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Links 26/1/2013: Half-Life for GNU/Linux, More News

Posted in News Roundup at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • BusyBox 1.21.0 Is Busy With Many Changes

    BusyBox, the lightweight open-source project that provides several Unix/Linux tools in a single executable for POSIX systems, had its first unstable release in the 1.21 series on Monday.

  • Free, Open-Source Digital Textbook Provider, Boundless, Releases Its Content Under Creative Commons

    Since first emerging early last year, Boston-based startup Boundless has been on a mission to give students a free alternative to the financial and physical costs of bulky backpacks brimming with pricey hard-copy textbooks. Co-founders Ariel Diaz, Brian Balfour and Aaron White believe that the incumbents, the old-school textbook publishers (the top four of which still control the market) have been driving up the cost of educational content for years, so Boundless has been fighting the Powers That Be by offering a free, digital alternative culled from existing, open educational resources.

  • United States: Monetizing Open Source Platforms – Something New?

    Sharing software code via free open source has been around since the 1980s and has enjoyed much success. Open source has been applied to content, websites, technological parts, and other materials. Can and should an open source platform be monetized?

  • Less bounce with Mongo for Youwin gamblers

    The online betting industry is adopting enterprise level open source technologies where there is still come reticence among perhaps more traditional firms.

    Youwin has been using open-source big-data technology MongoDB to improve its business outcomes — the firm has:

    • Halved its bounce rate and increased turnover by 10 per cent
    • Cut its project costs
    • Boosted active player numbers by 22 per cent

    NOTE: The term “bounce rate” is part of web analytics terminology and refers to the number of website visitors who will leave a site after only visiting one page. The inference here is that the landing page a user sees first is therefore not relevant to them.

  • GCW-Zero Open Source Gaming Handheld: Straight out of Pandora’s Box
  • Open Source Software Movement Supported by Ernst Publishing

    Ernst Publishing Company, a provider of technology and closing cost data for the real estate and home finance industries for the past 20 years, has announced that the company’s technology development team has begun leveraging the power and capabilities presented by the communities of Open-Source software.

  • Open Source Nexus You Can Visit

    FOSDEM is the most important meeting ground for the world’s open source developers, and you can attend free of charge. Will you be there?

  • Is open source the missing building block to improved nutrition for schoolkids?

    At the start of every new year resolutions on diet and health abound. Yet there seems to be little discussion on schoolchildren’s health and nutrition, and taking a more open education approach to it. This is remarkable since childhood obesity and diabetes are at record levels in the US. Today there are 12.5 million obese children—three times as many as there were in the 1980s—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • How to make app stores open source-friendly

    App stores have their roots in open source — and they can return to those roots with scant business disruption. Just ask … Microsoft?

  • Three great years of sharing the open source story

    Three years ago today we flipped the switch on at opensource.com. Technically, we removed the htaccess file to allow anyone to access the site. Since that point, we’ve been steadily providing stories that highlight how open source is having a positive impact on the world and building a community around that mission.

  • Microsoft Potential Dell Investment: Bad for Linux, FOSS?

    Amid rumors that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) may invest in Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), a massive question has emerged: If such an investment occurs, will Dell maintain its extremely close relationships with Canonical (Ubuntu), Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), SUSE and other open source providers? Hmmm… Here’s The VAR Guy’s spin.

    First, a little background. As you may have heard, Dell may go private. Investors could include Silver Lake Partners (a private equity firm), Microsoft, Michael Dell and others. If Microsoft pumps money into Dell, the software giant could strain relationships with Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Acer and other PC makers. Acer has already been critical of Microsoft’s Windows Surface RT and Surface Pro tablet launches.

  • Microsoft claims Munich’s jump to Linux wasted cash

    Software giant Microsoft has gone to Munich with a piece of paper claiming that the city wasted a fortune dumping its software in favour of Linux. However, the company refused to tell the world what it has on its piece of paper so you will just have to take its word for it.

    Microsoft and its chum HP insist that the German city of Munich had its numbers wrong when it calculated switching from Windows to Linux saved the city millions.

  • Why “community” is key to open source’s success

    Montcheuil’s full title for his thoughts here was fully entitled “Working for a Common Good” – Why Community is Key to Open Source’s Success.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Presentation Mode protects you from embarrassing situations in Firefox

        Have you ever had a friend over who wanted to use your computer to look something up on the Internet? Or did you use your laptop for a presentation at work or school and had to use the Firefox browser as part of it? These situations can become embarrassing if the browsing history reveals more about you than you are normally willing to share. I’m not talking about the obvious here, NSFW sites that you have visited, but regular sites as well. Maybe you have visited a support group website, a political site or a religious site; the sheer fact that you visited such a site may reveal personal information about you that you may not want to share.

      • Remove duplicate bookmarks in Firefox
      • Firefox OS Gets Developer Preview Phones
      • Open-source Firefox phone to launch this year
      • Mozilla Lures Devs to Firefox OS With Shiny New Toys

        It hardly seems likely that an open source mobile OS upstart could make any waves in a market dominated by Android and iOS. Windows Phone and BlackBerry may find a following, but Firefox OS? Not likely — at least, not in the developed world. Firefox may be able to sink its teeth into emerging markets, however, which are hungry for lower-cost devices.

      • Mozilla Launching Open-Source Smartphones to Challenge Apple’s iPhone

        Mozilla, the nonprofit that created Firefox OS, plans to further its mission to make the web accessible to everyone with two new open-source smartphones. The company will leverage Firefox OS, along with the power of open standards and an open community, to launch a rival to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, and it is inviting web developers to join in its mission.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • On First Anniversary, ownCloud Boasts Strong Growth

      It’s now been a full year since ownCloud, the open source data syncing platform, launched as a commercial entity. I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical back then that the company would be able to succeed in a market already inundated with competing products. But ownCloud managed to hold its own and more in 2012, and has its sights set on continued expansion in 2013, according to recent statements from the company.

    • Hey Big Brother, Get Off of My Cloud

      How secure is your sensitive data online? If you ask Richard Stallman and many others, they’ll tell you that it’s probably not very secure. And, of course, few organizations on the planet would be better equipped to answer the question than Google. That’s why Google’s latest semi-annual Internet transparency report is worth taking note of. Disturbingly, it shows that Internet surveillance on a global basis is steadily rising, and the United States leads all other nations in demands for user data. Meanwhile, Google itself has clarified how it handles law enforcement requests for sensitive personal data online.

    • Mirantis Extends Its OpenStack Boot Camp Instructional Series

      As we reported earlier this month, Mirantis, which is well-known to numerous technology titans as a consulting firm that knows its way around the OpenStack cloud computing platform, recently announced that it has received $10 million in funding from Dell, Intel and WestSummit. The small firm has a big and impressive list of customers working with it on OpenStack projects. The customers include AT&T, PayPal and The Gap. For IT professionals or individuals interested in picking up OpenStack skills quickly, Mirantis offers notable two-day Boot Camp events that are worth considering. Here are more details.

  • Databases

    • OpenSUSE also considers switching from MySQL to MariaDB

      MySQL may still be the “most popular open-source database” for now, but its day may be ending. Just like Fedora, which is considering switching out MySQL for the MySQL fork MariaDB, openSUSE is also considering making MariaDB its default database management system (DBMS).

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice and OpenClipart.org

      For several years I have been very fond of clip arts from the Open Clipart Library (OCAL) and when LibreOffice now has built in usage of SVG files I was very happy. Now I could use these exelent cliparts in scalable format. Until then the only way was to convert to bitmap (png or jpg) format first.

    • LibreOffice 4.0: An Existential Release

      LibreOffice 4.0 is right around the bend and today Charles H. Schulz wrote why this particular version is “an existential release.” Folks were wondering why the big jump in version numbers, but Schulz says there are two big reasons why the time is now. Besides the additions that will be seen by the users, his reasons go a bit deeper.

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Open Source Outfit Bags $30M in Funding — And That Seems Small

      Attitudes towards open source software have changed so much in recent years, some outfits are now swimming in venture capital. Code hosting service GitHub grabbed $100 million dollars from Andreessen-Horowitz this past July. 10gen — maker of the MongoDB database — has raised $81 million. Cloudera — one of several companies developing the open source big data system Hadoop — has stuffed $141 million into its war chest.


    • Join the FSF and friends in updating the Free Software Directory

      Join the FSF and friends, today, Friday January 25th, from 2:00pm to 5pm EDT (19:00 to 22:00 UTC) to help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on freenode.

    • Free and Open Source Software

      We received an email from Richard M. Stallman (RMS), after publishing the article about the Egyptian demonstration calling for the government to adopt Free Software. I can’t deny that one of the motives behind writing this article is to show off that someone as important to the history of computers as RMS is reading what we write here.

    • Egypt: Why Open Source Software?

      In the book “Access to Knowledge in Egypt“, Nagla Rizk (@naglarzk) and Sherif El-Kassas dedicated a chapter to the software industry in Egypt and the role F/OSS play there. They started by highlighting that just like any other economy, there are the two opposing forces that characterise the growth of the digital economy.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open Source Battle Over Obama’s Reelection Software

      One of President Obama’s advantages in the 2012 presidential race – besides running against a horrible candidate – was his campaign’s technology. While the Romney campaign had epic technology failures the President sailed to re-election with a fully functioning and innovative data management system.

    • The War Over Obama’s Election Tech

      The Democratic Party is fighting with coders over the fate of President Obama’s revolutionary fundraising software from the 2012 campaign.

    • Obama’s Techies Want To Open Source Their Work, But Politicians Want To Keep It Secret

      Right after the election, we noted the stories showing how Obama’s technology advantage was impressive, while the get-out-the-vote technology that the Romney campaign built up appeared to fail spectacularly. However, there’s an interesting post mortem to this, which shows how techies and politicians still usually come from very, very different worlds.

  • Licensing

    • Another Reason to Use Open Source: Sane Licensing

      A couple of weeks ago, I pointed out how a decision in Norway involving cash registers emphasised one of the advantages of open source – its natural auditability. Here’s another interesting situation that points out a further reason for choosing openness.

  • Openness/Sharing


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