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Links 13/6/2012: China Has GNU/Linux on the Desktop, Sabayon 9 Released, RMS Robbed

Posted in News Roundup at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • What Price an OS?

    Let’s assume the consumer can subtract… Identical hardware + “7″ – Identical hardware – GNU/Linux Mint = “7″ – GNU/Linux Mint = $589 – $476 = $113. Hey, do you really want to spend $113 more than you need to get the machine running? I like it. Competition in operating systems. What a concept…

  • Mainstream Notebook in China Runs GNU/Linux

    Thanks to Google Translate, I was able to find a ton of links to a recent model of Acer 14 inch notebook available in China and there’s no sign of that other OS, just GNU/Linux. The price is a lot lower than similar products supplied with that other OS. It’s not a netbook, folks. It has a ton of RAM and a Sandy Bridge processor.

  • A Modern Day (computing) Fairy Tale

    Once upon a time there lived a young squire (engineer) who learned to ride a seasoned horse (computer) with a trusted saddle (UNIX OS) for it was his job. While learning to ride, the squire learned to tweak the saddle (write scripts) to make the horse uniquely his. One day a saddle salesman named William came to the squire’s village (company) and told the village elders (IT department) that, for much gold ($$), he could sell them a new kind of saddle. One that could make the village’s horses do wonderful things. Never mind that the saddle was full of holes and had bugs for if they did not buy his new saddle, the village across the river would best them in tournament for they had already purchased his new saddle. All the saddles of the village elders were sold and soon all the old saddles, along with the squire’s saddle, were retired. Unfortunately the horses, with William’s new saddle, didn’t do all that William had promised. When asked about this, William replied “to make the new saddles work best you must spend more gold and buy new, more powerful horses.” The village elders were sold and soon the trusted horses were retired for new, more powerful ones.

  • Desktop

    • Newegg: Installing Linux On Your Computer Is Basically The Same As Breaking It

      One would think that Newegg, beloved electronics supplier to the world’s geeks wouldn’t have a problem with customers installing different operating systems on their systems after delivery. Heck, they should expect it. Which is why Norma was surprised when she returned her new Thinkpad that had a glitchy display after only three days, and Newegg refused the RMA. Why? Well, she had installed Linux Mint on it, which voids the Newegg return policy for computers.

    • Why Google Should Subsidize Chrome OS-based Systems

      Chrome OS is undoubtedly seeing a second wave of interest from Google, with officials from the company making very clear that they have no plans to give up on the operating system. New Chromebook systems are arriving, and Google is complementing the very cloud-focused Chrome OS platform with extras such as Google Drive–which offers free storage in the cloud–and the acquisition of Quickoffice, which provides office productivity applications for mobile devices. It’s becoming clear, though, that Chromebook systems are too expensive, and Google must address the issue.

    • Free As In… Trademarks? Linux And The Small OEM

      If anyone can help clarify this, please feel free to do so. I would like to know exactly what is required to advertise and sell small numbers of computers pre-loaded with Ubuntu.

      I decided to share my findings here – without prejudice – so that small OEMs considering free and open source operating systems might educate themselves, to ensure that they are not breaching the trademark policies of the organization(s) in question, and potentially exposing themselves to legal issues.

      Linux is an excellent operating system and a worthy first choice for many applications, however, computer OEMs must be aware of other requirements where commercial interests are involved.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • The GNOME Exodus and KDE

      Over the last fourteen months, discontent with Unity and the GNOME 3 series of releases have sent GNOME users galloping in all directions in their search for alternatives. Xfce and Linux Mint’s Cinnamon and Mate in particular have benefited from this search. However, one alternative that users have not considered to any extent is KDE.

      Considering the years in which GNOME and KDE were considered the main desktop environments for Linux, this trend is surprising at first.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • New KDE Telepathy version features audio and video calls

        After four months full of work, the KDE Telepathy team is back with another release. Version 0.4 of the Instant Messaging suite for KDE Workspaces now supports making audio and video calls right from the desktop. It also adds the ability to browse chat logs. We focused strongly on stability and performance, so most of the improvements are “under the hood”. In addition, work was started to have a Kopete log importer in the next release.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 27th May 2012
    • GNOME Desktop

      • A Day With Gnome 3

        At UDS in Oakland I was asked me what I thought of Gnome 3. I answered honestly that there were parts I liked and parts that I did not. I also expressed that I thought that it would have been better if Gnome and Ubuntu had been able to work together so that efforts were not split on the ‘next generation’ Gnome experience. It had been a while since I had used Gnome 3 so I made a mental note that I should give it another try when I had the chance.

  • Distributions

    • The best Linux netbook distro?

      Most netbooks (if not all) use weak, low-voltages Atom processors and less RAM than normal laptops. When this hardware specification is very friendly to the battery life, it is not designed to be heavily taxed. That’s why the linux distro you use on the netbook should be simple and light-weight and not use too much memory.

    • Dick MacInnis is a “Dreamer” | Interview

      Why did a musician decide to develop his own operating system? What was your problem with the available software, and even music production oriented GNU/Linux distributions?

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 3 is on Its Way

        Mageia 2 was released on May 22, and while many are still planning their upgrades or thinking about a test drive, Mageia 3 is already on its way. In a blog post today Anne Nicolas announced the official kick-off of Mageia 3.

        Nicolas stated the full release plan is set for Mageia 3, which includes a final release date in March 2013. Users will get their first peek with Alpha 1 scheduled this September.

      • Mandriva finally died! Well, sort of…

        Many Linux users have already proclaimed Mandriva deceased and buried it. But is this old Linux distro quite dead? Well, yes. Sort of. Mandriva became a zombie!

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon 9 arrives with Linux 3.4 and new app browser

        The developers say that much of their effort over the past three months since the previous release has been put into making the base system packages more secure. This has been done by introducing the Hardened Gentoo profile – Sabayon is derived from Gentoo Linux. The hardened profile adds several additional security services and enables various risk-mitigating options in the toolchain. However, the developers note that a hardened Linux kernel is not yet included, but that it “might come in the near future”.

      • Sabayon 9 Review

        In my review of Sabayon Linux 8, I praised Sabayon’s ability to combine spectacular beauty, breathtaking performance, bleeding-edge updates, competitive application selection, server-grade stability, and superb resource management. Sabayon provides an experience any experienced Linux user can fall in love with, and so far as I can tell there is still no Linux distribution that quite matches it in sheer awesomeness.

      • Sabayon 9 Released

        Sabayon 9 was released a few days ago with the usual updates as well as a new package management interface, Gentoo Hardened, and PAE. As is tradition, Sabayon 9 comes in several flavors and your choice of architecture and purpose.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian wheezy for Raspberry Pi goes into testing

        The developers working on Raspberry Pi are working on a release of the next generation of Debian, “wheezy” and have released a test image for users to try out on the mini-computer. The current release of Debian GNU/Linux for the Raspberry Pi is based on the current release of Debian, “squeeze”.

      • The MagPI Raspberry PI Magazine Issue 02 Released | Download pdf
      • Debian Project News – June 11th, 2012
      • My Mighty Debian Squeeze 64-Bit

        People always run after high performance and less resource-hogging computers and operating systems. In that run they stumble upon barely usable linux distro forks with lxde or xfce environments, or go for big muscle hardware such as core i7 extreme processors, latest intel chipset mobos, discrete graphics cards and the latest maximum memory modules. May be out of ignorance.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Fans: Humble Bundle Games Are Now Available In The Software Center

            If you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you might be excused for not knowing about this Humble Bundle thing. As a long-time Linux user, the Humble Bundles have always been of interest to me, and I’ve always tried to support them financially. It’s also always been interesting to me that Linux users typically pay more for the Bundles than their Windows or Mac counterparts. Clearly there’s a profitable market for Linux games.

            Canonical has jumped on the Humble Bundle bandwagon this time around, and are making it easy for Ubuntu users to install the games they’ve purchased. Each of the Humble Bundle games is available individually for direct purchase through the Ubuntu Software Center at full retail price; but if you buy the current Humble Bundle you can quickly and easily install them through the Software Center, rather than download them and manually install them.

          • Ubuntu Linux 12.10 ‘Quantal Quetzal’ Alpha 1 – New features in free OS
          • I’ve had enough of Ubuntu Unity!

            Everyone I know who’s used Ubuntu of late can’t stick the Unity interface. Admittedly, a dozen people does not maketh a statistically coherent sample. But still, I feel it’s indicative of some real problems.

          • It’s Time for Canonical to Stop Protecting Unity

            I recently installed Ubuntu 12.04 on my T43, just to take it for a test spin, and because I had heard a lot of really nice things about the release. I’m still totally in love with OpenSUSE 12.1, which is my day-to-day home OS, but the vast Ubuntu repositories are always a selling point for me. I was curious if Unity was workable for me down the line.

          • Ubuntu 12.04 family boot times – Start the clock

            All right, time for another boot time competition. It’s definitely not the most important aspect of the computer usage, but it can show some rather interesting trends in how an operating system behaves, especially if you can compare successive editions or nearly identical versions.

            The last time I gave Ubuntu and its family a timely [sic] shakedown was shortly before the spring release, with Oneiric, Kubuntu of the same numerical persuasion and Mint Julia competing on my rather unusual old-new T61 machine with SSD. Surprisingly, the results were not what I expected; there was quite some variation and the overall boost the SSD gave over conventional disks was not that spectacular. Now, Precise Pangolin is out there, so let’s see what gives. Tested: Ubuntu, Kubuntu and – a newcomer – Xubuntu. After me.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 269
          • Ubuntu App Developer Goings On

            With the release of Ubuntu 12.04, there have been many different viewpoints on which parts are the most important features and facilities for our users; Unity, the HUD, application choice etc etc.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal Now Ready for Download

            In just a few weeks after a previous version called Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin arrived, a new alpha build of Ubuntu has been made available. The new version is called Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal and it is slated to come out in the fall this year. However, for those who want a preview of the new features, the software is now ready for download at the Ubuntu website.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • A Bodhi Linux 2.0.0 FAQ

              I’ve been getting a good deal of redundant questions regarding Bodhi’s upcoming 2.0.0 release. Today I would like to address a few of the more common questions I’ve been getting.

            • Review: Linux Mint 13 LTS “Maya” MATE

              Linux Mint has been my OS of choice for the last 3 years now. For the last 2 years, I have been using Linux Mint 9 LTS “Isadora” GNOME. That will be supported for another year from now, but that also means that I need to start looking into replacements for when the old version loses its official support. I’ve played around with Cinnamon, but it’s still a bit immature and unstable and doesn’t quite fit my needs; given that MATE is supposed to be GNOME 2 with the essential components simply renamed, it seems like this would be the best candidate for remaining on my computer’s hard drive for the next few years.

            • Bodhi Linux ARM Release Candidate for Genesi
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Are Multi-Core Processors a Waste of Time for Android?

          It’s tempting to suggest that Intel has a vested interest in rubbishing the current state of the Android market, especially when it comes to multi-core processors. After all, its hopes are pinned on its Medfield chip—which just happens to be a single-core design.

        • Linaro boosts Android 4.0.4 performance

          Using a customised version of Google’s open source Android mobile operating system, developers at Linaro have managed to improve the performance of some tasks by up to 100 per cent. In a recently published video from Linaro Connect Q2.12, Bernhard Rosenkränzer, a software engineer at Linaro, compares a stock build of Android 4.0.4 “Ice Cream Sandwich” from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) web site to the tweaked Linaro Android 4.0.4 build to show off its optimisations.

        • Android: not-so-open open source

          Google has just come through a searching examination of its claims to ownership of the Android mobile operating system, with one of the most aggressive tech companies in the US, Oracle, having gained nothing from a trial by jury.

          Google was accused of both copyright infringement and patent violation; the former claim was upheld but the jury was unclear whether the unauthorised use could be covered by fair use or not. The patent violation charges did not stick.

        • Android already offers more than iOS 6, but…

          There’s no doubt about it. Android, especially Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), version 4.0, already offers more than what is coming in Apple’s forthcoming iOS 6. But, Android has its own flaws.

          True, as Tom Henderson, principal researcher for ExtremeLabs and a colleague, told me, there’s a “Schwarzschild radius surrounding Apple. It’s not just a reality distortion field; it’s a whole new dimension. Inside, time slows and light never escapes– as time compresses to an amorphous mass.

          “Coddled, stroked, and massaged,” Henderson continued, “Apple users start to sincerely believe the distortions regarding the economic life, the convenience, and the subtle beauties of their myriad products. Unknowingly, they sacrifice their time, their money, their privacy, and soon, their very souls. Comparing Apple with Android, the parallels to Syria and North Korea come to mind, despot-led personality cults.”

          I wouldn’t go that far. While I prefer Android, I can enjoy using iOS devices as well. Besides, Android fans can be blind to its faults just as much as the most besotted Apple fan.

        • The iOS Fragmentation Begins

          iPad and 3rd generation iPod Touch will not be getting any iOS 6 upgrade at all. Even the devices which will be upgraded to iOS 6 won’t be getting all the ‘new’ (already found on Android) features.

          According to The Verge only “(the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and new iPad) will be able to use the new Flyover and turn-by-turn navigation features in iOS 6.”

          iPhone 4 won’t be getting the Facetime over cellular networks feature whereas iPhone 3GS will miss quite a lot of features including shared Photo Streams, VIP and flagged email features, and the offline reading list.

        • Android performance boosted 30-100 percent by Linaro toolchain

          Linaro’s efforts have boosted Android’s performance, delivering an improvement of 30 to 100 percent in various benchmarks. They achieved these impressive gains by adapting Android 4 so that it could be built with their improved GCC toolchain.

          We first wrote about Linaro in 2010 when the non-profit organization was founded by a consortium of hardware and software companies, including ARM, Samsung, TI, and Canonical. Linaro has worked to improve the quality of Linux on the ARM architecture, focusing largely on hardware-enablement and tooling.

        • Android 4.0.3 update out for T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy S II
        • Sony To Launch Android SmartWatch In India For Rs 6,299

          Sony is planning to launch its Android-powered SmartWatch in India for the price of Rs 6,299. The SmartWatch features a multi-touch 3.3cm color OLED display. The SmartWatch can be used with any compatible Android smartphone or tablet.

        • Getting Work Done On Android

          With increasingly powerful Android smartphones and tablets, and the vast usability enhancements Android itself has gotten through its various incarnations, it’s increasingly likely that your day to day computer use can be reduced or eliminated by using your mobile device. I myself have not had a desktop computer since 2010 when I first got an Android device.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Tablet PC ASPs declined significantly in 1Q12, says IMS

        Despite booming shipments of low-end tablets, vendors of this tier have also pulled the average price down. Low-end tablets typically have prices below US$200. However, brands like the white-box tablet PCs have lowered prices below this average and as a result have won widespread adoption in the quarter, primarily in emerging countries.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Robin Miller’s formula for a successful open source career

    For an audience composed primarily of open source programmers, developers, and system administrators gathered at SouthEast LinuxFest, Robin Miller’s message might be tough to swallow.

    “You cannot be a ‘Linux sysadmin’ in today’s world,” he said. “Not if you want to maximize your income and job satisfaction.”

    It’s an odd statement to hear in a presentation entitled “Using Linux to Boost Your IT Career,” which Miller, the former Slashdot editor known affectionately as “roblimo,” delivered June 9, the second day of the conference in Charlotte, NC.

  • Publication of Sixth Issue – International Free and Open Source Software Law Review

    The Editorial Committee is delighted to announce the sixth issue of the ‘International Free and Open Source Software Law Review’ (IFOSS L. Rev.) which is available for free access on our website in HTML and PDF formats. IFOSS L. Rev. is a peer-reviewed biannual legal review dedicated to analysis and debate around Free and Open Source Software legal issues.

  • Events

    • Best Of LinuxCon Japan 2012

      Here are some of the highlights from this year’s edition of LinuxCon Japan, the largest yet with some 650 attendees. There were lots of sessions beyond those touched on here, as well as a lively hallway track—not to mention the lunch, dinner, and drinks tracks. One suspects that next year’s conference will be bigger and better still.

    • The Linux Foundation Announces 2012 Linux Scholarship Program

      The Linux Foundation has announced its 2012 Linux Training Scholarship Program, part of an annual program that offers scholarship funds to five computer science students. The organization is also today announcing a new Enterprise Linux Training program aimed at “preparing the next generation of enterprise architects.”

    • Five Reasons The Atlassian Summit Was a Great Show
    • Akademy 2012 Special Events

      Akademy is more than inspiring talks. It’s also a place to plan, collaborate and get a lot of work done in BoFs and workshops.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 14 Beta Arrives with an Extra Shot of Security

        Mozilla’s new Firefox 13 browser may have just barely landed on users’ PCs, but already forward-looking fans can check out the beta version of Firefox 14–and the Aurora version of Firefox 15, too.

      • Firefox 15 Aurora has native PDF support

        A new in-development version of Firefox 15 has arrived in the open source web browser’s Aurora channel. The experimental build of Firefox is the first version to include native support for viewing PDF documents; in contrast, Google added built-in PDF support to its Chrome Dev channel in June 2010, integrating it in the stable 8.0 branch later that year.

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • TDF InfoGraphics, May 2012
    • Using HUD In LibreOffice

      When Mark Shuttleworth introduced the HUD earlier this year in his blog post, most of us were amazed by it and the tabloids called it the most exciting feature of Ubuntu 12.04 ‘Precise Pangolin’.

    • LibreOffice 3.6.0 Beta1 Available For Testing

      The Document Foundation, the body behind LibreOffice, has announced the availability of LibreOffice 3.6.0 Beta1. The fist beta of the next major version of LibreOffice (aka LO) is intended for evaluation, QA testing, etc. If you are a LibreOffice user and want to help the team in evaluating the upcoming release, you can download it from this link.


    • Thief open-sources Richard Stallman’s laptop, passport, visa

      Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, was distressed to find his personal belongings had been liberally distributed sans GPL – his prized laptop, wallet and passport were nicked at a conference in Argentina.


      Stallman’s laptop will be even harder to replace than his passport and visa: it’s a Leemote Yeeloong, which runs free software from the BIOS up and is one of the rare bits of hardware compatible with his hardline stance on software freedom. Presumably the thief will have spent the day battling a command prompt and failing to install the right codecs and packages just to watch a YouTube video.

    • esr v rms – promoting good technology versus fighting evil technology
    • Free Software More Secure than the Real World, Stallman Learns

      THE OUTSPOKEN father of Free Software Foundation and GNU Richard Stallman, was mugged of all his important belongings last Friday after giving a talk at UBA Buenos Aires University, learning an important lesson on Basic travel security in the process…

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • How bikers and artists create community with LocalWiki

      If you’re a civic hacker then you know nothing brings developers together like the shared experience of solving a hard problem. But for you, “solving problems” is probably almost synonymous with “writing code.” What’s not always clear is how people who aren’t developers can work with Brigades to solve pressing civic issues.

  • Programming


  • Security

  • Finance

    • Gorman to Blankfein Treated as Junk Before Cuts: Credit Markets

      Investors are fleeing global financial institutions as Europe’s escalating fiscal crisis threatens to poison the balance sheets of the region’s lenders and spread to trading partners globally. Moody’s, which has been reducing ratings for banks from Australia to Austria, has said that 15 banks with a combined $28.2 trillion of assets may be the next group it cuts as part of a review that will conclude this month.

    • Investors In Hedge Funds Are Starting To Head For The Exits

      There are signs that investors are becoming increasingly impatient with hedge funds and that 2012 will be an important year for this very rich $2 trillion industry.

      Investors pulled $5.1 billion from hedge funds in April, according to BarclayHedge and TrimTabs Investment Research, and more than $12.7 billion flowed out of the hedge fund industry between May 2011 and April 2012. There were net outflows in 6 of those 12 months.

  • Censorship

    • 451: Web censorship status code

      Back in the early days of the Web, we set up Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) status messages to let people know what was going on with a Web server. Today, we still use 401 error messages for pages you’re not authorized to see, 403 pages for pages you can’t see even with authentication, and the ever popular 404 for Web pages that can’t be found. Now, with the rise of Internet censorship, Tim Bray is proposing a new HTTP code: 451, for Web servers and pages that are being censored,

  • Privacy

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  15. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

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