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Links 29/10/2012: Steam For Linux Beta Needs Testers, GNOME 3.7.1

Posted in News Roundup at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Another Look at the $180M HP Contract

    Mostly, we use the operating system called Linux, and we use it on those HP machines. One reason we use it is because it’s free — literally, downloadable for free, no strings, no catch. All the software we use on it, ranging from close equivalents to Windows Office to browsers to desktop publishing and technical software, and a good deal more, is also free. It ranges the Internet even better than Windows, no surprise since the bulk of Web server computers worldwide are run on Linux or on closely allied software. And not only that, it’s “open source,” which means you can (if you choose) go into the guts of the program, and change anything you want. Can’t do that with proprietary programs.

    This software is coded so efficiently that everything I use on my Linux machines can nearly fit onto a single CD; you’d need shelves of CDs to contain Windows or Windows Office. It can run more efficiently on smaller and older computers than Windows can, and run longer on them as they age. A nonprofit in Portland (called Free Geek) for years has been reconditioning old and small-capacity computers, outfitting them with Linux, and sending them to local nonprofits and to underdeveloped countries around the globe; those machines are great for education, and they cost a pittance. Open source runs faster, with fewer errors, and is nearly impervious to viruses, worms and the like. (No need for expensive anti-virus software.) The main area where Windows and Mac’s OS X clearly surpass it is in the realm of computer games. One of the main world headquarters for open source development is the Pacific Northwest; the original developer of Linux, a Finn named Linus Torvalds, lives outside Portland.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Hurricane Sandy: Climate Change Activists Offer Stark Reminder Before Storm Hits
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • onwards to Four

        Not being the sort who rest much, we’re already at work on Plasma Active Four. We met up on irc to firm up our plans. You can read the minutes here, thanks to Thomas who took the time to summarize the multi-hour session.

        We are moving to a devel workflow in which we aim to have an “always-releasable” master branch. All development will happen in branches, something we essentially do already, but we will now also have an integration branch so we can bring the various branches together for testing before merging them when ready, branch by branch, into master. We have been working towards for some time, adjusting our habits one step at a time. This will only cover the plasma-mobile, share-like-connect and plasma-active-maliit repositories for now, but my hope is that as Frameworks 5 arrives we’ll be able to broaden this to the bigger shared repositories such as kde-workspace.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 2nd September 2012
      • KDE Commit-Digest for 9th September 2012
    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3.7.1 Is Now Ready for Testing

        Matthias Clasen has announced a few hours ago, October 26th, the first development release of the GNOME 3.8 desktop environment.

        After a two day delay, GNOME 3.7.1 is now available for testing, bringing lots of updated applications, new features, and numerous bug fixes.

        “GNOME 3.7 development is getting underway, with the 3.7.1 snapshot that is marking the beginning of this development cycle. Features are still being proposed and discussed. This release allows some early glimpses of whats to come.”

      • Gnome & Wayland

        Wayland is the next big thing in Linux Desktop since ..the beginning? It is meant to work aside with the problematic X (with the tremendous amount of functionality) and eventually (in many years!) is going to replace it.

  • Distributions

    • From Junk to a Security Station; How Mepis Gave New Life to a Discarded Computer

      Last week, a project that had been brewing for quite a while became a reality.

      We wanted to set up a basic security camera for the office where I work but, as the University is short of budget, all we were given was a webcam. With that contribution, the whole idea was pretty much a long-term goal (or a dream, to be more honest, given the circumstances).

    • DEFT 7.2 Screenshots
    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Looks To An SDK, Improved App Development

            Canonical and the Ubuntu development community hope to improve application development for developers targeting Ubuntu 13.04.

            Another one of the popular topics for the UDS Copenhagen summit next week for Ubuntu 13.04 is the “app development” track. There’s several different items to be discussed about Ubuntu app development from an Ubuntu SDK to improving the online documentation and support for those developers targeting Ubuntu support.

          • OpenERP and Ubuntu Unity Desktop Integration

            Ubuntu has been in the news quite a lot recently with the release of version 12.10 including the Amazon shopping lens and next week some game shop thing called Steam is going to be announced. It isn’t all toys and shopping though, some of the new features make a heap of sense for serious business applications too. One really interesting area for me is the webapp integration, this is an extension for Firefox and Chromium that allows stuff running in the web browser to integrate with the Unity desktop in a variety of ways, making the distinction between a web application and a desktop application a bit more blurry – which is a good thing. There is built in integration for an assortment of popular consumer websites like youtube, twitter, facebook etc. but it isn’t limited to these single domain software as a service sites. Any web site or web application can test for the presence of the extension then export it’s menu items, do notifications and other actions.

          • Time for an Upgrade
          • Ubuntu 11.04 Ends Support

            Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal released almost one and a half years ago will end support today. This comes according to the policy of drastic six months of OS upgrades and a support for one and half years for each. Long term support Ubuntu releases have a greater support period, extending upto five years for Ubuntu 12.04. These long term support releases are more suitable for business and enterprise environments can can be used in servers and workstations as the main OS.

          • Ubuntu 13.04 May Come Packed With An SDK
          • Join Us At the Ubuntu Developer Summit This Week!

            This week the Ubuntu Developer Summit is taking place in Copenhagen from Monday – Thursday. This is the event where we plan the features and goals for the next release of Ubuntu, Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu 12.10 Review

              Xubuntu is the lighter weight brother of the ever popular Ubuntu family of Linux distributions. At the forefront, XFCE is the desktop environment of choice and it removes all the bells and whistles that we currently see in the star of the show, Ubuntu. It’s not just focused on older systems but those who want a great looking desktop and don’t need the extras.

              XFCE 4.10 is the forefront of this distribution and it uses less CPU and memory compared to its bigger siblings Ubuntu and KUbuntu as XFCE is focused on using less resources. What also makes XFCE also popular is the fact we don’t see drastic changes from one version to another which we see from Gnome or KDE.

            • Linux Mint Katya Reaches End Of Life

              The Linux Mint Team has announced the end of life of Linux Mint 11 “Katya”. This means users using this OS will not be able to get any security updates and the system will be open to venerabilities. Users still using Linux Mint 11 are highly advised to upgrade their system to Linux Mint Maya.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can European IT teams seriously consider open source?

    European businesses have long used IT to automate processes and drive down the cost of doing business. This pressure has increased in the current economic climate, and new issues such as bring-your-own-device and the ever increasing amount of data continue to appear.

    One of the solutions to the cost of software is to use open source solutions, but many businesses are fearful of the implications and potential hidden costs in the skills needed to manage open source technology. So what are the real challenges and can businesses across Europe really take advantage of open source?

  • Tiki Wiki 9.2 can now check system requirements

    The current 6.x and 9.x long term support (LTS) branches of the open source Tiki wiki, CMS and groupware solution have been updated to versions 6.8 and 9.2 respectively. Whereas Tiki 9.2 has more than 500 code changes, focuses on fixing various bugs and also includes several improvements, the 6.8 release only includes a patch to close an undisclosed security hole.

  • DARPA’s Robotics Challenge Marches On

    Now DARPA is opening the door to anyone, accepting admissions through February 2013 of “virtual robots” created using a free open source software program, the DRC Simulator, that DARPA has made available for download on its DRC website.

  • SaaS

    • Big Data Right Now: Five Trendy Open Source Technologies

      Big Data is on every CIO’s mind this quarter, and for good reason. Companies will have spent $4.3 billion on Big Data technologies by the end of 2012.

      But here’s where it gets interesting. Those initial investments will in turn trigger a domino effect of upgrades and new initiatives that are valued at $34 billion for 2013, per Gartner. Over a 5 year period, spend is estimated at $232 billion.

      What you’re seeing right now is only the tip of a gigantic iceberg.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Does OpenOffice have a future?

      The Apache Software Foundation has made OpenOffice a top-level project but will that be enough to make OpenOffice matter? Should OpenOffice remain an independent open-source project?

  • Business

  • BSD


    • A GNU Protest Against Windows 8

      The Free Software Foundation, in the form of a GNU, crashed the Windows 8 launch event in an effort to persuade Windows users not to upgrade to Windows 8 but move to GNU/Linux instead.

      Activists, one of them in the shape of a GNU, the FSF movement’s buffalo-like mascot, greeted visitors to Microsoft’s launch event on October 25. We can’t say if Microsoft actually noticed their gate crasher but Gnus probably find it difficult to conceal themselves at software launches.

      The GNU’s pumpkin bucket contained DVDs loaded with Trisquel, a free software distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system. Volunteers also handed out FSF stickers and pamphlets about the dangers of Windows 8 urging you to sign a pledge to upgrade to free software instead.

    • MediaGoblin crowdfunding campaign launches!

      Today we’re excited to announce a crowdfunding campaign to support MediaGoblin run in coordination with the Free Software Foundation! You may have heard that I quit my job as senior software engineer / tech lead at Creative Commons to pursue MediaGoblin fulltime and fund development. Instead of using one of the more mainstream crowdfunding sites, we decided to team up with the Free Software Foundation, who is supporting our fundraising infrastructure.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Programming


  • Don’t Like Partisan Politics? Then Don’t Vote By Party – Just Vote Pro-Science!

    We see Independent 40%, Democrat 31%, and Republican 27%! That’s right, the Republicans are in the minority, at just over a quarter of those surveyed!

  • A Linux User’s Perspective Of Microsoft Windows 8

    Also, I was *livid* when Microsoft’s highly-touted software failed and didn’t provide any meaningful error messages and left my system unbootable. I mean, this is the kind of shit that Lennart Poettering pulls off in Fedora Rawhide when he breaks systemd or dracut. This isn’t something I expect out of a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate pushing out production software on millions of people.

    Next, on my ThinkPad T530, I tried upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro. The upgrade failed the first time, but the rollback to Windows 7 was perfect — I had upgraded from Windows 7 to… Windows 7. This Microsoft software is just unbelievably magical. You can’t make this up.

  • The Case for Irrational Voting

    Some smart friends of mine argue for a particular type of quasi-rational voting in such situations. Because of our antiquated electoral college that pretends an entire state voted for Tweedledee even if 49% of it voted for Tweedledum, moral voters should, this argument goes, vote for truly good candidates — even write-in candidates — in most states, in order to send a message. But they should only do so because there are too few such informed ethical strategic voters to actually swing the state. In the all-important handful of Swing States, however, where the contest between the two Tweedles is too close to call, we are advised to vote for the less hideous of the two.

  • Thoughts on Voting “Third Party”

    …we vote FOR things and not AGAINST things.

    This is the real, deeper problem behind a two-party system.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Binders Full of Generals

      Mr. Romney has promised to shoot the defense budget into the stratosphere at levels that have been unseen since the height of the Korean War. As in a past column, I have inserted here a chart that I think is one of the most significant of the presidential campaign, and it should be passed around to as many people possible before the election.

    • ‘They Brought an Army to Take Out a 16-Year-Old Boy,’ Says Father of Suicidal Teen Killed by Police Sniper
    • Researchers Expose Illegal Detention and Torture in Ivory Coast

      Amnesty International said today more than 200 people, including members of former President Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front, are being illegally detained and tortured months after he was arrested and turned over to the International Criminal Court.

      Researchers spent one month in Ivory Coast interviewing dozens of people who described torture. In addition, Amnesty International met four detainees at the Génie militaire, a military barracks in Abidjan, who have been held incommunicado for more than a month.

    • WikiLeaks Releases US Military Policies for Detention & Avoiding Accountability for Torture

      The media organization WikiLeaks has released the first of more than one hundred classified or “otherwise restricted” policies from the US Department of Defense that lay out rules and procedures for detainees in US military custody. The “Detainee Policies” show how the US military has handled detention for the past decade and will be released over the course of the next month, according to a press release.

      On the first day of the release, five policies have been posted. The most significant of the postings is the 2002 manual for Camp Delta at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    • Protesters steal the show at Seattle police gathering to explain intended use of drones

      It was hard to hear Thursday night what Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh was trying to say about how the Seattle Police Department hopes to use drones to save lives and increase public safety — what with the chanting of “no drones” and the loud cries of “murderer” and “shame” drowning him out.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs and the sophisticated investor: Who’s duping whom?

      By all accounts, neither Michael Lewis nor Frank Serpico should be concerned about competition from Greg Smith, the erstwhile Goldman Sachs vice president whose supposed tell-all, “Why I Left Goldman Sachs,” was published Monday. I’ve only read the first chapter excerpt that’s been floating around the Internet since last week, but Smith clearly lacks Lewis’s humor and narrative verve, and reviewers who read advance copies of the entire book have said there’s not much substance to his assertions about Goldman’s culture. I suspect that Smith will have a short shelf life as a Wall Street chronicler and whistle-blower.

    • Greens chair shoots down Fennovoima nuclear project

      Green League Chairman Ville Niinistö has described the nuclear power project by the public power consortium Fennovoima as unprofitable nonsense. He said that the project should also be rejected by municipal decision makers.

    • Ten filthy rich, tax-dodging hypocrites

      The irony is that CEOs in the coalition’s leadership have been major contributors to the national debt they now claim to know how to fix. These are guys who’ve mastered every tax-dodging trick in the book. And now that they’ve boosted their corporate profits by draining the public treasury, how do they propose we put our fiscal house back in order? By squeezing programs for the poor and elderly, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    • The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent

      There is some truth in both arguments. But the 1 percent cannot evade its share of responsibility for the growing gulf in American society. Economic forces may be behind the rising inequality, but as Peter R. Orszag, President Obama’s former budget chief, told me, public policy has exacerbated rather than mitigated these trends.

      Even as the winner-take-all economy has enriched those at the very top, their tax burden has lightened. Tolerance for high executive compensation has increased, even as the legal powers of unions have been weakened and an intellectual case against them has been relentlessly advanced by plutocrat-financed think tanks. In the 1950s, the marginal income tax rate for those at the top of the distribution soared above 90 percent, a figure that today makes even Democrats flinch. Meanwhile, of the 400 richest taxpayers in 2009, 6 paid no federal income tax at all, and 27 paid 10 percent or less. None paid more than 35 percent.

      Historically, the United States has enjoyed higher social mobility than Europe, and both left and right have identified this economic openness as an essential source of the nation’s economic vigor. But several recent studies have shown that in America today it is harder to escape the social class of your birth than it is in Europe. The Canadian economist Miles Corak has found that as income inequality increases, social mobility falls — a phenomenon Alan B. Krueger, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, has called the Great Gatsby Curve.

      Educational attainment, which created the American middle class, is no longer rising. The super-elite lavishes unlimited resources on its children, while public schools are starved of funding. This is the new Serrata. An elite education is increasingly available only to those already at the top. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama enrolled their daughters in an exclusive private school; I’ve done the same with mine.

    • Greece arrests editor for ‘Lagarde list’ leak

      Detained journalist defends publishing list of well-known Greeks who allegedly use Swiss banks to evade national taxes.

    • Steve Jobs’ Yacht, ‘Venus,’ Sets Sail
  • Privacy

    • CDB: Not Dead Yet

      My main point was that the Bill creates an unprecedented resource for the security services to “go fishing” in everyone’s private affairs. “Communications Data” means “everything that’s not the message” for every kind of internet use (e-mail, instant messaging, voice communication, streaming and so on), and collecting all of it from everyone in Britain on a rolling 12-month basis (with some information held indefinitely) offers a massive pool in which to use heuristics to pattern match answers to open questions.

    • Verizon’s ‘Precision Market Insights’ Data Mining Policy Raising Privacy Concerns

      A new initiative from Verizon is raising questions about the telecom giant’s commitment to protecting the privacy of its customers.

      The company’s new marketing program, Precision Market Insights, collects data information from iOS and Android users, based on geographic location gleaned from apps and sites being accessed. Verizon plans to continue to share that information with potential advertisers.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What’s behind the science academies’ attack on Seralini?

      It could hardly have been more damning – six French science academies jointly dismissing Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini’s recent paper in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology as a “scientific non-event.”

    • Agriculture Is The Number One Choice of Voters…

      “The appointment of Kofi Annan as AGRA’s chairman was a strategic decision that the Gates Foundation made to silence criticisms that its agricultural development agenda was a “White Man’s Dream for Africa.” In fact, this more reeks of Monsanto’s campaign: “Let the Harvest Begin.” Launched in 1998 to gain acceptance of GE crops around the world by projecting the benefits of the Green Revolution in Asia and its potential in Africa, Monsanto’s campaign managed to draw several respected African leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, to speak for a new Green Revolution in Africa. In response, all of the African delegates (except South Africa) to the UN Food and Agriculture Negotiations on the International Undertaking for Plant Genetic Resources in June 1998 issued a counter statement, “Let Nature’s Harvest Continue.” The delegates clearly stated their objection to multinational companies’ use of the image of the poor and hungry from African countries to push technology that is not safe, environmentally friendly, or economically beneficial.” Voices From Africa: African Farmers & Environmentalists Speak Out Against a New Green Revolution in Africa.

    • How a Supreme Court ruling may stop you from reselling just about anything
    • Copyrights

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