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Links 6/5/2013: International Day Against DRM, Pirate Party Gains, Linux on Tablets Surges

Posted in News Roundup at 3:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Pixar Animation Studios uses Red Hat Enterprise Linux!

    It’s no secret that GNU/Linux is being used by the Hollywood studios to create block-busters. Pixar is working on OpenSubdiv, a new open source library that implements high performance subdivision surface drawing and evaluation on modern GPU and massively parallel CPU architectures.

  • A letter from Linux Evangelist

    Not to being totally free, that is a completely different kettle of fish. Linux is a tantalising sample and example of what freedom can deliver.

  • Spain’s Extremadura region switches 40,000 PCs to Linux and open source software

    THE SPANISH REGION of Extremadura has announced that it will switch 40,000 government PCs to open source software.

    The government of Extremadura has worked out what many already know, that open source software can deliver significant cost savings over using proprietory software. The region’s government has decided to switch 40,000 PCs to open source software, including a customised Linux distribution called Sysgobex.

  • How Linux Conquered the Fortune 500
  • Desktop

    • Linux World Embraces Google Chromebooks

      The latest incarnation of the Linux Kernel was released this week, and for the first time, it includes code for running Linux on Google Chromebooks. Chromebooks come loaded with Chrome OS — a web-happy, Linux-based operating system designed by Google — but the new kernel code will make it easier to run other versions of the popular open source operating system on these machines.

    • 5 Great Laptops for Kids

      Kids don’t always treat technology with care, so we selected systems that were either ruggedized against drops and spills, low-cost to make replacement less painful, or both. The K-5 set probably won’t be using any performance straining software tools, but they will definitely want to play games or get online, so we focused on laptops that would meet those needs without the expense of high-end processors. And finally, we looked for kid-friendly features, such as the educational tools found in the DirAction Classmate PC, or the dead-simple ease of use offered by Google’s Chromebooks.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • KVM Virtualization Gets New Features In Linux 3.10

      The Linux 3.10 kernel will feature new improvements and features when it comes to KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) virtualization.

      The KVM pull request for the Linux 3.10 merge window was volleyed on Sunday morning to the kernel mailing list. Interesting bits include:

    • Graphics Stack

      • Open-Source Radeon UVD Video Support On Fedora

        Are you itching to try out open-source AMD Radeon “UVD” video acceleration support over VDPAU on Fedora Linux?

        It was in early April that AMD provided open-source Radeon UVD video acceleration code at long last for the past few generations of Radeon HD graphics cards for use by their open-source Linux driver. This allows applications that support VDPAU (the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix) to leverage GPU-based video hardware acceleration.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • PyGObject 3.8.1 Brings GStreamer Rules

        The first maintenance release of the stable PyGObject 3.8 library for the GNOME desktop environment has been announced some time ago, fixing a few bugs and introducing new rules.

      • First Development Release of GNOME 3.10 Arrives

        Matthias Clasen had the pleasure of announcing last evening, May 3, that the first development release of the upcoming GNOME 3.10 desktop environment is ready for download and testing.

        We, here at Softpedia, are monitoring the development process of the GNOME desktop environment very closely, and we can report that this first development release has very few updated packages, as compared with other testing versions from the past.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • The Elegant Mageia Linux Prepares a New Release

        Last week we looked at PCLinuxOS, an excellent Linux distribution based on Mandriva Linux. Today we’re kicking the tires of Mageia Linux, which is a fork of Mandriva. Mandriva Linux has had its ups and downs as a commercial venture, but despite the financial struggles it’s a first-rate distribution that offers enterprise support and a number of enterprise products such as Pulse, their enterprise IT management system, Mandriva Business Server, and training and consulting. Mageia was created in 2010 as an independent, non-profit project, not tied to the fortunes of a commercial company, after most of the Mandriva developers were laid off.

    • Arch Family

      • Open Build Service 2.4 understands Arch Linux packaging

        Almost a year after the last release of the Open Build Service (OBS), the openSUSE developers have announced version 2.4 of their software. The biggest new feature in the distributed packaging and build service is support for the PKGBUILD format from Arch Linux which becomes the third packaging format the service can now use – the other two being RPM and Debian’s packaging system. Furthermore, OBS 2.4 introduces the 64-bit ARM AArch64 architecture as a target infrastructure and kernel, and bootloader packages can now be signed to work with UEFI Secure Boot.

    • Debian Family

      • The new Debian Linux 7.0 is now available

        Debian Linux doesn’t get all the attention it once did, but as the foundation for other, more popular Linux distributions, such as Mint and Ubuntu, the release of a new major Debian version, 7.0, aka Wheezy, is still a big deal in Linux development circles.

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 2.1.40 development released

          We appreciate your feedbacks about the overall speed/lightness of the system compared to last stable version of Elive. You can say something in our chat channel directly from the running system. If you detect any lagging in the system please consider different setups like disabling composite (which you can select on the startup of the graphical system) in order to report improvements. We would also appreciate feedbacks about composite enabled or disabled in old computers, suggestions for better performances, and memory usage compared to Topaz.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch Progress

            Ubuntu is on an exciting journey, a journey of convergence. Our goal is to build a convergent Operating System that brings a uniformity of technology and experience across phones, tablets, desktops, and televisions, and smoothing the lines between those devices in terms of interoperability and access to content. It is a bold vision, but Ubuntu has a strong reputation both in terms of our heritage in the desktop, server, and cloud, and with our passionate and capable community. I just wanted to provide some updates on work that is going on in delivering this vision.

          • Ubuntu and Their UCK-y Problem.

            Within the past year, there has been an abundance of criticism aimed at Ubuntu and the Gnome 3 projects. At times, it resembled a scorched earth carpet bombing mission. The outer edges of the Linuxsphere are still hearing echos of that event and while it has calmed a bit, there are those who have left one or both of those projects in protest.

            And to be honest…..

          • Top 10 Ubuntu App Downloads for April 2013

            Canonical published a few minutes ago, May 3, the regular top 10 app downloads chart, this time for April 2013, extracted from Ubuntu Software Center.

          • One Linux over all: Mark Shuttleworth’s ambitious post-PC plans for Ubuntu

            Canonical Founder Mark Shuttleworth has really big, plans to put Ubuntu on your smartphone, on your tablet and (via OpenStack). What he doesn’t offer is details on revenue.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Android trounces Apple in Q1 2013 tablet shipments

      Tablet shipments continued to “surge” in the first quarter of 2013, growing 142 percent year-over-year, according to market analyst IDC’s latest “Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker” report. Additionally, Android vendors had an extremely strong first quarter, shipping 27.8 million tablets versus Apple’s 19.5 million iPad and iPad mini devices.

      More tablets shipped during the first quarter of this year than during the entire first half of 2012, with most of the growth “fueled by increased market demand for smaller screen devices,” largely based on a strong performance of Apple and Samsung, notes IDC.

    • Linux 3.9′s embedded gifts include MEMS and more

      The new Linux 3.9 kernel adds driver support for tiny MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) devices made by ST, including accelerometers and motion sensors. Other Linux 3.9 features that affect the embedded world include SSD caching support, a lightweight suspend power mode, and support for Android’s “Goldfish” virtualization system.

      When Linux 3.9 arrived on April 28, its support for MEMS devices was hardly a marquee enhancement. Yet of all the many Linux 3.9 improvements of interest to the mobile and embedded world, MEMs support may have the most significant long-term impact. As devices continue to shrink and sensing applications grow in importance, there is greater demand for the tiny devices, which range in size from a millimeter down to 20 micrometers.

    • Android and Linux device FreeType fonts get a facelift

      f you’re squinting as you read this on a smartphone, here’s some good news: mobile fonts may soon be clearing up. In collaboration with Google and the FreeType project, Adobe has contributed its CFF (Compact Font Format) rasterizer to the open source FreeType font engine.

      The open version of CFF is designed to improve legibility of small fonts rendered by the lightweight, resource-efficient FreeType on devices running Android, Linux, iOS, and other Unix-based platforms.

    • Pico-ITX SBC aims ARM Linux at in-vehicle and mobile apps

      Via Technologies announced a tiny, low-power Pico-ITX SBC with optional 3G connectivity and battery power support, aimed at in-vehicle and mobile applications. The VAB-600 is based on an 800MHz ARM Cortex-A9 system-on-chip (SOC) with on-chip graphics acceleration, offers Ethernet, WiFi, and 3G connectivity, operates from 0 to 60° C, and runs either embedded Linux or Android 4.x.

    • Low-cost, future proof IVI demo runs on Raspberry Pi

      Abalta Technologies announced an in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) solution that inexpensively mirrors browser content from smartphones or tablets to Linux-enabled “head” units. The company’s Weblink IVI demo consists of a client app running on a Raspberry Pi-based simulated head unit acting as a remote touchscreen for WiFi- or USB-connected smartphones running a companion server app.

    • Phones

      • Firefox OS for Raspberry Pi: Now Available

        It has been quite some time since my last post about Firefox OS running on a Raspberry Pi, but the questions didn’t stop to come in “when will it be released”? Well, I’m sorry that it took so long (sometimes finding time is not that easy), but finally, here we are: the sources and build instructions are available!

      • Ballnux

        • Samsung Launches Galaxy Tablet, Smartphone Business Marketing Push

          So you think Samsung Electronics America is just a consumer brand? Guess again. Samsung has launched a B2B branding initiative to promote its laptops, Galaxy tablets, smartphones and management software into business accounts. For channel partners, the key opportunities could involve BYOD, mobile device management, vertical market applications and plenty more.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Android pico-projector tablet does it with mirrors

        Shezhen, China-based Promate Technologies claims to have created the world’s first tablet-projector. The “LumiTab” sports a modest 1024×600 7-inch IPS screen, runs Android 4.2, and uses a Texas Instruments digital-light-processing (DLP) chip to render “incredibly sharp 1080p HD images” on walls and projection screens, according to the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • XBMC Media Center 12.2 Brings Numerous UPnP Fixes

    The second point release of the XBMC Media Center 12 software has been announced last evening, May 3, 2013, for the Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, Android and Raspberry Pi platforms.

    XBMC Media Center 12.2 is a maintenance release, which brings various improvements and bugfixes over previous releases. The infinite loop on add-on dependencies has been fixed in this release, as well as audio-related crashes for Linux builds.

  • How do you educate others on what open source really is?

    I’ve been educating library professionals about open source software for nearly seven years now, and sometimes I feel like I’ve made huge strides and other times, like today, I feel like I have so much more work to do.

  • Web Browsers

  • CMS

    • Drupal company Acquia partners with Capgemini

      Acquia has entered into an agreement with Capgemini Digital Services. Acquia will collaborate with Capgemini Digital Services to develop and operate content driven applications that deliver rich, immersive digital experiences for its clients.

  • Healthcare

    • ‘Huge growth potential for open source hospital information system’

      GNU Health, an free software hospital information system, medical record system and health information system, is rapidly becoming popular in hospitals around the world, says one of its developers, Sebastian Marro. “This project has the potential to grow really large.”

      Marro presented GNU Health at the Medetal conference in Luxenbourg, earlier this month. The GNU Health software is supported by a not-for profit organisation, GNU Solidario, set up in Spain. Marro, based in Argentina, is one of the board members of the NGO.

  • Business


    • GnuCash 2.5.1 (Unstable) released

      The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 2.5.1, the second release in the 2.5.x series of the GnuCash Free Accounting Software which will eventually lead to the stable version 2.6.0. It runs on GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris and Mac OSX.

    • FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom: ThinkPenguin USB Wifi adapter with Atheros chip

      BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA — Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 — The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to the TPE-N150USB Wireless N USB Adapter, sold by ThinkPenguin. The RYF certification mark means that the product meets the FSF’s standards in regard to users’ freedom, control over the product, and privacy. The TPE-N150USB can be purchased from http://www.thinkpenguin.com/TPE-N150USB. Software certification focused primarily on the firmware for the Atheros AR9271 chip used on the adapter.

    • RMS Urges W3C To Reject On Principle DRM In HTML5
  • Licensing

    • Does your code need a license?

      Luis Villa, an OSI board member and Deputy General Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation, sat down with us to share his thoughts on the behavior he is seeing in the community away from copyleft licenses and how to get involved in the upcoming Open Source License Clinic.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Tracking real-time health with Twitter data serves as an early warning system

      As the open source ethic has changed the way that we share and develop resources, crowdsourcing is redefining how we can create new resources based upon that willingness to share. One example of crowdsourcing at work for the betterment of us all is public health researchers turning to Twitter to collect real-time data about public health.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open source hardware projects from OSS Watch event

        At Open Source Junction 4 we invited attendees to present their hardware projects. Some were open source hardware, while some used consumer hardware components in conjunction with open source software to provide an innovative solution to a problem.

  • Programming

    • Research explodes myth that older programmers are obsolete

      There’s a prevailing ethos among IT hirers that younger is better when it comes to programmers, but a study by academics in North Carolina suggests that employers might be missing a trick by not hiring the grizzled veterans of the coding world.


  • Facebook loses millions of users as biggest markets peak
  • Facebook profits rise despite drop in US visitors to its website

    The Facebook website has lost 10 million visitors in the US and seen no growth in monthly visitors in the UK over the past year, according to data from market research firm Nielsen.

  • Security

    • Not all hackers bad: academic

      The arrest of a 24-year-old Australian claiming to be the head of an international hacking ring and a Twitter hack that briefly sent Wall Street into a tailspin last week has shone the light on hackers as Perth prepares to host its first “hacker con”.

      But the figures behind this weekend’s WAHCKon conference say the term hacker has been hijacked and most hackers are simply curious people with a computer.

    • What Happened When One Man Pinged the Whole Internet

      A home science experiment that probed billions of Internet devices reveals that thousands of industrial and business systems offer remote access to anyone.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Losing labs to Hurricane Sandy and animal rights protestors

      For better or worse, the biological research community has become heavily reliant upon an animal that most of us would try to kill if we found it in our homes: the mouse. Mice have lots of good points. There’s about a century’s worth of genetic research on it to draw upon, there are sophisticated tools for pursuing genetic studies, and it’s relatively closely related to us. Results from mice often translate into knowledge of human disease.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • George W. Bush Is a Swell Guy, Just Ask His Friends

      If the journalists who were far too generous in their coverage of Bush’s presidency are the same ones writing about how that presidency should be viewed now, he’s in safe hands.

    • Erin Burnett Wants a Different Kind of Terrorism Suspect
    • A Koch Hold on the Tribune and LA Times?

      That’s the unfortunate thought that raced trough my head while reading the report in Sunday’s New York Times that Charles and David Koch — the notorious billionaire bankrollers of climate-change denial, voter suppression, and much of the right-wing noise machine — could be the leading candidates to buy eight major daily newspapers from the recently bankrupt Tribune Company, including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • President Obama To Nominate Cable and Wireless Lobbyist To Head FCC

      “The Wall Street Journal and others are reporting that longtime telecomm lobbyist Tom Wheeler will be nominated to head the Federal Communications Commission. According to the LA Times: ‘Wheeler is a former president of the National Cable Television Assn. and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Assn. Despite his close ties to industries he will soon regulate, some media watchdogs are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. “As someone who has known Tom for years, I believe that he will be an independent, proactive chairman,” said Gigi B. Sohn, president and chief executive of Public Knowledge, adding that she has “no doubt that Tom will have an open door and an open mind, and that ultimately his decisions will be based on what he genuinely believes is best for the public interest, not any particular industry.”‘”

    • New FCC chairman is “former lobbyist for cable and wireless industries”

      President Barack Obama will nominate venture capitalist Tom Wheeler to be the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, The Wall Street Journal reported today. Wheeler is “a former top lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries” and will be nominated as soon as tomorrow, the Journal wrote. The Hill reporter Brendan Sasso said the White House has now confirmed that Wheeler will be nominated for the post.

    • Obama Nominates Telecom Veteran Tom Wheeler to Chair FCC

      President Obama on Wednesday nominated telecom veteran Tom Wheeler to serve as the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

      If the Senate approves Wheeler’s nomination, he will replace outgoing chairman Julius Genachowski, who announced in March that he would step down from his post after four years. Until the Senate vote occurs, Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will serve as interim chair after Genachowski leaves in mid-May.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • US and EU see opening for free-trade pact
    • Trademarks

      • Mozilla sends a cease and desist letter to Gamma International over malware

        SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Mozilla has sent a cease and desist letter to Gamma International, claiming the firm is using Firefox’s branding to trick users into downloading and using its malware.

        Mozilla’s hugely popular Firefox web browser is trusted by many users because it is not a commercial organisation like Google or Microsoft, making it a good target for those that want to steal some of its good will. Mozilla has alleged that Gamma International is trying to do just that, with its malware masquerading as the firm’s Firefox web browser, and Mozilla said it sent Gamma International a cease and desist letter.

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Executive Tampered With IFPI Evidence in Internet Piracy Case

        Earlier this month Finland’s largest ever Internet piracy case ended with four men being found guilty of copyright infringement and two being exonerated. The case involved a so-called ‘topsite’ called Angel Falls and had an interesting twist. During the trial it was revealed that evidence gathered by a local anti-piracy group and the IFPI was also handed to a “senior MPAA executive” who tampered with the evidence before handing it to the police.

      • Pirate Party Enters Iceland’s National Parliament After Historic Election Win

        The Pirate Party in Iceland seem to have booked a major victory in Iceland’s parliamentary election today, scoring 5.1% of the total vote. It’s a truly remarkable achievement for a party that’s only a few months old, and also the first time that a Pirate party anywhere in the world has been democratically chosen in a national parliament. One of the main goals of the Pirates will be to fight increased censorship and protect freedom of speech.

      • Pirate Party wins seats in the Icelandic Parliament

        POLITICAL UPSTART the Pirate Party has won three seats in the Icelandic Parliament.

        The party won just over five percent of the national vote, just enough to ensure its place, according to a celebratory post from Pirate Party spokesman and evangelist Rick Falkvinge.

      • What Is TPP? Biggest Global Threat to the Internet Since ACTA

        The United States and ten governments from around the Pacific are meeting yet again to hash out the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) on May 15-24 in Lima, Peru. The TPP is one of the worst global threats to the Internet since ACTA. Since the negotiations have been secretive from the beginning, we mainly know what’s in the current version of this trade agreement because of a leaked draft [PDF] from February 2011. Based upon that text, some other leaked notes, and the undemocratic nature of the entire process, we have every reason to be alarmed about the copyright enforcement provisions contained in this multinational trade deal.

      • The Pirate Bay Moves to .SX as Prosecutor Files Motion to Seize Domains

        Swedish authorities have filed a motion at the District Court of Stockholm on behalf of the entertainment industries, demanding the seizure of two Pirate Bay domain names. In addition to the Swedish-based .se domain the motion also includes the new Icelandic .is TLD. In a rapid response, The Pirate Bay has just switched to a fresh domain, ThePirateBay.sx, registered in the northeastern Caribbean island of Sint Maarten.

      • Pirate Site Blocking Legislation Approved By Norwegian Parliament

        Norway has moved an important – some say unstoppable – step towards legislative change that will enable the aggressive tackling of online copyright infringement. Proposed amendments to the Copyright Act, which will make it easier for rightsholders to monitor file-sharers and have sites such as The Pirate Bay blocked at the ISP level, received broad support in parliament this week and look almost certain to be passed into law.

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