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Links 23/3/2013: Google and Samsung Android Smartwatches Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux or GNU/Linux: Is the Distinction Worth Preserving?

    I also realize that it’s technically more accurate to call it GNU/Linux.

  • Desktop

    • GNU/Linux in Venezuela

      GNU/Linux share according to Statcounter has been hovering around a few percent for a long time but in 2012 it took off with 40% increase in share in one year. It’s probably too soon to be some effect of the death of Chavez so it’s likely a result of something his government set in motion.

    • Google’s Already Working On Haswell Chromebooks

      Intel hasn’t yet even released their Haswell processors to the general public for use within notebooks, ultrabooks, and desktops, but Google engineers are already hard at work on prepping Haswell Chromebooks.

  • Server

    • The Best Servers for Linux in 2013

      Linux may be reaching new heights every day in desktop and mobile computing, but if there’s any domain in which its might has long been undisputed, it’s servers.

      To wit: Linux is now used to run about a third of all websites, W3Techs reports. Linux servers in general now represent 20.4 percent of all server revenue, according to IDC. Then, of course, there’s supercomputing, in which it claims a full 94 percent of the world’s Top 500.

      There are numerous excellent Linux distributions available for use on servers, of course, and their relative merits are frequently debated here on Linux.com and beyond. What’s less commonly seen, however, is a discussion of hardware.

      Which of the many servers on the market are best for Linux? That, like so many such “best of” comparisons, lies largely in the eye of the beholder. Nevertheless, there have been a number of exciting new advances over the past year that bring a few particular vendors and machines to the fore. Here are the ones we think look best in 2013.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Standard Base: Misnomer and Misconception

      By the same token, there is a corresponding perceived risk that inconsistencies and incompatibilities may arise born of the need to make changes driven by special interests and the need to make functional improvements. There is also in addition to natural variation an increased possibility for introduction of unintended errors, the result of neglect of implied standards of one kind or another that should be adhered to, but go unnoticed until after production general release.

    • PCI-SSD maker Fusion-io acquires Linux SCST developer ID7

      Fusion-io has announced that it has acquired the UK-based storage technology company ID7, the leading developer of the open source SCSI Target Subsystem (SCST) for Linux. Fusion-io specialises in acceleration technology including high performance and capacity PCIe SSD cards and is also known for employing Steve Wozniak as Chief Scientist. It supplies companies such as Facebook, Apple and HP with its cache technology, though it did note in its 2012 Annual Report that its top ten customers were responsible for 91% of its $359 million revenue and is therefore working to widen its customer base.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The X.Org Foundation Is Undecided About Mir

        The X.Org Foundation hasn’t firmly decided on their position of Canonical’s Mir Display Server versus Wayland.

        The meeting logs for an X.Org Foundation Board of Directors’ IRC meeting from earlier this month have finally been published to the X.Org Wiki.

      • Lima Driver Makes Progress With Shaders

        The open-source Lima driver project that has been working on a reverse-engineered ARM Mali Linux graphics driver is still advancing.

      • Differences Between X.Org, Wayland & Mir

        Canonical’s Christopher Halse Rogers has blogged some more about their views on the Mir Display Server and its design relative to X11/X.Org and Wayland.

        Rogers has already written a lot about Mir in Canonical’s attempt to promote the Wayland alternative and their views for designing it rather than using Wayland or forking it.

      • New VA-API Library Supports Wayland 1.0 Protocol

        VA-API, the video acceleration API preferred by Intel and implemented by their open-source Linux graphics driver, now works with the stable Wayland 1.0 series. There was already VA-API Wayland support since last year to expose this hardware-accelerated video decode/encode process on the X.Org successor while now it’s finally been updated to work with the stable 1.0 protocol.

      • Mesa 9.1.1 release
      • Intel 2.21.5 Driver Brings Fixes For Haswell, GLAMOR

        The xf86-video-intel 2.21.5 DDX driver was released this morning with a handful of fixes by Chris Wilson for the Intel X.Org driver.

        The prominent change warranting the xf86-video-intel 2.21.5 release addresses a crashing problem for Intel’s forthcoming “Haswell” hardware. “Haswell reintroduces a command to load the scanline window from the command stream and so requires its own specialised wait-for-vsync routine – failure to do so was then causing hangs when trying to do tearfree video or use a compositor.”

      • QXL Gallium3D Wrapper Driver Is Brought Up
      • SDDM Display Manager Sees Its First Release

        Mentioned a few times in recent months on Phoronix has been SDDM, a lightweight Qt/QML-based display manager. The good news now is that the Simple Desktop Display Manager has seen its first official release.

      • The State Of OpenGL 3/4 Support In Mesa/Gallium3D
      • PRIME Sharing Comes To GLAMOR

        Michel Dänzer of AMD has provided a patch so that PRIME multi-GPU sharing will work with the GLAMOR 2D acceleration architecture, as needed for the Radeon HD 7000 series support and optionally for other generations of AMD and Intel GPUs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • like an avalanche coming down the mountain

        When looking over the KDE landscape this week I was felt a similar Spring feeling in the air. There are new maintainers for Qt/KDE integration of PolicyKit and KMix. Sebas updated us recently on the huge progress being made for Plasma Workspaces 2, featuring a working shell on top of libplasma2 and QtQuick2. This itself is just a small part of the larger Frameworks 5 effort, and that is receiving more attention such as the recent sprint in Spain that Albert wrote about. Krita continues to amaze, Ingo has made a breakthrough in taming our web presence continuity and there is even work happening on Akregrator!

      • Plasma Media Center, aka KDE TV, out now

        The Plasma Media Center, built on KDE, offers a “rich experience” in its first release as a competitor to many other open source HTPC offerings

      • KDE Releases Plasma Media Center 1.0
      • QtWayland Shows Signs Of Progress, Plans Features

        A status update has been issued on QtWayland, which allows Qt applications to run on Wayland, and details about what’s being planned for Wayland with Qt 5.2 has been shared.

      • Qt Creator 2.7 Released With Improved C++11

        Version 2.7 of the Qt Creator integrated development environment has been released. There’s better support for BlackBerry development, improved C++11 language handling, and much more.

        Qt Creator 2.7.0 offers a wealth of C++11 improvements, QML support was improved for Qt Quick 2 development, there’s better BlackBerry support, experimental support for the QBS build tool, Android enhancements, and much more.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Have an older PC? Try the new Ubuntu Linux-based LXLE

      For users of Microsoft Windows, frequent hardware upgrades tend to be a fact of life in order to keep each new iteration of the resources-hungry operating system running smoothly.

    • Favorite Distributions for Spring 2013

      Folks sure do enjoy trying to figure out which is most popular or the favorite Linux distribution. For years it was Ubuntu and lately, it’s been Mint. Mageia shows second at Distrowatch.com’s Page Hit Ranking, but others are desputing their ranking reflects real usage. A new Website has begun to try and tract actual popularity, but nothing is as fun me as a poll. Yes, it’s time once again for Your Favorite Distributions, Spring 2013 edition.

    • Clonezilla vs. FOG: The clone wars

      Computer cloning, also referred to as ghosting or imaging, involves setting up the operating system, drivers, software, and data on one computer, then automatically replicating the same setup on other computers. Clonezilla Server Edition and FOG are the most popular open source cloning systems. While both do similar jobs – clone and restore machines over the network using tools and services such as partimage, tftp, and PXE – they go about it very differently. Which is right for you depends on your network’s configuration and composition.

    • Screenshots

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon 11 Review – Usability Upgrades
      • Sabayon 11 Xfce – Still no love for me

        Perhaps the Sabayon dev team did not invest sufficient resources to make the Xfce version shine just as well as their mainstream edition. However, somehow, I doubt it. Given my past experience, the overall behavior and feel appear to be a part of a longer trend. For some reason, Sabayon is losing its charm, and this version is no exception.

        Sabayon 11 is fairly fast, robust, relatively free of errors, and comes with a much improved package manager. But then, it’s also buggy, not really attractive, totes a meager app selection, and has a few really nasty problems, like Samba, multimedia and printing. The friendly tone is gone, and you’re facing a rather somber, unforgiving Gentoo distro that does not favor noobs. If you must then please do, but there are many simpler, more attractive alternatives. Xfce wise, Xubuntu leads the way, by far. And to sum it all up nicely, Sabayon 11 deserves around 6/10. And I want that Italian passion back.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux Enables Wayland GTK+

        For those Arch Linux users looking to play with Wayland/Weston, the GTK+ package available within the distribution now enables support for the Wayland back-end.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Adding real-time to Linux with Preempt-RT

      Linux.com has published a short Q&A with Steven Rostedt, kernel developer at Red Hat and maintainer of the stable Linux real-time patch. Rostedt discusses issues such as “hard” vs “soft” real-time, what the Preempt-RT patch can and can’t do, and how to get started using it.

    • $250 ARM Linux project kit includes LCD

      Gumstix shocked the embed-o-sphere today by unveiling a new board-level computer that’s neither the shape nor size of a gum stick. The “Pepper” board is based on a 720MHz TI Sitara ARM processor and is supplied in a bundle that includes a Yocto-built Linux filesystem on microSD, a 4.5-inch touchscreen LCD, and a DC power supply.

    • Samsung VP: We are building a smart watch
    • Google’s Android unit reportedly building a smartwatch
    • ARM CEO retires, leaves mobile revolution to Simon Segars
    • Intro to Real-Time Linux for Embedded Developers

      When embedded projects call for for a real-time operating system, Linux developers often turn to PREEMPT-RT, the real-time kernel patch, to get it done.

      “The PREEMPT_RT patch (aka the -rt patch or RT patch) makes Linux into a real-time system,” said Steven Rostedt, a Linux kernel developer at Red Hat and maintainer of the stable version of the real-time Linux kernel patch.

      The thing is, in most cases real-time requirements on embedded projects can be met without turning to a real-time operating system, he said via email. To developers, a real-time system “does what you expect it to do when you expect it to do it.” That’s all.

    • Phones

      • big.LITTLE: coming soon to a smartphone near you

        In this guest post, David Laing, a senior analyst at VDC Research, examines the emergence of ARM’s “big.LITTLE” processor architecture, whereby a single chip integrates multiple high-performance CPU cores along with a power-efficient core, enabling it to deliver greater performance at lower power-points than before.

      • Linux-powered CD player attempts audio perfection

        Parasound, a purveyor of fanatically high-end consumer audio equipment, has introduced a CD player that’s controlled by an internal Mini-ITX computer running embedded Linux. Using a CD-ROM drive for playing CDs, the “Halo CD 1″ sucks in the CD’s contents at 4x normal speed, giving its CPU time to detect and eliminate disc errors before outputting near-perfect audio.

      • Ballnux

      • Android

        • Google’s Schmidt: Android, Chrome Won’t Be Combined

          As for Android and Chrome, it’s a stretch even to call them birds of the same feather, so Schmidt clearly has a point. Chrome wants to makes its bones based on web applications in the cloud while Android’s cloth is cut from native apps installed in the mobile device. But the lines between the two will be blurred more, as evidenced by Google’s Chromebook Pixel, which features touch-screen technology.

Free Software/Open Source


  • Mass. U.S. Attorney Won’t Appeal Tewksbury Motel Ruling

    “A handful of people have done some drug stuff over the years and they try to use that to steal my property without ever accusing me of a single thing,” he said.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • North Dakota Inching Ever Closer to Being First State to Enact Personhood Abortion Law

      The North Dakota House passed a bill this afternoon that would define life as beginning at conception, effectively moving one step closer to banning all abortion in the state without exception for rape or incest. Approved by the state Senate last month, the bill will now go to voters as a ballot initiative. This latest restrictive measure comes only a week after North Dakota legislators approved bills that would ban abortion beyond six weeks into pregnancy and ban abortion in the case of genetic abnormality, like Downs Syndrome.

    • Internet innovations in India will come from Indians solving local issues: Eric Schmidt

      Google boss Eric Schmidt is currently in India, and while speaking on the nature of Internet in the country, Schmidt stated that it is time now that India decided what kind of Internet it wants – an advantageous open Internet or a regressive closed o

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Cyprus Protesters and Bank Employees Clash With Police; Europe and Russia Reject Bailout

      Local news in Cyprus is reporting an escalation in the protests that have begun in the wake of attempts by EU chiefs to confiscate the savings of depositors. The news of possible bank closures has enraged the public. It appears that in order to keep things under control, the Central Bank is discussing a possible bank merger rather than a full shut down.

    • Moyers & Company Part II

      Richard Wolff’s smart, blunt talk about the crisis of capitalism on his first Moyers & Company appearance was so compelling and provocative, we asked him to return. This time, the economics expert answers questions sent in by our viewers, diving further into economic inequality, the limitations of industry regulation, and the widening gap between a booming stock market and a population that increasingly lives in pove

    • Jobcentre sanctions: ‘Your money is stopped, you go into freefall’ – video
    • MasterCard stings PayPal with payment fee hike

      PayPal, Google Wallet and other online payment systems face higher transaction fees from MasterCard in retaliation for their refusal to share data on what people are spending. Visa is likely to follow suit.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • In India, Google’s Eric Schmidt Explains Why He Went to North Korea

      After first making a joke about playing basketball—a reference to the strange visit by Dennis Rodman a few weeks after Schmidt’s trip—the Google executive explained he went to Pyongyang on a mission to spread the good news about the power of the Internet. North Korea “is the last really closed country in the world,” he said. “This is a country that has suffered from lack of information. The Internet was built for everyone, including North Koreans. The quickest way to get economic growth in North Korea is to open up the Internet. I did my best to tell them this.”

    • Press regulation: newspapers bridle at ‘historic’ deal

      Protests from industry as David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband agree to create powerful regulator in late-night talks

    • U.K. to Create New Press Regulator
  • Privacy

    • Google’s Wi-Fi Snooping Settlement is Really, Really Awful

      The recent settlement [PDF] between 38 states and Google over the company’s Wi-Fi snooping fiasco sure is puzzling. While the settlement, called an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, does little to punish Google for accidentally slurping up massive amounts of content from wireless networks using its roaming Street View vehicles, it does require the company to carry out a gratuitous and poorly thought out song and dance.

    • Cops: U.S. law should require logs of your text messages

      Silicon Valley firms and privacy groups want Congress to update a 1986-era electronic privacy law. But if a law enforcement idea set to be presented today gets attached, support for the popular proposal would erode.

  • Civil Rights

    • Inquest to open into death of prisoner convicted of stealing gingerbread man

      Foster family say courts should have considered James Best’s history of mental and physical problems

    • Human rights must be something we own

      Right now, in writing this, I am exercising my freedom of speech, which is a sovereign right, I own it. I can be silenced, either through being censored or physically silenced, but that silencing always requires an exercise of power, it cannot be removed in any other way or can it? What if I have learned to fear to speak out? Therein lies what I think is the problem of our times. We now live in a world where we have been coerced into fearing consequences such that we have learnt to silence ourselves. We haven’t lost the ability to speak out, but our will and determination has been eroded to such an extent that we have given up the right of our own volition, albeit through insidious coercion.

      With the widespread use of CCTV cameras, something that I find an affront to my human dignity, we’ve been fed the line, ‘If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about’. Actually I think we have a great deal to worry about in which the good they might be considered to do does not outweigh the greater harm they give rise to. Being a watched society is an insidious evil in which we are not party to those who make the rules nor those who watch and by whom we are observed and who watch us with suspicion. I feel it daily, in a very personal way which I can in no way put down to an overblown sense of paranoia.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Monsanto’s Death Patents

      Despite this unfortunate posture, the case does provide another opportunity for critical inquiry regarding the unprecedented and perverse level of control Monsanto is asserting over the food supply. It is estimated that 90 percent of the soybeans in the U.S. are genetically modified and thus subject to potential patents. A random handful of soybeans procured anywhere is likely to contain at least some Monsanto-altered beans. Such a near-monopoly effectively gives Monsanto the right to control access to a staple food item that is found in a wide range of consumer products.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • The Pirate Bay Is A Trailblazer In Technical Resilience
      • Prenda Law Continues To Dismiss Lawsuits
      • Lawyer Suggests That Prenda Law May Have Only ‘Released’ Movies It Sued Over As A Honeypot For Lawsuits

        Another day, another story having to with Prenda Law (the hits just keep on coming). Found via FightCopyrightTrolls, we discover some research done by lawyer Graham Syfert, who has taken on Prenda/John Steele in a number of cases, including the infamous Florida case that was tossed out for fraud on the court following an Abbott & Costello-worthy transcript involving John Steele, Mark Lutz, and a variety of guest appearances from others on Team Prenda (despite Prenda claiming to both have nothing to do with the case… and with hiring the lawyers for the case, who were all trying to get off the case).

      • Did Prenda try to intimidate ID theft victim into dropping charges?

        After a Minnesota man named Alan Cooper accused Prenda Law of stealing his identity, the porn trolling firm responded with a defamation lawsuit. The lawsuit targeted Cooper, his attorney Paul Godfread, and numerous anonymous Internet commenters. On Thursday, Cooper and Godfread filed a 24-page response alleging that Prenda’s lawsuit amounts to an illegal SLAPP suit under Minnesota law, that Prenda can’t prove any of the allegedly defamatory statements are actually false, and that Prenda had invaded Cooper’s privacy by stealing his signature.

      • U.S. Congressmen Told About ‘Next Great Copyright Act’ at Hearing

        Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante puts a foot forward towards embracing changes to the music marketplace, cable and satellite transmissions, “bold adjustments” to the copyright term and more.

      • AP v. Meltwater: Disappointing Ruling for News Search

        A federal district judge in New York City issued a troubling ruling today holding that an electronic news clipping service infringed copyright when it republished excerpts of news stories in search results for its clients seeking news coverage based on particular keywords.


        A Minnesota woman at the center of a long-running court fight over the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted music said there’s still no way she can pay record companies the $222,000 judgment she owes after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear her appeal Monday.

      • Opinion analysis: Justices reject publisher’s claims in gray-market copyright case

        The Court at last seems to have reached a consensus on a seemingly intractable problem of copyright law: whether a U.S. copyright holder can prevent the importation of “gray-market” products manufactured for overseas markets. When the Court tried to address this question two Terms ago – in Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega, S.A. – the Court was equally divided (with Justice Kagan recused). However, in today’s opinion in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Justice Breyer, writing for a strong majority of six, emphatically rejected the publisher’s control over the importation of such products.

      • Righthaven Copyrights ‘Sold’ Back To Stephens Media For $80k To Pay Legal Fees

        Sure, sure, this year we’ve all moved on to the crazy stories about the Charles Carreons and Prenda Laws of the world, but let’s not forget that last year there was just as much focus on Righthaven’s copyright trolling operation collapsing after judges realized that it was all effectively a sham in which the real copyright holder (mainly newspaper publisher Stephens Media) had not really sold off its copyrights to Righthaven, meaning that Righthaven had no actual standing to sue. Technically, Stephens Media tried to give the copyright to Righthaven, but since it retained all of the listed rights under copyright law, it was clearly not an actual transfer. In one of those cases, concerning a guy named Wayne Hoehn, who fought back against a Righthaven lawsuit filed against him, Hoehn’s lawyer, Marc Randazza fought for and won a request for legal fees. Righthaven stalled and complained and bullied, but the court told Righthaven to pay up.

      • Appeals Court Hands Veoh Another Win in Important Copyright Ruling

        The Ninth Circuit rejects Universal Music Group’s challenges on why the video-sharing site didn’t qualify for safe harbor from copyright claims.

      • Documentary Filmmaker Sues AP for Stealing Footage
      • UMG Loses Round Two in Veoh Copyright Case

        The video-sharing website Veoh is not liable for any copyright infringing material posted by its users, the 9th Circuit ruled Thursday for a second time.

      • Surprise: Register Of Copyrights Expected To Call For Reduction In Copyright Term
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