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Links 30/5/2013: Linux Mint 15 Released, Linux Reigns in Embedded

Posted in News Roundup at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Transformers: More Than Meets the Automotive Eye

    Cadillac, Ford, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota. These carmakers are transforming their industry through software. Cars are no longer just about metal. A new car already has 5 to 15 million lines of software code that are reliant on and integrated with thousands of mechanical and electrical components. If you’re in the car business today you’re also a software maker.

  • [VIDEO] Former Microsoft Exec Embraces Linux for Networking Software

    For more years than I care to count, I read statements and saw Microsoft server events where Bob Muglia declared why Microsoft’s server was so good.

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland they’d called it

        Let’s commence with a joke. If the British automotive industry of the 70s had been the one to invent the display server protocol, they would have called it British Wayland. Get it? It’s subtle. Very subtle. Anyhow, without focusing too much on the technical lingo, Wayland is a new protocol, designed to replace the sturdy and reliable X Windows System. The idea is to create a more modern, more relevant method of transferring video frames from applications to the on-screen display, in a manner that is fast, efficient and extensible. On paper, it’s an interesting approach to an old problem, but the question is, is there a problem really?

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Ivy Bridge: UXA vs. SNA – Updated Benchmarks

        With the testing of the very latest Intel X.Org graphics driver, the SNA 2D acceleration back-end for the Ivy Bridge graphics is now the clear-cut winner for the Linux desktop over using the default UXA back-end.

        If you aren’t familiar with Intel SNA, you surely haven’t been reading enough of Phoronix as it’s been extensively covered on the site over the past two years through many articles. Long story short, SNA is an experimental 2D acceleration architecture that’s been extensively tuned to insane detail by Intel OTC’s Chris Wilson. For the past several months now it’s generally been working well across all generations of Intel hardware from Sandy/Ivy Bridge to even old Intel IGPs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • XBMC running in Linux on a TV box with an Amlogic AM8726-MX chip (video)

      The folks behind the XBMC media center application have made a lot of progress porting the software to run on Android. But if you’d rather have a small, low-power XBMC box that runs on Linux, new options might be available soon.

    • Linux strong, Android surging says embedded survey

      Linux crept up slightly in the EE Times 2013 Embedded Market Study, representing 34 percent of current projects while Android showed the greatest growth, jumping to 16 percent, for a total of 50 percent for Linux-based platforms. Meanwhile, ARM processors continue to attract more embedded developers.

      In early March, UBM Technology shared some preliminary details on current OS use from its survey-based EE Times “2013 Embedded Market Study.” Now, UBM has released the full report, showing further details on future OS plans among embedded developers, processor preferences, and much more.

    • BeagleBone Black Review
    • Add More Fruit to Your Raspberry Pi!
    • Phones

      • Android

        • How to Get Android as Google Intended

          Ever since Android became a mainstream mobile operating system, companies like Samsung and HTC have continuously tinkered with their phone and tablet interfaces to deliver their own unique take on the platform. While these manufacturer modifications have improved over time, some users still yearn for the stock Android experience — one that can only be found on a handful of devices, primarily with Google’s own Nexus line of smartphones and tablets. Fortunately, there is more than one way to use the OS in the way Google intended, which can be enjoyed by owners of both rooted and non-rooted devices.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Nivis Announces Open Source ISA100 Wireless Software Platform

    Nivis, a global company active in smart grid and industrial wireless networks, has announced the release of an ISA100 Wireless Application Layer Software Development Kit (SDK) along with the availability of the ISA100.11a communication stack and related code on an open source basis. The SDK and open source ISA100.11a code can improve supplier’s ROI for ISA100 Wireless products by reducing development time and per-unit costs.

  • Web Browsers

    • What’s the best Firefox or Opera browser alternative?

      One of Google Chrome’s major weaknesses or shortcomings is the browser’s lack of user interface customization options. It is a take it or leave it interface that is giving users no options whatsoever to customize it.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s WebFWD accelerator helping Anahita become ‘the Linux of social’

        Anahita is the ancient Persian goddess of water, which is essential for life, health, and fertility. It’s also a very modern set of software building blocks for a social infrastructure for everything essential for enterprise-level life, health, and — in a sense — fertility.

        At least, according to Vancouver-based project founder and core architect Rastin Mehr.

      • Foxconn to announce Firefox OS devices, maybe a tablet

        Apple OEM contractor Foxconn is prepping several products based on Mozilla’s Firefox OS, says an industry report. The new products, one of which is rumored to be a tablet, are expected to be announced on June 3 in collaboration with Mozilla.

        On May 27, Focus Taiwan reported that Mozilla and Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn, will on June 3 unveil a device running Mozilla’s Linux- and HTML5-based Firefox OS. The story also noted that an industry insider told the publication the product was likely to be a tablet.

      • Rumour: Foxconn Firefox Tablet Coming June 3rd

        Foxconn is rumoured to be making a new tablet PC for Firefox OS, and we could catch our first glimpse next week.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Healthcare


    • Take action for free JavaScript

      Choosing to run free software on your computer is a powerful statement. Unfortunately, regardless of what you have installed on your desktop or laptop, you are almost certainly running hundreds of nonfree programs as you surf the Web. Web sites often use programs written in JavaScript to expand the capabilities of HTML, adding menus, buttons, text editors, music players, and many other features. Browsers come configured to download and run the JavaScript without ever making the user aware of it. Contrary to popular perception, JavaScript does not run “on the Web site” — it runs locally on users’ computers when they visit a site.

    • Free Software is Activism

      The Free Software is defined such as software that gives some freedoms to his users: use, copy, modify and redistribute modified copies. So, we can understand the free software as collective property generated by the users and developers.

      Although, from the Open Source philosophy, this problem has changed until that if the Free Software continues being collective property, sometimes is not being generated by the real interests of users and developers, it’s generated by the market interest, with especulative criteria and financial bumbles in a similar way than another market product.

      So, the Open Source philosophy, drop the ethical arguments about if is reasonable or don’t use Free Software, the only argument will be if technically is or don’t a good option, if is a good business and another similar arguments. But they don’t think if it’s good the good common, it’s out of the discourse. Many corporations has done good contributions creating Free Software products from this philosophy, but sometimes mixed with the philosopy of the propietary software: Ubuntu, Android, etc.

    • Denemo – News: Release 1.0.4 is imminent
  • Licensing

    • VP8 cross-license draft compatible with FOSS licensing

      Google and MPEG-LA recently disclosed a draft cross-license under which patents related to the VP8 video compression format would be licensed to the general public. SFLC reviewed these terms and considered some criticisms that have arisen in the free software community. Our opinion expressed here is ours alone, and does not necessarily reflect the position of any client of SFLC.1

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Open source, 3D printing and the race to re-engineer manufacturing

        While we’re all arguing about the future of Australian manufacturing in the wake of Ford announcing the closure of their Australian factories, the entire manufacturing industry is facing another wave of massive change as 3D printing and open source hardware change the economics of the sector.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Internet: Basket In Which We Put All Our Eggs

      Naturally, we’re filled with umbrage and are busy blaming the Chinese military for being dastardly. How dare they do what we would expect any country’s military to do? Also naturally, we’re not putting any blame on ourselves. No one is suggesting that such sensitive information, perhaps, shouldn’t be placed on a computer facing the Internet, no matter how secure. Nor is anyone suggesting that maybe the largest and most advanced military on the planet needs to have their own world wide web that’s not connected to the one used by the rest of us. No one is suggesting that this isn’t the way we won World War II.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Julian Assange: Stratfor Hacker Jeremy Hammond Guilty Plea Part of Crackdown on Journalism, Activism

      Jeremy Hammond of the hacktivist group Anonymous has pleaded guilty to hacking into the private intelligence firm Stratfor, the FBI and other institutions. Hammond says his goal was to shed light on how governments and corporations act behind closed doors. Some five million Stratfor emails ended up on the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, shedding light on how the private intelligence firm monitors activists and spies for corporate clients. In a statement, Hammond said he accepted the plea deal in part to avoid an overzealous prosecution that could have resulted in at least 30 years in prison. He has already served 15 months, including weeks in solitary confinement. Joining us from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says Hammond’s prosecution comes as part of a wider crackdown “on effective political activists and alleged journalistic sources.” Click here to watch our web-only extended interview with Assange.

    • Assange: U.S. Probe of WikiLeaks & “Show Trial” of Bradley Manning Aims to Scare Whistleblowers

      Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of disclosing a trove of government documents and cables to WikiLeaks, is set to go on trial next week. Manning has already pleaded guilty to misusing classified material he felt “should become public,” but has denied the top charge of aiding the enemy. Speaking from his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange calls Manning’s case “a show trial … to terrorize people from communicating with journalists and communicating with the public.” Assange also discusses his own legal status as he continues to evade extradition to Sweden. Assange fears that returning to Sweden would result in him being sent to the United States, where he fears a grand jury has secretly indicted him for publishing the diplomatic cables leaked by Manning. Click here to watch our web-only extended interview with Assange.

  • Finance

    • Good News, Everyone! (Except You Wage-Earners)

      When you look into the numbers, it looks more dubious still. The average U.S. household spends about 4 percent of its gross income on gasoline–so you’d need a pretty dramatic change in gas prices to have an appreciable impact on a typical family’s finances. In fact, they’re down roughly 15 percent from their peak earlier this year, but they’re still about 15 percent more than the low they hit around this time last year–and if you look at gas prices over the past couple of years, they’ve bounced up and down without really going anywhere.

    • Meet the New and Improved Goldman Sachs

      The bank announced plans to undergo a “rigorous self-examination” to avoid an Abacus repeat. Goldman certainly took its time, but the deep look into the mirror is complete. Meet the new and improved Goldman Sachs.

    • German Official Warns of Immediate ‘Revolution’ if EU Adopts US Model

      German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble urges adherence to Europe’s welfare model

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Civil Rights

    • The courage in Egypt is breathtaking, Europe should push for it in leadership too

      I’ve just returned from Egypt: impressed by the courage and ambition I found, worried by some of trends I saw, and pleased that the Minister was willing to commit the open internet.

      Deep inside one of the Pyramids in Giza (you can climb many stories into them! incredible experience), the guide turned and announced: “the problem with Egypt is that we talk too much about the things we DID, and nothing about the things we will DO.”

    • The Denial of Justice

      I don’t think any single person who has considered the matter seriously, has any real doubt that Jack Straw was complicit in torture in an active and involved way, and has lied about it continually. There are some who would argue he was ethically justified, but that is a different argument. It is not worth engaging in ethical argument with anybody who maintains that the facts which are the basis of the argument, should not be known.

    • Reporters Tell Attorney General Eric Holder They Won’t Agree To ‘Off The Record’ Meeting As Scale Of Journalist Spying Expands

      A few quick updates on the continuing saga of the DOJ’s highly questionable spying on the communications of reporters. First up, we find out that the AP is claiming that the DOJ’s scooping up of phone records wasn’t nearly as limited as some people have suggested, but rather contained records for “thousands and thousands” of phone calls. Remember, the DOJ’s own guidelines say that any such record retrieval must be very targeted rather than broad.

    • Holder’s Regrets and Repairs
  • DRM

    • EFF Makes Formal Objection to DRM in HTML5

      Today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a formal objection to the inclusion of digital rights management (DRM) in HTML5, arguing that a draft proposal from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) could stymie Web innovation and block access to content for people across the globe.

      The W3C’s HTML working group is creating a technical standard for HTML5, an upcoming revision to the computer language that creates webpages and otherwise displays content online. The working group has accepted a draft that includes discussion of Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), which will hard-wire the requirements of DRM vendors into the HTML standard.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • EU Ombudsman: EFSA fails on conflict of interests

      European Food Safety Authority mishandled a major revolving doors case with biotechnology company Syngenta

    • WHO warns countries not to hoard secrets of coronavirus

      The World Health Organization (WHO) warned countries with possible cases of the SARS-like novel coronavirus on Thursday that they must share information and not allow commercial labs to profit from the virus, which has killed 22 people worldwide.

    • How Long Before A Patent Kills A Hundred Million People?

      Fortunately, the virus does not seem to have spread widely during that three-month delay, but next time we might not be so lucky. It seems bordering suicidal that concerns about patenting should over-ride health concerns, especially when a viral pandemic could potentially kill a hundred million people, as it did in 1918. Let’s hope that the Supreme Court recognizes this as yet another reason not to allow patents on genes, and that this becomes part of a broader move to share freely vital knowledge that can save lives and alleviate suffering around the world.

    • Copyrights

      • White House Makes It Impossible For The Blind To Sign Petition Supporting Copyright Treaty For The Blind

        Last week, we discussed a recent We The People petition at the White House, asking the administration to support the treaty for the blind, which would make it easier to access creative works for the blind by creating a few small “exceptions” to copyright law (i.e., returning rights to the public) for the sake of sharing formats that are accessible to the blind across borders. However, some blind advocacy groups have discovered that, if you happen to be blind/visually impaired, it’s basically impossible to sign the petition.

      • Blind advocates blast White House

        The National Federation of the Blind is fuming mad over the White House web site, complaining that its members have been unable to sign an important online petition.

      • TV Broadcasters Launch Aereokiller Lawsuit in Washington

        Is the battle over the digital distribution of broadcast television eventually headed to the U.S. Supreme Court?

      • Inside the GOP Labs – Internet Association at odds with RIAA over DMCA – Swire: Consensus doesn’t equal unanimous – New tech makes gov’s buying easier, cheaper
      • Internet Association Hits Back At RIAA’s Desire To Wipe Away DMCA Safe Harbors

        On Friday, we wrote about how the RIAA has already started pitching the terrible idea that we should do away with the important DMCA safe harbors, which make sure that liability for infringement is properly applied to those actually infringing, rather than tools and services. The RIAA, however, thinks that it should be everyone else’s responsibility to prop up their increasingly obsolete business model, so they want to do away with the safe harbors and make every internet service liable if anyone uses their service for infringement. Of course, what this would do is stifle innovation broadly, because companies would avoid any kind of user generated services, because the liability would be super high. Sure, some of the big players would stick around, because they’ve got enough money and lawyers, but new startups would be few and far between.

      • The Aftermath Of Napster: Letting Incumbents Veto Innovation Slows Down Innovation Drastically

        Last fall, law professor Michael Carrier came out with a really wonderful paper, called Copyright and Innovation: The Untold Story. He interviewed dozens of people involved in the internet world and the music world, to look at what the impact was of the legal case against Napster, leading to the shutdown of the original service (the name and a few related assets were later sold off to another company). The stories (again, coming from a variety of different perspectives) helps fill in a key part of the story that many of us have heard, but which has never really been written about: what an astounding chill that episode cast over the innovation space when it came to music. Entrepreneurs and investors realized that they, too, were likely to get sued, and focused their efforts elsewhere. The record labels, on the other hand, got the wrong idea, and became totally convinced that a legal strategy was the way to stem the tide of innovation.

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