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11.27.12

Vista 8 Signals the End of Windows Domination; Microsoft Starts Lying (Fake Numbers), Block GNU/Linux

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Vista 8, Windows at 6:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dead-end company

Summary: UEFI tricks creep in now that Microsoft’s common carrier (Windows) is botched and people explore alternatives that are free and superior

According to this model cited by Forbes, Microsoft may be on the “verge of a sudden collapse” as the company is already unable to hide operating losses, it has debt, and its chiefs leave in droves.

The departure of Steve Sinofsky so soon after the launch of Windows 8 was not a vote of confidence by the maker of the world’s largest operating system. But is it a sign of Microsoft‘s imminent collapse?

Last week, usability expert Jakob Nielsen wrote a devastating critique of Windows 8 on his Alertbox blog. He writes, “One of the worst aspects of Windows 8 for power users is that the product’s very name has become a misnomer. ‘Windows’ no longer supports multiple windows on the screen.… When users can’t view several windows simultaneously, they must keep information from one window in short-term memory while they activate another window. This is problematic for two reasons. First, human short-term memory is notoriously weak, and second, the very task of having to manipulate a window—instead of simply glancing at one that’s already open—further taxes the user’s cognitive resources.”

We wrote about this assessment at the time. It shows that Windows got botched. To make matters even worse, its gets saddled with crapware: [via]

Crapware. Windows laptop and desktop PC buyers are used to all that extraneous preloaded software, but you’d think after all this time and negative press about crapware, we’d see the end of it with new Windows 8 PCs. Wrong. InformationWeek asked several PC makers (Dell, HP, Toshiba, Samsung, Acer, and Lenovo) to list the software that comes preloaded on their new Windows 8 systems, and crapware is still alive and well.

Some types of preloaded software is essential (e.g., hardware drivers) and other perhaps at least sensible (e.g., pen input management tools). Trial software and other third-party software, however, plainly are not only unnecessary but oftentimes problematic. Internet security suites and “system performance boosting tools” can really drag down a system. Windows 8 already comes with anti-malware built-in with Windows Defender, so packing in trial versions of Norton Internet Security or McAfee Internet Security Suite is pretty offensive (you can’t or at least shouldn’t run a third-party suite and Windows Defender at the same time.)

Well, barring third-party money for crapware (which helps lower the cost of a Windows licence), the lies from Microsoft begin as the PR machine struggles to say something positive. As a journalist and online friend showed me a short while ago, “Near the bottom of t[he] story, @Reuters tells t[he] truth ab[out] #Windows8 “sales figures” aka “channel stuffing” pages.” The headline, alas, says: “Microsoft sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses in month: executive” (attributed to Microsoft, taken with a grain of salt).

Those are unused licences and free giveaways that they count as “sales”. Microsoft uses these dirty tricks (or lies) every time Windows is (re)released. The general method is to issue ‘copies’ (whatever that means when it’s all just bytes) and then claim them to have been “licensed” and thus count them. Microsoft is now trying to just dump Vista 8 on the market (it is the common carrier for cash cows like Office), but Vista 8 is just technically inferior and less familiar to users than some free operating systems such as Linux Mint 14. Using UEFI, Microsoft is now hoping to block (from booting) most such operating systems (including old versions), or make it complicated for average users to run them.

A contributor of ours sent us this mail an hour ago: “Over the last weeks, reports like this have been trickling in on the Debian and Ubuntu lists/forums

“I think it will be a big problem come the holidays, when people get their new computers.”

To quote the incident he cites: “I got a new Lenovo T530, I added a SSD as second disk, and now have a win7, UEFI boot on MBR partitionned sdb disk.

“I tried latest beta installer for wheezy (beta4), but it could not boot in UEFI mode”

Yes, perfectly fine binaries are refused the right to run. This begs one to ask, whose computer is it anyway? Here is another new example which says:

There are no physical to virtual disk converters for Restricted Boot, even from non free, Microsoft people like VMWare. Why am I not surprised? http://www.kubuntuforums.net/showthread.php?61188-Dual-Boot-12-10-or-migrate-OEM-Windows-8-to-a-VM-on-same-laptop-in-Linux It would be better to forget about Windows than fool around with dual booting.

Watch how complicated it can get: “So after reading up on the issues with UEFI and enabling/disabling Secure Boot I’m wondering which is the most bombproof way to approach this? If the Dual Boot scenario with Kubuntu 12.10 and Windows 8 /UEFI does not behave (as it has in the past with BIOS and Grub Loader on the MBR) can I do a migration of this OEM installed Windows 8 to a VM in Kubuntu on the same laptop??

“In other words, nuke-n-pave the existing OEM Windows 8 hard drive, install Kubuntu 12.10 on clean HDD, then migrate that OEM Windows 8 image to a VM running on 12.10.”

Will Hill writes: “Turning off restricted boot is a huge, undocumented pain in the neck. A six step process, with two steps found by trial and error, is detailed.

“… these steps are performed without documentation, with no hints and with big warning pop-ups letting the user know what a bad idea disabling Secure Boot is. This is not something the average user is going to know how to do, nor will they likely want to follow through if they read the on-screen messages. … I went back to the merchant’s website and discovered something. There is no mention of Secure Boot, UEFI or Windows 8 certification anywhere on the page.

“Restricted boot is a significant barrier to gnu/linux use and a threat to software freedom. You can boot hardware before you buy it, but even then you can’t be sure. This is what Microsoft has always done with BIOS but this time Microsoft has reserved the ability to deny the user completely. UEFI is non free software with enough networking capability to contact Microsoft or OEMs without the user knowing and it can modify itself. People need free software from the metal up.” [http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20121126#qa via, https://plus.google.com/u/0/112860174577325685245/posts/MFXB2syddZy]

Răzvan Sandu quotes SJVN as writing, “Windows 8 is a one way street for consumer PC users…”

“Or, better,” says Sandu, “DON’T buy Windows at all!”

More importantly perhaps, encourage GNU/Linux distributors to fight UEFI, e.g. with an antitrust complaint — that is — rather than play along with it; secondly, do not allow journalists to quote fake Microsoft numbers that are Vista 8 PR, not without a challenge anyway. Expect Microsoft’s PR agents to be banging on publications to write down those fake numbers in the coming days, creating only an illusion of success. The only “success” Microsoft has had is that this Xmas season many people are unable to install/boot GNU/Linux on the PCs they bought or received as a gift. It’s the gift of corrupt motherboards, fried by Microsoft executives who knew exactly what they were doing.

French Government Punished for Using Microsoft Windows

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Acadian flag
Acadian flag

Summary: France is up in “Flame” where software freedom is still not embraced

A while back when we wrote about Stuxnet we showed a corporate victim. What happens when Windows Update Cracked, a relative of Stuxnet, hits a Western government? Well, France is paying the high price. Here:

The news is sensational, according the French magazine L’Express the offices of France’s former president Sarkozy were victim of a cyber attack, but what is even more remarkable is that for the offensive was used the famous malware Flame.

On the origin of the malware still persist a mystery, many security experts attribute it to joint work of Israel and US development team.

Let’s remind that according the analysis on Flame source code conducted by Kaspersky the malware is linked to Stuxnet, a version of the famous virus shared a module with the spy toolkit.

A contributor of ours wrote: “I imagine this is one of the reasons France is moving away from Windows.”

Articles including the above article fail to call out Windows. As our contributor put it: “This article fails to mention Microsoft or Windows or France’s move away from both. Non free software like Windows is better able to violate people’s privacy than any malware author.”

Which government is next then? Perhaps now they know that using blobs made in other countries — blobs that can auto-update (i.e. hijack the machine) — is a threat to national security. It’s no speculation but a fact.

Patents Roundup: Microsoft Front the BSA Promotes Software Patents, Kappos Helps the Rotten System

Posted in Patents at 4:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bulb

Summary: A lot of evidence which shows who USPTO really serves and at whose expense

THE head of the cartel‘s office, the USPTO, has been defending a practice which decades ago the SCOTUS deemed unacceptable. He got flak for rather insensitive remarks:

Patents on software are “every bit as well deserved” as patents on air flight, the electric bulb, and innovations that enabled the industrial revolution, Patent and Trademark Office Director David J. Kappos said in a Nov. 20 speech in Washington, D.C.

Aiming his remarks specifically at “those reporting and commenting on the smartphone system patent wars as if to suggest that the [patent] system is broken,” Kappos said, “let’s move beyond the flippant rhetoric and instead engage in thoughtful discussion.”

That is what we were all trying to have, but Wired is stacked by law professors rather than software professionals and this is no exception. The voice of practising professional is being taken away. In nanotechnology, we recently saw more professionals speaking out:

Software patents have long been contentious things, but patents in other areas of science are also becoming frequent subjects of editorials and court cases, with biotech and genomics making it to the US Supreme Court. Now, if an editorial in Nature is to be believed, nanotechnology is set to become the latest patent battleground.

Joshua Pearce is a professor at Michigan Technological University, and he very explicitly argues for taking an open-source and open-access approach to nanotechnology research. But he also goes well beyond that, calling for a patent moratorium and a gutting of the law that governs tech transfers from government-funded university research. At stake, he argues, is the growth of a field that could be generating trillions of dollars of economic activity within a few years.

So who is it that supports Kappos’ position? Lobbyists for large software companies, i.e. lawyers’ groups like the Business Software Alliance (BSA), as seen here, and patent lawyers. This is good for the cartel of patent stackers and bad for everyone else. Intel, which is part of this cartel and is a proponent of software patents, has just bought some more patents:

It’s been announced this morning that Intel is acquiring ZiiLabs, the subsidiary of Creative Labs that previously was 3DLabs. Intel is gaining “certain engineering resources and assets” plus licensing rights to certain ZiiLabs patents and other technologies surrounding the GPU.

Intel has been having problems recently (Android plays a role) and its head, who stood behind the company’s criminal behaviour, is said to have been sacked for it (not effective immediately). Maybe Intel is planning to tax some more those who do manage to actually sell a lot of chips. That’s where patents come in.

The USPTO is becoming a joke in more people’s eyes. Here is a look at patents on turkey (animal):

Here in Canada, we gave our proverbial thanks over a month ago, and since all the Americans at Techdirt have taken off for the weekend, I thought I’d take a moment to put together some advice on preparing a great Thanksgiving turkey—with a little help from the USPTO.

If you’re tired of the traditional roast, maybe it’s time to try a more creative preparation—just be careful you don’t run afoul of any patents. Here’s an idea: with some skilled knife-work, you can slice a turkey into pieces that resemble various cuts of steak—and that method will only be under patent for another five years!

Here is a corresponding response to Kappos. Now he is part of the problem, so his inane propaganda is being addressed:

Note the giant and very questionable assumptions in the middle of that one: that it’s “innovators” seeking to “protect” “breakthroughs.” I’d argue that none of the three things in quotes is accurate. Quite frequently it’s lawyers who haven’t actually innovated at all looking to shakedown actual innovators for broadly worded patents that never should have been granted, and which are being interpreted to cover things they don’t really have anything to do with. That’s not innovation. It’s extortion… backed up by the US government. It’s a travesty.

Even worse, Kappos is still relying on the absolutely ridiculous “study” that the USPTO put out earlier this year, despite the fact that its methodology has been widely debunked for including grocery store baggers as “IP innovators.” Sorry. And, if you look at what their actual report shows, it suggests that patent-intensive businesses aren’t doing so well. Somehow he ignores that. Of course, perhaps that’s why his office rejected a promised interview with me earlier this year, and could only defend the patent claims by arguing the most bizarre correlation argument in the world, that because Steve Jobs was innovative and had patents, therefore, patents worked.

Some lawyers’ Web sites obviously support Kappos. We know whose side he is on. More people need to speak about this bias in the whole system. It was subjected to a coup and the infiltrators won. As one pro-software patents site put it, Kappos revealed himself as part of this camp.

Last week, Director of the USPTO David Kappos delivered a keynote address to the Center for American Progress that focused on software patents and the smartphone “patent wars.” The speech is noteworthy for the Director’s strong defense of software patents.

Watch what Stallman had to cope with the other day:

The conference was a one-day conference, which started at 8:50 am and ended at 5:20 pm with a a reception afterwards from 5:30 to 6:30. There was a lunch break from 12:15 to 1. The schedule can be found at the conference website. It was adhered to closely.

The morning program consisted of three panels. The first was the Keynote and was titled “What is the Problem?” The second was “Panel #1: Legal Reform, Part 1.” Then after a coffee break we had “Panel #2: Agency Reform.”

The afternoon panels were called “Keynote #2: Views from the Trenches” and then “Panel #3: Legal Reform, Part 2.” After this an afternoon coffee break, then “Panel #4: Self Help” and at the end “Keynote #3.”

Some of you who were not in attendance were able to view the sessions live, except for the talk of Richard Stallman who refused to have his talk streamed on the ground that Silverlight used. Since I was actually present, I do not have the live streaming to look at, and thus my presentation of what happened is based upon my notes, which in what follows might be embellished by memory and thus not word-for-word correct.

This event too got stacked by lawyers, the leeches in this whole system. It is time to reclaim the patent system or just bury it. It’s for lawyers and plutocrats, not science and technology. Not anymore anyway.

Here is a technical person explaining why we should end software patenting. There is a good image inside this article showing how the cartel works and how it uses lawyers to keep challenges (to quality and also price) out of reach. To quote the introduction: “Patents make sense in some industries. When it costs a billion dollars to develop a new pharmaceutical, a company needs protection during that process to make it worth the risk of trying.

“But software doesn’t have that overhead. Too often, software patents just end up making the incumbents complacent and discourage brave, disruptive experiments.”

“This video by Marginal Revolution writer and economics professor Alex Tabarrok makes a clear argument against software patents.”

Mike Masnick expressed his views on why the USPTO is a lost cause for those of us who pursue reform from within:

While the US Patent Office has officially declared its desire to put its head in the sand concerning the problem of patent trolls, it appears that other parts of the government aren’t necessarily going to ignore the problem. The FTC and the DOJ are planning explore the issue with patent trolls at a public workshop next month (they use the currently popular term “patent assertion entities” rather than “patent trolls” but it’s clear what they mean). And the indications are that they may be looking to use their power to crackdown on bad behavior, potentially even using antitrust tools…

After the world’s largest patent troll got monopolies on three-dimensional printing we observe spurious lawsuits as covered by Masnick’s Web site:

We’ve been pointing out for a while that one of the reasons why advancements in 3D printing have been relatively slow is because of patents holding back the market. However, a bunch of key patents have started expiring, leading to new opportunities. One, in particular, that has received a fair bit of attention was the Formlabs 3D printer, which raised nearly $3 million on Kickstarter earlier this year. It got a ton of well-deserved attention for being one of the first “low end” (sub ~$3,000) 3D printers with very impressive quality levels.

This progress is not stopped by patents. So much for encouraging innovation…

Links 27/11/2012: GNOME Desktop in the Headlines

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Thin Clients Eating M$’s Lunch

    10% of desktop PCs being thin clients seems small but it is not. They last three times as long as thick PCs and they can run GNU/Linux instead of that other OS. That’s huge, a potential 30% loss of share for Wintel. That’s right; thin clients don’t need to be x86. They can be ARMed as well.

  • Upcoming Linux Benchmarks For The Holidays

    For those Linux users hoping to do PC upgrades this holiday season, a number of interesting Linux hardware benchmarks are imminent to help you with your buying decisions.

  • Cheap and silent desktop Linux box!

    In the tech news in the last couple of weeks, there was an announcement of an intel branded mini-pc. There have been many of these small desktop machines in the last few years. Very small footprints, low power consumption, most are silent due to a fanless design.

    The appeal of such small machines is obvious. Taking negligible desk space, they can sit out of the way, or even be hidden. They can be mounted to the back of a monitor for use as industrial signage, or a pseudo all-in-one design for the desktop. They are ideal for limited space installations like in mobile homes, or a small collage dorm room.

  • Why I Use Generic Computers and Open Source Software

    Do you depend on your computer for your living? If so, I’m sure you’ve thought long and hard about which hardware and software to use. I’d like to explain why I use generic “white boxes” running open source software. These give me a platform I rely on for 100% availability. They also provide a low-cost solution with excellent security and privacy.

  • Desktop

    • $1,499 Gaming Laptop is Ready for Steam on Linux

      Alternative, Linux-based operating systems like Ubuntu haven’t historically carried much weight with PC gamers. Very few PC games have been made for Linux, over the years, ever since the company that was porting AAA gaming titles to Linux (Loki Games) went bankrupt in 2001. And while it’s possible to use a “compatibility layer” such as Wine to run Windows PC games in Linux, the results are mixed at best and require a lot of technical tweaking, sometimes even in between updates.

      Colorado-based indie PC hardware company System76, however, clearly expects that not only are there PC gamers on Linux out there, but that some of them are willing to pay $1,499 for a tricked-out gaming laptop — the 17.3-inch Bonobo Extreme. Like all of System76′s machines, it runs the Ubuntu flavor of Linux; and its actual price tag is $1,599, but it’s gotten a $100 discount for the holidays.

    • Why Google Shouldn’t Pursue a Touchscreen Chromebook

      Is Google preparing to release a Chromebook device with a touchscreen? That concept was reported in a Taiwanese newspaper and discussed by DigiTimes and CNet. The idea isn’t out of the realm of possibility. After all, Google has been exploring the touchscreen arena with its Nexus tablets, and Chrome OS includes a touchscreen keyboard. Furthermore, new, low-cost Chromebooks such as Acer’s $199 entry (seen here) are arriving at a fast clip. Touchscreen Chromebooks aren’t a great new opportunity for Google, though.

    • Google Reportedly Preparing To Sell Self-Branded Chromebooks

      Google is committed to the Chromebook and a report out of China indicates a Google-branded model is on its way. If true, this is a smart move and would help the fledgling desktop platform gain traction. The sellout success of recent Nexus products shows Google finally knows how to do hardware.

      China Times reports Google intends to launch Chrome OS netbooks equipped with touchscreens. Compal, a Taiwan-based ODM, is tasked with the manufacturing. Per this report, Google placed the order itself rather than relying on a 3rd party like Acer or Asus as with the Nexus products. Internal components will begin shipping to Compal this month, a sign that China Times takes to mean the product itself will ship yet in 2012.

  • Server

    • AWS Marketplace pages for Debian, CentOS and FreeBSD

      The AWS Marketplace, which is generally used by software companies to market their commercial appliances and software for use in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), now also lists free basic images of the Debian Linux 6.0.6, CentOS 6.3 and FreeBSD 9.0-Release operating systems.

  • Kernel Space

    • AMD Geode Open-Source Driver Updated For X 1.13

      While no future generation Geode processors are coming out of AMD, the open-source community still continues to maintain the Geode X.Org graphics driver. Released on Sunday was the xf86-video-geode 2.11.14 driver.

    • systemd 196 Drops Support for Various Legacy Concepts

      systemd, a system and service manager for Linux, compatible with SysV and LSB init scripts that provides aggressive parallelization capabilities and uses socket and D-Bus activation for starting services, is now at version 196.

    • Linux 3.7-rc7
    • Intel Driver Update Improves Old Hardware Support

      The highlight of the latest xf86-video-intel 2.20.14 point release is improving the Intel “Gen4″ support, which spans Intel hardware from the i965G chipset through the GM45 chipset.

    • NVIDIA Publishes Open-Source 2D Driver Code

      NVIDIA has published initial patches for providing open-source 2D hardware acceleration support on their NVIDIA Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 SoCs. This work is based upon the experimental open-source Direct Rendering Manager driver to be merged into the Linux 3.8 kernel.

      Times are great with NVIDIA dabbling with more open-source code and Imagination looking at some level of open-source PowerVR support. This weekend I wrote about NVIDIA working on open-source support for their Tegra graphics while this morning new open-source patches arrived from the NVIDIA Finland office.

    • AMD Catalyst vs. Linux 3.7 + Mesa 9.1-devel Gallium3D Performance

      In this article is a large OpenGL performance comparison looking at the frame-rates in different Linux games for different AMD Radeon Linux graphics cards when running the stock Ubuntu 12.10 operating system (Mesa 9.0 + Linux 3.5), the Catalyst Linux driver (fglrx 9.0.2) as found in the Ubuntu Quantal archive, and then when running the very latest Radeon Git code: The Linux 3.7 kernel, Mesa 9.1-devel, and xf86-video-ati 7.0.99 Git.

    • 30 Linux Kernel Developers in 30 Weeks: Jonathan Corbet

      Whether or not you know Jon a little or a lot, we hope you learn something new about him in this profile, from how he ended up in Boulder, Colorado to the ski run named after his father, to what he’s running on his desktop and how he suggests Linux newbies get involved in the community.

    • The Kernel Column with Jon Masters – Linux Kernel 3.7

      Jon Masters summarises the latest goings-on in the Linux kernel community, including a look at the features being merged for the upcoming 3.7 release

    • Graphics Stack

      • 1.0.1 Releases are out
      • NVIDIA Still Working On Open-Source For Tegra Driver

        With the Linux 3.8 kernel in early 2013 there is going to be an open-source NVIDIA Tegra 2 DRM driver. NVIDIA is currently working out initial patches for applying 2D acceleration atop this mainline Linux kernel driver.

      • Linux Users Might See A PowerVR Holiday Surprise

        It seems the binary curtain among ARM graphics vendors may finally be falling. Aside from NVIDIA contributing to the open-source Tegra DRM driver and other interesting actions recently in the ARM Linux space, Imagination Technologies may finally becoming more open. It’s looking like there may be a surprise open-source play out of Imagination for PowerVR graphics in the near future.

        In recent days I have heard from two independent sources about Imagination Technologies likely having a “modestly open” reference driver to deliver for PowerVR graphics processors in the near future. It seems thanks to greater competition in the ARM graphics space (e.g. ARM’s Mali), more openness among SoC vendors, Intel switching to in-house HD graphics on future Atom SoCs, the continued success of Linux/Android in the mobile space, and new requirements being presented on the Linux desktop (i.e. Wayland), we are finally on the verge of seeing a fundamental shift out of Imagination Technologies.

      • AMD R600 LLVM Back-End Still Being Tried For 3.2

        There’s just a few weeks to go until the release of LLVM 3.2, but AMD is still trying to get its “R600″ GPU back-end merged into this next compiler infrastructure release.

        Going back to March, AMD has been trying to merge its R600 GPU back-end that is optionally used by their open-source graphics driver stack and is a requirement for the Radeon OpenCL support with the open-source driver. The LLVM back-end can be used as part of the R600 Gallium3D shader compiler. (See benchmarks of the R600 LLVM compiler back-end from several months ago.)

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kate/KDevelop October Sprint: What’s new in Kate

        After the successful developer sprint in Berlin in 2010, the Kate and KDevelop teams met for the second time from the 23rd to the 29th of October. This time, the developer sprint was held in the beautiful city of Vienna. In total, 13 contributors discussed and collaborated on the future of Kate and KDevelop for a whole week.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 18th November 2012
      • Qt Developer Days 2012 Slides: KDE 5, Qt Quick, Ports

        The Qt Developer Days conference took place earlier this month in Berlin, Germany. For those not in attendance at this open-source development conference, the slides for many of the Qt talks have been uploaded with coverage on Qt Quick, KDE Frameworks 5, and other interesting areas surrounding this tool-kit soon to finally reach its major 5.0 milestone.

        Slides for the different 2012 Qt Developer Days talks can be found on this KDAB Qt Conference page. At the time of publishing there aren’t slides available for all of the talks, but a large number of them.

      • KDE 4.10 Brings Better, Smarter Dolphin

        If you are someone like me who missed the icon resize feature you can rejoice as the feature is “coming back” with Dolphin 2.2. Well, it’s not coming back in sense the way it was but the developers are adding an option to the context menu of Places Panel, similar to the one found in the context menu of tool bar where you can resize the icon. So, while icons in the side panel won’t resize automatically, you can use the context menu to manually resize them.

      • What’s new in Kate
      • Rapidly Build Distributed Applications with ITTIA DB and Qt

        The ITTIA DB SQL embedded database is now available as a plugin for the Qt application and UI development framework from Digia. The combination of ITTIA DB SQL and Qt enables rapid development of user-friendly data-driven applications with a level of performance that is only possible with native code.

        Qt is a cross-platform C++ application and UI framework that is widely used to develop software with a graphical user interface (GUI), as well as non-GUI programs. Non-GUI features include SQL database access, which can both execute arbitrary queries and map results to lists and fields in the user interface.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME: Can this Linux desktop be saved?

        Once upon a time, GNOME, along with KDE, ruled the Linux desktop. Then, in 2010, GNOME’s designers decided to ignore their users’ wishes and introduced a radically new desktop interface: GNOME 3.

        Many users hated it. Not even two years later, even GNOME’s programmers were wondering if their interface was “staring into the abyss?” Now, GNOME developers have woken up and are offering a way for GNOME users to go back to a GNOME 2.x style interface.

        But is it too little, too late? Will GNOME actually be offering a real, return-to-the-past desktop interface?

      • If GNOME 2.x Wasn’t Broken, Why Fix It?
      • A Crack In The Monolith

        Yet the good news is they finally responded on this one issue in some form, at least in theory. Perhaps.

      • The Next Step

        The GNOME Project has been working hard to evolve and improve GNOME 3 since it was initially released in April 2011. We’ve made substantial progress, introducing new features, like GNOME Online Accounts, the lock screen and integrated input sources. We’ve also adjusted and refined many parts of the core UX, including improvements to the Activities Overview, the new-look Message Tray and ongoing work on System Settings. This is important work, and there is more that still needs to be done.

      • An Alternative Windows Switcher might come in Gnome 3.8

        Switching between Applications is one of the core functionality for every Desktop. While Gnome3 does this perfectly with choosing Apps through Overview, some complains have raised against the (Alt+Tab/Key Above Tab) functionality.

      • GNOME 3.7.2 Kills The GNOME Fallback Mode

        The GNOME 3.7.2 development release was made available today. The two major changes with this latest GNOME 3.8 pre-release is the elimination of the GNOME Fallback (non-Shell) mode and now depending exclusively upon GStreamer 1.0.

      • GNOME Control Center 3.6 Available In The GNOME 3 PPA [Ubuntu 12.10]
  • Distributions

    • With ‘Cinnarch,’ Arch Linux gets a sprinkle of Cinnamon

      Hard on the heels of the news that the old GNOME 2 desktop is coming back by popular demand, the Cinnarch project late last week announced that its new Linux distribution combining Arch Linux with the alternative Cinnamon desktop environment has now reached beta.

    • “Which Linux Distro is Best?”
    • Reviews: A look at Superb Mini Server 2.0.1
    • [Chakra:] Toolchain, kernel, nvidia changes moved to stable
    • There’s a New Package Manager in Town

      Every now and again a project springs forth to tout the advantages of a generic or all-distribution package manager. A one-size-fits-all approach was the Holy Grail of Linux for a while and several ideas came and went silent. However, hope springs again and Guix is its name.

    • Guix: A New Package Manager & GNU Distribution

      GNU Guix is a new free software project that aspires to be a package manager and associated free software distribution for the GNU system.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Accelerates Open Source Virtualization in RHEV 3.1 Release

        Red Hat is putting the final touches on the next major release of its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 3.1 platform.

      • Why I work at Red Hat

        West Point’s motto is “Duty, Honor, Country.” I graduated in 1993. Why did a former Army Officer end up at Red Hat?

        Red Hat is an “Open Source Software Company”. In order to work here, you have to understand those four words.

        Software. The world is run on Software now. There are more computers in your life than you are aware of. You carry one in your pocket. One wakes you up in the morning. One runs your coffee maker, another your oven. Your car has multiple computers in them. But computers do nothing without software. Without software, a computer is a corpse. Software makes things happen, things that were not even dreamt of in our parents time. Software is the magic we dreamed of after seeing the Magicians Apprentice. Software is the Force we wanted to control after seeing Star Wars. It is that incantation that makes the world conform to better suit our mood.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project News – November 26th, 2012

        * Help your language reach 100% support in the Debian Installer
        * Debian Installer 7.0 Beta4 released
        * Debian newcomer experience survey
        * Interviews
        * Other news
        * New Debian Contributors
        * Release-Critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release
        * Important Debian Security Advisories
        * New and noteworthy packages
        * Work-needing packages
        * Want to continue reading DPN?

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Solving design problems
          • 10 reasons to choose Ubuntu 12.10 over Windows 8

            Microsoft’s Windows 8 dominated countless headlines in the weeks leading up to its launch late last month, but October saw the debut of another major operating system as well.

            Canonical’s Ubuntu 12.10 “Quantal Quetzal” arrived a week ahead of its competitor, in fact, accompanied by a challenge: “Avoid the pain of Windows 8.” That slogan appeared on the Ubuntu home page for the first few hours after the OS’s official launch, and attracted considerable attention.

          • Rumour: Wii U Demo Booths Running Ubuntu

            The Nintendo Wii U in-store demo booths maybe running a modified version of the Ubuntu operating system instead of the Wii U itself.

            One user on Reddit obtained a snapshot of one of the systems that hadn’t booted correctly because it was missing a “USB key”. Instead of showing the games available to try out, in this case Rayman Legends, it displayed a screen for the Ubuntu OS.

          • The Ubuntu Heartbreak: Amazing Potential Stunted by Major Showstoppers

            Believe it or not, this isn’t meant to be inflamatory. This is an honest reminder of showstoppers that persistently prevent Ubuntu from becoming what I really do want it to become, and what I think it has a chance of achieving: a complete replacement of Windows or OSX.

            In fact, I will confess that I like the user interface on Ubuntu more than one on Windows, and find it almost on par with the one in OSX. You might even find me proclaiming Ubuntu as the OSX of the PC world. It at least could have the potential of becoming that.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi vs MK802

      There has been a ton on news in the open source world revolving around the Raspberry Pi. It was one of the first low cost, ARM computers to be targeted at the hobbyist and educational markets. I’ve owned a Raspberry Pi for many months now and while it does an alright job at playing media files and acting as a small server – for most computing tasks it simply didn’t have enough resources available to be useful.

    • Reclaiming the Buffalo router with free and open source LibreWRT distro

      I would like to take a few moments to introduce Buffalo, the access point and router which provides network connectivity to portable computers in the Free Software Foundation’s office. More specifically, we are using Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH, which features the free-software-supported Atheros AR9132 chipset with 32MB of flash memory and 64MB of RAM.

    • P-P-P-Pick up our PENGUIN-POWERED Pi PIPER of Python

      The Raspberry Pi, an ARM-powered £20 computer sold as the educationalists’ dream, is finding its place as a media player in many tech-aware homes, but installing media player XBMC and plugging in a TV is hardly the spirit in which the Pi was conceived, especially when one can get one’s hands good and dirty with the minimum of effort.

    • Camera for Raspberry Pi almost ready for production

      The camera for the Raspberry Pi that was announced back in May is now taking shape. A prototype of the Pi Cam was presented at Electronica 2012. It offers a 5 megapixel sensor and can record 1080p H.264 video at 30 frames per second. The camera connects to the Pi’s free CSI pins and is controlled via the I2C bus. Potential fields of application include low-cost surveillance camera systems and robotics. The camera is set to cost $25.

    • Tiny MAME cabinet built from Raspberry Pi
    • The $35 Raspberry Pi: The cheapest way to play Minecraft

      Over the last 18 months, the $35, Linux-powered, education-oriented Raspberry Pi credit-card-sized computer has experienced an almost-unabated success story. The 700MHz ARMv6-powered computer has sold tens of thousands of units to beardies and educational establishments alike, is still on back order, and has attracted hundreds of hackers who have contributed alternative operating systems, software packages, supplementary hardware daughterboards, and more. Today, we’re happy to announce that Raspberry Pi has made perhaps the biggest step towards mainstream adoption: Notch and his Mojangstas have unveiled Minecraft: Pi Edition.

    • 15 Weird/Surprising devices and Systems that run on Linux

      It’s incredible to see how Linux runs on devices of various sizes, power and built for diverse purposes. Linux is, like technology itself, deeply integrated in our daily lives and we don’t seem to even realize it! While looking into supercomputers I was pleasantly surprised to find different/weird devices that run on Linux: Weird, in a sense that they run on Linux and we never expected them to do so!

      We expect that you already know that Linux is running on 94% supercomputers and on various high-end computers and devices in science centers for research purposes. Also the popular Android operating system too is based on Linux kernel. This implies all the Android handsets (currently claiming major share in smartphone market) and tablets are in turn employing Linux at heart! Now let’s investigate some places you might not have expected to be running on Linux.

    • Phones

      • Announcing The New Tizen.org

        Just in case you missed it, the Tizen project just launched a brand new site at tizen.org. It’s been substantially redesigned and updated to make it easier to find project information, and reflects the new look and feel of Tizen.

      • Android

        • Facebook Asking its Employees to ‘Droidfood’ Android

          That’s what Facebook’s calling it, at least – a clever play on the word “dogfooding,” which is itself a term used to describe when a company tests or uses the very products it’s trying to push out into the consumer market. In other words, the notion that, “our product is so good, we’ll use it ourselves.”

          In Facebook’s case, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine has pulled up some pictures of just how dramatically the company is hoping to get its own employees on board with Facebook apps on the Android platform.

        • Samsung Galaxy Note II ‘Phablet’ Passes Five Million Channel Sales In ~Two Months

          At the start of this month Samsung announced that channel sales of its mini-tablet-sized smartphone, the Galaxy Note II, had passed three million unit sales in 37 days on sale. Now the Korean mobile maker has announced that cumulative global channel sales of the device have exceeded five million after around two months since launch.

          Samsung does not typically break out device sales to consumers but its channel sales measure provides an indication of how much end-user demand its sales channels are experiencing.

        • Install Android MTP Support In KDE
        • [Exclusive] How To: Unlock The Droid DNA’s Bootloader
        • Could Open Source Java Come to Android?

          The online newsgroup for OpenJDK, the official open source Java implementation, has been airing discussion of a Java version for Android. Such an option would allow Java developers to work directly within the most widespread mobile operating system.

        • 30 Must Have Android Games for 2012

          Android is surging, their remains no questions about it. Android is a proven platform now and that is particularly showing in the burgeoning apps market. Google Play Store is now home to nearly 900,000 applications and games. More than 25 billion apps and games have already been downloaded from Google Play Store. About an year ago, we did a brief round up detailing 10 must-have games for Android. But things have drastically improved over a one year period. Here’s our “take two”. 30 must have games for Android in 2012.

        • 2.5 year old Android bug finally being fixed
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Tablet PC Panels Shipment Exceeded Notebook PC Panel
      • Intel kills off the desktop, PCs go with it

        Intel is killing the desktop, but not quite as soon as people expect it to, there will be one last gasp, but that is irrelevant. Word is finally leaking there won’t be a desktop PC chip in a bit over a year.
        In a story that SemiAccurate has been following for several months, Broadwell will not come in an LGA package, so no removable CPU. The news was first publicly broken by the ever sharp PC Watch, english version here, but the news has been floating in the backchannel for a bit now. The problem? This information wasn’t floating around the OEMs or the majority of the PC ecosystem, they had no clue. What does all of this mean? Quite a bit.

Free Software/Open Source

  • My open source cure for brain cancer

    This was shocking news. Sitting across from a doctor holding a clinical folder with your name on it, and hearing him say the words “low-grade glioma,” “language and comprehension areas of your brain,” “surgery” and “chemotherapy” is a very weird experience.

    My first idea was to seek other opinions. Maybe this hospital is wrong. Maybe there are other places that wouldn’t need to do surgery. Maybe there is a laser, a chemical, an ancient tradition, a shaman, a scientist, a nanorobot.

    I felt incomplete about the way that the medical system was handling my situation.

  • Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy go open source

    DreamWorks has released its OpenVDB open source C++ library for general community consumption and adaption.

    The animation studio has used the technology itself on its “Rise of the Guardians” fantasy film that features a whole group of childhood legends including Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

    This in effect means that DreamWorks has spent millions of dollars developing specialised technology to make one of the most expensive animated movies ever produced only to now give it away free of charge on the openvdb.org/ website.

  • Open source deals on Cyber Monday

    We don’t condone shopping when you should be working, but everybody needs a break, right? When you’re out shopping for the online deals today, here are a few Cyber Monday specials we like:

  • More camera support and geotagging in darktable 1.1

    More camera support, similarity matching, geotagging, image grouping and a Facebook exporter are among the top new features in darktable 1.1, the latest release of the open source photography workflow application. The Canon EOS M is now supported and Samsung NX support is fixed in the new release. The ability to match images that look alike with similarity matching is now a standard feature.

  • Eucalyptus open source cloud aims at simpler management
  • First Release of New Forrester Data on Developer Open Source Use

    Over the past few years, enterprises, particularly in the financial services industry, have had to cut costs while simultaneously enhancing innovation. While this may sound contradictory, it has been possible with the strategic use of open source software (OSS).

  • Nashorn proposed as new JavaScript engine for OpenJDK

    After some time in preparation, Oracle has now proposed a new project for OpenJDK called Nashorn. The Nashorn project sets out to implement a lightweight high-performance JavaScript runtime in Java which runs on the JVM. Under the direction of Jim Laskey, Multi-language Lead at Oracle, and John Coomes, OpenJDK HotSpot Group Lead, the proposal is to create a JavaScript implementation that can run standalone JavaScript applications or be called via the JSR 223 APIs by Java applications. Nashorn, German for Rhino, will be designed to take advantage of newer JVM technologies such as MethodHandles and InvokeDynamic APIs, which were introduced to make dynamic languages operate faster on the JVM.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Wants To Embed JavaScript In Java Code

      Oracle presented a new project in recent names that is named Nashorn. The Nashorn Project comes down to a high-performance JavaScript run-time for OpenJDK and can be used so developers can embed JavaScript within Java code.

  • Business

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Security Incident on FreeBSD Infrastructure

      The FreeBSD Security Team has announced that on 11 November two servers as part of the FreeBSD.org hosting infrastructure have been compromised.

      The compromise is believed to have occurred due to the leak of an SSH key from a developer who legitimately had access to the machines in question, and was not due to any vulnerability or code exploit within FreeBSD.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • OpenELEC 3.0 Enters Beta With XBMC 12.0

      The OpenELEC Linux distribution that aspires to be a leading multimedia OS within an entertainment center is nearing its 3.0 release. The OpenELEC 3.0 Beta was released and now it’s based upon XBMC 12.0 Frodo.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Munich Shows How Open Source Saves Big Money

      That compares with just £218,000 that has been spent on the free software-based solution using the city’s own LiMux distro. As well as zero costs for software upgrades, the open source approach also saved money because it was not necessary to upgrade hardware, unlike for Windows – something that is worth remembering.

    • Check out how Obama saved $14.5 mn through open source

      Four more years. This happened because of you. Thank you,” Obama tweeted soon after he defeated his Republican rival Mitt Romney in a closely contested 2012 US presidential poll.

      Well, we are aware of the fact that the President of the United States of America and his tech team were all over the Internet embracing different kind of tools -may be from social media or from different online campaigns – to win the 2012 presidential elections, but many of us are not aware that open source software also played an important role during the US elections.

  • Licensing

    • Linux and the GPL: A Storm Erupts

      “This is a hard one,” Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C. mused. “The development of FLOSS in such a capitalist and competitive world demands solidarity, talent, idealism and passion. So when it comes to discussing the inclusion (without malice) of not-FLOSS code inside Linux, things get very hot — that’s when the passion comes in.”

      [...]

      RTS OS is a unified storage operating system from RisingTide, which is a Red Hat competitor.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Top ten open source gifts for the holidays

      It’s the most wonderful time of the year: time to give open source presents. The opensource.com team gathered ten of our favorite gadgets to help you pick out that perfect present for that special (open source) someone.

    • 8 questions about open source cancer treatment

      Salvatore Iaconesi’s essay on his decision to post his medical records on the Internet in hopes of finding a crowd-sourced cure for his brain tumor has sparked a lively conversation on CNN.com.

    • Low-cost TB drugs to be reality soon

      The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) collaborative initiative to develop low-cost drugs for infectious diseases like tuberculosis (TB) is all set to become a success.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open source, sonar-controlled vibrator you play like a theremin, with your whole body

        Scanlime’s Beth modded a remote control vibrator, replacing the interface with an Arduino-based sonar controller that she can activate with any part of her body, playing it like a theremin. The result is pretty cool — it “closes the feedback loop” between the vibrator’s intensity and the user’s physical response. The post includes a detailed technical breakdown of the reverse-engineering steps that she used to work out how to hijack the control mechanism, and the steps that went into building the remote, including a 3D printed chassis. The plans are open source hardware (CC-BY-SA), and posted to Github.

      • Body Hacks: Building An Open-Source, Theremin-Like Vibrator

        For your postprandial pleasure I present the an open-source vibrator that you (or your partner) can play like a theremin. The story of how it came to be is pretty amazing and involves FCC chip lookups, bit-tracing, and lots of assembly code. In short, it’s an amazing effort in DIY hardware hacking that serves the dual purpose of education and giving pleasure.

  • Programming

    • LLVM 3.2 Improves PowerPC Compiler Support

      In addition to featuring an auto-vectorizer, Polly optimizations, and countless other improvements, the forthcoming release of LLVM 3.2 brings numerous improvements to its PowerPC back-end.

      The PowerPC back-end target with LLVM 3.2 and accompanying Clang 3.2 C/C++ compiler feature many improvements for this compiler infrastructure that’s due to be released in mid-December.

    • Google Code-In, Focused on Open Source, Begins Today

      In case you didn’t know it, Google is one of the largest contributors of open source projects in the world, and runs a number of programs focused on open source development. One of the more fun programs that the company runs each year is Google Code-In, through which pre-university students (13-17 years old) can create open source software for community use, and win prizes for their efforts. This year’s Code-In event starts today, and will run for 50 days.

    • Are you game for Google’s open source contest?

      Are you one among them, who wants to know what exactly is open source, who has thirst to learn new in open source technologies, a novice developer and doesn’t know anything about development and thinking to involve yourself in open source software development?

    • Git v1.8.0.1
  • Standards/Consortia

    • More Open-Source Projects Eyeing Up C++11

      KDE developers are currently contemplating the idea of allowing a subset of the C++11 language to be used within the KDevelop code-base. This C++11 change would happen for the KDevelop 4.6 integrated development environment release. Reasons are shared in this article for why one should consider using C++11 code.

      Milian Wolff, a developer on the KDevelop IDE, has proposed to their development community that a subset of the C++11 language be permitted following the KDevelop 4.5 branching in a few weeks.

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