patent-portfolio pot that could be shared royalty-free by participants, and which could be used to ward off patent trolls and aggressive litigation against Linux. Companies such as Red Hat, Google, and IBM have put money into the venture as a way of safeguarding themselves and promoting open source code.

Last week’s verdict set an encouraging precedent, Bergelt told The Register.

“It’s a heartening sign the judge was very analytical and it wasn’t a passive case of not making a decision,” he said. “It was an affirmative decision which we should take as a positive signal to the community.”

Red Hat is happy about the ruling too. Its FOSS-savvy lawyer says:

As has been widely reported, the district court in the Oracle v. Google case has issued an order holding that the “structure, sequence and organization” (SSO) of 37 J2SE 5.0 API packages is not copyrightable. Oracle is expected to appeal.

If Oracle just lets the case rot, then maybe its image will be reformed somewhat. Oracle attacked Android when Ellison’s best friend, Steve Jobs, was still alive with his "thermonuclear" ambitions. Now that he is dead (Professor Moglen calls it a “positive event”, in part because Jobs claimed credit for things he never invented) perhaps Ellison will decided to actually do something productive, unlike Mr. Jobs.

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