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Links 14/6/2012: Linux 3.5 RC2 is Out, Linus Gets Award

Posted in News Roundup at 3:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • TLWIR 39: GNU/Linux is Officially Too Big to Fail
  • The story of Eimi’s HD failure

    We were watching some YouTube clips when the computer rebooted and the OS refused to launch. It turns out that there was a power surge and some sectors of the HD fried. Yes, it was my fault because I forgot to replace the old UPS unit.

  • I started using LINUX because I didn’t want to wait 20 minutes to find out the weather forecast

    At the beginning of the century I moved away from my home in Southern England to the North East of Scotland. My job however remained in Southern England. Fortunately I wasn’t required to commute a 1400 mile a day round trip. Instead I was able to work from home.

  • Blame the user, not the tool

    For the past several days people have been tweeting at me (and Linus) to change the license of Linux to forbid the kernel’s use for war. These tweets were due to the issue of Linux being used in the drones of the US Military. I tweeted back “Do not blame the tool”, but I think that answer was too subtle, as the people kept tweeting. So here is a longer answer for them.

    First of all, Linus (and certainly not I) do not “own” Linux. The copyright holders of Linux are many, and some of them are no longer working on the project or even dead. Therefore to change the license terms at this point is both legally and morally impossible.

    Secondly, this request flies in the face of GPL Freedom #0, which states that the software can be used for any purpose.

    Many years ago we discussed the issues of Linux (or even GNU/Linux) being used in weapons, or for purposes that some people did not agree with.

    Part of the issue is that given a large enough audience, there are always some people that disagree with every use or with every person who uses it.

    For example, some people might not like the fact that Linux is used in robots that are used in the military. Yet some people’s lives might be saved by having that robot go into a situation that would be dangerous or even fatal to a human being. Should we ask that Linux not be put in that robot, knowing that a human life might be sacrificed instead?

  • Desktop

    • Clambook Turns the Laptop Into a Smartphone-Powered Peripheral, Cats Herd Sheep

      This year’s latest generation of smartphones will be equipped with new, more powerful mobile processors that rival the power of most laptops. So it almost seems fitting that Clamcase, the company that makes iPad keyboard docks, is making the laptop-like peripheral that’s completely powered by a smartphone.

      The Clambook is essentially a Macbook Air styled thin-as-hell laptop–minus all the guts. It’s equipped with a 16:9 display, 3D Cinema Sound system, track pad, and a full keyboard with Android specific keys.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Why Microsoft’s Metro Push Is Good for Linux

      With Ubuntu presenting its new Unity desktop to newcomers, I have been surprised to see how quickly many people are adapting to it. Like Windows 8′s Metro desktop, Unityalso presents something new to the end user.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Active – a New Approach to Tablet Computing

        Despite the success of Apple’s iPad, that is a question that seems to have defeated most hardware and software vendors. MeeGo struggled to define a tablet user interface, never quite managing more than a pre-release. It presented a few simple options, such as watching videos, playing music or browsing the Web—really no more than a modern phone with a larger screen. Even the iPad, an acknowledged success, is little more than an oversize iPhone. Its “wall of apps” approach has been largely copied by the Android-based tablets so far appearing on the market.

      • KDE Announces 4.9 Beta2
      • Amarok 2.6 Polishes, Adds Transcoding
    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome gets ready to unleash the beast: An App Center!

        Gnome three point six will surprise us in many ways. After the redesigned Shell we will get a new pretty package manager and ..a bit further a brand new fancy software center!

      • 10 GNOME games your friends will enjoy

        Back in February of this year, I wrote an article about casual games for the KDE desktop that non-Linux users would enjoy. Here is a list of some of the more popular games for the GNOME 3 desktop environment. Obviously they can be installed under a different desktop, but if you are already using GNOME, Cinnamon, or Unity, these will not add extra files that you wouldn’t use otherwise. The “gnome-games” meta package will install a total of 16 games, among which are all of the ones below.

      • Spice Up Your Desktop with Cinnamon!

        If you are disgruntled by the new interfaces provided by recent distribution releases, namely GNOME 3 and Unity, you might want to take a look at Cinnamon. With its traditional feel and extreme theme-ability, Cinnamon is a desktop interface bound to spice up anyone’s computer. The general feel is that of GNOME 2, or perhaps XFCE, but its polished look and downloadable themes make it truly exciting to behold.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Gets Fresh and Tasty with Sabayon 9 and LinuxMint Box

      There are a lot of Linux distributions on the Linux Planet, very few of them have their own branded hardware.

    • Interview with Ikey Doherty – creator of SolusOS

      SolusOS is a Debian-based distro that still uses Gnome2 as the desktop environment and it has gained a lot of attention of Linux users recently ( read my review for SolusOS ). 2 weeks ago, Burjans from com-sl.org sent me an interesting email about his interview with Ikey Doherty, the creator of SolusOS, about SolusOS and its future.

    • SolusOS 2 Alpha 4 Has Firefox 13 and GNOME 3.4

      Ikey Doherty announced yesterday, June 12th, the immediate availability for download and testing of the fourth Alpha version of the upcoming SolusOS 2 Linux distribution.

    • SolusOS 1 Eveline review – Very interesting

      SolusOS is a distribution with a clear mission – bringing back GNOME [sic]. This does not refer to your home garden midgets, mythical creatures or Gnome 3, but in fact the good old Gnome 2 desktop environment, the best one. SolusOS is based on Debian, sans the politics thingie, so there’s something for everyone.

    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon 9 KDE and GNOME preview

        Sabayon 9 is the latest release of Sabayon, a multi-purpose Linux distribution derived from Gentoo Linux. Made available for download are 32- and 64-bit installation ISO images for KDE, GNOME 3 and Xfce desktop environments.

        Sabayon is a rolling-release distribution, so existing users do not have to reinstall to get the latest core and applications of a Sabayon release. That is one of the best features of the distribution.

        This article features a few scree shots from test installations of the KDE and GNOME 3 editions. A detailed review should be published by the end of the week. The first four screen shots are from the GNOME 3 edition.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian project leader Stefano Zacchiroli and the controversy over Debian Multimedia

        I came across Debian project leader Stefano Zacchiroli’s Bits from the DPL on Planet Debian — the most recent bits also living on Stefano’s blog and on a Debian mailing list.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Introducing Ubuntu Clear Dark Sky Lens for Unity

            The Ubuntu Clear Dark Sky Lens is a very nice plugin for the Unity interface that can be used for planning stargazing activities directly from the Unity Dash, by displaying stargazing conditions and locations. The plugin retrives data from the Clear Dark Sky website.

          • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin: Discovering a world of PPAs
          • Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS, 12.04 LTS, 12.10 On An Old Laptop

            Last week I shared how the open-source R500 driver can compete with the legacy Catalyst Linux driver on an old Intel laptop with ATI graphics, but how has the performance for other areas of the system changed with the latest Ubuntu Linux code? In this article are benchmarks from other areas of this Core Duo laptop when running Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and then a recent development snapshot of Ubuntu 12.10.

          • Reviewed: Linux Ubuntu 12.04 — the pipe dream

            Ubuntu is a lot of things. Linux is a lot of things. For one thing that everyone can agree on — including the ones that hate Linux — is that it is probably the best server operating system available. The problem with it is that most people want it to become a bigger player in the desktop market. What could be the problem there? Well it’s simple. Linux is the kernel, like Windows NT is the kernel of almost all of the Microsoft Windows builds. Linux is used in almost everything from Android to your fridge.

          • Introducing Ubuntu Rotten Tomatoes Scope for Unity

            The Ubuntu Rotten Tomatoes Scope is a very useful Unity Dash plugin that allows users to search for review articles of movies, directly from the Unity Dash. The information is gathered from the Rotten Tomatoes website.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Quelitu 12.04 released

              Their comparison chart says that 12.04 has an idle RAM usage of 102 MB, which is a bit larger than my Debian/LXDE installation but not too much for an older PC, and pretty good for a Ubuntu-based distro.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What do open source enterprise developers really need to know?

    After decrying an open source survey issued last month from BlackDuck Software as somewhat simplistic and contrived in its initial presentation of facts, I’m pleased to say that we have a direct response from the company.

    Speaking to Black Duck’s Peter Vescuso who is the company’s executive VP of marketing and business development, the Computer Weekly Developer Network offers this short punchy Q&A to provide some insight into what software applications developers really need to know when it comes to some of the most pertinent issues found at the open source coding coalface.

  • Bach Goes Open-Source With A Little Help From Some Fans

    u have to hand it to good old J.S. Bach for the latest project taken up in his name: a successful campaign to open-source and app-ify one of his most beloved works, The Goldberg Variations.

    The Open Goldberg Variations project is a dream come true for Bach enthusiasts, open-source fans, app-makers, remixers, mashers-up of all stripes, and anyone with interested ears, created with the aim of “Setting Bach Free.” Pristine recordings of this masterwork are available for free in sound qualities all the way up to 24-bit 96 Kbps FLAC (torrent), but that’s just for starters.

  • 5 Best Free and Open-Source Bible Study Programs for Linux and Windows
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome vs. Firefox for Ubuntu

      According to the independent web analytics firm, StatCounter Chrome has excelled as the world most popular browser with the highest browser usage share for the month of May 2012. But does that apply to Linux platform too? Is Chrome the best browser for Linux? The post compares the widely popular Mozilla Firefox browser version 4 with relatively new Google’s Chrome version 16, distinctly for Ubuntu!

    • Chrome

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD forked to create Bitrig

      A group of developers have created “Bitrig”, a new fork of the OpenBSD free BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. The developers say that they forked from OpenBSD because they “want to be a bit more loose when it comes to experimenting with features”; as a security-focused distribution, OpenBSD tends to be more conservative when adding new features.


    • Introducing our new copyright & licensing associate

      Donald Robertson, III is the new copyright & licensing associate at the FSF.

    • I have some big shoes to fill

      I’m sad to announce that I will no longer be able to work alongside Brett Smith, who served as the FSF’s licensing and compliance engineer since 2007, but whom I first worked with at the FSF a decade ago when we both were interns for a summer. Brett has moved on to work with the World Wide Web Consortium and we wish him the best of luck! And, I hope you will all wish me the best of luck as I am changing roles here at the FSF. I am moving from campaigns manager to the newly re-branded, “licensing and compliance manager.”

    • Hostility to Free Software

      The free software community has been around for quite some time now–longer than I remember, since I’ve only joined in the past few years. And for some reason, though that time seems to have been spent on good works that benefit humanity, and advocacy that teaches people how to be free, the movement is sometimes the object of some hostility.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Larry Lessig: The corruption of the American political system

      Two years ago, I interviewed law professor, author, and Creative Commons co-founder Larry Lessig to discuss his work on institutional corruption and what he describes as the “economy of influence” in American politics. This week he was back in Durham, NC to discuss his new book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It.

    • Data.gov Releases Open Source Software

      The General Services Administration (GSA) announced on May 21 that Data.Gov partnering with the Government of India National Informatics Centre has produced an open source version of Data.gov that is being made available today, the third anniversary of Data.gov. The open source product, called the Open Government Platform (OGPL), can be downloaded and evaluated by any national Government or state or local entity as a path toward making their data open and transparent.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • An architecture of participation

      What is changing now is that participatory models are becoming the rule, not the exception. The world used to be about command and control. Someone told you what to do. There still is a lot of that. But collaborative innovation is taking over. We are coming to a stage in our civilization where regular functions are masterfully automated and industrialized, and our focus as human beings can and will increasingly be on innovation. In the area of innovation, the most powerful creation happens in teams, groups, and crowds–across organizational boundaries. When we architect for such participation, we can multiply the power of innovation.

    • Patent granted to encourage purchase of digital textbooks

      In a newly approved patent, an economics professor hopes to bring to the academic publishing world what seems to be forthcoming in the video game industry—new restrictions that would seemingly eliminate a secondary market for digital goods and prevent legal borrowing.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Raunchy dance at Microsoft Azure presentation

    The dance included several drug references and one classic line that must have taken a lot of time to write: “The words Micro and Soft don’t apply to my penis.”

    But then, acutely aware of the fact that there could be accusations of sexism with these lyrics, the words “Or vagina” were added below on a monitor that displayed the lyrics as they were sung.

  • Security

    • Attackers target unpatched PHP bug allowing malicious code execution
    • Intel CPUs affected by VM privilege escalation exploit
    • Diving Into Flame, Researchers Find A Link To Stuxnet

      Researchers digging through the code of the recently discovered Flame worm say they have come across a wealth of evidence that suggests Flame and the now-famous Stuxnet worm share a common origin.

      Researchers from Kaspersky Lab say that a critical module that the Flame worm used to spread is identical to a module used by Stuxnet.a, an early variant of the Stuxnet worm that began circulating in 2009, more than a year before a later variant of the worm was discovered by antivirus researchers at the Belarussian firm VirusBlokAda. The claims are the most direct, to date, that link the Flame malware, which attacked Iranian oil facilities, with Stuxnet, which is believed to have targeted Iran’s uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz. If true, they suggest a widespread and multi-year campaign of offensive cyber attacks against multiple targets within that country.

    • Attacks Targeting US Defense Contractors and Universities Tied to China

      UPDATE: Researchers have identified an ongoing series of attacks, possibly emanating from China, that are targeting a number of high-profile organizations, including SCADA security companies, universities and defense contractors. The attacks are using highly customized malicious files to entice targeted users into opening them and starting the compromise.

  • Finance

    • UK Uncut makes high court challenge to Goldman Sachs tax deal

      A deal worth at least £10m between banking giant Goldman Sachs and the head of HM Revenue and Customs is set to be challenged in the high court on Wednesday by tax-avoidance campaign group, UK Uncut Legal Action.

      The high court in London is expected to hear that a multi-million pound agreement sealed with a handshake between David Hartnett, the head of HMRC, and Goldman Sachs senior employees, which permitted the investment conglomerate to keep back £10m in back taxes, should be quashed under judicial review.

      UK Uncut Legal Action have accused customs officials of giving the US multinational giant favourable treatment in a settlement of a tax dispute which saw Goldman Sachs let off £10m in interest payments.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Copyrights

    • If Megaupload users want their data, they’re going to have to pay

      U.S. federal prosecutors are fine with Megaupload users recovering their data — as long as they pay for it.

      The government’s position was explained in a court filing on Friday concerning one of the many interesting side issues that has emerged from the shutdown of Megaupload, formerly one of the most highly trafficked file-sharing sites.

      Prosecutors were responding to a motion filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in late March on behalf of Kyle Goodwin, an Ohio-based sports reporter who used Megaupload legitimately for storing videos.

      Goodwin’s hard drive crashed, and he lost access to the data he backed up on Megaupload when the site was shut down on Jan. 19 on criminal copyright infringement charges.

      U.S. law allows for third parties who have an interest in forfeited property to make a claim. But the government argues that it only copied part of the Megaupload data and the physical servers were never seized.

    • ACTA

      • Endspiel ACTA

        ACTA moves closer to the plenary. Next week the Trade committee (INTA) of the Parliament would take its decision. Commissioner Karel De Gucht invited himself to the meeting, what is tried now is delaying the Parliament vote. MEP Moreira mocked that since De Gucht has to come whenever INTA calls, he also enjoys the right to appear when he desires. Commissioner De Gucht would appear before INTA on Thursday 21 June at 10h (Room 4 Q 1), just before the crucial vote.

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