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09.23.13

KDE Enters the Era of 5

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Konqi

Summary: Qt5 finds its way into the very core of KDE, arguably the best desktop environment in the world (most features-rich)

The K Desktop Environment (KDE) has undergone some major changes in recent years, development-wise. Some say that development stagnated, whereas others say that it’s as good as ever before. The death of Nokia in Microsoft’s hands has certainly not helped the toolkit upon which KDE is based (Qt), but there are signs of progress because the lead KWin developer merged in Qt5 [1,2], with evident development pace accompanying this milestone [3-6].

Amarok, which was seemingly abandoned for some time after a botched bunch of releases, is back in active development with funding from Google [7] and old KDE applications refuse to become deprecated [8] (Krusader and Konqueror are still better than Dolphin in many respects). There are even active surveys [9] regarding the development of KDE and polls which determine the best KDE distro of 2013 [10].

KDE is anything but dead. It’s my desktop environment of choice and after some bad reputation it received in the 4.0-4.1 releases people should definitely give it a go. It’s now hopping on the Qt5 train, later to be followed by the “5″ branch of KDE — the first major leap in several years.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Next step: dogfooding

    Almost a month since my last blog post. And of course lots of work in KWin in the frameworks-scratch branch since then – about 160 commits. Today I finally reached the next milestone: dogfooding. I dared to replace the KWin of my working session by the new version based on Qt 5 and it’s useable.

  2. Qt5-Based KDE KWin Enters Usable State

    The next-generation KDE KWin window manager for KDE Frameworks 5 and using the Qt 5.x tool-kit is quickly entering a usable state and can now handle “dogfeeding” by its developers.

  3. KDE Commit-Digest for 4th August 2013
  4. KDE Commit-Digest for 11th August 2013
  5. KDE Commit-Digest for 18th August 2013
  6. KDE Commit-Digest for 25th August 2013
  7. Wishfix part 2: Amarok.

    Once upon a time Linux had what I think was the best music player/manager, its name was Amarok and people even brought it up as a way to try convince others to move to Linux, intelligent playlists, auto fetching of cover arts, lyrics, last.fm integration, etc, and it was great. Fast forward a few years (almost a decade to be fair) and now Amarok and all KDE music players seems to be lacking, with KDE 5.0 maybe this is the time to fix it.

  8. 10 reasons why you should try Krusader

    Find out 10 reasons why you should try Krusader, a twin-pane file manager that might be faster than Dolphin on older computers or just a better match for your computing habits.

  9. KScreen Management Survey Results Posted

    Björn Balazs has posted the results of a recent user survey in a “study about the requirements for the screen management tool KScreen.” The purpose was to find out how important screen management is to users and which setting configurations are needed most to aid in development of the Kscreen.

  10. Best KDE distro of 2013

    Normally, at the end of the year, I tend to run my best annual distro roundups, choosing the finest among five operating systems or flavors thereof that showed the greatest promise in terms of stability, usability, elegance, support, and other curious items in the outgoing twelve-month period. But I have never dedicated much thought to selecting the best implementation of any one particular desktop environment, regardless of the system underneath.

SUSE Drops LibreOffice Backing

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Novell, Office Suites, OpenDocument at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

But the motif stays green, for now…

LibreOffice

Summary: SUSE, formerly part of Novell, is no longer committed to LibreOffice

LibreOffice contributors try to put lipstick on a pig [1], but Louis Suárez-Potts (very prominent in this area) makes it clearer [2] that “SUSE has ceded development to others, if any, on LibreOffice.” There are already some distracting announcements [3,4] and on the face of it we’ll need to reconsider the role of IBM and Apache OpenOffice. Maybe they’ll be the only branch to survive one day, even if in Symphony form.

As a LATEX person, I hardly use office suites like LibreOffice, but a lot of people do [5] and this means that we may be left dependent on Apache OpenOffice, some free/libre alternatives like Calligra [6], or privacy-infringing (online) alternatives like Google Docs.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The Spin-Off

    Some readers might be surprised by the way I’m describing the announcement. It might be tempting to see these news as the sign of the upcoming demise of the LibreOffice project. This is very far from being the case and there are two good reasons for that.

    First, Suse is NOT dumping LibreOffice developers away. The same developers basically went in a new company and there working on LibreOffice development there. In American parlance, this is called a spin-off.

  2. SUSE Partners with Collabora to Deliver Commercial LibreOffice Support | SUSE

    Basically, SUSE has ceded development to others, if any, on LibreOffice. And also calling it a “community” effort–often, if not necessarily in this case–a code term for something thrown under the bus does not inspire confidence in LibreOffice.

  3. LibreOffice Conference Scheduled published!

    Today we are happy to announce that the final schedule of the LibreOffice Conference 2013!

  4. CloudOn joins TDF Advisory Board

    CloudOn, one of the leading mobile productivity platforms that allows users to create, edit and share documents in real time across devices, has joined the advisory board of The Document Foundation (TDF).

    TDF looks after the development of LibreOffice, the free and open source office suite that competes with Microsoft Office.

  5. Styling

    Consider the way that most people use a word processor like LibreOffice’s Writer. Whenever they want to change the default formatting, they select part of the document – for example, a paragraph or a page — and then apply the formatting using the toolbars or one of the menus.

  6. Calligra vs. LibreOffice: Which Is The More Productive Linux Office Suite?

    Is LibreOffice the only worthwhile office suite for Linux users? Possibly not, thanks to KDE’s Calligra.

Copying Apple’s Graphics, Not Apple’s Business and User Experience

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Mint 15

Summary: What we can copy from Apple and what we oughtn’t ever copy, only abolish

IMITATING Apple’s business practices in order to advance GNU/Linux is not a good idea. Imitating Apple’s presentation, however, may be acceptable (Apple’s patent aggression aside because it’s trigger-happy w.r.t. lawsuits). One thing which Apple is undoubtedly good at is marketing, unless or until it gets caught. Years ago we covered examples where Apple essentially bribed or influenced some bloggers to help manufacture some hype for the hypePad and days ago Apple got caught paying homeless people to pretend to want Apple gadgets rather than a home [1]. That’s just utterly rogue. Think different. Think Apple.

Anyway, there are several Ubuntu-based distributions which try to imitate the appearance (and sometimes behaviour) of Apple’s platforms. Pear OS [2] and Elementary OS [3] are just two of them and they are likely to meet just limited success because they aim at converting Apple fan, who would probably be disappointed as GNU/Linux can’t meet the expectation of being Apple. The many efforts to sell GNU/Linux as a “cheap Windows” (see Xandros, Linspire and several other defunct companies) were never successful because even with Wine GNU/Linux was unable to imitate Windows reliably enough. GNU/Linux is not Windows. And it’s not supposed to be.

“Nobody deserves Apple-branded products as a gift; it’s not a gift, it’s a digital jail in shrink-wrapped boxes.”One distribution which uses some Apple-like graphics but does not go too far in imitating Apple is Linux Mint and right now it tries Apple’s method of selling hardware tied to the operating system [4-6]. Linux Mint is currently the distribution I install for GNU/Linux converts because it gives them the polish of Mac OSuX while not pretending to be Mac OSuX. It is easy to use (good out-of-the-box experience) and it removes the need to be technical for those who are not.

On the technical side, Apple fails on the basics [7], copies Android/Linux [8], and uses technical tricks to punish and restrict customers [9]. Nobody deserves Apple-branded products as a gift; it’s not a gift, it’s a digital jail in shrink-wrapped boxes.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. L.A. homeless hired to buy latest iPhones

    A businessman scheming to get his profit-minded hands on dozens of new iPhones allegedly recruited about 100 homeless people from Skid Row in Los Angeles to wait in line overnight at the Pasadena Apple Store, but many were left unpaid and stranded after his plan was exposed, local media reported Friday.

  2. Pear OS 8 Linux Distribution Will Be Inspired by iOS 7

    David Tavares, the father of the Pear OS distribution, has just shared a screenshot on Google+, teasing Linux users with the iOS 7-inspired look of his upcoming Pear OS 8 operating system.

  3. If I had to leave the Mac? I’d switch to Elementary OS

    Perhaps it’s a holdover from the Apple Depression of the 1990s, but I sometimes wonder where I would go if I ever needed to leave the Mac.

  4. The MintBox 2 is available!

    The MintBox 2 is now available and can be ordered from CompuLab at http://fit-pc.com/web/products/mintbox/

  5. MintBox 2 Computer Officially Unveiled, Powered by Linux Mint 15

    Clement Lefebvre, the founding father of the extremely popular Linux Mint operating system, had the pleasure of announcing today, September 13, that the next-gen MintBox mini PC is available for purchase.

  6. MintBox 2 ships with Linux Mint 15 and Core i5 processors

    Linux Gizmos reports that the MintBox mini-PC is shipping with Linux Mint 15 and Core i5 processors. This is a neat little computer, and I particularly like the fact that Linux Mint is the default distro on it.

  7. Chaos Computer Club breaks Apple TouchID
  8. Did Apple copy Android in iOS 7?

    Today in Open Source: Did iOS 7 borrow ideas from Android? Plus: Linux Defenders and dangerous patents, and the launch date of Ubuntu Touch 1.0

  9. Free Software Foundation statement on new iPhone models from Apple

    The Free Software Foundation encourages users to avoid all Apple products, in the interest of their own freedom and the freedom of those around them.

Site ‘Patent Progress’ Focuses on Patent Trolls, Not Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Government Accountability Office

Summary: Analysis of the stance of a site which purports to be achieving “patent progress”

Following the GAO study which blames software patents we have been watching with interest how patent boosters warped its conclusions. That’s only to be expected. Lawyers — especially patent lawyers — don’t want to see patent scope being limited.

Several months ago I subscribed with caution to the site called Patent Progress — a site run by “legal” people on the face of it. These are the sorts of people who under the wing of the EFF have been warping somewhat the goal of banning software patents, choosing instead to focus on “bad” patents or patent trolls.

Based on some posts that allude to the GAO study, the people who run Patent Progress want to focus on trolls and not patent scope. This recent post from the Patent Progress blog makes it quite apparent and although the views may depend based on who writes the post, it does seem like prominent (prolific) writers over there continue to obsess over trolls. To quote:

Predatory pricing is the strategy of pricing goods or services below cost in the hopes of driving competitors out of the market and then raising prices to supra-competitive levels. Hovenkamp notes that like predatory pricing, bottom feeder trolls will litigate patent infringement cases even when they are likely to lose in order to generate a reputation for aggressive litigation. In fact, patent trolls have been found to use the same patents over and over again (8 or more times) despite only winning less than 10% of these cases. Once the reputation is established, defendants can no longer rely on patent trolls rationally deciding to drop loser lawsuits and must calculate the costs of litigating a full trial in making the decision to settle. Hovenkamp calls this strategy of short run losses to generate supra-competitive licensing fees predatory patent litigation.

Patent Progress has done some protesting which covers software patents, but the focus of the site seem to align with the sort of reform sought by Google and other large corporations. To them, patent trolls are the problem which merits most emphasis.

Bodhi Linux 2.4.0 Released: Popular Variant With Enlightenment Desktop

Posted in GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 3:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bodhi Linux 2.4.0

Summary: Bodhi Linux 2.4.0 brings with it a panacea for old desktops in need of a free/libre, cutting-edge and powerful operating system

Bodhi Linux is, for the most part, a one-person project [1] which rose to fame [2] a couple of years ago, earning a lot of coverage and observing many ISO downloads. Bodhi Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu and it is probably the most popular Enlightenment-based distribution that is derived from Ubuntu (putting aside obscure ones, there have been about half a dozen such distributions in the past half a decade).

“Enlightenment is compatible with very old computers, so for machines that are lesser capable consider giving Bodhi Linux a try.”I was a regular user of Enlightenment over a decade ago (I used it for development with GTK) and surely it does not get the credit or the reputation it deserves. Enlightenment is compatible with very old computers, so for machines that are lesser capable consider giving Bodhi Linux a try. Here are some screenshots [3] of the latest release.

The lead developer, Jeff Hoogland, is a very cool person who is adhering to some decent values. This is not a distribution motivated by financial interests. Some community distros were warped to accommodate such interests much to users’ chagrin.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Bodhi Linux 2.4.0 Released

    It has been close to six months since our last Bodhi Linux release – far too long! This is just our normal update release – meaning if you are already a Bodhi user and have been running your system updates then you already have all these additions running on your system!

  2. Bodhi Linux 2.4.0 Released, One Year Left Until Bodhi 3.0.0

    After six months of hard work, Jeff Hoogland announced on September 12 that the final release of the Bodhi Linux 2.4.0 operating system was available for download, bringing improvements and bugfixes.

  3. Bodhi 2.4.0

Fedora is Deprecating Yum

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wallpaper candidate for Fedora 20

Wallpaper

Summary: Fedora 20 is coming and DNF is being introduced as a replacement for Yum

THE developer of Yum died a few months ago and Fedora is poised to replace Yum, introducing instead DNF, which is similar but still experimental [1]. Fedora 20 is already being prepared for release [2], despite some delays [3].

Fedora has a short support span, which is my main reason for no longer installing it. Keeping Fedora up to date has been possible using Yum and Red Hat is now trying to improve the update process of RHEL, which Techrights uses in CentOS form.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. DNF Package Manager Yum-Replacement Moves Ahead

    Talked about last year prior to the introduction of Fedora 18 was DNF, a new experimental RPM package manager to replace Yum. DNF has been bundled as an experimental option that can live in parallel to Yum, but there hasn’t been too much to report on the project as of late, except today they’re out with a new release.

  2. F20 will become beautiful…

    Half of the submission period for the Supplemental Wallpaper for Fedora 20 is over now.

  3. Fedora 20 Alpha Has Been Delayed By One Week
  4. Keeping your Red Hat Enterprise Linux current

    If you want the newest of the new open-source software, you use Fedora Linux, but if you use Red Hat Enterprise Linux in your business, you had to wait for major releases… until now.

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