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12.27.13

Ubuntu Derivatives Can Gain as Canonical Reduces Commitment to GNOME

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Ubuntu GNOME is getting harder to maintain and alternatives emerge which are independent from Canonical

Softpedia’s latest updates on GNOME Desktop development [1-4] show that GNOME is anything but dormant. As Phoronix shows, Fedora is all about GNOME (Red Hat’s default), whereas Ubuntu neglects GNOME as well as other widely-used packages. “Mir Is Still Overwhelmingly A Canonical-Only Affair,” says the headline of one very recent article from Phoronix. Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS Alpha 1 is out [5] and it is still using X.org [6]. Ubuntu, in terms of performance, does not vary widely from Red Hat [7] and Debian [8], it’s just doing its marketing better [9,10]. For those who are fed up with the hype, or those who look for upstream proponents, there’s always Kubuntu to turn to [11] if not the latest Mint Linux [12,13,14] (it has a KDE version) and older stable versions [15,16]. One can easily sense some bit of hostility towards Canonical at Phoronix these days, but it is cleverly disguised and perhaps it is even justified. The FSF has made its lack of support for Ubuntu well known (unlike Torvalds) and in his recent talks Stallman openly urges people not to use Ubuntu.

Ubuntu has been good in many ways, but if someone is eager to move to GNU/Linux, then perhaps it’s better to name or recommend another distribution.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GNOME Online Accounts 3.11.3 Adds Support for Facebook Photos
  2. Epiphany 3.11.2 Web Browser Brings Lots of Goodies for Christmas

    The GNOME Project has announced recently that a new development release towards the Epiphany 3.12 web browser that will be part of the upcoming GNOME 3.12 desktop environment is now available for download and testing.

  3. GNOME Boxes 3.11.3 Improves Detection of GNOME-Continuous Images
  4. GNOME’s File Manager Will Be More User-Friendly

    Allan Day, a GNOME designer, posted a few days ago on his blog a very long article about what was coming next in the Nautilus (now known as Files) file manager for the GNOME desktop environment.

    What you will read in this article is a short summary of the new design features that will be implemented in upcoming releases of Nautilus, which will be part of the GNOME 3.12 desktop environment.

  5. Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS Alpha 1 (Trusty Tahr) Officially Released – Screenshot Tour

    Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS Alpha 1 (Trusty Tahr) has been released and is now available for download and testing. We prepared a screenshot tour to get a sneak peek at the new operating system.

    The best news for the fans of Ubuntu GNOME is that the 14.04 will include a number of GNOME applications from the 3.10 stack.

  6. Ubuntu GNOME Will Still Run On X.Org For A While
  7. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS vs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Benchmarks

    Last week when Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta 1 was released I was already running RHEL7 benchmarks looking at the performance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 over RHEL 6.5. In this article for some extra benchmarks to put out over the weekend is a quick comparison of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in its current development state against Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta 1.

  8. SteamOS vs. Ubuntu 13.10 – Intel HD Graphics Performance
  9. Ubuntu Linux, Edge, Desktop and the Wearable Computing Future

    One of most noteworthy open-source stories of 2013 was the audacious attempt by Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux, to crowdfund $32 million in 30 days to fund a next-generation Linux phone.

    It’s an effort that did not reach its target. In a video interview with eWEEK, Shuttleworth described the Ubuntu Edge campaign as a “glorious defeat,” but it’s not the end of the road for Ubuntu’s phone efforts.

    Though Shuttleworth was unable to raise $32 million in 30 days, the Ubuntu Edge campaign was able to raise $12.8 million, which is a non-trivial amount for a crowdfunding effort of any type. He pledged that his company was continuing to push forward in its efforts to build the best converged operating system for developers.

  10. Will Ubuntu dominate tablets in 2014?

    Ubuntu’s tablet may dominate the field in 2014. Plus: A SteamOS install guide, and a screenshot tour of Fedora 20 MATE

  11. Kubuntu 13.10 – A great alternative to Ubuntu and Windows.
  12. Linux Mint 16 KDE and Xfce released
  13. Linux Mint 16 “Petra” KDE released!

    KDE is a vibrant, innovative, advanced, modern looking and full-featured desktop environment. This edition features all the improvements from the latest Linux Mint release on top of KDE 4.11.

  14. Review: Linux Mint 16 “Petra” Cinnamon + MATE

    This is the second review that I’m doing at the moment. Linux Mint 16 “Petra” came out in MATE and Cinnamon guises recently, so as a fan of Linux Mint, I’ll be reviewing those now. I tried each edition separately on a live USB made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what each is like.

  15. Petra backports available in Linux Mint 13

    The most significant improvements in Petra are being backported to Maya.

    Among other things, this gives Linux Mint 13 LTS users access to the following packages:

    MDM 1.4
    Cinnamon 2.0
    MATE 1.6
    The latest versions of mintwelcome, mintstick, mintnanny, mintupload, mintupdate, mintinstall, mintsystem, mintmenu and mintdesktop.

  16. Cinnamon 2.0 available for Linux Mint 13, LMDE to receive it soon

    Linux Mint 13 “Maya” users can now avail Cinnamon 2.0 goodness. Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) users will receive a major upgrade known as Update Pack 8, in January 2014.

Computing Workload: Get It Off the ‘Cloud’, Quickly

Posted in GNU/Linux, Servers at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Why the reliance on third-party hosting (of storage space, databases, communications, processing, etc.) is a dumb new trend which needs to be rejected

IN TERMS of real market share (not just money), GNU/Linux is growing at the expense of expensive UNIX [1] and expensive Windows [2] and if we have learned anything from Microsoft’s collusion with the NSA (Google collaborated to a lesser degree) it is that we must not put any data remotely, especially not pass it over the Web to some third party.

Now that there is another round of shameless IBM PR (puff pieces and press releases [3-5]) we should recall that what companies once did was contract a company like IBM to set up, locally, a computational resource for workloads. But IBM, which faces competition from Google and others [6], is recognising a new threat and it’s the hype about “Linux Cloud Computing” [7] (Amazon, Google, Rackspace and others), which basically means NSA-accessible computing. This should always be rejected, based on grounds of privacy — if not privacy of the business (or government) then privacy of the customers (or citizens). We already know that the NSA uses surveillance for political and industrial espionage.

It is amazing to see how many companies host not only their E-mails on third-party servers (many located in the US) but also their data/databases and computational processes. This is beyond naïve; it’s reckless. GNU/Linux becoming dominant on servers is not much of an achievement if all those servers are basically wiretapping points.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. HP Korea Downsizes Unix Server Business

    HP Korea is reported to have drastically reduced sales personnel for its Unix server business in line with the reorganization of its server unit.

  2. Microsoft’s licence riddles give Linux and pals a free ride to virtual domination
  3. IBM Will Minimize Impact of Future Disasters

    Not even Mighty Big Blue can stop a hurricane. But. IBM and Marist College are testing a new cloud computing innovation that could help prevent disruptions in voice and data communications services caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters.

  4. The Overall Linux Support Solution to Help with the Bottom Line
  5. Open Source Is Here To Stay On IBM i

    For years, open source software has been a bit of a redheaded stepchild in the button-down IBM midrange community. IBM i shops were hesitant to use it, and vendors were afraid to adopt it. But with so much of the computing world now running on open source, the aversion to open source has gradually melted away, and it has steadily crept into use among large corporations, and the IBM i world too.

  6. Google Compute Engine Generally Available With Lower Prices And More Linux Support

    Last year, Google unveiled Compute Engine at Google I/O, apparently seeking to compete with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure for the cloud computing needs of businesses.

  7. Verticomm Technologies Discusses the Benefits of Linux Cloud Computing for Business

    Verticomm Technologies, one of the most reliable cloud computing service providers in Denver, recently discussed the positive impacts of having a Linux cloud computing for business having a larger pool of systems in the workplace.

GNU/Linux is Everywhere, But People Need to Keep It Under People’s (and Developers’) Control

Posted in GNU/Linux at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apathy in the age of GNU/Linux ubiquity leads away from focus on freedom

EARLIER this month it was quite popular to publish overviews of potential GNU/Linux-powered gifts (there are some examples we have not cited yet [1,2]). It’s just too easy to find GNU/Linux gadgets because it’s the de facto operating system in so many areas (though branding may not suggest so). GNU/Linux has become a strong force not just on this planet but also elsewhere, e.g. in space, arguably Mars (there was a debate about it), perhaps even on asteroids, based on an article from September (source: Linux.com/Linux Foundation [3]). GNU/Linux has not achieved just world domination; it’s almost extra-celestial (if we ever got this far). Free software won. But it depends on the criteria, e.g. popularity, market share, level of freedom. Hardware with GNU/Linux on it has gotten easier to obtain [4] and one recent example of it is Lini PC [5-7]. With the triumph of Free software, however it may be defined (many of the hardware is locked down), comes some certain apathy, as if it’s all taken for granted. Linux Australia membership is declining [8], Nuxified is up for sale [9] (one among many Free/libre software and GNU/Linux sites to go down this path), and Linux Format lost some of its best writers, who are going independent [10-12] (which in a way is a good thing, unless you are Linux Format). What has become very worrying to me is that in the GNU/Linux world we are now going through what happened in the patents scene; a lot of corporations take over the message, so people’s stance and will just simply get ignored or misrepresented. We really need to retain the voice of the people (including developers), marginalising the voices of non-technical managers and large companies that are purely shareholders-driven. Failing to do so will contribute to a drift in the wrong direction, e.g. TPM, restricted boot, DRM, and censorship.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide For Linux PC Hardware
  2. Top 10 Linux-Based Gifts for 2013 Under $400
  3. Penguins in Space! Asteroid mining and Linux

    No, Planetary Resource isn’t kidding. It’s working on using Linux, open-source software, and commercial off-the-shelf hardware to build the first robotic asteroid miners.

  4. Choosing A 2013 Laptop/Ultrabook For Linux

    Earlier this week I asked what laptop you would like to see tested on Linux. I’ve been shopping for some new laptops/hardware since I always enjoy testing and benchmarking new hardware under Linux at Phoronix plus as mentioned in that earlier article I’ll be over in Russia for the next month focusing on Phoronix Test Suite 5.0 and other developments, so I need a couple more portable systems with new hardware for Phoronix benchmarking. There’s also plenty of good shopping deals for the holiday season. After going through the 50+ comments, I ended up doing a Black Friday purchase of the ASUS Zenbook Prime.

  5. Here Comes Linux Powered Lini PC With Intel Haswell Processor
  6. Lini is a Haswell PC for Linux

 (or Windows)
  7. Lini PC offers small Linux computers with Haswell chips

    One of the nice things about Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions is that you can install them on pretty much any PC without paying a penny. In many cases, everything will work perfectly out of the box — but when it doesn’t, you could find yourself spending a lot of time researching tricks for enabling support for your graphics card, wireless chip, input devices, or other hardware.

  8. Linux Australia membership falls by 10 per cent

    Membership of Linux Australia has fallen by a little more than 10 per cent since January this year, according to figures released by the organisation.

  9. After 8 Years Nuxified is for Sale
  10. Linux Voice journos hit crowdfunding target

    A brief update on the crowdfunding efforts of three British journalists, who all worked at Linux Format to launch a new magazine. They have hit their £90,000 launch target for Linux Voice, with 14 days to go.

  11. On Indiegogo: Linux Voice Meets Crowdfunding Goal For Free Software Magazine
  12. The Linux Setup – Mike Saunders, Linux Voice

    What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?

    Xubuntu 13.04 at the moment. I really like the Debian underpinnings, and I’ve been using Xfce for years. Before that I was a big fan of Window Maker.

Free/Open Source Software Takes Over the Web at All Levels

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The role played by Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is increasing on the Web, owing to a large degree to growing CMS communities (tens of thousands of developers) that appreciate the GPL

IT IS gratifying to see how the World Wide Web becomes GNU/Linux-dominated also and Free software-dominated, owing to migrations to FOSS CMS options. A recent example is LinuxDevices, which was converted from a proprietary CMS to WordPress and then put under LinuxGizmos.

CMS Wire recently published a January 2014 overview of new Free/Open Source CMS options and releases [1]. CMS Observer published “Best Free Social Network Software” [2]. It’s clear that FOSS has grown dominant in many of these areas that involve Web sites, rising from the bottom of the stack (GNU/Linux) to databases, programming languages, and even the programs themselves. WordPress 3.8 was recently released (with an unfortunate back door) [3,4], affecting many millions of Web sites. WordPress updates too quickly, alleges FOSS Force [5], but at least it’s a sign of this project’s health. It’s exceptionally active and development is rapid. As we are already running some Drupal 7 sites (Tux Machines uses Drupal) we are planning to move away from WordPress some time in the foreseeable future, perhaps when Drupal 8, which is going to come out in 2014 [6], is finally reaching stability. Drupal, having gained ground in US Federal government [7] and large corporations like HP [8], is probably one of the best success stories of the GPL (Apache is not GPL and Linux is still GPLv2, just like Drupal at GPLv2 or later). Apart from the leading duo, WordPress and Drupal, there’s also Joomla [9] and Pi Engine [10], among many other options. It is extremely improbably that proprietary CMS options will ever make a comeback. Some of them (like TypePad) already try to turn free/libre in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. What’s New in January 2014 for Open-Source CMS
  2. Best Free Social Network Software
  3. WordPress 3.8 Content Management Platform Gets a New Look

    The new release of the widely deployed open-source content management system platform includes more than 600 different changes and bug fixes.

  4. WordPress 3.8 “Parker” Available For Download

    WordPress has been released version 3.8 “Parker” named in honor of Charlie Parker, bebop innovator. The company claims it features a modern new design and most beautiful update yet.

  5. WordPress – Too Fast For Comfort
  6. Drupal 8 to take open source CMS ‘to the next level’
  7. Drupal shop in the DC area makes technology work for the unemployed

    When the US Federal government shutdown from October 1 – 16 this year, a small Drupal shop in the Washington DC area turned a list of freelance gigs for furloughed employees in a Google doc into a website in five hours. Unfurlough.us went live at 1:00 am EST on October 4, accumulating 50,000 page views in a little over a week.

  8. HP Launches Portal to Sell Its Software Online

    HP leveraged third-party software to build the Pronq site. Pronq is using the open-source Drupal, a widely deployed content management system that is also used by the White House and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as the front-end technology.

  9. The Joomla Project Announced Joomla Framework 1.0

    The Joomla community announced Joomla Framework 1.0, making a major step forward for the Joomla project.

  10. Pi Engine v2.3.0 Release

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