03.04.13

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 4/3/2013: Guy Kawasaki Defects to Motorola/Android/Linux?

Posted in News Roundup at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • US colleges with Linux courses and degree programs
  • Sonar Project Wants to Bring Linux to Everyone

    Linux is a natural platform for “blind and low vision people …people who struggle with dyslexia and learning disabilities as well as accessibility for people with low motor skills and quadriplegics.” Jonathan Nadeau, Free software developer and activist, wants to build a completely accessible Linux distribution, and has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to fund it.

  • Desktop

    • The Chromebook: A great second computer

      Take a moment to think about how computers are used in your home. How much of that time do you spend browsing the web, working on word processing documents or presentations and checking email and social networks? If your answer is a good chunk of the time, you may be a candidate for a Chromebook computer.

      Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS, which looks like the Chrome Web browser but runs apps as well. In fact, there’s a whole ecosystem of Chrome apps available through the Chrome Web Store. There are games, like Angry Birds Heikki, Battlefield and Need for Speed World; productivity tools, including Dropbox, Picasa and Evernote; and, of course there are the Google apps, like Google Docs, Gmail and Google Maps. Currently, there are tens of thousands of apps available through the Chrome Web Store—some that are primarily web-based and some that run within a browser tab, but have been downloaded and work offline.

    • Chrome OS update may break Amazon Prime Videos, this is how to fix it

      Google has pushed another Chrome OS update in its stable channel. As usual this update contains a lot of bug fixes and security improvements. Chormebooks (or boxes) running stable channel will be receiving updates over the next several days.

      Some of the notable improvements are improved audio quality in Google Hangouts as it has upgraded the GTalk plugin to version 3.14.17 (if this number makes any sense to you). If you use the photo editor then you can be relaxed (you don’t have to worry if you are using Pixel which has more RAM), as the update also improves memory handling in the photo editor. It has also improved the low battery notification.

    • Why Google built the pricey, powerful Chromebook Pixel
    • Inventing Chromebook

      This new operating system was originally code-named “Google OS” and since 2009 has been released to the public under the product names, Google Chrome OS, Chromebook, and Chromebox. I wrote a patent for it, #8,239,662, titled “Network-based Operating System Across Devices” that was finally granted in August 7, 2012. Long after I left Google.

      Here’s a few interesting tidbits about the invention of Chromebook.

      First, Chromebook was initially rejected by Google management. In fact I wrote the first version as early as July 2006 and showed it around to management. Instead of launching a project, the response was extremely tepid. My boss complained, “You can’t use it on an airplane.” Actually, you could as, under the covers, it was still a bare-bones Linux distribution and could execute any Linux program installed on it.

  • Kernel Space

    • Borqs Joins Linux Foundation, Aims To Promote Android Development

      Borqs International, a mobile communication software and solutions company, has joined the Linux Foundation. The company said it aims to increase its investment in Linux, bringing more innovative solutions to partners and end users. It is worth mentioning here that more than 1.3 million Linux-based Android devices are activated every day.

      Borqs has four offices in the APAC region, located in Beijing, Bangalore, Wuhan and Shenzhen. In the future, Borqs will participate in the Code Aurora Forum and other Linux Foundation activities, including the Linux End User Summit. Linux and collaborative development have both become pervasive in the mobile and enterprise computing markets.

    • XFS On Linux 3.9 Takes Care Of Open Issues

      The XFS file-system update for the Linux 3.9 kernel isn’t particularly exciting, but it does address some open bugs and regressions for this still very relevant and competitive Linux file-system.

      The XFS pull request for Linux 3.9 reads, “Please pull these XFS updates for 3.9-rc1. Here there are primarily fixes for regressions and bugs, but there are a few cleanups too. There are fixes for compound buffers, quota asserts, dir v2 block compaction, mount behavior, use-after-free with AIO, swap extents, an unmount hang, speculative preallocation, write verifiers, the allocator stack switch, recursion on xa_lock, an xfs_buf_find oops, and a memory barrier in xfs_ifunlock.”

    • Linux 3.8 File-System Testing From A SATA 3.0 HDD

      Most often when carrying out any Linux file-system benchmarks — or really, any benchmarks in general — on Phoronix it’s using solid-state storage. SSDs are just too great to pass up with their incredible performance. However, for those still using rotating media, here’s a collection of file-system benchmarks from the new Linux 3.8 kernel when tested on a Serial ATA 3.0 Western Digital hard drive.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Gallium3D LLVMpipe Driver Shows Progress

        With talking recently about LLVMpipe driver improvements and having not benchmarked this Gallium3D software driver in a while, here are new benchmarks of this LLVM-based software fallback driver when using Mesa 9.1-devel Git in conjunction with LLVM 3.3 SVN code, for the very latest look at the OpenGL software acceleration possibilities.

        The last time there were thorough LLVMpipe performance benchmarks on Phoronix was last November when benchmarking Mesa 9.1-devel with LLVM 3.1/3.2. Since that point, Mesa 9.1 has become stable and there’s been many Gallium3D/LLVMpipe driver changes in the past three months. LLVM itself also continues to advance and saw the release of LLVM 3.2 while LLVM 3.3 is now under heavy development.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Online Accounts 3.8 Beta 1 Fixes OAuth2 Support

        The first Beta version of the upcoming GNOME Online Accounts 3.8 application, which is part of the GNOME desktop environment, has been released for download and testing last week.

        GNOME Online Accounts 3.8 Beta 1 fixes support for the OAuth2 open source authorization protocol when getting refresh_token from URI fragment and fixes implicit declaration of goa_kerberos_identity_inquiry_new.

      • GNOME Session 3.8 Beta 1 Supports Systemd
      • GNOME Documents 3.8 Beta 1 Adds Presentation Mode
      • GNOME 3.8 Beta 1 Is Now Available for Testing

        Javier Jardón Cabezas proudly announced a few days ago that the first Beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.8 desktop environment is ready for download and testing.

      • Recent GNOME 3.7 sightings

        With GNOME 3.7.90, we’ve entered the feature freeze and focus on polish and on whittling down the blocker list (don’t expect all of these to be fixed, the list currently still contains a mixture of actual blockers and nice-to-have things).

      • Gnote 3.7.3 Re-Implements Spell Check Support

        A new development release of the Gnote note-taking application for the GNOME desktop environment has been released earlier today, March 3, including various new features, updated translations and many bug fixes.

      • Evolution 3.8 Beta 2 Features Many Improvements

        The Evolution developers were happy to announce earlier today, March 3, the immediate availability for download and testing of the second and last Beta release of the upcoming Evolution 3.8 email client.

      • Linus Torvalds Is Back To Using GNOME 3 Desktop

        The Linux desktop choices of Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, tends to pique people’s interest. Linus has now shared he’s switched back to using the GNOME 3.x desktop.

      • AppIndicator Support For GNOME Shell With A New Extension

        A new extension adds native-looking Ubuntu Unity like AppIndicator support for GNOME Shell, a feature for which some patches were submited more than a year ago, but they were rejected because the feature “conflicts with the design”.

        AppIndicators have are widely used now, with Ubuntu disabling the message tray (systray) by default, and popular applications like Dropbox or Steam come with AppIndicator support by default.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Rescue system Grml 2013.02 improves diagnostic tools

        The developers of Grml have released version 2013.02, code-named “Grumpy Grinch”, of their Debian-based distribution aimed at diagnosing, repairing and maintaining Linux systems. Grml 2013.02 includes updates to several of its tools and the developers have extended the grml-hwinfo application which is used to collect information about the system that is being repaired. The distribution has also been updated to make use of Linux kernel 3.7.9 and has a new grml-network tool that can scan for available wireless networks.

      • NEW! PureOS 7.0 NEW!
      • Alpine 2.5.4 Linux Distro Is Powered by Kernel 3.6.11

        The Alpine Team announced a few hours ago, March 1, that the Alpine Linux 2.5.4 Linux distribution is available for download.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat: ‘Riding the Wave’ of Big Data

        Red Hat is by no means any stranger to either Big Data or the open hybrid cloud, having been closely involved with both efforts for several years already. But with the company’s announcement last week of a fresh strategic direction in those areas, it’s clearly embarking on a new path.

        Not only did Red Hat discuss a new focus on providing solutions for enterprises with Big Data analytics workloads, but it also announced that it will contribute its Red Hat Storage Hadoop plug-in to the Apache Hadoop open community, thus transforming Red Hat Storage into a fully-supported, Hadoop-compatible file system for Big Data IDC big data environments.

      • Red Hat has BIG Big Data plans, but won’t roll its own Hadoop

        Let’s get this straight. Red Hat should package up its own commercial Hadoop distribution or buy one of the three key Hadoop disties before they get too expensive. But don’t hold your breath, because Red Hat tells El Reg that neither option is the current plan. Red Hat is going to partner with Hadoop distributors and hope they deploy commercial Hadoop clusters on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Java and use the Gluster File System, known now as Red Hat Storage Server 2.0.

      • Fedora

        • TLWIR 54: Fedora 18 – A Solid Distro with a Few Quirks

          Other than these two problems noted above, Fedora 18 has been just as good for me as Fedora 17 was. The upgrade from Fedora 17 to 18 was flawless, and I have had no major problems running F18 in the past six weeks. I have been just as productive as ever, and I conclude the Fedora 18 is a solid product.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Now Allows To Use Their Trademark Freely

        Debian, the mother of Ubuntu, has made a historical decision by changing the terms of their trademark policy. According to the new trademark policy, Debian logos and marks may now be used freely for both non-commercial and commercial purposes. The Debian Project encourages wide use of its marks in all ways that promote Debian and free software.

        Stefano Zacchiroli, current Debian Project Leader and one of the main promoters of the new trademark policy, said “Software freedoms and trademarks are a difficult match. We all want to see well-known project names used to promote free software, but we cannot risk they will be abused to trick users into downloading proprietary spyware. With the help of SPI and SFLC, we have struck a good balance in our new trademark policy. Among other positive things, it allows all sorts of commercial use; we only recommend clearly informing customers about how much of the sale price will be donated to Debian.”

      • First release candidate of Debian 7.0 Installer

        The Debian project has announced the first release candidate of the Debian Installer for Debian 7.0 Wheezy. Changes mainly affect the installer’s EFI and UEFI support; for example, the developers have introduced a uniform look for menu items to ensure that the installer’s appearance is as consistent as possible regardless of the boot method used. Various hardware drivers have also been added to the installation system.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google open sources very slow compression algorithm

    Google has open sourced a new compression algorithm called Zopfli that it says is a slower-but-stronger data squasher than the likes of zlib.

  • Zopfli: New compression library from Google

    With Zopfli, Google has introduced a new, C-based compression library as open source software. Named after a Swiss pastry, its algorithm is said to produce results that are 3 to 8 per cent more compact when compressing web content than the popular zlib library at maximum compression level. These results have been documentedPDF by Google. Like zlib, Zopfli is an implementation of the Deflate algorithm that is also used in the zip file format and in PNG files, but it appears to result in smaller output files.

  • Events

    • SCaLE 11X: A very large very small show
    • Tipping the SCALE

      I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, and certainly I am not. Honest. But one of the problems with working on a show like Southern California Linux Expo and this year’s SCALE 11X leaves me little time to do anything but the wood-chopping and water-carrying that goes with being the publicity chair for the show. Let me be clear: This is not a complaint, but rather an explanation about why you’re not going to get a comprehensive report about the event.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • 17 operators, 4 handset makers commit to Firefox OS

        Firefox OS may be up for a good start with 17 operators wowing to support the nascent platform. Among those committing to carry these smartphones are Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telefonica, America Movil, KDDI, Telecom Italia, Telenor, China Unicom, 3 Group, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, TMN and VimpelCom, while Telstra has only “welcomed” the initiative. These diverse group will make Firefox OS-based devices available in a number of countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela, with additional markets announcing soon.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • AESOP: A New Auto-Parallelizing Compiler

      AESOP is a new auto-parallelizing C/C++ compiler for shared memory systems. This new open-source compiler was written at the University of Maryland and is now available to the public.

      The AESOP auto-parallelizing compiler is based upon LLVM and is designe for real-world workloads rather than just small, simple kernels. AESOP is said to already be able to compile SPEC2006 and OMP2001 benchmarks.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Web Standards Project (WaSP) Shuttered

      Aaron Gustafson and two of his fellow contributors, Bruce Lawson and Steph Troeth, have announced the closure of The Web Standards Project (WaSP) which was formed back in 1998.
      The Web Standards Project (WaSP) was co-founded by Glenn Davis, George Olsen, and Jeffrey Zeldman and has been spreading Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible and universal community as well as working towards propagation of World Wide Consortium’s (W3C) gospel.

    • Our Work Here is Done

      Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality.

Leftovers

  • Surface Pro Teardown Reveals It’s Virtually Unrepairable

    The Surface Pro is not a repair-friendly machine. In fact, it’s one of the least repairable devices iFixit has seen: In a teardown of Microsoft’s tablet-laptop hybrid, the company gave it a rock-bottom score of just one — one! — out of 10 for repairability, lower even than Apple’s iPad and the Windows Surface RT.

  • Hardware

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 5 Fracking Consequences You’ve Never Heard About

      We know fracking isn’t exactly the safest of practices. We’ve heard of its propensity to pollute our air and drinking water and thereby raise human health concerns. The media, however, isn’t talking about the massive sinkholes pockmarking the nation, the radiation leaks, and other lesser known but no less earth-shattering effects of fracking.

    • The ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’ Is Running Dry

      Minnesota’s depleting aquifers show consequences of climate change, unsustainable water management

  • Finance

    • Amendments to Consent Orders Memorialize $9.3 Billion Foreclosure Agreement
    • LiveCode Kickstarter campaign successful

      RunRev, the company behind the multi-platform, HyperCard-like development environment LiveCode, reached its goal for its Kickstarter campaign: the fairly ambitious target of £350,000 was met about 60 hours before the campaign was due to end. In fact, although the total amount only approached the target in the last five days, donations then went far beyond the original goal, finally reaching almost £500,000 (about €570,000), allowing LiveCode to be released under the GPLv3 open source licence. RunRev plans to use the additional money to implement more project goals.

    • Another big Dell stockholder says no to buyout as resistance mounts

      Dell’s leveraged buyout deal has run into more resistance. Today, T. Rowe Price Chief Investment Officer Brian Rogers said that his company would vote against the buyout.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The ‘secret agents’ of the UK press

      In December 1968 the state-controlled Russian newspaper Izvestia ran a series of articles accusing several high-profile British journalists of being spies – listing their names and alleged codenames.

      The articles caused a storm of protest in Britain: the Russians were claiming journalists and editors at the Sunday Times, the Observer, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the BBC worked directly with MI6.

  • Privacy

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Cecilia Kang Is Right: There Really Could Be A Free National WiFi Network (of Networks)

      This past week, we’ve had quite the discussion around Cecilia Kang’s WashPo piece describing a plan by the FCC to create a national WiFi network by making the right decisions on the “TV whitespaces” (TVWS), the unused, high-quality frequencies between broadcast TV stations. As Kang describes, the FCC’s opening of sufficient spectrum for TVWS could lead to “super WiFi networks (emphasis added) around the nation so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the internet without paying a cell phone bill every month.”

      Although the article initially faced a great deal of skepticism, Kang’s claims are not as far fetched as they appeared. In fact, if the FCC makes the right spectrum choices, it is reasonable to assume (although not inevitable) that we will eventually get to the kind of ubiquitous and easy to use publicly accessible WiFi access Kang describes in her article.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Territorial Implications of Antigua’s Internet-Based IP Sanctions Against the US

      At the end of January 2013, the WTO authorized Antigua to suspend its intellectual property obligations toward the United States in retaliation for the United States’ breach of WTO rules. There are at least three reasons why the decision and the potential internet-based implementation of the retaliation are notable.

    • Bill Gates Dodges Questions on Why He Owns 500,000 Shares of Monsanto

      It should come as no surprise, then, that Gates owns 500,000 shares worth 23 million US dollars (or more) of Monsanto stock. The very same company that has been caught running slave rings in Argentina in which workers were forced to work 14+ hours a day while withholding payment, has used their massive finances to fund organizations that literally fake FDA quotes to support GMOs, and of course peddling through GMOs that have been linked to numerous health concerns.
      This is not even taking into account the farmer suicides that occur around every 30 minutes due to Monsanto’s failing GMO crop yield bankrupting small-time farmers in India’s notorious ‘suicide belt‘.

    • Trademarks

      • IPhone Owner in Brazil ‘Open’ to Selling Rights to Name

        The owner of the iPhone trademark in Brazil, IGB Eletronica SA (IGBR3), said it would consider selling the naming rights to Apple (AAPL) Inc.

        “We’re open to a dialogue for anything, anytime,” Eugenio Emilio Staub, chairman of IGB, said in an interview in Sao Paulo, adding that the company hasn’t been contacted by Apple. “We’re not radicals.”

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright suit dismissed against Lexis, Westlaw

        A federal judge in Manhattan has thrown out a copyright lawsuit brought by an attorney who sued legal research companies Westlaw and LexisNexis, claiming they had unlawfully profited from his copyrighted legal filings.

        In a brief ruling issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed Edward White’s lawsuit. White, who specializes in intellectual property law, had alleged that Westlaw, owned by Thomson Reuters Corp, and LexisNexis, owned by Reed Elsevier Plc, profited by selling his copyrighted legal briefs in their databases.

      • Dutch government will end protection of non-original works to modernise copyright law

        Dutch Secretary of Justice Teeven has issued a draft bill to remove the so-called ‘geschriftenbescherming’ from Dutch copyright legislation. This is part of the modernization process of Dutch copyright law. The goal is to have a flexible, technology-neutral and future-proof copyright in order to properly connect to modern reality.

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