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02.18.13

Links 18/2/2013: SystemRescueCd 3.4.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Price of Wintel

    So, for about half the capital cost and half the cost of operation giving the same performance, you should use GNU/Linux rather than that other OS. It makes sense. When you add to these obvious advantages, which alone are sufficient to make the choice, the advantages of freedom from M$’s EULA, and the freedom to run the code, examine, modify and distribute the code under a FLOSS licence, it’s a no-brainer. Use FLOSS. Use GNU/Linux. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Comparison of Linux Desktops OpenGL Performance

      With Steam officially being released for Linux I took some time out this evening to run a few benchmarks on my Ubuntu 12.04 based Bodhi system to see how a few of the different modern Linux desktops compare in terms of OpenGL performance with the source engine. Please do not take my numbers to be anything super scientific or precise. I simply recorded a short demo using Team Fortress 2, loaded TF2 from Steam under each of the Linux desktops with no other background applications running and ran the demo through a built in source engine bench marking tool.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

  • Distributions

    • Precise Puppy 5.4.3 – Linux At It’s Very Best!
    • This Week in Linux: Mageia, *Ubuntu, and Korora

      Several cool Linux items have popped up this week that deserved a mention. Someone over at Mageia is quite excited about the formation of a new documentation team. Just in case one person out there missed it, the Ubuntu family of distros released developemental versions of their upcoming 13.04s and the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS got an update. And for some strange reason, Chris Smart changed the name of Kororaa Linux to Korora Project.

    • Five Best System Rescue Discs

      When your computer starts behaving strangely, won’t boot, or you start getting strange errors that you can’t pin down, a great way to troubleshoot the problem is to boot to a rescue disc and see if you can isolate the problem. It might be your operating system, it could be hardware, but you’ll never know until you boot to some other media to take a look. That said, there are tons of great system rescue discs to check out if you want a tool to save your ailing system. This week we’re looking at five of the best, nominated by you, our readers.

    • New Releases

      • New Manjaro MATE Community Edition released!

        “Community Editions” of Manjaro Linux are released as bonus flavours in addition to those officially supported and maintained by the Manjaro Team, provided that the time and resources necessary are available to do so.

        Due to popular demand from members of the Manjaro community, this now includes a special new release of the MATE flavour for both 32 and 64-bit systems.

      • SystemRescueCd 3.4.0
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Virtualbox and USB support in Mageia 2

        For those people who use Mageia 2 and like to test other OSs or need to keep another OS for work purposes, installing Virtualbox from the Mageia repositories might lead them to a disappointment. The distro seems to only support Virtualbox OSE (as it is the only package in the repos), which does not allow one to enable USB support. Therefore, you end up with a Virtual Machine that cannot read your flash drive.

        To solve this pesky problem, you must understand that the situation springs from having installed a Virtualbox version that does not do what you need or want. You must, then uninstall it and grab the Virtualbox PUEL version package from the Oracle site here.

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Picks Up Another Graphics Driver Developer

        Red Hat has hired another well known name from the open-source Linux graphics driver community.

        Rob Clark, the graphics driver developer from Texas Instruments that was part of the OMAP team and also collaborated with Linaro, has joined Red Hat. Rob Clark was the one largely responsible for the TI OMAP DRM/KMS driver, he’s also proposed DRI2 Video, worked on Wayland video playback, and most recently began the Freedreno driver.

      • OpenShift gears up with Enterprise 1.1 release
      • Fedora

        • rawhide: 2013-02-05 to 2013-02-12

          One rough spot was the boost rebuild. Boost has a cycle similar to Fedora, so a new major version comes along about every 6 months or so and requires rebuilding all the packages that use it. In Fedora thats around 170ish packages or so. I communicated with the Boost maintainers and we decided the best way forward was to just commit the new Boost and rebuild everything in one day and then fix up the parts that broke.

        • Fedora 16 end of life, Fedora 19 coming in June

          Fedora 16 reached its official end of life at the beginning of the week. This means that the release was maintained for 16 months as opposed to the usual 13 months. In most cases, Fedora discontinues support for a release when the next version over has been released for a month. The three-month delay in the release of Fedora 18 explains the longer support cycle in this case.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Fractal Design Node 304 Review – From NAS to Mini PC Box

      Last month saw the review of the Define R4, a big ATX tower that could easily double up as a small server case, with a lot of bells and whistles. This month we’re looking at the Node 304, also from Fractal Design, a small, Mini ITX case with a very minimal aesthetic. Don’t let appearances deceive you though, the Node can do a lot more than you’d think at a cursory glance.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • ARCHOS Introduces the New Platinum Range

        ARCHOS, an award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, introduces the Platinum range, a new line of tablets that feature a sleek aluminum design combined with the best high-definition IPS displays, quad-core processors and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. There will be three tablets in the range including an 8-inch, 9.7-inch and 11.6-inch, all of which deliver true vivid colors, sharper text and amazingly fast performance.

      • What about the PengPod tablet?

        So instead of just running a pure Android tablet, you get the option to run your favorite Linux distribution and Android in dual-boot fashion, provided your Linux distribution has an edition for the hardware.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ease of Use is Key in New Zarafa WebApp Release
  • DataSift Launches Open Source Query Builder, Aims To Embed Social Monitoring In Enterprise Tools
  • PeerJS enables WebRTC browser-to-browser banter

    PeerJS is a new open source JavaScript library and associated server which is designed to allow web applications running on different systems to contact each other. The developers say that PeerJS completes WebRTC, as the video connection protocol says nothing about how WebRTC-based clients should locate users to connect with.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • DOJ To Brief Congress On Aaron Swartz Prosecution

        Justice Department officials will give a congressional briefing Friday afternoon on DOJ’s handling of the case against Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist who was facing years in prison when he took his own life, a congressional aide tells The Huffington Post.

        The aide said that Steven Reich, an associate deputy attorney general at DOJ, is expected to brief House Oversight Committee staffers, and potentially members, on Friday afternoon. A Justice Department spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

  • Programming

    • Building basic packages in GNU R
    • 9 of the Best Free R Books

      R is an open source programming language and software environment for statistical computing and visualization. The R language is frequently used by statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis. The language is mature, simple, and effective. R is an integrated suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display. It offers a large collection of intermediate tools for data analysis. R supports procedural programming with functions and, for some functions, object-oriented programming with generic functions. It includes conditionals, loops, user-defined recursive functions and input and output facilities.

    • More Perl in Texinfo 5.0

      Version 5.0 of the Texinfo GNU documentation format is now available and is designed to be more extendable thanks to the new Perl-based converter. According to the developers’ announcement, texi2any can convert Texinfo files to any format that is supported by texi2dvi and makeinfo. To use it, Perl 5.7.3 and its standard Encode module are required.

Leftovers

IRC Proceedings: February 10th, 2013-February 16th, 2013

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: February 10th, 2013

GNOME Gedit

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: February 11th, 2013

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: February 12th, 2013

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: February 13th, 2013

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: February 14th, 2013

GNOME Gedit

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: February 15th, 2013

GNOME Gedit

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: February 16th, 2013

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Dell Will be the Next Nokia Unless It Escapes Microsoft’s Grip

Posted in Dell, Microsoft at 7:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia

Summary: Microsoft Dell will die just like Nokia under Microsoft leadership, so here’s hoping that shareholders will stop the hijacking by Microsoft

“Shareholders are being pushed aside,” says the article “The Dell Deal May Die”. We covered this before; although revocation is improbable, it is still possible. Microsoft is struggling with hardware, so it tries to occupy companies which make or distribute hardware.

Daniel Eran Dilger, who had ridiculed the now-dead Zune for a long time, wrote that “Microsoft sells out of Surface Pro, just like the Zune HD did in 2009″ and even IDG pokes fun:

Of course, Microsoft could settle the sell-out controversy by releasing sales numbers for Surface Pro.

Secrecy means they have a lot to hide. It would expose lies or deception, thereby becoming a PR disaster. Those fake shortages which we covered after Microsoft had captured Dell are not taken without a barrel of salt and Microsoft still cannot sell such tablets due to lack of apps — something which Microsoft tries to compensate for by ripping Android off. IDG had this to say:

When it comes to mobile platforms, it’s all about the apps. Got apps? Then you’ve got users. If you don’t, then you don’t–just ask BlackBerry about its failed Playbook, and both Palm and HP about the disaster that was WebOS. Overall app quality means more than numbers alone, of course, but if you don’t have many apps populating a storefront, the odds are pretty low that new entries will knock your socks off.

Dell will suffer with Microsoft if it does not stay independent or shareholders-run. Nokia phones lack apps due to Microsoft and some believe that Dell will be “Nokia 2.0″. Here are some quotes:

“When I first heard that Dell was going to go private, I had hopes that this might be an effort to get away from Microsoft’s control, but those hopes were dashed pretty quickly when I saw that Microsoft itself was investing 2 billion in the venture,” said Linux Rants blogger Mike Stone. “Now it looks like Microsoft is being even less subtle about its OEM manipulation.”

Watch where Nokia has come under Microsoft leadership:

Nokia would license its flagship phone software from Microsoft, rather than develop its own, set fire to three of its own mobile platforms, and eventually shed thousands of jobs. Nokia now has a smaller head count than at any time since 1998.

Since it’s also a year since Nokia ripped up the Symbian roadmap – as we exclusively revealed at the time – it’s a good time to ask: how’s the partnership with Microsoft going?

Nowhere. It’s another company killed by Microsoft, with many people losing their jobs.

Windows is a dead end in a world which goes mobile (I write my articles on a tablet out in nature right now), so Microsoft relies on the other cash cow, which depends on Windows monoculture. Here is a sure way to kill this cow’s momentum as well:

Microsoft, long-standing hater of piracy, appears to have decided to step up their targeting system to place their own customers directly in their crosshairs. Your immediate reaction may be to blast the previous sentence as hyperbole, but you would be wrong to do so. Nothing else can explain what they are doing with their Microsoft Office 2013 retail software, which is to make it a single install license that is forever tied to one machine.

No network effect then. Say goodbye to Microsoft with such moves, but will Dell die with Microsoft just as Nokia is? It’s up for Michael Dell to decide. Tomi T Ahonen shows Dell at #5 among computer makers (Nokia is at #8).

Its time to update the biggest computer-maker listing. I really wish the big analyst houses would take over this chore, they report on the data separately already.. but yes, I was the first to start to count smartphones into the total computer shipment numbers and have reported that statistic now for many years already. If you want to see the chart for end of 2011, its here.. Time to do the 2012 number update…

Nokia fell very sharply. Can’t Dell learn from it?

Microsoft is trying to force people to get Office just like Windows because, as iophk puts it, they are “going after data lock-in in Indonesia” (not just in Indonesia):

Microsoft Indonesia, the local arm of software giant, Microsoft Corporation, is in talks with computer manufacturers to embed Office 365, the US company’s cloud-based software service, in personal computers (PCs), executives said.

Andreas Diantoro, president director of Microsoft Indonesia, said that the company was discussing with vendors of at least seven leading PC brands the possibility of collaborating on Office 365.

The brands, he said, included Acer, Hewlett Packard and Toshiba.

“We are exploring the possibility of bundling our product with that of our partners’,” he pointed out.

“Piracy helps Microsoft,” iophk notes, quoting: “Microsoft, he said, had a 98 percent share of the software market but only 10 percent of that market used legally-purchased software.”

“Unless it is that FOSS has a larger market share there than elsewhere,” he added.

Steve Jobs’ Litigation Legacy Leaves Apple Well Behind

Posted in Apple, Patents at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Jobs

Summary: Samsung extends lead over Apple and Apple’s current CEO reportedly opposed suing Samsung (which is dumping Apple now)

The lawyers at a pro-FRAND blog “essential patent” write about Apple’s action in relation to Microsoft’s when they say “some of Apple’s arguments in its opposition raise some interesting questions about whether jurisdiction over this appeal will be consistent with past and potential future appeals of orders in the Microsoft-Motorola RAND case.”

Apple and Microsoft pretend to be victims in the FRAND case while they are the ones suing and giving standard-essential patents to trolls. Samsung complains that this whole litigation war it never started is hurting innovation — something which Apple hardly does any of (it also censors sites). Jobs’ good friend Larry Ellison is still suing Android:

Oracle has filed its appeal brief [PDF] in Oracle v. Google with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. I have it for you. Google must file its reply by March 28, according to the docket.

Android, in the mean time, leaves Apple well behind:

According to Thursday data from Canalys, Android smartphones made up 34 percent of global phone shipments during the fourth quarter, while iOS came in at 11 percent. Overall, smartphones represented 50 percent of the phones that shipped during the quarter

Reuters has this interesting new report and over at self-censoring CBS, Steven Musil cites Reuters as saying that “Tim Cook reportedly opposed patent suits against Samsung”, unlike Jobs. Samsung easily leads this market now.

Apple still has patents as a principal strategy, based on new reports like this:

Recently, there has been this trend. Blogs look for patents filed by companies and then report on each of them as if they are second coming of Jesus in technology. Especially if it is Apple who is doing the filings.

A few days ago, this new patent showed up about Apple’s “new wave approach to fighting malware” with the author giving up half-researched commentary on it.

I was intrigued by this news (if you can call it that), not because it’s something new but instead because process isolation is hardly a new concept. The author mentions “Qubes OS” as the one to be original inventor before Apple but in fact, it has been used for years (eg chrooting/containers in linux) and more popular recently in Android’s uid based approach. Even Qualcomm (and other SoC vendors) have stuff that helps in this space with Trustzone based isolation between processor entities at hardware level.

In other news, Apple is said to have secured another outrageous patent:

Apple has been awarded a design patent for the slide-to-unlock feature used in iOS since 2007, which has been the subject of several legal battles.

Focusing on patents and litigation surely will distract Apple and allow Android to move forward. Apple would be wise to try to innovate, not that this would ever occur. It never did. Apple is branding, not manufacturing or research. Apple relies on companies like Samsung for both.

Microsoft Tries to ‘Steal’ Android Apps While Attacking Android With Software Patents, BT Countersued

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

May BT go to Hell…

Booth

Summary: Microsoft’s partner BT got sued after it had attacked Android; Microsoft has got malicious plans against Android

T

HE duopoly, Microsoft and Apple, has been trying to make Android expensive through patent stacking, FRAND, and lawsuits, some by trolls the duopolists arm. In the mean time Microsoft tries against Android the same tactics it used against Linux servers; it tries to port applications from FOSS platforms to Windows. One
pundit says:

Could Android–a mobile operating system from Microsoft’s arch rival Google–actually be the key to solving Microsoft’s mobile problems? I suggested as much in early January in a post called “Why Microsoft’s Surface Team Should Warm Up to Android.” In that post, I suggested that Microsoft’s new Surface tablets could resolve problems with the dearth of apps available from Microsoft by beginning to run Android apps through BlueStacks App Player.

BlueStacks App Player has been available for some time for Windows users who want to run Android apps on PCs, and it’s available for Mac users. And now, sure enough, BlueStacks has released a free version that is optimized for Microsoft’s Surface Pro.

With control of Linux through UEFI Microsoft may be planning to make life harder for Android, not just GNU and Linux. To quote Pamela Jones: “This isn’t precisely news, in that Microsoft announced in January of 2012 that BlueStacks would be built into Windows 8. This is Steve Ballmer’s dream: that FOSS applications run on Microsoft’s kernel instead of on Linux. So, let me get this straight: first Microsoft insists vendors build in UEFI, so folks have a major struggle to dual boot or to install Linux instead of Windows, if they can at all, and now this. Coincidence? The article pretends this is about “freedom” but trust me, that is the very last thing this is about. Nor did the community produce BlueStacks.”

BT, the company which does not value customers (I’ve had a lot of problems with them over the past month), has been suing Android along with the duopoly and other allies of theirs. Google fights back now:

BT’s plan to make millions of dollars from licensing its patent portfolio by suing web giants including Google has run into a problem: Google and its phone subsidiary Motorola Mobility are countersuing it for patent infringement, calling the lawsuit filed in 2011 by BT “meritless” and accusing it of using shell companies to file other suits.

Shell companies as in trolls. Microsoft does that, with MOSAID as an obvious example Google already complained about.

Search and Security a New FUD Vector for Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search, Security at 6:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Search

Summary: Microsoft is searching for new fear-mongering ideas as it loses online (services and servers)

The decline of Bing has been rapid and I now see it accounting for no more than 5% of search engine referrals in my sites (I manage about a dozen). Bing is dying, so Microsoft resorts to pathetic FUD. It resorts to FUD such as this Scroogled [1, 2] nonsense we covered here before while it is also lying and cheating with secret belated patches to daemonise Google’s server platform of choice. We still see Microsoft's partner Trustwave seeding Red Hat and Linux FUD, not noting that Microsoft even admits not disclosing patches. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichol has just written about this too:

Linux, Windows, and security FUD

It’s 2013. but the Linux FUD just keeps coming. In the most recent example, security firm Trustwave claimed that Linux kernel vulnerabilities went unpatched more than twice as long as it took to fix unpatched flaws in Windows. This assertion would be a lot more believable if it wasn’t coming from a Microsoft partner.

[...]

What no one seems to have bothered to do when they reported that Linux was far more lax about taking care of so-called zero-day flaws was to see where Trustwave was coming from. Had they bothered with even a simple Google search they would have found that the company had partnered with Microsoft to bring their application firewall to Internet Information Server (IIS). In particular, Trustwave made a point of boasting how they’d collaborated with the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC).

[...]

In the meantime, Linux, which I freely admit isn’t completely secure—no operating system on the planet ever will be—continues to be be trusted by the world’s biggest Web sites, such as Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia and by such mission-critical sites as the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. Now, as it has been for decades, Linux remains more secure than Windows, and no FUD can refute this.

Watch out for Microsoft spin because a lot of it exists right now and we haven’t the capacity to track all of it anymore. Full-time job and family limit my ability to do this like I used to.

Ubuntu Release Cycles Controlled by Microsoft UEFI Restricted Boot

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Depending on Microsoft

Ubuntu

Summary: New *Ubuntu releases are due to Microsoft’s latest antitrust-violating/esque tactics

The new releases from Canonical (screenshots above are from DistroWatch on Friday) bring little more than UEFI-related changes that accommodate Microsoft control of hardware. Should Ubuntu users require permission from Microsoft to merely run on hardware that Microsoft does not own? As one article put it:

The Ubuntu developers at Canonical have released the second support release for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS “Precise Pangolin”. The update adds the ability to boot the Long Term Support (LTS) version on systems that are using UEFI firmware and have Secure Boot enabled. This means that there are now two versions of Ubuntu, 12.04 LTS and 12.10, that can be booted while using the protection mechanism.

Need the GNU and Linux world now bend over with special releases whose main purpose is to overcome Microsoft’s anticompetitive schemes?

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