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07.31.12

Links 31/7/2012: Richard Stallman Remarks on Valve for GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Black Hat Defcon: Can you hack a Linux Powered SOHO Router with DLNA?

    Security researcher Zachary Cutlip (my pic left) took the stage at both Black Hat and Defcon conferences this weekend.

    His talk was about doing SQL Injection on MIPS Powered SOHO routers – and in particular he aimed at the Linux powered Netgear WNDR3700.

    After sitting through an hour of this guy’s presentation at Black Hat (I didn’t bother to see it a second time at Defcon) the answer is:

  • Linux Desktops Dominate at Black Hat

    There are some people that don’t believe the Linux Desktop is relevant.

    I’m not one of them, and apparently neither are hordes of security professionals that were at the recent Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas (including me).

    The show itself doesn’t calculate who uses what..but Aruba Networks (they have a Linux powered set of wireless routers) does measure.

    For desktop OS users of the Wi-Fi network, the top desktop OS was…

  • Kernel Space

    • Ext4 vs. Btrfs: Why We’re Making The Switch [Linux]

      Quite honestly, one of the last things people look at is which file system is being used. Windows and Mac OS X users have even less reason to look, because they really have only one choice for their system – NTFS and HFS+, respectively. Linux, on the other hand, has plenty of different file system options, with the current default being ext4.

      However, there’s been another push to change the file system to something called btrfs. But what makes btrfs better, and when will we see distributions making the change?

    • Linux Foundation Adds Antelink, Calxeda and Reaktor as New Members

      The Linux Foundation announced that Antelink, Calxeda and Reaktor have joined the organization supporting the growth and adoption of Linux.

      The Linux Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting Linux, has announced that three new companies are joining the organization: Antelink, Calxeda and Reaktor.

    • Talk Of A “Massive Power Regression” In Linux 3.5

      For at least some hardware, it looks like the Linux 3.5 kernel has regressed and is burning through noticeably more power than its predecessor.

      Over the weekend a new mailing list thread began that was entitled “Massive power regression going 3.4->3.5″ pertaining to a power problem in this most recent Linux kernel release. This just wasn’t a random user complaining of a “massive power regression” but James Bottomley, a Linux kernel developer veteran.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Ivy Bridge Performance Drops In Mesa 8.1

        In recent days there have been updated Mesa 8.1 development benchmarks put out looking at the R600 Gallium3D, R300 Gallium3D, and Nouveau Gallium3D open-source drivers. Those results for the different drivers show that Mesa 8.1 is generally faster than the current Mesa 8.0 stable series, but that does not appear to be the case for Intel at the moment. It looks like there are some active regressions that are lowering the Intel Ivy Bridge graphics performance with their Mesa 8.1-devel driver.

      • Freedreno Driver Gets Working Shader Assembler
  • Applications

    • TorqueBox 2.10 comes with new leadership and JDK workarounds

      The TorqueBox project’s leader, Bob McWhirter, has stepped down from leading the development of the platform designed to run Ruby on Rails applications on JBoss’s Application Server. McWhirter has led the project for the past four years, but has now become “Director of Polyglot for JBoss”, a role that gives him more responsibilities within Red Hat. His place will be taken by Ben Browning, an existing core contributor to the project; Browning is said to have been unofficially driving the project for the last few months and “now – it’s just official”.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Richard M Stallman: Steam Is Good For GNU/Linux
      • Valve, Linux and the Windows 8 ‘Catastrophe’
      • Microsoft Windows 8 Games: Software Developer War or Empty Words?
      • Richard Stallman pours cold water on Steam

        While many open sourcers have welcomed the news that the games company Steam might be making thousands of games available for Linux, Free Software Guru Richard Stallman is not impressed.

        Writing from his bog, Stallman said that while the availability of popular nonfree programs on GNU/Linux can boost adoption of the system, it may not bring enough freedom.

        He said that nonfree games were unethical because they deny freedom to their users. So if users want freedom the only way they can do that is to only have free software on their computer.

      • GNU founder Stallman calls DRM’d Steam for Linux games “unethical”

        Valve recently announced plans to bring its Steam game distribution service to the Linux platform. The company has also ported its Source game engine and the popular title Left 4 Dead 2. In a recent interview, Valve’s Gabe Newell said that the move was partly influenced by concerns about the increasingly closed nature of the Windows platform.

        The Linux desktop has historically been ignored by major commercial software developers due to the relatively small audience and technical issues like fragmentation. Steam’s arrival on Linux has largely been welcomed by Linux enthusiasts who recognize it as a big step towards legitimizing the Linux desktop as a consumer platform.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME’s Future: Open Source Desktop Interface In Doubt?

        GNOME, the project responsible for what has been one of the open-source world’s most popular desktop interfaces for well over a decade, is teetering on the edge of crisis mode. At least, that’s what one developer suggests in a recent personal blog post ominously titled “starting into the abyss.” Does GNOME, despite its rich and influential past, really face such a dismal future? Here are some thoughts.

        Personally, I’d be pretty sad to see the GNOME project die. I haven’t used the desktop environment on a daily basis since development on GNOME 2.x ended in favor of GNOME Shell, but I grew up as a Linux user with GNOME. The open-source ecosystem just wouldn’t feel the same if I knew I no longer had the option of running GNOME software.

      • Gnome-Schedule – GNOME scheduler for automatic tasks

        Gnome-schedule is a graphical user interface that leverages the power of vixie-cron, dcron and at to manage your crontab file and provide an easy way to schedule tasks on your computer. It supports recurrent (periodical) tasks and tasks that happen only once in the future. It is written in Python using pygtk, and has been developed, tested and packaged for various Linux distributions.

      • Is GNOME “Staring into the abyss?”

        A leading GNOME developer thinks the once popular Linux/Unix desktop interface has lost its way.

      • GNOME in Trouble Again (or Still)?

        We knew that a certain segment of the Linux population was still unhappy with GNOME, but I thought most of issues were behind us; that most have adapted or moved on. But apparently, a wave of articles today suggests otherwise. Of course, an insider’s blog post set off this campfire.

      • Staring Into The Abyss: Some Thoughts

        Last week Benjamin Otte shared some thoughts about GNOME that were pretty stark. It gathered some steam and hit Slashdot and this all happened the week GUADEC was taking place in A Coruña. I wasn’t at GUADEC :-( but I can imagine there was some fervent discussion about the blog entry.

        The gist of Benjamin’s blog was that people are leaving GNOME, that the project is understaffed, and arguably the reason for this is that GNOME has lost its direction and Red Hat have overtaken the project as the primary contributor-base. Of course I am summarizing, but check out the original post if you feel I am not representing Benjamin’s views fairly.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • HTC bites the bullet, closes South Korean office

          Fighting sluggish sales numbers and competing in a locally-dominated smartphone market, HTC has closed its South Korean office doors.

        • ZTE Flash headed to Sprint with 4.5-inch IPS 720p display and 12.6MP camera

          ZTE recently announced the Grand X for Europe and the Asia Pacific in the third quarter, but it looks like they have something else up their sleeve for the U.S. in the 4th quarter. The ZTE Flash will debut on Sprint this October and it sports some pretty decent specs such as a 4.5-inch IPS 720p (1280 x 720) display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 12.6MP rear camera, 1MP front facing camera, 8GB of internal storage, microSDXC slot, 1780mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.0, LTE, Gorilla Glass, and Android 4.0.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Do I Still Like My Nexus 7 After A Week? Nexus 7 Review

        Google’s Nexus 7 is all the rage. The tablet is so popular that Google ran out of stock and the orders are on halt for a while. The tablet is getting praise even from staunch Apple fans like MG Seigler. The most notable praise came from none other than the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, who is a great critic and seems to have a hold of what a user wants.

      • Nexus 7 (16GB) Now Available At Google Play
      • Samsung Working On Bigger Tablet With Retina Display

        Many Samsung fans always wondered that despite being the world’s #1 display manufacturer and lead supplier of Apple’s retina display why is Samsung now offering the same high resolution display for its phones or tablets. Well, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and S3 do have an extremely high resolution display but tablets are still a different animal. It seems Samsung is working on a high resolution tablet with a bit bigger screen size.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Six misconceptions about open source software

    In information technology (IT) and software development fields, there are a few fairly common misconceptions about the use of open source software. These misconceptions were debunked in a discussion at POSSE RIT 2012, and we’d like to share (and spread) that conversation.

  • Open source won

    I heard the comments a few times at the 14th OSCON: The conference has lost its edge. The comments resonated with my own experience — a shift in demeanor, a more purposeful, optimistic attitude, less itching for a fight. Yes, the conference has lost its edge, it doesn’t need one anymore.

    Open source won. It’s not that an enemy has been vanquished or that proprietary software is dead, there’s not much regarding adopting open source to argue about anymore. After more than a decade of the low-cost, lean startup culture successfully developing on open source tools, it’s clearly a legitimate, mainstream option for technology tools and innovation.

  • Free open-source software: My take on its inexorable rise

    As we all know, Android has Linux at the heart of it, with a litigious Java platform, which means that it is the powerhouse driving the adoption of free software — although many would argue that it’s not really free.

    From my own very small web design corner of the universe I can see the inexorable rise of free software. Of my last eight contract roles, four of them were working on either the WordPress or Drupal content management systems.

  • ZoneAlarm: Defining the Difference Between Freeware and Free Software

    The other day, when my friend’s laptop spit-up a warning from ZoneAlarm that she was no longer protected, I stood over her shoulder and instructed her to update the firewall. The warning was basically a scare tactic, of course. Without the update she would still be protected, just as protected as she had been the day before. She just wouldn’t have any new whiz-bang features included in the update, nor would she be able to take advantage of any new security enhancements.

    We ran the default install. This was Windows, so there had to be a reboot. After that, we opened the browser to find that the homepage had been reset to a ZoneAlarm themed Google search page. We had not opted-in to any such change; the ZoneAlarm folks had just taken it on themselves to hijack Firefox’s revenue, which I didn’t think cricket.

  • Events

    • Texas Linux Fest is This Week – Win a Free Pass

      Texas Linux Fest begins this Friday, August 3rd, and there’s still plenty of time to register. Or, you can enter to win one of five free passes. You have until 3pm tomorrow, July 31 to enter, so hurry! We’ll post the winners tomorrow afternoon, so you’ll still have time to register if you don’t win.

    • Google I/O Keynote and Session Videos Are Available Now

      Throughout its existence, Google has been very dedicated to enlisting developers all around the world to embrace its projects and become contributors. And, the company’s Google I/O conference remains its biggest annual event focused on outreach to developers. Google recently held the I/O 2012 conference, and ever since then has been steadily posting videos of keynote addresses and complete videos of the sessions. Some of these are very much worth watching–even if you’re not a developer.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • On Software obsolescence

        Recently the Mozilla Foundation announced a new orientation for their email client, Thunderbird. It caused quite a bit of discussion, and we, at the Document Foundation, received quite a lot of public and private feedback on this mostly in the form of: “Now that Mozilla is getting rid of Thunderbird, The Document Foundation should take on its maintenance and development”. Much of this crazy rumor has ended being disproved by Mozilla itself and what seems to be going on is that Mozilla will in fact enable a real community-led development style on Thunderbird (contrary to the development model of Firefox) but has to intention of dumping it anywhere. That didn’t stop the rumor to spread anyway and this article by Brian Profitt caught my eye: “Will Open Source Office Suites go the way of Thunderbird?”.

  • SaaS

    • OpenStack: Allegation of ‘abusive’ conversation under investigation

      Days after opening its nomination process for Individual Member elections, the OpenStack Foundation is investigating allegations that an executive within one of the Foundation’s corporate member companies may have pressured an Individual Member candidate to withdraw her nomination for a board position.

  • Databases

    • Oracle releases MySQL migration tools for SQL Server, Windows users

      As it prepares to release its Windows-enhanced MySQL 5.6 database, Oracle announced late last week a number of downloadable migration tools to ease the process of converting from Microsoft SQL Server to MySQL, including data conversion, Excel and Windows installer tools.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Open source model disrupts the commercial drone business

      The do-it-yourself (DIY), open-source drone movement is turning into a real business that could disrupt the commercial and military drone industry. It’s another case of how exploiting the curiosity of hackers can turn into a commercial opportunity.

      That’s the view of Chris Anderson (pictured), editor of Wired magazine and a drone hobbyist and businessman on the side. He spoke about this DIY trend and his own efforts to lead it in a talk at the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas today.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF Bulletins are on the way
    • FSFE working on better legal protection for free software

      The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has voiced concerns about what could happen to source code distributed under free software licences if the company providing the software goes bankrupt and enters insolvency proceedings. Especially in Germany, the current rules in this area of law are not well explored. Speaking to The H’s associates at heise open, Matthias Kirschner, who coordinates German matters for the foundation, explained that a bankruptcy court in Germany could currently rescind the free software licence and all rights granted by it after the fact.

Leftovers

  • NBC: We Have No Clue Who Tim Berners-Lee Is, But Without Our Commentary, You Wouldn’t Understand The Olympics

    First of all, seriously? Tape delay to the West Coast? You lock down coverage in order to take advantage of prime time and try to pass it off as some sort of “value added” service. Pay no mind to all the twittering and live blogging willing to fill in the gaps, while you do some sort of production magic behind the scenes. Live events don’t need windows and real life shouldn’t need **spoiler** warnings.

    Even worse is the fact that the opening ceremonies weren’t even streamed live on the internet, where time and distance aren’t factors. And you know it, too, because your official Twitter accounts were posting updates live, giving Americans the dusty old feeling that they’re listening to a local broadcaster read off the ticker feed from a title match. So close, but so far.

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs’s Devastating Interest Rate Swaps

      The banks brought us the financial crisis which resulted in zero interest rates. Now the banks are improperly benefiting from those rates through contracts they made with cities BEFORE they blew up the financial system.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Proposals for the reform of copyright and related culture and media policy

        Now that the ACTA treaty has been rejected by the European Parliament, a period opens during which it will be possible to push for a new regulatory and policy framework adapted to the digital era. Many citizens and MEPs support the idea of reforming copyright in order to make possible for all to draw the benefits of the digital environment, engage into creative and expressive activities and share in their results. In the coming months and years, the key questions will be: What are the real challenges that this reform should address? How can we address them?

      • Leaked RIAA Report: SOPA/PIPA “Ineffective Tool” Against Music Piracy

        Contrary to the endless lobbying and subsequent defending of the now-dead SOPA and PIPA frameworks, a leaked report shows that earlier this year the RIAA’s Deputy General Counsel admitted that the legislation was “not likely to have been effective tool” for dealing with music piracy. All efforts are now being put behind the “six strikes” plan – but could disconnections for repeat infringers still be on the agenda?

        “These illicit sites are among the culprits behind the music industry’s more than 50 percent decline in revenues during the last decade, resulting in 15,000 layoffs and fewer resources to invest in new bands,” wrote RIAA CEO Cary Sherman in a New York Times piece last year.

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