Links 13/3/2013: Akamai Gives GNU/Linux Numbers; Sabayon Linux 11 Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 8:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Enterprise Desktops and Linux

      Linux wears many different hats. Server, desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, embedded, if there is a device with a CPU there is a good bet that it can run linux. Regardless of Linux’s domination in the datacenter, and it’s mainstream acceptance in mobile and other areas, the fate of the Linux Desktop is what gets people worked up. When a highly public person like Miguel de Icaza switches his desktop to OS X, quite a bit of discussion ensues.

      Much discussion, and most of it for naught. The personal computer that de Icaza uses is of little importance to the Linux community as a whole. He is making a switch during a transitionary period of personal computing, where we are moving from PCs to tablets and smart phones, and the new mobile computing platform is clearly the way of the future. The role of PCs will continue to decline, especially in the home use market. However, the enterprise will have a use for PCs for many, many years to come, and this is where the best opportunity for the Linux desktop resides.

    • Is this the easiest way to try Linux on a Win7 laptop?

      If you’re a Windows 7 user who wants to try out Linux for the first time, one of the easiest ways to do so is to install Ubuntu by using the Windows Ubuntu Installer, or Wubi for short. Using this installer, you can run Ubuntu on your Windows system without having to deal with partitioning and formatting issues, and if you ever get sick of the Linux variant, you can easily uninstall it from within the Programs applet in the Control Panel.

    • HTML5 Brings Netflix to Samsung’s ARM Chromebook

      Google has been working with Netflix (take some tips Canonical) to bring the DRMed services to the Chromebook. This is major as instead of using Microsoft’s Silverlight Netflix is using HTML5 video streaming (which now supports DRM for HTML5 on Chromebooks). Recently Google enabled the much controversial DRM (digital repression management) support for HTML5 in Chrome OS to bring services like Netflix to Chromebooks using HTML5 instead of controversial Silverlight of Microsoft.

  • Server

    • Akamai CSO Andy Ellis Details Linux Usage – VIDEO

      It should come as no surprise that Akamai, the world’s largest Content Delivery Network uses Linux as a core underpinning for its’ 120,000 server network.

    • Patching Dependencies

      So, we were caught in a situation where if we upgraded Postfix, we might break the installed MySQL client. There are a couple of things wrong with this situation. First off, why, oh why, does Postfix require a MySQL client to be installed? Postfix is our MTA, a mail transfer agent, setup because it is easy to configure and we need to do a couple things differently from what is available out of the box. We have absolutely no use for MySQL on every server in the environment. Secondly, why was the third party MySQL (or is that first party, since it is from Oracle?) installed over the default filesystem? Packages that are bundled for inclusion on an operating system should respect that operating system’s package manager and install all of their files to /usr/local/. This keeps the filesystem clean, and does not interfere with the standard package manager and patching process.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel-level app whitelisting support for Android devices
    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel X.Org Driver Update Gets New Features

        Chris Wilson of Intel OTC announced the release of the xf86-video-intel 2.21.4 X.Org driver on Monday morning. This new driver has clumsy PowerXpress integration, run-time detection of available CPU instruction sets, Haswell fix-ups, and more work on the SNA acceleration architecture.

      • NVIDIA Updates Its Legacy Linux Graphics Driver
      • Intel’s graphics driver installation program for Linux

        On its “Open Source Technology Center” 01.org, Intel recently released an installation program that updates Intel graphics drivers for some Linux distributions, including the 32- and 64-bit x86 versions of Fedora 17, Fedora 18, Ubuntu 12.04 and Ubuntu 12.10. Once the program package is installed, the intel-linux-graphics-installer program can take a look at the distribution and connect to repositories from which it pulls packages with newer drivers.

      • NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN Benchmarks On Linux

        Here’s some of the first OpenGL benchmarks of the ultra high-end $999 (USD) NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN running on Linux.

        The mighty-impressive NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN was released in mid-February as a graphics card with 6GB of video RAM and boasts 4.5 TeraFLOPS of single-precision compute power and 1.3 TeraFLOPS of double-precision compute power. The NVIDIA 313.26 driver was released to support this ultra-powerful NVIDIA GeForce graphics card under Linux.

      • Mesa/Gallium3D Gets Its First ARM SoC GPU Driver

        The first working ARM System-on-Chip (SoC) GPU graphics driver built for Gallium3D has been merged into mainline Mesa!

        The driver that was merged into mainline Mesa is the Gallium3D Freedreno for Qualcomm Snapdragon/Adreno graphics hardware. This Freedreno Gallium3D driver initially supports the A220, which is the GPU that Qualcomm uses with its Snapdragon S3 SoC.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 2 With KDE Frameworks 5 Looks Awesome

        Sebastian Kügler of KDE has talked about progress made on Plasma 2, the port of the Plasma Workspaces desktop to using KDE Frameworks 5 that in turn works atop Qt 5. The possibilities opened up for Plasma 2 due to KDE Frameworks 5 and using an OpenGL scene-graph are impressive and awesome.

      • The Kolab story

        Today I’d like to share a success story of a picture perfect project collaboration as it only happens in the open source world without any commercial, political or geographical borders. It all started back in 2009 after a short interview about Roundcube was published on a techworld.com blog. Short time after we got an email from Georg Greve, founder of the FSFE and member of the Kolab Groupware project. At that time, Kolab already made its name as a free competitor to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook and they were just about to found a new company to push Kolab to the next level. One thing Kolab definitely needed was a better web client to access all the groupware data from anywhere. And this is where Roundcube seemed to fit in perfectly. Although Roundcube was “just” an email client, the Kolab guys saw great potential in our codebase and the vital community around it. And now, more than three years after, we can all witness the great success of this decision.

      • Basic RAW Processing in digiKam

        For this project, we’ll use a photo of the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, Spain (you can download the RAW file from https://www.box.com/s/cq3uknqt54o3usf1jg3r). The photo was taken with a Canon PowerShot S90 camera, and the RAW file exhibits several obvious flaws, including visible barrel distortion, underexposed areas, and noise. In other words, this particular RAW file is perfect for tweaking in digiKam.

      • the case

        Natural ecosystems are wonderful things full of complexity and beauty. There are few ecosystems on this planet that are occupied by only one or two species. Most are a complex meshing of variety, though it is not uncommon for there to be dominant species (numerically, positionally) within them.

        Interesting things happen when you change an ecosystem, however. If you remove a species, particularly a populous one, it leaves an opening full of suddenly unused resources in its wake. This opening usually fills up quickly with other species, often creating instabilities that over time even out until the system reaches a new equilibrium. Change the environment in some way (more water, less water; more heat , longer cold; etc.) and previously successful groups may find themselves marginalized, once again creating opportunities for others to grow and proliferate.

      • extending plasma desktop scripting
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME and Kylin become official Ubuntu flavours

        The Ubuntu Technical board has given the official designation to two Ubuntu flavours, Ubuntu GNOME and UbuntuKylin. The decision was made in an IRC meeting and announced by the projects this week. Ubuntu GNOME 3 sets out to deliver the GNOME 3 experience on Ubuntu, while UbuntuKylin aims to offer a fully customised Chinese user experience on Ubuntu 13.04. The official blessing gives the developers of each flavour access to Ubuntu’s build infrastructure and allows them to be managed as part of the Ubuntu project rather than as an unsupported fork.

      • A Linux Conspiracy Theory

        Can we really and seriously believe that William Jon McCann, described as one of the main driving forces behind the concepts of GNOME 3, doesn’t know what Xfce is? What are the consequences of having a large corporation like Red Hat (perhaps with strong influence from the ultra-wealthy Google) in control of widely used open source projects like GNOME and GTK, with its teams of developers routinely altering their APIs in unpredictable, erratic ways and offering no real support to independent projects using their libraries? It’s clear that with the advent of GNOME 3, GNOME has become a corporate product solely created for and controlled by Red Hat.

  • Distributions

    • Distro deluge: Six imminent Linux releases previewed

      A number of interesting new Linux releases are due out in the next few days or weeks. Here’s a quick overview of some of them.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • The delayed Mageia 3 Beta 3 arrives for testing

        Mageia 3 Beta 3, the delayed beta release that pushed Mageia 3′s release date into May, has now been released by the development team. The team say they had to face quite a lot of bugs during the QA phase of testing the beta 3 ISO images and that it took more time than expected to fix them. Another beta, beta 4 is scheduled for 28 March, followed by a release freeze on 7 April, release candidate on 19 April, and final release on 3 May.

      • Mageia 3 Beta 3, A Quick Test Drive
    • Gentoo Family

      • Reviews: First look at Sabayon Linux 11

        Sabayon Linux is a distribution which uses Gentoo Linux as its base. The Sabayon project is very diverse, featuring many different desktop spins (KDE, GNOME, MATE and Xfce) along with some minimalist and server spins. Each flavour of Sabayon is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. This gives users a variety of editions from which to choose and one of them is bound to fit our needs. The distribution maintains a rolling release, meaning packages are constantly updating to keep users up to date with the latest available versions of software. I decided to try the latest release of Sabayon, version 11, and opted to try the project’s KDE edition. The KDE edition can be downloaded as a 2.2 GB ISO image.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat clone CentOS 6.4 replicated and released
      • Red Hat Opens Up Cloud PaaS Development on OpenShift Origin

        Red Hat’s OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering started its life as a mostly proprietary product built on technology acquired from Makara in 2010.

        In April of 2012, Red Hat made OpenShift available as open source under the OpenShift Origin effort. Simply making a project open source, however, doesn’t make it a true open source community with contribution and collaboration.

      • Apple, Red Hat, VeriFone highlight tech trading

        Tech companies ended up putting in a mixed trading session Tuesday, with notable losses coming from Apple Inc. and Red Hat Inc., but decent gains coming elsewhere from the likes of VeriFone Systems Inc.

      • Red Hat rolls FuseSource middleware into JBoss stack
      • Fedora

        • Fedora Project’s Robyn Bergeron: The Linux Desktop Is Almost Ready for Its Close-Up

          “I think we offer quite a bit more choice to people. Think in terms of the number of desktop choices we offer. Consider that if somebody in the Fedora community wants to add to those choices, we are supportive of that interest. We will do that. We are not dictating from on high. We don’t focus on ‘Thou shalt have’ and ‘Thou shalt not have.’ We are definitely a distribution that is focused on freedom.”

        • Fedora Linux Looks To Improve Its Boot Experience

          Matthias Clasen sparked a new mailing list thread on Monday amongst Fedora developers to improve the Fedora boot experience.

        • RAID Re-do for Anaconda

          So I think out of all of the feedback we got about the Anaconda UI redesign, the one piece of the UI that’s received the most negative feedback is the RAID configuration piece of the custom partitioning UI. The designs for how this UI ended up getting implemented in Fedora 18 was posted to this blog in December 2011. I really wish we’d received the level of feedback we received post F18-Beta and post F18-GA at that point, so the design could have been modified before it was implemented! That being said – I’m not placing blame with anybody but myself – I got this design wrong, and for that I am sincerely sorry.

    • Debian Family

      • Everyday Linux User Review of Crunchbang Linux #!

        Ok so I have put off doing this review for sometime. I tried Crunchbang for the first time about a year ago and I was a little underwhelmed.


        There are some distributions that have a lot of glitz and glamour and they lack functionality (if these distributions were people my nan would say they were “all skirt and no knickers”). There are other distributions that are built for do-ers. (and of course there are some that provide Glitz and glamour as well as functionality).

      • Debian community to elect new project leader

        The candidates have been announced and the election process for the new Debian Project Leader (DPL) has officially begun. Gergely Nagy, Moray Allan and Lucas Nussbaum are campaigning for the top position in the Debian Project. After three terms, current Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli is not running for re-election this year.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Developing Its Own Calculator, Calendar, Etc
          • Chromebook Pixel: Run Ubuntu alongside Chrome OS

            A common complaint about Chrome OS is that it’s not a full OS. That’s no longer true as you can easily run Ubuntu alongside Chrome OS on the Chromebook Pixel and toggle between the two.

          • Ubuntu Display Server Fallout

            Recently, many people have expressed concern over Ubuntu’s desire to migrate from the X Window System to the Mir display server, which the Ubuntu team will manage themselves. The bulk of the concern seems to be confusion over why Ubuntu developers wouldn’t use Wayland instead.

            In this article, I’ll explore the official reasoning for the decision, while also exploring some additional considerations that most people aren’t talking about.

          • Shifting to Ubuntu in 2013

            Seven years ago, it was a bit of a challenge to shift to open source because Linux desktop operating systems weren’t all that easy to set up and use. Today, it’s a snap to install and use Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions with an estimated 20 million users worldwide.

          • One year on, Ubuntu still to announce a single TV hardware partner

            More than a year after it announced plans to develop an Ubuntu-powered TV, Canonical, the company behind the operating system, is still to announce a hardware partner for the project.

            Ubuntu TV is one element of Canonical’s ‘four screen’ strategy, under which the company wants to see its open source operating system also appearing on smartphones, tablets and PCs.

            First announced at CES 2012 in Las Vegas, Canonical hoped that Ubuntu TVs would appear by the end of the year.

          • Monthly versions of Ubuntu might be too unstable, Shuttleworth warns

            Developers at Canonical have been considering a completely new release cycle for Ubuntu in which the interim releases that occur every six months would be dumped in favor of “rolling releases” that happen far more frequently but not necessarily on a set schedule.

            Last month, Canonical VP Rick Spencer suggested that Canonical “take a monthly snapshot of the development release, which we support only until the next snapshot.” Users could then choose either the Long Term Support (LTS) edition that comes out every two years, the monthly snapshot, or the absolute newest build, which could conceivably be updated every day.

          • Ubuntu’s Release Cycle and its Impact on the Channel
          • Ubuntu 13.04: how things are shaping up

            Ubuntu 13.04 is the latest version of Ubuntu, scheduled to be released on the 25th of April this year. But what’s it shaping up to? In this article I’ll sum up some of the changes since the last LTS (Long Time Support) release, Ubuntu 12.04. You might wonder “Why not Ubuntu 12.10?” The answer is simple; I never used Ubuntu 12.10 after my first crashtastic experience in VirtualBox. I’m not saying Ubuntu 12.10 was a bad release, but it didn’t really work for me.

          • What’s Good For Canonical Is Best For Ubuntu

            Mark Shuttleworth can’t leave well enough alone. First it was Unity. Then it was Wayland. Now it’s Mir. Inquiring minds want to know: what does he think he’s trying to do? It’s simple, really. He’s not trying to do anything. All indications are that he’s actually accomplishing what he’s setting out to do. Except for making money and only time will tell if that’s going to work out for him.

            Unity was a no-brainer. Practically everybody hated GNOME 3, so he pretty much had to do something. What everyone expected that something to be was along the lines of Cinnamon or MATE, an interface that would offer users the look and feel of GNOME as they knew it, not as it had become. What Shuttleworth offered was, in the words of Monty Python, “something completely different.” Different from both GNOME 2 or 3. Different from KDE. Different from Windoze and OS X. Unique to Ubuntu.

          • If Ubuntu wants to succeed on tablets and smartphones, the waiting game must stop
          • Can Canonical Rally Its Community for Ubuntu Convergence?
          • Ubuntu’s Release Cycle and its Impact on the Channel

            Daylight savings just began, which means it’s the time of year to start looking forward to the spring release of Ubuntu. But could this year’s version, 13.04, be the last one in the biannual release cycle that Canonical has stalwartly maintained for almost a decade? For the moment, that remains uncertain, but the issue, which has produced a stunning amount of debate, could have ramifications well beyond the Ubuntu ecosystem.

            Rumors of changes to the Ubuntu release policy have circulated for several months, but Ubuntu developers initially rejected them. The issue re-emerged a couple of weeks ago, however, when Rick Spencer, vice president of Engineering at Canonical, launched a wide public discussion by suggesting on the Ubuntu developers’ email list that a “rolling release” cycle might better serve the Ubuntu community. That would be a major shift away from the current model, under which Canonical introduces a new version of Ubuntu every six months. It designates one out of every four of those releases for “longterm support” (LTS), meaning they receive support and updates for five years.

          • Canonical and Ubuntu may be doing the right thing
          • Ubuntu shouldn’t matter to those who care about free desktops

            So Canonical is chaining its desktop Ubuntu Linux distribution to a phone/tablet/TV future, and they want us, the community, to write apps for their in-the-works devices and not care so much about the core operating system itself.

          • Ubuntu Unity Existed Before The GNOME Shell?

            Mark Shuttleworth has irritated some open-source developers by his latest claim: Ubuntu’s Unity existed before the GNOME Shell.

            Red Hat’s Adam Williamson, among other open-source developers, are ticked off by some of Mark Shuttleworth’s recent claims regarding Ubuntu. It’s just not about Mir, but other topics too. The Fedora QA manager wrote a personal blog post today entitled Dear Mark Shuttleworth: please tell the truth.

          • Let’s go faster while preserving what works best
          • Ubuntu Used as Online Gambling Station in Airport
          • How to Upgrade Ubuntu 12.10 to Ubuntu 13.04
          • Shuttleworth Goes on the Defensive for his Linux Vision
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Trisquel 6.0 LTS “Toutatis” has arrived!

              This long awaited release is based on Ubuntu Precise, and as usual comes full of free software goodness. We continue to provide an easy to use classic desktop experience complete with full featured browsing, office, communications and social networking utilities. Download it while it is hot!

            • Ubuntu GNOME Is Now An Official Ubuntu Flavor

              As some non-Mir news, Tim Lunn of the Ubuntu GNOME project wrote into Phoronix that the OS spin is now an official Ubuntu flavor. Ubuntu GNOME was originally released last year in conjunction with Ubuntu 12.10, but now the flavor has been approved by the Tech Board per the IRC meeting logs.

            • Gnome gets official status within the Ubuntu family
            • How will changes at Ubuntu affect Kubuntu: exclusive interview with Jonathan Riddell

              There are some major changes happening at Ubuntu which pans from changing base technologies to community involvement. Ubuntu has quite some flavour and derivatives and there was some concern among the users how these changes will impact these distributions, so we reached out to two major distributions which are based on Ubuntu – Linux Mint and Kubuntu.

            • Xubuntu Pangolin on Asus eeePC

              The combination of Xubuntu 12.04 and eeePC is amazing. This Linux distro has breathed fresh air into the lungs of my netbook. Unless it dies because of hardware fatigue, it should breeze on for a few years more without any trouble, blessed with an enhanced and improved presentation layer, much faster responsiveness and multitasking, and the latest set of programs and gadgets. Really nice. So if you happen to have a netbook, I do warmly recommend you give it a try with an Xfce-flavored distro, you’re bound for a pleasant surprise. Well, not a surprise, if you know what you’re expecting, but you get the drift.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Q&A with Mentor Graphics’ John Cherry: Android or Embedded Linux?

      As we discovered last week, Linux pros don’t think Android is the new embedded Linux. Android does, however, have a lot of great uses in embedded projects and many features that even hard core embedded Linux developers can envy.

      To dig a little deeper into some of the similarities and differences between Android and embedded Linux, we talked with John Cherry, Senior Engineering Manager of Linux Runtime Services at Mentor Graphics. While you might not need Android in a fixed function device such as your toaster (or maybe you do?), he said via email, “Android is no longer just a mobile communication and tablet operating system.”

    • Phones

      • The elusive third great mobile OS

        commentary BlackBerry. Windows Phone. Firefox. Tizen. Ubuntu. There’s a lot of interest in creating an alternative to Android and iOS. But the lack of concentrated industry support may spell doom.

      • Jolla hires designers behind Huawei devices, Nokia E-Series for Sailfish phone
      • Ballnux

      • Android

        • XOLO’s Q800 quad-core Android phone launched for Rs 12,499

          XOLO has launched its first quad-core Android smartphone in India. Powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the new Q800 phone has a 4.5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 960 x 640 pixels. It features a 1.2GHz quad-core processor.

        • LG announces global roll-out of Optimus L5II

          LG has announced that its 4-inch dual-SIM smartphone, Optimus L5II, will make its debut in Brazil, eventually trickling out to markets in Central / South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

          The handset packs 1Ghz processor and 512MB of RAM powering Android 4.1.2 aka Jelly Bean layered in the latest LG UX specific tweaks: Quick Button and Safety Care.

        • Phonegap Application Development

          Developing native code for Android is relatively easy. You’ll have to learn to use Android’s XML-based screen layout mechanism, and you’ll have to learn Java. For iPhone, you’ll need to learn Objective C. If you want to develop for Windows Phone, you’ll need to learn C# as well. Instead, you simply could use Phonegap and maintain a singe code base in HTML/JavaScript/CSS. This is the definition of a “no-brainer”.

        • Android is so in (in Asia)
        • Intel Delivers Innovations Atop Google’s Android

          Intel has released their own spin of Google’s Android operating system with some features not yet found in the upstream open-source Android project.

          For the past half-year Intel Open-Source Technology Center developers have been working on Android-IA, their project that optimizes the AOSP (Android Open-Source Project) code for Intel hardware.

        • Android-powered light switch seeks to control your home

          Ube announced today that its WiFi Smart Dimmer switch, currently an in-process project at Kickstarter, will be able to control other smart devices throughout the home via gestures on the dimmer’s capacitive multi-touch interface.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Community is an art form

    The collaborative community contribution model of open source computing is an art form.

    This is a view shared by an increasing number of respected speakers in the industry as open platforms now become seriously architected into our computing services from mobile devices to enterprise clouds.

  • Open Source / Open Development / Open Design: Leveraging Transparency for Greater Success


  • 4 Myths About Open Source We Should Put to Rest

    Growing consumerization of technology means an increasing number of people have control of what technologies they use in both their personal and business lives. Two of the biggest areas where this trend manifests itself these days are mobile technologies and software, the latter of which has resulted in a steady and significant growth in the use of open source software (OSS) thanks to its lower cost and relatively similar functional capabilities. Respondents in last year’s annual Future of Open Source Survey, which is currently being run for 2013 and can be taken here, indicated that by 2017 organizations will spend 50 percent more than they do now on OSS purchases.

  • Software Company Anahata To Open Source Anahata-Util Library
  • Open source networking: Mellanox introduces Open Ethernet

    The era of closed platforms in the Ethernet switching industry is over, according to Mellanox Technologies, the Israeli data center Ethernet and InfiniBand networking specialist.

    Mellanox has introduced its Open Ethernet initiative, which gives customers the option of running a complete open source networking stack on Ethernet hardware, allowing them to tweak and customize networks to their own specifications, said Gilad Shainer, senior director of market development at Mellanox.

  • Events

    • Open Source at CeBIT 2013

      Open Source software has had a special area for itself at the CeBIT trade show for the last five years. The H went along to see what was new this year and in the process met Knoppix creator, Klaus Knopper, saw the latest in 3D printing, and talked with John “Maddog” Hall about Project Cauã.

  • Web Browsers

    • Here come Stitcher browser plug-ins for Firefox and Chrome

      Stitcher has come up with new plug-ins for Firefox and Chrome browsers. You can now listen to the streaming service any time on any browser thanks to the new browser plug-ins customized for Chrome and Firefox. These plug-ins also enable users to stream their favorite programs along with over 15,000 shows using easy toolbar access providing full playback control, the company said.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Puppet and CloudStack
    • Rackspace Rolls Out Improved Open Source Private Cloud
    • In Five Years, Expect Far Fewer OpenStack Service Providers

      The OpenStack Foundation is crowded with heavy-hitting sponsors and partners, and in recent months we’ve seen OpenStack services and announcements from Rackspace, HP, Internap and AT&T. Dell, Red Hat and IBM are also diving into the fray. It seems inevitable that there could eventually be a market shakeout, and some organizations deploying OpenStack could end up very unhappy with the support and services that they are getting.

    • AWS plugs Node.js into Elastic Beanstalk

      Amazon has plugged Node.js into its free platform-as-a-service, Elastic Beanstalk.

      Elastic Beanstalk helps developers deploy applications by automating capacity provisioning, load balancing, health monitoring, and auto-scaling the company announced in a blog post on Monday

      It also promises some Node.js-specific support features for Elastic Beanstalk, like being able to couple Elastic Beanstalk with the Amazon RDS tech, and to run the Node.js app inside Amazon’s enterprise-friendly virtual private cloud. Elastic Beanstalk now also supports PHP, Python, Ruby, .NET, and Java, alongside Node.js.

  • CMS

    • Drupal’s Founder Sees Big Things Ahead for Version 8 of the CMS

      Dries Buytaert is the founder and lead of the open source Drupal content management system, which OStatic and many other web sites are based on. He’s also the co-founder of Acquia, which offers a commercially supported version of Drupal. Dries is one of the more respected pundits in open source, and has submitted guest posts here on OStatic.

  • Education

    • OER university practices go well beyond open enrollment

      While mainstream attention has been focused on MOOCs, the Open Educational Resource university (OERu) has been developing a parallel education offering which is distinctively open.

      The OERu aims to provide free learning to all students worldwide using OER learning materials with pathways to gain credible qualifications from recognized education institutions.

    • How to organize an education hackathon
    • Open Ballot: What does education need?

      So, we put it to you open balloters. What do you think?

      Kids should be able to use MSOffice, since that’s what they’ll need to use in most jobs.
      Kids should understand how computers work, and how they interact.
      Kids should be able to program.
      Kids should be able to install Gentoo. We’re trying to build a 1337 super race!
      Kids should know nothing otherwise they’ll steal our jobs. As Homer Simpson said, “Children are the future … unless we stop them now”

      Or, of course, any other thoughts.

  • Healthcare

    • Success of GNU Health goes beyond free software

      In 2006, Luis Falcón founded GNU Health, a free health information system that recently recieved the “Best Project of Social Benefit” award given by the Free Software Foundation.

      GNU Health, and in Latin countries, GNU Solidario, started as a free software project for Primary Care facilities in rural areas and developing countries. Since then, it has evolved into a full Hospital and Health Information System used by the United Nations, public hospitals and Ministries of Health (such as in Entre Rios, Argentina), and private institutions around the globe.


    • The Guile 100 Programs Project

      Guile 100 hopes to be a collection of useful examples of how to use Guile. Every few weeks, I’ll announce a theme for a collection of tasks. Then each week, I’ll announce a challenge in that theme: a script to be written or a problem to be solved.

    • Cynthiune 1.0.0
  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Swiss Canton’s use of open source document management system renews dispute

      The Swiss Canton of Bern has decided to switch to Open Justitia, a management system for legal documents, developed as open source by the country’s Federal Court. The canton procured support for the installing and maintaining the software from a Swiss IT service provider. One competitor disputes the contract. The firm, whose offer of its own proprietary alternative was turned down, is rallying for political support.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Zend Optimizer+ will land in PHP 5.5

      Zend Optimizer+ is to be integrated into the currently-in-development PHP 5.5. The announcement was made by Zeev Suraski, CTO and co-founder of Zend Technologies. The opcode cache and code optimiser was recently open sourced; previously it was only available as part of the proprietary Zend Server. It improves the performance of the interpreter by optimising the bytecode generated from PHP source files. It also stores precompiled bytecode in shared memory instead of reloading and recompiling source code from the hard disk when needed.

    • Uni profs: Kids today could do with a bit of ‘mind-crippling’ COBOL

      Want a guaranteed job in IT? Learn COBOL, even if it cripples you mentally – that’s the advice of university profs teaching tech.

      Ignore, for a second, the fact COBOL doesn’t feature in the top 20 of languages developers are using in anger today. Those in charge of setting university IT curricula reckon there’s no better guarantee of a job than tooling up on COBOL.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • On keeping a name relevant

      My conclusion is that when it comes to Freedom (Software Freedom or otherwise) standards actually matter as much as rights. Standards, regardless of what they are about, industry specifications, public policies, conventions defining legal terms, even words and their meaning, are the fundamental building block on an open, inclusive and efficient system. While their use may be twisted -any tool can, for the hand that uses the tool is the one ultimately defining its intent- standards form the basis of innovation, be it technological or social, and even political. Standards are what we must agree on first in order to agree on principles, values, and on the way we live. Our world, our countries, our lives, the industries we are working in are thus powered by standards. But it would be a pale assertion to stand at that line; for the author of this blog does not just stick to standards. He believes in Freedom as the energy in everything good that’s been happening in his life and around him as far as he can witness; and if the truth about the “primum mobile” will forever remain a mystery to Man, at least part of its manifestation lies in our innate and universal potential and right to Freedom. Software is no different in that respect. This blog will thus continue to be not just powered by standards. It will always be moved by Freedom.


  • Why Antibiotics Are the Wrong Approach to Shadow IT

    Possibly because the bad ones can kill you, bacteria get a bad rap. Those Purell stations you see at conferences? They’re barely competent as a viricide, but excel at destroying bacteria. And while the CDC says they’re not necessary, anti-bacterial soaps remain all the rage these days.

    We’ve been conditioned to consider bacteria as the enemy by way of related horror stories. The toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum, for example, the bacteria which allows celebrities to give their faces a carboard-like appearance, is incredibly toxic. 1 gram of it, in fact, is enough to kill 14,000 people. Escherichia coli, a normally helpful occupant of our digestive tract, has a variant that can cause hemorrhagic diarrhea, kidney failure or even death.

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • Western Digital RE4 1TB SATA Enterprise HDD

      Benchmarks up this afternoon are of a Western Digital RE4 WD1003FBYX, an internal enterprise hard drive, being tested from Ubuntu 13.04 with the Linux 3.8 kernel. This Linux disk drive comparison was done with an EXT4 file-system and other disk benchmarks are available from different solid-state and traditional rotating hard drives.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • As Big as Terrorism

      UK deaths last year from antibiotic resistance: 5,000
      Uk deaths last year fron terrorisn: nil

    • Airport Screening Concerns Civil Liberties Groups

      …asked a Virgin America flight attendant for a soda and was told he had to request one using the aircraft’s seat-back system…


      “My biggest concern is that somebody on an aircraft has the power to outright lie about an incident and get me in all kinds of trouble,” he said. “Civil rights have gone out the window.”

    • 12 Companies Cashing In On Drones
    • Iowa leaders should take strong stand against drones

      At 11:47 a.m. Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky embarked on a near-13 hour deliberative filibuster, stalling the nomination of CIA Director John Brennan, to gain clarity on the possibility of the CIA’s drone assassination program being used against American citizens at home.

      The CIA regularly uses drones armed with Hellfire missiles to engage various targets abroad. Drone strikes have a cruel and unusual record. Afghani President Hamid Karzai demanded the attacks end, after the drone’s Hellfire engulfed 30 civilian locations in 2012.

    • Afghan Says Force Backed by the C.I.A. Beat Him

      The 29-year-old engineering student was standing outside his classroom here on Saturday morning when he said two pickup trucks full of armed men pulled up. The men, said to be members of a C.I.A.-backed Afghan strike force, grabbed him, tied his hands behind his back, draped a black hood over his head and drove him to an undisclosed location where, the student says, he was beaten and whipped.

    • After Afghan Raid, Focus on Captors
    • CIA Ramps Up Role in Iraq
    • CIA ups Iraq role to fight Syria Islamists
    • Killing a Citizen: NYT, Awlaki and ‘Muddying the Moral Clarity’

      Indeed, the Times story does a remarkable job of conveying official justifications for the Awlaki killing–but we hear nothing from those who have questioned the government’s account and its legal rationale. The ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights have led the legal challenge on the Awlaki case, and issued a response (3/10/13) to the Times story.

      The Times story also included information about the drone killing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old son of Anwar al-Awlaki. He was killed several weeks later, along with about a dozen others in Yemen. The strike was based on bad intelligence; the intended target was not among those killed.

  • Cablegate

    • Bill Keller Ponders What Would Have Happened if NYT Published Information from Bradley Manning
    • Forget WikiLeaks: Manning Should Have Gone to NYT
    • Interview uncut: Jacob Appelbaum

      RU: It’s interesting to have a book on Cypherpunk with Julian Assange as the author (his name, at least, is writ largest) when most people think of WikiLeaks as an anti-secrecy organization. Did he (or all of you) intentionally want to complexify the discussion around WikiLeaks or did anything like that even cross your mind(s)?

      JA: Personal privacy and institutional transparency are complementary ideas that help to create a free and open society.

    • Mark Weisbrot on Hugo Chavez, Kevin Gosztola on Bradley Manning

      This week on CounterSpin: Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez is dead but his independence and help for Venezuela’s poor remains unforgiven in the US press. We’ll talk to Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research about what media’s portrayal of Chavez says about media.

    • The War Against Bradley Manning — A War Against All Who Speak Out Against Injustice

      Time and again, throughout America’s history, individuals with a passion for truth and a commitment to justice have opted to defy the unjust laws and practices of the American government in order to speak up against slavery, segregation, discrimination, and war. Even when their personal safety and freedom were on the line, these individuals spoke up, knowing they would be chastised, ridiculed, arrested, branded traitors and even killed.

    • WikiLeaks: GSL Doesn’t Want ICRC And UN Involved In Identification Of Those Killed In The War – Gota To US

      “Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa was sharply critical of international organizations in his final meeting with Ambassador. Rajapaksa said the ICRC’s job was essentially finished now that the conflict was over. He said the GSL is unhappy with the UN and ICRC for being critical of the GSL when they should have been working with the government to help resolve the conflict and address the challenges Sri Lanka faced. The Defense Secretary said the GSL doesn’t want the ICRC and UN involved in identification of those killed in the former conflict zone because of their ‘negative’ attitude. He claimed their reporting would likely inflame passions, exacerbate divisions, and be contrary to the goals of reconciliation and closure. Ambassador strongly disagreed, saying the ICRC was performing excellent work in assisting GSL efforts to deal with the humanitarian crisis.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

  • Finance

    • A Resurgent Goldman Can Reshape Wall Street

      The current system has made the people who work on Wall Street fabulously rich, and given the rest of us one financial crisis after another. It makes no effort to hold financial professionals responsible for their bad behavior. Instead, they continue to reap all the financial rewards for taking risks with the money of their depositors, counterparties, creditors and shareholders, with little or no accountability when things go awry. After what Wall Street put us through in 2008 and 2009, you would think that the compensation system would have been changed to prevent a repeat. You would be wrong.

    • Rigging the I.P.O. Game

      ONCE upon a time, in a very different age, an Internet start-up called eToys went public. The date was May 20, 1999. The offering price had been set at $20, but investors in that frenzied era were so eager for eToys shares that the stock immediately shot up to $78. It ended its first day of trading at $77 a share.

      The eToys initial public offering raised $164 million, a nice chunk of change for a two-year-old company. But it wasn’t even close to the $600 million-plus the company could have raised if the offering price had more realistically reflected the intense demand for eToys shares. The firm that underwrote the I.P.O. — and effectively set the $20 price — was Goldman Sachs.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • From Tabloids to Tablets: News Corp Spends Big on LA School Board Race, Sets Sights on Public Education “Market”

      A subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp – parent company of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal – has spent a whopping $250,000 on the Los Angeles school board race, just as the corporation focuses on making money off of public education. News Corp and its for-profit education subsidiaries are also members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the education initiatives promoted by News Corp’s preferred candidates track the ALEC agenda.

      Murdoch has called the for-profit K-12 education industry “a $500 billion sector in the US alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed” – and his News Corp is investing big to capture that market. In 2010, News Corp acquired Wireless Generation, a for-profit online education, software, and testing corporation, for $360 million. Its latest venture is a digital K-12 curricula to be sold and taught on a specialized “Amplify Tablet” that runs on the Android platform.

    • EU attempts to brainwash children with ‘sinister Soviet-style propaganda’

      European Parliament chiefs are considering setting up a site to target young children with a “playful” presentation of their working methods and democratic principles.

      It adds to concern highlighted by the Daily Express about educational materials produced for schools by the European Commission that critics claim are a bid to make children feel positive about the EU.

    • Another WI Supreme Court Election Battle Dominated By Outside Spending

      Ever since Governor Scott Walker imposed his anti-union legislation on Wisconsin, the state has become exceptionally polarized. This polarization is reflected in the current race for Supreme Court. Once again Wisconsin is seeing massive spending from outside groups in a race that is officially nonpartisan.

      The 2011 Supreme Court race between incumbent Justice David Prosser — who was formerly a GOP lawmaker in the state — and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg became a referendum on Walker’s controversial Act 10, with record-breaking spending by groups like the Koch-linked Citizens for a Strong America, the powerful Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the Wisconsin chapter of Club for Growth, and the union-backed Greater Wisconsin Committee. Prosser ultimately won in a narrow victory after the last-minute discovery of uncounted votes in heavily Republican Waukesha County.

  • Privacy

    • Data Protection: Last Opinion Vote in JURI on 19 March

      Revision of the European Data Protection Regulation is ongoing and the “Legal Affairs” (JURI) Committee will vote on its opinion on 19 March. Unfortunately, there are strong indications that JURI will vote in the same way as the previous committees and weaken the protection of EU citizens’ privacy against corporations that collect, process and trade their personal data. With only one week left before the vote, citizens must act urgently and contact their members of the European Parliament (MEP).

    • Councils reassess their use of CCTV
    • Open source cloud offers another route to better security

      The news that IBM is going to shift all its cloud services and software to an open cloud architecture comes as no great surprise. After all, it had already signalled an intent to open up the cloud when it joined the OpenStack Foundation last year as a ‘platinum’ sponsor and then went on to contribute to the codebase.

    • Study links Facebook ‘likes’ with personality traits
  • Civil Rights

    • EU sweats over how to bring Hungary into line
    • Cops Detain 6-year-old for Walking Around Neighborhood (And It Gets Worse)

      Readers — The story below makes me so sad and so angry, and you will see why. If anyone at Child Protective Services or the police department would pick up a single book written before predator panic swept the country, they’d see that 6-year-olds were always part of the neighborhood scene, scampering, playing, or even — in many eras and areas — working! The idea that a 6-year-old can’t be outside without constant supervision is new and warped.

    • What U.S. Commitment to African Justice and Human Rights?

      What happens in other countries is important to U.S. media when they can claim that the news matters to U.S. interests. So it was not altogether surprising to see the March 8 headline in the New York Times, “Leader of Vote Count in Kenya Faces U.S. With Tough Choices.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Neutralised in France?

      Questioned by the French government on the need to legislate on the protection of freedoms on the Internet, the National Digital Council (Conseil national du numérique or CNNum) published today an opinion on Net neutrality1 [fr]. It recommends that the French government makes this principle of non-discrimination into law, broadening its scope to include search engines and other online services. But by overbroadening the neutrality principle, the CCNum’s recommendations could result in a meaningless law.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Angry judge blasts porn trolls: “Someone has an awful lot to hide”

        In a Los Angeles federal courtroom on a blindingly sunny Monday afternoon, US District Judge Otis Wright expressed incredulity at the sheer gall of the Prenda porn copyright trolling firm.

        Judge Wright had ordered six other Prenda affiliates (or alleged affiliates) to show up in response to his order regarding possible sanctions for their behavior. None of those named parties showed up to the hearing in person, apart from Alan Cooper of Minnesota. (Cooper has alleged that Prenda attorney John Steele used Cooper’s name improperly as the CEO of copyright licensing firm AF Holdings.) Lawyers Steele, Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy, and Prenda paralegal Angela Van Den Hemel had filed a notice on Friday saying that travel to the Central District Court of California was impossible for the out-of-state parties. Today, they were represented by another attorney who identified herself as Heather Rosing.

Latest Microsoft Openwashing, Including ‘Future Of Open Source’ Survey From Proprietary Software Company With Microsoft Ties

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Once again, an overview of some gross PR which is intended to portray as open the company which is the biggest enemy of Open Source and libre software

The Microsoft ally/partner Black Duck has been using something called Future Of Open Source Survey to increase its influence over the collective voice of FOSS. This is still going on. Recently, Black Duck was openwashing Microsoft in a very gross way and years ago it brought in Ohloh, which is former Microsoft staff. “Ohloh Reveals Unique Insight into Organizations’ Commitments to Open Source Projects,” says a new headline, which is another stunt by Black Duck to promote its voice. Here is an example. The founder of the company is a Microsoft marketing man/Microsoft campaigner and his strategy sure pays off. Here is another new example of openwashing, this time with code samples for proprietary platform (C# and Visual Basic).

Paul Krill plays along with the Microsoft PR:

The company is expanding its participation in open source endeavors, no longer believes Linux is a ‘cancer’

Not true. Just look at what Microsoft is doing to Linux while it is also misusing the term “open” to mean nonsense. Here is some openwashing of proprietary Azure through something called “Open Data Center Alliance”, another nonsense entity.

It is important to bear in mind that there is a marketing or PR campaign going on to blur the difference between libre software and Microsoft. This is intentional. This needs to be stopped.

2014 Will be Great for Linux-based Devices and GNU/Linux Distributions

Posted in GNU/Linux, Vista 8, Windows at 4:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Widely-used Microsoft software to be abandoned


Summary: Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 soon to have their support expire, which can drive enterprises to non-Vista 8 systems, notably GNU/Linux with Free/libre software

The arrival of Vista 8 did absolutely nothing to increase sales of PCs, maybe only sales of tablets and such, running everything but Windows, of course. There is this report (via) about the last pre-Vista version of Windows coming to its end of life pretty soon. As put by the pro-Microsoft crowd:

A large number of Microsoft customers are in for a rude awakening on 8 April 2014.
With less than 400 days to go, 15 per cent of those running Windows XP are still unaware that that’s the date Microsoft finally turns off all support for its legacy PC operating system, according to a recent survey.

After 8 April next year, Microsoft will no longer make bug fixes or security updates for Windows XP, meaning customers will be naked and vulnerable to hackers and viruses and on their own in terms of code updates and fixes. Support for Office 2003 also finishes on the same date, with the same implications.

This is likely to cause not adoption of Vista 8 but of alternatives to Microsoft. It was realised by Microsoft sevrral years ago, which is why an extended support date deadline was issued.

Microsoft Tax Goes Deeper Into Hardware While Microsoft Pays No Tax

Posted in Finance, Hardware, Microsoft at 4:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Forcing payments to Microsoft upon shipment of every device, including many Android devices (patent extortion)


Summary: Microsoft and its tax mischiefs continue to worry some who recognise that Microsoft does not pay tax, collects taxpayers’ money, and now puts Windows tax on hardware by interfering with the process of hardware assembly, with help from UEFI

Following Microsoft's evasion of tax in Denmark, adding to what we already knew, Reuters got linked or cited by many more sites, not just news syndicators that stated “Denmark wants Microsoft to pay $1 billion in back taxes in one of the biggest tax cases in the country’s history, local media reported on Monday.”

Microsoft has been embezzling and stealing a lot of tax money in other ways, e.g. with government contracts. A lot of dirty tactics get used there and fines are not enough to act as a deterrent.

Microsoft has another form of tax which is the OEM tax. Almost every new PC comes with Windows tax and Microsoft pressures OEMs to embrace UEFI now. The president of UEFI wants more OEMs in this scandal and he says:

For Windows 8, Microsoft required OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to support Secure Boot in their machines. This immediately created a problem for other operating systems, most notably Linux-based ones, that many users routinely install on machines in place of Windows. Many viewed Microsoft’s embrace of Secure Boot as anticompetitive behavior because it makes it more difficult for users to install other operating systems on a machine with Secure Boot enabled.

IDG News Service spoke with the UEFI Forum President Mark Doran, who is also an Intel senior principal engineer, about what UEFI does, how Secure Boot works, and the reaction that Microsoft has gotten from its use of UEFI.

Ignoring ARM systems and all kinds of exceptions, he says: “If you read the requirements Microsoft published on what it takes to build a platform that is ready for Windows 8, it actually specifies that an end user must be able to turn off Secure Boot as a feature. The vast majority of general-purpose platforms that have Secure Boot have a way to disable that. And many have a way to install new keys. So when you get one of these things, you have a choice.”

“Vast majority” is not all and he does not give numbers. So many machines are shipped as Windows-only and Microsoft-controlled. This is not a legal way by which to tax PCs and someone in European regulation agencies should step in. Microsoft should not be allowed to bake Windows into silicon and CMOS (or equivalents).

Eliminating Software Patents, Not the Symptoms

Posted in Patents at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cutting off the source of the disease…

Surgical instruments

Summary: A call for effective strategy in the fight for peaceful programming; identifying a common distraction which is patent trolls and FRAND tolls

It was several moths ago that we wrote about Rackspace in relation to patent trolls. Here is something we found in the press;

Open cloud company Rackspace has appointed an open source industry guru to its VP of intellectual property position.

Open source and ‘intellectual property’ in the same sentence? Is it patents or is it copyrights that they allude to? The truth is, many are not targeting the problem at its core. Here is a VC promoting tje SHIELD act as though it’s the solution. As he puts it in his blog:

And now a return to a favorite topic here at AVC – patents, patent trolls, and the urgent need for patent reform here in the US.
One of my favorite ideas for sensible patent reform is “loser pays” for the legal costs of the other side.
The reality is that patent trolling is a low cost form of shakedown and that there isn’t much economic cost on the troll to deter this behavior. If challenged in court, patent trolls win less than 25% of the time. And yet so few of these shakedowns ever go to court because the cases get settled for economic reasons (settlement cost are less than expected defense costs). And these settlements fund the trolls to keep shaking companies down. If the target company can recover their legal costs by defending themselves and winning, then the math over the settlement changes and more cases will be litigated, thus increasing the costs for the trolls.

The core problem is not trolls but their weapon of choice. Disarming them is the answer. The problem is not just trolls but also cartels, which are sometimes trolls or consortia backed by practicing companies. MPEG-LA is just one example and as this new piece puts it:


The crux of the debate centers on how much flexibility SEP holders have to negotiate licensing terms for their patents that are promised to be licensed under “(fair) reasonable and non-discriminatory” terms (FRAND or RAND). Specifically, the debate focuses on this question: when is it appropriate to enjoin infringing products from the market if licensing negotiations break down? Historically, FRAND commitments have been relatively ambiguous, giving those holding SEPs broad (but not unlimited) flexibility to negotiate “reasonable” bilateral deals. Currently, there is a movement afoot to give SEP holders less negotiating flexibility. This will have both positive and negative consequences.

FRAND, like trolls, has been another mechanism for utilizing software patents to harm innovation in small companies by rendering them incapable of entering the market. What we really ought to strive for is not suppression of symptoms but of root causes. Jeff Jaffe from Novell, who is now the W3C's CEO, celebrates the MPEG-VP8 marriage, but it’s a victory for FRAND and software patents, it’s not a win at a political level over policy reform.

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